Wednesday, January 26, 2011
Hi, Jean, welcome to my blog. Could you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I am a happily married mother of three, grandmother of one. I seem to have an overactive imagination that I exercise by writing books and I love to be busy. I work a full time day job beginning at 5am. At 1:30pm I head over to my used book store. In between, to fill in the slow moments, I write stories in my head, while making a few notes so I don’t forget anything. When I get home at 7-8pm I write it all down. I also write book reviews, read for acquisition for a publisher, and am a freelance editor. When I’m able, I enjoy reading just for me.
I'm exhausted just listening to you! What prompted you to write your first book?
I wrote my first published book while I was on leave after falling in my garden. I used to write fan fiction and decided that I’d make up my own band so I could actually benefit from my work. ShadowsForge was born and my workmates pushed me into publishing it. I began writing when I was around eleven to stave off loneliness. We moved a lot and I wanted to have friends that could move with me so I wrote them. I don’t have any of the early stories anymore but it was a great beginning to a thrilling career.
3.How long does it take you to produce a book?
That varies and depends on how much the characters work with me. Three Times a Hero was written in one month. The Long Way Home took two years to write. Shyanne’s Secret, released this month from WhiskeyCreekPress.com took one year. Her Perfect Man, released in October 2010 from Red Rose Publishing.com took a ridiculous eighteen years.
I had a book like that too. They're very dear to your heart, aren't they? What’s the easiest part of writing? The hardest?
The easy part is the ending because that is where I begin. I decide where I want the story to end up and I work backward to get them there. I think the hardest part would be the middle, to keep it from sagging.
Wow, I do something very similiar. Tell us two things about you that would surprise us.
I’ve had Multiple Sclerosis for the last twenty eight of my fifty-two years. I suffer from panic attacks and would be perfectly happy to do everything from home.
You obviously haven't let your health slow you down. Would you share your links with us?
Shyannes’ Secret - http://www.whiskeycreekpress.com/store/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=863
ShadowsForge Series -
Her Perfect Man -
We’d love to read an excerpt from your latest release. Don’t forget to share a buy link with us.
It took her all day to work up the nerve to go see him but after that display of stupidity she’d witnessed in town, she was more determined to meet Cole Jackson. She stopped at a safe distance from the house, and wondered what excuse she would use for being there in the dark of night. She shrugged to herself and decided to worry about that when the time came. It would come because she fully intended on introducing herself to him. Tonight.
As she knelt and found several small stones to toss, she wondered which of the upstairs windows was his. Then, just as she was about to leave the safety of the trees and walk up toward the porch, the front door opened. Cole’s Aunt Rita stepped out, holding aloft a lantern, her shawl close around her shoulders. She looked around at the dark clearing before calling out for Cole. After a few long moments passed without a response, Rita returned to the house and closed the door.
Shyanne let out a breath and wondered what to do. If Cole wasn’t here, what could she do? That man just wasn’t making this easy for her. It was just not fair after she’d nearly fallen in the ravine lying between her house and his. She’d fought back her fear when an owl swooped down not far from where she’d stopped to rest for a minute. The owl had gathered its evening meal and disappeared into the sky, leaving Shyanne to wonder what else may lurk in the darkness. She’d been relieved to reach the edge of the clearing where Cole’s house, barn and several outbuildings stood in a semi-circle. Now she wondered at the cleverness of her coming here.
Disappointed, she’d decided to turn around and go back home when the dim glow of a lantern flickered in the barn. She mustered her courage, crept across the clearing, and peered through the door, keeping to the side so she wouldn’t be seen. Cole stood in the wagon, and tossed bags of oats to the floor. She watched, enthralled that his bronze muscular chest showed through his open shirt. She wondered what he’d look like in the authentic dress of the Paiute tribe, although he was a striking site in the snug denim pants and open shirt of the white man.
He emptied the wagon and jumped to the ground. Her gaze cautiously searched the barn to be sure he was alone. Once satisfied, she turned her attention back to the wagon, but Cole was gone.
She waited for a full minute before she decided to venture in. She stepped inside, waited, and listened. After a moment, she heard him rustle around up in the loft. He climbed down the ladder, grabbed the lantern, and took it up with him, leaving Shyanne in semi-darkness. Draping her shawl on the wagon beside the ladder, she climbed silently up and peeked over the edge. The lantern was hung on a hook from the ceiling. Cole lay on his back on a pallet, his dark hair splayed out around his golden face, his eyes closed. She was nearly overcome with excitement, and her stomach fluttered as her grip tightened on the rung.
She took a deep breath, and called out. “Cole, I’m coming up. Don’t let me fall.”
For more excerpts from Shyanne’s Secret, Her Perfect Manand the ShadowsForge series, stop by my website at http://jenagalifany.bravehost.com . Enjoy!
Elaine - Thanks for having me over to share with your readers. I appreciate you!
Come back soon, Jena. Your book sounds fantastic.
Monday, January 24, 2011
Hello, Kim. Thanks for stopping by. Tell us a little bit about yourself, please. Did you always want to be a writer?
I’m the author of two YA books, a reviewer, and also a homeschooling mom.
I’ve always loved writing. I think it really helped that my fifth grade teacher encouraged my writing. So did my High school Journalism teacher.
For anyone not familiar with your work, what genres do you write in? have you ever considered other genres?
So far I’ve mostly written for the YA market. I write fantasies, paranormals, and also multicultural pieces. What people don’t know about me is I started off writing poetry and have a poem in a poetry anthology. I also have an edgier YA piece that I mean to go back to.
Wow, I'm feeling small here. I couldn't write poetry if my life depended on it. What do you think makes a book a page turner?
I feel a story needs to grab you at the start. Too much backstory and other expository writing will lose a reader. As a reviewer I have the 50 page rule: if the story doesn’t get my attention by the first 50 pages, I put it aside.
