Tammy Dennings Maggy is a Midwestern girl who lives in California. After an amazing career as a veterinarian, Tammy is now pursuing her lifelong dream of becoming a published author. On September 13, 2011, the first book in her “Now and Forever” series was released. For the Love of Quinn (Book 1) had been her baby for two, long years. Tammy thanks the Goddess daily that she listened to her my friends and family who encouraged her to get off her butt and send it in to the publisher. “Writing erotic romances has been a fantastic experience and one I hope to continue for many more years to come,” Tammy says.
Recently Tammy released the second book in her series titled “Now and Forever.” She is published through Siren Publishing Allure and maintains several blogs to help promote other authors.
About “The Island”
After losing her brother in a fatal motorcycle accident, Quinn’s life spins out of control. Shutting herself off from friends and family in Michigan, she buries herself in her work, wishing for the pain to end. In her dreams she’s finally able to find the peace her heart craves on The Island.
Driven to recklessness over a heartbreaking betrayal, Jacob races his motorcycle on a rain slick California freeway. Near death in the hospital, he’s given a choice. Stay on The Island or go back for a second chance at love.
Destined to be together, but repeatedly torn apart, these two lost and melancholy people draw the attention of the Goddess Fate. As Quinn and Jacob’s lives hang in limbo, the soul mates are given a very special gift from the Gods, and the chance to finally have their love of a lifetime.
The Island should be on Amazon by the end of December. It stays exclusive to Tammy’s publisher for the first 4-6 weeks. You can get it directly from Bookstrand at any time and in any ebook format. The Print version comes out in April. You can also try your luck to win a copy of it as well as 10 other ebooks starting today. It’s part of the Hot Winter Nights Blog hop Grand Prize. Go here for more info.
I sat down with Tammy for this interview and asked her a few questions. Read the interview below.
Ally: Your followup sounds really interesting. What inspired you to write your first book, For the Love of Quinn (Book 1)?
Tammy: I’ve written all sorts of things since childhood and some still to this day are unfinished. I’m working on that, but the very first book I finished and published was For the Love of Quinn (Now and Forever 1). That one started out as a fantasy, a “what if” situation from my own life.
At that time I was in a loveless marriage to someone who spent more time with his Xbox buddies online than with me. I was lost and alone, 2500 miles away from my family in Michigan and had no one to confide in. So I did the next best thing. I made someone up, my Knight in Shining Armor if you will. I came up with an entire fantasy scenario where this man followed me to Disneyland of all places determined to win my heart.
That one scene which was near the end of the book was how it all began. The more I poured my heart out into Quinn’s story, the more I was able to work through my pain, loneliness, and heartbreak. Of course the more I wrote, the louder the characters got in my head. That’s how the entire world of the Now and Forever series developed.
Ally: A fun question I always like to ask other authors is “Do you have a specific writing style or approach to writing your books?”
Tammy: I write whatever pops into my head and usually a story is being told to me out of order. I do start with a basic open outline with names, dates, and plot points. This gives me the freedom to add as much or as little I need to make the story flow. I guess you could call me a “plotting pantser!”
Ally: I totally understand. A lot of my writing is like that too. I keep an ongoing outline going while I’m writing an installment. How did you come up with the title?
Tammy: Some of the titles just came to me and others are from my poetry. The Island(Now and Forever 2) came about because to me, the Island is the main character of the book. It’s the place where Quinn and Jacob are blessed by the Gods, where they start healing from the wounds of their pasts, and start their happily ever after together. It sort of reminds me of that old show “Fantasy Island” where people go to find themselves.
Ally: What motivates you to write?
Tammy: Life—my own search for myself and the happily ever after. I’d been through so much in my life that writing has always been my escape and my coping mechanism. I write in order to get centered deep in my soul. I guess you could say it’s also great therapy. I wonder what I should charge…LOL
Ally: Did you learn anything from writing your books?
Tammy: YES! For this latest release, I learned how to keep the book shorter. The first book was considered EPIC…okay, HUGE novel at over 219, 000 words. With The Island I learned to focus on one couple and get to the HEA. The first time I wrote this book, it was a little different. The villainess kept stealing the show. I had to give her another book in order to keep The Island focused. I learned not to be afraid to continue the story into another book if need be. By doing them around 50K words, they are just right for people to read in a sitting or two. That’s what the readers want nowadays.
Ally: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
Tammy: So many new authors have caught my eye and their filling up my kindles fast! Just to name a few: Leanore Elliott, Alexandra Anthony, Ally Thomas, Maya DeLeina, Amber Lea Easton, Robin Badillo, Tyler Robbins, Kendall McKenna, May Water and Natasha Blackthorne. There are so many more that it would take days to list them all.
I’ve “met” many authors and have had them on my blogs as guests. This way I get a sneak peek at their works and more books for my TBR pile. So many books and so little time!
