Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Terrific Tuesday with Margaret Tanner:)

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

Thank you for inviting me here today Molly.

My name is Margaret Tanner and I hail from Australia. I have three grown up sons and a gorgeous little grand-daughter. I write historical romance with Australian settings and have in the past won several awards. 2010 was particularly thrilling for me as Frontier Wife won 1st prize in the Historical romance Section of the Reader’s Favorite Awards in Las Vegas, and Wild Oats made it into the Finals for EPICON 2011.

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

No I can’t say I have.

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

Yes, I certainly have. I think all of my books have some facet of my life or experience and that of my relatives. As I write historical romance, I am heavily into the past, and who better to badger for information than elderly relatives, (of course, I mean that in the nicest way possible). I have also had access to family diaries, historical letters and childhood memories of happenings in my past to fall back on.





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

Of necessity I have done a lot of research. Nothing bugs me more than to read an historical and find inaccuracies in it, and I strive to not be guilty of that sin. I mostly set my stories in the same eras, either the 1st World War or 1860’s Australia, so I can use the research over and over again. My two novels set during the Vietnam War were easy, as the 1960’s was my era, and I remember it and the turbulent times well.

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

I would like them to get enjoyment, but also to learn that we owe a lot to our forebears. They came thousands of miles across the sea to start a new life in an untamed and often savage land. They fought nature and the tyranny of distance and won. I am Australian and write Australian stories, but your American Frontier history is very similar to ours.

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

Pantser. If I had to plot, I wouldn’t get anywhere. My stories always seem to take on a life of their own. That is the beauty of not plotting it.

How long did it take for you to be published?

Over twenty years.



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

Join a romance writing organization.

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

Pen and ink are a must. Forget the laptop. A few chocolate bars are helpful as well.

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

Currently, I enjoy reading Ginger Simpson and Cate Masters. I have just finished reading Caroline Clemmons book the Texan’s Irish Bride, which I loved. Years ago my favourite authors were Ethel Turner and Mary Grant Bruce, two Australian authors who wrote in the early 1900’s, and they were my inspiration, still are.

What would your readers be surprised to learn about you?

That I bite my nails.

For Fun:


Since it is January, what are your goals for the coming year?

Just to keep on writing, and hopefully make my fortune.


What is your favorite New Years’ Eve memory?

I went to a party one New Years Eve, in my younger days, and I met a really gorgeous guy, thought he was the one, but he ditched me just after the clock struck 12. I wonder if he thought I was going to turn into a pumpkin?


Is there something you really wanted for Christmas, but didn’t get?

Yes, a doll’s pram. Got the doll but not the pram, because my parents (um Santa) was struggling financially.

.
Ideal winter time: Snow or a white beach?

White beach, because there are so many great beaches here in Australia.

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

The Wild Rose Press

http://www.thewildrosepress.com/margaret-tanner-m-281.html

Whiskey Creek Press

www.whiskeycreekpress



BLURB: FRONTIER WIFE

Only in the new world can a highborn young Englishwoman and a tough frontier man, ignite the passion that will fulfil their hopes and dreams in ways they never imagined possible.

Tommy Lindsay arrives in colonial Australia to claim the rundown farm she and her brothers have inherited.

Hidden behind her fragile English rose beauty, beats the heart of a courageous young woman. She will need all this strength to survive the unforgiving heat, and the dangers lurking around every corner. Lost in the bush, capture by a feral mountain family, raging bushfires are nothing, compared to the danger she faces if she gives her heart to Adam Munro.

EXCERPT:

Adam Munro scowled as he rode along. What an absolute waste of bloody time going down to see those lawyers in Melbourne. Henry Lindsay's stubbornness had been a thorn in his side for years. He wanted to buy the property back when the old man died. No one could call that unreasonable. I’d have offered them a fair price, damn it. To find out the relatives in England not only refused to sell, but wanted to settle here and start up a horse stud enraged him.

He cursed under his breath at the sheer insolence of those Lindsays. Imagine having the gall to take out an advertisement in the local paper and stick up notices in the general store? His lips curled contemptuously. He had ripped down every notice he saw. Warrior. What kind of name was that for a stallion? Probably some broken down old hack.

They would get no credit anywhere, he made sure of that. How dare they hog water he desperately needed for his stock to survive a prolonged drought. He would do everything necessary to scare off those wretched interlopers.

