Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays

Christmas through the years...

A long time ago, well, not that long ago, I remember being in elementary school, barley containing myself with excitement of the upcoming holidays, being on break from school, spending time with family and friends, and of course, ripping off the wrapping paper from the presents that Santa magically delivered under my parents' tree with the reflection of the lights shining brightly against the gold and silver garland.

Now that I have my own home, Christmas tree, and being the one to magically deliver little one's items on their wish lists, I have a true understanding of the hard work that my parents went through every single holiday season - as they had five children to prepare for.

My post today is to honor all the moms and dads out there who go without sleep, brave the chaotic world of shoppers and trying to find the best deals, and making sacrifices to make sure that their little ones receive that special gift and enjoy the laborious meal their parents prepared.

Merry Christmas everyone! Have a safe and happy holiday season :)

Friday, December 23, 2011

Jesse Kimmel-Freeman - Bella Notte - YA Paranormal Romance









Author Interview: Jesse Kimmel-Freeman




1.) When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
I never knew I wanted to be a writer. It just sort of happened. I decided to write the book I wanted to read- the rest is history.




2.) What type of genre do you write in?
I write young adult paranormal romance, as well as illustrate and write children's books.




3.) What inspires you to write in this genre?
I love to read YA books. If there was one genre I could read for the rest of my life it would be YA. So I decided to write what I enjoyed. As for the children's books, that has everything to do with my kids.




4.) Where to you get your ideas for your writing?
I let the world give them to me. Everything and anything has the potential for being put into a book- the blessing and curse of being a writer. What do you allow into your stories and what do you keep out because it reminds within that small area of your life that is meant to stay personal and private? Or is it all free game as long as it's presented as fiction? I blend reality with fantasy.
5.) Who are your favorite authors and why?
Kate Chopin wrote The Awakening. I fell in love with this book. Something about it sparked a fire inside of me that never went out. It is one of the few books that I have read several times- which speaks volumes because I almost never re-read a book. Marge Percy wrote He, She, and It. I had to read this for a robotics/computer science class during my undergraduate years and when I read the story, it touched my heart. It spoke to the place inside me that can see passed boundaries and limitations. Both of these women inspired and filled me with awe.




6.) In your opinion, what key parts of a story make it great?
The characters are by far the most important part of a story. They're the ones that bring it alive for the readers and that connection is what makes a story stay with a reader or be forgotten.



7.) What activities do you undertake for inspiration?
Just going through my day. Listening to what's going on around me. Remembering a dream. Hearing a song on the radio. Overhearing a conversation while in line at the grocery store. Some of the best inspiration comes from the things around you that you wouldn't expect to inspire you.



8.) Do you belong to any writing communities, or critique groups?
I belong to several network groups, but nothing specifically aimed at critiquing or the techniques of writing.




9.) Do you have a day job?
My day job is being a mom. Writing gets worked in as I can. Right now, all of my writing time is going to editing the second book in my series and promoting my first book.




10.) If you could do it over again, what aspects of the writing/submission process would you change before becoming published?
I might not go through three years of submitting to agents and publishers. I feel like I spent a lot of time trying to find the right agent/publisher when I could've been writing or doing something more productive with my time.




11.) What is the title of your upcoming/newly released novel, and where can we find it?
Bella Notte was released November 21st, 2011. Bella Vita will be released early next year- it looks like late January. Bella Notte can be found at Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble online, All Romance eBooks online, Smashwords, and CreateSpace. This will be the same for Bella Vita. Also, in honor of Christmas coming up, there's a short story available for free on Smashwords titled, “A Bella Notte Christmas Story.” It is basically two of the main characters from Bella Notte having their first Christmas together.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Ann Montclair - The Billionare's Bauble - New Release















Interview with David Grant, hero of The Billionaire’s Bauble by Ann Montclair

Tell us a little about yourself.
My name is David Grant, and I’m the owner and CEO of Grant Oil in Fairbanks, Alaska. I’m in my mid thirties, never been married, have no kids. I’m 6’3” tall and enjoy excellent health and wealth.
So, why Alaska? Wouldn’t you rather live in Texas where the typical rich oil baron resides?
Grant Oil is family owned and operated. True, I am presently the only surviving family member, but my late father started the company in Alaska, and I have a fondness for the land and its magnificent natural resources. I enjoy hobbies like mountain climbing and hunting, and I admire the purity of Alaska’s environment and the opportunities it provides me for outdoor recreation. Does Texas have mountains? Perhaps small hills… Also, the weather is just harsh enough in Alaska to keep out wannabe wildcatters. Not to say I won’t expand my business to Texas, but for the moment, Alaska is the only home Grant Oil knows.
What occupies most of your time?
Making money, of course. I work seven days a week finding, extracting, and refining oil. I try to get in a brisk workout every day, and I eat well. I do make time to recreate as I have already disclosed.
Do you go out and party like many young singles?
(Shakes his head vigorously) Absolutely not. I’ve no time for parties and even less time for drinking, though I’m no hermit. I occasionally have dinner and drink a few beers or glasses of wine at my best friend’s home. He is also in the oil business and is happily married to a medical doctor.
If you had a motto what would it be?
Trust your gut. March to your own tune.
You sound like a self-reliant man? Is there room in your life for love?
(He chuckles). I am confident that I know myself best. I think everyone does if they just listen to what they want, set goals, and work to achieve them. As for love, I do enjoy the company of females. I like women who are savvy and independent. Big butts are a plus. But I wouldn’t name love a high priority. I leave that to the folks who need it.
What do you need, Mr. Grant?
(He shifts uncomfortably in his seat. Frowns in thought.) I never give much thought to what I need. I guess I have everything: money, friends, a home, a great job. Can you think of anything I’m missing?
Hmmmm. Sounds almost perfect.
Almost? Can you be specific as to what you see lacking in the lifestyle I’ve described?

Oops. We’re out of time! It was a pleasure speaking with you, Mr. Grant.
Likewise. Good luck with this writing thing you’re pursuing, ma’am. Sounds like risky business to me. If you ever need a real job, Grant Oil might be hiring.

For more information about Ann Montclair go to
http://www.annmontclair.com/
To purchase The Billionaire’s Bauble or other fine romance titles visit
http://www.soulmatepublishing.com/







Monday, December 19, 2011

Meggan Connors - The Marker



I want to welcome Meggan Connors to my blog today! Her exciting new release, The Marker is now available. Read her interview to find out what makes her tick as a writer and what her release is about!


Author Interview

1.) When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
I think I was in fifth grade when I first realized I wanted to write. I wrote my first "book" (3 spiral binders of a disjointed fantasy) when I was in sixth grade. Over the years, I've written a scene here, a scene there. About two years ago, I woke up and thought, "I think I'm finally going to write that novel that's been running around in my head."
I thought it might be a passing fancy, but four months later, I had that novel completed. And ideas for six more floating around in my head. So far, I've gotten through four of them. J

2.) What type of genre do you write in?
My debut novel is an historical, set in California in the years after the gold rush, but I have to admit, I still haven’t really "picked" a genre. I read across genres, and I write across them as well. So, for completed manuscripts, I have two historical westerns, one western steampunk, and one urban fantasy. And I love them all!

3.) What inspires you to write in this genre?
I live in the west, so I'm familiar with it. The first romance novels I ever read were historicals, so they will always have a special place in my heart. I love men in kilts, but when I decided to write a romance novel, I realized how much I wanted to see something different. So while The Marker could be set just about anywhere, I picked Sacramento.

4.) Where to you get your ideas for your writing?
My ideas come from the craziest places. Sometimes, the ideas spring from a TV show, another time, I was inspired by an old map. The Marker was inspired by The World Series of Poker and a trip to the Sacramento Train museum. Sounds crazy, but it's totally true.

5.) Who are your favorite authors and why?
It's so hard to pick just one, and it depends on what I'm reading. I love Karen Marie Moning and Kresley Cole for their dark heroes and interesting story lines. In terms of contemporaries, I really enjoyed Natasha Tate's An Inconvenient Obsession, and Candis Terry's Second Chance at the Sugar Shack. A Thousand Splendid Suns and The Kite Runner had beautiful prose. Thinking of the classics, I've read everything written by the Bronte sisters (though Wuthering Heights was my favorite. I loved Heathcliff. He was the original, brooding antihero).

6.) In your opinion, what key parts of a story make it great?
I think voice is what makes a story great. A new, inspired voice will suck me into a story and won't let me go.

7.) What activities do you undertake for inspiration?
It usually depends on what I'm writing, but often, I'll head up into the mountains or into the desert and go for a hike (in the appropriate seasons). Sometimes, I'll load the kids up in the car and go for a drive to someplace we haven't been. We'll go for a walk, hang out a park, get some lunch, and head on home. Watching the passing landscape always seems to make the muse wake up (though she doesn't always obey my command to focus).

8.) Do you belong to any writing communities, or critique groups?
I belong to RWA and the nearest local chapter, Sacramento Valley Rose. I also belong to an informal group of writers in my area, Sierra Romance Writers. They are a wonderfully supportive group!

