Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Meet Lani Diane Rich

Posted by Susan B James on 12:30:00 AM with 2 comments
Meet Lani Diane Rich aka Lucy March author of many books all of which I've loved. She’s one of my ‘go to authors’ when I am stuck and need to see good writing.
I bought my first Lani book when Jen Crusie announced on ArghInc that A Little Ray of Sunshine was free on Amazon that week. I got my free copy; devoured it; and went back to Amazon and bought another. And another and . . .you get the picture. Then I discovered she was writing as Lucy March. Oh, joy!
Lani wrote her first book, Time Off for Good Behavior,during NaNoWriMo. I love that because, Time and Forever, is also a NaNoWriMo book.
With Time Off for Good Behavior, Lani became the first previously unpublished NaNo author to get a deal with a major NYC publisher. It went on to win the RITA for best first book.

I love firsts, so tell me about the moment when you found you’d made your first sale.
I went into the process of trying to get published with my eyes wide open; I was expecting to get loads of rejections before I ever made a sale. So when my agent called to tell me there were two offers for Time Off for Good Behavior on the table, I was kind of shocked. The whole thing had happened so quickly, and eventually I decided to go with Warner Books (now Hachette) because I really loved the editor, Beth de Guzman. 

If it isn’t too nosy, how about the first time you kissed your true love?
It was in the Cincinnati airport. He was flying in from Scotland, and we'd met online and had been in love for a while before we ever met. I remember standing right on the red line they wouldn't let me past, watching for this man I loved so dearly, but whose face I'd never seen in person. And the moment I saw him, I just knew I wasn't crazy, that this whole thing was real. As I write this, he's sitting at his desk across our shared office, completely unaware I'm writing about him. We'll be married for three years in February. Kinda crazy.
That's a wonderful story. I believe in love before first sight and I so glad your story is as happy as my son's. Jim and Mary eet on a Star Wars Message Board in 2000. They married at Disney World in 2006 and they are in much in love today as they were when they first saw each other.

Other than your own, who are your favorite (heroes/heroines/writers) in your genre?
LOL, how much time do you have? I love Jennifer Crusie, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Anne Stuart, Toni McGee Causey, CJ Barry/Samantha Graves, Patricia Gaffney, Robin LaFevers, Sophie Kinsella, Diana Gabaldon... Okay, I'll stop, you've only got so much space on your blog! My favorite heroine is Tilda Goodnight from Jennifer Crusie's Faking It, and my favorite hero is Jamie Fraser from Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series. 
Thank you. You've given me a couple of new people to read.

What is the most exciting moment, so far, in your writing career?
I think the best moment was when I won the Rita for Best First Book. That whole eighteen months--between finishing a book, getting an agent, selling the book, seeing it on the shelves--was so surreal for me, and I never expected any of it, least of all to win an award. It was then that I felt like I might actually be good at the thing I loved doing, and I felt so incredibly lucky.

What is your favorite pastime?
Knitting! I make socks, gloves, scarves... anything that won't take too long. I have absolutely no patience for sweaters. 

We’ve all got them. What’s your favorite way to avoid writing?
See above, re: Knitting! 

Got a recipe you want to share?
Yes. Pour one glass of wine, and drink it while someone else cooks. Then clean up afterward. 
My kind of woman! I tried to prove to my husband I couldn't cook, but he and my tuna casserole with scotch and said it was good. I much prefer doing the clean up.

Any advice for new writers just starting out?
Don't ever forget that you came to writing because it's fun. Enjoy it as much as you can. 

tell us about your latest release.
My latest release is #2 in the Nodaway Falls series, called That Touch of Magic, which I wrote for St. Martin's Press under Lucy March. 
I loved A Little Night Magic, the first book in that series and pre-ordered That Touch of Magic. So much fun! I can't wait for the next one. 