Yes, I do pretty much the same thing. What advice would you give aspiring writers?
Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t write. If this is your dream, be persistent. Don’t give up.
LOL. That's the advice I always give, and it's good advice. What are your future goals as a writer?
One of my big goals is to get an agent. But I know that’s out of my hands at the moment so I think the biggest goal I have is to finish my YA dystopia and the sequel to CROSSED OUT. I want to continue to better my craft by writing the best books I can.
Would you share your links with us?
Sure! Here’s my website: www.kim-baccellia.com
My link to my book: http://www.lachesispublishing.com/proddetail.asp?prod=Crossed%5FOut
Amazon link: http://www.amazon.com/Crossed-Out-Kim-Baccellia/dp/1897562683/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1294332608&sr=8-1
The link to my review site: www.yabookscentral.com
I’m ixtumea there!
7.We’d love to read an excerpt for one of your books. Don’t forget to leave us a buy link.
I couldn’t deal with Mom and her holier-than-thou attitude about decorating crosses. If she had any clue why I needed to do this, maybe she’d back off. I pushed my hair aside and looked down at the wooden beams. My box of paints and Sharpie pens lay close to my side. I had to get the design just right. Roses, or something plainer? It didn’t help that it was so cold in the garage.
Why was it so hard to help the dead go to the other side? It’d be a whole lot easier if they told me what they wanted on their crosses. Dead girl comes, asks for help, and tells me she’s into pink roses. Yes, that would make my job a lot easier.
But one thing I’ve learned is, life isn’t easy. Cliché, but true.
Figures, this was how I’d spend my time on a Saturday – sitting cross-legged on the floor in our garage, worrying about finishing a cross for some dead girl. In a few hours, Mom would drag me to Mrs. Swanson’s house for a sleepover. I didn’t really have time to decorate a cross.
And each time I tried to sketch, thoughts of the meeting drove any thought of the design out of my mind. I mean, how could I even think of helping others – albeit dead ones – when my own life was such a disaster?
I didn’t want to go. But Mom was using the whole sleepover as a way to get me to be around Hillary, whom she thought would be such a good example for me. But I couldn’t tell my mother the truth – I hated Hillary. Yes, we’d once been close, but it wasn’t as if we were BFF anymore. No, Hillary made sure of that when I’d been stupid enough to trust her with my secret. A secret that was better left hidden. No one believed the dead could talk to you.
According to my last counselor, the only way that could happen is through serious Steven Spielberg special effects.
When I admitted to seeing one of my dead friends, he didn’t freak. No, he did something worse. He ended up suggesting to my parents that I needed to see a counselor – for serious psychological help. I mean, only crazy people see the dead.
And, I hate to say this, but his anti-anxiety and antidepressants don’t keep them away. Sometimes I wished the drug cocktail could just erase them. It sure would make my life a lot easier.
Sighing, I decided to go with pink roses. What girl didn’t like pink?
A sudden coldness permeated the garage. Jeez, did Dad forget to close the back door again?
I pulled my hoodie tighter. Working in near darkness was bad enough without the drop in temperature.
Whoosh. Whoosh. Whoosh.
I dropped my black Sharpie.
Over in the corner of the garage loose papers and dust whirled around – a funnel growing larger and larger.
A light shone next to Mom’s holiday plastic boxes, illuminating some Christmas ornaments, tinsel, and wrapping paper.
The childish voice grew louder. A chill went up my back. I know that voice!
I'd read this myself, Kim! Good luck with your work. Come back to visit soon.
Thursday, January 20, 2011
My guest today is the fabulous Karenna Colcroft. Karenna, welcome to the blog. Could you tell us a little bit about you and your work?
I’ve been writing since I was five years old, and started writing erotic romance when I was 36, in 2006. The first short story I wrote was a challenge from a friend of mine who’d been helping me deal with some tough stuff from my past. He challenged me to put my writing skills to work and write something showing “sex in a positive light.” I did it, was surprised by how well the story turned out, and was hooked on writing romance. That first story, incidentally, became a scene in my paranormal romance novel Eternal Love, which came out in July 2010.
For a few years, I just wrote stories with no idea what to do with them. Some ended up on a free story site, while some just stayed on my hard drive. In 2009, I finally worked up the guts to submit to an e-publisher, and my first e-release came out in March 2009. Since then, I’ve had books published with Pink Petal Books, Noble Romance, and Siren. For 2011, I have releases scheduled from Pink Petal Books and Ellora’s Cave so far.
Wow, that's a great track record! What event spurred you to become an author?
There was no single event. When I was very young, two or three years old, I made up stories and told them to my stuffed animals. When someone finally showed me how to make those little squiggles we call “letters,” I started writing down my stories. I’d learned to read pretty early, and I always had it in my head that I wanted to see my stories in books like the ones I read. It took me a while to navigate the process of becoming a published author, but that’s what I’ve always aimed for.
What do you think is the hardest part of writing? The easiest?
The hardest part of writing, for me, is coming up with an ending. I might have a great story with a solid plot and good characters, but when all the conflict and stuff is over and the story’s done, I’m never quite sure what to write to end the thing. I know how the story ends, but not the words to use, if that makes sense.
The easiest for me is coming up with the plot and characters.
I agree that creating characters is fun. What do you think makes a book a page turner?
For me as a reader, a book is a page turner if the characters seem real to me and the plot makes sense. If the author grabs my attention right off the bat and I care enough about the main characters that I just have to find out what happens to them, I’m going to keep reading and may not be able to put the book down until I’m finished.
What are 3 things that would surprise the readers to learn about you?
Hmm…I have to think on this one. I’m not very surprising.
I guess it might surprise them to learn that I write young adult urban fantasy under a different name; I met my second husband through an “adult dating” website; and while I’ve traveled to two foreign countries, within the United States I’ve never been south or west of West Virginia.
Excellent surprises, Karenna! Would you share your links with us?