I’m not prepared to stand by and let any animal suffer while Henry Lindsay’s relatives play at being farmers. If they get in my way I'll trample them into the dust. His hands clenched on the reins.

Soon he would be home. He hated the hustle and bustle of the city. A week down there proved more than enough for him. Of course, he combined business with pleasure. Just thinking about the women whose company he had enjoyed caused him to grin. Good to be coming home, though. If only he could get rid of those wretched Lindsays, it would enable him to focus all his attention on the other problem plaguing him.

He needed a wife capable of bearing him two or three healthy sons. At thirty-five he did not want to leave it much longer. Unfortunately, he didn’t have many choices.

Fiona McKenzie was an only child whose father's property connected with his on one boundary. Old Dan wanted a match. With both properties joined together they would have more than sixty thousand acres. Could a timid, mousy little thing like her give him the strong healthy sons he craved? Hadn't he heard somewhere she suffered from a chest weakness? A pity, with all those acres involved, but a delicate wife would never do.

The only other candidate was Sophia Bothroyd. A bit on the petulant side, but attractive enough to appeal to his manhood. She looked strong and healthy, and with young Bothroyd dead, was sole heir to her father's property. Twenty thousand acres only a few miles away proved a tempting proposition. Yes, he would start courting her in earnest now. Sophia would make him a suitable wife.

“What the…” His horse reared as a black dog bounded out of the bush. With a muffled curse he steadied the horse. Old man Lindsay's mongrel, bloody menace, someone should have put a bullet in him years ago.

“Touser, Touser. Wait for me, Touser.” A small boy hurtled out of the bush and skidded to a halt in front of the horse. He wrapped his arms around the dog's neck and received a lick from the animal's pink tongue.

“Did my dog frighten you, mister? He doesn't bite unless he doesn't like you, then he might tear you to bits.”

Adam grinned. The child spoke with an English accent. His skin was fair, his sky blue eyes alive with excitement, and his hair gleamed like ripe wheat in the sun.

“What's your name, boy?” He did not bother dismounting, although he kept the horse steady.

“Jamie. I'm setting a trap for Adam Munro. Touser’s going to help me attack him.”

“You want to attack Adam Munro? Why?” What the hell was going on here? He gave a snort of annoyance.

“I hate him. Tommy says he's a land hungry old des, des, something.”

“Despot.” Fury raged through him like a rampaging bull. “So, Tommy thinks Adam Munro is a land hungry old despot?”

http://www.thewildrosepress.com/frontier-wife-p-4099.html

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Jan 1991

I'd reached a turning point with The Idiot. I was enjoying sharing the company of a man who didn't put me down; I felt good about myself in his presence. So I made the split-second decision to investigate an apartment across the interstate from where D lived. Surprisingly, the complex was having a special on one-bedroom apartments, for the same amount of money I was currently paying. I did something I'd never done before: Quit my job without giving any notice, and signed the lease.

My parents helped me move to my new apartment, and my mother left me speechless five minutes after meeting D.

"I like him."

My mouth dropped. "We're just friends; he's twelve years older than me, so this isn't going anywhere..."

"You have always gotten along well with people older than yourself." She put the car in drive and away we went.

The Idiot had threatened to kill himself on New Year's Eve, and after I'd calmed him down, I returned to D's apartment. TI called me the next morning after I'd moved out and threatened again, leaving all sorts of roller coaster emotional messages. I finally spoke to him on the phone, and after getting fed up with it, I cracked.

"Go ahead and kill yourself. I don't care anymore." And slammed the receiver down. I went through 5 minutes of 'What the hell have I done' panic, and called his parents to alert them to his mental status. I also called some of my former neighbors.

Turns out it had been just a threat; as far as I know, twenty years later, he's still alive. He's divorced from the woman he dated after I dumped him, but he's still alive.

I also began the long process of job hunting.

Mega-hugs to Barb Huffert, who lost her great-aunt this morning. We love you Barb, and you're in our thoughts and prayers!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Terrific Tuesday with Marianne Stephens:)

Welcome! Please introduce yourself and tell us about your latest release.
Thanks for having me here today, Molly! I’m Marianne Stephens and write both
mainstream romance and nonfiction books. My first published book was a nonfiction ebook offered in 1999, before ebooks became as popular as they are today. My first romance book was published in 2007. Under the pen name of April Ash, I write erotic romances.

