Wednesday, March 17, 2010

ON HIATUS until JULY 1st

After much thought, and with regret, I made a decision for the Blog (and me) to take a hiatus until July 1st.  Like your day, mine only has 24 hours and I am reorganizing my business and personal commitments to fit into that time frame.

When I return in July, expect to see a new format and submission guidelines, although I'll continue to post annoucements, articles, press and new book releases, etc.  I'll continue to do some Interviews but suspect I'll be posting more Guest Blog posts than interviews.  You never can tell, though, so do check back.

FYI, those individuals listed under Upcoming Appearances in the sidebar of the blog with dates from 7/1 on will still have appearances those dates.  Individuals listed without dates will have first choice of appearance dates upon my return from hiatus.

Thanks for your patience and understanding.


Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Contest Announcement by G.G. ROYALE

The details:

Join G.G. Royale's Newsletter

G.G.'s running a contest right now. Help her get 1000 subscribers to her newsletter and be entered to win the same collar Maxwell gives Margot in "The Lovely Kittengirls of Mew Orleans" ( Other prizes include copies of "Kittengirls" or G.G.'s upcoming release "The Flapper and the Fellow" on custom-decorated flash drives. She'll also be giving away custom kitten ears!

When you sign up for the newsletter, you are entered once. If you refer someone, you get a second entry! Increase your chances by convincing your friends to sign up too. When we reach 1000 subscribers, the prizes will be given away. The collar will be custom made for the winner by Collar Factory ( to the winner's specifications. It's a $50 value.

To sign up, visit:

Thanks and good luck!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Author Interview with MAYRA CALVANI

Mayra was introduced to my by Amigo, her Golden Retriever - who is almost as famous a writer as she is.  Read on to learn about Mayra's myraid of talents.  (Oh, and about Amigo, too.)

You are a multi-genre author writing children’s books, nonfiction, paranormal, and chick lit. You’re also a professional book reviewer. Tell us what got you started writing and reviewing books.

I have been writing for most of my life, since I was about 12 years old. I also majored in Creative Writing in college. By the time I was in my early twenties I had published short fiction in literary magazines and even a short novel, but it was not until I was in my early thirties that writing stopped being a hobby and turned into a serious job.

I began reviewing about ten years ago. I have reviewed for many online sites over the years, but now I review mostly for my own blogs, the Examiner and Blogcritics Magazine.

My first motivation was getting free books. As an author myself I later realized reviewing could be used as a tool to promote my name and my books. But this is secondary. What keeps me going is my passion for reading and books. I love discovering great new authors and submerging myself in the imaginative world of fiction.

My nonfiction book (co-authored with Anne K. Edwards), The Slippery Art of Book Reviewing, is the culmination of all those years of reviewing.

Share with us the challenges and advantages of writing in several genres.

It’s not a conscious decision. I write in several genres because I have to, because my creativity takes me that way. I never thought of it as a challenge but now that you mention it, that’s true. It’s challenging because I have to study the art and craft of each genre as opposed to just one. But for me it is fun and even relaxing to switch from one genre to another. It’s never boring! I may work on a ghost thriller in the morning, then switch to a sweet children’s picture book at noon. Writing in various genres stimulates my brain, my creativity and my productivity.

One big disadvantage, though, is that it becomes more difficult to brand my name, so I have to spend a lot more time and resources on book promotion to compensate.

I was introduced to you by Amigo, your Golden Retriever. How did he convince you to allow him to blog all on his own?

Amigo can be very persuasive, especially when he drills right into your soul with those eyes of his! But he’s also a smart promoter. I wanted to write a children’s book with Amigo as the main character, so he told me, “You want to write a book about me? Make me famous first, THEN write the book.” So that’s what I’m doing! 

The interviews are fun and the response has been so positive and overwhelming. The list of upcoming guests keeps getting longer each week.

What is the biggest challenge you face as a writer?

To conquer the blank screen. It can be pretty terrifying.

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 title, Humberto, the Bookworm Hamster, is a picture book for kids ages 4 to 8.

Here’s a little blurb: Humberto is an antisocial little hamster. He's addicted to books! Until disaster strikes and he must choose between saving his books and helping his soon-to-be friends.

The book is available from the publisher ( and most online retailers, including Amazon and B&N.

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

My ‘big’ project right now is a YA supernatural thriller. I’m working on this novel 1-2 hours every morning Monday through Friday. But I also have other projects I’m currently working on. At the moment I have to finish two proposals for a series of nonfiction picture books and, comes March, I’ll also start working on a writing book for kids already under contract. I’m also always working on a new picture storybook. This is as far as writing goes.

As far as submitting goes, I have a middle-grade novel and about eight picture books doing the editor roundup. I’m constantly querying and submitting to editors.

