Tag Archives: interview

Where am I? Cynthia Woolf’s Blog ~ Soul Reborn GIVEAWAY

Giveaway

HI Folks!!  I’m over at Cythnia Woolf’s blog today. 

If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?

Share your dream world and enter to win a copy of Soul Reborn.

http://cynthiawoolf.com/blog/an-interview-with-jean-murray/

Jean

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Where am I? Interview at the very funny Aaron Ritchey’s

Jean's Cannon 5_11 480

Hi everyone.

A fellow CMP Author, Aaron Ritchey, is interviewing me today on his blog.  He titled the post, “I Walk Like an Egyptian and Get Nursey with Paranormal Romance Author Jean Murray.”

If you want a laugh, stop by and get re-acquainted with the Village People.  Yes, I did say Village People – music video and all.

Hope to see you there.

Jean

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Filed under Guest Author, Key to the Cursed, Uncategorized

Author Open MIC: Welcomes Michelle Miles

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I want to welcome Michelle Miles to Wicked Romance’s Open MIC.  Let me tell you a little bit about Michelle and then we will delve deeper into the amazing stories she has written.

Michelle Miles found her love of writing buried in the fantasy books of Patricia A. McKillip and the beautiful romances of Victoria Holt. It wasn’t until her high school years she decided to take up the pen and try her hand at writing. She created faraway lands, space adventures, and even princesses who just wanted to be saved. Never learning to plot, she always believed that jumping in feet first was the way to go and has since become a self-proclaimed Pantser, writing sexy contemporaries, sizzling paranormal and sweeping fantasy.

A Native Texan, she loves hockey, baseball, drinking coffee, cross-stitching, and shopping for shoes and Coach handbags. Follow her daily writings and weekly guest features at her blog, Ye Olde Inkwell. Michelle is also a regular contributor to Pop Culture Divas  and Plotting Princesses.Plotting Princesses

** INTERVIEW **

Michelle, thank you so much for taking the MIC today.  One thing I love about your books (besides the incredible back list you have created) is that each is so unique.  Often authors find their niche and stick with it but I see each of your books has their own unique theme, plot and characters.  Scottish Knights, Faery princess, Gladiatrix, Centaurs, Phone Sex Operator, and Stripper.  Tell us how you do it all and still make the characters unique?

Thanks, Jean! 🙂 I write about what interests me. Sometimes, the characters pop up and dictate the story to me (as in the case of Phoenix Fire). Other times, I just want to write about certain things. Like for One Knight Only, I knew I wanted to write a story set during a jousting tournament. It took a while for that story to jell, but I finally got it and I love the end result. Every book is different for me and every story dictates the type of characters that need to be in that world. I hope they are unique and they are characters people fall in love with. 🙂

I go back and forth about focusing my efforts on one book or writing multiple stories at the same time.  Part of my fear is that I’ll have multiple beginnings and no complete manuscripts.  Which do you prefer and how do you manage achieving your goals?

I tend to do that at times, too. I think it’s because I get blocked on one story and then have a hard time getting past it. To combat that, I schedule writing time–an hour a day. Since I know it’s limited and I have to maximize my time, I really think about what I want to accomplish in that hour. It has helped to push through that block, even if I’m writing crap. At least it’s words on the page and I know I can go back and fix the crap. I think it’s important to start a project and see it until the end. It’s okay to take breaks from it when you feel as though you’re blocked and work on something else, but you want to try and finish whatever you begin.

Do you find it necessary to “get into character” in order to write?

I feel like I have to be inside the character’s head to write. So I guess that would be yes. I need to “hear” their voice in my head to be able to write them effectively. That sounds a bit crazy but it’s true. 🙂

What are you most recent releases?  Any awards or reviews you are proud to share?

My two latest releases are Phoenix Fire (February 2012) and One Knight Only (September 2011). I think the best review I got was for One Knight Only. It’s a Night Owl Reviews Top Pick and has gotten several 5-stars. Makes me all warm and tingly inside when I get a good review for a book I love so much.

Phoenix Fire, I love the book’s premise, a female gladiator. Tell us about Elena and what makes her so special. Why is Cassius such a great match for her?

Elena is a strong female character who is not afraid to defend those who are weaker. She has a long hatred for the Emperor, but yet she fears him. She knows that every time she steps into the arena, it could be her last time there. But she also knows she is the Emperor’s favorite.

Cassius is a former soldier who has been asked to help with the rebellion. When he refuses, the Senator leading the revolt takes away the only thing he has left—his freedom. He meets Elena in the gladiator barracks and knows she would be a powerful ally. He also senses her desire for freedom from the Emperor and uses that to convince her to help him assassinate the leader.  He’s a great match for her because they’re both strong and strong-willed.

One Knight Only – A master’s student thrown back in time?  (Oh, how I would have loved to throw my thesis out the window).  Maggie sounds like she is going to have her hands full with a knight with a gambling addiction.  This is such a unique story, what inspired you to write it?

I’ve always wanted to write a story set during a jousting tournament, but I wondered what type of man would be desperate to win one. It actually started as a much different book—a historical. But my heroine get have smart aleck remarks and sounding far too modern so I went back to the drawing board and decided my heroine was actually from the future. It took me awhile to get all the pieces in place—and all the research—but I’m very pleased with the end product. 🙂

What is next on the horizon for readers?  Where are your interests focused?

I’ve finished the sequel to One Knight Only, which follows the two Fae characters. Only For A Knight will be released sometime this year from Ellora’s Cave. It’s set in the Otherworld and is a fantasy romance. I’ve started the third book, A Knight To Remember, and hope to have the first draft complete by the end of the year. Since these are long books, it takes a while to craft them and I want to make sure the story is as good as it can be. I’m also in the beginning stages of a new series about some seriously hot alpha males from Atlantis. And I’d like to write a series of short novellas about cowboys.

Where can readers find you?  Any events or giveaways in the near future?

On the Web:

Website: http://www.michellemiles.net

Email: michelle@michellemiles.net

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/MichelleMiles

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/MichelleMilesRomance

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/MichelleMiles

YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/mlmiles21

Check my blog. I’ll be doing a giveaway when Only For A Knight releases! I will also be signing at the Dreamin’ in Dallas conference in March 2013.

