Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Authorsday: Nancy Naigle

What better place for a writer of love stories from the crossroad of small town and suspense to hail from than the state with the motto: Virginia is for Lovers. Nancy now resides in Southampton County on a goat farm with her husband and more kids (the four-legged kind) than she can keep count of. In 2010, Nancy won several accolades including winning the mainstream category of both the Maryland Writers Association Novel Contest and the Connecticut-RWA-The WRITE STUFF Contest.

Join Nancy on Facebook, twitter (@nancynaigle) and on the web:

  1. If you have a day job, what is it? I’m a Senior Vice President with Bank of America. This is where you find out that I’m right AND left brained. My position with the bank is as a Six Sigma Black Belt. I coach associates in the six sigma methodology and provide support to Corporate Audit in their assessments of processes in the bank to insure we have the right controls and rigor in place. Statistics and organizational stuff – all day long. Writing fulfills my creative side. It keeps me balanced.

  1. Describe your book. Sweet Tea and Secrets is a love story from the crossroad of small town and suspense. This is my debut novel. It’s an easy read with characters I hope you’ll grow to love and remember. I live a busy life between my love for writing stories, my career, the goat farm, family and friends. Reading is an escape for me. I don’t want to have to have a spreadsheet to keep the characters straight or think too hard about fluffy sentences that were written just to wow me. I like to lose myself in the characters of a book. I like to escape for just a little while. I hope that’s what I’ve written. That was certainly my goal―to help other folks find a smile, a tear, a fond memory and a little life balance.

By the way, the second book in the Adams Grove series will be out in November 2011. It’s called Out of Focus.

  1. What was your favorite scene to write?  Pearl Clemmons was the most fun to write. She’s embraced her right to say exactly what is on her mind at the age of 85. I especially enjoyed writing the scene where she’s made the DVD for Jill and Garrett to be played as the will is read. When she fusses out Connor who is actually filming it...that’s totally Pearl.  I love her. I bet you will, too.

  1. What is your favorite word? Ya’ll...although I had to succumb to editor pressure and spell it y’all in the book. Where I come from, we spell it ya’ll, and it’s part of my everyday language. If I hadn’t seen that even Paula Deen spells it y’all...I’d have surely fought longer on it. Now, I just hope I never find out Paula gave in to the peer pressure, too!

  1. What’s your favorite food? Krispy Kreme Chocolate Iced Kreme filled doughnuts. I can’t pass them by.

  1. What do you do when you are not writing? When I’m not writing or doing the day job stuff, then you can find me playing with my dogs or out with the goats. Oh, did I not mention that my husband and I live on a goat farm? Oh yes, he’s a full time goat rancher. It’s a wonderful thing to look out my office window and see all the kids at play or the generations of goats lying about chewing their cud and soaking up the weather. My husband is the Virginia State Fair Meat Goat Show Superintendent. I volunteer my time to do the scholarships for that program and I’ve been the Master of Ceremonies for that show since its inception in 2005. My favorite part of the Meat Goat Show at the Virginia State Fair is the Goat Obstacle Course. Our farm, HOLLAND FARM, sponsors that event. It’s a timed event much like a dog agility course. It’s so much fun.

  1. Who is your greatest cheerleader? My mom. She’s hands-down my biggest cheerleader. If you cross her path you’ll know it because she’ll be shoving a bookmark in your hand and chatting you up about Sweet Tea and Secrets. If this book lands on a list somewhere, it will be because she has single-handedly sold my book to everyone in this region!

Book Blurb:

Adams Grove is mourning the loss of Pearl Clemmons, known for her award-winning chocolate pecan pie and the best unsolicited advice in the county. 

When Jill returns to settle her grandmother’s estate, she’s greeted by a Clydesdale-sized guardian dog, who doesn't seem to be earning his stripes (although he drools on them pretty well), and Garrett Malloy, the ex-fiancĂ© she left behind a year ago. 

Jill’s past with Garrett becomes the least of her worries when she learns that their lives are in danger. She is the only person standing between a desperate conman and a secret from Pearl’s past. 

Will Pearl’s past kill any chance of Jill and Garrett’s future together?

Thursday, May 19, 2011

So This is a Literary Series. . . By Donna Fletcher Crow

It was really just a throw-away line.  An interviewer on a recent blogtalk radio show had asked me about the backgrounds of my romantic suspense series The Elizabeth & Richard Mysteries.  I explained that The Shadow of Reality is set at a mystery week played out in the style of a Dorothy L. Sayers novel and that book 2 in the series A Midsummer Eve’s Nightmare is set at a Shakespearean festival with obvious references to the bard.

