Writer Wednesday – Meet Barbara Donlon Bradley

HiddenDesireWelcome back to Writer Wednesday. Today I’m interviewing Barbara Donlon Bradley, a writer of science fiction romance. This is a genre that I’ve just started reading. Take it away Barbara!

What draws you to the genre science fiction romance?

It seems to be the way my brain works. I’ve always written SF or fantasy stories. When I was young I created my own super hero to fit in with Batman and a character to fit into the Star Trek world. When I play the ‘what if’ game most authors play there is always some sort of SF in it. What if my hero is an alien trying to fit into our timeline? What if my heroine is an astrophysicist and gets thrown back in time? I can’t help it.

What can you tell readers who may be intimidated by all that science?

My opinion is the science shouldn’t overpower any book. As a  writer I try to put in just enough to make their story believable but not  all the details that could bog down the story. People read to bond with our characters. To be swept away for a few hours – depending on how fast you read – not to be beaten over the head by scientific details.

How do you keep track of information about your world/universe?

I have a spread sheet that has details for each book, most of my character details that I don’t use regularly goes in that spread sheet too. I also have outlines of each of my books, something my publishers asks for and I find a good thing to keep on hand.

You’ve had a long career in publishing. Which of your books would you recommend readers turn to and why?

Wow, I guess it depends on what you like to read. My first book is a time travel, my second is an historical. If you like humorous stories I recommend my collection of short stories through Melange/Satin Romances. The rest of my books have been SF/Futuristics, which have been getting hotter and hotter. The series I’m working on right now, the Vespian Way,  are real scorchers.

I write light hearted stories. Humor is weaved through out my books and all of them are very plot driven. I like fast paced books and seem to write them naturally.

Blurb for Hidden Desire:

Heather wants to fight beside her people, not watch from a safe distance. So when her brother comes up with a way to disguise her she jumps at the chance. Now she can try out for an elite team to help defeat Reasta, who has a stronghold on their planet. No one knows who she is, including her mate, who has also been disguised. They must find each other, qualify for the team and help rescue the elders without being found out.

Buy Links:

Buy Directly from Publisher: http://www.phaze.com/author.php?author=21

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B0072OTZJE

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/Barbara-donlon-bradley

ARe: http://www.allromanceebooks.com/storeSearch.html?searchBy=author&qString=Barbara+Donlon+Bradley

Kobo: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/Search?Query=Barbara%20Donlon%20Bradley

Shelfari: http://www.shelfari.com/search/books?Keywords=barbara%20donlon%20bradley

More about Barbara:BarbsBest

Writing for Barbara Donlon Bradley started innocently enough, like most she kept diaries, journals, and wrote an occasional letter but she also had a vivid imagination and wrote scenes and short stories adding characters to her favorite shows and comic books. As time went on she found the passion for writing to be a strong drive for her. Humor is also very strong in her life. No matter how hard she tries to write something deep and dark, it will never happen. That humor bleeds into her writing. Since she can’t beat it she has learned to use it to her advantage. Now she lives in Tidewater Virginia with two cats, one mother in law – who just turned 88, her husband and son.

You can find Barbara here: 

Website: http://www.barbaradonlonbradley.com/

Blog: http://barbaradonlonbradley.blogspot.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Barbara-Donlon-Bradley/118673448173249

Twitter: https://twitter.com/barbbradley

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/barbaradbradley/

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/user/show/7773192-barbara-bradley


Writer Wednesday – Meet Author Julie Young

This week on Writer Wednesday, I’m stepping away from romantic suspense to feature Julie Young, writer of the young adult novel Fifteen Minutes of Fame. Take it away Julie.

