Saturday, January 29, 2011

Dead Reality Gets Another Great Review

The title says it all, so I guess I don't need to add much else.
Earlier in the week, Dead Reality was reviewed over at The Romance Studio and once again I was very pleased with the results. As I said before, I've actually been surprised at how well this book is doing. It's a nice little ego boost, but on the flip side, I'm now feeling the pressure to make sure Ric and Madi's story lives up to my great start into the romantic suspense world with Dead Reality.
Speaking of which, I haven't written a single word for the past two days, better do something about that. Here's the review in full:


Dead Reality
Jess Anastasi
Romantic suspense
Available from Noble Romance Publishing
ISBN: 978-1-60592-227-0
January 2011

Ella Waverly is a FBI agent. The team leader, Bryce Lain, and herself were assigned an uncover job on Little Palm Island Resort. Ella was to participate as a contestant on a bachelor-type reality show. Bryce would be a security advisor. The bachelor in question, Baron Astley, a minor British peer, made his own reality show to find an American wife. In England, Astley was suspected of raping and killing four women, though charges were never formally made. The FBI and Scotland Yard agreed the situation needed monitoring, hence the need for undercover agents. When Ella first met Bryce, she thought he was the handsomest man she ever met. The attraction was mutual. Ella resolved to down play her feelings because involvement could jeopardize her job. As the job and her feelings for Bryce escalate, a woman turns up missing. An accident befalls Ella. Has she become a target?
The plot has an easy flow. It draws the reader into a grip of mystery and suspense, never letting go until the end. I like the uncertainty and tension between the two main characters, Ella and Bryce, it makes the story more real. Even FBI agents have insecurities. It was very easy to picture a few of the well defined minor characters. Veronica was one of those shallow beautiful woman you hate because she's better then the rest of us. Baron Astley was a rich playboy, who the same beautiful woman mindlessly fell all over. He could easily be either diabolical or innocent, his portrayal could read either way until the end. Good Read.

Overall rating: 4 hearts
Sensuality rating: Mildly sensual

Reviewer: Theresa B.
January 25, 2011

And here's the linkety-link if you want to go see it in all its glory:


http://theromancestudio.com/reviews/reviews/deadrealityanastasi.htm

Oh! And coming sometime next week, I've compiled my favorite quotes from The Vampire Diaries, season 1, so keep an eye out for that, should be fun.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Guest Author - Mindy Mckay

Today we have with us Mindy Mckay, a romantic suspense author who likes to explore many different, complex relationships in her work.


Welcome! Please introduce yourself and tell us a bit about who you are.
Howdy there! I'm Mindy MacKay and I'm an alc--I mean, a romance writer. I love fancy coffee, long walks through deserted industrial areas, and, of course, a good strategy war.

Please tell us a bit about your book.
Fallen from Disgrace was my first venture into the realistic novel--before then, I'd been all fantasy. Essentially, it's Cain and Abel gender-flipped and updated, dropped into New York City, and spiced up with romance and a few rounds of head-to-head psychological speed-chess just for funzies.

What was the motivation/idea behind this book/these characters?
A few different things motivated me to start this book. First, I wanted to explore a tense, vitriolic relationship between two sisters. Siblings have always fascinated me, probably because I have none myself. Next, I wanted to broaden my character archetypes. I'm used to writing anti-heroes and that's certainly what Rosella is, but this was the first time I've written such scrupulous souls as Euphemia and her victimized inamorato. Finally, I was immersed in media that centered around strategy war--halfway through watching Death Note and reading East of Eden--and I guess I learned by osmosis how characters outsmart each other, and this book just came out.

Did you enjoy writing this book, or did you have some tough times with it?
I had a great time writing this. At times, some of Rosella's machinations got a little complicated and took pages and pages of outlining to keep straight, but on the whole, I had more fun writing this book than any I'd done before.

When / Where / How do you write?
Between school and more school, I honestly have lost track of where I find the time. I must conjure it up subconsciously and proceed to use it to write. As for location, I can write anywhere, provided I have a hard surface and paper or some piece of technology on me. I prefer having music, but can go without it, and I always have to outline first, unlike those lucky pantsers out there who can just hop on the plot and ride it like a Ferris wheel.
Do you have some other qualification/interest/something else you do besides being a writer?
I'm working on entering the medical field, and in the meantime, I participate in science clubs and play the piano.

What book/s are you reading at the moment?
Dennis Lehane's A Drink Before the War. I don't read much first person, but this guy has really nailed it.

