Sunday, February 28, 2010

Ginger Simpson in the Author Spotlight

Pleasing the Critics? When Pigs Fly.

As if writing a book isn’t a daunting enough task, an author then faces the task of finding a publisher who actually likes it. Once you’ve accomplished that major feat and think you can take a deep breath, think again. Reviews! Just the mention of the word makes me shudder.
Reviews are as varied as book topics and movie themes. The future sales of one’s book or cinemascopic wonder depends how a written assessment slants. If the reviewer doesn’t like ONE particular thing in your story, and focuses on that, your sunk. Then, there are some reviewers, it seems, who feel the need to annihilate other people’s work. I’ve been on both sides of the fence–author/book reviewer. I’m not always crazy about the entire content, but I at least try to focus on the positive aspects of the book. There had to be some or it wouldn’t have been published or, in the case of movies, millions spent to film it. Face it!
For proof, I'm offering some varying examples.  Remember the movie, Australia? I suggested to my sister that we go see it. She’s very in to reading reviews to help her decide if she wants to spend the money for a ticket or read. Thank God, not everyone does. I give very little credence to the opinions of others when it comes to books or movies, because opinions are so subjective. Imagine if the success or failure of Hugh Jackman or Nicole Kidman depended on the following comments taken directly from Yahoo Movies:
The film was poorly shot with horrendous transitioning between digital animation and live scenery. "Australia" also took a long time to develop the storyline. The plot was predictable and feebly attempted to chase several "rabbit trails." But the most irritating part of the film was it’s failure to end! On multiple occasions, I expected the film to wrapping up only to realize there was more. I found myself begging for the credits.
Terrible in every sense of the word. The screen writer simply could not settle on what plot to write about. One moment, they were herding cattle. The next, fighting Japanese invaders. Unfortunately, these two stories didn’t connect in any way shape or form…and it was 3 hours of my life that I will never have back.
Hugh Jackman was ok. The film suffers from bad editing, a stupid ending, and the lacking ability to really draw the viewer in. Stunning visuals cannot save this film. It’s like LION KING:THE MUSICAL, meets MOULIN ROUGE, meets PEARL HARBOR, meets THE THORNBIRDS, meets THE MAN FROM SNOWY RIVER.
This movie was a mess. Worst I have ever had to sit through, and I almost walked out. Stupid plot, bad acting (Jackman did okay), worse dialog, ridiculous soap-opera close-ups, just plain awful. A poop-pile of the worst parts of Titanic (cheesy rich girl-poor boy love story), Mary Poppins (aghh the singing), Pearl Harbor (war mixed with gooey love scenes), Quigley Down Under (look at me I’m Aussie!), Cold Mountain (Nicole Kidman again), Josey Wales (the stupid ending), City Slickers (cattle drives!), Indy’s Temple of Doom (rescue the children for the village, Indy), and Commando (worst villain attempt of all time). You should miss this movie at all costs.
Okay…would you go see it now! Remember there are people who sat in the theater and saw a completely different film as evidenced by:
WOW!! I really can’t say enough good things about this movie. Everything was well done. The story line, the visuals were outstanding. It doesn’t surprise me that the critics didn’t really like it, but why would they when there was truth in what was being told. A definite must see.
I don’t write reviews ever but this one is worth taking the time and telling the world they must see this movie. My family spent time in Australia in 2006 and seeing this movie made us all feel home sick. This movie was exactly what Australia is like. Beautiful but harsh and full of unknown history. This movie covered so much of the life of Australians they way they lived and the way things are now. I can’t say enough. You must go see.
I see many movies and some leave no impact on me at all. This movie I will never forget. Nicole Kidman played her role to the max. Hugh Jackman was good also. But the one that touched me the most was the little boy he was excellent. If you enjoy a movie with a believable story,good acting and beautiful location settings this is your movie. It was well worth the 2 1/2 hours of running time. I never once looked at my watch that's how much I was into this movie. Go and enjoy this epic they are not made like this any more in Hollywood.
this film is outstanding! critics take themselves to seriously. the movie had it all, love, action, comedy, and adventure. I loved it. it may be 2 hours long but it is worth it. go see for yourselves. it is truly an epic!
To say that reviews are confusing is an understatement. I’ve been fortunate to have received mostly positive reviews, but I’ve read unfavorable ones of books and movies that I thoroughly enjoyed. Shocking, to see that others didn’t find the joy or excitement I did, but that’s life. Being an author requires a thick skin.  You will never be everyone's cup of tea no matter how hard you try. There will be highs and lows, so revel in the glow when it comes.
More importantly, don’t let another person’s opinion decide for you. That’s my point. Be your own judge and jury. The same goes for restaurants…food critics have caused the demise of some great eateries all because their taste buds were out of whack on one particular evening. It’s sad that we give someone that much authority over our lives. Like I’m going to put a lot of stock in the fact that Joe Blow doesn’t like a particular artichoke dip or spinach soufflé. I’ll be my the master of my own cuisine…reading tastes and movie preferences, too. If the sampling of reviews I offered doesn’t prove my point…then nothing will.


Odessa - available from Eternal Press
When the wagon carrying Odessa Clay and her father overturns, he is killed. She is left alone in the middle of the desert to try to find her way to kin in Phoenix. Hot, dry and scared, Odessa is near death when Zach Johnson finds her. Squinting up into his tanned and handsome face, she imagines she’s died and gone to heaven.
Would-be-outlaw, Zach comes across an unconscious woman alone in the middle of nowhere. Where did she come from? She appears young, but the curves beneath the dusty gingham say otherwise. He didn’t plan to become someone’s hero, but he cannot leave her helpless and stranded.
Will the promise of Odessa’s sweet lips lure Zach from the secret mission that has his gut twisted into a knot? His father’s ranch isn’t the only thing at stake—now it’s his heart, too.

Excerpt
After slipping the sheet music beneath the mattress, Odessa stripped down to her undergarments, hung her dress on the bedpost and crawled between the covers. She stifled a giggle. Zach would be surprised when she gave him the news of her plans, but she’d have to wait and pretend she found the job during the daytime. Believing she’d put something over on him brought a feeling of satisfaction. A smug grin tugged at her lips.
Fatigue from the long day embraced her. She plumped her pillow and pulled the blanket up beneath her chin. Releasing a relaxing sigh, she closed her eyes.
“You’ve been gone quite a while. Gonna tell me where you’ve been?” Zach’s deep voice cut the silence, startling her.
“Ah…I thought you were asleep.” “I’m sure you did.” He sat up, letting his blanket fall to his waist.
Distracted by moonlight from the window highlighting his bared chest and muscled arms, her alibi drifted right out of her mind. 

Ginger Simpson currently resides in Tennessee with her husband and biggest fan, Kelly. He believes he's the inspiration for all her romantic scenes, but Ginger won't verify his claim. Since the publication of her first book in May 2003, she has remained avid about adding to her accomplishments. Her favorite genre is western historical, but she has been known to dabble in other areas. A 2009 EPIC Nominee, she recently won the 2009 Best Historical Novel from Love Romances Cafe for Sparta Rose. She has added the beautiful banner to her wall with other stellar acknowledgments of her work. She retired to devote more time to writing, but her promotional efforts, blogging, tweeting, and interacting with new friends on author’s and reader’s loops have stymied her efforts. She watches her grandson, Spencer, in the afternoons, and besides seeing one of her books in a real "brick and mortar" store some day, her main goal is to help her little darling overcome the developmental delays Autism has foisted upon him. She's got that "million dollar" book in the works, and one day hopes to haul someone into Wal-Mart, point to her novel and say, "That's me." She proclaims that Grandma Moses didn't make it big until her "golden" years, so why not be a believer that good things come to those who wait...and wait...and wait. 

Saturday, February 27, 2010

In the Author Spotlight: Cheryl Pierson

Cate: Please welcome Cheryl Pierson to the Author Spotlight. Cheryl, will you please share a short bio with us?
Cheryl: Hi Cate, and thanks so much for inviting me here to your blog to be interviewed. I’ll be glad to share a short bio with you! I was born and raised in Oklahoma and love it here. I have two semi-grown kids, a daughter and a son, and have been married to my husband, Gary, for 31 years (Feb. 10 is our anniversary.) I’ve always wanted to write, ever since I can remember, and I love being able to do it at this point in my life.

Cate: Happy anniversary! Tell us about your latest releases and where they're available.
Cheryl: Actually I had two releases at the first of December. The first one was my second novel, TIME PLAINS DRIFTER, through Class Act Books, a very special project for me because my daughter Jessica created my cover for this book.
Time Plains Drifter and Fire Eyes were both a PNR REVIEWER TOP PICK!

The other was a western historical short story, through The Wild Rose Press, called A NIGHT FOR MIRACLES.

December was a great month because TIME PLAINS DRIFTER was released on the 1st and A NIGHT FOR MIRACLES was released the very next day!

Cate: Double congrats! You've had a busy few months then. And I love both those covers! But I can only imagine how proud you must be of your daughter's. :)
Please tantalize us with a story blurb or excerpt.
Cheryl: All right, here’s one for TIME PLAINS DRIFTER.

FROM TIME PLAINS DRIFTER:
Substitute teacher Jenni Dalton is flung backward in time 115 years with seven of her students when a comet passes close enough to Earth to rearrange the bands of time. They find themselves in 1895, Indian Territory with no way back to 2010.
U.S. Territorial Marshal Rafe d'Angelico was murdered, along with his brother, sixteen years earlier, in 1879. Now, he finds himself a reluctant angel, brought through time to help Jenni Dalton and her students escape the Dark One who is after one of them. But which one? And for what evil purpose?
Rafe only knows he doesn't want to be an angel, now that he's found the woman he wants to spend his life with. Keeping one step ahead of Satan's man who's teamed up with Rafe's murderer proves to be the hardest thing he's ever faced--until he's forced to choose between saving the woman he loves and spending eternity in a Hell of his own making.
Will love be strong enough to save the TIME PLAINS DRIFTER?

In this excerpt, Rafe has prepared himself to be honest with Jenni and tell her who and what he is, fully expecting her to reject him. But she surprises him with her understanding and acceptance, and he realizes he's fallen a lot harder than he ever intended.

EXCERPT FROM TIME PLAINS DRIFTER:
He closed his eyes, letting the pleasurable feel of her wet mouth on his body wash over him, along with her voice. “Some things never change,”she’d said earlier. Her Oklahoma accent was a slow waltz to his mind, its lilting cadence urging him to accept what they had between them. Still, he couldn’t let it go. Couldn’t ever be dishonest with her, of all people.
“Don’t you want to know—”
She stopped him, placing two cool fingers across his lips, smiling at the tickle of his moustache against her skin. The smile faded as she absorbed the worry in his expression, the smoldering fire in his eyes, and made it her own.
“Not now, I don’t. You asked me—earlier—if I felt it. Whatever it is between us. I do.” Debating with herself, she hesitated a moment before coming to a decision. “I want you, Rafe,” she murmured. “I trust you.” She nuzzled his neck.“It doesn’t matter now, who—or what—you are.”
His hand closed in a fist around the shimmering satin of her copper hair, his chest filling with a sweet peace at her quiet words.
Dead...alive...Mexican...American...man...ghost...angel...
His mind churned as Jenni kissed him once again. Accepting him, for whoever he might be. She loved him. She hadn’t said it yet, but he knew it by the gentle way her lips grazed across his, then claimed his mouth completely, as if that was the only way she had to let him know how she felt. They breathed together, as one.
He answered her wordlessly, his tongue going into her mouth, fingers splaying and tightening against her scalp as he pulled her to him.
She came across his bare chest, the stiffness of the material of her own blouse gliding with gentle abrasion across his nipples. He groaned in pleasure and felt her smile against his mouth. She made the move again as she lifted her lips from his, emerald eyes sparkling into his searing gaze.
“We’ll talk later,” she assured him.
“It’ll be too late to change your mind about me then,” he said, half-jokingly.
“I won’t change my mind, Rafe.”
The sweet sincerity in her voice and the promise in her eyes reassured him. He pulled her down silently. As their mouths melded once more, he rolled, taking her with him, changing their positions so he lay atop her.
She gasped, yielding to him, her cool palms sliding over the fevered heat of his skin, across his chest and shoulders. He began to unbutton her blouse as he kissed her, his fingers moving deftly. He pushed away the first layer of material with his customary impatience, then started on the stays of her corset.
She twisted beneath him at the loosening of the undergarment. He pulled her upright momentarily, whisking blouse and corset over her head, dropping them in a heap on the floor.
In silent invitation, Jenni lifted her hand to him. She touched his side, and he flinched slightly as her fingers lingered over the very place the Bowie had gone into him earlier that day. Even though a red scar marked the spot, there was no pain for him, and he saw no puzzlement in her eyes...only concern.
“Does it hurt?”
It was as he had suspected. She’d seen what had happened, how bad it should have been...but wasn’t. And she had accepted it, unconditionally. They would talk later, as she’d said, but somehow, he felt he would find the words he needed to explain things to her. He shook his head slightly. “No.”
A vulnerable uncertainty crossed her face for a moment. “Well, then, Marshal—what’re you waiting for?” He unfastened her skirt and petticoat, then made short work of the stockings and underpants.
God. Rafe swallowed hard, reaching to trace the faded tan lines across her shoulders. He moistened his lips, his teeth sinking into the lower one momentarily. His pulse raced as his gaze moved over her face—then lower, to her breasts, her flat belly, and the triangle of soft hair, below.

Here’s what Romantic Times Magazine had to say about TIME PLAINS DRIFTER!
“Pierson's fresh, well-crafted novel pits some unlikely heroes against evil incarnate. The characters are vibrant and tell a story of courage in difficult circumstances. An open thread invites a sequel.” ~~Romantic Times Magazine~~ 4.5 Stars

Cate: Wow, very exciting! Congrats on the wonderful review. What inspired you to write about the theme?
Cheryl: I had subbed a very long historical western, my first book I ever wrote, to about 50 agents, and had gotten positive responses from 5 or so. Every one of them LOVED the book, but they all said, “It’s too long—do you have anything shorter?” As it turned out, I was working on a shorter novel at the time, and after I subbed it, the agent I was working with said, “Westerns are dying out. Do you have anything paranormal?” That’s how the idea of this book came about, and once I started writing it, I just couldn’t get it down on paper fast enough.

Cate: Any specific inspiration for your characters (an actor/actress or personal hero)?
Cheryl: No, not specifically. I know a lot of writers tend to model their characters after movie stars but I don’t do that. I have a composite of the character in my mind and each of them has their own distinct personality, flaws and traits.

Cate: How do you pick the character’s names?
Cheryl: That’s a great question. I am VERY picky about naming my characters. To me, that’s one of the most important things about them. When I’m writing a western historical, I am always careful not to name the heroine something like Misty Dawn or Brandy, etc.—names that we would associate with modern times. Some of my characters might have unusual names or variations of a common name, just to set them apart—but not anything TOO wild. I’m really sensitive about that, since my parents saw fit to name me a strange name. LOL They pronounced my name CHAIR-yl rather than SHAIR-yl, like most everyone says it. So I used to tell people that it was CH rather than SH. It was complicated. I named my daughter Jessica because of that. LOL

Cate: Too funny! Do you feel as if the characters live with you as you write? Do they haunt your dreams?
Cheryl: Sometimes! I know when I was writing my first book, the long tome that will probably never see the light of day, the characters were so real and vibrant to me. I think that’s one reason I loved that story so much, in addition to the fact that it was my first book.

Cate: I hear you - mine was the same! And also may never see publication! What's next for you?
Cheryl: I have a contemporary romantic suspense coming out with The Wild Rose Press later this year—not sure of the release date yet, but I’m working on the galleys right now. It’s called SWEET DANGER, and involves a whirlwind romance that occurs during a hostage situation between an undercover cop and a young bookseller who both just happen to be in the same deli for a pastry one morning when it’s taken over by a gang of criminals.

Cate: At what age did you discover writing and when were you first published? Tell us your call story.
Cheryl: I used to sit in church and write my ABC’s on a pad of paper to occupy myself. LOL So I was always writing stories from a very young age, and bless my dear mother, she kept them all, I think. LOL I was first published by our local metro newspaper with some feature stories I did for them, and then through Adams Media’s Rocking Chair Reader series of anthologies. But my first novel was published through The Wild Rose Press, and I will be forever grateful to Helen Andrew, my wonderful editor there. She took a chance on me and helped me hammer my story, FIRE EYES, into a fantastic tale of unexpected love in Indian Territory between a U.S. Territorial Marshal and a young widow who must join forces to defeat a and of renegades that is terrorizing the area after the States’ War. FIRE EYES has gone on to become an EPIC AWARD FINALIST! I have to wait until March to see how it does, so wish me luck.

Cate: Describe your writing in three words.
Cheryl: Twisty, realistic, emotional.

Cate: Oo, twisty - I love that. :) Do you have a writing routine?
Cheryl: No. I wish I did. LOL My life is so crazy right now, I’m lucky to catch 15 minutes here and there—but it helps that I write everything in longhand rather than on the computer.

Cate: What’s the most challenging aspect of writing? Most rewarding?
Cheryl: Most challenging, anymore for me, is finding the time to do it. I love writing, but I’m terrible at promoting—so maybe that’s the most challenging thing. LOL The most rewarding, for me, is hearing from a reader who says, “I loved your story,” or “Will there be a sequel?”

Cate: What’s the most interesting comment you have received about your books?
Cheryl: I think the most interesting comment was that I had two different people who are close to me that told me they couldn’t finish Fire Eyes because they couldn’t believe I could create a villain that realistic—knowing me as they did. LOL One was my cousin and one was a good friend. It dawned on me then, that people who aren’t writers may have some difficulty understanding that just because you create someone in your stories, or a situation, doesn’t mean that you have personal knowledge of that behavior or scenario. It’s just a product of a good imagination. So, although I was sorry they didn’t finish the book, I felt good about the comments, because I knew I had done my job.

Cate: Who are some of your favorite authors and books? What are you reading now?
Cheryl: I absolutely LOVE Teresa Medieros! I’m reading “Some Like It Wild” right now, and just enjoying it immensely. But I enjoy all of her books. She’s my hero, and I want to be her when I grow up. LOL
I am also re-reading Francesca Prescott’s “Mucho Caliente.” Francesca has such a dynamic writing style! So full of energy and life, and she does the impossible—she writes in present tense first person and carries it off !!!
As for favorite authors, I have a ton of them. You know, I read a lot of different genres and sub-genres. I love Eric Flint—he writes a lot of alternate history, and much of it takes place around the area here in Oklahoma where I’m from, and in West Virginia, where my husband is from. So that adds a lot of interest for me. I’m a history FREAK, so the alternate history is a great slant on what actually happened.
Love Diana Gabaldon, Kat Martin, Thomas Eidson, Karen Kay, early Stephen King and Forrest Carter. Probably my all-time favorite romance writer is Christine Monson. Her characters are so real! And the conflict she uses is very multi-layered and hard to figure out how they are going to get out of it. But they always do.

Cate: What impact do electronic readers create on the bottom line for authors? Or in people/the environment in general?
Cheryl: You know, I’m not sure how much I would use one if I had one. I LOVE holding a book in my hands. Love the feel of the paper and being able to turn the page, or go back to re-read the page before, etc. I think it’s maybe because I’m such a technophobe, but I really don’t even think that much about e-readers, other than when I’m traveling and then I wish for one. But I’m going to hold out for the iPad, I think. I know a lot of people who love e-readers, but where I live, most people I know want a regular print book.

Cate: I'm the same, but there are so many great ebooks too!
Where can you be found on the web?
Cheryl: My website is: www.cherylpierson.com

My writing blog is: http://www.cherylpiersonbooks.blogspot.com

My historical blog is: http://www.westwindsromance.blogspot.com

And if anyone wants to e-mail me they can reach me at fabkat_edit@yahoo.com

A Night For Miracles is available at The Wild Rose Press.

I also have another Christmas short story, a FREE READ, available there, Until the Last Star Burns Out.

My debut novel, Fire Eyes, is also available at The Wild Rose Press.

My second novel, TIME PLAINS DRIFTER was released through Class Act Books on December 1st.

Cate: Is there anything you’d like to ask our readers?
Cheryl: Oh you bet! A lot of people in New York City say (and have been saying for years) that the western romance is dead, or is dying. Yet it seems like I know a lot of people who love to read western romance done right. Readers, what do you think about this? I host a day (the second Wednesday of each month) at Classic Romance Revival called “WILD WESTERN WEDNESDAY” and we talk about everything western, but also have discovered that the “West” spills over into many other sub-genres. How do you feel about western romance and what would you like to see changed, if anything, in that sub-genre?

Cate: Readers, Cheryl is giving away PDFs of both Time Plains Drifter and A Night for Miracles to a random commenter... so leave a comment before Sunday night to be in the running. Be sure to also leave your email address so Cheryl will know how to reach you.

Thanks again for being my guest, Cheryl! Best of luck.


Friday, February 26, 2010

Dishin' it Out at Ginger's

Follow me to Ginger Simpson's Dishin' It Out blog, where I'm part of the February Love Fest! Find out how being a handyman (or woman!) can keep your relationship running smooth.
I'll be giving away a PDF of Picture This -- currently one of EP's bestsellers! -- so join the party!


Thursday, February 25, 2010

Little Episodes launch day

Tonight in London is the launch of Little Episodes, an international art collective aimed at destigmatizing addiction, depression and mental illness through the arts.

For anyone reading this in the U.K., here again are the details:
25th February 2010
Contemporary Urban Centre
London Bridge Bankside
81-83 Southwark Bridge Road, London, UK
SE1 0NQ
7pm - 1am

I love that - "London Bridge Bankside." And that it runs till one a.m.

The event will feature musical performances, art exhibitions and will showcase material from the 'expression of depression' anthologies.

I contributed a poem, Invasion (written as C.A. Masterson). I urge you to participate in this worthy cause by buying a copy. I lost two cousins to suicide, so this is dear to my heart. Although I can't be there tonight, I'm there in spirit.

Learn more about Little Episodes at www.littleepisodes.org.



Tuesday, February 23, 2010

In the Author Spotlight: Joanna Aislinn

Cate: I’m happy to welcome Joanna Aislinn to the Author Spotlight. Joanna, will you please share a short bio with us?
Joanna: Wife/mother/occupational therapist/avid reader since she was old enough to hold a book puts fingers to the keys whenever she can. For a reader, often the next logical step is writing, which I believe is true of many authors. Read enough stories and sooner or later you think, “I can do this.” Once I happened across my first local author’s booksigning, the notion was suddenly ‘doable’ and not so far-fetched. I also knew I had the fundamental skills to get started. I already had story ideas running around my head and even had a chapter written at the time. How to books, in-person and on-line critique groups, and later a writers’ association, helped me begin the process of honing and refining craft. (That never stops.)

Cate: Kudos to you for following through on your dream. Tell us about NO MATTER WHY and where it's available.
Joanna: NO MATTER WHY is my debut. It’s a sweet romance, a first-love story. It’s available in digital and/or print formats at: The Wild Rose Press, Barnes and Noble (online only), Amazon, Alibris and Lybrary.com. All the links are at my blog: http://joannaaislinn.wordpress.com/buy/

Cate: Exciting! Debuts are very special. Please tantalize us with a story blurb or excerpt.
Joanna: Five years after finding her brothers murdered, trust and stability are empty words to Carrie Norwell. The walls with which she's barricaded her heart are virtually impenetrable to anyone looking to get close and offer the loving family she wants more than anything.
That’s what Billy Jay Eldridge wants to offer the right girl. He’s managing a store but toys daily with more dangerous career aspirations. When shy, quiet Carrie joins his crew, he sets out to know her better, clueless that his life’s calling will be the biggest obstacle to getting her to accept from him what she needs and wants most.
Here’s an excerpt: http://joannaaislinn.wordpress.com/read-an-excerpt/

Cate: What inspired you to write about the theme?
Joanna: I simply wrote the story. Theme came later, after I slapped a title on to an excerpt/contest entry. The only words I could think of were Regardless…No Matter Why. Two manuscripts later, I still have trouble identifying theme, but I know it’s there and will find me when the time is right.

Cate: Any specific inspiration for your characters (an actor/actress or personal hero)?
Joanna: I read (and reread) one particular historical romance at least three times. No matter what the heroine threw the hero’s way—and she was definitely mean in the way she guarded her very damaged heart--he was as wonderfully perfect; understanding and forgiving as one could ever want yet still believable and alpha as could be in his strong, steadfast quiet way. Billy Jay Eldridge is a bit pushier—thinks love can conquer all with his ‘lasso the moon’ attitude, borrowed from It’s A Wonderful Life’s George Bailey. I like to think Billy Jay almost too wonderful to be, yet still believable. As per the situation that brought him and Carrie together, part of it was inspired by a friend’s story, who met and soon married her (first) husband in a similar setting, right about the same age as my characters.

Cate: I have a soft spot for George. How do you pick the character’s names?
Joanna: Some I like (Carrie), Billy Jay was inspired by another character I liked very much once upon a time. Most I make up as I go along.

Cate: Do you feel as if the characters live with you as you write? Do they haunt your dreams?
Joanna: They certainly live in my head, lol. Scenes play in my head constantly. During first draft, I’ll get the idea for a scene or an incident, usually starting with a conversation between the characters. (I often write dialogue first then go back and add description, sensory details, reactions, etc). In revision, scenes will jump up randomly. I’ll hear then play with parts of the conversation or tweak the action. Whenever I drive, walk or do anything that doesn’t require concentration, my mind will wander to my current WIP.

Cate: What's next for you?
Joanna: Getting up the nerve to submit the query for the sequel and figuring out where a spinoff is going, lol.

Cate: Go for it! At what age did you discover writing and when were you first published? Tell us your call story.
Joanna: I wrote my first piece at thirteen—a fan-fiction, though I didn’t know it at the time. My friend’s dad read it but was so negative in how far I needed to go to revise the piece I quit. Still, my mind always played around with scenarios to television shows I loved, adding my characters to create hero/heroine situations even when there were none. Exposure to a romance author at a women’s retreat taught me those thoughts were story seeds. After I had my second son, the itch to put down at least one of my stories grew. What should have been parts of that grew into NO MATTER WHY. After taking second place in a contest, I submitted and was fortunate enough to get the contract. Funny, when I stop and think about it, how hard it was to put those first words down. Now, it’s up there with breathing.

Cate: Describe your writing in four words.
Joanna: I aim for emotional, spiritual, relatable and palpable.

Cate: Ooh, I love those. So evocative. Do you have a writing routine?
Joanna: On the weekends and during the summer, I always get up before the rest of my family (husband and two boys, tween and teen), exercise or walk and then go for that first cup of coffee. Depending on the day, I might have up to two hours to myself. After checking e-mails, I’ll get to writing. Lately, though, promo has been taking up a huge chunk of my time. I enjoy it, but wish it didn’t dig into the time (and mental energy) which before I dedicated solely to crafting the story.

Cate: What’s the most challenging aspect of writing?
Joanna: Besides the promo? Getting that next story off the ground and finding a way—as a pantster, darn it—to give it shape and direction. Most rewarding? I love starting with a blank page and watching a scene come together, following the arc of its development and realizing I’ve come to the perfect place to end it. Kind of like the splints I used to make in the clinic: I’d start with a flat piece of plastic. By the time I heated, shaped and tweaked it, it had shape and a reason to be.

Cate: What’s the most interesting comment you have received about your books?
Joanna: My readers are so kind, so wonderfully supportive and have said many nice, nice things. Two things, though, stand out. One friend talked about liking books about ‘everyday people.” At the time, she had now idea I wrote, but she gave me confidence in my characters, who were—and are—exactly that. My absolute favorite though, is very simple. A friend read a draft of Billy Jay and Carrie’s first kiss. “I was there!” was all she said when she put down the paper.

Cate: Who are some of your favorite authors and books? What are you reading now?
Joanna: Laura Ingalls Wilder (The Little House Series) and Lynne Austin (Candle in the Wind, Hidden Places) immediately come to mind. I recently read Lisa Dale’s Simple Wishes and thoroughly enjoyed that, too.
What am I reading now? Ironically enough, I just finished one of the worst-written stories that ever landed in my hands. As I paged through it, I kept getting on my own nerves for continuing on. I realized—even though I wasn’t crazy for the characters—that I cared enough about them to see them through to the end. This experience confirmed what we as writers are told all the time: when it boils down to the bare bones, characters are why most readers read.

Cate: How do electronic readers impact authors, people and/or the environment in general?
Joanna: A great question. I don’t own an e-reader yet, but I’d like to. As much as I love a print book, I like the portability of an electronic book and the fact that I don’t need to wonder where to store it or what to do with it when I’m done. On the flip side, I love the feel of a book in my hand. Also, simply leaving a print book at school or putting it in a donation box creates the potential for exposure or find its way into the hands of someone who desperately needs an escape.
Print-on-demand makes a lot of sense to me, especially with all the new software supposedly coming that provides a customer with a beautiful print copy on request. Wouldn’t retailers save tons of money on books that weren’t sold and therefore returned to the publisher, not to mention how many trees wouldn’t be sacrificed?

Cate: Where can you be found on the web?
Joanna: www.joannaaislinn.com, www.joannaaislinn.wordpress.com and lately, at different blogs; anyone who so desires can follow my growing blog trail! Check my blog for a list of appearances.

Cate: Is there anything you’d like to ask our readers?
Joanna: What would you like to see more of from me, both in stories and at my blog?

Cate: Readers, Joanna is giving away a digital copy of No Matter Why to a random commenter... so start commenting. She'll pick a winner on Friday, February 26 at 3 PM EST. Don’t miss your chance – comment away! Be sure to leave your email address so Joanna will know where to reach you.
Thanks again for being my guest today, Joanna. Best of luck with No Matter Why.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

In the Author Spotlight: Rebecca J. Clark

Cate: I’m pleased to welcome Rebecca J. Clark to the Author Spotlight. Rebecca, will you please share a short bio with us?
Rebecca: I’ve wanted to be a novelist since I was about 11 years old and read my first romance. I actually completed my first novel, a YA romance, when I was just 14. It was full of clichés but my friends enjoyed it. When I’m not writing, I work as a personal fitness trainer and group exercise instructor. I’ve been married for almost 23 years, have two usually great teenagers and a menagerie of pets.

Cate: Tell us about BORROWED STILETTOS and where it's available.
Rebecca: Borrowed Stilettos is a sexy romantic comedy about mistaken identity gone awry. You can buy it through my publisher, The Wild Rose Press, or Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Cate: Please tantalize us with a story blurb or excerpt.

Rebecca: Zach’s warm breath mingled with hers as he leaned in to kiss her. Their lips touched, and she swayed on her Manolo-something shoes. He angled his head and teased the closed seam of her lips with his tongue. Her head hummed and excitement rippled across her skin. She gripped his arms, ready to kiss him back, when he pulled away.
His eyes narrowed, creating a furrow between his brows. He knows something’s different!
He cocked his head. “Hmm,” he said, then reached for her hand and guided her down the stairs, like the embrace had never happened.
How could he be so calm, when her entire being quivered like children on the first day of school? Of course, he’d kissed her sister before, so to him this was no big deal. But Audrey had never kissed him. To her, this was momentous.
When they reached the foyer, he dipped his head and whispered in her ear, “You look perfect, by the way.”
She couldn’t help smiling, despite her anxiety. When was the last time anyone had thought she looked perfect?
He cleared his throat as they approached the women. “Mother, Theresa—“
Mother Theresa? Was impersonating one’s sister a sin?

Cate: Love it! What inspired you to write about the theme?
Rebecca: A long time ago, I shared with a writer friend (now the multi-published Charlene Teglia) that back in high school, boys would pretend to be interested in me in order to meet my beautiful and popular sister (HQN author Laurie London). Charli said, “You have to put that in a book somehow.” So I did. My heroine, Audrey, grew up in the shadow of her beautiful twin, Ava. She learns through the course of the book that she has just as much to offer. Is this story autobiographical? Uh, no. Audrey and I both have beautiful sisters, and both of us lost boyfriends to them, but that’s where the similarities end.

Cate: How do you develop your plots and characters?
Rebecca: I wish I had a normal system to share with you, but my writing process is a disjointed, jumbled mess. Sometimes I start with a plot idea or situation, or even a title. I figure out the basics of my characters, what I think their GMCs are, then I start writing. I write a really, really ugly first draft all the way to the end or until I figure out what I’m doing, then I start rewriting. I’ll go through several drafts before I’ll let my CPs see it. I wish I was more of a plotter—it would probably be way less headache inducing, but I’m a seat-of-the-pants girl.

Cate: Do you feel as if the characters live with you as you write? Do they haunt your dreams?
Rebecca: If I don’t feel as if my characters are with me day and night, if they don’t haunt my almost every thought and really start to get on my nerves like long-term houseguests, then I probably don’t know them well enough.

Cate: What's next for you?
Rebecca: I’m the type of writer who always has more than one project going at a time. I probably should focus on just one—maybe I’d actually finish something. :) I’m currently working on a story I hope to submit to Superromance; a romantic suspense novella for The Wild Rose Press; a follow-up to Borrowed Stilettos; and various revisions on manuscripts I’ve written in years past.

Cate: Describe your writing in three words.
Rebecca: I’ll borrow some words from my website: “Sassy. Sexy. Steamy.” I use that in a tagline in my email signature (“Sassy and Sexy and Steamy…Oh, my!”) and one of my non-writer friends thought I was referring to myself. LOL. I wish.
Cate: Any other published works?
Rebecca: Borrowed Stilettos is my first published novel.

Cate: What’s the most challenging aspect of writing? Most rewarding?
Rebecca: The most challenging aspect of writing for me is the promo. I still hear my grandmother’s words in my head: “Proper young ladies shouldn’t talk about themselves.” I’m also quite introverted by nature, so promo does not come easy for me. The most rewarding? Typing “The End” on the final draft is pretty darn cool, but most rewarding has to be from a Facebook friend who sent me a note the other day saying that after she read my book, she and her hubby had sex for the first time in four months. Wow. That was unexpected and kinda cool. Did I mention my book is rather, um, steamy?

Cate: LOL! What’s the most interesting comment you have received about your books?
Rebecca: See answer from above.

Cate: Who are some of your favorite authors and books? What are you reading now?
Rebecca: Like with my writing, I never am reading just one book at a time. Right now on my nightstand are After Hours by Lynne Roberts (on my iTouch—but the formatting is wonky; I might need to wait until I get my ereader to finish it); 4-Day Diet by Dr. Ian Smith (love that Celebrity Fit Club); Prima Donna by Megan Chance.

As for my favorite author? I couldn’t name just one. I’ve been reading a lot of Wild Rose Press authors lately, because that’s my publisher, so I’m partial to them. And I have to give a shout-out to my sister, Laurie London, who’s first book comes out next year with HQN. I wish I could say I didn’t like her writing, because it would make me feel superior, but that would be lying. Just as in high school, I continue to live vicariously through her coolness. LOL

Cate: Where can readers find you on the web?
Rebecca: www.RebeccaJClark.com
www.shywriters.blogspot.com
www.facebook.com/rebeccajclark.author

Cate: Is there anything you’d like to ask our readers?
Rebecca: Do you buy more books from online stores (like Amazon) or from brick and mortar stores? Why?

Cate: Readers, Rebecca is giving away a stiletto bookmark/book thong the day after this post goes live.
Rebecca: Trust me—it’s really cool.

Cate: Thanks again for being my guest, Rebecca. Best of luck with Borrowed Stilettos!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Going for a new look

I just revamped the blog (yet again). I'm in the process of redoing my web site too, but it will take a little longer to streamline, hopefully make navigation simpler and organization more logical. Plus, as much as I love the carnival theme, it didn't quite evoke the right setting. It may take awhile to get all the pages done, but I'm nothing if not persistent.
Thoughts? Suggestions?

New review for Wilderness Girl!

Night Owl Reviews rated Wilderness Girl four stars!

The reviewer said, in part: "Wilderness Girl is a sweet erotic romance. I felt as I knew Dana and Hank and I was rooting for their happiness. I liked the different set up (with camping as a backdrop). I felt [t]he author portrayed a new love relationship, with its obsession and insecurities well. The story worked through their issues rather than glossing over them."

You Gotta Read Reviews gave it its top rating too!



Friday, February 19, 2010

New review for One Soul for Sale!

Woo hoo! Ramsey's Reviews gave One Soul for Sale 4 stars!
I am blown away by this review! It said, in part: One Soul For Sale offers plenty of suspense that will have the reader rapidly devouring the pages seeking answers. Cate Masters has woven a uniquely intriguing and spine-chilly story about a lonely woman searching for love and ends up bargaining her soul to Satan. Vibrant characters, clever world building and a rich plot makes this tale, One Soul For sale, a must read for individuals who desire an immediate skin crawling short story.
Read the full review here.
For the month of February, you can buy One Soul for Sale at a 25% discount!
Here's another excerpt:
Madelyn gazes out the window, adrift as a leaf. “Everything’s on a downhill slide – work, dating, all of it. Sometimes I think I have to sell my soul to get what I really want in life.”
“Well, that’s easy – put it on uBuy.” Gwen shakes her cup to stir up sugar from the bottom.
“You’re such a comedian.” Madelyn reinforces Gwen’s dream at every opportunity. Her friend reciprocates by being Madelyn’s best cheerleader for her art, though lately, her sketches are as uninspired as the rest of her life.
“I try my best.” Gwen’s been revising her standup act for months, perfecting it so she can one day actually perform before a crowd at a comedy club rather than open mike night. Or in front of her bedroom mirror.
Their meager salaries don’t allow for luxury, so neither is a stranger to the allure of uBuy, and both feed their addiction to the site daily. Madelyn finds designer clothing bargains while Gwen goes for vintage. Besides supplementing their wardrobes, Madelyn and Gwen love uBuy for its oddities. The odder an item is, the more appeal it has. Madelyn’s desktop swaying, ukele-strumming hula-skirted Gumby is testament to this. Gwen collects memorabilia of famous comedians; Groucho Marx is a favorite.
On that level, Gwen’s offhand suggestion appeals to Madelyn. “I should list my soul, just for kicks. To see what response I’d get.” People have sold stranger things. Maybe some cute guy would buy it, and who knows where that might lead. She’s already tried online dating, though. Cyberspace, she found, is not a good place to meet strangers.
The notion is erased from Madelyn’s mind by the sight of a stunning man on the sidewalk. Standing by the newspaper vending box, he checks his watch. His dark features are set off by his black shirt, black sport coat and black slacks. He’s so perfect, he looks out of context with his surroundings. When he looks at her, shock waves rumble through her nervous system like an oncoming storm. A rush of heat engulfs her.
“Madelyn? Hey, what’s wrong with you.” Gwen’s voice is distant, as if it comes through a tunnel.
She snaps her attention back to her friend. “Nothing.” In truth, Madelyn knew her universe had just shifted.


Wednesday, February 17, 2010

In the Author Spotlight: Toni V. Sweeney

I'm pleased to welcome Toni V. Sweeney to the Author Spotlight today! Toni's new release, Serpent's Tooth, will be released by Class Act Books this month. Take it away, Toni...




Sex, drugs, and rock and roll…and demon worship…

Most of my novels are set either in a fantasy medieval past or in a futuristic galaxy “far, far away.” Serpent’s Tooth is the first to be placed in a contemporary setting.














In 1988, Hildebrandt, the most successful rock star of that era and an actor who had brought to life one of the most famous horror characters ever created, disappears from his beachhouse, never to be heard of again. In 2009, while on a Carribean cruise, Savannah librarian Melissa Powers discovers herself being stalked by a mysterious cowboy. Agreeing to a midnight rendevouz with the man calling himself Travis Brandt, she discovers his real identity—Hildrebrandt, coming out of his self-imposed exile after twenty years of hiding in the sandhills of Nebraska. Before the cruise is over, Melissa and Travis are involved in a frantic and frightening love affair which ends in a hasty marriage, and the Nebraska cowboy takes the Southern spinster back to his ranch as his wife. In the midst of her happiness, however, Melissa feels as if Travis isn’t telling her the whole truth about why he left Hollywood, and after seeing how attentive he is to his neighbor’s son and daughter, his assertion that he doesn’t want children also rings false. So what is he hiding and why is he lying?

Only too soon, she finds out.

What should have been a happy ending, with two people starting a new life together, is only the beginning, as the horror Travis left behind when he fled Hollywood is now awakened to once more reach out and threaten the former movie star and his new bride.

In a series of flashbacks mirroring events in the present, Travis’ rise and fall are told--the story of a University of Nebraska junior meeting a famous actress …an invitation to go to Hollywood to star with her in a movie…success, money, drugs…the loss of love and the discovery of sex…and Travis’ dedication of himself and his unborn children to a demon who’s now come to claim what he’s owed.

Serpent’s Tooth is my own variation on the Faust legend. It was written in 1980 and had to be completely revised and updated before it was submitted to Class Act Books a few months ago. Not only did I have to change the dates (Hildebrandt’s original decamp from Tinsel Town took place in 1878, which would have been 30 years ago instead of 20 and that would have made him too old for my story), but I also had to add the Internet and cell phones and a few other modernities. I couldn’t help but feel amazed at what has occurred since I originally wrote this story but reading over it, I saw so many places where lifestyles changed and inventions not existing at the time it was written are now commonplace. Not trusting my memory, I did a lot of research into the ’80, especially regarding the music, and current events. I also wanted to combine the Southern atmosphere of my younger days with the place I now reside, Nebraska. Thus Melissa is a Southerner, a woman in her early 40’s who’s goes on a cruise to ease the memories of her mother’s death. Travis is also in his 40’s, a man who fled back to his Nebraska roots in order to hide, a man ready to do whatever is necessary to become a success, who now finds himself afraid to love again because of a drug-induced promise he made two decades before. They are opposites—one a sheltered old maid, the other an orphan who’s always taken care of himself—each seeing something in the other to fulfill a need, thrown together by Fate and a love which is going to be tested in the worse way imaginable.

Serpent's Tooth is a love story but it’s also a horror story, with a typical Toni V. Sweeney ending. I imagine some people may not like it. Still, I feel it’s an entertaining story and I’m hoping those who do buy it will enjoy it.

Learn more about Toni at her website: www.tonivsweeney.com.

Cate: Sounds fantastic, Toni! Thanks again for being my guest today. Best of luck with Serpent's Tooth.
Readers, if you have any questions or comments, fire away!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Cover for new short story, Winning!

I am so psyched! Dawne Dominique is an incredible cover artist, isn't she?
I love this story's premise: If your life changed completely, how much would it change you?

It intrigued me so much, I had to write about it. The concept explores whether anyone would behave the same in different circumstances. Would winning the lottery enable behavior that they'd otherwise not have had the means for? Or would they behave the same, but on a larger scale?

Here's the (unofficial) excerpt:
Scattered people sidestepped the coins as the cup skittered between their shoes. Joe glanced at his watch; his supervisor would be more conscious today of his clock-in time. With a forceful exhale, his fingers readjusted on the handle of his briefcase. A tattered dollar flopped like a fish away from the beggar, who stared somewhere beyond, his eyes unmoving. Joe quickly set his briefcase on the dollar, retrieved the cup, picked up coins from the concrete and tossed them inside the cup. He reached into his pocket, frowned at the fifty–his only bill. Crouching before the beggar, he placed the cup back in his still-outstretched hand. With a rotten-toothed smile, the old man nodded and mumbled unintelligibly.
“Hey, do me a favor.” Joe inserted the fifty dollar bill into the cup. “Go get yourself cleaned up and get something to eat. Okay?”
The old man peered up. “Fortune will smile upon you.”
“Not if I don’t get inside.” Joe gathered his briefcase, let the revolving doors whoosh him through.
Two hours later, he called June at work. “Good news.”
“You got the raise? How much?”
“Five percent. Not as much—”
“Five percent? We’ll never afford the cruise now.” Her whimper’s not as sexy as it sounded fifteen years ago, when he’d slipped the ring on her finger.
He couldn’t blame her. He’d promised her a fifteenth anniversary cruise, and he’d make sure she got it. “Sure we can. We’ll watch our pennies—”
Her tone sharpened. “Watch them disappear. Another twenty’s gone from my purse.”
He groaned, half to himself, “Not again.”
The more money that disappeared from her purse and his wallet, the darker the circles around Janey’s glazed eyes. The more she retreated within herself.

Eternal Press will release Winning sometime later this year.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Just teasin' at Popculturedivas



Visit Popculturedivas and let me know when you think teasing becomes too much - with regard to TV series, that is. :)

This week, I'm also over at Antonia Tiranth's blog. Hope to see you there.

I'm also excited to join the Flirty Author Bitches blog. Today's the relaunch, with amazing author Rita Thedford. Help us celebrate with a comment! You'll want to bookmark this blog, too, so you don't miss out on some very cool prizes!



Sunday, February 14, 2010

Celebrating Valentine's Day with another giveaway

Romance Junkies is throwing a mega Valentine's Day celebration! I'll be giving away a print copy of Picture This and the book thong shown in the photo below. Visit my contest page to learn how you can win!
The contest runs until March 31st.



Saturday, February 13, 2010

In the Saturday Spotlight

Join me over at Pamela Thibodeaux's blog today! Pam graciously invited me over for a chat, so come on over, grab some hot chocolate, put your feet up and hang out a while! I'll be giving away another PDF of Design for Life, so comment away.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Continuing the Design for Life release celebration!

Come on over to Emma Lai's blog, where I'll be giving away another PDF copy of Design for Life! It's my birthday today too, so it's a double celebration. Woot!

Here's the trailer again:




Thursday, February 11, 2010

Celebrating Valentine's Day early

For a little early Cupid Day advice, visit me over at J. Rose Allister's blog, The Power of Passion. You might be surprised to learn why red's so important on this holiday. Leave a comment for your chance to win any of my stories. Check out the available titles on my web site.


Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Release day for Design for Life!

I love release days! Today The Wild Rose Press releases Design for Life!
Joanna Aislinn is graciously allowing me to celebrate at her blog. Come on over! I'll be giving away a PDF copy to a random commenter. [As I write this, we're getting round 2 of Snowmageddon: another foot to two feet expected on top of the weekend's two feet of snow, so fingers crossed that the power and my Internet connection holds! If I'm not there, you'll know why!]

Here's the story blurb:
Becca Lyndon puts her dreams on hold by leaving art school to care for her ailing mom. Working full time at The Flower Basket leaves precious little time, but she squeezes in night classes at the local college. When Mike Hunter fills in as a substitute teacher, she worries about a repeat of the critical reviews he gave her work when he substituted at her high school three years earlier. His reason comes as a complete surprise, but can she trust him? Or will he disappear like her father? When that possibility looms all too real, she’s determined never to let the design for her life unravel again. Following her bliss requires work, but pays off in more ways than she ever imagined. She also learns that one door might close, but another can open—and lead to unexpected opportunities.

Here's the excerpt:
“Morning, ladies!” Becca took a moment to inhale the scent of fresh flowers permeating the air.
With a smile, Steffie waved as she talked on the phone.
Hitting a series of keys, Grace turned. “Hey, Becca.”
Donica Laurent entered from the back of the shop. “Good morning!”
The homey atmosphere in the shop always unraveled Becca’s wound nerves. Walking to the counter, she reached into her handbag, oversized to double as a briefcase to carry her art supplies. Her presentation last night had gone well, but she hoped this morning’s would surpass it.
“If you have a minute, can you take a look at these designs and let me know what you think? I used them for my class project last night.”
Grace laid a hand on her arm, her face alight. “Did you wow them?”
With a grin, Becca pulled out her sketch pad. “Not exactly. But Mr. Hunter said they were good.”
Her brow furrowed, Donica stepped next to her. “Who’s Mr. Hunter?”
“A substitute teacher.” Her words came out in a sing-song tone.
Steffie clucked her tongue. “Something about the way you say that makes me think he’s kinda cute.”
Becca couldn’t help but smile. “Not kind of. Very.”
At home last night, she found herself sketching Mike Hunter. His dark hair, tapering to the top of his collar, made her want to run her fingers through its waves. She wanted to remove his black rectangular-framed glasses, peer into his dark brown eyes that sparkled when his gaze met hers. Press her lips against his and push his corduroy jacket from his shoulders. Drawing his features gave her a sense of intimacy, one she wanted to experience.
Hoping the women didn’t notice, Becca fanned the warmth from her neck.
Thank goodness they were too busy laughing. Since she’d been hired at The Flower Basket, the three co-owners had come to feel like her sisters. Warm. Supportive. On the days she had to bring Mom to her doctor appointments, all encouraged her not worry about them, even though the shop had attracted so much new business, they sometimes put in sixteen hours.
Becca hoped to give something back. Something worthwhile.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

My heart is Across the Pond this month

Ah, if only I had some frequent flier miles, I'd go to London for the launch of the Little Episodes, an international art collective aimed at destigmatizing addiction, depression and mental illness through the arts.

For anyone reading this in the U.K., here are the launch details:
25th February 2010
Contemporary Urban Centre,
London Bridge Bankside,
81-83 Southwark Bridge Road, London, UK,
SE1 0NQ.
7pm - 1am

The event will feature musical performances, art exhibitions and will showcase material from the 'expression of depression' anthologies.

I contributed a poem, Invasion (written as C.A. Masterson). I urge you to participate in this worthy cause by buying a copy. I lost two cousins to suicide, so this is dear to my heart. Although I can't be there on February 25th, I will be there in spirit.

Learn more about Little Episodes at www.littleepisodes.org.



Friday, February 5, 2010

One Soul for Sale - on sale!

For the month of February, you can buy my ebook One Soul for Sale at a 25% discount! It's a great bargain for a great book. :)

Here’s part of what You Gotta Read Reviews said about One Soul for Sale:
"The writing style made me feel as though I were a part of the story instead of someone on the outside looking in. I was pulled into the story and couldn't stop until I hit the last page. The ending by the way ..... OUTSTANDING! I loved it! One Soul for Sale was filled with action scenes which made it a riveting story. Ms. Masters has done an outstanding job with One Soul for Sale and has exposed me to a genre that I want to read more of. I recommend this book to anyone who wants an exciting read that will have you turning the pages as quickly as possible."

Deanna from GhostWriter Literary Reviews gave the novella five stars! She said: "What I liked most about this book is that it has an unpredictable ending, making everything fall into place. This is a well orchestrated read. Job well done!"

Stevi B. of Manic Readers gave it four stars, and said: "This story will keep you guessing all the way to the end! If you like unusual stories, with a twist of paranormal, and a touch of whimsy, then you will like One Soul for Sale."

Here's an excerpt:
Madelyn gazes out the window, adrift as a leaf. “Everything’s on a downhill slide – work, dating, all of it. Sometimes I think I have to sell my soul to get what I really want in life.”
“Well, that’s easy – put it on uBuy.” Gwen shakes her cup to stir up sugar from the bottom.
“You’re such a comedian.” Madelyn reinforces Gwen’s dream at every opportunity. Her friend reciprocates by being Madelyn’s best cheerleader for her art, though lately, her sketches are as uninspired as the rest of her life.
“I try my best.” Gwen’s been revising her standup act for months, perfecting it so she can one day actually perform before a crowd at a comedy club rather than open mike night. Or in front of her bedroom mirror.
Their meager salaries don’t allow for luxury, so neither is a stranger to the allure of uBuy, and both feed their addiction to the site daily. Madelyn finds designer clothing bargains while Gwen goes for vintage. Besides supplementing their wardrobes, Madelyn and Gwen love uBuy for its oddities. The odder an item is, the more appeal it has. Madelyn’s desktop swaying, ukele-strumming hula-skirted Gumby is testament to this. Gwen collects memorabilia of famous comedians; Groucho Marx is a favorite.
On that level, Gwen’s offhand suggestion appeals to Madelyn. “I should list my soul, just for kicks. To see what response I’d get.” People have sold stranger things. Maybe some cute guy would buy it, and who knows where that might lead. She’s already tried online dating, though. Cyberspace, she found, is not a good place to meet strangers.
The notion is erased from Madelyn’s mind by the sight of a stunning man on the sidewalk. Standing by the newspaper vending box, he checks his watch. His dark features are set off by his black shirt, black sport coat and black slacks. He’s so perfect, he looks out of context with his surroundings. When he looks at her, shock waves rumble through her nervous system like an oncoming storm. A rush of heat engulfs her.
“Madelyn? Hey, what’s wrong with you.” Gwen’s voice is distant, as if it comes through a tunnel.
She snaps her attention back to her friend. “Nothing.” In truth, Madelyn knew her universe had just shifted.




Thursday, February 4, 2010

Visit the Spicier Side with me...

...at Emma Lai Visits the Spicier Side blog. Yesterday, Wilderness Girl was featured. Today, read how you can boost cognitive function with an erotic romance. :)
Wilderness Girl happens to be an erotic romance with humorous elements. You Gotta Read Reviews gave it its top rating too!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

In the Author Spotlight: Linda Poitevin

I'm so happy to welcome Linda Poitevin to the Author Spotlight.

Here's a little bit about Linda: Linda Poitevin lives just outside Canada’s capital, Ottawa, with her husband, three daughters, and a varied collection of animals. In her spare time, she gardens (organically), cans and freezes the family’s winter fruit and vegetable supply, knits (basically), crochets (better), and starts way more projects than she ever finishes. (Fortunately that doesn’t hold true of her books!) She loves spending time with her family, having coffee with friends, walking by the river and watching thunderstorms…in about that order.

Linda's latest is A Fairy Tale for Gwyn, available from The Wild Rose Press as an ebook or paperback. Linda's going to give us The Inside Scoop on her release. Take it away, Linda! And readers, you'll want to pay special attention to number 5! As part of her blog tour, Linda will be giving away a pair of artisan-crafted earrings as well as a $10 gift certificate to The Wild Rose Press (a total prize package worth $20) to one lucky commenter.


The Inside Scoop (Five things most people don’t know about A Fairy Tale for Gwyn)

Writers often draw their inspiration from real life, building characters and stories around actual places and events. A Fairy Tale for Gwyn began with such inspiration – here is some of the “story behind the story”:

1. Sometimes truth really is stranger than fiction. While Gwyn is an entirely fictional character, her back story is based in such truth. A former acquaintance’s husband went to the store one night after their second child was born and didn’t bother coming home again...and he didn’t call her for more than a week. I suspect her story isn’t an isolated one and I can’t even begin to imagine the sense of betrayal a woman must feel in those circumstances…or the strength she possesses in finding a way to go on.

2. The house Gwyn lives in is an actual home in the heritage district of Gatineau’s Aylmer sector. It’s a lovely, gracious old place, all red brick with sage-green trim, a covered front porch, the addition I describe in the book, and an amazing back terrace. And the really cool thing? I found out after completing the story that the woman who lived in the house at the time I was writing (she has since sold the place) was an architect who designed the addition on the back! I still go out of my way to walk or drive by whenever I can, and can’t help but wonder if the inside is anything like I envisioned.

3. I drew on my own experience with raising twins for the story. I have identical twin girls who are now in university, plus another girl (I’m a brave woman! ). While I wish I’d thought of the dot-to-dot idea when my twins had chicken pox, none of the incidents I use in the story are real. The scenarios aren’t far off the mark when it comes to the level of mischief, however, and yes, in my experience, twins really do look out for one another the way Maggie and Nicholas do. When they’re not fighting, of course!

4. The restaurant where Gwyn and Gareth have dinner is based on the one my husband took me to the night he asked me to marry him. It was in December, and he had a limousine pick us up and drive us around Parliament Hill (the seat of Canada’s federal government) to see the Christmas lights, and then up through Gatineau Park to the restaurant. The restaurant is called L’oree du Bois, French for The Edge of the Woods, and is nestled into the woods near the foot of a hill. No girl could ask for a more romantic setting, and if you’re ever in the area, I highly recommend it!

5. Gareth, complete with long hair and great physique :) was modeled after a character in a television series that ran for six seasons. Any guesses as to who that character was? I’ll give one randomly drawn, correct response an extra entry in my blog-tour draw for a set of artisan-crafted earrings and book gift certificate!


Here's the story blurb:
Gwyn Jacobs doesn’t believe in happy-ever-after.
Ever since her ex-husband walked out four years ago, abandoning her with a toddler and infant twins, Gwyn has been mother, father, and bread-winner all rolled into one. Her own scarred heart and failed marriage aside, she is determined not to open up her children’s lives to the possibility of another heartbreak...until her very own fairy tale falls into her lap -- and the hero won’t take no for an answer!


And here's an excerpt:
“It’s me. Did I wake you?” Rich, dark tones washed over her, velvet-smooth.
Gwyn clutched at the duvet and dragged it up to her chin. Her traitorous heart thudded against its confines. She swallowed. Cleared her throat. Managed a barely coherent, “No. I was awake.”
“Me too.”
Silence.
She wiped sweaty palms against the duvet, one at a time.
“I miss you,” he said.
She squeezed her eyes shut and coached herself through the forgotten art of breathing. Inhale…exhale…
Gareth’s voice deepened, roughened. “Tell me you’re suffering as much as I am.”
“I…uh…”
“The truth.”
The ache that had started in her belly spread relentlessly outward. He wanted the truth. But how could she tell him something she was still trying to avoid acknowledging?
“Gwyn?” the deep voice prompted, with an edge to it that startled her. A rawness that echoed her own state.
“I’m here.”
“And?”
She exhaled shakily and tightened her fingers around the receiver. “And I’m suffering, too,” she whispered.

Thanks again for being my guest today, Linda! Wishing you all the best with A Fairy Tale for Gwyn!




Monday, February 1, 2010

Spotlights here and there

Tomorrow my first Spotlight author will be here!
And on Wednesday and Thursday, I'll be over at Emma Lai's Spicier Side blog, so I hope you'll pop over for a visit. On Wednesday, I'll be discussing how you can Boost Your Cognitive Function With an Erotic Romance. :)
Wilderness Girl will be featured on Thursday. Hope to see you there!