Tuesday, June 29, 2010
How cool is that! Our fellow wild woman, Mysti, was interviewed over at Whipped Cream reviews today!
Stop on over and see what she had to say about research, characters and anything else that crossed her mind. She'll also be hanging out in the Whipped Cream public yahoo group tomorrow (Wednesday). If you're not a member over there, you should be. It's a blast and you'll get to hang out with us pretty much all day long tomorrow. So, don't be shy! Come see us and hassle Mysti... er... ask her questions!
Bear with me as we go through them:
1) I am deathly afraid of commas!
Apparently I'm not the only one! I have found that there are many of us out there who are afraid of commas... only they won't admit it like that. Come on, suck it up. Join me: "Hi, my name is Kealie, and I'm afrad of commas!" Okay, not everyone is afraid of commas, but all authors have some issue with their writing that they constantly have to keep an eye out for in the midst of their edits. One friend is the queen of "passive" writing; another can't write certain words to save her life (you know which ones... this is the Menagerie after all). But everyone has issues or quirks in their writing that usually gets caught eventually but they are always there.
2) I'm not as smart as I thought I was!
I've found that there are only so many ways to say certain words that are associated with certain body parts... My thesaurus is overused... and I still have a hard time finding new words. Honey pot is one I will NEVER use... it just sounds so funny to me. It's hard to think of other words, but honestly, we all need to start a database. Who wants to do that? Any volunteers? No? Dangit...
3) My muse is a Hootchie Mama!
No, really, she is! She brings home so many new characters... that are almost all invariably men. "Look who followed me home! Can we keep him?" No, honey, we can't. Why don't you bring the girls back? "Cuz, they don't interest me. I just seek out the sexy man flesh." *sigh* So, see, she's Hootchie Mama, she's always got these men she's showing up with, and it's apparently my job to find their heroine. Ah, well, at least she likes to hang out with me.
4) My muse has a serious case of "I-don't-care-what-you're-doing-itis".
Nope, Hootchie Mama has no sense of propriety. She doesn't care if I'm driving, working, teaching a dance class, taking a shower... you get the idea. She will pop up in the middle of whatever it is I'm doing to lay out her idea that she has. And she's persnickety, so when I invariably have to blow her off to... yanno, finish showering or driving she takes her idea and hides it from me. Then I have to cajole her with chocolates and online "window shopping" to try and get her to give it back to me when I actually can sit and write it down!
5) My characters can give my kids a run for their money in the annoyance department!
Yup, my kids can be super annoying. They can bug me until I'm ready to scream. But, my characters are worse. I swear, they can give my rambunctious kids a run for their money! "Kealie... Kealie... Kealie... are you going to listen to me or do I need to take my story and go somewhere else?" "WHAT!" "When are you going to work some more on my story?" ARGH, when I can! And then hope they stomp off in a tizzy.
6) My BFF is an enabler.
Yes, she is... and she'll be the first to admit it. Enabler is defined as: : one that enables another to achieve an end; especially : one who enables another to persist in self-destructive behavior by providing excuses or by making it possible to avoid the consequences of such behavior. Now, we could mean this in so many way, but the main one is that my girl sends me off to find hotties... she pushes me to take a break when I need to... she also pushes me toward my writing and getting it published... and if THAT isn't self destructive than I don't know what is. :-D Thanks, Megan!
7) "Crazy" is relative.
Or in the south we call that "eccentric", maybe a little tetched. But if you stand and talk to any other writer you'll find that in many peoples' eyes... we're ALL a little crazy. It's all relative, though. Yes, I talk to myself as I wander through the store - but my characters are talking to me. Yes, I talk about fictional characters in my head like they are real people - but if I don't think of them as real people, then how will I make them real on the page? See... crazy is relative. And honestly, I don't really care if anyone thinks I'm crazy... I'm still me.
8) My characters can be mutinous pirates when they want.
"MUTINY! MUTINY! We want our sex NOW not later in the book after you build the tension... When ARRR ya gettin' us inta bed?" They hijack my story and the next thing I know I'm writing a scene that I didn't think they were ready for. But what do I know, I"m just the writer. I may have to start instituting the policy of forcing them to walk the plank... we'll see.
9) I'm not as big a slut as I thought I was!
I'm not! Why are you laughing? I'm finding that even I have boundaries. There are certain things that I can't even think on, much less write about them. Things that make me so squeamish that I have to hit my forehead if I even think of them. I once thought that I didn't have any inhibitions, that I could and would write anything and everything to titillate... ummm... yeah, nope. There are certain things I cringe at and I have to hit the delete button and hope I can fix the scene with something else. :::shudder::: Just thinking about them make me want to wash my brain out with bleach.
10) Anyone who says this business was easy - LIED, or never did it themselves.
There is nothing easy about writing for publication. Absolutely nothing comes easy. And anyone who tells you differently is a LIAR - or they never did it themselves. It's worth it, and sometimes it's downright fun! But it's never easy. Even when I think I have an idea and the story is pretty fleshed out, there are so many things that need to be taken care of after the fact to bring that story to life. If I ever find the person who says "Writing for publication is easy!" I'm gonna put my 4 inch stiletto bootheel up their butt sooooo far they'll become best friends with a proctologist. Yes, I know, what a vivid picture to leave you with. Sorry bout that... nah, not really. :-D
Anyway, how about the rest of you? What have you learned about being a writer? Do any of these ring a bell? What's your favorite part of the process?
Monday, June 28, 2010
Good Monday morning to you all. I know, how can one be so chipper so early in the morning? Well… my secret… Cabana Boys… lots and lots of Cabana Boys, bearing vast amounts of… caffeine! Get your minds out of the gutter.
Anyway, today is Author Interview Monday, and we have with us on our couch XOXO Publishing author, Brianna Martini. Let’s all give Brianna a nice warm Menagerie welcome (yes, the Cabana Boys have already crowded around her hoping she’ll pick one of them).
Welcome to The Menagerie, Brianna. Megan and I are both so glad to have you here with us today. Make yourself comfy, grab a CB and some caffeine (we have lots of it) and I’ll let Megan take us away!
