December 30, 2012

2012 Booklover's Guide: Get Yours Here #rlfblog

Romance Lives Forever
There were about 250 posts on the Romance Lives Forever Blog in 2012. A large portion of those were by guest authors. This blog is designed to introduce new books and new authors -- even if they are only new to you.

To showcase the diversity of the talent here, I decided to create a "Booklover's Guide" that would feature the books and social media for all my guests. About 10 hours into the project, I started wondering what I had been thinking. I'll do it again next year, but will request more details from authors so I don't have to hunt for information. It took all my spare time for over a week, and in the end, my husband pitched in and helped me. He's amazing. I could not have completed this on time without him.


This annual booklet contains info about books by authors who have appeared on the blog this year. You will find the genre, title, a blurb about the book, buy links, and social media links for the authors. Books are listed by the first name of the author. All links were accurate at the time of the author's appearance, but might have changed over time.

We had some unique opportunities this year beyond the usual. We hosted guest speakers from Outlantacon.org, an Atlanta-based event for the Queer Geek audience. I've been a guest each year since it began, and it was wonderful. Also, we hosted a cover model, artists showcasing new media, and had blog tours from several companies. Publishers signed up their authors as well. In 2013, there will be three weeks devoted to three different publishers, each of which will have the run of the blog for their week. Look for more info on that soon.

2012 also saw the inception of our own hashtag #rlfblog which helps guests track their appearances. Because the blog is syndicated to Facebook, Twitter, and Triberr, guests are mentioned multiple times each week. If you have a new book that you want to be seen, consider a date on Romance Lives Forever.

Here is the link for the 2012 Booklover's Guide to Romance Lives Forever. The shortened version is below so you can share it in email without it breaking. http://is.gd/rlf_2012books


I hope you'll follow the blog, check out our hashtag #rlfblog and come back often to see what's new. There are authors booked nearly every day of the year. If you want something new to read, here is where you'll find it.

Happy New Year to you and yours!
Kayelle Allen
http:kayelleallen.com

December 29, 2012

Character Interview: Too Many Cooks @ShirleyAWilder #rlfblog


Too Many Cooks.

Shirley Ann Wilder, welcome to Romance Lives Forever. Let's talk about your book, Too Many Cooks.
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Boroughs Publishing Group
Buy links:
Boroughs Publishing Group http://BoroughsPublishingGroup.com
Cover artist: Kim Killion
Length: 80,000 words
Heat rating: mildly sensual
Tagline: Bitter news leads a San Diego widow and widower to true love--and to a scheme to marry off their adult children, a plan that goes deliciously awry.
Blurb:
Gaetano Lorenzo was the sweetest man that the widowed Estelle Bennett had ever met. That morning began terribly, with awful news, but now the owner and head chef of a local San Diego ristorante was offering up Italian delights: red wine, delicious food, walks on the beach, laughter when she’d never thought she’d laugh again…. Estelle felt twenty-five. She and Gaetano had found the recipe for love, and a simple variation might just get their adult children to settle down, too. A scoop of sugar, two ladlefuls of lust, a pinch of deception and a whole 24 oz.-can of danger-- Suddenly, ingredients were coming from everywhere! But kitchens are crazy places, and variety is the spice of life. And for anything to get cooked, things have to get hot.
What are your main characters' names, ages, and occupations?
Estelle Bennett is a 50+ widow.
Gaetano Lorenzo is a 50+ widower the owner and head chef of a popular Italian restaurant. Estelle’s son Alex, 29 year old son, Alex, who traipses all over the world as a photo-journalist
Gaetano’s 28 year old daughter, Gina, an up-and-coming attorney who can’t boil water.

Excerpt

“Oh, why did I ask a chef to dinner?” Estelle asked herself.
What had she been thinking? It wasn’t that she was a bad cook. She’d certainly garnered her share of compliments over the years, but inviting Gaetano to dinner had not been the best decision she’d made recently. And yet, she’d wanted to thank him.
The doorbell rang and Estelle’s heart quickened. When the door opened, it revealed the hugest bouquet she’d ever seen, a riot of color and fragrance. Peeking through lavender irises and yellow roses were two deep brown eyes twinkling with mischief and humor.
“Gaetano, you shouldn’t have. They’re beautiful.” Estelle took the flowers and leaned into the handsome Italian. His lips found hers, and because her hands still held the flowers, she could do nothing but submit. In fact, she not only submitted but responded in such a way that parts of her anatomy suddenly woke with the vigor and enthusiasm of a girl in her twenties. Indeed, for the first time in ages every nerve in her body felt as if it were doing cartwheels and back flips.

Interview with Estelle Bennett

Tell us about yourself. What are you like?
I was widowed about a year ago and I miss Marty, but I try to keep busy. I have one son who travels everywhere so the little time I spend with him is precious. I helped Marty in his business until we had Alex. Then I was a stay-at-home mother and active with his school and other projects. I have my Garden Club now and some friends, but there are times, I admit I get lonely.
What do you think is your strongest point?
I don’t give up. I pride myself on being able to overcome problems. I had to be strong when Marty was ill--for Alex’s sake. Now, I must be strong again because I may very well be at the end of my life.
Do you have a weakness? (If so, what do you think it is? What does your lover think it is? What does your enemy think it is?)
Weakness? Goodness, I never thought about it. I guess if I have a weakness it would be wanting my son to be happy and maybe a bit more settled in his life. My lover? Oh, well, oh my, lover? I never placed Gaetano in that role, but I guess in a way, we are lovers. God knows he’s opened up a part of my life I thought was gone forever. It’s been quite wonderful; actually, I mean I have something, someone to look forward to. Gaetano would probably say my weakness was him. He is persuasive. I’m not sure I have an enemy--unless of course you count this illness. My doctor says it’s nothing but I heard what he said.
What drives you to do the things you do? What makes you want to be the "good guy?"
Instinct drives me to do the things I do. I always want to do what’s right. I’ve always played by the rules.
What's your favorite guilty pleasure?
Oh, I wish you hadn’t asked that question. My guilty pleasure is Gaetano. I wouldn’t tell everyone this, and especially not my son, but that man has awakened parts of my body and soul that I forgot I had. He’s so charming and so handsome and …oh well, I’ve said enough.
If you didn't know how old you were how old would you be?
While I enjoyed being a young mother, I like being just the age I am now, but I’m sorry I’m not as healthy as I used to be.
A biography has been written about you. What do you think the title would be in six words or less?
Love knows no age limits.
If money were not an object, where would you most like to live?
Right where I live now--in the beautiful community of La Jolla, the suburb of San Diego that is known as the jewel of the ocean.
What song would best describe your life?
Misty -- It describes what I feel when I’m with Gaetano.
If you were a tool, what would people use you to do?
I’d probably be some sort of kitchen tool--maybe a hand mixer because I do like to stir things up.
Picture yourself as a store. Considering your personality and lifestyle, what type of products would be sold there?
Oh, it would have to be a store like Williams Sonoma--you know the one that features lots of cooking appliances and little items that make a kitchen special. Items that people can do without but the ones that add just a special touch and show their personality. Maybe a sterling silver coffee measure, or an imported honey utensil with a special jar of organic honey.
As a child, what was your favorite thing about school?
Lunchtime.
Tell us an embarrassing story that has to do with a pet. If you have no pets, a story about a significant other will do.
Well, we never had a lot of pets, Marty was so busy and didn’t think Alex could take the responsibility. However, you know as mother we see things differently and I knew how much Alex wanted a puppy, so I told a little white fib and told Marty that we were pet-sitting for the Nelsons’, thinking that he’d get used to the dog and then we’d tell him it was really our puppy. Unfortunately, we ran into the Nelsons’ at a social function and Marty asked them when they were picking up their dog. Obviously, I had to confess but Marty relented and we all loved Snickers for a long time. He did dig up a few of my prize plants, however.

If you came with a warning label, what would it say?
Oh, my, I never thought about having a warning label. Perhaps it would be “Handle with care. Excessive shaking could result in an explosion. I do have red hair and you know what they say about a red-head’s temper.

I love pizza with green bell peppers and pineapple.
I'm always ready for adventure which Gaetano seems to produce no matter where we go.
When I'm alone, I usually like to read or catch up on taped TV shows.
You’d never be able to tell, but I’ve cheated death.
If I had a halo it would be lopsided.
If I could turn back the clock, I'd say all the things I meant to say to Marty and never did.
I can never regret all the mistakes I’ve made because they have made me a better person.

About the Author

Shirley Ann Wilder
I grew up with a love of books and read before starting school, which was not always welcomed by my mother. She passed me off as under five so she didn’t have to pay bus fare for me and then was embarrassed when I read all the ads on the bus. I fell in love with my husband at first sight, even though I was just three weeks away from my wedding to my high school sweetheart. Needless to say, that marriage never took place. I had almost a half-century with my soul mate. He’s gone now, but remains my hero forever. We raised 3 sons and a daughter and I now am the proud grandmother of four granddaughters and one grandson. Writing is my passion and saves me from going crazy when loneliness threatens to creep into my life. I dream a lot of my plots and when I write, I become each character.
Hmmm, does that mean I have multiple personalities?

Books Coming Soon

“Fly Me” and A Son by Any Name

Find Me Here


December 28, 2012

Paranormal: Highland Healer @willablair #rlfblog

Highland Healer.
Willa Blair, welcome to Romance Lives Forever. Let's talk about your book, Highland Healer.
Genre: Scottish Historical Paranormal
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Buy links:
Cover artist: Tina Lynn Stout
Length: 85,000
Heat rating: Spicy
Tagline: Scottish Historical Romance with a Paranormal Twist
Blurb:
He needs her for his clan. He wants her for himself. Can he have both?
Toran Lathan never expected to become Laird, and never expected to meet a woman like Aileana Shaw. Her healing ability is just what his people need, but Toran cannot re-sist her beauty. Yet will loving him destroy her ability to heal?
Aileana Shaw has a healing touch – and a special talent she must keep secret. Stolen from her home by a marauding army, she’s kidnapped again by the Highland Laird she heals. Is she a prize of war, or the prize of his heart?
While Toran battles the invading lowland army, he also battles his desire for Aileana. And Aileana must decide if she can trust her secrets to this fierce warrior who needs her talent, but wants her love.
What are your main characters' names, ages, and occupations?
Toran Lathan, Laird of Clan Lathan
Aileana Shaw, Healer
Gar Colbridge, leads the lowlander army

Excerpt:

Despite his threats a few moments before, she had sensed no real animosity in him. She’d been treated well since arriving at the Aerie. Her dream of a home, with people who cared about her, perhaps a family of her own, rose unbidden to her mind, and with it came a familiar lump in her throat. She was tired, she thought, to let that longing overwhelm her now. She folded her arms under her breasts and kept her eyes on the flames. She heard Toran move from the door to stand behind her. She tensed as his hands came to rest on her shoulders. He turned her gently, but irresistibly, to face him.
“What should I do with so beautiful, so valuable, a prize?” he murmured, almost to himself.
His deep blue gaze ensnared Aileana as completely as his hands. She knew she should be outraged at being called a prize. He’d done it before, on the way here. Did he truly see her that way? She refused to be chattel any longer, she told herself, and would not allow him to treat her so. But she found she could not summon her ire. One of his hands left her shoulder and he lightly touched her cheek, then slowly slid his fingers down her throat to her collarbone. There, he hesitated, and Aileana held her breath until he moved the hand back to her shoulder.
His simple touch sent shivers dancing and nearly undid her.

Interview

What is the most important thing you do for your career now, as compared to when you first started writing?
When I started, learning about the craft of writing and actually writing were the most important things for me to do. Now that I’m published, and now that my book has won an award and is a best-seller on Kindle, networking and promotion/publicity activities such as writing blog posts are important. And writing the next book, of course!
What do you enjoy most about writing?
Giving my imagination free reign to explore times, places and situations that would never occur in my everyday life.
If you could give the younger version of yourself advice what would it be?
Finish the damn book! Like a lot of writers, I spent years starting several books and pol-ishing the first few chapters over and over again. It took a decade for me to settle on one and finish it. Typing “the end” was a revelation. A rite of passage. Proof that I could really do it.
After that, writing a book is not as daunting a task. Yes, it’s daunting. Just not as daunt-ing. I finished the second book in under a year and I’m working on the third in the series now. When I want a change of pace, I work on the outlines of two different contempo-rary novels and a science fiction romance series I’m developing.
What is your work ethic when it comes to writing?
I am most emphatically not a morning person. Afternoons and evenings are the most productive times for writing. When I’m really deep into the book, I can spend hours at the keyboard. But when I’m still working on the outline or synopsis, I’m easily distracted. Social media is a blessing and a curse. And don’t get me started on the lure of Ama-zon’s rankings, especially for a debut author!
How do you cope with stress as an author?
The same way most of us do - with chocolate! Or a glass of wine. Sometimes both.
Which of your books would you recommend to someone who doesn't normally read your genre, and why?
I’d recommend Highland Healer to anyone who enjoys a good story. It has action, ad-venture, suspense, and romance. One reviewer even said that men would like the book because of the details of the invading army, the siege, etc. Another mentioned the pace and the page-turning action, along with the romance.
Willa Blair

What kind of books do you read when taking a break from your own writing?
I grew up reading science fiction and some fantasy, so I still go there when I want a change from what I’m writing, but I also enjoy contemporary romance, romantic sus-pense and science fiction romance.
What do you think is the future of traditional publishing?
That’s a great question. I don’t claim to have a crystal ball, but I think the fact that au-thors have so many options right now will force some changes. I think the Big Six, or Five, or Four, or however they end up, will slowly adjust to the new realities. Authors can make more money as independents or with smaller presses. They can choose any combination of publishing methods, including the (potentially) lower pay but greater prestige of traditional publishers. I think the big houses will have to woo authors with better royalties and more benefits. I know multi-published authors who are self-publishing new material at the same time they’re fulfilling contracts with NY editors for new books at the same time they’re reclaiming rights to their backlist and e-publishing those books. Options are good.
Imagine you get to go on a dream vacation, but you have only one hour to pack and leave, and it starts as soon as you finish this interview. What will you take with you and where will you go?
I’ll pack layers, comfy walking shoes, a bathing suit and sunblock and head for New Zealand to visit friends there and for a grand tour, then hop over to Australia and revisit places I’ve been as well as adding some new stops.
What is your favorite holiday and why?
Hallowe’en. All that candy! Did I mention I’m addicted to sugar? My favorite is Brach’s Indian Corn - the candy corn with the chocolate tops.
Then there are the adorable little kids in princess and pirate costumes - SO cute!
What good book have you read recently?
Ghost Planet by Sharon Lynn Fisher. Not your usual romance, but it will hook you in the first few paragraphs.
If you were a color, what color would you be?
Orange - all shades from light and bright to deep and burnt.
Please underline which statement is more like you:
"I am a vacation spa because I am laid back and relaxed."
"I am a ten-countries in ten-days tour vacation, because I do things as fast as possible."

Please complete the sentences

I love pizza with pepperoni and onions.
I'm always ready for lunch or dinner out.
When I'm alone, I read, write or nap.
You'd never be able to tell, but I enjoy city life, at least in small doses.
If I had a halo it would be crooked.
If I could be consistent I'd be dangerous!
Willa Blair
I can never work in an animal shelter because I’d adopt and adopt and become the crazy cat lady.

Books Coming Soon

Highland Healer - release date 4 January 2013 from The Wild Rose Press, Amazon and Barnes and Noble in print and e-book formats

Find Me Here


December 27, 2012

Suspense: Young Ladies of Mystery @stacyjuba #rlfblog


Young Ladies of Mystery.

Stacy Juba, welcome to Romance Lives Forever. Let's talk about your new release, the Young Ladies of Mystery Boxed Set.
Genre: Mystery/Romantic Suspense
Buy links:
Publisher: Thunder Horse Press
Cover artist: Mark Juba (for the boxed set cover)
Length: 595 pages
Heat rating: Clean romance
Tagline: Solve a cold case with aspiring reporter Kris Langley; discover the downside of fame with former reality show contestant Cassidy Novak; and meet teenage psychic Dawn Christian, who discovers that ESP spells D-A-N-G-E-R. 3 books in one download.
Blurb:
The Young Ladies of Mystery Boxed Set features Stacy's adult mystery/romantic suspense novels Twenty-Five Years Ago Today and Sink or Swim, and her young adult psychic thriller Dark Before Dawn, in one bargain-priced download. Solve a cold case with aspiring reporter Kris Langley; discover the downside of fame with former reality show contestant Cassidy Novak; and meet teenage psychic Dawn Christian, who discovers that ESP spells D-A-N-G-E-R. More on the three books included in the download:
Twenty-Five Years Ago Today - For twenty-five years, Diana Ferguson's killer has gotten away with murder. When rookie obit writer and newsroom editorial assistant Kris Langley investigates the cold case of the artistic young cocktail waitress who was obsessed with Greek and Roman mythology, not only does she fall in love with Diana's sexy nephew, but she must also fight to stay off the obituary page herself.
Sink or Swim - How do you change the channel when reality TV turns to murder? After starring on a hit game show set aboard a Tall Ship, personal trainer Cassidy Novak discovers that she has attracted a stalker. Can she trust Zach Gallagher, the gorgeous newspaper photographer assigned to follow her for a local series? As things heat up with the stalker and with Zach, soon Cassidy will need to call SOS for real.
Dark Before Dawn - When teen psychic Dawn Christian gets involved with a fortuneteller mentor and two girls who share her mysterious talents, she finally belongs after years of being a misfit. When she learns her new friends may be tied to freak "accidents" in town, Dawn has an important choice to make - continue developing the talent that makes her special or challenge the only people who have ever accepted her.
What are your main characters' names, ages, and occupations?
In Twenty-Five Years Ago Today, Kris Langley is in her mid-twenties and is a newspaper editorial assistant, obit writer and aspiring reporter. One of her duties is compiling the 25 Years Ago Today column from the microfilm.
In Sink or Swim, Cassidy Novak is in her mid-twenties and works as a personal trainer for a health club. She is also a recent reality show contestant hoping to gain some income through endorsements.
Dawn Christian, the heroine of Dark Before Dawn, is a teenage psychic who gets involved with a fortuneteller mentor.
25 Years Ago Today

Excerpt from Twenty-Five Years Ago Today:

Kris Langley stared at the bright newsprint lit up on the microfilm reader. The top headline leaped off page one. "Missing Barmaid Murdered." She squinted over the story of Diana Ferguson, a young woman found bludgeoned to death in the woods. In little over a week, it would be the twenty-fifth anniversary. A quarter of a century ago, Diana must've dressed and driven out as always. An evening like any other. By the end of the night, she was dead, her life extinguished like the other victims on fate's hit list.
Most people had forgotten Diana by now. In the black and white yearbook photograph, she didn't smile. Straight dark hair curtained her serious oval face. Diana had her arms crossed on a table, slender fingers too delicate to protect her from a killer.
Kris flipped to a blank page in her notebook, scribbled "Diana Ferguson" and stopped writing. Resurrecting the tragedy in her "25 and 50 Years Ago Today" column would catch readers’ attention, but it seemed inappropriate.
She jumped as Dex Wagner, the seventy-year-old editor-in-chief of the Fremont Daily News, slapped a rolled-up newspaper against someone’s desk. "Jacqueline, why the hell didn’t we have this theater group feature? The Fremont Community Players are in our own backyard."
Suppressing a grin, Kris swung around in her seat. She could use a distraction right about now. Dex waved the competition paper in the air, red circles and slashes marking half the page. In her three weeks as editorial assistant, Kris had enjoyed Dex’s tantrums. So far, none had been directed at her.
Managing Editor Jacqueline McCormack tossed back her blonde ponytail, gathered in a tan fabric scrunchie. She owned a world class selection of ponytail holders that complemented her designer wardrobe. Kris couldn't help thinking of her as a thirty-five-year-old cheerleader. Corporate Barbie.
"We ran a story last week in our entertainment section," Jacqueline said. "They got the idea from us. Gosh, Dex, are you trying to blind me with that underlining?"
Dex paced to the oak bookshelves and back to Jacqueline's neat desk. His stomach bulged under a rumpled gray suit and his wrists hung out of jacket sleeves a couple inches too short. "I think we missed it."
"Trust me," Jacqueline said. "I put a headline on it myself. You do read beyond the front, don’t you, Dex?"
Grumbling under his breath, Dex opened The Greater Remington Mirror, a large daily that covered the ten towns in their readership area and more. Kris saw another column ballooned in red marker.
He pressed his index finger against the lead paragraph, his penguin-patterned tie flapping as he stooped forward. "What about the stabbing of that Miles kid? We should be talking to his family and we haven't even contacted them. For Christ's sake, do I have to keep track of everything?"
"Relax, I'm working on that," Bruce Patrick, the police and court reporter, said from the doorway. He swaggered over and hopped onto the edge of Jacqueline's desk.
Sink or Swim

Excerpt From Sink or Swim:

Cassidy Novak stared into the seething water. It couldn't end this way.
Gray waves buffeted against the 179-foot schooner and fog billowed through the spiderweb of rigging that snarled skyward. Heavy white sails furled, the Atlantic Devil's triple masts lumbered in formation like dead trees.
Gabriel stalked from the bow to mid-ship, his black turtleneck and slacks contrasting with his pale face. Cassidy’s pulse hammered in her throat as she searched his sober expression.
His full lips curled into what would have been a grin for most people. For Gabriel, the Grim Reaper, it mimicked a sneer.
He withdrew a saber from the metal sheath belted at his waist and gripped the hilt beneath the curve of the scoop-shaped hand-guard. Above the main mast, the black and white skull and crossbones flag thrashed in a wind dance.
Cassidy glanced at Reggie, the last surviving competitor besides herself. He rubbed the back of his shaved head and connected his fingers behind his neck. Her own posture locked tight. One of them would go home a millionaire.
The other ... she wouldn't reflect on that.
After three months isolated from society on the new reality show Sink or Swim, Cassidy wanted that prize money and the fame that accompanied it. Hope fortified her very bones. Maybe her days of scrambling to pay off debts and working a lousy job were over.
It’s yours. It has to be.
Just then, Gabriel caught her eye and gestured over his shoulder. Cassidy followed his index finger toward the gangway. To the plank.
Cassidy’s daredevil smile, practiced in the mirror before setting sail, faded like mist.
Her clever comebacks, which she’d imagined quoted at the water coolers of America, were not heard.
Her cascading red hair that she'd tossed like a drama queen – an invention strictly for TV – went taut around her finger.
She’d lost. The overall point tallies had come in, and she’d lost. Her dreams weren’t coming true after all.
"Game over. You lose. Close call though, Reggie beat you by five points." Gabriel dragged her across the deck by the arm and pushed her up onto the wooden board that projected over the water.
Cassidy winced, emptiness invading her body like a physical hurt. Five points. If only she hadn’t screwed up furling and unfurling sails during the first episode, or if she’d done a better job mopping the deck that time she had a cold. After all Cassidy had been through, two simple mistakes cost her the game.
She’d been five points away from a new life.
Under the show’s set-up, twelve contestants had competed in four teams. The crew awarded marks based on skill and neatness, with team members pooling their numbers to win privileges like movie nights or dinners in the officers’ mess. Every Monday, a low-scoring contestant walked the plank and went home on a rendezvous ship. Cassidy had lasted until the final cut.

Excerpt from Dark Before Dawn:

Dawn Christian curled under the covers, shivering in her nightshirt. Goosebumps had popped up on her bare arms. She breathed in and out, trying to calm herself. Even the safety of darkness couldn't hide it.
Something was wrong.
She knew it the same way she had known it would rain despite the weather report. Now gray clouds blistered outside the window.
I can't go, I can't go, I can't go, something bad's going to happen. Dawn rubbed between her eyebrows, the message flying around inside her brain like a loose pinball.
Dark Before Dawn
The red numbers of her alarm clock flickered to 6:29. Dawn rolled onto her other side and faced the wall. In an hour, she'd be starting her junior year at a lame new high school. She missed Boston and taking the T, the city’s subway system, wherever she wanted to go. Dawn used to hang out at museums, watch the college kids in Harvard Square and read books at the Common. Sometimes, she and her mother caught Saturday matinees in the theater district.
Not anymore. Ever since the wedding in July, Dawn had been stuck in Covington, Maine, a beach town overflowing with rinky dink carnival rides, cheesy souvenir stores and bad vibrations.
"Dawn?" She turned to find her mother framed in the dimly lit doorway, fully dressed. "Are you coming down for breakfast?"
"I'm not hungry."
"Nervous about school?"
Gulping, Dawn huddled under the blankets. No way could she discuss her feeling with her mom. Her mother wanted a normal daughter who was on the basketball team or school newspaper, had friends and didn’t live in fear. "Kind of."
Her mother lowered herself onto the bed and squeezed Dawn’s hand. Her manicured pink nails shone against Dawn’s pale skin. Since meeting Jeff eight months ago, Dawn's mother had been letting her curly hair hang loose and wearing makeup.
She smoothed back a tangle of Dawn’s chestnut waves. "You don’t look like yourself. Do you feel all right?"
"I’m fine." Dawn shoved her stuffed monkey, Buddy, further under the blankets. Her father gave her Buddy shortly before he died, and holding it was like hugging a piece of her dad. Still, sleeping with a toy monkey was kiddish and Dawn didn’t do it often. Her mother would get suspicious if she noticed.
Darn it. Her mother drew out Buddy by his slender tail and patted his furry brown head. "Calling in the reinforcements, huh? What’s on your mind, honey? Maybe I can help."
Dawn sat up and clasped her knees. Her mother never understood about Dawn’s hunches. "I don’t think you really want to know, Mom."
"Of course I do."
Yeah, right. But Dawn didn’t have the stamina for lying today. "I’m getting one of my premonitions. Something’s wrong. I think it has to do with school."
She waited and sure enough, her mother got the frightened look she’d worn too many times before. Dawn remembered the look that terrible night with Mrs. Frazier ... but she didn’t want to think about that.

