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Saturday, December 28, 2013

Sci-fi for women—outnumbered by men 25 to 1



Author, Merry Farmer
Hi Merry, and welcome to Adventures in Authorland. Please get comfortable and tell us about your adventure.

Do you see writing as a career?
Absolutely, yes!  They say that it’s important to set goals for yourself as a writer, and mine is to be able to make a living off of my writing.  I am especially motivated to prove that you can do that as a self-published author.  It’s not always easy, mind you.  No matter how you publish, making it a career takes so much work!  But it’s all worth it.  At the rate I’m going, I see myself “retiring” from my day job in about two years.
 
In which genre do you prefer to write and why? 
Funny you should ask this, because I’ve been asking myself the same question a lot lately.  Right now, I write historical romance, and I really enjoy the books I’ve written.  But I have so many stories in me that aren’t historical or even romance.  This coming summer I will start publishing a series that I like to think of as science fiction for women.  It does have some romance and it’s going to have a very historical feeling to it, seeing as the setting is a new colony on a far-away planet, but it’s still sci-fi.  I also have a series that is—I’ll admit it—a strange sort of dystopian story about a world where men outnumber women 25 to 1.  But that also is a love story at heart, even though that love is between four men and one woman who make up a family.  As far back as I can remember, every book I’ve ever written has turned into a love story.

As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up? Writing, or something else? 
I think I always wanted to be a writer, but at some point along the way I let myself be convinced that I needed to be more “realistic” and get a real job.  I continued to write on the side while I studied history and education and theatre.  I do actually love teaching and part of me always wanted to be a history teacher.  There are times when I regret not pursuing that path.  Then again, I teach a few writing and history for writers classes now and hope to make teaching a big part of my future.

Have you ever travelled to a place and come away with a story unexpectedly?
 Well, yes and no.  I frequently travel to places with the intention of coming up with story ideas or researching the seeds of ideas that I already have.  I went to Colonial Williamsburg this past summer to research a colonial romance idea I’ve had, and I came away with a lot of brilliant historical facts that helped that seed of an idea take a stronger form.  And just at the beginning of December I drove to Halifax, Nova Scotia to see The Citadel, which is a great 19th century military fort on a hill as part of research for another series.  However, while I was driving through the wilds of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, ideas for my sci-fi series started to pop.  There was just something about being so far removed from civilization that brought home the emotional impact of what the survivors in that series experience.  The trip gave me a lot of ideas for how to convey the emotions of the characters.

If you could time travel back, or forward, for one day, where would it be and why?  
Only one day?  That’s a tough one!  I think I would like to go back to 12th century England, just to see what pre-Industrial society was really like.  My first series, The Noble Hearts, was set in England in the 1190s, and I received a lot of comments about how medieval life “wasn’t really like that”.  The thing is, no one actually knows what things “felt” like because the records that were kept back then don’t talk about it.  I have a theory that life wasn’t all that different, that people still loved, laughed, fought, had family issues, got along with some people and not with others, and so on, the way we do today.  On the other hand, as a student of history, I know the Industrial Revolution completely changed the way people live and interact with each other to a degree that it’s hard for us to imagine what things were like before.  I’d love to find out.

Have you ever cried during a movie? If yes, which one and why?
Oh man!  I cry at movies all the time!  I am a sucker for anyone who is lonely in a movie.  That makes me cry like a baby in a heartbeat.  I also weep buckets whenever somebody’s mother or other person who is close to them dies in a movie, because I was with my own mother when she died.  In fact, I just can’t watch the Winona Ryder/Susan Sarandon version of “Little Women” anymore because I saw that movie with my mom in the theater when it first came out.  At the end of the movie, she turned to me and said, “You remind me SO much of Jo!” and I said to her, “You remind me SO much of Beth!”  Those really are our personalities.  And then I was right by her bedside, very much like Jo was in the movie when Beth dies.  I’m getting choked up just thinking about it now.  So yes, I cry at movies, A LOT!

In Your Arms – Blurb:

Lily Singer has never belonged.  Taken from her tribe as a child and raised in a white man’s school, she no longer has a place in either world.  Teaching has become her life.  When that life is threatened by rumors and prejudice after a string of robberies, she must turn for help to the one man who spells disaster for her carefully ordered existence.  Will he save her or steal her heart?

Christian Avery, Justice of the Peace, is used to having things his way.  Cold Springs is his responsibility, and when its citizens blame the local Indian population for the mysterious robberies, it’s up to him to restore order and maintain calm.  The one person who refuses to follow his lead is the beautiful, native-born Lily.  Her defiance turns his life upside down and ravages his heart.

But when town gossip shifts from robberies to romance after a foolish indiscretion, Lily’s job and reputation are on the line.  She must choose between the only life she has ever known and the only place she has ever felt at home, in Christian’s arms.

In Your Arms – Excerpt:
 
