Monday, December 27, 2010

Author spotlight with Megan Johns

Megan, what influences your writing and why?
In The Path of Innocence, my debut novel, I wrote from the heart. I was going through a period of illness and I found it really therapeutic to escape inside my head.

Suddenly I discovered all this stuff inside waiting to be unlocked and that my mind could take me off in all sorts of different directions. My aim was to write a women’s novel with a strong romantic thread and emotional depth, but apart from that, the story took on a life of its own. In my current WIP, my writer’s head is making me adhere more closely to genre requirements, although the characters and my own instinct are still key in steering the direction it takes. What I really enjoy about writing romance is being able to put the characters in conflict and exploring their innermost feelings.

How do I develop my characters and setting?
Settings are very important to me. I find that if I can put my characters in a setting with which I feel an emotional attachment, that they, in turn, will respond to the environment. Setting definitely influences their behaviour and hence the plot. When I am starting off, I will have a pen portrait of my characters and I try to let them grow, almost organically, adding extra layers as the story develops and the characters become more complex.

Am I a pantser or plotter?
I am definitely a pantser. I usually know roughly where I am heading, but not necessarily how to get there.

How do I deal with writer’s block?
When I am writing, I try to stick to a routine and I set minimum daily targets. Even on a less productive day, I endeavour to write something, possibly knowing it isn’t quite right. That way, I can go back when I am fresher and revise it. Sometimes it’s surprising how little effort it can take to transform material you thought was destined for the bin. No effort is wasted.

Guilty pleasures?
Chocolate and desserts—especially with chocolate sprinkled on top.

What one thing would I say to readers?
My heart and soul went into The Path of Innocence and, although it may be slightly out of the box, it is a really deeply emotional read with a core message that love, if it is strong enough, will always win through.
Why not give it a try? You won’t regret it!

The Path of Innocence

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Author spotlight with Marc Jarrod

Hi Marc! Thanks for agreeing to this interview.
So, tell us, how did you feel when you got your first publishing contract?
That I wrote something and a publisher recognized it as a saleable product that the publisher was willing to take the time and effort to make it even better. It felt great and it made me feel important.

What is the biggest piece of advice you can give a beginning writer?
If you get rejected by an epub on your submission, don’t get dejected. Just keep plugging away. If given advice by your publisher or a critique group, take that advice and use it to improve your writing.

Do you have any guilty pleasures?

What influences your writing? And why?
Sometimes it is life experience whether it be me or some one I know.

Name one thing readers don’t know about you.
I am probably older than most of my fellow authors. :)

What are you working on now?
Tarot story. Author had to pick a tarot card and write a story around it.

Who is your favorite all-time author?
James Patterson. He writes great thrillers and they are fast reads.

Are love scenes easy/difficult to write?
At the risk of sounding sexist, :) for a male, yes love scenes are hard for me to write.

If you could be anywhere right now, where would you be?
In outer space. I know that sounds corny, but space truly is the final frontier as James T. Kirk once said. I think the planet Saturn is truly the most beautiful planet, with the exception of earth, of course. However, from what I have seen of pictures of the universe, it is truly magnificent, and I would love to explore it.

Do you have another career besides writing? What is it?
I work at UPS as clerk and package handler.

What’s your biggest reward in being a writer?
Getting good reviews not only from a review web site, but also from your fellow writers.

To date, which is your favorite story?
Which one did you have the most fun writing? I have written 4 erotica stories and 1 non erotica. Believe it or not, it is the non-erotic story that is my favorite. It is set around Christmas and it is a feel good story. It is titled, Christmas in July. Published through Divine Destinies.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Author spotlight with Tessa McKay

Hi Tessa, tell us do you categorize yourself as a pantser or plotter?
A plotter, no doubt. That isn’t saying that there is no spontaneity or room for change along the way, but I like to know where I am going and have some idea of how I am going to get there. I like to have the details laid out, and I make notes, oh so many notes, about everything. And don’t ask me to work without an outline.

Who is your favorite all-time author?
That would be a big toss–up between Emily Bronté and Jane Austen though they couldn’t be more different. Each appeals to a different part of me, I suppose. I have spent more time analyzing Emily because even though she presents more of an emotional appeal, she is actually the more structurally complex of the two. I like to relax with Jane. Wonderful scholarship exists on each though.

Are love scenes easy/difficult to write?
It actually depends upon my mood. I can know what is going to happen and how the scene is supposed to work, but that is the time that I really have to be in the moment and completely in simpatico with my characters. I think the most difficult thing involved is making sure each character is experiencing the moment in her own way and refraining from any editorial any judgments or guidance from me.

If you could be anywhere right now, where would you be?
Probably in England. It is the place where history comes alive for me. I love the city of London, the moors of Yorkshire, and the cliffs of Dover, all.

How do you deal with the dreaded writer’s block?
You are going to hate me, but I don’t get writer’s block. There is always an idea waving its arms around frantically at me, and my most difficult task is to ignore it while I am in the midst of other work. I suppose if it ever did strike I would travel, if possible. My ideas begin with places rather than people or plot, so a change of scenery would be just the thing.

If you had the opportunity to say one thing to your readers, what would that be?
I would like them to know how much I appreciate them taking the time to enter and hopefully enjoy the worlds I create. Writing gives me so much happiness, and I hope that I can pass that on to my readers. I would love to hear from them any time via my website or on Twitter.

Twitter: @tessa_mckay

Monday, December 6, 2010

Author spotlight with Jane Toombs

Hello Jane and welcome. Tell us, what has been your biggest influence on becoming a writer?
My father. As a child I watched him I watched him type his articles for the Michigan History Magazine and his non-fiction books on his big old L.C. Smith typewriter. I begged to use it. He told me I couldn’t until I could spell a lot of words. Then he’d teach me, but in return, I had to type him out a story. I’d been read to before I could read, but it never occurred to me until that moment that I could write a story. He was the perfect critiquer, first praise, then a firm but never mean pointing out of what could be improved.

How did you feel when you got your first publishing contract?
Here’s the scenario. I was less than a year into my second marriage, where I added my three still-at-home kids to his two. My stepdaughter took to me right away, but her brother, who’d been his dead mother’s favorite, remained standoffish. As luck would have it, when the phone rang and it was the agent telling me he’d sold my first book in 1973 , a gothic called Tule Witch , to Avon, the only one home was Mikel—out in back shooting baskets. I ran out on the rear deck and down the stairs to where he was standing, shouting his name. At the bottom I grabbed him and hugged him, screaming, “I sold my book!” He stiffened, but then relaxed and hugged me back. “That’s wonderful,” he told me. From then on, our relationship warmed up. So selling that book also helped Mikel and me become closer.