“Guilty Survivor – Memoirs of Tamerla Kendall” is a ghostwritten, nonfiction account of Bosnian Croat, Tamerla Kendall, who lived through the chaos and carnage in Sarajevo during the Bosnian War 1992-1995. Hers is a story of courage, fear, ingenuity, and survival techniques. Difficult choices she was forced to make during and after the war still disturb her peace of mind and life today.

Have you ever had an idea for a story which scared you after you began writing it?
Not really. I’ve had a few that defy completion, and they really bug me. I just can’t seem
to finish them because I don’t like what I’ve written.

Have you incorporated actual events from your own life into your books?
In my romance books, there’s a little of “me” here and there. An event that happened to
me when I taught Kindergarten is in “Anything You Can Do”. And, the first line of “Gone to the Dogs” is “Your dog ate your underwear.” Yep…that came from my experience (my dog ate my daughter’s underwear!).

For my current nonfiction book, all the events are recollections from Tamerla’s life.

How much research do you do? Do you research first and then write, or do you write first, then research as needed?
I research, then write…if I need a lot of research. For “Street of Dreams”, I had to get the
time frame correct since it is a time travel (back to 1965). I researched some facts to make sure I had everything right before I started writing.

All my research for “Guilty Survivor” came from Tamerla, her husband, and a professor in Austria who allowed me to use some material from his book on the Bosnian War.

Is there any message you want readers to take from reading your work?
This is from Tamerla, since “Guilty Survivor” is her story: “My purpose in writing this book is to offer the reader a true inside vision of how war affected those unwillingly caught up in its chaos. I was one of the emotionally walking wounded until I realized I wanted to share my war experiences.
Don’t allow yourself to stop from attaining your dreams. I didn’t and try not to regret any decisions I made at times when I felt I had no other choices. Live your life to the best of your abilities and find ways to reach your goals, despite detours in that road to success. You can survive anything if you persevere.”

For my romance books, I want readers to believe in “Happily-Ever-After” endings, because they happen. The road to real love can be “rocky”, but that goal to happiness will be waiting for you!

Are you a plotter or a pantser? And have you ever had a story take on a life of its own?
For nonfiction, I’m definitely a plotter. Facts have to be arranged in order to make sense. For romance books, I write a sentence outline of the order that events will happen in the story. Then, I follow that outline.

How long did it take for you to be published?
Five years before my first nonfiction book sold. Ten years for romance books.

If you could go back and tell yourself anything when you first began your writing career, what would you say?
Start sooner! I should have started writing much earlier, but kept pushing it back because of other commitments.

Laptop or pen and ink? What are your ‘must-haves’ when writing?
Desk, computer (not laptop), no music. I don’t like distractions. I like drinking cold water. I get so caught up in writing that hours can go by before I remember to drink something!

Who would you say influenced you the most?
Carla Cassidy. I credit her with giving me the best advice I’ve received. She told me I was writing episodes, not stories. When I thought about what she said and looked at how she wrote and what I was doing, I realized she was right. I sold my first romance book within a year after changing my thought processes.

What would your readers be surprised to learn about you?
I once dated two guys from the same Navy aircraft carrier. They worked different shifts and didn’t know each other. I taught school and somehow still had lots of energy for dating (I was much younger then!). Then, I married a man in the Army!

For Fun: I play social, party bridge. Love playing with my grandkids!

Since it is January, what are your goals for the coming year?
I've done research for a children's book...a nonfiction story about a dog who barely survived being hit by a car and although plagued with injuries has become a therapy dog.
AND...I plan to write more romance books in 2011!

Ideal winter time: Snow or a white beach?
Snow. I don’t like heat. I’d rather be bundled up in front of a fireplace, sipping cocoa, and watching the snow fall than sweating on a beach and getting sand everywhere.

