Monday, August 31, 2009

ExcerpTuesday - Lou Allin

Lou Allin has posted an excderpt of her book And On the Surface Die

And on the Surface Die (prologue)
The sea spread satiny glass across the sheltered bay. Amid lazy undulations, a blue heron rode his kelp-bed carpet and peered for minnows. White meringue clouds watched their reflections, overweighted galleons on a cerulean mirror floating towards the Olympic Mountains of Washington State. Up poked the mustachioed face of an acrobatic seal, which flipped in a lazy pose to warm its belly in the soft September sun. Deep below, a red rock crab found something to its liking. Soft tissue gave way as it inched along propelled by large nippers, using smaller chelipads close to the head to urge meaty delicacies into its eager maw. Then a fickle current swept the meal away, and the hapless crab dropped over a shelf to the deeper sea floor where it was seized by an opportune Dungeness cousin.
Trailing a frothy cloud of bubbles, a snorkeler angled down for a peek at a host of purple sea urchins. Carrying an underwater camera, he feathered his fins through the heavy tendrils of bull kelp, bulbous at one end, fat whips which bobbed on the tides until tossed ashore. The man paused to admire a cluster of whelks and a nervous school of sculpins, then took a few grab shots of a sea cucumber. A forest of leathery brown rockweed, clinging to the slippy basalt with its disc-like holdfasts, drifted into his path, then the dark crimson blades of Turkish towel seaweed. Carefully he pushed it aside, startling a juvenile octopus which had scuttled from a mollusk-mounded crevice. He checked his watch. Ten o’clock already. He should be getting back to the car. Monica was meeting him for brunch at Point No Point. With his appetite fueled by the cold water and exertion, he could almost taste their luscious cheese scones.
Then something large glided into his peripheral vision, and he turned, moving his legs to stabilize himself. Whales were seen around the island, but they didn’t usually come so close to shore...unless they were sick or injured. A mane of yellow hair and a chalk-pale face with vacant light-blue eyes searched his like a diffident lover. Hands clutched at him. He coughed out his mouthpiece and surged to the surface with a silent scream, choking as he yanked off his mask and thrashed his fins as if a killer shark rode his tail. As he scrabbled onto the rocky shelf, his prize Canon scraped on the coral, cracking the lens.

Lou Allin is the author of Northern Winters Are Murder, Blackflies Are Murder, Bush Poodles Are Murder, Murder, Eh? and Memories Are Murder. The Belle Palmer series is set in Sudbury, Northern Ontario, the Nickel Capital of the World. Retired from teaching Criminal Justice students in college, Lou lives with Friday the mini-poodle and Shogun and Zia the border collies in Sooke BC on Vancouver Island, overlooking the Strait of Juan de Fuca where the rain forest meets the sea. Recently, she’s begun a new series starring RCMP corporal Holly Martin. And on the Surface Die features the village of Fossil Bay and a banana slug or two. Five Star Gale published Lou’s hardcover Man Corn Murders. This standalone takes place in the red-rock country of Utah in the Grand Staircase National Monument. Visit her website or contact her at

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Authorsday. Jannine Corti Petska

Today I welcome Jannine Corti Petska author of Corinna and the Nobleman. I put her under the microscope and I think you'll find her anweres entertaining. So welcome Jannine.

1. When did you know you wanted to be a writer? I wrote all my life. I was the student who turned in 10 page essays. English and writing were always my favorite subjects. But it wasn’t until my three daughters started school that I tried writing a novel.

2. How long have you been writing? If I remember correctly, I’d say nearly 30 years.

3. How did you pick the genre you write in?
I began by writing historical western romances. I read all kinds of romances way back when, but growing up in the Southwest made it easier to write the westerns. When I got the idea for an Italian medieval, it took me five years before I actually attempted to write it. I was intimidated by the nuances of the medieval period, yet I loved it. I think the medieval era is full of romance and growth in both humanity and technology. The arts and the music were fabulous. The poetry and literature were so out there. In many ways, I think it compares to writers today writing outside the box.