What’s your current WIP?
Currently, I'm revising For Love or Magic, #3 in the Nodaway Falls series, and I've got a new Lani Diane Rich novel planned for Nanowrimo, Title TBA. :)  

And finally, where can we find you?
Pretty much everywhere! My husband, Alastair Stephens, and I podcast about storytelling and pop culture at StoryWonk.com. You can find my Lani Diane Rich books at LaniDianeRich.com, and my Lucy March books atLucyMarch.com. On Twitter, I'm @lanidianerich, and on Facebook, I'm facebook.com/lanidianerich.

Thanks so much for giving me this opportunity to hang out with you! It was fun!

Thank you, Lani, for being here. 
In honor of Lani and NaNoWriMo I am giving away a copy Lani's NaNoWriMo book,  Time Off for Good Behavior

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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Meet MJ Compton

Posted by Susan B James on 12:30:00 AM with 6 comments
Meet MJ Compton author of a new paranormal series, Toke Lobo & The Pack. The first book of the series, Moonlight Serenade, is out now. MJ, please tell us a little about yourself.  
I’m married, have two adult children, and love to read, love to listen to music. After I lost my day job of 30 years, I not only looked for work, but spent a lot of time writing. If not for the stress of not having steady income, it would have been a great time!

I love firsts, so tell me about the moment when you found you’d made your first sale.
I didn’t tell anyone for a couple of days because I wanted to savor the news. Then I opened a bottle of sparkling wine for supper. My son (who was living with us at the time) and my husband asked, “What are we celebrating?” They tried to guess—my son kept guessing things about my husband, who kept saying, “It’s not about me, it’s about her.” There was much toasting when I shared the news. Then I texted my daughter, who was at college. She called me back, crying because she was so happy for me.

Other than your own, who are your favorite (heroes/heroines/writers) in your genre?
Maggie Shayne and Susan Sizemore are two of my favorite paranormal authors, although they’re better known for their vampires. I’m just starting to read Charlaine Harris’s Sookie Stackhouse books, and so far I love them. I don’t read a lot of werewolf books because I don’t want to be influenced by other universes.
I see you have a cover blurb from Maggie Shayne. That's impressive!

What is your favorite pastime, other than writing?
Reading! I am a voracious reader and would have my nose stuck in a book 24/7 if life permitted. When I was first invited into a critique group, I warned the other members I was a novice at writing. Their response: Yeah, but you read. A lot. And that matters.

What’s your snack of choice while writing?
I don’t like to eat while writing because it gooks up the keyboard.

Got a recipe you want to share?
Oh, I love to cook. My son and I love sharing recipes and trying out new things together.
Here’s one of my husband’s favorites—in fact, he named it. It’s one of my “pantry” meals—I keep all of the ingredients on hand year round. It’s quick and easy in addition to being healthy and delicious.
·         2 15-oz cans white beans, drained and rinsed.
·         Olive oil
·         Minced garlic—minimum 1 teaspoon (I believe there is no such thing as too much garlic)
·         1 14-oz can petite diced tomatoes
·         ¼ cup chopped basil.
·         1 Tablespoon lemon juice
·         ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese.
Heat the oil in a large skillet. Saute the garlic until golden.
Add the bean, tomatoes, and basil.
Cook for 7 minutes or until heated through.
Add the lemon juice and the Parmesan cheese. Mix thoroughly.
Serve with a green salad.
That sounds fabulous. I can't wait to try it.

Any advice for new writers just starting out?
Join a writing group and be active. You will get back so much more than you give. 

What genre or genres do you write?
Paranormal romantic suspense and contemporary baseball romance. 

Tell us about your latest release.
Moonlight Serenade is about an alpha male werewolf who is a country music singer and sometimes works undercover for the US government. When he meets his mate, a human journalist who threatens to tell the world the government uses werewolves as spies, he has to learn to trust her and teach her to trust him. It is book one of the Toke Lobo & The Pack series.
Okay. Country singer/federal undercover agent and wolf? Sounds like a book I have to read.

What’s your current WIP?
I’m working on the third book in my Toke Lobo & The Pack series, Daughter of the Moon. The second book, And Jericho Burned, is coming out in early 2015.

