Thursday, October 28, 2010

Change in Hosting Location

Beginning November 16, publication of future author interviews, guest posts, and book reviews will be transferred to my personal writing blog.  Guidelines for these items will remain the same.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


Sounds like you lead a wonderful life: kids all grown up and moved out, two dogs for company during the day when you write, and a loving husband who supports you. So, what’s the REAL scoop?

Truthfully, I have too much free time on my hands and I’m terribly unorganized with it. I should have twenty novels written by now, but I’m so easily distracted I only have seven. The dogs need walks and attention worse than my kids ever did! And my kids keep returning to the scene of the crime! My husband is pushing me to become the next Patricia Cornwell so he can retire from accounting and take a motorcycle trip around the world. Other than that, everything is hunky dory and my writing life is awesome.  :)

You’re a member of several writer’s groups. Tell us how they’ve helped you along the way to publication.

Being a member of a writer’s group does absolutely nothing for you unless you get involved. I joined the Pacific Northwest Writer’s Association a few years back and have attended a number of their writer’s conferences. They have great classes taught by authors, agents, or editors, where I’ve been able to hone my expertise and learn much about the publishing industry. I also take advantage of their literary contests. Putting your work on the line for other writers to critique is a great way to grow and learn. The local Minnesota writer’s Guild has a monthly meeting with special speakers and opportunities to meet publishing industry professionals or learn new things, as well as connect with other writers. I found a group of writers at these meetings sometime ago and we formed a critique group. Having a small group to share my work with and get feedback from has been one of the biggest helps in improving my writing.

You’ve published in several genres. Tell us which you prefer, and why.

My short stories are sometimes written for specific publications, so I often write with that in mind. Others, are stories that reflect moments in my life and perhaps I write them as a form of self-therapy. Writing can be very therapeutic, but therapeutic writing isn’t necessarily publishable. When I write novels I tend to lean toward suspense because that is what I enjoy most. I love to read authors such as Sue Grafton, Erica Spindler, Tami Hoag, and Iris Johansen. Broken heroes, warped bad guys, and twists and turns is what keeps me turning pages. I hope others feel the same about my stories.

Tell us all about ENTANGLED and its road to publication.

What if you inherited a California winery, fully equip with a house, vineyards, and a handsome blonde lawyer, and not only does it reawaken your worst childhood memories and give you recurring nightmares, but your mother decides you need her and moves in with you indefinitely?

ENTANGLED is the story of Billie Fredrickson, a twenty-eight-year-old cynical divorce attorney from Minneapolis who inherits a winery and must decide whether to stay and run it as her uncle wished, or sell out and return home. Billie has every intention to cut and run, but her return to the winery after an absence of twenty years opens up more than the reading of her uncle's will. Childhood memories, long-buried, begin to surface, prompting questions that no one is able, or willing, to answer.

A late night prowler, a break-in at the winery, and an unearthed box of shocking photographs is someone's way of pulling the Welcome mat out from under Billie's feet, but it only makes her dig her heels in deeper. Secrets lie buried beneath Fredrickson Winery's innocent facade and Billie intends to get to the root--while someone is willing to kill to stop her.

Great wine evokes a sense of place, a connection to our heritage, much as a good story. Billie’s story is about finding that connection, that sense of belonging.

I wrote Entangled about three years ago. It was called, Time in a Bottle, back then. I even entered the first couple of chapters and synopsis in the PNWA mainstream novel contest and was a finalist. I queried quite a number of agents after that and despite many positive, encouraging letters, not one was willing to take a chance on a new author. So after writing two other novels and working on a number of other writing projects, I decided it was time to try again. I’ve read that ebooks are the wave of the future. I know most people still prefer to hold an actual hardback in their hands and feel the texture of the pages, but when you can carry 1500 books on one little device, it is a bibliophile’s dream. So, after getting my own ereader and seeing for myself how it all worked, how popular ebooks had become, and how easy and inexpensive it was to try new authors, I started researching ebook publishers. I soon found Smashwords and was able to publish Entangled as an ebook this past August. I’m also planning to have Entangled out in paperback soon for those individuals still afraid to take a chance on a crazy electronic gadget. Although, for those of you unfamiliar with ebooks, let me clarify that if you don’t own an ereader, you can still read my book on your computer, iphone, Blackberry, etc. Entangled is downloadable in any format. It is now available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Diesel, Sony Reader, Kobo, and Apple—as well as my publisher, Smashwords.

What are you working on now?
I’m working on the next novel in the Fredrickson Winery saga. It will be a story that stands on its own, but will include many of the same characters as Entangled. I’m also querying agents with a contemporary Suspense/thriller that I recently finished called, Injected.

