Author's Spotlight:  Tabitha  Blake

Merry Christmas,

So far I’ve dedicated this section of my site to writers who are already published. More than likely that will be the trend that I will continue. But…I’m thinking of speaking something into existence with Tabitha Blake.  Tabitha I do believe will be adding published author to her resume shortly and I will have the first interview. YEAH!!!!!

Tabitha, thank you for allowing me to interview you. So tell me all about you your family what you do, what you read, what you like what you don’t like.  In other words—Dish.  There are many who put down the romance genre, both writers and readers.  I know that readers come from many diverse backgrounds and have a wide range of interests. So I seriously want you to tell us about you, your life, your likes and your dislikes.

Tabitha: I am married to the sweetest man on the planet. I know some women would beg to differ but in my world he is my real life hero. I am the mother of four get kids. Writing is what I live for and love. I write paranormal suspense and romance. I try to fit in as much writing as I can on a regular basis but sometimes that doesn’t happen. Life seems to get in the way sometimes. That is just a little about me.

Dyanne:  LOL.  I’d have to fight you for the title of being married to the sweetest man. J But I do love hearing about happy marriages. As a matter of fact today is our anniversary.  Bill and I have been married 40 years.

Alright, enough of my talking about myself, this interview is about you. As an aspiring author can you tell me where you are in the game?  I want to know everything, what you write, how far along you are, have you entered any writing contests, how you did. Have you submitted your work anywhere?

Tabitha: I am three quarters of the way through my first ms. Then it is off to edits. I don’t do any edits until I am finished with my first draft. I have a demanding internal editor that I have to practically tie down while I am writing my first draft. The reason behind that is I will go back and rewrite and never see a finished product. This happened with my first ms and I got so frustrated it has been put on the back burner for now. I haven’t entered any contest yet but look forward to the day I have a finished story to take this step in my writing career. And I do see my writing as a career and not a hobby. It frustrates me when someone says, “Oh, what a cool hobby.” If they only knew how much blood, sweat and tears go into writing a book.

Dyanne:  Now can you tell us a bit about what you’re writing, the highlights. Don’t give away your entire book or even anything unusual you have in your story.  We don’t want your future readers to find out until they’ve bought the book

Tabitha: My current project is a paranormal suspense called Soul Extraction. (Heroine) Lyric is a hardened FBI agent that is on the hunt for a sexual demon that is sucking the souls from unsuspecting women. Only she doesn’t know he is a demon yet. Then she meets (Hero) Craigen a fallen angel sent to find the demon she is searching for. Of course there is a battle of wills when Craigen tries to keep her safe. She is a very strong willed woman and he has met his match when it comes to defiance. But along the way the sexual tension spikes and they find themselves trying to fight the attraction to one another. Things really spiral out of control when (Demon) Nyx decides he wants Lyric. Craigen wants Lyric to hide out while he tracks Nyx but Lyric will have no part in that plan. With mummified bodies piling up she refuses to stand by and do nothing.

 Dyanne: Soul Extraction sounds like a winner. A demon and a fallen angel.  I can’t wait until you’re done and it’s published. Tabitha, as a writer and reader I’ve noticed a tremendous amount of reading with things that were once considered taboo, M/M  ménage, gay BDSM .  What’s your take on this?

Tabitha: I read more sensual romance than the racier stuff but I do cross the line every once in a while and read some of the really hot and steamy stuff. My biggest thing is it has to be a love story. If it is only about the hot and steamy sex then you have lost me. I need to feel the attractions and eventually the love between the characters. I have read some really good ménage stories but I have to say they were true love stories. The characters fell head over heals in love with each other. I don’t read M/M. I am not knocking the authors of these books but it’s just not my cup of tea. I think you should write what feels right to you but if you are going to group yourself in the romance genre then you need more than just steamy sex scenes. You need to have intense love scenes and the unavoidable need of the characters wanting to be together. I also think you need strong sexual tension. I love to see two characters that fight their attraction only to realize it is a pointless fight. Then in the end when they get their HEA it just feels so fulfilling. Its like you take a deep sigh and smile as you close the book. That’s the way I want to feel when I finish a book. Satisfied.

Dyanne:   As we all know writers are readers or should be. So this part of the interview will focus on you the reader. First tell me what you’re reading right now.  Give us a mini review.

