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.