Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Author Interview - Tessa Stokes

What's your book/current WIP about?
I will tell you about Stone Kisses the latest release.

It’s a genre blend romance, fantasy. Lots of real life meets fantasy. There’s this ordinary girl. She has her own graphic business but she has to work hard to pay her mortgage. She has no family and it’s been a long time since she had a man in her life.

It’s summer and she seems to be surrounded by couples. The sun and her loneliness makes her long for love or at least kisses. She looks at her house from her garden and knows it needs painting but she can’t afford that so she decides to visit the nearby garden store to buy flowers for her garden. There she meets Justin who is naturally gorgeous and enigmatic. He finds her attractive and decides to pursue her.

Down the road live two gods left over from ancient times and Stella our heroine gets caught up in a game they play. I saw something in a public garden which inspired the start of the book and then when I began to write it the characters as usual took over.

Care to share your favorite line(s) from your story?
He concentrated on the moon and cast a thought to Selene; please let someone find me I am
in despair.

What's your next project?
I am writing book three in The Ruthin Trilogy, Book Six in The Seven Spell saga and another
stand alone.

Describe your writing in a sentence.
Paranormal romance with a literary twist.

Do you choose character names or do the characters whisper them in your ears?
Yes the characters tell me their names My work is character driven they start the story for

Plotter or planster?
Plotter I think.

Do you like background noise or do you prefer a quiet space when you write?
Even if I have something going on I find I have tuned out of whatever it is.

What are you currently reading?
I’m reading Dark Melody by Christine Feehan.

What question have you always wanted to be asked in an interview and how would you answer it?
I actually don’t know the answer to that.

People think I'm weird because...
I drive myself so hard. You know work until I drop even for other people I will do this.

Website -

Blogs -

Twitter @seventhspell

Books available at:

I do like to hear from readers as I am sure all authors do and it’s really interesting when they
share their take on the characters in the books.

Tessa was born in the United Kingdom but has live in many places in the world because of
her work. She writes character driven genre blends, paranormal romance and urban fantasy.

Stone Kisses 'is a romance to take your breath away'.

A Romance/ Contemporary fantasy-this is a gentle romance, wistful and literary but has explicit sex scenes and so is only suitable for 18 years old and up.

Stella is an ordinary young woman working hard to pay her mortgage when she becomes entangled in a game between two gods left over from ancient times. Apollo and Mercury live reasonably peacefully on the outskirts of town.

Stella longs for love or at least kisses. In a garden center buying flowers, Stella meets Justin. He is beautiful, strong and attracted to her. He decides to pursue her.

This multi-thread story has themes that are serious, and funny. It is about history repeating
itself, love and loss love and not being afraid to show it, and all the beautiful things in the

'This author's work is always character driven and they shine from the page'.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

It's Hammer, er, Cover Time!

Hot out of the oven, just for you on this fine sweltering Tuesday morning.

An heiress.
An airship captain.
A legend strong enough to destroy their love.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Author Interview - Jamie Friesen

Hey everyone! Today on the blog we have something super-special. A novelist writing about zombies! Oooo! Welcome Jamie Friesen. 

What's your book/current WIP about?

Zombie Night in Canada: First Period is about a zombie apocalypse in Edmonton, Canada. Because of its northerly location, weather plays a major factor in the story, as does the military and police, who are portrayed as professionals undertaking a difficult and dangerous task, instead of as sociopaths/opportunists as some other authors have written.

Care to share your favorite line(s) from your story?

“All of these theories on the internet are just that, theories. This pandemic is not an act of bio-terrorism, alien invasion or military experiment gone awry. The sheer number and breadth of Patient Zeroes across the planet is staggering,” the President of the United States said emphatically. “And finally, no, we did not consult with George Romero on how to deal with this crisis.”

What's your next project?

Besides a few short stories I plan on posting online for free, I’m working on Cooking for Zombies – a Dummies type satire written from the zombie POV on how to properly cook humans.

Describe your writing in a sentence.

It’s technically proficient but sometimes lacking in beauty.

Do you choose character names or do the characters whisper them in your ears?

I find the best way to find character names is one of two ways – the phonebook (although it’s almost impossible to find one these days) - or a baby name book. That allows you to find the hidden meaning behind your character’s names.

Plotter or panster?

I’m definitely a panster – I create a loose three act structure (beginning, middle & end) and then let the story decide what happens. I originally started this novel with just the title and a few vague ideas.

Do you like background noise or do you prefer a quiet space when you write?

I like to listen to music in the background.

What are you currently reading?

I read a lot, so I’m currently working on three books at the moment: Hidden Empire by Orson Scott Card; An Unfair Advantage by Robert Kiyoskai and Tomahawks & Zombies by JJ Beausoleil.

People think I'm weird because...

I only like to eat even numbers of things – like always 2 or 4 M&Ms, never three.

Jamie would like to offer a discount for the book as well on Smashwords!

Promotional price: $3.99
Coupon Code: CX94Y
Expires: July 1, 2012 

Tokyo. Sydney. Beijing. Cairo. Paris. Rome. New York. Los Angeles. One by one, the world’s great cities fell to the zombie plague. What chance does a small, non-descript city in Canada like Edmonton have?

The world as we know it is finished. Civilization has collapsed and humanity is on the brink of extinction. Billions of people are dead, victims of a horrific plague. 

