Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Interview with mystery writer Sallie Moppert

Mystery novelist Sallie Moppert joins me today. We’re chatting about her new novel, Good Cop Bad Cop.

During her virtual book tour, Sallie will be awarding a $15 Amazon or Barnes and Noble (winner’s choice) gift cart to a lucky randomly drawn winner. To be entered for a chance to win, use the form below. To increase your chances, feel free to visit her other tour stops and enter there, too!

A New York native, Sallie has a Master’s degree in Criminal Justice, with a Specialization in Forensic Science. A lifelong mystery fan, she has combined her love and passion for writing with her interests in criminal justice, law, and forensic science.
Sallie currently resides in New York with her family and her “zoo,” which includes two dogs, two guinea pigs, a betta fish and a leopard gecko. She works as a freelance writer/editor and a legal assistant.

Welcome, Sallie. Please share a little bit about your current release.
Good Cop Bad Cop is a series of short stories, each with its own mystery, that follows the life of Samuel Marlowe from his first days as a cop to his rise to become the top detective in the department and the pressures he faces to uphold the law or to take matters of justice into his own hands. Sam learns that justice isn’t always black and white and has to decide whether to use his position as the lead detective at the department to stay on the straight and narrow as a good cop or venture off as a bad cop. Of course, the road he takes for either path is full of obstacles and challenges-such as the shooting death of his mentor, breaking up a kidnapping and prostitution ring across the country, or having his high school reunion held up by a former bully out for revenge-along the way, enough to make him reconsider his choices before he is too far down a dark path with no return (dun-dun-dun!).

What inspired you to write this book?
The first story from Good Cop Bad Cop, also named Good Cop Bad Cop, I started writing was for a contest and I instantly fell in love with Sam. He wasn’t your typical good guy cop but, at the same time, he still was a good guy and an even better cop. His dialogue was also very entertaining to write, as he is sarcastic and doesn’t hold back; Sam says what needs to be said in order to get the culprit. After I wrote Sam for the first time, I knew I wanted to include him in more works, so I composed two additional stories featuring Sam and his partner, Dahlia. I ended up writing the middle story in the collection, The Gray Area, second, and the first story in the collection, Second Chances, third. The next task for me was to figure out how the Sam in Second Chances ended up as the Sam at the end of the book in Good Cop Bad Cop and that was a challenge but a lot of fun.

Here is an excerpt from Fight or Flight:

            Stephen Rochecort did his best to swallow, a task made far more difficult on account of his desert-dry mouth. He’d just started a job at Odette Penitentiary, located in Colorado. If Stephen was honest with himself, he was completely and utterly terrified of being around so many dangerous and violent criminals.
            “They’re like animals,” Warden Chandler had said at roll call that morning. “They can sense your fear.”
            Yeah, that nugget of wisdom was going to make him feel better. Instead, it only served to make him feel even more anxious and want to reconsider his life choices. Hell, a six figure salary wouldn’t be enough for his shit.
            Stephen let out a breath and straightened his posture in an attempt to portray an air of confidence before entering the cell block. The instant he stepped into Cell Block C, the row of jail cells transformed into a zoo, as the caged prisoners began hooting and hollering in an attempt to rattle the rookie guard.
            “Hey there, cutie!” one prisoner shouted. “Damn, you got a tight ass!”
            Stephen shuddered. He never knew innocent phrases like that could sound so menacing.
            “Yo guard,” a cue ball prisoner with various gang tattoos and an unpleasant beckoned Stephen over with his finger. “Hey, you! Come here.”
            Stephen ignored him, not wanting to instigate any further bad behavior, instead locking his eyes on the door at the other end of the hall. The cue ball, however, did not appreciate being slighted. He banged violently on his cell door and unleashed a litany of profanity.
            Stephen tugged at the collar of his uniform, beads of sweat popping up on his forehead and at the nape of his neck. “When did it get so hot in here?” Stephen mumbled to himself. “I can see the door at the end of the hall. If I can reach the door, I can get the hell away from these guys. I can make it. I can make it.”
            He picked up the pace, fumbling around in his pockets for his keys. Stephen managed to locate his keys and gripped the one for the door tightly, figuring he’d probably have a permanent indentation in his palm in the shape of the key from the death grip he had on it. But that didn’t matter; the door was in sight.
            The keys in his hand jingled against each other as Stephen brought them up to the door with a shaking hand. As he did, a loud buzzer sounded and the cell doors slammed open with a clang.
            “All prisoners report to C Yard for exercise,” a guard commanded over the PA system.
            Stephen slunk into a corner to avoid the Cue Ball, but the prisoner had other ideas.
            “Hey, when I tell you to come, you come,” he growled, shoving Stephen. “You may have the badge, but I rule this place.”
            “Knock it off Dantes!” one of Stephen’s coworkers, Clinton, yelled.
            The other guard hurried over to Stephen and got between Dantes and him.
            “Don’t mind him,” Clinton said. “Dantes has been kind of cranky ever since he found out that the Warden broke up his little gang, putting his little friends in different Cell Blocks and transferring some to other prisons. Now he has no one to boss around; poor baby!”
            Stephen glanced back over his shoulder, his fingers and toes tingling as he took a look at the prisoner; Dantes didn’t appear to be too pleased with the guard’s comments.
            “Ay!” the prisoner grabbed the guard’s shoulder and spun him around. “Us prisoners run this bitch, not you screws!”
            “Back off, Dantes,” Clinton said, throwing the prisoner’s hand off his shoulder. “I’m warning you.”
            “Warning me?” Dantes got in Clinton’s face. “Oh yeah? Whaddya gonna do?”
            Clinton’s hand hovered over the can of pepper spray in his utility belt as Dantes towered over him. Stephen rushed forward to assist his coworker but, by this time, Dantes’ fellow prisoners had gathered behind their leader as backup and stopped him in his tracks. One of the other prisoners seemed to notice Clinton’s hand hovering over the pepper spray and decided to strike first. He put Clinton in a headlock from behind while some of the other prisoners held Stephen back.
            A sinister grin appeared on Dantes’ lips. Stephen heard about him during training; the undisputed leader of C Block, Dantes’ word was law.
            “It’s time these guards see what it’s like on the other side of the bars!”
            Dantes’ declaration was followed by a chorus of cheers, hooting and hollering. Stephen closed his eyes as he wished he had reconsidered his life choices while chants of “riot” echoed throughout the cell block. 