How do you categorize yourself: pantser or plotter?
I stated out as a pantser because, when I began writing seriously I thought you had to finish a book in order to sell it. So I simply started at the beginning and wrote to the end—these were typewriter days. After I acquired an agent, and sold, I still wrote my second gothic that way, which he promptly sold. If any editing was done, I never saw any of it, and these were major NY houses. But the third gothic I wrote the same way didn’t sell. Then he called me and said he had a packager asking for authors to write a gemstone series and needed one to do topaz. Could I send him a synopsis and three chapters? I had to ask him was a synopsis was. He was surprised, but told me, adding that most books sold on a partial, which was what this was. News to me. I decided to try this method and my partial sold. I finished the book with the help of the synopsis I’d written and had an Aha! moment. After selling again on a partial, I decided to go back and write a synopsis for the book that didn’t sell. After I discovered how I had wandered all over the place, I tightened the book and it sold. So from then on, I became a plotter. I don’t follow a synopsis exactly, but it does keep me from wandering.

What makes a book great in your eyes?
One that not only grabs me right away and keeps me glued to the pages, but also one that resonates afterward, so that I think about the characters, and how the author made me feel everything they did. A book I remember in the years to come.

What is the biggest piece of your advice you can give a beginning writer?
Finish every story or book you start. That, plus a ton of perseverance will sell a book, providing you have at least an ounce of talent. I have a bad habit of planning a series and starting the first book, then getting distracted by another writing project. I took my own advice the year and made a New Year’s resolution to finish the first book in every series I’ve started that still seemed viable—seven at last count. I could not write anything else unless it was already contracted for. I chose A Darkness of Dragons Trilogy to begin this project. Dragon’s Pearl, the first book, had three chapters written. I wrote the fourth, then had to pause to finish a contracted-for anthology novella. Picking up again, I finished this first book. As I was wondering what epublisher to send it to, Devine Destinies sent out a call for books. Deciding this was more than a coincidence, I submitted and they took it, asking to see the rest of the trilogy. So then I had to finish the second book, Dragon’s Diamond, which had only one chapter written. When it was accepted, I knew I had to write the third, Dragon’s Stone, which had nothing but a synopsis. Which I’m doing. Now I can see that in a series, once you do finish the first book, if it’s picked up, then you have to keep going with the next, and so on. Which means it may take me the rest of my life to finish all the first books in those series. But it does illustrate my point. You can’t offer any publisher a book you haven’t finished. Not unless you’re a multipublished author and that publisher knows your record.

Do you have any guilty pleasures?
Unfortunately, I had to give most of them up as I aged, so I’m not admitting to any of them as I can no longer indulge.

What influences your writing? And why?
This stumps me. Like all writers, many of the ideas that circle the landing field in my mind all the time, never make a landing for one reason or another. Most current events are too ephemeral to base a book on. And the older I get, the less I’m likely to write about something that’ll take a ton of research, though I’ve done a lot of that in the past.

We’re all influenced by what goes on in our lives and around us and I’m sure a lot of that creeps into every authors’ books, but I know I don’t deliberately choose to have it happen.

Name one thing readers don’t know about you.
I’m an introvert. Like most are, I’m. shy. Maybe this is why I hate to make phone calls, though I enjoy talking to whoever calls me.

What are you working on now?
Besides writing Dragon’s Stone, I’m finishing another contracted-for anthology novella. This is because I belong to a promo group of twelve authors who promote each other called Jewels of the Quill—where I’m Dame Turquoise. One of the ways we promote each other is by doing anthologies, some of which have won awards. So I don’t do this just for myself.

Who is your favorite all-time author?
All the old ones, most of them dead. E.A. Poe; A, Merritt; H.P. Lovecraft.; Charlotte Bronte; Jane Austin.

Are love scenes easy/difficult to write?
Love scenes never have been easy for me. First of all, I believe they have to fall naturally within the context of the story—which gave me a lot of trouble with H/S editors when I was writing for them. I was always being told—more, more. Also love scenes have to fit the characters’ personalities. And I’ve never been able, after being a nurse, to call sexual parts anything but their actual anatomical names. But I do believe making love is a part of romance novels and I’ve learned to write love scenes, even hot ones, which none of my early books had.

Do you write in one genre or several different ones? And why?
I’ve written in all genres except men’s action and erotica. Because at one time or another in my long writing career, each of the other genres appealed to me. Or else the genre I was writing in no longer was popular and I was forced to try another. I’m sort of stuck on paranormal right now. It actually was my first love, but editors kept telling me to take it out. And look at it today!

If you could be anywhere right now, where would you be?
Hey, I live across the street from the south shore of Lake Superior and this is June—summer is here! With perfect weather. Ask me again in December and you’d hear a different story.

How do you deal with the dreaded writer’s block?
Never have it. If I park myself in a chair in front of the computer and start writing anything, I may have to rework it later, but I’m off and running. I might procrastinate, but I’m never really blocked.

Do you have another career besides writing? What is it?
I was an RN for many years and I wrote right along with nursing.

What’s your biggest reward in being a writer?
Selling. No, I mean it. I think every author wants to have readers and getting books published means readers, whether or not you make a lot of money. Mind you, I don’t knock money—it does make life easier.

To date, which is your favorite story? Which one did you have the most fun writing?
I think perhaps a book I wrote for a packager about immigrants. My agent asked me which nationality I wanted to write about. Because The Scots—which was the name of the book—were part of my heritage, that’s the one I chose. The research was endless because it started in Scotland with the reason for emigrating, then went through several more generations in this country and some wars. Took loads of research and a long time to write, but the book went through more than one edition in paperback. I got a lot of satisfaction from writing that book and feel I learned something about what my ancestors had to face when they came to the United States. I hated to let go of the characters.

How do you go about developing your characters and setting?
I decide what the book will be about first. In A Darkness of Dragons, I needed background first. So, in the past, Merlin steals magic from the Immortal Black Dragon in an attempt to heal King Arthur. He fails, and in the doing, makes a bitter enemy of the dragon, which from then on is determined to destroy mankind. Merlin succeeds in trapping him in a Welch mountain cave, but can’t keep him there unless subsequent generations renew the wards that keep the dragon trapped. Which is the problem the characters in modern America face in my three stories. Because, you see, the dragon emigrates with their Welsh ancestors to this country and is forced into the stope—a cave-like area created by having been mined-out—of an abandoned copper mine in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. They must learn how to keep him there.

So I had to choose characters who had Welsh ancestry. Some had to know a fragment or so of what they were because they needed to be able to lead those who knew nothing in the right direction. After I figured that out, it became easy to create such characters. As soon as I begin writing about any character, she or he comes alive in my mind and I soon learn all about him or her as they demonstrate to me who they are. But when I put something in, such as Nala, the Siamese cat, I don’t always know why. Not until the third book did I understand why she was there.

As for setting, I live in Michigan’s U.P., surrounded by abandoned copper mines. I usually set books in areas where I have lived, which includes different areas of California, Upstate New York and Northern Nevada, as well as the U.P. If I must use another setting, my research is as thorough as I can make it.

If you had the opportunity to say one thing to your readers, what would that be?
Suspend disbelief and enjoy.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Author spotlight with Rod Raglin

I am passionate about the environment.
Writer, naturalist and environmentalist Terry Tempest Williams said, If you know wilderness in the way that you know love, you would be unwilling to let it go…”

Unfortunately, I know it that way, so what choice do I have?
Over the past few years, I began to realize that I was most frequently preaching to the converted. The readers of my community newspaper knew where I stood and accordingly endorsed my rants or dismissed them. What was the point? Many people were saying it better and more eloquently.

