Friday, December 19, 2008
Armchair Heroines has been up and running now for almost eight months, and I'm so excited and honored to have so many returning readers and commenters. As a special thank you I'm changing the contest rules...
Today, everyone who commented wins!
Just send me an e-mail at Tiffany@TiffanyJames.net with your snail mail address. If there are any romance genres you absolutely love or hate, please include that with your e-mail. I'll do my best to honor your requests but I can't make any guarantees!
I won't be posting until after the new year so happy holidays and see you in 2009!
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Friday, December 12, 2008
Send me an e-mail with your snail mail address and I'll get it to Francesca.
Thanks to everyone who commented and a huge thanks to Francesca Prescott for joining us this week!
Have a wonderful weekend everyone!
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Hello, Tiffany! Thank you so much for having me on Armchair Heroines. “Mucho Caliente!” is an effervescent, shamelessly romantic, feel-good comedy about a recently divorced, thirty-seven year old woman who falls in love with a world-famous Latino pop star. Take “How Stella got her Groove Back”, add a touch of “Notting Hill”, a pinch of “Shirley Valentine,” a backdrop and atmosphere reminiscent of “Mamma Mia – The Movie” and you’ll have an idea of its funky flavor! It is a colorful, vivid, giggle of a book, set on the island of Ibiza, Spain. It is a story about daring to believe in yourself and to have faith in other people when you’ve been burned. It is about attempting to take control of your life even though you’re terrified of making mistakes, and about taking chances while remaining true to yourself. It is about the angst of falling in love with a (very famous!) younger man. But it’s also about the wonderful friendships between women that are often laced with a touch of rivalry. I’m also very pleased to report that “Mucho Caliente!” is currently ranked Number One on BookStrand’s Mainstream Bestselling E-book chart. It is available in print from Amazon.com as well as Barnes and Noble.com. It’s an uplifting, entertaining read; perfect for the holiday season!
Seriously now, when Gemma decides to start her life afresh, one aspect of her journey I can really relate to is her desire to become financially independent. I’m not sure she had to go so far as to dismiss her husband’s divorce settlement; she’s certainly a brave girl! I admire the fact that, despite her insecurities, Gemma goes as far as to risk losing Latino superstar Emilio Caliente because of her determination to stand on her own two feet. She knows that self-respect is the foundation of any lasting relationship and I agree with her wholeheartedly.
I also think the way in which Gemma interacts with her girlfriends, Celeste and Laura, is similar to the way I behave with some of my closest girlfriends. While writing the book, I enjoyed delving into that unique, heartwarming “girlie” camaraderie. It seems to me that women are far more spontaneously supportive towards one another than men. And although we meet new people, make new friends all the time, few friendships truly last a lifetime, weathering separations and misunderstandings, withstanding the vast spectrum of unpleasant emotions that creep up on us despite our best intentions. Like anybody else, Gemma isn’t immune to being zapped by the ugly stick. She struggles with insecurities that sometimes translate into jealousy and selfishness, but at least she’s aware of it.
A character I can’t relate to at all? Emilio’s manager! She is one nasty piece of work! Bad to the bone!
What are you working on now?
Congratulations! Do you do anything in particular to prepare for writing? Light candles, listen to specific music, wear a favorite piece of clothing?
I tend to burn a lot of incense. I love the strong, pungent smell of an Indian incense called Nag Champa. On days when my creative juices are particularly bunged up, sometimes all it takes is a whiff of Nag Champa to get them flowing again. There have been desperate days when the entire neighborhood has reeked of Nag Champa! Unfortunately, I’ve recently been told that it’s not very healthy, so I’m trying to cut down. I also tend to drink way too much coffee.
Music has always played an important role in my writing routine; what I play depends on what I’m working on. For example, when I was writing “Mucho Caliente!” I spent days on end listening to electro-lounge type compilations, to Flamenco, and to mainstream Latino artists such as Ricky Martin, Alejandro Sanz and Enrique Iglesias.
For “Turn Left at the Ocean,” if I’m involved in a scene set in California, I’ll listen to tracks from The Eagles, Fleetwood Mac, Sarah Lachlan, Alison Krauss or Keith Urban. For island scenes, I’ll get into a Greek groove by playing musicians such as Giorgos Dalaras and Angelique Ioanatos. It’s like…musical teleportation! As for a favorite piece of clothing, I love to wrap myself in a seriously threadbare, off-white, old cashmere shawl. It’s my creative security blanket and I don’t know what I’ll do when it falls apart.
I love the visual your answer creates: you in a smoky, incense-filled room, wrapped in your loved shawl, drinking coffee and jamming out! :0) Is there a book or author on your bookshelf you keep returning to? Why?
You should see the state of my dictionaries! Other than those, the books I return to tend to be “how-to” books, or books offering some sort of comfort or “spiritual” guidance. In moments of great creative insecurity, I’ve often picked up Julia Cameron’s books: The Artists Way, The Vein of Gold, or Walking in this World. I find them blissfully comforting. I also love all the little quotes Julia Cameron adds to the sidebars of her pages, such as this gem from Victor Hugo: “A compliment is something like a kiss through a veil”. Isn’t that beautiful?
When it comes to fiction, there are definitely authors I’ll seek out time and again: Anita Shreve for her lyrical talent, Bill Bryson for his comic genius, Elizabeth Berg for the depth of her characters.
If you had to choose a soundtrack for your life, what would it be?
