Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Interview with romance author Trisha Harley McCarthy

Author Trisha Harley McCarthy is here today and we’re chatting about her sports romance novel, On Ice, A Hockey Romance.

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

Trisha Harley McCarthy is a certified Life Coach and prolific romance author specializing in fantasy, paranormal and contemporary genres.

Loving history, Trisha was captivated by being introduced to historical romance then became enamored with contemporary romance novels. Coming across fan-fiction and falling in love with the concept, Trisha began writing stories about characters in her favorite movie, Bridget Jones's Diary. After receiving several positive reviews, she caught the writing bug and published her first standalone novel, Just As He Is, A Romance in 2012 followed by the Astral Realm Series, Written Among the Stars and the sequel, Beneath the Stars released in 2014.

In 2015, release of Dimensions, a paranormal romance novel featuring other world encounters takes the readers on a fantastic journey of ordinary collides with extraordinary. Also, in a new direction, Trisha also wrote Indescribably Blue, a fictional account based on Elvis Presley's death hoax conspiracy.

On a personal note, Trisha resides in Independence, Oregon with her husband Michael and their rescued chocolate lab, Elle. In her spare time, Trisha loves spending time on social media, travelling and reading her favorite authors!

Please share a little bit about your current release.
On Ice follows the relationship of Zoe Simmons and Ki Connery. Zoe is the assistant to the general manager of the NHL team The San Jose Otters. Ki is the star defenseman and team captain. Their wedding day is called off and they both go their separate ways and Ki is traded to the Detroit Steels. Fast forward three later, in a shocking player trader, Ki is back in San Jose and back in Zoe’s world. They discover the truth about the wedding being called off and a looming scandal about to hit the tabloids. The story unfolds as Ki and Zoe discover the truth of their parting. This is a book about lost love, betrayal, forgiveness and love conquers all.

What inspired you to write this book?
I read my first hockey romance a few years back and got hook. Maria Luis’s The Blades Series inspired me to write On Ice.

Excerpt from On Ice:
Ki smiled and closed the distance between us. The heat from his body sent shivers up my spine. He reached out and tucked a wayward piece of hair behind my ear. My knees went weak, and the lack of pouncing prowess was probably the only thing that kept me from throwing myself at him. I was sure he had lots of eager puck bunnies at his beck and call. All he had to do, was crook his finger, and they would come running. My gaze landed on his sensual lips, curved into a hint of a smile. I wondered what they would feel like against mine. He pulled back and the spell was broken.

“Would you consider going out with me sometime?” he asked.

Who—wha— ? I nodded mutely, shocked by the turn of events.

“Is that a yes, Zoe?” My name rolled off his tongue like fine wine—smooth and heady. Fire shot through my veins. Before I could stop myself, my mind was drifting in and out of fantasies involving me and that tongue of his.

“Yes, Ki, I’ll go out with you.” I blinked rapidly.

He pecked my cheek. “I’ll be in touch.”

What exciting story are you working on next?
I am currently working on two romance suspense thrillers. One about a couple who break it off after trying desperately to conceive. The title is Taboo.

The second title is The Staircase in the Woods. It’s about a serial killer survivor who finds out the serial killer is still on the hunt laced with a supernatural theme. In the fall of 2020, I am putting together a dark romance anthology with other authors.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
That’s a great question! This newest release On Ice is receiving a lot of buzz. After releasing several books, I feel I am coming into my own as an author. It’s an exciting feeling!

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 work full time. I just received a part time gig as a brand ambassador and I also do dog daycare in addition to being a life coach and blog talk radio podcaster. Currently my writing is on hold while I market and promote On Ice. Soon, I will begin writing and completing Taboo.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I must listen to Nickelback while writing.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
An ice skater.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
Thank you for having me on your blog and I hope you’ll read my books! Happy New Year!


Buy links:

On Ice will be $0.99 during the tour.

Thank you for being my guest today!

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Friday, January 17, 2020

Interview with humorous short story writer James Robinson, Jr.

Writer James Robinson, Jr. joins me today to chat about his book of humorous short stories, Jay Got Married.

During his virtual book tour, James will be awarding a $25 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 his other tour stops and enter there, too!

James Robinson, Jr. is an award-wining author who has written 6 books in both the fiction and non-fiction genres. His first book, Fighting the Effects of Gravity: A Bittersweet Journey Into Middle Life, was an Indie Award winner for nonfiction. His first foray into fiction, Book of Samuel, was a Readers’ Favorite Award Winner. His latest book—Jay Got Married—is a collection of 9 humorous, satirical essays which often speak to ironies and inconsistencies of life.       