“Ah,” my interviewers said, “So this is a literary series— all featuring different literary figures.”

Well, duh.  Elizabeth and Richard are both English professors (She’s Dr. Elizabeth Allerton, head of the department, he’s Dr. Richard Spenser, the newly hired faculty member) and I’d just told him all about how Elizabeth is attracted to this English gentleman playing a Lord Peter Wimsey-style role for the week and then in the next book how Elizabeth’s sister is a costume designer for the Shakespeare festival and her roommate is an actress and then it turns out that Desdemona’s perfectly acted death scene wasn’t acting. . .

But, honest to God, I had never seen developing plots around literary figures as a driving theme of the series.  Well, that’s going to change, I can tell you.

Background is one of the factors that always drives my novels.  Of course, story is paramount. Without a good story— well, there’s no story.  And without characters there’s no one to make the story happen.  But where it all happens is of great importance to me.  I like to think of my settings as characters in my novels.

I’m passionate about doing on-site research  for all my books.  I make it a hallmark of my writing to try to give my reader a “you are there” experience when developing the background of my novels.  And that means being there myself first.   I try never to have my characters go any place I haven’t been or have experiences I haven’t had— with the obvious exceptions of the occasional abduction and stumbling over dead bodies, you understand.

That means book 3 will have to be Jane Austen.  I’m already compiling a list of tea shops and country houses we’ll have to visit. And this is one research trip my husband, who is fond of his creature comforts and thinks I spend far too much time tramping around in the mud and scrambling over crumbling ruins, has agreed to go on.

In The Shadow of Reality “reality blurs with fiction and Elizabeth is drawn into a dark mystery which she is compelled to solve at her own peril. The characters are well developed and the action flows at a rapid pace that makes it impossible to put the book down. It is a thoroughly satisfying read and an intriguing idea to mix the roles of actor and audience, a complex dance of relationships that keeps the reader wondering what is true and who is real."
                                                                                    --Gwyneth Bledsoe, Death Before Breakfast

“A Midsummer Eve's Nightmare has all the elements of a throat-gripping, sleep-robbing thriller, while still wooing the reader with the tenderness of sweet romance. Set in the idyllic Southern Oregon town of Ashland, where bard-lovers abound, this is a charming page-turner that will keep readers on edge to the very end.” 

                                                                                                --Kathi Macias,  People of the Book

Donna and her husband have 4 adult children and 10 grandchildren.  She is an enthusiastic gardener.  To see the book video for A VERY PRIVATE GRAVE and pictures from Donna’s garden and research trips go to: 

Her blog is at:

You can follow her on Facebook at:

And buy her books here:

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Authorsday: Dennis Collins

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

As far back as I can remember I’ve always been a storyteller. I guess that the idea of writing just naturally grew from that but it was so gradual I can’t pin it down

2.      How long have you been writing?

My first story got me in big trouble with my fourth grade nun. She said that it was violent and destructive. (What do you expect from a fourth grader?) But the fact that she read it and had a reaction to it told me that I had made my point. That’s what I consider the start of my writing career.

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

Some of my earliest reading was Franklin W. Dixon’s Hardy Boys series. And as a teenager I moved on to Mickey Spillane. I kinda grew up reading mysteries. And my fourth grade nun had already convinced me that I could be violent and destructive.

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

Some call it “stream of consciousness” or making it up as you go along.  Basically, I completely define my characters in my own mind and then create a situation. If my characters remain true to the identities that I gave them, their actions are automatic. They’ll be consistent and somewhat predictable.  The trick is in creating the right situations. Some people call them plots. If the characters are strong enough, they will influence the plot. Clear?

5.      What drew you to the subject of The Unreal McCoy?

It started with an article about a thwarted armed robbery that I read in a newspaper.  A few years later I came across the obituary of the man who derailed the bad guys. The fact that I remembered a story that I had only briefly scanned years earlier told me that the original article must have made a strong impression on me. And then one day a title “The Unreal McCoy” popped into my head from nowhere. Now I had the germ of a plot and a title. The only thing left to do was tie the two together with a book. I started writing.

6.      Did you encounter any obstacles in researching it?

Parts of the backstory take place in pre-world war two Italy and other parts take place in the very rugged terrain of upper Michigan’s Porcupine Mountains. Both of those situations presented challenges but if you’re persistent, the information is there and hopefully, it’s accurate.

