Kat's Blog

Kat's Blog

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas!

I want to wish you all a very Merry Christmas. May your holiday be filled with joy, family, and tons of great food. Happy Holidays!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Cover Reveal!

Oh my god! This is my first ever cover done by Lex Valentine and I am so over the moon. Love Potion #9.5, coming December 27th from Muse It Up Publishing now has an awesome cover. What do you think?

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Scare Of A Lifetime

Yesterday was the day from hell. I got a major scare that almost brought me and my mom to our knees. Let me explain. Yesterday my mom was scheduled for her first post-op check-up with the doctor after her spinal surgery.

At the same time I was scheduled to go to Urgent Care because my foot and the entire leg up to the knee has been swelling. Our appointments were at the same time, but I was due to get home before her. We both use handicapped transpo. I was due home at 11 am.

Now, of all the things they could have said what was wrong with my foot, the one thing they came up with hand NEVER crossed my mind. I had surgery on my left ankle back in 2001 and it never healed right so I figured it was something to do with that. Nope.

The doctor came back, pressed on my leg and made me yelp in pain, then said it could be one of two things. Either it was a really bad sprain, or I had a blood clot in my leg. I heard blood clot and my brain shut down. Panic set in.

Instead of my going home, they called my bus and arranged for it to take me to the hospital so my leg could be checked out with an ultrasound. They call it a Venus Study. I now knew I wouldn't be home before my mom. And I'd forgotten my damn cell so I couldn't call her and explain what was happening.

So there I am at the hospital, sent up to the 3rd floor, the cardiovascular section, sitting in the waiting room trying desperately not to cry.  I get called back, have the test, but no results. I call a cab to come get me and take me home knowing full well when the results came in I'd be returning to the hospital if it was a clot.

I didn't get home until 2:45 in the afternoon. Mom was home and in a panic because I wasn't. When she saw me pull up in a cab she knew something was really wrong. Then I told her. We didn't get the call with the results until nearly 7 pm. Both of us spent all the time simply praying.

Good news is, I don't have a blood clot. It's a bad sprain. But I never ever want to go through a day like yesterday again. Neither of us do.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Penny Estelle Is Back!

My dear friend and fellow author Penny Estelle is back with her exciting middle grade time travel series. Bumped Back In Time, part of her Wickware Saga, is the fourth book and will release from Muse It Up Publishing September 27th. Here's Penny to tell us a bit about her newest book!

Good morning, Kat, and let me say how much I appreciate you letting me barge onto your blog today to talk about Bumped Back In Time.

Miss Wickware is a 7/8th grade history teacher at Langdon Middle School whom, some say, can make unexplainable, weird, magical things happen.  Rumor has it that certain students have actually experienced time travel, finding themselves, nose to nose, with the subject they had drawn from a box during class.  They were expected to do research on said subject and then present an oral report.  There is no proof but there are stories of William Tell, Sybil Ludington, and Molly Pitcher, being a few of the historical heroes that have been involved in this, so-called, time travel.

Sammy Brown, winner of the first junior sailing regatta for kids, ages twelve to fourteen, is about to become a member of the above, elite group.  When she ends up in the nineteenth century, it's her expertise with a sailboat that enables her and one of the most famous poets in American history, to rescue a Doctor being held prisoner, and lands her square in the middle of a famous American battle.

Bumped Back In Time is Book 4 in the Wickware Sagas and is to be released on September 27.  If you preorder, there is a 20% discount.  You can check out all four books of the Wickware Sagas at: 

Excerpt from Bumbped Back In Time

A full moon lit up the bedroom.  Sammy lay on the feather mattress in the dark, staring at the ceiling.  The window was wide open, a breeze stirring the curtains, though it did nothing to take away the mugginess of the night air.  The nightgown Sarah had given Sammy was drenched with sweat and it stuck to her like a second skin.
She got up and walked to the balcony.  Dr. Beanes had been right about his wife.  Sarah had sat Sammy down and got her a bowl of left over wild turkey and boiled sweet potatoes, which she inhaled.
The older woman tisked her tongue and her head shook in sympathy, distressed at the poor girl’s story.  “Your mother must be worried beyond belief,” Sarah said.
“Oh, I’m sure she’s freaking out all over the place,” Sammy snorted.  “And like she’ll ever buy this story!”
“I don’t understand.  You write stories to sell to your freakish mother?”
Sammy had to chuckle at that one. “No.  She’s just going to kill me.”
Outraged, the woman came to her feet.  “She will do no such thing.  William will make sure that you are safe!”
Staring into the night, Sammy smiled at the memory.  She had assured Sarah it was only a saying, but the woman did not seem convinced.
The sound of horses, riding up to the Beane home, brought Sammy out of her reverie.  At least ten men, all in red coats, jumped off their horses and headed toward the house.                              
A serving girl tapped on Sammy’s door before opening it.  “Please ma’am, Mistress Beane would like you to come to her room, quickly.”  She turned to lead the way without waiting for a reply, Sammy, hurrying to catch up.
The scene that greeted Sammy when the bedroom opened had the hairs on the back of her neck, not only standing straight out at attention, but screaming “run…hide…wake up!”  Goose bumps broke out on her sweaty body.
Dr. Beane was sitting on a chair putting on his shoes while Sarah was wringing her hands and pale as the snow-white nightgown she was wearing.
Before Sammy could utter a word a BANG BANG BANG came from the door downstairs and that’s when all hell broke loose!

