Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Interview with romance author Christine Young


Today's guest is doing a virtual book tour with Goddess Fish Promotions. Author Christine Young is here to talk about her new historical romance novel, her writing, and there are details below about several giveaways she has during her tour.

Bio:
Born in Medford, Oregon, novelist Christine Young has lived in Oregon all of her life. After graduating from Oregon State University with a BS in science, she spent another year at Southern Oregon State University working on her teaching certificate, and a few years later received her Master's degree in secondary education and counseling. Now the long, hot days of summer provide the perfect setting for creating romance. She sold her first book, Dakota's Bride, the summer of 1998 and her second book, My Angel to Kensington. She is the author of 10 published romance books and 2 novellas. Christine is a retired high school math teacher. Her teaching and writing careers have intertwined with raising three children. Christine's newest venture is the creation of Rogue Phoenix Press. Christine is the founder, editor, and co-owner with her husband. They live in Salem, Oregon.

Welcome, Christine. Please tell us about your current release.
Highland Honor is as rugged as the Scottish landscape. The main characters are filled with integrity and honor. Colin “Hawk” MacPherson falls in love with the daughter of his enemy. In their journey, they uncover half-truths and reevaluate what they know about the past. Callie sets out on a mission to prove her father’s innocence and Hawke has to battle lies and deceit to unravel previous misconceptions about Callie’s father. There is a love to survive eternity.

What inspired you to write this book?
My heritage is Scottish and I have loved to hear family stories of the highlands as well as the folklore. My great grandparents emigrated here in the early 1900s and I have family roots that still exist in Scotland. The Highland series has always been in my mind. I love the strength, integrity, and courage that abound in the history of the Scottish. The Highland series begins with Highland Honor, Hawke’s story. The second book is Highland Magic, Ian MacPherson’s tale and the third book features Lainie MacPherson.

What exciting story are you working on next?
I am working on a novella for an April Fools Anthology to be published by Rogue Phoenix Press. The working title is Sharks, but I don’t think it will keep this title. I’m also working on the edits for Highland Magic and Highland Song soon to be rereleased by Rogue Phoenix Press.

Please tell us a bit about your writing life.
My writing life has no consistency what so ever. I probably write only 2 to 3 days a week. The other days I spend promotion, editing, or writing blogs. I would love to be able to write 5 days a week. Although I’m retired, I do go back to the classroom to sub for my fellow math teachers at Stayton High School.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
When I picked up the phone one day and Kate Duffy from Kenisington introduced herself and asked if she could buy my book Dakota’s Bride. Then she offered me a two book contract and I was in heaven.

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?
No, I do not write full-time although I would like to. I find it difficult to sit at the computer for very long. I like to take long walks, run on the treadmill, and jazzercise. When I watch TV, I usually knit or cross-stitch. I used to draw portraits of my kids. Maybe I will take that up again with the grandkids. Sometimes I substitute and sometimes it is fun to go back into the classroom, but I’m always very happy when the day is finished and I can have some peace and quiet. Oh how I love quiet. I used to love it in the classroom when it was so quiet, you could hear the lights hum. But it was a little eerie too.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
If you mean while I am writing, then I would say lifting weights. I have some small 8 lb. hand weights which I lift when I’m searching for the right words.

If you mean in my manuscripts, then I would say that I always have a swimming scene of some sort. I grew up a competitive swimmer and coached a high school swim team for 13 years. Swimming is an integral part of my life one that has carried over to my writing. And one can have exquisite love scenes in the water. There is nothing more sensual than swimming nude.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I first wanted to be an Oceanographer. That notion went away real fast when I discovered I was much happier in art and writing classes than I was in math classes even though I eventually became a math teacher. Just a little contradiction in my life.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
I’ve shared a lot of things about myself. The Highland series is a wonderfully romantic series about brave Scottish Highlanders and the women they love.

Thank you for your time today, Christine.

Readers, Christine has a few prizes she's giving away during her virtual book tour.
* a $50.00 Amazon gift card to one randomly drawn commenter for the blog tour
* a Clan MacPherson book mark awarded at each stop to one randomly drawn commenter
* and an Antique Gold Double Thistle Broche for the blog host with the most comments

So, feel free to follow her blog tour and comment at stops. The more you comment, the more chances you and I have to win!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Interview with novelist Tom Mach


Today's guest, novelist Tom Mach is touring his mystery novel An Innocent Murdered with Goddess Fish Promotions.

Tom has a giveaway to a lucky commentor at the end of his virtual book tour. Details below.

Bio:
Tom Mach wrote two successful historical novels, Sissy! and All Parts Together, both of which have won rave reviews and were listed among the 150 best Kansas books in 2011. Sissy! won the J. Donald Coffin Memorial Book Award while All Parts Together was a viable entrant for the 2007 Pulitzer Prize Award. He also wrote a collection of short stories entitled Stories To Enjoy which received positive reviews. Tom’s other novels include: An Innocent Murdered, Advent, and Homer the Roamer.

His poetry collection, The Uni Verse, won the Nelson Poetry Book Award. In addition to several awards for his poetry, Writer’s Digest awarded him ninth place in a field of 3,000 entrants. He also has a popular blog for writers of both prose and verse.

Tom, welcome to Reviews and Interviews. Please tell me about yourself.
I wrote my first novel when I was 17, but had not taken up writing seriously until I was in my 30s. I published many magazine and newspaper articles, taught copywriting at a university, conducted writing workshops, was an editor of two publications, and won several awards for fiction and poetry. But more importantly, I like to write because I challenge myself with interesting ideas and fascinating characters and I enjoy, as I write, finding out how the story will end. My characters often come to life and they surprise me by what they do. As an example, I had a vision of a young 19th century lady named Jessica Radford and she became alive--so much so that after I wrote Sissy! featuring Jessica, a friend of mine asked me where Jessica was buried and I had to tell her I made her up.

Please tell me about your current release, An Innocent Murdered.
An Innocent Murdered is my first mystery novel, although I had published short story mysteries in Stories To Enjoy. In An Innocent Murdered, a priest is murdered and a female police officer named Jacinta is arrested for the crime. It looks like an open-and-shut case because of blood evidence, DNA, motive, opportunity, and a possible witness. But two other women look like they may have murdered the priest and the detective, slowly convinced that Jacinta is innocent, doesn’t find the real killer until he discovers something shocking in an abandoned cellar.

What inspired you to write this book?
I guess I got tired of people painting a whole group of society with the same brush. Yes, there have been many articles about instances of child abuse in the Catholic Church, yet the vast majority of priests have never molested a child. I wanted to write a novel where a priest is falsely accused of doing this and is murdered as a result. I also wanted to look at the perspectives of two people. One is an ex-nun who has given many years of her life to her religious dedication, yet is under the censure of sin if she attempts to have her first sexual experience. The other is a detective who has to hold back his anger when he comes across a suspect who murdered his high school sweetheart.

What exciting story are you working on next?
Actually, I have two novels I hope to come up with next year. One is a historical novel covering the 1865-1920 era while the other is a Christian suspense fiction. I’ve already had the historical novel critiqued and have some great comments on it. At this time I don’t feel comfortable discussing what each of these novels are about, but those who subscribe to my free blog, http://tommach.com, will be receiving advance information on both of them.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
The writing “bug” probably first hit me when I was a junior in high school. I had an inspiring English teacher who had us read portions of many of the classics, and I enjoyed reading so much I’d try to read a book a week while I was attending school. At that point I also wanted to see if it was possible for me to write a complete novel when I was seventeen. I accomplished that by writing a 372-page novel entitled The Boss’s Son. It wasn’t very good, but when I was a freshman in college and received an A paper from my English professor on a lengthy analysis of Moby Dick, I got inspired again. But it wasn’t until my mid-30s when I started getting articles published in major magazines like Woman’s Day, Jack and Jill, and Writer’s Digest that I discovered that I must have talent. I guess one doesn’t wake up one day and say “Hey, I’m a writer.” What happens instead is a slow progress in that area without consciously thinking about yourself as a writer.