Bi-weekly paychecks, Tim Horton’s double doubles, men’s league hockey and cheap winter vacations to Cancun. That was the life Xander Barnes had known for years until a pandemic swept the globe. Efforts to slow its spread or develop quarantine zones, in many cases were too little, too late. 

Nowadays, life consisted of avoiding the plague victims, ghouls who had an insatiable appetite for human flesh and finding enough food to survive day to day. How long can one ordinary man survive in a world gone mad? 

“Gentlemen, it’s going to be a race to get to the cars, so I suggest you hurry. Larry and Greg, run to the Sheriff’s office and see if there is more ammo and maybe some working flashlights. We’ll meet you at the ramp by the fountain in one minute,” Darryl said. “If you’re not there in time, we’ll leave you behind. Got it?”

“Got it!” they echoed.

Just then the doors to the Bowker Building opened again and dozens of infected streamed out.  The two groups raced off. John and Darryl reloaded as they ran and got to the stairs, hiding behind a planter filled with sub tropical plants, with the older men a dozen steps behind them. Sunlight poured in from a skylight and illuminated the area. Greg glanced out the windows and saw that the Legislative Grounds were filled with 
dozens more infected. When the old men had finally caught up to them, they raced down the stairs. John tossed a table onto its side and shoved all three of them behind it. 

“Stay,” he ordered tersely. 

Larry and Greg followed Darryl’s orders and raced into the office. Greg ran into the back room and fired his pistol twice into a locked cabinet. The lock shattered and he ripped it open, pulling out a pair of pump action shotguns. He loaded shells into each and stuffed more in his vest pockets. He stuffed several pistol magazines in as well and scrambled back out to the front office, where Larry was tearing a desk apart looking for batteries.

“I can’t find any!” Larry hollered. 

“Forget the batteries, let’s get going!” Greg yelled, grabbing a jacket off a nearby chair and threw it on.Greg tossed a shotgun to Larry and jammed the half empty box of shells into his hands. Then he tore out the door without another word. Larry pulled one last drawer open and yelled, “Jackpot!” He stuffed a couple packs of batteries into his over-sized pockets and followed Greg out the door, tossing on a heavy jacket as well.  A second later, Larry heard a shotgun blast. As he ran out into the hallway, he saw Greg standing there, firing his shotgun into a huge group of infected, blood and flesh exploding from the lifeless victims. 

“This way,” Larry shouted and raced for the ramp that spiraled down to the lower level. Greg followed, and they took turns, running and firing, covering each other’s back whenever possible. They made it to the bottom of the ramp and saw John and Darryl firing into a group of infected, coming down the stairs that were located at the south edge of the ramp. The premier and cabinet ministers huddled in abject fear only a few 
feet away.

The infected from the Bowker Building were coming down the ramp and Larry turned and fired at them. In the narrow confines of the ramp, every shot finished off several infected, but their numbers suddenly seemed limitless. Dozens, if not hundreds, poured down the ramp from the ground floor.  

Darryl’s pistol’s slide jacked back as the magazine emptied. “Did you find us any ammo?” he screamed at Greg. 
Greg tossed over all four of the magazines he had found. Darryl shoved one in and resumed firing. Suddenly the way was clear. 

“Let’s go!” Darryl hollered. He grabbed the premier and then both he and John raced down the tunnel towards the parking lot. The two cabinet ministers followed in their steps, with the two young sheriffs firing into the ever expanding pack of infected. A door to the Legislative Annex on their left from opened, and more infected flooded into the hallway as they ran past it. 

“Sir, run for the end of the hallway!” John yelled. Charchuk and two cabinet ministers continued down the darkened tunnel. 

John and Darryl stopped and fired point blank into the infected. 
“Last magazine, make ‘em count!” Darryl said over the gunfire to John, as he passed him a magazine. John nodded.

“Greg, Larry, come on!” Darryl shouted, as the sheriffs were on the verge of being cut off by the host of infected flowing from the Annex. They ran backwards and stood shoulder to shoulder with Darryl and John. Natural light from three periscopes flooded the hallway with an eerie light, adding to the emergency lights mounted on high 
on the walls. 

John and Darryl fired again and again until both were out of ammunition. Darryl’s gun clicked on an empty chamber. He glanced around, looking for something, anything to hold off the infected. He ran to several nearby display cases, marked ‘Alberta Legislature’, which had a display about the provincial government. One cabinet was stuffed with replicas of both the Legislature’s mace and several medieval-era battle maces, and he smashed the glass with butt of his pistol.  He jammed the pistol back into its holster and reached into the case, pulling out a pair of wicked looking maces and leaving the gaudy, gold-painted Legislative replica behind. He ran back to John and gave him one, then attacked the infected reaching for him with an over-handed swing. The mace came down and crushed the infected teenager’s skull, sending blood and brain matter in every direction. John emulated him and they cut a bloody swath through the infected. The young sheriffs, also out of ammunition, were now using the butt end of their shotguns like clubs to fend off the infected. 

They fell back slowly, responding to any attempt by the infected to get around them. Bit by bit, they were moving closer and closer to the parkade. 


(Don't forget the special promotion price!)

From Smashwords:

“...Zombie Night in Canada is a fresh breath of rotting zombie corpses and gunsmoke. It has great action, a uniquely Canadian outlook (but not too Canadian as to alienate reads who don’t hail from the great white north) and great detail and an all-round exciting story. Best zombie novel I’ve read in some time.”

