Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Wednesday Wonder Writer - Nancy Badger!!!

Good morning bloggers! Yesterday, I featured a book by new author, Nancy Badger. You don't need to have out a bazillion books to be a wonder writer, and I'm sure, after you read the interview, you'll agree with me that Nancy certainly qualifies for this group of excellent writers. Without further ado...the interview:

Nancy, Author’s lives intrigue readers and other writers. Tell me about your typical daily schedule.

I am fortunate to write full time. I retired from the state of New Hampshire 9-1-1 service when we sold our home and moved to North Carolina. We made one bedroom of our new home into an office, though you can sometimes find me with my laptop, papers, and research books spread out on the dining room table. Each morning, I send my hubby off to work and then go pick up my sister’s Golden Retriever. Hilary keeps my cat, Blaze, and I company. I check e-mails and Facebook, and then get to work.

Do you have a pre-writing routine to prepare yourself to get down to business?

Not really, though I check e-mail and make sure any current commitments are handled, such as promotion requests and family inquiries. I am a member of several loops and peruse the subject lines so I don’t miss an important announcement or an opportunity to query an agent. Depending on what I am working on, I start a binder for each project plus I have a binder for each book’s release where I list promotional avenues. I have tried several methods for getting a story started. Lately I am using Alex Sokoloff’s idea of the three-act play. I have large poster boards on the wall, divided into blocks, and I fill the blocks with sticky notes; love scenes, action, fights, and other plot twists. I find it helps to see what flows and what areas are void of action. Once a manuscript is finished, then the work begins. I edit and edit and share chapters with critique partners. When I think I am finished, I print it out, find a quiet place, and read it aloud.

What’s your writing style? Slow and steady? Quick and prolific? All over the place?

I would call it slow and steady. Others think I write a lot. Again, I have time to write whereas many authors still keep their day jobs or have young families. My youngest is twenty-five. Married thirty-four years, I have a great husband supporting me.

What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned since starting work in this industry?

The most important lesson learned thus far was that even though I had no idea what I was getting into, I kept at it until I got it right. I started out by reading a couple of books on formatting, a published guide to agents and editors, and a stack of printer paper. I had absolutely no concept of the difficulty of this business. And it is a business going through drastic changes. E-publishing has taken off and I am happy I approached a couple of e-publishers, and then sold three stories. I still want to see my name on a book in print, and I want an agent.

What are you working on now?

I will attend the Romance Writers of America conference later this month to take workshops and meet face to face with other authors. I am polishing a Scottish historical paranormal which I thought was finished a year ago. After several rejections, I submitted it to a few contests where I received awesome feedback. I have shared chapters with critique partners. It is close to perfect. I have completed about 1/3 of the second book in the series. I am also working on a present day paranormal romance set at a local art museum. I write on my blog and on Facebook as often as possible.

What’s your favorite genre to write?

That is a tough one. I am new to all this. I started out writing contemporary romance because that is what I grew up reading. I read Harlequin stories and grew fond of authors like Nora Roberts. I began writing paranormal historicals, with a Scottish flavor, because my husband and I volunteer each year at the New Hampshire Highland Games in Lincoln, NH: www.nhscots.org. Since I have sold in both genres, I’ll keep writing both.

I find a lot of authors like to read outside their chosen genre. What do you like to read?

I am a regency historical junky. Funny, I wasn’t one until I joined my local chapter of RWA. I am surrounded by wonderful, funny, intelligent women such as Claudia Dain, Liz Carlyle, Elizabeth Amber, and Sabrina Jeffries. They all write regencies and these women are inspiring. Someday I will find the confidence to write in their genre.

Do you have a favorite author or someone you look up to in the industry?

I have mentioned a few but I also enjoy Rachel Gibson, Stephanie Laurens, Hannah Howell, Janet Evanovich, Melissa Mayhew, Diana Gabaldon, and Janet Chapman to name a few. I am a voracious reader and try hard to limit my reading to later in the day. It’s part of my reward for work well done.

Tell me your writing story…when did you decide this was what you want to do? How long did it take you to get “the call”? When were you first published? Etc.

I started writing toward publication in October 2006. Hubby and I drove from New Hampshire to Raleigh, NC to pick up our son, Eric, at the Raleigh-Durham airport. This was a mid-point for family since many wanted to welcome him back from Iraq. I remember the tears as I waved a tiny American flag and met him at the gate with my Dad. The whole fourteen hour drive home, I sat in the backseat and wrote. We also made a day-trip to visit Eric’s brother, Robert, in Burlington, Vermont, so I had another five or six hours to write. The story flowed out of me and I completed the entire manuscript in one month. I received rejection letter after rejection letter, but kept writing. I had completed my fifth manuscript when I received an e-mail from Red Rose Publishing in August 2009 that they decided to buy my contemporary romance, SECRET LOVE MATCH. While waiting to edit that book with their editor, I wrote my novella, DRAGON’S CURSE, submitted it to a couple of publishers last January and sold it in March. So, on June 25th of this year BOTH my first books were released!

How many books have you had published and for whom?

I have been writing toward publication for 3 ½ years. I have completed six manuscripts and sold three. Pretty good odds! My contemporary romance, SECRET LOVE MATCH, is with Red Rose Publishing, www.redrosepublishing.com and they recently purchased DESTINY’S MOUNTAIN. DRAGON’S CURSE is my first published book with Whispers Publishing, www.whispershome.com.

What’s your latest release? Can you tell us about the book and how you got the idea?

Since I have two out, let’s talk about DRAGON’S CURSE. I put a handful of characters on an uninhabited island off the western coast of Scotland. I researched some history books my husband has collected. He was a European history major and we have done extensive genealogy searches together. Once I picked a time frame and a piece of history I could use as my hero’s conflict, I started writing. I have never written anything with a paranormal flair, but the idea flew. It helps that I love dragons. My heroine needed something ‘special’ so I gave her the gift of premonitions, which she loathes. She is forced to use them for her guardian. She can only see the future when he asks...until she meets Draco and the visions pop up. This was my first foray into writing ‘short’. I weave lots of action, intrigue, romance, and disaster into the pages. And the book cover is hot! It actually shows the cliffs of the real Scottish island of Staffa, where I set my story.

