Monday, April 30, 2012

I'd like to thank the Blog Academy for this Bloggie

I don't typically do memes/awards, but in this case, I was nominated for a Kreativ Blogger Award by Chantel Rondeau. Don't quite get the "creative" spelling, but that was around long before Chantel nominated here. Chantel, who is a romantic suspense author, blogs about writing and books she likes. She also participates in Six Sentence Sunday (something I used to do myself). A fun little deal where authors share six sentences from one of their works.

So, I'm supposed to mention seven things about myself that people might find interesting.

Here they are in no particular order:

1) I've been to North Korea. Sure, I've only been a few meters into North Korea for about thirty seconds, but still.

2) I've had a varied career path (excluding the writing of course): military intelligence, corporate programmer, and research science being some of the vaguely more interesting.

3) I form part of a rare cross-over reality show viewer demographic that enjoys the fashion-oriented Project Runway as much as I enjoy the firearms-oriented Top Shot. 

4) I've spent several years studying the anti-viral effects of vitamin D metabolites.

5) I went from living in the very hot Phoenix, AZ to the very cold Madison, WI.

6) I love history, yet had no formal history education beyond high school.

7) My favorite book is One Hundred Years of Solitude. 

Thanks for the nomination, Chantel.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Hidden Worlds and Fantasy Destiny: An interview with Alecia Stone

Today I'm talking with Alecia Stone about her young adult contemporary fantasy, TALISMAN OF EL.

Tell us about your book.

TALISMAN OF EL is a story about acceptance, about accepting one's destiny no matter the consequences. Charlie Blake is a young boy, who, in a bid to find out about himself, discovers a reality he knew nothing about, but that he is so much a part of.

What inspired this book?

To be honest, my curiosity about the mysteries of the world inspired this book. The planet we live on is so fascinating and full of history that I just had to explore its secrets. The great thing about writing a fantasy story is that anything goes. You can write a story about aliens, alternate dimensions ... anything. The topic of people who vanished without a trace came up and I decided to take it one step further. The story just took on a life of its own.

What fundamental themes does your book explore?

The book explores many themes including, but not limited to, things are not always what they seem, self discovery, the importance of relationships and fear of failure. I think many people will be able to relate to the themes of the book as we've all experienced them in some way.

What's the appeal, you think, in fantasy stories that initially ground themselves in the real world and then pull in a character from that world into a fantasy world? In urban fantasy, there's still an overlap, but in contemporary stories where characters end up in a more discrete separate world, the relative link to the real world seems less important on first brush.

Personally, I think it's the adventure and the idea that there is more out there than what we see that is the appeal of fantasy stories. We often hear about the universe being of vast proportions, so, naturally, anyone would want to explore more than the eyes can see. It is also a means of escaping one's own reality for a certain period of time. Sometimes, our own reality can seem somewhat limited and restricted, so when I pick up a fantasy book, it's almost as if I'm breaking the rules by stepping out of the ordinary.

World building is a big part of any fantasy book, but you went so far as to even create a language. Can you tell us a little bit about that and why you chose to do that?

When the story first popped into my mind, I hadn't set out to create another world much less a language. When I created the world and saw how fascinating the characters of this world were, I knew they would have to have their own language. The people of Arcadia are mystical beings who can do things we can only imagine, so they needed a form of communication that they alone could interpret. They are, after all, from another world.

Besides your lead, do you have a favorite character in the story?

This is a hard one as I have many favourite characters. If I really had to choose one, besides the main protagonist, Charlie, I would have to choose Alex. I had such fun with her character. There is so much to her. She's smart, witty, feisty, a bit crazy and so much more.

People tend to want more of what they like. Do you plan to write a sequel?

Yes, I do. I'm currently writing the sequel. There's definitely more to come, as I've planned this as a trilogy.


Thanks, Alecia.

Author Bio:

Alecia Stone has been in love with anything and everything paranormal for many years. She grad­uated with a BA in Film & TV and has worked in tele­vi­sion for a short period of time before branch­ing out into storytelling. When she isn't writ­ing, she enjoys going to the movies, lis­ten­ing to music, and travelling. Talisman Of El is her first novel. She currently lives in England, UK.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Complicated Love Webs and Angels: An interview with paranormal romance author Debie Esmeralda

Today I'm taking with Debie Esmeralda about her paranormal romance, THE ANGEL SERIES: FALLEN.


1) Please tell us about your book.

THE ANGEL SERIES: FALLEN is about an angel who was punished for breaking the rules of the Heaven. She has to live with the humans, but there she learns all the things humans do. She is known as Penelope Reef, an average girl with dreams of being on Broadway. She meets the rich, wealthy Swaiz brothers, Drew and Xander. She falls for both but  really is in love with Drew. But Xander makes her situation confusing. What makes it even more complicated is the return of her ex-boyfriend, Jeremy. Aside from the love life she has. She’s also being haunted by dreams. She comes to the decision that she better find the answers in her hometown. In the end she has to make a decision that will change one of her lives.

2) What inspired this book?

I got my inspiration one night when I was about to sleep. I was listening to the 98° song Heaven's Missing Angel. It is about a girl that resembles an angel for them. Suddenly an idea of an angel falling in love with a mortal came to me. At that time I also love High School Musical, so I imagined my lead character to be like Zac Efron, blue eyes and brown hair.

3) What are some of the major themes of this book?

Love, journey and discovery. Love, that it can be felt and happen to anybody. It has no exceptions whether you are a mortal or immortal. That when it comes to love all is equal. Also it also features the struggles and conflicts that happen when you fall in love. Sometimes it makes you happy,sometimes it's not like that. It also has different kinds of love. Love for someone of the opposite sex or attraction. 

Love for her grandmother and love for a brother.
Journey, journey through her new found life as a mortal. Penelope was an angel before, but now she has to face the world she once taken care of. 

And Discovery, Penelope tries to conquer what her dreams are about. She tries to discover what seems to be unknown about her.

4) Many paranormal romances are satisfied with one major series of emotional interactions between a woman and a man. You've upped the ante with three potential suitors. Why did you choose to develop a more complicated web of love for your story ?

A complicated love story happens to everyone. As a human we tend to use our emotions in controlling our decisions. Only wise people can overcome their feelings in facing something. Love is always accompanied by imperfections. And complicated love stories also happen in a real life settings. Sometimes a man or a woman has another invited party outside the supposed to be relationship exclusivity he/she already committed to.

5) Do you worry that this may potentially affect reader's ability to become invested in the romantic outcome?

Not at all. Anyone can relate. No one is perfect. Sometimes we feel the temptations around us.

6) Dreams are a major component of your story. Are vivid dreams something you personally experience?

It is not really about what I personally experience. It just came into my mind out of nowhere. Whenever I'm in front of my computer doing my book the words just came one by one. Maybe another factor why I use dreams is because I also believe dreams are somehow connected to our soul. What we want or about to experience was shown through our dreams. Most of the time we really cannot interpret what they are about.

