Friday, July 31, 2009

Author Interview with APRIL STAR

April Star has written in a number of genres before settling on romantic suspense and cozy mysteries. Her real-life RVing experiences helped set the stage for her most recent book.

Who is the one person who most encouraged or influenced you to be a writer—and why?

There were many that inspired, encouraged, and influenced me my journey as a writer. But if I have to narrow it down to just one, definitely that one person would be my husband. He has stood beside me for forty years. He’s the one who shouted,” YOU CAN!” when I cried, “I can’t.” Beside me, he continues to ride the crests of my joys as well as enduring the depths of my disappointments.

How long have you been writing? In what genres do you write?

If you were to ask my Mom that question, she'd tell you, "It all happened when I was nine months old!" I had been placed on a youth bed and rolled off—smacking my head dead center into the carriage of a metal toy typewriter. My dad rushed me to the hospital (typewriter embedded in my forehead) to get stitched up. He later told me, "When the doctor handed you back to me, he said, 'Well, she'll either grow up loving writing or hating it!' But in all seriousness, I started penning stories as soon as I learned how to write. Writing has always been a part of me and something I have always had to do to feel complete.

Tell us about your RV book, RV Having Fun?

Actually, this is not a book, it’s an Amazon Short! My first book in my wanderlust series was Tropical Warnings (Five StarGale Cengage November 2006.) In this romantic thriller, a beautiful and smart manager of a camping resort is threatened by an unknown stalker. A handsome, semi-retired martial arts-instructor-turned-private-investigator, is the only one willing to help the "sensuous" heroine. I liked the characters that David and Laura ended up becoming and somewhere in the middle of Tropical Warnings I decided to keep them alive with a series.

What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced as a writer?

I would have to say self-promotion. I had always dreamed about becoming a published author and how wonderful it would be to just sit home and write books. That is the fantasy of publication (right along with becoming rich)! Through many trials and tribulations, much help from fellow authors along the way, and countless hours of Internet research, I have learned the basics and techniques of promotion. It has been a challenge that continues which each new piece published and a challenge I now see as exciting and adventurous as the writing itself. I learned I can put just as much creativity into promotion as I can with my writing, and that has turned an otherwise frustrating aspect of the craft into joy and enthusiasm.

Tell us about your most recent mystery, The Last Resort. Where can we buy a copy?

The Last Resort is book two in my series. It is available at Amazon, Books-A-Million, Barnes and Noble, and many other bookstores around the country. This title reintroduces David and Laura from Tropical Warnings and is set in St. Augustine, Florida at a fictional RV resort. It’s also a murder mystery which I loved writing! I got to use a lot of forensics, which I discovered I loved doing!

What are you working on now and when/where do you expect it to be available?

Actually, I ‘m working on two projects. Book three in my wanderlust series, It’s Check out Time, and I have started work on Murder in Paradise: A Paradise by the Sea Mystery. I expect the last installment of the Wanderlust Mysteries, It’s Check out Time, to be available this time next year and the first title in my new series, hopefully, soon after!

Writers, especially new writers, are always looking for tips and helpful information. What is the single most important “tip” you can give to a new writer.

Listen to the sounds of your soul and NOT to what others say you should or shouldn’t be writing.

What writers organizations claim you as a member?

I’m an active member of Mystery Writer’s of America, Sisters in Crime, International Thriller Writer’s, and Romance Writer’s of America.

Do you have any upcoming book signings or appearances? If so, give us all the details.

I’m still putting dates and times together. They will be posted on the events page of my website as they become confirmed.

Here’s your opportunity to tell us anything else you care to share.

Thank you so much for the opportunity to be here, Linda. The writing life has always been an exciting one for me, even long before publication. I think that’s because I’ve always found so much solace in the creative process. For me, writing has been my therapist, my best friend, my worst enemy, and always an integral part of who and what I am. It continues to surprise and amaze me in the many ways it convinces me of my true purpose in life.

What are the addresses of your website(s) and blog(s):

Saturday, July 25, 2009


Please accept my apologies for failing to post on the blog and return e-mails during the past 10 days. I live in Montana and my family is in Massachusetts; a medical emergency required me to fly to Massachusetts last weekend and I've spent the past week with my father, who had unanticipated triple bypass surgery. He's doing fine now and I expect to return home on Monday, July 27th.

