A Prepublished Novel in the Process of Revisions and Rewrites

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Author Spotlight: Barbara Monajem, Romance Author

Hello, Barbara!  Welcome to my humble patio garden.  Make yourself comfortable. Aren't the orchids beautiful this time of year?  I've made a special batch of Hibiscus/Green Iced Tea with a hint of mint from my own garden for us.  There are some wonderfully sinful double dark chocolate chip cookies as well.  Help yourself.

Tell me about yourself. What makes you angry, happy, sad, snoopy dance?

Angry and sad: People being mean and nasty to one another.

Happy and dancing: People being kind to one another.

It’s not complicated: never be mean and nasty, even if you’re hurt or upset. I’m not saying everything’s all sweetness and light; unfortunately, it’s not. Sometimes kindness backfires, and sometimes it’s misinterpreted, but as long as you mean well, that’s what matters.

I have to agree with your theory here, Barbara.  My basic rule of thumb is to treat people as I would want them to treat me.  I really strive hard to practice this no matter the situation as eventually it will come back in a positive light:) What inspired you to write your first book?

Reading. On my first day of school, I came back ecstatic, telling my parents, “I can read!!” In third grade I wrote my first story.

Wow! We've something in common. I began writing at a very young age as well. How many books have you written?

Long answer: One children’s book which was published long ago. One romance which is under the bed. I submitted it to Harlequin years ago, but they returned it saying to send it again later, as they were snowed under with submissions. Dummy me, I just put it under the bed and forgot about it. First paranormal, which I wrote twice and am now writing again. Hopefully this time it will be good! Then two more paranormals. Then three regency romances and a regency short story (which was released as an e-book by Harlequin in January).
Short answer: 8.25 or 9.25, depending on whether the same character’s story written twice counts. :)

What works best to keep you focused and on track?

A page count goal. It’s best if I have to report my progress to someone else. I first realized this when my local RWA chapter, Georgia Romance Writers, held a writing challenge. I promised 15 pages per week, and about killed myself to get there, because I didn’t want to confess to the coordinator that I hadn’t lived up to my pledge.

That's a very attainable goal and no stress! I like the way you think. Even I could do that if I put my mind to it:) You know? I'm think I may just work on utilizing that goal. Do you write to make money or for the love of writing?

Money would be useful, but I can’t help but write. It’s so much fun! (Oh, and it keeps me sane, more or less.)

What is your favorite holiday? And why?

Halloween. I love spooky stuff.

Something else we have in common *grin*  Everyone that knows me knows how I feel about Halloween. When do you write (daytime, nighttime, on your lunch hour, before the kids get up, after everyone is asleep? In large chunks of time or stolen snippets?)
Whenever, wherever. I get a lot done on road trips (with my husband driving) because there are no distractions. I’m a morning person, so I’m better at first drafts in the daytime. I can revise anytime.

Do you write every day? Or when the muse strikes?
Whenever I have time. Most days, I write something – original text, revision, blogs. The muse tends to wake up *after* I start writing. He (yes, my muse is male, and I adore him) shows up in mid-scene, being a pain in the butt sometimes, but he’s usually right. (I daren’t say always… can’t let him think he has control.)

Oh, I get that, LOL Are you someone who can write on demand? Or do you have to stew and coax an idea before you sit down and write? Or maybe you write when the muse knocks you upside your head, like me?
Both. If I have to write something right away, I do. However, once I’ve written something, I really *have* to let it stew for a while. A day, a week, maybe longer. I hope I never have a deadline that doesn’t account for “stew time.”

Me, too.  I once put a manuscript away for two years, pulled it out, blew the dust off and got to work again. Where do you go to think?

I have to go somewhere? LOL.

Maybe I should rephrase, LOL Where is your favorite place to mull over things?
I try to think all the time, but long walks are good.

How do you come up with your title and main characters’ names?

The title of my current release, Sunrise in a Garden of Love & Evil, came from my genius editor.
We brainstormed the next one, Tastes of Love & Evil. It was originally called Vamping the Chameleon, because I was entering a contest (this was several years ago) and needed a title, any title, right away. I really do need “stew time.” :)

Characters’ names tend to show up as I’m writing, so I guess my muse gets the credit, although sometimes I can’t stand his choices, so I change them.

What is your least favorite thing to do as an author? Allow me to clarify: query, write a synopsis, write a blurb, market, you get the picture:)

I loathe synopses. My muse deserts me, so they’re boring to write, a real chore. I can write a decent synopsis of a completed book, but as for writing one just on a concept – it’s torture. And it shows.

How long did it take you to get your first project sold? And was the project your first actual completed manuscript?

I don’t count the children’s book (because that was pure serendipity, and I wasn’t really trying to sell). Sunrise in a Garden of Love and Evil (my 5th finished manuscript, if you count the two versions of my first paranormal) finaled in the Daphne contest (under the title Love in a Twisted Garden). Chris Keeslar of Dorchester was one of the judges, and he requested the full. Three years after I sent it, he emailed to see if it was still available, and made me an offer the next day.

Wow!  that's quite a long time between.  You must have been estatic and pleasantly surprised. Do you have an upcoming release?
Sunrise in a Garden of Love and Evil was just released.

You do! Oh please tell us all about it.