Do you write full-time? If so, what’s your work day like?
I am not as disciplined a writer as some folks are. I tend to write when I’m inspired, although when I get caught up in a work that absorbs my interest, such as Advent, Sissy!, or All Parts Together, I find there are times where I can’t stop writing. I tell people that I write because I also want to know where my story is going. I should mention that I did write a novel in a month by entering the National Novel Writing Month challenge (www.nanowrimo.org) but I must tell you that I spent many months expanding and editing it. That novel happens to be the one we’re discussing today--An Innocent Murdered.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I’m not sure if this qualifies as a “quirk” but I find that when I’m in the middle of writing a novel the plot and the characters in that novel go with me everywhere. Recently, when I did the scene where Susan, (who used to be a nun named Sister Anne) finds herself alone with Matt Gunnison the detective in my novel. She has been a virgin for 46 years and knows virtually nothing about the male anatomy, yet she is curious about men and sex. I’ve agonized over drinking coffee, or taking a drive, or just doing routine chores about the house as how to do this gracefully. I felt I was Susan and that I felt deprived and curious, so how do I create a scene that doesn’t cater to a reader’s prurient interest yet brings out the conflict in that scene. How does Matt handle her quirky questions about sex? How does Susan handle her guilt, knowing in her mind that the church considers this a grievous sin?

My quirk is that I like to see a movie playing in my mind where I actually see and hear the characters and then go into their minds to sense how they feel about what they’re doing.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grow up?
One of the most memorable presents I received as a child was a small printing press--the kind where you had to put individual rubber pieces of letters into metal grooves and set those metal strips into a rotary cylinder. Rubber cutouts of caricatures had to be glued on these strips and the press had to be inked. I was so fascinated by this printing press that I attempted to do a neighborhood newspaper with it.

But as kid, I really didn’t think much of what I want to be when I grew up. I was like Tom Sawyer, having fun, enjoying life as a kid, and it was only later in high school that I gave it some thought. I ended up majoring in chemical engineering, then going into market research, then going into being an editor for Software Supermarket magazine and then for South Bay Accent magazine. Later, I became a copywriting instructor for a California university. After I retired I knew I wanted to be a writer, but I probably knew that years earlier but wasn’t conscious of it.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
I know it must be confusing for readers to determine which books they want to read. Therefore, I need to tell you how I may be different from many other authors. I tend to somehow weave in the subject of compassion in each of my novels--that is to say, although brutality and murder may appear in some of my plots, I balance that with other characters who show compassion toward others.

In An Innocent Murdered, for instance, Matt is a detective hired to solve the case of the murdered priest. But Matt shows compassion in more than once instance. With the ex-nun, he shows compassion for her naivety when it comes to understanding the sexual act, rather than make fun of her odd questions (such as “when you get aroused, do your testicles get aroused also?” or “can you still pee when your penis is rock hard?””

In another instance, Matt consoles a mother whose daughter has run away, apparently the murderer of another woman. He asks her where her daughter usually runs to when she’s in trouble. Yet in another scene, he weeps in church after he discovers who murdered an innocent 8-year-old child. Matt’s a great detective--but he has a heart. I have a website devoted to stories about compassion on www.TomMach.com

Thanks for being here today, Tom, and sharing a bit about yourself and your writing.

Readers, Tom is giving away a copy of his popular historical novel about the Lincoln assassination, All Parts Together, to a lucky commentor at the end of the virtual book tour. You can follow his tour and comment here and on other tour stops. The more you comment, the more chances you have to win.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Interview with paranormal YA author Emlyn Chand


Today's guest is paranormal young adult author Emlyn Chand. She's talking about her new novel Farsighted, her writing, and there are details below about a $50 Amazon gift certificate giveaway.

Bio:
Emlyn Chand is the president of Novel Publicity and a YA author. She loves to hear and tell stories and emerged from the womb with a fountain pen grasped firmly in her left hand (true story). Her first novel Farsighted released in late 2011 and is of the YA genre. Learn more about Emlyn at www.emlynchand.com or by connecting with her on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or GoodReads.

Welcome, Emlyn. Please tell us about your current release.
Farsighted tells the story of Alex Kosmitoras. Here’s my mini teaser: Alex Kosmitoras may be blind, but he can still “see” things others can’t. When his unwanted visions of the future begin to suggest that the girl he likes could be in danger, he has no choice but to take on destiny and demand it reconsider.

What inspired you to write this book?
Everything started with a single image—my face in these tacky oversized sunglasses reflecting out at me from the car’s side mirror. I was daydreaming while my husband drove us across Michigan for my sister’s wedding. Something about my image really struck me in an almost horrific way. I felt the glasses made me look blind, but found it so weird that there was still a clear image within them; it seemed so contradictory. At the time, my book club was reading The Odyssey, which features the blind Theban prophet, Tieresias. I started thinking about what it would be like to have non-visual visions of the future and began forming a modern Tieresias in my mind. Lo and behold, Alex Kosmitoras was born. I didn’t want him to be alone in his psychic subculture, so I found other characters with other powers to keep him company. Thank God for my poor fashion sense.

What exciting story are you working on next?
Farsighted is a 5-book series. Each book will be told from a different character’s point-of-view, so in book #2, we’ll actually be able to see what Grandon looks like! Next up is Open Heart. I hope to have that ready by the middle of next year.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I was born with a fountain pen grasped firmly in my left hand, at least that’s what my Twitter bio says. But seriously, I do believe writers are born into the craft—we haven’t got much choice, but it’s a great calling to have. As a child, I always had a story to tell. I also loved illustrating my own books and comics. I first became a writer writer when I began doing a book review column for the local paper. That taught me the importance of deadlines and letting the words flow out even when I had no idea what direction they’d take me in.

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?
Really, my day is quite simple. Wake up (usually anywhere from 2 AM to 6 AM depending on how much I need to get done). Work until 7 PM. Eat dinner with my husband. Either watch television or read a book until I fall asleep. Repeat on loop. When I’m actively writing (as opposed to editing or marketing my work), I like to write at least 1 1/2 hours first thing in the morning. I go to Biggby or Panera to get it done. The rest is devoted to my burgeoning business, Novel Publicity.

Hey, didn’t somebody important say, “far and away the best prize that life has to offer is the chance to work hard at work worth doing?” I don’t mind having to give-up the other parts of my life to pursue my work, because I love it. I know I’ll eventually need to achieve a better balance, but for now, I’m content to push the pedal to the metal.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I have character-specific food cravings when I’m deep in a writing spell. Isn’t that weird? Alex, the main character of Farsighted, really liked Taco Bell’s Nacho Bel Grande. ;-)

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
When I was really little, I planned on being a zoo keeper. In elementary school, I was going to be a Disney animator. In high school, I was going to be a lawyer. And in my early years of college, I was going to be Ambassador to Russia. :-)

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
Hi, readers! I hope you’ll enjoy reading Farsighted. My primary goal is to tell an interesting story that people will find entertaining and be glad they read. Secondly, I’d like to infuse contemporary Young Adult fiction with a bit more diversity and teach readers about the beauty of other cultures and other ways of life. I also hope that Farsighted is a book that leads to introspection—what would I do if put in Alex’s place? Did Alex ever have a choice or was this path his destiny? What would it be like to see the world the way he sees the world?

Thanks, Emlyn. This paranormal series sounds fascinating.

Readers, Emlyn is giving away a $50 Amazon.com gift certificate to one randomly drawn commenter during her virtual book tour. Feel free to comment here, and follow her tour and comment on other sites. The more comments, the better chance you have of winning.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Interview with short story writer and comic illustrator John Garrett


Today's guest is John Garrett. He's a short story writer and comic book illustrator and is doing a virtual book tour for his newest work.

John is giving away an e-copy of "How to Deal with Stupid Clowns Who Don't Know What the Hell They're Talking About!" at each blog stop. So comment here and at his other stops for a chance to win!