What exciting story are you working on next?
I have several more stories with Sam planned out or already written that include his various partners throughout the book, Edwin, Peter and Dahlia. They have a lot of fun crimes to solve, including more murders, rape, stalking and so much more (okay, not fun for those involved but fun for us to solve!).

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I think there’s probably two instances in which I truly began to think of myself as a writer. I had my first short story published at 18 years old in a local young writer’s anthology. That was the first piece of fiction that I had published and it was a wonderful moment. My English teacher, who was the person who had announced that the anthology was accepting applicants, was thrilled when I showed her the acceptance letter and posted it on the chalkboard to celebrate my success. The second instance was when I was accepted for a position as a freelance writer for a local newspaper. It was a great learning experience to be able to use my skills on a daily basis and it also presented me with the opportunity of being able to introduce myself as a writer!

Do you write full-time? If so, what’s your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
I would love to be able to write full time, but my bills and expenses say otherwise! Plus, I have to take care of my family’s “zoo” (two dogs, two guinea pigs, a leopard gecko, two dwarf hamsters, two betta fish and an aquarium with corydora catfish) somehow :) I work at a law office during the day. I don’t really have a set writing schedule. I may sometimes write or read during my lunch breaks or I might have my notebook out while my sister and I play some video games at night and I’ll get some paragraphs in while it’s her turn. I make sure to carry a notebook or pad of paper around with me most of the time because you never know when you’re going to be hit with a good idea or quote. My favorite time to write is when I have time off or on weekends during the summer. I love to grab a blanket, notebook and my radio and just spend the day outside writing (if I can get to my blanket, that is; my dogs like to commandeer my blanket if I get up to go grab a water bottle or something because they’re spoiled puppers and I love them).  

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
One quirk that I have is that I include a lot of little references to things I like or are important to me. For example, the colors of the high school that Sam and Nina attend in GCBC are blue and gold, which just so happen to be the colors of my favorite sports team. The restaurant where the beginning of Victims of Circumstance takes place, Quincy’s, is named after my dog, Quincy. 

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I remember deciding I wanted to become an author at about age 13. That was when I started writing my first mystery novel. After I started writing that first novel, I’ve never looked back :)

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
I am a HUGE animal lover. Between the two of us, my sister and I have quite the “zoo” going - including two dogs, two guinea pigs, two dwarf hamsters, a leopard gecko, two betta fish, and an aquarium with corydora catfish. I also love sports, video games and arts and crafts, I have a black belt in Tae Kwon Do and I’m working toward my black belt in karate; I’m all over the place with my interests :)


Thanks for stopping by today, Sallie!

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Monday, August 12, 2019

Interview with novelist Ruby Lang

Romance author Ruby Lang joins me today and we’re chatting about her new contemporary romance, Playing House.

