What do you get when you mix Mistletoe, Mobsters & Mozzarella? Answer: another amazing book from @peggy_jaeger! #romcom #murder #mystery #novels #christmas #fiction

What do you get when you mix Mistletoe, Mobsters & Mozzarella? Answer: another amazing book from @peggy_jaeger! #romcom #murder #mystery #novels #christmas #fiction Continue reading

Check out this cracking #book to help us through covid. Plus an interview with the character Josh, courtesy of author @Callie_Carmen. #romance #hotfiction

This gallery contains 1 photo.

Joshua (Risking Love Book 5)  by Callie Carmen Automobile executive Joshua Winfield had no idea that he had two women in love with him. When he finally figured it out would he choose the new woman in his life that … Continue reading

Take a dollop of passion, sprinkle with a love triangle and mix it all with true love and you have ANGLES @anglestrilogy

Angles by Erin Lockwood When every relationship has an angle, how can you tell which side is up? Like the dazzling lights of a lighthouse, Sam’s turquoise-blue eyes equally enticed and warned. He was someone she should stay away from… … Continue reading

Like a bit of #nostalgia mixed with your #murder #mystery books? @JackSussek

An author interview with Jack Sussek author of MANHATTAN AFFAIR Manhattan Affair is a tale of New York City nostalgia mixed with murder, conspiracy and sex. Mr Average, AKA, Jed Chase is living the quiet live; this is until he falls for … Continue reading

New book Alert! Exiled to Eden #saga @OutskirtsPress

by John Strassel When fate tosses together beautiful heiress Miranda McClellan and missionary pilot Zane Wylde on a remote jungle airstrip, neither one could have imagined just how much their meeting would not only alter the destiny of three families … Continue reading

An interview with @djjouett #kindlescout #romance #suspense

The Destiny Factor D. J Jouett is a second-year law student and writer of  several suspense/romance novels. She is here today to talk about her latest title The Destiny Factor, which has been nominated for Kindle Scout. Here at WWBB we … Continue reading

@GoodeAJ and reasons to read her books!

The BORING author interview revisited
A. J. Goode

What’s so great about your crap book? (Don’t want the boring details, a couple of lines is suffice!)
It’s a romance novel with sex . . . Because, you know, there are so few of those being self-published every day.

Why that shitty title?
Because I was feeling really pretentious that day and thought it sounded sufficiently artsy-fartsy.

Did you run out of ideas?
Only when writing scenes that needed new positions for sex.

How long did it take you to complete your book (from idea to publication)?
Three years.

If it took over a year to write: Does that mean this book is boringly long and laborious to read?
No, it means I have ADHD and all the focus of a squirrel on crack.

What do you really think about erotica?
 I think erotica is great until the batteries die.  I mean the battery in my Kindle.  Sure.


Is it the low of the lows for writers?
No, I respect a writer who can go low . . .

If you didn’t have your book professionally edited: What made you think
you’re so perfect that you didn’t need to pay a professional?

Three years in Nancy Frank’s AP English class.  I still have PTSD and
flashbacks when I see an incorrect gerund or misplaced modifier.

Yawn, so basically you’re the same as all the rest of the authors on
Amazon and you’re the Next Best Thing. I don’t think so. Come on, tell
me why should I spend time reading YOUR book over more well-received

Because I promise not to call you at home if you leave a bad review.

Is there an author who inspires (perspires) you?

I aspire to be like any author who earns enough to afford erotica and batteries.

Do you think you write better than them?
Some of them.

Is your aim to out-sell them?

In the writing world, have you ever regretted anything i.e written your
own review (or written a bad review on a competitor’s novel), argued
on-line, copied someone else’s idea?

I have a sinking feeling I may regret this interview.  Other than that, I
regret posting some really horrendous love poetry on Poetry.com when I
was younger.

But I’m being nice! Sheesh.

What qualifications do you have for writing in your genre?
I’ve been married, so I know about romance.  I’ve given birth, so I
obviously know about sex.  And I’m divorced, so I know about erotica and

Many authors use their qualifications to show off their so-called
talents i.e. crime writers are often coppers (police, for the non-Brits
present) and the book becomes boringly technical. How have you managed
to keep your knowledge low key? Or haven’t you bothered?

I have no real knowledge, so it hasn’t been a problem.

If I were to read your book would I have to scroll through lots of
acknowledgements saying how wonderful your book is before I got to the
meat of a story?


What part of the world do you come from?
The part that looks like a really big mitten.
Greenland? Australia? *Runs to search the world map for a mitten!*

What do you think of your government?
I believe in every imaginable conspiracy theory because paranoid maniacs are fun to listen to.

If you were me (you know, perfect) and knew nothing about a person and
you were told to interview them, what’s the one question you would ask?
(answer it).

If you were a tree, what kind would you be?  (Oak, because maples are evil.)
I’m beginning to think you’re slightly kooky…

Do you have any bad habits, or stupid rituals you HAVE to do in order to write?
I do.  My ritual involves dragging my laptop into the deepest,
cobwebbiest, nastiest corner of the house and telling my children that
the monsters there will eat any child who disturbs me.

*Making note to self to try this one*

Thank you A. J. Goode,  it’s been a pleasure.

And that’s the last of the Boring Interviews. Not so boring after all!

Alison Neuman on how social media is important to her

For us authors, social media is important.
Not only are we able to keep readers and friends up-to-date with our writing but also with the life events of others. Currently, it is impossible for
me to travel so social media allows me to reach my destinations from the
comfort of home, and I love that opportunity it’s given me.
In the past few years, there has been a huge
shift to the Internet. Blog tours are a great example of this and an excellent way
to promote your books.
How it works is that the author visits several blogs and
they are introduced to a new audience.
I have heard of authors who have been made into bestsellers
just because of social media.
It’s a tool in the authors’ promotional
toolkit that should not be overlooked.
Although, we have to be careful. When I
get continuing posts from individuals trying to sell me products, I must admit, I tune out. When that happens, we are losing a potential relationship. For
myself, I plug Ice Rose during the holiday buying season and for blog tours or
events. Just enough to keep my book out there, but not enough to cause offence.
Like most authors worldwide, I like to share activities and
events that are going on with my career, but my
 blog isn’t only focused on writing, it’s also about the arts and crafts. A writer once advised me
to post a new blog every two weeks,
but I find this challenging. Finding fresh
topics can be difficult and I wonder how other bloggers manage it.
And, I admit, when I write my posts, I do
not always focus on how worldwide social media can reach. So when, few years ago,
I posted a blog on a cookie bouquet that I was making, and received a comment
from a reader in Germany I was very shocked and pleased.

Ice Rose 
A teenager’s world is turned upside down when an explosion steals her dad and her identity. Entering an exclusive academy that immerses her in the world of secret agents, she must overcome her fears and disabilities to discover the truth about her dad’s mission, his software, and the mystery man stalking her before she ends up like her father — lost.
Alison Neuman 
Alison Neuman lives in
Alberta, Canada, where she is a freelance writer and lyricist. Nearing the end
of her studies for the Bachelor of Applied Communications Degree program at
Grant MacEwan College, she was inspired to complete the first draft
of  Ice Rose. The pace of secret agent books and movies gave her an
unlimited playground for  imagination. Music and performing are passions
she was able to bring into her writing and build into her characters.

Alison’s writing has appeared in “MacEwan Today”, “Westword”, and the “Edmonton
Journal” along with three tracks on the CD release Outside The Window.
Co-writing the screenplay adaptation of the book Whale Songwith author
Cheryl Kaye Tardif exposed her to the world of screenwriting, which she hopes
to continue to examine further in the future. Alison also has been writing
shorter pieces of non-fiction, one entitled Establishing Roots, that
earned a top ten ranking in the Edmonton Stories contest. This past spring she
was a winner in The Expressions of Hunger Contest in the Emotional Poetry
category. Her piece Undeniable Craving was on display in June and
July in various artistic locations across the city of Edmonton.  She has
completed a final edit of her memoir “Searching For Normal” and is currently
writing her next young adult manuscript.

When not writing creatively, Alison  is editing or writing for her
business, Sandy Tree

Confessions of a writer… researching.

Laina Turner

I was thrilled
when I saw the topic of the month for this blog. Why? Because I love hearing
secrets, who doesn’t, and I thought it would be fun to share some of mine,
about my writing anyways. They say confession is good for the soul.

I sometimes
forget if a memory is real or whether it’s something I thought-up in a book. I tell a story and find myself wondering if it’s true or just a cemented
figment from my imagination.
I have to think really hard to figure out which it
is and there have been times where I can’t, so I just go with that it’s

Some of you may think that is a little crazy and I understand. I happen
to think it’s quite normal.
At least for me, which I will whole-heartedly blame
on my parents because I’m an only child (their fault) and that made me overuse my imagination in order to entertain myself. So it’s no wonder I have
a hard time going back and forth between reality and fantasy.

It’s also no
wonder I closely identify with my characters. I like to afford them experiences
that I would like to have. Not that I would have any clue what to do if I came
across a dead body, but I’d like to think I would know.
It’s fun to pretend to
have that excitement.

I like to write
about places I have visited and experienced, and use my it as the background in my books. So
I have, on occasion, pretended to be one of my characters in order to fully
immerse myself in what she might see or do.
Again, you might think that’s
strange I like to think its good research to role-play and play make believe.

What do you like
to pretend?

Laina Turner, when she’s not working toward her
goals she likes–
OK fine–LOVES wine, coffee, shopping, and books. She enjoys
her kids, they are awesome. She hates the cold but yet lives in the mid-west.
Vegas is one of her favorite spots as she loves to people watch and if she ever
gets married again it will definitely be in a drive through chapel by a fake

Laina is currently
living in Indiana, with her family, and is always writing something, whether
it’s blogs, articles, business journals and books or ideas for her next novel.
She is continuously doing what she loves which is writing or drinking coffee.

Mystery and Romance

all in one book

Presley tells her boss what he can do with her job in HR and embarks on a new career as a freelance journalist. What seems like a simple interview with a Senator turns to murder when the day after her interview the Senator turns up dead. Does the fact that Presley was one of the last people to see him alive make her a suspect? Her ex-boyfriend Cooper, who was in charge of the Senators security, might think so. Presley is determined to clear her name but can she do it and resist Cooper’s charms?

Necklaces and Nooses 
When Presley’s boss is found hanging she thinks its suicide until the police discover its homicide. Who would want to kill a boutique owner? Presley’s not sure but she’s determined to find out. The cute detective assigned to the case makes it all the more exciting.

Handbags and Hooligans 
Presley went to Vegas to watch her friend Anna get married and the event turned into solving the mystery of her brothers girlfriend disappearance. But Ashley wasn’t exactly the schoolteacher she appeared to be. Who was she and was she kidnapped?

The holiday short…Mistletoe and Murder
In this holiday short story, Presley goes home for Christmas expecting it to be a relaxing holiday until her old boyfriend, Brian, asks for her help finding out who has been stealing from him and it turns from theft to murder. Why would anyone want to kill Tommy and what was he hiding?

Gems and Gunshots

Presley heads to San Diego to hang out with Cooper and enjoy the great west coast weather. She didn’t expect that while hanging out at the local coffee shop she would be a witness to a robbery and murder at Gemstone’s Unlimited. Much to Cooper’s dismay Presley feels compelled to investigate. She discovers that not only was the store owner a womanizer but also was filing false insurance claims for diamonds that weren’t really stolen. Was that why he was being blackmailed? Was that why someone robbed his store? Presley is determined to find out!

As a bonus get the short story prequel, A Day in the Life of Trixie Pristine.
In this short story prequel, Trixie and her friends Berklie and Sophie, considered themselves typical thirty something females until someone turned up murdered in their newly opened bookstore/wine bar. They thought they would be living out their dream in their new shop not trying to catch a killer. Who killed Sylvia and why? Or was one of them the intended target?

Enter the Rafflecopter for the giveaway:

Excerpt from Stilettos and Scoundrels

I need to talk to you right away!” It was Helen Daniels, hysterical. I could
hardly understand her.

is it, Helen? What’s wrong?” I had fallen asleep, but the sound of fear in
Helen’s voice quickly woke me up.

meet me at Gardner’s old warehouse in thirty minutes. If you’re not there, I
will not be able to wait. It’s not safe. You have to hurry!”
Calm down, safe from whom? Why all the drama? Helen…Helen?” She’d hung up. I
glanced at my watch. Crap! I’d never
make it there in thirty minutes. All I could hope for was Dirt and his deputies
were out investigating the Senator’s murder rather than trying to keep the
streets safe from speeders.

ran out of the house, running past my mother still working in her garden.
where are you going?
be back in a bit.”

don’t know.” I said exasperatedly. I didn’t need the third degree.
are you going?”
explain later. Just eat without me if I’m not back.”

pushed seventy in a forty-five mile an hour zone, my Kia humming, just hoping
to get there on time. I was surprised my car could go that fast. In Chicago, the
traffic was so bad you didn’t really have a chance to speed this much. My phone
rang again, but I didn’t look at it. I needed to concentrate on my driving.
Gardner’s warehouse, located about twenty miles outside of town, used to be a
production plant for some automotive part. The plant closed years before, when
I still lived here. It was so long ago that I couldn’t remember what the
company actually produced.
pulled in the parking lot, gravel flying, hoping Helen was still here. The
clock on my dash said it had been thirty-three minutes since she called me. I
pocketed my keys, not wanting to weigh myself down with my purse, and jogged
around to the front entrance. I had on flip-flops, not the best jogging shoes,
but I was so startled when Helen called I just ran out of the house without
paying attention to what I had on. This was a big place, and I huffed trying to
catch my breath. I really must get in
, I wheezed to myself.

hadn’t specified exactly where to meet her, so I assumed she might be at the
front entrance. She wasn’t waiting outside for me, so I tried the front door or
what I presumed was the front door. It was unlocked, which I thought strange
for an abandoned building, but I assumed Helen had unlocked it. Though had it
been locked, I could have crawled through one of the many broken windows. I
carefully stepped inside the building and the darkness engulfed me. The little
bit of light in the building was let in by the broken windows, and it took a
few minutes for my eyes to adjust. It smelled dank and musty, and I could hear
the scurrying of what were probably little furry rodents. I shuddered
involuntarily and didn’t want to think about what type of creepy crawlies were
in this building, especially with me in flip-flops. I wasn’t thrilled about
stepping any further into the building.

I called softly. No answer. Where the
hell is she?
I tiptoed a little further into the building in an effort to
be quiet, though I still couldn’t see very well, so tiptoeing wouldn’t do me
any good if there was anything in my way. All of a sudden, I felt a hand on my
arm; I jumped about ten feet and started to scream.