Thanks to all who took the time to stop by today.  I would like to offer one of the first three books of the Wickware Sagas to one commenter.  Billy Cooper’s Awesome Nightmare, Ride of a Lifetime, or Flash to the Past, in whichever format you would prefer.

More about myself and my books can be found at:

I have read the first three in this series and it is sensational. It also gives us a unique view of historical events. Bumped Back In Time releases September 27th but is available right now for pre-order so get your copy. It's the perfect time for this as it is back to school month!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Cover Reveal

Woohoo! I have been waiting to be able to reveal this cover. The extremely talented Suzi Safi designed this cover and it ROCKS! Seeker, book 2 in my Hekate's Web series will be releasing from Muse It Up Publishing in November. Here's the stunning cover.

Summer Bash: BONUS

Bet you all thought the summer bash was over.:-) Well I have a single bonus for you. As the final gasp of summer hits, my dear friend Kay Dee Royal has stopped by to help us all say goodbye to it. Hi Kay Dee. Glad to have you.

Hi everyone;) Hello Kat, *hugs* thank you so much for having me today and allowing me to vent a little about one of my story-stars in Savage Smoke. Well, he was also in Staring Into the Eyes of Chance as that is book 1 in my Lycan International Investigation Series.
Smoke is a culprit, the villain, the notorious, dangerous rogue of all rogues. A fall off a cliff left him with an open sunken cheek (shows a few of his teeth) and a milky blind eye. It definitely gives the impression he’s a bad-ass, even though on the short side in stature (runt of the litter), his wild appearance and muscularly buff bod keeps larger opponents at bay.
He comes from a paranormal dysfunctional family…or so it is to him. Smoke isn’t his real name, but it works for him since his brother, Chance, the Alpha leader of the LIIA headquarters in Upper Michigan, constantly tracks him and his rogue pack.
Smoke plans a major take-over. He’s had his fill of the Elders creating rules and over-seeing who lives and who dies. It’s time for a new league of justice or injustice…and he’ll do anything to get what he wants. Even if it means kidnapping, impregnating, slaughtering, drugging, or anything else required in making it happen.
I had him dead to rights…seriously, dying in book 2 (Savage Smoke). I played hell writing the last chapters because his lights were out for good…but, he kept kicking and yelling, insisting he should get the chance of redemption, AND he demanded something else, too. Something he never had before…and it was his due to claim it.
Well, after much deliberation and rewrites…and suckin’ it up–he lives. Got his dang wish come true, too…but you’ll have to read it to find out what that part of the equation isJ *Big deep sigh*
Yes, so Smoke lives on for book 3, Smoke ‘n Bliss. Do you think it’s possible for the worst of the worst to redeem himself?

Savage Smoke – Book 2 Lycan International Investigation Agency Series
Genre: Erotic Paranormal Romance
Sizzling HOT! Warning: Lots of two-somes, three-somes, even more-somes, like it stimulating, arousing, and positively natural…or supernatural.
Tagline: Will Trevor rescue Lindsey in time to save her from shifting into Smoke’s pack, and will she even want saved?
Chance and his LIIA pack of agents search for rogue Lycan mastermind, Smoke, kidnapper of Lindsey and fifteen other human women he plans to use for procreating his own army.
Trevor, Chance’s right-hand Lycan, wants his mate back, but believes she’s fallen for her captor. Lindsey loves Trevor but believes he’s given up on her.
Will Trevor come around in time to rescue Lindsey and save her from shifting into Smoke’s pack, and will she even want back with Trevor after spending so long apart?

Staring Into the Eyes of Chance – Book 1 Lycan International Investigation Agency Series
Genre: Erotic Paranormal Romance
Sizzling HOT! Warning: Wild and lust-filled love scenes, extra stimulating, arousing, and positively natural…or supernatural.
Tagline: Olivia swears off men until she meets Chance, a Lycan alpha. He ignites an undeniable hunger they can only sate together.
Olivia endures a thirty-four year passionless marriage, discovering her dead husband’s philandering history at his funeral. She devotes her energy and life-long sensitivity with animals to her wildlife refuge and preserve.
Chance, a Lycan alpha and leader of the Lycan International Investigation Agency (LIIA) throws himself into his investigations. He chooses to neglect his duty of finding a primal-mate after watching his father become an empty shell over the loss of his.
A murderous rogue pack draws Chance onto Olivia’s wildlife preserve, sending Olivia’s animal sensitivities into overdrive. Chance and Olivia discover a sizzling force driving them together.
Will they succumb to its enticing tether, or fight to resume their loveless lives apart?

Kay Dee Royal Bio:
Kay Dee Royal writes paranormal, fantasy, and contemporary erotic romance—maybe because it's also her favorite genres to read! She pens tales with wild, rugged heroes and strong, intelligent heroines. She'll give them both a few shadowy secrets, making her stories intriguing and fun. She resides in Southern Michigan with her family (her dog, her cats, her caged husband... you get the idea). You can find the latest on her titles from her publisher, MuseItHot.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Another great N.J. Walters release!

Coming October 8, 2013 from Samhain Publishing, Howl of the Wolf, book four in my dear friend, N.J. Walters Hades Carnival series. This woman knows how to weave great stories and I have never read a book I didn't like by her. Check out the blurb below for her upcoming release.