Oh dear…I love this question and could spend hours compiling one of those box set CD collections! My childhood was an oddball mix of The Beatles, The Everly Brothers, Elvis Presley, The Rolling Stones, as well as classical composers such as Tchaikovsky, Beethoven and Léo Délibes. I did ballet as a child, spending loads of time prancing around the living room in a homemade tutu and pink slippers. My adolescence was a mix of Abba, Supertramp, The Eagles, Blondie, Chicago, Fleetwood Mac, Roxy Music, Elton John, Bread (the ultimate make-out music!), Jackson Browne, KC and the Sunshine Band, Gerry Rafferty, The Police. My early twenties were a little pseudo-tortured: part of me wanted to be dark, edgy and mysterious in the spirit of bands like The Cure and Echo and the Bunnymen. Meanwhile, my shiny, happy side loved bouncing around to Madonna, Michael Jackson, Banarama, A Flock of Seagulls and…Kajagoogoo! By my mid-twenties I was big on Duran Duran, Peter Gabriel, Terence Trent D’Arby and George Michael. During my thirties, I got into Bryan Adams, Phil Collins (who lives in a village nearby!), Backstreet Boys, Take That and Ricky Martin. Nowadays, my I-Tunes library features a giant medley of all of the above, and much, much more! Right now, as I type, Ricky Martin is singing one of his great Spanish hits, Vuelve. Do I have a soft spot for him? Hmmm! Gosh, I hope I haven’t rambled too much! Mention music and I get carried away…
I’ve really enjoyed this interview, Tiffany. Thank you so much for giving me this opportunity. I sincerely hope that the person who wins a print copy of “Mucho Caliente!” will enjoy reading it. There is a lot more information about me on my website at www.francescaprescott.com. Please don’t hesitate to contact me with feedback and any further questions.
May your lives be filled with peace, love, light and… laughter!
Monday, December 8, 2008
And the winner of a copy of her book, The Path to Freedom, is...
Robyn, I think I have your e-mail address so I'll get The Path to Freedom zipping its way to you in the e-waves.
Please join me Wednesday as I chat with Francesca Prescott author of Mucho Caliente!
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
Please welcome today's word wizard, Lisa Pietsch!
First of all, tell me how to properly pronounce your name. :0)
My name is pronounced “peach”, just like the fuzzy fruit :0)
Thanks! Tell us about your debut novel, The Path to Freedom.
Sarah Stevens is a washed- up military cop whose life is a shambles until she is offered a position on an inter-agency anti-terrorism task force by the CIA. The thirty-year-old, overweight, down-on-her-luck Stevens goes to a secret training camp where she is transformed into a sexy and deadly agent whose mission is to find and stop, by any means possible, the financiers of terrorism against the United States and its allies. Although she goes into it thinking that it is just a job, Sarah soon discovers that this is a new life loaded with adventure, including the handsome Vince Hennessee, her team leader, and unimaginable danger in the form of Hassan, the man she has to destroy. The Path to Freedom is available in electronic formats through Sapphire Blue Publishing (http://www.sapphirebluepublishing.com/) and many other eBook outlets like All Romance Ebooks, Mobipocket and Amazon.com.
Just as a side note, enough people have showed an interest in going to “The Camp” so I think I’ll be opening one in the desert outside Las Vegas within the next few years.
Oh, I am so there! :0) I'm guessing your background contributed a great deal to the book. Can you tell us more about that?
My background had lots to do with how I came to write this book. I spent eight years in the U.S.A.F Security Forces, trained as a Hostage/Crisis Negotiator with the FBI and did a few security details with MI-5. Working with the FBI, British military and the British intelligence services was great fun and really got me interested in the wider world of spies and espionage. After leaving the military, I never lost my interest in these things and read as much non-fiction about it as possible. Writing this book, and the books that will follow it, gives me a great opportunity to put all my research to work. The ironic thing here is that my husband works in the Air Force intelligence community but can’t tell me a thing about his job!
What a bummer. I'm sure he'd be an amazing resource! What led you to make the switch to writing?
I was pregnant with my first child and really wanted a part-time job I could do at home. I started doing some freelance writing and began writing The Path to Freedom just for fun. As it happens, I enjoyed writing novels much more than I did the freelancing. When I found Sapphire Blue Publishing and realized people actually wanted to read what I was writing, I decided to make the switch from non-fiction to all fiction.
What are you working on now?
I just finished a rough draft for a spinoff from The Path to Freedom called No Quarter. Sarah Stevens, the heroine from The Path to Freedom, trained at The Camp with Tracey Ballantine. No Quarter is the story of Tracey Ballantine’s first mission which takes her to Dubai and gets her tangled up with some very wealthy and very bad Russians. I’m also midway through the rough draft for the second Sarah Stevens story. Both storylines work together so readers can either read each character’s stories as a series or read them all together. (I have about seven stories planned for Sarah Stevens and at least three for Tracey Ballantine.) Lastly, I’m working on a much longer story which I hope to have released in paperback. It is about one woman’s rise to the top of the Russian “Mafiya” food chain in the 1990’s. It is a modern Woman of Substance with a very Russian twist.
Those all sound intriguing. How has your attitude about writing and being published changed since your release in September (if at all)?
The real awakening for any author is when they sign that first contract. Since I’ve been working with the Editors at Sapphire Blue Publishing, I’ve come to understand the business of writing much better. Tina Gerow (http://www.tinagerow.com/) has been a wonderful mentor and really helped me to create a realistic writing career plan. Knowing what I know now, I want to write even more!
I think I'd better have a chat with Tina. :0) A random question for you: What is something you are never without?
I am never without lipstick. Seriously. I could be a total wreck but if I leave the house, I will at least slap on some lipstick. I’m also sure to carry something I can write on (either a notebook or PDA) just in case inspiration strikes while I’m on the move. I’ve written entire chapters in waiting rooms! One time I thought I’d travel light and left the notebook and PDA at home. I ended up leaving myself about five voicemails as I dictated story ideas that came to me. I learned my lesson that day!