Presley. It’s just me,” Helen said. “Do you think you could be a little
don’t ask me to come to an abandoned building and grab me when I’m not
expecting it. I can’t see! You could have been anyone or anything,” I retorted.
“I am not a big fan of the creepy things I am sure are in this building.” I
took one look at Helen and grew concerned. She was usually one of those women
who always looked impeccable, but her dark brown hair, usually in a knot at the
nape of her neck, was disheveled and loose. I could tell Helen had been crying,
from her smudged make-up. She definitely wasn’t her normal well put together
self. I could see that, even in this poor light. I still felt a stab of
jealousy because, even a little worse for wear, Helen looked better than most
women. Not fair at all.

what is going on, Helen? Why all the cloak-and-dagger stuff? Why did we have to
meet here, of all places?” I asked, looking around and waving my arms. “Should
we even be here? The place looks about ready to fall down. I’m sure the owners
wouldn’t be too happy if we fell through the floor or something. This building
is quite a liability.”

the only place I could go where I could easily see if I was being followed.
Besides, we own the building. Or rather, I do now,” Helen, replied giving a
little laugh—the hysterical kind, rather than the ha-ha kind.

would anyone be following you?” I took a step forward, concerned Helen might
really be in danger. It seemed so surreal.

tried to keep herself from crying again. “They called my house, Presley. They
called my house and demanded money. They said if I didn’t pay up, they would
make sure I met the same fate as Tom. I knew they would want their money, but I
didn’t think it would be like this. I thought I would have some more time. I
can’t get my hands on that kind of money right now. It would look too
suspicious; besides, I don’t even know yet where I am going to get it!” Helen
then burst into tears.

waited for a few uncomfortable moments for the tears to subside. To help Helen,
I needed her to calm down and tell me everything she knew. Plus, I had a few
questions of my own.
you know who it was that called you, Helen? Who did the Senator owe money to?”

don’t know specifically who the caller was, nor who Tom owed money to. I didn’t
recognize any voices and they didn’t tell me their names. Tom tried to hide as
much as he could from me about this aspect of his life, I told you that
already, and when I forced the issue, he told me as little as possible. Usually
just enough to get me to shut up. To be honest, it got to where I didn’t even
ask much because I didn’t really care.”

else knows about the Senator’s gambling problem? Maybe that’s who called you.
Could it be blackmail?” I thought blackmail seemed as good a reason as any.

only people who know about this, besides the people he owed the money to, are
me and Tobey. As the Senator’s assistant, Tobey was privy to a lot more
information than I thought he should have been,” Helen explained. “Tom said he
would find out anyway, and that we could trust him. I don’t think Tobey is the
type to try to blackmail anyone. Other than that, there is no way Tom would
have told anyone else. He might have been a gambler, but he wasn’t stupid. At
least not that stupid.”

“What about Garrison Palazzo.”

Thanks to Jacqueline Howett…

for interviewing me on her blog. Crikey, I shall be having “luncheon” next instead of spam sarnies and swapping cider for Champagne!

Yeah, right!

Q. Where do you come from? I come from Northampton in England, the same place where the late Princess Diana lived.

Q. What made you write this book? I love reading chick lit. Funny things naturally happen in life, and I wanted to enforce that. Life is funny, and I enjoy writing about people rather than the actual romance.

Q. Which authors have had a significant influence on your writing? Melissa NathanShe was the first chick lit author I read and I absolutely fell in love with the style. I have read all of her books, sadly she died in 2006 with cancer (she was only 36!!). Through her writing she has shown me that life is funny and delightful as well as scary and heart-breaking.
Please click here to read the rest of the interview, and while there why not have a look at the rest of Jacqueline Howett’s amazing blog – so much to see and read!

Wise Words: A Proper Charlie – chicklit novel.

Wise Words: A Proper Charlie – chicklit novel.:

Charlie watched as he fell back onto her settee, and then straddled his lap. Oh my God! What was she doing! She was having an out-of-body-experience, she thought. Only she wasn’t dead. She was alive. Very much so. She wriggled against him wonderingly and excitement flared in her body as his own rose to her teasing.

Charlie Wallis has everything a girl could wish for: a loving boyfriend, a fantastic job as a newspaper journalist for London Core and resides in a trendy flat.

Trouble is Charlie’s boyfriend’s a loser, her job title really reads `clerk` and her flat, at the top of a high-rise, isn’t that nice after all.

Her new boss, Ben, is a huge bear of a man. A gentle giant, with chocolate brown eyes that hold a secret.

While London Core investigates the disappearance of local prostitutes, Charlie wants in on the action, deciding that dressing as a hooker and walking the streets is good research.

Bumping into Ben was the last thing she expected.
A story of opposites that not only attract …

A Proper Charlie is now available as a down load from Smashwords and on Kindle on Amazon.

Young novelist, Mihai Cristian reveals his debut book:

La Tiers du Cylindre
“In a city as big as this one, nothing is tragic anymore. Everything becomes information. Deaths, births, diseases, fires, accidents, all become news, only meaningless data that must be sorted and stored in our mind for a while, than erased. No wonder history repeats itself.”

When a New York socialite falls in love with a singer, his life is changed forever. But there’s something strange about the woman he loves. Something tragic in nature, something deep inside her eyes. We never get to really know anyone. Not even ourselves.
How much of our lives do we actually control? How much of it is actually chaos? How much of ourselves do we really know? What about the others around us? Mihai Cristian’s debut novel is trying to figure out exactly that. Every good story begins with a couple of questions.

Author, Mihai Cristian is a young Romanian writer who currently resides in the city of Constanta. In 2006 he was awarded first prize in the Nicolae Labis National Literary Contest, in 2010 he was awarded first prize at the Tinere Condeie Literary Contest and was a winner of the Nanowrimo Contest. La Tiers du Cylindre is his debut novel.
Click below for the interview:

http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=wiswor0a-21&o=1&p=8&l=bpl&asins=1456391941&fc1=000000&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifrWhat age group is your book geared towards?
It is really a book oriented toward all ages.

Into which genre would you say your book falls?
Literary Fiction. Maybe Romance, even though I don’t really like that definition of my novel.

Tell us a little about La tiers du cylindre?
Well everything started when I decided to take part in Nanowrimo. I figured it was exactly what I needed, especially since I was having some problems with writing (the famous writer’s block). After the contest was over I ended up with this draft that I wasn’t sure what to do with.

But you did do something with it! Your finished “draft” is published. Where can I get a copy? Are there e-books and hard copies available, too?
I am a self-published author with Createspace. Yes, there is a kindle edition available on Amazon.com, where my paperback edtition is available. Being self-published wasn’t really a choice for me because I’m from Romania. It would have been very difficult for me to find an agent and I decided to try it on my own with my first novel. I don’t know if I would self-publish my next novel as well.

What is your favourite scene in your book? Can we have a snippet?
My favourite scene is the one when the two main characters are having lunch at this restaurant and they hear this old song:

“In the restaurant there was this old jazz song playing. It strucked me as being a very passionate song. Refined. Have you ever heard about the Stendhal sydrome? It causes rapid heartbeat, dizziness, fainting and even hallucinations when someone who suffers from it is exposed to art, especially a piece of art that person considers to be overwhealmingly beautiful. I’m pretty sure I don’t have the Stendhal syndrome, but as I listened to that song, I knew it was the closest I would ever be to having an authentic Stendhalian reaction to a piece of art.

“It’s a beautiful song isn’t it? I asked Alice.

“Quite so. It brings to mind all the glamour of the roaring twenties.

“Or at least, the way we perceive those times to have been.

We both listened to the song without even touching the food on our table. The song really was amazing.

“It’s sad that this song is going to end.

“All songs end. But that’s no reason not to enjoy the music.

I like to think that was the most we could ever expect from a moment. A subtle perception of something being so close to perfect. The feeling that we were part of something great. But such a moment was not meant to last.”

Have your characters or writing been inspired by friends/ family or by real-life experiences?
What writer isn’t? I was inspired by my own experiences, my own failures and the people around me as they influence my life and my personality. Every story has a little bit of the author in it. Sometimes you just have to look really close to find that piece. Every day life is inspiring. I guess that’s what inspiration is actually. The world around you as you see it. The world being transformed in your mind into something else.

Can you sum La tiers du cylindre up in one sentence?
A lonesome individual trying to find a place in the world.

Who is your favourite character and why?
It has to be Alice, a singer that has to carry around her own mistakes and misfortunes. I guess I feel this way about this character because it is based on an actual friend of mine and that makes the character feel alive.

Which comes first for you – characters or plot?
In most of my stories, nothing seems to happen. I tend to emphasize characters and their emotions and thoughts more than plot development.

What marketing have you been doing to help sales?
I have been submiting my novel up for reviews on various site, I have been advertising on Facebook and other online alternatives. That’s everything I can do actually, since I am some thousand miles away from where all the fun stuff happens.

This is the beauty of the Internet! No matter where you live, you can meet people at the touch of a button. So, what is the most productive time of the day for you to write?
I write mostly at night.

Ah, a night owl! And do you start your projects writing with paper and pen or is it all on the computer?
Sometimes I write fragments of stories on paper, but usually I write on my computer.

Do you set yourself goals when you sit down to write such as word count?
I usually write for as long as I have something to write. I don’t write because I want to but because I have to. When I feel I have a great idea, or image in my mind, something I can’t get rid off, I write for as long as it takes for that idea to appear on my computer screen.

What drives you to choose the career of being a writer?
I’ve always loved reading. And being read is the greatest acomplishment a writer could have. I don’t think about succes as a writer in terms of financial benefits.

What is your writing process like?
When I began writing I thought that it was supposed to be fun, but most of the times is not. You get confused and angry when, after five or six hours of writing, you end up with something you consider to be nothing but a waste of time. That’s why I usually write only when I feel like it. There is no reason why you should force yourself to write.

Do you belong to a critique group?
Yes. In Romania. It is called Aterlierkult.

How did you get into writing?
It’s a funny story actually. I remember that I was fourteen years old and it was a dark winter night. It was snowing and I had this strange feeling. I wouldn’t call it a vision or something like that, but I had this idea about a novel. And that’s when I started to write.

Most of my novels have their origins back in my childhood, when I was making up all kinds of stories. I was a bit of a loner as a small kid and I used to stay inside a lot. That gave me a lot of time to imagine all sorts of stories for my toys.

Are you working on another book?
Yes, I am working on a novel called “The next 24 hours”. It is about a bunch of people and the following 24 hours after their biggest desires come true. I’m still working on the plot and the characters so I don’t have that much to say about it.

What mistakes do you see new writers make?
They see writing as some kind of job or business. They should remember that writing should be the one thing that makes them happy and the one thing they really enjoy doing.

What advice would you give aspiring authors?
That it’s not about what they write or how they write it, it’s about the person they are when they are writing.

What is your website and/or blog where readers can learn more? Can they friend you on Facebook or Twitter?
I have a Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Mihai-Cristian/182878531737456?v=wall and a blog: http://latiersducylindre.blogspot.com/

Time Travel Romance by Patti Hultstrand.

Time conquers All (Time Series)
Patti Hultstrand

Az Publishing Services, LLC

If you want swooning heroines fainting at the first sign of trouble and a man swinging in, Tarzan style, to rescue her then Patti Hultstrand’s time-travel romance are probably not for you. If, however, you like strong Lara Croft type women getting her man, then this book IS for you. Read on:

Tamea scanned for the presence and instinctively knew it was stalking them. The dagger hilt rested in her left palm, ready if it was needed. Her intentions included getting him into the room and making love to him for the rest of the night. She did not appreciate whoever was interrupting her plan. She continued to glance behind them after they got off the bike and Parker retrieved his saddlebags.

Patti Hultstrand is not only the author of Rescue in Time and Time Conquers All, she runs the successful AZ Publishing Services.

Patti’s thirst for the creative word began in 7th grade, and from then she has wrote in college papers, literary magazines, public relations articles, business procedure manuals and having even gone as far as having published her own magazine on Arizona Graphics and Marketing. Science-fiction became her first love when she was introduced to the works of Ray Bradbury and fandom bit her when she actually met him in 1987 at a special engagement speech in Phoenix, Arizona. Patti has his writing tips and life examples and applied them to her own writing: “Never stop to edit, just keep writing until you’re done, then go back and edit, and edit, and edit again until you’re satisfied.”

She’s here to talk about her books, the writing process and everything else in-between – otherwise known as life – click below for the interview:

What inspired you to write your book?
“Rescue In Time” is book 2 of my Chasing Time series. I have plans for about 14 books in this series. I started my first story back about 15 years ago on a dot matrix printed copy of the beginnings of what turned out to be an epic romantic time-travel adventure. Back 15 years ago, the story was a simple historical romance about a warrior princess who must protect a king from a neighbouring country who doesn’t believe in her abilities to do the protecting. I had a palace schematic drawn out which had become a yellowed reminder years later of that story that had been stuck inside me all those years.
It was a near death experience that made me pick the story up again, change the heroine, the location in history, the time period (somewhat), and added the premise of time-travel because over those last 15 years I have evolved and had become very interested in the possibilities of time-travel. The story has become so much more than that simple story.

I had studied some romance stories series and found that many offer multiple male characters which are introduced in the first book, as minor characters, and then they get their own story in books later in the series. I have done this with the Chasing Time series. Walker and Brandt have their own stories coming up. The only man I don’t have a story for yet is Terrance, Tamea’s best friend, who is now the Captain of the Palace Guard. I say “yet” because he just hasn’t told me his story yet.

What is it about?

I think one of the hardest thing for me to decide on was what classification or genre to fit my epic story into. While I tag it as a Time-travel Romance, it resonates very well with science-fiction/fantasy enthusiasts because my time-travel is based on plausible theories I have contemplated over years. I sell more of my books with this group of book lovers, over romance readers. But, then again, I hang with that group at conventions.

You write what you love to read or write what you want to read, but haven’t found yet. That is what I have done here.

Is there a snippet you can share?
Here is a short excerpt for “Rescue In Time”: Book 2 in the Chasing Time Series.

Tamea was incensed about being forced into submission, stating so in a snapped response, “I can damn well take care of myself, thank you very much!”

“Tamea, don’t be so difficult!” Terance interjected. “Your rooms are no longer safe for you. Whoever did this, knows where to find both of you. And they mean to kill either you or the both of you now.” She was not calming down. “Tamea think about it, they knew the two of you left the banquet together and since the two of you were together last night, they just did not know which suite the two of you would be in.”

She went red, not from anger, but from embarrassment. Terance knew about last night.

Terance was doing his best not to think about her embarrassment and what he heard going on last night. “And this could indicate there is more than one person since, it appears that both locations were hit at the same time. If it wasn’t for Aspen, we may not have gotten here fast enough to save you.” There was no time for the pain of heartache now; he had to keep her safe.

Parker had come back into the front room during the last bit of information and he put his arm possessively around Tamea’s shoulders. He wanted to be the one who kept Tamea safe, and had wondered again about Terance’s relationship in the past with Tamea, because she wore her embarrassment of the situation too plainly. He would have to ask her later.