FMOFame           It was the story that rocked the music world. After five years, four Grammy Award-winning albums, numerous Number One singles and outselling every other act in the music industry, entertainment icon MonAmi was a walking case of burnout. When her plans for rest and relaxation were derailed on the final night of what was supposed to be her Farewell Tour, the enigmatic singer took matters into her own hands running away from her career, her manager and the mysterious identity that made her into a superstar.
            Now a rocker gone rogue, MonAmi returns to her hometown of Kentwood, Indiana where as 15-year-old Megan Taylor she was plucked from obscurity and molded into rock and roll royalty with a new name, a lucrative recording contract and a carefully crafted Hannah Montana-like image. However, what started as a teenage dream, quickly turned into a living nightmare as her label gradually controlled every aspect of her life telling the singer: what songs to write, what to wear, when to tour and who to date. “The Suits” know that MonAmi has a short shelf life as a music sensation and they are determined to get everything out of her before her fifteen minutes of fame are over.
          Fifteen Minutes of Fame is a  fictional memoir told by MonAmi/Megan that offers fans (and readers) the behind the scenes reality about manufactured fame and all the trappings that come with it. Geared for YA fans of Meg Cabot, Robin Benway, Rachel Chon and Jen Calonita, Fifteen Minutes of Fame chronicles MonAmi’s discovery, her rise as a rock idol, the pressure to perform, her failed romance with drummer Denim Rhodes, the well-publicized disappearance and the events that forced her out of hiding and caused her to make peace with her alter ego once and for all.
      No matter where I go in the world, I am always asked about what happened. I can be doing the most mundane thing like eating dinner or visiting a museum and someone will approach, tell me how much they like my work, but invariably-the conversation works its way around to the Incident for which I am best known. Never mind that it has been over a decade since it happened, everyone is still fascinated by the saga as if there is some part of the story I didn’t divulge; that I still have something to hide.
     I get it. I really do, but it’s how they ask that throws me. Something happens to people when they come face-to-face with a celebrity and I don’t know if it’s nerves or if they just say the first goofy thing that comes to mind, but people sure know how to put their foot in their mouths sometimes. Thank goodness I have a thick skin because in this business, you have to take the adoration with the scorn. Anyone who can’t really isn’t cut out for the gig, you know?
      “Were you just freakin’ nuts back then, or what?” a cab driver asked when he realized who he had in his back seat. Of course, he didn’t really say freakin’ and it did not prevent him from asking me for an autograph for his three kids in the next breath.
       I scrawled my name on the back of a business card from a local veterinarian’s office and handed it to him over the back seat. It’s always the same. In London, the locals are unfailingly polite when they query. They pepper their sentences with a lot of “rah-thers” while the Chinese resort to crude sign language when they try to make contact. I can’t speak Mandarin of course but it doesn’t matter. I am all too aware of what an index finger moving in circles near the temple means. It’s a gesture that requires no translator.
     Americans however, are the only ones who add the salty expletive. You know which one I’m talking about. The one that’s not freakin’.
     Sure I was a little crazy at the time. Who wouldn’t have been? I lived a double life that was hardly the best of both worlds however; my story is far from unique. I don’t know the statistics on the subject, but the list of rock stars that cracked under the pressure could read like a Who’s Who list of the industry if it were actually compiled. If I had the inside track on which performers would adjust well to the madness and which are train wrecks waiting to happen, I would go find another singer somewhere and become her manager.
     It’s not as though I planned to run. It was a spur of the moment decision that will haunt me for the rest of my life. I won’t be a bit surprised if it’s etched on my grave after I’m dead. Over the years fingers were pointed and blame was cast on my parents for being greedy and opportunistic, my manger, for pushing me and even my record label for child exploitation. Stories were written and books were published, some written by people who knew enough details to manipulate the facts and others by people who didn’t know me from Adam. It seemed that everyone was willing to sell his or her own spin on the tale that rocked the music world no matter how inaccurate.
     After years of trying to ignore it, I decided that the time had come to tell everyone the truth, to lift the veil and let everyone see what really happened. My career is not without its controversies, but I survived in a world where some fall by the wayside and others think they are one hit song away from a comeback. For better or for worse, this is my story: the behind the scenes reality about manufactured fame and all of the trappings that come with it from the girl who sold her soul to rock and roll.
What others are saying: 
“This is a fun and quick read. I highly recommend it!” – Sherri Emmons
“Love the way this author writes. She tells a tale that won’t let you put this book down.”- Sandra Denton.
“When a young library regular said she loved Meg Cabot’s Princess Diaries, I picked them up. I was charmed! I felt the same way about FIFTEEN MINUTES OF FAME by Julie Young. ” P. Powis
“Young had me sucked in the moment I began reading.” -Elizabeth (Amazon Review)
In the interest of disclosure, I asked Julie what age the book targets, and this was her response:
The book is from…I would say, junior high on up, but as a parent myself, I didn’t want to write a lot of graphic scenes and did not feel that they were necessary to get the story across. There is occasional language, which makes sense considering the Rock and roll world we are dealing with, but I tried use it sparingly (I feel it packs a bigger punch that way.) There are few bedroom scenes because the story really  focuses on her journey on the rock and roll roller coaster rather than a romance…however it is in there. Anyone who has handled Twilight can easily handle my book…a dear friend of mine who happens to be a Catholic Sister read the book, loved it and didn’t have an ounce of problem with any of the content.
There you go… Sounds like a winner to me. If you want to rush out and buy this one, you can find it here:

Fifteen Minutes of Fame – Kindle

(It’s also available as a download in the Kindle Unlimited and Kindle Prime program)

Fifteen Minutes of Fame – Amazon Paperback

Fifteen Minutes of Fame – Barnes & Noble Paperback

About the Author:
Julie_Julie Young is an award-winning writer from the Indianapolis area whose work has been featured in a number of local, regional and national publications including: The Indianapolis Star, The Indianapolis Monthly, The Indianapolis Business Journal, Michiana House & Home, IN Michiana, South Bend Tribune, ADVANCE for Nurses Magazine, Catholic Teacher Magazine, National Catholic Reporter, Evansville Living, and INTents Magazine. As a former writer with the Associated Press, her work has been seen globally including the online juggernaut CNN.com.
She is also the multi-award nominated author of six local history titles. Her first book, A Belief in Providence: a Life of Saint Theodora Guerin was a finalist in the Best Books in Indy awards as well as a nominee for Foreword’s Book of the Year award. She followed that up with Images of America: Historic Irvington, Eastside Indianapolis: A Brief History, A Brief History of Shelby County, CYO in Indianapolis and Central Indiana, Famous Faces of WTTV-4. She has completed two books for the Idiot’s Guide Series including Catholicism (January 2015) and ASMR (coming May 2015) In addition, she has written the manuscript for the Indiana Historical Society’s Youth Biography series entitled From Local to Legendary: a Life of Michael Jackson.She has earned a reputation as a guest speaker and a mentor at schools throughout the state and has appeared on the Oprah Winfrey Show. She lives in New Palestine with her family and plays in a rock and roll band. For more information about Young, please visit www.julieyoungfreelance.com or e-mail Julie@JulieYoungfreelance.com
Social Media: 
Official Fifteen Minutes of Fame Tour Diary (Written by MonAmi)https://fifteenminutesmonami.wordpress.com

Writer Wednesday – Meet Ray Anselmo, Author of The Slave Auction

The Slave Auction

I haven’t been sharing many books lately on the blog. I’ve been busy, and many of the books that I’ve read recently have been just okay, and I haven’t felt like talking about them.

I discovered The Slave Auction on one of my Facebook groups. I had never heard of Ray Anselmo before, but I gave his book a chance. In fact, I enjoyed it enough to take the time to track down the author on his blog and beg to host him here.

If you haven’t bought a book for Christmas break yet, rush out and get this one. Get ready to step into the post apocalyptic future, where the land that was California is now the feudal state of Scotia. There is no electricity, and manual labor is in high demand. The strong conquer the weak and force them to become slave labor. Everything has changed, but human nature remains the same in many ways.


First, the Blurb:

Sixty years after the Final War smashed the countries of the world, the remnants of humanity are still working to rebuild civilization. In Scotia village, deep in the forests of what was once northwestern California, that’s taken the form of a return to feudalism, with the warrior descendants of pre-War survivalists forming the nobility. Below them are their tenant farmers, a few independent priests and artisans … and at the bottom of the pyramid, the slaves.

Eliza Cronin is the young head of the most powerful noble house in Scotia, with all the duties that accompany such a station. And as she’s yet to find a suitable consort, one who will treat her as an equal, she’s largely doing it alone. So she goes to the local slave sale, seeking someone who can help her manage her myriad responsibilities. But she quickly finds that Aaron, the slave she purchases, is more than she expected. Physically weak but with a strong mind, Aaron is soon turning her life upside down, and causing her to discover things about herself she never would have guessed, both good and bad.

Nor is all her stress coming from inside her house. There’s also a masked rapist targeting Scotia’s noblewomen (who may have picked Eliza’s cousin as his next victim). A fellow noble, her good friend and closest advisor, is nearing death. On top of that, there are whispers of a conspiracy against not only her, but the entire village. In the midst of all this, plans will have to be formulated, serious choices need to be made, lives will be at stake. And it seems only a lowly slave has what she needs to navigate the crises ahead … and maybe even find love …

A world torn by war. A noblewoman seeking help in a climate of fear. A hero in an unlikely disguise. And a romance for the ages. The Slave Auction is all that and more. Prepare for the future.