Next in line to be published (probably this summer, depending on how quickly the illustrator finishes doing the artwork) is my picture book, Frederico, the Mouse Violinist, about a little mouse who lives in Antonio Stradivari’s workshop and dreams of becoming a violinist. The book is meant to tell a good story and teach the parts of the violin at the same time. Also in line is a nonfiction book for girls ages 9-12, How to Turn Your Book Club into a Spectacular Success. This is scheduled to come out by Twilight Times Books within the next couple of months. Readers may learn more about my upcoming books on my website,

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?

Gosh, this is a hard one. There are so many important tips I’d like to give new writers. I guess the most important one would be to write from the heart, write with passion, and don’t ever let anyone discourage you from your dream of one day becoming a published author. I guess that makes three tips!

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

I’m a member of SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators). Why? It looks good on my cover letter when I query agents and editors.

I’m also a member of the Children’s Writers Coaching Club ( This club is absolutely wonderful and I’ve become a much more motivated, organized, productive and disciplined writer since I joined last summer. The club offers weekly critiques and teleclasses on all aspects of writing for children.

Do you have any daily writing rituals, routines, or word/page counts? Why? Why not?

I write in the mornings, before I do anything else (and that includes emailing and going online), because that’s when I’m most productive. I try to write at least 2 pages a day. I try to keep my weekly objectives low so they’ll be manageable and I won’t be discouraged or disappointed. Even if I write one page a day, that’s fine. The important thing is to make progress.

I write a weekly plan every Sunday to keep me focused during the week. In this planner I include my morning writing schedule and everything else I need to do during the afternoons and evenings—reviews, interviews, blogging, proposals, editing, etc. If I have errands, I put them there too. I find that without my planner, I’m all over the place and find it difficult to work on several projects simultaneously. I look at this planner a few times during the day to help me stay focused.

I find emailing incredibly distracting, so nowadays I use emailing as a reward after I’ve done my daily morning writing.

I take weekends off, though I save Sunday afternoons to do most of my blogging—but this is fun.

FUN QUESTION: Human kids or canine kids – and why?

Let me just say one thing: pets don’t answer back!

What are the addresses of [all] your website(s) and blog(s): (main website) (children’s books)

Blogs: (children’s books)

And of course, Amigo’s blog,

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Author Interview with SHEILA LOWE

Like her protagonist in the Claudia Rose mystery series, author Sheila Lowe is a court-qualified handwriting expert who testifies in forensic cases.  In addition to her mysteries, Sheila is also the author of Handwriting of the Famous & Infamous and The Complete Idiot's Guide to Handwriting Analysis.

You write a mystery series about Claudia Rose, a forensic graphologist – or handwriting expert. What prompted you to come up with THAT occupation for a sleuth? (As if I didn’t already know the answer!)

That’s an easy one! By the time I was ready to start writing mysteries I had been analyzing handwriting for more than thirty years. Most of the analysis work I do is pretty cut-and-dried (mostly analyzing applicants for companies who are hiring, or cases of forgery), but there are occasionally interesting stories that provide the kernel of an idea. Since my work has to do with understanding people, it seemed like “write what you know” was good advice for me.

How long have you been writing? What prompted you to begin the Claudia Rose series?

I suppose I’ve been writing most of my life, starting with awful poetry around 9 years old. I wrote short stories, mostly about the Beatles(!), in junior high school for the amusement of my friends. And then I started writing technical papers about handwriting, which eventually led to publishing The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Handwriting Analysis (the title was not my choice, but it’s part of a hugely successful series, so I can’t complain too loudly), then Handwriting of the Famous & Infamous. Finally, I decided it was time to go back to my first love—mystery fiction. A woman I knew had died, apparently, a suicide, but those who knew her had doubts about that. There was no suicide note, but I thought, what if there had been one? What if there were a question of authenticity—did she really write it? So that was the jumping off point. I didn’t know I was writing a series, it just sort of happened naturally.

How do you juggle your time between your two careers?

Handwriting analysis still pays the bills and has the most urgent deadlines. Like most consultants, there’s no regular schedule of work coming in, so when a client calls with a need for an analysis or an attorney with a handwriting authentication case, that comes first. With my writing, I tend to put it off and put it off, then suddenly realize that my deadline is about to hit me in the kisser, so I then pour most of my energy into whatever book I’m working on at the time. Somehow, it all seems to get done.

What is the biggest challenge you face as a writer?

Turning off email and getting down to work. Otherwise, I spend the entire day typing emails back and forth, and it’s about 8 or 9 o’clock (or later) at night before I start to do anything truly productive (like now—it’s 12:45 a.m.). Writing-wise, everything is challenging about getting it down on paper. I enjoy the editing part of writing far more than the initial storytelling.

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.