Terance took them out of the Ambassador’s wing and down the back staircase to the ground floor, to the servant’s wing. He took them into a simple room and shut the door behind the three of them. He knew Tamea’s questioning look, “Jayson wants very few guards posted on the two of you and they will appear to be just some of the servants who are wandering around at night. Outside, we will have many guards, and on the third floor we will double the guards, to make it appear like you are both still up there with the rest of the Altare delegation. We’ll move Walker in with Brandt tonight for safekeeping. On both sides of you here, there are empty rooms. We have positioned several guards to sleep in these rooms tonight.” Terance knew Tamea would like this plan, because it would have been something she thought of herself.

Tamea gritted her teeth and asked, “And what about you and Jayson?” What she really wanted to know was if Terance was one of these guards to be in the quarters next to this one, but did not want to come out and ask.

“I will be on the third floor as assigned for the night, and Jayson will be at his family’s house as expected for his promotion party.” Terance would not come near this room tonight unless he got word that the plan had been found out. He had an earful last night listening to them make love in her suite and could not sleep the rest of the night due to his loss of Tamea, he could not bear a repeat performance. “Everything must appear as normal as possible for this to be believed.”

Tamea remembered a detail that Terance would have to deal with himself, “You had better find Aspen quickly and tell him where to find me or he will be roaring through the halls tonight looking for me. He would find a way up to the third floor and may hurt someone since he knows I am in danger.”

“You are right! I will go now and find him. But he can’t be patrolling these corridors or someone will obviously see him and realize our ruse,” stated Terence.

“Just tell him I said for him to patrol outside and to hide himself somewhere near this room. You will need to show him which room, or he will not be happy.”

Terance left the two of them alone in the small room without windows, very little in the way of furniture, and one very cozy single bed. He had locked them in, without giving them a key to get out. No room in this palace could hold Tamea if she wished to get out, so the lack of a key did not concern her.

Even though the door was locked from the outside, Parker used a chair under the knob to keep others out, repeating what Tamea had done the night before in her suite. Then he turned to survey their little room. “Cozy, isn’t it?” he grinned when he saw the small bed.

Was there a character you struggled with?
I struggle between Parker and his brother Walker sometimes because I want to make sure readers connect to Parker, but then Walker is written stronger in the first books so I think some women like him better. Then again, I don’t like sharing my men, even ones I make up in my mind, so I may not be doing them justice by making them interesting enough for women readers to love them too. Probably explains why most of my fans are men who love Tamea, my heroine.

How many unpublished books do you have lurking under your bed?
Oh geez! I have 2 more completely written in the Chasing Time series and a third about half done, and another 3 started. Outside of that series, I am working on the following with plans to publish 2011:

– 2012: The Calm Before the Storm – writing with my partner, Donald Jacques
– Mahal – Historical Romance
– Center of Time Bar: Time travel stories centered around this bar I created. My world and other authors have been invited to write a story in this world.
– The Bad Easter Bunny – YA Fantasy (although I may be changing the title)
– There is a steampunk story my partner and I have storyboarded, but no title yet
– The Discarded House – Based on a true story that resonates with our economic times in America.

http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=wiswor0a-21&o=1&p=8&l=bpl&asins=B0031ESOCI&fc1=000000&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifrHow did you find your publisher? How do they treat you? Would you recommend them?
I am my own publisher and am the publisher for 15+ other authors with 30 books on our bookshelf now since May 2009. I use my series as a test in marketing conditions before I push anyone else into doing any form of marketing. This has been good and bad for me personally as an author. I have taken away the stigma for my other authors by adding Az Publishing Services, LLC as the Print/Distribution Publisher, while I don’t have the layer between myself as an author and as the publisher.

Would I recommend Az Publishing to others? Answer: Only if you are prepared to do a lot of work in helping market your book. We can’t do it by ourselves! But you also can’t expect the publisher to do it all anymore either.

We are still a struggling company and this year, I almost completely lost the company. It has been a very tough year for all of us! Even if I have to change the company name, we will still move forward into 2011 with a brighter outlook. We have some kick-butt books coming off the printer this coming year.

Tell us a little about Az Publishing.
Az Publishing Services was designed to assist new or struggling authors in marketing, cover design, editing and formatting plus much more, and has the cohesion of a writing community who has been bullied, lied to, and who have had some of their dreams taken from them by unscrupulous companies who seem to be prey on unsavvy writers. It has grown to a company who has published over 20 books in just the last three year.

Are you accepting submittals right now?
Yes, but I will no longer read submissions. Don Jacques, president of Az Publishing, will be reading through future submittals. We are making major changes to website which will not be in place until late January. I suggest that any author should be prepared before sending him their submittals with a synopsis, first chapter already edited, an idea of where your target market is, and your contact information. Wait until February to send anything, so the website will be ready to accept the submission. We accept any great fiction story and any non-fiction work that has a book proposal added to the submission. It is no longer just important to know your subject matter, but to have a fresh angle and marketing plan or your book will probably fail in this saturated book marketplace.

This is a toughie, but I’m going to ask it anyway. If you had to choose, which would it be an author or a publisher?
That is a hard question, because I love the feeling I get when a new author holds their book I delivered to them for the first time. I think this is the same feeling that a doctor feels when he/she hands the baby over to the new parents and that child is perfect.

But, first and foremost, I am an author/writer. If I was not a writer, I would not bother to be a publisher. I could not love the process unless I was in the process myself. There are too many people who want to write, but do not have the discipline to follow the rules and go through the process. This is what separates a writer from being an author, and keeps an author from consistently producing and selling their books.

Now that’s what I call a good answer! OK, so in your opinion what’s the best and worst part of being a writer?
Best part is when the book comes off the press for the first time. You check that all the fingers and toes are there first, and then just bask in that feeling on completion.

Worst part – Is when you aren’t making time to write regularly so start writing very long emails. The creative stuff seeps out somehow.

Also hate making edits form the printed manuscript to the computer version because it takes so much time. Understand that I do this several times before I even give the manuscript to the editor. If I have to read chapter 1 one more time for “Time Conquers All” I think I will learn to hate that story!

http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=wiswor0a-21&o=1&p=8&l=bpl&asins=1936037033&fc1=000000&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifrWhat is the most productive time of the day for you to write?
Mornings for articles and marketing pieces. After 10pm for fiction books. Yes, it does matter. Articles take clarity of thought that you get early in the morning. Where books, especially fiction which takes long stretches of creative flow, which mainly happens for me after 10pm.

Do you start your projects writing with paper and pen or is it all on the computer?
All on the computer. I have been a graphic designer for about 20 years so the computer is a natural extension of my creativity. I may write notes, research ideas, or even write out the occasional scene on paper, but only if I can’t get to a computer. It just comes out of me easier that way and then I don’t have to take the time to type it later.

What/who do you draw inspiration from?
Lately the inspiration has been coming from my writing partner, Donald Jacques, who either offers a kernel of an idea or I come up with the kernel and then we are off into a brainstorming session that lasts hours. We both thrive on these sessions for books we are working on together and those we are writing for ourselves, but the combined creative energy helps us move the story forward or make it into much more than it started.

Eariler you mentioned a near death expereince. Can you talk about that? How did that inspire you to write?
It was in 2003, when I went to get a simple operation and came home with a surgical infection that after several hospital visits, continued to grow and nearly took my life four months later. I was in the hospital 4 times that year for what should have been a fairly routine operation. When I came out of this alive and without any further major setbacks, I came across that story I had started over a decade earlier. It was time to write that story!

After any near death experience, your life never stays the same. I sat down and wrote for six months, that 296,000 words that have become “Time Conquers All”, “Rescue In Time” and “Sands of Time”. Then, I planned out a 14-book synopsis write up. I know where the series is going and who is telling what story.

Along with this revelation that I needed to tell these stories and many more to come, I also knew my husband at the time, was not up for the future I knew I needed to explore, so my marriage ended as well. Near death experiences drive home messages that you would not have listened to otherwise. I had gotten a message, that it was not my time to go, but that I had not fulfilled my destiny or mission in life. This mission has included writing and mentoring others with everything I have learned over these many years.

Do you set yourself goals when you sit down to write such as word count?
My only goal is which story I will work on. I have tried NaNoWriMo in their 50,000 words in the month of November. Out of three different years I tried it, I only made it in the first year. With the first draft of “Time Conquers All” I sat down and wrote 296,000 words in six months, but even that doesn’t quite make that 50,000 words per month. Now, those 296,000 words have been cut into 3 books right now and I will probably be cutting some of book 3 just to get it into a smaller book. Being the publisher, I know how much these books cost. The larger the book in page count, the more it cost and you could charge more, but there is only so much a reader will pay for a book from a relatively new author. There has to be a return on your investment for the author and the book can’t cost more than the market will bear.

What are you working on now that you can talk about?
In my writing, I am working on Book 3, “Sands of Time” for the Chasing Time series and am working on the collaboration on the “2012: The Calm Before the Storm” book due out Spring 2011. This 2012 book will be written into a screenplay as well by Michael D’Ambrosio, one of our author’s who has experience in adapting books into screenplays. I will also be working with Michael on writing the “Center of Time Bar” into a screenplay after the book is done Fall 2011.

The hardest part of being an author and a publisher is how much time I work with other authors on their projects compared to working on my own projects. It is a balancing act that I still don’t have control over yet.

How do/did you deal with rejection letters?
I am probably lucky in a way because most of the rejection letters I received were personally, handwritten notes rather than the standard rejection letter. Those are no help at all because they don’t allow you to understand why they rejected the manuscript. However, I do have one tip to impart to others, watch where the agent or editor left your story. Did they make notes or check marks on any sections or leave the manuscript turned to a particular page. Look for these clues and you may find where your story was either strong or weak.

So, how I dealt with rejection is that I tried to learn something from it instead of fretting too long on the rejection itself. Authors don’t handle rejection well mainly because to us the creation means so much to us. With fiction writers, even more so, because we put pieces of ourselves into the story or the characters.

Do you have a critique partner?
I used to have a critique group which I highly suggest for any writer, but now have Don, my writing muse and my editor, Linda Blazier, who takes a much deeper interest in the stories than most editors.

I do suggest at least one, but preferably several FIRST READERS, when your manuscript is raw, who helps you hammer out plot issues. A critique group could do this for you, but be prepared to do the same for everyone else in your group. It is a collaborative effort to be in a critique group.


Free e-book! Check out this hybrid chick-lit action/adventure novel!

The Scent of Jade
Dee DeTarsio

From TV writer Dee DeTarsio, a new novel, The Scent of Jade. When an ancient jade relic that holds secrets to global warming ends up in the hands of a not-so-perfect heroine, she is thrust in a fish-out-of-water adventure, lost in the Costa Rican rainforest.

“Romancing The Stone” meets “Survivor” for Julie Fraser, who was minding her own business, living her life as snug as a bug in a rut in San Diego, California. As the least adventurous person she knows, Julie finally whooped it up one day to jet off and surprise her husband, who was on a business trip in Costa Rica. Reeling from the discovery that her husband wasn’t who she thought he was, she accidentally steals an ancient artifact and is chased through the wilds of the rainforest, not knowing where to turn, literally, or whom to trust. She knew she should have stayed home.

Can a monkey, a blonde Juan, a foreign scientist, a mysterious ‘love potion’ and the jade stone itself (that may hold secrets to global warming), help Julie on her mission to find and forgive her husband?

The stolen idol catapults her on a quest, as she discovers truths along the way about herself and her place in the universe. The Scent of Jade is creative and unique with surprising twists–in turn suspenseful and heartbreaking, combining humor and romance to reach the payoff ending. Original characters keep the pages turning.

The Scent of Jade spins its story with wit and wisdom, drawing those who love mystery, suspense, romance and adventure. While there are no vampires, readers are invited to enjoy the intrigue…
Perfect escape, like watching a romantic action movie with a sarcastic friend. At times the heroine fell apart; then she rocked her best Angelina Jolie, with humor, action and a hint of sexiness. –Unabridged Chick unabridged-expression.blogspot.com

The Scent of Jade has enjoyed a fast-growing, international fan base. Clever, quirky, and multi-talented, ebook novelist Dee DeTarsio is definitely a new author you want to friend, and then you can say, you knew her when…. –The Divining Wand

San Diego Novelist Romances UK. The Scent of Jade has a killer, Hollywood logline: Romancing the Stone meets Survivor. The author takes a page from her world-traveling protagonist Julie Fraser and has connected with Brit romance fans. –Mediabistro

Dee DeTarsio is a television writer living in southern California. After growing up in Ennui, Ohio, and graduating from Ohio State University she vowed ‘never to be cold again’ (in a tantrum more worthy of Suellen than Scarlett) and ended up in Tucson, Arizona, producing the news for the CBS affiliate, oddly enough called KOLD-TV. She moved to San Diego where she worked in the SeaWorld entertainment department as a Producer/Writer, (Penguins are mean!) and then became a Producer/Writer with NBC for a live, comedy/variety show.
After working for Children’s Hospital, she totally sold out and became the Marketing Director of a cosmetic dermatology group where she got free Botox. Her husband is a Director of Photography and travels around the world while she stays behind as the indentured servant of their two children. Though her father was never famous and her mother never beat her (that hard!) she suspects one of her sisters is a vampire. Learn more at her website http://www.deedetarsio.com/ and blog http://www.ogblayotspay.blogspot.com/. Check out the book trailer http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pV4ObDjueOc&feature=related too!

My husband, who has earned his title of beditor, once complained that ‘women sure do think a lot.’ That’s right, we do. Live and learn, hombres. THE SCENT OF JADE grew out of his observation and into a hybrid chick-lit action/adventure novel.

I began with a “what-if” scenario (a woman on a resort vacation, what could possibly go wrong?) that grew into a ROMANCING THE STONE (awesome movie) meets SURVIVOR (amazing reality show!). I hate camping, I’m scared of the dark, I like my belly full, thank you, and my coffee hot, so I tried to make my heroine as uncomfortable as possible.

Click below for the interview:

What is it about?
THE SCENT OF JADE is a hybrid chick-lit action/adventure that follows a woman lost in the Costa Rican rainforest with an ancient idol that may hold secrets to global warming: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00466HRVY

Was there a character you struggled with?
Julie Fraser, the protagonist, is the most important character, as the star of the show. I love her, and I had to keep making things difficult for her, and not give her an easy pass. We sometimes want to protect our babies and not let bad stuff happen to them, but half the fun is figuring out that the “bad stuff” is where it gets good!

How many unpublished books do you have lurking under your bed?
I have written 4 novels–I just can’t seem to help myself! To help with promoting THE SCENT OF JADE, I also added ‘Til Somebody Loves You, Romantic Comedy Quick-Pick, a quirky chick-lit based in Chicago, following a copywriter’s search for her one true love–featuring a damsel in distress who can save her own day! http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0047O2Q6Q

How did you find your publisher? How do they treat you? Would you recommend them?
I am a television writer living in southern California. When my agent became a victim of the economy, I pushed to get my women’s fiction novel, The Scent of Jade, on Amazon. In the first two months, there have been nearly 2000 downloads (from Amazon, the iBookstore, Barnes & Noble and Smashwords). In addition, The Scent of Jade has hit #6 in the Romantic Suspense category for Amazon in the UK–and broke through the top 100 on Amazon in the US in Romantic Suspense. One of the biggest kicks was seeing my books grouped with my idol, goddess Marian Keyes.

I can’t tell you how excited I am to be part of the digital revolution. The advent of the kindle and other eReaders, including smart phones!, has opened so many doors to so many new writers and genres, it has been an amazing adventure. I love reading new books and authors that I might not have found before.

What’s the best/worst part of being a writer?
Though some in my family would place me on Team Eeyore, meeting the requirements of insecurity, self-doubt and doom and gloom necessary to be a writer, that miasma can magically disappear with the push of a button–upon discovering a kind note from someone who actually read something I wrote and liked it, who wasn’t my mother. Pinch me, I’m dreaming, but that unbelievable feedback is enough to make it all worthwhile! I’m trying out a new slogan: Be kind, Remind…an author if you like their stories…

What is the most productive time of the day for you to write?
I’m a morning person, fueled by triple espresso–who never met a problem that couldn’t be solved by an afternoon nap and a good ten hours of sleep!

Do you start your projects writing with paper and pen or is it all on the computer.
I am petrified of being left behind in this digital revolution, (http://ogblayotspay.blogspot.com/2011/01/please-dont-say-anything.html) and do all of my projects on the computer. That said, however, every single idea was written, scribbled, and scrawled with a pen on paper first. I sometimes use crayons, gel pens on watercolor paper to fuel creativity (try that!), and love the sweet, sweet smell of a fresh Sharpie. My purse, pockets and desk are awash in sticky notes because I’ve learned the hard way–I’m convinced I would be a best-selling author by now, but I’ve forgotten what that brilliant idea was.

What/who do you draw inspiration from?
I love TV and it loves me! While I concede that I will probably never fulfill my childhood dream of writing for a soap opera, (I ended up as a news producer instead… ‘If it’s news to you, it’s news to us’…) I am eternally inspired by what I watch.

I believe in magic, happily-ever-after and the 7th sense: hope. My favorite TV shows used to be reruns of Bewitched and I Dream of Jeannie, up to and including Sabrina, The Teenage Witch, and, if you haven’t discovered The Wizards of Waverly Place yet, two wands up.

I also love the magic known as HGTV–a new kitchen in 30 minutes? Voila! And as for the fairy-tale ending possibilities of House Hunters, International…A Votre Sante! (The enchantment just doesn’t get much better than watching someone with a $1.2 million budget discover a crumbling 17th century 500-square-foot three-story-house with room for only a single-sized bed, kitschy rooster fabric curtained kitchen cupboards, that does include a wee washing machine in the bathroom, with nary a dryer in site.)

Writing for television is writing for tell a vision. Producers are the authors of suspense: amping up the conflict and drama. Storytelling a vision invites the audience, through whatever medium, to stay tuned for the good stuff…coming up.

Watching eye-spinning amounts of TV is just another venue for receiving hints from the universe. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Do you set yourself goals when you sit down to write such as word count?
I am so not a numbers person (and think it’s perfectly acceptable to round out your checking account, but always in the bank’s favor) (Hello? Left brain are you even home?). I have fallen into the pattern of working to complete whatever scene or action is unfolding. If I’m curious about what’s going to happen next, I’m hoping readers will be, too!

What are you working on now that you can talk about?
I am working on the screenplay for THE SCENT OF JADE, which is also a great writing exercise. Screenplays, at 120 pages, are less than half the page count of a traditional novel, so the importance of every word, nuance and action is magnified. I am editing my novel manuscript–and then I will use a screenplay writing program called Final Draft, to format it.

I write every day–from sticky notes-to-self, to my blog, to finishing up my next novel. THE KITCHEN SHRINK, a hybrid romantic comedy/chick lit, (if your life’s a mess, your house could probably use a makeover, too…) will be published next month.

How do/did you deal with rejection letters?
I beat myself up! Rejection stinks. Any kind of “thanks-but-no-thanks-you’re-not-what-I-had-in-mind” really, really hurts. But as my mother says, it apparently builds “character.” Fooey. Since stomping around, moping and plotting out sweet, sweet vengeance doesn’t get me anywhere, it usually sends me running back to the comforting glow of my laptop!

Do you have a critique partner?
I have been part of a writing workshop for several years. For the joy of disappearing into other worlds and other people’s lives, I thank the FAT Tuesday Writers (it’s not what you think–First And Third!) for their inspiration and motivation and give them a standing ovation for allowing me to hang out with them. Again, to have someone who is not my mother reading and critiquing my story, can only help my writing; reducing adverb count, (brutally!), managing beats and deconstructing plot defects!

Dee De Tarsio is kindly offering to give away ebooks of The Scent of Jade to THREE lucky readers. The first three to comment on the blog will receive a download link via Amazon kindle gift program of The Scent of Jade…


Lily of the Nile

Stephanie Dray
With her parents dead, the daughter of Cleopatra and Mark Antony is left at the mercy of her Roman captors. Heir to one empire and prisoner of another, it falls to Princess Selene to save her brothers and reclaim what is rightfully hers…

In the aftermath of Alexandria’s tragic fall, Princess Selene is taken from Egypt, the only home she’s ever known. Along with her two surviving brothers, she’s put on display as a war trophy in Rome. Selene’s captors mock her royalty and drag her through the streets in chains, but on the brink of death, the children are spared as a favor to the emperor’s sister, who takes them to live as hostages in the so-called lamentable embassy of royal orphans…
Now trapped in a Roman court of intrigue that reviles her heritage and suspects her faith, Selene can’t hide the hieroglyphics that carve themselves into her flesh. Nor can she stop the emperor from using her for his own political ends. But faced with a new and ruthless Caesar who is obsessed with having a Cleopatra of his very own, Selene is determined honor her mother’s lost legacy. The magic of Egypt and Isis remain within her. But can she succeed where her mother failed? And what will it cost her in a political game where the only rule is win or die?

Before Stephanie Dray wrote novels, she was a lawyer, a game designer, and a teacher. Now she uses the transformative power of magic realism to illuminate the stories of women in history and inspire the young women of today. She remains fascinated by all things Roman or Egyptian and has–to the consternation of her devoted husband–collected a house full of cats and ancient artifacts.

Ever nosy, I asked her a few searching questions about Lily of the Nile and herself as a writer.

What age group is your Lily of the Nile geared towards?Lily of the Nile is one of those unusual books that straddles a few genres and age groups. Though I wrote it as an adult women’s fiction book, but was surprised by the level of interest from high school girls. I believe this is because it’s the story of a young princess who has to grow up very quickly to become a teenaged queen.

Into which genre would you say it book falls?It is historical women’s fiction accented with bouts of magical realism.

Tell us more?Lily of the Nile is the story of Cleopatra’s daughter. Selene came to Rome as a chained prisoner and left Rome a queen. That kind of journey, especially in such turbulent political times, is something that I felt deeply about.

What is your favourite scene in your book? Can we have a snippet?Wow, it’d be difficult for me to choose just one favorite scene. However, I’d love to give you a snippet!

The emperor seized me roughly by both shoulders. “And where shall I have my retort, Cleopatra? Shall I point out that you descend from an inbred line of fat kin murderers, most of whom squandered Alexander’s legacy until Egypt was an indebted skeleton for you to inherit at Caesar’s sufferance!”
He shook me until my teeth rattled. Still, I knew it wasn’t me he was screaming at. No, he was speaking to my mother. Perhaps he didn’t want to think that he had defied a goddess, or perhaps some part of him needed to grapple with my mother still.

We stared at one another, both of us aware of every sound in the room, of every breath. I’d brought this on myself to strike at him, and I felt both satisfied and unnerved by the effects. Though he had held my life in his hands since before I had even met him, he had never laid hands on me like this. He was a cool-tempered man who rarely spoke an unintended word, but now his fingers dug into my shoulders like talons. “You’re hurting me,” I whispered.

He looked right through me, trembling with rage. And his eyes—oh, his eyes. “Who are you?”
“Selene,” I murmured.
“No. You think like her. You talk like her,” he accused. Then his hand went to the nape of my neck, where he bunched my hair in his fist. My arms went limp at my sides, and droplets of blood splashed the woven carpet beneath us.

Have your characters or writing been inspired by friends/ family or by real-life experiences? I certainly never experienced the difficulties in my life that Selene faced. I’ve never been taken prisoner, I’ve never been orphaned and I grew up safe and loved. But I think every writer delves into their personal experiences and tragedies to write authentic emotions!

Can you sum the Lily of the Nile in one sentence?Heir to one empire and prisoner of another, it falls to Princess Selene to save her brothers and reclaim what is rightfully hers.

Who is your favourite character in your book and why?Selene is my favorite character because her life story moves me, but I admit that I have a soft spot for Augustus, who was Rome’s first emperor. He’s definitely the villain of my story but in trying to get into his head and come up with a consistent psychological profile that would explain his actions, I came to delight in his horrid behavior.

Which comes first for you – characters or plot?When I’m writing historical fiction, much of the plot already exists in the historical record, so it’s up to me to weave an additional sub-story through that timeline. It’s my job to fill in the blanks. But in creating my characters and getting to know them helps me to figure out how they might behave. For example, once I conceived of Augustus as a man who was obsessed with Cleopatra–a woman who killed herself before she could appreciate his genius–the story flowed naturally from there.

Who is your publisher and where are your books available? Are there e-books and hard copies available?Lily of the Nile will be published by Berkley Books, available wherever books are sold, and I’m told it will be available in both print and electronic form.

Are there any upcoming signings or appearances you’d like to mention?I just turned in the manuscript for the sequel and I’m taking a little break but I expect to have some events and signings in the coming months. I’ve been thinking about a toga party to celebrate the book launch!

Do you have an agent, or have you gone alone?My agent is the fabulous Jennifer Schober of Spencerhill Associates. Jenn was one of the very first agents I contacted about representing Lily of the Nile and I was shocked when she got back to me so quickly. All in all, I would say that my agent hunt took about a week. I realize that this isn’t normal, but Jenn is also a “Cleophile” and no one could have worked harder to make this book a reality for me.

What marketing have you been doing to help sales?Because Lily of the Nile is the first of a series, I’ve tried to give it the strongest push that I can. First, I’ve planned a long three-month blog tour. I’ve put up a giveaway on Goodreads and I’ve tried to be an active presence on twitter. I’ve also invested in bookmarks and scheduled appearances. For example, I spoke in front of four high school classes yesterday. I loved that!

What is the most productive time of the day for you to write?Honestly, it’s late at night after everyone has gone to bed or early in the morning before everyone has awakened. Twitter, email and phone calls distract me quite a bit with the business of the day.

Do you start your projects writing with paper and pen or is it all on the computer?I do all my work on the computer or a laptop. When I was suffering from tailbone pain last year I tried writing in long hand, but it was a misery. That’s just not how I compose.

What do you draw inspiration from?I draw inspiration from the lives of women in history who have faced worse obstacles than we face now. I draw inspiration from trailblazers who have made our lives easier, happier, and more fulfilling. I also draw inspiration from the unconditional love my husband gives me and the strength of my family.

Do you set yourself goals when you sit down to write such as word count?Absolutely. Because I work on deadline, I try very hard to do a fast draft and then edit it later. To that end, I try to write about 2,000 words a day during writing sprint months. If I’m taking it easier on myself, I will drop it to 1,000 words a day. However, that pace isn’t sustainable for me every day. After about nine months of doing that, I’m taking a vacation in which the only thing I write is blog posts!

What drives you to choose the career of being a writer?I love to entertain people and enthrall them with stories. This is something I’ve always loved to do, even when it seemed utterly impractical.

What are you working on now that you can talk about?I’m starting to think about my proposal for the third book in the series, which will tell the last part of Selene’s life, follow the fate of her daughter, and of course, explore the end of the Augustan Age.

What is your writing process like? Do you do a lot of background research? Do you plot every detail or do you prefer the characters to move the story in new directions, or a combination of both?I try to do all my research upfront. I immerse myself in history books and compile a list of research questions and things to include in the novel. When I’m finished with that I start plotting out the major scenes in the book. It’s the minor scenes and the subplots where I allow my imagination to run wild.

How long does it take you to write a book? Have your written other books?I’ve written romances that take me about a month, but with historical fiction, it’s a long slog. Lily of the Nile took me five years to complete, though I did take some time off in between. The sequel, Song of the Nile, took me less than a year to complete but only because I was really pushing myself.

How did you get into writing? Did you always want to become a writer?I always wanted to be a writer but my mother very sensibly suggested that this was a foolish career option and encouraged me to be a lawyer instead, but it didn’t take.

Are you working on another book? Possible to have a preview snippet or blurb of that?I’ll be happy to show you a snippet from the prologue of Song of the Nile which is narrated from the perspective of the goddess Isis:

I am nature. I am the mother of everything that has ever been or will ever be. I am all goddesses. And you know me, for I live inside of you. I am in the part of you that feels magic when the wheat is harvested and cleansing wind separates the golden grains from the chaff. I am in the part of you that sees a woman dance by the firelight and understands the sacred power of her body. I am in the part of you that has suffered dark winters of the soul and survived to see the dawn.

You know me, because I am every strong hand that has ever stretched out to help you up. I am every soft kiss that has soothed your tears. I am every warm meal that has ever filled your hungry belly. I have a thousand names, and yet, you know me.

I am the good goddess. Bona Dea. Call me Hecate or Cybele, Venus or Inanna, Tanit or Kore or Demeter. I will answer to them all. But I am properly known as Isis, for it is by this name that the world has best worshipped me.

They tell stories of how my husband was murdered, and how I raised up my son to avenge his father. This story is true, but it is a son’s story. A daughter’s journey is different. She is the keeper of my legacy. That is why there are other stories they tell about me. Stories of how my daughter was taken, pulled down into the underworld, and how I refused to work my magic until my beloved daughter returned.

This is one of those stories.

What advice would you give aspiring authors?Learn the market, learn the market, learn the market. If you’re writing for yourself, then you don’t need any advice, but if you’re writing to be read, then you really want to make sure you know who your target audience is and how to reach them.

What mistakes do you see new writers make?New writers tend to frontload their books with exposition and info dumps. Or, going to the opposite extreme, they withhold information from the reader for no compelling reason whatsoever.

What is your website and/or blog where readers can learn more? Can they friend you on Facebook or Twitter?I love when folks visit my website. Come see me at http://www.stephaniedray.com/ and contact me at www.twitter.com/stephaniehdray!

LILY OF THE NILE — Coming January 2011
You can check out the blog tour schedule at: http://www.stephaniedray.com/news/blog-tour-for-lily-of-the-nile/