Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Guest Post by Margo Candela: "Why Writers Take Breaks" and Book Giveaway

I don’t smoke, I don’t drink coffee and I don’t have anyone to gossip with a couple cubicles over, but I still make a point getting away from my desk at regular intervals during my writing day. (These breaks mirror the longer ones I take from a manuscript between drafts and revising.) For me, a little distance is a good thing and taking breaks from what I’m writing is essential to maintaining my sanity.

I could lie and say I do fabulous things when I’m away from my desk. That I inoculate orphans, read to seniors or even arrange flowers, but what I do is vacuum. Our dog, a sweet but rather dumb creature, is so used to it, she seems rather put out when I don’t wake her up from a nap with a nudge from the Dyson. By the way, it’s all about the vacuum. I sincerely doubt I’d have a thing for vacuuming if I didn’t have such an awesome machine to push around.

Before I took up with my Dyson I used to sew. My mother-in-law presented me with a Singer sewing machine one Christmas and I can honestly say it’s one of the best gifts I’ve ever gotten. I used to make tote bags, one right after another, and wound up with way too many and too little things to carry in them. After a while, family and friends were less than happy to accept a present of one of my creations so I had to find a new hobby. I got a label maker and labeled anything and everything I could until my husband hid it from me.

Then the Dyson arrived into my life and I’ve been hooked on the thing ever since. I’m itching to upgrade to a DC25 Animal, but won’t do so until something really special happens. Like selling another novel or getting my screenplay optioned. I want my vacuuming to mean something more than just, you know, vacuuming.

My vacuum breaks might morph into something else, but for now nothing makes me happier than hearing my vacuum rev up…even if the dog isn’t impressed by it anymore.

One lucky commenter today will receive a copy of GOODBYE TO ALL THAT, Margo Candela's latest release. Please include your email with your comment.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Book Review: GOODBYE TO ALL THAT by Margo Candela

Before I give my book review, let me announce that Beth Trissel has won my weekly prize drawing. Beth, I'll contact you to see which of my books you choose.

Now for Margo Candela's GOODBYE TO ALL THAT.

Raquel Azorian has worked her way from temp to executive assistant and is this close to a promotion to junior marketing exec at Belmore Corporation, the midia behemoh she's devoted herself to. She's learned to play the Hollywood game--navigate office politics, schmooze the right people, avoid the wrong ones, and maintain a sense of decorum even in the craziest of times. All she needs is for her boss to sign her promotion memo. Instead of putting pen to paper, he suffers a very public meltdown that puts not only his professional future but Raquel's on the line.

Getting to the next rung on the Belmore ladder will require every ounce of focus, but that's not going to be easy. Raquel's mom has decided to leave her husband and move into Raquel's apartment, and her older brother seems to be sinking deeper and deeper into depression. Raquel has to keep her job, stop her parents from divorcing, and save her brother. In the chaos of juggling so much, she finally reaches the breaking point: there's just not enough time for everything or for everyone. She's going to have to choose--success at work or happiness at home. But then a chance encounter at a bookstore cafe leads Raquel to start planning her own Hollywood ending . . . on her own terms.
Raquel learned early on that being a pretty girl in town of pretty girls only qualified her for a hostess job at a local restaurant. She made certain she stood out in a sea of frumpy that qualified her to corporate success at Belmore, where company politics are a blood sport. Life keeps knocking her down, but she plays like a champ. Her mom moves in and her parents and her brother depend too heavily on her to solve their problems. Her boss counts on her until the chips are down. Raquel is not perfect, but she is too good for the job she's given her life to. Only a terrible crisis shows her where her heart and her future lie. She makes the right decisions to launch herself in a more reasonable life.

Margo Candela tells a wonderful story. Her characterization is faultless, and I liked Raquel immediately. If you've ever had a job that consumed you, ever been speared by office politics. or ever had your heart broken, you'll sympathize with Raquel. Even if you've experienced none of these tragedies, you'll find this story speaks to you on some level.  I recommend it to every reader.

Please join me on the 31st for a post by Margo Candela and the chance to win a copy of her new release, GOODBYE TO ALL THAT.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Prizes, Prizes, Prizes! Last Day for Big LASR Nook Hunt

We all want an e-reader, right? Get moving then! Check out the authors participating in the Great Anniversary Celebration at Long and Short Reviews for a chance to win one of THREE Nook e-readers, each of which will come loaded with books from participating authors. Win, win. Mine is easy to find. Some are harder. Totally worth searching for, though--unless you already have an e-reader.

As they say on TV commercials, "But Wait! That's not all!" Right. Comment by tonight and I'll enter you in my weekly drawing for a book. Yeah, one book. Makes that LASR contest look better and better, doesn't it? (Okay, but my book, OUT OF THE BLUE, is a great one, really it is. You'll love it--all my friends and family did. LOL And Siren Reviews gave me 5 Siren Stones in their review! )

The winner of Aileen Harkwood's free download of WOLF'S DEN is Cienna. Aileen will be contacting you, Cienna, to email you your copy of her book. You're still in the running for the Big Prize Basket from our Wild Rose Authors Blog Tour. That winner will be announced on August 31st. Lisa Dawn, marketing director for The Wild Rose Press, will draw the winner's name from the list of all those who commented on the August blog tour.

Is that all there is on blogs--prizes? No, I have great content with author interviews, book reviews, research information, writing tips, and miscellaneous drivel, um, I mean great stuff going on in my life. Next week I'll be reviewing Margo Candela's new book, GOOD-BYE TO ALL THAT followed the next day with a blog post by Margo. Great book, so come back to learn more about the book and learn what she has to say about writing.

This week has been a mess for me. Darling 2's oldest dog, Findley, has had cancer, and surgery to remove the tumor has left his shoulder and leg a mess. With Darling 2 hydrating the wound and doing massage three times a day and twice weekly visits to our vet, Findley's leg has been saved and he is recovering. However, she is in education and couldn't get off to take him yesterday for his vet visit--rescheduled because the vet was going out of town. So, Hero and I took care of the little guy overnight and then took him in for his visit. It's harrowing---like keeping a sick child for someone. We are worried he'd hurt himself, or get worse, or something on our watch. Very traumatic. No, Findley was fine; we were the nervous ones.  That's not Findley above right. It's Webster, the black Shih Tzu to whom Hero and I belong. I didn't want to show poor poor little Findley's photo as he looks now. However, Findley is also a black Shih Tzu and his gentle, sweet nature is the reason Hero and I got Webster from a rescue agency. Webster's photos always make him look like a little black alien, but he is actually a sweet, loving, and handsome dog. But on with my story.

Because my glasses broke and I have to have them to do little things like see anything, I had to get my eyes checked. I had scheduled a chat at Coffee Time Romance's karenfindoutaboutbooks' yahoo loop for four. Or so I thought. Turns out it was on the erotic chat loop, karendevinkaren. I don't write erotic romance, just sensual and sweet. Can't figure out how I wound up on that erotic loop, but never mind. When I learned it was at 4 EST instead of CST, I was going to cancel my eye exam. Nope, the big chip in my unbreakable lens made it necessary I see the doctor ASAP. So, Darling 1 filled in for me for half an hour or so until I rushed home in a tizzy because I'd missed part of the chat.

Things were fine for a while and I enjoyed chatting a couple of hours with those who showed up. Time moved along pretty fast, that is--yep, until my server went down an hour before the chat was supposed to end. By this time, let me tell you, my nerves were frazzled--taut as bowstrings. Again, Darling 1 took over to tell the other chatters what happened and bid them adieu for me.

While I was waiting, hoping my server would somehow revive itself, I read an email that said I had messed up payment for a cover contest I'd entered. Yikes? What was wrong with me? Was I going nuts? I was in a deep purple funk. My mom used to say she was "blue" when she was loney or upset. A deep purple funk is even more upsetting than being blue. LOL This was just one of those days when I figured nothing I did was right and my life was NOT under my control!

Here's where Hero stepped in and took me out for Mexican food and a large margarita. See why I call him Hero? He always knows the perfect thing to help me recover from any situation. Not that I get myself into um, situations all that often. (Yeah, right. I'm sure you believe that. If so, would you like to buy this great bridge in Brooklyn?)

I hope you don't have days like mine was yesterday, or if you do that you handle it better than I did. I suspect everyone has days like that one occasionally. Seems life is either feast or famine--nothing happening OR way too much happening at once. You've probably heard that Chinese curse: "May you live in interestng times." Yep, sometimes boring would be nice.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Interview of Author Aileen Harkwood--Last Day To Enter Big Prize Giveaway

Please welcome our guest, Aileen Harkwood. Aileen lives in the Southern Rockies with her family, their passive-aggressive cat and fetch-addicted chocolate Labrador. She writes paranormal romance and romantic suspense and is always on the lookout for an unexpected twist or touch to add to her stories. Alpha males are her favorite heroes to write, though in real life she loves a hero who doesn't always realize he's an alpha until his heroine is threatened. Aileen is graciously giving away a copy of WOLF'S DEN to one lucky commenter today, and that person will still be entered in the Big Prize Basket give away mentioned at the end of today's post.

