Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Interview with erotica author Casey Sheridan


Reviews and Interviews welcomes Casey Sheridan today, as she tells us a bit about her latest novellete, Ruby Red Metallic.

Bio: Casey Sheridan began writing erotica on a dare, and she loved writing it so much she never stopped. Her work has been published by Breathless Press and Cobblestone Press, and has appeared on The Erotic Woman, Every Night Erotica, and RSVP-Erotica.

Casey is a member of Passionate Ink, Romance Writers of America, Fantasy, Futuristic & Paranormal chapter of RWA, and Erotic Authors Association.

She loves reading, writing, collecting teddy bears and any toy Porsche 911 she can find (and can afford).

Please tell us about your current release.
Ruby Red Metallic is an erotic novelette about a woman car thief named Alaina. Alaina doesn’t steal just any car. She has her eyes set on very exclusive, high-end cars. Of course, there is one type of vehicle she has a specific passion for and when she comes across it, the owner is as hot as the car.

What inspired you to write this book?
A very close friend of mine suggested I write something about a car. His suggestion was a real challenge for me since I don’t know anything about cars except how to drive them (and fill the gas tank). But once I got all the research done I had a great time coming up with the story.

What exciting story are you working on next?
I’m working on a contemporary erotic romance about a woman that goes to an exclusive party where she has to wear wireless remote controlled vibrating panties. It’s tentatively titled Number 69.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
The first time I had something published is when I considered myself a writer. It was a short story about a courier that went up on a women’s erotica site.

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, but right now I still work a day job.
Finding time to write can be a challenge sometimes, since I work 40 to 50 hours a week at the day time dungeon and have to take care of other household responsibilities like shopping, laundry, yard work, or snow removal, etc. I write for at least 90 minutes each day during the week and for as long as I can during the weekends.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I don’t know how interesting this is, but when I sit down at my desk to write I have to have another chair set right next to me for my cat. He always finds it necessary to want to sit in my lap whenever I sit at my desk so I set up a special chair for him so he can curl up there instead of squeezing between me and the desk. He’s very happy with that situation. My mom even crocheted a little blanket to put on the seat for him to lie on. He’s not spoiled or anything.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be anything that would allow me to carry a briefcase; a secretary, a lawyer, real estate agent…anything. My mom had a friend that was a real estate agent. She always dressed nice and carried a brief case. I thought she was the coolest person on earth. I wanted to dress up and carry a brief case just like her. Now, I’m an assistant in my day job, but I don’t carry a brief case. They’re too much of a pain in the butt to lug around.

Thanks for stopping by, Casey. Best of luck with your future writing projects.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Live chat/interview with authors Joe Moore and Lynn Sholes - 6/5/11

The Writer's Chatroom presents writing partners Joe Moore and Lynn Sholes.

WHEN?

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Eastern USA Time.....7-9 PM

Not sure what time that is wherever in the world you are? http://www.worldtimeserver.com

WHERE?

The Writers Chatroom at: http://www.writerschatroom.com/Enter.htm

Scroll down to the Java box. It may take a moment to load. Type in the name you wish to be known by, and click Login. No password needed.

Please note: The chatroom is only open for regularly scheduled chats.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Review of Tuey's Course by James Ross

Genre: Fiction
Title: Tuey’s Course
Author: James Ross

Most of this story focuses on an almost-middle-aged black man who was born in the city projects on the east side of St. Louis named WeWildapheet Ulisees O’Tweety, but is known to most as Tuey. The nickname comes from the fact that there are two back-to-back e’s in each of his names. There are stories behind the misspelling of his middle and last names, for the reader to discover, too.

Tuey is an independent contractor who can’t seem to be on the right side of town ordinances no matter how hard he tries, or how reasonable he is. J Dub is still managing the Prairie Winds Golf Course with his brother Curt and when they are told of a development project that is going to run along one edge of their golf course, they go with a friend’s recommendation and hire Tuey for the easement work. It isn’t all smooth greens and light winds for the project.

