Monday, April 30, 2012

Double Promo Take 2 + Q&A with Dana Marton

Now it's my turn to offer a special prize package.  Dana offered one a few weeks ago and I'm offering a set of the UK editions INSIDE OUT and OUTSIDE IN books along with a custom designed necklace and earrings set that match the books (made by me - see picture below :)  In order to enter to win this prize, please LIKE Dana's and my Facebook pages by May 7th at midnight EST and leave a comment here that you did (also leave an email addy so I can contact you).  If you already liked me (or us), you're still eligible to enter.  This is open internationally!

Facebook Links:
 Now onto the Q&A.  Dana and I both attended Seton Hill University's Writing Popular Fiction Masters program.  If you've been paying attention to this blog, you know I've featured a couple other SHU alumnus that have published their fantasy books (Sabrina Benulis and Melanie Card). But there are a number of other talented alumnus that have published in other genres as well. Yes - I'm shamelessly promoting the SHU program :)  And I'll mention the SHU writer's workshop weekend/retreat for those who want a taste of the program.  It's open to all writers.  For more info go here:

THE THIRD SCROLL comes out on May 1st - and the e-book will be offered at a special price of 0.99 for one day only (May 1st). Here's a link to the e-book: 

Cover blurb: Sold into slavery, Tera, a budding healer, is thrust into the savage realm of barbarian warlords, the same realm which claimed her mother years ago. She must avoid the displeasure of her warrior lord and survive the cruelties of the concubines, even as war threatens on the horizon.

Yet a greater danger looms when she catches the eye of the most powerful lord of the land and he takes her for his Pleasure Hall. Tera struggles to escape, while searching for the secret behind her mother’s death. But what she discovers challenges everything she believes in. A path set long ago beckons. A path that could lead to triumph, or the destruction of her world.


1.) You’re known for your romantic suspense and intrigue plots – why the switch to fantasy?

Because everybody knows that the easiest way to build readership is to stick with the same genre. Easy? Who needs that when I can do things the hard way?

Okay, seriously, it’s not really as new a direction for me as it seems. I wrote THE THIRD SCROLL at the same time as I wrote my first romantic suspense, close to 10 years ago. Both were requested by editors. The suspense manuscript was bought and published. But by the time I sent THE THIRD SCROLL, the editor who originally requested it left. I tried to place the book with other publishers, but my suspense career took off at one point and the fantasy was put aside. But never forgotten! I always knew that someday, somehow, I would get this book to readers.

2.) Where did you get the idea for THE THIRD SCROLL?

As strange as it sounds, there wasn’t an all-encompassing idea. I had no plot for the book. I finished the suspense I worked on before this, and suddenly this woman started talking in my head, telling her story. She had such a distinct voice. I just followed along. I wasn’t sure I could write fantasy. I have never tried before. I often didn’t know what was going to happen next until I wrote it. I finished the first draft in about six months, which is not bad for a story that ran to nearly 500 pages.

I hate it when Stephen Kings says that when he writes, it’s as if he left the room and someone else came in and put the story on paper. It’s kind of spooky and seems way too easy, but just this once, it was almost like that. If not someone else writing, but almost like taking dictation. Just listening to that hushed voice telling her story and me writing it down.

3.) Which authors inspire you? Has that changed over time?

I love a long, epic story with a woman at its center, and I’m drawn to healers. Jean Auel’s The Clan of the Cave Bear is one of my favorite books of all times. So is Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander Series. I can’t tell you how excited I was to see that your latest book, TOUCH OF POWER has a heroine who is a healer. I absolutely LOVE that book! [Thanks, Dana - you're so sweet]

4.) So dish about Seton Hill University’s Writing Program– do you think your time in the program helped with your fabulous writing career?

Well, I wasn’t published when I went in, and I was published when I came out. :) I love that program. Wish I could go back for a refresher. And the people I met there (such as super talented author Maria V. Snyder) [now you're embarrassing me ;>] alone were worth the price of admission. There’s a time to play around with writing, and a time to get serious about writing. Seton Hill represents the moment when I made the full commitment and the sacrifices and said, okay, let’s do this and get it done. I will see my books on the shelves at the stores, or else.