Caroline: Thanks for coming, Aileen. Readers love to get to know authors. Please tell us about growing up.

Aileen: I grew up in a rare part of Los Angeles that had bridal trails and streams, as well as a mountain summer camp just fifteen minutes away. As you might guess I could never get enough of nature. As a kid I was always outdoors, whether in my grandmother’s huge garden with its persimmon tree and wild roses, or making crafts at camp with leaves and pinecones, or “fishing” for pet guppies in the local stream, using sandwich bags weighted with rocks.

Animals were a huge draw for me, and at one time I had over twenty birds, including a myna, parakeets, and finches. After a while I couldn’t stand to see birds in cages—we didn’t have the means to build a proper aviary for them—so I stopped adopting them. I think that’s one thing I’d love to have as an adult, a huge indoor aviary filled with happy birds, flitting around and enjoying themselves. Don’t know how that would work out with our two cats, Raven and Sparrow, however. On second thought, maybe not.

Caroline: Oh, don't think our cats would share with birds, although my friend Jeanmarie Hamilton has a cat, dog, and a cockatoo who coexist. Who are your favorite authors and favorite genres?

Aileen: I’m a fairly eclectic reader. Of course I love romance and have probably read close to or more than 500 books in the genre over the last several years. Paranormal, mainstream romantic suspense, historicals (particularly Victoriana) are all huge with me. I love Amanda Quick’s Arcane Society series. I’ve read every one of Jane Austen’s novels several times over, as well as most of the British classics. One of my favorite reads lately isn’t a novel, The Perfect Storm by Sebastian Junger, about the last days of a group of men who went out to sea in a fishing trawler off North America and were never heard from again. It was fascinating, tragic, and heroic all at the same time, superbly written.

Caroline: Oh, I love reading, too, and I love Amanda Quick’s Arcane Society book. What are you reading now?

Aileen: I’m re-reading a lot of Nora Roberts’ early work. I recommend it highly. Studying her books can teach you a lot about writing romance, especially if you aspire to write mainstream romance. Her three sisters trilogy is not only romantic, but inspiring because the women in the novels are strong, independent, go-getters.

Caroline: Nora Roberts is another favorite of mine, too. When you’re not writing, what’s your favorite way to relax and recharge? Hobbies?

Aileen: I’m a total photo geek and love everything about photography from studying the techniques used during the dawn of photography, to collecting and using vintage cameras, to manipulating digital images in Photoshop. I can easily spend 10 hours at a session working in front of my computer or in a darkroom and not even realize the time has passed.

Caroline: I’m jealous. I collect vintage family photos. Wish I had Photoshop and knew how to use it. Would you like to share any guilty pleasures that feed your muse?

Aileen: I like to get in the car, drive to a cozy restaurant, find a booth by the window and order tea and a huge plate of fries with BBQ sauce or anything chocolate. I’ll sit there for an hour, thinking, planning my stories or writing in my laptop. I feel guilty because I used to wait tables and it seems like I’m “renting” the booth without buying much, so I’m always sure to leave a good tip.

Caroline: My friends and I do that—up the tip commensurate with time spent. How long have you been writing?

Aileen: Since I was in the second grade. Needless to say my early stories needed improvement.

Caroline:  wow, you got an early start. Where do you prefer to write? Do you need quiet, music, solitude? PC or laptop?

Aileen: Solitude, definitely. I’m a laptop writer, who flips open her MacBook several times a day to add a few lines or rewrite a passage whenever I have a spare moment. Big writing chunks usually get done in the middle of the night when the house is quiet and everyone is asleep.

Caroline: Are you a plotter or a panzer?

Aileen: A little of both. Though I always need a plan of some sort, knowledge of a story’s beginning, middle, and end, what would be the fun of writing if I knew everything that was going to happen?

Caroline: Some people call that a plotzer. Do you use real events or persons in your stories?

Aileen: Almost never. Like a lot of writers I’m a people watcher and I might take characteristics from several people and combine them, but that’s it.

Caroline: Do you do your research before you begin a new project, or as you go along?

Aileen: The beauty of WiFi and Google is that you can do your research on the fly. A lot of times I’ll create a story based on a topic about which I’m already familiar, but for all the little facts needed to go into a story, a quick pause for a web search is magic.

Caroline: Do you write full time or do you have a day job?

Aileen: Two day jobs, actually. I own an online business selling vintage electronics (weird for a girl, I know, but better paying in this economy than the antiques I used to sell), plus I’m a photographer.

Caroline: Ooh, my youngest daughter and I used to sell antiques until the market crashed, and my eldest daughter is a photographer. What do you hope your writing brings to readers?

Aileen: Pure enjoyment. That’s what I want when I pick up a book to read.

Caroline: Me, too. What advice would you give to pre-published authors?

Aileen: Read as many books as you can in the genre or subgenre you’d like to write. Study them. outline them. Write notes in the margins (except library books!). Notice how your favorite authors handle the different aspects of writing: setting, plot, dialogue, transitions, opening and closing lines, love scenes, action, etc. Pretend you’re taking a college course about romance writing and the instructor insists you compare the approaches of several different novelists. It’s work, I know, but it will really help you when you write yourself into a corner and don’t know how to get out of it.

Caroline: Great advice, Aileen. Tell us about your latest release.

Aileen: WOLF'S DEN is the first in a series, The Legacy of the White Wolf, about a mythic female shapeshifter, who died centuries ago, but who forever changes the lives of the hero and heroine in the books. The stories revolve around the pack alphas of the Kith, werewolves inhabiting remote wilderness areas of the Pacific Northwest and Rockies in the U.S. and Canada. What the legacy gives to or exacts from you is different for each person and a mystery only you can solve.

Caroline: Readers love series and this one definitely has a unique twist. Can you share a blurb?

Aileen: I'd love to.

Waking with amnesia in a body made for sin, Luka is a woman with an identity crisis. Not only doesn't she know her last name, why can't she remember the intense stranger with wolfen eyes who makes her want to howl with sexual hunger? Why has he accused her of a gruesome murder she knows she didn't commit?

Griffin is a wolf in mourning, sworn to bring his mate's killer to justice. His beloved Anya has just died of the bloodsong, a ritual magic forbidden among his people, in which the wolf can be called out in anyone, even humans such as Anya, who can't survive the transformation. How is it, then, that when he looks into her killer's eyes he sees not a murderess, but his own mysterious destiny?

Caroline: Sounds intriguing. What about an excerpt?

Aileen: This excerpt is rated R

“Dangerous. Why?

Do you think I can’t take every delicious inch of you? Do you think I can’t handle you?”

He blinked, astonished by this statement and apparently at a loss for words. It was, she had to admit, the single cheesiest thing she’d ever said aloud. She watched him trying to figure out how best to react, while at the same time maintaining that stern, “we aren’t going to have sex, no-way, no-how” attitude.

The longer they looked at one another without saying anything, the harder it was to keep a straight face. She couldn’t say who broke under pressure first, but suddenly both of them were laughing uncontrollably. She collapsed forward in hysterics, her forehead dropping against his chest.

A few seconds later, she realized he’d gone completely still.

He pounced.

Caroline: Ooh, you got me. Where can readers find your books?

Aileen: You can purchase WOLF'S DEN on The Wild Rose Press website at:


Or on Amazon at:


Caroline: How can readers learn more about you?

Aileen: Visit me at my blog, http://aileenharkwood.blogspot.com

Caroline: Thanks so much for stopping by, Aileen.

Aileen: Thanks for having me, Caroline.

This is the last day to comment to be entered in a drawing for our big gift basket including ten book downloads. The winner wil be announced August 31st.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Writing Dialects and Colloquialisms

I love using dialects and colloquialisms in my novels. My last two books have included Irish characters. Other books included Southerners and all my full-length novels include Texans with their unique colloquialisms and twang. But how much dialect or colloquialism is enough?

Thank you, I just knew you’d ask if I gave you a chance.

Flavoring a story with dialect is walking a fine line. Did you ever try to read the original UNCLE REMUS by Joel Harris? I’ll never forget the time I found an old copy at a used book store and decided to buy it for our daughters. They had loved the movie “Song of the South” with the perky little bluebird perched on Uncle Remus’ shoulder. They also loved the Disney book versions of “The Tar Baby” and “Br’er Rabbit and the Briar Patch.” Joel Harris—a white man who used dialect with NO regard to accuracy—wrote in such heavily-laden dialogue that it made my tongue tired before I’d finished the first page. We don’t want readers bearing that load—or putting down our books without finishing them!

