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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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Romance Giveaway for Valentine’s Day. Free ebooks! Everybody wins!

Second Wind Publishing is celebrating close encounters of the romantic kind this Valentine’s Day by giving away free romance ebooks! All you have to do to receive your ebook is to leave a comment mentioning which one of the following books you want to read. We will send you a coupon code to use at Smashwords.com where you can download your free ebook in whatever format you choose, including Palm Doc for Palm reading devices.

Dancing at all the Weddings by Susan Surman:

Vivacious and talented Elaine Richman is faced with choices: A risky life in the New York theatre; an exciting life with college sweetheart, actor/director Jake Applebaum in Hollywood; a secure life in Boston with predictable lawyer David Alter, the match anointed by her domineering mother because ‘he’s the kind you marry.’ On the way to a dream, it is possible to collide with another dream’s seduction, only to learn there is no fulfillment on the path to safety. Elaine goes through the wringer to meet herself, proving there is no expiration date on talent or true love.

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

You know Backstop. He plays the catcher’s position for any team in any city in America with a major league ball club. You cheer him when he delivers, and boo him when he doesn’t. Told in his own words during the seventh and deciding game of the World Series, Backstop chronicles his rookie season, takes the reader to Chicago, where he finds romance, and reveals the heartbreak he endured in the aftermath of his one indiscretion. You’ll cheer for Backstop, both on and off the field, as he plays the most important game of his career, haunted by the ghost of his father, and fights to win back the heart of the woman he loves more than the game.

Fate and Destiny by Claire Collins

Discovering Destiny was the last thing Andrew Greer expected.

Alone in a desolate cabin, Andrew Greer was perfectly content to wait out the blizzard with his adventurous dog, Shadow, as his only companion. Fate decided differently. When Shadow discovers the unconscious and injured woman, Andrew has no choice but to take her to the safety and warmth of his retreat.

Destiny weaves a tale of kidnapping and murder. Is she the witness and victim to the crimes? Or is she really a conspirator getting away with murder? Andrew is determined to protect Destiny and find out the truth. Can he find the real killer before it’s too late? Or has he already found her? Only Fate knows for sure.

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.

Lacey Took a Holiday by Lazarus Barnhill

She sold her soul for a bottle. He stole it back.

Lacey Grady is “a woman of leisure” and an alcoholic. Andy Warren is a bitter and jaded WWI veteran whose wife and only son died during childbirth. When Andy recognizes that Lacey is drinking herself to death, he kidnaps her out the brothel where she works and takes her to his mountaintop farm.

Besides being a sweet romance, Lazarus Barnhill’s Lacey Took a Holiday is a profound and profoundly moving story of redemption.

Indian Summer by Dellani Oakes

Lg51ROsDmoLXLIn the spring of 1739, Gabriella Deza stands poised on the verge of womanhood.  A product of her guarded upbringing, she is naive in the ways of love until dashing Manuel Enriques declares his love for her.  Quite by accident, Gabriella uncovers a plot hatched by British spy whose job is to capture the town and fort, Castillo de San Marcos.  Armed with her information, Manuel embarks on a dangerous mission to entrap the spy and save the town from being overthrown by the British.  Unfortunately, Gabriella herself is caught in the trap and kidnapped.  Can Manuel find and save her before it is too late?

Love is on the Wind, an anthology of love stories by the authors of Second Wind Publishing

Some of the stores included in this anthology are: “Love Transcends” by JJ Dare, “A Good Day” by Suzette Vaughn, “A Weeping Moment” by Christine Husom, “Fractured” by Dellani Oakes, “High Court of Love” by Amy De Trempe, “The Perfect Kiss” by Jerrica Knight-Catania, “Puppy Love” by Claire Collins, “A Hunt and a Kiss” by Juliet Waldron, “A Time for Dreams” by Mairead Walpole, “Stormy Weather” by Sherrie Hansen.

So, which Second Wind Publishing romance do you want to read? Dancing at all the WeddingsBackstop: A Baseball Love Story in Nine InningsFate and Destiny, Images of Betrayal,  Lacey Took a HolidayIndian Summer, or Love is on the Wind? Now’s your chance!

