Friday, April 30, 2010

Author Interview: AUTUMN JORDON

This is it, booklovers. Our final day of blog party madness. Your last chance to enter the ereader contest... your last chance to snag one of our daily giveaways for your very own. And today, last but not least, we have contemporary romance & romantic suspense author Autumn Jordon joining us to talk about her upcoming release Evil's Witness (coming June 18 from the Wild Rose Press). Welcome, Autumn! (Applause!)

First, Vivi, I want to congratulate you on your new release and thank you for inviting me to be your guest. Second, could I mention Brenda Novak’s Diabetes Auction starts tomorrow. Please stop by and support this cause. It’s one close to my heart. Here’s a link to my contribution.

What inspired you to write Evil’s Witness?

Oh, this story is true—an actual incident at our family-owned trucking company. I can’t go into details but I can share that everything imaginable is hauled across our nation’s highways. The general public doesn’t know that. While hauling currency for the Federal Reserve, we had a slight miss-communication which led to a delay in delivery. I wondered what would happen if the trailers were targeted. How could the money disappear? Who would have the capability to organize the crime and who would stop them? The idea for Evil’s Witness sent me to the FBI where I started my research.

What do you look for in a heroine?

My stories are set in small towns and while the people who live in these communities are not faced with the criminal elements that say someone who lives in a city is, they are aware of them. They are more trusting and open. Not naïve. They might get slapped in the face once because it was unexpected, but they certainly would react immediately and with strength against evil. So my heroines, once they realize the situation they’re up against they become a strong partner for the hero and a fierce foe for my villain.

What drives your books? Is it the hero, the heroine, the conflict?

All three. There has to be external and internal conflicts to make the book complex. I like complex. And, there is no better feeling than falling in love with your characters.

If you could pick the actors to play the hero & heroine in the movie of your current release, who could you cast?

Keifer Sutherland as my hero, John Dolton. I’m a huge 24 fan. Keifer plays the loner so well. And Jodie Foster as my heroine, Stephanie. Jodie could handle Keifer and my delicious villain, Victor, without breaking a sweat.

If one of your characters came knocking on your door, how would you react?

What do you mean if? LOL. Victor, my villain did. We had coffee and a long conversation. Afterwards, I wrote a scene that showed Victor’s heart.

What was your path to publication?

A long one that started with doing fairly well in contests with four prior works. I never for once thought of giving up, for more than twelve hours—Enough time to brood, eat chocolate, watch a movie or read a book I knew I could write.

What is the best advice you ever got as a writer?

After I received a rejection, NY Bestselling author, Kasey Michaels said, “Suck it up and get back to Work. You know you can write.”

The worst?

“That story is great, keep working at it.” My mother. I love my mom and her support but she knows nothing about writing a book and what will sell. Friends and family will always tell you the story is great. If other writers to tell you it’s great, you’ve done your job.

In ten years, where do you want to be as a writer?

Still writing, with a good-size backlist, and continuing to learn new methods to make my books memorable.

What book is your comfort read?

Sandra Brown’s Bed and Breakfast. I need a new copy. I’ve read the story so about a hundred times.

What do you think is the most romantic book or movie?

‘Somewhere In Time’. Love it! And , ‘You’ve Got Mail.’

Thank you, Autumn! Today's winner will receive a download of Autumn's contemporary romance Obsessed by Wildfire. Good luck, everyone!

And one HUGE thank you to everyone who made this blog party possible - the wonderful guest authors, our commenters, our lovely lurkers - THANK YOU. You've all been amazing.

The Winner of a Renee Wildes ebook is...

Tracey D (aka booklover0226)! Congratulations!

Please email to claim your prize and let us know which ebook you would like to read. Winners have three days to claim prizes or a replacement winner is drawn. (Though I might be a little loose on the 72 hr rule right now, since I'm at RT and I'm falling behind on my email. Please please please have patience if you don't hear back from me right away!)

And anyone at RT or in the central Ohio area, I'll be at the Ebook Expo this afternoon (4-6pm Columbus Convention Center) if you want to come pick my brain on all things shifter/karmic/Alaska/whatever...

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Author Interview: RENEE WILDES

Today fantasy romance author Renee Wildes is treating us with a look inside her Guardians of Light series. The latest release, Lycan Tides, appears in print next Tuesday, May 4th! Welcome, Renee! (Applause!)

What inspired you to write your current release?

I always knew I wanted Trystan from Duality to have his own story. But who to pair a werewolf/werebadger guardian prince with? Thinking opposites attract, I started thinking “land…sea.” Mermaid wouldn’t work. But shapeshifter to shapeshifter would. I’ve always been fascinated by the selkie legend, so that was my choice. A selkie who lost her skin, stuck on land, yearns for the sea. Can’t leave the sea. Falls in love w/a land-based warrior w/a higher calling, who can’t stay. Perfect conflict.

What do you find attractive in a hero?

A combination of strength, honor and compassion

What do you look for in a heroine?

Never a damsel in distress, she’s not afraid to make a decision and stand by it – and she always thinks of others before herself

How important is the setting/world in your books?

World-building is kind of what I’ve become known for. As a fantasy writer, it’s super important to give the world a concrete world to escape to. The more books in the series, the more pieces of my world fall into place. Each takes place in a separate land, but they’re all a part of the whole. Combining new characters supported by old characters lends a continuity and a certain sense of reality to it all – like they can carry on when we’re not there.

What drives your books? Is it the hero, the heroine, the conflict?

Lycan Tides began with the hero, but the heroine Finora’s plight as a single mom is what drives the conflict and the story. If she finds her skin and returns to the sea, she regains her soul. But if she leaves Trystan and her children, she loses her heart. Part of her yearns to keep Trystan whatever the cost, and she comes to understand why her late husband Bran did what he did to trap her.

If you could pick the actors to play the hero & heroine in the movie of your current release, who could you cast?

Trystan = Gerard Butler, b/c he combines understatement w/a sense of humor (I loved his portrayal of Beowulf)

Finora started out inspired by Karina Lombard, but if it’s a CURRENT movie I’d cast Sandra Bullock

What’s next for you/what are you working on now?

I just finished all edits on Dust of Dreams, which is Guardians of Light Book 4. Benilo, the elven spirit healer from Hedda’s Sword, pairs up w/a dream faerie named Pryseis. Due to popular demand, King Loren’s younger brother Brannan gets his own subplot w/Pryseis’ half-troll nephew, Dax (who’s slotted to get his own book after Riever’s Heart, entitled God of Fyre Mountain)

I’m now working on Book 5 entitled Riever’s Heart, which is Verdeen’s tale AFTER she graduates from the elven military Academy. She gets assigned as a bodyguard for Prince Aryk, a riever prince trying to unite his warring tribes into a single nation. But she’s also a spy for Loren and Dara, who aren’t sure if Aryk is all he claims to be. Verdeen’s the ultimate tomboy, but can she learn to be both warrior and woman?

Thank you, Renee! Today our winner will receive their choice of a Renee Wildes ebook! And as an extra treat, Renee would like to share her book trailer with us. Check it out:

The Winner of a Shelley Munro EC ebook is...

Natasha A! Congratulations!

Please email to claim your prize and let us know which of Shelley's Ellora's Cave backlist titles you would like to receive in ebook format. Winners have three days to claim their prizes or a replacement winner is drawn.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Author Interview: SHELLEY MUNRO

Today we are joined by author of paranormal and contemporary romance Shelley Munro. Shelley's actually off sailing the Pacific right now, but before she left for distant waters, she sent us this peek inside The Bottom Line (now available from Samhain & for Kindle!). Welcome, Shelley! (Applause!)

What inspired you to write your current release?

My new release, The Bottom Line, is about a woman dipping her toe into the world of spanking. The Bottom Line relates her personal journey as she tries something new. It’s also a story about friendship and is the start of a new series for me. Future books will deal with Maggie’s friends. It was a fun story to write and the idea really did come from reading an erotic romance, much like Maggie’s idea to explore spanking in the book. I found myself curious about spanking and wondered if it really was a turn on, thus began Maggie’s adventures!

What do you find attractive in a hero?

I think the most important thing for any hero is a sense of humor and fun. A strong male who is confident in himself and actions is attractive, but the addition of a sense of humor really takes him into sexy for me. Of course, I’m also a sucker for tall and dark. Just about all the heroes I write are tall with dark hair.

What drives your books? Is it the hero, the heroine, the conflict?

When I first started writing, my stories were normally plot driven, but these days I tend to write more character driven books. I’m happy driving along (as a writer or reader) in either vehicle. Mostly, I think, it depends on the story idea that comes to me.

What is your favorite thing about being a writer and/or your favorite writing memory?

I’m a fairly organized person and quite driven. I love being a writer and working for myself. Ultimately, the buck stops with me and I’m the one responsible for my success or failure. I like that. It used to drive me crazy having to rely on other people or worse, having to fix their mess-ups in my day job. I much prefer being my own boss. I also like the fact I can write anywhere and the only limit is my imagination. That’s a heady thing.

Who was the last author whose writing wowed you?

I read a lot because I think it’s an important way to keep up with trends. And reading always stimulates my imagination. I think reading other author’s books is a way to learn and I treat many of them like textbooks. I have three authors who have wowed me lately.

E-published Cameron Dane writes mainly m/m romance. Her books are rockin’ hot and the characters really jumped from the pages. I read the first book in her series and immediately went looking for the others.

Robyn Carr, who writes contemporary romance, has a series called Virgin River. She hooked me with the first book in the series. Her characterization is just amazing. I might not always agree with the plotlines but her characters grab me by the throat each and every time I read one of her books.

The final author who always wows me is Larissa Ione with her Demonica series. Truly awesome plotting, excellent world-building, and once again, characters who jump off the page. Larissa really torments her characters and I love that in a writer. Yeah, I want to be just like Larissa when I grow up.

What’s next for you/what are you working on now?

At the end of June, I have a paranormal m/m called Seeking Kokopelli coming out at Samhain Publishing. My hero Adam is Kokopelli and he has quite a time finding love and coming to terms with the woo-woo factor in his life. There’s love, danger and a touch of the mystical in Seeking Kokopelli.

Meantime, I’m working on a follow-up story for Julia, one of Maggie’s friends in The Bottom Line.

Thanks for having me to visit today, Vivi!

Thank you for visiting, Shelley! Today one lucky commenter wins an e-copy of one of Shelley's Ellora's Cave backlist titles. Also, if you visit her blog, you can enter her How Many Books contest, running now. Good luck, everyone, and happy Wednesday!

The Winner of RELEASE is...

Sherry! Congratulations!

Please email to claim your prize and let us know where you'd like it sent. Winners have three days to claim their prizes or a replacement winner will be drawn.

Only three more days of fabulous guests...

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Welcome, BETH KERY!

Today we're joined by fabulous erotic romance author Beth Kery. Her latest release Release is out now in bookstores and in a few short weeks Velvet Cataclysm will hit the virtual shelves from Samhain. Another busy (and talented)author in our midst! Welcome, Beth! (Applause!)

The Best Romance of All Time?

I tend to think big. Maybe too big. Probably too big.

Undoubtedly too big.

But hey, it’s how I work.

This fact was made clearer to me during the Spring Fling RWA Chicago North conference over the weekend. I attended a workshop on goal setting given by Author’s Best Friend romance author assistant Kim Castillo. (I enjoyed myself, Kim, thanks!) On the worksheet Kim gave us, we needed to write down goals (one year, five year and lifetime) as well as obstacles to achieving our goals.

So here’s where the ‘thinking big’ part becomes relevant. Under the “lifetime goals” portion, I put “write one of the best romances of all time.”

Yeah. Okay. Dream no small dreams, right?

I have to admit, however, this thought has fixed itself in my brain and I can’t seem to dislodge it. I figure its best just to carry on with the exercise. It might surprise people, since I write erotic romance, to know that I’m holding this thought even as I write the raunchiest sex scene. Sex and romance have been entwined since the beginning of time, so I have no issue with that, actually. To me, it’s a given.

Back to the worksheet: obstacle to said goal. What exactly would comprise the ‘best romance of all time”? How would I recognize it, let alone write it?

Hmmmm, that’s a hard one. Must think of the enduring romances of the ages and the relevant components. Romeo and Juliet—the beauty and anguish of an impossible love. Tristan and Isolde—star-crossed lovers. Lancelot and Guinevere—ditto. The Thornbirds—ditto. Darcy and Elizabeth, kept apart by the strictures of society and family pressures, as well as the internalized prejudices that have come from those values.

Am I picking up a theme, here?

In this day and age, it’s hard to write a contemporary romance that involves the degree of star-crossed-lover-ship just mentioned. The mores of our society just aren’t rigid enough to create the friction of, say, Lancelot lusting after his soul mate Guinevere when the chivalric code that ruled his existence demands that he denies her. And yes, a good romance requires friction; something must be overcome. Otherwise, it’d just be a sweet little story of boy meets girl and happily-ever-afters.

It’s just a bit more challenging to find those heart-breaking potential conflicts in the modern age.
When I read the news story of the woman who drove the wrong way on the interstate while severely intoxicated, killing members of her own family and another family, I was so saddened. How can one make sense out of such a meaningless, awful event? How could anyone ever heal from that?

Pondering that topic gave me a loose idea for my first Silhouette Special Edition romance. It evolved into a story about three families in a small town, each of different backgrounds and cultures, who are irrevocably tied together one fateful night after the father of one family drives drunk, causing a three-way crash that impacts the three families forever. My hero and heroine were young lovers at the time, head over heals for each other. The crash causes deep wounds in all three families, and here’s where the star-crossed part comes in: his father was the man who killed her parents in the crash.

How does one go about healing from that? How can two people who are meant to be together ever work past the wounds and the pain, anguish and misunderstanding on all sides?

Thirteen years pass and the two meet again in the prime of their lives, older and wiser…and still madly in love with one another.

Here was my own Romeo and Juliet, kept apart once again by the old, familiar ties of family and faith, but by the demons of our modern world, as well, such as substance abuse and soul-scarring litigation.

So I came to the conclusion, after admitting to the grandiosity of my goal about writing the “best romance ever,” that I’d go ahead and keep the goal anyway. My Harbor Town series at Silhouette Special Edition won’t be the best romance of all time. I like the goal, though. It’s like a distant star, something to shoot for…a focus as I trudge along in the desert of the publishing world. :) And if that goal inspires me to write the best romance I am capable of every time I sit down at the computer, that’s good enough for me.

Dream no small dreams.

What are some of your favorite romances of all time? What components make them your favorite?

Thank you so much for joining us, Beth! Today one lucky commenter will win a print copy of Beth Kery's Release. Good luck, booklovers!

Double Down with The Sexorcist

So today I was sitting gazing at the Sony Pocket Ereader (okay, technically I was gazing at the box) that I'll be giving away at the end of the month. I decided we need more chances for folks to win. So yes, you can still enter by answering the questions FOUND HERE, but now I'm adding a new opportunity - a way to enter again and double your chances.

If you happen to buy The Sexorcist and you just so happen to want a shiny new Sony Pocket Ereader, then email a copy of your receipt to with "ereader" in the subject line. And all you have to do is cc to add to the donation total that I'll be sending to the Children's Heart Foundation.

And in case you're curious how I first learned about CHF & what they do, you can check out my blog over at the Ruby site today.

I'm going to be at the RT Booklovers Convention in Columbus for the next few days, so if I seem a little frazzled and scatterbrained, please have patience with me. And fear not! The blog party marches on... Neither rain, nor sleet, nor massive conventions of readers, authors, and industry pros shall stop this fiesta!

The Winner of BEYOND THE SHADOWS is...

flchen1! Congratulations!

Please email with the address you would like your prize shipped to in order to claim your prize. Winners have three days to claim prizes or a replacement winner will be drawn.

And in unrelated news... The Sexorcist is live! It's here! The moment has arrived! It's out in the world! No turning back now. ;)

Monday, April 26, 2010

Author Interview: JESS GRANGER

Happy Monday, booklovers! Today we welcome to the blog acclaimed science-fiction romance author Jess Granger! Jess's newest foray into the wild and wonderful worlds she has created, Beyond the Shadows, releases next Tuesday (May 4th!). Welcome, Jess! (Applause!)

What do you find attractive in a hero?

I find many different qualities attractive in heroes, but my absolute number one most attractive quality in a hero is intelligence. Cyn, the hero of Beyond the Shadows is an extremely gifted genius. Now, if only he’d use his powers for good. He’s a bad boy, a little Han Solo, a little Lex Luthor. But the combination of a very sharp intellect with a pirate’s sensibilities was so unbelievably sexy.

What do you look for in a heroine?

I’m always looking for inner strength in my heroines. They don’t all have to be tough as nails, or so dark and jaded they can melt faces with a sneer. I seek something more subtle than that. I want to write heroines who face danger with guts and determination in spite of their fear, in spite of their pain. They don’t ever let anything break them, and so they are a fitting match to my men. They can stand on their own two feet and go toe to toe with my boys with their intellect, skill, and wit.

How important is the setting/world in your books?

Since I write Science-Fiction Romance, the otherworldly settings are crucial to the plot. I enjoy world building, and creating new fantastic, yet accessible and familiar worlds for my new cultures inhabit is like playing in a giant sandbox. Anything is possible, so long as it is plausible.

What drives your books? Is it the hero, the heroine, the conflict?

Conflict always drives my stories. In the case of Cyn and Yara the conflict was so terrible, it made for some very entertaining writing. She’s the heir to the throne of their home world, he’s the leader of a group of rebels determined to topple the controlling Elite. Lies bring them together. The truth could tear them apart. It’s intense, but such a fun story.

If you weren’t a writer, what would you be? (Note: this does not have to be your day job if you have one; it can be anything from flapper to astronaut to crime-solving paleontologist.)

Ah, man, you got me. I love this question and I think about it quite a bit. I think the one occupation that floats to the top more often than any of the others is a costume designer for big budget films. That would be awesome! I actually pay attention to who wins the Oscar in costume design every year. In a way, I get to scratch that itch by doing costume designs for my novels.

What do you think is the most romantic moment ever from a book or movie?

I love the movie, Stranger than Fiction. I think that movie has two of the most romantic moments I’ve seen in any movie, ever. The first moment is when the protagonist of the story, a very uptight IRS auditor brings the bakery owner he’s auditing a box with a bunch of little white sacks. She looks at him and says, “What are those?” He responds with “I brought you flours.” It was so clever and sweet. Then when he’s at her house, she asks him to play a song for her when he admits he is learning to play the guitar. At first he refuses, and you can see her close down to him a little and retreat back into the kitchen. As things get quiet, he plays. He’s so shy, he’s barely speaking, but he plays his music for her. It is so tender and romantic, I think I cried.

What’s next for you/what are you working on now?

Well, I’m staying busy. It looks like my next project may return to my paranormal writing roots. We’ll see where it takes me, but it should be dark, intense, and sexy. It’ll be a lot of fun.

Thanks for having me on the blog, Vivi! For more information on Beyond the Shadows visit my website at

Thank you so much for joining us today, Jess! Today one lucky commenter will win a copy of Jess's new sci-fi romance, Beyond the Shadows!

Sunday, April 25, 2010


We interrupt the blog party for a little PSA from your hostess:

I like stories with layers. The Sexorcist is about tattoos and sex appeal, demons and mischief, friendship and life's little adventures (like falling in love), but beneath it all, it's a story about heart. One person's heart specifically. Brittany's.

I really enjoyed writing this heroine. She's so unremittingly joyful. Faced with lifelong health struggles, she's been through a lot and came out the other side smiling. So for the release of The Sexorcist, in honor of real-life heroines like Brittany, I'm doing something a little different.

From release day (this Tuesday!) until July 31st, 2010, if you purchase an ebook of The Sexorcist and want to help me give back, just email a copy of your receipt to and I'll donate 10% of my royalties for that sale to the Children's Heart Foundation, an organization funding research for the treatment of congenital heart defects. If you'd like to know more about this organization or prefer to donate directly, you can visit their website: For more details regarding the Have a Heart promotion, please visit:

(And for more opportunities to mix reading and good causes, don't miss the Brenda Novak Auction for Diabetes Research in May where you can check out my Alaska Gift Bag!)
That is all. Now returning to the Fiesta Most Awesome! Five more fabulous guests this week!

The Winner of an ebook from Vivian Arend's backlist is...

Desi! Congratulations!

Please email to claim your choice of an ebook from Viv's backlist! Winners have three days to claim their prizes or a replacement winner will be drawn.

One more week of guest authors and daily prizes, booklovers! And don't forget the ereader contest! Good luck, everyone.

Mary Hughes Winner Redrawn

We have an unclaimed prize, ladies and gentlemen. And as I am bound and determined to give away these prizes, we're redrawing for the winner for a Mary Hughes ebook!

And the new winner is.... Armenia! Congratulations! Please email to claim your choice of a Mary Hughes ebook.

Saturday, April 24, 2010


For the record, today's guest is not me. We're both from the north country (she's Canadian, I'm Alaskan). We both travel extensively (I see your Europe & North America and raise you Russia & Africa!). We both write in a variety of romance subgenres, including sizzling shifters for Samhain (mine cats, hers wolves). And we're both called Vivi A.

But Vivian Arend, with her four new releases this month, isn't me. (But can I be her when I grow up? Pretty please?) And now, without further ado, I'll hand things over to Vivian Arend. Welcome, Viv! (Applause!)

A loo with a view

As a woman who’s been dragged to more remote locations than any other person I know in real life, I make the claim that I write from experience. When I share about shooting through rapids, or swooshing down snow-covered mountains, I’ve been there. When I describe the sights during an underwater adventure, the beauty of the undersea world with its strangely haunting, not-very-silent, world…I’m thinking back to somewhere I’ve seen in my travels.

I’ve gotten many responses when I’ve shared about my adventures. Some people have been a little jealous I’ve gotten to travel to remote spots. Some have expressed admiration for my lack of fear (or they’ve quipped about my lack of brains, but we’ll ignore them for the moment.) But the best response so far has been from my friend Valerie. I was describing the breathtaking scenery visible from the Silver Spray cabin—a hop and a skip (and a 6 hour grunt straight-up) from my home. And then I mentioned the lack of indoor plumbing. She said “Breathtaking scenery’ and ‘Outhouses” don’t belong in the same sentence.”

I beg to differ.

Since I’m going out on a limb and talking about personal hygiene while in the backcountry—and isn’t Vivi glad she asked me to join her now? Especially considering she’s already confessed she loves modern plumbing—I simply must share a few other little known gems with you. Like when you go camping in the winter, the better ranking outhouses will have ‘tooshie cushions’…rounds cut from an old insulite pad that you can lay overtop of the plastic seat so your butt doesn’t freeze while you admire the woodwork. The best cabin I’ve ever visited had a piece of rigid Styrofoam—it was like sitting on the Princess and the Pea’s bed I was so high in the air, but nothing important went numb.

And in the summer? Toilet paper goes into the coffee can, with the lid firmly attached to stop instinct from kicking in and the beasties shredding the TP. If it’s a true wilderness location, add a handful of the leaves from the pile in the bucket. If you’re on the coast, then a scoop of sand (using the helpful handsized shell) does the trick. Door gets shut to deter the critters from…well, I always thought that was kinda mean. Really, what if there’s this very polite bear who’d prefer not to go in the woods?