“Like Zombies? Like Guns? Like Canada? This book has them all. Infected Zombies are once again on the march. The plot revolves around the events surrounding an exponential zombie outbreak as it happens to the main protagonists rather then a story where they "wake up" to a world already overrun. The book is set mostly in Canada, especially Alberta with real world locations & references and contains good specific military weapon usage to help draw you into the story. Fans of the genre will appreciate the many references to other contemporary zombie stories including what I saw as a direct homage to the Dawn of the Dead 2004 remake.”

About The Author:
Jamie Friesen was born in Lahr, West Germany while his father was serving with the Royal Canadian Air Force. He attended the University of Alberta where he obtained a Bachelor of Arts in History, and followed it later with a Masters of Arts in Communications & Technology. After obtaining his Bachelor's degree, Jamie went abroad and taught English in Japan and Taiwan.

He now lives in Edmonton, Canada with his wife and daughter, working in the Public Relations field and writes in his spare time, which usually translates to early mornings and lunch time.

ZNIC Facebook page:

You can follow Jamie's blog hop by clicking on this link:

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Author Interview - Carly Fall

Today we have a special guest from GoddessFish Tours! Welcome Carly Fall and learn more about her new release, Finding My Faith and the giveaway she's doing!

What's your book/current WIP about?
Finding My Faith is the second book in the Six Savior Series focusing on the warrior Rayner. Over two hundred years ago, a group of vicious criminals escaped from their prison on the planet of SR44. They landed on Earth, and have become some of our worst criminals such as Jack the Ripper and Jeffrey Dahmer. The people of SR44 sent six warriors to destroy those criminals.

Rayner is the all work and no play guy who desperately wants to go home, but knows that won't be possible until their mission is complete. He also has a gift that he feels is a curse: he can see spirits caught in the ether between life and death. There's very little he can do for them, so he ignores them. Faith is a human who gets mixed up with one of the criminals, and almost dies. Rayner can see her, and when he realizes that she may be able to help him catch the criminal and get home, he engages her. Drama, romance and love ensue.

Care to share your favorite line(s) from your story?
This is a tough one, but here are a few:

From Rayner’s (the hero) POV:
What beat within him now was nothing but raw male need, all pretenses of manners and gentlemanly etiquette long gone.

From my villain (s):
“What’s my little redhead’s name?” Diego asked.
Charles heard Diego chuckle. “She won’t have much of that left when I’m finished with her.”

Faith’s father to Faith:

“…You have to quit being so adventurous, Faith. You need to follow the path that has been carved out for you, not make new ones.”

What's your next project?
My next project is Book 3 from the Six Savior Series. It is currently untitled.

Describe your writing in a sentence.
My writing is edgy, raw, sometimes funny, sometimes snarky, all bundled up in dramatic romantic
stories within the Fantasy genre.

Do you choose character names or do the characters whisper them in your ears?
When I look at names, I usually go to a baby name website or a website that lists different “strange”
names. I read through the names until my character says, “That’s me! That’s my name!” So I guess
it’s a collaboration.

Plotter or panster?
A little bit of both. I do plot out my books. I know what is going to happen and when, but I sometimes
find that my characters don’t always agree with my plotting, and I end up going by the seat of my pants
at that point until I can steer everything back on track.

Do you like background noise or do you prefer a quiet space when you write?

In my ipod I have tracks of rain falling and white noise. So I do prefer background noise, just stuff I
choose to listen to.

What are you currently reading?
I am currently reading a book titled IOU Sex. It’s pretty funny.

People think I'm weird because...
Thinking about this question, I just realized it’s only my non-writing friends who think I’m weird.
They don’t understand the fun of sitting in front of a computer and making up stories, characters,
drama and romance. My writing friends think I’m totally normal.

Growing up in a small Northern Arizona town, Faith Cloudfoot’s life was spent playing in the forests surrounding her house under the protective eyes of her father, and learning about the legends of her Native American heritage. Yearning for more out of her life, she moves to Phoenix, Arizona at the age of twenty-three where she is kidnapped and almost killed. 

Rayner has a special ability, one that weighs on him like a curse. He can see spirits trapped in between life and their final resting place. Because he can’t do much to help them, he studiously ignores them. He concentrates, instead, on working with his fellow warriors to right the wrongs caused by the evil criminals from his home planet.

When Rayner sees Faith in her spirit form while investigating a lead in Phoenix, his attraction to her is immediate, yet he follows his own personal code and ignores her cry for attention. When he realizes that she may be a stepping stone to getting him home to his own universe, he engages Faith and begins to use her as a means to an end: going home.

As the attraction grows stronger, Rayner finds himself breaking all sorts of self-set rules, as well as the code of ethics set by him and his fellow warriors. When Faith nears death, Rayner realizes that he must do everything in his power to save her, because if he doesn’t, he may just lose himself.

Carly will be giving away two eBook copies of The Light Within Me (the first book of this series)at each tour stop; a $15 All Romance eBooks GC for one randomly drawn commenter and $10 Amazon GC for blog host with the most comments (excluding the host's and the author's).

Monday, May 14, 2012

We Interrupt This Program . . .

This message is to inform you that the sole writer at Have Novel, Will Edit, will be taking a brief hiatus from blogging. Please refer to this this blog for explanation as to why I'm seriously stressed out right now. I apologize for the inconvenience (i.e. making you go somewhere else for awesome photos and humor), although the author interviews on Wednesdays will continue as normal because I had the foresight to schedule them.

I promise the next SIFWIW will be worth the wait. This is just like when you're watching TV and you get a crappy Hallmark movie instead of the show you really wanted to see. Only there will be no crappy Hallmark movie with the sappy happy ending.

At this time, I encourage you to work on your writing, take a walk, or read a book.

Friday, May 11, 2012

The Friday Five - Books That Disturb Me

Sometimes there are books that come into our lives that rock us to our cores. Lines in them that make us shiver with deliciousness. One such book I recently read was The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater. Here's the line that really stunned me because it was so powerful: Through the reins, I can somehow feel how powerful he is. They're spiderwebs anchoring a ship. (My husband said I said it was powerful because she used the word powerful, but that's not true.)

Oh, man. That is some strong writing there. If you like YA and myths, I 100% recommend The Scorpio Races. It was wonderfully done.

But sometimes, there are books that destroy your mind. They make you quake in fear or give you weird, vivid dreams that haunt you for days, if not years. These are the five that bug me most:

1) The Monster At The End of This Book - Jon Stone and Michael Smollin. As a child, when my mom brought this book to my bedside the first time, I had fits. Mom tells me I was terrified of the Halloween aisle at Wal-mart, so it only seems appropriate that I feared all monsters. I cried, I begged, pleaded for her to put TMATEOFTB down. Would she? No!!!! Way to torture your kid, Mom. Thanks for that. Not to spoil it or anything, but the monster at the end was of course, Grover. She laughed at me, told me that I worried for nothing, but it was a pretty big deal to a pre-school aged child. Especially one with a horrible fear of monsters. I still think about that to this day.

2) His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman. I realize I was a bit older when I read this (at least in my mid-twenties), but it bothered me. For days during and after reading it, I had really vivid dreams about animals talking to me. They weren't doing anything to hurt me, but they were so realistic that I didn't sleep well. I wanted to go through the whole series and work out the symbolism of the book after I read it, but the dreams got so crazy I had to put it down. I haven't picked it up again to this day.

3) Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark - Alvin Schwartz. Click on that link and look at the cover. That in itself is bothersome enough. Monsters aside, I enjoy ghost stories. I've read my fair share of Koontz and King. But the more Scary Stories I read, the worse my nightmares got. There was one story about a scarecrow that peeled the skin off its victims and . . . *shudder* that's far enough.

4) The Ghost Next Door - R. L. Stine. I like ghost stories. I said that above. I do, really, although I'm picky about the horror movies I watch. It isn't that this book is scary so much as what if we're really ghosts and don't realize it?! Yeah, that bothers me.

5) The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon - Stephen King. I know there must be a better example of a book that this, because I actually loved this book. But like Trish in the story, I often feel like I'm being followed by something. I catch a glimpse of it from the corner of my eye, hear a strange noise, get a chill. (Psst, that's called paranoia.) I had an incident on a trail one day where I got lost and was worn out, smelled something dead and thought, great, I'm going to die out here. I eventually found my way back though. Obviously. Unless . . . I'm the ghost next door.

Hello? Can you hear me? Am I living dead in denial of being a ghost? Oh, man. O_o

Happy Friday!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The Treasure Hunter's Lady in Print

This is a photo of my mom holding the first print copy of The Treasure Hunter's Lady. You should have seen her face when I pulled it out of my purse. It was like she'd won the lottery. Which is funny because I didn't even let her keep this copy. I feel kind of bad because it was my brother's birthday and here I whip out this print edition, upstaging him. I mean, being 39 is nothing to sneeze at, especially when the doctors told my parents he'd never make it out of his twenties. So big

I didn't get home until pretty late on Saturday, if you read yesterday's post, you'll remember it was a crazy busy weekend. But I was hoping and wishing and praying that my proof would come. I relentlessly checked the mail every day since it shipped. I opened the door and there it was! I wanted to tear the tape off of it the second the box was in my hands, but we were just down the hill from the house, so I made myself wait.

The scissors came out, the tape was split, the flap opened and there it was:
Ignore the toilet paper in the background.
It was a little surreal. I mean, I've done everything from start to finish on this book. Writing it, obviously, formatting, designing the cover, re-formatting for print, re-designing the cover. I've laughed, cried and bled more non-real blood over this thing than maybe anything I've ever done in my life.

Of course, it looks different in print than it does online, the font color is a little darker and it's pretty good sized, especially compared to my e-reader, but I would look away from it and look back and be like whoa! There it is! I carted it around all day Sunday, just holding it, flipping through it to look at chapter headers. Reading the dedication and the About the Author. A little obsessively. Maybe.

I also put a plastic cover over it. I know it's just a proof copy, but it's my proof copy. It's one of those things that I made happen. And it's one of the coolest things I ever made happen.

No rest for the wicked, so I'm still working on the edits for The Sky Pirate's Wife, but I think I'm nearly satisfied with the cover. At least this time I know what I'm doing, so I can work with the e-book and print formats together for SPW and get those out around the same time. BTW, July 16th, if you were wondering when I'm releasing Van Buren and Sophie into the world.

