Friday FabOoolousness – Must Read New Releases for Now and Later

It’s an exciting time of year—football has kicked into high gear and fall is officially here.

Fall is my favorite time of year, especially when the weather actually cools once the sun goes down.  For me, there’s nothing much better than curling up in my comfy chair, throwing a blanket over my legs, lighting a candle, and reading a great book on those cool, fall nights.  So today, I’ve decided to share five new and upcoming releases that are must reads on my bookshelf.  If you’re looking for the next bestseller in the young adult, mystery, suspense, fantasy, and thriller genres, check these out and help support five fabOoolous authors!

*****

EVIE always thought college life would be magical, but so far it’s not what she hoped for. Her best friend has gone wild, her love life is void, and she misses her mom more than ever. But life for Evie is about to change. CALVIN KNIGHT, the very object of her fascination, is about to fall madly in love with her. Just one problem: Their love conjures a murderous woman from beyond the grave who wants Evie dead. The same demon who has haunted the Knight men for over four generations.

Soon Calvin is forced to choose: Set Evie free and hope to evade the wrath of The Raven-haired Ghost, or use his newly gifted strengths to fight against her. If he chooses to fight and wins, Calvin will free the Knight men of this demonic witch. If he loses, Evie will become her next victim.

Kim’s Evie’s Knight is now available!

*****

TALES FROM THE MIST will take you on a journey into the dark world of the paranormal. These twelve stories vary in their degree of horror, yet all reach across the boundaries of their genres into the chilling realms of the macabre. Witches, ghosts, shape-shifters and vampire rats are some of the creatures that reign within these pages.

One of the stories, Haste, is written by my Original versus Remake series partner, Catie Rhodes. When asked where she found the inspiration for her story, here is what she had to say:

HASTE is about rage and consequences.

I can’t count how many times I’ve wished I could turn back the clock because I let my temper get the best of me.  Usually, I wish I could take back something I’ve said.  I can be rather sharp-tongued.  This is why internet socializing suits me so well. I have time to think about everything I’m saying before I hit send.

The main character of HASTE commits a double murder in a fit of rage.  As events unfold, she has plenty of time to think about the old saying:

Act in haste. Repent at leisure.

Every action has consequence.  The legal system metes out a great deal of consequence. However, I also believe in the concept of karma delivering consequences.

Another story, The Consuming, was written by Rhonda Hopkins, a local writer who I chat with all the time on social media (but have not yet had the pleasure of meeting in person).

Serena knows her late uncle wasn’t crazy. So when she inherits his sprawling Carolina mansion and leaves the big city to restore both his home and his name, she uncovers a mystery that could cost much more than her sanity. As the house slowly reveals its dark secrets, and the extent of her peril becomes evident, she’ll settle for escaping with her life—if it isn’t already too late.

Sound good?  This anthology is made up of more stories just like these two…

Tales From the Mist is now available!

*****

Tate is afraid of the dark. But his junkie sister has disappeared into the terrifying storm drains below Las Vegas. The tunnels stretch hundreds of miles beneath the city, housing the homeless and Sin City’s criminal element. Armed with only his flashlight, Tate wades into the gritty depths of the storm drains to rescue his sister from her demons.

Every step into the smothering darkness challenges Tate’s resolve. With his sister’s life and his own sanity at stake, Tate must face his fears or risk fading into the dank oblivion of the Las Vegas tunnels.

Plus, Welcome to Las Vegas contains an exclusive excerpt of Stacy’s upcoming novel, INTO THE DARK.

Stacy’s Welcome to Las Vegas will be available Thursday, November 1st… mark your calendars!

*****

Sarah Steele has a lot to prove. Foster care brat turned successful Assistant District Attorney, she’s enjoying her magical pumpkin carriage ride but knows she is only one mistake away from landing on the curb. When she’s given an open-and-shut case regarding multi-millionaire Hank Williams and his murder of young Tracy Mulligan, Sarah’s determined to win. But when everything goes wrong, and there’s a killer on the loose, she isn’t prepared for who the real battle is against: herself. Is she really willing to do anything to take Hank Williams down?

Who is she? The successful, happy ADA or the wild, angry vigilante?

Aaron and Ellie Ann’s Breaking Steele will be available Friday, November 30th… mark your calendars!

*****

For years, Kari Hunter’s fooled the world into thinking she’s just an everyday girl. Sure, she’s the lead singer of world-renowned band Vis Viva, but outside of that, she recycles religiously, is an avid supporter of the environment, and a certifiable coffee addict. But Kari has a secret she keeps from her family, friends, and her fans.

Kari Hunter is a necromancer.

The rarest and most powerful of all magic-born, necromancers are notorious for leaving a trail of sacrifices in their wake. But Kari isn’t interested in hurting anyone. She works hard at being as un-necromancer-like as possible: everyone she stabs gets a bandage and a lollipop, and whenever her sacrificial knives get too excited at the prospect of violence, she puts them in time-out… in her lingerie drawer.

But when an agent of voodoo master Ruairi O’Bryne catches Kari using her powers, her secret’s out. And if Ruairi finds out who Kari is, he’ll stop at nothing to make her his next sacrifice.

Jen’s The Fourth Channel is coming soon… so stay tuned!

*****

Don’t these books sound fabOoolous!!  I’ve met all of these authors, either in person or online in writing communities, and I can’t wait to read their latest releases.  I hope you do too!

Have you read any of these books?  If so, please share your thoughts…  Do you have any other new releases that you think the rest of us should read or that you can’t wait to crack open?  I’d love to hear from you!

And, remember to check out my YA Mystery novel, Football Sweetheart… now available on Kindle and Nook!  Reviewers agree that FS is perfect for teens and adults alike!

Here are some of the most recent reviews…

“Although many would classify this book in the young adult marketing category, I say this book is for the young adult in all of us! I am 50 years old and completely enjoyed reading this book. It took me back to the days of Texas football and bonfires! I also enjoyed the book being told from the viewpoint of an athletic trainer (which is a very hard job and doesn’t get much press)! Very good read for anyone either wanting a trip down memory lane or for those just wanting a small town Texas football experience with a heaping scoop of mystery on top.” ~ Lisa C.

“I was looking for a book to read and my daughter had been talking about this book a lot. I gave it a try and I am glad I did!

I enjoyed following the characters through this mystery and learning about the town of Midland and the football program. I kept asking my daughter questions and she just kept telling me to read it. I could hardly put the book down! The mystery kept me guessing until almost the end.

This book is easily enjoyed by anyone. I would especially recommend this book to teenagers and parents of teenagers. It is great to be able to discuss a book with my daughter that we both enjoyed so much. We are both looking forward to more in this series and now we will have to compete with each other to see who reads the next book first! Thank you Tiffany A. White for creating this wonderful story!” ~ Dawn H.

Friday FabOoolousness – Must Read New Releases

It’s an exciting time of year—school is starting, football is right around the corner, and fall is near.

Fall is my favorite time of year, especially when the weather actually cools when the sun goes down.  For me, there’s nothing much better than curling up in my comfy chair, throwing a blanket over my legs, lighting a candle, and reading a great book on those cool, fall nights.  So today, I’ve decided to share five new and upcoming releases that are must reads on my bookshelf.  If you’re looking for the next bestseller in the young adult, YA mystery, dark fantasy, and thriller genres, check these out and help support five fabOoolous authors!

*****

Gossip Girl meets Hollywood in this steamy new series by That Boy author, Jillian Dodd.

Keatyn has everything she ever dreamed of. Her life is following the script she wrote for the perfect high school experience. She’s popular, goes to the best parties, dates the hottest guy, and sits at the most coveted lunch table.

She’s just not sure she wants it anymore.

Because really, things aren’t all that perfect.

Her best friend is threatening to tell everyone her perfect relationship is a scam.

Her perfect boyfriend gets drunk at every party they go to.

It’s exhausting always trying to look and act perfect.

And deep down, she isn’t sure if she has any true friends.

To add to the drama, her movie star mom has a creepy stalker.

A hot, mysterious man keeps flirting with her and telling her they should make a movie together.

And she’s crushing on an adorable surfer. Dating him would mean committing social suicide.

So she writes a new script. One where all the pieces of her life will come together in perfect harmony.

But little does she know, there’s someone who will do anything to make sure that doesn’t happen.

*****

Return to the world of The Black in Book 4 of the Blood Skies saga!

Eric Cross and his team have been to hell and back, but their journey isn’t over yet.

Marooned in the remote criminal city of Blacksand, the only way for the mercenaries to get home is to help a local crime boss protect his territories from the Ebon Cities.

To complicate matters, Danica Black is also being hunted by The Revengers, a powerful band of corrupt prison wardens, while Cross himself is trapped in the Whisperlands, a realm of darkness controlled by a cadre of evil mages known as the Shadow Lords.