7) Do you have any other projects you're working on?

I'm starting my 2nd book right now. It will be entitled THE ANGEL SERIES: FATE. I'm also constructing other possible titles and ideas I can use for another book I had never decided what to name at this moment. But maybe after I finished my 2nd book I'll start on my third right away.


Thanks, Debie.

THE ANGEL SERIES: FALLEN can be purchased at Amazon.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

What's sexier than a cowboy? An interview with paranormal romance author Cait Lavender

Today I'm talking with paranormal romance author Cait Lavender about her werewolf western paranormal romance, HUNTER MOON.


1) Please tell us about your book.

HUNTER MOON is a paranormal romance set in the small Central California town of Raymond. Shelby Flint is a cattle rancher struggling to make ends meet, fighting against her vindictive cousins who are trying to take her ranch and fighting against a man sabotaging her land and trying to kill her, all the while trying to keep from throwing herself and her heart at the feed of a nosy, gorgeous game warden who’s poking his nose in her business.

2) This book is part of the Lupine Moon series. Can you tell us how it fits in with the rest of the series?

Basically, any books in the Lupine Moon series are going to revolve around, you guessed it, lupines. They’re my own special, sexy brand of werewolves.

3) At first brush, werewolves aren't something you'd think would have made the romantic leap quite as well as they have in fiction. What do you think is behind the popularity of werewolves in paranormal romance circles?

I think there is something sexy about a man who can be, quite literally, an animal. Animals have a certain kind of honor too; they don’t kill needlessly, they protect those they love fiercely and
with their lives, and they have strength and agility that humans just can’t possess. Mix that in
with a sexy man, and you’ve got the perfect recipe for a dream-man.

4) What traits do you think make for an interesting romantic heroine? An interesting romantic hero?

I hate it when the heroines are these shy little victims, accepting the bad things that happen to them because they can’t do anything to change them and expecting a big man to save them. All
my girls have guts, even if it takes them a little while to find them. And my heroes? I don’t like guys that are like Superman. Perfect. My men have flaws, issues, but I think that makes them
more real.

5) What's something that you just don't like to see in romance and have tried to avoid in your work?

Mmm...probably the instant "love at first sight’ moment." I don’t mind "lust at first sight", because I think that happens a lot in real life. But the instant, overwhelming I’ll-die-for-you kind of love, that’s gotta be worked up to. I think it’s a rare person that is that aware of their feelings and can come to terms with that strong of an emotion in second.

6) There's an old writing maxim: "write what you know." Though the exact meaning of "what you know" is debatable and varies by context, it's striking that you've written a story that seems
to play somewhat into your background strengths. Can you tell us a little about how your background influenced your story setting both in a positive way or maybe even ways that you found frustrating?

That’s a great question! That old maxim is why I set my story close to my hometown. I think because I was so familiar with the area, I was able to paint a clear picture of the landscape, the people and the western culture. The only thing I had to worry about was being too close to real life.

7) Fill in the blanks: ______ are sexy, _____ are sexier.

Cowboys are sexy, werewolf cowboys are sexier.

8) What's next for the Lupine Moon series?

I’m going to focus on Shelby’s next move. I’ve got lots of people hounding me for book two, so believe me when I say I’ll try to get it finished as soon as possible!


You can find more from Cait at

Sunday, April 22, 2012

A 100 dalton pile of free e-books (or thereabouts): Indie Giveaway Blog Hop (Everyone likes free stuff!)

A large assortment of book bloggers and indie authors have banded together this week for a large e-book giveaway:

So, just visit the various blogs and enter to win e-books . Fun, right? The sites marked are doing giveaways internationally. Entries about the various giveaways should be up by noon or so tomorrow (Eastern time, I believe). There are all sorts of types of ebooks being given away, so something for everybody.

I'm also participating in the giveaway. I'm giving away two copies of THE EMERALD CITY to random commenters. Just leave a valid e-mail address. I'll pick at midnight Saturday the 28th with the aid of

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Violence Against Women and the Ungolden Silence: An interview with Lydia E. Brew

Today I'm talking with Lydia E. Brew. Her book UNGOLDEN SILENCE tackles the topic of sexual violence against women.


1) Tell us about your book.

UNGOLDEN SILENCE is a story that will entertain and provoke thought. Violence against women is something that is not talked about. It is something that is hard to prove in the workplace and at home. Beatrice James and Elaine Wilson, who is disabled, work for a marketing firm and travel on a business trip. A highly respected community leader is a part of the project. Beatrice and Elaine think they are safe, but are they? The story will break down stereotypes. The rapist in the story is not a man off the street. I hope that once people read the story, violence against women will be dealt with differently.

2) Why did you choose to write about such a disturbing topic as rape?

I like drama and a story about rape is dramatic. The fact that the media does not give the names of rape victims concerns me. The names of all victims of accidents, robberies, and everything else except sexual crimes are given. Yes, it is a disturbing topic, but it is important to talk about because not talking about it will not help anybody. I hope that the story will make society see the need to change the way that violence against women is handled. I hate to hear, “she asked to be raped by the way she dressed.” Like that has anything to do with the crime. So I wanted rape to be the issue in an engaging way.

3) How did you go about plotting out your book?

I did not sit down and plan the story. I allowed the story to take me places. I did not want a story where the crime happened, the criminal is caught, and the victims go on with their lives. UNGOLDEN SILENCE looks beyond the crimes and deals with how society can begin to talk about violence against women.

4) You’ve made a conscious choice to eschew “ random” or semi-random opportunistic attack narratives. Do you feel that media treatments of rape are too oriented in that direction?

Yes, not revealing the name of a rape victim is part of the problem and is not helpful to anyone. Society thinks that lovemaking and rape are the same thing, and they are not. A rape is a crime and the focus needs to be on finding the rapist and putting him in jail. Now if the victim is frightened that the rapist may return that is something different. However, not to give the name of a victim because they were sexually assaulted is not the answer. This is part of the problem – a rape is a crime, and it needs to be treated like any other crime.

5) What advantage does the novel format offer for exploring this issue versus a more straightforward nonfiction criminology book?

Many people like to read for pleasure more than for information. UNGOLDEN SILENCE allows the readers to do both. There is a good story that raises many questions. However, there are possible answers. When I was writing the story, I thought that making the rapist a highly respected community leader was far-fetched. After doing the story I did some research, and I realized that we do not know why people rape. Society can begin to put a dent in the sexual crime against women if it is known what to look for. There are signs that will indicate that a person will be a sexual offender. People need to study books on criminology if they are going to be doctors, lawyers, counselors, or social workers because these are the people that will need to be able to identify those who need professional help.

6) Can you briefly tell us about any other projects?

I am working on a family saga, and it will a century-long soap opera.


Thanks, Lydia.

You can see more from Lydia at her website,

UNGOLDEN SILENCE is available for sale at Xlibris and Amazon.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Hope Even In the Great Darkness: An interview with R.L. Prendergast

Today I'm talking with R.L. Prendergast about his Depression-era tale DINNER WITH LISA.


1) Tell us about your book.

DINNER WITH LISA is set during the Great Depression. Joseph Gaston, an unemployed widower with four young children, uproots his family and moves west because he’s been promised work. Once he arrives in the small town of Philibuster he finds that the job promised to him has been given to someone else. He has no money left to return him and his family back home so they’re forced to stay in Philibuster. While in Philibuster, Joseph is reunited with his prankster brother, known throughout town as the Great Henri. Thanks to the Great Henri, Joseph has some trouble with the law. So not only must Joseph find work and keep his family from starving, but he’s got to avoid the chief of police who is after him as well.

2) What is the fundamental theme of your book?

DINNER WITH LISA is primarily about hope.

Historical fiction is fascinating but requires a lot of research. We're taught broad history in schools but rarely the fine details needed to bring a good story to life. How did you go about doing your research?

I started by compiling family stories that took place during the Great Depression. These stories were the initial inspiration behind writing Dinner with Lisa, which I’ll explain more about later. Next, I spent months pouring over old newspapers from the 1930’s. The newspapers were great for giving me important details that helped fire my imagination. If you ever think your life is difficult, you should read a newspaper from the Great Depression. Stories about children eating on alternate days so their siblings would have a chance to eat too, or people deciding not to eat for weeks at a time so they could pay that month’s rent. I realize things like this are happening today in North America, however, during the Depression almost no one was spared these hardships and because of that there were also wonderful stories of communities coming together to help those with less. My own grandmother spoke of homeless men coming to the door for a meal nearly every night. “We never turned them away, no matter how little we had ourselves,” she said. Above all, there was humor. A great aunt once told me there were two options. Laugh or cry. Those who chose laughter faired much better. I guess things haven’t changed all that much in that regard.

3) What was the single most surprising thing you discovered in the course of your research?

Today we hear about how tough things were during the Great Depression, but as I just explained, I never knew how bad it really was.

4) Why did you choose to write a book about the Depression?

Have you ever wished you’d written down the stories told you by your parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, great aunts and uncles? I know I do. For years I listened to my relatives recounting their childhoods, and talk of the unusual characters they’d known. People who did crazy things, and had nicknames like Hateful Dan, The Black Prince and Dumb Dora.

As a child, I enjoyed these anecdotes immensely, but didn’t think about them after they’d been told. However, as I got older, and the various relatives, including my grandparents, passed away, I wished someone had recorded their stories. Not long ago, I began asking my mother and father about some of the tales my grandparents used to tell. They remembered some details, but many of the stories had been forgotten – lost forever.

After completing my first novel, THE IMPACT OF A SINGLE EVENT, which became a national bestseller, I began to write down the recollections of my parents and their older siblings, all now in their seventies and eighties. As the cache of tales grew – a great uncle’s experience in WW1, my mother’s memories of the neighborhood corner store, my father’s memories of life on a dairy farm – I saw a connecting thread. Before long, I was researching the time periods in which the stories took place – and was inspired to write Dinner with Lisa.

5) What lessons do you think the Depression offers people in these troubling, though admittedly far less severe, times of economic turmoil?

Be prepared. You never know when the smelly stuff is really going to hit the fan.

6) Can you tell us briefly about any of your other works?

As I mentioned, I have another novel, THE IMPACT OF THE SINGE EVENT. Essentially the story is about a personal journal that gets handed down from one generation to another. The story begins with a terrible car accident, where Richard and Sonia, a couple with a crumbling marriage, stop to help the critically injured victims. In the process, Richard and Sonia find a 140-year-old journal by the side of the road. Six different people have written in the journal. Though the entries span three centuries, the writers share a quest: the search for meaning in their lives. The stories take Richard and Sonia on a personal and historic journey: across Canada to the jungles of India and back to the Canadian Rocky Mountains, where a final mystery awaits.


Thanks for stopping by, R.L.

If you'd like to see more from R.L., you can check out his website,

DINNER WITH LISA is available in print form at a number of vendors in the US, Canada, and the UK:

B&N (U.S.)

Amazon (U.S.)

Chapters/Indigo (Canada)

Amazon (Canada)

W. H. Smith (U.K.)

DINNER WITH LISA is also available in an electronic version:

For the Kindle:

For the Nook: 
iTunes (U.S.)

iTunes (Canada)

iTunes (U.K.)

For the Sony eReader:

Friday, April 13, 2012

An Autumn Duchess in Georgian England: An interview with Lucinda Brant

Today I'm talking with Georgian period author Lucinda Brant, one of my associates from the English Historical Fiction Authors Blog.


1) Tell us about your most recent book.

AUTUMN DUCHESS: A Georgian Historical Romance is the third in my Roxton Series (though it can be read as a stand alone). The story revolves around the widowed Antonia, Dowager Duchess of Roxton, and how she overcomes the devastating loss of the love of her life to find love again. It’s three years since the death of the Duke and she’s still wearing mourning. Her son is worried for her sanity. Bursting into Antonia’s life is East India Merchant Jonathon Strang, a man who has great self-belief. He knows what he wants and will do what it takes to get it. He’s a self-made man who doesn’t conform to Polite Society’s rules and doesn’t care what others think of him. Antonia instantly captivates him, and her happiness becomes paramount to all other considerations.

Antonia is the heroine of NOBLE SATYR, Book 1 in the Roxton Series, so readers tell me I was very brave to write Antonia’s story after the death of her beloved Duke, but also, they have thanked me for doing so. I felt compelled to write her story because I always wondered in stories where the heroine is much younger than the hero, as is the case in NOBLE SATYR, what happens when the much older hero dies and she is left alone? In AUTUMN DUCHESS, the situation is reversed; Antonia has this younger man falling at her feet, and she is all at sea!

2) Can you tell us a little about how you went about developing your female lead, Antonia? Did you have a particular inspiration for her?

In NOBLE SATYR Antonia is much younger than her first husband, the Duke of Roxton. She is full of life and optimism, and in love with the Duke. She wants him and won’t hear any argument against the union. She believes their marriage is fated. In Book 2 MIDNIGHT MARRIAGE, which is about Antonia and Roxton’s eldest son Julian and his arranged marriage to an heiress, Antonia is a confident, mature woman – a duchess, a wife and a mother, but she is still playful and joyous and is the glue that binds the family together. Despite the Duke’s ailing health, she believes he is an unstoppable force. So by Book 3, AUTUMN DUCHESS, three years after her Duke’s death, Antonia’s life has unraveled completely and she is in a very dark place. It takes a very special hero to bring her back into the light.

3) This is the third book in your Roxton series. Can you tell us a little about the series? Does a reader need to start with book 1 or can they step into book 3?

There are 6 or 7 books planned for the Roxton Series, which follows the lives of one aristocratic family, their cousins and friends from the 1740s up until the mid 1780s. I will stop short of the French Revolution, which I don’t like at all. Each book can be read as a standalone. You don’t need to read them in order either. But to have the total “Roxton immersive experience” read them in order. I have had readers begin with Book 2 MIDNIGHT MARRIAGE and also begin with BOOK 3 AUTUMN DUCHESS, and then read the other books in the series, and it hasn’t interfered with their reading enjoyment.

4) You've written five books in Georgian England. What is it about Georgian England that you find so appealing?

You think this would be the easiest question to answer for a Georgian Junkie such as myself, but it isn’t! I have always loved history and studied to be a historian/political scientist at university but from a young age it was the Georgian era that had me hooked. Perhaps I lived there in a previous life? 

The 18th Century is a time of great change and adventure. Continents were being discovered; there were still unchartered waters. Steam power, the birth of manufacturing – mass production, the beginning of the consumerist society, people moving to cities yet it was still an agrarian society, so there was still lots of green spaces surrounding London and Paris. It was the birth of humanism, naturalists and naturalism, science experimentation, societies for arts, sciences and literature were founded at this time. New plants, animals and food were being discovered. Oh and I must mention the clothes! Absolutely gorgeous fabrics, wonderful shoes, men in lace, velvet and high-heeled shoes – the first truly metrosexual males, and those outrageous wigs! What fun!

5) We live in a populist age. Status and titles are often viewed with a critical eye. Despite that, readers continue to gobble up tales of the past about titled aristocrats. Why do you think that is?

Escapism. Titled aristocrats had money, mansions and nothing better to do with their time than spend their fortunes and swan about at each other’s parties. Everyone knew everyone else, servants took care of your every need and tenants took care of farming your land and bringing in an income. Use historical facts wisely, add a dash of high drama, beautiful clothes and a lovely romance and there’s the mix for an historical romance.

Today, Celebrity is the new aristocracy as far as people watching is concerned. Celebs have lifestyles most of us can only dream about – so too with the aristocracy in the 18th Century Fabulous houses, fabulous furniture, and fabulous clothes, being waited on and pandered to. We expect celebrities to act in a certain way too. We want them to be always smiling for the camera, being gracious, signing every photo put in front of them; so, too, in the 1700s when aristocrats, particularly at the French Court, were expected to dress and behave in a particular way. When Marie Antoinette decided she did not want to deal with Court etiquette and took time out at her Petite Trianon, it wasn’t only the aristocrats at Court who complained, but the people in Paris saw this as a dereliction of her duty as a Queen of France. She was letting down the entire population. So too when celebrities decide they want to be left alone – the media complains, you read about it in magazines and it sometimes even makes the 6 o’clock news! There is that expectation that public performance is a requirement of status.

6) The Georgians were like us in many ways, but also different. In the course of doing research for your various novels, what is the single most bizarre thing you learned about Georgian England?

You can’t get more bizarre than shaving off your eyebrows and wearing false eyebrows made of mouse fur! Thick eyebrows were the go in the 1700s and so if your eyebrows were too thin or were patchy then you would thicken them up by pasting on a strip of mouse fur. Charming!

And then there is the wearing of a merkin (pubic toupee). Merkins date to the mid 1400s and were quite common in the 1700s. Merkins, too, were made from mouse fur. Pubic lice were rife and so many a lady, fed up with constant itching, would shave off their pubic hair and wear a merkin to cover their modesty (remember this is the era before underpants!). Prostitutes were frequent wearers of merkins, used to cover the signs of a sexually transmitted disease, gonorrheal warts or syphilitic pustules. And in the days before penicillin, mercury was used as a cure, which lead to hair loss. So merkins covered a multitude of sins!

Since the late 20th century and beyond with Brazilian waxing now quite common, merkins are more widely known and used, particularly in the film industry where actors and actresses may be required to wear a merkin to add body hair if the film requires it, or just to cover their modesty.

Of course I write historical romance, so although I strive for historical accuracy is many areas I can be elastic and choose to use a 21st Century lens to filter out other less savory aspects of Georgian society. However, I do allow the seedier side of Georgian life to creep into my historical mysteries.

7) Other than the bizarre, is there anything you found that surprised you or was rather unexpected given the context of the time?

Very early on in my days of researching the 1700s I was surprised by the lack of understanding of the stages of growth from child to adulthood. If you survived to the age of 5 you then instantly became a little adult and were expected to act and dress like an adult. There was no concept of childhood and the teenage years, as we know it. Boys were breeched at age 7 and put into miniature versions of an adult male’s clothes – frockcoat, breeches and stockings. Girls were put into stays and gowns from around the age of 5. If you were a child from a poor family, at the age of 5 you were sent out to work with your older brothers and sisters; there was no expectation of playtime and no schooling. Naturally, many parents and families loved their children dearly, but still there was a lack of understanding of a child’s development. One theory for why parents treated children in a distant way was the high mortality rate. Over half of all babies born died before the age of 3! That’s a truly surprising and very sad statistic.

And if we can return below the navel for a moment... I was about 12 years old when I read that there was no such garment as underpants for women (and many men didn’t wear drawers either). No underpants! No covering under your gown from the knees up. Despite the many layers of a gown and quilted petticoats, a woman’s nether regions must have been freezing in winter. And there was no going outdoors if it was particularly windy weather!

8) What are you working on right now?

I’ve begun writing Book 4 in the Roxton Series DAIR DEVIL. And I am excited to announce that Book Two in my historical mystery series, DEADLY AFFAIR has just been published on Amazon as an eBook. So on to writing Book 3 DEADLY PERIL. Busy writing days ahead!

Thank you so much for having me as a guest on your blog, J.A.! 


Thanks, Lucinda.

You can see more from Lucinda at her website and Pinterest: and

AUTUMN DUCHESS can be purchased from Amazon.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Sugar and Spice And Not So Nice: An interview with paranormal mystery author Janet McNulty

Today I'm talking with Janet McNulty about her paranormal mystery, Sugar And Spice And Not So Nice.

1) Please tell us about your book.

Sugar And Spice And Not So Nice centers on the character of Mellow Summers. She moves to Vermont with her friend Jackie and together they get an apartment that has very cheap rent. After moving in, Mellow discovers that her apartment is haunted by a ghost. The ghost’s name is Rachel and she was murdered a year earlier. Unfortunately she does not remember who killed her. So, she enlists Mellow’s help in solving her murder.

Mellow reluctantly helps Rachel. Partly because she’ll never get any peace if she doesn’t. As the story progresses, Mellow gets into tense situations, mostly due to Rachel’s interference. However, she manages to escape with Rachel’s help as well. Together, they discover the identity of Rachel’s killer and then have to set out and prove that he committed the crime.

The book is a short mystery with a paranormal twist.

2) What was the inspiration for this book?

When I moved into my first apartment, I could swear that it was haunted. Strange things happened that I couldn’t explain. When I told a friend about it they said, "Oh, you have a ghost.” I wasn’t thrilled at the time and I was never able to prove it. But, life moved on and I changed my residence.

Much later I came up with the title for a book but couldn’t figure out what to make it about. One day, my friend reminded me about my first apartment and that’s when it hit me. Right then was when I decided to turn this into a mystery about a ghost.

3) Tell us about how you developed your protagonist, Mellow.

A lot of mysteries center on teenagers or middle-aged characters, so I decided to make Mellow more college age, but put her in her mid-twenties. I decided to make her a very simple person who loves her jeans and t-shirts. I took elements of people I knew and put them into Mellow’s personality to make her a well-rounded person that people can relate to.

4) Why did you choose to set the story in Vermont?

Pure chance really. I needed a setting, so I took out a map of the United States, closed my eyes, and pointed. Vermont was where my finger landed, so that was where I set the story.

5) Your book rests on a murder mystery, but the protagonist has an unusual advantage: the ghost of the victim. Can you tell us a little about how this led to challenges with maintaining the mystery and how you dealt with them?

A big challenge to maintaining a mystery is when you have the ghost of the murder victim. To keep it interesting, I decided to make Rachel have amnesia and she slowly gets her memory back as the story progresses. This way, I could have my reader guessing a bit as Mellow tries tp put the pieces together by exploring Rachel’s old haunts. (No pun intended).

6) What do you feel is the most important aspect of a mystery?

The most important aspect is when Rachel gets her memory back completely. Then, Mellow and her friends are stuck trying to prove that the murderer killed Rachel. And her murder happened a year earlier, so whatever evidence there was is gone. This is when the story turns from being a who done it to a catch the bad guy.

7) Can you tell us about some of your other work?

I have a novel that I published in August 2011 under the pen name of Nova Rose. The book is called Legends Lost Amborese. This book is a fantasy adventure novel that I started in high school and finished after graduating from college. It was one of those things I wrote and rediscovered years later in a drawer.

The story of Amborese focuses on a girl of about 20 years of age named Amborese. She is the lost heir to a throne that has sat empty for centuries. Naturally, she discovers this fact when her parents are murdered, but is reluctant to accept it at first because of what it means if she does. In an effort to discover who she really is, she embarks on an adventure to travel to the far side of the kingdom with her friend Zolo and a talking cat that is very forthcoming with her opinions.

Along the way, Amborese encounters many dangers and even makes a few friends as she develops the skills necessary to claim the throne. She also learns that the kingdom is in disarray as several factions have formed fight among themselves. It is her job to unite them. Amborese is also relentlessly pursued by a man named Clymorus who wishes to claim the throne for himself and seeks to kill her before she takes up her birth right.

Legends Lost Amborese is the first book in a proposed trilogy. I am currently finishing up the second book titled Legends Lost Tesnayr and should be released before the end of summer 2012.

I am also writing a sequel to Sugar And Spice And Not So Nice. This I hope to have published before the end of 2012. It is called Frogs, Snails And A Lot Of Wails. Mellow and her friends will be back with a new ghost to solve another mystery.

I have even published a nonfiction book, Illogical Nonsense. This is more of a political commentary book.

All are available on Amazon.


Thanks, Janet.

Sugar and Spice And Not So Nice can be purchased at Amazon.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Forced Perspective: The difference between Heroes and Villains, A Guest Post by Liana Brooks

Today I have a guest post from Liana Brooks as part of her blog tour to promote her super-hero/villain romance novella, EVEN VILLAINS FALL IN LOVE. It was just released by Breathless Press. 


In photography there is a technique called Forced Perspective that manipulates perception to change how you view objects, like making the moon look like a light bulb, or making a distant lighthouse look like a toy. In the movies, this is the trick that makes Elijah Wood and Ian McKellen look like one is Hobbit-sized and the other is tall. It's the trick that historians use to make you remember King John (1166-1216) as a horrible, whiny man-child who never moved past Prince John (a different person entirely, the prince lived from 1905-1919).

Forced Perspective is what defines a hero and creates a villain.

Consider for a moment the long list of things that are considered impolite - even outright criminal - by modern society: punching a stranger in the face, breaking into to someone's home, spying on someone, eavesdropping, murder... Any person caught committing these offenses would be considered a criminal. Done with enough flair and pomp the person might be considered a villain.

Unless the person in question wears black spandex, drives a funky car, and calls himself Batman.

Let's pretend that vigilante justice is excusable because "Batman never kills anyone" and then consult the actual text of Batman's life. Class, please open your comic books to Batman Incorporated Volume 2 wherein Batman is fighting the immortal Lord Death Man... and shoves him into a rocket so Lord Death Man can resurrect and die for the rest of eternity.

Holy overkill, Batman! Why didn't someone stop to consider the advantages of rehabilitation?

Batman should be the ultimate villain in our modern era. He's the one percent. A man who runs roughshod over the law not because of divine right, mutation, or superior morals but because he has more money than everyone else. Let me repeat that. Batman is a hero because he's rich.

That's it. That's his superpower. "By the trust fund invested in me I get to run this town!" Yet, through the miracle of Forced Perspective, Batman has been a superhero since 1939. This product of the children's welfare system is 73 this year, and still acting like an angsty 15-year-old who didn't get a date to prom.

Seriously, Bruce? Most people call a therapist.

This is how Forced Perspective works in literature. It makes a hero out of someone who ordinarily wouldn't be considered a good person. Robin Hood was a thief. Luke Skywalker was a terrorist. Superman was an alien who came and forced his views of right and wrong on our people.

I admit, I had fun playing with Forced Perspective in EVEN VILLAINS FALL IN LOVE. I took someone who was technically a criminal, technically a super villain, and made him almost a hero. Doctor Charm gets what he wants through sneaky and underhanded ways, but when his back is up against the wall he makes the right choice.

Choice is the theme throughout the Heroes and Villains series. When you have superpowers, whose side are you on?

Feel free to leave a note for me in the comment section. Defend Bruce Wayne, tell me what superpower you would have, and whose side you'd be on if you had the power. And, don't forget, I'm running the EVFIL in the Wild contest until May 5th. Send me a picture of EVFIL on your e-reader for a chance to win a $10 gift certificate to Sock Dreams!


Thanks, Liana.

More from Liana can be found at her author website, Twitter, and Facebook.

Her book can be purchased from Breathless Press and Amazon.

EVEN VILLAINS FALL IN LOVE has a Facebook and Goodreads page.

Liana Brooks was born in San Diego, California. Years later she was disappointed to learn that The Shire was not some place she could move to, nor was Rider of Rohan an acceptable career choice. Studying marine biology  so she could play with sharks seemed to be the only alternative. After college Liana settled down to work as a full-time author and mother because logical career progression is something that happens to other people. When she grows up, Liana wants to be an Evil Overlord and take over the world.

In the meantime, she writes sci-fi and SFR in between trips to the beach. She can be found wearing colorful socks on the Emerald Coast, or online at

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Notorious Regency Romance: An interview with Terry Long

Today I'm talking with my friend and Regency romance author Terry Long about her Regency romance, THE NOTORIOUS PROPOSAL.


1) Please tell us about your book.

THE NOTORIOUS PROPOSAL is about a beautiful gentlewoman caught in a crossfire between two brothers who have a rather contrasting opinion about her. While she believes she’ll be released from her outrageous bargain soon, she discovers differently when the offensive man of the two substitutes his disdain for attraction toward her.

2) What was your inspiration for this book?

Oh, just my daydreams. I tend to do a bit of that.

3) Though he's handsome and rich, at the start of the book, Michael is a bit of an arrogant git. This puts him in a long tradition of Regency and Georgian alpha males who need to be tamed when they are first introduced. Arguably, this goes back in fiction all the way back to Mr. Darcy. What's the continuing appeal of this archetype, even in the modern day with our far more liberated women?

I think it’s “romantic” when I read about a tough, rough-around-the-edge man who loves as much as he is proud. Personally, I believe it is the strongest men who falls the hardest. And what woman doesn’t find a man with armor around his heart appealing when he’s vulnerable? This woman does!

 4) What went into designing Ally? Was it difficult to develop a character who is, in many ways, quite the naive innocent, yet still has enough allure to attract the eye of a stubborn man?

The process of designing Ally didn’t go as smoothly and effortlessly as it was in creating Michael. While striving to make her a kindhearted lady, I couldn’t have her weeping or swooning at the drop of a pen, and in my initial draft, she did exactly that. Since I find those characters rather dull myself, I contemplated how to turn her character around, ultimately deciding to make her spine a little stiffer, her vocabulary more colorful. That being said, she doesn’t actually curse. She only believes she’s gifted with her list of eccentric name-calling — she is a gentlewoman, after all.

5) Why did you choose to write a book set in Regency England?

I’ve always believed I was a romantic and Regencies are just that. One day, a long, long time ago, when I was browsing for my usual contemporary romance reads in a local library, I came across a rack— that’s right, a rack. The covers of scantily dressed men leaning over disheveled ladies, who happened to look appropriately weak in the knees, beckoned to me. After glancing around, making sure I wasn’t being watched, I reached for one of them and read the back cover. More than anything—even the naughty covers—I was enthralled by each and every synopsis, leading me to accept the fact that I couldn’t just read contemporary novels anymore. I had to read historicals! Many of which I read then were Regency based, so I became accustomed to their tongue and lifestyle. I am fortunate enough to be able to write about something I absolutely adore.

6) What sort of challenges did period writing present?

Many writers would agree with me here, I think. When it comes to the art of construing a tale, there are always challenges which come our way, be it mingling characters or creating new scenes. I’ve read this specific era for quite some time, but there is almost always a curveball where I have to stop, drop everything and research for accuracy.

7) What other projects do you have in the works?

Currently, I’m working on another Regency. However, this one isn’t about temperate, passive women and angry, arrogant men. I have her going about, behaving quite dastardly while he is watching on in disbelief. The attraction between the two is very different from Ally and Michael in THE NOTORIOUS PROPOSAL. I am happy with where it’s going so far, and I cannot wait to share their story and secrets with everyone. There are a couple of huge bombshells I’m keeping under wraps, and I can scarcely contain myself!

Thanks, Terry.

THE NOTORIOUS PROPOSAL can be purchased at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or direct from the publisher.

Friday, April 6, 2012

History, Pacifism, and Psychic Research: An Interview with author M.C.V. Egan

Today I'm speaking with M.C.V Egan about her book, THE BRIDGE OF DEATHS. A semi-fictionalized account of a real event, the author spent eighteen years in research including both conventional techniques and unusual and controversial tools such as psychics.


1) Please tell us about your book.

THE BRIDGE OF DEATHS is a combination of FACT and FICTION. It is based on a real plane crash in Denmark in the summer of 1939, two weeks before the start of World War II. The story is told from the perspective of a young couple in London investigating what happened to them in a recent past life. The facts are well documented for any curious reader who wishes to learn more.The fictional love story opens the door to the possibility that real love never dies and that if you are meant to meet someone, you will.

2) This is a fictionalized account of a true event. Given that you've done eighteen years of research on this topic, why did you decide to approach the topic in this manner?

I was originally considering to use only factual data. I came across several things that changed my mind and ended up with this cross-genre work. First, the subject of the past-life regressions requested anonymity. Second there was missing data that had been supplied solely by psychics, and many, I dare say most people find that to be fiction, and third is that the story needed to hook the reader and fiction does that so well.

3) You don't believe the crash at the center of your narrative was an accident. I'm curious at what point in your research did you start to come to that conclusion, or is it something you believed from the beginning?

My step-grandfather was in London in 1939 at the time and worked for the same International Petroleum Association as my biological grandfather, and when he described the events, the words sabotage and bomb were always part of the narrative.

4) As a non-historian, did you find it difficult to understand the period?

At first I did find the 1930s difficult to grasp in some ways. So I watched movies from the era and read books published in those years, novels, not history. My strongest confusion came from the psychics who on more than one occasion mentioned Israel or Palestine, and it made no sense to me at all, as I knew that Israel had formed after WW II. But when I found in the London Times May, 29 1939 that The MP on board Anthony Crossley was known as "The voice for the Arab Cause in regards to the Palestinian Territories", I began to realize how much of what affects us today had roots well before WWII, and it made history seem a very vital part of what I needed to know.

There were also books from the 1930s from my grandfather's library about alternate fuels. He was a bio-chemical engineer, and that too made me research learn and wonder how we have waited so long to deal with matters so very vital to our well-being.

5) What sort of research techniques did you use?

My first venue was newspaper microfilms, which were available to me at a nearby university, I also used history books, but I found that many from the era used other history books as references. So I asked for an appointment at the Houses of Parliament Library. I wanted my historical information to come from primary sources as much as possible. I also visited various other archives in the UK and in Denmark. I was able to find individuals here and there that I interviewed personally, by phone or by snail mail! In 1996 a psychic told me in a most excited manner that I was writing a book, and that it would meet with  much success. I asked if he could help me through the use of psychometry to "see a window to the past." The psychic, Bill Morin, said he could and I brought him my grandfather's pocket watch, stained and burnt by the crash. It was amazing, the psychic gave me the lettering on the wing of the plane! I do not want to spoil the book too much for any would-be readers, but there were many such moments in the course of my research.

6) Past-life regression and psychometry aren't something that many people find credible, let alone appropriate for use in historical research. What would you say to skeptical readers about your inclusion of paranormal techniques in your research process?

Yes, absolutely I agree that to most it is fiction. That was the reason I chose to document the historical data in such a detailed and meticulous manner. This way the esoteric could not be blatantly mocked as completely unbelievable.

7) What would you most like readers to take away from this story?

I have been amazed by what certain readers take away and have learned so much from my reviews. That being said I was thrilled when finally a few weeks ago a young reviewer from India tapped into what I personally see as the most important message, pacifism. I can only guess that I was too subtle in conveying it!
I have gotten correspondence with curiosity about past-life regressions or hypnosis therapy. I have also gotten a lot of feed-back on psychics and the love story. I would love to believe that we can be a more peaceful world and that through knowledge of our past mistakes as a world-wide society we can perhaps choose to avoid future conflicts.


Thanks for stopping by. You can also visit the author at her website,

She's also being interviewed on April 9 at

THE BRIDGE OF DEATHS is available for purchase at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Author House.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Questioning The Nature of Identity, an interview with EPIC Award Winner and Sci-fi Thriller Author Cyrus Keith

Today I'm re-interviewing Cyrus Keith, author of the science fiction thrillers BECOMING NADIA and UNALIVE. I had the honor of interesting Mr. Keith when my blog was just starting up.

Though his work has previously received strong reviews, he recently was recognized by the Electronic Publishing Industry Coalition with an EPIC Award for Best Suspense/Thriller for BECOMING NADIA. Oh, and that book just happened to be his debut novel.


1) Tell us a bit about your award-winning book.

Well, J.A.. May I call you J.A.? Anyway, it's a book. And it's award-winning.
Seriously, though. BECOMING NADIA has won two awards so far: A Top Ten Finisher in the Preditors and Editors' Reader's Poll. It has also won honors as Best Thriller at EPIC's eBook Awards.

I could give you the standard blurb, but anybody could click my buy link and get that, so I want to go a little deeper here, if that's all right. BECOMING NADIA is a story about the nature of identity. Think Heinlein's Friday or Bladerunner. Only with a gawdawful twist or two that makes most readers clutch their Nooks and Kindles closer and scream, "He did NOT just do that!" It's also about spirituality and redemption, interspersed with all the stuff that makes a thriller... thrilling: bullets flying, bodies dropping, and people running around screaming at each other.

2) What was the inspiration for this story?

I had this dream one night, in one of those moments where you're not awake but also not really asleep, where I met Nadia. I didn't know her name, but I knew who--and what--she was. She was destined for a horrible death, at the cost of so many more besides her, and she looked at me with lost, tearful eyes and said, "...but I don't want to die!" I snapped awake, and knew I either had to write her story down or she would melt my brain until I did.

3) Your story is a science fiction thriller. Both of those genres are quite well known for combining excellent entertainment with insightful critiques of modern society and geopolitical realities. What sort of critiques and explorations of society and the world do you explore in BECOMING NADIA?

Besides the deeper explorations of identity and the soul, I'm taking a look at people who always seem to know what's best for other people, in spite of what those people want. I'm not answering any questions or sermonizing, really. I just want people to think about life, and what it really amounts to. There's one scene where Nadia, sensing the end is near, sees a rather dreary, rainy day in a whole other light, where each and every breath becomes a precious moment in and of itself.

4) The amount of time to write a novel varies wildly based on on style. How long did it take you to write the book, including editing?

Too long. Wa-a-a-a-ay to long. The rough draft poured from my brain in only fifty-five days, but then I had to learn how to transform from just a storyteller to also being a writer, and there is a world of difference between the two. I began on October 29, 2007, and I submitted it to Muse It Up Publishing in May of 2010. In between those dates, there were sumbissions, rejections, revisions, rejections, edits, rejections, critiques, know the drill.

5) So, have you purchased any business cards yet with "Cyrus Keith, Award-winning author" or maybe just the more elegant, "Cyrus Keith, Epic Author"?

"Buy?" My good man, I do not "buy." I print my own. And I just joined EPIC. And "Multi-talented, award-winning, freaking AWESOME!" is taking a while to figure out how to fit on one of those tiny lil' thangs. Something tells me, though, something simpler may make a better impression.

6) In all seriousness, how did it feel to receive this honor?

I heard my name being called, and my brain exploded in my head. I knew I had a good chance of winning (at least one in three), and I've seen the other novels I was up against, and they were good. So winning was just girly-squealing awesome. I'm just not used to good things happening, and this made up for a whole lot of the crap I've been through in my life.

7) There was even a formal awards ceremony. What was that like? Have you attended a function like that before?

I've been to professional conferences and seminars before. Never an awards ceremony, though. But EPIC gave me a great first impression, and all the members I spoke with were very real and approachable people, without a single prima donna to be seen. You can see all the pictures on my Facebook page. It was awesome and fun.

8) The sequel, UNALIVE, is already out. When will the third book in the series drop?

CRITICAL MASS has been submitted to Muse It Up Publishing, and I should hear back from the acquisitions team within ten weeks. From there, it's about a nine-month journey to the release date on the average. If you enjoyed BECOMING NADIA and UNALIVE, then you'll love Critical Mass. It's the final chapter of the saga, and will make you look at some things in another way as well.


Thanks, Cyrus.

BECOMING NADIA and UNALIVE are both currently available for purchase.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Love, sacrifice, elves, and vampires: An interview with Wendy Hales

Today I'm talking with Wendy Hales about her paranormal romance that mixes vampires and elves, IMMORTAL BECOMING.

1) Tell us about your book.

 IMMORTAL BECOMING is story of the bloodmating between a Volaticus Elven named Shane and a human/Elven (Hulven) Volaticus hybrid named Jess. There are stark differences between the two races of Volaticus. Elven are born with wings, directional hearing and dentes (retractable fangs). Hulven are born completely human and Become into Elven traits (very painfully) in their mid-twenties. Suffice it to say Jess had no idea what she is when her and Shane meet.

The love and passion between Shane and Jess is intense.

2) What inspired this book?

I’ve always written. Never seriously, it was just something I’ve always had to do. One resounding theme in my life has been "Wendy lives in her own little world." Now everyone knows that ain’t no ‘little’ world in my mind. None of them are. And there are many.

I wasn’t inspired to write, per se, I had to write IMMORTAL BECOMING! Writing has always been like a compulsion for me.

Honestly I figured it would go right into a drawer just like everything else I’ve ever written. Jess and Shane demanded to be heard, my family and friends encouraged me to share this story. I bit the bullet and let other people read it (GULP!)… that was not something I usually -- if ever did. The positive feedback empowered me to take it to the next level. I’m really glad I did.

3) Vampires are pretty common. Fairies are even pretty common. A book that combines elves (as something distinct from fairies) and vampires covers somewhat less common territory. Why did you decide that particular mix of supernatural elements?
Hot flying vampire like creatures? The sexy species practically created itself!

Doesn’t that sound way better than research and a lifetime love of the paranormal/fantasy world? Over the years of writing merely for my personal enjoyment the vampires, elves and every other creature got a little different. Merging the two mythical vampire/elf creatures into one misrepresented species flowed onto the pages. … After I spent months researching every myth, lore, legend, psychic ability, psychic potential, scientific theory, etc.

 To a lesser degree I did the same type of research for the Tellus and Aquatie species. The dynamics of the Tellus and Aquaties societies develop more detail in the upcoming and yet to be written sequels in The Enlightened Species.

In Book Two, SHADOW REVEALED, you learn the Tellus are shifters and the power of their psychic energy.

 The world I’ve created is a great place for my character to live and for me to dwell as the author.

4) Everything we know, both on a scientific level and more intuitively, about how sentient beings react is based upon our relatively modest human experience. Humans tend to, on average, live less than a century, lack supernatural abilities, et cetera. With all that in mind, how did you go about developing the psychology for Shane Einar, a supernatural being centuries old?
Shane is a fierce warrior by bloodline. He’s been raised under the developing peace of the Symbiosis of Species Council. Fighting rogues, hunting down the evil Morsdente, and helping pre-enlightened humanity in every way possible. He is honorable and controlled. (Though Jess rocks his control pretty effectively) Through Shane’s commitment to the SOSC, you see the best of the species and him. It is through the conflict and battle with the rogue element you encounter the fierce primal side of him.

 Shane is a youngster compared to many of the characters. Innanna for example is twelve thousand years old. She survived the fall of Atlantis. (Jess calls her Wonder-Brat) In my opinion the most important element of aged/ageless species is developing boundaries. Yes the Elven species and its people are timeless … to an extent. The universe NEVER gives a gift without charging a price, in fiction or reality. The Elven are potentially immortal because they are able to heal at a cellular level psychically. They also have the ability to release their living energy at will. They still face extinction. Why? Their young are mostly males and they mature physically, emotionally, etc. far slower than a human.

 In IMMORTAL BECOMING two of the characters, Jorie and Jerika, are prime examples. Jorie is a 26 year old pre-teen. Jerika is barely the equivalent of a human 18 year old at the spry age of 52. The Elven are anemic, their females are fertile only a few times per century. The females are prone to bleed to death during childbirth, especially those without bloodmates. These factors make the females disinclined to propagate when fertile. Add those challenges to a species with a history of warring with the other enlightened species further reducing their numbers … Life is never easy. If you create a world where everything is bliss and sunshine, it’s not realistic or interesting to read.

5) Although vampires have been being redefined in novels for centuries with Polidori's THE VAMPYRE starting the major trend of literary breaks from extant vampire myths, major literary redefinition of elves is, one could argue, a somewhat more recent phenomena that, among other things, owes a heavy debt to Tolkien. What went into designing your elves and how were you influenced by past depictions? Is there anything about past depictions you strove to avoid?
I adore vampires. The primal call of blood, specifically the blood of the one person you are fated to love for all eternity. Hmmmm! Yet I wanted a species that rule the skies as a habitat. Voila flying vampires.

Volaticus is Latin based for "winged man". Giving the defined name of Elven was to differentiate the Elven race from the Hulven race within the species. When I originally started writing Immortal Becoming I used the Volaticus title exclusively. It made the hybrid race more confusing. I came up with Elven and Hulven for clarification reasons. (I know not very glamorous).

I don’t do "pointy ears", however, I did give the Volaticus directional hearing (They can move their ears like horses, one forward one back.) Why? Because they must have some visual characteristic for an antagonist element to identify them from humans, overdeveloped cranial musculature is not overt yet it’s something bad guys would recognize if they where specifically looking. Setting up for conflict is critical. Ultimately it’s the conflict that drives a story.

Short excerpt:

No, we don’t have pointy ears. Our hearing is directional. We can hear great distances in the direction that we aim our hearing. At some point someone utilized the term ‘point’ rather than ‘direct’ or ‘aim.’ Over time the ‘point’ terminology was taken literally: ‘pointy ears.’” He laughed, “That is how myths and legends are made.”

6) Obviously you're interested in vampires, elves, and fairies. Is there a particular type of supernatural creature that you just don't find interesting?
I outgrew my curiosity of the boogieman. Everything else is fodder for my Muse, LOL. It’s the possibility of supernatural creatures and talents that gets my mind churning. Making the fantastic feasible is where I hit my stride! For me it’s not building the world that’s difficult … it’s reining the sucker in when it gets too outlandish.

7) Tell us about your upcoming sequels.
SHADOW REVEALED, book two of The Enlightened Species, will be released Mid-April.

SHADOWED MAGIC, an Enlightened Species novella, will be released the end of May.

 FIRE'S TOUCH, book three of The Enlightened Species, I’m targeting for late summer/early fall.

Until the species/characters fall silent I will continue to write them.


Thanks, Wendy.

You can see more from Wendy at her website,

IMMORTAL BECOMING is available in paperback form at her website and e-book form at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

A Story Not Wished To Be Read: An interview with Nicola Black

Today I'm taking with poet and author Nicola Black about her poetry collection, A STORY NOT WISHED TO BE READ.


1) Please tell about your collection.

This collection of poems was written over several years. It was an easy way to express my emotions. Eventually, I decided to compile them all in one place. I've added to them several times over the past couple of months, but kept many of the originals, even though I didn't like some of them.

2) What sort of themes do you explore in your collection?

The themes that I explored in this collection are my own weaknesses really. Self doubt, love, heartache, and hope--these all poured out of me as I wrote. I was hesitant to draw much attention to the collection for that very reason, but I got over it. :)

3) Do you have a particular style for these poems or do they vary? Could you tell us a bit about your style?

My styles definitely do vary. Mostly I try to have a rhyming pattern. Sometimes I challenged myself to fit the poem into a metrical rhythm. Very rarely I wrote in free verse. I have never been comfortable with improvisation, but for those particular topics, I thought that's what they needed. I like the idea of structure though; so much of my life, past and present, have been rather chaotic.

4) What sort of advantage do you feel the poetry medium provides you over prose fiction?
Poetry allows me to be vague and symbolic. In prose writing, you need to add detail to allow the reader to see what you want him to see. With poetry, you can use symbolism and abstract concepts. The reader interprets the work how they need to, and you don't have to come right out and say "I made a mistake, so I lost." or "Oh my God, that guy is so dreamy." There is still privacy in that, so I don't feel like I'm completely wearing my heart on sleeve.

5) Do you have any particular writers or poets who have influenced you?
I've read a lot of Charles Dickens, Jane Austen, and Emily Dickinson. I would like to think all three have made an impact on my work. From Charles Dickens I have the idea of fictional autobiography, such as he did with David Copperfield. He was also rather pessimistic, which I certainly am. Jane Austen depicted every day living in her society. That's something that I try to emulate. Emily Dickinson's forms and themes were very close to my heart, so I try to get that same affect in my readers.

6) Do you have any other work you'd like to tell us about?
At the present moment, I haven't finished anything else. However, I do have several projects in progress. TELEPATHETIC is a novel about a girl who believes she is going insane. She has a voice in her head who insists that he's a real person. A SPY OF KINGS is about a young female spy who is sent on a long journey. She has to join forces with a warlock and a crime lord. And she has a dragon who is her daughter. NUMB KILLINGS is a new project about a man-murderer telling her story in prison. And my final work is NIGHTMARES AND DREAMS, a collection of short stories.

Thanks, Nicola.

Her collection can be purchased at Smashwords.

You can read more from her at her blog,