Monday, March 29, 2010

Blog on hiatus

The blog will be on hiatus this week. I apologize to those who were scheduled to post. I will feature you next week.
Thanks for your understanding.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Authorsday- Susan Palmquist

Susan Palmquist, author of Sleeping With Faires, is under the microscope today. See how she does answering my questions.

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

As I write romances and mysteries, I’d have to say both. With mysteries, I’m much more of a plotter, making sure all the clues are in place and there are no loose ends that will have the reader frustrated and scratching their head. With romances, I have a plot outline, but most of the time I find it’s the characters who take me where I’m going. Some ideas brew around in my head months before I start a project and the story seems to write itself.

What do you know now that you are published that you didn’t know pre-published that you wish you knew?

That you need to treat this like a business and not a creative endeavor. You have to work hard, learn the ropes from the bottom up and stay the course.

Describe your book.

I like to call it a slightly paranormal romance. It’s set in modern day Ireland and is about Claire Mahoney whose life is just fine until a handsome widower named Michael Finnegan moves in next door and reminds her of what’s missing in her life. So what’s the problem you ask? Claire’s family carries a curse. If she marries the man she loves, he’ll die within a month of the wedding. But this being a romance, the two can’t help but fall in love and that’s when things get complicated.

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

Easy answer…Ireland, the setting of my book and my ancestral home. My paternal grandmother was born and raised in County Cork yet I’ve never been there!

What’s your favorite thing about your book?

The theme that even when things look their bleakest, there’s always hope.

What would you like to learn to do that you haven’t?

Since childhood I’ve always wanted to learn to play the piano and drums.

What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

Telling Claire and Michael’s story. It began as a short story then a novella then a novel. Although I basically knew what was going to happen in the story, these two characters took on a life of their own and it was fun to sit down each day to see where they’d take me next.

Where do you write?

In winter, the upstairs living room because it’s warmer. In the summer, it’s the family room, close to the patio door that I open so I can hear the water cascading down into the pond.

What was the hardest scene to write?

The one where Claire turns down Michael’s marriage proposal. She’s doing it for his own good, but I still felt bad having to put Michael through this heartache.

What was your favorite scene to write?

Where Michael is spying on Claire with his binoculars. He thinks she’s seen him and starts to panic. I tried to make it as funny and lighthearted as I could so I hope readers will have a laugh or at least a smile while they read it.

Author Bio:

Freelance writer by day, fiction writer by night, Susan Palmquist is the author of four novels, two paranormal romances, a children’s book and a mystery. She’s currently at work on a romantic suspense novel, a contemporary novella and two historical novellas. Learn more about Susan and read excerpts from her work at

Book Blurb:

When you’re in love, magical things can happen.

Buy link is

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Recipe Wednesday - Robert D. Sutherland

I like when I get recipes from the male authors because I know so many of you do cook. My dh cooks and is a better one than I am. And I am teaching my sons to cook. So today Robert D. Sutherland shows us a winter fruit compote.

(Robert D. Sutherland)
Mix together:
chopped dried apricots
dried cranberries
black raisins
golden raisins
chopped apple(s)
cinnamon (1/2 tsp)
nutmeg (1/2 tsp)
pinch of cloves
powdered ginger (optional)
Cook until apples are done.
Liberally add chopped pecans.
May be served hot, or chilled overnight.
A dollop of vanilla yogurt is optional (but very good).

THE FARRINGFORD CADENZA. A Novel (The Pikestaff Press, 2007)
by Robert D. Sutherland


The Farringford Cadenza is a suspenseful, humorous mystery that subtly skews generic conventions to continually surprise readers with reversals of their assumptions and expectations. N. F. Trntl, a female private detective residing in New York is sent to Baltimore to find a music manuscript which, having been lost for thirty-four years, has been stolen at the moment of its discovery in the first of three burglaries occurring on the same night. At least ten individuals and groups are pursuing the manuscript for a variety of reasons and purposes, but most of them don’t know about the others as their paths continually cross. Involved in two murders, Trntl is confronted with repeated attempts on her own life as the pace quickens. It’s a story full of surprises, for both characters and readers.

Monday, March 22, 2010

ExcerpTuesday - Margaret Grace

Margaret Grace shares an excerpt today from her novel Monster in Miniature. That's a really neat cover.

by Margaret Grace

Sam and Lillian Ferguson, pioneers in the high-tech approach to holiday decorations, had a spectacular figure on their porch every Halloween—a scarecrow with a lifelike head, a straw body, and baggy clothes.
From the street, this year's figure looked like an adult male relaxing, perhaps sleeping, on the top step. We knew that as soon as anyone got close to it, however, the mannequin would spring to life and stretch his arms wide, Frankenstein-style. His head would wobble and he'd give out a blood-curdling scream.
"Wow," said Maddie, my eleven-year-old granddaughter. "This place is wicked." She draped herself on the old picket fence, leaning in and waving her arms, hoping to get her fingers within range of the motion detector and thus provoke a scream from the floppy, limp form on the porch.
A group of teenage girls and boys happened by and crashed through the gate, laughing and prodding one another.
A human-sounding scream pierced the air. One of the teens had apparently walked within range of the motion detector.
But something was off. The creature didn't budge. The scream had come from one of the girls. "It's really a dead man," she yelled, in a hysterical voice, running back to the sidewalk.
A prank, I thought.
"We know it's all fake," I told the girl, who was either hyperventilating or a very good actress. "It's the same decoration every year."
"This year it's real," she whimpered. "I can tell because I've seen real dead bodies close up on tv."
If she weren't shaking so much, I'd have laughed.
"He's really dead," said a boy who'd gone as far as the bottom step to confirm the report. "It's a dead live man. I mean, a dead dead man." The boy's face was white. "His eyes are, like, staring, and there's a bullet hole"—he touched his forehead—"right here. And there's a gun in his hand, and there's, like, a mess."
I clicked on my phone and called my police detective nephew.
"Skip? You know how we talked about treats or tricks this year?"