The team will battle their way through corroding wastelands and deadly vampire outposts, but even their considerable skills might not be enough to save them from the cruel machinations of the Shadow Lord’s mysterious master, a malevolent creature who has manipulated their destinies right from the beginning…

*****

A recent high-school graduate wrongly accused of trying to murder her step-sister flees her vengeful stepfather with an otherworldly stranger through a mystical Door.

Nothing can explain to Aydan Fulbert how she survived the savage attack in the woods.  Why her left eye, instead of being blinded by the injuries she’d sustained, had simply turned a shocking shade of silver.  And nothing can explain the fact that she can hear the Stranger speaking in her mind – or that she can answer him back without using her mouth.

Nothing can explain it – unless he’s telling the truth.

Nothing can explain the things the Stranger knows about her – things that she, until just a few hours ago, hadn’t known herself: that she’d healed faster from her injuries than was humanly possible.  That the cruel family she’d been raised by isn’t biologically hers.  That her stepfather is now hell-bent on bringing her to his own form of justice for a crime she didn’t commit.

Nothing can explain it – unless he’s telling the truth.

Nothing can explain why she so easily agreed to go with the Stranger.  Why she didn’t find the notion of another world ludicrous and impossible.  Why she didn’t cut and run the minute he explained where he wanted to take her.

Nothing can explain it – unless she believes he’s telling the truth.

Aydan knows she’s being intentionally naive.  She knows her decision to follow the Stranger is at best, reckless.  At worst, deadly.

…unless he’s telling the truth.

*****

And coming September 10th…

Witches inhabit our world, organized in covens and hiding behind a shroud of secrecy—the Veil.

Skye’s London coven sends her to Seattle’s Greenwood High to find the Singularity, an unusually gifted witch who may break the Veil and trigger a dangerous new era of witch-hunting. Things get complicated when Skye meets a charming new classmate, Drake. Skye’s job becomes even trickier when she clashes with Jane, an intimidating rival witch.

Drake falls for the mysterious Skye, but odd accidents, potion mix-ups, and the occasional brush with death kind of get in the way of romance. Once he discovers Skye is a witch, he goes to war for her, even though his only weapons are a nice set of abs and a sharp sense of humor.

Fighting off wicked Jane and the other dark forces hell-bent on seizing the Singularity’s immense power, Skye and Drake will risk everything to save the covens.

Going on a date has never been harder.

*****

And September 20th…

An autism cure will kill millions unless a service dog and his trainer find a missing child… in 24 hours.

AN AUNT searches for her lost nephew—and dooms her sister.

A MOM gambles a miracle will cure—and not kill—her child.

A DOG finds his true purpose—when he disobeys.

Animal behaviorist September Day has lost everything—husband murdered, career in ruins, confidence shot—and flees to Texas to recover. She’s forced out of hibernation when her nephew Steven and his autism service dog Shadow disappear in a freak blizzard. When her sister trusts a maverick researcher’s promise to help Steven, September has 24 hours to rescue them from a devastating medical experiment impacting millions of children, a deadly secret others will kill to protect. As September races the clock, the body count swells. Shadow does his good-dog duty but can’t protect his boy. Finally September and Shadow forge a stormy partnership to rescue the missing and stop the nightmare cure. But can they also find the lost parts of themselves?

*****

Don’t these books sound fantastic!!  I’ve met all of these authors, either in person or online in writing communities, and I can’t wait to read their latest releases.  I hope you do too!

Have you read any of these books?  If so, please share your thoughts…  Do you have any other new releases that you think the rest of us should read or that you can’t wait to crack open?  I’d love to hear from you!

And, football season is here!! Remember to check out my YA Mystery novel, Football Sweetheart… now available on Kindle and Nook!

Friday FabOoolousness – Steven Montano’s Post-Apocalyptic World

I first met Steven Montano on Twitter last year courtesy of our mutual friends, Jen L. Kirchner and Amber West.  Not only does Steven write a post-apocalyptic dark fantasy fiction series, but he hangs in one of the coolest posses in the Twitterverse.  He’s friendly, he’s funny, he loves his family (in an absolutely adorable way), and he’s a San Antonio Spurs fan.

Author Steven Montano

That’s right — Steven yells for our Texas team all the way from the great state of Washington.  I may live in Dallas and root for the Mavericks on a consistent basis, but when the Spurs and Mavs face off, I am a Spurs fan all the way.  Needless to say, I love Steven even more now.

Steven fell out of the sky one day and landed behind an accountant’s desk.  Rather than write novels about his experiences in an alternate post-apocalyptic world besieged by vampires, he decided to reconcile accounts and calculate journal entries.  Thankfully for his own sanity and our enjoyment, he still writes on the side.

Steven has published four stories in his Blood Skies series, with the most recent release, Soulrazor, releasing this past March 16th.  How about a little bite?

Blood Skies:

In the time after The Black, human survivors of the Southern Claw Alliance clash with vampire legions of the Ebon Cities in a constant war for survival. Earth as we know it has been forever damaged by an arcane storm that fused our world with distant realms of madness and terror. Things that once existed only in our nightmares stalk the earth.

Now, humanity is threatened by one of its own.

Eric Cross, an enlisted warlock in the Southern Claw military, is part of an elite team of soldiers and mages in pursuit of a woman known as Red — a witch whose stolen knowledge threatens the future of the human race. The members of Viper Squad will traverse haunted forests and blighted tundra in their search for the traitor, a journey that ultimately leads them to the necropolis of Koth.

There, in that haven of renegade undead, Cross will discover the dark origins of magic, and the true meaning of sacrifice…

Black Scars:

Something ancient has awoken. Primordial and wholly evil, a living shadow emerges from a prison made weak by the magical cataclysm called The Black. Now the Sleeper stalks the land in search of its old enemies, leaving a trail of madness and destruction in its wake.

Eric Cross, a Southern Claw warlock, has been sent to find the Woman in the Ice, the only known means of stopping this evil. Aided by a grizzled ranger and a band of wardens and inmates from a sadistic prison, Cross’ mission will bring him into conflict with an array of foes: the barbaric Gorgoloth, vampire shock troops out of the Ebon Cities, and a cadre of mercenary nihilists called the Black Circle.

On a mission that will take him from a lost temple once ruled by insidious wolf sorcerers to the vicious gladiator games of the vampire city-state of Krul to the deadly ruins of an ice city, Cross will play a pivotal role in an ancient conflict whose outcome will determine the future of the world.

Tales of the Earth: A Blood Skies Short Story:

In the time after The Black, humans battle against the onslaught of the vampire armies of the Ebon Cities.

In a desolate patch of remote wasteland, a young woman named Rooke, part of a group of prisoners held by the corrupt prison wardens called The Revengers, struggles to stay alive. Ordered to unearth a terrible chamber of ancient power and hounded by once-frozen vampire savages, Rooke’s journey into darkness will reveal forgotten secrets of the conflict that has brought The Black to our world.

But will Rooke survive long enough to tell anyone?

Soulrazor:

The war continues…

Eric Cross and his team of elite mercenaries are the bane of the Ebon Cities. Armed with the cutting-edge arcane weaponry of the Southern Claw, Cross and his crew – Black, Kane, Ronan, Maur, Grissom and Ash – have become a veritable thorn in the side of the vampire armies.

Now the team is tasked with halting vampire activity near the remote city-state of Fane, where the Ebon Cities have teamed up with a former Revenger in search of a deadly weapon called Soulrazor.

To make matters worse, something sinister has happened to Cross, and the key to his salvation is somehow directly tied to the Ebon Cities’ new soldiers: a host of necrotic angels who bear traces of divine power.

Cross and his team must travel across a blighted wilderness and do battle with a vile array of enemies as they race not only to save the city of Thornn from total annihilation, but to rescue Cross’ very soul from an enemy more powerful than he could ever imagine…

*****

When you were young, did you dream of one day writing a bestseller, or did you have something else in mind?

I’ve wanted to be a professional writer since I was eighteen years old.  I actually went to college to get a Creative Writing degree (which I did, along with a minor in European History), but life got in the way and “starving artist” wasn’t really a viable career choice when my father caught ill, so I went into the first job that presented itself: accounting.  Been stuck there ever since.

But all this time, I’ve always harbored a love of writing, and I’ve pursued it as a hobby most of my life.  It was only a couple of years ago that I decided to take the plunge and publish my work on my own.

Where do you find the inspiration for your stories?

Wow, good question…a little bit comes from everywhere.  I’m something of a popular media goofball, so I find influence in films, television, fantasy and sci-fi fiction, and music.  I also pull inspiration from my surroundings (Washington state is a gorgeous place to explore nature), from video and role-playing games, and from my own dreams, which are pretty durned scary.

Mt. Rainier, Washington -- photo by Jonas West Photography (Amber West)

Who are a few of your favorite authors?