Ally: Ah ha, you listed my name too. Thank you. I really appreciate that. What are your current projects?
- A second book of poetry that’s more paranormal and vampire based themes.
- The Kayne Legacy series: Did you ever wonder how the first vampire came into being? In my world it was the biblical Cain and not for the reasons many would think. I’m really excited about this one. The whole series is plotting out nicely and the characters are writing it themselves.
- The Surrender of Julia (Now and Forever 3) My Love, My Friend (Now and Forever 4)
- Forever Mine (Now and Forever 5)
- More projects under two other pen names Lia Michaels who will write M/M and ménage and Stephanie Ryan who will write more mainstream and young adult.
Ally: That’s a great list of projects coming up. If you’re not writing full time now, do you see writing as a career in the future?
Tammy: Yes I do. I’m a full-time small animal veterinarian now…19 ½ years running! That’s a long time and I would like to go part time doing that and spend more on my writing. Maybe even retire from veterinary medicine altogether and concentrate on other passions. My hubby would like to open his own pub and restaurant. That would be exciting!
Ally: Who designed the covers?
Book One was done by JingerBrutonHaeston
Book Two was done by Christine Kirchoff
Ally: Who is your publisher and what are a few things you like about their business platform?
Tammy: Siren Bookstrand is the publisher for this series. Their contracts are fair and very straight forward. If you have any questions at all, there is someone there who will answer them or find out the answers for you. They’ve set up private groups for authors to get together online to support each other and where they can give us important business information all in one spot. Siren also has a reader yahoo group where we can go and connect with readers too.
I really love the editors who’ve been assigned to my books. I’ve learned so much from them as to what to do and not do in a romance. They’ve helped me develop my skills as a writer and I can never repay them for that. I have to say I was the Head Hopping Queen with that first book, but now I can catch it a mile away. With the last round of edits, I got so much praise that I laughed and cried at the same time. When others can see your vision and understand what you are saying and where you are trying to go with your characters, well, it just makes it all worthwhile.
As an author, we have a part in the whole process from writing the blurbs, picking excerpts, and giving final approval of the cover and the manuscripts. If we don’t agree with what the editors suggest, we don’t have to change things. But…they are usually right! LOL
Ally: Are you an Indie author? What do you like about it?
Tammy: I self-published my first book of poetry and I loved every part of the process. I love the control I have over how to publish, when to publish, and whether or not I’ll do just an ebook or put it out in print at the same time. Now that I’ve done both routes of publishing, I would have to say I prefer Indie by just a slight margin. Working with Siren and having them provide the editors, cover artists and formatting the books in all ebook formats, you really appreciate all it takes to get a great quality product out there.
The costs of professional editors and cover artist can be up there, but I’ve met a few folks along the way who are in those lines of work and are also reasonably priced. Yay! So my next Indie project will be the ultimate test. I did the poetry book all myself because let’s face it. It’s not that hard to edit and format that genre yourself. My prose on the other hand will be a bit different. I’m going to want a cover that pops and an editor who is tough and thorough to bring out the best in my writing.
Ally: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
Tammy: Sure, I’d love to.
Here’s a bit of my vampire poetry book I’m working on and an excerpt from “The Island” is included too.
Curse of the First Born
Once destined for greatness and riches
Beyond your wildest dreams,
Now lost and alone,
Your family torn apart at the seams.
The spilled blood of your brother cries out for justice
Because in a rage, you struck out
Wishing only for his taunts to end.
Now you await your punishment
With hands covered in his blood and dust.
The Gods should be angry.
For even this unintentional loss of life will offend.
Vengeance is Ours and Ours alone.
You played a role in your brother’s death,
This much is true.
There is only one way for you to atone.
It’s not your death We seek,
But service that can only be assigned
To a chosen few.
Forever your life you must pledge
Even though you feel you are unworthy.
Upon your brow a mark will be made.
No one will dare harm one chosen by The Three.
For with this Curse your debt will be paid.
Within your blood now lies
The Essence of the Tree of Life.
No mere mortal can be trusted
With such a task.
Leave this place and your family
In search of Lilith to be your wife.
Together you will create a clan who will walk the Night,
Whose influence and power will grow to be vast.
The choice will be yours and yours alone
To continue to shield yourself from the Sun.
Once you take this path
You cannot go back into the Light.
For the very Essence of Immortal Life itself
Will course within your veins,
And you will be marked as our Chosen One.
But only through the First Born of every generation
Shall the Essence pass unspoiled as is their birthright.
Some will call you cursed and cringe
Whenever they hear your name.
But they know not the ways of The Three.
You are chosen on this day
To guard the Secrets of the immortal soul.
You are no longer First Born of Adam and Eve,
But now the Guardian forever known as Cain.
An Excerpt from “The Island”
He said a silent prayer as he entered the room. Please, let this be a huge mistake. Jake can’t be the one here. It has to be someone else. Eric’s stomach churned and he struggled to keep down what little food he had eaten before he boarded the plane in Las Vegas. He had never seen his big brother look so small or helpless. The tears stung his eyes and blurred his vision a bit, but by sheer will alone, Eric held them back. It took several moments to comprehend the scene playing out in front of his eyes. The patient lying in the bed before him could’ve just as easily been a complete stranger, except for the long, light-brown hair. Eric would know that unruly mop anywhere. He stood frozen near the door, staring at the battered and broken body of his brother.
Jacob Hartley was wrapped head to toe in bandages, tubes, and wires. Machines surrounded the head of the hospital bed, whirling and beeping, keeping time with Jacob’s breathing and heartbeat. His face was barely recognizable, colored in various shades of black, blue, and purple. His eyes were hidden beneath severely swollen lids. Every now and then the respirator took over his breathing, just to give his body a little bit of rest. Oh my God! This can’t be happening. Eric approached the bed as his sister reached out for him. They clung to each other. Her body trembled against his, her fear coming off her in waves. He tried to continue to be strong for them both, but he was quickly losing the battle now that he was actually there.
Eric glanced around the room and found his mother, Katrina. She smiled as she stood up from the chair that was placed close to the bed. She was small in stature, but she looked ten feet tall to Eric as she walked toward Jacob. Katrina leaned over, kissed the one part of his stubbly chin not bandaged, and spoke softly near his ear. “Your whole family is here now, Jacob. I’m here, my son. Momma’s here. If you can’t come back to me, it’s okay. Your poppa’s there with you and he will show you the way.”
“Mom—Jake’s not going to die!” Maredyth’s red-rimmed eyes flashed with determination. “It’s not his time to go yet.” She reached for one of Jacob’s bandaged hands and clutched it tightly.
Eric knew he should try to hide his feelings from his sister, but he was struggling, really struggling to find even a spark of hope their brother would ever pull out of this. “Mare—”
“No! We can’t lose him, too. Pop’s been gone a year now. Are you telling me God would be so cruel to decide on a whim to take Jake away almost to the very day we lost our father?”
* * * *
“I’m right here my little girl. I won’t ever leave you. Jacob’s going to need all of us now. We have to convince your brother he has to fight his way back.” Michael Hartley approached the bed and looked down at his son, his middle child. “What were you thinking driving your bike at night during a storm, Jakey?”
“He wasn’t thinking clearly, Sarge. That’s the problem.”
Michael looked up at the blonde, heavily tattooed, and pierced young man leaning against the wall near the foot of the hospital bed. “You remind me a lot of him you know, full of piss and vinegar.” Michael chuckled softly to himself. “It looks like we’ve got a lot of work ahead of us here, Danny. Thank you for staying with him after the accident and dulling his pain.”
Daniel Quartermarsh moved to Jacob’s bedside. He nodded slowly and looked up at his partner. “I did what I could as soon as Fate let me go to him.”
“I know you did. I expected nothing less than if I was allowed to be there with you. It’s just hard to see one of my children in this state and not be able to fix it like I could when he was little.”
The younger angel smiled. “Don’t worry. We have a lot of ground to cover with him, and I’m sure there will be plenty of opportunity for you to work your magic, Sarge. If Fate didn’t think we could handle it, she wouldn’t have entrusted Jake and the rest of them to us. Speaking of the others, I just checked in on Quinn. She’s throwing herself into her work again, but handling things okay for now. I left this world not even a month ago, and she’s not allowed herself to grieve for me.” He glanced down at the very battered and broken man in the bed. “Your Jake’s our priority this visit. Once we get him to The Island, we can work on getting Quinn there, too.”
Michael reached out and folded his arms around his wife. Katrina looked as beautiful to him at that moment as she did on the day they first met. He wished he could really hold her now, so she could physically lean on him during this horrible time with their son. Katrina took a deep breath and smiled. Michael knew she felt his presence with them, as always. “Your poppa’s here with us, Maredyth.”
Eric and Maredyth looked at each other and then back to Katrina with their eyes wide. Eric put his arm around his sister before addressing his mother. “I sure hope so, Ma. All of us could use him right about now.” Maredyth buried her face into Eric’s shoulder as he held her tight.
Daniel added his own angelic light and love to that already surrounding the Hartley family and smiled. “I bet the two of you visited each other’s dreams while you were alive, too.”
Michael kept his arms around his wife of over forty years and nodded. “Now and forever. I promised her I would never leave her, no matter what. Not even death can keep me from her and our children.” The elder angel sighed and his eyes filled with tears. “Jake has always been the free spirit of the family. I never worried he wouldn’t discover his path eventually. But now?” Michael shrugged and shook his head. “How did my son’s life get so out of control so fast?”
Both workds ©Tammy Dennings Maggy