Tag Archives: Claire Collins

Top Ten Most Viewed Posts on the Second Wind Blog

The authors of Second Wind have contributed 1,340 posts to this blog. Since all of those posts are exceptional, each in their own way, it would be impossible to create a list of the ten best bloggeries. Thanks to WordPress statistics, however, it’s a simple matter of listing (in descending order) the ten that have garnered the most views:

Do Not Lean by Norm Brown gives simple and profound advice for navigating the curving roads of life.

Puppy Love by Claire Collins is a complete short story chosen to be included in the Second Wind anthology, Love is on the Wind.

Splish Splash, I was Taking a Bath by Sherrie Hansen rhapsodizes about water: too much water, not enough water, life revolving around water.

What is Your Character’s Favorite Color? — by Pat Bertram shows how to use color to help create colorful characters.

Writer Beware–POV Confusion/Character Overload by Juliet Waldron explains the dangers of too many point of view shifts.

One-eyed One-Horned Flying Purple People Eater by Claire Collins is a humorous reminder about how important it is to have the correct wording and order of words while writing.

Writing Outside the Box by J J Dare taps into our quirky side.

The Importance of Imagery–by Deborah J Ledford talks about how carefully crafted images will be ones your reader will not soon forget.

The lure of the dark-side – anti-heroes and anti-heroines by Mairead Walpole tells us what makes for a wonderful and well-rounded anti-hero.

To the women . . . by Claire Collins is a joyous tribute to motherhood.

We hope you will enjoy visiting (or revisiting) these wonderful posts.

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July 7th: Happy Chocolate Day from Second Wind Publishing! Chocolate and Romance Reading: The Perfect Combo

July 7th is Chocolate Day – Chocolate is a vegetable from the cacao tree. Hey, if it means you can eat more chocolate with less guilt, go for it. Here’s another guilt-free idea: romance books from Second Wind Publishing

🙂 🙂 🙂

Fate and Destiny by Claire Collins

Destiny. Left for dead and found by Andrew’s dog, she brings mystery, danger and passion into Andrew’s life as he waits out a blizzard in his mountaintop cabin. As Andrew and Destiny ignite each other, Andrew’s fate becomes entwined with Destiny.

Also from Claire Collins: Images of Betrayal

🙂 🙂 🙂

Indian Summer by Dellani Oakes

The Spanish call it “quinceanera” a girl’s 15th birthday.  Gabriella Deza, innocent daughter of a nobleman in 1739 St. Augustine, Florida, finds herself caught up in international intrigue and romance far beyond her years.

Also from Dellani Oakes: Lone Wolf

🙂 🙂 🙂

Backstop: A Baseball Love Story in Nine Innings by J. Conrad Guest

Backstop. He’s the catcher you cheer when he delivers and boo when he doesn’t. Follow Backstop as he plays the most important game of his career and fights to win back the heart of the woman he loves more than the game.

Also by J Conrad Guest: January’s Thaw and One Hot January

🙂 🙂 🙂

Hand-Me-Down Bride by Juliet Waldron

Based upon the story of the author’s great grandmother, who was a real life mail-order bride. Sophie agrees to marry a wealthy man she’s never met—but life has other plans.

🙂 🙂 🙂



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Sizzling Reads for Summer from Second Wind Publishing

Happy Fourth of July!


It’s too hot to stay outside for long!

Curl up inside with cool air and cool books from


Indian Summer by Dellani Oakes (Historical Romance)
Grief: The Great Yearning by Pat Bertram (Family and Grief)
False World by J J Dare (Conspiracy Suspense)
Love Notes by Sherrie Hansen Decker (Romance)
Hand-Me-Down Bride by Juliet Waldron (Historical Romance)
The Phantom Lady of Paris by Calvin Davis (Fiction)
An Altar by the River by Christine Husom (Murder Mystery)
She Had to Know by Coco Ihle (Crime Mystery)
Snare by Deborah J Ledford (Crime Mystery)
Backstop: A Baseball Love Story by J Conrad Guest (Baseball Romance)
A Love Out of Time by Mairead Walpole (Time Travel Romance)
Deadly Traffic by Mickey Hoffman (Crime Mystery)
Donations to Clarity by Noah Baird (Fiction)
The Magic Fault by Paul Mohrbacher (Mystery Thriller)
Ghost Mountain by Nichole R Bennett (Crime Mystery)
Vendetta by Nancy Niles (Private Eye Mystery)
Carpet Ride by Norm Brown (Amateur Sleuth Mystery )
Love Trumps Logic by Lucy Balch (Regency Romance)
Tattletale Roadhouse and Social Club by Tony R Lindsay (Fiction)
Fate and Destiny by Clair Collins (Contemporary Romantic Suspense)
Lacey Took a Holiday by Lazarus M Barnhill (Historical Romance)