China Mieville and J.V. Jones are my favorite authors of dark fantasy fiction.  Their ability to create new worlds and populate those worlds with believable characters and unusual but totally realistic conflicts are unparalleled.  I also love their prose, and I try to emulate some bastardized hybridization of them both as often as I can.  ;D

I also hold a deep appreciation for Clive Barker (whose works got me into writing in the first place), Tanith Lee (whose prose taught me how to write), John Marco and Tad Williams (whose works, at various points in my life, got me back into writing when I’d all but given up on it.)

The cover art for your books is amazing.  Did you design them yourself? 

I concocted the skeletons of the ideas for the covers, but I can’t take credit for the actual design.  Syd Gill is amazing, and she crafted the covers for Blood Skies and Black Scars.  I can’t get over what a terrific job she did.  My friend Barry Currey designed the cover for Soulrazor, and I thought he did an amazing job, as well.  The only one I designed on my own was Tales of a Blood Earth, and it’s…meh.  It’s okay.

Many writers imagine a celebrity or familiar face when developing their characters.  Did you have anyone particular in mind when writing Eric Cross and why?

Alan Edwards got the scoop on this.  Eric Cross’s physical appearance is actually based on a character I created for an NBA Basketball game for the XBOX.  The character came out looking better than I expected.  When I started working on Blood Skies, the same character name came to mind, and it occurred to me that he’d look just like that dark-haired, lean little Point Guard I had leading the Las Vegas Vipers.  Yes, I’m a dork.

I don’t normally assign actors to characters until after I finish the books.  Now, I do a regular blog post after each novel identifying which actor would get to play them, but I try not to think about that too much while I’m actually writing, since I’ve always been pretty good at imagining up people’s appearances.

As it turns out, James McAvoy gets the honor of playing Cross.  He should feel lucky.  ;D

I can see it...

Speaking of celebrities, who are you thinking of at this very moment?

My wife, as usual.  =D

Steven and his equally talented and beautiful wife, Liberty

Besides writing, what other hobbies do you enjoy?

As I mentioned before, I like to play XBOX (mostly 1st person shooters), watch NBA Basketball (Go Spurs!!!), and watch lots of movies.  I also love to hike, go bike-riding, shoot hoops, dance, and read.  I’ve also spent the last few years learning how to cook, and I must admit I’m not half bad in the kitchen these days. ;D

I wouldn’t be myself without asking about television – what are your favorite television programs airing today? 

Right now we’re watching Person of Interest, Castle, Game of Thrones, Modern Family and Hot In Cleveland religiously.  There are at least a half-dozen more we want to give a shot, but as it is we only get a little bit of TV time in every night.  Oh, we’re also plowing our way through Enterprise, since we’d never gotten to watch that one when it was on the air.

Person of Interest is a favorite in our household as well...

What is your favorite movie of all-time?

I call unfair, I can’t answer that question!  ;D  I don’t have any one movie that I hold in preference to all others, but I do have a short list: Aliens, Saving Private Ryan, The Usual Suspects, Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (the American version), Inception and Unforgiven top my list at the moment.  I’m also deliriously looking forward to Ridley Scott’s Prometheus.

What snacks do you order when at a movie theater? 

I tend to sneak my own snacks in.  Paying $10 for a box of popcorn feels like getting robbed at gunpoint.

The Blood Skies series brings us vampires, witches, and zombies – Oh My!  Name your favorite book, movie, and/or television series featuring the supernatural undead. 

China Mieville’s Bas-Lag series alludes to a hidden necropolis of aristocratic undead, and I’ve always liked the way he handles vampires in his novels, making them the dregs of the netherworld.  John Steakley’s Vampire$ did a nice job of making vamps scary again instead of romantic sissies.  And you have to love the classics – Bram Stoker’s Dracula and J. Sheridan LeFanu’s Carmilla are masterworks of the vampire genre.

In film, I’ve always appreciated the brutality of vampires in the Blade films, as well as the tongue-in-cheek (yet very scary) Fright Night films (the originals…I haven’t seen the Colin Ferrell version).  And with all apologies to zombie “purists”, I’ve always enjoyed Zach Snyder’s remake of Dawn of the Dead.  And (again with apologies), though it doesn’t feature traditional “zombies”, I think 28 Days Later is one of the best horror films ever made.

*****

Can everyone tell from Steven’s responses that he loves to smile? 🙂

Any fan of the Fright Night films is a friend of mine…and Blade?  Heck yea!  Who’s with us?

If you haven’t already, be sure to get to know Steven better by reading his blog, liking his Facebook Author Page, and following him on Twitter and Goodreads.

Do you have a question for Steven?  Have you read his Blood Skies series yet?  What’s your favorite zombie movie?  I’d love to hear from you! 

Remember to stop by Amazon to buy a copy of Blood Skies (available in paperback and Kindle), Black Scars (available in Kindle), Tales of a Blood Earth: A Blood Skies short story (available in Kindle), and Soulrazor (available in Kindle) if you haven’t already.

Friday FabOoolousness – Roni Loren’s Crash Into You

Last year, I met Roni Loren on Twitter and immediately fell in love with her blog and her voice.  At the time, Roni published two different types of blogs – one for writers and one for her brand.  You see, Roni is a romance writer and to attract us to her style and words, she publishes a Boyfriend of the Week post every Tuesday containing drool-worthy and day-dreamy photos of hot, hot guys (mostly celebrities).

Author Roni Loren

Roni has been writing romance novels since the age of fifteen, when she discovered writing about boys was way easier than actually talking to them.  Since then, her flirting skills haven’t improved, but she likes to think her storytelling ability has.  Though she’ll forever be a New Orleans girl at heart, she now lives in Dallas with her husband and son — funny story: her husband used to live in my home town and was my brother’s boss — small world.

Since the inception of our cyberspace friendship, I’ve also had the pleasure of meeting Roni in person.  She is just as delightful in “real” life as she is online.  She isn’t afraid to help the rest of us struggling to get our first work out, and she has the pop culture knowledge for those days when we just need a break and want to talk TV and movies (and many of you know, for me, this is all the time).

Roni debuted her erotic romance novel, Crash Into You, earlier this year.  How about a tease (pun intended!)?

Crash Into You:

Brynn LeBreck has dedicated herself to helping women in crisis, but she never imagined how personal her work would get, or where it would take her. Her younger sister is missing, suspected to be hiding from cops and criminals alike at a highly secretive BDSM retreat—a place where the elite escape to play out their most extreme sexual fantasies. To find her Brynn must go undercover as a sexual submissive. Unfortunately, The Ranch is invitation only. And the one Master who can get her in is from the darkest corner of Brynn’s past.

Brynn knows what attorney Reid Jamison is like once he is stripped of his conservative suit and tie. Years ago she left herself vulnerable only to have him crush her heart. Now she needs him again. Back on top. And he’s all too willing to engage. But as their primal desires and old wounds are exposed, the sexual games escalate—and so does the danger.  Their hearts aren’t the only things at risk. Someone else is watching, playing by his own rules. And his game could be murder.

*****

When you were a little girl, did you dream of one day writing a bestseller, or did you have something else in mind?

I always loved to read, but in 5th grade my teacher started reading a chapter of A Wrinkle In Time by Madeleine L’Engle to us every day. That was way too slow for me, so I went to the library and proceeded to read all the books in the series. I remember thinking then that it’d be really cool to be a writer.

But I didn’t think about it seriously again until I was in high school. I wrote a novel at 15 (that was basically really crappy New Kids on the Block fan fiction), but that gave me the bug. I went to college as a double major in English and Psychology, but ended up being overwhelmed with two majors. So I dropped the English to be more “practical.”

I wrote here and there while I was building my social work career, but didn’t get serious about it until I had a baby and became a stay at home mom. That’s when I finally decided–okay, let’s do this. A little over three years later, here I am. : ) Took a while to get here, but I kind of always knew it was where I wanted to be.

Where do you find the inspiration for your stories?

I honestly find inspiration everywhere. It can be something really small that sparks a book idea. For CRASH, I pulled from my former life as a social worker and research I did in college. For STILL INTO YOU (coming June 2012), I was inspired by, of all things, a Reba McEntire song. For MELT INTO YOU (coming July 2012), I actually got an idea when I saw a commercial for the Dr. Phil show. The story question that came to me: What would happen if America’s leading relationship expert was really gay? Would he fake a marriage to be accepted as an expert by the mainstream? My heroine in MELT ends up engaged to her gay best friend who is trying to get a TV deal for his relationship show.

So you never know when inspiration will hit. : )

Who are a few of your favorite authors?

In my genre, I love Maya Banks, Lauren Dane, Shayla Black, Lorelei James, Joey W. Hill, and Jaci Burton. The list can go on and on. : )

The cover art for your book is super sexy.  Did you design it yourself?

Lol, definitely not. I have zero talent when it comes to design. Berkley asked me to give them an idea of what I’d like and had me send character descriptions and inspiration pics. All I told them was that I’d love a couple in the rain because a pivotal scene happens in the rain. Then voila, the talented art department sends back this gorgeous cover. Berkley does some of the best covers. It’s actually one of the reasons why they were at the top of my list when my agent was submitting my manuscript to publishers.