If you could take up any career in the world and be good at it, what would it be?

I would still choose to be a writer. Of course, I would choose to be a much more well known and wealthy writer. I know some people might want to be POTUS but there’s much too much stress that goes with that job. Same for a brain surgeon. But as a writer, I can imagine being either of those things without reality getting me down. Writing is what I love. I enjoy hearing and seeing strange things and spinning elaborate tales from these small kernels of information. I revel in the ability to write from the comfort of my own home, in the comfort of lounge-wear, and take breaks whenever I need to walk the dogs or make a fresh pot of coffee. I get a thrill whenever someone says they’ve read my book, and if they write an awesome review I have proof that my time was not spent in vain. I may be a mere “entertainer” but I take my job serious as a heart attack.

What are the addresses of your website, blog, and other online presences?

Facebook Novelist page:

Saturday, October 23, 2010


Tell us about your journey to publication.

Like for so many writers, it’s been a long and frustrating road fraught with knee-high piles of rejection letters, endless rewrites and one crushing disappointment after another. In 2007, a newly established publisher in the UK took me on, only to drop me a year later when they decided they no longer wished to publish my genre of novel. That, perhaps, was the lowest point of my journey. Still, I refused to give up, and six months later found a home for Voices on the Waves with Red Rose. It was so amazing to be given this second chance, I can’t tell you! Yet, for me, the journey is far from over. I still harbor an ambition to find an agent to help me advance my writing career, and I’m determined to continue working towards that goal.

You write a variety of women’s fiction, ranging from light-hearted romances to dark mysteries. What prompts you to write two such different types of novel?

I don’t know if it’s the same for other authors, but in my case, it has taken me a while to discover what type of novel I particularly enjoy writing. I mean, I’ve always known I wanted to write about strong, believable characters and their complex relationships, which is how Voices on the Waves was born. Yet, it was only when I started work on my second novel Painting The Summer, which centers around a devastating family secret, that I realized I also loved writing slowly unfolding mysteries. Now it’s my aim to combine both these elements in my writing.

Tell us about VOICES ON THE WAVES and where we can buy it.

It’s one of my sweeter novels, a light-hearted holiday read set against the stunning backdrop of rural Cornwall. Faye Wakefield, my generous but rather lonely heroine, runs a competition offering nine lucky winners a two-week stay at her beautiful farmhouse retreat. She hopes the contest will help her find an answer to her troubles, but it ends up achieving far more than she ever imagined. The prize-winners come from all walks of life, so once I’d assembled my cast of highly diverse characters under one roof, all I had to do was let my imagination flow and the sparks fly!

With newfound love, illicit affairs and the sharing of long-buried secrets, Voices on the Waves really does have it all, and it’s now available to purchase as an ebook from Red Rose Publishing:

What are you working on now and when can we expect to see it?

I’ve just started work on a novella, which will be written as part of a series with a group of my fellow authors at Red Rose. The idea is that we each write a book based on a reality TV show, and I’m taking the inspiration for mine from talent shows such as American Idol and The X Factor. It’s shaping up to be really great fun!

I’m also in the throes of editing painting The Summer, an emotion-driven mystery surrounding a wealthy English family whose lives are torn apart when they invite a handsome young artist into their home to paint their portraits. All going well, I’m hoping both novels will be published some time in 2011.

Do you have any tips or suggestions for other new authors?

Study your craft. Most of us, unless we happen to be a literary genius, won’t become a best-selling writer overnight. Read every book you can lay your hands on about creating believable, unforgettable characters and how to weave page-turning plots. Join a writing critique group, whether online or face-to-face, to get feedback on your progress that will help you improve. Most of all, write the sort of novels you would enjoy reading.

I know from your bio that you have a severe visual impairment. How does this affect your writing?

The hardest part is being unable simply to visit a place and get a picture of it in my mind. For instance, if I want to set a novel in London, I can’t just wander around the city at leisure, memorizing the landmarks and distinctive features. I have to rely on other people to be my eyes and describe things to me, which isn’t ideal. Having discovered this stumbling block while writing VOTW, I’ve now created a fictional English county called Denninshire where I intend to set all my future novels. This gives me the freedom to describe the towns and landscape from my own imagination, and makes the whole process so much easier.

What are the addresses of your website, blog, and other online presences?

Readers can visit my website at:
Http:// Where they can read an excerpt from Voices on the Waves, follow my blog and keep up to date with my latest news and contests.

I can also be found on Facebook at

Thanks so much, Linda, for interviewing me on The Author Exchange today, and for all of you for stopping by. Anyone kind enough to leave me a comment here, or at any point during my blog tour, will automatically be entered into the draw to win a $15 gift voucher for either Amazon or Barnes & Noble. Winners choice! Just don’t forget to provide an email address in case I need to contact you. The five winners will be announced on October 31st over at my blog: - so, good luck!

Thursday, October 21, 2010


Just in case you don't already know, my non-fiction book, Taking the Mystery Out of Business: The 9 Fundamentals of Professional Success will be released in early January. It will be available in bookstores, and at Amazon and Smashwords.

Check out the blog, where you can request free business tips and advice, complete a survey, and enter your name in a drawing to win a free copy of Taking the Mystery Out of Business by making a comment to select blog posts.

If you have a particular subject you'd like me to discuss on the blog, or that you'd like to consider posting about, e-mail me at

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


Love Triangles

Love is complicated enough between two people when you add a third it can be just a mess. Jealousy, hurt feelings, and confusion abound.

But as a writer, I love these triangles. The conflict between multiple lovers creates a challenge for authors because finding a satisfying resolution for readers is not easy. How do you find a happy ending between three people?

I knew in the sequel to the next book in The Angler series, I had to include some kind of relationship with Tane, the anti-hero, and Connie, the heroine, but they hated each other so much in the first book. The only commonality between these characters is Rurik, Connie’s vampire lover and Tane’s best friend.

All three characters experience the emotions I mentioned above. A love triangle, fraught with possible tragedy yet full of possible hope.

On Halloween weekend my group blog Paranormal Romantics, , is having a Blog-a-Thon, every hour or so a new blog will go up with a contest. The grand prize from PR will be Nook filled with Books. So come join us starting October 30th

Annie Nicholas

Monday, October 18, 2010

Author interview with LAURA DiSILVERIO

You write two different mysteries and the occupation of each protagonist contains parallels to your professional past. Tell us how your military background helped you to create these characters.

Thanks for having me on Author Exchange today, Linda. I loved my twenty years as an Air Force officer and I found military life fascinating and worthwhile. The military also provided great training, so when I needed to create a private investigator (Charlie Swift in Swift Justice) and a mall cop (Emma-Joy (EJ) Ferris in Die Buying), I gave them each a little military time in their backgrounds. Charlie spent eight years in the Air Force’s Office of Special Investigations, the Air Force’s equivalent to a police departments detectives, and EJ was an enlisted military cop who was wounded in Afghanistan and medically retired. Their military backgrounds give both of them skills the average woman-on-the-street wouldn’t have. Plus, it opens up the possibility for intriguing storylines down the road.

What other aspects of your personality—and personal life—found their way into your writing?

Hmm. Tricky question. I couldn’t make it through a day homicide-free without exercise (weight training and cardio), so both Charlie and EJ are regular exercisers (EJ more than Charlie). Family-wise, I don’t have much in common with my characters. I have a family—hubby and two tweenage daughters—but neither of my protagonists has a family. Charlie’s a real loner who doesn’t even have much of a relationship with her parents. EJ’s more social, and has a wacky family she loves, but she hasn’t found the right man to settle down with yet. Both Charlie and EJ are pretty disciplined, as I am. I like schedules and lists and a place for everything. My husband can testify that I occasionally get a teensy bit testy when he doesn’t put the grape jelly (or any other item) back in its proper spot in the fridge! I hate wasting time looking for stuff. I’m a dog person and have a Wire-haired Pointing Griffon named Marco, while Charlie doesn’t have a pet and EJ has a rescue cat named FUBAR (military acronym for “fouled up beyond all recognition”).

You have a strict daily schedule that incorporates time for your writing, yourself, and your family. How does a writer create a schedule that works?

Creating a schedule that works is entirely dependent on the writer’s personality and situation. I write from 7:30am until 12:30 or 1:00pm (my quota is 2,000 words/day) because the girls are at school, I’m a morning person, and I’ve got deadlines! I try to quit for the day by 2:30 when my girls come home from school and I morph into chauffeur-in-chief. I know other writers who write at night after kids are in bed and spouses are asleep (I turn into a pumpkin around 9:30 each night and wouldn’t be capable of putting a single coherent sentence together), who lock themselves in hotel rooms and write non-stop for three or four weeks, or who scribble in notebooks while between meetings or while waiting for their kids to finish soccer practice. I think having goals—I’m going to write two paragraphs today; I’m going to outline the next chapter this week; I’m going to take photos of potential settings for my new book this weekend—is a help to any writer who is serious about completing a short story or novel.

Tell us about your most recent book, including where we can find it.

