Monday, June 28, 2010

Diane Parkinson is my guest blogger today!

CJ: Hello, Diane. Thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to talk to us. We’re excited to have you here today!

I’m thrilled to be here, CJ. Thank you for inviting me.

Q: So, first of all, we want to know about your latest novel. What can you tell us about The False Light?

The False Light won the CTRR Award from Coffee Time Romance!

Here’s a short blurb: Fleeing the French Revolution, Bettina Jonquiere struggles to survive in a remote Cornish village, discover the secret behind her father's death, while attracted to a man who may have murdered his wife.

Q: I think everyone would love to know what inspired this particular novel. Can you tell us about that?

This novel has been a long labor of love. I started writing it in 1992 after visiting England. I had a boring job and behaved very naughty, I started to write at work. I based many of the characters on people I knew growing up. I threw characters out there and then decided I needed an exciting time period, so I chose the era of the French Revolution. Many hours of research followed to get the history right.

Q: I’m dying to know more about the Main Characters of your novel. Can you give us a brief description of each?

Bettina is slender with long black hair and big brown eyes. She’s seventeen when the story begins. She’s intelligent, well-educated, and a fish out of water fighting to survive in the lower classes. She discovers a resilience she never knew she possessed.
Everett Camborne is tall and thin, brown hair and green eyes. He’s hard working but unlucky in love because of a disastrous marriage. He hides his kindness beneath an aloof fa├žade.

Q: Okay, I’m a huge fan of quotes taken from novels. Would you tell us one of your favorites quotes from The False Light?

It’s short. Everett returns from a trip to London and Bettina tells him they have a problem. When he asks what the problem is, she says:

“There’s a dead man in the garden.”

Q: A little about you. When did you decide to write your first novel?

I actually wrote my first novel at age ten, also historical fiction. Then I wrote a western at seventeen. I never finished them, but I’ve loved to write stories since a small child. I started to write The False Light because my two close friends at work were pursuing their dreams, one a singer, and one doing crafts. I wanted to recapture that early passion of writing stories, so began this novel.

Q: Do you have a system or particular ritual you do before/ during writing to keep the words flowing?

I rise early, grab a cup of coffee and sit at my computer and hope for the best! I like it quiet in the house, with no distractions.

Q: What do you find the easiest part about writing? The hardest?

I don’t know if there is an easy part, but the most enjoyable part is seeing my characters and settings come alive on the screen/page. The hardest, making certain the entire story flows in an interesting and intelligent fashion. Will it pull the reader along? Does is make sense for the characters? Do I have scenes I really don’t need? Does it ramble on too much?

Q: We all know writers spend a great deal of time researching. Can you tell us one of the most interesting things you’ve discovered while doing research for your writing?
I discovered the Library of Congress. I live near Washington, DC, so it’s not far. I could peruse books published in the same time period I was researching. Read first-hand accounts to bring the history and setting to life. I could live there—but they wouldn’t let me!
I also discovered that women have been fighting for equal rights long before the so-called feminist revolution in the 1900’s. I came across a book written in the 1600’s by a woman demanding equal rights. Many think my characters are too forward for their time, but it’s not true. Women during the French Revolution demanded divorce rights, better working conditions, and access to the same jobs and education as men.

Q: If you could physically visit the world in any book, which book would it be and why?

I’d love to visit the remote island of St. Helena, where Napoleon was exiled. I wrote so much about that island in my almost published novel, Elysium. The publisher went out of business and I’m still shopping this story around.

Q: What one work of fiction do you think has made the biggest impact on your life? How?
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum. I read it when I was ten years old to my best friend who was recovering from a car accident we were both in. (No, we weren’t driving) She enjoyed the story, and I relished the wonderful, lush and detailed, world of imagination.

Q: Last question before we wrap this interview up. Please finish this sentence in a way that best describes you, for us. “People would be surprised to know that I was a wild and crazy teenager who grew up in the free-wheeling 60’s near San Francisco.”

CJ: Thank you, again for visiting with us, Diane. I would invite all our guests to check out The False Light by Diane Scott Lewis on sale now at (ebook), or (paperback).
Visit her website:
Below is an excerpt from Diane’s novel, The False Light . Please read on!

“Trethewy isn’t going to be much help, I’m afraid. He never is, unless it benefits him. But he’s the only law in the area.” Everett assisted her into the curricle, his grip on her arm almost painful.
“I must agree.” The Justice bringing up Stephen upset her. But Everett had little reason to kill him and he’d been away, in London…hadn’t he? She rubbed a hand over her brow as if she could wipe away that thought.
The curricle and horses lurched up the steep grade to the main road. An edgy silence lingered between them. Bettina’s aggravation and confusion over the events boiled over. “I must find my horse. I planned to give him to—”
“You have to be careful from now on. You simply can’t go off unescorted. And never approach that man alone.” Everett snapped the reins and his team tossed their heads. “Trethewy should be reprimanded to do his duty.”
“I am leaving here as soon as I can arrange it, so I will not be a burden to anyone.” She struggled to keep her voice firm and shifted on the hard bench. “I wish that I had never come to Cornwall.”
Everett glared at her. “Don’t start sounding like Miriam.”
“Stop this carriage at once!” Bettina slid from the seat, forcing him to rein in the horses. She jumped down and ran toward the cliffs, not wanting him to see her angry tears.
Everett leapt from the curricle and chased after her. He caught her arm and swung her around to face him. “I didn’t mean that, I'm sorry. You don’t understand everything.”
“I do not understand anything!” She thrashed to free herself, but he wrapped his arms around her and pressed her to his chest. She refused to look at him. “I wanted you to love me.”

Saturday, June 26, 2010

"To Stand with Angels": Excerpt of Chapter Six

The rain was coming down in a dreary drizzle on the eighth morning of Bradyn’s stay in their home. He had apparently decided that he no longer needed to rest, and had settled himself at the kitchen table for breakfast after making himself a pot of coffee. Rian had been stiffly polite and Kendall, ecstatic. Breakfast had been mercifully quiet, though not without its awkwardness.

After all of her regular chores were finished, Rian decided it was about time she altered some of Jackson’s clothes to fit Bradyn. Or at least sewed him a shirt. It was the kind thing to do since his only clothing was the clean, but torn, jeans he’d shown up in. The memory of Bradyn in Jackson’s clothes brought an unwilling smile to her lips. They hadn’t fit him worth a lick.

Rian announced her plans to fit Bradyn over a late lunch later that day. “I think I’m going to start sewing a few things for you to wear,” she told him as she spooned mashed potatoes onto Kendall’s plate.

Bradyn raised an eyebrow, as if he saw reason why going about shirtless and in his own torn drawers would be unacceptable, but he simply replied, “Thank you.”

“You’re gonna make him some new clothes?” Kendall asked around a mouth full of bread.

“Yes, Kendall,” she said. “Please do not speak with food in your mouth.”
Kendall swallowed and took a gulp of milk before asking, “We don’t have much cloth left for sewing clothes, do we? What’re you gonna use to make him clothes?”

Out of the corner of her eye, Rian caught the curious look Bradyn passed her. “I’m going to alter a few of your father’s shirts for him, honey,” she answered. “I think that we can afford to share with Mr. Preston, don’t you? We can’t allow him to leave with nothing on his back, can we?”

Kendall frowned and rubbed his forehead with the back of his hand. “You’re leavin’, Mr. Bradyn?” he asked, his eyes reflecting disappointment. “Can’t you stay a little longer?”

“Mr. Preston is welcome to stay on for awhile, but sooner or later, he will have to be on his way, honey. You cannot expect him to give up his life and stay here forever. Isn’t that right, Mr. Preston?” She turned to look at Bradyn, a stiff smile cramping the corners of her mouth.

Bradyn cleared his throat, about to answer, only to be interrupted by Kendall.

“Why don’t you like Mr. Bradyn?” he asked her.

Rian coughed nervously. “I like Mr. Bra--, I mean, Mr. Preston, Kendall. I just know that he isn’t going to want to stay around here indefinitely. We have to be realistic about these things, sweetie.”

“But he saved us from the bad man!” Kendall protested. “What if more bad men come and he’s not here to save us?” The little boy turned to Bradyn. “Why don’t you stay with us for awhile, just in case?” he entreated, his eyes wide and pleading.

“Well, I don’t know,” Bradyn put down his fork and rested his elbows on the table. “I’m not sure your aunt wants me around here. I’ll only stay if she asks me to.” He caught her eye and winked.

“You’d let him stay, wouldn’t ya, Rian?” Kendall begged. “I know you don’t like him, but I really want him to stay with us.”

“Kendall,” Rian said uncomfortably, “I like Mr. Preston. He’s a fine person, I am sure. Now please go feed the chickens,” she said before either of them could interject to add their own thoughts. “And see about gathering up those eggs. You neglected to do that this morning.”


“Kendall!” she scolded, instantly regretting the harsh tone of her voice. “I asked you to do something, young man. Now you go feed those chickens before the rain gets any heavier. We’ll discuss this matter later, is that understood?”
Kendall nodded and scurried out the door without a sound.


