Author Interview: Tammy L. Grace (and her dog Zoe)

I’m happy to welcome Tammy L. Grace to share about her dog, her writing process, and what she’s got coming up next!

What does your writing process look like?

I’m most productive in the morning, so tend to write early in the day. I outline my ideas in a notebook, but write by typing directly into the computer in my home office. I usually have background music playing or the television. I typically make myself a cup of tea, a chai tea latte, or have a Coke Zero handy.

I usually read what I have written the day before to get back in the swing of the story before beginning. I use that time to fine tune or change things that don’t sound right. It takes some time but affords me the ability to do some proofing as I go and make sure the story flows correctly.

For Killer Music, I did a very detailed outline and plotted 90% of the book out before I started writing. For my other series of books, I wasn’t as detailed with my outline and added several things as I progressed through the story with the characters.

Do you have any strange writing habits?

Tammy’s dog Zoe celebrating her birthday.

Wow, I’m not sure, does talking to my dog count? Most people comment on the number of Sharpies I have on my desk. I tend to collect (hoard) the colorful markers and use them for notes, marking up drafts, and everything else. I love them and finally have an excuse to invest in all the colors, which makes editing easier.

What is your favorite/least favorite part of the writing process?

My favorite part of writing is developing the characters. I have the most fun inventing quirks and backstories for them. I enjoy creating them and making them into friends I’d want to know or sometimes people I’d rather avoid.

My least favorite part of writing would be editing. The process of re-reading and correcting wears me out. Even after my editor sends it back, I still go through it and tweak things. At some point an author has to stop editing and pronounce the project finished. I obsess at times and could see myself continuing to edit and correct, making improvements. I work well with deadlines, so generally give myself a date to complete the edits and finish.

Is there a subject you would never write about?

I don’t see myself writing in the science fiction genre. I tend to choose genres and subjects I enjoy reading myself, and I’ve never been a fan of science fiction.

How important are names in your books? How do select names?

Names are extremely important. I agonize over names for my characters and have a habit of spending a lot of time on this exercise. I maintain several lists of character names in my notebooks. I tend to shy away from names of people I know, but it’s almost impossible to do that. I always research names online, for popularity in the decade matching my character’s age. I also look for unusual names and in Killer Music enlisted the help of some friends from Tennessee who were kind enough to share a few family names with me. I changed the main character’s name in Killer Music to “Coop” more than halfway through the book. I’ve done that on a few of my books when I hear or find a name I really like that “fits” my character.

What literary character is most like you?

That’s a tough question, but one that comes to mind is Hermione Granger from the Harry Potter series. I’m a big nerd and was always one to raise my hand and answer questions. I love to study, read, and learn. I’d live in a library if I could. I’m calm in a crisis and tend to be the glue that holds things together. Hermione is all that and makes it seem much cooler than I do.

What is something you want to accomplish before you die?

I’d like to write a successful thriller.

Where is one place you want to visit that you haven’t?

Only one, huh? I’ve wanted to visit Scotland for years and after watching Outlander, it’s moved to the top of my list.

What books/authors have inspired you?

I’ve consumed books since I was a child and consider reading my favorite hobby, so it’s tough to name just a few. I think the first book that inspired me to want to write a book was Little Women. I love books that suck the reader in and make me feel like I’m part of the story, immersed in the characters. Authors that come to mind that consistently do this are David Baldacci, Kristin Hannah, Nicholas Sparks, Lee Child, Debbie Macomber, and Diana Galbaldon.

What are you working on now?

I’ve started the fourth book in my Hometown Harbor Series. Like the previous three this will be set in Friday Harbor, off the coast of Washington. Readers will be reunited with the characters they’ve come to know and love, but the fourth book will focus on Ellie Carlson, the local baker and owner of Sweet Treats.


When private detective Cooper “Coop” Harrington meets record label mogul Grayson Taylor at a swank gathering of country music artists and politicians he never imagines he’ll be investigating his brutal murder less than twenty-four hours later.