During her virtual book tour, Ruby will be awarding a digital copy of Playing House 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!

Ruby Lang is the author of the acclaimed Practice Perfect series. She is pint-sized, prim, and bespectacled. Her alter ego, Mindy Hung, wrote about romance novels (among other things) for The Toast. Her work has also appeared in The New York Times, The Walrus, Bitch, and other fine venues. She enjoys running (slowly), reading (quickly), and ice cream (at any speed). She lives in New York with a small child and a medium-sized husband.

Please share a little bit about your current release.
Playing House is about two city planner acquaintances, Fay and Oliver, who accidentally run into each other during a historic homes tour and feign being in a relationship in order to thwart the tour Romeo. They end up having so much fun that they continue to look at apartments and houses (and to pretend they’re a couple) over the course of several weekends. It’s the first book in my Uptown series about life, love, and real estate.

What inspired you to write this book?
I was inspired by the seeing gentrification of Harlem, and also by my planner friends. I liked the idea of setting the story in a place with a rich history, but that is entering a period of change. The characters also have a history, and they’re in the midst of re-evaluating their lives and relationships.

Excerpt from Playing House:
Oliver sagged in relief—and a little disappointment. When the crowd passed beneath them through the front hall, he turned to Fay and she turned to him and they said, simultaneously, “Are you okay?”

A pause.

Fay started again. “He was so persistent. Sorry to involve you.”

Then, as if realizing they were still standing close, Fay slipped her arm out from his and they stepped away from each other.

“Don’t apologize. It’s messed up that you felt like you needed a cover.”

Fay shook her head as if to clear it. “That was tense, wasn’t it? He started pestering me one house back on the tour. I said I wasn’t interested, and he didn’t listen. When we got to this house, I told him I had a boyfriend and then I started trying to edge back downstairs to find the greeter when you arrived. But really it was nothing. It was fine.”

Oliver was quiet for a bit, trying to process what she’d said. She was slightly embarrassed judging from her abrupt manner—not that she had anything to be ashamed of at all. But the other thing that stood out was that she’d made up a fake boyfriend instead of referring to her husband. Which meant… He glanced at her hand. No ring. Maybe she wasn’t married anymore. So not the point here. But why did he suddenly feel so—not happy, not relieved, but…alert? Interested.

He hadn’t felt interested in anything for a long time.

What exciting story are you working on next?
I’m finishing up edits for House Rules, which is about a long-divorced pair who end up as roommates in a spacious Harlem apartment. It’s the third book in my Uptown series and it comes out in February 2020.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I started writing my first novel during summer vacation I was 15 or 16. It was a retelling of a fairy tale and I wrote a draft and was terribly proud of myself, only to discover that Newbery-winning YA-fantasy writer Robin McKinley had published a book based on the same story and had done it better. Oddly enough, that spurred me to write more. After all, if the source material was fascinating to Robin McKinley, maybe I was onto something.

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 at the moment (although I take freelance editing work during the year depending on deadlines). I usually sit down at my desk with a cup of tea after my kid and husband go out the door in the morning. If I’m feeling stuck, I pack up and go to the library, or to a cafĂ©. If I’m working from home, I intersperse writing with laundry. If I’m at the library, I usually get in a good chunk of words, then give myself permission to wander between the shelves.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I’ll get up in the middle of the night and (try to) quietly scribble down an idea in the dark, usually without my glasses on. (Because what’s the use of glasses in the dark?) My husband has grown accustomed to having me sit bolt upright and diving for a pen and paper. And I’ve gotten used to setting out a pad opened to a blank page in order to capture my night-brain wanderings.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be a botanist, a clothing designer, an English professor, and a writer. All of these interests and ambitions will probably end up in a book someday.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
Thanks so much for reading and for having me on the blog to talk about my writing and Playing House!

Social media links:

Buy links:

Thanks for stopping by today. Happy writing!

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Thursday, August 8, 2019

Interview with romantic suspense author Jacki Kelly

Romantic suspense author Jacki Kelly joins me today to chat about her new novel, In Pursuit of Perfection.

During her virtual book tour, Jacki 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 her other tour stops and enter there, too!

Men and women have always sought the promise that only love can offer. Jacki invites you into an intriguing world where romance abounds around every corner and down every street. You’ll be amazed at the crazy things we do and don’t do for the promise of love.

Jacki has been writing since her fourth grade teacher made her keep a journal for a grade. Now she does it to keep track of all the fascinating and heartbreaking moments that life throws our way. Poetry, personal essays, short stories and novels have all occupied space in her heart and her hard drive.