Jay Got Married is not just the title of the book, but the lead essay of the same title and an amusing look at love and marriage in the year 2020.

Mr. Robinson began to foster his writing career at age 45 when the Effects of Gravity kicked in and his children began to grow up, affording him the time to write. It was also then that he began to hone in on his sardonic wit.

Mr. Robinson resides in Pittsburgh, PA with his wife of 43 years. He is the father of three daughters ages 37, 38, and 40 and the proud owner of six grandchildren.

Welcome, James. What do you enjoy most about writing short stories?
Essays work better for me because I can say what I want to say better in short non-fiction vignettes than in a long story. When I write I rely upon my own experience rather than telling a story.

Can you give us a little insight into a few of your short stories – perhaps some of your favorites?
All my essays are written in a humorous and tongue-in-cheek in style, but I also tend to slip into real-life issues from time to time. In a chapter of the book called, All Hail the Jetsons, for instance, I talk about how we all secretly harbor a wish for the futuristic type flying cars but can’t even deal with driving in regular traffic—killing each other in simple road-rage accidents.

My Current Release –
Jay Got Married is a book of 9 humorous, satirical, tongue-and-cheek essays. I write about the ironies of life, my twisted views on societies’ ills, and combine it all with a healthy dose of my own experience. I use clipart and pictures of my own handsome visage to accentuate my point. Like this one:
Here, I discuss my nemesis. (You have to read it to figure out why I’m holding up black jellybeans.)

In one chapter titled: Big Brother Isn’t Among Us, I dispute George Orwell’s classic 1948 book, 1984. Orwell insisted that: Big Brother is Watching. But I contend that, in 2019, even though we have cameras pointed at us at all times, we don’t have to worry as long as we behave ourselves. Cameras at stoplights, at ATM’s, in Sam’s Club parking lots harbor no ill-will to us good people. We, in fact, are our own big brother. We monitor ourselves with the ubiquitous cell phone. Here it is:

In a quote that I think sums up my style pretty well, a Reader’s Favorite Reviewer said, “Sometimes the attempt at humor inevitably touches a few real-life issues but it is quickly diverted again back to humor, so as not to linger or get too serious and forget the main genre.”

What genre are you inspired in to write the most? Why?
I’m inspired to write non-fiction because, in a way, I’m telling a story. I guess I’m at my best when I’m kicking out an essay that consists of my own life experiences coupled with a healthy dose of satire and wit. I throw in a little social commentary for good measure.

What exciting story are you working on next?
My first book was entitled: Fighting the Effects of Gravity: One Man’s Journey Into Middle Life. Now 67 years old, I’m working on a sequel to that book tentatively entitled: Old Age Sucks. It could also be titled: And I Thought Middle Age Was Bad. I’m discovering that middle age was a mere storm cloud for old-age thunderstorm on the horizon.

When did you consider yourself a writer?
Interesting question. Actually, I wrote an essay on this topic. It was about people asking other people the question: “What do you do.” I never really had a marketable skill—doctor, lawyer, chef, engineer—I always had it in the back of my mind that I was going to write. But even though I’m writing seriously now, I hesitate to flat-out say that I’m a writer when asked because I don’t make much money at it. I usually say “I’m retired.” Wow, that’s boring. So, I consider myself a writer now. I just don’t tell anyone unless it come up in conversation.

How do you research markets for your work, perhaps advice for writers?
What’s research? What’s a market? I barely have time to write. I’m raising two ninety-year-old parents. I do blog tours, promotions like Kindle Nation Daily, offer free promotions, lectures at libraries, and wonder why my books don’t sell. Kids, don’t try this at home.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I write in my underwear.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
The typical things that kids want to be: policeman, fireman, alligator wrestler. Just kidding about the fireman.

Thanks for joining me today!

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Friday, January 10, 2020

Interview with mystery author Edgar Swamp

Mystery author Edgar Swamp is here to help me wrap up the week by chatting about his new novel that has elements of horror and fantasy, Amber Hollow.

During his virtual book tour, Edgar 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 his other tour stops and enter there, too!

**This book is only $0.99 on Kindle.**

Edgar Swamp is the author of the Gyre Mission, Glitch in the Machine, and Blackout. His short stories have appeared in Alienskin, Macabre Cadaver, and Urban Reinventors. When he isn’t holed up in his office playing online poker, he likes to dig up the recently deceased and make furniture out of their skin. He lives and works in San Diego, California.