4. Do you plot or do you write by the seat of your pants?
Pantser all the way, lol. Plotting is too creatively confining.

5. What drew you to the subject of Carina and the Nobleman, book one of the Sisters of Destiny trilogy?
I came up with the idea of medieval psychic sisters when the Ballad line at Kensington came about. The books, whether two or five, had to be connected. Before I could submit the first book, the line folded.

6. What was the name of the first novel you wrote? Did you try to publish it?
Oh, goodness. This goes back a long, long way. It was an ambitious historical romance I had named Through the Eyes of Faith. I think it was 170,000 words. It went from Louisiana, to England, to the Crimea, back to England and then Louisiana. Or close to that order. Actually, I did submit it and learned a lot my writing. I was always told I could tell a story, but….. I intend to work on it one day, probably turning it into a mainstream with romantic elements.

8. What do you know now that you are published that you didn’t know pre-published that you wish you knew?
It’s not so much what I know now in the way of writing as it is all the ways to market a book. I sold my first book to Kensington in 1999 and knew absolutely nothing about marketing. The year after the book was released, I sold another to an e-/POD publisher. That book would have done much better had I known some of the ins and outs of promoting like I do today.

10. What was the best writing advice someone gave you?
It was very simple: Never give up.

Author Bio:

I was born in New York to Italian parents whose first language wasn’t English. Growing up with Old World values gave me a different perspective of life; however, I was also very sheltered and my vocabulary limited. My talent for writing showed itself when I was in high school. But I didn’t write my first book until I was in my late twenties.

Although I had wanted to be an interpreter working for the U.N., I ended up a stay-at-home mom to three daughters. My husband and I have several grandchildren now, and we live in Southern California.

Book Blurb:

Forced to the streets after her mother dies, Carina Gallo is desperate to survive and find her long lost sisters.
Consumed with locating his missing brother, Count Luciano Ruggero has forsaken his needs.
When Luciano catches beautiful and vulnerable Carina stealing from him, he takes pity and cares for her until she's strong enough to work off her crime. Carina is forever grateful to Luciano, yet fears he will learn of her wicked secret and condemn her to burn.
Will Luciano and Carina find a way to feed the mutual passions they share, or will heresy and obsession with lost family destroy them both?

Monday, August 24, 2009

ExcerpTuesday - Christine Marciniak

Christine Marciniak used to be a teenager and even though she isn’t anymore, she enjoys writing for teens. When Mike Kissed Emma is her first published book, although she first completed a novel back in high school. A former editor for a travel publication, she lives in New Jersey with her husband and two children.
And I kissed him back.
I was in his arms. His lips were on mine. The world around us disappeared. There was no one here but me. And Mike. I held him tight. Mike’s mouth was warm and soft on mine. My legs were like rubber. I held him tighter to keep from falling down.
The DJ started playing Michael Jackson’s Thriller, and the spell was broken. I backed up from Mike. What had I done? I’d been kissing Mike! He smiled at me. I just stood there. What had I done?
I turned from him and fled. I left the dance floor and headed straight to the bathroom. I splashed water on my face.
What had that been? That kiss had reached down into my insides and pulled. Wow. I splashed more water on my face.
But it was Mike.
Biker Mike.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

First week of ExcerpTuesday.

This week begins my first ExcerpTuesday.
Each week an author will offer a 100 work excerpt from their latest release.
I hope you are tempted by them and you find some new authors to read.
My first guest is Christine Marciniak

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Authorsday -Jill Hart

My guest today is Christian writer Jill Hart. She runs a website (Christian Write at Home Moms).

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

I may different that many other writers in that I didn't set out to become one. I was told in the early days of my website ( that I should write articles about working from home to help draw traffic to the site. So, I began writing with that in mind and along the way I found that I love to write!
2. How did you pick the genre you write in?

In many ways it was chosen for me because of my website. I do find, though, that when I'm stressing to much over an article or feeling burnt out, if I take the time to write a short story or something completely different than my normal topics it refreshes me and gets me excited about writing again.
3. What do you know now that you are published that you didn’t know pre-published that you wish you knew?

