Saturday, October 31, 2015

A Sneak Peek with Virginia Smith

Howdy y'all! Crystal here and have I got a great treat for you. Author and Editor Virginia Smith is with us today, sharing a behind the scenes look at A Kiss is Still a Kiss: A Short Story Collection. Why am I so excited? Well, it might be because Angela Couch and I both have a story in this collection or it might be because the book releases tomorrow! Yay!

So, let's get this party started so you can see some of the cool sneak peeks Ginny has to share with us.

Hi, Ginny, [Crystal waves wildly] take a moment and tell everyone a bit about yourself.

Okay, work stuff first. My first novel came out in 2006, and on September 1, my 26th novel was released, The Most Famous Illegal Goose Creek Parade. If you do the math, you’ll see that I’m a very busy writer! In 2011 I launched a small publishing company called Next Step Books, and I edit most of the books we publish. I also do freelance editing and book formatting for indie authors. Personally, I’m a wife, mother, grandmother (a very young grandma!) and a certified lay speaker in the United Methodist Church. I love reading (of course!), and motorcycling, scuba diving, and anything to do with Disney World or Disneyland. And lately I’ve taken up pottery.

Sounds so exciting and congrats on the 26th novel! How awesome! It must be a lot of work to write and run a small publishing company. Tell us, how did A Kiss is Still a Kiss come about? Where did you get the idea?

I attended the 2014 World Fantasy Convention in Washington DC and roomed with a friend who also loves fantasy novels. One night we were in our hotel room, and she said, “I’d like to start reading that novel I bought, but I’m too tired to get into something long.” We started talking about the difference between short stories and novels, and how some genres seem to have a wide audience for short fiction while others do not. The conversation evolved, and before I knew it, I’d decided to put together an anthology of short fiction.

What kind of stories can we find in this collection?

Really good ones! One thing that makes this book stand out is the inclusion of many different genres. I love to read a variety of styles, and I figured other people would too. They are all romance in some form or other, but you’ll find historical, contemporary, regency, young adult, whimsical, fantasy, and even a couple with science fiction elements. The one thing every story has in common is a kiss. (A romantic kiss. I had to reject a couple of stories because the featured kiss was with a dog.)

Ha-ha. Oh what a great answer. :) I was so excited to be included in this collection, and our own Angela Couch has a story included too. Who else will we find in this great line up?

I love your story and Angela’s! I was really excited about the author lineup, because I was able to include a blend of established writers and first-timers. The multi-published writers included are Deborah Raney, Gail Gaymer Martin, Kathleen Fuller, Anna Zogg, Eva Maria Hamilton, Amy Barkman, and a sci-fi writer named Scott Parkin. The rest have either published a few stories, or nonfiction, or are making their literary debut in A Kiss is Still a Kiss. Those are Mary Laufer, Lara Ware, Kylara Silvers, Jan Brand, Sarah Monzon, Patricia Iacuzzi, Jan Davis Warren, Bethany Rae, Deborah Wuetherich, John Dromey, and MaKayla Martinez. And then, of course, there’s you and Angela.

One fun fact: one of the newbies is a pseudonym for a multi-published author who is writing out-of-genre. I’ve been sworn to secrecy.

Oh, you do know how to tease. :) Speaking of teasers, can you give us any sneak peeks?

Here’s an excerpt from the beginning of “Within Limits” by Scott R. Parkin:
      I know, what’s a thirty-something guy doing reading romance novels? Aren’t those for bedraggled housewives and silly teenage girls? Don’t I have anything better to do with my time and money?
     Well, we’ve all got our vices, and it’s better than hanging out on street corners. Besides, it’s not like I believe they’re real. I mean that stuff just doesn’t happen in real life. No love at first sight. No saving the girl from the raging flood or the corrupt landlord or the enemy invasion. No tender thanks or passionate embraces or heaving breasts.
     Still, one can hope—within reasonable limits—and this is as good as any other day for the impossible to happen.
Scott’s story made me laugh out loud several times. I love how this thirty-something man’s day plays out.

