Saturday, July 31, 2010

More delicious treats from Key West

One of the most easily recognizable fare from the Keys is Key Lime Pie. Yum. The history of the pie has been lost to the ages. While some claim to have invented the dessert, most believe it originated in the late 1800s (after Angels Sinners and Madmen takes place, so I make no mention of it). Hard to say, though, since most people didn't begin to write down recipes until the early 1900s, according to the following web site. I'm fairly certain they didn't have prepared crusts then either. :)

Key Lime Pie
1 (9-inch) prepared Graham Cracker Pie Crust
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1/4 cup key lime juice**
2 teaspoons finely grated zest from key limes
2 eggs, separated
1 egg, room temperature
4 tablespoons granulated sugar
** The recipe says if you can't find fresh key limes, Tahiti or Persian limes may be substituted as they are very similar in taste. You can also substitute the bottled key lime juice. The online recipe also includes instructions to prepare a graham cracker crust, which you should refrigerate until well chilled.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, combine condensed milk, key lime zest, and key lime juice. Add egg yolks and egg; stir until well blended. Pour into chilled graham cracker crust. In a medium bowl, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form; gradually fold in sugar. Spread meringue over key lime mixture, being careful to spread to edge of pastry to prevent shrinkage during baking. Check out my hints and tips on making a Perfect Meringue.
Bake 20 minutes or until meringue is golden brown. Remove from oven and cool completely on a wire rack. Makes 6 servings.

I thought Mojitos a modern drink until I came across the following web site, which includes another interesting history. Because of Key West's proximity to Cuba, wreckers often sailed there for supplies. Cubans not only perfected the cigar (like the antique logo above, which I thought was pretty cool), but supposedly also the mojito. Unless you believe another story that English pirate Sir Richard Drake first mixed the drink and later introduced it to Cubans. Either way, it makes a refreshing summertime cocktail, but also packs a punch. A favorite of Hemingway's, I'm sure if the walls of the bars in Key West could talk, they'd have quite a few tales to tell.

The Magnificent Mojito: History and Recipe
2 oz. light rum
1-2 oz. lime juice (depending on your taste)
2 tsp. superfine sugar (you can also use confectioner's sugar)
2-3 mint leaves
club soda or seltzer water
lime slice and mint sprigs for garnish
Lightly muddle (that is, gently smash up) the mint and sugar with a splash of soda water in a mixing glass until the sugar is dissolved and you can smell the mint. Pour the lime juice into the glass, add the rum and pour into an ice-filled cocktail shaker. Give it a few shakes and then strain into a collins glass. Top with soda water or seltzer water, garnish with a lime slice and a mint sprig. Serve.

And enjoy!

Friday, July 30, 2010

New cover for Surfacing!

I couldn't wait to share this new cover. It just came in my email, and I love love love it! Right down to the fin on the spine. :) Kendra Egert did an amazing job.

The blurb is on the back cover (and you can read it if you click on the image to enlarge it), but Surfacing is the story of struggling indie rocker AJ Dillon, who moves to his grandfather's house in Florida because he has nowhere else to go. Grandpa lines up a job at Weeki Wachee Springs, home of the famous mermaid show. There he meets Cassiopeia, a real mermaid.

Whiskey Creek Press will release Surfacing in August.

This cover really made my day. What do you think??

Treats from Key West

If you've ever been to Key West, you'd have noticed them everywhere. The chickens. Walking across the street, hanging out at restaurants and bars as if they were Hemingway reincarnated.

In researching what islanders ate during 1856, the time in which Angels Sinners and Madmen takes place, one thing was clear - they made good work of the abundance of seafood.

Apparently conch shells were so plentiful, they ate the meat of the creature within, although it was apparently very tough, according to this recipe for Conch Chowder, handed down through generations. Key West residents transplanted from Bahama were called Conchs also.

Conch Chowder
3 onions, finely chopped
2 to 3 cloves garlic, minced
1 green bell pepper, cored, seeded, and finely chopped
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can whole tomatoes, undrained and cut up*
2 1/2 to 3 pounds conch meat, cleaned and ground**
2 potatoes, peeled and finely chopped
2 quarts water (approximately)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
* To easily prepare the tomatoes, use a sharp knife and cut the tomatoes while still in the can.
** Because conch meat is very tough, you must grind it using a meat grinder or food processor.
In a large, heavy pot over medium-high heat, add onions, garlic, bell pepper, and tomatoes; cook until vegetables are soft. Reduce heat to low; add ground conch meat, potatoes, and enough water to make it soupy but not watery. Let simmer 1 hour. Add salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat and serve in individual soup bowls. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

I found several references to camperou, a favorite drink in the mid-1800s, but the best recipe I could find was rather vague: The favorite social drink is camperou, a compound of caracoa, eggs, Jamaica spirits and other ingredients.

Hm. 'Other ingredients' leaves it pretty wide open.

I'll feature more island recipes tomorrow, but you can also find Key West Recipes here.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Still time to enter the RJ Summer Contest!

I'm part of the Romance Junkies summer contest! You can check it out here.

I'm giving away a print copy of Fever Dreams and a beaded book thong, like the one shown below.

Here's the trailer for Fever Dreams, which the Pen and Muse called "a well-written contemporary novel that delves into the emotional journey of a woman deeply entrenched in a life headed nowhere. When Diana met Cal at her new place of employment she was thrust into a world of dark dreams and intense attraction. Two very flawed people come together in passion that can’t be denied and take you along on an unsuspected path where the line between love and obsession get very blurry."

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Casting Call: Angels Sinners and Madmen

Today is the first in another new series of blog posts. Casting Call will show you who I had in mind while I wrote each story.

To celebrate yesterday's release of Angels Sinners and Madmen, I'll feature it first. The setting: Key West, Florida, in 1856. So imagine all the period costumes, and the basic rugged lifestyle of island life.

Olivia (Livvie) Collins sails from New York after her father's death. She's rebuffed the advances of her father's business partner, and wants to make a living as a writer. Her destination is New Orleans, where her brother Wendell lives with his wife Marianne and their two children. She knows her welcome at Wendell and Marianne's house will be limited, and they'll throw ball after ball to introduce her to New Orleans society. And to marry her off. Livvie wants no part of it.

So when her ship wrecks on the reefs near Key West, Florida, she's rescued by Sam Langhorne. The wreck claimed the lives of several shipmates, and Livvie's happy to be alive. And relieved for the delay. Key West society is nothing like New York. Here, people do as they wish, living free as can be. At first, she rebuffs Sam's flirting. Yes, he's handsome, but can someone who makes his living as a wrecker have any internal depth? She's surprised to learn he does. He reads newspapers to keep up with current affairs, and has a small library in his wrecker's shack. He has a sharp wit that speaks of at least some education. Despite herself, she's intrigued by him.

Kate Winslet is perfect for this part. She's gorgeous in a natural way. Intelligent, with a sweet temperament that can unleash a sharp tongue if provoked.

Sam Langhorne came to Key West to forget women. His fiancee Helen spent most of his money, then cheated on him and broke his heart, so he's callous about breaking any woman's heart. Glad to leave behind the shallow minds of Philadelphia and the law firm his father forced him into, he loves the cameraderie of the wreckers, the free and easy life. The challenge of pitting himself against the most terrible of storms to rescue shipwrecked passengers - and then profit from the salvaged cargo. He can be a bit surly and untrusting, especially of women, who lust after him because he's so handsome.

Ah, Hugh Jackman would be incredible as Sam Langhorne. Hugh's wide range of acting parts show he's up for the task of playing a wrecker too. And he's a perfect match for Kate as Livvie, I think.

The secondary cast were also very vivid to me. Liam Byrne, Sam's best mate, I imagined Geoffrey Rush very clearly in every scene. And Helena Bonham Carter was perfect as Millie, a local woman of ill repute.

I hope you've enjoyed this peek inside my head. On August 5, I'll give you a Casting Call preview of Follow the Stars Home, my Native American historical novel releasing with Eternal Press on August 7.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Release day for Angels Sinners and Madmen!

Today, Freya's Bower releases Angels Sinners and Madmen, my historical novel set in 1856 Key West, Florida. I like to refer to it as a historical adventure romance, because this story has so many great elements (which I will explore later in the new Story Elements series).

Tomorrow's debut of a new post series called Casting Call will give you a peek at who starred in the version playing inside my mind as I was writing Angels Sinners and Madmen.

Today's a day of celebration! *throws confetti and blows noisemaker* I've mentioned this many times, but Angels Sinners and Madmen burst to life in my head during a visit to Key West, particularly during a visit to the wrecker's museum. The incredible history of the wreckers intrigued me, and I wanted to bring their story to life. Because of the extensive research, the task seemed overwhelming, but I set my mind to writing the first draft during NaNoWriMo a few years ago. I'm really happy with the final result. I hope you will be too!

Here's the blurb:
What happens in Key West, stays in Key West. Especially in 1856, when men outnumber women by ten to one. Wrecker Sam Langhorne came to Key West eight years earlier to forget his ruined engagement. When he rescues Livvie Collins from a watery grave, he’s swept away by her beauty and spirit. He’s sworn off love, but is soon captivated by Livvie’s wit–and her determination to remain single.
The death of Livvie’s father leaves her no other option than to sail to New Orleans to live with her brother Wendell. Though she hopes to support herself by writing novels, she’s sure Wendell will try to soon marry her off, and is determined to experience life to its fullest before reaching New Orleans.
Sam is handsome and attentive, constantly surprising her with his intelligence and his interest in current literature and happenings. She gives herself to him in a night of passion so she can know the true emotion at least once in her life. But can she save herself after she arrives in New Orleans?

Here's an excerpt:

Acutely aware of his presence beside her, she suspected he had the same effect on other females. “It sounds like your days are very full, Mr. Langhorne.”
He halted, his gaze intense. “Will you never call me Sam? I may be older than you, but not so old to warrant such formality.”
His sudden seriousness took her by surprise. Using his name implied an informality—a familiarity–she wasn’t quite ready to allow. Then again, he’d brought her up from the depths, his strong arms leaving an indelible impression on her skin, one she felt even now. How much more familiar could one get? “Sam.”
He continued walking. “Thank you, Livvie.”
He said it naturally, as though he’d called her that all her life.
She glanced behind them, then ahead. “This is not a quicker route. In fact, I believe it will lengthen our walk.” These streets were new to her. The houses appeared larger, maintained better than those on Duval Street, at least at the end where the Crowells’ boarding house stood.
His brows furrowed as he pressed his lips together. “Hmm. Is that a fact?”
The stern look she tried to affect gave way to a smile. “So. Tell me about Philadelphia.”
“It’s a bustling metropolis where small-minded people live.” His tone had a sharper edge, and he avoided her gaze.
“City life doesn’t suit you?” Livvie’s curiosity got the better of her, one of her father’s chief complaints.
“Not when I could be here instead. The choice between spending my days there, devising means to outwit others, or here, in the glorious sunshine, my life mine to live as I see fit–well, it was the easiest choice I’ve ever made.”
“What do you mean, outwitting others? Were you a thief?”
He laughed. “In a manner of speaking.”
So willing to share certain parts of himself, so reticent to share others. What secrets, she wondered, did Samuel Langhorne hide?
She scrutinized him. “You are a puzzle.” More likely a Pandora’s box, and the temptation to open it grew.

I hope you'll come by tomorrow for Casting Call!

Leave a comment on this post before August 1 to be in the running to win an ecopy of Angels Sinners and Madmen!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Are first chapters an effective marketing tool?

A discussion at Lyons Literary blog convinced me they are. Or could be, if your first chapter interests people. :)

So in advance of tomorrow's release of my historical novel (which I like to call a historical adventure romance), I've posted the first chapter of Angels, Sinners and Madmen on my web site. While historicals may not be to everyone's liking, I hope the first chapter will entice people to want more. The trailer and excerpt are here.

On Wednesday, I'm also launching a new blog series called Casting Call - I hope you'll check it out. First up is Angels, Sinners and Madmen.

And tomorrow is my monthly post at Popculturedivas, a tribute to my much-maligned home state of New Jersey. I hope you'll pop over!

My last official tour stop

Today marks the end of my official blog tour! The lovely and talented Margaret West is host for the finale, a celebration of my upcoming release of Follow the Stars Home, my second historical novel, a Native American romance. I hope you'll pop over and comment to join in the celebration.

You can still find me out and about in coming weeks and months - visit my web site for the list.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Dianne Hartsock in the Author Spotlight

Cate: Please welcome Dianne Hartsock. Dianne, will you please share a short bio with us?
Dianne: Thank you for having me as your guest today, Cate. I live in the beautiful Willamette Valley of Oregon with my incredibly patient husband, who puts up with the endless hours I spend hunched over the keyboard letting my characters play.
I have to say, Oregon’s raindrops are the perfect setting in which to write my slightly twisted tails. There’s something about being cooped up in the house while it pours rain outside and a fire crackles on the hearth inside that kindles my imagination.
Currently, I work as a floral designer in a locally-owned gift shop. Which is the perfect job for me. When not writing, I can express myself through the rich colors and textures of flowers and foliage.

Cate: Very cool. Tell us about ALEX and where it's available.
Dianne: ALEX, paranormal/ suspense novel from Solstice Publishing, May 31, 2011.
Solstice Publishing:
With ALEX, I wanted to take a different approach than the usual serial killer/psychic story. This is a story of a young man able to experience other people’s emotions and sometimes see their thoughts. The story is told from Alex’s unique perspective, his thoughts and emotions and how he deals with his ‘gift’ in a doubting world.

Cate: So intriguing. And I’ve been loving your Six Sentence Sunday snippets. Please tantalize us with a story blurb or excerpt.
Dianne: Severely abused as a child, Alex is left with horrible scars on his body and even worse scars within his mind. Even though it puts him in danger, he’s compelled to help those who call to him. He’s driven, motivated by his visions to rescue them and uncover the killer. When he can, he helps the police; yet some detectives suspect he’s the cause of the problem, not the solution. Often, Alex finds himself alone and afraid in a world he doesn’t always comprehend.           
Her skin was soft under his fingertips. Her bare shoulders, the curve of muscle in her arms, her slim fingers; all so soft. Her breath caressed his cheek as he stared at her lips. He wanted to kiss her. It was a risk, he knew, but he ached for someone to break the loneliness. He bent his head and ran his tongue tentatively over the sweet fullness of her mouth. Her tongue met his but he was unprepared for the fire that tore through him. She pressed against him to deepen the kiss and a wild madness surged through his blood.
Something was wrong. She cried out as she struggled in his arms. Her nails raked across his neck. He let her go and watched in bewilderment as she scrambled away, her breath coming in sharp gasps. He reached out a tentative hand, wanting to explain—apologize, but she stepped hastily away from him.
“Freak!” she spat and quickly fled.
He jerked as the word struck him, his arm dropping to his side. The pain of her rejection flooded him. He touched his mouth and wondered desperately what she’d seen as he’d kissed her.
She stopped at the end of the bridge and looked over her shoulder. He couldn’t make out her expression, but he hoped to God it wasn’t pity. He took a hesitant step toward her but she tore her eyes away and rushed off.
He watched her follow the road back to town, hurrying as the sun sank. The far side of the road was already lost in darkness. His shoulders slumped in defeat when she disappeared into the gloom.
Dejected, he sat on the edge of the bridge and dangled his feet over the swift current. The sound of the rushing water echoed under him, filling his ears. It dulled the edge of his pain, making him forget his humiliation as he listened. He could almost make out a voice in the resonance.

Cate: Such depth of emotion - wonderful. Can you tell us why we're going to love your hero?
Dianne: Alex is a young man whose mind has slipped beyond the common boundaries of life. The compassion and quiet courage in which he faces life and overcomes his fears, and his very human weaknesses, will endear him to everyone. Only the love and support of his friends brings him through the summer safely, with his mind whole. 

Cate: You really make us feel for poor Alex. Tease us with one little thing about your fictional world that makes it different from others.
Dianne: Jane drew in a lungful of air, exhaled, and forced herself to be calm. As she had earlier, she tried to focus her mind and energy on Alex, wishing him to be okay.
“Stay with me,” she begged, knowing if there was anyone in the world who could perceive her thoughts, it would be him.
In this world, there are very few people, if any, who are so in tune with another soul that they can hear that person’s thoughts. It’s what makes Alex so special and dear.

Cate: What's next for you?
Dianne: Goodness, Cate, I’m having such a wonderful year I hardly know where to begin. Never having been published before, this year has been a dream come true. Currently, I have two short stories published with Breathless Press:

Shelton in Love

Shelton is falling hard for his best friend and roommate, finding Nevil’s dark good looks and moments of gentleness almost impossible to resist. But Nevil is more interested in affairs of the body than the heart. As Shelton’s desire for the man grows, he wonders if he can change Nevil’s mind. But does he even want to? Nevil might not stay, once he learns Shelton’s secret, and then his loneliness would be complete.

Shelton’s Promise

Shelton has a gift he’s eager to give to Nevil. At a party, Nevil flirts with one man after another, keeping Shelton on his toes. Then Percy, an ex, shows up to complicate things. Despite his best efforts, Shelton can’t find the right moment to give Nevil his gift. Will Nevil ever let Shelton get close to him, or will Shelton have to keep the gift in his pocket all evening?

I also have a paranormal story coming out from MuseItUp Publishing this October.

The Trials of a Lonely Specter

And there’s many more ideas where these came from!

Cate: So cool – love to hear you’re doing so well! What inspired you to draft your first story?
Dianne: Funny as it may seem, I fell in love with Ray Bradbury’s stories when a teenager and wanted to create worlds the way he is able to. I’ve been working on it ever since.

Cate: I loved his stories as a teenager too. Do you have a writing routine?
Dianne: 7a.m. The alarm goes off. Morning already? Shouldn't have stayed up so late last night. Shower. Coffee. Computer on. Check mail, social networks. News at 7:30.7:45. Time to write! WooHoo! I open my current wip and get to work. What? Wait. 8:30 already? Drag myself reluctantly to the bedroom to get ready for work. If I'm very lucky, I'll be ready by 8:50 and can get in another 25 minutes. But first, check mail again. Hey, I might have sold something while I was gone! Get home from work at 6pm. Make dinner, spend time with husband. 9pm., computer back on! Check mail, social networks. Write blogs, etc. Then back to what I love best. Writing! Hey, it can't be 11pm already? Well, I don't think another hour will hurt me. Maybe two. Who needs more than six hours of sleep anyway? If only I didn't love it so much. :)

Cate: Wish I were so disciplined! Where can readers find you on the web: 

Cate: Is there anything you’d like to ask our readers?
Dianne: I’m curious how many of you believe in the paranormal, whether it’s ghosts or a person’s special abilities. Would it frighten you, if it was real?

Cate: Great question! Can’t wait to read the answers. Readers, Dianne is giving away a PDF copy of ALEX to a random commenter…so start commenting. She’d like to know if you’ve had any paranormal encounters of your own. She'll pick a winner next weekend and announce the winner here. Please leave your contact information!

Cast a vote for Winning!

My book trailer for my short story Winning is one of this month's entries at You Gotta Read Videos. I'd love your vote for #18!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Need an exotic getaway this summer?

If you're like me, this summer's vacation will be a staycation. But you can always escape with to an exotic locale with a fun read.

Going with Gravity is just what you need. Travel with my heroine, Allison Morris, to lush Hawai‘i, and be swept away by sexy surfer Wes Hamilton.

This is the first of a new series of posts called Story Elements. These will examine the different aspects of each story, and how I pulled the different elements together to form each story. Stay tuned for another cool new series called Casting Call, which will debut on Wednesday July 28.

A news story spurred the initial idea for Going with Gravity. A jet lost its fuselage in midair and managed to land with no injuries to any of its 350 passengers, despite a gaping hole in the plane. An amazing story in itself. But in reading it, I wondered about the people on that plane. More importantly, who could I put on such a plane?

To ratchet up the tension, the characters on that fateful flight had to be under personal pressure. So I created Allison Morris. A harried public relations expert, Allison stayed at her job out of dedicated professionalism. Her boss, Michelle McCarter, took her divorce from a famous rock star badly, and often left a PR mess for Allison to clean up. Others might kill to have an in with the rock star royalty she rubbed elbows with, but Allison would kill for a day off, and Michelle was becoming too much to handle. Allison had always dreamed of going to Hawai‘i, but when Michelle needs her there, she doesn't look forward to it. She's barely had time for her own life.

Poor Allison was so uptight, I needed to balance her out with someone laid back. Someone who didn't let anything rile him. Someone who believed in the path he was on. Wes Hamilton is just such a guy. Up for any challenge, he seems Allison's polar opposite, except that he holds the same basic values - he cares for people, for the environment. Despite his anything-goes appearance, he works hard, and not just at maintaining his status as a world-class surfer. He's also an entrepreneur.

So when that fuselage blew in mid-air, while Allison's in the rest room, she freaks. Wes rushes to her to make sure she's ok. His embrace turns into a kiss. For all Allison knows, this could be her last few minutes alive. She wants more. So she earns her entry into the Mile High Club.

Because so many of my summers consist of staycations, I love researching settings. Going with Gravity's main setting is Oahu, but the flight's emergency landing is in San Diego. I found a very cool hotel there called Hotel del Coronado. Not only is the hotel itself very unusual, its rooms - especially the bathrooms - are amazing. And they overlook the Pacific Ocean.

From there, Allison goes to the Sheraton Princess Kaiulani (she's on a budget, and can't afford to stay where Michelle stays). Down after a misunderstanding with Wes, she learns about Princess Kaiulani, the crown princess of Hawaii in the 1800s. The princess's tragic story is one I'd like to write about sometime.

Hawai‘i has so many unique elements. As soon as you hear the sweet and soulful strains of a slack key guitar, it conjures images of the island beaches and sunsets, girls in grass skirts dancing with their hands and hips and feet. A slack key guitar is basically a six-string acoustic with the strings loosened to achieve that unique sound. Various theories exist about its origins, but the general consensus is that European sailors introduced the six-string guitar to Hawai‘i at the start of the nineteenth century. Around 1832, guitars were also brought to Hawai‘i by vaqueros (cowboys) from Mexico and Spain hired by King Kamehameha III to instruct the Hawaiians in managing an overpopulation of cattle. Many of the vaqueros worked on the Big Island of Hawai‘i around Waimea. According to my research, "When the hired vaqueros returned to their lands, they often left behind their guitars. Hawaiians began to tune the guitars in their own way by loosening, or slackening the keys until the six strings formed a single chord. In addition to the signature tuning, slack key guitar is distinguished by the playing technique. The bass sound is played on the lower register while the melody is played on the higher register at the same time. This unique blending of sounds results in an intricate, rich, and soulful harmony."

The ukelele is also strongly associated with Hawai‘i, but doesn't transport me instantly to the islands quite like the slack key guitar.

The Hawai‘ian language really amazed me. With only eight consonant phonemes, and either 5 or 25 vowel phonemes, depending on how the long vowels and diphthongs are treated. Its simplicity equals its complexity.

To get an idea, here are a few words and phrases relating to the sea:
Kai; moana (open); malo, pāʻū (poetic). See sayings, pūnoni, forecast. Calm, quiet sea, kai mālie, kai malino, kai malolo, kai hoʻolulu, kai pū, kai wahine, kai kalamania, kaiolohia. Strong sea, kai koʻo, kai kāne, kai nui, kai nuʻu, ʻōkaikai. Rough or raging sea, kai pupule, kai puʻeone, kai akua, ʻōkaikai. Deep sea, kai hohonu, kai ʻau, kai hoʻēʻe, kai lū heʻe (fig.). Restless sea with undercurrent, kai kuolo, kai holo, kai lewa, lapa kai, kai kō, kai au. Dark blue sea, moana uli, moauli. Streaked sea, associated with Kona, kai māʻokiʻoki. Whispering sea, associated with Kawaihae, kai hāwanawana. Salt sea, kai paʻakai. Shallow or reef sea, kai kohola, kai koʻele. Rippled sea, kai hoʻolili. Receding or ebbing sea, kai heʻe, kai emi, kai mimiki, kai hoʻi, kai nuʻu aku. Western sea, kai lalo. High sea, kai piha, kai nuʻu. Of the sea, o kai. Towards the sea, i kai, makai. Place where sea and land meet, ʻae kai. By the sea, a kai. Sea almost surrounded by land, kai hāloko. The eight seas, nā kai ʻewalu (seas about the Hawaiian Islands, poetic). Puna with its sea rustling over pebbles, Puna i ke kai nehe i ka ʻiliʻili. My sea, concealing sarong (UL 124), kuʻu kai, pāʻū halakā. Black sea, yellow sea, Kāne's purplish-blue red-brown sea … silent sea, swinging sea (PH 237), kai ʻeleʻele, kai melemele, kai pōpolohua mea a Kāne … kai mū, kai lewa.

Of course, I had to incorporate a few of the more romantic and descriptive phrases into Going with Gravity. Wes couldn't resist the sea because of its kayani, which means “to call” or beacon. Wes taught Allison the meaning of ho`onipo: to make love, court, woo, yearn for. He also gives her a new name, Alana, which means Awakening. Unfortunately, the Hawai‘ian language is nearly extinct. As of 2000, less than 0.1 percent of the population spoke it.

I hope you've enjoyed learning a little more about how Going with Gravity came together. Here's the trailer, and an excerpt. The story's available from The Wild Rose Press.

Allison pulled her portfolio from her laptop case and set it on her lap, afraid to open it. As soon as the articles had arrived on her fax machine, she’d shoved them into her bag, then hopped in the shower. Delay tactics only worked for so long. The moment of truth had arrived. She opened it and thumbed through. Eleven pages. Eleven. And these were only the newspaper articles from the past two days. TV and online news sites surely covered more. And then there’d be the inevitable blogger. Uncontrollable, overly opinionated and accountable to no one, they were the worst.
Michelle had arrived on Oahu with a bang, and then had the audacity to blame Allison for not doing her job to quell the media. She held up one photo of a topless Michelle prancing in the surf, laughing. Rumors and innuendo could be stopped with logic and tact, but to downplay this photo, she’d need a good explanation. When Michelle’s logic and tact failed her so obviously, Allison had to wonder about her mental state.
A hulking figure filled the aisle, stowing his bag in the overhead compartment.
Those shorts. That shirt.
It was him.
He checked his ticket, looked at her and smiled. His blond hair fell across his forehead as he sat next to her, his shoulder bumping hers. “Hello again.”
For two years, she’d rubbed elbows with stars of all magnitudes without so much as a blink, and fended off paparazzi following the wife of megastar James McCarter.
With two words, she’d been reduced to the rank of dreamy-eyed teeny bopper.
He smiled, raised an eyebrow.
She realized, then, she hadn’t responded. And her mouth hung open.
Make that drooling dreamy-eyed teeny bopper.
She flashed a smile. Think. Damage control is your business. Put it to good use for once.
“Hi.” Oh, yes. Very witty. What a deft deflection of his charm.
She turned back to her articles, but sensed the weight of his stare.
He frowned at her reading material. “Sorry. Didn’t mean to read over your shoulder. I take it you’re a closet fan of the poor little rich girl?”
“In the same way I’m a closet fan of train wrecks, I suppose. I guess you’re not a fan.”
“Of hers?” He chuckled. “God, no. She’s awful. Her publicist should be shot.”
Shot. Of course. Working fifty-five to sixty-five hours a week wasn’t enough to keep the spin spinning fast enough for the rest of the world. The one guy who’d interested her in the past two and a half years thought she made a good candidate for execution. Her life was in such a rut, she’d need mountain climbing gear to get out.
“If you’re a fan, I didn’t mean to offend.” Sincerity had wiped the smile from his face.
“Actually, I’m..” She turned and smiled, “…her publicist.”

Friday, July 23, 2010

In the Author Spotlight: D.M. Slate

Cate: Please welcome D.M. Slate. Danyelle, will you please share a short bio with us?
Danyelle: Hello! My name is Danyelle and I write under the name of D.M. Slate. I’m 28 years old, have two beautiful children and am married to my high school sweet-heart. We live in Colorado and enjoy all types of outdoor activities. I’ve always loved writing, so last summer I decided to write with the intention of submitting a story for publication. Much to my surprise, in December of last year my first publication was released.

Cate: Tell us about Isolated and where it's available.
Danyelle: My newest mystery/thriller, Isolated, was released earlier this month by Moongypsy Press. It’s available now in e-book format and is scheduled for paperback release later this year. It can be found on the Moongypsy Press website.

Cate: Please tantalize us with a story blurb or excerpt.
Danyelle: No one could have foreseen their Mexican honeymoon horror.
As Anthony and Jazmine embark on their honeymoon to southern Mexico, they have no idea the dark trail that'll unfold before them. The couple signs up for an ATV tour and snorkel trip offered by their resort. Two days later Anthony stumbles out of the Mexican jungle bloodied, half dead and suffering from amnesia; he's the prime suspect in Jazmine's disappearance. Through his multiple interrogations, Anthony struggles to regain his memory in order clear his name and discover the whereabouts of his missing wife.
The international search for Jazmine reveals nothing and the F.B.I. are convinced that Anthony is involved, somehow. As bits and pieces of his memory return, he leads F.B.I. Special Agent Monroe on a trail of clues that implicate the couple's ATV tour guides. Further investigation reveals that Jazmine has been sold to a drug-lord in Panama, and nothing will stop Anthony from trying to rescue her. As he enters the foreign country, the distraught husband only causes greater chaos.
With the F.B.I. in fast pursuit to Panama, the race against the clock begins. When the authorities close in on the suspect's home hoping to recover Jazmine, a grueling discovery is made; Anthony is already at the house. As the case comes to a close, Anthony is shocked to discover that this wasn't a random crime.

Cate: What inspired you to write about the theme?
Danyelle: My honeymoon in Mexico is the inspiration for this story. My husband and I took an ATV/snorkel trip and found ourselves in a very scary situation in the middle of the Mexican jungle; neither of us spoke Spanish and we had no idea where we were. We drove through a very suspicious encampment and the men there were armed with automatic weapons and sharp gleaming machetes. This gave me a sinking feeling in my stomach that stayed with me long after we left the camp. I used this scenario as the setting of the story, and then imagined the worst thing that could’ve happened from there.

Cate: Yikes, what a harrowing experience. Glad you got out of there!
How do you develop your plots and characters?
Danyelle: As a reader I like fast moving plots and stories that make me refuse to put the book down, so I try to provide that in my writing as well. I come up with a generalized plot, then start creating a web diagram with characters, their back-stories, and new twists and turns for the plot. I generally have an idea of how to end the story, and often let all the things in the middle just happen as I’m inspired. Sometimes the story ends up turning out differently than I originally thought it would, which is always cool to see.

Cate: Do you feel as if the characters live with you as you write? Do they haunt your dreams?
Danyelle: Most definitely! I do dream about my characters, and this is often inspiration for new twists in the story. A lot of times I find myself up in the middle of the night writing, because once I have a dream revealing an epiphany, it’s impossible to go back to sleep!

Cate: What's next for you?
Danyelle: My next murder/mystery, Royal Empress, is half finished. I hope to have it completed and submitted for publication by the end of the year.

Cate: Congrats! Any other published works?
Danyelle: My first sci-fi/horror, Day 94, was released by Eternal Press in December of 2009. It was voted the best Sci-fi/Futuristic Book of 2009 by the Love, Romance (and more) Café. I was very honored by the nomination, and completely shocked to win. It can be found at the Eternal Press website.

Cate: Very exciting! Describe your writing in three words.
Danyelle: Bold, real, and shocking.

Cate: What’s the most challenging aspect of writing? Most rewarding?
Danyelle: My most challenging aspect is “time”. I work full time and have a busy family life, so finding the time to write is the hardest thing about it. But the most rewarding is to see the finalized copy and think, “Wow – I actually wrote that.”

Cate: What’s the most interesting comment you have received about your books?
Danyelle: That people actually like the stories – LOL!

Cate: Those comments do make it all worthwhile. :)
Who are some of your favorite authors and books? What are you reading now?
Danyelle: I love Stephen King, Victor Hugo and Diana Gabaldon. Unfortunately, due to my time constraints, I’m not reading anything currently.

Cate: Where can you be found on the web?

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

Thanks for being my guest, Danyelle! Best of luck with all your projects.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Author Chat with Sherry Gloag

Hi Sherry! 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)?
Thank you, I’m what is known in some areas of the UK as a ‘tea-face’, so give me a moment while I just make a fresh brew.

A woman after my own heart. :) Fur or feathers, petwise?
Just a couple of days ago I came across a grounded Swift.  The birds’ wings are so long they cannot take off when grounded.  We had to climb on top of a garden shed and hurl it into the sky to ensure it flew away successfully!  I blogged about it on my blog, The Heart ofRomance.  

Poor thing! Good thing you were there to help. :) Any pet peeves? One thing that really burns your biscuits?
Drivers that pull out in front of you then stop and turn of a few yards up the road.

Favorite quote?
Change is inevitable, except from a vending machine. ~ Robert Gallagher

Ha! Love it. What’s your ideal day like?
One that goes to plan? ROFL!  Seriously I am so B A D at time management, regardless of how hard I try to get it in hand, but when I plan a day of relaxation, it is having a good book to read, somewhere comfortable where I won’t be interrupted and a warm, not too hot, sunny day.

Ah, lovely. Beethoven, Beatles, Foo Fighters or Keith Urban?
Beethoven and the Beatles

Do you have a music playlist for your book?
Not usually, as I prefer silence –or near silence- when writing

I'm the same way. Which of your characters would you most/least to invite to dinner, and why?
I would least like to invite Sophie, from my debut novel, The Brat, published by The Wild Rose Press, because she is such a self-focused bitch and will do anything to ensure her status and position.
Trudi Delaney and Rafe Hawk, the heroine and hero of my current novel, Duty Calls, published by Black Opal Books in also available  ‘e’ and print versions are a couple I’d like to have dinner with because both (like Gina in The Brat) overcame their past traumas to carve a rich and happy future for themselves.

Sounds like a great party! While creating your books, what was one of the most surprising things you learned?
How the characters developed beneath my fingertips.  I don’t know how many other writers share this, but sometimes I look back and wonder how they developed the way they did, because they experience and act in ways I’d never imagine.

Where can readers find out more about you?

Please share a book blurb and/or excerpt (suitable for general audiences, please). [Don’t forget to include a buy link! And a web-friendly, low-res cover image.]
To Buy – Duty Calls: = 
And Black Opal Books  (site down for maintenance)

To Buy – The Brat: =
The Wild Rose Press =

* * *

Duty Calls
She’d saved his life…
Rafe Hawk refuses to accept the inheritance, of a large English estate, and the title that goes with it, after his birth father’s death because the man chose duty over the woman he loved and their son.
So when he finds himself temporarily living at Kinsale Hall, he’s not prepared to trust anyone associated with the place, including Trudi Delaney and her daughter.
So why, when he looks into their eyes, does he suddenly remember a woman who may have lost her life after a storm while saving his over a decade ago?  

Now he could destroy hers.
Instinct warns Trudi Delaney the arrival of the contemptuous American architect at Kinsale Hall will change her life forever. Especially when she discovers he spends so much of his time in areas of Kinsale Hall off-limits to visitors.
Eleven years after escaping from her psychotic husband with a stranger, she’s still plagued by nightmares of events she can’t remember. Events such as, who fathered her beautiful daughter?
Now more than a decade later, she is confronted by another stranger. Will this one destroy everything she holds dear?

“Stop the car!” Rafe Hawk swung round to face the driver. “I recognise this road. You never said the commission to build those retirement units was at Kinsale Hall. You know damn well I swore never set foot in the place again, eleven years ago.”

Rage hazed his vision. “You knew I’d refuse the commission if you’d revealed the location, and because you withheld that vital information, Arthur, this contract is null and void.” He shot forward in his seat when Arthur tramped on the brakes.
His friend from their Uni days skewed round in his seat. “How long have we known each other?”
Startled by Arthur Clifton’s question, Rafe hesitated. “What’s the length of our friendship got to do with anything? Other than the fact you’re stretching it very thin, if you think I’ll set foot on Kinsale territory again.” He swung open the car door and leaped out, his fingers tunnelling through his windswept hair.
Brilliant blue skies overhead offered a large playground for the early summer sunshine, and the fluffy white clouds sailing by. He saw the high chimney-tops through the trees.
“Do you really think I’d bring you here without a very good reason?” Arthur remained in his seat, his hands on the steering wheel, watching Rafe pace up and down the soft verge beside the open-topped car.
"I can't think of a single reason good enough that justifies you resurrecting events that nearly cost me my life, and possibly cost the life on an unknown woman."

Wonderful! Thanks so much for chatting Sherry!
Thanks for inviting me over today.  It’s a pleasure to be here :-)