Football Sweetheart Cares – Doing What We Can for Oklahoma

After tornadoes swept across North Texas last Wednesday, I decided to donate all of last weekend’s Football Sweetheart proceeds to the American Red Cross to help where I could.  And while I would have much preferred the devastation end there, unfortunately Mother Nature had more in store for the southern states this week.

American Red Cross

Now, it’s time to give what we can to Oklahoma and those affected by the horrendous storms Monday night.

By now, most everyone has heard about the EF5 tornado that ripped through Moore, Oklahoma, devastating the small town.  Winds blowing in excess of 200 MPH destroyed everything in its seventeen mile path.  Children were trapped in elementary schools.  Neighborhoods once lined with beautiful homes and landscaped yards now resemble debris-covered terrain.  The photos and images seen across the internet and television are absolutely heartbreaking.

Oklahoma is known as “Tornado Alley” but that does not make what happened any easier to understand or accept.  Hundreds, if not thousands of people are displaced and in need of something right now.  Anything.  Everything.  They need our help.

So this weekend, starting today (Friday, May 24th) through Memorial Day (Monday, May 27th), I’ve decided to donate all of the Football Sweetheart proceeds to the American Red Cross.

All proceeds from every Football Sweetheart e-book purchased, whether via Amazon or Barnes & Noble, will go to the American Red Cross to help with the recovery process in all the areas affected by the severe spring storms.

Please keep all those affected in your thoughts and let’s hope Mother Nature is kind to us the rest of this storm season.

Football Sweetheart Cares – Helping Those Affected by the Severe Spring Storms

I spent most of Wednesday evening glued to the television… I know, many of you are thinking that’s not unusual for me.  But it was.  North Texas, specifically the DFW area, was preparing for our first visit from Mother Nature’s severe spring storms.

Spring storms in Texas are brutal.  And last year, certain areas saw complete devastation and are still recovering.

We were lucky in my neck of the woods Wednesday night… nothing but strong winds and heavy rain.  I’m not even sure we saw any hail.

But the southern counties of DFW weren’t so lucky.  A neighborhood in Granbury, Texas was leveled.  Almost 97 of the 110 homes in the subdivision were damaged, some destroyed completely.  Cleburne, Texas experienced a tornado that was reportedly one-mile wide.  Both storms have since been classified as an EF4 and EF3 respectively, with Granbury incurring winds of up to 200 MPH.  Overall, North Texas saw sixteen tornadoes Wednesday night and sustained extensive damage with hundreds injured.

Once again, severe spring storms devastate North Texas.  And my heart is with all those affected.

And sadly, hundreds, if not thousands of people are displaced and in need of something right now.

I want to do my part to help.  So this weekend, starting today (Friday, May 17th) through Monday (May 20th), I’ve decided to donate all of the Football Sweetheart proceeds to the American Red Cross.

American Red CrossAll proceeds from every Football Sweetheart e-book purchased, whether via Amazon or Barnes & Noble, will go to the American Red Cross to help with the recovery process in all the areas affected by the severe spring storms.

Please keep all those affected in your thoughts and let’s hope Mother Nature is kind to us the rest of this storm season.

Spring’s Must Read New and Recent Releases

Spring is here!  Heck, summer is almost here in Texas already!  And with the warm weather comes one of my favorite pastimes… grabbing a book and heading out to the pool for a little R&R.

So today, I’ve decided to share six new and recent releases that are must reads on my bookshelf.  If you’re looking for the next bestseller in the young adult, mystery, suspense, fantasy, thriller, and historical romance genres, check these out and help support six fabOoolous authors!

*****

Forever Road by Catie Rhodes

Seeing ghosts is rough, but owing a ghost a favor flat out sucks.

My name’s Peri Jean Mace, and I’ve seen ghosts ever since I can remember. Don’t get too excited. Seeing across the veil branded me as a loony during my growing up years, and I learned to keep my yap shut about it.

Now I’m not sure I can anymore.

See, my cousin up and got herself killed the very same day I promised her a favor.  Now she’s back in spirit form and determined to make me pay. If I don’t solve her murder, she’s going to haunt me forever. Talk about the debt collector from hell.

That’s not my only problem. An obnoxiously hot cop wants to arrest my best friend for the murder.  My bigmouthed archenemy holds a clue to the killer’s identity. And there’s this mean—and ugly—woman who wants to beat me up.

None of this can turn out good.

*****

Two weeks before junior year, Darcy hops a plane to Orlando for a little R&R with her best friend Dylan and his family. Fresh off the heels of solving three murders in Valley, you’d think she’d sit back and enjoy the vacation capital of the world…maybe if you’re a noun. Darcy Walker, however, is nothing but verb.

Before her feet hit the Orlando soil, she’s meddling in the disappearance of a five-year-old boy who vanished six months earlier.

With authorities still no closer to solving the case, Darcy is shanghaied by her impulsivity and runs headlong into that proverbial burning building, convinced she can bring him home.

She travels down a road that not only follows this missing child but branches off into the corrupt and sinister world of mob activity when she tampers in a case on which Dylan’s detective grandfather is working.

After a near disastrous midnight meeting in a warehouse and a date with a mechanical bull, Darcy realizes she might’ve bitten off more than she can chew. Add the boiling flirtationship with her best friend and the appearance of his romantic rival, and she is in over her head.

Will she survive a life of flirting with death too easily? Or will her flirtationship with Dylan become the actual death of her instead?

For a girl with a habit of finding dead bodies, No Brainer gives Darcy Walker more of the same…surprising twists and turns…and running for her life.

*****

Getting pregnant as a teenager and being coerced into giving her baby up for adoption left a festering scar on Jaymee Ballard’s life. Trapped by poverty and without many allies, Jaymee nearly gives up hope of getting her daughter back after her best friend is murdered. Now, four years later, a wealthy woman with legal connections hires her as a housekeeper, and Jaymee gathers the courage to seek her help. But Jaymee’s last chance ends up in a puddle of blood in one of the historic antebellum mansions in Roselea, Mississippi.

I just murdered your wife…again.

An unsigned letter consisting of six horrifying words turns Nick Samuels stagnant life upside down. Stuck in emotional purgatory since his wife’s unsolved murder four years ago, Nick is about to self-destruct. The arrival of the letter claiming credit for his wife’s murder and boasting of a new kill sends Nick to Roselea, where his and Jaymee’s worlds collide.

Jaymee and Nick realize exposing the truth about her daughter’s adoption is the only way to solve the murders. Up against years of deception, they rush to identify the killer before the evidence–and Jaymee’s daughter–are lost.

But the truth doesn’t always set the guilt-ridden free. Sometimes, it destroys them.

*****

When her kingdom’s former enemy suspects their princess is a budding dreamwalker, Lexa is drafted out of retirement and sent to Teltania to train the twelve-year-old girl. But hidden agendas complicate her mission, and Lexa doesn’t know whom to trust. Meanwhile, her own dreamwalking powers are waning when she needs them most. Can Lexa decipher the mysteries at every turn, or will the dreamscape claim yet another dreamwalker?

*****

Paris Love Match a Novel by Nigel Blackwell

Getting a taxi in Paris can be hell.

Piers Chapman expected a boring business trip to Paris.
What he didn’t expect was to fight over a cab with a beautiful girl.

After a bad meeting, Sidney Roux just wanted to hail a cab, go home, and have a glass of wine.
She didn’t expect to fight over a cab with some pompous British tourist.

Neither of them expected another man to jump in their cab.
Or to be involved in a gun fight.
Or a car chase through the streets of Paris.
Or for the man to die.
But they’re thrust together when the mob demands they return what the dead man stole.

Will Piers and Sidney work together?
Will they find what he had stolen?
Will they stay alive?
And will they do the last thing they expected?
Will they fall in love?

*****

Gold. Massacres. Soldiers. Indians. Can Charlotte survive life on the trail or will the wildness of the west tear her family apart?

With Sanderson’s job as an Indian Agent beckoning from California, Charlotte must leave behind her life in Arkansas to follow the man she loves, and whose child she is carrying, in search of a place they can call home.

From Quanah Parker to Wyatt Earp, Charlotte and Sanderson rub shoulders with some of the American West’s most notable characters as they stumble into Government conspiracies, endure a hard pregnancy, and survive nature’s fury — all while struggling to remember what truly makes a home is love.

*****

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 and keeps everyone guessing until the very end!

FootballSweetheart_Digital

Here are some of the most recent reviews…

five stars

“This was a great YA book. There was mystery, murder, chaos and football. This book kept me in guessing mode throughout the whole book down to the very end. I definitely recommend this to everyone. I can’t wait for the second book.” ~Jlaselle

five stars

“I must admit, I am not much of a reader. However, when I heard about Football Sweetheart, I had to check it out. As soon as I began reading, my phone was glued to my hand during any free time. The story grabbed my attention from the start and I looked forward to having a break so I could get back to it. It was entertaining and very easy to read. It brought back a lot of high school memories for me and I thoroughly enjoyed every bit. I can’t wait for the next book to come out.” ~MJ22

four stars

“Such a great book! I can’t wait for more from this series. Just when I thought I had part of it figured out something would happen and I’d be back to square one.” ~Baferg

four stars

“Tiffany White’s novel is snapshot of the religion of West Texas football. She blends her unique perspective as a football trainer with murder, mystery, and suspense. Laced with female teen culture, this novel will appeal to those who enjoyed the Nancy Drew mysteries.” ~S. Mullins

Football Sweetheart Cares – Doing What We Can for Those in Boston and West

The events this week have reminded me of what really matters.  My heart is with all, from Boston, Massachusetts, all the way to West, Texas just outside DFW.

Regardless of what or who caused these events, the tragedy still occurred and there are hundreds, if not thousands of people displaced and in need of something.

I want to do my part to help.  So this weekend, starting today (Thursday, April 18th) through Monday (Monday, April 22nd), I’ve decided to donate all of the Football Sweetheart proceeds to the American Red Cross and to the Salvation Army.

All proceeds from every Football Sweetheart e-book purchased, whether via Amazon or Barnes & Noble, will go to these two charities to help with the recovery process in both Boston and West.

Please keep all those affected in your thoughts and let’s hope the devastation ends here.

American Red CrossSalvation Army

Author Sara Barnard on Historical Romance, Oklahoma Plants, Chunky Sugars, and the Real “Friday Night Lights”

Like most of the other writers I adore today, I first met Sara Barnard on social media.  Anytime someone mentions Football Sweetheart on Twitter, I like to take the time to personally thank them… well, as personal as we can all get with a tweet to a stranger.  And sometimes the 140-character lines strike up a conversation that later lead to a new friendship, just like this particular instance with Sara.

Author Sara Barnard

When I thanked Sara for the tweet, her response grabbed my attention—being from the real Friday Night Lights school, she felt she just had to share the news about my book to her Twitterverse friends and family.  The following conversation went something like this:

Tiffany: You went to Odessa Permian?  I graduated from Midland Lee!
Sara: When did you graduate?
Tiffany: Mid ‘90s.  You?
Sara: Late ‘90s.
Tiffany: My mom graduated from Permian… she was a Pepette back in the day.
Sara: I was a member of the PHS pep squad!
Tiffany: And you write?
Sara: I do!
And so on, and so on.

We were instant friends… which makes sense, considering we grew up only fifteen miles apart from one another (give or take a few miles)!  And as my friend, I wanted to introduce Sara and her works to The Ooo Factor’s readers!

For a bit more on Sara, here is a brief bio:

Sara Barnard is a military wife and mother of four beautiful children. Though born and bred Texans, they have made their home all over the world and currently reside in the historic hills of Oklahoma. With each duty station, their family has grown a little more and they now co-exist with two Italian greyhound/border collie mixes, a Texan German shepherd, a beautiful belle of a cat from Colorado, a feisty Oklahoma Tomcat, and of course sweet Francis – the kitty who survived being flung from a speeding truck.

Sara holds her BA in History and is pursuing her MA in European History. Her historical romance series, An Everlasting Heart, is consistently five-star rated with books 3 and 4 releasing in June and December of this year. Her debut picture book, Chunky Sugars, released in January 2013 and her nonfiction regional children’s book, The ABC’s of Oklahoma Plants, has hit bestseller lists in both the print and digital versions. Sara is a member of the Western Writers of America.

Before we jump into the interview, check out Sara’s blurbs for her historical romance series, An Everlasting Heart.

Enjoy!

A Heart on HoldA Heart on Hold (An Everlasting Heart, #1):

How much grief can a heart bear before being tested to the ultimate limit? The war is over, Sanderson is home, and life is good … until the Army comes knocking. They have charged Sanderson with murder and sentenced him to “hang by the neck until dead” – unless he can track down the notorious outlaw William Quantrill with the help of SGT Jerry Thomas, who still may be in love with Charlotte. With Sanderson gone, Charlotte is left to endure a complicated pregnancy and a rash of hydrophobia that threatens Cotton, Achilles, and the entire countryside – her Sanderson included.

A Heart BrokenA Heart Broken (An Everlasting Heart, #2):

War. Devotion. Deceit. Death. How long can a heart hold on before it breaks? Most women would carry on with their lives after being thrust into widowhood, but not Charlotte Adamsland. Upon learning that her husband, Captain Sanderson Redding, was killed in a botched escape from a Confederate prison in Illinois, she clings to his promise to return to her no matter what, and quickly heads north through a war-ravaged country with only her faith in God and her beloved horse to bring her beloved Sanderson home – one way or another.

Heart at HomeA Heart at Home (An Everlasting Heart, #3):

Gold. Massacres. Soldiers. Indians. Can Charlotte survive life on the trail or will the wildness of the west tear her family apart?
With Sanderson’s job as an Indian Agent beckoning from California, Charlotte must leave behind her life in Arkansas to follow the man she loves, and whose child she is carrying, in search of a place they can call home.
From Quanah Parker to Wyatt Earp, Charlotte and Sanderson rub shoulders with some of the American West’s most notable characters as they stumble into Government conspiracies, endure a hard pregnancy, and survive nature’s fury — all while struggling to remember what truly makes a home is love.

*****

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 dreamt of writing, but never imagined a bestseller. For me, writing is has always been about getting the stories out of me and on paper … creating something that wasn’t there before and that nobody else could create … more than making a list. However, I can’t describe how happy I was when I learned that my very first book, The ABC’s of Oklahoma Plants, made bestseller lists in both kindle and print! I must admit, it does leave you a little hungry for more!

Where do you find the inspiration for your stories and what made you decide to write historical romance?

All of my inspiration comes from life … whether it be my life or someone else’s. For example, in my debut novel, A Heart on Hold, Charlotte is based on me. She has my insecurities, my trademark traits, faults, shortcomings, and even my habits. Sanderson is based on the real-life Confederate Captain E.A. Adams, who was chronicled only a short while before the history books fell silent, and of course he is based on my husband, as well.

I didn’t so much decide to write historical romance as they just sort of happened when I sat down at the computer one day. My husband was deployed and it was rough on both of us, so I took what we were each going through and tossed it back in the 19th century, one of my favorite time periods, and A Heart on Hold was born. My heat level is consistently sweet, not only because I like to keep a Christian thread running through my stories, but because I have a young daughter who reads everything she can get her hands on and I don’t want to write anything that would scar her for life should she read something of mine!

Who are a few of your favorite authors?

Larry McMurtry because he is simply a legend … Lucia St. Clair Robson because her writing is so powerful that I can still recall scenes from Ride the Wind as vividly from memory as I did when I read them 15 years ago … Ann Swann because not only is she my mother, but her writing has influenced me since I was a child, and Phillipa Gregory, whom I just recently started reading. My fellow 5 Prince Publishing authors are all awesome and write everything from paranormal to mystery to spicy contemporary romance.

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

Thank you!! I wish I could take the credit! Viola Estrella is the cover artist for 5 Prince Publishing and she is amazing at what she does! She takes our ideas, the mood and setting of our books, and meshes it all together and the result is always a cover more amazing than you imagined in the first place. I can hardly wait to see how the cover for book 4, A Heart Forever Wild, will look!

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

You know, I didn’t really imagine anyone in particular when creating Charlotte—at least not anyone popular in Hollywood today. Perhaps Sophie Marceau would be the closest I could come to pinning Charlotte to a Hollywood starlet J

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

Well, just writing about Sophie Marceau made me think of Braveheart, so I suppose my mind wandered to the illustrious Mel Gibson!

Besides writing historical romance, you also published a book about plants in Oklahoma.  Do you consider yourself to have a green thumb, and if so, what plants would we find on your back porch?

Well, we recently started a garden consisting of tomatoes, cucumbers, cantaloupe, watermelon, strawberries, and the like. I don’t really have a green thumb though, as I have managed to kill anything I’ve ever planted before. Sigh. In writing The ABC’s of Oklahoma Plants I hoped to get Oklahoma kids outside and discovering their own environments and the value of plants –that they’re not just boring green things that grow in their peripheral vision. I plan to do a book for each of the states and the Texas version is coming soon … hopefully this May!

 What other hobbies do you enjoy?

I love to read and write and enjoy the outdoors with my precious children. Movies are fun, especially ones that are like my books – based in fact and true historical truths. I love to help my babies with their homework and daydream with my husband about our future. Hiking is a favorite pastime of ours, as well as traveling and seeing new things and experiencing new, well, experiences! I recently was accepted into an MA program for European history, so it is no secret that I love to learn and love love love history. I also like the thought of painting, but am really not very good at it. My daughter is, though.

You have also published a children’s book.  As a mother of four, did any particular experience inspire the story of Chunky Sugars?  And do you have any future children’s books planned?   

Chunky Sugars is a true story. I won’t give any spoilers, but it was a lesson I certainly learned the hard way! I wrote this particular book for my fourth and chunkiest baby, Lil’ Bit. He still loves this story, as do all of my sweet babies! I have written a book for each of them, all are in consideration with 5 Prince Kids right now and I am so excited!

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

I like The Americans and I loved Tudors, but neither of those are really suitable for family viewing. Little House on the Prairie, Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman, Touched by an Angel, and Highway to Heaven are some of my all-time favorites. Oh, and Pocoyo.

Let’s switch to the big screen… what is your favorite movie all-time?

Braveheart. And Lonesome Dove.

What snacks do you order when at a movie theater? 

Milk duds, popcorn, and water!

Lastly, you, like me, have experienced the real “Friday Night Lights” in West Texas.  Having graduated from Odessa Permian, what’s your favorite high school football memory? 

And keep in mind I’m a Midland Lee Rebel… so be nice. 

Hehe! My years spent on the pep squad and on the dance team are by far my favorite football-related memories. Painting yard signs, painting run-throughs, Friday morning pep rallies, running with the “Seventh Flag Over Texas” down the football field before the games … the chilly Friday nights in the stands cheering for the Mojo football team – it sure brings back a flood of memories. I have also been accepted into a teacher certification program in the Permian Basin, and my hope is to teach history at Permian when the fam and I get around to moving back down south to Football Land!

*****

Isn’t Sara adorable?

Need more Sara?  Catch up with her at her website, or follow her via her Twitter and Facebook accounts.

Do you have a question for Sara?  Have you read any of her books?  Or how about this… do you have any “Friday Night Light” stories you’d like to share with these two West Texas high school football girls?  We’d love to hear from you! 

Author K.B. Owen on Historical Fiction, Mysteries, Gardening, and the Game of Survivor

Like most of the other writers I adore today, I first met Kathy “K.B.” Owen on social media back in 2011.  We hit it off… talking about writing and pop culture, particularly Survivor.

Historical Fiction Author, Kathy "K.B." Owen
Historical Fiction Author, Kathy “K.B.” Owen

But Kathy and I share something greater than our minor obsession for the popular “Outwit, Outlast, Outplay” reality television program—we both LOVE mysteries.  I keep an eye on Kathy’s blog because I know I can count on her publishing some fabOoolous posts, featuring some of the literary and television sleuths I grew up reading and watching… like Nancy Drew, the Hardy Boys, Perry Mason, Columbo, and even Scooby Dooby Doo.  She has also introduced me to a few 19th century historical facts, from clothing, to holiday celebrations, to true crime.  I’ve never been one who’s big on the past, but the stories Kathy shares are fascinating!

However, Survivor, mysteries, and 19th century facts aside, Kathy is also a wife and mother, who squeezes in gardening where she can between writing and taking care of her beautiful family.  She’s one of the most genuine and supportive people I have met and I’m lucky to call her a friend.

For those who are unfamiliar with Kathy, here is a brief bio:

K.B. Owen taught college English for nearly two decades at universities in Connecticut and Washington, DC, and holds a doctorate in 19th century British literature.  A mystery lover ever since she can remember, she drew upon her teaching experiences in creating her amateur sleuth, Professor Concordia Wells.  Unlike the fictional Miss Wells, K.B. did not have to conduct lectures in a bustle and full skirts.  Thankfully.  No doubt, many folks are grateful for that little fact.

Before we jump into the interview, check out Kathy’s blurb for her debut historical mystery, Dangerous and Unseemly: A Concordia Wells Mystery

Enjoy!

Dangerous and Unseemly: A Concordia Wells Mystery –

An unseemly lesson…in murder.

cover art by Niki Smith

The year is 1896, and Professor Concordia Wells has her hands full:  teaching classes, acting as live-in chaperone to a cottage of lively female students, and directing the student play,  Macbeth.

But mystery and murder are not confined to the stage.  Malicious pranks, arson, money troubles, and the apparent suicide of a college official create turmoil at the women’s college.  For Concordia, it becomes personal when a family member dies of a mysterious illness, and her best friend is attacked and left for dead.

With her friend still in danger and her beloved school facing certain ruin, Concordia knows that she must act.  But uncovering secrets is a dangerous business, and there are some who do not appreciate the unseemly inquiries and bold actions of the young lady professor.  Can she discover the ones responsible…before she becomes the next target?

*****

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 wanted to be Nancy Drew, LOL.  But I also enjoyed writing short stories as a kid; I just didn’t think of it as a career.  I remember one story I co-wrote with some school friends that involved a gladiator who had his arm severed, and the hand came back to life and took revenge…but that’s another post!

What little girl didn’t want to be Nancy Drew?

Where do you find the inspiration for your stories and what made you decide to write historical mysteries?

My doctoral area of study was the nineteenth century, so I knew I wanted to go with that time period for my mystery.  I was inspired to set it in a women’s college when my mother-in-law passed away; I stumbled upon old letters and yearbooks from her time at an all-female community college back in the 1950s.  My own years in college teaching provided plenty of inspiration, too – lots of quirky characters in that environment, I can tell you.

Who are a few of your favorite authors?

Just a few?  That will be tough, LOL.  Some of my fave mystery writers are Sue Grafton, Anne Perry, Agatha Christie, Dorothy Sayers, Margaret Frazer, and Conan Doyle; outside of the mystery category, I like Jane Austen, Dorothy Gilman and Kazuo Ishiguro (among others).

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

Thanks!  I hired a very talented artist – Niki Smith, who does mostly graphic novel art.  I wanted the cover to be in the art style popular in the 1890s, called “Art Nouveau.”  I sent her some samples and explained what impression I wanted to convey by the cover, and she took it from there!

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

I didn’t have a visual image of any particular Hollywood celebrity when creating Concordia, but I’ve realized since then that she’s sort of a cross between a grown-up Nancy Drew and Harriet Vane (from Dorothy Sayers’ Gaudy Night).

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

Ha!  You got me.  Sean Connery.  I don’t care how old he gets, I still have a crush.  I could listen to his accent all day long.  Well, he’s easy on the eyes, too. 😉

Bond. James Bond. AKA Sir Sean Connery. I, too, could listen to his accent all day long…

Besides writing, you seem to love gardening.  Do you consider yourself to have a green thumb, and if so, what plants would we find on your back porch?

I have a somewhat-green thumb – sometimes plants won’t cooperate, or get diseases, or bugs from hell will descend upon your carefully-nurtured beloveds and feast upon them.  Stink bugs, spider mites, powdery mildew…the list is endless.  But I try to be prepared.  *wink*  In the summer you’ll find tomatoes, peppers, beans, raspberries, impatiens, and morning glories in the backyard.  All container plantings, because it’s mostly deck back there.

 What other hobbies do you enjoy?

I love to read, backyard bird-watch, knit and crochet, and bake yummy things.  I have a real weakness for cookies.

Photo provide by K.B. Owen
Photo provide by K.B. Owen

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

Good thing you asked that, Tiffany – I was getting worried there for a minute, LOL.  No pod in the basement…phew!

There are so many good shows out there, but I don’t have time to watch that many.  I do make time to see Survivor, Big Bang Theory, and Downton Abbey regularly – although we’re done with Downton for a while! *sniff*  Sometimes I’ll catch Sherlock, Person of Interest, and Elementary, which are terrific, too!

Let’s switch to the big screen… what is your favorite movie all-time?

Casablanca.  And there are so many quotable lines from that, don’t you think?

“Here’s looking at you, kid.”

What snacks do you order when at a movie theater? 

I’m a big fan of popcorn – WITH salt and butter!  I might as well go all in.  But I don’t go often, so my waistline has been (somewhat) spared!

Lastly, you, like me, love the game of Survivor.  So let’s get down to it… 

Who’s your favorite Survivor all-time and why? 

Wow, you don’t hold back on the tough questions, do you, Tiffany?  While I admire Ozzie and Boston Rob, Rupert has always been my favorite: big, loud, unpretentious, and a heart of gold.

Have you ever applied to be a contestant, and if not, would you tomorrow if the producers came to a town near you? 

No, and no!  I’m definitely a spectator when it comes to that show.  I’d be the wimpy girl that everyone voted out first.  Have you seen all the RATS that crawl around their camp at night?  *shudder*

Can you start fire using only the elements and supplies one would find on a deserted island? 

Sure – if the deserted island had a Bic lighter and a Duraflame log.  No problem!  😉

KBOwen Porch
Photo provided by K.B. Owen

I don’t know, Kathy… if your porch is as beautiful as the pictures you provided, I bet you could start fire using only flint!

What would your one luxury item be? 

Chocolate!  (I would have said my Nook, but it would run out of power fairly quickly).

AND, who are you rooting for this season?  Malcolm, right?  

You bet!  There are a few others on the Favorites tribe whom I wouldn’t mind winning if Malcolm was eliminated (gasp), but fingers crossed!

Team Malcolm!!

*****

Isn’t Kathy great?

Need more Kathy?  Catch up with her at her website, or follow her via her Twitter and Facebook accounts.

Do you have a question for Kathy?  Have you read Dangerous and Unseemly yet?  Or do you enjoy Survivor with us?  We’d love to hear from you! 

To help celebrate Kathy’s debut novel, The Ooo Factor has decided to participate in her book tour and the Whodunnit giveaway!

So, how about a little mystery fun… with a prize!

Each stop in K.B. Owen’s book launch tour has a mystery question/s (below).  The alphabet letter next to the correct answer is what you want.  By the end of the tour you’ll have enough letters to unscramble the answers to which ROOM, WEAPON, and SUSPECT.  

Question #1 –

Sherlock Holmes is partly modeled after a person in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s life.  His name was:

O) Han Solo
P) Dr. Joseph Bell
Q) Dr. Joseph Whittingham
R) Oliver Wendell Holmes

Question #2 –

Jessica Fletcher, a mystery writer/amateur detective on the long-running Murder, She Wrote, lived in which town (whose per capita murder rate would have been the despair of local real estate agents)?

J) Ann Arbor, MI
K) Intercourse, PA
L) Cabot Cove, ME
M) Martha’s Vineyard, MA

But it’s just for fun, so even if you just want to answer one quiz question, email Kathy with the answer at kbowenwriter (at) gmail (dot) com.  She’d love to hear from you!

She’ll draw a winner from all the entries and announce it at Karen McFarland’s blog, the last stop of the tour.

What could you win?  A free ebook copy of Dangerous and Unseemly, and a $25 gift card of your choice to either Starbucks, Amazon, or Barnes and Noble!

Find the full details (with the story of the untimely demise of Sir Reginald “Good Riddance” Crenshaw) here.

Good luck!

Email Deadline: Monday, April 1st

And if you can’t wait to win a copy of Dangerous and Unseemly, the first book of the Concordia Wells mystery series, grab a copy today!  Available in KindleNookKoboSmashwords, iTunes, and Scribd formats, as well as in paperback.

Unseemly Pursuits, the second book in the series, will be released later in 2013, and Kathy’s hard at work plotting Concordia’s next adventure.

Author Jen Kirchner on Science Fiction, Necromancy, and Her Talking Knives

Like most of the other writers I adore today, I first met Jen Kirchner on social media in 2011.  We hit it off… talking about writing, pop culture, and sharing general life experiences with each other.

Fantasy Author and Humorist, Jen Kirchner

Besides the fact that we have both worked as Executive Assistants and were both looking to venture into the world of indie publishing in 2012 for the first time, we really didn’t have that much in common.  Take her love of science fiction and gaming for instance.  These two worlds might as well be written in a language lost centuries ago as far as I’m concerned; but she’s teaching me and making me look smarter to my guy, since he too is an avid sci-fi lover and gamer.

But our differences have never mattered.  Jen’s one of the funniest people I know, and this humor carries over into her writing.  But most importantly, her heart is about as warm and inviting as a winter fire burning and candlelight.  She’s not a casual acquaintance, but a dear friend who helps me when I most need it.  We’ve grown so close over the last year and a half that it seems almost impossible that we’ve never met in person.

I cannot express how much Jen means to me.  There have been days where I have wanted to bang my head against the wall, throw my laptop out the window, and quit writing altogether.  In these moments, Jen jumps in and talks me down off the ledge, sharing her words of wisdom and a virtual hug.  One day, we will meet face to face.  And, when we do, I will hug her like there’s no tomorrow.  Heck, I hope she’s a hugger…

For those who are unfamiliar with Jen, here is a brief bio:

Jen Kirchner is an Executive Assistant by day and a writer by night. Jen just published her first novel, The Fourth Channel, about the world’s worst necromancer and a set of deranged, talking knives.

Before we jump into the interview, check out Jen’s blurb for her debut fantasy novel, The Fourth Channel.

Enjoy!

The Fourth Channel:

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 she’s a certifiable coffee addict. The Fourth Channel by Jen KirchnerBut Kari has a secret she keeps from her family, friends, and 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 by the prospect of violence, she puts them in time-out… in her lingerie drawer.

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

*****

She had me at sacrificial knives… oh, and they talk!

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

I really didn’t! My childhood revolved around music. I was classically trained as a vocalist, participated in competitions and competitive choirs, performed more times than I can count, and I played piano. On the weekends, I was involved in the worship ministry in church. I always thought—or perhaps, hoped—that my path would be music. But I guess it wasn’t meant to be. As it turns out, I’m not big on the spotlight anyway. I’m much better hiding behind my computer!

Where do you find the inspiration for your stories?

I look for inspiration everywhere—I even find it in things I hate. That’s actually how I came up with a lot of ideas for The Fourth Channel: I was thinking about a lot of elements in modern fantasy that bothered me, and I wanted to do my own spin on them. If I were to tell you all of them, you’d be mighty surprised. Actually, I’d better not point them out because then people would take back their claims of how original my story is. Hah!

Who are a few of your favorite authors?

I don’t really have favorite authors. Most authors aren’t like rock stars, living some hyped-up, glamorous life—like Nathan Fillion in Castle. Maybe that’s what appeals to me about being an author: it’s an unassuming profession. Most writers don’t worry about getting mobbed by fans when they walk down the street. Our characters are more famous than we are.  And I’m fine with that.

“Most authors aren’t like rock stars, living some hyped-up, glamorous life—like Nathan Fillion in Castle.”

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

Thank you so much! My cover was designed by Amber Shah at Book Beautiful. I really didn’t know what I wanted for a cover, and when she sent me the mock up for the current cover, I was blown away. She’s a very talented gal and amazing to work with. I can’t recommend her services enough.

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

I didn’t have a single person in mind, though I did borrow features from different people. Mostly, I wanted someone who looked a bit different from me because I didn’t want my friends accusing me of writing myself into a story! And in case you’re wondering, it didn’t work. My friends still ask me if I’m Kari. The answer is no!

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

I am thinking of a Dutch singer named Charlotte Wessels because her band, Delain, is playing on my speakers right now. Funny, because Charlotte’s very long hair (that she likes to headbang with) inspired Kari’s very long hair.

I wouldn’t be myself without asking about television – what’s your favorite television program?

Ooh, that’s a good one. I am a huge Red Dwarf fan. It’s a British sci-fi comedy about the last human being alive, a hologram of his dead boss, a humanoid creature who evolved from the ship’s cat, and a mechanoid. They recently released the latest episodes on DVD for the US. When the DVDs arrived, we had a big party at my house and watched them.

I had never even heard of Red Dwarf until I met Jen…

How about films… what is your favorite movie of all-time?

I’m going to have to say The Great Race with Jack Lemmon, Tony Curtis, Natalie Wood, and Peter Faulk. It’s an oldie but a goody. The dashing hero, The Great Leslie (who wears all-white and makes the girls go crazy) races his arch-nemesis Professor Fate (who wears all-black and has a hilariously dastardly mustache) in old-style automobiles from New York to Paris. No airplanes. No boats. But they get there in the end. I won’t spoil it by telling you how. The movie contains a very famous sword fight, as well as a famous large-scale pie fight. The Great Race embraces everything that I like to put in a story: action, danger, comedy, headstrong heroines, and a splash of romance. If you watch this movie, you will understand my writing aesthetic.

What snacks do you order when at a movie theater? 

Don’t look down on me when I say this but I’m too cheap to pay for theater snacks! Concession stand prices are unbelievable so my husband and I smuggle in whatever we can fit into my purse. Since we don’t usually keep candy in the house, we grab whatever we can find–Fig Newtons, trail mix, you name it. The funny part is, I don’t even know why we grab snacks since we never eat them anyway!

Lastly, you are what I like to call a science fiction enthusiast.  Who are a few of your favorite characters within this genre (books, TV, movies, games) and why? 

Great question! Every month on my website, I write a tongue-in-cheek feature called “Sci-Fi Pinups.” Each post highlights one male and one female from the sci-fi/fantasy universe. The funny thing about the pinups is that each month I have an even tougher time finding women to feature. Considering how I’ve only featured fourteen women, that probably sounds strange. But, finding strong female role models in this genre is a lot harder than it sounds. The majority of sci-fi/fantasy women are overly emotional, I.Q. deficient, and oversexed. Many tough women are portrayed as gun-toting men with breasts. It’s tough finding the Princess Leias, Colonel Wilma Deerings, and Wonder Womans of the bunch. I’d love to see better role models in this category, as would most geek women like me. I think that’s why I wrote the main character of The Fourth Channel, Kari Hunter, the way I did. She has her own quirks, strengths, and weaknesses, and doesn’t need to rely on big guns or sex. Not that there’s anything wrong with guns and sex, I just wanted to show that women can be strong and not have to pop a cap while falling out of their tight, low-cut sweaters to prove it.

Wonder Woman!! Yes, all little girls dream of being Wonder Woman. And yes, I have a Wonder Woman costume… who doesn’t?

*****

Isn’t Jen amazing AND adorable?

Need more Jen?  Catch up with her at her website, or follow her via her Twitter and Facebook accounts.

Do you have a question for Jen?  Have you read The Fourth Channel yet?  Who’s your favorite sci-fi character (male and female) and why?  We’d love to hear from you! 

Calling All YA Readers – The Darkening (Shrilugh Saga) by Myndi Shafer is Now Available!

The Ooo Factor is thrilled to participate in Myndi Shafer’s book launch party today!!

The Darkening is the second book of the Shrilugh Saga, and is available now for purchase at Amazon and Smashwords… and will be available via iTunes, Barnes & Noble and other platforms soon!

the darkening cover (83)

The Darkening (Book Two of the Shrilugh Saga)

As Aydan Fulbert settles into her new life in a new world, she realizes a few things. She’s healing from losing Brig. She’s coming to terms with her new home. And she’s lonely.

Rein Torvald’s return from his long absence helps alleviate her loneliness, but a darkness comes with him. Unsettling news about her father and the Sovereign has the potential to make her a fugitive all over again – from his world and hers.

Will Aydan allow her heart to be taken places she’s never been brave enough to go? Or will the threat of danger – of the Sovereign’s rage, and her father’s vengeful grudge, send her running?

*****

Author Myndi Shafer currently makes her home in Kansas with her husband and four children. Her bestselling book, Shrilugh, was released in August of 2012.

Congratulations on the new release, Myndi!  And I can’t wait to grab a copy!

Happy Valentine’s Day From Football Sweetheart!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

For all the sweethearts out there, I’ve decided to offer Football Sweetheart at a special Valentine price for a limited time only…  Starting today and running through the weekend, Football Sweetheart is on sale for ninety-nine cents!

That’s right!  You can buy Football Sweetheart for under a $1 all weekend long!

To purchase for the Kindle, click here.

To purchase for the Nook, click here.

Who doesn’t love buying a book for under $1?  Be sure to take advantage of the lower price while it lasts!

*****

High School Football can be MURDER

Aimee Freeman is looking forward to the start of her senior year. She knows her best friend Ella has been keeping secrets from her all summer long, but with football season right around the corner, the student trainer decides not to worry about it—they’ll have plenty of time to catch up on the field.

Then Ella goes missing, and Aimee realizes those secrets might be the key to finding her. As the case unfolds, Aimee discovers more than one person may have wanted to harm Ella. Was it Ella’s current boyfriend, a social outcast the entire city seems intent on blaming for her disappearance? Or her ex-boyfriend, the beloved star quarterback who has harassed Ella since their breakup? The list of potential suspects continues to grow after Aimee reads Ella’s journal, but she must first break her best friend’s secret code to reveal their identities.

Unbeknownst to Aimee, her investigation has not gone unnoticed. Ella’s abductor is watching and waiting. Will he decide Aimee needs to be silenced—making her the next target?

*****

And remember, Amazon makes it easy to give as a gift!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

%d bloggers like this: