Guest LAURA BROWNING’S Thoughts On The Digital Reader Revolution

Greetings, Laura. Thanks so much for being my guest today. I just have one question for you: What is your opinion on the electronic book and ereader revolution?

My idea of a wonderful evening used to be curling up on the couch to begin a new book. Reading at my own speed, I would slide my fingers along the edge of the page and slowly turn it, feeling the graininess of the paper beneath my fingertips.  In addition to the textures of different papers – the glossies of magazines, the slick pages of a textbook, or the rich, thickness of a novel’s pages – there were the smells. Newspapers and paperbacks reminded me of ink, library books came with the mellowness of age, and women’s magazines with the gradually fading aroma of the newest perfumes. I will always remember and treasure those sensations. At some level, I believe most of those will live on, but having said that I must add, I live in a family and with a husband who embrace technology.

I had a laser printer when many people were still using dot matrix. Somewhere floating around my house is one of the dinosaurs of digital photography that actually used a floppy disk. Even my first “computer” wasn’t much more than a glorified typewriter. But when it came to ereaders, I hesitated. I saw too many incompatible formats, similar to when VCRs first came on the market, and ultimately I just didn’t want to sacrifice the sensuous experience of turning those pages.

Two things made me take another look at ereaders and ebooks. First, I am a voracious reader. I can finish a short novel in hours. Reading at that rate can drown you in paperbacks pretty quickly. It’s also monumentally inconvenient when you go on vacation. Less avid readers simply don’t understand the need for a crate of books in the luggage. The second thing that made me rethink the move to electronic reading is my son. He struggles to read. There is a vast difference between what he would like to read and what he can read. I work with students who are the same way. An ereader gives them the ability to read what they are capable of reading, and I hope to improve their skills, without being the brunt of their classmates’ teasing.  There’s no childish cover to give them away.

Still not completely convinced because I’ve become much more cautious about spending big bucks on new technology, I eased into electronic books. Most of my early purchases are pdf files I have stashed on a flash drive. Then I discovered Nook and Kindle both had PC applications. Yes! Instant gratification was now mine. I could read right on my computer.  Finally giving in to the inevitable, I ended up with a Nook.

In the midst of all this electronic publishing upheaval, I finally took the step to becoming a published author. I searched out companies that dealt in ebooks with the option of print on demand because I now believe that is where the industry is headed. Electronic books will become the norm, and printed books will be a collector’s item.

Do I like that? There is a part of me that will always want to lift a book to my nose and inhale its unique fragrance. My Nook just smells like plastic.

Laura has a new release out this month!

TheSilkiesSal_w5469_680.jpg
The Silkie’s Salvation is set to release April 15, 2011 from The Wild Rose Press. Buy link right now is:
http://thewildrosepress.com/wilderroses/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=182&products_id=821 
 
Readers can find me on Facebook and also check out my website at: www.laurabrowningbooks.com
 Laura Browning
The Silkie’s Call –  available now from The Wild Rose Press
The Silkie’s Salvation – coming April 2011 from The Wild Rose Press

Winning Heart– coming July 2011 from Lyrical Press

Thanks, Laura!

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Published in: on April 18, 2011 at 1:00 am  Leave a Comment  

Welcome SANDRA CROWLEY

Hi, SANDRA!Sweethearts5c.jpg

Welcome and tell us a little about yourself. Thank you for inviting me, Liz. I’m happy to meet your readers. I bet we’ve enjoyed some of the same books. I’ve read my whole life; I can’t imagine a day without a novel of some sort in my hands. Movies are one of my passions, too, along with fast cars. We have a Corvette convertible–I love the wind in my hair–although a helmet when racing is smarter. While you read through this interview, you’ll probably notice the out of doors keeps me sane.

What are three things you cannot do without? My family. Mountains. Animals. I even like pigs, but not rats.

What is your opinion on the electronic book and ereader revolution? It’s the best thing that’s happened to publishing since papyrus and ink. IMHO, writers will eventually work on a level playing field. The stigma of self-publication will diminish and disappear. If a story is well written, it’ll sell. If it isn’t, it won’t. This won’t happen overnight. Like all major changes, it’ll take time and upheaval as opportunities open, shift and settle.

Personally, I like e-books and e-readers for the ease and economy of exploring outside my usual reading material. Those I love, I buy in traditional book form for my keeper shelf. I suspect this will eventually stop. I hate dusting. I have a small house. I move frequently and packing is a pain.

Address the ins and outs of an aspiring author seeking publication. It’s as hard as it is easy–keep writing, keep learning, keep submitting, keep faithful to your gut.

Talk about your publishing journey. My first contest experience was in the late 90’s. A fluke of circumstances, there were only four entries in my category, earned me Honorable Mention and infected me with the wanna-be-published bug. I completed four manuscripts in the next thirteen years between five moves; the deaths of my father and father-in-law three weeks apart; my husband’s back surgery and long recovery; marriages of both our kids; the births of grandchildren; and countless other distractions. I submitted three of those manuscripts to traditional publishers and allowed rejections to steal my steam. Like my humor, which is a half a bubble off plumb, my writing doesn’t fit the traditional mold. E-publishers accept the offbeat as long as it’s well written. Three 4 Star/Heart reviews from Sizzling Hot Book Reviews, The Romance Reviews, and The Romance Studio confirm what my editor and publisher saw in my writing. I’m blessed that some of my readers have been kind enough to tell me: “I couldn’t put it down.”

I’m gratified I persevered, mainly due to my critique partner’s pushing, prodding, encouraging. Caroline Clemmons rocks! Thank you, kind and wise lady. I’m forever in your debt.       

