Monday, February 28, 2011

Guest blogger Stephen Brayton talks about editing

A Few Editing Notes
by guest blogger Stephen Brayton

Have you ever seen the drawing of a pyramid of triangles in which you're supposed to count the number of triangles there are in the picture? Some people count the obvious smaller individual triangles, but miss the fact that the way the picture is drawn, there are bigger triangles throughout.

I think editing is similar. There are so many areas of editing, you may not be aware of where they show up and what you are doing when you do it. Let's look at a few instances.

You've made the decision to write a story. Boom! You've just done your first edit. You've made a choice in your life. You've edited your life and you will keep doing so every minute you take to develop that story. You edit when you create characters, giving them personalities. You edit when you create an outline (for those who do and those who don't still make decisions to move the story in a certain direction), deciding a timeline and the sequence of events.

Editing is not just done after you've completed the story, or when some publisher's editors splash it with colors highlighting the mistakes and suggested changes. Writers are editors and they have to be.

I love writers' critique groups and have been involved in three throughout the years. Each has had good and bad points in structure and operation but one of the problems I've seen in all of them is in regards to the writers themselves. A person brings Chapter One of a brand new story to the group for reading. The others listen then give their opinion on the strengths and weaknesses in the story. The person takes the story home and does a rewrite, brings it back to the group, hears more critique, then takes it home and does a rewrite…and the cycle continues. After a few rounds, someone will almost certainly suggest the person moves onto Chapter Two. Unfortunately, he/she cannot get past trying to perfect One. The story never gets written and either the person gives up or tries another story, falling into the same pattern.

Writers have to learn to work through each chapter until the story is completed. Sure, listen to the critiques, save the notes, keep in mind the suggestions, but keep writing something new until you've reached the end of the story. Then go back and rewrite.

Writers also have to know the rules. Grammar, punctuation, and of course spelling. Do not rely on spell check. You may not catch all of the mistakes (and believe me, you won't), but you want to present to the publisher/agent the best product you can create.

One of the fun ways to frustrate yourself is something my publisher and editors have agreed upon doing with each story we receive. When you think you've gone as far as you can with your self editing, go through and highlight every 'was', 'were', and 'that'. Then, go back through and eliminate all but the most necessary usages.

I've met authors who re-read scores of times and others who can whip out a decent product after only a few rewrites. There is no rule. You find what works for you. I wrote longhand and my first edit came when I transferred the pages to the computer. Then I'd print out the entire manuscript, grab a pen and a notebook and read through it marking corrections and scribbling changes for specific areas. I think it's where I learned a lot of my editing skills.

In early 2010, while waiting around for my story Night Shadows to run through the editing process, I exchanged emails with the senior editor and, to make a long story short, within about six weeks or so, I was hired as an editor. Now this surprised me, because I've had no official training, didn't take any college courses. I must have done very well on the 'test' story to satisfy the powers that be. Anyway, since that time, I have learned so much and I can pass on my knowledge to other authors.

I loathe working through the edits on my books. I've gone through several rounds of corrections and changes with Night Shadows, each one more excruciating than the last. Long hours until my brain goes fuzzy, but I'm learning. Editing others' material can be a horrendous job especially if the manuscript hasn't been polished by the author. However, it is a learning experience, because once you've read others' mistakes, you catch yourself making similar ones in your own projects.

And that's part of what makes writing so gosh darn fun.

Stephen Brayton has written stories for many years, but started seriously while working at a radio station in Kewanee, Illinois. After he moved to Oskaloosa, Iowa, he started attending a writers' group in Des Moines.

So much knowledge about writing and critique came out of that group and the others he's enjoyed.

He attended his first conference in 2007, Love Is Murder, in Chicago. Mike Manno introduced him to 'pitches' and they discussed writing and history and law while sharing the drive.

In 2009, while attending the Killer Nashville conference, Stephen was fortunate enough to meet Mary Welk of Echelon Press. Subsequent to the conference, Stephen submitted two novels to Echelon and in October, they BOTH were accepted for e-publication in 2011.

He's a reader; a writer; an instructor; a graphic designer; a lover of books, movies, wine, women, music, fine food, good humor, sunny summer days spent hiking or fishing; and he's a catnip drug dealer to his fifteen pound cat, Thomas.

He's the author of Night Shadows

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Live chat/interview with Lee Goldberg and Dave Zeltserman - 3/6/11

The Writer's Chatroom presents author and TV producer Lee Goldberg and dark crime fiction writer Dave Zeltserman.


Sunday, March 6, 2011

Eastern USA Time.....7-9 PM

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The Writers Chatroom at:

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Thursday, February 24, 2011

Interview with writer Skeeze Whitlow

Today we have a quick chat with writer Skeeze Whitlow.

Please tell us about your current release, the audiobook "Senate Parking".
The story is about a multicultural crew of parking lot attendants who operate a dating service from the Senate lots.

What inspired you to write this book?
True-to-life experience. I worked on Capitol Hill as a parking lot attendant.

How did you get into audio books?
Online, I entered negotiations with

What exciting story are you working on next?
"Yuiza's New Name" -- it's a story about a group of modern-day freebooters who take us from extreme to extreme, dabbling in the unspeakable. Pickpockets from Puerto Rico get into smuggling, then oil transport and dealing in Aztec antiquities, and ultimately biofuel production. The reader walks away having survived highjackings from the Antilles to Central America, and back.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Shortly after I was thrown out of high school.

Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
I write full-time, from 8 a.m. till noon, daily. In the afternoons, I market myself. Then, I manage to work at some piddley job.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I take long walks. I once tried to walk the Appalachian Trail – I’ll have to try that, again

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
It used to change from day to day.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
I want them to know that if they have a true desire -- or dream – it is their responsibility to fulfill that desire.

"Senate Parking" can be found through

Skeeze, thanks for stopping by and introducing yourself. Best of luck with your writing and audiobook projects.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Interview with dark fiction author Stavros

Today we're getting to know a bit about dark fiction author Stavros.

We'll start with a short bio.
Notorious Poet. Fool. Born in Washington, DC. Stavros was a writer and editor for The Independent Underground Magazine. Besides screaming verse in coffeehouses, his poetic works have been published in several online and print publications, including Central Avenue, The Sword That Cuts Through Stone, Poets Against The War, Conceptions Southwest, The Mynd, Imagine: Creative Arts Journal, and Bartleby, where he won a specialty award for his poem, Blackbird.

In 1999, he won an Official Selection into the Writer’s on the Edge Festival for his play, The Redline. In 2001, he created the Poetry Television Project for public cable access in Albuquerque, NM. All eight volumes of PTV’s groundbreaking show were broadcast to over 100,000 viewers on a network of regional PAC channels throughout the Southwest and Baltimore. He helped launch Unpublished Magazine, sponsored the monthly poetry series, The Word Café, and produced a political compilation, Poetic Democracy. In 2007, he released the award-winning documentary film, Committing Poetry in Times of War.

He is a photographer and graphic designer, a musician, and Assistant Editor and Art Director of the new horror and gaming magazine, BioGamer Girl. His first novel, Blood Junky, was released in the fall of last year and is receiving exceptional praise. Blood Junky is the first tale in the epic One Blood series, which offer fresh and original ideas to the beloved vampire genre. The second book of the saga, Däm’Um: Song of the Vam Pŷr’s Love in Vein, is set to release in 2011.

Stavros, welcome to Reviews and Interviews. It's great to have you visit. Please tell us about your current release.
Blood Junky is a character-driven psychological thriller that pushes the edge of the vampire genre to new depths of horror. Linnet Pevensey is 236 years old, and she’s feeling every inch of it. Besieged by a wall of painful memories, longing for simpler times, she’s secluded herself off from the world. Z is unpredictable. A century-old vampire whose blood parasite has begun its last cycle, she is enthralled in every possible way to avoid the here and now. And fate is moving them both toward clandestine events of their own making.

Ryan Silva is a good looking, soulful songbird who's never had a problem getting any girl he’s ever wanted until he met Z. But getting the alluring punk’s attention is proving more difficult than he’d ever imagined. Seduced by desires to have Z feed from him, Ryan’s lines of reality blur, locking him on a downward spiral that threatens to destroy not just his soul, but his very life if he does not stop stalking the vampires.

Dominique De’Paul, the freed blood slave of the ancient race, is unsure if she’ll be able to stop the tides of war and its inevitable genocide. Her Children of Evensong are in peril! The clock is running out! An emissary from the African warrior tribe has been dispatched to discern Mother Night’s threat to the human race, and it looks as if her darling Linnet will be sacrificed to the man’s passions in order to save her precious brood.

Weaving through the consciousness of time, between past and present, this uniquely intense journey of obsession & love travels the globe from modern day Los Angeles to the bygone eras of London, Tangiers, Africa, and the exotic lands of São Paulo, Brazil. Flawlessly incorporating historically accurate places, people, and events with meticulous detail and lyrical fiction, Stavros has crafted an intricate web of vivid memoir and struggling ideologies, giving this most beloved genre an original, invigorating spin while creating new pathos and myths from which any future story can be told.

The One Blood series was conceived as a single epic tale that spans the entire chronicle. Each book is designed to reveal a deeper richly layered vision as mysteries build, characters evolve, and plots thicken. Blood Junky is self-contained and can be read independently; though, be careful! Because, once you’ve started reading you’ll be hooked too…just another Junky, looking for a fix!

What inspired you to write this book?
God, Being a father, and a need to accomplish something tangible and possibly financially secure in my life.

Actually, the first story came to me when I was in Washington State with my then girlfriend, Tara, who was visiting her estranged father. I was awoken about 5am by a dream of this young pale-looking man hovering above my face. He didn’t say anything or do anything, but it was intense and I awoke with a flurry of ideas. I jotted down some initial notes and from there I kept asking simple questions, like who was he? Why did he look the way he did? What did he want? Where did he come from? When did he come from?

I received answers to all of these questions, but with each new answer came more questions. This was in 1995, and 15 years later, after an exhaustive amount of research and development I had the makings of several novel series and film franchises. So…after writing a screenplay for a completely different story that did not involve the character who inspired it all, I wrote Blood Junky as a prequel for that script. I enjoyed writing Blood Junky so much that I immediately adapted the screenplay, which was called Bite Me Really Hard at the time, and through that process of fiction writing and script editing it became to be known as Love in Vein.

Cornelius, the character that visited me in my dreams back in 1995, is going to finally show up in the fourth book of the Däm’Um: Song of the Vam Pŷr series. But before I can introduce him I have to lay the groundwork!

What exciting dark project are you working on next?
Being edited for print - Däm’Um: Song of the Vam Pŷr’s Love in Vein (Love in Vein for short) (Blood Junky’s sequel)

Apex Publishing, at their request, asked for a full manuscript of my unique zombie story called, Dead Girl: A Romantic Zombie Tale of Revenge. So I gave myself a deadline with which to get it to them.

I’ve also just finished a psychological thriller screenplay for an as of yet unnamed-production-company. It’s quite a disturbing piece, and at times, was very difficult for me to write. Some characters, though brilliant, are just uncomfortable to inhabit. Tyler Deacon, in the screenplay of Savor, is such a character. I’m glad he’s mine. I am thankful to the All Mighty for giving me the where-withal to flesh him out, but frankly he’s a sick puppy that I’d rather not meet.

Writing Z, from the One Blood series, on the other hand, is a hoot. I move over and let her drive. Though to be honest, she’s the more dangerous of the two. I guess I am bias as to which social and psychological ills I play with. Or it could simply be the fact, as my roommate pointed out, vampires aren’t real, but you could run into someone like Tyler anywhere.

I am also working on the preliminary notes for a zombie screenplay for a friend of mine. He simply had the most amazing and fresh idea that I had to make a pitch so as to write it. I was working on another zombie screenplay at the time, but when he told me his idea, I set my other story aside and decided to collaborate.

In March, I’ll start work again on issue 2 of the BioGamer Girl Magazine. It’s a ‘zine dedicated to Girlz, Horror Culture, and Gaming. I’ll have a few articles in it. But mostly I’ll continue to do the graphic design, layout, a lot of editing, and some photography.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Young. About 7th or 8th grade. I’ve always written stories and poems. Though, I grew up to call myself a poet. Throughout my twenties and thirties I was really into the whole coffeehouse scene and made a name for myself in Albuquerque, NM by producing The Poetry Television Project, and then finally the award-winning documentary feature, Committing Poetry in Times of War. Through PTV, I produced 8 volumes of the groundbreaking show for public access television. But I stopped calling myself a poet once I realized the stigmata would never wash away.

Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
Yes, full time. Though, I still need to support myself with outside employment. So, I have a gig at a deli. I slice meat. I mop.

My day – wake up early – write (eating while I am doing it) – go to work at the deli(eat there to save money) – come home – write – sleep. Repeat.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I have two actually. One – I require tea. If there is no tea, there are no words. Period. Two – I write best in the mornings, and have to start fresh. If I miss this window nothing comes out. I can, at times, write later in the day only if I’ve written in the mornings and spend some time editing what I have written.

Writing is the only artform for me that is so stringent. Though, writing poems on the other hand are quite different. It’s a first come, first serve kind-O’-thang, where I either do it when the inspiration is comes, and it must be quite to go where the poet-gods direct me, or its gone and will never come back.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
Here's a link to BioGamer Girl magazine site and this is also BioGamer Girl. My estore. Publishing company.

Thank you for talking with us today, Stavros. All the best with your various creative projects. You're definitely keeping yourself busy. Oh, and, Happy Birthday!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Live chat/interview with Doranna Durgin - 2/27/11

The Writer's Chatroom presents multi-genre novelist Doranna Durgin.


Sunday, February 27, 2011

Eastern USA Time.....7-9 PM

Not sure what time that is wherever in the world you are?


The Writers Chatroom at:

Scroll down to the Java box. It may take a moment to load. Type in the name you wish to be known by, and click Login. No password needed.

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The Reckoners

Storm of Reckoning

Monday, February 21, 2011

Blog tour stop for Nora Weston with Virtual Book Tour Cafe

Today I'm hosting a virtual blog tour stop for Nora Weston.

CONTEST: Introduce yourself by leaving a comment (plus your e-mail), and you’ll have a chance to win a poster of Guardian 2632’s cover! The winner will be randomly chosen.

And now for a little bit about Nora:
Nora Weston’s fiction and poetry slips in-between and all around science fiction, fantasy, and horror. Her publishing credits include the anthologies Mind Mutations, Cyber Pulp’s Halloween 3.0, and Dark Pleasures. Other venues in print and online include; The Hacker’s Source, The Dream People, Hoboeye, Abandoned Towers, Lost in the Dark, Sputnik 57, Soul Engravings, and Decompositions. Recently, Dark Gothic Resurrected Magazine, Worlds Within–Worlds Beyond, Trapeze Magazine, and Four and Twenty published her work.

Melange Books has accepted The Twelfth Paladin for a May 2011 release. Nora has had the pleasure of reaching people through the airwaves on radio stations throughout the U.S., and episodes can be downloaded from Blog Talk Radio’s show Not Picture Perfect.

Nora, please tell us a bit about yourself.
I grew up in Wheeling, WV at a time when life was very simple. The neighborhood gang walked to school over a little bridge and then into a hilly populated area...without parents to watch over us. We enjoyed our neighborhood without fear, and time was always available for friends to visit long into the evening hours. Cell phones, computers, iTunes, and Xbox did not exist. I had to write down my homework, and go to a public library to do research. Truthfully, that all sounds more like fiction when I compare it to how my six kids have been raised! I’ve been an elementary teacher, and an artist, plus many other jobs as well have occupied my time. Although I’m a speculative author, and I love all things horror...teaching four, and soon to be five, teenagers to drive is the scariest thing I’ve ever done!

Please tell us a bit about Guardian 2632.
In Guardian 2632, time travel, Mercs, and a magnificent time chamber are part of everyday life for Zane Grayson. He’s the most accomplished executive director Guardian TMF has ever seen, and he’s breaking the law…his law against time surfing. Zane has the supreme power to decide which paradoxes in time need altered, or deleted, but he’s frustrated. Something, or someone, is missing from his life.

Time surfing in illegal time zones is the rush Zane can’t live without. As addictive as the Martian dust called kilred, time surfing becomes Zane’s obsession. And knowing full well if caught by the Elite Guardians, he’ll suffer a brutal death by Time Mercs, Zane still dives deep into trouble. Due to time surfing, he discovers a mission, in 2035, left him trapped in Pittsburgh, PA, 1998...a timehole. While in Pittsburgh, Zane strolls into a coffee shop to see the bewitching Julia Emerson. From that point on, his life, in 2632, spirals out of control as he fights to protect what he loves most.

Guardian 2632 does embrace the possibility of time travel, but the essence of this novel is Zane Grayson’s unstoppable determination to repair the past so Julia will have a future. The prologue can be found at the Noracast, and the first chapter is posted at my All Romance E-books.

What inspired you to write this book?
Inspiration for Guardian 2632 came about because Zane Grayson and Julia Emerson kept appearing in spectacular dreams that involved time travel. Julia, and her “good cop-gone bad cop” husband, Jack, argued relentlessly in my dreams. Jack and a mobster, named Marshall Pickett, became cohorts in crime, so Jack and Julia’s world crumbled. As a result, Julia’s life was put in jeopardy. Zane entered my dreams as a way for Julia to survive, well...that is if Zane accomplishes the perilous task asked of him. Since these people from nightmare land would not go away, I wrote a short story about them, and then that evolved into a full length novel.

What exciting story are you working on next?
Currently, I’m getting ready to do the final edit on my next release from Melange Books, called The Twelfth Paladin. It’s a smoking-hot, heaven/hell adventure involving a fallen angel named Micah, a rebellious hero...Jake Cottrell, and a temptress extraordinaire named Rachel Darnell. It’s a reworking of an older novel that deserved more attention. The cover has been posted at my website.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I first considered myself a writer while teaching in Pennsylvania, because I wrote stories for my students, and they were received with smiles and lots of laughter. At first, many of the children only liked to write nonfiction, but that soon changed. Making the children happy with unusual characters, and richly detailed settings, helped them to learn about using their imaginations while writing. The best part of the entire process was seeing how proud my students were while reading their magnificent stories to the class. Yes...the power of the written word is truly amazing.

Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
Writing, full time... Ah, those three, little words go together like super hot tea and a warm, glazed donut. (Yes, those are two of my favorite things!) Always and forever, I will be a wife, mother, sister, daughter, daughter-in-law, and no writing full time for Nora. Besides enjoying my family and friends, I enjoy movies like Chronicles of Riddick, Serenity, Happy Accidents, Upside of Anger, and Pride and Prejudice. Soon, I’ll begin illustrating some of the characters from Guardian 2632.

I find time to write by doing everything else as quickly as possible! By nature, I’m a night person, so that’s when I have time to create my worlds of speculative fiction and poetry.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I simply cannot be creative without the hottest tea on the planet. If I have Twizzlers to snack on, the writing goes even better. Now, if a handful of Hershey kisses also happen to be on my nightstand, then there’s no telling what galaxy I’ll find myself in.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Wow! That’s so long ago now...that I can barely remember, but I believe I wanted a job working with animals. Maybe it was a veterinarian, or a journalist for National Geographic. Hum, those both still sound like good options.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
Sure! Whatever your life is like at this moment, take time to express your creativity in some way. It relieves stress, and people are usually shocked at what they are capable of creating. If you think buying paint, canvases, and brushes are too costly...try a paint program, like Graffiti, on Facebook. The artwork I’ve seen on Graffiti blows me away! Today is the day to write, paint, play the piano...or sing for the first time. Please drop by my website and the Noracast from time to time for updates.

Nora, thanks for visiting!

Nora's next stop is Wednesday, Feb 23. She will be guest blogging at

Reminder:CONTEST: Introduce yourself by leaving a comment (plus your e-mail), and you’ll have a chance to win a poster of Guardian 2632’s cover! The winner will be randomly chosen.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Interview with dark fiction writer Kathryn Meyer Griffith

Dark fiction writer Kathryn Meyer Griffith is our guest today. So glad to have you, Kathryn, especially with two recent releases.

Let's hop right in with a bit of a bio for the readers.
Sure! I've been writing for over 40 years now...published for 27. I have 14 novels and 7 short stories to my name...and more coming. I write traditional supernatural horror, suspense, murder mysteries and paranormal romance. I've been writing about ghosts, haunted places, and evil vampires long before Stephanie Meyer (no relation to me even though my maiden name is Meyer) and the rest of the vampire author crowd, ha, ha. By the end of 2012, all seven of my older Zebra and Leisure paperbacks are going to be repackaged, reprinted and, rereleased and in e-books for the first time. Yippie! So look for them.