Bradyn’s voice set her teeth on edge as she watched Kendall through the kitchen window. She could hear the laughter in his tone, even though he must have thought better of letting it escape his lips.

She rose from her chair and glared at him. “What’s that supposed to mean, exactly?”

“You make a very bad liar, Miss Keene,” he replied, standing up too.
“I would not pride myself on being a liar, either good or bad, Mr. Preston,” she snapped, folding her arms across her chest. “Perhaps being able to deceive someone is a trait you admire, but I think that defrauding and misleading people speaks to a flawed nature.”

“And yet you just told your nephew that you like me. A lie, and quite an obvious one, since we all know you don’t like me one damn bit. How do you justify lying to the kid?” His question, along with his raised eyebrows, was seemingly offered in good natured humor.

Rian didn’t take it that way. Feeling quite cornered, she bit her lip and didn’t answer. She owed him no explanation. Irritated, and a little embarrassed that she’d trapped herself in her own argument, she started past Bradyn on her way to find the measuring tape and chalk. But he caught her by the arm.

“Rian,” he said quietly. “It doesn’t take a smart man to see what’s going on. You’re hiding from something out here. Something pretty big from the feel of it.”
She pulled her arm free and looked down. “Mr. Preston, please—,”

Bradyn put up a hand. “It’s all right. Your past is none of my business and I’m not asking you to explain it to me. But I did happen to notice this morning that you’re low on coffee and pretty much every other staple in your pantry. That boy is in need of some new clothes and just now he mentioned that you’re nearly out of cloth. Tell me something, how have you survived out here for this long?”

Rian closed her eyes for a moment. “Jackson used to make a trip into Laramie once a year for supplies. When he was killed last spring, I didn’t know how we’d manage. I’ve rationed everything as best I could, but…” It was one of her greater, yet less dwelt on, fears. She had no idea what they were going to do once everything ran out. “I guess I just figured we would have to learn to do without a few things,” she murmured.

“Tell you what,” he said. “Make up a list of everything you need and when I leave, I’ll send back your supplies.”

“No!” she exclaimed sharply. “You can’t send anyone to this house. It’s bad enough that you know where we are!”

“Look, Rian,” he said. “I have an old friend over in Cheyenne. He ain’t much to look at, but I can trust him with my life. He’ll bring you everything you need and he won’t tell a living soul about you or Kendall or this place. You have my word.”

She blinked, suddenly unsure of how she should feel about Bradyn Preston. “I don’t understand, you’re offering to help us? Why?”

Bradyn sighed. “You saved my life. I owe you. Besides, you’re the only one who offered safe hiding to me when I needed it. I feel like I should return the favor.”

Rian pondered that for awhile. She wondered if he had an ulterior motive, or if it was just true kindness that had inspired his offer to help. “Thank you,” she said at length.

He studied her for a moment; his piercing blue eyes seemed to read her thoughts. “Sure,” he replied, heading for the door.

“Where are you going?” Rian asked.

“I need some fresh air,” he answered. “I’m gonna see about helping Kendall with those eggs.”

"To Stand with Angels" on sale now at Amazon (Print & Kindle edition) & Eternal Press (EBook Format)

Friday, June 25, 2010

Heather Kuehl is in the House!

CJ: Hello, Heather Kuehl. Thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to talk to us. We’re excited to have you here today!

HK: Hey! Thank you for having me.

Q: So, first of all, we want to know about your latest novel. What can you tell us about PROMISES TO KEEP?

A: PROMISES tells the story of Starlette DeFore, a young woman on a quest to save her kidnapped father from a sorceress; the Dark Lady Dreashae. Starlette has to travel to Verella, a fantasy realm filled is dragons, centaurs, and magic. Thank goodness she has the handsome yet secretive Sivad Night to help her.

Q: I think everyone would love to know what inspired this particular novel. Can you tell us about that?

A: Sadly, I can’t remember. I wrote the original draft of PROMISES over ten years ago when I was still in high school. I know I was reading a lot of Anne McCaffrey at the time, so her Pern novels might have been the inspiration.

Q: I’m dying to know more about the Main Characters of your novel. Can you give us a brief description of each?

A: I’ll tell you about Starlette, Sivad, and Dreashae. Starlette is twenty-three, with long black hair and lavender eyes. She’s not a fighter, but will do so when she must. Her main goal in life is to find and save her father. Sivad Night is twenty-seven, with curly brown hair and blue eyes. He was once enslaved to the Dark Lady Dreashae and is helping Starlette because helping her will lead to Dreashae’s destruction. Dreashae is one of my all-time favorite bad guys. Her skin is milk white and her eyes and hair are as black as her soul. She doesn’t care about anyone or anything other than herself. She wants more power, no matter the cost. I think she should have thought that through before she kidnapped Starlette’s father.

Q: Okay, I’m a huge fan of quotes taken from novels. Would you tell us one of your favorites quotes from PROMISES TO KEEP?

A: “Puny!” screamed Diamonte from inside me. I heard his voice come out of my mouth, I felt my tongue forming his words, and fear rose up inside me. He told me that he was just going to be in my skin, letting me use his magic. I knew that I should have made him promise not to possess me.

Q: A little about you. When did you decide to write your first novel?

A: As I said earlier, I wrote the first draft of PROMISES when I was in high school. I knew back then that I wanted to get my work published and see it on the shelf in bookstores. It wasn’t until 2007 when I started taking my writing seriously. In 2009 my first book was accepted for publication by Eternal Press, entitled FADE TO BLACK.

Q: Do you have a system or particular ritual you do before/ during writing to keep the words flowing?

A: Ha! I wish. Whenever I get a spare second I try to sit in front of my computer and write. I usually listen to music, depending on the character and their mood. Starlette didn’t like music, but Sarah from FADE liked Evanescence and Avenged Sevenfold.

Q: What do you find the easiest part about writing? The hardest?

A: I’d have to say that the easiest part is the actual writing. Sitting down and playing in a world that you created is so much fun. Anything is possible! The hardest is editing. When I finish a book I want to move on to the next project, not sit down and tweak it. Although I’ve found that letting the newly finished manuscript sit for a month or two before editing, allowing myself time to start something new, has helped me not violently hate editing. :o)

Q: We all know writers spend a great deal of time researching. Can you tell us one of the most interesting things you’ve discovered while doing research for your writing?

A: Research? We’re supposed to do research? I’m kidding! While writing the Sarah Vargas Series, I’ve had to research guns. One of my favorite characters, T.D. Drake, loves guns and uses them every chance she gets. So research, for me, is going to the shooting range and trying out all sorts of guns. In doing so I’ve discovered that my aim is really good.

Q: If you could physically visit the world in any book, which book would it be and why?

A: I’d love to visit Pern (series by Anne McCaffrey) as long as I could be a dragonrider. The connection between dragon and rider is magnificent. No matter what happens in my life, when I read a Pern book I feel like I’m coming home. Kind of like I’ve been to High Reaches Weyr or Half-Circle Sea Hold before.

Q: What one work of fiction do you think has made the biggest impact on your life? How?

A: I feel like I should list some classic, but I think the decades I spent reading them in high school and college has made me resent them. Any time I feel like life is against me, I pick up my ratty copy of either Moreta: Dragonlady of Pern by Anne McCaffery or Pearls of Lutra by Brian Jacques. I’ve read those so many times I worry that the next will be the last because my copy is in such bad shape. I’m sure, in some way that I have yet to discover, these have impacted my life.

Q: Last question before we wrap this interview up. Please finish this sentence in a way that best describes you, for us. “People would be surprised to know that_______.”

A: People would be surprised to know that I collect coins. My dad was in the U.S. Navy and whenever he would go out to sea, he’d bring back currency as souvenirs for us. Currency from different countries fascinates me. A couple of years ago my husband and I went to Mexico to see the Mayan ruins and my souvenir was getting $1 worth of Mexican pesos.

CJ: Thank you, again for visiting with us, Heather. I would invite all our guests to check out PROMISES TO KEEP by Heather Kuehl on sale now at Eternal Press or Below is an excerpt from Heather’s novel, PROMISES TO KEEP. Please read on!

Excerpt from Chapter 7:

I looked up to the sky, at the rainbow-colored dragons trying to kill one another.

“Wow, talk about your bad divorce,” I said to no one in particular.

“This isn’t funny, Star.”

“I don’t think it is.” A green dragon was scorched, wings ruined. It fell down, spiraling until it hit the ground with a sickening crunch. “We have to do something.” I said my thoughts aloud. I knew the dragons were not our friends. They wouldn’t help us in our time of need. But there was no reason we couldn’t help them.

“Sivad, get on Zarzia. We have to get to the highest point on this island.”

“Starlette, that would be suicide!”

“I don’t care. I wouldn’t be able to live with myself if they died and I didn’t try to help.”

Sivad looked up once again, his jaw clenching when another dragon fell from the sky. His eyes met mine as he nodded curtly. We mounted Zarzia, her wings lifting us up into the air. It was no surprise to me that the highest point was the top of Lady Cleoante’s throne room. I reached into my bag of hairpins and pulled them out. A large red dragon flew past us, whipping my hair about my face.

“Which one is Kalin?” I shouted above the din of the battle. Sivad pointed at the large red dragon that had just flown over us.

So that was Kalin. He spiraled around and flew toward us again. As he passed, I threw one of the hairpins. I hadn’t had much practice with throwing a knife. My hit rate was only one out of ten. It never hurt to try, though. The hairpin flew up with deadly accuracy, finding its home in the red dragon’s eye. He screamed, flapping around and pin-wheeling through the sky. I knew it wasn’t a mortal wound as the dragon regained his balance, turned around and headed straight toward us. Zarzia landed and I ran to the gap that led into Lady Cleoante’s throne room. I was just praying that the drop wasn’t too far. I jumped, my heart going up in my throat as I fell through the hole and onto the large stone slab that was Lady Cleoante’s throne. My legs went numb and I collapsed, gasping for breath. I needed to move. I heard a dragon scream, a sound that would forever haunt me in my nightmares.

I rolled off the slab onto the stone floor. My legs still didn’t want to cooperate and I had to force myself to crawl toward the exit. I needed to get out of here before Kalin came after me. The earth started to tremble again and I wondered if the island would survive this battle. I heard the echoing of footsteps walking toward me.

“Sivad!” I cried out. I wondered how he had gotten down here so quickly.

A man with thick black hair stood in front of me. He would have had iridescent red and brown eyes, except one of them was nothing but a bloody mass. I tried to stand to run, but nothing happened. I must have jarred my legs pretty good. Kalin didn’t miss a step as he walked over and kicked me, sending me flying into the wall behind Lady Cleoante’s throne. My head hit the wall, causing spots to burst across my vision. I lay on the floor, trying to reorient myself, but Kalin grabbed a handful of my hair and dragged me to my feet. His face was only inches from mine. I shifted around and found my feet were now agreeing to work. I lashed out, kicking him in the knee as hard as I could. He fell to the ground, releasing my hair as he went. I turned and ran, trying to get some distance between the angry dragon-man and me. I reached in my bag, pulling out another hairpin but cried out in pain as I was once again grabbed by the hair and forced back.

Kalin, with his hands on my shoulders, roughly turned me around to face him. Without thinking, I struck, imbedding the hairpin in his chest. It went in all the way to the decorative jewel. Kalin howled in pain, shoving me back so he could rip out the hairpin. His hand swung out, backhanding me across the face and causing me to land in a heap on the floor, once again seeing stars. I reached out, trying to crawl away. Kalin shimmered and transformed back into his red dragon form. I screamed as he opened his fang-filled jaws with a roar and struck out at me.

Want to know more? Grab your copy of Promises to Keep or Fade to Black, available now from Eternal Press.

Heather Kuehl was born near the Great Lakes, but made her way to South Carolina where she lives to this day. While working at her local library, she earned a Bachelor of Science degree and worked on her writing. She is the author of Promises to Keep and Fade to Black (#1 Bestseller in fantasy eBooks on as well as numerous short stories and poems. Visit Heather online at or follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

"The Shadow of a Wolf" Author, Sam Cross is visiting today!

I’ve got Sam Cross here with me on the “Show” today. Sam, how are you? Thanks for coming by!

Thanks for asking me on the show and letting me talk about my book!

Interviews about novels are pretty much standard, so I want to shake things up a bit. Instead of getting right into the writing, I want to talk about you first.

Tell us a little about yourself.

Well, first of all I should let you know that Sam Cross isn’t my real name, it’s a pen name. Under my real name, Geoffrey Knight, I write gay adventure erotics, but it’s a VERY different genre to my straight thrillers and I felt I needed a new identity for my them, so that people wouldn’t go into these stories expecting something completely different. I currently live in Sydney, but I love to travel (I think all Australians do, it comes from living so far away from the rest of the world). I’m a big movie fan, a huge animal lover, I enjoy a nice meal with a glass of wine, and I’m completely addicted to writing. I think storytelling is one of the most wonderful and important things in the world!

Any fun quirks or habits you’d like to share?

I’m weirdly compulsive about fingerprints on drinking glasses, I’m forever switching glasses or wiping them clean with a napkin. Given the stories I write, people always think I’m trying to wipe away any evidence! Also, I’m one of those tomato sauce (or rather, ketchup) freaks. I pour it over everything. I know most people think that’s disgusting, but I also know there’s a few of you out there who share that obsession! It’s a habit that’s hard to hide at the dinner table.

Other than writing, do you have any aspirations or things you’d like to do in your life time?

As a said earlier I love traveling. Experiencing other cultures and languages and food is something I find irreplacable. The sights, the smells, the sounds. I’d love to cover every continent in the world one day. I’ve done five, only South America and Antartica to go!

When was your first writing attempt? What was it like?

My first writing attempt at a full-length novel was when I was 21. I’ve always known I wanted to be a writer, so I sat down one day and started writing my first thriller. It was when Twin Peaks was popular so it was kind of inspired by that: a sprawling murder mystery set in a small town with a huge cast of characters. 700 pages later I finished it, and while I was traveling one year one of my friends picked it up and submitted it for a competition judged by Thomas Keneally (author of Schindler’s Ark which later Spielberg made into Schindler’s List). I didn’t win but I was shortlisted. That was enough for the little writing bug to set up home permanently in my brain.

If you could be any fictional character for one day, who would you be; and why?

Oh I love this question!!! I think I’d have to say Superman for a number of reasons. Firstly it’d be AWESOME to spend just one day not having to think about dieting because I don’t think Superman would ever worry about putting on weight. Secondly he’s the only person I know who can walk around in his underwear all day and not only feel confident, but look good too! And thirdly—and most importantly—how cool would it be to fly! Ever since I was a kid I’ve had dreams about being able to fly! I’d dig that!

Can you tell us your favorite childhood book?

My favorite books as a kid were those Choose Your Own Adventure stories. The ones where you weave your way through a story, making decisions about what to do, until you either solved the mystery or met with a very unhappy ending. There were pyramids, aliens, volcanoes, abominable snowmen—the adventures were neverending! I think those stories did a lot to spark my imagination, but looking back I think they also taught me how to make choices in storytelling. As a writer, every page, every word is a choice. Should my hero open the door or hide behind the curtain; should he or she get in the car at gunpoint or run into an alley; should I give them a weapon or make them use their wits to survive? Every line you write, you’re choosing your own adventure.

What one piece of advice has been the most helpful to you in your writing career?

Gosh, I only get to mention one? There’s so many great tips that you receive along the way. Maybe I’ll cheat the question and mention two! Firstly, after I wrote my 700 page novel I switched to writing screenplays. I was majoring in drama and film studies at the time at university and movies have always been a big part of my life. I did a lot of homework into screenwriting and one of the things that has become part of my style is economy of words. When you write a screenplay, you have to be tight with your words. Make every action count, make every line of dialogue up the ante. Never finish a scene without raising the stakes, propelling the plot forward or developing character. That’s something that goes for novel-writing too, and it’s the best lesson there is. The second best piece of advice I’ve been given, by several different editors and publishers, continuously, even as recently as last week: stop with the damn adjectives!!! Someone shouldn’t pull a gun silently, stealthily, determinedly. Rather, “He pulled the gun. Nobody saw him do it. No-one heard him squeeze the trigger.”

Ok, on to your novel. What can you tell us about THE SHADOW OF THE WOLF?

I actually have four thriller out this year—HARM’S WAY, THE SHADOW OF THE WOLF, THE GRACE OF GOD and the soon-to-be-released ON THE OVERGROWN PATH—but I decided to talk about THE SHADOW OF THE WOLF specifically because it’s a big, complex, chunky thriller that took a couple of years to write. It’s also the one book of mine that scared the living daylights out of me while I was writing it. In a nutshell, it centers around three characters: the perfect murderer, the perfect scapegoat and the perfect victim. One is a prostitute who lies and steals but has a heart of gold, one is a Professor of Criminology, and one is a serial killer at large. Needless to say, I’m not going to tell you which of those three characters is the perfect murderer, the perfect victim and the perfect scapegoat. You might be surprised!

What inspired this novel?

As morbid as this sounds, I’ve always been fascinated by serial killers—I think a lot of us are. I’ve read countless biographies on the world’s most infamous killers, and I’m a bit of an expert myself on the subject. In fact, throughout the novel I’ve written lecture notes that the Professor of Criminolgy gives his students, each analysing the crimes and killings of real-life serial killers. This was the part of the novel that frightened me the most. There are so many different sociological and psychological reasons why somebody kills, but I truly believe there’s more to it than that. I listened to a lecture on serial killing once that looked at the theory that serial killings were a different breed of humans. The analogy they gave was dog breeds. A Labrador is very different to a Pit Bull. They’re both still dogs, but instinctively, psychologically, emotionally, they’re very different. As humans we differentiate ourselves based on geology, language, culture, race, religion. I think we’ve got that wrong on a LOT of levels. What we should be doing is trying to understand whether or not there are different ‘breeds’ within our species that we should be studying. Serial killers, pedophiles, etc. These people have compulsions they cannot control. We need to understand why. Goodness, is that too deep and controversial?