Swift Justice (St. Martin’s Minotaur) has been out almost a week and readers can find it anywhere books are sold. It’s a humorous mystery about my Colorado Springs PI, Charlie Swift, who arrives at her office one Monday morning to find a woman with a gun. It turns out the woman, Gigi Goldman, is the ex-wife of Charlie’s silent partner who ran off to Costa Rica, leaving Gigi with nothing but the house, the Hummer, and half-interest in Charlie’s PI business. Gigi, a socialite in her mid-fifties, has no qualifications to be a PI but needs to work to support her teenagers. Charlie tries to get Gigi to quit by giving her the PI tasks—undercover work at a fast food joint, night-time surveillance, process serving—she thinks the pampered Gigi won’t be able to tolerate. Somehow, though, Gigi gets good results, despite creating hilarious havoc wherever she goes. Charlie, meanwhile, is working to track down the teen mother of a baby left on her client’s doorstep. When a murdered body turns up, Charlie realizes she might actually need Gigi’s help . . . In a starred review, Booklist said: “The odd-couple relationship between the two women may appeal to fans of Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum and Lula. DiSilverio deftly mixes light, zany humor with the darkness of the crimes. Readers will leave this one impatient for the next book in the series.

What do you have in the works?

I’m just finishing up the second Charlie and Gigi mystery, tentatively titled Swift Edge (that may change). It involves the disappearance of an Olympic pairs skater and features Gigi’s pain-in-the-tush, 14-year-old daughter Kendall who has a huge crush on the missing skater and insists on “helping” Charlie and Gigi with their investigation. I’ll start the second of my Mall Cop mysteries in December.

Tell us what books you’ve read and enjoyed recently. We all need more books for out TBR piles, right?

I just finished Sophie Littlefield’s A Bad Day for Pretty which is even better than the first in her Stella Hardesty series. I’m also reading Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall for a book discussion group and savoring a chapter a night of Nevada Barr’s non-fiction book, Seeking Enlightenment Hat by Hat: A Skeptic’s Guide to Religion, which is laugh-out-loud funny and yet thought-provoking. Earlier this month, I finished Cornelia Read’s Invisible Boy – her main character, Madeline Dare, has an astounding voice and is a trenchant commenter on 1980s NYC --and I’m anxiously awaiting the release of Brad Park’s second book in his Carter Ross series. I’d love to ask this blog’s readers what they’re reading now. Leave a comment and let me know what I should add to my TBR pile.

What are the addresses of your website, blog, and other online presences?

My website is and readers can also find me on Facebook.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Interview with MIA CHERISH

You’ve been writing, professionally, since you were quite young. Tell us what prompted you to begin writing as a child.

My grandfather taught me to read and write when I was very young. I don't have conscious memories of not thinking up stories and writing them down. The fun thing about it growing up was that it was never a big deal to my folks because I have a few ancestors and relatives who also write. So my family took it in stride as something very ordinary. "Oh, she's a writer, like Cousin So-and-So." Instead of crayons and coloring books, my mother bought me notebooks and packages of pens. And my family was very encouraging, but I wasn't treated as though my writing was an oddity.

It actually caused problems for me at school. In third or fourth grade, my English class was studying various forms of poetry. We students were required to write poems adhering to a particular form and read them aloud to the class. When I read mine, the instructor and several students accused me of plagiarism not because any of them recognized my poem as another author's work, but because the instructor decided my style was "too good" for an elementary level student. This didn't sit well with my folks who promptly phoned the school principal and demanded the instructor prove the plagiarism, which of course couldn't be done since I hadn't plagiarized. I remember feeling very embarrassed and confused; it seemed to me I'd completed the assignment and done a good job, but instead of being rewarded for it, all this drama ensued.

A lifelong resident of New Orleans, you personally lived through Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. How did the real-life trauma affect your writing?

Most Important Evacuation Tip: ALWAYS pack more underwear than you think you'll need, at least a full week's worth. Wearing the same shirt or jeans an extra day or two isn't so bad, but you want clean undies.

My Katrina experiences were tougher than some and easier than some. I spent a week trapped in a relative's house without electricity or running water. Unpleasant, but I was grateful to be with family, and with some improvisation we were relatively comfortable given the circumstances.

A more serious personal challenge: I was on anticoagulation therapy at the time and had about one week's supply of medication when Katrina made landfall. No clinics, hospitals, or pharmacies were available to monitor my anticoagulation or to refill my prescription. Ultimately, I temporarily relocated to Texas where I could receive regular monitoring and care. I can't thank Texas and its residents enough for how they reached out to displaced New Orleans residents. I will never forget the outpouring of hospitality and goodwill I received from Texans, most of them perfect strangers to me.