Talk about online book promotions. What has worked for you? I should skip this question because I’m such a newbie at it–I’m trying everything. But, I do have a couple points I believe are important. Marketing is a long term effort. “Caught by a Clown” was released January 21st, so I don’t have sales feedback yet to measure against my fledgling attempts. However, a blend of social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.), radio interviews, and sites such as Goodreads that reach readers outside our writing circles promotes name recognition which, I hope, will eventually equate to book sales. The most important aspects of all of that are courtesy and respect, the cornerstones of The Golden Rule. Be sure your frantic schedule of writing, marketing, and living don’t overshadow the fair treatment of others.

Writing tips: Utilize senses twice as often as you think you should and you’ll come closer to grounding your reader in the scene and helping them care about your character. Explore outside the usual, “popular” senses of sight and sound, which should be individualized whenever possible to reveal character. For example: An older sister might groan at her younger sister’s prize rose garden and shred a blossom because their mother ignored them as kids in favor of tending the precious flowers. The younger woman might breathe deeply of their rich aroma, her mother’s scent, and relish their petals, soft and smooth like her mother’s cheek.

Touch seems to be the forgotten sense. Its intimate connection to the point of view character gives it greater strength in capturing the reader.

Taste is more challenging to incorporate outside of meals or snacks, but its unique application can be powerful and worth the effort, unless it’s so unique it jars the reader out of the story. lol

How do you balance life and work? Not well. I prefer writing, even marketing to housecleaning, laundry, cooking (yuck) or errands. I usually end up squeezing in things I should have been doing when my writing hits a snag. Most of the time, those problems crop up due to brain drain or I’m too close to the scene. If I’m tired, I choose something outside to rejuvenate me.  When I’m too close to the scene, I bustle about my chores until a fresh perspective frees the snag.

CaughtByAClown_w5118_120.jpgTalk about a specific book of yours. That would be “Caught by a Clown,” my first published novel. Available through The Wild Rose Press, www.thewildrosepress.com , the spicy romantic suspense involves a spontaneous freelance journalist on a mission of mercy who finds herself entangled with a methodical undercover FBI agent out to settle a score. As you might guess, these opposing personalities strike sparks from the moment they meet.

Here’s the blurb:  Stacie Monroe’s spontaneity lands her in hot water again when her best friend’s little brother disappears and Stacie trails him to a nudist resort. To get inside the exclusive oasis and convince him to return home, she must blend in, a move tailor made to shock her oh-so-proper family and renew efforts to bring her in line.

That’s exactly what Special Agent David Graham intends to do when she interferes in his case. Yet, the soft-hearted temptress challenges his resolve, revealing the path to a love he thought impossible. Will that love survive when he betrays her in order to unravel the final twist in his case and convict a vicious killer?

Excerpt: Stacie tapped one sandal-clad foot on the floor while Agent I’d-Rather-Scare-You-Than-Confide-In-You ignored her. She glanced toward the bathroom, crossed her legs, and wished she hadn’t finished that last glass of wine.

     “Aren’t you going to search that closet or open those two bottom drawers in the dresser?” she asked when he tucked his camera inside his pack.

     “Can’t.”

     A nasty suspicion raised its head. “Why not?”

     “Don’t have a search warrant. That limits me to a visual inspection of what’s in plain sight.”

     “I won’t tell,” she pushed, despite being certain of his response.

     “There are laws.”

     She groaned over the close match to a pronouncement she’d heard her whole life. There are rules.

     Boring. Snoring. Gone. Think of something else.

     Like how Agent By-The-Book caused this mess. If he’d mentioned being from the FBI when they met in the office none of this would have happened. He ignored her interest in Alan Walsh and her intelligence in favor of treating her as if she were a child in need of a lesson.

     Nature threatened to float her teeth, but Stacie refused to ask for relief. She fidgeted on the hard chair and crossed her legs the other way. The backs of her thighs pulled where her skin had stuck to the wooden seat. That twinge of pain reminded her she ought to be thrilled Graham claimed a badge and not a rap sheet. Instead, she rattled the handcuffs that shackled her to the chair and worried how far he meant to carry her arrest.

BUY the paperback at TWRP http://bit.ly/i63Ds5  or Amazon http://amzn.to/hQQW9E 

BUY the Ebook at TWRP  http://bit.ly/ecClR8 or Amazon Kindle http://amzn.to/efcJPV or DigiBooks Café  http://bit.ly/gmhJ3o

Find out how far David carries Stacie’s arrest and learn who’s “CAUGHT BY A CLOWN.”

You can also hook up with “Caught by a Clown” at my website www.sandracrowley.com , or my blog www.driven2danger.blogspot.com

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp? Absolutely. I hope my readers will hold their breath, laugh out loud, even sigh and maybe, by the end of the story, believe they, too, have the strength it takes to meet their challenges. If so, I’ve added a bit of value to the world, and that’s a good thing.

 

What writing books do you recommend and why? The first that springs to mind is Dwight V Swain’s “Techniques of a Selling Author.” Its broad coverage and excellent pointers serve as a thorough guide for new writers and a great review for established writers or ones wanting to address a particular problem.

Alicia Rasley’s book “The Power of Point of View” illustrates how to immerse a reader in the viewpoint of the character with the most at stake in a scene. “The Power of Point of View” is available through her website at www.sff.net/people/alicia . She also offers a wealth of articles for every level of writer.

If you have trouble with telling rather than showing, check out William Noble’s book, “Show, Don’t Tell.” He addresses openings, backstory, action, pacing and senses among other aspects. Every writer struggles with one or more of those at some point.

Donald Maass’ “The Fire in Fiction” uses excerpts from published works to illustrate his points on how to ratchet up the quality of a writer’s pages. He also offers exercises at the end of each chapter to strengthen and encourage all who seek to improve their writing.