In a few sentences, tell us why readers are going to love your novel. What sets it apart?

It’s complex and compelling. The canvas of the story is huge. You won’t know what’s going to happen from one chapter to the next. You won’t know who will live and who will die. You’ll think you’ve guessed the next twist, then the twist itself will twist. Again. And again. And again. And not for the sake of inserting a twist, but it will happen with complete credibility, reason and terror!

Tell us your favorite quote from THE SHADOW OF THE WOLF.

Can I tease you and tell you that I can’t, because it’s the last line and I’ll give everything away. But I truly believe that the only sentence in a novel more important than the first sentence, is the last sentence. It’s got to give you a thrill as you close the back cover. It’s got to make you say, “Now THAT was a great book!” And it’s got to make you think about every other sentence you read before it!

Describe your favorite character from this novel. Does this character reflect you as a person in any way?

She’s an obvious choice, but I do like Holly, the prostitute. I love that she is so incredibly flawed, I think we all are. I go into great detail about how she’s going to shoplift jewelry from a department store so that she can maintain a wealthy upmarket client. And her lies are so spontaneous, yet so considered. She’s a professional liar. And yet all she wants is an honest life. She’s a wonderfully complex character, very real, and you truly want redemption for her despite her flaws. But then again, what is she really: the perfect victim, the perfect scapegoat or the perfect murderer? You’ll have to read the book to find out.

Where can we find your novel for sale? Please give us a link to your book and your author page!

THE SHADOW OF THE WOLF is available from Eternal Press at this link
Alternatively its available in print or on Kindle at Amazon at this link
You can also check out my Sam Cross blog at or for the whole gamut of my books, plus lots of fun and sexy stuff check out

One last question, before we let you go, Sam. Will you honor us with a short excerpt from THE SHADOW OF THE WOLF?

I’d love to! This is a scene about the rather gruesome childhood memories of one of the main characters:

These were the sights and sounds and smells of Klaus Irga’s nightmares:
A letterbox view of icy moonlight falling upon the distant escarpment of crippled Carpathian hardwoods, their bare, bony limbs knuckled and knotted together. The uncontrollable thunder of his heart, trying to bash its way out of his chest. Flashes of white streaking through the trees, slowly venturing out in blurred shapes that sniffed at the air and scurried up the blue-tinted field. The thick stink of rotting wood and rusted bolts that wouldn’t give. A strained angle on the farmhouse a short distance away, the sight of his father climbing back up the porch steps and seizing the rope dangling from the porch bell. The terrible clang of the ringing—
The ringing!
—echoing out across the field and into the woods, calling up the feast. Then the sound of the farmhouse door slamming and locking. The glow of the last candle in his parents’ bedroom window being snuffed out. A nearby howl, then another, the sound of a hunger so fierce it hurt. Getting closer. The stench of his own urine as it seeped down his legs and pooled along the splintered boards of the old wood chest. The banging of the lid, slamming against its hinges and padlocks as he tried to force the chest open from inside. His breathing turning into a terrified whimper. A soft pounding against the earth, sweeping in from all directions, the swift, near-silent rush of an army of slaughterers.
And then…
Not a sound. Not a single shimmer of movement from outside the box.
The boy snapped in his breath. Held himself completely still. Utterly silent. For a second his mind told him that he had imagined it all. That his father was right. That he was weak and pathetic and should have been left as food for the wolves when he was a baby.
Then, wide-eyed and trembling, he gathered all the courage he could and edged his face slowly toward the sliver of air beneath the lid, peering out.
Suddenly the night caved in.
Saliva and foam erupted in his mouth and over his cheeks as a giant snout pushed its way as far inside the wood chest as it could, fangs gnashing, jaws cracking, the hot stinking wind of its guts gushing up from its cavernous belly and sucking out the cold air. One snout became a dozen. Claws shredding the wood.
Ripping at the lid.
Trying with all their monstrous might to tear the boy out of the box and pull him apart.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Hi, Skye Savoy! It’s great that you could be with us today! Before we start the interview, you asked me to let the readers know that you will be donating a portion of the proceeds from the sales of "Finding Her Perfect Master" to the BP oil spill, is that right?
That's correct, CJ. Pensacola is my hometown and I live in MS and included scenes from both places in the novel.
I think that's wonderful, Skye! Just even more incentive to buy your awesome new novel.

Ok, so tell us, first of all, the name of your newest novel and what it’s about.

My paranormal romance novel, Finding Her Perfect Master, is a story about the misadventures of a half-jinn named Cala, who needs a few wishes granted herself. If she doesn’t find a new master before the Queen of the Jinn finds her, she'll be auctioned off on eBay... again. Cursed by the Queen for supposedly flirting with the King, Cala’s auctioned off to the highest bidder on eBay. Her luck fails again when her master trades her in. She’s thrust into the world of humans with her dwindling magical abilities which often misfire. Cala begins a desperate search for a new master to regain her powers and avoid being turned into a ball of fire by the Queen. Her new job as an Entertainment editor and mystery e-dater for a newspaper’s online dating site brings in plenty of candidates, gives her a taste of independence and reunites her with the victim of her one-time one-night-stand, Lee. Lee forgives Cala for an incident with a leaky pepper spray can during their first meeting. Their relationship skyrockets until Cala finds herself struggling to keep her career and potential new master when someone tries to sabotage her column and expose her identity to Lee, who happens to have a secret identity himself.

If you could sum up your writing in one sentence, what would you say?

My writing is like cooking with just the right amounts humor, sex, turmoil and triumph to (hopefully) propel both the hero and heroin into the heart of the readers.

Describe your favorite scene from your novel.

There’s a scene in the first chapter where Cala falls down the stairs and into Lee’s crotch. It leads to a very passionate one-night-stand (so she thinks) that doesn’t end well. Because she’s never done that type of thing in all her 310-years, she throws an old can of pepper spray into her purse where she’s stashed some condoms. The pepper spray leaked onto the condoms and you guess the rest…

Do you have a favorite quote from Finding Her Perfect Master?

It’s a little more than a quote.
Cala is venting to her best friend, Ro about the full-blooded genie who stole her boyfriend/master away from her…

Now I was really starting to fume. “I don’t understand how some women can get away with everything! They take men away from decent women; women who have given them all they could possibly give. And, she ends up with the home, car and life that we should have had!”
“Especially since we spent all that time, energy and money trying to train him to be just what we wanted! And, when that poor sucker is drained drier than an outhouse corn husk, she moves onto another fool,” Ro stabbed her fork ferociously into her second dessert. “Just like that!”

When did you decide that you were going to become a writer? Was it a landmark decision, or a more gradual one?

As an angst-filled child, I wrote poetry and won a few contests. In high school, I wrote a story about a klutzy Driver’s Ed student named Louise, who terrorized students by driving in the school corridors. Now, my career in marketing/PR allows me to write copy, magazines, etc. But, it wasn’t until I was pregnant with my daughter that I became consumed with an unquenchable desire to complete a novel.

Who influences you the most in your writing?

Whether it’s the strong women I come in contact with daily or the authors I read (Katie MacAlister, Janet Evanovich, Charlaine Harrison, Sherrilyn Kenyon), strong women influence my writing.

In the course of researching for your writing, have you come across any fun or interesting facts that you’d like to share with us today?

I’m fleshing out the ending of my second paranormal romance about Fallen Angels. One article I read said that some of the angels bred with humans and they created a super race called Nephilim. It also stated that God flooded the earth to destroy that race.

Have you ever had writer’s block? How did you cope?

Writer’s block for me is caused by my job. It’s hard to carve out time to write much less balance taking care of a family. I usually have to fight carve out time to write.

Ironically, I’ve had plenty of time lately because I had elbow surgery and the MD stretched the radial nerve which left me unable to use my dominant hand. The only thing that’s kept me sane is being able to type with my left hand. It’s very slow but at least my new book is almost finished.

What’s your favorite thing to do when not writing?

Aside from reading, I enjoy acting for a dinner theatre murder mystery acting troupe.

Name something that you’d do alone but never in front of other people?

If you could be a movie star for one day, who would you be?

I’ve always loved Claudette Colbert. Right now, I absolutely love Catherine Heigl. I see a trend of strong comedic actresses here.

Finally, finish this sentence. People would be surprised to know that…

I used to be a majorette… in elementary school.

CJ: I want to thank you again, for coming out to be on the blog today. Before you go, please be sure to give us a taste of your novel, and a link or two so we can all go buy it!

This was a lot of fun! Thanks so much for allowing me to be on your blog! The excerpt is below. My website is:

Buy my book on FICTIONWISE or AMAZON!


“Glowing Green or Brilliant Blue?” I’d never used a condom before. But tonight, in this little trendy bar, I was determined to find someone who could put on one hell of a laser light show for me.

The voice of my 4800-year-old Grandma Johara blasted through the alcohol-induced fog in my head. “Cala! Nice jinn just don’t do things like that!”