I hope you’ve enjoyed these tidbits from the great outdoors. If you’d like to read some stories inspired by more of my adventures, while there’s a woeful lack of outhouses mentioned, there are plenty of skis, cabins, underwater amour, and travel to exotic locations. New on the horizon: this August Whirlpool will be out from Samhain—it’s a ménage with scuba diving, shimmering lights and archaeology. Wolf Tracks, book four in my Granite Lake series, will be out in October, where finally TJ will get his turn to be trapped in the bush with his sweetie. And come December with—Falling, Freestyle—I’ll have a non-paranormal ménage taking an excursion to Big White, a resort in British Columbia. This one?—indoor plumbing. It’s all good.

Oh, and that "loo with a view" I was talking about earlier? This is the same picture as I showed you above. Notice the wood on either side this time? Yup—that’s the view from the outhouse at Silver Spray.

And now you know.


Vivian Arend writes both contemporary and paranormal works at something just under the speed of light. She’s traveled all over the North American continent—mostly by foot—large parts of Europe, and is attempting to work her way through Central America next. You can find her at when she’s not trapped in the bush without internet service.


Two treats for you today, booklovers! One, if you drop in at Viv’s place she’s got this ‘perpetual release party’ going with prizes every week. Check it out. The second, add a comment here to win your choice of Viv’s backlist. But not ANY comment will do. Per Viv's request, you have to answer the question…
Have you ever been in an outhouse with a view? :D

The Winner of SECRET STRANGER is...

Nancy G! Congratulations!

Please email to claim your prize! Winners have three days to claim their prizes or a replacement winner will be drawn. Happy commenting, y'all!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Author Interview: KATHLEEN MIX

Happy Friday, booklovers! Today we welcome to the party Kathleen Mix, author of tropical delights. She's here to give us some insight into her latest release Beyond Paradise. (Now available from Samhain!) Welcome, Kathleen! (Applause!)

What inspired you to write your current release?

For several years, my husband and I lived aboard a sailboat and cruised in the Bahamas and Caribbean. My husband is a SCUBA diving instructor, and I’m deep water certified, so we did a lot of diving in places like the Virgin Islands, Grenada, Venezuela, Trinidad, and Bonaire. The underwater worlds we visited were so enchanting that I wanted to share some of the wonder. A romance where my heroine taught diving seemed like the perfect format.

If you could pick the actors to play the hero and heroine in the movie of your current release, who would you cast?

From the minute I started writing Beyond Paradise, I always envisioned my heroine as Penélope Cruz. Her dark, luminous eyes are the essence of Latina beauty, and I can picture any red-blooded man on earth getting lost in their depths.

My hero was a figment of my imagination, but if I had to choose an actor who I believe embodies his character, I’d cast George Clooney. Although their exterior descriptions are dissimilar, my hero and George Clooney both have boyish, endearing grins and teasing eyes. Plus I’d love to see George in a swimsuit.

I can easily envision the chemistry between Penélope and George bubbling over into a steamy relationship. And that’s what I want for my characters.

What was your path to publication?

I began my career writing non-fiction. My how-to articles and tales of living aboard a sailboat and traveling the islands of the Bahamas and Caribbean appeared in numerous regional and national sailing and travel magazines. One is included in The Best of SAIL: Commonsense Cruising published by Sheridan House.

I often imagined stories set in the places where I traveled. Soon I started dreaming up characters to live the adventures. During one extended stay in the Virgin Islands, I wrote my first short contemporary romance, A Trade Wind Season. Four years later, after several revisions, I sold that story about a female chef on a charter yacht and the ship’s salty captain to Avalon Books.

For my next two books, I migrated to romantic suspense. Secret Stranger and Dangerous Paradise were inspired by sailing trips to the Bahamas. They are published by The Wild Rose Press and available in both print and ebook.

My newest book, Beyond Paradise (available from Samhain Publishing, April 20, 2010), is set in West Palm Beach, Florida. It’s another story inspired by my personal adventures and anchored firmly in tropical waters.

Who was the last author whose writing wowed you?

Most recently, I absolutely loved One Scream Away by Kate Brady (2009 Grand Central Publishing). It’s a page-turner with truly surprising twists. I read voraciously and, too often, I can guess what’s coming next. Kate Brady’s story was never predictable and her characters were as fresh as her plot.

What is the best advice you ever got as a writer? The worst? If you could go back in time and give your beginner-writer-self some advice, what would you say?

When I first started writing, I was living on a sailboat and had little contact with other writers. So I believed everything everyone told me, regardless of their experience or whether they had ever written a word in their life.

But the best and most inspiring advice came from a sailor whose name I can’t remember: It’s better to look back and regret doing things you have done than regret not doing things you could have done. His words have stuck in my mind because they apply to both putting yourself out there and writing as well as grabbing everything you can out of life.

The worst advice came from another aspiring writer who told me not to write romance. (He took his own advice and gave up trying to be published years ago.)

If I could give my beginner-self some advice, I’d say: submit, submit, submit. I’ve always allowed my self-doubts to cause procrastination. I spend too much time rewriting endlessly, aiming for perfection rather than accepting a manuscript is finished and moving on. I wish I’d told myself to make a plan, set a schedule with deadlines, and keep myself constantly submitting. Publishing is a game of numbers and persistence. Writers need to constantly create new stories and send them out. Sooner or later, an editor will fall in love with something you’ve written. But if they never get to see it, how can they buy?

What’s next for you? What are you working on now?

I have several projects in varying stages of completion. I’m writing a sequel to Beyond Paradise titled Beyond Yesterday. It’s the story of secondary characters Greg and Trish who are teenagers in Beyond Paradise and adults when the meet again seven years later.

I’m also polishing a completed single-title, romantic suspense manuscript.

My next big project is a series of suspense novels set in the Virgin Islands. The first is fully plotted, and I’m eager to get started!

Oh, and in my non-existent spare time, I’m working on a non-fiction book about love in literature.

Thank you, Kathleen, for taking time away from your many projects to join us today!

Thanks for inviting me to stop by at your Blog, Vivi.

Want more sail-boat lovin'? You can read excerpts of Kathleen's books at her website: Today, one commenter will win a download of Kathleen's Secret Stranger. Good luck! (Am I the only one desperate for a beach vacation after reading this?)

The Winner of LILY IN WONDERLAND is...

bevp! Congratulations!

Please email to claim your prize. Winners have three days to claim prizes or a replacement winner will be drawn. More prizes daily. Good luck, booklovers!

Thursday, April 22, 2010


Ladies and gentlemen, today I am especially pleased to welcome debut contemporary romance author Kelly Fitzpatrick to the blog. You see, booklovers, I knew Kelly when Lily in Wonderland was a twinkle in her eye. Today that book is available from Cerridwen! In my (hopelessly biased) opinion, if you're looking for a new author with a bright, original voice and you like a little whodunit in your romance, you can't go wrong with Kelly & Lily. And now... welcome, Kelly! (Applause!)

First of all, thanks for having me Vivi. Let’s get this party started.

Q - What do you find attractive in a hero?

A – I enjoy a sense of humor. A guy can raise the attraction meter just by being fun and funny. Personally, I like the tall, dark and handsome—Latin if we’re getting specific. I know, I know. My husband is a 5 foot 9 inch tall, fair skinned Irishman with blue eyes. Go figure. But he makes me laugh. Sometimes I laugh with him, sometimes at him.

I don’t like to go into too much detail about looks until the reader knows what he’s about, because what if the reader’s college boyfriend was a tall, lanky, sandy haired basketball player with blue eyes and so is my hero, and he knocked her up and slept with her dorm mate? I want the reader to fall in love with the man inside. With that said, Deputy Tobias Dodd, my hero in Lily in Wonderland is hot.

Q – If you weren’t a writer, what would you be?

A – You know, my day job is so dull I want to stick a sharp number 2 pencil through my skull. If I weren’t terrified of public speaking, I’d be a standup comedian. Hecklers would make me cry. Too much attention makes me turn cherry red.

I also have a passion for antiques. I’ve fantasized about owning an antique store. I enjoy the treasure hunt, but not so much the idea of selling them in a storefront of a sleepy little town. That’s the beauty of writing. My characters can do all the things I’m terrified to do.