The suspects are plentiful. More than a handful of people could have wanted him dead. Retained by Taylor’s widow, Coop works alongside his best friend and Chief of Detectives, Ben Mason. The investigation leads Coop and Ben to visit the luxurious mansions of recording industry magnates, navigate the murky undercurrents of the political world, and probe complicated family matters. Scandalous indiscretions, secrets, and hints of corruption swirl in the midst of their pursuit of the killer.

Coop’s faithful friend and assistant, Annabelle and his loyal golden retriever, Gus, both lend a hand during the investigation. Even his Aunt Camille mines the local gossip mill to unearth potential killers with motive. Yet the case seems hopeless until a crucial piece of evidence emerges that sends Coop and Ben on a race to catch the killer before someone else dies.

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About the Author

Born and raised in Nevada, Tammy L. Grace loved reading at a young age. With the help of her middle school teacher, she discovered the joy of writing. After spending a career in local and state government service, she retired and finally has the time to dedicate to writing.

When Tammy isn’t working on ideas for a novel, she’s spending time with family and friends or supporting her addiction to books and chocolate. She and her husband have one grown son and a spoiled golden retriever.

E: Esoteric #AtoZChallenge

I’ve always found esoteric ideas interesting. I put “esoteric” into Google, and the first site that was returned (after dictionary definitions and Wikipedia) was a compilation of Western esoteric texts. It looks interesting.

And if you’d like the definition, here is what Merriam-Webster has to say:

Full Definition of ESOTERIC

a :  designed for or understood by the specially initiated alone <a body of esoteric legal doctrine — B. N. Cardozo>

b :  requiring or exhibiting knowledge that is restricted to a small group <esoteric terminology>; broadly :  difficult to understand <esoteric subjects>

a :  limited to a small circle <engaging in esoteric pursuits>

b :  private, confidential <an esoteric purpose>

:  of special, rare, or unusual interest <esoteric building materials>

\-i-k(ə-)lē\ adverb

D: Dating Consultation (an excerpt from my latest novel) #AtoZChallenge

Today I’m doing double duty of the A to Z Challenge and My Sexy Saturday, so my seven paragraphs this week is about a dating consultation. And the two hops collide! 🙂 This excerpt is from my upcoming release Monica’s Match. Monica is a matchmaker, who is inconveniently attracted to one of her clients. Jeremiah, the client, wants to get to know Monica so hires her for a “dating consultation” that is really a date.

Monica was pretty sure Jeremiah wasn’t hearing a word she said, a fact confirmed when she stopped talking and he kept staring off into the distance. Must be a really fascinating cow over that way.

Why had he wanted her advice if he wasn’t going to listen to it? She’d bet her life savings he couldn’t repeat anything she’d said in the last several minutes back to her. Of course, thanks to starting her own business, her life savings consisted of about fifty bucks in a savings account her parents had set up for her when she turned eighteen, so she wouldn’t have too much skin in that game. That made it pretty easy to commit to a bet that he hadn’t brought her out here for dating advice either. Her earlier fear that he suspected she was hiding something reared its ugly head. How long would it be until Ed, Bunny, Edna, Bea, and the other kind people she’d met in this town looked at her like she needed to head to the funny farm? “So do you feel prepared for your first date now?”

“What? Oh, yeah. Sure.”

She could barely contain her snort as she started to stand. “We should head back. I’d like a little time to prepare for the next appointment.”

Instead of getting up, he scooted until his back rested against the tree and then patted the ground next to him with that charming, dimpled grin back on his almost painfully handsome face. “Give me ten more minutes. You haven’t relaxed yet, and under this tree is the best place to unwind.” His voice was a smooth drawl with just the right amount of pleading to batter at her defenses. She hesitated and glanced at her smartphone to note the time. No one expected her back for about thirty-five minutes. Time was just not on her side.

“Come on. You told me yourself you haven’t spent much time in the country. Take a few moments to smell the fresh air and listen to the wilds.”

Oh, what the heck? They could easily spend the next ten minutes arguing about whether to go or stay. She sank next to him on the grass and leaned against the tree so her shoulder brushed his. The electric sizzle she felt whenever she touched him was back.