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Interview with Claire Collins, Author of “Images of Betrayal” and “Fate and Destiny”

What are your books about?

Fate & Destiny – A romantic thriller set on a snowy mountaintop. During a blizzard, Andrew’s dog, Shadow, finds Destiny;a beautiful woman left for dead, but very much alive. With her she brings mystery, danger and passion to the little cabin.

Images of Betrayal – Abandoned by her family, young Tysan finds works as a waitress in a diner. One cold evening, a beguiling, rugged young man barges into her life. He possesses the remarkable ability to take photographs of events that have not yet happened. Ty narrowly avoids a harrowing death in a disastrous explosion, only to be drawn into a dizzying cascade of conflicts involving a new family that takes her in, Walker-her apparent savior, David-her new admirer and her own family. Kidnapping, betrayal, obsessive love and courageous lovers co-mingle in this romantic thriller.

How long had the idea of your book been developing before you began to write the story?

Most of the time, I may only get a thought or an image or a name, just some tiny detail that I have to write down. I rarely know what it is or what’s happening until the characters start to tell me what’s happening. I’m just the vessel they use to tell their story. Before I know it, I have a paragraph, a chapter, or half a book.

How much of yourself is hidden in the characters in the book?

Every character, every scene, every conflict and resolution, it all has elements of me or my life in them. Even the parts I don’t like. They just appear.

Tell us a little about your main characters. Who was your favorite? Why?

In Fate & Destiny, my favorite characters turned out to be the dog and the Sherriff. The dog, Shadow, really struck a chord with people and they tend to really love him. I was surprised how he grew as a character in the book when he started out as merely a secondary character. The book wouldn’t be the same without him. I also really love the Sherriff and his life and his family. I have a sequel for him floating in my head.

For Images of Betrayal, I fell madly in love with one of the male leads, but I can’t tell you which one. You’d have to read the book to know! The heroines in both books are directly pieces of me, so it’s a given that I am one with them.

How long did it take you to write your book?

Fate & Destiny took me over ten years from the first word to the final product.

Images of Betrayal took three months start to finish.

Did you do any research for the book? If so, how did you do it? (searching Internet, magazines, other books, etc.)

I research anything I don’t know as I go along. My third book, Seeds of September, begins in 1956. I researched everything I could about the time period, the region, popular fads, the culture. And then I used very little of it, but at least I had the information in my head if I needed it.

How do you develop and differentiate your characters?

My characters talk to me. I can see them and hear them and they are all unique to me. I’m always afraid they will seem very flat to others, but they are so alive to me that it somehow comes out the right way for others to see them the way I do.

What is the most difficult part of the whole writing process?

Finding the time to write. I go through periods where all I want to do is write and then there are long periods when I’m so incredibly busy in life that I can’t get time to write. For me, writing is the same as a familiar and comfortable friend, always there when I need it.

Do you have mental list or a computer file or a spiral notebook with the ideas for or outlines of stories that you have not written but intend to one day?

I have a mental list and I have a folder on my hard drive of all of the stories I have in progress. Some are just a sentence or two and some are nearly finished novels.

How many stories do you currently have swirling around in your head?

So many stories, so little time. I have at least a dozen in various stages.

What advice you would give to an aspiring author?

It’s not easy. You can’t ever do this thinking you’re going to be rich. You can’t do this with the mindset that you know everything and no one can make your writing better. You have to write because you have a story to tell and you love the act of writing. You have to write for yourself and to have someone else read your words and really get what you’re trying to tell them. You have to be open to other people’s opinions. If you can’t take a publisher or editor telling you to straighten things up, then how will you take a reader telling you they don’t like your work?

What advice would you give other novelists about book promotion?