Q – What three things do you absolutely need in order to write?

A – I need quiet above all else. Solitude. No distractions. I like to write early in the morning or late at night when everyone else is asleep. When the house is empty is even better. Next I need either my laptop or paper and pen (I can use a pencil in a pinch, but I prefer a pen). That’s it. Sometimes I listen to music, but not too loud. I like to have a bottle of water, but it’s not essential. When I’m totally dehydrated, it’s time for a break.

Q – In ten years, where do you want to be as a writer?

A – Yes, Vivi, I’m going to answer this question. I want to be financially able to support myself with my writing. That doesn’t mean I won’t have a job outside of writing, but I want to be able to tell the day job to “suck it” if I want to. There is such freedom in money. Money doesn’t buy happiness, but it can buy chocolate, clothes, and an annual dental cleaning, all of which make me happy. But just to be clear, I’m very cheap so I don’t need much money.

I’d like to be nominated for Rita. There, I said it. Why not? Shoot for the moon. I should say I’d like to win, because I said I wanted to be a Golden Heart finalist and I was, but I didn’t win, maybe because I didn’t want it bad enough. Although it was out of my hands.

(Okay, I am flat out stunned Kelly answered this question. I've been nagging her about having a vision for her writing career for... well, years.)

Q – What was your path to publication?

A – Contests, contests, and more contests. Lily in Wonderland won the Rose City RWA Golden Rose in 2008 with a full request from Cerridwen Press. They rejected it with suggested changes and invited me to resubmit. My dear friend, Vivi, critiqued the manuscript within an inch of its life. I resubmitted. Bada bing bada boom, eight or so weeks later it sold. I got the e-mail while Vivi and I were out to lunch. If I remember correctly I’d spent the entire meal whining about not hearing anything back about my resubmission.

Q – What is your favorite writing memory?

A – I have a couple. No, I take that back. I have a few. Wait, I have so many. Every time I was a finalist in a contest was special to me. I’ll tell you every time I was moved to cry, but only happy tears, because writing has made me cry often. I cried when I got the call from the RWA that I was a Golden Heart finalist. Less than a month later, I cried when I got the e-mail that Cerridwen wanted to publish Lily in Wonderland. I think I cried a little when Lily won the Golden Rose only because (A) I’m a crybaby. (B) I’d been told over an over again Lily Tucker was not likable. She’s just misunderstood. So if you like gum-smacking, sass-talking, wise-cracking heroines, Lily is your gal.

She's my kind of heroine. :) Thank you, Kelly, for joining us today! On this fine Thursday, one lucky commenter will win a download of Kelly's debut novel, Lily in Wonderland. And Kelly has another contest going on she'd like you to know about, so I'll hand it back to her...

I’m having a drawing for a lap quilt I made myself. If you’d like to be entered in the drawing, leave me your e-mail address and I will pick a winner at the end of my whirlwind promotional tour. Please, only continental US entries. I don’t want to mail it to Bora Bora and blow my promo budget. For more chances to win, you can visit my website,
and leave me a comment. You can e-mail me. You can stop by any other site I’m blogging at, which will be on my calendar at my website.

Thanks again, Kelly! And good luck, booklovers!

The Winner of a Lissa Matthews ebook is...

Andrea Becraft! Congratulations!

Please email, including your preference of ebook from Lissa's available backlist, to claim your prize. The winner has three days to claim his/her prize or a replacement winner will be drawn.

So how are you liking the blog party, booklovers? Discovered any new authors? Learned any interesting quirks about our interview victims? Do you think I should make author interviews a regular feature on the blog in coming months?

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Author Interview: LISSA MATTHEWS

Good morning, reader-friends! Today we welcome to the blog Lissa Matthews, who has one of my favorite author taglines: wickedly sweet, deliciously naughty. Ms. Matthews is here to talk to us about her sizzling Blue Jeans & Hard Hats release, Sweet Caroline (coming April 27th from Samhain!). Welcome, Lissa! (Applause!)

What inspired you to write your current release?

An episode of Glee. I don’t watch it on a regular or even semi-regular basis, but a friend told me I needed to see it at least once. I did and it was the Mash-Up episode and one of the guys sang Sweet Caroline. I’ve heard the song a million times, but seeing this kid on Glee do it, just sparked something and I began writing.

If one of your characters came knocking on your door, how would you react?

Would depend on who it was. If it were Jane from Sugar Rush, I’d duck and run for cover because I think she’d punch me. If it were Elise from Simple Need, I’d invite her in and beg her to dish on Vinter. If it were Angel from The Demon is an Angel, I’d run for cover from her, too. Now, if any of my hero’s showed up…well, y’all wouldn’t hear from me for quite some time…we’d be busy!

If you weren’t a writer, what would you be? (Note: this does not have to be your day job if you have one; it can be anything from flapper to astronaut to crime-solving paleontologist.)

You want the list? Pastry chef, owner of a Bed and Breakfast, Christmas Tree farmer, Principle Flautist in an orchestra, archeologist, and a mom (am already a mom)

How would you like people to remember you as a writer?

Honest and real.

What is the most important thing you’ve learned since getting published? Are there any writing realities that have surprised you?

Patience. I’m working on it. Perseverance. Even when I want to quit, there’s this drive in me that won’t let me. Friends. I have found some very amazing ones and it’s sad to admit, but most of the time, I don’t even realize how special they are and how much they care about me.

What three things do you absolutely need in order to write?

A drink of some sort (non-alcoholic I mean…), my MP3 player and headphones, and in the last few months, my gray Kyle Busch zipper front hoodie. If you’ve ever seen Wonder Boys and the pink housecoat, you’ll understand the hoodie.

What book is your comfort read?

I don’t have a comfort read. I have comfort movies. Wonder Boys, Something’s Gotta Give, Notting Hill, the Wedding Date, LOTR, Pirates of the Caribbean, Pride and Prejudice, and tons more.

What’s next for you/what are you working on now?

I am currently working on the second book in the Blue Jeans and Hard Hats series and X Marks the Spot about the tattoo artist mentioned in Simple Need and Carnal Ecstasy.

Thank you, Lissa! Today one lucky commenter will take home a download of one of Lissa's available titles. Good luck!

The Winner of a Mary Hughes ebook is...

rtfgvb775! Congratulations!

Please email with your choice of ebook from Mary's backlist to claim your prize. Winners have three days to claim prizes or a replacement winner is drawn. More prizes every day, so good luck everyone!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

MARY HUGHES: What Kind of Reader Are You? Quiz!

Hello, booklovers! Today we are joined by the fabulous Ms. Mary Hughes. Now, those of you who have been to the blog before may know I have a slight (obsessive) fangirl crush on Mary. And since I interviewed her once before, I figured it was only fair to ask her to jump through different hoops this time. Mary's latest Biting Love vampire romance romp, Biting Me Softly (the arms, good Lord, the arms!) is out today from Samhain. (Woohoo!) And now, I shall hand it over to our guest goddess. Welcome, Mary! (Applause!)

Thanks so much, Vivi, for having me here today!

I love those little “What kind of chocolate monster are you”-style quizzes, and thought it might be fun to try my hand at one. Keep in mind this is totally subjective and without scientific basis. Though there’s scoring, no bias is implied toward any category.

I tried to find a non-value rating system but the closest I have at the moment is hash marks. Add up the hashes to find a category.

