Thursday, June 30, 2011

Author Interview & Giveaway - Firestorm by Radclyffe




Describe your book in five words or less.

Firestorm (July 2011) First Responders romance between smokejumpers

How did the ideas for your books come to you?

I have always written about situations that intrigue me - usually my books start with
the conflict. In the Honor series, one day I thought "Wow, it would really be interesting if the Secret Service Agent guarding the President's daughter fell in love with her." In the Justice series I wanted to write about the rise of international human trafficking. As with most authors, I explore recurring themes in my books – situations and challenges I revisit in different forms. I'm particularly interested in exploring the conflict between duty and personal obligations as well as the healing power of love. My goal is to write unique characters, and the stories will necessarily be unique even if similar themes are explored.

What is the hardest part of writing for you? What's the easiest?

Every new book is a new experience--each set of new characters with their individual
challenges and unique personalities allows me to experience all the surprises and
exhilaration and sometimes heart ache of a new romance all over again. After you've
written as many books as I have, the challenge is in digging deeper with each book,
looking for the subtleties in relationships and the complexities that create character. I hope I learn more with each book and am a better writer at the end of each one.

What's next for you? Are you currently working on or have plans for future projects?

I am currently working on the seventh book in my series The Provincetown Tales due
for release in November titles Sheltering Dunes. “Ex-gang member Mica Galvez is running from a past that just may kill her if she’s ever caught. Paramedic and ordained priest Flynn Edwards struggles to recover her faith in herself, and to do so, must abandon the path she believed she was destined to take. Sheriff Reese Conlon fights to leave the scars of battle behind and embrace the joy of new life. In one explosive night their destinies entwine when a man with nothing to lose threatens to take all three women with him to the grave.”

You can find out more about this book, Firestorm and my previous books at
www.boldstrokesbooks.com or www.radfic.com

Why did you choose to write for specific genre?

Why romance? Short answer--they're so incredibly powerful and complex. Romances
explore one of the most fundamental aspects of human life--our intimate physical and
emotional relationships with other human beings. Through a vehicle with enormous
popular appeal, we as authors can challenge assumptions, explore our fundamental
values, and expand the vast potential of our lives and our relationships. As readers wecan find validation, affirmation, and perhaps new truths about ourselves and those we love. All while enjoying the experience.

What's it like hearing that readers are eagerly awaiting your book's release date?

Thrilling and scary – knowing people are waiting for my next book is inspiring and keeps my energy up for writing, but there’s always the fear of disappointing. Of not delivering what readers want or expect.

What is one question that you've always wanted to be asked in an interview? How would you answer that question?

Hmm – Where would you most like to visit? Of course, there are so many places, I can’t answer! The Galapagos, Australia, Japan, Thailand, Italy, Greece...

What was your road to publications like?

Varied J. I was first published by three small presses simultaneously around 2001.
Only one is still in existence. As I became more interested in the process of publishing, I published with a “cooperative” for a year or two (2002-2004) with a group I helped found - BookEndsPress. Each author in the coop worked independently in the production of their books, but we all printed, marketed, and sold online together. Then in 2004 I founded Bold Strokes Books and began to sign and publish other authors. We now have an annual title list of over 70 titles and publish close to 80 authors.


-------
Author Bio:




Radclyffe has written over thirty-five romance and romantic intrigue novels, dozens of short stories, and, writing as L.L. Raand, has authored a paranormal romance series, The Midnight Hunters.
She is an eight-time Lambda Literary Award finalist in romance, mystery and erotica--winning in both romance (Distant Shores, Silent Thunder) and erotica (Erotic Interludes 2: Stolen Moments edited with Stacia Seaman and In Deep Waters 2: Cruising the Strip written with Karin Kallmaker). A member of the Saints and Sinners Literary Hall of Fame, she is also a 2010 RWA/FF&P Prism award winner for Secrets in the Stone. Her 2010 titles are finalists for the Benjamin Franklin award (Desire by Starlight), the ForeWord Review Book of the Year award (Trauma Alert and writing as LL Raand, The Midnight Hunt), and the RWA Passionate Plume award (The Midnight Hunt). She is also the president of Bold Strokes Books, one of the world’s largest independent LGBT publishing companies.


Giveaway:

An autographed copy of Firestorm

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Author Interview - Piasa by Michael Kott



Describe your book in five words or less.

Legend come to life.

How did the ideas for your books come to you?

Some are based on dreams, Piasa was based on stumbling across a picture of the Piasa painting found on the bluffs over Alton, Illinois. What would happen if... I thought.

What is the hardest part of writing for you? What's the easiest?

The hardest part is sometimes keeping on track. I currently have 4 projects, including one with my daughter, and I’m constantly shifting focus. The easiest is sitting down and writing as ideas seem to flow.

What's next for you? Are you currently working on or have plans for future projects?

My daughter and I are doing a final (if anything is ever final) revision of Academy Daze about a young girl’s pursuit of what happened to her brother who disappeared. Our agent is relentless in making us better. Next is the sequel to Piasa, titled Shaitaini, with the same characters. I’m also working on two other novels; one being revised, the other 80% completed.

Why did you choose to write for specific genre?

I let my stories pick the genre. Most are YA adventure or mystery oriented.

What's it like hearing that readers are eagerly awaiting your book's release date?

I haven’t gotten there yet, but several reviewers of Piasa have said that and it feels great that I’ve connected with them.

What is one question that you've always wanted to be asked in an interview? How would you answer that question?

I’ve never thought about that. If I did I’d be truthful as always.

What was your road to publications like?

Long and hard. My daughter and I have been working and reworking Academy Daze for 10 years. Our agent, who is quite particular and well known, loves the story and our main character; so we hope to someday see this title go to press. My book, Piasa, was luckily published by 2 Moon Press in Marshall, MI, and it has been a pleasure to work with them. Hopefully they will publish Shaitaini too.


Author Bio:





Mike Kott has been writing with his daughter Krystee, and on his own, for the past ten years.

On his own, Mike has written several novels. He is currently editing Lifeshift, a work of paranormal fiction, best described as action/adventure, with a dose of a love story. Concurrently, work continues on Shaitaini, a follow-on novel to Piasa, and Moonglimmer, another work of Paranormal Fiction.

With Krystee, he has co-authored Academy Daze, the story of a girl’s first year at the US Naval Academy. The YA novel, originally a screenplay, is loosely based on Krystee’s experiences. In addition, Krystee and Mike wrote the screenplay, Road to Annapolis; based on her experiences at Michigan Tech University, the year she spent there; prior to getting into the Naval Academy. Adapting this screenplay into a novel is a possible future endeavor. Mike and Krystee are also planning the second novel of the Academy Daze series.

Mike was twice chairman and also a past secretary of the Schaumburg Scribes writing group in Schaumburg, Illinois, where he lives with his assistant, a Maine Coon cat named Chessie. He also served as senior editor of the groups Chapbook in 2006, 2008 and 2009. He is a member of the Chicago Screenwriters Network and founder of the Schaumburg Novel Writers Group.

A graduate of DePaul University in Chicago and a retired computer systems analyst, in his “spare” time he volunteers for the United States Naval Academy as a Blue & Gold Officer, interviewing potential candidates for the Navy’s college in Annapolis, Maryland. In addition, he is an avid model railroader and railroad historian, a member of the Northwest Trainmasters Modular Railroad Club and Great Northern Railroad Historical Society. In what’s left of his spare time he is an avid reader and gardener.


Please leave a comment on this post in appreciation of the author.

Monday, June 27, 2011

What Are You Reading Monday? #26





Books I completed in the last week are:
*Reading a lot of children’s book – I’m going to make a challenge of the titles found in 1001 Children’s Books to Read before I Grow Up (just need help with a button)
Stitch Me Deadly by Amanda Lee (Loan – SIL)
Untied: a Memoir of Family, Fame, and Floundering by Meredith Baxter (audio) (Library)
Stage Fright on a Summer Night by Mary Pope Osborne (Magic Tree House #25) (Summer Reading w/ nephew)

Bookmarks are still living in the middle of:
*Reading a lot of children’s book – I’m going to make a challenge of the titles found in 1001 Children’s Books to Read before I Grow Up (just need help with a button)

The Summer We Came to Live by Deborah Cloyed (for review)
Return to Sender by Fern Michaels (audio) (Library)

Up Next:
Good Morning, Gorillas by Mary Pope Osborne (Magic Tree House #26) (Summer Reading w/ nephew)
High Tide in Hawaii by Mary Pope Osborne (Magic Tree House #28) (Summer Reading w/ nephew)
Megasaurus by Thomas and Peter Weck (for review)
Steamed by Jessica Conant-Park & Susan Conant (Loan – SIL)
Thanksgiving on Thursday by Mary Pope Osborne (Magic Tree House #27) (Summer Reading w/ nephew)
The Diva Paints the Town by Krista Davis (Loan – SIL)
The Postmistress by Sarah Blake
The Shadow of Your Smile by Mary Higgins Clark
The Wedding Girl by Madeleine Wickham


Reviews posted this week:
I am still way behind in posting my reviews am trying to get them up asap.
The Matisse Stories by A. J. Byatt (Library – Audio)
Civil War on Sunday by Mary Pope Osborne (Magic Tree House #21)
The River Between Us by Richard Peck (Audio)