Since we’re nosy here at the Menagerie, can you share a little of your current work with us?
I’m working on a series of children picture books, which teaches children about abuse, inspirational thoughts and prayers. It is a departure from my usual writing genres.
We like departures... sometimes you gotta shake things up.
Absolutely, we shake lots up as much as we can. Departures are good, and if that’s where you need to go, then that’s where you go. Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
My favorite author is Bertrice Small. I love the way she writes it is so passionate and realistic. She brings her characters to life and you feel their emotions deeply. Of course I love historical romances. I love being transported through time to live in that era if it is only for a few hours of pleasurable reading. It’s my escape…
I think that’s the best part of reading, escaping the noisy chaotic mess of our lives if for only a few hours… or until the monkeys overrun your defenses… er… I meant until the kids knock on the bedroom door. Same thing.
Escapism is fun and passion is the spice of life. Probably says a lot about us here at The Menagerie. Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
Yes it made me come to terms with my own emotions. To face my own fears and move forward while I was in a former abusive marriage it made me face reality.
Isn’t it amazing how writing can be an eye-opener. Maybe you can channel it into your next book.
I’m sure we’ll see something like that, eventually. Writing is very cathartic too. Good for you! Do you have any advice for other writers?
Yes write and continue to write even when you get a bad rating or rejection(s). Both come hand in hand and are a part of a writer’s life.
Learn from that negative input rather than let it make you stop writing, depressed or strike back in anger. There is no need for this type of destructive behavior.
Great advice, it doesn’t do you any good to dwell on the negative. Grab some chocolate, cry with your crit partners… and get back to it. :-D
Learning from your life is always good, but dealing with rejection with the occasional chocolate and THEN writing is good, too. Speaking of writing, what is your work schedule like when you're writing?
I wake up at 5 am and prepare the whole day schedule from breakfast to lunch to dinner, setup appointments, and writing throughout the day.
In between I bring and pick up children from school, help them with their homework and of make dinner. I love my slow cooker and GFG (George Forman Grill).
Oh, I LOVE my GFG! I cook kielbasa on ours all the time! And my slow cooker is one of my best friends… in fact I have two. LOL As for your day… I commend you on your early morning and scheduling. At least as far as the writing… I have a hard time making myself schedule the writing time along with everything else. :::shrugs:::
You’re a scheduler... I so am not. Fly by the seat of my pants. Maybe I should get some tips. Nah, if I scheduled anything and was on time, people’d talk. Speaking of tips, when did you write your first book and how old were you?
I wrote my first book when I was three; it was a poetry book about Spring. I still have my original manuscript printed on in a printing book which has turned yellow and I wrote in red crayon. Not sure why but I still write in red ink.
Red is one of my favorite colors...red, black...silver. No crime in going with what works.
Hey, I like to write with superfine sharpies… purple is my favorite. :::shrugs::: We do what works for us and our muses. What do you like to do when you're not writing?
When I’m not writing I enjoy developing healthy recipes, and working on various fund raising projects. I read whenever I can and spend time with my family.
Family is definitely important, it’s good that you remember to spend time with them when you can.
I love to spend time with my loved ones...all of them. It’s a treat. Since you brought them up, what does your family think of your writing?
They are all very supportive of me and understanding when I have a deadline. I love writing and it is my passion.
OH, you have a wonderful support system, then! Nothing beats that, that’s for sure. Especially when they take care of the minor details we’re too busy to do when writing… you know, dishes, dinner, laundry… monkey wrangling… :-D. And now for our “Absolutely-Nothing-To-Do-Writing” questions. Megan’s got this one:
You all have an idea of what I was doing last night—the boys were all awake—, but we really want to know what were you doing at midnight last night?
I was writing a love letter to my long lost pirate at sea. My final installment of La Pirata, The Lady Pirate.
Ooh, I’m channeling a vision of Johnny Depp. Er.. excuse me. Letting Kealie take over now. Be right back.
And there she goes… a love letter to a pirate… that sounds very interesting. What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever eaten?
I was in Acapulco on vacation with my family, when we decided to take a cruise to a local island. They had a buffet and nothing was labeled, I decided to try some meat which smelled heavenly. I took a few slices, and it was delicious it tasted almost like chicken (I thought it was chicken) when I asked the Chef what it was he told me I had Iguana meat. I sort off squirmed but then decided this is what they eat here. It was delicious so no more comments. I’m the type to taste anything and during my travels I have tasted a few local specialties.
Wow! How cool is that! I’d like to think I’d at least try some things… but I’d have to cross that bridge if I ever get there. Megan’s back…
I like local specialties. Speaking of which, what is your favorite pizza?
I love Italian pizza, it’s not similar to what we eat here with all of the toppings. It is just tomato sauce, salt and pepper to taste and mozzarella cheese sliced on top.
Huh, sounds interesting, and simple. Simple can be really good if done right. If you could wish for anything, what would you wish for?
Health, I’d wish for a healthy body and health for everyone.
Health is a good thing to wish for… I’d wish for health with you. At least at this point I would, lol.
Does pale and nocturnal count towards healthy? If so, I’m soooo good. Now, since you’re into healthy stuff, do you have a favorite recipe you’d like to share?
I'd like to share one of my favorite recipes which is to be published in an upcoming book, I'm Sexy, I'm Big and I'm Me published by XoXo Publishing(TM). Here it is:
Maccheroni alla Chitarra di Nonna (Abruzze)
¼ cup of pure extra virgin olive oil
2 ¼ tbsp butter
½ lb porcini mushrooms, sliced
4 medium size cloves of garlic, finely chopped
½ teaspoon of crushed chili peppers
2 sprigs of fresh oregano which is equal to 1 ½ teaspoon of dried oregano.
500 gram of pasta, one pack of pasta. Follow the instructions how to cook it which is written on the back of the pasta box.
1. Medium heat, in a medium size skillet heat the olive oil and the melted butter.
2. Add ½ of the minced garlic and stir for approx two minutes until the garlic is slightly golden brown. At this point lower the heat.