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Authorsday- Debbi Mack

Debbi Mack has graciously answered my questions today. She's the author of Identity Crisis.

1. How long have you been writing?

I’ve been writing, in one form or another, most of my life. When I was about 10 or so, I tried to write a mystery. I’d just started reading the Nancy Drew series. So I wrote a chapter, in which a similar female protagonist gets involved in sleuthing. The only problem was I hadn’t thought it out at all, in terms of who did what and why. I got so overwhelmed thinking about it, I never got past the first chapter. Like a lot of girls, I kept journals while I grew up. I wrote my first short story in high school for a class. I got an A- on it, which really amazed me. Even then, I didn’t pursue fiction writing seriously for years. It wasn’t until 1995, when I realized that if I didn’t get going and write that novel I kept talking about, I might never do it. So that was when I began to write in earnest.

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

I’ve always loved mysteries. As a child, I read the Nancy Drew and Cherry Ames series, as well as Agatha Christie and Erle Stanley Gardner. I also watched a lot of TV shows about detectives and crime—Mannix, Honey West, The Rockford Files and The Avengers were among my favorites. Over the years, I’ve developed a taste for hardboiled mystery and crime fiction. Some of my favorite movies are film noir and detective/crime stories.

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

I’m an outliner. I like to have at least a rough idea of where I’m going, so I plot things out a bit before I start writing. My stories tend to follow a basic three-act structure. My outlines aren’t terribly detailed to begin with. I just try to get the plot points between and within each act down and fill in the rest, as I go. I’m in awe of people who simply do this by the seat of their pants.

4. What drew you to the subject of IDENTITY CRISIS?

The idea of doing a murder mystery involving false and/or mistaken identity had been rattling about in my head for some time. The decision to bring identity theft into the story was a bit fortuitous. The subject was being mentioned in the news a lot when I started writing it and it seemed like a good hook.

5. What was the worst writing advice someone gave you? Did you know it at the time?

The worst advice I’ve gotten is not to self-publish my work. At the time, it seemed quite reasonable, given the disadvantages of self-publishing and the stigma that tends to be attached to it. However, since I got this advice, the publishing world has changed quite a bit. Not only is it cheaper to self-publish now than in the past, but self-published authors have a much better shot at promoting and marketing their work through social media. In addition, e-publishing has changed the game completely, making it still cheaper and easier to promote, distribute and sell one’s work.

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

Few people know that I lived in a housing project in Queens, NY, until I was twelve. My family was one of the few non-Hispanic white families in the project.

7. What’s your favorite quote?

I have a lot of favorite quotes, but if I had to pick one, it would be from Helen Keller: “Life is either daring adventure or nothing.”

8. What authors do you admire?

I truly admire several authors for different reasons. For instance, I admire Raymond Chandler because he was instrumental in defining the hardboiled genre and wrote amazing prose. I also admire Walter Mosley for writing in that genre from a unique perspective that explores racial issues without getting preachy, as well as his writing style and his prolific output in a diversity of other genres. I admire Sue Grafton for creating the character Kinsey Millhone and keeping her “Alphabet Series” fresh and entertaining—which has to be really hard after 21 books. I admire Margaret Millar and her husband, Ross McDonald, two amazing writers who delved into human psychology in their stories, while making them compelling reading. I admire Christa Faust and Jenny Siler (who also writes as Alex Carr) for creating such strong, unconventional and believable female protagonists and putting them through their paces, in fast-moving, hard-hitting stories that also happen to be extremely well-written. I’m also a great admirer of Donna Moore, the late Douglas Adams and Carl Hiaasen, because their work is humorous and humor is so hard to write well.

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

I love to read books (of all kinds, though I favor crime fiction, suspense and thrillers, of course), watch movies, listen to music (and my tastes in music tend to be eclectic) and travel (I went to Italy this year—my first trip to Europe—and it was one of the best trips of my life). I actually like to exercise (I’m weird that way), and I enjoy walking, hiking and bicycling.

10. Who is your greatest cheerleader?

Without a doubt, my husband is my biggest cheerleader. He’s always believed in me, and without him, establishing and maintaining a writing career would be so much harder. My father (who was a playwright) deserves some credit, too. When he was alive, he always encouraged me to write. My dad told me to be persistent and not let adversity and rejection stop me from writing. I should probably thank him for deciding to be a writer.