When artist and tarot reader Sabrina Wolfe runs across an old carousel wolf in an antique shop, she can’t resist buying the compelling symbol of her totem animal, her protector. But she isn’t prepared when the wooden animal comes to fang-flashing life—and shifts into a darkly sexy man.

Arand is the last of seven immortal warriors sworn to protect the Lady of the Beasts. Freed by Sabrina’s touch, their instant physical attraction is hot, intense—yet neither is safe until twenty-four hours have passed and the curse is truly broken.

Hades plans to use every one of those hours to unleash his last effort to control the world—or see both the warrior and his woman dead. Though help comes from unexpected quarters, Arand and Sabrina alone risk paying the ultimate price for victory. Their lives…and their very souls.

To learn more about the rest of the books in this series and all her other novels, go to N.J. Walters website. And be sure to get your copy of Howl of the Wolf when it releases from Samhain Publishing.:-)

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

End Of Summer

Well summer is ending and so is the bash. My final guest is author Susan A. Royal. Hey Susan.:-)

One thing is certain. Writers and readers go hand in hand. I’ve yet to meet an author who doesn’t read for pleasure despite their minds being in a constant state of write-edit-read-rewrite-edit-read. I’ve even gotten to the point where I edit my emails, blog and facebook posts not once, but twice, before I hit send (and it’s a good thing sometimes)

     My daughter and I were talking the other day about the things we do (or don’t do) after a particularly stressful day at work. (the day job earning a paycheck necessary to pay the bills). She prefers to spend what little free time she manages zoning out in front of the television, and I do that occasionally. But for the most part, I find myself reading or writing. Either exercise enables me to leave my everyday world far behind and travel to places only accessible from my imagination. And if someone has given me a really difficult time, what better way to let off steam than to channel my irritation through a character in my latest WIP?

     People are always asking me where my ideas come from and how I pick my genres. To be honest, I never considered writing anything else. Even before I knew there was such a thing as science fiction or fantasy, I knew what kind of books drew me and held my attention. Whether it was a noble quest, a trip to another world, or the discovery of magic in someone’s otherwise ordinary life, it didn’t matter.

     I’ve been making up stories since I was a little girl. In fact, I still have my first “book”, complete with illustrations, written in pencil on lined notebook paper, folded and bound with a red ribbon. I believe I was six years old at the time. My grandparents were story tellers. So were my parents. I can remember evenings lying stretched out across the cool concrete in the darkness of our porch, listening to them spin tales about things that happened years earlier. Some of the stories were even passed down from their parents.

     When I wasn’t listening to stories, I haunted the library for books that held my attention. Early on I discovered Ray Bradbury, Poul Anderson, Madeline L’Engle, Andre Norton, and many others. I discovered visiting other worlds in other times was right up my alley. Those fantastic adventures took my imagination farther than I had ever dreamed it could go. They were the kind of books I hated to finish reading, the ones I wanted to go on forever.

Urban fantasy, time travel, science fiction, and paranormal stories fill my kindle and my book shelves, and that’s pretty much what I write. Remember Twilight Zone? Or Steven Spielberg’s series “Amazing Stories”? Twisty, quirky little plots, involving someone ordinary, like you or me, and how they deal with something that goes beyond their realm of reality are the kind of books I love to read. It was only natural for me to want to write the same kind of stories.
To me, the perfect read begins with the reader wondering “what if” and ends up with them thinking “why not”. Author Richard Matheson once said, "I think we're yearning for something beyond the every day.” As far as I’m concerned, he couldn’t have put it better. We want to push our imagination to the limit and experience the things we envision. To me, there is no better way to do this than through reading or writing. The difference between the two? When I am writing, I get to decide what the story is about, where it goes, what each character does and what happens as a result. It’s a heady feeling, and I love it!

     That brings us to the subject of characters—one of my favorite topics. Character development is fascinating. There’s nothing better than to be able to watch a character’s personality unfold during the course of the story. A reader can be privy to their strengths and weaknesses. They can relate to the way they handle their experiences. Some authors are so good at doing this they have me shedding actual tears when something happens to one of my favorite characters. That’s one of my goals as a writer.

     Maybe that’s why I find myself getting attached to the characters in my stories, especially some of the minor ones. In my first book, Not Long Ago, Arvo, the tailor’s gangly, red-headed son is a charmer with an eye for the ladies. He loves to listen to gossip and keeps Erin, a young woman who time travels from the present to a medieval society, informed of castle goings-on. Arvo also knows she’s masquerading as a boy, but keeps her secret. He even helps her sneak into the Masked Ball so she can dance with the handsome knight, Sir Griffin. In the end he turns out to be a fast friend Erin never forgets.

     Secondary characters don’t have to drive the plot, so there is a little more freedom in developing their personalities. It was not my intention for Arvo to have more than a supporting role, but he turned out to be so much fun that he’s back in the sequel, along with others. And that’s another thing. I never meant for Not Long Ago to become a series, either, but my daughter insisted the story wasn’t done and after thinking about it I agreed. So, of course I had to continue.

     The most important thing I’ve learned about the experience of becoming a published author is to never ever give up on a story. Someone once told me “There is nothing about it that can’t be fixed. You are the author, after all. You can fill the plot holes, flesh it out, expand, or condense, learn to say things better and improve.” This advice comes to mind every time I get discouraged because I’ve discovered something’s not working the way I thought it would.
     My newest book is In My Own Shadow, a fantasy this time. It came out in May. That’s two books published within a year. And I’m 80,000 words into the sequel. It’s no wonder I’m tired. But you know what? I love it all. It’s been a fantastic journey for me, along with Erin, Griffin, Arvo, Rhys, Lara, Azle and all those yet to come. After finishing this book, I plan to get lost in the sixties and visit the Texas hill country with a boy named Eli who talks to ghosts. I can’t wait!!

To find out more about Lara and Rhys:
In My Own Shadow (fantasy, adventure, romance)
To find out more about Sir Griffin, Erin and Arvo:
Not Long Ago (time travel, adventure, romance)
Not Long Ago book trailer
Both books available at MuseItUp, Amazon, B&N, Goodreads

     You can contact me any time at: ssn(underscore)royal@hotmail.com I’d love to hear from you.

     I want to thank Kat Holmes for allowing me to guest on her blog and ramble on about two of my passion. Kat and her mother, Lin Holmes, are two wonderful ladies I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know since first signing with MuseItUp Publishing. Since then, I’ve discovered what great people fellow authors can be. 

Thank you Susan for a wonderful visit. And a huge thank you to everyone who participated in my bash. Enjoy your fall.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Bashing Up The Summer

It's really getting hot here. So what better way to beat the heat than with Erin Albert. Hi Erin and welcome to the bash.:-)

01: What is the first story you’ve published. Tell us a little bit about it.

The Prophecy will be my first published novel.  It’s the story of a young woman kidnapped by a group of religious zealots and proclaimed the fulfillment of a long-awaited peace prophecy. 

02: What inspired the story?

The idea for the story literally came out of nowhere while I watched a movie one night. I would say the two main inspirations are Game of Thrones and Arthurian legend. 

03: Do you have a writing process? If so what is it?

When I have an idea, I write the story itself as fast as I can.  My characters demand to have their story told and keep me restless until it’s all been written down.  After that, I go through and agonize over grammar, sentence structure, and word choices.  The longest, hardest part is the editing. 

04: What do you currently have in the works? Give us a small preview.

I am always working on something.  Right now, I am revising the sequel to The Prophecy (working title--The Outlanders).  I wrote the whole trilogy at once, but I made some changes to The Prophecy that now must be filtered down to the other two.  I’m also putting the finishing touches on a speculative fiction short story to enter into a contest.  And finally, I’m in the process of revising a futuristic thriller tentatively called Number 25598.  Like The Prophecy’s sequel, it’s already written, but I’m doing some major rewrites. 

Teaser line from Number 25598: “Her fake human body didn’t look nearly as believable as Ryder’s, but it would have to suffice.” 

05: Who are some of your favorite authors?

Since I write YA, I read a lot of YA.  I enjoy the works of Rick Riordan, Cassandra Clare, Richelle Mead, Mary Waibel, Meradeth Houston, Michelle Pickett, Victoria Schwab, Victoria Scott, CJ Redwine, Carrie Jones, and Bree Despain.

06: Do you have one author in particular who inspired your writing career? Who and why?

I have wanted to be an author since childhood, so I guess my favorite childhood authors influenced me—Judy Blume, Beverly Cleary, EB White. 

07: Are your stories based on real events or people?

No, but there is a loose correlation to Arthurian legend. 

08: How much research goes into your work?

Depends on the work.  My unpublished historical fiction novel required three years of research because I wanted the story to be exactly right.

09: Have you ever killed off a character based on someone real? If so why?

Haha!  No.    But I’m not saying I wouldn’t…  ;)

10: If you could visit any period in history, what time would you go to? Why?

I would visit Shakespearean England.  I ADORE Shakespeare.  In this fantasy, I travel back in time and meet him.  We spend all day talking and people-watching together.  My Shakespeare professor in college told me Shakespeare must have been an excellent people watcher because he so accurately understood people’s motivations. 

11: If you could gather any three people in the world, living or dead together, whom would you want to meet and talk with?

Shakespeare (I’m going for a record of how many times I can mention his name—LOL), Val Kilmer (my lifelong crush), and Anne Boleyn. 

12: What do you do for fun when you aren’t busy writing?

I enjoy reading, boxing/kickboxing, watching TV, and running.

13: What is the one thing people believe about writers that upsets you?

That it’s easy.  LOL! 

14: Is there any genre you haven’t written that you’d like to try your hand at?

Historical fiction, middle grade, and chick lit.

15: If you were independently wealthy what is the one place on Earth you’d most like to visit? Why?

Hawaii…beach, waterfalls, and no snakes.  Paradise!!  ;)

16: What is your favorite color?  Blue, like my eyes

17: What is your favorite food?  Nachos

18: What is your favorite movie?  That’s a hard one… Tombstone

19: What is your favorite TV show?  Game of Thrones

20: What is your favorite holiday?  Christmas

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

The Bash Is Rolling Right Along

Welcome back to the bash. This week I am so excited to have my friend Nancy Bell visiting for the bash. Hi Nancy.:-)

01: What is the first story you’ve published. Tell us a little bit about it.

Way back when I was in public school the local newspaper published a short story of mine and some poetry, but my first “official” published book was Laurel’s Miracle.

02: What inspired the story?

You know, that’s a good question. I started to write Laurel’s Miracle after I had an accident and was bed ridden. I was reading and researching some spiritual things and found myself interested in earth energy lines and ley lines. Somehow, Laurel’s Miracle grew out of that.    