3. Add the mushroom slices. Stir constantly and saute for 8 minutes until the mushrooms are slightly brown.
4. In a large pot bring the pasta to boil as instructed on the back of the box or paper and cook al dente.
5. In a large pot pour the mushroom and oil olive adding the rest of the minced garlic, fresh or dried oregano, crushed chili pepper, and a can of tomato paste and stir. Let it simmer for approx 14 to 18 minutes. If you wish to make your maccheroni white then don’t add the sauce.
6. Once the pasta is cooked al dente, drain the pasta and pour it in a pasta dish. Pour the tomato sauce and mix it well. Grate fresh Parmigiana cheese on top and serve hot. If your pasta is white then do not pour the sauce over it, do mix the mushroom oil sauce and grate the Parmigianino cheese on top.
Serve hot and buon appetito!
A glass of red Montepulciano D’Abruzzo wine is perfect for this pasta dish.
Wow, thank you for sharing this with us! It looks delicious, I’ll have to add it to my cooking repertoire!
Alas, we have come to the end of our interview, and it’s time to go. Okay, you don’t have to go, you can hang out with us for the rest of the day and put the CBs through their paces… they love those paces, I promise. Anyway, thank you so much, Brianna, for joining us on our couch today. It was lovely getting to know you better. Don’t be a stranger, keep us updated on all your newest news!
Thank you to all of y’all who joined us today. Hope your Monday is a good one (yes, it is possible, I promise), and that the rest of your week turns out to be fantastic… or at least not heinous. :-D
Brianna Martini hails from Toronto, Canada. Writing is her passione as much as cooking and working for a non profit organization. Brianna is a single mom of two wonderful children.
Martini on the Blues by Brianna Martini
Jade proudly placed a glass in front of Adrienne, skilfully whisking away the already empty chocolate martini glass. Adrienne was really hitting it hard tonight, harder than Jade had ever seen her.
Tears began to flow anew as Adrienne contemplated the azure blue liquor in the smoky glass in front of her. It reminded her of his eyes. Not the cheating lying louse she'd just virtually dumped, or even the eyes of her almost dearly departed husband. Looking into the glass' smokey blue depths was just like staring into the gaze of her long ago college boyfriend Justin.
“Oh gawd”...she cried silently. “Wh- what's this – a, a new drink, Jade?”
She hiccupped then squinted her eyes to focus more clearly on the drinking glass. She had a vaguely uneasy notion she should go home soon, but she found she didn't want to, not really. Something was keeping her here, something more than seeing her friend and drowning her sorrows. She had a feeling of almost impending euphoria, as though something very good was going to happen if she stayed there long enough.
"Yes it is honey. Something I've been working on for quite awhile now and it's just about perfect. It's called 'Martini on the Blues' in honour of the holiday season, and of course your birthday on Boxing Day. Tonight is the first night I'm making them and you're my very first customer to have one. Happy early birthday, babe."
Adrienne sniffed it tentatively and decided she liked the smell of it. She took a quick taste. It was to her liking – a touch of strawberries, and something else. She couldn't figure it out what it was. She took another drink, then another. As she swallowed the last drop, Adrienne was surprised to see that the glass started glowing. She figured it was some kind of glow stick or something, and she hoisted
the glass up to peer myopically at the bottom of it, then sneezed as smoke began to trickle down from the bottom of the glass, thin and reedy and scented with cedar and strawberries.
Thursday, June 24, 2010
You can either click the cover, or click HERE to read it.
Hope you enjoy :-)
Monday, June 21, 2010
Hey all, it’s another gorgeous summer Monday, and today we have with us on the couch author Franny Armstrong, a truly lovely lady who has always been a joy to talk to.
Welcome to The Menagerie Franny! Go ahead and get comfy, snag a drink and a Cabana Boy if you feel the need. And let’s go ahead and get started:
Where are you from, Franny?
I live in Ontario, Canada in a lovely small town in the country. We have ten acres of forest and a log style home.
Oh, wow, that sounds lovely! Tell us your latest news.
Gosh, there is so much to tell. This is a wonderful year as my career as an author takes off:
• Small Packages-A Christmas Story released last December.
• Tropical Balm released on April 8th. Extrasensory Elements Series Book 1-Author’s Demise
• Forever Blowing Bubbles released on June 18th,
• Extrasensory Elements Series Book 2-I B Jumpin’ July 3rd
• 7th Eye Private Investigations Book 1-The Mystic Touch releases August 21st.
• Also, I co hostess with my sister and fellow author, Kali Willows on www.blogtalkradio.com/RedRoseAuthors every Sunday at 2 pm EST
• The list of interviews and blogs goes on and on so I won’t bother you with details. Let me just say that I’m loving this journey.
That is a lot of news! Huge Congrats on everything, hon! Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Every story I write has a message I want to reveal to my readers. I’m a positive minded individual who strives to be the best I can be, even in the face of trials and tribulations.
I can certainly relate to that. It does no good to whine and complain. Just smile and move on. What is the hardest scene you have had to write (published or not)? Why?
The most difficult scenes I write are when the villains murder or harm others. Though I tend to tone it down, the essence of violence or acts of hatred make me cringe. I’ve led a sheltered life, I suppose. Lol
I don’t think sheltered is the right word. I think it’s more that you have a conscience and harming others is not your nature so you have to go outside your comfort zone to write a character who does. Who is your favorite character you have written (published or not)? Why?
Tina the Tiger is best friends with Lana Anderson, heroine of Author’s Demise and she’s a hoot! She’s witty, wicked, wanton, and desires any man she fancies until she meets Brett Colton’s best friend and fellow undercover cop, Jessie Chan. They are pure magic together as she keeps him on his toes throughout the series.
She sounds like a blast. What books have most influenced your life most?
The Hobbit and Lord Of The Rings took me away to a whole new world of possibilities and creation. I couldn’t put them down and found I couldn’t stop thinking about the characters. When that happens, you know your life will never be the same. I hope I can write stories that will capture reader’s imaginations too.
Those were awesome books! I have to agree. If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
There are so many amazing authors to choose from that have influenced my life and writing, but I’d have to say at present Christine Feehan is my current mentor. Her writing fascinates me and she always answers my emails when I contact her. No matter how famous you get, if you personally keep the paths of communication open, then you are a perfect mentor.
