Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Interview with Kat Jorgensen


Today we get to meet Kat Jorgensen and get a taste for her humorous writing as she tours and talks about her book Your Eight O’Clock Is Dead.

Bio:
A notorious daydreamer, Kat knew it was only a matter of time before she became a writer. She learned to read by age four and had her first library card before her fifth birthday. To this day, she can lose herself for hours among the books at her local library or neighborhood bookstore. Ebooks and online ordering have made it really easy for her to keep her To Be Read pile from ever going down. A native of Richmond, Virginia, Kat is married with children and has a cranky tuxedo cat named Ben.

Please tell us about your current release, Your Eight O'Clock Is Dead.
A lovable screw-up finds a patient murdered in the psychiatric firm’s waiting room where she works. Convinced the bad publicity from the murder will cause the demise of the fledgling firm, she appoints herself unofficial investigator and finds a host of quirky characters who could have done it. But can she solve the crime, bring the killer to justice, save her job - and maybe even her life - before the murderer strikes again?

What inspired you to write this book?
My husband and I had been through some major health challenges and up until then I was writing romantic suspense. Dark and scary stories. After all we’d been through, I decided I wanted to switch genres and have some light-hearted fun killing people and solving the murders. Out of this came my main character, Becca Reynolds. Becca is a lot like me. A younger, thinner version of me with much better hair.

She holds a job very similar to one I once held. As I came up with her personality traits and quirks, I also asked myself what would happen if this character was running late and chattering away and all the while a dead person was sitting in the office. And my imagination took it from there.

What exciting story are you working on next?
I’m working on book 2 in the same series. Your Time Is Up will continue the misadventures of Becca, her grandad, and all of the supporting characters you get to know in Your Eight O’Clock Is Dead. In the upcoming book, murder is once again associated with a Daley & Palmer patient, er, client! Dang - I’m as bad as Becca. I’ll never get that right. The book should be out in the spring. The next book in the series will be Your Lights Are Out and will be set at holiday time. It’s due out in the fall of 2012. Someone is found strangled with the lights from the firm’s Christmas tree around their neck. I have the tentative cover for this book and it has Higgins, the cat in the series, dragging the string of lights out of the picture. Becca will have plenty to do in both books and she’ll be learning things about the other characters in the book.

Becca just loves investigating. Despite what everyone else thinks, she thinks she’s very capable with her detective skills.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Once I decided to write a full-length novel and was pursuing publication seriously, I considered myself a writer. That’s been about 10 years or so now.

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 write full-time and also have a part-time medical billing business. I try to write first thing in the day. I used to save it for when the family had gone to bed and I had quiet time. But for me, that’s not practical. I need a sharp mind when I write, and I’m sharpest in the morning. After I get the writing done, I check in on Twitter, Facebook, and try to keep up with industry news. If I have any research I need to do, I get that in. I brainstorm scenes and as things come to me about the series, I jot them down. Nothing is wasted. I try to stay in contact with my writer friends by email, and I take online classes to keep my skills sharp and add to my writer’s tool box. I also read a lot.

I believe that writing is a choice. You have to make it a priority or it will not get done. You’ll be one of those writers who “want” to write. The goal each day is to write.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I have a mug that I found at Barnes & Noble. One side says Off Duty and the reverse side says On Duty. I turn the On Duty side to face out whenever I’m writing. It’s my clue to me that I’m in writer mode. And a clue to the family that I’m working.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A queen or a star. LOL. It took awhile for me to realize that I wasn’t of noble birth and that my chances of marrying a King were not that good. As for a star, I have no acting talent. None.

I also wanted to be a writer. That one is working out nicely. : )

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
Just that I appreciate the chance to share some information about my book and myself. I’m a virtual unknown, and it’s going to be through word of mouth that my books reach readers. I hope your blog readers will take a chance on Becca and the gang and on me.

Thank you so much for having me as your guest today.

It's been my pleasure, Kat. Your writing sounds fun.

Readers, Kat is giving away an e-book to a lucky commentor at every stop along her virtual tour. So comment here (and leave your e-mail) for a chance to win. Also feel free to check out her other tour dates and stops and leave more comments.


Monday, January 30, 2012

Interview with flash fiction writer Kristine Ong Muslim



Today's guest, Kristine Ong Muslim, is going to chat about her short story collection "We Bury the Landscape."

Bio:
Kristine Ong Muslim is the author of several chapbooks, most recently "Insomnia" (Medulla Publishing, 2012) and "Night Fish" (Elevated Books, 2011). Her forthcoming books include the flash fiction collection "We Bury the Landscape" (Queen's Ferry Press, 2012), the poetry collection "Grim Series" (Popcorn Press, 2012), and the chapbook "Doll Plagues, Doll Lives" (Thunderclap Press, 2012).

She has short fiction and poetry accepted in over 500 literary and mainstream anthologies, periodicals, and podcasts. Her work received Honorable Mentions in Year's Best Fantasy and Horror and garnered multiple nominations for the Pushcart Prize, Dzanc Books’ Best of the Web 2011, and the Science Fiction Poetry Association's Dwarf Stars Award and Rhysling Award. Publication credits include Boston Review, Existere, Mary Journal, Narrative Magazine, Potomac Review, Southword, Sou'wester, and The Pedestal Magazine. Her work is also published widely in genre venues, from Abyss & Apex to One Buck Horror.

Kristine, welcome to Reviews and Interviews. What do you enjoy most about writing short stories?
The moment I end it! I rarely plan what I write. So, when a natural way to end the story hits me, I feel sort of vindicated that a short burst of inspiration can be rightfully called a story with a beginning and an ending. My ideal story length has always been in the 300-1,000 word range. I muck up anything longer than that. I sell my micro-fiction to very good markets, the longer ones I’ve written don’t have that much clout when they hit the inboxes of magazine editors. I guess I’m the type of writer who is most effective at being prolific with very short prose. This has led me to believe that any attempt at a novel will be an impossible task for me.

Can you give us a little insight into a few of your short stories – perhaps some of your favorites?
Last year, I finished "We Bury the Landscape," a collection of 100 mini-stories about different paintings. Many of the flash fiction pieces included in the collection appeared in many fine places. Some of them are online at Connotation Press, The Brooklyner, and Birkensnake. Teasers are at Mixer. Schlock Magazine even made an excellent graphic rendition.

What genre are you inspired to write in the most? Why?
Genre is something that I’ve never prioritized. I’ve straddled most genres for years: from the most salacious tentacle horror porn to the classiest literary glossy containing a contribution from a Pulitzer Prize winner. I had work appearing in magazines aimed for kids, and I got paid for writing erotica. I don’t know my favorite genre. I think I like everything. The only time I consider whatever genre my story or poem belongs to is when I’m at the point of looking for a place to send it to.

What exciting story are you working on next?
Right now, I am simultaneously working on two story collections. I feel that I’m working on something worthwhile here, but of course, I can be wrong. I’m just like all writers -- how we all believe that our manuscripts are great at first blush. I’m not an excellent judge of my work. I will have to wait until I finish it, and I get a publisher to stand by it.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I daydreamed about living that proverbial famous-writer life since high school. But my preconceived notions of the writing life have been changed by years of battling my way in and out of the slush piles of the world. It’s a cutthroat world; there are so many talented contemporary writers.

How do you research markets for your work, perhaps as some advice for writers?
Duotrope, Ralan, and Newpages are perfect places for market research.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I need a window. As much as possible, I need to face a window or an open space when I write. I can’t think well when I’m facing a wall.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to organize beauty pageants. When I was in grade school, I had a bunch of friends, and we regularly spent so much time in my bedroom dressing up as beauty pageant contestants. I was always the host, and I enjoyed ordering them to do their turns and quizzing them with world-peace type of questions. It’s very silly. Every time I see my old friends and we get around to talking about our beauty pageants, we laugh about it.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
If you are a reader, you are doing a great job at making the world a better place to live in. If you are a writer, then be a reader first.

