Monday, August 30, 2010

Character spotlight with Jackson Taylor

Hello, Jackson. Would you introduce yourself?
Hello. I’m Jackson Taylor from the book Those Who Wait by Lynn Hones. Simone O’Henley is the female protagonist in said book and she talked me into this interview. I don’t like talking about myself, but I’ll do my best. Oh, and you can get the book through, or going directly there using I have no idea what that is, but Lynn asked me to mention it.

What makes you special?
Wow, that’s a hard question to answer. *laughs* Simone told me this might make me uncomfortable and boy, she’s right. I think she talked me into this so she could watch me squirm. *Looks over at Simone, who sits in the corner smiling.* Well, I guess what makes me so special is that I finally got Simone to fall in love with me. *Looks at her and winks.*

Tell me about your most current adventure.
My current adventure is one that I hadn’t planned on. I wasn’t being a stalker or anything, but when I saw Simone sitting on the porch that day. Well, let’s just say, I now believe in love at first sight. *Lights his pipe and takes a puff*

If you could offer your author advice, what would it be?
Write more love scenes. * laughs and looks over at Simone who is cracking up*

Are you happy with the way people perceive you?
What’s important to me, as a southern gentleman, is how I perceive myself. If I live my life with honor and courage, then people will only have one way to see me. *Puffs on his pipe*

Tell us a little bit about your world.
I made a promise years ago to a group of friends. I can’t tell you what that promise was, but…it would have been easier for me to abandon that pledge, to take the easy way out, rather than spend years in lonely isolation. But in the world where I was raised, that’s not even an option. I’d rather be dead, than go back on my word.

Is expressing love difficult for you? Why?
Yes, it is. I can’t express it the way most men do I guess. Simone got mad at me one time. I’m sure she told you she was raised by nuns. I thought a comment she made to me once was a bit, um…well, let’s just say I told her I was surprised a lady would say something like that. She didn’t cotton to that too kindly. She let me know she was a lady and by God, I’d better never insinuate she was anything but. I’m old fashioned. I can’t help it. It’s how I was raised.

If you could pull your author into your world, what do you think would happen to her?
I’ll admit I really like Lynn. She’s a good listener. Simone and her have gotten to be good friends. They talk a lot. Ya know, girl talk. The thing is, Lynn’s a bit more…*shakes his head. * She’s not shy around men. She had her share of boyfriends before she got married and never felt… Well, I think she considers me a bit of a fuddy-duddy. I’m not a believer in kissing on the first date, although I’ll admit with Simone, I couldn’t help it. Here’s how it happened.

While the yellow light of the porch cast a gentle glow, without hesitation he turned toward her. A brisk couple of steps over, he took her face in his forceful hands and kissed her.
His kiss searched or longed for something and created the sensation of a life of its own. She returned the longed-for kiss and her head swam while her legs quivered. An electric current-like force drove all logic and sense of reason from her. His arms went quickly around her waist and he squeezed her tightly. In a rough moment, his lips ran along her chin and down to her neck. He opened his mouth and his tongue tasted her lightly scented skin.
At the front of her throat, he worked his warm mouth and soft tongue to the side and then under her ear. He grabbed her earlobe with his teeth and she heard his breath, which made her heady. Back to her lips, his hand pushed her mouth harder against his.
She gasped in between his hungry bites on her lips and was ready to be swept away. He stopped. His breath came out in short, heavy bursts. Soberly, he looked into her eyes and spoke. “I’m sorry, Simone.” Guilty, as if he’d done something wrong, something bad, he looked ashamed.
But it wasn’t wrong and it wasn’t bad. How could the glorious ecstasy that coursed through her body be bad? Nothing ever felt, so right or…so good. Him and her together. But his look, like an icicle melting in a snowstorm, confused her.
After a long glance, Jackson walked off the porch into the starlit night. Speechless and confused, she watched his back disappear into the grove. He left so abruptly, she felt cheated somehow. One minute they sat and enjoyed each other immensely and the next, she was alone.