When using a character who speaks with a foreign dialect, pick one or two words to use regularly for that person. For my Irish characters, I chose “me” instead of “my” and “o’” instead of “of.” In THE TEXAN’S IRISH BRIDE, I also used “tis” for “it is” in many places. In OUT OF THE BLUE, I used phrases and words common to Ireland. Gobsmacked is a word that tickles me, and I thank Glenys O’Connell for telling me about it. "Now wouldn't that be grand?" is another Irish phrase I like and used in THE TEXAN'S IRISH BRIDE.. Another, "Top o' the morning to you" and its answer, "And the rest o' the day to yourself" pleases me.  In THE TEXAN’S IRISH BRIDE, some characters are Irish Travelers, and they speak a language called Sheldroo mixed with Gaelic and English. I sparingly inserted a few Sheldroo words for color. Since I didn’t want to be forced to include a glossary, I made the meaning clear—I hope.

Word order is different for non-American peoples. Each country has phrases we associated with their residents. Modifiers occur after nouns instead of before in most non-English languages. By using the word order of the country from which the character has come, you can accomplish the rhythm and flavor of the language without using foreign words or dialect. For instance, “Stand up” can be “Will you be standing?” from an Irishman. “The grand ballroom” might be “the ballroom grand” for a Spanish speaker. You can see how word order lets readers know this is not a person to whom English is a native language.

Even British English is often different from American English. This can lead to humor—and to misunderstandings. Several years ago at a Dallas business dinner, a smitten young Texas man told a lovley young woman visiting from England that she should stay in America. She answered that she would if she could get a good screw here. In England, a “screw” is a job. She had no idea why dead silence greeted her around the table. Imagine her embarrassment later when she learned her faux pas. An author might use slang terms to create difficult situations for his or her characters.

Those of the South and Southwest use many colloquialisms not heard elsewhere. We actually say gotta, gonna, fixin’ to, betcha, awl for oil, and other mispronunciations that many people think are affectations. Not so. I hear them every time I’m in a group. We have our own funny sayings, too. “There’s people buried in the cemetery that feel better ‘n I do today,” is one that makes me smile in spite of the speaker’s discomfort. None of us say the classic "Forgettaboutit" of the Northeast.

In summary, you can see that there are many ways to accomplish dialect and colloquialisms in your writing. Don’t overdo! A gentle hand is better than a liberal dose.

Please leave a comment to be entered in my weekly drawing for a PDF download of one of my books. A follow counts as a second entry. So does a “like” on Facebook or Twitter.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Prize Winner and Editing Our Work

Congratulations to Pink Panther, winner of the weekly drawing! No not the Peter Sellers Pink Panther. This is someone who likes Pink Panther and uses it as an email address. I'll email her and let her know she won a PDF download of either OUT OF THE BLUE or NORTHERN ROSES AND SOUTHERN BELLES.

We edit our writing for several reasons: To check for typos; to eliminate unnecessary words and phrases; and to tighten writing and increase the pace. When I worked for a newspaper, we were not allowed to proof our own final work. We knew what we meant to say, which made catching errors difficult. Writers don't have co-workers helping read final drafts. We do have  critique partners, friends, and family members who can help read our final draft.

Checking for typos is not as easy as you'd imagine. Certainly Spell Check has helped all writers, but it will not highlight a wrong word or a homonym. If we type "red" for "read," for instance, our error sails past Spell Check because "red" is spelled correctly.

Eliminating unnecessary words. A writer friend needed to cut words to meet her publisher's word count. Deleting unnecessary conjunctions, "the," and "that" reduced her word count sufficiently. For instance, "The man who stood on the deck" would be "He stood on deck."  Connected prepositional phrases can create an unwieldy sentence. For instance, "He stood on the deck in the dark with the fog that was around him" could be "Swirling fog surrounded him on the dark deck." Better to eliminate the final prepositional phrase too, but I'm in a hurry this morning or I'll be late for church. LOL

Tightening text by rewriting and deleting are well worth our time. Tighter text equals faster pace. Fast pace keeps readers engaged.

Thanks for stopping. Please leave a comment.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Author Interview With Terry Spear and Weekly Giveaway

Please help me welcome author Terry Spear!

Hi, Caroline! Thanks so much for having me here!

Caroline: How did you get into writing as a career?

Terry: I’ve always loved to make up stories since I was young. My dad was a great oral storyteller also. So I believe I got my storytelling from him. He’d tell true stories about his youth, and his time as a prisoner-of-war in Germany during WWII. And he’d make up scary stories. So I’m sure that’s some of why I fell in love with making up stories, and reading other’s stories also greatly influenced my love of storytelling.

I started out writing children’s stories, partly because at the time I had small children and loved reading to them and teaching them to read. Breaking into the children’s market is extremely difficult. So I began writing a western historical romance, and found it’s also a tough market to sell to. Then I began working on the paranormal, and that’s where I finally found a home. I’d loved the paranormal, ghost stories, vampires, werewolves, all kinds of things that go bump in the night when I was growing up. You should love what you write, not write it just because a trend exists for it.

Caroline: Do you write full time or still have a day job?

Terry: I write full time and work full time (librarian) and teach online writing classes.
And no, I don’t have time to read books at the library while on the job, nor do I have time to write my own. (This is a question my coworkers often get asked.) But I do love working at the library because of the group we have to work with.

Caroline: You're a busy lady. What do you hope your writing brings to readers?

Terry: Just as books bring me a world to escape to and romance, heroes to fall in love with, heroines who I want to root for, that’s what I want to create. A place for readers to leave their own worlds behind for a while and enjoy the fictional ones I create.

Caroline: I agree, Terry. Those are admirable goals. What attracted you to werewolf stories?

Terry: I kept being told vampires had inundated the market and I had 4 of them written. But I LOVED writing them. So I thought I’d try something new. A creature who also has gotten a bad name for himself. The werewolf. And wolves also. I wanted to create a being that was real—the wolf half just as real. Someone who was loveable too. Not beastly, unless he’s the villain. And then even if he were human, he’d be just as beastly. I wanted to show wolf pack dynamics in both a wolves’ world and a humans’ when the human and wolf were the same.

Caroline: I hope you've also marketed your vampire stories. In what other genres do you write?

Terry: I write true stories for genealogy magazines and for nostalgia magazines, including the EX-POW Bulletin, true stories for Listen teen magazine. I also have written a number of contemporary romance tales for True Romance and True Confessions. And then I’ve written novels—urban fantasy romance in the form of werewolves, and also vampires. I love to write medieval Highland romances also. And teen romances of the paranormal variety. Oh, and yes, I still have two western historical romances!

Caroline: What a coincidence--I also write for genealogy publications. Who are your favorite authors?

Terry: Leslie Lafoy, for historical, and tons of others. And I loved Karen Moning’s Immortal Highlander. And Joy Nash’s Celtic Fire. Many, many others that I’m always finding. Like Heather Graham’s romantic suspenses, and Jayne Castle’s paranormal, and her historicals under the name of Amanda Quick. I love Sharon Latham’s historical romances also!

Caroline: Oh, I love Amanda Quick's books. Such quirky and intelligent heroines. Tell us about your writing process. Are you a plotter or a panzer?

Terry: Definitely a pantser. I write by the seat of my pants, only plotting out the hero and heroine’s goals, motivations for said goals, and how they meet in the beginning. Beyond that, the story unwinds as I write it.

Caroline: Do you have a writing schedule?

Terry: I write every bit of time I can squeeze in when I’m not working: in the morning before work, during lunch hour, and when I get home and any other free time I have. I have strict word count goals to meet each week or I’d never make my deadlines.

Caroline: Are you attending any conferences this year or scheduled as a speaker?

Terry: I attended RWA Nationals this July. I was really excited about it because I had my first literacy signing and Sourcebooks signing. But also, I was the keynote speaker at From the Heart RWA online chapter and I was really thrilled to be asked. I’ve only gone to two others Nationals, and so this was a grand adventure! Plus it was the first real vacation I’ve had for the last 3 years. Although only 2 days of it could be called a real vacation!

Caroline: Sigh, I wish I could have attended. Blog tours or other promotions?

Terry: On my website, I’ve listed all the dates I’ll be doing guest author blogs and interviews for the entire month of August for the release of Seduced by the Wolf. I’m really excited about the release as it’s the 5th book in the series, and many fans are interested in seeing Leidolf find his own mate since he’s been in the first 4 books and never gets the girl. But it truly won’t be easy, if possible at all. Not for want of trying, either!