Welcome, Edgar. Please share a little bit about your current release.
This is my fourth self-published novel, one that I intended to write for a wider audience than my previous three books, which means it is for “all-audiences” (I’d say it’s roughly PG-13). This novel is a mystery but not in the traditional sense, although it does follow a whodunit format stylistically. The elements of horror and fantasy, however, keep it from being conventional, and it was my intention to write a page-turner because the reader simply must know how it ends.

What inspired you to write this book?
I am from a small town in Wisconsin (DePere, a city next to Green Bay) and to my overactive imagination it was a creepy place, full of bullies, town drunks, weirdos…you name it. I swear there was a guy like Norman Bates on my paper route, this strange older man who lived with his elderly mother in a ramshackle house next to an abandoned barn at the edge of town. Every time I went to collect and he invited me in, I figured it was going to be the last thing I’d ever do! The place was straight out of a Hitchcock film. That said, I wanted to write a story about a creepy little village where an event of mass hysteria occurs and kills everyone except for five people practically overnight. The story would be the mystery of finding out what happened the night of the tragedy, and what was behind the horrific events.

Excerpt from Amber Hollow:
    “Ms. Albright?” Sadie asked from the threshold, and the woman jumped as if jolted with a stun gun. When she looked from Sadie to Jeremy her eyes grew wide and her nostrils flared.
    “Yes?” she asked in a meek voice, the spoon frozen halfway to her mouth, the Jell-O precariously perched there, looking in danger of spilling on her hospital gown.
    Sadie took a step forward. “I’m Detective Conrad, and this is my partner Detective LeFevre. We’d like to ask you some questions about what happened on Sunday night.”
    The woman sat very still, her eyes a startling shade of green. They darted back and forth from Sadie to Jeremy, the spoon forgotten in her hand. Gravity finally won out and the Jell-O fell off and onto her hospital gown, however she didn’t appear to notice.
    “May we come in?” Sadie asked, pitching her voice low, trying not to startle the poor woman any further, but she surprised them by uttering a deep, guttural laugh.
   “You guys are detectives and you have to ask? Does that mean I can say no?”
    “Afraid not,” Jeremy said, walking into the room and taking a small recording device from his pocket. He’d had the presence of mind to preload a fresh cassette beforehand. “We are both very sorry for what happened to you, to your entire town. Please accept our most sincere condolences. However, we need to ask you some questions. We’re hoping that you can help us.”
    Sylvia Albright of Amber Hollow, Wisconsin, eyed the two of them thoughtfully before noticing she was still holding the spoon. She set it down on the nightstand next to her, then the cup of Jell-O. She still didn’t notice (or didn’t care) about the gelatin on her gown.
    “What do you want to know?”
    Sadie and Jeremy exchanged a quick glance. What did they want to know? The entire town was gone, burned to the ground, her family and friend’s dead, and she asked them what they wanted to know? It was becoming apparent why she was in the psychiatric ward and not the burn center. Sadie wondered if the woman’s answers could be considered relevant, given the nature of the circumstances.
    “What we want,” Sadie said softly, “is to figure out what happened that night. Are you aware that you survived a massive tragedy?”
    The brief smile that had played across the woman’s face was gone, exchanged by an expression of fear that was seemingly boundless. She again looked from one face to the other, licking her lips nervously. She began to mutter, but it was too low for either of them to hear.
    “What was that Sylvia?” Sadie prompted. “What are you saying?”
    She broke off her muttering and stared at Sadie for so long the detective began to feel uncomfortable. It was something in the woman’s eyes, some secret she wasn’t sure she should share. She took a deep breath, exhaled, and then eyed them with something akin to wonder.
    “You have no idea what happened.” A statement, not a question. “Am I the only survivor?”
    Sadie opened her mouth to say ‘no’ but a quick glance from her partner stopped her from even forming the word with her lips.
    “Tell us what happened,” Jeremy said instead of answering her question, and their silence seemed to calm her even more. She closed her eyes, leaned back into her pillow, and exhaled again even more sharply, this time with an air of resignation.

What exciting story are you working on next?
Every day I wonder what the follow-up to Amber Hollow will be because every day I feel like doing something different. I have a sequel in mind for Amber Hollow, but I’d only write it if people enjoyed the first one enough to merit it. I literally have half a dozen ideas at any given time. Here’s one, inspired by The Stepford Wives: In a small town in Anywhere, America, the men have been replaced by perfect replica robots. They make the money, they clean the house, and they give their lovely wives everything they need…without requiring a single thing in return. The women there are very happy, until they find that they can’t properly reproduce; scientists are unable to make serviceable synthetic semen, so real men are cultivated in large Superfarms on the outskirts of town to collect their manhood for breeding purposes. The hook is, mutants were created from the synthetic sperm, and at one point, the robots all run amok and the women need the men from the “semen farms” to help control the problem of the both the mutants and the robots. Please tell me, seriously, does that sound like something you would read? I’m really on the fence about this one!

