mollyringle: (Froud - bad faeries)

Hi everyone,

A very belated happy new year! I'm glad to have this news to share with you today: my new novel The Goblins of Bellwater, though it won't be out until fall, is at least up for pre-order now on Amazon and other sites, and you can admire the cover art in the meantime:




If you're a Goodreads user, I also encourage you to add the book to your shelves over there. It's no commitment or cost, and it will help your friends learn about it, and lead to more readers being interested in it, or such is the theory.

You can read the back-cover blurb on those sites, but I'll put it here too to save you from clicking through:

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A new novel inspired by Christina Rossetti's spooky, sensual poem "Goblin Market"...

Most people have no idea goblins live in the woods around the small town of Bellwater, Washington. But some are about to find out. Skye, a young barista and artist, falls victim to a goblin curse in the forest one winter night, rendering her depressed and silenced, unable to speak of what happened. Her older sister, Livy, is at wit's end trying to understand what's wrong with her. Local mechanic Kit would know, but he doesn't talk of such things: he's the human liaison for the goblin tribe, a job he keeps secret and never wanted, thrust on him by an ancient family contract.

Then Kit starts dating Livy, and Skye draws Kit's cousin Grady into the spell through an enchanted kiss in the woods. Skye and Grady are doomed to become goblins and disappear from humankind forever, unless Livy, the only one untainted by enchantment, can unravel the spell by walking a dangerous magical path of her own.

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By the way, you can read Rossetti's "Goblin Market" for free online. It's one strange Victorian paranormal ride, I'll tell you right now. Great fodder for a modern paranormal romance.

In related news, you can read a new interview with me here about my writing. I tackle, among other topics, that infamous "Which books would you take with you to a desert island?" question. Actually, I evade it, more like.

Hope you are reading lots of good books lately! Touch base and say hi.

mollyringle: (moon over ocean)

I recently had the pleasure of reading a new YA male/male love story called Caught Inside in advance of its release--see my glowing review here.



The novel's summary:

Luke believes he has his life figured out…and then he meets Theo.

It should have been simple—a summer spent with his girlfriend Zara at her family’s holiday cottage in Cornwall. Seventeen-year-old Luke Savage jumps at the chance, envisioning endless hours of sunbathing on the private beach and riding the waves on his beloved surfboard. He isn’t interested in love. Though his rugged good looks and lazy charm mean he can have his pick of girls, he has no intention of falling for anyone.

Nothing prepares Luke for his reaction to Theo, the sensitive Oxford undergraduate who is Zara’s cousin and closest friend. All at once, he is plunged along a path of desire and discovery that has him questioning everything he thought he knew about himself. No one, especially Zara, must find out; what he and Theo have is too new, too fragile. But as the deceit spirals beyond their control, people are bound to get hurt, Luke most of all.

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And today, author Jamie Deacon has answered some interview questions for me! Check them out:

MR: I loved the setting and now I long to visit Cornwall. What is your connection/history with the area?

JD: Oh, I’m so glad I’ve inspired you to visit the West Country. It’s a beautiful part of the world. I was lucky enough to enjoy many family holidays in Cornwall whilst growing up, and it’s a place that’s close to my heart. And of course the Cornish coast is a hotspot for surfers, so it would naturally appeal to my hero!

MR: What are your favorite types of scenes to write? And what are the hardest?

JD: I must have a taste for the dramatic, because I love writing scenes with a lot of angst, something which probably won’t surprise readers of Caught Inside. Opening scenes are the hardest for me, I think. Finding the best way to introduce readers to the story and characters can be a challenge. In fact, I’ve lost count of the number of times I rewrote the first chapter of Caught Inside.

MR: Is there a genre you haven’t written yet but would like to try? How about a genre you’ll probably never write?

JD: LGBT stories are my passion, and I also can’t imagine writing outside young and new adult fiction. There’s something about YA and NA, the rawness of the emotion, how the characters are just discovering themselves and what they want in life, that really appeals to me. I’d definitely like to try my hand at something other than contemporary, though. I have an outline for a romantic suspense trilogy set in a prestigious art college, and even a tentative idea for a novel with a fantastical twist.

MR: What elements do you especially like to include in a love story?

JD: Lots of obstacles. I love tender moments and happy endings, but for me these are all the sweeter and more satisfying when the protagonists have had to work hard to get there.

MR: I must ask: are you a surfer? The descriptions of the sport in the book seemed realistic to me, but then, I’ve never really tried it!

JD: Hahahaha! No, I’m not a surfer. Like Zara, Luke’s girlfriend in Caught Inside, my balance is atrocious. The closest I’ve ever come to the sport is water-skiing, and it’s fair to say I spent far more time in the water than on it. I’m thrilled that my portrayal of surfing came across as authentic, though. It was really important to me to capture Luke’s passion, and I did a ton of research in an attempt to get it right.

MR: What are you working on now, and/or planning to write next?

JD: I’m currently writing Forbidden Steps, the second novel in my Boys on the Brink series. This one deals with a fledgling step family and all the tensions and conflict that so often results when two families are dismantled, then pieced back together to form something entirely new. The fact that my heroes are stepbrothers who fall in love only adds to the drama! In the meantime, a short story of mine will be appearing in an anthology of NA m/m romances about taking chances, due for release later this year.

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I am looking forward to those new stories, for sure! In the meantime, connect with Jamie:

Website
Facebook
Twitter
Goodreads
Boys on the Brink Reviews


Jamie lives in a tranquil spot close to the River Thames in Berkshire, England, and has always been just a little out of place—the only redhead in a family of brunettes; an introvert far more at ease with dogs than with people; a connoisseur of simple pleasures in a society intent on the quest for wealth and fame. Despite an outward cynicism, Jamie is a romantic at heart, and, when not immersed in a book, can mostly be found writing emotional stories where young men from all walks of life are thrust headlong into the breathless, euphoric, often painful whirlwind called love.

Get Caught Inside at:

Beaten Track Publishing
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
iTunes
Kobo

mollyringle: (books & pearls)

Today I am delighted to spin the spotlight onto my friend and fellow Northwest author, Pam Stucky! Pam is celebrating the release of her newest novel, The Secret of the Dark Galaxy Stone, second in her YA time-travel adventure series, following up on book 1, The Universes Inside the Lighthouse.




She's humoring me by answering some questions today about her writing life, and her answers have made me laugh several times, so I think you'll enjoy them too. Here they areenjoy!

You’ve written novels in epistolary format (the Wishing Rock series), non-fiction travel guides (Pam on the Map), and lately a YA sci-fi series (Balky Point Adventures)—a very cool variety of genres! Are there other genres you’d like to try writing someday? How about any genres you’ll probably never write?


I've actually also written a screenplay, which, while not technically a genre, was completely different and very fun—a totally different challenge. In screenplays, everything you write has to be something that can be acted. So you can't say, "She was a woman with thirty years of wasted therapy behind her"; you have to figure out: how do I *show* that in a way that an actor can act it? It was difficult but a fantastic exercise, and I think (hope) it helped improve my writing, at least a bit! And even as I write the A's to your Q&A, I'm also at the very beginning of a murder mystery. (It seriously took me a while to get up the guts to google "how to murder someone and make it look like an accident." I swear, it's writing research!!! I swear!!) I'm not sure if it'll be a book or a screenplay yet, but this, too, is an intriguing challenge. Trying to create a mystery is like doing a puzzle backwards: first you figure out the whole picture, then you figure out in which order you should reveal the pieces. Okay, not exactly backwards. But it's definitely a puzzle.

What genre will I never write? Hm ... I would never say never. As with the screenplays and the mysteries, everything is a new challenge and therefore interesting. However, I'm less likely to delve into romance, I suppose. I'm going back and forth on whether I'd ever write a western. Probably not. I tend to think less of "genre" than I do of "what story is interesting to me," though. So if I were to think of an interesting romance or western, I'd give it a try, for sure.


In the Balky Point books, which character was easiest for you to relate to? And who was the most challenging?

I'm always amused when people think one character or another is more "me" than another—because, honestly, I feel like every character carries some elements of myself. I think the main characters tend to be my more public selves—Ruby in the Wishing Rock series; Emma in the Balky Point books. But in the Balky Point books, the Charlies and Dr. Waldo were so easy and fun to write, because they're just my playful selves. (As I'm writing this, I'm noticing: "selves" is a weird word when you look at it!)

I think the most challenging thing for me to write, always, are the bits of conflict. Which, if I'm doing my job, is supposed to come up a good bit in writing! In real life, I'll go to great lengths to avoid conflict. But books need it. So I'll say the antagonists, and the unresolved conflicts, I really have to consciously work on those.

Travel obviously inspires your writing a good deal, in the fiction as well as the travel guides. Do you have plans to visit any new locales (and write about them) in the next year or two?

According to my bank account, there are no travel plans in the near future. But that hasn't stopped me from planning! I visited Australia when I was in college and have been wanting to go back ever since. Lately I've been planning a trip to Western Australia, so I am ready to go when I can. It's such an under visited place, and that's part of what draws me: the possibility of discovery. I would love to be able to spend a couple months Down Under, actually. In my latest book, The Secret of the Dark Galaxy Stone, my characters took the trip for me to the town of Lightning Ridge, in New South Wales, Australia. I went there on my college trip, but for the book I "had to" do more research. I "drove" down the roads using Google Earth (is that the one where you can get to street level?), and their tourism center sent me a huge packet of information. I feel like I've just been there again!

I also can't wait to get back to Switzerland. I'm 7/8 Swiss, and my family took a heritage trip to Switzerland in 2007, tracing our roots. It felt like home, somehow; like my genes recognized it. I want to go back. Maybe in winter, sometime, to one of the carless towns in the mountains. Me, a cozy cabin in the snow, some chocolate and fondue and Swiss wine (it's delicious but they only export 1% of what they produce!). Heaven!

I love that you use humor so often in your writing too. Who/what are your favorite sources of comedy when you need cheering up?

Do you know, this question really stumped me. I rarely seek out comedy, but I really should. There is nothing like a good laugh, like that laugh where you're laughing so hard there's no sound coming out of you and you can hardly breathe ... that's the best! I need to seek out more comedy. I do know that whenever I come across some old Whose Line Is It Anyway episodes, I stop and watch. That comedy that comes from improv, nothing matches that. I actually took an improv class once. I can't remember why. One key lesson that I remember, though, is that you have to let the comedy flow from each moment. You can't pre-plan what's going to be funny in improv, and then try to somehow guide the scene toward your plan; that will never work. The humor comes from seeing a moment, and seeing the humor in that moment. To that end, I'd say that I think of myself as a good observer, and maybe that's part of it. Being an observer, combined with being able to connect random dots, that's where humor comes from, maybe.

I think, too, that what's important in humor is recognizing that humor is not a standalone emotion. Rarely are things only funny. Usually there's something else in there, some recognition of human truth. Recognition that we're all in this together, and "this," life, is pretty odd sometimes. That's why sometimes when you try to re-tell something that was hilarious at the time, you can't. You end up saying "You had to be there," because it wasn't just about the words. It was about the connection, and the situation, and the history of the people involved, their relationship ... humor is so thick, so deep and dense. I think that's why it's hard to do it when you try. The best way to be funny is not to try. I know that's not really helpful, but I think it's true.

You mention A Wrinkle in Time as an influence for the Balky Point books. What other YA books have been an inspiration for you and your work?

Well, there's this author named Molly Ringle, whose delight in the written word is an absolute inspiration ...

First, let me say that I hate labels, and among the labels I hate most are book genre labels. When I write, I write stories I am interested in reading (or, in the case of screenplays, seeing). I don't set out to write a genre. People have told me the Balky Point books are actually more middle grade ... I think their reasoning is that there's no sex, little violence, no dystopia, so it can't be YA because it's too tame. At the same time, I very purposely didn't "dumb down" my writing. There are a lot of "big words" that middle grade kids wouldn't know. Which is fine; my purpose there is that we learn by reading, right? If they're exposed to something they don't know, that's great! One of my favorite compliments of The Universes Inside the Lighthouse came from my niece — who, by the way, spent half an hour telling me everything she loved about the book when she first read it. Anyway, she said, "It gives you a lot to think about." Or something like that. I thought, yes, that's what I want. I want people to think.

What I find interesting is that a YA book is first and foremost a YA book — then it's sci-fi or adventure or fantasy or whatever else. YA does a better job, I think, of recognizing that life is not segmented in the way books are. Life encompasses everything, and I don't see why books can't, too.

So, back to your question. The Fault in Our Stars made me weep so bad ... I was on a plane to Toronto when I was reading it, and I got toward the end and I thought, I need to stop reading this on the plane. I am about to go into a very loud, very wet, very ugly cry, and I don't know that I want to do that on a plane. The fact that John Green was able to elicit such strong emotions from me (and so many others) is inspirational. The Hunger Games books actually sort of disturb me in how popular they are, because I feel like their popularity points to something we've lost. (But that's a whole other discussion!) Still, the writing was so compelling; it kept me reading even while I found myself disturbed. And OF COURSE Harry Potter, which is such an amazing series that, frankly it transcends genre completely. The way JK Rowling built a world so vivid that each of us feels we know it inside and out is indescribable. I aspire to that, one day. It's a tall order.

I don't know what genre "Choose Your Own Adventure" falls under, but I was obsessed with that series in its day, and I still think about how I could do my own version of it. I have some ideas, but haven't fallen on the right one yet. But stay tuned!


Now that The Secret of the Dark Galaxy Stone is out, what’s next for you in the writing life?

I have so many ideas I want to work on, and having just published The Secret of the Dark Galaxy Stone, I'm still in a sort of transitional zone. As mentioned above, I've had a murder mystery in my mind for a while, and I think ultimately that's what I'll settle on. I loved the Nancy Drew books growing up, and I relish a good crime drama. I think it'll be a screenplay. I know the setting; it's based on a real-life setting that I saw last summer on a road trip. I turned a corner and saw the setting in front of me, and thought: I need to set a book here. This is perfect. (I won't say just yet where it is!) I have ideas for a few other novels, and I know what book is next in the Balky Point Adventures. I also have a couple of non-fiction books I want to write. But for now, I think it's the murder mystery.

Going back to being in a transitional zone, that's something I want to talk about because I think we don't hear authors talking about this. Dark Galaxy was my ninth book, though I published all three of my travelogues at the same time, and one of my other books was more of a marketing piece ... my point being that I've hit that post-book zone let's say six times, legitimately. It took me a few books before I realized that every time, finishing the project dumped me into a sort of mini-depression, funk, malaise, whatever you want to call it. I now know to expect it, but in those early days it was disconcerting and troubling. It's a sudden sense of purposeless. Like there's a joy in not having to edit that day, but there's also this feeling of, "Now what?" It's a time when everything is possible, but at which you also sort of need to re-evaluate: am I still on the right path? Anyway, again, this could be a whole other discussion, but I wanted to mention it so other writers who may be writing their first books are aware. It happens. I know musicians who say the same thing happens post-tour. I imagine it's just a post-project thing. What I'm learning is the best thing you can do is jump into creating again. It's tempting to say, "I have worked so hard; I deserve a break!" And that's true, but we creatives are happiest when we're creating. So create.



I couldn't agree more--and I definitely get that post-book depression syndrome too. Thank you for such delightful and thoughtful responses, Pam!

Visit Pam and browse her books at her website or Goodreads, and come say hi to her on Twitter.

mollyringle: (Gutenberg)
Doralynn Kennedy interviewed me! Come read, and comment to enter to win a signed copy of one of my books.

Doralynn runs a very cool blog about authors and writing, and is worth adding to your "blogs I follow" list. She's also a great author herself, and I highly recommend you check out Sleeping with Skeletons if you like romantic suspense.
mollyringle: (Scotland - castle)
In celebration of the recent release of Cyndi Tefft's novel Between, I am interviewing her today. You can read my review of the book here. Its description from the cover blurb:

It just figures that the love of Lindsey Water's life isn't alive at all, but the grim reaper, complete with a dimpled smile and Scottish accent.

After transporting souls to heaven for the last 300 years, Aiden MacRae has all but given up on finding the one whose love will redeem him and allow him entry through the pearly gates.

Torn between her growing attraction to Aiden and heaven's siren song, Lindsey must learn the hard way whether love really can transcend all boundaries...


Welcome, Cyndi!
First question: If money were no object, what kind of property would you buy in Scotland?

Ooh, fabulous question! Okay, let me take it one step farther in my fantasy: money is no object and said property would be for sale... I'd buy the ruins of Urquhart Castle along Loch Ness and restore them to their former glory. Eilean Donan Castle (where Aiden is from in the book) was nothing but ruins from 1719 to the early 1900s, when John MacRae Gilstrap bought and restored it. The castle is now one of the most photographed in all of Scotland. I'd love to do the same to Urquhart Castle, which is nearby.

If you could visit any time and place in history as a guaranteed-safe onlooker (like your characters can do, in a limited fashion), where and when would you choose?
When my husband and I visited France last year, we went on a tour of the Château de Chambord, which was like a fairytale palace out in the country. I could envision what it was like to see serving maids running around, bringing food up the double helix staircase to the royals. There were warming stations outside the king and queen's bedrooms so the food could be heated up before serving (it gets cold on the long trip up from the kitchens!). It's mind-boggling to me to think of how those people lived without the modern conveniences I take for granted. So I'd love to be an onlooker, but I wouldn't want to live that way!

Other than Jamie Fraser of the 'Outlander' series, what hero(es)/heroine(s) are likeliest to inspire a new character for your stories? (Or at least inspire interesting dreams?)
When we went to the Louvre in Paris, we spent most of our time looking at sculptures. One in particular stood out to me above the rest: Marcellus. The artistry was on a different plane than the other pieces in the museum, and the beauty of Marcellus took my breath away. His robe drapes over one arm and serves as support for the structure, but at the edge of the robe, the marble is so thin that you can see light shining through it! Now, I know absolutely nothing about Marcellus (other than he died in 22 BC and has a smokin’ hot bod), but he has certainly inspired some enjoyable dreams and I could see myself writing a book about him someday!

How has your outlook on writing changed now that you're published? More anxiety, more optimism, or both?
When I first started writing Between, I never gave a thought to the book being published. I just wrote it to see if I could. I tend to get bored with projects easily, so no one (including me) thought I would be able to write a full-length novel. It wasn’t until I got about halfway through the first draft that I began sharing it with friends, and I was very encouraged by their feedback. That gave me the momentum to push through to the end.

Trying to find an agent and get traditionally published was a gut-wrenching exercise that sucked the joy out of writing for me. All of a sudden, writing wasn’t fun anymore. It became about fear and rejection, about not being good enough, and I lost interest in writing. The rise of self-publishing tools and resources provided me an avenue to get the book to readers, and breathed new life into my outlook on writing. Now I am excited about sharing Between with readers, and about finishing the next book so they will get to share in the rest of the story. I am anxious about reviews and how the public will respond, but the enthusiasm from bloggers so far has made me cautiously optimistic.

Describe yourself in five adjectives and five nouns (combined or separated as you wish).
I asked my friends on Facebook to help me out with this question. Some of the responses: bubbly, focused, kind and wicked awesome. My kids piped in with goofy!

I wear a variety of hats in my day-to-day life: wife, mom, professional, author, singer. No matter the setting, my character is the same. What you see is indeed what you get.

What are you working on now?
I’ve been working feverishly on the release of Between, lining up book bloggers and other reviewers. After that, I’ll be turning my attention to writing the sequel, Hell Transporter. The first draft is about a third completed, but I haven’t looked at it in ages. I’ll be taking walks on my lunch break, dreaming up scenes and dialogue for book two!

Thank you, Cyndi!

Connect with Cyndi Tefft:
Homepage/blog
Facebook
Twitter
mollyringle: (Default)
I'm pleased to welcome another bona fide author to my blog for an interview! Joy Campbell, writing as J.L. Campbell, is the author of the romantic thriller Contraband, recently out from Nevaeh Publishing. Welcome, Joy!

What elements do your stories always contain?

I’ve come to appreciate that writers have themes and somehow, the same elements creep into my novels - choices, family, relationships, a little murder, a lot of mayhem, and of course, love.

One thing I find especially unusual and fascinating about your stories is their setting--Jamaica--because I knew so little about it before. What do you wish people understood better about your home land?

Half the time, the bad stuff is what gets into the news, and as always a few people make things bad for many honest, hard-working Jamaicans. If I lived abroad, I’d probably be inclined to crusade and tell everybody that we’re not all bad people. But then they would probably think me demented.

I’ve learned over time that Jamaica is a good asset to my writing, so the island is a character in each novel. We have a rich cultural history, beautiful landscape, indigenous animals, lots of racial diversity, great athletes, and of course, the reggae music that has made the island famous.

What's one genre you would like to try writing in someday?

Historical fiction - maybe something set in Egypt – is something I’d like to try my hand at. I hold writers of historical fiction and fantasy in high regard. The thought of all that research and world building boggles my mind. It’s awesome when a writer can bring a totally alien world to life with their wordsmithing skills. Not to mention those writers who can paint a wonderful setting without ever having visited the country around which their story is written.

And how about one genre you doubt you'll ever write?

I don’t read much science fiction and I may have a mental block where such novels are concerned. I’m not sure I’m good at working through the science, technology, strange creatures and such that are involved. More than I can wrap my head around, you know?

What's your biggest, most far-fetched, dream-come-true wish when it comes to your writing? (e.g., Personal endorsement by Oprah and your favorite hot actor, etc.)

Dare I say the New York Times Best Seller List? Good thing dreams are free; however, having my book read by people worldwide (even if the numbers are only a few thousand) would be something of an achievement, and not so far-fetched when you think about e-publishing and the impact it has had on the reading public.

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Thank you, Joy! Learn more about her writing at:

http://joylcampbell.com
http://thecharacterdepot.blogspot.com
mollyringle: (moon over ocean)
Today's interview features one of the best new writers I've discovered lately--she pens romantic, addictive, suspenseful, beautifully written women's fiction, and she's English too, which of course always appeals to me. Please welcome Jessica Chambers!

Congratulations on the release of Voices on the Waves! As you know, I loved reading it, and am always impressed with how adroitly you handle an ensemble cast of highly diverse characters. How much character and plot detailing do you plan out before you begin writing a novel?

As far as my characters go, I like to know as much about them as possible before beginning. It really helps to understand what makes them the people they are, and how they’re likely to react in a given situation. With regards to the plot, though, I’ve discovered that too much planning dampens my creativity. I tend to have the main plotline worked out, but let the characters and subplots find their own way.

Give us a line from Voices on the Waves that you personally love.

Gosh, Molly, you’re really putting me on the spot here. I suppose this line always strikes me as rather poignant. It describes a point in the story where Faye Wakefield, the owner of the farmhouse retreat where the novel’s set, is analyzing the reason behind her attraction to one of her guests, the handsome but unscrupulous Marcus Armitage.

“Or perhaps, deep inside, she knew the chance to have one last fling, of enjoying the thrill of intimacy with another’s body, was slipping through her fingers as surely as the flour had done moments before.”

If you could step into the world of any novel, which would you choose?

Ooh, I’d love to be transported into the pages of Pride And Prejudice, to experience the world of afternoons spent painting watercolors and playing the piano, of taking tea in the parlor and attending grand dances. If Mr. Darcy happened to drop by, so much the better!

Your book centers around a vacation that changes the lives of all involved. Have you ever had such a vacation, for better or worse?

Hahaha! If only my life were that interesting. Most of my holidays have been family oriented, leaving little room for steamy romances. Admittedly, our holidays have seen a fair few explosive rows, when my relatives realize they’re not meant to be cooped up together in a poky caravan, and of course some entertaining moments when one or other of my cousins have gone to town on the cheap booze. All pretty run of the mill stuff, really.

What would your dream vacation be?

One that combines gorgeous weather, delicious food, plenty of historical sites to explore and miles of golden sand for me to stretch out on to read a good book and listen to the waves. In fact, where did I put those holiday brochures?

Now that you're a published author, how has your outlook changed about your future? Do you feel more pressure, or more optimism? Or both?

Definitely both. More optimism because I’ve cleared the first hurdle of getting my debut novel published, but also more pressure because now readers have certain expectations I need to live up to.

What's up next for you and your writing?

I’ve just started work on a novella, which will be written as part of a series with a group of my fellow authors at Red Rose. The idea is that we each write a book based on a reality TV show, and I’m taking the inspiration for mine from talent shows such as American Idol and The X Factor. It’s shaping up to be really great fun!

I’m also in the throes of editing a novel called Painting The Summer. More of a mystery than Voices On The Waves, it centers around a wealthy English family whose lives are torn apart when they invite a handsome young artist into their home to paint their portraits. All going well; I’m hoping both novels will be published some time in 2011.

Anything else you'd like to share with the world?

I’m a total book addict. If I’m not writing, I’m reading. So long as a novel has a great plot with memorable characters, I’m there. I also enjoy critiquing the work of fellow writers on The Next Big Writer online writing group, and helping to promote published authors on my blog.

Buy Voices On The Waves now from Red Rose Publishing:
http://redrosepublishing.com/books/product_info.php?products_id=853

Thank you so much, Molly, for inviting me on your blog today, and to all of you for stopping by. Anyone kind enough to leave a comment here, or at any point during my blog tour, will automatically be entered into the draw to win a $15 gift voucher for either Amazon or Barnes & Noble, so don’t forget to provide an email address in case I need to contact you. I’ll be announcing the five winners at the end of my tour on October 31st over at my blog -
http://www.jessicachambers.co.uk/blog
...so good luck!

Tomorrow, the Voices On The Waves Blog Tour continues over at the home of Hywela Lyn, where I’ll be answering more questions and sharing an excerpt from my novel. Hope to see you there!
http://hywelalyn.blogspot.com/

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Thanks so much, Jess! Everyone keep an eye out for more from Jessica Chambers--I'm certain she'll be climbing the bestseller ranks before long. Cheers, as they say...
mollyringle: (Minas Tirith - John Howe)
Help me welcome today's actual live published author willing to let me interview her: Jennifer Schwabach!

Welcome! First tell us a little about your two published novels with Double Dragon.
First of all, thanks! Dark Winter was written first, but Curse's Captive was accepted and came out first. (On some listings, it's called Captive's Curse.)

DW has lots of zombies, because what's life without zombies? And necromancers, because that's where zombies come from. Saril is a lost colony world that has an extra element to its electromagnetic field. Some people can learn to manipulate it, and thus perform magic. A very small percentage can actually transfer the energy into an object -- such as a recently vacated body. The original colonists were criminals of the worst sort. That is to say, they loved to play with DNA just to see what would happen. So they made elves and goblins and trolls and some dragons, because, what the heck. One day (about 60 years before the story takes place) all of these people rose up and killed their creators. So now they're getting around to living on their world. Except there's this one necromancer who's been dead for centuries, who just won't let that stop him from trying to destroy the world. And he's stronger than any army, because every soldier who falls immediately joins his side. How do you stop something like that? Well, you've heard "set a thief to catch a thief…."

CC is much shorter -- more of a novella, since it comes in a bit under the 40K minimum for a novel. It tells the story of the Dimwitty Family Curse, and John Dimwitty's friend Walter, who comes to visit and ends up helping to fight the curse. It's definitely in the paranormal romance category, because there is romance (John has a sister.) John's sister, Anne, is the next up on the Curse's chopping block. So there's a romantic element. With a Swamp Thing in.

Now your short stories--of which you've had over fifty published (congratulations!)--what are some of the latest and where can we find them?

First of all, thanks! 2010 has not been a big sale year so far, alas. Currently I have a poem up in Spaceports and Spidersilk. My short story "Down From a Duck" appeared in Emerald Tales this Spring. (Volume 2, Number 2.) "Good Fences," which is geared toward a younger audience, is due out in Beyond Centauri this Winter. I also have a handful of stories available at AnthologyBuilder.com. Including the one mentioned down there in the "line I really love" question!

What drew you to sci-fi/fantasy as opposed to any other genres?
I think it was the "anything can happen" aspect. As a kid, I was fairly eclectic in my reading tastes. I grew up in a town without television (nobody believes it, but it's true, I swear!) and every kid read, even the troublemakers. But even before I was literate, the stories I wanted read to me were the ones where something was different. Oh, I read the classics, and nonfiction and whatever else I could get my hands on, but when it came to deciding what I wanted to write, there was no contest. Wouldn't David Copperfield have liked a dragon?

Give us a line from one of your stories that you personally love.
Ooh, that's a hard one. When I'm working on funny, I'm working on funny. I guess I would have to go with the opening line of "When We Slew Dragons":
Gorbag the Barbarian set down his fork and wiped his mouth carefully with his napkin.
"WWSD" appeared in the wonderful but sadly now-defunct Flytrap in late 2006.

Your sister and brother are both published authors as well, in various forms. How has your family helped shape your writing life?
Both of our parents are writers, though they both write non-fiction. I think the fact that we grew up simply thinking of writing as something real people did helped a lot. My family is very supportive of writing as a profession. Several years ago, I had almost given up on writing. My mother found an ad for the Writers Workshop In Science Fiction taught at the University of Kansas. She wrote to James Gunn, who purportedly retired from teaching it this year (the Workshop will go on, I'm told). Much to my astonishment, he wrote directly to me, asking to see a sample. He was highly complimentary, so I bit the bullet and went. Six months later, I made my first sale, which is a story in itself. My father took me to my first con when I was six, and has supplied typewriters, advice, etc. I remember when we got our first computer, he finally pried my brother off it and said, "There's something I really want to show Jenny." Yup. Word processor.

In all of science fiction (including films and TV, if you wish), which world would you most like to visit? How about in all of fantasy?
In science fiction, it would be Pern. No contest. I was completely hooked on Pern from the start. I mean, imagine having a best friend who was 40 feet long, could fly, teleport and breathe fire… Fantasy is probably a bit harder. Part of me thinks Darkover, but then, Darkover was partially based on Upstate New York, so I sort of already live there. Middle Earth is too easy an answer, but when I think of it, nobody outside the Shire has much fun. Maybe I'll cheat and move Pern down to "Fantasy," because as long as we're including TV, can you think of anything more fun that being a passenger on the TARDIS?

What's your most unusual hobby, aside from writing?
Hob-by? What is this "hobby" of which you speak? I've been known to latch-hook rugs, draw, collect dragons, and I spend a lot of time learning to walk. Three times, so far.

What's up next for you and your writing?
Hopefully, an agent. I adore the people at Double Dragon, make no mistake. They are lovely people and I have no complaints about the treatment I've received from them, or the interactions I've had with them. I think they do very good work.

I do at some point want to sell work to large presses, and to do that, I think an agent is key. After all, all fantasy writers have a fantasy about quitting our day job.

I am also partnering in a 2012 poetry anthology that will be coming out from Sam's Dot Publishing. (Working title is Musing At the End Of the World.)

---

Thank you, Jennifer! Visit Jennifer Schwabach here on LJ ([livejournal.com profile] jjschwabach) and check out her ebooks at Double Dragon.
mollyringle: (Jane Eyre - firelight)
Today my author spotlight falls upon Doralynn Kennedy, who has a background in the military police as well as being a great writer. She's the author of Sleeping with Skeletons, a thriller-romance about a double-crossed American spy hiding out in Ireland (from both the bad guys and the CIA), who knows it's a bad idea to fall in love with a famous film star working nearby on a movie adaptation of Jane Eyre, but can't help doing so anyway. Welcome, Doralynn!

As I've let you and the rest of the world know, I loved Sleeping with Skeletons. It didn't hurt that you incorporated two of my favorite fandoms--Jane Eyre and The Phantom of the Opera. Did you choose those for their appropriate themes, or simply because you love them too?

I did choose Jane Eyre and The Phantom of the Opera mostly for their appropriate themes, but also because I'm a fan. I wanted to use those particular stories to bolster Sleeping with Skeletons -- by incorporating certain aspects of those stories... the little girl with the neglectful mother; Riyad as shadowed by the Phantom. I even used the Bugatti Veyron because Veyron sounds similar to Varens - the last name of the child in Jane Eyre. I hope I was successful, but that's for the reader to decide.

Your story's set in Ireland (along with a touch of France and Afghanistan), and you describe it so beautifully that I ached to be there myself. Have you spent much time there? How much of the story's setting comes directly from your travels?

I have traveled a lot, but for the most part I was never in any one place for long. Some of the settings do come from my travels. As for Ireland, I chose to place Margaret in a fictional Irish town. It freed me up in the story. I don't like using real places as a main location in my stories. Real places are always changing. If you describe a real pub that your character goes to, and it closed down two years ago, you've automatically dated your novel. If it's someplace a character doesn't spend much time, then I'll use a real location. In my latest novel, the action takes place in Colorado. Even though I'm a native of Colorado, I'm using a fictional locale. It gives me more latitude in my writing.

From your writing I could believe spies move among us at a far higher rate than most of us suspect. Is this true? Are you allowed to say? ;)

Actually, spies do move among us at a far higher rate than most people suspect. I can almost guarantee you that there is cloak and dagger going on in a city near you. There's nothing romantic about it though, especially where recruiting is concerned. And a lot of spying takes place online nowadays. The CIA loves Facebook and the social media. Crowdsourcing is used to great effect by all the various spy agencies. But a lot of people aid the enemy without even realizing what they're doing -- the media is constantly revealing information that spies once risked their lives for -- and they endanger everyone in the process. Our enemies consider them "useful idiots."

Give us a line from Sleeping with Skeletons that you personally love.

"Only a very foolish rabbit would stop and let the fox eat her."

If you could take a vacation to the fictional world of any novel, which would you choose?

That's a hard question ... hmmm ... I want to go to Thornfield. (Before the fire.)

What's your most unusual hobby (aside from writing stories)?

Podcasting. I do Bible prophecy related podcasts at Podbean. I post those at Tangle and You Tube. I also do podcasts for a ministry that exposes cults.

What's up next for you and your writing?

I'm looking for a home for my latest manuscript, Stranded (about a sheriff and his new female deputy tracking a series of unsettling crimes in rural Colorado). I'm also trying to find an agent. No luck yet, but I haven't contacted very many, and I only started about a week ago. I continue to write, though I do get burned out by it! Writing... just one big flirtation with rejection. I write - therefore I'm a masochist.

---

Thank you, Doralynn! To visit Doralynn Kennedy and find buy links to her novel, please visit her webpage.
mollyringle: (Default)
New feature on my blog: once in a while I'll snag an actual live author and interview him or her! My first subject is one I'm proud to have, as I recommended his novel The Love Thing a while back: Chris Delyani.

