Friday, November 16, 2018

New interview with romance author Meg Benjamin


Romance author Meg Benjamin is back for a visit. Today we’re chatting about her new paranormal novel, Unseen.

During her virtual book tour, Meg will be awarding a $20 Amazon or Barnes and Noble (winner’s choice) gift card to a lucky, randomly drawn winner. To be entered for a chance to win, use the form below. To increase your chances of winning, feel free to visit her other tour stops and enter there, too!

Bio:
Meg Benjamin is an award-winning author of romance. Her newest series, the Folk, is a paranormal trilogy from Soul Mate Publishing set in Colorado. Meg’s Konigsburg series is set in the Texas Hill Country and her Salt Box and Brewing Love trilogies are set in the Colorado Rockies (all are available from Entangled Publishing). Along with contemporary romance, Meg is also the author of the paranormal Ramos Family trilogy from Berkley InterMix. Meg’s books have won numerous awards, including an EPIC Award, a Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award, the Holt Medallion from Virginia Romance Writers, the Beanpot Award from the New England Romance Writers, and the Award of Excellence from Colorado Romance Writers.

Welcome back to Reviews and Interviews, Meg. Please tell us about your newest release.
Unseen is the second book in my Folk series. The Folk are descended from European fairies and living in the Rocky Mountain region. In Unseen my hero, Teran Richter, has been hired to find possible members of the Folk living in a remote mountain town, Animas, Colorado. Teran is half Seelie and half mortal, just leaning to accept his Folk heritage. He and his assistant, Reynard, arrive during Animas’s annual Fall Festival, which involves a lot of parades, some beer drinking, and a ritual burning of a straw man as the festival climax. However, what seems like a routine assignment soon becomes dangerous as Teran and Reynard are attacked by unknown enemies. Teran gets some help from the locals, including Marika Sager, a talented weaver who becomes a lot more than just his local contact. The final confrontation with their attackers brings help from an unexpected source. Can Teran prevail? Well, of course, but at what cost?

What inspired you to write this book?
This is the second book in the Folk Trilogy, so it picks up some of the threads from Book 1 and that’s a major influence. But I was also inspired by one of my favorite mountain towns, Crested Butte, Colorado, and their annual Vinotok Festival. Vinotok always struck me as the kind of festival supernatural beings would enjoy, so I had a great time bringing the festival and the Folk together.

What’s the next writing project?
The third book in the Folk series, Found, will be released in March 2019. It features many of the characters from the first two books, as well as the ongoing mystery of who’s trying to undermine the Folk and their leaders.

What is your biggest challenge when writing a new book? (or the biggest challenge with this book)
It’s always a challenge getting the story worked out. I’m a plotter—I need to know where I’m going when I get started, so I have to work it out in advance. That’s pretty dreary, but it has to be done. Once I’ve got a road map worked out, I can feel free to take detours and scenic routes because I know there’s always a main road I can come back to.

If your novels require research – please talk about the process. Do you do the research first and then write, while you’re writing, after the novel is complete and you need to fill in the gaps?
My research for Unseen was largely into fairies and their traditions. I used Anna Franklin’s Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Fairies, which was a font of information as well as being a lot of fun. I read Franklin before I started working on the Folk series, and then used the notes I made to flesh out the Folk world.

What’s your writing space like? Do you have a particular spot to write where the muse is more active? Please tell us about it.
I write in my study, which is on the second floor with a great view of the neighbors’ back yards. It’s not as scenic as our bedroom, which has a view of the mountains, but that’s sort of a plus since it keeps me from daydreaming too much. I have my beloved MacBook set up on the desk with my UE Boom speaker on the bookcase behind me. I can’t write and listen to music at the same time, but occasionally it’s great to take a break.

What authors do you enjoy reading within or outside of your genre?
I love reading thrillers, mysteries, and regency romances. Right now I’m working my way through Karen Rose’s Baltimore and Cincinnati thrillers, with occasional stops at Grace Burrowes regencies for relief.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers today?
I hope your readers will enjoy the Folk. It’s not a traditional paranormal series in a sense—Prince Bertie is a regency hero and Teran has some resemblance to a classic cop. But it’s got enough of the supernatural to appeal to readers who love fantasy. Plus it was a lot of fun to write!

Links:

Thank you for coming back to Reviews and Interviews!


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Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Interview with song writer and debut children's writer Tia McGraff


Song writer and debut children’s writer Tia McGraff is chatting with me today about her children’s book, Jake the Road Dawg. The book has helped raise funds and awareness for her local chapter of The Dolly Parton Imagination Library.

Welcome, Tia. Please tell us about your current release.
Jake the Road Dawg is my first children’s book and self-published. I have been touring across Canada, the USA, and the UK sharing the journey of our road dog, Jake with children and adults in book stores, libraries, and schools. My husband and I adopted Jake while we were living in Nashville, TN. We found him at the local animal shelter.

What inspired you to write this book?
You have to meet Jake to see why I wanted to put down my songwriting pen and guitar and write this book. He is just an inspiration and his story is one of overcoming your insecurities and finding the song in your heart. He is truly a special dog.

What exciting story are you working on next?
Jake has a lot of adventures and messages to share with his fans. I am planning on sitting down this winter and continuing his journey.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I always wanted to write. I knew when I was a little girl that writing was in my blood. Songwriting was my first passion and came easier to me than writing children’s books. But the flame was burning in my heart. I just needed to find the story...Jake the Road Dawg found me.

Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
I wish I could write full time. Most of my days are spent with administration and bookings. I’m planning on setting time aside this winter to focus 100% on writing.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
Re-writing! I am relentless at writing and re-writing. Even in songwriting. It drives Tommy nuts. But I don’t settle until I feel the “chill bumps”

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A writer. A singer. Or a golf pro. lol

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
We all have a story to tell. Everyone has a beautiful message of life that is uniquely our own. Don’t be intimidated by your story. No matter how big or how small...share it! It’s a beautiful gift. Find the song in your heart!

