Our very own Billy Freda is on the cover. Read his interview with the link below.
Schedule Protecting His Alien Mate by Clare Dargin
Miranda finds an amazing life-like doll at the second hand store for a steal that resembles someone she knows. Walking home while enjoying her new purchase, she encounters her upstairs neighbor Mark. She has been admiring him from afar, spoken to him when they see each other, but has never managed to catch his interest…or so she thought. Mark asks her about going to the Halloween ball with him since neither has a date. After growing up in a house that didn’t celebrate the holiday, Miranda is looking forward to her first Halloween party. Could this be the start of something wonderful, or does Mark have other ulterior motives?
She simply could not believe it was real. The tiny plastic body that proved anatomically correct… the hair that felt more real than even her own… the deep brown eyes that stared at her as she caressed the bare, buff plastic arm between her fingers. She’d never seen anything so lifelike. Standing just over a foot tall, the doll was remarkably realistic. Realistic and handsome.
“How much for him?” Miranda shouted, not meaning to raise her voice but eager over the excitement of her find.
“The doll?” the old man behind the counter questioned. “Three bucks.”
“Really?” she asked as her eyes grew wide with disbelief.
“Sure. I don’t even remember where it came from. Probably in a box of junk toys, for all I know. It’s three twenty-nine with tax.”
The old clerk offered to wrap and bag the doll for Miranda, but she kindly declined his offer. She wanted to carry him, in her hand, flesh against flesh… Crossing the street, Miranda did not bother to look up, but faith guided her safely across, even as her eyes never once left the doll that seemed to gaze back at her with a killer smile and twinkling eyes.
“I don’t know who you look like more,” she chatted to the doll as she rounded the corner onto Montgomery Street. “It’s either Mark in the apartment above mine or the hottie on the cover of that book I’m reading.”
Miranda was quiet for a moment, as if waiting for the doll to respond. When it said nothing, she continued just as softly as before.
“I’ll have to think of a name for you… You look a little Italian, but then again, I’ve never heard of a little Italian!”
-How do you handle sensitive writers who question every edit you make?
By discussing it with the author. I explain why I think the changes I suggested makes the story better and listen to the author explain why he/she prefers to have it the way they originally wrote it. We have always come to a happy median, my authors and I.
-Give an example of a time when you had to edit or write a piece under a strict deadline. How did you ensure that you met the deadline?
I have only had a few strict deadlines, but the way I ensure that my work on a piece is done in a timely manner is by not allowing someone else to butt in and tell me to do something else first. I try to stick with a first in/first out method. The few times that I have strayed on that concept always ended up coming back on me even if it was at the author’s request.
-There are two projects with the same deadline. One author is easygoing while the other constantly calls to ask when we will be done. Which project do you make your top priority? The first one that was submitted to me. However, if one is a second edit that an author has been sitting on for a while, I do not get in a big rush to finish it. I will not stop working on one project to rush another one through. Everyone deserves the same consideration and attention.
-What is your favorite style guide? Why?
I’m not sure that I have a favorite style guide. My editing is based off of what I was taught by my English teachers over the years in middle school, high school and college. If I am unsure of something, then I ask someone who is more knowledgeable than myself.
-What is the best advice you can give to writers that want to submit to you to be published by DCL?
Write a story not a screenplay– you want the reader to be able to follow your action. Write something that you would enjoy reading. Pay attention to your details so that you stay consistent in your story. Read it through from start to finish before submitting; that will help you catch some of the little things yourself. Do your very best to use the right word–take what MS Word recommends with a grain of salt because it is not always right. Follow the guidelines set on the submissions page for anyone you consider submitting to.
-Where can they contact you to do so?
How do you conceive your plot ideas? Most of my ideas come from places I’ve visited. Something about exciting locales like Washington, D.C., or Gettysburg, PA, will incite me to conjure characters and situations around them.
Have you written a book you love that you have not been able to get published? I wrote a novel for middle-grade boys several years ago that I sent out to several agents and after getting feedback, decided to shelve. I may go back and self-publish it.
How long did it take you to publish your first book, after you started trying? I spent about two years learning the ropes of the romance genre in the late 1990s, but I didn’t get farther than writing 50 pages of three different books before I was offered a fabulous full-time job. I abandoned my fiction writing for eight years while I was working full time as communications director for the city of Orlando, and then when I retired, I started writing, again. This time, it just took one year to finish a polished manuscript and find a publisher.
Where can readers best contact you? My website is http://www.susanblexrud.com/, or I welcome contacts via Facebook and Pinterest.
-Who is your target readers ?
My target readers are adults that like a happily ever after. I don’t like a lot of conflict between my h/h there’s too much of that in the real world. I like them to stand side by side and beat the odds.
-What are the major themes of your work?
I don’t have a theme. My characters speak to me and I wrote it down so I write in many genres.
-Any recent works that you admire?
I’m a big fan of Sherrilynn Kenyon and Christine Feehan. But also love Julie Garwood.
-What do you think ppl search for in a book?
An Escape from the real world if only for a couple hours.
-Where can readers best keep up to date with your work?
My Facebook is the best place to keep up to date with what I’m doing. Of course Nook and Kindle have all my work at your finger tips.