What’s your writing space like?

I am embarrassed to call it a mess. First of all, I have a desk which I purposely faced toward the window so I could watch the birds at the feeders and see people walk by on our quiet street. The trouble is, my kitten grew into a cat and he wants to lay there. It was easier to give him the desk, and use my husband’s space. With the desktop computer, the printer, the phone, the back-up power source, the wireless router, and more, the space fills up. Add the papers, sticky notes, empty coffee mugs and you get the idea. I also shred paper as a stress-reliever, which creates a mess. My closet is organized. My darling husband added lots of shelves to the large closet and I have binders for every work in progress. I choose different colors. I have a degree in art education so color is important. I have a U. S. Army calendar and a calendar of Scottish islands on the wall. I recently printed eight by tens of my new book covers, matted them, and then framed them. I hope to add more to my walls.

What do you do when you’re not writing?

I used to volunteer quite a bit when I lived in New Hampshire. I was an EMT and fire fighter in my community. I am still class agent for my graduating class at Plymouth State. I moved to North Carolina about two years ago and have volunteered in the bowels of the NC Museum of Science relabeling acid free boxes into which my two sisters and I transferred old bird bones. We finished that project so are awaiting another. I am vice president of my local writers group, Heart of Carolina Romance Writers www.heartofcarolina.org. My husband, sons, and I travel back to New Hampshire every September where we volunteer at the Highland games www.nhscot.org. We love to travel. We venture to North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains for the annual Grandfather Mountain Highland Games www.gmhg.org, and to the Outer Banks when we can swim. I also read, read, read!

I’m all about ‘giving people something to talk about’. We all experience crazy things from time to time. Can you tell us something unusual that you’ve done or had happen to you?

I think joining the Rumney FAST Squad was a turning point in my life. I joke and say having two accident-prone boys made me do it. My husband and I both joined the local fire department because we happened on accident scenes too often in and around our rural community and always felt helpless. I have saved homes from chimney fires, ridden a snowmobile to an accident scene, hiked halfway up a mountain trail to carry-out a cliff climber with a broken leg, called for life-flight for an injured child, and more. It is the reason I became a 9-1-1 emergency medical dispatcher. I retired when we sold our home and moved to Raleigh, NC to be near family, and have used my medical and fire fighting knowledge in some stories. DESTINY’S MOUNTAIN, a contemporary romance coming out later this year from Red Rose Publishing, has secondary characters that are paramedic-fire fighters.

Tell us… What’s your favorite movie and why?

I love the original PRIDE & PREDUDICE with Colin Firth. It is very long, yet I find myself smiling at many, many parts while I get into Elizabeth’s head. She was a simple young woman who survived the blush of new love, the pitfalls of family, and the strengths from standing up for herself.

Last questions… Coke or Pepsi? Diet coke. I am diabetic and control it with diet. I am slowly losing weight and feel so much better since I was diagnosed.

Summer or Winter? Summer, when I lived in New Hampshire. Too much snow. Now I like winter because summers are HOT here in North Carolina!

Cat person or Dog person? Cat. I have always owned a cat. Or should I say a cat has always owned me?

Bronte or Austen? Austen, by a mile.

Star Trek or Star Wars? Wow! Tough choice! Since I grew up watching the original Star Trek, I’ll go with that.

Team Edward or Team Jacob? I love Jacob, but I wish he hadn’t cut his hair.

McDonalds or Burger King? Burger King. Grilled burgers, with lettuce tomato, are heaven.

Author Bio and Contact Info:

Nancy Lee Badger writes full time and lives with her husband in Raleigh, NC. She loves everything Scottish. She is a member of Romance Writers of America, Heart of Carolina Romance Writers, Fantasy-Futuristic & Paranormal Romance Writers, Celtic Heart Romance Writers, and Sisters in Crime. She is celebrating the recent release of her Scottish historical DRAGON’S CURSE available from Whispers Publishing. Visit her website: www.nancyleebadger.com, and her blog www.RescuingRomance.nancyleebadger.com For excerpts and more information.

Nancy, thank you for being here today!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Featured Book - Dragon's Curse by Nancy Badger!!

Hi everyone! I always love to introduce new authors. Today, I have Nancy Badger and her book Dragon's Curse.

Historical, Dragons, Scotland... Yummy! Check it out!!!! And oh! What an awesome cover too! Wow!

BLURB:

Sometimes a special gift and an unwanted curse cannot keep destined lovers apart.

Brianna Macleod has accompanied a shipload of her guardian’s friends to a remote island off the coast of Scotland. She eludes these Highland hunters to keep her innocence…and her gift of sight. Her attitude against falling for womanly desires changes when she nearly drowns. Saved by the talons of a terrifying winged beast, she awakens—naked—in a cave, beside an unusual man.

Cursed by a vengeful witch to transform into a dragon at inopportune times, Draco MacDonald hides on this deserted island to live alone: until he plucks a servant girl from certain death. Fueled by jealousy, and tempered by fear for her safety, he succumbs to an unfamiliar desire to mate. Her kisses propel him to dare to make her his own.

Set in 1592 Scotland on the Scottish island of Staffa, the cursed hero battles a ghostly witch, a hunter set on rape, and his own growing desire for a young woman with premonitions of his death.

Her kisses propel him to dare to make her his own.

EXCERPT:

The water foamed and splashed as if more than one creature fought beneath the surface. Brianna stared through the sea spray, wiping her face with a tattered bit of fabric. She stared toward whatever swam beneath the surface. The sun glinted on something very odd. Emerald-green scales and a long, barbed tail curled just under the surface before the water clouded with a crimson hue.

“Is that blood?” Nia whispered.

“Aye. I think something has come to our aid.”

“I hope the beasties are no’ fighting over who gets to eat us.”

Brianna laughed aloud. The sound startled both her and her friend. “Nay, I am no’ crazed. Fear does strange things to a person. I, too, hope we survive this adventure.”

“Adventure?” Nia shook her head, pointing to a large piece of floating debris, and said, “Look.”

“Tis probably a piece of decking. Mayhap we can raise our feet above the water and look less appetizing to the beasties.”

“Good idea. Swim for it,” Nia cried.

Brianna led the way. Numb fingers clutched the jagged plank. Pain seared up her arms as the wood scraped away skin and dripped blood into the water.

“Ye first,” Brianna insisted when she saw a shivering Nia’s pale skin. Brianna rejoiced when her companion reached the safety of the large planks.

“Now you,” Nia said.

“Move over a bit so I can—“

With a flurry of foam, she lost her grip.

Water closed over Brianna’s head. She brushed against something scaly before it pulled her beneath the waves. Talons clasped her around her waist. Suddenly, she was above the ocean surface. Wind and water stung her eyes. She kicked and struggled against the vise-like grip holding her above the waves as she tried to understand her predicament.

When she brushed damp locks of hair from her face, she stared at a horrifying reflection on the sea’s surface: a huge flying dragon with a small woman in its grip. Both her hands flew to the claws wrapped around her middle. Held fast, the flap of the beast’s great wings filled the sky with an eerie thump.

The stench of blood intruded, filling her nose and making her gag. This beast had won the fight under the sea, but what happened to Nia? What happened to Gregor, Cook, and the rest of the party? Would any survivors know of her death at the hands of a dragon? Would anyone grieve her loss?

“Dear God,” she cried. “What about Draco?”

The beast trembled at her words. It glided toward land. She recognized the steep cliffs of Staffa and the beach where she gathered driftwood. She spied the waterfall where Ranald met his death.

Clenched between the murderous talons of a dragon, she made plans to run as soon as they landed.

“Draco! Help me!” He promised he would come to her aid should she call, but he could not hear her from this distance. The man owned no weapons and no armor. Landing with a gentle bump on solid ground, the golden talons retracted. Now free, Brianna hiked up her skirts and blindly jumped over rocks and roots as she flew into the bushes. Low-lying brambles scratched her naked calves. She survived worse than this when a rope had tangled around her leg and pulled her under the sea.

“I nearly drowned. A sea beast wanted to eat me for supper, now a dragon has stolen me away to this island. What else could happen?” Out of breath, she glanced back at her attacker from the relative safety of jutting rocks and prickly groundcover. Nothing. No dragon.

Silence filled the air until a high-pitched squeal made her jump. A huge boar, bigger than any the hunters had brought down during their stay on Staffa, pawed the ground a few paces from her hiding spot.

“Nice piggy,” Brianna whispered. Great. I can turn and run back toward the dragon or be gored by an irate pig.

“Go up.”

Who said that? No matter. Turning, Brianna slipped a bare foot into a low crack in the nearest rock formation. Pushing upward, she climbed. Apparently enraged by her escape attempt, the animal’s squeals turned to angry snorts. The rock shook when he collided head-on with its base.

“Go ahead. Knock yourself silly.” The boar backed up and struck again. The boar’s irrational mood and raw strength left Brianna’s bloody fingers grasping for a better hold, but she held. She nearly lost her footing when he attacked a third time. Clinging to loosened soil, which covered the jagged boulder, she also worried about the dragon. Has it let me go, or does it plan to scoop me from my perch once I reach the top?

“Brianna?”

Shocked senseless, her grip loosened. She fell. The scrawny branches of a gorse bush, growing from a crack in one side of her stone perch, scratched her cheek and snatched at her hair. She screamed until she stopped with a thud.

A warm, male hand swept tangles from her face. The coarse skin of a masculine thumb swept blood from her painful cheek as she collapsed, with a sigh, into Draco’s chest.

“Ye do no’ fly. Do ye?” he asked.

“I certainly do no’, ye beast. Draco!” She pushed far enough away to stare up from his arms. “Be careful! A wild boar is near! He almost pushed me off my perch.”

“I should no’ wonder since I accomplished the task with only my voice.”

You can find this title at Amazon: http://amzn.to/ahwqIa

Thursday, June 24, 2010

What's This? A Post About Me?

I've had a lot of wonder writer posts and feature book posts lately, but few posts related to me, so here we are. What's up Brynn?

Well, a lot. Yesterday was my oldest son's sixteenth birthday!! I can't believe he's already legal driving age. Truthfully, I've been dreading it for years -- about sixteen. I've received a tiny reprieve however. He doesn't want to drive yet. He doesn't even want to take driver's ed. Works for me. He had a really nice birthday though. We made sure sixteen would be one to remember.

It will also be a day I remember. I made a trip out of town for the morning, in the midst of a crashing storm that had people driving 35-45 on the highway. Ugly!!! Afterward, I raced back to town so I could get some quick maintenance work done on the car.

Quick. Yeah, right. Stop one... An oil change. I discovered that my new-to-me vehicle, hasn't had the oil changed in an eon apparently. It looked ugly. I also discovered that my coolant needs to be flushed every thirty thousand miles. It hasn't been. And my transmission needs to be flushed every fifteen thousand miles. It hadn't been. It will be now. Lucky for me, things are still looking very good in the radiator and transmission...

Next stop, a quick recharge of the air conditioner. Nope. It didn't need recharging. After about an hour and a half, they found that a fuse was blown (they figured that out fast, but they couldn't find the fuse because it's in a wonky spot, not with the other fuses).

So then I was off to the tire place. We had discovered that one of the axle boots was leaking. I don't know the techy terms for it, but it was "slinging grease" while we were driving. After about an hour, they let me know that it wasn't one, but two that were like that, and it would be double the price.

I finally left there after three hours. It was hot and humid and I was sweaty... I turned on the air. No air. Apparently, something else is wrong that's causing the fuse to pop. Pretty much at that point, after spending over $800, I was ready to cry. I took my sticky self home with the intention of taking a shower.

Nope. My husband was borrowing my mom's car so I could get the repairs done. She was ready for me to pick her up. Off I went again. I did finally get a shower after that then we went to celebrate my son's birthday. It was a good time with lots of laughter. I was exhausted when I got home though. For the first time in years, I went to bed at 9:20.

The car is back at the shop today and I'm hopeful that the bill won't be huge!!

In other, better news, Kidnap and Kink came out last week. It's book two in the Taboo Wishes series. If you liked Punished, you'll probably enjoy this one. I had several people tell me after Punished that they wanted to see Rob's story. This is it.

In other news, I'm working with an agent on a few books so hopefully, you'll be able to find a couple of my works in the traditional print market soon -- though soon is a lot longer in print than it is in eBook, LOL.

Oh!!! And I got a Sony eReader. I love it!!! I love it so much, I ended up getting my husband one as well. He's a big reader too so it's a good investment for him. Brynn Paulin: Converting the world to eBooks, one person at a time! LOL! Last night, he was reading Punished. I loved when parts amused him enough to read them aloud to me. I never let him read the books until after they're published. Personal preference.

I've read a bunch of Lori Foster books over the last month. Now, I'm reading Flat-Out Sexy by Erin McCarthy. It's really good. I love the hero in the book. He's awesome!

Mmm... Now here's one. We just finished Sh*t My Dad Says by Justin Halpern. It's a humor book, based on quotes from his dad. He wrote the book after literary agents came across the quotes on his Twitter by the same name. It's a hysterical book. Even better, it's going to be a TV show in the fall (Thursdays CBS). William Shatner will star as the dad. Fabulous.

Otherwise, I guess there's just been a lot of work work work. The EDJ has been out of control. And I'm hard at work writing a few upcoming books. News soon!

Have a fun, good-car-karma day!
~~Brynn

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Wednesday Wonder Writer - Cheryl Dragon!!!

Welcome to Wednesday!!! I have a fabulous (and prolific) Wonder Writer with me today. Cheryl Dragon is one of the most versatile authors I know. Give her a genre and she'll write it--and it will be great. This is one author whose books I read over and over. So without further gushing, here's Cheryl:

Author’s lives intrigue readers and other writers. Tell me about your typical daily schedule.

Every day starts with the ritual stabbing of my voodoo dolls to curse my enemies and then my manservant makes breakfast....

Oh wait, you want real stuff???

I’m so NOT intriguing. I wake up, go to the day job, come home and write with the TV on (I need some white noise) and then there’s the sleeping. All the fun is in my imagination.

Do you have a pre-writing routine to prepare yourself to get down to business?

Not really a routine. There must be some caffeine laced beverage. A TV on for white noise (I’m the freak writer who can’t take music...I need movement out of the corner of my eye). As long as I have time to write an entire scene, I’m good to go. I can’t write a page here or a page there, it has to be a complete scene.

While I’m eating dinner, I generally watch the Days of Our Lives (DVR’d) which helps cleanse my brain of the day job. I stopped watching it for years but somehow got sucked back in when Vivian and Shane returned.

What’s your writing style? Slow and steady? Quick and prolific? All over the place?

Quick and prolific. I don’t want to lose the spark of the characters and their story. I need to get the story out of my head and onto paper, then I can polish it up.

What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned since starting work in this industry?

The people are amazingly generous and loyal. There women I met in the beginning of my career and who I may not see for a few years and when we see each other, it’s like nothing has changed. And some writers I chat with almost daily for moral support or venting. In a solitary business, you need that network of support.

What are you working on now?

Right now? Pushing Penny, book two of the Raider’s Bodyguard Service series recently sold to Resplendence Publishing. It’s a BBW with some light bd. Putting on a fashion show, plus size designer Penny Beaumont, is going to Milan and taking a bodyguard. But Raider’s bodyguards have a habit of getting very involved with their clients and Grayson’s dominant side will pull her out of her shell or there will be consequences.

What’s your favorite genre to write?

Erotic romance is a great genre. I can dabble in many subgenres, from suspense to paranormal and have a blast.

I find a lot of authors like to read outside their chosen genre. What do you like to read?
Mysteries. Right now I’m waiting for the third in the Tattoo Shop Mysteries by Karen E. Oslon....fast paced fun in Vegas. Awesome!!

Do you have a favorite author or someone you look up to in the industry?

I want to be Desiree Holt! She’s so sweet and generous, and she writes circles around me. Someday!

Tell me your writing story…when did you decide this was what you want to do? How long did it take you to get “the call”? When were you first published? Etc.

Again, I’m not very exciting. I always wanted to be a writer. I entertained myself making up things and started writing in college for fun. I got a degree in business because my family is not a bunch of dreamers who do what they love, but we have to be practical (I’m the black sheep!).

So I write on the side. I tried to write category romance and mainstream stuff. I received nice rejections that I was close but just a little outside of their guidelines or not quite right. All of them liked my love scenes so i focused on the hot and gave Ellora’s Cave a try.
They bought a bunch of stuff from me and I’ve sold to other publishers as well, but jus sold another quickie to Ellora’s Cave. Look for Catcalling Catherine Coming Soon...

How many books have you had published and for whom?

You’re making me do math?? I hate math! I’m an accountant by day. Numbers are so boring (I’m grumpy after work....I need to escape to my fiction world....if you don’t my sarcastic humor you’ve stopped reading by now anyway:)

But for Brynn, I’ll count....

Keep in mind, I normally write shorts or novellas....

Ellora’s Cave: 12

Loose Id: 9

Pink Petal Books: 2
Total-E-Bound 4

And more to come...

What’s your latest release? Can you tell us about the book and how you got the idea?

A Firm Hand (Regency, light bdsm erotic romance) [Featured HERE]

In public they are a proper couple in every way, but behind closed doors they explore rough desires that could prove more than they can handle.

Mariah and James share dark passions and are a match in every way but marriage is only the beginning of their journey.

Mariah wants more of James' intense instruction but James pulls away. She must tempt him, trust him, and prove to him that the ghosts of their childhood losses won't keep them from a long and happy marriage and unspeakable pleasure.
I got the idea because I love regencies. Occasionally I’ll need a writing challenge, to do something I don’t normally do and this was one. I wanted it not to be about money or status, but about getting past the manners and the formality to the real need and love of a couple.

What’s your writing space like?

My third bedroom....it has bookcases, a TV, a small desk with computer....Excedrin, eye drops, water and diet coke. Pens galore. Two big torch lamps, a shredder and a printer. A wall calendar from the Chinese place that delivers fast (it’s the year of the Tiger if you were worried).

I have my lucky cat on the TV...next to the bit white jar candle in case the power goes out (thunder storms happen).

What do you do when you’re not writing?

Watch TV, movies, hang out with friends, sleep, come up with ideas for writing, and of course the day job.