But still it’s a fight that must continue to be fought. Protecting our natural environment is, in my opinion, the only real issue of our time—everything else pales in comparison.

I wanted to reach a new audience, one that had the potential to initiate real change, so I wrote a romance novel—actually three—with an environmental subplot.

Romance fiction generated $1.37 billion in sales in 2008 and remained the largest share of the consumer market at 13.5 percent—bigger than mysteries, sci-fi, inspirational, literary, etc. 74.8 million people read at least one romance novel in 2008. The core of the romance fiction market is 29 million regular readers.

Women, which comprise 90 percent of romance readers, have incredible potential to positively impact the environment.

Women purchase or influence the purchase of 80 percent of all consumer goods, including home furnishing and products, houses, vehicles, computers and stocks. A woman that’s sensitive to environmental issues could influence the purchase of an energy efficient vehicle, products from recycled materials, stocks in a sustainable industry, even environmentally friendly cleaning products.

Spirit Bear is my e-published novel about a corporate climber that goes to battle with an eco-warrior over a ski development that threatens the habitat of the rare, mystical Spirit Bear.

Eagleridge Bluffs, my second novel examines the morality and motivation of the young leader of a group of eco-terrorists and his unwitting accomplice, a naïve, affluent, middle-age woman involved in a protest to stop a highway expansion. It asks the question, “What would you be prepared to sacrifice to save a wild place you love?”

All the royalties from the sale of these books are being donated to the Wilderness Committee to help them continue their work to protect the Spirit Bear and preserve the Great Bear Rainforest; and The Friends of Cypress Provincial Park Society to support the ongoing work in the preservation of the park’s natural environment, its special historical and cultural features; and through education, an understanding and appreciation of the park’s natural features.

So far my membership to these organizations has generated more revenue for them than the royalties have, but sentiment is sincere.

Writer, naturalist and environmentalist John Muir said, “Bears are not companions of men, but children of God, and His charity is broad enough for both... We seek to establish a narrow line between ourselves and the feathery zeros we dare to call angels, but ask a partition barrier of infinite width to show the rest of creation its proper place. Yet bears are made of the same dust as we, and breathe the same winds and drink of the same waters. A bears days are warmed by the same sun, his dwellings are overdomed by the same blue sky, and his life turns and ebbs with heart-pulsings like ours and was poured from the same fountain…”

(This is a remarkable site for info on all bears and their plight )

It’s a simple truth, but a profound one that human beings have no more right to life and the resources of this planet than any other living thing.
Once you realize that, everything changes.

Rod Raglin

Monday, November 15, 2010

Author spotlight with Leah Leonard

Hello Leah and welcome! What has been your biggest influence on becoming a writer?
My mom influenced me more than anyone, without a doubt. When I was a kid, we used to read romance novels as entertainment and a few years ago, after penning my first romance, it was my mom, Gail, who said, “Hey, this is good. You should consider writing full time.” If not for her, I would never have found this career, which brings me more happiness than any other in my life.

How did you feel when you got your first publishing contract?
Shortly after my mom suggested I go for this full time, I bought a house where I could sit and be still, and I cancelled my regular busy touring schedule with my other career. I began writing fiction full time in June of 2007 and I had a lot to prove to myself and to my friends and family. I was determined to sit and write and to get a publishing contract before the end of the year. I’ve been pretty successful over the years with all the different things I’ve tried so I expected it would be easy to do, but I soon got an eye opener. The rejection was difficult for me to swallow, but I had that goal of getting a sale before December 2007, so I kept on going, sending things out, and finally wound up getting contracts for two novels that year. Since then, I’ve completed fifteen novels and several short stories and I don’t plan to slow down. I love writing fiction and the thrill of the first contract and the validation it gave me to persevere, despite rejection, was invaluable.

What makes a book great in your eyes?
Romance is a great genre because it shows us all that no matter how difficult our lives may be, there is a light at the end of the tunnel and happy endings are possible. I believe we subconsciously transfer those beliefs to our real life and it helps us when times are tough—the bigger the mess, the happier the ending, that’s what makes a book great.

Do you have any guilty pleasures?
I am an admitted chocoholic. When I attended my first Romance Writers of America conference several years ago, I was thrilled to see so many other chocoholics. Made me feel right at home! One of the funniest things was when I attended a fundraiser for literacy. We all paid $30 to get in for a meal, but all they served were chocolates and desserts! I still laugh about that and I said to myself, “These are my kind of people.”

Who is your favorite all-time author?
I still love Danielle Steele, although I must admit I haven’t read her latest books in a couple years. She’s still my favorite though because my mom and I ate up her novels when I was a kid. She does tragedy and drama so well and is the reason I wanted to write novels in the first place.

What’s your biggest reward in being a writer?
I enjoy traveling and doing many different things in my real life, and to me, fiction writing is the only profession I’ve found where I can do whatever I want and play out various what-if fantasies.

To date, which is your favorite story? Which one did you have the most fun writing?
I loved writing Dead Man’s Diamond, my historical Western about Tombstone, AZ, the year after the gunfight at the OK Corral. I grew up in New Mexico and Arizona and I love the west. I hope to write more stories about John, perhaps a full-length novel in the future.

If you had the opportunity to say one thing to your readers, what would that be?
Thank you for supporting my work and the work of other writers. I think fiction gives people the chance to escape daily life and is quite therapeutic for both readers and those of us who write, but none of it would be possible without your support, so thanks.

Visit Leah online at:

Monday, November 8, 2010

Author spotlight with Erin Sinclair

Erin, thanks for agreeing to this interview. I have to ask, what has been your biggest influence on becoming a writer?
The desire to express myself, to explore the unlimited potential of the imagination. I love the written word and I love being a part of the ancient tradition of storytelling.

What makes a book great in your eyes?
A good book leaves me with a feeling of satisfaction. It makes me feel as if it was worth the time I spent reading it and the money I paid for it. I become involved in the storyline and care about the characters the author worked so hard to create, but I won’t necessarily keep it. I’ll lend it to a friend with a suggestion to read it or I’ll donate it to a library.

A great book however, grabs me by the eyes and demands my full attention. A great book so suspends my disbelief that it leaves an unforgettable impression on my mind. I buy hook, line and sinker what the author wrote because of their skill and their devotion to their creation. A great book will make me buy and keep it for my personal library and will definitely make me recommend it. I’ll even go so far as to send the author a note advising them how much I enjoyed their creation, let them know what a wonderful talent they have and how much I look forward to their next work.

Do you have any guilty pleasures?
Probably way more than is considered appropriate… *LOL* one of them is designer perfumes. Oh and let’s not forget sinfully rich, very dark chocolate. Red, red, knock ‘em dead lipstick, just to name a few.

Name one thing readers don’t know about you.
I am overall a very confident woman, but tend to become overwhelmed by crowds. That’s when I need to retreat and regroup, find my calm. Once I’M back to a happy middle, I’ll come out and play again.

