Sunday, December 30, 2012

Interview with Sweet Romance Author Karey White


Karey White is the author of two novels. Her book, Gifted, was a 2011 Whitney Award Finalist. Besides writing, she enjoys baking, reading, traveling and spending time with family and friends. Before she started writing, she owned a wedding cake shop and designed and sold clothing. Her greatest joy comes from being a wife and mother. She has a wonderful husband and four fantastic children. Her favorite quote and the motto she tries to apply to her life is “faith and fear cannot co-exist.” Karey White is an author, a wife and a mother of four.

Welcome back to my blog, Karey. Please tell us about your new book, For What It's Worth.

It’s the story of 24-year-old Abby Benson. An inheritance from her aunt gives her the ability to make her dream of owning a wedding cake bakery a reality. She hires (and falls for) Dane, a handsome contractor who helps her renovate the bakery. Unsure what to charge for her cakes, Abby has a crazy idea to let the customer decide what they think their cake is worth. This plan has its ups and downs, but the novelty of the idea makes her a local celebrity. When she is interviewed on television about the unusual idea, business booms and Abby has cake adventures she never dreamed possible. But as her fame grows, Abby is swept up in a whirlwind that threatens everything she values. With the challenges that face her, will she be able to determine what is worth the most?

Where did you get your inspiration for this novel?

I owned my own wedding cake business for about a dozen years. When I delivered an especially interesting cake to a wedding, the mother told me she was surprised what a bargain it was. I started wondering what she’d have been willing to pay for the cake if it had been up to her. Pretty soon I had ideas for the book that I couldn’t wait to write.

Owning your own wedding cake shop must have been a fun experience. What kind of research did you do for this book?

There’s always the little things like researching restaurants and details about location, but for most of the story, my research had been done during the years I’d made wedding cakes.

I love it when authors add real life situations to their stories, such as your Wedding Cake Shop. Do you put real experiences in your books, too?

All the time. I don’t know how authors don’t. People who know me well will see little things about me in my writing. In For What It’s Worth, the setting is Seattle, Washington, a place I lived for awhile. A couple of the experiences Abby has with her cakes are things that really happened as I did cakes and I used a few of my favorite cakes as ideas for the cakes she makes. I never did the self-pricing idea, although I think it would have been fun to try. I was never that brave.

Thank you for this awesome interview, Karey. It was fun getting to know you. Everyone enjoys learning more about an author’s life and the inspiration behind the story. I know I do.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Interview With Sweet Romance Author Michele Ashman Bell


Michele’s fourth grade teacher wrote on her report card, “Michele has a tendency to daydream and would probably do well at creative writing.” How true those words were. After 10 years of writing and getting rejected Michele finally had her first book published in 1998. She is the author of 22 books and several Christmas booklets. She is married to her college sweetheart, has four children and two grandchildren. Aside from staying busy with her family, church work and writing, Michele is also a Zumba instructor and teaches about 10 classes a week.

Christmas In Bliss is a sweet story full of humor and touching moments. It can be a very tense situation when several people are stranded at a rest stop on Christmas Eve, but the author adds bits of humor to lighten the mood.” –Linda Weaver Clarke, Author

Welcome back to my blog, Michele. This Christmas story is a short one, about 24 pages. I love Christmas stories. Please tell us about Christmas In Bliss.

This book is the story of Nikki Michaels, a young woman who is driving home for Christmas from Oregon to Salt Lake City. A horrible blizzard forces her off the freeway near the town of Bliss, Idaho. There, in a rest stop with a group of strangers, she unexpectedly experiences the miracles and magic of Christmas.

You usually write sweet romances. Is this a romance, also?

You know me too well, Linda. It doesn’t matter what genre I write, I tend to always have an element of romance woven into the story. While the romance element isn’t always the focus of the story, it somehow seems to always be a part of the story and characters I create. This little booklet is no exception. The romance is definitely secondary to the main theme of the story, but it’s there, and I have to say, I find myself wanting to write… the rest of the story to see where the romance in Christmas in Bliss ends up.

Where did you get your inspiration for this book?

I happened to be looking at a map of Idaho one day, I seriously cannot remember why, when I came across the name of the town Bliss. I was thoroughly tickled with the name of this town and knew that it had some fun possibilities. Immediately I began thinking of a way to play on the name of the town set against anything but “blissful” circumstances. Since snow and driving in snow are my least favorite things in the world, I decided to infuse a lot of my feelings onto my character and the way she feels about getting caught in a horrible snowstorm in Bliss, Idaho.

As the story began to take shape I knew it had all the makings of a Christmas story and realized, again from personal feelings, that it is so easy during the hustle and bustle of the holidays, to forget about the true meaning. I wanted that to be the theme of the book and remind readers that we need to force ourselves to stop and focus on what is really important during this great Christmas season.

This book sounds wonderful. By the way, I’m an Idahoan at heart. I was raised in Whitney, Idaho near Preston. So yes, I do know what snow is up in the Rocky Mountains. Haha. I love it when authors add real life situations to their stories. Do you ever put real experiences in your books?

Real life is what inspires me. I always say to people, be careful what you tell me, it may end up in a story. Truth is stranger than fiction, so I always have my radar on. I find inspiration every day for a story, I just don’t have enough time to write all my story ideas!

Real life! That’s what inspires most authors. We just take an idea from the news, or watch our children and neighbors, and before we know it we’ve got a story. Some authors even have dreams and that eventually develops into an awesome story. Thanks, Michele, for this wonderful interview. I really appreciate it. To enter another contest for another Christmas book, visit my other blog at Thoughts About Writing. 

Enter another Christmas book giveaway at http://lindaweaverclarke.wordpress.com.


Monday, December 10, 2012

Interview with Sweet Romance Author Donna Hatch


Whether you like immersing yourself in the Regency Romance era or escaping to a totally new fantasy world, Donna’s historical romance and fantasy romance novels will sweep you away into a magical new world.

A Timeless Romance Anthology: Winter Collection is a compilation of six sweet historical romance novellas, set in varying eras, written by six different authors, with one thing in common: Romance.

Welcome back to my blog, Donna. This book has six short stories by six different authors. Please tell us what your specific story is about.

On the First Day of Christmas, Clarissa’s coach breaks down in front of forbidding Wyckburg Castle, a place where generations of earls have murdered their young brides. An adventurer at heart, Clarissa is as fascinated as she is horrified. When she meets the young widower, Christopher de Champs, Earl of Wyckburg, she’s torn between fleeing for her life or uncovering the handsome earl’s terrible secret, a secret that may land her in the middle of a dark and deadly curse.

Where did you get your inspiration for this short story?

When fellow sweet Regency author Sarah Eden invited me to be a contributing author for this anthology of award-winning authors, I was as honored as I was humbled. I accepted, hoping an idea would come to me. When nothing happened right away, I went to a critique partner and we started brainstorming. I can’t even remember when the curse came into the plot, but suddenly, everything came to light as if my muse had been waiting for me to start asking the right questions. Originally, the heroine was comically paranoid of the mysterious castle and the murdering earl, but then I decided the heroine would be more fun if she were an adventurer at heart seeking a delicious gothic story come to life, complete with a gothic hero. That’s when the story really took shape.

What kind of research did you do?

Since I am already a shameless Regency nerd, I didn’t need to do any research regarding the era, but I did need to double check my facts regarding Christmas traditions observed in the Regency, which were a bit different than the Victorian customs one often thinks of when they think of an old-fashioned Christmas.

That’s interesting. What intrigues you most about writing romances?

It’s split between the development of the relationship and the coveted happily ever after. Both of those are not only fun and satisfying, but crucial to a romance.

Sooooo true!!! Thanks, Donna, for a great interview. And good luck with this new Winter Collection. To enter another contest for another Christmas book, visit my other blog at Thoughts About Writing.

Enter another Christmas book giveaway at http://lindaweaverclarke.wordpress.com.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Interview with Children’s Author Sherrill S. Cannon


Sherrill S. Cannon has published four children's books and six plays for elementary school. She graduated magna cum laude from The American University, was a teacher and coach for ten years, was a professional newspaper sports photographer and columnist, a Dinner Theatre Company Stage Manager, an Assistant Talent Manager, and a Business Administrator. She and her husband of 52 years are now retired, and travel in their RV from coast to coast each year to spend time with their children and grandchildren... sharing Sherrill’s books along the way!

All four of Sherrill’s children's books are in rhyme and all try to teach something such as good manners and caring for others. In less than three years, Sherrill has won a dozen National Awards for her books, The Magic Word, Peter and the Whimper-Whineys, Santa’s Birthday Gift and Gimme-Jimmy. Hello, Sherrill. Please tell us about Santa’s Birthday Gift.

My favorite book will always be Santa’s Birthday Gift – because it was the first to be published, and the one that I feel I was inspired to write. After I read the story of the Nativity to one of my grandchildren, she looked at me and said, “But where’s Santa?” I thought to myself, Yes indeed, where is Santa? That night the entire story came to me in a dream, and when I sat down to write it the story just flowed (in rhyme)… So to me it will always be a very special book. The book tells the story of the Nativity, and then skips to Santa seeing the Star at the North Pole and following the Star to Bethlehem, where he kneels before Jesus and gives Him his gift: his promise to bring gifts to children each year to celebrate the birth of the Christ Child. Christmas gifts are really Birthday gifts to Jesus.

What a wonderful message! What ages would enjoy this book?

Ages 2-7, for children who still believe in Santa. By the way, I also believe that Santa is the Spirit of Christmas…that desire to give to others. So the transition is much easier for children when you can point out that the Spirit of Christmas is real.

I, too, believe in Santa and the special joy he brings to children when we celebrate the birth of our Savior. You’re never too old to believe! Sherrill, all your books are set in rhyme. I love it. I feel this grabs my children’s and grandchildren’s attention quicker than in story form. What is your opinion on this?

I agree, because children love the music and the flow of the words. It’s also easier for them to remember lines when they rhyme – and you can frequently find small children “reading” along with the story! Of course I love it, because I love poetry - and have been writing poetry since I was a small child myself!

How do your grandchildren react to your books?

Reading Santa’s Birthday Gift is a Christmas tradition for my “grands” – along with their families. The older ones are my best “test read” for my new books, since they also give me nice feedback. The younger ones seem to love them all. When my granddaughter was 3, she had to sleep with The Magic Word; and then when Gimme-Jimmy was released, she decided she really liked it too because Elisabeth from The Magic Word was in it!! My 4-yr-old grandson really loves my newest book, Manner-Man, to be released in January 2013 – probably because he asked me to write one about a Superhero! After his mother read him the story (without illustrations) he immediately went out to the patio and drew me a picture of Manner-Man (with a little help from his Dad) so that I would know what he should look like! 

Thank you so much for this wonderful interview, Sherrill. Thanks for stopping by, everyone. I have a new book giveaway each week, so visit my blog and see what is next.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Interview with Romance/Suspense Author Julie Coulter Bellon


Julie Coulter Bellon loves to write international romantic suspense novels because she gets to travel to distant lands to research and add an authentic feel to all of her books. Her favorite cities so far are Athens, Paris, Ottawa, and London. She's the mother of eight children and the author of eight books and isn’t sure what that really says about her. Julie graduated from college with an English teaching degree from Brigham Young University and taught journalism for 14 years. Her habit of reading multiple newspapers daily is where she gets a lot of story ideas - ripped from the headlines and twisted a bit.

Welcome back to my blog, Julie. Please tell us about your new book.

All Fall Down is my newest novel about a hostage negotiator, Claire Michaels who finds herself in the middle of an international incident when an American businessman is kidnapped by al-Qaeda. She has to use all of her training to try and get him back while preventing the man behind it all from compromising national security. 

Rafe Kelly, a Navy SEAL on leave to recover from an injury, never expected to be fighting terrorists on his home turf, but when his brother is kidnapped, it becomes a personal war. He teams up with a hostage negotiator, but the deadly game of cat and mouse takes an ominous turn when they realize what’s really at stake. Can Rafe save himself and his country without anyone he loves getting caught in the crossfire?

Where did you get your inspiration for this novel?

Well, I was watching a special about when SEAL Team Six penetrated bin Laden’s compound and killed him, but the thing that was most interesting to me was how they confiscated his ten computer hard drives and sent them to be analyzed. My mind kept asking, what if there was something on those files that would help al-Qaeda attack America again? Wouldn’t there be someone in that terrorist organization who would do anything to get it? And the story grew from there.

That is so interesting. What kind of research did you do for this book?

Since part of the book is set in Afghanistan I had to do a lot of research since I’d never been there. I also researched computer forensics, hostage negotiators, and Navy SEALs. It was quite enlightening and I am so grateful to all the law enforcement people, computer experts, and military personnel who helped answer all my questions and added a realism to my work.

I love it when authors add real life situations to their stories. Do you ever put real experiences in your suspense novels?

I do, actually. There are several events in the book that actually happened in real life with the computer forensics sections and the hostage negotiation chapters. And part of the inspiration of the book was that prisoners from Guantanamo Bay were released and went back to help terrorism. I also used several different personal Afghanistan experiences in the hotel to make that more real. If you’ve read my work, you know I base my characters after an amalgamation of real people and real experiences because I want it to feel like this is something that really could happen.

Thank you, Julie, for this interview. Your book sounds fantastic. For those interested, Julie has a blog where she posts book reviews and writer tips at http://ldswritermom.blogspot.com.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Gratitude Month: Thanksgiving Book Reviews


“One thing I admire about Linda Weaver Clarke’s writing is that she desires to put the reader right there with her characters by describing the setting so well that you are swept away. From page one Linda eloquently describes in interesting details the surroundings and the feelings of her characters. I love when I begin reading a book and am taken in! The relationships and the communication between the characters is top notch.” –Melanie Ski, Jubilee Reviews

MYSTERY/ADVENTURE/A TOUCH OF ROMANCE

Book or Ebook: Desert Intrigue: The Adventures of John and Julia Evans
Review: Romance, Mystery, and Regional History Collaborate to Create a Satisfying, Intriguing Story! It was difficult to put this one down. I cared about the characters, I cared about their ranch, and I was brainstorming right along with this delightful family, figuring out how to either remove the curse or solve the mystery that threatened to destroy their way of life. There are children flirting with romance, relational complexities, and a wedding in the works that just won’t seem to come together. The writing is clear and lively, never calling attention to itself or getting in the way of the story. The touches of humor and inclusion of regional history tie it all together to make a satisfying story all the more fascinating. Highly recommended! –Steve Miller, Author

NON-FICTION

Ebook: Writing Your Family Legacy
Review: It’s important to teach our children their heritage. Each of us has a story from our ancestors or even our own story to tell. It’s up to us to write these experiences down. Make your family legacy something your children will be proud of. “Many books are written about genealogy and how-to and give you templates, but this one is worth the time and effort to read and pass on to others. This one is a gem.” –Jimmy, Reviewer

Ebook: Reflections of the Heart
Review: Reflections of the Heart has 13 chapters of inspirational writings such as: The secret of Happiness, Laughter is the Best Medicine, Parenthood – A Great Responsibility, and Music Soothes the Soul. “The nuggets of wisdom are right-on, the quotes inspirational, and some of the stories moved me to tears. Goodness, what was the mysterious (and dreadful!) ailment that afflicted George as a boy? And my heart goes out to the author having had to bear a body cast at the tender age of 13... I now have a good idea of the kind of person the author is. You are a grateful, loving, sensitive, honest, courageous (not easy going to college at age 48!!!), giving woman – one I would love to meet. Reflections of the Heart reflects a beautiful heart and I was blessed by reading it.” –Evelyn Uslar-Pietri, Author

Monday, November 12, 2012

Interview with Christian Author Diane Craver

As the youngest in the family, growing up on a farm in Findlay, Ohio, Diane often acted out characters from her own stories in the backyard. She met her husband while teaching at an orphanage, and they married three years later. While raising their six children in southwestern Ohio, Diane started writing nonfiction. Later, she decided it would be a nice escape to write fiction. Diane has published through a variety of houses, but recently decided to try Indie Publishing. She writes fun and inspiring stories filled with memorable characters. Diane gives thanks “to God daily for all her wonderful blessings.”

Ms. Craver has a knack for pulling at your heartstrings with her endearing characters.

Hello, Diane. Please tell us about your novel, A Joyful Break.

Thanks for having me, Linda. Here is my blurb for A Joyful Break: “After her mother’s untimely death, a twenty-year-old Amish woman has a difficult decision to make: Make a break from the Amish church and her boyfriend…or live in the English world permanently.”

Rachel Hershberger wants to get away from her Amish home in Fields Corner, Ohio. For a year she’s been trying to fill her mother’s shoes by taking care of her father and siblings. She quit her job at the bakery so she could have more time to clean and cook at home. Before her mother died, Rachel was positive she wanted to marry Samuel Weaver, but now she can’t think about wedding plans. She blames her father for her mother’s death. If they had installed a phone in their barn or a shanty, her mother might have received medical help in time to save her life. Her mother’s death has made Rachel question if she should be baptized and join the church. She wonders if non-Amish women live longer and have less stress. Maybe her forty-four-year old mother would still be alive had she left the Amish lifestyle like her sister Carrie did.

When her Aunt Carrie invites her to go to the beach, Rachel decides the time away will help her to decide whether to join the Amish church or to live in the English world. She is conflicted because she loves Samuel and her family. Instead of a relaxing time away, disturbing events happen while Rachel’s in Florida. A photographer snaps troublesome pictures of Rachel because of her famous senator uncle, and a handsome and charming college student falls in love with Rachel.

Where did you get your inspiration for this book?

My inspiration for writing this book came from my sweet late mother, Laoma Oberly Wilson. She lived a long Christian life and enjoyed being a wife, mother and grandmother.  Her grandfather was a Mennonite minister, and she shared many stories about him. Also the Amish community in A Joyful Break  is fictional, but exists close to Wheat Ridge which is an actual Amish community in the southern part of Ohio where I live.

What kind of research did you have to do for this novel?

Before I started writing my Amish novel, I did extensive research to portray this wonderful faith as accurately as possible. However, there are differences between the various groups and subgroups of Amish communities.  This is because the Amish have no central church government; each has its own governing authority. Every local church maintains an individual set of rules, adhering to its own Ordnung.

What does your family think about your writing?

My husband and children are very supportive of my writing. My hubby is a nonreader so I was impressed when he read four of my print books. He doesn’t want to read from my Kindle. My daughters have proofread my manuscripts and given me constructive feedback about what I’ve written.

That’s awesome. Real family support! Now it’s time to tell us something about the real you that we’ll never forget.

When my daughter Christina was in San Diego on a conference, she booked a flight for me to join her. We ate lasagna at an outside restaurant and enjoyed walking on the beach. I thought I was the smart one keeping my shoes and socks on. Apparently a bug bit my big toe while it was trapped in my shoe. I ended up with cellulitis, which is an infection of the skin. Another daughter, Emily, thought I meant I had cellulite when I called home about my illness. LOL. My toe, foot, and leg were swollen and turned a nasty purple color. I was hospitalized in San Diego overnight and discharged. When I arrived home, I needed to be admitted and was in the hospital for five days. Pretty serious stuff. But my favorite vacation will always be to go to the beach. I love the ocean so it was especially fun to write about Rachel’s impression when she first steps foot on Cocoa Beach in my novel.

Man, I didn’t realize that an insect bite could do so much damage. I’m glad that you recovered. I’ll remember to take off my shoes when I go to the beach next. I live among the Rocky Mountains, but I go to the California beach once a year when I’m on tour. Thanks for being a guest on my blog.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Interview with Author Vanessa Morgan


Vanessa Morgan is known as the ‘female version of Stephen King’. Her screenplays, A Good Man and GPS With Benefits, are currently being turned into movies. She is also the author of Drowned Sorrow and The Strangers Outside. If she’s not working on her latest supernatural thriller, you can find her reading, watching horror movies, blogging, digging through flea markets or indulging in her unhealthy addiction to her cat. She writes in English, Dutch and French. Vanessa’s blog: http://vanessa-morgan.blogspot.com

Welcome to my Family Friendly Blog! As you know, I have a weekly book giveaway and today I’m featuring a new author, Vanessa Morgan. Please tell us about your new book, Vanessa.

GPS WITH BENEFITS is a hilarious short about a GPS device with a mind of ‘her’ own. A womanizer purchases a new GPS device, but has no idea he’s buying one with a mind of ‘her’ own. It’s scheduled to be turned into a film in 2013.

Hilarious! Where did you get your inspiration for this story?

The inspiration for GPS WITH BENEFITS came to me when I was in the car with a friend. We made jokes about the GPS and imagined what it would be like if the device was aware of the driver and his thoughts. I immediately knew that this could be turned into a hilarious story. I won’t reveal more, but GPS WITH BENEFITS has some twists and turns that you won’t expect and that will have you laughing out loud.

What kind of research did you have to do for this book?

I observed people’s driving behavior, the small things that distracted them from the road.

This book sounds fun. What does your family think about your writing?

Most of them don’t speak or understand English. I’m originally from Belgium and my native language is Dutch, so they can’t read my books. But they’re proud when they see me on television or in magazines.

That is very interesting. Okay, it’s time to tell us something about the real you that we’ll never forget.

I probably know more about horror movies than anyone else. Also, I love languages. I speak Dutch, French, English, Spanish and a bit of German and I’ve written screenplays and books in three different languages. Even though I write stories about cars and GPS devices, I don't have a driver's license.

Wow! That’s 5 different languages. I’m impressed. I learned Spanish and enjoyed it very much but I don’t think I could learn anymore than two, which includes English. I’ve heard that English is one of the most difficult languages to learn so I should feel grateful that I grew up with it. Hahaha.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Interview with Fantasy Author Anna del C. Dye


Anna was born in Chile and migrated to the USA at twenty-one. She married her beloved Rodney and is the mother of four talented children. Anna started writing eight years ago and has received four different awards for some of her works.

Emerine's Nightmare: “I loved this little book and recommend it to all children. I would also recommend that parents read this with their children to get the most of the meaning that has been written into this wonderful book.” —Mary Walling
 
I have a Book Giveaway on my blog every week and this week I have a Halloween giveaway. Welcome back to my blog, Anna. Your fantasy children’s book is perfect for Halloween. Please tell us about it.

It is great to be back, Linda. It is called Emerine’s Nightmare. The protagonist is a boy that is persecuted by dark fairies. He has never heard of Fairies, still his heart tells him to run from them.

What age group will enjoy reading this story?

Elementary age children will enjoy the mystery and suspense in it. Girls will love the fairies and the boys will be drawn to the “Halloween-like horror” feel of the story.

Did you have to do any research for this book?

Yes, I had to read books about fairies. I hadn’t before, so it was interesting and great fun to find out what other authors did with them.

Where did you get your inspiration for this story?

It was a challenge I gave myself. I never read a book with fairies and wondered if I could write one. So I wrote Amerine - Fairy Princess. That is what this story was originally called. It received two awards before I transformed it into a boy’s book that became Emerine’s Nightmare.

Do you ever put real experiences in your books?

Yes, in many of them. It is normal to write of things that are close and known to the author. In Emerine’s Nightmare the protagonist has to deal with fairies, dark and otherwise, a world completely unknown to him. In my own life, I left my country and family for my husband’s family and country. It is a world that was completely unknown to me. Like Emerine, I had to figure out things like the language, new customs, and their related ideas before I came to terms with this life, which has had a happy ending so far.

Thank you, Anna, for this interview. Your book sounds like a scary Halloween book to me. You can find Emerine’s Nightmare in the following formats: Kindle only $3.99, Nook only $3.99. The e-book is available from Anna’s website, www.annadelc.com.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Interview with Fantasy Author Serena Clarke


Serena Clarke has loved writing since she was young and has taken several writing classes. Her favorite genre is fantasy with a hint of romance. Serena has a Bachelors Degree in Graphic Design. She enjoys designing her book covers as much as writing her books. This is Serena’s first published novel.

“This story is captivating and has many twists and turns. It gives a new dimension to fantasy characters. It was difficult to put down.” –Linda Weaver Clarke, Author


Hello, Serena! Welcome to my blog. Please tell us about The Treasure of Isian. What is it about?

Prince Garin is a brave, proud, adventure-seeking prince. Elani is his most trusted servant and she would do anything for him, even die for him. Their quest to find the mystical Treasure of Isian is immediately interrupted and they find themselves confronted by angry giants, soul-stealing elves, bewitched dragons, a vengeful water-witch, battling foes, and a mysterious kingdom. Elani must face her greatest fears to save her prince and her kingdom. Garin must decide what the most important things are in his life. Will they be able to make a great sacrifice to save the kingdom? And will Elani find true love?

Where did you get your inspiration for this book?

Most of my ideas for my books come from dreams I have had. I had a dream about a prince who had a servant who had to do everything he told her to do. He relied on her. And her world revolved around him. And then suddenly she was unable to do everything for him and their relationship changed. When I awoke from this dream, all that day I could not stop thinking about it. What would such a relationship be like? And how would it evolve? And why did she have to do everything he told her to do? I had most of the storyline written in my head by the end of the day. And it became The Treasure of Isian!

What is it about fantasy that you love most?

I love that anything can happen! In fantasy you are not restricted by society or politics or history. Whether reading it or writing it, I love escaping into a world that is different than the one I live in. A world where there are princes and princesses, warriors, treasure, mystical creatures that you can’t be sure if they are good or bad, true love, happy endings, mystery.

Wow! I completely understand what you’re saying. What does your family think about your writing, especially your mom and dad?

My parents are my greatest encouragement! I have always loved to write, ever since I was a little kid. And I have always wanted to get a book published. But without the encouragement from my parents, I don’t know if I ever would have gone through with it. Thanks Mom for all your help!

You’re welcome, my darling daughter. I couldn’t have a better daughter and friend, and I love you very much. Okay, it’s time to tell us something about the real you that we’ll never forget.

I have a bucket list that I am currently working on. Things that range from “scream as loud as you possibly can” to “drive a wicked cool car” to “go to Europe”. So far, one of the weirdest things I have done on my bucket list was milking a goat. Coolest things I have done so far are “get a book published,” “ride in a helicopter” and “go to Hawaii.”

Awesome! Hey, you forgot to mention going to a Josh Groban Concert. As I remember, you were quite elated. In fact, that’s all you talked about and listened to for several months. Here’s a picture of you at his concert. Hmm, you look very happy. Haha. Thanks for this awesome interview. For those interested, Serena has received several 5 star reviews. I have posted excerpts below.


QUOTES FROM REVIEWERS:

Superb story that brought a smile to my face and helped me remember that sometimes, we can overlook the most valuable treasures in life if we're not careful. Charissa Stastny, Author of Eyes of Light

I love a good fairy-tale. This one is delightful. I liked watching the mystery unfold and guessing how the characters would overcome the challenges they faced.Cheryl Larson

If all fantasy was written like this, I might read more fantasy.Debbie Curto

This was a great book! An adventurous tale that was quick paced! Something new always happened and there wasn't a moment to get bored! And who doesn't love a good love story? Loved it!Amarissa Hancey

Monday, October 8, 2012

Interview with Children’s Author Gail Westover

Gail Westover has a little secret. Today the secret will be revealed. Gail is author Tika Newman. For the past seven years, she’s hidden under this name. You see, Gail is an online Backgammon Tourney Director for GammonSite. She’s been hosting tourneys for almost nine years. Everyone knows her as Tika, so writing under that name seemed the logical thing to do. Gail is also the owner and operator of Thistlewood Publishing, since its conception in 2008. She is the author of The Eyes of Innocence series and a historical novel called For the Love of Anne.

Welcome back to my blog, Gail. You are the author of the popular series The Eyes of Innocence, which is about a girl growing up with psychic abilities and the power to heal. I read it and was very impressed with the story. You have now turned to children’s books. Please tell us about your books.

Thank you so much, Linda. I’m happy to be invited back. As grandmother to two large, and five little ones, they’ve reminded me of some things that we tend to forget as we grow older and adult things get in the way. One is to laugh with joy and wild abandon. I’ve also relearned to notice the small things, like a butterfly flitting across my yard and landing on one of my flowers. I appreciate the squeal of laughter as the kids go barreling down a slide or jump into the lake. Basically, they’ve taught me not only how to love them with every fiber of my being, but also to enjoy my life again. Yes, I still work seven days a week, but it’s more fun now.

Mrs. Mouse’s Garden Party in Giggleswick Village is the first book of the Giggleswick Village series. The book teaches children that it’s ok to be themselves and to make the best out of a plan that goes wrong. Each book will teach life’s early lessons. The next book will be about bullying.