Author Guest Posts/Interviews:
Blog Tour Review: It Came From the 70’s: from The Godfather to Apocalypse Now by Connie Corcoran Wilson (July 20)
Blog Tour Guest Blog: It Came From the 70’s: from The Godfather to Apocalypse Now by Connie Corcoran Wilson (July 21)
Blog Tour Guest Post - The House on Blackstone Moor by Carole Gill (July 25)
Author Interview/Giveaway - Abyss of Chaos by David Beem (August 31)

June is Author Month – Interview A Day/Guest Blog
Author Interview/Blog - Piasa by Mike Kott (2 Moon Press) (June 28)
Author Interview/Giveaway - Firestorm by Radclyffe (Bold Strokes Books) (June 30)

September is Author Month – Interview A Day/Guest Blog

Author Interview - Dr. Elana Ashley (Dream Image Press, LLC) (September 6)
Author Interview - One Wish for Winifred Witch by Cheri Hallwood (TBD)
Author Interview/Giveaway - Abyss of Chaos by David Beem (TBD)
Author Interview/Giveaway - The Wedding Letters by Jason F Wright (Shadow Mountain Publishing) (TBD)
Author Interview/Giveaway? – Gobble, Gobble by Cathryn Falwell (TBD)

December is Author Month – Interview/Guest Blog A Day
Author Interview/Giveaway - Shadow On The Wall by Pavarti Devi (December 3)
Author Interview/Giveaway - Jacob T Marley by R. William Bennet (Shadow Mountain Publishing) (TBD)

Special Blog Hop Giveaways
Celebrating Freedom Hop (July 1 – 7)
Summer Hop (August 5 -7)
Back to School Hop (September 1 – 5)
Banned Book Week Hop (September 24 – October 1)
Spooktacular Hop (October 24 – 31)
Gratitude Giveaways (November 17 – 27)
Midwinters Eve (December 21 – 22)

Books still needing to have reviews written (as opposed to the ones that are simply awaiting posting):
Stage Fright on a Summer Night by Mary Pope Osborne (Magic Tree House #25)
Wrecked by Carol Higgins Clark (Library – Audio)
I’ll Be Home For Christmas by Fern Michaels (Library book)
Is the Moon Made of Cheese? by Emma Parker (ebook)
This Time Together by Carol Burnett (Library - audio)
Abraham Lincoln by David and Patricia Armentrout (Library)
Frog Knows Best by Kelli C Foster (Library)
Valentine Mice by Bethany Roberts (Library)
Honor Thyself by Danielle Steel (Library - Audio)
Earthquake In The Early Morning by Mary Pope Osborne (Magic Tree House #24)
Twister on Tuesday by Mary Pope Osborne (Magic Tree House #23)
Nights in Rodanthe by Nicholas Sparks (Library - Audio)
Happily Ever After by Nora Roberts (Quartet Brides #4) (Loan – SIL)
Revolutionary War On Wednesday by Mary Pope Osborne (Magic Tree House #22)
Yertle the Turtle by Dr. Seuss (Audio – John Lithgow)
Gertrude McFuzz by Dr. Seuss (Audio – John Lithgow)
The Big Brag by Dr. Seuss (Audio – John Lithgow)
Thidwick, the Big-Hearted Moose by Dr. Seuss (Audio – Mercedes McCambridge)
Horton Hatches the Egg by Dr. Seuss (Audio – Billy Crystal)
The Cat in the Hat Comes Back by Dr. Seuss (Audio – Kelsey Grammer)
The Cat In The Hat by Dr. Seuss (Audio – Kelsey Grammer)
Horton Hears a Who by Dr. Seuss (Audio – Dustin Hoffman)
The Grinch That Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss (Audio – Walter Matheau)
The Lorax by Dr. Seuss (Audio – Ted Danson)
Daisy, Maisey and Lazy by Emma Parker (ebook)
The Not So Scarey Scarecrow by Emma Parker (ebook)
The Moovers and the Milkshakers by Emma Parker (ebook)
The Butterfly Race by Emma Parker (ebook)
Teddy Is Real I Think by Emma Parker (ebook)


Giveaways on the blog this week and in coming weeks:
Devil Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger (ends 6/10) – Winner – Chelsea B.
Someone to Protect to by Patricia Rosemoor (Ends 6/17)
Married by Accident by Christine Rimmer (ends 6/24)
Ultra Deep by Willam H. Lovejoy (7/1)
Into the Badlands by Caron Todd (ends 7/8)
Against the Odds by Kathryn Shay (ends 7/15)
Wyoming by Fuller Giveaway (ends 7/17) in honor of Wyoming Statehood
A Mind to Murder by P. D. James (ends 7/22)
Q is for Quarry by Sue Grafton (ends 7/29)
Life's Not Fair, But God is Good by Robert H. Schuller (ends 8/5)
My Fair Temptress by Christina Dodd (ends 8/12)

Friday, June 24, 2011

Author Guest Blog -Photos and Poems and Quotes, Oh My!: How Other Creative Works Can Add to Your Writing by Madeline Sharples (WOW Book Tour)

Photos and Poems and Quotes, Oh My!: How Other Creative Works Can Add to Your Writing

One of the first reviewers of my memoir, Leaving the Hall Light On, said, “….The poetry and photographs add an extra dimension that is missing from most memoirs like this since as a reader you get much closer to the reality of what is being described on the page….” (Mark Shelmerdine, CEO, Jeffers Press). Another reviewer said my book is “poetically visceral.” Those statements helped validate any misgivings I had in adding other creative works into my manuscript.

I really hadn’t thought of putting photos in my book until my publisher, Janice Phelps-Williams of Lucky Press LLC suggested it. And of course I was delighted. At first she suggested photos interspersed within the chapters, but my book didn’t lend itself to that. So I picked out photos in groups: of my son Paul – the main subject of the book, of him and his brother, family photos, views of my office, garden, and one of the memorials to Paul – a bench dedicated to him on the greenbelt outside our home. At the time I had no idea what an impact these photos would have on the message of the book. However, I am currently reading Keith Richard’s memoir, Life. It has two photo sections. And I keep going back to these photos as I get to know more about the characters in his book.

Inserting my poems was another story. I never even considered leaving them out. They were instrumental in my book’s organization. I had journal entries and other writings to draw from and a poetry manuscript, and I arranged my book’s chapters according the order of the poems in my poetry manuscript. However, I still worried about what others would think. So many agents state that they don’t look at poetry. A memoir workshop instructor wasn’t keen on the idea. However, one of the people who had read my poems several years ago now says he can relate to them better because of their context in the story. The bottom line is: I was fortunate to find a publisher who not only liked the poems I initially had in the book, but asked for more.

Because I collect quotes – I usually note them down when I read and continually post them on my Facebook author page – I decided to insert three quotes in my book– two from books and one from a song. And that turned out to be the biggest problem in finally getting my book to print. Since I felt they were integral to my story I was adamant, but it took months to get the necessary permissions (see my Red Room blog posts dated September 15, September 29, and November 13, 2010 - http://www.redroom.com/member-blog/madeline40/). The main lesson is: if you want to include other authors’ words in your book, start getting permission early.
All in all I felt it was well worth the extra time it took to include other works in my memoir. My writing is very personal and I feel the photos, poems, and quotes helped deepen the personal message of my words.




Leaving the Hall Light On: A Mother’s Memoir of Living with Her Son’s Bipolar
Disorder and Surviving His Suicide
by Madeline Sharples
Hardcover Release: May 2011
Lucky Press LLC

Leaving the Hall Light On is about living after loss. It's about finding peace and balance and various ways the author, Madeline Sharples, brought herself together after feeling so helpless and out of control during her son Paul's seven-year struggle with bipolar disorder and after his suicide in September 1999.
Sharples explains: "I write about the steps I took in living with the loss of my son, including making use of diversions to help ease my grief. Leaving the Hall Light On is also about the milestones I met toward living a full life without him: packing and giving away his clothes, demolishing and redoing the scene of his death, cataloging and packing away all his records and books, copying all of his
original music compositions onto CDs, digitizing all of our family photos, and gutting his room and turning it into my office and sanctuary with a bay window that looks out toward a lush garden and a bubbling water fountain."



The author's book shares several aspects of her son's illness and how she and her
husband, and their other son, Ben, survived Paul's suicide, as it:
1) describes the frustration, anger, and guilt of trying to care for an adult child with mental illness
2) gives mothers and fathers who have experienced a child's death ways to get out of the deep dark hole they are in,
3) tells people the realities of mental illness,
4) describes the steps Sharples took in living with this loss; the first and foremost that she chose to live and go on with life and take care of herself as a woman, wife, mother,writer, and
5) shows readers that grief is love in action. To let ourselves grieve is to feel the depth of our love for as long as it takes. For those of us whose children have died, that may take the rest of our lives, but we will discover the gifts of our loss in the process.