Who is your favorite all-time author?
Marion Zimmer Bradley. I have read much of her stuff, still reading it. She was a master of imaginative characterization and one hell of a writer, in my opinion. Anne McCaffrey, she’s lyrical to me. David and Leigh Eddings, I love the sarcasm of the novels. Douglas Adams, love British humor and his was hysterical.

Are love scenes easy/difficult to write?
Difficult actually. It is such a personal interaction of two people, I feel as if I’m invading my character’s privacy by exposing their intimacy on the blank page. It takes me a while to build up to a love scene in a novel, but once I’m into the writing, I realize this is just the exclamation point to the story I’m creating involving my characters, once I remind myself of that, I tend to relax and carry on.

If you could be anywhere right now, where would you be?
My 100 acre dream property writing, or tending to my organic garden, or painting, or riding my beautiful Tennessee Walker…sigh, one day and soon as far as I am concerned.

How do you deal with the dreaded writer’s block?
I don’t suffer from writer’s block. I write until I can’t write any more, then step away. Once I’m refreshed and relaxed I go at it until the project is complete.

Do you have another career besides writing? What is it?
Currently practicing as a legal assistant for a local law firm.

To date, which is your favorite story? Which one did you have the most fun writing?
Cupid’s Folly. I cracked myself up the whole time I was writing it. My Big Fat Greek Tall Tale series takes the Greek pantheon of gods and goddesses and plops them squarely into 21st century San Francisco. I have had so much fun taking such intimidating mythology and turning the individual beings of that belief system into far more palatable reading. My Zeus is not the mad rapist of old, he’s a Tommy Bahama wearing, Jimmy Buffet listening, Aristotle Onassis wannabe now retired and living in the Florida Keys. Although he still has an eye for the ladies, he’s more gentleman than jerk. He loves his wife, Hera, but can’t stand being around her for too long as her shrill voice tends to give him a migraine. The character of Eros (Cupid) believes himself to be an immortal James Bond. He’s a wealthy, heart stopping gorgeous, first class klutz whose intentions are always good, it’s just his delivery gets in the way of his success sometimes. Aphrodite is, as always, beautiful and seductive, however, she’s now a famous sex therapist. Persephone is still married to Hades, but she is going through menopause as only a goddess can while her mother, Demeter, is a fully certified doula, lactation consultant and naturopathic physician. I’ve involved others, but don’t want to give too much away, so stay tuned for more of our favorite mythology coming soon to Devine Destinies.

If you had the opportunity to say one thing to your readers, what would that be?
I approach my writing with the intent to entertain, to create worlds that suspend the reader’s belief and allow them to escape from their worries for a while. I also use narrative fiction as a way to consider a different point of view, to teach, to allow a safe environment for one to wonder…what if? I can be found all over the web. I post blogs at the following sites the first Friday every month… The Many Shades of Life and Love ( , The Pagan and the Pen ( , where I head the column Dear Spirit, a spiritual form of Dear Abby where I perform two to four tarot card readings plus an entertaining paranormal or supernatural article, and my newly created From My Corner (
Also, visit my website an ever-changing work in progress and my divine publisher, Devine Destinies at for my latest work!

Thank you so much for this opportunity to tell readers a bit about me! I love to know what readers enjoy, so feel free to shoot me an email or

Take care, everyone and thanks for stopping by!


Erin Sinclair

“For love that’s out of this world!”

Monday, November 1, 2010

Author spotlight on Christy Trujillo

What has been your biggest influence on becoming a writer?
My biggest influence has been the voices inside my head that won’t hush and the world in my mind that I think should be the real world. Yes, I have been influenced by other authors and the Twilight series is what finally made me put pen to paper—or fingers to keys however you want to look at it—but this uncontrollable need to escape to this place in my head is what pushes me forward every day.

How did you feel when you got your first publishing contract?
It felt amazing. It was late at night when I got the email and my sister was spending the night. I ran to her room showing her the email on my phone. We both started screaming and freaking out.

What makes a book great in your eyes?
A great book, a really great book, makes your forget you are reading a book. You are that character, that is your life.

What is the biggest piece of your advice you can give a beginning writer?
Not everyone is going to like what you write. They just aren’t. But someone, somewhere, needs to read those words and feel that emotion.

Do you have any guilty pleasures?
There is no such thing as a guilty pleasure. If it gives me real joy, I’m not going to feel guilty about it.

What influences your writing? And why?
My life. If I’m upset, I can’t write or I write a sad scene. And as for the why, everyone in my books is inadvertently connected to someone I know. This, I do not recommend as people will eventually let you down.
Name one thing readers don’t know about you.Readers don’t know that I love football, am a huge Florida Gator fan and have a picture of Tim Tebow hanging in my cube at work. Go Gators!

What are you working on now?
Finishing up the final book in The Maldito Series, Sarah’s Fate, a ghost story called Fireflys about a girl who loses her dad in a fire, a shape shifter thing called True North and an erotica piece called What I Never Knew I Always Wanted.

Who is your favorite all-time author?
Too many to name.

Are love scenes easy/difficult to write?
Love scenes are very easy for me to write. When I am writing, I am in the moment and it comes naturally as what would happen with the characters and the situation.

Do you write in one genre or several different ones? And why?
I am only published in YA but would like to publish my erotica novel when it is finished.

If you could be anywhere right now, where would you be?
I have some very good friends in London and Scotland—Steve, Tess, Evelyn and Jason—and I miss them so much it hurts sometimes. I would be with them.

How do you deal with the dreaded writer’s block?
Just write. When I am blocked or having a hard time with a scene, I just start typing whatever comes to mind, even if it doesn’t make any sense. Soon enough, the movie in my head gets taken off pause and the story begins again.

Do you have another career besides writing? What is it?
I am currently a Sales Coordinator for a major professional staffing firm and I do love it though I would happily give it up to be a full-time author.

What’s your biggest reward in being a writer?
When someone I’ve never met contacts me on twitter or via email and tells me they loved my book.

To date, which is your favorite story? Which one did you have the most fun writing?
Emmy’s Heart if my favorite and the one I had the most fun writing. Emmy was very sarcastic and funny in the second book in the series, very much me.

How do you go about developing your characters and setting?
They do it themselves. They have their own personalities and honestly it is rare that they actually listen to me.

If you had the opportunity to say one thing to your readers, what would that be?
First of all, thank you for giving the Maldito Series a chance. It means more to me than you will ever know.

I would love to hear from you on Twitter @christytrujillo or via my website at

I tend to be a friendly gal and welcome any and all feedback. I hope you’ll stick with me and check out Sarah’s Fate in the fall and cross your fingers for me that Fireflys will get published.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Author Interview with Ana Claudia Antunes

What has been your biggest influence on becoming a writer?
My biggest influence I should say it was my colleagues at school who would enjoy so much reading my poems made to each one of them in their annual diaries that I decided I should devote my life writing to keep people cheering, laughing, crying or doing that all together, so that I would keep my flowing of inspiration on hand.

And of course all those voices as well that kept talking in my head, all those characters eager to tell their own stories and have a life of their own.