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

My first novel was “The Unreal McCoy”and being a complete rookie, I had plenty of doors slamming in my face.

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

It’s a little hard to answer that question because the publishing world has changed dramatically since my first book was published. But if I’d had a crystal ball back then I’m sure that it would have told me to just keep writing and stockpiling novels until the Kindle is invented.

9.      How many rejections have you received?

Hundreds.  If you want to count them all, I’m sure you’ll pass the five hundred mark.

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

Don’t be afraid and don’t give up.

Monday, May 16, 2011

ExcerpTuesday: Roseanne Dowell

The bell rang, and Kate half expected to see Mark Westfield again, but instead a man stood with his back to her, in front of the glass case looking at the arrangements.

“Can I help you?”

He turned toward Kate.

Her knees weakened, and her mouth went dry. Just the sight of him, and her heart pounded.

“Hi, Kate, I heard you were back in town. Thought I’d stop by and see how you’re doing.”

Kate grabbed on to her desk and lowered herself into the chair. Her stomach turned summersaults, and suddenly all the anger of the past five years boiled up inside her. In a matter of seconds, Kate experienced every emotion known to man. Love, anger, hate, even fear. It took every ounce of self control not to lash out at him.

Someone once said there was a thin line between love and hate. They weren’t far off. Finally, she settled on indifference. Did she really care what Adam wanted? But how dare he walk in here and act as if nothing happened?

And the way he looked at her, as if they were going to take up where they left off. That cocky grin that used to melt her anger so long ago wasn’t going to work this time. She took a breath and held it for what seemed like forever. Should she play this game, or let him have it with both barrels?

“Hello, Adam.” She knew her voice sounded cold but couldn’t care less.

She held back, to see what he had to say, although he wasn’t acting the least bit self-conscious or guilty. But then, he wouldn’t. Adam always blamed everyone else. More than likely in his mind, it was her fault he jilted her.

She picked up a notepad and jotted down notes for Peg, to avoid looking at him.

“What? No…how are you Adam? Nice to see you? Don’t tell me you’re still mad because we canceled the wedding?”

We canceled! Mad! Like she didn’t have a right to be mad? Writing a note and leaving town was called ‘we’ canceling a wedding.

Kate sucked in her breath and stared at him. His cocky grin irritated her. Figures he’d try to justify what he did. He never took the blame for anything, never had. Too bad she hadn’t seen that before she agreed to marry him. Could have saved a lot of grief.

“I heard you got married.”

“Married and divorced.” He cocked his head at her in a way she used to love.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

A Chat with Jenn Nixon

Do you Plot or Wing it?
Plotter or Pantser. I'm sure many of you have heard the terms before. But what does it mean?

Plotter: This is a person who outlines their story from beginning to end. Sometimes chapter by chapter, other times plotting out a timeline or writing a synopsis.

Pantsers: This is a person who writes and lets the "muse" tell them where to go next.

I would love to sit here and talk about plotting a novel, how to write a killer outline, and all the great technical aspects to pre-plotting a novel.

I can't.

I'm a pantser.

For NANOWRIMO a few years back, I actually wrote an outline. Okay, it wasn't a real outline, it was a “Jenn” outline of notes and plot points and character personalities & attributes, but it was the most pre-planning I've done with any book.

I never finished it.

I still go back and read it sometimes. Parts of it are great, others, not so much. I lost interest right when it was getting good and heading into the final climax. I have no idea why I lost interest, but I have a feeling it had to do with the pre-destined ending and forcing the book and characters to make it there.

Being a pantser doesn't mean I don't have an idea where I want to story to go, in fact, 90% of the time I know the beginning, middle, and end. I just don't know how the characters will get there. For me, that is the best part about writing.

I have the characters in my head, their look, personality, quirks and faults. I know the world they live in. I know the basic skeleton of the plot. I know how I want it to end. Mostly.

I give my characters a wide berth when writing, because even though I am the author, it's not my story. I don't like influencing my characters, I'd rather they drive the story forward.

I'll use my latest novella Wild & Wicked as an example.

When the idea first popped into my head, all I knew was this: Girl working at strip club was looking for something. Guy who visits the strip club (for some reason) ends up helping the girl. And the girl was going to have to give the guy a lap dance before the end of her first night working.

From here, I needed characters.

