Category Archives: Author Interviews

Hello and Goodbye

BY MORGAN BLACKTHORNE

Painter_LastBlood-MMToday marks the release of many books, but the authors of two in particular, Last Blood by Kristen Painter and Sanctuary Island by Lily Everett, have joined us today to talk about what it’s like to end an epic series and start a very emotional one. Last Blood is the final book in the action-packed gothic vampire urban fantasy series, House of Comarre, while Sanctuary Island begins the heart-tugging exploration of romance in a wild horse sanctuary on a small Virginia island.

Fairy Tales

By BONNIE DEE & MARIE TREANOR

Bonnie: First, we’d like to you thank you, Divas, for hosting us on your blog and giving us the opportunity to take about the series of adult fairytales we’ve co-authored.

Marie: Why fairytales? Well, everyone loves them. The whole romance genre is based around the idea of living happily ever after with a handsome prince (or princes) of one kind or another. And it seems to us that every woman, including ourselves, has a special place in our hearts for the stories we were told as children. Only we’re not children; we have more adult expectations and understandings of emotions, trust, respect and, of course, sex.

Spotlight On, Julie Anne Lindsey

In a town filled with her past, she never expected to find her future…

Seven years ago Cynthia left Honey Creek with a broken heart. Three years ago Mitchell arrived with one. Now Cynthia’s come home, and these two hardened hearts can’t stop arguing. If they’d only take a break long enough to find some common ground, they might be surprised to find love can grow anywhere.
If they’ll let it, love will find a way to Bloom.


*Bloom is book one in my new Seeds of Love series. I’ll be planting those seeds all year.

Please tell us about yourself and what made you start writing?

My name is Julie Anne Lindsey and I am an obsessive reader, a writer, a blogger, a wife & a mother of three. I used to write for posterity, to log the ins-and-outs of my kids’ lives. I read a book a few years ago that captivated me, and a switch flipped. After that, I wanted to write a story that would affect other readers the way my favorite authors have affected me. Suddenly, I wanted to impact someone too. I want to reach out and put a smile on a stranger’s face.  This is me trying.

Can you tell us a little bit about your new release? How did you come up with the idea?

Bloom is the story of a heart broken girl who ran away from her grief for a long time. Now, she has to come home and it’s harder than she expected. Everyone has moved on. She’s not the town sweetheart anymore. Her friends have families and the town has a new golden boy – who seems to hate her for no good reason.

The story was born of one of my favorite sayings: Bloom where you’re planted. And the sassy heroine was inspired by the Reese Witherspoon character in Sweet Home Alabama. Best movie ever.

What propelled you to write BLOOM?

I feel like I have a special connection with Honey Creek. I grew up in a small Ohio town and got into my share of trouble. Avoidance was my way of dealing with lots of things for many years. The head-in-a-hole method works amazingly well until it doesn’t. Writing Bloom, I wondered how a heroine who ran away from her life would handle having to come home…even just for a visit. Plus, everyone deserves an epic romance, a toe curling love, especially someone who’d been so sad for so long. I had to help her!

Did you have a solid support system when you chose to write romance or did you have anyone disapprove of your decision?

I write sweet romance, so I don’t have the same issues and considerations many of my fellow romance writers have. I didn’t need to consider a pen name or what my church, family, or children’s teachers would think. For what it’s worth, I think all that junk is extremely unfortunate. Writers are artists and we should be able to write from the heart, uninhibited, and tell the story we have to tell without all those stone-tossing-glass-house-dwellers…but then again no one asked me and who am I anyway? LOL.

Do you have a daily ritual to get you in the “writing zone”?

No, no ritual unless frenzy could be considered a ritual. I write all day every day, anytime I can steal a minute. I have three kids 8 and under, so those writerly moments are fast and fleeting. I do what I can before they get up and again after they go to bed. I’ve also been known to blog from my phone while locked in the bathroom. Though, a closed door isn’t much of a deterrence for these guys. I just keep plugging away believing every word counts.

What is the most difficult part of your writing journey? What is the most exciting part?

I have a tough time with the waiting and the rejection. Waiting is part of the life, I know but I am always waiting on things and it drives me bazonkers. The rejection is hard too, especially when you think something is perfect and others don’t. Again, I know, that’s how it goes. But, it can be tough. The “We love this…but no.” is the worst. LOL. Those can make a girl drink from the bottle.

My favorite part is all the other writers I’ve met, both online and in person. I feel a sisterhood with complete strangers and I love it. This is a great business to be in if you love people because the writing community is brilliant. They are funny and encouraging and downright inspiring. I keep trying harder thanks to all the wonderful friends I’ve made through writing.

What is the most extreme or wildest thing you’ve done and what did you learn about yourself?

Until I had my first child, my whole life was a series of crazy decisions and impulsivity. In high school I got a tattoo from a skeevy looking guy who accepted a 40 oz of malt liquor and a pack of Marlboro menthols as payment from a 16 year old. In college I had my belly button pierced during a night I barely recall. I’ve walked the plank form an actual pirate ship in Barbados and peed in a bathroom marked “Wenches.” It’s only during these last 8 years that I’m learning to find adventure in the understated. I know from my past that I’m fearless and from my present that I am tenacious. By looking at the big picture, it’s easy to see how much people can change.

Any last words for your readers?

Writing this sweet romance series was a wonderful experience for me. The characters are close to my heart and more than once I’ve thought of them in terms of calling for some reason, only to remember they aren’t real. LOL. Sleep deprivation +caffeine & a great imagination do those things. I hope you’ll consider a visit to Honey Creek. It’s a beautiful place where anything can happen. Kick off your shoes, relax into that porch swing and cuddle up to a steamy mug of hot tea. Taking a trip to Honey Creek is as easy as Amazon : ) See you there!

