Friday, February 28, 2014

Book excerpt for "The Legend of Eve" by Toni Edge

Today is a book excerpt tour stop for The Legend of Eve by Toni Edge. This is a young adult, contemporary sci-fi romance novel.

During her tour, Toni has 3 giveaways: a Grand Prize of a $25 Starbucks gift card to a randomly drawn commenter; a $15 Amazon gift card to a randomly drawn commenter; and a $10 iTunes gift card to another randomly drawn commenter. To be entered for a chance to win, use the form below. To increase your chances of winning, visit other tour stops and enter there, too.

Seventeen-year-old high school transfer student Eve Carson is the genetic cure-all for droolworthy Teluosian alien King, Adam Plain.

As Adam tries to convince Eve he wants her and not just her DNA, Eve discovers a hidden world of interstellar traders, human "genetic cows," and teen abductions by a government that will do anything to control the Teluosians on Earth.

When Eve's mom is kidnapped, loyalties are tested. Is Eve Adam's true love or his next "genetic cow?"

I laughed. "So you are eavesdropping on my conversation for my sake."


I drank my tea then and looked at her over the rim of my cup. When she had finished humming Why Do Fools Fall in Love I put my mug down and looked at her. "Ask me already!"

My momma daintily lowered her mug down and smoothed her robe over her lap. "So, is he hot?"

I shook my head and stood up, gathering my laptop to go to my room. "One, I am so not having the conversation if a guy is hot or not with you because you'll have me picking names for our children. Two, even if he is hot it doesn't matter because he is a total weirdo."

I left the kitchen and heard my momma yell after me.

"It sounds like the beginning of a great romance."

Author bio and links:
Toni Edge is a former juvenile delinquent and honorary member of the truancy club. Now, she likes to teach teens who remind her of herself. She also likes to read everything, a habit she picked up during her truancy days. For all the rest of her free time she likes to write young adult paranormal/science fiction stories that would have made her teen years so much clearer, if the stories had been true.

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Thursday, February 27, 2014

Interview with popular science writer Ira Mark Egdall

Today’s interview is with popular science writer Ira Mark Egdall as he tours his book, Einstein Relatively Simple: Our Universe Revealed in Everyday Language.

During his tour, Ira will be giving away 2 hard copy books, 2 soft copy books (US Only), and 2 e-books (open internationally), to a total of 6 lucky winners. To be entered for a chance to win, use the form below.
Ira Mark Egdall is also the author of the eBook Unsung Heroes of the Universe and a popular science writer for He is a retired aerospace program manager with an undergraduate degree in physics from Northeastern University. Mark now teaches lay courses in modern physics at Lifelong Learning Institutes at Florida International University, the University of Miami, and Nova Southeastern University. He also gives entertaining talks on Einstein and time travel. When not thinking about physics, Mark spends his time playing with his grandchildren and driving his wife of 45 years crazy.

Welcome, Ira. Please tell us about your current release.
Einstein Relatively Simple brings together for the first time an exceptionally clear explanation of both special and general relativity. It is for people who always wanted to understand Einstein’s ideas but never thought it possible.

Told with humor, enthusiasm, and rare clarity, this entertaining book reveals how a former high school drop-out revolutionized our concepts of space and time. From E=mc2 and everyday time travel to black holes and the big bang, the book takes us all, regardless of any scientific background, on a mindboggling journey through the depths of Einstein's universe.

Along the way, we track Einstein through the perils and triumphs of his life — follow his thinking, his logic, and his insights — and chronicle the audacity, imagination, and sheer genius of the man recognized as the greatest scientist of the modern era.

Einstein Relatively Simple is now available as an eBook at (Kindle), Barnes & Noble (Nook), and  Kobo. Hard-cover and soft-cover print books will be available in the U.S. in mid-March, 2014.

What inspired you to write this book?
I feel everyone should know about the strange new reality revealed by Albert Einstein's ideas, not just the experts. When I began teaching relativity to lay students, I had difficulty finding a book that was both thorough and at a level my students could truly comprehend.  So I wrote Einstein Relatively Simple -- hopefully as the definitive book on Einstein’s theories for the non-expert -- one that is comprehensive, entertaining, and most important, understandable.