And finally, where can we find you?
My webpage/blog: www.comptonplations.com
Twitter: @comptonplations
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8075221.M_J_Compton
Thanks for visiting, M.J. I've added Moonlight Serenade to mt TBR list..

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Meet author Elle Hill

Posted by Susan B James on 12:30:00 AM with 2 comments
I am delighted to welcome Elle Hill to the blog. Elle, please tell us a little about yourself.
I’m a college professor by day and a writing fiend by night. I’ve been writing novels since the seventh grade, when I shunned that “social life” thingy in favor of scribbling furiously in my college-ruled notebooks. In college, I considered majoring in English but ended up minoring in it and getting my degree in Social Sciences. That fits pretty well with my drive for social and political justice.

Several years, degrees, and novels later, I’ve settled down in South Dakota with my fiancĂ© and our many cats and Chihuahua mix.

I love firsts, so tell me about the moment when you found you’d made your first sale.

My first publisher was The Wild Rose Press. I'd been trying to find a home for my second novel, Hunted Past, after my first failed to land me a publisher. I'd approached several publishers, and TWRP finally emailed me saying they were interested. I was over the moon. Now I could call myself a writer. Now I could cross an item off my bucket list. Now my mother and sisters could brag about me to their friends, coworkers, beaus, and bank tellers. With that in mind, I immediately called my oldest sister, also a published author, and thanked her for bullying me into pursuing my dream of being a published author

If it isn’t too nosy . . . How about the first time you kissed your true love?
It was in an airport, of all places. We’d met at a conference a year ago and had become good friends. As the months went on, we realized our personal chats and Skype sessions had fostered a romance. A couple months after realizing best friends really can become true loves, I visited my new love in Florida. Our first kiss happened smack dab in the middle of Orlando International.
That was two years ago. We’re now living in South Dakota and plan on marrying in summer 2016.
All I can wish for you is that you will be as happy as my son, Jim Corbin and his wife, Mary Adams Corbin. They met on a Star Wars Message board and after several months of messages and web cam chats, they too, met in an airport. In Detroit. And after marrying in Disney World, they are in the process of living Happily ever after.

Other than your own, who are your favorite (heroes/heroines/writers) in your genre?
I’m a big fan of urban fantasy. As such, Ilona Andrews, Patricia Briggs, and Charlaine Harris have a special place in my heart. Strong women characters who navigate romance while kicking booty? Yes, please!

What is the most exciting moment, so far, in your writing career?
I feel I should say something about holding my first novel in my hands, but that would be stretching the truth. Publishing my poetry in an anthology was probably my most thrilling literary accomplishment.

What is your favorite pastime, other than writing?
Like most writers, it’s reading. I used to be an indiscriminate book junkie, but in my advancing years, though, I find I’m becoming pickier and pickier about the types and quality of the books I read.

What’s your snack of choice while writing?
Coffee! I may grab a yogurt to fulfill those caloric needs, but coffee is what sustains me as a writer.

Got a recipe you want to share?
Does microwave popcorn count? 

What genre or genres do you write? 
Paranormal romance. My first three novels were more urban fantasy, while The Tithe, my latest novel, is more science fiction.

Tell us about your latest release. I love the cover.

The Tithe 
“Every seven years, seven persons from each of the ten towns must go into the desert, where they will enter into the realm of Elovah, their God.”

No one knows exactly what happens to these seventy Tithes, but everyone knows who: the “unworkables,” those with differing physical and mental capacities. Joshua Barstow, raised for twenty years among her town’s holy women, is one of these seventy Tithes. She is joined by the effervescent Lynna, the scholarly Avery, and the amoral Blue, a man who has spent most of his life in total solitude.
Each night, an angel swoops down to take one of their numbers. Each night, that is, except the first, when the angel touches Josh… and leaves her. What is so special about Josh? She doesn’t feel special; she feels like a woman trying to survive while learning what it means to know friendship, community, and love.
How funny that she had to be sacrificed to find reasons to live.