What should we expect from you in the future?

I have a series of sweet romances coming to Honey Creek this year. The series is called Seeds of love and I’ll be planting those seeds throughout 2012. I also finished a novel length sweet romance coming next year for the same line.

Outside of romance, the first book in my Killer Confections Saga is coming in April. The title is Death by Chocolate and it’s delicious tale of murderous proportions.

I am a mother of three, wife to a sane person and Ring Master at the Lindsey Circus. Most days you’ll find me online, amped up on caffeine & wielding a book.

You can find my blogging about the writer life at Musings from the Slush Pile

Tweeting my crazy at @JulieALindsey

Reading to soothe my obsession on GoodReads

And other books by me on Amazon

Author of the Month, Gemma Halliday

 

Gemma is giving away an print ARC of SOCIAL SUICIDE. To get your name in the drawing, all you have to do is leave a comment. A winner will be chosen at random and will be notifiied via email. Please leave an email addy if it is not available on your profile.

You’re best known for your SPYING IN HIGH HEELS mystery series and now you’ve added Young Adult fiction to your resume. How difficult was it to transition between genres?

Actually, it wasn’t that difficult.  I just had to tap into my immature side (which was embarrassingly easy) and away it went.  My teen books are a lot like my adult mysteries – the tone is very similar –  it’s just that the subject matter and content is more geared to a younger audience.

Did you have any concerns when you worked on your first teen mystery series or did it come naturally for you? Did you have help with the teen lingo and mental angst in your storytelling?

My biggest concern was sounding “fake teen” or using lingo that real teens don’t actually use anymore.  Things change so fast in the teen world!  Luckily, my son is a tween himself, so he helped me out whenever I had lingo questions.

How many books did you write before you sold?

I wrote five books before number six finally sold for me.

Can you tell us a little bit your current release? How did you come up with the idea?

I’m totally thrilled about my new release (coming out December 1st at Barnes & Noble and January 1st everywhere else)!  It’s the sixth installment in my High Heels Mysteries, titled FEARLESS IN HIGH HEELS.  I had planned on ending this series with book #5, so it’s been a few years since I’ve had a chance to revisit these characters.  Writing about them again was so much fun, that I plan to continue the series indefinitely now.

Here’s a short blurb about the book:

FEARLESS IN HIGH HEELS

Morning sickness sucks. Which is why fashion designer turned amateur sleuth Maddie Springer has spent the last six weeks being a couch potato and Moonlight movie devotee. But when Maddie’s best friends finally convince her to venture out, Maddie stumbles on a dead body of a girl who has been bitten on the neck, and life imitates art in the most deadliest of ways. Now Maddie is smack in the middle of a murder investigation involving a deadly dance club and a coven of Hollywood “vampires”. Not to mention navigating the world of baby showers, diaper genies and Lamaze classes with her LAPD Homicide detective husband who would rather his pregnant wife not continue popping up in his murder investigation. Between the hormones, the homicides, and a flurry of fangs, Maddie and her gang work to track down the deadly truth… before the killer bites again!

Out of an ocean of published authors, you’ve done very well for yourself in the self pub market. How does it feel to be a sort of leader in this new publishing direction? 

I’m not sure if I’m a leader, since there are so many authors I look up to who are doing very well also.  But it does feel great to have other publishing options.  I’m actually doing a series of blog posts at Killer Fiction this month on self-publishing, my numbers, and what’s worked for me.  So if anyone else out here is thinking of giving it a try, please stop by with questions in hand!

www.KillerFiction.net

Barnes and Noble has been a big supporter of your writing endeavors. How does it feel to write a sequel to your popular SPYING IN HIGH HEELS series and being asked to release exclusively through them for the first month? That’s a big honor, so what was your reaction to this?

I’ll admit, I was actually a little nervous at first. Lol!  I know a lot of my readers are Kindle based, so I was worried about what their reaction to having to wait a month longer to get the book might be.  But so far, it’s been fine.  And I’ve actually heard from quite a few people who plan to download the free Nook app to their computer for the first time in order to get the book when it first release.  So I hope this means lots of extra business for Barnes & Noble, too!  They’ve been wonderfully supportive of me, and I really think they have excellent system in place for self-publishers with their PubIt! program.

What personal goals have you made for yourself this year?

Oh, I have a lot of them for the new year, but my top three are:

1) Slow down!  I’ve been writing at a break-neck speed for the past two years and am ready to take it more slowly and really enjoy writing again, as opposed to worrying about the deadlines.

2) Read more!  I think I’ve managed to read one book all year other than my own.  So I really need to carve out some time to read again.

3) Self-publish more!  Even from the time I first started self-publishing (18 months ago) to now, technology has gone so fast that some of my methods are outdated.  I definitely want to put more focus into this aspect of my career in the near future.

Tell us one thing or habit that you have that no one knows! 

I keep chocolate candy in my desk drawer.  Shhh, don’t tell my kids!

What should we expect from you in the future?

I have a new series debuting in hardcover called PLAY NICE, March 14th, that I am super excited about.  We’re fielding some film offers for this project now, so I hope to have more good news to share on that front as the release date gets closer.

I also have the second book in my young adult series, SOCIAL SUICIDE, coming out in April 2012, which I’m thrilled about as my oldest son insisted I write him into it as a character.  Ten points to anyone who can pick him out!  ;)

Gemma had a hard time figuring out what she wanted to be when she grew up. She worked as a film and television actress, a teddy bear importer, a department store administrator, a preschool teacher, a temporary tattoo artist, and a 900 number psychic, before finally selling her first book, Spying in High Heels, in 2005 and deciding to be a writer.

