Sunday, February 28, 2010

Interview with LIBBY HELLMAN

A transplant from Washington, D.C., Libby has lived in the Chicago area over thirty years. She has a Masters Degree in Film Production from New York University, and a BA in history from the U. of Pennsylvania.  She is the author of both mystery novels and short stories and is a past president of Sisters in Crime.

You’ve written the Ellie Foreman and Georgia Davis mystery series, along with award-nominated short stories. Who is the one person who most encouraged or influenced you to be a writer—and why?

Great question. And one that's hard to answer. I was always a reader. I gravitated toward thrillers and espionage novels as an adult. From there I moved into suspense and dark mystery. My mother was always a big mystery reader, so while she must have been an influence, I'm still not sure what propelled me into writing. I can tell you that I was a filmmaker before I turned to prose, so I've always been caught up in storytelling. Ultimately, I chose words as the best way to tell my stories, but I still am a sucker for a good movie.

Why mysteries instead of, say, regency romances?

Several reasons. I love the puzzle element...the cerebral exercise of matching wits with the sleuth or author. I also like the fact that mysteries are a wonderful way to illustrate social issues without preaching, if they're done right. And I like the fact that in most mysteries, justice is served. The guilty will be apprehended, and we can all go to sleep feeling just a bit more confident about our world and universe. Finally, I love the way mysteries can take us to different settings. I often think I must have been a peasant girl in the Middle Ages… I love reading about other eras and cultures. (although now that I'm thinking about it, that is true with regency romances as well…)

Tell us about your background in film production and how that impacts your writing.

I went to NYU and got a MFA in film production. I had high hopes of being the American Lina Wertmuller, but it never happened. I worked in TV news for a period of time, then switched to corporate videos. When I started writing, it was only natural that my first protagonist, Ellie Foreman, be a corporate video producer. I thought that would a good way for her to get involved in a range of issues, personalities, and situations. And it was.

As far as my writing is concerned, I have to see a scene, complete with long shots, close ups, pans, and dollies, before I can write it. So I hope I write visually. The only problem is remembering that there are 5 senses in prose, not just 2 (sight and sound)… which can enhance a scene beyond what film reveals. Particularly the sense of smell. I think it's perhaps the most powerful sense humans have, yet the one that's least used in prose.

What is the biggest challenge you face as a writer?

Narrative. I have an "ear" for dialogue, and enjoy writing it. But narrative has always been a challenge. To be honest, I never related much to poetry when I was younger, but now I'm impressed by writers like James Lee Burke or Kent Krueger, whose narratives are like spun sugar. Very smooth and lyrical. I'm envious.

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.

DOUBLEBACK is my most recent novel. It pairs both my series protagonists in a thriller that begins in Chicago, sweeps through Wisconsin, and ends up on the Arizona border. It starts with the kidnapping of a young girl in the suburbs of Chicago. She's returned, unharmed, 3 days later, which is when the story really starts. It involves several issues, including security contractors on the US/Mexican border, drug smuggling, and bank fraud. It was fun to write. It's widely available, both online and in brick and mortar stores.

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

I've just finished a a standalone crime novel that's a historical--it takes place mostly in Iran during the Iranian revolution in the late '70s. Not sure when that will be out. And I'm just starting the third Georgia Davis novel.

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?

Join a writers' group, preferably one that focuses on the books you want to write. Make sure the group focuses on craft, rather than one or two members' agendas. I also recommend volunteering with writing organizations in your area. It's a wonderful way to meet writers, trade information, and keep on top of what's happening.

Are you a member of any writer’s organizations? Why? Why not?

I belong to a number of organizations. I was fortunate to be the national president of Sisters in Crime in 2006. I was also the president of the Midwest chapter of Mystery Writers of America. I'm also a member of the Thriller Writers organization and the International Crime Writers Association. All of these organizations keep me up to date on what's happening in the industry. Not to mention the friends I have made over the years. I do think that the mystery community is the most generous, caring, compassionate communities I know. I'm not sure why--maybe it's because we work out our demons on paper instead of real life. Here's an example: a mystery author we all know has been very ill recently, and unable to pay her bills. We took up a collection and have brought in over $10,000 for her. In less than a month. I don't know many other groups that are that giving.