Author Bio:

Debbi Mack has published one novel, IDENTITY CRISIS, a hardboiled mystery featuring female lawyer Sam McRae in a complex case of murder and identity theft. Her short stories appear in the CHESAPEAKE CRIMES mystery anthology, The Back Alley [Chris: link to] and CHESAPEAKE CRIMES: THEY HAD IT COMIN’, to be published by Wildside Press in March 2010. A former attorney, Debbi has been a volunteer advocate and fundraiser for dystonia, a rare movement disorder. A native of Queens, New York, Debbi and her husband share a home in Columbia, Maryland with their three cats. Her Web site is

Book Blurb:

IDENTITY CRISIS introduces attorney Stephanie Ann "Sam" McRae. A simple domestic abuse case turns deadly when the alleged abuser is killed and Sam’s client disappears. When a friend asks Sam to find Melanie Hayes, the Maryland attorney is drawn into a complex case of murder and identity theft that has her running from the Mob, breaking into a strip club and forming a shaky alliance with an offbeat private investigator to discover the truth about Melanie and her ex-boyfriend.With her career and life on the line, Sam learns that false identities can hide dark secrets that can destroy lives.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Recipe Wednesday- Kathy Kulig

Happy St. Patrick's Day to everyone. Even if you aren't Irish. (Though I am.) A warm welcome to Kathy Kulig with her recipe for Thai Pork.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! And unfortunately I don’t have any Irish recipes. Instead, you can have a mug of Guinness or your favorite Irish stout and try:

Slow Cooker Thai Pork with Rice

1 (3lb) pork shoulder roast 3 cups uncooked long grain white rice
2 red bell peppers, julienned 6 cups water
2 tsp. minced garlic ¼ cup unsalted peanut butter
1/3 cup low-sodium teriyaki sauce 1 cup chopped unsalted peanuts
3 T. rice wine vinegar 1 bunch green onions, sliced
½ tsp red pepper flakes

1. Place the port roast, red bell peppers, garlic, teriyaki sauce, and rice vinegar in a slow cooker.
2. Sprinkle with red pepper flakes.
3. Cover, and cook 8 hours on Low.
4. In a pot, bring the rice and water to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook 20 minutes.
5. Remove meat from the slow cooker, and shred. Stir the peanut butter into the slow cooker. Return shredded meat to the slow cooker, and mix with the sauce to coat. Serve over the rice with a sprinkling of peanuts and green onions.
6. Serve with side salad. (and the Guinness)

Makes about 12 servings

Damned and Desired Blurb: She’s a demon, he’s a shapeshifting leopard. From their first meeting in the Arizona desert, passion ignites and trouble begins. As a demon, Sakari Lock must harvest lifeforce energy through sexual seductions to sustain her exiled world. But when Sakari meets Brad, she breaks the number one rule of Anartia—don’t get personal with your quarry.

Physician’s assistant Brad Montag is drawn to Sakari’s lustful advances with a blazing desire he can’t explain, unaware of how dangerous she is. No matter how enticing, she’s a complication he doesn’t need until he can conquer his past and regain control of his shapeshifting abilities. Sex this wicked and good can only lead to disaster.

When immortals from an alternate dimension try to free their exiled world, Brad is caught in the middle of a battle that could destroy not only him, but the land he loves.

Bio: Kathy Kulig writes paranormal, contemporary and erotic romance for Ellora’s Cave. Her latest book Damned and Desired was released on January 6th. At the 2010 Romantic Times Convention, Kathy will be participating on two workshop panels—“Building Paranormal from the Ground Up” and “Twitter Unplugged”. Check out her website:

Monday, March 15, 2010

ExcepTuesday - Stacy Juba

Today Stacy Juba posts an excerpt of her latest Twenty Five Years Ago Today. Can you remember what you were doing 25 years ago? I personally was still in college.

Synopsis of Twenty-Five Years Ago Today:
Obit writer and editorial assistant Kris Langley feels like the newsroom slave – that is, until she stumbles across an unsolved murder while compiling "25 Years Ago Today" items from the microfilm. Determined to launch her reporting career, Kris investigates the cold case of Diana Ferguson, an artistic young cocktail waitress obsessed with Greek and Roman mythology. She soon learns that old news never leaves the morgue and that yesterday's headline is tomorrow's danger, for finding out the truth about that night twenty-five years ago may shatter Kris’s present, costing her love, her career, and ultimately, her life.
Twenty-Five Years Ago Today
by Stacy Juba

Cheryl came up behind Kris. Her voice sounded sad and tired. "Please don't tell my mother too much, even if you're making progress. I don't want to raise her hopes."
Kris glanced back at Irene, who hunched on the couch, turning the locket over in her hand. "I'll be careful with what I say. My aunt would've been eager, too."
"How was your cousin killed?"
"She was strangled, kidnapped by a neighbor while walking alone. We were twelve."
Cheryl heaved a sigh. "I'm sorry. I remember reading about that. It happened locally, didn't it?"
"I know you're a terrific writer. I couldn't have been happier with the business story. I'm just concerned about my mother."
"I understand," Kris said. "I won't let you down."
She trudged out to her car and brushed off her windshield. She waited behind the steering wheel as the defroster warmed the interior. Not knowing Diana's whereabouts must have tormented Irene. Kris's family had agonized over Nicole's disappearance. As one day blended into the next, Nicole had seemed further and further away.
Finding her was worse.
Kris had learned a new phrase that May, a litany that surged back into her mind, drumming to the beat of the windshield wipers. If only.
If only it hadn't rained the afternoon Nicole had disappeared.
If only she hadn't climbed into the car with Randolph Coltraine.
If only Aunt Susan had been home when Nicole called for a ride.
Kris swallowed the metallic taste in her mouth. If only I didn't trick her.
She chose the long route home, driving fast. She hadn't driven in New York and had forgotten the thrill of a climbing speedometer. Her first week back, she'd landed a speeding ticket.
Kris skidded onto the Fremont State College campus, her tires kicking up tufts of snow. She passed dorms, tennis courts and the library before parking in front of the deserted baseball field. White trees cast shapeless shadows across the broad expanse of snow.
A chunk of ice slid off the roof, hitting the front window. Kris jumped, her hand to her heart.
"No one's out there," she murmured, gazing into the woods. "Not now."
But once.
Beyond those trees, Diana had lain dead.
Police had crowded the scene, their search over.
Middle-aged reporter Dex Wagner had scribbled in his notebook.
Twenty-five years ago today.

