Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Author Talks with Penny Harmon


Today on the blog we have Penny Harmon! Penny is a super sweet author from Main. I'm super thrilled to have her on the blog today. Today she shares with us a little about her writing, tips for writers, and an excerpt of her current project! 

Tell us a little about yourself:

Writing about myself is always the hardest part. J I grew up in Maine and cannot imagine living anywhere else, but I would love the chance to travel around the country. I live with my partner, Dan, three grandchildren, and three cats. One day, I would love to buy 100 acres of land, build a house right in the middle of it, and then adopt a couple of miniature donkeys.

How long have you been writing for?

I have been writing for as long as I can remember. In my early twenties, I wrote several novels, as well as children’s picture books, and sent them out for publication. I have a stack of rejection letters from that time in my life, but I never let it get me down.

What inspired you to be a writer?
Nothing inspires you more than reading great books. I love to sit down and escape reality with a great story, so it seems only appropriate to want to write them, too. I was also very lucky to have a very supportive mother who always encouraged me to write.

How many books have you written? 

I have written one complete series of six books( that is my Rocky Isle Romance series), four standalones, one novella for Kindle Worlds, a novella for another series, and a children’s picture book. So thirteen actually published, but I honestly couldn’t answer how many I have actually written.

What is the most difficult part of your artistic process?

Finding the time to write is always the most difficult thing for me. Raising grandchildren means not much quiet time, but I have learned to get them into bed and then sit down for a couple of hours. Two will be in school full-time this year, so things should get easier.

What do you do when you have writer's block?

I always have more than one book going at a time, so when one is not working, I turn to the other one. I’ve been lucky that I’ve never gotten stuck on both at the same time.

How do you draft your work? Do you plot? Or do you just go for it?
I am so in awe of Susan Mallery who is a major plotter! I have tried, but no matter what I do, the characters veer off in another direction. Sometimes, you just have to let the characters speak for themselves.

What are some writing tips you have to share with inspiring authors?

I think the most important thing is to just do it. For so many years, I was a closet writer. I had to figure out the “why” of it. Why was I holding back? Why wouldn’t I let others read my work? Once I figured that out, I did my research on traditional vs. self-publishing and chose the self-publication route. I chose self-publishing because I am a massive control freak. J

Why is writing important to you?

For me (and I know it sounds corny), writing is a way of life. I’ve always done it and cannot imagine not doing it. It’s like breathing.

What are your favorite situations to put your main characters through?

My favorite situations are real situations that the average person could go through. Unplanned pregnancy, a past that haunts you, falling in love with someone unexpected, or having a learning disability. All of these things are what the average person can go through, so writing them makes them more special to me.

What was your hardest scene to write?

In my Dragonfly Wishes novel, the prologue starts out with Callie Daniels watching her seven year old son take his last breath. I cried all the way through writing it. There are other scenes that made me cry as well, but I promise is not the saddest book ever…it is actually a book of hope.

If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?

I wish I hadn’t given up so early. I was young and foolish. But, I have to say that everything I have done between there and here has made me who I am today.

Tell us a little about your most recent project, can you give us an excerpt?

I am currently working on the first book in my Moose Valley series. Moose Valley is a small town in Northern Maine with some very eccentric people living in it. In Moose Valley, you will discover a little mystery, mayhem, and romance.

Excerpt from Jade’s Promise, Book 1 in the Moose Valley Series (Keep in mind, this is unedited)

Royce Harrison poured himself another shot of whiskey and sat down at the Mahogany desk in his study. Leaning back in the leather chair, he lifted his leg and rested his foot on the edge of the desk. His mother would probably faint if she saw this and he laughed at the thought.

Paperwork was piled on the desk in front of him and on top lie the plans for the development of condominiums. The only thing holding him back was the actual land purchase, but if things went as he expected them to, that should be take care of by the end of next week.

Since he was eighteen years old, he’d been after that land. Oh, he almost had it, too. He thought Julianne was wrapped around his little finger, but then out of nowhere, James Ryder appeared. He’d strode into town like he owned the world and what little headway he’d made with Julianne had crumbled right before his eyes.

At eighteen, he hadn’t thought twice. He’d quickly asked Julianne to marry him and had been turned down flat. The land and everything with it had turned over to Julianne when her parents were killed after a run in with a Moose on slippery roads. If she’d said yes, the land would have already been in his name.

James and Julianne spent every second they had building up the lodge while he’d gone off to college. His parents had never said a thing to him about it, but he could see the disappointment in his father’s eyes every time he looked at him.

His father owned property abutting Moose Lodge’s and he’d tried to purchase it for many years before Julianne was even born. Her father had always said it would be a legacy to his children and turned every offer down flat. Now, if Royce could secure that land, he knew his father would finally approve of him. And he’d do whatever it took to get that approval.

A knock on the door startled him and he quickly pulled his foot down. “Yes?” he asked gruffly.

A maid opened the door and stated, “Mr. Frank Nesbit is here to see you.”

With a smile on his face, Royce said, “Then let him in.” Hell, maybe he’d have that land purchase taken care of quicker than he thought.

Frank walked through the door, clutching a piece of paper. “I got it. I’m shutting them down tomorrow.”

“For how long?” Royce asked.

