Tag Archive | Sophia Jones

Conferences, Fangirling Diana Gabaldon, and Fun with Critique Partner and Gal Pal Sophia Jones

Screen Shot 2014-06-14 at 6.24.48 AMI’ve been quite fortunate. As a (relatively) new author, I’ve found tremendous support and a wealth of opportunities through my network of colleagues near and far, and I’ve been lucky enough to meet a few of my favorite authors over the past 5 years of my writing career. Thanks to author, critique partner, and dear friend Sophia Jones, Diana Gabaldon is now on that list.

 

I highly recommend attending conferences and author/reader events, large or small, to aspiring authors. After all, Killer Nashville not only expanded my network, it provided the means of landing my wonderful agents. Aside from those benefits, conferences serve as a balance to the often solitary business of writing. Arizona Dreamin’ did just that – with workshops on craft, editing, marketing and promo, as well as two REALLY useful how-to sessions on avoiding procrastination and successfully executing writing sprints, the conference was both informative and flat-out fun!

 

And, of course, I had a blast being a fangirl! I fell in love with Diana Gabaldon’s epic Outlander series, and James Alexander Malcolm MacKenzie Fraser, after marathoning my way through the first seven books. No easy feat, as the books are freakin’ HUGE. So I was over the moon excited at the prospect of meeting the woman who birthed some of the most compelling and memorable characters I’ve encountered.

 

Screen Shot 2014-06-14 at 6.21.00 AMShe proved to be as witty, engaging, and entertaining as her characters, and gracious with her advice to writers in the audience. I was inspired and heartened to learn that she, too, began her writing career in the midst of juggling her primary career as an academic researcher with the demands of motherhood – this resonated with my own journey and gave me hope that I *may* not be quite so insane as I’d first been told when I started writing (while juggling an academic research career, two small children, and a husband who spends half of the month traveling). Or, if I am a bit insane, at least I’m in good company.

 

She was quite amused and (I think) pleased with my Pocket Jamie, and was gracious enough to pose for a photo after signing my copy of The Outlandish Companion Vol 1.

 

Screen Shot 2014-06-14 at 6.23.12 AMShe shared details about the upcoming television adaptation, including her nickname for Sam Heughan (‘Sheugs’), and told us she’s been quite pleased with the footage she’s viewed so far. With that seal of approval, I’m even more excited for the August 9th premiere. She also promised more Lord John books – much to my delight when I asked the question – and mentioned plans for a series involving Master Raymond, prehistoric time traveler and Claire’s ancestor. This confirms the information under FAQ: About the Characters on her website, and based on the novella in which he and the Comte St. Germain appear once more, I wouldn’t be surprised at all.

 

And I’ll definitely read it!

 

Thanks to author and organizer, Morgan Kearns, and her team for this wonderful event, and to Sophia Jones for hosting me in her beautiful home city of Phoenix, Arizona (and for the day trip to Sedona). She also took me to The Tilted Kilt, which seemed quite appropriate given the occasion.

 

Screen Shot 2014-06-14 at 6.23.55 AMAfter a marathon session reading Written in My Own Heart’s Blood (after which my husband declared ‘Hooray! I can have my wife back now!’), I’m still in love with the series, characters, and look forward to the next installment. As usual, Diana Gabaldon leaves us with as many questions as answers (though the convergence of several plot lines was quite satisfying). No spoilers, but be prepared for some major heartbreaks, as well as more than a few moments of reckoning, and an ending that will tug at your heartstrings. Basically, all the things you know and love about the Outlander universe but better than ever!

 

All in all, it was a great conference, a great experience, and I hope to be back for more next year!

Welcome Sophia Jones!

Skydiving CompositeI am thrilled to welcome fabulous author Sophia Jones to my blog. Sophia is my critique partner, fellow romance junkie, and all around great gal pal. After years of Skype and IM, I finally had the great pleasure of visiting her in her home state of Arizona, where she joined me in checking off one of my big bucket list adventure items. Gotta love a friend who’ll jump out of an airplane with you!

She’s been with me from the beginning of my writing journey – seriously, she’s read everything I’ve ever written, including some things better left buried in the depths of my computer hard drive. So naturally I’m very happy and proud to be a part of her writing journey!

Today, she’ll be telling us about her new release, The Pharaoh and the Curator.

Synopsis: Unlucky in love museum curator Michelle Beaumont finds herself in Egypt where she contributes to god Amon Ra’s resurrection. His burning heat soon has her throwing caution to the desert winds, but a lurking danger threatens both of their souls.

Pharaoh coverSophia, tell us a little about your heroine, Michelle. Aside from the physical, what drives her attraction to Ra?

Oh goodness, dare I use the word soul mate?  He is her soul mate.  But that connection aside, I think she’s drawn to his warmth.  He’s considerate of her, respectful in a way that harkens back to another time–yet he knows she is his equal and treats her as such.  She also likes the way he’s managed to keep a positive attitude and his sense of humor through what has been a very long trial.  She admires his fortitude.

Ah yes, chivalry of old mixed with a soul-deep connection and a mighty pleasing physique. Speaking of…luckily for Michelle, Ra shows off that physique by wearing very little, aside from one particularly intriguing piece of clothing that doesn’t quite fit the Saharan desert setting. Needless to say, Michelle calls him out on his wardrobe choice with great comedic effect. Do you find it easy or challenging to balance the romance with humor (which you do very well, IMHO)?

Aw, you’re sweet, thank you for that nice compliment.  I’ve been a bit surprised at how many readers have commented on the humor in my stories–mostly because I’m not a funny person.  I can never remember the punch lines to jokes and can’t tell when other people are kidding half the time.  But I find that often my characters, my female leads especially, have snarky inner voices that translate to their dialogue.  Any humor element in my writing comes about organically and usually takes me by surprise.  The romantic bits?  I have to work at those. ;o)

Oh, I don’t know, I personally think you’re a pretty funny gal, and I definitely enjoy the romantic bits in your work. This is the second erotic short you’ve published (and, dear readers, you should really check out her first – The Phantom and the Psychic), and I adore your exotic locations and romantic pairings. Can you give us any hints about what’s next for you?

I intend to do another Paranormal Erotic Tale and am currently polling readers about what they’d like to see.  Their suggestions have been quite inspiring.  So far the possibilities include a Roman garden with floral scents heavy in the air, historical New Orleans, and haunting Savannah, Georgia.  I love all of these ideas, but I’ll be honest and admit there’s a pirate argh-ing sweet nothings into my ear and sending me flashes of blue Caribbean waters when I close my eyes. 

You know I’m voting for the pirate theme, as visions of Captain Jack Sparrow dance through my naughty mind. Now then, readers, I happen to know a bit about Sophia’s process, including an, um, unconventional writing location she favors (evil grin)… Tell us a little about the inspiration for your stories and your process. You can even share that writing location if you like 🙂

You’re an evil, evil woman who knows far too many of my secrets.  Okay, if I can jump out of a plane, I can share this. ;o)  I’m a big reader, as many of us writers are I think, and I do a fair amount of my reading from the bathtub.  I suffered pretty bad writer’s block for this second shorty, and in desperation one evening, I plopped down in my bathtub– laptop and all.  No, there was no water in it, just me, sitting in an empty tub, typing.  But I found writing from my “reading place” helped me get back into my story.  The next night I laid a big, squishy comforter in the tub for cushioning, along with a pillow or two, and was able to crank out two thousand words.  Needless to say, my hubby was amused.  No, there is no photographic evidence–nor shall there ever be!

Hey, you gotta go with what works. Here’s my confession: I once pounded out 2,000 words in the passenger seat of a car while picking hubby’s brain about the inner workings of the male mind. So, in the bathtub or elsewhere, which authors would we find you reading when taking a break from your own writing?

There are so many, and it changes week to week.  My all-time favorites are Kresley Cole, Lisa Kleypas, Susan Elizabeth Philips, Stephen King, and more recently, Joe Hill.  

I’m with you on Stephen King and Joe Hill, and I’ll add Lisa Kleypas and Susan Elizabeth Philips to my list. Thank you so much for the wonderful interview and for feeding my romance addiction with your wonderful stories!

Thank you so much for having me.  I’ve learned so much from you these last couple of years; you’re truly an inspiration.

To learn more about Sophia, please visit her website. The Pharaoh and the Curator is available now from Amazon, as is her first, The Phantom and the Psychic. You can also find Sophia on Twitter and Facebook.