Monthly Archives: October 2011

Guest Post: The Pitalls of Creation, by Heather Haven

I’m in the process of creating a protagonist for a new humorous mystery series, called Persephone Cole and the _______ (insert subject here). It’s agony. Getting to know a person — even a fictitious one — takes time, thought, energy, trial and error. Sometimes they get pissed off and you don’t know why. Sometimes they laugh when you think they should cry. You thought they’d like bagels in the morning but they don’t. A living, breathing character, even one on paper, has a will of his or her own. It’s maddening.

It brings to mind the latest of the Alvarez Family Murder Mysteries, Death Runs in the Family, which debuts in May. One of the central characters takes off for Rio de Janeiro, just like that, out of the blue. I mean, excuse me? I don’t know anything about Rio de Janeiro. I’ve never been to Rio de Janeiro. I’m sure it’s a terrific place, but come on; I’ve got a novel to write. Then this character has the effrontery to park herself in Ipanema, a fancy schmancy beachside community, and at a pretty posh place. What now? So I did scads of research, which took me weeks and weeks, cursing the day this character was born, even though I birthed her. Some kids are really ungrateful.

Thank Gawd, Lee Alvarez, the protagonist for the Alvarez Family series, has never betrayed me like this…yet. I’m waiting. I need to be careful. Every now and then Lee does something I’m not expecting her to do. She isn’t your typical protagonist and it’s starting to worry me. She’s funny, impulsive, smart, talented, loves dancing, handbags and a good joke. She knows her own worth, but has moments of self-doubt. She also has a mind of her own. These are all recipes for danger for the wretched author.

Agatha Christie hated Hercule Poirot. She wanted to dump him like crazy, unwrite him, banish him. She was sick and tired of him going his way when she wanted him to go hers. Like Arthur Conan Doyle, she even killed him off. But Holmes came back four years later and I suspect Poirot is wandering around London searching for an unsuspecting author to give him voice. I say, be careful England’s writers. Avoid any egg-shaped little guy with a mustache.

But back to me and my characters. I keep creating these strong women with minds of their own who breathe disdain for anyone who tells them what to do. Pity this poor novelist. I’m in for it, I can tell.

Bio:

Heather is a story teller by nature and loves the written word. In her career, she’s written short stories, novels, comedy acts, plays, television treatments, ad copy, commercials, and even ghost-wrote a book.
Her first two novels of the Alvarez Family Murder Mysteries, Murder is a Family Business, and A Wedding To Die For are now out in bundle at MuseItUp Publishing: https://museituppublishing.com/bookstore2/index.php?page=shop.product_details&flypage=flypage-ask.tpl&product_id=227&category_id=1&option=com_virtuemart&Itemid=1
The 3rd of the series, Death Runs in the Family, will be out in May 2012. Heather says they are a joy to write. She gets to be all the characters, including the cat! She lives in San Jose, California, with her husband and, yes, two cats.

http://www.heatherhavenstories.com/
HTTP://Twitter.com/HeatherHaven
Follow Heather’s blog at: http://tinyurl.com/4nensnp
Murder is a Family Business Youtube book trailer:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=79vqXtCrRsE
A Wedding to Die For Youtube book trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zE5dfVzMRzA
Follow Lee’s daily Twitters at: http://twitter. com/PILeeAlvarez

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Interview with Dana Pratola, author of “The Covering”

Blurb :
What do a Christian woman and a heathen biker have in common? The devil, of course.
Tessa is called by God to stand in the gap for a man she’s never met. When she does meet Gunnar, she learns he’s arrogant, unsaved and hostile. But he’s also HOT, lol.  She can’t understand why God would toss her together with a man like him, knowing she would be attracted, so she wonders if it’s a trick of the enemy to make her stumble in her faith. Meanwhile, Gunnar is tormented by demonic visitations and looking for any way out. Killing himself might be the only way to end his miserable existence. But God has other plans.

Tell us something about yourself.
My husband Robert and I recently celebrated our 25th anniversary, though we’ve been together for 30 yrs. I was 16 when we met. If you’re going to do the math, please be kind and don’t round up =-). We live in New Jersey with our 3 fantastic children. I came into a relationship with the Lord at 17 and am endeavoring to spread the message that God isn’t mad at anyone. He loves us.

“The Covering” is your first book. How did you come to write it?
I always loved romance, but frankly, many of the books I’ve read seem to be little more than a framework for sex scenes. That’s not my thing. I believe two people can have a mature, passionate relationship without jumping in bed every chance they get and wanted to show that in a way that comes off as believable, even preferable. As for the premise of the book, intercessory prayer, I don’t think there are many novels that deal with the issue and I wanted to show its function and relevance to today.

Putting Satan himself into a faith-based book is a gutsy thing to do. Did you get any flack about this when seeking a publisher?
No, White Rose Publishing is an Inspirational publisher, and when I contacted Nicola Martinez, she just went for it. I believe spiritual warfare is a fact of life and even if people don’t recognize it as such, they can still relate to the age old struggle of good vs. evil. Of course we’re all responsible for our own actions, but it helps to be aware that sometimes there are outside forces pulling us in a certain direction and that prayer is a powerful weapon in the fight.

How long have you been writing?
As long as I can remember.

What kinds of books do you enjoy reading? Who are some of your favorite authors?

Romance, but that can mean any “dialect”: romantic suspense, paranormal romance, historical romance, etc. I love Jane Austin and Nora Roberts. I recently discovered Deanne Gist and Elosia James. Terrific writers.

What do you like to do in your spare time?
Read or watch TV – Psych, Monk or the Big Bang Theory – or old movies on AMC.

Do you have a writing routine, and if so, what is it like?

I WISH I had a routine! My husband is a drum instructor and my two sons are drummers who also play other instruments. If it’s not the noise (sorry guys) around here, it’s Rob’s sporadic teaching schedule. When he’s off and it’s nice out we try to get out of the house and walk in the park or hike through the woods. One day I’ll have a schedule! Yeah, right.

What are you working on now?
I have about 6 books in various stages but I’m focusing on the story of Sophia, a woman suddenly gifted with a spectacular singing voice. It’s about the choices she makes because of the gift, the consequences, and God’s plan through it all.

What do you want readers to take away from your book?
That God is reachable and cares about what happens in our lives. He has a plan for each one of us and we have a choice to follow or not. “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. (Jeremiah 29:11, NLT) LOL, too bad I didn’t think of this verse when I was still editing The Covering – I would’ve slipped it in. Maybe the next one 😉

I’m Jewish by upbringing, but I find inspirational fiction can be a great read. Do you think that “non-Christian” readers are reluctant to pick up faith-based books, and if so, what do you think can be done to overcome that?
Speaking for myself, I was often reluctant to pick up a faith-based book because they tended to be sugary sweet, and populated with people who were “so heavenly minded they’re no earthly good.” ( LOL. I don’t know if you’ve heard that expression.) But I believe readers want characters they can identify with, and that means characters who experience temptation and struggle and don’t always make the right choice even when they know they should. People have pasts and characters should too. Fortunately, the genre has come a long way in becoming more “real.” That’s not to say publishers will let anything slide. I had to take quite a few things out before it went to print =-)
I think more needs to be done in the way of showing the similarities between people groups. For example, compassion, forgiveness and the power of prayer are universal, and those are basically the driving forces of The Covering. Oh, and just enough sexual tension, LOL.

Where can readers buy your book?
Amazon.com: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_0_12?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=dana+pratola&sprefix=dana+pratola
White Rose Publishing: http://www.pelicanbookgroup.com/ec/index.php
Barnes and Noble.com http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-covering-dana-pratola/1104473665?ean=9781611161014&itm=4

Any last words?
Thanks so much for having me, it was a blast!

Extract:

At the top of the stairs she heard a low groan and hurried to find Gunnar sitting up with her sheet pooled at his waist.

One large bicep flexed as he kneaded the back of his neck. He looked like a man stumbling out of a dream, and
she watched his expressions change, knowing he was trying to piece together the past day’s events. After a few seconds, he glanced down, peeked under the sheet.

“Where are my clothes?”

“My aunt has them,” Tessa said, stopping inside the door.

“Why?”

“You were sweating. She wanted to keep you—oh.” Tessa quickly covered her eyes when Gunnar started to throw back the sheet.

He stopped. “Give me a break. I don’t have anything you haven’t seen before.”

Tessa let her hands fall to her sides, but her cheeks warmed.

Gunnar cocked a brow. “You’re kidding. You’ve never seen a naked man?”

Tessa tipped her chin. “Of course I have.” On TV.

He snickered. “When?”

When she didn’t answer right away she watched that magnificent face go through several more transformations before coming to the logical conclusion.

“Don’t tell me you’ve never—”

“I don’t sleep around.” Intellectually she comprehended there was no reason to be embarrassed.
Quite the opposite. Yet…

“Never?” He pulled the sheet tighter around him. “Ever?”

Tessa exhaled sharply. “Why does it matter?”

“Our patient is up?” Elaine asked, pushing past a grateful Tessa.

“Where are my clothes?” Gunnar asked her.

“In the wash. You’ll have them back soon enough.”

“I have other clothes in my room.”

Ignoring him, Elaine sat on the edge of the bed and gave him a pat on the cheek. “You had some nap. Do you feel any better?”