What an amazing lady she is! Do you see writing as a career?
Writing is not only my career, but it pulled me out of nine years of illness and gave me the ability to know I will succeed and make my dreams come true.
I think it’s awesome when something motivates you so much and pulls you up out of some of the worst things. Who designed the covers?
Being a graphic artist, I’m pleased to say that I make most of my own covers and the Red Rose Publishing art department adds the finishing touches. Creativity doesn’t stop at writing for me.
They’re very nice! I especially like the Blowing Bubbles one. Do you have any advice for other writers?
Two quotes I live by: ‘NEVER SURRENDER! NEVER GIVE UP!’ and ‘A PUBLISHED AUTHOR IS AN UNPUBLISHED AUTHOR WHO NEVER QUIT!’ Without that, I would have given up long ago. The biggest part of being a successful author is to be persistent and keep on learning.
Those are both great quotes… I love that first one. Love Galaxy Quest. What is your work schedule like when you're writing?
The second my head leaves the pillow I turn on the computer, do a few chores like feeding my pets, teeth, hair, perhaps laundry and such, and then back to the computer to do my emails, social networking, promoting, and marketing.
I take short breaks to continue to do the odd chores, head outside for a breath of fresh air and play with my dogs then take a walk with them.
The rest of the day is spent writing, editing, writing, editing, and everything else to do with writing including chatting with fellow authors.
Your morning sounds a bit like mine… except mine includes wrangling monkeys. What does your family think of your writing?
A girl couldn’t ask for better support. Though hubby won’t read any of my works, (darn! I was going to teach him a thing or two…lol) he’s always encouraging me to continue writing.
LOL, at least he’s supportive. My hubby doesn’t really read my stuff either. How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?
To date I’ve written close to thirty though some of them have yet to be edited and require work. I also write under another pseudonym as an erotic romance author as well as write non-fiction about environmental health issues.
Busy girl! Do you have any suggestions to help me become a better writer? If so, what are they?
The only suggestions I give are the ones I live by: research, redo, re-edit, rewrite, and keep on polishing your skills. One can never learn too much. Also, follow guidelines exactly as specified when submitting manuscripts, and make sure you have excellent grammar and punctuation. Remember, the less your editor has to do, the sooner you’ll get your book out there.
All excellent advice. And now, it’s time for our “absolutely-nothing-to-do-with-writing” questions: Boxers, briefs, boxerbriefs…. Or commando? Why?
All of the above. It depends on the occasion, though Commando leaves nothing to the imagination and plenty to think about. GROWLLLLLL
LOL, What is your strangest habit?
Writing at all hours of the day and night. I’m an insomniac who gets up in the middle of the night to write when my muse leads me down the path of a new story. I make good use of the time until I can sleep once again.
Ah, another fellow insomniac! You can erase any horrible experience from your past. What will it be?
I believe we are given good and bad experiences so that we can learn and grow. When you cease to do so, life loses its luster and we stagnate. I once had cervical/uterine cancer and was never so frightened in my life. After it was all over, the surgery and fear since the wonderful doctors got it all, I realized that I’d found an empathy for others who have health issues and an understanding I’d never known before. Even losing my brother was something I look at in a different light. Bill was my hero and I see him in my kids sometimes. He lives on as does his memory. It’s in our best interests to take what negatives in life we go through and find the message within.
Absolutely, I have to agree with everything you’ve said. When you looked in the mirror this morning, what was the first thing you thought?
That writing isn’t the only thing I need to work on. LOL I just had a birthday and decided that if I can succeed through everything else and make my dreams come true, then I can also do so with my health and weight.
Well, good for you! What were you doing at midnight last night?
Recovering from the stomach flu so I can get back to writing. Exhaustion is a good way to get a good night’s sleep.
Yeah, but it’s a horrid way to earn that sleep. I’m sorry you were sick! What’s a saying you use a lot? Where did it originate from ?
I have no idea where this came from but I live it every day: ‘A Published Author Is An Unpublished Author Who Never Quit!’
When I read that one day, I knew it was written for me. Just like Terry Fox, the young Canadian runner who was dying of cancer yet ran across Canada on one leg, one prosthetic leg and nearly made it all the way, I learned that you must never give up in the face of the inevitable. Fight until the end and you’ve succeeded where no one else has.
If you could wish for anything, what would you wish for?
My greatest wish is to make enough money to take care of my family. My husband has always taken care of me and our three children, my Mom and sister have been there for me through thick and thin, and my kids are my source of joy and love. Though there are many more family and friends in my life who count too but those are the ones who are nearest to me. Though money isn’t everything, it would sure pave the way to making their lives flow smoother. Love is the foundation of our lives and we thrive in its glow.
It would be so nice to be able to give those we love a rest and to show them how much they mean to us. Well, Franny, we’re at the end of our interview, but not our time. Thank you so much for hanging out with us today. Stick around, hound the boys, have a drink and just enjoy yourself. It was so great getting to know you better.
Thank you for the wonderful interview. It was a pleasure answering the questions and fun too. Sometimes I need to be reminded of the blessings in life I have and what I have to offer to others who need a boost.
To your good health.
Here’s what Franny had to say about herself and her writing (otherwise known as a bio):
WRITE! WRITE! WRITE IT OUT NOW, OR YOU WILL NEVER SLEEP AGAIN! BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA
Okay, so the voices in my head (muses so that no one with white straight jackets come to get me) are round the clock insomniacs who keep me up at all hours until I get the characters and plots on computer.
This is how it began many years ago (and no, I'm not going to tell you exactly how many) when my mother taught me to write out my feelings and use my imagination to create stories.
Years later I finally put many stories down on my laptop, fulfilling a lifetime of fantasy and dreams. I've also worked in Environmental Technology, on newspapers writing articles, and in non-fiction.
Most of my works include cops, private investigators, and the worst of criminal minds pitted against one another while my heroines and heroes find true love. Anything goes in my stories as my characters use their psychic abilities, and there are many different kinds, to solve cases and track down killers, drug dealers and thieves.
I've even thrown in a few wacky witches and over forty couples who find new love against all odds. The sky's the limit in my mind, giving you spicy to hot romantic relationships with lots of feisty heroines who use every available wile to keep their lovers on their toes.
Having psychic abilities can have its own downfalls but learning to use them to greatest advantage is what keeps them growing and learning as they battle evil forces.
Hope you enjoy the reads when they are published beginning in December 2009. For now, please feel free to read about my characters on their own pages under BOOKS on the link column.
www.paranovelgirls.com includes links to Myspace, Facebook, Twitter and more
www.redrosepublishing.com to purchase:
Extrasensory Elements Series Book 1-Author's Demise release March 11
Tropical Balm releases April 8 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6H_gdwbcnNI
Forever Blowing Bubbles releases June 18
Extrasensory Elements Series Book 2-I B Jumpin’ releases July 3
7th Eye Private Investigations Series Book 1-The Mystic Touch releases in August
Forever Blowing Bubbles by Franny Armstrong
A powerful family of witches, the Knights, and the equally powerful family of wizards, the Thornes, have been feuding for decades, so long in fact, that only two people remember what it’s about.
Gemini Knight, youngest of six sisters, is a bungling witch, whose spell backfires, landing her and her friend in the bedroom of a gorgeous naked stranger fresh from the shower. Before he could say a word they disappear, leaving only their giggles behind.
Determined to find the witch who transported through his tight security spells, the wealthy, powerful corporate wizard, eldest of six brothers, seeks her out, only to fall under her spell when she lands them both in a Dumpster, making him laugh for the first time in his adult life. The only problem is that as their mystical love ignites, the two families rekindle the feud full throttle to keep the couple apart!
Sunday, June 20, 2010
Forever Blowing Bubbles by Franny Armstrong
Gemini Knight is a witch whose magic never seems to work right. When she accidently transports herself and best friend, Keira, into powerful wizard Braxon Thorne’s bedroom, she stares at him in an endless moment, taking in all his naked glory while wishing he were hers.
When she disappears, leaving only musical laugher behind, he seeks her out wanting to know her secret to getting past his protection spells yet in reality, he has become obsessed with her.
The couple fall head–over–heels in love after Gem lands them in a Dumpster and Brax laughs for the first time in his adult life. The biggest challenge ahead is not only in learning to believe in herself but to keep their two families from rekindling a forty–year old feud and preventing an evil wizard from seizing their powers for his own dire uses and destroying them.
Want to see your book commercial here? Email us at email@example.com to find out how!
Friday, June 18, 2010
I had a discussion with a friend of mine about the difference between romance and erotica. IMHO, they are puppies--every St. Bernard is a puppy, but not every puppy is a St. Bernard. Romance can be sexy and alluring but it doesn't have to have all the hinky parts. Then again, you can have a story full of hinky sex that has no romance in it.
So what's the flippin' difference?
Why do I ask? Well, I wrote a story with lots of hinky sex (m/m and f/m/m). But the premise of the story is that one of the males and the female are still in love (never really fell out of love) but male is bi so he wants his former wife and his new male partner. The conflict is whether or not the male partner can accept female outside of sex and fall in love with her. Plus, there is a narcissistic restaurateur who wants to cause problems. Person read it and said, this is a great erotic piece, but romance? Not quite.
So I ask for your thoughts.
Thursday, June 17, 2010
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
I went out of town last week to the Lori Foster Reader Author Get Together. Some of you met me there, and know my "real personna". I kept hoping that the time away from home would mean that I would get some writing/editing/ANYTHING done without the interruptions of my children/spouse/dog every five minutes. Nope... I got a big fat NOTHING done. Well, not nothing, I saw some of my favorite people! But nothing with my writing got done.
Now, I'm home, my kids are out of school for the summer... fun, right? And I'm slowly getting more done. Right now, I have two major projects going with my writing: 1) I am going through the second round of edits for Appearances (working title) in which I'm adding more content; and 2)I am adding some more to my Cowboy per the request of an editor who is interested in it (I know YAY! right!). Add to that the stories that are running around my head and the outlines that I'm working on and you can imagine why I'm wandering through rooms wondering, "What am I doing again?"
So, below are the nifty little avatar thingies I found for my stories. That little raisin guy cracks me up. So, if you want to cheer me on, I won't turn it down, lol... and hopefully, I'll have awesome news soon... :-D
Additions/Edits to Cowboy:
Anybody else have issues getting to their butts into a seat to finish edits or even a story? Anyone? What do you do when it seems the world is conspiring against you and your muse?
Monday, June 14, 2010
Hey all, today we have on our couch (that we just had to have reupholstered, and no I won't tell the story right now). Anyway, our guest for today is Christy Poff! Let's all give her a nice warm welcome.
Welcome to The Menagerie Christy, Megan :::Megan waves::: and I are so glad you could join us! I always love to just let Megan take over at this point.
We’re nosy and we want the dirt. Where are you from?
I live in Southeastern Pennsylvania near Valley Forge. It’s weird because I grew up in the heart of Revolutionary War history but have an intense interest in the Civil War instead.
Ooh, ghostie soldiers!
Yes, and we all know how Megan loves ghost stories.
Plus I love the Pennsylvania landscape. What inspired you to write your first book?
We had taken a family day trip to Gettysburg after watching the movie with Martin Sheen, Tom Beringer, and an amazing all-star cast. Spending the day there taught me so much about the time, the events and the war and my first book—The Hastings Saga #1: Chase for an Angel—began to take shape leading to its sequels. Andrew and Jessie are my first characters and truly my favorites as are the others who were major players in the books.
Wow, sounds amazing. Then again, those areas already are.
Did you get great pictures? I loved visiting Gettysburg. So, who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
This is difficult to answer because I actually have several so it’s hard to narrow it down to just one. When I was young, I stuck my nose in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes books and read the entire collection during my summer vacation. Doyle could really spin a mystery without being farfetched. W.E.B. Griffin writes a series on the Philadelphia Police Department which is amazing because he bases everything in actual locations in the city and surrounding counties. I love Jackie Collins because she can really pull you into the book and still leave you wondering who she based her characters on and Christine Feehan's Dark Series has kept me riveted since I read the first one. I love authors who can really get you into their characters which all four of my favorites do.