As with the prior novels, Ross prefers the omniscient point of view, so the reader gets insight into each character that appears on the page. The POV choice and the extensive cast of characters don’t allow the reader to have any particular character to empathize with, but it allows the reader to feel part of a group discussion. Ross definitely has opinions about discrimination and has created a complex story around it to include corrupted politicians, racial profiling, and what can happen when a person is pushed a little too far. The author writes most characters with dialects, so the readers must read slowly to comprehend a lot of conversations. Ross is daring in the latter part of the novel in blurring the line between reality and fiction, in regard to Tuey. Ross makes his readers work for the ending, which does resolve a lot of questions.

James Ross graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia. After turning fifty, he searched for a positive outlet to battle the economic ups and downs that most people experience. He went to a keyboard and let the words flow through his fingertips. Tuey’s Course is third in a series of books centering on the Prairie Woods Golf Course. It follows Lifetime Loser and Finish Line. James is an avid, low-handicap golfer who enjoys the sport and the lessons of the game. He shares his belief that golf may very well hold the key to a lot of life's best secrets, through his novels.

Tuey’s Course starts 5 months before the prior novel, Finish Line, ends. So for readers of the series, take note that the cliffhanger ending of Finish Line is not addressed in any hurry in Tuey’s Course, and some details are rehashed from July through December. Tuey’s Course is a novel about the stronghold that discrimination still has in today’s world and it’s my opinion that the target audience is limited. It is an average read. Reviewer: Lisa Haselton, Allbooks Reviews, www.allbooksreviewint.com.

Available through: Xlibris.com, Amazon.com, and BarnesandNoble.com.

Publisher: Xlibris Corporation
ISBN: 978-1-4363-8993-8
Pages: 286
Price: $19.99

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Interview with fantasy novelist Kevin M. Villegas


Today at Reviews and Interviews is Kevin Villegas. He's stopping by as part of a virtual book tour for his novel The Sunwright Chronicles: Empire at War.

Kevin, please tell us about your current release.
The Sunwright Chronicles is an epic fantasy that takes place in the fictional world of Tera. Kirmar has stood as a beacon of civilization in Western Tera for the last nine hundred years. A string of bad Emperors has led to the near collapse of the Empire. An external invasion by a super tribe known as the Nords threatens to take the Imperial Capital of Kirmar. For nine hundred years the Sunwright family has defended Kirmar and supported its powerful Imperial Family. Now the Imperial family has been all but destroyed by war and disease. To make matters worse Paris and Suadela the head of the Sunwright family have mysteriously disappeared.

What inspired you to write this book?
My love for Roman and Byzantine cultures. Instead of writing historical fiction, I took what I loved about both cultures mixed them up added a large helping of fantasy and I came up with the Empire of Kirmar.

What exciting story are you working on next?
Currently I am working on the next novel of the Sunwright Chronicles. The Working title is The Sunwright Chronicles – The Enemy Within. I am almost a hundred pages into the novel and very excited. In The Enemy Within, the world of Western Tera really opens up as I introduce the nation of Wuttenburg, The Great Steppes, and other factions all vying for power. The novel will also chronicle the internal struggle for power that exists in Kirmar.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I would say I’ve always considered myself a writer. I’ve been able to craft stories since I was very young. I am just glad I got the motivation to write a full novel. I can’t take all the credit on Empire at War as the support of my wife really helped me complete this novel.

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. I work full time in the banking industry. In the evening I enjoy spending time with my family. When I write it tends to be later in the evening, I’ll set aside an hour and pour out as much material as I can.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I need music to write! Listening to music when I write helps me get into a good groove fairly quickly. The idea’s seems to flow nice and smooth when I have music playing. Without music I tend to lose momentum quickly.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Many things I can list them in order: marine, surgeon, professor, musician, writer. Those are the ones I can recall.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
I hope you enjoy Empire at War. Also my first novel is only the tip of the iceberg there is so much more coming in the future!

Thanks for visiting, Kevin. Best of luck with the tour and your writing.