 Here’s a short blurb:
Dark secrets abound in the town of Bayou Gavotte, Louisiana, from blackmail to fetish clubs to murder, and when blood-and-love starved vampire Ophelia Beliveau calls in the police to scare away whoever is desecrating her garden, Detective Gideon O'Toole unearths more than he ever dreamed...
It’s the first in the Bayou Gavotte series, and is available at the usual places for books: bookstores, online bookstores, Amazon.com, and of course from Dorchester Publishing (www.dorchesterpub.com). The second in the series, Tastes of Love and Evil, will be a September release.

Sounds like a very interesting read, Barbara. I may just have to put that one on my TBR list asap.
Tell us about your Hero. Do you have a favorite, if you’ve written multiple books?

My absolute favorite hero is the one I’m writing now. He’s a part-Native American rock star with telepathic abilities. He appears in the first two books of the series as a secondary character, but now he gets his own book. I’m working on it now, and I’m totally intimidated trying to write him. I need my muse’s full support for this one!!

Contest info:

One lucky commenter will win a signed copy of Sunrise in a Garden of Love & Evil, and will also be entered in the contest I’m holding all through the month of April. I’ll be giving away signed copies of Sunrise in a Garden of Love and Evil and various other prizes. (Including socks. If I have a fetish, it’s for socks. But there’s lots of other stuff, too.) You can get extra chances to win by signing up for my newsletter, or by posting links to any of the blogs I’m doing this month (see the list on the Events page of my site, http://www.barbaramonajem.com/) on Facebook, MySpace, and/or Twitter. Just fill out the form on the Contact page of my site to sign up or to let me know where you've posted links.

Bio: Barbara Monajem wrote her first story in third grade about apple tree gnomes. After dabbling in neighborhood musicals and teen melodrama, she published a middle-grade fantasy when her children were young. Now her kids are adults, and she writes paranormal and historical romance for grownups. She lives in Georgia with an ever-shifting population of relatives, friends, and feline strays. Barbara can be contacted via her website at http://www.barbaramonajem.com/

Sunrise in a Garden of Love and Evil is available in your bookstore, or here:

www.tinyurl.com/sunriseingarden from Amazon
as well as directly from Dorchester Publishing: at http://www.dorchesterpub.com/

Notorious Eliza, a short regency historical e-book, is available here:
http://tinyurl.com/notoriouselizahhu from Harlequin,
or via Amazon for Kindle or Barnes and Noble for various formats.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Author Spotlight: Debra St. John, Romance Author

Hello, everyone!  It is so good to be back and talking to my fellow authors again.  I hope the passage of time has freshened these segments.  Pull up a comfy chair grab a tall glass of iced raspberry tea or whatever your preference and enjoy.

Today I am welcoming Debra St. John writer of sultry romance and sexy heroes whose ultimate challenge are taming spunky heroines.  Oooh la la! I can't wait to get into this interview. Oh and...Debra told me that she will be giving away a copy of one of her books in .pdf format to one lucky commenter today:)  Wait! I heard the front door.  Yoo hoo! Debra! We're back here on the sun porch...
Are you comfy now, Debra?  Isn't the iced tea refreshing?  Now I suppose we should begin.  And let's get down to the nitty gritty...

Do you write to make money or for the love of writing?

I definitely write for the love of writing! And for the pleasure of holding a book with my name on it as the author in my hand.

And oh what a feeling that is every time, don't you agree? The first book is special but the feeling is never lost on the following ones, at least for me:)

Do you write every day? Or when the muse strikes?

Usually I write when the muse strikes. If I try to write when there’s no muse flowing, I don’t accomplish much at all. If I’m working on revisions or edits, I make myself write every day.

Are you someone who can write on demand? Or do you have to stew and coax an idea before you sit down and write? Or maybe you write when the muse knocks you upside your head, like me?

My ideas usually need to be coaxed and coddled into fruition before I sit down to write. I spend a lot of time working through things in my head and jotting notes everywhere when I first start working on a story…or even in the midst of one. I’m telling you, I have literally hundreds of little yellow sheets lying around filled with scribbles. That said, I really am more of a pantster than an actual plotter. On some days that muse does knock me upside the head, and I can sit at my keyboard all day and pound the words out.

Oh I hear that. I am a sit down and go with it type girl.  I don't plot and plan. Once I get into a story idea in my head its off to the finish and once the characters come alive, most times they run with it. Have you ever noticed how the characters do that? I mean I've literally hit a brick wall with one book trying to take things one way until I finally gave in and followed my hero's lead.  Whoa! I'll never ignore a character again:)

Where do you write?

I’d have to say I’m the most productive when I’m working on my lap top. I tend to migrate while I write: front porch, back porch, patio, living room, etc. Sometimes a change of scenery helps to push past those annoying episodes of writer’s block.

I will move about as well depending on the mood. Yes, environmental stimulants and scenery changes can make all the difference at times.

When do you read? Where?

In the winter I curl up in bed right before I go to sleep. In the summer you’ll find me cozied up in a rocker on the front porch sipping lemonade or out back on a bench by our pond. Early afternoon reads when the weather is nice are my favorites.

Do you put pieces of yourself or your life in your stories?

I like to use places I’ve actually been as the settings for my books. I also like to put people I know in my books as minor characters.

Do you have an upcoming release?

“Wild Wedding Weekend”, my second book with The Wild Rose Press, came out last week! This was a fun story to write, as it involves two people who get married under unusual circumstances. While faking their way through a wedding and honeymoon for the cameras, they learn something about life, love, themselves, and each other.