Welcome to Reviews and Interviews, John. Please tell us a bit about yourself.
I'm just a guy who likes to draw comics and write cool and funny stories. I'm 39 years old, live in the Milwaukee, WI area, and for the most part I prefer my food in sandwich form. That should about sum it up!

What do you enjoy most about writing short stories?
Since I both write short stories and draw comics I'll go ahead and blather about both here.

Short stories are fun for me because I get to create the world using only words, and I have a lot of room for those words. Although I also illustrate my short stories, most of the world building is done in the words on the page.

With comics it's somewhat reversed. I have a lot less space, but I'm literally drawing the whole scene and I can't rely on the words at all. In comics the motto is "show, don't tell". When you're drawing the story, you have to pretend that there won't be any words - if you can still tell what's going on, then you're telling the story right with your art.

Can you give us a little insight into a few of your short stories – perhaps some of your favorites?
Sure! My latest effort is called "How to Deal with Stupid Clowns who Don’t know what the Hell they’re talking about!" It's in the humor genre probably most similar to Scott Adams Dilbert stuff. It's a bit of a hybrid of comics and prose. It's a collection of life-lessons I've learned about dealing with some of the difficult people I've encountered along my journey through life. I'm far enough removed from it now that I can really see the funny in it, now.

Hopefully those people still dealing with these types of folks can get a laugh or two out of it to help them cope. Each lesson starts off with a comic illustrating the point of the chapter, and it leads you all the way through the book that way.

What genre are you inspired to write in the most? Why?
I'm a huge fan of Sci-fi and Fantasy stuff, and between the novels I've read and the TV shows/movies I've watched I decided I was going to try to get my own stories out.

It's funny, because I've ben drawing comics almost as soon as I could hold a pencil, but the writing was almost incidental to the art. When I would read comics, I would always think "I wish I could draw like this", but when I read a novel, I'd think "I wish I could write like this!"

What exciting story are you working on next?
Now that "Stupid Clowns" is out, I'm going to turn my attention back to my short story Fantasy series called "True Tales of the Soryan Order". I have a lot of material out there that essentially gets no attention because I've been busy doing a lot of drawing. I'm looking forward to breathing new life into it and getting it in front of people.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
It was only a few years ago when I decided to take a serious crack at writing my stories. I even sent off quite a few query letters, synopses, and first chapters to Literary Agents and Publishers. Although I didn't have any luck with them, I still decided I was going to do it, anyway. At that point I didn't realize it, but I had joined the ranks of legions of other aspiring writers out there.

How do you research markets for your work, perhaps as some advice for writers?
Well, the first thing I did was pick up a copy of the Writer's Market directory. I didn't get many leads from the book itself, but I signed up for their forums (http://community.writersdigest.com/) and just talking with and reading the trials and tribulations of the experienced authors as well as the noobs like myself was very informative. That forum lead me to a few other places where I could observe the process at work and see what others were up to (like http://webfictionguide.com/).

It's easier to see what's a scam and what's real when you can run it by people with experience. I also made a few good friends from there so it's definitely worth it to invest time in these forums.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
Hmmm, that's a good one. I really hope I have an interesting writing quirk but I don't know what it would be!

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
All I wanted to do was draw superheroes for Marvel Comics when I was a kid. I was sure that's what I was going to do. Turns out it's extremely difficult to get into that field. Now I've somewhat changed my mind about that. After reading more and learning more about the inner workings of the industry I don't think I'd care for that as my primary source of income. I'd much rather call my own shots and create my own stories my own way.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
Yeah! "Stupid Clowns" is a labor of love for me. It's mostly humor, but also a bit of a self-help in there that can hopefully resonate with people and help them ride out the rough patches when dealing with difficult people in our lives.

Thanks all for reading and feel free to swing by my site for weekly comics and other stuff! Folks can check out the YouTube book trailer, too.

Also, I'm giving away an e-copy of "How to Deal with Stupid Clowns Who Don't Know What the Hell They're Talking About!" at each blog stop. So comment here and at my other stops for a chance to win!

Thanks for being here, John, and talking a bit about your writing and illustrating.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

New interview with historical fiction author Grace Elliot


I'm happy to welcome Grace Elliot back to Reviews and Interviews. We first met her in May when she stopped by to talk about her debut historical romance novel. Now with a new novel out, titled Eulogy's Secret, she's here to tell us some more.

Bio:
Grace Elliot leads a double life as a veterinarian by day and author of historical romance by night. Grace works in a companion animal practice near London and is housekeeping staff to five moggies, two teenage sons, and a guinea pig. She turned to writing as an antidote to the stress of modern life and believes intelligent people have the greatest need to read romance!

Welcome back to Reviews and Interviews, Grace. Please tell us about your newest release.
Set in regency London, Eulogy’s Secret is a story of greed, prejudice and a stolen identity.

In the four weeks since her guardians’ death, Eulogy Foster has lost everything. Penniless and alone she seeks the help of her estranged brother, Lord Lucien Devlin. But Devlin throws Eulogy onto the streets and the mercy of a passing stranger, Jack Huntley. As Eulogy seeks the truth behind her birth, she is drawn into the world of art and artists, where her morals are challenged and all is deception.

Jack Huntley: bitter, cynical and betrayed in love. He believes women are devious, scheming, untrustworthy creatures - and when he rescues a na├»ve Miss from being raped, his life is about to change forever. As his attraction to Eulogy grows, caught in a deadlock with both denying their true feelings, events take a sinister turn as someone seeks to silence Eulogy….forever.

What inspired you to write this book?
I’m a writing addict and always looking for inspiration for the next story. Eulogy’s Secret came about after seeing a poster on the London Underground for a memorial concert at the Royal Albert Hall. One word on that poster stuck in my mind - “Eulogy” - and it struck me what an enigmatic name Eulogy would make for a character. I wondered what would lead a parent to call their child ‘Eulogy’ - perhaps the death of the mother in childbirth, or another and even more tragic circumstance….But to answer ‘why’ and find out what Eulogy’s secret is….you’ll have to read the book!

One of the themes explored in this book is that people are not always what they appear, and personal prejudice can blind you to the truth - be it good or bad. Although set in Georgian London with its strict social hierarchy, prejudice is alive and well in the 21st century and therefore a theme still pertinent today.

What’s the next writing project?
I’m hard at work at book two in The Huntley Trilogy (working title Hope’s Betrayal.) Each book features one of the three Huntley brothers and the hero in Hope’s Betrayal is the dashing naval captain, George Huntley. I know when the writing is going well when I dream about the characters - and even if I say so myself, Captain George Huntley is a humdinger of a man, whom I’m totally in love with. I can’t wait to finish writing this book so that I can unleash Captain Huntley on the world and spread the infatuation!

Hope’s Betrayal is going to be an action packed historical romance with smuggling skullduggery, treachery and of course….a love that brings Captain Huntley to his knees.

What is your biggest challenge when writing a new book? (or the biggest challenge with this book)
The biggest challenge to me is easily - time! Finding time to write in amongst going to work, being a taxi driver to my two sons, cleaning, cooking, ironing, and the million other things that a woman has to do, can be challenging in the extreme! That said, lack of time does focus the mind wonderfully and can be a great motivator. I’ve noticed that I can be at my least productive when I have all day - something to do, I suspect, with procrastination being a default setting.

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?
Research is an organic process that involves constant growth. I always have a non-fiction (history) book on the go, alongside whatever novel I’m currently reading - this helps give me a broad sweep of knowledge for background, manners, etc.

The first draught of a novel involves writing at full pelt and underlining any passages that need checking for historical accuracy. I also have a special file for noting areas where research is needed, so as the second draught takes shape I know where the work has to be done. That said, I love research, and each novel has its own A4 notebook where I draw costumes and annotate them, sketch street plans for Georgian London and other such details that make the piece truly alive on the page.

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 a converted garage that is now our dining room. It’s a light and bright space with a window that takes up the width of the room. Beneath that window is an old leopard-print sofa which doubles as ‘my writing space.’