Here’s one taken from the end of “Let’s Make a Deal” by Crystal Barnes. (I’m not including it only because you’re doing this interview. I’m including it because it describes a delicious romantic kiss that had me sighing with delight!)
     Every ounce of his hesitation fled. The fire that had burned in his eyes flowed through his lips and straight through her. With a zeal she didn’t know she possessed, she returned his kiss. How could Nellie find this torturous? The only torture would be if he stopped, which he didn’t seem inclined to do in the least. That suited her just fine. Her fingers slipped into his hair. He must’ve taken that for another cue, for he drew his arms around her and deepened the kiss. Like butter in a hot skillet, she melted against him.
     He smiled against her lips. “Do I need to apologize?”
     With an answering smile, she traced a finger along his scruffy jaw. “Only if you don’t do that every day for the rest of our lives.”
     “I like the sound of that deal.”
     They sealed it with another kiss.

Scott's story sounds like a hoot, and you're such a sweetie say such lovely things about my story. I'm glad I could make someone sigh with delight. :) For other readers who want to laugh and sigh along with the rest of us, where can they buy the book?

The book will officially release November 1. (That's tomorrow y'all!!! :) ) They can pre-order the book now at the Next Step Books website and get a 30% discount, or they can pre-order the eBook on here. The print book will probably show up a few days early on Amazon, and then will also be available through most online retailers like Barnes & Noble, Books-a- Million, etc. And the eBook versions like Nook and Kobo and Apple will also be available shortly after the release date.

I'm so super excited and wish we had time (and room) for a ton of other questions, but alas... Anyways, before you go, tell us one thing you learned while working on A Kiss is Still a Kiss.

I learned a lot! I learned that anthologies have a very definite structure – where you place certain stories is vital for the flow and readability of the book as a whole. I learned that novel writing is entirely different than short story writing. They’re two different skillsets, especially when it comes to plot movement and subplots. And I learned that there are at least twenty-two different ways for a couple to kiss, and all of them are delightful to read!

Ooo, I can't wait to finish reading my copy. I started it the other day. Thanks so much for sharing with us today, Ginny. 

Everyone, what's your preference---long novel, short-story, or both?


  1. I have to be honest and say that I prefer longer and highly detailed novels. Yet, that is with my limited experience with novellas and short stories. More recently I have read a few novellas that read like a longer book. They had well-developed characters and story lines. As I read this post, I couldn't help but be interested in the two stories mentioned with excerpts. I always enjoy romantic elements in my stories and romantic comedy is my favorite sub-genre.

    1. I getcha, Terrill. Personally, I prefer longer stories, but sometimes a short story (when done well) is a great little treat. :)

      Thanks for sharing with us. :)

  2. Thanks so much Crystal and Virginia! What a fun interview...though the book is pretty fun as well ;) I must say short stories are something I've never though much of til I entered last years Storming the Short Story Contest and was a finalist with Crystal (this is our second anthology together!) I've enjoyed reading them more and more, especially when I don't have a lot of time, and don't want to stay up all night trying to finish a novel. :)

    1. Hi Angela! So glad you got to share another short story collection with me. I admit the Storming the Short Story Contest was my first attempt as well, but it was loads of fun. :) Have you gotten to finish reading your copy of A Kiss is Still a Kiss? I've been working on deadline, so I haven't gotten there myself. Only a few here and there. :)

      Thanks for stopping by!

  3. Sounds like a great anthology. Wishing you guys much success.
    When I was younger, I read short stories in women's magazines and novellas all the time. I didn't think it was possible to write a novella. Then my CP challenged me and I wrote 4 novellas this year and have read a bunch. I still prefer reading and writing long historical novels, though.

    1. Thanks, Elaine. I've not actually done novella length. I've only done the two ends of the spectrum---full length and short story. :) But there's a first time for everything. :) I'm with you on preferring the full length though. :)

  4. Replies
    1. Coolness, Melanie! I hope you get a chance to read A Kiss is Still a Kiss. :)

  5. Sometimes I don't have a lot of time to devote to reading but I MUST have something to read so a novella is perfect.Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

    1. Novellas can be a good in between length when we don't have a lot of time on our hands for sure. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Connie.