Absolutely! My website is http://karennacolcroft.com, and my blog is located on that site along with links to my publishers. You can find me on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/karenna.colcroft, and on Twitter at http://twitter.com/#!/KarennaColcroft.
We’d love to read an excerpt. Do give us a buy link.
I have several releases coming up in the next couple of months. One is a short story called “With this Flower,” in an anthology titled Wishing on a Blue Star, from Dreamspinner Press. That will be out on January 25. http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=2158.
I have two releases coming from Ellora’s Cave. Seeds of Desire, a contemporary MF novella, will be released on January 28, and Hear Me, See Me, a contemporary “Quickie” for the Exotika line, has yet to be scheduled. http://www.jasminejade.com/ps-9041-50-seeds-of-desire.aspx
I also have two releases coming from Pink Petal Books. You Shouldn’t Kiss Me Like This is a contemporary novella about two West Coast Swing dance instructors, and Home Port is a contemporary MF about an office worker and a boat captain. Releases are scheduled for February and March. http://www.pinkpetalbooks.com (note that Pink Petal is updating their website, so some upcoming releases may not appear yet on the Coming Soon page).
I’d like to share the blurb and excerpt from Seeds of Desire:
For Cassidy Shelton, working with Jared Jackson is a form of torture, partly because of his arrogant attitude and partly because of the lust for him that Cassidy can’t quite deny.
When the two are sent on an overnight business trip to promote a reforestation project, their desire peaks. From making out in Jared’s car to seduction through thin hotel walls, sparks fly fast and furious between them. Cassidy may feel ambivalent about Jared, but her body doesn’t.
But when Jared strips away the arrogance to bare his heart, can Cassidy accept it? And can she admit, even to herself, that she feels the same about him?
“How many people signed up to plant?” he asked.
Cassidy scanned the list. “Looks like about fifty. Pretty good, considering we had fewer than a hundred here.” She couldn’t resist a little dig at him. “Either you need to do a better job publicizing these little meetings, or people don’t really give a damn. We haven’t been doing too well with the turnouts lately.”
He glared at her. “That guy was right. We’re in a recession here. People aren’t as interested in trees and that kind of thing if they’re trying to feed and house their families.” He sounded as if other people’s struggles actually affected him, though Cassidy had her doubts they did.
Jared walked away from the table. She watched him go, at first not even realizing that she was staring at his ass. When she caught herself, she closed her eyes for a moment. Get the hell over it!
“I’ll give you a ride back to the hotel, unless you have some deep-seated philosophical objection to cars,” he shot over his shoulder.
She had no objection to cars at all. Only to the idea of being trapped in a small, enclosed space with Jared for the time it would take to reach the hotel. They’d driven to the meeting together, of course. JaBro provided only one company car for these trips. However, on the way to the hall, Cassidy had been too worried about her speech to think about him. Now that her libido had taken over, she didn’t know if she trusted herself to be that near to him with no one else around. She might wind up touching him, rubbing his thigh or something harder.
Or she might get control of herself and take the damn ride. She didn’t have much choice about riding with him. Since five miles separated the hall from the motel, and Cassidy had worn non-sensible shoes, she chose not to snipe at him. Walking that far in these heels would suck. “Thanks for the enthusiastic offer,” she muttered, following him outside.
Thanks for coming today, Karenna. Good luck with all of your releases.
Monday, January 17, 2011
Hi, Jane. Thanks for coming to the blog. Could you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Hi Elaine… well, I wear a lot of hats- like most women LOL – Wife (of 27 years), mother to 2 daughters, writer, … the list could go on. Nursemaid, housekeeper, pet feeder – you get the idea. The first 3 of course are the dearest to my heart. I began writing 11 years ago after meeting a writer in a decorating chat room of all places (I’m a decorating fanatic!) and she encouraged me to give it a go. I sent her some pages I wrote that day and she responded so positively, I’ve really never stopped. I write contemporary romance, though have also been published in historical and time travel/historical/romance. I live in New Zealand about 5 minutes walk from the beach which is great at the moment because we’re having a wonderful summer (yes don’t forget the reverse seasons down this way).
I love decorating too. Right now I'm trying to decide what to do to my kitchen. How much of yourself, your personality or your experiences, is in your books?
Um…people always ask this when the read the sex scenes LOL – my response is – I wish! But in truth I think there is the core essence of me in some ways. The ever hopeful person, the believer in love conquers all and can fix everything. In my recent request to Silhouette Desire (fingers crossed) my heroine has lost a baby at 7 months, having to go through delivery knowing the baby was already dead. While I’ve never gone through that dreadful scenario, I have been through years of infertility, and the stress of inter-country adoption (our children are from Russia), so the angst and heartbreak in Blackmailed By Desire, certainly comes from my heart. But I also think in some of my other books – Desperately Seeking Santa and To Kiss an Angel, the quirky fun side of me comes out (others call me nuts!)
Gosh, I just realized this could make readers think I need a straight-jacket!
Congratulations on finding your children. I'm betting they're the joy of your life. And good luck with the submission. Most people think authors live glamorous lives. Describe a typical writing day.
Lately – horrendously crazy. I’ve been in revision mode for the requested Sil. Desire book, and working 10-15 hour days. They tell me there’s a thing called sleep – haven’t found that yet! I walk every day at 7 a.m. with a friend, and then once the general home duties (yes housework!) is done, I then hit the computer, doing mostly emails, blogs, promo for the 1st hour then into writing. I tend to write mon-fri then try and have the weekend off, but since Christmas, I’ve worked every day with those revisions and editing, so I haven’t actually had a life. Resolution for 2011 – get a life! But seriously, I love writing, couldn’t imagine my life without it.
Neither can I. When writing a new book, how do you decide on a theme, genre, or topic?
I tend to come up with titles, character names, general setting, or 1st major event and go from there. I love doing character interviews and that usually leads to fabulous backstory information.