I wish I had known how kind everyone would be. Even the people who I had to hear rejections from were kind about it. I think if I'd known this I would have taken risks sooner.
4. What was the best writing advice someone gave you?The best advice I was given was to be more authentic in my writing. In the past I tended to stay away from sharing my own experiences, mostly out of fear of what people might say. I'm learning that by sharing some of what I've experienced and been through I can relate to people and build relationships with others who may be dealing with some of the same things. I've also been reminded that "I'm not alone" - as moms, as women we deal with many of the same issues and it's so great to be able to laugh, cry and learn together.5. What was the worst? Did you know it at the time?Someone once told me to just go with ebooks and not bother trying to get published (since I run a website anyway). As much as I love ebooks, you can reach an entirely new audience in print.
6. Why did you pick the publisher that ultimately published your book?I don't think I can claim to have "picked" my publisher :) but I was initially interested in speaking with Beacon Hill because they are faith-based, located in the midwest and they've published many authors that I admire.
7. If you could ask your readers one question, what would it be?

I am always asking people what questions they have about working from home. :)

8. Describe your book.

So You Want To Be a Work-At-Home Mom is a straightforward, practical how-to book. We do share some of the things we've (my co-author Diana Ennen and I) experienced while building our businesses, but the focus of the book is not us, it's all about the reader and how they can build a successful business from home.
9. What authors do you admire?

I LOVE to read. A few of my favorite authors are Liz Curtis Higgs, Dondi Scumaci, Tricia Goyer - I could go on and on. These women are amazing at both writing and speaking as well as truly connecting with their audience.

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

Generally if I'm not writing I'm either playing with my kids, hanging out with my husband or working on my website. Or reading - I make time to read pretty much every day ... and if I can do it while taking a bubble bath ... well, it doesn't get much better than that. :)

Author Bio:

Jill Hart is the founder of Christian Work at Home Moms, Jill is a co-author of the upcoming book So You Want To Be a Work-at-Home Mom (Beacon Hill, Sept. 2009). Jill welcomes work-at-home questions at

Book Blurb:
So You Want to Be a Work-at-Home Mom details all the basics of starting a business in a spiritual, motivational, and comprehensive manner. With proven success tips utilized by the authors and others who own work-at-home businesses, this inspiration approach will provide you with the resources you need to start your own home-based business.
The book includes:Detailed information on types of businesses to startIdeas and assistance for setting up, operating, and marketing your businessDefinitions and descriptions of work-at-home terminology and processesHelp for developing your Web siteExplanations of the business nuts and bolts - and more

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Authorsday - Diane Craver

Today I welcome author Diane Craver.

Diane is going to talk about how she got her start in writing and the inspiriation for her latest. Whitney in Charge.

Please give a warm blog welcome to Diane Craver.

When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

Ever since I was small, I’ve enjoyed writing. When I was in junior high, I wrote a few stories for fun and also wrote poetry. Then in college my roommate and I started writing about our adventures, but we never finished the book. I planned on becoming a high school business teacher, but that changed when I took economics and hated it. I switched to an English and Speech dual major. After I married and started a family, I no longer taught full-time. I began writing nonfiction when our oldest daughter was a toddler. I had several magazine articles published by the time I attended a romance writing conference in Cincinnati (I think it was in 1995) and it was sponsored by the Ohio Valley Romance Writers. I met many published authors and their enthusiasm was contagious. I decided to start writing fiction. I loved it but I got off to a slow start with six children at home.

What drew you to the subject of Whitney in Charge?

Before I started writing Whitney in Charge, I happened to read about a
journalist going skydiving for the first time. She mentioned how much she loved
it. I thought what fun it'd be to use that for a story with two older sisters trying
to get their younger sister to go skydiving to meet hot guys. I liked the idea of
incorporating a sisters' relationship into a romantic story.

Did you encounter any obstacles in researching it?