How did you feel when you got your first publishing contract?
I jumped one foot, than I made a pirouette—I’m a former Ballet dancer so no big deal about it…just kidding!—I was actually so thrilled that I couldn’t stop smiling for a month or so.

What makes a book great in your eyes?
The one that can make me shed a tear or two, also laugh about in the funny parts, or make me really believe that it’s happened in the real life, or should have for it is too beautiful to be left out without being lived.

What is the biggest piece of your advice you can give a beginning writer?
Keep moving that pen, always keep writing and keep dreaming. You can make it. You made this far and you can go a long, long way. And bear in mind the beauty of this all is just to create something you feel it’s worth living for.

Do you have any guilty pleasures?
When I am on vacation and I overeat chocolate or too many sweet bread and the next morning I will have to put that bikini and go to the beach, argh, what a feeling!

What influences your writing? And why?
Anything, or everything. I just get inspired with the slightest pieces of idea, and that’s such a blessing…no, who am I kidding, writing is one hundred percent transpiration. You got to work really hard to make a good piece that works.

Name one thing readers don’t know about you.
Only one? I guess it would be…nope, I know guess if they really read my books they would pretty much know too much about me… Now I’m ashamed…ashamed and scared! *Hahaha*

What are you working on now?
I’m starting a screenplay for a movie, that would be about my novel The Pierrot’s Love a thriller, paranormal mystery that will keep my—and hopefully my readers—hair up for a while.

Who is your favorite all-time author?
Marguerite Yourcenar.

Are love scenes easy/difficult to write?
I should ask the same question about real life, aren’t they simply magnificent to describe? So, yes, yes, they are!

Do you write in one genre or several different ones? And why?
I write too many different stories with too-diverse characters to keep myself labeled in one genre only. Too many stories to tell, each of them with subtle tones and specific plots so that all of them would differentiate from one another.

If you could be anywhere right now, where would you be?
I would be in New Zealand, filming my script and making that movie I so wished for.

How do you deal with the dreaded writer’s block?
Writer’s block? Really? What is that? No, that rarely passes through my mind. I am too busy writing the stories that keep coming in my head to care about any wall at all.

Do you have another career besides writing? What is it?
I am a writer, illustrator, dancer, choreographer, photographer, cinematographer, biographer and any other offer I would just love it!

What’s your biggest reward in being a writer?
Just to be able to tell stories and hear or read people saying that they enjoy them, or that they laughed or cried over the lives that you created—or not—that’s for me such bliss!

To date, which is your favorite story? Which one did you have the most fun writing?
It was a book I wrote in Spanish Riñas de una Niña Teñida for I pretty much made her do things that I think she wouldn’t even think of doing. The best part of being a writer is when your characters hate you for making them do what they do and all of what you make of them.

If you had the opportunity to say one thing to your readers, what would that be?
Hope you really have a blast with my books! And please check out all of them at:

Thank for allowing me to share part of my writing life!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Character spotlight with Zaahir

Tell us about yourself. I am Zaahir, responsible for the punishment meted out at Eagleridge Bluffs. That is my Muslim name given to me by my Indonesian mother. My Christian name is the same as my American father’s, James Jensen Jr. My father was an international financier, a middleman, a broker. If you wanted something, legal or illegal, he could get it for you—for a price. My mother was his housekeeper.

I am 27-years old, and have a British boarding school education and a degree in Comparative Religions from Cambridge, courtesy of my father. Upon his death, his estate was divided among his children, my two half-brothers and sister, whom I’ve never met, and myself. I inherited $40 million.

I now use his money to fund my organization, Terra defendo. Big business and governments call us eco-terrorists, but we are as our name signifies, defenders of the earth. You know the who, which is more than most, if you want to know the why, I have revealed it to Rod Raglin in his latest novel, Eagleridge Bluffs.

What makes you special?
My passion to protect the environment and my commitment to punish those that would destroy wild animals and wild places makes me special. I am smart, decisive and, when necessary, ruthless. I am a born leader—charismatic, charming and devoted to my team of five comrades. Never doubt that a small group of people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.

Tell me about your most current adventure.
Eagleridge Bluffs was our most current campaign. It was a special place, home of endangered plants and animals. The government wanted to blow it up to make way for a highway bypass. Terra defendo was there to help organize the citizens to prevent this from happening, and in the case that their protests failed, to punish the defilers of nature. The author has chronicled this confrontation and those involved, including my involvement with Miriam, an older, local woman whom I initially recruited to serve the cause.

If you could offer your author advice, what would it be?
My advice for Rod Raglin would be to have the courage of his convictions. When Eagleridge Bluffs was threatened what did he do? He wrote a letter. He should have put himself in harm’s way. I would tell him if he is given another opportunity don’t fail the cause, don’t fail himself.

Are you happy with the way people perceive you?
My life is underground. My work is subterfuge. I am not who people think I am and if I’m to stay free, safe and lead my team, that is how it must be.

Is expressing love difficult for you? Why?
Getting involved with other people means they could find out about Terra defendo. That would not only make them a liability, it would also threaten the safety of my team and myself. My team has become my family and yet with every campaign I have to put them at risk. It’s difficult to love someone and at the same time ask them to do something that puts their life and liberty in jeopardy. Better not to care too much.

Is there a message you want to get across in this interview?
When you love something, you must do everything in your being to care for and protect it. If you don’t, and it’s lost or destroyed, you’ll not only live with an empty spot in your heart, your soul will be plagued with the guilt that you could have done more and didn’t.

Share a little bit of the real you with our readers. Any Dark secrets?
I will reveal this only to you and you must not betray my confidence. I’m tired of this life. I’m discouraged by the lack of success and depressed we even have to fight for, what should be, self-evident. It’s stressful living in the shadows, cautious of every situation and suspicious of every stranger. I want a relationship, to love and be loved. I want roots, a home, instead of moving from country to country, posh hotel to seedy safe house. The responsibility of being a leader is filled with anxiety and fear, all of which must be concealed to appear strong and confident.

But then I tried the conventional route in the beginning, not unlike the folks that protested at Eagleridge Bluffs, and where did it get us, the movement, the living things that are now gone forever? How can it be different? To save the Earth, society has to drastically be changed and powerful interests are threatened by this. They will do what it takes to maintain the status quo—undermine legitimate governments, support corrupt ones, lie, cheat, even kill those that opposed them while they continued to rape and pollute the planet. They will never submit, even as they draw their last breath of poisoned air.

What motivates you to continue on these adventures?
Writer, environmentalist, thinker, Terry Tempest Williams said, If you know wilderness in the way that you know love, you would be unwilling to let it go… Unfortunately, I know it that way—what choice do I have?

How does one become an eco-terrorist?
Quite easily. Find a place that you love like my Miriam loved Eagleridge Bluffs. Here’s how she described them to the author.

At least twice a week she looked forward to taking Ruth’s binoculars and climbing Eagleridge Bluffs where, for a few hours, she would lose herself and become one with the birds, breeze and ever-changing nature.

The summer seduced her with sweet, wild strawberries, languid reptiles basking on sun-baked rocks, outrageous sunsets and a Golden-crowned Kinglet.