DEAD WRITE is third in the Claudia Rose Forensic Handwriting Mysteries. It’s available anywhere you can buy books.

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

Last night I turned in my final edits of book four in the Claudia Rose series, which is about a missing three-year-old and a religious cult. My publisher has changed the title and I’m having a hard time remembering the new one. I still think of it as Unholy Writ, which is on 1000 bookmarks I’ve already handed out. But the title is now LAST WRITES.

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?

One of the most valuable lessons I learned is this: cut out most of the adverbs, it will strengthen your writing in ways that will surprise you. Those pesky words that end in “ly” are a sign of lazy writing and most should be cut. When you must find other ways to say it, you will be forced to come up with something far more descriptive and interesting. Honestly…

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

I do have a growing list of events coming up, too many to list here. But next, I’ll be speaking at Left Coast Crime on March 12. I’d love your readers to visit my web site, which I keep updated as new events are added:

Why is the science of graphology considered to be so accurate when the appropriate number and type of handwriting samples have been collected?

Graphology, when properly done with adequate handwriting samples, should supply at least 85% accuracy. Sometimes it’s much higher than that, but because people are so complex, it’s unlikely to be 100%. Handwriting reveals how the writer has integrated the myriad of experiences into his or her life and how s/he behaves as a result. Similar to body language, tone of voice, and facial expression, it’s an expressive behavior, a reliable mirror of what is going on inside. It all rests on the practitioner to produce an accurate report.

FUN QUESTION: Blue ink or black ink – and why?

Black gel ink for business signatures because it’s much harder to wash out or erase if someone is trying to forge your signature. Blue ink for personal missives as it’s not as harsh as black. But really, it’s all personal choice, and your choice of ink color may say something about you, too.

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

For my mysteries:
For handwriting analysis:
For my Handwriting Analyzer software (try it free):
And for marriage and family therapists:
Oh, and the blog, which I share with some excellent writers:

Thanks so much for the opportunity to share with your readers.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Author Interview with CHRISTINA JADE LOREN

Christina is--in her own words, "a brand new author" and her first two books are being released in February and March by Breathless Press.

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

I don’t think it was any one person. I loved reading all kinds of vampire romances in the past and thought that I could do that too; so I tried. My first piece of work was Break and Enter, which has nothing to do with vampires, but the main character does get tied up so it’s made up for. The author that I love reading the most, and probably has influenced me the most, is Shelley (Frankenstein). I love the story elements, characters, and the hidden messages strewn throughout.

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

I have been dabbling in writing for years but never took it seriously until I had a friend tell me that she loved the one story I wrote and to see if I could get it published. My favorite genre is paranormal, or more particularly, vampires. It seems like they have been done to death, but hopefully I can bring something new to the scene (or at least shed light on something).

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

I love reading Gender Theory, so Judith Butler has influenced me the most in terms of gender approach to stories. I always try to throw something Butler in all my work. She has incredible, and radical, theories. Another favorite author of mine is Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick. Her theories on Homosocialism blew me away (sorry, I am a literary criticism junkie). But for fiction authors, my favorite would be either Sable Grey or Jessica Lee. Both authors are equally amazing and very talented.

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

Writer’s block. My publisher wanted to see my next story after Eternity (the second book in the Turned series), and I hadn’t a thing to show them. I quickly came up with a rough outline of what happens and hoped they would like it. I just couldn’t write anything; which is hard for me because the characters, Damien and Nathan, wanted to be heard…

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 publication is Break and Enter. It’s a quick story about a single gay man, James, who can’t get to sleep when his house was chosen as a break and enter for a criminal looking for some easy cash. But James won’t be held up, he refuses and instead offers an alternative: payment in sex. I’ll leave the rest for the book to reveal! It can be found at the Breathless Press website:

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

I am currently working on the fourth (or fifth) book in the series. It goes Turned (available next week), Eternity (April), Blackened, Watched, and the fifth book currently doesn’t have a title yet. But it will soon
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?

Well I am a new writer, and the hardest part was opening myself up for criticism. It’s devastating to wait while someone is picking apart your story. So I kept telling myself that it is only their opinion and if I don’t like it, I do not have to be hurt by it. I also told myself that they were making the story better by asking questions or getting me to fill in the empty spots.

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

I’m not in any writer’s organizations yet. I have been bogged down with my day job and writing so I don’t have time to join any. I am looking at some organizations and am open to suggestions.

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

I don’t at the moment, but that could be changing quickly. Like I said earlier, I am busy so I haven’t scheduled much yet. But by the time my second or third book comes out, I will be all over the place  *she smiles wickedly*

FUN QUESTION: Summer or winter – and why?

I would have to go with summer for the pure fact that there are a lot of half naked, drool-over, men all around in California. In the winter everyone is so bundled up and not wanting to show any skin. It’s depressing.