Tabitha: Were She Belongs By Dixie Lyn Dwyer
Well I have to say I am reading a very sexy ménage. It is a paranormal romance about three shifter brothers and the one woman that just happens to be the lucky lady to be the mate to all three. It has a lot of twists and turns I never expected. She has a past that even surprises her. The Characters are very real and believable. She does a great job with the brothers, they are triplets but she has managed to make them all very different in personality. I am about three chapters away from finishing this story and have loved it. But I have to warn anyone that might pick this one up. It is very hot and steamy. Not for the faint of heart. LOL!

Dyanne: Now for your reading pleasure. What types of books do you like to read?

Tabitha: I read mainly paranormals. I love the creatures of the paranormal world. Whether it is vampires, were creatures, demons, angels, they all make for a great read. This is what has pulled me in as a writer. I write paranormal because I love it. So it isn’t just my favorite it is also research to further my writing career. I believe all writers should read and keep reading. It sparks your imagination and keeps you thinking. I am a hopeless paranormal fan. Heck even the TV shows I watch have paranormal elements to them. I can’t get away from it. I live and breathe the paranormal, I am either reading it, writing it or watching it.

Dyanne:  A woman after my own heart.  It took me some time to transition to writing paranormal.  I didn’t think that I could do a good job of it.  But I’ve always loved things that went bump in the night and have always read things that scared me and watched movies and television shows that terrified me.  Okay, Tabitha, tell me who are some of your favorite authors and why.            
           
Tabitha: Well I have a few and have different reasons for each.

My first all time favorite would be Gena Showalter. She writes an amazing series called Lord’s of the Underworld. I have read all if these and wait with baited breath for the next in the series to hit the shelves. She writes the most amazing tortured hero. I am a sucker for a good tortured hero. She makes you feel their pain and want them to get their HEA. Let me tell you after she is done with these poor guys they deserve all the happiness in the world.

My second favorite would have to be Lyndsay Sands. She can write one heck of a story and make you roll on the floor laughing at times. I love her Argeneau series. I read her books when I am looking for a light and funny read. Her books lift my moods and give me the giggles.

My third Favorite would have to be Larissa Ione. Her Demonica Series is beyond amazing. She can write one heck of a sexy demon. But she also throws a little humor in her books. Which I love. Her stories take place in Underworld General a hospital for paranormal creatures. When I read her first book I thought what an original idea. The men in her books are a great example of the alpha male. Her books keep me reading and not wanting to put them down.

My fourth favorite would have to be Jacquelyn Frank. I have read her series The Shadow Dwellers, Night Walkers and The Gathers. She writes the most interesting and vivid worlds I have ever read. Her characters live in the shadow world and are the most unique characters that have graced the pages of a book in my opinion.

Dyanne:  I’m familiar with Gena Showalter.  A friend introduced her to me. Have you ever written any on line reviews for the book that you love?  How about the books that you hate?  What do you think about the reviews on Amazon?  Do they influence your purchases or just the opposite?

Tabitha: I have never written a review for a book before. Not because I won’t do it but because I never seem to have extra time. There is always something that needs to be done and never enough time it seems. I do have a Kindle and buy books often. I do read the reviews on Amazon but in the end I make my own decision on the book. I have read rave reviews and hated the story and read bad reviews and loved the story. It all comes down to an opinion and what you like. It also depends on who did the review. Was it a friend? A family member?  Then the review is kind of pointless. So I read the excerpt and decide if I think I would like it or not. So I pretty much go with my gut on picking my books.

Dyanne:  Same here. Tabitha, I’m sorry for throwing so many questions at you but I have a reason.  In recent months several friends have decided to give up writing. They’re all published and all talented but they have gotten tired of the harsh reviews.  Do you have any words of encouragement to give to those writers?

Tabitha: Well I know one thing we have to grow a really thick skin in this business. I know easier said than done. I have had my fair share of disappointments sense I started writing. And I will be the first to say it hurts and really makes you think your writing is worthless but I am blessed with some really great writer friends. You really need a strong support system and not your family. You need someone that can sympathize with the trials we all go through as writers. It is easy to say I am so sorry but you can do this, when they have no clue what you are going through. So I recommend you surround yourself with people that are going through the same ego crushing things you are as a writer. I also believe you should never give up on your dreams. Now if you truly feel writing isn’t for you then I support that decision but if you quit because of a bad review or critique you are giving up on yourself. Hold tight to your dreams. No one can crush your dreams unless you allow them to. I keep these positive quotes on the wall above my desk to remind me to keep going.

