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Thursday, October 29, 2009

HE's A Professional Clown Who Writes Romance

Okay, you're gonna love this guy. Not only is a professional clown, but he's also a romance writer! Wings Press month continues with guest Ralph Horner. Leave a comment for Ralph and your name will be entered in a drawing for a copy of my Wings release The Welcome Inn.

1. Hi, Ralph. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Well, I’m a former computer programmer,and I have also been a clown since 1991. After 9/11 main frame data processing changed and became more user friendly, putting many computer programmers and operators out of work. I now have my own entertainment business, Always Clownin’ where I do Ragz and Redi the clowns, a magician, Sponge Boy (you can’t use Bob), Santa Clause, a pirate, a cowboy, Mr. Hyde and the Easter Bunny. I also write comedy bits for a couple of clubs and I teach balloon art, magic and humor at a local community college.

The first writing I did was in grade school. I wrote a comic strip called ‘McDroodle and the Devil’. Once a week and showed it to whoever was interested. It was about a nerdy family man who is constantly tempted by the devil and then gets into various adventures. My brother did the art work and I handled the story line. Other than that I always had story ideas in my head, but I didn’t start to write novels until 1981.”

I was married in 1973 to my current wife, Toni and have two grown children, Angie and Randy and three grandchildren from Angie.

I joined my first writers’ support group in the early nineties, and have been in one ever since. I now belong to the South Side Scribes in Orland Park, IL where I’ve been for about twelve years.

I have had various short stories published since 2002. In August 2007, ‘Pandora Spoxx’ was featured by Wild Cat Books in their monthly ‘Startling Stories’ Anthology. In June 2008, ‘Atalanta Alters the Tide of Alida’ was published in the ‘Heroes of Ancient Greece’ anthology by Night to Dawn Books. In March 2009 my first novel, Tandem Tryst was published by Wings ePress.

2. Most romance writers seem to be women. How did a guy get interested in writing romance?

Actually I consider myself a Paranormal writer. I write Fantasy, Gothic and Time-Travel stories. My first published novel Tandem Tryst is also a paranormal time-travel, but with a bit more romance and also mystery than other stories I’ve written. For Tandem Tryst, the idea just came to me, what if a man lost his wife and then through the miracle of time-travel he found her in another life. Once I got the concept down, I gave the story a White City setting and added a mysterious stalker who is after the very ring that gives the main character access to going back in time.

3. Can you describe the time you realized that you were a real writer?

It happens sort of gradually. The first story I had published was a novella. In 2002. Classic Pulp Fiction Magazine serialized it and its sequel in four parts.

4. Are you working on anything new?

Yes, the sequel of Tandem Tryst called Midnight Mist. I’ve only got about a third of it finished.

5. What other writers have inspired you?

Charles Dickens, John Steinbeck, Washington Irving. I was also inspired by film and television writers, like Rod Serling and Richard Matheson.

6.Why do you write? It's hard work!

Like one of the writers in my support group said, “We have to.” I also enjoy writing for escapism and I like to write stories that I myself enjoy reading when they’re finished. One example is, when my daughter was little I used to read her a couple of stories a week. At Christmas time we had a toy village under our tree and she asked me if I could buy a story about a little Christmas village. Since there weren’t any, and I was writing by then, I wrote her the story. It wasn’t ready until the following Christmas, but I read it to her every year after that, and also to my son when he was little. I never tried to get it published maybe someday I will.

7. What can readers expect when they read your book?

They’ll feel as if they’ve gone back in time to the World Columbian Exposition, riding the huge Ferris wheel and exploring the midway. They’ll also enjoy a compelling story of reincarnation romance between two people from different centuries, and a mysterious woman stalker, wearing various ethnic disguises, who tries to steal the very ring that brings the main character, Jeff, back in time. Is she a stranger, or someone much closer to the heroine?

8. What are your future goals for your writing?

I don’t really have any specific goals. I’m just going to keep writing stories, try to get them published and promote them and see where it goes.