For me, promotion is the hardest part about writing books. It takes a ton of time that I never seem to have available. The problem is no one else will promote my books and they won’t sell if I don’t do what I can. I have pride in my work and I tell people about them every chance I get. I do think you get out of it what you put into it and promotion is key to success. A lot of luck helps too!

Have you always wanted to be a writer?

Always. My page on the Second Wind Publishing website says it pretty well. “Claire Collins began telling stories as soon as she learned to talk, and she hasn’t stopped telling stories — or talking — since.”

What do you think the most influential change in book publishing will come from?

I think the book publishing world is evolving rapidly. The emergence of the internet, followed by Amazon and then ebooks and ebook readers has vaulted the opportunity for anyone and everyone to be a published writer. Anyone who tweets or blogs thinks they’re able to be a successful author. I think readers are inundated with things to read and they will have a harder and harder time finding good quality reading material. I think the standard mass market publishing models are dying and will soon follow the path of the printed newspaper. I don’t necessarily think that’s a good thing either.

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Stories to Scare the Young by Claire Collins

Claire Collins is the author of Fate and Destiny and Images of Betrayal.

His ears strained to pick up any strange noises in the surrounding forest. An owl called out asking who he was, but he didn’t respond. Each step brought him closer to the sounds he heard a few moments ago.

His father saw one when he was young, and enjoyed reliving the story as the young ones grew older. He believed his father, but he also wanted to learn about the legend himself. Part of him believed it was just a tale to scare the young, but part of him thought the lore might be true.

He crept forward, cautious not to disturb anything in the woods by his movement. If they were out there, he didn’t want to alert them to his presence. Dad said if they see him, they would eat him. He thought that if he saw them, the fright would scare him so bad that if they wanted to eat him, he wouldn’t be able to put up a fight anyway.

A flickering campfire, circled in by rocks glittered through the trees ahead of him. The air smelled strange, a bitter and musky scent wafted through the air from the fire. He crouched behind a tree, waiting. Watching.

A shriek of laughter split the air and he wanted to turn and flee, but his feet wouldn’t move. Two creatures ran up the hill towards the fire, their grotesque features displayed by the flickers of the flames.

Afraid, he spread his wings and took flight, anxious to get away as fast as possible. His father wasn’t just telling stories. He could barely breathe as his heart threatened to break free as he made his escape, flying into the air over the heads of the creatures,

It was true. Humans were real.


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Images of Betrayal by Claire Collins

Abandoned by her family, Tysan works as a waitress in a cheap diner. One cold evening, a beguiling, rugged young man barges into her life. He possesses the remarkable ability to take photographs of events that have not yet happened. Ty narrowly avoids a harrowing death in a disastrous explosion, only to be drawn into a dizzying cascade of conflicts involving a new family that takes her in, Walker-her apparent savior, David-her new admirer and her own family. Kidnapping, betrayal, obsessive love and courageous lovers co-mingle in this romantic thriller.


His eyes darted to the envelope on the table. He took a drink of coffee, swallowing too hard. When he turned back to me, his eyes were haunted. He reached out, grasped the envelope, and pulled out another picture. As he handed it to me, his words registered.

“You’re supposed to keep yourself safe.”

The photo I held was taken in the restaurant. I was standing behind the front counter, the picture taken from across the room. A man sat in front of me, only the back of his head visible in the picture. He was covered in soot and ashes. Pieces of his clothing were burned away and blackened. My skin was blistered and the remnants of my hair were singed. My uniform had burned to my body, sticking to me as I stood there, coffee pot in hand. The ceiling of the restaurant was behind me, or at least part of it. Grey, cloudy skies formed a backdrop where some of the ceiling and the wall to the kitchen used to be. The pieces of the restaurant in the picture were burnt; smoke still rising from the embers surrounding me.

The picture was dated two days from today.I dropped the picture like the paper itself was on fire. I didn’t want to touch it. In the photo, I stood there with a coffee pot in my hand, while everything around me and my clothes were in utter destruction. Walker snatched the picture from the table, dropping it back into the envelope.

“I’m sorry,” he said, taking my hand in his again. “Short of kidnapping you that day, I didn’t know any other way to tell you about this.”


