Thursday, September 29, 2011

Authorsday: Genni Gunn

Genni Gunn 


  1. When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

 Writing and music have always been constants in my life. I decided to go the professional musician route first, but even while I was touring, I filled notebooks with stories and impressions of my experiences. At a certain point, however, I grew disillusioned with the musician’s life – the constant travel, the everchanging bands, rehearsals, etc. Much of the musician’s life is about maintenance, and I got tired of it. Writing was a way of expressing myself without having to rely on other people. I switched my focus from music to writing – I returned to university to do a M.F.A. which made me take myself seriously.  It was simply a matter of switching outlets for my creative energies.



  1. Who were your earliest literary role models, and why?



 I grew up in Italy until I was ten, so my literary models in those years were very different from ones people here have.  I was raised on Italian fairy tales as a child, then more classical texts, such as Dante, Carducci, Petrarch. Roman and Greek mythology were forefront too – if you live in Italy, it’s hard not to relate everything around you to its classical history.  In terms of music, too, I grew up listening to opera, and to this day, there are a number of operas I know by heart. 





  1. What was the first thing you ever wrote? What reaction did this get?



There’s a big difference between the first thing I wrote, and the first thing I published.  I’ve been writing all my life, so I don’t remember the first thing I wrote. As a child, my sister and I would make books – I’d write the stories and she’d illustrate them – then we’d sell the books to our parents, whose reactions were marvellous!



The first thing I published was a poem called, “Long Beach.” I had entered it in a contest and it won first prize. Of course I was both thrilled and encouraged to keep writing.



  1. What was the name of the first novel you wrote? Did you try to publish it?



When I was at university, I wrote a novel for my M.F.A. thesis. The entire novel took place in an airport, and covered only a few hours, although of course, in flashbacks, it covered a whole lifetime too. I sent the manuscript out to a publisher, and the editor wrote back with a series of questions. At that time, not realizing how fortunate I was to even have received a response, never mind a long one with queries, I didn’t reply, so the manuscript was never published.



In retrospect, this was not a bad thing, because novels written this way, tend to be novels-by-committees, which tamps them down somewhat. So I consider that first effort my learning novel. The next novel I wrote, Thrice Upon a Time took me five years, and though it was a long struggle, a lot of research, and little money, it was mine, and after publication, was shortlisted for Best First Book for the Commonwealth Prize.





  1. Do you plot or do you write by the seat of your pants?



I do some of each at various stages in the writing. I usually begin with an idea or a question I want to explore, then I research for several months, until a narrative begins to form in my head. I spend a lot of time thinking about it, and when I can envision the bones of a story – essentially the beginning premise and the ending – I write by-the-seat of my pants, so-to-speak, and see how my protagonist gets to that ending. Along the way, I sometimes stop and outline what I have so far, and what I know is coming. This outline is like a signpost, a map. I know the destination, but not how I’m going to get there.



Once I complete the first draft, I begin the real work, and the part that I love best – the shaping and honing of everything. I do 10 or so drafts of everything. Sometimes more. My latest novel, Solitaria, went through 21 drafts. I guess I’m my own very picky editor.





  1. What drew you to the subject of Solitaria?



The question I began with and wanted to explore had to do with love and duty. I had been visiting an old aunt in Italy who had been very generous to her family, but had always attached very long strings to that generosity. The result was that everyone had fled. So the question that began the exploration was: At what point is one’s love indebted to another?



That’s a very big question, and although the novel developed well past the original concern, that question is still evident in the characters’ modes of dealing with others.



Another fascination I have always had is with memory – how it functions not only to define us, but also to create us, to embellish our lives. And there’s nowhere better to observe memory in action than in a family reunion, where everyone’s memories clash, so that the same incident is virtually unrecognizable as it is recalled from person to person. This concept found its way into Solitaria, with interesting results.



  1. What authors do you admire?



The list of authors I admire is endless and eclectic, and constantly being added to. Damon Galgut, Cormac McCarthy, J.M. Coetzee, Don DeLillo, Meg Wolizer, Kazuo Ishiguro, Dacia Maraini, Elsa Morante, Carlo Levi, Alice Walker, Russell Banks, Dorothy Parker, Haruki Murakami, Alice Munro, Jonathan Lethem, Richard Ford, Toni Morrison, Jeffrey Eugenides, Richard Russo, Steinbeck, Nabakov, etc.  I could go on indefinitely….



