Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Sound The Trumpets! Something 'Wild' Is Out!

Kenzie's book is now LIVE! Click here:)

Turning my blog over to Kenzie now. I'll be back tomorrow:)

Thanks Molly:) She interviewed me last winter, so instead of going through the questions again, I thought I'd just tell you about the book and how I celebrated a bit prematurely.

Wild at Heart has the distinction of being my first ever manuscript. I was on my way to see my MIL when a news blurb on the radio concerning prison reform caught my attention. Imagine my surprise when all of a sudden a male voice popped into my head and started nagging me to write his story! I managed to hold him off until the weekend, and at a Boy Scout Family Camping Trip, I began writing. I got as far as the first chapter, and on September 11, 2007, decided to start typing it onto a word document. Exactly one month later, on October 11th, I finished it.

Took a two week break, and then joined NaNoWriMo and cranked out Teacher's Pet. Yep, I was on a roll...until the third week of November, when my brain shut down. Thankfully, it rallied and I managed to barely squeak over that 50K mark.

But anyway, it has been a long road for Wild At Heart. First of all, it had no title. Molly suggested a contest, but there weren't any takers. A few suggestions came in, but nothing really seemed to capture the spirit of the book. And then while talking about it to my mom, she suggested 'Call of the Wild'. I liked the 'wild' part; after all, Colorado is teaming with wildlife! And since it did have a romantic angle, the word 'Heart' entered my brain, and the title was born.

Here's the blurb and a spicy scene, since temps are falling in Indiana today.


Angela Clayborn has just discovered the man she sent to prison nearly two years before has been granted an early release. Torn between wanting to see him and fearful if she does, sparks fly when Steve Blumenthal appears in her gift shop and later at her condo. Will Angie free her heart from its icy prison? Has Steve really turned his life around, or is it a hoax?

Meanwhile, in Colorado on business, Angie’s current boyfriend, Brad Morrison, is wrestling with his own call of the wild. He’s met unconventional, sexy Emma Nichols, who runs not only her own riding stable, but helps out with her family’s woodworking store in Estes Park. Emma resents Brad’s offer to help during a family crisis, but eventually discovers that Fate sometimes sends people down unexpected paths to love. Can Brad tame a wildcat? Or will Emma settle for the safe path?


“I’m just going to say this.” His voice was rough. “I love you. You’re the one thing that kept me going, that kept me from going to Prison Tech 101. After I got clean, I decided I was going to do whatever it took to serve my time, and get a respectable job, all so I could win you back.” He cleared his throat. “God, Ange…I swear to you…that one dose of speed fucked up my future, but I’m not going to let it fuck up the rest of my life. I’m staying with Josh; I’ve got my driver’s license; tomorrow I’m buying a car. And my parole officer’s trying to help me get a good job, so I can afford my own place.” His voice dropped to a whisper and one hand stole into Angie’s bright tresses. His head angled toward hers and softly touched his lips to hers. When his tongue nudged her lips open and touched hers, she recoiled and dropped her head on his chest.

“Don’t,” she whispered. “I can’t…”

He lifted her chin with a finger. “It’s okay. I’ve waited nearly two years; I can wait a little longer.” He kissed her eyelids, her nose, and then her lips again before releasing her. “Thanks for the water and for hearing me out.” He stepped around her and left the condo, carefully closing the door behind him.

Once outside, he leaned against the wall by the mailbox, eyes closed. He was surprised Angie hadn’t locked the door. And suddenly she was outside with him, her arms around his neck.

Steve couldn’t speak. He gathered her up and moved into the condo again, pulling the door closed behind them. He kissed her, their tongues exploring and rediscovering each other.

His pent-up desire flared; he tried to keep it in check by remembering he’d never seen her undressed. His lips traveled all over her face; his fingertips traced the contours of her delicate features and the lines of her slender neck. His lips found her earlobe and grazed it with his teeth; he heard her inhale and moan when his tongue touched a sensitive spot just below it.

“I remember how you used to love this.” He gathered her hair in one hand and increased the pressure with his mouth.

“No hickies,” she gasped, clutching at his shoulders.

Steve laughed. Nothing new there. He moved to her jaw and traced her throat with his tongue, moving her backwards toward the couch. One hand slipped under her shirt and slowly skimmed upwards, hesitating before brushing against the gentle swell of her breasts. He eased her down onto the cushions and when she didn’t protest, he tugged her bra aside and closed his hand around her firm, small flesh.

Angie sighed and shifted; it was all the encouragement he needed. Raising her shirt, he bent his head and drew the taunt nipple into his mouth, reaching behind her back to find the bra clasp, Getting it unsnapped, the fabric fell away, and he filled his hand with her other breast, getting to know her all over again.

Panting, Steve worked his own shirt over his head and pressed their torsos together, feeling her breasts burn against his chest. He tongued both nipples, hearing her soft moans and the rush of blood pounding in both his head and his groin. He unsnapped his jeans with the uncomfortable pressure building, and managed to free himself. Holding his swollen cock with one hand, he unfastened Angie’s slacks and tugged them down over her hips, nearly losing it when he saw the transparent underwear and the ginger triangle beneath. He inserted a finger in the waistband. Angie bucked her hips; he peeled the final barrier down and stroked her entrance. She cried out at the contact, and he tugged both slacks and underwear to her ankles.

He brushed his palms over her mound, feeling the tension in her muscles and listening to her increased breathing. He reached behind him for his wallet and withdrew the blue-foiled packet. He waved it in front of her.

“Do I need this?” he asked, giving her one last chance to stop him.

* * * * * *

Her damp hair was caught up in a silver clip, and dark blonde ringlets cascaded down her back. Her cowboy boots sounded firmly on the wooden floor as she walked toward the men, her slight frame in black jeans and a loose red shirt. Brad felt his mouth go dry when he realized there was no bra under that shirt, and had to keep tearing his eyes away from the glimpse of cleavage when she greeted Gavin. She slid into the chair beside the older man, and Brad shifted uncomfortably every time she leaned forward.

Emma reached for the hot wings Gavin had ordered and told the waitress to bring her a Coors.

“Gavin likes that crap, but I prefer to stick with Busch,” she stated as Brad shifted in his seat again. “Something wrong, Mr. Morrison?”

“No, no. It’s just I’ve had too much good food the past two days,” he lied.

“Don’t they feed you back home?” Emma patted Gavin on the back. Brad swallowed at the sight of her nipples through the fabric and looked away. Keep breathing; remember Angie.…

“Actually, my girlfriend is quite a cook,” Brad managed to get his tongue working. He reached for a wing at the same time she did, and as their fingers brushed, Brad felt an electric jolt all the way to his groin.

“Maybe she doesn’t feed you enough,” Gavin laughed.

Brad was spared by the appearance of the waitress, ready to take their orders. Brad and Gavin ordered the Prime Rib; Emma opted for the shrimp scampi. Brad ordered another beer, and then excused himself, hoping to get his raging hormones under control.

* * *

Emma, for her part, was enjoying Brad’s obvious discomfort. She’d left her bedroom in a cheerful mood and her confidence up, thanks to Bob’s worshipful and masterful handling of her body. Bob liked her without underwear, so she’d dressed for his benefit, not this stranger who thought he knew his way around an invoice.

“Emma, darlin’, what are you doing?” Gavin smiled once Brad was out of earshot.

“Doing what?” She ate the last hot wing and took another sip of her beer.

“You look like you just fell out of bed. And sweetie, I can tell there’s nothing under that shirt.” Gavin coughed. “I can’t believe I’m even having this conversation with you, but I need Brad’s company. And if you cause him to withdraw the deal, I’ll spank you, no matter if you are nearly thirty.

“I did. Are you shocked?” Emma had always been straightforward with her old friend. “And don’t worry; I’ll behave myself. I’m not a child anymore, Gavin.”

“Who’s the lucky man?” he frowned. “Do I need to have a talk with him?”

Emma laughed. “Oh Gavin, I love you. I had the same conversation with Nora yesterday, and she approves. Can’t you trust her judgment?”

Available NOW at XOXO Publishing

I dressed up yesterday and had my hubby take me out to a modest lunch. I'm still thinking about going to my favorite bakery and having my release party at the bookstore with a small cake. I may have to turn it into a combination birthday/Christmas/Release party.

I hope my love of this story comes across, and I also have some (hopefully) humorous lines sprinkled throughout, concerning the wildlife in Colorado. Enjoy, and thank you for hosting me today Molly:)

I have my own page on Molly's temporary website, and hope to have my offical site up by the end of the year. In the meantime, I blog at least once a week over at Kenzie's Place.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Flashback Friday: Thanksgiving Memories

I've mentioned before my sister spent three years in Japan. Because of it, my mother got involved with Subaru Izuzu International (SIA) and worked to get our hometown of Lafayette, IN and Ota, Japan, sister cities. As a result, Mom was able to go to Japan not only for a delegation meeting, but she was able to see my sister, who was living in Ota. Mom also befriended several Japanese families, and on Thanksgiving 2000, we had the honor of sharing our day with Chizuko and her daughters Megumi, Remi, and Eru. Megumi and my son K are about the same age; same with Remi and my daughter S. The five children got along well; K and M were 7; R and S 5, and Eru was three.

I don't remember much about that particular day; I came across a photo album with a picture of the five kids gathered around my mother's coffee table, which doubled as 'the kiddie table' that day. All five are smiling, and The Christmas Story (my dad's favorite holiday movie) was playing non-stop on one of the cable channels (TNT??).

Yesterday, we had the grand total of nineteen people show up for our pitch in. A good time was had by all, and no one left hungry or empty-handed. The party started somewhere around 1 and by seven, we were cleaning up the kitchen. The teens disappeared to Denny's after putting the tables away; the SU and I settled down to watch Miracle on 34th Street (Natalie Wood version).

Today, on this Black Friday, if you hit the shops, let me know if courtesy has returned, or was the majority in selfish 'Me, me' mode?

I'm heading off to work at the bookstore in a little bit. Here's hoping everyone has a safe and happy holiday shopping season!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Intoducing Paul Green, fellow XOXO author

It's happened again; Paul's interview has been lost in cyberspace. Check out this excerpt, and if his interview arrives, I'll post it at a later date!


Baby this town rips the bones from your back
It’s a death trap, it’s a suicide rap
We gotta get out while were young
`cause tramps like us, baby we were born to run.
Bruce Springsteen – Born to Run, 1975

What a perfect day I thought as Springsteen blasted through the sound system in the
truck. The lake house will be a sight for sore eyes I kept reminding myself. I had driven
the past 4 hours straight and had only 30 or so minutes to go. I was running, escaping,
everyone knew it and I did not care. I had spent the last couple of years working what
seemed like 24/7. My down time was spent trying to clear my head in the concrete jungle
by walking my dog Tasha, a beautiful Malamute Husky or passing out from sheer
exhaustion. I had decided enough was enough. I needed some time away if not a
permanent change…I needed my little slice of heaven and my home on the lake was just
that. I needed to be close to the people that mattered most in my life, my two boys.

As I left the city behind, I thought of all the people, places and things I would
miss…it was a short thought. The people, places, and things I would not miss crept into
my thoughts and they took me much longer to review. Clearing my head, I told
myself...Out with the old and in with some fresh new perspectives. God how I needed
this! Tasha and I had not been up to the lake house in more than a year, almost two. I
could not wait and judging from her excitement as I turned on to the last stretch of
familiar highway, neither could she. Together we would relax, re-energize, and make
some decisions on the next steps, in the ongoing journey of ours.

As a homicide detective working the special crimes unit, I had been involved in
some of the cities worst cases over the years. My job had cost me a marriage, lost time
with my two boys, friendships and both my mental and physical health, hence the leave
of absence. The past three years had been especially difficult. I had been working with a
select group of detectives on a high profile serial case. Nine murders spanning 3 years all
committed by some lunatic that liked to play ritual games with his victims and the police.
He dropped us notes, left blood-painted messages at his crime scenes, made the odd
phone call to us on the task force and then there was his bizarre signature, ritualistic
killing style. I shook my head hard to lose the imagery.

All this and with the exception of some constantly evolving behavioral profile
bullshit from the department Psych Unit, we were no closer to catching this guy than we
were on Day One. He had gone into hibernation again as he did each September 22, one
day after his final kill of the year. He went silent from then until the first day of spring
each March. He told us he did not like the cold and added some bullshit about the
importance of the seasons changing and then he would disappear for close to 6 months.

Well, this time I was pulling the disappearing act. Spring was coming, the lake
would be beautiful and I did not have another season, let alone another day of this freaks
show left in me. I was positive he would start up again and I figured it best I leave now
before he got rolling. I wrapped up my files and transferred all my information to my
rookie replacement on the team, Sean Krieger. I then packed up my personal belongings
and put the few sticks of furniture I had in storage. It took me all of two days to put all of
my city affairs in order.

Today, Wednesday March 17 – St. Patrick’s Day, I loaded Tasha and our few
simple boxes into the truck and we left the city, the job, and the insanity behind. Tasha
has been with me for the past 9 years. She needed this return to the lake as much as I did,
maybe even more. “There’s the sign Girl,” I said...it read Wolf Lake 15 KM.

She sat up and I could feel her energy and excitement across the seat as her tail wag
speed increased. It was great to see her so happy! Walking her in the city doesn’t hold a
candle to the wild runs across the land we have out here and when spring and summer hit
she can’t get enough of the lake water! This will be great for the two of us. I felt the
darkness that had been my life for all too many years now, slipping away already.

Buy it here

Monday, November 22, 2010

Where Did The Month Go?

Currently Reading: The Best Laid Plans by Bronwyn Green and Chocolate Beach by Julie Carobini. I'm also reading Texas Lucky by Sandra Brown at the store.

NaNo Update:

My word count sucks. Not only was I consumed by two weeks of Edit Hell, but chaos reigned supreme at our house. So please forgive the spotty posting! Things (may) be settling down; I'm not sure.

Storage Update:
As of today, we can see the back wall and floor of the storage unit. Conversely, the far wall/floor of one of the corners of my basement are now occupied by boxes. Only a few more trips and we will be returning the keys. My 'life' will soon be in our basement. The good news? I've unearthed five more boxes of books.

On A Happy Note:
Here's an excerpt from Kenzie's upcoming Wild At Heart. Enjoy!


Angela Clayborn has just discovered the man she sent to prison nearly two years before has been granted an early release. Torn between wanting to see him and fearful if she does, sparks fly when Steve Blumenthal appears in her gift shop and later at her condo. Will Angie free her heart from its icy prison? Has Steve really turned his life around, or is it a hoax?

Meanwhile, in Colorado on business, Angie’s current boyfriend, Brad Morrison, is wrestling with his own call of the wild. He’s met unconventional, sexy Emma Nichols, who runs not only her own riding stable, but helps out with her family’s woodworking store in Estes Park. Emma resents Brad’s offer to help during a family crisis, but eventually discovers that Fate sometimes sends people down unexpected paths to love. Can Brad tame a wildcat? Or will Emma settle for the safe path?

Excerpt: Steve and Angie

“Steve?” she whispered. “Oh dear God…Steve?” Her knees shook as tall, blond, handsome Steve walked toward her. Nearly a year and a half had passed; his intense blue gaze still sent flutters to her stomach. He had lines in his face now, but the smile was the same, that brilliant charm which he knew full well how it affected the female population. His light blond hair was darker, and cropped close to his skull; his nose was crooked, the result from the last inmate fight, Angie recalled. And his muscles were more developed. Prison, it seemed, had sculpted his body well, for instead of merely built like a tank, he was now built like a prize fighter. Angie stepped back as he advanced, and stopped when she backed into a brightly decorated park bench and nearly lost her balance.

“Careful there, hon.” He held up his hands. “I just wanted to see you, Ange. I don’t want to harm you; I don’t want to scare you. I’ve just gotten released and…”

Angie moved toward the counter in order to put as much distance between them. Her mouth went dry; she tried licking her lips, but there was no moisture. “Wh….what are you doing?” she whispered, feeling the panic rising in her chest. “Leave…leave me alone, please…”

A flash of hurt crossed his features. “Awe, Angie…I’m clean, I swear.” His brow furrowed, as he stopped just beyond the counter. “You don’t have to be scared of me, baby.” He shoved his hands in his hip pockets. “You’re all I’ve ever thought about the entire time. What we had and what I threw away…”

Angie found her voice and her anger at the same time. “We had a good friendship and I trusted you,” Her tone grew stronger as she spoke. “You broke into my home…you tried to steal the TV, for god’s sake! Not to mention my stereo.” She slapped her hands on the counter. “Do you know how hard it was for me to sleep after that? I can’t even sleep now, unless I know every single door and window is locked tight. You took away my security, my self-respect….and you think you just made a mistake?” She moved around from behind the counter and rounded on him. Smack! She balled her fist and punched him in the face. Shaking her stinging knuckles, she slapped him across the other cheek with the opposite hand, and poked a finger in his chest, not even noticing he was stepping backwards.

“How dare you come into my shop, my business, and spout your prison counselor’s platitudes.” Poke! “I am over you, Steve. Get that? Over! So get out of here and leave me the hell alone.” By this time, they’d reached the door, with Steve reaching for the doorknob, rubbing his sore face.

“Angie, honey…”

“I am not yours anymore, now get out.” Angie gave him a push, which sent him sprawling through the doorway just as he managed to open it.

“You haven’t seen the last of me,” he thundered back at her. “I try to make amends, but no; you won’t listen, as usual.”

Friday, November 19, 2010

Friday Flashback: An Unexpected Thanksgiving

Yes, I know I'm late with this post. Blame the weather and my youngling, who very generously gave me his cold!

Today, there is a big announcement over at the RBRU blog; go over and see Kenzie's news:)

My boss at the country club had her nose out of joint since I had taken two weekends off instead of one. I called in two Fridays in a row, as was my custom, in order to get my schedule. I was not scheduled, so I enjoyed FOUR weekends off, including Thanksgiving, which really had me puzzled; usually NO one was scheduled off for that day! So, I enjoyed a rare day with my family. And when I called in the next day, I got my other boss, who was happy to hear my voice.

"Molly! I thought you'd quit!"

"Apparently N's mad at me and didn't schedule me..."

"OMG! N was fired last week! Get your butt in here Sunday morning!"

I hung up the phone and went to read my mail. An old friend had written me, wondering how things were going. He'd moved to Indianapolis, and included his phone number. Since I knew this would be my last free Friday night for the next month, I called him. And made arrangements for my friend BJ and I to go see him and cage a free meal.

I had spoken to his roommate, who was an ex-boyfriend of mine, and we agreed to surprise him. BJ and I drove down; my friend was so happy to see me, he kept trying to get me to stay longer. But BJ had to be at work early, and I'd left my apartment a mess, so I encouraged him to come up and take me out for pizza.

He showed up the next day, and we had a wonderful afternoon. The Idiot showed up and expressed his displeasure at seeing a strange man with me.

"We're just friends; I've not seen him in several years (actually, I'd seen him about 5 months earlier, after I'd moved The Idiot out of my apartment.) and he treated me to lunch."

"I don't care; I don't like it." And he proceeded to sit in the corner and glower at us as we chatted about other people I'd not seen in two years.

Finally, The Idiot had had enough, and called me to the hallway.

"I'm going down to the store for a Coke. When I get back, I want him gone. Or I will personally throw him out."

The first thing which flashed through MY mind was 'I'd like to see you try...'(My friend was 6'5" and weighed over 200 lbs. Idiot was barely 5'10" and 180 lbs!) But I smiled and agreed....and then went to the window to watch him walk away.

I then turned to my friend and asked, "Is that offer to sleep on your couch still available? I can't take anymore of his crap."

He agreed; I quickly threw my uniform in a bag and locked the apartment. I directed him to take the normal way out of town; I took the back way. We met 30 minutes later to put gas in my car, and then I followed him to his apartment.

For those of you who know my story, that friend was D, my SU. This coming Thanksgiving weekend will be the 20th anniversary of my finding my backbone and the courage to take the first steps toward getting out of that abusive relationship with The Idiot.

Next month: Cutting the last ties.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Terrific Thursday with Amy Corwin:)

Welcome! Please introduce yourself and tell us about your latest release.

First, I’d really like to thank you for this interview, it’s very generous of you! As for me, I’m Amy Corwin and I write historical romantic mysteries and paranormal romances. My latest book is Vampire Protector. It’s my first paranormal romance and I’m extremely excited about it. Nocturne Romance Reads just gave it four hoots (link: http://paranormal-romancejunkies.webs.com/apps/blog/show/5280210-vampire-protector-amy-corwin) and said this about it, “Vampire Protector is without a doubt one of the best paranormal romance novels of 2010, as it has all the makings of a great book, it has an original plot, interesting characters, and a well developed relationship between the main characters. Paranormal romance fans, who are looking for a paranormal romance novel that isn't generic should definitely read Vampire Protector.” I couldn’t be happier!

Have you ever had an idea for a story which scared you after you began writing it?

Absolutely. I frequently chose difficult characters who are not necessarily the nicest people on earth. When I start writing, I always worry about making these difficult people likable enough for the reader to continue reading. My characters frequently remind me of a teacher I had in High School. The students disliked her and always wanted to avoid her class, which was advanced History. She was very, very hard on her students and never hesitated to let them know when they messed up. But I loved her. She was probably the best teacher I’ve ever had—because she expected the best and gave the best. Sure, she was cranky, sarcastic, and could make you feel like a fool. However, if you did well in her class, you actually accomplished something. I learned more in one semester with her than years with other teachers. I’ll never forget her.

And in many ways, she typifies the kind of difficult, passionate, highly critical, yet caring person I enjoy writing about. It is challenging to make them likeable. I frequently doubt my ability to do what I set out to do, but as she would say, if you don’t make the attempt, you’ve already failed.

Excellence in any field demands you reach for things you may not grasp. It’s scary and frustrating, but it is truly rewarding.

Have you incorporated actual events from your own life into your books?

Not events, per se, LOL. I’ve never met a vampire. However, we all draw on our experiences and emotions for our stories. In Vampire Protector, Gwen is searching for lost memories of her family. Her memories carry the same intensity of emotion I felt as I tried to come to terms with the loss of both my parents. To a large degree, I wrote this book as a way to work through my own complex emotions of grief and love when in a very short period of time I got married for the first time, lost first my father then my mother, moved to a different state, and took a job two levels below my previous one. Such events are not uncommon, but having them all occur within a short period of time was challenging.

Writing this book was a way for me to work through the complex feelings, so poor Gwen has a very difficult time of it, coming to grips with her life and secrets from her past that won’t stay hidden.

Sometimes I wonder if all books are really various writers’ attempts to cope with the complexities of their own lives, LOL.

How much research do you do? Do you research first and then write, or do you write first, then research as needed?

Every book, even pure fantasy, requires a great deal of research. Sometimes it seems I spend an equal amount of time researching as I do writing. Even something as simple as whether a certain phrase was in use in a specific geographical location, or the species of birds you might hear, must be verified.

I use a hybrid form of research. It’s easier to plot if you have a general idea of the historical events that serve as a foundation for your novel. But I try not to go overboard and spend months on researching esoteric topics such as colonization of the Americas, even if I mention it in a book. Instead, I collect general information and sources, then as I start to write, I research specifics that will actually be included.

Here’s a secret: I seem to have a “sensor” that goes off after I’ve done a certain amount of research. It tells me that I have enough information to plot the story and begin writing. Any details can be further researched, as needed. It’s similar to feeling full after a rich dinner. When I get that “full sensation,” I stop and start writing.

Is there any message you want readers to take from reading your work?

There is always hope.

This is such a fundamental theme for me, perhaps because of my own life. At thirty-six, I had given up on the idea of finding anyone and getting married. I gave up hope and figured I’d spend the rest of my life alone. But my hobby of bird watching threw me into the company of an amazing man who asked me to marry him.

You never know where life will take you—and that’s a good thing. Never give up hope for change and your search for happiness. The future is wonderful in its infinite possibility.

Are you a plotter or a pantser? And have you ever had a story take on a life of its own?

Like research, I use a hybrid approach. Initially, I plan out the novel as an outline, with three brief points (or so) per chapter. This at least lets me get started and understand pretty much where the story needs to go. Since many of my books also include a mystery, it’s important to know which clues are going to crop up where and when. I try to know who the murderer is to guide the story properly, but I always allow a certain flexibility with this as in many stories, the murderer changes as the story is written.

Once you start writing the story, the characters take over. They…change things. This is where I end up being a pantster. Because after the first five or six chapters, the original outline starts getting…skewed. The murderer may be someone else entirely. Sometimes I’ll go through my outline and modify it to accommodate the changes, but often, I just keep working, letting the characters guide me as we get deeper and deeper into the story.

How long did it take for you to be published?

Way, way too long. Many years. It’s important for writers to keep working at it, even if they initially meet with nothing but rejection. For me, the five or so years were important as a way to experiment with writing and find the themes and characters that most intrigued me.

Many writers, myself included, initially try to “write what is expected” for a specific genre. For some, this works. For others (like me) it doesn’t. That’s what this initial period is for. It allows you to develop your writing muscles and discover what you really want to write about.

If you could go back and tell yourself anything when you first began your writing career, what would you say?

Be bold and write what you love to read.

I confess that I was terrified to even try to write a mystery. Frankly, I didn’t think I was smart—or good—enough to write one. But I’ve always loved mysteries, particularly the old Gothics by authors like Victoria Holt, Virginia Coffman, and Mary Stewart. I wanted to write stories that included a mystery, whether it was a historical or a contemporary paranormal. It took me a great deal of time to decide to “go for it”.

If you want to be a writer—don’t let self-doubt keep you from writing what you know in your heart you want to write.

Laptop or pen and ink? What are your ‘must-haves’ when writing?

I keep a pad of paper and pen next to my bed for those ideas that come to you when you’re trying to get to sleep.

However, my serious writing is done on either a computer (desktop or laptop) or my AlphaSmart. When I really want to get writing done, the AlphaSmart is the way to go. It’s nothing but a keyboard with a tiny, four-line display. It’s instant on and there are no distractions. You can’t do anything except write. This device is without a doubt the best thing for writers who need to get something written and are easily distracted by the Internet, etc.

Who are your favorite authors? Who would you say influenced you the most?

Georgette Heyer and Barbara Michaels are probably the two most important authors. Georgette Heyer wrote both Regencies and mysteries. Michaels wrote paranormal stories. I’m constantly re-reading their books, trying to unravel their amazing techniques for characterization, plotting, and characterization.

What would your readers be surprised to learn about you?

Perhaps that I grow old garden roses and currently have nearly 100 in my gardens. They are lovely, fragrant roses and I love the fact that some of them were grown by the Empress Josephine when she established her amazing rose garden during the Regency period.

For Fun:

Favorite Thanksgiving memory?

My favorite Thanksgiving will always be the last one I shared with my family and my husband’s family. It was wonderful. We had all the traditional foods: turkey, dressing, cranberry sauce, green beans, sweet potatoes, Waldorf salad, and pumpkin pie. We were so lucky to have both my parents, my sister and her in-laws, and all the members of my husband’s family. We watched football, laughed, talked, and had a wonderful day.

Any special Thanksgiving traditions?

My husband and I always put a turkey in a smoker these days. He gets up early to stuff the bird with onions, celery and butter, and get it going. It’s wonderful to go out on the back porch and smell the mesquite smoke carrying the absolutely delicious scent of turkey.

Some years we have other family members, some years it’s just the two of us, but no matter how many people are around, it’s a day I always look forward to.

Pumpkin Pie or cake?

I’m a pumpkin pie girl. With plenty of fresh, homemade whipped cream. And we always add extra spices—I can’t stand a bland pie.

Thank you for being here today! Please tell us where we can find your books.

You can find all of my books on www.Amazon.com or at my publisher’s site: www.thewildrosepress.com.

Here’s a little about my latest book, Vampire Protector

A frightened woman must unlock her memories if she's to survive the deadly company of her Vampire Protector and keep the past from destroying her future.

An anonymous note forces Gwen on a mission to remember an ancient family secret that may be hidden in her long abandoned childhood home. When she asks her handsome neighbor, John, to accompany her, she’s not expecting much, except possibly help if she falls through any rotten floors.

Unfortunately, that's her first mistake.

John is a vampire, and her house is not exactly empty. Secrets—and the dead—won’t always stay buried, and John’s extraordinary strength and determination may be all that can withstand what awaits them in the shadows...


Without warning, goose bumps rippled down her back. The hairs on her arms tickled like millions of insect legs dancing over her skin.

The shadows behind John rippled. In the darkness of the hallway, feral yellow eyes gleamed. She found barely enough energy to react. Throwing the box at John, she pulled out her gun again and shot at the figure in the doorway. Glowing rivulets like molten lava appeared, suspended in the darkness before exploding in a rain of fiery golden sparkles.

A scream of pure fury rent the stillness, reverberating through the thick walls of the house.

“Gwen, we’ve got to get out of here,” John said, tension deepening his voice.

She was dimly aware of him reaching for her again, but her attention was caught by a new set of eyes peering through the doorway.

John saw them, too. “Get behind me.”

Thank you again for having me! I enjoyed it tremendously!

Amy Corwin


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Terrific Tuesday with Lenore Butcher:)

Welcome! Please introduce yourself and tell us about your latest release.
Hi, my name is Lenore Butcher and I'm from a very small town in Ontario. My latest XOXO release is "Dead Girls, Dogs and Ponies", which relates the story of Justin, a zombie whose services are engaged by one of the vampires in his city to find out who was foolish enough to try to start a war with her. As Justin digs deeper, he discovers the vampires aren't the only ones with something to lose. It's a fast paced read rife with dark humour and Justin is a likeable curmudgeon and entertaining narrator.

Have you ever had an idea for a story which scared you after you began writing it?
I can't say as I have, but some of my friends have had nightmares from bits they've gotten from me.

Have you incorporated actual events from your own life into your books?
I have the kind of life where the surreal happens on an almost daily basis and much of it does find its' way into my work in one form or another.

How much research do you do? Do you research first and then write, or do you write first, then research as needed?

I do a lot of research. I'm a bit of a history buff, so accuracy is very important to me. I have been known to spend a night researching indoor plumbing just so a three sentence description of an eighteenth century public lodging house would be accurate. I do research at all phases of my books, depending on what it is I need to know. Quite often I'll be writing along, then get stuck on something I don't know, so I'm off and researching. Thank heaven for the Internet!!! Other times even before I begin, I'll know there's going to be something that hangs me up, so I'll do a bit of pre emptive research. For example, an upcoming book will have to do with fairies and I want to have a good grasp on the mythologies before I start, so I've already begun looking. I love researching almost as much as I love writing!
Is there any message you want readers to take from reading your work?

A lot of my stories have to do with people who are in dire circumstances, in dark places in their lives. Yet there's always something, some hope, however faint and I guess that's what I want my readers to take with them. No matter how awful things are, there's hope.
Are you a plotter or a pantser? And have you ever had a story take on a life of its own?

A bit of both actually. I usually have some kind of vague outline, but quite often I get a curve ball from my imagination that takes everything in a while new direction. And yes, I've certainly had stories that have gone in directions even I couldn't have anticipated. I'm not good with short fiction, it usually ends up wanting to be a novel. And I have characters who almost demand their own novel as I'm writing them. It's quite entertaining at times.
How long did it take for you to be published?

Dead Girls was accepted the second I sent it to XOXO. I do have a couple of other manuscripts that made the rounds before I gave up and stuffed them in the dead pile that may come to light at some point in the future. I've always written, but it's taken monumental effort everytime I've submitted anything to a publisher.

If you could go back and tell yourself anything when you first began your writing career, what would you say?

Probably to get up my nerve to send stuff to publishers sooner!!!
Laptop or pen and ink? What are your ‘must-haves’ when writing?
Desktop computer actually, but I do keep pen and notebook in my purse for sudden inspirations! I must have my computer (of course!), usually background noise (usually the tv) and some sort of beverage, usually Coke or sometimes tea. And my writing hoodie (red with Winnie the Pooh on it) is slung over the back of my desk chair in case of drafts.
Who are your favorite authors? Who would you say influenced you the most?

Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Kelley Armstrong, Patricia Brooks, Kim Harrison and Charlaine Harris. I began reading horror at the tender age of 12 with 'Carrie' and I would have to say a lot of my writing is influenced by Stephen King most of all.
What would your readers be surprised to learn about you?

I'm actually very afraid of spiders, to the point that hubby has to kill them for me!
For Fun:
Favorite Christmas memory?
Getting my first electronic typewriter from my parents my first year of university.

Any special Christmas traditions?
Christmas Eve. We always go out for lunch with my parents, my brother and his wife. Quite often I have to go back to work after, and my parents take my children to the movies while my husband finishes his Christmas shopping. We all go to my parents' house after I get off work for finger foods and drinks, then we all spend Christmas Eve there. It's so wonderful to be part of such a close knit family and to have that togetherness most of all at Christmastime.
Christmas cake or log?

Log, because it's chocolate!

Thank you for being here today! Please tell us where we can find your books.

Jess was beautiful when she was mad. Today she was
downright gorgeous because she wasn’t mad at me. Her
long black hair spun out in spikes as she turned abruptly,
hand going to her waistband, intending to shoot the
messenger. Her hand curled around the grip of her gun, then
relaxed, then gripped it again.

“Say it again,” she demanded, her voice a throaty growl.

I almost felt sorry for the unfortunate messenger. Almost.
Harry had been a particular thorn in my side many times, and
it was almost cathartic to see him getting his comeuppance.
I could see the emotions warring on his face. He wanted to
not have to say it again. He’d do anything, say anything, to
not be in this position. Any smugness he felt at being the
one to ban Jess and her dynasty from Sanctuary was being
replaced by the icy fear leaking into his spine. Jess was
terrifying when she was angry and you were the target. I’d
been there far too many times myself.

“I said,” she repeated, her voice dropping to a silky purr, “Say
it again...”

The uninitiated would almost think she was trying to be nice.

I knew better. I’d been long ago initiated into the mysteries
of Jess and her dynasty. She was using the force of her
personality to charm it out of him. And it was working.
He took a deep shuddering breath. At least he could still
breathe. Pity. They thought little enough of Jess that they
sent a mortal servant to do a vampire’s job. I didn’t think
Harry was even officially a spokesperson for the Guardians.
He was only some poor schlub who did odd jobs around
Sanctuary for them, but for some reason someone thought
he was the one who should tell Jess the bad news. That
was... I did some mental reckoning… at least their fourth or
fifth mistake. Someone of Jess’ stature in the city deserved
more than this. I sensed the fine hand of Peter Bennett
behind this. I’d find out sooner or later.

Harry looked confused as he stared deeply into Jess’ eyes,
those chameleon eyes that changed from steel blue to
turbulent grey to laden green, depending on her moods.
Now, as she wove her charm, they were a light blue. I wasn’t
fooled. They’d darken to black soon enough, as soon as she
got what she wanted from Harry.

He decided saying it fast was best. The words came in a
jumble, tumbling one after the other.

“Jessamyn Carlisle of the Quen‐She dynasty, thou and those
of your lineage are hereby banned from Sanctuary for crimes
against your kind. This sentence is passed by your betters
and is immediate and immutable.”

Monday, November 15, 2010

Meeting People

Currently Reading: OMG! Finished reading Wicked Cool on Saturday...and I want the sequel! Diane, you left me hanging! I want to know what happens next! Definite Recommended Read:)

Next up: The Best Laid Plans by Bronwyn Green. I'm also rereading T.L. Gray's The World According To Ali

Went to my final craft fair of the year, and while I actually had a sale this year, I was a bit miffed no one informed me of the hourly drawings. I had no problem providing a book for the 'Grand Prize' drawing, but imagine my surprise when all of a sudden they drew a name and announced he could claim his prize at MY table! If I'd been thinking faster, I should have scribbled a $10 gift certificate to the store on the back of one of my cards. But since I was fully unprepared, I ended up signing a copy of Love is Sober to his wife. I hope she enjoys it!

Why did this annoy me so much? As I said, nobody told me every vendor would be involved; I thought it was only the ones who signed up for it. I certainly didn't have this happen last year! And I really didn't have the inventory to give away; I went in with only four copies of LIS and three of Love Finds A Way. I sold one copy of each and donated one copy of LIS to the 'Grand Prize'. My last signing is next week, and I've been reduced to only three (total) print books to sell. I don't have the money to order more; nor is there time for the shipment to arrive, unless we pay extra shipping costs. So yes, this irritated me.

But something GOOD happened: Carol Preflatish showed up and we had a nice visit:)

Several people had picked up her 'Masters and Disasters of Cooking', and when I realized the woman at the next booth had a Kindle, I went over to speak to her, and she seemed thrilled to be speaking to two authors. I showed her my Sony, and we compared the two.

And speaking of the Kindle...Carol sent this picture to me Friday night.

Yes, there's Kenzie's book on her Kindle:) I was so excited, I went to the Kindle store and looked it up. You can now buy the book on Kindle:)

This Week:
Lenore Butcher and Amy Corwin will be here, and look for an announcement probably on Friday.

Have a good week and I'll be back on Wednesday...maybe:)

Friday, November 12, 2010

Friday Flashback: Teenage Angst....

I was growing more and more confident in my friendship with D. He'd taken me home from Dairy Queen, or to meet my parents somewhere in town. I'd been to see his band contests.

But our friendship had not gone unnoticed by other girls in my grade. One girl in particular started making snide remarks whenever I was within earshot. Fortunately, C and K stuck by me, as did R at school. They told me she was jealous, and not to worry about anything she said.

But even my own family was getting tired of hearing his name come out of my mouth, and when the fall dance at school approached, R and I decided to go. A kid I worked with in the library had taken a liking to me, and since I'd known him ever since the third grade, I neither encouraged nor discouraged his attention. We did have to work together, after all! At the dance, he was there and tried to get me to dance with him. But I was shy about dancing in public, and so R and I mostly watched the others.

The following Sunday, I got a thrill. Our Youth Pastor told us to hug at least five people before we left. I hugged C and K, and then turned around. D swooped on me and pulled me close! I don't even remember who I hugged after that; I do remember my friend S (also a senior, and whom I'd met when in the 5th grade) hugging me and then playfully staggering around when I accidentally stabbed him with a pencil! I had stars in my eyes....until I caught a glimpse of 'jealous girl's' face. If looks could kill....

I still don't know if he ever heard her comments and that was his way of getting back at her, or if it was strictly coincidence. I'd like to believe the former!

Next month: Closing the age gap.

I'm off to a conference today:) Tomorrow I'll be at the Davies County Vendor Blender and excited because I'll finally get to meet fellow author Carol Preflatish! I 'met' her online three years ago, and own her Masters and Disasters of Cooking. I've even tried some of the recipes she posts on her food blog, Carol's Food Bites. And I confess I have yet to read her romantic suspense novel, Love, Lies, and Deceit. I do want to read a wip she had posted concerning love in a kitchen; I don't remember the working title; I just know I didn't want to steal it when I wrote 'Appetite for Desire'.

I'm almost ready to emerge from my 'cave'; edits are finished on Chapters 1-6, and I should get the two remaining ones finished this weekend. Hopefully LIFE should be better next week, and I'll be a better blogger!

Have a great weekend:)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Terrific Thursday with Scott M. Baker:)

Welcome! Please introduce yourself and tell us about your latest release.

Glad to be here. I’m a horror writer from northern Virginia, about forty-five minutes from Washington D.C. I’ve written several short stories over the past few years, most of them zombie related, which have appeared in on-line publications or in anthologies from Living Dead Press (www.livingdeadpress.com). My first full-length book, The Vampire Hunters, was released in March 2010 as an e-book by Shadowfire Press (shadowfirepress.com) and in November 2010 as a trade paperback by Pill Hill Press (www.pillhillpress.com).

Have you ever had an idea for a story which scared you after you began writing it?

No. Most of my work is pretty intense, but I enjoy writing it. It’s cheaper than therapy.

Have you incorporated actual events from your own life into your books?

Actual events, no. But I have incorporated some personality traits from family and friends into my characters, all in a positive way. I think it makes them more realistic. Anyone who knows me well will chuckle at my main character in The Vampire Hunters, Drake Matthews, who smokes cigars, drinks whiskey and iced coffee, and dotes on his pet rabbit. Unfortunately, though, I haven’t hunted down monsters for a living.

How much research do you do? Do you research first and then write, or do you write first, then research as needed?

I do a fair amount of research, both before and during the writing process. Prior to writing The Vampire Hunters, I read several nonfiction books about vampires and from those developed my own mythos. Plus I’ve been fortunate to have met a lot of professionals who have been willing to share their time to educate me. There’s an autopsy scene in the first book that a forensic specialist reviewed and corrected for me. For second book in the trilogy, The Vampire Hunters: Vampyrnomicon, I was given personalized tours of the Washington sewers, the archives rooms of the Freer Gallery, and the mortician lab of a local funeral home that allowed me to flesh out the accompanying scenes in the book.

Is there any message you want readers to take from reading your work?

Nope. Life is tough enough as is without having me preaching to my readers. I just want them to pick up the book, tune out the world for an hour or two, and have a good time. And hopefully be so scared they sleep with a light on that night.

Are you a plotter or a pantser? And have you ever had a story take on a life of its own?

For short stories, I plot the whole thing out in my mind before actually sitting down to write. For novels, I usually draft an outline of keys plot scenes and character bios. But once I start writing, I inevitably add scenes and flesh out my characters.

As for my work taking on a life of its own, The Vampire Hunters is a prime example of that. The novel was originally intended to be a solo book. By the time I was done with it, I had developed so many ideas for plot twists and additional storylines that I expanded the concept into a trilogy.

How long did it take for you to be published?

I started writing The Vampire Hunters in late 2003. Shadowfire Press published the e-book version in March 2010, and Pill Hill Press published the trade paperback version in November. I used to think seven years was a long time to see my work in print until I started talking to other authors, publishers, and literary agents who told me the average time before getting a first book published is ten years. I consider myself very fortunate.

If you could go back and tell yourself anything when you first began your writing career, what would you say?

Hang in there, kid. It’s a long and ego-bruising journey, but it’ll all pay off in the end.

Laptop or pen and ink? What are your ‘must-haves’ when writing?

I started with a small notebook that I took with me everywhere I went, and would then transfer my stories onto my home PC. After The Vampire Hunters was published, I bought a laptop and my productivity spiked.

I do my best writing out on the back deck with a cigar and an iced coffee by my side. I also keep a pen and notebook handy at all times to jot down ideas and add to my “to do” list.

Who are your favorite authors? Who would you say influenced you the most?

Brain Keene, J.F. Gonzalez, Ed Lee, Brian Lumley, Laurell Hamilton, and Graham Masterton.

Joss Whedon has had the most influence on my writing. His plot and character development are superb, especially with Buffy, The Vampire Slayer. But what really impresses me is the way he can inject humor into the most intense scenes and still make it work.

What would your readers be surprised to learn about you?

My colleagues at work get the biggest kick from the fact that while I write some of the goriest scenes they have ever read, in my free time I like to work with the Loudoun County Animal Shelter and local rescue groups saving rabbits. I am the human servant to six house rabbits at home, and most of them came to me from abusive or neglectful situations.

For Fun:

Favorite Thanksgiving memory?

My mother’s birthday falls around Thanksgiving. One year my sister through a surprise party for her. I drove from Washington to Boston to be there. She was so happy she cried for half an hour.

Any special Thanksgiving traditions?

We always set up the Christmas decorations the day after Thanksgiving.

Pumpkin Pie or cake?

Pumpkin pie with a huge mound of whipped cream.

Thank you for being here today! Please tell us where we can find your books.

The best place is my blog, Scott M. Baker (author) at www.scottmbakerauthor.blogspot.com. I have links to my short stories that are still available on line (“Incident at Ironstone Lane” and “Rednecks Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things” in Necrotic Tissue’s autumn 2009 edition), plus links to purchase the print anthologies my stories have appeared in as well as my full-length books. I frequently blog about status updates, upcoming book signings, and other items of a general horror-related interest. You can also find links to follow me on Facebook and Twitter.


Modern day vampire hunters wage a brutal battle against the undead in the nation's capital.

As former Boston cops, Drake Matthews and Alison Monroe thought they had experienced it all... until they found themselves tracking down a serial killer who turned out to be one of the undead. Stopping him cost them their careers and almost their lives.

Thanks to an influential and anonymous benefactor, Drake and Alison find a new job ridding the streets of Washington D.C. of the vampiric threat terrorizing the nation's capital.

Only this time, Drake and Alison are not facing a single vampire but an entire nest led by Ion Zielenska, one of history's most evil and twisted masters. As the vampires indiscriminately prey on humans, seeing them as nothing more than food to satiate their hunger, they create a wave of violence that threatens to engulf the city. Orchestrating the carnage is Antoinette Varela, the mistress of the nest, whose vendetta against the hunters is personal.


As the adversaries faced off, the train pulled into Foggy Bottom Station. The passengers practically pulled the doors open to escape. When the doors finally did open, they ran out onto the platform and dashed to safety. Seconds later, the doors slid shut and the train began to pull out of the station.

"Well, bitch," taunted Alison. "It's just you and me."

"That suits me fine." Toni hissed and sprinted down the rail car.

Alison pushed off the deck with her left foot and spun her body around, slamming her right foot into Toni's head in a tornado kick. The master careened to the side and stumbled between two rows of seats, smashing the window, momentarily stunned. Pulling a stake from her belt holster, Alison ran between the seats and raised the stake to inflict the fatal blow. Toni's hand shot up and grabbed Alison by the wrist. With one thrust, Toni threw the hunter over three sets of seats. Alison landed on her right shoulder in the opening by the doors, sliding across the deck until her back slammed into the center pole.

Toni flew over the seats and landed on top of Alison's chest, knocking the wind out of her. The master pushed herself down on Alison, pinning the hunter's pelvis to the floor with her own, then ripped open Alison's blouse to expose her neck. Bearing her fangs, Toni leaned over, pausing only inches from the Alison's neck.

"Relax, hunter. In a few moments, you'll be one of us."

"Not if I have anything to say about it," a voice shouted from behind Toni.

Toni looked up to see Drake standing at the opposite end of the car. She snarled. "You have nothing to say about it. She's ours now."