Caroline: Series are always fan favorites. Any guilty pleasures or vices you’d care to share?

Terry: I LOVE gardening. If it wasn’t so hot here in the summer, I’d do more of it. But I love transforming weeds into a garden. And I LOVE making teddy bears. I have a baby birth bear I need to do, but it had to wait until after conference.

Caroline: When you’re not writing or working, what do you do to relax?

Terry:  Read!!! Sometimes I get a movie to watch. But mostly, I love to read, or listen to audio books.

Caroline: Reading is good mental exercise. What advice would you give to pre-published authors?

Terry:  Keep writing, revising and submitting. It’s the only way to get published. To not give up on yourself. To keep learning your craft. And the only way to make it is to finish writing the book and to send it off.

Caroline: Is there anything else you’d like to tell us about yourself?

Terry: Sometimes on my days off, I have to take wolfish naps!

Caroline: It's no wonder with you being so busy. Tell us about your latest release.

Terry: SEDUCED BY THE WOLF was based on a real wolf biologist’s story of discovering a wolf with pups that had lost her mate. I took that kernel of an idea and developed Cassie Roux, werewolf wolf biologist.  Leidolf Wildhaven had taken over an abused wolf pack, and so between trying to get them back on their feet, deal with teen troubles, and a number of problem wolves, he’s got his hands full. But nothing like when he learns Cassie’s a lone red wolf and he sets his sights on her!

Blurb: His first priority is to protect his pack...

Werewolf pack leader Leidolf Wildhaven has just taken over a demoralized pack. With rogue wolves on the loose causing havoc and the authorities from the zoo suddenly zeroing in on the local wolf population, the last thing he needs in his territory is a do-gooder female, no matter how beautiful and enticing she is...

She'll do anything to help wolves...

Biologist Cassie Roux has dedicated her life to protecting wolves in the wild. On a desperate mission to help a she-wolf with newborn pups, the last thing Cassie needs right now is a nosy and entirely too attractive werewolf pack leader trying to track her down...

With rogue wolves and hunters threatening at every turn, Cassie and Leidolf may find their attraction the most dangerous force of all...

Caroline: Sounds fascinating. Can you give us an excerpt?

Terry: Excerpt from Seduced by the Wolf (G-Rating), Cassie and Leidolf’s first date, only she knows what he is, and he doesn’t realize what she is—her wolf instincts are getting the best of her though.:

Leidolf couldn’t figure out Cassie’s mixed messages.

One minute, she seemed resigned—like when she agreed to eat with him. She was skittish again when she entered the club and then panicky when he mentioned the wolf.

He knew for sure she’d seen one, then. But where? And was it one of his reds? Or was it a plain, old gray wolf, nothing to really worry about? He waited for her to answer his query: where had she seen the wolf?

She hesitated, took a sip of water, and glanced over at their waiter, George, as he brought their meals. She smiled at him and placed the napkin on her lap, totally ignoring Leidolf’s question.

As soon as George put the food down, asked if they needed anything else, and then hurried off, she eyed Leidolf’s tenderloin. If he hadn’t thought she was a vegetarian because of the dish she’d ordered and because of her comment about red meat not being good for him, he would have sworn she wanted some of his roast.

He cut up a portion of it, slid his plate over, and smiled. “Won’t kill you. I promise.”

Her gaze switched from him to his meat again, and she began to shake her head and decline, but he insisted. She wanted it. Probably concerned about her figure. She had nothing to worry about in that regard from what he could tell.

“Go ahead, Cassie.”

She looked up at him. “You said you hadn’t eaten and you’re hungry.”

He chuckled. “Pass over some of your rabbit food. We can share.”

Still, she hesitated.

He eyed her mushrooms sautéed in a spicy sauce along with spinach and broccoli, carrots, and potatoes. “Looks a lot better than my plain old baked potato.”

She twisted her mouth a little and considered his tenderloin again. “Are you sure?”

© Terry Spear, 2009

Caroline: Great excerpt, Terry. I love that she knows his secret but he doesn't know hers. Where can readers find your books?

Terry: At all the major bookstores and online ones like B&N.com and Amazon.

Caroline: How can readers learn more about you?

Terry:  At http://www.terryspear.com/







So what do you think? Could you handle a little wolf?

Caroline: Yes, I'm looking forward to reading your book. Terry, thank you so much for spending time here. Best of luck in the future!

Terry: Thanks so much, readers,  for stopping by and commenting! And thanks again for having me here, Caroline!   "Giving new meaning to the term alpha male."

Comments will be entered into the weekly drawing. A follow counts as a second entry. The winner will be announced on Monday.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

English Author Maya Blake Interviewed and Great Giveaway Prizes

Please welcome fellow The Wild Rose Press author, Maya Blake. Maya, please introduce yourself to readers.

Hi, I’m Maya Blake, I’m a thirty-something romance writer whose life-long dream of writing finally came to true last year when my debut novel HOSTAGE TO LOVE was published by The Wild Rose Press. I’m the fourth of five siblings and I live in Kent, England with my husband and two adorable (in my opinion, lol) kids.

CC: Who are your favorite authors and favorite genres?

MB: Since romance is my first love when it comes to reading, most of my favorite authors are romance writers. Michelle Reid, Lucy Monroe, Penny Jordan are a few of my Harlequin Presents favorites, but last year I discovered Anna Campbell, a historical romance writer, who blew me completely away and is now a firm favorite. I also enjoy reading crime thrillers, so authors like Deaver, Baldacci and Grisham are on my auto-buy list.

CC: Good choices. How many books do you read a month? What are you reading now?

MB: Since becoming a “serious” writer, my reading has taken an enormous hit. Where I used to read about six books a month, I’ve had to cut down to two or three, which is a shame since reading is a passion of mine. Just like my writing to tend to flit from book to book, which means I could be reading about three books at the same time, so to answer your question, right now I’m reading The Brunelli Baby Bargain by Kim Lawrence, Pure Princess, Bartered Bride by Caitlin Crews and The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold, lol!

CC: When you’re not writing, what’s your favorite way to relax and recharge? Hobbies?

MB: Reading is my go-to hobby. I always have books stashed in various parts of the house just in case I get a minute, but for the ultimate relaxation, it’s my hammock, a book and a glass of wine. A very close second is watching movies with my husband. I love my kids immeasurably, but I wouldn’t call them a hobby, no way!

CC: Kids are definitely a full-time job, aren’t they? Would you like to share any guilty pleasures that feed your muse?

MB: Oh dear, my muse is as flighty as I am, unfortunately! One day it could be music, other days it could be chocolate or complete silence. She arrives, makes demands and I simply have to accommodate her!

CC: My muse always responds to chocolate. LOL  How long have you been writing?

MB: I started writing when I was thirteen, but the usual angst-ridden teenage life got in the way, followed by “real life”, I guess. It wasn’t until I was on maternity leave with my second child five years ago that I picked up the pen again. My first manuscript was completed a month after I went back to work.

CC: Where do you prefer to write? Do you need quiet, music, solitude? PC or laptop?

MB: I can write pretty much anywhere and I don’t really mind background noise as long as it’s IN the background. My preferred place to write, though, is in bed, laptop on my lapdesk and my iPod and a cold drink close by; writing is thirsty work!

CC: Yes, it is. Are you a plotter or a pantzer?

MB: When I started writing I was a complete pantzer, but I’ve had to learn to plot for the sake of contests and proposals. My crit partners and I now have awesome Skype sessions where we get together to plot stories. That said, sometimes I will deviate from a plot just to see where the characters and the muse take me.

CC: A plot is really just a road map, and it’s nice to take detours along the way. Do you use real events or persons in your stories?

MB: Not really. I may have used a name or an observation in the past in a story, for example, I saw girl with a spider tattoo on her foot and it sparked the idea of writing a story with an arachnophobic heroine.

CC: Great! Do you do your research before you begin a new project, or as you go along?

MB: Once the story is fully formed in my head or sketched roughly on paper, I just tend to run with it and research later. I think most writers come to a point when the words don’t quite flow as rapidly as we’d like and I use times like those to do my research. Often, it helps the story unfold quicker.

CC: Research does spark ideas. Tell us about your writing schedule. Do you set goals? Do you write daily?

MB: I’d love to say I set goals and keep to them or that I write daily. Unfortunately, holding down a full time job and the demands of family means that I can only write when I have or make the time. My husband is very good at taking the kids off my hands when he knows I have a self-imposed deadline and that helps a lot. Generally I try and write after my kids are in bed and the home settled down for the night.

CC: With a full-time job away from home plus children and a husband, I think you must be very efficient to find time for writing books. What is your day job?

MB: I hold down a full-time job at a law firm in the City of London.

CC: Sigh, I love visiting the City of London. What do you hope your writing brings to readers?

MB: My aim is bring to readers what I myself look for in books – heartfelt warmth, affinity with three-dimensional characters and a hard-fought-for but very well deserved happy ending. If there’s a neat twist thrown in there somewhere, even better!

CC: What advice would you give to pre-published authors?

MB: Never give up. A rejection letter from another publisher only fuelled my desire to be published and led to HOSTAGE TO LOVE being accepted by The Wild Rose Press six weeks later.

CC: Perseverance is the key. Tell us about your latest release.

MB: Here’s a blurb:

Crushed by betrayal, Belle Winkworth-Jones flees the shambles of her short-lived marriage, only to be kidnapped by a vicious rebel soldier determined to keep her for himself. Nick Andreakos mounts a ruthless rescue to save the wife who walked away from him, even though he's resentful Belle could dismiss their marriage so easily

MB: And here’s an excerpt: (PG)

Belle jerked awake as a loud blast ripped through the cave, her eyes unprepared for the blinding, strobe flashes of light that lit up the dark cavern a second later. Squinting, she saw the flashes continue intermittently for several seconds, then stop. She lurched from her position propped up against the wall and wondered for a moment if she was still dreaming.

The screams from a few feet away told her she wasn’t.

She’d stayed awake long after the rebel leader retired behind his curtain, unable to sleep for fear he might vent his anger on Father Tom.

She’d also contemplated what she would do after nature ran its course. She’d bought them three days, four at the most. What would happen after that? Could she willingly let the loathsome man touch her for the sake of keeping one or all of them alive? And what guarantee did she have that he wouldn’t harm Father Tom?

The idea that perhaps they could overpower two of the soldiers, steal their weapons and make a run for it, she immediately discarded as foolish, and dangerous. She’d slumped, dejected, against the wall of the cave. That’s when she must’ve fallen asleep.

Dizzy and momentarily blinded by the flashes, she jumped as Edda screamed again. What was happening? Had the rebel leader decided they weren’t worth keeping and blasted the cave, burying them alive? Curiously though, the walls of the cave remained intact. She blinked a few times to dispel the blindness. Nothing happened.

A staccato burst of muffled gunfire sounded close by. But the gunfire was inside the cave, not outside. Which meant the rebels were still inside. Something brushed against her and she bit back a scream.

‘It’s all right lass, it’s me,’ Father Tom whispered close to her. ‘I told yer we’d be rescued today.’

Rescued! Why hadn’t she thought of that? Her spirits soared. Then plummeted.

CC: Wow, I’m intrigued. Where can readers find your books?

MB: My books are available from The Wild Rose Press, Amazon, Amazon Kindle, All Romance ebooks, Barnes & Noble, Fictionwise and MbaM, to name a few.

CC: How can readers learn more about you?

MB: Readers can stay in touch with me in various ways:




Buy Hostage To Love here

CC: Thank you, Maya, for sharing your life and your writing with us today.

MB: Thank you so much for having me here today, Caroline. Your blog is beautiful and I feel at home already!

Readers! Remember to post today and next Wednesday to be entered in the big Gift Basked Drawing on the 30th.

Comments today also will be entered in my weekly prize drawing for a PDF file of one of my books.
This is a win-win situation!

Monday, August 16, 2010

The Texan's Irish Bride

Please enjoy the trailer to my new book, which will be available from the Wild Rose Press and can be pre-ordered in print or electronic form today. In addition to the Wild Rose Press, the print and ebook will be available from amazon and other retailers starting September 4th.

Progress and Solitude and Friends---and Prize Winner

The winer of her choice of download from my books is Loretta. I've emailed Loretta to ask which book she prefers.

Have you thought about the changes technology has made in our lives in just the past five years? Good things are the price of computers came down, the price of various e-readers came down, and cell phones improved tremendously. Those great television sets have decreased in price, too. There are thousands more books available as e-books to download to your e-reader or computer or phone. Life looks pretty good now, doesn't it? So what's bad about progress?

Many people count on their phones and computers to contact their friends, but spend far less face-to-face time with friends. Some people even text or talk on the phone when they're out to dinner with friends. Hero and I were in an Olive Garden recently. A family of five was seated near us. Four of the five spent most of the meal on the phone. Family togetherness? I think not. For one thing, if you are dining with me, don't talk on your phone. I subscribe to the theory of Tom Hanks' character in "Sleepless In Seattle." If you're not bleeding and no one has been kidnapped, the call can wait. Oops, there I go on another of my soap boxes.

Psychologists say that getting together with friends produces the best endorphins. We don't need to run to get a runner's high--we can go to a meeting or dine with friends and achieve the same benefit. Not only does it help that day, but the residual flows over for a couple of days. In other words, to be happy and well balanced, we need friends face-to-face.

Writing is a solitary profession. We sit facing the desktop or laptop computer for hours, even days at a time. If I didn't have Hero to keep me balanced, I'd probably only leave my cave when hunger struck or nature called or I keeled over to sleep for a few hours.

I remember a favorite scene in "Romancing The Stone" when Kathleen Turner's character--a single romance writer--finished her book. There were sticky notes throughout her apartment with reminders to buy food, buy tissues, etc. Sound familiar? The point of this diatribe is that friends are not just nice to have.

We need friends!

Join writers groups, church groups, civic groups, whatever. Don't let yourself become isolated. It's not healthy mentally or physically.

Please leave your email in your comment to enter my weekly prize drawing. A follow counts as a second entry. Like me on Facebook for another entry. My Twitter name is CarolinClemmons with no E in Caroline due to space constrainst. This just goes on and on, doesn't it? Ahh, that's progress.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Interview With Author Elaine Cantrell

Please help me welcome today’s guest, author Elaine Cantrell. Elaine, readers love to get to know authors. Please tell us about growing up. Please share anything that lets readers get to know the real you.

EC: I grew up in a small town in upstate South Carolina. If I ever got in trouble my parents would know about it before I even got home! I have one sister who now lives in Alaska. Growing up, I’d have to say I was a bit of a tomboy. My heroes all rode horses, so I hounded Mama and Daddy night and day until they bought me a palomino mare by the name of Stardust. My goodness, didn’t I have fun! I’d saddle up and go riding for hours at a time. But when I discovered boys, I didn’t have so much time for the horses.

After I graduated from high school I attended Clemson University (Go Tigers!) and later married a young man whom I met when I was working a summer job between semesters at school. We’re still married even after a lot of years have gone by. We have two fine sons, three exceptional grandchildren, and a host of pets who think they are people.

When I’m not writing I enjoy reading, collecting vintage Christmas ornaments, going to flea markets, eating out, and getting together with my friends.

CC: Oh, I collect vintage Christmas ornaments. Who are your favorite authors and favorite genres?

EC: One of my favorite authors is Elizabeth Peters who also writes as Barbara Michaels. I love the way she combines romance, adventure, and humor. I also like Larry McMurtry, Karen White, Karen Kingsbury, Stephenie Meyer, and the list goes on and on. As far as genres go, I read just about anything.

CC: How many books do you read a month? What are you reading now?

EC: If I’m working, maybe two; but if I’m on vacation I can do as many as four. Right now, I’m reading LANCELOT’S LADY by Cherish D’Angelo.

CC: Would you like to share any guilty pleasures that feed your muse?

EC: Can we count vanilla ice cream with chocolate syrup? When I get stuck, a bowl of ice cream sure helps.

CC: They certainly count with me! How long have you been writing?

EC: I started writing in 2001. I looked at that darn computer screen for fifteen minutes before I could type a word, but once I got started I couldn’t stop. I still can’t.

CC: Where do you prefer to write? Do you need quiet, music, solitude? PC or laptop?

EC: I used to write in my office on my PC, but the computer died and couldn’t be resurrected, so my husband bought me a laptop. I can write anywhere with that thing, but I have a favorite recliner that gets a lot of use. It has to be quiet though. If there’s any noise I can’t concentrate.

CC: Are you a plotter or a panzer?

EC: I have a starting point, and I know where I want to end up, but everything in between I make it up as I go.

CC: Do you use real events or persons in your stories?

EC: No, usually not, although I have done it a few times. I did it in a manuscript called Turnaround Farm. Turnaround Farm doesn’t have a home yet, but I’m looking. My hero was called Dan, and when my husband read some of the manuscript, he really liked Dan. He liked Dan better than he did my Richard, my hero in RETURN ENGAGEMENT, and Richard was always my favorite. I later realized why. Dan is my husband with a different name!

CC: Do you do your research before you begin a new project, or as you go along?

EC: Most of it I do before I start the project, but as I write I usually find there’s something else I need to know, so it’s back to research mode. I do the research mostly on the internet.