03: Do you have a writing process? If so what is it?

For the most part the books write themselves. Sometimes I almost feel like a guilty ghost writer. I’ll wake up in the night with whole chapters and conversations spinning in my head. Driving across the Canadian prairie from Calgary to Winnipeg is also a great time for things to come together in my mind. The Cypress Hills for some reason always seem to be an area where plot twists become clear. Go figure!  Mostly, I just sit down and let the words come. With Laurel I had to do some planning as she needed to get from one point on the earth energy/ley line to another and I had to figure out how to facilitate that. There is also a riddle she needs to solve so that took some planning as well. Not my usual style at all.

04: What do you currently have in the works? Give us a small preview.

Oh my!  I’m working on a prequel to Laurel’s Miracle called Arabella’s Secret which is the story of Laurel’s Gramma Bella. I started this one long before the vampire series made the name Bella a household word. I’m also working on the third book in the Cornwall Adventures series tentatively called Coming Home. Aisling from Laurel’s Miracle will also have her own story at some point.

Totally off course from this, I’m working on a story about Jack the Ripper taking a totally different tack with it. My goal is not to get the reader to like him but to feel sorry for him on some level. You’ll see what I mean if I ever get it written.  I presented three pages of it last year in a Master’s Class with Jack Whyte and received some very positive feedback so that is encouraging.

05: Who are some of your favorite authors?

Charles de Lint is by far my favorite. He’s a fellow Canadian and he writes urban fantasy with a very celtic flavor. I love his stuff.
Mercedes Lackey is another favorite as well as Maeve Binchy and Anne McCaffrey.

06: Do you have one author in particular who inspired your writing career? Who and why?

Gilean Douglas, another Canadian author and poet, was a long time friend of my grandmother and she encouraged me from a very young age to create and write. She’s gone now, but we enjoyed a long and fruitful friendship. Her works are still in print and well worth a look. 

07: Are your stories based on real events or people?

Not usually. The exception here is Jack the Ripper, but for the most part I just let my characters create themselves and tell me their stories.

08: How much research goes into your work?

Tons! I have more reference books than some libraries (or so my husband says as he hauls yet another book case into the house). The problem is I LOVE research and it’s so easy to get lost in the research following some obscure trail  that it’s hard to find time to write the story.

09: Have you ever killed off a character based on someone real? If so why?

Nope, can’t say as I have, well except for the ladies in the Jack book. They were certainly real and an integral part of the plot and history.

10: If you could visit any period in history, what time would you go to? Why?

Hmmm. I’d love to be alive in early Ireland, really early when all the myths and legends were born. Although I’d prefer to be a man in those times. I’d love to spend some time with Boudicca, she’s one of my all time heroines. It would be wonderful to visit Avalon during the early times when the veils between the worlds was thin and before Christianity obscured some of the mysteries.

11: If you could gather any three people in the world, living or dead together, whom would you want to meet and talk with?

Hmmmm, again.  the Lady of the Lake, Boudicca and Lugh Lamfada 

12: What do you do for fun when you aren’t busy writing?

I garden and play with my horses. I love spending time with my grandchildren. I also study Celtic myths, Irish and Welsh.  I love that poem Pangur Ban. Oh Oh, I’d like to add the monk who penned that poem to the list of people I’d love to talk with above.

13: What is the one thing people believe about writers that upsets you?

That it’s easy to write a book!  Or that writers don’t really work.

14: Is there any genre you haven’t written that you’d like to try your hand at?

I think I’m okay with the genres I dabble in right now.

15: If you were independently wealthy what is the one place on Earth you’d most like to visit? Why?

Not one place really, but all the ancient sacred sites around the world. The stone megaliths that are present on every continent. Somehow I believe in my bones they are all linked, much like our modern communication system spans the globe now. Most of those stones have a very high quartz content which is capable of transmitting communications.

Five Bonus Questions

16: What is your favorite color?  Blue

17: What is your favorite food? Beet soup  or turnips with tons of butter and salt

18: What is your favorite movie? Gone with the Wind

19: What is your favorite TV show?  Doc Martin  - British comedy set in Cornwall

20: What is your favorite holiday?  Beltane  or for a traditional one  Christmas (which is also Winter Solstice celebration)

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Summer Bash!

Welcome back to the bash as it really heats up. This week my guest is none other than Leona Pence. Welcome Leona.:-)

Thank you very much, Kat, for having me on your blog today.

01: What is the first story you’ve published. Tell us a little bit about it.
My novel, Hemphill Towers, is my one and only. It is slated to be published in Aug/Sept. of this year. It’s basically a romance with three heroines. Their stories are separate yet entwined. A lot of Birdie’s story takes place in Italy. Here’s a short blurb:

 Stella, Riley, and Birdie – best friends, and co-workers at an advertising agency – all experience a life-changing event one fateful night at a new Italian restaurant.

Riley’s life is turned upside down by a deranged stalker. Trent Peterson, a handsome museum curator, along with her friends, vows to keep her safe.

Art, wine forgery, a stalker, and even the Russian Mafia lead them down paths to romance they might never have ventured on their own.

02: What inspired the story?

I chatted often with two online friends and shared a lot of laughter with them. Just for fun,   we projected ourselves back in age as career women, each described a love interest, and I was to turn the ideas into a type of spoof story. But the words just kept flowing, plot twists came in my dreams, and before long, I had written a novel.

