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Posts Tagged ‘Author Interview’

Everyone please welcome Harlequin author Amy Knupp who is the “October Author” at ALBTALBS! :D This sounds dorky, but I first “met” her on twitter, and then at a few conferences. She’s totally fabulous, and I think she’s the best.

1. Do you collect anything?  Good intentions and calories.

2. What would your ultimate meal consist of? Describe each course and beverage.  I don’t know exactly, but it would definitely include bacon.  And cheese…lots of cheese.

3. What was your first job? Your most interesting one?  I worked at Dairy Queen for a total of about 6 years in high school and college.  I still have dreams about making that perfect curl on the top of the cone (and I’m pretty sure I still could, even though it’s been a LOT of years.)  Most interesting job?  Easily the current one I have as a freelance copyeditor (www.blueotterediting.com).  Not only do I get paid to read, but I get to indulge my punctuation OCD-ness. :)

4. What are five of your biggest pet peeves? What do you think would be fitting punishments for each?  1. Drivers who swing their car out to the right to take a left turn.  2.  People who use the word “irregardless.”  3.  Insurance companies that think they can prescribe what’s best for my health.  4.  Radio stations that ruin really good songs by playing them every twenty minutes.  5.  Wizard of Oz comments when I tell people I used to live in Kansas.  (I hate Wizard of Oz.  Don’t judge me.) [I'm a little surprised Amy doesn't have punishments for them... she seems like she'd be the type. ;X]

5. What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever eaten?  I’m not very adventurous with food, so it’d probably be some kind of Blizzard combo from back in my Dairy Queen days.  The most disgusting one I remember was Nerds candy and Whoppers…together in vanilla ice cream.

6. If you have to listen to a song 24/7 for four days, which one would you choose?  I would throw the iPod in the lake after about an hour, no matter what song it was.  I love music but need to have a variety.

7. Cowboy boots, Stilettos, or Go Go boots?  The only one I own is stilettos, so if I have to choose one, I’d go with that.  My shoe of choice would be my fur-lined Sketchers.  They’re ugly, comfy and warm, and during the Wisconsin winter, comfy and warm win out.

8. How’d you come up with your author name? Have you ever forgotten your author name/accidentally ignored someone when they called out to you?  My parents gave me the Amy part and my husband gave me the Knupp part, so no, I’ve never forgotten or ignored. :)

9. Who would win in an ultimate death match? A Ninja or a Viking? A ninja.  Vikings are all big and bad-ass, but I’m thinking they’d lack the finesse of a ninja.

10. What was your favorite book as a child?  There was a book in my grade school library called A Letter to Amy.  I checked it out EVERY week just because my name was in the title.  No memory of what it was about, but it just shows how important a title is, right? ;)

11. What did you do with your first royalty check?  What I do with all my royalty checks…pay bills.  Glamorous, yes?

12. What’s your writing process?  Plot and plot and figure and plot and start writing and then figure out my plot sucks and won’t work for my characters.  From there, I pretty much have to wing it.  You’d think skipping the plotting stage would be a good idea for me, but that causes me more anxiety than it’s worth.  That original plotting craziness seems to be a necessary step in order for me to get to the eventual story.

13. What’s the most unique/strange silly skill your possess?  I’m pretty sure I could win a belching contest but I’ve never had the nerve to try one in public.  (I do rule the Knupp house, even though I’m the only female, though.  My mom is so proud.)

14. Which is worst? Hang nail, splinter, or paper cut?  Paper cut!

15. What’s the first type of alcohol you ever tried to drink? What do you prefer to drink now?  Kahlua and cream is the worst because I detest coffee.  I prefer gluten-free beer…or vodka.  I try to avoid having them together because that never ends well.

16. Is there a genre you’d like to write but haven’t? What genre would you personally never try to write?  I plan to try young adult, but probably most of what I write will always have some kind of romance in it.  I would never ever try to write historical because I am a history idiot for the most part.

She’s giving away copies of her upcoming November book After the Storm. Have you ever read a book by Ms. Knupp before? What questions do you have for her? Remember, the more off the wall the better! :D

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Today we have totally awesome author Alyssa Day visiting with us, and she’s also a life saver. She’s a rock star that saved my bacon at the last minute, so yay Ms. Day!

She answered a few questions, obviously opting for the ALBTALBS style author interview. Without further ado, the questions! (I also gave her a strict time line – kinda like – negative time – so… pretty impressive, huh?)

What do you think is the best commercial of all time?
The Sprint herd of dachshunds commercial. “STAMPEDE!” Cracks me up every time.

What’s the most unique/strange silly skill your possess?
I can sing the French national anthem in French and the national anthem of the Philippines in Tagalog. (!!!)

Did you go to prom? if so – describe your dress. Would you admit to wearing it today, much less actually wear it? ;)
Didn’t go. Was DESPERATELY shy in high school, and was dating an older guy (out of HS). (I dunno, I think if you were dating a  guy out of HS you weren’t that shy… since you had a older boyfriend ;))

What was the first type of alcohol you tried to drink? How was that experience? Do you still drink that?
Beer.  ICK. Hated it. Like some beers now, but more of a wine girl.

Do you have any writing rituals or superstitions? Either for before you begin a book, while you’re writing it, or around the time the book is released?
Yes, every new release day, my family and I go “visit” my new book at the bookstore and then go out to dinner.  It’s a welcome bit of celebration in a crazy industry.  While writing, I listen to one music CD over and over and over during the mad rush at the end of the first draft. (Norah Jones, Come Away with Me.) I’m like Pavlov’s dog: put that CD on and I start drooling.  Er, writing.

What would you put in your ideal candy bar?
Dark chocolate, caramel, and pecans. And possibly nacho chips & jalapeños.

What tv show do you wish was still on the air?
FIREFLY FOR THE WIN!!!

Did you ever read under the covers at night as a child with a flash light or night light? [So your parents wouldn't know you were awake?] Ever have any mishaps with it?
YES! OMG, yes! Read The Exorcist when I was only 10 and living in the Philippines and scared myself so badly I had to sleep with the lights on for weeks!

What’s the most embarrassing thing to ever happen to you at school? What about the most embarrassing thing to happen at a conference?
You don’t have that kind of money. (Guys, I think that’s a challenge! Anyone want to start up a fund? :P)

Do you collect anything? If yes, what and why?
I have an involuntary snow globe collection, thanks to my crazy husband. Also, we have a tradition between us that whenever one of us travels for work, we bring the other one a gift to try to win the “Most Tacky” prize. The item must be no larger than 1 or 2 inches tall/wide, so we don’t fill up our house with this crap.  Judd (aka Navy Guy) is currently ahead with the sumo wrestler he got me in Japan.

What’s your favorite hair care product? shampoo, conditioner, and other?
My Paul Mitchell Smoothing Serum. Could never time travel to the past–my hair would be a frizzy mess without it.

If you could be a character in any children’s literature book – which book would you choose, and who would you be?
Prince Caspian. Or Batgirl.

Ms. Day is giving away TWO prizes today! One person will win a print book from her Warriors of Poseidon series and another will win an audiobook to the series! Wow!

So – have you read any of her books? Do you like Atlantis, or Greek Mythology? Does the name Poseidon mean anything to you? Or in general – have any questions to ask Alyssa? Remember, the zanier, the better. Outrageous questions are encouraged! :D

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You guys! June is over! (Thank goodness) I can’t believe July is here, and yet it is. The year is more than half over! As you know, the first Tuesday of the month is a Guest Author & A Giveaway post, and we’ve got Roxanne St. Claire with us today! She has been around the romance community for many years, and writes in various genres too, so I expect she’s quite familiar to most of you. :D (And she’s shared an exclusive excerpt with us before…)

1. Do you have any writing rituals or superstitions? Either for before you begin a book, while you’re writing it, or around the time the book is released?
Before I write “Chapter One” I have to have a picture that captures the looks and attitude of my hero. So, I have to spend days and days (sometimes more, if you can believe that) surfing the internet for pictures of hot guys. I also like to have a title I love, even if I know it might not make the final cut. Those two things are worthy procrastination techniques, er, I mean pre-writing goals.

2. What is the super power you would most like to have? and least like to have?
I would like to be bullet proof and nothing — no words, no weapons, no mean looks, no gossip, no lies, no pile of hungry red ants, no monsters, no nothin’ — could hurt me. Least? I would never want to be able to read people’s minds. Why? Because I’m not bullet proof.

3. What do you think is the best commercial of all time? (Is it online?)
It was a pro-bono ad written and produced by my stepson for a homeless shelter, and he won an Emmy for it! Here it is!

4. What’s the first type of alcohol you ever tried to drink? Where did you have it, and how old were you? What’s your favorite drink now?
Southern Comfort and orange juice, freshman year in college. Blech. My drink depends on my mood and surroundings, but I find that most situations call for wine. Perhaps all situations. In fact, this interview just called for some. Hold on…I’m pouring. Things might get more interesting now.