CC: Tell us about your writing schedule. Do you set goals? Do you write daily?

EC: I do write daily, but I don’t set goals. I know when it’s time to quit or push on. I like to get up and have breakfast, then check my email. After that I write until lunch time. I take the afternoon off, and after dinner I’ll proof what I wrote that morning.

CC: Oh, you’re a morning person. I envy you. Do you write full time or do you have a day job. If you have a day job, what is it?

EC: I do have a day job. I teach high school social studies, so the writing schedule I gave you is for the summertime. During the school year I write anytime I can grab a spare minute for myself.

CC: What do you hope your writing brings to readers?

EC: I’d like for them to feel as if they’ve experienced the story right along with the heroine (or hero). I’d like them to sigh when the book ends because it was such a good story they hate to let it go.

CC: What advice would you give to pre-published authors?

EC: Simple. Don’t give up. There are a lot of options out there today, and one of them will be a good fit.

CC: I agree, Elaine. I think of Winston Churchill saying, “Never, never, never give up.” Is there anything else you’d like to tell us about yourself?

EC: I’d like to ask them to send me a friend request on My Space and Facebook. You can never have too many friends.

CC: That’s a great idea, but I’m still learning how to use those tools. Tell us about your latest release.

EC: I was hoping you’d ask! LOL. My new release is titled RETURN ENGAGEMENT, and I’ve been writing it in my head for years. Once I finally got it on paper I bet I rewrote that thing ten different times, but it was worth it in the end. I love the way it turned out. My hero, Richard is a compilation of all the heroic traits I admire. He’d be too good to be true if not for his faults. He’s awfully quick tempered, and he doesn’t stop to think things through. It gets him in hot water sometimes, but it’s impossible to stay mad with him.

My heroine is a woman who’s had to cope with a lot in her lifetime. She faced all of her challenges with grace, and now she’s in a good place. If she pursues a relationship with Richard she’ll jeopardize everything she’s worked so hard for.


Elizabeth Lane has heard the call of the four most seductive words in the entire English language: what might have been. Would you risk everything you hold dear to find out what might have been? That’s the choice which Elizabeth has to make.

Elizabeth is lucky, for she has it all, money, fame, a satisfying career and a devoted fiancé. Her humble beginnings are all but obscured, but she isn’t the kind of woman Senator Henry Lovinggood wants for his son, Richard. Senator Lovinggood plans to make Richard the President of the United States; he’ll need a woman from a wealthy, powerful family by his side. Ten years ago he broke Richard and Elizabeth up, but this time it won’t be so easy, for Elizabeth wants to know what might have been. This time she’ll fight back, a struggle which ultimately leads to kidnapping and attempted murder and alienates her from the man of her dreams.


This excerpt is PG. It takes place when Richard and Elizabeth meet on the beach after a ten year separation. They go to a beach front carnival, and now they are walking back to their cars.

“Look at the moon, Richard. Have you ever seen anything so big and beautiful? Isn’t it lovely the way it’s reflecting off the water?”

“Yes, but not as lovely as you are.” Richard made a sound of disgust. “That is so trite. You’d think I could do better, but all evening I’ve had trouble saying what I mean.”

Elizabeth laughed. “Maybe it’s because you’re trying too hard, but for the record, I think you’re doing just fine.” She shivered and hunched her shoulders as she hugged herself. “That wind is cold.”

Richard immediately removed his jacket and handed it to her. “Here, put this on.”

“Won’t you be cold?”

“I’m fine. I’ve got on long sleeves and that’s enough.” His eyes twinkled in the moonlight. “In fact, I kind of like the idea of you wearing my clothes. Sounds like high school, huh?”

The chilly wind that blew across the moon-drenched water snatched Elizabeth’s laughter away. “Who cares? Sometimes it’s nice to be as irresponsible as a teenager.”

Richard tugged on her hand. “Let’s sit down and watch the moon awhile.”

Elizabeth willingly sank into the damp sand and cuddled close beside him. My gosh the man had muscles she hadn’t known even existed!

“Richard, about this evening….”

“Elizabeth, about Alex….”

“You go first,” Elizabeth urged. Her shoulders marginally relaxed. She wasn’t looking forward to telling him she couldn’t see him again.

“All right, I will.” Richard turned slightly, an almost angry look on his face. “What the hell do you think you’re doing getting yourself engaged to Alex Crawford? It’s obvious to a blind man that you don’t love him. You’ve been teasing me and flirting with me all evening. You’ve even kissed me.” He stirred up the butterflies in her stomach when he gently caressed her shoulder. “Right now your body language makes me think if I wanted to take this snuggling any further you’d be willing.”

“Wha…” Elizabeth sputtered.

“You don’t strike me as the type of woman who’d pick a man for a night of sex and then go back to her fiancé like nothing had happened. If that’s true I don’t think you love Alex as much as you think you do. The question is: what are you going to do about it?”

Elizabeth moaned and hid her face in her hands. Richard expected this surprise meeting to lead to something more that a hot dog on the beach, a casual meeting between two old…friends. I’ve done enough damage for one evening; I’m going home before I cause any more trouble. I’ve betrayed Alex and given Richard hope for a relationship with me when there is no hope.

She tried to jump up, but Richard grabbed her and held her close. “The wind is cold, and you can think just as well, no better, in my arms.”

Elizabeth gave up the effort to get away from him. There was no way she could argue with those hard, muscled arms. “Yeah, right. Being in your arms clarifies everything! I’m so confused I don’t know if I’m coming or going,” she cried. “I do love Alex. I do! That’s why I agreed to marry him, but with you I feel like a different person.

“I know I shouldn’t have flirted with you and kissed you, but I couldn’t help myself.” Her eyes misted with tears. “I didn’t want to help myself. It’s like it was ten years ago only better because now nobody can accuse me of corrupting a minor. You asked me what I’m going to do, but to tell you the truth, I don’t know. The only thing I’m sure of is that I don’t think I can stand it if you walk away again.”

Elizabeth threw her hands over her burning face again. “What kind of woman am I? I haven’t seen you in ten years, yet here I am leading you on and encouraging you to… What’s wrong with me!”

Richard jerked her hands away from her face and kissed them. “From my point of view things have finally taken a turn for the better.” Satisfaction oozed from his voice.

“You’re willing to admit you don’t want to lose me. It’s taken ten years, but we’re back where we belong-together. Everything I ever felt for you came back the minute you spoke to me.” His voice lowered and became husky and persuasive. “Don’t tell me you didn’t feel it too.”

“I…” Elizabeth fell silent. After all; what could she say?

“Let me help you make up your mind about what to do.” Richard pushed her back into the sand and kissed her, a delicate, brushing of lips that deepened as hearts caught fire.

CC: Great excerpt! Makes me want to buy the book. Where can readers find your books?

EC: RETURN ENGAGEMENT is available at
You can find out about my other books at my web site http://www.elainecantrell.com

CC: How can readers learn more about you?

EC: My web site is http://www.elainecantrell.com
My blog is http://www.elainepcantrell.blogspot.com
My My Space page is http://www.myspace.com/elainecantrell
My Facebook page is http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#!/profile.php?id=100000153041486

CC: Thanks for coming, Elaine.

EC: Thanks for letting me come, Caroline. I’ve enjoyed the interview very much.

Comments will enter you in my weekly drawing. I'll leave Elaine's interview up two days, so I'll announce this week's winner on Monday. The prize is a PDF file of one of my books.

Especially comment each Wednesday in August to be entered in the prize drawing for the Wild Roses Blog Tour. This coming Wednesday, Maya Blake will be my guest here while I'm a guest at Lilly Gayle's blog.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Interview With Author, Christine De Petrillo

Please help me welcome Christine DePetrillo today. Christine is author, teacher, wife, and animal lover. She lives in Rhode Island.

CC: Readers love to get to know authors. Please tell us about growing up. Siblings? Locale? Were you the shy kid or the tomboy? Share anything that lets readers get to know the real you.

CDP: I grew up in Rhode Island, the tiniest state in the USA. I’ve got a younger brother and all the kids in my neighborhood were boys, so I was the tomboy. I dug in the dirt right alongside them, and to be honest, haven’t stopped digging. I love dirt. The smell of it, the texture, its magical ability to grow stuff.

CC: Who are your favorite authors and favorite genres?

CDP: I like anything romance. Nora Roberts, Sandra Brown, Annette Blair, Kristan Higgins. I also read Laurell K. Hamilton when I want some darker stuff.

CC: How many books do you read a month? What are you reading now?

CDP: Well, my husband says that every time he turns around, I’ve got another book in my hand, so I guess I read a lot in a month. I just finished BLACK HILLS, by Nora Roberts. I’ve moved on to reading a kid’s book next, because I teach fifth grade when I’m not writing.

