9:24 AM

In the Author Spotlight & Contest

BARBARA MEYERS

CONTEST: Barbara will give away an eBook version of her most recent book with Samhain Publishing, A Forever Kind of Guy. (The second in The Braddock Brotherhood series.)  Winner will be drawn from all readers who post a comment in the following week.

AL: Hi Barbara! Welcome to Blog Bites.

Barbara: Thanks for inviting me, Ann. It’s fun to be here.

AL: So, tell us what’s happening with you.

Barbara: I stay busy working as a shift supervisor at Starbucks and keeping up with family and friends. I have two grown children, a long-time husband and a black lab mix named Pepper. My daughter got married recently which was a wonderful, fun-filled event. I like to bicycle, walk the beach, and read. I’ve also begun a fledgling career as a song lyricist.

AL: Tell us about a current or upcoming release.

Barbara: I independently published a book called Scattered Moments which straddles the line between womens’ fiction and romantic suspense. Didn’t seem to fit any publisher’s guidelines, but readers love it.

AL: What other stories are you deep into?

Barbara: The third in The Braddock Brotherhood series, on which I’m currently doing editor-suggested revisions; The second in the Grinding Reality contemporary fantasy series written under my pen name, AJ Tillock. (The first one is The Forbidden Bean. They’re loosely based on my work experience for a large coffee company.) Another womens’ fiction/romance entitled mis•con•ceive, which I will probably publish independently later this year.

AL: What was the defining moment when you realized you wanted to be a writer?

Barbara: Many years ago after reading a poorly written romance novel, I threw it across the room when I finished it and declared, “I can write better than that!”

AL: Do you have a mentor or critique partner that you work with consistently?

Barbara: I have a wonderful reader who was a fan of my first Samhain book, A Month From Miami. She won my first “Be A Character In My Next Book Contest” and later we became Facebook friends. I asked her if she’d read an unpublished manuscript for me and tell me what she thought. She’s done that a couple of times. I find that readers look for different things than editors do and Tara reads A LOT and A LOT of romance. She knows what works and what doesn’t and promises if she hates something I’ve written she will tell me. So far, she hasn’t hated anything I’ve given her! My daughter also writes and she is a brutal critiquer which I need. Also, my best friend who reads quite a bit sometimes reads for me and tells me if something works. I have also asked the Novelists, Inc., critique group for a cold read and feedback on occasion. They are all wonderful, multi-published authors and a huge help. I have also benefited greatly from my long-time friendship with author Tina Wainscott who now writes as Jaime Rush.

AL: What is the most difficult part of being a writer and do you write whenever the mood strikes, or do you have a specific routine?

Barbara: The most difficult part of being a writer is 1) getting published and 2) marketing my work. As for the actual writing, I write when I can. There’s no routine. I always have multiple projects going so I often flit from one to the other when I get stalled. Writing fantasy is a particular challenge for me. I’d never written in that genre and with the second book, I have to think a lot about it before I write. I am definitely flying by the seat of my pants.

AL: It’s time to get personal! You’re snowed in for a week in the Swiss Alps. You’ve enough firewood and food to get you through the blizzard waging outside. What are three things that you would have to have with you?

Barbara: My laptop. My Kindle with several good books on it that I’m dying to read. Two to three bottles of Beringer white zin.

AL: What's your favorite music? Do you listen to that when you write?

Barbara: I don’t listen to music when I write. My favorite is Top 40/pop and classic rock which is what I grew up listening to.

AL: Sometimes people envision an author’s life as being really glamorous. I like to set them straight, so tell us what’s the most unglamorous thing you’ve done in the past week?

Barbara: Probably taking out the trash at work or digging wet coffee grounds out of a French press.

AL: What annoys you enough to be considered a pet peeve?

Barbara: When I find that dishes have been put away when they’re still wet I see red. This happens a lot at work and it drives me crazy!!

AL: Can you share some of your plans for 2012 and beyond?

Barbara: Write, write, write! I’d like to continue my relationship with Samhain and certainly hope to with a third and fourth (possibly a fifth) book in The Braddock Brotherhood series. But so much of what I write is non-genre specific, so whatever I can’t place elsewhere, I’ll independently publish and also do print versions of those books. But be patient. I am very slow!

AL: Please share a favorite quote(s) with us.

Barbara: This is something my Dad always used to say and I’ve found like many of his words of wisdom, it’s true: At any point in your life you’ll be able to count your true friends on the fingers of one hand and you probably won’t need all the fingers.

AL: Thanks so much for sharing, Barbara.

Barbara: Thanks for having me, Ann. I love doing interviews.