Thank you for being here today! Please tell us where we can find your books.
Marianne Stephens - Ellora’s Cave Mainstream “Blush” (was Cerridwen) imprint:
http://www.jasminejade.com/m-310-marianne-stephens.aspx
April Ash - Ellora’s Cave Erotic books:
http://www.jasminejade.com/m-441-april-ash.aspx
Marianne Stephens - Breathless Press:
http://www.breathlesspress.com
Marianne Stephens – Secret Cravings Publishing Nonfiction Imprint – Living and Learning:
http://www.secretcravingspublishing.com/MarianneStephens.html
Marianne Stephens – Amazon Books: ebooks and print:
http://www.amazon.com/Marianne-Stephens/e/B003NT0QSQ/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_6?qid=1293604293&sr=8-6
April Ash – Amazon Books: ebooks and print:
http://www.amazon.com/April-Ash/e/B003OJRSSG/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1293604456&sr=1-1
Marianne Stephens and April Ash – All Romance Ebooks – Search for names:
http://www.allromanceebooks.com/storeSearch.html

Blurb:


Tamerla Kendall is the woman you see rooting for her son at sporting practice. You might meet her in a grocery story. Perhaps you’ll see her planting a garden behind her home. Or, talk to her at school or work. She’s a student, worker, wife and mother.


Surviving a dark past is hidden by her fa├žade of an everyday, average life. Reading her memoirs will reveal her true struggle to survive in a war zone, and is a testament to her courage.

Bosnian Croat, Tamerla Kendall, lived through the carnage and chaos in Sarajevo during the Bosnian War (1992-1995). Hers is a story of courage, fear, ingenuity, and survival. Difficult choices she made then still disturb her peace of mind and life today.

She made a few trips out of Sarajevo, only to return to keep the family restaurant business operating. One carefully planned, secretive trip was made to remove her daughter from the dangers of fighting, but this created a heartbreaking rift in their relationship. For her second trip, Tamerla masqueraded as a United Nations Protection Forces soldier and rode in a tank. A uniform and travel assistance came from a Ukrainian general.

Her hopes for a return to normalcy at war’s end diminished as corruption and religious zealots took control. She married an American, and this marked her as an outcast by some she’d trusted. When her life was threatened at gunpoint, she faced a critical decision concerning her family’s safety in her beloved country.

Excerpt:

I grasped Joana’s hand to keep her from being scared and instructed her not to speak as we left the restaurant. I took a baby stroller and put a doll in it. Under it, I hid Joana’s clothes and things she wanted to take with her. To anyone watching us, we were just a woman with a stroller and young girl walking through town. We walked five miles to a family friend, Rade Coric. Joana and I got in his car, and he put the stroller in the trunk. I held the doll. At the first checkpoint, they allowed us to drive away after soldiers scrutinized us.

We drove to the second checkpoint. Again, we were allowed to pass, and then met with a friend of Rade’s. We changed cars at this time. Rade stayed with his car and Joana and I went in the friend’s car. He drove us to the last checkpoint. Another family friend, Hrvoje Kristic, met us there.

I was warned not to go back to Sarajevo, but that wasn’t the plan Miro and I devised. With a heavy heart, I tried being brave as Joana and I separated at this point. She frantically tried holding my hand tightly and wanted me to go with her. I watched as they escorted her away from me. I’d hoped Miro would come to greet us, but he was too frightened, so he sent our friend instead.

Joana cried and I was devastated at leaving her. But, I knew she’d be safe. Leaving her was the hardest thing I’d ever done. My heart tore at the emptiness I’d suffer by her absence. Miro reminded me how only I could save the family’s livelihood and future for after the war. I accepted this and agreed with his reasoning. Concentrating on those thoughts made it a little easier to leave, although tears flowed freely down my face.

This trip proved easier than my next one, although danger existed both times. Little did I know what awaited me back in Sarajevoand that my next trip would prove to be a nightmare.

I went back the same way I’d taken Joana, stopping at Rade’s house for lunch. While I was eating, I looked outside and saw smoke in the area where my house stood. My heart plummeted. Although I knew my house was miles away, a sensation of dread overwhelmed me. I feared more sadness would come after my ten-hour trip to take Joana out of the nightmare of living in Sarajevoto the safety of her father and my family in Kiseljak.

I went to my restaurant and sent a waitress to the area where I’d seen the smoke coming from. She called me with the bad news. My house burned.

I rushed to the house and once again cried that day, but this time at the site of a blackened, burned out building. Nothing remained but a crumbled chimney, soot and ashes. All the furniture had apparently been stolen while I was gone and before the house was deliberately set on fire.

