Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Interview with romance writer Naomi Boom

My special guest today is Naomi Boom. We’re chatting about her new Regency romance, To Entice an Earl.

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

Naomi Boom never expected to love writing. Her inspiration struck while searching for the perfect historical romance novel to read. Nothing sounded appealing, so she decided to write her own. That one novel has morphed into a series, and hopefully many, many more.

Welcome, Naomi. Please share a little bit about your current release.
I’m going to go out on a limb here and assume everyone has had a crush on someone unattainable. I know I have, and it sucks. Watching that one guy from afar and wishing just once he would notice you. Well, To Entice an Earl is based on that premise. Except instead of a short-lived crush, the heroine falls for a guy. For years. The hero is too blockheaded to notice her until he is forced to act as her guardian. Do they end up together? Seeing as this is a romance, the answer should be obvious, but getting to the happily ever after is the fun part.

What inspired you to write this book?
I love the friends to lovers trope and couldn’t resist writing one.

Excerpt from To Entice an Earl:
“I have too given you compliments.”

“Really?” She exhaled. “Name one.”

He contemplated the matter for a moment and then said, “I told you your hair was prettier in disarray.”

She had forgotten that. “So you said one thing. Congratulations.”

“Thank you.” He swept an exaggerated bow and smirked up at her.

“That is not something to be proud of. Why, it’s not even that monumental a compliment.”

He straightened, and a light flared in his eyes. There had always been an easy mood between them, but he had never looked at her in such a way before. It was almost, well, sinful.

“Allow me to remedy my error, then.” He caught her hand in his, and gazed deep into her eyes. “Your eyes remind me of a summer storm.” Her gaze faltered from his, but he continued. “Your skin is as smooth as fine porcelain, and your hair is made of the most enticing curls I have ever seen. I can imagine your freed hair would make a man lose his senses. And lastly, you have deliciously kissable lips.”

She swallowed. His ridiculous, probably oft-used lines had the most amazing effect on her. Her knees had grown weak, and her mind was slow to focus. “I-I d-don’t think…” Her voice trailed off as he chuckled.

“With that said, you also possess a tremendous ability to irritate me beyond comprehension.”

What exciting story are you working on next?
I am working on the next novel in the series. To Entice an Earl leaves a bit of a cliff-hanger for the next story, so be warned. I couldn’t wait to write the fourth novel in my series, and it won’t disappoint.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I had a hard time grasping the idea that I am a writer. I still kind of feel like an imposter, like maybe I shouldn’t consider myself one until I reach my tenth book or so. Logically, I know that is nonsense, so I started calling myself a writer once I had my first novel written.

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 am kind of a stay at home mom who works minimal hours at a gas station and writes in my spare time. Typically, that means I can only write at night after my toddler has fallen asleep. Sometimes, on the weekend, I’ll sneak off into a little room and devote more time, but that’s usually on extensive revisions or edits. My husband really makes writing possible for me. It would be tough without him.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I spend a lot of time in the gym when I’m in a writing rut. That one tendency is the only thing saving me from being 500 pounds because when I really get into writing, I sometimes binge eat. Excessively. And drink, but I think consuming alcohol is fairly normal for a writer.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A lawyer and a model because, you know, they go so well together. Eventually, that dream morphed into boring stuff like retail management, and now I just want to write.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
My family and I recently moved back to my home state of South Dakota. I’ve been having a difficult time finding a good place in my home to write, and now, I am excited to say I claimed a storage closet. It’s tiny, can fit a recliner, and I love it. I’m just so excited about it I couldn’t resist telling you.

Buy links:
Amazon | Barnes and Noble

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Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Interview with writer Mark Pendergrast

Writer Mark Pendergrast is chatting with me today about his new non-fiction psychology book, Memory Warp: How the Myth of Repressed Memory Arose and Refuses to Die (Upper Access, 2017).

Independent scholar and science writer Mark Pendergrast has written well-researched, critically acclaimed nonfiction books about a wide range of subjects. His books include The Most Hated Man in America; Memory Warp; The Repressed Memory Epidemic; Uncommon Grounds; For God, Country and Coca-Cola; Inside the Outbreaks; City on the Verge; Mirror Mirror; and others. He lives in Colchester, Vermont. He can be reached through his website,

Welcome, Mark. Please tell us about your current release.
The repressed-memory craze that tore apart millions of families in the 1980s and ̛90s has been repudiated by the consensus of scientists who study human memory. However, Mark Pendergrast, who helped to expose this scourge more than twenty years ago in his book Victims of Memory, now revisits the subject, and finds that it is coming back, perhaps as virulent as ever, turning loving family relationships into nightmarish battlegrounds. Pendergrast warns that we face great risks as individuals, families, and society at large if we fail to learn from—and halt—the resurgence of this shocking episode of our recent past.

What inspired you to write this book?
Like many critics of repressed memory therapy, I thought that most of the cases stopped in the late 1990s, but I realized that it is an on-going epidemic, and that new generations of journalists, therapists, and patients don’t know what happened 25 years ago. I documented how this disaster arose and why it has not gone away. I also discovered that repressed memories were heavily involved in the case of former Penn State football coach Jerry Sandusky, which led me to write another new book, The Most Hated Man in America: Jerry Sandusky and the Rush to Judgment (Sunbury Press, 2017).

Excerpt from Memory Warp: How the Myth of Repressed Memory Arose and Refuses to Die:

“Before” and “after” therapy letters such as these became all too common.

        May 1987
  Dear Dad,
   Just a note to thank you for taking such good care of me and my friend during our much-too-short stay. My friend is impressed and a bit envious of the loving relationship and open lines of communication which you and I share....I love you and I'm glad you're my dad!
                  Love "D"
  November 1989
    I am writing this letter for two reasons: (i) to attain closure for myself regarding my relationship with you and (ii) in the hope that you will seek help before you hurt anyone else the way you hurt me. I have spent 37 years of my life denying and minimizing the torture that was my childhood and adolescence...I genuinely hope this letter causes you to seek help—you are a very sick man. I do not wish to hear from you unless you are willing to admit the things you did to me and to seek help for your sickness.

It was ironic that “feminist” therapists were the avatars of this destructive phenomenon. One retractor (someone who later realized she had developed false memories due to misguided therapy) wrote poignantly about her own recovered-memory experience, in which she became convinced that she had so-called multiple personality disorder. “It robs women of all power and control over themselves. If I really hated women and wanted to keep them in a completely powerless and childlike state, the best way to do that would be to remove their faith and trust in their own minds and make them dependent.” That is precisely what happened in this form of “therapy,” which frequently managed, quite literally, to turn women into helpless, suicidal children clutching their teddy bears and shrieking in imagined pain and horror. The repressed-memory hunt breathed new life into one of the most damaging and sexist traditions in our culture—the subtle message to women that they can gain power and attention primarily through the “victim” role.
It is difficult to convey how saturated our culture became with the repressed memory phenomenon. In her 2010 memoir, My Lie, retractor Meredith Maran described her quest to recall how her father must have abused her. “I drove back across San Francisco Bay [in 1989], back to Planet Incest, where the question was always incest and the answer was always incest and the explanation was always incest, and no one ever asked, ‘Are you sure?’”

What exciting story are you working on next?
I am working on a novel set in the time of Jesus.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I have enjoyed writing since high school, and I started to write freelance articles for a local weekly newspaper in 1972, but it never occurred to me that I could write books and make a living that way. Yet I’ve been doing it since 1991.

Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like?
Yes, I write full-time.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I don’t really have a “writing quirk,” but when I get absorbed in writing something, my wife can hold an entire conversation with me that I don’t hear.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I never thought about it. I don’t think I really wanted to grow up. I still don’t.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
The moral of Memory Warp is: The road to hell is indeed paved with the best of intentions. Be very careful when you are on a crusade. Educate yourselves. Research the facts. First, do no harm.

Thank you for joining me today, Mark.

Monday, January 29, 2018

Interview with fantasy author Jason Armenta

Kicking off a new week with me is author Jason Armenta. We’re chatting about his fantasy adventure, Lost Heroes: The Warrior Edda Part One.

A gifted storyteller, Jason Armenta has been creating worlds, characters and epic stories for over 25 years. Lost Heroes: The Warrior Edda Part 1 is the first in a series. Jason captures readers with his dynamic characters and exciting adventures. Jason has a bachelor's degree in Liberal Studies and a master’s degree in e-business management. His future writing plans encompass multiple genres including Viking adventure, fantasy, science fiction and espionage stories. Jason lives in the Pacific Northwest with his family.

Welcome, Jason. Please tell us about your current release.       
Lost Heroes is a fantasy adventure novel. It is set in a world of fantasy where monsters and magic are real. A good description of the setting is a medieval high fantasy world where magic, spells, magical items, beasts, deities, monsters and myths are prevalent.

The story focuses upon two main characters. A man, named Wolfgeir and a woman named Freya Einarsdodder. They are both Norse warriors, far from home who sail the seas in search of their fortunes. Within the book they meet for the first time, have a series of adventures sailing the oceans, fighting monsters, winning treasure, facing betrayal and unlocking secrets of ancient cultures. Along the way they fall into a romance and become lovers.

Life centers around their ship, their Norse crew and the sea.

Despite the high fantasy setting, I strive to keep daily life consistent with the medieval era. Hence, their dress, tools, ships and technology are as close to historically accurate as permitted by the fantasy fiction genre that I describe. I am fairly knowledgeable about this era and its history and I strive to keep it historically authentic, save for the magical/paranormal elements.