Note: No bunnies were harmed in the making of this quiz.
  1. When you look for a read, you’re looking for
    a. A good story – 4 hashes
    b. A great story – 3 hashes
    c. A solid story built in nearly-perfect fashion – 2 hashes
    d. A story that excites you personally – 5 hashes
  2. You need to tell everyone when you find what kind of book?
    a. A great book – 2 hashes
    b. A wonderful book – 5 hashes
    c. A POS-awful book – 3 hashes
    d. It doesn’t matter, I need to tell everyone the best of every book – 4 hashes
    e. One or two movers-and-shakers – 1 hash
  3. You read
    a. Everything and anything – 3 hashes
    b. Your favorite autobuy authors and a few new ones if they look good – 5 hashes
  4. You try to
    a. Find the best in what you read – 4 hashes
    b. Find the worst in what you read – 3 hashes
    c. Find structure in what you read – 1 hash
    d. Just read—unless something breaks your suspension of disbelief, then you throw the book ☺ – 5 hashes
  5. When you find a great new author, you love to
    a. Abstract the story into a few sparkling sentences – 2 hashes
    b. Tell just the right person – 1 hash
    c. Turn all your friend onto her – 3 hashes
    d. You prefer to know your friends’ tastes, and recommend just the right author – 4 hashes
  6. Nothing good was written after
    a. Shakespeare – 1 hash
    b. 1940 – 2 hashes
    c. Great new authors are popping up all the time – 5 hashes

Here are my totally unscientific results!

24-29 Reader—You're priceless. Without you there would be no publishing industry☺.

18-23 Reviewer—You're smart and wise, with the ability to find the best, most exciting things about a book. You pass that along to your readers, helping a story find its audience.

13-17 Critic—You're witty, clever, and primarily an entertainer at heart. The story's important but more important is how you can use it as a tool to entertain.

10-12 Judge—You're looking for a solid story, without the need to impress or excite anyone else. A Plato, measuring every story against the perfect Story Form.

0-9—You're my eighth grade English teacher!

Thank you, Mary! I can't wait to get my greedy hands on Biting Me Softly!

Well, booklovers? How did you score? I'm a Reader (AKA Certifiable Book Slut). What about you? Today, one lucky commenter will win an ebook from Mary's backlist!

The Sexorcist is up for Cover Clash!

Guess what? The sexy manflesh cover art for The Sexorcist is being pitted against two other books this week in the Embrace the Shadows Cover Clash!

Do you like cover art? Do you like this cover art? (-->) Are you a fan of abtastic goodness? Then hie yourself over to the Embrace the Shadows blog and vote!

The Winner of a Leslie Dicken ebook is...

elaing8! Congratulations!

Please email to claim your prize. The winner has three days to claim his/her prize or a replacement winner will be drawn. More prizes still to come. Good luck, everyone!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Author Interview: LESLIE DICKEN

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls! Today we welcome to the blog Leslie Dicken, historical romance author of gothic fabulousness Beauty Tempts the Beast (now available in ebook & coming to print May 4th!). Welcome, Leslie! (Applause!)

What inspired you to write your current release?

My current release, BEAUTY TEMPTS THE BEAST, actually began as a writing-prompt. At the time, I was president of an online RWA Chapter and was trying to keep the loop interesting. So I asked members to write a small scene and include the phrase "I don't take kindly to strangers." I did the exercise as well and that lead to the entire book. It finalled in the 2006 Golden Heart as MARK OF THE MONSTER. I had so much fun writing this twist on a classic Gothic tale.

How important is the setting/world in your books?

For BEAUTY, the setting was extremely important. I needed the reader to feel the isolation of the manor and the noises and creepiness of it. There isn't a scene in that book that doesn't highlight the setting in some way.

What is the best advice you ever got as a writer? The worst? If you could go back in time and give your beginner-writer-self some advice, what would you say?

The best advise is the most basic: persevere. Honestly, giving up will get you nothing. If you want it badly enough, keep going. You may not get a huge book deal the first time out. Your path might take some detours, so keep options open and don't give up!

What is the most important thing you’ve learned since getting published? Are there any writing realities that have surprised you?

I've learned several things. Promotion takes a lot of time and energy. Pick and choose wisely to get the best return for your investment. Also, keep writing and don't put all your eggs in one basket. Sounds simple enough but I put so much energy into getting a single book published that it sucked away my creativity. I could have had other books out there. Instead in a span of few years, my booklist is short. It was a hard lesson to learn.

What’s next for you/what are you working on now?

I'm writing a Victorian steampunk titled THE IRON HEART where my hero and heroine have very different methods for capturing a Jack-the-Ripper like killer. It's been fun and challenging.

Thank you so much for visiting, Leslie, and giving us a peek at the inspiration behind Beauty Tempts the Beast!
Today one lucky winner will win a Leslie Dicken ebook, so comment, comment, comment, booklovers!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

The Winner of a $15 Borders GC is...

Gwynlyn MacKenzie! Congratulations!

Please email to claim your prize! The winner has three days to claim or a replacement winner will be drawn.

I'm super psyched about this week on the blog, ladies and gents. Some fabulous books coming out toward the end of the month and we get an inside look. Keep commenting to win!


Saturday, April 17, 2010

Author Interview: LIZ TALLEY

Happy weekend, booklovers! Our guest today is contemporary romance author Liz Talley, here to talk to us about her debut novel Vegas Two Step (coming this June from Harlequin Superromance!). Welcome, Liz! (Applause!)

What inspired you to write your current release?

Funny story on this book. At the time I conceived the idea for Vegas Two Step, writing contemporaries wasn’t even on my radar. I was at RWA’s 2007 conference. It was my first and I made myself dizzy going to workshops. I’d met Joanne Rock over dinner and decided to hit her workshop given by the Blaze Sr. editor, Joanne, and Tawny Weber. It was on queries.
I had no clue, but obviously Brenda Chin (editor) allowed attendees to pass up a one line pitch on a piece of paper. Everyone started digging out their pre-typed neat pitches and passing them forward. Now there is one thing about me that’s just….well, part of me. I’m competitive. No way I let opportunity pass me by just because I had no pitch and didn’t even write anything remotely similar to Blaze.
So what to do? Well, I’d watched my roommate slip some knee-high hosiery on that morning and had the thought, “Why the hell is she wearing those with sandals?” Her prerogative, of course, but it was Dallas-hot that day. So I made up something about a librarian caught wearing knee-high hose with her sandals going to Vegas, getting a makeover and falling in love with a cosmopolitan club owner. It was a horrible pitch, scratched onto a torn piece of paper…and not worded particularly well.
Still the idea niggled at me. That night while my knee-high clad roomie went to dance it up at the Harlequin party, I wrote the first chapter of the book. And I LOVED it! Vegas Two Step was born.

How important is the setting/world in your books?

The world I’ve created in my books is a fictional town in East Texas. The town is, for all purposes, a character itself. One of my characters describes it as “bucolic Texas countryside framing ten square miles of hypocrites and busybodies all wrapped up in a Norman Rockwell-style package tied with a gingham bow.” But, of course, she doesn’t much care for the stifling nature of a small Southern town – one founded by my heroine’s great, great grandfather.

The novel starts in Oak Stand, Texas, and ends there as well. With rolling hills, pine trees and very interesting characters, it’s a town I wouldn’t mind living in even with a member of the Oak Stand Baptist Church peeking over my fence.

What was your path to publication?

It was a pretty straight-forward path. I pitched this book to my editor when she came to my local chapter’s conference. At that time, I’d nearly completed the book, but didn’t feel like it was absolutely ready to query. But Wanda Ottewell had a pitch cancel and my friends working the editor/agent desk shoved me her way. So let me stop here and say this: my editor is wonderful. And I sincerely mean it. She was so easy to pitch to. She requested a partial and I had that ready and polished because I’d started entering it in contests. I mailed it off in April of 2008. Nearly seven months later, I received a letter from her. Basically, it was my first revision letter. She wanted it sexier (for Blaze) and said if I could make those changes to send her the full. I’m no dummy, so I made the book sexier and sent it her way in January of 2009.

On Good Friday, I received an email from her. It basically said, “Good job with the changes, BUT she’d like to see it pursued as a Superromance. So she wanted it revised again in order to become in tune with her line. So again, no dummy. I bought up every Superromance I could find and starting reading. At the same time, I axed a lot of my sex scenes (not all) and focused on making the story more emotional. I delivered that manuscript in June. On September 19th, I arrived home to see “Harlequin Enterprises” on my caller ID. I tried to play it cool, but my fingers trembled when I dialed the number. Needless to say, it was a fantastic day for me. She gave me the news that they wanted to acquire it, and I hung up and started crying. My whole family celebrated that night with cake and champagne. It was awesome.