That's hilarious! I keep telling my husband I want one of those "yak-backs" so that I can record my ongoing, internal brainstorming. :0) Thanks again for joining us today, Lisa! Anything else you'd like to add?
I’m a MySpace junkie. My page is http://www.myspace.com/lisampietsch. There you’ll find a trailer (short movie) about The Path to Freedom, the soundtrack to The Path to Freedom and updates on books I’m currently working on. I blog regularly at http://sapphirebluebombshells.blogspot.com/. This blog is totally fun because I do a weekly feature on “Hot Guys with Guns” every Friday. What can I say? It is a guilty pleasure of mine. Thank you so much for having me! I love reading Armchair Heroines :0)
You're so sweet! I'm glad you enjoy our humble, virtual hang-out. "Hot Guys with Guns" - that's a smokin' hot double entrendre if I've ever heard one. :0)
Let us know what's on your mind - Lisa gave me a copy of The Path to Freedom to give to one lucky AH commenter. Good luck!
Monday, December 1, 2008
is our lucky winner this week - actually last week...well, you know what I mean! :0)
Last week was a busy one and I appreciate seeing some familiar faces. A very special 'thank you' goes out to Diane Wylie for her time and generous contribution of a book for our contest.
As we begin counting down to Christmas at my house, things are going to get a little crazy! But don't despair, I have a stellar line-up of Word Wizards here at Armchair Heroines. This week I'll be chatting with Lisa Pietsch, author of The Path to Freedom. Next week I'll be welcoming Mucho Caliente! author, Francesca Prescott. Finally, on the 17th, I'll be hosting a local gal and fellow Colorado Romance Writers member, Joanne Sundell. She has a new book out this month titled The Parlor House Daughter. It's getting rave reviews!
Monday Movie Magic and Friday Fiction may be a bit sporadic (as they have been the past few weeks) as holiday revelry kicks into high gear around here, but check in when you can. You never know what surprises might pop up.
Along that vein, I'm busy scheduling word wizards for January and planning a very special month of surprises in February. So sit back, put your feet up, relax and read - blogs, novels, short stories - you're an Armchair Heroine and you deserve it! :0)
See you Wednesday!
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Welcome, Diane. Thank you for joining us today. Why don't you start by telling us a little about Secrets and Sacrifices.
Secrets and Sacrifices is the result of my love of the Civil War time period, my background in biology, and a ghost tour. You might wonder how this all ties together, but believe me, it does. I wanted to write a story about a doctor of that time period and all the challenges he faced dealing with the casualties of war. (This is where the biology comes in.) So, Captain Daniel Reid, regimental surgeon, was born in my imagination. Of course, with a hero comes a heroine, and I believe in strong heroines, too. Who could be stronger than a woman who is brave enough to enlist in the Confederate army, like Charlotte Garrett? They were the perfect match. Throw in the turmoil of a terrible time in our history, along with the amazingly evil-looking Fort Delaware (where I went on a ghost tour), and you have a story that will keep you turning the pages until the very end.
I imagine this book involved an incredible amount of research. Can you tell us a little about that process?
My research comes from the normal sources—books and the internet—along with some trips to real battlefields and historical landmarks. I’ve been to Antietam National Battlefield in Maryland to see the places that I describe in Secrets and Sacrifices firsthand. I also watched the reenactment of the battle of Gettysburg, which was amazing. And, as I mentioned, I also took a ghost tour around Fort Delaware on Pea Patch Island. There is nothing like actually being there to be able to bring it to life.
This is a time era we don't see all that frequently. Why did you choose the Civil War era?
Precisely because we don’t see enough romances set during that time period. Who doesn’t love Gone with the Wind? I sure did. But as I looked for more fiction set during that time period, I didn’t find much, especially in the romance genre. Lots of stories are told of the generals and leaders of the day. What about the everyday soldier? Their stories need telling as well.
To what aspect of Charlie's character could you, as the author, most relate?
Charlie, or Charlotte as she was christened, gives her love with all her heart, and would do anything for her beloved. That is what I can really relate to.
How about Daniel?
With Daniel, I can relate to his conflict between doing the right thing and doing what is expected of him. As a doctor, he wants to help any injured soldier, but as a Confederate officer, he is expected to only treat the soldiers from his side. I think we all have to face tough choices no matter our life situations.
If your book was the monthly selection for a book club, what do you think would be the focus of the discussion?
Hmm… That is a hard question. Perhaps the focus would be on Charlie’s role in the Underground Railroad? Or maybe the focus would be on the fact that the Reid family, like the whole state of Maryland and the entire country, was divided on the political and social issues of the day.
What's on your nightstand right now? (What are you reading?)
Right now I am reading two books: Ancient Ties, a historical romance by a Jane Leopold Quinn, and Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, by J.K. Rowling. I am loving them both!
As a reader, who are the most memorable characters you've met?
Well, Harry Potter is one, but also on the list would be Scarlett and Rhett from GWTW, and Jamie and Clare from Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series.
In the spirit of the Thanksgiving holiday: For what are you most thankful?
I am most thankful that my husband, son, daughter, and new son-in-law are all happy and healthy. In addition, I am thankful that I have two more books coming out in what I call my American Hero series. Secrets and Sacrifices is the first book. Jenny’s Passion, a forbidden love story between a Northern cavalryman and a Southern woman, is the second book, out now. And the third book, Lila’s Vow, is coming out in March 2009. For more on my books I invite your readers to visit my website, http://www.dianewylie.com. Be sure and sign up for my newsletter while you’re there. I am giving away a free contemporary novel to all subscribers.
Thanks so much, Diane, and best of luck with your writing!
I have one copy of Secrets and Sacrifices for one lucky commenter. Let us know what you think! I'll announce the winner on Monday instead of Friday because of the holiday.
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!
Friday, November 21, 2008
Congratulations, Cari! Send your snail mail address to Kimberly at Kim@KimberlyKillion.com.
Need a copy of Her One Desire? Click here to purchase your very own copy!
See you all next week when I hang out with Diane Wylie, author of Secrets and Sacrifices.
Have a great weekend.
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Friday, November 14, 2008
Thank you, Skhye, for visiting us again here at Armchair Heroines. Thanks also to all of you who joined in the conversation!
And now, the winner of Naked on the Staircase is...
Congratulations! Email me at Tiffany@TiffanyJames.net and I'll get Naked on the Staircase to you.
Didn't win, but still want a copy? Click here to purchase your very own copy of Naked on the Staircase.
No Friday Fiction today, but be sure and stop by next week when I'm joined by Kimberly Killion. She'll talk about her debut novel, Her One Desire. I loved, loved , loved this book, by the way! Hope to see you then.
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Friday, November 7, 2008
The winner of Helen's scorching hot story is...
Congratulations, Donnell! I'll have Helen get in touch with you and she'll get you your copy of Seduced in Seoul!
I'm wildly excited about Elaine Levine's debut novel, Rachel and the Hired Gun, coming in January 2009 from Kensington Books! Click here to read the first chapter...but beware, waiting can be difficult, and I'm quite sure that once you read the first chapter you'll be dying for more! So, be sure and spend some time at Elaine's website: www.ElaineLevine.com. She has posted "prequel" clips that will satisfy just a bit more of your curiosity!
Have a great weekend! See you next week when I welcome back author Skhye Moncrief. We'll hear about her just released Halloween Time Guardians story.
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
Here is a book trailer and a contest to get your week started off right!
Cynthia also has a wonderful creature quiz on her website. You can check it out here and find out what kind of creature you are!
Have you read any of Cynthia's books? She's a new author for me, but with one of my favorite publishers and lines: Kensington Brava. Let me know what you think!
The "Wednesday Word Wizard" feature returns tomorrow with the lovely and talented, Helen Hardt. Helen's going to tell us all about her debut release, Seduced in Seoul. Hope to see you there!
Monday, October 27, 2008
Last week's contest winner, receiving an e-copy of Donna Hatch's debut novel, The Stranger She Married, is...
Congratulations, Linda! E-mail me at Tiffany@TiffanyJames.net and I will get you your copy of The Stranger She Married.
A huge thank you to Donna Hatch for joining us last week, and thanks to all of you who commented.
All manner of craziness has broken out at my house so I won't be blogging this week. I need to corral the chaos...and I'm quite sure it's going to take a good part of the week! Thanks for bearing with me. Hope to see you all back next week when I feature Seduced in Seoul author Helen Hardt.
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Please welcome the lovely Donna Hatch, today's Word Wizard! Donna's debut novel, The Stranger She Married is now available from The Wild Rose Press.
Tell us about your release, The Stranger She Married.
Okay, here's my "elevator pitch"Book 1 of the Rogue Hearts Series: Torn between a disfigured war hero with the heart of a poet, and a handsome libertine who may not be all he seems, impoverished Alicia must marry by the end of the month. Despite a murder threat looming over her, learning to love the stranger she married may pose the greatest danger of all … to her heart.
The cover is gorgeous! Can you tell us a little about how covers come into being? Do you have input into the process?
Most publishers don't let the authors have any input, but I was lucky -- mine does. I filled out a questionnaire with character descriptions and a concept of what I'd pictured. The finished result was unlike anything I'd imagined, and my book's hero looks nothing like the cover, but they got the heroine spot-on right down to the eye color. And I do like it, too -- especially the castle in the background.
What are you working on now?
I'm finalizing the edits on book 2 of the Rogue Heart's Series which is called "The Guise of a Gentleman." The plan is to have it released in May or June 2009. Each book is a stand-alone book, about a different brother of the Amesbury family, and the family members wander in and out of each other's books.
I love to get updated on characters from other stories! You have a posse of kiddos, how do you find time to write? How do you balance family with writing?
Yes, with 6 children, making time to write is very challenging. I do much of my writing at night after they are in bed, or during nap time, but when I'm on a roll, I write instead of unimportant things like sleep and fix dinner. I haven't dusted since last Christmas and I gave up scrap booking. This year, my youngest child just started kindergarten, so now I can write after they all leave for school. I also work in an office part time every afternoon, so that really cuts into my writing but I'm very focused, (or obsessed) so I keep at it at odd times of the day. And night.
I think you have to be obsessed in this business. :0) What is the coolest thing about being an author?
A huge rush came when I got my contract and I was giddy about it for months. But I have to say that it was nothing compared to the day my book came out and I saw it on the home page of my publisher. The euphoria was a surreal experience. The giddiness is still with me and I've noticed people inching away from me when my grin gets a bit too happy. I guess I scare people. And now I do it without even opening my mouth.
The mark of a true author - scaring those around us without even opening our mouths! What has surprised you about being a published author?
How excited my friends and family were for me. I knew they'd be supportive, but I had no idea how they'd rally around me and help me promote it.
What do you like to do when you aren't writing?
I love to read more than almost anything else. And I love music; I sing, play the harp, and am the choir director for church. I also like to swim, water ski, snow ski, and dance. I'm totally uncoordinated, so I don't play any team sports and sports enthusiasts worldwide thank me for it. And, sappy as it sounds, I love to spend time with my husband; talking, walking, playing racquetball, or just cuddling.
A random question: This has turned into the theme for October...Do you celebrate Halloween? If so, what's your favorite costume?
My children and I love Halloween. We decorate the house and take the kids trick or treating around the neighborhood. I was never cool enough to be anything scary as a kid, I always went for the pretty costumes like fairies and princesses. Lately, I've been recyling a Maid Marian costume and my husband dresses as Robin Hood. I have yet to find an adequate Sherwood Forest, though.