5. Would you shave your head for $50,000.00? If yes, would you do it for a lesser amount/what’s your minimum? If no, how much would it take for you to go bald? And then… would you do anything with your hair?
For $50,000? That’s a good question. There’s a book idea in that question, I tell you. Since I have so many friends who’ve lost their hair to chemo, I might be convinced to shave but only to give the money to cancer research. Otherwise, it would seem pretty smarmy to me. And, trust me, no one would want my paltry, bleached strands that don’t hold a curl and can be blow dried in less time than it takes most people to apply their product.

6. What’s the most embarrassing thing to ever happen to you at school? What about at a conference?
I got yelled at by Sister Tarsisius for claiming I had a headache, and stood in the hall of St. Gabriel’s in front of her and peed my pants. (Second grade, true story.) At a conference? Same thing. Only it was Kresley Cole and I was laughing.

7. What’s the most interesting thing you’ve ever eaten? What about the best thing? What’s your favorite dish? Your favorite fruit? Your favorite vegetable? Is it “just because” or is there any reason for each?
Honestly, I don’t think of food as “interesting” or not. I am married to a foodie of the enth degree. I think of food in terms of delicious, more delicious, and “oh my God, I will never divorce the man who made this meal.” Fave fruit is a dessert he makes based on a recipe by Adriana Giramonti called “Strawberries Italian Style” that is TO DIE FOR. Here’s recipe.  We serve those over puff pastries and they’ll give you a buzz, so don’t serve to the little ones. Vegetable? What is this vegetable you speak of? Do French fries count?

8. Do you prefer Winter Olympics, or Summer? And which sport/event?
My favorite part is the opening ceremonies! Seriously, it’s all downhill (especially skiing, ha ha) from there for me.

9. Which ancient culture/civilization would you most like to visit? Ancient Greece, Rome, Egypt, China, Mesopotamia, Africa, or South America? Why?
Oh, somewhere around Jerusalem in 33 AD. I would love to have been there and met Him.

10. What is a question you always wish people would ask you [as an author or otherwise]?
Tell me about your next book! Why,thank you, Limecello, I will! My first Young Adult book, Don’t You Wish, releases in TEN DAYS (a week from today, now,) from Random House/Delacorte. This is a parallel universe story full of hilarity, emotion, romance, and a little (very little) quantum physics. I love this book and think everyone in this universe and the one parallel to us should read it. Also, it has been optioned for film!! You can ask me about that, too!

11. Which fairy tale would you most like to be in? Least?
Aladdin! Sinbad! Ali Baba! My favorite fairy tales are from a book I still have, called Tales from the Arabian Nights: A “tween-age” book. My mother ordered it from her monthly book club when I was ten, and I think I’ve read the Aladdin fairy tales a thousand times. I still have the book, all yellowed and dog-earred, with some of my favorite lines highlighted and notes in my little girl handwriting. Here’s an example of something I underlined.

On his fourth voyage, Sinbad was almost eaten by cannibals, who did not mind his being skinny.

12. What did you do with the money from your first royalty check?
That sound you hear? That’s me guffawing in laughter. My first royalty check was worth less than the postage on the package the statement came in.

13. What TV show do you wish was still on the air?
Dallas. Wait! They brought it back. And, honestly, they should have left it off the air. The lesson is: you can never go home, even to South Fork. Especially to South Fork. JR’s eyebrows were epic, though.

14. Which do you prefer? 15 degree weather, or 105 degree weather? Along those lines – would you rather go to Nebraska, or Vermont?
I’m a hot weather girl, which is why I live in Florida. I can take anything but being cold. I have been to Vermont many times (gorgeous!) so I would choose Nebraska…with someone to keep me warm.

15. Which has been your favorite genre to write? Is there any new one you want to try? Which genre are you focusing on now?
I love ‘em all! I’ve written more romantic suspense than anything, and I guess that’s my wheelhouse. (Free book to anyone who knows where that expression began!) I’m comfortable in that genre, that’s for sure. But, this past year, I’ve written only contemporaries and young adult, and I’ve found them both to be fresh and fun. I’d like to try an epic paranormal YA fantasy next. (Did I say that?)

16. What is one luxury you simply cannot live without?
Pedicures. Cleaning ladies. Finishing salt. Why must it be one?

17. What would you put in your ideal candy bar? What’s your favorite snack food? Are you a sweet, or savory girl?
My ideal treat is both sweet and salty. Hands down, my number one favorite snack is (are?) chocolate covered potato chips made locally, sold here and obviously in invented by a woman in the middle of PMS. Ladies, you will thank me for this link, I promise.

18. If you weren’t a writer, what would you be doing? What is one career/profession you could never do? Why? (To both)
If I weren’t a writer, I would have convinced my husband to open a restaurant and I would be the hostess, a job I was born to do! I love strangers, I love food, and I have a bit of a control freak in me (You can’t sit there!!!). His name is Rich and my daughter decided the restaurant would be called “Rich With Flavor” – can you beat that? Barring that, I would have been Christiane Amanpour, traveling to warzones to cover heartwrenching news stories and have drunken, lusty affairs with brooding foreign correspondents.

I could never do anything that requires math, for obvious reasons.

As you can see, Rocki is herself quite the character! :D Thank you so much for visiting with all of us today, Ms. St. Claire!

Roxanne is giving away a copy of Barefoot in the Sand and Don’t You Wish – two winners! So what questions do you have for her? Have you ever read her category romances? (That’s how I “discovered” her way back in the day! … Or was it French Twist? Either way, you should read all of them. :D)

Y’all know the drill. Have you read anything by Rocki before? Which genre that she writes is your favorite? And, as always – my challenge to you. What crazy questions do you have for her? *NB you can find how the giveaway is run here.

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Hi friends! Birthday month is almost over :( And not a single present! But that’s okay, because you know what? I have presents for you! And you know what’s a great gift? A fun visit from author Julie Anne Long! She’s answered some questions, and is also sharing an exclusive excerpt of A Notorious Countess Confesses which isn’t out until October 30! Whee!!!

Ms. Long is also a sneaky one, so keep an eye out for her! ;) Anyway, let’s start out with those questions!

1. Which would you prefer wearing – cowboy boots or stilettos?
Cowboy boots. Where else would I keep my miniature pearl-handled  derringer?

2. As a child, did you ever imagine your stuffed animals came to life?
“Imagine”? What do you mean? Didn’t…yours?  I suspect my Breyer horses of galloping all over the place while I was sleeping.

3. What do you think about clowns?
I try not to think about clowns.

4. What author promo has been most effective for you?
It’s so difficult to meaningfully quantify the impact (though it’s tempting for anyone who likes to analyze things, and boy do I) of any particular promo. I think I’ll instead offer a bit of advice: think the smartest (and it sounds simple) thing any author can do is to make sure the readers who love her books know when she has a new one coming, however that works best for you—newsletter, Facebook, Twitter or so forth.  Maintain a consistent, ongoing connection with your readers. It’s such a pleasure.

5. What was your favorite book as a child? Which character in it did you most want to be?
I loved so many books as a child it’s nearly impossible to choose one. But when we were little, my sister and I went through a phase where we were obsessed with all the Laura Ingalls Wilder books. We played “Little House on the Prairie” every day. We baked mud pies on baking day and pretended to milk our poor Malamute (she was the stand-in for a cow) and churned fake butter. If I could have been Laura Ingalls Wilder riding Black Beauty, that would have been SWEET.

6. What kind of toothbrush and toothpaste is on your bathroom counter right now? What about your toothbrush? Are there brands for either you prefer?
My toothbrush, huh? It’s pink. And has bristles at all different heights. The toothpaste is Crest and apparently it does an awful lot of things—whitens, brightens, scrubs, freshens my breath—and the tube is huge, about the size of a forearm, maybe because I bought it at Costco.

7. If you were to become a bear, which type would you choose?
I think I might like to be a Giant Panda. I quite like the idea of the word “Giant” in front of my name.  Their scientific name, Ailuropoda melanoleuca, translates to “black and white cat-foot,” and I’m for anything to do with cats. They’re omnivorous, and so am I. Black and white as a color combination never goes out of style.  And they look unbearably (unbearably. Ha!) puffy and adorable, but they’re still BEARS, and they might just attack anyone who irritates them.

8. What is your secret plan for world domination?
Little do you all know, but I’ve been dominating the world for some time now. You are all puppet s in my intricate master plan. ;) But I’m a benign (and subtle) despot.  But you have nothing to fear: unlike Chase Eversea in Since the Surrender, I don’t have any issues with puppets.

9. Do you collect anything? If no, have you ever collected anything? What did you do with it?
I don’t collect anything with real conviction. Unless you count, of course, books (then again, I’m sure most of the people reading this blog have prodigious libraries).  I love very old books, but I don’t have a lot because  I like to come across them serendipitously—I love thrift stores and rummage sales and the huge Friends of the Library sale at Fort Mason for that sort of thing. I have several books with lovely worn Art Nouveau covers. I have a few special Art Deco objects. The older I get the less stuff I seem to want, and I’m particular about what I acquire.