Here are ways to connect with me:
Online home and blog
Twitter
Facebook
Amazon Author Page
Goodreads Author Page


Thanks for being here, today, Kristine. It's been a pleasure getting to know a bit about you and your writing.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Live chat/interview with Martin Bodenham

The Writer's Chatroom presents financial crime thriller author Martin Bodenham.

WHEN?

Sunday, January 29, 2012

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 Sign In. No password needed.

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

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Interview with debut thriller author Qwantu Amaru


Readers, please welcome debut thriller author Qwantu Amaru to Reviews and Interviews.

Bio:
Qwantu Amaru draws his inspiration from his modest upbringing in small towns and cities across the US. In addition to his first novel, One Blood, Qwantu has published six volumes of poetry. Qwantu is an active member of the outstanding socially active poetry collective Black on Black Rhyme out of Tallahassee, FL. He has performed spoken word in poetry venues from New York to Los Angeles. He is also part owner and one third of The Pantheon Collective, an independent publishing venture dedicated to bringing high quality independent books to the masses while empowering and inspiring other authors to follow their dreams. Qwantu currently resides in Jersey City, NJ.

Welcome, Qwantu. Please tell us about your newest novel.
One Blood is my debut novel, a story 12 years in the making. It is a supernatural thriller, set in and throughout Louisiana in the vein of books by Anne Rice, Tananarive Due, and Stephen King. The novel is pretty epic in scope, spanning 200 years of history from 1802-2002. It’s a page-turning rollercoaster that will make you think as much as it makes you jump! One Blood is a character-driven tale that involves a group of diverse characters, all tied together through hidden connections and their mutual torment by a Voodoo curse.

What inspired you to write this book?
I think debut novels are always written in an effort to understand one’s life and self, but the catalyst was the combination of a creative writing assignment and a powerful memory of meeting former politician and KKK Grand Wizard David Duke when I was attending high school in Lake Charles, LA.

What exciting story are you working on next?
My 2nd novel can best be described as The Kite Runner meets The DaVinci Code! It is tentatively titled, The Uneasy Sleep of Giants and deals with a son trying to avenge the untimely death of his father, a chemist who may have cured cancer and been killed for it.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Upon completing several crucial chapters in the first draft of One Blood, I read over them, wondering where the heck the words had come from and knew I was tapping into something else. At that moment, I felt like 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 don’t write full-time, although I do write every night from 8:30 to 10:00 pm with a goal of completing 5 hand-written pages a night. I stay very busy working as the Chief Operating Officer of a technology and events company that takes me around the world. I also am 1/3 owner of an independent publishing venture called The Pantheon Collective, and I have a consulting company called X.I. Consulting. As previously mentioned, I have a sacred hour and a half blocked off each night for writing, but I also write on planes, in hotels on the road, and many other places. I just fit it in. It’s a part of who I am.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
Hmm. I require music, tea, a good pen, and 5 subject notebook to write. I also prefer writing in crowded environments to writing by myself in my office at home. The movement around me somehow helps me focus for some reason.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I used to tell my folks that I wanted to be an architect and in a way, I am. Because what is a novel or story, if not a building?

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
I really like to engage with readers and have a fantastic facebook fanpage dedicated to a lot of fun activities. Please like my page and join in on the fun!

Thanks for stopping by to talk about writing, Qwantu.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Interview with Karen Bell


Today's Reviews and Interviews guest is writer Karen S. Bell. We're talking long journeys, elephants, and, of course, writing.

Bio:
Walking with Elephants is Karen Bell’s first novel, although she is not new to writing. After earning a graduate degree in mass communication she spent 15 years as an editor and writer of business materials. She says, “Inspiration for this novel came from my direct contact with the joys of Corporate America and the balancing act that comes with being a working mother.” Currently, Ms. Bell resides in Ponte Vedra, Fl with her husband and photos of her children, granddaughters, and grandsons who live everywhere BUT Ponte Vedra, Fl.

Please tell us about your current release.
The journey to get Walking with Elephants published was quite arduous. It took nearly ten years to write and another ten to find a publisher. I had a lot of stops and starts to find my voice but when I did the book flowed. My protagonist, Suze Hall, is my everywoman, my Willie Loman, if you will. She represents all the older women in the workforce who entered later in life after raising their kids. She discovers that she and her husband defined their roles when she was a stay-at-home mom and she is stuck in that role--continuing to run the house while also working full-time. She also is not good at deciphering the intrigue at work. I tried to make her very likable with a good sense of humor. I think I achieved that. It is a light-hearted slice-of-life story. A reviewer described the book as Bridget Jones meets Erma Bombeck. But it also has an important message for women in the current era.

What inspired you to write this book?
As a working mother myself, I lived the stresses that come with that territory but I was lucky. I was able to raise my babies before I went back into the workforce. Women today, by and large, are not so lucky. In the ladies room at work, I came upon a young woman pumping her breast. This is crazy, I thought. She should be home nursing. Maternity leave is way too short in this country. In some countries, a woman has two years' leave. I felt that women should be dialoguing about this. It's one thing to be political about abortion, but that's where the discussion ends. What happens after the baby is born is very important and there is no consensus or discussions on how to blend families and work.

The title of the book is the title of an essay that Suze writes at the end of the novel. She suggests a paradigm shift from the patriarchal societies that have been in place for millennia to matriarchies like a herd of elephants. In the elephant world the herd comprises females and their young. Males are peripheral and only come around to mate. She poses the notion of what would the society look like, be like if women were truly in charge—not women mimicking men.

What exciting story are you working on next?
I am shopping my second novel, Sunspots. It’s kind of a paranormal romance, ghost story. It explores the woeful journey Aurora Stein takes when her husband Jake dies in a car accident after just two years of marriage. Aurora was an aspiring actress so she views the world through the lens of characters in novels and film. Although the topic is somber, there are many moments of mirth as Aurora tells her tale of meeting Jake and her present situation.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I don’t really consider myself a writer now. Somehow, I see a writer as someone who makes a living at it. That eludes me. I put words on paper, I make up stories. It’s a happy diversion and comes fairly easy. I am a reader. They say in order to be a good writer, one must be a reader. So I’m a reader and the public will have to tell me if I’m a writer. From those that have read Walking with Elephants I have gotten great feedback, so describing myself as a writer is on hold and waiting. I’m already getting rejections for Sunspots, so I’m holding my breath on the writer thing.

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 have never spent an entire day writing. First with WWE, there was the distraction of working full-time and raising a family. By the time I would get back to it, I had to reread to remind myself where the story was and the names of the characters—no kidding. Now I’m distracted becoming the publisher of WWE after mine closed doors and all that it implies—printing, marketing, advertising, PR. Now I’m sending out queries for Sunspots. Oh, that I had an agent and publisher. I’m planning on working on my third novel today—maybe.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I’m not unique on this quirk. My characters come alive for me and direct the plot. They take over my psyche and shove their way into my thought processes and surprise me with their actions or tell me their names.

Also, rewriting sentences comes to me when I’m not at the computer.

When these things happen to me I know I’m in the throes of story telling and I love it.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A doctor. I laughingly tell people that I have saved more lives by NOT becoming a doctor.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
I think people really need to stop and reflect on the wonder of being human. Of the miracle of being alive, and the beautiful world around us. All of it. Not take it for granted. Everything is a miracle, just like Einstein said. Live in the moment and love in the moment—that’s all we have. Make it count. If you are reading this, you are one of lucky ones that do not have to subsist on scarcity just to stay alive. Feel the blessing of that and be charitable to those less fortunate.

Thanks for stopping by, Karen!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

New interview with writer Tom Mach



Today's guest is a return visitor. Tom Mach was first here on Nov 29 where he talked about his mystery novel An Innocent Murdered.

Today he's here to talk about short stories. His collection called Stories to Enjoy is now available. There's a giveaway during this virtual book tour. Details are at the end of the interview.

Welcome back to Reviews and Interviews, Tom.