Monica has the ability to see a guy’s aura light up the first time he touches his soul mate, but she’s kept it a secret since her parents shamed her as a child. Still, she decides to start her own matchmaking company—even if she doesn’t advertise her unique ability. Business is so-so until she gets a call to find matches for the singles of the small town of Perry Grove. She’s not looking for love herself but has an immediate attraction to one of her clients. Too bad another woman lit up his aura.

Hunky dairy farmer Jeremiah wants nothing to do with his grandpa’s hare-brained matchmaking scheme but agrees to play along to appease the man who raised him.  But when he meets the sexy matchmaker, he starts to rethink his single status. Too bad she’s intent on pairing him up with another woman. If there’s one thing he knows, though, it’s how to be stubborn.

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A: And so it begins… #AtoZChallenge

I first attempted the April A to Z Challenge a few years ago. Then, I put together a list of topics for each day, neatly typed into Word. I coerced my friends into giving me input, i.e. made them listen to me talk about my ideas. It was going to be an epic month of brilliance.

By day three, I was already off topic.

Lesson learned: I suck at following plans. 😉 This shouldn’t have surprised me. A perusal of my past would’ve made it obvious.

The important thing was: I finished.

This time around, I have no plan other than to post for each letter on the allotted day. No themes, no preconceived ideas down on paper, or rather, Word document. Sure, I’m kicking thoughts around in my head. I’m releasing a new novel this month, so there’s a good bet that will get some mentions. I’m doing a meditation challenge, which will surely provide blogging fodder. Recipes and cute animal anecdotes are a few loves of mine.

All I know for sure is it’s going to be a wild ride. I hope you’ll join me.

Review: 21 Days by Bethany Lopez

21 Days is a steamy romance that is book two in Bethany Lopez’s Time for Love series. TJ loses his job and apartment in one fell swoop, and Sasha offers to let him stay with her until he gets back on his feet. He gives himself twenty-one days to find a new job and place to live.

I didn’t read the first book in this series, but the group of six twenty-somethings, friends since high school, are prominently featured throughout. I had no trouble following this book. It’s a straightforward plot of good friends finding their way as adults. Sasha and TJ both had difficult childhoods due to poor parents, and in TJ’s case, poverty and physical abuse. They’re both gun shy of having a real relationship, and living together challenges the boundaries they’ve set.

The book reads quickly. It’s in first person, alternating between TJ’s and Sasha’s POV. I often dislike first person books from multiple points of view, but Ms. Lopez does a pretty good job of adding in enough details to make the voices distinct. I enjoyed this feel-good story of friendship and love, and give it four cat kisses.

4 cats

Sasha and TJ are no strangers to enjoying sex with no strings attached, so when they decide to act on their mutual attraction, there should be no reason why they can’t apply that same philosophy to each other.

Money has never been an issue for Sasha, which made proving herself as a real estate dynamo a personal challenge she was determined to conquer. Raised in a gilded world masking neglect and disappointment, she learned not to depend on anyone, especially when it comes to love and relationships. Men are great for companionship, but she isn’t looking for anything serious.

Used to going without, TJ has worked hard to be able to support himself. When he loses his job and his home in one fell swoop, he faces relying on others for the first time in his adult life. Then Sasha steps in, offering him a place to stay until he’s back on his feet. He grudgingly agrees, but vows to be out of her guest room within 21 days.

They’ll discover that a lot can change in 21 days, especially when they decide to give the idea of “friends with benefits” a try. As each day passes, Sasha and TJ become closer than they’ve ever been. Will they be able to go back to being just friends when their days together are up, or will they allow their personal hang-ups to get in the way of what they really cherish most?

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About the Author

Award-Winning Author Bethany Lopez began self-publishing in June 2011. She’s a lover of all things romance: books, movies, music, and life, and she incorporates that into the books she writes. When she isn’t reading or writing, she loves spending time with her husband and children, traveling whenever possible. Some of her favorite things are: Kristen Ashley Books, coffee in the morning, and In N Out burgers.