Excerpts, The Tithe
Excerpt 1 

Josh shook her head. “It sounds so sad.” 

“It wasn’t. You can’t have sadness unless you know happiness. I knew neither.” 

They sat in silence for a few minutes. 

Finally, in a voice mere decibels from a whisper, Josh asked, “What about now?” Shameless, she knew, but maybe voicing the question would exorcise it. 

“Why are you asking a question you already know the answer to?” he asked in his inflectionless voice. 

“I don’t,” she insisted. 

“Everything changed when you touched me,” he said. 

After a confused moment, and with many darting glances, she asked in a low tone, “In bed?” 

“In the hallway. You touched me, and my life cleaved into a before and a now. Before, I existed, and it was fine. I was content. And then, you. Everything cracked open, and I felt as if I’d just reminded my senses to function. Now, everything feels so raw. Sometimes just the passing of time abrades my skin. Being with you is exquisite and real. And painful.” 

Very carefully, Josh put her hands on her knees and leaned forward. She stared at the wall opposite them, against which Taro no longer pressed himself. In she breathed, and out. In and out. 

Josh straightened her posture and rubbed her calf with her other foot. “What can I do to make it hurt less?” she asked him. 

Blue’s lips thinned into a smile. “I don’t want it to hurt less. Every second that scrapes my skin is another one I spend with you.”

Excerpt 2 

“I don’t want to die.” The words surprised her, spinning so artlessly from her lips. 

“I don’t want you to die,” Blue agreed. 

“What about you?” Josh whispered. 

He didn’t respond for a long moment. “It doesn’t much matter, I guess.”

“Of course it matters!”

“If you say so,” he said.

“Blue,” she began, and then stopped. “Blue, why? Aren’t you scared?”

His blue eyes remained completely empty. Had his mouth not moved, she might think him a statue. “No.”


“Because I don’t matter. I’ve spent my life existing. Sometimes I think the best thing humanity does is provide sustenance for bacteria and other symbiotes. And then there was here. And you, Joshua Barstow.”

“I’m not special,” she insisted.

“You exist so grandly, so loudly, I can feel you. The air trembles around you. You walk through a room and atoms collide. Everyone here can feel the greatness of your being. They may love you or despise you or want you to lead them, but everyone notices you.”

She exhaled a startled breath. Blue, her friend, her bodyguard, her socially-backward philosopher. Her hand moved to his hair, smoothing through its knots. When her voice returned, she told him, “You matter, Blue.”

“I don’t,” he said gently, as if imparting an uncomfortable truth to a child.

“You matter a lot to me,” she carefully enunciated, unsnarling a particularly knotted tangle.

“Well, then.”

Excerpt 3
Josh sighed.

“I guess if I only have a month at most left, I should use my actions and words to, you know, shape the world the right way, the way that brings the most good.”

“You do that every day.”

“You’re biased,” she said, smiling. “But the changes I’ve seen since I’ve been here, not just in me but in everyone, they’re scary sometimes. Sometimes I feel like . . . as if the world is so vast, so full of people, and I’ll burst if I love them all. But I don’t ever burst.

“I loved a lot of people before I came here, but always in the abstract. Here . . .” She breathed, in and out, for a while. “It’s not abstract. I don’t love them because we share humanity. I love them for their beauty, their pettiness, their fears and their compassion.

“You said my pain makes me the person I am. How bizarre is it that my pain, my incapacity, and my imminent death have brought me all this? It’s the greatest, most horrible gift I’ve ever received. You know?”
“And I’d like to say I’m strong enough that I’d do this all over again—become an unworkable and a Tithe—if given the choice, but I don’t know if that’s true. I’m scared.”
He held her tightly against him.