What do you enjoy most about writing short stories?
I like writing short stories because it forces me to focus on particular event or problem in the story. I don’t have to be involved with a larger number of characters and an equally large number of subplots as I would in a novel. It’s also easier to come up with different ideas for short stories, as is evident in the wide array of genres I have in Stories to Enjoy.

Can you give us a little insight into a few of your short stories—perhaps some of your favorites?
In “The Stamp Prisoner,” a psychic named Laura discovers she has the power of telekinesis, where she can make objects move with the power of her mind. When she finds she can erase rare postmarked stamps and change them into mint condition she gets in trouble with the law—but is able to hide in a stamp. Find out what happens next in that story. You’ll be shocked.

In “The Crossword Puzzle Murders,” Detective Pulaski is baffled by a series of murders and a strange clue the murderer leaves behind—a copy of a newspaper on the body of each victim. But when she finally discovers who the murderer is, will it be too late?

What genre are you inspired to write in the most? Why?
Actually, I LOVE historical fiction, having written three novels—Sissy!, All Parts Together, and Angels at Sunset. In my collection of short stories I have two historical pieces. One is called “When Kansas Women Were Not Free” and “The Plot to Kill Lincoln (Again)”. I guess I like writing historical fiction because I enjoy digging out facts from our past and combining historical figures with my fictional characters to weave a fascinating story.

What exciting story are you working on next?
Well, I am introducing my latest historical novel, Angels at Sunset in 2012. I don’t want to give away the plot here, but I had a famous person write the foreword to it. If readers will contact me privately, I would be happy to tell them more about this novel which I am sure will become a best-seller.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I have always enjoyed the printed word. When I was about eight years old, I received a toy rotary printing press where I had to insert each letter into a metal slot and then glue down pictures that would go with it. I ended up producing a neighborhood newspaper with that press. At age 17, I wrote a complete novel called The Boss’s Son. But it wasn’t until I got into my 30s that I took writing more seriously and published an article a week for a newspaper chain while I worked at a full time job. It was a gradual process for me in realizing that I wanted to be a writer full-time, if I wanted to risk financial uncertainty in doing so.

How do you research markets for your work, perhaps as some advice for writers?
Writer’s Market is a great tool that lists different markets for various types of writing—whether articles, books, or short stories. I highly recommend it. I also would tell writers not to give up. Even famous authors had received hundreds of rejections in the past. But do a lot of reading of successful authors and dissect their work, see what makes it “tick.” Go to a few conferences, mingle with other writers—but by all means, sit down and write. Don’t THINK about being a writer, just write and BE one!

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I know you are supposed to write without immediately worrying about mistakes or a better way of saying it, but sometimes I ignore that rule. After I go through a paragraph, I may reread it and come up with a better, stronger way of saying it. Or sometimes, I’ll be in the middle of another chapter that reminds me of something I wrote earlier and I’ll go back and rewrite it. It slows down the writing process.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I think I’ve always had a love of the printed word. I also loved cartooning and would try to imitate a given cartoon in a comic book. But later I realized I had no talent for drawing. I never thought of myself as a writer until I became a junior in high school—all because of an English teacher who inspired me.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
Yes. If any of you are interested in learning more about my upcoming historical novel called Angels at Sunset, please hit the “Contact Me” button on my website and I will be happy to reply.

Readers, Tom is giving away a $25 Amazon gift card to one randomly drawn commenter at the end of his virutal book tour. I encourage you to comment here and at some of his other stops. The more you comment, the more chances you have to win.

Tom, thanks for coming back to Reviews and Interviews. Happy writing!


Monday, January 23, 2012

Interview with Cesar Nostradame



Today's guest is Cesar as he does a virtual book tour for Book of Prophecies.

Bio:
Cesar has a very experienced background in the spiritual world. He was brought up in a Christian family, but branched out as he got older, seeking answers about the physical world around him, and the spiritual world around him.

In his mid-twenties, dramatic events occurred in his life which challenged his very existence, but he learned from the experiences and mostly learned how life is not just in our own hands.

Now, Cesar is a firm believer that everyone has their own path to walk in life, and part of that walk is all about the choices that you make. Some people choose a good life and some a wicked life, but most of us live the life in the middle, influenced by the world around us and our own upbringing, Cesar understands that life is simply not black and white.

Please tell us about your current release, Book of Prophecies.
It's a collection of brand new prophecies about things that are destined to happen to the world; Nostradamus style. In the book, events such as disasters and terrorist attacks and nuclear disasters are talked about in a very cryptic way. Each prophecy has two interpretations and there are also celtic-style-images which hold more secrets.

What inspired you to write this book?
It's hard to pin it down to one particular event that sent me on the journey to write this book, there have been many events throughout my life which, when all linked together, set me on this road to write the book, for example being able to tell people their future, and being able to speak in tongues. But essentially I feel like God told me to write this book to pass on the messages that are in it.

What exciting story are you working on next?
I have a number of manuscripts that I am working on, however, the one I am hoping to have published next is a YA fiction that approaches the possibilities of spirituality from a new perspective but mixes it with some truths and suspected truths from history. Essentially, Harry Potter mixed with the Da Vinci Code.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Well, to be honest it's very hard to see myself as a writer despite the fact that it's all I think about, but I have been doing other things in my life, too. I was once a musician and I was once an artist, so to put my identity as just a writer would be almost like selling myself short.

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?
At the moment, I am spending most of my time with the promotion of this book and with doing research for my blog, but I am hoping to get back to my writing as soon as I can as I have manuscripts to finish off and other ideas which I want to start putting to paper. I'd love to write full time, and maybe one day I will be able to support myself financially with my writing.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
Writing late at night with plenty of coffee, I find it my most productive time to write, maybe it's because the world seems more peaceful and less distracting, but it causes havoc to my internal clock.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I think I wanted to be something special, like a superhero. I was always taller than other boys in my class so maybe I saw myself as being super strong just because of the shorter people around me, but I stopped growing at 6ft.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
Well yes, I'd like to share a bit about my Blog, basically since finishing this book I have been reading ancient documents ranging from a couple hundred years old to a few thousand years old, and I write an analysis about the documents, but I am especially searching for old prophecies and I am collecting a list and bio's of all prophets throughout time and I have discovered some very interesting things, for example, the fact that the theory of evolution was penned by the Egyptians thousands of years ago yet we all think Darwin came up with the notion!

Thank you for being here today, Cesar.

Folks, feel free to check out other tour dates and stops for Cesar.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Live chat/interview with non-fiction writer Leaf Seligman

The Writer's Chatroom presents non-fiction writer Leaf Seligman.

WHEN?

Sunday, January 22, 2012

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.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Interview with non-fiction writer Alexia Fraser


Today's guest is non-fiction writer Alexia E. Fraser. Alexia has been writing for a while, Memories of Mom is her first book.

Bio:
Alexia Elizabeth Smart-Fraser was born in the beautiful island of Jamaica. After marrying her high school sweetheart, Edward, she migrated to the United States. She is the proud and loving mother of two children, son Sean and daughter Paige.

Alexia studied acting at H.B. Studio. She worked as an extra on the set of “Cosby Mysteries” with Bill Cosby, “New York Undercover” with Malik Yubo, “Central Park West” with Lauren Hutton, and the series “Prince Street” with Mariska Hargitay.

As well, Alexia Fraser has written and produced three original non-fiction one act plays both off-Broadway and off-off-Broadway. “The Ryans,” “Dope the Endeavor,” and “Blind Trust.” Her fourth play “Our God is Awesome” is not yet produced, but will be in the near future.

Alexia is the original founder and partner of her production company, Paige Unlimited, LLC (www.paigeunlimitedllc) of which she is the Creative Arts VP. Memories of Mom is her first published book. She was driven to share her story after seeing how her mom suffered unacceptable nursing home and hospital care. Her second book is already partially scripted.

“Write what you know” is what she believes.

Welcome, Alexia. Please tell us about your current release.
Memories of Mom is a touching, personal story about a strong, dynamic, and loving mother’s life and death, and a caring daughter, who stood by her to the very end.