Gunnar moved his face away. “I don’t nap.”

“I suppose not. I’d say it was closer to a coma, since it’s Saturday,” she countered.

“Saturday?” Gunnar watched Tessa move to the window. “Saturday,” he repeated.

Elaine regarded him with cool eyes. “Tessa is convinced you have the flu, but I’m not. Are you into anything you shouldn’t be?”

“What are you asking me?” he demanded.

Unruffled, Elaine smoothed the sheets under her hand. “You’ve been basically unconscious for almost a full day. Don’t you find that odd?”

“It’s exhaustion,” he said.

“Tessa’s very worried. She watched over you all night.”

“You didn’t have to do that,” he told Tessa.

Elaine cocked a half smile at him. “Do you need anything?”

“Yeah, my clothes. I want to get up.”

She nodded and pursed her lips. “Well it’s a shame to hide all that, but suit yourself.” With an appreciative lift of brows she walked out, with Tessa following close behind.

Interview with Rosalie Skinner, author of The Chronicles of Caleath

1: Tell us something about yourself
Hi, Margaret. Thanks for having me as a guest today. I am an Australian author who loves writing Science fiction and Fantasy. When not writing I love being a grandmother. My other obsession.

2. You’ve written a number of books. How did you get started writing “The Chronicles of Caleath?”
Writing the Chronicles came about when I ran out of reading material and I was caring for a young person with a chronic illness. As they faced up to and found life didn’t deal them the hand they expected, so too does the hero Caleath, find his plans don’t go as expected. As I watched the courage, strength and patience needed to cope with finding how life could be so cruel, my hero discovers he must find the same courage, strength and patience, to cope with the challenges in his world.

3. Can you tell us a bit about how you went about world building for this novel?
World building, in my opinion, needs to have some nuances from our own world, that readers can identify with. Therefore I keep the world in many ways as a mirror of our own. Then it is easier to concentrate on the concepts behind the fantasy. There are new races and some exotic beings, but mostly readers won’t find themselves out of depth trying to imagine Caleath’s world.

4. You have a number of books scheduled to come out in this series. How did you go about keeping track of the information from one book to the other?
Funnily enough each book evolved using the information from the previous book. It was helpful though to go back through each book while editing and tighten plot lines and include more snippets of information that some readers will recognise later on.

5. What’s your favorite  novel? Favorite author?

There are too many to count, but I have decided that Douglas Adams is my favourite author and his book ‘Last Chance to See’ has to be my favourite book. It’s a travel documentary chronicling his journey to find a few different endangered species around our globe. It was written a while ago now and since Douglas passed away Stephen Fry has taken a second trip to re visit the places in the book. His TV series and book on that journey is fascinating. Douglas Adams though manages to relate moments of pathos, humour and drama with his unique skill. I found myself laughing till I hurt, and crying till no tears ran. Yet there is always a positive message to keep you going.

6. What are you reading now?

Right now? I am reading Wendy Laharnar’s The Unhewn Stone again. There is so much in this book that it can take a few readings. The adventure is terrific but the symbolism and balance between science, myth and magic keeps me returning to the year 1307.

7. How did you get hooked up with MuseItUp publishing? That’s a great question. I had a troublesome time with another eight book publishing contract for the Chronicles. The silver lining from that experience was meeting Lea Schizas. After cancelling my contract I put away the series, and it wasn’t until I heard Lea had begun Museitup Publishing that I dusted off the manuscripts and submitted them to Muse. So, here we are and I am thrilled to be part of the Muse family.

8. What’s the best advice you ever got as a writer? The worst?
Best advice? Let other people read your work. From that advice I joined a critique group, discovered how much others enjoyed my stories and began to polish my writing skills. The Worst advice? I don’t know that I have kept track of the worst. I try to take onboard all advice and see how it can help. If it doesn’t improve my writing, then I gently let it go. I still appreciate the intention behind the advice, if it was genuine and trying to help.

9. Writers seem to be divided into plotters and pantsers. Which are you, and has this changed over the course of your writing career?

I thought I was a plotter but actually I am a pantser. I know how the story starts, I know how the story ends, what happens between is dictated by the characters and their challenges and how they interact with each other. When I try to dictate the plot to my characters they get very antsy. If you have read the Chronicles, you’ll realise it’s not wise arguing with Caleath. I gave up.

10. What are you working on now

? My current WIP is book two in a Fantasy series, an offshoot of the Chronicles.

11. Any last words?
‘Drink to me, drink to my health, you know I can’t drink anymore’. Hold on, that was Picasso. My last words today? “Hold my hand… and I will take you into my dreams.”

12: Where can readers purchase your books?
If you go to my website at Rosalieskinner.com the links are there to the Museitup buy pages and Amazon kindle pages. Also there you will discover blurbs, extracts and covers. You can also keep track of the progress of the series, see book trailers and listen to short audio extracts at my blog Ramblings from Lady Rosalie
Thank you Margaret for hosting me here today. I look forward to reading your book ‘Relocated’ when it is released in July through Museitup. Congratulations, it sounds terrific.

Review: Kerri Nelson’s “Courting Demons”


Paisley Barton was already having a bad day before she turned her husband into a rat.
First, she was fired by her boss and then came home to find hubby in the shower with a naked blonde chick. They say that hell hath no fury like a woman scorned but this break-up may just unleash hell on Earth when Paisley casts a spell of vengeance against her philandering husband.
After her spell casting inadvertently opens a portal between dimensions, Paisley finds her family home transformed into a nightly courtroom for settling disputes between demons of the underworld and she’s the judge! If that’s not enough, she’s got to deal with a charming, ancient demon named Camden who wants to be her personal bodyguard while trying to explain her husband’s sudden, mysterious disappearance to sexy police Detective Dalton Briggs.
But Paisley will show them all that an everyday working mom is better equipped than most to deal with the mystical mayhem…and with a tempting demon hottie and a flirtatious young detective vying for her affection, she soon learns that being single again isn’t so bad after all.
“When a wronged wife turns her cheating husband into a rat, you know you have to keep reading! Kerri Nelson offers up a lot of fun and wild magic in Courting Demons!” –Bestselling author, Linda Wisdom, Demons are a Girl’s Best Friend

Some people have the knack of knowing what to substitute in a recipe, er, spell, but Paisley isn’t one of them. When she substitutes for toadstool and sandstone in the black magic spell she’s performing on her two-timing husband, little does she know the trouble she’s going to cause.

Poor Paisley, but lucky me, because the story that unfolds in the wake of this incident is a real howl. I started it Wednesday night, and by Thursday morning I was so engrossed that I took it along to my doctor appointment where, for once, I was happy to learn that I’d have to wait a couple of minutes. I laughed so loud that the couple next to me demanded to see the book.

Kerri Nelson has a deft with the humor — any book where the main character turns her two-timing husband into a rat is my kind of book — and the romance. I didn’t know whether to be happy or sad when Paisley’s kids interrupt a hot moment with a handsome demon named Camden, but, never fear, a hunky detective will provide distraction. The humor, romance, and supernatural elements combine in just the right proportions.

One last thing: You are going to write a sequel, aren’t you, Kerri? Pretty please. As for me, I’m off to check out the other titles on Kerri Nelson’s website.

I heartily recommend this well-written, deftly plotted little gem.


Author Bio:

Kerri Nelson discovered her love of writing at an early age and soon became a columnist for her local newspaper winning the Outstanding Young Journalist of the Year Award for her efforts.

After a fifteen year career in the legal field, Kerri fulfilled her lifelong dream of publication and is now an award winning multi-published author of nearly every genre under the sun (and moon) and also writes young adult fiction under the penname K.G. Summers.

A true southern belle, she comes complete with a dashing southern gentleman and three adorable children for whom she often bakes many homemade treats.

Kerri is an active member of Sisters in Crime and Romance Writers of America as well as numerous chapters including Futuristic Fantasy & Paranormal Writers and her Presidency of Celtic Hearts Romance Writers.

Read more about Kerri’s books at her website: www.kerrinelson.com
Follow her on Twitter here: www.twitter.com/kerribookwriter
Visit her industry blog here: www.thebookboost.blogspot.com

Where to buy this book: (print and e-book versions available 9/15 wherever books are sold but here’s the publisher link—free gift available with purchase of print copy—while supplies last):
http://jupitergardens.com/Courting-Demons-by-Kerri-Nelson-print.html
or
Amazon.com
http://www.amazon.com/Courting-Demons-ebook/dp/B005OAY7TG/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1316621839&sr=8-1

Giveaway for the day:
Leave a question or comment to be entered to win today’s prize: Promotional Pack of Goodies from Kerri & Other Authors, too!

Then, enter to win my book tour Grand Prize Kindle by following me on tour and e-mailing me the answers to each question of the day at the end of tour. The more questions you answer, the more entries you gain.
Question of the Day:
What is the name of Paisley’s daughter in the book (1 entry)? And what does she want to name the rat (bonus entry)?

Details on how to enter to win the GRAND PRIZE Kindle at the end of my “Dark Days of Demons Tour” located here:
http://kerribookwriter.blogspot.com/2011/09/courting-demons-blog-tour-win-kindle.html

Excerpt link for Courting Demons: http://www.jupitergardens.com/excerpts/kn_cd.html