  1. What three things would you want with you on a desert island?



Assuming you mean marooned on a desert island, I would want to have with me the world’s best ship builder, a solar panel, and a laptop/satellite phone. This would give me lots of options: I could call for help; I could read – by downloading books through satellite connections; and I could write on the laptop, which would be solar-powered. Naturally, while I would be doing all this, the world’s best shipbuilder would be building us a ship to sail away on.





  1. What place that you haven’t visited would you like to go?



While in Thailand five years ago, I found myself in the vicinity of a cave that contains the world’s smallest bat – the Kitti bat. I have always loved caves, and have visited many in different countries. This one promised something very exotic – a bat the size of a bumblebee, the smallest mammal in the world. The opening of the cave was very small, barely large enough to lower oneself into, and no light was allowed below, except for a dim flashlight. I squeezed down the opening, into a slightly larger area, then down a claustrophobic tunnel to another slightly larger area. From here, I could see the sky as a jagged hole up above. I took a deep breath and continued for a short while until I saw someone begin down the tunnel behind me. That pretty well panicked me into waiting for the newcomer to pass, then I scrambled back up and out. I returned home disappointed with myself for missing such an amazing opportunity. This may not sound like the place I haven’t visited but would like to, but it is.





  1. What did you enjoy most about writing this book?



Writing itself is an absolute passion for me. One of the best things ever about writing this book is that I had the perfect excuse to go Italy every year and spend a month researching, interviewing and writing. I have many relatives there, and I was able to listen to and record their stories, which collectively, are also my stories. I must set more books in Italy….








Sunday, September 25, 2011

Authorsday (a little late): Tricia McGill

Tricia McGill



  1. When did you know you wanted to be a writer? 

I’ve always written but never seriously until I retired early. I recall my family being proud of the stories I made up as a child, so guess the writing bug was always there from an early age. I wrote my first romance at about the age of 15, then started writing my parents’ life story soon after. That eventually grew into a saga about a fictional large family living through hard times much as my parents did, and finally ended up as Traces of Dreams years later. This book won the mainstream section of the Romance Writers of Australia’s Romantic Book of the Year in 2003 and thus far remains my proudest achievement in my writing career.



  1. How long have you been writing?



I’ve been writing novels for about 20 years (didn’t realize it was that long until I started counting back!) My first efforts were hand written and after I’d laboriously filled many notebooks my husband insisted we buy a typewriter. Having never typed in my life I then had to teach myself to touch type.  He soon got sick of the clicking of the typewriter and so my venture into the age of technology began with my first word processor.

 

  1. How did you pick the genre you write in?



I guess I’ve always been a romantic at heart so I didn’t really pick the genre it kind of picked me. A friend gave me a box full of romance novels—the short kind—and I thought, as most of us writers do when we start out—“I’m sure I can write one just as good.” After numerous rejections and several re-writes, well, probably about nine, I decided that I wanted to write longer novels so that I could bring in more characters and have a villain or two to liven things up. My love of time-travels began and the research fascinated me so it was inevitable I try my hand at writing time-travels, then historicals.



  1. Do you plot or do you write by the seat of your pants?



When I started I followed the advice of long-time authors who dictated that every last detail be worked out before you start, from the color of your characters’ eyes to their favorite food. But, as I went along I came to the conclusion detailed plotting didn’t suit me at all. My characters dictate where my story is going and I just let them tell me what’s going to happen next. That’s not to say I don’t have a rough idea of the plot. Once I’ve established the period my story is to be set and the characters have told me their names and what journey they wish to go on, I begin. Half the fun of writing is being surprised where you end up. As other characters make themselves known I make notes as I go along to keep track, but always work out a time line before I begin. This is especially important in my time-travels and historicals.



  1. What drew you to the subject of Remy?



Remy is an off-shoot of another of my historical romances, Blue Haze. Remy appeared near the end of that book and just nagged at me to tell his story. Because of the extensive research I’d already done on that period in Australia (The early 1800s) I just needed to do some more research on a different pioneer settlement.



  1. What was the name of the first novel you wrote? Did you try to publish it?



I do believe it was called Penny in Paradise, and no, it never got as far as being sent to a publisher. My late husband, who was my staunchest supporter, took it into the city one day and popped into what he thought was a publishing house, which it was, except it turned out they only published medical reference books. His tenacity and enthusiasm charmed one of the editors there and this lady agreed to read the manuscript. Her six page critique gave me the courage to go on but also assured me that my Penny’s story was never going to be good enough for publication.



  1. Tell me one thing about yourself that very few people know?



I’m an open book, so there’s not a lot that is hidden. I’m a Scorpio, and glad of it, but contrary to most Scorpios I am shy at heart, and hate revealing facts about myself. This makes promoting my books a sometimes harrowing experience for me as I have to force myself to let the world know about myself and my books.



  1. What’s your favorite quote?



The one I use on my email signature is currently: “Pure love is a willingness to give without a thought of receiving anything in return”.  I found it on a calendar of beautiful pictures with accompanying quotes and fell in love with it. I find these days that too many people expect far too much from the ones they love and selfishly take without knowing the pleasure of giving selflessly.



  1. Where do you write?



Now, I am lucky enough to have a study. In the early days I wrote wherever I could find a space and that was usually at the kitchen table. I write at my computer but most of the creative process is done in the early hours of the day on waking.



  1. What other time period besides your own would you like to experience?

I often think I would like to return to the days of the horse and buggy, but then common sense returns and I realize I couldn’t live without my computer, my heater in winter, my nice neat home or my washing machine. It would be fun to do a bit of time-travelling though and journey back to the early 1800s, but only on the basis that I could jump back to the present when it suited me—and also that I didn’t have to wear corsets. Oh, and our mother never really talked about the early days in her life or how she met our father. I would dearly love to go back to the early 1900s and be there at their first meeting and early days of their romance. Their marriage and love survived having ten children and living through two world wars in London, and the accompanying hardship of the depression years. Being the youngest I was brought up surrounded by love and a feeling of always being cherished.





Tricia McGill BIO:



Award winning author Tricia McGill's books cross many sub-genres but all have romance at their heart. Her books include contemporary, mainstream, futuristic, time-travel, and historical. Her short stories have appeared in the Australian Woman's Day magazine. Born in England, Tricia moved to Australia many years ago and lives in Victoria where most of her contemporary novels are set.

Excerpts and videos of her books can be found on her website: www.triciamcgill.com



Remy Blurb:



Remy, a convicted man, is in love with the daughter of a wealthy property owner. Even in the prospering colony of New South Wales, it would be far-fetched to think he could ever marry Sara. With everyone turned against him, Remy must leave his sister’s property. Sara despairs of ever seeing her love again, while Remy faces overwhelming odds and an ordeal that threatens to strip him of everything; his pride, his strength, his health—even his life. When Remy finally has Sara within his grasp, he is sent to a place where pain and suffering are everyday occurrences.

Will the lovers ever find the happiness they crave?




Tuesday, September 20, 2011

ExerpTuesday: Bernadette Marie

Bernadette Marie has been an avid writer since the early age of 13, when she’d fill notebook after notebook with stories that she’d share with her friends.  Her journey into novel writing started the summer before eighth grade when her father gave her an old typewriter.  At all times of the day and night you would find her on the back porch penning her first work, which she would continue to write for the next 22 years. 



In 2007 – after marriage, filling her chronic entrepreneurial needs, and having five children – Bernadette began to write seriously with the goal of being published.  That year she wrote 12 books.  In 2009  she was contracted for her first trilogy and the published author was born.  In 2011 she (being the entrepreneur that she is) opened her own publishing house, 5 Prince Publishing, and has released contemporary titles and will begin the process, eventually, of taking on other authors in other genres.  Also in 2011 she became co-owner of Seven Songs Press and will release a novella as part of an anthology with other very talented authors in November 2011.



Bernadette spends most of her free time driving her kids to their many events.  She is also an accomplished martial artist, working her way to her second-degree black belt in Tang Soo Do.  An avid reader, she enjoys most, the works of Nora Roberts and Karen White. She loves to meet readers who enjoy reading contemporary romances and she always promises Happily Ever After.