Tell us about your Hero. Do you have a favorite, if you’ve written multiple books?

For Noah life is all about fun and adventure. He’s completely content living a carefree single life. That is until he meets Abby and discovers being with her is all the adventure he’ll ever need.

I have to admit, I have a soft spot for (and a little bit of a crush on) all of my heroes. Logan, from “This Time for Always”, is trying to prove he’s a better man than the boy he used to be. Noah, from “Wild Wedding Weekend”, discovers falling in love is better than any other adventure in life. Zach, from the upcoming “This Can’t Be Love”, wants nothing more than to love and cherish the unexpected woman who comes into his life. And Chase, from my WIP, is learning how to balance fatherhood and falling in love. My heroes are all very special to me. Not to mention sexy as all get out!

Tell us about your Heroine.

Abby is perfectly content to live a life without any adventure at all. But when she finds herself married to Noah, she discovers a little adventure in life makes it worth living.

Are any of your characters modeled after people you know?

I had a bit of fun using friends of mine as minor characters in “Wild Wedding Weekend”. I think they’ll get a kick out of seeing themselves in print!

What type of music do you favor?

I am a huge country music fan. To me no other type of music evokes as much emotion or brings characters and stories to life like country does. Each song is like a mini-novel unto itself.

Wild Wedding Weekend Except:

“I really am sorry.” Abby's mind whirled. The thoughts tangled. The Noah she’d spent the last couple of days with wasn’t anything like the man she’d imagined him to be. The man even he claimed to be. Who was the real Noah?
She didn’t have time to ponder the question, because he took both her hands in his, drawing her attention back to him. “Know this. While we’re married. For this week, this trip, this asinine show, I am committed to you.” He paused and raised one hand to tuck a wisp of hair behind her ear. “Totally. Completely. Committed. To you.” With each word his voice and head lowered, until the last was a whisper against her lips.

His hand slid around to the back of her neck, then up into her hair, unfastening the clip and tossing it aside. He tangled his fingers in the strands that fell free, using enough force to keep her from pulling away as he deepened the kiss.
Abby had no thoughts of moving even the slightest bit away. She wrapped her arms around him as the tip of his tongue teased the fullness of her bottom lip. When she opened to him and he dipped inside, she almost melted from the instant flood of liquid heat that suffused her body. The warmth spread to her limbs and made her pliant as, his mouth never leaving hers, Noah lowered them both to the bed.
More about Debra:

Debra St. John has been reading and writing romance since high school. She always dreamed about publishing a romance novel some day. She lives in a suburb of Chicago with her husband, who is her real life hero. Her debut release, "This Time for Always" is a Champagne Rose and Rosebud bestseller at The Wild Rose Press. "Wild Wedding Weekend" was released last week. "This Can't Be Love" is coming soon from TWRP.

Feel free to visit her at her website http://www.debrastjohnromance.com/, or at The Acme Authors Link, where she is the Sunday Blogger http://acmeauthorslink.blogspot.com/.

Links to buy:




Sunday, April 11, 2010

Let's Talk Twilight

Writer to writer...

I never really had an interest in the series because I imagined it was geared toward teens, Young Adult which I typically don't read.  I listened to all the hype. I saw all the fuss. I've seen and heard a million reviews from stellar to trashing the author, the books, the editing. But I had no opinion as I had not read any of the books so why would I have an opinion.

I have to very honest here.  I admit I wondered what this author did with her story, how she made her vampires different, what the twist was that shot her to near-overnight success and movie deals! And I will also admit to being a wee bit envious.  Yet I still wasn't compelled to check it out.

Two years later, a co-worker at my day job, actually our office manager who is in her thirties, was totally drawn in and talked about nothing by Edward and Bella with pure AWE.  She was bowled over and living the story.  Mind you, this woman is NOT a reader.  She saw the movie, Twilight and liked it so much, she ran out and purchased the books--the entire series of books. To date she has read the series no less than seven times! 

Now my curiosity peaked and was getting the better of me because I wanted to know how Stephenie was able to draw someone in so deep that they didn't sleep at night because they just couldn't put the book down. She literally came into work happy, smiling and giddy(because of the books) and did I mention totally exhausted.    What is so special about this series that would drawn someone who is not a reader to such total devotion? 

I decided the only way I would find the answer is to take the time to check Ms. Meyer's work out for myself.  So the first thing I did was order the movies, "Twilight" and "New Moon" and I sat and watched both a couple of weekends ago. At first I wasn't so impressed but then something happened. I began to feel for Bella and Edward, and I fell into the story.  Actually swan dived...

The love growing between Edward and Bella was beautifully laid out and  so very tragic--a no win situation.  It just pulled you in so that you wanted the HEA so badly for them. But how can it be? How in the world can these two people so different secure any type of future together. One a mere human and one a monster--a vampire? So there you have it.  You need to keep going in order to see how poor Edward and Bella can make this work.  And it's not as simple as all that. There are so many other factors flying around this story that seem to work for and against the couple.  This author has done her job and done it very well.  Oh, and did I mention, this is not the typical YA.  This series works for any age.  It is such a wonderfully written love story full of sadness, humor, happiness, tragedy, every emotion will be tested and experienced.

