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Thursday, June 23, 2011

FREE FOR ALL FRIDAY - Meet Author Randi Alexander!

Please help me welcome the talented RANDI ALEXANDER! She's brought CHASE AND SEDUCTION, her newest release, a very hot and sexy contemporary romance. And she will be giving away a free e-copy of HER COWBOY STUD to one lucky commentator. Plus - see it just keeps getting better - Randi is giving away a cowgirl hat to one subscriber to her newsletter.

You can learn more about Randi and her work at RandiAlexander.com
then come on back and get to know Randi :)

Thank you, Jennifer, for hosting me on your blog today. I'd like to talk a little bit about mentoring. It can be a scary term that brings to mind a vision of holding a ball of modeling clay in our big, strong hand and being solely responsible for whatever shape it ultimately takes.
On the other hand, (pun intended) it can be very rewarding. I was recruited to mentor fourth-grade students at a local inner-city school. "An easy job" I thought, when I signed up. The only task was to sit with a student as they worked through assignments and help them as necessary. I could handle that.
Ha!!! No one told me there was a whole new way to do math! Talk about scary. At first, I was lost, panicky, as if I'd made a huge mistake. What could I possibly teach these math-savvy children?
But just spending time with the kids, the teacher reassured me, was the important part of mentoring. They were so appreciative to have an adult focus their entire attention on them for a whole hour. I welled up every time I walked into the classroom and saw my student's face light up. It didn't matter that I was math-challenged. We learned together, and after a year, we were very good friends.
As a published author, I have opportunities to mentor new writers. When they approach me at conferences or public appearances, I can tell they're hesitant to ask for help. I listen to the detailed description of their book, remembering when I was at the same point in my writing career.
Then I do what always seems to shock them. I ask them to send me their first three chapters. I love to see that smile dawning on their face: appreciation, excitement. Wow, someone is interested in reading their work!
I'll give them a gentle-but-honest critique, and suggest books to help with basic craft techniques. I'll read their synopses and query letters, help set up websites, blogs, show them how to use social networking. It's time consuming, definitely, but I think I've been successful. One friend just received a contract from a publisher, and another is ready to submit to an agent.
I wish I'd had a mentor when I first started writing. Someone to keep me from stumbling - at least into the really deep ruts that held me back. And I wish I'd had a mentor in fourth grade, as well. A smiling face and a listening ear for when things got shaky and I was unsure.
I encourage you to consider mentoring, no matter what your skill level. There are so many opportunities out there - not to mold and shape that ball of modeling clay, but just to hold it in your hand and warm it.
My first book, Chase and Seduction was released May 27 from The Wild Rose Press' Cowboy Kink line, and I'm excited to share the blurb and a short excerpt with you.


Country music superstar/actor Chase Tanner has yet to be denied anything–and he’s never wanted anything or anyone more than gorgeous screenplay writer Reno Linden. So when the film they are working on is finally finished, Chase decides to turn up the volume on seducing Reno. 
Reno Linden lived a quiet, rural life until she was thrust into the Hollywood scene when her book was adapted to film. Chase Tanner is larger than life, sinfully sexy and hell-bent on getting her into bed. Skittish after a failed wedding engagement, Reno risks the plunge into Chase’s arms, and is surprised that her good girl self can keep up with bad boy Chase. 
Though Chase returns to his cowboy roots often, and Reno cherishes the time spent with him on his ranch, the two find their careers pulling them in different directions. Will their attraction survive the glitz and stress of fame? 
EXCERPT: Over 18 only, please.
Chase brushed his lips against her hair, and settled in. As exhaustion took him, he smiled. He couldn’t remember being this happy. Ever. But he had to know what she was feeling.
“Are you excited to go home, Reno?”
She hauled in a long breath and let it out slowly. “I wouldn’t say excited. Maybe anxious. I have so much to do once I get there.”
“Your book edits?”
“Yes, and I’m teaching a class in a few weeks. I haven’t prepared for that yet.”
The floral scent of her hair snuck into his nostrils. Another thing about her he’d never forget. “Is that what you want to be when you grow up? A teacher?”
She laughed and ran her hand over his ribs. “I do. I love to write, but I have a longing to share what I’ve learned with others. I get so excited reading young writers’ work, and it gives me great pleasure to be able to guide them. I’ve had some amazing mentors…and some not so great.”
She was talking about her ex-boyfriend. The one who tried to change her writing style. Make her into something she wasn’t so she’d fit into his life better. Asshole.
Her shoulder shrugged once, and she asked, “What about you, Chase. What do you want to be when you grow up?”
Staring into the dark, he couldn’t find the answer. He’d always wanted to go back to school. Not high school, but college. Take some classes and learn about things that people talked about. Politics and religion. Evolution, the planets, stuff under microscopes.
But he couldn’t tell Reno that. Hell, two years ago, he’d asked Jorjia to help him find a college, and she’d freaked out. She didn’t want the media to get a hold of the story. It would embarrass her if people knew she was dating someone so low class. That’s what she called him. Low class. She’d slapped him down hard, and the ache still lingered, flaring up every time he thought about going back to school.
He kissed Reno’s forehead. She’d never say something like that to him. But he sure as hell wasn’t going to remind her how uneducated he was.
“When I grow up, baby, I wanna be twice as sexy as I am now.”
She giggled a couple small laughs, then her breathing grew heavy and slow.
His last thought before he followed her into sleep, was that he’d never do anything to embarrass her the way he’d almost done to Jorjia.

To celebrate the release of Chase and Seduction, I'm giving away, to one lucky *commenter, an e-copy of my novella Her Cowboy Stud. Just leave a comment today and we'll choose a winner tomorrow. 
*Commenter must be 18 years of age or older to win.