CC: I loved BLACK HILLS. Of course, I love everything Nora writes. My husband never complains about my reading, because he reads more than I do. When you’re not writing, what’s your favorite way to relax and recharge? Hobbies?

CDP: I like to exercise to recharge and read or enjoy the great outdoors when relaxing. As far as hobbies, I like active ones—like remodeling houses.

CC: Oooh, I’ve always wanted to buy run down houses and remodel them. Would you like to share any guilty pleasures that feed your muse?

CDP: Ice cream.

CC: Yumm. How long have you been writing?

CDP: Forever, but more seriously in the last ten years or so.

CC: Where do you prefer to write? Do you need quiet, music, solitude? PC or laptop?

CDP: Outside on my patio. My backyard is a National Wildlife Federation certified habitat, so I get lots of critters to cheer me on when I write. I can write with or without music and with or without company. I’m very good at tuning other people out if I’ve got writing to do. Laptop all the way. I will never be tied to a desk again.

CC: What a great place to write! Are you a plotter or a panzer?

CDP: Plotter. Got to have a road map. I veer off those roads like a DWI waiting to happen, but I need something to get organized.

CC: I totally agree. Got to have a road map, even if you take detours along the way. Do you use real events or persons in your stories?

CDP: Sometimes, but never exactly the real event or real person.

CC: Do you do your research before you begin a new project, or as you go along?

CDP: A little of both. I may research a place for a setting first to get started, or a certain career that a character is going to have, but other things usually pop up that need googling during the writing process.

CC: Tell us about your writing schedule. Do you set goals? Do you write daily?

CDP: I write every day. When I’m teaching, I shoot for four pages a day and write between the hours of 7 PM to 11 PM. In the glorious summer, I write eight to twelve pages a day and usually from noon to 5 PM.

CC: My, you use your time well. What do you hope your writing brings to readers?

CDP: Mostly, a laugh and some hope that love can handle anything.

CC: What advice would you give to pre-published authors?

CDP: Sit down and write. Don’t talk about doing it. Do it.

CC: Great advice. Tell us about your latest release.

CDP: My latest release will be ALASKA HEART, coming September 24th from The Wild Rose Press. Here’s the back cover blurb for it:

Alaska is supposed to be cold, so why is Alanna Cormac on fire?

Sent on a dream assignment to Denali National Park, nature magazine writer Alanna Cormac has no intentions of falling in love with Dale Ramsden, sexy Iditarod winner. When Dale, his family, and even his eighteen sled dogs charm their way into her heart, however, Alanna’s fast-track New York instincts crumble. The Alaskan landscape and the caress of a man too good to be true ignite feelings she never had time to explore before. Feelings that have her so blissfully busy she’s unaware she’s being watched. Judged. Targeted.

She’s next.

Love will either save her or swallow her whole. Is there even a difference?

CC: That certainly intrigues me enough to buy the book. Can you give us an excerpt?

CDP: PG Excerpt:

“When you turn around, look first. You can grab your camera after. Okay?”

“Okay.” The anticipation buzzed through me. Or was it being so close to Dale?

With a little nudge, Dale spun me around, and a gasp caught in my throat. His hands closed over my shoulders, anchoring me, keeping me earthbound amongst what had to be heaven.

Rising above all the other mountains in the distance, Mount McKinley reached into the cerulean Alaskan sky like a white giant. Its peaks were arrowheads of rock encrusted in snow that glistened magically in the pink of the late afternoon sunlight. How incredibly small I was, like a speck of dust in comparison to the majesty of McKinley.

“Oh, Dale…” My voice was nothing more than a rasp. I let my pack drop to my feet and leaned back against him. He folded his arms around me and squeezed. When I thought the moment couldn’t get any closer to perfection, he loosened my scarf enough to nuzzle his cold nose against my neck. Though I initially shivered at the contact, he quickly warmed the spot with the heat of his lips.

Giving McKinley another look, I turned around to face Dale. He trailed his lips over my cheek and finally to my mouth where he did things that made my head spin. Our lips parted as we tasted, savored each other. Great Goddess, I had shut myself off for too long. Or maybe I’d been waiting. Waiting for him.

Whatever the case, Dale unlocked emotions in me. My heart thudded wildly in my chest. My skin longed to have Dale’s fingers spread across every inch of it. My lips wanted him to never stop kissing me.

“Take your pictures, Alanna.” The words were a whisper. “And let’s go.”

CC: Wow, vivid imagery! Where can readers find your books?

CDP: To order ALASKA HEART, visit me at www.christinedepetrillo.blogspot.com on September 24th. Click on the ALASKA HEART cover and it’ll take to where you can buy it. My other books from Whispers Publishing are also on this site. Also visit me and six of my writing gal pals at our group blog called A Pinch of Romance at www.apinchofromance.blogspot.com.

CC: Christine, thanks for stopping by to visit today.

Don't forget the August blog tour ends on the 25th with a great giveaway of FREE books downloads and a free banner. Be sure to comment today to enter, and follow the tour each Wednesday.

Check Rae Summers blog at http://raesummers.wordpress.com/ today where I'm Rae's guest.

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Prize Giveaways and Writing--What's the Connection?

The winner of my weekly prize giveaway for August 7th is FIONA CHAN. Fiona, please email me to tell me your email address. You have your choice of a PDF download of the Civil War anthology NORTHERN ROSES AND SOUTHERN BELLES in which my novella LONG WAY HOME appears, or my June release OUT OF THE BLUE, which is a time travel in which a woman travels from 1845 Ireland to modern Texas to help a police detective discover the murderer who shot him and killed his partner, framed him for a drug scandal, and almost succeeded in other murders.

This is a BIG month for giveaways. I'm participating in the Long and Short Reviews webiste owners big Third Anniversary "Long And Short Of It" Celebration. They're giving away THREE Nook e-readers in their scanvenger hunt which lasts from August 2-29th. You can check the rules and the sites involved at http://www.longandshortreviews.com/ Each of these Nooks comes loaded with ebooks from the participants and a fifty dollar gift certificate to Barnes and Noble.Wow!

August is also when some of The Wild Rose Press authors are having a Wednesday Blog Tour, at the end of which a lucky visitor will receive a gift basket of PDF books from participating authors plus a banner from Aileen Harkwood. Participating blogs are as follows: Aileen Harkwood, Amber Leigh Williams; Caroline Clemmons (here, but you guessed that, right?), Catherine Bybee, Christine De Petrillo (scan down the page past her books to find the interview), Lauri Robinson, Lilly Gayle, Maya Blake, Rae Summers, and Sandra Sookoo. We're trading blogs and will be rotating through various blogs on Wednesdays this month. Follow us if you can for a chance at this fabulous gift basket.

What do these prize giveaways have to do with writing? Good question. This is one way in which authors hope to attract readers to their blogs and websites. We hope that with this exposure, you will remember our names and buy our books. If you win a book, we hope you find you love our writing voice and style and will want to buy our future books. We take pleasure in the sharing of these characters who have become real to us. No, they aren't just mere names on a page to their creators. The people about whom we write--while we're writing their stories--become alive, friends or enemies whose tale we must relate. If you read a book you enjoy, let the author know! That's what we live for after all---the knowledge that a reader/readers loved our books.

Doesn't that empower you? You have the power to touch an author's heart.

Writers don't write for money. Of course, we don't turn it down. We are humans, after all, and love fat advances and fatter royalty checks. Few of us receive those, however. So what keeps us writing? Our primary purpose is to tell our stories and share them with readers.  With you! You keep us going!

Friday, August 06, 2010

Bad Haircuts and Bad Writing

Don't forget to comment today for my Saturday prize drawing. Please include your email with your comment.

Also, please keep in mind The Wild Rose authors blog tour each Wednesday this month. I'll reming you on Tuesday so you'll know the urls.

Have you ever had a bad haircut? I don't mean a little shorter than you itended--I mean awful, terrible, horrible?

Darling 1 came for the weekend a week ago. We decided, spur of the moment, to have our hair cut. My hairdresser doesn't work in Saturdays, so we got appointments with someone a friend had recommended. We picked out photos from magazines in the shop. Darling 1 went first. and the beautician cut Darling 1's hair exactly like the photo. Exactly. Perfectly. Let me explain Darling 1's hair. She inherited wonderfully textured, thick, glossy hair from my mother-in-law.