     Jessica set her tea and letter on the small table at the base of the stairs and came over to join Lily.
“Is it Mr. Avery or are you upset about that Indian man they caught last night?” she asked.
     Hot waves of shame bubbled up through Lily’s forced composure. She glanced down at her hands, clasped in front of her.
     “Both,” she confessed. She hesitated. If she had such a thing as a friend, Jessica could be it. “Mr. Avery offered to drive me out to where the Flathead are so I can be sure they’re all right.”
     “I’m sure they are.” Jessica smiled. She stole a quick glance up the stairs then craned her neck to see if anyone was sitting in the parlor. “He’s very handsome,” she whispered as though they were two girls in class exchanging secrets. “Very important too.”
     Lily was ready to sink into the floor in embarrassment, like one of her students who had been caught daydreaming in front of the class. What must Jessica think of her, losing her head for a man at a time like this?
     “He is many things,” she answered. Bullish, impossible, and reckless among them.
     Jessica leaned closer, mischief in her eyes. “I know Miss Jones doesn’t approve of any of us having beaux, but—”
     Whatever tidbit Jessica was tempted to share was lost as a wagon rattled to a stop in front of the house. Lily flew to the window, peeking out through the curtains.
     “It’s him!” she gasped before she could stop herself.
     “Oh!” Jessica leapt to fetch Lily’s coat from the rack by the door. “Here! Here!”
     Lily pushed away from the window, tripping over her skirts. Jessica held her coat up and Lily twisted to thrust her arms into the sleeves. As she buttoned the coat’s large buttons, Jessica grabbed her mittens and tam o-shanter from the shelf above the coats. Lily frantically fit the mittens on her shaking hands as Jessica arranged the hat over her hair.
     They were both panting and wide-eyed by the time Christian’s footsteps sounded on the porch. He knocked on the door.
     “You look lovely,” Jessica whispered, bright with excitement.
     Christian knocked again. Lily forced her expression to neutrality and stiffened her back. It was only when she reached for the door that she realized how foolish the whole scene was. She should be grave with concern, not prickling with anticipation.
     A cold blast of air pushed into the house as Lily opened the door. There was Christian, tall and fine in his long, fashionable coat and hat. His face was pink with cold. He hadn’t shaved. His hazel eyes flashed to match the smile that revealed his straight white teeth. Lily’s breath caught in her throat, her body tightening in expectation. She cursed the intensity of her reaction.
     “Good morning,” Christian greeted her as if nothing was wrong, touching the brim of his hat. He glanced past her shoulder to Jessica. “Good morning to you too, Miss Bunsick.”
     “Good morning, Mr. Avery. Nice to see you. I have to drink my tea before it gets cold. Good-bye,” Jessica babbled. As she scurried off, she caught Lily’s eyes and whispered, “Good luck!”
     Lily shut her eyes, her mouth pressed in a tight line. It was the fastest disaster she’d ever encountered.

Merry Farmer Bio:

Merry Farmer is an award-winning author of Historical Romance and what she likes to call “Sci-Fi for Women”.  She lives in suburban Philadelphia with her two cats and enough story ideas to keep her writing until she’s 132.  Her second novel, The Faithful Heart, was a 2102 RONE Award finalist and her unpublished futuristic novel A Man’s World won first place in the Novel: Character category at the 2013 Philadelphia Writer’s Conference.  She is out to prove that you can make a living as a self-published author and to help others to do the same.

Published Works:


Montana Romance series
-           Our Little Secrets
-           Fool for Love
-           In Your Arms (coming November 2013)
-            Somebody to Love (coming in 2014)

As well as the Montana Romance novellas
-           Sarah Sunshine
-           The Indomitable Eve (coming December 2013)
-           Seeks For Her (coming 2014)

Links:

Twitter: @merryfarmer20

Book links:

Sarah Sunshine

In Your Arms


Saturday, December 21, 2013

Water the inspiration for Susan's career

Hello Susan and welcome to Adventures in Authorland. Please get comfortable and share with us your writing journey.



When did you first consider yourself a writer?

When I joined a professional writing organization. Two of them. First, Romance Writers of America and the local chapter. I also joined a local critique group for all genres and I realized how little I knew and how far I had to go to improve. I’d not made any money on my manuscripts and had no published works to my name. But it was that moment that I decided to take my ‘hobby’ to the next level and be more serious about it. That is when I considered myself a writer. Not just a dabbler.

 In which genre do you prefer to write and why?
           
I’d have to say it’s a tie between contemporary romance and romantic suspense. As I’ve improved in my writing and character development, I’m more confident and willing to take more risks. But its not the genres themselves that pull me in; it’s the concept of throwing together two completely different characters that wouldn’t normally connect otherwise without the crazy situation in the story.
That’s not to say that those are the only genres I read. Of course not. I love paranormal, historical, and young adult as well. But I’m the most confident in writing the contemporary and suspense.

You’ve recently signed with a publisher. Tell us about your writing journey before and after this point.

My first contract was on my third manuscript, if that gives anyone an idea. The first two were my ‘practice’ manuscripts, although I didn’t think they were just ‘practice’ at the time. As my skill and voice improved, so did my confidence. I went to conferences and sat in on craft sessions, I took online workshops and read so many books on various topics of fiction writing. When I completed the manuscript for AUDREY’S PROMISE (which took about 8 months, including editing), it was another full year of querying to agents and editors. The Wild Rose Press offered a contract after having the full manuscript for three months, and it was published six months later.
            This business takes A LOT longer than I anticipated to see any results, but it’s not just the destination that drives me, it’s the journey of discovering the characters and growing with them.
            I’m currently working on a romance suspense trilogy. The first is complete, and I’m nine chapters into the second. This is my first ‘series’ story, so there’s a whole new set of things for me to learn and absorb.

Can you give us some details about your upcoming release/s?

AUDREY’S PROMISE was released from The Wild Rose Press in November with Amazon and Barnes & Noble (ebook came out in August). It’s a contemporary romance about a Texas State Senate candidate who reluctantly invites a journalist home with her for Thanksgiving (to see the family side of her life). Things do not go well and chaos ensues. The small town dynamics pull on the emotional side of an otherwise unflappable candidate, all in the presence of a witty yet tortured journalist. While this story is completely fiction, I always throw in small bits of reality. For example, the turkey recipe at the family dinner is my mother’s real recipe. Also, the town of Mackineer is fictional, but the pond by the graveyard is real.

What place inspires you the most?
           
Water. Oceans, lakes, ponds, rivers, swimming pools. All of my stories have had some form of water in them that inspires or is the safe haven of a main character. I was born in Puerto Rico and lived the first five years of my life on the beach. I was then a springboard diver for twelve years. I LOVE the water. It’s where I hope to retire at some point with my family. For some reason, when I write a setting with water, I’m able to immerse myself in the story and see the characters more clearly.