When Whitney suggests starting a business with her sisters, I researched a lot of possibilities. I didn't really encounter any obstacles while researching, but had a problem deciding which business would prove to be the best one for the story.

Why did you pick the publisher that ultimately published your new release?

I picked Desert Breeze Publishing after an author friend told me about
them. I researched them before submitting Whitney in Charge to DBP. I heard
great things about this new house plus liked they didn't publish erotic
romance. I write sweet romances so knew DBP would be a good fit for my

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

My first novel I wrote was No Greater Loss. After many revisions (lost
count – there were so many), it was published in e-book and print by Samhain

What’s your writing schedule?

I don't have a regular writing schedule. I probably write more in the
morning. I get up early before everyone else and write before I start getting my
two daughters with special needs up to go to their programs. After I get them
off I write. I get up a few times while thinking what I'll write next
and do laundry or other household things. I've tried to write while preparing
supper and that isn't a good thing to do. I get too involved in what I am writing
and might forget about my food on the stove. I've burned a few pans
while I'm writing. But this doesn't happen as often now since I have a laptop
and can have it right on the kitchen table.

What authors do you admire?

I admire Mary Higgins Clark because she writes great mysteries. I like LaVyrle Spencer's contemporary romances with her memorable characters and story lines. For fun reads, I enjoy Sophie Kinsella's books.

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

I'd love to go to Hawaii. I'm hoping my husband will agree to go sometime with me. He doesn't like to fly and especially doesn't like to go over the ocean. If I can't convince him that it will be worth it to go, then I'll go with one or more of our children. I'm definitely going to Hawaii someday!

What’s your favorite food?

I like ice cream a lot, especially Dutch Chocolate Almond and Cherry
Cordial. In fact, I've used these flavors as the favorites for characters in my

10. Who is your greatest cheerleader?

Right now, I'd have to say my daughter April. She's always been excited
and interested in my writing career. She's very supportive in the editing
aspect, too. While I was choosing music, images and writing text for my book
trailers, she offered me advice. She also read my rough drafts and helped with
proofreading one of my longer books when I needed another pair of eyes to catch
typos and other errors.


Whitney Benson is tired of her older sisters’ attempts to fix her up with every single male they meet. Shannon and Regan cross the line when they arrange for her to go skydiving with the simple excuse that more guys like to float in the air than women. Whitney needs to find something else to keep them busy.

When she suggests that the three of them start a family business, the fun begins in their small town. And she thought being a TV producer in New York had been exciting.

Without going skydiving, Whitney meets two eligible bachelors, Jack and Ben, who constantly battle for her affection. Which one will she choose? Both men make Whitney realize, even a heart shattered by her husband’s death, can once again be made whole.

But did she have to fall off a cliff to learn that?

Friday, August 7, 2009

Thank you

I wanted to thank W.S. Gager for taking time out of her busy schedule to stop by my blog.

Next week's Authorsday guest is: Diane Craver.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Authorsday Guest. W.S. Gager

Today I welcome mystery author W.S. Gager. I put her under the microscope and see what she has to say.
Please give a warm blog welcome to W.S. Gager

When did you know you wanted to be a writer? Since I was named editor of the eighth grade newspaper. Prior to that I had always written and just thought that was what everyone did. My English teacher was a typical stereotype who wore big bottle bottom glasses and didn’t seem to like any of her students. Her comment was: “You’re the only one who I actually enjoy reading your weekly journal,” which was high praise. I’ve always written ever since. My ambition in college was to work at the Washington Post as another Woodward and Bernstein. Never quite journeyed that far. I got as far as upstate New York for a summer and realized I liked the Midwest but loved the wine country. I’ve have always earned my living with writing just in different forms. It wasn’t until I was recovering from surgery more than three years ago that my dream of writing a novel reared up and I couldn’t stop it. This time I was going to accomplish it. I’ve since written three manuscripts and the third one has been published.