On the other hand, I inherited my mom's thin (and sparse), fine, flimsy hair.  I showed the photo I'd chosen to the hair stylist. She smiled and began. When it was short, she reached for her razor and told me there were too many dry ends. Okay, I might, maybe, most of the time, have my hair highlighted. It might need a little help, I admit. But next, she started whacking off hair right and left. Help! I've been punked! She cut, cut, cut. Anyone remember how Billy Idol wore his hair?  I didn't leave the house the next day. Not for church, not to help my friend Elaine deliver a meal to one of our charitable causes. Instead Darling 1 and Hero took the food for me. When I went out on Monday, I wore a hat. Yes, a hat. One of those big floppy beach hats. Sigh.

I know even bad hair cuts grow eventually. I can already almost style it. My friends have been supportive and told me it looked cute. In woman talk that means they're too kind to tell me it looks ridiculous.

So, what does this have to do with writing? It reminds me that even a bad chapter or scene can be helped. Given time, and lots of rewrites, the story will improve. Nora Roberts is reported to have said, "I can edit crap but I can't edit a blank page." Whatever is good enough for Nora is good enough for me! Right now, my hair is crap, but time will edit it.  In the meantime, I can stick close to the computer, keep my head down, and write. I can always edit if it doesn't turn out well.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Welcome Guest Author Catherine Bybee

Please help me welcome author Catherine Bybee. Catherine, thank you for visiting today.
Readers love to get to know authors. Please tell us about growing up. Siblings? Locale?  Were you the shy kid or the tomboy? Share anything that lets readers get to know the real you.

CB: Thank you for having me on your blog today, Caroline. Since you write historical and paranormal books, I’ll be talking about my time travel trilogy, which has elements of both. You asked me about my childhood and what made me the person I am today. I grew up outside of Seattle in a tight little house with three bedrooms and one bathroom. *rolls eyes* Some days I can’t imagine only having one commode. I had three siblings, two older and one younger. I don’t think I was born with a shy bone in my body. But I did spend an awful lot of time with my head in a book… once I discovered romance novels that is.

CC: Oh, my, I remember the days of one bathroom per family. Who are your favorite authors and favorite genres?

CB: Romance… Romance… Romance – I read Paranormal Romance, Contemporary Romance, Erotic Romance, Historical Romance, Romantic Suspense. I even read Western Romance, but not as much as the others. I do have a lot of authors on my TBR list that write westerns. My critique partner writes M/M romance primarily, so I read that as well. Sadly, all M/M romance ends up in the erotic category, when most of the books I’ve read could easily be in the mainstream section of the bookstores. As for a favorite author? Kathleen Woodwiss started my crazy obsession with her epic books, Nora Roberts has to be acknowledged, and so many more I can’t even count.

CC: I was fortunate enough to hear Kathleen Woodiwiss speak in Houston and met her afterward. Have a treasured photo of us together. But I digress. How many books do you read a month? What are you reading now?

CB: I try and read 2 full length books a month or more and 4 short stories. Again, I read a lot for my critique partners, so they keep me busy.

CC: When you’re not writing, what’s your favorite way to relax and recharge? Hobbies?

CB: Scrapbooking, sewing… Yoga! I just love Yoga. I suck at it, but it’s a great way to relax.

CC: I agree, yoga is relaxing. I  especially like the breathing exercises. Would you like to share any guilty pleasures that feed your muse?

CB: Sometimes I need to read a sensual story to help with some moods and scenes. A good glass of wine goes a long way, too.

CC: How long have you been writing?

CB: Four years of serious writing. A decade of starts without a single finish.

CC: Where do you prefer to write? Do you need quiet, music, solitude? PC or laptop?

CB: Laptop and no music please. If the kids are home, it’s easier to promo than to write new stuff.

Knock, knock…

“Mom, my brother did this…”

“No I didn’t!”

“Yes you did.”

“No way.”

“Yes way.”

Cathy’s head meets Cathy’s desk – Ker plunk!

 CC giggles: Yes, I remember those days. My favorite was, "She looked at me." But, back to the interview. Are you a plotter or a panzer?

CB: Pantser all the way baby! Oh, I have a crazy internal outline; kinda… sometimes… okay, not often, but not enough to ever be considered a plotter. I know where the story starts… a scene or two in the middle and where it ends. My characters show me the rest of the story as it evolves.

CC: Do you use real events or persons in your stories?

CB: No, not really.

CC: Do you do your research before you begin a new project, or as you go along?

CB: As I’m going… from names of my characters to the trees in their yards.

CC: Tell us about your writing schedule. Do you set goals? Do you write daily?

CB: I do write something daily. Edits or new stuff. Some days I only manage to blog or yak on line. You can’t release seven stories in two years without dedicating a lot of time at your computer.

CC: That's true. Do you write full time or do you have a day job. If you have a day job, what is it?

CB: I write full time now. I am an ER Nurse when I do work, but haven’t for a few years due to an injury.

CC: Wow, ER nurses work so hard. What do you hope your writing brings to readers?

CB: Escape and a smile.

CC: What advice would you give to pre-published authors?

CB: Write the best story you can, work with a critique partner to spit shine and polish, and then send your baby out. It will never be published sitting in your hard drive. The worse any publisher can say is no. And sometimes they say yes.

CC: Good advice, Catherine. Is there anything else you’d like to tell us about yourself?

CB: I write several different genres in the romance world. I have several werewolf stories out, a couple of kilted erotic stories, and the series I’m highlighting today. So if you don’t like one type of story, but enjoy my voice, check out my website to see if something sparks your romantic side.

CC: Tell us about your latest release.

CB: Next month, September 3rd, SILENT VOWS, Book Two in my MacCoinnich Time Travel Trilogy will be out in paperback and e-book. To get you ready for that I’m going to talk about BINDING VOWS. BINDING VOWS is where this epic series begins. Each book can be read without reading the others, but lets face it… when you pick up book two, and didn’t know there was a book one, it’s a bummer.

CC: That's so true, Catherine. I prefer starting with the first in a series. Can you give us a blurb?
CB: Here's a blurb:

Duncan MacCoinnich's task...

Travel to the twenty-first century Renaissance Faire, deflower the Druid virgins, and go home. Only his job is not so easily accomplished with the virgin in question, Tara McAllister. Time is running out. The evil is closing in on them both.

Tara finds Duncan irresistible after what was supposed to be a mock Hand-fasting binds them.

When Duncan whisks her to his home in Scotland she could accept that. But, can she forgive him for taking away her modern life when she finds herself in the sixteenth century?

And is it love they feel? Or something else?

CC: What an interesting premise. Share an excerept with us.
CB: Excerpt: PG

"Where are you going, Tara ?"


"I can see that, but where?"

She stopped and turned. "Far away from you."

He almost collided with her. Before he could react, she was storming off again, as he shouted, "A lady is not safe out here by herself."

She stopped. This time he didn't stop in time and fell into her. Hands at her sides, her chest thrust up next to his she gritted between her teeth. "A lady isn't safe around you either."

"Now, Tara." He tried pleading with her.

"Oh, don't you even ..'now, Tara' me." She stepped to the side and started off, in a different direction. Stalking in circles.

He let her walk for several minutes before attempting to speak to her again. "I would be happy to escort you on a walk. But, we need to get you more properly dressed." He knew the effect watching her walk in tight jeans was having on him, he could only imagine what his men must have thought when she stormed the

"You're a bastard, you know that MacCoinnich?"

He wanted to counter what she said, but cautioned himself against it. "Still, we need you in more fitting clothes. If someone were to come along, questions would be raised which would be most difficult to answer."

"You should have thought of that before you brought me here." She waved a hand in his general direction. "Right now, I don't give a crap what questions you might have to answer."

"I told you how necessary it is for secrecy." He turned to the Keep and noticed some of the men watching, curious about what would happen. He needed to put a stop to this and soon.

"Bite me."

A completely inappropriate image of him doing exactly that popped into his head. A slow lazy smile inched over his lips.

Unfortunately, for him, Tara read his thoughts. She didn't find them nearly as entertaining as he did. "You ass..." She raised her hand to slap his face.

He caught her hand before it made contact. "I've had enough of this."

CC: Intriguing! Where can readers find your books?

CB: This series is available at http://www.thewildrosepress.com/
And all major online booksellers. Amazon – Barnes and Noble - Borders

CC: How can readers learn more about you?

CB: http://www.catherinebybee.com/

Thank you for visiting with us today, Catherine. Best of luck with your series!
CB: Thanks for having me, Catoline. I hope your readers will buy my books and enjoy them.

Each Wednesday in August, I'll be hosting an author from The Wild Rose Press on our blog tour. Catherine is first, August 11 Christine De Petrillo will be here; On August 18, Maya Blake; and on August 25 Aileen Harkwood will be my guest.

At the same time, I'm a guest today on Aileen Harkwood's blog; on August 11 at Rae Summers' blog; on
August 18 at Lilly Gayle's blog; and on August 25 at Maya Blake's blog. Please join us for this tour to showcase our authors and their work.