Since then, Gemma has written several mystery novels and been the recipient of numerous awards, including a National Reader’s Choice award and three RITA nominations.

Gemma now makes her home in the San Francisco Bay area where she is hard at work on her next book.

To learn more about Gemma, visit her at:

www.gemmahalliday.com


 

 

Spotlight On, Stacey Kennedy

Stacey Kennedy’s novels are lighthearted fantasy with heart squeezing, thigh-clenching romance, and even give a good chuckle every now and again. But within the stories you’ll find fast paced action, life threatening moments and a big bad villain that needs to be destroyed.

Her urban fantasy/paranormal and erotic romance series have hit Amazon Kindle and All Romance Ebooks Bestseller lists. If she isn’t plugging away at her next novel, tending to her two little ones, she’s got her nose deep in a good book. She lives in Ontario, Canada with her husband.

Be sure to drop her a line at www.staceykennedy.com, Facebook and Twitter, she loves to hear from her readers.

Please tell us about yourself and what made you start writing?

My novels are lighthearted fantasy, heart squeezing, thigh-clenching romance, and even give a good chuckle every now and again.  I’m not a planner.  I don’t write with a set idea because no matter what I plan, the characters’ voices always come through and demand I listen to them. So, I gave up trying to fight it!

The journey as a writer all began when I was a teen and wrote poetry, which still to this day I pull out to have a good laugh.  Later on, I tried a couple of times to put a book together with no such luck.  Couldn’t ever get past the first few chapters.  But once I was exposed to the paranormal world, ideas came quickly.

At first, it was a way to keep my brain alive since being a stay at home mom can be a little let’s say―numbing. It was an escape from screaming kids, dirty diapers and plain old mom duty.  It started as a hobby, but as the stories progressed it became a passion. Now, I indulge at nap time, especially the juicy bits! Every mom needs a good thrill!

How long did it take before you were published? Was it everything that you thought it would be?

After I finished my first story, The Willow, it took around six months to get that publishing contract in my inbox. It was everything I wanted…and more.  I’ve learned a great deal since I released The Willow, and every contract I’ve received since still makes me jump up and down in excitement.

Can you tell us a little bit about your new release? How did you come up with the idea?

My latest release is BIND ME ~ Pact of Seduction Book One. I came up with the idea because I wanted to write a story about four best friends. Add in the fact that I wanted to include their ultimate fantasy, and I knew it’d be a fun series to write.

What propelled you to write urban fantasy/paranormal romances?

I love the paranormal romance/urban fantasy genre and love a series more!! Nothing can hook me in more than an adventure and one that keeps on going. I love a page turner, one where I’m up at a ridiculous time and my eyes burn because I can’t stop reading. Witty characters, dominant men, danger, action, romance and hot sex―oh my!

 Need I say more?

Did you have a solid support system when you chose to write romance or did you have anyone disapprove of your decision?

My family is very supportive of my writing. In truth, though, they don’t really know what I write. When I was first published, The Willow has love scenes, but they’re “sweet” in nature.

During the year that I was published, I dabbled into erotic romance, and I’ve never let my family read those because…well…it’s too weird for me. So we leave it at–they know I write sexy stories, they’re proud of me, but they don’t need to read them.

Do you have a daily ritual to get you in the “writing zone”?

Coffee. I need it. I love it. I can’t live without it!

What is the most difficult part of your writing journey? What is the most exciting part?

I love writing the first draft of a story. I don’t plot out my stories so it’s much like reading to me. I can’t wait to see what happens next and see where the characters take me.

The difficult part of the writing process for me is revisions. It’s always challenging, and tends to get a wee bit boring when you’ve read the story ten times. Trust me, usually by the end of edits, I hate the book, and that’s how I know it’s ready for publication! :)

What is the most extreme or wildest thing you’ve done and what did you learn about yourself?

Wrote a book and then published it! I never thought I’d be an author. Never had big dreams. I just kinda stumbled upon it. Even to this day, I’m still thrilled that I can keep doing this as a career, and that readers enjoy my stories!

Any last words for your readers?

THANK YOU! I always feel honored to meet new readers, and even more so, that I give them a story that touches them in some way. I really don’t have words to express how much I appreciate the support!

What should we expect from you in the future?

I have many revisions ahead of me since I’m rewriting all of my Otherworld novels, and they are being re-released with Entangled Publishing as full-length novels. So that’s keeping me busy.

Other than that, I have two new series that I’m going to release next year. I want to get them both out by early next year. Both are urban fantasy romances, and both are nagging at me to write them!

 

Four best friends embrace their fantasies and make a pact of seduction to live out their deepest and darkest desires. The women place their lives in the hands of fate and one short straw declares Marley will be the first to awaken her secret wishes.

Reed, a Dom at sex club Castle Dolce Vita, has lived the BDSM lifestyle for awhile, but has yet to find a submissive that suits him. That is until he meets Marley, a woman seeking to indulge her fantasies.

As Reed guides her through a night of pleasure, Marley brings more to him than a perfect submissive–she stirs emotions in him long ago lost. By binding Marley, he runs up against his own limits, and now he has to choose between his self-protective barriers or surrendering to the wildfire Marley has reignited in his heart.

Publisher’s Note: This book contains explicit sexual situations, graphic language, and material that some readers may find objectionable: BDSM theme and elements, including spanking.