Quite a spread of authors; nice.
I know, right. You know how many I read, Wendi. LOL How long does it take you to write a book?
That depends on the book. If I’m writing Civil War, the research into the area or battle takes longer because I want to get things right as well as finding some tiny bit of info that might be trivial to the story while it makes it unique as well. Some books come straight to the paper once I start them (yes, I did say paper because I write everything long hand thanks to one too many losses thanks to the computer having a hissy at the time.) Others have sat for a while either because of writer’s block or the story wasn’t working out at the time or something happened in my day to day life which made me put the writing aside for a little bit. Generally though, I’d said a couple months average.
You’re a quick writer. I love the way the words look written on the page, though. What is your work schedule like when you're writing?
I really have no set schedule when writing as I tend to work it around my family and what’s going on at home. My husband works a weird schedule so if he’s sleeping during the day, I’ll try to get some done then. Usually, it depends on how the story is going and if my characters won’t leave me alone until I get them written. I’ve had some that literally have woken me up in the middle of the night and kept at me until I got something written.
Stories that demand to be written are why we are sometimes called schitzophrenic. :-D
Ooh, I love the stories that demand to be written, even when it’s 4 AM. That said, what were you doing at midnight last night?
Watching the Russian-Latvia Men’s Hockey game from Vancouver. When the Olympics begin, I watch as much of them as I can and this year with the stiff competition in ice hockey, it’s been really interesting.
What a violent sport, but so fun to watch. What is your heritage?
My dad’s side of the family is German and Pennsylvania Dutch while on the opposite side, there is English, a bit of Irish, Norwegian and Danish. I tried tracing family trees but kept falling off various branches of them both when I came to dead ends. I have learned my one grandfather was the youngest of 15 boys and they lived in and around Blacksburg, Virginia while one grandmother was a seamstress in Queen Victoria’s court.
My mother was a seamstress, but not in Victoria's court. Phew.
A seamstress. Huh. I should ask if you inherited her talents and can sew. I won’t. But I will ask, have you ever cried during a movie? If yes, which one and why?
Ladder 49 with John Travolta and Joaquin Phoenix. My husband and I are both firefighters and the funeral did us in. I walked out of the theater in tears.
Man, that was a tough movie to watch for that exact reason. I’m so with you on that one Maybe we better switch subjects. Do you like thunderstorms?
When they are directly overhead—no. As they approach, it’s neat as the air smells like rain coming, the lightning and the effects it has on the skies. I think the neatest place to experience a thunderstorm is in Wyoming because so many things happen with the different areas (mountains, flatlands, cities) plus you can see the difference in intensity from the center of the storm out as the rain falls from the clouds. It’s something we don’t see back East.
Yes, the smell of the rain is quite intoxicating. Almost as nice as running in the sunshine. Now for the fun question: can you taste the difference between Pepsi and Coke? If so, which do you prefer?
Definitely there it a difference and I go for Coke every time.
Christy Poff lives in southeastern Pennsylvania with her husband and two kids - her daughter (a college student) and her son who serves in the Army National Guard stationed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania plus his little one–his infant daughter who has proven to her that she’s forgotten so much over the last twenty years.
Previously, she wrote news articles for local newspapers and regional firefighting publications. With her articles, she added photography to her pieces. Writing for several years, she has a deep respect for the Civil War and has done extensive research into the times. This love and research have resulted in several Civil War novels including CHASE FOR AN ANGEL which was born from this love and released in March, 2006. Others will follow.
She loves old cities with history like Charleston and New Orleans, the wide-open spaces of Wyoming and the Dakotas, the beauty of a Maine sunrise plus seeing the rest of the U.S. and western Canada.
A volunteer firefighter for over thirty years, she’s been able to use her experience in several published works for others and even in some of her own work.
People wonder what she writes to – Brooks and Dunn, Gary Allan, Linkin Park, Nickelback, Harry Connick or whoever strikes her mood at the time. She loves to watch Top Gear, Torchwood and Doctor Who on BBC America, CSI:Miami and reruns of Nash Bridges, Miami Vice, Night Court and JAG.
Link to my journal page: http://cpoff.bravejournal.com
At Cross Ends by Christy Poff
Mark Kincaid owes Graham Cross for two years captivity in the hands of Central American terrorists and the loss of his team. He accepts a presidential assignment unaware of his enemy’s involvement.
Riley Devane becomes an unwilling pawn in a madman’s game of revenge against first her father then his enemy. She falls in love with the man sent to rescue her but there happiness is short-lived.
How long with they be at cross ends before someone finally stops an international criminal?
Friday, June 11, 2010
I dunno if they exist. I mean, I live with three vampires for crying out loud. Anything is possible. I've never met them, but I think I've heard them talk. Who knows! Could just be my overactive imagination, too.
So my fascination is a ghost who doesn't act like a ghost. You know, not a floaty, filmy thing, but totally corporeal. The person who believes in the ghost or has the vision can see them, not just any Tom, Dick or Harry.
(No boys, I didn't bring anyone new home... men.)
What if that's possible? Yanno? What if some people stick around to help others or to cause trouble?
Well, it's what I wonder anyway. I'd love to talk to my great grandparents on an adult level instead of being a scrawny 8 yr old. Or even try to talk to John Lennon. There are so many people who have gone to the great beyond (or we hope they did) that would be fascinating to talk to.
Okay, the boys want my attention. Gotta run.
Tuesday, June 8, 2010
Due to unforseeen circumstances yesterday... and Sunday... circumstances like Blogger HATING me and not letting me do anything: Today is going to be our Author interview day. Our interviewee has been sooooo understanding and sweet as I panicked and kept sending her emails letting her know that I was trying to get her interview up... but Blogger, well, hated me. So, let’s all give a warm Menagerie welcome to Kate Cotoner!
Megan and I were traveling, and even though I'm finally home, I'm still tired, lol. Unfortunately, Megan wasn't able to join us today. And since I have no idea if Blogger is going to suddenly decide it needs to kick me off... We’ll keep it real simple today. When and why did you begin writing, Kate?