Disheartened and saddened by this loss, I trudged back to Restaurant Meli with a numbing sensation clouding my head. My daughter was safe but gone, my family and husband were safe but not with me, and my home was gone, all in the name of war.

The day held more bad news for me. While I was viewing what once was my house, robbers hit my restaurant. During my absence, soldiers came, beat my employees, and took all the food and money.

Now my despair and anger controlled my sanity. My husband, daughter, and family were relatively safe and away from Sarajevo, but my home was gone, and the army helped themselves to my business. I shrugged my shoulders, reached for an inner strength to bolster me, and decided to have my say at attempting to rectify the situation.

I called a Muslim friend and told him that just because my husband was a Serb didn’t mean that I was a traitor. I loved my city and people. I was scared someone would now want to kill me.


I needed to get my food and money back to survive. He made a call and told me to speak to army officer, General Enverlic.

The general listened to my plea, and as a compromising gesture of goodwill, I offered him half the food. He asked me to cook some meals for his troops, and I agreed. I baked for his unit, and in exchange, got most of my stuff back, and some form of “protection” evolved. My money returned immediately.

Sharing and compromising worked for me throughout the war. A woman asking for help and agreeing to share supplies impressed the general. That same night, the army delivered my supplies to the restaurant, providing a necessary morale boost and a positive surprise that allowed me to remain in business.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Flashback Friday

1981:

Recap: Somehow, skinny, gawky me had managed to catch the eye of D, a senior. One of the girls in my Youth Group had expressed some jealousy, and D had hugged me in November, and shared his popcorn with me on my birthday.

In January, my choir class held a roller skating party. As it happened to coincide with a night we didn't have Youth Group, I secured tickets and offered them to anyone interested. D was one of the ones who paid for a ticket.

I'll admit, I daydreamed about him whisking me gracefully around the floor, hand in hand, or at least arm in arm. But while none of that happened, he did skate beside me several times, and we shared some laughter.

But by the time I'd screwed up the courage to ask him to pairs-skate with me during the final songs of the night, my timing was horrible. I'd made a quick trip to the Ladies Room and when I came out, I saw the jealous one taking his hand and pulling him onto the floor. Shock washed over me, and before I had time to react, one of my friends grabbed me and dragged me after him.

We managed to catch up to D and his partner, and my partner made a point of keeping my focus away from the other two by reminding me not to show any emotions toward them. It worked; at the end of the evening, D caught up to me as I was changing into my street shoes and mentioned he'd been looking for me when E grabbed him. I shrugged and said, 'Next time?"

"Sure."

It hadn't been the night of my dreams, but at least we'd had a good time!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Terrific Tuesday with Janice Seagraves:)


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

Hi, my name is Janice Seagraves. I’m a romance writer. My first book which came out in June is called, Windswept Shores.

Blurb: The sole survivor of a plane crash, Megan is alone on a deserted island in the Bahamas until she finds a nearly-drowned man washed up on shore. Another survivor, this time from a boat wreck. With only meager survival skills between them, will they survive and can they find love?

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

Well, I had thought of including rats in Windswept, but nixed that idea right away. I do not like rats! Ew! *glances around* Did I just hear a squeak? Oh, thank God, it’s just my chair.

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

Oh yes, my couple in Windswept is basically camping out on the beach, so I was able to including my years and years of camping experience which I had growing up with a fisherman for a father.

I also told my hubby he was the inspiration for the sex scenes, which made him puff up his chest and strut around the house for the rest of the day, lol.

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

I basically research as I go along. In Windswept I used the internet and books to learn more about the Bahamas. I also purchased books so I could get the hero’s Aussie accent just right. Then I bought a couple of DVDs of the Bahamas, so I could see how the waves rolled up on the shore.

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

Since my heroine is older than the hero the message is: “It’s never too late to have a second chance at love.”

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

I’m a pantser and yes my stories tend to run off with me. So I have to hang on real tight and see where they take me.

How long did it take for you to be published?

I started writing toward publication almost twelve years ago. I had a lot to learn and used that time taking a correspondence course, and then a series of workshops to help me learn the craft of writing.

My book Windswept took me two years from tentative beginning to final polish.

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

To not lose faith that it will happen, so keep reading, writing and learning.

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

I have a Gateway laptop, which I can’t work without it.