If one of your characters came knocking on your door, how would you react?

If Jack came knocking, well, let’s just say I’d want to look my best (unlike Nellie when she first meets him). He’s a good looking guy – grew up on a dairy, played baseball and worked himself up to owning hot night clubs in Vegas and LA. I’d probably let him mix the drinks ‘cause he’s a cosmopolitan kinda guy, then we’d talk about why his favorite team (St. Louis Cardinals) is stinking it up this year.

If Nellie came, I’d probably get her advice on some of the flowers I just planted. She’s a homebody who loves to garden, can, crochet, and birdwatch. She’s like your grandmother, without the wrinkles…and with a kickass body. She’d know all the latest gossip, but probably wouldn’t tell me. Because that would be crass. And Nellie is never crass. Well, almost never.

Thank you, Liz, for sharing the inside scoop on Vegas Two-Step! Today, one lucky commenter will win a $15 Borders Gift Card. Enjoy the spring weekend, booklovers!

The Winner of a Border GC is...

Beth! Congratulations!

Please email to claim your $10 Border Gift Certificate. Winners have three days to claim prizes or new winners are drawn. Them's the rules.

And in unrelated news... our visitor from last Saturday, Elisabeth Naughton, is having a big release contest starting today, April 17th at her blog. Check it out, y'all. You get to pick your own prizes. Now, why didn't I think of that?

Friday, April 16, 2010

Author Interview: EMMA PETERSEN

Good morning, booklovers! My guest today is erotic romance author Emma Petersen, here to give us a look at her upcoming release Make Me Remember and what drives her books. Welcome, Emma! (Applause!)

What do you find attractive in a hero?

I have to admit it. I'm a sucker for alphas and intelligence. Not the caveman "You Jane, me Alpha." type. But the strong silent type.

What do you look for in a heroine?

Kick assitude. Love strong heroine, who can keep up with the hero and can ride to the hero's rescue when needed.

Who was the last author whose writing wowed you?

Wow, I have so many. I've been lucky to be able to read quite a few authors' works in progress. I got to read Gwen Hayes upcoming YA which was pretty fantastic and of course my critique partner Jackie Barbosa. Anything she writes wows me.

What drives your books? Is it the hero, the heroine, the conflict?

It's all three really. Because the heroine and hero drive each other and the conflict, external or internal drive them.

Thanks for stopping by, Emma! Today one lucky commenter will win a Borders Gift Certificate. Good luck!

The Winner of a Candice Gilmer ebook is...

Maria! Congratulations!

Please email to claim your prize! If the winner does not claim her prize in three days, a replacement winner is drawn. More authors to come! Good luck, commenters!

REDRAW: The NEW Winner of MARKED by Elisabeth Naughton is...

One of our winners never claimed his/her prize which means....

The ARC of Marked by Elisabeth Naughton is still up for grabs! And the winner is... misskallie2000! Please email to claim your prize!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Author Interview: CANDICE GILMER

Today we are joined by paranormal romance author Candice Gilmer, who's here to draw us into the world of her Moonlight & Shadows series with the skinny on the latest installment: Broken Shine (now available in ebook & print!). Welcome, Candice! (Applause!)

I’d like to thank Vivi for letting me brag about my latest release, Broken Shine, the third book in the Moonlight and Shadows series, available from Lyrical Press.

Delighted to have you here, Candice! What inspired you to write your current release?

My editor Emma, at Lyrical Press. I had written Unholy Night and was working on A Darker Trinity, the second book in the Moonlight and Shadows series, when Emma emailed me, telling me she wanted MORE with Sir Liam, the lead in Broken Shine. He was already starting to be a major player in A Darker Trinity, but I hadn’t considered making a third story starring him until she told me how much in love with him she was, just from his short appearances in Unholy Night.
So after A Darker Trinity was finished, and it ends on a cliff-hanger, I plunged into Broken Shine, creating a story for Sir Liam.

How important is the setting/world in your books?

Very important. This series is designed around the idea that all mythical creatures really do exist; vampires, werewolves, dragons, yeti, the ancient gods and goddesses, you name it, they’re in there. And that the Knights Templar really didn’t go into hiding, but instead, became governed by a new set of laws and rules—the Balance Mandate, which charged these now immortal knights as the ‘police force’ of the mythical world.

Creating the laws and rules of this world has been very tricky, but also a great deal of fun. Also, it was pretty interesting, researching the Knights Templar and all the details around that brotherhood of warrior/monks.

What drives your books? Is it the hero, the heroine, the conflict?

In Broken Shine, it really isn’t the story of Leeza and Liam that pushes it forward, but how Melios, the vengeful, sadistic vampire from A Darker Trinity, and his plan for vampire domination that pushes all the elements in Broken Shine into motion.

Without Melios’s plans, the central conflict of Leeza’s peril would have never occurred. So in a way, Melios is the driving force. Leeza and Liam are just reacting to the bizarre situation they’ve found themselves in.

Oh, and that incredible attraction they have together.

What is the best advice you ever got as a writer? The worst? If you could go back in time and give your beginner-writer-self some advice, what would you say?

The best advice I ever got as a writer was this… I was in an online writer’s group, and I had submitted my first piece for critique. After my piece got ripped to shreds by everyone in the group, I got to talking to one of the women in a private chat.

She asked me a simple question. “Is your story (it was a scifi story) about the space battle conflict, or is it about the relationship between your two leads?”

I answered immediately. “It’s about the love story.”

“Then you’re writing romance. Not space opera.”

And I’ve lived with that piece of logic ever since. What is the story ABOUT? And 99% of the time, at least with me, it’s about the relationship, not about the plot. This is why I’ll probably always write romance novels. :)

What three things do you absolutely need in order to write?

No children trying to “help”.
My mp3 player with music on to help me block out the world around me. “Black Horse and a Cherry Tree” on repeat is usually a good song to shut out the world around me.

What do you think is the most romantic moment ever from a book or movie?

It wasn’t in a book or a movie, but a television show. Quantum Leap, season Six, the episode was Trilogy Part Two. Sam (Scott Bakula) leaps back in time to a small southern town as the fiancé to a woman he’d helped before when she was a child, Abigail.

In the episode, there’s a huge conflict, a child was missing, and the bride was one of the last people to see him alive. The townsfolk were being riled up by a very vindictive woman who truly believed the bride was responsible for the missing boy’s death. (Though no evidence proved the boy was dead—he had merely run away).

Anyway, Sam runs into the house, looking for Abigail. She runs down the stairs to the landing halfway up, almost slamming into the wall, and she cries out his name. Sam runs to her, takes her in his arms, and starts kissing her, just before he carries her upstairs.

After the chaos of the lynch mob dragging Abigail off from Sam’s bed, and Sam saving the day, he’s on his knees with her, they’re crying, and he holds her face in his hands, and he’s about to leap.

“In this moment in time, I love you,” he says.
“I love you too. But we have forever…”
He shakes his head. “No matter what happens in the future, just know, in this precious moment in time, I love you.”

And Sam leaps away.

:::sniff::: still takes my breath away, just thinking about it.

What’s next for you/what are you working on now?

I have a release coming out this summer from Samhain, called The Reluctant Prince, a contemporary romance about a woman who meets a Prince in Vegas. Sex and chaos ensues.

As far as what I’m working on?

Time travel. I’m working on a time travel romance, my first one, and since, well, I’m me, it’s a complicated, powerful plot that is absolutely kicking my butt. But I will beat this story into submission and go from there.

I’d like to thank Vivi for letting me hijack her blog for the day! Thanks to everyone who stopped by. :)

Hijackers always welcome! Thank you for joining the book blogging madness, Candice! (And can I see a show of hands for those of us who miss Quantum Leap? Give me Sam, Al & Ziggy and I'm a happy girl.)

Today, one lucky commenter will win a book from Candice's backlist! Good luck!

Writing Tips!