10. What five deceased authors would you invite to a dinner party?
Deceased authors?!? That’s an alarming notion! Are they zombies? Will I need to serve brains??
If I may resurrect five authors, let’s see…if I don’t do this completely off the top of my head I’ll be mulling forever, so I’ll do this completely off the top of my head. I want to laugh, think and flirt during my dinner party, and I want my guests to get along with each other and have a wonderful time, and you didn’t specific fiction authors (and I love wriggling through a loophole), so I’ll invite Jane Austen, Benjamin Franklin (a thinker and a flirter if ever there was one), Richard Feynman (Nobel Prize winning Physicist; I read his book “Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman”, many times—he was a kick. I wish I knew him), and George Gordon, Lord Byron. I think they’ll all hit it off.

Exclusive excerpt from A Notorious Countess Confesses, coming October 2012
copyright 2012 Julie Anne Long (It’s so exclusive and early Avon hasn’t even posted the cover on Amazon yet! Eee!)

A little bit of set-up here: Shortly before this excerpt takes place, the Countess of Wareham and Reverend Sylvaine had an inauspicious and very brief first encounter, right after morning services at the church in Pennyroyal Green. They’re coolly polite to each other, but our jaded countess is unmoved by the admittedly handsome vicar,  and Adam privately thinks the countess, though beautiful, seems remote and untouchable, “as sealed and gleaming as a jar of preserves,” and therefore not terribly interesting to him. When Lady Wareham  and her maid run into a little carriage trouble on the Sussex downs and the countess steps out of her carriage while her maid goes in search of help,  they have another little encounter when he accidentally startles her. Do impressions change? Let’s see…

She leaped back with a stifled shriek, clapping her hand to her heart.
“Sweet Merciful Mary Mother of God, ye shouldna sneak up like that! Ye creep like a cat ye bloody big …”
She stopped.
A very ripe Irish accent, long dormant but apparently healthy and whole and frisky and unleashed by shock, echoed across the countryside. Bloody big bloody big bloody big …
Ohhhh. The shame of it.
She wanted to close her eyes and sink deep, deep into the earth.
Instead, she forced herself to look up—very up—at who proved to be the Reverend Adam Sylvaine, the vicar.
He appeared entirely unruffled. Apart from his eyes, that was. They fair danced like flames with wicked, wicked, downright un-Christian mirth.
One of her horses whickered into what threatened to be a never-ending silence.
Be a gentleman, she silently willed him. Leave it lie. Pretend you heard nothing at all.
Up his eyebrows went.
“Biiiig …” he prompted.
She eyed him stonily.  Bastard, she was tempted to complete. Why not? In for a penny, in for a pound.
He waited. Patient as Job. Wicked as Lucifer. Amused as hell.
“Vicar,” she completed inanely, finally, on a mumble.
His head went back as though this was almost too good to be true, then came down on a nod.
“I suppose I am,” he agreed thoughtfully, though his voice held a suspicious tremble. Stifled laughter. “I suppose I am a big …vicar …. Though no one has ever before accused me before of creeping like a cat. Something to do with being … well, big, I suppose.”
The vicar was taking the piss out of her, as her brother Seamus would say, and quite effectively, too.
She looked full into his face then. His eyes were such a disarming blue—the color of deep, still water, of Lough Leane in Killarney—they made her strangely restless. It was if the weather inside him was always clear and temperate. Like his conscience and unblemished soul, no doubt, she thought sardonically. An unprepossessing black wool coat—Weston hadn’t stitched up that one, she knew this for certain—whipped behind him in the stiffening wind, which was also doing its best to pluck a carelessly knotted cravat from the confines of a gray, striped waistcoat  of no discernible pedigree.
And as though it they were was a beckoning road, her eyes followed the line of longer, finer, harder thighs than a vicar had any business possessing down to the dusty, creased toes of his boots. Which most definitely had not been made by Hoby.
Her eyes stayed safely on the ground. She took advantage of a moment of unexpectedly necessary composure gathering in the wake of the revelation about his thighs.
“I thought vicars were supposed to wear dresses.”  She said this almost testily. At least she had gotten  control of her accent.
“Oh, a dress is optional.”
Ping! Insults bounced from him, it seemed.
“And by ‘dress,’ I suppose you mean ‘cassock’?” he added helpfully. “Difficult to creep like a cat in a cassock, you see, Lady Wareham. It swirls about one’s ankles, flaps noisily in the breeze. One needs stealth to stop iniquity in its tracks.”
In … iquity?
The word was a slap.
But … perhaps he was jesting? Surely he was? Did he know about her? Was the whole of this horrid village going to take turns plaguing her in turns? Would they turn out with boiling oil?
“Is that why you’ve suddenly appeared? Did you scent iniquity on the wind then, Reverend Sylvaine? Do you roam the Sussex countryside sniffing for it, like a truffle-hunting pig?”
He didn’t reply for so long she finally turned to look at him.
To find he’d gone as rigid as if he’d been driven into the ground.
Something about that stillness made her think that angering him would be very unwise, indeed. Which seemed a peculiar thought to have about a vicar. But despite the fact that he wasn’t blinking, he didn’t seem angry. He was studying her the way one might study a lock about to be picked. The only movement was his hair. The breeze lifted it, let it fall, lifted it, let it fall. Hidden in the dark blond were dark gold or copper threads and strands sun-bleached to silvery fairness. In the silence and stillness it was absurdly fascinating.
“I’ve dozens of cousins and a number of siblings, Lady Wareham. If you’ve siblings, you won’t be surprised to learn that my hide is quite callused. It’s nearly impossible to offend me.”
Well.
He said it evenly. As if he hadn’t just seen right through her, and neatly incinerated her defenses, as surely as if she were a petulant child.
“Some might interpret that as a challenge, Reverend.”
He went quiet again.  And then he smiled. Very, very faintly. Just enough, it seemed, for her to notice the elegant shape of his mouth. To tease out one dimple at the corner of it. And when at last he spoke, again she felt his voice more than she heard it, like fingers brushed along the short hairs at her nape. It had gone soft, so soft. But somehow it wasn’t gentle.
“Oh? Did you come to Pennyroyal Green for challenge, then, Lady Wareham?”
She stared at him.
He stared back.
And to her astonishment, heat slowly washed the back of her neck, the backs of her arms, and tightened the bands of her stomach. It was suddenly more difficult to breathe. It occurred to her that she’d never seen a man who was so … contained. Yes: That that was precisely the right word. As though something in him, some potential, required control. And whatever it was, whatever he was, pulled at her. The way earth pulled water into it. It felt stronger than she was, and her entire life had depended upon her being stronger than anyone.
She turned abruptly away. She inhaled in the hopes of clearing her head, but the traitorous air had turned to wine or some such; her thoughts staggered like foxed heirs at a gaming hell.
He was only a vicar, she reminded herself. The man had caught her in a rare moment of weakness amidst a particularly vulnerable episode in her life. That was all. And she was very weary, of course. After all, the church nap had hardly been the restorative kind.
She tugged her pelisse about her more snugly and stared toward her halted carriage with a little frown. Where the devil was Henny?
“It seems one of our horses threw a shoe,” she said finally. Her voice was fainter than she would have preferred.
She wondered if she’d disappointed him.
He’d been watching her. She half suspected he knew the number of her eyelashes now.
“I see,” he said easily enough, after a moment. “I was on my way to visit a parishioner when I saw your stopped carriage. And as since there’s no worry about brigands on this road since One-Eyed William haunted these parts a few decades ago, and as this isn’t precisely one of the more scenic parts of Sussex, I feared something might be amiss.”
One-eyed William? Was he jesting?
She said nothing.
“I’ll just have a word with your driver then, shall I?”
When she didn’t reply—for she couldn’t seem to find her voice—he turned. She listened to him take one step, then two steps away, and somehow the sound of his footsteps seemed like the sound of failure.
“Reverend Sylvaine …”
He stopped, turned back toward her, his brows raised in a query.
The surest way to regain her power was to deploy what made her powerful.
“I must ask your forgiveness. I fear you startled me from my manners, and … I’ve never before met a vicar, you see, and it seems like such an interesting, important role. Pray, how does one become a vicar?”
She, possibly better than any other woman in England, knew the way beneath any man’s ramparts—whether he was the Home Secretary or the King of England or a coal monger: It was flattery, served up with flirtation and innuendo.
She was startled when Reverend Sylvaine drew up visibly, instantly almost comically wary.
“One of the best ways, I’ve learned, to become one is to be related to the family who owns the living,” he living.” He said shortly. With just a hint of irony.
And said nothing more.
“Must one be faultless of character? Entirely … free of vices?”  She folded her hands before her and aimed her gaze up at him through her lashes with the precision of a rifleman.
The vicar glanced down at her demurely folded hands as though she’d unlocked a pistol. And then he slowly looked back up into her face.
He hesitated.
“I suppose it depends on how one interprets the word.”
A masterpiece of circumspection, that sentence.
His eyes were now unreadable as an empty sky, shuttered. Hers, she was fairly certain, thanks thank to some collusion between her thick black lashes and the color of her eyes and the angle of sunlight and the sheer intent to charm, were sparkling.
“Have you any vices, Mr. Sylvaine?” Her tone implied that she sincerely hoped he did, that she would be understanding and forgiving, would indeed find them fascinating, and that her own would nicely complement his.
The vicar was now as tense as a bunched fist.
And then a faint dent appeared between his eyes.
Alas, by no stretch of the imagination could she interpret this expression as “bewitched.”
“None, I’m certain, that would interest you.” He said it gently, and turned his head just slightly back toward the road, where his duties apparently awaited. As though, of all things …
… he was bored.
She was speechless.
“I should think it’s safe enough to walk alone along this part of the green, Lady Wareham, but perhaps you oughtn’t go far until you know the country better. Perhaps you’d prefer to wait inside your carriage out of the cold?”
She knew when she’d been dismissed. Pride—and astonishment—prevented her from flailing.
“Seeing to the safety of your flock, are you?” she managed almost lightly. Her voice was faint from the jostling her pride had taken.
He smiled politely. “And to my duty as a gentleman.”  More of that peculiar, distancing gentleness.  “I apologize for startling you. It wasn’t my intention.”
To her horror, heat bloomed in her cheeks again.
“My maid is very nearby,” she said shortly, struggling to hide her embarrassment. “And I don’t mind the cold.”
“I’ll just see if I can be of some assistance to your driver then, shall I?”
When she said nothing, he made a very elegant bow and turned away from her. She stood still as a stone, watching as he hailed the driver and her footman, who greeted him cheerily. All those male heads gathered together, the wigged one and her stocky, hatless driver and Mr. Sylvaine’s fair one, conferring in low voices. While the driver gently held the horse’s head by the harness, the vicar bent and lifted up the glossy animal’s hoof and inspected it. Evie watched in astonishment as he tugged his cravat free of his waistcoat and carefully, almost tenderly, wrapped the horse’s hoof to the evident approval of her staff.
And then he turned and waved a farewell, striding up the road, no doubt toward his original destination. Cravatless.
She watched him go.
At last she heard the huffing of Henny’s breathing before she saw Henny, and then Henny crested the hill, skirts lifted in her hands, exposing a few inches of thick, sturdy ankle decorously covered in thick, sagging, thick woolen stockings. “I fear no one answered me knock at the door, m’lady.”
She dropped her skirts and froze in place when she saw her mistress’s face.
Her eyes went wide.
Then she narrowed them shrewdly and swiveled her great head about and raised a hand to shade her eyes when she saw Adam Sylvaine walking away, posture like a soldier’s, stride long and easy.
Silently, they both watched him.
They in fact watched long enough for it to become ridiculous.
He never once looked back.
“Now that one is a man,” Henny pronounced finally. As though they’d been debating the topic.
Evie snorted. “The country air has curdled your brain.” She tossed her head and strode toward the carriage. Henny followed on her heels, still huffing.

So what do you think of the excerpt? Are you sold? Gonna preorder it right now? [Getting my hints? ;D] So you know the drill – ask Julie Anne Long any question you want! And one lucky commenter gets any two Pennyroyal Green series books of his/her choice! Fantastic!

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Hey y’all! You’ll notice I am NOT ON TOP of things lately. My apologies. No reason to get into it here/now – nor is it the place. Especially since you don’t want to hear what I’ve got to say, because the fabulous Leslie Kelly is here! She’s super awesome, and agreed to be a guest here even though I missed meeting her in NYC last year because someone *coughsJoycoughs* decided to get a second margarita. ;D No, actually, this was probably scheduled at least six months before that happened. Yeah I’m totally sleep deprived.

Anyway, it’s still part of the birthday month festivities! And today is extra special and fun because Leslie wrote a guest post and decided to answer some of those zany “author interview” questions! You’ll notice everyone in June is getting some from the same set. I did it on purpose. (Honest!) Thought it’d be fun to compare them. :D

Adaptation

By

Leslie Kelly

 After having written dozens of books during my fourteen-year career, I am always on the lookouts for projects that excite me creatively. My Harlequin editor has told me many times that she knows as long as she can keep me interested, she’ll get great books. If I get bored—if I feel like I’m doing the same old book again and again—writing is an utter chore.

Fortunately, a few years ago I was invited to participate in a new Blaze miniseries, called Blazing Bedtime Stories. Since that time, I’ve found something I really love to do—adapting fairy tales, standard tales or classics, and giving them a modern, sexy, fun Blaze twist.

I’ve now written several bedtime novellas, spicing up stories loosely based on Little Red Riding Hood, The Princess and the Pea, The Prince and the Pauper, and Sleeping Beauty. I just finished the next story in the series, which is a mash-up of The Nutcracker and Coming To America which will be coming out in December.

Having realized that I wanted to do more than fairy tales, I thought about it last year and decided to try something different. I am a big William Shakespeare fan, and decided to write an updated, modernized, super-steamy version of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Believe it or not, I’d never actually read that play, or seen any version of it, so my first job was to read it. I then took bits and pieces that I thought would translate well into a contemporary story, and layered them into my version, Blazing Midsummer Nights. I had a great time dropping in little Easter eggs throughout the book—from the setting in Athens, Georgia, to the “magical” woods surrounding the southern estate where the hero and heroine both live, to the names of their eccentric landlords (Tatiana and Obi-Wan…ha!) I played around with some dreams, some mystical tea, an overbearing father and a love quadrangle. I was thrilled with the result, and can’t remember the last time a story was so easy for me to write.

I loved doing that book so much that I began thinking of other types of story I could adapt for a Blaze release. I have read most of the “classic” novels and that’s where I went for my next bit of inspiration. I immediately thought of the D.H. Lawrence novel Lady Chatterley’s Lover. Though that book was incredibly racy in its day, it is relatively tame compared to what’s being published today, and I thought I could take the heat up another notch. The problem is, I abhor infidelity. I knew I would never be comfortable writing a married heroine who’s cheating on her husband, so I had to play around with the premise to reach my comfort level. So far, the story’s coming along really well and I think readers will like it.

Now, the “author interview!”

1.     How’d you come up with your author name?
Actually, Leslie Kelly is my real name. When I sold my first book, I just thought it would be easier to stick with my real name rather than a pseudonym. Looking back, I wish I’d chosen another one since my books get some attention for their steam content.

I also write dark romantic thrillers under the pseudonym Leslie Parrish. I was going back and forth with my NAL editor on possible pseudonyms—one would be too short, one too long, one too similar to another author’s. Finally I said, “Well, how about Parrish…since so many people will perish in these books?!” She loved it and that’s how we settled on that.

2. What’s the most embarrassing thing to ever happen to you at school? And what about at a conference?
I remember being in 11th grade, sitting in one of those open classrooms that were popular back in the 80’s. (Basically an enormous area, with “giant cubicles” for each classroom.) It was Mr. Virts’s Contemporary Issue class—he was my favorite teacher, it was my favorite class. Anyway, I was leaning back on the back 2 legs of the chair, and of course I leaned too far. Not only did I fly backward, but as I was holding onto the edge of my desk, I brought that with me. It did a complete flip-over, smashing into another girl who sat nearby.

I was mortified to say the least!

As for the conference—at the RWA conference in Dallas in, oh, I think it was 2004? I was in the bar (not even having had a drink yet, believe it or not) and was pulling over a really heavy chair to join my editor and a few other authors. I was wearing really super-thick-soled flip-flops, and the chair was heavier than I expected. I ended up pulling, but it didn’t budge, and I fell back on my butt. Flat, hard, SLAM on my tailbone. I was in utter agony. My roommate came back to the room and found me lying on the bed, face down, with a towel full of ice on my butt. I had to fly home to Florida that way, and when I got home and went to the doctor for an x-ray, I found out I’d actually broken my tailbone. Talk about painful!

3. If you were to become a spammer, what product would you peddle? And what would your message be? Come up with the most attention getting, creative, crazy thing. Yes, that’s a challenge.
Dick of the Year Awards. They’d go only to spammers who constantly hit me with Viagra or “finance minister from another country” schemes. I would totally love to counter by spamming those spammers with a whole bunch of “Congratulations, you’re a dick” messages!

4. What’s the most interesting thing you’ve learned while writing/researching a book?
Hmm, going to be careful with this answer…lol! Let’s just say there’s a book I wrote called Overexposed, which most readers call “The Cannoli Book.” While writing that book, I discovered I reaaaaalllly love cannoli. ;-)

5. What five deceased authors would you invite to a dinner party?
Oscar Wilde and Edgar Allen Poe definitely—they are two of my all time favorites. Mark Twain seems like an interesting guy to spend an evening with. I’ve always thought it so sad that Margaret Mitchell died such a tragic death, and since Gone With The Wind has long been a favorite, I’d invite her, too. Finally, Kathleen Woodiwiss, because she introduced me to the romance novel. I read The Flame and the Flower when I was twelve or thirteen years old, locked in my bedroom closet with a flashlight. My love affair with romance has continued ever since. She was, truly, the grand dame of our genre.