Jacki lives in the northeast where the winters are too cold and the summers are warm. But, she wouldn’t trade it for anywhere else, well maybe for a fabulous house on the sunny sands of Miami Beach in February. Her loveable husband and adorable floppy eared dog endure her long periods behind the computer creating happy-endings for her amazing hero and heroines. Romance makes the world go round and Jacki is enjoying the ride.

Welcome, Jacki. Please share a little bit about your current release.
The next man in Macy Rollins’s life must be perfect. She’s had enough impostors and isn’t willing to settle for anything less. All she has to do is get through the company contract negotiation season and she will get that promotion she has been working so hard for. Avery Malveaux – one of Philadelphia’s most eligible bachelors – has been hired to work with her as legal counsel for the company. From the moment they are forced to work together tensions are high and expectations are low. He questions her ability, she questions his intentions. After Macy is suspected in an accounting shortage, she accuses Avery of betraying her confidence. Has she once again been deceived by a man she thought she could trust? Can she clear her name and win her job back? And can there be any hope for Macy’s pursuit of perfection.

What inspired you to write this book?
I worked in corporate America for several years and I learned sometimes it took more than just doing a good job to climb the corporate ladder. So I wanted to show a heroine juggling work, office politics and a relationship.

Excerpt from In Pursuit of Perfection:
She closed her eyes and drew in a deep breath. All her thoughts whirled around the hurt little girl her father left standing in the doorway. That was the 202 area code number that kept showing up on her phone. She sighed. Brian had been too young to understand the destruction their father had caused. But she couldn’t forget, and she couldn’t forgive.

What exciting story are you working on next?
My next book drops later this year. It’s entitled Trouble in Paradise, it’s the second book in the Sebastian Island Series. I’ve also begun the next book in the Pursuit series – entitled In Pursuit of Payback. So I encourage your readers to be on the lookout for both.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I started writing poems, then moved to short stories. This was all while I was still in grade school. I started believing I could be a writer when I started making up stories for my sister and me when we played with our dolls. Writing is something I’ve always done. In 2012, I decided to get serious and see if I could get a novel published.

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’ve been a fulltime writer since 2015. I usually sit down at my desk after breakfast and try to get at least one thousand words on the page. In the afternoon, I’m doing writing-related tasks – reaching out to readers, social media, marketing or plotting a new story.

When I’m not writing, I’m reading or drawing. When the weather is perfect, I’ll get out on the golf course and smack the ball around with my husband.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
My interesting writing quirk is that I won’t let anyone read my books until I’m sure I know where the story is going. I also won’t give the book a title right away.  Usually I wait and see what strikes me mid-way through the book.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be a journalist, but my mother wanted me to do something that would get me a job when I graduated from college. So like a good daughter, I studied Business Administration. Now, I’m in full pursuit of something I’m passionate about – writing.


Thank you for being a guest on my blog today!

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Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Interview with mystery author Jane Renshaw

Mystery novelist Jane Renshaw is here today and we’re chatting about The Sweetest Poison.

During her virtual book tour, Jane will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble (winner’s choice) gift card. 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!

Having discovered early in her 'career' that she didn't have what it takes to be a scientist, Jane Renshaw shuffled sideways into scientific and medical editing, which has the big advantage that she can do it while watching Bargain Hunt! Jane writes what she loves to read – series of novels in which the reader can immerse herself, which let her get to know an engaging, interesting and/or terrifying cast of characters slowly, in the same way you get to know people in real life. Ideally, the drama should be played out in a gorgeous setting, and the cast should include at least one dangerously charismatic, witty, outrageous protagonist with whom the reader can fall in love. A bit of murder and mayhem in the mix never hurts either... Hence the Pitfourie Series.

Please share a little bit about your current release.
When she was eight years old, Helen Clack was bullied so mercilessly that she was driven to a desperate act. Now she is being targeted once more, but this time her tormentor’s identity is shrouded in doubt.

When her life starts to disintegrate, she flees home to the wilds of north-east Scotland, and to the one man she knows can help her – Hector Forbes, the dubiously charismatic Laird of Pitfourie, with whom she has been hopelessly in love ever since those hellish days in the school playground, when he was her protector, her rescuer, her eleven-year-old hero.

But is Hector really someone she can trust?

And can anyone protect her from the terrible secret she’s keeping?

What inspired you to write this book?
To be honest, I’m mainly inspired not by anything in the real world but by reading, by immersing myself in books in which I can fall in love with the characters, and be desperate to know what happens to them. The characters have to be complicated and three-dimensional and do interesting/alarming/funny things, but also have interesting/alarming/funny conversations. Ideally, one of them should contrive to be murdered. In my writing, I’m trying to create that sort of experience for other readers.