The autumn offered her a myriad of brilliant colors, a sky that was ferociously blue, air that was first-day fresh, and a Red-breasted Nuthatch, characteristically climbing down a tree headfirst.
The mists of winter brought somber shades of grey, eye-watering winds, ice filled crevices and the companionship of an ever-present Raven.
Then Spring spoke of rebirth with green life sprouting from the most unlikely places, seductively fragrant breezes that caressed the chapped landscape and a cacophony of migrating birds lead by the loud trill of the Spotted Towhee.

Again and again the Bluffs would refresh her soul and rekindle her spirit.
Then learn that this place, and all the plants and animals that call it home and have for eons, are going to be totally obliterated to make way for a highway bypass. When you argue there are viable alternatives to this destruction, you’re ignored or dismissed. Finally, when all your legitimate avenues have proved futile, you discover what is really motivating the destruction of your sacred place is political payoffs—construction contracts in payment for past political contributions.

The need for revenge, for retribution, to inflict pain on those that are causing you such unnecessary anguish coalesces. An eco-terrorist is born.

Tell us about the campaign before Eagleridge Bluffs?
Here is an excerpt from the prologue to Eagleridge Bluffs. The event took place in West Virginia while the author, at the time an investigative reporter, was embedded with my team.

   The January night air was thick with an icy fog tinged yellow by neon vapor lights. On the far side of the expansive open pit mine a gigantic excavator and several monstrous trucks rested from the their labors in a compound fenced on the three sides that weren’t open to the quarry.
Beyond the guardhouse, a road traversed carved slopes leading down into blackness and finally to the pool of chemical sludge.
   This was the toxic brew, seeping from the settling ponds and leaching into the ground that was suspected of poisoning the drinking water of the residents in the valley below.
   Everything was as still as death.
   In the forest opposite the site, the darkness was so impenetrable Zaahir couldn’t identify his team members.
   “Sound off,” he whispered into the void.
   He waited. “Where’s Terra?”
   Zaahir fought to contain the rising panic.
   “I’ll find her.” It was Caelum.
   “Stay put, there’s no time.”
   “No way, I’m going back.”
   “Someone’s coming,” rasped Luna. “It’s her.”
   “Sorry,” Terra said, “I twisted my ankle.”
   There was a beep from the timer.
   “Thirty seconds,” warned Bam-Bam.
   “Can you make it back to the vehicle?” Zaahir said.
   ”I’ll help her,” Caelum said.
   “Did you locate the third security guard, Tim?”
   “Nope. Maybe he didn’t come into work.”
   “Ten, nine, eight…” Bam-Bam continued the countdown.
   Zaahir swallowed, fighting down nausea. Something wasn’t right.
   A blinding flash ripped the winter night and a ball of orange flame swallowed the giant excavator. The concussion swept over their hiding spot on the opposite side of the huge quarry like a blast of wind, the sound arriving seconds later.
   “Far out!” exclaimed one of the team.
   A huge cloud of smoke mushroomed above the destruction. Zaahir hunched down as the clatter of debris landing in the surrounding pit filled the air. But there was something else, a high, thin keening. Someone was screaming.
   Then Zaahir saw him tumbling from the cab of the excavator. The exploding diesel fuel had soaked his clothes, and flames now hungrily fed on his jacket, pants, and hair.
   “He’s on fire! He’s on fire!” Terra screamed.
   “Shut her up!” ordered Zaahir.
   The fiery figure got up and ran, which only encouraged conflagration. A human torch, he fell over the edge of the open pit mine and rolled, bumped, and finally flew down the steep embankment until he was out of sight.
   “There’s the third security guard,” Bam-Bam said, breaking the shocked silence.
   “He must have been sleeping in the cab, probably drunk or stoned,” Tim said, his voice shaky.
   The other two guards appeared, coming from the security trailer, running toward the destruction. An alarm wailed.
   “Let’s get out of here,” Zaahir said.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Author spotlight with J.L. McCale

What has been your biggest influence on becoming a writer?
I’ve always loved reading. The library was a magical place and I thought it would be wonderful to contribute to that magic.

How did you feel when you got your first publishing contract?
Thrilled but guarded. I received a letter in the mail from a small publisher in Florida. They wanted three books from me. I’d fired my agent the year before and had been slammed by rejections from the big houses. I didn’t trust the offer right away, but it worked out okay. They were in the early stages of e and POD. I wasn’t familiar with the different formats at the time. Electronic books seemed like a strange idea. Now I’m a huge fan.

How do you categorize yourself: pantser or plotter?
I’m a pantser. Even when I attempt to outline, I can’t follow it. The story takes me in a different direction.

What makes a book great in your eyes?
I don’t believe brilliant prose or ingenious plot lines make a great book. For me, I need to completely lose myself in the pages. I want to forget I’m reading. A good story takes you into the adventure.

What is the biggest piece of your advice you can give a beginning writer?
Read. I hear too many authors claim to no longer have time to read. That’s just a crock. To improve your craft you must read.

Do you have any guilty pleasures?
Yes but I’m not sharing those.

What influences your writing? And why?
Everything around me influences my work. It can be a moment, just a second or two where I’ve witnessed something interesting. It can be a dream. I’ve even found characters through hearing other peoples’ conversations.

What are you working on now?
I’m currently working on a piece called Midnight. A woman is in the process of getting revenge when she discovers romance with a man that might send her to jail.

Who is your favorite all-time author?
That’s a hard one. I have so many favorites. I’m currently reading Jim Butcher. I love his Dresden Files.

Do you write in one genre or several different ones? And why?
My writing does vary. There are times when I don’t write fantasy/paranormal and others when that’s all that will creep into my writing. There are times when there is a love story in my work and times when there isn’t.

Do you have another career besides writing? What is it?
I’m a paper pusher by day. I type contracts, file, and do absolutely nothing of interest. Needless to say, I frequently daydream.

What’s your biggest reward in being a writer?
Getting an email from a reader. For someone to take the time to tell me how much they enjoyed a story means a lot.

To date, which is your favorite story? Which one did you have the most fun writing?
Crying Blood is still my favorite. The heroine is so flawed, so different. I absolutely love her. She’s so dark and still finds redemption.

How do you go about developing your characters and setting?
My characters tend to take on lives of their own. I start with a person and they simply react, building themselves from the pages. The settings are harder. I start with an idea and just see what happens.

If you had the opportunity to say one thing to your readers, what would that be?
Thanks for reading my work. It means a lot. You can visit me at

Monday, October 4, 2010

Author spotlight with Frances Pauli

How did you feel when you got your first publishing contract?
Would swoon be an appropriate term? I nearly fainted. I did a happy dance. I told everyone…and then I started to panic.

How do you categorize yourself: pantser or plotter?
I am a classic pantser. I get an idea, fall for a few characters and run for it. Now, however, I’m finishing up a trilogy and I need to learn to plan…fast. I suppose it’s a good thing to stretch and learn new skills, right?