Kevin's next stop is an interview at Written In Blood on May 28.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Surprise chat at The Writer's Chatroom 5/29/11



Join Writer's Chatroom for a two-hour surprise chat. You never know what the topic is going to be until you're there.


WHEN?

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Eastern USA Time.....7-9 PM

Not sure what time that is wherever in the world you are? http://www.worldtimeserver.com

WHERE?

The Writers Chatroom at: http://www.writerschatroom.com/Enter.htm

Scroll down to the Java box. It may take a moment to load. Type in the name you wish to be known by, and click Login. No password needed.

Please note: The chatroom is only open for regularly scheduled chats.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Interview with erotica romance writer Lori Toland


Today, I'm hosting erotica romance author Lori Toland as she wraps up a virtual book tour for her newest release Trust In Me with Goddess Fish Promotions. As part of her tour Lori is giving away a $25 gift card from Amazon, B&N, or Loose Id and a copy of her book) to a lucky commentor. Details below.

Bio: CEO by day, erotic romance writer by night, Lori Toland lives in Orlando where the summers are hot, but the romance between her characters is even hotter. Writing since the tender age of 13, Lori somehow finds time to play video games and watch movies while taking care of her beloved cats and a husband who will forever be her hero.

Welcome, Lori. Please tell us about your current release, Trust in Me.
When Tristan takes over for a sick employee, he runs into an old high school crush. Ten years after a summer fling with Jamie that left him with a broken heart, Tristan's got a different view of it; will he push away the only man he's ever loved?

What inspired you to write this book?
I was working on editing another story and suddenly out of nowhere, I saw the scene where Tristan and Jamie kissed for the first time. The passion and fire between them was gorgeous and beautiful and I had to write it down. That’s how the story started.

What exciting story are you working on next?
I’m working on two stories right now. One is m/f Urban Fantasy I’ve been working on for a while. It’s in the re-write stages now. The second is m/m about a Dom who falls in love with a Christian Minister.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
The day I picked up a pencil. I’ve been telling stories since grade school.

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 don’t write full time. I do have a day job but it’s not an EDJ. I’m a CEO of a company I built from the ground up. I have really long days doing that, but if I get a break, I do stop to write.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
It’s actually an editing quirk. I have to have a mouse when I edit. For some reason, I can’t use a track pad. I have to have a mouse or it really messes me up.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be a doctor. Which is funny, because Jamie Hunter from Trust In Me is a pediatrician.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
I hope you enjoy Trust In Me. It’s been one of my favorite books to date to write. I can be found on LiveJournal and Twitter, too. Thanks and lots of love to all of you!

Thanks, Lisa, for having me by!

You're quite welcome. I'm glad to be part of your tour and I hope it went well.

As mentioned above, as part of her tour, Lori is giving away a $25 gift card from Amazon, B&N, or Loose Id and a copy of her book) to a lucky commentor. Simply leave a comment on this post and you're entered to win. You can also visit other stops she has made since May 3 to leave comments for more changes to win. The Trust in Me tour info can be found here. The more you comment, the more chances you have of winning.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Live chat/interview with author Ginger Simpson - 5/22/11


**Rescheduled from April 10**

The Writer's Chatroom presents author Ginger Simpson.

WHEN?

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Eastern USA Time.....7-9 PM

Not sure what time that is wherever in the world you are? http://www.worldtimeserver.com

WHERE?

The Writers Chatroom at: http://www.writerschatroom.com/Enter.htm

Scroll down to the Java box. It may take a moment to load. Type in the name you wish to be known by, and click Login. No password needed.

Please note: The chatroom is only open for regularly scheduled chats.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Interview with debut historical fiction novelist Grace Elliot


Today it's my pleasure to welcome novelist Grace Elliot to Reviews and Interviews to chat with us a bit about herself and her debut novel, A Dead Man’s Debt (5 star rated historical romance)

Grace Elliot leads a double life as a veterinarian by day and author of historical romance by night. Grace lives near London and is addicted to cats, acting as housekeeping staff to five mischievous moggies.