I started writing stories for my friends at high school, usually during the back of class when we were bored. A group of us used to write and swap stories around for a laugh, and then much, much later, I wondered if I could still tell a story. Turns out I could, and here I am ;)
LOL, funny how that works sometimes. How did you come up with the title?
Titles are usually pretty easy for me—though sometimes I just haven’t been able to find something that fits and so I ask my OH, who reads my stories, to decide. Most of the time I pick a motif or phrase that underpins the story arc, or it’s just something descriptive. Something simple is usually best. My two latest novellas from Torquere Press have really simple titles: Thunder, which comes from one of the I Ching trigrams and is also the personal name of one of the characters (Tian Zhen, which means ‘Heavenly Thunder’), and Hand of Glory, which sounds terrifically rude *g* but it isn’t—a Hand of Glory is the dismembered hand of a hanged man which has been turned into a candle, and one of these ghoulish items turns up in the book.
:::shudder::: Sorry, my wierd-o-meter went a little crazy there. What book are you reading now?
I’m about to start reading The Owl Killers by Karen Maitland. Her last book, Company of Liars, was set in England during the Black Death and it was a very powerful and clever novel. The Owl Killers is set about one hundred years later and deals with a pagan sect clashing with a group of nuns. I’m hoping it’ll be just as creepy and atmospheric as Company of Liars.
LOL, you like the creepy... What are your current projects?
I’m currently finishing off a novella entitled The Imperial Cat, which is a paranormal romance set in the Heian period (11th century Japan) set to be published by Torquere Press in October, and I’m also co-writing Lion of Kent with Aleksandr Voinov. That’s a novella set in 12th century England and is a prequel to one of Alex’s earlier published stories, Deliverance. Next up is another novella (I seem to be writing a lot of novellas lately!) called Coffee and Karagoz, which is set in 17th century Istanbul, and that’ll be coming out early next year. As you can see, I’m a bit of a history geek *g*
Congratulations on your upcoming release and projects! Nothing wrong with being a history geek. Do you see writing as a career?
As much as I’d like to say ‘yes’, I know my own limitations! It’s more of a hobby for me, albeit one I take very seriously. I write to share my stories with people and hopefully to entertain them. I don’t think I could cope with being as famous as Dan Brown or Stephanie Meyer—though having their kind of royalty checks would be very handy!
LOL, at least you're honest about it. :-D Can you share a little of your current work with us?
Sure! Here’s an excerpt from Hand of Glory.
Ethan began to scoop the books and papers from the tomb then stopped, staring at the effigy. He’d seen several tombs of similar design around England, but none that looked exactly like this. Set between two pillars close to the high altar on the south side of the church, the sepulcher had a dark wooden canopy plain of any gilt and ornamentation. Despite the sunlight, the effigy remained in shadows beneath the canopy. Rather than resting flat on top of the tomb like other effigies, this one seemed half sunken into the lid of the tomb.
“That’s Philip Fosbroke, the last but one abbot of Hepplewick. A nasty piece of work, by all accounts.” Matthew came over and took a handful of books from Ethan.
“I’ve never seen a tomb like it. The way the figure is almost rising out of the stone--or sinking into it.” Ethan couldn’t suppress a quick shiver. He looked closer at the shadowed effigy, making out a strong profile and rich garments. One hand was curled into a fist. The other was raised in a gesture of benediction, the detail rendered so finely that he could see the abbot’s ring around his middle finger.
“You’re supposed to think he’s rising from his tomb like any righteous man on the Day of Judgment,” Matt said, pulling a face. “But if even half of what I’ve heard is true, I’d rather think of him sinking back into it.”
Ethan chuckled. “That bad?”
“Worse.” Matt gave the sepulcher a neutral look, but Ethan had the impression that the priest was wary of it. He knew how Matt felt. The tomb, with its sunken effigy and shadowed canopy, seemed dark and almost sinister compared to the brightness of the rest of the church.
Matt moved away, sorting the untidy heap of hymnbooks and prayer sheets on the front pew. “Apparently, Abbot Fosbroke was corrupt and unchaste. People say he dabbled in black magic, using young girls and boys from the village for his satanic rituals. Even when he was removed from office, Fosbroke refused to leave. He took one of the monks hostage--some even say the monk was his lover--and threatened to kill him unless the bishop’s envoy tore up the letter of dismissal.”
Matt smiled grimly. “Fosbroke added murder to the long list of his accomplishments. The monk’s body was discovered in the center of the cloister, the corpse arranged in the shape of a pentagram. The sight was so disturbing, the envoy sent in soldiers to capture Fosbroke. He was arrested and executed. Not even his wealth could save him. His crimes were so terrible the bishop excommunicated him. That meant he couldn’t be buried in here, despite the fact that he’d built his tomb about two years before his execution.”
Ethan glanced back at the effigy. He knew it was usual during medieval times for wealthy, powerful men to construct their tombs long before their death. “So where did they bury him?”
“That’s just it. No one knows.” Matthew handed him a neat pile of hymnbooks and prayer sheets. “Legend has it that at midnight after the execution, a hole opened in the ground and Satan flew out, grabbing Fosbroke’s body from the gallows. In the morning, no trace of the corpse was found.”
WOW, very nice set up, I'm already creeped out and have no idea what to expect, lol. How long does it take you to write a book?
I guess the answer to this one is: How long is a piece of string? *g* I can write a short story in a couple of days, it takes a couple of months for me to write a novella, and for a full-length novel… anything from four months to three years. I’ve been known to walk away from some novels for a couple of years because I couldn’t make them work, and then I came back to them with a fresh eye and bam! Finished ‘em in a matter of weeks. Sometimes it really pays to sit on a story and wait for it to be ready.
Good, another author who doesn't make me feel like a failure with their... "I got it done in two months" comments. LOL, cuz I never get anything done in two months. And now on to our “absolutely-nothing-to-do-with-writing” questions! Do you have any strange handwriting habits, like capitalizing all your “r”s or dotting your “I”s with hearts (or anything like that)?
The only odd thing I do with handwriting is curve the upright of ‘d’s over the rest of the letter. I think Spike Milligan used to do that and I loved his stuff when I was a child, so I copied him and it was one of those affectations that stuck!