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

My complete appearance schedule is on my website ( but, briefly, I will be at the
Tucson Book Festival (March 13-14), the Appleton Wisconsin Book Festival (April 17), Printers Row in June, well as other local events in the Chicago area. If your readers are nearby, I'd love to meet them!

FUN QUESTION: Big city or small town, and why?

Big city. There's a bigger "pool" of people, places, and situations that can turn dark and sinister. Although I
admit that the idea of being lost on a dark, rural road also fills me with trepidation.

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

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Vacation Message

Just a quick note to everyone:  I'll be out of town until mid-March combining vacation with my family in New England and the EPIC writer's conference in New Orleans.

Feel free to e-mail your requests for interviews and posting opportunities, keeping in mind all submission guidelines and--especially--the two-week advance notice requirement.  I expect to be home by March 15th, so please use that as your beginning point when choosing dates two weeks forward.

I know a couple of people requested appearances ht around the time I left town and, if you're one of them, I believe I can accommodate those dates.  More when I return...

Wish me - and all the other 2010 EPIC Award nominees - good luck on March 7th!  And if you're going to EPICon, be sure to look me up!


Sunday, February 21, 2010

Interview with N.J. LINDQUIST

NJ Lindquist writes all kinds of stuff—including adult mysteries, coming-of-age novels for teens, and discipleship manuals. She is an author, columnist, motivational speaker, and writing teacher.

You’re a writer in several different genres and also a writing teacher. What prompted you to begin writing?

I’ve always loved stories. When I was very small, books were my best friends. I learned to read just by having my parents read the few books we owned—over and over and over…. Before I could write, I’d lay awake at night, long after my parents thought I was asleep, just making up stories. So it was never a decision to write. The stories were right there, in my head, so I eventually wrote some of them down.

For some reason, I’ve always felt I had something to say that people ought to hear. No idea how that happened!  My first published item was a letter to the editor of our small local newspaper that I wrote and sent in under a pseudonym when I was 12.

Tell us about the differences you experience writing for teens and adults.

I’ve always been drawn to teens, the way some people are drawn to babies. After I got married in 1972, I took a correspondence course in writing. I’d been teaching high school and working with teens in various ways (youth groups, camp counseling) and for some reason, when I began writing stories for this course, the point of view I used was that of a teenage boy. It seemed natural.

Even then, one of my frustrations with publishers was that so many of them claimed that boys don’t read, and published lots of books with girls as the main characters. Well, boys don’t read books with girls as the main characters. But girls will read books with boys as the main characters. Hmm. So might it not make sense to publish more books with boys as the main characters so both boys and girls will read them?

As to the actual writing, I don’t really find much difference writing for teens or adults, except it’s likely harder to get books for teens published. And you’re probably going to sell fewer books. But the reality is that a good story is a good story, and actually a lot of older adults who prefer a little less swearing, sex, and violence than one might find in some adult books, read books for teens. With my teen books, I find a lot of parents, especially mothers, read them too. And a lot of teens read my adult books.

Basically, if you can hold a teen’s interest, you’ll hold an adult’s as well. To most writers, our characters are real-live, human beings. At least in our minds. Why do you think that is?

For me, it’s because I “become” that character as I write about him or her, in the same way an actor “becomes” a character and feels that character’s emotions. I did a fair bit of acting when I was younger, and I had no difficulty getting “into” my characters. I find I do the same thing when writing. Ask most writers and they’ll tell you that when their character hurts, either physically or emotionally, they “feel” the pain.

