Monday, May 2, 2016

FEATURED AUTHOR: LESLEY A. DIEHL





ABOUT THE BOOK

Someone at Professor Laura Murphy’s college appears to be playing a joke on her by planting sexually explicit stories in her research results, but the joke turns deadly when one story details the recent stabbing murder of a coed. Laura’s close friend, Detective Derrick Pasquis from the local police, asks for her help in interviewing the prickly suspects who resist intervention from outside the campus community. Eager to search out clues, Laura ignores warning signs that playing amateur sleuth may jeopardize her newly developing romance with Guy. And of course her usual intrusive manner puts her at odds with everyone on campus—colleagues, the college administration, the head of campus security and fraternity members.  Is there no one Laura can’t offend in her eagerness to find the truth? The closer she gets to solving the crime, the more it appears that the past—the coed’s, that of a prominent faculty member and Laura’s own—is the key to the murder. Caught in an early winter blizzard, Laura must choose between wandering the mountains and freezing to death or taking her chances with a killer clever enough to make murder look like the work of an innocent student.





INTERVIEW WITH LESLEY A. DIEHL


Lesley, how did you get started writing?

When I retired from university life as a professor and administrator, my husband and I moved from the East Coast to New Mexico because he wanted to return to where he grew up in the West. He’d always wanted to be a writer, so he closeted himself in his office and began work. I had played around with creative writing over the years, but the need to publish scientific articles for my university position kind of kicked the “creative” out of me. But I thought, “What the heck. If he can write, I can, too," so I began a mystery (I’d always loved them) set on a college campus. Write what you know, correct?  Unfortunately, I had no idea how to write a mystery, and my first effort showed that, but I’m a stubborn gal, so I kept at it. After many awful attempts, that manuscript became the first Laura Murphy mystery, Murder Is Academic. Failure Is Fatal is the second in the series. Being mulish paid off.

What's your favorite thing about the writing process?
I love being able to create people and a world, all under my control, and the best thing about mysteries is that the writer makes everything turn out okay. How wonderful and hopeful is that!

I agree. What do you think is more important – characters or plot?
When I first started writing, I thought plot was most important. I was writing a mystery, a puzzle that needed to be solved. I reveled in the twists and turns and subplots I developed. Now that I am down the road a bit, I work harder on creating characters that my readers can admire, root for, get angry at, hate, love, identify with or want to become. For a series writer, that is important. A writer can have a really intricate mystery, but if the characters aren’t compelling, a reader won’t come back for the next one.

What books do you currently have published?
I have two books in the mircrobrewing series, two in the Big Lake murder mystery series, three in the Eve Appel mystery series (number four will be out in September), two in the Laura Murphy series, a standalone mystery and a number of short stories.


What do you know now that you wish you knew then?
Yeah, yeah, I know the big publishing houses don’t promote their writers like they used to, but they do have money and connections, all significant in the issues of discoverability and placement, the bane of the writer with a small publishing house or who is self-published. The road to discoverability with a small publisher can be a lot longer and requires the writer hang in there and write enough books to generate a respectable bookshelf.

Do you have any secret talents?
I think I write a pretty entertaining cozy mystery, and I hope that secret talent will be less of a secret one day! And
I’m great at finding secondhand bargains. I furnished my cottage almost entirely from yard sales.


Is writing your dream job?

Yup, it really is. I set my own schedule, create my own characters and plots, never have to get permission from anyone to take a sick day, or go on vacation or have my pay (minimal as it is) docked, dress up for work, suffer sexual harassment from colleagues or bosses, suffer a long commute, attend long, boring meetings, or get out of my jammies if I don’t want to unless I’m doing a reading or library event (for those I do shower and spruce up a bit).

What is the worst job you’ve ever had? What did it teach you?

I had the title of “stripper,” not what you think. I worked summers for the intermediary to a publishing company. We would receive paperback books from retail stores, books that did not sell, and we would strip the covers off the books. These covers were sent back to the publisher who would reimburse the store for the book. The book itself went to the city dump. We were told we were not to take the books, but we all did anyway. I read a lot of cheap, sleazy paperbacks those summers. The work itself wasn’t really difficult, but it was boring. Required standing for eight hours on a concrete floor (no wonder I have back problems!) with fifteen minutes for lunch and two 10 minute breaks. I worked the three to eleven shift. The only job worse than that was in the bindery in a large printing plant. It was too loud on the floor to hear anything so you couldn’t speak to anyone. My job was to jockey stacks of catalogue pages so they were straight on all sides and then insert them into a bin that would feed them onto a conveyer and into an automatic binder. I had paper cuts up my forearms, and my nose was filled with paper dust.

What I learned from these jobs was that, despite the good money they paid, I needed a position in which my mind was engaged and one that didn’t threatened my physical health. I clearly knew why I was getting a college education.

Do you have any marketing tips you could pass on to indie authors?
No one knows what really works. I’m not being negative, just stating the truth. There is no magic bullet. Do what you feel comfortable doing, but be consistent. Probably the best thing you can do to sell your books is to write more books.

If you could only watch one television station for a year, what would it be?
PBS if only to watch the British mysteries. Or I could trash all of television for Netflix (and the British mysteries and comedies).

What five things would you never want to live without?
Netflix, PBS, books, a comfortable pair of shoes and jeans that fit.


What do you love about where you live?
Up north, I live in a 1874 cottage on a trout stream. I get to listen to that stream when I write. I hear the wind through the great leafy maple trees and revel in the chartreuses of spring.

The rest of the year I live in rural Florida. I love the handsome cowboys I see in the country bars, I adore all the herds of cows (I’m a cow lover) and am fascinated by the Brahman cattle there. Their floppy ears are so cute. We live on a small canal with abundant birdlife. As you can tell, I am truly a country gal.


What's your favorite treat for movie night?

A big, ol’ bag of theater popcorn. I can watch any film if I have that.

What’s your favorite fast food?
I love French fries, but almost never eat them because they are deep-fried and I try to stay away from the fat.

What’s your favorite beverage?

I love a good Sauvignon Blanc, one from New Zealand.

What drives you crazy?
People who talk on their cellphones in public, especially in a restaurant. Do they really think I’m interested in their conversation, and how can you not listen when they’re right in your face?

What is your superpower?
I think I’m pretty great at multitasking.

What is one of your happiest moments?

The day I married my husband. It took me over a half century to find him.

What do you like to do when there’s nothing to do?
Read, of course.

Where is your favorite place to visit?
I love the Florida Keys. We use to spend our winters there, but it got far too expensive. Now we pop down for a long weekend to visit friends in Key Largo. That place has the best yard sales and our favorite restaurant for fired whole yellow snapper. Our two cats were rescues from the campground there. The color of the waters as you drive to Key West is spectacular.

What’s your least favorite chore?
I hate dusting, and it’s my own fault for buying all those items at yard sales. Those little gems decorate all the horizontal surfaces in my house up north. Not only must I dust the surfaces, but the knick knacks have to be cleaned too. My house is pretty clean, but I have too much “stuff” and yet I’m addicted to used items, much like my protagonist, Eve Appel.
 In my family it’s a trait carried down from generation to generation—never buy new!


What’s in your refrigerator right now?
Always a bottle of wine, then vegetables usually green beans and broccoli, lettuce, cuke, kale, low fat mayo, assorted salad dressings, eggs, egg beaters, assorted cheeses, a jar of jam (that belongs to hubby), butter, margarine, Sicilian lemonade, half n’ half, melon and yogurt. The freezer usually contains fish of some kind, chicken, a little beef, and (guilty pleasure) gelato.

What’s one of your favorite quotes?
From Mark Twain: “Man is the only animal that blushes. Or needs to.”

What would your main character say about you?
From Eve Appel, “She’s smart and funny, but she dresses too conservatively especially her shoes. She never wears a heel higher than two inches. Where is the fun in that?”

What’s the hardest thing you’ve ever had to write?
Letters of recommendation to graduate schools for my students. When I wrote for someone, I knew I was holding a piece of their future in my hands, so I obsessed over getting it right, making it speak about their strengths, but not be dishonest about their abilities.


Where is your favorite library, and what do you love about it?
I love the library in Okeechobee. It’s a lovely open space with windows to the outdoors. It may not hold everything that larger ones do, but the librarians and staff there have been supportive of local authors, featuring them in programs throughout the year. They always act as if we are doing them a favor by being there while I know they are paying me a compliment by featuring me each year. The reading group there is active and loves having an author appear. The library also provided a space for the writers’ group which another woman and I started years ago.




You have a personal chef for the night. What would you ask him to prepare?

Sea bass, crispy, with asparagus. For dessert, anything dark chocolate.


How do you like your pizza?
Just plain. My protagonist, Eve Appel is right. I’m boring.


What is the wallpaper on your computer’s desktop?
It is a view of a waterfall with vegetation all around including a blooming rhododendron.


Describe yourself in 5 words.
Short, blonde, shy, smart mouth.


What would you do for a Klondike bar?

Dark chocolate? I’d write you a short story about murder, yours if you didn’t give me the bar.



Yikes! What are you working on now?

I’m beginning the sixth book in the Eve Appel mystery series. I’m also working on a novella featuring the characters I’ve written about in short stories, Aunt Nozzie, the grandmamas and their granddaughter. This one is all about apple picking, Halloween, and of course, murder.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Lesley retired from her life as a professor of psychology and reclaimed her country roots by moving to a small cottage in the Butternut River Valley in upstate New York.  In the winter she migrates to old Florida—cowboys, scrub palmetto, and open fields of grazing cattle, a place where spurs still jingle in the post office, and gators make golf a contact sport.  Back north, the shy ghost inhabiting the cottage serves as her literary muse.  When not writing, she gardens, cooks and renovates the 1874 cottage with the help of her husband, two cats and, of course, Fred the ghost, who gives artistic direction to their work.
She is the author of a number of mystery series (Microbrewing Series, Big Lake Mystery Series, Eve Appel Mystery Series and the Laura Murphy Mysteries), a standalone mystery (Angel Sleuth) and numerous short stories.
       



Connect with Lesley:
Website  |   
Blog  |   Facebook 
  |  Twitter   
 

Sales links:
For Kindle and trade paperback  |  For all eformats


Sunday, May 1, 2016

FEATURED AUTHOR: NANCY COLE SILVERMAN







ABOUT THE BOOK

As radio reporter Carol Childs investigates a series of Beverly Hills jewelry heists, she realizes her FBI boyfriend, Eric, is working the same case. Even worse, she may have inadvertently helped the suspect escape. The situation intensifies when the suspect calls the radio station during a live broadcast, baiting Carol deeper into the investigation.
In order for her to uncover the truth, Carol must choose between her job and her personal relationships. What started out as coincidence between Carol and Eric becomes a race for the facts—pitting them against one another—before the thieves can pull off a daring escape, leaving a trail of dead bodies behind, and taking the jewels with them.




INTERVIEW WITH NANCY COLE SILVERMAN


Nancy, how did you get started writing?

I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t making up stories. My first blush at writing, however, was in second grade. I wrote my first short story for a spelling assignment. You know one of those tasks where kids have to use each new word in a sentence. I decided instead to write a story. I loved the story and was so excited about it. I don’t think I slept a wink the night I turned it in. I was convinced it was the best thing my teacher would ever read. Only trouble was, I’d paid no attention to my spelling words or to grammar and I don’t think my teacher thought I demonstrated any appreciation for the tools I’d need to pursue my passion as a writer. I remember getting my paper back the next day with lots of red marks on it–corrections I should have known–and a note telling me I needed to pay more attention in class. Umph! I thought she needed to pay more attention to the story and less to the minor errors I had made.

Do you have a writing routine?
I write every day. After retiring from a career in radio—where I wrote news, commercial copy and promos, I returned home and established a home office. I’m there nearly every day and busy as I ever was writing. I think it’s important writers write.

What do you wish you’d done differently when you first started the publishing process? That’s a difficult question. The world of publishing changes daily and staying informed and on top of what’s working and what’s not is a full-time job. I prefer to think my publisher does most the heavy lifting.

What do you think is the hardest aspect of writing a book?
Re-writing. A draft is just a draft or the skeleton of what will become the book. There’s so much that is revealed as a writer works and reworks a manuscript. I think the biggest mistake a writer can make is trying to rush a finish.

What’s more important—characters or plot?

I like to think character. Readers relate to characters. The news is full of nasty things that happen every day to people but when the public has a face to go with the story it permeates our psyche so much deeper than if were just an event with a face. I try to put a face to all my plots.

How often do you read?
Everyday. People ask me all the time, must writers read. I answer, must a musician listen to music. A talent can’t be developed unless it is groomed and educated. Reading is the best thing a writer can do.

What books do you currently have published? 

The Carol Childs Mysteries are my first published full-length novels. I’ve self-published several books, and I have a series of short stories on the internet, in various anthologies and magazines.

Is writing your dream job?

Yes, writing is my dream job. I’ve had a number of different jobs since I was a kid and every one of them shows up in my work at various times. It’s as though everything has come together as it should.

If you could only watch one television station for a year, what would it be?

PBS.

Would you make a good character in a book?
I like to think that Carol Childs is a memorable character because in my opinion, she’s real. She’s not a character that thinks she’s stronger than her male counterparts, but believes, "Brains Beat Brawn and a Mic is More Powerful than a Forty-five.”  It’s the theme line of my books and one I hope that demonstrate that women have their own powers, different from their male counterparts, but equally as effective.

What five things would you never want to live without?

My computer with internet access, coffee, wine and stack of good books to read.

What’s one thing you never leave the house without (besides your phone).

My sense of humor. I like in L.A. to venture out into traffic one needs a sense of humor and patience.

What do you love about where you live?
The diversity of people and places to go and things to see. We’ve everything Hollywood to the Space Shuttle here. Lots to see. 
What’s your favorite thing to do/favorite place to go on date night?

What's the biggest lie you ever told? 
I like to think that’s an unfair question. I don’t lie and I don’t respect people who do.  But, that said, to write a mystery, one must learn to lie. A lie is a series of small stories and to be good at telling a story one must learn how to lie. I once mentioned that in a seminar and a woman took great issue with it. But the truth is, writers must learn to lie, it’s the basis of mystery. 

Um . . . I think you forgot your sense of humor. What’s your favorite beverage?
Wine. White wine. Red wine.  It doesn’t make a difference.

What is your superpower?
My belief that I have a connection to a higher power. 



What do you wish you could do?

Ride horses. Up until several years ago I used to ride and own horses, and I loved it.  Unfortunately, I had a bad accident and had to hang up my stirrups. It was one of the highlights of my life and I miss it.

Where is your favorite place to visit? 
There are so many. When I was very young, I travel a lot through Europe. I had such fun exploring so many areas, particularly in Italy. I don’t think there is anywhere I wouldn’t like to go. I grew up in the Southwest and loved the four corner regions of the US. I am very lucky. My life has been rich in travel, and I believe it has opened my eyes to so much I never would have known about with the opportunity to travel.

What’s your least favorite chore?

Grocery shopping. I love to cook and I view food as an art. In fact, in my series, Carol Childs’ best friend is a gourmet cook. If everyone could have such a friend, we’d all be ten pounds heavier.


Do you give your characters any of your bad traits?
Do I have to be honest? Carol is driven. I was driven. I loved working for a news talk station and Carol is much the same.  Consequently, relationships frequently took a back seat to her career. 


If you had a talk show who would your dream guests be?

Stephen King and Lee Child.

Describe yourself in 5 words.

Obsessive. Compulsive. Sensitive. 



What is your favorite movie?
Gone with the Wind
.

Do you have a favorite book?

Gone with the Wind.

What are you working on now?

I’m working on the fourth book in the Carol Childs Series.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Nancy Cole Silverman credits her twenty-five years in radio for helping her to develop an ear for storytelling. In 2001, Silverman retired from news and copywriting to write fiction full time. In 2014, Silverman signed with Henery Press for her new mystery series, The Carol Childs’ Mysteries. The first of the series, Shadow of Doubt, debuted in December 2014 and the second, Beyond a Doubt, debuted July 2015. The third, Without A Doubt, is available in May 2016.

Connect with Nancy:

Website  | Blog  |  Facebook  | 
Twitter  | 
Goodreads 
Buy the book:
Amazon


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Saturday, April 30, 2016

GUEST POST BY ANNETTE DASHOFY





ABOUT THE BOOK

Paramedic Zoe Chambers and the rest of rural Monongahela County’s EMS and fire personnel are used to wading into the middle of trouble to rescue the sick and the injured. But when someone with an ax to grind seeks retribution by staging accident scenes and gunning down the first responders, Zoe finds herself forced to not only treat her own brethren of the front lines, but also, in her role as deputy coroner, seek out whoever is killing her friends.

At the same time, Vance Township Police Chief Pete Adams races to track down a gun, a mysterious all-terrain vehicle, and the sniper before Zoe goes back on duty, placing herself—and Pete—firmly in the gunman’s crosshairs.

Related subjects include: cozy mysteries, women sleuths, murder mystery series, whodunit mysteries (whodunnit), book club recommendations, audio books for download, police procedurals series, amateur sleuth books.

Books in the Zoe Chambers Mystery Series:
• Circle Of Influence (#1)

• Lost Legacy (#2)

• Bridges Burned
(#3)

• With A Vengeance (#4)




GUEST POST BY ANNETTE DASHOFY

A Little Murder, A Little Romance


I once tried my hand at writing romantic suspense. That pitiful effort is filed away on a CD somewhere, never to see the light of day again. It soon became apparent to me that I don’t “do” romance. I kill people. It’s so much more fun!

Except . . . I guess I do do romance.

When I started writing the Zoe Chambers mystery series, I had Zoe and Chief of Police Pete Adams set up to be friends. Both sucked at relationships, so I imagined them as being attracted to one another, but determined to remain just friends. Romantic tension. Nothing more.

Then The Kiss happened. It was one of those scenes that took me by surprise as I wrote it. Wow. I didn’t see that coming. Neither did some of my beta readers of an early draft. Too out-of-the-blue, they said. So I went back and added a few hints that these two liked each other. Still, they resisted the idea of being a couple. I write murder mysteries, not romance. Right?

In the second book, I introduced Harry Adams, Pete’s father who suffers early stage Alzheimer’s. The disease frequently leaves him at a loss to come up with someone’s name, and he’s lost his ability to edit his thoughts before speaking, but not to see some things darned clearly. He’s the one who asks Pete “When are you gonna marry that girl?”

But I think the moment I realized just how much readers were vested in Pete and Zoe as a couple came when I attended an event for another author. The bookstore owner pointed me out in the crowd prior to the author’s arrival. At that point, a bearded gentleman wearing camo and a ball cap covered in fishing lures trudged up to me and gruffly demanded to know, “When are Pete and Zoe gonna get together?”

First off, this guy was not whom I pictured as my target audience. Secondly, if he was hooked by Pete and Zoe’s romance-that-wasn’t-a-romance, what were my female readers thinking?

The third book in the series, Agatha nominated Bridges Burned, Zoe’s eye wanders just a bit. She finds herself attracted to another man, but doesn’t act on it. I got my most scathing review ever. Reading between the lines, I finally figured out, this reviewer was mad at Zoe for her treatment of Pete in the book!

Wow.

I told you, I write murder mysteries. Not romance.

Anyhow, in With a Vengeance, there are no outside attractions, and Pete and Zoe are on stronger footing as a couple, deeply concerned about the danger they each face with a sniper who’s killing emergency responders in Vance Township. And they end up in a very interesting place.

You’ll have to read the book to find out where.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Annette Dashofy is the USA Today best-selling author of the Zoe Chambers mystery series about a paramedic and deputy coroner in rural Pennsylvania’s tight-knit Vance Township. Circle Of Influence, published by Henery Press, was a finalist for the Agatha Award for Best First Novel and for the David Award for Best Mystery of 2014. Lost Legacy, was released in September 2014 followed in April 2015 by Bridges Burned, which has been nominated for the Agatha for Best Contemporary Novel. With A Vengeance, the fourth in the series, will be available May 3.

Connect with Annette:
Website  |  blog  |   Facebook  |  Twitter 

Buy the book:
Amazon   |   Henery Press



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Friday, April 29, 2016

FEATURED AUTHOR: D. ALYCE DOMAIN




ABOUT THE BOOK

Lucifer - At eighteen months out of law school, six months on the job, and four weeks before his BAR exam, Luce has arrived. He’d been playing by other people’s rules all his life and now, poised on the brink of success, he will not let anyone stand in his way…especially not the junior-partner jerk at the office giving him and his assistant a hard time. On his way to give the creep a piece of his mind, he bumps into the infamous ‘Calamity Jones’. . .

Calamity – is tired of enduring her boss’s unwanted sexual innuendos. When his fingers start to roam, Calam decides she’s had enough. It’s time to fight fire with fire. So she devises an ingenious, if risky plan, to get Perkins off her back, keep her Job, and strike a blow for his numerous other victims around the office . . . only, things don’t go exactly as planned.

All Hell Breaks ‘Luce’ – After finding the loopy ingĂ©nue jack-knifed atop the archival files, Lucifer knows something is up. Calamity knows the jig is up. So, she comes clean. Turns out, they both have the same problem . . . Perkins. But, sparks fly when they decide to team up to bring down the boss. The Hitch? He’s a straight arrow . . .  She’s a loose cannon. Can they work together to achieve a common goal?  Or will they both lose in the end?


INTERVIEW WITH D. ALYCE DOMAIN


How did you get started writing?
I started writing out of frustration. I was in college and totally hooked on daytime soaps, and every time I got attached to a character or a super-couple, one of the actors would leave or the writers would decide to “go a different way”. The result . . . death, divorce, or a damaged character. I got into writing fan-fiction to “fix” some of the mess that Daytime writers did to my favorite heroes, heroines and couples.

Do you write every day? 
I try to, yes. I find this is the best way to keep ideas fresh in my mind, and to stay sharp and to keep my writing style consistent.

What do you think is hardest aspect of writing a book?

Pre-writing, research, and preparation. I do a plot summary, an outline, timeline of events, and in some cases, scene notes that I have collected along the way. This takes time, organization and a lot of work.

What books do you currently have published? 
Dominic’s Nemesis, my first publication. When Lucifer Met Calamity will be my second . . . though its unrelated.


Is writing your dream job? 
Not in the way that you mean. I love writing and being creative, but my attention span will never permit me to do just one thing for the rest of my life no matter how much I love it. Burnout. I prefer to split my time doing 2-3 things that I really like . . . and writing is one of them.

Do you have any marketing tips you could pass on to indie authors?
Don’t make your book free. I think this is a bad trend that de-values writing, books, and authors. A better, more effective option (in my humble opinion) is to do a small giveaway of a set number of copies (1 to 5) and to use this to increase awareness, recognition and interest in reading the book. The readers who enter the giveaway should be required to give an e-mail, or like your FB page or something and write a review or something.  Nothing is free and certainly not a book which requires months of time and effort to write. Making it a free download for any and everybody, is just selling your self short. 

How do you feel about Facebook? 

Love it!

What’s one thing you never leave the house without. 
Earrings in my ears. hate a naked lobe.

What do you love about where you live? 
The mild winters! I hate being cold. I hate cold weather. I hate winter colors. You get the picture.

I do! What's your favorite treat for movie night? 

Caramel popcorn

What’s your favorite beverage? 

It’s a toss up between Ginger Ale and hot chocolate.

What is one of your happiest moments? 
When I finally finished with school . . . for good. *Happy Dance*

What do you like to do when there’s nothing to do?
Read/Write/watch a movie . . . not TV, a movie.



Do you give your characters any of your bad traits? 
They have some of my traits . . . I’m not sure I would classify them as bad traits, just quirks of mine.

What’s your favorite/most visited Internet site?
 

Internet Movie Database, love it . . . visit everyday.

What’s the hardest thing you’ve ever had to write?
Essays for college and grad school applications. *ugh* I didn’t like the topics most of them force me to write. They just seemed so phony.



How do you like your pizza? 
On a wheat crust, with only veggie toppings, and made by a real pizzeria. I don’t do fast food pizza.



What’s your favorite color?
It’s a toss up between purple and red.



What’s your biggest pet peeve about writing? 
First person narrative. I have a love/hate relationship with it. I don’t like it unless it's done right. I’ve found that very few books really benefit from this point of view.   I, myself, would never write in first person. I just can’t give up the versatility of third-person omniscient.



What is your favorite movie? 
It’s a toss up between Dead Again and LA Confidential. They never get old.



What are you working on now? 
The sequel to Dominic’s Nemesis, which will be book 2 in The Ambrosi Legacy Series.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

D. Alyce Domain. Is a long-time lover of creative fiction.  She learned to read with Dr. Seuss, grew up reading Sweet Valley High, James Howe, and Lois Duncan, and graduated to category romance with Harlequin and Silhouette in her teen years. Ms. Domain started out writing fan-fiction after her favorite fictional characters met with death and cancellation on network television. Inspired by the entertaining, multi-layered storylines created by so many female romance, young adult and television writers, she began to experiment with her own characters.  Coupled with her own unique brand of genre-bending romantic fiction, Ms. Domain was able to create a whole new world within the pages of her books.

Ms. Domain was born and raised in Houston, Texas, the youngest daughter of Charles and Eunice Domain. She has one older sister. She earned a BS in Biochemistry and a MS in Biomedical Sciences. She worked in Patient-Based Biological Research before switching careers and opening her own fashion boutique, The Aesthetic Domain. In addition to fashion apparel and accessories, she sells her own original jewelry creations and runs the Boutique & Blog website, which is based in Houston, Texas. Ms. Domain also has avid interests in inspirational music, art/entertainment, and history.

Connect wtih the author:
Website  |  Facebook  |  Goodreads  |  Pinterest  | 

Buy the book:
Amazon  |  Barnes and Noble  |  iBook  |  Kobo  |  Smashwords  |  Createspace

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

FEATURED AUTHOR: LARRY D. THOMPSON



ABOUT THE BOOK



Dark Money is a thriller, a mystery and an expose’ of the corruption of money in politics.

Jackson Bryant, the millionaire plaintiff lawyer who turned to pro bono work in Dead Peasants, is caught up in the collision of money and politics when he receives a call from his old army buddy, Walt Frazier. Walt needs his assistance in evaluating security for Texas Governor Rob Lardner at a Halloween costume fundraiser thrown by one of the nation’s richest Republican billionaires at his mansion in Fort Worth.

Miriam Van Zandt is the best marksman among The Alamo Defenders, an anti-government militia group in West Texas. She attends the fund raiser dressed as a cat burglar---wounds the governor and murders the host’s brother, another Republican billionaire. She is shot in the leg but manages to escape.

Jack is appointed special prosecutor and must call on the Texas DPS SWAT team to track Van Zandt and attack the Alamo Defenders’ compound in a lonely part of West Texas. Van Zandt’s father, founder of the Defenders, is killed in the attack and Miriam is left in a coma. The authorities declare victory and close the case---but Jack knows better. The person behind the Halloween massacre has yet to be caught. When Walt and the protective detail are sued by the fund raiser host and the widow of the dead man, Jack follows the dark money of political contributions from the Cayman Islands to Washington to Eastern Europe, New York and New Orleans to track the real killer and absolve his friend and the Protective Detail of responsibility for the massacre.





INTERVIEW WITH LARRY THOMPSON


Larry, how did you get started writing?

I think I was always destined to be a writer, only it took a while to meet that destiny. I started as a trial lawyer and tried civil cases in Texas for more than forty years. When my youngest son graduated from college and the nest was empty, I decided to start writing.

What's your favorite thing about the writing process?
I love when a character does something that had not even occurred to me until I started writing that day. Truly, some characters take over scenes and chapters in books and I have to convince them that I’m the creator, not them.

Do you have a writing routine?

I usually write in the mornings when I am fresh. Up until recently, I was still a full-time trial lawyer and would write two or three hours in the morning and head to the office. On weekends I expand my writing time to five hours or so.

What do you think is hardest aspect of writing a book?
It’s the re-writing that is drudgery. After I finish the first draft, I re-write the complete story 12 to 15 times. Once I get to the last 2 or 3 re-writes, I’m looking for just words that I can improve.

What’s more important – characters or plot?
Characters are critical. If the reader cannot identify with the protagonist, feel his agony and revel in his joy, then she will never finish the book.

How often do you read?
I read every day. My bedtime routine includes reading a novel for about a half an hour. On weekends I try to read a couple of hours a day. I tell people that I would much prefer reading a good book than watching a television show.

What is your writing style?
I call it old-time radio writing. For those who have listened to those old radio dramas, they were carried by dialogue. And the listener had to use his imagination to fill in what he was hearing. If a door slammed, someone left in a hurry. If it creaked, something bad was about to happen. I didn’t realize until I had written a couple of books that Elmore Leonard’s ten rules of writing very well describe my writing style, particularly rule number ten, “Cut out the parts the reader is going to skip anyway.”

Good advice. What books do you currently have published?
So Help Me God, The Trial, Dead Peasants, The Insanity Plea and Dark Money.


Is writing your dream job?
Absolutely. I can’t think of anything I would rather be doing now. 


What is the worst job you’ve ever had?

Doing construction in the hot days of summer in Texas.
What did it teach you? It made me realize that I needed to get an education to avoid that kind of work.

Do you have any marketing tips you could pass on to indie authors?

I think that book tours like this one are excellent to promote a book. Certainly, they are the best bang for the buck, and I thank you.

You're welcome! For what would you like to be remembered?

That I was a good writer, a great lawyer, and, most importantly, a successful father of three great children.

Would you make a good character in a book?

Only as a lawyer, and particularly as a trial lawyer. I know my way around a courtroom (or did I already say that?).

What do you love about where you live?
We live on three acres with horses and dogs. I love the space, and I particularly love the two and three hundred-year-old giant oaks that surround our house. 


What’s your favorite fast food?
As a Texan it would have to be Tex-Mex or barbecue. Personally, I would probably say Tex-Mex.


What do you like to do when there’s nothing to do?
All I need is a book and I’m set until something more important comes along. 

Where is your favorite place to visit?

Vail, Colorado. My youngest son lives there. We’ve been spending two months each summer in a house on a mountain top in Vail for about a dozen years.  The majesty of the mountains across the valley is indescribable. I play golf with my son. We hike. We go to concerts. We eat in some world class restaurants. And I write. The mountains inspire me.

What is the most daring thing you've done?
The most daring and spectacular was rafting through the Grand Canyon. It was so spectacular that I have done it twice.

Where is your favorite library, and what do you love about it?

The Fort Worth Public Library. I grew up in a different era. At the age of six, my mother would let me walk a block to the bus stop in the summer, clad in shorts, a T-shirt but with no shoes. I rode the bus downtown and walked three blocks to the library where I would return five books and check out five more. I did that every summer for years. That library was instrumental in the development of my love of books and reading.


What are you working on now?
This is interesting and somewhat different from what I usually write. My brother was a best-selling writer of true crime in the eighties. He died way too young. His best book was Blood and Money, the true story of murders in the ultra-expensive River Oaks section of Houston. Because it was true, the characters were real. He and Doubleday were sued for libel three times. I successfully defended all three cases. The trials were fascinating. Now after 30 years, Blood and Money is to be made into a television series (things move slowly in Hollywood). In conjunction with the series, I am going to write Blood and Money, The Libel Trials. It will read like fiction but will be completely true.



EXCERPT FROM DARK MONEY


Jack Bryant turned his old red Dodge Ram pickup into the driveway of the Greek revival mansion at the end of the cul-de-sac in Westover Hills, an exclusive neighborhood in Fort Worth. He was amused to see Halloween ghosts and goblins hanging from the two enormous live oaks that fronted the house. The driveway led to wrought iron gates that permitted entry to the back. A heavy set Hispanic man with a Poncho Villa mustache in a security guard uniform stood beside the driveway near the gates, clipboard in hand. He was unarmed.

Jack stopped beside him and lowered his window. “Afternoon, officer. Fine autumn day, isn’t it?”

The guard sized up the old pick-up and the man wearing jeans and a white T-shirt. “You here to make a delivery?”

Jack reached into his left rear pocket and retrieved his wallet from which he extracted a laminated card. “No, sir. Name’s Jackson Douglas Bryant. I’m a lawyer and a Tarrant County Reserve Deputy. My friend, Walter Frazier, is part of the Governor’s Protective Detail. Said Governor Lardner is attending some big shindig here tomorrow night and asked me to lend a hand in checking the place out before he hits town. My name should be on that clipboard.”

The guard took the card, studied it closely and handed it back to Jack. He flipped to the second page. “There it is. Let me open the gates. Park down at the end of the driveway. You’ll see another wall with a gate. Walk on through and you’ll find your way to the ballroom where the party’s being held tomorrow. I’ll radio Sergeant Frazier to let him know you’re on your way.”

The gates silently opened, and Jack drove slowly to the back, admiring the house and grounds. The house had to be half a football field in length. Giant arched windows were spaced every ten feet with smaller ones above, apparently illuminating the second floor. To Jack’s right was an eight foot wall. First security issue. Not very hard to figure out a way to scale it. Fortunately, cameras and lights were mounted on fifteen foot poles that appeared to blanket the area.

Jack parked where he was directed and climbed from his truck. Before shutting the door, he took his cane from behind the driver’s seat. He flexed his left knee. It felt pretty good. He might not even need the cane. Still, he usually carried it since he never knew when he might take a step and have it buckle under him. Better to carry the cane than to fall on his ass.

He found himself in front of another wall. He was studying it when Walt came through the gate. Walt was ten years his junior, six feet, two inches of solid muscle. He bounded across the driveway to greet Jack. They first shook hands and then bear-hugged each other like the old army buddies that they were.

Walt pulled back and looked at Jack. “Damn, it’s good to see you. Been, what, about three years since you were in Austin for some lawyer meeting?”

“Could have been four. I think I was practicing in Beaumont then.”

“Still carrying the cane. That injury at the barracks causing you more problems?”

“No worse, not any better. Every once in a while the damn knee gives out with no warning. I may have to put an artificial one in some day. Meantime, the cane does just fine. I’ve got a collection of about twenty of them in an old whiskey barrel beside the back door of my house. This one is my Bubba Stick. Picked it up at a service station a while back.”

Walt’s voice dropped to just above a whisper. “Follow me into the garden. There are some tables there. We can sit for a few minutes while I explain what’s coming down.”

They walked through the gate. Beyond it was a garden, obviously tended by loving hands. Cobblestone paths wound their way through fall plantings of Yellow Copper Canyon Daises, Fall Aster, Apricot-colored Angel’s Trumpet, Mexican Marigold and the like. Walt led the way to a wrought iron table beside a fish pond with a fountain in the middle, spraying water from the mouth of a cherub’s statue. The two friends settled into chairs, facing the pond.

“This is what the help call the little garden. In a minute we’ll go around the house to the big garden and pool that fronts the ballroom. You know whose house this is?”

“No idea.”

“Belongs to Oscar Hale. He and his brother, Edward, are the two richest men in Fort Worth. Their daddy was one of the old Texas wildcatters. The two brothers were worth a few hundred million each, mainly from some old oil holdings down in South Texas and out around Midland. Life must have been pretty good.

Then it got better about ten years ago when the oil boys started fracking and horizontal drilling. Counting proven reserves still in the ground, word is they’re worth eighty billion, well, maybe just a little less now that we have an oil glut.”

“Edward still around?”

One of the servers in the kitchen had seen the two men and brought two bottles of water on a silver tray.

“Thanks…Sorry, I forgot your name.”

“Sarah Jane, Walt. My pleasure. Let me know if you need anything else.”

Walt took a sip from his bottle as Sarah Jane returned to the house. “Yeah. His legal residence is still in Fort Worth, and I understand he and his wife vote in this precinct, only they really live in New York City. He always kept an apartment there. When the oil money started gushing, he upgraded to a twenty room penthouse that I hear overlooks Central Park. He’s big in the arts scene up there, opera, ballet, you name it. He’s also building the Hale Museum of Fine Art here in Fort Worth.”

Jack nodded his head. “Okay, I know who you’re talking about. My girlfriend is thrilled about another museum in Fort Worth. She’s into that kind of thing. When I moved here, she took me to every damn one of them. The western art in the Amon Carter museum was really all that interested me. So, the Hales play with the big boys, and the governor’s coming. From what I read, Governor Lardner travels all over the world. Never seems to have a problem. What’s the big deal here?”



ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Larry D. Thompson was first a trial lawyer. He tried more than 300 cases throughout Texas, winning in excess of 95% of them. When his youngest son graduated from college, he decided to write his first novel. Since his mother was an English teacher and his brother, Thomas Thompson, had been a best-selling author, it seemed the natural thing to do.

Larry writes about what he knows best . . . lawyers, courtrooms and trials. The legal thriller is his genre. Dark Money is his fifth story and the second in the Jack Bryant series.

Larry and his wife, Vicki, call Houston home and spend their summers on a mountain top in Vail, Colorado. He has two daughters, two sons and four grandchildren.



Connect with Larry:
Website  |    Facebook  |  
Twitter   |  
 Amazon

Buy the book:

Amazon 


GIVEAWAY DETAILS:


Larry D. Thompson is giving away a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

Terms & Conditions:
•    By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
•    One winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive one $25 Amazon Gift Card
•    This giveaway begins March 1 and ends May 27.
•    Winners will be contacted via email on May 28.
•    Winners have 48 hours to reply.
Good luck everyone!



RAFFLECOPTER

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

FEATURED AUTHOR: BLAIR HOWARD


ABOUT THE BOOK

Harry Starke is the first novel in the Harry Starke series of murder mysteries.

Why Did Tabitha Willard Throw Herself off the Walnut Street Bridge?

It's almost midnight, bitterly cold, snowing, when a beautiful young girl, Tabitha Willard, throws herself off the Walnut Street Bridge into the icy waters of the Tennessee. Harry Starke is there, on the bridge. Wrong time, wrong place? Maybe. He tries, but is unable to stop her. Thus begins a series of events and an investigation that involves a local United States congressman, a senior lady senator from Boston, a local crime boss, several very nasty individuals, sex, extortion, high finance, corruption, and three murders. Harry has to work his way through a web of deceit and corruption until finally . . . Well, as always, there's a twist in the tale, several in fact . . .

Harry Starke is a hard-boiled private detective, an ex-cop, a tough guy from right side of the tracks with finely tuned senses, good instincts, and friends in high places. He’s single, successful, well educated, and yes, he will hurt you if he needs to.




EXCERPT FROM HARRY STARKE


“So, whaddaya want, Starke?” 

Phuttt. The seat cushion almost exploded as he dropped his fat ass down into the chair behind his desk and ran his fingers through his greasy brown hair.

I sat down in the only other chair in the room, one of those steel-framed folding things.

“You been to bed yet, Benny? You look like shit.”

“Yeah, well. I got lots to do, and no time to do it. I’ll maybe take a nap when Lorie gets here. Nothin’ much happens till after ten, as you well know. Come on, Starke. Spill it. What do you want?”

“I was in here last night, Benny. Remember?”

He nodded. “How could I forget?”

“Do you remember the girl in the black dress and white coat?”

“Come on, Harry. There were lots of girls in here last night. You know that. You were here, for God’s sake. The place was packed.”


“Yeah, I was here. And so were you. This was around midnight. She had dark red hair and an expensive white coat. She was with a couple of brothers. Nasty-looking types.”

“Oh yeah, I remember her. Who wouldn’t? She was hot.”

“Yeah, well, she’s not so hot now. She’s pretty cold. She’s dead. What do you know about her?”

“Dead? Dead? How? I don’t know nothin’, not a thing. I ain’t never seen her before. Who killed her?”

“Nobody killed her, Benny. She threw herself off the bridge. So. What about the brothers?”

“Killed herself, huh? Wow! Um . . . ” He hesitated. “Nothing. I ain’t never seen ‘em before either.” He looked away as he said it.

I said nothing. I just sat there and watched his face.

“What?” he said, when he had gathered up enough courage to look me in the eyes again.

“You’re about as transparent as that window, Benny. Maybe more so. It’s filthy. Now tell me the truth.”

“Screw you, Starke. I don’t have tell you nothin’. Get the hell out of my office, and stay outta the bar, too.”



ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Blair Howard is from a small town in England, near Stratford-upon-Avon, on the edge of the English Cotswolds. He is Kentucky Colonel, an honor bestowed upon him in 2008 by the then Governor of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, Steven L. Beshear. Until 2015, he wrote sweeping historical epics, and is the author of five historical novels. In July of 2015 he decided to try his hand at writing mystery novels, thus we have Harry Starke. The first in the series, Harry Starke, was released in mid-September 2015. The second novel, Two for the Money, was released October 19 the same year, Hill House, in mid-December 2015, and Checkmate in February 2016, and there are more to come.

Blair is the author of more than 40 books, including the Harry Starke series and five novels of the American Civil War. More than 4,500 magazine, newspaper, and web articles. His work has appeared in many national and international publications, including Delta's Sky Magazine, PHOTOgraphic magazine, The Mail on Sunday, The Walking Magazine, Petersen's Hunting Magazine, The Boston Herald, The Detroit Free-Press, The Anchorage Times and many more.

Connect with Blair:
Website Facebook  |   Twitter  |   Blog  |   Amazon Author Page  

Buy the book:
Amazon

Saturday, April 23, 2016

FEATURED AUTHOR: ROSA TEMPLE



ABOUT THE BOOK

Career minded, Natalie Spencer, had never been in love. She could never understand what all the fuss was about. But when she met Jackson Humphries during Fresher’s Week at University, that all changed.

Utterly infatuated, Natalie quickly discovers the meaning of love and, before she knows it, she's heading up the aisle – for the first time, that is.

This is a tale about four wedding dresses, a runaway groom and a girl who got so carried away, she couldn’t see true love staring her right in the face.



INTERVIEW WITH ROSA TEMPLE


Rosa, what's your favorite thing about the writing process?
It has to be the feeling of freedom it gives me when an idea comes to mind and I can just run with it and let my imagination go wild. It’s one of the best ways I have of winding down. Even if I start a story and I don’t finish, it’s okay because I had a surge of creativity and for the time I was writing I might have been anywhere in the world and meeting people (albeit on paper) I could never hope to meet. How great is that?

Pretty great! What books do you currently have published?
I have a novella called, Sleeping With You Best Friend which was published last year. Natalie’s Getting Married will be my first full length novel to be published.


Is writing your dream job?
Yes it is. It took a while to get here, but I’ve finally found the thing that makes me want to get out of bed in the morning, even though the money is awful.


How often do you tweet?

I’m a fits and starts tweeter. I’ll think I have something important to say and I’ll say it again and again on Twitter. But then I’ll go a week to ten days and never tweet at all. I think that’s bad practice but I never said I was a good tweeter. I do re-tweet as much as I can though.

What five things would you never want to live without?
Music. There is no such thing as a world without music. I listen to all kinds but my favorite is jazz and soul. Books. What would life be without some stimulating material to sink your teeth into? Chocolate. But only the good kind; dark with 80% cocoa. I’ll take Belgian or Swiss, thank you. Red wine. Need I say more? And lastly, floss. Did you know plaque can cause heart attacks?

Good to know! What’s your favorite fast food?
I’m a Londoner, so it’s good old fish and chips without a doubt. But it has to be bought in the right place. My favorite chippy is always busy on a Friday evening. I’m talking queues out the door. But please don’t get me wrong, I don’t have fish and chips every Friday – my skinny jeans wouldn’t allow it.



What do you wish you could do?
I wish I could get to grips with social media and technology. I manage to have a blog, a Twitter account and a Facebook page and that’s it. Some people have endless on-line platforms and I wonder: a) how do you even use things like Pinterest and Instagram? and b) how do you find the time?

I don’t even know how to use half the functions on my phone – any picture I take is dark and foggy. Seriously, I could have an album full of complete strangers for all the good I am at technology. Yes I wish to be more technologically minded.

What do you like to do when there’s nothing to do?

Easy. Watch terrible films on television. That’s what Channel 5 and all its sister channels were made for. A cup of tea and an awful, predictable, badly acted film with a lousy cast is somehow really refreshing to me. Do you know the type I mean? The ones that went straight to television because who in their right mind would pay good money to see them at the cinema? I go for the love story dramas, they’re the best kind. They have titles like: The Girl He Met On Line, Her Biggest Mistake or Dangerous Lessons. I’d love to be in one of those films.

Would you rather be a movie star, sports star, or rock star?
This is mean, why can’t I be all of them? Okay I choose rock star. If I were a rock star, chances are I’d be pretty fit so I looked good in music videos making the sports star option a waste of time. Also, as a rock star there’s a pretty good chance I might get asked to do a movie. Yes! I can have it all.


Brilliant! Do you procrastinate?
Oh yes! You know how many fitness regimes, healthy eating plans, learning of new languages etc I’ve put off? Only about a million. If I hadn’t procrastinated I would have been a saxophone playing, roller-blading, ballet dancer who tap dances and plays the bongos, is fluent in five different languages, and is very often seen in the lead role of the local amateur dramatics society production and has read War and Peace.

I see your point. What’s in your refrigerator right now?
Right, just had a quick check. It’s the end of the week so not much in there right now. I have a bowl of apples – should have been having an apple a day but only managed two. Chicken breasts defrosting for my casserole tomorrow. Half a punnet of blueberries for my healthy, daily smoothies – of which I managed to make one this week. Rice milk, low fat and mine; cow’s milk, full fat and everyone else’s. The dregs of some juice in a bottle – don’t know why my son couldn’t have just finished it. Garlic, ginger. Two kinds of spread, one low fat one heart attack packed. Fast acting pain relief gel and some satsumas.

What choices in life would you like to have a redo on?
This might be shallow but I wish I’d never given up piano. I don’t know why I stopped. I began taking lessons as an adult and I bought myself an electric piano. Maybe it was lack of time but my piano now sits in the corner of my writing room, gathering dust. I have lots of musician friends who come over to my place and sit and tinkle out a tune on my piano, and I’ve forgotten how. I think, somehow, it would have been a nice interlude between writing to sit and play a tune, don’t you? Maybe I’ll start again . . .

I think you should! What’s one of your favorite quotes?

I did come across some writing quotes that helped to inspire me whenever I might have been blocked or running out of steam. In particular this one struck a chord because of how tough writing can get sometimes:
“It is perfectly okay to write garbage – as long as you edit brilliantly.” - C J Cherryh

Very true. You have a personal chef for the night. What would you ask him to prepare?
In the UK there is a program called Masterchef (probably there are versions all over the world). If I’m not too busy I’ll watch the series, and for some reason I am transfixed by people cooking in a kitchen. Why? I don’t know, but I get fascinated by cookery terms like: friccasee, compote, en croute, and jus! So my personal chef would cook a fish dish – because I never cook fish well – using any of those fancy styles. But I’d simply have to have a dessert that involved masses of chocolate, or should I say chocolat?

Describe yourself in 5 words.
Beautiful, multi-talented, super-fit, ambidextrous . . .  and a big fat liar.



Good one! What is your favorite movie?
This is hard to pin down. I always claim that this is Breakfast At Tiffanys, but then I might watch another firm favorite, like one of the ‘Before’ Trilogy, and swear blind that this is the one. I guess the answer changes depending on what sort of mood I’m in.



Understandable. What are you working on now?

Right now my brain is working overtime on new stories I’d love to write. I’ve already started two new books. The first is an idea for a Christmas novel which came to me at (guess when?) Christmas, and I had to start scribbling away. I more or less have the whole outline mapped out in my head and just need to get it down. Alongside that, I started writing the novel I’d like to publish next year. Both are romantic comedies but with serious undertones. I was struck by comments of Natalie’s Getting Married when reviewers said they laughed and cried along with my heroine, and I’d love to re-capture those emotions in my next books.



ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Rosa Temple began writing romantic comedies and chick lit because of her passion for what she calls the 'early chick lit films', like: Sabrina, Barefoot In the Park and Breakfast at Tiffany's. She honed her skills as a ghost writer, gaining experience writing romantic novellas, both sweet and on the slightly steamy side. In her notebooks, she constantly jotted down story ideas of her own, and she eventually completed her first novella Sleeping With Your Best Friend and now, the full length novel, Natalie's Getting Married.
Rosa Temple is a Londoner and is married with two sons. She is a reluctant keep fit fanatic and doer of housework and insists that writing keeps her away from such strenuous tasks. She spends her days creating characters and story lines while drinking herbal tea and eating chocolate biscuits.

Connect with Rosa:



Website  |   
Facebook  |   Twitter  |   Goodreads  

Buy the book:
Amazon US   |  Amazon UK