Donna is generously offering an e-copy of The Stranger She Married in a contest. Same rules as always - leave us a comment and you're entered into the random drawing. The winner will be announced Friday!
Want your very own copy of The Stranger She Married? Order on line at http://www.thewildrosepress.com/. Look for The Stranger She Married on the historicals page or for a direct link click here. You can download it onto your computer where you can print it if you wish, or you can download it into your Palm Pilot, Sony E-Reader, or Amazon's Kindle. It's only $6.00. It will also be in paper back in April for $14.00.
Check out Donna's website here. There's a "buy it now" link on her website as well as a book trailer for The Stranger She Married. You can also visit her on MySpace...that's how we met!
Friday, October 17, 2008
A huge thank you to Jane for joining us this week, and thanks to everyone who joined in our conversation!
And now, for a contest winner...
Tena, please e-mail Jane at email@example.com with your snail mail information and she'll get Marry Christmas headed your way! Those of you who'd love to have a copy of Marry Christmas but didn't win today, just click here to purchase your very own copy from Amazon.com.
And now, some Friday fiction:
Just the Sexiest Man Alive is contemporary romance author Julie James' debut novel, and it's creating lots of buzz! Clicke here to read an excerpt.
Check out author Tracy MacNish and an excerpt from her historical romance Veiled Promises here.
If you like romantic suspense, click here for a link to No Escape from author Shannon K. Butcher.
Happy reading! Have a great weekend everyone! I'm off to tour a southern Colorado winery and harvest grapes at a small Colorado vineyard. It's tough, I know. :0) But it's all in the name of research for my next manuscript. I'll let you know how it went next week!
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
A Christmas wedding to the Duke of Bellingham. Any other socialite in Newport, Rhode Island, would be overjoyed at the prospect, but Elizabeth Cummings finds her mother’s announcement as appealing as a prison sentence. Elizabeth has not the slightest desire to meet Randall Blackmore, let alone be bartered for an English title. Her heart belongs to another, and the duke’s prestige, arrogance, and rugged charm will make no difference to her plans of elopement.
Against his expectations and desires, Randall Blackmore has inherited a dukedom and a vast estate that only marriage to an heiress can save. Selling his title to the highest bidder is a wretched obligation, but to Randall’s surprise his intended bride is pretty, courageous, delightfully impertinent—and completely uninterested in becoming a Duchess. Yet suddenly, no other woman will do, and a marriage in name only will never be enough for a husband determined to win his wife in body, heart, and soul…
Please give a warm welcome to today's Word Wizard, author Jane Goodger!
Thanks for joining us today Jane. Tell us about your latest project, Marry Christmas. Love that title, by the way. :0)
I’ve had the idea for Marry Christmas brewing for quite a while. I was so fascinated by Consuelo Vanderbilt’s life. At 18, she was forced to marry the Duke of Marlborough even though she was in love with another man. She was an heiress and he was an English peer in desperate need of cash. The Duke was, in modern lingo, a real tool---at least according to Consuelo Vanderbilt’s biography. He once took a valuable item, hid it, then called the servants in to demand to know who stole it. The poor maids were in tears until he, laughing, produced the item. Nice guy. I remember feeling sorry for poor Consuelo and wishing she’d had a happy ending (she did end up divorcing the duke and remarrying later in life). I decided I would create my own heroine, fashioned after Consuelo, but give her a much nicer duke. My heroine still has a difficult time, for she is forced to marry a man she doesn’t know or love, while she is in love with another man. But my heroine, Elizabeth, has a much happier ending with her duke, Randall Blackmore.
Sounds intriguing! I love when real life events inspire fictional ones. This is your first historical novel in seven years. Was it difficult to return to that arena? What did you find most challenging? What was surprisingly easy, if anything?
I was so excited when my editor asked me to write an historical instead of another contemporary. I only had three months to do it, and with three kids and teaching, it was a real challenge. But the book wrote itself. It was one of the most amazing writing experiences I’ve ever had. It was almost as if I were reading Marry Christmas instead of writing it, that’s how wonderful the experience was. I missed writing historicals; it’s really where my heart is. I’m certainly not discounting writing contemporaries again (I have a couple things brewing), but I find historicals easier and more fun to write. I’m a real history junkie and love the research aspect.
Three months, whew! I do love it when things just flow. If a group of people or a book club were discussing Marry Christmas what do you think would be the topic of discussion?
I think they would discuss whether or not they would have acted as Elizabeth did. Elizabeth was put in an incredibly difficult position, something as a writer I was very cognizant of. I think, when reading a book, it is easy to get angry with a character. Why doesn’t she fall in love with Rand the way I am? Well, because Elizabeth doesn’t know Rand as well as the reader does. Of course the reader thinks my hero is wonderful. But from Elizabeth’s perspective, he was a fortune hunter interested only in her money. Also, Elizabeth is one of my youngest heroines, so I have her acting at times like a nineteen year old. She clings to her lost love and to the idea of choosing her own husband. I kept thinking, ‘how would I feel?’ if I were nineteen. Elizabeth is a complicated and realistic character, and in the end, she’s the perfect heroine for Randall..
Interesting! It's easy as a reader to forget that we know more than the characters do. I think it's a testament to your writing savvy that you were able to step back into the mind of a nineteen year old. I struggle with that - which is why I write heroines closer to my age! :0) Is there a particular character that you've written over the years to whom you really related personally?
That would have to be Maggie from When There Is Hope. She is an eternal optimist, and I am definitely a cup-half-full person. Even in the face of horrible odds, she tries to find something, anything to cling to. She believed that, when there is hope, anything is possible. I loved Maggie!