Somehow, her reprimand didn’t hold as much weight anymore, since Grandpa burned out, literally. Jinn are creatures born of fire, who live among humans for about 6,000 years, and then blow out like a candle. Grandma was in the middle of chewing him out for leaving scorch marks on her favorite flying carpet when he just went “poof”. Grandma took her time, using her magic to clean her precious rug, before she decided to let anyone know.

Recently, that same 4’5” dynamo practically knocked her best friend into the path of oncoming traffic, so she could straddle the gear-shift of a truck. Its owner happened to be a cute guy who picked them up the last time her ‘72 LTD left her stranded on the Interstate. Grandma could have teleported herself anywhere. She just loved the idea of being rescued by a younger man.

I dug around in my purse for some change and thought, “Well, Grandma Johara never found Grandpa in a restaurant, fishing an olive
from the cleavage of a brunette Playboy Bunny-jinn! She would have turned him into a boil on somebody’s ass.”

The ugly confrontation resulted in the loss of my favorite stilettos. It gave me greater satisfaction to pound the hell out of the fender of Scott’s shiny black Mercedes instead of simply wishing it to happen. Besides, thanks to his “trading up on the genie chain” as he put it, my magical abilities were about to be stripped once the Queen found out I was without a master.

Jealousy was a trademark of the Queen of the Jinn. She cursed me to be powerless without a master, all because she caught her husband trying to corner me at one of her quarterly galas that we were all expected to attend. It was just my luck that the smelly, lecherous king singled me out that night. Not only did the queen curse me, but she auctioned me off to the highest bidder on eBay®!
It was quite the news sensation when Scott “won” me. To disguise myself, I changed my raven hair to strawberry blonde. I couldn’t bear to part with my green eyes. I disguised Scott, too; he went from brown hair and brown eyes to black hair, blue eyes and muscles—quite an improvement.

Unless jinn just wanted to spend their lives in the Jinn Kingdom, most of us craved adventure and crossed over the parallel dimension to blend in with the humans. We did our best to hide our identities—most of all, our powers. Often, as in my case, we were discovered and our lives became hell!

Because of The Arabian Nights storybook fallacy and the sitcom “I Dream of Jeannie”, humans thought we could grant three wishes or
blink ourselves silly—producing whatever their little hearts desired! Instead, the King and Queen of the Jinn had strict regulations on how we could use our powers. Specially appointed jinn monitored each subject’s use of power and reported inappropriate usage to their Royal Highnesses.

Little did Scott know that he was getting a cursed half-genie off eBay®. Being a half-jinn meant my powers were more limited than full blooded jinn. Sure, I could materialize a yacht or a sports car. Inevitably, they would vanish after a few months, leaving Scott stranded in the middle of the road or sea unless I was with him and could zap us to safety. Still, he was nice to me for the next five years—even when he found out that I couldn’t exactly give him everything he wanted.

Three weeks of mourning the loss of the only human I’d ever loved came to an abrupt halt today, when said human called to tell me I owed him for half of last month’s rent and the deductible on his car insurance for the repairs. I was finally pushed over into the “anger” stage of the grieving process. He had me use my powers to make him the head of a pharmaceutical company, for crying out loud! Lucky for me, my best friend Ro had a friend who was looking for a specialty item sales rep, or I would have had no money at all. Since I had already moved into Ro’s ex-mother-in-law’s apartment over the garage, I felt pretty secure telling him to go to hell and take the genie-slut with him!

On previous attempts at meeting guys at home improvement or grocery stores, and even a few calls from sons of my grandmother’s jinn friends, my heart just hadn’t been in it. Even though this was just another night out trolling the bars with Ro, Scott’s call sent me careening past the “bargaining” and “depression” stages and into the “acceptance” stage of the grieving process. From what I’d seen at the bar so far, I was sure I’d probably have to accept a bargain, and that I would be revisiting the “depression” stage in the near future.
The bathroom door rattled, and someone yelled, “Hurry up in there!”

I glared at the condom machine a second longer before saying, “Hell! I’m going to buy one of these in every color of the rainbow, and find that pot of gold!” I just hoped I could figure out how to use them as I jammed the money into the condom machine.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Interview with Kate Richards!

Hi, Kate! It’s great that you could be with us today!

So tell us, first of all, the name of your newest novel and what it’s about.

My first story is called “Finally, My Love” and it’s being released on June 18th. I’m so excited, particularly since it was inspired by the day I met my husband at the airport. He had been an internet romance and that was the first day we met – 9 years ago.

If you could sum up your writing in one sentence, what would you say?

A lifelong dream come true.

Describe your favorite scene from your novel.

My favorite scene is the one at the airport, because my heroine Amelia, is so nervous and so excited, and that was exactly how I felt that day. Even now it makes me feel a little of that.

Do you have a favorite quote from “Finally, My Love”?
“A year’s worth of naked fantasies flashed before her dancing eyes.”

When did you decide that you were going to become a writer? Was it a landmark decision, or a more gradual one?

I’ve always loved writing, but the economic downturn in the last couple of years made it slow at work and I had time to actually write! It was the silver lining in a very stressful time. Until then I was just too busy and only wrote this and that for my nieces and nephews or for my own fun.

Who influences you the most in your writing?

I think I’m an emotional writer. I like the give and take between characters, and I like to have humor in all of my stories. Perfect, which will be out in September from Breathless is a funny look at the world of internet dating services.

In the course of researching for your writing, have you come across any fun or interesting facts that you’d like to share with us today?

Well, sort of. I have found that since I’ve begun my internet dating series, people love to tell me their internet love stories. It’s fun. And not one single person has told me they ended up divorced. I’m sure it happens, but I’m not getting those stories,

Have you ever had writer’s block? How did you cope?

Well, the last time was in 1987 and I didn’t get back to writing until a couple of years ago. I guess that’s a bad one though.

What’s your favorite thing to do when not writing?

I love to cook and garden and hang out with Astro and the Huskies, not a singing group, just my home dogs. I also practice a little white magic from time to time, upon request.

Name something that you’d do alone but never in front of other people?

Sing. Because I like people and don’t want to do that to their ears.

If you could be a movie star for one day, who would you be?

Maybe Meryl Streep because she can do anything. She can act, sing, do any accent. What would it be like to be able to act out all the characters that come to my mind? A writer’s dream, or maybe the ultimate distraction.

Finally, finish this sentence. People would be surprised to know that…
I don’t have an elevator in my home. But you’d have to read “Finally, My Lov" to know why that’s a surprise…

CJ: I want to thank you again, for coming out to be on the blog today. Before you go, please be sure to give us a taste of your novel, and a link or two so we can all go buy it!

Here is an excerpt,

She grinned at him. A year’s worth of naked fantasies flashed before her dancing eyes. John in her bed, the sheet low around his waist baring his smooth, muscled chest, his strong arms holding him against her while he pounded relentlessly into her body. But she was enjoying the wordplay. “What kind of a girl do you think I am? Enter­taining a gentleman alone, I should have a chaperone.”

“A chaperone would get in the way of the plans I have for you.”

Desire trembled down Amelia’s spine, and she fought the urge to push him into the elevator.
Finally, the doors slid open, and Amelia pushed the button to her floor. The elevator started up with a whirr and an odd grinding noise.

“That normal?” John looked to where the sound came from.

“Not really, I mean this thing is pretty old and does make some noises. But that’s a new one.”

The grinding turned into a screech as the box came to a halt, fol­lowed by a rattle and a thump.

“That can’t be good.” Her nerves grated along with the sounds.

“I’ll push the emergency button,” he said.

The lights went out.

“Shit.” Amelia closed her eyes in irritation. “It was only a matter of time until this happened. Broken down old thing.”

“While I would be happy to swear up a damn storm, the emer­gency button isn’t working.”

“Because of the power outage, I suppose.”

“Probably. These things are supposed to have backup power. But, whatever reason, we’re stuck until someone notices that the elevator isn’t working and a repair guy gets here.”

“I wonder how long that will be. I’m so sorry, John. This is no way to welcome you to California.” She pouted. “I have a nice dinner wait­ing for us upstairs, and here we are in this dark stupid box.”

“I’m only here to see you, and while I can’t technically see you right now, we’re together. If you’d scoot on over here, I can hold you.”

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

And my guest for the day is...Dawn Chandler!

Hi, Dawn! It’s great that you could be with us today!

So tell us, first of all, the name of your newest novel and what it’s about.

The name of my newest novel is “The Dark Lady”. It is currently under contract with Black Velvet Seductions Publishing and is in the final stages of editing. I am hoping to have a release date soon.
It is a full length historical romance that is set in the mid 1100’s. Van is stolen away from her father when she was a year old and is forced to pretend to be a boy. She falls in love with the life that boy’s lead and eventually becomes a knight. She is a large statured and frayed tempered woman and she plays the part well. When her mother dies she makes a dying plea that Van leave the life of a knight and become a wife.
Her unsuspecting husband-to-be Peter has been betrayed in his past and has vowed to only marry a docile and controllable woman, but when his father becomes ill Peter reluctantly agrees to marry a woman he has never met. He hopes that she will be quiet and gentle, but is surprised to meet the large woman who steps from the carriage to greet him.
Van must learn to combine the knight she used to be with the woman she is expected to become and Peter must learn that what he thought he wanted may not be exactly what he needs. They must both learn to deal with their difficult pasts if they hope to have any kind of a future.

