Author Spotlight: June Kramin

In February, I started a Recommended Read/What I’m Reading now feature on my Facebook page. My first entry in this series was Dustin Time by June Kramin.

Dustin Time is a fun, quirky, time traveling/romance-esque story that I really enjoyed.  I think it’s a really fun, cute read.  And in honor of her new release, it’s only $.99!!  Now, this is not my usual book reading fare, which is the whole point of me doing this Recommended Read/What I’m Reading now feature, it’s to expose myself, and thereby my followers, to some works that they may not usually read. That being said, I quickly jumped on book 2 in this series, Dustin’s Turn.

Since I enjoyed both of these reads so much, I am choosing to shine my spotlight on author June Kramin this month.  And this is is perfect timing as the 3rd book in this series, Dustin’s Novel, has just come out this week!


Katie and Dustin have had to time travel before to right some wrongs, but that’s not the answer or even an option this time around.

Trying to deal with the devastating news that the time-traveling Frank delivered, Katie tries to get lost in Dusty’s latest manuscript. As she struggles daily to correct their fate, Katie finds herself captivated with Captain Skinnard’s world.

She learns that their lives are intertwined with Dusty’s writing far more than she could ever imagine. From innocent phrases used by her daughter to the names of children and pets, Katie is in constant amazement of the twisted pretzel of time.

Enjoy this final installment in this time traveling trilogy where you’ll join Dustin and Katie in a new phase in their lives and a touch of sci-fi in Dustin’s Novel.

About June:

Wife, Mother, Writer, Lunatic. Not necessarily in that order. 

 “There is a fine line between genius and crazy… I like to use that line as a jump rope!”


June, who prefers to go by Bug, was born in Philadelphia but moved to Maui, Hawaii when she was four. She met her “Prince Charming” on Kauai and is currently living “Happily Ever After” in a small town in Minnesota.  
Her son and daughter are her greatest accomplishments. She takes pride in embarrassing them every chance she gets.

You can find June on the interwebs at:

Spotlight on Karen Docter: Her Love Affair with Cop Heroes

Karen Docter, authorThis month’s featured author is best selling romance writer Karen Docter with insights into why she LOVES to write about cops!!  Keep reading to find out how you could win a Kindle Fire!

Hi. My name is Karen. I’m a bestselling author of both contemporary and romantic suspense novels and I love cops. Yeah, yeah, it sounds like I’m standing at the podium in a 12-step program. They do say acknowledging the problem is the first step. However, this is one habit I have no intention of fixing anytime soon.

I hadn’t consciously thought about how much law enforcement had infiltrated my writing over the years until I recently developed my new contemporary romance series, True Love In Uniform. At the time, I was having a hard time trying to figure out what kind of series I wanted to write. For years, I pulled suspense elements out of my contemporaries to fit traditional publisher lines. Finally, an insightful critique partner encouraged me to launch my romantic suspense career as K.L. Docter—yes, I lead a double life, but that’s a whole different 12-step program 🙂 —and I found a way to pull the suspense elements out of my contemporaries and put it “where it belonged.”

Then, I went Indie. I’d worked hard to separate my two personas under traditional rules. So, here I was brainstorming a new contemporary series with another critique partner in a conference hotel room and she suggests <gasp> that I do a cop series? We were both exhausted so I laughed it off. Her response? “But you love cops.”

I do love cop heroes. What never occurred to me was that I no longer had to think of my two genres in terms of “either or”. I was an Indie author and could write whatever I wanted. If I wanted cops in my contemporaries, I could have cops.

It was a revelation. Sort of.

Let me back up a bit to explain why this epiphany meant so much to me. I’ve always had a strong sense of justice. Whether in real life or in the books I read and write, I am only satisfied when justice is served to the deserving. Nothing drives me crazier than to see people get away with the wicked things they do to other human beings, from lying and cheating to abuse and murder.

I can tell you the exact moment when I became aware of the injustices of the world. I think I was ten years old. Mom and dad had picked up my sisters and I from the roller rink or taken us to a drive-in movie or…isn’t it funny this one point escapes my memory when everything else about that night is still so vivid? Anyway, when we got near our neighborhood we were stopped at a police barricade. Along with several other families from the area, we waited for several hours before we were permitted to go home.

It wasn’t until we saw the news the next day that we knew what had happened. A police call had turned deadly. Two officers were sent to a home on a domestic, one of the more volatile kinds of calls. The officers had settled things down and were leaving when a neighbor, drunk and evidently taking exception to their presence, opened fire. One of the officers was killed at the scene and the suspect had barricaded himself in his home until he was taken into custody.

