Friday, April 30, 2010

Today is Blogmania day!

WELCOME To BLOGMANIA !
My Blog is 91 of 123 participating blogs. Today, you will have the opportunity to explore lots of new blogs, all of which ARE GIVING AWAY A VERY SPECIAL BLOGMANIA GIVEAWAY. It's for today only – April 30th.

We’ve done all the work for you. No hunting or surfing. Each blog will have a number and each new blog link will have a number. These numbers will allow you to keep track of which blogs you’ve visited and how many are left to visit. Why not take a moment to make a list of blog numbers 1-123 and check off the blogs as you go.
So many blogs have fantastic giveaways, you’ll want to visit as many blogs today as you can. So, if you see something that interests you on any of our participating blogs, why not bookmark that site. Later, when you have more time, you can discover all its fabulous treasures.

MY GIVEAWAY and RULES
To be eligible for my giveaway, all you need to do is leave a comment here, and if you're not already following my blog, become a follower. Be sure to leave your email address so I will know how to contact you.
Easy peasey! :)
Tomorrow, I'll collect everyone's names into a bowl, blindfold a member of my family and have him or her draw a name. That person will receive:

One print copy each of One Soul for Sale and Picture This, both bestsellers at Eternal Press!



Also, a bracelet handmade by me, and a beaded book thong! Click on either photo for a closeup view.



BE SURE TO VISIT THESE OTHER BLOGS TODAY:
Blog 1 – HOST OF BLOGMANIA) Between The Pages - http://betweenthelinesandmore.blogspot.com/
(Blog -2 – CO-HOST OF BLOGMANIA) The Black Sheep Dances - http://www.theblacksheepdances.blogspot.com
(Blog-43 - CO-HOST OF BLOGMANIA) Books, Books Everywhere - http://bookywooks.blogspot.com/
(Blog-42) Information Central - http://blog.stephaniesuesansmith.com
(Blog-66) Little Yayas and Blessed - http://littleyayasandblessed.blogspot.com
(Blog-82) Carpe Libris - www.seizethebookblog.blogspot.com
(Blog-119) A Bead A Day - www.abeadaday.blogspot.com
(Blog-72) Mommy Has To Work - http://mommyhastowork.blogspot.com
(Blog-53) Dark Faerie Tales - www.darkfaerietales.com
(Blog-76) Under The Boardwalk - http://nisefunpages.blogspot.com
(Blog-80) I Just Wanna Sit Here and Read - http://ijustwannasithereandread.blogspot.com

For the full list of participating blogs, visit Between The Pages: http://betweenthelinesandmore.blogspot.com/

Comment and click away! Good luck, and happy blog-hopping!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Tomorrow is Blogmania!

Tomorrow is Blogmania! It's going to be a manic day of fun and giveaways from more than 120 participating blogs.

Remember to start at any of the blogs participating in the Blogmania Event as early as possible on April 30th so you'll be able to visit as many blogs as you'd like.

This is an international event, so understand that there will be some differences in time zones, allowing you to access some blogs early and others late.

Each blog will have their own giveaway requirements. Read them carefully, follow through, and then move on as quickly as possible. If you run across a blog that you really like and want to spend some time exploring, be sure to copy their URL and then visit them after Blogmania is over.

Each blog will post their number to help you keep track of which blogs you’ve visited, and which ones you still can visit. You may want to prepare a blog sheet numbered from 1 – 123, then mark off each numbered blog as you visit. All blog links provided will also have a number like (Blog 89 of 100). Look for the blogs that you haven’t yet visited and follow those links until you’ve checked off all the blogs on your sheet.

Blogs of all types are participating in Blogmania, which means that the range of items in their giveaways are diverse and awesome! You won't want to miss it!

My blog is set to automatically post at 1:00 a.m., if you're a night owl and happen to be up that late, or if you want to get a jump on the giveaways.

Author Chat with Maria Zannini

Grab a cappuccino and let’s chat. Unless you have another favorite drink (alcoholic or otherwise)?
I’m not a coffee drinker, but I’ll gladly clink an icy glass of Coke Zero with you.

Cheers! Fur or feathers, petwise?
Definitely fur, with eight paws and two wet noses. Have I introduced you to my boys? There’s Tank, brawny and a little intimidating, but a true gentleman. And then there’s Iko. :shakes head: Iko is my penance on Earth. Fortunately, I think he’s outgrown his teenage insecurity. I haven’t lost a piece of furniture in months.

Whew. Glad the eight paws and two wet noses are on separate doggies. And those boys look like workers!
Best life lesson?

A long time ago, when I was just a kid, a beggar came to my grandmother’s door. He was dirty and hungry and I probably would’ve sent him away out of fear and suspicion. But my grandmother didn’t. She made him this humongous sandwich and stuffed a shopping bag full of fruit and bread. In the forty years since, I’ve never seen a man more grateful.
When she caught me watching, she explained that how we treat others says more about us than any glowing words or bald praise. I never forgot that lesson. We can sugarcoat our words all we want, but it’s our actions that define us.

Wise woman. Favorite quote?
There are forty million reasons for failure—but not a single excuse.

What’s your ideal day like?
A productive morning writing, an afternoon napping with my husband, and an evening sitting on the sofa reading while hubby cooks a gourmet meal (and washes the dishes afterward). You did say ideal, right?

That does sound ideal!
If you could live out any fantasy, what would you do?

One of the items on my bucket list is to travel the world, but not the regular touristy locations. I want to eat with Mongol nomads inside a yurt, ride elephants in India, and traipse through the rainforests in the Amazon. And while I’m fantasizing, I’d also like a new knee and fifteen years shaved off my body. :-)
You wouldn’t happen to know anyone who could do that for me, would you?

Wish I did, he'd be a popular guy! And ah yes, I always wanted to accompany Michael Palin on his travels too. He went exactly those places. And he'd be a cool travel companion. :)
Do you have a music playlist for your book?

Only for love scenes and fight scenes, and I only play them before I write, not during. I listen to Toby Keith, Lady Gaga and Nickelback. And I have to thank you for introducing me to Adele. ‘Rolling In The Deep’ makes a great soundtrack when I’m trying to envision angst and revolution.

I finally broke down and bought the Adele CD. She's amazing.
Which of your characters would you most/least to invite to dinner, and why?


Greyhawke Tams, the hero in Apocalypse Rising. There’s nothing I like to see more than rippling muscles at the dinner table. LOL. I’d also like to invite Bone, the dog from the same story. He’s a hero in his own right, despite being abandoned and down on his luck. Pooches are always welcome in my home.

Both are welcome in my home as well!
While creating your books, what was one of the most surprising things you learned?

Social networking really works. In the early days, I shunned Twitter and Facebook as if they were flesh-eating bacteria, but I knew I couldn’t avoid them forever.
But what to do? I was afraid of coming off like a fish monger hawking his wares. Yet, if I remained silent, I’d be all but invisible.
After some serious debate, I decided to use my blog and Facebook to tell my stories about the little things that happen to me on the homestead. On Twitter, I retweet other people’s books and blogs. Slowly, people started showing up and we were having relationships instead of drive-bys.
I discovered I didn’t have to put on airs or constantly pitch my brand. All I had to do was be myself.
It’s a slow way to reach an audience, and it won’t appeal to everyone, but I prefer it to the in-your-face-rabid-monkey dance. I want to keep my readers for a long time, not just for one book, but for a lifetime. If they like my voice and true life stories, chances are good they’ll like my books too.

Well said. Where can readers find out more about you?
Follow me on my blog: http://mariazannini.blogspot.com/
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/mariazannini
Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/MariaZannini
Buy link for Apocalypse Rising
Buy link for Touch Of Fire

Both are on my TBB list! You know I loved True Believers.
Please share a book blurb and/or excerpt.

Here’s a conversation between our heroes, Leda and Grey with two strangers (Tom and Cassandra) who claim to know them.
“If our theory is correct, the portal should send you twelve hundred years in the past, just before the apocalypse.”
“The apocalypse?” Leda leaned toward him. “Is that when the end times appear?”
Tom blew out a breath. “It happened so subtly most people never knew what hit them. But you’ll be well prepared. You know how to live without machines.” He looked over at Grey. “And you know how to fight.” Tom grabbed a short branch and scratched out a crude map on the dirt. “You’ll come out in a forest. And there’ll be a freshwater spring just north of it.”
Grey shook his head. “The portal is inside a rocky crag halfway down a cliff. There is no forest nearby, let alone a spring.”
Tom gathered the soft bundle of green paper and tucked it into an old leather sleeve. “Things change, Grey. The forest was there. So was the spring. Twelve hundred years ago.” He pinched the bridge of his nose, his soft hazel eyes crinkling like dried leaves in winter.
Leda studied the older couple, but without the aid of auras, their secrets remained buried. “Why are you helping us?”
Cassandra smoothed Leda’s hair away from her face. “Because you helped us once, darlin’. Twelve hundred years ago.”

Bio: Maria Zannini used to save the world from bad advertising, but now she spends her time wrangling chickens, and fighting for a piece of the bed against dogs of epic proportions. Occasionally, she writes novels.

Apocalypse Rising blurb: The only place to hide was in the past. Leda and Grey have one chance to escape a madman and that’s through a portal to a time before the apocalypse. But nothing has prepared them for 21st century culture, and every misstep draws them closer to the End Times. The world is teetering on extinction, and they may very well be the cause of it.

Apocalypse Rising is the sequel to Touch Of Fire. I hope you’ll try them both.

Very cool. Thanks so much for being my guest Maria! A cyber toast to you on your latest release. Best of luck!


Tuesday, April 27, 2010

In the Author Spotlight: Colleen Love

Cate: Please welcome Colleen Love. Colleen, will you please share a short bio with us?
Colleen: Sure! I live in NW Washington, in a small farming community. My nest is here, my roots are here, and I have no desire to be anywhere else. For fun, we hike mountain trails, go to the beach, bird watch, or just stay home and play with our own critters. I assist with eight horses, when needed (by them or their owner) and find no greater satisfaction then gaining the trust of these fine animals.
I am still new to publishing, my first release was in 2007, and I find the whole industry exciting and fascinating. Writing is the first thing I think about in the morning and the last at night. It has become something I live and breathe for.
Thank you for having me to your blog, Cate! I look forward to meeting your readers and having some fun today!

Cate: Tell us about your latest release and where it's available.
Colleen: My last release was Eden at Twilight available through The Wild Rose Press. It’s in both e-book and print and can be found here:
http://www.thewildrosepress.com/colleen-love-m-262.html

Cate: Such a lovely cover. Please tantalize us with a story blurb or excerpt.
Colleen: Would love to!
EDEN AT TWILIGHT is the story of Lily, a woman who wants love, and Leaf, the man who risks it all to love her.
Lily Moore is an ordinary accountant who works long hard hours, leaving room for little else. After strange occurrences begin haunting her, she’s convinced by a motherly friend to take a vacation in Scotland. While there, she meets the man of her dreams, a handsome stranger with shifting hazel eyes.
Leaf falls for Lily the moment he sees her, love at first sight. Never has a woman taken his heart so quickly. When trouble stirs and threatens her, he stands by her side, traveling through time and dimension to reclaim her from a deadly Drow leader. Lily has no choice but to trust him and hope his strength will pull them through. But is his strength alone enough?

Cate: What inspired you to write about the theme?
Colleen: Viggo Mortenson… lol… This book is affectionately called my Viggo book. :) This man fascinates me to no end. He has this Zen exterior and raging passion inside that really shows in his acting. I love it and find it inspiring.

Cate: I'm a Viggo fan also. How do you develop your plots and characters?
Colleen: My Notebook! And I do mean a notebook with paper and a pen. :) I use rough outlines to sketch out the story and plot the path it will take. I also use astrology to make my characters. From there, the story just falls into place and I move forward. Sometimes it seems to be a chain reaction, or a movie that plays out. I call myself a plotting pantser. :)

Cate: Do you feel as if the characters live with you as you write? Do they haunt your dreams?
Colleen: Yes, I feel like the characters are completely alive and think maybe they are, in my own little twisted dimension. Hehe I’ve lost many a night’s sleep over my characters goading me up to write. It’s such a bittersweet thing to be the victim of your own Muse.

Cate: What's next for you?
Colleen: I have three finished works now, just deciding where to put them. I don’t think I’ll ever run out of story ideas. My imagination is much too active for that.

Cate: Any other published works?
Colleen: Yes, I have three others.
Thief of a Goddess’ Heart, and Hearts Afire: June, with Liquid Silver Books.
Autumn Windsong with The Wild Rose Press
Also free read stories in two anthology’s on my website.

Cate: Describe your writing in three words.
Colleen: energetic, descriptive, fantasy

Cate: What’s the most challenging aspect of writing? Most rewarding?
Colleen: The most challenging would be finding the time I want. Mundane life wreaks havoc with my fantasy world at times. The most rewarding is when a reader/reviewer tells you how much they enjoyed escaping into your world.

Cate: What’s the most interesting comment you have received about your books?
Colleen: I’ve gotten some good and bad, like any author, I guess. One good one I really liked was that Eden at Twilight appealed to a reviewer, because after reading so many erotic stories, she enjoyed the break with something a little sweeter. On the other hand, I had a reviewer say I’d ruined an entire anthology with my one little story. That’s a lot of power there, my friends!! :) hehe The same story got glowing reviews elsewhere, so it’s all just a matter of opinion. :)

Cate: Who are some of your favorite authors and books? What are you reading now?
Colleen: Right now, I’m reading, and studying Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series. I love and savor every word. Some of my others are Denyse Bridger, who can’t write a bad sentence if she tried. Bridget Aine’s Torrent series, Antonia Tiranth’s dragon stories, and R.L. Stuemke’s paranormal tales are very well told. Just love them all! :)

Cate: Where can readers find you on the web?
Colleen:
www.colleenlove.webs.com
www.colleenslovenotes.blogspot.com
http://www.facebook.com/#!/authorcolleenlove?ref=profile (Friend Page)
http://www.facebook.com/l.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fauthorcolleenlove%3Fv%3Dfeed%26story_fbid%3D388897414467%23!%2Fpages%2FColleen-Love%2F166361852353&h=3b481 (Fan Page)

Cate: Is there anything you’d like to ask our readers?
Colleen: I would love to know what readers love to read and why.

Cate: Readers, Colleen is giving away a book to a random commenter... so start commenting. She'll pick a winner on the evening of Thursday, 4/29.
Thanks again for being my guest, Colleen! Best of luck.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Kat Doran in the Author Spotlight

Cate: Please welcome Kat Henry Doran. Kat, please share a short bio with us?
Kat: Over the years I've had the honor to work at a number of occupations: operating room nurse, malpractice insurance investigator, forensic nurse examiner, victim advocate, wife and mother.
Even if I sometimes wish they'd remain in the closet, the years I spent in the OR and labor floor, and later advocating for victims of sexual violence, contribute significantly to the voice of my writing. You can't spend thirty years playing hand maiden and mind reader for egotistical surgeons, then twelve years haunting police stations, Emergency Rooms, and criminal courts and not come away with a sense of covert misogyny, rampant apathy, and overwhelming bigotry.
I retired my stethoscope and speculum a few years ago but continue to advocate, quietly, for marginalized populations through Amnesty International and Doctors Without Borders.

Cate: Wow, amazing experiences. Tell us about Embraceable You and where it's available.
Kat: Part of the Wild Rose Press’ Class of 85 series, Embraceable You is the story of Druzilla Horvath, Pulitzer Prize winning photo-journalist, and Rory McElroy, Sheriff of Bison County. Dru attends her 25th reunion to pick up the Eastman Award for excellence in community service but while covering a demonstration by Las Madres de la Plaza in Buenos Aires she uncovered a secret that a few Argentinian thugs would prefer remain buried. Rory is assigned to provide her personal protection during the Awards Banquet. One night, he is told, what can happen?

Cate: Sounds intriguing! Please tantalize us with a story blurb or excerpt.
Kat: Suddenly, Dru remembered the back-up phone tucked inside the double zippered pocket in her satchel, right beside the extra flash cards and rolls of antacids. Hot damn. All was not lost. With a grin, she hefted the bag over her shoulder and turned toward the bathroom. “I won't be long.”
Before she made the first step, he slid in front of the door, blocking her access. “Give it up.”
Down to her last strike, she pulled the affronted female card. Granted, she used it maybe once in a decade, but Fiona was probably tearing her hair by now. “I beg your pardon?”
Leaning forward, he brought them nose to nose. “Play much poker, Horvath? Your face just lit up like the Fourth of July, which tells me you've got something more stashed in the tote. Unless you let me search it, it stays with me.”
Clutching the canvas bag to her chest, she sneered, “The only thing in here is my outfit for tonight, McElroy. If you think I'm parading around naked in front of you, one of us is a couple fries short of a happy meal.”
His response came in the form of another gimme motion with those thick, blunt fingers. “I'll close my eyes if I encounter any lacy unmentionables.”
She knew the instant he found the back-up. The screw-you look morphed into a smirk. “It's not wise to mess with Homeland Security, sweetie. Those guys eat small animals for breakfast.”

Cate: Love her feisty voice. :) Can you tell us why we're going to love your hero?
Kat: Besides that he's a ringer for Daniel Craig and fills out a tux just as well? Rory is twice burned in the relationship department and is in no mood to take a third trip down Attraction Alley. On meeting Dru Horvath again, he recognizes her as the girl who rescued him from grade school bullies many years ago. He simply is bowled over by her and doesn't know what to do or think or feel—not a comfortable situation for an experienced law enforcement officer. When she is, literally, wrenched out of his arms he does the only thing possible—wait. If Dru doesn't come back to him, he vows to track her down. He has the patience, drive and know-how.

Cate: Tease us with one little thing about your fictional world that makes it different from others.
Kat: I subscribe to the write what you know philosophy so all of my stories, no matter the length, will feature a combination of: a doctor, nurse, and/or physicians assistant; a cop and a victim advocate; an attorney either civil or criminal; and various members of society—not all of whom we would want our child to bring home for dinner. I like the research end of things even if it's sometimes uncomfortable. Example, for Embraceable You I researched Argentina’s Dirty War, genocide in the former Yugoslavia, and the House of Providence, a former residential facility in Syracuse New York for children who had no other place to go. All were terribly terribly sad.

Cate: I can only imagine. What's next for you?
Kat: I have plans for two different series, both romances, some will have a tinge of suspense or danger. The first is the “Those Who. . .” series, titles based on a Henry vanDyke poem. It is set in a fictional town of Easton on the shores of Lake Ontario. The characters are connected in some fashion to the local criminal justice system. The first in the series, Those Who Wait, was released by Decadent Publishing in September 2010. FMI: www.DecadentPublishing.com
The second series, still in my head, is “The Wild Things” and is based on members of a law firm who devote themselves to the little guy, those folks who make too much money to qualify for a public defender but not enough to afford a Dream Team defense. We don't have a publisher for this one yet.

Cate: Great titles. What inspired you to draft your first story?
Kat: This sounds so like Nora Roberts but it's the truth. It was February 1987; I received a birth announcement from an old friend. I sat down to write a response, catch her up on what was going on in my life. Twenty-seven pages of lined notebook paper later [my daughters still haven’t forgiven me for raiding their stash of school supplies] I realized what I’d done and said, 'Wow. Maybe I have something here.' The book of my heart took too many revisions to count, and under the title Try Just Once More was first published in 2007 and is now available at www.thewildrosepress.com.

Cate: Do you have a writing routine?
Kat: With the kids grown and gone, it's just me and the hubs. Two or three days a week I provide child care for my four grandchildren; the other four or five days are devoted to writing. I don't have a routine; I wake up when I wake up and set to work. When the dust bunnies announce their presence with authority, I've been known to tear myself away from the computer to silence them. And when the supply of clean undies dwindles to the last pair for him or me, I'll relearn how to use the washing machine. Between stories, I design custom order tote bags to customer preference. FMI: www.KatsKarryAlls.blogspot.com.

Cate: Where can readers find you on the web?
Kat: That's an easy one. My website is www.KatHenry.com. My blog, which I created all by myself is www.WildWomanAuthor.blogspot.com. It’s a beauty.

Cate: Is there anything you’d like to ask our readers?
Kat: I’d like to know what makes readers pick up a book. More important, what tips them over the edge and makes them want to purchase it.

Cate: Readers, Kat is giving away a copy [hard] of Try Just Once More to a random commenter... so start commenting. She'll pick a winner on Wednesday, April 27th, and announce the winner here.
Thanks so much for being my guest Kat! Best of luck to you.

Pam Beason in the Author Spotlight

Cate: Please welcome Pamela Beason. Pam, will you please share a short bio with us?
Pam: I usually introduce myself by saying I have multiple personality disorder. That's because I work at three jobs, and at multiple contracts within those three jobs.
First, I'm a freelance writer and editor, so I write and edit all kinds of technical and creative materials and occasionally ghost-write and doctor books for money.
Second, I'm a licensed private investigator, so I'm sometimes busy with background checks and surveillance and other tasks too weird to mention. (If you ever see me crouched in the bushes with my camera, please just walk on by.)
Third, I'm an author with both self-published ebooks and a three-book contract with Berkley Prime Crime. So I'm both an indie author and a (soon-to-be) traditionally published one.
I can't wait until I can say that I am first and foremost a fiction author. That's always been my dream, and I'm getting closer every day to making a living at that.

Cate: Wow. Impressive! :)
Tell us about your books and where they are available.
Pam: I have three fiction ebooks that you can find in any ebook store. They're available in Kindle, Nook, and other formats. 

My mystery/suspense novel, The Only Witness, opens with Brittany, a teenage mom, leaving her infant alone in the car while she dashes into the grocery store. When she comes out, the baby has vanished. The detective in charge, Matthew Finn, can't tell whether this is a case of infanticide or kidnapping until a tip comes in about an eyewitness to the crime. The only problem is that the only witness is a gorilla who communicates in modified American Sign Language. Can a gorilla provide the clues to solve the case?

Call of the Jaguar is a romantic adventure novella that I adapted from a screenplay I wrote years ago. It's about Rachel McCarthy, who ditches her cheating spouse to go in search of a romantic former lover who is working as an archaeologist in Guatemala. He has no idea she's coming and she has no idea he's working in a war zone. She and her bush pilot are shot down in the jungle, and events go downhill from there. I'm not telling you the ending; I'll just say it's a wild jungle romp that ends happily for Rachel.

Flashpoint is a contemporary romance that begins with vandalism and an earthquake and our heroine Elisa Langston trapped under a tree. Then there's arson and an explosion. The hunky insurance investigator, Jake Street, is convinced that Elisa's causing all the problems to cash in on insurance money because her plant nursery business is not doing well. Elisa is half Guatemalan and was raised in a quirky Anglo family. There are quite a few laughs in this book. I won't reveal who The Gremlin (the vandal) is here, you'll have to read it for yourself.

So you see I write mysteries and romances, but all my stories have a few things in common: the heroines are can-do, kick-butt women; the men are strong and handsome and kind and funny; and all my stories end more or less happily, so don't ever be afraid to pick one up. I don't like blood and gore or violence, so you won't find sadistic killers or unpunished perverts in these books. You also won't find erotic sex scenes; hot kisses and sexual innuendo, yes, but no graphic descriptions.

Right now these are all ebooks because I'm giving my agent a chance to shop around print rights, but if I don't get a major offer soon, I'll be offering printed versions as well before long.

Cate: Very cool. What's next for you?
Pam: For (Penguin) Berkley Prime Crime, I'm writing three novels in my new Sam Westin outdoor mystery series. The first book, ENDANGERED, is about the search for a child who disappears from a campground in a Utah national park. The local television coverage makes everyone believe that a cougar took the child, but Sam has good reason to suspect it was a human kidnapper and she's relentless in searching the wilderness for the real criminal. In the second book, Sam's on a temporary contract in Olympic National Park when she becomes the unwitting target of an anti-government group. I'm working on the third book now: Sam's in trouble in the Galapagos Islands and I've got to figure out how to rescue her. ENDANGERED will be available in December of this year; the others about nine months apart after that.
I also have plans to write more romantic adventure stories and to convert a murder mystery screenplay I wrote long ago to novel form.
In the summer, I'm a hiker/kayaker/scuba diver. In the winter, I'm a snowshoer/cross-country skier. No matter where I am or what I'm doing, I feel like I should be at least two other places working on two other projects. There's never enough time to do it all!

Cate: Congrats – very exciting. What inspired you to draft your first story?
Pam: I can't live without fiction. I see WAY too much reality in my investigation work, and it's rarely pretty. In fiction, I can make justice prevail and see my characters get what they each deserve.

Cate: Do you have a writing routine?
Pam: I put my butt in the chair whenever I can each day, and keep it there as long as possible while typing as fast as possible. When I get stuck, I go for a walk and think. For some reason, I can solve plot problems a lot better when I'm in motion, and nature always revives me. I always carry a little notepad and pen in my pocket to jot down ideas.

Cate: Where can readers find you on the web?
Pam: http://www.pamelabeason.com
I occasionally tweet, too, as @PamBeason. I have to say that I don't really 'get' Facebook, so although I have a page, I rarely go there. Maybe readers can help me figure out the benefits.

Cate: I hear ya – I’m terrible at tweeting. :(
Is there anything you’d like to ask our readers?
Pam: Two questions: 1) What's the most romantic gift you've ever received? For me, it was a loaded toolbox, which does not sound romantic at all, but I really needed those tools and I knew how to use them and it proved the guy was actually buying a gift for me, not just for some idealized version of a generic woman. 

Question 2) What's the greatest adventure you've ever had? I've had quite a few, but I'd have to say my best so far was an expedition in Kenya. If you're a wildlife enthusiast like me, there's no place like Africa. I'm finally going back this fall.

Cate: Great questions. Readers, Pam is giving away any of her ebooks to one lucky commenter on the last day of her blog tour. Good luck to all!
And thanks for being my guest Pam!

Pam: Thanks for hosting me!

In the Author Spotlight: Sandra Sookoo

Cate: Please welcome Sandra Sookoo to the Author Spotlight. Sandra, will you please share a short bio with us?
Sandra: Sandra is a writer of romantic fiction. Her portfolio includes historical, contemporary, and paranormal romances and she loves to blend genres and spice them up.
After catching the writing bug at the young age of ten, she’s gone on to grow her unique writing style. She’s a regular contributor for the Paranormal Romantic’s blog and blogs bi-monthly with a great group of women at Embrace the Shadows.
When not immersed in creating new worlds and interesting characters, Sandra likes to read, bake and travel. Her favorite place to spend vacation hours is Walt Disney World. It’s where dreams come true, and that suits her just fine.
Writing is her ultimate dream job.

Cate: Tell us about The Art of Fang Shui and where it's available.
Sandra: My latest release is the PRINT format version for my humorous, paranormal romance The Art of Fang Shui from Eirelander Publishing. It’s my first time in print so I’m pretty excited about it.

Cate: Very exciting! Nothing like holding your baby in your hands. :) Please tantalize us with a story blurb or excerpt.
Sandra: Blurb: Hannah doesn’t believe in things that go bump in the night – until they start accumulating on her doorstep. A Power Enhancer, her gift jumps to the forefront of her life, and she has no choice but to take notice when dishy, arrogant Edwin attempts to kidnap her as part of a covert mission to save the Eight Realms.
Edwin is a half-vamp, intent on collecting the bounty on errant paranormal beings. His best-laid plans go awry when he meets stubborn Hannah. He needs her energies in order to vanquish the power-hungry Demon Lord, Andre who’s bent on destroying the world. He’s thrown off guard as she bewitches him with her sarcastic nature as well as her tempting curves.
Together the unlikely duo finds themselves flung into a sticky web of supernatural foes and dark deceit in their quest to protect the world’s magic. If they’re lucky, love will meet them on the other side.



Excerpt:
Hannah’s heart beat frantically, as if searching for the escape her body couldn’t provide. “Should I be afraid of you, Edwin Mason?” All the old stories she’d ever heard about vampires resurfaced in her mind to multiply like rabbits. Fear clogged her throat. Had it been his plan all along to lure me out into a remote part of the wilderness so that he could dispatch me without witnesses? Will he drain my blood and leave my empty husk of a body in the underbrush? “I think I made a mistake when I agreed to accompany you.”
“I give you my promise and my word. I will never hurt you.” His breath warmed her cheek. “I believe that without you, I would likely succumb to my darker side and become the soulless monster I am destined to evolve into.”
Her fear fled in the face of her anger. “That’s enough!” Rolling over, Hannah pushed Edwin onto his back. She frowned at his startled expression. “You’re only destined to become whatever you want to become. You have vampire genes. So what? Get over it. We all have dark sides and things we would rather not deal with, but unless you plan on living out the remainder of your life in a perpetual bad mood it doesn’t matter. None of it matters, don’t you get it?”
She slapped her palm against his chest and came perilously close to derailing her speech by the realization that he really was the buffest man she’d met. “Don’t you understand? To me, you’re just Edwin Mason, the handsome paranormal bounty hunter who tries his best to order me around but fails miserably at it.” She smiled down into his face from her new propped up position on his chest. “You’re just you.” She stretched her legs, glad of the fire that took away the chill even though she suspected most of the warmth originated from him.
“Are you quite done with this unexpected outburst?” Edwin’s dark eyes twinkled as the long elegant fingers of one hand trailed up her leg.
Small ripples of heat spiraled up her flesh in teasing circles. “Not quite. Let me finish by saying, whether you believe yourself capable of it or not, you have shown me nothing but respect and compassion during our time together. Your desire to track Andre means you have a rigid sense of justice. But just remind yourself from time to time that companionship and friendship can be very beneficial.” Her words dried in her throat when his hand slipped under her shirt to brush the sensitive skin at her hip. Tiny fires ignited in her bloodstream. She revised her earlier assessment of his character.
Edwin was most assuredly dangerous, but not in the way she had first thought.
“Perhaps you are right, Hannah. It has been a very long time indeed since I had someone to share my life.” With panther like precision, he flipped her onto her back. Hannah became trapped between his arms. “I have been remiss in not taking advantage of a willing female…” He lowered his head until his lips were but a hairsbreadth from hers. “Is that what you meant?”
Her senses were on red alert. Her body clamored for his attention, but it was his choice of words that kept her from giving in to temptation. “When, or if, we choose to indulge in any kind of relationship, you most certainly will not take advantage of me. That I can promise you. We’re partners, remember?” She meant to leave the conversation at that particular stopping point, but she never had been good at leaving things alone. With a small sigh, she gave in to that which she had been curious about since she met him.
Before she could change her mind, Hannah pulled his face to hers and kissed him.
The mere joining of their lips created pinwheels of colors within her mind. Just as things became interesting, she smiled against his mouth, and then gently pushed him away. Damn. She willed her body to settle down. “I would hate to shove you into something you’re not mentally ready for. However, if you should change your mind, let me know.”
She turned onto her side with her back to him. If that kiss didn’t melt some of the icy reserve he kept around his feelings, she didn’t know what would.

Cate: What inspired you to write about the theme?
Sandra: The theme of this book is that true love can overcome any obstacle. I wrote this book because I love the paranormal world and think it lends itself well to showcasing love between a human and a not-quite-human person. If they can conquer those differences, the rest is easy.

Cate: How do you develop your plots and characters?
Sandra: I’m a big believer in outlining a book before the actual writing starts. At least then I can see “at a glance” how the plot is developing and how the characters’ stories will feed into it. Of course, as the book progresses, the outline will change depending on what happens.

Cate: Do you feel as if the characters live with you as you write? Do they haunt your dreams?
Sandra: Sometimes, they won’t leave me alone and I’ll wake up in the middle of the night needing to write. Or, if a scene isn’t quite right, they will nag at me until I fix it. Really, they’re like uninvited houseguests that don’t leave until they’ve eaten all your food. But that’s okay. It means the story will be a good one.

Cate: What's next for you?
Sandra: Well, right now I’m writing the third paranormal romance in this trilogy. The Art of Fang Shui is the first book. The book I’m writing now is about a dragon. I’ve never written about them before and it’s quite exciting.

Cate: Very cool. Any other published works?
Sandra: In June, the 2nd book of this trilogy will be released from Eirelander Publishing called Vegetarian at Midnight. This one centers around a handsome, arrogant werewolf and his human love interest, a vegetarian.
Also that month, my first and only mystery romance is releasing.
Visit my website for more details: http://www.sandrasookoo.com

Here's the blurb for Vegetarian at Midnight:
Sometimes the love of meat is only the beginning of the problem.
Sophia has issues beyond being near-sighted. Bound to work for a power-hungry Portal Master for the next 90 years, her crown-shaped birthmark might set her apart, but her vegetarian status makes her unforgettable. She can’t get afford to be distracted by Xavier’s Adonis-like features because she knows she’ll betray him eventually.
Golden-curled, fedora-wearing Xavier’s a man with issues. Under a gypsy curse that compels him to morph into a werewolf, he wants nothing more than to convince the Portal Master to lift that blight. The only way to that exulted individual is through Sophia, but her stubbornness and fearful disposition heat his blood and annoy him at the same time.
Can a carnivore and a vegetarian thwart the odds to beat the curse, or will the Immortal Court of the Eight Realms pass judgment on all paranormal beings before Sophia and Xavier discover that opposites do attract and mates can survive life’s problems?

And here's the blurb for Dead Ruby Slippers:
Dancing may be hard…but no one expected it to be murder.
When sexy tap dancer Abigail Carlton, a.k.a. Ruby Slippers, is found dead and arranged in an artistic fashion on her coffee table, it’s up to Special Agent Quentin Banks to solve her murder.
But nothing is ever as it seems. Not only is Quentin a FBI career man, he doubles as an officer for the Institute of Magical Instruction…and the dancer’s death has super natural energy written all over it.
Quentin must find who murdered Abigail, and he only has 24 hours to do it before it’s taken over by his superiors.

Cate: Describe your writing in three words.
Sandra: Funny, emotional, descriptive

Cate: What’s the most challenging aspect of writing? Most rewarding?
Sandra: The most challenging thing is making sure the current book is as good as the last one. Sometimes keeping all the balls in the air (goals, motivation, conflict, drama, tension, etc) is hard. The most rewarding thing? Seeing the final product after edits and saying “Yeah, that is a great book.” Or getting fan mail telling me how much they loved a book.

Cate: What’s the most interesting comment you have received about your books?
Sandra: That someone didn’t mind being snowbound in there house because one of my historicals made her forget the terrible weather.

Cate: How wonderful! Who are some of your favorite authors and books? What are you reading now?
Sandra: I have all kinds of favorites that span multiple genres. While I’m embroiled in a writing project, I don’t really read. When I take breaks from writing, that’s when I’ll indulge in a book. My next break comes at the end of April.

Cate: Where can readers find you on the web?
Sandra: http://www.sandrasookoo.com. I’m also on Facebook, Twitter and blog around the web during the week. Links to all these places are on the front page of my website.

Cate: Is there anything you’d like to ask our readers?
Sandra: What are you tired of reading? What would you give anything to see an author write about? If it’s interesting to me, I’ll tackle it.

Cate: Readers, Sandra is giving away a book to a random commenter... so start commenting. The winner can select any ebook from Sandra’s 2009 backlist. Be sure to leave your email address so Sandra will be able to contact the lucky winner! She’ll announce the winner tomorrow night.


Saturday, April 24, 2010

Blogmania early bird checklist - and a winner!

Less than one week till Blogmania! I'm excited! I hope you are too.

If you want to have the most fun and scoop up as much loot as possible, here are a few Early Bird Reminders to help you do just that.

1. Be at any of the blogs participating in the Blogmania Event as early as possible on April 30th. The easiest way to find a Blogmania Blog is to look for the Blogmania Badge.

2. This is an international event, so understand that there will be some differences in time zones. My advice is to start early and stay late to catch all the blogs.

3. Each blog will have their own giveaway requirements. Read them carefully, follow through, and then move on as quickly as possible. If you run across a blog that you really like and want to spend some time exploring, copy their URL and then visit them after Blogmania is over.

4. We will have a 100+ blogs for you to visit. Each one will post their number like this. ( This is blog 47 of 100) This is to help you keep track of which blogs you’ve visited, and which ones you still need to reach. You may want to prepare a blog sheet numbered from 1 – 120, then mark off each numbered blog as you visit.

5. All blog links provided will also have a number like (Blog 89 of 100). Look for the blogs that you haven’t yet visited and follow those links until you’ve checked off all the blogs on your sheet.

6. We have all types of blogs participating in Blogmania, which means that the range of items in their giveaways are diverse. I have previewed many and they are awesome.

Here are the goodies I'll be offering to a random commenter on April 30 for Blogmania - one print copy each of One Soul for Sale and Picture This!



Also, I'll include a bracelet handmade by me, and a beaded book thong! Click on either photo for a closeup view.




Don't forget to come back on April 30! More than 100 authors and artisans are participating with some very cool offerings, so it's well worth visiting their blogs! You can check out other offerings on the Blogmania Facebook fan page.



And... the winner is...
Finally, as I promised in last Saturday's post, today's the day someone will win a PDF of Design for Life. Thanks to all who sent emails and left comments! I threw everyone's name into a bowl, and my daughter drew out Tracey D. Tracey, I've emailed you the PDF - let me know if you don't receive it! Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!


Friday, April 23, 2010

New cover art for Follow the Stars Home!

Fantastic cover artist Dawne Dominique has outdone herself again! Here's the cover for Follow the Stars Home, the historical romance Eternal Press will publish later this year. It's almost exactly as I'd envisioned it. Too cool!

In an earlier post, I'd explained the background for the story, local history for me.

Edits have yet to begin, so I can't post a blurb or excerpt yet, but stay tuned for more details!


Thursday, April 22, 2010

Author Chat with Michael Lee West


Hi! So glad to have you at Author Chat, Michael Lee. We'd love to learn a little bit about you, and your book.

I’m delighted to be here. My website, www.michaelleewest.com, and blog, http://designsbygollum.blogspot.com, both have information about how I started writing, along with recipes and food-photographs. (I’m a major Foodie.)

Grab a cappuccino and let’s chat. Unless you have another favorite drink (alcoholic or otherwise)?
I love coffee and Coke Zero.

Fur or feathers, petwise?
I live on a small farm, and we have donkeys, sheep, pygmy goats, chickens, geese, and ducks. Our indoor critters (though now and then we bring kids and lambs inside to bottle feed them) include 3 bratty Yorkies, a poodle, a Chinese Crested, and a Husky.

Sounds like fun. :) Any pet peeves? One thing that really burns your biscuits? 
When I’m writing, in flow, and my husband sneaks up behind me and says, “I’m out of underwear.”

Favorite quote?
"The best time for planning a book is while you're doing the dishes." -Agatha Christie

I'll have to stop using the dishwasher! What’s your ideal day like?
Morning coffee, write until 3 pm, break, back to writing. I always stop whatever I’m doing during “Blue Time,” when daylight and dusk collide into that wonderful, deep blue. If left uninterrupted, I’d continue writing/eating until eleven p.m. I don’t watch much TV except for Tuesday nights, I always watch “The Good Wife.”  Though if The Tudors rerun on HBO or BBC, I’ll get a box of Cheeze-Its and a Coke Zero and lose myself in Tudordom. 

If you could live out any fantasy, what would you do? 
I’d have a writing retreat: a mountain top with a gated driveway. A moat would be a nice touch.

That does sound wonderful. 
Beethoven, Beatles, Foo Fighters or Keith Urban?
Love  Foo Fighters. Also Coldplay, The Boxer Rebellion, and Jimmy Webb.

Do you have a music playlist for your book? 
Several. I post them frequently on Facebook and Twitter.

Which of your characters would you most/least to invite to dinner, and why?
Natalie—she’s not a Foodie. Plus, she and I wouldn’t get along!

While creating your books, what was one of the most surprising things you learned?
To trust the process. And if I’m pulled out of a book, I will lose my place—I’ve learned to ignore resistence and dive back into the cold, dark pages. That’s where trust is important.

Where can readers find out more about you?

Link to a free, downloadable e-book (cookbook)
Teeny Templeton an out-of-work pastry chef--a major foodie. Using photography and recipes from my blog, my publisher put together Teeny Templeton's Kitchen Notes, a free (downloadable) ebook for your readers.
Please share a book blurb and/or excerpt.
TAKE ONE OUT OF WORK PASTY CHEF….
Teeny Templeton believes that her life is finally on track.  She’s getting married, she’s baking her own wedding cake, and she’s leaving her troubled past behind.  And then?  She finds her fiancé playing naked badminton with a couple of gorgeous, skanky chicks.
ADD A WHOLE LOT OF TROUBLE…
Needless to say, the wedding is off.  Adding insult to injury, her fiancé slaps a restraining order on her.  When he is found dead a few days later, all fingers point to Teeny.
AND STIR LIKE CRAZY!
Her only hope is through an old boyfriend-turned-lawyer, the guy who broke her heart a decade ago. But dredging up the past brings more than skeletons out of the closet, and Teeny doesn't know who she can trust. With evidence mounting and the heat turning up, Teeny must also figure out where to live, how to support herself, how to clear her name, and how to protect her heart. 
Praise for GONE WITH A HANDSOMER MAN
“GONE WITH A HANDSOMER MAN is fun, funny, and fabulous!” – JANET EVANOVICH 
"Full of dramatic action, clever red herrings, and humorous moments, this debut mystery by a well-regarded novelist (Mermaids in the Basement; American Pie) will please any reader but particularly fans of Jennifer Crusie or Mary Kay Andrews. [See Prepub Alert, 1/21/11; with a 75,000-copy first printing; author tour.]"—***Starred Review***  – Library Journal, Stacey Hayman, Rocky River P.L., OH
"GONE WITH A HANDSOMER MAN is hilarious, endearing, and tasty!"– Diana Gabaldon, New York Times bestselling author of the Outlander series and Lord John books. "West's diverting debut plays nice variations on several mystery subgenres—Southern, romantic, screwball, culinary… Readers will look forward to more helpings of Teeny Templeton." – Publishers Weekly

"Michael Lee West fans rejoice! Gone With a Handsomer Man has a fresh, funny and delightfully flawed heroine that you'll fall in love with from the get go. Teeny is a trouble magnet, and it is wholly diverting to follow her tumbling joyride through bad men and good recipes. By turns sweet and surprising, it's a wonderful quirky escape." – Joshilyn Jackson, NYT bestselling author of Backseat Saints.

"Great cook – thought reluctant detective – Teeny Templeton keeps the pot bubbling as she dishes out pathos, humor, and intrigue in equal measure. Gone With a Handsomer Man is a delicous debut to this new series."– Lee Smith, NYT bestselling author of The Last Girls.

"Plese tell me she is writing a sequel!! It was a wonderful read from beginning to end. And the last sentence only left me wanting more."– Wanda Jewell, Executive Director of SIBA.

"Teeny Templeton is small-statured and big-hearted, a heroine worthy of this novel, which is by turns acerbic and sweet, poignant and funny, whith great sex, bad boyfriends, and Do Not Try This At Home recipes. However you slice it, Gone With A Handsomer Man is as addictive as Red Velvet cake. I hope it sells as many copies as that other novel set in the South that starts with the words "Gone with.'"– Harley Jane Kozak, Agatha, Anthony, Maccavity award-winning author of Dating Dead Men and A Date You Can't Refuse.

"In a story as delicious as the food she describes, Michael Lee West introduces us to characters I want to invite over for dinner. Sprinkled with startling insights, Gone With a Handsomer Man, exposes secrets soaked with humor, mystery and redemption."– Patti Callahan Henry, NYT bestselling author of Driftood Summer.

"Michael Lee West turns her considerable storytelling gifts and her keen wit toward Charleston, where a lovable Teeny Templeton must negotiate romance, murder, and mayhem, all in the midst of polished cotton, poison, and fine southern cuisine. Gone with a Handsomer Man is sometimes funny, sometimes frightening, and always absolutely delicious!"– Darnell Arnoult, author of Sufficent Grace

Thanks for chatting, Michael Lee! Best of luck with Gone with a Handsomer Man.