October 27, 2012

Talking About Animal Crackers @ElleDruskin #amreading


Animal Crackers

Elle Druskin, welcome to Romance Lives Forever. Let's talk about your book, Animal Crackers.
Genre: Contemporary romance, romantic comedy, small town romance (Book 1 of The Liberty Heights series)
Publisher: MuseItUpPublishing
Cover artist: Lex Valentine
Length: 309K, 169 pages, 57,175 words
Heat rating: Sweet to sensual.
Tagline: Was that lap or laptop dancer? Stressed out Hayley Weaver is out of work and out of luck. Stuck in Liberty Heights, stuck with baby-sitting an exotic menagerie and pretty soon, stuck on cutie veterinarian Jake Marx.
Blurb:
You’re fired. Karma really slammed Manhattan workaholic Hayley Weaver. Out of work, out of money and out of luck. In desperation, she grabs the first job offered, house-sitting a movie star’s home. How tough could it be? Water the plants, take in the mail. Oops! Nobody told Hayley the house is in New Jersey and loaded with more critters than the Beverly Hillbillies. Local cutie and veterinarian Jake Marx is dying to meet a woman he hasn’t known since kindergarten. With Jake on animal phobic Hayley’s speed dial, the whole town is in cohoots to give Jake and Hayley their happily ever after.
What are your main characters' names, ages, and occupations?
Life of the Party
Twenty eight year old Hayley Weaver (“Hayley’s Comet”) is a New York workaholic public relations expert. Make that former expert. She’s just been fired and evicted, all in one day.
Jake Marx is a thirty two year old small town veterinarian who desperately wants to meet a woman he hasn’t known since kindergarten.

Excerpt:

Hayley gritted her teeth. Darn that lady cop who had the build of a Sherman tank. How was she supposed to know the stupid rooster was hers? To top it off, that bulldozer of a woman was the Chief of Police, too. The way she carried on, it was pure luck the cop hadn’t shoved her in the local slammer.
After the police station fiasco, Hayley marched across the train tracks to Animal Crackers to confront the veterinarian who thought everything was so funny last night, because even if he was hot, she was hot, too. Burning up she was so livid.
Some old lady peered through bifocals at her and tsked. What a nerve. Who was she to be judging anyone? First that cop, now a woman who looked like Sophia on The Golden Girls making a sour puss.
“Where’s Jake?”
“Are you the house sitter?” the old lady asked.
Hayley nodded.
“You’ll pardon my saying so, but you could do with a visit to Andre.”
Andre. Maybe that was a goat. Or a horse. Wasn’t there a movie about a seal with that name? God knew what else was running around. The whole town was Animal Crackers as far as Hayley was concerned. As for Andre, with that French name, for all she knew, he could be a cousin of that foul-mouthed parrot, Antoine.
Just that second, Jake poked his head out of a room. A huge smile brightened his freshly shaved cheeks. Hayley staggered. Why did he have to be so cute? She didn’t like him; he’d laughed at her, and he thought she was a neurotic idiot after last night. Plus, she hadn't forgotten her sneaking suspicion he had something going on with that bimbo actress Paulette Stone.
He was dressed in worn jeans and a T-shirt that said, “Have You Kissed Your Vet Today?”
To Catch a Cop
No matter how she tried, Hayley couldn’t seem to avoid studying his lips. Kiss A Vet. In his dreams before she’d kiss him. Never mind that she’d dreamed about exactly that, and he’d been dynamite. She had more pressing problems, and the last thing she needed to do was kiss a veterinarian.
“Henry is loose. I don’t know how he got out of the yard. I got a ticket for him leaving, uh, deposits.”
Jake ducked his head to hide a smile.
“There must be a gap in the fence. I’ll ask Ed to have a look, but Henry wanders. He has a fairly regular routine and usually heads to the same place. He’s safe there. If Henry can’t get out, he might become distressed.”
“He’s right behind me.”
Hayley turned around and stared. No Henry. He was gone. The monster beast had been right behind her, dogging her steps like a lovesick teenager only two minutes ago.
“I lost him! I can’t wait to get out of here, and now I’ve lost him!”
Jake shot a glance at the older woman who kept staring at her. The vet had a funny look on his face, as if he was trying not to laugh. What the hell was so hilarious?
“Um, not that it looks bad, but your hair is different. Kind of shorter on one side.”
Hayley fumed. As much as she detested the mess she was in, she was doing her best to be responsible, warning him that a deaf dog was lost, and all he could talk about was her hair. Wise guy.
Her hair.
Shorter on one side. The nail scissors on the floor. Pansy. Please, please, not that!
Hayley let out a screech that would have rivaled Wilbur’s decibels and sunk down into a plastic chair. Her fingers threaded through her hair, and she began to hyperventilate, gasping for air.
Pansy had scalped her. No wonder the old lady was staring.
“Calm down, or you’re going to faint. Nice, slow deep breaths. I’ll get you some water.”
Jake handed her a plastic cup of cold water. Hayley gulped it down. “I guess you’d rather have another drink, but we don’t keep alcohol around the clinic.”
“A mirror.” She barely managed to rasp the words.
“You sure?”
Dread rose in her heart. It sounded as if he didn’t want her to see the damage. It must be awful, and she’d walked around town without even knowing. People had stared at her, but she thought it was because of Henry trailing her everywhere. That hardware guy, Ed, had offered her one of those dumb Lemur baseball caps, and she brushed it off like an annoying fly. His snickers made a lot more sense now.
God Almighty.
"Aunt Tilly, have you got a mirror for Ms. uh, what is your name?”
“Weaver. Hayley Weaver.”
Tilly handed Hayley a tiny mirror from her handbag. Despite its miniscule size, it was big enough to get an idea of the damage Pansy had inflicted. Hayley gasped and snapped the compact shut. She couldn’t bear to look at it again.
“My hair! That no good Pansy scalped me!”
No more. She couldn’t take anymore. She’d put up with a nasty French parrot, a deaf dog, and now a chimp who thought she was Phillippe, the snobby Manhattan stylist.
Hayley burst into tears. Yesterday had been the worst day of her life. Nothing could have been worse, and then today happened.
Jake crouched down in front of her and held her hands.
“Hey, it’s not so bad. Hair grows back.”
She sniffed and blinked at him.
“I paid a fortune to get it exactly right. I can’t go on job interviews like this!”
“It’s not terrible, just a little uneven with those ends sticking up like a Mohawk on one side. It’s asymmetric, but that could be trendy,” the old lady said as if that helped and handed her a tissue.
Asymmetric? Whole chunks were gone. It looked like a blind man had savaged her hair.