Now, Leslie has questions for you!!

I’m curious, am I the only one who loves these adaptations? Do you like seeing classic stories re-told in some new, original way? And what story would you most like to see made into a sexy, sassy Blaze?

Guess what?! Leslie said “I’d be happy to give away 3 backlist books, to random commenters, of any of my Blazing Bedtime Stories books.” So whee! Any comment – or fun questions for Leslie? (You can answer her question…) But I’m just waiting for that one outrageous one that tops my interview repetoire… ;D

*NB – ETA: So to clarify… the prize is a two-book set to each of three random commenters. Isn’t Leslie so generous? 

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This might be the best author interview. Ever. For any future author interviewees… this is where the bar is set! Meanwhile, we all know Meljean Brook is awesome. If you didn’t know that before, you definitely know it now. And the following is why. Imagine – if she’s so hilarious and witty here, what her books are like! (For the some time visitors who are thinking “Hey! It’s not the first Tuesday of the month!” You’re right. But it’s June.)

So let’s get on with it, shall we?

1. What’s the best admonishment your mom ever gave you, or that you’ve ever given a kid? e.g. if you make that face it’ll freeze like that. or… if you walk from the kitchen to the table w/ a fork in your mouth you’ll stab yourself through the throat and die.
Honestly, I don’t remember. My mom worked all of the time, so she wasn’t often there to scold us. My sisters and I stayed at my grandma’s every day after school, and I do remember the time that she got us to stop fighting by saying that “Sisters fighting, that’s what witches do” — with the unspoken message behind it that witches were, of course, minions of Satan, and so any sisters who fought would end up in Hell.

My grandma was awesome, though. You wouldn’t believe how freaking amazing her cinnamon rolls were. Worth going to Hell for, that’s for sure.

2. What would you name a pet rock? Why? And how would you decorate it?
Dwayne. Then I’d dress it up like a chef and run around with it, yelling, “Can you smeeeelllllllllllllllllllll what the rock is cooking?” Then I’d try — and fail — to arch one eyebrow at my audience.

3. What two movies from different genres would you most like to see combined in a mash up?
An Abraham Lincoln biopic and a vampire slaughterhouse movie– Oh wait. (Right?! I watched the trailer like six times when I first heard about it a few months ago. In fact…)

4. Who would win? A Ninja or a Viking? Do you ever watch Deadliest Warrior? If so – which was your favorite pairing?
I’ve never seen Deadliest Warrior. But I’d love to see a T-Rex versus Chuck Norris.

A viking would totally win. The ninja would be sneaking up, all stealthy-like, and then the viking would suddenly toss his head, and the long, blonde hair streaming from his horned helmet would wrap the ninja up like a boa constrictor and squeeze him to death.

5. How’d you come up with your author name?
Math class. I was done with my work and bored, so I began factoring out pieces of my name: (Mel)issa (Jean) Hol(brook) = Meljean Brook. Then I began practicing my author signature all over the front of my notebook. It stuck, I guess.

6. What do you think about clowns?
I like it when they come to my windows at night and peek in, because I’m usually sobbing in bed. They make me happy with their smiles, even though I know they are also crying inside.

7. What author promo has been most effective for you?
Not being a dick. And giving away lots of books. The best author promo is always a solid story, but it’s often hard to get our work into the hands of readers. So I do everything I can to get my work out there, and let the writing do the rest.

8. What was your first job? Your most interesting one? (If writing for the latter, aside from that?)
If you don’t count picking berries in the summers, my first real job was working the drive-thru at a Burger King.

The most interesting job I had was working the Help Desk at the university — mostly because you never knew what you’d walk in on when you went into the (supposedly empty) computer labs late at night.

9. What’s the most embarrassing thing to ever happen to you at school? And what about at a conference?
Ah, well. Ninth grade, I was in love with a senior who sat in front of me in a language class. One day after lunch, we were walking back across the playground toward the high school (and I was trying to be coy and flirty) and I walked right into metal pole of the basketball hoop. Huge clang! That was awesome. (I’ve also run into a ski lift pole on a snowboarding trip with my first boyfriend. And ran smack into the glass doors of a city hall and rolled down the front steps, onto the sidewalk.)

Miraculously, I haven’t embarrassed myself at a conference yet. But if you want entertainment, just keep an eye on me … especially if I walk near any poles.

10. What did you do with the money from your first royalty check?
I paid for a stripper to come and hose me down with whipped cream.

Nah. I honestly don’t remember. I probably paid a bill. Whatever it was, it wasn’t very special (and, heh, the check wasn’t very big.)

11. What is the most interesting thing you’ve ever eaten?
Fish eyeball. Mostly because I just wanted to see if I could. It wasn’t really good or bad (though the ginger sauce around it was AMAZING. If you ever make it to Newport, OR, try the rock fish at Kam Meng restaurant. Or anything in their clay pots. So, so good.)

12. What TV show do you wish was still on the air?
The Dungeons & Dragons cartoon from the 80s. Those poor kids never got home.

13. What is your secret plan for world domination?
I don’t think it’s all that secret. I intend to turn everyone in the world into a dork by inundating their Twitter streams and Facebook feeds with my tales of spilling food down my shirt and falling down. Then I shall put on my Wonder Woman costume and rule as Queen of the Dorks. It’ll be quite simple, really.

14. If you were to become a spammer, what product would you peddle? And what would your message be? Come up with the most attention getting, creative, crazy thing. Yes, that’s a challenge.
Oh, I’d peddle this thing — I’ve wanted to since I first saw it. (O_O) Meljean provided the link, but I’m going with that emoticon because… well because.

And the e-mail subject line would have to be:

NOW THAT YOU’VE ENLARGED YOUR PENIS, WRAP THAT GIANT DICK IN GOLD!

Penis + precious metals = a sure thing.

15. Can you name at least three US Supreme Court Justices without looking? Do you know your state senators and US representative?
Yep. I’m not political online, but I follow it all pretty closely at home.

16. What was your favorite class in high school?
Not PE, that’s for sure.

Probably my anthropology class, but honestly — I liked almost all of them. People called me The Brainerd, and I earned that title. (And they didn’t even know that my dad actually comes from a town called Brainerd. So it was truly meant-to-be, or something.)

17. What’s the most interesting thing you’ve learned while writing/researching a book?
It’s really difficult to say anything is the most interesting. I never really put them against each other on a sliding scale — and there are a lot of really amazing things out there that I run across. Truth is always more awesome than fiction.

I did read a really great book while writing my last, though: “In the Heart of the Sea, the Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex.” It’s an (at times harrowing and really awful) account of what befell the whalers of a ship that was rammed by a sperm whale and sank (and which inspired Moby Dick.) In the same vein, “Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage,” which describes what happened after an expedition ship was caught in the Antarctic ice. Simply amazing stuff.

18. What five deceased authors would you invite to a dinner party?
Oscar Wilde, because he’d make fun of us all, but in such a fabulous way that we probably wouldn’t realize how deeply we’d been insulted until afterward.

Shakespeare, so that he could tell the naysayers and conspiracy theorists who believe he didn’t write his plays to stop being ninnies.

Virginia Woolf, though I’d let her eat in a room of her own.

Ambrose Bierce, because I suspect that he and Oscar Wilde would either trade the most amazing set of witticisms and barbs ever, or make out. Both options would be fun to watch.

Aphra Behn, simply because she sounds like she had an amazing life.

So what’d you think? Do you have any follow up questions for Ms. Brook? (Please say yes – imagine her answers!) She’s also giving away the winner’s choice of The Iron Duke, Heart of Steel, or any of her Guardian books (winner’s choice.) International entries are fine. And guess what? Meljean has so very generously decided to give two prizes! So, two lucky winners! (And for our new friends, this is how the giveaway works.)

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You guys!!! If you don’t know who Day Leclaire is, you really should. She’s a wonderful author. Writes for Harlequin Desire. (And if you’ve never read one of her books you really should give them a try.)

1. What’s the first thing you learned how to cook? What’s your favorite thing to cook? Do you have a “signature dish”?
Cook?!?  I’m supposed to write and cook?  Listen, if I could have my kitchen surgically removed from my house, I would.  I do not find cooking relaxing.  I find eating relaxing, lol.  I grew up with two sisters.  They cook.  I was assigned to KP after A) burning more meals than not; and B) forgetting to pull something out of the freezer for dinner because I had my nose stuck in a book.  As for my “signature dish,” I believe that falls under “take out.”  ;)

2. If you have to listen to a song 24/7 for four days, which one would you choose?
Adam Lambert singing Mad World.  Still gives me chills, even 2 years later.  A close second would be Israel Kamakawiwoʻole’s amazing rendition of Over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World.  I could listen to that one all day, every day.