Many writers imagine a celebrity or familiar face when developing their characters.  Did you have anyone particular in mind when writing Brynn and why?

I honestly didn’t have a clear picture of Brynn at the start. The hero is usually clearer because I often pick celebrities for inspiration early on for the hero. But when I sent in my pics for Brynn to the art department, I used a dressed-down, make-up free Scarlett Johanssen. It’s not *exactly* how I picture Brynn but that’s the closest I could find.

Speaking of celebrities, who are you thinking of at this very moment?

Country singer Blake Shelton is constantly in my brain these days because I’m wrapping up the draft of Book 3 and he’s the visual inspiration for my cowboy hero. : )

Besides writing, what other hobbies do you enjoy?

I love to cook and have a bit of a cookbook addiction (like two full bookcases worth of them). I also love live music, so the hubs and I go to lots of concerts.

You’re an LSU grad (sorry about the National Championship; I was yelling for your team!) and the city of New Orleans holds a special place in your heart.  What is your favorite restaurant and attraction in The Big Easy? 

Let’s not speak of the National Championship. My household is still in mourning. And I do love New Orleans since it’s my hometown. Hard to pick a favorite restaurant because there are so many good ones. The food really is its own attraction. But anytime I go home I must have these things at least once: boiled seafood (preferably crabs), a fried shrimp poboy, a muffaletta, and beignets.

I wouldn’t be myself without asking about television – what are your four favorite television programs airing today? 

Top Chef, True Blood, American Idol, and Vampire Diaries. Two Broke Girls and New Girl are also moving up the list.

I know you love the reality TV like me, particularly Big Brother.  Which season and houseguest is your favorite of all-time? 

I was a big fan of Evil Dick during his original season. Also liked Janelle. And who could hate Jordan, she was so darn sweet.

What is your favorite movie?

Dirty Dancing – I think that’s the movie that planted the seed that eventually grew into me becoming a romance writer.

We’ll always love Baby and Johnny…

What snacks do you order when at a movie theater? 

We usually go to a theater that serves full meals and drinks, so I usually get pizza or chips and queso. Though the last movie I saw, I just had a martini, lol.

Lastly, I know I’m not alone when I say that I love your Boyfriend of the Week blog series.  Who has been the most and least popular “boyfriend” with the readers and were you surprised by the feedback? 

Surprisingly, the one that still gets the most hits is Nikki Sixx of Motley Crue. I still get like 100 hits a week on that one and it’s an old post. As for least popular, it’s usually the lesser known people–guys that are models and not actors or new to the acting scene.

*****

Isn’t she the best?  She writes romance, she’s a fan of college football to the point of real fandom levels, she shares the love with hair-band members from the ‘80s in her Boyfriend of the Week posts, and she’s not afraid to admit she watches reality TV — Roni is an all-around great girl.

If you haven’t already, be sure to get to know Roni better by reading her blog, liking her Facebook Author Page, and following her on Twitter and Goodreads.

Do you have a question for Roni?  Have you read Crash Into You yet?  Are there any other New Kids on the Block fans out there who’d like to join Roni and me in celebrating one of the best bands of our childhood?  Which New Kid did you crush on?  I’d love to hear from you! 

Remember to stop by Amazon (available in paperback and Kindle) or Barnes and Noble (available in paperback and Nook) to buy a copy of Crash Into You if you haven’t already!

For those of you lucky enough to be around the DFW, Chicago, and Anaheim areas, take a look at Roni’s upcoming appearances for your chance to meet her!

Texas Two-Step Conference (3/30-4/1) – Book signing and on a panel with agent Sara Megibow
DFW Con (5/19-5/20) – Presenting two workshops: one on love scenes and another on querying
**I’ve taken Roni’s querying workshop at a local writer’s group and it is FANTASTIC.  I highly recommend…
Romantic Times Convention (Chicago, IL) April – Book signing
RWA Nationals (Anaheim, CA) July – Book signing, on two workshop panels (tbd)

For more info on any of these, visit the events page on her website.

Friday FabOoolousness – Donna Galanti’s A Human Element

I first met Donna Galanti on Twitter and we’ve since had the opportunity to get to know each other a little bit better by following each other’s blogs and keeping track of one another on Facebook.  But Donna is more than just a friendly face on social media; she is accomplished (holds a B.A. in English, has a background in marketing, and previously published a memoir, Letters from BootCamp via iUniverse) and is very well traveled.

Author Donna Galanti

Many of us hope and dream of one day visiting as many locations around the globe as Donna has lived (from England to Hawaii).  She has dreamed of being a writer since the age of seven when she fell in love with the worlds of Narnia and Roald Dahl. Here’s the best part: Donna lived in England at the time, attending school in a magical castle where her imagination ran wild in an itchy uniform (bowling hat and tie included).

Donna now lives in Pennsylvania with her husband, son, and two crazy cats in an old farmhouse. It has lots of writing nooks, fireplaces and stink bugs, but she’s still wishing for a castle again.  Aren’t we all?

This month, Donna debuts her paranormal suspense novel, A Human Element.   How about a taste?

A Human Element:

One by one, Laura Armstrong’s friends and adoptive family members are being murdered, and despite her unique healing powers, she can do nothing to stop it. The savage killer haunts her dreams, tormenting her with the promise that she is next. Determined to find the killer, she follows her visions to the site of a crashed meteorite–her hometown. There, she meets Ben Fieldstone, who seeks answers about his parents’ death the night the meteorite struck. In a race to stop a mad man, they unravel a frightening secret that binds them together. But the killer’s desire to destroy Laura face-to-face leads to a showdown that puts Laura and Ben’s emotional relationship and Laura’s pure spirit to the test. With the killer closing in, Laura discovers her destiny is linked to his and she has two choices–redeem him or kill him.

A Human Element releases March 15th.

*****

When you were a little girl, did you dream of one day writing a bestseller, or did you have something else in mind?

I don’t think I thought of it in ‘best seller’ terms but since I was about seven I knew I wanted to be a writer. That and an actress! I fantasized about my books being made into movies and I was the star.

Where do you find the inspiration for your stories?

I think I’m best answering where do I find inspiration. All my stories come to me as visions when I am alone and without distraction. These days, it’s on a long walk.

Who are a few of your favorite authors?

Dean Koontz. Bill Bryson. Stephen King. John Grisham. LaVyrle Spencer (need something light at times!).

The cover art for your book is amazing.  Did you design it yourself?

Thanks so much! My publisher did it, Echelon Press. I told her the concept I wanted and she got it right on. Dean Koontz like.

Many writers imagine a celebrity or familiar face when developing their characters.  Did you have anyone particular in mind when writing Laura and why?

I didn’t have a celebrity in mind but I created her as part of me and part of what I wished to be. She had the same childhood as me, growing up an only child on a mountain where she would roam the woods and climb trees to sing from.

Speaking of celebrities, who are you thinking of at this very moment?

Sigh….Daniel Craig. Just watched him the other night in Casino Royale for the 100th time. When it first came out I was a little crazed with him and that movie…rented it five times in a row On Demand. My husband damn near killed me.

Besides writing, what other hobbies do you enjoy?

Biking, kayaking (ahhh, down the Brandywine River, PA in the Fall) and hiking. My hubby and I did many long distance charity rides including the MS 150. Our son is doing his first one this summer.

You have lived all over the globe. Which of your hometown destinations is your favorite and why?

Cobham Surrey, England! It’s so historic and old and beautiful. We lived in the old caretaker’s house of this old grand estate called White Tops. It even came with a gardener. It was a place of days gone by where I’d walk down the country lane to school and feed horses along the way. Each day the fish man would bring kippers for breakfast and the milk man would drop glass bottles at our door…and clotted cream some days!

I wouldn’t be myself without asking about television – what are your four favorite television programs airing today? 

I hardly have four shows I watch. I’m stuck in time and watch my old fave ones on Netflix. Just finished up the entire show of West Wing.

But here goes: Law & Order SVU and CSI. There are others I’d like to catch but haven’t found time to watch.  The other two? Don’t laugh, but I love to watch Big Time Rush and the Wizards of Waverly Place with my son.

What is your favorite movie all-time?

OMG, it’s sooooo G-L-A-D-I-A-T-O-R. The story, brutal scenes, Russell Crowe, the tormented Maximus (I wanted to name my son Maximus but that got nixed), the music, the cinematography…did I mention Russell Crowe? Sigh…

Maximus. Enough said.

What snacks do you order when at a movie theater? 

I don’t! Really!

Lastly, you claim to make up songs to be silly.  Would you like to share one with us now?  

Oh, boy, you got me good! This is a song about my son when he was a toddler (he would die if he knew I gave you this! I have icky 9-year old boy ones now, but won’t share those – LOL).

Sung to ‘Here Comes Santa Claus’:

Here comes Mommy, Here comes Mommy
Right down Mommy Lane.
She snuggles and hugs
and kisses away the pain!
Give your mommy all your love
and all your boo-boo’s too
cause your mommy will keep you safe
and give you ice cream too!

*****

Seriously, that may be the cutest song ever!  You fully exceeded my expectations, Donna!  Thank you!

Isn’t Donna great?  Don’t worry – everyone can have a little more Donna…

LIKEherAuthor Facebook page for news and updates! Her blog/book tour runs March 19th through April 11th with book giveaways, more guest posts, interview fun, and a chance to win the big prize giveaway! So pop over to her blogto see thefull tour schedule.  Remember to follow her on Twitter too.

Do you have a question for Donna?  Have you been lucky enough to live anywhere special like Donna’s English home at White Tops?  Do you have any “original” songs that you’d like to share with Donna, since she so generously shared “Here Comes Mommy” with us?  I’d love to hear from you! 

And one last thing: mark your calendars for the A Human Element e-book and paperback release, Thursday, March 15th.

Reviewers are saying…
“A HUMAN ELEMENT is an elegant and haunting first novel. Unrelenting, devious but full of heart. Highly recommended.” –Jonathan Maberry, New York Times best-selling author of ASSASSIN’S CODE and DEAD OF NIGHT

“A HUMAN ELEMENT is a haunting look at what it means to be human. It’s a suspenseful ride through life and love…and death, with a killer so evil you can’t help but be afraid. An excellent read.” –Janice Gable Bashman, author of WANTED UNDEAD OR ALIVE, nominated for a Bram Stoker Award.

Friday FabOoolousness – Kait Nolan, Seeing Red

I first met Kait Nolan online in early 2011.  She was actually one of the first writers to help me understand the Twitterverse and practically held my hand as I started my new journey into social media.

Author Kait Nolan

Not only is Kait friendly, she is multi-talented and strives to assist other writers on a daily basis.  First and foremost, she writes paranormal romance (YA and adult) – the reason we’re featuring her today here at Friday FabOoolousness.  Kait also blogs, sharing tasty meals and gluten-free treats with the rest of us.  But perhaps even more impressive than her writing and culinary skills, is the fact that Kait manages a self-created online writing community and challenge, A Round of Words in Eighty Days, or Row80 to the “rowers”.

I’m a proud Row80 participant, and I recommend it to any and all writers – published and non-published.  Heck, I would shout it from the rooftops if I didn’t think my neighbors would call the cops.  Row80 is one of the best communities of writers on the Internet today.  Rowers encourage others, support one another, and help each other to the finish line.  All because of Kait…

Did I mention that Kait has one of the best personalities and senses of humor out there?  Don’t believe me?

Just read her bio:

Kait Nolan is stuck in an office all day, sometimes juggling all three of her jobs at once with the skill of a trained bear—sometimes with a similar temperament. After hours, she uses her powers for good, creating escapist fiction. The work of this Mississippi native is packed with action, romance, and the kinds of imaginative paranormal creatures you’d want to sweep you off your feet…or eat your boss.  When she’s not working or writing, she’s in her kitchen, heading up a revolution to Retake Homemade from her cooking blog, Pots and Plots.

Red:

Every fairy tale has a dark side…

Elodie Rose has a secret. Any day, she’ll become a wolf and succumb to the violence that’s cursed her family for centuries. For seventeen years she’s hidden who and what she is. But now someone knows the truth and is determined to exterminate her family line. Living on borrowed time in the midst of this dangerous game of hide and seek, the last thing Elodie needs to do is fall in love. But Sawyer is determined to protect her, and the brooding, angry boy is more than what he seems. Can they outsmart a madman? And if they survive, will they find a way to beat the curse for good?

*****

When you were a little girl, did you dream of one day writing a bestseller, or did you have something else in mind?

Oh heck yeah.  I’ve been telling stories to entertain myself since I was knee-high, as I was the only girl in a neighborhood of boys who thought I had cooties (silly boys).  I couldn’t imagine a better job than telling stories for a living, so I set my cap on that when I was twelve years old, and other than a handful of detours for stuff like, you know, college and master’s degrees, I haven’t wavered.

Where do you find the inspiration for your stories?

There’s no one place.  A snatch of conversation.  Random articles from the net.  A scrap of a fairy tale or myth.  Dreams.  Sometimes just a random “what if…?” thought.

Who are a few of your favorite authors?

Nalini Singh, J.R. Ward, Cassandra Clare, Lilith Saintcrow, Maggie Stiefvater, Nora Roberts, Marjorie M. Liu, and Madeleine L’Engle.   This list could get REALLY long…

The cover art for Red is amazing.  Did you design it yourself?

Oh good God no.  I hired a professional cover designer, Robin Ludwig of Robin Ludwig Designs.  She’s amazingly talented and has done all but one of my covers.

Many writers imagine a celebrity or familiar face when developing their characters.  Did you have anyone particular in mind when writing your protagonist Elodie Rose and why?

I often do, but in this particular case, I had the cover art done early on, so I really had the girl from the cover in my head.

Speaking of celebrities, who are you thinking of at this very moment?

Viggo Mortensen as Aragorn.  We’re watching Return of the King on Bluray.

Viggo Mortensen as Aragorn; I really liked him in The Perfect Murder.

In addition to writing, you publish a weekly food blog titled “Pots and Plots” and you founded the Round of Words in Eighty Days Challenge, more commonly known as Row80 to the Twitterverse.  How do you find the time? 

I am freakishly organized and possibly need an intervention for my addiction to lists.  But mostly it’s that you find time for what you love.  I’m going to cook anyway and calculate all the nutrition information for my meals, which I am gonna write down anyway in order to remember and make it again. It doesn’t take much more time to take pics and put everything up at Pots and Plots—which I actually started so I could access all my favorite recipes from anywhere without needing to take my recipe box.  As for ROW80, well each round I’m joined by ten fabulous sponsors who help me crack the whip, I mean inspire everybody to keep going.

What other hobbies do you enjoy that we don’t know about?

I’m into photography, horseback riding (which I haven’t had an opportunity to do in ages), and hiking.

I wouldn’t be myself without asking about television… What are your favorite television programs airing today? 

NCIS, Bones, Once Upon a Time, Grimm, and Rizzoli & Isles

What is your favorite movie all-time?

It is so not possible to answer that question.  Pride and Prejudice (BBC mini-series), Star Wars the original trilogy only, and the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy

What snacks do you order when at a movie theater? 

Sour Patch Kids and popcorn—butter please!

You write paranormal romance.  Name your favorite book, movie, and television series featuring the paranormal. 

Book: Again, not a fair question to try to narrow it down, but I suppose by dint of how many times I’ve read it, City of Bones by Cassandra Clare.

Movie: Ok, I really had to think about this one because everything that comes to mind is not actually paranormal, it’s fantasy.  I think I’d have to say Stardust because it’s a combination of both.  Or maybe Xmen.  Love Wolverine.

TV series: Um, Buffy, hello?  Followed closely by the first four seasons of Supernatural.  Love me some Dean.

Dean Winchester...enough said.

Before we go, do you believe in fairy tales?

There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy…In all fairy tales there is a grain of truth.  Who are we to say which grain is true?

*****

Need more Kait?  Catch up with her at her blog, Twitter, Facebook, and Goodreads accounts.

Do you have a question for Kait?  Have you read Red – if so, share your thoughts.  What’s your favorite fairy tale – actual tale, TV adaptation, or movie and why?  I’d love to hear from you! 

Before we go, remember to grab your copy of Red if you haven’t already!  Available in ebook from Smashwords, Amazon, Amazon UK, Amazon DESony, the iBookstore, Diesel Ebooks, XinXii, and All Romance EBooks.

Also available in paperback from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, The Book Depository (free international shipping!) and Createspace.

*****

And last but not least, here is a taste of a few of Kait’s other stories…enjoy!

Paranormal beings exist, among us, around us. Their strictest rule: keep the secret.

Forsaken by Shadow

When Embry’s father is kidnapped by human scientists and the Council of Races makes a firm decision of non-intervention, enforcer Embry Hollister must turn her back on her job and her government to go rogue and seek the help of the one great love from her past. Banished from her world years ago, his memory wiped, Cade Shepherd has a new name, a new life, and no knowledge her kind exist. Can he relearn the Shadow Walker skills he learned from her father? And, if they survive, will Embry be able to walk away again?

Devil’s Eye

Trouble. That’s what wolf-shifter Mick thinks when a beautiful woman appears in his New Orleans bar with a hurricane at her back. His first impression is confirmed when Sophie starts asking questions about his missing waitress, Liza. Mick will do anything to rescue a member of the pack he’s made for himself, including forming an unlikely alliance with a woman with a badge.