Of all the writers who inspire me, Dorothy Dunnett has to be at the top of the list. I always feel bereft when I finish the Lymond Chronicles for the umpteenth time!

Excerpt from The Sweetest Poison:
Helen looked up at the tree. There were plenty of pods hanging down from it, like peapods only skinnier.
How many would she need?
Yesterday when she was helping Daddy with the bales she had asked him, ‘How many laburnum seeds would someone have to eat before they died?’ and he’d shaken his head and said, ‘Hel’nie. You mustn’t ever take seeds from that tree,’ and she’d said, ‘I won’t. But how many would someone have to eat?’ and he’d shaken his head and said, ‘I don’t know, and I’m not just awful keen to find out.’
Helen wriggled her schoolbag off her back and dropped it down on the grass.
No one would see. The byre was between the tree and the kitchen window, and Daddy had gone up the fields to look at the calfies.
To reach the pods she would have to climb up on the fence, but Suzanne had shown her how to climb on barbed wire. She put one hand on the fence post under the tree, and one hand on the top wire, and climbed with her bum sticking out to keep her legs away from the jags. The wires were wobbly but she didn’t fall off. When she was high enough she let go the hand on the fence post and reached up and grabbed one of the pods.
It was as if the branch didn’t want to let go.
When they were little, Suzanne used to say peas were the pea plant’s children, and the peapod was a coat it had made for them, and when you ate peas you were eating the children. Even when she was little Helen hadn’t actually believed that, but now she couldn’t help thinking that the seeds were the tree’s children.
It had plenty though.
She leant out away from the fence so she could pull better, and the branch stretched and stretched but then it suddenly let go and flapped back. Helen grabbed the post.
She didn’t fall.
She could see the bumps of the seeds inside the pod. There were six.
Would that be enough?

What exciting story are you working on next?
At the moment I’m working on Book 2 in the series: Bad Company.

It’s winter at Pitfourie, and undercover policewoman Claire Castleford arrives from London to investigate the suspicious death of a colleague – inadequately supplied with thermal underwear and insufficiently forewarned about certain aspects of the suspect’s character. She’s falling for the bastard. To add to her problems, she’s trying to pass herself off as a housekeeper at the domestic goddess end of the spectrum, but has spent her whole life resisting domestication in all its forms.

She’s not letting that worry her, though.

How hard can it be to boil an egg?

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I remember the moment vividly. I was watching TV when the phone rang (this was in the days of landlines!) and a husky voice introduced herself as one of the agents at the top of my list (not sure if I should say who), who’d read the opening chapter of The Sweetest Poison (which was then called Natural Victim) and loved it! I was so scared and excited I wasn’t able to respond coherently. I babbled about hoping she wasn’t disappointed with the rest of the book, and her response was: ‘Even if there are problems, don’t worry, because YOU ARE A WRITER.’ Ironically, there were problems with the rest of the book, and I ended up putting it in a drawer for a long time (writer, huh?), until I reworked it and sent it out again and another agent picked it up... But I’ll never forget that moment, and will always be grateful for the first agent’s reassurance and encouragement.

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’m not lucky enough to write full-time. I need to pay the bills! I work part-time as a freelance copy editor and am also involved in caring for a family member. It’s quite hard to find time to write, and days or weeks can go by without much progress. When I am in writing mode, I find it easiest to be productive in the mornings. Sometimes it’s hard to get into a scene, but other times I’m suddenly ‘in the zone’ and seeing the action playing out in my mind’s eye. It’s a bit like watching a film, but having complete directorial control.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I don’t know about interesting, but I find that bribing myself with online games works well. ‘Just get to the end of this scene,’ I tell myself, ‘and you can play a game of Tetris!’

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
An intrepid zoologist exploring the Amazon Basin! I did end up studying biology, but that’s as close as I got. Now I get my zoology kicks from watching birds in the garden. Not quite the Amazon, but I love getting to know them as individual characters. Bertie the robin even comes to my hand for food!

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
Please take a look at my writing friends’ stuff:

Lucy Lawrie, writer of Tiny Acts of Love (The Sun: ‘funny, poignant and honest’) and The Last Day I Saw Her (This Chick Reads: ‘No wonder I devoured this book in one day, everything about it is brilliant’)

Lesley McLaren, nature writer extraordinaire:

Oh, and I would love to hear from any readers who would like to get in touch via my website.


Thank you for being a guest on my blog!
Thank you for having me!

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Monday, July 29, 2019

Interview with suspense/thriller author R. Scott Wallis

Author R. Scott Wallis joins me today to chat about his new suspense/thriller, The Maine Nemesis.

During his virtual book tour, R. Scott will be awarding a $50 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!

R. Scott Wallis is endlessly inspired by his surroundings and adventures. And he thrives on new chapters and creating unique projects to keep himself out of trouble. Scott started his working life as an advance person and assistant to a sitting United States Vice President. Later, he served as the creative director for a leading Washington think tank. That led to working directly for one of the richest men on Earth, conceiving and executing exclusive events for his billionaire friends. Tired of working for the man, Scott became a top-rated pop-culture podcaster and celebrity interviewer, while also dabbling in both the worlds of clothing manufacturing (creating his own baby clothes brand that was sold in over 300 stores nationwide) and retail sales, with his own well-received men's clothing store.

Always willing to lend a hand or donate what he can, he's an enthusiastic philanthropist, championing causes such as childhood bullying, animal adoption, and feeding the less fortunate. A wide-eyed world traveler, Scott has been to four continents, mostly by sea. While he loves exploring Europe and the Caribbean islands, it's the vast United States that he likes best. He's been to Alaska four times, Hawaii twice, and can't wait to explore the eight states he hasn't been to yet. Technically a Connecticut Yankee, Scott grew up in historic Williamsburg, Virginia, and lived for 25 years in the Washington, D.C. area, before recently discovering that the American West is where he is most at home. He lives in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Please share a little bit about your current release.
The Maine Nemesis is the first book in my new Skyler Moore Thriller series. It follows the adventures of public relations hotshot Skyler Moore and her best friend—celebrity chef Brenda Braxton—during a summer vacation in their hometown of Wabanaki, on the southern coast of Maine. And as is the norm on Skyler’s travels, mayhem ensues. Women are dropping dead in the sleepy town where nothing ever happens, and it’s up to Skyler and friends to save the town they love so much.

What inspired you to write this book?
It started with my love for Maine. All my aunts and uncles live there, and I spent a great deal of time on the southern coast, and in the central lake region, during my childhood. Maine summers are quite magical, complete with picturesque old houses, endless lobster rolls, and chilly summer evenings. I just knew from the get-go that Skyler had to be from my favorite state and begin her journey there.

And although they are middle-age women in my novels, in the Prologue, we get a glimpse of their fictional town of Wabanaki, and how my two heroines first met as children:

Excerpt from Prologue of The Maine Nemesis:
During one typically mild Maine summer, slightly more than a few decades ago, while the United States of America was celebrating the anniversary of its independence from England, fifth-grader Skyler Elizabeth Moore was celebrating her freedom from being the only little girl on her street. While she got along fine with most of the kids in her class, she’d not yet made a best friend—besides her beloved Raggedy Ann doll—so when Brenda Braxton, along with her brother and aunt, moved into the white clapboard house diagonally across the street, Skyler made it her mission to show the new girl around their tiny New England town in order to win her friendship.
There were only a handful of houses on the street and most of them were only used in the summer, making for a very sleepy, almost ghost town-like existence for a pre-teen girl during the school year. Skyler would stare into the houses’ dark windows as she walked to school, trying to catch a glimpse of something moving inside. A forgotten cat. A caretaker. Even a ghost. She believed in them and was certain that big old empty houses were where they lived.
When the biting winter winds that came off the ocean turned soothingly cool and the town sprung back to life after Memorial Day, Skyler would get her hopes up that a new family—with kids her age—would magically appear on the block. Specifically, a girl. So, when she finally spotted one that early July day, she wasted no time.
The moving truck was still in front of the house on the corner, and even though her mother told her to wait until the family settled in, Skyler marched herself to the open door and stepped into the front hall. She scooted to the left to avoid getting hit by a couch that two large men lifted through the doorway and then she followed them into the living room.
There she was. A girl her own age, sitting on a moving box, eating a banana.
“My mom would be very proud,” she said when she noticed Skyler. “She was always pushing fruit on me.”
“I love bananas,” Skyler lied as she moved closer. “I’m Skyler. I live across the street.”
“I’m Brenda. And I guess I live here now.”
“Welcome to Wabanaki.”
“Such a weird name for a town.”
“It’s named after an Indian tribe. American Indian, not India Indian.”
“I’ll never be able to spell it.”
“I’m good at spelling. It’s easy. W.A.B.A.N.A.K.I. Wabanaki. Almost like banana with all the A’s after the letters.”
“I guess. Did you just let yourself in?”
“I did. Is that okay with your mother?”
“I’m sure she doesn’t care. I’m glad you came in.”
“Me, too.” Skyler couldn’t stop smiling. “Me, too.”
Skyler noticed that Brenda was a little on the heavy side with a roll of fat around her middle that peeked out between her shirt and shorts, but it didn’t faze her. Brenda had a hearty, infectious laugh and positive attitude despite what Skyler would come to understand was an arduous childhood. Her homework could have been eaten by the dog, or the vacation she was looking forward to could have been cancelled at the last minute, and she’d always manage to find the silver lining. Brenda’s attitude would balance well with Skyler’s sometimes dark outlook on life.

What exciting story are you working on next?
I released the second book in the series, The New Mexico Scoundrel, this past May, and I just sent the third, The Nevada Saboteur, to my editor. It comes out on September 27. I have plans for three more Skyler books in 2020, that will take my new friends to Alaska, California, and Virginia. I also have a thriller called, Scout’s Honor: Lifeline, coming out on August 23. (Yes, I’m exhausted, but excited!)

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
From the very beginning. As soon as I started to learn to read and write, I started making up my own stories. My mother has always said that I thought in cartoons; I guess I had a pretty active imagination. I’ve always loved making things up and putting those creations together with the people and places I have come to know in my real life. I’ve traveled extensively, and I’ve met many interesting characters along the way. They all make it into my stories on way or another.

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 and podcasting are my full-time jobs. I like to write first thing in the morning, so I get up with the sun—and the dogs—and sit at my desk and write from about 6:00am until about 10:00am every single day. I save emails and marketing my books—that’s an independent writers second full-time job, mind you—for the afternoon. I never touch my computer or my phone in the evenings, unless I get a thought or idea for one of my stories, then I’ll make a quick note so that I don’t forget it. I produce the pop culture podcast, The Swish Edition, on the weekends. I love to talk about as much as I love to write, and my silly little show has reached the top 2% of comedy podcasts on iTunes. Now I just wish I could get to the top 2% of Amazon with my books!

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I don’t know if it’s a quirk or not, but my absolute favorite thing to write is dialogue. Perhaps I was supposed to be a screenwriter? In any event, I tend to let my characters tell the story with their speech. I don’t do a lot of describing how people look, either. I’d rather let the reader decide, in their own head, what someone looks like. For example, I have ideas about which Hollywood actors and actresses should play my characters in the eventual movies (wishful thinking, huh?), but I would never, ever tell anyone who they are. I wouldn’t want to ruin someone else’s idea of who Skyler, Brenda, at al, are.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Rich. I think I thought that was a job. I used to love television shows like “Dallas” and “Dynasty” and just knew that I had to have gobs of money, too, to be happy. Of course, it helps, but I quickly realized that loving what you do and who you are, are much more important. That, and private jets. Private jets will always make you happy.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
I’m just over-the-moon that people are excited to read my books. It tickles me to no end. When you put hundreds and hundreds of hours into something that you created from scratch, and then people discover it, and like it, well, that’s just the icing on the cake. I mean, two different books clubs are reading and discussing MY books this summer. I never thought something like that would happen to little ol’ me. It’s a dream come true. Now all I need is that darned private jet!


Thank you for being a guest on my blog!

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Wednesday, July 24, 2019

New interview with paranormal romance author Maya Tyler

Novelist Maya Tyler is back in the hot seat today to chat about her new paranormal romance, A Wizard’s Choice.

She was last here in April 2017 to chat about A Vampire’s Tale.

During her virtual book tour, Maya will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble (winner’s choice) gift card to a luck 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!

Maya Tyler is a multi-published author of paranormal romance novels and blogger at Maya’s Musings. An avid reader, Maya writes the books she loves to read—romances! She still believes that “True Love's Kiss” is the most powerful thing in the world. Her paranormal romances come with complex plot twists and happily-ever-afters.

When she’s not writing, she enjoys reading, listening to music (alternative rock, especially from the 1990s), practicing yoga, and watching movies and TV.

Welcome back to Reviews and Interviews, Maya! Please tell us about your newest release.
A Wizard’s Choice follows wizard apprentice Kurtis Warde, a character introduced in A Vampire’s Tale. Although it is the second book in a series, it can be read as a standalone.

Kurtis’ parents abandoned him as a baby, and his grandfather raised him. Becoming a full-fledged wizard is more of an obligation to his grandfather than a true career aspiration. He wants the freedom to choose his own path and perhaps find love.

Other forces—an ancient wizard-fairy feud and a secret from his past—are in play and threaten Kurtis’ choices and his life.