Unfortunately, my laptop's hard drive crashed earlier this week and I was unable to access my backed up Author Exchange Blog files. (79 year-old Dad doesn't have a computer or Internet access)

To those authors whose interviews and items were not posted: I'll be in touch personally early next and week and will make amends for failing to honor my commitment to posts your interviews and other items,

Thank you,
Linda Faulkner

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

New Blog Talk Radio Show: SEEKING JUSTICE

Blog Talk Radio hosts Denny Griffin and Kim Kolton are teaming up to co-host the new Seeking Justice show on Blog Talk Radio. The series will take a look at two types of death cases:

  1. Those in which the police investigation may have been flawed, leading to the death being classified as an accident or suicide when there seems to be evidence pointing to homicide; and
  2. Murders in which the investigation may have been botched due to incompetence or malfeasance, resulting in no charges being filed.

Denny and Kim will host an introductory show to provide more details about the program at 9 pm Eastern on July 14. You can listen to the intro and all Seeking Justice shows live, or play them back from the archives, at

The debut show will be at 9 pm Eastern on July 28. The first case will be that of Joshua Whittier, who was found dead on a beach in Santa Rosa County, Florida on February18, 2007. One of the guests will be Josh’s mother, Melody Grell. You can hear Denny Griffin’s May 7, 2008 interview with Melody by visiting his archived BTR shows at and clicking on Death on the Beach.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Author Interviews now being posted on Sunday AND Wednesday

Due to the overwhelming number of interview requests by published authors, I am now posting author interviews on Sundays and Wednesdays. I'm also accepting mid-week posts. Here are some guidelines:
  • Interviewees may be authors, editors, agents, publishers, or other professionals in the publishing industry. Authors must be published - genre or format doesn't matter.
  • Interviewees may request additional, future interviews - after 4 calendar months have passed.
  • Mid-week posts can appear any day EXCEPT Sunday and Wednesday.
  • Mid-week posts include, but are not limited to: new releases, reviews, articles on writing, author and reader surveys, writing tips and advice, announcements, etc. Be creative!
  • At present, we are not limiting the number of mid-week posts per author--so long as space is available.
  • Mid-week posts MUST focus on topics of interest to writers and their readers; I reserve the right to refuse any post without citing a reason.

Pass the word around! My purpose is to help fellow writers promote themselves and their work.

Sunday, July 12, 2009


Bestselling authors and award-winning photojournalists, Joyce and Jim Lavene, are a husband and wife team who started out writing novels in 1999 and have had more than 40 books published. They also wrote a book about writing (THE EVERYTHING GUIDE TO WRITING A NOVEL) as well as hundreds of newspaper and magazine articles. Somewhere along the way, they decided to write mysteries and since then, they have been hooked on that genre.
Each of you has a background as writer and photojournalist. What prompted you to collaborate?

We didn’t have a background as writers. We started writing together about 12 years ago when our kids were in high school. We owned an office supply company at the time. The only thing we’d ever published was when Joyce’s mom published a poem of hers when she was nine. We began writing together because we wanted to do something else as a joint venture.

Tell us about the FOUR different series you write. What prompted the subject matter and characters in each?

In our first series, Sharyn Howard Mysteries, we saw a woman who was the first woman elected as sheriff in North Carolina and thought it would be interesting to write about what that would be like.

Our second series, Peggy Lee Garden Mysteries, we wrote because we are Master Gardeners and have a love of all things botanical. This led us to botanical poisons. What better way to kill someone without getting caught? Only forensic botanists, like Peggy, can come through in a pinch.

Our third series, the NASCAR Mysteries came about because we like NASCAR and wanted to see something written about the true fans in the RVs, camping at races and eating donuts with the drivers at 2 am. Not much is written about NASCAR that is true-to-life.

And our new series is about a Renaissance Faire in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina because we love the place and the theme. Our protagonist, Jessie Morton, finds whoever did the deed whether they are part of Robin Hood’s Merry Men, William Shakespeare, or Little Miss Muffet. If you’ve been to a Renaissance Faire, you know what we mean.

Who are your favorite authors and why do you like their work?

Joyce – Loretta Chase. She writes historical romance. I like her work because she’s good at coming up with surprise situations and she knows her history!

Jim – Probably Charlaine Harris, right now. I enjoy Sookie Stackhouse and Charlaine’s hard work to keep her so real in an unreal world.

What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced as writers—individually and as a team?

Our biggest challenge, every series writer’s biggest challenge, is keeping it fresh and alive for the readers. Characters have to stay alive and vibrant. That’s no easy job for anyone!

What is the title of your most recently published book? Briefly tell us what it’s about and let us know where we can buy it.

Our most recent is A CORPSE FOR YEW. It is the fifth book in the Peggy Lee Garden Mysteries. Peggy is faced with a drought in North Carolina that is ruining her business at her garden shop. Her parents have moved to Charlotte to be close to her, and she finds a dead body in a dry lake where there were only supposed to be 100-year-old bones. You can buy it at any bookstore or online.

What are you working on now and when/where do you expect it to be available?

We are working on our next series, DEATH WATCH. It will be the first in the Missing Pieces Mysteries set in the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Our protagonist is the Mayor of Duck and she is a psychic finder of lost things. I t will be available in May of 2010.

Writers, especially new writers, are always looking for tips and helpful information. What is the single most important “tip” you can give to a new writer?

Write every day, even if it is only for a few minutes. You only get better when you write every day!

What writers’ organizations claim you as a member? Has membership helped you along the road to success?

We belonged to Romance Writers of America when we wrote romances. We now belong to Mystery Writers of America and Sisters in Crime. We started a group for mystery authors, the Carolina Conspiracy. We go to libraries and bookstores together. We also mentor a group for beginning writers in our hometown. Membership in groups is always great fun!

Do you have any upcoming book signings or appearances? If so, give us all the details.

We will be at bookstores and libraries all over the southeast promoting our new Renaissance Mystery, GHASTLY GLASS, starting in September.

Here’s your opportunity to tell us anything else you care to share.

Writing is hard work! People look at it and it looks easy, but it’s only the passion for it that keeps writers going. Also, most writers have more stories than they can write in their lifetimes. Even if your story is very good, expect them not to want to write it for you.

Thanks for the interview time, Linda!

What are the addresses of your website(s) and blog(s):

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Author Interview with RICK R. REED

Rick Reed is everywhere you look, these days. His novel, Orientation, won an EPPIE in March 2009 for being the best GLBT book of the year. (EPIC presents its EPPIE awards annually to honor the finest work published electronically each year.) His M4M was just released last month and Incubus will be released next month. Bashed, his March 2009 release, has received excellent reviews, including: "...he offers the reader nothing less than a stunning treatise on love, and loss and, ultimately, redemption." - Victor J. Banis, author of THE DEADLY MYSTERY Series, MLR Press (5 stars)
Who is the one person who most encouraged or influenced you to be a writer—and why?

I had the good fortune to be taught by one of the most wonderful creative writing professors, back when I was an undergraduate at Miami University. His name was Milton White (he died several years ago), but his workshops taught me so much about simplicity, about having something to say, about story structure and so much more, and he did it with outrageous wit and very thinly veiled compassion for his students. I dedicated my first novel, Obsessed, to him.

Which comes easier to you, plotting or characters? Why?

I would have to go with characters. Characters come to life for me as I’m writing and, almost of their own will, decide how events will go, what dialogue will be spoken, and more. If I have created a good, flesh and blood character that I can almost believe is real, half my job is done.

Are you an advocate of write what you know or do you believe that a well-researched topic will have just as much credibility as a story written from a writer’s personal experience?

I think in terms of emotional truth, we should write what we know (you probably shouldn’t attempt a romance if you’ve never been in love, for example). But I think it’s perfectly valid for writers to explore people and worlds different than those found in their own back yards. The trick is making it believable and not saying something that will pull a reader out of your fictional world.

What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced as a writer?

Promoting myself. Some say I do a pretty good job of it. But I’m an introvert and tooting my own horn will probably never come naturally. But these days, it’s part of the job description, and there’s no getting around it, if you want to be read.

What is the title of your most recently published book? Briefly tell us what it’s about and let us know where we can buy it.

My most recent full-length novel is called Bashed, published by MLR Press. It’s the story of a gay hate crime and its aftermath. It has elements of romance, thriller, and ghost story all rolled into one. It’s been getting very positive reviews and readers seem to be captivated by it… I think because ultimately, it’s about a journey back from tragedy to the possibility of love and hope.

Probably the easiest answer to where to find Bashed is at Amazon:

E-book versions are also available at Amazon’s Kindle store, the publisher (MLR Press), and other outlets like Fictionwise and All Romance eBooks.

What are you working on now and when/where do you expect it to be available?

I am working on a novel called Mute Witness, about how narrow small town minds work when a little boy is abducted and molested. It’s serious stuff, but I think it will have my trademark stamp of hope by the end.

Writers, especially new writers, are always looking for tips and helpful information. What is the single most important “tip” you can give to a new writer?


Do you write every day? Do you have page or word counts? If you get blocked, how do you get un-blocked?

I do. And I try to hit 1,000 words per day. It’s manageable, but also remarkable in how quickly a disciplined thousand words per day can add up to a novel or short story.

I don’t believe in writer’s block. If I did, maybe I would succumb and I can’t bear the thought of that.

Do you have any upcoming book signings or appearances? If so, give us all the details.

As I said above, I’m an introvert. I shy away from public appearances (although I do usually manage to get to at least conference per year). Most of the time, I “appear” online (see below).

I’ve noticed that many writers are devoted to their pets. From your website, it appears that you fit into this demographic. Why do you think so many of us writers have critters for best buddies?

Lily, my Boston Terrier, is my only companion all day as I make up stories in my office. And she stays pretty much right by my side the whole time I’m working (even though she’s often snoring). I can’t say I inspire that much loyalty in anyone else. If only I could teach her to read!

Here’s your opportunity to tell us anything else you care to share.

I have a new book coming out next month from Amber Allure (the GLBT imprint of Amber Quill Press). It’s called M4M and it combines my two very popular stories, VGL Male Seeks Same and NEG UB2, which are both romantic comedies with an online hook (both were only previously available in electronic format). M4M is available in both trade paperback and e-book versions.

What are the addresses of your website(s) and blog(s):

Thursday, July 2, 2009

New Release by RICK R. REED

Rick R. Reed's new paperback collection, M4M is now available from Amber Allure (the GLBT imprint of Amber Quill Press). The book combines his best-selling, happily-ever-after romantic comedy stories, VGL Male Seeks Same and NEG UB2, both previously available only as ebooks. M4M combines them in a nifty paperback edition, perfect for summer beach reading. This edition is ideal for those of you who might want to see how a horror writer does romance (apparently, surprisingly well, because the two stories above sold almost better than anything he's written!) but who don't want to go the e-book route.

Synopsis: Two great stories. One great love. Get between the covers with Ethan and Brian, the men whose hearts connected online and offline in the best-selling VGL Male Seeks Same. Follow them on their continuing journey in NEG UB2, where a shocking health diagnosis derails the couple’s blissful romance and teaches them both a lot about acceptance, forgiveness, and faith...especially when it comes to love. Previously available only in electronic format, these twin novellas of gay erotic romance have now been combined for a paperback edition!

Reviews of VGL Male Seeks Same:

"5 Stars!... Rick R. Reed has a wonderful sense of humour and timing. His characterization of Ethan was superb. This is the first story I have read by Rick R. Reed and if this is at all representative of his writing he'll become an auto buy for me. His timing is superb, his prose is exceptional and his characterizations are to die for. I was totally invested in Ethan and I felt every slight, imagined or real, that he experienced. Parts of this story were so poignant as Ethan looked at his life stretching before him with no one to share it that I could feel his pain... Buy this book."--Jessewave, Reviews By Jessewave

"5 Divas!... A Recommended Read!... Could easily be made into a movie... Deeply erotic, satisfying... The crisp dialogue and brutally honest portrayal of two lonely men, who at heart really are very good looking, is a story for all romance lovers…not just fans of gay romantic fiction. It's a story to be treasured, in all its intimate splendor." --AJ Llewellyn, Dark Diva Reviews

Reviews of NEG UB2:

"...One of the best aspects of Reed’s book is his unpredictability. Nothing is sacred and every possible topic can be tackled.
Here the author takes the happy ever after ending from his first book and turns it on its head when one of the characters is suddenly HIV positive. From the panic at his initial diagnosis to understanding medication and costs, this emotional story shows the scary and realistic aspects often overlooked when HIV changes someone’s life. Well written with an intensity to the prose, this wonderful story shows the positive and negative elements associated with the first brush of HIV while showing it’s not the death sentence it used to be and happy endings are still possible."--Kassa, Manic Readers

To purchase your copy, go here or here.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Do YOU Re-read Your Books?

Just a little Q & A from me, Linda. If you're interested, visit my personal blog by clicking the link below. Thanks!