Blindsight

Isla’s ability as a Seer has made her a life-long captive of a paranormal crime lord. Fae assassin, Ransom, offers her a chance at escape, but when she touches his hand she sees only blood, horror, and apocalypse. What reason can Ransom have for wanting to rescue her, and can she possibly trust a man who deals in death?

Genesis…it’s only the beginning

Genesis is the compilation of Kait’s two novellas and short story, previously published and available individually.  Buy them together and save!

Available in e-book from Amazon, Amazon UK, Amazon DE, Barnes and Noble, Sony, the iBookstoreDiesel Ebooks, XinXii, and Smashwords.

Also available in paperback from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, The Book Depository (for international readers) and Createspace.

Friday FabOoolousness – P.W. Creighton and Nightfall

I met P.W. Creighton on Twitter last year, and we immediately hit it off talking about some of my favorite television shows and characters.  Each week, P.W. is actually one of the first people I look to chat with about Burn Notice, Justified, American Horror Story, Psych, The Secret Circle, etc.  I mean it; we have a lot of fun.

Author P.W. Creighton

But then there is everything else about P.W. that makes him even more fantastic – he’s an Adventurer, Archaeologist, Photographer, Videographer, Tech-Geek, and Investigator.

Oh, and did I mention he writes too?  P.W. is the author of the upcoming supernatural thriller series, Nightfall, and he publishes blog posts to help other writers with the craft of storytelling.  P.W. is truly talented and a valuable resource to the rest of us trying to find our way.

Before we get to know P.W. on a more personal level, here’s a taste of Nightfall to get everyone in the mood…

Nightfall:

Three years after everyone important to Connor Maitland was murdered by a fanatical cult he is still attempting to put his life back together. Accompanied by his ex-girlfriend and business partner, Alison Herne, he is making a living as a jack-of-all-trades, running a security company, sailing charters, and even photographing weddings out of Dolliber Cove, Massachusetts. Connor’s world is finally coming back together until he discovers one of Alison’s ghost hunter friends murdered.

When Veronica, a childhood love he thought was dead, appears on his doorstep during their investigation, Connor is forced to confront memories he had convinced himself were the delusions of a man deep in grief. Veronica is being stalked by a mysterious man who appears to know far too many of her secrets, as well as Connor’s. After Alison is almost killed confronting her occult past, it is impossible for Connor to deny the connection between the cases. Someone is attempting to end Connor’s life and the lives of all those who surround him.

The crazed rantings of the murderous cult may be the key to his survival.

*****

When you were young, did you dream of one day writing a bestseller, or did you have something else in mind?

Honestly, when I was younger I was never really one for planning. I just focused on whatever adventure would come my way and took to it. When it came to writing I just kept going and the more people told me I had a gift for narratives the more I wanted to share them.

Where do you find the inspiration for your stories?

Life for one, imagination and dreams for another.

Who are a few of your favorite authors?

H.P. Lovecraft, Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Jim Butcher, Kim Harrison and so many more.

Jim Butcher's "Storm Front" - Book One of The Dresden Files

The cover art for Nighfall is amazing.  Did you design it yourself?

I’m a bit of a perfectionist and that usually means I’m not happy with something unless I do it myself. However, the cover art was actually created by my publisher’s cover artist, Elaina Lee. She took my rambling ideas and put together something perfect.

Many writers imagine a celebrity or familiar face when developing their characters.  Did you have anyone particular in mind when writing your protagonist Connor Maitland and why?

So very true, for Connor I had the image of Eric Close from Dark Skies with the attitude and knowledge of Jeffrey Donovan from Burn Notice. The mixture of a calm, knowledgeable and creative guy thrown into extraordinary situations felt intriguing to me.

Eric Close as John Loengard in the 1996 series, Dark Skies
Michael Weston gets the job done in Burn Notice...any way he can.

Speaking of celebrities, who are you thinking of at this very moment?

Kate Beckinsale. Can’t wait to see the new Underworld movie.

Kate Beckinsale returns to theaters today as Selene in Underworld: Awakening 3-D this month

In addition to writing, photography and adventure are two of your other passions.  What other hobbies do you enjoy that we don’t know about?

Sailing, I love the open water and the quiet calm that comes with it. And gaming, yes I’m a gamer. I love the dynamic stories and creative art styles that come with excellent games.

You are one of my favorite friends to chat television with on Twitter.  What are your favorite television programs airing today?

Quite a few actually: Supernatural,  Secret Circle, Leverage, Haven, Warehouse 13, White Collar, American Horror Story, Bones, Burn Notice, Royal Pains, Psych and so forth.   

Does your love for TV carry over to the big screen?  If so, what is your favorite movie all-time?

Certainly, and if it has to be one I would have to say Goonies. No matter what I can still stop and watch that one.

Goonies...definitely one of the best movies of our time.

What snacks do you order when at a movie theater?

Popcorn with the evil butter and sour patch kids.

You write supernatural thrillers.  Name your favorite book, movie, and television series featuring the supernatural. 

Favorite book would have to be The Shining, got to love the greats. Favorite movie would be Ghostbusters, how could it not? Favorite series is Haven.

"Who ya gonna call?"

*****

Want more P.W.?  Be sure to visit his blog, follower him on Twitter for excellent writing links and fantastic television banter, and like his Facebook author page.

Nightfall will be available January 31st.  Watch for it and buy it here!

Do you have a question for P.W.?  What’s your favorite supernatural book series, television show, or movie and why?  I’d love to hear from you! 

 

Friday FabOoolousness – Jillian Dodd and finding That Boy

Earlier this summer, I found myself reluctantly attending a Meet and Greet with a few other SheWrites.com members that I’d only talked to briefly online.  Having heard repeatedly that writers need to network, I hopped in my car and drove the ten minutes to BJ’s Brewery where I met Jillian Dodd.

Author Jillian Dodd

Jill and I hit it off immediately.  Not only do we share the same profession and love for the written word, we both have a minor obsession (okay, maybe it’s a tad major) with NCAA football.  For the past decade, our alma maters even played each other in the same conference: Jill’s a Nebraska Cornhusker, and we all know I’m a Texas Tech Red Raider.  One might think this would make Jill and I instant rivals, but it didn’t; instead, we were immediate friends.

Jill and I now belong to the same writing group and she’s a frequent lunch date of mine.  We also share a love of movies and luckily live close enough to one another that we can meet at the AMC Theater on occasion for an afternoon of playtime.

Jill published her first book, That Boy, earlier this year and will soon release the sequel, That Wedding.  I hope everyone enjoys getting to know Jill just as much as I have!

That Boy:

You know, being friends with two cute boys does have its benefits.

There’s Danny, the golden boy in every way. He has dreamy blue eyes and blonde hair that always looks perfect, even when it’s windblown or has been stuck under a football helmet. He’s the boy that every girl crushes on; he’s the hot quarterback that no girl can resist, not even me. Being with Danny is like being on an adventure; he’s the boy I get into trouble with, the boy I fight with. He has a bright, contagious smile and abs to die for. He’s pretty much irresistible.

Equally crush worthy is Phillip. Adorable, sweet Phillip, who I have known since birth. Phillip has dark hair, a perfect smile, brown eyes, and the sexiest voice I have ever heard. He’s the boy I talk to every night before I go to sleep. He’s the boy who rescues me; the boy who can read my mind; the boy who is always there for me; the boy who tries to keep me out of trouble; and the boy who irritatingly keeps getting hotter, and whose strong arms always seem to find their way around me. And when he gives me that grin, I can never say no.

One boy will give me my very first kiss.
One boy will teach me to make out.
One boy will take me to prom.
And finally, one boy will ask me to marry him.
They will both be my best friends.
But only one of them will be the boy I fall in love with.

Only one of them is That Boy.

 *****

When you were a little girl, did you dream of one day writing a bestseller, or did you have something else in mind?

When I was a little girl, I loved to read, but writing never really crossed my mind. I grew up on a farm and dreamed of adventure. I wanted to be a spy. My parents owned a clothing store when I was in college, so I majored in Textiles, Clothing, and Design. I wanted to be a buyer, own a chain of stores, and make a million or so. LOL.

I never dreamed of being a writer, but I did dream about the story I wrote, which is what made me start writing. I’ve always written stories in my head for my own entertainment. Like on long drives, I would dream up and act out stories in my mind. When I was forced to clean our family’s basement every Saturday morning, it always took me forever because I acted out a musical I wrote to all the Beach Boys songs on Endless Summer.

Where do you find the inspiration for your stories?

Honestly, I dream vividly. Many of my ideas come from dreams.

Who are a few of your favorite authors?

All time favorite in Carolyn Keene, who wrote the Nancy Drew series.  For fun, I read a combination of YA and thrillers: James Rollins, David Baldacci, Lee Child, Alex Horowitz, and Sophie Kinsella.

Did you design the cover art for That Boy yourself?