Claire Collins resides in North Carolina and writes across many genres. She loves reading when she gets the time around her family and her work schedule. She currently has two novels available through Second Wind Publishing and is working on her third, Seeds of September.

Click here to buy: Images of Betrayal

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Introducing the Authors of Second Wind Publishing

I thought a fun way to introduce the authors of Second Wind Publishing, LLC (or at least the ones who wanted to be introduced) would be to have them answer three simple questions so you can see how different authors perceive themselves and their writing. The questions:

1. What is writing like for you?
2. What is the most thrilling thing about getting published?
3. What is the most humbling thing about getting published?

Nancy A. Niles, author of Vendetta:

1. Writing is something that I can’t not do. It’s my best friend, sometimes a pain in the neck, but most times just something that I need to do for my own peace of mind.

2. The most thrilling thing about getting published is the encouragement it has given me to keep writing and keep allowing myself to express more freely and deeper. I think all those rejection slips had an effect on me and now being published is having a strengthening and very positive effect on my writing.

3. The most humbling thing about getting published is knowing that for a few hours the people who read my novel will be taken away from their problems and be in my world. It humbles me to know that for just a short time I can give them a little escape from their troubles. It is quite a blessing.

Laura S. Wharton, author of The Pirate’s Bastard:

1. Writing is like exercise. Sometimes, it’s really hard to get up at 4:00 in the morning to begin writing…the warm covers are oh so snuggly. Other times, the adrenalin rush about an aspect of the story-in-process surging through me has me up at 3:00, sitting still for three hours, and then reluctantly stopping so I can prepare myself and family for the work/school day ahead. Like exercise, it has to be done nearly every day to accomplish anything close to completion.

2. The most thrilling thing about getting published is reading reviews from unknown readers – and seeing that they really loved my story.

3. The most humbling thing about getting published is seeing typos after publication of what I thought was an error-free book.

Nichole R. Bennett, author of Ghost Mountain:

1. Writing is in my blood. I don’t mean that I come from a long line of authors, because I don’t. But I have to write. I have to get those words out of my body and onto paper. Some days those words flow and there is no stopping them. Other days I struggle over each and every letter. Either way, writing is something I have to do. Just like eating or breathing.

2. The most thrilling thing is knowing that I am living my dream. Yes, it can be hard, but this is what I want to do and I’m doing it. How many people can truly say they get to live their dream?
3. I’m not sure there’s a humbling moment for me. I knew going in that writing would take some thick skin and hard work. I knew not everyone would like my work or appreciate the time and energy that it took to get where I am. That’s okay. I’m just grateful for the opportunities I have had and that there are people who do like it!

J. Conrad Guest, author of Backstop: A Baseball Love Story in Nine Innings and One Hot January:

1. I haven’t found anything that provides the level of satisfaction writing provides me—the highs of crafting a perfect sentence, of self-discovery and exploring the universal themes of love and loss, dying and death, salvation, redemption, and keeping my parents alive and making them proud.

2. As writers, I think we all believe our work is the greatest since Hemingway, and seeing our work in print is affirmation, a thrill, that our work has merit—even if it isn’t really as good as Hemingway.

3. I find nothing humbling about getting published (I write with publication in mind), save for the process. By the time I receive my first proof copy, I’ve gone over my manuscript a dozen times or more and have probably a half-dozen drafts. An editor has gone over it, found several typos I’ve missed, and made suggestions for changes—some with which I agree, but most I discard. So I find it maddening and, yes, humbling, when I start reading my proof copy and find ways to improve the narrative, to rewrite a passage and, worst of all, I find a typo! I’m a perfectionist, so, yes, it’s humbling to learn I still can improve upon the process.

Eric Beetner, co-author of One Too Many Blows to the Head and Borrowed Trouble

1. Writing is lonely and tiring. Even writing as a part of a team like I do with Jennifer is still lonesome. We live on opposite coasts and only communicate through email. I never show anything to anyone for critique. Never let early drafts out to the public. So having her around is also an act of real trust. We show each other our naked first drafts and still expect that we’ll respect each other in the morning.

2. I find that it is too easy to only hear from a friendly audience of family and friends so the biggest thrill for me is when a total stranger says or writes something good about my writing. I know it is genuine. Being published lets that person have exposure to my work and find something in it that resonates or entertains. That’s why we’re here, right?

3. Oh, brother, what hasn’t been? I’ve had signings at book stores I respect (and where I shop) I’ve been in panel discussions alongside authors I admire. I’ve met writers as an equal – a fellow published author, not just a fan. All that has made me feel grateful beyond words.

DCP_0851-136x150Lazarus Barnhill, author of The Medicine People and Lacey Took a Holiday:

1. A few years ago I came back to writing fiction after a self-imposed twelve-year period during which I did not write, and found about twenty ideas of books rattling around in my head. My first official act was to get a notebook and list the novels, outlining them to the degree they had “marinated” in my imagination. For me, writing is getting out of the way and allowing those stories that germinated so long ago to take root, flower and bear fruit.

2. The thrill comes from somebody you don’t personally know buying a book, or seeking you out intentionally at a book signing. It’s also thrilling when someone asks you a question about your story in such a way that you know they have read it with comprehension.

3. A couple things strike me right away. First is the praise I often get from my colleagues. When another writer whose work I admire compliments my work in a way that reveals I’ve accomplished precisely what I set out to do in the story—that is humble. The second thing is when people I know hunt me down and pester me until I get them a copy of one of my books. And sign it to them personally. I’m not accustomed to adulation.

lucy_balch-113x151Lucy Balch, author of Love Trumps Logic:

1. Writing is like I’m in a time machine. I can work for hours on a story and it always feels like much less time.

2. The most thrilling thing about getting published is the knowledge that, finally, I’ll have something to show for the five years I’ve put into this obsession. Maybe I haven’t been selfishly squandering huge amounts of time?!

3.The most humbling thing about getting published is the realization that so many good writers have not yet been given the opportunity to publish. Is my book worthy of the privilege? As an unpublished author, I can always tell myself that my book will be well received when given the chance. The reality might be different. I hope not, but it’s a possibility, and once a book bombs there is no going back to the fantasy of it doing well.

jwcomputercatmail2-133x157Juliet Waldron, author of Hand-Me-Down Bride:

1. I write historicals, so writing for me is like entering a time portal—or, sometimes, like stepping out of Dr. Who’s callbox after accidentally pushing the wrong button. I have an idea of what may be there when I first look around, but I often find the world I’ve entered to be surprisingly different from my preconceptions.

2. The most thrilling thing about getting/being published is having someone you don’t know leave a message or write a review that totally “gets” the book. Shows I wasn’t as off-base as I sometimes—in those dark 3 a.m. moments—imagined.

3) The most humbling thing about getting/being published is that we have so much competition, and that there is a great deal of good writing out there. After publication there is the (IMO) far less agreeable marketing to do. The playful creation is now complete.

TracyB_3-134x150Claire Collins, author of Images of Betrayal and Fate and Destiny:

1. For me, writing is a journey. I don’t always know the final destination until I start traveling, but it’s always a rewarding trip.

2. The most thrilling thing about being published is when people read what I’ve written and they like it. I write for myself because writing is almost a compulsion for me. Readers enjoying my writing is a bonus.

3. The most humbling thing? All of the work it takes to get the books out and maintain a normal life while still trying to write. I realized pretty quick that I wasn’t superwoman. I’m still trying, but someone keeps standing on my cape.

mickeypic_1_-124x149Mickey Hoffman, author of School of Lies:

1. For me, writing is like being in that space just after you woke up from a dream but you only remember half of the dream and you spend all your waking moments trying to flesh it out.

2. I had some stories to tell and now I feel like they’ll be heard. And it really is thrilling. I feel like I’m white water rafting and I don’t need a boat!

3. I’ll be awed that anyone would take the time to read what I’ve written when they could be doing something more valuable with their time.

Deborah_J_Ledford-114x160Deborah J Ledford, author of Staccato and Snare:

1. I am an entertainer. I don’t write for a cause or to pose my own thoughts or impressions on issues. My only function is to provide a suspense-filled, exciting ride the reader won’t want to stop until they reach the very last word.

2. The most thrilling thing about being published is seeing the words I’ve worked so diligently to craft actually in print. If what I present happens to be worthy enough for readers to tell others about Staccato, that’s all I could ask for.

3. Everything about being published is humbling to me. That readers would seek out Staccato, then take the time to escape from their lives for a while, makes me more grateful than anyone could possibly know.

Sherrie_-_book_2-120x154Sherrie Hansen Decker, author of Night and Day, Stormy Weather, and Water Lily:

1. For me, writing is like a dream vacation – a chance to escape the realities of my everyday life and travel to some faraway world where I can see the sights and meet new people.

2. For years, I wrote and wrote, wondering if anyone would ever read my words. What a wonderful feeling to be writing for readers who are eagerly awaiting my next release!

3. Every time I think I have a perfect draft, I find more errors glaring out from the pages of my proof. Very humbling . . .

Norm2-140x151Norm Brown, author of The Carpet Ride:

1. As a retired computer programmer, I see a lot of similarities between writing a novel and creating a complex software program. Both processes require an enormous attention to detail. All the little parts have to tie together in a logical way and a good flow is critical. And it’s hard work to get all the “bugs” out of a book, too.

2. The most thrilling thing for me was pulling the first copy of my book out of the box and holding it in my hands. It was exciting to see something that I actually created.

3. The most humbling thing for me about being published was discovering how much I have to learn about promoting my book. I’m still learning.

biopicsmall-136x139Jerrica Knight-Catania, author of A Gentleman Never Tells:

1. Writing for me depends on the day. Some days it’s the most wonderful romp through my dream land and other days it’s like getting a root canal.

2. Knowing that someone else believes in your work enough to put it in print is just about the most thrilling feeling. It’s great to hear friends and family say how much they enjoyed my work, but to have it validated by professionals is a whole ‘nother ball game!

3. I’m not sure I’ve been humbled at all! Haha! But I’ve never really had unrealistic expectations of myself or my work. . . . I’m prepared to correct mistakes and make cuts/edits as needed. I’m just grateful every day for the opportunities I’ve been given.

Lindlae_Parish_photo-129x151Dellani Oakes, Author of Indian Summer and Lone Wolf:

1. Writing is like a discovery process. I start with a beginning line, an idea or even just a character’s name and watch as the characters lead me where they want me to go.

2. I loved the fact that I finally was validated. Someone did think I was worth publishing and I wasn’t just “Wasting time with all that writing.”

3. Humbling? Wow, I think the most humbling – perhaps humiliating – step in the publishing process is all the rejection you get until someone finally says “Yes, we want you!”

Margay_touch_up-129x150Margay Leah Justice, author of Nora’s Soul:

1. For me, writing is like creating a baby. There is the conception (what a wonderful idea!), the writing/rewriting period (gestation, anyone?) and the birth (I can’t believe it’s finally here!). And then you nurture it for the next couple of years as you slowly introduce it to the public – and hope they don’t think it’s an ugly baby.

2. The most thrilling thing about getting published is the sense of accomplishment when you see it in print for the first time and you discover that people actually like it!

3. The most humbling thing about getting published is seeing the book in print for the first time and realizing that all of those years of struggling, writing, rewriting, submitting – all boil down to this one little book that you can hold in the palm of your hand.

Chris2-132x150Christine Husom, author of Murder in Winnebago County, Buried in Wolf Lake, and An Altar by the River:

1. Writing is multi-faceted for me. It is a joy, but also pretty hard work at times. I do much of my writing in my mind and when I finally sit down to get it on paper, it often comes out differently. I spend more time mentally forming plots and picturing scenes than I do writing them. I love having a whole day here and there to sit at my computer and concentrate on writing. If I have problems with a scene, I skip ahead to the next one so I don’t get frustrated.

2. The most thrilling thing about being published is getting my books out of my house and into readers’ hands–hoping people get some enjoyment reading them.

3. The most humbling thing about getting published is seeing mistakes and typos in what I thought was an error-free manuscript!

Amy_12_1-113x151Amy De Trempe, author of Loving Lydia and Pure is the Heart:

1. Writing for me is like unmapped journey, I never know what turns, obstacles or excitement is about to unfold.

2. The most thrilling thing about getting published is seeing my name on a book cover.

3. The most humbling thing about getting published is finding out how supportive and happy my friends and family really are for me.

maggiemed-138x150Mairead Walpole, author of A Love Out of Time:

1. In some ways, writing is a form of therapy. Not from a “work out my issues” standpoint, but rather it allows me to escape from the day to day stresses of the world. I can let the creative, sometimes a little off-beat, imaginative part of my soul off the leash and let it run. Some of my very early writing did dip into the realm of “working out my issues” and those stories will never see the light of day!

2. Can I channel my inner Sallie Fields and run around saying, “They liked it, they really liked it…”? No? Darn. Seriously, I think it is the whole – I did this – aspect. Someone read the book and thought it was worth publishing. That is pretty cool no matter how you cut it.

3. Opening yourself up to criticism, being vulnerable. Sure, you know that not everyone is going to love your book, and intellectually you know that some people will hate it and think you are a hack, but when someone actually expresses that to you it is a whole new experience. It can be very humbling.

IMG_4132-use-115x154Suzette Vaughn, author of Badeaux Knights, Mortals, Gods, and a Muse, and Finding Madelyn:

1. I’m like a humming bird on too much caffine. I write in waves. When the wave hits I can put out several thousand words in an unbelievably small amount of time. Then when I’m not in humming bird mode I edit.

2. The most thrilling is probably the fact that there are people out there that I don’t know that have read my book and liked it. I had the pleasure a few times of meeting them and there is some twinkle in their eye that is amazing.

3. My son is always humbling. I recieved my proofs in the mail and my then seven year old son didn’t fully understand what it meant that I’d written a book. He flips through the pages looking for hand-writting. “I get in trouble when I write in books.”

jjdare-139x150JJ Dare, author of False Positive and False World:

1. Writing is like being in a triathlon for me. I power write for days or weeks at a time, then crash for awhile with the help of Tylenol and chocolate. Writing is a scary, exciting roller-coaster. It is exhilarating and draining, and Iwouldn’t do it any other way.

2. The most thrilling thing about getting published is the very act of being published! Something I wrote is out there, available for anyone to read. Holding the hard copy of my book in my hands gives me the good shivers. The other thrill is the pride in my family’s voices when they introduce me as “The Writer.”

3. The most humbling thing is feeling responsible for the places I take my readers. During the time they’re walking with and living the lives of the characters in my book, my readers are taking the same roller-coaster ride I took to write the

pat-135x150Pat Bertram, author of More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I:

1. For me, writing is like the world’s longest crossword puzzle, one that takes a year to complete. I like playing with words, finding their rhythm, and getting them to behave the way I want. I like being able to take those words and create ideas, characters, and emotions.

2. Someday perhaps, I will find the thrill of being published, but to be honest it was anti-climatic. I am more thrilled at the thought of what the future might bring now that my books have been published.

3. I had no intention of answering these questions. After all, I was the one who collated all these mini interviews, but a fellow author said, “This is your party, too. People will tune in because of you. They want to know more about YOU. Don’t cheat your fans and followers.” Now that’s humbling.

Click here to read the first chapters of all Second Wind novels: The Exciting Worlds of Second Wind Books

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A Book and A Blog

Whenever it’s my turn to blog, I’m always in a quandry. Do I talk about my latest work? Do I lament on how difficult it is to be an author? Do I take the flip side and discuss running a bookstore? What about taking a stab at the merits of running a publishing company?

And then I noticed that I get to follow  J. B. Kohl’s post about Barnhill’s. https://secondwindpub.wordpress.com/2010/06/09/barnhills/

Ha! What fun! I am in the unique position of actually meeting many of the Second Wind Authors face to face. There are 26 Second Wind authors in our little family, and at least 2 more in the wings currently. And that doesn’t include the 12 authors who won a place in the “Mystery is in the Wind” anthology. I’ve met 10 of the authors in person.

In February of 2009, I came from Phoenix AZ to Winston-Salem and met up with Norm Brown, Chris Husom, Lazarus Barnhill, Mairead Walpole, Suzette Vaughn, and Dellani Oakes.  This is all of us together: Facebook I’m the one on the bottom right. I write as Claire Collins, but my real name is Tracy and I manage a bookstore in Winston-Salem, NC called Barnhill’s. You can read more about it in the newspaper article about us that came out today.

J. Conrad Guest has the pain and pleasure of being the very first author to ever have a book signing at Barnhill’s. Ladies, he’s tall, good-looking, and funny. Call me and I’ll put you in touch…

Lucy Balch was gutsy enough to jump in right before our grand opening. She got to hang out with a masseuse and a winery and we sat in the back room and pigged out on Burke Street Pizza because we were all starving.

J. B. Kohl came to visit during the first day of our Grand Opening. Everything was just crazy around here that day. I was worried that I had neglected J.B and her friend but they both had a great time.

JJ Dare was supposed to have been part of our original group, but she came down with Strep throat right before we all met. Someday soon she will make it up to see me.

I was going to go up and meet Sherrie Hansen for an event at her beautiful bed and breakfast, but I wasn’t able to get up there.

I’ve also met a new Second Wind Author, Laura Wharton. Her book , “The Pirate’s Bastard” will be out by the fall.

So to everyone else… what are you waiting for? The invitation is open to have a book signing at Barnhill’s! Maybe this September, you can all come down for the Bookmarks Festival?


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A Day at Barnhill’s

I recently spent a magical day at Barnhill’s Bookstore in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, for a book-signing. I didn’t sign many books, but I nevertheless had a fabulous time, finally getting to meet Second Wind writers Lazarus Barnhill, Claire Collins (Tracy Beltran), and Suzette Vaughn. In the process of hanging out, I got to know Barnhill’s pretty well.

First of all, it’s in a prime location. The president of SIBA, Kelly Justice of Fountain Bookstore in Richmond, summed it up well when she said, “Winston-Salem needed an Indie Bookstore.”

Inside Barnhills, polished hardwood floors match a centrally-located, hand-crafted check-out island. The cashier’s stand also matches the bookshelves, since it’s made from a blend of two types of wood.

The two huge storefront windows let in excellent light, and the throughway (you can enter through the back or the front) creates a friendly, open mood. The walls are covered with art and murals from local artists, and Tracy’s warm greeting is a given.

Unique gifts delight at every turn: In one cubby you’ll find an eclectic collection of letter openers. In another, homemade pickles. There is something for everyone, from jewelry, to ornaments, to children’s toys, to hand-sewn wine bottle gift bags, to gourmet tea, to fudge, to … well, I won’t give it all away. You need to visit Barnhill’s yourself … or, if you live too far away, you might have to settle for visiting online.

More about the wine bottle gift bags: They have an excellent purpose for being there. Barnhill’s also offers a wide variety of wines from the North Carolinian vineyards. The day that I was there, Ken, from Round Peak Winery, led a wine tasting, and I bought a red zinfandel and a sangiovese. I’d have bought more if I hadn’t been driving down to Atlanta the next day, before heading home to Richmond. I wasn’t sure that the wine would appreciate being jostled so much … but I’ll be back for more in June.

And, of course, Barnhill’s is a bookstore and has books of all kinds. If you don’t see one that you want it can be ordered. When I was there, Carri Davis, the massage therapist who was giving chair massages (proceeds to benefit the Shephard’s Center), found an amazing book by artist Mark Ryden.

And that’s really one of the coolest things about Barnhill’s. Being there is like being on a treasure hunt. You never know what you’ll find.

May you be around for many years to come, Barnhill’s!

Lucy Balch

Author of Love Trumps Logic, available at Barnhills’s

And at http://secondwindpublishing.com


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…Who are you?

A couple of years ago when I was nearing the reality of being published, I had to make a decision about what name I would be published under. I knew it wasn’t a good idea to publish under my own name. I had a corporate identity and a family to think of. My real world and the fantasy world around my writing didn’t mesh. I borrowed from my maternal great grandmother Tereasa Clair (who I was named after) and her husband Guy Collins and I created Claire Collins.

As Claire Collins, I… she… we (?) wrote Images of Betrayal, and Fate and Destiny.

We started Seeds of September and planned to finish it last summer but then that whole real world stepped back in and I took a hiatus from writing. Somewhere along the way, I had stepped back from writing so far that I decided I would never finish my third novel, not to mention the six other novels jostling for position behind it.

Along the way, my fantasy writing world became my real world when I gave up my corporate job and 9 to 5 employee life, packed up my house and family, and moved to North Carolina to manage Barnhill’s Bookstore.

We hit our grand opening last weekend and now I’m settling into this whole new life. I think part of this new life includes Second Wind Publishing and Seeds of September, but if I do, I’m going to write under my own name instead of my alias.


Filed under books, life, writing