I love character interviews. I've done several for my own characters. If you could meet two authors, who would you pick and why?
Sandra Hill because I love her time travels, and her fabulous quirky humor and strong chracterisation. And I’ve already met the other – Sophia James – she’s actually a very good friend, she writes wonderful Historicals for Mills and Boon.
Lucky you! I've never met my favorite author. Would you share your links with us?
I’m so not good at this- very techno challenged.
My web site is – www.janebeckenham.com
Twitter - http://twitter.com/romanceauthor
Facebook – You can find me (hopefully) under Jane Beckenham
We’d love to read an excerpt from one of your books. Don’t forget to leave us a buy link.
Here’s an excerpt from He’s the One
by Jane Beckenham
Genre: Contemporary Romance
The moment Cade turned, everything changed.
Cade Harper. Bad boy. One sexy guy.
Taylor’s voice stalled in her throat, and she knew, when his smiling eyes captured hers, she was in way over her head.
Cade wiped his hands on a cloth and again Taylor’s gaze followed. Long, lean fingers. Fingers that would touch… Oh, boy!
He smiled. “You wanted to see me?”
She nodded and felt herself drowning in that smile. His dark eyes twinkled, a swirl of gold and chocolate brown. Just like Hershey Kisses. Kisses! Yep. She was definitely going under.
“Lady, I don’t mean to be rude, but I’ve got a bar to run,” he said, grabbing a knife and cutting a lemon into wafer-thin slices.
Taylor shook herself. Okay. Come on. Just say it. “I’ve got a favor to ask.”
“Ask away then,” he said, not looking up.
Taylor burned and eyed the milling crowd. “Actually, it’s a proposition.”
He definitely looked then, and his gaze focused on her. He placed the razor-sharp knife on the cutting board. His mouth quirked at one corner, smiling, gaze assessing. “Sounds intriguing.”
He leant forward and rested both hands on the bar, the flex and tension in his forearms a powerful tease. Taylor swallowed hard.
“Is there anywhere we can talk—privately?”
“Out back in the den.” He flicked a hand toward a door behind the bar.
“More like going into the lion’s den,” she muttered.
“You say something?”
“Ah…no.” She dropped her gaze. Damn. Why hadn’t she chosen a different career? One where her clients didn’t ask about sex?
Holding herself stiff and feeling as if all eyes followed her movements, she walked behind the bar. As she brushed past him, the musky scent of his cologne teased her senses. Taylor willed the butterflies dancing a tango in her stomach to abate. They didn’t listen.
No more than a storeroom with boxes piled high along three of its four walls and a desk barely visible beneath a pile of papers and computer sheets, this room wore many different hats.
Every word Taylor had practiced dissolved from her memory as Cade closed the door behind him. The soft click of the latch echoed a thousand-fold. She spun around. He leant against the door, arms folded across his formidable chest, his gaze candid. He looked dangerous—but very delicious.
He spoke first. “Do I know you?”
“Not really.” Not yet.
“Shame.” He gave another of his long, lingering smiles, the kind that emphasized the dimples on either side of his sexy mouth. It set her toes curling and her body pulsing. Her internal temperature gauge hit the jackpot. Oh, Lordy, she was out of her depth.But here goes.
“I’m Taylor Sullivan. We didn’t meet, exactly, at Brianna Bennett’s wedding. I was her planner.” She jerked out her hand. Cade took it in his. Warm, strong fingers enveloped hers. The tips were slightly calloused, and the friction sent goose bumps skittering across her heated skin. She willed herself not to yank her hand from his and held herself in check.
“You touting for another wedding to plan?” Cade pushed away from the door, dwarfing the room. He shoved his hands deep into the pockets of jeans that skimmed his long, muscular thighs. “If you are,” he said, with a shrug, “you’re out of luck. Marriage and I don’t mix.”
Taylor tightened her grip on her bag, desperate to silence the slamming of her heartbeat. “So I heard.”
“You’ve heard more about me than I have of you,” he replied.
A hint of a smile tipped the corners of her mouth. “You’re quite well known, Mr. Harper. Successful and entrepreneurial.”
“I work hard.”
“And play hard, so the papers say.”
“Gossip and innuendo,” he countered, his steely gaze sizing her up.
A bead of sweat trickled between her breasts. Cade hadn’t taken his eyes off her since they’d entered the back room.
That has to be a good thing. Shows he’s interested, her subconscious reminded her.
Taylor shifted from foot to foot. It’s now or never, Sullivan.
With a deep breath that really didn’t soothe her chaotic thoughts, she pulled herself to her full five-foot-ten height and dived in. “I want you to have sex with me.”
Cade’s dark eyes bolted wide. “Whoa.”
Heat suffused Taylor’s cheeks. “Oh, hell, this is stupid.” How dumb could she be? She reached for her bag, but the over-laden carryall slid from her fingers and upended, scattering its contents across the floor.
Taylor gasped and, for one long, drawn-out second, simply stared. Her breath strangulated in her throat, and a furious heat burned behind her eyes. There, right at Cade’s feet, lay her box of condoms.
Blinking back tears, she dropped to her knees and gathered everything as fast as she could. “Stupid, stupid.”
Then worse worsened.
Cade reached the condoms the second before she did.
“You must be a good Girl Scout,” he said and passed the box to her.
Their fingers touched.
Their eyes met.
All the oxygen seemed to be sucked from her lungs. She pulled away, shaking her head, struggling for a semblance of practicality.
“Always be prepared. Isn’t that their motto?” Cade chuckled.
This was bad. Really bad. Mortified, Taylor refused to look at him and kept her lips firmly closed. She shoved the box into her bag and zipped it closed with a firm tug.
Open up again, she warned silently, and you’ll be in the rubbish bin.
She straightened, walked to the door and opened it. Strains of Dr. Hook’s “Sexy Eyes” wafted into the small room. How appropriate. Cade’s dark eyes were just that, downright sinful and sexy.
“Wait,” he said.
“You’ve just proposed something way out there and I want to know why.”
Her hand fell from the door. “You intrigue me.”
Cade’s seductive gaze traveled her length, lighting a trail of heat to the tips of her toes. “Are you going to tell me why you walked in here and offered yourself? Sex is a serious game.”
Taylor searched for the right words, unsure if there were any right ones. “In my business, I need experience.”
“You plan weddings. You don’t have to sleep with the grooms.”
Taylor gasped, but not one single word came out. Cade wanted an answer. Deserved one. She clutched her bag, kneading the leather. “I…get asked questions,” she finally managed to whisper.
“What sort of questions?”
“Damn it, Cade, do I have to spell it out?”
“Seems so,” he said with a hint of amusement glittering in his way-too-sexy eyes.
“You’re enjoying this.”
“Sure,” he said, not even denying it. He gave another of his smiles, the ones that got her all hot and bothered. And right now, she was very bothered.
“I get asked questions—about sex. S-E-X. Got it?” Taylor looked everywhere but at Cade.
She thought he’d laugh, joke, something, but not do this…not be gentle. Cade caught her chin in his fingers, turning her so she had to look at him. “So why not answer them?”
Oh, man. Where were those damned red shoes of Dorothy’s when she needed them? Kansas looked pretty appealing right now. “I can’t answer them.”
The tip of her tongue slid along her teeth. “Look, I realize this is on the edge of weird.”
“True,” he agreed, much to her chagrin. “I don’t have a beautiful lady come into my bar every day and ask for sex.”
He didn’t? Taylor’s brows knitted. Why not? Cade was hunk material. He made her forget—everything.
“Questions, you said,” he prompted.
Oh, God, there was no way out. Not even an earthquake could save her now. “The questions are something that goes with the territory of being a wedding planner. Brides get anxious,” she said, hugging her bag to her chest. “They may be experienced, even living with their partners, but sometimes, as the wedding draws near, they get skittery. They ask, um…questions—about sex. Questions I can’t answer, because…”
“Because you’re a virgin?”
Oh, where was that earthquake when a girl wanted it? “That’s right.” Heat burned her face. Her scalp. Everywhere. She speared Cade with a direct glare. Don’t you dare laugh! Don’t you make me feel any worse than I do, she silently challenged.
But he didn’t laugh. He didn’t smile. What he did was worse. Much worse.
He closed the gap between them. Taylor’s body erupted into high alert, nipples pebbling beneath her lacy bra. She could deal with him at a distance. But close up, everything changed. Body heat got in the way.
Thanks Elaine for having me on your blog.
Best wishes for 2011
Thanks for coming, Jane. If you're talking about hooks for the book, this excerpt was right on the money. Now we all want to know what happens next.
Friday, January 14, 2011
Welcome to the blog, Aimee. Thank you so much for coming today. Tell us a little bit about yourself.
First of all, I am so glad that I get to answer this question in writing. In person you’d hear a lot of “um … er … uh …” as I stammered through some sort of response. Writing is so much easier because you can’t hear the stammer, so maybe I can fool you into thinking I’m charismatic and smooth. (At this point I really have faltered and am trying to think of something relevant to write …) Ah-ha!
I live near mountains, which is important for me since I love to climb them. I have a son who just turned 3 years old on the 6th of January. I tend to spoil the little guy but I think that’s normal, or at least I tell myself that it is, and am enjoying every moment of being a mother. While having a toddler does affect my writing times, I’ve learned that I’m actually a better writer because of him.
Aimee, you crack me up. I know exactly what you mean about charismatic and smooth. I feel the same way. Congratulations on that wonderful little boy. I'm baby sitting my grandson this morning, and we've played with our dragons all morning. (From the movie How to Train Your Dragon.) You’re a new author. How did you celebrate when you got “the call”?
I was actually at work when I learned that my novel had been accepted. All my co-workers say I “squealed” but that seems so undignified. Let’s just say I made a sound of ebullience. And then I went out and bought some sort of sweet, red wine (not a wine connoisseur so I couldn’t say exactly what it was) and sipped on that while I spent the evening reading the book that had just been accepted.
Subsequently, I then spent a month and a half editing the thing for the eighth time, trying to anticipate what my Editor was going to tell me to change.
That doesn’t seem like much of a celebration, I know. But I did take my son to the park the next day and we romped around for a while.
It sounds like a fine celebration to me! Has being an author changed you in any way? How?
Well, I’ve always been a story-teller. From the moment my mother bought me my first empty journal I’ve written larger than life tales with larger than life heroes against insurmountable odds. There’s just something about watching flawed characters reach beyond their own strength that appeals to me. But I will admit that, after signing my first contract, I started to look beyond just the story and into the craft of writing. As much as I’m in it for the characters and the compelling plot-line and all of that, the real craft of writing comes into play when you start to focus on the words you’re using. So I suppose the way that I’ve changed is that I’m not only looking at what words work best on the page, but why those words work better.
Seasoned authors would do well to copy your lead. How long did it take to write your book? Did you have a critique group?
The rough draft of this book took me about two years, three false starts, four horrible endings and about seven hundred 3x5 cards. And it took me another two years for editing. I hand write everything first (hence the 3x5 cards) and at the time was in the military, toting my work around in my cargo pocket. It wasn’t until I was out of the Army before I actually sat down to compile those cards into a book form. I have learned a lot since then and can manage 600+ words a day, transcribing them to the computer after my son has gone to bed every night. (This is massively important since the hardest part of being a hand-writer is taking the work from physical page to computer screen.) I had the great fortune of finding the Forward Motion for Writers website in the middle of this process and joined a small critique group there known as the Dreamers. One such Dreamer is David Toft, who is also published through Wings ePress. The Dreamers were absolutely wonderful to me, helping to educate me in the professional art of writing and submitting works and so forth.
I'm so glad to hear you say how long it took to finish the book. It was like that for me with Return Engagement. Where do you see yourself in five years?
Well, I sold my second book to Double Dragon Publishing and it is due out sometime this year – I’ll know more later – but that development altered my original projection of having at least 4 books out in the next five years. It just doesn’t feel challenging enough to have the goal already halfway met, you know? And since I work on two or more projects at a time I think I’d like to bump that number up to 6 books. That’d be great.
I have every confidence you'll achieve that goal. Would you share your links with us?
Certainly! I have a website that looks very stringent and professional and it has a couple of small excerpts in it and such, but I also have a blog (which is linked to the website) that is decidedly more creative and free-form. I’ll list them both – www.ajmaguire.webs.com (that’s the website) and http://huntingprecision.blogspot.com/ (that’s the blog).
I know the blogspot name is a little strange. Some people might look at it and think I’m an archery hunter or something but I really meant I was hunting precision in my writing. Convoluted and weird, I know, but I already warn people that I’m pretty quirky.
We’d love to read an excerpt from Sedition. Don’t forget to give us a buy link.
Buy Link - http://www.wings-press.com/
ISBN Numbers ::
ISBN 978-1-59705-610-6 (( This one is for the paperback. ))
ISBN 978-1-59705-228-3 (( This one is for the eBook lovers out there. ))
And the excerpt!
“You kissed me last night,” she murmured, her eyes moving to watch his mouth.
His mind flew backward, searching for the occurrence she spoke of. Yes, he remembered. A light kiss on the forehead, after he’d thought he’d lost her to the river. He hadn’t thought she would recall such a thing and if she did that the consequences would be most dire. Instead he was met with a quizzical, baffled look.
He found his feet again, hovering over her even as he swayed unsteadily. She gripped his elbows again and tried to urge him back into the chair with a soft, almost crooning command. “Stay down, Highness … I would not want you dropping dead in my home.”
His mouth settled on hers before he’d even made the decision to kiss her. Her hands gripped his elbows more tightly and he made a low rumble deep in his throat, tilted his head and nipped at her lower lip. Her responding gasp opened her to his further kiss and she melted against him. She moved her hands to his shoulders, freeing him to draw her more firmly against him.
Gods! She felt so good.
Then his head reel again and he had to pull away. Confused at his own lack of self-control, at the very inability he seemed to have to stay on his feet, he allowed her to sit him back down. There was a rosy blush to her cheeks and she would not meet his eyes.
“Trenna …” he started, but couldn’t quite discern what to say.
Her smile was kind, understanding. “It’s the Gypsy weed,” she stated matter-of-factly and pointed at mortar and pestle beside them. “I know. You wouldn’t have done it otherwise.”
Aimee, thanks again for coming. I've enjoyed our time together, and if you want to know, you did sound charismatic and smooth. Come back and see me soon.
Wednesday, January 12, 2011
Ryan is a young boy with autism who spent his life shunted from foster home to foster home. People don’t understand why he won’t look them in the eye. They don’t understand why he makes odd flapping motions with his arms and chews on his sleeve.
Chance is a shelter dog, a mixed breed whom nobody wants because he’s part Rottweiler and part German Sheppard. The people at the shelter say he’s ‘mouthy.’
The future doesn’t look especially bright for either of them until ‘Mom’ comes along and adopts both of them, giving them a chance for a happy, secure life.
I wanted to review this book because of my own grandson who has autism and because my heart bleeds for neglected, homeless animals. All of our animals are throwaways. (Three cats and a dog which is part German Sheppard like Chance.) I thought the book was well done as it shows how even those in need of a second chance can thrive in an atmosphere of love and permanency. It also shows the symbiotic relationship between a boy and his dog. The book won a PBS Recommended Title award.
Author Sandra Gerencher is well qualified to write the story because she’s telling the story of her own family. Sandra adopted both Ryan (whose real name is Terry) and Chance. The photos in the book are those of Sandra’s real life family. I especially liked the dedication of the book which reads:
I dedicate this book to my son Terry
The light of my life and my second chance.
And to anyone who has ever adopted a child or a shelter dog
and the ones who made my dream come true.
God bless you all.
I’d like to share a book video with you, and then I’ll post some links so you so you can read an excerpt and find out more about the book.
PBS Kids Recommended title
Book web site:
Sandra J. Gerencher Facebook:
Tribute Books website:
Tribute Books Facebook:
http://www.facebook.com/pages/ Archbald-PA/Tribute-Books/ 171628704176
Tribute Books Twitter:
Monday, January 10, 2011
Today's special guest is Fran Orenstein. Fran, welcome to the blog. It was so nice of you to take the time for this interview.
Could you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Born and raised in New York (Brooklyn and The Bronx), I retired from NJ State Government, where I managed projects for women on gender equity and violence prevention, children’s early education issues, and programs for women and disabilities I’ve been a rehabilitation counselor, teacher (briefly), magazine editor/writer, and an officer with AmeriCorps. I adore my four grandchildren and am very proud of my three children. Currently I live in Southwest Florida near the Gulf Coast with my cats, Salem and Lilibit, but I have lived in Arizona, South Carolina, and briefly in California.
That's very interesting! I live in SC myself. Right now we're in the middle of a major winter storm with about eight inches of snow and ice on the way. What event triggered you to become a writer? Any major inspirations?
Once I learned to read, I became an inveterate reader, just like my mother. She was a story teller too, making up her own stories or her versions of fairy tales. Inspired after I read Bambi, I wrote my first poem at age eight. At twelve I wrote my first short story and got my first rejection from a magazine. I always wrote for school newspapers, and one of the careers I envisioned was as a journalist, traveling the world to exotic places. That was not in the cards, however during the era in which I grew up. The inspiration in my life is my muse, Rachel. She is my granddaughter with whom I share my stories and poems. She is now twelve, but even at a younger age she suggested ideas and storylines, which I adapted into novels. Rachel is my best critic.
I dictated my first story to my dad at age five. :) Keep Rachel close. I wish my granddaughter had more interest in my writing. How many manuscripts did you submit before you were published? How did you feel when you got “the call”?
I started seriously submitting in the mid- nineteen nineties. I had agents. I had an editor from a major publishing house hold a manuscript for months. I had a picture book in the galley stage when the publisher went out of business. I collected enough rejection slips for 3 novels to paper a room, or start a large bonfire. After 9/11 and the economy tanked, I finally threw in the towel and found a small POD publisher for my ‘tween books. I was thrilled that the books would finally be published. After publishing 5 books with him, he declared bankruptcy and left 165 authors high and dry. Back to square one. Now I have another small publisher, Randy Young at Sleepy Town Press, who is honest and caring about his authors, because he was also scammed by the same publisher and understands how devastating that can be. I also recently published a young adult historical romance novel, The Spice Merchant’s Daughter with Whiskey Creek Press.
What’s the very best thing about being an author?
The thrill and honor of knowing that these books that are part of me, are being read by strangers. It is also my granddaughter announcing that she read Fat Girls From Outer Space twice and that The Spice Merchant’s Daughter is awesome. It’s my nine-year-old grandson telling me he read all four of my ‘tween books in a week and liked them. This is the legacy I always dreamed of leaving.
Sigh. Me too. Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
Don’t ever give up. Someone out there is waiting to read your book. You may have to compromise on the publisher, but getting the book into print and read is the biggest high you will ever have as a writer. Just holding that newly published book, or seeing the cover on the internet, is thrilling. Wait until you slit open the box of books and stare down at your printed novel. FIREWORKS!
Would you share your links with us so we can find you on the web?
My website is www.franorenstein.weebly.com Please visit and check out my books, blogs and share my life.
We’d love to read an excerpt of your work.
The second edition of Fat Girls From Outer Space will be re-released at the beginning of February. A novel for ‘tweens and young teens, it addresses childhood obesity, bullying, seventh grade woes, and the issue of parental divorce. Although a work of fiction, the novel encompasses true stories from childhood, mine and other women I interviewed. Randy Young is currently designing the cover.
FAT GIRLS FROM OUTER SPACE
Bad Body Day
Freddy assaulted the piano. She pounded the opening chords of Liszt’s Hungarian Rhapsody. The lamp on the piano shook with the vibration. Isis, the cat hid under the ottoman. She pushed all her anger into her fingers, pummeling the keys. The house throbbed with the pulsation of Freddy’s rage. She raised her hands in anticipation of smashing another series of chords….
“Hey, you crazy? It’s Saturday morning. Shut up down there,” Mike yelled.
“Shut up yourself,” she shouted back, slamming the keys one more time.
“Fredericka, your brother was sleeping. Don’t make me come in there,” her mother called from the kitchen. “Go get dressed before your friends come.”
Freddy stomped up the stairs. Mike muttered something from his room across the hall. She turned toward his door and stuck out her tongue. “Sorry,” she said, but didn’t slam the door to her room. It wasn’t Mike’s fault that she was angry. As big brothers went, he rocked compared to others she knew about.
Freddy opened her dresser drawer, and stared at the pile of tee shirts. Pulling one over her head, she glared at the girl in the mirror. “I hate you.” She pulled at the tee shirt but it still popped back, tight against her body. Tears pooled in her soft brown eyes. She whipped off the shirt and flung it on the floor. “There has to be something I can wear that doesn’t show every lump of fat,” Freddy muttered, rummaging through the drawer.
Isis sat watching from the top of the dresser, her yellow eyes gleaming, and her tail twitching. “What are you looking at?” Freddy growled, as Isis arched her neck and yawned. “So, okay, you don’t care. How would you feel if you looked like Garfield, with a fat belly hanging down to the floor?”
Isis licked her paws, watching as Freddy pull out shirt after shirt, and tossed each one on the floor. Freddy groaned, and threw herself down on the bed. “What am I going to do?”
Great excerpt, Fran. Since the doctor made me take prednisone, I can sure relate to Freddy. If the weather ever warms up I've got to do some big time weight reduction. Your topic is a serious one, but I've got to say, your title cracks me up. Thanks for coming, and good luck with the new book.
Wednesday, January 5, 2011
Hello, readers. I'm so glad you stopped by. You're just in time to help me welcome my first guest of 2011, J.H. Bogran. Jose and I share a publisher, Whiskey Creek Press, and he's here to tell you about his book Treasure Hunt. Jose, Welcome to the blog.
Can you tell us five things about you that nobody would ever guess?
1. I like mixing fancy cocktails like Martinis, Tequila Sunrise, Margarita’s and others.
2. As a kid, I cried every time I saw Disney’s The Fox and the Hound. However, I never saw Bambi.
3. I started smoking cigarettes because James Bond looked so cool doing it. Then quit about the same time Bond did too.
4. I had trouble reconciling the commandment “Thou shall not tell lies” with the fact that I write lies, even when we refer to them as “fiction.” But I have no such qualms any more.
5. While in high school, the book that influenced me the most was Mario Puzo’s The Godfather.
So interesting! I never saw The Fox and the Hound, but I cried buckets when I read Bambi, and as far as the lies thing goes, I think we're okay. What do you think makes a book a page turner?
Conflict, conflict, conflict. What can I say? I’m a thriller writer. Every page on every scene must advance the plot, if not, I get bored. I like to read wholesome characters that make me want to know what happens to them. I’m gonna stop here because I think I’m starting to sound like a teacher.
I didn't notice because I'm a teacher myself. Which genre of books appeals least to you? Why?