Lynn asked me to clear up the fact that she wasn’t in any means a loose woman, if that’s how that came across. Sorry, Lynn, I just meant that you seem the type of gal who enjoyed kissing on the first date.

Share a little bit of the ‘real’ you with our readers. Any Dark secrets?
Simone, quit your gigglin’, darlin’. Seriously though, I think both of us would love to let you in on our dark secret. The real me is…a man who cannot possibly be understood. Not until you truly grasp who I am. It’s not something that the mind can possibly comprehend in a short time.

How many sex partners have you had? How many at one time?
I would never compromise my self-respect or the self-respect of the woman I’m to marry by…by doing anything improper. I was raised by parents who grew up in a different place and time. By God, they instilled those morals into me. *Relights pipe and stretches out his long legs*

What’s the oddest thing you’ve seen or done?
This interview. *Looks over at Simone and growls. *

Tell us what it’s like to spend a day with you.
I’ll be honest. I’m a simple man. A picnic lunch and a day out in the woods with my hound dog, Blue, is the perfect day. Oh, * looks to Simone with a sheepish grin* and spending it with my darlin’.

What’s the one thing you wish you could change about yourself or someone you love?
For the one I love, I wouldn’t change a thing. I love Simone and even time couldn’t keep us apart. As for myself, I’d love to change the fact that I couldn’t save my…*stops and looks down, quiet for several moments* I can’t think of anything at the moment.

How do you deal with stress?
I enjoy reading the classics and of course my pipe.

Tell us about the first time you laid eyes on Simone.
I was walking by the cottage she was staying at. I was used to seeing strangers there because the owners let friends use it. I saw this vision sitting in a rocker. She had long dark hair, and the cutest freckled face and upturned nose I’d ever seen. I think I surprised her, but I just had to say hi that very moment. Her raggy looking mutt, Vinnie, came down first, growling and such, but once my dog, Blue, made an entrance, it was the two of them running and playing that caught her attention. She stood to watch, and when she did, that clinched it. I knew then I was in love.

Finally, is there something you wished we had asked, but didn’t?
Enjoy life’s simple pleasures. Here’s an excerpt:
They sat in a comfortable silence before he cleared his throat and smiled at her. “I can remember years ago watching my parents sit on the front porch of our old home holding hands. It was usually in the evening after all the commotion of the day was at rest. They’d be rocking and talking of the struggles life brings and what would become of each one of us kids, I loved to crawl under the floorboards of that old porch and listen to ‘em going on about the here and there of raisin’ such a big brood.” Jackson laughed. “My brothers and I would give ‘em the hardest time. We’d be raising a ruckus about this or that. Climbing trees, getting stung by bees, chasing the girls with snakes.”
Simone smiled at Jackson. She loved to hear him talk about himself, but even more, she loved the feel of her hand in his.
“When my folks thought they were alone and no one listened, I’d hear them declare their love for each other. It made me feel so…safe and warm. I always hoped I’d be that kind of a parent, but it didn’t work out that way.”
She put her head back and sighed.
Jackson shook his head. “I’m sorry, Simone. Here I am going on and on about my family, my parents and you didn’t have…I mean you…”
Simone saved him. “Jackson, please don’t apologize. I love to hear about your parents. I may have missed out on that, but listening to you, I can imagine it. I guess like a seeing person, explaining the beauty of sight to the blind.” She shrugged resignedly and again laid her head back.
“I’m glad to hear that. Life is so short, Simone. We don’t know what tomorrow holds for us. If we only exist on this earth without feeling…the good and bad, then we aren’t growing. Like we’re standing outside in the pouring rain and not feeling the wet.”

Monday, August 23, 2010

Character spotlight with Simone O'Henley

Hello, Simone. Would you introduce yourself?
Hi, My name is Simone O’Henley. First off, let me just say thanks to Devine Destinies for allowing me this time to get to know you, and hopefully, for you to get to know me. With that said, I’ll let you know that I’m the main character in the book Those Who Wait by Lynn Hones. It’s a paranormal romance and I’m honored she chose me to be in it. I know that might sound hokey, but I really am.