Interview

How did you get your start in the industry?
I wrote my first novel, a young adult book called Face-Off, during high school study halls when I was 16 years old. I entered it in a competition for teen writers and it won a publishing contract with a major New York publisher. This was an exciting experience for me, and it gave me the confidence to keep writing and submitting to publishers and agents.
What is the most important thing you do for your career now, as compared to when you first started writing?
The publishing industry has changed so much since the early 1990s, when I was originally published. Now I have a web site and a blog, and am very active on social networks such as Twitter and Facebook, as well as with many author groups. The opportunity to network with readers and have access to all of this insider information about the publishing industry has given a big boost to my career. Also, the rise of e-books has had a tremendous impact on my career. Years ago, I remember thinking that it wouldn’t even be worth being published if they had electronic books someday, as I was tied to the concept of holding a printed book in my hand. Boy, was I wrong! The growth of e-books has allowed me to make a living as an author and I find e-books very enjoyable to read on an e-book device. It’s like a toy for book lovers. As a result of this e-book trend, I spend a great deal of my time targeting my marketing toward e-book consumers via social networking.
If you could change something about your first book, what would it be?
Luckily, I had the opportunity to change something about my first published book, my young adult hockey novel Face-Off. It was originally published in the early 1990s, and I recently brought it back into print and released digital editions. I deleted the names of some retired hockey players, as well as the names of music groups and TV shows and movies that today's kids wouldn't identify with. I'm now more careful about what real life details I add into a book, as I'm more aware that someday it will be out of date.
If you could give the younger version of yourself advice what would it be?
It would definitely be to lighten up, go with the flow, laugh more, and take more time to relax!
What does "balance" mean to you as a writer?
It means balancing family, fiction-writing, marketing my books, and my freelance clients, while not overextending myself. This is challenging, but I am learning to take more time to exercise, read, and just "be."
What are some jobs you've done before (or while) you were a writer?
Since high school, I've worked in a drugstore, as a trainer and lifeguard at a health club, as a college writing tutor, as a newspaper editorial assistant, newspaper reporter, and as an administrative assistant, publicist and event organizer. I currently write and edit newsletters for a few freelance clients, in addition to being a full-time author.
Which of your books would you recommend to someone who doesn't normally read your genre, and why?
I'd recommend Twenty-Five Years Ago Today as a starting point for someone who doesn't normally read mystery or romance novels. I've visited a few book clubs that read literary fiction, and not genre fiction, and they really enjoyed Twenty-Five Years Ago Today as it has a lot of discussion points for a book club. However, some of the members said they normally wouldn't have stumbled across it as it was in the mystery section and they don't usually read mystery novels.
What kind of books do you read when taking a break from your own writing?
I enjoy reading mystery novels, romantic suspense, sweet romance, romantic comedy, and occasional young adult novels.
What is your favorite holiday and why?
I love Christmas, and the excitement of exchanging presents on Christmas morning. I also love the carols on the radio and driving by houses with Christmas lights. It's a nice time of year.
Where were you at midnight, on December 31st when the new century started?
I was kissing my husband in the living room of our then-apartment as the ball went down on the television.
What do you like to do when you're bored?
I love to read, play Just Dance games on Wii, and take walks.
If you were a color, what color would you be?
Yellow. I feel like yellow is a happy color, and I have it on several walls in my house. I also wear bracelets with yellow in it, to give me a lift.
Which statement is more like you:
"I am a vacation spa because I am laid back and relaxed."
"I am a ten-countries in ten-days tour vacation, because I do things as fast as possible."
Definitely ten-countries in ten days as I like to be on-the-go when I'm on vacation, though my goal is to become more laid back and less of a Type A personality!

Please Fill in the Blanks

I love pizza with green peppers and onions.
I'm always ready for a good book.
When I'm alone, I like to blast music very loud.
You'd never be able to tell, but I'm very introverted.
If I had a halo it would be yellow and sparkly.
If I could win a million dollars I'd go for a massage every week.
I can never read enough books because it's one of my favorite things to do.

Previous Books

Adult: Twenty-Five Years Ago Today and Sink or Swim
Young adult: Dark Before Dawn; Face-Off
Anthology: 25 Years in the Rearview Mirror: 52 Authors Look Back
Children's: The Flag Keeper; Teddy Bear Town Children's E-book Bundle
Stacy Juba

Books Coming Soon

Watch for a new romantic comedy in 2013, followed by some fun short story spin-offs for my books!

Find Me Here


December 26, 2012

Character Interview: The Auction @maupin222 #rlfblog


The Auction.

Lyn Austin, welcome to Romance Lives Forever. Let's talk about your book, The Auction.
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Boroughs Publishing Group
Buy links:
Boroughs Publishing Group http://BoroughsPublishingGroup.com
Cover artist: Kim Killion
Length: 85,000 words
Heat rating: Sensual
Tagline: In order to conceive a baby, Kat goes to a bachelor auction and buys back her ex-husband for a week.
Blurb:
Katherine Blake wants a baby. At thirty-three, she has a home and an antique business that she loves, but she is running out of time. Kat hasn’t had a man in her life that she would even consider fathering her child...except her ex-husband.
Michael Blake is for sale. In support of special-needs children, he offers himself up for one week as a prize at a New Year’s Eve local celebrity bachelor auction. The result? His ex-wife buys him to finish the restoration of the hundred-year-old home they bought shortly after their marriage. Or so he thinks. Katherine does expect the remodeling to be finished, but the rest of her plan is more devious. She doesn’t need him to rekindle the one-of-a-kind love that led to their fairy-tale wedding and he doesn't have to atone for the mistakes that led to their divorce, but he does have to...well, deliver.
What are your main characters' names, ages, and occupations?
Katherine Blake - antique dealer, 33
Michael Blake - Hotelier, mid-thirties
Grandpa Homer - 83

Excerpt:

Michael had stayed in the dressing room as long as he thought possible without letting on to the other bachelors just how disturbed he was about the scene his ex-wife had created, but now he had her backed up against the wall in the cloakroom. While his physical posture made him feel somewhat better, dominant and overpowering, his emotions proved he wasn’t even remotely in control of this situation.
Kat faced him, her hazel eyes locked with his. God, he’d almost forgotten how startlingly beautiful she was, with that smooth complexion and dark hair. She was wearing it longer now; it hung thick and shiny to the tops of her shoulders. Even as angry as he was, Kat’s beauty seemed to melt one tiny layer of ice from around his heart.
“What in the hell are you up to?” he hissed.
“Let’s discuss it at my house,” she replied.
It was this calmness that had infuriated him before the divorce. When she’d quit fighting, quit trying to make it work and simply resigned herself--that made him crazy. “Damn it, talk to me, Katherine. Are you just out getting your kicks with the girls, or are you really out to ruin me?”
“Ruin you?” She laughed. “Ruin what, your reputation as the most eligible bachelor on the mountain?”
Michael had an impulse to slap one perfect cheek, but he would never do that. Never had. Instead, he grabbed her elbow and propelled her to the lobby and through the glass doors. His truck was already parked at the curb, and a valet opened the passenger door.
“Get in,” he commanded his ex-wife.
“I drove my car,” Kat told him, slipping a gloved hand into her coat pocket and producing a parking voucher.
“Get in,” he told her again through clenched teeth. “We’ll pick your car up tomorrow.”
“But--”
He unceremoniously hoisted her with a hand on her butt into the tall vehicle, slammed the door on her protest and walked around to his side of the four-wheel drive Ford. Without another word he slid behind the wheel and was immediately assaulted by the smell of her perfume and clean hair. Damn her, the least she could have done was change shampoos after all this time. This was one of the few moments in his life that he wished he’d taken up smoking.

Interview with Grandpa Homer

Tell us about yourself. What are you like?
Ornery and still a stud, if I must say so myself.
What do you think is your strongest point?
Sticktoitiviness. I was married for over fifty years and you got to live through the hills and valleys. Granted--sometimes those low valleys can be pretty damn deep, but when you’re in one of those valleys you have to rest, regroup and take a step back, see what part you played in the problem, and start climin’ the mountain again. You don’t just give the hell up and walk away.
Do you have a weakness? (If so, what do you think it is? What does your lover think it is? What does your enemy think it is?)
My Kitty-Kat – my granddaughter. She makes me call her Kat now, but she’s still my Kitty-Kat and has been since the day she was born.
What drives you to do the things you do? What makes you want to be the "good guy?"
Hell, I don’t know if I’ve been so good recently, as I’ve been working behind the scenes here to get her and Michael back together. Damn fools. When she told me they were getting a divorce, sayin’ somethin’ about drifting apart, and separate lives, I said horseshit! You don’t find what they had but once in a lifetime.
What's your favorite guilty pleasure?
Well now, it’s the same guilty pleasure I had with my wife for more than fifty years... I might be slower than I’d like, but I’m still active, if ya know what I mean.
If you didn't know how old you were how old would you be?
I’m still eighteen in all things that count!
A biography has been written about you. What do you think the title would be in six words or less?
Never Too Old
If money were not an object, where would you most like to live?
I’m happy right where I am, with my Kitty-Kat.
What song would best describe your life?
I Did it My Way
If you were a tool, what would people use you to do?
I’d be a fulcrum, an instrument for change and repair.
Picture yourself as a store. Considering your personality and lifestyle, what type of products would be sold there?
Durable goods – all things that last a lifetime, like solid furniture and well-made tools.
As a child, what was your favorite thing about school?
Meetin’ all the pretty girls.
Tell us an embarrassing story that has to do with a pet. If you have no pets, a story about a significant other will do.
I’ve, ah... ahem, been caught in a compromising situation or two in my day. Can’t say it bothered me as much as it shoulda, but then again, what is it the kids like to say, “If you got it, flaunt it.”
If you came with a warning label, what would it say?
Don’t ask if ya don’t want to hear the answer.

Please Fill in the Blanks

I love the ladies like nobody’s business.
I'm always ready for a little nooky.
When I'm alone, I reminisce, but I don’t dwell on the past since there’s always tomorrow.
You'd never be able to tell, but I’m really an up-standing citizen.
If I had a halo it would have a question mark attached to it.
If I could fix Kitty-Kat’s broken marriage, I’d die a happy man.
I can never stand to see my Kitty-Kat unhappy.

About the Author

Lyn Austin
Lyn Austin is an award winning author and a popular guest lecturer throughout the world. She travels extensively but her favorite place is in her picturesque riverside home on the Snake River in Idaho, where she hosts retreats for writers and artists. She has interviewed over 10,000 women worldwide for her non-fiction book Prism of Light; 22 questions that will help you discover your own endless possibilities. However, Lyn’s real passion is writing fiction. She believes that the best gift she can give the world is a couple of hours of sheer enjoyment by escaping into the depths of a good book.

Previous Books

Prism of Light

Coming Soon

The Quiet Storm

Find Me Here


December 24, 2012

Suspense: Cassandra by Starlight @SusanMacNicol7 #rlfblog


Cassandra by Starlight.

Susan Mac Nicol, welcome to Romance Lives Forever. Let's talk about your book, Cassandra by Starlight (The Starlight Trilogy).
Genre: Contemporary Romance Suspense
Publisher: Boroughs Publishing Group
Cover artist: Renee Yadaev
Length: 100,000+ words
Heat rating: Spicy
Tagline: A London woman is swept off her feet into the glamorous yet surprisingly dangerous world of an up-and-coming star of stage and screen.
Blurb: Unconventional though she may be, Cassandra Wallace leads the life of an average Londoner, from blind dates to rush hour traffic. Then, along comes Bennett Saville. Charming, erudite, the up-and-coming actor is like the hero of a romantic movie. He sets Cassie afire like he has the stage and screen, and defies the tragedy that brought them together. From the tips of his Armani loafers to their scorching hot first kiss, he’s perfect. Only, he’s ten years younger and from the upper class, and those emerald eyes invite dangerous secrets. The world is full of hungry leading ladies, and every show must have its villain. Yet a true romance will always find its happy ending.
What are your main characters' names, ages, and occupations?
Bennett Saville is the main male character. He is a London based actor, star of stage and screen, with his own TV series called ‘Gabriel.’ Bennett is 37 years old.
Cassandra ‘Cassie’ Wallace is a professional woman, who specializes in project managing process improvement for companies. She is 47 years old.

Excerpt:

The day the sky fell changed Cassie Wallace’s world forever. She woke up that morning with the expectation that this day would be like any other. She also had a slight hangover from the abundance of wine she’d drunk the night before to try and get through a blind date organised by her work colleague, Sarah. The evening had been a total disaster. Not only had the man been an absolute misogynist, one of the cardinal male sins on Cassie’s unwritten list, he’d also had a habit of leering at her chest every time he spoke as if he thought it might talk back to him.
She’d smiled politely whilst thinking she’d like to take his smarmy public school tie and shove it down his throat. When she’d finally left at around eleven, she hadn’t been able to get away fast enough. She stood in her bedroom, checking her outfit in the mirror and sighed.
Was it too much to ask to find a decent man just to share things with and have a good time? They all seemed to be absolute idiots and in the old but true cliché, only interested in one thing.
Cassie had been out on a few dates in the past few months but somehow she never made it past the first one. A previous date gone wrong had told her she was too independent and perhaps a little bit ‘emotionally challenged, not affectionate enough’ for him. She’d shrugged this off but it had hurt her deep down especially as she knew it to be true.
My bloody expectations aren’t even that high, she thought in exasperation as she fastened her necklace. It’s not as if I’m such a great bloody catch myself! Middle-aged and not really all that exciting. I’ll take what I can get within reason.
Cassie smoothed her skirt down over her hips and picked up her handbag. When she left the house at six thirty, it was a typical dark English winter morning. Forty five minutes later she was sitting in the traffic on the motorway, listening to the news bulletin.
“Bloody idiot,” she mumbled in between bites of a banana that she had hastily grabbed on her way out. “He wouldn’t know a bloody budget if his life depended on it. Silly sod has got no idea how to run a bloody country.”
She crept forward in her Honda Jazz at about two miles an hour, watching the traffic in front which seemed to have ground to a halt for no reason at all.
I really need to try and find something closer to home, she thought, not for the first time.
This travelling lark is really starting to piss me off. Four hours a day in traffic is not my idea of time well spent.
Cassie wasn’t sure what other quality pastimes she’d be engaging in if she did have more free time, given her current ‘lack of male’ situation but she supposed she’d find something. Join a book club perhaps, or find more time to get to the gym. She might even start writing that novel she’d always planned on doing. Her fingers impatiently drummed on the steering wheel in time to a melody on the radio. In response to another bulletin by the newscaster regarding the level of binge drinking in the county, she burst into a further diatribe.
“For God’s sake, let the bloody idiots lay where they fall. If they had any brains they wouldn’t let it get that far so they needed an ambulance to take them to A and E. It’s my taxpaying money that’s looking after these morons!”
She glanced at the clock on the display. Seven thirty a.m. She’d be lucky to make it in on time today.
The story of my life, she thought resignedly. Slow death by traffic jam.
The traffic still seemed to show no signs of moving any time soon. She switched off the engine and took out her Kindle. She may as well catch up on her reading whilst she had nothing better to do. Her concentration span was low as she tried to read. Last night’s ‘date’ kept replaying itself in random snippets of conversation. Cassie could still hear Ron’s supercilious comment about women needing to have a man in their lives to keep them focused on what was important—the man and the provision of all his needs.
She’d almost choked on her wine when she’d heard this and only just stopped herself retorting sarcastically that as a man’s needs were so simple, the only ‘provision’ they really needed was a soft toy shaped like a pair of boobs to play with and talk at. As she had very little money in her purse other than her taxi fare home, she’d stopped herself.
After the hell she’d been through sitting and listening to Ron’s drivel, the least she’d make him do was pay for dinner.
Cassie had made a decision after last night. She’d stay home with her own company for the near future, with a bottle of wine and a couple of decent movies. She’d rather drool over a virtual Mark Harmon in NCIS than a real life douche bag like the Ronalds of his world. As for sex—well, that was what vibrators were made for.
It was nearly ten minutes later before the car in front of her re-started its engine and she followed suit and sped up to about twenty miles an hour as the queue took flight. She settled in as it got back up to the more respectable speed of fifty miles an hour. As she drove she glanced idly up at the foot bridges to see the people strolling with dogs, on bicycles and footing it on their way to work. At the bridge just ahead she saw a solitary figure leaning over looking down at the motorway below. She slowed down a little. Ever since those incidents a few weeks ago when someone had thrown a concrete bucket off the bridge at a passing car, she tended to be wary of people standing watching the traffic. The figure didn’t appear to have anything in its hands but then she had only caught a glimpse of it before turning her eyes back to the road. She increased her speed as the traffic flowed easier.
There was no warning, just a sudden deafening bang of metal as the windscreen of her car collapsed inwards. Cassie screamed in terror as glass flew towards her like wafer thin slivers from a frozen icicle. Her hands left the steering wheel in panic, her foot pressing down on the accelerator. The Honda Jazz went out of control, spinning around like a dirt dervish. Debris from the windscreen flew like lethal missiles around the interior of the car. Cassie cried out in pain as she was subject to a vicious assault by anything lying loose in her vehicle. She tried to cover her face in an instinctive reflex but her left arm seemed unresponsive, the pain horrifying. She whimpered as she glanced down and saw the bone shard sticking out.
In her pain and terror she didn’t notice that the car had stopped spinning. Everything went quiet. Cassie lay slumped in the driver seat, dazed and unresponsive as the shock set in. She could hear the sounds of people shouting and heard someone asking her if she was all right. She vaguely registered the sound of screeching metal as someone tried to pull the driver door open. It was as if everything was being done underwater. The sounds were muted and her brain was sluggish. The older man looking in at her from the road was speaking but she couldn’t hear what he was saying. Cassie looked at him blankly. She couldn’t see clearly, as if a can of fine red spray paint had been aimed at her and the nozzle depressed, coating her eyes. She tried to move her body but the pain in her right leg was excruciating.
The Magick of Christmas
She watched dully as the man outside starting pulling away metal struts and twisted the door to get inside to her. She could hear his voice vaguely now, a rough London Cockney accent as he spoke reassuringly whilst trying to free her.
“All right, darling? Just stay calm and I’ll try and get to you. The ambulance is on its way. They’ve told me not to move you so I just want to try get in and keep you company till they arrive. You look as if you could do with a bit of company. Just stay with me now. Don’t go anywhere.”
He smiled at her, trying to keep her reassured. With a final tug at the door, he made enough of a space to squeeze in slightly and he took her right hand, avoiding the bad condition of her left arm with its broken bone. Her hand was freezing and he rubbed it gently.

