Sunday, August 29, 2010

Book Release Celebration for Mystery Suspense Novel: Mayan Intrigue!

This week I’m celebrating the release of my new novel, Mayan Intrigue. After listening to the book trailer and reading the information below, click on SAMPLE CHAPTER and list one thing that grabs your attention. Happy Reading! 

A Mysterious Artifact and Archaeological Thievery is Theme of Mayan Intrigue

The jungles of the Yucatan, Mayan ruins, looters, a mysterious artifact, and a nosey reporter are focus of Mayan Intrigue.

Mayan Intrigue” (ISBN: 978-1-58982-616-8) has humor, a touch of romance, and danger lurking in shadowy corners. With a blend of mystery and suspense, John and Julia Evans investigate and solve crimes, a story based upon the adventures of a married couple and their three daughters.

The subject discussed in this novel is archaeological thievery. When an ancient ruin is discovered, it doesn’t take long for thieves to take it apart. The Mayas used astrological alignments when planning their city. Looters have learned the layout of the Mayan cities so they know where to dig. With this knowledge, they can loot a sacred temple in a few days. Did you know that looting is only second to selling illegal drugs? While writing Mayan Intrigue, Linda Weaver Clarke found that artifact theft in Mexico has been taken over by drug dealers from Columbia. In other words, since organized crime has taken over, there is also an increase of violence. Can anything be done to save Ancient American history? Find out in this new mystery/suspense novel, Mayan Intrigue.

Okay! It’s time to click on SAMPLE CHAPTER and list one thing that grabs your attention.

For those interested in buying a copy of Mayan Intrigue, visit my website at to learn more.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Book Review of “Hometown Girl” by Michele Ashman Bell

Hometown Girl is a delightful romance full of humor. When Jocelyn moves into the home she inherited from her grandmother, the laughter begins. One thing after another happens to her while fixing up the home, which is in need of great repair. When a couple birds find their way into the house, she tries chasing them outside with a tennis racket. But they end up chasing her outside, screaming with her hands flailing in the air erratically and still holding her racket. Quickly the scene from Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds comes back to her as she screams in fear. It’s a hilarious scene. But you laugh even harder when Jocelyn finally settles down, turns around, and finds Jack, the hero of the book, parked in his truck and watching her with amusement.

Humor isn’t the only element in this story. With a house falling apart, loneliness, frustration, and mysterious nightmares, Jocelyn learns what charity really is and learns to accept her trials. She also has a deep secret that she has kept hidden for fourteen years that seems to haunt her.

Jack is a fun character. He’s a good-looking young man who owns his own repair shop. I love his description. He’s a “scruffy bearded, pony tailed man wearing a plaid flannel shirt.” I loved him right away. Even though he and Jocelyn don’t hit it off at first, I knew this couple would get together eventually. Between these two characters, Michele has her readers thoroughly entertained. This is an excellent novel. Bravo, Michele! I would recommend this book for teens and adults. 

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. Michele travels to the places she writes about so she can immerse herself in the history, landscape and culture of the area. Her goal is “to provide an accurate reflection of people and places and provide the reader with an armchair vacation.” This intrigued me, so I asked Michele where she got her inspiration for her novels. This is her reply.

Before A Modest Proposal came out I held a contest and asked for people to submit their proposal stories.  The contest was posted in several newspapers and even put in a publication through BYU, so I got tons of response (too many actually - made the decision so hard).  I was so impressed with so many of the variety of approaches to proposing.  Some were very romantic and sweet, some were crazy and unbelievable, and some were so touching and emotional.  This winning proposal was by far the most creative and amazing because of the timespan it covered and the way it all worked out.  Part of the prize for winning was having the story put in a book.

I think writers are constant observers of life; listening, watching and learning about everything around them. To a writer, everything has potential to become a plot line, a character, a quirk, a detail in a setting, or the whole basis for a book. You can tell what's going on in my life by what I write. I put a lot of myself into my stories, but try not to make it personal--mainly because I'm just not that interesting. It's more exciting living through my characters.

My books are driven from three sources; a setting, a character or a situation. 1) I've written books about places I've visited or am intrigued with and then the challenge is coming up with a story that takes place in that setting. (Finding Paradise and Love Lights the Way are books I've written from settings) 2) I've written many books about people who are facing challenges that I think will connect with readers and that I feel passionate. (Without a Flaw, Perfect Timing, The Butterfly Box series are examples of books inspired from this) 3) And some of the books I've written based upon interesting situations that go along with the genre I'm writing at the time, i.e., romance, suspense, mystery, etc... (Timeless Moments, Without A Flaw).