Grace believes intelligent people need to read romantic fiction as an antidote to the modern world. As an avid reader, she turned to writing as a release from the emotionally draining side of veterinary work. Her debut novel A Dead Man’s Debt is now available from most eBook stores including Amazon, for $2.99

Grace, please tell us about your current release.
A Dead Man’s Debt is a story of blackmail, duty and unexpected love.

Our hero is the darkly restless Lord Ranulf Charing. He’s a complex character, raised from birth to hold honor above all else and, as heir to the Cadnum title, can never fulfill his calling to be a professional artist. But our heroine, Miss Celeste Armitage, is Ranulf’s opposite. Independent and determined, Celeste has the traits of a 21st, rather than 19th century, woman.

Celeste doesn’t care who she offends when she refuses to marry a lascivious Viscount. Sent to the country in disgrace, she meets Ranulf and falls for exactly the sort of rogue she has sworn to avoid. But Ranulf is being blackmailed over his late brother’s debts. To preserve the family’s honor he must renounce his feelings for Celeste and marry another woman…but he underestimates Celeste’s resolve to clear his name and in so doing, places his true love in mortal danger…

What inspired you to write this book?
The inspiration behind A Dead Man’s Debt sprang from a portrait of the young Emma Hart (who later married Lord Hamilton and became Horatio Nelson’s mistress)

The painting by George Romney shows an innocent yet lush young woman, scantily clad with a hint of bosom, brazenly staring out of the canvas with an allure that is quite hypnotic. It struck me as sensational for an 18th century work, that the sitter was not prim, proper, straight backed, and starchy. At the time the picture must have been utterly scandalous.

But who would be bold enough to commission such a portrait? (As it happened Emma Hart was ahead of her time…but that’s another story.)

What a delicious idea for a story!

What if the woman in the portrait wanted to shock and deliberately draw attention to herself? From this idea Lady Sophia Cadnum, Ranulf’s mother, was born. A woman who hated being an aristocratic brood mare and resented her children….

What if years later, this same portrait threatened to disgrace her son, forcing Ranulf to do the very thing she resented…and marry out of duty…

Thus the stage was set for the story of blackmail, sacrifice and redeeming love that in A Dead Man’s Debt.

What exciting story are you working on next?
In my view you can’t beat historical romance for page turning, escapism and I hope my next novel, Eulogy’s Secret will live up to this reputation.

Eulogy’s Secret is a story about hidden identity, dangerous assumptions, and prejudice. Our heroine, Eulogy Foster, has a secret that could destroy lives…but will she keep that secret if, in the telling, she could win the man she loves?

Once again set in the Regency, this book is the first in a series of three, about very different brothers, and will be available later this year.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I read somewhere that to be a writer, you need to write!

My initial reasons for writing was as a form of therapy, if you like, from the stresses of an emotionally demanding job. I would write, not even dreaming of publication, but as a conduit for an active imagination to spill out onto the page. Thus, I wrote for at least 20 minutes a day and pretty soon the habit grew to an hour…and then as long as I could carve out from looking after a house, family and working part time.

My first published piece was non-fiction for The Lady magazine – a feature on the 800th anniversary of the death of Eleanor of Aquitaine…and then I became a regular columnist in the Veterinary Times, with articles on the attitudes to animals in the past…then I turned to fiction…and the rest, as they say, is history.

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’d describe myself as a ‘guerilla’ writer. I have a job, two teenage sons, cooking, cleaning, etc., and so I have to seize whatever opportunities come my way

As to how I find the time, well my personal motto is “If you want something done, ask a busy person.” Somehow, the more you have to do, the more you get done! Is that not true ladies?

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
Ahh, that would be Widget! No, not the sort you click on a computer, but one of my five cats. I write on a laptop on an old sofa in a converted garage, and she loves nothing better than to snuggle up against my thigh whilst I write. She’s my ‘Writer’s cat’ (a bit like a master criminal!) and keeps me hard at work because if I get up, she will claim the warm patch and then look hurt and affronted if I try to move her off….