Excerpt from Einstein Relatively Simple: Our Universe Revealed in Everyday Language:


All knowledge begins in wonder.

In June of 1905, former high-school drop-out and lowly patent clerk  Albert Einstein published a paper in the German Annals of Physics which revolutionized our understanding of space and time. What came to be known as the theory of special relativity predicted a strange new universe where time slows and space shrinks with motion.

In that same journal, Einstein proposed light comes in discreet packets of energy we now call photons. Along with Max Planck’s work, this insight sparked the quantum revolution. This in turn set off the greatest technological revolution in human history — enabling the invention of television, transistors, electronic digital computers, cell phones, digital cameras, lasers, the electron microscope, atomic clocks, MRI, sonograms, and many more modern-day devices.

Einstein’s follow-up article in September of 1905 proposed that mass and energy are equivalent. His famous equation, E = mc2, came to solve one of the great mysteries of modern science — how the Sun and stars shine. Some four decades later, Einstein’s breakthrough ushered in the atomic age.

In December of 1915, Albert Einstein — now Professor of Theoretical Physics at the University of Berlin — surpassed his already staggering accomplishments. In the midst of the turmoil and hardships of World War I, he produced his life’s masterpiece: a new theory of gravity. His audacious general theory of relativity revealed a cosmos beyond our wildest imagination. It predicted phenomena so bizarre even Einstein initially doubted their existence — black holes which trap light and stop time, wormholes which form gravitational time machines, the expansion of space itself, and the birth of the universe some 13.8 billion years ago in the ultimate cosmic event: the Big Bang.

Not since Isaac Newton had a single physicist attained such monumental breakthroughs, and no scientist since has matched his breathtaking achievements. In recognition, TIME magazine selected Albert Einstein above such luminaries as Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Mohandas Gandhi, as the “Person of the Century” — the single individual with the most significant impact on the 20th century.

Albert Einstein has long since passed from this corporal world. Yet his fame lives on. His discoveries inspire today’s generation of physicists — providing stepping stones to a new understanding of the cosmos and perhaps someday a unified theory of all physics. His brilliance, independence of mind, and persistence continue to be an inspiration to us all. He remains the iconic figure of science whose genius transcends the limits of human understanding.

So come explore how an unknown patent clerk came to develop a new theory of time and space, to supplant the illustrious Isaac Newton with a new conception of gravity. Along the way we will examine the mind of Albert Einstein, who preferred to think in pictures rather than words, follow his thinking, his logic, and his insights.

To quote one of my students; “You’ll never look at the universe the same way again!”

What exciting project are you working on next?
My next book project is on our mysterious "fine-tuned" universe, and the profound scientific and religious questions it raises. Scientists have uncovered a remarkable set of cosmic coincidences which appear vital for the existence of life as we know it. They range from the quantum level to parameters on the scale of the universe. Change a single parameter's value by the slightest amount and we wouldn't be here. Some interpret this as evidence for a higher power. Others, such as Stephen Hawking, propose we are one of a number of parallel universes -- ours just happens to be right for life. My goal is a book which presents both sides of the argument in easy to understand, everyday language, and hopefully give the reader a greater scientific and spiritual understanding of our cosmos.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I've always loved to write -- whether it was stories about "My Cat Suzy" when I was in grammar school,  poetry when I was a teen, technical proposals when I was an aerospace program manager, or today's science articles for I didn't consider myself an author until World Scientific said they wanted to publish Einstein Relatively Simple, my first full-length book. I felt like Pinocchio when the fairy godmother waved her wand -- now I was a real 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?
On a typical day, I start writing after breakfast, around 9 am, work till about 11:30 am, then  exercise (swim, walk, bike, or lift weights)  -- which is very important. I then shower and have lunch. I write some more from about 1:30 to 5:30 pm, eat supper, and write for another hour and a half or so after that. Occasionally, I write late into the evening. I often sneak in a nap in the afternoon.

