Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Introducing debut author Jeff Rivera!

I'm happy to have at my blog today author Jeff Rivera. His debut novel, Forever My Lady, was originally self-published, but was recently acquired by Warner/Grand Central Books, and it hits bookstores today!

This seems to be a trend--self-published authors catching the eye of big New York publishing houses. It gives hope to all those writers out there hoping to get their stories into the hands of the masses. Congratulations on taking this next step, Jeff!

Without further ado, let's get to know a little more about Jeff Rivera and his debut novel.

Jeff, what was your inspiration for writing Forever My Lady?

So many things inspired me to write this story. One of the main ones is my little brother, Stephen. I say little brother and he's like 28 years old but he'll always be my little brother. I just wanted to do something that would make him proud of me. I wanted to show the world a look at someone like him who was misunderstood growing up, to show them a character and person and how that pre-judgement affects their outcome.

Where did you grow up? Does Forever My Lady take place there?

I grew up in Hillsboro, Oregon but when I was 17-years-old we moved as a family to Las Vegas. That's also where Forever My Lady takes place. I wanted people to see another side of Las Vegas outside of the glitz and glamour of the Strip. There's so much to that city people don't usually see--there's an underbelly that is just as fascinating as the slot machines and half-naked girls on the the Vegas shows.

(I have to say that on my one trip to Vegas I was pulled in by those slot machines. Half-naked girls...not so much.)

I read that you were raised by a Filipino stepfather, had a Black American mother, two half-Native American grandmothers and Puerto Rican cousins -- how was your writing influenced by being surrounded by such a diverse group of people?

I think it made me more tolerant and accepting of other people's cultures. I became empathetic to immigrants and I grew up loving other people's cultures. I love trying new food, music, all that kind of stuff. So, it's no wonder my first novel would infuse a multi-cultural cast of characters.

Many writers, myself included, work day jobs in addition to writing full-time. What creative challenges did you face in holding down a day job while writing Forever My Lady?

More than anything working at a job I hated gave me the motivation to get the hell out of there! I kept thinking I've got to write this book and let it rescue the hell out of here! Haha! That's what I would advise anyone who's writing a book and wishing they weren't working a day job. Also, quite frankly, now that I'm a full-time author there's a challenge in being disciplined with your time. Having a job forces you to write more in less time, it's a blessing.

And now for the most important question: Where can my readers pick up a copy of Forever My Lady?

Any bookstore (don't forget to support your indie bookstores, too), Amazon.com and my website: www.JeffRivera.com

Jeff, thanks so much for sharing a bit of your story on my blog, and congratulations on your debut. Jeff has generously agreed to give one lucky poster a copy of his debut release, Forever My Lady. I will pick a winner tonight!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

In the company of writers

A few weeks ago, I announced my bold move to a brand new city. One of the first things I did when deciding to move to Austin was to look into their local RWA chapter. If there is one thing I've learned in the six years I've been a member of Romance Writers of America (and believe me, there's been way more than one thing that I've learned), it's that no matter where you are, there is an RWA chapter willing and waiting to welcome you with open arms.

The same holds true for the Austin RWA.

Tonight night I attended my first official meeting as an Austinite, and the sense of camaraderie and understanding one can only get in the company of writers greeted me as soon as I walked through the door.

Fellow writers get it. They understand how it feels when a rejection letter comes in the mail, like the one I received just this week. There is a segment of the Austin chapter's meeting where they break out the "Broken Heart Chest". Members with bad news to report (like my rejection letter), can stick their hands in the chest and come out with a real pick-me-up. Mine was Russell Stover truffles. Not as good as a book contract, but darn close.

I should also point out that you can also report good news during this time, as well. I, of course, had to mention the recent release of my holiday story in The Holiday Inn. (Have you gotten your copy yet? Go on. It's waiting for you in book stores everywhere!)

The speaker for the Austin RWA's October meeting was suspense writer Jeff Abbott, who presented a lively workshop entitled Unpredictable Suspense: When the Villain Thinks He's the Hero.

Jeff's presentation featured chilling clips of villains in the movies, including one from Alfred Hitchcock's 39 Steps, that will stick with me for a long time. It was creepy.

I snagged myself a copy of Jeff's novel, Panic, which I cannot wait to dive into.

I also had the pleasure of meeting author Tracy Wolff.

Tracy's first book, A Christmas Wedding, will be released by one of my favorite Harlequin lines, SuperRomance. This one is definitely on my growing list of books to buy in November.

Congratulations on your novel, Tracy!

I'm looking forward to getting to know Tracy and all the fellow members of my local RWA chapter as I attend meetings in my new home of Austin.

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Wednesday, October 08, 2008

In these tough economic times...

I wasn't born with a silver spoon in my mouth, so I've never been one who has had unlimited dollars at my disposal. However, these days, things are really rough. When it comes to entertainment, I have the BEST option to help get through these times of so little money.

Hop on over to Readers Room, where I'm blogging today, to find out!