9. Where can we find you on the web?

My website is

10. Would you tell us about Tandem Tryst and share an excerpt with us? Where can we buy the book?

In this Time-Travel mystery romance, three years after Jeff Voss’s young wife Marcy dies, he locates an enchanted ring. Jeff discovers that while wearing it, he goes back one hundred years to the time of the White City of 1893 Chicago. Jeff soon learns the purpose of the ring when he meets Melody Bishop, a twin of his beloved wife. He finds out Melody is Marcy’s ancestor and her now living soul. Although Jeff may have several obstacles, including her boyfriend, he feels he has a second chance in this distant time with the love that was taken from him prematurely. To complicate matters dark forces are at work, as a mysterious woman wearing various ethnic disguises, stalks and continually attempts to steal Jeff’s ring, even if by murder.

Here’s an excerpt from the book:
Much later Jeff was awakened by the sound of tinkling perfume bottles as if they had been bumped on the dressing table. It was so dark in the room he couldn’t see if anyone was there. He broke into a cold sweat and sensed someone was standing over him in the blackness. Then Jeff’s heart started to race as he recognized the intruder’s perfume as that of his stalker!

Jeff could hear the sound of his own heart as he lay still, afraid to breath. The silence of the intruder chilled him as he finally made out a shadowy figure standing at the foot of the bed. He was going to ask who it was until he recognized the perfume. Quickly turning to light the lamp next to his bed, there was a rush of air on the back of his head, then a heavy dull thud on his pillow. He flinched, dropping the match. The form rushed out of the room. Jeff got his bearings then leapt out of bed. The phantom in a long dress turned left in the hallway heading for the stairs. He ran after her. Reaching the top of the stairway, his visitor scurried down the steps. Jeff chased her down the dark stairway as fast as he could. He had to know who she was, but feared this woman could be waiting for him in the shadows for a second chance to crush his skull.

When Jeff got to the landing of the parlor, he could barely see, and there was silence. His attacker might be hiding in the room or maybe she had gone out the kitchen door. He found the front parlor door still closed. Had someone exited that way Jeff would’ve seen it. Considering she was somewhere in the living room, he trembled. She could attack him with her weapon at any moment.

The sound of footsteps came down the stairs. He froze. This could be his attacker who had slipped back up to the second floor and was returning to finish the job.
“Who is it?” he yelled, hoping to wake someone.

“It’s me,” Melody whispered.


A lamp on the wall at the foot of the stairway went on. Melody blew out the long match. “Why did you run down here?”

“Someone was in my room and tried to kill me. If I hadn’t turned away to light a match, she would have bashed my head. I chased her down here but lost her in the darkness.”

You can purchase the book on-line at, at my publisher, at the Chicago Architecture Foundation gift shot and on-line and at Bookies at 103rd and Western in Chicago.

Thanks so much for talking with me, Ralph. I'm looking forward to reading your work.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Guest Blogger Lizzie Starr Is Here! Enjoy!

I’m delighted to visit with Elaine during her Wings month. I’ve been a Wings author almost since the company’s inception--a real old timer.  I write mostly fantasy romance with the occasional side trip into contemporary and futuristic. I even have a few historicals in me yet. Not quite as eclectic as my reading, but give me time.

Visit either Wings or my website and you’ll discover a large proportion of my library has books with the word Keltic in the title. My first book, By Keltic Design, was originally just going to be that one tale. But no… my characters had family and that family wished to be involved as well. Six books later, I thought I was done with the Zeroun clan and Keltic books. I put the Tales of the Double Keltic Triad to rest.

But the sisters and children had children. And more ideas keep flowing into my brain. Prince of Dark Ness bridges the two series and my latest book Blue Keltic Moon begins a new series, Children of the Keltic Triad.

Guess I’ve gone beyond series to family saga.

My books stand alone, but as with any series, they build upon each other. Just like the worlds I’ve discovered while writing them--Faerie, a parallel universe where the Anasazi disappeared, the world of fairies (oh yes, there is a difference between the fairies and the gentry of Faerie), the Alfar worlds and the place between--the world between worlds. Besides the obvious family connections, the tales are also held together by Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream.

What about the author who comes up with these interesting worlds? Ah, I only wish my life were half so intriguing. I’m the lunch lady at a parochial school. Although I have learned some interesting things listening to the kids as they come through the lunch line. Like how to French kiss. Did I mention I work in a grade school? ;)

I like working with food. It’s easy for me and allows me lots of mind time where I can plot or plan scenes. There’s always some sort of journal or notepad nearby so I can capture some of my thoughts. I don’t have any set time for writing--just try to fit the words in when I can. Luckily when I leave work, most of my time is my own. Or my characters--depending on how insistent they are.

My books are a whole lot more interesting than I am--at least to my notion. So, here’s the blurb and an excerpt from my latest Blue Keltic Moon

Duty before love. As much as Breanna’s heart protested, Gowthaman would have to wait until she returned with the rescued Alfar0Sindhu prince.

Love before self. Following Breanna into the world between worlds, Gowthaman faces the pain of his past, risks his intellect, his sanity and his life. For her.

Destiny before all. In the time of the blue Keltic moon.


“Never.” With the clang and ring of faerie steel against faerie steel her opponent’s sword slipped the length of hers and he twisted away. “Ha.”

Silent, Breanna advanced, the tip of her weapon swaying slightly, a slow, mesmerizing dance meant to lull an opponent into complacency. A seasoned fighter would hold the tip steady, ready for a thrust, slice or defense. This was a new trick Granda recently taught her. One she hoped hadn’t been passed on to her opponent as well.

He took a backward step then stood his ground. Eyes calm, he watched her advance, his own sword gripped lightly but steady in his hand. She allowed herself a half smile and his eyes slitted with confusion though he remained still.

Lunge. Parry. Slice. Sounds of battle filled the glade quieting the birdsong. The metal clangs echoed off the ancient trees, and dropped heavily from the overhanging branches.

“You will yield.”

He danced away and shook his head. One eyebrow lifted in a cocky arch. “Shouldn’t waste your breath talking. Need it for fighting,” he panted.

Knowing she gave him an advantage, she glanced at the sun. Time passed too quickly and she had somewhere else to be. Unlike others of her clan, she wasn’t able to manipulate a time portal.

As she knew he would, her opponent took the bait.

A quick sidestep. Crouch. Swing one leg. Connect.

Flailing his arms for balance, he went flying forward and crashed to his knees. Then he ate dirt. Breanna leaped to his side and planted one knee in the center of her brother’s back. “Yield?”

He angled his head to spit out a mouthful of dirt and dried leaves. “No.”

A low growl vibrated in her throat. She wrenched his free arm back, angling it high between his shoulders. “I don’t have time for this.”

He struggled against her weight and laughed. “Sorry to keep you. Yikes!”

The tip of her sword dug deep into the soft ground an inch from his nose. She yanked the shining steel from the dirt and planted it again, this time a half an inch closer. “Yield.”

She grinned when he slid his hand from his sword hilt, flexed his fingers then pressed his palm flat against the ground. “Okay.”

“Say it.” She tugged, just a little, on his arm.

“Okay, Bree, I yield.”

In one lithe movement she stood to the side and held out one hand. Chance rolled away from her sword and lay on his back staring up at her. Finally he shrugged, took her hand and hung heavily making her strain to help him to his feet.

Chance scrubbed a hand through his short, white-blond hair. “Geez, sis. This was just supposed to be practice.” He moved his hand to his shoulder, cast her a disgruntled look, and rubbed. “Man, Bree. Did you have to pull so hard?”
She shook her head. He was never serious about practice. “You know how important this is, Chance.”

“Yeah, yeah. But there hasn’t been anything to fight against since Jayse and Lucidea killed Fiedhlim.” An odd, distracted look passed through his expression and Bree wondered how often he thought about the evil Faerie who had fathered him. All her life she’d struggled to keep that taint of evil from her beloved baby brother. Now he was nineteen, almost a man. And like any man, he wouldn’t let her into his thoughts.

“We never know when or where a new threat will appear. I want to be able to keep both of our worlds safe.”