+++++++++
Bio: Madeline Sharples



Although Madeline Sharples fell in love with poetry and creative writing
in grade school and studied journalism in college, her professional life
focused on technical writing. It was not until later in life that she finally
pursued her dream of being a professional writer.
Madeline co-authored Blue-Collar Women: Trailblazing Women Take
on Men-Only Jobs (New Horizon Press, 1994) and co-edited The Great
American Poetry Show, Volumes 1 (Muse Media, 2004) and 2 (August
2010). Her poems have been published in two photography books The
Emerging Goddess, and Intimacy (Paul Blieden, photographer), and a
number of magazines. Visit her website


Please leave a comment on this post in appreciation of the author.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Book Review: The Matisse Stories by A. J. Byatt



Title: The Matisse Stories
Author: A. S. Byatt – Read by Nadia May
Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc
ISBN: 0786158271
Release Date: 1995
Pages: 144
Genre: Fiction
Format: Audio read by Nadia May
Source: Library

Back cover:
In this elegant set of stories, three modern women are touched in different wys by the paintings of Henri Matisse.

In “Medusa’s Ankles,” a distinguished translator visits a hair salon hoping to regain a hint of her youthful looks. Hung on the wall before her is one of Matisse’s iconic portraits.

In “Art Works”, the three inhabitants of one household – a generous wife, her petulant husband, and their regal housekeeper – make very different artists.

And in “The Chinese Lobster,: a self-tortured, anorexic art student confronts the smug opulence of Matisse’s nudes while pondering suicide.

My Review:
I would have to say that you need to know about some of Matisse’s paintings to get the how the stories coinside. While listening it almost seemed like the stories melt into one another. It seems like the main characters (Translator and wife) are one in the same in each story if you didn’t know any better.

It seems that art is the main theme of each story. The lovely picture hung in the salon. The “housekeeper” that has the collage art show made out of all the “bids & bobs” she gathers at her customers house. The art student that is studying the nudes as she is thinking about her own body image.

Book Review: Civil War on Sunday (Magic Tree House #21) by Mary Pope Osborne



Title: Civil War on Sunday (Magic Tree House #21)
Author: Mary Pope Osborne
Publisher: A Stepping Stone Book (Random House)
ISBN: 0-679-99067-4
Release Date: 2000
Pages: 74
Genre: Young Reader
Format: Paperback
Source: Library

Back Cover:
Cannon Fire!

That’s what Jack and Annie hear when the Magic Tree House whisks them back to the time of the American Civil War. There they meet a famous nurse named Clara Barton and do their best to help wounded soldiers. It is their hardest journey into time yet – and the one that will make the most difference to their own lives!

My Review:
I love these books as much as my nephews. I think the most wonderful thing is that for most of the stories there is some historical influence in the story. Here the children meet Clara Barton and she teaches them about how she took care of all soldiers both North and South.

I always find it that to read a book when younger about history will eventually click when it’s time to study some of these things in school. I always like to read stories that had some truth to them.

Book Review: The River Between Us by Richard Peck



Title: The River Between Us (Scott O’Dell Award Winner)
Author: Richard Peck, Read by: Lina Patel
Publisher: Random House (Reading Library)
ISBN: 0307282503
Release Date: 2003
Pages: 176 (Audio 3 hrs, 54 mins)
Genre: Young Adult
Format: Audio - CDs
Source: Library

Back Cover:
A steamboat whistle splits the air one evening and with it, all is changed for fifteen-year-old Tilly Pruitt and her family. They’ve been living in a muddy little Mississippi River town in Illinois, fearing the approach of the Civil War. Except for Tilly’s twin brother, Noah, who has been marching and drilling with the other boys in town – all of them ready to solider, some for the North and some for the South.

When the steamboat whistle blows, and the Rob Roy from New Orleans docks at the landing, two remarkable figures come ashore: A commanding and glamorous young lady and her darker, silent servant. Who are these two fascinating strangers And could the servant be a slave? When Tilly’s mother invites them both to room and board at her house, the whole world shifts for the Pruitts. And for their visitors as well.

Within a masterful tale of mystery and the female Civil War Experience. Richard Peck has spun a breathtaking portrait of the lifelong impact one person can have on another. Unexpected and enlightening, this is a novel of countless riches.

Mine:
What a great story of the Civil War at the start. It’s like “Gone With The Wind” on a YA level. The descriptions of what the war was about and how it affects everyone are classic, but also how the North and the South were also very much the same is a theme through out.

The steamboat must stop because the blockade has begun because of the war. The Pruitts invite two of the strangers to come stay with them. The strangers are from the South and have a very different way of thinking from those in Illinois.

The war is upon them all before they know it and they deal with it in different ways. Noah Pruitt decides to join up to fight. Our strangers from the South keep the Pruitts in good shape by having money to pay for supplies that are often very expensive.

This is the first of the authors books I’ve read, but I would definite read more if they all come like this one.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Author Interview - Her Dear & Loving Husband by Meredith Allard

Her Dear & Loving HusbandBy Meredith Allard




Describe your book in five words or less.

Is Sarah James’s wife?


How did the idea for your book come to you?

For Her Dear & Loving Husband, the idea originally came after one of my students gave me Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight. I had never been one for vampire stories, funnily enough, but my student raved about the book so I read it, and loved it. About a year later, after reading a number of other vampire books, I started wondering about what it would be like for vampires since every human they loved would have died at some point. That was the seed from which the story grew.


What is the hardest part of writing for you? What's the easiest?

I detest writing first drafts. Maybe abhor is a better word. I wrote a number of blogs about how much I hate writing first drafts last summer. Even now I go back to my own blog posts because I have to remind myself how to deal with the frustration. Having said that, there’s a point in the writing process, past the first draft stage, where I can see that the words on the page match the images in my head and I can see that the story I want to tell is coming to life. I don’t know if I would call that part easy because getting there is a lot of work. But it is a great feeling, and that’s why I write.


What's next for you? Are you currently working on or have plans for future projects?

Right now I’m working on Book Two of The Loving Husband Trilogy, Her Loving Husband’s Curse. I’m expecting it to be done Spring 2012.


Why did you choose to write for specific genre?

In this case it was more like the genre found me. Even after reading Twilight I didn’t have any immediate plans to write about vampires. If anyone had told me at the time that I’d be writing about vampires I would have laughed. But I had this crazy story idea about a vampire and his wife and it wouldn’t leave me alone. I had to see if there was anything there. As for the other genres in the novel, they grew naturally out of the story I wanted to tell. It’s no great surprise that there’s an historical fiction element in the story since I’ve been the executive editor of The Copperfield Review, a journal for readers and writers of historical fiction, for the last ten years. In Her Dear & Loving Husband, there is the history from the Salem Witch Trials. There is certainly a lot of romance in the story between James and Sarah, though I wouldn’t place this book under that genre since it doesn’t follow the rules of a traditional romance. And I’ve been told, even since college, that I have a literary style of writing, so I think the literary element just happens for me. That’s what happens when your writing mentors are Dickens and Morrison. The truth is, when I write I don’t worry a lot about genre. I tell the story I want to tell and worry about labeling it later on.


What's it like hearing that readers are eagerly awaiting your book's release date?

I’ve been pleasantly surprised at how well the novel has been received so far. It’s a new novel from a new author, but when I tell people about the story they seem interested in the subject and they’re excited about reading it. The reviews so far have been very positive. I’m thankful. I knew that I loved James and Sarah, and it’s great seeing that others have come to feel the same way.


What is one question that you've always wanted to be asked in an interview? How would you answer that question?

When I interview authors for The Copperfield Review, the one question I always ask is: What is your advice for other writers? So here is my own answer to the question.
1. 1. Learn patience. Things happen in their own time, not necessarily when we want or expect them to.
2. 2. Be diligent. Keep writing. No matter what.
3. 3. Don’t take no for an answer. You don’t need someone else’s permission to do what is in your heart to do. If you want to write, then write.
4. 4. Stay strong. Rejection letters always sting. But the sting lasts for just a second and then you’re that much closer to finding the right market for your work.
5. 5. Keep improving. You are a better writer today than you were yesterday. You will be even better tomorrow. Never stop learning how to improve your craft.


What was your road to publication like?

I had the same experience as a lot of writers. It took me a few years and a lot of rejections before my first short story “Keats House” was published. I’ve been lucky enough to have a number of short stories and articles published since then, but, also like a lot of writers, I’ve had far more rejections than I’ve had acceptances. I did go through a period where I had had it with the rejections and I stopped writing anything but grocery lists. That lasted for about two years, and they were a miserable two years. Then I realized that I was missing a huge part of myself and I started writing again.


And then, ten years ago, I started The Copperfield Review, a journal for readers and writers of historical fiction. I love historical fiction, it’s my favorite genre to read and write, but as I was looking for markets to send my historical work I found that there really weren’t any that accepted that genre. I took a class at Learning Tree University about how to start this crazy thing called an e-zine (they weren’t as popular then as they are now), and The Copperfield Review was born. I call it The Little Journal That Could. In ten years I have never spent a dime on advertising, and yet somehow CR has come to have its own little corner of the literary world and we have loyal readers and contributors from across the globe.