Buy It information:
Available on-line through Mainly Murder Press, Amazon and Barnes& Visit for product links. It will also be carried in independent bookstores, and if your local bookstore doesn’t have it in stock, they should be able to order it by the ISBN: 978-0-615-29011-9. View my book trailer at

Author Bio: Stacy Juba is the author of the mystery novels Twenty-Five Years Ago Today and the upcoming Sink or Swim. (Mainly Murder Press) She is a former journalist with more than a dozen writing awards to her credit. Her web site is

Sunday, March 14, 2010

This week on my blog

Stacy L. Juba shares an excerpt from her new release.
Kathy Kulig gives us a recipe on St. Patrick's Day.
And Debbi Mack answers my questions.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Fiona Jayde stops by

Fiona Jayde is a space pilot, a ninth degree black belt in three styles of martial arts, a computer hacker, a mountain climber, a jazz singer, a weight lifter, a superspy with a talent for languages, and an evil genius.

All in her own head.
In life, she is an author of kickass, action packed, steamy romances, possesses a brown belt in Tae Kwon Do and blue belt in Aikido, a web developer, scared to death of heights, loves jazz piano, can bench-press about 20 pounds — with effort, speaks English and Russian fluently, and when not plotting murder and mayhem enjoys steamy romance novels, sexy spy thrillers, murky mysteries and movies where things frequently blow up.

1. Do you plot or do you write by the seat of your pants?
I'm an avid plotter. I plot and I outline and I plot some more. It doesn't seem to matter much however, because my characters invariably take over, do something crazy and brilliant and I have to go back to the old plotting board to figure out why the hell they did it. (I'm very much in touch with my muse. If she says "do something" a character must do it. Otherwise she'll sulk for weeks and I'll be writing trash. Its a give and take type of a relationship)

2. What drew you to the subject of Pas De Deux?

I love the idea of a Ballerina being a heroine- the rigorous discipline, the sacrifices, the pain and pleasure of making something look effortless and natural and easy. What goes on behind the scenes?

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

The first novella I ever wrote (and finished) was GrimJustin:DeBriefed. I did try to publish it- and it was also my first rejection. I learned that it's important to read a publishers guidelines : if they ask for 30K+ submissions, and one sends them something considerably less, they will likely not accept it:) Luckily for me, I came across Changeling Press who do accept shorter length stories and I went on to have an entire series starting with that novella.

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

I would say my strength is very action oriented stories - kickass heroines, bad ass heroes, high adventure. I'm like a kid in terms of my entertainment preferences - I like martial arts and car chases and things blowing up... I'd say that translates into an exciting pace for my readers (I hope!)

5. What do you consider your weakness and what strategies do you use to overcome it?
I think my strength of high action is also my weakness in terms of writing plausible human emotions. There's all this plot and explosions and car chases, but how do my characters feel? Scared/excited/worried about the puppy they left home? I feel like I've recently grown as an author because now instead of focusing so much on plot, I tend to focus on my character motivations and emotions just as much.

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

Hmm.. My Kindle with a solar charger (what do you mean they don't have those yet?)

A notebook and pen - because I'd still be jotting down ideas!
And, not to call my hubby a thing, but I'd want him along. Seriously. For all the sappy romantic silly reasons you guys can think of :)

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

I'd want to see Japan. The big cities and the small villages. I'm fascinated with Japan.

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

Actually I would love to be in the Roaring Twenties, in the jazz age and mobsters and private investigators... Maybe it could black and white, and really feel like a film noir?

9. What would you like to learn to do that you haven’t?

Okay this is really silly, but I always said that if I had the guts to do it, I would like to go to Japan and study to be a Ninja. I'm too old and too bitchy and too set in my ways... but it would be so incredibly cool! The art of stealth has always fascinated me. And I know there are some schools here that teach Ninjitsu here in the US, but somehow it's not the same.

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

When not writing, I am usually plotting something (even if its a strategy to beat hubby at our next Wii tournament of Ninja Turtles), or playing piano or fiddling with something on the computer. Sometimes I even do something wild and crazy and clean the kitchen. Or attempt to cook.

Book Blurb:

One wrong move, and she could be dancing on her grave…
Two years after an injury put her dancing career on hold, Lynnrina Kovaleva is determined to reclaim her place on the stage. On the eve of her comeback production, she takes the edge off her nerves with a one-night stand in the strong arms of celebrity bodyguard Mateo Rivera.
Ex-cop Mateo is celebrating one hell of an anniversary: eight months since he was declared unfit for duty. When a delicate beauty boldly propositions him in a bar, he chooses to lose himself in her body rather than lose his mind to alcohol. This choice comes back to haunt him when he’s hired to protect a prima ballerina who’s been receiving threats.
Despite her shock at seeing him again, Lynn must not allow their intense attraction—or any creepy fan letters—to undermine her performance. Mateo can’t reconcile this coldly focused dancer with the passionate woman who seduced him. Yet he sees fire under the ice, pain hidden by the smooth mask of perfection.
The vivid memory of their entwined bodies wars with the job at hand, but he must keep Lynn safe—regardless of the cost. The most difficult challenge, however, will be keeping his hands to himself.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Authorsday - Phyllis Campbell

Today I put Phyllis Campbell under the microscope. Check out how well she holds up.