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
For as long as I can remember I wanted to be a vet. As a child I was very ill for 6 months, and eventually it was my mother's bribe of riding lessons, that gave me the determination to recover. I was your typical horse-mad little girl, not to mention dogs and cats and spent my teenage years volunteering at the local dairy farm and riding stables.

Being a vet is still my dream job, but what I didnt realized as a na├»ve youngster, was that loving animals means saying goodbye to patients can be very hard indeed…I don’t think I’ll ever get used to the responsibility of making life and death decisions, but there again, it would be wrong if I took it lightly.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
Thank you so much for reading this interview, and a big thank you to Lisa for hosting me.

I’d love to hear your feedback so please leave a comment below.

If you’d like to know more about me or my work visit http://graceelliot-author.blogspot.com. My blog reflects my addiction for things historical, romance and animals!

I’m also on Twitter: @Grace_Elliot.

Grace, thank you for being here today. It's so fun to have guests from 'across the pond' stop here. And all the best with your writing!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Interview with crime fiction author Michael Tabman


I'm happy to welcome Michael Tabman, to Reviews and Interviews today.

Michael Tabman was born and raised in New York City. He graduated from John Jay College of Criminal Justice in Manhattan, NY. After serving as a police officer, with the Fairfax County, VA Police Department for three years, he joined the FBI.

As an FBI agent for 24 years, Michael investigated crimes ranging from white collar to organized crime, drug trafficking and money laundering. He rose through the ranks reaching the level of Special Agent in Charge. His professional travels took him to Israel, Russia, Vietnam, Singapore, Malaysia, and Thailand. After retiring, Michael founded SPIRIT Asset Protection, LLC as a security and risk management consulting firm.

Michael is the author of Walking the Corporate Beat: Police School for Business People, which is based upon Michael’s 27 years of law enforcement experience drawing amusing parallels between the police world, business, and everyday life decisions.

Michael, please tell us about your current release.
Midnight Sin is an inside look at the dark and mysterious world behind the cop’s badge. Rookie cop Gary Hollings quickly learns becoming a cop changes everything you thought you knew about life. Hollings finds that wrestling street thugs and arresting drug dealers while trying to track down a serial rapist is nowhere near as tough as watching his back from his fellow cops. He must also fight his inner demons – ones that he never knew he had until he put on that police uniform.

What inspired you to write this book?
After 27 year career in law enforcement, with a wide expanse of experiences, I had witnessed many interesting people and unusual events. While Midnight Sin is completely fictional, the story is a culmination of those years. I always found that cops had their own culture and way of life that many people could not understand. I wanted to explore the cop psyche in an entertaining way.

What exciting project are you working on next?
I am working on a novel centered on an FBI agent struggling with a complicated investigation only to find his life become even more complicated as the rules of the game change suddenly and without warning.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I am not sure I have gotten there yet. My first book, Walking the Corporate Beat: Police School for Business People, was a “lessons learned” book, not a novel. I will wait to see how Midnight Sin is received before I answer this question.

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 do not write full-time. Since retiring from the FBI, I have been running SPIRIT Asset Protection, LLC, a consulting business for corporate security matters as well as giving presentations to CEOs and businesses in various topics such as workplace violence, business risk, fraud, and identity theft.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I think the quirk in my writing is my need to not just tell a story, but to have a message while being entertained.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
As a child I thought about many careers, though never really a cop. That decision did not come until I was in my teens.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
As the events of the story unfold, I hope the reader focuses on why things happened the way they did.

Michael, thank you for being here today. Best of luck with your writing, you certainly have a lot of experience to draw from for this genre.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Live chat/interview with author Ellen Schrieber - 5/15/11


The Writer's Chatroom presents author Ellen Schreiber.

WHEN?

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Eastern USA Time.....7-9 PM

Not sure what time that is wherever in the world you are? http://www.worldtimeserver.com

WHERE?

The Writers Chatroom at: http://www.writerschatroom.com/Enter.htm

Scroll down to the Java box. It may take a moment to load. Type in the name you wish to be known by, and click Login. No password needed.

