Monday, May 31, 2010

Visiting Star-Crossed Romance



The virtual book tour continues! Today Star-Crossed Romance is generously hosting me. I hope you'll pop over and say hello, in between burgers and fireworks. :) Have a wonderful Memorial Day!

The informal poll asking which genre people liked best to read closed as of midnight. Out of the 36 votes, here's how it stacked up:
Paranormal 11 (30%)
Mystery/Suspense 6 (16%)
Contemporary 6 (16%)
Urban Fantasy 4 (11%)
Historical 3 (8%)
Fantasy 3 (8%)
Speculative/Futuristic 1 (2%)
SciFi 1 (2%)
Vintage (1900s) 1 (2%)
Westerns 0 (0%)


Sunday, May 30, 2010

Thomas Olbert in the Author Spotlight


Cate: Please help me welcome Tom Olbert. Tom, will you please share a short bio with us?
Tom:  Thank you very much, Cate for this opportunity.
Tom Olbert lives in Harvard Square, Cambridge, MA, (reputedly “Liberal Central” and home of ivy league wackos.)  Tom is a self-confessed dork who’s been writing, watching and reading paranormal fiction pretty much his whole life.  He comes from a terrific family.  When not working or writing, Tom volunteers for progressive causes including climate change awareness.
You can find his latest projects and musings at:  http://tomolbert.blogspot.com

Cate: Tell us about Unholy Alliance and where it's available.
Tom: “Unholy Alliance,” a short and very dark vampire-themed novelette is available via Eternal Press.

Cate: Please tantalize us with a story blurb or excerpt.
Tom:
Chris is a 16-year-old boy whose life is an endless war against the living dead.  Orphaned at the age of 5 when his family was slaughtered by vampires, Chris was "adopted" by the vampire hunters who rescued him, and raised as one of their own.  A child soldier driven by hatred and revenge, he has known only battle and killing.  His life changes dramatically when, one night, on a routine hunt, he chances to meet Sara, a "teenaged" vampire girl who touches his heart in a way no one ever had before.  Their love is an impossible one, and the alliance of necessity that forms between them equally so.  They find themselves pitted against dark forces that would exploit or destroy the innocent.  The odds are against them, but Chris's greatest battle is within his own soul.  He must choose between his love for Sara, and his faith in a greater good...

Cate: Very cool. What inspired you to write about the theme?
Tom: I was inspired by the stories of Andrew Vachss, a renowned crime fiction author focusing on the themes of child abuse, revenge and street justice.  I was also inspired by films like “Eastern Promises” and “Lilya4ever,” both of which dealt with the very real issue of abuse of young girls trafficked out of the former Soviet Union.  And, by the real-life stories of such victims conveyed by Amnesty International.  I wanted to do a story focusing on those themes, featuring homeless teens fighting for survival on dark city streets.  Vampirism was a good vehicle as a symbol of revenge, empowerment, alienation and of course, darkness.

Cate: How do you develop your plots and characters?
Tom: It starts with a concept.  The general direction and outcome of the story have to come first.  Then, deciding how best to make the journey determines the plot, and what kind of people to drop into the mix.  I have to sketch out the back-story of each character so I’ll know what to expect from each of them and how each turn will affect them.

Cate: Do you feel as if the characters live with you as you write? Do they haunt your dreams?
Tom: They grow as they move through the story, as they struggle, suffer and learn.  They manage to surprise me now and again.  I feel their pain and gratitude at the defining moments.  I don’t know if they haunt my dreams.
(Maybe I haunt theirs; I put them in some pretty awful situations sometimes.)

Cate: Ha, too funny. What's next for you?
Tom: My science fiction novel “Dissent” – Book I in the “Nexus” series – is due for release from Phase5 Publishing.  “Dissent” is a far-flung galactic war tale of forbidden love and political intrigue set in a future society composed entirely of women. 
The first installment of “Dissent” is now available in the December issue of Phase5 Monthly review: http://www.phase5publishing.com/olb1001p1.htm

Cate: Congrats! Any other published works?
Tom: Yes.  Two of my science fiction novelettes have been published by Lillibridge Press.  They are: 
“Meeting” - a wacky, off-beat science fiction mystery about a man from the 22nd century inexplicably transported 50 years back through time and pursuing a mysterious young woman across a fractured reality as he tries to unravel the truth about alien visitors and his own identity.  Buy link: http://www.lillibridgepress.com/book/Meeting

“Flags” – a gritty interstellar military science fiction about the ultimate race war in the distant future.  And, the story of two men trained to be enemies forced into an unlikely alliance which makes them confront both their external enemies and their inner demons.  Buy link:  http://www.lillibridgepress.com/book/Flags 

Cate: Describe your writing in three words.
Tom: What comes comes.  (That’s actually two words, but why drag it out?)

Cate: What’s the most challenging aspect of writing? Most rewarding?
Tom: The most challenging part is getting inside the character’s skin and feeling what he or she feels at the critical moment.  I’ve had a lot of help from editors who’ve steered me away from the dreaded “adjective trap.”  In trying to express an emotion, you have to be visceral, and you find yourself hoping you don’t run out of bodily functions (blushing, hair prickling, goose bumps, blood running cold, etc.)  The goal is to be honest and true to the character, and the most rewarding part is when you read the scene back and it works.

Cate: What’s the most interesting comment you have received about your books?
Tom: Sadly, comments are still very few and far between.  Editors have complimented me on my writing style, and have helped me develop it.  But, I would love to receive (for better or worse) reader comments that would tell me how people view my stories in context with the themes they cover.

Cate: Who are some of your favorite authors and books? What are you reading now?
Tom: I grew up reading Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury, Harlan Ellison and Stanislaw Lem.  Bradbury was probably my favorite.  He has such a beautifully poetic style.
I’ve also read Hemingway (“For Whom the Bell Tolls”) and Dickens (“Tale of Two Cities”.)  Kafka’s “Castle” was a fun, crazy ride.  Lately, I’ve been reading science articles in Scientific American, largely to get ideas for my stories.  I’m also reading a werewolf/human romance entitled “The Dark Ones” by Megan Harmon, another Eternal Press author.  It’s a fun, romantic supernatural adventure story about a city girl turned vampire hunter and her werewolf lover.

Cate: Where can readers find you on the web?
Tom:  My blog site, complete with fiction links is: http://tomolbert.blogspot.com
And, if you google “Tom Olbert,” a number of fiction links should come up.

Cate: Is there anything you’d like to ask our readers?
Tom: I’m always eager for story or post feedback, whether positive or negative. so please stop by my blog and drop me a line any time.

Cate: Thanks for being my guest Tom!
 

Saturday, May 29, 2010

In the Author Spotlight: Chérie De Sues

Cate: Please welcome Chérie De Sues today. Chérie will you please share a short bio with us?
Chérie: Hi, thank you for this opportunity to share my novel today. I write paranormal and suspense romances from sensual to sizzling heat levels. I honed my writing skills with newspaper columns, magazine articles and short romance stories until I became a full-time author just over a year ago. When I take a break from writing romance novels, you can find me online speaking to romance readers. I share my home in San Diego, California, with my one-year-old Irish terrier, Reilly.

Cate: Tell us about Lacy: A Bad Girl's Revenge and where it's available.
Chérie: Sure, here's a short blurb from the book cover.
Lacy Hennessey is hunting the last man linked to an ambush that led to her father's death. As an heir to her father's role as the enforcer for the Irish mob in Boston, Lacy is armed and dangerous when she arrives in a small Colorado resort.
Dr. Josh Davenport missed his flight for a little R & R after an avalanche blocks the road, when he meets Lacy at the Hotel bar. Lacy easily manipulates Josh into offering her a place to sleep for the night. But Josh is aware Lacy isn't just another gorgeous blonde in a red dress with legs that go all the way up.
Lacy enjoys Josh's company and his bed, but business is business when she leaves his arms to face the man who killed her father. And if Josh makes any more connections about her real identity, Lacy may have to add him to her list.

Cate: Please tantalize us with a story blurb or excerpt.
Chérie: Here's a short excerpt…
Curvy, blonde and gorgeous slinked into the bar, as Josh took in class with a capital C. With heels, she looked liked an Amazon—tall, athletic and narrow-waisted. The gods had sent this woman to him; somehow, he'd done something right in his life and she was his reward. Blue eyes, creamy skin and a red dress that made his heart skip beats. He followed her every sinuous move until she chose a chair up against the back wall and glanced around the room.
The woman searched for someone and Josh hoped like hell that would be him. Seconds later, their eyes met and her warm smile struck a match to his insides. He slid off the barstool with his drink and headed in her direction.
As he neared, the goddess lifted her eyes once more to his and a chill ran along his spine. He hadn't felt anything like that since his residency under Dr. Spellman. The man had been a predator with all new doctors. Josh shook off the bad memories.
"I'm Josh Davenport; may I sit with you?"
Red lips parted with a high-wattage smile against straight white teeth. "Please."
Josh let his body relax in the leatherback chair and set his drink on the low, round table between them.
"Would you like a drink?"
"A glass of Cabernet would be great."
He smiled and turned, gave a couple hand signals to Kenny then turned back. A small frown marred a perfect face, but she didn't ask how he'd done his famous trick. Disappointed, he rubbed his jaw; she had an uncanny way of making him feel uncomfortable when she didn't react as he expected. This woman bore scrutiny, she didn't seem to be wired the same as he'd come to expect with other women. Josh licked his teeth for any leftover canapé, enjoying his view of her physical attributes.
"What's your name?"
She took a deep breath and the low-cut bodice of her snug dress swelled then shrank with the exhalation. The cleavage of her breasts beckoned and he forced himself to stay connected with her deep blue eyes. She hadn't blinked and neither had he.
"Lacy." She licked her lips provocatively and crossed her long legs.
Everything about the woman screamed soft, seductive and pliant, but the hard edge in her eyes concealed hidden depths to her character.
"Lovely name; nice to meet you, Lacy. Are you here for the skiing?"
She shrugged. "I came to town on a whim; I didn't even make a hotel reservation." Lacy laughed with abandon and tucked a silky, blonde tendril behind her ear.
Josh nodded stiffly with faux understanding; the laugh seemed forced. This was a woman who used her beauty and charm to garner trust with men. "So now you're trapped and the lifts are shut down because of the avalanche warning."
She smiled seductively and accepted the Cabernet from Kenny. "Thank you."
Kenny winked at him and went back to the bar, no doubt wishing he could hear their conversation.
Lacy wouldn't have been able to book a room tonight anyway; Deborah's damn engagement party had taken all the ones available. "I heard from the desk that the hotel is full. Do you need somewhere to sleep tonight?"
Lacy peered at him over her wine glass. "Are you offering me a place to sleep, Josh?"
Her deep sensual voice struck a chord below his belt and he grinned at his good fortune. "I am, Lacy."

Cate: What inspired you to write about the theme?
Chérie: Noble Romance has begun a new line of "Bad Girls, who deserve love too." This is the first of the new romance line and a complete chapter of the novel to follow, Lacy: A Bad Girl's Romance is included.

Cate: How do you develop your plots and characters?
Chérie: Plots are easy for me and I've gotten a reputation for twists and turns with my suspense and paranormal suspense novels. When I create a world, my muse introduces the characters to me. Each one comes alive on the path to romance.

Cate: Do you feel as if the characters live with you as you write? Do they haunt your dreams?
Chérie: Oh, absolutely. The hero and heroine have their own ideas about what they should do and evolve as the novel progresses. I do have vivid dreams when I'm trapped and can't figure out a troublesome chapter. When I wake, I have the solution. It's marvelous.

Cate: I'm envious. :) What's next for you?
Chérie: I'm working on Lacy: A Bad Girl's Romance and have three more stories coming out with Noble Romance in the next few months. Triage…a contemporary romance thriller, South of the Border…a contemporary suspense romance and The Seduction of Simone…a paranormal suspense romance with ghosts! Gee whiz, I'm going to be in edits for months!

Cate: Any other published works?
Chérie: On Valentines Day this year, Tales of the Red Moon Clan was released. I'm proud to say the reviews were off the charts and two more stand-alone paranormal romance novels will follow this Navajo shapeshifter family. Check this out at Noble Romance Publishing.

Cate: Describe your writing in three words.
Chérie: Sizzling, Captivating, Compelling

Cate: What’s the most challenging aspect of writing? Most rewarding?
Chérie: My biggest challenge is working on multiple projects at the same time in various stages of development or completion. I need a secretary, LOL. The most rewarding is the romance readers feedback and reviews. Getting validated for the long hours spent alone in a cozy overstuffed chair is wonderful.

Cate: What’s the most interesting comment you have received about your books?
Chérie: That's easy. One romance reader eluded that she and her significant lover shared one of my novels and spiced up their sex life. What a compliment!

Cate: Who are some of your favorite authors and books? What are you reading now?
Chérie: I'm reading three books right now. I really enjoy reading the other authors from Noble Romance Publishing. The excellent quality and dedication by the authors says so much about Jill Noble and her efforts. The current three books are by JD Robb, Rie McGaha (Noble) and Nichelle Gregory (Noble). I really like short stories and novellas.

Cate: Where can you be found on the web?
Chérie: A few days ago I googled myself for fun and was astounded by where I can be found. Holy Cow! My author website is at http://www.cheriedesues2.com and other links are on the site, like Twitter and Facebook.

Cate: Is there anything you’d like to ask our readers?
Chérie: Sure. For YOU as a reader, what is the most important characteristic of the hero in romance novels?

Readers, Chérie is giving away Lacy: A Bad Girl's Revenge to a random commenter... so start commenting. Chérie will draw the winner’s name notify the winner and post the winner’s name here.


Friday, May 28, 2010

My virtual book tour kicks off today!

It actually started a day early, much to my surprise, but I hope you'll pop over to Lillian and Dave's Conscious Blog to learn why I'm great at dancing with the muse at the party, but not so great at cleanup afterward.



I'm away at a family event this weekend, so I hope everyone has a wonderful Memorial Day holiday! I will have the wonderful and talented Chérie De Sues here as a guest this weekend so please make her feel welcome.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

In the Author Spotlight: Trish Silver

Cate: Please welcome Trish Silver. Trish, will you please share a short bio with us?
Trish: I was born and raised in Whitefish Bay, WI. I went to college at the University Of Cincinnati School Of Journalism. I moved to Los Angeles in the turbulent 1960's and met my husband Ed. We have been happily married for 42 years and have two sons, Matthew and David and a wonderful daughter-in-law Kathy. We also have two beautiful grandchildren, Sarah and Jack. I always dabbled in writing and was told that I had a gift. I finally found my passion in writing this novel. Life has been good to me.

Cate: Tell us about your latest release and where it's available.
Trish: When I Remember Love is my first book. It is a contemporary romance novel about a rock superstar, Aidan Price, who realized fame by winning an American Idol type of television reality competition. He falls in love at first sight with the beautiful, golden-hearted Jenna, and together they navigate through the rocky road fame presented them. You can learn all about it on my website: http://trishsilver.com. It can be purchased on my site, Amazon.com, Barnes&Noble.com, and SmashWords.com. There is a Kindle version available too.

Cate: Please tantalize us with a story blurb or excerpt.
Author: Certainly. Aidan Price, born in Texas, was raised by his mother after his father left them when Aidan was only two years old. His musical talent was apparent at an early age and his mother encouraged its growth. Despite being teased by other kids for not liking sports, Aidan still pursued his love of music by singing in the school choir. By the time he was in high school, Aidan blossomed from an awkward child to a handsome teen with many followers, especially after his fantastic job as the lead in the school performance of Grease. Later he began performing at weddings, bar mitzvahs, and other high-end parties to supplement his income while in college. After losing his girlfriend in a tragic accident, he dropped out of college and formed a rock band. At the encouragement of his fans, Aidan auditioned for American Star and thus begins his exciting journey in the music industry. When Aidan agrees to meet his new music agent’s niece, he never dreams of the role she will come to play in his life.
Jenna Holden grew up as an only child, surrounded by love from her parents, Kate and Nathan. They were a close knit family. Jenna’s mother was her best friend. Then suddenly Jenna loses Kate to brain cancer and her world is turned upside down. Jenna and her father fell into the routine of watching American Star, the reality television show, where talented singers perform in hopes of winning a recording contract. She became mesmerized by contestant Aidan Price whose beautiful voice brought comfort during her time of grief. Jenna is persuaded to go visit her Aunt Vanessa in Los Angeles, who happens to be a music agent and has just signed on none other than Aidan Price. Jenna’s aunt, who knows of her fondness of Aidan, invites Jenna to come with her to a lunch meeting with her newest mysterious client. When Aidan walks into the restaurant Jenna’s life is forever changed a second time.
Aidan and Jenna are instantly drawn to each other and are aware of little else in their surroundings. The two spend some magical time together and shortly after fly to Las Vegas to get married. They embark on a beautiful journey of love where their relationship is put to the test as Aidan’s rise to stardom begins to climb. The two will also have to deal with not only media scrutiny, but also personal crises that threaten to tear apart their happy family forever.

Cate: What inspired you to write about the theme?
Trish: I was inspired to write this book after closely following the journey of a real American Idol from his television debut to his realization of a life-changing career. This journey provided me insight into the characteristics of a phenomenal fan base, as well as an inside look at how someone can find the strength to stay grounded despite the unsettling impact of stardom.

Cate: How do you develop your plots and characters?
Trish: I like to generate a fairly complete story synopsis, before I concentrate on bringing the story to life in the pages of a book. Since the characters have become very real to me, I feel I know them personally; and so it’s fairly easy to conjecture what they might do or how they might react in a given situation. Therefore, my main focus is on coming up with conflicts and challenges that they might realistically face. Once I’ve established those, the story writes itself….it just takes me awhile to find just the right words to transcribe the feelings and the emotional depths of my characters.

Cate: Do you feel as if the characters live with you as you write? Do they haunt your dreams?
Trish: My characters unfolded within a dream, which lead my pen in hand in creating my love story. Guiding my words and creative thoughts within the loving actions and behavior of my characters, they come alive filled with passion…undying love of misplaced worlds of now we so deeply need outside of a day dream.

Cate: What's next for you?
Trish: The second of many sequels. I am in the process of writing a sequel to When I Remember Love. The scalding temperatures of my characters are not ready to cool down without my readers. Writing my second sequel, The Price of Love, I felt that we must continue following their journey of heated love and compassion that will develop into many surprises along the way. In this sequel, I design my plots as does an architect by fitting my characters in each room of their lives. On the flip side of the coin, I am also creating a new series of self help books. So many people have told me that my novel reads like a marriage manual and has helped to make their couplings stronger and more amorous. This is why I decided to write this new series. Each book will cover a different aspect of married life and hopefully, will help lovers bond like Jenna and Aidan.

Cate: Describe your writing in three words.
Trish: Passionate, descriptive and great storytelling.

Cate: What’s the most challenging aspect of writing? Most rewarding?
Trish: I want to have the reader sift and churn through my words and my thoughts and not race over the page of my well intended perfection. My personal reward is being immersed in the story-line and being with the characters that I created. Being able to visualize my characters coming to life on paper is the ultimate rush for me.

Cate: What’s the most interesting comment you have received about your books?
Trish: “Outrageous… decadent… its passion dipped on a chocolate strawberry.”

Cate: Who are some of your favorite authors and books? What are you reading now?
Trish: I loved “The Secret” by Rhonda Byrne.” It’s a great book about the law of attraction, which is no longer a secret to me. I liked “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” and “The Girl Who Played with Fire” by Stieg Larsson. Of course, I love a great romance novel too.

Cate: Where can you be found on the web?
Trish: My website and blog, http://trishsilver.com. At my site, you can hear the beautiful music written by our song-writing team. You can also visit three pages that are very valuable for promoting books: Promote Your Book, Spotlight on New Authors, and New Author Links. You will learn a lot from these pages thanks to my virtual assistant, Janis Friesler.

Cate: Is there anything you’d like to ask our readers?
Trish: What’s the perfect blending of the mind, body and soul?

Cate: Readers, Trish is giving away a book to a random commenter... so start commenting. Trish will draw the winner’s name notify the winner and post the winner’s name here.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Author Chat with Paty Jager


Hi Paty! So glad to have you at Author Chat, where we can learn a little bit about you, and your book.

Grab a cappuccino and let’s chat. Unless you have another favorite drink (alcoholic or otherwise)?
Hot chocolate, please. No whip cream, but if you have a shot of peppermint schnapps… 

Yum. :) Fur or feathers, petwise?
Fur, of the doggie kind. Tink, my Chihuahua/min pin cross, travels with me when I go on research trips and everywhere else. We also have two cow dogs, 30 head of cattle, one horse, one mini horse, and one burro. 

That's a lot of fur! lol 
Any pet peeves? One thing that really burns your biscuits?
Pet peeves - When perfectly healthy people park in the handicap parking, shopping carts are left in parking spots rather than put in the cart corrals, and a real pet peeve, when the dogs poop on my trail to the barn. ;) 

Oh yuck! :) Favorite quote? 
Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness. Mark Twain 

Love Mark Twain. 
What’s your ideal day like?
3,000 words written, a horse ride with grandkids, a barbeque with family, and watching the stars pop out in a warm summer sky. Or are you talking about a typical ideal day…  2,000 words written, two hours spent on the internet networking and promoting, a walk, watch The Talk, and make dinner for hubby. With a horse ride in the evening. 

Ahh, lovely. If you could live out any fantasy, what would you do?
When I was in high school we had to write a story about what our life would be like in thirty years. I had a barn renovated into a house with tigers for pets and I was reclusive writer and artist. 

Beethoven, Beatles, Foo Fighters or Keith Urban? 
I don't know who Foo Fighters are, but I like the rest. ;) I listen to mostly country music but I like it all but hard rock and rap. 

Do you have a music playlist for your book?
I don’t have a playlist but while writing the spirit trilogies I listened to cd's of Native American music.  When I write historical westerns I listen to blue grass, contemporary westerns I listen to country music, my book set in Guatemala, I listened to Mayan music. 

Sounds cool, and that must have really set the mood. Which of your characters would you most/least to invite to dinner, and why?
I'd love to invite all my heroes and heroines and many of the secondary characters to dinner. I tend to write people I would like to hang out with. They all have family values once they realize it, and a sense of humor. 

Love it, sounds like a great dinner party. While creating your books, what was one of the most surprising things you learned?
One? I do a lot of research for my books and I come across so many interesting things. But for the book that released this month, Spirit of the Lake, it was learning how pregnant women were viewed in the Nez Perce culture.  And the symbolism of the birth and how it pertains to the child's health. They keep a piece of the umbilical cord in a pouch on the cradle board and later with the child's pouch where they keep all things precious to them. It's believed if anything happens to the dried up cord the child will become ill and could die. And if the child does become sick, the cord can be used to heal them.

Fascinating. I love research too. :)
Where can readers find out more about you?

At my website: http://www.patyjager.net, my blog: Http://www.patyjager.blogspot.com or follow my blog tour and win.

This post is part of my blog tour. Leave a comment on as many of my guest blogs as you can and the person who travels with me the most will receive an autographed copy of Spirit of the Lake, a sweatshirt, and cowboy chocolate. To find all the places I’m visiting go to my blog: www.patyjager.blogspot.com  The contest runs from May 18th – May 29th covering thirteen blogs. I'll notify the winner on May 30th. In the event of a tie I will draw a name.
Spirit of the Lake blurb:
Two generations after his brother became mortal, Wewukiye, the lake spirit, prevents a Nimiipuu maiden from drowning and becomes caught up in her sorrow and her heart
Her tribe ignores Dove's shameful accusations—a White man took her body, leaving her pregnant, and he plans to take their land.Wewukiye vows to care for her until she gives birth, to help her prove the White man is deceitful and restore her place in her tribe.
As they travel on their quest for justice, Dove reveals spiritual abilities yet unknown in her people, ensnaring Wewukiye’s respect and awe. But can love between a mortal and a spirit grow without consequences?

Excerpt

 Wewukiye tugged her hand, drawing her closer. His warm breath puffed against her ear.

"You need only think of me and you will have strength."

His soft silky voice floated through her body like a hot drink.

Dove swallowed the lump in her throat and asked, "When will I see you again?" The thought of sleeping on the hard ground next to the fire in Crazy One's dwelling didn't sound near as inviting as using his lap to rest her head.

The days and nights grew colder; to be wrapped in his arms would warm her through and through.

"You will find me at the meadow every day when the sun is directly overhead." He brushed his lips against her ear.

She closed her eyes, relishing the silky feel of his lips and the heat of his touch.

"Think of me," whispered through her head.

Dove opened her eyes. She stood alone. Her palm still warm from their clasped hands, her ear ringing with his whisper.

Buy Link: http://thewildrosepress.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=195&products_id=4503


Thanks for chatting Paty!
Thank you for having me, Cate! It's been fun!



Tuesday, May 25, 2010

In the Author Spotlight: Kelly A. Harmon

Cate: Please welcome Kelly A. Harmon. Kelly, will you please share a short bio with us?
Kelly: Hi Cate! Thank you for having me.
I’ve always been a scribbler: jotting down notes and scenes and dialogue on whatever’s available: napkins, receipts, blank checks. Once I ruined my favorite lipstick on a cloth napkin at a restaurant.
I’ve taken detours along the way (I used to be a reporter) and I work full-time now to support my writing habit.

Cate: Sounds familiar! Tell us about Blood Soup and where it's available.
Kelly: Blood Soup is a story about murder, betrayal and comeuppance.
The story opens with a heavily pregnant Queen Piacenza. Her husband, King Theodicar naturally hopes for a male heir. The Queen is from Omera, where the first born rules, no matter the sex of the child. This causes no end of friction between them.
The Queen’s nursemaid, Salvagia, casts runes about the birth. Over and over, they yield the same message: “A girl child must rule or the kingdom will fall to ruin.” The women are convinced the baby will be a girl.
When the queen finally gives birth, the nurse and the king are equally surprised, and Theodicar is faced with a terrible choice. His decision will determine the fate of his kingdom. Will he choose wisely, or will he doom Borgund to ruin?
Blood Soup is now available on Kindle or PDF from the publisher, Eternal Press. It can also be purchased as a paperback from Amazon.

Cate: Very cool! Please tantalize us with a story blurb or excerpt.
Kelly: This is one of my favorite scenes:
King Theodicar looked down at the mewling infant in his arms, and felt the anger rise up. Even in death his wife defied him, the nurse ensuring her success. Women did not rule. He would not allow it. They had created a male child, and that child would take the throne upon his death.
“You can save the boy,” he said to Salvagia.
She slitted her eyes at him, her stare mutinous. Her words were loud and hard in the wake of queen’s death. “I have the power to save one at the expense of the other, Sire. The girl is stronger. And eldest. She was born to rule.”
Theodicar watched the girl curl up in his arms, her birth fluids staining a brown patch on the dyed-yellow wool of his tunic. She burrowed into the crook of his elbow, trying to achieve the comfort of the womb.
“I will not hear those words again,” he said. “That absurd idea died with my wife. My son will rule.” He reached for the boy, thrusting the girl child back into the nurse’s hands. “There’s no need for a daughter. And no need for anyone to know of her.”
“So be it,” Salvagia said, wrapping the weary girl in a square of wool, covering her face. She reached for her basket.
“Kill her now,” said Theodicar.
Salvagia looked stricken.
“Sire, if we kill her now, she will be of no use to her brother. Once dead, the blood won’t flow, and we need her blood to strengthen his.
“Then drain her now,” he snapped. “I will not have her crying out when we call the witnesses back to cut the boy’s cord.”

Cate: Oo, chilling. What inspired you to write about the theme?
Kelly: I was in the middle of writing a sword-and-sorcery fantasy when a friend asked me to participate in the 3-Day Novel contest. It sounded like a lot of fun – for some reason, drinking lots of coffee and attempting to stay up and write for three solid days sounded appealing at the time!
Since I was already working on a fantasy, I plotted out a suspense tale. I didn’t want to be writing along and feel like I should incorporate it into the novel afterward. I also wanted to have a tight enough plot to be able to finish the story within the time limit.
The idea of blood becoming an integral part of the story didn’t develop until after I’d started writing. As I worked through the plotting process, I considered how blood is a requirement for life, and that with any great loss of it, we perish. So, I began to think of ways blood could be used for healing or as a medicinal ingredient. (My story has a medieval setting, so it didn’t matter if my assumptions about blood were false or not – it only mattered that the characters believed them.) Taking it a step further, I wondered at the efficacy of using blood to save the life of another person: Could blood from a well person pull a dying person back from the brink? Could it strengthen a weak constitution? I considered whether or not a person could subsist on a diet of mostly blood...human or animal. And, what happens to someone who develops such a taste, so much so, that it’s like an addition?

Cate: How do you develop your plots and characters?
Kelly: I like to know where my story is headed before I write it. I find if I know a little bit about the middle and the end, I’m never beset by writer’s block.
Characters on the other hand, I allow to grow with the story. I only know the briefest of details about them before I start. Learning about my characters as I write is an exciting experience: it makes the story come alive for me.

Cate: Do you feel as if the characters live with you as you write? Do they haunt your dreams?
Kelly: My characters don’t haunt my dreams…but they are frequently with me during the day. I hear them speak the dialogue in my mind. Sometimes they’ll say something surprising and add some flair to the plot I hadn’t considered yet.

Cate: What's next for you?
Kelly: In May, I have a short story coming out in the Bad Ass Fairies 3 Anthology: In All Their Glory. As the name implies, these fairies are not Tinkerbelle.
My story, Selk-Skin Deep is an alternate history which takes place during the Vietnam War. Cade is a Navy SEAL, and a selkie – a Scottish fairy who is a seal but can shed his skin and become human. He’s stationed aboard an aircraft carrier which… well, you’ll have to read the story to find out!
I also have a non-fiction chapter in the book, How to Write Paranormal, coming out later this year. It’s all about forming critique groups and how to give a good critique.

Cate: Any other published works?
Kelly: My short story “The Dragon’s Clause” is available as a Kindle Short or in HTML at iFiction.
This was originally published in the anthology Black Dragon, White Dragon. My story “On the Path” is published in the Triangulation: Dark Glass anthology. I may release it later this year on Kindle as well.

Cate: What’s the most challenging aspect of writing? Most rewarding?
Kelly: The most challenging aspect of writing for me is to turn off my internal editor. I’m getting better at putting words onto paper and ignoring them until the re-write, but sometimes it’s hard. I love words, and I want to make sure I’m using the right ones at the right time. I keep a well-thumbed thesaurus by my side all the time.
As for rewarding, I enjoy typing, “The End.” It always brings a smile to my face.

Cate: It is a good feeling. What’s the most interesting comment you have received about your books?
Kelly: I love this quote about Blood Soup from one of my 5-star Amazon reviews:
Kelly Harmon writes with a flowing style that draws you right in to her swirling mix. Read it at a bus stop and you'll miss three buses before you even look up. It's hot. It's tasty. Take one spoonful of "Blood Soup" and you'll finish the bowl!

Cate: Great review! Who are some of your favorite authors and books? What are you reading now?
Kelly: I read EVERYTHING...I always have, although I’m partial to fantasy, science fiction and horror.
I remember reading Carole Nelson Douglas’ Six of Swords as a teen and loving it. I wanted to write stories like that. Terry Brooks was another teen favorite. I read The Sword of Shannara over and over.
Dean Koontz thrilled me with Whispers. My mom and I read it together one summer, each stealing it from the other as time permitted, racing to the end. My bookshelves are still heavily populated by Koontz. His Odd Todd series is great.
Heinlein, Asimov, Bradbury…the list goes on and on.
I’m currently reading the Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffengger.

Cate: I grew up on Ray Bradbury. Love Audrey Niffenegger too.
Where can readers find you on the web?
Kelly: My Web site is: http://kellyaharmon.com.
My amazon.com Web site is here.
I also have a facebook fan page
And, I’m on twitter: @kellyaharmon

Cate: Is there anything you’d like to ask our readers?
Kelly: Are we done with vampires yet?

Cate: Readers, Kelly is giving away a book to a random commenter... so start commenting. She'll pick a winner tomorrow night.


Monday, May 24, 2010

In the Author Spotlight: James C. Wallace II

It’s been nearly 2 months now since my first blog posting as part of the Virtual Book Tour. At first, I thought it would be difficult to come up with fresh material for each posting but that would seem not to be the case. In fact, I find that I am full of words aching to get out and shout their message. Sadly though, this appears to be my final posting as part of the Virtual Book Tour.

If you are interested, my blog site is located at: Magician of Oz

In 2 weeks, I attend Oz-stravaganza! 2010 in Chesterton, New York, which happens to be the birthplace of Lyman Frank Baum, author of “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1899).



The theme for Oz-Stravaganza! 2010, is: “The Emerald City of Oz”, which is based on the 6th book in the Oz series written by Baum in 1910 and dedicated to former Chittenango resident and Baum’s niece, Cynthia Baum Tassini.

The Emerald City is an important part of Oz. Having been there myself, I can truly attest to that fact!

This is, by far, the biggest Oz festival of the year and I am one of their featured authors in Author’s Alley. For me, this represents the culmination of all my efforts to fulfill Princess Ozma’s command and tell the story of her new Royal Magician and his efforts to protect the Land of Oz from all things Evil.

There are many things I am looking forward to doing while there at Oz-stravaganza!. One of the most exciting for me is the opportunity to appear alongside 3 of the original cast members from the 1939 MGM film, The Wizard of Oz. They are:

Karl Slover, Margaret Williams Pellegrini & Jerry Maren
I have never had the honor of meeting real Munchkins before and frankly, I’m quite giddy at the thought of it.
Another highlight of this event for me is the opportunity to meet many other Oz authors, including John Fricke, Rick Ewigleben (Oz illustrator), Joshua Patrick Dudley, Julienne La Fleur, and especially Dennis Anfuso. I say that because Dennis and I met last year at another Oz festival in Chesterton, Indiana and as a result of that meeting, Dennis graciously offered to do the book cover illustrations for Magician of Oz and Shadow Demon of Oz, as well as the not-yet released Family of Oz. His work is amazing and I am blessed by Ozma herself for that chance meeting.
Two other authors I am looking forward to meeting are Bert Lahr, "The Cowardly Lion's" daughter, Jane Lahr and grand daughter, Maya Gottfried. As fellow authors, we all share a bond that goes beyond normal literary visions because we write of Oz… And Oz is not your normal slice of bread, so to speak.
In fact, one of the major reasons I was selected by Her Majesty, Princess Ozma, Ruler and Sovereign of Oz to write her story was because Oz is such a diverse and welcoming world. No matter where on this world you go, everyone knows Oz. Now, mind you, 95% of those folks know Oz from the 1939 MGM film, The Wizard of Oz and not the original 14 books written by the Royal Historian, L. Frank Baum. And yet, this fact does not impede my ability not only to write about the Land of Oz, but to have it accepted throughout the land and enjoyed by so many, both young and old alike.
Finally, my biggest thrill in attending this festival is the fact that my wife, Amanda will be attending. For anyone who has read Magician of Oz, they will recognize her from the dedication and her influence in my writing being made manifest in the abundance of Potato Soup.
When I set out to write the Royal Magician of Oz Trilogy, I chose food as a major story element. In Magician of Oz, it’s Potato Soup. In Shadow Demon of Oz, it’s the Reuben Samich and in Family of Oz (due out in early 2011), it’s Blackberry Cobbler. That way, when you complete the series, you’ve had soup, samich and dessert. After all, everyone eats and everyone has a favorite food.
In case you’re wondering about my books, Magician of Oz came out last year on the Summer Solstice 2009 and Shadow Demon of Oz was released just a few weeks ago..

Magician of Oz Story Description
Life in Indiana was quite the adventure for young Jamie Diggs and his parents. After a tumultuous move from Kansas, Jamie explores the covered bridges, forests and cemeteries of rural Indiana where he discovers the ways of the Hoosiers. When his parents bring up an old humpback trunk from their basement, Jamie discovers his magical heritage lurking inside. Jamie learns the ways of magic from a local magic club, meets Tree-In-The-Road, gathers Morel mushrooms for his mother's legendary potato soup and discovers his great grandfather, the original Wizard of Oz's sentry stone. He soon finds himself transported to the Land of Oz where he must face the wrath of the Fighting Trees who have grown bitter after their defeat at the hands of the Tin Woodman so long ago. In this compelling tale of fantasy and adventure in the Land of Oz, the young magician discovers new friends along the way, conquers his fears and battles the oncoming wave of trees and mushrooms alongside Dorothy and Toto.


Shadow Demon of Oz Story Description

It was in the early month of Spring when the old humpback trunk of O.Z. Diggs, the original Wizard of Oz was opened by his great grandson, Jamie Diggs, revealing a magical heritage lurking within. Following in the footsteps of his great grandfather, a young boy named Jamie pursued the ways of magic and soon found himself transported to the magical Land of Oz where, alongside Dorothy, he faced his greatest fears and the fearsome Army of Trees in defense of the Tin Woodman. Now the young magician is called to return to the Land of Oz to take his place as the new Royal Magician of Princess Ozma; Ruler and Sovereign of Oz.

If you are interested in purchasing either of these fine books of mine, that information can be found at Amazon.com or by clicking on the following links:
Magician of Oz
Shadow Demon of Oz



Who is The Royal Liaison to Princess Ozma?
James C. Wallace II, originally a native of West Virginia, currently lives in Terre Haute, Indiana with his wife Amanda. They have been married more than 26 years, with a herd of 5 children and 12 grandchildren. His background covers nearly 26 years in children's education, including experience working for the world's largest children's museum; The Children's Museum of Indianapolis, where he was the Planetarium Educator for SpaceQuest Planetarium. In addition to children's books about Oz, he is recognized by NASA as a leading developer of web-based educational games, educational exhibit design, curriculum development and implementation. In addition, he is involved in the DiscoverHover program, which is an educational program developing and utilizing hovercraft in a unique and fun way. He now serves as the Royal Liaison to Princess Ozma, Sovereign Ruler of Oz and endeavors to fulfill her royal command to tell the tale of her newest Royal Magician to the children of the Great Outside.

Per Ardua Ad Alta!
James C. Wallace II
Royal Liaison to Princess Ozma


Sunday, May 23, 2010

Teel J. Glenn in the Author Spotlight

Cate: Please welcome Teel J. Glenn. Teel, will you please share a short bio with us?
Teel:
I was born in Brooklyn though I’ve traveled the world for thirty years as a stuntman, fight choreographer, swordmaster, jouster, book illustrator, storyteller, bodyguard, and actor. I studied under the head of the Seoul Military Academy and Errol Flynn’s last stunt double.

I’ve choreographed realistic violence for every Shakespeare play at least once, many several times and literally hundreds of different productions.

And as a performer of I’ve done 52 Renaissance Faires, been in many genre films and TV series including, Spenser for Hire, the Equalizer, The Bog Creatures and most famously as Vega in the manga/gaming web series “Street Fighter: the later years.”

All of this life experience informs my writing; I have 25 books in print from five different publishers (all of them well reviewed) and have sold short works to magazines like Mad, Blazing Adventures, Black Belt, Classic Pulp Fiction, Fantasy Tales, AfterburnSF, Fantasy World Geographic and others.



Cate: Sounds fascinating. Tell us about Wake of the Red Mistress and where it's available.
Teel: The book, available from www.eternalpress.biz, is a fantasy tale of thwarted love and piratical lust, blood and treasure! Sister Shinara of the Yulinites is on a ship that is attacked by Aurzia- the Red Mistress. When the pirate’s men are going to kill Shinara and the five novices in her care the sister makes a deal with the pirate queen to lead her to a ‘great treasure’ in a distance monastery.

Meanwhile near that monastery young monk Zak has been having an affair with a noblewoman and to do so has been disguising himself by transforming into a horse to slip out of the monastery through the sacred herd. But he feels guilt for the affair (and has memories of Shinara) and keeps trying to resist his desires for the older woman.

The Red Mistress leads her brigands on a cross-country trek to loot the monastery with Shinara and the sisters in tow.

When these characters come together and how they interact is the tale.


Cate: Please tantalize us with a story blurb or excerpt.
Teel:  Much of the novel is the interplay between the devote Sister Shinara and the bloodthirsty and sensual Azuria- the Red Mistress of the title. This the scene where they first meet
:

Sister Shinara stepped before the girls with her back to them clutching her scriptures to her bosom and faced the entering corsairs. She stared the intruders down as they streamed through the door.

“Goddess protect these of your flock who stand before you.” She thought. “And guide me to do right.”

Rough hands seized Shinara and tore her gown to expose her naked bosom. She struggled against the vice grip of a brigand as others grabbed the screaming girls.

“Leave them alone!” she cried in vain.

The pirate holding Shinara ran a hand around her waist to roughly grab her naked breast and squeeze it. She yelled out in pain, turning her head to look him in the face.

 “Do what you will with me, but leave them alone.”

“Oh, as you command, m’highness,” the pirate holding her said. “Shall I bring your worship’s private yacht around as well?” This brought laughter from the dozen brigands who swarmed into the cabin behind him. It was loud enough that it almost drowned out the screams of the terrified young sisters as the other corsairs began to remove their clothing.

“Quiet!” a female voice cut through all the noise. It was not loud, but had the quality of command that made even the screaming girls choke their cries to low sobs. “What is going on here?”

“The Red Mistress!” the young girl Yuza whispered. Her eyes were wide and for the moment her own distress was forgotten in the presence of the piratical legend she had heard so much about

The speaker was a woman, but such as none of the sisters had ever seem; she was barely five feet tall though her presence filled the room. Her hair was long and curly and fiery red, barely held back with a striped blue rag to reveal a pale face with green, cat like eyes.

She wore crimson fighting leathers and a loose shirt, a brace of throwing knives on a bandolier across her ample breasts. In her hand was a bloody cutlass.

When the pirate holding Shinara did not respond quickly enough the petite hellion sprang forward and slapped him across the face over Shinara’s shoulder.

“I said what is going on?” The female pirate barked.

The struck brigand released the sister and for a moment anger flared in his eyes but he quickly contained it and stepped back with a shrugging gesture.

“We were just getting these holy rollers, ready to throw over the side, Aurzia,” he said contritely. “They put up a fight.”

“He lies,’ Shinara said. She pulled together the torn edges of her gown and stepped to comfort the youngest of the sisters. “We would not fight; we of the Order of Yulina do not take up arms.”

The tall blonde sister locked eyes with the redheaded pirate and showed none of the fear she felt.

The piratess appraised the sister with a feral grin and smiling eyes. She licked her full lips and nodded. “It doesn’t really matter, little sister,” Aurzia said, “My men have strict orders; no molesting women!” She took a step forward, her cutlass flicked out and the pirate that had spoken yelped. He grabbed the bloody spot where the ear had just been severed and fell to his knees cursing.

“Let them say their last prayers and then finish them quick,” the Red Mistress said with a final longing look at Shinara before she turned to leave. “I want all the bodies in the water before we put a prize crew on this scow.”

Yuza screamed and fainted



How and why Shinara convinces the Red Mistress not to kill them and what happens after is the meat of the story…



Cate: Intriguing! Can you tell us why we're going to love your hero?
Teel:
Wake of the Red Mistress is unique in that it has three main characters; Shinara, Azuria and Zak, a young monk with feelings for Shinara who interact in a way that no one is the villain-exactly- but each has their doubts and hopes that collide in the course of a journey across country to loot an ancient monastery.



Cate: Tease us with one little thing about your fictional world that makes it different from others.
Teel: The Seven Kingdoms world is a world where transformations from man to beast are part of the pat of the mythology and religion, though not an everyday occurrence. The faith of the Sister and the Monk in this story plays a major part of the tale. And it is a lusty world, as well one without the taboos we have on our own globe…



Cate: What's next for you?
Teel: I have several series for different publishers; 3 that take place in the 1930s, 1 in the far future, 1 on a different fantasy world and 2 contemporary adventure series. I’ll probably be writing one of them on any given day. And of course, I have plans for more stories in the Seven Kingdoms. I also have anther book coming out from Eternal Press “Shakespeared” which is a contemporary urban fantasy.



Cate: Very cool. What inspired you to draft your first story?
Teel: I can’t say how long ago that was or which story it was, but I know it was probably a reaction to something I read or saw on T.V.- you know, the “Oh, I can come up with a better ending than that!” I was writing novels already by High School and selling short stories and articles to places like mad magazine by college.



Cate: Do you have a writing routine?
Teel: I wakeup I write. That is pretty much it. I do correspondence or editing when I first wake up to sort o ‘warm up’ my brain and then go on to whatever assignment I have that day. I work out in between right in my tiny apartment and unless I have to leave to teach (sword and writing in New York) or such mundane things as shop for food I am very single focused on writing and may not go out for days at a time. My workdays are 16 hours or more.


Cate: Where can readers find you on the web?
Teel:  My website is Theurbanswashbuckler.com and that links to my blog for updates…


Cate: Is there anything you’d like to ask our readers?
Teel: What is it they care about most in a book -- the characters, setting or style of the story? For me it’s the characters…



Cate: Readers, Teel is giving away a copy of either Of Sword & Sorcery or The Traveler's Tale (winner's choice) to one lucky commenter. He'll pick a winner next weekend and announce the winner here.
Thanks for being my guest Teel! Best of luck to you.