When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

I have been an avid reader of romance for several years…since 1987. I didn’t know I wanted to write until I started having movie-like dreams about romance. Then one day I decided to try. That’s all it took and now my muse won’t shut up. lol

How did you pick the genre you write in?

When I first started writing, it was modern-day stories, but I loved to read historicals. Kathleen Woodiwiss and Judith McNaught were my favorite authors, and because of their great stories, I learned all I could to write historical.

What drew you to the subject of Spanish Eyes?

A few years ago, I was an obsessed fan of Antonio Banderas. I would meet at my friend’s house every Wednesday to watch one of his movies. I realized I needed to write a story with him as my hero. That’s when I created Anton Carerra…my Spanish Hunk! Once I figured out his goals / motivation / conflict, I found the perfect heroine for him. The story took off and because of the adventure in the plot, I couldn’t stop writing.

Describe your book.
Not even disguises can deceive the heart.
In a world when women must fight for every right, Rebecca Wakefield is determined to become a Pinkerton Detective. Her plan? Capturing the notorious thief, Anton Carerra; a man known as much for his womanizing as he is for his brilliant criminal mind. Will he steal her heart, too?
Lady’s man, Anton Carrera is smitten with Rebecca from the very beginning. He wants nothing more than to seduce the stiff Miss Wakefield, until he learns she is investigating him for a crime he didn’t commit. She is innocent and naïve; convinced he is the villain her superiors have painted him. But her over-zealous determination places both of them in danger and he is forced to play the honorable rogue.
Sweeping her away to Padre Island off the coast of Spain seemed like a clever idea at the time. But how can he protect them both from his own uncle’s murderous games when Anton’s heart falls victim to a woman as full of independence as she is desire…

Also – check out the awesome book trailer!

Did you encounter any obstacles in researching it?

No obstacles at all. I had to do some research on Spain and the towns surrounding their ports. I also had to look at pictures those towns in order to describe the places where my hero and heroine journeyed. It was fun!

How many rejections have you received?

Too many to count. Actually, I had counted them a few years ago, but then stopped once my three-inch binder became full. Keep in mind, I had more than one story being sent out at a time, which is another reason the binder is so full.

What was the best writing advice someone gave you?

To write what I love…and don’t give up. If it’s something I love doing, then keep at it until I’ve reached my dream. Every time I want to throw my hands in the air and say the hell with it…I remember this advice. Writing historicals is what I love…so I will keep trying to reach my dream.

What was the worst? Did you know it at the time?

Oh…I’ll never forget this one. I actually had a critique partner (who was part of a group I was with) tell me to stick to my contemporary stories…because I just didn’t have a historical voice. Funny thing is, when my first three historicals were published, all three were best sellers for several months in a row. PLUS review sites gave them all 5-stars and Recommended Reads. I’m soooo glad I didn’t follow this lady’s advice. Heehee

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

I happen to think I’m pretty good at writing emotion…and sexual tension. One reviewer labeled me Queen Of Sexual Tension. Then another reviewer picked up on it, then another…and now I use that as my signature line. I also think I’m pretty good at writing suspense since most of my stories have enough of it to keep the reader turning the pages.

10. What’s your favorite quote?

“Success is a finished book, a stack of pages each of which is filled with words. If you reach that point, you have won a victory over yourself no less impressive than sailing single-handed around the world.” ~~ Tom Clancy

Author Bio:

Phyllis Campbell is an award-winning, multi-published, and best-selling author with Champagne Books, The Wild Rose Press, and Bookstrand Publishing. Most of her reviewers have given her the title of “Queen Of Sexual Tension”. Married with kids (and three grandchildren), Phyllis has lived in Utah all of her life and enjoys family activities when she’s not writing her next sensual story. Visit her website at

Book Blurb:
Rebecca Wakefield is determined to become a Pinkerton Detective. She must capture the notorious thief, Anton Carerra; a man known as much for his womanizing as he is for his brilliant criminal mind. Will he steal her heart, too?
Lady’s man, Anton Carrera is smitten with Rebecca from the very beginning. He wants nothing more than to seduce the stiff Miss Wakefield, until he learns she is investigating him for a crime he didn’t commit. She is innocent and naïve, but her over-zealous determination places both of them in danger and he is forced to play the honorable rogue.
To purchase –

Or at Amazon’s Kindle -

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Recipe Wednesday - Sheila Connolly

When I read the title of the recipe I let out such a sound that the dog perked his ears up at me. I LOVE goat cheese. There's a story about my fave Crotin de Chavignol, but that's a blog in of itself. So here's Sheila to tell us about the recipe.

I set out to write mysteries, so I find it very funny that I've published a growing number of recipes. Not that I'm complaining–I love to eat, I love to cook, and the research is a lot of fun!