A little background about me. I’m what, in the literature of old, would have been referred to as a foundling. A foundling, as you may, or may not know, is a baby that has been laid down somewhere and taken in by others. My birthmother laid me on the steps of the Convent of the Sisters of Mercy. It wasn’t an orphanage, but that’s where I grew up. I couldn’t have asked for better moms.

When I was twenty-one, I set out on my own. I got an apartment and lived alone for a few years, supporting myself as an accountant. I’m shy around people, but mostly men. I get all tongue-tied. Must be from being raised in a convent. I was lonely, so I got myself a mutt. He was a foundling, too, I guess because someone dropped him off at the local pound. His ear was half cut off, so I named him Vincent Van Gogh, after my favorite painter. I called him by many names…Vinnie, Vinners, Vinnaroonie, Vinmeister…well you get the idea. He was my buddy, pal and very best friend.

You can get my book through, or going directly there using

What makes you special?
Probably the number one thing that makes me so special is that I’m very trusting. I know that’s not always a good thing, but…it must come from that whole convent thing. I also haven’t met many foundlings, or many kids raised by a bunch of nuns. I sound like Whoopie Goldberg from the movie Ghost. *laughs*

Tell me about your most current adventure.
I had a clandestine crush on a man at the company I worked at for years. Unfortunately, he hardly knew I existed. He got engaged to the new girl in the office and it devastated me. My boss, Nancy, said I could stay at her cottage on an Island on Lake Erie for a few weeks. My first day, I met an amazing man named Jackson. He’s a caretaker for a plot of land there. I was so comfortable around him, which was odd, considering my hang-up regarding men and all. Weird things began to happen immediately. My dog, Vinnie, picked up on the vibes, too. Anyway, one night I…Well, here’s an excerpt to give you an idea:

“Help me!” someone yelled from the grove.
Simone stood, frozen. Fear paralyzed her. “Who are you? Are you hurt?” Her desperate cries were swallowed by the overwhelming squeal of the wind.
“Help! Help me!”
Several voices called out in great turmoil and their heartrending cries of anguish sickened Simone. Aches coursed through her body as she turned to go back inside the cottage when she caught movement on the porch with her. Out of the shadows, the figure of a man approached her. “Jackson!” Relief filled her. “Is that you?”
When he stepped into the light, Simone let out a gasp. “You…what are you doing here?” She backed herself away and reached for the door, but he stepped in quickly and uncomfortably close. The strange man from the wildflower field, close enough for her to feel his breath on her face, sneered.
“Aren’t you going to help them, sweetie pie?”
“Get back! Go away!” She leaned against the door and felt for the handle, but he pushed in close to her.
“They never learn.” He shook his head. “It didn’t work then and it sure ain’t going to work now.” From his back, he pulled out the old grave marker from the shed and laughed knowingly. “This is what they’ll get.”
Simone shuddered at the sight of the marker and let out a frightened gasp. “Where did you get that? Why do you have it? Please, just leave me alone.”
He inched closer to her, silently he held out the offending piece of wood in his outstretched hands.
“My boyfriend’s inside,” she lied. “Jackson!” she called out. “Jackson, come here, I need you.”
He snickered, which sent a shudder along her spine.
“I ain’t goin’ to bother you none, little lady and, I know your precious Jackson ain’t in there. I was just wonderin’ if you planned on helpin’, is all.”
He backed away slightly and gave Simone enough time to turn around and grab the handle with her shaking hand. She pulled it and felt his icy grip on her shoulder. She shrugged him off her and ran in, slamming the door closed and locking it.
“I’m calling the police,” shouted Simone. She banged shut the wooden door and turned the deadbolt. She cradled the phone to her ear she tried to call 911, but couldn’t get a dial tone. Dead. The phone lines were out. The lights flickered and after a couple of seconds went out too.

If you could offer your author advice, what would it be?
Just because you’re sitting down to write, you don’t have to stuff your mouth with chocolate. Also, chill out. Characters have their own minds and personalities. We will tell you what to write. Quit putting words in our mouths. Oh, and one more thing, freckles, really? I mean they’re cute and all, but…never mind, don’t get me started.