LOL, funny what sticks with us sometimes. Boxers, briefs, boxerbriefs…. Or commando? Why?
Hmm, well – that depends! I was going to say boxer-briefs because I just like the lines of them and the way the cloth clings, but some of the hunks here on Menagerie Authors are wearing briefs or nothing at all and they’re a real feast for the eyes… so let’s say I’m not fussy ;)
:-D Works for me... cuz I'm not fussy either. What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever eaten?
A dried silkworm. My brother bought some over from China one year. Apparently dried silkworms are good for warding off colds… so I ate it. Then my darling brother told me they only worked for men. Thanks, bro! It tasted like a powdery twig, except for the tail, which tasted salty. Eww.
Sounds... disgusting... only a brother could convince us of doing something like that. What is your favorite animal?
I love hamsters. Despite their tiny size, all the hamsters I’ve owned have had pretty big personalities. They have cute faces, too—and they know it! I have five hamsters at the moment and two of them are brothers, they know if they run to one side of their cage and look up in an adorable way, they’ll get flaked almonds as treats. I’m just a sucker for small, fuzzy animals.
Soooo... Rhino was your favorite character on Bolt! I loved him, he cracked me up and I wanted to snuggle him. Have you ever cried during a movie? If yes, which one and why?
I’ve found that the older I get, the more often I cry at movies. I can’t remember the last one I cried at, but I remember remaining dry-eyed throughout Ghost when I was a teenager while all my friends sobbed openly, and then I cried at the end of Terminator 2! I got a lot of stick for that, as you can imagine.
LOL, you should have told them that you have a major soft spot for seemingly unredeemable heroes... What is your favorite pizza?
A couple of years ago, I lived in New Zealand and they have a pizza chain called Hell Pizza, which make the best pizzas I’ve ever tasted. They even had dessert pizzas, which was something I hadn’t encountered before, so my favorite was called ‘Unearthly’, and had a topping of berries, banana, chocolate, and custard. It was sooooo good!
Ooohhh... sounds good! Are you a morning person or a night person?
A bit of both – sometimes I’m up at 5am and raring to go (I know, that’s sick!), while other times I really struggle to get out of bed in time for work. And some days I’m wide awake and full of energy past 11pm and other times I flake out after 7pm! I just have to be aware of what my mood’s doing and try to adjust writing time around it.
LOL, I am of the mind that it doesn't matter what time it is... I don't want to be awake. And that brings us to the end. Thank you so much for joining us here on the couch, Kate. Thank you so much for your understanding with my fight with Blogger. I hope you enjoyed yourself once we finally GOT here. :-D
Thank you, Menagerie Ladies, for this fun interview—I really enjoyed myself! And keep posting those pics of hotties—I for one very much appreciate them ;)
Kate Cotoner lives in the north of England with her OH and a demanding bonsai named Mr M. She has a fondness for Asian men tempered with a love of hunky Germanic and Mediterranean types, and manages to combine love for all three types whilst watching Formula One motorsport. She loves history, needlepoint, reading, watching brainless blockbusters and meaningful foreign films, staring at US crime shows, and baking French-style bread. She likes strong, plot-driven stories and charismatic characters set against a sweeping, romantic backdrop of history, suspense, international locations and whatever else happens to take her fancy at the time.
Hand of Glory by Kate Cotoner
Ethan Heng has come to the little English village of Hepplewick to investigate his family heritage. A misunderstanding over some church brasses leads to lunch with Matthew Jennings, the attractive young vicar, but soon the two men are plunged into a five hundred-year-old mystery when a Hand of Glory is discovered in the walls of the local pub.
Ethan and Matt discover clues left by the Hand's original owner, Abbot Fosbroke, who was executed for satanic practices and theft. Local lore states that Fosbroke's treasure is still waiting to be found, though generations have searched for it in vain. While Matt battles with demons from his past, Ethan urges him to rebuild his life and live for the moment. Their happiness--and the good of the village community--is entangled with the mystery of Fosbroke's treasure, and only the Hand of Glory can point the way.
Tuesday, June 1, 2010
An Unconventional Romance
From the moment I sat down to write the first story in the Alyce Kerr, Faith Healer Trilogy, I knew that Alyce's romance with Ross Garcia was going to be anything but normal.
After all, the reason they broke up in the first place was because he'd tried to kill her. Of course, back then she didn't know the truth about what he was hoping to achieve. He'd been trying to help her, just like he intends to help her when he pops back into her life in Faithless.
When Alyce finally sees the truth and understands just how much Ross knew about her secrets, and how much he cares about her, they rekindle their relationship. But admitting that they never really stopped loving each other isn't enough. Not when the demonic threat keeps getting in the way.
Buer threatens to eat away at Alyce's soul if they don't get rid of him. Hence the demonologist problem in Careless. Their romance may seem to be going well, but with the amount of obstacles that continue to get in their way, things get complicated. Actually, the stronger their relationship gets, the harder it becomes for them to stay together. And Boundless proves to be their biggest test yet.
In the third and final installment, Alyce faces a huge hurdle. And this one could change everything. This time, to save the man she loves, she risks losing him. Sometimes to save the one you care about the most, you have to do the one thing that could hurt them more than anything.
Like I said, this trilogy isn't a conventional romance, but it's definitely one worth fighting for.
Boundless: Book 3 of the Alyce Kerr, Faith Healer Trilogy
Ross made a deal with a demonologist in order to save Alyce, and is now at the mercy of the crazy woman and the demon Buer. There is no escape from the basement in which the three are trapped in, and he has to bear the torture.
When Sebastian finds a way to save Ross, Alyce must engage in an ancient, carnal ritual that complicates her life further. But for Ross, she’s willing to put both her heart and soul on the line… even if it means losing him.
Yolanda Sfetsos lives in Sydney, Australia with her husband, daughter, and cat. She loves to spend most of her days writing stories. Her muse doesn't like genre restrictions and is always happy to toe the dark edge of storytelling. When she’s not writing she spends as much time as possible with her small family. She also enjoys watching movies, TV shows and reading.