Please note: The chatroom is only open for regularly scheduled chats.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Interview with debut mystery novelist Dorothy St. James


Please welcome debut mystery novelist Dorothy St. James to Reviews and Interviews today where she'll talk about her first mystery release from Berkley Prime Crime, Flowerbed of State – Book 1 in the White House Gardener Mystery series.

As way of introduction, here's a short bio about Dorothy
Mystery author Dorothy St. James was born in New York but raised in South Carolina. She makes her home on an artsy island community in South Carolina with her husband, papillon dog and fluffy cat. Though writing has always been a passion for her, she pursued an undergraduate degree in Wildlife Biology and a graduate degree in Public Administration and Urban Planning. She put her educational experience to use, having worked in all branches and all levels of government including local, regional, state, and federal. She even spent time during college working for a non-profit environmental watchdog organization.

Switching from government service and community planning to fiction writing wasn't as big of a change as some might think. Her government work was all about the stories of the people and the places where they live. As an urban planner, Dorothy loved telling the stories of the people she met. And from that, her desire to tell the tales that were so alive in her heart grew until she couldn’t ignore it any longer. In 2001, she took a leap of faith and pursued her dream of writing fiction full-time.


Dorothy, please tell us about your new book release.
Flowerbed of State is the first book in the cozy White House Gardener Mystery series. Margaret Bradley, the First Lady, discovers Casey Calhoun’s talent for organic gardening during a campaign visit to Charleston, South Carolina. A year later, she invites Casey to come work for the White House and develop an organic gardening plan for the White House lawn and gardens.

Casey, thrilled for the opportunity, is out pulling weeds early one morning in Lafayette Square, when someone hits her over the head, knocking her out. When she recovers—and after a...um...misunderstanding with a Secret Service agent—she discovers the body of a treasury employee in a nearby trashcan.

As she works to recover her memories of the attack, Casey finds herself thrust into the hazardous world of politics and love.

What inspired you to write this book?
I’d love to take credit for the series idea, but alas, I was invited to write this series by an editor with Tekno Books. I created Casey Calhoun, the free-spirited Southern gardener to take the lead and wrote the three-book proposal that Tekno Books sold to Berkley Prime Crime.

What exciting story are you working on next?
I’m currently working on the second book in the White House Gardener Mystery series, with the working title, The Scarlet Pepper. I imagine that the title will change and have been making lists of alternatives. If you have any ideas, I’d love to hear them!

In book two, Casey returns with the vow to leave the sleuthing to the professionals and to concentrate on the First Lady’s vegetable garden. All of her good intentions evaporate; however, when a hard-nosed reporter turns up dead in a nearby garden and the evidence lead the police straight to Casey.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I think I must have been born a writer. Some of my earliest memories are of creating books for my older sisters to read. Making up stories gave me such pleasure, but I never had the confidence to pursue it until several years after college. I woke up one day and said that I needed to follow my dream now when I was still young enough to afford to make foolish mistakes. So I saved up every penny I had, tightened my finances, and quit my job to write full-time.

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?
When I say I write full-time, I should always add an asterisk. *I’m working full-time on my books, but am easily distracted by the Internet and waste far too much time on “research.” Yes, let’s say “research.”

My writing day starts out at the computer answering emails, following up on any promotional tasks that I need to do, and updating my Facebook page and Twitter. By the time I’m done with that, it’s lunchtime. After lunch, I get writing. I work on my work-in-progress until about five or six. Break for dinner. After dinner, I either write a bit more or read. I try to write five pages a day, six days a week. I’m not a fast writer. A lot of my time is spent going back and reworking previous chapters. I like to have a solid foundation to stand on when I write. By the time I reach the end of my work-in-progress, it’s pretty close to the polished version I’ll give to my editor.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
Interesting writing quirk? Lisa, you’re really making me think here. I don’t know if this is quirky, but it might be irritating to most writers—I have to know my story before I start. I outline, outline, and outline some more. I fill in charts. I interview my characters. I think about motivations and create detailed backgrounds for almost every character that shows up on the page.

