Monday, February 3, 2014

Blog tour: Tangled Hearts by Heather McCollum + guest post and giveaway

Author: Heather McCollum
Release Date: January 28, 2014
Publisher: Entangled Select

The Tudors take on The Pirates of the Caribbean in this 16th century romantic adventure!

Pandora Wyatt is the most complicated woman alive. Raised by a pirate captain, Dory risks exposure of her magic to free the only father she’s ever known from the Tower of London. But when she’s tied to a smoldering witch’s pyre, her powers aren’t enough to save her.

Ewan Brody is on a mission to deliver a traitor’s corpse to King Henry VIII when he rescues a beautiful spitfire from a horrific fate. Saving the lass’s life leads him on an adventure he never intended. Thrust together in the roles of husband and wife, they dodge royal intrigue, dark twists, and secrets as they attempt to find the true traitor at the Tudor court.

Magic and adventure spark, igniting a fire between Ewan and Dory, consuming them and tangling their hearts together forever. But to reach forever, they first need to survive the day.

The Writing Process

Hello! I’m thrilled to be here today on Reader Girls to talk a bit about the writing process I used to create my newest release. TANGLED HEARTS is a 16th century romp filled with Tudor court intrigue and white magic. Dory is a witch, pirate, heiress on an impossible mission. Ewan is simply fulfilling a promise with a goal of returning to a familiarly comfortable life in the Highlands. When their adventures collide and they must work together to survive Henry VIII’s court, their worlds and then their hearts become irreparably tangled together.

In a perfect writing world, I would have quiet, uninterrupted time to weave my stories together, blowing life into my characters and throwing disasters at them like flying daggers. My life however is far from quiet. I have three rather loud, spirited children (ages 7, 13 and 15) and a rambunctious golden retriever. Between soccer, hockey, gymnastics lessons, car pool and a dog who must go out or she will claw through the glass window each time she sees a squirrel (and we have MANY), I’m lucky if I get one single hour of uninterrupted writing a day.

When I am disturbed and then sit back down, I must re-enter the world I am creating. This takes a lot of time since the 16th century is ridiculously different from our 21st century realm. I need a quick way to re-submerge into 16th century England. 

So I collage. 

Huh? Yes, I cut out pictures and paste them down on something. 

I sometimes go all out and use beautiful blank books. I fill the first two pages with pictures of my main characters, what they look like, their back stories, their setting. They may not resemble what I have in mind exactly, but the emotion in the face of the pictures must be right. The next page represents their meeting. Then turning points, the dark moment and the happy ending (although I rarely finish to the happy ending because by then I’m done with the book). I have a few lovely mostly-finished collage books representing my novels. TANGLED HEARTS being one.

I’ve used poster board for some books so I could see everything at once. I’ve more recently moved to collaging open manila folders because they are smaller and can be stored in my filing cabinet easily (this idea came from writer, Stephanie Bond). The concept is still the same as the blank books, but posters and folders take less time to put together.

So this has become my process. I write the first couple of chapters of the new book because the idea and opening scene are so exciting to me that I can’t sleep unless I put them down in print. Around the beginning of chapter three I’m not so confident anymore. I don’t really know my characters, so this is when I head to the images on the internet and to magazines.

I have basic ideas of what my hero and heroine look like, so I search for pictures of these people. If you try this at home I must warn you NOT to google images of sexy men without putting the word “clothed” in the search or you will get an eyeful. And if you search for sexy teenage boys (say, for a Young Adult romance), you’ll possibly be put on some FBI watch list.

Anyway…I digress. This picture hunt assists me with my plotting as well as helping me understand my characters. For example, when I was collaging TANGLED HEARTS, I found an amazing picture of lightning strikes on the ocean that were combined into one picture. There must be a hundred strikes coming down because the photographer collapsed the time of all his pictures into one. This image gave me ideas for the dark moment. I also kept cutting out pictures of children. Somewhere in my psyche I knew that they must be important, but it wasn’t until later in the book that I understood that part of Dory’s back story.

There are also practical reasons to collage. It takes energy to remember what a joust looks like or what ladies of the court wore. It is much easier and faster for me to refer to my collage. I also write important facts on the collage like birth dates, eye color, and relationships next to various pictures. It is tremendously helpful.

I keep all of my collages, even when the poster board bends or the pictures need to be re-glued. They become a tribute to each of my books. Not the complete, edited book, but the journey to reach THE END. I stare at this mish mash of pictures each day as I write for months. I add to the collages and tweak them. They become a woven representation of my book. It’s become the most valuable part of my writing process.

I have taught collaging to various women’s groups. These women weren’t collaging books but their dreams, who they want to be, how they want to spend their time. Keeping the visual before them is a fantastic way to help them focus on their goals. I will be teaching a workshop on collaging, for writers and for readers, at the Tasty Book Tours Weekend in Wilmington, NC.

Have you ever collaged? What was the focus? It’s lots of fun!

For more information about Heather McCollum and her books, please check out her web site at She is also on Twitter at @HMcCollumAuthor and on Facebook as HeatherMcCollumAuthor.

About Heather: 
Heather McCollum is an award winning, historical paranormal romance writer. She earned her B.A. in Biology from the University of Maine, much to her English professor's dismay. She is a member of Romance Writers of America and was a 2009 Golden Heart Finalist. Ms. McCollum has four full length historical, paranormal romances released in both electronic and digital formats. She also has one short novella released in electronic format.

When she is not busy writing and answering calls of "Mom", she can be found educating women about ovarian cancer. She is a teal warrior herself and just finished slaying the ovarian cancer beast.

She currently resides with her very own Highland hero and three spirited children in the wilds of suburbia on the mid-Atlantic coast.

More information about Ms. McCollum and her books can be found at

Follow the tour:

1 $25 Amazon Gift Card US Only
3 eBooks of TANGLED HEARTS International

1 comment:

  1. "witch, pirate, heiress" - that sounds like an awesome heroine!
    I've never tried making a collage. But if I do I'll definitely take your advice. I had a good laugh at your comment on googling.