As to my writing ... I was born and raised in New Orleans, and I love the city in a very tangible, personal way. It is so beautiful, so rich in history, culture, and tradition. I love the food, the music, the architecture, the decadence alongside the piety, and the city's incredible multicultural identity. No single nation can claim sole credit for what New Orleans is. Everything about the region, good and bad, nurtures artistic inspiration.

I've traveled enough to identify New Orleans culture is completely unique, but I took loving my home town for granted. After the Katrina/Rita disaster, I mourned New Orleans, even when I was finally able to return. New Orleans has always been slow to change, and the Katrina disaster imposed drastic, dramatic change. Some of it's been for the best, some not so much.

One comfort for me during that time was my commute to work via St. Charles Avenue. The Garden District weathered the crisis better than most areas. The view of all these gorgeous, palatial, nineteenth-century homes assuaged my inner turmoil. Boosted my confidence. They seemed to be a promise of good days to come and reassured me in a way. Leonor Griffin's house in The Garden House is based on an enormous white mansion on the 5900 block of St. Charles Avenue I admired daily on my work commute.

For several months, serious writing was simply beyond me, too normal a thing for me to do while I tried to process all the changes I had to make in my own life. I co-authored The Garden House with Jacqueline Quaid, not a local but a definite kindred spirit who'd fallen prey to New Orleans' charms before I was born and grieved for it as much as I. We came up with the idea when both of us felt more upbeat and optimistic for the city's future.

The Garden House is a beautiful f/f erotic paranormal romance. That in itself is unique since neither I nor Jackie have written or published other f/f romance. In analysis, the romantic pairing isn't an accident. I feel this story reflected how much Jackie and I both were in love with New Orleans, a very feminine city, very much a lady. New Orleans is also remarkably present throughout the narrative.

If The Garden House is a fantasy/escape into "how things were," Fixation represents acceptance of "how things are now." Also set in New Orleans, this paranormal romance, a love story between a newborn vampire and a ballet instructor descended of Hindu divinity, describes some of the changes in particular buildings and areas. It also expresses hope for the future repair and reopening of the Orpheum theatre. It's much darker in tone. Despite its paranormal elements, it is less idyllic and contains more "harsh reality" than its predecessor.

Neither book could have been written with our respective Hurricane Katrina/Rita experiences.

Tell us about your most recent novel.

Three Devils in Bath is best described as an erotic historical urban fantasy. It's set in Bath during the Regency era's twilight years. Seti Edgard and his vampire companions, Troyes and Dane, maintain a fashionable townhouse and enjoy interaction with local society, both human and Extranatural. Seti, assisted by Dane, also serves as an official in the Extranatural justice system. Although mainly content with his male lovers, Seti bribes Mariotte Sabrier to accept his carte blanche, hoping an attractive young woman in the house will distract Troyes from his faltering love affair with a widowed noblewoman. Seti's own attraction to Mariotte grows in between bouts of deciding cases and investigating a supernatural murder. Eventually, Mariotte must cope with the realization that sincere, passionate love isn't always destined for a couple alone and decide if she can accept everything these men want to offer her.

I've always been fascinated with Bath and attacked my research with gusto. Three Devils in Bath is also my first novel portraying menage relationships. Menage relationships make for very complex storytelling. I've gotten very varied feedback on the novel, which is interesting. It seems like everyone who read the book took something different out of it.

Trace Edward Zaber constructed gorgeous cover art for this novel, my favorite cover art of all my published work. The beautiful, pale golden background reflects Bath's gilded opulence and luxury.

You have co-authored novels and written solo. Share with us your thoughts about the pros and cons of each type of venture.

Co-authored stories have such an interesting reputation. Some readers indicate dissatisfaction with co-authored books due to changes in tone and style As a reader, I admit to being fascinated by competently co-authored works. Vocal variation breaks up monotony and if the contributing authors harmonize well they can construct a very positive reading experience. I'm crazy about the writing duo Jamie Craig. Their westerns delight me.

As a writer, I've enjoyed collaboration; it enhances the creative process, and, of course, it's possible to produce work product faster. In my opinion, the variance in author voice and perspective also has a very positive effect on character dialog; in situations where each author role plays one character to write dialog, each character's words and language become more distinct. This technique can also add dimension and depth to scenes involving action, combat, love scenes, and so on. Like any other team effort, two brains work better than one. One writer's artistic strengths can compensate for the other's limitations. And of course, two proofreaders of final copy can catch extra mistakes. Finally, the "fun factor" related to collaboration can't be overlooked. Writing's a solitary pursuit; collaboration can be socially and intellectually stimulating as well as educational. Each participant brings something to the table an individual author couldn't have produced.

The down side to collaboration is risk of breakdown in the writing partnership and subsequent abandonment or killing of the project. It is extremely frustrating to invest time and creativity into a project one feels passionate about only to have one's parter bail on them. Sometimes it's inevitable; if one partner is more invested in the work, the story may belong to them a little more, and the other partner may not relate to its direction and feel able to do it justice. In other cases life gets in the way; people lose jobs, suffer losses, health problems, family issues ... All kinds of things can impact someone's priorities and involvement.

I've had wonderful, positive collaborative experiences that produced beautiful work product of which I'm very proud. I've also had some extremely dissatisfying experiences and witnessed other writers go through drama related to collaborations gone bad. The worst case scenarios can be pretty horrible.

The best advice I can give anyone considering collaboration on a project: negotiate a written agreement. Never collaborate with a writer unwilling to back his/her promises in writing. If you're unwilling to back your promises in writing, don't collaborate. At the very least, work out an agreement that, should one partner abandon the work, full copyright reverts to the author willing to complete and submit it if s/he wants to do so.

If you abandon a collaborated project, do so in an adult, professional manner. Be upfront and civil. Accept responsibility for your decision. Don't blame your coauthor to justify your behavior, even if you honestly feel your coauthor is to blame. Be respectful, apologize for the inconvenience you are causing, and thank your coauthor for his/her time and effort. Honor whatever agreements you've made concerning work already done. If your coauthor is still interested in completing the work, offer full copyright to the coauthor.

Professional manners and kind words go a long way. Your goal should be to retire gracefully and to leave your coauthor feeling s/he was treated as fairly as possible. This should be a no-brainer, but it's surprising how frequently it doesn't happen. Friendships are saved this way. So are professional opportunities.

If your co-author abandons your joint project, accept it as graciously as you can. The abandoning party is doing you a favor -- if s/he isn't "into" the work, you wouldn't get a good quality final product, anyway. Collaborators who walk away from a collaboration are basically admitting the work is beyond them, either intellectually or due to other challenges limiting their ability to contribute.productively to the work. Accept the work is beyond the author and complete it yourself if you remain interested in the work. If you're not, perhaps you should mutually agree to "kill" the work.

Whether you're abandoning work or are dealing with a coauthor abandoning work, avoid public ranting and e-drama at all costs. It's worth saying again; avoid public ranting and e-drama at all costs. Vent as much as you like. Privately. To trusted friends and relatives not associated with the publishing industry.

You’ve combined elements of Regency romance and vampires—how…and why?

In my perspective, Regency England is an ideal vampire environment. The Enlightenment has reached it peak. The Gothic and the Romantic literary movements are in full swing at this time. Beneath the veneer of respectability, the middle class and the upper class are embracing much of the decadence and hedonistic attitudes characteristic of the literary vampire who gained popularity later in the century.

Human behavior itself was very predatory at that time. Despite the Enlightenment, many people still observed concepts of class and the idea that some people are superior to others and that abusing social inferiors was acceptable (or, at least, it was not punished.) People preyed on one another for resources and for gratification. It's probably not an accident that vampirism began taking hold in fiction and poetry in this period. There were plenty of humans living up to the vampire stereotype, essentially seducing and devouring others sexually, socially, emotionally, or financially.

In Three Devils in Bath, Seti is clearly not a stereotypical Regency male -- he's much older -- and though he's adapted to the decadence to the point he'd proposition an unknown woman essentially unavailable to him, there's a sense his habits and behaviors are far less predatory, cruel, and hypocritical compared to the respectable, well-heeled humanity surrounding him. That fun sort of irony makes Seti a fun character to work with since the traits readers often associate with vampirism should have made him a great "fit" for Regency society.

Additional fantasy characters in the story, including Amazon warriors and lycanthropes, exhibit a certain degree of innocence. Their tribal alliances and isolation from human society make them really stand out as mismatches. In theory they're the "monsters," and yet their customs and behavior don't revolve around using or abusing others to accumulate gain or for entertainment. They don't relate to human values systems such as consumerism. A werewolf craftsman will spend a century building furniture, art, or musical instruments simply beyond the scope of human planning due to time limitations.

Setting a vampire tale in Regency England provides the reader a better view of who the real vampires are, where the real vampiric behavior originated and often still does originate.

Do you have any plans to write in a different genre?

I'm crazy about short stories. I'm always incredulous when a talented author communicates a theme through short fiction. I've made several efforts to write short fiction and usually end up with a novella. I can't quite pull myself away from adding details. It doesn't stop me from trying, though.