What’s your current WIP? 
It’s another paranormal romance. Surprise! I’m only 10K words into it, but so far, it’s a tale that combines several of my passions: alternate spiritual beliefs, musings about what it means to be human, and a mad respect and love for animals. Animals play parts in most of my novels, but in this one, they’re actually key to the plot.
And finally, where can we find you?
Any of these places:
Email: elle@ellehill.com
Website: www.ellehill.com
Blog: ellehillauthor.blogspot.com/
Book buy link: http://www.amazon.com/Tithe-Elle-Hill-ebook/dp/B00MVCPJFG

Elle is offering a copy of The Tithe to one lucky commenter.
Thank you for being here, Elle and I wish you many more sales. 

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Meet Wife/Husband Authors C.D. Hersh

Posted by Susan B James on 12:00:00 AM with 4 comments

Please tell us a little about yourself.
We are high school sweethearts who have been together for three times as long as we've been apart. During this time we've lived in several states and have had 16 different addresses. We like movies, traveling, antiquing, and, of course, writing love stories.

I love firsts, so tell me about the moment when you found you’d made your first sale.
Catherine got the “email” call while at the eye doctor. She’s sitting in the waiting room with dilated eyes, tromboning her cell phone so she can read the small print, when she sees the email from Soul Mate Publishing. She reads the email and squeals, startling the other patients. Then she blurts out “I’m a published author.” The eye doctor, his assistant, and about six other people knew before Donald did.
Love the phrase tromboning her cell phone. I do that a lot. What a great moment.

 How about the first time you kissed your true love?
This occurred right after Donald asked Catherine to go steady. We were sitting in his Chevy II convertible with red interior, at our favorite park.
Donald found me a picture of the Chevy. How awesome is that?

You are the first husband/wife writing partners I've ever interviewed. How does your writing process work?
We are pretty much plotters. We think you have to be when you are co-authors in order to keep on track. But we don’t discount the power of the muse in the process.
We lay out the story arc together for each book. Most of our plotting has been done in the car or at restaurants. Then we do a plot skeleton where we have scenes by character POV. Often times the scenes are out of order. Once we think we have enough scenes, Donald orders them into a chart, then gives the chart to Catherine. Catherine sits down and writes the first draft, which is often mostly dialogue. After each day’s work she gives the pages to Donald who edits them and gives them back. Each of us often has a surprise during the process mentioned since we have a tendency to let the muse lead us on occasion. Catherine will come in and say to Donald, “I don’t remember talking about this,” pointing to the scene chart. Donald often says “We didn’t plot this,” while reading the dailies. We have to mutually agree that anything the muse does works or it gets scrapped. This has sometimes required changing future scenes in the book or upcoming books in the series.
Once the first draft is finished we take it into Donald’s office, where we have a dual screen set up so we each can see what’s written. This is the point where we make sure the senses, tension, setting, dual plot lines and dual love stories, and the rest of the nuts and bolts of the writing craft is added to the story.
Then we read it again and again and again going over our weasel word list until we think it’s okay to send to the editor, or we run up against the deadline. We have been known to burn the midnight oil on first drafts and revisions. When Catherine hits the last hundred pages of the first draft, she will not stop writing. Throughout this process Donald has final say on all male POV and actions, Catherine the female.

When the edits come back, we are back in the office editing with the dual monitors where Donald has control of the key board, much to Catherine’s frustration since he cant (CAN’T with an apostrophe Catherine says!) spell and doesn’t always type what she wants.
That was fascinating. Thank you. I am one of the world's worst typists which slows my input tremendously.
What is your favorite pastime, other than writing?
Going to the movies. We’ve a standing date with our best friends every week to go to dinner and a movie. Best movie we’ve seen this year is The Hundred Foot Journey. It had a double love story, which is something we try to do in our books.

What’s your snack of choice while writing?
Nuts and water. No crumbs to get in keyboard or in Donald’s office.

Got a recipe you want to share?
You should really try roasted Brussel sprouts. Cut them in half, toss with some olive oil, salt, pepper and garlic powder. Place, cut side down, on a baking sheet that has been lightly oiled and bake at 375 degrees for about twenty minutes or until browned on the bottom. Even teenagers who say they hate Brussel sprouts will eat these.
My son, Chris makes them that way and I can bear witness to their wonderfulness.