I took this to a whole new level with my most recent book, Red Delicious Death, in which I created not only recipes but an entire restaurant for my fictional town! Of course, for this I had to eat in a lot of restaurants (oh, poor me), and even interview chefs. I owe a lot to Justin Melnick of Tomasso Trattoria in Northborough, MA, who (a) uses local foods (very well!) and (b) was willing to give me a tour of his kitchen and answer all sorts of dumb questions. The following is modeled after one of his yummy desserts, which I modified for those of us with mere mortal skills.


You may make these as tangy or as mild as you like, depending on your choice of goat cheese (okay, if you hate goat cheese you can go with all cream cheese, but keep the hazelnuts for flavor).

Makes one dozen

1/2 cup crumbled sugar cookies (homemade or purchased)
1/4 cup finely chopped hazelnuts
1 Tblsp plus 1 tsp sugar
3 Tblsp unsalted butter

1 8-oz package cream cheese, at room temperature
8 oz. goat cheese of your choice, at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup sour cream
pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners.

Combine cookie crumbs, hazelnuts and sugar, then stir in melted butter. Press one Tblsp crumb mixture firmly in the bottom of each lined cup (the bottom of a glass works well for this). Bake until set, about 7 minutes.

Lower oven temperature to 275 degrees.

With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat cream cheese and goat cheese together until smooth. Gradually add sugar, followed by vanilla. Beat until well combined, about 3 minutes. Drizzle in the eggs slowly, stopping often to scrape down sides of bowl. Beat in sour cream and salt.

Pour batter into lined cups, filling almost to very top. Bake for 20-22 minutes. Cool completely on wire racks. Refrigerate in tins at least 4 hours or overnight.

To serve, you may drizzle honey or a berry syrup lightly over the cakes.

Blurb for Red Delicious Death: Granford newcomer Meg Corey has more than enough to do, between restoring the colonial house she's inherited and trying to manage her orchard. Then a trio of young chefs fresh out of cooking school arrives in town to open a restaurant using local foods, and Meg volunteers to help them out.

But then one of the chefs is found dead in a farmer's pig wallow. When Meg begins looking into the death, her investigation digs up some old town secrets–and Meg soon realizes that they have a locally grown killer on their hands.

Author bio: Sheila Connolly has been an art historian, a financial consultant, a political fundraiser, and a professional genealogist. Now she writes mysteries for Berkley Prime Crime: the Glassblowing Mysteries as Sarah Atwell, whose debut book, Through a Glass, Deadly, was nominated for an Agatha Award; and the Orchard Mysteries, under her own name. Sheila's new series, the Museum Mysteries, also from Berkley Prime Crime, will debut in October 2010. Sheila is a member of Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of American and Romance Writers of America. She also serves on the planning committee for the New England Crime Bake conference.


Monday, March 8, 2010

ExcerpTuesday - Macie Carter

Today I welcome Macie Carter, an author of erotic romance. This books sounds like a lot of fun!

Teasing the Muse – Erotic Romance – Cougar Club – The Wild Rose Press

Popular erotic romance writer, Page Burns, seems to have lost the “hotness” in her writing, or at least that’s what her editor informs her. Is it because of her self-imposed celibacy after a bitter divorce, or because she’s forty and just not interested? When she meets a handsome young stranger at one of her book signings, she decides what she really needs is a muse--in her bed. Fantasizing about the young man is just enough to revitalize some of her sizzling words. Can a forty year-old woman bed a man ten years her junior? Should she even try? But what Page doesn’t realize is that she’s not the only one fantasizing about teasing the muse...

“I don’t want to become one of the divorce crazies—the women who hop from bed to bed just to prove they’re still desirable. Sex with the faceless stranger. Hell! I even wrote about it.”
“Your first book. I remember. You wrote it when
you were happily married to Mark.”
Page didn’t say anything. She was thinking about how much Myra had helped with that first book. Page stared at her new manuscript inundated with little yellow slips of paper.
Myra patted the stack of papers. “It doesn’t need
a lot of rewrite, Page,” she said. “The plot and the
characters are strong—your usual. It’s just the...Well, that’s what the stickies are—areas I’ve marked for changes.”
“I get it. I get it,” Page said more upset with
herself than her editor. “I have the hotel room for
two more days. I was going to meet my college roommate after the conference but she called last night to cancel. Story of my life. Good thing I didn’t check-out. Hotel room with room service—so no distractions. I’ll sit in the room and rewrite and rewrite and...”
An hour later Page was in the hotel’s large banquet room. Twenty long tables had been set up, each table had four authors and stacks of books. Page and three other “name” authors had their own smaller tables. Page’s books sat on either side of the basket of candy kisses and prophylactics she always had at her signings. She no longer needed chocolate and condoms to lure potential buyers to her books, but tradition was tradition and it was her way of promoting safe sex.
She had just finished signing for one flustered octogenarian when she looked up into a pair of dark green eyes. A man stood over her, a book in one hand and a hard hat in the other resting on his hip. Page took in his blue work shirt and dusty jeans. His dark hair was long and curled around a handsome face, a face that hadn’t seen even thirty years.
“Ms. Burns,” he said, handing her the book. His voice was deep with a slight southern accent. She took the book from him and brushed against his hand feeling a sudden electric surge.

Macie Carter is the pen name of award-winning author, Mitzi Flyte. After writing essays, mysteries, horror and paranormal short stories, Mitzi decided to stretch her writing muscles with something completely different. Teasing the Muse, to be released from The Wild Rose Press on March 26, is Mitzi’s first erotic novella.
Mitzi received her first rejection when she was twelve, many years ago; however, that didn’t stop her from writing and submitting. A member of Liberty States, she’s been the President of the Greater Lehigh Valley Writers Group and the Pocono Lehigh Romance Chapter of Romance Writers of America. When she’s not writing, Mitzi’s the Vice President of Nursing for a nursing home management company. She lives in Allentown, PA with two feline companions who have yet to critique her work.