What inspired you to write this book?
I was inspired to write this book, because I wanted to share my mom’s love and grace with the world!

What exciting story are you working on next?
My next exciting story will be my journey with my daughter, as she challenged her dream to becoming a professional contemporary ballet dancer and is now, I am very proud to say, living her dream as a member of the Ailey II Company in NYC. Her tenacity, her passion, and her drive is what got her there. And, of course, the support of her loving parents.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I considered myself a writer after I wrote and acted in my first original monologue for a five-minute scene class, in acting school. I went on to write and produce several one-act plays based on real life situations. Now my first book. Amazing! I had no idea I would write an entire book and is now on my second. WOW!!

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, but I would love to. I have a full-time and a part-time job at the moment. I am also the Creative Arts VP for Paige Unlimited, LLC, a company that was formed after I started producing my original one-act plays, off-Broadway and off off-Broadway.

I am often asked where do I fine the time to write? and I would reply, I just do. It comes naturally to me. It is something within, something, I cannot explain. No big deal.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
An interesting writing quirk of mine would be my habit of writing in the wee hours of the morning when everyone is asleep. Peaceful and quite. No music.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
As a child, I always wanted to be a wife, a mother, and an actress/model. Definitely something relating to the arts. Now I am a published author.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
In writing Mom’s story, I also wanted to document the pain and suffering she endured during her last lap of life. All at the hands of the very health care professionals charged with her care. Mom did not die from her illness, she died at the hands of negligence!

So far, I have been getting wonderful reviews from readers: “The book was touching and emotional; It made me laugh and it made me cry; You have inspired me to write a book.” Some are saying they cannot wait for my next book or when is the movie coming out? These are just a few. Hearing comments like these truly makes me feel complete. My job is done! Thanks MOM!

Memories of Mom is available in hardcover, paperback, and e-book on Amazon, Lulu, and Barnes & Noble. And at all major online bookstores.

Memories of Mom, you’ve got to have one!

Thank you Lisa, for having me.

It's been a pleasure, Alexia. Thank you for stopping by.

Here are the places you can connect with Alexia and find her book:

Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Amazon | Amazon Kindle | Lulu | Barnes & Noble

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Interview with romance novelist Kat Henry Doran


Please give a nice welcome to today's interviewee, romance novelist Kat Henry Doran.

Below you'll find details about the fabulous giveaways Kat has for one lucky commentor at the end of her virtual book tour.

Lisa, thanks so much for allowing me to visit your blog today. I hope we can have some fun!

It's fun already. :) Please tell us a bit about yourself, Kat.
Over the years, I've had the honor to work at a number of occupations: operating room nurse, malpractice insurance investigator, forensic nurse examiner, victim advocate, wife, and mother. Five years ago, I became Nana for the first time and, believe me, it’s the best job ever!

Even if I sometimes wish they'd remain in the closet, the years I spent in the OR and labor floor, and later advocating for victims of sexual violence, contribute significantly to the voice of my writing. You don’t spend thirty years playing loyal serving maid and mind reader to egotistical surgeons, then twelve years haunting police stations, Emergency Rooms, and criminal courts without developing an internal alarm system for covert misogyny, rampant apathy, and overwhelming bigotry.

I retired my stethoscope and speculum a few years ago, but continue to advocate quietly for marginalized populations through Amnesty International and Doctors Without Borders.

I like hearing from readers. You can contact me through my website or blog.

Please tell us about your current release.
In general, Mad Dog and the Archangel is part of the Class of '85 series for the Last Rose of Summer line out of The Wild Rose Press. It's a reunion story, set in Summerville, a fictional town on the shores of Lake Ontario in Western New York state and features graduates of the class of '85 who return to Summerville for their 25th high school reunion.

More specifically, Rafael Archangeli, known as the Scourge of Summerville, returns to the town that scorned him to collect an inheritance before returning to New York City to resume conning wealthy women out of their money. In the process he meets Grace, Mad Dog, Dunavan, a community activist and former religious sister.

What inspired you to write it?
I was honored to be involved in the initial planning of this series which actually started out as an anthology for Wild Rose Press. It featured four friends from high school who returned to their home town to collect an inheritance and found their lives changed forever. Unfortunately, the anthology never came to fruition—but we were able to morph it into the reunion themed Class of '85. Mad Dog was a lot of fun to write it along with my other two contributions to the series—Embraceable You and The List.

What exciting story are you working on next?
I hope to begin a series, The Wild Things, about a group of attorneys and their staff who do pro bono work for people who cannot afford a Dream Team defense, but make too much money to qualify for Legal Assistance or the Public Defender's Office.

Do you write full time?
I wish. Retirement is a bitch. I'm busier now than I ever was when I worked two jobs to put food on the table and keep my kids in Catholic school.

What do you do other than write and how do you find time?
Those Catholic school survivors [!] have gifted me with four grandchildren and an assortment of grand-dogs cats. I provide child care three days a week and when I'm making sure they're not killing each other, I design and make tote bags for Kat's Karry Alls.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I don't know if it could be considered a quirk, but I often begin a story with a picture of a man, then build the story based on his face and body type which for me automatically predicts his occupation. I then complete a multi-page character outline for him which includes his family and friends. By the time I've finished him, I've got a pretty good idea of who the heroine is—her physical features, occupation [former, perhaps current], what she likes to eat, read, watch on TV, clothes, and car choices. I find it relaxing and stimulating and it helps me build the plot.

I've found pictures of the heroes in the sports section of the newspaper, magazine ads, and men from my former professional life. Yes, I base some characters on men and women I once worked with. Not all are the good guys.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Though I didn't recognize it at the time, I know now I wanted to be someone who made a difference in the lives of others. I hope I've succeeded in that.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
My main goal in writing is to inform and educate, in addition to entertaining a reader. Making someone laugh out loud is an added perk.

Thanks for your time today, Kat. It's been fun. ;)

Readers, Kat is giving away a Funky Bag and a Toiletries Bag from Kats Kustom KarryAlls, filled with author swag to one random commenter on the tour. US and Canada only, please.

So comment below and you can also follow the tour and comment. The more you comment, the better your chances of winning.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Interview with contemporary romance author Marie Astor


Today's guest on Reviews and Interviews is contemporary romance author Marie Astor. This is just one of several stops on her current virtual book tour. She has a unique giveaway for a lucky commentor at the end of her tour. Details are at the end of the interview.

Bio:
Marie Astor is a die-hard romantic who wholeheartedly believes in true love, which is why she writes in the contemporary romance genre.

Marie is the author of contemporary romance novels, On the Rim of Love, Lucky Charm, and a short story collection, A Chance Encounter and Other Stories.

Currently, Marie is working on her next novel - stay tuned for details! If you would like to receive updates about book releases and events, you can visit Marie’s website or connect with Marie at her Facebook page.

Welcome, Marie, please tell us about your current release.
On the Rim of Love is a contemporary romance about finding one’s true soul mate:

Maggie Robin has been dating the irresistibly good-looking, successful Jeffrey Preston for two years. But when Jeffrey proposes marriage a week after Maggie’s college graduation, she is no longer sure if she wants to marry a workaholic TV producer.

Her doubts culminate when during a ski trip to British Columbia, Maggie meets Taylor Denton, a handsome, free-spirited big mountain skier who is the complete opposite of Jeffrey. It does not take Maggie long to realize that she has fallen in love with Taylor and she decides to break off her engagement with Jeffrey. But just when she thinks she has found the love of her life, an ill-fated misunderstanding tears Maggie and Taylor apart.

A week later, Maggie is told that Taylor has died in a tragic ski accident; yet, her heart refuses to believe in Taylor’s death. When Maggie returns to Taylor’s native town, she learns that Taylor is indeed alive, but has been seriously injured. Resolved to bring her lover back to life Maggie stands by Taylor’s side, convincing him to embrace life again.

What inspired you to write this book?
On the Rim of Love is a story about finding the courage to follow one’s heart.