That’s not to say things won’t change along the way. It does! Suddenly, something surprising will pop out of a character’s mouth or a character will take a wrong turn in a scene. Everything gets thrown off track. I might spend the rest of the book trying to wrestle that darn runaway train back into submission. Sometimes I make it back to the original plot. Sometimes I don’t.

But before I can commit to writing a book, I need to do all that upfront work, filling up a notebook and creating a map I know how to follow. I’m in awe (and more than a little jealous) of writers who have the confidence to jump in and write, trusting their muse to take them where they need to go.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
First and foremost: a fiction writer. If not that, I wanted to work with animals. I’m happy to report that I chased after both dreams. My undergraduate degree is in Wildlife Biology. While in college, I was lucky to intern with the International Primate Protection League and work with their rescued gibbons.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
Thank you, Lisa for inviting me to visit with you on your blog. I’ll be around to answer any questions about my writing or gardening or anything else that your readers want to chat about. Note of warning though, once you get me started talking about my little papillon, Iona, I might go on and on and...

You get the point.

You can also find my hanging around on my Facebook page or my Twitter account. I also will be visiting several blogs this month and holding a bunch of contests, giving away Presidential goodies. To stay in the know of upcoming events, sign up for my newsletter.

Thanks for all the great insight, Dorothy. Congrats on the first novel, and best wishes for much writing success.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Interview with gay fiction author Michael Keene



Today I'm chatting with Michael Keene about his latest gay fiction novel, Through the Mist.

Michael, welcome to Reviews and Interviews. Thanks for swimming 'across the pond' from the UK to be here in the States today.

Please tell us about your newest book release, Through the Mist.
Nigel is 18 and trying to come to terms with his sexuality. He loves his parents to bits, but tells nobody his fears and frustrations. He elects to take off to France for a month to sort his mind out and find the meaning of life. Mike, his best friend, not knowing what he is in for, suggests that he takes his father's VW camper and travel with Nigel.

The month away together is fun, yet Nigel wrestles to tell his friend the true reason for the trip. When he does, Mike suggests they try to [in the aid of science] find out what being gay is like.

The humour of the trip, the places they venture to, and the people they meet, add to their worldly knowledge. Through chance they canoe down the river Ceze in France, only to find themselves in a naturist reserve ... should they join in ... should they turn back do they sort Nigel's sexuality out?

What inspired you to write this book?
My many trips to France over ten years as a professional photographer and documentary naturist video producer for the French Naturist Sites, plus being a leading fashion photographer, meeting many colourful people. Many many stories are stored on ice from this period of my life.

What exciting story are you working on next?
For the Love of Tom. The love one soldier has for another after they have suffered the bombs and shelling for a month in the trenches of France. They get parted, and the war ends, and they try to trace each other. In the years 1914 – 1918 life was very different for such love affairs as this...how would families take to hearing this?

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
In 2000 ... but I had written as a photojournalist years prior to writing my first book.

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?
Retired now...and love the pleasures that fiction writing brings.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
The knowledge of life having lived it.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Artist and photographer

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
Only that as a writer, never be side tracked into letting your views be known. Open readers' minds...and try not to leave blank pages ...leave readers unsure...yes, have some mystery, and in fact tease them with that..but never fear to tell all.

Other books I've published that are available through my Web site:
Double Take
Poor Rich Guy Matthew
The Bare Photographer

The Loch Keeper

Thanks for visiting, Michael. Best of luck with your future writing endeavors.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Virtual tour stop and interview with historical novelist Sue Perkins


Sue Perkins, welcome to Reviews and Interviews! I'm happy to be hosting you as you travel through cyberspace on a Goddess Fish book tour this week for your newest book, Blitz, which just released yesterday through Desert Breeze Publishing.

Let's have a little fun and get to know you.

Please describe yourself in six words or less.
Persistent, enthusiastic, creative, loyal, honest and a big softie.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I went to creative writing classes in 1990. I had characters and a plot and intended to write a short story. My creative writing teacher had other ideas and convinced me to write a romance novel. At the end of the final draft I printed and posted the manuscript, then carried on with the next idea. This is when I considered myself a writer. The novel didn’t get published and in hindsight I can see why, I was a very immature writer at that stage. The fact I had finished the manuscript made me feel I had found my niche and could call myself a writer.