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I first considered myself a writer when I received payment for an article I wrote in 1997. It was for a website called Foamation, the designer of those funky cheese wedges Green Bay Packer fans wear on their heads during the games (I think you know what I’m talking about if you watch football). I met one of their sales reps at a guitar store where I worked, and I told him how many aspects of my life were connected to the Green Bay Packers organization through various channels, and what it was like to grow up with them being considered such a great team, when during the course of my life all they’d done was lose. It would be like being a Patriots fan in the ’80s! The reason for the interest in the story was because Green Bay was finally going to the Super Bowl after a 29- year drought, and the sales rep thought fans of the website would like it because of all the names I referenced (star quarterbacks, coaches, other players, etc.) whom I had known or worked for. My payment? Had I known at the time I would have met him at the restaurant with a bigger appetite because my remuneration was my meal and parking, and all I ordered was French fries!

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?
My lifelong goal is to be a full-time writer. In fact, I’ve given some of the best years of my life chasing that dream. Honestly, I’ve catered my working life completely around being able to have time to write. I worked in dozens of industries, then literally chanced into the veterinary industry when I was 30, and trained to be a vet tech in Austin, Texas. I later moved to Carlsbad, California (near San Diego) and at a clinic I worked at, I began taking pet sitting jobs for extra income and soon enough it became my occupation, the demand for pet care is that great out here. So, what I mean is: I became a full-time pet sitter so that I didn’t have to work a “real” nine-to-five job so that I would have more time to write. It worked great at first, until my business became so busy that I was working more than 40 hours a week. Fifteen years later and I am still a pet sitter, and what I do is budget my time, make myself write when I don’t want to, and take advantage of creativity whenever it strikes. I bring my laptop with me everywhere so that if a moment arises and I can get something done, I can.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I am sarcastic to an almost ludicrous point. In fact, with “Amber Hollow,” I had to dial it out because all of my previous books were considered to be very snarky. I can’t help it; for some reason, I have a very skewed perception of the world, and the way it comes out in my writing is simply overwhelming. I’m still somewhat cynical, but I try to sparingly dole out the sarcasm and only use it when necessary.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Three things, and this is the reason I am still a pet sitter:
1)     An actor, movies mostly, but I’d consider doing TV
2)     A rock star; I sing, play multiple instruments and write songs. Kurt Cobain and David Gilmour are my heroes.
3)     A writer, books, short stories, lyrics, poems, and essays. I seriously didn’t want to be anything else but those three things, NOTHING else. And it’s a shame, really, because I dropped out of college because I didn’t know what I was doing there, I didn’t have any kind of traditional trade in mind. Zero. I figured I was wasting the loan money so I tried touring with rock/grunge/metal bands and when that didn’t pan out, I turned my attention to trying out for plays at local theatres, and when that was a bust, I redirected all of my energy into writing. I do not advise anyone to take this career path; stay in school and at least get a bachelor’s degree in something. You’ll thank yourself when you are 50 and you are alone with four cats on Christmas and your latest book is brilliant but being all but ignored because of the glut of books available thanks to self-publishing. I should have gone into marketing — that would have been a smart move!

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
Firstly, I know how difficult it is to pick up a book by a writer you’ve never heard of. Without great reviews from reputable sources adorning the back cover plus a few celebrity endorsements, it’s hard for me to even check one out from the library. Not kidding! To the readers of your blog, I’d say this: Take advantage of all the free content that you are being given via book giveaways and promotional campaigns by indie writers because you just might find a diamond in the rough! Here are a few popular writers who began by self-publishing: Edgar Allen Poe (seriously, he didn’t receive any commercial interest until he wrote “The Raven”), Matt Groening (the creator of “The Simpsons”) and Edgar Swamp…whoops, I said “popular”…my bad!


**This book is only $0.99 on Kindle.**

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Thank you so much for having me, I appreciate it!

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Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Interview with mystery novelist Lanny Larcinese

Today’s special guest is mystery author Lanny Larcinese. He’s chatting with me about his new crime novel, Death in the Family.

During his virtual book tour, Lanny will be awarding a $25 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 his other tour stops and enter there, too!