“Until they get the septic repaired. That’s all I can do.”

“You’re giving them a chance to repair it? What the hell is this? I thought you were on my side?” he growled.

“Royce, I have to follow the law, no matter how much you don’t want me to. I have people I answer to, you know. I can’t just go making up my own rules or they’ll suspect that somethings going on!”

Royce sat back down in his chair. “So, how long do they have to repair it before they are shut down for good?”

Frank swallowed. “Once they fix it, they can open back up for business after I inspect it.”

“You’re not answering me, Frank.” Royce leaned back again and put his foot back up on his desk.

“There is no time limit. They could be shut down for two weeks and then reopen when it’s repaired. That’s just how it is and I can’t change it.”

“Goddammit!” Royce bellowed. “What the hell am I paying you for then? I thought this was going to be a done deal, Frank!”

“Royce! If I lose my position, how’s that going to help you in the future? Calm down, will you? These things keep adding up and they’re going to shut down for good. Don’t rush things. You’re only going to get yourself in trouble,” Frank chided.

“Just go. I’ll figure something else out,” Royce said and watched as Frank turned toward the door. “Oh, and Frank? I suggest you keep trying, too.”

Frank kept walking, but before he walked out the door, Royce heard the words, “Of course.”

That damned Ryder family was on his last nerve. It seemed like no matter what he sent their way, they dealt with it. Hell, they could fall into a bucket of shit and come out smelling like roses. Just didn’t seem fair, but he wasn’t going to let that continue. Knowing that drastic measures needed to be taken, Royce unlocked the bottom drawer in his desk and pulled out a cell phone.

Emptying the last of the whiskey, he set the glass back down on his desk and left his office. Slipping quietly out the back door, he followed the path until he reached the gate. Turning around he looked and listened for any signs that he was being followed.

Light glowed from two of the windows upstairs. He figured Amy and Evie were either doing homework still or talking on their phones. His parent’s suite was located off the west side of the house and he grinned. He never tired of saying he had placed his parents in the West Wing.

Elizabeth, his wife, was probably already soused and passed out in the den. She always claimed she was tired, but he knew better. Drink two bottles of wine within a few hours’ time and anyone would pass out. But, what did he care? It wasn’t like he had to sleep with her anymore. Elizabeth had long ago given up on their marriage and moved her room to the end of the hall. Didn’t matter to him either way.

As he unlatched the gate, he gave the back of his house one last view just to make sure no one was watching. Everything quiet, he followed the path into the woods. He might have been overdoing the precautions, but this was serious business. What he was proposing could put him away for life.

About a half mile into the woods, Royce turned on the flashlight and took the cell phone out of his pocket. He hadn’t used this one yet, but it was activated and ready to go. Quickly, he typed out a text to a number he’d memorized years ago. The text read: SOS on FlamesML. Within seconds, his phone rang.

“You’re prompt,” he said into the phone.

“It’s what I do. You sure you want to do this? Once you say the word, there’s no way to get in touch with me and call it off,” the gruff voice replied.

“I want the lodge gone, dammit. And, if the only way to get that land is to burn the lodge to the ground then so be it. I need that land,” he growled.

Hearing a noise behind him, Royce turned and his eyes went wide. “Listen, I got to go. Just do it,” he said before hanging up. To the person staring at him, he said, “How much do I got to pay you to keep your mouth shut?”

A laugh rang out and, as quickly as it started, it stopped. “I don’t want your money.”

Royce realized he’d made a big mistake coming out into the woods. Escape would not come easy, but he had to try and he turned towards the direction of his house. Before he could even take a step something hard crashed against his skull and he fell to the ground.

Before you go, is there anything else you would like to share with our readers?
You definitely want to check out Melissa Storm’s new Kindle World, First Street Church Romances. My novella, Love’s Song, came out with the launch on July 19th. I’ve read most of the books now and let me tell you something…you have to read these books if you love stories that make you feel good!!! For more information on them, you can go to www.sweetgrovebooks.com.

About Penny Harmon:

Penny Harmon began writing at an early age and developed a great love of words over the years. After her children were grown, she took her writing more seriously and has published in both newspapers and magazines. In January of 2016, her first novella, Complicated Inheritance, was published and she is the author of the Rocky Isle Romance Series.

Penny lives in Maine with her other-half, Dan, two grandchildren, and three cats. She enjoys spending time with all nine of her grandchildren and enjoys working on DIY projects, especially those that involve making something new out of something that should have been thrown away.

Author Links:
About Dragonfly Wishes:

Callie Daniel’s had it all – a handsome and loyal husband – a sweet and loving son. When death comes knocking at the door twice and they are both taken from her, Callie is suddenly struggling to find a reason to continue with her own life.

During an accidental overdose, she discovers that maybe her son is not lost to her forever when she sees a vision and her journey to understand what happens after death takes top priority.

In the middle of Callie’s quest to deal with her grief, she uncovers a secret that she just can’t ignore. These secrets lead her on a journey to understanding more about life than she ever expected to know.

Purchase Links:

Thanks again Penny for letting me host you on the blog!

So readers, how do you draft your stories? Are you a plotter? Or a pantser? Or are you some hybrid of the two? Share your experience in the comments!

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