I was pretty naïve for my age, though it was a long time ago and we were more innocent when I grew up. (Yes, I’m THAT old! 🙂 ) But this one event stayed with me for years. It launched my personal awareness of the injustices in the world. The shooter wasn’t involved in the original call and the officer that died was only doing his job. Even worse the policeman left behind a wife and unborn child. My youthful sensibilities were appalled. I considered going into law enforcement for a long time but, for a variety of reasons, my life went in a different direction.

My life choices didn’t change the way I feel about what happened that night. It’s the reason I ended up writing romantic suspense and, ultimately, the reason my critique partner’s suggestion that I write contemporary cop books made so much sense. I can’t change the fact that too many injustices still occur on a daily basis around the world. I’m still appalled when I hear about a child who’s been abused or a family is murdered. I want the culprit to face justice.

On the flip side, when I hear about a bad cop that abuses his or her power I am just as happy to see them face that same justice. We should hold our LEOs to a higher standard because we’re charging them to protect us from the criminal element, not become a part of it. I find it heartbreaking when a few bad cops tarnish the badge. For every bad cop, there are tens of thousands good cops out there living their lives, falling in love, and raising families. Just like you and me.

These are the officers that live in my novels. In my romantic suspense, I dispense justice that satisfies even my ten-year-old self. Evil people pay for their transgressions, the innocent are protected, and love holds it all together. My new contemporary series may be about men and women in law enforcement, but their stories generally take place outside the confines of their precinct. These are about the real people behind the badge, their lives and loves.

I can’t see me giving up on my love affair with law enforcement anytime soon, which is probably a good thing. I’ll have six books in my Thorne’s Thorns series, not to mention another twenty suspense titles waiting in the queue. Although many of the heroes aren’t in law enforcement, justice is served. When I brainstormed my True Love In Uniform series with my critique partner in that conference hotel room, I came up a dozen titles I wanted to write. Every day, more stories pop into my head. Right now, I have over sixty titles in my TBW (To Be Written) folder and law enforcement factors into many of them.

I can blame my ten-year-old self for setting me on this path but, now that I’m deep into these woods, I want to see where my love affair with cops and the law will take me. Thank goodness, I have my readers to enable my habit. 🙂

Thank for you stopping by.  If you have any questions or comments for Karen, please leave them below in the comment section, Karen will be by to answer them!

Oh, and guess what? Just because you’re awesome and took the time to enjoy this insight into Karen’s muse inspiration….

Karen is giving away a Kindle Fire!!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck!

Connect with Karen/K.L.:
Website/Blog
Karen Docter FB
K.L. Docter FB
Goodreads
Twitter: @KarenDocter

Bio:
Karen Docter’s a 4-time RWA® Golden Heart finalist. She won the 2005 Daphne du Maurier Award for Category (Series) Romantic Mystery Suspense in the unpublished division.  She now writes contemporary romance as Karen Docter and romantic suspense as K.L. Docter.  She holds a B.A. in Technical Journalism and taught an online plotting workshop for 14 years and college level English composition. Her suspense novel, Killing Secrets, debuted at #8 on Amazon’s Bestsellers lists for psychological women’s fiction. It’s part of the Season of Thrills Box Set: 5 Mystery/Suspense/Thriller Novels by Bestselling Authors, which debuted at #1 on Hot New Releases in Noir Crime in December 2015. Although all of her novels are filled with romance, her suspense is built on the backdrop of danger her characters face in their story…usually because a serial killer is bent on ending one or both of their lives before they can fall in love.
Killing Secrets, Karen Docter

 

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Cop on her Doorstep, Karen Docter

 

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Also available from Karen Docter: Satin Pleasures (Romantic Comedy) and Catch That Santa (Romantic Comedy)

Introducing K.D. Wood

This month’s featured author is none other than the one, the only K.D. Wood!!!!

K.D. Wood Books

K.D. Wood lives in north Mississippi with her family and a very spoiled White Waug. She creates love stories and smokin’ southern erotica, but not your mama’s happy ever after. She’s a consumer of chocolate, but not spiders, and completely composed of liquid awesome. When not in her office pounding the keys she can be found under a snuggly blanket, cup of Donut Shop close by, with her nose in a book.

Her first novel, Unwilling,  debuted on Amazon and Kobo’s bestsellers list. You’ll find her neglecting her blog at K.D.Woodauthor.blogspot.com or email her at K.D.Woodauthor@gmail.com

      

In addition to the Unwilling series, which is a must read for all lovers of  the Paranormal New Adult genre, K.D. has a new erotic short out, Boys of Fall . Check out a couple of teasers below:
K.D. Wood Boys of Fall

K.D. Wood Boys of Fall

 

Now that I got your interest piqued, go run out and cyber stalk, I mean, check out K.D. on all her social media avenues:

How I’m Using my MAMBI Happy Planner: Weekly Layouts

I’m now about 4 weeks into my new powerfully proficient planner plan for 2016 (how’s that for alliteration? 🙂 )  In my first Planner Tips post, I shared my initial tips on using my MAMBI Happy Planner- my planner of choice for running my writing and personal lives. With consistent use, I’ve fine-tuned some of my best practices with the Happy Planner. One of the things I like about this planner is the 3 sections, but I also admit that these blank sections be a bit intimidating when you first start using the planner.  There are several examples and ideas floating around on how people use their’s but here is how I am currently using mine:

MAMBI Happy Planner layout

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Left hand Notes Section

I use this section to list the things I want to do in a particular week.  I tend to be a bit over eager and always list way too many items. 🙂  Due to the volume of tasks I usually list, and the fact that I have to maintain a certain level of fluidity in my schedule, it’s not feasible for me assign tasks to certain days for the entire week in advance.  Instead, I use this notes section as a holding ground of sorts.  I start the week off with a few assigned tasks on Monday and Tuesday and just go from there.  As I finish tasks, I scratch them off my the master list and then schedule in additional tasks for other days in the week.

I’ve learned through trial and error, that the only place I need to actually scratch through items is the master list.  I use symbols and marks on the actual day boxes to denote incomplete tasks, the need to reschedule something, etc. So far, this has really worked for me and has eliminated visual clutter by eliminating repetitive writing and having too many cross out marks.

  • Section 1- Top Things for the Day

I use the top section to denote the most, important things/appointments/reminders/etc. for the day.  I also use the space to jot down my breakfast plans for the day.  Each morning I have to oversee getting myself and 3 kids ready to tackle the day, and my breakfast usually never crosses my mind.  I look at this planner every morning and each night before I go to bed. The reminder to either fix my smoothie or pack up my cereal for transport to the office has been instrumental in me actually eating breakfast Monday-Friday.

  • Section 2- Role Tasks

Whenever I plan out my goals & plans for a new  year, I set them based on the primary roles I want to focus on for the year.  For example, the roles of mother, writer, homeowner, “me”, and photographer are a few of the roles I’m focusing on for 2016.  As such, each week I have tasks to do for each role in order to make progress on the goals I’ve set.

  • Section 3- Home Life/Personal

I use the section to denote dinner plans, any activities the kids have going on, gym days (denoted here with the peacock feather stickers), hair washing days, chores & errands, and anything else that pops up in the home life/downtime category.  This is also a good section to note tv programs.  I’m constantly forgetting to set my DVR to record new shows or special programs that I want to watch, so sticking them here is a good reminder to either watch them live, or schedule the DVR (via an iphone app) to record them for later.

  • The Weekend Boxes

I’m still playing around with a better use for the boxes for Saturday and Sunday.  The weekends are a time for me to relax more, get in some social time, and to catch up on anything that slipped through the cracks from the week.  I’m currently using the top & bottom sections the same way I use them throughout the week. I don’t list my meal plans because I’m a bit more spontaneous on the weekends.

Because I have a lot on my plate this year as far as my career, writing, photographer goes, I think I’ll use the middle boxes to keep track of the good things that happened during the week.  It’s nice to see a bit of positivity during some trying weeks.

  • Decor

I’m still embracing the less is more philosophy when it comes to decorating my planner.  I can’t be productive with an overly cluttered planner. This includes the use of too many colored inks, too many stickers, messy handwriting, and cross out marks everywhere.  I approach decorating my planner by first selecting my primary & secondary color inks for the week.  I like to use the secondary color to cross off items from the master list and to use as the asterisk color on any tasks of special note.  Just wait until I show you my monthly January layout.  You’ll quickly understand my need for a consistent color palette. 🙂

I use stickers mostly to:

  1. Interject a bit of fun (and because Yoda is a bad ass)
  2. Denote gym days- I just select 3 stickers for this, it changes weekly
  3. Denote hair wash days (I LOVE the afros).
  4. Add in 1-2 motivational quotes per week

I think I’m developing a sticker preference for smaller, simple icon stickers that I can use denote activities and for special emphasis.

I’m not a huge washi  tape fan, but i do like the group the top 2 sections together and the leave the 3rd section solo with a little washi boarder.  For me, this helps me keep the “Business Areas” of my plan separate from the more personal/social section.

Here are some layouts from earlier in the month. You can see the progress in the first set from how it looks after initial decor to how it fills up through as the week progresses.

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Happy Planner layout- elephants

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I found a pack of Star Wars stickers in the $1 Spot at Target, so they make for some fun weekly layouts.

MAMBI Planner

Happy Planner layout- Yoda

The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.

Martin Luther King, Jr

In honor of Martin Luther King Day, 2016, today’s Muse Inspiration come from one of my favorite quotes of his.

I am currently working on the outline for a new paranormal short story and this quote speaks to the heart of both my characters’ arcs and the journeys they must see their way through. Though the fire will test them both, the question is will they be able to accept each other when the glimmer has been dulled and flash has burned away.