Hearts Through History Romance Writers

Member Spotlight on Ginny Flores!

Do you write full-time or part-time?

Unfortunately, I have to ‘work’ so I write part-time

 

What’s the hardest part of writing? 

Finding the time to write and not get distracted.

 

What’s your favorite historical movie?

Gone with the Wind and Frida

 

Who’s your favorite historical figure?

Isabella I Queen of Spain

 

If you could meet anyone in history, who would it be?

Queen Isabella

 

If you could time travel, what era would you visit?

The 16th Century

 

What’s the best writing advice you’ve ever received?

It was from Kathryn LeVeque, she told me to write what I want to read.

 

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

As a teenager, life did not allow me to do much writing.

 

Are there specific books or authors who have influenced you as a writer?

Historical romance of course, some of my favorite authors is Lucinda Brant, Suzan Tisdale, Kathryn LeVeque and Tanya Ann Cosby to name a few.

 

Give us a brief rundown of your process. Are you a plotter, a pantser, or somewhere in the middle?

A Pantser, I tried plotting but found I could not get anywhere that way. As a Pantser the words just seem to flow.

 

Can you tell us a bit about your journey to publication? 

I have none, yet.  Am working on my first novel.

 

Tell us about your latest release and what’s coming next for you. 

Am working on my first novel now

 

Please include author website, and a few images (book covers, author photos, etc.), social media links.

None yet!  Hopefully I will have a blog by the end of the summer describing my journey in writing.

Member Spotlight on Tracy Koppel!

Do you write full-time or part-time?

I write part-time.

 What’s the hardest part of writing?

Keeping track of all the things one has to—the plot, the characters, the setting, the pacing, the word choices—so many details!

What’s your favorite historical movie?

I don’t have ranked favorites in any category.  I grew up loving Errol Flynn’s Adventures of Robin Hood and Douglas Fairbank’s Mark of Zorro, Start the Revolution Without Me, the Court Jester.  But there’s so many others I love, too, like Ever After, Braveheart, Amadeus, and The Sound of Music.

Who’s your favorite historical figure?

Right now I’m admiring Shakespeare, Jane Austen, Mary Wollstonecraft, Harriet Tubman and Florence Nightingale, who is so underrated.

If you could meet anyone in history, who would it be?

I don’t want to meet any of them—if I acted like myself, I’d break the social rules they follow.  Besides, I’d be all uptight and wouldn’t know what to say.

If you could time travel, what era would you visit?

I like my modern conveniences and modern medicine, so I don’t actually want to time travel.  If the question is what eras am I interested in?  The answer is too many.  I’m currently polishing a Regency romance, I’m revising an Elizabethan adventure, and I have a few other Regencies that I’ve started, as well as a few Medieval manuscripts I’ve started.

What’s the best writing advice you’ve ever received?

Turn off your internal editor and get something on the page.

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

When I was in middle school and had the opportunity to take a creative writing class.

Are there specific books or authors who have influenced you as a writer?

Shakespeare, Jane Austen, Suzanne Brockmann, Fred Shafer

Give us a brief rundown of your process. Are you a plotter, a pantser, or somewhere in the middle?

I’m a panster.  I’ve tried plotting, I’ve taken classes in plotting, I’ve bought plotting software…I just can’t do it for drafting.  I have used plotting techniques as part of revising a completed manuscript.

After drafting a manuscript, I let it sit and work on other things for months.  Then I go back and revise, working with a critique group or two.  Then I share it with Beta readers.  When it’s as good as I can make it, I send it to a developmental editor.

Can you tell us a bit about your journey to publication?

I wrote my first novel before I took any serious writing classes.  I thought I had something good, but then my mother gave it to a retired editor friend who hated it.  I started taking classes at the Graham School of the University of Chicago.  Those classes got me involved in critique groups where I learned about Off Campus Writers Workshop, the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, and other organizations.  Since then I’ve continued to take classes, attend conferences and workshops.

Over the years, I’ve lost my mother and father, plus both my in-laws.   Also, various circumstances combed so that I ended up home schooling for a few years.  Whenever things became too rough for me to continue working on whichever manuscript I was trying to finish, I’d allow myself to write whatever I wanted to write.  By now, I’ve started more manuscripts than I want to count.