I did. I illustrated the inside of the book with lots of silly little doodles. I envisioned something like what I would’ve drawn on my notebook as a teen. I also wanted something very simple that stood out amongst all the photos of people on most romances. I originally planned to do three books – That Boy has the heart; That Wedding will have a wedding cake; and That Baby would have a rattle. Simple, bold, and similar.

Many writers imagine a celebrity or familiar face when developing their characters.  Did you have anyone particular in mind when writing your characters and why?

I didn’t really for That Boy. I sorta combined some people I knew with other people’s personalities. The relationships between Danny and Lori and Phillip and Jadyn were inspired by my husband and our friendship with another couple (the guy in the couple is one of my best friends).

The new series that I’m working on is set in a boarding school and has a lot of characters, so I do have photos of each character in front of me when I write.

Speaking of celebrities, who are you thinking of at this very moment?

Joe Manganiello and Matt Bomer. Really, the entire cast of Magic Mike.

Besides writing, what other hobbies do you enjoy?

I love to paint, see movies, cook, shop, and spend time with my family. My son is a semi-pro kart racer, so I spend lots of time traveling with him as well. I’m also a bit addicted to Twitter.

You are an avid college football fan like me.  If you could play, which position would you choose and why?

Part of me wants to say the quarterback because I like to control things, but I was the pitcher for my fast pitch softball team for years, and that was a lot of pressure. When I didn’t pitch, I played first base. It was much less stress. So I’d say I’d want to be a wide receiver. Run down the field, catch the ball, and score.

I wouldn’t be myself without asking about television – what are your four favorite television programs airing today? 

I’m loving Revenge, and I LOVE Gossip Girl, even though it is NOTHING like the books. I have been doing research for That Wedding and have become addicted to David Tutera’s My Fair Wedding, as well as, Say Yes to the Dress.

 

You review a new movie every Friday on your blog, what is your favorite movie all-time?

Oh, wow. I don’t know if I could pick just one. I loved Independence Day. I can watch it over and over. I could also watch The Hangover a million times; it just keeps getting funnier. I would also include Harry Potter, Star Wars, Transformers, Talladega Nights, The Golden Child, Boomerang, and Titanic. I could go on for days. Avatar. I’ll stop now.

What snacks do you order when at a movie theater? 

I get the same thing every time – large popcorn, to which I add way more butter than is good for me, and a large Diet Coke (the Diet Coke counteracts all the calories I consume. Like, in theory.)

*****

Isn’t Jill almost like that girl we’d all like to know?!

Want more Jill?  Be sure to visit her website and blog, follower her Twitter and Goodreads, and like her Facebook author page.

And don’t forget to buy a copy of That Boy here – Jill has Kindle, Nook, iPad and PDF copies available!

Do you have a question for Jill?  Have you read That Boy, and if so share your thoughts here!  What’s your favorite love story and why?  I’d love to hear from you! 

Before we go, here’s a special sneak peek of That Wedding

I know Phillip is that boy. The boy I want to marry, my prince, my happily ever after. I feel like I’m living in a dreamy fairytale.

But then Pastor starts asking questions I don’t know the answers to.
I have horrible wedding disaster dreams.
I can’t find a dress.
I have to manipulate Phillip to get my way.
And then, an old boyfriend asks me to run away and marry him.
My best friend tells me I’m going to ruin everything.
And forever is starting to sound like a really long time.

Which makes me start to wonder…

I wonder if best friends should get married.
I wonder if I’m settling.
I wonder if the fact that sex with Phillip is so amazing that it’s clouding my judgment.
I wonder if it’s just cold feet.
I wonder if marriage is all that fun.

And then I have to decide. Am I willing to give up on true love forever, or should I say, what the hell, and marry him?

*****

HAVE A HAPPY AND SAFE NEW YEAR!

Friday FabOoolousness – Stephanie Nelson, Craved and Deceived

I met author Stephanie Nelson in a Facebook writers group, courtesy of the fabOoolous Liz Schulte.  Stephanie is one of the nicest and most supportive writers I have met.  She’s not afraid to tell us how she feels, how she accomplished her writing feats, and she doesn’t shy away from helping the rest of us accomplish our dreams.

Stephanie Nelson, Author

Stephanie’s life forever changed when she picked up the Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer.  Not only did our Stephanie discover the paranormal romance genre, but her addiction to books was born.

Like most writers, Stephanie started to read book after book, liking some and disliking others.  The more she read, the faster her stories and characters formed, and she took to writing.

After approximately four years of finding her comfort zone, Stephanie found her exact story.  Earlier this year, Stephanie released Craved, a paranormal romance introducing heroin Gwen Sparks.  Her second book in the series, Deceived, hits the online markets in early January.

Before we get started, here’s a little taste of Craved and Deceived to get everyone in the mood…

Craved:

Gwen Sparks just wants to live a peaceful life in the supernatural town of Flora, but from the moment she reads about the first murdered witch, all hope of peace is abandoned. Possessing the rare ability to read the memories of the dead, she volunteers to help catch the culprit behind the string of drained witches. Gwen has to team up with the one man who broke her heart, deal with a ghost who pulls her into the deathly realm at will, and fight off the advances of sexy but frustrating vampire who not only craves what runs through her veins — he wants her heart.

Deceived:

Gwen’s life has been a downward spiral since she discovered vampires crave witches blood. She’s summoned to Moon, the town of witches, where she learns that a war is brewing and she’s the secret weapon. Paired with the Angel of Death, it becomes quickly evident that she’s more powerful than she ever realized. But this reaper isn’t the robe wearing, scythe carrying kind – he’s a ruggedly handsome handful that has his eye on Gwen. As if that isn’t enough, she’s still tormented by Ian Desperaux’s constant intrusion into her thoughts and dreams. As Gwen struggles to balance her responsibility to the witches’ council and her secret relationship with her vampire boyfriend, Aiden, she’ll soon discover exactly what it means to be DECEIVED.

*****

When you were a little girl, did you dream of one day writing a bestseller, or did you have something else in mind?

Not at all. When I was a little girl I worshiped Bobby Brown – not the R&B singer, the supermodel. I wanted to be just like her. Eventually, my dream of becoming a supermodel changed to wanting to just photograph supermodels. I prefer being behind the camera rather than in front of it.

Where do you find the inspiration for your stories?

I write what I would want to read—paranormal romance. I find that music helps me get the thoughts out of my head and onto paper. I’ve tried writing without music and I just stare at the computer screen like a confused zombie.

Who are a few of your favorite authors?

Charlaine Harris, Jeaniene Frost, Patricia Briggs, Elle Jasper, Jane Austen, Karen Marie Moning. The list could go on and on…

The cover art for your books is amazing.  Did you design them yourself?

I designed the layout for Craved but was still a newbie to Photoshop, so I paid someone to put it together for me. The Deceived cover is 100% me.

Many writers imagine a celebrity or familiar face when developing their characters.  Tell us why you chose Megan Fox for the role of Gwen.  Did you have her in mind from the development stages or later on?

I actually didn’t have any celebrity pictured while I wrote. I knew what Gwen looked like in my head, but finding someone who resembles a fictional person you have made up is a bit difficult. Megan Fox was the closest I could find that matched Gwen, at least in the looks department; their personalities so do not match.

Ditto with Matt Bomer as Aiden.  Anytime Matt is mentioned, we must find a way to weave him into the conversation….

Aiden is actually taller and more muscular, but again, Matt Bomer was as close to a real person that I could compare Aiden to. Not to mention, Matt is gorgeous and has to-die-for smirks and glances that make me sigh.

And Ryan Phillippe as Ian.  I think I froze on your website for at least thirty minutes remembering Cruel Intentions.

Yeah, well Ryan plays an excellent bad guy. Ian is sexy on the outside, and a monster on the inside. I don’t know what this says about Mr. Phillippe, but I instantly thought of him as Ian.  LOL!

Speaking of celebrities, who are you thinking of at this very moment?

Ryan Phillippe, the previous question sorta had something to do with that.  LOL!

Your Gwen Sparks series delves into the paranormal world.  What is your favorite supernatural creature and why?

I’d have to say vampires, although if I ever met one I’d be terrified. I think it has something to do with living forever, plus their strength, speed, and healing abilities. For reasons unknown, vampires have always been written as sensual characters, which I find funny since they kill us. Maybe that’s the reason why we love them. It’s like playing with fire without getting burned. I think all of the vampire craze would disappear if they really existed.

Besides writing, what other hobbies do you enjoy?

Hobbies, what are those? Since I became an author, I really don’t have time for anything else. My world now revolves around my computer, which is sad, but what are ya gonna do, ya know? I used to enjoy sewing, playing board games, fishing, and reading. Yep, even reading is rare for me now.  After I publish book two, I plan to take some time away from my computer and recharge my batteries, so maybe I’ll find time to visit my hobbies again.

I wouldn’t be myself without asking about television – what are your favorite television programs airing today? 

Psych, The Big Bang Theory, Bones, Supernatural, and The Vampire Dairies.