Do you have any advice for new writers beginning their adventure?

Never quit. Keep going. This is a rough journey for most, but don’t stop. Work on growing a thick skin for the critiques and advice you’ll receive. Take each of those critiques with a grain of salt, but don’t disregard them completely, especially from people who are experienced in this business. Learn to decipher the difference between people who are truly trying to help you improve your story and craft, vs those who are just curmudgeons (there are plenty of those out there). Lastly, do not surround yourself with people who keep telling you nothing more than “I really like it,” or “good job.” Those comments do not help you improve (and EVERYONE can improve). Once again, never quit. Keep writing forward.
Side note: I wrote a short blog post on rules of fiction writing back in 2012. I think it will help here as well. http://susansheehey.com/2012/04/28/rules-of-fiction-writing/

AUDREY’S PROMISE Blurb:

     Audrey Allen is poised to become the youngest Texas senator, a position that fits her nickname, The Peacemaker. But she's unable to make peace with many in her hometown, where memories and grudges run deep from a decade-old tragedy.
     Ethan Tanner, an ambitious and tantalizing journalist, joins her at Thanksgiving for an in-depth look at the promising candidate. But he has an agenda of his own that's not entirely honorable.
     Ethan could stir up trouble for her budding career, or awaken the deep passions she's buried for so long. Will Ethan find that he values love more than getting the story?

AUDREY’S PROMISE Excerpt:

    
“I’ll be up front, Audrey.” Ethan pulled out a hand recorder. “What ghosts do you have in your closet?” The wink he threw at her didn’t disguise the seriousness of his intent, despite the playful tone.
     “Don’t you mean skeletons?” Miranda interrupted.
     “Nope, ghosts.”
     “What’s the difference?” Miranda eyed the recorder.
     “Skeletons are only scary. Ghosts from your past can truly haunt you.”
     “Aren’t you a little old to believe in ghosts?” Audrey asked with an infectious smile.
     “No. They make my job the most entertaining.” The light flashed in Ethan’s eyes and his grin became wicked. Audrey’s heart thudded against her sternum. It wasn’t fair to look that enticing.
     “Sorry to burst your pubescent bubble, but Halloween is over.” Audrey smiled through Miranda’s chuckle. But she couldn’t take her eyes off Ethan, assessing his resilience. Would he push and badger just like every other journalist? Were his cojones as big as he flaunted?

Susan Sheehey Biography:
Susan writes contemporary romance, romantic suspense and women's fiction. After spending six years in the corporate world, her true passion wouldn't let go and she's been writing ever since. She lives and laughs in Texas with her husband and son.



Saturday, December 7, 2013

Murder mystery on the plantation

Hello Gloria, and welcome. Please make yourself comfortable and tell us about your adventure.

What books have most influenced your life most?

The Bible, Cinderella, Dame Wiggins and Her Seven Wonderful Cats, Little Women, The Mistress of Mellyn (the first Victoria Holt book I ever read), and, of course, the first romance novel I ever read (I’d be hard-pressed to tell you the title). These are just a few of the books that made me a reader and encouraged me to be a writer.

What book are you reading now?

Little Big Heart by Dolores J. Wilson.

How many books have you written? Which is your favourite? 

I’ve completed eight books. Five of them have been published and three of them are looking for homes. I have a dozen others in various stages of completion. As far as my favourite goes, I’m just not sure. I loved writing my newest release, WHEN SWALLOWS FALL. For some reason, I just really enjoyed writing it. My favourite is probably Sweet Sacrifices, with Shades of Silence a very close second.

In which genre do you prefer to write and why?

I prefer to write romance because that’s what I like to read. I’ve always loved fairy tales, and I love creating the moments that span the gap between once upon a time and happily ever after.

As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?  Writing, or something else?

 I wanted to be a writer, a housewife, a mother, a missionary and/or a teacher. I’m not sure how I became a paralegal, but it certainly wasn’t on my list. 

Have you ever cried during a movie? If yes, which one and why?

 Yes! I cry at random moments during movies, even when no one else might understand why. Specifically, I cry each and every time I watch The Family Stone. I keep thinking I’ll stop eventually. I mean, I’ve watched it like five times, but I always end up tearing up at the end. I think it’s because they are such imperfect people with such a perfect, accepting love for each other.
I also cried when I watched Toy Story 3. I went on a field trip with my oldest son to see the first Toy Story, my youngest son was one when the first one came out and he loved Buzz and Woody. By the time the last one was released, they were all grown up and watching Andy go away to college was like watching them grow up all over again – in a 2 hour time span. Now my grandsons are crazy about Toy Story, so if you ask me 15 years from now, my answer will probably be the same.


Blurb:

     Although Ophelia Garrett loved Cade Scott first, it was her sister he married and took home to his plantation. When Ophelia receives word of her sister's murder and Cade's arrest, she travels there on a mission to learn the truth. She soon finds the halls of Almenara are haunted by secrets, peril, and quite possibly her sister's ghost.
     Despite the cold, angry man Cade has become, Ophelia's heart refuses to believe he is a murderer. Vowing to do everything she can to prove his innocence, Ophelia must open wounds she’d hoped were long healed and face the feelings that still burn between her and Cade. 
     As everyone looks to Cade as the suspect, evil haunts the dunes and halls of Almenara, bringing death to two more young women and forcing Ophelia to confront the danger.

Excerpt:

     “How did Desi die, Cade?”
     He lifted his head, his face mere inches from mine. Emotion clouded his gaze, and he opened his mouth as if he meant to answer me. Instead, a low moan escaped him and he caught my mouth in the hungry kiss I had dreamed of for six years’ worth of lonely nights. For just a moment, the reason for that loneliness was completely forgotten.
     A cry rent the air, and I jerked away from Cade, guilt and alarm whipping through me in equal measures as I turned to stare at the maid who had finally returned with the broom and dustpan.
     “Oh, Mr. Scott, forgive me, please.”
      “No need for apologies, Susan,” Cade said, bringing the woman’s stammering apology to an end.
      He looked at me, his eyes shadowed with pain. “I am the one who should be sorry. I’ll see you at supper, Ophelia.”
      I was left standing in the hall with the maid, who stared at me with open disdain. Her voice was sharp and cold when she spoke.
      “I thought you were Mrs. Scott, you know. Kissing her husband like that. It made me think Kathleen was right and she had come back from the grave after all.”
      “People don’t come back from the grave, Susan,” I retorted, hoping my haughtiness hid my shame. If Desi were to come back to haunt the halls of the home where she’d died, I was fairly certain what I’d just done would be reason enough for me to be her target.

Bio

Romantic suspense author Gloria Davidson Marlow's heart is firmly planted in the northeast Florida neighborhood where she grew up in a family of commercial fishermen. She works as a paralegal for a local law firm, but remains a homemaker at heart who loves cooking, Florida wine, and making pickles and jellies. She and her husband, also a commercial fisherman, have three young grandsons with whom Gloria cannot spend nearly enough time.

Twitter: @gloria_marlow





Saturday, November 30, 2013

Scandal and danger in Regency England


Hi Jane, and welcome. Please make yourself comfortable and tell us about your adventure.
Jane Beckenham

What inspired you to write your first book?

I actually played around for a while, then joined the online group Ozromance and met Ellen Ben-Sefer on line who wanted someone to critique her current book. Actually I had no idea what critiquing was but held my hand up.  Ellen and I had a lot in common, had both lived in Israel and travelled a lot.  We ended up writing 2 books together before we’d actually ever met.  That first book was Woman of Valor, which was subsequently published.

How many books have you written? Which is your favourite?

I’ve written about 15 books, not all published!  He’s The One is one of my favourites – it’s a contemporary and quite quirky.  But my next release. THE HIGHWAYMAN’S BRIDE (Entangled/Scandalous release 9 December) is a Regency and again a bit quirky in that the heroine is a highway robber.  Very adventurous for those times. 

As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up? Writing, or something else?

Oh, I was going to be a queen, not even the princess, but a queen.  I suppose I can call myself the queen of the house, or housework!
 Have you ever travelled to a place and come away with a story unexpectedly?

Actually, yes.  I ‘travelled’ to hospital and ended up staying there for four weeks, and I remember watching the clouds pass across the sky from my bed. I wondered what it would be like travelling on a cloud, and maybe even falling off – that inspired To Kiss an Angel, a great holiday story for right now.

What historical person would you want to meet and why?

Cleopatra because of her strength in what must have really been a man’s world.  Imagine all that power, but then I’m not a great fan of bathing in ass’s milk – wonder if I’d come out smelling like a donkey?

If you could time travel back, or forward, for one day, where would it be and why?

To the court of Henry VIII to really see what he was like – a despot? Or just a randy bloke? Did those women marry him for love, or was it simply power or fear?  It would be nice to be a fly on the wall, as long as he didn’t swat me!

THE HIGHWAYMAN’S BRIDE –BLURB

England, 1813
Forced into a marriage . . .
Compelled by her uncle to marry a man who has a predilection for violence, Tess Stanhope resorts to a ploy from her favorite novels to fund an escape—highway robbery. But her attempt is botched by a maddening, handsome rogue named Aiden.
Driven by revenge . . .
Aiden Masters, the Earl of Charnley, is hell-bent on avenging his sister’s brutal treatment at the hands of the criminal Florian Nash. He single-mindedly seeks vengeance at the expense of all else—even by furtively roaming the highways at night.  
Blackmailed for love . . .
At a London party Tess meets up with Aiden once again and blackmails him...marry her or she’ll divulge to society his clandestine life as a highwayman. She desires a marriage in name only—but the more time they spend fighting their desire, the closer they come giving in.

Excerpt:
The Highwayman’s Bride
         
Her mind reeled at his closeness, a sensory world of heat and touch. Of sinful thoughts. Concentrate. Stick with the plan.
What plan? This had been a spur of the moment idea. Now she had to make it work.
A flurry of nerves and fear coiled tight in her gut. This man was big. Her gaze dropped to his hands. Big hands. Hands that could break her with one flick of his wrists.
Tess knew she tempted him, which was exactly as it needed to be if she were to succeed. Then he did something she hadn’t expected. He lifted a hand to her neck, scraping the back of his fingers along its curve. Her breath hitched for a heartbeat.
Do it, Tess. He’s your only hope.
“I desire the independence of a married woman,” she said in a rush.
His eyes darkened to the color of the deepest night sky. “And?”
The tip of her tongue slid along the rim of her mouth, and butterflies fluttered in her stomach. “Marry me, Aiden, and you’ll never see me again. Marry me, or I will announce to the world your penchant for robbery.”
His hand fell away, his expression instantly stony. “You are either very brave, Tess Stanhope, or extremely foolish.”
“I know what I want.”
“So do I.”
Then he kissed her—and that changed everything.

Pre order link  The Highwayman’s Bride

Bio

Multi-published author Jane Beckenham discovered dreams and hope, stories that inspired in her a love of romance and happy ever after.  Years later, after a blind date, Jane found her own true love and married him eleven months later.
Life has been a series of  ‘dreams’ for Jane.  Dreaming of learning to walk again after spending years in hospital. Dreaming of raising a family and subsequently flying to Russia to bring home her two adopted daughters. And of course, dreaming of writing.
Writing has become Jane’s addiction - and it sure beats housework.