I would not like to get caught reading a romance. However, I penned a short story that qualifies as one, albeit twisted. Love Me Two Times is about Paul Barry and his love for a woman suffering multiple personality disorder.
So, Romance is my least favorite. Why? Not sure, maybe to keep with the Latin Macho image. lol
Most guys probably don't like romance, but I do have some male readers. Try Return Engagement. It has some action in it. On the average, how long does it take you to write a book?
“Average” is the key word there. Every book has its own story. Treasure Hunt took me a year in research and two months writing. For my Spanish thriller, Heredero del Mal, I started the research as early as 2000 but ended up writing the first draft in 15 days somewhere around 2004. I started working on Highland Creek in late 2006 but finished the second draft on Oct/2010 (Yes, that’s three months ago, that explains why is not published yet). So, as a New Year resolution, my goal is to make a book a year. I have three ideas in full research mode: a sequel to Treasure Hunt, another novel with the same hero from Highland Creek and a third with total new characters.
I can churn them out too, but revisions... Ugh. They take forever. Do tell us about Treasure Hunt.
Treasure Hunt is the first adventure of a thief known only as The Falcon. To contact Falcon, you need to place a creative ad in the web that includes the words: “falcon” and “please.” He’ll rent out his abilities for a price. Here’s the official blurb:
From a prison-monitored-computer, Bill Porter contacts The Falcon to retrieve the money Bill stole back in 1978 and hid in a cave in Central America. But Bill’s former cell mate, Jack Davis, decides he wants the money to himself and his first move is to kidnap Jamie Porter and hold her for ransom. The Falcon stumbles in the middle of the kidnap attempt, rescuing Jamie, only to discover later that she is his employer’s daughter. A cat and mouse chase with the backdrop of a tropical paradise, Mayan ruins, several near-fatal escapes until the climax inside the cave where the money has been sitting for over a quarter of a century.
Wow, I love the sound of that! Would you share your links with us?
But I don’t twitter. ;-)
I started Twittering, but I don't really know what I'm doing. We’d love to read an excerpt from Treasure Hunt. Be sure to give us a buy link.
Excerpt from Treasure Hunt
Falcon emerged in the middle of the pond, gasping for air, and saw four people at the edge of the water. The one that looked American took command of the situation.
“Give me the money, slowly, or the girl gets it,” Davis warned.
Dutifully, Falcon untied the string at his waist and swam to the shoreline, then with a swing of his right arm Falcon placed the soaked bag on the ground at the man’s feet. He pushed himself away from the edge, facing them at all times. Never breaking eye contact with Jack Davis.
One of the local guys grabbed the bag and opened it. He let go a sigh and an expression of satisfaction passed across his face, and he addressed his employer. “This is money, Jefe. Lot of bills. I count them?”
“No time for that, just close the bag and let’s go,” said the American.
Jamie Porter sat in a corner, the fear showing on her face. Falcon felt useless at that particular moment. There was nothing he could do for her right then.
“You got the money. Now let us go,” he demanded, hoping to bluff a stronger position.
Jack Davis shook his head. “Sorry, Pal, change of plans. We take the girl, just to make sure we get out of here safe.”
“Jefe, you promised me I could have my revenge,” the other Latin guy screamed.
“Oh yes, I forgot.” Davis gave a mock smile. “Sorry Toño. But sure, go ahead.” He motioned to Toño, but spoke in Falcon’s direction. “He’s still upset for what you did to his brother the other night. Do you know he’ll never be able to walk again? Well, Toño here made me promise he could kill you after we got the money.”
“And I suppose that’s a promise you don’t mind keeping,” said Falcon.
“To tell you the truth, no. I don’t mind at all.” He looked directly into Falcon’s eyes, and turned his head. “Carlos, grab the money and the girl. Let’s go.”
The shifty looking smaller man did as he was told. He took the moneybag in one hand, and went over to Jamie and pushed her around to make her stand up and start walking. Jamie reached out to Falcon with her eyes, and it broke his heart. Instead of the hope she was searching for, all he could muster was a searing hatred for Jack Davis. His concentration was trained on him and him alone.
Jack Davis turned to leave, with the mocking smile still firmly placed on his lips. He disappeared inside the tunnel.
Toño walked to the edge of the water and aimed his gun directly at Falcon’s head. “This is for my brother.”
End of excerpt.
Okay, you hooked me. I have to know how Falcon gets away. Readers you can get your copy of Treasure Hunt at http://www.whiskeycreekpress.com Jose, thanks so much for coming, and good luck with your writing.
Tuesday, January 4, 2011
“Of all the great love stories ever told, hers is perhaps the most famous. To me, she is the key to my family's fate. To you, she is Juliet.”
Did Shakespeare get it right or not? Did Romeo and Juliet die as he said they did, or was something else altogether going on? And if Shakespeare was wrong, how could it affect Juliet’s modern descendant Julie Jacobs?
When Julie Jacobs leaves for Italy per the instructions of her late aunt's will, she never imagines that she'll be thrust into a centuries-old feud, not to mention one of the most legendary romances of all time. However, as she uncovers the story of her ancestor, Giulietta, whose love for a man named Romeo proved ill-fated, Julie finds herself increasingly under threat, and can't help but feel that the past and present are very much connected.
I loved this book. The historical characters are fascinating as is the modern heroine Julie. She shows great courage in confronting not only a centuries old feud but also the demons of her past. The supporting characters are well drawn and play their parts so well I was never sure whom Julie should trust. The mystery part of the book intrigued me as well as Julie seeks to unravel a 700 year old mystery as well as a current one. The ending was satisfying in all ways but left a hint of mystery which tantalizes the reader.
What I didn’t like so much was that the relationship between Julie and her hero seemed abrupt. Where are the tender kisses that thrill the heart? How did their relationship grow and flourish? On one page they are mere acquaintances who don’t really like each other, and in the next chapter they’ve fallen in love.
Still, it’s a great book and one I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend.