Thursday, May 31, 2012

Interview with romance author K. Reed

Today's guest author, K. Reed, writes romance with a twist. She's here to talk about Dark Inheritance: Fallen Empire and she has some wonderful post-apocalypse survival baskets to give to randomly drawn commentors during the virtual book tour. Details follow the interview.

Too many post-apocalyptic stories, movies, and what-ifs crowded her head, and K Reed decided to do something about it. So she plotted one out, decided an historical post-apocalyptic romance was the way to go, and wrote that one instead.

A lover of all things historical, of strong heroes with equally strong heroines, and of sexy pirates, she’s going to explore the post-apocalyptic world of plague-ridden 1804 and the gritty criminal element of Victorian England.

Luckily she has an understanding family, supportive friends, and a day job that offers her the flexibility she needs to plot, plan, and write. Sure, one day she’d like to travel the country in search of fantastic storylines and great locale pictures, but for now she’ll stick to the east coast and the internet.

Welcome, K. Please tell us about your current release.
Dark Inheritance: Fallen Empire isn’t your usual Regency romance. In fact, I’d hazard to say there’s not another Regency romance like this…period. You see, Dark Inheritance is an alternate history where a plague has infected Regency Era England and the sumptuous ballrooms and gossiping matrons have been silenced.

It’s a fight for survival. Death has decimated the populace and those who are left riot, steal, and murder for the few resources left.

Grayson, Baron Harwich, struggles to maintain what order he can manage in a small portion of England. Juliette, Lady Adair, simply struggles to survive when all around her succumb. It’s a fight not only for survival but to try and restore what once was.

What inspired you to write this book?
I wanted to do something very different in a genre I was very familiar with. After all, who doesn’t love Mr. Darcy? But I didn’t want to brave the normal fare and be lost among other Regency writers. So I invented this world.

It really sprung from my twisted little mind. I always wonder about the what ifs. The alternate history, the odd events, the could have happens. It all draws me in.

What exciting story are you working on next?
My next series is a bit of a different project for me. While I normally set things in the Regency Era, I’m moving up in time to the Victorian Era, the late Victorians, the 1880s. No alternate history here, but romantic suspense with a serial killer and all the Sherlock Holmes-type aspect to it. The major difference being my ‘detectives’ aren’t going to be super sleuths with major leaps in logic, rather a normal couple with an interest in criminology trying to solve a very complex mystery.

Added into this Victorian trilogy the same rules of society I might normally play with, or in the case of Dark Inheritance: Fallen Empire, completely reinvent. I plan to use those rules to define the romantic elements of the story.

Aside from the Victorian trilogy, I’m going to work on another different project. I’ve been asked to co-author a cookbook based on the Edwardian Era. I’m looking forward to starting that project; it should be fun putting together the typical daily meals for the era, and including the etiquette and entertaining tips that go along with it.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I don’t remember ever not dabbling in writing since a young age. But to consider myself a writer, I’d say when I finished my first book. Finished as in completed it, not necessarily all the other things that go with that such as editing, editing, and editing.

Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like?  If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
I don’t write full time, not in the strictest sense, but it feels like it. I find time here and there, I make my writing a priority and schedule times to do so even with my day job and all the other obligations that go with family, friends, and life. Would I like to write full time? YES! Perhaps one day.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I don’t know that I have one. I’m a pretty boring writer when it comes to the actual writing part. I sit down, set my mind to it, and just write.

Yeah, even typing that it sounds boring!

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
It was a toss-up—The President of the United States…or Wonder Woman.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
Alternate history seems to be all the rage, what with Pride & Prejudice & Zombies, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, the complete list of Harry Turtledove, and several short-lived TV series about going back in time to fix something. Quantum Leap anyone? So my question to you is…what would you find an interesting topic for an alternate history? An historical like I did or something more current?

Here's a blurb for Dark Inheritance: Fallen Empire:
The once glittering ballrooms of Regency England now lay desolate. A plague has ravaged the countryside. The government has fallen. What vestiges of order remained have been consumed by the endless funeral pyres. 

Grayson, once the Baron of Harwich, sought only to protect his people. Rescuing a half-dead woman was not among his plans. But something about her pulled at him. Perhaps it was her beauty, still evident beneath the pallor of loss. Perhaps it was the recently fired rifle at her side. Or maybe he was simply tried of death. All he knew was that the plague had taken too much already. He couldn’t let it take her as well.

Lady Juliette Adair had been ready to die with her brother. She didn't expect to be shown mercy in a world that had no room for mercy. When Grayson saved her she questioned his motives but soon found herself intrigued by him, drawn to him. 

Societal rules were a thing of the past, dead along with the ton. Juliette had no manner by which to measure her growing closeness to Grayson any longer. But when she discovers he may not be the man she thought she knew more is at stake than just her heart. The secrets she carries could make a king or destroy one.

Here's an excerpt for Dark Inheritance: Fallen Empire:
“How do you survive if you gather every beggar you find?” she wondered softly.