I'm a wife of 32 years, mother, and grandmother. I was a graphic designer in the corporate world for 23 years. I've published with Dorchester, Kensington, Avalon Books, The Wild Rose Press, Damnation Books, and Eternal Press. I love cats and nature, classic rock and country music (my brother, JS Meyer, is a singer/songwriter and does the songs for all my self-made book trailers that are on my websites).

Please tell us about your current release.
The Nameless One is an erotic horror short story from Damnation Books out on February 1. In actuality, it’s a rerelease (rewritten, new cover, and in e-book for the first time ever) of a 1993 erotic horror short story that was in an anthology called Dark Seductions. It’s about husband and wife Egyptologists who search for and unearth an ancient forgotten and cursed tomb in Egypt…and what happens when the evil entity that has been imprisoned in it for many millennia is released. It’s basically a woman empowerment and revenge story fueled by love. I usually don’t write erotic stories. This is only my second one in my whole career as usually I write pretty much PG or PG13 stories. It’s an experiment. We’ll see how it does.

What inspired you to write this story?
I’ve always loved (been obsessed with really) ancient Egypt, its myths, its history, and its people since I was a child. Like most children, Mummies, tombs and the glitter of the ancient pharaohs’ lives intrigued me; all the horror movies that were set in that time. I even recall doing history reports on ancient Egypt in grade school.

When my Zebra editor asked me (in 1993) to do an erotic short story for their anthology Dark Seductions I said yes and knew immediately I’d write about an ancient evil Egyptian sorceress that seduces men to their death. I’d just finished writing my 1993 Zebra horror novel The Calling on a somewhat similar theme and had spent endless hours in the library (that was before the Internet, PCs, e-mail manuscript attachments and editing, etc.) doing the research and thought: Hey, I can use the same research and get some more miles out of it. So The Nameless One was born. But where The Calling is about an ancient Egyptian ghost seeking justice for a horrific crime done to her and her family, The Nameless One is about a present day woman seeking revenge on an evil ancient Egyptian entity. By the way, The Calling is also being rereleased from Damnation Books in October 2011…rewritten and also in e-book for the first time.

What exciting story are you working on next?
Right now and pretty much for the next year, I’ll be working on the seven rewrites of my older Zebra and Leisure Books paperbacks, and one short story that Eternal Press and Damnation Books are bringing out again in print and e-books between June 2010 and July 2012.

Since I originally wrote these books on a typewriter, as I worked full time and raised a family, and because of my inexperience as a writer in those early days, some of these novels really need a lot of rewriting. Good thing is that if I can now see the problems in the writing, in POV, plots, and character motivations, it tells me that I must have learned something in these last 27 years. In some ways, it’s been great to see my babies reborn again but in others I’ll be glad when I get them all done and can go on to new books. I struggle so as not to let my imagination begin a new story in my head. Not until I get these old books done and out, I tell myself. Ha, ha.

I’ve been thinking, though, when I’m finished with these old books about writing a book on my family; of growing up poor in a Walton-style family (I had six brothers and sisters) through the 1950s, 60s, and into the present. Sort of like my life story. Fiction, but based on all I’ve lived though and seen. Sheesh…see I can’t stop thinking of new stuff.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
It’s going to sound silly, but it hasn’t been until the last few years, with 14 novels and 7 short stories to my name that I’ve been able to actually call myself a writer without cringing or feeling like a fake. Something about 40 years writing, all the ups and downs of my career, the longevity of it all, never giving up when I’ve been knocked down again and again, has made me finally feel like a true writer. I’ve given up most of my life, my time, my love, into my novels and finally feel I’ve earned the title.

Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
Now I write full time. I worked 23 years full time out of the house as a graphic artist in the corporate world and about 10 years ago (after having 10 books published) my husband got a good job and let me quit mine so I could write full time, saying it was now his turn to support me. I write Monday through Friday from about 10AM to 5PM usually. If I’m not doing promotions on the web. It’s been heaven, though I don’t make much money, I’m finally doing what I love best all day, every day.

What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?
I write on a laptop in my living room with the television on low all the time so I won’t get lonely. Have to have my special chocolate coffee and my feet up on my recliner.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
An artist. I started drawing pictures at nine years old. I could reproduce anything perfectly. Then for a while in my teens and early twenties I wanted to sing out with my brother, Jim, and I did for a time. I’ve always thought of my writing as my butterfly stage …first the art, then the singing and then the writing. In my books, you see, I get to be anything I want. I control every character and thought.

In my 2010 Before the End: A Time of Demons my main character, Cassandra, does sing out with her singer/songwriter brother, Johnnie, for a living. In a lot of my books, the main character’s an artist. So I have the best of all worlds.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
Other than the two new novels and the seven old rereleases I have coming out from Damnation Books and Eternal Press in the next eighteen months, I also have an erotic contemporary short story romance that came out from Whispers Publishing on January 7. It’s not horror, but a straight romance. Not too erotic, but a good love story called Always & Forever.

My Web sites: (to see all my book trailers with original music by my singer/songwriter brother JS Meyer))

Thank you, Lisa, for having me here! It’s been fun. Warmly, Kathryn Meyer Griffith

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Interview with author Deborah Lee Luskin

Today we get to learn a bit about VT author Deborah Lee Luskin.

Welcome to Reviews and Interviews, Deborah.

Please tell us a bit about yourself.
I've been writing about Vermont life, past and present, since relocating from New York City in 1984. I hold a PhD in English Literature from Columbia University and have taught literature and writing to diverse learners, from Ivy League undergraduates to prison inmates. I'm a Visiting Scholar for the Vermont Humanities Council, a freelance journalist, a skilled technical writer, and a regular commentator for Vermont Public Radio. Into The Wilderness is my first published novel.

Please tell us about your newest release, Into the Wilderness.
Into the Wilderness, set in Vermont in 1964, is a love story between 64-year olds: Rose Mayer is a Jewish widow from New York, and Percy Mendell is a Vermont bachelor.

It’s also a story about reevaluating one’s faith. Rose has never lived outside a Jewish community before, and her Vermont neighbors have never before met a Jew. Rose is challenged to figure out what it means for her to be Jewish; she can no longer simply rely on being surrounded by people who all think, live, and worship the same way – something she’s always just taken for granted. And her neighbors are curious! Answering their questions forces her to clarify her own thinking about faith.

For Percy, it’s his political faith that’s challenged. All his life, the Republicans have ruled Vermont and served as the conscience of the Republican Party at the national level. In 1964, the Vermont delegation to the GOP convention nominates Margaret Chase Smith for president – but Barry Goldwater wins the nomination, and Percy crosses party lines for the first time in his life. Vermont follows and for the first time in 150 years does not elect the GOP presidential nominee. But politics are just part of it. His widowed sister, with whom he lived, has just died, and Percy is lonely. Memory of his first love, dead for over forty years, surfaces, and he’s at odds with his feelings. Worse, he’s facing retirement in a year and doesn’t know what he’s going to do for the rest of his life.

In addition, the story is a love song to Vermont and to a sense of time and place. The Interstate Highways were being built, and Vermont’s insularity was penetrated by outsiders. So in many ways, it’s a story about how people accept (or don’t) strangers – what it takes for us all to get along.

What inspired you to write this book?
I wrote the first draft of this book after completing a dark love story set in Vermont in 1958. Elegy for a Girl tells the tragic story of Harlan Knight, a farmer, who is starved for love after his wife, Mary Grace, dies. His daughter has been raised in town by her loveless aunt and lecherous uncle. All she wants to do is return to the farm – the one place she’s been happy. But half the farm has been taken for the new interstate highway that’s being built, and her father refuses to make the technological changes required to stay in the dairy business but refuses to give up the farm. Father and daughter fall in love with each other – with tragic consequences.

Percy Mendell is a minor character in Elegy for a Girl, but one whom I liked a great deal. When the idea for Rose Mayer walked into my imagination, I knew I had mischief in the making – and it was a relief to write a happy story after writing a dark one. I’m still hopeful that Elegy will be published.

What exciting story are you working on next?
All I can say is that I’m working on a novel that involves Jane Austen – a passion of mine. It’s too soon – the work is too fragile – to say anything else.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I’ve been writing since I was nine. I’d read Anne Frank’s Diary, so I started keeping my own, even starting the entries, “Dear Kitty”. What I understood from Frank’s diary was the way writing could help overcome loneliness and isolation, which were part of my life as an only daughter surrounded by sons. (I have three brothers.) Writing continues to be how I meditate, how I figure things out, process new information – and earn a living.

Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
I lived alone and wrote before I met my husband. I thought I’d be able to continue writing even after I had kids. Well, I did keep writing, but not during long, luxurious days of quiet and order, that’s for sure! I learned to write when I could, and one of the skills I developed was to listen to my voice when I was doing other things – like driving the kids to ballet or washing dishes. I don’t think I was a very attentive mom.

I also managed the family business, which only took just a few hours a week when I started, but grew to be nearly full time. After sixteen years, I was able to give up the job and write full time. For a while, I was free-lancing for two major medical centers, writing technical and promotional copy, which paid well. I also wrote editorial columns, essays, and features in regional publications. In order to write fiction, I accept fewer freelance jobs – and make less money. The tradeoff in time and concentration is worth it to me.

All during those managerial and mommy years, I also taught for the Vermont Humanities Council, which I still do. Teaching literature-based humanities programs gave me a chance to get dressed and get out of the house, find an immediate audience, be professional, be heard. The work has taken me into Vermont libraries, hospitals and prisons. I’m now teaching literature and writing to teen moms. I love the work – and it’s parttime.

My ideal writing day starts in the dark. I stop to breakfast with my husband before he leaves for his office, then I go back to mine. I try to take two hours at lunchtime to walk – which is often when I hear my writer’s voice clearest. I return to my desk to capture what I’ve heard. Now that the kids are grown, my days are my own – or are they? It seems as if I still allow too many interruptions, even inviting them in order to avoid writing something hard.

But I also have a column in the local independent paper and I’m a regular commentator on Vermont Public Radio – so I always have something due, even when I’m unclear about my fiction. That’s the most important thing, I think: showing up to work.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I wish I had one. I’m deadly serious about writing.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be a psychiatrist until I took high school biology and dissected a pig. I switched to psychologist – until I took a college course in behavioral psych. I became an English major, because it allowed me to practice psychology on characters – and allowed me to spend most of my time reading novels. But as a child? I wanted to be a princess.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
I completed three novels (and abandoned countless others) before Into the Wilderness was published – when I was fifty-four. Nevertheless, I’ve always considered myself a writer, even before I was published. And despite pulling my hair, gnashing my teeth and sometimes making life miserable for my family and myself, I still haven’t given up. If you have a writer’s voice inside you, listen to it; write it down; don’t give up.

Deborah, thank you so much for your time today.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Tour schedule for Yvonne Perry's new book

I am going on a book tour together for Yvonne Perry's new book, Whose Stuff Is This? Finding Freedom from the Thoughts, Feelings, and Energy of Those Around You. It's not a typical book tour that drives all over town from one bookstore to another signing copies of the book. Instead, it is an online blog tour and you are cordially invited to come along with me as I drop by more than twenty blogs dealing with empathy fatigue, emotional burnout, and intuition as well as information about how she wrote and published the book.

Visitors get to read something new each day as they follow the book tour from blog to blog: audio clips, video clips, written interviews, links to radio interviews, book excerpts, media releases, and content-rich articles.

Topics include the following:

  • Authors Must Learn to Sell What They Write

  • Clearing Your Energy Field

  • Detaching Politely Before You Reach Your Limit

  • Empathic Babies, Children, and Teens

  • How I Published My Book on Empathy Fatigue

  • Identifying Your Own Energy

  • Setting Boundaries with People

  • Stories from an Empath

  • Why I Wrote a Book for Empaths

  • 5 Steps for Developing Your Intuition

  • Characteristics of an Untrained Empath

  • Difference Between Empathy and Intuition, The

  • Excerpts from the book

  • Gift of Intuition Reveals a Sister’s Secret, The

  • Influence Ghosts Have Upon Human Emotions, The

  • Make the Voices Stop!

  • Psychology of Empathy, The

  • Q&A Interview with the Author

  • Temper Tantrums ~ An Opportunity to Teach Your Child How to Process Emotions

  • There’s a Ghost in Our House. Can We Keep Him?

  • Understanding Empathy

  • What Is an Empath?

  • When Fear Turns into an Anxiety Problem

  • Why I Chose to Self-publish My Book About Empathic Overload

Here is the tour schedule:

Join the pre-tour warm-up on Wednesday, February 23 as Dr. Caron Goode and Yvonne Perry chat with @LynnSerafinn on Garden of the Soul Radio at 6 p.m. UK Time, 1 p.m. Eastern Time.

Another running start for the tour is on Saturday, February 26 Joyce Shafer will share an article in her State of Appreciation Newsletter: Follow @JoyceShafer.

Monday, February 28 - The Shift Guru Barbara Joye will host an article by Yvonne titled "5 Steps for Developing your Intuition" Follow @TheShiftGuru.

Tuesday, March 1 - Joanne Sprott (@muselady11) will host Yvonne on Beyond Words Radio Show at Believe in the Moment radio

Wednesday, March 2 - Carol Denbow (@author101) will share an article titled “Why Yvonne wrote the book” on her blog, A Book Inside

Thursday, March 3- @positivepresent Dani will post an article: "Psychology of Empathy" on her blog, Positively Present

Friday, March 4 - Irene Conlan @ieconlan has an article: "Setting Boundaries with People" to share on The Self Improvement Blog.

Saturday, March 5 - Shelagh Jones @SpiritusShelagh will be hosting an audio interview with Yvonne for her Spiritus blog.

Sunday, March 6 - Penny Ehrenkranz @pennyehrenkranz Article: "How Yvonne Published the Book" on One Writer's Journey

Monday, March 7 - Doreen Pendgracs @wizardofwords will be sharing an article from Yvonne titled: "Why I Chose to Self-publish My Book About Empathic Overload." See

Tuesday, March 8 - Nickolove Lovemore @nickolove Skyline Coaching Blog has a video clip, an excerpt from the book, an article “Clearing Your Energy Field,” and a book review.