I work best here because it’s away from the distraction of TV and there’s plenty of room for Widget, one of my five cats, to snuggle against my leg. Widget helps my writing productivity no end because when I get up for a comfort break she will pinch the warm spot - so unless I want to risk one of her long suffering looks by moving her when I get back, it’s best to stay put for as long as possible.

What authors do you enjoy reading within or outside of your genre?
I read anything and everything, but my first love will always be historical romance. That said, having an ereader has broadened out my reading tastes because the price makes trying new authors less of a risk. I recently read The Hunger Games (because I’d heard good things…and they were cheap!) and loved them. I’m currently rediscovering some books I loved in the 80’s - the Poldark series by Winston Graham (anybody remember the TV series?) and I love discovering new and independent authors such as Rose Gordon (Regency romances) and Elizabeth Marshall (historical fantasy, reminiscent of Diane Gabaldon.)

Anything additional you want to share with the readers today?
Any of your readers who have visited my blog will recognize my fascination for historical trivia. This minor obsession has triggered a non-fiction book to be launched in December 2011.

Cat Pies is a compilation of light-hearted but interested articles about feline-related historical trivia - such as did the Victorian’s eat cat meat, who invented the cat flap, and what links cats to Jack the Ripper?

Well that’s me done. Thank you for reading and thanks especially to Lisa for hosting me today!

Buy links for my book include:
Smashwords
Amazon US
Amazon UK
Barnes and Noble

Thanks for stopping by again, Grace. Keep on writing!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Interview with author Ashley Dawn


Today at Reviews and Interviews is author Ashley Dawn to talk about her newest series novel Shadows of Pain as part of a virtual book tour.

Bio:
Author Ashley Dawn was born and raised in rural Arkansas where she developed her love for writing while helping in her parent's office. She graduated with an accounting degree from the University of Central Arkansas but is currently working as a legal assistant. Ashley has been writing professionally for the past eight years and has three published books. Her first book, Shadows From The Past, was originally published by Tate Publishing and is considered more of a traditionally published book while the second, Shadows of Suspicion, was published by self publication using AuthorHouse. She is currently working on multiple projects including a standalone mystery about a serial killer that remains untitled.

You can find out all about her current books and future releases on her website. Ashley also has a review blog to share her love of reading, Ashley’s Bookshelf, where she reads and reviews books of all genres. She and her family make their home in Texas.

Welcome to Reviews and Interviews, Ashley. Please tell us about your current release.
Shadows of Pain is the third in my Shadows series. All of my characters from earlier books flow in and out of the story line but it focuses on Kami Reynolds and Daniel Jenkins. Kami, an FBI agent and Daniel, and LAPD officer have been attracted since they met, but there have always been issues standing in their way. Now, with a killer after them, their issues resolved, it seems like the worst time for a relationship to start but maybe it is just perfect for them.

What inspired you to write this book?
I absolutely fell in love with Kami’s character in my first book, Shadows From the Past and Daniel always had more of a story to tell. The two of them have always fit together, but needed their own story. That is what Shadows of Pain has done, given the two of them their own story and continued the story of the whole Reiley and LAPD group.

What exciting story are you working on next?
I’m currently trying to focus on a new book that isn’t related to my Shadows Series. It is titled Right to Remanin?, at the moment anyway, and is about a nurse, Lisa, and an attorney, Pierce. They have a past, but when Lisa’s niece is threatened by a serial killer, she turns to him for help. They have to struggle to keep Kymm safe and themselves alive.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I guess I really considered myself a writer when I completed my first book, about eight years ago. Before that, I’d always dabbled in writing but had never focused on it as something I really wanted to do. When I started writing Shadows From the Past, it was like everything fit and writing became my passion. I absolutely love writing and sharing my thoughts!

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 only wish I could write full time. At the moment, I work as a legal assistant full time and am the mother of two little ones so most of my writing happens either late in the evening--like 1 a.m.--or on a weekend. If I can get the kids in bed and housework done, it is wonderful to spend the evening lost in my own world, if not, my husband is great about giving me time on the weekends when he is spending time with the kids. I don’t get a whole LOT of time to write but I do make the best of the time I do get!

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I would say that the most interesting quirk I have is the fact that I write down the whole story. I mean literally take a legal pad and pen and write down whatever story I’m working on. From there, I do type it up and edit etc after that but the only way I can make the story work for me is to sit down and hand write the whole thing!

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be a vet. There were several things actually, a biologist, vet, zoo worker...pretty much anything that had to do with animals. I loved and still love all kinds of animals but the path to those jobs just didn’t work. For the vet, I was terrified of needles and that pretty much cut that out. Zoo worker and biologist just aren’t in demand because there are so many people who want that type of work and besides, that is when I fell in love with writing!

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
Thank you for taking the time to stop by and get to know me a bit better :) and thank you, Lisa, for having me on your blog today!

It was my pleasure, Ashley. Thanks for being here.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Interview with novelist Daniel Shields


Today's guest at Reviews and Interviews is debut novelist Daniel D. Shields to talk about Shark & The Wolf: Predators and Prey.

Bio:
Daniel D. Shields was born and raised in Ridgefield Park, New Jersey. He is the youngest of eight children and draws a lot of his inspiration from his family and friends. He graduated from Ramapo College in Mahwah, New Jersey, in 1990 with degrees in both communications and theater. While at Ramapo, his play "Beware the Wind" was the first student production in the history of the college to have a full set production.

In 2006, Shields co-founded LiquidWick Pool Cues. LiquidWick is famous for its "Patented" LiquidWick True Stick 24oz Power Break Pool Cue which utilizes proprietary "phase shifting technology" to help add power to the pool player's break.

Shields taps into his passion for billiards by using the sport as the backdrop of Shark & The Wolf: Predators and Prey. He enjoys travel and adventure and spending time with his Yorkie named Charlie. His fondness for animals, especially Charlie, is a source of inspiration for his work. Shields currently resides in Albuquerque, New Mexico

Daniel, welcome to Reviews and Interviews. Please tell us about your current release.
Hi Lisa, thank you granting me this interview. Shark & The Wolf: Predators and Prey is an allegorical novel about the exploitation of animals for the mere purpose of human sustenance and entertainment. The book actually brings the billiards term “Pool Shark” to life. Shark, the main character, also happens to have one hell of a killer smile. The story takes place in a world where certain species of animals have evolved both intellectually and physically side by side with humans. In its own small way I like to think it gives a voice to the other species we share this planet with.

The book brings the reader on a wild journey from Africa, to Key West, Fiji, South America, and finally Las Vegas. I’ll be the first to admit that it does contain some graphic violence. And all I can say about that is, the world we live in is a violent place. The sub-title Predators and Prey says it all.

At the end of the day, my hope is that the reader can let themselves be swept up into the exotic world the story takes place in. If they do that, then they will be taken for a ride on the wild side! I’ve included a brief synopsis below.

Book Synopsis
In Las Vegas, Nevada, Shaw, billionaire casino magnate and self proclaimed world's greatest showman, nears completion on the massive Serengeti Resort & Casino. Its amphitheater, the largest man made structure ever built, seats 500,000 spectators and covers an enclosed area of 1.5 miles. The arena floor is being transformed into an authentic slice of African savanna for the show Predators and Prey which will savagely pit animal against animal in the bloodiest gladiatorial spectacle ever created for human entertainment.

In Key West, Florida, Shark, the world's only Great White pool playing shark, gets hustled by the evil animal slave trading hyena, Old Jack, who dupes Shark into believing his girlfriend, a hot fox named Vixen, is in Fiji and needs his help retrieving a treasure. Old Jack's real plan - lure Shark to Fiji, use him to retrieve the submerged treasure, and then capture Shark, and sell him to Shaw, for use as the star and main attraction in the world's most brutal show.

"Come One - Come All To See - The Only Great White Shark In Captivity."

Shark is forced to battle animals and his human captives before trying to rescue his girl and seeking revenge on those that have wronged him. Will he succeed?

Shark will stop at nothing to protect his friends in this exotic world where humans remain the dominate species and animals are forced to be their obedient servants. Sit back and enjoy the wild ride!