When I write I drink tea. Hot when it cold and cold when it’s hot. I also keep a bottle of water close by too.

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

Oh, gee there are so many. JRR Tolkien was an early favorite so was Victoria Holt, which is funny because the two can’t be more different in writing style. But then I have a very eccentric reading list.

Then later it was (and still is) Anne McCaffrey, Andre Norton, Jim Butcher and Pat Hodgell, just to name a few.

What would your readers be surprised to learn about you?

I’m not a natural redhead.

For Fun:


Since it is January, what are your goals for the coming year?

To polished up my SF Rom series and submit it.


What is your favorite New Years’ Eve memory?

Making champagne punch and then playing killer Rummy with a friend and her mother and sisters. It was fun, the more hammered they got the more I won.


Is there something you really wanted for Christmas, but didn’t get?

Lots of things, but I was a much deprived child. But once I grew up I’ve had to stop my hubby from buying me too many things, lol.


Ideal winter time: Snow or a white beach?

As a child I’d always pray for a white Christmas and be disappointed when we didn’t get one. The closest we got was a hard frost. L But now that I’m older I think I’d prefer white warm sands in a beautiful setting instead. J

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

http://janiceseagraves.org/

Windswept Shores: available from Pink Petal Books

My book trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t_r2NXKT0Sg

Here’s something warm to read while the nights are cold.

Windswept Shores, now available from Pink petal books.

Windswept Shores by Janice Seagraves
Cover Contest Winner
erotic contemporary romance
novel (approx 50K)
price $4.95
Cover Art by Pink Petal Books with assistance from Winterheart Design.

BLURB:
The sole survivor of a plane crash, Megan is alone on a deserted island in the Bahamas until she finds a nearly-drowned man washed up on shore. Another survivor, this time from a boat wreck. With only meager survival skills between them, will they survive and can they find love?

EXCERPT:
Breathing hard, she flicked a glance at the teal-colored sea. She’d thought a vacation to the Bahamas would be the perfect getaway, would be a solution to the problems she and Jonathan had faced. She’d been wrong—dead wrong. Tears of grief filled her eyes. The never-ending crash of the waves on the beach and the cries of the seagulls seemed to mock her with the reminder she was utterly alone.

She’d felt like a tiny speck of sand last night when a violent storm had swept across the island. It had made a mess of her meager campsite, which had taken all morning to fix, and had demolished her seaweed SOS sign. She’ll have to recreate her SOS. Sighing, Megan trudged toward a pile of kelp. As she got closer, she saw a figure wearing blue jeans and a t-shirt. Her stomach lurched.

Oh, God, it’s another body washed up from the plane wreck. That would be number twelve. As always, she couldn’t help but wonder if the next one would be Jonathan. He hadn’t been wearing jeans on the plane, so she knew she’d been spared seeing his corpse this time. Thank God. She approached the body with dread. Tightening her resolve, she knelt. Suddenly the “dead body” coughed and rolled over. With a scream, Megan jumped back. She clutched her chest and pressed a shaking hand to her mouth.

He’s alive!

Biting her lip, she stared down at the still-breathing man. His drenched t-shirt molded against his broad shoulders and well developed upper body. Short, golden brown hair stuck out in all directions.

Megan, get control of yourself. Don’t wet your pants the first time you finally see a living person. She got on her knees, plucked the seaweed from him and wiped the sand from his face. His day-old whiskers scratched her palm. Reddened skin stretched across both cheekbones and over the bridge of his nose. Her thumb caressed his parched full bottom lip.

She patted the side of his face. “Hey, are you okay?” That’s a dumb question. He isn’t okay.

“Hmm?” Gray eyes fluttered open. He stared at her a long moment, frowning slightly. “G’day.”

“Hello there.” She hated the sound of her voice. It sounded rusty, unused.

Abruptly he rolled away from her to heave onto the sand, making a loud, ugly retching noise.

He wiped his mouth with the back of his hand, then looked at her. “Sorry, mate, I swallowed too much sea.” His gaze went over her shoulder in the direction of the bonfire which crackled and popped not far from them. “Mite big for a barbie.”

Sitting back on her heels with her hands folded in her lap, Megan followed his gaze, then back to him. “My signal fire.”

“Signal for what?”

“Help.”