3. What two movies from different genres would you most like to see combined in a mash up?
Star Trek, Voyage Home and Pride and Prejudice, the A&E version with Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle.  Would love to see Darcy in a deep conversation with Spock, and Kirk trying to put the moves on Lizzy.

4. Which do you prefer – 15 degree weather, or 105 degree weather? What would you do on that day?
The answer’s pretty much the same for both.  I’d either curl up by a pool (or even better, in the pool) with my Kindle and a big glass of iced tea.  Or I’d curl up in front of a roaring fire with a mug of hot tea and—oh, yeah—my Kindle.

5. How’d you come up with your author name?
I literally plucked it out of thin air.  I wanted to use St. Clair, but Sandra Brown had used that name for her Harlequin books.  So, I chose Leclaire, instead.  And instead of spelling it more normally, I was foolish and went with an alternate spelling.  No one spells it correctly.  Okay, a few people do, but darn few.  Ah, well.  I was really young.  Lesson learned.  But if you’re going to pick a pseudonym, guys, be smart!  Learn from Leclaire!

6. What do you think about clowns?
I try not to.  Clowns exist.  They are, for some, part of the known universe.  It’s a part of the universe I’d rather not explore.  I find them vaguely alarming because they’re so unpredictable and bizarre looking.  And then, of course, there’s Stephen King (thanks a lot, bud!).  Can’t look at a clown without thinking of the book, It.  <shudder> (I’m so with you!)

7. What author promo has been most effective for you?
I can’t answer that, yet.  I haven’t done a lot of author promo.  So far, I’d have to say my website and Facebook.  I tend to connect most through those two venues.  But I’m still experimenting.  I have a Twitter account, but haven’t gotten comfortable using it, yet.

8. Do you eat marshmallows straight out of the bag, hold them at the edge of the fire till they’re lightly golden brown, or torch ‘em till they’re black and crackly on the outside?
Okay, embarrassing admission.  I don’t like marshmallows.  Never liked smores.  Don’t like Rice Krispie squares.  They’re too sweet and slick. :(

9. What’s the most embarrassing thing to ever happen to you at school? And what about at a conference?
At school?  I guess when I had the flu, but had to give an oral report, got drunk on Nyquil and kept calling militia “mill-a-tah.”  I think the swaying and giggling didn’t help, either.  At a conference…?  Oh, lord!  Yeah, that was nasty bad.  It involved Catherine Coulter, of all people.  I was scheduled to moderate her workshop.  I’d been given the wrong time by the conference chair, never double-checked it, and showed up late.  Not only that, but I gave Catherine the wrong time, too.  But she did check and showed up on time.  Unfortunately, she’d scheduled her flight out of St. Louis based on my timeline which meant that about the time I wandered in, she was wrapping up and needed to run—halfway through her talk.  Yeah, that didn’t go down well.  I learned a really valuable lesson.  Always double check everything.  And don’t screw with Catherine Coulter.  ;)

10. As a child which character/book(s) would you most want to be [or be in] a Laura Ingalls Wilder book, Madeline L’Engle, Lloyd Alexander, L.M. Montgomery, or Gail Carson Levine? (Or another one? Perhaps Nancy Drew, etc.)
Hands down, Madeline L’Engle.  A Wrinkle in Time is my all-time favorite YA Fantasy.  To this day I reread that book on a regular basis.  YA Fantasy is my first love.  The romance genre comes in a close second.

11. What would you put in your ideal candy bar?
Basically, everything that’s in a Snicker bar, only with pecans, rich dark chocolate, and caramel.

12. What tv show do you wish was still on the air?
Star Trek.  Star Trek.  And more Star Trek.  Did I mention, Star Trek?

13. What is your secret plan for world domination?
Create the perfect world within my books and convince everyone to go there.  Once I have everyone transferred over, I will have total control.  I can write everyone’s story so they all end happily-ever-after.

14. If you were to become a spammer, what product would you peddle? And what would your message be? Come up with the most attention getting, creative, crazy thing. Yes, that’s a challenge.
Fairies.  Your own personal fairy.  You can have a good luck fairy, a fairy godmother (aka shoe fairy—a very popular selection), a fairy that will bring you the man of your dreams (sorry, selection arrives as-is, no returns accepted), a money fairy (aka Midas fairy—touch at your own risk), a genie fairy (three wishes only, some restrictions apply, please read the accompanying brochure for full details), a dragon fairy (caution recommended, not compatible with combustibles of any kind), and our most popular fairy, the house fairy, perfect for those who need assistance with all those pesky household chores, everything from cooking to ironing to cleaning.  Particularly adept at ridding your home of dust bunnies.  Don’t wait to order, quantities are limited. (I’m sold! Sign me up!)

15. What was your worst traveling mishap ever? Or most constant one? (Did your luggage get stolen by a monkey? Is the flight canceled every time as soon as your ride drives away from the airport?)
The flight was delayed, so they handed out drinks.  I had a flight attendant bring me a cup of boiling hot tea right before we were cleared for takeoff.  I don’t know what she was thinking.  It was a rough takeoff, the tea went right in my lap and scalded me.  I mean serious burns.  I’m one of those crazed women who has the kitchen sink in her purse.  I actually had some Neosporin on me and was able to apply it fairly quickly so it wasn’t anywhere near as bad as it could have been.  This was before the infamous McDonald’s incident.  But man, that was a miserable flight.  The other “worst ever” flight was when we ended up sitting on the runway for SEVEN hours on a trip to Hawaii and running out of diapers for my 1 year old.  Yeah, that was a joy all around.

16. Walk in pantry, walk in closet, or extra garage space?
Closet, of course!  You can never have too much shoe space.

17. What’s the most interesting thing you’ve learned while writing/researching a book?
Shh.  Don’t tell anyone, but dragons are real!

18. What five deceased authors would you invite to a dinner party? Douglas Adams, Charles Dickens, Tolkien, Mark Twain, Jules Verne, and I’d sneak Jane Austin in to balance out all the men.  What I wouldn’t give to hear those guys go at it!

Bio: USA Today bestselling author, Day Leclaire, lives and works on a remote barrier island off the North Carolina coast, a perfect setting for writing passionate books that offer a unique combination of humor, emotion, and unforgettable characters.  Described by Harlequin as “one of our most popular writers ever!” Day’s tremendous worldwide popularity has made her a member of Harlequin’s prestigious “Five Star Club,” with sales totaling well over fifteen million books.  She is a three-time winner of both The Colorado Award of Excellence and The Golden Quill Award.  She’s won Romantic Times magazine’s Career Achievement and Love and Laughter awards, the Holt Medallion, the Booksellers Best Award, and has received an impressive ten nominations for the prestigious Romance Writers of America RITA© Award.

Day’s June Harlequin Desire is A Very Private Merger.  Winner-take-all business tycoon Jack Sinclair is on the hunt to get what’s his: a slice of competing shipping empire The Kincaid Group.  As the illegitimate and ignored heir, his reward has been a long time coming.  And he has sexy, brilliant Nikki Thomas by his side to help make it happen.  Right?  Not exactly.  Nikki is a corporate investigator on the Kincaids’ payroll, so her loyalty is more than a little divided.  Her hidden agenda is enough to make Jack want to walk away.  But passion offers a second chance–until another truth is revealed that could tear them apart for good. There are five mini-stories leading up to the book, all of which are available for free on her website.  And in December, look for Day to continue her Dante series with Becoming Dante.  Drop by Day’s website at:  www.DayLeclaire.com for more details or you can send day an email at:  Day@DayLeclaire.com.

Ms. Leclaire is giving away a copy of her newest book A Very Private Merger to one lucky commenter. So what’d you think? Any questions or comments? I think it’s clear that anything goes. ;D

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Today we’ve got Zoë Archer. She’s also got a new book out… today! How perfect is that? And not planned at all… >.> As you all see, first Tuesday of the month! Crazy! May! So, happy release day to Ms. Archer and congratulations on the release of Demon’s Bride! She opted for one of the über professional ;) author interviews.

1. What’s your favorite “lesser” holiday? E.g. Arbor Day, etc. What’s do you think should get it’s own “holiday” and what day would you want it to be?

National Cookie Day.  Any of the National Food Days are worth celebrating.  We should have National Boot Day, which is celebrated by free pairs of boots.

2. Do you like your name, and have you ever wanted to change it?

I do like my name, because I made it up! (She’s a cheeky one, isn’t she :P)

3. What’s your favorite form of social media? Least favorite? What would you combine to make the ultimate social media platform?

Twitter is like a nonstop pajama/cocktail party.  Right now, the Facebook interface is confusing and cluttered.  I like Tumblr because I can post photos (often of hot guys in suits or period costumes).  If we could combine Tumblr and Twitter, I think I’d never get any work done.

4. Ultrafeast. What dishes should be served? (Either you’re making it, or someone else is – whatever you prefer.)

Sweets!  My sweet tooth knows no bounds.