Michele Ashman Bell grew up in St. George, Utah. Her passion for books and her love for keeping a journal helped her develop an understanding for the power of the written word, not only to express feelings and imagination, but to touch others and move readers. Once the writing bug bit, it took ten long years of submissions, rejections, workshops, critique groups, and community education classes, before her first book: An Unexpected Love. Michele is the author of 18 books and 4 Christmas stories. She is married to her college sweetheart and is the mother of four children and has one granddaughter.

Visit Michele’s website:
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For a $50.00 gift card, go to Michele's blog and enter.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Interview with Romance Author Rachel Ann Nunes

Rachel Ann Nunes is a best-selling author of romance and women's fiction. She not only speaks English but also Portuguese, Spanish, and French. She is the mother of six children, three boys and three girls, and the author of 30 published novels. As a stay-at-home mom, she’s on her computer for several hours a day. Her only rule about writing is to “never eat chocolate at the computer.”

Hello Rachel. What a great pleasure to speak with you! You are the author of contemporary romance novels such as paranormal romance, romantic suspense, and women’s fiction. You are also known for writing “clean romances.” Where do you get your ideas?

Authors usually get their ideas from five different places--personal experience, what they observe/overhear, research, imagination, and inspiration (or the mythical muse). I use a combination of all of these in each of my books. My first novel was inspired by a woman I met in Portugal. I didn’t know much of her personal story, but what I heard inspired me when I eventually began to write. The book was in no way her story, of course, but the real-life events were definitely pivotal in pointing my imagination in the right direction. The scenes with the children… most of my novels are based on my own experience with my children, and most of the ideas for my medical scenarios came from research. With my suspense and paranormal, I rely heavily on my imagination--basically making it up. And sometimes ideas simply appear in my mind, fully formed. That's the easiest way, but not always the most reliable. I still have to research to make sure the scenario is plausible.

As a plot develops in my head, it won't leave me alone until I finish it. The more I write, the more the ideas flow. I'm always compelled to write. It's as if I'm in a huge amphitheatre and sitting in the audience are all the thousands of story ideas and they are calling to me to write them. The one that yells the loudest wins.

What is Imprints about?

A young woman is missing. In desperation, her parents turn to Autumn Rain for help. Autumn reads imprints - emotions mysteriously left behind on certain treasured objects. But will this ability enrich her life or destroy it? Autumn isn't sure - her life has become far from normal - but for people whose loved ones are missing, her talent might mean the difference between life and death. Even the infuriating Detective Martin has asked for Autumn's help, though at times she feels more like a suspect than a consultant. Too often Autumn find herself retreating to her antiques shop and the company of her best friend, Jake Ryan, to avoid notice. But soon more than one woman is missing, and Autumn teams up with private eye Ethan McConnell to investigate their disappearance. Ethan's attraction to her is a pleasant change from Jake's frustrating offers of friendship, but once Autumn takes that first step, she sets in motion a series of events that risk not only her own life but the lives of those she cares most about.

Your book sounds like it’s full of suspense. Do you use an outline when you write or play it by ear?

I don’t outline. The only book I ever completely outlined, I ended up not writing. I know where I’m going to begin each book, a few scenes in between, and generally how I want it to end, but for me the joy of writing is discovering where my characters will take me. I do make little notes at the bottom of the screen about things I want to include, or at the top of the screen if it’s something earlier in the manuscript that I need to remember to add on the rewrite, but that’s as far as I go with planning. When the notes are all gone, I’m basically finished with the book.

Please tell us briefly why do you want to post at your door: DANGER, WRITER AT WORK, KNOCK AT YOUR OWN RISK!

The reason I've been tempted to post that sign is because all too often, I'm in my pajamas, my hair is a mess, and I'm so far in another world that even if I answer a question, I don't really know what I'm saying and I'll forget the second… whoever it is at the door… leaves. My kids have learned, though. Now when they ask me for something and I say yes, sometimes they'll come back and say, "Now, you really did mean yes, didn't you?" That's my clue to pull my head back to the real world and focus more on what they are saying.

Thanks. I was wondering about that hilarious sign. What does your family think about your writing?

My children don't know any different because I've been writing since they were small. The older ones seem proud of what I do and love to tell me stories of people they run into who read my books. One of my daughters is my first reader. She gets all the stories first and is my best fan. She's excellent at line editing, and I'm trying to teach her to be critical of dialogue and plotting, too.

Wow… your daughter is learning about editing. That’s wonderful. Please tell us something about the real you that we’ll never forget.

Hmm. I love to jump on the trampoline, I was in a roller skating club once as a youth, the Road Rollers, and to this day I love skating. I also have a concealed carry permit.

How about that? I wouldn't have guessed that you were a roller skating lady who packs a piece! That's really something. My husband loves to go target shooting and he takes me along, although I’m not very good compared to him. Now I know the real you and what a pleasure it has been!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Interview with Best Selling Mystery Author Betsy Brannon Green

Betsy Brannon Green, from Alabama, has always loved writing but decided to do something about it in 1999. Two years later, May 2001, a publisher finally accepted her works and she became a published author. Betsy’s writing is strongly influenced by all the Southern hospitality around her. She says the greatest accomplishments of her life are marrying her husband and having eight children. Betsy is the author of seventeen mystery romance novels. 

"Betsy Brannon Green skillfully weaves a rich tale of intrigue and romance in a small Southern town."

 Murder By the Book: The librarian, Kennedy Killingsworth, thought that Midway, Georgia was the dullest place on earth until a fateful day that begins with a speeding ticket and ends with a suicide. The ticket comes from Kennedy's ex-husband, Deputy Cade Burrell, who seems desperate to find any reason to talk to her. And the victim is Foster Scoggins, the leathery-faced resident who applied for a library card, just hours before his gruesome death. Rumors fly that Foster took his life after being jilted by a mysterious love interest. But why would he apply for a library card if he were going to end his life? 

Hello Betsy, my dearest friend! To those who may not know, Betsy has read several of my novels, gave me a few blurbs, and even wrote the foreword to my second book, Edith and the Mysterious Stranger. You can read one of her blurbs on my sidebar. The first book Betsy wrote, Hearts in Hiding and the sequel Double Cross, just happen to be my favorites. After reading the “Duty” series (Hazardous Duty, Above and Beyond, and Code of Honor), I was taken into her story right away and it instantly became another favorite. Okay, enough about my thoughts! Betsy, please tell us about your new book.

Murder by the Book is the beginning of a spin-off series. My first book, Hearts in Hiding, began my writing career and the “Haggerty Mystery Series”. I loved working with familiar characters in the town of Haggerty but occasionally I’d get a request from someone to do something new. So I wrote the Duty Series – which was a nice vacation from Haggerty. But then I wanted to go back – but I wanted the new book to be fresh and a little different – within the confines of the series. So I came up with the idea to write a story based in a town that neighbors Haggerty (Midway, Georgia). This gave me the opportunity to create all new characters and then introduce some of the Haggerty favorites into the story. It was a lot of fun to write and came out in October of 2009. The sequel, Murder by Design, will be released in October of 2010.

Very mysterious! Where do you get your inspiration for your novels?

I get a lot of inspiration from the people and places around me. There are a lot of characters in the South. Many people ask me if Miss Eugenia is based on a real person. She is actually a composite of many amazing southern women I have known. She got her name from Mrs. Eugenia Akin – our landlady when my father was in medical school in Birmingham. And Haggerty is based on the beautiful little town of Headland, Alabama. It is truly an inspiring place.

I love Miss Eugenia. She is such a busybody and that makes her endearing. Do you know the outcome of each story before beginning a mystery? Or is it a mystery to you, too? Do you ever surprise yourself?

I always THINK I know the outcome of a book when I begin, but often the characters and the plot takes on a life of its own and things change as we go along. Sometimes I am surprised by the growth the characters experience during the course of a book – or my attachment to some characters – especially the bad guys – by the end. An example of this was my bad guy in Double Cross. By the end I hated to kill him – but I had to.

I loved Double Cross. It was so intriguing. You really fooled me on that one. What does your family think about your writing?

My family loves the fact that I write twice a year when my royalty checks arrive. The rest of the time they endure it. I got more complaints about the time I spend at the computer in the beginning – but now my books and the time it takes to write them are something they accept. My daughters all read my books and my husband listens to them on CD (although he’ll tell you they are not his genre – actually nothing is except the scriptures). But my sons don’t read them. My oldest son said it was the love scenes that made it impossible for him to read. My second son read Hearts in Hiding recently and said he loved it and wants to be just like Mark Iverson. So maybe they will eventually come around!

I have to laugh because I know exactly what you mean. Out of six daughters, only two have read all of my books. The rest are either too busy with college or children or it isn’t their genre such as fantasy. So yes… I understand completely. Okay, tell us something about the real you that we’ll never forget.

I have been trying for over a week to think of something unforgettable about myself and I’m afraid I’ve come to the conclusion that there isn’t anything! It was always my goal to have 10 children and I wanted to name my first three daughters Faith, Hope, and Charity (only had 8 children and didn’t name any of them the above).

Hilarious! I love it! Now I know the real Betsy who wanted ten children but ended up with eight and didn’t name them her 3 favorite names. Awesome!!!