Interview

What websites do you visit daily?
Hmm. I have limited time but I do regularly get on Twitter, Facebook, my own website and blog (I don’t say I write something daily but I try to get there as often as I can), Books and Writers Community--a fabulous online hangout for anyone who loves books, reading, writing, etc. Anything and everything is discussed and I would recommend that site to anyone interested in writing. I try to check in on Amazon and Barnes and Noble to see what’s going on there too and occasionally get on Pininterest. I’m not really conversant with that site. I visit Savvy Authors and She Writes but not daily. I do trawl some other sites but certainly not with regularity or every day.
What do you enjoy most about life?
More and more, I’m grateful for the things I have rather than thinking about what I don’t have. I’m grateful for family, friends, my dog, my health. Money can’t buy those things and we need to really appreciate them. I’m also grateful I live near the beach—I love the beach! You’re either a beach person or you aren’t and I’m definitely a beach person.
If you could give the younger version of yourself advice what would it be?
Take notes! I’ve had a lot of adventures and traveled extensively. I do remember some of these things but not all of them.
Do you have a muse? Describe this person, please.
I don’t know if you could call her my muse, but certainly the writer I most admire is Diana Gabaldon. She’s a brilliant writer but also very accessible and generous in her support for other writers.
Do things your family or friends do ever end up in a book?
Not so much family and friends, but real incidents, yes. The incident with the Japanese flag signifying the town’s lake has frozen and safe for skating in Hanky Panky (Book 3 of The Liberty Heights series coming in December) is true. It really did happen in my hometown. (Yes, it was New Jersey, so it seemed kind of natural for Liberty Heights).
What are some jobs you've done before (or while) you were a writer?
I started out as a nurse and I’m still a nurse but my work is in academia so I’m a professor today. I also have a PhD in history. I’ve done a fair amount of publishing academic work; journal articles and book chapters. It all just kind of evolved. Writing fiction is a big leap from academic writing but it’s still writing and any writing helps strengthen ability.
Which of your books would you recommend to someone who doesn't normally read your genre, and why?
Going to the Dogs
It’s a good question and really depends on taste. Right now, I would recommend Animal Crackers. It’s a fun read and the start of a series. People that have been reading the books seem to fall in love with them. They love Liberty Heights and all the quirky characters, some of whom get their own stories as the series progresses. That’s fun because it enables all of us to get to know these characters with more depth. I know these books are fiction, readers know they’re fiction, but to us, they’re real. That’s the consistent message I get from readers--they totally accept this is fiction but believe it must be real at some level. They consistently laugh (that’s good, they’re supposed to!) and want to know more about the people, the town and the quirky things that happen. This is kind of funny; I had an email from a reader asking for driving directions to Liberty Heights. She was certain this must be a real place. I was kind of sorry to disappoint her but it was nice that the town seemed so real to her.
What kind of books do you read when taking a break from your own writing?
Anything and everything. I’m a voracious reader. Normally, I read 4 books a week, depending on the type of book. I read non-fiction, especially history. Just love that! But I also read fiction in every genre. I’m a bookworm! I learned to read when I was about 3 and just kept reading. I was also fortunate to grow up in a home where reading and owning books was encouraged. The first step in being a writer is being a reader. You have to be a good reader to be a good writer. Whatever else you might have to give up to write, you can’t give up reading.
What is your favorite holiday and why?
Thanksgiving, because it’s a great opportunity to sit down and remember all the good things we have. Having lived outside the US for many years, I really appreciate the American-ness of the holiday that has nothing to do with religion, but a day to be grateful.
What good book have you read recently?
I read voraciously, everything and anything. In fiction, I enjoyed A Discovery of Witches. I didn’t think I would, but there you go. Not always a good idea to pre-judge. I especially enjoyed the scenes set in Oxford because I was a guest there a number of years ago and very familiar with the colleges and library.
In non-fiction, I just finished Rebecca Fraser’s A History of Britain. I love history and I’ve read a fair amount on this subject before but I still like re-acquainting myself with topics and possibly, learning something new or remembering things I might have forgotten.
Where were you at midnight, on December 31st when the new century started?
Honolulu.
What do you like to do when you're bored?
No idea. I’m never bored because I’m overloaded with things that have to be done and things I want to do.
If your life became a movie, who would you want to play you?
Hah! We actually played this game at a high school reunion and the consensus was I should be played by a young, I stress young, Lauren Bacall. I was so flattered, I can’t tell you!
If you were a color, what color would you be?
Pink. Hot pink!

Please Fill in the Blanks

I love pizza with cheese, and lots of it. I’m a purist!
I'm always ready for dancing.
Elle Druskin
When I'm alone, I read, write, watch tv, walk my dog, surf the net, catch up with email.
You'd never be able to tell, but I try to be really organized. (Here’s the but) I don’t appear organized because I’m always looking for things that I’ve lost. So I end up most of the time looking for something else and finding the original lost item.
If I had a halo it would be I don’t really understand this question but I kind of doubt I’d be getting a halo anyway.
If I could master surfing (“I’m working on it!) I'd live at the beach.
I can never believe people think I’ve had a really interesting life because it just seems normal to me. I’ve traveled a lot and lived in other countries and I think this fascinates some people.

Previous Books

The Liberty Heights series:
Animal Crackers (Book 1)
The Life of the Party (Book 2)
To Catch series:
To Catch A Cop
To Catch A Crook
Outback Hero
Going To The Dogs

Books Coming Soon

Hanky Panky (Book 3, The Liberty Heights series) coming in December 2012 from MuseItUpPublishing

Find Me Here

October 24, 2012

Grab Eternity with @Tmoniquebooks #amreading


Eternity.

Tmonique Stephens, welcome to Romance Lives Forever. Let's talk about your book, Eternity
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Buy links:
Publisher: Soulmate Publishing
Cover artist: Steena Holmes at The Authors Red Room
Length: 271 pages
Heat rating: 4
Tagline: Only a cursed man would wait 2000 years for one woman
Blurb: Cursed for 2000 years, Roman Nicolis has tracked his lovers’ soul through each reincarnation only to lose her horribly every time. Reclaiming their love is his only salvation. He’s been her friend, her father, her neighbor, but never again her lover until now.
A late night walk home throws Stella Walker into the path of a killer. The last thing she remembers are the deep blue eyes of the man trying to kill her—and the first things she sees after a seven day coma are the same blue eyes in the handsome face of the man hired to protect her. Is he truly the owner of a security firm assigned to protect her or the man who wants to finish her off? Is it fears she feels when Roman touches her or the memory of something sweeter? She will have to push past her fears and reclaim a love that has lasted two millennia.
Past secrets haunt them. An angry demon stalks them.
Roman will do anything to recover what they had. Though Stella’s ruined childhood has made her close her heart and body to any man, he must get past the walls around her to gain her love and trust, for it will take their union to defeat an unexpected enemy sent from the Egyptian Gods. A man Romans respects, and Stella trusts.
Two hearts - one soul. For all eternity.
What are your main characters' names, ages, and occupations?
Roman Nicolis: 35ish, CEO of Nicolis Security/Mercenary
Stella Walker: 24, Waitress/Student

Excerpt:

Curled on his body in the middle of Central Park, Roman let Stella sleep. Holding her wasn’t a hardship as his mind wandered to the future, their future. Foolhardy, definitely, but what else could he do when he held the object of his obsession in his arms?
Remember your promise and let her go.
He stroked a wayward lock of hair behind her ear and slid his fingers down her silky cheek. She nuzzled him, turned her face into his palm and kissed him. Every noble intention evaporated like a bead of sizzling water in a hot skillet. Cock rock hard, he had to kiss her, feel her breath on his skin, in his body. In the deserted park, he needed her now.
The fine hairs on the back of his neck bristled. He froze. Battle instincts surged to the forefront, screaming for action, instead, he listened to the night surrounding him and waited. Though not a hub of wildlife, the creatures of Central Park were silent. They also waited. Somewhere, nearby, a predator stalked.
He nudged Stella. She stretched, making him aware of every curve and hollow she possessed, and purred, a sexy rumble deep in her throat. Before she could say a word, he cupped her head and pulled her into a quick kiss.
“Shhh, we’re in danger,” he whispered against her lips.
Her head popped up and she eased off him. In the gloom, her frightened eyes met his. “What?” She mouthed.
“We have to get out of here.”
Crouched low, he took her hand, together they crawled along next to the hedge. He looked over. His keen eyesight picked up nothing and no one. So why did the same excitement he used to get before a battle race through his veins? Stella squeezed his hand. Her wide eyes sent him a question he couldn’t answer.
He drew his gun from the small of his back and the silencer from his jacket pocket.
“Roman?” Her voice wavered.
He spared her a glance. “Whatever happens, do exactly as I say. Understand?”
Her head bobbed on her neck.
“Walk beside me, not in front or behind. Got it?”
Not far from the nearest road, they stuck to the trees and away from the open expanse of the Great Lawn.
Leaves crunched behind them. He’d never run from anything in his life. Even before the curse and his immortality, he stood his ground and killed everything in his path. Now, whatever stalked him, stalked her. His senses told him only one lurked in the darkness, but with Stella to protect, he couldn’t risk it.
The Delacorte amphitheater loomed ahead. He guided her into the shadows. Stationed behind a statue, he aimed and watched the route they had just taken. Stella clutched his jacket, her shivering body pressed close.
“Tell me.”
“There’s someone out there.”
“It could be anyone, ’kids maybe?”
“Maybe.” He agreed purely to reassure her. But as he spoke, one hundred yards away, something peeled away from the shadows of a large tree and charged.
“Stay.” He ordered. Through his jacket, her nails dug into his back. He pulled away, but she wouldn’t let go. He shrugged out of his jacket and advanced. She called to him, begging him to return, but the blood rushing in his ears drown out her voice. He rushed forward and focused on the attacking foe.
Wait. He skidded to a halt. He had a shot, but...something was wrong. The height was too short. Whoever ran toward him must be a child—or running on all fours. He squinted at the slice of darkness closing the distance between them. The tree coverage ended and speckled moonlight dotted the Great Lawn, uncovering the thing barreling forward. For a split second his mind tried to unravel the impossible nightmare quickly shrinking the distance, before he fired three shots between its widely spaced eyes. It roared and charged faster.
“Run, Stella!” He fired, running back to the theater. She hadn’t listened. Instead of running away, she met him. He grabbed her hand and ran, but she couldn’t keep up and the thing behind them closed the distance.
“Is it him, The Strangler?” she shouted breathless.
They ran past The Preserve, rounded a column and then stopped. Shrouded in gloom, the outline of the pond appeared in front of the Belvedere Castle. He didn’t want her to see what chased them, but before he could stop her, she turned. Her scream pierced the night. Yards away, a bellow replied. He jerked her around and shoved. She stumbled and fell into the water.
“Go!” This time, she didn’t fight. For a second, he watched her swim. Then turned in time for claws to dig into his side.
***
Stella slipped, fell face first in the shallow water and choked on a foul mouthful. She lunged to her feet, brushed the wet hair out of her face and waded on. Water rose from her hips to her neck quickly and then leveled off as she approached a small dock jutting out of tall grass. Arms trembling, she hoisted herself up. A spike of pain spread from the healing wounds on her abdomen. Her arms almost caved, but at the last second, she flipped a leg over the edge of the dock and rolled onto her back. In the silent night, smacks and grunts echoed, water splashed. Something gave a roar no human could make.
Roman.
She had to get help. The dock led to the castle. Stella jogged up the stairs, clutching her side and cut through the fake fa├žade to reach the 79th street transverse. Waving her arms, a car wheezed bye, then another one.
Damn New Yorkers. Headlights split the darkness. She ran into the road.
“Stop! Please, stop!”
The car swerved, centimeters separated her and the bumper. It shimmied on the road, but straightened and kept on going. She had to escape the park. Call the cops. Save Roman. A scream lodged in her throat.
Wounds aching, she ran hard. The exit of the park and the traffic on Central Park West came into view. There were people up ahead. She had to get there. People meant help. Her steps faltered and her shoulder slammed into a lamppost. She started to fall.
An arm circled her waist and hauled her up. For a second, she tore at the limb until she glanced up. “Ro—”
Blood. Nearly everywhere she looked. Tattered pieces of his shirt flapped in the breeze exposing deep gashes across his pecs and down his ribs. Behind him, a tree splintered and toppled onto the roadway. Roman took her hand and together they ran the last yards to the exit.
They darted out of the park and onto the sidewalk, alongside the wall separating the park from the city. Still, she heard it, the beast, thing, whatever, over the wall, matching their pace.
A hand tipped with razor sharp claws scraped along the top of the wall. A scaly arm, a snout unhinged and rows of teeth and protruding eyes that rotated freely.
It. Saw. Her.