03: Do you have a writing process? If so what is it?
No, I just sit in front of my computer and type what pops into my head. I do scrawl notes to myself to keep descriptions of my characters handy.

04: What do you currently have in the works? Give us a small preview.
I am writing a sequel to Hemphill Towers. Here is a short excerpt:

Since slapping the smirk off the duty nurse’s face wasn’t an option, Amy gathered the bath necessities and walked down a short hall to their notorious patient’s room. The door stood ajar showing that (Spoiler name) was not in bed as expected. No ventilator noises met her ears. There he sat in a reclining chair partially facing a window that allowed him a view of the vast parking lot. A grunt emanated from his lips as recognition flickered in his eyes.  Amy stood, mouth agape, at the changes wrought in three short months. Lackluster blond hair curled around the collar of his healthcare-issued brown shirt. Those piercing eyes told her the grimace on his face was intended as a smile.

Unbelievable! A miracle must have happened here. He isn’t even restrained. No feeding tube or vent. Now, he is beginning to look the part of a sociopath.

05: Who are some of your favorite authors?
Stephen King, Dean Koontz, and a gazillion more. I’ve read a lot of new authors lately who are very good writers.
 06:Do you have one author in particular who inspired your writing career? Who and why?

I’d say Emily Loring, from my youth, introduced me to sweet romance stories. And then Barbara Cartland with her wonderful Regency romances. I envy people who can write historical romance.

07: Are your stories based on real events or people?
My story was not based on real people, but I did twist names of family and friends for my characters. They all had a big laugh at recognizing their names. Also, my daughter’s experience found its way into my book. A company doctor testified on her behalf and it helped her win a lawsuit against the company.

08: How much research goes into your work?
Since my book started as a joke, research never entered my mind until I had written quite a bit. When one of my early readers asked a question about the type of grapes used in the wine, I knew I had a lot of research to do. Not only grapes and wine, but art museums, ad agencies, and the Russian Mafia. I have an online friend living in Rome, Italy who works at the American Embassy there. She read installments as I wrote them and made sure what I wrote about Italy was correct.

09: Have you ever killed off a character based on someone real? If so why?
No, not yet.

10: If you could visit any period in history, what time would you go to? Why?
The romantic in me would like to take a peek at the regency balls that took place in early England. I’d like to be invited to such an event just to see the aristocratic catches of the season, and all the debutants in their beautiful gowns trying to snare them.

11: If you could gather any three people in the world, living or dead together, whom would you want to meet and talk with?

I assume you mean outside my family. I think Abe Lincoln, Ronald Reagan, and…hummm…I wouldn’t mind spending a day with Mysti Parker. I can only imagine a chat between the four of us. Both Lincoln and Reagan were intelligent, humorous men. It would be a pleasure to talk with them.

12: What do you do for fun when you aren’t busy writing?
I am a voracious reader. When my eyes don’t bother me, I read a novel in a day’s time using the Kindle app on my computer. I also love to play online pool. I’m good at it. I joined an online pool league and play when I get a chance.

Three times a year, I mentor one of eight classrooms in an online writing course called F2K.(Fiction for 2000) Each session lasts seven weeks. I love what I do there. It keeps my mind active and lets me meet writers from all over the world.

13: What is the one thing people believe about writers that upsets you?
That publishing an ebook doesn’t really count. I hear quite often: Ebook? I’ll wait until your real book comes out.

14: Is there any genre you haven’t written that you’d like to try your hand at?
Yes, I’d like to try Romantic Fantasy.
I did write a short fantasy that I use as a lesson example in F2K.

15: If you were independently wealthy what is the one place on Earth you’d most like to visit? Why?
Ireland, because my mother’s ancestors were from there. The hereditary Neuromuscular disease called CMT, that I have, was traced back to our Irish roots. I’d recognize a distant relative by the symptoms they show.

Five Bonus Questions

These five questions are quick get to know you questions and are optional.

16: What is your favorite color? Blue

17: What is your favorite food? Fried chicken

18: What is your favorite movie? The Song Catcher with Aiden Quinn

19: What is your favorite TV show? White Collar and NCIS (Tie for fave)

20: What is your favorite holiday? Mother’s Day…I hear from all four of my kids and most of my grands.

Bio: Leona Pence is a lifelong resident of Illinois. She didn’t start writing until after the death of her husband of forty-four years. She can usually be found in front of her computer reading, writing, chatting, or playing online pool.

Hemphill Towers will be published by MuseItUp Publishing in Aug./Sept.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Summer Bash Is Back

My guest this week is the very talented Marsha West. Hi Marsha. It's so good to see you.:-)

01: What is the first story you’ve published. Tell us a little bit about it.

VERMONT ESCAPE is my first published book. (Picture author jumping up and down! J )

02: What inspired the story?

The idea is based on a time in my life when the kids were young. The whole family had gone on a lovely vacation to Red River, New Mexico. Up in the mountains. Gorgeous views. Moderate temperatures. Great shopping. Fishing for my husband. Can you say paradise? I’m from Texas where in August it can easily be 109 cooling only to the 80s or 90 at night. Stressful stuff awaited us back home, and I didn’t want to leave the lovely mountain top retreat. We half joked that we could buy one of the little stores for sale, and my husband could practice law. We’d just not return.
Well, only in fiction, do you really get to escape, and we returned to Texas. Ultimately, life settled back into the level of stress we can all handle. But that feeling of really wanting to leave everything (not the family) behind stuck with me and was the basis for VERMONT ESCAPE.