♦ BUY LINK

Spotlight On, Katie Reus

The chilling words of a killer: This is just the beginning…

Ten years ago, Lilly Carmichael left town without an explanation, breaking Braden Donnelly’s heart. The death of her aunt has brought Lilly home–and face to face with memories she thought were long buried. Still getting over a traumatic incident from her work as an NSA agent, Lilly initially dismisses the face at her window as a figment of stress-induced paranoia.

Now the sheriff of Hudson Bay, Braden has spent the last year hunting a sadistic murderer. But his investigation is turned upside down when new evidence indicates that Lilly is the killer’s next target. Determined to protect the woman he’s never stopped loving, Braden must race against the clock to trap a dangerous psychopath—before it’s too late…

Purchase info (some links available for pre-order):
Direct from publisher
All Romance eBooks
Amazon (Kindle)
Barnes & Noble (Nook eReader)

Tell us a little bit about yourself. How long have you been writing before you sold?

I love romance and have been reading it for many, many years (since I discovered my mom’s secret stash). Before I had any clue I wanted to be a writer I read romantic suspense almost exclusively so that’s the genre I first tried my hand at (about 5 years ago). About two years later I discovered I enjoyed writing erotic romance and paranormal romance as well so I entered a contest to see if I was actually any good at writing erotic romance. I ended up placing first with Running from the Past then subsequently selling it to Ellora’s Cave (the final judge was an EC editor). After that, I continued writing erotic romance (and eventually separating my erotic romance from my other stuff) but I was still actively searching for an agent. I signed with one a year later, then another year after that we sold my paranormal series to NAL/Signet.

How has the transition been from ePublishing to NY been for you?

I’ve always had my own ‘personal’ deadlines I like to meet but working on contractual deadlines has been a new experience. With epublishing I’m able to write at my own pace and I don’t answer to anyone as far as turning something in at a certain time. That kind of freedom is wonderful. Right now I have things I have to turn in to my two traditional publishers (Harlequin & Signet) by certain dates so even if I wanted to start on another story, it would have to wait until I’m finished with these two. Luckily, I love the two stories I’m currently writing so that’s not an issue. I’m still publishing digitally and I’ve also self-published a couple novellas recently and I don’t plan to give that up just because I sold to NY.

What are a few things you picked up from the publishing experience that have been a good learning tool for you?

Hmm, things I’ve learned: Don’t settle for an agent just to have one. A bad agent is worse than none at all (I love mine, btw). When I signed with her my first two manuscripts were rejected by NY but she stuck by me and with the third submission we signed a 3 book deal. Her contract and publishing experience were so valuable during the whole process. Another thing I’ve learned is that good critique partners are like gold. If you have a good one, hold on to her.

What has been the toughest obstacle you’ve had to overcome along the way? What was the best experience you’ve had from being published?

I don’t think I’ve had one particular obstacle that’s been the toughest. Constant rejection is really the main obstacle and I’ve received a lot of those over the years. After a while it gets to the point where you wonder if anyone will ever like your writing. My best experience was receiving my first advance check :)

You have written quite a few books for ePublishers, how do you feel about the ePublishing explosion, and now the popularity of self-publishing?

I think the popularity of both epublishing and self-publishing is great. All my erotic work is primarily novellas and there’s not much of a print market for shorter lengths unless you’re talking anthologies. I love writing short and having options and I don’t believe in putting all my eggs in one basket. Plus, coming from solely a reader’s perspective, I read almost exclusively on my Kindle so I really love the convenience of epublishing.

What do you feel about the self-publishing market and how do you think it will affect publishing?

I have no idea how it will affect publishing and I’d be a little scared to speculate, but I’ve recently self-published two novellas and I’ve personally loved the freedom of doing it. In addition to gaining more readers, I’ve seen an increase in sales for my backlist so for me it’s been a positive experience. There are pros and cons to being traditionally published, epublished, and self-published and I think it’s great that writers have more options now. They don’t have to choose one or the other anymore.

Tell us about your latest book.

Deadly Obsession is a dark romantic suspense releasing from Carina Press on 8/15/2011. It’s 80,000 words and to date it’s the darkest thing I’ve written. Here is the blurb:

Ten years ago, Lilly Carmichael left town without an explanation, breaking Braden Donnelly’s heart. The death of her aunt has brought Lilly home–and face to face with memories she thought were long buried. Still getting over a traumatic incident from her work as an NSA agent, Lilly initially dismisses the face at her window as a figment of stress-induced paranoia.

Now the sheriff of Hudson Bay, Braden has spent the last year hunting a sadistic murderer. But his investigation is turned upside down when new evidence indicates that Lilly is the killer’s next target. Determined to protect the woman he’s never stopped loving, Braden must race against the clock to trap a dangerous psychopath—before it’s too late…

What’s up next for you? Are you currently working on a new book?

I have a release from Harlequin Nocturne (Cravings) on October 1st (Destined Mate). In January 2012 I have a romantic suspense releasing from Carina. Then in February I have another release from Nocturne Cravings and the first book in my new paranormal series from Signet is also releasing (Alpha Instinct: A Moon Shifter novel). Currently I’m working on the third book in my Moon Shifter series.

What do you like best about the writer’s life?

I love setting my own schedule and being able to work anywhere. Granted, I pretty much work from home, but it’s nice to know that I can pack up my laptop anytime it’s necessary. Being a new mom, it’s doubly nice working from home.

If you weren’t a writer what would career path would you choose?

Ack! I have no idea. I floundered around after college because I couldn’t figure out what I wanted to do and knew I didn’t want to be a bartender for the rest of my life so… If I wasn’t a writer it’s possible I might have continued my education to get a Master’s in psychology (I have a Bachelor’s in psychology) and looked for a counseling job within the school system. But really, I can’t see myself doing anything else and loving it the way I love writing.