AL: If you’d like to find out more about Barbara please visit:

www.barbmeyers.com
Readers can also follow me on Twitter @barbmeyers and @AJTillock

FEATURED TITLE: A FOREVER KIND OF GUY

Blurb:

First on Hayley Christopher’s list to get her train-wreck life back on track: stay away from men. Especially the ones who cause a ripple effect of bad decisions.

Still reeling from a high-profile divorce, the college dropout and former pro cheerleader is stumbling through yet another challenge—temporary custody of her nephew, Fletcher. No one knows better than Hayley that she’s not mother material. When she opens the door to her new landlord and old flame, she wonders just how many more past mistakes she is destined to pay for.

After the death of his wife, Ray Braddock is still putting the pieces back together. Hayley—and the silent little boy at her side—both bristle with emotional barriers so high, it appears no one but him can see that together, three broken people just might make a whole family.

As she watches Fletcher respond to Ray’s patient care, Hayley’s determination to hold on to her heart begins to soften. But just when she begins to think that Ray is one opportunity she shouldn’t let slip by, Fletcher’s gang-connected father threatens to make her pay for the one good choice she ever made…

Excerpt:

Hayley Christopher swiped gloss across her lips and stared at herself in the bathroom mirror.

Why do I bother? she silently asked her reflection.

Her plan for the future dangled just out of reach like a rabbit in front of a greyhound. She wanted to race forward, shake the Florida sand off her feet and arrive in Los Angeles ready to start her life over, but something always held her back. Ten years ago it had been a man. Though she’d vowed never to sacrifice her dreams for a man again, she hadn’t counted on a little boy getting in the way of her second chance.

Just a few short months ago she’d been ready to escape Jacksonville and the life she’d once had with Trey. Her bags were packed. An airline ticket awaited her. She’d planned to step off the plane in L.A. and never look back.

Marriage to Trey derailed her plans the first time. Now she’d allowed her semi-orphaned, stepnephew Fletcher to block her path. But she hadn’t had a choice, had she? With his mother OD’ing on heroin, dying in her arms, begging her to take care of him, to protect him from his violent father, what was she supposed to say? “No, Steffie, sorry, I’ve got a new life in L.A. waiting for me”? Everyone else had turned their backs on Stef and for good reason. Hayley couldn’t. She’d made a promise to watch over Fletcher without realizing what it would mean.

The other options were to leave Fletcher with strangers, or worse, at the mercy of his father Carlos, should he ever get out of jail. She shuddered at the thought that Carlos might make good on his threats against her. That he’d hurt his own son in the process. The poor kid had been traumatized enough in his young life. While she knew she wasn’t the ideal candidate to take custody, at least Fletcher knew who she was, though they’d hardly bonded in the few months she’d had him. They probably never would.

As long as he was with her, Hayley knew Fletcher wouldn’t be mistreated and he’d be kept away from his father. With any luck at all, he’d be adopted by the kind of family Hayley herself had always dreamed of. A mother and father. Siblings. There’d be a big backyard with a swing set. Dinner on the table at six every night. Maybe even a dog.

Sure it was a dream. It hadn’t come true for her, but maybe she could make it come true for her stepsister’s son. If Carlos ever came looking for Fletcher, he’d be long gone, absorbed into the system with a new name, a new family and tightly sealed records. Somehow she’d make that happen. And afterward she’d move forward with her own plans. She and Fletcher would both be free of their pasts.

She stowed the lip gloss and mascara in her makeup case and stared at her reflection once more. What was the point in wearing makeup or making an attempt with her hair? Why did she bother putting cute workout clothes on?

“L.A. Someday. Soon,” she promised herself as she did every morning.

She sat down on the closed toilet lid to wrap the Ace bandage around her swollen ankle. Giving in to a burst of exuberance after teaching one of her aerobics classes yesterday had been a mistake. Her professional cheerleading days were several years behind her, and she was getting too old to do back flips. She should have known better.

Life as she’d known it was over, she reminded herself. Some days there seemed no point to anything.

The doorbell rang. She heard Fletcher move away from where she’d left him on the sofa watching cartoons.

“Don’t open the door, Fletch,” she called. “I’ll be right there.”

Quickly she finished wrapping her ankle, making sure the self-securing bandage would stay in place. Who could be ringing her doorbell? She knew virtually no one in tiny Perrish, Florida. Oh God, she hoped it wasn’t more bad news. Bad news had been following her for too long, showing up when she least expected it. Maybe the ringing of the doorbell heralded a change in that pattern.

She grabbed the despised crutches and maneuvered her way out of the bathroom, wincing when she bumped her injured ankle with the tip of the crutch. She’d needed the crutches for less than a day but it was long enough to know she hated them.