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


Thank you for interviewing me Linda!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Author Interview with SUZANNE ADAIR

Suzanne Adair is a native Floridian who currently lives with her family in North Carolina. In second grade, she wrote her first fiction for fun after the eye of a hurricane passed over her home, and she grew up intrigued by wild weather, stories of suspense and high adventure, Spanish St. Augustine, and the South's role in the Revolutionary War.

You write historical and have an affinity for the Revolutionary War. Why is that?

Growing up in Florida, I was exposed to the common misconception that history in Florida started with railroad barons Flagler and Plant in the early 1900s, or perhaps with Osceola and the Seminole Wars in the 1800s. But Florida is actually the site of the oldest European city in the United States, St. Augustine, established by Spaniards in 1565, well before the British founded Jamestown. Another widespread misconception, that the Revolutionary War was fought mostly in the North, exists possibly because history texts and fiction minimize the importance of the southern colonies, Florida, Spain, and the Caribbean during the war. Many scholars now believe that more Revolutionary War battles were fought in South Carolina than in any other colony, even New York. North Florida was, in fact, held strategically by Britain throughout the Revolutionary War. So the weight of those centuries of Florida history influenced my interests from childhood, gave me an affinity for the Revolutionary War, and later provided me with the inspiration to sneak in history lessons with my fiction.

The road to publication was a long one for you. What is the single most important thing you did to make your dream of publication come true?

I think it was a combination of persevering through rejection, knowing when and where to let go, and never ceasing to look for ways to improve my craft.

Research is an important part of the writing process for you. How do you find the balance between doing enough research and doing too much?

I always perform too much research. Just about every author I know is the same way. You find the balance when you a) figure out how much of the fun stuff you've learned thorough research is actually necessary to the story, and b) weave it in on a need-to-know basis rather than as a boring, expository lump.

What is the biggest challenge you face as a writer?

Getting through the first draft. If I've developed momentum on it and can sustain the momentum, I can complete a first draft in less than two months. But many things interrupt that momentum.

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.

Camp Follower is available as a trade paperback from chain and independent bookstores as well as the publisher ( and online retailers such as Amazon. You can also purchase it in electronic format from the Kindle Store and Smashwords. Here's the description from the Kindle edition.

As the year 1780 draws to a close, the publisher of a loyalist magazine in Wilmington, North Carolina offers an amazing assignment to 29-year-old Helen Chiswell, his society page writer: pose as the widowed, gentlewoman sister of a British officer in the Seventeenth Light Dragoons, travel to the encampment of the British Legion in the Carolina backcountry, and write a feature on Lieutenant Colonel Banastre Tarleton. But Helen's publisher has secret reasons for sending her into danger. And because Helen, a loyalist, has ties to a family mistaken by the redcoats for patriot spies, she comes under suspicion of a brutal, brilliant British officer. Filled with action, mystery, and suspense that climax at the Battle of Cowpens, Camp Follower is the story of a woman forced to confront her past to save her life during the American War for Independence.

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

I just completed the first draft of manuscript number two in a new series that's a spin-off from my first series. The first book of this new series is still in the pipeline to be published, so I don't yet have a release date.

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?

Be clear with yourself about the goal for your writing. If your goal is just to sell books, your path will yield different results than the path to becoming acknowledged as a professional author. You cannot easily jump from one path to the other.

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

I'm a member of the Historical Novel Society, Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, and the North Carolina Writers Network. Publications and discussion groups from these organizations help keep me abreast of trends in the publishing industry. By networking with other members, I stay in touch with writers at the international, national, and local levels and learn about presentation and craft building opportunities.

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

Yes, thanks for asking. Here are my appearances in March and April:

26 March 2010, 10:00 – 11:30 a.m., presentation and booksigning, monthly meeting of the Wonderland Book Club, Cameron Village Regional Library in Raleigh, NC

17 April 2010, 10:00 – 11:30 a.m., "Plotting with the Hero's Journey" workshop, Carolina Writers Conference ( in Wadesboro, NC

27 April 2010, 6:30 – 9:30 p.m., "Creating Archetypal Characters and Suspenseful Plots" workshop, Meredith College community program ( in Raleigh, NC

FUN QUESTION: Jeans or petticoats – and why?

Definitely jeans. We take the mobility designed into 21st-century Western clothing for granted. Petticoats catch the wind like a sail and create a sort of "Flying Nun" effect, often when both hands are occupied, so you're thrown off balance. In the summer, sweat plasters the petticoat and the shift beneath it to your thighs, and walking becomes a challenge. If you're caught in a rainstorm, and your petticoat becomes soaked, it's amazing how much all that fabric made of natural fiber suddenly weighs.

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

I appreciate the opportunity for the interview, Linda.