What inspired you to write this book?
As children, we owe a lot to our parents, but when do their dreams end and ours begin? When do you break out from underneath their expectations and stake claim to your own life?

In A Wizard’s Choice, I explore this theme as several characters have conflicts between their familial expectations and their dreams. Kurtis is becoming a wizard to please his grandfather. Another character, Alina Lehrer, is contemplating an arranged marriage to please her parents.

Excerpt from A Wizard’s Choice:
Something sharp poked him in the arm. Keeping his eyes closed, he batted the culprit—probably an insect looking for its breakfast—away. It poked him again, jabbing a little deeper.

“Go away.” Kurtis plopped his pillow over his face.

In a sudden, fluid motion, his bedding—sheets, comforter, and pillows—flew off his bed. He found himself laid on a bare mattress, staring at a black magic wand, suspended in mid-air.

“Whoa, whoa, whoa.” He raised his hands, careful not to make any sudden moves. Who owns this wand? Friend or foe? The wand had no equal, finely made from black walnut tree wood with a smooth and plain handle sandwiched between corkscrew-like carvings. The body tapered neatly to a dull point. The wand turned in the air, and Kurtis saw the distinctive “W” of his family crest engraved into the tip of the tenon. Waldor’s wand.

Like a compass needle, the wand pointed its desired direction. Unsanctioned movement was highly unusual behavior for a wand. But no stranger than anything else that happened in the last few days. He shrugged and followed the wand. It led him into the basement to the Spell Laboratory.

After a quick glance around the room, Kurtis determined nothing had changed. Nothing stood out as noteworthy. He glared at the wand. “If this wild goose chase is your idea of fun, then I’m going back to bed.”

Ignoring Kurtis’ threat—as if a wand could respond—it floated toward the far wall and rammed itself into a stone brick. An entire section of the wall rescinded, revealing a hidden passage.

“What?” His mouth gaped open. “How did I miss this?”

The wand disappeared into the now exposed hallway.

“Wait for me.” I can’t believe I’m talking to a wand.

What’s the next writing project?
This summer, I’m participating in a writing contest on the app Chapters: Interactive Stories. My story is called Duet at Midnight. The premise is a reverse Cinderella story with an older brother falling for a pop princess.

I’m posting Duet at Midnight one chapter at a time directly on the app which is a new experience for me.

What is your biggest challenge when writing a new book? (or the biggest challenge with this book)
My biggest writing challenge occurs when I get so far into the story…and then I get stuck. It’s a bit like writer’s block, except I’m only missing the piece in the middle. I ask myself, “What can I add to move the plot forward?” My husband often helps me brainstorm.

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?
My novels usually require research. From street names to subway stops, I check my facts. I do research before and during the writing process. I bookmark websites I’ve used as references and make handwritten notes as well.

In addition to fact checking, I also look up the meanings of my character names and often select names based on origin and meaning.

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.
In my house full of boys, I needed to have a feminine retreat. A place to escape the Star Wars shower curtain in the main bathroom and the Lego Star Wars battle scene hanging from the rec room ceiling. My solution? I have a lovely purple office. It’s a small space, but I’ve used every inch efficiently. I have three tall white bookshelves, of varying widths, and a white cabinet with half-glass doors. Over my desk, which is a white slab resting on white filing cabinets, I have two hanging box shelves. Before we went shopping at Ikea, I hadn’t planned on buying white furniture, but the end result is quite charming.

My office is my all-season writing room. During the non-winter months, I also spend a lot of time writing outside in my gazebo. About three years ago, we purchased a large gazebo with netting and heavy curtains. We furnished it with a wicker loveseat, chair and ottoman, and rocking chair. We added a fire table—that never worked—at least it’s pretty. We bought a cedar folding table and chairs set. We picked up a large rug and some wall hangings. And we called it the family room. When it’s not my writing space, we play board games and eat meals there.

What authors do you enjoy reading within or outside of your genre?
I love reading, and I have so many favorite authors. I read mainly romance in the subgenres of paranormal/fantasy and historical.

I recently found a new favorite, based on the recommendation of a friend, Sarah J. Maas, author of A Court of Thorns and Roses Series. When I read A Court of Thorns and Roses (Book 1), I could hardly put it down.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers today?
I love to hear from fellow authors and readers! Please connect with me through social media (see links below) or the contact form on my website.

Buy Links
A Vampire’s Tale: Amazon | Smashwords | Apple | Kobo | Barnes and Noble
A Wizard’s Choice on Amazon

Thanks for having me here today!

Absolutely my pleasure. Thank you for coming back to Reviews and Interviews!

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