A particular favorite of mine is Rebecca McClanahan’s “Word Painting: A Guide to Writing More Descriptively.” She delves into point of view, characters, and settings through our senses, which are often missing or shortchanged in stories I read.

Liz, thank you so much for letting me chat with your readers. I hope they enjoyed it as much as I have. Please stop by my website www.sandracrowley.com or my blog www.driven2danger.blogspot.com anytime. I can also be contacted at speak2me@sandracrowley.com  I wish all of you the very best in your endeavors.

Published in: on April 11, 2011 at 1:00 am  Comments (17)  

Seven Hearts for MESSAGE TO LOVE!

MESSAGE TO LOVE received seven hearts from The Stephanie Loves review site. Check it out!

 

What Stephanie Thought: I was really impressed by this book’s complex plot. Brimming with accurate details from the late 19th century era, it was a romance that was full of both suspense and danger.

Audra’s journey begins in her comfortable and rather privileged home in the States. Fresh out of her preparatory school and innocent as can be, she meets Rollins, a dashing but overly confident lieutenant who claims to be on a “mission” to watch over her in her father’s absence. 

Self-sufficient and inexorable, Audra doesn’t want his assistance. But Rollins still insists, and before he or she knows it, they fall in love. There are several extremely passionate scenes in Message to Love — Audra and Rollins’s love is certainly intense, and certainly real.

Trouble brews when sleazy Jasen Angler (long-time property rival who’s recently bought almost everything Audra has left to her name) follows her to her trip to Cuba. She’s in search of her father, and she doesn’t need him. Or Rollins for that matter. But they both come anyway. Turns out, Jasen and some other corrupt officers have been planning to take advantage of Audra — and her fortune.

Then she discovers that her life — her life as she knew it — is not what she thought it was. And that Rollins, the good guy, the lover, isn’t who he says he is.

The ultimatum offered to Audra is that she is to choose either her father’s life or her first love’s — the type of decision neither you nor I would even consider to make. As a happily-ever-after romance, all ends well. The bad guys perish and the good guys (Greg and Rollins) survive. I thought it ended rather abruptly, but other than that, Message to Love was a  sweet, adventurous read. It was slightly slow-moving, but that’s because of the exquisite detail Arnold offered. I definitely recommend it to all historical romance lovers — especially those who appreciate a little love-making 🙂

Stephanie Loves: ‘Death is no place to linger, my friends,’ he offered. ‘The fortunes of many men are lost in the wind because they live in the vicious grip of death’s power. Exile, self-recrimination, revenge. It causes it all. It is a tragic fame to live in death.’ He downed the last of his liquor. ‘This, a soldier knows the best. Death is no place to stay.‘”


Radical Rating: 
7 hearts- A few flaws here and there, but wouldn’t mind rereading. ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥

http://thestephanieloves.blogspot.com/search?q=message+to+love

Thanks, Stephanie!

Published in: on April 9, 2011 at 9:02 pm  Comments (2)  

Welcome Gwyneth Greer

my picture.jpgWelcome Judy Nickles writing as Gwyneth Greer

 

So happy you could be here today, Gwyneth! Please tell us a little about yourself.

  • a retired teacher with two beautiful granddaughters and one worthless mutt. I love traveling, doing genealogical research, reading (mostly non-fiction), and dreaming of all the things I still want to do before I ‘shuffle off this mortal coil’.

Tell everyone about your journey to publishing a novel.

  • I sat in front of the computer for a solid year, trying to learn how to get started. Someone pointed me to the Wild Rose Press, so I sent them a novel, which they rejected as not being a romance according to their guidelines. It fell more into the ‘family saga’ category, though there is a romance. Then I sent two more, Where Is Papa’s Shining Star? and its sequel, Finding Papa’s Shining Star, which were released in 2010.

What do you like the most and the least about writing?

  • Doing the research for my ‘vintage’ novels is fascinating. Checking the galleys for errors, then lying awake nights worrying that I’ve missed something—that I could do without!

What are three things you cannot do without?

  • My laptop, music to write by, and Diet Dr. Pepper, not necessarily in that order.

the Showboat Affair 1.jpgGive us a peek into your latest published work.

  • The Showboat Affair, a Last Rose of Summer novel due for release April 15, tells the story of Nick and Jean, who find a second chance at love—and then find themselves running for their lives. This novel idea came from a trip to Branson, MO, where I enjoyed the dinner cruise on ‘The Branson Belle’, a wonderful showboat. What could be more romantic? (You can read the first chapter free at my website—www.judynickles.com—by clicking on ‘Excerpts’.)

What’s next on the writing horizon for you?

  • The first novel I sent to TWRP has found a home with Champagne Books. The idea for  The Face on Miss Fanny’s Wall came from a visit to Ft. Smith, Arkansas. The visitor center is known as the ‘Hello Bordello’ which explains the history of the beautifully restored house! One wall displays pictures of some of the former residents, and my genealogical grenade went off. What if someone walked in and recognized great-grandma? It’s due out sometime in 2012. (Check out my Flickr account– http://flickr.com/judynickles- for pictures of the place.) 

Is there anything you want to tell readers?

  • Read my books! (Sorry.) 

Are you a plotter or a pantser?

  • I plot, and then I pant. Lots of good intentions give way to letting the story, like a good horse, have its head to find its way home.

If I was a first time reader of your books, which one would you recommend I start with and why?

  • Probably The Showboat Affair since it’s contemporary as opposed to ‘vintage’—which isn’t everyone’s fascination as it is mine. Also, I surprised (shocked) myself with this book. I actually blushed while reading through the first edits! Hot seems to trump luke-warm when it comes to romance.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

  • Yes! In the ‘shining star’ books, the message is definitely one of triumph over life’s circumstances and enduring love and devotion. In The Showboat Affair, I hope the reader takes away the power of hope and the healing of forgiveness.