Author Bio:




Meredith Allard is the author of Her Dear & Loving Husband (Copperfield Press, 2011). She is the executive editor of The Copperfield Review, a journal for readers and writers of historical fiction, named one of the top markets for new writers by Writer's Digest. Her writing has appeared in journals such as Moondance, Muse Apprentice Guild, The Paumanok Review, Wild Mind, Writer's Weekly, and ViewsHound, where her article won the Silver Medal Prize. She has taught writing to students aged 10 to 60, and she has taught creative writing and writing historical fiction seminars at Learning Tree University and UNLV. She lives in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Please leave a comment on this post in appreciation of the author.

Mid Summer's Eve (6/21-24)







Temptation by Jude Deveraux
Temperance O'Neil is a women's rights activist in New York City at the turn of the 20th century. At the age of 29, she had given little thought, time, or attention to her love life and thrown all of her energy into helping the city's poor and downtrodden women. But when Temperance's widowed mother shows up with her new husband, Angus McCairn, everything changes. Angus has control over the O'Neil money and uses it to force Temperance to move to Scotland, where he's determined to make a "proper" lady of her. This results in a brief but amusing battle of wills that culminates in a blackmail deal: If Temperance can make Angus's nephew, James, take a wife within the next six months, then she can have her money and her house back.

The Long Road Home by Danielle Steel
At age 6, our heroine, lovely Gabriella Harrison, a rich kid on Manhattan's Upper East Side, "looked startled much of the time, like an angel who had fallen to earth, and had not known what to expect here." What Gabriella gets is a mother like Lucifer and a father who slips out to sleep with Italian prostitutes while Mrs. Harrison is busy breaking Gabriella's spirit--and sometimes her bones. Gabby's tormentor makes the real-life moms in Mommie Dearest and Mommy Dressing look sweet.
Gabriella gets a better break when her parents divorce and dump her in a convent. She meets a sensitive, older man with a deep, dark secret, and pretty soon they've got some steamy erotic secrets in common.

These are gently used previous summer read from me.




Monday, June 20, 2011

What Are You Reading Monday? #25





Books I completed in the last week are:
*Reading a lot of children’s book – I’m going to make a challenge of the titles found in 1001 Children’s Books to Read before I Grow Up (just need help with a button)


Bookmarks are still living in the middle of:
*Reading a lot of children’s book – I’m going to make a challenge of the titles found in 1001 Children’s Books to Read before I Grow Up (just need help with a button)

Stage Fright on a Summer Night by Mary Pope Osborne (Magic Tree House #25) (Summer Reading w/ nephew)
Stitch Me Deadly by Amanda Lee (Loan – SIL)
The Summer We Came to Live by Deborah Cloyed (for review)
Untied: a Memoir of Family, Fame, and Floundering by Meredith Baxter (audio) (Library)

Up Next:
Return to Sender by Fern Michaels (audio) (Library)
Good Morning, Gorillas by Mary Pope Osborne (Magic Tree House #26) (Summer Reading w/ nephew)
High Tide in Hawaii by Mary Pope Osborne (Magic Tree House #28) (Summer Reading w/ nephew)
Megasaurus by Thomas and Peter Weck (for review)
Steamed by Jessica Conant-Park & Susan Conant (Loan – SIL)
Thanksgiving on Thursday by Mary Pope Osborne (Magic Tree House #27) (Summer Reading w/ nephew)
The Diva Paints the Town by Krista Davis (Loan – SIL)
The Postmistress by Sarah Blake
The Shadow of Your Smile by Mary Higgins Clark
The Wedding Girl by Madeleine Wickham


Reviews posted this week:
I am still way behind in posting my reviews am trying to get them up asap.


Author Guest Posts/Interviews:
Blog Tour Review: It Came From the 70’s: from The Godfather to Apocalypse Now by Connie Corcoran Wilson (July 20)
Blog Tour Guest Blog: It Came From the 70’s: from The Godfather to Apocalypse Now by Connie Corcoran Wilson (July 21)
Blog Tour Guest Post - The House on Blackstone Moor by Carole Gill (July 25)
Author Interview/Giveaway - Abyss of Chaos by David Beem (August 31)

June is Author Month – Interview A Day/Guest Blog
Author Interview/Giveaway - The Forgotten Locket by Lisa Mangnum (Shadow Mountain Publishing) (June 14)
Author Interview/Giveaway - Baby Barbells: The Dad's Guide to Fitness and Fathering by Joshua Levitt (June 19)
Author Interview/Giveaway - Hans Beckers Family by Ralph Souders (2 Moon Press) (June 20)
Author Interview - Her Dear & Loving Husband by Meredith Allard (WOW Blog Tour) (June 21)
Author Interview/Giveaway - The Miracle of Freedom: 7 Tipping Points that Save the World by Chris Stewart (Shadow Mountain Publishing) (June 22)
Author Interview/Blog - Piasa by Mike Kott (2 Moon Press) (June 28)
Author Interview/Giveaway - Firestorm by Radclyffe (Bold Strokes Books) (June 30)
Author Interview - Little Hawk's Way of Storytelling (Findhorn Press) (TBD)

September is Author Month – Interview A Day/Guest Blog

Author Interview - Dr. Elana Ashley (Dream Image Press, LLC) (September 6)
Author Interview - One Wish for Winifred Witch by Cheri Hallwood (TBD)
Author Interview/Giveaway - Abyss of Chaos by David Beem (TBD)
Author Interview/Giveaway - The Wedding Letters by Jason F Wright (Shadow Mountain Publishing) (TBD)
Author Interview/Giveaway? – Gobble, Gobble by Cathryn Falwell (TBD)

December is Author Month – Interview/Guest Blog A Day
Author Interview/Giveaway - Shadow On The Wall by Pavarti Devi (December 3)
Author Interview/Giveaway - Jacob T Marley by R. William Bennet (Shadow Mountain Publishing) (TBD)

Special Blog Hop Giveaways
Mid Summer's Eve (June 21 – 22)
Blog Bash 2011 (Jun3 22-26)
Celebrating Freedom Hop (July 1 – 7)
Summer Hop (August 5 -7)
Back to School Hop (September 1 – 5)
Banned Book Week Hop (September 24 – October 1)
Spooktacular Hop (October 24 – 31)
Gratitude Giveaways (November 17 – 27)
Midwinters Eve (December 21 – 22)

Books still needing to have reviews written (as opposed to the ones that are simply awaiting posting):
Wrecked by Carol Higgins Clark (Library – Audio)
The Matisse Stories by A. J. Byatt (Library – Audio)
I’ll Be Home For Christmas by Fern Michaels (Library book)
Is the Moon Made of Cheese? by Emma Parker (ebook)
Civil War on Sunday by Mary Pope Osborne (Magic Tree House #21)
This Time Together by Carol Burnett (Library - audio)
Abraham Lincoln by David and Patricia Armentrout (Library)
Frog Knows Best by Kelli C Foster (Library)
Valentine Mice by Bethany Roberts (Library)
Honor Thyself by Danielle Steel (Library - Audio)
Earthquake In The Early Morning by Mary Pope Osborne (Magic Tree House #24)
Twister on Tuesday by Mary Pope Osborne (Magic Tree House #23)
Nights in Rodanthe by Nicholas Sparks (Library - Audio)
Happily Ever After by Nora Roberts (Quartet Brides #4) (Loan – SIL)
Revolutionary War On Wednesday by Mary Pope Osborne (Magic Tree House #22)
Yertle the Turtle by Dr. Seuss (Audio – John Lithgow)
Gertrude McFuzz by Dr. Seuss (Audio – John Lithgow)
The Big Brag by Dr. Seuss (Audio – John Lithgow)
Thidwick, the Big-Hearted Moose by Dr. Seuss (Audio – Mercedes McCambridge)
Horton Hatches the Egg by Dr. Seuss (Audio – Billy Crystal)
The Cat in the Hat Comes Back by Dr. Seuss (Audio – Kelsey Grammer)
The Cat In The Hat by Dr. Seuss (Audio – Kelsey Grammer)
Horton Hears a Who by Dr. Seuss (Audio – Dustin Hoffman)
The Grinch That Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss (Audio – Walter Matheau)
The Lorax by Dr. Seuss (Audio – Ted Danson)
Daisy, Maisey and Lazy by Emma Parker (ebook)
The Not So Scarey Scarecrow by Emma Parker (ebook)
The River Between Us by Richard Peck (Audio)
The Moovers and the Milkshakers by Emma Parker (ebook)
The Butterfly Race by Emma Parker (ebook)
Teddy Is Real I Think by Emma Parker (ebook)


Giveaways on the blog this week and in coming weeks:
Devil Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger (ends 6/10) – Winner – Chelsea B.
Someone to Protect to by Patricia Rosemoor (Ends 6/17)
Married by Accident by Christine Rimmer (ends 6/24)
Ultra Deep by Willam H. Lovejoy (7/1)
Into the Badlands by Caron Todd (ends 7/8)
Against the Odds by Kathryn Shay (ends 7/15)
Wyoming by Fuller Giveaway (ends 7/17) in honor of Wyoming Statehood
A Mind to Murder by P. D. James (ends 7/22)
Q is for Quarry by Sue Grafton (ends 7/29)
Life's Not Fair, But God is Good by Robert H. Schuller (ends 8/5)
My Fair Temptress by Christina Dodd (ends 8/12)

Guest Interview/Giveaway - Hans Beckers Family by Ralph Souders (2 Moon Press)



Book Synopsis:
As the maid walked to the center of the room, she noticed that everything in the room was organized and in its proper place. At first glance, the bed appeared to be very neat, and the maid expected to find that it had already been made.