Who or what inspires you?

Music, various places I’ve traveled, the people in my lives, books I read, favorite authors (Linda Howard will always be a fave of mine)…pretty much anything and everything inspires me.

What are you reading right now?

Pleasure Unbound by Larissa Ione. It’s my first book by her.

What advice would you offer to the unpublished romance writer?

Don’t give up and don’t make excuses for why you can’t find the time to write. If you want something bad enough you’re going to have to work really hard for it so don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. Rejection sucks but it’s something you’re going to have to deal with if you want to survive in this business.

What would people be most surprised to learn about you?

I have an addiction to zombie movies, a couple tattoos, and I lived on a boat for one summer during my college years (a year I wasn’t in school).

Katie fell in love with romance at a young age thanks to books she pilfered from her mom’s stash. Years later she loves reading romance almost as much as she loves writing it. However, she didn’t always know she wanted to be a writer. After graduating summa cum laude with a degree in psychology and working too many jobs she hated, she finally figured things out.

She now spends her days writing dark paranormal romance and sexy romantic suspense. Her publishers include Carina Press, Harlequin Nocturne (Destined Mate, October 2011) and in early 2012 the first book in her new paranormal trilogy will release from NAL/Signet Eclipse (Penguin). Regardless of genre, she always includes a happy ending. When she’s not creating stories she loves spending time with her husband, family and the eclectic group of animals they’ve adopted.

To learn more about Katie, visit her online at:

www.katiereus.com



Interview with Stephanie Draven

Stephanie Draven is currently a denizen of Baltimore, that city of ravens and purple night skies. She lives there with her favorite nocturnal creatures–three scheming cats and a deliciously wicked husband. And when she is not busy with dark domestic rituals, she
writes her books.

Stephanie has always been a storyteller. In elementary school, she channeled Scheherazade, weaving a series of stories to charm children into sitting with her each day at the lunch table. When she was a little older, Stephanie scared all the girls at her sleepovers with ghost stories.

She should have known she was born to hold an audience in her thrall, but Stephanie resisted her writerly urges and graduated from college with a B.A. in Government. Then she went to Law School, where she learned how to convincingly tell the tallest tales of all!

A longtime lover of ancient lore, Stephanie enjoys re-imagining myths for the modern age. She doesn’t believe that true love is ever simple or without struggle so her work tends to explore the sacred within the profane, the light under the loss and the virtue hidden in vice. She counts it amongst her greatest pleasures when, from her books, her readers learn something new about the world or about themselves. Stephanie also writes historical fiction as Stephanie Dray and has a series of forthcoming novels from Berkley Books featuring Cleopatra’s daughter.

Website: http://www.stephaniedraven.com

Your novels for Harlequin’s Nocturne line showcases myth and ancient lore that gives the stories an added flavor. What inspired you to come up with the concept for POISONED KISSES?

When it comes to fantasy, some people are drawn to dwarves and elves. Some people are drawn to vampires and werewolves…I’m drawn to classical western mythology. The idea that I could pull that into paranormal romance was exciting. I’ll always be grateful to Harlequin for being so open-minded about the subjects they’re willing to let me tackle.

You also have several historicals coming out from Berkley under the name Stephanie Dray. These books have a unique twist and the first one involves Cleopatra and Mark Antony’s daughter. How much research did you have to do and what drew you to the story?

The twist in my historical fiction series for Berkley is that it reflects the world of Cleopatra Selene not as we see it looking back, but as the ancients would have experienced it. Egyptians believed in magic and were avid practitioners. What’s more, the ancient Romans feared and loathed Egyptian magic. So I made it real.

As for the research, I’m a little embarrassed to say how long it took me. Let’s just say…years. Many years. This is probably because I can’t read Latin or Greek. Having to rely upon English translations of everything put me at a disadvantage, but I now know enough useless trivia about the Augustan Age to thoroughly annoy my friends and family.

We love stories about “the Call”, do you remember what you were doing or how you felt?

Yes, I do. Because I was sick with the stomach flu! When my agent first called to tell me that I’d sold POISONED KISSES to Harlequin Nocturne, I may have muttered something like, “I think I have to throw up.” (Full story here.)

How is it writing for the Nocturne line? What advice do you have for those wanting to write for Harlequin’s paranormal line?

One of the things I love most about the Nocturne line is the way my editor has embraced all kinds of risk-taking from me. There’s always a subversive element in my stories and HQN has never balked. I feel as if my editor, Tara Gavin, really tries to push the envelope and I love that about her. For those who would like to write for Nocturne, I recommend that you plot first, write swiftly, and be concise. I’ve also written a little tip-sheet for aspiring Nocturne authors.

Please tell us a little about your current release and what should we expect to see from you in the future?

POISONED KISSES is the story of Kyra, underworld nymph and rebellious daughter of Ares. In her ongoing struggle against her father, she sets out to assassinate a notorious shape-shifting Hydra. When she meets Marco Kaisaris, she realizes that he’s not the monster she thinks he is but even if he doesn’t break her heart, he still might be the death of her.

I have two more stories in the Mythica series coming down the pike. The first is SIREN SONG, a novella which should be out this winter. The second is another full-length novel about a modern day Minotaur, and that should be out next autumn. I’m still searching for a title for that one!

All authors have a particular scene or character(s) they adore, who are yours? Why?

Oh, gosh. This is such a hard question for me because there are so many authors that I adore. It’s probably easiest if I talk about the stuff that I’ve read most recently and loved. To that end, I should mention Jeannie Lin’s TAMING OF MEI LIN, because that story had it all. It left me a little bit smarter, a little bit excited, and with a big grin on my face.

What are you reading right now?

Due to overlapping deadlines and an overwhelming feeling that I’m in way over my head, my reading time has been restricted to the treadmill recently. So if it isn’t something I have in e-book form or if it isn’t something that unfolds quickly, I’ve had to set it aside. To my surprise, I’ve been entirely enraptured by a Regency Romance by Victoria Dahl. Her A LITTLE BIT WILD has kept my attention even while working out. I’m so much in love with its scandalous heroine and adoring hero!

What is the biggest misconception you’ve come across about being a romance author?

That we make a lot of money. I know some romance writers do, but I’m betting that if romance authors actually clocked up their hours and divided it out to find out their hourly wages, it would make us weep!

What would people be most surprised to learn about you?

That I used to be an organized person with a very clean house. I used disk defragmenter. I used to bake my own bread and host cookie parties and get all my Christmas cards out way ahead of time. For the last two years I’ve been living in complete chaos, so I’m sure no one would believe that I once lived an orderly existence!

If you were a nail polish color, what would it be called and why?

Sunrise Suprise. Because it’s always a shock to me when I’m alert and awake before sunrise.

What advice do you have for unpublished writers? Any words for your readers?

Advice for unpublished writers: know the market, know the market, know the market! As for my readers, I have only three words for you: I love you!

* * * *

RD Speed Round:

Man in uniform or a man good with his hands?
I refuse to believe that these things must be mutually exclusive!

Thigh highs or au naturale?
Depends on if you’re staying in bed or actually trying to walk anywhere.

Tattoos or piercings?
Piercings. They can close up if you change your mind!

Whipped cream or ice cream?
Ice Cream.

Naughty or nice?
Naughty.

Coffee or tea?
Tea. Iced. Hot. Earl Grey. It’s all good.

Cosmopolitan or beer?
Neither. I embarrass myself enough sober!

Tropical island or mountain cabin?
Tropical Island. As a writer I spend most of my time with cabin fever.

Sexy stilettos or flip flops?
Neither. Hate the little thong between the toes on flip-flops and cannot walk in stilettos. But if I could, I would. Oh, I would.

Holey Jeans or casual khakis?
Jeans. God bless denim.

Interview with Janet Mullany

Janet Mullany was raised in England by half of an amateur string quartet and now lives near Washington, DC. Persecuted from an early age for reading too long in the bathroom, she still loves books and is an avid and eclectic reader. She never once thought of being a writer when she grew up, but has worked as an archaeologist, classical music radio announcer, arts administrator, and for a small press. She writes funny Regencies for Little Black Dress, historical erotic romance for Loose-Id, and this fall has simultaneous releases from HarperCollins and Harlequin that both put a paranormal spin on Jane Austen.

To learn more about Janet, visit her at:

http://www.janetmullany.com

**Janet is giving away a copy of BESPELLING JANE AUSTEN and JANE AND THE DAMNED. If you’d like to leave a comment, you’ll be added to our random drawing. Winners will be contacted via email, so be sure to provide your email if it’s not linked to your profile.**

We love stories about “the Call”, so how exciting was yours?

Stammering (on my end) and incompetent (also on my end) with a phone call that disconnected four times (wiring problem) ; then the editor very kindly offered to call me on my cell, not realizing that I’m a total idiot with a cell phone. My last call story, which was really more of a chat, was with the editor of JANE AND THE DAMNED, and mostly mutual happy squeals that we were working together again. She was the editor who bought THE RULES OF GENTILITY (HarperCollins, 2007).

Please tell us a little about yourself and your current release.

JANE AND THE DAMNED is a book about Jane Austen as a vampire during a French invasion and mostly takes place in the city of Bath in 1797. I had a lot of fun with my vampires, the Damned, who live openly in society and have their own standards of behavior and etiquette. There’s lots of biting and fighting and some romantic stuff but it’s not technically a romance. I’m someone who writes to entertain herself and if I sell it and entertain readers, that’s good. I’m originally from England but I’ve lived here for … a long time.

What should we expect to see from you in the future?

Right now I have a novella, LITTLE TO HEX HER, in the anthology BESPELLING JANE AUSTEN, an anthology headlined by Mary Balogh where we put our paranormal spins on our favorite Austen novels. I have another novel about Jane and the Damned, set in 1810 when she’s living at Chawton and seriously writing, sometime in 2011, no title as yet. In Spring of 2011, from Little Black Dress (UK), a Regency chicklit called MR. BISHOP AND THE ACTRESS (It’s an English joke. If you add “as the actress said to the bishop” to any innocent sentence, quite frequently it gives it an entirely different meaning. It’s rather like adding the words “in bed” to a fortune cookie.) And I have the first of two erotic contemporary novels coming from Harlequin Spice in August, 2011, TELL ME MORE.

Has publishing been everything you thought it would be?

It’s a bizarre, unpredictable, mysterious business. Now I don’t even try to understand it.

What is the biggest misconception you’ve come across about being a romance author?

That somehow my life bears some relation to what I write about. I write fiction. Sad to say, I don’t have a stable of handsome young men on call…

If you were a nail polish color, what would it be called and why?

Easily distracted red, which I think speaks for itself.

What would people be most surprised to learn about you?

That I don’t read much romance. Mac data recovery

What advice do you have for unpublished writers?

Finish the (expletive) book, send it out, start another, and read as much as you can, particularly outside the genre.