This offer expires on 2/20/ 2012.

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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.

Excerpt:

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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Romance Giveaway for Valentine’s Day. Free ebooks! Everybody wins!

Second Wind Publishing is celebrating close encounters of the romantic kind this Valentine’s Day by giving away free romance ebooks! All you have to do to receive your ebook is to leave a comment mentioning which one of the following books you want to read. We will send you a coupon code to use at Smashwords.com where you can download your free ebook in whatever format you choose.

Hand-Me-Down Bride by Juliet Waldron:

Hand-Me-Down BrideSophie is far from her German city home, newly married and even more newly widowed. She is left virtually penniless and adrift in post Civil-War Pennsylvania, where she is resented by her dead husband’s family. The last thing she expects is to be is attracted to another member of the scornful Wildbach tribe.  

Karl Joseph is still trying to forget the war, as well as the painful relationship he had with his father. He’s the first member of his proud family to want to “just be an American.” The last thing he wants is a German wife!

Hand-me-Down Bride blends all the elements of a tender romance with a genuine, old-time country setting.

Nora’s Soul by Margay Leah Justice

Nora Kendall believed in angels. Once. But then she lost her brother to cancer despite all of her prayers – and she lost her faith in all things angelic. Now, she is a lost soul who wanders through life like a sleepwalker, playing it safe and leaving the risk-taking to others.

Kyle Cameron is one of those risks. Burned by a bad marriage, his only concern now is providing a stable life for his children, who are left motherless by the unexpected death of his wife. This means working overtime to grow his architectural firm into a viable business – and leaving the care of his children to the care of someone he trusts. Despite his past connection with Nora, Kyle isn’t certain that she’s the right person for the job. He also doesn’t want to reconnect with her and repeat history.

But fate – and the machinations of two angels – has other ideas.

Fate and Destiny by Claire Collins

Discovering Destiny was the last thing Andrew Greer expected.

 Alone in a desolate cabin, Andrew Greer was perfectly content to wait out the blizzard with his adventurous dog, Shadow, as his only companion. Fate decided differently. When Shadow discovers the unconscious and injured woman, Andrew has no choice but to take her to the safety and warmth of his retreat.

 Destiny weaves a tale of kidnapping and murder. Is she the witness and victim to the crimes? Or is she really a conspirator getting away with murder? Andrew is determined to protect Destiny and find out the truth. Can he find the real killer before it’s too late? Or has he already found her? Only Fate knows for sure.

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.

Lacey Took a Holiday by Lazarus Barnhill

She sold her soul for a bottle. He stole it back.

Lacey Grady is “a woman of leisure” and an alcoholic. Andy Warren is a bitter and jaded WWI veteran whose wife and only son died during childbirth. When Andy recognizes that Lacey is drinking herself to death, he kidnaps her out the brothel where she works and takes her to his mountaintop farm.

Besides being a sweet romance, Lazarus Barnhill’s Lacey Took a Holiday is a profound and profoundly moving story of redemption.

Indian Summer by Dellani Oakes

Lg51ROsDmoLXLIn the spring of 1739, Gabriella Deza stands poised on the verge of womanhood.  A product of her guarded upbringing, she is naive in the ways of love until dashing Manuel Enriques declares his love for her.  Quite by accident, Gabriella uncovers a plot hatched by British spy whose job is to capture the town and fort, Castillo de San Marcos.  Armed with her information, Manuel embarks on a dangerous mission to entrap the spy and save the town from being overthrown by the British.  Unfortunately, Gabriella herself is caught in the trap and kidnapped.  Can Manuel find and save her before it is too late?

Love is on the Wind, an anthology of love stories by the authors of Second Wind Publishing

Some of the stores included in this anthology are: “Love Transcends” by JJ Dare, “A Good Day” by Suzette Vaughn, “A Weeping Moment” by Christine Husom, “Fractured” by Dellani Oakes, “High Court of Love” by Amy De Trempe, “The Perfect Kiss” by Jerrica Knight-Catania, “Puppy Love” by Claire Collins, “A Hunt and a Kiss” by Juliet Waldron, “A Time for Dreams” by Mairead Walpole, “Stormy Weather” by Sherrie Hansen.