What inspired you to write this book?
In 2006, I co-founded a billiards company called LiquidWick Pool Cues. My two favorite animals have always been sharks and wolves. I came up with the idea to bring the billiards term “Pool Shark” to life and since every good action / adventure story needs the main character to have a buddy, it was easy for me to add in Wolf. The book started slow, but then the writing took on a life of its own. It took about two years to complete between edits and rewrites.

What exciting story are you working on next?
That is a tough question. I have about five books inside me that are battling for my attention. The one I think is a top contender is main stream fiction about the horse racing industry. But who knows, I also have some cool concepts for supernatural ghost stories.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
My mother always told me I had a certain way with words. I was a theater major in college and got hooked on playwriting. My first play “Beware The Wind” was produced by the school as a full set production. There is nothing more surreal than sitting in the back of theater listening to actors speak your words and a live audience reacting to them. I was very fortunate to have had that experience. Shark & The Wolf: Predators and Prey is my first full length 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 was writing full time when I wrote Shark & The Wolf: Predators and Prey. I’m now back working full time so it’s kind of hard to find the time to write. I found pre-planning blocks of time to dedicate to writing helps. But, you never know when inspiration will strike!

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I write quickly and spell check later. I have to give a lot of thanks to spell check and my editor William Greenleaf.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I had no clue to what I was going to do until college. My sixth grade teacher told my mother I lived in an imaginary world. Not much of a future in that unless you become a writer.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
If you take the time to read the book, then let me thank you in advance for your support. Readers can contact me directly with any questions at danshieldsauthor@gmail.com

Thanks for stopping by and talking a bit about your writing, Daniel.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Live chat/interview with memoirist Mary Johnson - 11/20/11


The Writer's Chatroom presents memoirist Mary Johnson.

WHEN?

Sunday, November 20, 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.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Interview with mystery author Lise McClendon writing as Rory Tate


Today we get to meet mystery author Rory Tate and learn about her writing - interests and published work.


Bio:
Rory Tate is a penname for Lise McClendon, author of seven crime novels including the suspense stand-alone, Blackbird Fly. She began writing fiction twenty-five years ago and published her first mystery, The Bluejay Shaman, in 1994. She is active in Mystery Writers of America, the International Association of Crime Writers, and the Jackson Hole Writers Conference where she is on the faculty. She lives in Montana.

Hi Lise, welcome to Reviews and Interviews. Please tell us about your current release.
Jump Cut is a humorous modern thriller that takes the reader from the joys of Seattle single life to the backwoods of tiny Moldova. The main character, Mimi Raynard, is a television news reporter where she now must work for her ex-husband. Not a great situation. Then things get worse: Three prostitutes overdosed, a nasty intern, a narcotics detective framed for stealing drugs from evidence, and -- wait! What’s her father doing working for Eastern Europe’s last communists?

Working together to save their reputations, the reporter and the cop look for the truth. They end up salvaging a lot more than their careers. In a wild race they save the soul of Seattle, and find themselves.

What inspired you to write this book?
I had an idea to get a reporter into trouble by faking a news source, in this case for a resume tape. Mimi is desperate for a new job and a friend convinces her to just try to tape an interview with herself dressed up as a Russian Mafia Madam, a fat, old, devious broad with a thick accent and thicker chins. Mimi doesn’t send the tape out, she decides she isn’t so desperate as that, but the tape gets her into trouble anyway. I like putting characters in dicey situations, having the bottom fall out on them, and make them crawl back to the top, tooth and nail. I do the same with the narcotics detective. Their career problems parallel each other in the book, and they have to help each other to help themselves. And, yes, there’s a little sexual tension along the way.

What exciting story are you working on next?
I’m working on another thriller, this one set in Montana. It also goes overseas for awhile, as a British Shakespeare professor dies in an explosion and no one can figure out his real identity. A rookie cop, just back from Iraq and suffering from PTSD, must unravel the secret of who he really is. It’s called PLAN X. I’m having a blast writing it.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I’ve always written, one way or another. I was a journalism major with a double major in sociology. I wrote public relations stuff, film reviews, articles, and the like before I took up fiction. Writing fiction changed my brain somehow, it gave me focus and sort of opened my eyes to the world. I guess that was when I first thought of myself as a writer. I remember that time so well. It was thrilling, like I finally found what I was meant to do. Writing is still a fantastic adventure for me, even if I’m not quite so giddy about these days!

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?
A couple years ago my fellow mystery writer and friend, Katy Munger, and I started a small press to bring our out-of-print titles back into print. It’s called Thalia Press. We published them in paperback and as e-books. It took us awhile to get everything going; some of the books are still only available as e-books. But it also positioned us for the independent publishing explosion that is going on right now.

We’ve published two original titles through the press--Jump Cut is the third. And this year we’ve expanded to help other traditionally published mystery authors brand and market themselves. We call this Thalia Press Authors Co-op and we have a blog we just got going. So I am wearing lots of hats these days: writer, first and foremost, publisher, blogger, marketer, formatter. It’s sometimes a struggle to organize all these hats but it’s a ton of fun.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
This is probably best answered by a reader, but if pressed I would say writing about the wilds of the Rockies is what draws people most. So many Americans even have never been to Wyoming or Montana, or if they have it was only to go to Yellowstone National Park. They have no idea what living here is really like. Some wonder how in hell I ended up here! But my love of this area is deep after 30 years. And I try to portray that feeling through novels that are set here, particularly my Alix Thorssen mysteries set in Jackson Hole.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be an actress with my entire being. I remember wishing on a star every night when I was about nine. I did some amateur theater as a teenager and that pretty much cured me of that desire. I was a shy child and I thought being an actress meant everyone would notice me. I still have a bit of show-off in me! At one crime convention I wrote and performed a tone poem about mystery novels called Rides a Black and White Horse. Thankfully the video has been lost.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
Just to say “thank you” for being readers. And for doing what you can to keep the story alive in whatever form. Reading a novel is a deep, satisfying experience for me, and I’m sure for all you too. It helps me understand the world, far and near, and people. Understanding human nature is key to survival, don’t you think? And the best writers help you do just that.

Thanks for being here today Lise. It's been nice to get to know a bit about you and your writing.

Buy links for Jump Cut:
Barnes & Noble
Amazon paperback
Amazon Kindle

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Interview with non-fiction writer Rochelle Melander


Today's guest is Rochelle Melander. She has a book for people who want to get a book written and is stopping here as one of several virtual book tour stops with VBT Cafe.

Readers: Rochelle is offering a print copy of Write-A-Thon to a lucky commentor at each of her tour stops, so comment here and at other blogs she stops at to increase your chances of winning.

Bio:
Rochelle Melander is the CEO of Write Now! Coach, a writing, editing, and coaching practice that she founded in 2001. Her 10th book, Write-A-Thon: Write Your Book in 26 Days (and Live to Tell About It) released in October 2011.

As the Write Now! Coach, Melander coaches professionals, executives, writers, business owners, and aspiring authors. Write Now! Coach Rochelle Melander values the power of writing to change the lives of writers and readers. She teaches aspiring authors how to make time to write, shape their ideas into a book or product, sell their work, and navigate social media.

Write Now! Coach evolved from Ms. Melander’s related careers as an author, feature writer, copywriter, editor and coach. Rochelle writes a popular Ezine, Write Now! Weekly Writing Tips, blogs regularly, and hosts the Write Now! Mastermind Class.

She lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin with her husband, the writer Harold Eppley, and their two children.

Please tell us about your current release.
Write-A-Thon: Write Your Book in 26 Days (And Live to Tell About It) is designed to be a complete guide to writing a fiction or nonfiction book fast. Write-A-Thon is different from other books in several ways:

*Write-A-Thon presents a complete system for training for and writing a book in 26-days.
*The book is about HOW to write. It’s not written just for people who are already writers (thought it can help them, too). It’s written for the ordinary person who wants to write a book but does not know how.
*The book is packed full of tools and ideas for getting writing done. No more excuses!
*Write-A-Thon includes information specifically designed for two groups of writers: those who want to plot and write a novel and those who want to research and write a nonfiction book.
*The book is easy to use and follow. I recognize that people who pick up a book on writing want a tool they can access quickly. For that reason, Write-A-Thon is divided into short chapters.

What inspired you to write this book?
I have always liked marathon-style writing. I do best when I can focus intensely on one project for a few weeks at a time. I meet a lot of people who want to write a book but never seem to get around to it. I wrote Write-A-Thon for people who want to write a book, but don’t know how to write a book, manage their crazy schedules, or finish a project. I wrote to help these writers overcome their excuses and doubts and finish their book projects.

What exciting story are you working on next?
I am revising last year’s NaNo project, a series of chapter books for young people. Last year I wrote two and a half of those books. I am thinking about writing a few more for this year’s NaNo project. I love the characters I created for that project, so I am looking forward to getting back to them.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I’ve been writing for many years—since I was a kid. In the early days of my career, I wrote a lot of books and articles with my husband. In 2000, when I started attending coaching school, I also began writing a monthly ezine. Even though I had already published books, the regular discipline of writing that ezine helped me to define myself as a writer.

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. I am a certified professional coach, so I also see coaching clients and lead coaching groups. In addition, I also edit a periodical and books for individual clients. I’m fortunate in that I am able to do all of my work on my own schedule, so I can write first thing, when I am best able to write. I do my client work later in the day.

On a typical day, I get up early, and read something inspiring while I eat. I work a bit on writing before my kids get up. During the summer, I walk the dogs and then come back and write. During the school year, I take my daughter to school, go to the Y to work out, and come home and write. I take a break around 11 AM to eat lunch. After lunch, I check email, Facebook, and Twitter. I spend the afternoon working with clients. I do have a few days when I see clients in the morning. On those days, I try to get up early to get in my writing time. At the end of the day, I check in with email and social media again. On a good day, I am out of my home office by 5 and ready to hang out with my family, walk the dogs (again!) and read a book. When life is busier, and I have a book deadline, I will sometimes do reading or research at night.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I have been known to wear a tiara at times, especially when I need to write in a royal voice! I keep it on my bookshelf for days when I need that little extra oomph to get going. Also, I like to write first thing in the morning. I am like a guard dog, fiercely protecting my morning time. When I have to go to a meeting or talk to people before I write, I get really crabby.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be Cher or Carol Burnett. I watched their television shows and thought there would be nothing more wonderful than performing all the time! In the summer, I would make up skits and plays and put them on in the back yard.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
Write your book. Don’t write what other people want you to write or what you think will sell. Write the book that you most want and need to read. When you fall in love with a project, you will have no trouble finding the time you need to work on it.

People can find me on Twitter at @WriteNowCoach.

Folks, Rochelle is offering a print copy of Write-A-Thon to a lucky commentor at each of her tour stops, so comment here and at her other blog stops to increase your chances of winning.

Thank you so much for stopping here as you tour Write-A-Thon, Rochelle. Write on.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Interview with humorous novelist Davis Aujourd'hui


Today's guest is humorous author Davis Aujourd'hui. He's doing a virtual book tour for his novel The Misadventures of Sister Mary Olga Fortitude Babes in Bucksnort with Pump Up Your Book.

Bio:
Davis Aujourd'hui is the author of the hilarious satires, The Misadventures of Sister Mary Olga Fortitude and Babes in Bucksnort. Davis possesses a rich life experience that has enabled him to draw from it in order to create a colorful canvas upon which to paint very human lives.

He is a retired social worker and, as will be the case with Sister Mary Olga in his third book, he is a recovering alcoholic. He also happens to be gay as are several of the endearing and humorous characters within his novels. He can speak from his own experience. He has possessed all of the foibles of his cast of characters who are naughty, nasty, and nice.

Davis, welcome to Reviews and Interviews Please tell us about your novels.
The Misadventures of Sister Mary Olga Fortitudeis the first in a series of irreverent and bawdy religious satires that will tickle your funny bone.

Sister Mary Olga is a bourbon-swilling, chain-smoking nun who's always getting into trouble with the Reverend Mother, a reformed prostitute. The convent's chef is a gay cowboy. Just watch out for the nasty town busybody named Priscilla Bunhead who is always digging in the dirt. There's plenty of that for her to find on Dinkledorf Drive in the fictional town of Bucksnort, Wisconsin. There's a lot of hanky panky going on there!

All of the book's other zany characters are delightfully flawed and the scenarios are outrageous. You'll discover the secret of a transgendered nun under the most unlikely circumstances. You may have never discovered a body in the process of cremation as you tried to bake a cake or bore offspring who made inappropriate digestive noises while playing Baby Jesus in the annual Christmas pageant. Yet you will be able to relate to the human foibles discussed by Sister Mary Olga.

Sister Mary Olga takes the attitude of "to each one's own." She pokes fun at the conservative religious and social attitudes of the day. Yet the book has an underlying spiritual message; that is to lighten up and not take life so seriously.

Babes in Bucksnort is the sequel to the highly praised The Misadventures of Sister Mary Olga Fortitude. Once again, the unconventional bourbon-swilling, chain-smoking nun will spin outrageously funny new tales about the residents of Bucksnort, Wisconsin while she tests the will of a reformed prostitute who just happens to be her Reverend Mother.

Unfortunately, there is trouble brewing in the Snortlands. The nasty and notorious town busybody, Priscilla Bunhead, goes on a crusade to stamp out what she calls the gay menace. That's when she convinces her millionaire friend, Mildred Mayflower, to give away her fortune in order to bring the Reverend Billy-Bob Blunthead and his Born Again or Burn Forever Disciples for Jesus to town to do the job. It will be an uphill climb for them as the closet doors of many gay people in the Snortlands burst open.

Billy-Bob and his wife, Pinky Poo, will have another battle on their hands when Dimples Dufus, the heiress to the Mayflower fortune, arrives on the scene. They'll also have to reckon with a mysterious woman who channels an entity who challenges the hateful and hypocritical agenda of this spokesman for Jesus.

In between the laughs, Sister Mary Olga continues to dispense nuggets of spiritual wisdom during her classes in Beginner's and Advanced Holiness. Just don't take seats near the flatulent child named Fartley Dinkledorf or his lecherous one-hundred five year-old grandfather, Poopsy. The bottom line is that everyone is welcome in Sister Mary Olga's classes. Join the diverse cast of characters for a joy-ride that will tickle your funny bone until it aches.

What inspired you to write the newest book?
Years ago, I called up a friend's voice mail on a whim and I spontaneously left her an outrageously funny message from a character named Sister Mary Olga Fortitude. My friend loved it and that inspired me to continue to develop characters and to leave her continuing voice mails. Years later, I thought to myself that I could write a book about these delightfully zany characters. This book is the end result, though it is only the first book of many in a series.

What exciting story are you working on next?
My next book is entitled Have A Heart. After continued drunken bouts, Sister Mary Olga Fortitude is given an ultimatum by Reverend Mother Carmen Burana. She is given the choice of going away to Holy Happenings Rehab or being dismissed from Have A Heart convent where she teaches classes in Advanced Holiness. She begrudgingly consents to rehab where she continues to encounter more zany experiences before later joining the twelve-step program called Alcoholics Unanimous.

Meanwhile, the convent's gay chef, Randy Cowboy, continues to attend his own twelve-step program, Sex Maniacs Notorious. Unfortunately for him, he develops AIDs which is a consequence of his previous history as a sex addict. Fortunately for him, he has the support of the transgendered nun, Sister Samantha Monet, who secretly pines for him.

Mayhem ensues when the town busybody and prude, Priscilla Bunhead, sniffs out the dirt about AIDs coming to the fictional town of Bucksnort, Wisconson. She broadcasts the alarm to the arch conservative Reverend Billy-Bob Blunthead who continues his campaign to wipe out perversion in the Snortlands. Along with his histrionic, Tammy Faye Baker-type wife, Pinky Poo, he stages elaborate spectacles in his church where he hopes to gain the support of the local community.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I first considered myself to be a writer about six years ago. That was after I had written my autobiography about recovery from multiple addictions such as characters in my books have been challenged by. That's when I got the idea for writing a book about Sister Mary Olga Fortitude. As I progressed and I realized I had a series on my hand, I was totally convinced this was to be my new career.

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 have been writing full-time for the last six years. I have completed a total of eleven books in the Sister Mary Olga Fortitude series. I am currently at work on the twelfth book after having finished another book which is not a part of the series.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
While I write books in the humor genre, they all contain spiritual messages. I don't know of any other books in this genre that have accomplished this.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be an actor. Creativity has always been a part of my makeup. I'm just glad that I've discovered a career where I can let my creative juices flow.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
If you are looking for books that will make you laugh from beginning to end, look no further. Hopefully, my books will also give you some food for thought. You may just see yourself reflected in my characters. Look for my books on Amazon.com. You can read more about me at my blog.

Davis, it's been fun having you here today.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Interview with author C. Elizabeth


Today's guest, C. Elizabeth is in the midst of a virtual book tour for her novel Absolute Obsession.

Welcome, C. Elizabeth. Please tell us a bit about yourself.
I live in St. Albert, Alberta, Canada with my family and work full-time as a paralegal. During this wonderful journey I have embarked on, I've learned a lot about myself, sometimes to the point that I wonder how the heck I got this far in life and know so little about myself.

For years I dabbled in many things, such as drawing, photography, sewing, only to find that after a while, I would lose interest. However, writing was a different story -- it found me and continues to be an addiction, as well as a most wonderful, incredible passion.

Please tell us about your current release.
Absolute Obsession is a novel about 42-year-old Rose Gerbaldi, who, for all intent and purposes is a loving wife, mother and grandmother and like all of us, on occasion she needs time to herself – those times she refers to as her me times. Her usual me times last about a week, then would pick up right where she left off and life would go on. However, this particular time goes awry when she finds herself absorbed in a book and completely fascinated by the hero – which hero is depicted in the movie version of the book, by thirty year old, British movie star, Michael Terrance. She then realizes her emotional attraction is no longer for the fictional character she had envisioned while reading the book, it was Michael Terrance.

There is love found, love lost, and love found again, but most of all it’s a story that shows us that no matter what decisions we make in our lives, even if they go against what fate is calling for...fate always finds a way to get you back on the path it intended for you to begin with.

What inspired you to write this book?
The inspiration came directly from the characters themselves. They reached out to me to tell their story, through a very unorthodox way, but somehow they knew I wouldn’t have listened if they introduced themselves the conventional way. Every day they inspire me and it has been a most wonderful journey.

What exciting story are you working on next?
I am working the third of the Absolute series as we speak and I also have two more in the works that are not related either to the Absolute series or each other. I’m looking forward to delving a little deeper into the latter two once the Absolute Obsession series is finished.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
In some ways, I still don’t consider myself a writer. As I said before my characters use me as their vessel to tell their stories, they are the storytellers, I’m simply the narrator.

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?
If I could write full-time I would, unfortunately that isn’t a feasible option at this point, I’m hoping it will be in the future though. Right now I work full-time as paralegal. The writing bug can hit me at any time during day and when it does, it’s written down and sometimes it’s something as small as a two word note, other times as long as two pages. Finding time to write for me is, it gives me peace.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I need complete silence when I write. That’s not to say people aren’t allowed to talk to me, because they do, but there can’t be a television or radio on, sometimes even the noise from the washing machine can distract me. If I’m unable to hear my characters then I lose my train of thought and forget what it was I was to be writing.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be a child psychologist.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
Thank you for having me and most of all, thank you to the readers for bringing my characters alive in their imaginations, that is what excites me most and I wish you a dream you never knew you had.

Thanks for stopping by here on your virtual book tour. Happy writing!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Live chat/interview mystery author Gary Braver - 11/13/11



The Writer's Chatroom presents mystery author Gary Braver/Gary Goshgarian.

WHEN?

Sunday, November 13, 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.

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Friday, November 4, 2011

Interview with romantic suspense author Dawn Brown


Today's guest is romantic suspense author Dawn Brown. She's touring her new book through Goddess Fish Promotions and today is her last stop.

Also, Dawn is giving away a $20 gift card to one randomly drawn commentor during the tour. Details below.

Bio:
Dawn Brown’s first sojourn into storytelling began when she was nine. She would gather neighborhood kids into her garage and regale them with ghost stories, believing even then that atmosphere played an important role in a good story.

Dawn has a diploma in journalism, but found herself pursuing a career in computer leasing. After the birth of her son, she gave up the corporate world to be a mom and write full time, trading in her dreary cubicle for a dreary room in the attic.

Now Dawn spends her days creating dark, romantic mysteries with edgy heroes, clever heroines and villains she hopes will keep her readers sleeping with the light on.

Dawn lives in Ontario, Canada with her husband and son.


Please tell us about your current release, Blood and Bone.
Crime writer Shayne Reynolds is looking for the next book that’ll get her out of her parents’ basement and on track to rebuilding her life. She’s found it in Robert Anderson, a confessed murderer who’s out on parole. Something’s never added up about that case.

From the moment she sets foot in Dark Water, nothing goes as planned. Anderson’s family wants her to drop the story—especially surviving son Des. A man who ignites sizzling heat even as he stands firmly in her way.

Laboring under his father’s crushing legacy and his grandmother’s iron resolve to get rid of the nosy writer at any cost, Des struggles to save the self-destructive sister who once saved him. There’s something honest and forthright about Shayne, though, that tempts him to help her get to the truth. Even if it means double-crossing his powerful grandmother.

Despite their resolve to keep it strictly business, sexual sparks quickly set fire to tangled emotions. And threads of a fragile bond that someone with a vendetta could use to weave their death shroud…

What inspired you to write this book?
I was really intrigued by the common elements in family murders and thought it would make an interesting backdrop for a story. I was right. There were so many different directions I could have taken this story that it created a real whodunit.

What exciting story are you working on next?
I’m currently writing a romantic mystery series (Is two books a series?) set in Wales with a strong paranormal element. Having a connected mystery carry through two books has been challenging, but a lot of fun too.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Probably when I completed my first book. I had been writing for years, but never managed to finish anything besides short stories. Shortly after my son was born, I decided to get serious about writing and finished my first novel. It was a terrible sci-fi/horror/romance, and I really can’t emphasize enough just how bad it was. But I had finished it, and I knew I could finish another. After that, I wrote Living Lies, which was eventually published with Samhain Publishing.

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 use to. I’ve recently started working part time, so I’m finding it much trickier to balance my writing time. Getting up early and writing before work seems to work best for me as far as being the most productive. Some mornings are better than others though. I’m also lucky that when things are slow at the day job, I can work on writing there too.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I have to have a drink—usually coffee or tea—next to me while I write. I’m pretty sure this particular quirk is a result of quitting smoking twelve years ago. Whatever I’m drinking his positioned in the same place I used to have the ashtray.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
There was a short period where I wanted to be a vet, but once it occurred to me that there would be more involved than just playing with animals—surgeries and that sort of thing—I quickly realized that wasn’t for me. After that, I wanted to be a writer. I have since I was about ten. It was really the only thing I did well in at school.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
Readers can find me on Twitter, Facebook and Goodreads.


Readers, don't forget! Dawn is going to give away a $20 Amazon GC to one randomly drawn commenter during the tour. You can comment on this post and check out Dawn's other tour dates and comment at her other stops. The more you comment, the better chance you have of winning. And remember, today is the last day of the tour!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Interview with mystery/thriller author Bob Doerr


Today's guest is mystery and thriller author Bob Doerr to tell us about his newest novel, Another Colorado Kill, and a fun upcoming project.

Bio:
Bob Doerr grew up in a military family, graduated from the Air Force Academy, and then had a twenty-eight year career of his own in the Air Force. It was a life style that had him moving every few years, but also one that exposed him to the people and cultures of numerous countries in Asia, Europe, and to most of these United States.

