Meggan Connors Talks Music And Inspiration

HighlandDeception

Today, I’m sharing my blog space with one of my favorite people and authors, Meggan Connors.

HighlandDeceptionI’m a huge fan of all her books (The Marker, The Mackay Brothers, and Jessie’s War) but she really outdid herself with her latest book – Highland Deception. A definite five star read. Don’t miss. Seriously. Just don’t.

Okay, enough from me, time for Meggan to share her view on music and inspiration. By the way, I totally get what she’s saying about the whole quiet think.

Right, right, shutting up now!!

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Some authors require absolute silence when they write.

Not me.

My day job is very noisy. With a chatty husband, two kids, two dogs (one a floppy puppy and the other a German Shepherd) and a talkative cat, my house is very noisy. In general, I am not a quiet person.

So silence, for me, is…disconcerting.

When I first started writing, I needed something to drown out the extra sounds in the house. I turned to music, and now I can’t write without it. I even tried to the other day, just to see if I could. The husband and kids were out of the house, and the silence actually made me uncomfortable. So I turned the radio on and the words started flowing.

Every manuscript I write has a different soundtrack. For my first book, The Marker, my debut novel, I listened to Carolina Liar and the Dixie Chicks. It took me nearly half the novel to actually assign certain artists to it, but once I did, I finally felt like I had a clear direction for my story. Had to go back and rewrite some of those first chapters, but since I’m a pantser, I probably would have had to do that, anyway.

Jessie’s War, my western steampunk, had a song assigned before I even started, which was good for the story. I listened to that song over and over again. In the car. In the house. On my commute, and in my office. I finished that manuscript in what is, for me, record time: twelve weeks.

But I realized that maybe I needed to switch it up when, three weeks into my manuscript, my son started singing the song in the middle of the supermarket, from start to finish, loudly and off key. For those of you who might be interested, the song was This is Why We Fight by The Decemberists. If you don’t know it, it’s a great song, though not necessarily something a four year old would generally belt out.

And for my latest, Highland Deception, I started out listening to the sound track from The Last of the Mohicans, but ended up listening to Christina Perry’s Arms and Phillip Phillips’ Home in order to finish.

And now, my muse is obsessed—and I mean obsessed—with Barry Manilow. Again. Yes, sadly, it’s not the first time.

Barry Manilow has been on continuous replay now for months—only in my head, though. I keep trying to convince myself that I won’t stoop to buying Barry Manilow’s Greatest Hits—after all, Barry Manilow brings back memories of sitting in the back of my mom’s Renault LeCar, listening to John Denver, Neil Diamond, and Barry. And trying really hard not to throw up, because, as I recall, I was carsick more often than not.

It’s not my intention to write about the late 70s, early 80s. Yet, the other day, I caught myself singing Sweet Caroline and Mandy in my car. And then I wrote a scene where, in my head, Barry Manilow is playing in the background.

I guess there’s no stopping the muse when she decides she’s going to do something. So I guess I’ll have to bow to my muse’s rather persistent requests and start listening to “the right kind” of music again.

I guess I’ll have to listen to some Barry.

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Meggan Connors’ latest novel, Highland Deception, came out in March of 2014. She loves to hear from readers, and you can find follow her on her website (www.megganconnors.com), Facebook (www.facebook.com/pages/Meggan-Connors/120715354695518) Twitter (@MegganConnors).  Where you’ll get to hear about her latest camping trip, books she’s reading, musical musings, and her small obsession with cute shoes she can’t wear (because they’re cute, you know?).

Highland Deception is available through Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Highland-Deception-Meggan-Connors-ebook/dp/B00J3D2JS6/

Blurb:

When Kenneth Mackay, long-banished rogue and thief, returns to the Mackay holding at the request of his brother, he has no idea what he might find. He certainly doesn’t expect to be confronted with his twin’s imminent death, or with the plan his brother has concocted.

Ten years before, Malcolm made a tragic mistake, and, to preserve the family name—and his own skin—he allowed Kenneth to take the fall. Now that he is dying without an heir, Malcolm plans to atone for his mistake: by giving Kenneth his life back. All Kenneth has to do is assume his brother’s identity. But complicating matters is the unexpected return of Lady Isobel Mackay, the daughter of an English marquess… and the wife Malcolm didn’t want.