If you could sum up your writing in one sentence, how would you describe it?

The stories are not mine, they are my characters and I am grateful to have the privilege of being allowed to tell their stories.

Give us a bit of your favorite scene from your novel.

(There are so many it is hard to choose from. I went through my story thinking it would be an easy decision, but as I looked through it, more and more scenes begged to be added. So I choose one that I really like and believe my readers will enjoy as much as I do. I have the first three chapters posted on my site under free reads…the end of the second chapter describes Peter’s original dreams and chapter one describes the scene that caused the dreams.)

The night slipped by as her tears lulled him to sleep. His head turned in slumber, his ear pressed gently to the door, listening to her sadness even in his dreams.
Dreams that were now changed.
The same lovely face, the same dark black eyes, the dagger cut still fresh, hung over him as it always had. The same sweet haunting voice.
But now the deep black hair hung loose around her beautiful face. It brushed against his bare chest erotically.
The drips that hit his injured shoulder were no longer blood as they had once been, they were now her tears. Tears so hot they seemed to burn him.
He reached to stroke the perfect cheek, as he had almost every night since it had happened, but she now was gone.

Do you have a favorite quote from “The Dark Lady”?

(This quote is directed at Peter’s mistress who was supposed to be already gone from Peter’s castle when Van arrived but she had refused to leave. When she threw a fit about leaving and complained that she had been there two years and deserved respect this is the response she got from Devon, who had been assigned to remove her from the grounds.)

"Aye, you have been here a long time and though it could cost me my life, if you were the Lady and she the whore, between the two of you, she would still get my loyalty."

When did you decide that you were going to become a writer? Was it a landmark decision, or a more gradual one?

I fell in love with writing when I was in the 5th grade. It was a landmark decision to write, but a more gradual one to become a published author. I used to hate writing. In school there is a process that must be followed. They wanted an outline, then a summary, then a rough draft. They wanted it all right then in class, so it was difficult for me. I can’t do an outline or a summary because I am not that kind of writer. I am not a plotter. I do not know my story until I write it. I am not privy to the details of my story until that part of it comes along. I don’t always feel I am in control of my stories and they do not always go where I think they will. Sometimes things change partway through without my prior approval. It is truly my characters stories and I just get to be the lucky one to write them down. It is one of my favorite things of writing, getting to experience the story as it happens. So now that I have rambled I will get back to my original point. I hated writing because I could not envision the entire story to make an outline or a summary, but in 5th grade my wonderful teacher Mrs. Smith spoke to me. I told her my issue as I had with the other teachers but they never listened. She did. She told me to do it how I had to do it. Turn in my rough draft first and then I could go back and do the summary and the outline. She understood that everyone writes differently and that inspiration hits the way it will and there is very little to nothing that you can do to change that. I wrote many short stories during the 5th grade. I have about 30 short stories that I wrote from then and am looking through them to decide which are good enough, with some editing, to go into a book of shorts. One of them, called The Dust, Mrs. Smith wanted me to turn it in to get published. At the time I was not interest in becoming published, I was just enjoying writing. Now I wish I had done so. I am in the process of turning The Dust into a full length novel.

Who influences you the most in your writing?

Stephen King influenced my desire to write. I grew up reading him and he is still my favorite author. I am a Dark Tower Junkie and I have almost every book he has written. My love of research and history influenced my desire to write about the past. Catherine Coulter, Kat Martin, Connie Mason, Jean Auel, Stephanie Laurens, and many others have influenced my love of historical romance. The content of my stories is influenced solely by the voices in my head (who I must obey) and my style was greatly influenced by my editor Laurie. I took her workshops on writing and Deep Point of View and have enjoyed watching my stories turn into works of art that I have been told (much to my ecstatic surprise) brought tears to the eyes. My family influences me every day with their loving support and understanding patience as I get absorbed with my work. My husband influenced my desire to get published as he pushed me to turn my work into a publisher and to follow my dreams.

In the course of researching for your writing, have you come across any fun or interesting facts that you’d like to share with us today?

(I absolutely love doing research. I believe it is what draws me to do historical romances. I have always enjoyed research and have always been interested in the past. There are many things that I have learned that I would love to share, but I will narrow it down to two.)
The beginning to Valentine's Day is a mystery, but the most popular story that seems to date back the farthest is that it honors a Saint Valentine who was a roman priest. He was martyred by Emperor Claudius II during the third century in Rome. Claudius decided that single men without wives and families made the best soldiers. He outlawed marriage for young men. Valentine saw the injustice in this and continued to marry young lovers in secret. When Claudius II found this out he had Valentine put to death. During Valentine’s imprisonment while he was awaiting his execution he was said to have healed several people with the powers given to him by the gods. He was put to death on February 14th.
The origin of Halloween is much different than a lot of people believe. The majority of the people that I hear talk about it thinks that it is a devil’s holiday which is not true. The most believed story though historians is that Halloween started as the Celtic Holiday of Samhain. It was a harvest festival in which they could celebrate with their loved ones who had passed away. Harvest was over and the end of October signaled the beginning of the dark time of the year when the days were shorter. During this transition from the light half of the year (summer and spring) to the dark half of the year (fall and winter) they believed that the barrier between the world of the living and the world of the dead was thin and that the spirits of the dead could pass back and forth. A feast was made to celebrate the harvest and plates were left out on the doorsteps for the loved ones who had moved on. The spirits could then go the house of their loved ones and celebrate the harvest. So now instead of a feast of food we have a feast of candy but the little spirits still come door to door to help celebrate.

Have you ever had writer’s block? How did you cope?

I get writer’s block to a small degree from time to time. I have 50 books in the computer that are in varies stages of completion. Generally when I have a stumbling block in my way on one book I will work on another for a short time and then go back to the original. I feel very fortunate that I have never had a severe case of writer’s block. No the voice in my head are constantly rumbling along and I believe the times that the current story is not coming along smoothly is not exactly writer’s block. It is the other characters from other books getting loud and needing attention.

What’s your favorite thing to do when not writing?

When I am not writing, or researching, I spend time with my family and make up for all the time I spend in front of the computer. We like to camp, swim, go four wheeling, go for walks or to the park, I spend time with my daughter at the mall (cause she likes it), picnic and go to the river.

Name something that you’d do alone but never in front of other people?

Ah, that is not a fair question. I thought this would be an easy question but everything I thought of I thought no, I do, do that in front of people. Things like singing and dancing, which I thought I didn’t do in public but then I thought about it. I sing in front of family when I am sober and when I am drunk, (which hardly ever happens anymore) I sing in front of anybody and everybody. I thought about dancing, but I do dance when I do happen to go to the bar with my friends and I did line dance with several of my friends in front of Wal*Mart while we were on our lunch (ok we danced several times throughout a lot of the summer) when I was still working there. There were several things that had to be removed from the list because I either do it in front of family and loved ones or I do it when I happen to drink. My husband suggested cussing, which I do not ever do in public but I do not ever do it when I am alone either, so that was out. So that left me with two things, but those are two things I am going to have to, unfortunately, keep to myself. They are not things I would like to mention in a public venue, but I will let your reader use their imagination as to what they might be.

If you could be a movie star for one day, who would you be?

I don’t think I would like to be a movie star even for one day. There are several great ones that I like, though I do not watch many movies and hardly ever turn the T.V. on. Being a movie star, I think has too many draw backs. They have no privacy and everything they do is judged and reported on. Being a writer is so much better. While being a famous writer still has its share of fanatic fans and you are in the public eye it does not hold the same connotations that being a movie star does. If I have some cellulite on the back of my thighs (if…hahahaha, I wish it were an if) I am not likely to see my backside on the front page of the enquirer or the star or whatever those magazines are called. My status is not dependant on what I look like or how skinny I am, and I know that not all actors are based on that but that is how the magazines portray them. Some of my favorite actors are not real skinny. No, being a movie star does not appeal to me. I used to be in drama, but my part was as set and costume designer. I helped the actors with their lines and I did memorize all the lines of the plays as an understudy but always prayed that everyone showed up. I was lucky and never had to get on stage.

Finally, finish this sentence. People would be surprised to know that…

…that I am shy. I talk to people on line, and you may have noticed, that I have a tendency to run away at the fingertips and have a propensity to rambling on. I talk a lot when there are keys caressing my fingers and I tend to go on and on. When people actually meet me they are always surprised to know that I do not talk. I speak when spoken to for the most part and my answers, when I can get away with it, are one word answers, and occasionally grunts. They all ask me if I am upset, but no. I am not upset I am just shy when it comes to face to face meetings. It took me several years of working at Wal*Mart before I started talking to the girls and actually became friends with them. Some of them thought I was snobby (I think that is the word they used) until they got to know me. I hardly talk until I get comfortable with people and then I open up, but that takes a long time usually. After that I sometimes get loud and obnoxious and I laugh a lot.