How long have you been a writer?

  • I was born with a #2 pencil in my fat little fist. Well, almost. Later, my long-suffering father hauled home his old upright Underwood typewriter so I could spin my tales far, far into summer nights. But it was writing ‘fan fiction’ on a forum dedicated to the old television western The Big Valley that taught me discipline and the necessity of crafting a tightly-woven story.

What’s something fans would find fascinating about you?

  • If anyone can come up with something, please let me know. Maybe it’s that I’m having my adolescent rebellion 50 years late!

How do you come up with titles?

  • With great difficulty. I was going to write The Showboat Murders’, but a friend expressed horror at the idea and said, “No! Write The Showboat Affair.” Song titles, quotations, the odd bit of conversation overheard somewhere…they’re all good. But honestly—I think it’s the artwork on the covers that grabs readers before anything else. TWRP has some awesome graphic artists!

Books available in print and as ebooks at The Wild Rose Press and Amazon.com

I like to sell the ‘shining star’ books as a set and give a nice discount if anyone wants to order the print books from me. judy@judynickles.com

Website: www.judynickles.com

Blog: www.judythewordplace.blogspot.com

Facebook: http://facebook.com/judy.nickles

Fan Page: http://facebook.com/VintageRomanceAuthor

Twitter: http://twitter.com/BigChiefTablet

Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/judynickles

Published in: on March 28, 2011 at 1:00 am  Comments (5)  

Book Cover Party 3/23/11!

the Showboat Affair 1.jpgGwyneth Greer; The Showboat Affair

  • The Showboat Affair, a Last Rose of Summer novel due for release April 15, tells the story of Nick and Jean, who find a second chance at love—and then find themselves running for their lives. This novel idea came from a trip to Branson, MO, where I enjoyed the dinner cruise on ‘The Branson Belle’, a wonderful showboat. What could be more romantic? (You can read the first chapter free at my website—www.judynickles.com—by clicking on ‘Excerpts’.)

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Liz Arnold; Message to Love

MESSAGE TO LOVE

LIZ ARNOLD

THE WILD ROSE PRESS

www.thewildrosepress.com 

Blurb

Audra Wakely’s father has been seized by Spanish authorities and imprisoned for sympathizing with Cuban rebels. Raising the money to bribe officials if necessary, she sets off for Cuba to rescue her father. She doesn’t bargain on the interference of any U.S. officials—that is until she meets Rollins McBride.

Lt. Rollins McBride of the newly designated U.S. Naval Intelligence service is assigned to track Audra on her journey. He’s to arrest Greg Wakely, a U.S. citizen, for treason and gun smuggling. His mission and his heart are taken by surprise by the feisty beauty who sets a stubborn path toward finding her father and proving he isn’t a traitor—no matter what or who gets in her way.

Sizzle, spice, and intrigue heats up the Spanish American War in MESSAGE TO LOVE.

Excerpt

“It was a dream, just a very bad dream.”

She stepped back out of his hold. Clammy spots of moist heat lingered on her arms where his hands had been.

“I’m all right now.” Audra reached for the door and noticed the sickly sweet odor of liquor on his breath. “You can leave now. I want to go back to bed.” She pulled open the door and gestured into the hall.

“Sorry, but this time you’re going, too.” Rollins strode over to the dresser and pulled out a drawer. “Better pack. We have just under two hours.”

“I’m not in the mood for comedy, Rollins,” she sighed. “I’m really very, very tired. I’ve got to get some rest. Now—”

“Let me make myself clear.” He sounded gruff. “I said we’re leaving, and unless you want to get on a ship bound for Santiago with your shirttails hanging out, better change and get ready.” He made to leave the room. “I hope you have a shawl or something. It’s gotten cooler out, and we have half an hour in a wagon to get to port.” Then he vanished into his own room next door, leaving Audra gape-mouthed in the hallway.

“Who does he think he is?” She growled as she stamped her foot against the cold hard floor. “Infuriating! He is absolutely infuriating!” Audra heaved the door shut with gusto. “These are not my shirttails, either!”

Amazon buy link (print and digital)

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=message+to+love+liz+arnold

The Wild Rose Press buy link (print and digital)

http://thewildrosepress.com/index.php?main_page=index&manufacturers_id=495&zenid=5211e46f5b21103c2a01fe5c9b8df3ee

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CaughtByAClown_w5118_120.jpgSandra Crowley; Caught by a Clown

Stacie Monroe’s spontaneity lands her in hot water again when her best friend’s little brother disappears and Stacie trails him to a nudist resort. To get inside the exclusive oasis and convince him to return home, she must blend in, a move tailor made to shock her oh-so-proper family and renew efforts to bring her in line.

That’s exactly what Special Agent David Graham intends to do when she interferes in his case. Yet, the soft-hearted temptress challenges his resolve, revealing the path to a love he thought impossible. Will that love survive when he betrays her in order to unravel the final twist in his case and convict a vicious killer?

BUY the paperback at TWRP http://bit.ly/i63Ds5  or Amazon http://amzn.to/hQQW9E 

BUY the Ebook at TWRP  http://bit.ly/ecClR8 or Amazon Kindle http://amzn.to/efcJPV or DigiBooks Café  http://bit.ly/gmhJ3o

**********************

jezebelswish_372x600.jpgA.J. Nuest; Jezebel’s Wish

Haunted by nightmares, tormented by guilt, Jezebel came to Redemption Ranch to escape the past—except now she’s stuck in the middle of nowhere with no redemption in sight. When her mother pushes her into riding lessons with local veterinarian Matthias Saunders, Jezebel balks. Sure, the doctor is gorgeous, but he’s completely obnoxious and knows how to push every one of her buttons.