03: Do you have a writing process? If so what is it?

I’m a plotter, so before I try to write the story, there are a number of things I have to have in place first. 
1)      I need a location. I know most people start with the characters, but I start with the location. Where do the people live and work?
2)      Then I ask myself who lives in that house? Why are they there? What do they do in town? At that point I drag out all my charts and start developing the characters. Not just what they look like, though I’ve frequently got pictures of people who represent the characters as I see them in my mind. What were their growing up years like? Who are their friends, mentors, supporters? I do charts for all but the very smallest of roles.
3)      Then I ask what do they want and why can’t they have it? That leads right into the Goal, Motivation, and Conflict chart. (Judges of the first book I entered in contests, said I should really study GMC. LOL I didn’t know what they were talking about. That book remains under my bed serving as a holder for dust bunnies. LOL)
4)      Next chart is one for internal and external conflict and it’s from this that the action pieces happen.
5)      Then I put together a tag line and a short paragraph about what’s going to happen.
6)      Then it’s time to write. I let myself write some of the backstory. I know it will go away and only pieces of it will get layered into the story, but I have to write 2-3 chapters of this. It’s kind of how I get into my characters’ minds.

05: Who are some of your favorite authors?

This is fun to answer because some of these folks are friends or at least folks I have a relationship with on-line.
Jerrie Alexander,  Donnell Bell, Kate Wyland, Jane Richardson, Diana Layne, Kathy Bennett, C.A. Szarek, Jeanne Guzman, Clover Autrey, Carla Neggars, Allison Brennan, Elizabeth Lowell, and Linda Howard. Well, I could go on, but that gives you a good place to start. J

06: Do you have one author in particular who inspired your writing career? Who and why?

I’d have to say, Linda Howard. I inhaled her books. My husband bought me a Romance Writers for Dummies because she’d written the introduction. (He liked her books, too.)

07: Are your stories based on real events or people?

Almost all of them have some basis in fact. I don’t write fantasy or create whole, new worlds as some authors do, but even with the basis in the real world, the stories and characters are made up.  

08: How much research goes into your work?

That varies depending on the book. With VERMONT ESCAPE, I had to dig into what their legislative body was called and how it worked. I was already familiar with the Texas legislature.

09: Have you ever killed off a character based on someone real? If so why? No

10: If you could visit any period in history, what time would you go to? Why?

I’d go about 40 years into the future so I could see how my grandkids turn out.

11: If you could gather any three people in the world, living or dead together, whom would you want to meet and talk with?

 My mother. I find myself often thinking, “I should’ve asked Mom that.” Eleanor Roosevelt and Diane Sawyer.

12: What do you do for fun when you aren’t busy writing?

Watch TV. Love dramas and crime stories. Travel. Love New England. Always looking for the perfect location for the next book.

13: What is the one thing people believe about writers that upsets you?

I think people are clueless about just how hard this business is. (I was.) When I first started writing (about six years ago), everyone wanted to know when they could read my book. As if—poof—you write a book and—poof—you are published. LOL There’s no “poof” about any of this business.

14: Is there any genre you haven’t written that you’d like to try your hand at?

I’ve been content to write romantic suspense. I guess if I branched out it would be to women’s fiction. (But it would probably still have a romance, a bit of a mystery, and a Happily Ever After.) LOL Guess that would still be romantic suspense. Maybe children’s books, so my grands could read them.

15: If you were independently wealthy what is the one place on Earth you’d most like to visit? Why?

No question. I’d buy a  house on the coast of Maine and live there for 4-5 months of the year. It’s a gorgeous state and I feel like I belong there. J

16: What is your favorite color? Turquoise

17: What is your favorite food? Anything Mexican

18: What is your favorite movie? 42nd Street.

19: What is your favorite TV show? Covert Affairs, Rizzoli & Isles, Longmire, Person of Interest

20: What is your favorite holiday? Thanksgiving! Great food, family, and fall colors.

            Two years after the murder of her husband, someone guns down Jill Barlow’s father, a Texas State Representative. The authorities suspect a connection between the murders, but can’t find proof. Jill longs for the peace she found when she visited Vermont after her husband’s death. With the perpetrators still at large, she flees to the small town of Woodstock. 
            The gambling syndicate, believing she has damning evidence against them, pursues her, shattering her dreams of peace. In an effort to protect her grown children, she doesn't tell them violence continues to stalk the family.
            Despite having lost so much already, with the lives of her family and friends at stake, will Jill be required to make more sacrifices, even the hope of a second chance at love?

Jill Barlow reached for her make-up kit and brushed against the one thing she’d been doing her damnedest to avoid. Her heart rate tripped into overtime.
The package she received days after her dad was murdered. One month ago, but she couldn’t face opening a reminder of the nightmare.
Pictures of her vigorous father mixed with recent images of his closed casket. Nausea hit. Again. Damn. Why would someone blow off her father’s head? She didn’t stay to find out. She ran.
She’d pushed herself on a four-day trip from Texas to Vermont. Emotionally and physically exhausted, all she wanted to do was unpack her pajamas and climb into bed. Habit required she clean and moisturize her face. Habit provided comfort when life was chaotic. Habit could get her through the worst. Or not.
 In the Woodstock Inn suite, her hand trembled when she removed the package and dropped it onto the bed where it lay on the white coverlet like a scorpion.
 Hands propped on her knees, she leaned over, drew in needed oxygen. A minute passed, and then she straightened.
“Okay, open this. Every time you’ve come across the thing, you implode, morphing into a quivering mass of mush.”  

