Happy All Hallows’ Eve 2012

Tis the night—the night
Of the grave’s delight,
And the warlocks are at their play;
Ye think that without,
The wild winds shout,
But no, it is they—it is they!

Arthur Cleveland Coxe

Happy Halloween!

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WANTED ~ Holiday Question Takers

As the holiday season approaches, I thought I would do something kind of fun.

I have already sent out a request to authors, friends and I have posted on a few groups and I am now posting here looking for people who are willing to answer 12 holiday related questions. If you are interested, please comment just saying that you’re interested please leave a comment under this post and I will get back to you as soon as possible.

The email address that you use for registering your comment is the email address I will send the 12 questions too. You need to answer all 12 questions that are in the questionnaire just to keep things consistent. I do need to receive all questionnaires back by November 22. Dates are being assigned at random. I will let you know When your post will be up so you can share it with others. This is a great way for followers, and authors to get to know one another on my blog, and to just have a little bit of fun during holiday season.

The questions are lighthearted and so far those I have gotten back, have enjoyed doing them.

As an added bonus, I will be answering the same questions as well as my two boys ages 12 and 3. I hope you will join in the fun.

Posts will begin on December 1st and go through the 24th.

Book Review ~ “Underworld Lover” by Sharon Hamilton

Title ~ Underworld Lover

Author ~ Sharon Hamilton

Series~ Guardian Angel

Book # ~2

Format ~ebook via Kindle

Rating ~5 Stars

Short Recap ~Joshua Brandon, a legendary and powerful rogue dark angel, meets a human woman whose soul he cannot take, and finds something he has not experienced before; love. At the same time, a new director comes to power in the Underworld, who asks for a test of Josh’s loyalty by delivering this very woman to him.

Melanie Worthington is back among the living, after reeling from the suicide of a close friend. She has no idea she is to become the pawn between two powerful dark angels, one who would command her as his personal concubine, and the other who would set her free.

Will their love survive the battle between the two dark angels, or will Joshua risk his own immortal life to protect the woman he loves?

(recap courtesy of goodreads.com )

Sometimes you find a novel and other times, a novel finds you. ‘Underworld Lover’ is one of those novels that found me. This is an epic story of good verses evil with a modern twist, and a love story that is unlike any other I have ever read. I was immediately drawn in by Sharon’s description of the underworld and the ‘real’ world. I fell in love with Josh from the beginning. Josh was one of those characters that were conflicted throughout the whole novel. He wanted to do what he thought was ‘right’ and yet do what he knew how to do; he was almost an anti-hero in some ways.

As Josh and Melanie take on the new director of the Underworld, Peter, they also have to contend with her former friend, Felix. Felix is a character that kept me looking for him throughout the novel and curious as to his redeeming qualities.

‘Underworld Lover’ made me laugh out loud, it brought tears to my eyes, it gave me hope and in the end, was a steamy love story with all the intricacies that I love in a great novel; the twists and turns were expertly woven throughout and did not detract from the novel moving forward.

After reading this novel, it makes me want to get the first novel and keep reading the series. Sharon’s characters and story kept me reading late and her faith which showed through in subtle ways kept me wanting to get to know her characters and her more.

Internet difficulties….

Having internet problems, we had to get rid of our ISP due to their unprofessionalism (I got yelled at & hung up on) and constant connection issues. Since I live out in a rural area, getting someone new out here is difficult. Posts are coming, just please be patient. I am posting what I can from my phone, it just takes longer and I cannot do everything with it that I can do from my laptop.

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****Authors, please email me directly regarding our posts, giveaways, etc.****

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Thank you

Author Interview ~ Sharon Hamilton

Today’s author interview is one that might never have happened if I had not shared with my friends and family on Facebook and on here asking for prayer request for my grandmother when she had cancer surgery back in August. Sharon sent me a message here on my blog telling me she was keeping my grandmother in her prayers and thoughts, after that Sharon and I began to talk via email and I found a wonderful writer who has an incredibly large heart.

Sharon has granted me this interview which I very much appreciate I am still in the process of reading her book “underworld lover”, I was hoping to be finished with the novel by today’s interview, yet, things don’t always work out as you hope. I will be posting my book review of the novel in the near future. Please enjoy today’s interview with Sharon.

Please tell me about your novel, “Underworld Lover”. What or who inspired you to write it?

Underworld Lover is the second of my Guardians book, the first being Heavenly Lover. In UL, the villain in the first book becomes the hero in the second. He is a fun-loving powerful dark angel, Josh. In the first book, he was intent on claiming the hero’s soul, as is his job. But in the second book, he finds he can no longer do it. Can no longer take the soul of a human woman he has formed a strange attraction to, and something he never experienced before: Love.

It is a common theme to my writing: to explore where a powerful hero, who seems that he has it all together, is felled by a female he falls in love with. She gets him on his blind side.

I also like to show the healing power of true love, in spite of the character’s mistaken ways in the past. The solutions to all the problems in life are solved by falling for our one true love.

That’s the world I like to create.

Who are some of your favorite authors and books? Did they influence or inspire your writing style and give you ideas?

I first was influenced by Anne Rice’s early works. But, in my opinion, she missed the mark for me because, although her characters were full and brooding and we cared about them, I didn’t like that they couldn’t have screaming hot sex. And I knew she could write it. Later, writers haven’t created that problem. I enjoy reading Kressley Cole, Tina Folsom, Nailini Singh. The worlds they build are entirely believable, and they all have some humor to their characters, especially the dialog.

I met Nailini Singh last year at the RWA Convention, and told her she was responsible for me starting with paranormal romance writing. It was a true statement.

What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What was the biggest compliment? Did those change how or what you did in your next novel?

At first, it is tough to get those early critiques. You love your work and might have stayed up all night to write it. You don’t see the flaws. Those first few “shoot downs” are painful, but they have to be experienced, and you go on, otherwise you won’t grow to be a good author.

Now I know that being a good writer is working hard at it every day. Talent is overrated. I didn’t want to listen when people told me my first book wouldn’t take off. I’d heard of others that did, and I just knew mine would too. And then you have to deal with the reality of things, and that’s when I really started being a good writer. I studied how to do it, took classes, until I began to write with purpose.

The biggest compliment I got was an off-handed remark someone made at a reading, “I just can’t get that scene of the little Volkswagen falling off the Golden Gate Bridge and all the angels in a panic, flying into themselves, out of my mind.” I want to write memorable things that make it difficult for readers to have a normal life. I want to make them stay up and read all night long. Those are the reviews I love the best.

This or That – Chocolate or Vanilla?? Coffee or Tea?? TV or Movies??

Chocolate, but I’m not allowed anymore. Coffee, definitely. Movies. My record is seeing Last of the Mohicans 22 times in the theater. Nothing like that full on experience larger than life. All for that.

When you sit down to write, are you at a computer or do you do it, the ‘old fashioned’ way with pen and paper? Do you prefer one way or another?

I am a tactile person, so I used to enjoy writing in journals (and still do write letters long hand), but I have to write with a computer. In a past life, I did years of medical dictation, so I type about 100 WPM. I have to do it that fast or I lose the train of thought. Hand writing is too slow for me now.

What do you do in your down time? Do you pick up something from your ‘to be read’ stack?

I try to read 2 books a week. I have tons of projects from knitting afghans to needlepoint, but my favorite muse-inducing thing is organic gardening. I love my flowers and fresh vegetables. And the stories just come like crazy when I do it.

If your protagonist was a real person, what would they think about you? Would they want to hang out with you?

Yes, I think Melanie would hang out with me. She owns a flower shop, after all. She likes to decorate it for the seasons, which is so me. We’d go on some killer buying trips at the Merchandise Mart together.

What do you look for in a book when you sit down to read for fun?

I like books with strong characters, with strong internal and external conflicts. I like seeing strong people put in compromising situations. And I like some humor. I hate long chapters, too.

When you go to Starbucks or Jamba Juice, what do you order? Do they know you by name or drink?

We have a ton of Starbuck’s and Peets Coffee places here, and I change my order depending on the seasons. Lately, just decaf or half caf coffee. I know, boring!

But the Baristas at the Starbucks near my house know me and all have my book. They know that much of this book was written there in their shop.

What has been your favorite part of being an author? What has been your least favorite?

I love living in the worlds I create. I get to explore doing things I would never do in real life, with (ahem) guys I wouldn’t be able to do it with….I mean, I’m a happily married woman, responsible mother and grandmother. My fantasy life is very special to me.

My lease favorite thing is the jealousy that sometimes comes out. Other authors can be mean. Luckily, I rarely run into that. But when I find someone who poisons me, even if it’s in a small way, I avoid them, literally cut them from my life.

When you walk into a book store, where do you head first?

I go to the romance section, no question. Then I look at the blank books and stationery, bookmarks.

Did you get to quit your ‘day job’ and become an author, or do you have a ‘day job’ and writing is something you do for fun?

This is going to be a strange answer. Our house burned down in 2008. Before that, I had a very successful Real Estate business. We were doing well, even with the downturn happening. But after the fire, I moved into an 800 sf apartment, and everything in my life changed. I’d always liked writing. I asked my husband (who worked with me), if I could take some months off to try my hand at writing, and he said yes.

Now, 3 years later, I am finally able to pay our mortgage from my writing sales. I’ve still dabbled and helped out in the RE business, more from a support role when he gets overwhelmed. But even he understands that, though I don’t make what I used to make in sales, I am 100% happier, and that makes him happy. And it spurs me on to think that I could become so successful that he could quit too. That’s my goal now.

What has been the strangest thing a reader has asked you?

Someone once asked me a write a character in my book because they wanted to put a spell on them. I did say no.

What is your favorite junk food vice?

It was chocolate. But now I’m working to stay away from all flour and sugar, and soon to be all caffeine. I think better when I’m clean. I also don’t drink, but I used to love to sip on Strawberry Margaritas and write until the bar closed. Not any longer.

Is there any movie you have seen that was based on a novel, which you think lived up to the novel?? What made it live up to the novel?

Honestly, no. I once watched an old version of Anna Karenina, and that was pretty close.

If you could step into the shoes of your protagonist for one day, would you? What would you like to experience or see during that day?

Oh yes! It would be fun to spend an entire day with Joshua. I’d let him glamour me while making love. A natural high, right? I wouldn’t mind a bit if he used his special powers on me!

Did you have any teacher(s) in high school or college that encouraged you to write? Did you take their advice?

My English teacher in high school thought I had talent. But I didn’t like my voice, or anything I had to say. I was a newspaper editor for my school paper, but that was all about production. Got me to write fast, on a timeline, though. Not quality writing, but writing fast and on deadline.

In RE, my manager used to ask me not to write memos to the secretaries, because I made them cry (not in a good way). Now I get to do it and get paid for it.

What type of ice cream could I find you eating on a hot summer day?

If I had ice cream now, it would be dark chocolate fudge or Cherry Garcia. I love Lime Sherbert too.

If we snuck a peek in your purse right now, what would we find?

Cell phone, credit cards, hand cream and some receipts. I carry the smallest purse you’ve seen on a strap. Really is a cell phone case. Now, my briefcase? Well, that’s another story altogether!

We all have our little ‘things’ when it comes to reading or writing; is their anything that bugs you when you read a novel?

I am not good with chicklit. I don’t mind humor in dialog, but I am not a Sex In The City gal. The sleeping around thing bothers me, to be honest. I don’t think it’s funny.

Now, when the hero and heroine meet and “fall” for each other, well, yes, then sex is a requirement, all measured and in good time and all. But the multiple sleeping around, the slutty things, they don’t do ANYTHING for me. I want the men and women in my books to stand for something, even if they aren’t sure what it is. Have a moral code of some kind. And I like to use that in the plot.

Who was your first novel dedicated to? Was there a particular reason for that person?

I am eternally grateful to my good friend, Tina Folsom, who has blazed the trail in ways I probably will never be able to duplicate. She has been selfless, steadfast and loyal. So willing to share with me. I try to give back by promoting her on FB and Twitter, and any other chance I can. She’s worked hard for her success, and I think gets how hard I’m working too.

This or That – Christmas or Your Birthday?? Chocolate or Flowers?? Cell Phone or No Phone?? Quality or Quantity??

Christmas. Love to decorate the house. I’ve been known to overdo it. And to leave the decorations up until Easter. I can take or leave a cell phone. I like the calculator feature, the weather, time, texting, and using it as an iPod for music. Now I love flowers, but once it was chocolate (soft centers, Sees). I think I’ve always been a quality person, but in money, quantity is always good.

What do your friends and family think of your writing? Have they been supportive?

My kids will not read my work. Ew factor for them. I’m okay with that. My 90 year old father won’t read it, and I wouldn’t even tell him the name of the books or that I was using my real name, so he wouldn’t have a heart attack. My friends think it is cool. My family thinks I am nutz. My husband is my biggest fan, as it should be.

In 4 words, describe yourself.

Compassionate for myself and others. We all do the best we can do.

Is their anything else you would like to share or say to those who will read this?

Don’t let anyone tell you what you can and can’t do. Remember that it’s a marathon, not a sprint. The only thing we control is our thoughts and attitude. I ask for guidance more than I try to tell others what to do. Keeps me out of trouble that way.

You don’t make 100% of the swings at the plate you don’t take.

Sharon Hamilton Official Site
Sharon Hamilton’s Blog

Author Interview ~ William Sewell

I am excited to share today’s interview with everyone. Bill contacted me here after he was referred here by Kevin Howard, my author interview from September 19th, 2012. I have had fun getting to know Bill over the past days as we set up today’s interview and worked out a few details for a SIGNED Book giveaway of his novel “Nonofficial Asset”. (giveaway details from post 10/6/12) Bill like the other author’s I have interviewed here has a sense of humor and shows great passion for his writing, even in our interview.

Please tell me about your novel. Who or what was your inspiration behind it?

My novel is called Nonofficial Asset. For those who don’t know this, the CIA and other Agencies have people who work as contract spies. That is, part time, when needed. These people have special skills or knowledge and are also deniable if they are caught. Peyton Stone was a Nonofficial asset but thought he had left that behind to become an internationally known security expert. When he finds his business partner murdered in a Shanghai hotel room, he has to reach back to his CIA handler, Harry Morrison, for help in tracking down the murderer. Of course, there’s more to it than a simple robbery gone bad and as the clock ticks down to a nuclear attack by a rogue Iranian Admiral, Peyton and Harry race to untangle the threads across China, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran and finally to the Oval Office itself.

The inspiration to write actually came from my past and some of the things I’ve done that I can’t actually confirm or deny. My wife convinced me to make my experiences into a story. This particular story first came to me while working in Abu Dhabi. I was under contract to assist the government there with security for a new Guggenheim museum in the Saadiyat Island Cultural District. This is a Jewish American iconic building sitting in the Arabian Gulf 40 miles from Iran. As we thought through attack scenarios, some of them were far out but plausible and my mind kept running with “What if…” and before I knew it the story sort of laid itself out and started writing.

What are some of your favorite genres to read and to write?

Absolutely thrillers. I’ve always been an adrenaline junkie from racing motorcycles and cars, to flying, to scuba diving. Now that I’m, shall we say “more mature”, I have to get my rush from reading and writing thrillers.

What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What was the biggest compliment? Did those change how or what you did in your next novel?

Several years ago I had shopped a manuscript around and was getting good comments but no traction so I hired an editor in New York who was the guy who discovered Robert Ludlam and paid him to review the manuscript. He was brutally honest about the character development and basically told me to start over. I was crushed but undeterred and accepted that he was right. So I started over and did Nonofficial asset paying close attention to his advice. So far, the reviews have been 5-star.

When you sit down to write, are you at a computer or do you do it, the ‘old fashioned’ way with pen and paper? Do you prefer one way or another?

I use a computer. My very, very first novel, a historical thriller which went nowhere, was done in longhand. Well, “it went nowhere” pretty much sums it up. I like the instant gratification of seeing my work in print as I produce it.

What do you do in your down time? Do you pick up something from your ‘to be read’ stack?

Down time? I’ve heard of that.

Thinking back to when you first started writing, have you noticed any big changes to your writing style or how you write compared from then to now?

Most definitely. Advice I’ve heard for writers – and I forget where I heard this – is “If you want to write well, write a lot, read a lot, and then write a lot more.” I’ve found that this is the best advice ever. My style at first was a bit better than “See Jane run” but it was stilted and uninteresting. I find that most authors starting out suffer that. I read Ludlam, Berry, Deaver, Child, Flynn, Lynds and others and I took a little from each of them and folded it into my style. I’m now pretty comfortable banging out a story that I feel is good.

What do you look for in a book when you sit down to read for fun?

I look for the basics: engaging characters, a good plot line that twists and turns, and that big payoff at the end.

What has been your favorite part of being an author? What has been your least favorite?

My favorite part is seeing people enjoy my work. I got an email recently from someone who is a former journalist and now has her own PR firm. See said simply, “Got your book. It’s 3:36am. Still reading. I’m hooked.” That’s incredibly gratifying. My least favorite: dealing with agents.

When you walk into a book store, where do you head first? Do you go to bookstores or have you gone viral for your reading pleasure?

I head straight to the fiction thriller section, of course. Bookstores are suffering some but I think it’s the economy more than eReaders. Book stores are still a vital part of the industry.

Did you get to quit your ‘day job’ and become an author, or do you have a ‘day job’ and writing is something you do for fun?

First rule of authorship, never quit your day job. I still have a day job to pay the bills but I put “Author” first in my on-line profiles.

What is your favorite junk food vice?

Breakfast of champions: Cheetos Puffs and Peanut M&Ms.

If you could step into the shoes of your protagonist for one day, would you? What would you like to experience or see during that day?

I actually WAS my protagonist for a time. I can neither confirm nor deny what my experiences were. If I told you, they’d kill us both.

Did you have any teacher(s) in high school or college that encouraged you to write? Did you take their advice?

I had a teacher named E. Bowman Barr for three years of high school. He didn’t exactly encourage me to write but he did give me a complete tool kit. He was a stickler for proper grammar and also taught mental tags and tricks to help us get it right. Who vs whom and all that.

What do you listen to when you write?? Do you need quiet or do you find inspiration in music??

I tried listening to music when I write but found to my disappointment that I can only do one thing at a time. Lol

Who was your current novel dedicated too?? Any particular reason?

I dedicated it to my wife because she inspired me to write, believed I could do it even when I didn’t and simply supported the entire effort. She’s a wonderful person.

What are you currently reading??

The Twelfth Card by Jeffery Deaver. Lee Child’s new Jack Reacher book is on deck.

Is there anything else you would like to share or say to those who will read this?

“Buy my book!” lol Actually, to readers I’d say keep reading and teach your kids and grandkids to read a lot. Read to them and teach them the joy of a good story. To writers I’d say never stop. Remember that criticism is an opinion not a truth and you can always take opinions and learn from them. Just keep writing.

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Happy Happy Birthday to my Hubby

Today is my handsome Husband’s birthday. I know I don’t talk about him very much, but, Mark is a terrific man. He was off “saving the world” before I really knew boys existed. Lol. [Mark was in the United States Air Force as a cop during Operation Desert Shield, stationed in Panama]. Despite the 10yr age difference, he is everything I could ask for in a hubby and more. He is a wonderful father & loving husband.

He is not a big reader, even though last year he read a few novels by Hemmingway, for pleasure. Mark works long hours, most of the time away from home during the ‘on’ season [he’s an agronomist, Certified Crop Advisor] , so I can stay at home and take care of the kids and things here.

I love you Sweetheart. Happy Birthday, Mark.

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