Isobel barely knows the husband who abandoned her even before their marriage, and she’d long since given up on having a real marriage with him. Yet when she returns to the Mackay holding far earlier than expected, she finds her husband a changed man. Despite the hurt between them, Isobel’s heart responds to this man who cares for his entire clan as if they were family. Who, for the first time since their marriage, cares for her as if she is, too.

Falling in love with her husband had never been part of Isobel’s plan. But when their future is suddenly in peril, Isobel must find a way to save him—from himself and from the deception threatening to tear them apart.

If you got questions for Meggan, please fire away. 

Are Authors Allowed to Have Opinions?

Lollipops

Once upon a time, in the dark days before the Internet, writers used to be inaccessible Titans of Storytelling. There was a mystique, a veil of awe, that separated the reader from their beloved authors. Many times, a faceless (unless there was an author photo) God who churned out books we love and who solely existed to bring us readers joy.

An intrepid fan could contact a writer via their publishers, snail mail or by attending a convention, book signing or other public appearance. Even then, the hallowed author of your favorite books/series/universe was somewhat of a celebrity, often rendering Roosteryou speechless. After all, chances were good that you’d approach the table, state your name so they could personalize your book, then you’d mumble something lame like – “I really love your books”, then move on**.

** quick aside – as a writer, we don’t think that’s lame at all. We appreciate knowing that readers enjoy our books.

Rarely did a reader learn or probably even try to discover the author’s political, religious or any beliefs at all. Nor as a reader, did we necessarily care – we just wanted them behind a keyboard churning out another book.

Ahh, how times have changed. Right?

Today, with multiple forms of social media, your friendly neighborhood author is just a mouse click away. The veil of mystique is shattered which begs the question – should author’s have opinions? How much is too much sharing?

Heck, do we even use our own names?

No doubt about it, there’s a fine line here between being yourself as a person and being a persona as a writer.

Some writers love to let it all hang out and are very vocal in their beliefs (example – Orson Scott Card). His very vocal views on homosexuality led to a firestorm that in all likelihood alienated fans. I know it made me think twice about him.

Other’s let the world know just enough about them to be enjoyable but don’t cross the TMI line (example – Kristan Higgins). Since Kristan and I are in the CTRWA together, I can attest that, yes, she is that down to earth, enjoys her man candy and loves her family. An ordinary person and a generous author with both her time and advice.

Does this mean writer’s shouldn’t have opinions? Are we not allowed to air our beliefs? Well, of course we’re allowed to have opinions and, hey, it’s a free country, right?

But again, it’s a fine line when it comes to what you say in public. So before you rant on Facebook or engage in a heated twitter battle, know the potential repercussions.

I like to apply the old adage – think before you speak (or type). And do unto others is also sound advice.Lollipops

Put yourself on the other side of the fence – think of yourself as a reader too. Ask yourself:

  • Does learning that your favorite author has a total opposite view than you change how you see them?
  • Would you stop buying their books if they expressed/ranted about XYZ?
  • Do you really want to know XXX level of detail?

For me personally, as a writer, I’d rather walk on the positive side and keep my personal views to myself, especially in the political arena. During the last election, I un-friended people on Facebook (fellow writers) because of too much political ranting.

And when I apply the reader test to myself, I find I’d rather hear about when the next book is coming out and what my favorite author has planned next. It’s not that I don’t think writers should have opinions, but I’d rather save it for face to face conversations or private correspondence.

I say –  be polite, accessible but leave a little of that old mystique.  Let the reader enjoy your books without too much information ruining their good time.

What do you think? Do you like to let it all hang out? Have you ever faced repercussions? Or have you found a happy medium?

Kickstarter and Michael J. Sullivan #Riryia

I am so excited to have Michael J. Sullivan as my guest at the 7 Scribes today. I was lucky enough to meet Michael and his wife as ConnectiCon a few weeks back. He was very generous with his time and it was educational for me. Michael actually self-published five out of six Riryia books before signing a deal with Orbit.

Riyria

Since the convention, I have read the first book  – The Crown Conspiracy (LOVED it) and am now reading book two – Avempartha. Seriously, if you love fantasy or fun adventure stories, check this series out.

Click here for the complete blog post.

In other news, I am still cranking through Mystic Hero and Lachlan’s Curse. Progress was slowed by laziness during my vacation. I barely did any writing. But, on the flip side, I spent time with the boys and we had FUN!