Welcome, Chris! As you know, I loved reading The Love Thing, and one of my favorite features was its humor. Who would you cite as your biggest influences in comedy?

My late father used to tell me that I reminded him of his own mother, who died two years before I was born. She liked to write long letters, he told me; she also liked to tell off-color jokes. I’m pretty sure her humor gene passed along not only to me but also to my three siblings, since I remember nothing but laughter around the dinner table when I was a kid. So I’m thinking it’s mostly genetic.

Strangely enough, the best piece of advice I ever got about writing comedy came from David Herbert Donald’s superb 1995 biography of Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln, I learned, had a lively sense of humor--so lively, in fact, that his merciless public teasing of an Illinois state official, occurring many years before his presidency, almost led to a duel. But the experience, though a source of shame for Lincoln in the future, had what the historian called some “unanticipated benefits.” “Rarely in the future did he use comedy to castigate and destroy,” Donald wrote; “he had learned that his wit was most effective when directed against himself.” And it was in that spirit--making fun of myself--that I approached The Love Thing, most consciously, I think, in the character of Tommy Lin. Tommy’s inability to run the dishwasher, his terror of backing the car out of the driveway, his concern that he can’t lift a bowling ball: that would be me, me, and me.

Give us a line from your novel that you personally love.

In the chapter where Greg and Tommy are getting ready to throw a quinceañera for a 15-year-old cat, there’s a scene where Tommy finds a box of high-heeled shoes and tells Greg they might be perfect for the party, since girls at quinceañeras wear high heels to signify their passage to womanhood. (I got this tidbit from Wikipedia; I have no idea if it’s true.) Greg responds with my favorite line: “Those shoes look more like a woman’s passage to streetwalking.” That line came only after writing many, many drafts of The Love Thing--a line that seemed to come spontaneously from Greg himself. I cherish those moments when I revise.

You based your plot loosely on that of Austen's Pride and Prejudice. Is it safe to assume that's one of your favorite love stories in literature? What are some others?

Definitely a safe assumption there, along with Austen’s Emma Woodhouse and George Knightley, Fanny Price and Edmund Bertram (and Henry Crawford), the Dashwood sisters and their beaux, and Anne Elliot and Captain Wentworth. Another big favorite are the two main love stories of Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina: I love how Levin’s rising romance with Kitty (courtship, marriage, birth) contrasts against the falling romance between Anna and Vronsky (scandal, jealousy, death). And of course there’s Jane Eyre and Mr. Rochester. Although the plot of The Love Thing loosely tracks Pride and Prejudice, it was Jane Eyre I turned to when it came to choosing the book’s point of view, that is, the first-person account of a highly opinionated narrator.

You write about San Francisco with such confident, vivid detail that I can tell you've lived there a while. What's your favorite thing about the city? And your least favorite?

I liked San Francisco almost from my first day of moving here, so it was important to me to do the city justice in my fiction. I’d say the thing I love about the city is the landscape itself: the hills, the bay, the grid of streets that has always reminded me of a board game. The people, too, are generally relaxed, easygoing, and tolerant--a useful contrast to my own uptightness--but then again, I’ve found great people wherever I’ve looked for them, not just in San Francisco. I’m originally from Boston, another great city that I don’t think I appreciated enough when I actually lived there. And today I live in Oakland, another great city.

My least favorite thing about San Francisco? I’m reluctant to say anything bad about a city that’s been so generous to me for the past seventeen-plus years. About the worst I can say is that I think the fare for a cable car ride is too high--five dollars for a one-way trip. Five dollars should get you at least a round trip, in my opinion.

Now that you're a published author, how has your outlook changed about your future? Do you feel more pressure, or more optimism? Or both?

I guess I’m feeling a combination of both. On the one hand, I’m looking very forward to getting my next work out there, since I feel it’s a story my Love Thing readers will enjoy. On the other hand, I’ve had so many people ask me when the next book is coming out, and work has been progressing very slowly, that sometimes I despair of ever getting it out. But I’m determined not to hurry. I don’t think it’ll do my readers any good if I rushed to get the next book out.

What's up next for you and your writing?

Right now I’m focusing on this second book, which I keep saying is in the final stages of revision but I think is still many months off from being shown. All I’ll say about it now is that it’s more ambitious than The Love Thing, as the story is told from the revolving viewpoints of three main characters. Once that’s out there, I’m looking forward to studying the art of rhetoric (an art I wish I’d started learned a long time ago) while I rummage in my mind for another novel to write. I have no idea what my third novel will be about, but I know there will have to be a third novel. I won’t know what to do with myself if I don’t write.

Anything else you'd like to share with the world?

One last thing: is anyone out there as gaga about rhetoric as I am? Do terms like brachylogia, aposiopesis, diazeugma, enthymeme give you the shivers? If so, send me an e-mail: cdelyani@gmail.com I can’t get enough of this stuff. Thanks!

---

Get The Love Thing at Amazon.com now, and visit Chris Delyani at his website!

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