In the Air Force, Bob specialized in criminal investigations and counterintelligence gaining significant insight to the worlds of crime, espionage, and terrorism. His field of work brought him into close contact and coordination with the investigative and security agencies of many different countries and with the FBI and CIA. This background has helped Bob develop the fictional plots and characters in his books. In addition to his degree from the Academy, he also has a Masters in International Relations from Creighton University.

Bob is now a full time author, with three mystery/thrillers already published and a fourth to be released in the fall, 2011. Two of his books, Cold Winter’s Kill and Loose Ends Kill, were selected as finalists for the Eric Hoffer Award. The latter was also selected as a finalist for the Military Writers’ Society 2011 Award for Fiction/Mystery. Bob lives in Garden Ridge, Texas, with his wife of 38 years.

Bob, welcome to Reviews and Interviews. Please tell us about your current release. Another Colorado Kill. What inspired you to write this book?
I have had a goal to write five Jim West mystery/thrillers. This is my fourth. I graduated from the Air Force Academy and spent over six years of my life in the Colorado Springs area. As all the Jim West stories are set in the West/Southwest, I felt C Springs would be a great setting for one of the books.

What exciting story are you working on next?
At the moment, I’m writing an adventure/fantasy novella, in collaboration with my granddaughter. It’s focused at the 10- to 15-year-old readers, and has been a lot of fun. Pre-teens have such great imaginations. Who knows? Maybe I’ll find someone to publish it.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
When I finished my first Jim West book. I set it aside for a while, and then when I reread it, I said to myself, “That’s a good story.” Even though I had not yet found a publisher, I felt pretty good about my ability to write an enjoyable 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?
I try to write a couple hours a day, at least five days a week. I’m retired from my past, paycheck careers, but it seems that I’m still always busy doing something.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I like to get an idea in my head and simply start writing a story about it. I’ve written a number of short stories that I just have sitting around in my hard drive. I’ve done nothing with them - yet.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
This is kind of silly, but for some reason I supposedly wanted to be a shoe salesman. At least that’s what my parents kidded me about when I got older. Nothing at all wrong with it, but not something many kids probably ever even consider doing. Later, I wanted to be a detective, like Paul Drake, in the Perry Mason TV show.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
I encourage anyone who reads one of my books to feel free to give me some feedback via e-mail. I imagine there may be some authors who don’t want to hear from their readers, but I love hearing from them. I try to respond to every e-mail I get from someone who has read one of my books.

Thanks for being here, Bob. Best wishes for this new mystery and your project with your granddaughter.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Review - Enemy in Blue by Derek Blass


Enemy in Blue
Author: Derek Blass
Fiction
Rated: Very good (****)
Review by: Lisa Haselton

Attorney Cruz Marquez answers his phone one day, as he had on any other day, but this caller tells him something that will forever change his life, and not in the happy happy joy joy kind of way.

What do you do when you’re told men in blue, officers sworn to uphold the law and protect the citizens, have murdered one of those they are sworn to protect? Do you assume the caller is crazy? Do you tell yourself to just make a few calls and find out the real story, then pass it on to…well, who do you turn to when several of the perpetrators are men who wear the police uniform and have been on the force for numerous years? Cruz Marquez doesn’t like what he finds, but he also won’t back away when someone needs his help.

This debut novelist doesn’t hold anything back in scene descriptions or character reactions. He puts the reader smack in the middle of all the tense, emotional, and (a lot of times) quite graphic scenes. His writing starts off in the middle of some action and manages to keep increasing the tension with each new scene. Just when the reader can’t think of a situation getting any worse for the characters, he’s surprised. Blass uses short scenes and chapters to keep the pace moving. He puts the reader on the characters’ shoulders and has to hope the reader doesn’t fall off. Blass’s writing is very visual and is easy to image up on the big screen.

Derek Blass is an author and attorney in Denver, Colorado. He was named as a Colorado Superlawyer "Rising Star" in 2010 and 2011, and was awarded the Colorado Hispanic Bar Association’s 2010 award for most Outstanding Young Hispanic Lawyer. He is married to his wife Meranda, and has two uncontrollably terrible dogs (and one good one that isn’t really his).

Enemy in Blue is a thrilling and gripping read. To call it fast paced doesn’t seem to do it justice because if you blink, you actually do miss something. It reads like true crime and is not for those who want a light and fun read. Remember, when you think you have it all figured out, you’ll find that you’re wrong.

Available through: amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com

Title: Enemy in Blue
Author: Derek Blass
Publisher: Rogue Books
ISBN: 978-0-615-48103-6
Pages: 328
Price: $14.99

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Interview with novelist Chris Lindberg


Today's guest is author Chris Lindberg. He's touring his novel Code of Darkness through the VBT Cafe.

There are a couple opportunities to win a couple of prizes. Details are below. You don't want to miss out.

Bio:
Chris Lindberg was born and raised outside Chicago, Illinois. After graduating from Northern Illinois University in the mid-1990s, he headed out to the west coast for a couple of years, where he began writing as a casual pastime.

Some time after returning to Chicago he began attending writers workshops at StoryStudio Chicago, where he wrote two character studies, both of which have since been developed into key characters in Code of Darkness.

Chris now lives outside Chicago with his wife Jenny and their two children, Luke and Emma. You might catch him working away on his second novel while commuting on his morning train into the city.

Chris, welcome to Reviews and Interviews. Please tell us about your current release.
Code of Darkness is my first novel. It’s a dark thriller that also has elements of sci-fi and even a little horror. It centers around a mysterious vigilante only known as Rage, and Larry Parker, the Chicago Police officer who is hot on his tail. When Rage’s past catches up with him, a covert Black Ops division within the Pentagon is dispatched to find Rage, and eliminate Parker, who is seen as knowing too much. The deadly chase takes them cross-country to a top-secret military facility, where the greatest danger of all awaits.

What inspired you to write this book?
I’ve always enjoyed stories about darker, misunderstood characters, anti-heroes. Stories about good versus evil, and all of the shades in between. Several years ago, Rage’s character came into my head, so I began writing him. Then another character came, followed by a third. Before I knew it, I had woven them together into a story, which ultimately became the foundation for Code of Darkness.

What exciting story are you working on next?
I’m bouncing back and forth between two projects: a coming-of-age space opera, and an apocalyptic thriller. But I’m getting some welcome feedback from readers that I should be doing a sequel to Code of Darkness, so I suppose I’d better get working on that, too.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I think it kind of happened over time, where I just kept writing, and what I was creating kept getting progressively better … and then before I knew it, I had a whole novel put together. Once I’d finished it and edited it to where it seemed like a complete story, that’s when I finally thought I could call myself a writer.

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 did write full-time, but I have a day job too. And did I mention two kids at home! It’s hard to find the time, but I have the mixed blessing of a long commute to work: I take a train every morning and evening, and that gives me about ninety minutes every day to write.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
Hmm, great question. I’d have to say that since I wrote most of Code of Darkness while riding a commuter train, believe it or not, I find that I write a lot better if I’m in motion. Cars, trains, planes, buses … I get a lot more done in those than while sitting still.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
When I was a kid, I think I originally wanted to be a doctor or a firefighter, but then I started drawing, and wanted to be a cartoonist for the longest time. But the next Charles M. Schulz I was not. I still enjoy drawing every once and again though – maybe I’ll try my hand at a graphic novel someday …

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
Thanks for stopping by! If you want to check out Code of Darkness, you can find it at www.codeofdarkness.com – it has all the basic info plus a preview of the first ten pages. And if you’d like to get in touch with me, you can email me at chris@codeofdarkness.com – I’d love to hear from you.

Readers, Chris is offering an e-book giveaway at each of his stops, so comment below and at some or all of his other stops. The more you comment, the more chances you have to win. Oh! also, at the end of the tour, there is going to be a $50 Visa gift card grand prize giveaway to the person who comments at every stop and follows the entire tour. Another reason to comment. Look here for tour dates and stops. :)