I’m all about ‘giving people something to talk about’. We all experience crazy things from time to time. Can you tell us something unusual that you’ve done or had happen to you?

I’ve shot a Tommy gun. I live in the Chicagoland area and when Capone ran the city, the average people didn’t fear gangs. Unless you crossed them, they were good for peace and opened soup kitchens, got people liquor during prohibition, and so on. The people who had to worry were the cops. (FYI the cops pass these stories down from those days so this comes from them and my great grandfather).

All local police stations were issued Tommy guns aka the Chicago typewriter. When Capone was coming through a city, the police radioed from town to town for the cops to get off the road, not the people. Capone’s men really did ride the sideboards of old cars with their machine guns.

Well, family friends in the police department, allowed me to practice shooting at the police shooting range nearby. My dad has a huge gun collection but an actual machine gun....that belonged to the PD. It was fun and historic.

Tell us… What’s your favorite movie and why?

Moonstruck. It’s about the characters in a romance and Moonstruck has characters that grab you, make you hope for them, care for them, and cheer for them. An amazing cast and intense performances. It’s a classic!

Is there anything else you’d like to share with readers?

Obviously I’m a total TV addict. From Bones to Psyche to the Closer. Family Guy...My latest obsession is Glee. I tried to resist but you must give in.

I took a little break from writing (family stuff and I drafted a mystery for fun) but I’m back at the writing desk for the hot stuff. Soon you’ll see a list of coming soon titles on my website. I just need to finalize some blurbs and get a cover or two...

www.cheryldragon.com

I’m dabbling in ménage +!

I’ve got new releases coming from Resplendence Publishing & Ellora’s Cave. I’m working on more so get ready to see something new from me out in August!

Last questions… Coke or Pepsi? Coke! Diet Coke with Lime to be precise.

Summer or Winter? Winter... I hate humidity.

Cat person or Dog person? Cat person. Dogs are cute as long as they’re smaller than my cat. My cat can take a dog twice her size (those claws are lethal).

Bronte or Austen? Austen. Regency addict!

Star Trek or Star Wars? Star Trek (The Next Generation) but I still love Yoda!

Team Edward or Team Jacob? Vampires Rule!

McDonalds or Burger King? Whichever is on the way...I have to get home and write.

Cheryl, Thanks for being here today!

Friday, June 11, 2010

A 16 second laugh

I love Lynne Koplitz! She cracks me up, every time I see her.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Wednesday Wonder Writer - Kaenar Langford!!!

Have you ever met someone you just love right away? That's how it was when I met today's wonder writer a little over two years ago. Kaenar is a fantastic, fun person and—dare I say?—a little crazy, but in the very best way. With Kaenar, what you see is what you get, and what you get is the very best.

Here's today's interview:

Author’s lives intrigue readers and other writers. Tell me about your typical daily schedule.

I get up in the morning and make a protein shake for everybody. Our younger son makes his way downstairs for breakfast and I make sure he has something with him for lunch then say goodbye as he gets on the school bus. Next hubby stumbles downstairs, checks his email while he drinks the tea I’ve made him. He heads off to work and then it’s just me. Well, actually, it’s just me, three cats and a dog. I spend the day at the computer writing. If the weather’s nice, I’ll take a break midday and go to the beach with the dog then come home and get back to writing. Hmmm, not very glamorous when you see your routine in print. Don’t forget that I’m wearing an evening gown and high heels, full makeup and sexy lingerie while writing. That goes without saying.

Do you have a pre-writing routine to prepare yourself to get down to business?

The books I’ve been writing the last year or so are all related to places or events I’ve gone to for research like the largest gay spa in Toronto, a gay bondage bed and breakfast and the largest single fetish night in the world. So I’m finding that I go to an event or a place and when I come home I begin to assemble a story in my head that is set somewhere similar to where I’ve been or uses equipment or techniques I saw. The whole book is planned in my head. I envision what the plot will be and then have specific events in the story that I write to.

What’s your writing style? Slow and steady? Quick and prolific? All over the place?

The physical writing is definitely too slow to suit me. I’m not a fast typist so I can’t write as fast as I think. That frustrates me sometimes. As for my writing style, I can’t just slap a story down and send it off. I reread what I wrote the previous session and see things I want to change. I spend a lot of time on sex scenes and figuring out positions and just what the participants are going to do when they’re together.

What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned since starting work in this industry?

I’m not a person who works well to deadline. I like to work away on my own projects and seldom do any anthologies as I don’t like to be pressured to finish by a particular date. The pressure to work and finish would be coming from me, not from an editor or other writers.

What are you working on now?

Last year I had a book released with Ellora’s Cave called Something Naughty This Way Comes. It’s the story of a woman who gets to spend the evening at the largest gay spa in Toronto playing and making love with two gorgeous men. The one I’m working on now is tentatively called Something Trouble This Way Comes and is the story of the manager of Seduction. I’m hoping to do another story about the owner, but who knows what will happen. I work away on something and then suddenly I’ll remember another book I was working on and head back to it. We’ll just have to see.


What’s your favorite genre to write?

I love writing male/male and male/male/male erotic romance.

I find a lot of authors like to read outside their chosen genre. What do you like to read?

I love Black Ops stuff like Cindy Gerard writes. I’m very fond of vampire stories and cop stories.

Do you have a favorite author or someone you look up to in the industry?

I think Suzanne Brockmann is an incredible woman in so many ways. I love her books, but I love the way she lives her life.

Tell me your writing story…when did you decide this was what you want to do? How long did it take you to get “the call”? When were you first published? Etc.
I attended a workshop entitled ‘How to Write a Romance Novel’ in October 2005 and began working on a book soon after that. I was hoping to be able to write at least 25,000 words. I finished in March of 2006 with a manuscript of 135,000 words. I submitted to four places and received three polite rejections. After making the changes suggested by an Ellora’s Cave editor on my first submission to her, I resubmitted the manuscript and the book was accepted in December 2006 and Lucifer’s Angel was released in April 2007.

How many books have you had published and for whom?

Lucifer’s Angel, Jude’s Choice, Absolute Trust, Something Naughty This Way Comes, Just Being Neighborly all with Ellora’s Cave. The Harder They Come, All Tied Up, Indulge Me in the Naughty Nooners anthology from Total-E-Bound.

What’s your latest release? Can you tell us about the book and how you got the idea?

Indulge Me, from the Naughty Nooners anthology was released as a stand-alone ebook by Total-e-Bound in March and came out as an audio book in April. I was at a book signing in Michigan and a bunch of authors were all together at Cindy Spencer Pape’s house for a barbecue afterwards and I said I had an idea for a bunch of male/male stories I wanted to write that would all take place over a noon hour and the anthology would be called Naughty Nooners. I realized that I didn’t want to write each of the stories myself, so I asked the assembled writers if they’d like to be part of it. They said yes. You were there, Brynn!

I wrote to the publisher at Total-E-Bound and pitched the idea and she said go ahead. It was an amazing adventure to be part of an anthology with friends.

What’s your writing space like?

A semi-cluttered desk in the corner of the living room. Our 16 year old son used to watch TV and play Wii games etc in the same room, but all his stuff has been moved up to his loft bedroom, so it’s a lot quieter down here. Usually it’s just me and Max, our chocolate lab. From my writing spot, I have a wonderful view of my shoe desk calendar. That’s my morning ritual. I sit down and change the shoe picture to the current one and ooo and aah over the new photo. I have very simple pleasures.

What do you do when you’re not writing?

Walk the dog. My husband and I both play Irish music. He plays fiddle and I play concertina, so we often get together with friends to play tunes. Once a month, or once every two months, I go to Toronto to do some weird and wonderful research. That’s my favorite thing to do. I’m heading down in June for the Pride Activities and in August I go to the Church Street Fetish Fair.

I’m all about ‘giving people something to talk about’. We all experience crazy things from time to time. Can you tell us something unusual that you’ve done or had happen to you?
I got to spend the entire day at Bent Inn in Toronto. It’s a gay bondage bed and breakfast with a full dungeon in the old Victorian basement. It was incredible.

Tell us… What’s your favorite movie and why?

The second and third Lord of The Rings movies. I read the books when I was younger and loved them and I love the spectacle of the movies. I watch the series every Christmas as part of my Christmas ritual. My family is very good to tolerate me, I know.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with readers?

Thanks to all the readers who support myself and other authors. You’re the lifeblood of writers. You’re who we write for.

Last questions… Coke or Pepsi? Coke

Summer or Winter? Summer

Cat person or Dog person? Love both.

Bronte or Austen? Bronte

Star Trek or Star Wars? Early Star Wars movies

Team Edward or Team Jacob? Who?

McDonalds or Burger King? Neither-I’ve been a vegetarian since 1981.

Kaenar, thank you for being here! Readers, you can find Kaenar here:

http://www.kaenar.com/
Kaenar Konfidential
Ellora's Cave
Total-e-bound

Friday, June 4, 2010

Who makes these things?

Have you gone shopping for a vacuum lately? If you have, you might have noticed what I have. If you haven’t, take a walk down the vacuum aisle and take a really good look. Check out the contraptions…

I’ve decided NASA is now making vacuums. My husband was with me and testing stuff out. On one vacuum, we couldn’t even figure out how to remove the dust cup. Another felt like you were breaking it while accessing the filter and debris reservoir. Several had high-tech, washable filters—well actually most. They’re all competing for best continuous suction, best pet hair removal, best filter. Almost all looked more complicated than I wanted to contemplate. When did housework become super high-tech?

After an intense twenty minutes of Vacuum Idol—way longer than I want to spend shopping for anything because I hate shopping—we decided on a Bissell. None cheaper or in the same price range compared.

I never thought the words “no, too complicated” would come out of my mouth so many times when talking about a vacuum cleaner. One actually had me quoting the movie, Apollo 13. “I suggest you gentlemen invent a way to put a square peg in a round hole.”

Seriously… there was a vacuum my husband couldn’t figure out how to put back together. All he’d done is take out the dust cup. I’m pretty mechanical and it looked like aeronautical mechanics to me. Honestly, how are we expected to have our teenagers clean if manufacturers make their "basic" machines so complicated?

I like the Bissell we chose. It’s smart and functional…and not too complicated for the average Joanna—oh! And it cleans amazingly better than the Kirby I was replacing. Yay!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Tuesday Feature Book - A Firm Hand

Hey everyone! It's Tuesday feature book...on Thursday! With everything going on, I missed featuring this a couple days ago. I have to say this book, A Firm Hand by Cheryl Dragon, is one of my favorite books. I scooped it up as soon as it came out. Now, it's firmly ensconced on my ereader where it will stay for a long, long time. I love re-reading great books! Here, take a look:

Blurb:

In public they are a proper couple in every way, but behind closed doors they explore rough desires that could prove more than they can handle.

Mariah and James share dark passions and are a match in every way but marriage is only the beginning of their journey. Mariah wants more of James' intense instruction but James pulls away. She must tempt him, trust him, and prove to him that the ghosts of their childhood losses won't keep them from a long and happy marriage and unspeakable pleasure.

Excerpt:

Mariah felt the familiar tug of desire when James was near. Her breath went ragged and her bodice seemed too tight. Now, she was crushed to him, and her skin tingled from head to toe. The light spring dress she wore prevented her from truly feeling him. His hard form towered over her, and she pressed closer. Never in all her life had she imagined herself behaving like this. Until James, she’d always been extraordinarily proper in public because of her mother’s death. Her aunt told her very young that she needed to be better, not to let people think that the men in her family had given her bad habits. Yet here she stood, holding onto a man without a ring on her finger, and she didn’t want to let go. He smelled of leather and sandalwood. The added relief that he didn’t care about her dowry anymore than she did about his title made her certain this was right.

Their mutual affection and desires sealed the deal in her mind. Testing the muscle of his arms, she shivered and curled her fingers tighter into the fabric of his coat. “I promise you, I will not cry off before the wedding. You can’t frighten me.”

His smile warmed her, but his grip tightened. “Don’t challenge me. You need discipline. It will take a day or two to get the necessary letters from your father and the special license arranged. You will not slip from me if this is a trick.”

Did he really believe she’d play games with their reputations for Alice’s sake? “Never. We fit well, I think.” Then it occurred to her that he might want her to cry off. “Unless you wish to be rid of me. I wouldn’t blame you. I’m not the quiet and passive bride Alice would’ve been. None of my governesses ever lasted long.”

“You ran them off? Were you wild and unruly without a mother?”

She blushed and looked down. “Not exactly. My brothers were older. They normally pursued my nurses and governesses, and my father turned the women out once they were with child. They never seemed to last a year. Even the plain ones. I was indulged but not allowed to run wild. But the rules changed with each new governess.”

“Unacceptable.” He dug his hand into her hair and tilted her head back forcefully.

Mariah inhaled sharply. “I know. My aunt saved me as soon as I was of age.” Her father refused to hear of her leaving home before then. She looked like her mother, and he feared Mariah would die young as well. She was raised and overprotected in a world of men, but she didn’t want that world. “I want the quiet structure of the life of a lady. I’ll be a good wife, if you want me.”

You can find it HERE!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Wednesday Wonder Writer - Ashley Ladd

Good morning everyone! First off, I'd like to say thank you for all the kind thoughts and wishes during this difficult time. My grandma was a wonderful lady and will be greatly missed. Having your support helps immensely.

Today, I'm privileged to have another wonderful lady, a kind and hard-working author, visiting the blog. Ashley Ladd's writing spans the genres and offers a bit of something for everyone. I'm very glad to have her with us this Wednesday.

Ashley, author’s lives intrigue readers and other writers. Tell me about your typical daily schedule.

Schedule?

Weekends are my main writing time and the occasional evening. As I work a full time day job, I often don’t get home ‘til 6:30 or much later. By then, I’m exhausted. Until January, my daughter played on three ball teams so I was a softball mom extraordinaire. I lived at the ball field after work. I got more writing done then as I’d take my Alpha Smart and wasn’t distracted by the Internet and promotion like I am now that she’s too old for travel and rec ball.

I’m going to have to disconnect from the internet a lot more and get intimate with my Alpha Smart again.

Do you have a pre-writing routine to prepare yourself to get down to business?

I HAVE to have a large glass of diet cola with a LOT of ice. I also have to have my music. If I forget my MP3 player or it stops working, then I have to plug in ear plugs to block out the outside world.

Sometimes I need to read or walk or swim to get in the mood to write. It’s amazing how many story ideas I get when my ears are underwater and I only hear the hum of the pool. My mind also works great when I walk for awhile.

What’s your writing style? Slow and steady? Quick and prolific? All over the place?

It’s never been slow and steady. It used to be quick and prolific.

Now it’s all over the place. I’ve been spending WAY too much time promoting, tweeting, and chatting on the loops (that’s promotion, right?)

What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned since starting work in this industry?

To get over myself. And to edit.

That seems contradictory.

First, I have to polish my books as well as I can before submitting and when working with my editors.

After that, I have to remember not to sweat the small things. To remember that reviews are subjective. To remember that you can’t please everybody all the time.

As long as I do my best and follow my heart and treat people right, then I won’t beat myself up if I’m not perfect.

Being a customer service manager has also taught me this.

What are you working on now?

A couple Class of ’85 Reunion romances for TWRP. One is nearly finished. These are sweet romances that my alter ego’s working on.

I’m also working on a transgender romance. Someone very close to me has announced he’s a transgender woman and is going through the transformation. I’m capturing my feelings as well as trying to capture what he’s going through in a realistic and emotional way.

What’s your favorite genre to write?

Time-travel romance. I love to put a character in a different time period and see how they cope. Contemporary romance comes in a close second.

I find a lot of authors like to read outside their chosen genre. What do you like to read?

When I’m not reading romance I love to read Stephen King’s horrors and Stephen White’s psychological thrillers. I also enjoyed reading The Left Behind series.

Beyond that, I like to read non-fiction about how to market and promote.

Tell me your writing story…when did you decide this was what you want to do? How long did it take you to get “the call”? When were you first published? Etc.

I’ve known since I was 6 I was a writer. That’s all I wanted to do although I longed to be a journalist. Later I switched gears.

I got “the call” in 1999 from New Concepts Publishing. I’d met Madris Guiterriez at my local RWA conference and was impressed with her and her company. My first published novel was “Tigers Play” in 1999.

How many books have you had published and for whom?

Twelve at Ellora’s Cave. Twenty-three at Total-E-Bound (three more coming soon which will make it 26.) About 15 at New Concepts Publishing. Another 8 or so at Awe-Struck. One at The Wild Rose Press. One at Amber Quill Press. About 60 total. [Holy Smokes! I knew you were prolific, but wow!]

What’s your latest release? Can you tell us about the book and how you got the idea?

“Charity’s Auction” released this week, Monday May 31st. It was born when a call came from TEB for MFM anthology stories. My day job is for a charity and they have several charity auctions a year. About that time, also, my hubby was in the hospital for several days so I had hospitals on the brain. So I married the two and voila!

It’s available at:

http://www.total-e-bound.com/product.asp?strParents=&CAT_ID=&P_ID=788

What’s your writing space like?

What writing space? My youngest stole my computer desk with my desktop.

So I use my laptop wherever I happen to be. That’s usually on my bed, on the dining room table, or at Border’s Café.

What do you do when you’re not writing?

Be a customer service manager for a charity.

I’ve also been taking line dancing classes, going to the gym, walking and swimming. I’m also a huge movie buff and just finished watching Sense and Sensibility. I can’t believe I never saw it ‘til this week.

And of course I love to read and blog.

Tell us… What’s your favorite movie and why?

“The Mummy” with Brendan Frasier because it’s a wonderful mix of romance, comedy, horror, action and adventure. “Mulan” because I admire Mulan so much and because Li is the cutest comic strip hero I’ve ever laid eyes on. “Pillow Talk” because I love the banter between Doris and Rock, and the comedy of how he scams her then she scams him back. And now I’ve added “Sense and Sensibility” and “Pride and Prejudice” to my favorites. I love the poetry of the language and the complex characters.

Last questions… Coke or Pepsi? DIET Pepsi! I once worked for Coca-Cola and I am NOT fond of them. Personal stuff aside, Coke is too harsh and has a nasty aftertaste. However, if Pepsi’s not available I drink Coke as long as I water it down with a ton of ice.

Summer or Winter? Winter. The grass is greener, right? I live in perpetual summer so I’d love to have a change of scenery and outdoor sports. Of course if I had my own pool so I could swim every day like every other Floridian except my family, I’d change my answer to summer.

Cat person or Dog person? Both. I’ve always been a cat person and I think I’m part cat by now. I can’t live without a cat. But I love my puppies, too. They’re all my babies.

Bronte or Austen? Austen!

Star Trek or Star Wars? Both. You CAN’T be a member of my family and NOT like Star Trek and Star Wars. I mean, it would be criminal. But if I had to choose one I like a bit more than the other, it’s Star Trek. I’m a total trekkie. I was in love with Mr. Spock for YEARS. I thought Scottie was pretty cute, too, especially his sexy accent. I wasn’t a Kirk woman until we got to meet the young Kirk in the newest movie.

I used to want to become an astronaut and travel the galaxy with Kirk, Spock, and Bones. Really. Then I joined the Air Force so I could travel the world at least. Instead I got stuck in Omaha, smack dab in the middle of the US surrounded by prairies full of corn and Big Red (University of Omaha’s mascot – a farm boy in a red and blue overalls) staring at me from just about everywhere.

Team Edward or Team Jacob? Huh? My daughter-in-law’s the Twilight fan. I saw it once at her house and thought it was merely okay, nothing special. She’d kill me if she knew I said that. I thought Jacob was a lot cuter than Edward, though, so does that put me on Team Jacob? [Yes, it does ;-) ]

McDonalds or Burger King?
I HATE HATE HATE Burger King. McDonald’s has okay breakfasts and fries. If I have to have fast food, I want a chicken salad or chimichanga from Tijuana Flats.

“Charity’s Auction” Blurb:

Although head nurse Char Reynolds is desperately head over heels for bad boy Dr. Dexter Graham, he's moved on. Still she gets caught up in bidding for him at the hospital's auction for the new children's wing and wins. His smug expression drives her to also bid on and win the very hunky Dr. Ben Price, Dexter's nemesis and to plan a very naughty, very sexy night with both men.

Excerpt From: Charity's Auction

Charity “Char” Reynolds stared at Dr. Dexter Graham, her eyes narrowed, her heart doing the cha-cha while mathematical calculations flew around in her head. He was gorgeous with his dark, five o’clock shadow, the sexy glint in his eyes, and his broad, powerful shoulders. If it weren’t for that smirk on his lips, he’d be perfect. But he was far from it. He only looked perfect.

The good doctor was a bad boy through and through. It was a tossup whether he mended or broke more hearts. His record on the operating room table was stellar. Off, however, was horrendous. He’d broken so many hearts with that killer smile and huge dimples he should be thrown into solitary confinement for the rest of his miserable life.

Amy Koch, the hospital’s chief administrator, adjusted the microphone with her only hand. Then she tapped the instrument and blew into it. “Can you hear me?”

When the sound from the mic blasted through Char’s head, she clapped her hands over her ears in self-preservation. “Have mercy, woman.”

Once her brain stopped spinning and she was able to see again, she looked over a sea of other people holding their ears. Tentatively, she removed one hand, keeping it close just in case the mic went crazy again.

So far so good. Slowly, she lowered her other hand but kept it at the ready as she warily kept her eye on Amy.

Although, she felt sorry for Amy since the car wreck that had amputated the administrator’s left arm that she couldn’t find anything to like about her caused her to war with feelings of guilt and distrust. Even before the accident, Amy had only been out for number one, stepping on anybody in her way, claiming it was for the greater good. Now people overlooked her mean tempered whining—until they came into her sights. Char had been dead centre in Amy’s far too often. As head surgical nurse, she and Amy butted heads daily.

“Welcome to our first annual charity auction.” Amy beamed at the audience and batted her fake lashes. When she moved, the spotlight made her rhinestones shoot laser beams around the room.

Amy clapped her hand against the mic and shot a grin as fake as her lashes at the audience. “I hope your cheque books are fat and happy and your fingers are itching to write outrageous amounts for the new children’s wing. Let’s get this thing off the ground tonight!”

Cheering anew deafened Char, and her lips stretched so tightly over her teeth they ached.
Her best friend, Beth, another surgical nurse, elbowed her. She rubbed her hands together, and there was a hungry gleam in her eyes. “My cheque book’s ready, willing and able. I moved money from savings to bid on Dr. Hottie.”

It was all Char could do to hold her smile in place and not growl at the sweet strawberry blonde. Since she’d never breathed a word about her brief fling with Dr. Hottie, she couldn’t accuse her friend of trying to steal her ex-boyfriend, yet her claws extended and her skin crawled. When her throat stopped constricting, she said as airily as possible, “Oh, really? Great minds think alike. Me, too.”

Their third musketeer, Jody, a surgical intern jumped up and down and waved her psychedelic-coloured cheque book in their faces. “Me three! Let’s do a ménage à trois with him and have our wicked way.”

Beth scrunched her nose at the perky child. With a duh hanging in her voice, she said, “Ew. I don’t want to see your naked tits. Besides a ménage à trois is three and there would be four of us.”

The three of them would be much too good for the louse. What she wanted to do to him involved whips, chains and video. He’d be so sorry he’d ever broken her heart…

“Aw shucks.” Jody scrunched her nose and pouted. “You two make three times as much as me. I’ll be lucky if I can buy Dr. Rob. I might as well go home since you two party poopers won’t share. It’s way too smoky in here anyway.” She covered her mouth with her hand and coughed as if to add emphasis.

Char’s gaze landed on Dr. Hunky, aka Ben Price, plastic surgeon to the rich and ritzy Boca Babes. “What about Dr. Hunky? He’s mighty cute.”

Charity’s Auction is available at:

http://www.total-e-bound.com/product.asp?strParents=&CAT_ID=&P_ID=788

Ashley, thanks for being here!!! Readers, here's where you can find Ashley:

http://www.ashleyladd.blogspot.com
http://www.twitter.com/ashleyladd
http://www.total-e-bound.com
http://www.ellorascave.com


Thanks so much for having me, Brynn! ~~Ashley