Right now Mystic Hero is in the lead for word count. Sometime in the next week or so, I think I’ll be going full time with one novel until it’s done! Go Devlin!

Yes, I do have the cutest cat on the planet.
Yes, I do have the cutest cat on the planet.

ConnectiCon 2013 Rocked!!

(I’m cheating today. This is the same post over at the 7 Scribes. It’s going to be a scorching 99 here today. Stay cool IMG_3152everyone!)

Welcome to another Friday! Casey here.

I’m happy to report that I crossed an item off my bucket list. It all started with a Kindle Daily Deal and a book called Theft of Swords by Michael J. Sullivan. Every day, since I purchased a Kindle Fire, I check Amazon’s Kindle Daily Deals (very much like a junkie looking for a fix).

This particular day, Theft of Swords was the fantasy offering. I downloaded a sample, was hooked by the first page and immediately purchased it. And, because I happened to be in Goodreads that day, I sent a friend request to the author.

Long story short, in addition to accepting my request the author sent me a note and we started a conversation that ended with him agreeing to be my guest, here at the Scribes, on August 9th (Yay!). While researching his various social media sites, it turned out

Michael J Sullivan
Michael J Sullivan

he’d been invited to ConnectiCon as a literary guest, along with Brandon Sanderson.

Now, my hubby and I have discussed going to this convention for as many years as it’s been going on. Each year, it has gotten progressively bigger and more exciting. When Michael suggested we meet up at the conference, I was happy to accept.

I’ve been to the Connecticut Convention Center before for other events, but none of them come close to the size and scale of ConnectiCon. There was so

much to do: panels, Q&A sessions, book signings, gaming, vendors, and parties. So much that we barely scratched the surface. Check here for more information.

The best parts for me aside from meeting Michael and his wife, were the costumes (more on those in a

Tony Stark sighting!
Tony Stark sighting!

moment) and encountering artist Dan Dos Santos. His artwork has graced the covers of Patricia Brigg’s Mercy Thomas books and Diana Rowland’s white trash zombie series (among many others). Super nice man and very gracious. While we were chatting, Brandon Sanderson came up to the table (squee!).

Now, those costumes – fabulous, fantastic, well-made, top-notch. What more can I say? The variety was mind-boggling. And for the amount of people attending, everyone was polite and relaxed.IMG_3138

Overall, it was a great experience for me. Hubby was a bit overwhelmed by the sheer geekiness but there were plenty of comic book and movie characters. On the drive home, he was speculating what kind of costume he could make for next year.

So, if you live in the New England area (and even if you don’t) and if you love comics, anime, role-playing, manga, gaming, etc. don’t miss a chance to attend this con!

What Cons have you attended? What are your favorites? And if you haven’t ever attended one, would you consider it?

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Write with Feeling!

Today, I ponder the difference between good writing and talented writing. Plus my thoughts on what happens when an author loses their joy – Once More, with Feeling by Casey Wyatt. Stop by the 7 Scribes and share your views!!

And just a reminder – MYSTIC STORM is coming next week!

Rejections and a Cover Reveal

Rejection. We’ve all been there. But how you deal with it is important – Wallowing and Other Coping Mechanisms. I’d love to hear your take on the subject.

And I’ve received the second round of edits for Mystic Storm. Like the cover?? Another fabulous design by Rae Monet.

Lessons Learned from Chef Robert Irvine

Happy Friday everyone. I’ve been watching Food Network lately and today I impart wisdom I’ve learned from Robert Irvine –Writer Impossible. Thank you Chef Robert!!

And check out hubby. Mystic Ink at Mystic Pizza!

Put On Your Red Shoes with Rebecca Rose!

Today at the Scribes, my guest is contemporary romance author Rebecca Rose – A Rose By Any Other Name . . . Our Guest, Rebecca Rose.

And check out her killer red shoes. Yes, she can actually walk in these and not break anything!!

Blazing a Trail by Frankie Roberston

I have a wonderful guest over at the 7 Scribes today. Frankie Roberston is discussing her new book – Blazing a Trail by Frankie Roberston. If you want to learn more about self-publishing or if you are weighing the pros/cons, then you’ll want to check out what Frankie has to say.

Have a great weekend!