What if you found yourself in a situation where you were about to marry the wrong guy and you met a man whom you were simply drawn to - would you have the courage to pursue the new love interest or would you stick with the safer, known choice? One day, for no apparent reason, I found myself pondering this question, and slowly, the idea for On the Rim of Love started to materialize. I wanted to find a truly special setting for this love story – I always thought that ski towns have a magical atmosphere about them, so I set On the Rim of Love at a ski town to add extra dimension to Maggie’s and Taylor’s love story.

What exciting story are you working on next?
I am currently reviewing the second draft of my next contemporary romance – it is a love story about letting go of one’s inhibitions, finding true love, and learning to tango. The release date is scheduled for March of 2012.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I have always wanted to be a writer, but I was afraid to admit it for a long time. I started writing seriously three years ago and I am very thankful to all of my readers! It’s so wonderful to know that my books have an audience, and I hope that readers enjoy reading my books as much as I enjoy writing them.

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?
Unfortunately, I do not write full-time (although I hope to one day!) - I have a day job in technical writing. My goal is to dedicate at least two hours a day to writing – sometimes I make my goal, and sometimes life gets in the way of things, but that’s OK - as long as I can get back on track the following day!

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I usually do not come up with a title until I am almost finished with the book.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be a teacher – like my dad.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
Lisa, thank you so much for inviting me to your blog to talk about my contemporary romance, On the Rim of Love – I hope that the readers will enjoy Maggie’s and Taylor’s love story.

It's been a pleasure chatting with you a little bit, Marie.

Readers, Marie will be awarding a custom made jewelry set (necklace and earrings) to one randomly chosen commenter (US or Canada only, please) at the end of her virtual book tour. So, comment here and check out her other tour stops and leave comments. The more you comment, the better your chances of winning.


Sunday, January 15, 2012

Live chat/interview with techno-romantic thriller author Denise Robbins

The Writer's Chatroom presents techno-romantic thriller author Denise Robbins.

WHEN?

Sunday, January 15, 2012

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.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Interview with filmmaker/memoirist Guy Magar


Today's guest is filmmaker Guy Magar to talk to us a bit about his memoir, Kiss Me Quick Before I Shoot.

Bio:
Guy Magar was nine years old when he left Egypt in 1958. His family immigrated to the U.S., where he grew up in Middletown, NY. Graduating from Rutgers University, Guy began his film career at the London Film School. Soup Run, his first short won a Special Jury Prize at the 1974 San Francisco Film Festival.

In 1978, Guy relocated to Los Angeles to attend the American Film Institute. His first short, Once Upon an Evening (made for $500) got him a 7-year deal at Universal Studios. Guy went on to earn over 100 film credits including episodes of La Femme Nikita, Sliders, The A-Team, Blue Thunder, Fortune Hunter, The Young Riders, Lawless, Hunter, and the CBS pilot/MOW Dark Avenger. He also directed 35 shows of the daytime drama Capitol.

Guy's film credits include Lookin' Italian (starring "Friends" Matt LeBlanc and singer Lou Rawls in their first film); Stepfather 3 which launched HBO's World Premiere Series; and the cult thriller Retribution which will be released for the first time on DVD on its 25th anniversary in 2012. His recent feature is Children of the Corn: Revelation based on Stephen King's original story.

Guy is founder of the Action/Cut Filmmaking Seminars, which for the last ten years, has provided the acclaimed "page to screen" 2-day educational industry workshop. Action/Cut has taught thousands of filmmakers during seminar tours around the world. His seminar is available as a 12-hour DVD most acclaimed home film course.

Guy is also founder of the annual Action/Cut Short Film Competition, which provides an opportunity for young filmmakers to showcase their talents. Action/Cut was one of the first to stream films on the Internet, which can be viewed year-round on its website. MovieMaker reviewed Action/Cut as one of the "Top 10 Shorts Festival in the World for Filmmakers!”

Guy lives in the Hollywood Hills with Jacqui, his beautiful wife of 28 years.

Welcome, Guy, please tell us about your current release.
Kiss Me Quick Before I Shoot is an unconventional memoir because it deals with diverse topics such as the magic of making movies and the magic of finding true love. I’ve been blessed to have had such a kaleidoscope of experiences starting as a child in Egypt and immigrating to America, growing up in New York and learning to speak English, going to college at an incendiary political time in the country (late ‘60s), and then setting myself on such an unlikely journey to become a film director in Hollywood.

That career adventure was a story I always wished to share because it’s been rich with wild and crazy experiences such as my first producer turning out to be a Mafia assassin, almost decapitating Drew Barrymore right after ET, and coming close to derailing James Cameron’s career though he is so talented I doubt anyone could have altered his storied destiny. Everyone loves to look behind the curtain of the movie world and this memoir takes them there.

Finding true love for me is all about falling in love with Jacqui, and having a Camelot wedding where I got to duel for her hand (a la Errol Flynn) in a romantic union that has blossomed to this day, and this journey was also worthy of sharing especially with the extreme dramatic turn of Jacqui suddenly being diagnosed with leukemia three years ago.

That unique medical journey to heal her through a cutting-edge clinical trial was a triumphant story of the human spirit - of her great courage - that deserved to be shared with the world. Everyone knows someone with cancer, and so I wanted to write a book about our experience that would inspire folks to get through their illnesses. For me, the grateful feedback from caregivers and cancer patients who are enjoying this book has been the most emotionally satisfying response to this memoir.

What inspired you to write this book?
This book was a surprise. I never had an intention to write it. After the difficult seven months it took to treat Jacqui’s illness and do the transplant that healed her, and after sleeping on a cot next to her and living in a tiny hospital room for months, I had gone to see a therapist looking for ways to unwind. She told me I was going through post-traumatic stress syndrome which surprised me since I thought only veterans coming back from wars suffer from such illness. She pointed out that I had just gone through my own emotional “war” to heal my wife. She told me I needed to find a “release” and encouraged me to find it immediately.

The very next morning, I just sat down and started writing. Somehow I knew I needed to write about this journey as my release, and without an outline or any plan whatsoever, I just thought to start at the beginning and see where it took me. I was waiting to get stuck or lost and have to go back and outline the story properly but somehow I always knew when to end a chapter and how to begin the next. In the most amazing organic process I’ve experienced, this went on for four months until I reached the end of the story. Then, like with all writing, it was a matter of rewriting over and over and I believe I did over 20 full rewrites over a period of 15 months until I was happy and done with it.

What exciting story are you working on next?
I’m actually quite excited about adapting this memoir into a stage play which is what I’m presently doing. To take this material and use my visual talents as a filmmaker to write the stage play of Kiss Me Quick Before I Shoot and structure the basic story into a set of scene montages that actors can perform on a stage is quite an ambitious endeavor. Readers and reviewers have commented about the humor in the book, the crazy stories, and the voice telling them. If I can capture that into an exciting and comedic evening at the theater, it would be a whole new challenge and visualization of this memoir.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Though there are some people who are just directors, and some who are just writers, the so-called hyphenates who manage to be director-writers I believe have the most exciting experiences of writing stories on paper and then visualizing them – translating them - to the screen. For me, it’s the ultimate job and I came to that realization when I fell in love with filmmaking while in film school. My first story as a screenwriter was for a very short film idea called Bingo and it turned out to be a 90-second film which proved so exciting to be able to write and direct the material, that I devoted my career to doing both. I’ve written all the shorts and feature films I’ve made but one which was Children of the Corn: Revelation based on Stephen King’s original story. I consider myself a screenwriter first because it all starts with story, there is no movie until there is a script. I’ve been a private consultant to screenwriters for years in Hollywood, and looking at projects from a writer’s point of view has been very helpful to my directing work.

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 work on a screenplay, I really do focus and get deeply into a writing rhythm. I’ll try hard to write every day and for many hours if I can isolate myself. It’s difficult because I have quite a few meetings every week on various projects in different stages of development and as a filmmaker and also a producer I have a responsibility to keep all those moving forward to hopefully green light status.