That’s why, in my opinion, it takes more focus to write fiction than nonfiction. When my sons were small, I could write non-fiction at the drop of a hat, even in the middle of a room where they were playing or watching TV, and I could leave what I was writing and come back to it without a problem. But to write fiction, I have to be able to concentrate, literally blocking everything else out. When I’m in the middle of a novel, I turn my music up to drown out all other sounds, and my husband brings me food, and I just keep writing and forget everything else. I‘m not really there, you see. I’m another person, in another world…

One of my frustrations as a writer who has almost too many ideas is that I have these characters locked up inside me wanting to get out so other people will know about them. I feel quite guilty sometimes for not giving them more of my time.

What is the biggest challenge you face as a writer?

Finding time to write fiction has always been the hardest thing for me. In a way, I guess because it seems so selfish—because I have so much fun doing it! Plus I have so many interests, it’s hard to choose. I’m working hard now to find time to write the 22 or so books I have started. Let’s hope I can actually focus on them finally!

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 book is one I conceived, edited, and published called Hot Apple Cider: Words to Stir the Heart and Warm the Soul. It’s an anthology of work by 30 different Canadian authors, and we’ve sold over 12,000 books in addition to having World Vision Canada give out 30,000 of them at events for women and couples.

The most recent book that I wrote is Glitter of Diamonds, my second mystery. It’s kind of a “cozy meets police procedural.” It has humour and romance as well as a puzzle style mystery. The review from Library Journal said I’m a “master of plotting” which is very cool. And it, along with reviews from Publishers Weekly and others, likens my books to those of the “Golden Age” of Christie, Marsh, Sayers, Heyer, etc. Which is great, because that’s the style I’m aiming for: mysteries set in the present with forensics and all that, but, at the core, classic whodunits.

Glitter of Diamonds is set in the world of professional baseball and its surrounding media, but it’s also a novel about the price of fame. There’s even a Marilyn Monroe clone. You can read the first chapter, as well as several complete short stories, at

Both books are available online at a lot of stores, and any store can order them if they don’t have them. Or you can ask at your library. Many libraries have my mysteries.

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

I’m actually working on three books.

One is my third mystery, for which I have all the characters and the plot, and the opening chapters. The working title is Opaque Rays and its setting is rather unusual. It’s a complete floor of a high rise apartment building. The floor has been set up to house a number of elderly people who have all been involved in the arts, but who’ve reached the age when they need care. So they each have a separate apartment, and then there’s a central lounge and dining room, and a staff (cook, butler, nurse, etc.) who look after them all.

The second is a fantasy for ages 9-12 that came about because I have a very persistent granddaughter who asked me over and over for a book “for her age.” I wrote one book for her for Christmas, 2008, and now she wants another. I have some of the second book written, but now I’m trying to figure out what to do about finding a publisher for them.

The third is a memoir which I’ve been working on off and on for the last couple of years. I have about 30,000 words written, and I’m hoping to focus on it for the next couple of months. I grew up as an adopted child whose parents had no idea I was gifted and creative. I felt very different from other people, usually in a negative way, and yet I still liked who I was. I now speak on both raising gifted children and on creativity. One of the stories that will be developed more in my memoir was written for Hot Apple Cider. It’s called “The Diamond Ring” and it won two awards last year here in Canada. I have it online at

I actually have a Works in Progress page on my site where readers can keep track of what I’m working on.

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?

Just one? I have whole workshops! Okay, I guess I’d say join a group of writers working in the genre you’re most interested in, and participate. Get to know them by reading their work; take advantage of any opportunities that come up where you can take a course from a professional writer or editor; have someone who is a professional critique your work if you can—yes, it’s worth paying for. You can learn a great deal—far more than a you’ll learn from a peer group or most teachers at colleges, who aren’t published in the genre of your choice.

Are you a member of any writer’s organizations? Why? Why not?

At the moment, Sisters in Crime, Crime Writers of Canada, Writers Union of Canada, The Word Guild (which I co-founded), Advanced Writers and Speakers. I’ve been a member of Mystery Writers of America and International Crime Writers and several others in the past. I strongly believe in the value of working together and supporting and learning from each other.

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

I’ll be at Genrecon at the public library in Sarnia, Ontario, on May 15. I’ll be on a panel, but I don’t know which one yet.

I’ll be at Bloody Words in Toronto May 28-30 and I assume I’ll be on a panel.

I’m teaching a workshop and on a panel at Write! Canada, June 17-19.

I’m probably doing some speaking in western Canada during the summer, and in the Toronto area in the fall, but I’m trying to limit myself right now so I get some writing done. I have a “Schedule” page I try to keep up to date.

What are the addresses of your website(s) and blog(s): - the central site - my blog, where I talk about anything – the site for my mysteries - site for my teen novels - Hot Apple Cider - one where I talk about the how-to of writing
I’m also on Twitter and Facebook and about 50 other social media places – look for N. J. Lindquist.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Interview with TONI V. SWEENEY

Toni's writing career began during convalescence after an auto accident.  Since that time, she has published nearly a dozen novels and as many short stories.  She is proud to be a true southerner - although she swears she was born WAY after the War between the States!

Most of your published books are in the Science Fiction/Fantasy genre, although you’ve written westerns, horror, and a vampire novel. Why do you prefer Sci Fi/Fantasy?

I suppose I prefer fantasy because I don’t have much of a science background. My science fiction is mostly “Soft” science with more characterization and adventure than any technology. I grew up on Buck Rogers and Flash Gordon, Robin Hood and Tarzan, and my stories are a composite of those genres and heroes.

You began writing during your convalescence after an auto accident? What prompted that endeavor?

Because I was an invalid for over 2 years (and was pregnant during that time, also), I lost my job. My husband never recovered from the accident and there was very little money for frivolities such as books. So I started writing my own, to have something to read. Naturally, I wrote what I liked to read so it was a combination of romance-adventure-fantasy. By the time my first book was published, I had almost 28 books written. The first book I wrote (which underwent many titles before I settled on one), eventually became : The Chronicles of Riven the Heretic, which was published in 2007, 20 years after it was originally written.

Who is your favorite author and why do you like his/her work?

I have several favorite authors. One is JD Robb, her “in Death” series. I like the fact that it’s about the NY police and set only a few years in the future, around 2045, I believe, and I like the interaction between the two main characters, Eve Dallas, a NY Homicide cop, and her husband, Rourke (he has only one name), who’s the richest man in the world but with a very shady past. I also like Jim Butcher’s Harry Dresden series about the “only practicing wizard in Chicago.” The thing I like about both these series is that the characters aren’t static; their authors let them grow—in their relationships and in their own philosophies--within the stories. I’d love to see both made into TV series. “Harry” was made into a series a few years ago but they opted to downplay the magic so it flopped. I also like Kelly Armstrong and Christopher Fowler’s “Peculiar Crimes Unit” series. I’m reading the latest one right now, “Bryant and May on the Loose.” It’s about the two oldest detectives working for Scotland Yard and the crime they investigate, usually smacking of supernatural entities though they eventually turn out to be committed by just plain twisted humans.

What is the biggest challenge you faced as a writer?

Getting an agent! So far in my quest for representation, I’ve been turned down by 28. People keep telling me I don’t need one since I’m managing to get published anyway but, like everyone else, I’d like to see a book with the imprint of one of the “big” publishing houses on it and there’s no way that’s going to happen without an agent. I’ll admit I’m not trying very much at present. I’m just about to accept what people are telling me and chuck the agent idea out the window.

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.