How did you pick the genre you write in?
After I wrote my first full-length novel I gave it to a friend in a writer’s group I belong to for feedback. My reading material at that time had all been predominately romance novels. I have always been a voracious reader and many times I thought “I could write something better romance than this.” Hence, my first novel was a romance. When we met to go over it, she was very sweet but I will never forget this: “Honey, I don’t think you are a romance writer.” Least to say I was immediately crushed but stayed to listen to what else she had to say. Her next sentence was: “You’re a mystery author.” She went on to relate how the mystery had overtaken the romance by leaps and bounds and that was well done. After I thought about it, I did some soul searching and realized she was right. I much preferred creating a great whodunit and the rest is history.

Do you plot or do you write by the seat of your pants?
I am a panser. Just something about me that fails to conform to an outline. Must be that inner rebel from my terrible teens. When I start a new book and currently I’m gearing up to get the first draft of the third Mitch Malone Mystery done, I have an idea of what will happen and good idea of what characters will be in the beginning and the first three chapters swirling around in my head. From there anything can happen and usually does. The third book will take place in the high stakes world of real estate where I have a part time job. It won’t be based on anything here but the research and possibilities have been great. It is also therapeutic because when I get frustrated, I just let my mind think of different ways to kill off the bad guy in my book whether it is fast and quick or more drawn out. You just can’t stay angry when you have been picturing them lying in a pool of blood on the floor. I just have to keep telling myself it is fiction and I can’t do any on-the-job research. Luckily no sharp objects are near me. LOL.

Why did you pick the publisher that ultimately published your book?
I picked it for a number of reasons. It was a smaller press, was located in the Midwest and the publisher seemed to have a great relationship with its authors. It also was willing to publish my book! Each year Oak Tree Press holds a contest and the winner gets a publishing contract. Mitch grabbed the publisher’s interest and didn’t let it go and I received the publishing contract. In addition, she has agreed to publish the subsequent Mitch Malone Mysteries. Don’t get me wrong, prior to entering the contest, I had a stack of rejections and was frustrated and hoped I would get some feedback from the contest. I got the best feedback and getting published by way of the contest worked for me.
Describe your book.
This is a fun one. My book is an amateur sleuth style mystery. If I had to say it would be a cozy mystery, but I don’t like that term because my main sleuth is anything but cozy. When I started writing, I wanted to incorporate the feel from the hard-boiled detective era when a good detective wouldn’t be caught dead without a trench coat. Mitch Malone, my main character, isn’t a detective, but a newspaper reporter with a great eye for detail, but not comfortable being in the 21st century. I also wanted the book to have a noir feel. I can’t really tell you why, but I like that era and that’s what came out. My first Mitch Malone book was just busting at the seams to get out of my brain that I just had to go with it. Although, I must admit when I started the series I thought it would be about the female foil to Mitch, Patrenka. However, the more I wrote, the more Mitch took over. I do like Patrenka and she will be an ongoing character, maybe making another major appearance in book 3, or at least that is the plan for today . . .tomorrow may be a different plan.

What do you consider your strengths in terms of your writing?
My strengths in writing are dialogue. I was a reporter for various newspapers for a decade and always wrote people’s words down verbatim. From that, I could look at my notes and see whether the quotes I did were accurate if they sounded like the people who said them. After working at newspapers and when my children were small, I did a little speech writing and used the same principals. Each character has his/her own voice and way of talking. This also helps me with their characterization. I always recommend to writers having a problem with dialogue is to go to a busy place like the mall, restaurant or even the park and listing to snatches of conversation without looking at the people. Get a picture in your head of who you think would be saying that and see how close you are. Of course you can be way off and that adds a comedic element. In A Case of Infatuation, Frank is that comedic level. He has a very tough, low, ragged voice and when you see him, it doesn’t fit his build or occupation as an accountant.
What do you consider your weaknesses? Proof reading, proof reading, proof reading. I have such a picture in my mind when I write and I get so excited to put it on the paper that I tend to not type little important works like a, the, it, etc. When I reread and edit, I don’t always catch those then either. I have a great critic group who does help me. I would recommend finding a critic group even if it is online, they can really help move your writing to the next level. I would not be published today if not for them.