“A writer who never quits is called published.”
J.A. Conrath

“When you reach the end of your rope, tie a knot in it and hang on.”
Thomas Jefferson

“Each rejection brings me closer to publication.”
Writer’s Relief

 

Dyanne:   Excellent advice. And thank you for the quotes.  Tabitha, I think this will be a standard question I will ask of readers because it’s important for the writers to know this. I know you already know that not everyone like the same things and what one man finds wonderful the next one finds distasteful.  What things in books really set your teeth on edge?

Tabitha:  I think it would have to be a lot of sex and no story. I need a really good story to keep me reading. The sex in a book is not my top priority when I pick a book. To me pointless sex is just not my thing. I need a good plot, believable characters and a deep love between H/H. These are a must in anything I read. I do read some erotic romances every once in a while but they still need to be in a loving relationship or working to get there.   

Dyanne:   What words of advice do you have for writers that are staying in the game?

Tabitha: All I can say is stay strong. Believe in yourself and don’t let anyone tear your dreams from you. I don’t think anyone should tell someone his or her dreams are ridiculous. As writers we all have had someone look at us like we are crazy when we say we are writing a book. You get that slight smile and nod. I know I have gotten that response too. But who cares. No one but you has to believe in your dreams and one day you can look that person in the eye and say hey I got published. Then see what they have to say. I don’t mean to sound snarky but I don’t believe in crushing other people’s dreams. Remember to hold your head high and push forward. You can do anything if you believe in yourself.

Dyanne:    I’m with you on not crushing other people dreams.  You’ve done an excellent job on telling us about your favorite types of books, what are your least favorite type of books and why?

Tabitha: I would have to say Contemporary and Historical. I am not bashing the writer of these books in anyway. They are just not my cup of tea. I actually respect these authors beyond belief. They do a lot of research for their books. I have to say they have more patients than I do. Heck in my books I have such freedom. I can create worlds, words, creatures, etc. They don’t have that luxury; they must do everything from their research. I read mainly paranormals and need the otherworldly creatures to keep me interested. I need the fantasy that vampires, were creatures etc. provide.

Dyanne:    LOL.  I think one of the reasons I love paranormal so much is that it is in all sense of the word, fiction. Historical writers get called out if they make any kind of mistakes in their research.  I truly admire them.  So let me ask you this question, if a writer disappoints you in one book will you give that writer another chance?

Tabitha: It would depend on the author. If it is one that I read regularly then yes I would. I mean we are all going to have an occasional book that isn’t all that great. We are only human and are allowed to have a little hiccup every once in a while. I hate to say this but if it is a new author I have picked up then I probably wouldn’t read any more of their books. The main reason is books are expensive and if they disappoint me I don’t finish the book and it is just a waist of money. But that doesn’t mean they are terrible authors we all have different taste in books. I have read books others have raved about and hated them and vice versa. So just like the publishing business it all comes down to an opinion and we all have a right to our opinions.

Dyanne:   I’m telling you right now that I hope you have a fantastic career, you’re terrific. Tabitha I have to ask this question.  When you like a writer and they stop writing the kinds of books that you started reading them for are you disappointed or do you understand that the writer is just growing?

Tabitha: I applaud a writer that can write in different genres. I may not read every book they write but I think it is great to be versatile in your writing. Sometimes you have to write the story then see where it fits. I started Soul Extraction determined that it was going to be a paranormal romance and found out it is a paranormal suspense. So I don’t think you should cram yourself into the perfect box and limit yourself. I think this is a wonderful thing for a writer to find out they can write in different genres. I don’t think you can classify a novel until it is done.

Dyanne:   I find that more and more discussion on the internet has to do with the amount of sex in books, and I’m not talking romance or love scenes but sex.  There is a difference. Do you find the amount of graphic sex in books to be offensive?  Do you think writers have crossed the line?  How do you think they can rein it back in while still keeping their audience?  Why do you think women are demanding more and more books with more and more graphic sex?

Tabitha: I think what gets me the most is the language. I don’t feel someone that loves you would speak to you that way. I don’t know maybe it is just me. I think sometimes the love is down played by the harsh words that are written on the page. I think when you are in love you cherish that person and don’t say things that seem to be derogatory. So for me it is the language. As far as the sex is concerned we all like different things. I think you can get the intensity in a sex scene across with out the harsh words. But that is just my opinion and unfortunately we all have one and sometimes they have to be taken with a grain of sand. I also think women have changed and feel we are equal to men now and have the right to read what ever we want. I do agree with that. We aren’t reading what our mothers and grandmother read. We have grown stronger and see things differently. So I don’t think women wanting more sex in their novels is wrong at all. We have a wide variety of novels to choose from, erotic, ménage, M/M, etc. I have to admit I do enjoy an erotic romance every now and then. That’s my thoughts on it.