Wednesday, March 9 - Callie Carling @moonpoppy shares a video, book review, and article on her blog, Empowered Healer

Thursday, March 10 - Irene Conlan (@ieconlan) hosts Yvonne on The Self Improvement Radio Show.

Friday, March 11 - Dr. Caron Goode @parent_coach shares an interview with Yvonne and a video about the gift of empathy on the Academy for Coaching Parents International

Saturday, March 12 - Dr. Caron Goode will be joining Shelagh Jones @SpiritusShelagh for an audio interview about the psychology of empathy. See Spiritus blog.

Monday, March 14 - Soulmate Coach Crystal @soulmatecoachc shares an article about detaching politely

Tuesday, March 15 - She'll be here for a question & answer interview.

Wednesday, March 16 - Pat Bertram @PatBertram has an article, “ Stories from an Empath,” on Dragon My Feet:

Thursday, March 17 has two stops: Elizabeth Bennett @PeerAbuse will post an article: “Empathy in Children and Teens” on AND Barbara Techel @joyfulpaws shares a YouTube video on Joyful Paws

Friday, March 18 - Barbara Joye (@TheShiftGuru) will share her interview with Yvonne on her Creative Cafe Radio Show:

Monday, March 21 - Reno Lovison Marketing Communications Services presents an article “Authors Must Learn to Sell What They Write” on his Business Card to Business Blog: Follow @renoweb

Tuesday, March 22 - Anne Lyken-Garner @esther96 has a media release on

Wednesday, March 23 - Dr. Caron Goode @parent_coach presents a book excerpt and press release on her blog, Kids Who See Ghosts

Thursday, March 24 - Faith Ranoli interviews Yvonne on @positiveradio Heart and Home Radio Show

Friday, March 25 - Vonnie Faroqui @inkslngrswhmz has an article on Ink Slinger's Whimsey blog

Monday, March 28 - Dr. Caron Goode @parent_coach shares a book excerpt on Raising Intuitive Children blog

Monday, February 14, 2011

Live chat/interview with mystery novelist Jan Brogan - 2/20/11

The Writer's Chatroom presents mystery novelist Jan Brogan.


Sunday, February 20, 2011

Eastern USA Time.....7-9 PM

Not sure what time that is wherever in the world you are?


The Writers Chatroom at:

Scroll down to the Java box. It may take a moment to load. Type in the name you wish to be known by, and click Login. No password needed.

Please note: The chatroom is only open for regularly scheduled chats.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Peg Herring's Blog Crawl - "Losing the Spice"

Thanks to Lisa for hosting Peg’s Blog Crawl today! Here is yesterday’s post, “Names Into Words”.

The Perpetrator - Peg Herring writes historical and contemporary mysteries. She loves everything about publishing, even editing (most days). Peg’s historical series, The Simon and Elizabeth Mysteries, debuted last year to wonderful reviews. The second in the series will be available in November from Five Star.

The Presentation - Losing the Spice

To quote John Mellencamp, “Life goes on, long after the thrill of livin’ is gone.”

Sometimes series do the same thing. Television series often run out of good material, and it’s usually easy to see when that happens. There’s even a term for it: jumping the shark. It comes from an episode on “Happy Days” where Fonzie — well, jumps over a shark. On waterskis. The metaphor now applies to the moment in a TV program's history where the plot spins off into absurd storylines and unlikely actions.

It can happen in books, too, and most of us have given up on a series or a character that goes too far. As an author, I recognize that it is hard to keep writing fresh and interesting with repeating elements. As a reader, I tend to space out my favorite authors’ books so I don’t notice quite so much the fact that this one ALWAYS gets beaten bloody halfway through the book or this one ALWAYS has to deal with the same relative pulling some dopey trick.

Some writers come to despise their own characters. In an interview I heard a few years ago, Martha Grimes told of wanting to kill off Inspector Jury. She had new ideas she wanted to pursue, but of course her publisher would not hear of it. Profit is king at publishing houses, and readers apparently don’t think Richard Jury is done, even after twenty-two novels.

Some authors try to keep readers’ interest by putting their characters through unbelievable and often bizarre events. It may keep the series going, but it doesn’t work for me. As soon as the character isn’t likeable any more, as soon as I can’t accept what she has done or become, I look for new authors to read.

It might be that authors need to rest from their characters. With the demands of publishing, it’s harder for writers than for readers to “space out” their books, but working on something else between series entries could be restful. Steve Hamilton said a few years ago at a presentation that he might go back to Alex McKnight someday, but needed a break from him for a while. He’s done all right with his move in new directions, winning an Edgar nomination for his latest effort, The Lock Artist. Even if a writer is not sure the new work will be published, turning to something different for a while might give a fresh approach when he returns to his tried-and-true sellers.

Whether we call it “losing the spice” or “jumping the shark” writers know when they’ve lost interest in their characters. The question a writer must ask herself is, “Do I keep cranking them out, or do I take a chance and try something new?” For me, there has to be spice. If it isn’t fun to write, I won’t be writing it.

The Poser - Name three thriller protagonists who once served as government agents but don’t now.

The Prizes - Weekly prizes (your choice of The Dead Detective Agency in e- or print format) drawn from the names of those who comment on the blogs as we go. Comment once per day, but the first commenter each day gets entered twice in Saturday’s drawing!

The Pathway - The next entry and the answers/comments to the Poser will be up at Chris Redding's blog.

The Pitch - The Dead Detective Agency, first in The Dead Detective Mysteries, paranormal mystery. Tori Van Camp wakes in a stateroom on a cruise ship with no memory of booking a cruise, but she does have a vivid recollection of being shot in the chest. Determined to find out what happened and why, Tori enlists the help of an odd detective named Seamus. Together they embark on an investigation like nothing she’s ever experienced. Death is all around her, and unless they act quickly, two people she cares about are prime candidates for murder.

Read more about this book and the author or buy the book.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Ashley Dawn virtual book tour stop

Today I'm hosting a guest as she travels on her virtual book tour through the Virtual Book Tour Cafe.

Author Ashley Dawn was born and raised in rural Arkansas where she developed her love for writing while helping in her parent's office. She graduated with an accounting degree from the University of Central Arkansas. Ashley has been writing professionally for the past seven years. She and her family make their home in TX.

Please tell us about your current release.
Shadows of Suspicion is the second book in my Shadows series. It has a lot of the same characters from Shadows from the Past but focuses on a different couple. Kerry and Luke are the focus of this book. Kerry is the sister to Jordan Reiley from book one and is a school teacher. She gets drawn into the ongoing struggle between the law and the Deveraux crime family. Luke, an acquaintance of her brother, is sent to bring her back when she is kidnapped by Deveraux. Together they have to fight to stay alive and the bigger risk seems to be to Luke’s heart.

What inspired you to write this book?
I fell in love with the Reiley family in my first book. Each member is unique and I felt like they deserved their own story. Actually, I think I fell in love with all my characters and since their characteristics are based off my family members, it makes them seem more real to me. I will write about any of them that inspire me to write a story!

What exciting story are you working on next?
At the moment, I’m working on two different books. I’m working on the third book in my Shadows series, Shadows of Pain, that is going to focus on Kami and Daniel. Also, I’m working on a stand alone book that doesn’t have a title yet, but is about an attorney and a nurse trying to find a serial killer. They are in a race against time to find the killer before he kills someone very dear to them.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I’ve always written, mostly songs, poems, and little stories for my niece and nephews. I actually sat down to write my first novel at the age of 19 and it was finished in a year. I think I considered myself a writer when I decided to pursue publication of my novel. Before that, it had just been something to do for fun, but with my family’s support (and pushing!) I got it published.

Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
I don’t write full time. I have a full time job working as a legal assistant in a criminal defense attorney’s office. I find time at nights and on the weekends. There is very little ‘extra’ time in my life so I have to force myself to take the time and sit down to write. My children make that even more difficult, but I do try to get in some time every week (if not more often) to get work done on one of my books.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I would say having to write every word on a legal pad before I’ll type it is my weirdest or most interesting quirk. I have specific colored legal pads and pens for each book. I don’t know why I started it that way, but that is how I started writing my first book and now it is just something I have to do.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be a biologist or zoologist and work with big animals. I actually started my degree in biology in college but changed it to accounting to be able to obtain a job more easily. The animals I really wanted to work with though were big cats like cougars, leopards, and lions. I still think that would have been great but I am happy with how my life is going.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
I want to go a little sappy on you and say everyone follow your dreams! If your dream is to travel the world, go for it. If your dream is to be on TV, work toward it. If your dream is to be a stay at home mom, you can do that, too! Anything is possible and if you don’t try for your dreams, you won’t get help along the way, but the harder you try, the more likely it is you will achieve your dreams!

Thank you so much for having me today Lisa! I really enjoyed it.

It was a pleasure having you stop by, Ashley.

Readers, Ashley's next tour stop is February 12.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Live chat/interview with author Penny Lockwood Ehrenkranz - 2/13/11

The Writer's Chatroom presents novelist Penny Ehrenkranz.


Sunday, February 13, 2011

Eastern USA Time.....7-9 PM

Not sure what time that is wherever in the world you are?


The Writers Chatroom at:

Scroll down to the Java box. It may take a moment to load. Type in the name you wish to be known by, and click Login. No password needed.

Please note: The chatroom is only open for regularly scheduled chats.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Review of Posted in Colombo by Shizue Tomoda

Genre: Memoir
Title: Posted in Colombo: A Glance at Toiling Women and the Indian Tamils of Sri Lanka
Author: Shizue Tomoda

Shizue Tomoda enjoys traveling to foreign countries and she’s gone on several missions to a few countries through positions with the International Labour Organization (ILO). After more than six years being comfortable living and working in Geneva, she craves another field assignment. Official word of placement in Colombo, Sri Lanka finally arrives and Shizue has three-and-a-half months to tie up all loose ends of her current life and relocate to a new country to start a new life and job. The opportunity has been a long time in coming and Shizue is excited.

Posted in Colombo is an engaging memoir that shares details of the civil war and the ethnic makeup in Sri Lanka. Written by a former director of ILO’s Colombo, Sri Lanka office, Posted in Colombo gives a front row experience of a living in a foreign country where suicide bombers, shootings, and death are a regular occurrence. The author brings you to the bombed streets and neighborhoods, introduces you to female migrant workers, mostly housemaids, who yearn to improve their standing in society, and allows you a glimpse into her passion for bringing light and hope to women who have only experienced darkness and despair.

The author’s writing style is direct, detailed, yet personal. She weaves real world events with her personal reactions in a conversational way. Her attention to detail and being able to weave memories and description together caught me on the first page, starting with an A4-size brown envelope. Tomoda’s passion for helping empower women so they can take greater roles in society is at the core of the book, yet it is balanced with her activities outside of the office and with examples of what is happening in the world at that time. The writing transports the reader to a different time and place with honesty and grace.

Shizue Tomoda was born in Japan and educated there and in the United States. She had a twenty-five year career with a United Nations agency promoting international labor standards. Her other books include Sachiko, a novel based on her upbringing in post-war Japan and her new life and coming-of-age in the States, and Taro and Tomi: My Feline Son and Daughter, a memoir about her and her two adopted cats. The author currently lives in France on the Swiss border near Geneva where she pursues her creative writing interests.

The illustrations by Edwin Batawala included in the book balance the narrative with a personal voice and attention to detail that is similar to the author’s. Shizue Tomoda’s memoir Posted in Colombo is a highly recommended read. Reviewer: Lisa Haselton, Allbooks Reviews.

Publisher: Createspace
ISBN: 978-1453634981
Pages: 316
Price: $18.99

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Chiczofrenia: Virtual book tour stop for Dr. Laina Turner-Molaski

Please welcome Dr. Laina Turner-Molaski as she continues her virtual book tour for her newest book, Chiczofrenia: Crazy Is an Art Form.

Let's start with a short bio to who you are.
Who am I? It kind of depends on the day. I am a human compendium of unrelated things. I used to think I was just weird, had shiny ball syndrome and couldn’t focus, scattered, you name it. Then I decided it was OK to be all over the place as long as each avenue I wanted to explore had meaning and purpose or was fun. So I embrace the fact I am a college professor (Go Capella), a writer of fiction and non-fiction, promoter of other authors, human resource professional, business consultant, and all around interesting person (according to my closest friends).

When I’m not working toward my goals I like, ok fine, LOVE wine, coffee, shopping, and books. I enjoy my kids, they are awesome. I hate the cold but yet live in the mid-west. Vegas is one of my favorite spots as I love to people watch and if I ever get married again it will definitely be in a drive through chapel by a fake Elvis.

Please tell us a bit about Chiczofrenia: Crazy Is an Art Form.
Chiczofrenic is the term for the woman who is purposeful and intentional in how crazy her life may be. The goal with this book is to recognize many women drive themselves crazy, intentionally, by trying to be all they can. I firmly believe we can have it all. A great relationship, being a great mom, keeping a good house (if that’s important to you), being a career woman, following your dreams, working out, eating right, and many more. Women seem to have the knack for how to manage it all and not go crazy. Women seem to always take on more and more…and are successful at it.

What inspired you to write this book?
I was going through a lot of life changes and I felt that not only did I need to get it out, but also I felt so alone at times that other women may feel the same way and writing about it could help others.

What exciting story are you working on next?
I am working on my next fiction novel, the follow up to Stilettos & Scoundrels.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
That’s a funny question because I still don’t really consider myself a writer. Although this is now the third book I have written and published it seems so unreal to consider myself an author. I think of authors as people I read. Not my writing.

Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
I don’t write full-time, I wish I did. I have a full-time job as a college professor and I try and write any free time I have. One of my obstacles is I have a hard time writing when I am tried. My creativity just doesn’t seem to be at its best if I don’t have energy, but I have learned to compensate by dashing off my fresh ideas in the morning and then cleaning them up later. I hope that someday I will be able to devote myself full time to the writing.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
When I editm I do it long hand and it has to be in a colored pen. Anything but blue or black.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
When I was really small I wanted to be a truck driver or work at Taco Bell. Then as I got older and a little more realistic, I thought I would be a veterinarian, I loved animals, until I realized that I wasn’t the best at anatomy and physiology. Then I switched to business.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
Writing is a great outlet for me. I have always felt the compulsion to write. Whether it was journaling or stories, something about the act of doing it has always made me feel better. The fact that I am able to now create material that at least a few people feel like reading is a great thing to me.

Readers, you can learn more about Laina as she visits other blogs through this Goddess Fish virtual book tour. Tomorrow, she'll be at Chris Redding's blog. For all other stops, you can check out the tour schedule.

And, Readers, leave a comment here and as you follow the tour. Laina will be giving away three $40 Visa gift cards during her tour: one to a randomly drawn commenter in each of the following periods: January 31-February 25; February 28-March 25; March 28-April 22. There are plenty of chances to win and you don't have anything to lose!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Interview and blog stop with crime author Geraldine Evans

Today we get to meet crime author Geraldine Evans as just one of her many stops in a month-long blog tour. She's also giving away a few prizes to lucky commentors.

Please tell us a bit about yourself.
I've been writing since my 20s, though only began to actually finish novels when I hit 30. I have written the popular Rafferty & Llewellyn crime series; Casey & Catt, a second crime series; a published historical, Reluctant Queen, under the name Geraldine Hartnett, about the little sister of Henry VIII; a romance, Land of Dreams, set in the Canadian Arctic; and articles on a variety of subjects, including, Historical Biography, Writing, Astrology, Palmistry and other New Age subjects. I've also written a dramatization of Dead Before Morning, the first book in my Rafferty series.

I am a Londoner, but now live in Norfolk, England where I moved, with my husband George, in 2000.

Deadly Reunion is my 18th novel and 14th in the humorous Rafferty & Llewellyn crime series.

Please tell us about Deadly Reunion: A Rafferty & Llewellyn crime novel.
Detective Inspector Joe Rafferty is barely back from his honeymoon before he has two unpleasant surprises. Not only has he another murder investigation - a poisoning at a school reunion, he also has four new lodgers, courtesy of his Ma, Kitty Rafferty. Ma is organising her own reunion and since getting on the internet, the Rafferty and Kelly reunion attendees have grown, like Topsy. In his murder investigation, Rafferty has to go back in time to learn of all the likely motives of the victim's fellow reunees But it is only when he is reconciled to his unwanted lodgers, that Rafferty finds the answers to his most important questions.

What inspired you to write this book?
I suppose it was having attended my own school reunion, with all its remembered emotions and relationships.

What exciting story are you working on next?
I hope it’s exciting! It’s called Kith and Kill and is another Rafferty & Llewellyn crime story. It concerns the murder of Sophia Egerton on her 90th birthday, with all her family in the house. As the investigation gets under way, it’s clear that there are a number of festering emotions amongst the family both towards each other and towards the dead woman. Whilst the murder investigation is continuing, Rafferty has to somehow get his own family on his side about what to choose for a present for his Ma on the occasion of a triple anniversary. But then, once he’s got them to his point of view, he has to get them to change their minds back. But Ma has a mind of her own, as events remind him.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I think I’ve always considered myself a writer, even if it was without being consciously aware of it and even though, as a child, it would never have occurred to me that that was what I was. Although I don’t come from a writerly family, I was always a real book-worm and got high marks for my stories at school. I started trying to write properly while I was in my twenties, but it wasn’t till I reached the milestone age of thirty that I knuckled under and actually finished a book. I wrote a book a year for six years, only the last of which was actually published. They were all romances. After my seventh effort at a romance was rejected, I felt like murdering someone. So I did. I turned to crime.

My first crime novel, Dead Before Morning, was plucked from MacMillan’s slush pile and published in hb and pb in both the UK and the US. I’ve just brought it out as an ebook on kindle, etc. It was the first in my Rafferty & Llewellyn series and I’m now writing number fifteen.

Please tell us a bit about Dead Before Morning: A Rafferty & Llewellyn crime novel.
Detective Inspector Joseph Rafferty is investigating his first murder since his promotion. What a shame the victim is a girl with no name, found in a place she had no business being – a private psychiatric hospital. With everyone denying knowing anything about the victim, Rafferty has his work cut out, so he could do without his Ma setting him another little problem: that of getting his cousin ‘Jailhouse Jack’ out of the cells. Although he has no shortage of suspects, proof is not so plentiful. It is only when he remembers his forgotten promise to get his cousin out of the cells that Rafferty gets the first glimmer that leads to the solution to the case.

Here's a link to the trailer for Dead Before Morning.

Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like?
Yes, I write full-time now, though I probably shouldn’t. Alas, no one wants to employ me. I tend to start the day checking my emails, which now, because I’m a member of so many lists, takes half the day! Once I’ve the emails done, I’ll attend to whatever’s in the in-tray. In January, it was organizing and preparing for this Blog Tour. I’ve also been filling in forms and signing up for this and that. I’ve been preparing for my next talk. Once I’ve done all that, I try to find time for my writing. Lately, I find I have to practically make an appointment with myself to actually get on with the next novel.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I write in the living room on my laptop with the TV blaring out daytime telly programmes (my husband’s retired and he only has summer hobbies (metal detecting and fishing). I keep trying to suggest other hobbies for him to do, but it’s no go. I used to work in my little office upstairs, but it’s far warmer in the living room and it’s nearer the kettle! I’m fortunate in that I can work whatever the conditions. I used to write in works’ restaurants and rooms where the staff would take their break during my lunch hours, with the noisy hubbub of my co-workers all around me. Just as well I’m starting to go deaf!

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I’m not sure I can remember that far back! God! What did I want to do? As little as possible I think. Marry a rich man and retire, probably. I didn’t quite manage to get that Sugar Daddy, although I got the Daddy part as my (entirely sugarless) husband is nineteen years older than me. Perhaps if I’d been born a generation later I would have had a particular ambition. But women of my generation and class didn’t have careers, so had no reason to nurse ambitions unlikely to reach fulfilment. It was unlikely in the extreme, even though I was a keen reader and always got top marks for my stories at school, that I would become a writer. I still regard it as something akin to a miracle that I am one.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
I think I might be the example your readers are seeking to encourage them to get started writing. I’m the major exam failure of working-class parents and grew up on a south London Council estate. I went to a State school for the less academically-inclined and left at sixteen. If there was anyone less likely to become a writer that person is me. So that’s your last excuse disposed of. If I can do it, so can you!

People can visit me at my site, or my blog.

I also have a couple of giveaways to commenters during my tour. Gifts include: a signed copy of Deadly Reunion, my latest hardback (Rafferty & Llewellyn crime series), a copy of the e-book Dead Before Morning , a copy of the e-book Down Among the Dead Men, and a subscription to my blog.

Geraldine, thank you so much for your time today. It sounds like you're on quite a writing roll, and I wish you all the best with future publications.