This Week on my blog

Macie Carter brings us an an excerpt of Teasing the Muse about a cougar. Roar.
Sheila Connolly shares a lovely recipe for cheese cake with goat cheese in it.
Phyllis Campbell answers my questions about her new release.
On Friday Fyona Jade stops by on her blog tour.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Authorsday - Karen Daniels

A warm blog welcometo debut author Karen Daniels.

Blog Interview Q & A
Three Days in Purgatory
By: K. Daniels

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

I have been an avid reader since I was a kid. Along the way, teachers and friends have complemented my writing, but I never dreamed that I could write a novel. Call it early mid-life crisis, but at thirty I was a stay-at-home mom with three kids; four and under. In desperate need of grown-up connections, I joined a Thursday night writing group. Part plot-strategy, part group-therapy, I found my way one chapter at a time.

2) How did you pick the genre you write in?

To borrow a phrase from Stephen King, the genre I write in is “Psychological Realism” and this is the type of book I search for at the book store or library. With an element that makes anything possible, my creativity has a chance to really take form.

3) How did you come up with the idea for Three Days in Purgatory?

For me, it takes two ideas to culminate into a story. The very first idea came to me when I had the epiphany: I would not be who I am today if my parent’s had not been who they were yesterday. The second idea: Do we ever know if our mistakes have purpose?

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

I have the best day job ever. I am a part-time private investigator. While the kids are in school I work at the firm conducting background searches, interviewing subjects (or, actors, as we like to call them) and writing reports. One of the reasons they hired me was for my writing skills!

5) How do you find time to write?

This is tricky because there are times when your schedule is difficult and the last thing you want to do is beat yourself up and create block. I try to do something every day whether it’s research, editing, outlining or writing. Even if it’s only twenty minutes per day. Also, I make sure that I edit somewhere other than my desk. It’s important to get away from the computer from time to time.

6) What authors do you admire?

There are so many, but I would say that I’m most heavily influenced by Alice Hoffman, Stephen King, Mitch Albom, and Jodi Picoult.

7) What other time periods would you like to experience?

I love the musical Grease. And I’m sure part of me is being naive, but I would love to live in the 50’s and experience a time that seemed a little simpler than the world we live in today.

8) Who is your favorite character in the book?

Hands down the mom, Camille. With all of her flaws and mistakes, she remains a likable character. This balance was challenging, but after many re-writes, I think she is the person the reader will most reflect on after they’ve finished the book.

9) How many rejections did you receive?


10) What are you working on now?

I really like pushing the limits on the perception of reality, while keeping things part of everyday life. I’ve been writing about the idea of “callings.” Does everyone have one? Do some of us have more than one? What if some of us never find ours? What then?

Book Blurb: Three Days in Purgatory

Do we ever know if the mistakes we make have purpose? Camille is a mother filled with regret over her past choices and will once again disappoint her daughter when she backs out of a trip for her son’s memorial. But Elizabeth should have expected it. Just once—she wishes her mother would put her kids first. This statement triggers a three-day whirlwind of change in Camille’s world, and each life dangles the hope that her son is alive. Will Camille learn her purpose and have the chance to fix her mistakes? The answer might surprise you.

Author Bio:

This is Karen Daniels’ debut novel. She lives in Sugar Land, Texas, with her husband and three teenage children. To keep her sanity, she is working on her second novel.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Recipe Wednesday - Peggy Ehrhart

Tuna salad. Brings back memories for me. I've always loved it. Today author Peggy Ehrhart offers her own version of it.

Peggy Ehrhart is a former college English professor who now devotes her time to writing mysteries and playing blues guitar. She’s the author of the Maxx Maxwell blues mystery series featuring sexy blonde blues-singer sleuth Elizabeth “Maxx” Maxwell. Sweet Man Is Gone, which takes its title from a Muddy Waters song, appeared in 2008, and Got No Friend Anyhow is due in January 2011.

Visit her on the web at .

Peggy says . . .

my sleuth Elizabeth “Maxx” Maxwell is too busy with her band to think about food. She lives on eggs, tuna salad sandwiches, and the occasional batch of Chinese takeout. When I’m busy writing, I make up a quick batch of this tuna salad and it lasts me about three days, one sandwich a day. If there are a few spoonfuls left, I make a tuna-melt on day 4—grilled cheese with a bit of tuna salad between two layers of cheese.

I like this recipe so much that I served tuna salad sandwiches at the launch party for Sweet Man Is Gone and I got a lot of nice comments.

Maxx Maxwell’s Tuna Salad

1 5-oz. can of tuna packed in water. The cheap flaky kind works better than the expensive chunky kind.

3 tbs. mayonnaise

2 tbs. sweet pickle relish

½ tsp. salt

a few grindings of black pepper

¼ to ½ tsp. Tabasco

Separate the lid completely from the can when you open the tuna so you can use it to press down and squeeze out all the liquid. Dispose of the liquid.

Now mix everything together in a small bowl.

Make sandwiches using good-quality white or wheat bread. The tuna salad is also good on toast—and I butter the toast before adding the tuna salad. For an afternoon snack, spread it on crackers. I prefer the simple water crackers that don’t add a lot of their own flavor to distract from the tuna—but you can experiment.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Interview with Erica Ridley

Today I welcome Erica Ridley to answer some questions.