What is your favorite movie all-time?

Hmmm, I love movies but one that I’ll never tire of watching is Pride and Prejudice.

What snacks do you order when at a movie theater?

Nachos

Cats or Dogs?

Both, I’m a HUGE animal lover.

*****

See?  Stephanie is down to earth and as friendly as they come!

Want more Stephanie?  Be sure to visit her website and blog, follower her on Twitter, and like her Facebook author page.

In addition to the Gwen Sparks series, look for Stephanie’s first book (Taming the Wolf) in her new Anna Avery series releasing in early 2012.

Do you have a question for Stephanie?  Have you read Craved, and if so share your thoughts here!  What’s your favorite supernatural creature and why?  I’d love to hear from you! 

Friday FabOoolousness – Liz Schulte, her Secrets, and Dark Corners

I first met Liz Schulte on Twitter and now we enjoy discussing our favorite television moments, movies, and hot guys with other writer friends on Facebook.  Liz’s work first caught my eye when she shared the cover to her novel, Dark Corners, with a few of us before the release date.  Some of us call her “superwoman” on Facebook because there seems to be nothing she can’t accomplish, but the term came to full fruition when she recently released Secrets, her second book this year.

Liz Schulte, Author

Liz is one of the very first people I look to when seeking advice or direction for my writing.  She’s friendly, helpful, and one of the best writing friends a new writer could have, which is why she is the first author featured in this new blog series.

Before we get started, here’s a little tease of Liz’s books for everyone to savor while reading the interview…

Dark Corners:

Ella Reynolds knew from the first moment she walked into the old house that someone or something was watching her. Waiting. Her husband’s violent murder sent her spiraling into a world of grief and isolation. But Ella isn’t alone. Who or what is responsible for her husband’s death is still with her. Darkness has engulfed the past year of Ella’s life. Everyday reality slips a little more between her fingers as she struggles to break free from her memories. She must look deeper into her past as well as the present to discover the truth of her husband’s homicide. A string of uncanny events takes place and practical explanations run thin as Ella follows the terrifying road to closure. As the past and present come to a head, Ella must decipher who or what the murderer is before it takes her as well.

Secrets:

While Olivia Martin observed life through her camera, the abyss gazed back at her. She discovers mysterious men follow her around, people close to her are dying, and her dreams are no longer her own, as she falls head over heels for a perfect stranger. A chance encounter leads to an obsession that could destroy everything she has ever known or loved. Olivia is about to find out there is a lot she doesn’t know and sometimes what you don’t know can kill you.

*****

When you were a little girl, did you dream of one day writing a bestseller, or did you have something else in mind?

I would love to say I did, that I always knew, but I didn’t. I was pretty set on being a veterinarian until the 4th grade. Then I had a couple years of vacillating before I settled on a Supreme Court Judge.  I held that ambition right up to the point when I decided not to go to law school (I even took a philosophy of law and constitution law class while working on my undergraduate). I wasn’t entirely certain what I was going to do when suddenly I had no clear path. I considered forensic psychology and went back to school to work on a forensic degree to accompany my bachelor’s in psychology and minor in philosophy. Around that time my mom suggested I try to write a book. I am a huge pop culture fan; I love books, movies, television, and theater. I was always talking about how I would do it differently, so I decided maybe she was right. I gave it a go now I am completely addicted. I constantly have stories running through my head.

Where do you find the inspiration for your stories?

I find inspiration in everything. From talking to people, observing people, hearing stories, dreams, and sometimes all it takes is a really good first line.

At the beginning of this year I decided I wanted to write a story about witches. I started researching, combing through some notes I had from a class I took on the history of witchcraft, and a first line popped into my head.  94,000 words later I had a book (to be released in 2012). All it took was that first line and the story just poured out of me.

With Dark Corners I drew a lot from imagination and some ghostly experiences of my mother’s.

In Secrets I used a lot of dreams I had written about in my dream journal. You never know what will end up being the spark that turns into a fire. To write about life, you have to participate in it.

Who are a few of your favorite authors?

That is such a hard question. I love so many authors. As far as traditional authors I love Jane Austen, Edgar Allen Poe, Charlotte Bronte, Oscar Wilde, Hunter S. Thompson, Brett Easton Ellis, Thomas Harris, Elizabeth Aston, Diane Setterfield, and Joseph Heller.

As a kid I loved R.L. Stine (Fear Street), Christopher Pike, and L.J. Smith.

Being a part of the indie publishing scene, I have found many independent authors I have enjoyed very much: HP Mallory, Elizabeth Sharp, Stephanie Nelson, Wenona Hulsey, C. G. Powell, Jeff Ambrose, Olivia Hardin, Lisa Rayns, J.A. Titus, and I could keep going.

The cover art for your books is amazing.  Did you design them yourself?

Dark Corners was designed by my sister. She went to school for graphic design and took time from her busy schedule to design the cover for me.

Secrets was designed by Donna Dull with 4 Corners Press. She suffered my pickiness quite well.

Many writers imagine a celebrity or familiar face when developing their characters.  Did you have anyone particular in mind when writing Ella and Olivia and why?

I did not. I normally don’t have anyone in mind until I finish the book, because by then I know the character so well it is easier to find an image that suits them.

Ella is, in my mind, an Emily Blunt type character.

Olivia is now a very particular picture of Anne Hathaway I came across.

Speaking of celebrities, who are you thinking of at this very moment?

Ummm, way to put me on the spot. Hahaha

I am going with Timothy Olyphant because I cannot wait for Justified to restart. I love that show; Boyd’s hair more than anything.

 

Besides writing, I’ve noticed you’re quite the crafter and baker.  What other hobbies do you enjoy?

I do like cooking. And occasionally the crafting vibe hits me. I love to travel. I have been to several countries and all around the United States (including Alaska and Hawaii) and I absolutely love it. I no sooner finish one trip then start thinking about the next. I also love to play trivia. I get super competitive, though. I spend time with my two dogs and two cats and eight nieces and nephews. I have a very close-knit family. We all hang out a lot.

I wouldn’t be myself without asking about television – what are your favorite television programs airing today?

Today as in Wednesday or as in this half of the season, which is winding down?

My favorite Wednesday program is Revenge. I didn’t know if I would like it or not when it first started, but now I am totally hooked.

I just realized this will be published on Friday so my favorite Friday show is easily Supernatural! How could I not love the brothers Winchester. I believe it is even the mid-season finale. Yikes!

As far as this first half of the year, my favorite series playing is The Walking Dead. Amazing show. Every episode feels about five minutes long to me and I am completely enthralled with the storyline and the characters. I am so bummed I have to wait until February for new episodes.

As a movie connoisseur, what is your favorite movie of all-time?

It is Christmas time so I feel like I should choose It’s a Wonderful Life, but I cannot. While that remains in the top five favorite movies, the Godfather is hands-down my very favorite film. It is magical. The story, the characters, the cinematography and framing—beautiful. I love it so much and can talk your ear off about it if given the opportunity.

The Corleone family….just look at Pacino and Duvall here. Classic

What snacks do you order when at a movie theater? 

I like to get a bottle of water and Twizzlers. Twizzlers can be eaten slowly so I feel they last for more of the movie. Plus they are tasty and delicious.

Do you physically investigate the paranormal, or do you research via books, television, and the internet?

I don’t do much investigating. I am a bit more of a skeptic. I do like to look for haunted hotels and bed and breakfasts while I am travelling because I like to think of myself as an open-minded skeptic. I am willing to allow for an experience of a ghostly nature, but I have yet to experience anything for myself. Most of the strange things I have encountered, I can find a way to explain given enough thought and investigation.

Lastly, I know you are a zombie enthusiast.  Name your favorite book, movie, and television series featuring the supernatural undead. 

My absolute favorite zombie book is Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. It seriously cracked me up. I think the author was brilliant with maintaining the charm of Austen in a world overrun by the undead.  Bennett sister ninjas, priceless.

Movie is a much harder choice. I think I have to have two because I cannot choose between them. I love Shaun of the Dead and Zombieland. Shaun of the Dead is the most hilarious spoof of a zombie movie I have ever seen. It works because it is done seriously while not being serious at all. Zombieland is almost a postmodern zombie movie. The rules are hysterical, the zombies are awesome and gross, and the story has charm.

 

Television show is of course The Walking Dead.

*****

Isn’t Liz just delightfully fun?  I absolutely adore her, and I hope you enjoyed getting to know her today!

Need more Liz?  Be sure to check out her blog, follow her on Twitter, and like her Facebook author page.

Better yet, buy a copy of Dark Corners (available in kindle, nook, and paperback formats) and Secrets (also available in kindle and nook formats)!

Do you have a question for Liz?  Have you read Dark Corners or Secrets, and if so share your thoughts here!  

And, to not only put Liz on the spot….which celebrity are you thinking of at this very moment?  I’d love to hear from you! 

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