Visit Jane’s web site www.janebeckenham.com
Email neiljane@ihug.co.nz   
Twitter @JaneBeckenham


Saturday, November 23, 2013

Careful. Your nurse could be a vampire


Hello R.E. and welcome to Adventures in Authorland. Please get comfortable and tell us about your adventure.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I’ve always been a storyteller. I’ve always had a vivid imagination. As a kid, I made up stories in my head. In high school I wrote poetry with the proper amount of angst. When my children were young, I made up stories to entertain them. It wasn’t until my children got older that I started putting words on paper.

What inspired you to write your first book?

I was a phlebotomist which means I spent all day sticking needles into patients’ veins for blood samples. A story started forming in my head. Of course dealing with blood led my thoughts to vampires. A vampire phlebotomist?

Can you give us some details about your upcoming release/s?

The second book in the Blautsauger family series, Vampire in the Scrying Glass is now in production. I hope to have it out in the next few months. Morgan and Rafe Blautsauger discover the path to love is never smooth. Magic, vampires and a demon stand in the way to happiness.

What historical person would you want to meet and why?

There are so many fascinating and important people in history that would be fascinating to meet. In no particular order: Jesus, Marc Antony, Cleopatra, Leonardo Da Vinci, Anne Boleyn, Jane Austin, Annie Oakley, Crazy Horse, Sacajawea, Jesse James, Butch Cassidy, Samuel Clemens, Buddha, Al Capone, Albert Einstein, Anne Frank, Mae West, Clark Gable, and John Lennon (to only name a few and, damn, I could go on and on). But in reality, I’d really just want to see and talk to my dad again. I need a hug.

If you could time travel back, or forward, for one day, where would it be and why?

I’d want to go forward a couple of centuries. I’d like to see what we make of ourselves. Hopefully, I’d find a world at peace, no poverty, no discrimination, and flying cars...oh, and transporter beams. I really hope there are transporter beams.

If you could have any super hero power, what would it be?

I’m torn between atmokinesis and precognition. Atmokinesis is the power to control the weather. Imagine being able to always create the perfect day. Wherever you were you could always have the right temperature, amount of breeze, rain, or sun. Using my power for good, I would rid the earth of natural disasters.

Hmm, on the other hand, I could also put Eeyore type thunderclouds over my archenemies heads. Wouldn’t that be a fitting end for the villains of the world? I would force them to forever walk around with soggy socks, wet shoes, and frizzy hair.

However, with precognition I could predict the future, sense danger, and save the day. Of course I would always use my power for good. Bwahahah

IT’S A WONDERFUL UNDEAD LIFE by R. E. Mullins

Blurb

It's been a rough couple of years for Cailey Kantor. Facing her first Christmas alone and bad financial news, she prays for an angel to fix her problems. Instead, a sadistic, sociopathic vampire, with the goal of starting a vampire war, attacks her and forces her to drink blood stolen from the Nosferatu Gabriel Blautsauger.
Gabe must complete Cailey's turning or she will die. In doing so he risks losing his yet unfound soulmate. But something about the lovely mortal speaks to his heart. Once her transformation is complete, he and Cailey find themselves embroiled in a battle that could cost them all they hold dear.
Faced with lies, abduction, and betrayal Cailey wonders if the vampire she is falling fangs over heart for is in it for love or if she's just a means to stop a war.

Excerpt

     Cailey’s scrub top was gone, exposing her lacy bra, and she was in the process of stepping out of the drawstring pants. She glanced up, her gaze a bit wild. “Hurry. Hurry. I think I might explode from all this energy inside me. I feel like a popcorn maker and all the kernels are popping at once. So much pressure in here.” She dropped a hand to the juncture of her thighs and pressed it against her.
     “Cailey?” Gabe’s tone was an octave higher than normal. When she straightened up, clad only in her underwear, he gulped for air. “What are you doing?”
     “Getting ready, of course.” Holding her wadded up pants in front of her, she frowned at him. “I thought you said you knew what you were doing.”
     “I thought I did…” His voice trailed off, his gaze locked on Cailey’s tight body. How had he missed just how beautiful she was? Hidden beneath the baggy scrubs was a living miracle. He took in the slight swell of flesh above the lucky bra cupping her breasts, and his fingers itched to run down the indentation of her waist.
     She dropped the pants to the floor. “Come on. Come on, Gabe the Babe. I know all about when you were at university and all the female vamps used to chase you around and gloat if they made time with you.”
     “Ahem.” Gabe realized he had his sister to thank for this new conundrum. More than a bit leery, he asked, “What else did Metta tell you?”
     “That we’re both kind of like virgins.”
     “I beg your pardon?”


Biography

R. E. Mullins was born and raised in Joplin, Missouri. She has also lived in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Mt. Clemens, Michigan, Springfield, Missouri and Colorado Springs, Colorado. Though she has loved each area, the Ozarks hold a special place in her heart. That is why she set her fictional town of Amber Heights there.

She worked as a Phlebotomist for ten years and assisted in a Continuing Education Course in Phlebotomy for several years. Now she is concentrating on writing.

Added Info:
            Here is a peek at the cover for the second book in the Blautsaugers of Amber Heights series. Vampire in the Scrying Glass is coming soon.

Excerpt: Rafe Blautsauger, vampire and enforcer, must put his feelings for the mortal Morgan Maquire aside. The Nosferatu council who employs Rafe strictly forbids their love. But he can't stay away from the beautiful woman who causes his blood to beat with new life. Yet, she hides a secret, one he must expose in order to protect her.

Morgan keeps her unique gift of magic under wraps due to a spell gone horribly wrong when she was young.  She is haunted by a nightmare where two malevolent glowing red eyes stalk her. Can she trust the arrogant but oh-so-handsome Rafe with her secret as well as her heart? Can he help her regain her power in time to save the world of the living and the undead?


Saturday, November 9, 2013

Neighbor put Debby's career on track

Hi Debby, and welcome. Please get comfortable and tell us about your adventure.
Debby Grahl

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I have to give a little background about myself to answer this question. I was born with a deteriorating eye disease called Retinitis Pigmentosa. This disease eventually causes either extremely low vision or blindness. I lost my ability to read print in my early twenties, but even when I could see print, reading was always difficult for me so as a child I entertained myself by making up my own stories. Becoming an author was always in the back of my mind, but until the development of computers and screen reading software writing was impossible for me.

What inspired you to write your first book?

I had an obnoxious neighbor who I thought would make the perfect murder victim. At the time my husband and I were living in a historic neighborhood which, except for my neighbor, I loved. I conjured up numerous plots in which he met his death. Each year we held our annual Christmas tour of historic homes and I decided to use this as the background for Decorated For Death and my neighbor’s demise.

How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?

I’ve written four books. Decorated for Death, a mystery cozy, was my first.  But it’s full of beginner writer mistakes, so I’m currently rewriting. The second, THE SILVER CRESCENT, scheduled for release on January 30, 2014, by The Writer’s Coffee Shop Publishing House, is a highly charged romance with a murder mystery and a treasure hunt, all helped along by a couple of Victorian ghosts. My third, Rue Toulouse, a contemporary romance set in New Orleans, will come out in January, 2015. My fourth, His Magic Touch, a work in progress, is a paranormal romance also set in New Orleans. Of these, Rue Toulouse is my favorite. My husband and I were in New Orleans celebrating our twentieth wedding anniversary when I had the idea for this story.

You’ve recently signed with a publisher. Tell us about your writing journey before and after this point.

Oh, my, this is a story in itself. It all began two years ago at a writers’ conference in New Orleans. I pitched Rue Toulouse to some editors and agents. One editor actually said he was more interested in paranormal, but send him the first three chapters and he’d take a look. When I got home, I decided that even though I hadn’t pitched it, he might like The Silver Crescent so I sent it instead. 

Two months later I got an email from him telling me he’d like to see the rest of the book. A few months after that I received the email every new writer prays for, the one offering you a contract. Needless to say, I was euphoric. I called and emailed every family member and friend I had telling them my news. We began editing the book and a quarter way through I was informed that due to financial difficulties they were no longer going to be able to publish my book. 

I have to give a little advice here. There’re numerous small publishers popping up all over, so make sure any you choose to submit to look like they will stay in business for a few years at least. As you can imagine I was devastated. So I had a good cry and submitted the MS once again. I got a contract offer with another small publisher whom I thought would stay around. Wrong! 

This time the book was ready to go to print when I was informed they were closing their doors. Once again, I had a good cry, drank a few glasses of wine, and submitted it once again. Now, they say the third time is the charm and it’s true! I’m now with a wonderful publisher, The Writer’s Coffee Shop. THE SILVER CRESCENT will be available in digital downloads from The Writer’s Coffee Shop website, on Kindle and Nook, and print on demand.

If you could time travel back, or forward, for one day, where would it be and why?

Since up to this point I haven’t written any historical, my answer may sound strange, but it would be Regency England. I love reading Johanna Lindsey, Stephanie Laurens, and Amanda Quick among others. I have an outline for a historical romance set in this time period which I hope to begin working on soon. 

Do you have any advice for new writers beginning their adventure?

The first thing I’d suggest is to take some online writing classes. There are many to choose from and they can be extremely beneficial. I’ve taken many myself and can see the difference in my writing from before the classes and afterward. Entering writing contests can also be helpful, but you have to remember these are subjective, and don’t get your feelings hurt or stop writing if you get a low score. I’ve won some contests and have had other entries ripped apart, but I never stopped trying. Joining a local writers’ group is a great way to meet fellow authors. They can be helpful with critiques and basic encouragement. I personally belong to four such groups including Hearts Through History.

THE SILVER CRESCENT blurb:

Betrayal, murder, and a fortune stolen a century ago from a Colorado silver mine send Elise Baxter to Cedar Bend on a quest to solve a family mystery—and to recover a treasure. Following clues from her great-great-grandmother’s diaries, Elise seeks out Max Holt and his restored Victorian inn.

An intense attraction between Max and Elise leads him to believe she may be the girl of his dreams. But when he discovers her true interest in him and his inn, memories of a past betrayal threaten to end their passionate relationship.

Max soon learns his inn has guests from the netherworld—a pair of ghosts who seek justice for a past murder, and an evil presence who will oppose them.

Guided by the ghosts, Max and Elise search the inn, but there are others driven by greed who will stop at nothing to unlock the mystery of the Silver Crescent.

THE SILVER CRESCENT excerpt from the Prologue:

To Cyrus’s disbelief, the old man lurched from his seat. Reaching across the desk, he grabbed Cyrus’s coat by the lapels, bringing their faces inches apart, and said, through gritted teeth, “I’ve waited twenty years for this moment and here you sit in your fancy house, with your fancy new name, behind your fancy desk, wearin’ your fancy clothes, and you ain’t got a clue who I am, you lyin’, cheatin’, murderin’, thievin’ bastard.”
Icy fingers of fear began to run up and down Cyrus’s spine; his gut clenched with every word the old man spoke. He fought to maintain a haughty expression as he stared into those hate-filled eyes.
“Release me, sir, and control yourself,” he said before Garrison spoke.
“Yes, my good man, this kind of behavior will gain you nothing. We’re all civilized men here. I’m sure, after hearing what you have to say, our good friend Cyrus will be more than happy to atone for his past sins and give you your due.”
“He damn well better.” The old man sneered as he retook his seat.
In a gruff voice, throat gone dry, Cyrus demanded, “For the last time, what is this about?”
Garrison paused to light his thin cigar. “Well, Cyrus, it’s about a Colorado silver mine and murder.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Debby Grahl lives on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, with her husband, David, and their cat, Tigger. Besides writing, she enjoys biking, walking on the beach and a glass of wine at sunset. Her favorite places to visit are New Orleans, New York City, Captiva Island in Florida, the Cotswolds of England, and her home state of Michigan. She is a history buff who also enjoys reading murder mysteries, time travel, and, of course, romance. Visually impaired since childhood by Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP), she uses screen-reading software to research and write her books. Debby belongs to RWA, Florida Romance Writers, Hearts Throu
gh History, and Lowcountry Romance Writers.