How long have you been writing?

I truly have been writing for as long as I can remember, but the moment when I decided to seriously pursue publication was in January, 2006. That year, I became a member of both RWA and my local writing chapter, joined various critique groups, and wrote two complete novels. It’s been full steam ahead ever since!

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

My first novel was a Regency-set historical called UNMASKED. An ex-war spy goes to London to (figuratively) unmask a thief, but finds himself enchanted by a (literally) masked young lady… who happens to be the thief’s daughter. I did send requested chapters to a few agents (who very intelligently passed on the project) but in the end, I shelved the story in favor of working on something new.

What was the best writing advice someone gave you?

Never give up. The difference between those who make it and those who do not, is that successful people keep trying, no matter what.

Describe your book.

TOO WICKED TO KISS is a Gothic historical love story. On the run from a man who wants to enslave her—or worse—Evangeline Pemberton takes refuge at Blackberry Manor, only to discover that its owner, Gavin Lioncroft, is a suspected murderer himself. . . who doesn’t bother to deny the accusations. Just as she begins to think him worthy of trust, one of the guests is killed—and Lioncroft readily admits he was angry enough to have done the deed himself. This is a story about trust, guilt, and redemption, about taking responsibility for one’s actions, and about learning to love oneself in order to find true love with another person. Too Wicked To Kiss is sensual, suspenseful, and atmospheric… and I hope you enjoy it very much!

What’s your writing schedule?

When it comes to creativity, I’m a morning person. My routine is as follows: crawl out of bed, brush my teeth, brew strong coffee, plant myself in front of the laptop. When I’m in the zone, three or four or five hours can disappear before I realize my coffee is cold and my stomach is growling. And if I’m lucky, by then I’ll have a completed scene!

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

First and foremost, I would love to experience the Regency era and the Victorian period firsthand. I also wouldn’t mind visiting the Medieval period, when all that amazing Gothic architecture began to flourish. And although it is much less romantic, I am very intrigued by the ancient Egyptians and would absolutely love to witness their culture, as well.

What’s your favorite food?

For me, this is an impossible question! I love, love, love food. All food. From Mexican to Japanese to Indian to Thai to Italian, from native Latin American fruit to Eastern European vegetables to the deep fried apple-cinnamon “elephant ears” at the local county fair. In fact, among my friends I’m infamous for never turning down an invitation to go out to eat… even if it means I have two lunch dates back-to-back! LOL.

What do you do when you are not writing?Traveling, or scrapbooking the photo evidence of my travels. I adore visiting other cities and countries and cultures, and am extremely lucky that being able to work from my laptop enables me to do so without having to coordinate specific vacation time. (Although, the days when I’m stuck in a hotel working instead of out sightseeing can be hard, too!) I love arts and crafts, so scrapbooking has been an excellent hobby and stress-reliever for me. Plus I enjoy sharing the finished albums with family and friends!

Who is your greatest cheerleader?

My grandmother. Although long since retired, she was once a librarian and loves books just as much as I do. When I first decided to seriously pursue a career in writing, I met plenty of opposition from well-meaning friends and family who thought it was a frivolous idea, and that I’d be better off pursuing a “real” job. My grandmother’s faith in me, however, has never once flagged, and her quiet encouragement gave me strength throughout the journey to publication.

What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

Writing in a Gothic voice. I absolutely loved rethinking the characters’ world view from a darker, spookier perspective. Particularly the heroine, who (for very good reason) finds the mansion grounds to be creepy, the party guests to be suspect, and the master of the house to be quite dangerous on several different levels.

What would you like to learn to do that you haven’t?

Believe it or not… swim. When I was about three or four, my family went to visit some relatives in Florida (where I now live) and we thought it would be a great idea to walk down a wooden pier to get a better view of the alligator-infested waters. That is, until I toddled too close and fell overboard. My parents (understandably) freaked, and for years I had nightmares about being eaten by alligators. Although I do realize that they don’t usually hunt in, say, hotel pools or the YMCA, I’ve never been able to submerge my face underwater or learn to swim. Some day…

Author Bio: Erica Ridley learned to read when she was three, which was about the same time she decided to be a writer when she grew up. Over the course of her school years, she graduated from self-illustrated stories written in crayon to dramatic sagas filling reams of spiral notebooks. Now, Erica writes Gothic historical romances, often with a touch of paranormal.

When not reading or writing romances, Erica can be found riding camels in Africa, zip-lining through rainforests in Costa Rica, or getting hopelessly lost in the middle of Budapest.

Book Blurb: HIS TOUCH HOLDS HER CAPTIVE...From the ravens circling its spires to the gargoyles adorning its roof, Blackberry Manor looms ominously over its rambling grounds. And behind its doors, amid the flickering shadows and secret passageways, danger lies in wait.

TO HIS EVERY DARK DESIRE...Evangeline Pemberton has been invited to a party at the sprawling estate of reclusive Gavin Lioncroft, who is rumored to have murdered his parents. Initially, Gavin's towering presence and brusque manner instill fear in Evangeline...until his rakish features and seductive attentions profoundly arouse her. But when a guest is murdered, Evangeline is torn. Could the man to whom she is so powerfully drawn, also be a ruthless killer?

Where to find Erica:

Book Bonus Features: