Tuesday, November 30, 2010

In the Author Spotlight: Margaret Blake

Cate: Please welcome Margaret Blake. Margaret, will you please share a short bio with us?
Margaret: I was born in Manchester, England but also lived in the USA. I have written twenty four novels of historical, contemporary and romantic suspense.

Cate: Tell us about your latest release and where it's available.
Margaret: My latest release is A Fatal Flaw – and is available in e-book and print from www.whiskeycreekpress.com, www.amazon.com and www.fictionwise.com.
A Fatal Flaw is set in Cornwall and Florida and tells the story of Cornish girl Kerensa as she tries to solve the secret of her mother’s past. Kerensa is aided and abetted by gorgeous Florida cop Ned Rochester, however she does wonder if she can risk his finding out the truth.

Cate: Please tantalize us with a story blurb or excerpt.
Margaret: Sure, here’s an excerpt. Kerensa meets Ned for the first time!
“You look happy!”
Practically leaping out of her chair she realized that someone had been observing her. A tall well-built young man in a denim shirt and jeans was standing by the table. Now why had she not found that particular librarian! Not that the older lady was not helpful but this guy was helpful in all kinds of satisfying ways. Gosh, she was not immune when it came to appreciating a well-toned body and an attractive not quite handsome face.
“Not really,” she managed, “just enjoying not staring into the viewfinder. Do you work here?”
“No, I came in to see my mother. I’m Ned Rochester.”
She sat upright. “You have to be joking. You’re Mr. Rochester!” And the thought instantly popped into her head, if you’re Mr. Rochester I am definitely your Jane!
Wow, even Mr. Rochester had never looked that good or maybe when he was younger and hanging around with the mother of Adele.
“Oh sorry,” she put her hands over her lips to stifle a giggle; this was a library after all. But there he was in the flesh, her dream of romance. Mr Rochester in person. He could carry her away on his charger any day!
“You are not going to believe this but I…” Shut up, her sensible mind screamed, you don’t know this guy; he could be a serial killer! At the very least a con artist or bag snatcher. Cautiously she looked down at where her handbag was sitting at her feet; she bent and picked it up, hugging it close to her.
“Nothing,” she murmured. “Where is your Mother?”
“Getting you some books. She thought I might be able to help.”
“Your mother is the library lady?”
“Sure. You were looking into unsolved murders; I guess I’m your guy for that. Did I mention I’m a cop?”
Gulp, gulp and then some, Kerensa thought. Not only did he look like he belonged on a poster advertising some wonderful smelling male stuff, his name was Rochester, her favourite hero, and he was a cop. Therefore on the one hand he was a delight to her rather jaded eye, but on the other hand he was trouble with capital T in more ways than one. How to get out of this one Kerensa Mawgan?

Cate: Can you tell us why we're going to love your hero?
Margaret: He is a dish, of course that goes without saying, but he is kind and funny. He has a lovely tenderness about him. I like tough guys to have sweetness too.

Cate: That is a great combo. :) Tease us with one little thing about your fictional world that makes it different from others.
Margaret: My fictional world is based a little on reality. I also try to be very thorough when I am researching my historical novels. I like to write about real places, although I don’t always give them their proper name. I like my romances to have a touch of glamour but again reality too, but it’s fun when money is no object and you can fly wherever you wish and have lovely clothes. In my novel His Other Wife I touch on the reality of a single mother and the problems she has. Also she was an abandoned baby and she carries a lot of baggage in her head, my hero is fairly well off and really helps her realize her own worth.

Cate: What's next for you?
Margaret: I am currently working on a romantic suspense and a contemporary romance. The process is slow because I have to adapt to being a widow. Not a very easy thing to do, especially when you have lost the love of your life.

Cate: So sorry to hear of your loss.
What inspired you to draft your first story?
Margaret: My very first story, goodness that would be when I was about seven! I lived in a very urban environment and had a dream of living in the beautiful countryside. It was about a girl and a horse. The only horses I had ever seen had been in picture books and of course I had read Black Beauty. The horses in my neighbourhood were huge “dray” horses that pulled wagons.

Cate: Do you have a writing routine?
Margaret: I try to have. I do like to write in the afternoon, I find if I write in the morning I am thinking about tasks I have to do, better to get the tasks done and then I can concentrate on the really important thing in my life, which is writing.

Cate: Where can you be found on the web?
Margaret: I have my own website, do visit – www.margaretblake.co.uk

Cate: Is there anything you’d like to ask our readers?
Margaret: What do readers find really satisfying about a novel?

Cate: Readers, Margaret Blake is giving away two prizes – one is an e book copy of A Fatal Flaw and the other an ebook of Dangerous Enchantment, a rather spicy historical romance. She'll pick the winners on 2nd December and post the names.
Thanks so much for being my guest, Margaret! Best of luck to you.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Last chance to enter NOR's Autumn web hunt

I'm home from the cruise! My DH and I had a wonderful time on the cruise, lolling on beaches and drinking Coco Locos. Here's a pic of the beach at Coco Cay, our final port of call.

Though it's tough to return to freezing temps after lovely 80-degree temps, it's still great to be home again.

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday. And thanks to all the guests who blog-sat while I was away!

Tomorrow's the final day for Night Owl Reviews' Autumn Harvest web hunt, in which you can win great prizes from great authors!

In December, you can still enter the Winter Wonderland Web Hunt.

I'm one of the participating authors, and have already sent in my three print copies of Surfacing, my contemporary fantasy novel, and Follow the Stars Home, my historical Native American novel. Both will leave you satisfied, and warm inside. :)

Sunday, November 28, 2010

In the Author Spotlight: Terry Spear

Cate: Please welcome werewolf/medieval romance/paranormal/vampire author, Terry Spear. Terry, will you please share a short bio with us?
Terry: Thanks so much for having me, Cate! Here is my official bio:
With almost 56,000 copies sold, Terry Spear is a retired lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army Reserves. She received her MBA from Monmouth University. An eclectic writer, she dabbles in the paranormal as well as writing historical and true life stories for both teen and adult audiences. Spear lives in Crawford, Texas. For more information, please visit http://www.terryspear.com/.

Cate: Tell us about Wolf Fever and it's available in book stores and other online book stores.
She may be his destiny, but she's not his first choice…
Hospital nurse and newly turned red werewolf Carol Woods is being pressured by her pack leader to find a mate, but he's the only guy in the pack who remotely attracts her… Why is he playing so hard to get?

The fate of the pack rests on his shoulders…
Gray pack leader Ryan McKinley doesn't want anything to do with Carol unless she's willing to embrace her wolf nature—no matter how beautiful she is.

But when a virus infects the local lupus garou pack, Ryan realizes just how wrong he's been not to seize the moment with the woman he's come to love. And now, it may be too late…

For Wolf Fever’s Blog tour, Sourcebooks is doing this ebook promotion. The links will be on their site.
GREAT TERRY SPEAR eBOOK PROMOTIONS: Heart of the Wolf—FREE eBook from 12/7/2010-12/13/2010
• Heart of the Wolf

Terry Spear Backlist—eBooks ONLY 2.99 from 12/7/2010-12/13/2010
• Destiny of the Wolf
• To Tempt the Wolf
• Legend of the White Wolf

Cate: Very cool. Please tantalize us with a story blurb or excerpt.
Terry: Carol Woods has been playing a game of tag as part of the pack’s attempt at allowing the other males in the pack to get to know her. But when Chester Ryan McKinley shows up in town, she’s afraid her pack leader will be ticked off and make the gray wolf leave his territory at once. He has a mission, find out how she knew what she did about a murder that had taken place earlier. So here’s how she deals with her annoyance concerning it:

She glanced at the men standing about, including both Tom and Jake. Which made the situation worse. Why couldn’t any of the alpha males show any real interest in her? She was not a beta kind of girl. She supposed that was because her father had become so downtrodden by her mother’s treatment of him. She couldn’t see being married, um, mated to someone like that.
“Carol?” Ryan said, his deep baritone voice again yanking her from her faraway thoughts.
She really needed to get more sleep. She turned her attention back to Ryan. He thought she wasn’t being honest with him about her abilities, when he wasn’t honest about why he had been lurking in the woods last night, watching her window. She didn’t have to be psychic to know something more was going on between them. Time to turn the tables. Throw him off balance.
Trying to look like this was a perfectly natural way for her to act, she smiled, wrapped her arms around his neck, and leaned into the soft sweater covering his hard body, which instantly reminded her just how hard his body was when he wasn’t wearing a stitch of clothes. She only meant to give him a slow kiss on the mouth, just to prove to him that he had another agenda that he wouldn’t admit to. Or if not, then maybe Tom or Jake would finally show some interest in her. But more than anything, she wanted to get Ryan off the subject of her abilities before she said something in anger that she shouldn’t.
To her surprise, he eagerly captured her mouth with his. Not cautiously, building up the desire in slow careful increments, but judiciously, as if he had been starved for affection for a very long time. His hand cupped the back of her head, his free hand drifting lower on her back and holding her in place.
She hadn’t meant to respond so fully to the kiss either, but his unbridled need fed into hers. Forgetting they had an audience, she parted her lips to accept him, to open an intimate path between them, their tongues dancing, touching, exploring. Her hands fisted in his soft sweater at the back of his neck and held him even tighter. She pressed her body against his hard muscles, and shamelessly she wanted more.

Cate: Can you tell us why we're going to love your hero?
Terry: From Long and Short Reviews, here’s what Xeranthemum said she liked about the hero and I couldn’t have said it better:
Ryan is the hero. On top of that, he’s a yummy Scotsman as well as an alpha. I like that he did his own thing and is his own man but still respected the local alpha. Although he’s visiting and states that he’s tying up a loose end, he’s determined to keep Carol safe and he’s not quite sure why. I really enjoyed his slow fall into love. He actually got hit with Cupid’s arrow early on but he didn’t recognize the fact and that made me smile. He’s such a guy. He’s also a great protector and he’s tenacious, all good traits.

Cate: Great review - congrats! Tease us with one little thing about your fictional world that makes it different from others.
Terry: What I love to do is to show how werewolves behave in both their human and wolf forms, and how they have expectations of one another, which are easily shattered. In this scene, Carol wants to know who the wolf is who’s watching her window. And Ryan figures since she’s newly turned, he’ll horrify her if he shifts. But Carol doesn’t react anything like what he expects. And that’s the fun in their relationship!
A feeling of satisfaction swept through him that he finally had a private audience, although it didn’t do him much good while he was in his wolf form. He didn’t smell any indication that she was fearful, which could have gotten her in trouble if she’d come out here without worrying about his intentions.
“Who are you?” she asked, her brow deeply furrowed as she wrapped her arms tightly around her waist, defensive but firm in her stance.
He had half a mind to shift. She’d asked a question she knew he couldn’t answer any other way. What would she do then? Run screaming for the house to alert Darien and everyone inside? He’d shock the hell out of the woman, he was certain.
He swung his head toward the house in his wolf’s way, ordering her to return.
Determination etched in her brow, she shook her head. “Shift. Tell me what you want.”
Without his express permission, his jaw dropped again. He couldn’t believe she’d order him about. Him, an alpha male and pack leader. She smiled a hint, her eyes narrowing.
Devious. Appealing. She didn’t think he’d shift? She had asked for it. He stood taller, tail straight out, summoning the urge to change. Her brows lifted a little. Heat poured through every blood vessel, spilling through every vein and artery. His muscles stretched, reforming, and then in a flash, he was standing as a man before her. The cold breeze swept across his heated naked skin, and he expected Carol to vamoose or, at the very least, stare him in the eye to avoid looking at his nakedness.
A whisper of an intake of breath caught his attention, but she quickly recovered and took her fill of him, her gaze drifting all the way down to his bare feet, appraising him in an unhurried manner. He’d never had a woman peruse him in such an arousing way.
She snapped her gaze back to his face. “You look nice and healthy to me. I thought maybe you needed medical attention.”
[She is a nurse, after all. What can he expect?]

Cate: What's next for you?
Terry: Right now I’m working on The Wolf and the SEAL, book 9, and final edits on Heart of the Highland Wolf due out Jun 2011, next. And then I’ll be working on The Highland Wolf in Paradise, Book 10. Already some are asking for Ryan’s sister’s story in Wolf Fever, so she might need to have her own story also. And some of my critique partners want to see the story about a new character in The Wolf and the SEAL. She’s an undercover operative in the story, and she’s always packing.

Cate: What inspired you to draft your first story?
Terry: Years earlier I had read Jack London’s White Fang and Call of the Wild, which subconsciously stuck with me all those years and I loved how he had given the wolves personality. So when I wrote my first werewolf story, I based them on real wolves, rather than on the monster versions I had watched in movies when I was little. Also, I have a thing for the underdog, er, wolf, so I wanted to show that not all wolves/werewolves are bad. And no matter what you are, everyone deserves to be loved too.

Cate: Do you have a writing routine?
Terry: I work full time so I have to a goal of writing 5,000 words a week to keep up with word count on deadlines. I usually check emails and write blogs before I go to work, check emails and comments on blogs during my lunch break at work, and catch up at night, then write a little. On my two days off during the week, I have to get my writing in on my current wip. But for the blog tour, I’ve had to write a large number of interviews and blogs in addition to keeping up with my word count on my wip, and edits on Heart of the Highland Wolf.

Cate: Where can readers find you on the web?
Terry: www.terryspear.com

Cate: Is there anything you’d like to ask our readers?
Terry: I love hearing from readers about who or what they’d like to see me write about. With a mischievous glint in her eyes, one of my co-workers said I never wrote about poor werewolves. So I smiled back and said, “That’s a great idea!” She just gave me this wry smile back, not believing I’d make a poor werewolf. But Heart of the Highland Wolf was born. I’d been wanting to write about a Highland wolf pack, and so I made them broke! They’re about to lose their ancestral castle because of investments with a broker who took their money, which had just occurred in the real world as far as several investment brokers who had done this with powerful people’s money.
In another case, a fan wanted to see more of dream mating, and so Dreaming of the Wolf was born. It’s book 8. But many of my stories are showcasing characters that fans wanted to see more of. So what would you like to see?
Thanks again, Cate, for having me here today! It’s always a pleasure.

Cate: It was a pleasure having you, Terry! Thanks for being my guest.
Readers, Terry is giving away a book to a random commenter, US or Canada only... so start commenting. She'll pick a winner on the evening of Sunday, December 5 and post the winner’s name.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Annette Snyder in the Author Spotlight

Cate: Please welcome Annette Snyder. Annette, will you please share a short bio with us?
I call a small town in the heart of the Midwest, habitat of cornfields and combines, my home.  In an old house, with my husband and two dogs, I sit and write. 
My four grown children visit often and the grandkids cause beautiful havoc. 
All my life, I paid attention to things around me, stories from my parents, friends, grandparents and great-grandparents and one day I compiled those stories together and wrote a book.  It was that one book that started a wave of ideas and the story characters just keep pestering me so I continue to write all the time, work when necessary and vacation as much as possible. 

Cate: Ah, that’s the life. :) Tell us about Drive Thru and where it's available.
Annette: Drive Thru, available at www.whiskeycreekpress.com www.fictionwise.com and its affiliates, www.growne.com www.nebraskaatthemarket.com and several stores throughout Nebraska including the Archway National Monument gift shop, Kearney, Nebraska.   Drive Thru is book two in the Packard Family, Contemporary Romance series.  Book one, Intimate Flames, was a 2011 EPIC Finalist. 

Cate: Congrats! Please tantalize us with a story blurb or excerpt.
Love isn’t one of Marie Packard’s priorities.  Single parenthood and a hectic work schedule occupy her unruffled life.  Necessities represent security.  Life is slow and easy and that works for her.
Ellis Donifan loves the draw of attention from paparazzi and fans.  Each film, coupled with shouting fans and action of the set, is another star on his walk of fame.  Life is a whirlwind of hectic activity and he likes it that way.
The frenzied, movie star schedule isn’t the choice for Ben Sutter but having a celebrity as a client has its perks.  Posh hotels, world travel and a substantial salary are the norm and fame seeking starlets are part of limousine driver territory.  It isn’t perfect but that’s Hollywood. 
What happens on a stormy winter night when three people find their lives entwined purely by accident?  Can Ellis curb his desire for publicity?  Can Ben put aside uncertainties about overzealous fans? Will Marie choose financial security with the debonair, action film star or emotional happiness with a charming limousine driver? 

Cate: Wonderful. Can you tell us why we're going to love your hero?
Annette: Marie Packard is an independent woman who’s doing the best with what she’s got.  Her daughter comes first, job second and until a movie star crashes into Marie’s life, love isn’t even a flicker.   The world needs more strong women.  The men of the story, Ellis and Ben, well they’re both just delicious and can offer Marie two options—should she choose to add the element of romance to her life.

Cate: Very cool. Tease us with one little thing about your fictional world that makes it different from others. 
Annette: Drive Thru approaches real world challenges of single parenthood and the economy as pertaining to security of any job, even if it pays less than it should.  How does a single parent make end meet and still try and better her life by taking the chance with the hectic schedule of being a nontraditional student, a parent and falling in love?

Cate: What's next for you?
Annette:  I’ve got a release in May 2012.  Respectable Affair, book three in the WWII Viveka’s War series explores where Virginia Seidle’s story began—before Viveka’s War and Eureka Springs. 

Cate: What inspired you to draft your first story?
Annette: Years ago my best friend told me the story of how her family migrated to South Dakota and the challenges they faced along the way.  It was an amazing tale.  I mixed that with the stories I heard from my great grandparents (because I’m only a third generation American and my great grandparents came ‘across the pond’ when they were very young. I was fortunate enough to know them—I paid attention to what they said because I thought the stories they told were amazing) and I wrote Travis Pass, the first book of seven in my 1800’s series.  When it was published, I gave the first copy to my best friend.

Cate: Love that. Do you have a writing routine?
Annette:  Wake at four, write for several hours, go to the real job at eight, come home, write more…laundry, dishes, a very poor job at dusting!  You know, all that regular stuff.  Then there’s the extra stuff that goes with writing, the promo, the signings and speaking engagements—and more.  I also run a blog, www.annettesnyder.blogspot.com

Cate: Yes, real life intrudes too often, lol. Where can readers find you on the web?
Annette:  http://annettesnyder.atspace.com  or my blog which is accessible through there or by using the link above.  Whiskey Creek Press, Fictionwise, GROW Nebraska—or just Google me and I pop right up.

Cate: Is there anything you’d like to ask our readers?
Annette: I would like to say, “Please have a safe and happy holiday season.  Warm wishes for a prosperous new year wherever you are.”

Cate: Lovely. The same to you, Annette!
Readers, Annette is giving away an autographed novel from her published works (just check her website http://annettesnyder.atspace.com for that info) to a random commenter... so start commenting. She'll pick a winner next Sunday, Dec. 4, and announce the winner here.
Thanks so much for being my guest, Annette! Best of luck to you.

In the Author Spotlight: Robert Clark

Cate: Please welcome Robert Clark. Robert, will you please share a short bio with us?
Robert: I was born in Eerie (Erie) PA. The name of the city might have had some influence on me. Even as a child I enjoyed scaring the neighborhood kids with stories I made up or swiped from books and comic books. I wasn’t a great student. My fifth grade teacher told my parents I’d end up in prison or as an author. Almost everyone was surprised when I stayed out of prison and graduated from College. They were just as surprised when I convinced someone to marry me. She and I are still married, a testament to her tolerance and persistence. Except for a brief
stay in Florida while she was getting her PhD and I was taking courses for fun and doing biological research we’ve always lived in Pennsylvania. I taught Biology, but after twenty years doing it reality begin to wear on me and I started writing fiction, still keeping my day job. No one who knew me seemed surprised when I became an author. Sixteen years later I left teaching, but I’m still out of prison and writing.

Cate: Glad to hear it. :) Tell us about your latest release and where it's available.
Robert: In October, 2010, Wild Child Publishing put out Lycanthrope Part 1. While I’ve had four other novels published, this is my first one released as an e-book. The book is available from the publisher and from Amazon.com.

Cate: Please tantalize us with a story blurb or excerpt.
Robert: Excerpt from chapter 18: Conrad stumbled through the fog, hoping to make contact with his friends. At least Tom and Bill were well armed. If they were also lost in the fog and unable to see and support Ralph, Ralph was in more danger than he could possibly suspect. Conrad considered using the cell phone at his belt, but was afraid the ringing of the phone on someone else’s belt might give the location of one of his friends away at a time they didn’t want to be noticed. Calling the people in the woods or cabin wouldn’t help Ralph.
He briefly considered yelling for his friends, but dismissed the idea almost as soon as it entered his mind. If he was going to worry about a cell phone ringing, he certainly wasn’t going to start shouting. There was too much chance of the police hearing him, and right now Conrad was almost as concerned with dodging the police as with finding his friends and destroying the werewolf.
He was finally willing to admit Delia and Ralph had been right in the first place. They should have stayed forted up in the cabin together. Now, a little to late, it was obvious to him that roaming around in the dark looking for a nocturnal predator wasn’t the most brilliant thing
they could have done.

Cate: What inspired you to write about the theme?
Robert: Discussions I remembered having in college. The people I hung with and I would sit around for hours talking about the “supernatural”, “Occult”, and “Paranormal”, frequently when we should have been studying. Most of us didn’t believe any of them existed, but were holding out some vestige of hope we were wrong. Werewolves were one of many things we talked about. The characters in the novel, however, bear little resemblance to the people I was friends with in college. They couldn’t. With my friends I’m afraid the puppy wouldn’t have lasted long enough to make much of a story.

Cate: How do you develop your plots and characters?
Robert: I start out with a brief outline and descriptions of what I think will be the main characters. As I write there are often major changes. Sometimes the book goes in a different direction than I first intended. People I originally considered major characters sometimes become secondary. The opposite is also true. In Lycanthrope I intended Detective Gree to be a minor, throw-away character, but he became pivotal to the story.

Cate: Do you feel as if the characters live with you as you write? Do they haunt your dreams?
Robert: I’ve been asked this before and my wife doesn’t like me to answer it. She’s afraid I’ll end up in a padded cell. The characters are with me, like they’re reading over my shoulder while I write. After the first chapter or so they more or less take over and tell me what’s going
on. That’s how minor characters become major ones and vice versa. I’ll be writing something and a character in my head will say, “Are you nuts? I’d never do that. I’d do this instead.” I listen to them and write what they tell me to. As for my dreams, nope. They stay with the book and otherwise leave me alone.

Cate: What's next for you?
Robert: More writing. I have about a dozen books, all in the science fiction, horror, or fantasy genres, although I find the lines between those genres often blur in my novels, out to various publishers. I’m always working on at least two or three new books, three at the moment, two horror and one science fiction. My latest science fiction novel is taking the lion’s share of my time. Swordsman is a post apocalypse book spanning several hundred years and in excess of 800,000 words. Because of its size I’ve arbitrarily broken it into eight books. Right now I’m going over it to make sure the time lines work. It would be embarrassing to have a character appear before she was born, or someone reach a destination before starting the journey, and the book is complex enough, with a large enough cast of characters, that such a mistake would be possible if I’m not careful.

Cate: Any other published works?
Author: Yes, four other novels. Lanigan’s Woods, horror, Bricks, science fiction with a strong horror element, Askarjan, science fiction, and Boringville, horror. Lanigan’s Woods is on audio tape and available from the publisher, Books In Motion, 1-800-725-3199. Bricks, Askarjan, and
Boringville are available from the publisher at www.publishamerica.com , from Amazon at www.amazon.com , and from Barnes and noble at www.barnes&noble.com.

Cate: What’s the most challenging aspect of writing? Most rewarding?
Robert: Most challenging? Time. There’s never enough. And getting published. Writing is much easier than getting published. Most Rewarding: Having people tell me they like the books, like something in them, or want a sequel. I’ve had several requests for a sequel to Boringville. I’ve never done a sequel before, but one of the books I’m working on is a sequel to Boringville.

Cate: What’s the most interesting comment you have received about your books?
Robert: One reader told me he thought Bricks should be re-titled Dungeons and Dragons Meets the SWAT Team. I liked the idea, and it’s a good description of the book, but seemed a bit bulky for a title.

Cate: Who are some of your favorite authors and books? What are you reading now?
Robert: Do you have a few hours? Off the top of my head my favorite authors would include Burroughs, Heinlein, Verne, Wells, Kipling, Auel, Hoyt, Armstrong, Fraser, Harris, Harrison, Sanderson, Caras, Flint, Drake, Darwin (I know most people consider him boring, but he’s scientifically brilliant and worth working through), Ringo, Forester, Toland, Farmer, Weber, Forstchen, Haggard, Hamilton, Caidin, Ryan, Rand, Howard, Shirer, Pournelle, Rice, Ruark, Mannix, Flint, Lamb, Stirling, Wyndham, Nivin, Gould, Pratchett, Rimmer, Saberhagen, Sagin, Hamilton, Erilich, and Rutherford (bias on Brett Rutherford. We’ve been friends since college,
unfortunately he’s only published two novels and I think they’re both out of print. Mostly he does poetry.)
Favorite books? Anything by Heinlein or Burroughs. Any Anita Blake novel. Any Diskworld novel. Dracula. Frankenstein. Anything by Gould or Darwin (I also enjoy reading biological journals). Atlas Shrugged. All the Flashman novels. The Demon Haunted World. I could probably come up with a couple dozen more authors and even more books without much trouble.
What am I reading now? I’ve always got at least two or three going. Right now they’re No Greater Ally by Koskodan, White Witch Black Curse by Armstrong, and Harlequin by Hamilton. Also, a chapter at a time as he sends them to me, the yet unpublished Dying Day by Armand Rosamilia.

Cate: Where can you be found on the web?
Robert: I have a “group” on Facebook.

Cate: Thanks for being my guest Robert! Best of luck with all your projects.

Friday, November 26, 2010

In the Author Spotlight: C.B. Calsing

Cate: Please welcome C.B. Calsing. Corina, will you please share a short bio with us?
Corina: Sure. I’m originally from the Central Coast of California. I graduated from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, and then moved to New Orleans. I’m also a graduate of the Creative Writing Workshop at the University of New Orleans. I teach writing full time at a school for military-dependent children and try to write when I can.

Cate: Tell us about All Along the Pacific and where it's available.
Corina: All Along the Pacific is a collection of historic fiction. It will be available for purchase here: http://debrincase.com/ohpshop/
I began the collection in the fall of 2006. The first story I wrote, “A Common Whore,” was well received by my workshop, so I decided to draw on some other stories and ideas coming out of California’s past that I had in my head. After a while, when I started working on a new story, I’d think, Who can I bring in from one of the other stories? Sometimes, decades had passed between the timelines of the tales, and I would introduce a descendant. Each story stands alone, but when read in order, you get the spark of recognition that comes with a name, and then you learn so much about what happened to a previous character by where his grandson is in the world, for example, even though you didn’t read it in a story of its own.

Cate: Please tantalize us with a story blurb or excerpt.
Corina: Here is an excerpt from “To Wade Alone.” The cover art of the train, executed by Diana Bittleston, was painted for this story. She did all the interior illustrations for All Along the Pacific.
My great-great-aunt inspired this tale. She worked for the Barnum and Bailey Circus at the turn of the last century. I have reproductions of her cabinet cards hanging on my wall. I love the circus, which is why a few stories in All Along the Pacific feature the circus:
She wanted to put her foot in, just to feel the cold against her skin. She wanted to write home to St. Cloud to tell her parents that one night, when the monkeys burned, she waded in the Pacific, by herself. No Long John with his hands around her waist. No matron checking on her; no chorus girls fawning over her as they would a china doll. Two more steps and the sand became wet beneath her feet. Two more steps and the first live water wrapped around her ankles. Betty’s feet froze. Cramps crawled up her legs. She stepped out farther, feeling the surge and pull of the waves around her calves. Up above on the bluffs, she heard the train whistle again. If they came looking for her, could they pick her out in the darkness? Would her white dressing gown, floating around her, look like sea foam on a wave?
To her knees now. Now thighs. Another step and Betty let her knees fold, and she submerged, her head below the icy water. It roared in her ears. She felt herself lift and sink with the waves as they sped at the sand. Unidentifiable matter swept past her, brushing tendrils of goose bumps across her body. Betty thought of sideshow mermaids in jars of brine and dried shark specimens and the anchors and swallows on the tattooed man.
She found firm ground and stood again, pushing her hair back from her face as she did. Behind her, she heard shouts. She turned and watched bobbing lanterns descending quickly down the switchback and across the beach toward her.
In her distraction, a wave pushed Betty off her feet. Water closed over her head. Her eyes stung, and she struggled to stand. She came up, her mouth full of water, her nose smarting with half-breathed sea. She refused to look at the beach, refused to acknowledge her caretakers as they came for her. She took in deep draughts of air. Her limbs trembled with the cold. She wanted this moment alone, an experience all hers.
She rose and fell with another wave and another. The chill seeped into her, sat in her head behind her eyes, in the place behind her belly button, in the muscles of her calves. She wanted the sensation.

Cate: Can you tell us why we're going to love your hero?
Corina: I have a lot of heroes in these stories. Some are not meant to be loved, but loathed. I think they are all quite unique, though. If anything, the very novelty of some of them will be what draws my readers. The strength of my stories definitely lies in the concepts I create.

Cate: Tease us with one little thing about your fictional world that makes it different from others.
Corina: The rich winners of wars write history for the most part. In my stories, historical though they may be, I usually take the perspective of characters the real world marginalized: people of color, women, addicts. The status quo characters I do have end up throwing away everything, or having it stripped from them. Or else they are the bad guys, the villains, in most cases.

Cate: Love the different perspective. Great idea. What's next for you?
Corina: I just finished the first draft of a screenplay for a producer friend of mine. I’ve never done that sort of thing, so I don’t know how he’ll receive it, but I had a lot of fun working on it, trying something now.
Once that’s done, I have a concept brewing to write a mystery set in New Orleans, but flavored like Steinbeck’s Tortilla Flats. That’s really just in the planning stages.

Cate: What inspired you to draft your first story?
Corina: I can’t even really tell you. I’ve been writing for so long that my original work has been lost to the sands of time. I think originally, in general, it was a form of escapism, a way to keep myself occupied and entertained. We didn’t have cable when I was growing up, and I didn’t have any siblings to play with. Writing became my entertainment.

Cate: Do you have a writing routine?
Corina: The weekends are easiest. I usually get up around seven, work for an hour, and then get a cup of coffee or tea. Then I work for another hour. Then I head out to feed the chickens. After that I generally go straight through until lunch, which is when my husband finally gets up and we work on projects around the house.
Week days are a little more difficult. I teach writing full-time at the middle school level. I have a forty-five minute commute both ways, so most days, I leave the house at six twenty and get back around five. As soon as I get in the door, I sit down to work for an hour or two, take a break for dinner, maybe put in another hour before watching some TV and then going to bed.

Cate: Where can you be found on the web?
Corina: My Web site is www.cbcalsing.com and I blog at cbcalsing.blogspot.com. I also Twitter as cbcalsing and I have a Facebook fan page as C.B. Calsing. My artist, Diana Bittleston, can be found at www.dianabittleston.com.

Cate: Is there anything you’d like to ask our readers?
Corina: I waffle quite a bit between genres that I write, all the way from historic to sci fi. Does that bother a reader? Should authors stick to one genre only, or are modern readers savvy enough to overlook the stories they don’t think they’d like and still wait for the next one in the genre they prefer?

Cate: I need to know that too! Readers, C.B. Calsing is giving away a print copy of one of her anthologies, An Honest Lie Volume One, to a random commenter... so start commenting. She'll pick a winner on the evening of Sunday, 28 November. Be sure to leave your email address so Corina knows how to contact you.
Thanks so much for being my guest Corina! Good luck to you.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Giving thanks

Thanks to everyone for making this a great year. I hope this conveys my sincere gratitude:

I'm still away, so postponing the traditional fare of turkey and stuffing and pie, so have an extra helping for me, will you? :)

I thought I'd share some great Thanksgiving quotes:

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow. - Melody Beattie

None is more impoverished than the one who has no gratitude. Gratitude is a currency that we can mint for ourselves, and spend without fear of bankruptcy. - Fred De Witt Van Amburgh

As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. - John Fitzgerald Kennedy

Who does not thank for little will not thank for much. - Estonian Proverb

If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, 'thank you,' that would suffice. - Meister Eckhart

Do not get tired of doing what is good. Don't get discouraged and give up, for we will reap a harvest of blessing at the appropriate time. - Galatians 6:9

It would seem that the ingratitude, whereby a subsequent sin causes the return of sins previously forgiven, is a special sin. For, the giving of thanks belongs to counter passion, which is a necessary condition of justice. But justice is a special virtue. Therefore this ingratitude is a special sin. Thanksgiving is a special virtue. But ingratitude is opposed to thanksgiving. Therefore ingratitude is a special sin. - Thomas Aquinas

We can always find something to be thankful for, and there may be reasons why we ought to be thankful for even those dispensations which appear dark and frowning. - Albert Barnes

The unthankful heart... discovers no mercies; but let the thankful heart sweep through the day and, as the magnet finds the iron, so it will find, in every hour, some heavenly blessings! - Henry Ward Beecher

Gratitude is a quality similar to electricity: it must be produced and discharged and used up in order to exist at all. - William Faulkner

"Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life." I love that. Hope your Thanksgiving holiday leaves you full of good memories. And oh yeah, pie.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

In the Author Spotlight: Kit Wylde

Cate: Please welcome Kit Wylde. Kit, will you please share a short bio with us?
Kit: Absolutely. Kit Wylde is a pseudonym of Marci Baun. In this guise, I write paranormal and romance stories. Some stories have a combination of both, while others are just one or the other.

Cate: Tell us about Hieroglyphs and where it's available.
Kit: Hieroglyphs, published by Wild Child Publishing, was a story I wrote back in 2001. Like most of my stories, I was in the middle of a conversation and the idea for the story emerged as I was talking. A paranormal with some romantic elements, Hieroglyphs is one of my favorite stories. It combines Egyptian history with the paranormal and reincarnation. With just a dash of romance and a lot of action, it’s fun. However, this story was a little freaky because, as I started to do the research, I discovered that this fictional story I was writing was more truth than fiction. (At least the Egyptian history in it.)

Cate: Sounds fascinating. Cool cover too. Please tantalize us with a story blurb or excerpt.
Kit: Ah, well, I think I’ll give you the blurb then:
When a new hieroglyphic alphabet is discovered on an ancient Egyptian scroll, expert archaeologist Joslyn Wetherly is called in to decipher it. Joslyn is obsessed with the scroll, and that obsession threatens her marriage.
But soon her life is threatened as the secrets of the scroll prove dangerous. Before Joslyn realizes what is happening, she is embroiled in a rivalry between two long-dead pharaohs, their Egyptian gods, and past life karmas.
Will Joslyn survive the secrets revealed in the scroll? Or will she be the next victim of the ancient feud?

Cate: Can you tell us why we're going to love your hero?
Kit: In this case, it’s a heroine. (g) She is married, so some romance is involved, but this is more the story of Joslyn, an imperfect woman who must battle some pretty big odds to survive. Does she? Ah, you’ll have to read it to find out. :)

Cate: Very cool. Tease us with one little thing about your fictional world that makes it different from others.
Kit: Hm… That’s tough. I would just say my style of writing.

Cate: What's next for you?
Kit: I’m not sure. The other day I had the beginnings of an idea for a story with a Valkyrie heroine. It would be an urban fantasy, but when I’ll have the time to do the research and write it, well, that’s another story. I suppose what I should do is finish my chapter book series The Whispering House first. LOL The problem is that I wrote myself into a corner and now have to figure out to get myself out of that stupid corner. It’s a spooky paranormal with romance and some steamy scenes. LOL

Cate: That sounds very cool too! What inspired you to draft your first story?
Kit: My first story was Last Chance. It was originally published by Wild Child when a magazine back in 1999. We had just started the magazine and needed some stories. I had never really considered myself a writer (and still don’t, really. I enjoy writing and would like to do more, but time is a big, big challenge for me.) However, the response to that story was amazing. I had readers write to tell me that they’d read it several times because they loved it so much. Balm for my ego, I must say. LOL

Cate: Now I have comment envy. :) Do you have a writing routine?
Kit: Nope. No time for it. I’d probably write more if I did, but then if I did, I’d get a lot less editing, promoting, etc., done, and I don’t think the authors would be too happy with that. (g)

Cate: I know I'm grateful for all your hard work at Freya's and Wild Child! Where can readers find you on the web?
Kit: You can find me at: http://kitwylde.blogspot.com/ . Where am I at most of the time? Facebook: http://facebook.com/wildchildpublishing. Er, working. Yeah, working. (g)

Cate: Is there anything you’d like to ask our readers?
Kit: What compels you to take a second look at a book? Is it the cover? The blurb? The excerpt? A combination?

Cate: Readers, Kit is giving away a book to a random commenter... so start commenting. She'll pick a winner and post the name here, so be sure to check back.
Thanks for being my guest, Kit! Best of luck to you, in both guises!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

In the Author Spotlight: Jeff Gonsalvez

Cate: Please welcome author Jeff Gonsalves. Jeff, will you please share a short bio with us?
Jeff: Thank you for having me as a guest, Cate. I strongly believe a person is defined by his/her interests. The psycho-competitor in me loves playing basketball, the introspective part of me loves to draw and write, and the little kid in me enjoys playing video games with my nephews and niece. I’ve worked for five years in a psychiatric center, and currently work on a pediatric ward in a large Sacramento hospital. I mainly treat kids with cancer and acute illnesses. Working in the medical field for half my life has awakened an intense love for the human body and healing, whether it be physical wounds or psychological scars.

Cate: Tell us about Fork in the Road to Apocalypse and where it's available.
Jeff: My newest book is available on the Wild Child Publishing website and through Amazon.com as an ebook (Kindle edition). It’s a science fiction novel about humans with mutations and psychic abilities who are detained by the government and classified as dangerous or harmless. This may resemble X-Men, but the humans in the story are not superheroes. They’re normal people who are on the brink of mental illness or suicide. Their mutations help them cope with overwhelming stress. The psychic abilities they possess don’t involve controlling weather or shooting laser beams from their eyeballs, but are more subtle--e.g., creating elaborate hallucinations or confusing the senses so an entire room appears upside-down.

Cate: Fascinating. Please tantalize us with a story blurb or excerpt.
Jeff: I’ll insert the book teaser here:
Fork in the Road to Apocalypse focuses on Elliott Anderssen, a disturbed boy with a dangerous psychic talent. His mother worries that he can make a victim’s worst fears materialize in times of stress, so she keeps in locked in her house for days at a time. In a fit of desperation, Elliott transforms her home into a fiery vision from Hell, drawing the government’s attention. A frantic chase results in the crippling of federal agents and detainment of Elliott in a maximum-security seclusion tank.
Elliott’s uncle Chuck is an operative working for the Genetics Bureau, the agency that has subdued his nephew. His job is to interrogate mutants to see if they possess lethal psychic abilities. When Elliott is imprisoned, Chuck embarks on a moral roller-coaster ride, uncertain whether to protect his nephew or society.
In the end, the government decides to evaluate Elliott for use in military combat. Depressed, but with a strong will to service, Elliott resists the hands twisting him into a puppet. He is reeling on the brink of despair when his uncle forms a band of renegade soldiers (under the leadership of a psychopath named Joey Mallory) to smuggle Elliott out of the Genetics Bureau.
After a tragic escape attempt, Chuck and a group of aberrants board a skim-cruiser headed into an uncharted wasteland. Pursued by the military, an android stalker, and a vengeful government agent named Jerry Grouse, their only hope is to reach a leper colony that may not exist.
Assaulted by acid rain, bizarre creatures, and a growing sense of dread, the band edges into the unknown. But the external threat is undermined by tension within the group of outcasts. Shadowing every victory is the suspicion that Elliott cannot control his psychic ability, and is unconsciously using it against the people he loves the most.

Cate: Sounds intriguing. Can you tell us why we're going to love your hero?
Jeff: I purposely made Elliott edgy and frightening. I didn’t want him to be a typical “cuddly kid”. He has problems that would challenge most adults. Still, Elliott has a kind heart. He is socially inept because his mother (who is bipolar) keeps him locked in the house all day. He tries to be a good boy, but repressed anger makes him lash out. Like most ten year-olds, he is resilient and has a strong desire to please adults, but he is also tormented by the notion that he can’t control his psychic ability and might hurt others. In the end, all he wants is to be a normal kid without the crushing stress of being an “aberrant“. His journey parallels that of many kids diagnosed with cancer who can’t escape the clutches of a life-threatening disease.

Cate: What's next for you?
Jeff: I’m working on a seventh book in the Subnorm series. Each book can stand alone. I’m actively promoting Apocalypse and preparing my other books for publication. I’m also sponsoring a child with cancer/chronic illness every month on my website. All profits made from book sales are donated to the child’s family to help with medical expenses.
A guilty pleasure of mine is creating novel trailers and posting them on YouTube. My most recent fleshes out Elliott’s character via diary pages seized by the government as evidence that he has a dangerous psychic ability.

Cate: What inspired you to draft your first story?
Jeff: An author at the hospital told me that I should write a non-fiction book about the kids I work with. He said that there was something inherently tragic in seeing “bald-headed kids walking down the halls pushing IV poles“. In truth, these kids are amazing survivors who just want to have fun and don’t let their illnesses strap them to a bed. Most kids are so energetic they’ll run sprints down the hall after receiving three days of chemotherapy. Somehow, their systems are hard-wired to bypass side-effects that would cripple most adults.
When I drafted Apocalypse, I didn’t realize I was subconsciously channeling the story of children fighting a grueling illness. Only after completing the book did I understand that it was my way of coming to terms with seeing affectionate kids suffering or failing treatment that was supposed to save their lives.

Cate: Very cool. Do you have a writing routine?
Jeff: I write sporadically. Having a full-time job and other obligations makes it difficult to follow a strict schedule. I usually write a couple hours a day three times a week. This allows me to finish a book in a year or two. I’m obsessive about detail and making sure every scene is unique and never boring.

Cate: Where can readers find you on the web?
Jeff: Author website: www.jeffgonsalves.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/?ref=home
Myspace: http://www.myspace.com/68152937
YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oQQGTlXrkMA

Cate: Is there anything you’d like to ask our readers?
Jeff: I’d love to know what they like or dislike about my books. I believe even the most brutal criticism has merit. Hearing different opinions is what helps an author grow.

Cate: Readers, Jeff Gonsalves is giving away a book to a random commenter... so start commenting. He'll pick a winner on the evening of December 14th, 2010.
Thanks so much for being my guest Jeff! Best of luck to you.

Monday, November 22, 2010

In the Author Spotlight: Linda Engman

Today I'm turning the blog over to wonderful author Linda Engman.

Hi everyone! I believe falling in love when you least expect it is so romantic. That’s just one of the many reasons why I love to write romance; the unexpected heart stopping first meeting. So much fun to write about. For myself, I’ve been reading romances since my teens and writing them is a dream come true.

Besides writing contemporary romances, I love shopping and playing tennis with my teenage daughter and talking football and watching action movies with my teenage son. I also love cooking, wine, hiking and photography. I’ve also started a blog and have the best time loading it with all kinds of fun things like photos and things I’m currently into, or recipes. My husband and I, our two kids, and two dogs call home in NW Wisconsin on a wooded lake in a chalet style house.

How to Make Your Romantic Hero a Guy
HEROES. They come in every form when it comes to romance. The heroes that I love to write about in my contemporary sexy romance novels are always hard-working, rugged, guys who may not always be the most suave when to comes to romance but they’re totally sincere, very hot, and always completely smitten with the heroine.

I also think adding layers of personality is the key to developing believable characters. So my guy-heroes have tons of layers both good and bad. I’ll take habits from my husband, male friends, guys I see about town, to fill in and give my heroes believable qualities. This in turn makes my heroes come alive with sexy-guy charisma and irresistible charm for my readers to enjoy. So today I’m sharing my top ten things I add to all my romantic heroes.

1. Bad Habits. A total must for any guy. Newspapers, messy apartment, unmade bed... No real guy is perfect. So find those little bad habits and have the heroine notice them in a good way. Kind of endearing.

2. A Sense of Humor. He doesn’t need to be the life of the party but should be able to make the reader smile at his self-deprecating humor. Again-another endearing quality.

3. Hobbies and Interests - other than just being in love with the Heroine. If he’s a real guy he’ll be into sports, hunting, music, hanging with the guys, drinking beer...you get the idea.

4. Friends. Speaking of hanging with the guys...a good hero needs some Bros, Backup, and definitely a good Wingman to see him through falling in love.

5. The Required Six Pack. Can’t be a Romantic Hero without awesome Abs!

6. A Devilish Smile. This goes hand in hand with the Abs.

7. A Job. Every good Hero needs something to do. So give him a job and make him work. Showcase his talents even if he’s a sexy-hot Auto Mechanic. :)

8. A New Experience. Take him out of his Safety Zone and make him do something he normally wouldn’t: Wear a suit...Try a new place to eat...Start a new business...You get the idea.

9. Pesky Family Members. Nothing shows what the hero is really made of, other than scenes with family members… especially a pesky younger sister.

10. A Secret!! Give the hero some mystery so the heroine will find the guy at least a little intriguing. Surprise her and the reader with an unexpected hobby, home, food choice, etc…it will make him definitely fascinating. But keep it normal...no weirdness please! :)

*Guys also love their…Music, Xbox, Motorcycles, Trucks, and Flat Screens!

Thanks so much Cate for having me on your blog today.
Happy Romance Reading Everyone!

Sexy, Fun, Forever… I’VE GOT YOU
As a former foster child, defense attorney Amber Bradley had a definite life plan: college, law school, work to the top of her profession—then find the perfect husband and have lots of kids. After unsuccessfully scouring the town of Cedar Point for the ideal guy, she never guessed that J.T. Craig would fit her husband profile, especially since the man didn’t fit any of her criteria.
Hunky auto mechanic Josh Craig knows he doesn’t have a chance with sexy high powered lawyer Amber Bradley. Clearly the woman doesn’t know he’s alive. Smart, beautiful, and educated, she’s all about her career and on the fast track to finding the perfect mate. Still he can’t help but fall for her, and with the help of his family, friends, and the entire town, show her he’s the man she needs in her life. One she can trust, depend, and count on forever.
Set in the hockey loving small town of Cedar Point, Michigan, Josh and Amber’s story will take you along as they find out dreams can come true—just not in the typical way.
~Available now in eBook

One irresistible hockey player, one sexy female attorney, a case of mistaken identity, and one hot night all leads to—undeniable love.
It was supposed to be a simple move back to her home town of Cedar Point, Michigan for attorney Heather Grant and her two young sons. Only she hadn't counted on being rescued her first day back by a tall, handsome, and disgruntled auto mechanic. Widowed and looking to mend her broken heart, the last thing she anticipated was falling for dangerously good looking Cooper Gerhardt with his devilish smile, six pack abs, and mysterious questionable background.
The only thing tough hockey star, Cooper Gerhardt wanted was a year to heal his injuries, work as an auto mechanic to kill time, and get back to something that resembled a real life for a while. That was until he came to the aid of drop dead gorgeous attorney Heather Grant, with her hot sinful body and smoldering eyes, and found himself wildly tempted and rethinking what he wanted out of life.
But will Cooper be able to forget about his painful past and give his heart all the way? Will Heather be able to trust and love again now that she's back in Cedar Point? Find out in…FALLING FOR YOU!
~Available in both Print and eBook when released

To find out more about my books, read Excerpts and Reviews, or link to my FLIRT blog, please visit my website at www.lindaengman.com