Did I mention after I watched the movies, I got my hands on the books as well.  I have completed Twilight and Midnight Sun, which by the way, is a partial manuscript from Edward's POV following Twilight, that Ms. Meyer will sadly never finish because it somehow ended up published on the internet before its completion. Something we writers all fear. You can only read this draft on the website. If you would like more information on this draft please visit Stephenie Meyer's website. I do suggest you read it after your read book I because it gives you Edward's point of view and it will give you so much more insight into how much pain and confusion the brooding Edward is dealing with.

I look forward to New Moon which I will begin to read next weekend. Why you ask would I wait until next weekend to begin the next book?  Well, I read Twilight in five days(I do work a full time job) and Midnight Sun this weekend. Need I say more?  I really need to get some work done *grin*

Next question you may be wondering.  Why am I posting this?  Well, I wanted to give Stephenie Meyer kudos.  She is an exceptional writer of a genre I love, and I hope that someday my work will be accepted and loved as hers is and for good reason. 

If you are skeptical like I was because of what critics or peers are saying about this series, the only advise I have for you is to sit down and read it.  The movies are fine but they are nowhere as deep or well-rounded as the books.  As everyone knows, the books are always better.

I'd love to hear your thoughts and whether you have experienced this series.  BUT and this is a BIG but...Please donot give anything away as I am only just beginning New Moon and do not want to know anything past Twilight or Midnight Sun.  Do not ruin this for me:) My heart thanks you:)

Thank you Stephenie Meyer!


Thursday, April 8, 2010

Author Spotlight: Jason Barrett, Paranormal Romance

After several weeks we are back with my Author Spotlight segment, and I have to tell you that I am very excited to not only have a paranormal romance author but a MALE paranormal romance author for my new season of interviews.  How cool is that?  I can't wait to sit down and drill Jason about his great new book, Dead or a Lie, and dig into a male's take on love and romance, what's hot and what's not.  This is going to be alot of fun. So grab a cushion, something to drink and let's get this party started! 

Tell me about yourself. What makes you angry, happy, sad, snoopy dance?
Snoopy Dance? I don’t do the Snoopy Dance. Although the ladies in my romance group, CNYRW, are always taking about it and writing it on the loop I’m trying to keep some semblance of masculinity so I refrained from using the term. I use: That’s Great, That’s Awesome!, I’m so happy for you!, but, no, never the Snoopy Dance.

Oh, Jason, you know? I get that. Watching a guy snoopy dance... *shakes head and grimaces* well... just isn't a pretty picture, LOL

Angry? I suppose still social injustices and prejudices. It’s been that way since I was a youth, It’s a core value and I can’t understand hatred fostered by appearance or beliefs.

I hear that and whole-heartedly agree.

Happy? I’m just the opposite of the Dr. Phil’s saying, “When Mama’s not happy ain’t nobody happy.” I prefer to think of it in this way, “When the family’s happy, Papa’s happy.” Nothing that makes me happier than happy faces, especially those of my family.
Sad? I get sad from not being able to “fix it.” As a husband and father I’ve almost always been able to “fix” the problem, whether it be a broken heart, skinned knee, broken doll or broken furnace. When I run into things I can’t make right for my family it seems to threaten my place in the world and that makes me sad.

Spoken like a true father, Jason.  That's what dads do:)

Also, I get sad when I think of the kind of world my children will have to raise their children in. There’s way too much violence and a certain disconnection between the people that make up our society, whether it’s our neighborhoods or the world. The heart is missing. I can only hope that things will change for the better.

Oh Jason, you are so right. I grew up in a neighborhood where everyone knew each other and noone's doors were locked.  Kids could wander the neighborhood and play in anyone's house without a worry! Today our neighborhoods are closed and most times you don't even know who lives next door. Fortunately, for me, my immediate neighbors are wonderful but that is within a three house radius in all directions. I have no clue whose around me further out.

What inspired you to write your first book?
Social injustice inspired my first book. I never finished the book as I was seventeen at the time and other things took precedence, yes hormones and dating, but social injustices still make me angry. As soon as one starts to be resolved another one jumps up and rears its ugly head. Sadly, it’s been that way since the beginning of time and doesn’t appear to be ending soon.

How do you decide on the topics for your books?

Usually it’s something I’ve seen real life that catches my interest. For 'Dead Or A Lie' it was an episode of Extreme Home Makeover. The crew made a sun safe home for a family with a child with a sun allergy. I thought about it for days and began to create my new world accordingly. The book has nothing to do with that Home Makeover episode but the situation and the onset of the affliction gave birth to my new world.

Ooohhh...great fodder for a vampire story. Sun-safe dwelling. I see how that could get the juices going.
 Do you write to make money or for the love of writing?

The first book I actually finished was a story that needed to be told. So that was for the love of writing. The characters and story rattled around in my head for years and it needed, demanded to be written. So I wrote it, and I will always love that book more than any other book I’ll ever write. I break the process of writing a book into two distinct parts. Writing the book is pleasure, and I love to do it. When the book is written it then becomes the business end of the process but I still feel that I’ll always write whether I make money or not. And I think anyone reading this knows exactly what I’m taking about.

Absolutely.  And we writers know that unless really fortunate, most of us will make some income but may never become rich.  I totally get what you are saying. I love to write stories because for me each little world I create and each character is my escape from the nasties of reality.  I know I'm in deep when I seem to stay in the fiction world even when I am living real life. It's like that movie you loved and you just can't shake.