After I tracked Ray down, and he graciously agreed to visit my blog, I peppered him with questions.


This book seems to defy genre and predictability. What gave you the idea to write this book?

The initial idea was just a mental picture – a tall, austere redhead (think Julia Roberts or Keira Knightley) walking through a medieval marketplace in period dress. Other ideas sort of accrued to it, like layers on a pearl, and soon I found myself starting to write it because I couldn’t not write it. Eliza and Aaron, the protagonists, were coming to life, and I couldn’t stand in their way.


On your website, you indicate that the book took ten years to write. Was this a continuous ten years? Did it go through many iterations? Or were there long periods when you put it aside to work on something else?

When I finished the original draft in 2004, it was partly out of frustration with my job prospects – I was getting jerked around by temp agencies, bouncing from one clerical job to the next, and was looking for another field to pursue. I kept trying to find “normal” work, but every so often I’d come back to it, tinker with it a little, submit a portion to a publisher only for nothing to happen.

My friend, the novelist Geralyn Beauchamp (aka Kit Morgan) gave me a lot of good advice over the years on how to develop the characters and show their emotional growth. And when I got tired of getting deafening silence from publishers, Geri was the one who urged me to self-publish and showed me how. This year, after publishing a couple of small short-fiction collections as e-books – kind of testing the waters – I gave The Slave Auction one last polishing and sent it on out there. So it’s been quite a journey.


Tell us who you think would like your book.

I have an almost visceral reaction to the “muscular boy meets flighty girl, girl swoons” stories that are kind of the stereotype of romance novels – “bodice-rippers,” my grandmother used to call them. I can’t imagine Eliza Cronin swooning unless she’s been severely injured – she’s strong and tough and trained as a warrior, and she doesn’t let anyone push her around. Nor is Aaron the usual bulging-pecs leading man – he’s fairly humble, a gentleman, someone who gets by on brain power rather than muscle. So I think The Slave Auction would have an appeal for people who want something more than just the usual romantic story, who want more depth or a different twist on the concept.

I tend to write “clean,” so I also think The Slave Auction would be a good read for young-adult readers who are fans of post-apocalyptic books like The Hunger Games and The Mount. And science-fiction fans who appreciate a good love story and good characters would enjoy it as well, I believe.


Given genre conventions, how do you feel about classifying this book as a romance?

I don’t mind. As one of my heroes, Bill Veeck, put it, I have “the literary digestion of a garbage disposal unit,” so I pull from a lot of genres and styles when I write. I probably write more that could be classified as science fiction than anything else, but romance would be a close second, and a lot of my writing – including The Slave Auction – has elements of both. If you’re going to put a label on it, “romance” is a perfectly good one to use.


Are you planning additional stories in this futuristic society showcased in The Slave Auction?

Absolutely – The Slave Auction is book 1 of a saga that I’ve already planned out as at least six books, plus some shorter pieces. The first of the short works, “The View from the Cliff,” will be included in a short-story collection I’m releasing on January 19 entitled Adventures in Time and Place. It will give some background on Aaron and where he came from, and show how the leadership in Scotia is changing in their relations to the people in the surrounding area. If all works out, I hope to have a new Scotia novel out in 2015, and every year through 2019.

Also, I’ve written a novella, The Glory of a King, that takes place in the same universe as The Slave Auction – it’s available now through Amazon. I may do a couple of similar stories in the future, tales from elsewhere in the world Scotia is part of, though none are specifically planned.


So you can get a feel for Ray’s writing style, here is a short excerpt of the book. You can also download a sample from Amazon.

Tricia McCarron’s words bubbled through Eliza’s mind like a sulfur spring for the rest of the day. She found herself unable to concentrate at dinner, and kept dwelling on it as she dressed for bed.

When the right fellow comes along … She kept thinking she should be annoyed at yappy Tricia for bringing the subject up, but figured there was no point in that. The tenant’s wife meant well, just as so many other people meant well when they nudged her on the subject of marriage. Or, worse yet, started suggesting that they knew just the man for her, he’s really a prize, a good, strong fella and wouldja like to meet him sometime? They wanted her to be happy, and who could get angry with someone for that?

