Monday, June 8, 2009

Author Interview ~ Rhiannon Neeley

Today, on the couch, we have multi-published author, Rhiannon Neeley. Let's all give her a warm Menagerie welcome.

Welcome, Rhiannon, thanks for being here today. Let's start things off easy: Where are you from?

My ancestors came from County Tyrone, Ireland. I was born in Tonawanda, NY and have lived all over the Eastern United States. I now reside in the Midwest, in a small town in Ohio. I live along a slow moving river with my husband and son, my two daughters having already left the nest.

Irish girls ROCK! LOL, then again, I could be a bit biased. Why don't you tell us your latest news?

My latest news is I have three titles coming soon from Whispers Publishing. The first, due out in March, is a paranormal/weredog tale titled Harm’s Way. Sometimes putting yourself in Harm’s Way does more good than harm.

Coming soon from Whispers is Cottonwood Hill. A paranormal with gothic overtones, a haunted house, ghosts and bones in the backyard, Cottonwood Hill will give up its secrets to its new owner, Kelli Masters and Deputy Sheriff Glen Westfall who she calls on for help.

Another upcoming Whispers title is The Opposite of Normal. When ‘normal’ is just what you want, the ‘opposite’ may be just what you need. A paranormal/time-travel, The Opposite of Normal will take you through twists and turns when Carol Raper thinks the hero in the romance she’s reading has come to life and is living across the street from her. When people around begin to disappear, she calls on Bart Knight to help her solve the mystery of where everyone has gone.

Okay, I REALLY like that Harm's Way tagline! Those all look so interesting. Congrats on your publishing news. What are your current projects?

I’m working on two new titles: Awakened by the Dead, a paranormal and Bonding Camp, a contemporary. Both titles are about halfway finished. Do visit my website or Bebo site to keep up to date with what I’m working on:

Sounds great, I look forward to your new releases. Can you share a little of your current work with us?

Here is the blurb and an excerpt from Harm’s Way, coming from Whispers March 27, 2009…

“Leigh Zimmatore is bent on jump-starting her acting career when she lands a part in a film set in the English countryside, just outside the village of Haven-In-The-Glen. The place sounds lovely and inviting…until she learns the name of the cottage she’ll be living in during her stay. Stopping at the local pub, The Angel’s Wing, she is given the keys to the cottage—a cottage named Harm’s Way. She can’t imagine why anyone would name their home Harm’s Way and the irony of putting herself ‘in it’, in Harm’s Way, isn’t lost on her. And not only does the name of the cottage sound a bit daunting, the proprietor of the pub tells her of old wives’ tales of werewolves stalking the forest nearby. Leigh refuses to allow this information to shake her resolve. She’ll make a splash with this film…as long as she follows the director’s instructions. She’s never met him but when she does, he seems strangely familiar…very familiar, in fact.

Director Adam Colgan, though an American, has roots here in the English countryside. Deep roots. He feels at home here, feels able to be his true self for once and is able let his animalistic side rear its head. Meeting Leigh, beauty that she is, only serves to make his deep-seated desire to cut loose and let himself go almost impossible to control. But control it he must—until it becomes too wild to tame…”

Chapter One

Leigh Zimmatore arrived in the village of Haven-In-The-Glen at precisely 1:00 p.m. Saturday. The village itself was snuggled into a clearing centered in a massive forest. A picture of time gone by with its tiny houses and one and only pub—The Angel’s Wing—she felt she had stepped back in time by a few hundred years.

Odd name for a pub, Leigh thought as she parked the car directly across the lane from the front door. She’d had that same thought when Archie, her agent, had told her to stop there to retrieve the key to the house he had rented for her to stay in while in the village. But then, The Angel’s Wing did sound appropriate in a village dubbed ‘Haven-In-The-Glen’. Running her fingers through her hair, combing it into place with her nails, she questioned again the director’s choice about filming on location. From the looks of it, Haven-In-The-Glen was not ready for the world of feature films. Leigh would never question the director outright, though. In her line of business, the director was the law and to question his decision was a certain sentence to walk-on parts and crowd scenes.

This was her first starring role in a feature film and she was determined to make it the first of many.

She exited the car and stretched her arms over her head, surveying the main thoroughfare. “Not much going on here,” she said to herself. Then she smiled. “Maybe I’m just the one to liven the place up a bit.” She reached in through the open car window, snatched her bag off the seat, and strode across the lane toward the pub.

On the stoop in front of the door of the pub lay a large chestnut-colored dog. He looked harmless enough, but Leigh was cautious. She loved dogs, but she also knew not all of them were friendly. “Hello, pooch,” she said, walking slowly up to the reclining animal. “Will you let me by?”

The dog raised his massive head and looked at her with eyes of chocolate brown. He tilted his head to the side, then slowly rose to his feet.

Leigh knew it wasn’t good to stare into a dog’s eyes—they sometimes took it as a threat—but this dog seemed different. His eyes held an intelligence. Almost human-like. Leigh reached out her hand.

The dog raised his head and rubbed it across her palm.

“So silky,” Leigh said, her hand traveling smoothly over the dog’s head and across his shoulders. “Good boy.” She could swear she saw a twinkle in the animal’s eyes at her compliment. “I must go inside now.” She gave him a final stroke and stepped to the door of the pub. She glanced back at the dog.

He was watching her silently, head tilted as if trying to figure out some unanswered question.

“Good-bye, pooch,” Leigh said and turned back to the door.

She entered the pub, stopping just inside the door to let her eyes adjust to the dim light inside. The interior held the scent of ale, aftershave and pipe smoke. A man’s place. Able to see now that her eyes had adjusted to the gloom, she noticed the barkeep leaning on the bar and reading a paper. She crossed to him. “How can you read? This light is so dim.” She propped her foot on the foot rail that ran the length of the bar.

The barkeep looked up at her. “Help you?”

This one sure doesn’t have a sunny disposition. “I’m Leigh Zimmatore. I’m supposed to pick up a key for a rental cottage.”

“Humph,” the barkeep mumbled, then reached underneath the bar. He slapped a key down on the top of the bar. “The larder is stocked. Told the man who leased it there’d be two riding horses in the stable. They’re there. But if you ride, you’ll have to saddle them yourself. A boy’ll be by to see to the feeding of ‘em and such.”

“That I can do,” Leigh said, reaching for the key. She’d have to thank Archie. What a wonderful surprise to have horses to ride. She didn’t think her smile could get any wider. Maybe she could get in a ride this afternoon. Shooting started first thing Monday and she really wanted to enjoy the weekend before beginning the long hours of filming. “Tell me, sir, where is the cottage?”

“Follow the road south for a bit. There’ll be a lane on the left. It’s the only cottage on the lane.”

Leigh tapped the key on the bar. “How will I know if it’s the right lane?”

“There’s a sign.”

Leigh smirked. This is like extracting a tooth. “And…what will the sign say?”

“Harm’s Way.”

Ooooohhh... looks intriguing. How about this: Do you have any suggestions to help me become a better writer? If so, what are they?

The way to become a better writer, I’ve found, is to keep writing. The more I write, the more I learn about the business, about style and about myself. To keep writing is to keep learning your craft.

Now for our "Absolutely NOTHING to do with writing" questions. What animal do you think makes the best pet and why?

Well, I have two Cairn Terriers and I dearly love them both. Their names are Lucy Snoot and Wilder Snoot. They’re sweet little dogs who have so much energy! They don’t shed, they don’t have to go to the groomer (though they do have to be plucked once in a while…strange but true) and they are so much entertainment they’ll keep you busier than you can imagine.

LOL, they sound like a bit of a handful on top of it, but I can certainly relate tot he "plucking" when our shepherd sheds his winter coat we can pluck the tufts of hair right off of him. I know you sort of answered this above, but what is your heritage?

As I said above, my ancestors came from County Tyrone, Ireland. That’s on my mother’s side. On my father’s side, my ancestors came from Germany. I lean more toward the Irish side of the family though.

There's just something about an Irish/German family. Trust me, I know. LOL. What is your favorite pizza?

Pepperoni and mushroom, hands down.

Okay, I don't like the mushroom part, but that's just me. It's YOUR perfect pizza. Can you taste the difference between Pepsi and Coke? If so, which do you prefer?

Yes I can. I prefer Pepsi. Coke has more of a bite to it.

I too prefer Pepsi. I get upset if I have to drink Coke instead. If you could wish for anything, what would you wish for?

A secretary. I really would like to hire a secretary. LOL

ROTFLMAO, Wouldn't we ALL? Well, that's it for our interview today. Thank you so much, Rhiannon for being here with us today. I hope you enjoyed it as much as we did.

Rhiannon Neeley writes erotic romance in the contemporary, paranormal and suspense genres. Being a fan of anything paranormal, she loves vampires, ghost stories and things that can't quite be explained. Some of her favorite TV shows are Ghost Hunters, Monster Quest and anything that makes her question what is really out there.

Rhiannon also writes in the mainstream genre. Yellow Mountain, a novel inspired by a true story, is her first dip into the mainstream pool. Yellow Mountain is close to her is a book detailing a portion of her grandmother's life. Yellow Mountain will be released by Vintage Romance Publishing in September 2008.

If you would like to send an email to Rhiannon, send it here:

Rhiannon @

Cottonwood Hill by Rhiannon Neeley

For years Cottonwood Hill has loomed above the town of Oak Grove, abandoned but not forgotten, sleeping silently while keeping its secrets well hidden from prying eyes. Of course, nothing can sleep forever unless dead and Cottonwood Hill is far from dying. It lies dormant, waiting to awaken. Its time has come…

It’s a stroke of luck when Kelli Masters inherits the bulk of the Cottonwood Hill estate from a great aunt that she never knew existed. Determined not to look back, she and her daughter arrive at the house on the hill and vow to stay—no matter what. It doesn’t take long before their resolve to stay is shaken. Buried bones, ghostly images, and haunted closets are just the tip of the iceberg. Will Kelli and Sheriff Glen Westfall, the man she is determined not to be attracted to, be able to solve the mystery of the ancient estate or will they become part of it? Just who is stronger—the people who inhabit the estate or Cottonwood Hill itself?

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