What’s your writing schedule?
I need a writing schedule? LOL! I would love a writing schedule but my life right now doesn’t allow that. I have to be flexible and take what I can get. It seems the minute I schedule “writing time,” a crisis erupts. My best writing time is in the car traveling to sporting events, family reunions, shopping, etc. I have a laptop that can plug into the lighter and away we go. Of course I am not driving! In the car there are no distractions and I can get a lot done! That’s what works for me and it is amazing how much time I spend in a car. Not good for my green footprint, but great for my writing!

What place that you haven’t visited would you like to go?
I would like to go to Italy. I spent a summer 20 years ago backpacking through Europe but we never made it to Italy and I would love to hear Italian conversation and get a feel for a Latin culture. Honestly, I just love to travel and would go anywhere I could get, the budget just doesn’t allow for much.

What’s your favorite food?
Hamburgers. In my book, Mitch is on a quest for a great hamburger and I believe he was channeling my hunger. I love a great tasting hamburger with fresh tomatoes that when you bit into it is a kaleidoscope of flavor that leaves juices running down your chin. Makes me hungry just thinking about it.
Book Blurb:
Crime Beat Reporter Mitch Malone's rules are simple: He never lets the blood and guts he covers bother him. He always works alone. And he hates kids. Mitch breaks all three rules when he unwittingly agrees to smuggle a potential witness out of a suburban Michigan home while police investigate a mob-style-hit that's left two dead bodies. Mitch sends his intern (a real hottie, but nonetheless an interloper) to interview neighbors, hoping to throw her off, but when he finds the pint-sized survivor the killer overlooked, he decides she might be helpful. When the FBI accuses him of the murder, Mitch goes into hiding with the bombshell intern who doesn't talk and the precocious preschooler. Mitch works his contacts to regain his freedom from his roommates only to find they each hold keys to a bizarre story of disappearances, terrorists and the perfect hamburger recipe.
Author Bio:
W.S. Gager has lived in West Michigan for most of her life except for stints early in her career as a newspaper reporter and editor. Now she enjoys creating villains instead of crossing police lines to get the story. She teaches English at a local college and is a soccer chauffeur for her children. During her driving time she spins webs of intrigue for Mitch Malone's next crime-solving adventure.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Authorsday and a new feature coming

This week Authorsday will be back up and running until the end of the year.
My latest guest is W.S. Gager. Check out her website then stop back on Thursday to see what she has to say about her newest release.

A new feature will begin on the blog at the end of the Monday. My first guest for ExcerpTuesday will be Christine Marciniak. We have a mutual friend on the internet who connected us and we've been friends on Facebook for this Summer. Here's her website. Each Tuesday a different author will be post a part of thier latest release so you can get a taste before you buy.

So stay tuned to learn about lots of new and some multi-published authors.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Random stuff

Authorsday will begin again next week. Yeah!

This week I was in search of a toaster. Almost ten years ago we bought a Kitchenaid toaster after going through 3 cheap ones in a row. We paid more for it than I wanted, but we had high hopes.
And it has served us well, and alas it has broken.
My first instinct was to go to Amazon. I went to the Kithenaid website first to see what they had to offer. I guess ten years is a long time in terms of toast technology. The build 6 different kinds.
First stop, Kohl's. 3000 Cuisinarts. No Kitchenaid.
Then I went to Macy's. One Kitchenaid and only 2000 Cuisinarts.
I'm pretty loyal to the Kitchenaid brand. My dishwasher, mixer, food processor, double wall oven and my new fridge are all Kitchenaid. I'm sure Cuisinart is a good brand, but we're talking about an appliance that gets used minimum 2 times a day in my house. The toaster was the first appliance I taught my kids how to use. It's really important, especially to breakfast in my house.
Next place I went was Bed, Bath and Beyond since I had a coupon. 3500 Cuisinars. No Kitchenaid.
Where did I end up buying my toaster? Amazon. I really wanted to stimulate my local economy, but the fates were not having it.
The expected delivery date of my toaster is Monday.