I'm adding When There Is Hope to my to-be-read list! What are you working on now?
I’m working on the sequel to Marry Christmas. It’s Margaret (Maggie) and Lord Hollings’ story. I’ve already gotten many emails wondering when that book will be coming out and if it features Maggie (I obviously love that name!). The book is currently untitled, but it will be released for Christmas next year.
How exciting! I know I'll be waiting anxiously...I've just started Marry Christmas and can't hardly put it down to feed my children! :0) Would you tell us something about yourself, unrelated to writing? Hobbies? Quirks?
It’s a major, major effort for me to clean my house. Don’t get me wrong, I love a clean house, I just wish someone else would do it all for me. I always keep it clean enough so if my mother calls to say she’s coming to visit, I can make it look just fine in the thirty minutes it takes her to get to my house. I simply make sure she doesn’t look inside my closets or my oven (here’s a little hint, ladies, you can stuff an oven full of dirty dishes much faster than you can wash ‘em. Just remember they’re there before you turn the oven on.).
Mmm, there's nothing better than a clean & decluttered house...too bad I don't live in one! And here's your random question - although I'm reluctant to end this interview, it's been so much fun! *Sigh* All good things must come to an end, I guess. Your random question continues our theme this month: Do you celebrate Halloween? If so, what is your favorite thing about it? Costume? Ritual?
I have three little kids, so I LOVE Halloween. When I was a kid, there was a big scare about razor blades in apples and drugs in candy. So Halloween was cancelled. Instead, our community put on Halloween parties. Big snooze. Nothing beats going out in the dark in a cool costume and getting a bag full of candy. I make sure my kids walk until they can’t carry their bags anymore wearing the best costumes we can think of. I definitely am living vicariously through them. I wish I could freeze time so they would stay little and would always go out trick-or-treating.
I remember that scare - our Halloween was cancelled also. And I agree, parties just don't compare to trick-or-treating! Jane, thank you again for taking time out of your busy schedule to hang out with us!
Jane has graciously agreed to give away one copy of Marry Christmas. Just post a comment about the interview or ask a question, and you'll be entered into the random drawing. Good luck!
Can't wait for the contest to end on Friday? Just click here to purchase your very own copy of Marry Christmas. Also be sure to visit Jane's website: http://www.janegoodger.com/. You can learn more about Jane's historicals and her contemporary writing under the name Jane Blackwell.
Monday, October 13, 2008
Here's some movie magic for all of you Armchair Heroines on this magnificent Monday!
This is for Night Huntress by Yasmine Galenorn. I've never read any of her books, but I've added her to my list! Night Huntress is book 5 in the Otherworld (AKA Sisters of the Moon) series, and it sounds like they need to be read in order. Let me know what you think, and if you've read anything from Ms. Galenorn...
This trailer is for Ghost Moon by Rebecca York, another author I'm adding to my list. I love this trailer!
Friday, October 10, 2008
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
Please give a warm Armchair Heroines' welcome to Anne Krist, today's featured author!
Tells us about your book, Burning Bridges.
Tiffany, thanks so much for letting me chat with your readers!
Burning Bridges is the result of hearing a news report while visiting my mom in Virginia. The reporter told of bags of mail decades old found in a mail carrier’s shed. I wondered what changes had taken place in people’s lives because they hadn’t received that a letter in one of those bags. I’d wanted to write a story involving Vietnam for a while, and the two components fell into place. The story for Burning Bridges came together quickly after that. Isn’t it the greatest feeling when the words almost write themselves?
Yeah, it's amazing! I love it when that happens. What are you working on now?
Right now I’m working on the first book in a series—my first series. I have to say, thinking in terms of multiple books is a little daunting. I’m more used to writing one thing at a time with one set of characters and then wham! I’m onto something else. In the first book, two old friends meet up again for the first time since high school. He doesn’t know she’s using him to forward a career goal—even though she loves him—and she doesn’t know he’s suffered with dyslexia all his life. That makes it sound kind of serious, but I’ve injected quite a bit of humor into it.
What do you think of being a published author?
Burning Bridges is my virgin book—that’s how Dee describes it, lol. (Dee is Anne's naughty "sister".) It feels wonderful to have it published! This book has been a very special part of me for a long time, and to have people read it now—and hooray! enjoy it—is an honor. I hope I uphold everyone’s good opinion with the next books.
Tell us a little about your sister...the naughty one. :0)
Dee—Dee S. Knight—and I are more than twins. It feels at times that we’re the same person. *G* Dee is hard at work finishing one project for Liquid Silver Books and another for Siren Publishing. The LSB story is a firefighter novella for a new series of theirs. The Siren project is so secret, she makes me close my eyes when she works on it, lol. But I have exciting news! I’m letting you know before anyone else—maybe before Dee, even. She and I are going to start a blog offering advice. I’m not sure who would ask the two of us for advice, lol, but surely we can find enough desperate people to handle a question a week or so. I’ll answer the question from my sweet, decent point of view and then Dee will give her saucy, naughty opinion. I can’t wait to give it a try!
I can't wait to give it a try! I have a whole list of questions...Do you have any hobbies you enjoy when you aren't writing?
I love reading, though I don’t consider it a hobby. I like needlework and crochet, and I love to cook and bake. But of all those, the only thing I have much time for is reading. These days, my favorite thing to make for dinner is reservations.
I'm with you on that one! I suppose when the local pizza joint recognizes your number and answers the phone with, "Hello Mrs. James, would you like the everyday "usual" or the Tuesday usual?", it's gotten a bit out of hand! :0)
You have print and electronic books available. How do you think the two compare? Do you have a favorite format? Have you had more success in one format versus the other?
I’d heard of electronic books years before I started writing. Hubby bought me an e-book reader for Christmas in 2000 and I fell in love with it. For the first time, I could read in bed and not disturb Jack (it was backlit), and sitting in a chair, I could read and hold a cup of coffee at the same time. But when I started writing, I had no idea publishers published e-books—isn’t that crazy? I was willing to buy them but hadn’t considered how they came about. I’ll always like print books. I have bunches of them sitting around the house right now waiting to be read. However, I do love e-books. I have to admit, it’s surprising to me to hear people say they have to hold a book to enjoy it. I guess I’m just easy to please. The joy of a book to me is in the characters and storyline, and I get that just as well from an electronic book. I wouldn’t say one format has been any more successful for me—they each have their own niches.
Interesting! I want an e-reader for Christmas. Now, for your random question: To carry on our Halloween theme started last week with Lee...Do you celebrate Halloween? If so, what's your favorite costume?
That Lee! Isn’t she a sweetheart??
Yes, she absolutely is!
And her book, The Twist, is great.
That's no joke!
And I know you’ve had Lindsay Townsend as a guest.
Yep - love her!
I just finished reading Flavia’s Secret and LOVED it!
It's sitting on my hard drive - waiting rather impatiently to be read! I read A Knight's Vow a few months ago...wow!
But this Halloween question is Lee’s fault, huh?
Well, truth be told, it's mine because I asked her the question...but she answered it!
I’ll have to get her, lol. I celebrate by having candy on hand and I do answer the door, but I don’t dress up or go to dress up parties. The town where we live is Halloween crazy, though! Every house it seems has huge spiders crossing porch-width webs, witches flying from tree to tree, gravestones in the front yard or ghouls hanging from trees limbs. It’s amazing. They decorate for Halloween more than for Christmas.
Cool, I want to live there! I have a porch-width web and spiders crawling all over, too. :0)
Thanks so much for inviting me to blog with you Tiffany!
Thank you for being here, Anne!
Let us know what you think of Anne's interview and be entered to win one of two copies of Burning Bridges in e-form, as well as one copy of any Dee S. Knight book! How generous is Anne??!! And be sure to check out Anne's website at http://www.annekrist.com/.
Can't wait for the contest to end to get your hands on a copy of Anne's book? Click here and you can own your very own copy...right now!
Friday, October 3, 2008
I'm proud to announce the winner of The Twist by Lee Silver...
Congratulations! I'll forward your information to Lee and you two can work out the details.
A massive thank you goes out to Lee Silver for taking time out of her vacation to hang with us! And thank you to everyone who joined in our chat.
No Friday Fiction today...it's high school Homecoming here in my little town so it's time to head out for the parade and the football game. Be sure to check in next week for an interview with Anne Krist, hopefully a romance reader hang out profile, and some Friday Fiction!
Have a wonderful weekend!
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
Current Read: The Twist by Lee Silver
Title: The Twist
Author: Lee Silver
Genre: Romantic Suspense Theme: High Tech Metamorphosis
Length: 223 pages
(Paperback: $12.99. ISBN 978-1606011751)
(E-book: 5.99. ISBN 1-60601-174-X)
ZANE TOLLISON’S wife is running through their cash faster than he can make it. A “Hail Mary” contract with Clearwater Tobacco arrives in the nick of time to keep his fledgling, consulting firm afloat and to unchain him once and for all from his narcissistic wife. Beautiful, brilliant and estranged, KATHY DAVIS is desperate for a new beginning. The feisty post doc bio-geneticist jumps at an offer from Clearwater, pouring her soul into a development that will revolutionize the tobacco industry.
The two are unwittingly reeled into a convoluted plan to steal $12 million; Zane is changing into a carbon copy of Kathy, a pawn in a bizarre genetic metamorphosis, entangling Kathy in a sinewy web of seduction and deceit. Forging a bond that will set the course of their destiny, they fight to overpower the diabolic hold that has taken over their lives.
I’ll admit it, I’m a geek! But setting a romance in the framework of high tech intrigue, my technical background turned out to be my best friend. I wanted a heroine who would stand toe to toe with the leading man and a plot that would keep a reader on the edge of their seat. The Twist is only the beginning.
~ Lee ~
"THE TWIST was a great novel!"
Taylor Perry, Read Rave Reviews
"THE TWIST moves from being a story about a complex game of dress up to an emotional and sensual journey...sprinkled with tastefully written naughty scenes you will enjoy from the first to last page." Silapa Jarun , author of Katana Duet
"The science in 'The Twist' is fascinating...very original and intriguing...Lee Silver keeps you guessing right till the end." Lindsay Townsend , author of Flavia's Secret
Zane heard the tap, tap, tap of a woman’s heels on the tile floor as he stared at his watch anxiously waiting for the elevator.
* * * *
Chorde glanced at the clock as he reached for his hand. “So good to see that you are prompt. Nine o’clock on the button.”
And here's my interview with Lee Silver, today's "Word Wizard"!
Tell us about your first book, The Twist.
Hi Tiffany! Thank you for inviting me. It’s really great to be here with all my friends at Armchair Heroines. Just for fun, I’m going to put everybody who blogs this post in a hat for a chance to win a copy of my new romantic suspense, The Twist. Well, not actually them, just their names J
The Twist is a BookStrand #1 Bestseller! It was released in July and is available in paperback from Barnes & Noble and Amazon, and as an e-book from Fictionwise and BookStrand. I wanted a heroine who would stand toe to toe with the leading man and a plot that would keep a reader on the edge of his seat. The Twist is only the beginning. A story of mind-bending control and unnerving metamorphosis, The Twist unravels the tale of a hotshot consultant as he struggles to foil a plot to steal $12 million and to rescue the feisty, female scientist who has stolen his heart.