Grayson took a step closer and, even if he didn’t know himself why he insisted on taking her back to Harwich, answered honestly. “I’ve never taken one before now.”

Shaking her head, Juliette glanced to her brother. “Do not start with me, then. I should be here.” She gestured to the body. “By his side.”

When her eyes met his again, he saw it. Despite her weakness, her delicate state, strength sparked in her blue eyes. Unbidden, fury flashed through him at her words, at a sentiment that contrasted with the look in her eyes.

He’d given his men strict instructions. No matter what they saw, how many begged for mercy, they were to perform their duties—find supplies to help their village, their people.  Never had they disobeyed him.

Today marked the first time his commands had been broken. And it was he who had broken them. Instinct, an unnamed feeling, wouldn’t allow him to leave her behind. Grayson was drawn to her, wanted her. Juliette touched a part of him he’d thought long abandoned.

Leaning closer, Grayson said clearly, “I have no interest in your absolution.”

Thanks for stopping by, K. 

Readers, if you'd like to connect with K, she's on Twitter. Dark Inheritance can be purchased through All Romance, Amazon, Barnes &  Noble, or CreateSpace.

And don't forget, the author will award nine Post-apocalypse survival baskets (which include tea, a fan, a shawl, a bracelet and more -- Plus ONE Grand Prize basket will include an iPod Touch) to randomly drawn commentors during the tour - US/Canada only. So, comment below and leave your e-mail if you'd like a chance to win. And to increase your chances, you can follow her tour and comment at other stops.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Interview with mystery novelist Radine Trees Nehring

Today's guest author is a return visitor. Radine Trees Nehring stopped by last summer to talk about her novel Journey to Die For. Today she's here to share about her newest novel, A Fair to Die For.

Welcome back, Radine. Please tell us about your newest release.
A Fair to Die For centers around what is probably the largest craft fair in the United States, the War Eagle Fair, founded in Arkansas in 1954, and now drawing up to two hundred thousand attendees over its four-day run every October.

Shirley Booth, one of my readers' favorite characters outside of Carrie and Henry, has been accepted as a fair exhibitor--no small honor--and will sell her baby quilts and cuddlies at this fall's fair, assisted by good friends Carrie McCrite and Eleanor Stack. As fair time approaches, a cousin Carrie didn't know existed appears on her doorstep. Though uncertain about the truth of the cousin's relationship claims, Carrie and her new husband, Henry King, prepare lunch for the visitor. She tells them a story about her father's disappearance, saying he was an undercover agent for a the Bureau of Drug Abuse Control back in the 1960s. She has learned a much younger agent who worked with her father, now retired, is a wood worker selling his toys at the War Eagle Fair. She hopes to connect with this man and learn the truth about her father's disappearance.

Things get pretty sticky before long, several people are not what they claim to be, and Carrie herself ends up in grave danger. The question, as always, is: Will she get out of this? I think readers realize, at least subliminally, that she will, since the series continues. Besides -- I know from experience I'd be in deep trouble if anything REALLY awful happened to her. I see resolving the problems she faces as exhibiting strengths all people possess, but are especially important when demonstrated by women. That was one of my purposes in beginning this series -- showing how a fairly dependent woman can learn to call on and use strengths she hasn't realized she possesses.

What inspired you to write this book?
I've mentioned wanting to show how Carrie awakens to her core of strength. But, as with all my other books, a love for Arkansas and fascination with the many wonderful tourist destinations and events in the Ozarks also inspires me. The story is set largely at the fair, but also in the still-working 1832 War Eagle Mill -- across the river from the fair -- and in Hobbs State Park, Arkansas's newest and largest state park, located just east of the mill area. As always, research was enjoyable and, may I say, fruitful.

Can you tell us anything about your next writing project?
I'm still researching possible destinations for number eight in this series. A location has to say "story" to me before I decide to set a novel there.

What is your biggest challenge when writing a new book?
Thus far I have never suffered from writer's block, but I definitely have difficulty with "time block." (ie: not enough time to do research and write.) These days an author has tremendous social networking demands on his or her time (for publicity and connection purposes), in addition to arranging the usual in-person appearances. Writers are, in reality, managing a small business.

Research for my novels consists, first, of reading about various interesting events and locations in the Ozarks area of Arkansas. When the history and ambience of a location seems appealing, I visit the area, which sometimes requires trips taking two or more days. The first time I visit, I spend time absorbing the feel of the place, seeing what it says to me. If a location is chosen for my story, readers can trust that I have been there, including inside the scarier places. Later I begin to put my chosen plot events into the site, talking to people who work there, and always making sure I honor the location by getting both the history and on-the-ground details depicted correctly. I also continue research after I am writing the story, filling in details I didn't know I'd need during initial research.

Do you have a writing area where all the work happens?
My favorite location for doing the actual writing is my own work-dedicated office in our home. Since I am now preparing to begin my ninth book, I have a lot of accumulated material in files in my office, as well as shelves full of print books giving information needed by any mystery author. I do use the Internet for some research, but rely more heavily on in-person interviews and material found at the selected site. Most of the real writing is done in my office. If I am going to be away from the office for more than a day I take my small laptop along, and create a tiny office in the back seat of our car where I can continue work while my husband drives. (I use the back seat because glare on a computer screen in the front seat of a car can blank out screen details.)