So, which book do you want to read? Hand-Me-Down Bride, Nora’s Soul, Fate and Destiny, Images of Betrayal,  Lacey Took a HolidayIndian Summer, or Love is on the Wind? Now’s your chance!

This offer expires on 2/20/ 2011.

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Happy Bloggiversary to Us!

One year ago today, we at Second Wind Publishing started to blog. Many of us had never blogged before, but we wanted a forum to connect with our readers, and so we learned. While learning how to blog, we also learned how generous readers are with their comments, and we would like to thank all of you for your support. Click here for: Goodies and Giveaways.

To celebrate this anniversary, Second Wind authors talk about their experiences with blogging.

More Deaths Than OnePat Bertram, author of More Deaths Than One and A Spark of Heavenly Fire: I have more blogs than one, so I was familiar with blogging when I joined the authors here at Second Wind Publishing Blog, but it has been a wonderful experience participating in the growth of this blog with its fantastic array of posts. Wishing us all — authors and readers alike — a happy new blogyear!

Images of BetrayalClaire Collins, author of Images of Betrayal and Fate and Destiny: I’ve never been afraid to try new things, but my biggest problem has always been time. I didn’t know where I would find time to post blogs every few days in my already tight schedule. I started slowly, writing about writing and posting every couple of weeks to my blog and the Second Wind blog. Now, I actually enjoy blogging and I spend a lot of time on my own blog. Visit me if you get a chance.

Loving LydiaAmy De Trempe: author of Loving Lydia: For me, posting a blog was harder than writing a novel and it took some time before I became comfortable.  I wondered what I should write about and if I had anything intersting to say.  Now I find it to be a fun activity and have enjoyed posting to both Second Wind and my personal blog.  More importantly, I’ve found I really enjoy reading the posts of others and comments from readers. It has opened up a world for me that I barely knew existed.

False PositiveJJ Dare, author of False Positive: It’s been an interesting blog ride for me. Finding something new to say was daunting the first couple of times. I got over the initial “oh-my-gosh-what-am-I-going-to-talk-about” reaction fairly quickly. Instead ofagonizing over a post (and rewriting and rewriting the week prior to my turn atthe blog), I’m at the point where I can zip a blog post off with only a littlebit of editing. I’d have to say blogging is helping me in my own writing – I’m honing a fast write and never look back style 🙂

front-sta-195x304Deborah J Ledford, author of Staccato: I appreciate being able to tell followers of the Second Wind Publishing blog the evolution of my debut thriller Staccato from inception to publication to promotion. Sharing the journey through a series of articles in order to show the entire path this writer took, as well as what pitfalls I encountered along the way, has been a pleasure.

Buried in Wolf LakeChristine Husom, author of Murder in Winnebago County and Buried in Wolf Lake: Last year I barely knew what a blog was and hadn’t read one. Pat Bertram asked if she could post an article I had written for my fellow Second Wind authors about my first book-signing experience on her blog. Okay, sure. Suddenly, a link appeared on an email. I clicked it and there on the Book Marketing Floozy blog was my article. It was like magic. I have learned a bit since then, but haven’t been able to carve out the time to develop my own blog, or update my website. I post blogs on the Second Wind Publishing WordPress site. Mostly, I enjoy reading what the other authors write, on WordPress and Facebook. I recently joined Twitter and will try to figure that out one of these days. Blogs have opened a whole new world for me!

Badeaux KnightsSuzette Vaugn, author of Badeaux Knights and Mortals, Gods, and a Muse: In my first blog I talked about my extended family which just keeps growing. Every month it seems we get new authors in our mix that fit with the rest of us. Over the last year we’ve added several authors that seem like they’ve always been here. Amy, Lucy, Deb, Eric, Jennifer, Jerrica, Pat, Sherrie, Mickey, Juliet and the newest member J. Conrad have officially doubled my Second Wind Family. Then we have all you wonderful readers that make our family possible, thank you.