However, she quickly realized that this was not the situation, as a young man was lying in it beneath the sheet and the bedspread with his head resting comfortably on a pillow. His hair was smooth and in place.

As the maid approached him more closely, a very uneasy feeling came over her, and she got a very tight knot in the pit of her stomach. Her immediate impulse was to rush from the room and to call the housekeeping manager, but the man was young, probably not yet twenty. She felt almost a mother’s concern for him.

Against her better judgment, the maid reached out to him and touched the small area of his bare shoulder that was not covered by the sheet. The maid’s suspicion was confirmed. The shoulder was cold. The man was dead.



Author Interview:


Describe your book in five words or less.
Unique plot, never before published

How did the ideas for your books come to you?
When doing yard work, I have lots of time to think about many things. Sometimes, a creative idea comes to mind and I am able to develop it into a story.

What is the hardest part of writing for you? What's the easiest?
The hardest part is making sure that the dialog is natural sounding. Sometimes, it is difficult for the characters to have a detailed conversation without sounding artificial. The easiest part is beginning a new chapter because at this time, I usually have a very clear idea as to where I want to go with the story. It’s then a matter of taking it there.

What's next for you? Are you currently working on or have plans for future projects?
I have completed a second novel titled, Dead in the Water. I am working on the rough draft of a third novel, still untitled, that is probably about 50% completed.

Why did you choose to write for specific genre?
I have a very conservative personality. When I write a suspense thriller, I am able to use my imagination and reach far beyond myself to write about situations that I will never experience in my own personal life.

What's it like hearing that readers are eagerly awaiting your book's release date?
It’s unbelievably flattering. It makes me want to write the best story possible so as not to disappoint whomever might eventually be reading it.

What is one question that you've always wanted to be asked in an interview? How would you answer that question?
Why did I wait so long to begin writing? My answer is that I really don’t know and I now regret that I did. So much time was wasted. I try to accept the old adage that it’s better late than never.

What was your road to publications like?
It had its share of disappointments. I sent out a number of queries that included a short letter and the first 30 pages of the book. Most publishers never responded but a couple requested that I send them the remainder of the book. This indicated to me that my story was generating some interest and this gave me the encouragement that I needed.


Author Bio:

Ralph was born in Chicago and grew up in the suburban Riverside. He is a graduate of Saint Joseph High School and the University of Central Florida where he attained a BA of Science in Business Administration.

Since college, he has worked in marketing and sales positions within the electronics industry, primarily for German manufactures. Today, he is the managing partner in his own business, and travels to Germany on a regular basis.

He is married and has one daughter, a college student. Ralph and his family have resided in the Chicago area for the past twenty three years..

Giveaway
1. Please leave a comment on this post in appreciation of the author.
2. Please fill out the form below.


Sunday, June 19, 2011

Author Interview - Baby Barbells: The Dad's Guide to Fitness and Fathering by Joshua Levitt


Describe your book in five words or less.

Fitness and Fathering- Daddy’s Guide

How did the ideas for your books come to you?

I walked in the door, home after a long day seeing patients, and my wife thrusts our fussy baby into my arms and said “It’s your turn.” I lay down, dog tired, and perched the cranky baby on my chest. Then I lifted her up like a bench press- baby up, baby down, baby up…and behold, she smiled, she laughed…and I started to feel the burn in my triceps. That was it, Baby Barbells was born.

What is the hardest part of writing for you? What's the easiest?

Hardest: For me, unquestionably the hardest part of writing is in finding the time to write. Balancing life as a husband, father, doctor, and now author is tricky indeed.

Easiest: I write in a very casual, conversational tone… so the words flow onto the paper (or more accurately, the monitor) in the same way that they flow out of my big mouth.

What's next for you? Are you currently working on or have plans for future
projects?


I do have my wheels turning about follow-up books in a series…Stay tuned.

Why did you choose to write for specific genre?

As a father who understands the challenges of work/life balance first hand…I felt that new dads deserved something different. Baby Barbells is a chunky, funky board book for grown-ups who don’t have time to read a long, boring parenting book. This book was designed to kick around the living room, get drooled on, and get flipped open when daddy has a few minutes of playtime.

What's it like hearing that readers are eagerly awaiting your book's release date?

It is such a pleasure to have fans that are so enthusiastic about the book and the lifestyle that it represents.

What is one question that you've always wanted to be asked in an interview? How would you answer that question?

Unlike most authors- I always relish the opportunity to talk about my “day job.” I’m a naturopathic physician and I run a natural family medical office here in CT. I help patients find natural solutions to both common and complex medical problems.

What was your road to publications like?

The concept for Baby Barbells occurred to me when my first child was about six months
old. About six years and three kids later…I decided to get serious about turning my idea into reality. I wrote a proposal and pitched it to an author friend. He pitched it to his agent. His agent became my agent. After a few refinements, my agent pitched the publishers we agreed would be best- and presto… A book deal!!!


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Author Bio:

Joshua Levitt, ND is a naturopathic physician, an involved father of three, and a certified human jungle gym. He lives near New Haven, CT where he owns and runs a natural family medicine practice and teaches at the Yale School of Medicine.



Please leave a comment on this post in appreciation of the author.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Author Interview - Carsen Taite (Bold Strokes Books)




Describe your book in five words or less.

Nothing but the Truth (January 2011): hot romance, nail-biting courtroom drama
The Best Defense (July 2011): thrill of the chase

How did the ideas for your books come to you?

I get book ideas from all kinds of sources - overheard conversation (yes, I eavesdrop), current events, and the ether. Nothing but the Truth was inspired by an actual case I worked on as a criminal defense attorney. The Best Defense is a spin off from It Should be a Crime, my second novel. I created a secondary character in It Should be a Crime, Skye Keaton, and found myself wanting to tell more of her story, so I let her take the lead in a novel. Last year’s arrest of the Hutaree militia inspired the plotline for Skye's story.

What is the hardest part of writing for you? What's the easiest?

The hardest part for me is getting started. The easiest part is coming up with ideas. I brainstorm story lines all day long, but putting the first few chapters on paper is a chore. The biggest challenge for me is focusing on the project at hand without getting caught up in plotlines for future works.

What's next for you? Are you currently working on or have plans for future projects?

I am currently working on a mystery novel, hopefully the first in a series. The first novel in the series is titled Slingshot and it's about a bounty hunter, Luca Bennett. It's a different sort of adventure for me because even though Luca has an active love life, romance is not the central focus of the story. Also, I’m telling the story in the first person point of view which brings a unique set of challenges and opportunities.

If you’d like to sample my foray into the world of Luca the bounty hunter, she will make her first appearance in a short story anthology, Women of the Mean Streets: Lesbian Noir, due out in August from Bold Strokes Books. www.boldstrokesbooks.com

Why did you choose to write for specific genre?

I chose to write lesbian fiction because that’s what I enjoy reading. Don’t get me wrong, my reading taste is very broad, but there’s no substitute for the comfort of seeing characters you can relate to in the pages of a book. I write about crime and courtroom drama because my day job provides an endless source of inspiration for story ideas. And, I write romance because I’m a sap J.

What's it like hearing that readers are eagerly awaiting your book's release date?

Completely and totally awesome. And humbling. I’m proud to have a solid fan base and it’s important to me to write quality works that keep readers coming back for more.


What was your road to publication like?

Fairly smooth, but I did a lot of research before I submitted my first novel. It was important to me that I find a good fit right from the start. I was very fortunate to be signed by my first choice, Bold Strokes Books, and I couldn’t ask for a better publishing family. I will publish my sixth and seventh novels with BSB in 2012, and I look forward to a long and prosperous relationship.

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Author Bio:



Carsen Taite works by day (and sometimes night) as a criminal defense attorney in Dallas, Texas. Her goal as an author is to spin plot lines as interesting as the cases she encounters in her practice. She is the author of five novels , truelesbianlove.com, It Should be a Crime (a Lambda Literary Award finalist), Do Not Disturb, Nothing but the Truth, and The Best Defense. She is currently working on her sixth novel, Slingshot, which, like several of her prior works contains a heavy dose of crime. Learn more at Carsen Taite



Please leave a comment on this post in appreciation of the author.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Author Interview - The Affair of the Porcelain Dog by Jessica Faraday



Describe your book The Affair of the Porcelain Dog in five words or less.

High Adventure in Victorian London.

How did the ideas for your books come to you?

Usually from researching something else that I'm writing. History is so full of weird, amazing facts that just beg to have a story written about them. My current WIP, regarding the adventures of the Last Female Sûreté agent in 1820s Paris, sprouted up from research into the history of Scotland Yard, for example.

What is the hardest part of writing for you? What's the easiest?

The hardest part is working through the first draft. The writing is SO AWFUL, it hurts to read it. It hurts to write it. But if I don't work my way all the way through that first draft from beginning to end, I'll spend twenty years polishing the first page alone.

The easiest part is fiddling and fine-tuning the final draft. All the hard work is done, and it's time to play with words!

What's next for you? Are you currently working on or have plans for future
projects?


I have three projects in the hopper right now: the aforementioned Paris police story set in 1827, a noir-ish detective story set in Los Angeles toward the end of WWII, and a second book with the characters from Porcelain Dog. The first two have some supernatural twists. The third is purely historical.

Why did you choose to write for specific genre?

History fascinates me. I love to look at the similarities and differences between my own experience and the experiences of people living in different times and places. It's easy to look at these differences and think that people in the past were somehow inferior, backward or less enlightened than they are now. But if you really immerse yourself in the times, you'll see that people were operating from different ways of looking at the world, and that their beliefs and actions (both just and unjust) logically stemmed from that outlook.

I like to think about difficult positions my characters might find themselves in as a result of aspects of culture that don't exist in my time and place, and make them figure out how to get out of it using only the tools available to people at that time. It's cruel, but it makes a good read.

What's it like hearing that readers are eagerly awaiting your book's release date?

It still surprises me. For the longest time, scribbling my stories has been my eccentric little conceit. I'm still kind of amazed that I actually sold my book, and even more amazed that people are buying it.

What is one question that you've always wanted to be asked in an interview? Howwould you answer that question?

Actually, I've always wanted to be asked about the road to publication. =D

What was your road to publications like?

It was a lot of work! Here are a few stats:
Number of unpublished novels written before The Affair of the Porcelain Dog: 2

•Of these, number actually finished: 1
•How long, from first ink to contract offer: a little over four years
•Number of drafts: 8
•Of these, number that were major rewrites (ie; more than 50% of the MS tossed and replaced with something completely different): 4
•First draft word count: around 35K.
•Word count at highest point: around 100K
•Accepted draft word count: around 77,300K

Have to qualify “ a little over four years” by saying that during the first two years, I had exactly three hours per week to write. The first draft was written in seven months, that is to say, a little less than 200 hours, which sort of boggles my mind to think about it now. The third year, I had six hours per week.

It took eight drafts to get APD right, because I was still trying to figure out what I was doing. That takes a lot of time–a lot of time that could have been saved, by the way, by using an outline. It’ s a lot faster and easier to work the plot kinks out of 20 pages of outline than out of 400 pages of text. Fortunately, a lot of
publishers, including mine, require an outline and synopsis for subsequent books. A good outline takes a lot of work, but ends up saving a lot of work in the end, if that makes sense.

I did a lot of publisher research before submitting to Bold Strokes. I wanted a publisher whose books were carried in the major chain brick and mortar stores, as well as available in e-book format. I wanted an established publisher with a good reputation, a solid marketing department, and wide distribution. I
also wanted a publisher that didn't require an agent for submission. Most of all, I wanted a publisher that published authors alongside whom I would be proud to be listed.

This resulted in a short list, which I ordered from most to least desirable. Bold Strokes Books was first on my list. They are well represented in bookstores, and I already enjoyed quite a few of their authors. They have a good reputation, and don't require an agent for submission. I almost didn't submit to them, because
I thought that there was absolutely no chance that they would be interested in my weird little story. My palms were literally sweating when I took a deep breath and pressed "send."

I'm still amazed that they wanted to publish my book--amazed and grateful. Most novels aren't snapped up the first time out. The fact that mine was, I think was more due to my extensive publisher research than to any other factor. Never underestimate the Power of Research!



Author Bio:



Jess Faraday is the author of one novel, three book translations, a handful of short stories, and numerous nonfiction articles.

She is a graduate of the University of Arizona (B.A.) and UCLA (M.A.). Since then, she has earned her daily bread in a number of questionable ways, including translation, lexicography, copyediting, teaching high school Russian, and hawking shoes to the overprivileged offspring of Los Angeles-area B-listers.

She enjoys martial arts, the outdoors, strong coffee and a robust Pinot Noir. She also receives a trickle of income from Faraday Bags, her line of data shielding handbags and clothing. She is also a reviewer at Speak Its Name.

Please leave a comment on this post in appreciation of the author.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Wednesday Blog Hops



Be-Bop-A Blog Hop Wednesday

Blogging Hints Catch a Wave Wednesday

Author Interview - The Forgotten Locket by Lisa Mangum



Describe your book in five words or less.

Romantic. Exhilarating. Compelling. Satisfying.

How did the ideas for your books come to you?

I hadn’t planned on writing a YA novel. Before I got the idea for The Hourglass Door (the first book in the trilogy), I was working on an epic fantasy novel. But one summer day I was driving to a writer’s conference for YA authors and thought, What kind of story would I write—if I were to write YA? And just like that, I knew it would be a love story. I knew it would have a little fantasy twist to it, and that it would be inspired by Dante’s famous epic poem The Divine Comedy. By the time I had reached the conference, I knew some of the major elements of the story, the characters involved—even some of the scenes and dialogue for the story. It was like Abby and Dante jumped in the car with me and told me the whole thing, start to finish. I’ve never had a story come to me like that before—or since. It was amazing.

What is the hardest part of writing for you? What’s the easiest?

The hardest part for me is making sure I keep the pacing fast and tight. Sure, I outline the story, but there are usually sections or places where I feel like the action is dragging a little, so I work hard to make sure I keep the characters moving. I want to make sure I deliver a book to my readers that they “can’t put down.”

One of the easiest things for me, I think, is doing description. I love playing with words and seeing how they fit together. I love it when I can describe something in unconventional language or make people see something familiar in a new light.
What’s next for you? Are you currently working on or have plans for future projects?
I’m never short of ideas.  Next up is a contemporary YA novel that I have tentatively entitled Just June. It’s about two sisters who make very different choices in their lives and about following the repercussions of those actions. After that, I have a fantasy story about fairies I want to do. And just this week, I got a new idea for a YA novel that I can’t stop thinking about. And at some point, I probably ought to get back to that epic fantasy novel I set aside to tell the story of Abby and Dante. (I did have 400 pages done for that story, after all . . . )

Why did you choose to write for specific genre?

I think YA is an exciting genre to write in. Especially now. There are so many good books—compelling, life-changing, challenging books—that are being written for the YA market by some of the best writers out there. I think one of the draws of the genre is that the emotions and challenges are so intense; they are often all-consuming for a character. Plus, it’s often a time of firsts—first date, first kiss, first betrayal, first time you figure out who you are and who you want to be. There is a lot of interesting material that can grow out of those kinds of situations.

What’s it like hearing that readers are eagerly awaiting your book’s release date?

It’s at once exciting and terrifying. I love knowing that there are people who have fallen in love with Abby and Dante just as I have, but I’m always nervous right before a book comes out—will people like it? And, I must admit, there is a little part of me that smiles, knowing I know something very few others know—how the story ends. Ultimately, though, I can’t wait to have the book make its way into the hands of readers everywhere so they can share in the story with me.

What is one question that you’ve always wanted to be asked in an interview? How would you answer that question?

Q: What’s your favorite ride at Disneyland? A: Big Thunder Mountain.

What was your road to publications like?

Surprisingly smooth. For my day job, I work as an editor for a publishing company, so naturally, when I wrote my book, I took it to my publisher to see if, perhaps, they wanted to look at it. They did, and so I submitted it in just like any other author. They took my name off the submission when the manuscript made the review rounds in order to avoid other people knowing it was me and making judgments (good or bad) based on that. I was really grateful for that, because then, when the answer came back Yes, I knew it was because they really wanted the book, and not just because I wrote it.

I sometimes hesitate to tell people this, but from the day I got the idea for the series to the day book 1 was available for sale at the bookstore was almost exactly two years. And after more than a decade in the publishing business, I can tell you, that is fast.

Author Bio:



Lisa Mangum knew she was destined to work with books when she opted to skip recess in elementary school to help out at the school library instead. A voracious reader her entire life, her first paying job was at the Sandy Library as a page, where she shelved books all day. She worked at Waldenbooks for the four years while she attended the University of Utah, earning a degree in English. An avid reader of all genres, Lisa has worked in numerous editorial roles in the publishing industry. She lives in Taylorsville, Utah, with her husband, Tracy.


Please leave a comment on this post in appreciation of the author.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Guest Blog/Giveaway(Kindle or iPod)- Summer of Gomez by Graham Parke


It's the Summer of Gomez!



Get free books and win a Kindle or iPod.




As reviewers have been calling “No Hope for Gomez!” the perfect summer read - light, fast, fun - I decided to give this summer's Gomez readers some exclusive content and the chance to win prizes.


About No Hope for Gomez!





It's the age-old tale:

 -   Boy meets girl.
 -   Boy stalks girl.
 -   Girl already has a stalker.
 -   Boy becomes her stalker-stalker.

  
We've seen it all before, many times, but this time it's different. If only slightly.

    When Gomez Porter becomes a test subject in an experimental drug trial, he is asked to keep track of any strange experiences through a blog. 


What Gomez isn't ready for, is so many of his experiences suddenly seeming strange; the antiques dealer trying to buy his old tax papers, the phone-sex salesman who hounds him day and night, the super sexy lab assistant who falls for him but is unable to express herself in terms outside the realm of science.

   But when one of the trial participants turns up dead and another goes missing, Gomez begins to fear for his life. No longer sure who he can trust and which of his experiences are real and which merely drug induced delusions, he decides it's time to go underground and work out a devious plan.
Read a chapter.

Nominated for Humor Novel of the Year by ForeWord Reviews, USA Book News, and the IBA Awards, here's what reviewers have to say about "No Hope for Gomez!":

“Extremely witty and clever writing.” -- California Chronicle

"An unputdownable read. a Coens Brothers' film in book form." -- BookReview.com

"A veritable page turner of nonstop laughs!" -- Reader Views

"A Party for your Brain!" -- Warren Baxter

Warning: clinical studies have shown that reading this novel is likely to make you more attractive to the opposite sex and elevate your random luck by about 9.5%**

(** These statements have not been evaluated by any person of consequence!)

With every cool summer party comes a gift bag, so here's just some of the stuff all summer readers will get:

  • Exclusive new story collection

  • No Hope for Gomez: The Lost Chapters

  • Making of Gomez: behind the scenes eBook

  • Signed hi-res poster + bookplate



Additionally, several lucky readers will win a prize. I'm raffling off a Kindle, an iPod Nano 8GB, and five exclusive spin-off paperback novels that are not available elsewhere!

All you have to do to have a "Summer of Gomez", is get the book from any store before July 12th 2011 and forward your receipt to nohopeforgomez@gmail.com.(Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Amazon CA, Amazon UK, Amazon DE)

Every purchase counts as an entry so increase your chances by stocking up on some extremely cool birthday presents ;)
Points towards additional entries are gained by getting your friends to join in, and tweeting/blogging/face-booking (is that a verb?) about the summer of Gomez.



Bio:

Graham Parke is responsible for a number of technical publications and has recently patented a self-folding map. He has been described as both a humanitarian and a pathological liar. Convincing evidence to support either allegation has yet to be produced.

www.grahamparke.com
www.grahamparke.blogspot.com
GoodReads
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Monday, June 13, 2011

What Are You Reading Monday? #24




Books I completed in the last week are:
*Reading a lot of children’s book – I’m going to make a challenge of the titles found in 1001 Children’s Books to Read before I Grow Up (just need help with a button)
Untied: a Memoir of Family, Fame, and Floundering by Meredith Baxter (audio) (Library)


Bookmarks are still living in the middle of:
*Reading a lot of children’s book – I’m going to make a challenge of the titles found in 1001 Children’s Books to Read before I Grow Up (just need help with a button)

Stage Fright on a Summer Night by Mary Pope Osborne (Magic Tree House #25) (Summer Reading w/ nephew)
Stitch Me Deadly by Amanda Lee (Loan – SIL)
The Summer We Came to Live by Deborah Cloyed (for review)

Up Next:
Return to Sender by Fern Michaels (audio) (Library)
Good Morning, Gorillas by Mary Pope Osborne (Magic Tree House #26) (Summer Reading w/ nephew)
High Tide in Hawaii by Mary Pope Osborne (Magic Tree House #28) (Summer Reading w/ nephew)
Megasaurus by Thomas and Peter Weck (for review)
Steamed by Jessica Conant-Park & Susan Conant (Loan – SIL)
Thanksgiving on Thursday by Mary Pope Osborne (Magic Tree House #27) (Summer Reading w/ nephew)
The Diva Paints the Town by Krista Davis (Loan – SIL)
The Postmistress by Sarah Blake
The Shadow of Your Smile by Mary Higgins Clark
The Wedding Girl by Madeleine Wickham


Reviews posted this week:
I am still way behind in posting my reviews am trying to get them up asap.
Author Interview/Review- Trail of Thread by Linda Hubalek (WOW) (June 2)


Author Guest Posts/Interviews:
Blog Tour Review: It Came From the 70’s: from The Godfather to Apocalypse Now by Connie Corcoran Wilson (July 20)
Blog Tour Guest Blog: It Came From the 70’s: from The Godfather to Apocalypse Now by Connie Corcoran Wilson (July 21)
Blog Tour Guest Post - The House on Blackstone Moor by Carole Gill (July 25)
Guest Interview/Giveaway - Abyss of Chaos by David Beem (August 31)

June is Author Month – Interview A Day/Guest Blog
Author Interview/Giveaway - The Forgotten Locket by Lisa Mangnum (Shadow Mountain Publishing) (June 14)
Author Interview - The Affair of the Porcelain Dog by Jessica Faraday (Bold Strokes Books) (June 16)
Author Interview/Giveaway - Baby Barbells: The Dad's Guide to Fitness and Fathering by Joshua Levitt (June 19)
Author Interview/Giveaway - Hans Beckers Family by Ralph Souders (2 Moon Press) (June 20)
Author Interview - Her Dear & Loving Husband by Meredith Allard (WOW Blog Tour) (June 21)
Author Interview/Giveaway - The Miracle of Freedom: 7 Tipping Points that Save the World by Chris Stewart (Shadow Mountain Publishing) (June 22)
Author Interview/Blog - Piasa by Mike Kott (2 Moon Press) (June 28)
Author Interview/Giveaway - Firestorm by Radclyffe (Bold Strokes Books) (June 30)


September is Author Month – Interview A Day/Guest Blog

Author Interview - Dr. Elana Ashley (Dream Image Press, LLC) (September 6)
Author Interview - One Wish for Winifred Witch by Cheri Hallwood (TBD)
Author Interview/Giveaway - Abyss of Chaos by David Beem (TBD)
Author Interview/Giveaway - The Wedding Letters by Jason F Wright (Shadow Mountain Publishing) (TBD)
Author Interview/Giveaway? – Gobble, Gobble by Cathryn Falwell (TBD)

December is Author Month – Interview/Guest Blog A Day
Author Interview/Giveaway - Shadow On The Wall by Pavarti Devi (December 3)
Author Interview/Giveaway - Jacob T Marley by R. William Bennet (Shadow Mountain Publishing) (TBD)

Special Blog Hop Giveaways
Mid Summer's Eve (June 21 – 22)
Blog Bash 2011 (Jun3 22-26)
Celebrating Freedom Hop (July 1 – 7)
Summer Hop (August 5 -7)
Back to School Hop (September 1 – 5)
Banned Book Week Hop (September 24 – October 1)
Spooktacular Hop (October 24 – 31)
Gratitude Giveaways (November 17 – 27)
Midwinters Eve (December 21 – 22)

Books still needing to have reviews written (as opposed to the ones that are simply awaiting posting):
Untied: a Memoir of Family, Fame, and Floundering by Meredith Baxter (audio) (Library)
Wrecked by Carol Higgins Clark (Library – Audio)
The Quick and the Thread by Amanda Lee (Loan – SIL)
The Matisse Stories by A. J. Byatt (Library – Audio)
I’ll Be Home For Christmas by Fern Michaels (Library book)
Is the Moon Made of Cheese? by Emma Parker (ebook)
Civil War on Sunday by Mary Pope Osborne (Magic Tree House #21)
This Time Together by Carol Burnett (Library - audio)
Abraham Lincoln by David and Patricia Armentrout (Library)
Frog Knows Best by Kelli C Foster (Library)
Valentine Mice by Bethany Roberts (Library)
Honor Thyself by Danielle Steel (Library - Audio)
Earthquake In The Early Morning by Mary Pope Osborne (Magic Tree House #24)
Twister on Tuesday by Mary Pope Osborne (Magic Tree House #23)
Nights in Rodanthe by Nicholas Sparks (Library - Audio)
Happily Ever After by Nora Roberts (Quartet Brides #4) (Loan – SIL)
Revolutionary War On Wednesday by Mary Pope Osborne (Magic Tree House #22)
Yertle the Turtle by Dr. Seuss (Audio – John Lithgow)
Gertrude McFuzz by Dr. Seuss (Audio – John Lithgow)
The Big Brag by Dr. Seuss (Audio – John Lithgow)
Thidwick, the Big-Hearted Moose by Dr. Seuss (Audio – Mercedes McCambridge)
Horton Hatches the Egg by Dr. Seuss (Audio – Billy Crystal)
The Cat in the Hat Comes Back by Dr. Seuss (Audio – Kelsey Grammer)
The Cat In The Hat by Dr. Seuss (Audio – Kelsey Grammer)
Horton Hears a Who by Dr. Seuss (Audio – Dustin Hoffman)
The Grinch That Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss (Audio – Walter Matheau)
The Lorax by Dr. Seuss (Audio – Ted Danson)
Daisy, Maisey and Lazy by Emma Parker (ebook)
The Not So Scarey Scarecrow by Emma Parker (ebook)
The River Between Us by Richard Peck (Audio)
The Moovers and the Milkshakers by Emma Parker (ebook)
The Butterfly Race by Emma Parker (ebook)
Teddy Is Real I Think by Emma Parker (ebook)


Giveaways on the blog this week and in coming weeks:
Devil Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger (ends 6/10) – Winner – Chelsea B.
Someone to Protect to by Patricia Rosemoor (Ends 6/17)
Father's Day by Debbie Macomber (ends 6/26) in honor of Father’s Day
Married by Accident by Christine Rimmer (ends 6/24)
Ultra Deep by Willam H. Lovejoy (7/1)
Into the Badlands by Caron Todd (ends 7/8)
Against the Odds by Kathryn Shay (ends 7/15)
Wyoming by Fuller Giveaway (ends 7/17) in honor of Wyoming Statehood
A Mind to Murder by P. D. James (ends 7/22)
Q is for Quarry by Sue Grafton (ends 7/29)
Life's Not Fair, But God is Good by Robert H. Schuller (ends 8/5)
My Fair Temptress by Christina Dodd (ends 8/12)

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Author Interview - The Gamers Saga by Donald Semora





Describe your book in five words or less.