Interview

Where do you start when writing? Research, plotting, outline, or...?
Tmonique Stephens: I always start with an idea. What if... Those two words takes my imagination down the Yellow Brick Road to my hero and heroine, my opening scene, plot, conflict and ultimately my story’s happily ever after.
Tell us about your latest book, including its genre. Does it cross over to other genres? If so, what are they?
Eternity is about a group of men who descend from the Egyptian gods. Their heritage has been hidden, but slowly come to light along with a multitude of consequences. Though Eternity is a paranormal romance, there are elements of suspense and mystery as the two lovers are hunted by an unknown enemy.
How do you come up with ideas?
Tmonique Stephens: My ideas usually come to me right before I fall asleep. My mind seems to be more open and relaxed. I get my best ideas that way. I just have to remember to record or write them down before I pass out.
What did you learn from writing your first book?
Tmonique Stephens: I learned technique, conflict and my writing style. I’m still working on trusting my instinct, but I believe that will come with time.
Would you consider self-publishing?
Tmonique Stephens: Yes, I’m working on a novella which will tie into my Egyptian series that I plan on self-publishing. I’m looking forward to getting my feet wet.
How many hours a day to you spend writing?
Tmonique Stephens: Since I work full-time during the week I usually write three hours per day after I get home from work and six to ten hours per day on the weekend.
If you could give the younger version of yourself advice what would it be?
Tmonique Stephens: I wrote consistently until I graduated from college in the late 1980’s. After graduation life and all its complexities interfered with my writing and I didn’t writing anything until I got serious in 2007. I would tell the younger me to not be afraid of rejection and to keep writing even when I didn’t feel like it.
List two authors we would find you reading when taking a break from your own writing.
Tmonique Stephens: My favorite authors are JR Ward and Stephen King. I will always pick them first to read. I also love Kresley Cole and Karen Marie Moning.
If money were not an object, where would you most like to live?
Tmonique Stephens: I would love a house in Atlanta, an apartment in Manhattan and a time share in St. Thomas USVI.
What song would best describe your life?
Tmonique Stephens: Different songs apply to me at different times in my life. Currently, the song that best categorizes me is Gym Class Heroes The Fighter and Phillip Phillips Home.
                                                        
Picture yourself as a store. Considering your personality and lifestyle, what type of products would be sold there?
Tmonique Stephens: Walmart would be a good depiction of my current lifestyle, but at heart I’m a Neiman Marcus kinda girl.
As a child, what was your favorite thing about school?
Tmonique Stephens: I learned to love reading and writing in school. Books have always taken me to another place or world where my imagination could break free from the confines of reality.
If you came with a warning label, what would it say?
Tmonique Stephens: Addictive reading hazard. Read at you own risk.
Tmonique Stephens

Please fill in the blanks

I love pizza with roma tomatoes, fresh basil and gouda cheese.
I'm always ready for a party.
When I'm alone, I write and plot.
You'd never be able to tell, but I love alternative music.
If I had a halo it would be slightly crooked.
If I could travel I'd never come home.

Books Coming Soon

I’m working on Everlasting, the sequel to Eternity. It’s the story of Reign, Roman’s brother and Alexis, a NYPD detective trying to recuse her career. Their wants are at opposite ends of the spectrum, but they will have to join together defy the gods, save each other, and defeat an enemy that just won’t die.

Find Me Here


October 22, 2012

Awakening the Fire with @ShieldsAlly



Awakening the Fire.

Ally Shields, welcome to Romance Lives Forever. Let's talk about your book, Awakening the Fire (Guardian Witch Book One).
Genre: Urban Fantasy/Romantic Paranormal
Buy links: Amazon (US): http://amzn.to/Nr8jko
Amazon (UK): http://amzn.to/Rt0zkb
Barnes and Nobel: http://bit.ly/RPrJ45
All Romance Ebooks: http://bit.ly/U25Q0G
Publisher: Etopia Press
Cover artist: Annie Melton
Length: 83,000 words, 245 pages (approx.)
Heat rating: Sexual tension, PG-13, M/F
Tagline:
While fire witch cop Ari Calin races to stop the violence triggered by an exotic drug, a werewolf pack is intent on starting a supernatural war.
Blurb:
Ari Calin has sworn to keep the peace in the Olde Town district of Riverdale, and most of the time the Otherworlders cooperate. The vampires, werewolves and other magical creatures go about their own business, living side by side with humans, until the foreign werewolves arrive and an virtual reality drug hits the streets. When violence erupts, Ari needs more than her witch fire, weapons and potions to stop the madness.
Teaming with a human police lieutenant and a way-too-sexy vampire singer, Ari hunts for the enemy—from the vampire strip clubs to the caverns under the city. Every step draws Ari and her companions deeper into an old feud and closer to the brink of a supernatural war.

What are your main characters' names, ages, and occupations?
Arianna Calin, 23, is a fire witch and a cop for the Magic Council, the ruling authority for Otherworlders.
Andreas De Luca is a vampire who sings in a vampire supper club—and so much more. Andreas was born in 1786 but he was 29 when he became a vampire and will look 29 and yummy forever.
Lt. Ryan Foster, 34, is Ari's partner among the human cops. They work joint cases for the Magic Council and the Riverdale Police Department.

Interview

What is the most important thing you do for your career now, as compared to when you first started writing?
I network. When I began writing full time four years ago, my friends and family didn't understand why I was doing this. I felt rather lost until I discovered other writers. Now I network for support and promotion, knowing there are many out there sharing the same triumphs and frustrations.
What do you enjoy most about life?
Almost everything. Seriously! I've always been curious and enjoy seeing and experiencing new things, from climbing the pyramids to horseback-riding through the Arizona desert. I suppose that's why writing, reading and traveling top my list of things I love to do. It's a way to experience many new worlds. But sometimes it's the little things that really catch you off guard. The butterfly in the garden, a particularly good wine, a sailboat on the lake at sunset.
If you could give the younger version of yourself advice what would it be?
Get serious about your writing much earlier in life. I wrote my first book when I was nine—all about a palomino horse. Imagine how many books I could have written if life hadn't distracted me along the way! It takes time to learn the craft. Write, rewrite, and then do it all over again.
Do things your family or friends do ever end up in a book?
OMG, yes, but they don't know it! Mannerisms mostly, and sometimes parts of funny conversations. I try to disguise them so they won't guess. :) But I even use people on the street. No one is safe.
What are some jobs you've done before (or while) you were a writer?
I began full-time employment as an English teacher, then a practicing lawyer and finally a Juvenile Court Officer. The most fascinating years were spent as a member of C.A.T.T, the Child Abuse Trauma Team that investigated severe child abuse cases.
What kind of books do you read when taking a break from your own writing?
I can't read urban fantasy while I'm working on a new book, so I usually turn to mysteries like those of J.D. Robb, thrillers like Vince Flynn, or a light romance. If I need cheering up, I re-read Georgette Heyer to laugh at her witty dialogue.
In between manuscripts, I catch up with new paranormal releases from Laurell K Hamilton, Kim Harrison, Charlaine Harris, and anyone else that catches my eye. I tend to like vampires!
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?
My laptop, so I could write and check-in by email and Twitter. My kindle for obvious reasons. Lightweight clothing and my camera. I would return to Egypt for the fourth time, do the Nile trip again and see Luxor and Karnak. I love that place!
What is your favorite holiday and why?
Thanksgiving. Everyone comes home for Thanksgiving just to enjoy the good food and conversation. No pre-holiday shopping, fighting through the malls, wrapping packages, or holiday programs to detract from family time. And I rather like the pumpkin pie, too.
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."
I'm definitely the ten day tour, and I've been on several! If something needs to be done, I want it done now. I'll stay up all night to finish. And I have no patience whatsoever with delayed gratification. Now, now, now. As soon as this task is done, I can move on to the next challenge, the next fascinating riddle to solve.

Please Fill in the Blanks

I love pizza with pepperoni and mushrooms.
I'm always ready for chocolate!
When I'm alone, I read or play tug-a-war with my miniature pinscher, Ranger.
You'd never be able to tell, but I have an earring collection in the hundreds!
If I had a halo it would be tarnished. :-D
If I could be an astronaut, I'd go to the moon or mars.
I can never watch a movie where the hero or heroine dies, because I cry too much. It's embarrassing!

Find Me Here