Structuring a story, creating characters, figuring out all the twists and turns, and finally the climax and resolution are the skills you need when creating a story and making it as exciting and entertaining and original as possible. Pacing and style, and especially great snappy dialogue are of huge importance in screenplay writing.

This memoir was an 18-month writing journey. It required 4-months to write the basic storyline from start to finish and another 15 months of rewrites and over 20 revisions till the manuscript worked for me. Then I had to find and layout over 125 photos I included in the book to bring the narrative to life. It took me longer to write this book than any movie I ever made.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
Sorry, no fun quirks.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I was real lousy in English because I was 11 before I started to learn how to speak the language. Because I was good at math and science it became a natural progression to go to engineering school at Rutgers College in New Jersey. But the late sixties were quite turbulent and due to the many side interests at that time, it became apparent this was not for me and I switched to philosophy. Since I didn’t want to teach or write it, my degree was useless and I ended up living in a tent on the beach in Provincetown, MA. So I was a content, happy, broke, beach bum with no ambitions. Then, I turned 25 and decided I better do something. Since going to the movies was my favorite hobby, I decided to go to film school and find out if I liked making films and if I had any natural aptitude for it. And that’s when I fell in love with filmmaking and my road to Hollywood began.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
I wanted this book to be a good friend with which you curl up with while sipping a hot chocolate because writing this memoir was a celebration of life. For me, it’s about following your dreams and making them come true. And that’s magical, as it is for all of us, and I was hoping to share that universal commonality. I encourage my readers who share my story to be inspired to celebrate their own unique life experiences. It was my desire and hope that by sharing my magic it would inspire folks to reflect, to take the time to appreciate their own great life journeys. This is why the last parting line in my book is “Dare to dream…I did. From one magician to another: Peace.”

In closing, I wish to invite readers to the book’s website where they can enter a weekly contest to win a signed paperback of the memoir. All they have to do is vote on a favorite excerpt here http://www.kissmequickbeforeishoot.com/media/book-excerpts/.

I enjoyed being a guest on this blog and I thank Lisa Jackson for her kind invitation and interest in Kiss Me Quick Before I Shoot. Thank you, Lisa.

You're very welcome, Guy. It's been a pleasure learning about all that you've done so far.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Interview with children's author Kiki Howell


Kiki Howell joins the blog today to talk about fears. She's in the middle of a virtual book tour for her children's book, What Are You Afraid Of?. Also, she has a doggie-themed giveaway at the end of her tour. Details below.

Bio:
Kiki Howell is the mother of Drake and Zoe, as well as two boys. She has always been afraid of many things from storms to the dark to balloons, if you can believe that one! She actually finds Drake in his crate shaking every Halloween after the Trick-or-Treaters come knocking on the door.

Welcome, Kiki, please tell us about your current release.
BLURB:
“Why does the night have to be so dark?” the big dog named Drake gave a low bark.

Not everyone likes Halloween. In fact, the big dog named Drake is afraid of the costumes and the decorations and the dark. He really only likes the candy his boy drops.

Lucky for Drake, the old dog named Zoe is there to help him forget his fears with a fun game.

Drake and Zoe can’t wait for you to play along.


What inspired you to write this book?
Lots of ideas came together for this book, from wanting to write a book dealing with children’s fears to being amused by a hundred pound dog afraid of kids in Halloween costumes.

The Author’s Note in the book I think explains a lot:

What Are You Afraid Of? is more than a story to help children overcome their fears. What Are You Afraid Of? is a book about acknowledging a children's fears and dealing with them in ways that do not stifle a child's imagination and creativity. So, indulge me while I state a few ideas.

Children can easily be made to feel small and defenseless in this big world, while at the same time, children have very vivid imaginations, which can cause further anxiety over things that are intangible, confusing, and scary.

Therefore, how we deal with a child's fears may have tremendous implications on how we foster, or hinder, their creative growth.

While fear can be a manifestation of imagination, so too can compassion and empathy. Compassion is a product of the imagination as well, being able to ‘see’ ourselves in another’s shoes. So, it only stands to reason, that if we stifle the imagination, we may be stifling the child’s potential to care for the world around him later on. A creative mind is a terrible thing to waste.

We all know that fears or phobias cannot be easily coerced away by mere rational or logical arguments. Instead, it seems a better approach to acknowledge a child's fears and show him or her that you know how he or she feels. We can try to diminish the fears by making light of it and making the child laugh. Ah, laughter is the best medicine! I have read psychologists who recommend playing with fears by role playing until the child laughs or by drawing silly pictures of the object of the fear with the same intention.

With all of this in mind, I came up with this story. I hope the idea of a big dog being afraid of witches and ghosts is silly enough to begin with, along with the playful Halloween-ish images and the funny rhyming patterns. But more, I hope the games the old comes up with will be games your child can also play to eliminate his or her own fears. Most of all, I wish for you and your child to enjoy the story. May you laugh!

What exciting story are you working on next?
I write in a lot of different genres and for many different age groups. Currently I am writing a contemporary story about a man’s life forty years after he served in Vietnam.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I think I felt like a writer after I got a few contracts and got used to the idea. LOL

Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
Yes. My work day starts when my children get on the bus for school. A lot of time goes into promo as well as actually writing the stories. My writing day ends when my children get off the bus. Although, there are times that life steps in and days do not go as planned.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I love description, and spend a lot of time playing with words. I have a college degree to teach Secondary English, and I love 1800’s British Literature, so I think that style comes out in my work. I have heard criticisms for this as well as praise depending upon which reader is sharing his or her opinion :) I guess for the contemporary market sometimes I can get carried away, but this is where I guess writing to an audience or writing your story comes into play.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
When I was really young, I wanted to be a vet, but allergies soon made that an impossibility. My next love was reading, and it didn’t take long to start to want to put the daydreams into stories. At first I thought I would teach English by day and write by night. But then life intervened! It just took me a long time after college to find the time to really try my hand at this writing thing.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
Even though my children’s book is set during Halloween, it is really a book primarily about dealing with fears, not a seasonal book really at all. I believe it can help a child with fears any time of the year. Don’t let the setting fool you!

Thanks, Kiki. It sounds like a fun book.

Readers, Kiki has a giveaway for a lucky commentor at the end of her tour: a tote bag with a picture of Zoe and Drake on it that I will fill with dog stuff - plush dogs, dog coloring book, etc. Remember to leave your email if you want to be in the drawing for this bag-o-gifts! Look here for more tour dates and stops.


Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Interview with M.D. Cliatt


Today we welcome novelist M.D. Cliatt as she tours her novel The Public Pretenter with VBT Cafe.

M.D. has donated an e-copy of her book to a lucky commentor on this blog, so make sure to leave your email address if you'd like a chance to win!

Welcome to Reviews and Interviews, M.D. Please tell us a bit about yourself.
I was born and raised in Georgia. When I was seventeen, I ran away from home, moved in with my high school bus driver and then married my boyfriend a few months later when I turned eighteen. I finished high school, attended college, had two sons and then moved my family to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania so I could attend law school. Today, I’m still married to my high school sweetheart, have two teenagers and I’m a lawyer and adjunct law professor.

Please tell us about your current release, The Public Pretender.
The story is about a fiery criminal defense attorney, Maeven Dayne, who specializes in representing juvenile defendants. When it comes to her job, she’s driven and passionate. When it comes to her family, she’s devoted, but her job is demanding and distracting. She pleases her husband when she decides to quit her job to spend more time with the family. But, on Maeven’s last day at work in the courtroom, a juvenile probation officer she despises drags a weeping young girl before an irritated judge for an unscheduled hearing while Maeven is packing up her things to leave. She is walking out of the courtroom, fighting her urge to turn around when she hears the probation officer had the girl incarcerated for weeks without notifying her parents or arranging for representation. Maeven can’t resist the girl’s pitiful pleas for help and intervenes.