WEBSITE:                                                       http://www.debbygrahl.com/

FACEBOOK, AUTHOR PAGE:                         https://www.facebook.com/deborahgrahl


Saturday, November 2, 2013

Jean builds cosy mysteries laced with humour

Hi, Jean, and welcome. Please get comfortable and tell us a little about your adventure.

What inspired you to write your first book?

A woman I knew who had ten children in eleven years and was then deserted by her husband.  For sheer drama—and tragedy—hers was a tale worth telling.  I did complete the book but never attempted to have it published.  The story would hurt too many people to be made public.  But writing it served as a form of catharsis for me and a learning experience as well.

What book are you reading now?

I’m currently reading Alice Munroe’s short story collection, Real Life.  They’re deceptively simple by a master of the embedded symbol.  I highly recommend the book by our most recent Nobel laureate. Each story really makes you think, so after you read one, you sit back and say, “Now what was that all about.”  And with a little thought, you discover the gem hidden inside that fluid prose.  Munroe is a gifted storyteller.

How many books have you written?  Which is your favourite?

I have to count.  Let’s see.  Including that early domestic tragedy, twelve.  Seven, counting my current WIP, have been accepted for publication, and that makes me happy.

Can you give us some details about your upcoming release?

On January 4, 2014, Rooms To Die For, the fourth book in my Murders by Design Mystery Series, will be released by Carina Press and available through Amazon.com.  Rooms to Die For is a cozy mystery laced with humor.  As an interior designer with a struggling business and a great love life, Deva Dunne keeps getting into scrapes that put her in grave danger. (No pun intended!)  This drives Lt. Rossi, her detective lover crazy, but as every designer knows, the devil’s in the details, and these pesky details have a habit of bringing Deva face-to-face with killers.

Do you have any advice for new writers beginning their adventure?

Ah, yes.  This question is asked of every writer:  Bad news first:  Sorry, but there is no muse who will wave a magic wand over you as you write.  Now for the good news:  If you keep on writing, every day, every day, you will polish your craft and with that have an excellent chance of becoming a published writer.  It’s a long and difficult road, I know, but it can be done.  Look at me, Ma!

Share three fun facts about you that most people don’t know.

  1. I weigh the same now as I did when I was married.  It just looks different.
  2. Today is my wedding anniversary.  Many happy years spent with Big John.
  3. Our son was born on our fifth wedding anniversary.  Happy birthday, Chris!
 
BLURB of KILLER KITCHENS

When a restaurant gas oven explodes in Killer Kitchens, killing two men, destroying the chef’s livelihood and tossing heroine Deva Dunne out onto the sidewalk, you know something’s gone terribly wrong with Deva’s first commercial project.  Actually it’s been blown all to, well—smithereens.  The reason?  An accidental propane leak?  Or was arson the cause?  Either way, just because Dynamite Shrimp was on the menu, did the place have to explode?  For an excerpt, take a peek at: www.jeanharrington.com/


Saturday, October 26, 2013

Robin Hood's daughter stars in Sherwood trilogy

A warm welcome to Laura Strickland.  Please get comfortable, Laura, and tell us a little about your adventure.

What books have most influenced your life most?

     Wow, this is a difficult question.  I’ve read a lot of books over the years, and treasured a great many of them.  I suspect that every book I’ve read – good or bad – has influenced me on some subatomic level, sculpting the stuff of my brain and adding a little something.  I’ve always said I learned to write by reading great writers, most of them British.  Maybe I learned a bit about how not to write by reading the other kind.
     When I was younger, I measured my love for a book by my desire to own a copy.  I would save my allowance until I could order copies of books like Sally Watson’s Witch of the Glens.  After I read Louisa May Alcott’s Rose in Bloom I made up my mind to memorize it word for word – and that was long before I saw the movie Fahrenheit 451!  I didn’t prove too successful, but the effort did give me time to save enough money to purchase a copy, which I still own.
     I think I’ve actually been most influenced by books that created a world that then drew me in, like Tolkien’s The Hobbit and the Discworld Series by Sir Terry Pratchett, who qualifies as my favourite author of all time.  Those kinds of books inspired me to create worlds of my own, like that inhabited by the characters of my latest release, Daughter of Sherwood.

What book are you reading now?

     Well, I’m a voracious reader, so I tend to go through books very quickly and I have a wide range of interests when it comes to reading fiction.  I generally choose what to read based on my mood of the moment, but once I start a book I always finish, even if I don’t particularly like the story.  It’s as if having opened a book, I feel I’ve entered into a pact with the author and committed myself to follow through.  I have the good fortune to work for a Library System (right, could it be more perfect?) so I have access to a wide range of books at all times.  I read Historical, Mysteries, Romances, Humor, Fantasy, Science Fiction, Young Adult and occasionally even Westerns. 
     I also love to read books written by my fellow authors.  The Wild Rose Press is publishing an amazing array of fiction and there’s definitely something to meet every taste and every mood.  When I see the talent of my fellow Roses, I’m humbled to be in their company.
     Right now, though, I’m reading a Young Adult novel by Michael Rubens called Sons of the 613, a coming of age story that’s so funny it makes me laugh out loud.

Can you give us some details about your upcoming release/s?