What makes a book great in your eyes?
Characters I care about, plot that surprises me and a lot of tension. As a reader— and I suppose as a writer, too—I like big themes, even in lighter fiction. I’m a sucker for humor, but I like a nice point behind it.

Do you have any guilty pleasures?
Chocolate. Definitely chocolate.

What are you working on now?
Right now I’m working a final edit on a Romance featuring artists on a planet of anachronists. The setting is medieval, but the tech is futuristic and the characters are a blend of both.

Who is your favorite all-time author?
Andre Norton, hands down. I read romantic Speculative Fiction long before there was really a genre for it. I love all of them, Tanith Lee, McCaffrey, McKillip…but Norton will always be my favorite.

Are love scenes easy/difficult to write?
Harder than I ever expected. I’m learning, but I think my comfort zone if far closer to sweet than I would have guessed.

Do you have another career besides writing? What is it?
Yes, Motherhood. The hours are longer and the work is much more difficult, but the rewards can be pretty great. Balancing the two is tricky. Sometimes, I have to hide in the closet to get any writing done. Both of my children are under 5.

To date, which is your favorite story? Which one did you have the most fun writing?
That’s almost like asking me to pick one of my kids. I’d say my first novel, A Moth in Darkness is the one I’m most invested in emotionally, but that’s more of a dodge than an answer. The most fun to write, hands down, is my free serial, Space Slugs. That one is strictly for fun, can be downright silly at times and almost writes itself.

If you had the opportunity to say one thing to your readers, what would that be?
Thank you. I’d definitely say thank you and I hope you enjoy reading my books. Thanks to you for having me, also.

More on my work can be found at:
And that free serial is at:

Monday, September 27, 2010

Character spotlight with Erica Clark Parkhurst

Hello everyone, my name is Erica Clark Parkhurst. Welcome to Spirit Lake, Pennsylvania where I, along with my best friend, Paula Bascilla, now own a very haunted bed and breakfast called The Spirit Lake Inn. Thanks so much to Devine Destinies for giving me the opportunity to tell you a little about my life and the adventures I’ve encountered since I arrived here.

I happened upon Spirit Lake by accident one July day when my bus broke down just outside of DuBois. You see I was on my way to Chicago after my marriage to a New York plastic surgeon broke up. I’d also lost my job just days after the jerk walked out on me. Talk about a bad week! Anyway, I left the bus behind and rented a car, striking out on my own. I’ve heard it said that life is all about choices. Well, the choice I made on that hot summer day, when I pulled off the main road and followed the sign that read Spirit Lake-5 miles, changed
the course of my life in ways I never could have imagined.

There is a lot of Native American folklore surrounding the town of Spirit Lake and much of its heritage is evident in its present day citizens. The lake itself is steeped in mystery, and I was amazed and intrigued by the mist that rose off of it at dusk. In fact that’s the reason I took a walk on the dock one evening shortly after my arrival. It’s how I met Joe Lakota. To say the encounter was eerie and a little scary would be an understatement. In fact after it was over I began to wonder if he’d ever really been there at all. But Joe turned out to be very real and we fell in love.

Joe’s log cabin, which he built himself, is located in the woods near the inn. He shared it with his loyal companion, Mingo, who is part wolf, part dog. Mingo and I had a rocky start but are now best buddies, especially since I constantly slip him table scraps, much to Joe’s chagrin. Hey, I’m not above bribery if it helps smooth things out. Sounds ideal, doesn’t it? But there’s always a wrinkle. Little did I know the hornet’s nest I’d walked into, but I soon found out that everything was not as it seemed in Spirit Lake. Joe was a man with secrets, one of which had to do with a decades-old murder.

Local legend has it that the mist represents the spirits of long dead tribal chiefs who now watch over their descendents. I was never a superstitious person, but considering what happened later when I was at the mercy of a brutal killer on that dock, I’ve had to rethink my position.

Oh, did I mention the ghosts at the inn? Lots of them, all over the place, including a weeping woman in the century-old rose garden, another one that bangs around in the attic and the one who wreaks havoc in the basement? Quite unnerving and something you never get used to, believe me. But one ghost in particular led me to a discovery that linked my family’s past to Spirit Lake, something I never would have know had I not taken that detour in July.

Since my arrival in Spirit Lake, my life has been a roller coaster ride that includes romance, murder, ghostly encounters and many other things aimed I’m sure at keeping me on my toes. I hope you’ll come join me and share my wonderful sometimes crazy life in the unique town of Spirit Lake.

The Spirit Lake series includes the original novel, Spirit Lake, the second book, Echoes of the Past, and a special Christmas adventure called Slay Bells Ring.

The fourth book in the series, House of Secrets was released May 1. You can purchase the entire series or the book of your choice at

What makes you special? What differentiates you from your kind? Do you have special abilities?
My forgiving nature. I’m ready to give people a second chance even when they disappoint me or break my heart. For instance, Joe had to be given quite a few second chances!

Tell us about your most current adventure.
In House of Secrets, I’m going to face the most difficult challenges of my life as tragedy strikes my best friend, the town is rocked by a series of brutal rapes, old bones are dug up in the rose garden, a guest is murdered, and the love of my life, Joe, goes missing.

If you could offer your author advice, what would it be?
Bring Joe back to me! What the heck are you thinking? Oh, and quit eating at the computer. I’m sick of looking out from the other side of the screen and watching you stuff your face. More writing, less gorging, please.

Are you happy with the way people perceive you?
All in all I think I am. Someone once accused me of being too wishy-washy and that hurt. I’m not like that, but I’m not always tough as nails either. I have inner strength, which comes out when it is needed. Maybe that’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but it’s how I am. Take me or leave me. So there, how’s that for assertive!

Does your author ever try to take over the story? And how do you deal with it?
She’s a control freak! Help! I mean, come on, I have a mind of my own, you know? Here’s how I handle it—I let her rant on, then when she least expects it, I zap a thought into her mind—usually while she’s having her morning shower—and bingo, she rewrites the scene. Works every time. And the best part is, she thinks the changes are her idea.

Is humor important? Why or why not?
A bit of humor is always important. At the Spirit Lake Inn, we’ve been very lucky in that during every adventure we’ve had at least one guest with a great sense of humor. There’s always something funny to offset the tragedies that seem to befall us. It keeps us balanced.

If you could time travel, where would you go?
I’d go back into the town’s past and meet the Clarks, the ancestors who link my family to Spirit Lake. I’d love to sit down with them and find out more about that lost branch of the family tree.

What other characters have influenced you?
Paula Bascilla, my best friend, has been a great influence in my life. She’s such a free spirit. I wish I could be more like her. I feel closer to her since we’ve moved to Spirit Lake than I did in all the years we were friends in New York City.

What motivates you to continue on these adventures?
Actually, the adventures come to me. I love the inn and never want to leave. Each and every set of guests has brought their own agenda and as a result the adventures just seemed to happen. Take for instance the Carters, Edgar and Mimi in Echoes of the Past. They were so delightful, and when Mimi fell down the stairs—claiming someone pushed her, but we suspected one of the ghosts—they made the best of it, staying on even as a murder investigation turned things into chaos. Edgar, a retired cop, was in his glory, I could tell. We wouldn’t have been able to pry him out of that inn with a crowbar! And let’s not forget Ed Tate in Slay Bells Ring, who came to the inn with an evil agenda and ended up paying with his life. That adventure brought me face to face with my past and closed a chapter in my life. I’m not sure if I chose the path I’m on or if it was chosen for me through a set of circumstances, but however it happened, I intend to follow the road to the end.