Marsha R. West, a retired elementary school principal, is also a former school board member and threatre arts teacher. She writes romantic suspense where experience is required. Her heroes and heroines, struggling with life and loss, are surprised to discover second chances at love.
 Marsha, who loves to travel, lives in Texas with her supportive lawyer husband. They’ve raised two daughters who’ve presented them with three delightful grandchildren. She admits to being at the beck and call of two dogs, who run her home.
She’s currently editing her latest work in progress.

Her first published book, released on July 19, is available at MuseItUp Publishing  http://goo.gl/nJtaa  at B & N   http://goo.gl/llR6D and at Amazon http://goo.gl/qhzBm  

Places to reach her:
http://www.marsharwest.com/category/blog for Thoughts on Thursday and Tuesday Author Chats

          She’d love to hear from you.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

A Great Quickie

I just finished listening to a quickie story called Possession In Death by J.D. Robb. I bought the audiobook version and its FANTASTIC! I love her In Death series and this was a great addition, absolutely hilarious.

Possession In Death takes place between Indulgence In Death and Treachery In Death. In fact, at the end of Indulgence Eve and her hubby are about to have a barbeque to help out her friend Morris who is still reeling from the loss of his girl with whom he'd been getting serious. But with her murder Morris has been locked into himself so Eve throws a barbeque to help remind him he's not alone.

The actual barbeque takes place in Possession and we get to see the party. But afterwards, while driving one of her guests, Father Lopez home, an old woman stumbles onto the street bleeding from multiple stab wounds. Before she dies, she tells Eve to find her great grand-daughter who's trapped. She makes Eve promise to find her.

Then, while clutching Eve's hands she dies. Now all of a sudden Eve can speak Russian and Hungarian, she sees the old woman's murder as it happens, and she can see and talk to dead people.

Turns out Eve made a promise to a real life Romany Gypsy and until she finds out who killed the old woman and abducted her great grand-daughter, Eve's possessed. It's a race against time to catch an obsessed killer, hopefully before Eve's new abilities drive her insane.

This story had me roaring with laughter. It's just a short but is a great tale. The reaction of Eve's cat to the new and somewhat improved her had my side splitting. Also, when she reads a Russian saying to her partner, Delia's reaction is priceless. I got the audio version from Audible. It runs just over three hours and I am so glad I decided to buy it.

Possession In Death is available now. And you can find a complete list of all the full length novels at Nora Roberts website.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

On With The Bash

This week I have Kim Cresswell with me helping me to celebrate summer. Hi Kim and welcome to the bash!

REFLECTION:  Why a (Good) Book Cover is Important

As an author, reader, and an artsy-fartsy graphic designer type, I have to admit it...I love book covers! I particularly love romantic suspense covers.

Even though I try not to, I am guilty of judging a book by its cover. I'm sure I've passed on many fantastic stories after only reading the blurb simply because the book cover didn't convey the story inside.

In my award-winning romantic suspense, REFLECTION, reporter Whitney Steel is investigating an alleged human cloning project when she meets up with the hero, FBI Agent, Blake Neely, who's searching for his own answers. Everything from this point on focuses on Blake and Whitney discovering whether or not the villain has produced the world's first cloned human. They don't set out to fall in love. A relationship between the hero and heroine evolves because of the suspense.

How does an author and cover artist come up with a book cover that conveys both romance and   suspense?

My cover artist (Marion Sipe) began by gathering the perfect images. I loved the graphics. The DNA chain reflected the human cloning aspect of REFLECTION and the seductive image of the man and woman showed the book had a romance plot but the cover was missing something...an anchor for the suspense.


So why is a good cover so important? Because a book cover is a window into the soul of a book, an author's first chance to impress by taking the reader on a visual journey.

After:  The final version was a perfect fit for REFLECTION.

Florida investigative reporter, Whitney Steel, has lived in the shadow of her legendary father long enough. To prove herself she needs to find the “Big” story.
She found it.
Now it may kill her.
After Whitney receives a lead pointing to the world's first cloned human, now a small child, she vows to unravel the truth. However, sifting through the facts proves to have dangerous results, including death threats and murder.
When she's nearly killed, but is saved by undercover FBI Special Agent, Blake Neely, he refuses to let her get in the way of his own objective—at least not right away.
Caught in a lethal game between a billionaire obsessed with genetic perfection, his hit man’s thirst for retribution, and a Colombian drug lord fresh out of prison determined to make Blake pay for his twin brother’s death over a decade ago...
Can they save an innocent child before its too late?
Faced with tough choices, with deadly consequences for many—Whitney soon realizes that sometimes a story becomes more than just a story.

UP Authors Fiction Challenge Winner (2013) "Cinematic writing, powerful visuals, sleek, fast, utterly sexy, notches above anything we have read before!" ~ UP Authors

"Action packed from page one...an impressively laid out passionate thrill ride!" -InD'Tale Magazine
Available in paperback at Amazon & Createaspace

You can learn more about Kim and her current and upcoming releases by visiting
her web site:  http://www.kimcresswell.ca