     My latest book, DAUGHTER OF SHERWOOD, is Book One of The Guardians of Sherwood Trilogy, and the next book, Champion of Sherwood, has an estimated release date some time next spring.  It’s a funny thing, because when I wrote Daughter of Sherwood and submitted it to my publisher I had no notion of writing a trilogy.  Not till I received a contract from my editor did that idea strike me.
     Daughter of Sherwood is a story of threes: the heroine, Wren, is born three days after the death of her father, Robin Hood; her mother, Marian, cares for her three days before succumbing to her grief and withdrawing to a convent.  At the beginning of the book Wren learns she is destined to be part of a magical triad that guards Sherwood Forest, along with the sons of two of Robin’s men, Martin Scarlet and Sparrow Little.  It just seemed a given that there should be a trilogy and I began work almost at once on the second book, Champion of Sherwood, which tells the tale of Wren’s daughters and a young Norman knight.  The final book of the trilogy, called Lord of Sherwood, is now in the final stages of editing.  It brings the tale round in a circle to end where it began.  Each book can be read and enjoyed separately, as each tells a complete story, but I’m particularly proud of how the three books fit together to advance the legend of Robin Hood and his descendants.

What historical person would you want to meet and why?
      
     There are so many people I’d love to meet.  I love ancient Celtic music so I’ve always wished I could meet the 17th-Century Irish harper, Turlough O’Carolan.  Only imagine sitting and listening to him play and tell stories!  I’ll bet Thomas Jefferson would have been a fascinating conversationalist.  And I’d find it hard to turn down a meeting with Leif Ericson or William Wallace.  Do I really have to choose?  Can’t I have a banquet?  Jefferson can bring vegetables from his garden, Ericson can catch some fish in the fjord, Wallace can bring down a deer off a Scottish hillside and O’Carolan can keep us all entertained while we eat.  We’ll talk late into the night, share a dram or two, and they can give me ideas for stories.

If you could time travel back, or forward, for one day, where would it be and why?

     I love this question!  If I could time travel for a day, it would definitely be back and I’d land myself in Celtic Iron Age Britain.  In fact, the first Celtic Historical I ever wrote was a story about a man who crashes his car and, while in a coma, wakes up in Iron Age Scotland to find he’s a warrior in an ancient clan.  So it’s not much of a stretch to imagine myself doing the same thing. 
     Just plop me down anywhere along the coast of Kintyre or near the foot of Glen Etive and I believe my imagination will do the rest.  I did visit both places when I was in Scotland several years ago, because both are settings for books I’ve written.  I found them to be wondrously similar to the way I’d pictured them in my mind.  I’d like nothing more than an opportunity to see them in days of yore when factories, automobiles and airplanes were mere concepts in the minds of dreamers. The problem is, I’m not sure I’d want to return after my day was done!

Have you ever cried during a movie? If yes, which one and why?

     When I was in grade school, we had something called “film day” once a month.  Each student was asked to bring ten cents from home and a movie would be rented and shown for the whole student body, in the auditorium.  I remember I was in sixth grade and seated next to my best friend, Debbie, the day they showed a movie called “A Dog of Flanders”.  I don’t know if you’ve ever seen it, but it’s a touching story about a young boy whose dog – a Bouvier des Flandres – is his only companion and his sole means of support.  The dog would do anything for the boy, and vice versa.  Well, to make a long story short, the dog does not survive the film and this animal lover was reduced to a state of inconsolable grief.  When the movie finished and the lights came up, Debbie and I were both still wallowing in tears though no one else seemed so terribly affected.  Embarrassing, but even to this day I flinch when anyone mentions a movie that involves animals, and I refuse to watch unless I’m promised any and all animal characters will still be alive at the end.

DAUGHTER OF SHERWOOD blurb:

     Raised in the kitchens of Nottingham Castle, Wren has no idea she is the daughter of the legendary Robin Hood until she is summoned to Sherwood Forest.  Since Robin’s death many years before, the resistance against Norman tyranny has been upheld by a magical triad, but now one of the guardians has died.  With two young men, Sparrow and Martin, Wren must form a new triad with a bond strong enough to defend Sherwood’s magic.  To one of them, she will also give her heart.
     From the moment Wren bursts into his life, Sparrow loves her.  But he knows she may choose his lifelong rival, Martin, as her mate.  Martin wants Wren also, but Sparrow fears Martin is driven not by love but ambition.  When Martin is captured and held at Nottingham Castle, will the conflict between love and duty destroy the triad?

DAUGHTER OF SHERWOOD excerpt:
In the gathering gloom, the man looked tall and slender, a shadow seen only indistinctly. But she knew him, had seen him numerous times in both dream and imagination.
            A sob burst from her throat. "You are dead."
“But I live on, here in Sherwood. That to which we give our love in life is never lost."
            Rennie continued to examine him through narrowed eyes. This must be how he had looked at the time of his death, strong and handsome, vital as the forest itself.
            "Long have I tried to reach you, Daughter, to tell you the importance of your place here."
            There, he had said it: daughter. A chill chased its way through Rennie's limbs.
"Wren, life is a series of cycles. The flesh rises and falls as do the stars in the sky; the spirit endures.  The three of you – Sparrow, Martin and yourself – must prepare to take your places on the wheel."
            "The wheel?"
"Of life."
"It is not fair," Rennie cried, suddenly aware of how much she would have liked knowing this man.
            "It is not fair," he agreed, "when a child is born into serfdom, an old woman bled to death for the king's taxes, or the father of a family deprived of his hand, so those he loves must starve. There is but one thing fair about our world."
            "And, what is that?"
 "That love does not die, but rides the wheel and goes round until it meets with those who love, again. You must do as you must do.  Keep the magic strong."

Bio:
Born and raised in Western New York, Laura Strickland has pursued lifelong interests in lore, legend, magic and music, all reflected in her writing. Though her imagination frequently takes her to far off places, she is usually happiest at home not far from Lake Ontario with her husband and her "fur" child, a rescue dog. Currently she is at work on the third book of the Guardians of Sherwood series.

Buy link for Daughter of Sherwood:

 Or via author’s web page: http://www.laurastricklandbooks.com