Veronica's name came to me easily. I'd been watching Veronica Mars for a while and loved the name. Only one character called her Roni, a nickname, to be honest, I never really associated with Veronica before because I don't know anyone personally with that name. I know right! How weird. But that was her name. I didn't want her to look or act like Kristen Bell's character from VM, so I made sure she didn't. Good, I have a character!

Mason's name came from the new Call of Duty game my brother was playing. It was the character's last name, and I liked it. So I used it as his first name and gave him a cool last name. I decided he was a former detective and that he went to the strip club to keep an eye on the owner—so he wasn't really interested in the strippers. I also knew that I wanted him to look similar to Jeffrey Dean Morgan. Yum.

Awesome! I have my characters. I knew the setting. So, I started writing.

As I wrote the novella, Mason's back story quickly filled my brain. I didn't know anything about Veronica, but that was okay, because I always have a mysterious/suspenseful vibe in everything I write, so it didn't concern me. When her back story was ready to come out, I'd be ready too.

I wasn't nervous when I neared the moment where she told Mason her little secret. To be honest, I was as surprised as Mason when she told him. One line filled in all the blanks!

When the second big reveal came from Veronica, I knew I had to pepper in some minor details throughout the story so that it seemed like I knew who she was from the beginning, without giving it away to the reader a head of time.

Once I knew Veronica's back story, it opened up a whole new side of her that I never had in my head, making her even more interesting than before. Total score! It also opened up a secondary plot that I turned into a sequel!

For this particular story, I had no notes, no written description, and no idea where the story was even taking place, except for the club. Everything was in my head and it just flowed.

With my other, bigger projects, I normally write notes and descriptions, plot points, and other minor connecting details to make sure I stay on track with where I'd like the story to go. Of course it doesn't always happen as planned because we all know characters tend to do what they want, but having those notes and comments helps me stay focused on the plot portion.

I've gotten better at this pantser stuff the last few years. I chalk it up to my Star Trek role playing game. (Yes, I’m a geek!) I've been playing this game for a while, with a group of creative people who keep me on my toes every single week. I learned that I have a knack for taking a plot from several months ago and tying it into something we're doing in the present, which in turn creates an even bigger plot with other side plots emerging in the background. I love it! It's one of the reasons I still play because I never know what's going to happen, what the other people are going to do, and I love finding a way to connect everything together. At times, the people I play with ask if I planned to connect Plot A with Plot X and when I say no, they rarely believe me!

When I first started playing the ST game, I was a total plotter. I had things pre-written, I knew what everyone had to do, how they had to do it, and made sure they did it, even if they didn't want to. Those games were fun, but not as much fun as giving people free range with their own characters. Now, I never plot our games. Sometimes I'll set up a scenario and just go with it. Makes it much more interesting!

I've learned to do that with my novel characters too and I couldn't be happier. I love the way I write because it tends to surprise me, sometimes good, sometimes bad, but isn't that the life? You never know what will happen, so your characters shouldn't either. Unless they're psychic, but that's another blog post...

How about you? Plotter or Pantser or a little bit of both?

Jenn Nixon resides in New Jersey. She is a member of Romance Writers of America and Liberty State Fiction Writers. Her love for thrillers and suspense often finds its way into her novels whether they are Science Fiction or Romance. When not writing, Jenn spends her free time reading, absorbing pop culture and current events, and social networking online. Upcoming releases: Wild & Wicked: Tease Publishing LLC – May 15th 2011, Chance of a Storm: Tease Publishing LLC – July 2011. For more information please visit or

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Liz Borino Stops By


“Courage is not the absence of fear, but the decision that something is more important.”

My second novel, What Money Can’t Buy, is being released from Lazy Day Publishing. It’s the sequel to Expectations. Can I be honest with you? I’m scared. My fears aren’t rational, but how many of our fears are? I’m scared of audience reception. Expectations received favorable reviews, but still I worry. What Money Can’t Buy is different. Some would say darker, but I (and my beta readers) like it better. More specifically, I’m afraid What Money Can’t Buy won’t sell well. But that isn’t rational either. See I’m doing more/better PR and marketing for the sequel. I worry the sex scenes are too explicit, really though, who wouldn’t like that (other than my mother, sorry). All these rationalizations don’t stop my fears. You know what, though? I refuse to let my fears stop me. From anything. It’s never stopped me from writing. And now it won’t stop me from sharing the stories with the world.

I don’t expect to ever not be afraid when I press send or publish or even tweet. But I’ll be damned if the fear prevents me from making an impact on the world

Excerpt from What Money Can’t Buy:

* * *

“Matt, where are you going?” Carley asked as he finished setting up the living room and reached for his winter jacket.

Matt took a deep breath and counted to ten in his head. It was difficult to keep the irritation out of his voice when he had to keep repeating himself. “I’m going to pick up my dad, get him settled at Chris and Aiden’s and then eat dinner.”

“You’re eating dinner there?”

“Yeah, hon. I’ll bring you back some.”

“Some what?” Carley asked, trying to tone down her frustration. The doctor put her on bed rest at her last appointment because she had bleeding and he feared a miscarriage. It meant she had two options, the bed or the couch. Carley saw this as an opportunity for her and Matt to slow down and spend some more time together. Unfortunately, he didn’t see it that way. Matt worked more. When they worked together it mattered less how much they were in the office. They enjoyed work after starting their marketing company. Enjoyed each other, their clients, and their other business partner, Cyndi. However, Carley did not enjoy the long days when she was stuck at home and Matt was at work. She was hardly looking forward to three more months like this.

“I don’t know.” Matt ran his hand through his hair. “Chris didn’t know what he was cooking when I talked to him.”

“You know I can’t eat shellfish.” Carley bit her lip after the words left her mouth. How often has either of us made shellfish? Instead Matt gave her a pained smile. “I know and so does he. I’m sure it’ll be chicken or steak.” He walked toward the door and glanced over his shoulder, “Do you need anything else while I’m out?”

You. I need you.Carley shook her head. “Thanks, babe. I got everything I need here.”

He nodded and grabbed his keys. “I’ll be home.” She wanted something else, but Matt chose to ignore it. He had to get out of there.

They moved up to Hartford last week, or rather, he and Chris moved them up. Carley couldn’t help because of the baby. So, she stayed with Aiden. These damn hormones were gonna kill him. And they weren’t even in his body. The first few weeks of the pregnancy were fine. Carley was happy, excited. If he was being honest, so was he. Carley didn’t have any morning sickness. Though, Matt did find himself placating requests of mustard and egg sandwiches in the middle of the night. All in all, the first trimester was pleasant. It was just now that she was starting to get a noticeable belly. Matt thought it was beyond adorable. That all changed three weeks ago.

Blurb: What Money Can’t Buy, the sequel to Expectations, finds the two couples, Chris and Aiden and Matt and Carley, eagerly anticipating parenthood. However, their personal struggles continue. Though Matt overcame his dependency on alcohol, new temptations present themselves. And with Carley on bed rest, these temptations put a greater strain on their relationship. Chris continues to deal with issues regarding his father. These issues increase with greater proximity. When tragedy strikes, the best and worst in everyone is revealed. Can they stick together, or will their reactions tear them apart?

Please pick up Expectations now!



What Money Can’t Buy will be available everywhere on May 18th!

Monday, May 9, 2011

ExcerpTuesday: Marian Allen


by Marian Allen
Publisher: Echelon Press -

Date published: August, 2010

ISBN: 1590807863

ISBN-13: 9781590807866

ASIN: B00403N1TU

Book Description:

The Eel is a place. The reverence is … complicated.

When elderly priest of Micah, “Aunt” Libby, goes on a Final Wandering, she’s accosted and then befriended by an amphibious mugger. The area known as The Eel is infested with worse than minor criminals–it’s under the thumbs of a coalition of greedy, brutal priests. Aunt Libby is a frail barrier to stand between peace and violence, and the worst violence may not come from her enemies…but from her friends.

Aunt Libby is run out of town by the coalition, then brought back by true believers. When her presence is discovered, she becomes a pawn in game of politics, power and prejudice, with her friends held for ransom and her life as their price.

A fantasy with no sorcery or warriors, EEL’S REVERENCE explores the kinds of choices ordinary people have faced through all time and in all places, and shows the contrariness and heroism with which they’ve dealt with the consequences of those choices.

Links to stops at blog book tour for EEL'S REVERENCE:

Buy Links:

Buy or read a sample at AMAZON’S KINDLE STORE

Buy or read a sample at THE B&N NOOK STORE

Buy or read a sample from OMNILIT in a variety of electronic formats


In this scene from — Yes, EEL’S REVERENCE — Aunt Libby, octogenarian priest of Micah, meets Blennie, mermayd member of the mercenary band called the Fortunatos.

My capture exhilarated me. No wonder I’d been so angry with Clare and her plan; she’d brought me back to a place where a true priest belonged—into the thick of a wrong situation—and then had stored me safely away from it. Now I’d been dragged out where I should be, smack in the middle of something nasty. The blood sang in my veins.

We trotted, single file, along a wolf track. We made quite a bit of noise; it wasn’t until I caught a flash of sunlight reflected off a moving eye that I realized we were being monitored. Naturally, I should have known we would be. Did the Fortunatos see the wolf? Did they expect it? Did they care? On the chance I was being rescued from Uncle Phineas, I should have pointed out the animal. On the chance my abductors would kill it, I kept quiet.

We reached some sort of boundary; suddenly, the undergrowth became low ground cover. The wolf didn’t accompany us into the cleared woods, confirming my suspicion that it and the Fortunatos were not in league.

“Let me see this true priest,” the tenor voice said. A horse moved up on our left. “It must be eight years or more since I’ve seen a true priest; they’ve been through, I suppose, but I haven’t paid any attention to them.”

“Paid a lot of attention to them before, Blennie?” someone asked.

The horse pulled along next to us now, and I could see the rider: a mermayd, with skin as pearly as Loach’s, a dark blue tail, and “salt-and-pepper” hair done up in the Fortunato topknot. His skin showed no sign of age, of course, no more than a landsman’s

would, if he spent his life covered in either water or salve. Only his hands showed age: ridged and veined with blue, red, and silvery gray. He must’ve been at least fifty—old for a mercenary.

His saddle and tack looked old, too, gleaming with the soft patina of much use and good care. His gillband was covered with sharkskin and metal mesh.

I looked around and counted four other Fortunatos, none of them mermayds.

“Yes, I’m the only one,” Blennie said. “Why the surprise? You’ve seen mermayds before.”

“Not on horseback. I’ve never seen a mermayd on horseback anywhere in the world but here. Is it normal in the Eel, like the Coalition, or this game of pass-the-priest all you Eelites seem to be playing, with me for a marker?”

“Blennie’s one of a kind, Auntie,” said the woman on whose horse I rode. “Don’t worry about that.”

There was some rough-humored laughter, Blennie joining in with a touch of bitterness.

“I heard you were brought into Port Novo by a mermayd,” Blennie said. “And followed out by the same one, somewhat the worse for wear. Some of your best friends…”

“Are somewhat the worse for wear, yes.”

Author Bio:

Marian Allen writes science fiction, fantasy, mystery, humor, horror, mainstream, and anything else she can wrestle into fixed form.

Allen has had stories in on-line and print publications, on coffee cans and the wall of an Indian restaurant in Louisville, Kentucky. On Tuesdays, she posts on the group blog Fatal Foodies. She has three novels–EEL’S REVERENCE now, SIDESHOW IN THE CENTER RING and FORCE OF HABIT coming in 2011–available through Echelon Press in various electronic formats.

Allen is a member of the Green River Writers and the Southern Indiana Writers Group, and is a regular contributor to SIW’s annual anthology.

Author Links:








Second Life: MomGoth



Go buy Eel's Reverence by Marian Allen (Twitter: @marianallen). It's a great read. It's inexpensive. You'll like it.

-- L. Lee on Amazon

It's an interesting place to visit and a story with a worthwhile message.

-- Joseph on Amazon

My money was well spent - if you enjoy fantasy or allegorical stories, yours will be too!

-- Karen Overturf

Perhaps that’s the key to Eel’s Reverence both as a darned good read, and as a book that provokes questions about our own world—the fantasy is fantastical enough to be fun, and real enough to be believable.

-- Bodie Parkhurst on Speak! Good Dog!

Links to reviews and interviews:

Sunday, May 8, 2011

All Things Romantic Suspense: Rachel Brimble

Rachel Brimble lives with her husband and two young daughters in a small town near Bath in the UK. Having always believed there’s someone for everyone, Rachel started writing her own tales of love once her children were at school. Since then, she’s had several books published with The Wild Rose Press, Eternal Press and Lyrical Press. She has recently acquired a US agent with her second Victorian historical. A member of the Romantic Novelists Association and Romance Writers of America, Rachel cannot imagine her life without romance or writing!

When she isn’t writing, you’ll find Rachel with her head in a book or walking the beautiful English countryside with her family. And in the evening? Well, a well-deserved glass of wine is never, ever refused…

1. If you could ask your readers one question, what would it be?
I would love to know what readers love the most and the least about my books. I think every author is filled with enormous self-doubt at some point (or many points!) throughout the writing of each book, no matter how many they’ve written. To know what my readers think I am getting right and what keeps them coming back for more would give me such a huge boost of confidence to carry on doing what I love.

And for the bits they don’t think work? I will do everything to stop it from happening again, LOL!

2. What do you consider your strengths in terms of your writing?
Dialogue and humor – I love writing dialogue and writing injections of humor into my novels comes very naturally to me. Oh, and I get the impression I write effeminate men quite well judging by the popularity of the butler in my historical The Arrival of Lily Curtis and also Mr. Baxter in The Sharp Points of a Triangle!

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

Plotting, no doubt about it – every book I start is a struggle to get right. Blood, sweat and tears go into all my novels. Figuring out the backstory and why my characters do the things they do always takes up the time I want to really use to tell their stories. More often than not, my characters speak to me about what is happening now rather than their past…but a story won’t work without a past. Frustration!

4. What’s your writing schedule?

Every free minute! I am lucky enough to only work four mornings a week but I do have a young family, a husband and a huge Labrador who needs walking twice a day, so I write around them without neglecting them too much – I hope. Now, the housework is an entirely different matter…

5. What is your favorite word?
Acceptance – and I don’t just mean in the book contract sense! Acceptance encompasses so much good. If we accepted each other as we are, accepted other people’s opinions, beliefs and dreams, the world would be a much nicer place to live in.

6. What other time period besides your own would you like to experience?
Victorian – both in the UK & the US. Everything about the time fascinates me, it was such a huge era of change. From industry, to human rights, the campaign for women’s right to vote began, the American Civil war, slavery, social differences between the rich and the poor. I have written two historicals set in that era and hope to write many more – the scope is vast.

7. Where do you write?
I am lucky enough to have my own office at the bottom of the garden but I only tend to use it from May to November because the rest of the time it’s just too cold or damp (bear in mind I live in the UK!). The rest of the time I am either on the sofa with my laptop and the dog snoozing beside me or at the kitchen table with the dog under the table!

8. What did you enjoy most about writing your latest release, Getting It Right This Time?
This is my first novel involving a child and family situation and that aspect was definitely what I enjoyed writing the most. I have two young daughters and so the heroine’s three-year-old daughter, Jessica was the easiest character ever to write. Her dialogue and actions came so naturally to me, it was lovely. I will definitely write more family-orientated stories in the future.

9. Who is your favorite character in your book?

Kate – the heroine. She has been through a lot before the book opens but she is still kind and considerate as well as being determined, ambitious and ferociously protective of her daughter’s happiness. Her interaction with the hot-shot hero, Mark Johnston is fabulously tense and the sexual tension? Phew-wee!

10. Can you share the blurb & Buy Link with us?

She's back, but this time she’s a mother…intent on protecting her young.
Two years after her husband’s death, Kate Marshall returns home seeking security and stability for her three-year-old daughter. But when her path crosses with ‘the one who got away’…her husband’s best friend, she has to fight the desire to be with him for the sake of further heartbreak for her and her daughter.

A tough, straight talking theatrical agent, Mark Johnston is dangerously handsome, exceedingly rich, irresistibly charming – and branded by the tabloids as one of the UK’s most eligible bachelors. So even though Mark lost the girl of his dreams to his best friend, he finds no hardship in being single. Or so he thought.

Determined not to lose her a second time, Mark has to find a way to convince her they can work. But can Kate cope with the media interest and ruthless, money-hungry clients surrounding him, being anywhere near her daughter? Or accept that Mark Johnston is really the family man he claims to be?

11. Where can my visitors find you?

My website:
My blog (where I have guest authors every Tuesday & Thursday):

My Twitter page (where I share my entire life, LOL!):

Interview with Sarah Ballance

Sarah Ballance and her husband of almost fourteen years live on the mid-Atlantic coast with their six young children, all of whom are perfectly adorable when they're asleep. She often jokes that she writes to be around people who will listen to her, but her characters aren't much better than her kids. Fortunately, her husband is quite supportive, having generously offered to help her research "the good parts." She's never had to ask twice.
1. When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
I never wanted to be a writer—not even when I was writing my first book did I want to be a writer, LOL. I got started after my friend suggested I write a novel and I said I couldn't. Later, my "I can't" response bothered me so I gave it a shot. It wasn't until I finished DOWN IN FLAMES that I decided I really, really wanted to write novels.

2. How long have you been writing?

I started in the summer of 2008 and finished my first book in six months. The entire process was a total whim, and now it's a full-fledged career. That amazes me!
3. How did you pick the genre you write in?

Although my first book was a romance, I've found a home in romantic suspense with my second and subsequent novels. In suspense, the stakes are high. When the characters are in danger, there's a whole new element to the sexual tension that can be absolutely breathtaking. I love the added conflict and the heightened emotion, and, well, I have this diabolical adoration for screwing with my characters, LOL.

4. What drew you to the subject of RUN TO YOU?
I read my first romantic suspense while I was writing my first book, and I was hooked. I wanted to write one more than anything, but a plot refused to come to me until my husband and I took a walk on the beach on an actual "dark and stormy night." That night put the fear in me, and shortly thereafter I dreamed the entire book over a couple of back-to-back nights. We live on the coast, so the setting is near and dear to me.

5. Did you encounter any obstacles in researching it?
Research was light for RUN TO YOU. I had to Google a couple of facts, but otherwise I was able to just write—handy, because my real life obstacle was a difficult pregnancy. Our first five babies were planned, then I had my tubes tied. Imagine our shock when we found out we were expecting baby number six, and on top of that I was relegated to my bed for most of the pregnancy. I'm still kicking myself for only writing one book that whole time, but I was so sick I guess I should be amazed I managed that much!

6. What was the name of the first novel you wrote? Did you try to publish it?
The first novel I wrote is also my first published novel, DOWN IN FLAMES. I never expected it would actually be published, but it was picked up by Noble Romance on my first and only query!

7. Why did you pick the publisher that ultimately published your book?
I did some research, primarily on reputation with readers and authors. Looking back, I realize I didn't know everything I should be researching, but I lucked out. Noble is a fantastic place and the staff and other authors feel like family, and they've more than fulfilled that outstanding reputation that drew me there to begin with.

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

I don't have a "real job," but I'm a mom of six young children (all under 13) and we are a homeschooling family. I'm teaching four different grades at this point, plus have a preschooler and a baby. Otherwise, I'm a full time author, LOL.

9. What’s your writing schedule?
For the past few weeks I've gotten the bulk of my writing done between 8:00 p.m. and midnight or 1:00 a.m. That varies—sometimes I'll get up early—but for now it seems to work for me. I have a couple of periods throughout the day I tend to put toward all of the things you have to do as a writer which have nothing to do with actually writing, so in theory I have my evenings to write. In reality, it doesn't always work that way.

10. Who is your greatest cheerleader?
I'm blessed to have quite a few, but my husband wins the prize. I could name a hundred ways he supports my career, but one of my favorites is the way he'll sit on the floor in front of the bedroom door when the kids won't leave me alone so I can write. I think it's pretty cool how willing he is to give up his recliner after working a 12 hour day to make sure I'm not disturbed! He'll also take all six kids somewhere—the grocery store, the park, anywhere—just to get them out of the house to give me a break. And when it comes to what he calls "the good parts" he is a tireless research partner, LOL.

Book Blurb

The last thing Sheriff Wyatt Reed expected to find on a storm-ravaged beach was a beautiful blonde with a jealous sidekick, but one look at Mattie James left him wanting more. Their first date takes an ominous turn when he gets the call that a woman was found murdered. With a killer on the loose and a troubling lack of suspects or motive, Wyatt's vow not to become personally involved is shattered when he discovers Mattie's life is on the line, and this time the truth leaves her with a deadly choice . . . and nowhere to run.



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Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Lead Poisoning by J.E. Seymour

J.E. Seymour lives in a small town in seacoast NH.  J.E.’s first novel, “Lead Poisoning” was released by Mainly Murder Press on November 1st, 2010.  She has had short stories published in three anthologies of crime fiction by New England writers - “Windchill,” “Deadfall,” and “Quarry;” in Thriller UK Magazine, and in numerous ezines, including Shots, Mouth Full of Bullets, Beat to a Pulp and Shred of Evidence.   J.E. is the markets coordinator for the Short Mystery Fiction Society and a member of Sisters in Crime and Mystery Writers of America.

Mob troubleshooter Kevin Markinson thinks New Hampshire is the perfect place to retire with his family.  But his family doesn’t want to see him and it’s not that easy to retire from his profession.  Then there’s the fact that he is also a fugitive, on the run for a crime he didn’t commit.  Things go downhill fast as he struggles to balance his home life and his job with his need to keep moving as the law starts to catch up with him.