I’ve learned a lot since then too. I’m still working on the whole blogging thing but since I’ve figured out it doesn’t always have to be about writing, I’m doing better. I’ve featured favorite music, books, and slight jabs at my sister on my personal blog and actually have articles in the drafts waiting for those off days where I can’t think of anything.

Hand-Me-Down BrideJuliet Waldron, author of Hand-Me-Down Bride: Blogging seemed one of those internet “too much information” things until I got into it, and began to read the blogs of other Second Wind writers. Blogging keeps you focused on your craft and gets you to work in a briefer, but just as interesting, medium. It feels just one short step beyond the world of the campfire story teller. Personally, it’s been a sort of archeological project. A way for me to excavate  my own store of memory, from times now considered “historical.”  🙂

Thank you everyone for stopping by! Don’t forget to check out our goodies and giveaways.

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Images of Betrayal by Claire Collins (Review)

Images of Betrayal
by Claire Collins
Romance
Published by Second Wind Publishing, LLC
ISBN# 1935171011

Abandoned and betrayed by her family, seventeen-year-old Tysan Reynolds supports herself the best she can with tips from the diner where she works. Into her lonesome life come two men: photographer Walker Sandoval and high school heartthrob David McKee. What should have been a magical time of romance turns into a time of horror; the photos Walker takes foretell violence and disaster. When Tysan receives a picture of her bound and gagged sister, she must fight to save the girl. And she must put her trust into one of the men. But who is the villain? And who is the hero?

Though billed as a romance, Images of Betrayal seems to be more of a suspense novel. I didn’t feel the urgency of the romance, but that could be due to Tysan’s age — at seventeen, love is seldom undying and true. Still, the easy flow of words and the well-constructed plot make this an enjoyable read.

Claire’s publisher says: “Claire Collins possesses the ability to weave heart-rending plots and hair-raising thrillers, all the while making readers wonder how things will work out for the couple who find love in the midst of life’s turmoil.”

See also: Pat Bertram Introduces Doug From the Novel Fate and Destiny by Claire Collins

Pat Bertram is the author of More Deaths Than One and A Spark of Heavenly Fire, available from Second Wind Publishing

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The Very First Book…

Claire Collins, author of Fate and Destiny and Images of Betrayal, writes across many genres.

The very first book…
 
Years of hard work, my heart and soul translated into words on a page, open for the world to see. This is the leap of faith for a writer. A manuscript is a very private thing until I let that first person read it. After the first person, I allowed other eyes to see my words. With encouragement and tons of edits, my private world that I created is sent out into the world. I almost cried when it made its debut on Amazon. I hadn’t even seen a copy of the book yet and I couldn’t control myself. Before I even knew what I was doing, I was clicking the “Complete order” button with overnight shipping. I paid full price plus expedited shipping for a book that I would soon receive multiple copies of thanks to my publisher. My friends laughed at me sympathetically but they all nodded with understanding. Most of them would do the same thing.
 
I was at work when my skinny little box arrived from Amazon. My family could hardly contain themselves as they waited at the front door for me to come in the house. They presented the box to me like it was a priceless family heirloom, meant to be handled with care. I tore the box open and held my book in my hands. A tear slid from the corner of my eye, but I was laughing at the same time. Those were really my words on the pages I flipped through. That was my title, my photo, my blurbs. This was my book. My husband was downright giddy watching me hold my book. It was better than Christmas. He got the camera and took a picture of me holding my book. In the quiet evening after the excitement died down and the children wandered off, I sat looking at my book, flipping through the pages. What if people hated it? Then again, what if people loved it? Since I am a first time author with a small publisher, most people will never even see my book or know it exists. Maybe when I write the fiftieth novel, people will be clamoring to own these first novels. I don’t know what the future holds in terms of book sales. I only know that nothing will ever replace the feeling of opening the box and seeing the very first copy of my book.

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