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Writing burst out of me after my husband and I bought land in the Ozarks, built a cabin, and spent weekends here while still working in the city. My first essay, "Where Hummingbirds Matter" sold almost immediately to the Home Forum editor of The Christian Science Monitor and was published in March, 1986. After that, writing poured out. I didn't begin writing my mystery series, however, until fifteen years later.

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 now, but that doesn't mean I'm always working on fiction. These days, help for writers I am mentoring, responses to questions, preparing for talks, writing publicity, writing my blog, and taking part in various Internet conversations take part of every writing day.

If you have spare time, who are the authors you enjoy reading?
As for reading the work of other authors, I enjoy the work of most traditional or cozy mystery writers. Past favorites include what are called the "dead British ladies," beginning with Agatha Christie. I also enjoy a multitude of today's authors, and wish I had more time to read their books. Margaret Maron, Carolyn Hart, and Marilyn Meredith are special favorites. I always find time to read their new releases.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I never dreamed I'd be a published writer. My first "wanna be" career hope was architect since I loved outlining houses with sticks on my bedroom rug, and, later, began doing detailed drawings of house plans.  Then I was told "Girls aren't architects and you aren't good enough in math anyway." I followed architect with opera singer. (As a teen I listened to the Met broadcasts every Saturday afternoon with rapt attention.  Only one problem.  I didn't have the voice.) Last I dreamed of being an archeologist.   That possibility also faded. I ended up working in the field of interior design. Until 1986 I never supposed I'd write for publication. I'm still a bit surprised when I realize, "I really am a published writer!"

Anything else you'd like to share with the readers?
No matter what anyone says, and though the career of a full-time novelist can be frustrating and demanding, the huge enjoyment I find in creating stories, essays, and other writing mitigates most of the problems. I suspect this is true for many authors. Since very few writers become wealthy from their writing only, the fact we love what we do is compensation. If that weren't true, most of us would probably be plumbers or musicians, work in large companies or small businesses, or . . . drive a school bus. Which, come to think of it, is what at least one author I know does.

Thank you so much for coming back for another visit with us, Radine. It's been a pleasure learning a bit more about you and your writing.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Interview with historical fiction novelist N. Gemini Sasson

Today's guest author is historical fiction novelist N.Gemini Sasson as she tours her newest book, The King Must Die.

She also has a giveaway to a lucky commentor. Details follow the interview.

N. Gemini Sasson is the author of The Bruce Trilogy (The Crown in the Heather, Worth Dying For, and The Honor Due a King), Isabeau (2011 IPPY Silver Medalist for Historical Fiction) and The King Must Die. She holds degrees in Education and Biology from Wright State University where she ran cross country on athletic scholarship. She’s also an avid gardener, serial remodeler, dog sport enthusiast and gradually decaying 40-something runner.

Welcome, Gemini. Please tell us about your current release.
The King Must Die begins in 1326, when King Edward II of England has been dethroned by his queen, Isabella, and her lover, Sir Roger Mortimer.

Isabella’s son is installed as King Edward III at the callow age of fourteen. Young Edward, however, must bide his time as the loyal son until he can break the shackles of his minority and dissolve the regency council which dictates his every action.

When the former king is found mysteriously dead in his cell, the truth becomes obscured and Isabella can no longer trust her own memory . . . or confide in those closest to her. Meanwhile, she struggles to keep her beloved Mortimer at her side and gain yet another crown—France’s—for the son who no longer trusts her.

This is a story about secrecy, treason, conspiracy and revenge, as well as accusations of murder.

What inspired you to write this book?
When my agent was shopping around The Bruce Trilogy for me, more than one editor said that historicals about men didn’t sell well and what they were looking for was historical fiction with female protagonists. One of the viewpoint characters in the Bruce books is King Edward II of England, so I had to do a lot of research about him and his wife, Isabella of France. More and more, I found myself drawn to Isabella’s story and it was one of those comments from an editor that made me say, “All right, then. I’m going to write a story about her, because it hasn’t been done before.” After all, who could resist the intrigue of a queen who takes a lover, invades her husband’s country and overthrows him to put her son on the throne of England? You can’t make that stuff up.

Excerpt from The King Must Die

Edward III – Stanhope Park, July, 1327

“Douglas! Douglas!”

Praying it was only a nightmare, I slapped at my cheeks to bring a rush of blood to my hazy head.

Hooves clattered. More shouts. Then ... sword clanged against sword, struck flesh. Chaos. The cries of the wounded.

My heart clogged my throat. The realization struck me with the deadly force of one of Sir John’s cannons: we were under attack. Swallowing hard, I groped in the darkness for my sword. Frantic, I flailed my hand in a wider circle, my palm swatting at a mat of crushed grass. Then, my fingers smacked against my shield. My bones screamed in pain. Great, burning throbs. I pulled my hand to my chest and tried to move my fingers, but couldn’t.