Eliza sat on the edge of her bed in her cotton pajamas and rubbed her temples. She certainly didn’t have anything against marriage, or any desire for spinsterhood – quite the opposite. And there was the succession issue to think of as well. As head of the house of Cronin, her firstborn would be the logical heir, complete with all the attendant privileges and responsibilities. No marriage meant no heir, which would eventually mean problems for the house. She wasn’t getting any younger, either – she would turn thirty in a few months, rather old for a woman to still be unattached in these times. If she was to produce an heir, time was beginning to run low.

But necessity alone was not going to drive her to the altar. And frankly, she really hadn’t met anyone she wanted to spend the rest of her life around, let alone allow access to her womb. Most of the noblemen in Scotia, at least those who were close to her own age, were too stuck on themselves or too willing to kowtow to her or (Franklin Duritz came to mind, and she made a face) both. When it came to eligible men in the village, the cupboard appeared to be bare.

Frankly, the best of the lot seemed to be Franklin’s brothers Jefferson and Hamilton. But as far as she could tell, Jeff’s devotion was to his father and his father’s house, to the exclusion of all else. He not only hadn’t expressed any interest in Eliza, he hadn’t expressed any interest in marrying anybody, as far as she knew. And Ham? Ham was good-looking and strong, but he was also so timid that Eliza was always afraid of overwhelming him whenever they interacted. Plus, with both Jeff and Ham would come the irritation of having Franklin as a brother-in-law …

She shook her head forcefully. No, that would definitely not do. She knew her father had held a very high opinion of Franklin, though she had no clue why. Thankfully, Robert Cronin had felt strongly about letting his children pick their own mates – probably reflecting his own experience, she mused – so he hadn’t tried to force her into a relationship, with Franklin or anyone else. But leaving her to her own devices, wise though it most likely was, had done nothing to fix her husbandless state.

As she rolled her eyes in exasperation, a children’s song her mother used to sing to her came to mind. Someday my prince will come “Yes, of course he will,” she muttered to herself sarcastically as she sat down on her bed. “And if he doesn’t come soon, he’ll find me a mildewed old husk.” She was about to take that cheery thought and cuddle up under the covers with it when she heard the knock on the door.

Aaron, of course, showed no sign of similar emotional burdens, instead being eager as ever to report on the day’s events and then move on to reading. As spring went on and daytime had begun to lengthen, “an hour after sunset” was moving inexorably later. In consequence Aaron was reading a little less each night before Eliza nodded off. The protagonist of the story had changed – from Samuel the noble priest to Saul, a popular warrior but impatient and presumptuous, and then to David, a nobody infantryman who had worked his way up through the ranks and became the chief noble himself after the self-inflicted collapse of Saul’s house.

As Eliza shifted under the covers, she thought to herself how this David could seemingly do no wrong. Why wasn’t there a man like that around for her to meet?

But as Aaron read, she found she was in for a disappointment …


Short Author Bio 

Ray Anselmo lives with his wife, two kids and various neuroses in Stockton, California. The Slave Auction is his first novel, but his fifth e-book – he’s also produced a novella and three small collections of short stories. His first full-sized short-fiction collection, Adventures in Time and Place, releases January 19, and The Irrational War, the second book of the Scotia Saga, is scheduled for later in 2015.


Find Ray and Find his books…

To purchase from Amazon (currently only $4.99 – a steal, I promise): The Slave Auction: Book One of the Scotia Saga

Ray’s Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/Ray-Anselmo/e/B00KI85EDM/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_pop_1

On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ray.anselmo (personal); https://www.facebook.com/Million.Dreams.Press (publishing)

On Twitter: https://twitter.com/rayanselmo



Romance Reader Survey

There are many puzzle pieces to putting together a book, including the genre, the cover, the sex scenes… I thought I would do a quick survey. Please take the time to answer a few questions. Help me get additional people to take the survey by sharing on twitter and facebook using the buttons below.

What type of romances do you like to read? Stand-alone? Connected books

What type of covers catch your eye?

All of these and more are covered in this quick survey. I’d love to hear your opinion, and I will share the results with my fellow writers.


Thank you!  Did something in the survey strike a nerve? Feel free to tell me in the comments below.

(Don’t forget – I’m still waiting to give away a Starbucks gift card. Sign up for my newsletter here)