It’s my pleasure to welcome Lisa Mondello to my blog. If you like what you read, please investigate her books at Amazon.
A.C. James: Hello, Lisa. Please tell us something about yourself, where you’re based, and how you came to be a writer.
Lisa: I live in Massachusetts, which is why some of my earlier books were set in Massachusetts. I love New England and love writing about the area. I always tell people that I didn’t choose writing. I just wrote. It’s as simple as that. When you love something you just do it and that is how I got started at a very young age.
A.C. James: So writing chose you. I can completely understand that. What genre do you generally write and what have you had published to-date? What do you think of eBooks?
Lisa: I’ve published 14 original books and have had some of my books included in anthology sets. I love e-books. My first book, All I Want for Christmas is You was originally published as an e-book back in 1998, long before the Kindle and Nook were for sale. I mainly write contemporary romances, some with a western theme, and romantic suspense.
A.C. James: Have you self-published? If so, what lead to you to become an indie author?
Lisa: This is a great time to be an indie author and I’ve been very happy self-publishing my back list of books from Avalon and the small presses I worked with early in my career. I also was able to release three original books through indie publishing, The Knight and Maggie’s Baby, Material Witness, which was named one of Kirkus Reviews Best Indie Books of 2012, and my new novella Her Dakota Man.
A.C. James: I couldn’t agree with you more. I just got back from Rhode Island and the Indie Author Symposium with Marie Force and Penny Watson. I find it a little bit scary, but completely exhilarating and rewarding to be able to take control of our writing careers. Do you have a favorite of your stories or characters?
Lisa: Not really. I fall in love with all my characters in my books. It’s hard not to. There’s always something about them that pulls at me. I loved Cody Gentry in THE MORE I SEE because he was a very handsome, proud cowboy who loved what he did as a cutting horse trainer and was good at it. But he was blind and had to learn how to find a way to see he hadn’t lost his whole identity and that he could live again. He does this with the help of a guide dog trainer who doesn’t give up on him. I loved Logan McKinnon in HER DAKOTA MAN because he was so honorable and he struggled so hard with doing right by the people he loved in his life. My upcoming book for the TEXAS HEARTS series, LEAVING LIBERTY, has also been tough to write because of the subject matter. I could probably go on all day because the bottom line is I have to love my story and characters or readers won’t.
A.C. James: There’s just something about a rough and tumble cowboy that I love. Which authors did you read when you were younger and did they shape you as a writer?
Lisa: When I was younger I didn’t pay attention to particular authors. I do now, but not then. I just read whatever it was my sister and mother was reading and usually that was a Harlequin Romance or Harlequin Presents.
A.C. James: And do you manage to write every day, and do you plot your stories or just get an idea and run with it?
Lisa: I write every day but sometimes it’s not much. I write like a puzzle and sometimes it takes me a while to figure out the piece that is missing from the story. I know what’s missing and that there is a hole, but I don’t always know how to fix it. It may take me hours of reworking things in my head to figure it out before I can move on. I usually write like a bandit the next day.
A.C. James: Do you do a lot of editing or research?
Lisa: I do a fair amount of editing. I really envy those linear writers who can write a first draft that is really clean. Mine aren’t. But I do love writing that first draft because there are no rules. Everything is fresh and exciting. Rewriting is figuring and shaping and while I love it when the story takes shape and comes together, it’s a lot more painful and not as much fun.
A.C. James: I can relate to what you’re saying a lot. I’m always pea green with envy over those that can write clean first drafts or write over 2K a day. With two little ones under the age of five, writing comes in short bursts and I really have to guard my time. So I get it! So when you write, what point of view do you find most to your liking: first person or third person? And have you ever tried second person?
Lisa: I have written a little in first person but most everything I write is in third person. I also like to explore multiple points of view depending on who has the most to gain or lose.
A.C. James: What’s your favorite or least favorite aspect of your writing life? Has anything surprised you?
Lisa: Finding enough hours in the day to enjoy life and write fast enough to please my readers.
A.C. James: And are you involved in anything else writing-related other than actual writing or marketing of your writing?
Lisa: For the past two years I was the Co-VP of the Scriptscene RWA Chapter, which is the screenwriting chapter for RWA. I do a little screenwriting, but mostly write novels.
A.C. James: Are you on any forums or networking sites? If so, how valuable do you find them?
Lisa: I am on Facebook. I’ve just discovered Pinterest, but I’m not on any forums. I just don’t have the time to fit that and writing and family into my day and still expect to get a few hours of sleep.
A.C. James: What are you working on at the moment or next?
Lisa: I just released HER DAKOTA MAN and now I’m finishing up the rest of the series. BADLAND BRIDE is currently available for pre-order on Amazon. DAKOTA HEAT should be available either by late December or early January. Then I need to pause and finish LEAVING LIBERTY, which is book 5 of my Texas Hearts series. My readers have been asking me about that one, too. So I’d like to keep fans of both series happy.
A.C. James: Lisa, tell us more about HER DAKOTA MAN and why it’s been such a big hit with your readers.
Lisa: HER DAKOTA MAN was just released and it’s really doing well. I’ve heard from readers who have really enjoyed this new series and are looking forward to more stories about the McKinnon brothers. I love sexy cowboys, contemporary western settings and big families. I come from one myself so it’s a natural to write, and I guess that is what draws readers to the new DAKOTA HEARTS series.
A.C. James: Where can we find out about you and your writing?