What are some traditional methods of marketing you have used to gain visibility for you and your book(s)?
Of course I have a website, http://www.jasonbarret.com/, and have contracted with several romance sites for online advertisement. I also have an ad in the February edition of the RWR and one in the March RT magazine. As far as drawing attention to myself I plan on doing interviews and author spotlights on Long and Short Reviews, The Romance Studio, Coffee Time Romance and the Vampire Romance Books site, but this will actually be my very first author interview, thank you Dayana!

OMG! A virgin too?  I love it, LOL  You are very welcome, Jason.  I love having you here. You are always welcome here.
What is your favorite holiday? And why?

I love Christmas. Not for the presents but for the family side of it. I loved seeing the kid’s faces on Christmas morning when they came down the stairs and saw the tree all lit up with the presents under it. It was a time of wonder, and I could see it in their eyes. I still see that wonder in my grandchildren and when I play Santa each year at an elementary school, K-2nd, where my wife works. I suppose it’s selfish because the children are so unconditional with their love for Santa. I guess that’s my present to me.

It is such a beautifully festive time of year. It and Halloween are my favorites. I remember being that child who couldn't sleep for anything and who ran to wake my parents up who had just gotten to bed because I just couldn't wait a moment longer!  Then the only light was the beautiful Christmas tree and the mountains of presents! OMG! It seemed truly like mountains when you are so small.  Also, the crumbs on the plate and the milk gone where we'd set them out for Santa.  Oops! Sorry, got carried away...

Do you write every day? Or when the muse strikes?

I work as a construction inspector from spring to late fall, even winter. This year I was in the field on December 28th working with a crew in a minus 14 degree below zero wind chill factor. It was cold, and I was very happy to leave it all behind and start writing again. Normally I try to write whenever I can but long days at work sometimes interfere with my writing. Now, during the winter, I will try to write daily in the quiet solitude of the empty house.

I hear that.  Working a full-time job can crimp a writer's style:)  I live in that world as well.

Are you someone who can write on demand? Or do you have to stew and coax an idea before you sit down and write? Or maybe you write when the muse knocks you upside your head, like me?

I can write on demand but only if I can get myself to sit down and open the darn book! That’s my hardest part- avoidance. I’m not sure where it comes from but I’ve spoken about it with other authors, and they too have experienced this. One actually told me she’d rather dust the house with a Q-tip rather than sit down to write! She does have several books published though.

Wow! That's heavy... I can not write on demand and only sit down to have at it when something needs to be written.  Unfortunately, sometimes a lot of time passes before that happens. Once I get into a project, I'm usually okay.
Where do you write?

We have a study upstairs where my wife works on her photograph and I write. It’s quiet and away from the rest of the house. I can’t write with distracting noises like the radio, or TV. I just loose total concentration when I hear those things and it takes me some time to get back into the moment.

When do you read? Where?

I just got a Kindle and I love it. It actually read my book to me. How cool is that? I normally read while on vacation usually in a beach chair; sunglasses on, Pepsi to my side and a willingness to nod off whenever I want. I enjoy reading books by fellow authors from my romance group, CNYRW, like Alee Drake, Mary Reed McCall, Gayle Callen, Christine Wenger, Maggie Shayne and CJ Barry. Unfortunately, I had to stop reading Maggie’s books in fear that it would influence my thoughts when creating my world of vampires. There are so many wonderful others in our group I can’t name them all here. I try to sneak in some reading on my lap top, now my Kindle, while on break when substitute teaching in the winters.

Where do you go to think?

I do my best thinking while driving. One of my daughters lived in Virginia and it was a 10 hour drive so I would have my trusty recorder available to record any good ideas I came up with while driving. I also go to sleep while plotting my books. I don’t know how beneficial it is because I probably forget half of what I was thinking but it helps push out the day to day stressors.

How do you come up with your title and main characters’ names?

The title to Dead Or A Lie was recognized by one of my critique partners, Alee Drake. We were in critique one night and while I was reading a dramatic scene from the heroine’s black moment Alee stopped me and said “That’s your title, Dead Or A Lie.” She was right; I hope everyone loves the book as much as the title!

Oh, I'm sure they will and the title begs me to read it. I really must get a hold of it. Do you put pieces of yourself or your life in your stories?

Yes, I think my values are always part of my books. I really don’t like a lot of violence and I love a happy ending, and that’s why I turned to Romance. My first book got a little too close for comfort. I tried to write in the same way some actors prepare for a part by using method acting. In method acting you bring yourself to a point in your own life that is associated with the emotional you need to portray. That first book had a lot of conflict and sadness so I was continually bringing myself to different points in my real life that stirred emotions needed for that scene. Bad idea- won’t do that again.

Funny you should say that, Jason.  A really emotionally distressing time brought me back to writing in the year 2000. I'd lost my father and my first Sheltie, Kazzy both to cancer within months of one another and writing through the grief is what helped me. So I can definitely relate to what you are saying.

 Do you have an upcoming release?

Yes, 'Dead Or A Lie' released on February 19th by the Wild Rose Press. It will be in both e-format and paperback. In 'Dead Or A Lie' I create a new genre of vampire. A group of vampires caught somewhere half way between man and beast. An ancient ritual promises to produce a savior, the Sacrosanct. She will bring those unbound by the shackles of hell back to the world of the living. The vampire hero has waited centuries for the coming of the Sacrosanct but now that she has arrived can he help her fulfill her destiny before the evil Lord Trevacular captures and destroys her? I really thought the day would never come but now that it has come and gone I am so excited. You can find me at The Wild Rose Press or you can always look on my site.