The latest book published under my own name (I have two pseudonyms) is Serpent’s, which was released February 15th by Class Act Books.. It’s a horror story which, surprisingly enough, is also a romance. My take on the story of Faust. It was written around 1993 and was “lost” for 15 years, only being rediscovered two years ago. My hero and heroine are “mature.” He’s touching fifty and she’s forty-one. They’re two lonely people who’ve both had tragedies in their lives and now, in each other, they’ve found what might be a last chance for love , but the hero, Travis, has a dark secret that prevents this. Serpent’s Tooth, by the way, is the name of the hero’s rock band, as well as being taken from that Biblical quote. Here’s the blurb:

At first, it seemed like the screenplay of a romance--

A famous rock star disappears…twenty-five years later, a former fan discovers he’s still alive. They fall in love and marry and he takes her to the ranch where he’s hidden for a quarter of a century, but there the love story degenerates into a tale of horror…

Once Travis Brandt, aka Hildebrand, the most famous singer of the '80s, takes Melissa Powers to his ranch in the Nebraska sandhills, everything takes on a sinister tinge. Travis' assertions as to why his former marriage was destroyed, and his decision to disappear at the height of his caree,r sound false to his new wife, as does his refusal to have children. When Melissa discovers she's pregnant in spite of her husband's careful attempts to prevent it, she learns Travis' secret…a tale of rags-to-riches, the story of a youngster from Nebraska who became the idol of millions, but wanted more; of a young man who bartered his soul to the Powers of Darkness in return for fame.

Hildebrand wanted it all and got it, and now Travis, Melissa, and their new family must pay for his sins!

Here’s the link:

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?

Don’t give up; if you believe you have a good story, keep trying until you find someone who’ll publish it. You may have to opt for a smaller publishing house but it’s a good way to get your foot in the door and sometimes, the “smaller” places will do you more good than the “big” ones.

Are you a member of any writer’s organizations? Why? Why not?

When I lived in California, I was a member of the South Coast Writers Association. I’m also a member of the blogsite the Pink Fuzzy Slipper Writers.

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

Unfortunately, no. Being in Nebraska in the winter precludes many outings locally and also limits air travel in many cases. I will be featured on various blogsites and on my own also.

FUN QUESTION: Spiders or flies, and why?

A good question! I’ve never been afraid of spiders; in fact, one of the first things I do when I move into a new place is announce to all spiders in residence that: if you don’t bother me, I won’t bother you! So far, we’ve co-existed well. I used to have a lovely green-and-yellow spider in my garden in Nebraska , a huge creature, about 3.5 inches across, including his legs. My Dearly Beloved was scared to death of him, but I wasn’t because I knew he’d keep the garden free of insects trying to feast on my tomatoes and squash. I know spiders can also be secretive and sneaky and do devastating things to their prey but I guess I’d still have to say “spiders.”

What are the addresses of your website(s) and blog(s):
My website is:
I also have a myspace page, am on Facebook, and have trailers featured on YouTube.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Interview with G.G.ROYALE

As a writer and editor, G.G. Royale is multi-published.  A native of California, she lives in the deep south.
You are both a writer and editor of erotic romances. Did the editing start you writing or was it the other way around?

It was the other way around. I had started writing erotica seriously in about 1998, while I was on a semester abroad in England, still working on my bachelor’s in English. I fancied myself a reincarnation of Anaïs Nin as I backpacked around Europe when school got out. I’ve sat on most of those early short stories, because they’re just not good. At the time, I wanted to be more of a poet than anything else and wasn’t working as hard on the erotica.

I didn’t start editing professionally until about 2004, after I’d quit a miserable job and decided to try to write full time. The editing made sure there was a little extra money in the coffers. I started seriously submitting then, too, though it was under a different pen name. I got into a few anthologies and magazines, and I like the feeling. That’s how I ended up at this point.

How long have you been writing? Do you have any daily word/page counts or other hard-and-fast routines?

I remember writing my first play in second grade. I did it to entertain myself and to try to make friends. I thought they’d all want to perform in it. I was wrong about the friends, but I kept writing. In fact, my characters became my friends for a long time. It was a sort of coping mechanism for being an only child with two working parents and no cable television growing up.