9.) Do you have a day job?
Yup.

10.) If you could do it over again, what aspects of the writing/submission process would you change before becoming published?
Maybe I would have joined RWA before I finished that first book rather than after, but that's about it. I don't think I would change anything else. I've learned something from each of my rejections and missteps, and they were lessons well learned. All that disappointment was necessary to truly savor the sweetness of seeing my work in print.

11.) What is the title of your upcoming/newly released novel, and where can we find it?
My novel is called The Marker, and it can be found on the Soul Mate website (www.soulmatepublishing.com/the-marker) and at Amazon (www.amazon.com/The-Marker-ebook/dp/B006MMYSR6/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1324247125&sr=8-1) and Barnes and Noble.
Also, I would love to hear from fans! You can visit my website at www.megganconnors.com or on Facebook (www.facebook.com/pages/Meggan-Connors/120715354695518)
Blurb:

When her father loses her in a poker game, Lexie Markland is sent to work in the household of Nicholas Wetherby for one year to pay off the debt. Innocent, but not na├»ve, she is savvy enough to know she must maintain her distance from this man, who frustrates her with his relentless teasing but whose kisses bring her to her knees. Because although she may be just another conquest to him, it’s not just her heart in jeopardy should she succumb to Nicholas’ considerable charms.

Since his brother's death almost a year before, nothing has held Nicholas’ attention for long—not women, not booze, not even an excellent hand at cards. Nothing, that is, until he meets the woman he won in a drunken night of poker. Intrigued by his prize and her chilly reserve, he makes it his mission to crack Lexie’s cool demeanor. But even as passion explodes between them, the question remains: will Nicholas be able to take the ultimate risk...and gamble on love?

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Power cords and other gadgets

It is quite amazing how I've become so dependant upon electronic gadgets. My power cord for my laptop that I use for all of my writing endeavors was frayed, and finally the tiny section that was bent over and over again became weak and the exposed wires started to fray, and of course no matter how I tried to position the cable, it just wouldn't charge my laptop, which has my current WIP and the outline for the next. Needless to say, I can't do without my laptop, and my laptop can't do without a functioning power cord.

As a writer, what items in your arsenal are so crucial that you just can't do without?

Monday, December 12, 2011

Gerald Griffin Author Interview





We have Gerald Griffin here today telling us about him and his writing!

What inspired you to become a writer?
>
> There is no simple answer. I feel I was born with the inspiration already in my DNA, set loose by reading novels. This seemed to coalesce in the 9th grade. At the time I reading about King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. I decided then that I wanted to write a similar adventure book, so I did, chapters and all, entitled, Sir Griffin And The Fair Princess Velva (Velva a girl in my class that I had a crush on). My teacher found out about the book and read it chapter by chapter to the class, a different chapter each day. Naturally the book was never published, but it unleashed the inspiration to write, the "writing bug", that remained with me until this day.
>
> What type of genre do you write in?
>
> Mostly suspense thrillers, with mystery and a dose of the paranormal.
>
> How many books have you had published?
>
> Five. One non-fiction book, The Silent Misery--Why Marriages Fail (based upon my experience and perceptions as a Ph.D. psychologist in private practice), and four novels: The Corruptors, The Death Disciple, The Last Coming and Of Good And Evil.
>
> Can you tell us about your current release?
>
> Of Good And Evil is a timely, spellbinding suspense thriller of nobility and humanity in an unusual battle of spirit versus tyranny. A page-turner story of harrowing action, with vivid and vibrant characters, it spits out fire like a Gatling gun. Crisp, clean and clear, the novel is a hard-charging tale of a gifted Green Beret, Ron Sheffield, discharged from the service for going "crazy," and from there the fireworks begin. Falling in love, initiating a captivating romance, Ron and his gifted beloved, Amber Ash, are thrust into perilous ventures, among them: being sought out for death by an unsavory government cell because of secret documents Ron possesses; battles with the Mafia and terrorists; conflicts with a secret society with powers beyond imagination; discovering plans of the 9/11 terrorist attacks beforehand, but their warnings ignored, resulting in chaos; Ron having no choice but to become a special hit man for the Mafia to save his sanity; and Ron facing an impossible confrontation with a covert Khalid Sheikh Mohammed terrorist cell at the moment it is about to bring off the nuclear obliteration of a major American city. The reader is engrossed in humanity, villains, hate, love, friendship and sorrow, all intermixed in one enticing conflict keeping the reader on edge.
>
> What do you think makes a good story?
>
> That's a complex question, the answer varying with the genre and the intent of the author. But basically, for a thriller, and briefly, hit hard, hit fast, and keep the reader on the edge of his or her seat. Outside of this, and in addition to being crisp, clean and clear, a good story should have vibrant and believable characters resonating perfectly with an innovative galloping plot without a dull moment that keeps the reader glued to the book from start to finish.
>
> What inspired you to write Of Good And Evil?
>
> A mixture of things. A different and remarkable approach to good and evil. The world and internal events affecting our country's national security. Presenting in an innovative way the unresolved psyche trauma --- represented through the protagonist, affecting our service men and women returning to civilian life from military fighting overseas. Using the Mafia, the paranormal, unusual romance, action and mystery, among other things, to give this theme impact. All of these were intermixed to give me inspiration to write the story.
>
> Can you tell us about the best fan letter you have received?
>
> Regarding Of Good And Evil, this would be a close call. But one which comes to mind is from Meg Collins in Maryland, as follows:
>
> "I am elated to read a brilliant mastermind in this writing genre, as yourself, and being thrilled and enthralled in a novel of this outstanding caliber."
>
> Tell us why we should read your book?
>
> To spare myself from sounding like a carnival barker promoting his novel, I'll let my reviewers, below, tell you why you should read Of Good And Evil:
>
> "An absolute must read! It's not your typical fight between good and evil and the suspense will grab hold of you and keep you turning the pages."
> Starr Reina, Suspense Magazine
>
> "Of Good And Evil is a novel that is so finely written, so well plotted and paced, that the reader is immediately drawn into the book from the first page. In creating the character of Ron Sheffield, Gerald Griffin has proven himself to be a writer of extraordinary skills. That Mr. Griffin is able to use mere words to introduce the reader to Ron Sheffield is nothing short of breathtaking --- it is not often that a writer can make so complex a character, a person with such internal torments and external gifts, resonate so perfectly with a plot and locations that keep the reader glued to the book from start to finish."
> Rick Friedman, Founder, The James Mason Community Book Club
>
> "Of Good And Evil is the very embodiment of what a paranormal thriller should be....A perfectly paced accomplished mystery. In reading his relatable concept of good and evil, it is almost as if you are reading the thoughts of a great philosopher, someone who can show you such a concept in a light that you never would have thought of. It truly boggles my mind the sheer caliber of talent this author (Gerald G. Griffin) possesses. It is extremely rare to find such a skilled writer. Of Good And Evil is not only the best paranormal thriller I have read period, it is also one of the best books I have ever read. Of Good and Evil is such a marvelous tale that you don't even have to be a fan of its specific genre to enjoy it, and to me that is the mark of a brilliant story."
> Shane Porteous, author (Rasciss, Grave Caller, How Gods Bleed)
>
> "Gerald G.Griffin is an author with a special kind of talent. In his brilliant thriller "Of Good And Evil" he takes the reader on a wild ride with the real world as his background and makes the reader believe in his plot and characters. Gerald has given his audience a well-conceived story and delivered it with the talent of a born writer. He's also gone that step further which separates writers from great writers. He's worked hard at the mechanics of the novel so that the plot flows smoothly, the characters are believable and the reader is able to sit back and enjoy this page-turning thriller. Ron Sheffield, Gerald's gifted but tormented main character, has everything a great writer needs to engage a reader on an emotional level. This is one of the gifts of a truly great story-teller. I am humbled to be able to tell you a little about Gerald and his novel."
> Tracey Alley, literary adviser and author (Erich's Plea, Ursula's Quest)
>
> Do you have a website or blog?
>
> Both. Blog: http://geraldggriffin.blogspot.com/ Website: http://www.authorgeraldgriffin.com
>
> Where can we find your book?
>
> Of Good And Evil can be found and purchased online at:
>
> Amazon: http://www.amazon.com ; Amazon.ca ; Amazon.co.uk

Barnes & Noble: http://www.bn.com

Publisher: http://strategicpublishinggroup.com/title/OfGoodAndEvil.html

Thanks so much Gerald for taking the time to be a guest on my blog, happy writing!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Wind A Free Kindle For Christmas!

A KINDLE FOR CHRISTMAS

Our contest is well under way and the comments are coming in daily. But we want to hear from YOU!

Stop by our blog at www.smpauthors.wordpress.com from now until Dec 21st and leave a comment on our contest page or one of the daily blogs for a chance to win a KINDLE TOUCH!!!! What a great way to celebrate Christmas.

Leave a comment and YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS and be entered to win!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

What's a Widget?

In all honesty, I'm not very computer savvy, but I've managed to incorporate widgets into my blog. What's a widget? Well, just look to the right of this post, and you will see my very first widget. It allows me to promote author's novel covers and include links for visitors to find out more of what the novels are about and how to purchase them. I'm finding that widgets are a crucial part to every author's blog site :) Happy writing!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Author Interview - Lisa V. Proulx - PUNCTURE


Author Interview

1.) When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

I wrote my first horror story when I was about 8 years old. It was about a family of witches and I called it, "Lily Was A Witch". I then went on to write sc-fi and more horror, poems, songs, you name it! In 9th grade, I wrote a horror poem called "Screams of No Repy" which my English teacher had published in the newspaper. I had a lot of calls about it and I felt like a celebrity. That was the first time that I realized that not only my parents thought I was talented.

2.) What type of genre do you write in?

I mainly stick with horror but I have recently written a memoir about a woman growing up in the mountains of Applachia during the Depression. I am shopping for an agent now. I have also written some comedy, sci-fi and tried my hand at romance. :) But horror is what I know and love.

I also write serious pieces about pain and heartache. In fact, I wrote a short story about my mother as she lay dying back in 2006, and it was recently published in The Barefoot Review magazine.

3.) What inspires you to write in this genre?

My fears inspire me. I have always been afraid of people/things coming back from the dead, losing my mind and being committed, things like that. I have also been inspired by my nightmares to write a lot of stories. Pain, heartache, loss, sadness...People ask me all the time where I come up with these ideas. Well, that's where they originate.

4.) Where to you get your ideas for your writing?

Well, like I said, my fears and nightmares plus every day things that occur. I can make a toaster scare the heck out of you! :) In my stories you will usually find an evil man and a strong woman. It's like in life, good vs evil...Heaven vs Hell...love vs hate. If I am sad or hurting, I seem to write the best work.

5.) Who are your favorite authors and why?

I love Jeanne Kalogridis who wrote The Covenant of the Vampire about the true story of the family Dracul (Dracula). I simply could not put that book down! I wrote her and told her and was almost afraid to write again, how could I ever be that good? She laughed and said that she felt that way after reading The Vampire Tapestries but we all have our own voice and no two people write alike. That really inspired me!

I also like Elizabeth Gilbert who wrote Eat,Pray,Love...I just love that book and could really relate. It made me laugh out loud and say, 'that sounds just like me!'

I also like Mary Shelley who wrote Frankenstein...as a kid when I found out that it was written by a woman, that to me was so awesome and made me realize that I could write scary stuff too.

6.) In your opinion, what key parts of a story make it great?

If it is believable. I cannot stand to read something that starts off real and might possibly happen then turns silly or just plain dumb. Some movies are like that too.

When you write about what you know, I think it must ring true. Your emotions are bound to float to the surface and that can only be a good thing.

7.) What activities do you undertake for inspiration?

I am a total homebody! I love to cook, bake and take care of my family. I have also raised Rottweilers for over 13 years and used Kurgan and Lucy in PUNCTURE. As far as inspiration goes, ideas just pop into my head at any given moment. Wait, I think I hear one now...

8.) Do you belong to any writing communities, or critique groups?

No, I have never belonged to any groups except the ones on FaceBook. I would entertain the idea though if there were some in my area.

9.) Do you have a day job?

Yes, I am a feature writer and columnist for my hometown newspaper, The Brunswick Citizen and a freelance writer and play critic for The Frederick Gazette. I am also a belly dancer!

10.) If you could do it over again, what aspects of the writing/submission process would you change before becoming published?

Get my act together! What I mean by that is, have your ducks in a row, know your genre and your audience, and put together a polished book and proposal. Also be proactive and promote, promote, promote!!! Some people think, hey I wrote a book, now I can sit back and watch the money roll in...Wrong! You need to get out there and put your name and book out into The Universe. I look at it this way, if I knock long enough and loud enough at the gate, I am going to wake up somebody!

11.) What is the title of your upcoming/newly released novel, and where can we find it?

PUNCTURE is my baby! I wrote this vampire novel back in 2004 but have since "re-vamped" it and rewrote some scenes. I love the new cover and am so happy that it is now available on Amazon.com and many other sites. It is available now in eBook and will be out in paperback in January 2012. After the holidays, I will be going on a book tour to promote PUNCTURE and my other books.

You can also buy them on https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/lisavproulx and Barnes & Noble Nook.

Thanks so much Lisa for taking to time to be a guest on my blog! I love your cover, and I can't wait to read PUNCTURE :)