Are you happy with the way people perceive you?
All in all, yeah, I’d say I’m happy with how people see me. I wish they wouldn’t judge me so harshly though, just because I’m kinda shy and dress conservatively. I was raised by nuns, after all! While on the island, I did dress a little bit more, um…sexy. *laughs*

Is there a message you want to get across in this interview?
Yes, there is. I think that romance now days, and remember this is simply my humble opinion, is gone. The old movies of the thirties and forties didn’t show a lot of sex. It was mostly implied. They hinted at it. I think that’s what I’m trying to get across to people in my own sorry way. One of my friends in the book, Victoria, is almost 100 years old and we talked about true love, romance and soul mates a lot. Her husband died in World War I and she, to this day, talks like he’s still around. I think there’s a lot to be said about true, old-fashioned love. In other words, you don’t have to jump into bed to find love. Oh gosh, I’m sounding like a nun, huh. *laughs* My writer has young daughters. One’s a teenager. She likes to have romantic books for her girls to read. She’s trying to show them that true love, and true romance, are possible without always getting, ahem...naked.

What was the least interesting thing that has ever happened to you?
My entire life, before I went to the island was boring. *laughs* That island changed my life. It was haunted, magical, cursed…I could go on and on. I wouldn’t change it for a minute. Sometimes when we least expect it, our lives take such a turn that we have to sit back and shake our heads and say, Wow, did that really happen?
What was the best sexual experience you’ve had?

Have you ever lost control?
I lost control with Jackson. Not like you’re thinking though. *laughs* One day we were picking berries. He missed Georgia so much that he jumped into the lake and turned toward the South. It was cold and blistery that day. He asked me to jump in, too, but I didn’t want to. It really wasn’t in my nature, and I’m a freeze-baby anyway. Something happened though, and before I knew it, I was in the waves with him. We were twirling, singing and just cutting up. Totally out of character for me. I loved it.

How many sex partners have you had? How many at one time?
I will say it again. I was raised by nuns! *laughs* I didn’t even know there was such a thing as sex until I turned twenty-one and moved out. I’m being somewhat facetious, but really, Jackson was my first, my last, my one and only.

What was the best sexual experience you've had?
I’ll let my excerpt speak for itself. But I’d say it’s more romantic than sexual.

Jackson, tall and dignified, reached over, picked her up quickly and carried her into the woods.
She put her arms around his neck and laughed. “This is what you want, isn’t it?” he asked in a low voice.
He put her down on a patch of dried leaves left from the previous autumn and stared down at her. Desire, indescribable in his eyes, shot out at her. He fell to his knees, reached over and pulled a lock of hair away from her face.
“Jackson…” Simone’s eyes closed. The birds sang and the rays of a late spring sun trickled through the overhanging branches and warmed their skin. Jackson slowly kissed Simone’s cheek while the smells of damp earth and vegetation surrounded them. He wrapped her in his arms and enveloped her in his love.
He kissed her eyes, her temples, her ears. He worked his way to her neck and buried his face in her hair that fanned out around them. Simone could hear the world around them, muffled, like a choir that sang far off in the distance.
Wrapped in each other’s insecurities, their desperation hung over them heavy and created a fear to let go. They clung to each other, obsessed. A wave could come to shore, grab both of them and pull back on its instinctual way from where it came and simply absorb them into its surge of strength. Simultaneously, peace and unfounded energy, like nothing the world ever knew, engulfed her.
The birds sang and the crickets chirped, but they were aware of nothing but each other. Jackson took Simone to heights she never even imagined existed. Every second brought new wonders and she cried out and held him, loved him.

Hello! Every time I think back to that day, I get misty-eyed. He is the man that I was meant to be with. I think every one has that someone. Their soul mate.