When life settled down, I finished a manuscript and started pitching it to editors and agents.  As I struggled to learn all I needed to know so I could get my manuscript traditionally published, I was reminded that the “gatekeepers” often don’t do a good job of only publishing well-written and well-plotted books, plus the process takes a lot of time and they take a lot of the book’s earnings, so I decided to put my time and energy into learning self-publishing.  I’m currently working with an artist on a cover design, and learning about how to write great back cover copy.

Tell us about your latest release and what’s coming next for you. 

I have a story coming out in an anthology entitled Turning Points, which is due out in September 2021.  I’m also one of the editors of that anthology and part of the committee in charge of promoting it.

My first novel, The Orphan’s Gift, will be coming out soon.  I’d hoped for fall of 2021, but I’m doing so much right now to make Turning Points a success, The Orphan’s Gift might not come out until January 2022.  We’ll see.

Please include author website, and a few images (book covers, author photos, etc.), social media links.

Facebook:  Tracy Forgie Koppel

Twitter:  @lynndarley

Instagram:  tracykoppel

Member Spotlight on Minerva Liggons!

Hello Hearts Through History members, today I’m talking with HTH member Minerva (Michelle Liggons). Could you tell us a little bit about yourself and what you’ve been working on?

 

Do you write full-time or part-time?

I write part-time and work full-time. I write in the evening and on my weekends as often as possible. Even though I work full-time, writing is my other joy and my second profession.
What’s the hardest part of writing? 

I think editing is the hardest. I enjoy crafting my ideas and writing the first drafts, but it can be difficult to make revisions like cutting chapters, dialogue, or characters I enjoy.
What’s your favorite historical movie?

Pride and Prejudice is my favorite. I love the chemistry between Elizabeth and Darcy and the romance between Jane and Bingley.

 

Who’s your favorite historical figure?

It would be interesting to meet Cleopatra and Marie Antoinette. I think they lived fascinating lives and I would love to meet them and interview them.

 

If you could meet anyone in history, who would it be? 

Besides Jane Austen, I like William Shakespeare. I think I would want to meet Jane Austen and William Shakespeare because the created so many fascinating characters.

 

If you could time travel, what era would you visit?

I would probably like to visit Renaissance England.

 

What’s the best writing advice you’ve ever received?

To keep writing: it’s important to write every day, to work on craft, and to be persistent to keep writing after rejection.

 

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

I have always been writing stories since I was a child. I would write stories and poetry for my family.

 

Are there specific books or authors who have influenced you as a writer?

Persuasion by Jane Austen and The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexander Dumas for characters, The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald for the descriptions, and Daphne Du Maurier’s Rebecca for the plot twists and symbolism.

 

Give us a brief rundown of your process. Are you a plotter, a pantser, or somewhere in the middle?

I like to plot out my idea, characters, and outline, then I tend to be a pantser for the first draft or two before careful revisions. I tend to revise a lot after the initial draft.

 

Can you tell us a bit about your journey to publication? 

I am unpublished and my stories, novellas, and novels have been finalists in some contests.

 

Tell us about your latest release and what’s coming next for you. 

I am working on a historical romance set in early 20th century California.

 

Please include author website, and a few images (book covers, author photos, etc.), social media links.

Websitewww.MichelleLiggons.com

Instagram: mliggonsstories

Twitter: @mliggonsstories

Romance Through The Ages Contest-1 week left!

Entry Fee: $20 for HHRW members/$25 for non-members.

Enter by May 31, 2021

Unpublished authors may enter any category.
Published authors may enter any category in which they’re not published, or in which they’ve not been contracted for publication or self-published within the past five years.
Entry: First 15 pages (and optional two-page synopsis)

Top Prize $50 cash for all first place winners. Winners and Finalists will be announced in the RWR.

Historical Works of Erotica and of Novella length will be accepted in all categories.

The categories most in need of entries:
AMR (Ancient/Medieval/Renaissance)
YAH (Young Adult Historical)

FMI, visit 2021 Romance Through The Ages Contest  or contact RTTA Contest Coordinator, Aubrey Wynne rtta@heartsthroughhistory.com

2021 Romance through the Ages Final Judges:

Ancient/Medieval/Renaissance: Violetta Rand, Dragonblade Publishing
Georgian/Regency/Victorian: Erin Molta, Entangled Publishing
Colonial/Western/Civil War: Debby Gilbert, Soulmate Publishing
Post Victorian/World War II: Nancy Schumacher, Melange Books LLC
Modern History: Amy Stapp, Wolfson Literary Agency
Time-Travel/Historical Paranormal: Deb Werkman, Casablanca/Sourcebooks
YA Historical: Laura Rennert, Andrea Brown Literary Agency
Legends Award: Jennie Conway, St. Martin’s Press

Member Spotlight on Sarah McGregor!

Do you write full-time or part-time?

 

I’m Sarah McGregor. I live with my husband of 37 years (!) on a small farm in southeastern Pennsylvania. I’m the mother of two grown daughters and the grammy of an eighteen-month-old. Right before Covid (BC?) I retired from working as a speech/language pathologist and now I guess I could say I write full time, except there’s a limit to how long I can sit in front of a computer so it’s more like half time. I run every other day; my husband and I have run several half marathons in the area, and I’m a lifelong equestrian and keep two horses (and two cats) here on the farm.

 

What’s the hardest part of writing?

 

I have two books out. Indecent Proposal is a contemporary romance (50 Shades of Hay meets Pride and Prejudice) and was published through a Canadian publishing company. He Loves Me Knot is a Regency Time Travel and I published it myself. I am an abysmal marketer and despite taking several classes on the subject, I’m still terrible at it. I have just finished my third run through of a Regency Romance which I plan to self-publish and I’m starting the hunt for an editor. The Duke’s Promise is based on the amazing story of the Duke and Duchess of Wellington only I’ve changed it to have a happy ending.

The hardest part of writing for me is…forming a complete sentence! My verbal speech is littered with “you know what I mean”, “kind of like”, and “one of those things like we saw at that one store when we were on vacation and I couldn’t sleep so I drank too much coffee, and it has purple on it and…” etc. etc. You get the picture.

 

What’s your favorite historical movie?

 

My favorite historical movie is Pride and Prejudice – the one with Colin Firth. I’ll watch the Keira Knightley version in a pinch.

 

Who’s your favorite historical figure?

 

The Duke of Wellington is presently my favorite historical figure and I doubt he will be overthrown any time soon. I stumbled on a book that compared his life with Napoleon’s and I was fascinated. I continued to read about him and then when we got the chance, my husband and I visited Apsley House, the Duke’s townhome in London, Stratfield Saye, his country estate in Reading, and Walmer Castle in Kent which is where he died. If the pandemic ever ends, we plan to go to Portugal where I’ve read, they have a Duke of Wellington tour that visits battlefields and other sites of interest over the course of several days. He would definitely be the person I’d like to meet – and maybe shake some sense into him regarding the way he treated his wife. Hmm. Maybe the duchess would be the better choice. We could create schemes to get him to…mend his ways.

 

If you could time travel, what era would you visit?

 

Of course, if given the choice, I would time travel to the Regency era – see my book He Loves Me Knot, where I did exactly that.

 

What’s the best writing advice you’ve ever received?

 

The best writing advice I ever received came from a beta reader of my gargantuan 330,000-word debut manuscript. She told me, “Too much, of everything.” Fortunately, she was the only beta reader for that version, and it was advice well taken. Had she picked and poked I’m sure I would have been overwhelmed and defeated. That simple, apologetically delivered summation said it all.

 

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

 

I have always enjoyed writing and reading and got a lot of praise and encouragement from teachers along the way. However, my dad once (or twice) informed me that English majors were nothing more than waitresses with a good vocabulary and as a result I never considered it as a serious vocation. I had come up with a few ideas while running or sitting for endless hours on the tractor mower, but I didn’t sit down and write anything until a thirteen-year-old friend of my daughter’s wrote and published a book. Just like that! She didn’t wait for the planets to align or anything! I decided that if she could do it, so could I.

 

Are there specific books or authors who have influenced you as a writer?

 

Every book I read influences me as a writer. If I read a book that I don’t think is particularly well written, it gives me hope that I can do as well. When I read a book that is superbly written, along with marveling over word choice, images portrayed, and the way an author can make me laugh or cry or feel that thudding heart flip like when you start the downward glide on a Ferris wheel, I am often completely demoralized. How could I possibly ever write something like that? As a result, Twilight and 50 Shades of Grey may be the most influential books I’ve read. Yes, I know neither of them are considered to be well-written. But I enjoyed them both. I liked them so much that I watched every one of the terrible movies after I read every one of the books, twice. And I thought, I can do this.

Another author that influenced me is Kresley Cole. I don’t typically read sci-fi/fantasy stuff, but I had a several hour long wait at Temple U’s graduation ceremony so I went down to the campus bookstore and that’s what I found. I loved the book and read as many of her other books as I could find, and I read an interview with her. She said that when she decided to take writing seriously, she made a goal to keep 25 balls in the air at all times. The balls consisted of taking classes, entering contests, sending out query letters, etc. etc. She didn’t do one thing and wait to see how it turned out. She kept trying things in hopes that at least some of them would pan out. I find 25 to be a daunting number, but I can keep at least five balls rolling.

 

Give us a brief rundown of your process. Are you a plotter, a pantser, or somewhere in the middle?

 

I started out as a pantser which (see above) is how I meandered my way into a 330,000-word manuscript. After taking myriad classes (see above again), I have learned to be more organized and rein in my tendency to ramble. I fill out a goal, motivation and conflict chart and sometimes a character interview before I begin something. I also keep a notecard for each chapter – noting the basic scenes included, page numbers and number of pages.

 

Can you tell us a bit about your journey to publication?

 

As per Kresley Cole’s advice (see above yet again), I am constantly entering contests. While I was waiting for the editor to return what was really my first book, I started writing a second and entered it in a contest. Indecent Proposal was my “gee, I think I could do that” reaction to 50 Shades of Grey and I didn’t really have plans for it. It won a contest, and I was told that the editor judge “wanted it”. After a few weeks, I emailed the contest lady to ask her what that meant and sure enough, this company wanted to publish it. They are a lovely company – organized and friendly and helpful. They kept my title, I liked the cover, and was impressed with the editors. Meanwhile, poor He Loves Me Knot, got rave reviews from beta readers, won tons of contests, and was requested by several publishers but… No one judging a contest requested it, and the publishers that wanted it also wanted major aspects changed or omitted. The company that took Indecent Proposal would take it, but I discovered that most of my readers go to Amazon where I get 25 cents for a print book. They (the company) do no marketing other than offering the book on their website. As terrible as I am at marketing, at least when I self-publish, I have control over price, sales, Kindle Unlimited, etc. so I decided to take the plunge and now that’s my focus.

 

https://sarahmcgregorauthor.com/

Member Spotlight on Lavada Martin!

Everyone, welcome Lavada Martin to Hearts Through History. Lea, our intrepid interviewer, asked some questions and Lavada answered!

Do you write full time or part time?

I write as much as my schedule allows. Never enough, but I am improving on being more consistent.

What’s the hardest part of writing?

Hardest part of writing is the balance between showing and telling.

What’s your favorite historical movie?

The Crossing with Jeff Daniels as George Washington.

Who’s your favorite historical figure?

Abraham Lincoln.

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

In my early twenties I became addicted to Harlequins. That’s when the desire to create my own stories began.

Give us a brief rundown of your process. Are you a plotter, pantser or somewhere in the middle?

More plotter than panster. I do detailed character studies and have several plot point ideas before beginning, but once I begin, anything can change.

Can you tell us a little bit about your journey to publication?

A few years ago I published a handful of contemporary short stories. These days I am concentrating on my midwest set historicals with a novella in early 1900’s on sub and a 1889 novel in the works.

Website: lavadamarvin.com

F.B.: www.facebook.com/Lavada-Marvin-371444266929246

Twitter: Lavada Marvin