Lanny Larcinese’s short work has appeared in magazines and has won a handful of local prizes. He lives in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He’s a native mid-westerner transplanted to the City of Brotherly Love where he has been writing fiction for seven years. When not writing, he lets his daughter, Amanda, charm him out of his socks, and works at impressing Jackie, his long-time companion who keeps him honest and laughing—in addition to being his first-line writing critic. He also spends more time than he should on Facebook but feels suitably guilty for it.

Welcome, Lanny. Please share a little bit about your current release.
Death in the Family is the story of Donny Lentini, a talented young man caught between unrequited love from his mother and a father who is a low-level mob wannabe. When the father is found murdered with his hands cut off, the mother urges vengeance. An obvious mob hit, Donny doesn’t know exactly who or why, nor does he know why they are suddenly interested in Rosie’s Diner, owned by his girlfriend Pepper’s family and run by her. The two mysteries converge as Donny becomes more and more adept at dealing with his adversaries with the help of two close buddies. Donny’s fate at the conclusion of the story may come as a surprise to many.

What inspired you to write this book?
Interesting question. It began as a simple but vivid image that without any discernible provocation, popped into my head: two high school boys, one a bully, meet behind the gym for a confrontation. It was so vivid I had to write it out and describe it. Then I asked myself, why are they there? So I wrote that out. Then, what is their backstory? I wrote that out. So like a Big Bang, the entire story unfolded over months and successive drafts and three years and many versions later, will see the light of day. Of course, I did much other writing as Death in the Family lay dormant.

Excerpt from Death in the Family:
Meanwhile, I kept my job at the Association. Dad was networked into its clients and I could keep watch over him. But it also meant I had to put up with German’s side-eye and petty bullshit. He couldn’t push me around like Dad, I was too valuable. I’d mention Joojy’s name, hint how Dad was under Joojy’s umbrella and watch the green bile of German’s envy flare into blue flame. Fuck him.
“But so what,” I said to Dad, “why would you take such risks to impress bad guys? I don’t see the payoff. What would happen to Mother and me if something happened to you? Do you ever think of that?”
“You’d both be well taken care of.”
“You talking money? I’m not talking about money. I’m talking about a knife in the heart, especially Mother’s. Where is your damned head? You can be such a fool sometimes.”
I regretted it as soon as it came out. He said nothing but looked away, unable to see that being on the wrong track meant every station he went by was the wrong station. I didn’t know how to help him understand his aching need was little more than a screwed-up premise. Joojy owned him now. Dad had fully slid into the life. He had made life easy for me—a grassy neighborhood of playing fields and schools with talented friends who played tennis and squash—unlike his life of craps, three-card Monte and burning numbers slips. My life was so much better because he ate shit along the way, but his na├»ve impetuousness made him reliable as a tendril of mist and
vulnerable as a puppy in traffic.
“Just look over your shoulder, okay?” I said. “Those guys could shoot a pregnant woman and eat a tuna melt on her belly. You know that, right?”
“You been watching too many movies, Donny. They only want to make money. If you play it straight nobody gets hurt. That’s in the Statutes.”

Right. The South Philly Statutes. Some laws.

What exciting story are you working on next?
My work in progress is called “Fire in the Belly,” a novel inspired by an actual event in 1985 in Philadelphia during which the police dropped a satchel charge on the row house fortress of the weird, militant cult MOVE. Sixteen people burned to death and sixty-two row houses allowed to burn to the ground.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
While struggling through my first novel, caused by my delusion that a facility with language and occasional eloquence naturally resulted in story-telling skills, I wrote short stories. I submitted them in contests. When my short work resulted in first prizes at three successive Philadelphia Writers Conferences, and other work was published online, I thought, “I can do this.” Much education about craft followed before I became comfortable with novel writing. (Not sure “comfortable” is quite the right word; let’s just say, “not intimidated by…”)

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?
Writing comprises the dominant part of my time, psychic energy, activity, and conversation. I am a man whose life has been one of serial obsessions and writing is certainly one, but also by far the most gratifying and fulfilling over many others that have been rewarding in their own way. I awaken some mornings with a thank-you prayer, as it’s a gift—not necessarily skill which may be arguable—but the endeavor.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I can’t shut up about it, and have to be on guard not to be a boor and leave space for others to talk about their interests and projects.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A businessman, which I became, in many expressions. I also wanted to be like my dad, a strong man, a reliable and competent one, a protective and generous one.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
We need readers, the ultimate arbiters of our work. Love to us is when a reader gets what we’re trying to do and likes the way we do it. “All stories have been told, different only by the manner in which they are told.”

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