Do you have any authors who were your inspiration/hero?
There are quite a few authors I find inspiring. Chuck Palahniuk and Dennis Lehane are two I particularly enjoy for their ability to pull a convincing yet totally mind-boggling ending. I also admire people that write from jail after being censured intellectually--from Martin Luther King to Fyodor Dostoyevsky to the Marquis de Sade, it takes conviction to produce brilliance in the grimmest of circumstances, no pun intended!

What are you working on right now?
I expect to soon be starting edits on The Placebo Effect, a short novella about love and lust, insanity, psychiatry, hilarious hypnosis-related fiascos, a basketball hoop, and April Fools Day. I'm also researching Sun Tzu's war strategies for possible use in a transgressive romance somewhere down the line.

Do you have any other books out you'd like to mention?
The second installment in my scifi series, Soulgame, just released through Rogue Phoenix Press. Those of you who live for the same sort of mind-game present in Fallen from Disgrace but prefer a little more of characters zapping each other with energy beams are bound to enjoy it!

Is there something I haven't asked that you'd like to tell us?
I'd just like to thank you for having me, Jess, and give a huge mega shout out to everyone who's been there with me throughout my literary ventures. My mom and dad for all their support, all the readers who have given me feedback, my splendid betas Nikki and Sarah, my good buddy Colin, whom I can always ask for an opinion on a plot device, and everyone at Noble Romance and Rogue Phoenix who believed in me and helped me present my best work. Writing is truly not a solitary venture and I'm uber-glad to be surrounded by such a community of win!


BLURB
Rosella Cartwright wakes up in the hospital after a yearlong coma with no recollection of who she used to be. Her only clue is that everyone around her despises and avoids her. Then, she discovers the truth: before she was hospitalized, she was the most wanted maniac of New York's criminal underbelly.

Disgusted by reports of her own heinous crimes, she attempts to reform herself, but her efforts are in vain as society continues to cast her out in hatred and fear. All the world seems against her until she is offered a job by Daniel Ryan, a rising executive and self-made success who hides a lifetime of inner turmoil behind a fa├žade of cool indifference. Drawn to his mystery as he is by her irrepressible darkness, Rosella starts falling for Daniel, but love can't save her from her past. A former victim of hers wants revenge, and will stop at nothing to get it. Her partners in crime want her back by their side, though she wants nothing more to do with them. And a sinister plot of her own design, buried beneath her amnesia, is, unbeknownst to her, still very much in progress. These are the monsters she will have to fight off alone, and if she doesn't watch her step, she might not make it out alive.

EXCERPT
After Meji's phone call, Rosella was left with a clenching, crushing sensation in her chest that didn't dissipate by the end of the workday. She was at home watching a sitcom on the small TV she'd invested in when a knock sounded at the door. As she opened it, the unpleasant feeling she had almost banished seized her up again with a vengeful intensity.
Standing in her doorway was a punky-looking pair of people with matching smirks on their faces. One of them, an Asian woman with too much makeup on and the tips of her hair dyed blue, had a pattern of Celtic knots carved into one of her inner forearms. The other, a spiky-haired male in a wifebeater and tight jeans, seemed the less extreme of the two, though Rosella knew from her recently reacquired memories they were equally perverse.
Meji and Ezekiel hadn't changed a bit.
"Wow, Rosella, I didn't think you'd actually be staying at your old place," said Ezekiel.
"What do you two want?" asked Rosella.
"We want you back, Rose," Meji said. "Now that you're awake, we can go back to being the way we were. Well, minus Greg, but he'll be out of prison before we know it."
"Yeah, and besides, he was only ever the liver and lungs of the organization," added Ezekiel. "Nothing compared to you, its heart and soul. I like what you've done with your hair, by the way, though I always did fancy you as a blonde."
Rosella sighed. "Look, I don't remember much, and one of the things I don't remember is what appeal I ever saw in this whole Libertinage business. I'm sure if I did, I'd be more willing to jeopardize my new life to run around committing crimes with you, but as it stands, I don't, I'm not, and, well, here we are."
Meji opened her mouth to protest, but Ezekiel stopped her. "She's not interested, Meji. Forget it, she's a lost cause."
He turned away, and Rosella was hit with a momentary surge of rage, fleeting but powerful. How dare he talk like that about her!
When it passed, she noticed he limped slightly as he walked away. "Why are you walking funny?" she asked.
He turned around to face her again. "You really don't remember?"
"If I did, I wouldn't have asked you, numbskull."
He grinned. "That's more like our Rosella."
"Just tell me what happened!"
"You shot me in the thigh. Never really recovered from that," he said. "Would you like to know more about the four of us? About you?"
Rosella shook her head no. "Yes."
"Come on," said Meji, grabbing her by the wrist and pulling her out of her apartment, letting the door swing shut behind them. "We'll help you remember."
"How?"
"We'll take you somewhere."
"Is it somewhere I want to go?"
"If that's the Rosella I know in there," said Ezekiel, "then yes."
They led her outside and ushered her into a taxi en route to The Bronx. After they got out and paid the driver, Rosella found herself standing in front of a towering but sad, abandoned apartment complex whose eroded roof seemed to sag on its walls.
"Welcome back to the second Sodom," said Ezekiel, his tone sounding too casual for such a momentous occasion. Rosella tiptoed on her way into the building as if she was afraid any noise she made would awaken ghosts. She winced as she gingerly turned the knob of the creaky door. Every sound around her and every breath she took was bringing her closer to her past.
She explored the compound and recollections bombarded her like grenades. Here was the window she'd broken using a victim's head, and there, the chandelier from which she'd hanged someone. On the floor under a coffee table was Gregoire's old, battered copy of The 120 Days of Sodom. Around every corner, in every nook and cranny, Rosella could see images of herself, residual hauntings acting out the horrors buried in her subconscious.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Going Backwards

You may have noticed a change on the word count meter I have for my current WIP. No, it hasn't malfunctioned, there's a reason why yesterday it read 33,000 words and today it says 6000.
You see, I'm a chronic re-writer.
I'd had both my crit partners read what I'd done so far and they both said the same thing (but in a different way). Erin told me that the story seemed to have a 'distance' to it. CT gave me some great insight, telling me that the emotion wasn't working for Nick, and Madi seemed a bit "whatever" about him. The intensity that earned me a 4.5 / 5 star review for Dead Reality (yes, I am still going on about that) just wasn't there in Nick and Madi's story.
So, I chucked it.
Not literally, though I imagine it would feel quite satisfying to take a manuscript that wasn't working and throw it out the nearest window.
I reassessed the characters. Madi was working fine, but Nick was sucking the life out of the story. He had to go (sorry, Nick, maybe we'll find another story down the track for you). After Nick took exit, stage left, along came Richard. He hates his name and makes everyone call him Ric. Within the first page, Ric had the attitude and snap that Nick had been lacking. And when he and Madi come face to face? Well, let's just say they were far more interested in one another.
It means I'm now way behind where I wanted to be in terms of turning in my next book, but if the results are I submit a better book? Then I'm not complaining. After all, if I send the editors at Noble a crap manuscript, they can reject me just as easily as they reject anyone else.
Just because I'm published now doesn't mean everything I write will be gold. Sometimes, characters or storylines just don't work the way you think they're going to.
At least I know when to cut my losses and have fabulous crit partners who aren't afraid to tell it like it is.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

The First Review

I'd been living in quiet agony over when my first review would come and which book it'd be for. And more importantly, what they would say. I didn't have high expectations, especially when it came to Dead Reality.
In all truth, while I loved the story idea and characters, I didn't feel Dead Reality reflected my best work. A fact which seemed supported by the amount of revision my editors and I had to put in to get it ready for publication.
I'd always hoped that Sanctuary would get reviewed, I honestly want to know what people (who aren't my friends and family, as much as I love them all!) think about the concept of angels and demons in space. When the weeks went by after Sanctuary came out and no review was forthcoming, I gave up on that idea and started hoping that maybe Severance would get reviewed when it came out.
I hardly gave the idea of Dead Reality being reviewed a thought. There are a bazillion other romantic suspense out there, and more coming out every week. And since I didn't think Dead Reality would stand out from the crowd, I never expected it to be picked up for review.
So, hearing the news that it had been reviewed was a surprise enough in itself. But, for it to then go on and get a rating of 4.5 stars out of 5, I couldn't believe it.
And to make the dream-come-true complete, the reviewer said a few things I'd always wanted to hear about my work. That the sexual tensions was "excellent" and the action "zips along".
Best of all, and the one thing I wanted to hear, the one thing I want readers to be saying when they read one of my books? That they couldn't put it down. To have a reviewer state this, in my first review no less, was the icing on the cake (mmm... cake. Think I might do some baking).
Of course, I'm realistic enough to know that one day I will get mediocre reviews, likely even bad reviews. But, with such a good review starting me off, hopefully I'll never let the less-than-impressive reviews get me down.
Here's the review in full:

MR Review
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewer: Patrizia Murray
Review:
FBI Special Agent Ella Waverly is wrapping up one last assignment before heading off on her first holiday in five years. But thoughts of flip-flops and cocktails are the last thing on her mind when she meets the new team leader, Special Agent Bryce Lain, and finds out her long-planned-for holiday is being scuttled for an undercover assignment.