Sometimes what I call writing is daydreaming or staring at the computer screen or sneaking off to some other distraction because at that moment I've got nothing. But somehow, I always manage to drag myself back to the keyboard and put actual words together in coherent (and incoherent) sentences and paragraphs. Lately I have been trying to forgive myself more, accept my foibles, and enjoy the process. All in all, I consider myself very fortunate and love my life as a writer and teacher.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
The famous picture of Einstein with his tongue sticking out faces me when I write. It  gives me inspiration and is a constant reminder not to take myself too seriously.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Oh. boy. I guess I first wanted to be a cowboy like Roy Rodgers, I used to squint my eyes to try and look like him. 

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
If you (or someone you know) is interested in a book which explains Einstein's ideas in a way you can really understand, please check out Einstein Relatively Simple.

LinkedIn: Mark Egdall

Goodreads: Ira Mark Egdall

BookBlogs:  Ira Mark Egdall

LibraryThing: IraMarkEgdall    

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Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Special guest interview with YA novelist Laura DeBruce

I have a special guest interview today with young adult thriller author Laura DeBruce. She’s touring her novel The Riddle of Prague.

During her tour, Laura will choose one randomly chosen commenter to receive  a $50 Amazon or Barnes and Noble gift card. To be entered for a chance to win, use the form below. To increase your chances of winning, feel free to visit other tour stops and leave comments there, too.

When 18-year-old Hana Silna travels to Prague to reclaim her family’s home, she discovers a riddle that may lead to a long-last flask.

The contents of that flask could change the fate of the world. When a ruthless enemy kidnaps her family Hana has to find the flask to rescue them. On her quest she meets a mysterious man with a penchant for poetry, a Gypsy girl with a haunting past, and Alex, an all-American boy who’s trying to save his sister from a crippling disease. It’s hard to trust anyone when the stakes are this high — especially when surrounded by experts in deception.

There’s only one flask, and Hana desperately needs to find it.

“Are you from Prague?” I ask.

“I s’pose you could say that.” There’s a playful look on his face.

“Would you say that?”

Before he answers, the plane swoops to the side, and I clench my fists. David glances toward the seated flight attendants. He pulls a green bottle and two plastic cups out of his bag. “D’you like Becherovka?”

“Is it alcohol?” Immediately I regret the question. Of course it’s alcohol.

“It’s medicinal,” he claims. “A unique Bohemian spirit. Czechs keep some in the medicine cabinet and give it to their children for all sorts of reasons.”

“I didn’t think we were allowed to bring alcohol on the plane.”

“We are if no one sees us.” David tips the bottle to pour. “I take it you’re not much of a rule breaker.”

“It depends on the rule,” I reply curtly.

“I take full responsibility if we get caught.” He hands over a cup filled with thick, golden liquid. “Na zdravi!”

I take a tentative sip. The Becherovka tastes like a mix of spices and juniper. “It’s not bad.” I drink a little more.

“Glad you like it.” David tops up my cup. “I’m sure Simona and Michal keep a bottle at The Rockery, like all good Czechs. Peek in the medicine cabinet—you’ll see I’m right.” He’s very friendly. A sudden yawn escapes me. “Hana? You all right?”

“I’m suddenly really tired.” I stretch a bit.

“Close your eyes then,” David says soothingly. As I lean against the seatback, I wonder: Did I mention Simona’s husband? How did David know his name? Before I can ask, my eyelids drop, and I’m pulled into a deep and sudden sleep.

What is your favorite ice cream flavor?
Stracciatella gelato which is really just very delicious chocolate chip ice cream.

Which mythological creature are you most like?
Maybe the unicorn. We moved around so much when I was growing up. I always had to say goodbye to my friends. Always the new girl. Do you remember the song about the unicorn left behind because there was only one of them? “And the loneliest of all was the unicorn…” Actually, I just looked up the lyrics and it was “the loveliest” of all, but still, the unicorn had to stand and watch as the boat with everyone else floated away.

What are four things you can’t live without?
Four things I can’t live without would be my family, my friends, my animals and, of course, books!

What is your favorite television show?
Growing up it was Star Trek. I had a crush on Mr. Spock. For a long time I didn’t watch much television because we lived in countries where the only channels were in a foreign language. Now my favorite shows include Thirty Rock (I love Tina Fey), The Office, Breaking Bad, Survivor and The Walking Dead except it scares me and sometimes I have to cover my eyes.