She discovers people are profiting from imprisoning innocent kids. A whistleblower ends up dead, but he’s left clues. When her oldest son is beaten, arrested and detained on false charges, her husband receives a message proposing an offer: Maeven must quit the girl’s case, or they lose their son. She has to choose who to sacrifice.

What inspired you to write this book?
Because I was mad about the way the juvenile justice system works and how little families knew about it, I started writing a guide. A creative spring erupted in my mind while I was writing, and I couldn’t force myself to stay within the rigid lines of legal exposition. It seemed fitting because I spent more time using stories and analogies to explain to kids and their families what was happening to them in court. And, admittedly, I enjoyed the fictional narrative more.

What exciting story are you working on next?
I have three projects swirling around in my brain right now. I’m working with my sons on a fantasy novel about a pregnant queen, I’m flirting with an idea for a romance novel, and I plan to write a sequel to The Public Pretender. I already have a plot worked out for Maeven, and I can’t wait to get back to her.

What is your writing life like?
I wake up around four in the morning when I’m the only one, besides the dog, stirring around my house. I turn on some instrumental music so lyrics don’t distract me, get a cup of tea or hot water with lemon, a pillow, a blanket and park myself on the couch in front of my bow window. Hopefully, I find my writing vibe and voice and get lost in my imagination with a particularly intriguing character and/or plot. I write for a couple of hours and then head off to work.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I’m still not sure, but as a kid, I would write stories in journals in an attempt to capture the magic authors seemed to possess, but I never finished--barely started really. When I finished The Public Pretender, and a couple of people told me they liked it, I thought--Maybe, just maybe. So, I’m trying my dream out for size to see if it fits.

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 write part-time for now. If I could afford to write full-time, I would do it in a heartbeat. In my imagination, I have a very romantic idea about what is would be like for me to write full-time--you know, hidden in the corner of a quaint little coffee shop with my laptop cranking out plot after plot with vibrant characters or down by the river sitting on a bench. For now, I wake up early and write, and I work full-time instructing law students.

What's something fun you like to do?
I enjoy sneaking off with my husband in the middle of the day to do something unplanned--like watching a movie.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
When I get stuck, I like to write while bathing by candlelight.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Honestly, as a child, I had a list. I wanted to be an actress, fashion designer, novelist and a lawyer.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
Thank you for hosting me and I look forward to your comments.

Thanks for being here, M.D.

Readers, remember to comment if you'd like a chance to win an e-copy of her book. I'll draw a winner on Friday, the 13th.

You can check out M.D.'s other tour dates and stops.


Monday, January 9, 2012

New interview with romantic suspense novelist Terri Reed


I'm happy to welcome romantic suspense novelist Terri Reed back to talk about her newest release The Secret Heiress, book 2 of the Protection Specialists series. Terri was here for the first time last July for the release of The Innocent Witness.

There is a gift card giveaway at the end of Terri's virtual book tour. Details follow the interview below.

Bio:
At an early age, Terri Reed discovered the wonderful world of fiction and declared she would one day write a book. Now she is fulfilling that dream and enjoys writing for Steeple Hill. She is an active member of both Romance Writers of America and American Christian Fiction Writers.

She resides in the Pacific Northwest with her college-sweetheart husband, two wonderful children, and an array of critters. When not writing, she enjoys spending time with her family and friends, gardening, and playing with her dogs.

Welcome back to Reviews and Interviews, Terri.
Thank you for having me back.

Please tell us about your newest release.
The Secret Heiress is about Caroline Tully, adopted as a baby, she’s always been curious about her biological parents. So when her biological grandfather contacts her, asking her to come to his Mississippi estate in order to claim her share of his fortune, she’s compelled to go. Only someone doesn’t want her to live long enough to claim her inheritance. She hires a bodyguard to accompany her. Posing as her fiancĂ© allows Don Cavanaugh to keep close to Caroline, but he soon realizes as danger closes in that keeping Caroline alive may be easier than keeping his heart safe.

What inspired you to write this book?
I first introduced Don and Caroline in my November 2009 release Chasing Shadows. I wanted to bring them back together. I also wanted to try to write something with a gothic feel so I set the book in rural Mississippi on an old plantation, complete with creepy relatives and a house full of secrets.

What’s the next writing project?
I have a book coming out in June 2012, The Deputy’s Duty, book 6 of the Fitzgerald Bay Continuity series. And a book out in the fall of 2012, The Doctor’s Defender, the third book in the Protection Specialists series.

I’m working on two projects right now. I’m starting the fourth book in my Protection Specialists miniseries, which will be out in early 2013. I’m also working on book 5 of a continuity book about a Texas K-9 unit that will be a May 2013 release. The working title for this book is Cold Case Murder and features a drug-sniffing Beagle named Sherlock and his handsome handler Parker Adams.

What is your biggest challenge when writing a new book? (or the biggest challenge with this book)
My biggest challenge is staring at a blank page. I’m a much better reviser than first draft writer.

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?
For me, the research comes in stages. Some at the beginning to jump-start the story and the characters. Then as I write, I stop to do the research I need for whatever issue that comes up. When I’m done, if I know I missed something or wanted to double check something, I’ll go back through the manuscript to find it and then do more research to make sure I have it correctly.

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 have an office and do usually write from there except in the summer because my office gets too hot. I recently bought a laptop so now I can write anywhere in the house and for the past few months I’ve been moving around the house. As long as I can have a place to set a cup of tea nearby and music playing, I can write from anywhere.

What authors do you enjoy reading within or outside of your genre?
I enjoy a wide variety of authors. Some of my favorites are Lisa Gardner, Harlan Coben, Tess Gerritsen, Cindy Gerard, Susan Elizabeth Philips, Lenora Worth, Lissa Manley, and Melissa McClone.

Readers, Terri will be giving away a $10 Visa GC to one randomly drawn commenter during the virtual book tour. I encourage you to follow the tour and comment. The more you comment, the better your chances of winning.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Live chat/interview with YA author Michelle McCorkle

The Writer's Chatroom presents young adult authorC. Michelle McCorkle.

WHEN?

Sunday, January 8, 2012

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.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Interview with historical fiction writer Carol Eglash-Kosoff


Today's guest author is historical novelist Carole Eglash-Kosoff. She's touring her newest novel Winds of Change and is here to tell us a bit about it. Her earlier books include When Stars Align and The Human Spirit.

Bio:
Carole Eglash-Kosoff lives and writes in Valley Village, California. She graduated from UCLA and spent her career in business, teaching, and traveling. She has visited more than seventy countries. An avid student of history, she researched the decades preceding and following the Civil War for nearly three years, including time in Louisiana, the setting for Winds of Change and her earlier novel, When Stars Align. It is a story of bi-racial love. It is a story of war, reconstruction, and racism, but primarily, it is a story of hope.

This is her third book. In 2006, following the death of her husband, she volunteered to teach in South Africa. Her first book, The Human Spirit – Apartheid’s Unheralded Heroes, tells the true life stories of an amazing array of men and women who have devoted their lives during the worst years of apartheid to help the children, the elderly, and the disabled of the townships. These people cared when no one else did and their efforts continue to this day.

Her second book, When Stars Align, chronicles the Civil War and Reconstruction through the love affair of Amy, a white girl, and Thaddeus, a colored man born of the rape of an eleven-year-old slave girl and the teen heir to Moss Grove.

You can visit her website or connect with her on Facebook.

Carol, welcome to Reviews and Interviews. Please tell us about your current release, Winds of Change.
The racially charged love and conflict of the critically acclaimed When Stars Align become more entrenched after the Civil War and Reconstruction. Amy had taken her daughter, nephew, and a son she’d had never been able to acknowledge, born from her love with Thaddeus, her colored lover, to San Francisco, as a refuge from the intense racial scrutiny of the South.

They are forced to return to their old home, Moss Grove, a successful Mississippi River cotton plantation, as young adults. They discover facts about themselves that refute everything they believed regarding both their parents and their racial background. It changes the lives of each of them. Bess and Stephen’s love is thwarted. Josiah struggles with echoes of his past.

It is a tumultuous time in American history that includes the inventions of airplanes, automobiles, telephones, and movies midst decades of lynchings and economic turmoil. It is the Spanish-American War and World War I. Racial biases complicate lives and relationships as newly arrived immigrants vie with white and Negro workers all trying to gain a piece of the American dream. Winds of Change is a soaring historic fiction novel that stands alone, but follows the next generation from those we came to know in When Stars Align into the 20th century. It is a socially relevant, historically accurate, saga of decades often overlooked in American history.

What inspired you to write this book?
I was still emotionally connected to the characters I’d developed for When Stars Align and the nation was moving into an amazing period that had been little studied…the decades between the Civil War and World War I. It was a wonderful opportunity to tell a story.

What exciting story are you working on next?
A non-fiction book that I’ve wanted to write for more than three decades.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
When I held When Stars Align in my hands and cried.

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 play tennis, bridge, and I have an active tax accounting practice.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
Breathing life into unsuspecting characters.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
First a history teacher, then a journalist…I never got to do either.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
Read and travel.

Thanks for being here today, Carol.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Interview with debut novelist Andy Holloman


My second guest of the new year is writer Andy Holloman to talk about his debut novel, Shades of Gray. He has a giveaway to a lucky commentor during his virtual book tour. Details below.

Bio:
Writer Andy Holloman has been scribbling stories since a young age. (According to reliable sources.) Shades of Gray is his first published novel and grew out of his experiences as a travel agency owner many moons ago. He was fascinated with the true story of a client of the business that was murdered.

He is the father of three and happily married for 20 years. A graduate of UNC-CH, he lives in the Raleigh, NC area and is busy carpooling, keeping his wife happy, and attending his kids sporting events. He loves the great outdoors in NC, is an avid reader, and a social media goofball. Most evenings, he can be found tapping on his well-worn keyboard as he "births" his next novel.


Welcome to Reviews and Interviews, Andy. What inspired you to write this book?
Many moons ago, I was the owner of a group of Travel Agencies (3 offices) in the Raleigh/Durham area. Sometime in the late 1990s, one of my sales people clued me in regarding a client of hers that appeared to be purchasing airline tickets in an unusual (but legal) fashion. My staff person speculated that this client may be doing something illegal. Not too long after this, we became aware that this client was found dead of a gunshot wound in her burned out home in Durham, NC. The news about her death indicated that she was a suspected drug dealer. After 9/11, my company suffered, as did the entire industry, and a story “seed” planted itself in my brain and continued to grow – “What lengths would a desperate business owner go to in order to save his/her company.”

What exciting story are you working on next?
I am in the very early stages of punching out a new novel that I would describe as an “Irving-esque romp through the 1990s as seen through the eyes of two Irish twins who come of age in the US during the rise of the internet.” Title is TBD.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I found it easy to consider myself a writer when I joined a writers group around 2004 in the Cary, NC area.

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?
Like most writers, I have a day job as a residential mortgage lender and my life is rather full with my family life and my day job. I find that I can typically fit in about 5-7 hours per week of writing, mostly between 9pm and 11pm and on the weekends.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
Hmm, I can’t say that I have any interesting writing quirks. But I can assure you that I’m going to try to develop a few!! Maybe I could do something interesting like switch to doing all my writing on an old electric typewriter? Nope, I’d be lost if I had to write without my “spell checker”! (*wink*)

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
My ambitions as a child were all about being a professional athlete. First and foremost, I wanted to play in the NBA. If that didn’t work out, then I would have settled for major league baseball!!

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
I truly, truly love readers. Hands down the most delightful aspect of publishing my book has been the interactions with readers and prospective readers. Getting a book published is a long, long road as is SELLING books. Even though I’m just at the beginning of my publishing journey, I know that my long term success will be in the hands of my readers. I delight in the way in which Social Media sites (Twitter and Facebook) allow me to interact with readers and I pledge to everyone who reads my book to do everything within my power to respond to your questions, comments, and suggestions. THANKS SO MUCH !!!!!!!! KEEP ON READING !!!!!

Thanks, Andy. Best of luck with your writing.

Readers, leave a comment with your e-mail for the chance to win a free e-copy of Shades of Gray.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Interview with science fiction novelist Brian Young


Today's guest is sci-fi novelist Brian Young. He's touring his novel Blood Veins with Goddess Fish Promotions AND has a great giveaway during his tour. Details are below about the giveaway.

Bio:
Brian was born in Salem, Oregon and currently resides in Eugene, Oregon with his wife and daughter. He graduated from the University of Oregon with a BA in English. He squeezes in time for writing in the early hours of the morning and during lunch breaks at work.

Welcome to Reviews and Interviews, Brian, please tell us about your current release.
Blood Veins is a science fiction novel about a young prince thrust into kingship after his father and older brother are killed. Prince Alexander is tasked with freeing his occupied homeland from the mysterious invading forces of the Dolus, a task which he has difficult focusing on because of his obsession with finding out how his father and brother died. Mysterious assassins, underworld savages and renegade Dolus survivors stand between him and the answers he seeks. What he finds along his journey will shatter his perceptions and lead to unknown perils he isn’t ready to face.

What inspired you to write this book?
I have always enjoyed reading and given a lot of thought to writing. One thing I struggled with was concentration and I would find myself daydreaming and making up stories in my head. One day I just decided to write an idea down. It was a rescue scene that I had kept thinking about over and over again. It is actually the first chapter of Blood Veins and once I wrote it down, my writing took off.

What exciting story are you working on next?
I am working on a sequel for Blood Veins. I didn’t plan to make it a series, but the story just kept growing and I found that I had too much to tell for it to fit in just one novel.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I considered myself a writer when everything started to really get moving for my publication of Blood Veins. I had never given it much thought but once I started to promote it and people started to share their excitement for the release I realized other people were going to be reading my work. Before this it was just for me but now that others are going to enjoy it is very exciting.

Do you write full-time? If so, what's your workday 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 banker for Sterling Savings Bank. Finding time to write is a real struggle. I use to write in the mornings before I would go to work but I have a two-year-old daughter and I find that I would rather spend most of my free time with her. By the time she is asleep she usually has exhausted me to the point that I can’t do anything requiring higher thought process. I can’t imagine ever having as much energy as a two-year-old! Now the only time I really have to write is on my lunch breaks at work. It is the only uninterrupted hour of time I have during the day.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I’m not sure how interesting it is, but it is probably quite funny to see me writing at work. We have a break room that is probably the size of a small walk-in closet and a tiny little chair. I’m a fairly large person so I sit hunched over in this small room on this small chair typing on my tiny iPad. One of my hands is as big as the screen so you can imagine how difficult it was to get used to typing on it. Another thing is I don’t really plan out my work. I have heard all sorts of different ways that people plan out their novels from outlines to scenes on flash cards, but that doesn’t really work for me. It makes me feel restricted. When I’m writing I have a general idea of where I want to go, but so many new ideas come up as I’m writing that I often end up doing something completely different from what I originally planned. A good example is the group of assassins in Blood Veins. I was more than halfway finished with the novel before they occurred to me and it was a lot of fun going back through the novel to find different ways to add them in.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I spent too much time playing when I was a kid and even as a teenager. One of my problems in school was I never thought about what I wanted to do when I was “grown up.” I loved playing football in high school and would have like to do that at least in college. Right now I love being a husband and a father and wouldn’t give that up for anything.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
Just thank you for taking the time to read this blog. If you decide to pick up Blood Veins, and I hope you will, I believe you will enjoy it. It is a science fiction novel but more than that as well. It is a coming of age story with a little bit for everyone; action, humor and great characters. Thanks again.

You're quite welcome. Thanks for sharing some of your day with us.

Readers, Brian is giving away a $25 Amazon gift card to one randomly selected commenter during the tour, so you'll want to comment here and at other blog stops. The more you comment, the increase your chances of winning.