Only her deep connection with The Reverend, a gentle stallion who guards her darkest secrets, has her agreeing to spend any more time with Dr. Saunders. Caring for the stallion is the first bright spot in her life in months, and if being around the horse means she has to deal with Matthias Saunders, then so be it. Surely a city girl like her can handle one country vet—even one with disturbing blue eyes. Can’t she?

Contact her on the web at:

www.ajbooks.blogspot.com

www.twitter.com/ajnuest

ajnuest@yahoo.com

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spiritofthelake_W5896_680.jpgPaty Jager; Spirit of the Lake

Two generations after his brother became mortal, Wewukiye, the lake spirit, prevents a Nimiipuu maiden from drowning and becomes caught up in her sorrow and her heart. Her tribe ignores Dove’s shameful accusations—a White man took her body, leaving her pregnant, and he plans to take their land.Wewukiye vows to care for her until she gives birth, to help her prove the White man is deceitful and restore her place in her tribe.

As they travel on their quest for justice, Dove reveals spiritual abilities yet unknown in her people, ensnaring Wewukiye’s respect and awe. But can love between a mortal and a spirit grow without consequences?

Don’t these books sound great?

A Dating Guide For Vegetables?

 Please welcome author SARA ALWAY. Her new book Soil Mates is unlike any other book you’ve read about dating and gardening. Her writing style is charming and the unusual subject is handled with humor and is a very enjoyable read.

Sara, will you please share a short bio with us.

I am originally from the Pacific Northwest where I grew up on a sheep ranch. Both my parents were creative in their own ways, my father with his garden and landscaping and my mother with her crafts and writing. From a young age I would write, illustrate and make my own books and have carried my love of books throughout my life. I studied graphic design in both undergraduate and graduate school and I now share that love of visual graphics through my teaching of design at Marietta College and running a letterpress and design business, justAjar Design Press (www.justajar.com), in Marietta, Ohio.

Tell us about your new book “Soil Mates” and where it’s available.

“Soil Mates” is a dating guide for vegetables. Inspired by the organic form of gardening called companion planting, the book describes the ideal symbiotic relationships of certain vegetables and herbs that naturally ward off pests and disease from each other—they are each other’s ‘soil mate’. It is an informative, yet humorous and entertaining book that will entertain the new gardener, as well as the experienced.

“Soil Mates” is available at the Quirk Books website (http://irreference.com), Amazon, as well as specialty retailers like Anthropologie. Distribution is still expanding, so it just might show up in about any place that appreciates a good humorous gardening book.

How did you come about the idea for “Soil Mates”?

The book was conceptualized as a project in graduate school at the Tyler School of Art at Temple University. Many of my projects were driven by the desire to make an intimidating subject more approachable. As someone that watched her parents garden with confidence, I wasn’t necessarily a very confident gardener, myself. I was introduced to the technique of companion planting and thought it was an underrepresented way of harvesting an organic garden. In a society that is embracing everything “green,” I wanted to make sure people were reminded of this historical technique, but at the same time I didn’t want to intimidate or bore them with dry writing or content. Since companion planting is all about relationships, I thought ‘Hey–it could be a dating guide!’ It was a blast to write because there is nothing more entertaining than writing about why Celery is so flirtatious and a popular mate in the garden bed.

How long did it take from conception to publication for “Soil Mates” to become reality? Anything interesting happen along the way to publication?

It initially took three months to design, illustrate and write the original design of the book. This version only contained ten pairs of Soil Mates, as well as all the additional information about natural pesticides, fertilizers (aphrodisiacs) and planting schedules. I got a contract for the book, based on the initial project, about four months after I finished it. As I was busy finishing my graduate degree, I was asked to double the amount of content in only few weeks. It was challenging, but nice to just focus on one thing for that period of time. 

After I finished, I handed it off to my editor. She is an avid gardener and took great interest in the content. She also contacted master gardener, Kelle Carter, to help review the book to check all the information to make sure it was clear and accurate.

Tell us how Quirk Publications became your publisher?

An employee of Quirk Books, a publishing firm in Philadelphia that specialized in fun and “quirky” books, saw my original version of Soil Mates at my graduate show. She asked if she could present it at her next meeting with her editor and they loved it!

Can you tell us why your book is unique in the world of gardening titles?

There is no other informative gardening book that will make you laugh. “Soil Mates” is the perfect book for a new gardener to learn how to proceed with their quest. It quickly informs the reader which Soil Mates get along, how to plant them, what finicky characteristics they might have, as well as a delicious recipe that features the pair. At the same time, it will teach an experienced gardener new things and keep them entertained in the process. 

What’s next for you?

I have a great concept for a new book, but I don’t want to spill the beans until I talk with my editor. However, I will say it is not about gardening, but it will be fun to read and informative.

Anything else you’d like to share with our readers?

Any “Soil Mate” fan can check out my other projects at www.justajar.com, as well as keep in touch for future news at sara@justajar.com

Thanks, Sara!

Copyright Liz Arnold 2011. All rights reserved.

Published in: on March 21, 2011 at 10:24 am  Comments (8)  

Book Cover Party Day!

Angela Kay Austin; My Son

Sex, liquor, and men are not always a good thing.  Kelly Ann Mitchell discovers this the hard way.  One night of confusion, and misplaced trust result in a mistake she can’t take back.  Forced to make a choice, she chooses the only thing she can live with which changes her life, and the lives of everyone around her forever. 

Charles Mitchell failed his family, his daughter, once.  He’s determined not to do it again.  Jerry Harte must pay for what he’s done, and Charles will be the one to make sure he does.
 
www.AngelaKayAustin.com
www.Facebook.com/AngelaKayAustin
www.MySpace.com/AngelaKayAustin
www.Twitter.com/AngelaKayAustin
 
Love’s Chance – Available NOW from Red Rose Publishing
My Son – Available NOW from Red Rose Publishing
  
  
Dyann Barr; A Perfect Bride for Christmas

 

Alex King wants to follow the family tradition and marry his perfect wife on Christmas Eve. There’s one little hitch—his bride dumps him at the altar. He wakes up in Vegas with a hangover, a ring on his finger, and in bed with Zoe Hillman, his best friend. She’s overweight and plain, noting at all like his image of the perfect wife. So begins the shortest Vegas marriage in history.

Zoe loved Alex from the moment he walked through the law firm’s doors. He can charm the panties off any woman, but he’s never tried it with her. The chance to grab for the gold ring is within her reach until everything blows up in her face. Now, five years later she returns to Kansas City with triplets in tow and a brand new look. Catering Alex’ next wedding should prove interesting.

  

Amber Leigh; Blackest Heart

America’s Sweetheart, Stella Ridge has been away from Wayback for fifteen years paving her way to the top of the acting business. When a car accident leaves her physically and emotionally scarred, the only place she wants to go is home to Texas and her family’s ranch. There she uncovers a buried tragedy and finds an intriguing spark and the solace she craves in the last place she expects: the arms of Wayback’s silent cowboy, Judd Black.

 
  
  
Beth Trissel; Somewhere My Lass
  

Neil MacKenzie’s well ordered life turns to chaos when Mora Campbell shows up claiming he’s her fiancé from 1602 Scotland. Her avowal that she was chased to the future by clan chieftain, Red MacDonald, is utter nonsense, and Neil must convince her that she is just addled from a blow to her head–or so he believes until the MacDonald himself shows up wanting blood. Mora knows the Neil of the future is truly her beloved Niall who disappeared from the past. Although her kinsmen believe he’s dead, and she is now destined to marry Niall’s brother, she’s convinced that if she and Neil return to the past, all will be right.
The only problem is how to get back to 1602 before it’s too late. The balance of the present and future are in peril if she marries another, and the Neil of the present will cease to exist. An ancient relic and a few good friends in the future help pave the way back to the past, but will Mora and Neil be too late to save a love that began centuries before?
  
 

Liz Arnold; Message to Love
 
 

 

Blurb

Audra Wakely’s father has been seized by Spanish authorities and imprisoned for sympathizing with Cuban rebels. Raising the money to bribe officials if necessary, she sets off for Cuba to rescue her father. She doesn’t bargain on the interference of any U.S. officials—that is until she meets Rollins McBride.

 

Lt. Rollins McBride of the newly designated U.S. Naval Intelligence service is assigned to track Audra on her journey. He’s to arrest Greg Wakely, a U.S. citizen, for treason and gun smuggling. His mission and his heart are taken by surprise by the feisty beauty who sets a stubborn path toward finding her father and proving he isn’t a traitor—no matter what or who gets in her way.

 

Sizzle, spice, and intrigue heats up the Spanish American War in MESSAGE TO LOVE.

 

Excerpt

“It was a dream, just a very bad dream.”

She stepped back out of his hold. Clammy spots of moist heat lingered on her arms where his hands had been.

“I’m all right now.” Audra reached for the door and noticed the sickly sweet odor of liquor on his breath. “You can leave now. I want to go back to bed.” She pulled open the door and gestured into the hall.

“Sorry, but this time you’re going, too.” Rollins strode over to the dresser and pulled out a drawer. “Better pack. We have just under two hours.”

“I’m not in the mood for comedy, Rollins,” she sighed. “I’m really very, very tired. I’ve got to get some rest. Now—”

“Let me make myself clear.” He sounded gruff. “I said we’re leaving, and unless you want to get on a ship bound for Santiago with your shirttails hanging out, better change and get ready.” He made to leave the room. “I hope you have a shawl or something. It’s gotten cooler out, and we have half an hour in a wagon to get to port.” Then he vanished into his own room next door, leaving Audra gape-mouthed in the hallway.

“Who does he think he is?” She growled as she stamped her foot against the cold hard floor. “Infuriating! He is absolutely infuriating!” Audra heaved the door shut with gusto. “These are not my shirttails, either!”

 

Amazon buy link (print and digital)

 

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=message+to+love+liz+arnold

 

 

The Wild Rose Press buy link (print and digital)

 

http://thewildrosepress.com/index.php?main_page=index&manufacturers_id=495&zenid=5211e46f5b21103c2a01fe5c9b8df3ee

 

 
Published in: on March 16, 2011 at 1:48 pm  Comments (8)  

Welcome SIMONE EDEN

 
 
So happy you’re here today, Simone!

 

How did you choose your genre or did it choose you?
In my stories I love to explore sensuality and spirituality but I never know what strange settings or characters will be involved.
If you could be one of your characters who would you choose and why?
In my first book, besides the heroine, I’m really drawn to the hero’s sister. She’s so vital and straightforward. That’s probably the opposite of my own personality. I’m probably more like the heroine Jenna, who’s quiet and tends to second guess herself a lot. 
Describe what you think a reader will learn about you after reading your book?
What I hope they will see is that I care deeply about turning out great fiction with strong plots and memorable characters.

Describe the “perfect” hero? What about the “perfect” hero for you?

  • He doesn’t have to look like a supermodel. There are some quirks that can be better called cute than gorgeous. Mainly it should be obvious he takes care of himself with grooming and health awareness. His body should show that he doesn’t spend his days and nights in front of a television scarfing down fast food and beers. He should have enough muscles so you can visualize him working up a good sweat, but not breathing too heavily. 
  • He’s got strength and confidence. I want a man who knows what he wants, is willing to get and he cares about what his woman thinks and wants too. He cares enough about their relationship to take what may seem like extreme measures.
  • A sense of humor is important. I like a hero able to laugh at himself and at life. Even the dark, tortured heroes have to be able to smile now and then, especially when he’s with his woman.
  • Devotion is probably the most important characteristic of a sexy man to me. Call it commitment, love, enthusiasm, faithfulness. He is happy when he’s with his woman.  

What do you want readers to know about your writing process?

Readers don’t always understand that writing is something we have to do and that urge can sometimes be frustrating. But when it’s working, it is sheer joy.

How did you get started in writing?

I became addicted to reading around age eight when my teacher read aloud Charlotte’s Web to the class. When I was in high school I began writing my own novels.

What is this romance writer’s idea of the “perfect romantic evening”?

Two people doing something that is fun for them both. Eating in a cozy restaurant where you can take your time talking. Then going home and indulge one another’s pleasures in bed.

For some people it’s chocolate. What is your favorite “comfort food”?

Ice cream with lots of chocolate syrup!

Don’t forget about the contest for my If You Think I’m Sexy blog tour, March 2011.  To enter my contest, leave a comment below about what you find sexy. Go to website www.simoneeden.blogspot.com to find a list of other stops on the tour and visit them and leave comments as well. The more blogs you visit and comment on the more chances to win. All names from the blog tour will be entered in a drawing for a $20 Amazon.com gift card at the end of the March 2011.

About my latest novel.

The shape-shifting cat-like creatures called Baashi, have hidden from humans for eons. Jenna, a computer specialist at a laboratory  where the Baashi are being experimented on, has begun to despise what is happening to the mysterious creatures. Keth, a male of the Baashi, returns from a journey to find his pack being captured and disappearing into a lab. He’ll do anyting to get inside that lab and rescue his people. Jenna and Keth are bound together in a series of mind-shattering encounters. But in order to be together, one of them will have to betray their own kind.

Excerpt

Here’s a brief excerpt from my current book Spell of the Cat. You be the judge of how sexy the shape-shifter Keth is. 

Golden yellow eyes blinked at her, then closed as it laid its head back down, a purr rumbling from its body. The aides at the lab called the animals were-cats instead of the official scientific name created by Dr. Phillips. Gazing into this animal’s golden eyes, she could believe it.

Jenna shrugged her perplexity away. She’d done all she could at this point. Its breathing sounded more regular and it seemed to be sleeping naturally now.

She carried the animal to the couch in the nearby living room space and threw a light blanket over it.

“You are magnificent,” she murmured. She dug her hands into the soft fur and stroked her hands up and down its ribs. She could now tell that the animal’s fur wasn’t a monotone color, but a luxurious mottled blend of warm browns, golds, and black. The cat stretched and nuzzled against her. In helpless fascination, Jenna allowed it to make itself comfortable. 

She’d been impressed by the cats at the lab, but this one made her blood rush through her body with wonder. She couldn’t seem to take her eyes off it or keep her hands out of its fur. She felt, rather than heard, the deep rumble in its chest.

Jenna continued to stroke the cat on her lap, watching the TV show. Snowball gave them both a jealous sniff and stalked off with her nose in the air.

The program barely registered in her mind as a warm buzz spread throughout her being, making her more and more sleepy. Finally she eased from beneath the cat, went into her bedroom and closed the door.

* * * *

Keth snapped awake. A tiny house cat was snuggled up against him. When he moved, it sneezed delicately and scooted closer. Keth eased himself away. A pain reminded him of his predicament and the night’s events. He stretched his body while absorbing the sensual awareness from the nearby human woman. The woman with her strong, beautiful spirit.

Being with her had started to heal him. His bones were stitching back together; the pain lessening. His friends had brought him to this house because of the powerful healing he needed. Since ancient times, energy had flowed between Baashi and humans in a therapeutic symbiosis, benefiting both. The Baashi had once been viewed as gods but when humans began to try to control and exploit the power, the Baashi went into hiding, roaming the earth in small feral packs. 

A pulse on the side of his head teased Keth with the woman’s nearness. The bond between them was already woven thick. His inner mys itched to join with her. Leaping to his feet, Keth concentrated on transforming. A knot of pain protested the exertion of his power but he focused harder. With sparkling and crackling, his body wrenched into man form and he stood upright, naked, shaking long dark hair back from his eyes. The woman’s house cat backed away from him, hissing and flicking its tail in antagonism. Keth ignored it. 

Scratches marred his muscular legs, a bruise discolored the golden skin over his ribs. He ran one hand through his hair. He still had a headache, but he felt much better than when he arrived here. He looked towards the woman’s door.

One more exchange with her should finish his healing. On bare feet, air caressing his naked skin, he padded across the living room. But when he reached for the doorknob, the little cat sprang out and sank its teeth into his toe. Keth cursed, his leg reflexively kicking out. The animal tumbled across the floor and righted itself at once, hissing and arching its back. Keth hissed a warning of his own. The cat backed down and Keth turned the knob on the door. 

There was no sound within the room as he eased the door open. Keth slipped inside and shut the door behind him, leaning back against it. The woman on the bed lay in a deep sleep due to the enspelling nature of the mys bond he’d cast between them. A stream of light from the slightly opened bathroom door flowed over her honey-caramel skin. She was an exquisite dessert laid out for him. Her hair was hidden by a cranberry colored wrap, which suited her skin tone, but he knew rich mahogany waves of hair fell past her shoulders. Dark lashes swept her cheeks and rosy lips were parted. The unconscious sensuality of the scene warmed his core and caused his erection to thicken and rise further. He hungered for the most direct connection, physical joining.

Published in: on March 14, 2011 at 1:00 am  Comments (3)  

Links I Love Wednesday, Part II

Welcome to Links I Love Wednesday, Part II. Here are the rest of the ladies and their wonderful titles!

EMMA LAI; HIS HOPE HER SALVATION

www.emmalaiwrites.com

http://thewildrosepress.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=86_127&products_id=3813

Promised in marriage to an abusive oaf, Judith resolves to find out if there can be passion without love. Snatches of conversation overheard at the local Inn lead her to a mysterious American Merchant who might be able to satisfy her carnal curiosity and capture her heart.Donovan, a Guardian Hunter, is on the trail of a rogue Elysian in Georgian England. As the son of the First Hunter, he long ago gave up hope of finding his heart’s mate. When Judith appears in his study, his inner beast and his heart demand that he answer her plea for help.

Will their passion answer their hearts’ pleas, or will it wither under the threat of reality?

 
 
 
 
FAITH V. SMITH; GIDEON’S HEART (brand new release!)
 
www.faithvsmith.com
 
Gideon’s Heart –Out now from The Wild Rose Press
Every night detective Gideon Hawks walks a dangerous beat through the streets of Savannah, but when he meets Katheryne Alastair, he discovers a new threat…this one to his heart. Her delicate, sensual features and old-fashioned clothing lead him to believe she is homeless. Against his better judgment, he takes her home.
Katheryne, a vampire ready to end her existence, lies in wait for the approaching sunrise. But when the handsome detective attempts to help her, she finally finds peace within her heart. The heat of his touch triggers a blood lust she’s kept dormant for centuries. Is it possible Gideon is her soul mate? When Gideon is mortally wounded, Katheryne cannot let him die. If she turns him, will he forgive her, or worse, walk away? Or will the eternal love she holds for him end the suffering of her centuries-old vampiric curse?
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
BRENDA WHITESIDE; SLEEPING WITH THE LIGHTS ON
www.brendawhiteside.com

After two failed marriages and countless relationships, Sandra Holiday thinks she’s met the man to end her years of less than perfect choices; choices that not only derailed her travel-related career plans but also left her single and broke. 

 

Carson Holiday, a Las Vegas country crooner with swoon-inducing good looks, spent his adult life pursuing a recording contract and love, never holding on to either. After eighteen years, he drops back into Sandra’s life, reigniting an attraction he can’t deny.

 

When Carson reappears, Sandra must choose again.  Only this time, nothing’s as it seems.  A secret admirer, a redheaded stalker, and an eccentric millionaire throw her on a dangerous path, with Carson her only truth. 

  

  

  

LIZ ARNOLD; MESSAGE TO LOVE

www.thewildrosepress.com

Audra Wakely’s father has been seized by Spanish authorities and imprisoned for sympathizing with Cuban rebels. Raising the money to bribe officials if necessary, she sets off for Cuba to rescue her father. She doesn’t bargain on the interference of any U.S. officials—that is until she meets Rollins McBride.

 Lt. Rollins McBride of the newly designated U.S. Naval Intelligence service is assigned to track Audra on her journey. He’s to arrest Greg Wakely, a U.S. citizen, for treason and gun smuggling. His mission and his heart are taken by surprise by the feisty beauty who sets a stubborn path toward finding her father and proving he isn’t a traitor—no matter what or who gets in her way.

Sizzle, spice, and intrigue heats up the Spanish American War in MESSAGE TO LOVE.

Have you subscribed to my blog yet? Click on ‘subscribe’ above and leave your email today!

Liz

Published in: on March 9, 2011 at 1:00 am  Comments (8)  

Links I Love Wednesday, Part I

Welcome to Links I Love Wednesday. Today six fab authors are featured plus yours truly! Click on and show ’em some love while picking up some great reads for your TBR stack!

CLAIRE ASHGROVE; WAITING FOR YES, available 4/20/11

www.claireashgrove.com

A winter snowstorm.  A horse with a past.  A woman who has everything riding on the line. One man holds the ability to fulfill her dreams… 

If he can vanquish the nightmares.

Gabrielle Warrenton gave up everything to pursue her dream of a first-class Egyptian Arabian breeding farm.  Her future lies in her new stallion’s success.  Though she possesses an exceptional eye for horseflesh, she lacks the training knowledge, and Bahadur Mamoon has a date with the nation’s most affluent show in three weeks.  Nothing that would present a problem given his previous credentials.  Only, the sellers disguised one critical fact—he’s crazy.

Jake Lindsey-Sullivan was once part of an exceptional Arabian training team.  Under his mother’s guidance, he developed an instinctual talent, but she was the star, the cornerstone of his life.  Until she met a premature death.  Grief-stricken and plagued by guilt, Jake abandoned the world of horses.  Now an over-the-road truck driver, he evades the memories.  

When a snowstorm throws two Arabian professionals into close-quarters, they discover an engulfing passion.  But will Mamoon rip open emotional scars, or forever seal them shut?

BRYNNA CURRY; EARTH ENCHANTED: ELEMENTAL MAGIC BOOK ONE

www.brynnacurry.com

Writer Liv Corrigan has the worst luck with men — her telepathy tends to make them run for the hills. When she meets widower and ex-cop Jack Roarke, she decides to keep her talent hidden. Things are looking up until their third date crashes and burns as the man who murdered Jack’s wife turns out to be after him too.

Injured, Jack retreats with Liv to his house under armed guard. But with Liv’s mysteries rapidly coming unraveled, a diamond-thief killer to stop and passion in the air, the safe house is anything but safe for their hearts!




AUTUMN JORDON; EVIL’S WITNESS
www.autumnjordon.com
A mafia victim escapes. A US Marshal needs a witness. Can he uncover her secret and convince her to testify before more lives are lost? Will she learn in order to be truly free, she must face her enemy? Do 
 
 
Be sure to continue on to Part II !!   Have you subscribed to my blog yet? Click “subscribe” and leave your email today!
Published in: on March 9, 2011 at 1:00 am  Leave a Comment