What is your most favorite thing to do?
In spite of the creepiness, and the bad things that happened there in July and in December, I love to sit on the dock at dusk and watch the mist form on top of the water. I especially liked to be there with Joe and Mingo. Now it’s just Mingo and me. The quiet is amazing. It’s so peaceful. Every time I sit on one of the benches I remember the night I first saw Joe, his voice, deep and resonant asking, “Do you know why they call it Spirit Lake?” I turned and there he was coming out of the mist like some specter, yet very real and oh, so sexy looking. My heart nearly leapt out of my chest and my breath hitched in my throat. Even now, thinking back on it, I feel the same way I did that first night, all fluttery and flushed. If that’s love at first sight, then I guess that’s what happened. Joe took hold of my heart on that dock and I know that no one else will ever take his place.

Where do you see yourself in five years?
Is this a job interview? That’s one of the standard questions, isn’t it? LOL. Okay, I’ll answer. In five years I’d like to be married to Joe and the mother of at least two children. Too bad we don’t always get what we want, huh?

What’s the oddest thing you’ve seen or done?
The night I ran out of the inn because I heard my soon to be ex-husband’s voice in the foyer. I fled into the woods and fell, twisting my ankle in the process. Then to top it all off, a wolf approached me and I panicked. Of course if wasn’t a wolf after all, just Joe Lakota’s dog, Mingo. Joe carried me to his cabin and nursed my swollen ankle.

Tell us what it’s like to spend a day with you.
Well, let’s see, when I’m not being harassed by the police because of another murder investigation, I’m cleaning guests’ rooms and running errands. Hey, life isn’t high adventure all the time, you know.

What’s the one thing you wish you could change about yourself or someone you love?
I blush. At the drop of a hat. I hate it! The curse of being a redhead, I guess. It’s like my emotions are right out there all the time for anyone to see.

How do you deal with stress?
Hot baths or showers. Of course at the inn when you bathe you’re likely to be sharing the experience with a resident spirit. Once, I was taking a shower and almost slipped, only to have something, or someone, grab by arm and save me from a nasty fall. I was alone in the bathroom, by the way. See what I mean?

Monday, September 20, 2010

Author spotlight with Carol A. Guy

Carol thanks for agreeing to this interview.

What has been your biggest influence on becoming a writer?
Authors like Agatha Christie, Mary Roberts Rinehart, Dorothy Sayers, Paul Wellman, John Dickson Carr and others influenced me a lot. I began reading Wellman and Christie when I was a teenager. Mysteries and paranormal were the genres I loved and now it’s what I write.

How did you feel when you got your first publishing contract?
Ecstatic and relieved. I got my true crime book, A Picture Perfect Kid—Zumaya Publications—and my first cozy mystery accepted in the same week from different publishers. Talk about a happy dance! But I also realized that there would be a lot of work ahead of me because I had so many ideas for other books. An author’s work is never done.

How do you categorize yourself: pantser or plotter?
I’m definitely a plotter. I have to have an outline. It’s just a general outline, however, because I realize that once I start writing, other ideas will come to me and specifics of the scene might be altered.

What makes a book great in your eyes?
Well defined characters who are a little unpredictable.
A plot that keeps you guessing.
Good dialogue that is true to the character.
Page turning action.
A surprise ending.
I’m talking mysteries here, of course.

What is the biggest piece of your advice you can give a beginning writer?Pursue your dream and don’t let anyone discourage you. Also, don’t take rejections personally. Always remember why you began writing--because you love it and it gives your life more meaning.

Do you have any guilty pleasures?
You mean besides chocolate, which I’m not supposed to have? Well, let’s see—I’m a sucker for a cute puppy or kitten, which is probably why there are four cats and a dog in my house.

What influences your writing? And why?
What influences my writing is the need to tell the stories that fill my head. I see stories everywhere I go, which can be a blessing or a curse depending on the situation.

Name one thing readers don’t know about you.
I’m hooked on crossword puzzles. I work at least two or three a day. Can’t get enough of them. What? You were expecting some scandalous disclosure? Not until we know each other better!

What are you working on now?
House of Secrets, the fourth book in the Spirit Lake series. Fair warning: this one is not for the faint hearted.

Who is your favorite all-time author?
I have to say it is Dame Agatha Christie. I love the way she developed the characters and wove her plots.

Are love scenes easy/difficult to write?
Love scenes or sex scenes? There’s a difference in my mind. Writing sex scenes is easy, but writing a real love scene takes a lot more finesse and can be a real challenge.

Do you write in one genre or several different ones? And why?
I’ve written in several genres in the past including erotica. Now I write the paranormal mysteries and cozy mysteries. I write in those genres because they come easily to me. I toyed once with the idea of writing true science fiction, but gave it up.

If you could be anywhere right now, where would you be?
On a beach. It’s been a cold snowy winter here in Dayton, Ohio.

How do you deal with the dreaded writer’s block?
I’ve never really had writer’s block—knock on wood. I guess if I did, I’d just take some time off and relax. I don’t think you can force the ideas to come and fretting about it would only make it worse.

Do you have another career besides writing? What is it?
I’m retired now. I was the business manager for numerous hospices, worked in hospital and home health business offices and even did a stint as a pharmacy tech way back when. Then of course, I worked as a newspaper reporter in South Carolina for a while.

What’s your biggest reward in being a writer?
Knowing that people enjoy my work. I’m not on any best seller list by any means, but I have a loyal group of readers who read my books and are like friends to me.

To date, which is your favorite story? Which one did you have the most fun writing?
Personally I like the Canid books best—Night of the Canid, Shadows in the Night and Night Watchers—but most of my readers go for the Spirit Lake ones. The Canid books—about shape shifters—are the most fun, although I have to admit I really enjoyed writing the fourth Spirit Lake book, House of Secrets. I’m not sure how it will be received though, since there are some very shocking developments included.

How do you go about developing your characters and setting?
I do character profile sheets. I have always felt that if you want to breathe life into your characters you have to give them a life. I use a form that I developed. It includes everything about the character, right down to their favorite color and whether their parents are alive or dead. I give them a past—where they went to school, do they have siblings, pets, make, model and color of the car they drive, etc. This helps me prevent errors like saying in one scene that they drive a Honda Civic and in another referring to the Dodge Stratus they own. See what I mean?

If you had the opportunity to say one thing to your readers, what would that be?
Keep reading! Don’t ever stop. And let me know what you think of my work. I love getting feedback. I’ve been knocking around this business for a long time and I worked for newspapers, so I’m not going to curl up in a corner and cry if I get criticism! Also, don’t be afraid to read books that are outside your normally preferred genre. It can only expand your world. And support your local libraries and promote literacy.

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