Dyanne:  Tabitha, once again I’ve asked you a bunch of questions in one.  I value your opinion and I want to give you a chance to have your voice heard.   Is there anything that I haven’t asked you that you would like to say? 

Tabitha: I thought it would be fun to tell you some things you might not know about me.

I am a very proud Army mom. My oldest son is a strong and dedicated soldier. In fact I wrote a short story dedicated to my son called A Soldier’s Mom. It is very dear to my heart. I struggled with him choosing the military and leaving so I wrote this story when I was trying to cope with the fear and loss that engulfed me.
http://careyabbott1.wordpress.com/2010/07/08/a-mothers-love

I am a devoted animal lover. In fact I use to help run an animal rescue group many years ago. I have three cats, Zoe, Mac and Ranger. They are spoiled rotten and run my house. I treat them like my kids and they take full advantage believe me. Never a dull moment in my house, we get lots of laughs watching their crazy antics.

This one will make you laugh. I write paranormal but can’t watch a scary movie if I plan on sleeping one wink. LOL! I will be up all night with the lights on and my eyes wide. Every noise will have me jumping out of my skin. Funny, huh? Sad but so true. I am a total scaredy cat.

I am also a Rock Band junkie. Yep. I play Rock Band with my kids and my husband. It started out the kids convinced me to sing and it was all down hill from there. The funny thing is now me and my husband play when the kids aren’t around. It’s a lot of fun to release my inner rock star. Oh but I won’t be quitting my day job anytime soon. I score high on the game but that doesn’t mean I can sing. LOL!

One of my crazy quirks is my house has to be clean before I can write or even go to bed. I know it is totally insane. But I have to say my house stays really clean and my husband loves it.

Dyanne:  Thank you for the story for the readers and for me.  What a great testament for a mother to make to her son.  I’m sure everyone who reads this share in your pride of your son and his service to the nation. Thank him for all of us and wish him a very Merry Christmas and tell him to stay safe.  I’m so glad that you told us in your own words things that I never would have thought to ask.  I love reading about writers.  Maybe I’m just nosey. J

Now let’s get back to Tabitha the writer.  What things are you doing right now in preparation for your call, email, or whatever that says “YES I’M READY? ( writer’s group, giving workshops, taking workshops, blogs, any on-line presence.

Tabitha: I have taken a creative writing course, which I recommend to any new writer. I learned all the hard rules and now writing is so much easier. Don’t get me wrong I am still learning everyday but the courses really helped clean up my writing. I run my own critique group and blog. I have really put a lot of work into my blog Tabby’s Nocturnal Nights. I started out with just a few writers and now we are up to twenty-four and have a blog for everyday of the month. We do blogs about publisher’s news, book reviews, new releases, writing rules, interviews, contest and workshops and so much more. My links are below. Starting Dec 6th we are having our first Christmas contest on NN. It is going to be amazing. Twelve authors will be giving away twelve books to one lucky winner. Here is the link to the contest page on my blog.
http://tabithablake.blogspot.com/p/nn-christmas-contest.html
I try to do interviews and guest blogs when I can. I don’t think it is ever too early to get your name out there.

Dyanne:   Very good Tabitha.  A lot of writers wait but I agree it’s never too early to begin your foray into the public arena.  Thank you, Tabitha.  If you have an email address, blog or other form of communication that you’d like to give please do so.

Tabitha:  Thank you so much for having me. You asked some really hard questions but they were very important once that others shy away from. I really enjoyed being here. I left all my contact information below. I love to here from readers and other writers. My blog is always looking for new followers. So stop by and say hi.

Tabby’s Nocturnal Nights
http://tabithablake.blogspot.com

Tabitha Blake’s Nocturnal Nights
http://www.tabithablakesnocturnalnights.com

Enchanting the Muse Crit Group
Run By Tabitha Blake
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/enchantingthemusecritgroup

Tabitha Blake’s Email
tabithablake@ymail.com

Check out Tabitha’s link and the story she wrote for her son.  It’s been a pleasure, Tabitha.

Dyanne

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