Though the primary characters, their ship and the crew is Norse, the book does not take place in a Scandinavian area. They are sailing foreign seas and shores. The action takes place mostly in a chain of islands where the dominant culture is modeled after Celts.

What inspired you to write this book?
Lost Heroes is my first novel, but I have been writing Norse/viking related stories and games for many years. This book is the culmination of many of these ideas and plots. I wanted this to feel like an adventure novel first, with commensurate pacing and action, blended with fantasy, magic and romance.

Excerpt from Lost Heroes: The Warrior Edda Part One:
Chapter 5
A man screamed below of them. They looked in time to see the form of a giant snake rising from the sand, now clearly visible in the torchlight. It was so big its whole body couldn't been seen in the ring of light provided by the torches, half of it disappearing in shadow. What they could see was the head and front half of a snake. It reared its head off the ground, more than twice Wolfgeir’s own height, and was in the process of swallowing one of the crewmen whole. The snake unhinged its jaw and shook its head violently, so that the human body would slide into its throat. They watched in horror as the last bit of Snorri's legs disappeared down through the creatures mouth. Brodir cried out curses at the thing and tried to crawl away from it, his leg so badly hurt he could not stand unaided.
Wolfgeir leapt off the stairs and landed hard, falling on the sandy floor and making the snake pause to track his movement. Wolfgeir got to his feet and called to the monster, "Come! Here I am!" and struck his sword against his shield loudly.
The snake lowered itself to the ground and started to move toward Wolfgeir.
Brodir took advantage of its distraction and kept crawling desperately toward the stairs.
Freya remained planted on her spot on the staircase. When the giant serpent started to slither toward Wolfgeir, she took up her spear in a throwing position and set her feet as best she could.
Wolfgeir watched the beast approach. As he did, he backed up, his sword and shield in a ready position. Now that he had its attention, he realized he didn't know what to do. It was huge. Maybe even as long as his ship and as thick as a big oak. He was breathing heavy and looking around the area to see what he might be able to use to his advantage. His feet caught on something he risked a quick look down; he had wandered into a pile of what looked almost like fabric. He snapped his attention back to the giant snake that was closing on him, tried to kick his feet free, and there was a sound like parchment tearing. He kept at it until he felt like his feet were clear of this strange material.
The snake closed to within seven paces of him and made a hissing sound that was so loud it sounded like a dull roar echoing slightly around the pit. It reared its head again and opened its mouth, baring fangs. Wolfgeir stared at the two fangs, each the size of a broadsword. He braced himself, ready to jump and roll to try and avoid its strike.
There was a shout from above and he saw a spear fly through the air to pierce into the creature’s soft belly about halfway down the raised portion.
The snake thrashed, writhing in pain.
Wolfgeir glanced up and saw that Freya had thrown the spear.
She drew her sword and jumped down into the pit with him.
The huge serpent’s writhing had worked the spear free. the weapon fell to the ground near the wall of the pit. He watched as it twisted in the sand, then noticed the mottled look to its skin in places.
"It's skin," he breathed, and he looked down around where he stood. The strange dried material that he had been caught in was a giant, twisted piece of snake skin. The creature was shedding its skin in places.
Wolfgeir was suddenly angry with himself. He had been so concerned about how to face this monster, he had hesitated in his attack. Freya hadn't. He rushed forward, keeping his shield up in front of his body and his sword pointed straight at the enormous snake.
The snake settled, instinctively coiling and flicking its tongue. Freya saw Wolfgeir charging at the serpent through the shadows. She reacted by shouting a war cry and banging the flat of her sword against her shield.
Once again, the monstrous serpent turned toward the louder sound and movement. From its coiled position, the snake raised its head high again. Freya tried to calculate whether she was close enough for it to strike at her, given its size--but before she could decide, it struck.

What exciting story are you working on next?
I have begun work on the second book in the series. It will continue the story of Freya and Captain Wolfgeir and their brave, treasure seeking crew. It will begin where part one left off, with them sailing to find a new, lost land whose presence was decoded from a long forgotten notebook by their resident priest and academic, Oliver Tallus.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
It took me a long time to come to that conclusion. For most of my life, even though I wrote each and every week I never really considered myself a writer. I suppose I had this image in my head of what a writer is and I didn't fit that image. Only about 2 years ago did I realize and accept that I wanted to take the leap and start writing fiction as a profession.

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 am not a full time writer yet, though I would love to be one day. For my day job, I work in IT helping to design, test and deploy enterprise level software platforms for a major corporation. I have been working in this field for a long time and all in all I enjoy my work. But, again, one of my dreams would be to work full time as a writer. Finding time to write is always tough, but if it is important you, you have to fight to make the time.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I do some of my best work, late at night. I guess I get inspired by the late night hours.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A film director.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
Only to thank them for their support and that I am excited about this series, and I can promise even more over-the-top action and epic fantasy in the future.


Thank you for joining me today, Jason!