Thursday, October 29, 2009
You get the boring stuff, not the real deal on people. Things like a favorite yoga position, their first love, who inspires them, what motivates them, and what makes them tick.
Here’s my attempt to not bore you to pieces and to give you some interesting tidbits/insights about me.
Who are you? Tiana Johnson
What is your idea of perfect happiness? Warm chocolate chip cookies; a sauna and a massage.
What is your greatest fear? Snakes, not being successful, public scenes when breaking up.
What is the trait you most deplore in yourself? Indecision and wishy-washiness.
What is the trait you most deplore in others? Tardiness, inability to acknowledge the difference between em and en dash.
Which living person do you most admire? If I have to choose just one, it would be my mother. She puts up with me. I have to love her for that.
What is your greatest extravagance? Magazine subscriptions, Sephora, iTunes, and the health and beauty aisle of major drugstores...
What is your current state of mind? Prickly and sleepy.
What is the quality you most like in a man? Intelligence, manners, ability to make me laugh, strength, ability to quote Jay-Z in a meeting and read the entire Wall Street Journal over breakfast...
What is the quality you most like in a woman? Spunk, intelligence, grace, ability to make me laugh, creativity, fashion-forward...
Which words or phrases do you most overuse? My one last nerve, dude, contrary to popular belief, off the top of my head, all I know is...
When and where were you happiest? Salsa dancing on an August night. Yesterday on the treadmill approaching mile 4. Two years ago at a Buddhist monastery in Thailand. Last Tuesday enjoying a burger and milkshake at the Landmark Diner.
Who are your favorite writers? Alice Walker. Toni Morrison. Pearl Cleage. Walter Mosley. bell hooks. Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Now that I’ve listed the highbrow stuff, let me list the favorites that my friends call literary junk food: Francis Ray, Brenda Jackson, Diane Mott Davidson, Carolina Garcia-Aguilera, Honey B, Rochelle Alers, Donna Hill, Eric Jerome Dickey, Julia Quinn, Kayla Perrin. This list could go on forever.
Which talent would you most like to have? Knit a pattern other than k1 and k1, p1; juggling; plumbing.
Who is your favorite hero of fiction? From one of the first romances I read: Kane Taggart in Francis Ray’s Forever Yours.
What do you consider your greatest achievement? Obtaining my Ph.D. Being a teacher. Being a good friend.
Where would you like to live? A farm where I could grow my own food and have sheep, but still close to a city where I can see plays.
What is your most treasured possession? My mental faculties.
What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery? A life without friends, family, a lover and candy.
What do you most value in your friends? Honesty, humor, respect, and discretion.
What are your favorite names? Naomi, Selah, Jacob, Noah, Grace, Segolene, Natalie, Leontyne...
What is it that you most dislike? Gluttony, sloth, intemperance, chipped nail polish, runs in stockings, rudeness, waiting for a near-death experience to realize how important life is.
What is your greatest regret? Giving up on writing while I was in grad school. Not going out on that Valentine’s Day date with Omar. Not moving out of the country when I had a chance.
What is your motto? I still have my feet on the ground, I just wear better shoes.
I have two daughters in their forties, and two grandsons. One of them was 21 last week (where did the last 21 years go? It doesn’t seem a minute since he was born) and the other is fifteen.
For more years than I care to think of, I was a history teacher until I took early retirement in the mid-90’s. Although I enjoyed teaching (most of the time!), I can thoroughly recommend retirement.
I love visiting new places as well as familiar ones. I’ve travelled around a lot of mainland Europe, although there are still some European countries I haven’t seen. One of my favourite cities is Berlin, and I’m going there again next week for the celebrations marking the 20th Anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. I’ve been to the Middle East (Israel, Egypt and Dubai) and to the United States and Canada several times. More recently, I’ve ‘discovered’ Ireland and fallen in love with it.
My interest in history has led me to go on several ‘battlefield’ tours in Europe, visiting many different First and Second World War sites. This year I achieved a long-standing ambition to see the grave of my great-uncle who was killed in the First World War when he was just twenty. I’ve done a lot of work on my family history and discovered all kinds of fascinating ancestors.