Lisa: You can find out more about all my books at my blog http://www.lisamondello.blogspot.com
Genre: contemporary romance
Number of pages: 108
Word Count: 37,000
Cover Artist: Melyssa Naujoks of Purple Girl Design
Everyone knows that the Dakotas didn’t get the name Badlands for nothing. Harsh weather and rough living are a way of life. But single dad, Logan McKinnon, had seen more than his share of bad times after the death of his wife a year ago. The last thing he needs is Poppy Erickson, an old flame and his late wife’s best friend, showing up unannounced to help after devastating floods nearly washed away their hometown. With no place to stay in town, he has no choice but to offer her a bed at his house. But can he live under the same roof with a woman he’d once loved passionately without feeling he’s betraying his late wife?
Poppy Erickson had spent the year wondering how all their lives might have been different after hearing the death bed confession of her childhood friend. She’d left South Dakota years ago because she couldn’t bear to watch the man she loved loving another woman. But now she knows the truth. She’ll keep the promise she made to a friend, but will Logan understand when he learns the truth? More important, can they again recapture the passion that had been between them all those years ago?
One look on Logan McKinnon’s face told Poppy that his foul mood had very little to do with the devastating destruction all around the Badlands of South Dakota…and everything to do with her showing up in town after nearly ten years.
She didn’t have to be standing next to him to feel his anger simmering just below the surface of his composure. Sitting in her rental sedan was close enough. What the hell was she thinking coming back home? Why had she made that ridiculous promise to Kelly?
She parked the car next to his truck and took a deep breath, mumbling under her breath as she pulled the door handle, “This may just turn out to be the stupidest thing you have ever done, girl.”
Truth was, even as pissed off as Logan looked, he was still an amazing sight to see. Part of her had hoped that she was wrong. That she’d gotten over him a long time ago. That she’d take one look at him, make sure he and Keith were okay, and be able to get back in her car and drive right to the airport in Rapids City.
He turned to her, standing tall and proud. His thick dark hair blew in the March wind, fluttering around his face and making him all the more strikingly handsome.
He was taller than she’d remembered, and he’d long since lost that too-lean teenage body that had driven her crazy in her youth. He worked hard on his ranch and it showed in how much his arms and chest had filled with muscles.
Despite the cold, he’d taken off his jacket while he worked in the yard and Poppy had a clear view of just how much his male body had filled out in places she’d dreamed of touching.
Lord, help her. She was in trouble. And she hadn’t even stepped out of the car yet. She pushed the door open and stepped outside to get it over with. It was either going to be the shortest visit on record…or a life changing experience she’d been dreaming of ever since she was a teenager.
Logan starred at he for a long, agonizing moment. She read the emotional tug of war playing on his face as the sudden chill from the South Dakota winds bit into her exposed skin like a whip.
Then his expression turned hard. “What are you doing here?”
He must have heard the car drive up. But Logan’s four-year-old son, Keith, remained focused on the mud puddle he was poking a stick into to even notice anyone was around. That was good. The next few minutes would go easier for both of them if Keith weren’t aware of the tension.
Logan stared at her as if he’d been startled. Or maybe too focused on making sure his four-year old son, Keith, was safely playing nearby to notice her car had driven up.
Or perhaps he’d been too pre-occupied with assessing the damage the recent angry South Dakota weather had done to his property. Poppy had seen just how Mother Nature had shown no mercy to her childhood town as she drove from the airport to the ranch. She couldn’t exactly blame Logan for being in a foul mood because of that.
Seeing her was just the icing on the cake.
“What the hell are you doing here, Poppy?” he repeated.
She took in a deep breath, smelled the muddy earth and decay all around her, and said, “I came to help.”
He took one long look at her, from her high-heeled boots, up the length of her legs, pausing at her hips. She could almost feel his eyes as if he were staring at the flesh beneath her fresh pair of blue jeans. When his gaze finally reached her face again, she slid her sunglasses to the tip of her nose and stared right back at him in challenge. A slow smile played on her lips. She could never last as long at this as Logan before caving into laughter. But she knew Logan was in no laughing mood.
“Poppy Ericksen. Rudolph was practically washed off the map from all that rain we had? After all this time, what makes you think I need anything from you?”
Even though his voice was even, she could tell he was still pissed. But he’d never show it. Keith was still poking at the mud and puddles on the driveway just a little ways away, completely unaware of present company.
“What’s the matter, Logan? You don’t look happy to see me,” Poppy said, pulling her sunglasses off her face with a wary smile.
USA TODAY Bestselling Author, Lisa Mondello, has held many jobs in her life but being a published authors is the last job she’ll ever have. She’s not retiring! She blames the creation of the personal computer for her leap into writing novels. Otherwise, she’d still be penning stories with paper and pen. Her first book, All I Want for Christmas is You won Best First Book in the Golden Quill. Her books have finaled in the HOLT Medallion, and the Colorado Award of Excellence contests.
In 2011 she re-released her award winning book All I Want for Christmas is You along with a re-issue of her romantic comedy, The Marriage Contract, with a new contemporary romance called The Knight and Maggie’s Baby. In 2012 she reissued the first 3 books of her popular Western Romance Series TEXAS HEARTS including Her Heart for the Asking, His Heart for the Trusting and The More I See.
Writing as LA Mondello, her romantic suspense, MATERIAL WITNESS, book 1 of her Heroes of Providence series made the USA TODAY Bestsellers List. You can find more information about Lisa Mondello at lisamondello.blogspot.com.