“Ever since Granda handed the leadership of the Alastriona over to you, you’ve been nuts. What? Are you on some sort of power trip? Granda left the Alastriona because there wasn’t enough to keep him busy. Where are you finding all these threats? Where have all these dangers been hiding? Think they were waiting just for you?”

It was an old argument. She didn’t know why she felt there was something lurking, some evil power waiting until the protectors of mankind were lackluster and lazy. Deep in her bones she knew, she understood a power waited. And that power would soon become impatient.

Chance waved a hand then moved toward the thick tree trunk where they’d left their scabbards. He wiped his sword on the hem of his tee shirt then sheathed the blade in the plain, worn leather. “Whatever. I know you’ll make me practice. And I will.” He turned to her, the laughter gone. A dark, serious light shimmered in his blue eyes. “I feel a gathering of some power, too. If my... if Fiedhlim wasn’t dead, I’d say he was gearing up for another attempt to take over.”

Eyes wide, Bree stared at her brother. “You... feel it?”

He gave her a typical adolescent eye-roll and snorted. “I’m not stupid. I’m half-Faerie, too, ya know.”

Interesting. She’d never suspected Chance had any inkling of the vibrations she felt in the dark night, much less honed the powers he’d exhibited so strongly when he was a baby. Being raised by fully human parents in a clan made up of a multitude of Fey peoples hadn’t been easy. She’d been pretty precocious herself. Much to her father’s dismay.

“Why haven’t you said anything before now?”

“I wasn’t sure.” The darkness left his eyes and the clear blue sparkled with mischief. “Besides, I knew you’d really hit my training hard then. It’s bad enough now.”

“We need to talk about this. Do Mom and Dad know? Granda or Jaysson?”

“Nope, nobody but you. But...” He glanced at his hands and spread his fingers in a helpless, beseeching gesture. “I don’t suppose you’d keep this quiet. At least for awhile. At least until I understand a little more about what’s going on.”

“Until we understand this, baby bro, I’ll keep your secret.” She sheathed her sword and wrapped one arm around his shoulders. His broad, well-developed shoulders. She paused in surprise. When had her little brother gotten so muscular? Must be all the training she put him through. “But you and I are going to talk about it. And soon.”

He opened his mouth, but she stopped his speech with a shake of her head. “Not now. I’ve got to be somewhere and I’m running late.”

His sly, knowing grin and waggled eyebrows made her groan.

“Off to the library again?”

“As a matter of fact, yes. Gowthaman’s found some new old manuscripts.”

“Since when are you interested in old manuscripts? Oh wait. I know. Since Gowthaman has something to do with them.” Chance laughed, holding his stomach as if trying to hold in the glee. It didn’t work.

Drawing back her fist, Bree punched his arm. Instead of laughter, a harsh oomph of air burst past his lips.

“Geez, sis. Did ya have to hit so hard? Good thing we’re grown up or I’d have to run and tattle to Mom.”

“Grown up? The way you tease?”

He danced a jig around her then bowed. “Part of my Faerie heritage.”

“Honestly, Chance. I’ve been helping Gowthaman...”

“Got the hots for him more like.”

Heat blazed in her cheeks but she refused to fall prey to Chance’s effective teasing. “Like I said, I’ve been helping him with research. You know Lucidea’s determined to get her uncle back from the world between worlds.”

“Yeah, she’s been trying for what... oh, since I was born? I know that’s a serious concern and everyone’s main focus now. But come on, Bree. Just admit it. You go to the library for the librarian.”

Here’s where you can find *lizzie on the web.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Who Is Norma Huss?

Who is Norma Huss? That's a good question. Norma and I share a publisher, Wings Press, and she agreed to be part of Wings month (six weeks actually) at my blog. I've gotten to know Norma through her interview, and she sounds like a wonderful person. I've also read an excerpt of her work, I think if you like mysteries you'd like her book. Remember if you leave a comment for one of the authors your name is entered in a drawing for a free copy of The Welcome Inn. That's my Wings release. Okay, let's get to that interview.

1.Hi, Norma, thanks for agreeing to do this interview. First of all, congratulations on your achievement. It’s not as easy as some people think to get published. How did you find Wings ePress?

Norma - Thank you for inviting me to appear on your blog. And you are right - it’s not easy getting published. This acceptance was a long time coming. In fact, I gave up on Yesterday’s Body two or three times, but then, I took a look, tweeked the story, and started over - sending queries to agents. Some showed a bit of interest, even read parts or the whole manuscript. But agents didn’t think they could sell my manuscript. Finally, I researched small presses on the internet. When I checked the Wings ePress site, they were looking for books with older protagonists. That fit my manuscript. I then realized a friend had published through Wings. Unfortunately she has since died, but I have a copy of her book. I liked the quality, the cover art, in fact, the whole presentation.

2. How did you celebrate when your book was accepted?

My acceptance of many rejections has been along the lines of, “Oh, another one.” It took me about three days to realize this wasn’t, “Another one,” but the real thing! So, perhaps, I’m only working up to that celebration. I’m sure receiving my two print copies of the book will generate a real celebration. (And, that might happen before this interview sees print.) My husband wants a “real book” to read. I’ll also send one to my mother who turned 100 this October, the same month my book came out.

3.There's nothing like holding your copy in your hand. Oh, yeah, you'll feel like celebrating. Did you always want to be an author? When did the writing bug bite you?

When I was in fourth grade I began writing my first book - but I never finished it. Then I wanted to be a champion ball bouncer. Then I wanted to be an artist. When my oldest daughter was five, I wrote and illustrated a picture book for her in the vain hope that she’d dress herself without whining. But my writing ambitions didn’t take hold until the youngest of my five children was in high school. I started with short children’s manuscripts and had several published in magazines. Finally, without kids in the home for inspiration, I turned to adult mystery. (Of course, I don’t have any murdered bodies in the home either.)

4. That's good. About no bodies I mean. Has being an author made you feel any different about yourself? If so, how?

I do have an identity other than wife, mother, and grandmother, and writing gives me that. But, I think with publication of Yesterday’s Body, that identity has been strengthened considerably - a least in MY mind.

5. Tell us about Norma the person, not Norma the author, if indeed you can separate them.

I guess, other than “the author,” I’d classify myself as wife and home-maker. I no longer have to clean house (thank you very much!), but I don’t mind laundry, and I love to cook. Which is why my amateur sleuth also loves to cook. In Yesterday’s Body, she sometimes tosses together an impromptu meal (one of my specialties too). I don’t have the recipes in the book, but I will post her favorites on my website (which, I hope is up by the time this interview appears).

6. Tell us about your typical writing day.

Typical day? Is there such a thing? As I answer these questions, my typical day includes a lot of frustration over the whole idea of websites, as well as registering copyright, publicity, what’s next. But my daughter is helping with the website, the copy is on its way for registration, and hey, isn’t this publicity?

My USUAL typical writing day starts with doing the daily sudoku to get my brain moving. Then I sit at my computer in the basement with my back to the window overlooking any number of distractions, pull up my Goals page to inspire me, then proceed to write. The length of time I work is directly connected to my level of enthusiasm. If that’s low, I may realize I need to wash clothes, or organize closets. If the level is high I’ll suddenly realize it’s two in the afternoon and I haven’t had lunch yet.

7. What future goals have you set for yourself as a writer?

My goal is to write the second in the Jo Durbin series, to finish and market the first of another series, and to continue working with a co-author toward a picture book about bloodhounds. (Visit my website to read about a wonderful volunteer family.)

8. Do you have a work in progress? If so, is it the same genre as Yesterday’s Body?

Yes, I do (see the answer above). The working title of the book nearing completion in the second series is Death of a Hot Chick, so you know that it, too, is mystery.

9.What advice do you have for people who want to be authors?

Keep at it. If I’d stopped after ten years, Yesterday’s Body would be gathering dust under the bed. Another bit of advice is, keep learning. That book under the bed would not have been the book that is now published. I learned from agent comments, from countless “how-to” books, and from the in-person and by e-mail encouragement from writing groups. So, that is my third bit of advice. Join one or more constructive groups of writers. Writers are unique in helping their competition. Actually, writers don’t think of other writers as competition. They think of them as family.

10. Okay, now tell us all about Yesterday’s Body. Give us an excerpt if you’d like, and be sure to tell us where we can buy it. I know I’m looking forward to reading it.

Hey, I can’t tell you ALL about Yesterday’s Body! You’d never buy it.

I can tell you that Jo is no spring chicken. In fact, she says: “I’m not saying Abbott Computing Services suffered from an acute form of TV demographics, but how did I get the job? I wasn’t under forty. I wasn’t anorexic slim. I didn’t have a face that would launch a thousand ships, or even a rowboat.”

But, I’ll tell you something that’s only hinted at on the Wings website. Jo is acting the homeless bag lady, even inventing an imaginary cat to further that image. She hopes to write and sell a best-seller of that life, “as she lived it.” Finding a murdered body was not in her plan.

Part of chapter one is on Wings ePress, Inc. website.

Available from and I understand it will also be available from as well as by order from your favorite book store. (But wings has the best price.)

I’ve enjoyed meeting you electronically, and I wish the best to all. Okay, read my book, and Elaine’s books too!

I sure second that last part. Thanks for coming, Norma. It was a pleasure to meet you too.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Laura Hogg Stopped By

Hello, there. It's week two of my Wings month, and today's special guest is author Laura Hogg. I got to know Laura a year or so ago when I reviewed The Twelfth Kiss for her. I enjoyed the book so I'm glad she could be here. If you're interested in either submitting a manuscript to Wings or checking out their books you can do so at

Remember that if you leave a comment for any one of the authors your name will be entered in a drawing for a copy of my Wings release The Welcome Inn.

Okay, let's get to that interview. Laura, thanks for stopping by.

Laura: It was my pleasure.

1.For the benefit of anyone not familiar with your work, can you tell us how you became a writer? Is it something you always wanted to do? When I was a little girl, I played piano and wrote poetry. Growing up, I wrote stories and songs, being in a rock band. In college, I wrote stories. Then one day, in my thirties, I got the courage to submit my first story to a publisher.

Music and writing, for me, were always intertwined. It was my goal as a youth to someday get a book published. It was a scary thing, submitting.

2.I know what you mean about scary. I still get scared when I submit something. Tell us about your writing. What genres do you write in, etc.
I mostly write historicals, romance, and paranormals, and some modern-day. I love history and research stuff all over the map of time. My next story to come out will be a Western, Emma the Outlaw. Let’s see, with Wings ePress, I have a story called The 12th Kiss. It’s an adventurous story set in 1820 London.

With other publishers, I have a variety of work out. One of my novels, Romeo vs. Juliet, is a time-travel. The hero is an Elizabethan man, and the heroine is a modern-day women. When my hero does something bad, his wife chases him through many eras in history, and they have quite a time of it. My novel, For the Love of a Queen, is a post-apocalyptic novel set in the near future.

My novella, Double Vision, is a paranormal where the hero and heroine fall in love on the astral plane.

My short stories are various, from Medieval to the 1920s, and my work ranges from sweet to very steamy.

3.Do your family and friends know you’re a writer? If so, what was their reaction? They know. My mom was very supportive. I lost her recently and dedicated my one and only Inspirational Romance to her.

My dad, a sister, husband, and daughter are also supportive. My daughter is also a writer, but her style is very different than mine.

4.If you could travel back in time which era would you pick? (I bet I know the answer to this one. I’ve read the book.) Hard choice. Aw, thanks, Elaine. That is very sweet. Thanks for reading my book. The Regency was a fascinating time, that’s for sure, but as a female, gosh, this choice is difficult…I’d have to say maybe the 1920s because women gained a lot more freedom. I'm currently researching this exciting era. I’d tell my friends to save money and not invest in the stock market, if I could go back there. ;) But if I could just drop in for a day or two and observe, I’d really like to hear Jesus speak in person.

5.How long did it take you to write The Twelfth Kiss? Here’s the strange thing. It usually takes me a lot longer to write a book, but…well, let me backtrack for a sec, at that time in my life, I was yet unpublished. I was going through something very stressful and prayed for help. I, as a Catholic, also asked the Angel Raphael to add his prayers to mine. One day shortly after, I woke up and felt inspired, and this story came out in a mad rush. I was so inspired, in fact, that I named a main character Raphael.

Then I put the story up with a large critique group for many months. (The revisions took longer than the writing of the first draft). The Regency era was new to me at the time, and I was still researching that time in history and fixing things in the novel as I learned new details. Most people in the group were great and offered me wonderful advice on how to tighten up the novel. It was a lot of work, but fun! However, there was one Regency expert who tore the book up to shreds and was harsh in her criticism. It discouraged me so bad that I almost gave up writing. After days of sadness, I lifted my chin, so to speak, and forged ahead.

I polished the novel with the advice of many people to help and submitted it, my first, to a publisher. It got rejected. Months later, that publisher went out of business. The second publisher, Wings ePress, accepted it! Wings, what a coincidence.

I got the email at night—my first book contract! And called up my mom. She was so happy for me.

6.That's an inspirational story, Laura. Thank you so much for sharing. What’s your writing day like? Well, currently, I'm the breadwinner, because my husband was laid off. I work at a little school during the day helping out kids and adults with reading disabilities. It’s a great job with the best bosses. Then I come home at night and plop down at the computer and write/research for hours at a time.

7.Are you working on anything right now? If so, can you share a little with us. I'm working on many things right now. I have several under contract at this time and have yet to get assigned editors for those. Those stories differ greatly: one is a Victorian novella, others vary from modern-day stories about a female rock musician (hmm, wonder where I got that idea from, lol) to paranormal (A lady has to go to hell and steal the keys from the gatekeeper to hell, gets down there and discovers it’s her ex-lover) to many other types of stories, including a screenplay.

8.If you could meet any author in the world, who would it be? Someone who would be open to reading my work! (Why does the little guy get ignored so often? When I buy books, I often go for an unknown author first). I have a multitude of library cards and use them. Good thing I take the bus home from work and can get in more reading time.

9.Give us your links so we can find you on the web. Be sure to tell us where we can find your books.
This is the addy for my paranormal blog:
If anyone who writes paranormal would like a guest spot there, please let me know. Authors should help each other out when possible. We’re all in this together, right? I believe there’s room up at the top for all of us.



My husband is currently putting together another web site for me, so I don’t have one right now.

The 12th Kiss (set in 1820):

Double Vision (paranormal):

Romeo vs. Juliet (time-travel), For the Love of a Queen (post-apocalyptic), Copacetic and Baby Vamp (Vintage 1920s—nothing to do with vampires, lol):

Isanne’s Revelation (Medieval time-travel, Inspirational Romance)

Emma the Outlaw (Western):

And others under contract but not out yet.

10.Would you share an excerpt from The Twelfth Kiss?
At one-thirty a.m. a lord dressed in breeches laced over a pair of fine shoes, a quality shirt, a lush white cravat with a diamond pin sparkling within its folds and a velvet trimmed coat pushed open the door, dripping wet; long, drenched strands of blond hair sticking to his neck, and falling to his shoulders; and he gripped a pistol at his side. He was accompanied by an angry-looking stout man even bigger in muscle size than he was, nicely dressed as well, but obviously not a lord, more like an American. The lord strode across the room with his friend and sat at the bar, great perturbation marring his features. He ordered a drink and slammed it down. He gestured rapidly for another. The innkeeper poured him one.

“What troubles you this night, my lord?”

“My wife has been kidnapped. My brother-in-law and I are searching around here. I have others looking elsewhere. Have you seen anything unusual this way tonight?”

Chuckling caused him to turn around.

“Is something funny?”

Laura, thank you so much for the interview. I'll look forward to reading more of your work.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Welcome Mary Jean Kelso

Back in 2007 a small press called Wings Press published my novel The Welcome Inn. I had a great experience with them. Their editors were courteous and treated me as a professional which isn’t always the case. Their authors are friendly and helpful too. Wings puts out its work in both print and ebook form, and they take a good many different genres. If you’re an author and would like to submit to them or a reader who’d like to check them out their address is

During the month of October I’ll be featuring several Wings authors here at the blog. If you leave a comment for one of my guest authors you’ll automatically be entered in a drawing for an electronic copy of my Wings release The Welcome Inn.

We’ll begin to today with an interview with Mary Jean Kelso. Mary Jean, thanks for coming to the blog.

1.I’m always curious about where authors get their ideas. What about you? Do you ever write about real people and events?

A. I suppose, in a way, I do. I have a lot of historic events in my family history and found myself automatically writing about the early west. Upon further research I found the characters oftentimes might be a spin-off from some of these genealogical happenings. However, they in no way reflect the actions of family members. At least, not in the past. Now that I have done more research and found out interesting tidbits, I’m sure some of those will pop up in future stories.

2.When did you first know you wanted to be a writer? How long did it take you to get published?

A. I have written ever since I could put my fingers on Qwerty keys. I finally recognized it as a possible career in 1963. Although I had items published in local newspapers, it took until 1984 to finally see my first novel published. Goodbye Is Forever first came out through Great Basin Press, Reno, NV, as Mystery in Virginia City. It is in it’s 3rd printing through

3.What’s your favorite of the books you’ve written? Can you tell us why?

A. That is so hard. Ask any writer that question and it is like asking them to choose one of their children as their favorite. Each book has it’s own characteristics. I would probably have to say the first book because it is still in print and launched my writing career.

4.How long does it take you to write a book? Do you plot the book in advance or make it up as you go along?

A. Completing a manuscript can take me from 3 months to a year. It all depends on how much other work is going on. Since the Children’s Picture Books started coming out, I find a lot of my time tied up with those—proofing galleys, approving art work, etc.

Plotting, for me, leads to writer’s block. My stories are mostly character driven. That’s the fun for me. It is like the experience the reader gets when the story is fresh and there are twists and turns and excitement. That is when writing is FUN. The rest—making sure everything fits, all the questions are answered, the character doesn’t have blue eyes in Chapter 2 and brown in Chapter 10, etc.,-- is plain hard work.

5.What do you think is the easiest part of writing? The hardest?

A. See above.

6.Do you belong to a critique group?

A. No. I don’t have time to be a “joiner.” In the past, I did belong to the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, The National League of American Pen Women
and other groups.

7.How much of yourself is in your books?

A. Not much except for one. It has a lot of autobiographical details in it. And, no, I’m not going to say which one. Only my closest friends know.

8.Can you tell us about when you received ‘the call’?

A. When I met a woman who had 8 kids while I had 3. Some of her first words to me were, “I am a writer.” I thought about it and decided if she could write with that many kids, surely I could do it with five less. My first book was dedicated to her.

9.Do you have any words of encouragement for unpublished writers?

A. Never give up! There are many people out there that could have seen success if they had just kept trudging along. I have had many distractions, disasters and difficulties in my life. Still, I am finally feeling like a success. You have to keep writing through all these tribulations if you are going to reach your goal. Sometimes, you will find, the writing is therapeutic. It’s what gets you through the tough times.

10.Please share your links with us so we can find you on the web.

To search for me use “Mary Jean Kelso”

Six years of newspaper articles are up on

I won a 1st Place for Best Spot News – 2008 from The Nevada Press Association
and a 3rd Place for “Fernley Floods” from The National News Association
and recently was invited and joined Made in Nevada.

Here's a little excerpt to whet your appetite for more of Mary Jean's work. After reading it, I'd sure buy her book!

Charlie studied the baby. “Why’s his eyes so slanted? And why’s his skin so light? You and me’s more deep brown. How come he’s so much lighter, Effie Mae? You tol’ me I was the first.”
“You was, Charlie.” she lowered her eyes.
“We was married. What’d you do, Effie Mae?”

Thanks for coming today, Mary Jean. It's been a pleasure.