Any words for your readers?

Thank you!

* * * * *

RD speed round:

One word you don’t use enough: parasol
One word you overuse: Actually, it’s actually. Oops.
Would you spend a day out with Mr. Darcy or Mr. Rochester? Mr. Darcy. Mr. R. would probably lock me in the attic.
Cocktails with any actor, who would it be? Laurence Olivier. I loved his autobiography. Pity he’s dead.
Favorite exotic cuisine: Vietnamese.
Favorite mixed drink: an English drink called a Pimm’s Cup. It’s based on gin and has lots of fruit in it. Yum.
A trip to the Pyramids or a trip to the Rainforest? Pyramids. I’ve been wanting to go for years.
One book you’d have with you on a deserted island? Collected Jane Austen.
What’s the most adventurous thing you’d ever do? Become much more politically active.
Brooding alpha hero or chivalrous sexy genius? Chivalrous sexy genius. Or even just a man who reads!

Interview with Jeannie Lin, Part I

Jeannie Lin grew up fascinated with stories of Western epic fantasy and Eastern martial arts adventures. When her best friend introduced her to romance novels in middle school, the stage was set. Jeannie started writing her first romance while working as a high school science teacher in South Central Los Angeles. After four years of trying to break into publishing with an Asian-set historical, her 2009 Golden Heart® winning manuscript, Butterfly Swords, sold to Harlequin Mills & Boon.

Find out more about Jeannie Lin online at http://www.jeannielin.com

**Jeannie is giving away a copy of her current release BUTTERFLY SWORDS and the eBook THE TAMING OF MEI LIN. If you’d like to leave a comment, you’ll be added to our random drawing. Winners will be contacted via email, so be sure to provide your email if it’s not linked to your profile.**

I’m very excited to have Jeannie visit us at Romance Divas. Not only is she a friend, but a talented author and it’s been amazing to watch her career explode. I met her years ago at my local LARA chapter and this shy, delicate flower has transformed into a savvy promoter, social butterfly, and inspired many others who have written the book of their heart to continue to take chances. Jeannie is an author to keep an eye on and I certainly see great things from her in the future.

* * * * *

You’re an author that has really proven that taking chances and writing what you love pays off. Not only did you win the Golden Heart for BUTTERFLY SWORDS but you also sold the same week to Harlequin during the RWA conference 2009. We love stories about “the Call”. Do you remember what you were doing or how you felt at that time?

I do remember because I was in the middle of a Pilates session and doing crunches with some diva buddies: Eden Bradley, Sandra Barkevich, MG Braden and Christina Cross. I think Vivienne was there too. When the phone rang, I jumped up to grab it and everyone got real quiet. I think I had a delayed reaction because I was very calm. I took notes about who I was supposed to meet that week and where I was supposed to go. When hung up and announced that I was going to be a Harlequin author, everyone ran up and hugged me. All the divas then marched me down to get my First Sale ribbon and I remember tearing up in the elevator when I finally realized it was going to happen. I wanted to run around and hug everyone in sight.

Your debut novel is getting serious buzz. Some believe you’re creating a new trend with this type of Asian historical. Is it added pressure knowing that this could draw attention to this genre where others have tried previously and were unsuccessful in gaining an audience?

Dear Author started raving about the book before anyone had seen anything. I remember Jane tweeting that she “hoped it didn’t suck” and I think she wrangled my editors into handing over a copy. When they told me this, I seriously hoped it didn’t suck either. I do feel normal author worries about whether the book will sell given that Asian historicals haven’t sold well in the past. So the buzz actually gives me hope.

The thing about the pressure is there’s not much for me to do now other than promote and pray. So I don’t feel pressure as much as I feel a huge sense of anticipation and antsyness. The book is printed up now, with all its good parts and bad, quirks and flaws. I can’t fix it anymore.

Did you ever imagine that your Tang Dynasty historicals would be so well received and embraced? What was it about this time period that inspired you to create such an amazing world?

When I think of how many people are stepping up to support Butterfly Swords, it makes me want to cry. These are people who know nothing about me and who are not my friends or my mom. That’s so wonderful, so absolutely wonderful.

What really inspired me to go to the Tang Dynasty were all those movies I saw in my childhood: Legend of the Condor Heroes, Heaven Sword and Dragon Sabre. And there was this fantastic series about the Empress Wu of the Tang Dynasty and her daughter, Princess Tai Ping. Hours and hours of Hong Kong serials, burned into my brain. All that drama and angst! So perfect for romance.

What should we expect to see from you in the future?

I have more Tang Dynasty stories to tell. I’m playing right now with some of the paranormal elements of wuxia. It’s a series that involves Taoist sorcery and demons and jiangshi and it’s so much fun. One day, when I’m brave enough, I’ll finally write the women’s fiction that me and the Little Sis have been planning.

What is the biggest misconception you’ve come across about being a romance author?

That selling one book means I’m on the fast track to bestsellerdom and the rest is easy.

What would people be most surprised to learn about you?

I’m alpha dog fierce…despite the crying and the unbridled sentimentality.

I can imagine your books being made for film due to the epic storytelling. If you could cast the characters for this BUTTERFLY SWORDS, who would you choose for the hero and heroine?

A huge costume drama with lots of gratuitous cinematography! Hee hee. I wrote up a blog that will post on Vauxhall Vixens later in October. My top choices are Ewan MacGregor and Marjorie Liu for Ryam and Ai Li. Maybe younger versions though. Russell Wong would make a killer Li Tao.

What is the most extreme thing you’ve ever done and what did it teach you about yourself?