The sounds were coming closer, growing louder.

Kyrie, eleison,” I chanted. “Kyrie, eleison. Kyrie —”

A dull glint caught my eye. I flexed aching fingers, wrapped them around the hilt and pulled my sword to me. Then I grabbed at the edge of my shield, dragging it over a crumpled shirt, and slipped my left arm through the loosened straps. No time to pull them tight. Rolling over onto my knees, I scooted around the center pole toward the opening. My blade clunked against metal—my helmet. Tucking my sword on my lap, I reached out, grasped it, and settled it snugly onto my head.

The shrill neigh of a horse ripped through the night air. Hooves crashed to a halt just outside the opening of my tent. I froze.

“A Douglas!”

What exciting story are you working on next?
I have another epic historical that is printed out and scattered on my living room floor right now. It takes place in the 15th century and is about Owain Glyndwr, the last Welsh Prince of Wales. When Henry Bolingbroke usurps the throne from King Richard II of England, Owain is caught in the middle. A peaceful family man and country esquire, he has no wish to become involved in England’s upheaval, but circumstances compel him to lead a Welsh rebellion. He’s forced into hiding, separating him for long periods from his beloved wife, Margaret, and his eleven children. Little by little, though, he takes control of critical strongholds and turns the tide of English domination – but not without a cost.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
It was actually a gradual metamorphosis. In grad school, I’d written scientific articles and later I wrote editorial articles for dog breed journals. Then, while my kids were still young and life was often chaos, I wrote to escape, to be in control of something. But I never really felt like a ‘writer’ then. It was just a hobby and a dream.

When I got my very first e-mail fan letter, I finally thought, “Holy cow, I really am a writer! I have a reader.” To this day, I print out every letter I get from every reader and tape it to the wall behind my desk.

Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like?  If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
I do! But my work day is highly variable. I always have a hard time starting a new book, because I don’t know the characters yet. It’s like sitting in a room with strangers, trying to make conversation. I avoid writing by reorganizing the basement or pulling weeds in the garden. My house and yard look great at that stage!

Gradually, the further along I get the longer my work days become. I drive towards the end like a Wall Street stock trader on crack. At that point I forget my family even exists. The computer goes on at 8 a.m. and I don’t shut down until midnight. This is when my house is overrun by piles of dirty laundry, stacks of bills and shin-high grass in the front yard. It’s exhilarating and exhausting and is usually followed by a weeklong emotional meltdown when I’m nearing completion of a book.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
Maybe that I write with a fish tank gurgling behind me, two dogs at my feet, a cat on the windowsill, a TV on my desk, and a CD playing a continuous loop of Florence and the Machine . . . and yet I can’t write a single word if there’s a family member in the house within eyeshot. Too distracting. I know – it makes no sense.

LOL.   :)

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
At one point, I thought I’d become a veterinarian. On a job shadow, we watched a vet neuter a cat. Ergh. Okay, next plan. Writer? I parked a little metal desk and a 1950’s Royal typewriter in my closet, closed the door and turned the light on. Then I disappeared into my own little make-believe world. Yes, perfect.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
I think many readers shy away from historical fiction because they remember history class in high school as being about dates and dry facts – boring, in other words. But historical fiction is about finding the ‘story’ in ‘history’. It can be adventure, romance, mystery . . . I try to make my characters matter as much as the setting and the period in time. The greatest compliment I can get from a reader is when they say the cried at the end – not that I want to make people cry, but it’s so rewarding to know they got attached enough to the characters to care about them that much.

Thanks so much for having me, Lisa! I really enjoyed talking.

My pleasure, Gemini. Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing so much with us!

Readers, Gemini is awarding a $25 Amazon gift card to one randomly drawn commentor during the tour. All you need to do is comment below. And if you want more chances to win, check out the other tour dates and comment on other stops. The more you comment, the more chances you have to win!

Friday, May 25, 2012

The Writer's Chatroom presents a Critique Chat

Sunday, May 27, The Writer's Chatroom will have a critique chat. Would you like a crit from the entire chatroom? Then follow the guidelines EXACTLY.



Email 200-300 words from your work. Paste your submission into the email.

Copy this list and put it at the beginning of the email, with your answers:

Format (short story, novel, etc):
Section: (beginning, middle, or end of piece):
Name you intend to publish under:
Name you use in the chatroom:

Submissions that follow the guidelines will be used in the order they are received. I don't know how many we will get through, but the queue starts when the first correct submission is received.

I strongly suggest you submit polished work. Most of our chatters are aiming for publication. To get there, you have to be able to handle honest critiques. I will not allow personal attacks, but problems in the writing will be openly discussed.
If you are not in attendence, your submission will be skipped. It's a waste of everyone's time to critique something if the author isn't there to hear it.

Fiction, nonfic, essay...doesn't matter. I recommend trying to get an entire scene into 300 words. Full scenes get better crits.
Why only 300 words? More than that will scroll off the screen too quickly. People need to be able to read it, to give a good crit.
Please be on time for this chat. Crosstalk, including greetings, will be kept to a bare minimum. Make sure you have floated and enlarged your screen in chat, so you can keep up.Here we go...let's see how many of you have learned to write well and follow submission guidelines. First submission up for crits is...  