His accent intrigued her. Was he English or Australian?

“G’darn,” he looked around, “where the bloody hell am I?”

“Don’t know. There’s no one here to ask.” Megan shrugged helplessly, but couldn’t contain her curiosity. “Are you from England?”

“Naw,” he rubbed his eyes, “I hail from Sydney, but my port of call these days is Fort Lauderdale.” He blinked up at her. “You?”

Ah, he’s an Aussie. “I’m Megan Lorry, from Anaheim, California,” she said, barely loud enough to be heard above the sounds of the surf and the roar from the fire. “Are you a survivor of Air Bahamas flight 227, too?”

Now also available at Smashwords, Diesel, All Romance and for the kindle at Amazon.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

There's Something Wrong in the World Today...

I nearly choked when my copy of TV Guide arrived. I thought I was going to read yet another article on how Faith-based shows were making a comeback. Imagine my surprise when I read the following:

"...the Vatican newspaper praised Homer Simpson for being a 'true' Catholic."; and went on to say the Simpson family "recites prayers before meals and, in their own way, believes in the life thereafter."

What??? (needle scratch)


Whoa....if that's the case, then my lazy SU and his entire irreverent family are to be commended. And another reason why I refuse to convert.

I was taught that being a 'Fat Baby', or a 'Sunday Christian' wasn't cool. You have to walk the walk, talk the talk. What comes out of your mouth and how you live your life is a reflection of your relationship with God and Christ.

Now granted, everyone slips up. My parents aren't perfect, and yes, I've heard them fight and swear. Just not constantly. And I don't recall my mother walking out of the church after a service and uttering a single swear word as soon as she got into the car.

But it's nothing for my SU to start taking the Lord's name in vain the minute he closes the driver's door.

I encourage my kids not to utter any curse words while in mixed company, and lately I've had to remind my 6-yr-old he's too young to say 'Crap' or 'Sucks'. Years ago, I gave up the 'F' word for Lent, when I realized it was letting it fly more often than I was comfortable saying.

A little hard to do, when I hear kids using the tamer language on ABC Family or even Disney channels.

Am I the only one who loved Highway to Heaven and Touched By an Angel?

And yes, I know a person's faith does not necessarily reflect their lives; after all, I don't write Christian Inspirational stories.

But it just turned my stomach to have TV Guide confirm (throw it in my face??) that I married Homer Simpson.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Terrific Tuesday with Lux Zakari:)


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

I’m Lux Zakari, an erotica writer. My short stories have appeared in the anthologies Best Women’s Erotica 2009 and the freshly released Best Bondage Erotica 2011, as well as the websites Clean Sheets, Oysters & Chocolate and The Erotic Woman.

My first full-length erotic novel, Coercion, was released in August 2010, and it’s about a young woman learning about love the hard way from a good looking man who’s anything but right for her. Here’s the scoop:

Introverted and insecure Valerie Mercer was promised that during her senior year of college she would finally attract attention from boys…but never dreamed that would include Michael Vartanian.

Good looking, troubled and every parent’s nightmare, Michael is adamant on introducing Valerie to a world of both pleasure and, inadvertently, heartbreak. His interest in Valerie is dependent upon the mood and fidelity of his on-and-off-again girlfriend, Breeze.

Nevertheless, Valerie lets her hope and desire override common sense and soon finds she can’t deny Michael anything…no matter what’s at stake.

Readers can check out the book trailer at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3wVXW6xBdH0.

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

This is such an interesting question. There are certainly a lot of ideas I have for stories that scare me before writing them—some are so intimidating that it seems like they’ll never get written! Ultimately though, once I decide to start writing a story, I feel obliged to finish it, no matter how daunting it seems. At that point, I’m committed!

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

Absolutely, and I think it’s awesome that I live a life worth referencing in my work. I like to think of these allusions to actual events as little Easter eggs for my friends, who can read one of my stories, laugh and say, “I totally remember that happening.”

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

Usually, I try to bang out the story as fast as possible. Otherwise, I’ll get hung up on researching and fretting about details, and that only causes delays and I run the risk of never actually writing the story. If I get stuck when writing, I’ll mark that spot with an “XXXX” and move on to a different paragraph/section/chapter/et cetera. Later on, I’ll do a search for those XXXXs and fill in the blanks after doing some research.

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

That happy endings and brighter futures are possible, no matter the mistakes people make. And that sometimes the guy doesn’t get the girl because he doesn’t deserve the girl, and that’s okay—that doesn’t make anything that transpired any less important.

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

I’ve never heard of the term pantser in reference to writing! That’s amusing me. When I write, I do a little bit of plotting—I whip up a story skeleton that’s enough to get me started. I did have a story take on a life of its own. In 2005, I started writing a story, not having any idea what would come of it, not knowing what I was trying to say at all. Five years later, I can see it needs a ton of revisions, but it’s still one of my most favorite things I’ve ever written.

How long did it take for you to be published?

It’s difficult to say, because I’ve been writing since I was wee, but Coercion is my first published novel and was released in August 2010. Aside from short stories, it seems like it took forever to get a full-length story accepted by a publisher, but now that I think about it, starting from the point where I really tried to get published, when I felt it was truly time, it didn’t take too long at all.

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

I would urge myself to stop procrastinating at procrastinating a lot sooner! I used to never finish anything I started writing. It took NaNoWriMo 2004 to overcome that, and these days, I’m all about setting goals for myself and I can’t imagine not finishing something. As you can tell, I can’t say enough wonderful things about NaNoWriMo; it’s a great platform from which to jump.

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

Trusty pen and paper are best when I need to get an idea out of my head tout de suite. Sometimes using a computer makes me think that everything I write has to come out perfectly. “Must-haves” for writing definitely include time and inspiration!

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

I will always want to hug my battered copy of Nick Hornby’s High Fidelity to my chest with a happy sigh, and in November 2010, I had the opportunity to see a lecture given by Lauren Oliver, author of Before I Fall, and it was so inspiring. I’m so excited to be surrounded by and get to meet so many creative, interesting people.

What would your readers be surprised to learn about you?

I’m not sure what would surprise readers, but I can say that I surprise people who’ve met me face to face when they learn I write erotica. Perhaps I don’t fit the “type,” should one exist. In person, I’m pretty silly, and I get excited about things that are cute/nerdy/weird/all of the above. But c’est la vie. It’s always fun to keep people on their toes!

For Fun:

Since it is January, what are your goals for the coming year?

I have a lengthy list of goals I must accomplish by August 2011, which includes getting my master’s in library science, putting a message in a bottle, climbing a tree, making a podcast and perhaps putting an appearance at Frolicon.

What is your favorite New Years’ Eve memory?

Last NYE, my friend and I hosted a gathering with the usual suspects, only everyone donned formal garb. It was fun how such a detail changed the vibe of the party, and a great time was had by all!

Is there something you really wanted for Christmas, but didn’t get?

Although I never got the hot pink Barbie Powerwheels to sidle up to neighborhood boys in while lowering my star-shaped shades, I’ve generally been pretty satisfied with my Christmas gifts. Everything that I wanted but didn’t get somehow came into my life eventually.

Ideal winter time: Snow or a white beach?

Even though I live in the Northeast, I’m such a baby about the snow. I’ll take the beach any day!

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

Thanks for hosting me and for asking such insightful questions! Coercion can be purchased at http://www.lyricalpress.com/store/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=2_12&products_id=315.

For more information about me, readers need only visit www.luxzakari.com.

Excerpt from Coercion

Valerie refused to entertain thoughts Michael might ever be interested in her, especially since she didn’t know what she’d do if she had him. She knew of Kim Breza—better known as Breeze—and couldn’t think of two people more different than her and the popular, talkative blonde, whose sexual appetite was no secret. She had heard Breeze broadcast her erotic escapades in the women’s bathroom, the hallway and just about everywhere else. Thus, Valerie knew Michael and his girlfriend had done practically everything under the sun during their on-again, off-again yet somehow enduring relationship.

That knowledge both excited and terrified her. Virginity, which was something her peers had outgrown long ago, was not something she wanted to give to just anyone. Therefore, she could never keep up with Michael.

But a little part of her wanted to try. A little part of her wanted to have the courage to find out how those lips of his tasted. A little part of her wanted to slide her hands down his broad back and into the back pockets of his jeans.

A little part of her wanted to do a whole lot to Michael Vartanian.

A racier excerpt from the story can be found at http://www.theeroticwoman.com/erotica/coercion.