What’s the oddest thing you’ve seen or done?
The oddest thing that I have ever seen takes place at the end of my book. I’m telling you, until the day I die, I’ll scratch my head and say, huh? It left me paralyzed in awe, fear and hope. I can’t tell you what it is though, lest I ruin the end for you. *smiles*

Tell us what it’s like to spend a day with you.
Wow, you know that’s a hard question. I’d have to say that I’m laid back, yet excitable. Quiet, in a loud sort of way. Funny and serious at the same time. Have I confused you yet? *laughs* Cuz, I’ve sure confused myself. But in all seriousness, give me a beach, the sun, a good book and a fruity drink and you can be my best friend. Oh, and let’s not forget the hot guy in the cut-off shorts. Sorry, Sister Maria Joseph. *laughs*

What’s the one thing you wish you could change about yourself or someone you love?
I’d love to change the fact that I feel I was born in the wrong time period. If you read my book, I think you’d understand a little more of where I’m coming from with this…but again, I don’t want to give too much away. I love romance!!! The good old-fashioned kind.

How do you deal with stress?
A hot bath, candles and a glass of wine.

Tell us about when you first arrived on the island.
Again, I wouldn’t believe it if it didn’t happen to me. A woman picked me up at the ferry. Her name was Madge. She was plump, talkative…a real character. She even scarred Vinnie, the poor thing. She told me she was the wife of the ferry captain. No biggie. Sure okay, whatever. Anyway, later in the book, when I’m leaving the island, something happens and it blows my mind. It involves Madge. I mean she is a really minor character, but it sorta lets you know that the island has a lot of secrets shall we say.

Finally, is there something you wished we had asked, but didn’t?
I’d like to mention how much I loved my dog. *laughs* I know it sounds weird, but he was all I had for years. Dogs give us such unconditional love. I really think my Vinnie had a human brain in a dog’s body. His eyes spoke louder and clearer than most people I know. I got him from the pound. He would have been put to sleep the very next day because no one claimed him. I think it was his ear and he was kinda scrawny looking. But if I ever get another dog, I’m going to go to the pound again and get the saddest, most pathetic looking dog there. They make the best pets. *laughs* I lost my Vinnie. He was thirteen when he died. I still hear him and feel him around me. *quiet for a moment* I know I’ll see him again. Anyone who’s ever loved and lost a pet knows what I mean.
What makes you special?

Monday, August 2, 2010

Author spotlight with Lisa Vance

Dear Lisa,

What has been your biggest influence on becoming a writer?
As a child, I remember my mother excitedly opening response letters from publishers, always hoping that one day she’d get a contract for one of her stories. Sadly, she never did, but her enthusiasm, faith and hope were contagious!

How did you feel when you got your first publishing contract?
I was stunned. I couldn’t move for at least five minutes. I kept re-reading it, to make sure it really said I had a contract.

What makes a book great in your eyes?
When you finish the book, and actually miss the characters, THAT was a good book!

What is the biggest piece of your advice you can give a beginning writer?
Never give up. Even Best Sellers were rejected a few times before they were published.

What are you working on now?
The first of a series, LeeAnn Vaughn: A Way With Murder. She is a Nursing Supervisor at a small NJ hospital. After a patient is brought into the Emergency Room one night, suffering from a supposed asthma attack and dies, LeeAnn begins to wonder… was it murder?

Are love scenes easy/difficult to write?
Yes *blush*. I always imagine what my grown children will think when they read it, and that thought often inhibits me. LOL.

How do you deal with the dreaded writer’s block?
When I read others’ writers work, it inspires and excites me. That gets me thinking, and before I know it, I’m writing again.

Do you have another career besides writing? What is it?
I am an RN, working as a Nursing Supervisor at a small NJ hospital. LOL. It’s where I got my inspiration for my upcoming series.

What’s your biggest reward in being a writer?
I was awestruck as I watched the face of my daughter’s friend, as she read one of my tear-jerking chapters in Passing Whispers. When I actually SAW that it moved her to tears, I was thrilled that my writing could affect someone like that.

How do you go about developing your characters and setting?
I like to use regular people in ordinary settings who face extraordinary circumstances. As we say in the hospital, there’s a story behind every door.!/pages/Passing-Whispers/267440732399?ref=share