Please tell us about Blitz.
This is my first attempt at historical romance. The idea for the book came from my parents own romance and the horrors they went through during World War II. Blitz is fictional, but draws a lot on Mum and Dad’s experiences. They lived in Plymouth, Devon and the city was hit quite badly by German bombers during March and April 1941. My story tells of Velma and Jack and how their lives were changed by the war. Instead of a peaceful courtship followed by a white wedding, they were rushed along into an unknown future. Their white wedding had to be cancelled at the last moment. Velma then had to decide if she would let Jack go off to war a single man, or would she marry in a registry office without family or friends to support her?

It is the 70th Anniversary of the blitz this year. The people of Plymouth are holding exhibitions and remembrance services for those who died and those who survived this horrible time.

Which character was the most challenging to write and why?
Both Jack and Velma were challenging. Mainly because they reminded me of my parents. I think Velma was a slightly more complex character. Her story is mainly set in Plymouth which made it difficult to separate truth from fiction. I wanted to make Velma a carefree young woman who fell in love and then had to fight her family to be recognised as an adult. It’s a very thin line between angry young woman and a deterimined adult. I believe Velma’s character changed the most as the book progressed. She had so much to prove to both family and Jack.

Your two previous books Three Hearts and Broken Heart are contemporary romances. What inspired you to write historical romance? Do you prefer one genre over the other?

I like writing romance, but Blitz kept nudging to be told. I first suggested it to my sister who showed a great enthusiasm for telling our parents story. I had to caution that this would be a fictional account, but she still thought it a good idea. I hadn’t had to do so much research before when writing a novel, but somehow it came naturally. Probably because I researched my home town and things I’d learned as I grew up.

There are so many pitfalls in a historical. Not only the obvious of when something took place. There’s also the “did they have this in 1940” and “were those words in use then” questions. On the whole I think I prefer contemporary romance.

If you could trade places with one of your characters, who would it be and why?
Velma. Despite the chaos and upheaval she suffered, she remained a loving woman who would do anything to help anybody. She thought of others before herself and this made her an endearing character.

How do you deal with writer’s block?
I don’t think of it as writer’s block. A lapse of story is my description. If I don’t know what happens next, I usually know what happens in the following chapters. I hop ahead to this part of the story and write from there. Usually by the end of the book I know what fills in the gap so there isn’t really a block. As for new books I have far too many ideas in my head to suffer from lack of plot.

What was the last amazing book that you read?
In the Manor of the Ghost by Tina Pinson. I’ve only recently finished it. A truly stunning story. I love a book that holds my attention so I need to keep going back to it to find out what happens next. Also a book which doesn’t give all the answers until the last page.

Ms Pinson’s book meets all this criteria. The story concerns a young woman who enters a marriage of convenience to give a young child love and stability and to help him learn to talk again. Her love for the child grows to encompass love for the father, but the Manor they live in has many secrets. The story twists and turns but at no time do you lose sight of the main plot. A truly wonderful book.

Other than writing, what are some of your passions in life?
Most of my passions in life I have to struggle to find time for. Genealogy, or family history, is one passion. I got hooked on it years ago, but it’s taken a back step since my first book was published as I have so much to do re writing and promoting. I love computer graphics and also do Zumba to keep myself fit.

What can readers expect next from you?
The next two books to be released will be Middle Grade fantasy books. The first, Spirit Stealer, is due out in October. It concerns a young boy shut in a library after dark. He finds things he didn’t expect and to save himself he must escape before midnight.

The second one, Reva’s Quest. is due out in January 2012. Reva arrives in a strange, magical land. To return home she must help the people of the land to rid themselves of evil.

Thank you Lisa for this interview. I enjoyed finding out more about myself as I answered your questions.

Thanks for being here, Sue! And I know some people will visit your web site and your blog in the coming days. Best of luck with the tour!