Thunder rippled through the gray clouds that loomed overhead.  Regan Keller raised her eyes to the sky.  Please, please don’t rain. As she sent up the silent prayer, she felt the first drop  hither forehead.
The nervous flutter in her stomach quickened as she looked down at her watch.  Surely her day couldn’t get any worse. But the sky opened up, and those around her crowded together in the bus stop shelter.  Her hair, tied in a tail at the base of her neck, dripped rain down her back as she hunched in her coat.  How could she have forgotten her umbrella?  Had her car been running, she’d have the one tucked safely away in the glove compartment because spring in Tennessee often meant sudden storms.  She should carry one in her bag but had suffered a lapse in memory, having opted for the sunny beaches of Hawaii for the past two years. 
As the bus arrived, those under the shelter huddled onto it ahead of her, claiming every seat.  Soaking wet, Regan wedged herself between two people and held onto the handrail above her head. She looked out the window at the commuters driving themselves to work in the pouring rain.  That should have been her. 
A bitter-faced old woman sat below her, her oversized bag occupying the next seat.  Regan bent to ask her to move it, but the woman glared up at her and gave a grunt that sounded like a dog’s bark.  Regan flinched and tried to look away.  But she was compelled to keep an eye on the woman.
The man to the other side of the vacant seat snickered. Regan looked down at him in his long black overcoat and perfect hair.  Hemmed in between the old lady’s bag and an overweight man in a jogging suit, he was as pinned in his seat as she was to the people around her.  She would have given him a piece of her mind for laughing at her had the bus not jolted to a sudden stop.  It lurched forward then back and tossed Regan onto the man’s lap.
“I would have offered you my seat,” he said with a bright grin as the bus lurched again.
LINKS:
FACEBOOK:www.facebook.com/authorbernadettemarie
TWITTER: @writesromance

BLURB FOR THE EXECUTIVE’S DECISION:
Regan Keller fell in love with a wealthy and powerful man once. He was her boss. When that turbulent relationship ended, she swore she’d never again date someone she worked with. That was before she literally fell into her new boss’s lap.

Zachary Benson is the head of a successful empire and used to getting what he wants in the boardroom and outside of it – and what he wants is Regan Keller. He’s determined to convince Regan that even though he’s her boss, they can share a life together.

However, when Regan’s past threatens to destroy the architectural firm Zach has invested his entire career in, he has to make an executive decision whether to choose his business or fight for the woman he loves.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Authorsday: Meg Mims

  1. Do you plot or do you write by the seat of your pants?

I use a detailed outline. I used to be a “pant-ser” until I hit too many walls. I’ve learned that an outline keeps my plot on track, but it’s flexible enough to allow for unexpected detours. Unless they’re too far off, that is! But the key to a good plot is knowing your characters extensively, as I learned the hard way. So before I even start an outline, I do 5-10 page character backgrounds.



  1. What was the best writing advice someone gave you?

“If you quit, you’ll never publish!” Very true. Another one: “It’s your baby, so trust your instincts. But consider any expert advice seriously.”



  1. Why did you pick the publisher that ultimately published your book?

            Westerns have been on the “outs” for a while. Despite three different contest   wins, and multiple agent and editor rejections, I sent Double Crossing to     Astraea Press—knowing they preferred “clean” fiction. I was thrilled when      they contacted me less than a week later with an offer! I think DC is a great    “fit” for AP. I’m working on a sequel as well, Double or Nothing.

           

  1. If you have a day job, what is it?

Freelance writing -- articles about the market and community events for a real estate company, plus book reviews and articles about lighthouses and lighthouse keepers for an on-line West Coast of Michigan tourism magazine, Lake Effect Living. I have an article coming out in the summer issue of The Chronicle, the member magazine of the Historical Society of Michigan as well. I’d like to send more articles out, but need to write more fiction!



  1. What do you consider your strengths in terms of your writing?

I knew long ago that I had a knack for descriptive and vivid prose. I used to have tons of “narrative dumps” but learned to shave them down or incorporate them into the scene itself in subtle ways. I think “pearls dropped along the path” is the best way to handle vivid imagery.



  1. What do you consider your weakness and what strategies do you use to overcome it?

My first drafts have always been plot-heavy and without the emotion necessary to connect with readers. When I attended Seton Hill University’s Writing Popular Fiction program, I focused on how to alter my own thinking and discover the “history” of my characters, which helped convey their emotions and balance out the scenes.

           

  1. What authors do you admire?

            I always loved Laura Ingalls Wilder’s writing, and read her books multiple      times as a child plus her biographies. I enjoyed J.R.R.Tolkien’s descriptive            style, and Ursula LeGuin’s deft way of portraying social customs and     culture. I also loved   Dorothy Sayers and Agatha Christie for their twisted      plots. I’m such an eclectic reader, and try to find something fresh in every             author’s book to admire.

           

  1. What’s your favorite food?

            Cookies! Hands down. The crunchier and chocolate-ier, the better.

           

  1. What do you do when you are not writing?

I love to paint watercolors (http://megmimsartist.wordpress.com/) but have little time now to indulge. I’ve also done acrylics. My house would love for me to clean it, but I try to ignore that nagging voice. Luckily my husband does too. ;-D



  1. What is your favorite writing reference book and why?

            I love Rebecca McClanahan’s Word Painting. Being an artist, and having the             knack for taking words beyond the visual level, I still had to learn from this          book on how to control it – much like any discipline. So it’s a lovely read and very helpful.

           

Author Bio

Meg Mims may have been born in the wrong century. Her love of historical fiction started early, with visits to Michigan’s Greenfield Village and any museum at hand. From a young age, she had a taste for classics such as Jane Eyre, Gone With The Wind and Sherlock Holmes. Now Meg devours historical, cozy and PI mysteries. Her award-winning fiction always has a dead body or two, plus an independent-minded heroine and a sense of justice served in the end. She lives with her husband, a drooling black cat and a make-my-day Maltese-Poodle, and enjoys her Sweet Pea whenever she’s back home.

Book Blurb



A murder arranged as a suicide … a missing deed  … and a bereft daughter.

August, 1869: Lily Granville is stunned by her father’s murder. Only one other person knows about the California gold mine deed—both now missing. When Lily heads west on the transcontinental railroad to track the killer, she soon realizes she is no longer the hunter but the prey.

As things progress from bad to worse, Lily is uncertain who to trust—the China-bound missionary, or the wandering Texan who offers to protect her … for a price. Will Lily survive the journey and unexpected betrayal?










Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Superior Longing by Patricia Duesen


Thanks for the invitation, Chris! It’s a pretty exciting day for me, and I’m glad to be here. The first book of what I call the Neva quartet, Superior Longing, will see the light of day – or since it’s an ebook – the light of a LCD screen, tomorrow, 9/15/11. I’m really happy to have this book published and hope readers will enjoy it. Here’s a brief summary of Neva’s first outing.

SUPERIOR LONGING is set during the frigid spring on the beautiful and harsh southern shore of Lake Superior. When Neva Moore's uncle drowns and the details of his death twist and turn, her pursuit of the truth weaves through small town politics, smuggling, and superstition, to end where it all began, back in the family and another death on an icy lake.

As a first book must, Superior Longing introduces the ‘cast’ [which like any ongoing production has regulars and irregulars as well as a host of red shirts]  First is Sierra Nevada Moore, known as Neva, who is administrator/accountant/instructor/renovator-in-residence at almost renovated Cooks Inn Cooking School which is scheduled to open shortly. Or will it? This is a question the book asks, and thankfully answers! Next is her boss, Linnea Addams, who doesn’t think it’s her job to make Neva’s job easy. So she never does. Then there is the cast of irregulars, and those red shirts who are surely goners. How and why they fit is the meat of the story.



But the story is more than the story of Neva and Neva’s uncle, and a bunch of irregulars. It’s the story of how she comes to terms with his death by finding the justice he can never get for himself, justice for the dead. This is something Neva will carry with her into her next book, which I’m writing now, Collective Instinct, and any book I write about her.  She will always be impelled by this sense of obligation. Fortunately for her and me, Neva will find dead people everywhere.



Superior Longing, published by Echelon Press, will be available tomorrow, 9/15/11 [and since it’s digital, until the end of time] at Amazon.com as a Kindle ebook, at Smashwords, Omilit and as a Barnes & Noble Nook.



There is also a whole array of on-line sites – one of which has recipes! Food is in the air in this series but you won’t find recipes in the books. However Neva talks food at:






Superior Longing has a blog:






and a Facebook page:






As does the writer:






who also twitters!






Thanks, Chis!












Tuesday, September 13, 2011

ExcerpTuesday: Me, again!

Here's a bit from the next book out. Blonde Demolition.


The dream had come out of the blue for Cal Stedman.

     He didn’t put much stock in the everyday dreams people had, but he knew this one meant something. He wouldn’t even be home, but he’d been tired. More tired than he should have been.

     Maybe that’s why he dreamed.

     He lay alone in bed, having lost his wife five years ago. His bones ached from the physical labor of moving cinderblocks and putting up snow fencing around his beloved beer tent.

     The dream rolled around in his mind. A woman, one he had long forgotten in his consciousness, but not in his unconsciousness. He’d loved her as much as anyone could in his time. Too bad she’d left him when he went into the military.

     He shifted onto his side, noting that the darkness had fallen while he’d been asleep. The clock said midnight.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Authorsday: Barbara Meyers

1.      What was the best writing advice someone gave you?



Last year a multi-published author critiqued a draft of A Forever Kind of Guy for me.  She read a hundred pages and said there was no reason for her to read further because my characters had no goals.  She went into a lengthy explanation of what I needed to change.  As long as I’ve been writing, I should have understood this better, but I was slow to catch on.  I read Debra Dixon’s Goal, Motivation, & Conflict and referred to it repeatedly while I was revising the manuscript.  This author gave me the slap in the face I needed to figure out what wasn’t working in my manuscripts.  I will be forever grateful to her.



2.      Why did you pick the publisher that ultimately published your book?



I had a not-so-great experience publishing two books with a small press early in my career after which I had a long dry spell of having nothing published.  Some agents gave me decent feedback, but none would take me on as a client.  It’s extremely difficult to get your foot in the door with traditional print publishers without an agent.  I read about Samhain Publishing in the Romance Writer’s Report (Romance Writers of America’s monthly magazine).  I sent the complete manuscript of A Month From Miami to them.  I heard back within a matter of weeks.  They wanted it!  My editor did nothing but make my book better.  I also had input on the cover.  It was a great experience.  Even though there have been a couple of bumps in the road since, I am thrilled to be working with a new editor and I’m excited Samhain is releasing A Forever Kind of Guy, which is the second in The Braddock Brotherhood series.



3.      If you could ask your readers one question, what would it be?



What do you want from an author?







4.      If you have a day job, what is it?



I’m a shift supervisor at a Starbucks a half mile from my house.  I’ve been working there for eight years and I love it.



5.      What do you consider your strengths in terms of your writing?



I like to think characterization is my strength.  I’ve also been told I write love scenes particularly well.



6.      What do you consider your weakness and what strategies do you use to overcome it?



In terms of writing, I think one of my biggest weaknesses is description.  I personally don’t like tons of detail when I read.  I think it slows the pace and I often skip it to get to the good stuff where something’s actually happening or there’s dialogue.  I’m never sure if the description I do incorporate is enough for the readers.  I try to overcome it by using scene-setting words as opposed to actual description:  “To the left lay a great room where logs burned in a huge stone fireplace.  She had no time to absorb more about the interior or furnishings than the impression of tweed, leather and wood.  Ian Rutherford’s home emanated warmth in a way the man himself did not.”  --Not Quite Heaven



7.      What’s your writing schedule?



If I am not working at Starbucks, I am home doing something writing-related.  I’ve become a workaholic.  Writing is my full-time job.  I don’t have a schedule per se, because my Starbucks schedule varies from week to week.  I prefer to write in the morning, and if I have a day off, I will start fairly early and I may spend an entire day “creating.”  There’s a lot more that goes into a writer’s life than simply writing books, and it can be extremely time-consuming.  While you’re working on one book, you might be editing another, promoting a recent release, sketching out ideas for another book, doing guest blogs, etc.  It’s a lot.





8.      What’s your favorite quote?



“Ask and you shall receive.  Seek and you shall find.  Knock and the door shall be opened to you."  –Matthew 7:7



9.      Who is your greatest cheerleader?



My husband is like my silent cheerleader, because he’s been unbelievably supportive the entire time I’ve been writing although he’s never read a word I’ve written.  But when you use the term “cheerleader” it’s my friend Sandy who is always encouraging me and telling me how impressed she is with my efforts and is always interested in my progress.  I don’t know what I’d do without her.





10.  Where do you write?



I used to write on a desktop computer in our home office or on my laptop at the kitchen table, but since my husband retired and he’s home all the time I’ve taken refuge in our bedroom.  Even though I have a desk I write sitting in bed with pillows propped behind me and my laptop on a flat shelf in front of me.  I spend a lot of time in bed.  Must be why I’m so good at writing love scenes. J

Blurb:

First on Hayley Christopher’s list to get her train-wreck life back on track: stay away from men. Especially the ones who cause a ripple effect of bad decisions.

Still reeling from a high-profile divorce, the college dropout and former pro cheerleader is stumbling through yet another challenge—temporary custody of her nephew, Fletcher. No one knows better than Hayley that she’s not mother material. When she opens the door to her new landlord and old flame, she wonders just how many more past mistakes she is destined to pay for.

After the death of his wife, Ray Braddock is still putting the pieces back together. Hayley—and the silent little boy at her side—both bristle with emotional barriers so high, it appears no one but him can see that together, three broken people just might make a whole family.

As she watches Fletcher respond to Ray’s patient care, Hayley’s determination to hold on to her heart begins to soften. But just when she begins to think that Ray is one opportunity she shouldn’t let slip by, Fletcher’s gang-connected father threatens to make her pay for the one good choice she ever made…

Author Bio: 
When not writing fiction, Dr. Seuss-like poetry or song lyrics, Barbara Meyers can be found at the local Starbucks culling story ideas from customers while masquerading as a shift supervisor.  A native of Southwest Missouri, Meyers has called Southwest Florida home for more than thirty years. Her hobbies include tormenting her long-suffering husband, interfering in the lives of her grown children, sneaking into gated communities to walk her almost perfect dog and long bicycle rides which function as both exercise and meditation time.












Tuesday, September 6, 2011

All for Spilled Blood by R. Ann Siracusa


ALL FOR SPILLED BLOOD

By

R. Ann Siracusa



Fourth novel in the humorous Romantic Suspense series

Tour Director Extraordinaire

Sapphire Blue Publishing



COVER BLURB



Harriet Ruby, tour director extraordinaire, and her fiancĂ© and favorite spy, Will Talbot, travel to Russia undercover as tour directors for the US delegation to an international youth conference.  Harriet tackles her first covert assignment to investigate smuggled artwork while Will’s mission is to locate and destroy a group of terrorists recruiting young computer experts.



Their marriage plans hit a snag when Will locates a long-lost cousin with startling news about his heritage.  When the artwork being smuggled has particular significance to one of the terrorist sympathizers, their missions entangle and begin to unravel, leaving Will at the mercy of terrorist kidnappers and Harriet holding the bag.



EXCERPT

As we kissed, he lifted my sweater and ran his hand up my rib cage.  “You came prepared.”

“No point in wasting time.  First one naked gets to be on top.”

He let me go, but kept his hands on my arms.  “Not so fast.  I have to secure the door.”  Still holding one of my wrists, he clicked all his spy locks into place.  “Besides, we’re not in a hurry.”

“We’re not?  What’s changed?”  Usually we couldn’t keep our hands off each other.

“Nothing, except this could be our last uninterrupted time together for a while.  I want to take it slow.”  I hadn’t seen that coming, but he gave me a kiss that sent me reeling.  I knew he meant business, no matter how long it took.  “Besides, I have something for you.”

He detached himself and went into the bathroom.  I had something for him, too.  I’d stripped down to my thong when he returned carrying a small container like a miniscule ice chest.

I hesitated, scrutinizing it with a frown.  “What’s that?  It looks like one of those sterile containers for transporting medical supplies.”

“You’re close.  It’s the refrigerated version for transporting donor organs.”  He set it on the table.  With great ceremony he went about unlocking it and popped open the lid.  “Take a look.”

Donor organs?  Oh boy.  I hesitated and did a nose wrinkle.  I hoped it didn’t contain body parts.  Ice cream would be good, though.  I gathered my courage and peered inside.

“Bubble wrap?”  I’d expected to see ice.  At least a frozen cooler pack.

“Open it.”

While I had no desire to do that, I didn’t want to appear ungrateful.  I lifted out the wrapped objects and unwound them from the plastic.  My eyes widened.

“Reddi-wip and chocolate syrup?  Yum.  My favorites.”  I licked my lips.  “Where did these come from?”

He had already kicked off his shoes and unzipped his slacks.  “For me to know and for you to enjoy.”

He moved so slowly, I began to fumble with the buttons on his shirt, just to hurry things along.  “C’mon, tell me.”

“Don’t you want to know what I’m going to do with it?”

“I already have a pretty good idea what.  I shoved off his shirt and ran my fingers through the fine hairs on his chest, then ran my tongue around one of his nipples.  His muscles bunched under my touch and he shuddered.  “I also know you can’t buy aerosol cans of whipped cream in Russia, and you didn’t bring it with you last night.  How did you get it?”

He grinned and kicked off the pants from around his ankles.  His undershorts followed.  “I severely abused my authority, I’m afraid.”

Trepidation skittered through me, and my heart skipped a beat.  “You’re not going to get in trouble, are you?”

“No, at least not before we use them.”  He picked up the can, squirted me on the chest, then scooped me into his arms and licked the whipped cream off my breast.  “This may get messy.”

My wiggling out of his arms smeared both of us with whipped cream.  “You only get one taste until you tell me.”

He pulled me into his embrace.  “The Air Force transported it in.  Before I left, I flashed my credentials, gave them a story about an organ exchange as part of my top secret mission, and here it is.  Just in time for the operation.”  He let me go, grabbed up the can, and squirted me again, lower this time.  “I know how much you like it.”

I stood there, dripping whipped cream onto the carpet, and gaped at him.  “You did that for me?  Are you sweet, or what?”

“Not as sweet as I’m going to be.  Ready?”

Was I ever.  Chocolate and whipped cream are my best colors.

ExcerpTuesday: Me!

Today you get to read an excerpt of my latest: A View to a Kilt.


Waking up next to a dead guy can ruin your whole day. When a wise-cracking interior decorator wants to put her past behind her, the dead body of the mayor’s son makes her realize that won’t happen too easily. A conservative former computer geek for the FBI is holding on too tightly to his past. His wife died under suspicious circumstances and he believes the decorator has the information to solve the case. Unfortunately for him, she isn’t speaking until a series of events convinces her she needs protection especially when her biggest secret threatens to destroy both of their lives.

Excerpt:

Waking up next to a dead guy can ruin your whole day.

At least interior decorator Miriam Stokes’ thought so.

The Philadelphia Police Detective whose name she couldn’t remember talked soothingly to her, making her feel, not better, but at least calmer.

As calm as anyone could feel after finding a dead body. How did she get herself into these things?

Sipping coffee Miriam didn’t remember asking for, she eyed the cop as they sat in a flowered living room. The owner of said living rooms was a neighbor of Miriam’s friend Joe.

The friend she just found dead.

She tried to keep eye contact with Detective . . . Dasher? She knew his name was a reindeer.

Her vision was only just returning to normal.

“So you woke up and he was dead.  Didn’t you hear a shot?” The cop asked.

After swallowing the scalding liquid, she answered him. “No detective.  I do sleep very soundly, but I think I had help from this bump on the side of my head.”

To indicate the reason, she pulled away the bag of ice that had appeared sometime after the first patrolman. The lump began to throb, but he only glanced at her head. He scribbled some notes in a small pad.

How many murders does one have to see to get so matter-of-fact about it? Miriam shuddered.

“Would it be possible for me to at least get dressed? I feel a little vulnerable in my pajamas,” she told him.

Donner, that was name. He looked her over as if making a decision. He nodded, glancing around the apartment. “Do you have any clothes?”

She nodded towards Joe’s apartment.

“When they remove  . . . ” he murmured, then grimaced. She caught his meaning.

He turned his brown eyes back to her. “We’ll work it out. I just have a few more questions for you. Then we’ll go downtown.”

Miriam nodded. Who would do this to Joe?

“How long have you known the deceased?” Donner asked.

She let the hand holding the ice fall while the other hand rested her coffee on the table. She massaged her right temple. The hushed voices of cops in the hallway wafted past her. She wondered of she would ever get the blood smell out of her nose.

“Five years,” she murmured. She blinked then stared past the detective.

“Ms. Stokes?” He came into her view and she shook her head. “I think we need to finish this downtown. They’re going to take the deceased away.”

Downtown?