********************

Awesome interview, Michelle.  I have One Knight Only and Phoenix Fire on my TBR.  Keep up the great writing.  And readers, if you haven’t had the chance to visit Michelle’s website, she has an amazing book list of erotic, fantasy, and paranormal.  Something for everyone!

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Filed under Author Open Mic

New Release ~ Hollywood Ever After by Sasha Summers

Book Blurb:

Happy Endings are for fairy tales. Or the movies. Not for real life. At least, not in Claire’s life. Even though she’s starting over, she knows better than to want too much this time. But when she falls, literally, into the strong arms of Hollywood’s ‘it’ boy Josh Wiley, Claire’s in for some surprises. Her plans for rest and relaxation are forgotten as one incredible night with Josh becomes two… And her heart begins to want him as much as her body. Will two kids, one bastard ex-husband, and Josh’s juggernaut career mean the end of their affair? Or can Claire find her happy ending after all?

InkSpell Link: http://www.inkspellpublishing.com/1/post/2012/03/hollywood-ever-after-cover-reveal.html

Amazon Link: http://www.amazon.com/Hollywood-Ever-After-Sasha-Summers/dp/0985148330/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1341495273&sr=8-1&keywords=hollywood+ever+after

B&N Link: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/hollywood-ever-after-sasha-summers/1110208518?ean=9780985148331

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Sasha is part gypsy. Her passions have always been storytelling, history, and travel. It’s no surprise that her books visit times past, set in places rich with legends and myth. Her first play, ‘Greek Gods and Goddesses’ (original title, right?), was written for her Girl Scout troupe. She’s been writing ever since. She loves getting lost in the worlds and characters she creates; even if she frequently forgets to run the dishwasher or wash socks when she’s doing so. Luckily, her four brilliant children and hero-inspiring hubby are super understanding and supportive.

To find out more about Sasha Summers stay tuned for her Author Open MIC interview here tomorrow at Wicked Romance!!

Learn about her other new release, Medusa, A Love Story.

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Filed under Cover Reveal, PROMO, Uncategorized

Anniversary Blog Hop: I have a contract. NOW WHAT?

Last week on Crescent Moon Press’ Blog, I posted my pitch to my publisher.  It was my first and it wasn’t pretty, but I caught the eye of the editor and here I am today.  But what happened between then and now.  Boy, a whole lot!  (Don’t forget to leave a comment on this post and Crescent Moon Press’ Blog and be entered to win signed print copy of Soul Reborn, see details below)

I remember being so stunned by the contract offer.  It took about a month and then I received my first edit reviews and was surprised there wasn’t more red letters and highlighted sections.  I thought wow, maybe this won’t be so bad.  Little did I know the first edits were story structure and plot, which tends to be one of my strengths.  Let’s just say the second and third passes were bloody.  Don’t even talk to me about passive writing.  Ack!  I worked so hard to remove it, I will never make that mistake again.

I think the fabulous part of it all was that my editor was as much a mentor as she was my editor.  She did an amazing job.  I laughed at my own mistakes and learned some hard lessons, all of which have made me be a better writer today.  This is a tough industry and to say you must have tough skin is an understatement.  The key that made it such a great experience was the fact that I wanted her to be brutal, because it forced me to learn and change my habits as a writer.  It was very important not to take her feedback personally. She wanted this book to succeed as much as I did.

Of course I can’t help but share one of my editorial comments.  Like I said before, I did a lot of laughing at myself. A. LOT.

Not many authors share their faults, but what the hell– it’s my anniversary!

Editors comments on my CRUTCH PHRASES:  “You really, really, REALLY love the phrases “clenched teeth” and “ground teeth.” It seems like someone is clenching or grinding their teeth every page or so, sometimes more than once per page. We can’t have that. Delve deeper into the 98% of communication that is nonverbal and find more ways to show your characters’ frustration/irritation. I started marking the ones I saw about halfway through the manuscript. Globally searching for “teeth” and “jaw” should root out most of them. Have fun!”

Her comments inspired me to share my experience.  This is an archived post that I released shortly before my book was released.

********************

What I learned from my editor in the first 60 days: “Oh, how I love to “grind my teeth.” Crutch phrases and everything else in between…

I picked my favorite lesson out of the list because I can’t help but laugh every time I see it. “Oh, how I love to grind my teeth” or as it were “Oh, how my characters loved to grind their teeth.”

Being a new writer has its challenges. It is a learning process every step of the way, and thank god for my editor, Heather Howland at Crescent Moon Press. She has held my hand through editing Soul Reborn and its journey to publication. I can’t thank her enough.

Yes, writing about emotion and the display of it is very difficult for a new writer. Whether it is inexperience or laziness, we use phrases over and over and over again. Apparently, my idea of showing frustration was teeth grinding and jaw clenching. My hero, Asar- Egyptian God of the Underworld, is a very intense character, angry and bitter. Poor guys soulless. He gets very frustrated with the heroine, Lilly. She is a serious distraction from his quest for vengeance. For as many times as he ground his teeth (67 occurrences) and clenched (19) his jaw, he would have nubs for dentition and TMJ by the end of the story. A dentist’s nightmare.

Lesson one: Find other body parts and gestures to display negative emotion.
As humans, non-verbal body language is a very important component of communication. It conveys how an individual may be feeling with or without verbal stimuli. It includes body posture, gestures, facial expression and eye movements. Research suggests anywhere between 60-90 percent of our communication is non-verbal. We process these non-verbal cues on a subconscious level. Astounding!

Whether we are using gestures, body posture or even the distance we place ourselves from another individual all conveys some meaning. Some unintentional gestures can act as a lie detector. Using these concepts in our writing empowers the characters, makes them real to the reader. Okay, easier said than done. Right?

How did I solve my problem? I decided I need to make some observations. What better place to pick up on negative non-verbal communication than the metro station in DC. Not a whole lot of verbal communication goes on between strangers in this environment and who wouldn’t be frustrated packed into a metro car with millions of other people invading their personal space.

Frustration cues
Arms crossed over chest
Rubbing/scratching the back of the neck/head
Running fingers through the hair
Short breaths exhaling in small puffs through nose
Clenching hands
Pointing one index finger
And yes, clenching jaw and teeth

Mix these gestures with facial expressions, body posture and verbal exchange and your character comes alive.