CJ: I want to thank you again, for coming out to be on the blog today. Before you go, please be sure to give us a taste of your novel, and a link or two so we can all go buy it!

Thank you, for letting me stop by and visit. I will keep you all posted as to the progress of my book and hope I can stop back by after I get a release date. I appreciate all the support I have gotten and all the encouraging words. I will leave you with an excerpt from The Dark Lady and links to my site where you can read the first three chapters.

Excerpt from chapter one of The Dark Lady by Dawn Chandler

He opened his eyes to the young boy’s blurry face. The light from the fire pierced into him cutting through him like a dagger. He shut his eyes again with a moan.
“Come on. Focus, you are going to be alright.” There was fear in that soft voice that told him he was cared for. That he was needed. “Look me in the eye.” The worry that he heard enveloped him in warmth in a way that no fire ever could. He could almost picture the mother of those children who would hold him at night when he was cold, as he was now. She would be dark, beautiful and exotic.”
When he opened his eyes once again the boy was gone and in his place was the beautiful yet blurry face of a girl. “Are you alright?” she asked sweetly as she leaned close to him.
“I am here with you.” Concern filled him as he spotted the large gash on her check, oddly in the same spot as the lad’s injury. He shook his head to clear it. Confusion swirled through his weary mind. Peter lifted his hand and ran his fingers along the uninjured cheekbone as blood dripped onto his injured shoulder. “Your face. You are hurt. You must have it looked at.”
The face swirled in and out of focus and the boy was there once again. Peter closed his eyes tightly and shook his head. “I will. You first, I can wait.” The soft voice told him. When he opened his eyes once again she was smiling down at him. Her face was still slightly blurred but he knew it was her from her melodious voice.
“You have such dark eyes, almost black. One could get lost in them.” Peter continued to stroke the smooth cheek above him, sliding trembling fingers down the warm and inviting skin gently cupping the soft and shapely chin before starting again. Peter squinted his eyes in an effort to keep the world focused as he looked deeply into those black eyes and thought of his future. “You are so beautiful.”
Full lips parted in a sweet tinkling laugh, like water over stones. “I will forgive you that since you have lost so much blood, your thoughts must be scrambled and your vision faulty.” A wide beautiful smile took the sting from the words.
A deep trembling breath caused the world to shimmer before him and the image of the boy was once again before him. Peter pulled his hand away in confusion as he looked at the boy. “Quite. I have lost a great amount.” His arm dropped as darkness swallowed him.
Read the First three Chapters
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Monday, June 14, 2010

Interview with an Umpire...

I’ve got Linton Robinson here with me on the “Show” today. (And God, what a hunk he is!) Lin I want to shake things up a bit. Instead of getting right into the writing, I want to talk about you first.

--Ah, my favorite topic.

Tell us a little about yourself.

--Well, as applies to the novel SWEET SPOT, what’s significant is that I’ve lived in Mexico and Latin America for around twenty years, eight of them in Mazatlan, where the book is set. I wrote for the English newspaper there, and a couple of local papers and was pretty involved with the community. So much so that I left town to avoid being shot by corrupt cops. That’s Sinaloa state for you: the “Sicily of Mexico”.

So you and the SWEET SPOT hero, Mundo Carrasco, were both journalists in Mazatlan?

--Yes; some of his quoted articles each chapter opens with actually appeared under my byline originally. I lived in the apartment right below Mundo’s “aerie with no walls”, and had the same view of the bay and islands. I also played baseball, but of course wasn’t a national hero like Mundo.

How much is baseball part of SWEET SPOT?

--Well, it’s always going to be a big banner on Mundo’s life, and a lot of people get a kick out of the way his personal philosophy is founded on the game. “It’s getting home safe that counts” and such. Of course that’s more appealing to Americans, and maybe to men.

Would you say this is a “guy book”?

--Oddly, for a book set in macho Mexico with femmes fatales and strippers and people getting killed in fairly gruesome ways and with a running sports metaphor, it seems to be pretty popular with women. Mundo seems to be likeable to both sexes.

Why do you think that is?

--Mundo has been carrying a torch for a woman for two years. This is a big, affable, good-looking guy, a star, who has no trouble getting girls--but his infatuation for the amoral bitch who is now his boss at City Hall makes that meaningless. I think women respond to that, his devotion--even to an obviously selfish, evil manipulator--says something to him. I think they like him for it, but are also pulling for him to snap out of it and hook up with somebody who won’t use him, like Palomina or Luz. I was influenced in emphasizing that by the main character in “Horse Latitudes”, a wonderful best-seller by my friend Robert Ferrigno.

How much does the setting play into the story?

--A lot. There’s the whole “travelogue” thing, of course: Mazatlan is a beautiful tourist mecca, and the book takes place during Carnival week, with all the parades and coronations and masked balls--nothing helps out a mystery thriller like a masked ball-- and the burning of “bad humor” in effigy. But at a deeper level, politics in Mexico--and this is very much involved with politics--is an exotic situation compared to other places. The very idea that organized crime is run by governors and mayors and cops seems odd to Americans, but is obvious to Mexicans.

What inspired this story?

--Mostly my experiences in Mazatlan. A lot of the characters would be immediately recognizable to residents there. I wanted to do a mystery in a foreign country with local people and folkways, so to speak. My original inspiration for that was--and yes, I blush to mention my book in the same breath--“Gorky Park” and the later “Havana Bay” by the masterful Martin Cruz Smith. My original idea was a hard-boiled cynical lead character, like Smith’s Renko, or any given detective by Ignacio Taibo II, Mexico’s answer to Mike Hammer. What happened was, Mundo molted into Mr. Nice Guy who anybody--guys and gals--would like to hang out with. Which makes him more like a Candide, in a way, a guy moving through the muck but not corrupted by it--or so he thinks, but finds out different. Many of the incidents in the book happened to myself, to friends, or to local public figures. (The mayor didn’t really get brutally murdered, but he did get kicked out of office.)

Tell us your favorite quote from SWEET SPOT.

-Well, I’m going to cheat and use a quote James Tipton pulled out in his wonderfully flattering review in Mexico Connect ( ) about Mijares, object of Mundo’s infatuation and nearly the end of him.

“She's a broken power line swinging around in the wind, striking showers of sparks off the cars and buildings…. She's that few seconds between losing control of your car and slamming into something solid. I don't need her at all, but of course I have no choice but to moved towards her; my mouth and eyes and veins and nostrils blown open, my hairs standing erect, my breath oppressed, my heart bailing out, my brain choked down to a dull reptile throb. Love is a disease. She's the only known cure.”

What one piece of advice has been the most helpful to you in your writing career?

--It’s a pet peeve of mine that the internet is awash in writing advice and almost all of it sucks. Same goes for writing classes, too, I’m afraid. After a lifetime of writing I’ve only seen two “tips” worth repeating. So here they are, for free:
1. Forget “POV” and “active voice” and all that stuff. What you need to concentrate on is “narrative voice”. Find the way your story “wants to tell itself” and it will flow out. Until you do, you’ll just spin your wheels. And finding it is not something rules and jargon will help you with: you have to just dig around to finding the heart, and how it talks.
2. When in trouble take your first (paragraph, chapter, line, etc.) and switch it with the second. Take a look and see what you think. Sounds simple and silly, but just try it.

What are your current plans?

--I’m got a TV series in development and a couple more novels (mostly set at Mexico/US border) trying to get in print at bigger presses. Meanwhile, I’m doing something new and little dangerous: working on about four projects at once. We’ll see.
What scares me is that I’ve always scorned writers who have no success until they start doing writers’ conferences and books about how to write--and I know now have three books for writers out ( ) and am doing conference workshops. Aieeee!

Where can we find your novel for sale? Please give us a link to your book and your author page!

--Oh, well, I suppose I could do that, despite my shy and self-abnegating nature. Best place so start is on the publisher’s website, Adoro Books, ( ) which links to my site, a sale point, amazon and B&N, and some additional material and sample chapter ( ).

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Why do you write fantasy?

I've been asked this question a few times in the past month or so...ever since my new novel, "To Stand with Angels", was released.

To answer this question simply; I write fantasy for the same reason I read it (and for the same reason I believe many other people read it as well): to escape the mundane and commonplace. The need to mentally slip out of real-life once in awhile is human, most all of us feel it on some level at one time or another. I believe that fantasy writers just put those mental meanderings down on paper and create a story that many others can relate to. In a lot of ways, Fantasy is just a more cultivated, channeled form of day dreaming.