I have lots of ideas and fragments related to writing horror, or a horror romance. Like many horror aficionados Shirley Jackson's The Haunting of Hill House has held me in thrall for years as much as for what it doesn't reveal as what it does. I'd love to tackle a good, creepy, old-fashioned ghost story someday.

What are the addresses your website, blog, and other online presences?

I maintain a website,

Saturday, October 16, 2010


Annie Nicholas announces the release of her new paranormal romance, Catch,  book two in The Angler series.

Published by Liquid Silver Books.  Release date October 11, 2010.

For more details, visit Annie's website at

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Interview with LESLIE WHEELER

You’ve published both fiction and non-fiction. Which do you prefer writing—and why?

I prefer writing fiction because it enables me to play God and make up the story myself. When I wrote non-fiction, there would always be moments when I’d think to myself, what if something else had happened instead? But I couldn’t go there, because I had to stick to the facts. It’s those “what if” moments that make writing fiction fun. I often begin with a real life situation then take off from there. For example, in my first mystery novel, MURDER AT PLIMOTH PLANTATION, I started with a real-life trip to Plimoth Plantation I made when my sister and her family were visiting from California. My eight-year-old niece complained the whole way up the path to the Pilgrim village. But as soon as we went into one of the houses, and a Pilgrim woman spoke to us in the wonderful seventeenth-century English they use, she stopped complaining and listened with interest. My imagination kicked in and this is what I got: What if my niece became so enchanted by Plimoth Plantation that years later, she returns as an interpreter, and what if while she’s there, a murder occurs. Of course, this part never really happened.

In addition to being a writer, you’ve worked as an editor. Tell us how your stint as an editor affected your fiction writing.

When I worked as an American history textbook editor, I tried to wrestle other writers’ manuscripts into better shape, which often involved a fair amount of rewriting. This helped my own writing to a certain extent, but not as much as I would have liked. In my experience, it’s always easier to fix problems in someone else’s work than your own. That’s why being in a writers’ critique group is very important to me. The group members pick up on things I don’t see, and vice versa.

Does the fact that you can trace your ancestors back to the Mayflower have anything to do with your love of history?

I credit my paternal grandfather for giving me my love of history rather than my Mayflower ancestry. My grandfather, Burton K. Wheeler, was a U.S. Senator from Montana from the 1920s to right after World War II. He was a colorful, larger-than-life figure, and a wonderful raconteur. All he had to do was walk into a room and start talking to become the center of attention. In his early years in the Senate, he helped expose the Teapot Dome scandal during the Harding administration, and the movie, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, is based on his battle against corruption. Later in his career, he fought Roosevelt when FDR tri
ed to pack the Supreme Court. I grew up listening to his stories, and since he lived until he was almost ninety-three, I was able to spend lots of time with him. Because of him, I took many American history courses in college, even though officially, I was an English major, specializing in medieval literature. My Mayflower connection stems from my grandfather Wheeler, but it wasn’t a big deal to me for a long time. I even forgot about it until reminded by my sister on the above-mentioned visit to Plimoth Plantation, when she and my brother-in-law raced around trying to find the interpreters who portrayed our ancestors, Susannah White and Edward Winslow.

Tell us about your “living history” mysteries.

I call my series “living history” mysteries, because, although they take place in the present-day, they are set at historic sites, which enables me to weave in a lot of history. I get to have it both ways: I don’t have to worry about getting all the period details right, but I can still include a fair amount of history in my books. All three of my books feature reenactors: the interpreters in MURDER AT PLIMOTH PLANTATION, Confederate reenactors in MURDER AT GETTYSBURG, and the demonstration squad staff at Mystic Seaport in my new book, MURDER AT SPOUTERS POINT, which takes place at a fictionalized version of the Seaport. These folks appeal to me, because they try to make history come alive for their audiences, just as I tried to do for the readers of my American history books.

What advice can you give to new writers?

Don’t give up! I’m a poster girl for determination. Although I published my non-fiction early on and with relative ease, I had to travel a long, difficult road before my fiction was published. I spent nearly ten years writing then marketing my first novel without success, and another year writing part of a second novel before I came up with the idea of my “living history” series. Even then, it took me about five years to finish the first book in the series, another two years to find an agent, and so on. A second piece of advice is: Don’t aim for perfection the first time around. I’ve seen too many writers develop severe cases of writers’ block as a result. They write the first chapter over and over again, and never get beyond it. My early drafts are so awful sometimes, it’s embarrassing. They read like bad translations from Sanskrit into Polish, then English. But I know that eventually I’ll be able to turn out polished prose. I’ve also learned to trust my imagination to help me find my way around the inevitable roadblocks that crop up in writing fiction.

Two of your mysteries, MURDER AT PLIMOTH PLANTATION, and MURDER AT SPOUTERS POINT feature Native American characters and history. How did you become interested in Native peoples?

My interest in Native peoples goes back to the summer vacations I spent in Montana at the family cabins in Glacier National Park. My grandfather Wheeler was responsible for legislation that was favorable to the Indians, so members of the Blackfoot nation would come to visit him in Glacier, sometimes bringing gifts, including a spectacular headdress which used to hang on the wall in the main cabin. My grandfather arranged for my cousins and I to be “adopted” into the Blackfoot tribe. There was a ceremony at which we were given Indian names (mine was Morning Girl) and beautiful beaded necklaces. (I still have mine.) Later, in my work on American history textbooks, I often wrote the “Closing the Frontier” chapter, which, among other things, deals with the Indian wars in the West toward the end of the nineteenth-century. But it wasn’t until I started researching my first mystery,

MURDER AT PLIMOTH PLANTATION, that I discovered how much more complicated and troubled the relations between the eastern tribes and the early settlers were. In grade school, I’d learned about friendly Squanto who showed the Pilgrims how to plant corn and kept them from starving, and how the Pilgrims were so grateful that they invited the Indians to a harvest feast, which evolved into Thanksgiving. What I didn’t know was that there was a darker side to this history: that while we’re stuffing ourselves with turkey, the Native peoples are holding a “National Day of Mourning.” I continue to explore this theme in MURDER AT SPOUTERS POINT, where I deal with the Mashantucket Pequots (called the Dottagucks in the novel), who were practically exterminated in the early 1600s, but managed to hold onto a small parcel of land, enabling them to qualify for Federal recognition, then start a successful gambling casino complex.

What are the addresses of your website, blog, and other online presences?

I’m on both Facebook( and Twitter (@Leslie_Wheeler). But only because my tech-savvy teenage son got me on!


Thursday, October 7, 2010

Interview with JEFFREY LEEVER

Your background includes public relations, editing, and sports writing. What prompted you to write mystery/suspense novels?

There's a bit of all those things in my novels, and characters who serve in some of those roles. Through the years, a lot of my background has involved writing for audiences that have short attention spans and people who need to be pulled into a narrative fairly quickly. Some of those same storytelling techniques seem to apply pretty well to the kind of suspense-based mystery novels that I write.

Tell us about your latest release, The University.

The story is set on a college campus and involves a student trying to piece together why his best friend disappeared. At the same time, an investigative journalist is looking into an old unsolved murder case that could be related. Beneath the university's campus lies a series of tunnels that seem to be connected to growing occult activity in the area. Overall, the book is a fast-paced, dark fall thriller.

What are you working on now?

I'm working on a couple more suspense manuscripts right now and am also collaborating with an illustrator on a children's book. The latter project is obviously pretty different for me...and also a nice change of pace. My plans are to keep writing and having fun with it until my hands wear out or an anvil drops from the sky on my head.

Share with us your thoughts about marketing, promotion, and social media.

I enjoy book marketing and promotion. I do a lot of my own website content, write press releases, and sign quite a bit at bookstores to support each new novel. I like meeting people, both customers and retail staff. I often meet other authors this way, as well. I enjoy blogging and doing guest posts also. I've done the MySpace and Facebook thing for several years, too, plus even a bit of YouTube. I think people are surprised by how accessible I am sometimes. I decided a long time ago that I never want to be that writer guy who is too cool to respond to someone's e-mail.

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

I lived in Colorado for twelve years up until fairly recently and, while there, joined Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers and the Colorado Authors League. I haven't added any new ones since moving to Missouri just prior to my first novel, Dark Friday, coming out. I'm sure I probably will at some point.

Tell us about the setting for your latest book. What inspired you to set this particular novel at a college campus?

Back when I was in college in the Midwest, a faculty member once told me about a seldom-used series of tunnels that existed beneath our campus. It was a network that connected a bunch of buildings and even led underneath a few of the student dorms. Plus, it was an area that wasn't well-monitored by campus security -- or so the story went. For weeks after, I walked around campus wondering what was literally "underneath my feet" at any given moment. And when the sun set each night, my mind went wild with the possibilities. Anyway…that unnerving little tidbit was still stuck in my head 15 years later, and I thought it might make for an interesting element in a mystery novel.

What are the addresses of your website(s), blog(s), and other online presences?

My website is I contribute to a blog called MurderShop at I can also be easily found and "Friended" on Facebook at if anyone is so inclined.