As far as routines go, I do always outline the entire book before I start writing, including some character development. If I’m really in the zone, I can write ten to fifteen pages on Saturday and the same on Sunday, and some nights, after my day job, I can write two to three pages. I try to write something every day. One of my best habits is carrying a composition book. I can crank out a few hundred words at a bar if I’m bored.

My authors at Loose Id come first right now, so if I have one of their manuscripts, I won’t work on my own writing until I’ve finished with theirs, so that can affect how much I get done too.

From the perspective of an editor, what is the single most important tip you can give a writer?

This is so basic, but I turn away so many manuscripts because the author didn’t send it to the correct market. Loose Id publishes erotic romance, but I’ll get straight-up erotica, or romance with no sex. Market research is key, and these days it is so easy thanks to sites like Duotrope. I am the biggest Duotrope fan ever. Most of my sales have come because of the listings on their site. Writers need to learn to use Duotrope or similar sites if they want to get published. Knowing you have the right manuscript for the right publisher can save a lot of heartache later.

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

This is a really tough one… In the past, it was those dry spells I would get, when I wouldn’t write for sixth months or a year because I was so wrapped up in my day job or school. I haven’t had one of those in a long time, though, since I finished my master of fine arts in creative writing last year. I had to write a lot to complete that program, and the momentum has sort of stayed with me.

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.

The Lovely Kittengirls of Mew Orleans releases/ released February 16 with Loose Id (; this is my first novella to be published. It’s a contemporary BDSM romance about Margot, who is completely dissatisfied with the Doms she’s had. One night, she decides to plan a sort of burlesque “cat” show as an entrée into kitten-play, and through that, she meets the hero, Maxwell.

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

I’ve contracted The Flapper and the Fellow, a historic romance with a little spanking, with Loose Id (, and I hope to see that release in early summer. Girl Crush, an anthology of lesbian erotica from Cleis Press, contains one of my stories, and that will be out in May. I’ve also contracted Lilith’s Daughter with Carnal Desires (, and that’s slated to release in late summer. Lilith’s Daughter is a paranormal contemporary about a succubus torn between serving her goddess and her love for a man. You can see I’m all over the place when it comes to subgenre.

My work in progress is a follow-up to Kittengirls, and will feature Haley as she tries to deal with two Doms wanting her at the same time.

From the perspective of a writer, what is the single most important “tip” you can give to a new writer?

Everyone’s probably heard this, but separate your ego from your work. Just because a book is rejected doesn’t mean you as a person are being rejected, and getting into a funk after a rejection will only hurt your writing. Whenever I send something out, I sort of cut the emotional umbilical cord. If it gets accepted, that’s super. But if it’s rejected, I file it away until I get a chance to work on it again and make whatever changes are needed. Sometimes I’ve distanced myself from the work that I just keep sending it out until somebody takes it. I don’t think I’ve cried over a rejection since college. I feel that if I keep my expectations low, it’s harder to be disappointed, and then the acceptances feel so much better.

Are you a member of any writer’s organizations? Why? Why not?

I’m a member of EPIC, the electronic publishing organization. I mostly publish in e-book format, so it made a lot of sense to join. That’s about it. I don’t belong to any of the bigger associations, like RWA, yet.

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

I will be at the EPIC conference in New Orleans in March. Details can be found at I will take pitches from authors interested in publishing with Loose Id on that Friday. I think I might also be presenting at the awards ceremony Saturday night.

FUN QUESTION: Classical or hard rock, and why?

Do I have to pick one or the other? I’m really more of a reggae and ska girl myself.  [Hostess Comment:  I guess I bombed with that question, eh?]

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

Monday, February 15, 2010

Announcement by Debbi Mack

Debbi Mack will be signing her hardboiled mystery novel, IDENTITY CRISIS, as part of a panel of independent authors appearing at Barnes & Noble, 2516 Solomon's Island Road, Annapolis, MD 21401, from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Sunday, February 21, 2010.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Personal Plea from Linda Faulkner

During the past year, as hostess of Author Exchange Blog, I have refrained from using the blog as a forum for my personal thoughts, causes, news, etc. because this is my way of promoting other professionals in the publishing industry.  I did make one exception when my novel was nominated for an EPIC Award:  how could anyone have resisted announcing that all over the Internet?

I am, for the second time, using the blog for personal purposes - although not for personal gain.  My daughter is a hero:  during her first semester of college she was sexually assaulted and is now taking to the skies to help support rape victims and to raise awareness about sexual assault.  In her words, from an e-mail she sent to all the people she knows, here's an excerpt of her first "public" announcement about her situation and what she's doing to help others:

As some of you may how, I was the victim of a break-in and rape in October 1999.  The four-hour ordeal was the beginning of a long journey. I now know firsthand how difficult the healing process can be and understand how important it is to offer support and resources to survivors of sexual violence. One of my personal goals is to work towards changing how society views victims of sexual assault and to lessen the stigma associated with rape survivors.

Please help me raise awareness by sponsoring me in Operation Freefall. Thank you to those who have already shown support by donating or passing this message along. I can’t express my gratitude!   I’m raising money for Speaking Out About Rape, Inc.® (SOAR®) - please make a donation by visiting my Firstgiving page:

You can donate online with a credit card. All donations are secure and sent directly to Speaking Out About Rape, Inc.® (SOAR®) by Firstgiving, who will email you a printable record of your donation.

Your support, either by donation or by passing this message along, will be greatly appreciated by so many people, including Laurie and me.  Click here to read Laurie's message on the Operation Freefall site.  Thank you.

- Linda Faulkner

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Valentine's Day Package from Lisa Caretti

Lisa Caretti announces that Whistle in the Dark is now being sold at as a special package for Valentine's Day.  Packages such as Mysterious Red Roses and Mystifying Lavender Roses include a copy of the suspense thriller, Whisle in the Dark.

For more info, visit Delaflowers at:

You can visit Lisa at:

Tuesday, February 9, 2010


Patricia Stoltey announces the paperback release of her 2007 novel, The Prairie Grass Murders, from Harlequin Worldwide Mystery. The book is available from the eHarlequin online store. (

Learn more about Pat and her books by visiting:
Twitter: @PStoltey

Monday, February 8, 2010

Interview with BETH SOLHEIM

My favorite page of Beth Solheim's website is the Dog Treat Recipe Contest.  Then again, you may perfer the Gift Basket Contest page...  Beth is the author of the Sadie Witt Mystery series--all of which have very clever titles.  Here's more about Beth...
What prompted you to start writing? How long did the process from first putting “pen to paper” and publication take you?

Reading, for me, naturally segued into writing. When reading as a child and later as an adult , I welcomed the challenge of figuring out why certain sentences or groups of words were woven into a plot. There had to be a reason. Most likely it was a cleverly placed clue. I found I’d drift off course and create different scenes for characters instead of reading. I finally realized, “I can do this. I can create a credible story.”

I was proud of my first attempt, but quickly learned it needed work, more specifically, a proper burial. It was one of those moments where I had to back track beyond square one, accept constructive criticism, learn the craft, and start over.

I’ve been writing for eleven years, six seriously. The time frame for At Witt’s End from concept to holding the book in my hand was a two-year journey.

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

At Witt’s End is a humorous, paranormal mystery. My first attempt was also a mystery with a mortuary setting.

Do you get any fodder for your characters from your professional background in Human Resources?

Not particularly from Human Resources, but from years of observing, listening and jotting down humorous episodes people have shared. My little notebook/pen combo goes everywhere I go, including a helicopter, an outhouse, a winery, the Grand Canyon, a morgue, and in the mouth of Foxy Lu, a female fox who scooped it off our patio and then spit it out. We all have possessions we protect with our lives—mine is my notebook.

I’m surprised my ears aren’t the size of hub caps with all the tales I’ve heard over the years. I also love it when my hearing plays tricks on me and the skewed message becomes fodder. A while back a lady at church mentioned a parishioner named Theopholis Peter. Change that to three words and you’ve got a great one-liner. It’s used in At Witt’s End and I smile every time I read it.

What is the biggest challenge you face as a writer?

Time. There isn’t enough. I work full time at a hospital and tackle writing and marketing tasks on evenings and weekends. I’m blessed with a patient, understanding husband.

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.

At Witt’s End is the first in the Sadie Witt’ Mystery Series. Mayhem is on the rise at the Witt’s End Resort, especially Cabin 14, where no guest ever leaves alive. To make matters worse, Sadie Witt must untangle a murderous web while preventing an unscrupulous sheriff’s deputy from shutting down her lakeside resort.

When guests arrive at Cabin 14, they’re stunned to learn Sadie is their conduit to the hereafter. Clad in outlandish outfits (clothing typically reserved for those without sagging body parts) and sporting hairdos that make bystanders want to look away but can’t, Sadie realizes one of the guests has been murdered and works against the clock to prevent further chaos.  At Witt’s End is available at, Echelon Press, and bookstores.

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

Outwitted, the second in the Sadie Witt’ Series, is in the edit process and will be available January 2011 in bookstores, and Echelon Press.

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

Persevere! Don’t EVER give up. Writing is a solitary profession. A team of cheerleaders can urge you forward, but you’re the only one who can coax the words onto your computer screen or a piece of paper. Learn from critique groups, edit, absorb as many writing classes as you can, edit, and most of all, believe. Then, edit again.

Are you a member of any writer’s organizations? Why? Why not?

I’m a member of Midwest Fiction Writers, Mystery Writers of America, and Sisters In Crime. SinC has sub groups that are absolutely invaluable. Guppies and Agent Quest are two I’ve found supportive, informative, and recommend them as must-join groups for fledgling authors.

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

At Witt's End Book Launch and Signing - 2/13/2010
2:00 PM - 4:00 PM
Gallery North
502 3rd Street NW
Bemidji, MN 56601

Presentation and Book Signing - 2/20/2010
At Witt's End - Character and Plot Development
2:00 PM - 4:00 PM
Red Lake Falls Library
105 Champagne Avenue SW
Red Lake Falls, MN 56750

Book Signing - Book Fair - 2/27/2010
10:30 AM - 3:30 PM
Bloomington Art Center
1800 W. Old Shakopee Road
Bloomington, MN 55431

Presentation and Book Signing - 3/3/2010
At Witt's End - Character and Plot Development
2:00 PM - 4:00 PM
Velma Teague Public Library
7010 N. 59th Avenue
Glendale, AZ 85301

Presentation and Book Signing - 3/4/2010
Small Town Living Can Be Deadly - How to Write a Cozy Mystery
12:00 Noon - 1:00 PM
Joel D. Valdez Main Library
101 N. Stone Avenue
Tucson, AZ 85701

Presentation and Book Signing - 3/6/2010
The Rhythm of Writing
1:00 PM - 3:00 PM
The Well Red Coyote Bookstore
3190 West Highway 89A, #400
Sedona, AZ 86336

Presentation and Book Signing - 3/9/2010
Small Town Living Can Be Deadly-How to Write a Cozy Mystery
7:00 PM - 8:30 PM
Santa Fe Public Library
145 Washington Street
Santa Fe, NM 87501

Book Signing - 3/27/2010
1:00 PM - 3:00 PM
UND Bookstore
775 Hamline Street
Grand Forks, ND 58203

FUN QUESTION: Lakes or the ocean, and why?

Lakes. I was born and raised in lake country in northern Minnesota and my mysteries are staged at the Witt’s End Resort on Pinecone Lake. There’s nothing more relaxing than listening to waves gently lapping against the rocks on a starry evening. Sand, sunshine and tourists’ infectious giggles are a welcomed component in nature’s rhythm.

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