I'm also giving away a cowgirl hat to one subscriber to my newsletter. For more details, and to sign up for this contest, please go to my website, RandiAlexander.com  And while you're there, you can read the first chapter of Chase and Seduction.
Good luck, and thank you!
Randi
Chase and Seduction available at The Wild Rose Press Wilder Roses

THANKS SO MUCH, RANDI, FOR BEING MY GUEST!

18 comments:

  1. Hello, Randi.

    It's so wonderful to meet you on the blog. I loved reading about your thoughts on mentoring and as an educator and unpublished author, I greatly appreciate people like you. Thank you! I also enjoyed reading your excerpt and look forward to reading Chase and Reno's story. May you have much success in all your writing endeavors.

    Thank you, Jennifer, for sharing another talented author with us. Great job!

    HUGS,

    JD :)

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  2. Hi Randi and Jennifer! I can see a touch of you in Reno, Randi. I can't wait to read your books. Great post and wonderful excerpt. Happy sales to you!

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  3. Great post, Randi! Very nice to meet you. I wish you good luck with your books!

    Yes, it's great to mentor (I'm a teacher)--it's incredibly consuming but also incredibly nourishing. I'm impressed by how much you're willing to give other writers!

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  4. Your post was almost my story, but I was the student Randi : )

    I was very lucky to have a wonderful mentor who helped me hugely in my publishing journey and I know without her, I wouldn't have got to where I am today. Her undivided attention and interest in my work made me feel worthy and made my confidence grow in my ability to tell a story well. Now, although I'm still new, I'm enjoying helping others along that path and to help grow their confidence. Sometimes thats all we need.

    I hope you realise just how important you are in the lives of these people you're helping Randi and thank you for spreading the love!

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  5. Hi JD, it's so good to hear from an educator. I was recruited by a teacher, and until I spoke with her, I didn't realize there were opportunities for mentoring. Good luck with your career - I hope you find a great mentor for your writing!

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  6. Hi Calisa, I read once where authors write their first lead female character as themselves, then in subsequent books, the characters are less and less like them. I'll have to re-read Chase and Seduction and see what percentage of me Reno contains. Thanks for stopping by!

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  7. Hi Elisa, I'm envious that you're a teacher. I've always loved training and teaching, and now I direct that passion into mentoring. I hope I've made the way easier for the writers I work with.

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  8. LaVerne, I'm so happy to hear your success story. And it's awesome that you're giving back by mentoring others. You're absolutely right about confidence. I received a text message from the woman I'm mentoring asking if she's even a decent writer, if she should just give up. (We've all been there, haven't we?)

    I reassure her, then give her a project to work on to take her mind off her self-doubt. I guess that's my way of 'spreading the love' as you so eloquently phrased it.

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  9. Hi Randi! Chase and Seduction sounds AWESOME! Loved the excerpt. I know what you mean about mentoring. Each Monday morning I go into my kids' school and volunteer an hour with the Kindergarten class. Even though many mornings I rush to get ready and set other "more important" things aside, afterwards, I'm always happy I went. There is just something about the appreciation I receive each time I go. One time I went into the school at the end of the day to pick up my own children. While waiting in the hallway for my kids to appear, I must have received about a dozen hugs from the Kindergarten class as they left for the day. I turned to the other waiting parents and said, "The next time I'm having a bad day, I'm going to come back here and just stand in the hallway when school lets out." The gratitude on those little faces...well, there's nothing in the world like it. It made me realize how much I had touched those kids' lives. Congratulations on your releases and here's to many sales!

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  10. Aw, AJ, what a wonderful story. Thanks for sharing. Now you've got me all misty. Isn't it amazing to know how much they love you? And how much richer your life is because of them. Kudos!

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  11. I have to say the most fulfilling job I ever had was teaching 1 1/2 yr. olds at a daycare. No other job do you go in and get such smiling, happy faces . . .and all the hugs!! I loved that job -- probably b/c it was way more than a job.
    Thanks again for being here, Randi.

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  12. Thank you Jennifer, for having me here today. I can just imagine a room full of toddlers all smiling and cute. That would be a happy job.

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  13. Some authors in my local writer's group helped me so if I can help another new writer, I will. But wow, reading the first 3 chapters of anyone who asks is a BIG deal. I commend you. I once agreed to read a couple of chapters of an unpubbed's work and it was nearly impossilbe to give a gentle critique. By the third paragraph, I understood why the author wasn't published.

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  14. Hi Lilly, I agree. Some of the writers work I read is definitely a first try. Besides suggesting craft books, I ask them to retype a whole chapter of a famous published author's work. Typing it seems more effective than just reading it to get the feel of structure and flow. Of course, I remind them to delete it afterward. I don't want to be accused of promoting plagiarism!

    I'm glad you had some good mentors. Thanks for dropping by today!

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  15. Congratulations on your new book. I was lucky to have two great mentors who are now NY bestsellers. So now I am giving back by mentoring two writers since a few months, one writing a historical novel and the other a romantic suspense. It's such a good feeling to see their writing improve and hear their squeal of joy when they announce they finaled in contests. www.monarisk.com

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  16. That's great that you're giving back, Mona. And wow, mentored by two bestselling authors. I'll be looking for your name in the NY Times!

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  17. It's always good to have some advice. That way you don't get lost and out-of-focus.
    Good luck with your next books!

    claudigc at msn dot com

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  18. Thanks, Claudia, I'm excited to be writing a lot more now, and hope to have a few more books coming out soon.

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