If Horses Had Feathers and Pigs Could Fly sounds silly, and that’s a good thing, because the entire book is silly. Kids laugh as they learn to use their imagination, when they read about the horse that has wings, the duck that flies upside down, and the little boy who is on the ground squinting his eyes at them. It’s a wonderful “feel good book” and is perfect for bedtime because it leaves them with happy thoughts that will encourage pleasant dreams.

Compared to novels, I assume Children’s stories are simple. Is this true?

If you write only novels, you would think that statement is correct, but it is not. The stories may be short, but we have at least eighteen months in the first Giggleswick Village book.

What kind of research did you have to do?

As of yet, I have not had a whole lot of research, but that will change with the bullying book. I did search online for a silly name. Giggleswick Village is a real place in North Yorkshire, England. The minute I saw the name, I knew it was perfect. The illustrations were hand drawn by a very talented woman in New Zealand. Coordinating and designing the characters took a very long time because the characters in this first book will probably be in every Giggleswick book to come. We had to keep merchandising in mind, as well as coloring books, puzzles, and some other things. The other difficult thing was that the mouse is modeled after my real life best friend, who really is a nurse, loves the color pink, is incredibly polite, kind to everyone, etc. The animal characters? They’re all my grandchildren. 

Thanks to these two children’s books, Thistlewood Publishing had its best month ever. I couldn’t be more pleased. 

Congratulations! That’s wonderful. And I really love the name Giggleswick. By the way, I love it when authors add real life situations to their stories. Do you ever put real experiences in your books?

I haven’t done it yet in the children’s books, but in The Eyes of Innocence series, yes. The deer in the woods, the snapping turtle, and some other things were true life experiences.

Thank you, Gail, for this fun interview. Your books sound fascinating. To learn more about these books, visit http://www.thistlewoodpublishing.com. However, if you want Gail’s autograph, you must order your book from her website.


Monday, October 1, 2012

Interview with Author Emily Mah Tippetts


Emily Mah Tippetts writes science fiction and fantasy as Emily Mah and chick lit and YA as E.M. Tippetts. Originally from New Mexico, she now lives in London with her family. She has a bachelors degree in philosophy, politics and economics from Oxford University and a juris doctorate in business law from UCLA. During her career as an attorney, she did real estate, contracts, and estate planning with a specialty in literary estate planning.

Welcome back to my blog, Emily. Please tell us about your new book, Castles on the Sand.

Madison Lukas knows her place in the world. She’s not pretty, not interesting, and therefore easy to forget. John Britton is serving his mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and has been praying for fifteen years to find the sister he lost in his parents’ divorce. He remembers her as beautiful, talented, and makes kindness a fine art.

When John and Madison cross paths, he recognizes her at once, but Madison is certain that he’s got it all wrong. Even if she is his long-lost sister, she can’t possibly be the exceptional, amazing girl he thinks she is, can she?

This book sounds intriguing. Where did you get your inspiration for this novel?

I’d like to think I write strong women characters, but I never want my stories to exclude or marginalize men. This book is specifically about the difference a good man can make. One of my childhood schoolmates passed away as I was working out the plot for this book, and my memories of him are throughout the whole plot and many of the characters. It breaks my heart to know that he won’t see his children grow up, but I know that even the few years he had with them will make all the difference in their lives.

What kind of research did you do for this book?

Unfortunately, I’ve learned a lot of the negative stuff from life, though not my own life, per se. While I’ve never had a child taken away by the state, this happened to a close friend of mine and so I helped her research the law and procedures. I’ve also known and done some legal work for people who have disabled family members, which is another of the subplots of the book. When I put together this plot, it was with two small children underfoot at all times, so I incorporated things I already knew (with a little fiction mixed in - don’t try to use my book as a legal guide!)

Wow! Being an attorney has its advantages, doesn’t it? I love it when authors add real life situations to their stories. Do you ever put real experiences in your books?

Unfortunately, yes. Though I’ve changed things around a lot, the Beale family and their issues are very close to a real life child abuse situation I saw as a kid. We never understood why they treated their daughter like they did. I think writing them was my attempt to understand what I saw as a child, and at the end of the day, I just don’t get it. I can relate to parents who feel overwhelmed, or who fear losing “control” of a child. I can relate to feeling embarrassed when a child acts out and the desire to keep up appearances in public. What I can’t understand is the distance they keep from their daughter. The lack of attempts to engage with her and talk to her. Perhaps its fear, perhaps its laziness, perhaps it’s a failure to bond. Maybe at the end of the day, I don’t want to understand it.

Thank you, Emily, for this interview. I have learned more about you and the inspiration behind your book.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Interview with Fantasy Author Brian Rathbone


A former horse trainer, avid reader, and eventual technology junkie, Brian Rathbone began chasing the dream of writing for a living in 2005. Now working on his sixth and seventh novels, Rathbone's goal of full-time writing is coming to fruition. When he's not writing, Rathbone helps people in rural areas get increased access to broadband Internet; this is work he plans to continue in the future, since the need is so great. In the time that remains, he helps his wife care for the spoiled rotten cats they've rescued.

Welcome back to my blog, Brian. So…you have “spoiled rotten cats,” eh? Haha. Please tell us about your fantasy book, Regent.

REGENT is book one of The Balance of Power trilogy, which continues the story that began with The Dawning of Power trilogy. Catrin Volker's tenuous ties with the regent dragons, as well as with her own people, will be tested. Black ships of unknown origin come with feral dragons as escorts, and Catrin will be forced to choose between her loyalty to the dragons and the loyalty to her own people. The fates of entire species hang on the choices she must make.

This is part of a series called Godsland Series. Where did you get your inspiration for this series?

A deep love for books and reading, especially speculative fiction, combined with a knack for telling stories developed a belief within me that I would write my own stories one day. Training horses professionally for so many years gave me insight into a number of old world skills and realities, which helped me connect with so much fantasy fiction books and series. I had lived something of an old world life in the new world, and then I left it behind. I decided to chase after my passion for technology, and I did things that I would never have dreamed possible. It was stressful, though, and I found myself having trouble sleeping. After writing code all day, I would continue to do so in my dreams. While occasionally productive (I somehow successfully debugged code in my sleep), it was exhausting. I solved the problem by spending the moments, between wakefulness and sleep, dreaming up my plot and characters and world. My dreams were a lot more fun and, as it turns out, still very productive. When I finally got the chance to write, I couldn't type fast enough. Still can't.

What kind of research did you do for this book?

I can't claim to have done a massive amount of research above and beyond my experience as a horseman and farmer. I did, however, do good bit of reading on seamanship. This was an area where I had almost no experience and my preconceptions were clich├ęd. I had to put some effort into accurately portraying my characters' time at sea. There are also a number of fantastic elements in my books that are based on real science and physics, even if dramatized. I did some additional research on these ideas that stemmed from my experiences.

I love it when authors add real life situations to their stories. I remember how you added your own experiences about horses in book one. Have you done this with Regent as well?

Bits of real life have a tendency of finding their way into my books. My wife occasionally accuses me of using her for material, which is true of course. I have a very close connection with animals; there are animals and animal behaviors in my books that are drawn directly from real life. It was also a special thing for my mother when her experience outsmarting my father, uncle, grandfather, and an uncatchable horse made it into the first book. Life is the best inspiration I know, and I expect real events and characters to show up in my future works as well.

Thank you, Brian, for this wonderful interview. I have learned a lot about you, your books, that your sweet wife helps you with material for your books… and your love for cats. Otherwise, why are they spoiled rotten? Right?

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Interview with Sweet Romance Author Anne Patrick

Anne Patrick is the author of more than a dozen novels of Romance, Mayhem & Faith. Anne looks at the dark side of life while her alter ego writes Inspirational Romance. Anne’s books may be darker in subject matter, but they all carry messages of hope and faith. Born and raised in Oklahoma, she now makes her home in Kansas.

Anne Patrick’s heroines are usually strong willed, witty, and often very opinionated … combinations that usually land them in situations where death seems imminent.”

Welcome back to my blog, Anne. You’re known for writing “Stories of Romance, Mayhem & Faith.” Please tell us about your book, Fire Creek.

Thanks for having me, Linda. Here is the blurb for Fire Creek: Kasey Montgomery has returned to her hometown of Fire Creek Montana after the apparent suicide of her cousin. Within days of Beth's funeral, Kasey begins to find inconsistencies in her death. The local sheriff is quick to dismiss the allegations as figments of a writer's imagination. Kasey is determined to prove otherwise. Does the bronzed skinned stranger from Beth's funeral hold the answers?

Local park ranger, Jimmy Little Raven suspects foul play too. Beth was engaged to his best friend who died months earlier from a mysterious accident. Risking his heart and his job, he teams up with the famous mystery writer to find the answers to both deaths.

Where did you get your inspiration for this novel?

Initially, back in the nineties when I first came up with the idea, this story was titled DEADLY VISIONS and it was going to be a paranormal. When I went back and finished the story last year I decided to take out the paranormal aspect because, let's face it, the market is flooded with these type of books and I'm really out of my element writing one. As to what inspired it, I was a huge fan of Murder She Wrote. This story/series is based very loosely on that premise. Kasey is a lot younger though, and she has a handsome sidekick, or partner in crime, in Jimmy Little Raven.

What kind of research did you do for this book?

I did a lot of research on the Blackfoot tribe, the area of Montana where I wanted to place my fictional town of Fire Creek, and the laws concerning real estate and executorship.

Thanks. I enjoy finding out what kind of research an author does. I love it when authors add real life situations to their stories. Do you ever put real experiences in your books?

I sometimes do. For instance, for a little over five years, I worked for a security transport agency where I was part of a two-person team, a retired cop and myself. We transported prisoners to and from court or to correctional facilities. We also did extradition work. One trip we went on we visited seven different states in two weeks, transporting over twenty inmates. Now that was interesting! Two of the most scariest places I've visited was the Fulton County jail in Atlanta GA, and the Dade County jail in Miami, Florida. I've met lots of interesting (and sometimes very dangerous) characters and I've had some pretty exciting times doing this work. I sometimes miss it but not often ;).

Oh my gosh! I can't even imagine going into a facility like a prison. That must have been interesting.

It was an interesting job. Being inside one when there is a lock down is the worst. That happened my first time out. We were at a women's prison in Tulsa and had just arrived.  I never will forget the sound of those metal doors closing and locking and not knowing what was going on. It sent shivers down my spine that's for sure.

Wow! I love finding out the background of an author. Very interesting! Thanks for the great interview. I learned a lot.

Fire Creek can be purchased at Amazon or at Christianbook.com and other online bookstores.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Interview with Sweet Romance Author Jewel Adams

Jewel Adams has written several books in different genres, mainly romance, and is also a motivational speaker to both youth and adult audiences. She and her husband Sean are the parents of eight children and grandparents to five and counting. In her spare time (when she has any) she likes to curl up with a good book and a healthy stash of orange Tic Tacs.

Welcome back to my blog, Jewel. I love your book cover. Please tell us about this sweet romance: Beautiful In My Eyes.

This is a novella about a beautiful woman who is completely happy with her life, but soon deals with a trial that makes her begin to doubt her worth. She has a loving husband that loves her unconditionally and is determined to prove to her that her value to him is priceless.

Where did you get your inspiration for this novel? Do you ever put real experiences in your books?

Well, Giselle's trial is one I have been dealing with for years, not to the same extreme, but enough that I can understand exactly how she feels. Fortunately, I also have an amazing husband whose love is also unconditional, and despite my insecurities, he tells me I'm beautiful every day, and shows me as well.

What kind of research did you do for this book?

I really didn't have to do much. Since the heroine's trial is hair loss, I just looked up the various forms of Alopecia, from mild to extreme, and I looked up the symptoms, as well as treatment options. Sadly, in most cases, once you have reached a point, nothing can be done to stop it and the hair loss continues its course. Emotionally, it is devastating.

That is so interesting. Your writing style is fun. Most authors write in past tense, but you write in present tense. How does this affect your writing or story?

I just love writing in present tense because it kind of puts the reader right there in the moment. At least, that’s what they tell me:-)

Thank you, Jewel, for a wonderful interview. I love your book cover. I’ve been told that book covers really help to sell the book.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Interview with Author Ronda Gibb Hinrichsen

R.K. Hinrichsen (Ronda Gibb Hinrichsen) writes both fiction and nonfiction for children and adults. She enjoys history, fantasy, suspense, and learning about real-life heroes. Besides her Heroes of the Highest Order, chapter book series, she has published two suspense novels, Missing and Trapped. She travels with her husband throughout the world in search of fun settings and exciting characters for her stories.

Welcome back to my blog, Ronda. Please tell us about your new children’s book.

The Prisoner of the Shadows is book #2 in my Heroes of the Highest Order series. It’s about two children, Dan and Page, who move between a fantasy world and real-life history to earn powerful treasures that will eventually help them destroy the enemy of the Hidden Kingdom. In this book, the children walk in the footsteps of Mother Teresa to rescue their grandfather from the Prison of the Shadows.

This is a new experience for you since you usually write suspenseful sweet romances. Where did you get your inspiration for this story?

This series has been in my mind for so long I really can’t remember where the idea first came from. I’ve just always thought children are amazing. They have the power to do great things, and I want to encourage them to do those great things.

What kind of research did you do for this book?

Besides traveling to some of the settings, I read biographies about Mother Teresa. I also contacted her official organization for permissions and correct information.

That is so awesome. I’m impressed with your research. I love it when authors add real life situations to their stories. Do you ever put real experiences in your books?

Most definitely! Especially in this series because the premise of the story is that the children follow in the footsteps of real, historical heroes.

This book sounds like a wonderful book for children. Thanks for this fun interview.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Interview with Romance/Adventure Author Caroline Clemmons


Caroline and her husband live with their menagerie of rescued pets on a small acreage in North Central Texas. She has two grown daughters and is the award-winning author of ten fiction books, three novellas, and two family books. Caroline writes full time. When she’s not writing, she’s spending time with family, reading, traveling, researching genealogy, or browsing antique malls and estate sales.

Welcome back to my blog, Caroline. Please tell us about your cozy mystery, Digging For Death.

Thank you for asking. DIGGING FOR DEATH is the first of the Heather Cameron mysteries. She has taken over managing her family’s garden center and landscape design business from her grandfather. Her parents died when she was eight and her maternal grandparents raised her. This is her first major design project since she assumed control and she wants it to go well so her grandfather will know he was right to retire.

Here’s the blurb: Garden center manager Heather Cameron is DIGGING FOR DEATH to prove her old family friend, mentor, and employee, Walter Sims, is innocent of murdering the meanest man in town. Heather can’t trust the police to find the real killer when all clues point to poor Walter. The dead man was beaten to death with Walter’s shovel several hours after they were overheard arguing, and the two men had a long history of enmity. Walter definitely looks guilty, but Heather is sure—well, almost positive—okay, she certainly hopes her friend and mentor is innocent.

Heather is compelled to scour the fictional North Central Texas town of Gamble Grove to exonerate her old friend. She’s encouraged when the new police detective in town, Kurt Steele, shows interest in helping her look for clues. The deeper Heather digs into the dead man’s life, the more she justifies his ruthless reputation. Walter is indicted, but police begin to suspect the victim’s stepson as murderer. Heather is convinced the stepson couldn’t have murdered anyone either—although it’s clear no love was lost between the two men. The attempted murder of the victim’s real son creates a new twist. Can Heather solve the murder without becoming the killer’s next victim?

Where did you get your inspiration for this novel?

It came to me when my family and I were at Weston’s Gardens in Fort Worth. Weston’s is a family-run center and they do landscape design and have a nice garden open on special days. You know how it is once your mind starts going “what if” and you come up with a cast of characters who just won’t stop talking to you. ☺ Then when my family were in Jefferson, Texas, I spotted the house that would be perfect for my book. I took lots of photos so I could be certain to remember it, but they weren’t necessary because the house exactly matched the one in my head.

That is so interesting. What kind of research did you do for this book?

I loved flower gardening, until our electric water well got too low to have a successful garden, and I used to spend several hours a day working on my plants and lawn. Roses are my favorite flower, and at one time we had almost fifty roses across the front yard. Now we just have a few of the new Earthkind drought and disease resistant roses plus a pink wild rose my daughter brought me from her acreage east of Dallas. I have a friend, Jeanmarie Hamilton, whose family used to have a garden center, and I picked her brain. My eldest daughter is a Master Gardener and helps me also. I visited garden centers, especially Weston Gardens, and read gardening books. I also read about some of the heirloom and trendy plants, how they’re marketed, and generally immersed myself in gardening books.

I love it when authors add real life situations to their stories. Do you ever put real experiences in your books and why?

Sort of. The great-grandmother in DIGGING FOR DEATH is based on a cross between my mom and a friend who is currently 104. My mom was decorous until she was in her late 80’s, then she said whatever popped into her head -- whether it was nice or not. Don’t get me wrong, she was a wonderful woman and mother who worked hard all her life. I suppose she was entitled to be eccentric after all that time. 

In addition, Linda, I believe we compress our life experiences and extricate whatever we need for our books, don’t you? We each have experienced anger, sadness, determination, and many other feelings on which we can draw for writing. We pull out this characteristic or that backstory and use it, but we aren’t using the whole of any person’s identity or events.

Thank you so much for this interview, Caroline. I really enjoyed it. This is an ebook giveaway and we have many other ebooks below to enter. Have fun checking them out.