What is your favorite crutch phrase? What have you learned about yourself in your writing process? Please take a moment to share…

**********************

So, there you have it.  From contact to release were some of the hardest days in my writing career.  Writing the stories are easy compared to tearing them apart and accepting your flaws, but in the end the reward was worth THIS…

To see my first cover:

Crescent Moon Press

 To announcing Soul Reborn’s release:

https://wickedromance.wordpress.com/2011/04/13/soul-reborn-available-on-kindle/

To reading my first reviews:

5-slipper review

To attend my first conference & book signing:

Thank you!!

Look out for more things to come. 

Leave a comment on the Anniversary Blog Hop posts and be entered to win a signed print copy of Soul Reborn!   (print- US/Canada only; ebook- international)

1st Stop:  Crescent Moon Press Blog

2nd Stop:  This Post

3rd Stop:  My first conference and Book  Signing.  Is that Lara Adrian?

4th Stop: Last day of Sale/Sunday, July 15th.  The Journey Continues: Book II

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Filed under Craft, Key to the Cursed, Lessons in 60 days

Anniversary Blog Hop ~ Talent Tuesday Interview

I’m continuing my Anniversary Blog Hop today over at Author Sasha Summers’ blog for a fun interview.  Find out a little more about the Key to the Cursed series.

My favorite line from Soul Reborn?  Click HERE to find out

What is yours?

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Key to the Cursed, Soul Reborn

Midsummer Night’s Blog Hop ~ Asar welcomes Matty to Aaru

What hempen home-spuns have we swagg’ring here, so near the cradle of the fairy queen? Puck, Midsummer Night’s Dream

A Midsummer Night’s Blog Hop has high hopes of honoring the 2012 summer solstice with a character interview spectacle. Characters will be interviewed not by author/reviewer bloggers…but other characters. The twist…the characters will be paired by lots drawn out of a hat.

See participating authors, characters and links below….

Jean Murray + Wendy Russo

Asar, Egyptian God of the Underworld, desires vengeance at all costs against a malevolent goddess that stole his soul. Meanwhile, he serves as judge, jury, and executioner for the souls seeking refuge in Aaru, Paradise Isle of the Underworld. Seventeen-year-old Matty Ducayn, an unruly math-minded genius and occasional smart ass, may offend Asar in three seconds flat. Or maybe not.

Gate to the Afterlife

The fun continues with our character interviews….

Asar paced the short slab of sandstone walk in the garden.  His gaze was met by smiling green eyes.

“You are going to wear a hole in the garden path if you keep this up.  Why are you so nervous anyways?”

He stopped and sat next to his wife on steps and looked out over the green expanse of flowering bushes and trees. Lilly leaned against his shoulder, which prompted him to wrap his arm around her waist and tug her closer to his side. “I have no idea. I have faced down harden criminals without blinking an eye, but this boy, Matty…” Asar shook his head and smiled. “I like him very much. He is curious and is not swayed easily by my presence. Much like you on the day you stood up to me in the tunnel.”

She chuckled. “I like Matty already.”

“You would.” He brushed his thumb over her smooth pale cheek. “He has gotten me thinking though. Have you given it any thought of having our own children?”

“Asar, I…”

The familiar weight of energy press in around them. Black smoke rose from the floor. Matty’s physical form solidified out of the air, shadowed by his brother, Kamen.  Asar stole one last glance at Lilly before rising to his feet. He would have to wait for his answer.

“Matty,” Asar said extending his hand for the boy to grasp, more out of need to stabilize him than a friendly greeting. “The dizziness will pass quickly, just keep breathing.”

“The air is sparkly,” he said breathlessly. The boy blinked his eyes.

“Here let me help, Matty.”  Lilly brushed her hand over his sandy blonde hair. “It’s not easy getting your molecules scrambled. It took me awhile to get used to it.”  His wife’s ability to heal would quickly make the boy feel human again.

“That’s a great trick…Lilly, is it?”

She smiled. “It is very nice to meet you.  Asar has told me much about your world.  I also hear you like astronomy.  Well, you’ll get to see the stars tonight.  Orion’s belt, Ursa Major and Minor.”

“Northern hemisphere constellations!” the boy said excitedly. “That means Mars and Saturn will be on the western horizon at dusk. Leo and Gemini, too!”

Matty turned slowly in a circle. His eyes widened when the enormous sandstone palace came into view. The sun glinted off the gold shields on the front entrance. “Huh.”

“Is everything to your liking?” Asar inquired.

“I expected beautiful…paradise isle, you said.” Matty cupped his hand under a flower, but didn’t touch it. “Underworld…I wasn’t expecting sun.”

“Aaru is a reflection of the human realm, but the cycles are in opposition.  Morning here.  Night and evening there.”  Asar turned to Kamen and gasped his forearm. “Thank you. I will take things from here, brother.”

”He doesn’t talk much, does he?” the boy asked, glancing in Kamen’s direction.

“Kamen is not known for his idle conversation.” Asar shifted his gaze to Lilly. “Matty, you already guessed that this is Lilly.” His eyes lingered on his wife, but he was drawn back to the boy. “I want to show you something before we go into the archive.  Follow me.”

Asar led the group around the edge of the palace to the beach. The serpentine river of the Underworld snaked off into the distance. He knelt next to Matty and pointed. “See the temple there…just to the right of it is a large expansive gate that traverses the width of the river. Do you know what that is on the other side, Matty?”

With his eyes glued to the massive structure, the boy shook his head.

“Those are the gates that separate Duat from Aaru. The temple you see to the left is the Hall of Judges, where the souls come to be weighed. Those worthy will pass and live eternity in the isle you see across the river.”

“Some doors cannot be opened once closed,” the boy said quietly, “or closed once open.”

Asar knew a smart intellectual boy like Matty would understand and appreciate what he was seeing. No living human had ever gazed upon the gates, except maybe Lilly and her sisters, but that was an unusual circumstance in and of itself.  Asar gathered the phrase Matty spoke had a more personal significance than a time honored cliché.  “Your appraisal holds truth. Where did you come by it?”

“A conversation I had with Hadrian a while back,” Matty explained. “When he gave me his challenge, he also gave me the option of going home…to my grandfather’s ranch in the country, but cautioned that some doors cannot be opened once closed.”

“Ah, carpe diem. Seize the day,” Lilly added. “A very well served lesson. So which did you choose?  The challenge or going home?  You don’t strike me as the stay at home and twiddle your thumbs kind of guy.”

Matty snorted.  “Home’s nice,” Matty said with a nod. “My dad’s more concerned with consequences.”

“I only saw a small sliver of your world. Can you tell me more about it and its King? King Hadrian, right?” Asar pressed.

“Hadrian’s got a lot of layers,” said Matty. The boy met Asar’s gaze for the first time since walking onto the beach. “I can tell you this because we’re here. At home, I’m bound by this thing called The Privacy Act. Discussion of the king’s private affairs is a quick way to earn 18 months in jail.”

“No first amendment rights? I’m not down with that.” Lilly scowled.

“You need not worry, Matty. Your transgression is safe with us,” Asar joked, hiding his own concern over the matter.  Even he would not be so harsh and that was saying a lot. Asar headed up the steps from the beach to the Palace hall. Matty followed at his side and appeared to be lost to his own thoughts.

“There are four Hadrians…and which one you get depends more on who you are than him. In Old World kingdoms, being the king was the greatest honor, but in Columbia…Hadrian’s not just the king. He’s the president of the assembly. He’s the prime executive officer of Steer Industries…the company that facilitated my ancestor’s migration. It’s not taught in school, but sources my schoolmasters would consider disreputable say that one man having all that power is not good for society.”

“We have our own problems with certain individuals wanting to dominate.  I’ll join the merry band of disreputables in saying tyranny is bad for society. Even the Pantheons are not set up with one ruler. Asar shares rein with the Mother Goddess.”

“Hadrian makes the risk hard to see. Past the glamour and the guardians, he’s rather boring. He works 16 hour days, comes home nightly to an empty house. He cooks his own supper, cleans his kitchen, and goes to bed. On his rare days off, he reads, naps on his couch. Once he took a sledgehammer and demolished his bathroom, but other than that, his house is exactly as his father left it almost 18 years ago. In a word, I’d call him lonely.”

“The King has shown interest in you. What about your natural father?  He is a general?” Asar asked.

Natural…” the boy scoffed with clear sarcasm. “Centuries ago, our first Assemblymen were the officers of the January Black, the ship that brought our ancestors to Aventine and now lays at the bottom of our bay. When the need arose for someone to oversee the staff of the capitol hill, they called that man ‘commandant.’ Today, my father is that man.”

“There must be expectations of you. It has not left you much room for fun, has it?” Asar asked.

“Oh, I’ve made time for fun,” Matty told them. “My fun is what caught Hadrian’s attention.”

“Tell me of the quest your King has sent you on?” Asar knew better than to think the boy had chosen home over the challenge set before him.

“In Columbia, it is nearly impossible to work for the government without a diploma from the Regents’ School, so when one of my stunts got me expelled, it pretty much ruined any chance I had of living up to the expectation you mentioned.  Not that I cared. I was perfectly happy to go to my grandfathers, but my admission was sponsored by Hadrian, so I had embarrassed him as well. Or I would have, if he had cared, which as I learned that night, he really didn’t. He offered me a Regent master’s diploma…which would qualify me to work in any government office I wanted…if I answered a question.”

Asar pulled to a stop and looked down at young boy. Lilly clasped his hand and squeezed. “What question would be worth what he offered you?”

“What was January Black?” The boy replied. “On the surface, it’s a silly question. It’s a ship, as I mentioned before. But the catch to Hadrian’s challenge is that the answer must satisfy him, and that’s not the answer he wants.  Every road I’ve followed has led to black holes and locked doors.”

Asar guided his young guest to two large ornate gold doors with crystal handles.  “Perhaps you are here for doors you can unlock?”

The boy looked at Lilly anxiously, then back to Asar. His hands fiddled in front of him. “I should mention, um…I uh…I have a…biological response to the smell of old books.”

“I should introduce you to my sister, Kendra.  She gets high off old book smell.  You two could balance each other out.” Lilly laughed.

Asar guided the doors open. Matty held his breath and walked in with his eyes closed. After a moment, he blew out his breath and opened his eyes. With mouth gaping Matty slowly shuffled down the center aisle of the archive.  Large statues rose from the thick black stone and shoulder the massive arched ceiling. Hieroglyphics etched into the ebony marble told a story of a past long since forgotten.  Rows of books too many to count lined the outer walls of the expansive room. Only a few wooden tables stood off to the side.  The most impressive pieces lay in the middle of the room, relics saved from the ruin in the human realm.  Treasures of the pharaohs.  Treasures of earth.

“Two-point-seven-one-eight-one…” Matty mumbled off a stream of numbers.

Asar looked at his wife for a clue of what it meant. She shrugged.

“It’s like Hadrian’s library went supernova.”

“Do you see something that interests you?” Asar asked.

“Everything,” the boy said greedily.  Asar was surprised at the amount of sorrow hidden beneath the boy’s excitement. But then again, he only had a few hours to explore. Matty’s disappointment evaporated, his attention claimed by an object on display. A sextant, a device used by sailors to find their way at sea. “I’ll settle for holding that in my hands,” he said.

“Absolutely!  Take as much time as you want, Matty.” Asar watched the boy’s facial expressions. They were nothing short of reverence and awe.  This boy was truly special. The warm press of his wife’s hand on his arm drew his attention away for a moment.

“You look sad,” she said, as he wrapped his arms around her and pulled her back against his chest. He could still see the boy conversing with the sextant.

“Do I?”

“You’re worried about him.”

“Sorry, I did not mean to burden you.” He should have known that Lilly would feel his concern through their bond. It was a blessing, but also made it difficult keeping feelings private.

“Do you think King Hadrian’s challenge is a ploy?” Lilly asked.

The same question had been bouncing around in his own head.  Asar held his tongue.  He did not want to think the King would abuse his power and put the boy at risk. Gods know, he had witnessed Kings behaving badly over several thousand years of human history.  Even the Pantheons of the gods were not immune to it.  Not a safe time to raise young ones, he thought sadly.

There were no certainties, but one– Matty finding the answer to his question.

Book of the Dead

Wendy Russo is a Big Horn Basin girl transplanted in South Louisiana. Her writing draws from philosophy, pop culture, classic literature, religion, art, anthropology, math, and science. She enjoy writing inquisitive and introspective characters. I like slow reveals and snowballing climaxes. Her novel, January Black, will be released January 2013 by Crescent Moon Press.

January Black….

Sixteen-year-old Matty Ducayn is a disappointment to everyone who knows him.  As the son of The Hill’s commandant, he is expected conform to a strict, unspoken code of conduct. Small acts of defiance over years—like playing in the dirt and walking on the grass—have earned him a reputation for being unruly, but it’s his sarcastic test answers that finally get him expelled from school. Instead of punishing him, King Hadrian offers Matty a diploma, with a catch. He must answer a question: What was January Black?

With the help of Iris, a gardener on his father’s staff, Matty takes his quest beyond The Hill’s walls and tightly controlled media. But trying to solve the puzzle puts him on a collision course with the Janus Law, a royal decree mandating death to those who trespass in a forbidden garden. Has Hadrian set him up from the beginning to lose?

*****

Jean Murray, the owner of Wicked Romance, was born and raised in a small town on the east coast. In her pursuit of a nursing degree, she aspired to see the world and joined the Navy. One of the benefits of her membership in the Armed Forces, she has had the opportunity to travel and live in different parts of the world and the United States. Her travels abroad have given her the opportunity to experience different cultures. It inspired her to delve into Ancient Egyptian myths and legends for her debut novel, Soul Reborn, book 1 in the Key to the Cursed series from Crescent Moon Press, now available.

Soul Reborn….

THE HUMAN REALM, HIS BATTLEFIELD.

Asar, the Egyptian God of the Underworld, has been tortured and left soulless by a malevolent goddess, relegating him to consume the very thing he was commissioned to protect. Human souls. Now an empty shell of hatred, Asar vows to kill the goddess and anyone involved in her release, but fate crosses his path with a beautiful blonde huntress who has a soul too sweet to ignore.

DEADLY SECRETS BETTER LEFT UNEARTHED.

Lilly, fearless commander of the Nehebkau huntresses, is the only thing standing in the way of the goddess’ undead army unleashing hell on earth.  But Lilly has a secret-one she is willing to sell her soul to keep. If the Underworld god discovers her role in the dig that released the goddess, she will lose everything, including his heart.

CLICK HERE FOR MATTY’S INTERVIEW OF ASAR!!

MORE AUTHORS.  MORE CHARACTERS.  MORE INTERVIEWS!

The Interviews!


The Interviews!


Gregor Caine + Circe
(Christine Ashworth & Claire Gillian)

Sydney + Poseidon
(Cindy Young-Turner & Sasha Summers)

Caleb + Arland and Kate
(Kinley Baker & Krystal Wade)

Leigh Baxton + Micah Fuller
(Lindsay Loucks & Diane M. Haynes)

Shayla Dormyr + Kara Magari
(Raven Bower & S.M. Boyce)

Kellyn O’Brien + Julianna
(Louann Carroll & Siobhan Muir)

Ivory + Sara Wiley
(Rebecca Hamilton & Sandra Bunino)

Xylia and Landon + Avant
(Avery Olive & Kary Rader)

Asar + Matty Ducayn
(Jean Murray & Wendy Russo)

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Filed under Events, Guest Author, Key to the Cursed, Soul Reborn, Uncategorized

Author Open MIC ~ Welcomes Aaron Ritchey

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I’m so excited to introduce my next guest, Aaron Ritchey.  He is a newly discovered talent that I think is going to be a big hit with YA readers.  Not to mention he has a great sense of humor and always makes his posts entertaining.  So let me tell you a little about Aaron…

Aaron Michael Ritchey was born with Colorado thunderstorms in his soul.  He’s sought shelter as a world traveler, an endurance athlete, a story addict, and even gave serious thought to becoming a Roman Catholic priest.  After too brief a time in Paris, he moved back to the American West and lives semi-comfortably with three forces of nature: a little, blonde hurricane, an artistic tornado, and a beautiful, beautiful blizzard.

He is happiest dancing among the extremes, reading Twilight,  Atlas Shrugged , and A Case for God at the same time.  Like a playlist on shuffle: Fatboy Slim to Rammstein to George Strait to Katy Perry.   He loves the ambiguous and the incongruous.  The beauty of reality, as well as the tragedy.  From the basest evils to the most transcendent good.

So writing Young Adult novels is perfect for him because that is a time of extremes and firsts, and who doesn’t love firsts?    First time on our own, first kisses, first heartbreaks, first everything.  It’s an exciting, dramatic time, and that’s exactly what a good story needs, excitement and drama.

www.aaronmritchey.com

www.facebook.com/theneverprayer

www.twitter.com/aaronmritchey

So let’s get to it…  Aaron, you have the MIC!

********************

Thanks so much to Jean Murray for letting me take over the Open MIC night.  I’m here to rock the party, rock the party, right.  Since I think the first chapter of my book rocks, I figured I’d go over the anatomy of my first page.  Caution, my first page is anatomically correct.  Or at least I hope it is.

First, a little summary.  My debut novel, The Never Prayer, is a Young Adult Paranormal Romance about a teenage girl named Lena.  Shattered by the death of her parents, she will risk everything to keep her disintegrating family together.  In love with both a demon and an angel, Lena must unravel the mysteries of heaven’s fury and hell’s desire before she loses everything.  Who is the demon?  Who is the angel?  Lena can’t tell the difference, and every minute pushes her closer to the edge.

Here are the first 16 lines:

“I’m not going to do it again,” Lena Marquez whispered to the red purse across the hall from her nestle of blankets. “Never again.”

All of her other purses, scarves, and belts were just shadows hanging from hooks on both sides of the bathroom door, but in the glow of the cracked Thomas the Train nightlight, the red purse glittered. Each sequin like a teardrop of blood.

The heater chugged on sending lukewarm air into the basement apartment, as cold as an icebox. In October, at ten thousand feet, Avalon, Colorado had no pity for the weak or poor. It killed both.

Through anorexic walls, Lena could hear her aunt’s barking cough in the next room. But it wasn’t the coughing that had Lena awake at 4:46 on a Monday morning. It was her three-year-old brother, Joziah, who would wake up any minute.

He was like an alarm clock, same time, every morning. So regular Lena was awake before he asked the questions she couldn’t answer.

Already the work of the day felt like bricks on her chest. Her junior year homework continued to pile up among the dirty laundry around their mattress on the floor.

But first, Jozey, always Jozey, no matter what.

Now, in the opening, I have to do a number of things.  First, gotta hook the reader.  Hopefully, the first paragraph will get you.  I want the reader to wonder, what on earth is she not going to do again, and what does that have to do with her red purse?

In the first lines, I’m also trying to set the mood and setting.  I tried to use strong language here to give the reader a feeling of desperation and tragedy: the cracked nightlight, teardrop of blood, anorexic walls et cetera.

As for setting, I’m hoping the elevation of the town, her sleeping on a mattress on the floor, the thin walls, will tell you she’s poor and struggling.

Finally, I have to give you a sense of who Lena is and why you want to root for her.  I didn’t want to just say she was sixteen, so I described her Junior Year homework.  And the laundry shows she has a lot on her plate, and she is stressed out.

Now, I did a little telling, not showing, in that last line about Jozey but I would hope I did it in such a way as to emphasize it in the mind of the reader.  If you wanna read the rest of the opening, you can visit:  http://crescentmoonpress.com/books/TheNeverPrayer.html because the next paragraphs show Lena nurturing Jozey.  You gotta have a hero people can like, and Lena starts out troubled, alone, kind of bitchy, so I needed a strong sense of her as the hero, taking care of her little brother.

So that’s what I was trying to do with my opening.  One of my favorite moments in the life of this book was at a writers workshop, where my first chapter was being read aloud.  A woman at the workshop started to read it, but she had to stop because she started to cry.  I cried too.  Our eyes met, and we understood each other at that moment, that life can be hard, but there is hope.  Which is really the theme at the heart of my little book.

For more about me and The Never Prayer, you can visit us both at www.aaronmritchey.com.  And of course, I’m on Facebook, as is the book at http://www.facebook.com/TheNeverPrayer.  And I tweet – @aaronmritchey.   If you are at all curious about the novel, our friends at Amazon.com would love for you to visit them!

Thanks again, Jean Murray!

********************

Okay, Aaron.  You’re not out of the hot seat yet 🙂 snicker, snicker.

Host:  First, I want to say what beautiful writing you have.  It draws you deep into the story’s character and her plight.  I love to garner emotion from the readers, I write with that very goal.  What is your goal when you right?  What do you want readers to take away from your book?  (I know very deep, but you put me in the mood with your excerpt).

Aaron: You know, I find life very difficult.  Other people seem to skate through the existence as if they have the “how-to-be-a-human” manual in their back pocket.  But then, that’s me comparing my insides to other people’s outsides.  I think we all have our drama.  So in my books, I want to present life as it is, hard, brutal at times, gritty.  But then I bring in the paranormal to show that there is hope, there is joy, there is the impossible around us, to save us when we most need saving.  Life is full of miracles.  If you look for them. 

 

Host:  What is it that draws you to write Young Adult?  How do you get into the head of your teenage heroine?

Aaron: Funny, but I had a guy who wondered how I could channel at sixteen-year-old girl so well.  It’s like Dickens, being a teenager is the best of times and the worst of times.  It is a time of unimaginable growth, where children become adults.  For me, I found the whole thing traumatizing.  I wanted life to be like a sitcom, and it wasn’t, and poor me.  So I remember the angst.  I remember how hard just going to school felt.  I still feel like a teenager sometimes, awkward, afraid, yet courageous.  Immortal.  Yes, teens today face a different world than I faced, but it’s still the human experience.  Still, the same old drama.  As for the girl part, I’m part girl—I loved soap operas growing up, I cry at commercials, I find clothes interesting.  And though I think gender is important, being human is more important.

Host:  So what are readers saying about your book?  Yes, it is okay to brag 🙂

Aaron:  I have had some wonderful reviews on Amazon, some from very talented writers.  It humbles me.  Really.  I love it when someone picks up my book, thinking they are getting the same old, same old—the good versus evil, fallen angel versus evil demon, type of story, and then, it grabs them.  Even those that don’t like the paranormal.  I love it when I hook the skeptics because that means I’ve done my job.  My story isn’t about angels and demons, it’s about life!  The Universe!  Everything!  I’ve been compared to Ray flippin’ Bradbury by one reviewer.  Humbled.  And when I hear the words, “I couldn’t put it down”.  Hurray!

Host:  Now that you have teased us, tell us a little about the male hero of this story?  In your description of the book you mention two love interests—do tell.

Aaron: I can’t say much because part of the fun is that you don’t know who the villain is until about halfway through the book.  Both of Lena’s love interests are broken, one shows it, the other doesn’t.  One is an angel who wants the world to be perfect, and the other is a demon who revels in the despair, desire, and death he sees in people, though you wouldn’t know it at first.  Because of course, a good demon will seduce us before we know he’s a demon.  But I can’t give away too much.  Both are broken, but smoldering hot, ‘cause I love a good romance, and a good romance has to have the hunks.

Host:  As a debut novelist, out of all the milestone in your beginning career what one thing stands out?  Unfair question, I know.

Aaron: Two things.  I made my publicist cry.  Bree Ervin is one tough bird, but she cried when she read my book, and she cried when I signed her copy because without her, I wouldn’t have as many readers as I do now.  You can find her at ThinkBannedThoughts.Com.  The other thing was a night I spent with my friend and official Girl Friday assistant, Chris Devlin.  That Tuesday night, when I was overwhelmed with fear and desperation, Chris and our friend Angie Hodapp sat me down in a Village Inn restaurant and we talked about how everyone is afraid, how everyone is broken in some way.  That night, my life changed.  Writing is hard.  Getting published is hard.  But without Chris Devlin, dang, I don’t know here I’d be.  Prolly either at a methadone clinic or a soup kitchen. If you are looking for help with the administrative tasks of writing, or you need a cracker-jack copy editor, you can find Chris Devlin at http://chrisdevlinwrites.com.

Host:  Do you have any advice for new writers?  Words of wisdom to share?

Aaron:  I will now tell you the secret to life.  Get your pencils and paper ready.  Okay, the secret to life is this: enjoy what you are doing and where you are, right now.  I wish I had relished my pre-publication days.  I wish I had breathed those moments in deep.  Because before you know it, your writing time will be cannibalized by marketing your book, doing signings, et cetera.  And learn to love writing, so you’d rather write than eat ice cream, you’d rather write than watch T.V.  Hemingway has a great quote about when writing becoming your greatest joy, you will do it until you die.  Enjoy the creative process.  Laugh at the funny parts.  Cry at the sad parts.  Relish the stories you write.

Host:  What comes next?  I know you are busy promoting your book.  Where can readers find you?  Conferences, book signings, blogs….

Aaron: If you really wanna follow my madness, My News and Events page on my website has all of my doings.  I just got interviewed on Bookmark Radio, which was a great experience, and I have a book signing in San Jose, California at Hicklebee’s on May 12, 2012 followed by a California launch party on June 14, 2012.  The world is invited.  I’ll be speaking at the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers in September, 2012, and of course, Mile-Hi Con in Denver, October, 2012.  Before the world ends in December.

As for projects, too many to count.  I am just finishing up another YA Paranormal about a broken girl who has to overcome her own limitations to help her dying grandmother travel to France to see the grandmother’s love from World War II. 

********************

Aaron, thank you for sharing your story.  I wish you the greatest success with The Never Prayer

It has found its place on my TBR and I can’t wait to read it.

To find out more about Aaron Ritchey….

For more about Author Aaron Ritchey and The Never Prayer, you can visit them both at www.aaronmritchey.com.  And of course, he is on Facebook, as is the book at http://www.facebook.com/TheNeverPrayerAnd his tweet handle– @aaronmritchey.   If you are at all curious about the novel, our friends at Amazon.com would love for you to visit them!

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Filed under Author Open Mic, Events

Author Open MIC ~ Welcomes Ciara Knight

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I love getting to meet new authors, both new, old and in between their writing careers.  Everyone’s writing journey is different.  I’m always fascinated to hear the various stories.  Some authors were born to write, starting at a very young age.  Others went to school to learn the craft.  Some, like myself, evolved or were awakened in some way.

So, let me introduce Ciara Knight.  Let’s find out about her journey:

Ciara Knight always had a passion for storytelling. At an early age, she wrote several short stories and poems, and in college she started work on her first novel. It wasn’t until late 2008 that she returned to her true passion of writing. Over the past few years she has penned five novels and joined several professional writing organizations to better her craft.

When not writing, she enjoys reading all types of fiction. Some great literary influences in her life include Edgar Allen Poe, Shakespeare, Francine Rivers and J K Rowling.

Ciara is happily married and enjoys family time. She has learned to embrace chaos, which is a requirement when raising three boys, and utilizes the insanity to create stories not of this world including, Fantasy, Paranormal, Sci-Fi, and Young Adult Dystopian.

Her first love, besides her family, reading, and writing, is travel. She’s backpacked through Europe, visited orphanages in China, and landed in a helicopter on a glacier in Alaska.

Ciara, thank you for taking the time to be with Wicked Romance today and taking over the MIC. 

Ciara:  Thank you so much for having me here today, Jean. I’m so excited to chat with you and your followers. I’m curious to see what wickedness goes on here. 😉

Host:  When did writing become part of your life?  Can you describe that journey from the beginning to your debut novel?

Ciara: I wrote my first children’s novel in grammar school. Nothing that anyone could even read, but it kept me busy during summer break. I wrote some poetry in high school and short stories in college. It wasn’t until I was grown and married with kids that I focused on writing a real novel. I wrote my first one while sitting in car pool line, TKD practice, football field, and baseball field. It took a while, but once I typed THE END I was completely hooked. I wrote two more novels in half the time it took me to write the first. I started off writing Christian fiction and now I write fantasy and paranormal. I know what a jump, right?

Host:    Did your journey or focus change after that first book? How did that debut release influence your next novel and the several after?

Ciara:

I shelved the first book I wrote after many changes. After that, I took some writing workshops, and the second book that I completed was Rise From Darkness, which was released last month. It is a young adult paranormal, but the second book I wrote was released first, The Curse of Gremdon. Confused yet? I know I’ve been a few times on this journey.

Host:  You have several books out.  Can you tell us a little about each of them?

Ciara: Sure. They are all SO different.

Young adult paranormal series, Battle for Souls, has three full length novels and one prequel novella. Book I, Rise From Darkness is about a fallen angel with the hormones of a teenager, strength of an angel, and the self –control of a three year old. Gaby is a troubled young girl that lost her mother, has an alcoholic father, and soon discovers the world is full of dangerous creatures in which she may be one of them.

The Curse of Gremdon is a ‘spicy’ adult romance full of magic, love, lust, and sacrifice. In a world where marriage is forbidden, sex is only granted to male warriors, and the outer realm is full of murderous creatures. Tardon and Arianna risk the curse when they traverse the vast outer realm to retrieve serum form the Tree of Life. If successful, the Elders have promised Tardon the right to marry and Arianna the cure for her brother’s death fever.

I’ve also got a new young adult series that will release soon, The Neumarian Chronicles. The prequel Novella, Weighted, will be out in August.

  • The Great War of 2185 is over, but my nightmare has just begun. I am being held captive in the Queen’s ship awaiting interrogation. My only possible ally is the princess, but I’m unsure if she is really my friend or a trap set by the Queen to fool me into sharing the secret of my gift. A gift I keep hidden even from myself.  It swirls inside my body begging for release, but it is the one thing the Queen can never discover. Will I have the strength to keep the secret? I’ll know the answer soon. If the stories are true about the interrogators, I’ll either be dead or a traitor to my people by morning.

Host:  Okay, I’m going to ask an unfair question.  Out of all your books, what hero/heroine really spoke to you?

Ciara: I have a deep love for all my characters, but Tardon kicked my butt. He ordered me to write his story. That man does not take no for an answer. Of course, I’m not sure anyone had told him no before he met Arianna. 🙂

Host:  Pick one book.  Select 5 words that best describe your hero and then 5 words for the heroine.  Why do they make a great match?

Ciara:

Rise From Darkness

Alexander: Self-brooding, caring, loyal, guilt ridden, and determined

Gaby: Strong, independent, loving, lonely, and hopeful

They are both emotionally wounded. Only together do they become whole.

Host:  Where do you think the paranormal genre is headed?  What can we expect in the future?

Ciara: I think we’ll see more genre blending. My upcoming series, The Neumarian Chronicles is a mix of biopunk, paranormal, and steampunk.

Host:  What are you working on right now?  What can readers expect to see from you in the next year?

Ciara: I’m working on Book I of the Neumarian Chronicles, Escapement. Also, I’m working on the remaining books in The Gremdon Chronicles.

Host:  Will you be attending any conferences this year?  Or have any book signings/giveaways?

Ciara: I attended Romantic Times which broke the budget, but I hope to attend Dragoncon since it is local.

Host:  Where can readers find out more about you and your books? (Social/Web links)

Ciara: Website – www.ciaraknight.com, Twitter: @ciaratknight, Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/Ciaraknightwrites, Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5127753.Ciara_Knight, and Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/ciaraknight/

Host:  Do you have a cover or covers you would like to share today?

Ciara: Here are the two first books of The Gremdon Chronicles and Battle for Souls series. Oh, I CAN’T wait to show the cover for Weighted, but I can’t yet. I hope to soon. 🙂

********************

Ciara, I want to thank you for sharing your time with us today.  Your list of novels is impressive. 

Keep up the great work!  Can’t wait for your new release 🙂

Readers, if you have a question for Ciara, please post below.

HAPPY READING!!

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Filed under Author Open Mic, Guest Author

Author Open MIC ~ Welcomes Hildie McQueen +Giveaway

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Today, we have a very special author who at the end of this has a special treat:

ONE FREE COPY OF DESPERATE BETRAYAL. 

I’d like to introduce Hildie McQueen. 

Hildie loves the strange and unusual, pair that with humor and you’ve got an idea of what her writing is like.  Besides writing, her other occupation is as an administrative assistant in support of the Department of Defense.  She enjoys making sure action, intrigue, and sizzling romance add up to an escape that her readers won’t soon forget.  Hildie is a member of Georgia Romance Writers, Fantasy, Futuristic and Paranormal Chapter and Romance Writers of America.

She resides in the beautiful small town Georgia with her super-hero husband Kurt.

********************

Hello everyone, so glad to be here today to introduce my book series. Thank you for stopping by.

One commenter will receive a free e-copy of Desperate Betrayal, the first in the series!

The Protector Series began with the idea to create a hero, who is different, who is immortal and has some vampire-like characteristics.

I had to come up with the guys that while they are born human, are born predestined to become immortal warriors. At the age of about twenty they grow taller and get bulkier. At the same time their eyesight and hearing become keener. Like vampires, they drop fangs when aggravated and have the ability to erase memories. Once they accept their destiny and go with Julian, their leader, they train in Rome with Gladiators to fight.   

I decided to bring the Protector from varied backgrounds, there is one Viking, a Moor, two Highlanders, a British Lord, a Spartan and their leader is a Gladiator. And of course each of them is drop dead gorgeous.

Lastly, they needed a purpose.  The Protectors spend their nights patrolling the streets of Atlanta, protecting innocents from demons and others out to harm them.

Now to the books!

 Desperate Choices, Novella, the prequel to Desperate Betrayal

When an Immortal demon slayer saves Rachel Andrews from certain death, her life changes forever.  An unbreakable bond with the handsome Protector, drags her into a world she never believed existed and has no desire to be part of.

The actions of one night drastically alter the course of his long existence.  Torn between his feelings for Rachel and his life’s calling, Roderick Cronan comes face to face with the fact that he is losing both.

Desperate Betrayal

When a beautiful woman in a dirty alley approaches Cyn Fraser, he is intrigued by the fact that she can see him for what he is, a demon slayer, and still dares to approach him.

Emma Blake, has to convince Cyn to help rescue her sister from powerful demons, she goes against every instinct and approaches him despite knowing that she is leading them both into territory so wrought with treachery, neither of them may survive. Will they overcome betrayal? And if they do, will it even matter?

Desperate Surrender

Wendy O’Sullivan’s life drastically changes upon discovering she is not human, and is charged with guarding the Key of Peace. To make matters more complicated, she reunites with the Protector she’s dreamed of since the day he rescued her from a demon attack.

Kieran Frasier, hasn’t kissed, much less loved a woman in over three hundred years, his heart firmly encased behind thick walls. The fierce immortal defends innocents from powerful demons, but can he defend himself from diminutive Wendy, who manages to get past all his barricades?

Faced with arranged marriages to others and battling demons that will stop at nothing to capture Wendy, will they be forced to surrender their chance at true love for the greater good?

*********************

 INTERVIEW:

Hi Hildie.  Welcome to part II of the Author Open MIC where I get to throw some questions at you, especially now that you bated us with your oh-so-fabulous and sexy immortal warriors. 

1.     I read in a previous interview that Desperate Betrayal read very much like JR Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood series (which I must say is my favorite).  Do you find inspiration in other authors who have paved the way for more male centric romance novels? 

I am always flattered when people compare my writing to her because she’s my uber-hero! I get inspired when I read great writing, when I laugh out loud or cry because of a specific scene.  Besides JR Ward, I love Gena Showalter, Sherrilyn Kenyon and Pamela Palmer, all of their series based on not only strong males, but also the relationship between the men.

2.     What do you think is the hardest obstacle in writing from a male perspective?  What is the easiest?

I’ve been surrounded by men my entire life, I was in the army for a while, then continue to work with the government, so I feel that I have a good perspective on the male point of view.  Whenever I don’t understand something or need to ask a question, I ask the guys.

3.     I love that your immortal warriors come from different time periods and cultures.  How do you decide what female character will make the best match?

That is a great question, what I usually do is contemplate and try to figure out the type of female that would either be my heroes exact opposite or a mirror image of him, only feminine. Sometimes it’s easy other times, its not so much so.

4.     Okay, you have some serious bragging rights as of late for Desperate Betrayal.  What do readers think?

I have received emails from people I don’t know to tell me how much they’ve enjoyed it and to ask about the sequel.  It’s been amazing that my debut novel has been so warmly received.  I just hope that I can keep them happy with the sequels.

Host interjects:  Now Hildie, you are being modest.  Okay, I’ll brag for you.  Desperate Betrayal was selected as READERS CHOICE at Gravetells in January 2012.  She was up against some stiff competition.  The READERS HAVE SPOKEN – they love her book.  Not to mention all the great reviews on AMAZON and GOODREADS.

5.     Where can readers find out more about you and your books? 

I blog regularly at www.hildiemcqueen.com.  There is also a tab on there for books, which I update regularly.

My Facebook addiction is another way to know what I’m up to, http://www.facebook.com/HildieMcQueen

*********************

GIVEAWAY!!

You must leave a comment for Hildie to be included in the drawing, otherwise we won’t know where to find you 🙂 

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Filed under Author Open Mic, Events, Giveaway, Guest Author