Links:

Thanks for being here today, Tia!

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Interview with humorous women's fiction author Carrie Jo Howe


Author Carrie Jo Howe joins me today to chat about her new humorous women’s fiction, Island Life Sentence.

During her virtual book tour, Carrie Jo will be awarding a $10 Amazon or Barnes and Noble (winner’s choice) gift card to a lucky, randomly drawn winner. To be entered for a chance to win, use the form below. To increase your chances of winning, feel free to visit her other tour stops and enter there, too.

Bio:
After raising three boys in the suburbs of Chicago, Carrie Jo Howe now lives in Key West, Florida with her husband and her dog. Her latest novel, Island Life Sentence, is a fictional account of an American Midwestern woman who feels like an alien in the “one human family” of Key West. Carrie Jo’s first book, Motherhood is NOT for Babies, received a rave review (thanks Mom), and works wonderfully as a form of contraception. Her blog Florida Keys Crime Report, tells of all the goings on in the Keys, where bank robbers get away on bicycles, and perps caught with undersized, pinched, out-of-season lobsters get more jail time than drug runners. She is currently working on the sequels to Island Life Sentence.

Please share a little bit about your current release.
Island Life Sentence is a product of the culture shock I experienced when we moved from Chicago to Key West. Three and a half hours south of mainland Florida creates it's own form of evolution...kind of like the Galapagos.

What inspired you to write this book?
Every day something out of (my) ordinary happens and I just have to write about it. Yes--my dog did almost die from a poisonous frog, yes-- my house is haunted, and no--I didn't "molest" a manatee (legal terminology for touching/riding one), but my friend did.
Yes, I did survive a hurricane (Irma 2017).


Excerpt from Island Life Sentence:
Trudy visits Peg in Key West...

“Let’s start at Captain Tony’s. It used to be Sloppy Joe’s but now Sloppy Joe’s is there.” Peg pointed across the street to the open windows filled to overflow with tourists screaming along with the band, “Why don’t we get drunk and screw?”
“Jimmy Buffett is a god here,” Peg whispered.
“Right. Some god. Get drunk and get screwed buying all of his crap,” Trudy said too loud.
“Shhh. You’ll start a riot.”
“I mean, look at those people. All dressed the same with their hands in the air. Probably how Hitler got started.”
Peg laughed. “Let’s go before you start another world war. I didn’t know you were so anti-Margaritaville.” She hugged Trudy to distract her. “On a history note, there’s a story about Hemingway taking the urinal from Captain Tony’s when they moved the bar. He said that he pissed away so much money into the urinal that he owned it.”
“I just hope he didn’t take the toilet in the ladies’ room, ’cause I gotta go.” Trudy quickened her step and crossed against the light on Duval Street. A scooter honked. She about-faced with both middle fingers flying. “Suck on these birds you parrot-headed mother fu–”
“Let’s go.” Peg grabbed one of Trudy’s obscene gestures, leaving the other one firmly in position. Trudy sidestepped in front of the scooter and stared down the double-chinned, large-bellied driver.
“Looks like he’s had too many cheeseburgers in paradise,” Trudy added.
“Okay, okay… I get it.” Peg dragged her friend toward the bar entrance.
“I’m just sayin’ – definitely not wasting away.”
Peg shoved her friend in the door of Captain Tony’s. “And… we’re here. You go pee and I’ll get us some drinks.”
Trudy jogged in the direction of the restroom sign. Peg found a couple of spots at the bar. The densely tattooed bartender slapped his hands down on the bar in front of her, “What’ll it be, miss? Margaritas are our specialty.”
“No. I mean… no thank you. Two rum and Cokes, please.”
He looked surprised. “Don’t like tequila?”
“Tequila’s fine, but don’t mention the word margarita to my best friend, Trudy. Take my word for it.”


What exciting story are you working on next?
Island Life Sentence is going to be a trilogy. I'm working on the sequel story for Peg and Trudy in Key West.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I know I should consider myself a writer, but I'd rather think of myself as an accidental story teller. A writer seems so formal and scary.

Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
I like to tell stories about what I'm doing...especially if I'm terrible at it. That being said, I come up with a decent amount of material!

A significant amount of my time is spent on airplanes since I have family in Chicago, LA, and San Diego.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
My (50 pound) Vizsla insists on squishing into my chair with me while I write. He's a hot tamale, but I love having him next to me. And, I use too many exclamation points!!!!!!!!

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be a jockey. I'm six feet tall. That didn't work out.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!

Links:

Thank you for being a guest on my blog!
Thanks for hosting me Lisa!!!

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Monday, November 12, 2018

Interview with historical thriller author Roy E. Stolworthy




Author Roy E. Stolworthy joins me today to talk about his historical thriller, Echoes of Madness.

Bio:
Residing in central England I have written eight novels. Two traditionally published, the remainder self published, which I prefer. After nine years in the RAF as ground crew I worked in the Middle East as an engineer.

Welcome, Roy. Please tell us about your current release.
This book is not my current release. With the centenary of the end of WWI I thought this an apt time to promote my work. Something I rarely do.

What inspired you to write this book?
To show how men lost their minds in a mindless conflict.

What exciting story are you working on next?
An action story of men searching for and discovering a huge cache of Nazi treasure.

Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
Yes, I write full time but have slowed quite a bit. Other than writing, I like to read.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
Sheer amazement when a book is finished. I wonder how I managed to do it.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Happy, and make others happy.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
I am almost 77 years of age and would love to share my good health with others.

Links:

Thanks for joining me today, Roy.