I chose to write Western Fantasy (with a little horror, paranormal, and romance thrown in) do to growing up with a father that watched western movies like a religion. Clint Eastwood and John Wayne films stocked our video shelves. We’d watch a western almost every night…and most nights; two. I’d sit, my eyes glued to the TV screen, as I watched The Duke’s characteristic saunter, or heard The Man Without a Name’s soft, gravelly voice. I thrived on every second of wild gun-fire-fist-fighting-saloon-girl-wooing-and-cattle-stampeding “cowboy action”. It was the perfect day-dream fodder, those movies, and inevitably my thoughts would wander as I watched. I’d change the storylines in my mind…add new characters or imagine what would happen if the characters reacted differently to each other or the circumstances they found themselves in.

However, it wasn’t until I was in my early twenties, that I began to day-dream the paranormal factoring into the western setting. I was watching “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly” (a favorite) and during the scene where they’re digging for the gold in the graveyard, I thought to myself, “Wouldn’t it be awesome if they accidentally dug up something other than the money? What if a demon showed up about now…or a werewolf, or even a dragon? That’d be a cool twist. The cowboys have to fight for their lives with something other than a revolver!” The idea stuck. My first attempts at writing such stories didn’t fare well, mostly because I would lose interest in the storyline or the plot just didn’t gel the way I wanted it to.

Then one day I decided to begin writing a western in a normal context. A woman, living along in the wild Wyoming Territory and hiding from a past crime, is visited by a stranger who is wounded and on death’s doorstep. She decides to help him and soon finds herself in the middle of a hornet’s nest. Her guest is being pursued by common outlaws, but as the story progresses, and the character’s lives are put into one perilous “Wild West” situation after another, it starts to become clear that gun-fights and showdowns are the least of their problems. A six-hundred-year-old demon is loose and looking for something he’s lost…and the one person that can destroy him forever.

I love this novel because it is everything I would want to read in a story. I understand that not necessarily everyone will like “To Stand with Angels” the way I do, but I wrote it based on something that moved me as a writer. When that muse finds you, I don’t think it’s smart to ignore it! I would write this version of fantasy even if no other living person read it or liked it because it’s my story. And I have to tell it.
"To Stand with Angels" on sale now at Eternal Press and Amazon .

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Welcome to Amy Talbot, author of "The Rajah's Chosen Bride"

Hi, AMY! It’s great that you could be with us today!

So tell us, first of all, the name of your newest novel and what it’s about.

“The Rajah’s Chosen Bride” is a contemporary cross-cultural romance, set in Australia and Indian (Rajasthan). I wanted to create a new romantic hero; a man of wealth and power, courage and integrity. India seemed the obvious choice – it is a land of breathtaking beauty and its people warm and welcoming. Australia is a land of opportunity and adventure, and my heroine reflects the ‘we can be anything, go anywhere, make it happen’ belief Australian’s have in themselves. I enjoyed bringing together my heroine and hero and I hope my readers will enjoy their journey.

If you could sum up your writing in one sentence, what would you say?

I have found that writing is fun, endlessly exciting, and rewarding in ways I never imagined possible when I started out in this career.

Describe your favorite scene from your novel.

I like the dance scene in chapter eleven, which takes place at their engagement party. Vania, who has never danced, trusts Deven to keep her safe.

An extract:

Dancing with Deven suddenly felt like the most natural thing in the world.
Together, with those she loved watching on, and the music keeping time to the strong beat of her heart, it felt right.
She felt right.
Their bodies swayed in perfect accord. The hotel staff had opened all the windows to let in whatever breeze there might be. The night air on her skin, the blur of colors, the smell of his cologne, the music, the delight of her own body’s lightness and movement—it was pure enchantment.
It all felt right.
She was where she belonged; where she had always belonged.
They danced silently; her eyes were half-closed, her breasts brushed against the heavy muscles of his chest and the top of her thighs touched his as they moved languidly to the music.
“Vania,” he murmured, his voice low against her ear.
“Yes.” She drew her head back and smiled dreamily at him,
not wanting to break the spell.
“You dance well,” he whispered. “I hope this is the first of many new things we will try together.”
Deven’s eyes held her captive. She couldn’t look away from him―didn’t want to look away from him. She saw the light of naked desire that mirrored her own.
He lowered his head until his lips hovered a breath away from hers. “I cannot kiss you, with these people watching. It would not be right.”
“No.” She licked her lips. “Yes.”
She wanted to be lost there for all time, in the heat of his hunger. The music moved through them as he let go of her hand, spreading his fingers over her waist to draw her intimately against him.
But he didn’t love her.
Who cares!
She had this night, this moment; this fantasy.
If that was all, so be it.
It felt liberating—exhilarating that he held her, their bodies molded together. The song came to an end. He lifted his head fractionally, his breath a caress on her lips. During the timeless moment between them Vania noted the music had changed to a haunting serenade.
She toyed with the button on his shirt. “What happens now?”
He dragged in a deep breath. “Dance with me again.”

Do you have a favorite quote from “The Rajah’s Chosen Bride”?

"I made my own choices. For better or worse, I took what life offered

The story line reflects the point where Vania accepts the arranged marriage and her part in the agreement. She knows she is a willing participant and not a reluctant bride.

When did you decide that you were going to become a writer? Was it a landmark decision, or a more gradual one?

2010 marks the fifteen anniversary year of chasing my dream to write fiction for a living. I wrote my first romance in six weeks and it took about that long to receive a very nice rejection. Instead of giving up, I decided to learn the craft, and succeed as an author.

The growth of electronic publishing is of great interest to me. I believe this is the way of the future for publishing and my goal is to be fully involved in all aspects of an E-Publishing company.

Since those early beginnings, I have published numerous short stories, magazine and newspaper articles, as well as had a romance novel published by New Concepts Publishing and two by Eternal Press. I work as a Freelance Editor and am currently completing a post-graduate Diploma in Publishing. I am the Creative Writing Tutor for Aoraki Polytechnic (Christchurch, New Zealand) where I tutor students studying Radio, Television and Presenting, and students studying creative writing for publication.

Who influences you the most in your writing?

Good writing in any genre, any style – even slogans on a billboard.

In the course of researching for your writing, have you come across any fun or interesting facts that you’d like to share with us today?

“It takes ten years to become an overnight success.”

For all budding authors, I recommend ‘How I got Published’, edited by Ray White and Duane Lindsay (Writers Digest Books) – it’s inspirational and informative.

Have you ever had writer’s block? How did you cope?

Every day, it goes with the territory. As the T-shirt says “Keep on truckin’ ” One thing I’ve learnt, writing takes time, thought, knowledge, imagination and staying power.

What’s your favorite thing to do when not writing?

Oh dear, I hate to admit this, but when I am not writing, I read. I walk and swim for recreation and garden reluctantly, when the weeds are waving hello through the lounge-room windows. I also like to socialize with friends and family. Theodore Taylor Simpson is the love of my life – born 18th February 2010 and our very first and much adored grandson. I have lived aboard (including the UK and USA) and like to travel and learn about other countries, cultures and people. During May, my husband and I went with friends to the UK and Europe. We have other trips planned next year (fingers crossed).

Name something that you’d do alone but never in front of other people?

I draw the blinds, put on my favorite music (usually something loud and raunchy) and I sing out of tune and dance badly – and I love it.

If you could be a movie star for one day, who would you be?

Judy Dench, the most amazing female character actress of our time.

Finally, finish this sentence. People would be surprised to know that… my idea of housework is to sweep the room with a glance

CJ: I want to thank you again, for coming out to be on the blog today. Before you go, please be sure to give us a taste of your novel, and a link or two so we can all go buy it!

"The Rajah's Chosen Bride" on sale now at ETERNAL PRESS!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

And the FABULOUS WINNERS of Yesterday's Contests Are:

Okay, I know you've all been waiting eagerly for this. (I appologize for the late posting...I've been trying ot catch up on my zzz's after a long nights work.) So, without further ado, here we go. *Drum roll please*

Cecile is going to be interviewing: Amber Scott's novel "Play Fling"! Congrats to Amber. And a special thanks to all the participating should all be proud, Cecile had a really hard time coming up with a winner!

As to the winners of the Romantic Story contest:

Cecile has chosen: S7anna & Margaret West to recieve a prize. two win for your heart-warming romantic posts. We loved them!

Now for the winners of "To Stand with Angels". I chose: HeatherD & Leontine because both of your stories made me laugh and touched my heart! Congrats guys!

Thank you all for participating in my blog with Cecile! Every single one of you made yesterday an absolute pleasure and an experience I won't soon forget! Cheers!



Monday, June 7, 2010

For Readers!

*****CECILE'S INTERVIEW BELOW!!!! Check it out!!!*****
In the meantime....
ROMANCE READERS: We want to hear your sweetest or steamiest real-life romance moment! So, tell us about it Cosmo-style! Two lucky people will win a PAPERBACK copy of my novel, "To Stand with Angels". Cecile is gonna pick a winner, herself, and she's handing out a mystery prize or two...

So step up, Ladies, and start telling us your most romantic moments!
Cecile has just let me in on her mystery gifts! ONE LUCKY WINNER will take BOTH! WhooHoo!
PRIZE #1: "Montana Legacy" by R.C. Ryan (oh, yeah, a book about my home state! Whoooot!)
PRIZE #2: "Knight of Pleasure" by Margaret Mallory