I joined with a group of teachers who were trying to change the world and we wrangled together a small learning community at one of the toughest schools in the nation. Basically it was a school within a school. It took a lot of balls and smarts to do it, and some days it just tore your heart out. We made a lot of mistakes, but we also accomplished some great things. The students loved us for it, some teachers and administrators hated us for it. I learned that it takes a certain sort of person to seek that kind of challenge and risk.

If you were a nail polish color, what would it be called and why?

Ruby Dragon Red. Umm…cause I like dragons and it sounds cool? Ruby Dragon is my nickname over at the Ruby-Slippered Sisterhood.

What advice do you have for unpublished writers?

Keep writing forward. Everything is fixable.

Any words for your readers?

I hope you enjoy! The next book is even better. :)

Interview with Kelly L Stone

Kelly L. Stone started a successful writing career while working a full time job. Her women’s fiction novel, GRAVE SECRET (Mundania Press, Sept 2007), was called “powerful” and “well written” by RT Book Reviews. She is the author of the TIME TO WRITE series, a set of motivational books for aspiring authors. The third book in the series, LIVING WRITE: The Secret to Bringing Your Craft Into Your Daily Life (Adams Media) has just been released. Kelly lives with her family in Florida.

To learn more about Kelly, visit her website at:

www.AuthorKellyLStone.com

**Kelly is giving away a copy of her current release LIVING WRITE to one luck winner. If you’d like to leave a comment, you’ll be added to our random drawing. Winner will be contacted via email, so be sure to provide your email if it’s not linked to your profile.**


I love your website and blog because you tap into the other part of a writer’s artistic brain. Your books are useful, inspiring, and gets your creative juices flowing, so what inspired you to write them?

My books usually start out as a question. For instance, I always wanted to be a writer but I couldn’t figure out how to find the time to write. Then I read some books on the psychology of achievement and learned that many successful people get up early in the morning and do their own *thing* for a few hours before the day begins. That gave me the idea to get up at 3:30 in the morning and write for a few hours before work. After I did that for a couple of years, I started getting published—my literary novel was bought by a small press, my essays were published in bestselling anthologies, and I landed assignments in national magazines like Family Circle, Cat Fancy, and others. People started asking me where I found time to write; that was the question, and the answer was TIME TO WRITE which was published in January of 2008. After that, I started to wonder how people with limited writing time could maximize their creativity so that they got the most bang for their buck during their scheduled writing time. That gave me the idea for THINKING WRITE which is about how to use the power of your subconscious mind for writing and creativity purposes. Last, LIVING WRITE started with the question of how can people capitalize on small steps in order to achieve big writing goals.

You also write romances, do you find it’s easier or more difficult to write than your non-fiction?

It’s been a learning curve for both. Now, after 3 non-fiction books under my belt, the entire writing process is quicker for me because I have so much practice—for example, TIME TO WRITE took me 6 months to write, LIVING WRITE only took three. I have less experience writing fiction, so it’s a tad more difficult for me right now because I’m still on that learning curve. However, I don’t think any writing is *easy*. I think all writers at all levels struggle to continually improve their craft.

We love stories about “the Call”, do you remember what you were doing or how you felt at that time?

I was actually at work when I got the call from my agent that she wanted to represent me. Several months later when she sold the proposal for TIME TO WRITE, I got this tingly sense of anticipation early in the day and actually stayed up late that night, in the kitchen, literally standing by the phone (I did not know in advance that she would be calling that night.) When the phone rang, I knew it was her calling to tell me she’d made the sale. Those were two of the best days of my life so far.

Please tell us a little bit about yourself and your current release.

In addition to being a writer, I’m a licensed mental health counselor. I was born and raised in the south and can’t imagine living anywhere else. I am an animal welfare advocate and a lot of my early published work is about issues affecting animals. LIVING WRITE is about how to capitalize on small steps to achieve your big writing dreams. The official release date is Sept 18th. Like THINKING WRITE, it also comes with a CD with 4 guided meditations for writers.

What should we expect to see from you in the future?

I’m working on a paranormal romance series right now, and probably more writing books!

If you weren’t a writer what career path would you choose?

I always wanted to be an archeologist and do something exciting like discover long lost ancient cities.

What are you reading right now?

Shadow Game by Christine Feehan

What is the biggest misconception you’ve come across about being a romance author?

That it’s not as difficult to write as other genres. Not so. I read a quote once that said, “Easy reading is hard writing.” I’m sorry I can’t remember who said it, but that is true for all writing.

What would people be most surprised to learn about you?

I was on Romper Room when I was 4.

Now for a fun round of ‘getting to know you’.

Man in uniform, or a hands-on man? Uniform
Whipped cream or ice cream? Ice cream (my Achilles heel)
Naughty or nice? Mostly nice although naughty can be conjured up when necessary.  :)
Spontaneous or planned? Probably more *planned* than I wish I were J
Coffee or tea? Definitely coffee
Cosmopolitan or beer? Cosmo
Tropical island or mountain cabin? Since I live on the beach, I’ll go with mountain cabin
Sexy stilettos or flip flops? Flip flops—that beach thing again
Holey Jeans or casual khakis? jeans
If you were a nail polish color, what would it be called and why? I’m not really sure, although something to do with chocolate springs to mind.

What advice do you have for unpublished writers?

Write on a schedule. Set a time every day or week that you will write and then stick to that schedule no matter what. That is the key to getting the book out of your head and on to the page.

Any words for your readers?

Thank you for your support! I get so many great emails from people telling me how much the TIME TO WRITE series has helped them finally start writing the book of their dreams despite how busy their day to day lives are; those emails make my day!