What do you do for relaxation?

I like to kayak with my wife, Janice. We paddle up some streams where you can almost believe no man or woman has ever traveled before. When we get close to a picturesque site or we spot some sort of wildlife she puts down her paddle and picks up her camera. Then says, “Scout, get me in close.” We’ve paddled up to within a few feet of a doe (female deer) resting under an evergreen tree on the edge of the stream. We also like to golf without keeping score and I personally enjoy restoring my 1972 MGB European sports car.

Dayana you’ve asked me how and why a man actually got involved with romance so here it goes.

Yes! and that is a question we hit on when we talked about this interview and I am so glad you brought it up, Jason.  This is something I'm sure would interest readers and authors alike.  Please do tell all:)

I had just finished that first tragic novel, Unrequited Love. I think the title was a give away to everyone but me, but what did I know. I was a guy who primarily read Sci-Fi and mysteries but was now writing a story I needed to tell. I bought a copy of Writers Guide and from the short description I knew I was holding a Romance novel. So out of the blue I looked up a local romance author, Mary Reed McCall, and asked her advice. She was so nice just to take a phone call from a total stranger, but she did and suggested that I go to a conference that was hosted by the Central New York Romance Writers in Syracuse, New York. So I did.

I walked into a room with 80 or more romance writers and slapped a name tag on my shirt. I was greeted very warmly and introduced all around, you see, Mary had called ahead! I was in awe. I wasn’t prepared to be in a room with so may other authors, it’s a memory and feeling I’ll never forget. There were Sci-Fi writers, paranormal writers, time travel, historical, you name it they were there and all there to listen to Deb Dixon speak about GMC, a lucky day for me in so many ways.

Then came lunch, I was waved to a seat at a table by my future critique partners. We all ate and talked excitedly about the conference and our works in progress. When it was my turn I jumped right into a verbal short synopsis of my book, then it happened. I told them that my heroine died at mid-book. Gasps, forks dropped, and a deadly silence enveloped the table. At my best memory there were ten little pairs of unbelieving eyes just staring at me in utter disbelief. I thought I swore and didn’t realize it. Finally, my soon to be critique partners, Alee Drake and Jenna Gray, took pity on me and delicately told me that my book was not a romance but, not a problem, everyone is welcome at the CNYRW group. I came to understand romance writing with their help and I’ve been a member of the RWA and CNYRW since that day. A reviewer once said to my editor, Amanda Barnet, “you can tell it’s written by a guy!”
“Thank God,” I thought to myself.

Great story, Jason. Thank you so much for sharing so much of yourself here today.  I am so glad to have had the chance to get to know you better and you can be sure I will be purchasing my copy of Dead or a Lie right away.

Below is an excerpt from Dead or A Lie:

“If there’s a scenic route back to Astoria, I guess we took it. Here let me get your door.” He stepped out of the car.

“I can manage.” But as she opened her door, he was already there. “Now that was quick. I suppose in the rest of your spare time you do a little sprint training too? Okay, Mr. Sir Lancelot, you win.” She gracefully extended her hand, which he took. On the way up the dark walkway to her front door, she took her keys from her jacket pocket. Instinctively, she let several of them slide between her fingers, allowing them to protrude past her knuckles. She made a fist, transforming her hand into a formidable weapon.

As they approached the foyer, the warnings she had gotten from the stranger on the internet, Man O War, and Charlie raced through her mind. A battle raged within her, a battle between those warnings and her heart. She gripped the keys tighter, all the while cursing herself for doing so. When they reached the door she turned and when she did, their eyes locked. However, she saw no threat in his dark gaze. Despite the closeness of the foyer and the shadows surrounding them, she loosened her grip on the keys. First, allowing them to dangle with her pinky through the key ring and finally she slipped them back into her pocket. For this moment, the battle was over.

“It’s been a wonderful evening, Lee. I hope we can do it again.” He paused and she saw his eyes grow vacant, like when he looked out the window at the sea, but this time he was staring into the depths of her eyes—her soul.

I wonder what he’s thinking. Is he afraid to make the first move? Oh to hell with it.

She leaned into him and her hand rose to his cheek. He didn’t retreat. He didn’t protest. Instead, he turned and gently kissed her fingertips. Lee let her hand slide to the back of his neck and pulled him closer. He smiled as she gently played with his long hair. Her breath quickened, and the heat rose within her. She kissed him gently. When she released him he lingered at her lips barely touching them with his and then he kissed her cheek. “Beautiful,” he whispered.

Hmm… me or my perfume. Either way is fine with me.

He embraced her, his powerful arms pulled her as close as two bodies could get without being one, and she felt his passion rise. His need obvious. As they kissed his hand slipped down and pulled her into the cradle of his thighs. A too long absent heat raced through her. She wanted more and pushed forward against his hardness, their burning desire now only separated by the delicate threads of their clothing. Yes, she wanted more of his touch—more of him.

“Luke,” was all that quietly escaped from her lips. This time there was no questioning his passion in their kiss, but just as quickly as it peaked, and he pushed himself away, removing her arms from around his neck. He brought her hands to his lips, kissed both palms, and gently released her.

“I’d better go,” his words were barely audible.

She delayed speaking for a moment. “Yes, I suppose so. Maybe it is a little too soon to get things messy.”

“You’re right. I shouldn’t have. I’m sorry.”

“Well, I wouldn’t actually say that,” she said giving him a demure smile, “and don’t be sorry. I enjoyed every minute of the evening.”

“I’ll see you at work tomorrow, Lee. I had a great time too,” but his sad smile told a different story.

“Me too, Luke. I’ll see you tomorrow. We can do that blood sample thing. I’ve been thinking that I should put the lab level on my security rounds anyway. After all, the autopsy room is right next door, and we don’t want any of those bodies walking off on us, now do we?”

“Yeah, that whole walking dead thing, doesn’t it just creep you out?” he asked, followed by a gallows laugh. “See you tomorrow. Good night, Lee.”

“Night.” Lee slipped her key into the lock and entered the building, looking back one last time at Luke through the glass pane. He gave her a playful salute and headed back to his car. When he got in, she saw him hit the steering wheel with the heel of his hand.

Once inside her apartment she heard the predictable greeting from Rocky. “Hello, Doll,” but she was also greeted by something that took her by complete surprise. A fragrance so enchanting, so lovely, she stopped for a moment and inhaled it, as Luke had her perfume. Wanting to make the moment last, she slipped into a warm tub and the heavy, moist air mixed with the scent of the jasmine in an intoxicating way. “Thank you, Luke,” she closed her eyes and allowed herself to slip further into the water until it was just below her chin. With her eyes closed, she inhaled the steamy elixir. “Could you be the one?”


The tires only chirped when he drove away from the curb, but as soon as he was a short distance from her door he slammed the gearshift violently into second, then third, and right on through to fifth gear. He rocketed towards the quickest route out of city and to a winding country road he had visited countless times before. He attacked each curve, each bend in the road as if it were his enemy. At every turn, he tempted fate with his ungodly speed. The scream of his tires echoed through the mountains like a lonely mournful cry. His tires cried for hours that night.

More about Jason:
Jason grew up in Upstate New York at the foot of the Adirondack Mountains where he still resides with his wife and high school sweetheart, Janice. They now have two married daughters, and two grandsons. Jason enjoys activities like kayaking with Janice, candle making, and restoring his antique MGB, a European sports car. The experiences he’s accumulated over the years with his first and only love, Janice, and then their wonderful children help him write of relationships. His college background in math and science inspire him when writing Sci-Fi and Paranormal.

He started his first unfinished book when he was seventeen and has had a few other starts before actually beginning a book that he eventually finished. That book still awaits publication but he’s moved on to other projects, including his new release, Dead Or A Lie, published by The Wild Rose Press . Jason enjoys writing of relationships, real science twisted enough to make a new world come to life, and things belonging to the realm of the paranormal.

Jason’s site: http://www.jasonbarret.com/
Purchase Dead or a Lie

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Author Spotlight: Dayana Knight Answers All

Hello, everyone. Welcome and thank you all for joining me today.  I am also doing a simulcast with The Pink Fuzzy Slipper Writers Blog today, so hop over and check them out, too. Who knows what questions are going to be asked of me:)
As promised I am open and ready to answer whatever question you toss at me to the best of my ability, LOL  Many people have responded via email. I have posted each of the questions below along with the name of the person who asked it.  Feel free to shoot questions at me today as well if you just dropped by and hadn't had a chance to email me one.  If I receive a lot of questions within the comments section, I will set up a second post so everyone is visible on the blog and readers don't have to peruse the comments for Q&A.

I will drop in this evening(day job you know) and over the next couple of days to catch up with people who may drop in later.
Something tells me that these questions will have nothing at all with the craft of writing and everything to do with...


well shall we begin?

Jennifer Mathis asks:

Well since it is April Fools, I have to ask are you a practical joke kind of person and if so what do you think is you best practical joke?

Actually, Jennifer, like the clipart at the beginning denotes, no, I'm not really good at that kind of stuff.  I was always lingering in the background so as NOT to be the brunt of a practical joke. But, hey! You know, this stunt here might change things up a bit.  LOL I'd have to say this is my best practical joke--and it's on me!

Mary Marvella asks:

How old were you when you lost your first tooth? 
Geez, I truly don't remember but I do remember the agony of the tooth hanging by a thread and why is it you couldn't help but to play with the darned thing with your tongue.  I also remember placing the errant tooth under my pillow, the Tooth Fairy visits and finding some  cold hard cash in the morning in place of that pesky tooth:)

Do you remember your first boy friend?
Absolutely!  He was awesome and probably all but 12:) I used to go to the Little League field to gaze upon him.

Who was the first boy you kissed and how old were you?
His name was Joe and he lived in the next town over. I think I was 13 and he was 15.  He gave me my first piece of jewelry too.  It was a small garnet birthstone pendant that was simple and very pretty. I still have it.  He broke up with me by telling me I was too good for him. My translation: He was wanting more than  I could give:)  A gentleman at a very young age. A very special memory.

Do you have a tattoo, where, and of what?
No. Not a one.  I have wanted to get one for years--a tramp stamp which is the low back one, LOL but I am too chicken:) I don't like needles all that much.  Do what I have to but the thought of being poked at a constant rate for a long period of time... I don't think so. 

What is the strangest food combination you like?
M&Ms and cornflakes in milk(weird when I did it but now we have Chocolate Cheerios, so... And yes, I like them*grin*)  I also used to put maple syrup in milk as a kid.