You can buy The Treasure Hunter's Lady in print or as an ebook for Kindle, Nook, or any e-reader (or your computer) at Smashwords before The Sky Pirate's Wife comes out!

Monday, May 7, 2012

The Really Long Crazy Weekend + Some Awesome News!

You have to wade through all the other stuff to get to the awesome news. Mwahahahahaha. I don't have any pictures for you today from my weekend. I didn't take a nature walk. There was a lot going on this weekend, so there just wasn't time.

First, it was the monthly meeting at Ozarks Romance Authors. Where the library so thoughtlessly didn't have a room for us for critique. I may or may not have showed my temper just a lot. Okay, I did. I was already ticked because there were about 40 or 50 bicyclists between my house and the next town that thought pulling out in front of me (while I was running 55 mph) was a really great idea and then riding in packs rather than single file so it's impossible to get around them. I'm all for fitness, but I personally believe that if you're going to be on the road, you should really obey stop signs and traffic laws. Just sayin'.

We managed to squeeze into a room at 1:00 so our speaker had a place to speak. She was great. It was Lee Ann Sontheimer Murphy, and you should really check her out.

The second event was the O'Reilly Auto Parts 4-Wheel Jamboree Nationals. I went over there after the meeting where my husband had been all day. It was wicked hot and by the time day one was over, I was so exhausted I went to bed at 9:30. Pictures to come.

Yesterday I went with husband all day to the Jamboree. It didn't start off well. He had his dad's truck as his show truck this year, but we left it inside the gate overnight so we wouldn't have to spend the gas to take it back and forth. I drove home Saturday night and took him up Sunday morning. We paid to park inside the fairgrounds and had to drive all over Hell and creation to get a spot. I know that parking attendants have a tough job and the heat probably didn't help, but when the guy tried to get me to park right on top of the SUV in front of me and I wouldn't, I got called a bad name. When my husband asked him what he said, the guy wouldn't repeat it. We grabbed our cooler (which is lunchbox size) and walked up to the gate. Where we encountered another problem. I read the rules on the board before we got up there. But when we tried to go in, the gate keeper had an issue with our cooler. No coolers, he said. Nary a word about it on the sign. While a) it says no dogs and I saw two or three inside the gates and b) it says no bicycles and there were some kids riding them who almost got squished by a guy in a golf cart and c) no alcohol and there was plenty of that going around. In coolers. He told us we could walk around to the other gate 3/4 of mile away and see about going through it. We hiked back to the car, left the cooler and set off again with me carrying a measly pound of hamburger meat. I was so tired of dealing with people that the first person who commented on the raw meat was going to end up wearing it. Fortunately (because I might have gone to jail if I actually followed through with that threat), no one said anything this time.

Husband also tried to report the parking lot attendant because calling someone's wife a stupid b isn't very nice, but the staff guy had an issue with husband's attitude (despite the fact that all he did was ask who he should talk to about it) and said he'd take care of it, which means he probably didn't do anything because we couldn't give him a name. After that, though, it was a pretty calm day. I was exhausted and kept trying to nap, but those fold-up chairs aren't really conductive for napping. I finally stretched out in the truck, but some other trucks kept driving by with their exhaust uncorked and it was very loud. The awards were held at 3:00 and the monster trucks, which is all I care about, started at 3:30. Really, they were disappointing this year because none of them would run through the mud pit. Not even Bigfoot.

Finally we had to leave to go to my brother's birthday party. He's 39 this year. My aunt's birthday is the 8th, so we sort of celebrated dual birthdays. We went to Lambert's Cafe. The food there is excellent and I caught all but one of the rolls they threw at me. It landed in the seat. I ate it anyway. Watch me catch the epizootie. They pass around food like fried taters, okra (which is not food to me, but some people like it), macaroni and tomatoes, and they throw the rolls and then bring molasses. I had charbroiled chicken, cucumbers and onions and mashed potatoes. They gave me the wrong ticket too and I wanted to pay it because it was cheaper than ours, but the waitress made me give it back.

Stop staring at my hair!
So, pictures to come and just one more thing for your Monday: The Treasure Hunter's Lady is now in print. You can buy if from Createspace, as it hasn't come to Amazon yet. Want a link? Here you go:

I have a great photo of husband holding it at the truck show too that I'll upload for you next time.

Friday, May 4, 2012

The Friday Five - Reasons I'm A Slacker

You probably think you already read this post, don't you? When I was sick in March and I didn't feel like doing anything. But you'd be wrong, because this time I'm not sick (at least I hope I'm not). This time I have something other than germs weighing on my mind for why I'm slacking.

Let's discuss what I'm slacking at. As you know, The Sky Pirate's Wife has been finished since early March. I've been goofing off pretty much every day since it finished. Well, maybe goofing off is too hard a judgement. I've been trying to design a cover, working on The Turncoat's Temptress, and my sooper sekrit prajekt. Here's what stopping me from moving forward:

1) I hate editing. For me there is nothing as dull as sitting there reading and re-reading every word you've written with a critical eye. I know it's a necessary evil, but I hate it. I don't mind updating after someone's critiqued it, but I don't want to do line by line.

2) My comfort zone is writing. That's why I happily started working on TcT again and my sooper sekrit prajekt. Plus, it's fun to do something different after finishing a 90,000 word novel.

Abel vs. Van Buren. Advertising
is hard sometimes. Also, VB
looks like he's sort of giving up
and expects to be arrested. Hmm.
3) I'm concerned about having two releases out there at once. I don't exactly feel like I'm giving The Treasure Hunter's Lady it's shiny place in the sun if I say, hey guess what, y'all? The Sky Pirate's Wife is coming out shortly! It doesn't seem fair somehow. I've touted THL, interviewed like crazy, had some pretty decent reviews, but I don't really know that I've done enough for it. SPW isn't exactly burning a hole in my pocket.

4) That cover I'm designing? Just. Won't. Work. The hunt for new pictures began 05/01. And ended 05/01. So now there's a new cover to design. And that can take hours to mold it into perfection. Yeah, I completely understand why graphic designers charge so much.

5) I'm looking at a July release. I know, I know, I was talking late May/mid-June after I finished writing. Please refer to #3. Tuesday night I sat down behind my computer and formatted it for e-pub. I got through two chapters before bedtime. I read way faster than that, but referring to #1, I hate that line by line stuff. If only there was a better way to motivate myself.

It's Friday. I have an ORA meeting tomorrow, which means a full day of writerly stuff. Go have fun, kids!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Book Feature - Dance Me to the Stars

At first glance twenty-eight-year-old Claire Chatfield has everything a girl could possibly wish for: she looks gorgeous, has a promising career at one of New York’s top architectural firms, and she carries an engagement ring on her finger from one of New York’s most eligible heir-bachelors! Life should be a dream, but deep down Claire is haunted by an insecurity that has plagued her since her childhood days. When Alec Brunell, a sexy tango dancer, moves into the apartment one floor above from Claire’s, he unwittingly awakens Claire’s old fears, making her rebuff his attempts at neighborly friendship. Will Claire brave her inhibitions and allow herself to take a chance on Alec, or will she continue to play it safe?

For the entirety of his thirty-three-year-long existence, David Lawson has been groomed as the heir to the Lawson Enterprises real-estate empire. But spending eighty hour weeks at the office is not sufficient proof of company loyalty for the Lawson patriarch – in order to secure his place as his father’s successor, David must solidify his image by settling down with a wife befitting the future head of Lawson Enterprises – and who could fit the prerequisite better than the stunningly beautiful and incredibly bright Claire Chatfield? There is just one glitch – David Lawson is in love with another woman - a Hollywood legend Claudia Block.

A successful tango instructor, Alec Brunell has never lacked for women’s attention, but he finds himself at a loss when faced with his infuriatingly abrupt and incredibly gorgeous downstairs neighbor, Claire Chatfield. Upon hearing of his occupation, most women swoon with desire, but Claire runs for the door. Still, her iciness only adds fuel to his fire, as Alec is determined to change Claire’s view of him.

Claudia Block has been basking in the limelight of Hollywood for more years than she cares to admit. While she still has her looks, she would much rather not mention her age, which makes her unconventional affair with young and handsome David Lawson that much more difficult for her to give up.

Dance Me to the Stars is a love story about finding one’s perfect match, no matter how unlikely the union may seem to the onlookers. Sometimes following one’s heart is as convoluted as learning the steps of tango.


Alec put down the paint roller and wiped his forehead on the back of his arm. Man, he was beat – he had forgotten how grueling physical labor could be. Sure, he worked out six days a week, not to mention daily dance practice, but painting walls made him discover muscles he did know he had. Every bit of his body throbbed, but at least he had gotten the job done – the south wall was painted red, and the other three were white. Now, all he needed was wait for the paint to dry so that he could add a silhouette of a tango couple against the red background – that ought to complete the ambiance. He opened the small fridge and reached for a bottle of orange juice. The cool liquid soothed his parched throat; holding the now half-empty bottle, Alec walked over to the window to check out his new view. All in all he was happy with his new digs: the rent was reasonable and the view was not bad either – from the top floor he had an unobstructed view of Second Avenue – not exactly the poshest of locations, but it would do.

One thing he had not counted on was fussy neighbors. Alec smiled, thinking of the unexpected visitor from the morning. “Claire,” he mouthed her name, remembering her tousled chestnut hair and hazel eyes - even that bulky bathrobe she had been wearing could not conceal the shapely outlines of her body.

Of course, a girl like that was bound to be a challenge. But he had always liked challenge, and the fact that he was a professional tango dancer usually played in his favor. Usually, but it might not be so this time. Alec winced, remembering Claire’s reaction to his innocent question about her music taste. What was all that about? he wondered - as far as he was concerned, no one could resist tango. Well, he would get to the bottom of Claire’s music idiosyncrasies in due time, but in the meantime, he needed to think of a way to become more neighborly.

“Think of the devil,” Alec murmured, taking another gulp of orange juice as he spotted the subject of his thoughts exiting the lobby. Someone must have a hot night planned, he thought, his eyes examining every detail of Claire’s outfit, which was far more flattering than the bathrobe he remembered from this morning. Now, she was dressed in a little black number that fitted her body to a T – his instincts had been right, from long, shapely legs to firm, flat stomach to wonderfully full breasts, her body was downright perfect, and the way her chestnut mane bounced down her back made Alec want to get to know his neighbor better. Heading out for a night on the town, Alec mused – it was Saturday night after all, and he was glad to remark the absence of a male companion by Claire’s side. Suddenly, his new building looked even more appealing.

About The Author:
Marie Astor is the author of contemporary romance novels Dance Me to the Stars, On the Rim of Love, and Lucky Charm. Marie Astor has also authored a collection of short stories A Chance Encounter and Other Stories.

Marie’s latest contemporary romance novel, Dance Me to the Stars, has been selected in the first round of entries in the General Fiction category in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel contest this year.

Currently, Marie is working on her next novel – a first installment in her romantic suspense series.

Author Website:
Amazon Author Page:
Facebook page:
Twitter: @marieastor

Books by Marie Astor:
Dance Me to the Stars – a contemporary romance about finding one’s perfect match.

On the Rim of Love – a contemporary romance about the unexpected power of love.

Lucky Charm – a humorous contemporary romance about love, luck and friendship.

A Chance Encounter and Other Stories – a short story collection about love and everyday life.

To follow Marie's tour for more chances to win, click here.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Author Interview - Leah Petersen

Hey y'all, please welcome Leah Petersen to the blog today! She's touring with Goddessfish Promotions. So let's jump right in!

What's your book/current WIP about?

FIGHTING GRAVITY is a sci-fi story about a young man who comes from poverty and is thrust into the political and social center of a world where money and power are the only measure of a person’s worth. It’s also a love story.

Care to share your favorite line(s) from your story?

My favorite bits are more about the emotions they evoke than the order of the words, and most of that’s meaningless out of context. I’m thinking of my favorite lines from others’ books and it’s the same thing. One that I acquired just recently, from Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller, is simply “I remember.” The line gives me chills when I read the book, but it hardly stands out as anything remarkable by itself.

So I guess when I think of a particular sentence from FIGHTING GRAVITY, I always come back to the first one: “I was eight years old when they came for me.” I love the sense of, pardon the pun, gravity that hangs around it, the implications wrapped up in such a young age and in ‘them’ coming.

What's your next project?

The boring answer is that I’m working on the other two books in the trilogy. But I play around with other stuff from time to time. Most recently there was a thing with an android who was there when life first appeared on a planet and who watched and nurtured its evolution. It was fun.

Describe your writing in a sentence.

If I make you cry, then I’ve succeeded.

Do you choose character names or do the characters whisper them in your ears?

Honestly, I either use a random name generator or if that’s not working, I ask a writer friend who’s better at names that I am. Names have never been my thing. I often walk away from a book I loved not even remembering some main character’s names, just that it was the long one that started with an E or not the Cr one but the Ch one. It’s a real handicap when you have a conversation about the book. ‘Oh! Remember when the L girl said…’

Plotter or panster?

Pantser. Definitely.

Do you like background noise or do you prefer a quiet space when you write?

Oddly, one of the best places for me to focus on writing is to take my laptop and go sit at a small table at the pub. I won’t deny that beer is part of that equation.

What are you currently reading?

I’m about to start Mockingjay again. I almost always re-read a book I loved, usually right away. I didn’t love Mockingjay, but I loved Hunger Games, and Catching Fire, and I just can’t stop without reading to the end. Again.

What question have you always wanted to be asked in an interview and how would you answer it?

It’s going to sound really weird when I say that something I miss having a reason to talk about is breastfeeding. I know. I told you it was strange. And it also has nothing to do with writing gay sci-fi.

People think I'm weird because...

I talk out the most important dialogue scenes I’m writing. I usually do this when I’m alone in the car. Unfortunately, I sometimes get too into it in it to realize I’m, for example, stopped at a red light with a bunch of other cars around me. I’ve more than once been caught having a screaming fight with myself.

When Jacob Dawes is Selected for the Imperial Intellectual Complex as a child, he’s catapulted
from the poverty-stricken slums of his birth into a world where his status as an unclass is
something no one can forget, or forgive. His growing scientific renown draws the attention of
the emperor, a young man Jacob’s own age, and they find themselves drawn to each other in
an unlikely, and ill-advised relationship. Jacob may have won the emperor’s heart, but it’s no
protection when he’s accused of treason. And fighting his own execution would mean betraying
the man he loves.

After dinner, a servant summoned me to the emperor. This was now twice in as many nights.
Was it about something I’d said the night before? That stupid ring?

I was led to where the emperor was talking with the ship’s captain in one of the hallways.

“Good evening, Mr. Dawes. I see you survived the lift-off.” He walked as he spoke, gesturing for
me to accompany him.

“It was an incredible experience, Excellence. This is a nice ship you have.”

“Thank you. It’s not a new ship, there was no time for that. But many things were upgraded, the
engines included. They’re the best of the best, I’m told. I thought about you during the lift-off. I
wondered what you’d make of it.”

“You did?” I asked, stunned.

“Is there something wrong with that?” he asked, his mouth twisted in what looked like

amusement but was probably something more dangerous to me.

“No, sir. I guess not…”

“Does it bother you?” He seemed to be teasing me again.

“Some,” I answered.

He stopped. “Why?”

“Because I’m afraid of you.”

He laughed, and started down the hallway again. But after a sideways glance at my face, he
quieted. “You really mean that?”


“Oh.” His answer was soft, subdued, even. I got the distinct impression that I’d hurt his feelings.

“You must get that all the time.”

“I do,” he answered, but didn’t look at me. I was more and more sure that I’d offended him

“So why should it matter, then, Excellence?”

He thought for a moment. “I don’t know. I should be used to it. Of course, no one ever comes
out and says it in so many words. It’s a bit of a shock to hear it confirmed like that.”

He stopped again, facing me, a slight furrow between his eyes that I would have called
uncertainty, even vulnerability, if I hadn’t known who he was. “Why are you afraid of me?”

“Who wouldn’t be afraid? You can do anything you want with my life and there’s not a damn
thing I can do about it.”

The furrow deepened and he waited, as if I hadn’t explained myself at all.

“You uprooted my life a couple of weeks ago, who knows what you might do tomorrow?”

“You mean, you didn’t want this assignment?” he asked.

Apparently I wasn’t frightened enough to keep my mouth shut. “I want to be here,” I pointed to
the ship around us, “but I didn’t want to be reassigned, no.”

“Mr. Dawes...” He hesitated. “I had no idea. I’m sorry.”

I shrugged but didn’t look at him.

“Would you like to be assigned back to the IIC?”

“Yes, Excellence.”

“Then you will be.” He started walking again, gesturing to me to accompany him. My stomach
was jittery. I couldn’t believe what I’d just said. But he wasn’t reacting like an angry sovereign.
He was acting like just another guy whose feelings were hurt.

“I’m sorry if I offended you,” I tried.

He turned to me. “Actually, you have no idea how much I appreciate your honesty.”

There was no reason for me to believe he was lying or just being diplomatic—and I couldn’t
imagine why he would try to spare my feelings—but that didn’t make me feel much better. I was
still on edge, certain I’d said far too much.

Author Bio and Links:

Leah Petersen lives in North Carolina. She does the day-job, wife, and mother thing, much like
everyone else. She prides herself on being able to hold a book with her feet so she can knit
while reading. She’s still working on knitting while writing.
FIGHTING GRAVITY is her first novel.


Thanks for coming by, Leah! Good luck on the rest of your tour and much success with your book!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

This Little Piggie Went to the Market . . . to Market

Hey y'all.

As you probably know, the 2012 Ozarks Romance Authors Conference is coming up. We're in our 25th year, how awesome is that?

This is my 4th year of attending. Each one is better than the next. It's the first year that I have a book to peddle. I think (fingers crossed) that The Treasure Hunter's Lady will be ready for print by then. I also think that I probably won't have time to sit down at an actual table to sell print copies. In the past, as a member of the conference committee I've been positioned at the registration table to help people get signed in, pass out goody bags and be the official name list holder for people pitching to the agents.

This year, I'm not pitching. I have plenty of things on my plate and I'm not interested in pitching anything I have. I'm not dedicated enough to a certain historical romance file on my flash drive to try to spruce it up for an agent. I thought I might be, but in the end, I wasn't.

This year I find myself with the desire to sell books. Print books (please, please, please) and ebooks. I started wracking my brain months ago for a way to engage potential readers and make my way into the goody bags without blatantly putting just an advertisement in there. That's pretty lame. So I thought, what's something that nearly everyone likes?

Bookmarks? (Initially I said no to this because I think having ebooks and bookmarks doesn't really make sense. Now that The Treasure Hunter's Lady will be available in print, I'm reconsidering that. We'll see.) Magnets? Keychains (would that not be awesome)? Then I remember that I like candy. Almost everyone likes candy. Some people don't, but we'll forgive them. I'm excluding people who can't have candy from that statement.

So I was thinking, what if I printing the cover on one side of an index card, a short blurb on the back, took an idea that someone gave me and put QR codes on it as well, plus my social links, and filled little treat sacks with candy, tied them on with ribbon and presto! Instant swag.

Yup. That's what I'm doing. Admittedly, I haven't owned a modern printer in some time. So I had to go buy one. Fortunately they're not that pricey. Just in case you haven't bought one in a while. I figured that would be the most difficult part of my venture. Actually, installing the printer wasn't that hard. Designing the back of the card was a little troublesome, but I got it. Here's more or less what you'll see on these 4" X 6" cards.

Plus, you know, candy attached. So let's talk about what it cost me to set this deal up.

Printer: $29.00 (it came with ink cartridges)
Printer cable: $15.00
Blank 4" x 6"  index cards: $0.84
Ribbon: $0.74
Hole punch: $0.97
Candy sacks: $1.99 (100 count)
Candy: TBA

If you already own a printer and you have a graphic design program, this little project is easy to do yourself. Or you can spend bukoo bucks hiring someone to do it for you. I chose the index card route because although they aren't glossy, they're inexpensive (in case someone just decides to throw my hard work away) and they fit easily into the printer.

I made the QR codes at It's free. You can change to graphic color to suit your desires. Me, I used blue at first, but in order to preserve the precious stores of ink, I changed them to black as you can see. There are tons of free QR code generators around the net though.

It actually only took about two hours from printer installation to finish to get 75 cards printed. I'm pretty proud of myself 'cause I only got mad once, but that was when PhotoScape decided to be ignorant and didn't save my work and shut down. I didn't even throw anything.

Yes, you too can do your own marketing for a relatively low price. Or you can live vicariously through me while I struggle to make a name for myself. Whichever. ;)

I know, I know. A writer should be writing and not doing this other junk. Sometimes you need a break, but in a good creative way.