Thursday, August 4, 2011

Author Interview: Sherry Isaac

***We have a winner!! Congratulations, Urve! Sherry has your contact information so she'll be in touch. A big thanks to everyone who visited!**

I'm thrilled to have author Sherry Isaac joining me today on Armchair Heroines.

Winner of The Alice Munro Short Story Award, Sherry Isaac's tales of life, love and forgiveness that transcend all things, including the grave, appear online and in print. Her first collection of shorts, Storyteller, debuts July 2011. For more information, or to order an autographed copy, click HERE.

Your collection of short stories, STORYTELLER, came out recently. Tell us about it.

Writer Lesson #1: When a publisher calls to tell you she's read some of your short stories, and then says, 'I'd like to be the first to look at your collection. Do you have one ready?" the answer, whether you have a collection or not, is, "YES."

She did give me time to get existing stories polished, and I admitted that I'd need to write a few more. Then I pushed everything else aside and focused on that one task night and day for three months. I polished and revised existing work, dusted off and developed some ideas (that idea file sure does come in handy) and came up with a few new ones.

It's odd, because I never saw myself as a short story writer. Shorts were for contests and magazines so I'd have credits to point to when soliciting agents for The Novel. Now, I'll have a printed book to point to. I'm good with that.

Congratulations! In your interview with C.J. Lyons you characterized yourself as "...a trouble maker often resigned to the children's table...". I can sympathize. Care to tell us more about that?

Don't suppose I can plead the fifth?


I think it comes down to not knowing when to shut up. I heard a great line years ago: 'Sometimes I only take my foot out of my mouth long enough to put the other one in.' That would be me. I speak out of turn, blurt out whatever comes to mind, rarely use a filter. But it's done in fun and with humour.

People say I'm funny. I'm not. I just say funny things. I attribute those quips to the lack of filter, that knee-jerk response. Humour has to be honest and raw to work, to touch another who thinks, Yeah, I feel like that, too. There are people who make a living out of crafting comedy on demand. I'm not one of them. That's not to say their humour isn't honest or that it's forced. If it's not true, if it's not natural, it's not humour. I'm just not good at finding that humour switch. Mine turns on when it wants to.The rest of the time, I am a miserable, sad and lonely soul. Snort!

A very long and round-about answer but there you have it: trouble, for me, comes from being silly.

A good way to get in trouble, I'd say. Who is the most memorable character you've written about? Why?

In the collection, I'd say Ella Ryder. Ella is in the early stages of Alzheimer's. She's alone, and not terribly likeable, but I feel an empathy for her all the same. Some of her traits are not what you'd call neighbourly, but as the story progresses, (I hope) the reader sees that some of her behaviour is defence-driven, as she tries to deny and conceal her symptoms. I think the connection we make is this: that our mind is our identity. The helplessness when a silent monster slides into our psyche and steals what is most precious, our memories, our personality, our self, is a very scary thing.

I agree. And who is the most memorable character you've read about and why?

My favourite book growing up was 'Are You There, God? It's Me, Margaret.' Years (and years and years) later, I was surprised to find an adult novel by Judy Blume, 'Summer Sisters'. Fabulous. I still react when I think of the story in too much depth, so I won't dwell.

Two reasons why. One, the plot is about two women, not sisters, and their complex relationship. Those characters, and their journey, still haunt me. Two, my deep emotional response to their story. A writer in waiting, I remember thinking, if I could harness the talent to make a reader feel one tenth of what I felt reading Blume's book, what an awesome gift that would be.

The goal of all writers! Are you a night owl or an early riser?

Night owl? Are you kidding me? Bonafide morning person here. And I do like naps. Mmmm. Naps.The world would be a better place if we all took naps.

I'm with you on the nap thing. If you could compile a soundtrack for your book, STORYTELLER, what would it be?

Being a short story collection, it would have to be a various artists compilation. Haunting fiddle for title short, Storyteller. Spirit in the Sky (Norman Greenbaum, 1969) for The Visit. Une Bal-musette (a French Waltz) for Pickpocket in Paris.

Interesting choices. Other than telling readers about STORYTELLER, what are you working on now?

My middle-grade novel, Strawberry Hero, is on the agent circuit, looking for representation, and I am diving nose-first into revisions on my current work-in-progress, Homecoming, a paranormal romantic suspense set in a rural town on the Canadian prairie.

You are busy! Where can we find you in the www? Twitter? Facebook? Shelfari, etc. for a start. I have my own blog, Wildflower, where I feature emerging and established authors. I was recently asked to join the blog Romance & Beyond with Carole St-Laurent and Sharon Clare, where the focus is the writing journey. Twitter is on my To-Do list. Author chum Joan Swan wrote a great three-part Twitter How-To. I'll be consulting Joan's advice a lot! I suppose I'll have to look into a Facebook/Twitter feed or whatever it's called. This is the point where the brain tissue turns to jelly...

I haven't heard of Shelfari. What's that? NO! Don't tell me! I'm on technological overload.

Just in case you change your mind down the road, Shelfari is a social cataloging website. As a registered user you build virtual bookshelves. You can also rate, review, tag, and discuss books. Authors can have a page and add blog posts, covers, a bio and other information. I belong to several readers groups there that are a ton of fun! Check it out at

Thanks for joining me, Sherry!

Sherry is offering up an autographed copy of Storyteller to one lovely Armchair Heroine reader. Tell us about a time you got into trouble because you couldn't keep your mouth shut or ask Sherry a question. We'll use to choose the winner.

Have a great day!

** If you're at RomCon this weekend, find me and introduce yourself!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Top Ten Reason I Love RomCon

This Friday the fun starts at RomCon, a romance and women's fiction convention. For those of us who are volunteering, the fun starts tomorrow.

In celebration of one of my favorite events of the year, here are my top ten reasons I love RomCon:

10. The Pre-Convention Excitement - I've been anticipating this for months!

9. The Post-Convention Glow - I'll still be excited for months to come!

8. The Readers Crown - The contest where readers get to have their say.

7. The Sessions - These aren't your corporate sessions, peeps. Buckle up! It's going to be a raucous ride (as in: wild, crazy and FUN)!

6. The Laughter - Don't do your crunches this week...your stomach will be sore when the weekend is through.

5. The Special Events - Build-A-Hero, Special Ops Track (a whole track!), Monsters & More Seme-Charades, Intimate Chats, Author Panels, Author-Hosted Teas, Luau, Wild West Dinner, Chocolate Mangasm, Smalltown-ville, Victorian Fashion Show, Caught Dead Game...I could fill an entire blog post with Special Events. Be there or...

4. The Late Nights - Yeah, don't plan on getting much sleep. You won't.

3. The Goody Room - Packed with bookmarks, postcards, excerpt booklets, a plethora of creative and unique swag, and books. My heart flutters at the thought!

2. The Authors - Need I say more?

1. The Readers ( aka New-found Friends) - The most amazingly fun, enthusiastic, and of course, well-read group around!

So, bring on the Con! See you there...

For more information about RomCon, visit their website:

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Teasers on Tuesdays

I love to read, and long before I was a writer, I was a reader. I still read as much as I can - although time isn't quite as available as it used to be...not that I'm complaining or anything!

One way I like to celebrate my love of reading is to share teasers.

Want to join in the fun?

Simply pick a random page in your current read then pick a random line. Post the title, author and teaser in the comments section below. You can also leave the page number, just for fun.

Ready? Set. Tease!

Tiffany's Teaser:

Leave No Trace, a novella by Cindy Gerard in the anthology Deadly Promises

From page 139: So why did a knot of anxiety tighten inside his chest like a fist?

Leaves you with a few questions, doesn't it? You want to run out to the library or bookstore and pick it up, don't you?

Monday, August 1, 2011

Tips for Writing a Book Review - From an Author's Perspective

In addition to being a help to readers, book reviews can be a selling tool for an author. They can also be the bane of an author's existence.

And I'm not just talking about good reviews (as in "I loved this book") versus bad reviews ("I hated this book").

Authors want an honest review as much as readers do. By keeping a few things in mind your review will shine - whether you loved or hated the book you're reviewing:

1. Include your personal opinion AND explain why you feel the way you do.

For example: "I didn't enjoy this book because the characters were boring, the plot lacked high and low points and I hated the ending." vs. "I hated this book."

Or: "This book was wonderful because the characters came alive in my mind, the plot kept me on the edge of my seat and the ending came with a surprising twist." vs. "I loved this book."

* Don't get me wrong, as authors, we love to hear those words, "I loved your book". But when it comes to a review, a little additional information helps the reader and the author.

2. Provide a short synopsis of the book but don't give anything away. Avoid spoiling the whole story, the climax, or the ending. If you absolutely have to include them provide "spoiler alerts" for people who want to read the book and be surprised.

3. Show the author respect - even if you hated the book. Authors give their blood, sweat and tears to their books knowing that not everyone is going to read it, let alone enjoy it. Please consider this when writing your review. Authors often talk about their books as their babies (right, wrong or indifferent). Don't just tell them their babies are ugly. Give solid reasons why their baby was ugly to you.

4. Don't review books in genres you know you don't like. If you hate westerns, don't review a western. If you despise science fiction, don't accept a sci-fi book for review. If you decide to give romantic suspense a try (even though you rarely read it and don't really like it) then end up hating the book, think twice before reviewing it.

5. Be honest. For more on this see number 1.

6. When it comes to reviews, snark isn't nearly as cool as it's made out to be. See all of the above for more info.

Reviews are an important part of our business! Well-written reviews pack a triple whammy - they help the reader, the author and the reviewer.

Feel free to add to my list or disagree via the comment box below.

Thanks for dropping by and have a great day!


Sweet Talk Me

A Contemporary Romance Anthology

Available November 15th, 2011

Visit: for more information

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Contest Time!

Current Read: Summer at Seaside Cove by Jacquie D'Alessandro

It's contest time!

I'm going for fifty likes on my Facebook page, and once I get there I'm going to run a contest for a $10 Amazon gift card!

It's easy. Just go to my Facebook page and click the "Like" button then send me an email at tiffany (at) tiffanyjames (dot) net with "50 Likes on Facebook" in the subject line. I'll use to choose the winner. When you like my page you receive book release updates, links to excerpts and contests, signing information, and a few random posts on occasion.

Thanks for all of your help and good luck!


Dessert is truly a woman's best friend: it soothes a broken heart, is always there for you, and can even provide more satisfaction than most men in bed. But as these three delicious novellas prove, nothing could ever be as decadent as indulging in love. Join authors Ashley March, Tiffany James, and Bernadette Marie as they create the perfect recipe featuring a pastry chef and the restaurant owner who has all the ingredients to melt her heart, a cupcake caterer whose new neighbor crumbles her resolve to stay away from distracting men, and a chocolatier who discovers even her best pieces aren’t nearly as divine as the too-sexy, sweet-talking son of her best client.

Available November 15, 2011