Four-year-old Fletcher stood to the left of the front door, his attention focused on whatever was on the other side of the slender pane of sidelight glass. Hayley moved closer to see a man hunkered on the other side making funny faces at Fletcher. She glanced down to see Fletcher’s reaction. His expression was the one he usually wore of serious concentration, but a ghost of a smile played around his lips. At least Hayley wanted to think he might be close to a smile. It’d been a long time since he had.

There was no chain on the door, so Hayley debated for a moment about whether to open the door to a strange man. It was broad daylight and he looked harmless enough. He straightened when he heard the deadbolt slide back.

They stared at each other for what was probably a split second but felt like a lifetime. Hayley felt the ripple run through her. She’d experienced the ripple effect twice in her life. Once with her ex-husband and the first time with—

“Hi, I’m Ray Braddock,” he began.

—Ray Braddock when she was fourteen. She’d been a brand new student, a freshman at Jannings High School. He and his twin brother Rick had been the hottest boys in the junior class. She’d worshiped Ray from afar, though she’d never actually met him. But every time she saw him, the ripple effect slammed her full force.

Okay, she told herself. You can do this. You are not attracted to him. The last thing you need is a man in your life. Men are bad news. Men cause pain. Men mess up your plans. The ripple effect means nothing. The ripple effect is evil.

“Hayley Christopher.” Good. That’s good. She remembered her manners. She remembered her name. Now if that excitement fluttering in the pit of her stomach would cease and desist, she’d be fine.

“I know.”

Her radar shot out a warning. “You know? What do you mean, you know? How would you know my name?”

“From the property management company. I—”

“Oh? I can’t believe they gave out my name. They have no right. Who I am and where I live is my business and no one else’s. There must be some kind of law—”

“Whoa. Slow down there. I hired the property manager. I’m the owner of the property. I live in the other unit.” He nodded toward the other half of the duplex.

“You—own—wait a minute. What?” The other half of the duplex had been vacant during the short time she’d lived there. Or so she thought.

As if sensing her distress, Fletcher moved closer to her, wedging himself between her leg and her crutch and clutching her thigh. He sent out one of his trademark, almost inaudible whimpers of inquiry. Awkwardly, she patted his shoulder. “It’s okay, sweetie.”

Ray rescued her from her confusion. “I was out of town for a while. So I hired the property manager. But I’m back. Starting next month, you can pay your rent directly to me.”

“Oh. Okay.”

“What happened to you? Do you need to sit down?” Ray gestured at the crutches and Fletcher hanging onto her. “Want me to come in for a minute?”

Hayley couldn’t take her gaze off her landlord. He’d been good looking as a teenager and he still was. But his handsome face had more character now. Tiny lines radiated from the corners of his eyes. As she recalled, he’d been leaner than his brother, and that hadn’t changed. He looked tanned and strong and capable. But he also looked sad. And a bit lost.

Maybe that’s what I look like too. It was certainly how she felt most days. Giving herself a mental shake, she tried to regroup and say something reasonably intelligent.

Inviting him into her personal space was out of the question. “No. That’s okay. I’ll make the rent checks to you from now on. Was there anything else?”

“Is everything all right with the place? Appliances? Plumbing? Air conditioning?”

“Everything works. I’m not crazy about some of the decorating choices, but it’s nothing critical.” Except the bathroom wallpaper, she added silently. It’s hideous. She’d seriously considered doing the next tenant a favor by ripping down the wallpaper in the bathroom. Bare drywall would be an improvement over the garish flowered foil.

“All right, then. Here’s my phone number.” He handed her a plain white business card on which he’d written his name and the number. “Let me know if you have any problems.”

She took the card. Her fingertips touched his. She ignored her reaction.

Not.

REMEMBER: Barbara will give away an eBook version of her most recent book with Samhain Publishing, A Forever Kind of Guy. (The second in The Braddock Brotherhood series.) Winner will be drawn from all readers who post a comment in the following week.

4 comments:

Gabby said...

Oh this book sounds good I'll have to see if I can locate the first book as well! Thanks for the contest opportunity!

kakuchouakisame_19(at)yahoo(dot)com

Barb Meyers said...

Yay, Gabby! Thanks for posting a comment. The first book, A Month From Miami, is widely available in both digital and print.

Anonymous said...

Gaby,
How cool to have this contest at hours some of may have missed out on. As with everyone else, I too would love to read your latest novel.

Thanks for he opportunity to win.

Susan Howard
susanhoward.1969@yahoo.com

Iftekhar Ahmed said...

I must appreciate the way you have express your feelings through your blog!
PPC Expert