Agent Lain is gorgeous, the kind of gorgeous that guarantees he's an arrogant jerk. The news that he'll be her partner in the dangerous mission is almost enough to make her head explode. Before the day is out, Ella finds herself at Little Palm Island Resort in Florida, masquerading as a contestant on the latest reality TV show—Lord Bachelor. The bachelor in question, a disgraced British peer, is suspected of raping and murdering several women back in London.

Though Ella knows it safer where her heart’s concerned to deny it, the longer she's stuck with Bryce, the more she sees there could be a man worth loving beneath the impossibly good-looking exterior.

As humidity frizzes her hair beyond the help of any type of de-frizzing, smoothing, glossing product, Ella works against nineteen husband-hungry bimbos, one suspected serial killer, and one seriously hot agent who's trying everything he can to get under her skin.

I love a good mystery and this one has lots of action while steering you off in directions other than toward the culprit here. However, in the end, because there are only two people who can possibly be the murderer, it is relatively easy to figure out whodunit. But the action is pretty good, and the sexual tension is excellent.

Lain wants Ella, but he can’t seem to wrap his mind around why he wants her for more than a short roll in the hay. Ella quickly realizes she is in love with him, but won’t allow him to get near, because she fears being a one night stand and also what that one night stand could do to her well fought way to the top of her career..

The goals, motivations and conflicts are well developed and the characters are well-rounded. Both main characters were easy to like, just as Vanessa is easy to hate and the Lord is easy to misunderstand.

There could have been a bit more of Lain’s background shown, which would show more of why he is afraid of commitments, but that is a minor point. The action fairly zips along and Dead Reality is hard to put down.

And here's the link, just in case you want to see the page anyway:
http://www.manicreaders.com/index.cfm?disp=reviews&bookid=11303

And now I've got to get back to Nick and Madi's story, still untitled. I've just passed the 33,000 word mark and am looking to put in a big weekend of writing. If I can get it up over 40,000 words by tomorrow night, I'll be happy.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Guest Author - Dawn Brown

Welcome to week two of my guest authors. Today we have with us romantic suspense author Dawn Brown, who sometimes likes to add a bit of a paranormal twist to her work.
Just before we get into the interview, I have to tell you that I woke up this morning to the news I'd gotten my first ever review. It was over at Manic Readers, for Dead Reality, and its fantastic! Pop over and have a look if you want, but I will be blogging all about it later in the week.
Now, onward to our guest!

Welcome! Please introduce yourself and tell us a bit about who you are.

Thanks for having me. I’m Dawn Brown from Ontario, Canada, where I live with my husband and son. I write romantic mysteries, sometimes with a paranormal twist.

Please tell us a bit about your book.

After a devastating personal tragedy, history professor Hillary Bennett seeks refuge in the quaint Scottish village of Culcraig, hoping to research a legend and salvage her career. Instead, she finds her hostess dead, and her hopes for the future pinned to the woman’s black sheep heir.

The last thing Caid Douglas needs is a decrepit manor house to remind him of his estranged family, but he does need the money selling the house would bring to pay off his debts. In desperation he offers to honor his great aunt’s arrangement with Hillary—if she pays him to stay at Glendon House and view his ancestor’s journals, he’ll have the money to fix up the family mausoleum and sell it.

But an ancient curse hovers over the village, and the secret to lifting it lies in the journals. Will Caid and Hillary realize what they have and uncover the truth before a twisted killer silences them forever?


What was the motivation/idea behind this book/these characters?

I’ve always really enjoyed reading gothic mystery romance novels from the 70’s and 80’s, like the ones written by Phyllis A. Whitney and Barbara Michaels, and thought it would be fun to write one. I started off with the idea of a town haunted by a past act of mob violence and went from there.

Did you enjoy writing this book, or did you have some tough times with it?

I think every book has its moments. Sometimes, I can sit down and the flow is fast and I feel like I could write the whole thing in one sitting if I didn’t have to eat or sleep. Then the very next day I can struggle carving out a single decent paragraph.

When / Where / How do you write?

I write every day while my son is in school. I have an office in the attic which is freezing in the winter and unbearably hot in the summer, but it’s a wonderful place to close the door on the real world and escape into my own.

I’m not a plotter. I just sit down and write. Though, before I start a new story, I like to have a good idea of who my characters are and what their goals, motivations and conflicts are. Since they’re the ones telling the story, it’s important to me to really know who they are and what they want.

Do you have some other qualification/interest/something else you do besides being a writer?

Between writing and spending time with family and friends, I don’t have a lot spare time. But when I do, I usually read or paint badly.

What book/s are you reading at the moment?

HeartSick by Chelsea Cain.

Do you have any authors who were your inspiration/hero?

I don’t know if there is a single writer I would consider my hero, but I really admire authors who consistently turn out good stories with interesting characters. Some of my favorites are Minette Walters, Stephen King, Nora Roberts and Amanda Stevens.

What are you working on right now?

I’m working on a book called The Devil’s Eye. It’s about a woman who travels to Wales to meet the family that she never knew she had, and finds herself embroiled in a series of strange disappearances. Her only ally his her family’s groundskeeper, but he too has secrets of his own.

Do you have any other books out you'd like to mention?

I have another book, Living Lies, available from Samhain Publishing. Twelve years after her sister’s disappearance, Haley Carling spends her days trying to hold what’s left of her family together, running her late father’s shop and caring for her alcoholic mother. Then her sister’s remains are uncovered in the basement of their old home, and fingers start pointing. At the Carlings.

Dean Lawson, long the prime suspect in the Carling girl’s disappearance, is sure he’s got evidence proving who the killer is. He’s determined to clear his name, and he won’t let anything stand in his way. Not even his lingering attraction to Haley.

Haley is just as determined to protect her family from the former town bad boy’s accusations. But now someone is stalking her, and Haley realizes Dean’s the only one she can trust.

With a killer closing in, Dean wonders if he’s made the biggest mistake of his life…a mistake that could cost Haley her life.




Thanks so much for being with us!

Website: dawnbrown.org
Blog: dawnbrown.org/blog

The Curse of Culcraig

Buy Link: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_0_21?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=the+curse+of+culcraig&sprefix=the+curse+of+culcraig

Excerpt:

Someone was in the house with them…

“You know,” Hillary said, keeping her voice low. “This house is huge. We could check each room individually, but who’s to say that whoever’s here won’t just keep moving around as we search, eventually working their way into a room we’ve already checked? We’ll never be one hundred per cent sure we’re alone.”

“Are you suggesting we separate?”

Her grip on his hand tightened. Did she even realize she’d done that?

“It would probably make more sense to split up. If we worked from opposite ends and met in the middle, it would reduce the chance of an intruder slipping away. But as I said, this place is huge and we’re only two people, the odds of our mystery person eluding us are still pretty good. Not to mention the confusion.”

“Confusion?” Caid tried to suppress his grin.

“Yes. If we separated, we could easily wind up tracking each other. At least together, if we hear or see anything out of the ordinary, we know that it has to be someone else.”

“What an astounding rationalization.”

She frowned at him in obvious consternation. “I think I made some very good points.”
He smiled. “Aye, you did. I’m sure you’ve convinced yerself quite nicely. Did you bring the subject up simply because you were concerned that I might think you liked holding my hand?”

He couldn’t stop his smile from widening, especially when she struggled to untangle her fingers from his, but as they entered the kitchen, he tightened his grip.

“Dinnae be like that. I’m just having a wee bit of fun with you.”

She ceased struggling as her delicately shaped brows drew together in disbelief. “That wasn’t here earlier.”

“What?” He turned to the direction she pointed.

A brass fireplace poker lay dead center on the battered harvest table. On the floor, a series of watery footprints stretched between the back door to the table.

Christ’s sakes. Hillary hadn’t just been frightened alone in an old house, there had been someone else here.

But who? And why?

Friday, January 14, 2011

RWA Flooded Communities Book Appeal

Romance Writers of Australia has started a drive to collect books that will be donated to libraries and school who lost everything, here are the details:


RWA Flooded Communities Book Appeal

We've all seen the devastation the recent Queensland floods have wrought and have wondered how we can help. We know that for many affected families, books will not be high on their priorities list for some time to come.

But...
We also know how valuable books can be in providing time out when reality gets tough.

So…
With the aid of some wonderful volunteers, we've put together a Romance Writers of Australia Flooded Communities Book Appeal.

What we need?
FICTION BOOKS! Romance books, children's books, young adult books, genre books, whatever – either new or in sparkling condition.

Please send them to:
RWA Flooded Communities Book Appeal
PO Box 1717
Noosaville Post Office
Noosaville BC
Queensland 4566


When to send them?
Now! And any time over the next few months. The books will be boxed and delivered to the appropriate libraries/schools/neighbourhood centres/community centres in batches as soon as the communities are ready to receive them. We’ll be liaising with councils, libraries and schools to ensure this is done appropriately. Feel free to pop a note inside, or if you're an author, sign it.

Questions:
If you have a question about donations, email Jess Anastasi: Jess@jessanastasi.com
If you work in a library / council / community centre / school in a flood affected area, email Rachel Bailey: rachel@rachelbailey.com.au

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Guest Author - Marie-Nicole Ryan

Hello there everyone!
Today kicks off the first in a series of Author Interviews I'll be doing in the coming months. Every Wednesday I'll be featuring an author, and the first cab off the rank is Marie-Nicole Ryan, who writes spicy romantic suspense.


Welcome! Please introduce yourself and tell us a bit about who you are.
I’m Marie-Nicole Ryan and I write romantic suspense—most of the time. I lived in Nashville, TN, for several decades, but have recently moved back to my hometown in Western Kentucky to be closer to my mom.

Please tell us a bit about your book.
LOVE ME IF YOU CAN is a spicy romantic suspense set in Nashville. At the heart of the story is the romance between the head of a family-owned PI agency and Tess O’Malley, an ambitious and driven homicide detective. Their romance gets off to a good start, but Tess’ ambitions and no desire for a family interfere with Scott’s idea of happily ever after. A serial killer is targeting teen boys in Nashville and the governor’s grandson is a victim of this very twisted killer. When another teen goes missing, Tess will do anything, even placing herself in danger to find the killer…and further her career.

What was the motivation/idea behind this book/these characters?
I originally envisioned this book as the first of six, each featuring a member of a family of blended siblings who run a Nashville PI agency. In addition to the romantic suspense element, there is a question that runs through all six of the books, but isn’t answered until the last.
The idea came from watching Extreme Make-over: Home Edition. There was a family of blended siblings. Their parents were dead and the older two dropped out of school to support and care for the others.
I found the idea of the two older ones giving up their dreams intriguing. Scott, the hero, was in law school when his father and stepmother were killed by a drunk driver. He left school to run his father’s PI agency and support his family of five siblings. While this story starts ten years after the parents’ deaths and the major family struggles are behind them, the family plays an huge role the story.

Did you enjoy writing this book, or did you have some tough times with it?
I had a very difficult time with this book. Not the first draft, but it was later rewritten at least four times for four editors at two different publishers.

When / Where / How do you write?
Morning/recliner/netbook. LOL Actually after spending a year decluttering, renovating, trying to sell my house in Nashville and then moving to Western Kentucky over the last year, I’m just beginning to get back in the groove.

Do you have some other qualification/interest/something else you do besides being a writer?
I’m a retired registered nurse, and I also have a degree in interior design. I never worked in the field of design, but I love HGTV. I also spend some time chauffeuring my elderly mother wherever she wants or needs to go since she can no longer see well enough to drive. The rest of my free time is spent catering to a very spoiled, but darling, Shetland Sheepdog.

What book/s are you reading at the moment?
LONESTAR SANCTURY by Colleen Coble. I’m a sucker for contemporary westerns, even one that is an inspirational which is done with a very light hand. There’s a definite suspense element as well.

Do you have any authors who were your inspiration/hero?
Carole Buck who wrote for Silhouette Desire in the 90s and early 2000s. I met her online in a La Femme Nikita fan forum. She encouraged me to join RWA and actually gave me a detailed—and very redlined—critique of my first writing effort. I’ll be grateful to her, forever.

What are you working on right now?
I’m working on a romantic suspense set in the Finger Lakes area of Upstate New York. It’s an area I’ve visited numerous times and love.

Do you have any other books out you'd like to mention?
From Samhain Publishing I have an erotic western historical, SEDUCING THE SHERIFF, and several romantic suspense novels, which include HOLDING HER OWN, ONE TOO MANY, LOVE ON THE RUN, and TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE. I also have two rights-returned romantic suspense novels which are now self-published and available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble, THE MAN FOR THE JOB and SEE YOU IN MY DREAMS.

Is there something I haven't asked that you'd like to tell us?
SEDUCING THE SHERIFF was nominated for a 2010 CAPA in the erotic historical category at The Romance Studio.

LINKS:
LOVE ME IF YOU CAN
BLURB:
Nashville sizzles in the summer. No wonder Tess and Scott combust.

Nashville Homicide Detective Tess O’Malley has a lot to prove. She comes from a long line of police officers, including her father and older brothers. First she and her partner are taken off a high profile case and sidelined with a cold case instead. After reviewing the files, she’s certain her cold case is connected to the current one, and she sets out to prove it. Too bad it means locking horns with a handsome PI who could win her heart and derail her career.

PI Scott Holt is all business when it comes to running his family’s PI firm. When the lovely Detective O’Malley comes to question him about his possible involvement in her cold case, he has everything but business on his mind. Like locking lips with the fiery redhead.

EXCERPT:
Scott parked his car in the lot and glanced at his watch. His first appointment wasn’t for another twenty minutes. Just enough time to duck into the Coffee Shack for his morning jolt of java. Great. Only one customer ahead of him.
The one was a spectacular redhead with a killer body, wearing a light tan jacket and a brown skirt just short enough to show off a great set of wheels. Not that he paid any attention to a woman’s body.
Now, the mind… Who was he fooling?
“Arabian Mocha Sanani. Double grande, skim—no, whole—no, skim.” Her voice was low and pleasant, but did she have to waffle over what kind of milk?
Her head bobbed from side to side while she considered. “No, skim, definitely skim.”
Enough already. “Could you just make up your mind? Some of us have to go to work.”
She whirled and glared. Her wide gray eyes, with flecks of darker gray, flashed with anger. “I just did.” She turned back to the clerk. “Definitely whole.”
There was something familiar about her. Maybe they’d met before? Gone to school together? He glanced at his watch and started tapping his foot.
“Sometime this century, Red.”
This time she whipped around and flashed a badge. “One more word and I’ll arrest you for being a public nuisance.”
A Metro Nashville gold shield. Yeah, one of the O’Malleys. “You’ll arrest me?” Unable to resist, he grinned. “How about I make a citizen’s arrest because you’re a—”
Her fair cheeks flushed an angry red as she interrupted him, “Careful, you are so close to—”
So she had the typical redhead’s temper. Aw hell, she was too cute to alienate. Women love it when a man admits he’s wrong. “All right. I’m a nuisance—one Scott Holt. I admit it. Why don’t you let me buy your coffee, and then maybe you’ll let me apologize over dinner?”
Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
A flicker of something sparked, then died in her gaze. “Hmph. Is that your idea of a smooth come-on?”
He tried a smile. Maybe his charm alone would soften her attitude. “It’s the best I can do on short notice.”
Her hardened expression softened. Her lips twitched. “I’ll pass.”
“Now here I thought you were softening toward me. You know you almost smiled. I’m very observant.”
She glanced at her watch. A self-satisfied smile lifted the corners of her luscious mouth. “Thought you had to get to work?”
“Won’t hurt. I’m the boss.”
“Well, I’m not the boss, and I do have to get to work.”
Without another word, she paid for her java, took a sip, and then sailed by him. His chin dropped.
She left the store and headed down Fifth. He smiled. Nice hitch in her get-along. Oh, yeah.
“Hey, buddy,” the barista interrupted Scott’s train of thought. “You gonna order or stare at the scenery.”
Scott laughed. The redhead had him dazzled all right.
And dazzled was rare.

BUY LINKS:
LOVE ME IF YOU CAN, The Wild Rose Press
...Marie-Nicole, thanks for coming and giving us an honest and interesting interview!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

New Cover!


Here it is! The cover for Severance. I'd been quietly dying to get this, because I knew the cover artist, CH Scarlet, would out-do herself once again... and I wasn't disappointed! This is a perfect representation for this story and the slightly-evil looking guy on the front exactly what Alastor needed to be. I don't think seeing my new covers will EVER get old, especially when they're so freaking fantastic!
And now I'm off to go get this baby printed and framed to hang up next to my other two covers.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Contest Winner!

The winner of a pre-release copy of Dead Reality from the comp held over at HC Brown's blog was Jen B. Jen, I need you to get in contact with me! I'm giving it a few more days, then I might have to do a re-draw.
In other news, Dead Reality comes out today. Hooray! Will be interested to see how this one goes, whether a straight rom sus will be more popular than my angles-and-demons-in-spaceships idea.
After a week of doing no writing, I at last got back into Nick and Madi's story today. I've written about 400 words so far, but would like to get at least 2000 done a day from here on out to make up for the week I lost. The sooner I get it finished, the sooner I can submit it and start working on Marc and Charmeine's story. I always seem to be looking ahead. Suppose that's better than looking back though!
Don't forget to check back on Wednesday for my first author interview featuring Marie-Nicole Ryan.
I'm going to be featured on the blog of Rachel Haimowitz, a M/M erotic romance author, this week. Find me there on Thursday telling the story of how Dead Reality came together.
I think that's it for now. Better get back to my WIP since I left Nick shot and bleeding in the middle of a forest. I'm so mean to my characters!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Mmmm... Bikkies

Just made a batch of ANZAC bikkies, an Australian staple cookie. And since I'm in a sharing mood, here's the recipe:


Ingredients:

1 cup plain flour, sifted
1 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup caster sugar (I use raw caster sugar)
3/4 cup dessicated coconut
2 tablespoons golden syrup or treacle
125gm unsalted butter
1 teaspoon bicarb soda
2 tablespoons boiling water.


1) pre-heat oven to slow (which I worked out was about 160-170 degrees Celsius on my over, though they're all different)

2) Combine flour, oats,sugar and coconut

3) Combine butter and syrup in a saucepan and stir over low heat until melted. Add bicarb soda to water, then add to butter mixture

4) Combine wet and dry mixtures, stir well

5) Roll small portion into ball and set on tray (greased or lined with baking paper). Push dough down a little to flatten.

6) Bake in over for 20 minutes or until golden brown.

7) leave on tray to cool.

OR eat while they're warm and gooey... YUM!

In other news, the winner of my book over at HC Brown's blog was Jen B. Jen, if you're reading this, email me (on the ROMAUS loop would be fine). Congrats, Jen, hope you enjoy it!

Starting from next week, my blog is going to have something new! That's right, for the next 17 weeks, once a week I'll be featuring an interview with a romantic suspense author. The first one this week will be Marie-Nicole Ryan. The interview will be posted on Wednesday, so make sure you drop by, leave a comment, make her feel welcome!

That's it for now. I've got edits to do and ANZAC bikkies to eat.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Release News!

The contract is all signed for Severance and I have a release date of the 14th of February. I can't wait for this book to be released, because I was very happy with how it turned out, and can only hope the readers will be as well!
I've been so busy that its been almost a week since I did anything on Nick and Madi's story, so I'd better get back to it! I'd like to get it finished and subbed by the time Severance is due to come out. And then I'll be starting the third book to the Sanctuary series, which I haven't got a title for yet. It'll be Marc and Charmeine's story, which won't mean anything to anyone because no one's read Severance yet.
I've only got 2 days now until Dead Reality comes out, so that's very exciting as well. In fact, I'm over at HC Brown's blog today, giving away a copy! So head over there and leave a comment for your chance to win the very first copy of Dead Reality, before anyone else gets their mitts on it!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

It's the End of the World As We Know It...

...and I feel fine.
Yes, that is an REM song. It's probably a bit silly, but any time I hear the phrase "end of the world" that song pops into my head.
You might be wondering why I'm blogging about the end of the world. Well, its simply because apparently the Apocalypse has started. We probably should have seen it coming. Here in Australia, we've had a decade worth of drought and now Queensland is experiencing the worst floods in 150 years. At the worst, flood waters peeked at over 9 meters high. Sounds impossible, but true. In recent days, thousands dead black birds have been dropping from the sky in America, not to mention thousands of dead fish being found in rivers in America and on beaches in New Zealand. Think about the past decade. How many deadly natural disasters have there been? Earthquakes, flooding, landslides, bushfires. The events seem to get more and more extreme.
Some religious fanatical in America thinks we'll see the second coming of Christ on the 1st of May 2011, while I'm sure a lot of other websites are saying the Mayan calender that ends on December 2012 must be on the money.
The idea of the world ending is mind-boggling, too catastrophic and implausible to consider. I can't actually believe it myself. Okay, in the back of my mind, with all these events happening and the fact that, being an author, I have a very over-active imagination, there is a little voice saying "but what if it is happening? Why did it have to happen in my lifetime? Oh crap, we're totally screwed!"
In all seriousness, I think our world is in trouble, with all the pollution going on and places where population numbers aren't sustainable. But I don't think this means the entire human race is about to be wiped out. I do think these things happening need to be considered as a whole and then we need to change our attitude about the way we're treating this planet. Yes, it is a resource, but its a resource we need to maintain and replenish. Because if we keep sucking it dry, what do we think is going to happen?
Yes, I sound like a hippie. But maybe we should start listening to those advocating for better use of the environment around us.
In other (less heavy) news, I got a request for more material from an agent this morning, so I'm off to do some last-minute reading over before I email her back.
Cheers for me and fingers crossed!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

New Year Assualt on Agents

I spent almost all day yesterday sending query letters to agents. Some were follow up ones since I hadn't heard back from queries sent out last October, but most were new contacts. Once again, as I was scouring the Internet for information on each agent I queried, I saw statements of "sci-fi is hard to sell at the moment." I try not to let it dishearten me, but realize for the simple fact of genre, I might be making things harder on myself.
And of course, there's always that one agent who is quick off the mark, so I had a rejection waiting for me when I checked my email this morning. I still haven't heard back from some of the agents at the top of my list (hence the follow up queries) so I hold high hopes that one of them will read Atrophy and love it.
In other news, I worked for 12 hours straight on Sunday doing the revisions I'd been sent by my editor for Dead Reality. I got extra advice about the technical FBI stuff and was recommended I join a group for writers where they can get their questions answered by actual people in the field - very exciting stuff! So I'm just waiting for my membership to come through. It's going to be a great resource and I'll have the confidence that my romantic suspense are as factually correct as possible.
Speaking of, I should get back to working on Nick and Madi's story, its been 3 days since I wrote anything! Its good to have something to do now that I'm back into the waiting-on-agents game.