5.) What do you find most interesting about Tera? Do you think healers might become the next vampires as far as popularity?

Oh, how I wish! I think that’s an excellent idea. I mean, dead people? Really? Wouldn’t the living be a little more fun? [I agree!]

I like that Tera is just an ordinary person, struggling with loss and life and trying to figure her life out, hoping she’s more than meets the eye, hoping she has some talent. I like it that when she gets knocked down, over and over again, she gets up every time. She’s not a warrior queen, she’s not a sorceress, but she has amazing inner strength. She works with what she has.

6.) What else do you enjoy doing besides writing? Interests? Hobbies?

What? There are things outside of writing? Why haven’t I heard of this before? [LOL - I hear ya sistah!]

7.) How did you become a writer? Is this what you saw yourself growing up to be? Or did it take you by surprise?

Always wanted to be a writer. When I was young, I thought everybody wanted to be a writer, but then they took other occupations when they couldn’t make it as a writer. Never realized someone actually started out as wanting to be a doctor or manager or something like that. I wrote a poem as soon as we learned the alphabet in school. Showed it to my mom. She thought I copied it from somewhere and grounded me for lying about writing it myself. So I was introduced early to the hardships of a writing life and the injustice writers face sometimes. Not that it deterred me. :)

8.) Do you have a writing routine? Talk process for a moment, how do the words get on the page?

I start writing right after I get up in the morning and write until I fall off the chair. Okay, that’s a slight exaggeration, but pretty close to my day, actually. I break for major meals. And once the family can’t stand having to be quiet and turns on the TV in the evening, I usually quit for the day. I’ve never had writer’s block. But I’m sure I will now, just for saying that. I’ve been known to say things over the weekend like, “I can’t wait until Monday so I can get back to writing.” What can I say? When I’m obsessed with something, I don’t do it halfway. But I never write on Sunday, and will only write on Saturday if it’s a matter of life and death. And I don’t take a laptop on vacation. When I write, I write. When I play, I play. I think that’s important.

9.) Office? Closet? Corner of the living room? Do you have a set place to write? A favorite?

In the apartment we previously rented, my desk was wedged between the fridge and the staircase. There was a lot of snacking going on in between writing scenes. I could reach into the bottom freezer for popsicles right from my chair. I was not made to withstand that kind of temptation. I swore that at the new house I’ll have an office. I do. I never go in there. I have a small desk wedged behind the sofa in the living room, separating the living room from the kitchen. The fridge is still too close, but at least I have to get up to reach it. Truth is, I like to be in the middle off all the activity.

10.) What are you writing now? What's coming out next?

I’m going to have a busy summer. THE THIRD SCROLL comes out on May 1st, then SPY HARD, an international romantic thriller, comes out on June 1st, then THE SPY WORE SPURS, a romantic thriller set in Texas, comes out on July 1st. Then I’ll be probably led away gently to some institution for mental recovery. Some people can pace themselves. I’m not one of them. I might have another thriller in the fall via Kindle direct publishing, before my final story for the year. I will be in a Christmas Cowboy anthology with the talented Julie Miller and Paula Graves in December. [I'm exhausted just reading this!]

For more info on Dana and her books go to:
book website:

Tuesday, April 24, 2012


Of course the caveat that this isn't final final, but pretty darn close :)   This is the US/Canada editon.  So?  What do you think?  I love the colors. Does Kerrick remind you of anyone??  And there's a slight spoiler for TOUCH OF POWER in the cover copy so if you haven't read the book, you might want to skip that :)

Monday, April 16, 2012

Double Promo

I'm doing a double promo with a friend and fellow author from Seton Hill University, Dana Marton.  Her new epic fantasy is being released on May 1st and she's offering a great prize package to celebrate.  It's real easy to enter for a change to win.  Check out the details here:

And I'll be offering another prize package in the upcoming weeks!  I'm also going to post an interview with Dana to find out why she went from writing romantic suspense/intrigue to epic fantasy!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012


I finished SCENT OF MAGIC last night, or rather early this morning!!  Wrote my two fav words THE and END ;>  Of course, it's not done done - just a messy first draft that will need many rounds of revisions, starting tonight.

I figured out a few stats for a comment on my Goodread's page, so I thought I'd share.  As I write, I keep track of how many words I finish each night.  I'm a slow writer - and I guessed I average about 1200 words a night - the most in one night for SCENT OF MAGIC was 2664 (Apr 3) and the least was 451 (Jan 18).

It took me 95 writing days over 7 months (mid-Sept to mid-April) and I wrote 101,913 words.  Hmmm...I guessed wrong about my average - I calculated it out and it's 1073 words/night for this book :)  

Each book is a little different.  I went back to my TOUCH OF POWER numbers and it took me 80 writing days over 6 months (Oct to March) and I wrote 99,848 total words.  The max was 2654 (Nov 6) and the least was 296 (Jan 12). Average # 1248 words/night.

Hmmm.... guess it's not THAT different - I'm not very prolific in mid-January! 

Here are the numbers for OUTSIDE IN: 70 writing days over 5 months (mid-March to mid-July) for a total of 78,028 words.  The max was 2380 (May 18) and the least 286 (May 17) hmmm...interesting. Average # 1115 words/night.

Here are the numbers for SPY GLASS: 90 writing days over 5.5 months (mid-June to Dec 3) for a total of 116,542 words. The max was 4186 (Dec 1 - which was near the end - so second max is 2779 on Oct 16) and the least 451 (July 14). Average # 1295 words/night.

NOTE: Both SPY GLASS and OUTSIDE IN were written in that very stressful time when I had two books coming out per year - shudder!

Now I wished I've done this for all my books.  But I started about half way through SEA GLASS as a competition with my friend Judi :)  If it wasn't for her, I'd still be working on that book!

PS: I took that picture in January - it's the sunset behind my house.  I'm a sucker for landscapes and up close pictures of flowers :)

Monday, April 9, 2012


I picked the names for the SPIRITED contest.  CONGRATS to the following 4 winners!!

Peggy (bethsflutterby)


Jamie T


You should have gotten an email from me, but if you didn't, check your SPAM folder and if it's not there, then send me your full name and mailing address to: maria @ mariavsnyder DOT com  (no spaces :)

Thanks to ALL for posting my links on your social media sites and blogs.  That is one of the BEST ways to help an author (spreading the word about me and my books).

I'm hoping to do a bit of house cleaning after I finish SCENT OF MAGIC (one chapter left - then lots of revisions!) and will be running more contests.  Stayed Tuned :)

Friday, April 6, 2012

Writing is Like Exercising

No - I'm not talking about exercising the creative muscle :)  I'm talking about how I feel prior to doing either one!  Before I start writing, I procrastinate, find a million other things to do, and generally drag my feet, putting if off as long as possible.  That's the same with exercise, I'll think of a hundred reasons why I don't have time and/or energy and then I'll talk myself back into it a hundred times.

After I finally start each session - it's slow and I'm resistant and my mind is not on board with the whole endeavor.  But once I warm up and get into it, everything goes smoother, and the next thing I know I'm done!  I feel better have energy and am so glad I forced myself to start in the first place.  And this is exactly how I feel for BOTH writing and exercise.  I'm always happier when I'm done :)

I'm sure I'm not alone in this regard.  Anyone else a slow starter?

Update on SCENT OF MAGIC - I'm heading into the final two chapters!  Once I stop procrastinating, and when I finish cleaning the litter box, and........  I'll actually finish it ;>

Oh and yes, that's a picture of my cat Valek - a.k.a Kitty Kat, or the Bug Assassin, depending on his mood.  I'm finding out that black cats are very hard to photograph and cats in general aren't good about posing - prima donnas!  I added the photo because I think all blogs need pictures.

Here's one to celebrate Spring for my northern hemisphere readers!  I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!