Sharon Donovan asks:

What birthday was hardest for you to deal with and what did you do that could be considered zany to combat it?
Clever way to ask me how old I am, LOL.  Let's see. No birthday was really that hard for me but with age comes other changes that are very painful for me.  That midlife spread around the middle is haunting me now and I just cannot seem to get rid of it.  I find time has stripped some of my energy as I get into things I did without any thought and now realize I'm not as--shall we say-- spry as I used to be, LOL  BTW: I stopped aging/celebrating at thirty-five, just so you know *grin*

Mary Ricksen asks:

Do you have dreams involving sex? In color?
Absolutely!  Where do you think I get some of those sex scene ideas?  Color? Not sure. I think they are but I'm usually too busy to notice:)

Do any of your stories have a basis in reality?
Yes. Actually I mention or use several things from my life in my first book.  I do model character's morality, thoughts, mannerisms around people in my life. And sometimes things I myself have experienced.  In fact, my second book Curse of the Marhime was born of a real life rather strange experience. I believe that there is a certain realism added through "real" life in fiction.

Lisa Finch asks:

What is the freakiest paranormal thing that ever happened to you?
I would have to say messing with a Quija board when I was probably at the cusp of my teen years.  My neighbor had a board and a creepy house.  She was older than me(late teens, early twenties) but she tolerated me, LOL We were playing with the thing one night and it began to take a life of its own which totally freaked us both out and needless to say we abandoned the thing, and I never touched another board in all these years!  I have to add I never will expecially after watching Paranormal Experiment.  That just plain freaked me out!

Keena Lykens asks:

If you could time travel with any fictional character, who would it be with, where would you go and would you eat the local cuisine?
I would have to say Aragorn from Lord of the Rings.  I would go anywhere with him, LOL  As far as partaking in the local food, it would definitely depend on what the local cuisine was.  I do draw the line at organs and bugs, etc. As well any animal in depicted in the story Bambi:) But generally, I'm not a picky eater:)
Jackie Sajonjo asks:
What is the scarriest thing you've ever done?
You may not believe this but I have to say my scariest moment was when I posted my first piece of writing to a critique group(my first) and hit the 'send' button.  I was so nervous, I shook and was near to panic and remorse as I awaited the first response.

My next panick-filled fearful moment was when I sent my first manuscript to an editor per her request.  I beat myself up and refused to open her eventual email for fear of what it would say. LOL she asked my why I was hiding my work.  She loved it and wanted to contract it.  As FDR said, "the only thing to fear is fear itself." And I firmly believe that, LOL Though each time I put myself out there I am honestly afraid.  Afraid I or my work will be rejected.  Natural, but significant.

Paranormal fright?  Well...the Quija incident I mention above and I used to have nightmares that I awoke bodily harmed afterwards--meaning I would have bruises and marks on my body in the exact places I was hurt in my dreams which were all very strange.  I discovered that the root of my very frightening dreams were all the hardcore horror books I was reading.  When I stopped reading them the dreams stopped. 

Oh and once my brother hid under my bed in the dark. I came in (I never worried about turning lights on, still don't to this day. Good night vision. Must be one of shifter traits:) sat down on the bed he grabbed my ankles.  If I weren't so young,  I would have died on the spot of a heartattack.  What are brothers for? I ask.

Catherine Bybee asks:

Where was the most outragious place you ever.....???
On the X-ray table in my office.  It was cold and very uncomfortable but we had nowhere else to go. I wondered what the heck I was thinking...  I mean geez, all kinds of people touch and lay on this table.  Why in the world would I ever...

Oh! No!  you are all thinking...

No... no... I'm talking about having lunch in the X-ray room because the kitchen was already full of people and...

Oh get your minds out of the gutter. Next you'll all be thinking I lured some unsuspecting hunk of a patient into my lair on the pretence of an extended x-ray exam and well...you get the picture I'm sure;)

Thank you for all the wonderful questions. And, not a one about writing! This has been a blast. Please be sure to tune in on Thursdays and check out who is in the hot seat each week. Also, if you'd like a heads up on what's going on here, please join Dayana's Happening. Just scroll down on the right sidebar of the my blog and click Yahoo Group "Join this group".

Oh and thank you Fuzzies for inviting me to simulcast this event on your blog today as well.

Author Spotlight and April Fools with a twist:)

As you all know April 1st is not only the kickoff of my Author Spotlight this year, it is also April Fool's Day, so I thought I would put myself in the hotseat on for this silly holiday. Foolish I know but I am opening myself up to YOUR questions. Send me a question between the dates of March 21 and 27th, and I will answer the things YOU want to know about moi:)

Almost anything is game. Let's have some fun, shall we? Best question will earn you a surprise gift. The jury's still out on what that will be but surprises are always nice, aren't they?
Send your questions to my email addie: gothscribegirl@aol.com and please put "Fool's Questions" in the subject line.  Please DONOT post questions on this blog as comments. They WILL NOT be answered.
Looking forward to receiving your questions, so think up some doosies, LOL

As promised, Jason Barrett and Debra St. John spotlight dates are Jason, April 8th and Debra, April 15th. I will also have Barbara Monajem, April 22nd.  Stay tuned for many more of your favorite authors throughout the spring and summer months.

Now I'm back to my new erotic, working title, Unchain My Mortality.