What song would you choose for Karaoke?
The last time I was at a Karaoke club (the first time ever) some friends and I got up and sang “I Will Survive.” It did not go so well.

Author bio and links:
Laura DeBruce is a documentary filmmaker and writer. She grew up traveling all over the world thanks to her father’s work with the U.S. Embassy. She and her husband spent twelve years living in Europe including Prague, Paris, Amsterdam, and London where she found inspiration to write The Quicksilver Legacy Series. In Prague she worked as a lawyer for the first private nationwide television station in the former Communist bloc. It was there that she fell in love with the ancient city of Prague and its legends.

She lives in the Washington, DC area with her husband and son and an unruly Golden Retriever.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Interview with fantasy author Davidson Haworth

Today’s guest is fantasy author and Dr. Who aficionado Davidson L. Haworth. He’s focused on his newest novel, The Defenders of Prali which will be releasing later this year.

Davidson L. Haworth was born in San Jose, California on October 29, 1969 where he also formed his writing interests at the age of six. Raised by his father he searched for an outlet to explore new ideas and it is at a young age that he began to write short stories, and at the age of seven he began writing screenplays to be performed at Sherman Oaks Elementary school where he attended school in San Jose, California. Eventually Davidson would begin traveling to England where he would discover castles, knights, and crusader history. From that day forward Davidson was catapulted into the realm of history and fantasy and eventually he would combine the two in his writings and become the father of historical fantasy.

While the interest in history and fantasy piqued his interest Davidson began reading legendary greats like J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis. Those two authors together with his Roman Catholic upbringing brought new ideas together with some of the classics to form stories that are heroic in nature and moral in content.

Davidson L. Haworth enjoys meeting old friends and new friends, because he believes there are no such things as strangers, only friends he hasn’t met yet. In his fervor to speak to people from around the world and at home Davidson has traveled the world on international book tours to speak about the genre of fantasy, writing, and history. He has spoken at the prestigious Lomonosov Moscow State University (Moscow, Russia), Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv (Kyiv, Ukraine), Tula State Leo Tolstoy Pedagogical University (Tula, Russia), Socrates Foreign Language Center (Sergiev Posad, Russia), and several American Councils in Europe. In the United States Davidson speaks the same subjects at comic book, anime, and fantasy conventions. He is also considered an expert in Doctor Who, an iconic British TV show. Davidson lives with his wife and two children in San Jose, California.

Welcome, Davidson. Please tell us about your current release.
The Defenders of Prali is the fourth and final book in the Prali series. It takes place in the times of the Crusades in Italy where a gate to the underworld has been exposed, and it is up to five brave heroes to destroy the evil coming from within and save the worldly inhabitants from such creatures as a dragon, wizard, and vampires. It is historical fantasy and so many of the locations in the book actually exist and some historical figures are in the book as well. If you enjoy Tolkien and C.S. Lewis, you will enjoy this book for sure.

What inspired you to write this book?
I have been writing this series since its inception in 2009 and have continued to expand on its universe, but the time has come to end it and move on to other subjects within the realm of the fantasy genre. The series includes: The Dragon of Prali, The Wizard of Prali, and The Vampires of Prali.

Excerpt from The Defenders of Prali:
The shaking becomes like an earthquake within the cave. Mary rising from her comfortable position, her heart begins to pound with fear, and her body feeling the hesitance to make a move against the dragon. She moves her slender body against the balcony wall, crouching into position, taking her bow into her hand, and placing an arrow in the bow. Mary realizes she needs to see if the dragon had entered, she knows the advantage of surprise belonged to her, but is Bernard ready to take on the challenge? Will they both hesitate? Mary finally decides to peer over the balcony; she needs to see for herself. Mary finally looks over the wall and only feeling the shaking of the cave. Surprisingly the altar is still with the look of serenity surrounding it. No dragon to be seen as Mary scratches her head in confusion. No dragon but plenty of rumbling of the ground to go around. Then like a lightning strike of surprise as a loud growl heard in the direction of the main large entrance.

What exciting story are you working on next?
Currently I am involved in writing a book filled with short fantasy and science fiction stories. I have always wanted to do a little sci-fi and this gives me the chance to dabble a bit.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I first began when I was six years of age and I wrote a screenplay, but to say when I was considered a writer it would have to have happened right out of college when I was hired to write fantasy character details for a publisher.

Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
I write full time and I do my best to stay disciplined. I usually start my day around 8:00am and check e-mails and other correspondence. Noon time I jog with my beagle Heston and then have lunch. The rest of the day is spent writing until the evening hours. That is the usual schedule, but sometimes personal life gets into the mix and I deviate from the norms.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
Getting too emotional while writing, especially when I kill off a character and tears run down my cheek.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to play professional football for the Oakland Raiders. I thought it could happen in High School where I averaged two touchdowns a game as a tight end, but to no avail.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
Yes, come and join me on Facebook or any other internet outlet. Check out my events and come over to see me live and in person. I always enjoy meeting new friends and talking comic books, sports, books, and just about anything else under the sun.

Upcoming Events:
March 7-9, 2014 - Guest at Wizard World Sacramento (Sacramento, CA)

April 12-13, 2014 - Author Guest at San Jose Fantasy Faire (San Jose, CA)

May 17-18, 2014 - Guest at Big WOW! ComicFest (San Jose, CA)

Thanks, Davidson!

Monday, February 24, 2014

Excerpt from romantic suspense story "Hurricane Crimes" by Chrys Fey

Title: Hurricane Crimes
Author: Chrys Fey
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Format: e-book
Page Count: 51 (short story)
Official Release Date: March 5, 2014
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press

Book links:

Blurb for the short story "Hurricane Crimes":
After her car breaks down, Beth Kennedy is forced to stay in Florida, the target of Hurricane Sabrina. She stocks up supplies, boards up windows, and hunkers down to wait out the storm, but her plan unravels when she witnesses a car accident. Risking her life, she braves the winds to save the driver. Just when she believes they are safe, she finds out the man she saved could possibly be more dangerous than the severe weather.

Donovan Goldwyn only wanted to hide from the police, but the hurricane shoved his car into a tree. Now he's trapped with a beautiful woman while the evidence that can prove his innocence to a brutal crime is out there for anyone to find.

As Hurricane Sabrina wreaks havoc, Beth has no other choice but to trust Donovan to stay alive. But will she survive, or will she become another hurricane crime?

On the television set, which was fighting to stay alive, was breaking news. She caught bits and pieces of it as she emptied the bowl of blood-tainted water and threw out the cloth. It was about a high-speed chase that had occurred about a half-hour ago. Beth shook her head. Apparently, Donovan wasn’t the only idiot driving around during a hurricane.

She went back into the living room and began replacing all the medical supplies into the first-aid kit. Behind her, a reporter was explaining that the driver of the car was believed to be a murder suspect.

“The name of the—”

The lights flashed, prompting Beth to snatch up her flashlight.

“Donovan Goldwyn.”

Her fingers went cold around the plastic tube as ice frosted her veins. She straightened her spine and turned stiffly to the television, her heart wasn’t beating in her chest. On the screen was the picture of the man who was right now changing in her bedroom. Above it was a caption in bold letters that read—SUSPECT.

She gripped the flashlight in her frozen fingers. Her heart thudded fearfully. She stared into the immobilized violet eyes through the glass.
“Oh my god,” she gasped.

She had brought a murderer into her home!

Author bio:
Chrys Fey’s debut, "Hurricane Crimes," was published by The Wild Rose Press. Mid 2014, she will be coming out with her second romantic-suspense e-book, "30 Seconds." She created the blog Write with Fey to offer aspiring writers advice and inspiration. She lives in Florida where she is ready to battle the next hurricane that comes her way.

Author links:
Google +:    

Friday, February 21, 2014

Interview with sci-fi romance author Victoria Pinder

Please welcome today’s guest, sci-fi romance author Victoria Pinder. She’s sharing a bit about her novel The Zoastra Affair.

Victoria will be awarding a $20 Amazon GC to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour. To be entered for a chance to win, use the form below. To increase your chances of winning, feel free to visit other tour stops and enter there, too.

Victoria Pinder grew up in Irish Catholic Boston before moving to the Miami sun. She’s worked in engineering, after passing many tests proving how easy Math came to her. Then hating her life at the age of twenty four, she decided to go to law school. Four years later, after passing the bar and practicing very little, she realized that she hates the practice of law. She refused to one day turn 50 and realize she had nothing but her career and hours at a desk. After realizing she needed change, she became a high school teacher. Teaching is rewarding, but writing is a passion.

During all this time, she always wrote stories to entertain herself or calm down. Her parents are practical minded people demanding a job, and Victoria spent too many years living other people’s dreams, but when she sat down to see what skill she had that matched what she enjoyed doing, writing became so obvious. The middle school year book when someone wrote in it that one day she’d be a writer made sense when she turned thirty.

When she woke up to what she wanted, the dream of writing became so obvious. She dreams of writing professionally, where her barista can make her coffee and a walk on the beach, can motivate her tales. Contemporary romances are just fun to write. She’s always thinking whose getting hurt and whose story is next on the list to fall in love. Victoria’s love of writing has kept her centered and focused through her many phases, and she’s motivated to write many stories.

Member of Florida Romance Writers, Contemporary Romance, Fantasy, Futuristic and Paranormal chapter of RWA, and in Savvy Authors.

Welcome, Victoria. Please tell us about your current release.
The Zoastra Affair is a science fiction romance based on what I wanted to read growing up. Science fiction is male geared, and I wanted to read a space adventure where love and a space ship can happen. I grew up watching Star Trek, Star Wars, Battlestar Galactica, Farscape, Babylon 5, so how can I not think about space. This time it’s a female point of view and love can happen on a space ship.

What inspired you to write this book?
The books I wanted to read didn’t exist. First it was male oriented growing up. Then as a teenager, I loved reading about teenagers. But Wesley Crusher is the joke character on Star Trek for a reason. Teenagers are not smarter or more appealing then educated adults. It makes reading YA space adventure hard for me. But why can’t women fall in love with smart men?

I’m going to have to steal someone else’s body to get out of here.

“Ariel, are you listening?”

Ariel Transcender stared dumbfounded at the mother superior of her prison, a/k/a Aulnale School for Orphans. “Yes, mistress.”

She had no idea what happened, though she pasted a fake simpering smile of appreciation on her face. Ms. Rochelle walked away.

A few minutes later, Ariel looked out the window again, tuning out Rochelle’s mind numbing lecture on what was proper behavior when near a man. The boarding home on this planet gave the stupidest lectures of the galaxy. Her lips curled into a sneer. Women were not excited to be bound to men.

Could I do this to someone else? Do I have any other choice?

Lenchena, the teenage girl who’d stolen her adult body and taken off on Ariel’s ship, needed to be found. And Ariel refused to listen to the daily drivel about always listening to a man.

What exciting story are you working on next?
I’m finishing my Collins brothers series, book 4. They are contemporary and the first book comes out next in April, 2014. And I’m working on the sequel to the Zoastra Affair, tentatively The Zoastra Betrayal.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I wrote all my life. Yet I hated English class so much as a student. So subjective, and English teachers never seemed to dwell on anything I considered important. And red curtains do not always means anger, danger and/or fire. Sometimes red curtains are mentioned because they are pretty and the author wants the character to exist in the real world. But at home, I always wrote bad fan fiction or horrible stories for myself. Writing was my way of getting out of my head and the stress of the world. But one day I spoke at length to a Jewish rabbi. No I’m not Jewish. I’m Catholic, but he looked at my hands and told me I have writer hands. Might have been the pen marks. IDK. But he told me if I enjoy writing, then I should be focusing on that. This was a eureka moment of my life. The answer seemed so obvious. But I needed someone to tell me it was okay to write and people do it.

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. One day. So I’m a high school advanced placement teacher of US Government, Macroeconomics and US History. So work is stressful. And until the engagement/wedding planning took over, I went home and then took writing as a second job. In 2013, I went home and wrote 2000 words aday. Call me super dedicated. Then as I said my engagement took over my life. And I’ve taken the former writing time, and dedicated it to planning the wedding. I will be doing a lot of things myself, so the planning time is good. And come July, wedding is in June, I have a major promise that I get my own office. So the writing comes back big time then! But in this time, I’m enjoying every moment of the wedding planning stuff. And the time comes from being organized and not watching much television.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
My fiancĂ© has informed me that when I’m thinking about what I write, I put the hot coffee/tea/lemon water on my cheek and tilt my head. Somehow he jokes this is how I get inspiration. But I’m just thinking. The doctors always said my cheeks had rosacea, but perhaps it’s the hot water I hold up.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A lawyer. And I did it. Then I realized what my thoughts about the law and the practice of law are very different. I’m not cut out to be a lawyer. So I walked away, and honestly don’t regret that moment at all. I love my life, and couldn’t trade it away for an 80 hour thankless desk job where I die a miserable lonely existence. Perhaps it wouldn’t have been that bad, but to me, it was death itself.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
Don’t let doubts get in the way of accomplishments. Sometimes I think the problem with adult hood is that we all go to sleep and stop pushing ourselves everyday. As a teenager and child we all had great expectations about life. Then when it was time, the direction of what to do goes away and we flounder until we sleep. But the best part of being an adult is directing our own lives and realizing that accomplishment is possible. So don’t forget to reward yourself for accomplishing and set the next goal to attain.

Visit me online at:


Thanks, Victoria!

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Thursday, February 20, 2014

Guest interview with contemporary new adult author Lilas Taha

Today I have a special guest interview with Lilas Taha. Lilas is the author of the contemporary new adult, soft romance novel, Shadows of Damascus.

During her tour, Lilas will be awarding one randomly chosen commenter with a $50 Amazon or Barnes and Noble gift card. To be entered for a chance to win, use the form below. To increase your chances of winning, feel free to visit other tour stops and enter there, too.

Blurb from Shadows of Damascus:
Bullet wounds, torture and oppression aren’t the only things that keep a man—or a woman—from being whole.

Debt. Honor. Pain. Solitude. These are things wounded war veteran Adam Wegener knows all about. Love—now, that he is not good at. Not when love equals a closed fist, burns, and suicide attempts. But Adam is one who keeps his word. He owes the man who saved his life in Iraq. And he doesn’t question the measure of the debt, even when it is in the form of an emotionally distant, beautiful woman.

Yasmeen agreed to become the wife of an American veteran so she could flee persecution in war-torn Syria. She counted on being in the United States for a short stay until she could return home. There was one thing she did not count on: wanting more.

Is it too late for Adam and Yasmeen?

Hot cup of coffee in one hand, phone receiver cradled on shoulder, Adam dialed the phone number at eight thirty the following morning. A decent time. A woman’s soft voice greeted him.

“Good morning, ma’am. I’d like to talk to Mr. Pemssy?” He barely contained his excitement.


“My name is Adam Wegener,” he enunciated his words. “I want to speak to Mr. O. R. Pemssy.”

“Wrong number.”


“Damn it.” His excitement disintegrated like a popped balloon. He went back to the kitchen table and re-worked the letters again, only to end up with the same number. Frustrated, he crumbled the papers and threw them across the kitchen floor. To hell with this, he’d wasted enough time on this shit. If Fadi wanted something from him, he damned well better call him.

Hungry and angry, he stabbed a slice of toast and smeared it with peanut butter. Tension building in the muscles of his arms, he wanted to throw or break something. Instead, he swallowed the sandwich and went outside to work. Climbing astride his rusty old tractor, he cranked the motor.

Rising heat squeezed sweat from his body like a sponge with no regard to his fragile mental state. His mind crunched numbers without end while he worked. Thoughts of the cool fridge full of icy drinks beckoned him for an early lunch. He abandoned his tractor in the middle of the field, and headed home, discarding his wet shirt on the way. He walked around the kitchen, stomping papers. It felt good and satisfying. As satisfying as the icy Coke he gulped down. Needing to put things in order, he collected the discarded papers. When he reached to crush the envelope, his eyes landed on the Turkish stamp. A surge of excitement gripped his stomach. One more thing he needed to try.

Logging onto his laptop, he searched Turkey’s city codes for area code 216. Istanbul on the Asian side. He searched for the country code, then the time difference. Eight hours ahead put it close to nine p.m. in Istanbul.

He dialed the sequence of international code numbers and held his breath while the same ringing tone played with his nerves.

“’Allo?” A man’s voice greeted.

“May I speak to Mr. Pemssy?”
“Yust a minute.” The man spoke with an unmistakable heavy accent.

Adam dropped in a chair and closed his eyes in anticipation.

“I see you got my letter,” a deep voice said.

“You’re the one who sent it? Who am I speaking to?” Eyes wide open now. Could it be Fadi? Damn it, he couldn’t remember his voice.

“You know who I am. I can’t use my real name. How is zat hib of yours? Giving you trouble?”

Fadi. Same annoying accent. “What the hell is going on?” He grit his teeth and tried to ignore the mispronunciations. “Couldn’t you have given me your phone number in the letter, or called me directly?”

“I didn’t know if you still lived at that address, and I didn’t want my number to fall in the wrong hands. You’re not listed. I knew you liked to count things. That was the best I could come up with.”

“I too tried to find you many times. What can I do for you, man? What do you need?” Was there a better way to say he hadn’t forgotten Fadi?

“I need a favor. But I can’t explain over the phone. Get on a plane and come here as soon as possible.”

“You want me to fly to Turkey? You serious?”

“You promised to help if I needed anything, and I do. Desperately.”

Adam coughed to steal a moment. What the hell? Fly over there? Could he even afford it? He’d like to help the guy, but this was insane.

“Can’t just drop everything and leave. I’ll do my best to help you from here if you tell me what you need. Nothing illegal, you should know this upfront.”

“I can’t tell you, and I can’t stay on the line for too long. A life is at stake. Are you in or out?”

Adam was torn. Torn and ashamed to admit he looked for a way out of the promise he’d given years earlier. “Your life?”

Fadi remained silent for a few seconds.

He heard an agonized exhale.

“You’re my only hope.”

What is the sweetest thing someone has done for you?
My husband took me on a ten day trip to Peru for our twentieth anniversary. Absolute enjoyment of breathtaking nature, rich history, and amazing culture.

What kind of music you like?
Classical music by Mozart, Chopin, and Beethoven. And compositions of Middle Eastern music on string instruments like the violin and the Oud.

Do you like to dance?
Certainly. And it doesn’t have to be to music; any beat would do if I’m in the right mood.

Can you describe your dream home?
I actually describe my dream home in my book, Shadows of Damascus, through the female character’s eyes. It is based on my grandfather’s house in Damascus. The house is a two-story rectangular structure, with an open square at its core. A small fountain and lots of plants take the center of the square. A couple of orange and lemon trees provide shade over the square, a grape vine and a Jasmine bush climb up the inner walls. All the rooms open up to the square, and the bedrooms are upstairs.

In my dream version of the house, there is a library with wall-to-ceiling rose wood shelves full of books. I might add a small room in the back with a TV set.

If you could be a character, from any literary work, who would you choose to be? Why?
Jane Eyre. Charlotte BrontĂ«’s depiction of Jane’s many hardships did not spoil her loving and caring nature. I like that. I like the loyalty she displays at the end and the inner peace she arrives at, despite being betrayed by almost everyone she came in contact with.

Author bio and links:
Lilas Taha is a writer at heart, an electrical engineer by training, and an advocate for domestic abuse victims by choice. She was born in Kuwait to a Syrian mother and a Palestinian father, and immigrated to the U.S. as a result of the Gulf war in 1990. She earned a master’s degree in Human Factors Engineering from the University of Wisconsin- Madison. There, Lilas met her beloved husband and true friend, and moved with him to Sugar Land, Texas to establish a family. She is the proud mother of a daughter and a son. Instead of working in an industrial field, she applied herself to the field of social safety, working with victims of domestic violence.

Pursuing her true passion for creative writing, Lilas brings her professional interests, and her Middle Eastern background together in her debut fictional novel, Shadows of Damascus.

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