Monday, September 29, 2014

Meet Editor Pat

When I get together with other authors, horror stories abound. The word horror does not refer to their chosen genre but to their interaction with editors. That’s when I realize how incredibly fortunate I’ve been. The eagle-eyed, line-dancing Pat Van Wie edited my last three books written for Bell Bridge Books and . . . she’s made them shine! When I asked Pat to take part in a Q and A for Book Blather, she readily agreed. But first, here’s a bit about her background.

 Pat Van Wie is a multi-published author, editor and creative writing teacher. With eleven published novels under her belt, she crossed to the other side of publishing and took a position as senior editor for Bell Bridge books to build their mystery and suspense list. Pat recently joined the indie author ranks by re-releasing her first hardcover suspense, Blind Run in e-book format and written under the pseudonym, Patricia Lewin She also teaches writing classes around the country and is currently teaching creative writing at Collin Community College in Frisco, Texas.  Chat with Pat on her Facebook Page: Check out Blind Run here:  
Welcome to Book Blather, Pat.

Tell us about your background. When did you first know you wanted to write?

I have an unusual background for a writer.  My college degree is in Computer Science, and I worked for IBM as Computer Programmer for over twelve years.  However, I’ve been writing since my freshman year in high school—I just didn’t have the courage early on to attempt to write for a living. 
It was only after I’d been working for IBM for five years that the writing bug bit again.  I went to a weekend writer’s conference, and that was it.  I’ve been writing ever since.  

You’ve been in the world of publishing for many years, first as an author, then as an editor. Which do you prefer?

I actually enjoy both roles.  However, I’m first and foremost a writer.  There is nothing quite as exciting as the creative process.  That said, the reason editing works for me is that my favorite part of writing is story building. So, working as an editor allows me to do that, while another author gets to do all the nitty-gritty in-the-trenches work. 
 You’ve had books published with major companies. Tell us about your journey to publication and your first sale.

I started writing while still working at IBM—weekends, holidays, lunch hours.  I also attended writer conferences, read every how to book I could put my hands on, and entered (lots and lots of) writing contests.  About two years into this process, I started making the finals in the contests I entered, including the Golden Heart.  The third time I finaled in the Golden Heart, Brenda Chin was one of the finalist judges.  She ended up buying that book, Keeping Katie.  It was, as you can imagine, a wonderful experience, and Brenda and I are still good friends.

The fun thing about my first sale was that I got the call from Harlequin while at a trade show for IBM. None of my techie colleagues really understood, and I couldn’t reach anyone at home to share the news.  To say the least, I was in a really great (but frustrated) mood all weekend—probably sold a lot of the software product we were demoing.   J   

 I speak from experience when I say you are an excellent editor. Where did you learn your editing skills?

I think the process of writing is a great foundation for editing.  Plus, I was part of some terrific critique groups and have taught creative writing for years.

What is your favorite part of the editing process? Your least favorite part?

My favorite part of editing is working with authors to make their stories better.  I love story building, so this is a natural fit for me.

My least favorite part is reading submissions. It just kills me to turn down books, especially when I see potential.  I’m sure it’s because I understand how badly these writers want to become published.  But the competition is tough and my time is limited, so I can only buy books that are ready for publication.  It’s so hard, and it makes me slow on responses.  I start reading something, see potential, think maybe I can help the author fix the problems, and then I file it to come back to it later.  A bad habit, I know . . . but I really hate sending rejection letters.  

You recently decided to re-issue one of your earlier books, Blind Run. What prompted that decision?

 Well, like a lot of other long-time authors, I got back the rights to many of my books.  It seems a waste to let them just sit on my computer, so why not re-issue them? 

Do you have any upcoming projects?

Yes, I’m re-issuing Out of Reach, my second Ballantine book, soon.   I’m just waiting for the cover. 

Any advice for aspiring writers?

This is a hard one, mainly because there is no one answer that fits every author.  All of us have different issues and challenges when it comes to writing and publishing. 

So, I’m going to be very basic here.  Learn the rules, grammar, punctuation, story structure—you can decide to ignore them later, but at least know them so when/if you break the rules, you’re doing it consciously.  And the second very basic advice I’d give—which most writers already do—is to read, as much as you can, and in a variety of genres.  It will make you a better writer.

What do you do for fun?

I line dance.  I started about six of seven years ago, and have a whole group of friends who I dance with.  We do events, both locally and traveling to other cities.   We’ve even done a couple of line dance cruises.  It’s great fun.


Saturday, September 27, 2014

Marilee's Giveaway

Weeks ago, I promised I’d do a giveaway in September. Yikes, September is almost gone! Time for Marilee to get with the program. I’ll be giving away signed copies of my books (your choice) to three winners. Two people will receive $10 iTunes gift cards.

There are three ways to enter. 1. Like my Facebook author page, 2. Follow my blog, Book Blather, or subscribe to my newsletter,

You say you’ve already done one of the above? No worries. Your name will be put into the drawing.

Good luck!                               


Monday, September 22, 2014

Eve Gaddy's Music to Write By

Native Texan, Eve Gaddy is the best-selling author of more than seventeen novels. Her books have sold over a million copies worldwide and won numerous awards. Eve’s writing career began when she was in search of the perfect job and a friend challenged her to write a novel. Naturally, she thought of romance because that is one of her favorite things to read. Once she began, she never looked back and has been writing ever since. Eve says she enjoys cooking except when she is in the throes of creating, and has been known to tell her husband that is what peanut butter and jelly was created for.

Would you like to win a copy of Eve’s new book Cry Love? Or Sing Me Back Home? You can be a winner. All you have to do is leave a comment and your name will be entered in the drawing. Come on, you can do it!

Welcome to Book Blather, Eve.

For many writers music is an integral part of their process. Just as everyone has their own method of writing, everyone has their own way of incorporating music into their process. Some writers listen to music while they write, either a playlist they've made for the book, classical music, or as Roz Denny Fox once told me, "I have to listen to kickin' country music. My husband made a classical playlist for me one time and I fell asleep." On the other hand, my editor, Pat Van Wie, is another who listens to music while she writes. She listens to only classical piano music, with no words, preferably Chopin. Our musical tastes are as unique as our writing.
Each writer's process is different, so it's no surprise each writer has a different way of using music to aid in his or her writing. I can't listen to music while I write. It's far too distracting. I can't even listen to instrumental because I'll hum the tune. But I listen to music, and my playlists, at all other times. In the car, when I clean (Stop laughing. I wash out my coffeepot. That counts, doesn't it?), when I shower, before I sit down to write. And listening while driving seems to help when I'm stuck.
I make a playlist for every book. When I first started writing I would only have one or two songs I played for the book, but then I discovered playlists! Much better. You can get awfully sick of a song you play 10,000 times. For me the playlist has to develop. I may start out with one song that's key, and as I write, others are added and become more important.

Cry Love, is a book unlike anything I've ever written. While it is a romance, it's also a love story. There are subtle differences. Love stories don't always end happily. Just read the first scene of Cry Love and you'll see what I'm talking about. So, yes, there's tragedy in Cry Love but there is also triumph. And a love that won't die.

When I first heard the song Cry Love by John Hiatt, I knew it would be important in writing this book. I wasn't sure how, but I knew it would be. For one thing, it's a beautiful song. Then it dawned on me that Cry Love was the perfect title for this book. Haunting, beautiful, evocative, different.
My playlist for Cry Love includes songs about forbidden love, hopeless love, songs about mad, passionate, and dangerous love. One song, Andy Brown's Ashes, I've yet to fully understand but it's so beautiful I added it to the list. The Vivaldi Guitar Concerto by Los Romeros, was added just because I love it. Another song that really spoke to me was Jessica Andrews' Helplessly, Hopelessly, Recklessly. Musical genres include Rock and Roll, Pop, Country, and Classical songs. Not every musical genre is represented in the Cry Love playlist. However, I cover a lot of genres in my playlists for upcoming books. I like variety. What can I say, I have eclectic tastes.
I post a song of the day on my Facebook and Twitter pages. Coming up will be songs from my next new book, Sing Me Back Home, the first novella in the Montana Born Homecoming series from Tule Publishing. Find the song of the day at and
Here is my playlist for Cry Love, with links:

Cry Love John Hiatt

Ashes  Andy Brown
Helplessly, Hopelessly, Recklessly Jessica Andrews
Wrong to Love You  Chris Isaak
Forbidden Love Jim Verraros
Lips of An Angel Hinder
The Right Kind of Wrong LeAnn Rimes
Standing on the Edge of Goodbye John Berry
We Can Be Together Jefferson Airplane
Dangerously In Love Beyoncé
Wicked Game Chris Isaak
Midnight Confessions The Grass Roots
Endless Love Lionel Richie & Diana Ross
Concerto in B Minor for 4 Guitars & Cello RV 580 (L'estro armonico No. 10): I. Allegro Los Romeros Vivaldi: Guitar Concertos