Shelley Munro has some fabulous tips for writers on her blog all this month. Mine is up today (permission to suck!), but there are dozens of others that are definitely worth a read. Check it out! (Oh, and yeah, there might be a prize thingy going on over there too...)

The Winner of Personal Protection is...

s7anna! Congratulations!

Please email to claim your sparkly .pdf copy of Leah Braemel's Personal Protection. The winner has three days to claim his/her prize or a secondary winner will be drawn.

And in related news... I had someone tell me today that this blog party has been responsible for at least one book buying binge. Mission accomplished, baby. Mission accomplished. ;)

Still this week: More fabulous guest authors! More books to tempt you!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Author Interview: LEAH BRAEMEL

Welcome back, party people! It's the day before tax day... so the perfect time to procrastinate and win cool stuff, right? Today we're joined by the charming Leah Braemel who's here to pimp the print release of her red hot contemporary romance Personal Protection. Welcome, Leah! (Applause!)

If you could pick the actors to play the hero & heroine in the movie of your current release, who could you cast?

Oooh ooh! I know this one! For Personal Protection, I always envisioned Dwayne Johnson as Sam, but he’d have to play it serious, minimum smirking allowed. For Rosie, I’d cast Rosie Perez (yes, I named my character for her) because I see my Rosie having the same sort of fast talking, take-no-backtalk-from-anyone type attitude. If not Rosie Perez, then Eva Langoria who can also bring out the self-assured kick-ass side of Rosie Ramos’ character.

What three things do you absolutely need in order to write?

1) My computer/laptop. I cannot write with a pen and paper—my hand can’t keep up with my brain, so I need that keyboard to type into. At the very least give me a typewriter (if it has one of those spellcheck features built in even better, although I learned to type on an old-fashioned 1950s standard/non-electric typewriter so I don’t HAVE to have that.)

2) a solid handle on my characters—who they are, what motivates them, an idea of where they’ve come from/done and where they want/hope to go. If I have those down, the story can almost tell itself (although I still have to do the research side of it–location/gadgets, etc.)

3) Confidence. I don’t trust myself most days, and so I’ll write a scene, then go back the next day and second guess what I’ve written and over-edit it. Then my critique partners will say “You know, you need XXX” and I’ll groan because XXX is the part I cut out. If I had the confidence in my writing, if I learned to trust my instincts, I could write so much faster.

Who was the last author whose writing wowed you?

Patricia Briggs. I just finished her Bone Crossed. I love both her Mercy Thompson series and her Alpha and Omega series. She can pack so much action into a scene, while advancing your understanding of the character and setting the scene for the future. I also love how she can weave a romance through the various books. Plus who can help but love Bran, Charles, Samuel and Adam? (Yes, I freely admit I love her werewolves, her vampires, not so much.)

What book is your comfort read?

Wow, I have to choose just one? I have several I go to – if it’s a comfort read, that means I’m usually upset about something, so that means I tend to go to romances with their Happy-Ever-After endings. Favorites of those? Julia Quinn’s The Duke and I – the first of her Bridgerton series is always a book I know i can pick up and enjoy, as is Stephanie Lauren’s Devil’s Bride (the first in her Cynster series). When I need a pick-me-up, then I grab Lynsay Sand’s Single White Vampire always gets me chuckling. Deidre Knight’s Butterfly Tattoo is a recent addition – I think I’ll be going to that one when I need a good cry (because sometimes you need a reason to be emotional and let it all out.)

What’s next for you/what are you working on now?

I’ve got several projects on the go – a contemporary paranormal/urban fantasy that’s set out in the Rockies involving possession and shapeshifters and … well, I’ll let the readers decide if there are demons or witches. (If I can ever finish the thing, LOL) And I am in the middle of a never-ending wrestling match with the sequel to Personal Protection, the next in the Hauberk series. It’s been tough trying to concentrate on these two while I’ve been promoting the print release of Personal Protection and preparing for the release of my contemporary erotic romance Texas Tangle that’s going to be published by Harlequin’s new digital-first Carina Press in June.

Thank you, Leah, for joining the party! Today, one lucky commenter will take home a pdf copy of Personal Protection. So get commenting!

The Winner of Sounds to Die By is...

Vivant! Congratulations!

Please email to claim your ebook copy of Sounds to Die By! You have three days to claim your prize or a second winner will be drawn. More prizes appear every day, so keep commenting to win everyone!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Author Interview: NIKKI DUNCAN

Good morning, booklovers! Today we are joined by romantic suspense author Nikki Duncan. She's here to chat with us about her new novel Scent of Persuasion, coming May 4th from Samhain! Welcome, Nikki! (Applause!)

What inspired you to write your current release?

I’m not really certain where the idea came from. I knew a wanted a second Sensory Ops book, and I knew I wanted to model the heroine after one of my friends. That’s all I knew. And then all of a sudden, I’d come up with the idea of using DNA based perfume as the murder weapon, or someone made a comment that led me to it. Either way, it became so much more complex almost instantly. It was a blast to write.

How important is the setting/world in your books?

Since I write contemporary it’s not as huge a part as in say a historical, but I still try to make sure the reader is rooted in their surroundings. In SCENT OF PERSUASION, my upcoming release, the settings are actually a source of conflict for my heroine. One, she’s not really an escort, so hanging out in an escort mansion is odd. Second, the world she’s stepped into has tossed her into the world of fundraiser attending, white collar executives—a world that nearly shattered her and sent her running. So, I guess it’s a pretty big deal. I hadn’t really thought of that before. I just wrote.

What drives your books? Is it the hero, the heroine, the conflict?

Me. I’m a control freak to the very end and regardless how strong willed they are, if what a character wants isn’t going to work for the book I make them change. So far that’s worked for me. Fingers crossed. Another answer would be that it depends on the book. They’re all different for me.

If one of your characters came knocking on your door, how would you react?

I think that would be weird. And totally cool. :) I’d invite them in to chat.

If you weren’t a writer, what would you be? (Note: this does not have to be your day job if you have one; it can be anything from flapper to astronaut to crime-solving paleontologist.)

A full time stay at home mom who never stressed.

How would you like people to remember you as a writer?

I’ve never been a huge limelight kind of person, at least not intentionally. I think I want people to remember my stories more than me, but if they remember me I want them to remember me for an ability to write sensual and emotional stories that touch a part of them.

What is the best advice you ever got as a writer? The worst? If you could go back in time and give your beginner-writer-self some advice, what would you say?

Best: Don’t be afraid to move on to a new project.

Worst: To keep working that first book.

Advice: I have a friend who was recently struggling with a ms and asked for an opinion on another one. There was something in her tone and eyes that made me ask if she was still excited about the first. It took her some time, but she recently decided she wanted to set that first one aside and move on to something new. I applauded her decision because I did that 4 times before selling my 5th book. Too many writers stick with the first and work it over and over and over

What three things do you absolutely need in order to write?

Characters that already matter to me. Something to drink. Patience from the family.

In ten years, where do you want to be as a writer?

Writing for Samhain, but also writing for a NY house. I would also like to be writing some paranormal suspense stories I have in my head.

What do you think is the most romantic moment ever from a book or movie?

The really long look the hero and heroine share in Last of the Mohicans. When they’re in the fort and she’s nursing someone. He just watches her. No words. No touching. Just intense watching. sigh

What’s next for you/what are you working on now?

I have a treasure hunting story with my editor that I’m hoping she loves as much as I do, but in the meantime I am working on an Empath story for the Sensory Ops series. That was one that I really have enjoyed writing.

Thank you for joining us today, Nikki!

Thanks for having me, Vivi! I also want to mention that anyone signing up for my newsletter will be entered into a drawing for an Amazon gift card. I’ll be having that drawing at the end of the month.

Today, one lucky commenter will win an ebook of Sounds to Die By, the first book in Nikki's exciting Sensory Ops series.

Technical Difficulties...

We have a glitch (and things were going so smoothly!). I'm at work fixing said glitch. Yes, there will be a prize today, so please check back again! I apologize for the delay. Thank you for your patience!