Sunday, May 27, 2012
Eastern USA Time.....7 PM

Not sure what time that is wherever in the world you are?


The Writers Chatroom at:

Scroll down to the Java box. It may take a moment to load. Type in the name you wish to be known by, and click Login. No password needed.

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

Don't forget the topic chats on Wednesday nights, 8-10 pm EST!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Interview with sci-fi author Marie Bilodeau

Please welcome science-fiction author Marie Bilodeau. She's on a tour for her novel Destiny's Fall.

She's offering a gift to a lucky commentor on this blog today, and other chances to win. Details follow the interview.

Marie Bilodeau’s space fantasy novel, Destiny’s Blood, was a finalist in the Aurora Awards and won the Bronze Medal for Science-Fiction in the Foreword Book Awards. She is also the author of the Heirs of a Broken Land, a fantasy trilogy described as “fresh and exciting” by Robert J. Sawyer, Hugo award-winning author of WAKE. Her short stories have appeared in several magazines and anthologies. Her short story, The Legend of Gluck, published in When the Hero Comes Home (edited by Ed Greenwood and Gabrielle Harbowy), was also nominated for an Aurora Award. Marie is a professional storyteller, telling adaptations of fairy tales and myths, as well as original stories of her own creation.

Welcome, Marie. Please tell us about your current release.
Destiny’s Fall is the sequel to the award-winning Destiny’s Blood.

Our heroine, Layela Delamores, gives birth to her daughter, heir to the First Star. But what should be a joyous occasion turns to terror as the First Star rejects her daughter, triggering destruction across the Solarian Empire and sparking rebellion on the withering planet of Mirial.

Denied access to her ether as a new heir steps up to claim her throne, Layela embarks on a journey across worlds to save her daughter from the bloodthirsty rebels and from the fate deemed by the First Star long ago.

But not everyone can be saved, and destiny may prove impossible to escape.

Blurb for Destiny's Fall:
A broken tradition. A hunted child. A rebellion that threatens to topple the very fabric of the universe. 

When Layela Delamores gives birth to her first child, the ether immediately rejects what should be its only heir. A wave of destruction sweeps the ether races and sparks Solaria’s ire and rebellion on Mirial. A new heir rises to take the throne of Mirial, one who wields tainted ether.

Unable to access the flow of ether, Layela is left with little choice but to flee Mirial, seeking answers that may no longer exist, prepared to sacrifice everything to free herself and her daughter from the clutches of the First Star.

Excerpt from Destiny's Fall:
Elsa sent soothing waves to the earth. The saplings, still so small and tiny, responded in turn. Be still, she comforted them. They grew still and quiet, and she hoped they would avoid detection.

She reached out to the plants surrounding the gardens—the elm tree to the right, the great oak to the left. The bluebells lining the ground, mixed in with buttercups. The Lacile flowers which glowed gently, hiding now from the sun. The grass all around them, the wildflowers peeking through between the blades, the roses and their thorns, the poofy orange plants whose names she could never recall, and the bushes that held tiny leaves and pink flowers when spring was fresh and new.

She called out to all of them in the sunlight, to take care of the gardens, to protect the sproutlings of the Berganda in these uncertain times, while their mothers fought for peace on Mirial. Wave after wave of hope and need left her and filled the plants. With her all-too-human eyes, she imagined the plants standing a bit taller, but she knew it was only her imagination; they gently swayed in the wind around her.

Her own mother had been able to communicate with the plants and bend their will to hers. Or seal them to her with friendship, she wasn’t certain. Her own mother would have stood by Layela and fought, even giving up her life for her and the Berganda. Elsa hid her forming plans deep in her heart.

She had never known her mother, but she intended to live up to her legacy.

What inspired you to write this book?
Honestly, there wasn’t supposed to be a second book in the Destiny series. Dragon Moon Press’ Editor-in-Chief, Gabrielle Harbowy, requested a rewrite of the first book’s epilogue, saying it was too final. As soon as I handed that in, she asked if I’d be willing to write two more books in the series. 

And I certainly was!  Returning to the world of Destiny was like returning home and meeting old friends again.  Except I’d done horrible things to them in the first book, so they probably weren’t really happy to see me again. Regardless, a whole plot was quickly born and we headed towards adventure at breakneck speed!

What exciting story are you working on next?
I’m working on the third book of the series, which is darker, more action-packed and, for me at least, very nostalgic. I won’t spoil anything, but trust me – it’s gonna be awesome! 

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
When the whispers of a story would tease me awake and my pen met paper every morning before sunrise, when the scent of a latte was my sole companion as I discovered new worlds, and when I first wrote “The End” on a novel. That was more than ten years ago, after I finished university. And what a ride it’s been!

Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like?  If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
I wish I wrote full time!  But not yet. I get up early in the mornings and head to a coffee shop downtown.  I write for about an hour (at least 1000 words) before heading in to work. I have an energizing job that I love in communications. I work a full day. Then, my day breaks down. I socialize, I read, I watch some TV, I prepare for storytelling shows. But the one thing I always do before going to bed is prep for the next day’s writing session. I plan my scene, put my characters to bed, and when the morning writing beckons, I’m ready to go before my first neuron fires (which can take a while). 

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
When I only have a third of a book left, I like to head to a convent where I can have a quiet writing retreat.  I write and write and write for three days, stopping to sleep, eat and take a walk once in a while.  My personal best was 45,000 words in two days, so it’s a worthwhile endeavor! I saw double for a while after that…

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
She-ra. Never did find my power sword. Just a power pen. Sigh.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
Thanks for having me here today! Cheers!

You're quite welcome, Marie. Glad to be a tour host.

Readers, remember, Marie is giving away a signed e-book copy of Destiny's Blood (the first book in the series) to one randomly drawn commentor at every stop (so that means there will be a winner HERE), and an autographed set of Destiny's Blood and Destiny's Fall in print (US and Canada only) or e-book (International) to one randomly drawn commentor during the tour. So, leave your e-mail address with a comment below for a chance to win. And also follow the tour and comment at other stops to increase your odds of winning.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Interview with children's author Kristy Taylor

Today's guest is children's author Kristy Taylor. She's here to chat about her book Mrs. Garcia's Class Visits the Hospital.

Kristy K. Taylor is a fulltime Health Science Professor, author, and founder of Kid Medic, LLC. She has over seven years of teaching experience in the field of health science education, and she spent two years as an elementary school teacher in Brackettville, Texas. Prior to becoming an elementary school teacher and accepting her current position at Palm Beach State College in Florida, she spent six years on active duty in the United States Air Force as a Healthcare Administrator and teacher for the Community College of the Air Force.

Kristy holds an associate’s degree in Healthcare Management, a bachelor’s degree in Management and Human Resources, and a master’s degree in Health Science with a focus in Health Education. Kristy is also currently pursuing her doctorate in Health Science with a focus in Global Health at A.T. Still University located in Mesa, AZ.  

In the past, Kristy has worked with students by providing them with career exploration tools and resume help. She is also currently working on her Career Coaching Certification through the Professional Association of Career Coaches and Resume Writers. Kristy enjoys teaching and working with students to help them achieve their goals.

She started Kid Medic because she believes that children can reach their potential only when they are properly taught, nurtured, and engaged in a manner that inspires them to expand their horizons through reading, thinking, exploring, and discovering the world around them.

Welcome to Reviews and Interviews, Kristy. Please tell us about your current release.
Mrs. Garcia's Class Visits the Hospital is the first book written by author and former elementary teacher, Kristy Taylor. The book is an exciting career day adventure with a diverse group of characters where the students in Mrs. Garcia's class visit the local hospital for their class field trip. While touring the hospital with Mrs. Garcia and Dr. Johnson as their guides, the students learn about over twenty different healthcare careers, and they have lots of fun along the way!

What inspired you to write this book?
I have always been interested in teaching and career exploration in general. One day while having a "What do you want to be when you grow up?" discussion with my group of 4th graders, I was inspired to write a story that would encourage them. After our discussion, it only took me a few days to write my first story. As a result, when I decided to publish the book, I used the students and town as my inspiration! I was so inspired, I decided to keep writing and start Kid Medic as well.

Eric introduced us to Michelle, the phlebotomist.  “What is a phlebotomist?” asked Haley.  “A phlebotomist is a person who specializes in drawing a patient’s blood for testing,” said Michelle.  Suddenly, Nathaniel got an interesting look on his face and raised his hand.  “Yessss,” said Michelle.  “Is your job sort of like being a vampire?”  Nathaniel asked.  The entire class laughed and turned to look at Michelle.  “No,” she chuckled.

I learned about all of the different areas that doctors could specialize in, for example, Dr Herrera was a podiatrist, and he specialized in treating patients with feet problems.  Dr. Osborn was a neurologists; she specialized in helping patients with nervous system disorders.  We also met Dr. Chadwick, the hospital’s pharmacist; she helped patients get the medicine that they needed in order to help them feel better.”

What exciting story are you working on next?
I am working on a career motivation book for adults as well as a children’s book about veterinarian careers.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I initially only wrote my book for my students, but once I realized how the book could actually be used to inspire people, the light bulb turned on!

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I want to write everything from children’s books to adult career motivation books. 

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A cheerleader, dinosaur, and President, but since none of those worked out, I opted for teaching instead.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers? 
Be sure to continue following the tour!

Kristy is giving away a free activity guide to everyone who purchases the book during this tour. And there is also a giveaway of a Swag Pack (Kid Medic t-shirt, coffee mug, pen, and stickers) to a lucky commentor. So feel free to comment and leave your e-mail address if you'd like a chance to win! You can also follow her tour and comment at other stops to increase your chances of winning.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Live chat/interview with John Rosenman

The Writer's Chatroom presents author John Rosenman.


Sunday, May 20, 2012

Eastern USA Time.....7-9 PM

Not sure what time that is wherever in the world you are?


The Writers Chatroom at:

Scroll down to the Java box. It may take a moment to load. Type in the name you wish to be known by, and click Sign In. No password needed.

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

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Interview with novelist Irina Shapiro

Today's guest author is Irina Shapiro. She's talking a bit about her favorite novel to date, The Hands of Time.

Welcome, Irina. Please tell us a bit about yourself.
I was born in Moscow, Russia in 1970 and lived the life of a model communist child until my family immigrated to the United States in 1982. Like most teenagers, I eagerly embraced the new culture and did my best to shed the old, restrictive ways, frustrating my parents to no end. Despite my love of history and literature, I majored in International Business at Bernard M. Baruch College and pursued a career in Import/Export until I left the work force in 2007. I currently reside in New Jersey with my family. Since then I have written five novels and explored some other interests that I didn’t have time for while working full-time.

As long as there are books to read, movies to see, and exotic places to visit I will never be bored.      

Please tell us a bit about your favorite novel.
The Hands of Time is a time travel romance. It’s the story of Valerie Crane who travels to England with her sister in order to escape her painful divorce and her ex-husband’s upcoming wedding.  While shopping for souvenirs, Valerie wanders into an antique shop and picks up an ormolu clock, which is set to the wrong time.  As Valerie turns the hands of the clock she is instantly transported to the year 1605 where she becomes entangled in a passionate love triangle with the Whitfield brothers, who take her in, and must learn to navigate the volatile political climate of 17th Century England.

Meanwhile, Valerie’s sister, Luisa, is desperately searching for her missing sibling. Through unexpected clues Luisa finally begins to piece together what happened to her sister and come to terms with losing her forever.

What inspired you to write this book?
I have always been fascinated with the idea of time travel. What would any of us do if suddenly transported to a different time? How would we survive? Would we be able to adapt if faced with the prospect of spending our life trapped in another century, much more dangerous than our own? Might we possibly find some things in the past that were missing from our lives in the present?

I also like to explore the difference between the relationships of today and the courtships of the past. Men and women had such different expectations of each other, yet their relationships were not as transient as the “hit and run” encounters of today, or were they?

What exciting story are you working on next?
I have just finished The Folly. It’s a romance/murder mystery set in 19th Century England. The story explores how far people are willing to go for love and revenge. Although this book does not have the supernatural element of my other books, it has a few twists and turns of its own.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I still don’t consider myself to be a writer. I feel a little self-conscious about using that title.

Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like?  If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
I don’t have any specific regimen. I write when I have an idea. Some days I write for hours, while other days I can’t manage a single sentence.

I left my job as an Import Manager five years ago to stay at home with my autistic son, so I write while the children are at school. Once they come home, I devote my time to them.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
When I begin a story I have absolutely no idea what’s going to happen or how it’s going to end. The characters start taking on a life of their own and eventually reveal to me what they want to do. I know that sounds a little strange, but that’s how I roll.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I dreamed of becoming an archaeologist. The idea of uncovering fragments of the past and piecing them together seemed like a very exciting way to spend my time. If that didn’t work out, I was planning to join the circus. 

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
I began writing as a form of therapy and I never intended for anyone to see my work. It was just for me. I’ve come a long way since then and it has been an amazing journey, mostly into my own psyche.  

I stay in touch with readers through my website and Facebook page

And readers can learn more about my novels through Amazon:

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

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Interview with author Chris Redding

Chris Redding is today's guest, and her newest book is Blonde Demolition.

Chris Redding lives in New Jersey with her husband, two kids, one dog and three rabbits. She graduated from Penn State with a degree in journalism. When she isn’t writing and giving workshops, she works part time for her local hospital.

Welcome, Chris. Please tell us about your current release, Blonde Demolition.
You just can't hide from the past...

Mallory Sage lives in a small, idyllic town where nothing ever happens. Just the kind of life she has always wanted. No one, not even her fellow volunteer firefighters, knows about her past life as an agent for Homeland Security.

Former partner and lover, Trey McCrane, comes back into Mallory's life. He believes they made a great team once, and that they can do so again. Besides, they don't have much choice. Paul Stanley, a twisted killer and their old nemesis, is back.

Framed for a bombing and drawn together by necessity, Mallory and Trey go on the run and must learn to trust each other again―if they hope to survive. But Mallory has been hiding another secret, one that could destroy their relationship. And time is running out.

What inspired you to write this book?
My husband has been a volunteer firefighter for more than 30 years. Part of that time his fire company ran a fair to raise money. It had a beer tent and the guys who worked it were called The Beer Gods. They always asked me when I would write a book for them. This is their book even though they only have a small part in it.

What exciting story are you working on next?
Right now I’m working on a short romantic comedy about a vegetarian veterinarian and the heir to a hot dog fortune who is allergic to dogs.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
When I was ten.

Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like?  If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
I don’t write full time. I work part time. I usually write in the mornings. When I am in revision stage that happens morning and night. I don’t revise until the first draft is finished.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
That I can inject humor in just about any genre and situation. I have a dark sense of humor. I guess that helps. I’ve been involved in emergency medical services in some form for 20 years so that helps.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A writer. At one point a lawyer, but that faded quickly.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
I hope you enjoy my stories.

Thanks for being here today, Chris, and letting us learn a little bit about you and your writing. 

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Interview with humorous memoirist Derek Thompson

Today's guest author, Derek Thompson, is here to talk a bit about his memoir Somewhere Over the Rainbow, I’ve Lost My Damn Mind: A Manic’s Mood Chart.

Derek Thompson grew up in South Charleston, Ohio and received a BA in communication in 2005 from Wittenberg University. After graduation, he pursued a corporate sales career at AT&T where he excelled in the high-paced sales environment. That’s up until he was unexpectedly and rudely interrupted by his first manic episode in 2008 which changed everything; they tended to be real jerks like that. 

The episode took him back home where he struggled to understand what his new mental health condition diagnosis of bipolar disorder type I was and meant. To cope with this confusion he began writing a blog as a therapeutic process to deal with his new crazy life and have some fun along the way. He currently resides on one of his family’s farms in rural Ohio.

Welcome to Reviews and Interviews, Derek. Please tell us about your current release.
Somewhere Over the Rainbow is the story of one Millennial’s bipolar life with moments ranging from the ridiculous to the terrifying to the hilarious. By blending pop culture references and cyberspeak with psychiatric terms, it combines the funny, conversational tone of Sh*t My Dad Says with a nonlinear narrative structure similar to that of Manic. The book actually began as blog I started writing as a therapeutic process to deal with the diagnosis of my bipolar disorder type I.           

Somewhere Over the Rainbow will be the first humorous memoir about bipolar written by a member of the Millennial Generation--today’s young adults. The entries are divided into three sections, Depressed, Normal, and Elevated, and cover the past three years: my psych ward getaways, my vision of fighting alongside Jesus at Armageddon, my attempts to find a woman who accepts that I sometimes lose my mind. Therapy “sessions” with a fictional psychiatrist provide my present-day reflections on each entry. (I had to create my ideal shrink because I tend to fight with the real ones.)

More than an account of coming to terms with a mental health condition, it’s a story of being young and feeling lost, dealing with heartbreak and still finding plenty to laugh about, no matter what happens.

What inspired you to write this book?
Well, to be completely honest, I never really seriously considered writing a book until I was forced to move from Chicago back home to Ohio. This was last summer and it was caused by the fact that I was suffering another setback in my recovery due to my mania. I had to essentially sit on my hands and wait and see whether my new medicine would work and on top of that complications with my mania had also forced me to drop out of graduate school as well. I guess I figured I wasn’t doing anything else so there probably wasn’t ever going to be a better time to start writing my story than right then.

What exciting story are you working on next?
I’m actually trying my hand at a novel this time. It’s going to be loosely based off my life and told as a mysterious adventure through my manic mind. By incorporating themes from my blog, memoir, and mania the reader will be able to experience what a psychotic manic episode feels like. The questions I’ve been relentlessly struggling with over the years about my bipolar life will finally be answered. . .maybe.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
For the longest time I only wrote as a therapeutic release and as a way of communicating the difficulties of bipolar with my family and friends. It always felt like it was a hobby to me for some reason and merely as another part of my support system I needed to live with the bipolar. I think that started to change when people I didn’t think knew I wrote began coming up and telling me they enjoyed my stuff. I’d say right about then is when I started to feel like a writer.

Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like?  If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
I don’t write full time in the sense that I consider it my 9-5 job, but I do feel like I’m always trying to be writing in some way. It could be research for my book or simply noticing something peculiar whiling hanging out with friends. I’m constantly looking for inspiration as well. For some reason I find a ton of it when I’m driving around so I’ll constantly find random reasons for a drive. I’ve never really been able to just sit down and say I’m going to write so many pages today or whatever. I usually just start writing whenever something inspires me, whether that’s when I’m randomly driving down the road or during commercial breaks of the Reds game.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
One quirk I’ve noticed when I’m writing for my blog is that if I outline my post for the week too much the writing really isn’t very good. I usually come up with my ideas to write early in the week, but wait until later in the week to actually sit down and write it. When I used to try getting an in depth outline and to really set up the structure for my post it never would turn out very good. But rather when I merely jot down a couple ideas and then just sit down and write later on my post are so much better. So with my blog it almost seems that in a way the harder I try the worse it gets.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I grew up in a small farming community in rural Ohio where I was completely out of my element. Despite our family’s long heritage in agriculture I sucked at it. This being the case I just wanted not to be a farmer when I grew up, because I knew I would be a terrible one.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
Yeah, there’s been this rumor going around that I can’t read. To be completely honest I have no idea where this came from, but it’s absolutely ridiculous. I mean I’m a writer for God’s sake. Thanks.

Thanks for being here today, Derek, and showing us that we can still have some fun with serious topics.