Any advice for new writers just starting out?
Make sure your social media is in place and you know how to use the various aspects. Trying to learn social media after you sell your book gets quite hairy.

What genre or genres do you write?
We’re currently writing paranormal romance, but we have a couple of time travel/time slip romance books on the back burners.
Time travel? Yes!

Tell us about your latest release.
The second book in our Turning Stone Chronicles series, Blood Brothers, has just been released. It is a Paranormal Romance with suspense. Here is a blurb and excerpt for the book:

When Delaney Ramsey is enlisted to help train two of the most powerful shape shifters the Turning Stone Society has seen in thousands of years, she suspects one of them is responsible for the disappearance of her daughter. To complicate matters, the man has a secret that could destroy them all. Bound by honor to protect the suspect, Delaney must prove his guilt without losing her life to his terrible powers or revealing to the police captain she’s falling for that she’s a shape shifter with more than one agenda.

The minute Captain Williams lays eyes on Delaney Ramsey, he knows she’s trouble. Uncooperative, secretive, and sexy, he can’t get her out of his mind. When he discovers she has a personal agenda for sifting through all the criminal records in his precinct, and secretly investigating his best detective, he can’t let her out of his sight. He must find out what she’s looking for before she does something illegal. If she steps over the line, he’s not certain he can look the other way for the sake of love.

This excerpt from the book is where the hero and heroine meet for the first time:

Harry Williams paused at the entrance to Alexi’s ER room, hand hovering over the doorknob, uncertain when he heard the voices inside. Did she have company? He peeked in through a crack in the window curtain. The only people he recognized were Alexi and Rhys. He moved from the door, planning to return later.
“Captain,” Rhys called as he opened the door. “Come in.”
“I’m not intruding?”
“No. Alexi will be glad to see you.”
Harry stepped into the room. Going immediately to her bedside, he set the small vase of flowers he’d brought on the nightstand. “Didn’t know what kind you liked.”
Retrieving the vase, she held the flowers to her nose and inhaled. “These are gorgeous, Captain. Thank you.”
Tubes stuck into his favorite homicide detective’s arms. She seemed so helpless hooked to the equipment. Not at all like the fearless woman he knew. “You going to be okay?”
“I’ve got to stay in for a few days, but then I should be fine.”
He glared at Rhys. “How did you let her get mauled by a panther?”
“She ran in ahead of me ... like she always does.”
“Headstrong woman,” Harry said to Alexi.
“That’s what makes me so good,” she replied with a smile that lit her drawn face. Alexi directed his attention toward the older man. “This is Eli McCraigen, an old friend of Baron’s, and this,” she said, pointing to the woman, “is Delaney Ramsey. Our boss, Captain Harry Williams.”
Giving Eli a cursory nod, Harry then turned toward Delaney. A pair of turquoise eyes shown out of a china doll face, with the slightest hint of a middle age crease around her cupid bow mouth. A minute past before he found his voice. “Ms. Delaney, nice to meet you,” he said with a squeak. He hadn’t jumped octaves like that since his teenage acne cleared.
Smiling, her face lit. Amused, no doubt, by him. His gaze swept over her. She had a body a man could lose himself in. When she caught him enjoying the view, she blushed and returned the favor.
The once-over caused him to respond faster than he thought possible. A woman had not made him react like that in a long time. Women were a distraction. One he’d only dallied with occasionally since his wife left him. They all ran the minute they heard he was a career cop.

What’s your current WIP?
Our current work in process is the third book in the series entitled Son of The Moonless Night. We are working on first round edits for this book. When that’s done we’re on to book four of The Turning Stone Chronicles series.

And finally, where can we find you?
Twitter: https://twitter.com/AuthorCDHersh

Thank you so much for being here. Catherine and Donald are giving away an ebook copy The Promised One. which is the first in the series. I think you'll like Blood Brothers even more if you read the first one in the series So please enter to win. I read The Promised One and loved it. Currently devouring Blood Brothers. Thank you, Catherine and Donald, for dropping by.

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