Interview

Tell us about your latest book, including its genre. Does it cross over to other genres? If so, what are they?
My latest books are a trilogy, contemporary Romance crossing over into Romantic suspense. The Starlight Series takes the story of Cassie Wallace and Bennett Saville from their first fateful meeting after a tragic accident, right up to just after the three years they are together and are finally tying the knot on an idyllic Fijian island. The incident bringing the two together is the suicide of Bennett’s younger brother, Eric, who throws himself off a motorway footbridge. Unfortunately, he lands on Cassie’s car, injuring her badly. Bennett feels responsible and goes to see Cassie in hospital. He’s intrigued by her looks, her compassion and her bravery in dealing with the incident. She in turn is struck by his youth, film star persona, his obvious demons and the fact that he seems to have no one he can really turn to. The couple strikes up a romance that transcends the age barrier and they find in each other a way to both appreciate each other and provide what the other needs.
What is the single most important part of writing for you?
That would be bringing the characters into a reader’s living room, writing scenes and dialogue that is both believable and real and helps the reader to identify with the characters and the situations they find themselves in. The greatest compliment for an author is to be told that a reader could really get into the minds of the characters and that the story line was well paced, i.e. they simply turn the pages as if it was a seamless read that flowed well and made the reader feel comfortable.
What do you enjoy most about writing?
Writing for me is not a hobby, it’s a passion. I’ve been writing for a long time, for my own pleasure, and it’s only since the Starlight Trilogy and getting my first book published that I’ve truly come to appreciate the magic that exists in sitting down and creating something that until then exists only in my imagination. The most incredible thing I can think of to do is take a name of my own creation and build a character about that until he or she seems almost real. I love to put them in situations that I’d either love to be in myself, or create one where I can control it and make the decisions that get them out of the predicament they find themselves in. It’s the most fun anyone can have in playing the Creator in your own little universe and knowing that it’s only fiction and you can make anyone do anything you want to.
I also enjoy the variation of writing different things and of being given the opportunity to showcase a different style. As well as writing these three novels, I also wrote a short story for my publisher’s ‘Lunchbox Romance’ line. These are short, fun stories designed to be consumed in the lunch hour. This new story, called ‘The Magick of Christmas’, was a little bit of whimsy created especially for the line and as I myself have a great interest in Wicca and love Christmas, it made sense to combine the two in a feel good contemporary Romance story about love and magick at Christmas time.
Where do you start when writing? Research, plotting, outline, or...?
I am a fly by the seat of your pants writer. I literally started out with Cassandra by Starlight using an Excel spreadsheet with half a dozen names on it, about five lines per character, defining age, look, what they did and a very brief description of their character. I had no idea when I started that Bennett’s mother was going to be schizophrenic, that Cassie had an ex-husband, that Bennett had a crazy stalker who was an former terrorist, or that he’d have a gay best friend called Dylan who’s quite an irreverent character. It all simply flew from the tips of my fingers onto the screen as the characters developed and I thought of the next line.
Research wise – for Cassandra there was a lot of research required, especially around the world of the theatre and movie-making, the issues of schizophrenia and stalking and of course, one of the most controversial topics in my book, the female on male rape scene. The latter was researched using case histories of people who had actually been subject to rape and in fact, after the book was published, the gentleman who wrote the original article that I used as the basis for my scene in the book, James Landrith, got in touch with me. It was a very moving moment to be able to communicate directly with the man whose grim experience formed some of the basis for my book.
What did you learn from writing your first book?
I learned that I knew nothing about formatting or writing for publication and about the nightmare of point of view and what not to do and how not to head hop. I’m still learning that one…
I also learned how a good editor was worth her weight in gold and one who worked with you and guided you, worth a lot more.
As for social networking and how to self promote - when I started writing these books in February this year, the only thing I had was a business LinkedIn account, gathering dust, and a very meager Facebook page. The mere mention of Twitter and tweets was enough to make me hiss like a vampire having a necklace of garlic thrust around her neck. But, as well as writing and doing the editing to make my stories suitable for publication, I had to get out there and learn everything I could about the art of social networking. I’m pleased to say I’ve got the knack of it, and I am beavering away valiantly to build my ‘community’ and draw readers into my books.
How do you balance a life outside of writing with deadlines and writing muses?
I work full time in the city of Cambridge which is about an hour’s drive from my home. I leave the house at seven in the morning and am back in around six p.m. I am very fortunate to have a very supportive family and to be honest, (and bear with me on this train of thought!) my saving grace (in my view, my mother and family would agree) is that I’m not really a domesticated animal. I don’t like cooking, I don’t bake and I will run like hell if an iron ever comes near me. I’ve always been a professional working woman, working long hours and have gotten used to this way of life. So having a husband and kids who can cook, and like to cook, to me, is an absolute boon and they are very happy to take up this mantle, which gives me the time from seven p.m. to midnight and sometimes longer, to write and retreat into the ‘bear cavern’ so called because my daughter has warned the family ‘not to poke the bear when she’s writing. She growls.’
What do you hope readers take with them after reading your work?
My biggest desire for a reader is to simply enjoy the moment and live in the world I’ve created and feel comfortable doing so. I want readers to almost feel bereft when they finish my book, to feel as if they want more. If they think about the characters and the events after they’ve put down the book, even if it’s just a day or two afterwards, and I accomplish this, then I think I’ve done what I set out to do.
If money were not an object, where would you most like to live?
I have always wanted to live in a country manor where there is a lot of land and a lake and I can simply spend my days writing in my huge, book-laden study. This could be either here in England or in France. I’ve never been to France but one of the places I would truly love to go is Carcassonne in the south of France. I became entranced with this place when reading Kate Mosse’s ‘Labyrinth’ and ‘Sepulchre’ and I think a beautiful castle overlooking this area would suit me down to the ground.
If you were a tool, what would people use you to do?
I would definitely be a blunt instrument as that describes me so well. I suppose a hammer is the best fit.
Picture yourself as a store. Considering your personality and lifestyle, what type of products would be sold there?
Comfortable clothing that made you feel warm and fuzzy, chocolate of any description, books, anything geeky like smart phones, tablets, gadgets, time machines, holographic devices, Benedict Cumberbatches, (an English actor I have a particular passion for), anything to do with magic or witches, chunky costume jewellery that sparkled in a myriad of colours and a selection of really sexy men to pander to my every need when the Cumberbatch is having a well deserved rest.
If you came with a warning label, what would it say?
This item is hard wearing and tough, has a tendency to switch off when in writing zone mode and can prove extremely fractious when disturbed.

Please Fill in the Blanks

I love pizza with bacon.
I'm always ready for bedtime.
When I'm alone, I live in my own head.
You'd never be able to tell, but I am actually listening to you.
If I had a halo it would be a little tarnished.
If I could time travel I'd go back and catch Jack the Ripper.
I can never give up because I’m driven.
Susan MacNicol

Books Coming Soon

Books 2 and 3 in the Starlight trilogy – tentatively titled ‘Together in Starlight’ and ‘Starlight and Promises.’
‘Saving Alexandria’ – a novel about a flawed woman who finds an unexpected and sexy saviour who helps her overcome both her fears and the demons from her past.
Currently working on another Lunchbox Romance short story

Find Me Here

Cassandra by Starlight Facebook page http://on.fb.me/RQYv3Z

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