Something expansive, something very different.

How did the ideas for your books come to you?

I have been a huge reader of Fantasy since my childhood, and always had an interest in the genre. I wrote the Gamers Saga actually as an adjunct to the world I created for my real gaming, as I play Dungeons & Dragons. So the story line came to me on evening, as I used it for a game and the players really liked it.

What is the hardest part of writing for you? What's the easiest?

The hardest part for me is ending the books I write. I sometimes get so consumed by my story and get attached to the characters, that I find it hard to end what I started.

The easiest part for me is the dialogue for the story, as I find it easy to write with an eye for the characters chatting. I think because of my imagination is so active, that I actually become immersed in my writing and stories. As I write, I actually find myself there, among my characters and locations. Picturing them, and the places in my mind's eye.

What's next for you? Are you currently working on or have plans for future projects?

I am working on three projects that will be out in 2011, one is a book called "Soccer Mom", this is a suspense book. This is a new genre for me and I am finding it challenging and also a lot of fun. I also am working on a book called "Slagar The Pirate" which is part of my short stories that are spin off's for my Gamers Saga. Lastly, I am working on an untitled work, this is going to be a good old fashioned Mystery, sort of Sherlock Holmes meets Agatha Christi.

Why did you choose to write for specific genre?

I write in the Fantasy genre (mainly) due to simple interest. I have an affinity for the genre. However, I am breaking from that genre due to creative expansion and growing issues. I am not tackling horror / suspense and also as I said above mystery.

What's it like hearing that readers are eagerly awaiting your book's release date?

This for me is so cool to hear, when I see a readers look, or their excitement over an upcoming book. This has to be one of the top reasons why I write. To know your work is appreciated by a reader, is the top reward for writing in my humble opinion.

What is one question that you've always wanted to be asked in an interview? How would you answer that question?

An interesting question for me would be: So tell me, What made you start writing?
My answer would be:

What was your road to publications like?

I started with a self publishing, and had very limited success, mainly doing craft shows, fairs etc. I ran into many traditional road blocks with getting my books in stores, Then I did the traditional submissions processes with the larger publishers, and that ended with frustration over their requirements, and also denials. I then decided a new approach was in order, so that is when I went with formal pay to publish. But with my first pay publisher, I ran into more frustration as they did nothing they said they would do. So I went with another pay to publish operation and am happy now.

I admit, that writing and true "authoring" is more work than I envisioned, as it is almost like a second job for me. However, the rewards so far have been fun and worth it. Seeing my hard work on a shelf of a book store, or in a readers hands is something that still gives me goose bumps.



Author Bio:




Donald Semora is the author of several books, and he has plans to release more this year. He was originally self published, then found a publisher. After the experience with that publisher, he decided to publish with 2 Moon Press. He is an experienced graphic designer, and provides other authors custom book covers, and layout for their books.

He recently won a Blue Nebula award for Fantasy, for his book "The Gamers Saga." He lives in Southern Michigan with his new wife, where he writes and also lectures new authors on writing and publishing. His web site is www.donsemora.com

Please leave a comment on this post in appreciation of the author.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Author Interview - Sarah, Son of God by Justine Saracen




Describe your book Sarah, Son of God in five words or less.

Transgender Thriller Mystery Romance (in) Venice

How did the ideas for your books come to you?

Travel, mostly. I’ve had some fantastic experiences in Cairo, Luxor, Rome, Venice, Jerusalem, Berlin. The lure to spin a story to fit those places is irresistible. You stop being a tourist and you let the details, the sounds, smells, subliminal effects seep into your brain. You’re in Jerusalem and you imagine being a crusader, you’re in Venice, being pursued by the Inquisition, in Rome, falling in love while the Sistine Chapel is being painted, in Berlin, watching the ‘million man’ marches of young Nazis. Those broodings in foreign places turn into novels.

What is the hardest part of writing for you? What's the easiest?
The hardest part is writing the love scenes. It is much too easy to fall into clichés, since there are millions of love scenes already written (some of them absolutely dreadful), and it is a real test of one’s skill to tell it in new language. And with lesbian love scenes, you have to find new ways to describe the moves that every reader already knows.

The easiest part is going to one of the world’s great cities and wandering around for a few days or a week thinking “My character could live in this house, walk down this street, be attacked by that vendor, fall into that canal, be in love with that face in the window….” and then scribbling it all down.

What's next for you? Are you currently working on or have plans for future projects?

I just finished the first draft of Tyger Tyger Burning Bright. Falling in love while running away from Nazis. Actually, I was struck by the power of Leni Riefenstahl’s propaganda masterpiece, Triumph of the Will, and decided to revisit the experience of Nazism from inside Germany. My characters are a naïve would-be Nazi, a spy, a gay man sent to a concentration camp and a half Jew engaged in sabotage. Fortunately I can read German because the research has been considerable. It is dedicated to three British women who were spies who were captured and died in Ravensbrück concentration camp.

Why did you choose to write for specific genre?

It takes at least a year of daily writing/research to produce a novel, so I’ve got to find a setting where I want to live in my head for all that time. The only places that hold my attention that long are the great cities and the great historical events. So I ended up being a historical LGBT fiction writer.

What's it like hearing that readers are eagerly awaiting your book's release date?

It’ s what keeps me going. Unlike some writers, who write what they ‘feel inside’ I write very much for my readers. I constantly think, How can I surprise them here? or What will make them look up from the page and say “wow!” ? Knowing I have readers waiting keeps me on my toes.

What is one question that you've always wanted to be asked in an interview? How would you answer that question?

I like the question: “Which of your characters do you most identify with?”

My Answer would be: all of them as I am writing them. This lets me live a hundred ways. I get to fall in love over and over again, go to exotic places, get chased by seriously bad guys, BE a seriously bad guy, be heroic, be dastardly. I have lots of sex, commit murder, AM murdered, meet Egyptian gods, travel with Bedouins, fight at Stalingrad, sing opera, get tortured by the Inquisition, watch Hitler die, and witness the crucifixion. What’s not to love?

What was your road to publications like?

I published a lot as a college professor. You know, scholarly articles that maybe twelve people read, a literary critical book that maybe twenty university libraries bought. So I knew how to write. But it didn’t start being fun until I wrote fiction. Of course, then I endured the same travails that most other writers do, lots of rejections until the final acceptance came. But every rejection gave me a better focus on what the market wants. Now, at Bold Strokes Books, I feel I have my readership and my voice. The only obligation I have now is to keep spinning stories that will enthrall the readers.

Ideally, I should also go to the bookfests and conferences, but living in Europe, I only make it to the US once a year. That is for the Palm Springs bookfest in March. Otherwise I am visible only virtually, through my website -- I look forward to meeting people there.

Bisous (Air kisses) from Brussels
Justine

Author Bio:




After multiple careers as university professor, opera manager, and editor, Justine Saracen began writing fiction full time. Trips to the Middle East inspired the Ibis Prophecy books, which move from Ancient Egyptian theology to the Crusades. The playful first novel, The 100th Generation, was a finalist in the Queerlit Competition and the Ann Bannon Reader’s Choice award. The sequel, 2007 Lammy nominated Vulture’s Kiss, focuses on the first crusade and vividly dramatizes the dangers of militant religion.

The writer then moved her literary spotlight up a few centuries, to the Renaissance and a few kilometers to the north, to Rome. Sistine Heresy, winner of a 2009 Independent Publisher’s Award, conjures up a thoroughly blasphemic backstory to Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel frescoes and immediately sold out at the 2009 Palm Springs Lesbian Book Festival.

Mephisto Aria, in contrast, deals with devilish things, in a WWII thriller that has one eye on the Faust story and the other on the world of opera. In Berlin, staggering toward recovery after WWII, a Russian soldier passes on his brilliance, but also his mortal guilt, to his opera singer daughter. The novel was a finalist in the EPIC award competition and won Rainbow awards in two categories: Best Historical Novel and Best Writing Style.

Lest anyone think that Saracen is done confronting religion, her newest work, Sarah, Son of God, is about a transvestite in Venice who meets the terrors of the Inquisition and finds out something important -- one might almost say appalling -- about God.

Sarah, Son of God, addresses the two issues of religion and transgenderism. In a tour de force of narration, the story within a story sends us spiraling back to Stonewall New York, Venice of the Inquisition, and Rome at the time of the Crucifixion.

Tyger, Tyger, Burning Bright, her work in progress, places us alongside Leni Riefenstahl, filmmaker of the Third Reich, and follows the desperate lives of collaboraters, spies, and homosexual lovers in Nazi Germany

Saracen, who speaks German and French, lives in Brussels, a short flight or train ride to the great cities she loves to write about. Her favorite non-literary pursuits are scuba-diving and listening to opera.


Please leave a comment on this post in appreciation of the author.