What else? Girl Guiding has been part of my life for over forty years. I ran a Brownie pack, and then a Girl Guide unit for many years, and played various roles in the local Girl Guiding Community. This gave me so many opportunities that I wouldn’t have had elsewhere, not least the chance to attend a garden party at Buckingham Palace. But I gained just as much pleasure from meeting girls and their leaders in many different places.
I’ve also spent many years in the amateur musical theatre world. Although I’ve appeared on the stage a few times, my main interest is behind the scenes. I’ve done properties and wardrobe, and also directed over a dozen productions with the junior branch of our local theatre group.
I’ll talk about my writing later. Meantime, thanks for reading – and hope you’ll visit again soon.
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
View my website
View Tonya's Tidbits, a column I write every month for Fresh Fiction. Find out all about your favorite Harlequin and Silhouette books and authors.
I have to say I look forward to being involved with these four incredible authors. I'm so happy they agreed to come on board. Thanks for agreeing to this project and I can't wait to see what we bring to the table.
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
My dad was a Foreign Service Officer for the CIA and I lived in Germany during grade school. After a stint in our nation’s capital, I attended an all-girl’s high school near New York City, where my required two years of Latin were eased by my having been an under-the-covers-with-a-flashlight reader.
I abandoned Ivy League physics in favor of dusty tomes describing out-of-body experiences, and struck out to discover (uncover) who I really was. I became a wife and a grandmother, an astrologer, and a Biodynamic gardener in northern Minnesota. Along the way, I waited tables, drove a school bus, and started a cottage business. I never made it back to college.
I discovered romance at airport waiting gate when a mechanical problem delayed my flight. There, a multi-pubbed author cheated me out of a loose-ends-tied-up ending. I vowed I could do better.
Bumbling through my first draft, I learned that good authors make the read easy.
Then, at word 138,985 (of 140,000), my historical heroine took over the story. I felt exhilarated and humbled. I knew I had to start over.
I also knew I needed more practice. I took classes. I read books. Not confident yet to be Stormy Hawkins’ voice, I drafted a time-travel. This time the hero took over. His story is so complex, it warrants two books. I needed more practice, and I needed more confidence.
I outlined a contemporary romantic suspense. I wrote essays and newsletters. Inspiration woke me some nights. Other times, it appeared in time for the ending. I self-published, and have been published. Readers of my hometown newspaper encourage me to reprint my weekly gardening column into book form.
I will get to that, but I have older promises to keep.
The writers on this blog clicked at first contact. I hope you will join us regularly as we chronicle our writing journeys, share what we know about craft and publishing, and celebrate our love of heroes and heroines who uncover (discover) their hearts.
p.s. Did you watch the first episode of White Collar on cable? Its pacing, character introductions, and back-story delivery are teachable.
Monday, October 26, 2009
This is my first time blogging. I don't want to be a "blog hog" so I'll make this short.
On a personal note, I've been with my husband for over half my life time and I still can't keep my hands to myself, which makes me wonder how I lived the first half of my life without him. We have an eleven-year-old son (who is home with flu-like-symptoms today) and a four-year-old cat.
I love to learn and have taught myself things from how to design a website to how to write a novel. My goal in life has not been to write books, but to gain one-hundred pounds so I could donate blood. I still haven't reached that goal and I was informed last year that you now have to weigh 110 pounds. I'm not getting any younger, I'll start to shrink and lose weight soon, but I won't give up hope!
As a stay-at-home mom, my book writing keeps me sane. There is always laughter in my house (yes, some yelling, I'm a mom!), but my husband and I are both Libra's so we can really get the crazy going. I've actually had to kick him out of bed a few times only to return when the giggles stopped or I was asleep. I'm a fan of country music. I miss country music when it was country and western and the women wore gowns and the men wore decorative suits with rhinestones (I'm showing my age!).
I write educational non-fiction word search puzzle books under my full name, Toni Lynn Cloutier. Word Search USA and World Search Puzzles have been out of print for about two years now. But I'm excited to announce that they are being reprinted with a new look and new facts in the next couple of years. Word Search USA will be available in the spring of 2010 and World Word Search (new title) will be out in the spring of 2011.
As for how I went from puzzle books to romance novels, I'm really not sure. It's been a long journey from having a plot idea to getting it published. Lassoing Love by Toni Lynn will be available in the spring of 2010 by Highland Press.
That's it for now. Thanks for stopping by. With five contributors, there will be something new to read each visit so come back soon. Until next time, take care!