The hero actually turns into a carbon copy of the leading lady. I really had to get into Zane’s head to write The Twist. Women are so different...our emotions, what’s important to us, how we relate to each other. And then there’s the things we take for granted. Hair, nails, putting on your face, the whole bit. It would all have to be pretty strange for a guy.
Trying to stuff all of that into a guy’s head was a challenge. Male characters just don’t have the range of emotion for you to work with. I guess that’s part of what makes them guys. As Zane begins his transformation, everything he is grappling with bubbles to the top as a confused mix of humor and rage. After the change it’s like he’s got the hormones of a squad of teenage cheerleaders.
Yup, we finally get our revenge on the guys in The Twist :)
It's about time! :0) Why were you drawn to write a bio-technical romantic suspense?
You hear some strange things standing in the ladies’ room line on the Ocean City boardwalk. A cute little thing in a halter top and a pair of Daisy Dukes behind me was arguing with her purple-haired boy friend about her smoking. He was going on about what a filthy habit it was and how he might as well be kissing an ashtray. Fumbling in her purse for a Virginia Slim, all she could come up with in her defense was “You have no idea how hard it is for a girl to quit smoking!” I’ve always been fascinated by transformation stories, but they never seem to have a happy ending. Hum, it sounded like there was a story there to me.
The key to pulling off something as zany as a guy turning into a woman was to make it believable for the reader. As an engineer, I’m trained to come up with a way to make things work. The transformation in The Twist is pure sci-fi, but what if it were possible? My technical background gives me the tools to imagine and describe the things a scientist would need to actually make it happen.
I love your heroine, Kathy Davis! She is quick and witty and doesn't take any crap. How did you create her? What was your inspiration?
I’ve been a Charmed fan since day one. I even have a cool signed picture of Holly, Rose and Alyssa that I won on ebay! Alyssa Milano’s character Phoebe was my inspiration for Kathy. My characters are born from the faces of my personality. I’m like each and every one but not like any of them. There is a tiny seed of me in my characters that unfolds like a flower. They surprise me with the things they say and do, taking my writing to places I never could have gone by myself.
Zane met his match with Kathy in The Twist. He’s full of himself in a typical guy sort of way. But Kathy, with all her feminine charm, let Zane know from the minute they met at the elevator, she’d stand toe to toe with him for the full nine rounds. Its mutual respect like this that turns to love that will last a life time.
What are your working on now?
Well, right now I’m still trying to get caught up with everything I let slip around the house with the release! When I wrote The Twist, I had considered it to be a one book story. Working on my edits, I realized there might be enough open ends for another book. I just started working on a sequel so we can see what everybody's favorite feisty female scientist is up to next :)
I can't wait! How do you keep your creativity charged?
I’m always going off on these wild tangents. Maybe it’s lock picking, or the history of the bra or how they make balloons; I get absorbed in some pretty weird stuff. Whatever the flavor of the month happens to be, I learn absolutely everything I can about it for a couple of three weeks, then zip, I’m over it. Once you expand your head, you never look at the world quite the same way again.
Isn't that the truth?! What do you like to do when you aren't writing?
My parents used to have a travel trailer on the Delaware shore. I grew up outside of Philadelphia, so it was only about 3 hours away. We spent weekends there all summer long for years. I loved to go crabbing and fishing with my dad. LOL, I used to be such a tomboy! On rainy days, we’d all pile into my girlfriend’s mom’s old Buick station wagon. She’d haul us giggling and laughing into Ocean City, MD for pizza and let us go wild on the boardwalk.
I’ve been a car girl for as long as I can remember. I actually had a Suzuki 50 Trail Rider I used all through high school. I went everywhere on that darn thing! Somewhere along the line I realized that motorcycles and skirts don’t mix and got a blue MG Midget. My hubby is a car guy and we have a Model A hotrod. I’m not into all the grease and engine stuff but can hold a pretty mean flashlight. I love the people and the cruising. It gives me an excuse to get all dolled up and wear a pair of tight pants or a poodle skirt.
Anyway, my husband’s family also vacationed in Ocean City, and we went there with our son when he was growing up. We have our own place there now. It’s only a couple hours from Norfolk, VA, so we try to go whenever we can. I cherish our time in Ocean City. We both run so hard, it’s the only time we have for each other. I’m lucky to have a special place with so many memories from all the times of my life. I wish we could live there all the time.
I'm adding Ocean City to my "must visit" list! And a random question for you: Did you dress up for Halloween as a kid? If so, what was your favorite costume?
It was pretty rural once you got outside of Philadelphia when I was growing up, so we didn’t really dress for Halloween. I mean, like it’s not much fun walking two miles between neighbors for a Snickers bar :( I made up for lost time when I got to college. We used to start planning what we were going to be for Halloween as soon as we came back in the fall. I didn’t have a favorite costume, but I’ll never forget the year my girlfriend decided we were going to go as the Big Bad Wolf and one of the Three Little Pigs.
I still don’t know how I let her rope me into being the stupid pig! She got all dolled up in a dark brown leotard and 4” heels with this sassy little black leather mini, and dyed the playboy bunny ears she used the year before to match. A ton of hairspray and some of that cat grease make-up, and the guys were following her like a tail.
Oh, I wore a leotard and tights alright- bubblegum pink, with a pillow for a tummy and a pair of yucky black patent flats. And then there were those plastic alien ears and that rubber bald cap and the curly cue tail made out of pipe cleaners! At least you couldn’t tell it was me with that glue-on latex pig nose. Oink, oink, I was a real sight. You’ll have to trust me. I destroyed all the pictures :)
I'd pay good money to see that! :0) Thanks for being here with us Lee. And as Lee said, she's offering a copy of The Twist to one lucky Armchair Heroine. So make a comment, ask a question, share your thoughts! That's your ticket to the contest. :0)