5. What’s with the jumpsuits you and Carolyn Jewel were are always joking about?

With a very few exceptions, jumpsuits are one of the least flattering garments ever invented.  Carolyn and I keep challenging each other to wear jumpsuits to the RITAs–but neither of us have been brave (or foolish) enough to do it.  Yet.

6. What was your favorite cartoon or comic book character growing up? What about now? What super power would you most like to have? And least?

I loved watching Battle of the Planets.  It was the American-dubbed version of a Japanese animated series, and it featured a group of four guys and a girl that flew around in a ship called the Phoenix.  The girl, Princess, kicked anime ass.  I don’t really watch cartoons or read comics now, though I enjoy Gingerhaze’s hilarious fangirl drawings.  I’d love to be a super-powered thief/spy.  I’d hate to be the world’s greatest shirt-ironer.

7. What’s the most embarrassing thing to ever happen to you at school? What about at a conference?
The most embarrassing thing to ever happen to me at school was all of junior high.  I’m positive I’ve done something awful at conference, but I’m deliberately blocking it from my memory.

8. How do you feel about the dentist? And the optometrist/ophthalmologist? Any stories to go along with either of those?

I don’t care about going to the dentist.  When I was 13, I was hit by a car, and had dental work for years.  Root canals, bridges, extractions, you name it.  Going to the dentist doesn’t faze me any more.  And I’ve had contacts since I was a kid.  Eye stuff doesn’t bother me, either.

9. Walk in pantry, walk in closet, or extra garage/outside storage space? [Which would you prefer and why?]

Walk in pantry.  I love to bake, and I dream about having a place for all my ingredients and pans within easy reach.

10. Coke with lemon, lime, vanilla, grenadine, or half and half? Or… pepsi? [and I don't mean the artificial pre-made stuff, but with freshly squeezed/added stuff] => if you’ve never had it… why not? and/but… which would you most prefer?

Coke Zero with Vanilla.

11. Did you go to prom? If so – describe your dress. Would you admit to wearing it today, much less actually wear it? ;)

I did go…for about 30 minutes.  You could say I wasn’t really invested in high school. And I’m not ashamed of my prom dress.  It was a very simple dark blue velvet sheath.  I deliberately bought it in the winter because I wanted a dark color, and I didn’t want anyone else to have a dress like mine.

12. What’s the best admonishment your mom ever gave you, or that you’ve ever given a kid? e.g. if you make that face it’ll freeze like that. or… if you walk from the kitchen to the table w/ a fork in your mouth you’ll stab yourself through the throat and die

She said that you shouldn’t marry someone without sleeping with them first.  I think that’s awesome advice.  And yes, I followed it.

13. What was your first job? Your most interesting one?

Oh, God, I’ve had so many jobs.  One of my first was working at an art school (for much of my youth, I thought I was going to be an artist).  I cleaned, and put supplies away.  Most interesting…?  I’ve blocked the horrible ones.  Once, I painted a mural at a launch party for a cologne, and then the guests came up and drew all over my mural.

14. “Celebrity Author” death match – who would you most want to take on? [you don't have to say why ;)]

Alexander Pope, because he was a misshapen dwarf, so I have a better chance of beating him up.  In a contest of wit, however, he’d win.

15. What author promo has been most effective for you?

Twitter.  Mostly tweeting pictures of hawt doods and general crankiness.

16. What items have to be close by when writing & not just the sensible stuff like research notes, but the other perhaps slightly goofy stuff (bowl of m&ms, stuffed animal, stress ball, pot of coffee).

Caffeinated things, mints, cats.

17. What’s your secret plan for world domination?

Let somebody else run the world.  I’ve got other things to take care of.

18. Would you shave your hair for $50,000? If yes, what would you do with the money? If no… what amount would it take for you to cave?

Yes, yes I would.  Hair grows back.  Money doesn’t.  I’d travel to Japan and New Zealand with my husband (fellow romance author Nico Rosso), then use the rest to put toward a down payment on a house.  I might buy Nico a motorcycle, too, so we could tear across the country raising hell.

I’m giving away a print copy of Demon’s Bride to a US/Canada commenter, or an electronic copy for international.

The Hellraisers, Book 2
Hell to Pay

Leo Bailey may have been born to poverty, but ruthless business sense and sparkling intelligence have made money worries a thing of his past. It doesn’t hurt that the Devil himself has granted Leo the ability to read the future.

But even infallible predictions are a déclassé commoner’s trick to some members of the ton. They’ll never see Leo as their equal – one good reason to prove himself their better. And a noble marriage is an obvious start.

Bookish Anne Hartfield, daughter of a baron, is hardly the flashiest miss on the marriage market. But her thoughtful reserve complements Leo’s brash boldness in an attraction neither can deny. A whirlwind courtship sweeps Anne and Leo into a smoldering marriage before either can believe their luck. But happiness built on Leo’s dark powers can’t last. Soon, Anne will have to save her husband…or lose her heart.

Read an excerpt

Zoë Archer is an award-winning romance author who thinks there’s nothing sexier than a man in tall boots and a waistcoat. As a child, she never dreamed about being the rescued princess, but wanted to kick butt right beside the hero. She now applies her master’s degrees in Literature and Fiction to creating butt-kicking heroines and heroes in tall boots. She is the author of the acclaimed BLADES OF THE ROSE series and the paranormal historical romance series, THE HELLRAISERS. She and her husband, fellow romance author Nico Rosso, created the steampunk world of THE ETHER CHRONICLES together.  Her steampunk romance, SKIES OF FIRE, is now available from Avon Impulse, and Nico’s steampunk Western, NIGHT OF FIRE, will be available in July. Zoë and Nico live in Los Angeles. WebsiteTwitterFacebookTumblr

To buy: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Chapters Indigo, Amazon UK

What questions do you have for Zoë Archer? Anything fun, or book related? Either are definitely welcome.

ETA: Zoë just sent me her book trailer – so here it is!

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Y’all!!! It’s release day!!! Super jazzed that the lovely and awesome Beth Williamson is guesting with us on her book release day! Whoo! The print copy of Gideon is now out in the wild! She’s also the “technical official guest author of the month.”  See that “Guest Author & A Giveaway” title? So Beth of course chose an author interview. And it’s an AAD post of sorts, so release day and double duty! :D Let’s go!

1. Manicure, or pedicure? And what color(s) or styles?
Pedi for sure. I use my hands so much, a manicure lasts about 95 seconds before it chips. I usually get a sexy, rich color – like purple or deep pink. They have to pop.

2. What is your favorite drink? And then, let’s parse it out. Favorite juice? Favorite non-carbonated beverage? Favorite carbonated beverage? Favorite alcoholic drink?
Favorite drink, boring as it sounds, is water. I drink a lot of water, about half a gallon a day (meep!). I don’t normally drink juice – except when it’s mixed with alcohol. J. Non-carbonated beverage – iced tea, plain, no sugar. Yum! I used to love diet Coke, but I gave up soda a year ago. Favorite alcoholic drink – anything with vodka.

3. What was your first job? And what was your most interesting job that you’ve had?
My first job was working in the ladies department at Caldor in Brookfield, CT. It lasted 6 weeks then I got laid off because I was apparently holiday help. My manager didn’t even tell me – she just didn’t put me on the schedule.

Most interesting job? Hm, I don’t know that any of them are interesting. When I was in college, I interned at Lorimar Television on 6thAvenue in Manhattan reading submissions from the slush pile. That was super cool.

4. What’s the name of your first crush? Do you remember why you liked him?

Oh, that’s easy. Charlie was his name. I was 10 and he was 13, first kiss and all that. I liked him because he had a beautiful smile, one that lit up his whole face. I had it bad for that boy. I wonder where he is today…

5. What is your dream car? Or, if you don’t like cars, what would be your ideal mode of transportation?
I’m not much of a car person. I drive a Prius and it’s the perfect car for me. I rode the train a lot in college – I’d love to take a train tour of Europe!

6. Which fairy tale would you most like to be in? Which character would you be? And which would you least like to be in? Again – which character?
Oooh, fairy tales. Most of the women in fairy tales are wusses. Hm, tough choice to pick who I would be. Perhaps Red Riding Hood because she had to become a badass to fight the big bad wolf. Who would I least likely to be – Sleeping Beauty. Who waits around for a man to rescue her? Hmph.

7. How’d you come up with your author name(s)? Do you prefer one over the other?
Beth Williamson is my middle name and maiden name – so it’s really me. Emma Lang, well, that was a request from one publisher. My agent and I picked a name together, one in the middle of the alphabet, that would fit on a spine nicely, easy to spell and say. And of course I had to like it. I think it’s kinda sing-songy.

8. Who is your favorite artist? [painter/scuptor, singer/composer, dancer/choreographer?]
My favorite painter is a toss up between Degas and Monet, but I also love Mary Cassatt. I’m a fan of impressionists – definitely my favorite style of painting.

In terms of music, I have eclectic taste – I love all music and listen to so many different genres. I have multiple favorites, Black Eyed Peas, P!nk, Rascal Flatts, Jason Mraz… Music moves me in the same way books do, emotional and powerful.

9. What did you do with the money from your first royalty check?
Um, what money? LOL. My first royalty check was something like $26.00. It went toward paying down the debt I’d accumulated trying to get published.

10. What TV shows do you watch? What did you watch that went off air and you wish was still around?
Favorite TV shows are Castle, Bones, CSI (Vegas), anything on HGTV, Survivor, Fringe and Justified. There are so many shows that should still be one – number one is Firefly. I missed Cap’n Tightpants.

11. Do you collect anything? (If yes, what and why?)
I collect teacups, believe it or not. My first was from my great-grandfather’s house back in 1976. It’s a beautiful purple and gold, fancy curly handle. Since then I find unique teacups at flea markets or tag sales, and sometimes people give me one. And yes, I’m a big tea drinker. J

12. Capers – do you like them or not? What “condiment” type food do you like?
Not a fan of capers – don’t hate them but could do without them. Condiment food? Hm, I love sauces, especially creamy ones. They don’t like me but yum, I like them.

13. What’s your favorite color? Can you remember how many times that has changed?
Easy question! Purple. It’s always been purple – the color of passion. I’m gonna own that one.

14. Would you shave your head for $50,000.00? If yes, would you do it for a lesser amount/what’s your minimum? If no, how much would it take for you to go bald? And then… would you do anything with your hair?
Very interesting question. I think it’s more fashionable for a woman to be bald nowadays – there are some ladies out there sporting the no hair look and looking fly. Now as for me, provided there were ample stylish hats, I’d shave my head for $100,000. I’d donate my hair, if it was long enough, to locks of love.

15. What’s the most unique/strange silly skill your possess?
I have many unique and strange skills! Mwahahaha… I can move my pinky toes independently of my other toes. It’s magical to watch. I can also type about 150 words a minute and maintain a conversation while I type. Now whether what I type or speak makes sense, that’s another story.

Ms. Williamson is going to give away a download of any of the Devil on Horseback books and a $15 Amazon GC.

Bio:

Beth Williamson, who also writes as Emma Lang, is an award-winning, bestselling author of both historical and contemporary romances. Her books range from sensual to scorching hot. She is a Career Achievement Award Nominee in Erotic Romance by Romantic Times Magazine, in both 2009 and 2010.

Beth has always been a dreamer, never able to escape her imagination. It led her to the craft of writing romance novels. She’s passionate about purple, books, and her family. She has a weakness for shoes and purses, as well as bookstores. Her path in life has taken several right turns, but she’s been with the man of her dreams for more than 20 years.

Beth works full-time and writes romance novels evening, weekends, early mornings and whenever there is a break in the madness. She is compassionate, funny, a bit reserved at times, tenacious and a little quirky. Her cowboys and western romances speak of a bygone era, bringing her readers to an age where men were honest, hard and packing heat. For a change of pace, she also dives into some smokin’ hot contemporaries, bringing you heat, romance and snappy dialogue.

Life might be chaotic, as life usually is, but Beth always keeps a smile on her face, a song in her heart, and a cowboy on her mind. ;)

And now, the book!

Handing over the reins is hard. Handing over his heart…damn near impossible.
Devils on Horseback, Book 5

Gideon Blackwood is on the run—from Tanger’s meddling matchmakers. With no intention of following the rest of the Devils down the aisle, he heads for the hills to reassess a life spent leading and caring for others…and runs smack into the business end of a shotgun. At the trigger: a curmudgeonly woman with a broken axle and a load of responsibility.

In Chloe Ruskin’s experience, men take what they want and leave a mess of trouble behind. The safety of two orphans and her granny is at stake, and the last thing she needs is Gideon’s “help”. This time, though, she has no choice but to allow the big cowboy to fix her wagon.

As they work into the night, grudging admiration grows into attraction—and desire. Gideon finds he can’t dig his boot heels in hard enough to avoid falling for the opinionated little female.

When Chloe’s family disappears, her suspicion threatens to destroy any spark of love before it catches fire. Gideon finds himself making promises his pride won’t let him break—even if it costs him the love of the woman who owns the missing half of his soul.

So – what do you think of Western romances? Do you prefer them as contemporaries, or historicals? Ever read anything by Beth Williamson or Emma Lang before? Have any questions for her? Or just have something you wanna say? Go for it – there’s prizes up for grabs! ;D

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Hi everyone! For those of you who have stuck with me from the beginning… (O_o actually are there any of you who have lasted that long? Cuz… frankly you deserve a gold star. And maybe more.) You might remember that Alexandra Hawkins was possibly going to be the very first ever author in the Guest Author & A Giveaway feature. Unfortunately, she was too busy then, but she’s here now! (No seriously though, remember? It was also my very first ever personal blog giveaway. People – this is like… some sort of milestone, or something!)

I’ve now read all four Lords of Vice novels that are out – and in fact a review of Sunrise with a Notorious Lord will be going up some time in the future. (Was waiting for the guest post and all… ;)) I read it in a day. I can’t decide which book is my favorite in the series. I mean, All Night with a Rogue obviously stuck in my mind. But I think I like book two, Till Dawn with the Devil more. Or maybe book three – After Dark with a Scoundrel because I love the heroine, Regan. And it’s got the whole “zomg I can’t fall in love with my best friend’s little sister!!!” aspect. Heh.

Anyway, I’m sure you don’t want to listen to me anymore. Ms. Hawkins elected to do an author interview. So here are my questions, and her answers!

1. If you were a zookeeper, which animals would you terrify David Letterman with?
A: Probably something from the reptile and amphibian exhibits.

2. How’d you come up with the Lords of Vice and their nicknames? Do you nickname people you come across in your every day life? What’s next after this series?
A: I started by searching through 18th to 19th century marriage/death records. I made a list of surnames that I could break down into intriguing nicknames. The process took several days. Do I give people nicknames? Sometimes. What’s next after this series? I haven’t pitched the idea to my editor yet, but I’d like to write another series set during the Regency period. Right now, the Lords of Vice are keeping me busy.

3. What is a question you as an author always wish someone would ask you but nobody ever does? Or – what is a question you love answering?
A: I really don’t have any burning questions. I love discussing the Lords of Vice series with anyone who is interested in it. However, the one thing I’ve noticed is that I receive very few questions about the heroines. Most of the questions focus on the heroes, which makes sense since I’ve built the series around them.

4. As a child which character/book(s) would you most want to be [or be in] a Laura Ingalls Wilder book, Madeline L’Engle, Lloyd Alexander, L.M. Montgomery, or Gail Carson Levine?
A: Actually, I was a huge Nancy Drew fan when I was growing up. From your author choices, I’d have to go with Laura Ingalls Wilder. These Happy Golden Years was one of my favorite books. (Oh I like that! I’ll have to include Nancy Drew from now on… :D)

5. How’d you come up with your author name? Have you ever forgotten your author name and not responded when someone called out to you?
A: It was something my editor and I worked on together. Have I ever forgotten it? No, I’ve gotten used to the name.

6. What’s the most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to you in school? How about a conference? (Or any other public venue.)
A: I can’t think of anything really embarrassing. When I was in grade school, I managed to wipe out face-first into a mud puddle in front of my P.E. class. I was such a mess, the teacher drove me home so I could change clothes. As for a mishap at a conference—Thankfully, nothing has happened.

7. What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever eaten? On the other end of the spectrum – what do you most like to eat?
A: Honestly—sushi. I stay away from raw meat in all forms, but a friend talked me into trying it. I come from a family of farmers, which means meat and potatoes are standard fare at our house.

8. What was your first job? And what has been you most interesting one? (If writing, aside from that.)
A: My very first job was a paper route. Besides writing, one of my more interesting jobs was working as a medical technician for an ophthalmologist. I enjoyed working with the patients.

9. What did you do with the money from your first royalty check?
A: I bought a new laptop and printer. (I’m dying to know – what kind of laptop?)

10. What’s your favorite hair care product? Shampoo, conditioner, and other?
A: I have curly hair that tends to frizz in humidity. I’m a big fan of Biosilk’s conditioner.

11. What would you put in your ideal candy bar? Do you prefer sweet or savory snacks? What’s your favorite snack?
A: Caramel. I love dark chocolate and caramel. Yum! Sweet or Savory? It depends on my mood. I love to snack on fresh fruit. For savory, I like Stacy’s Parmesan Garlic & Herb Pita Chips. (I LOVE those! I recently discovered there are Stacy’s Parmesan Garlic & Herb bagel chips as well!)

12. What do you think is the best commercial of all time? Why?
A: I don’t have an all-time favorite commercial. One that I do think is sweet is the “Baby Driver” for Subaru. I have three teenagers so it resonates with my own feelings about the kids driving.

Oh – also, don’t the cover fairies absolutely adore Ms. Hawkins? Love all of them! And… I just went googling and look at what I found! All Afternoon with a Scandalous MarquessMy first reaction was “Oh. My.” O_O Look at that cover! Scandalous! I know it’s not Frost’s book… It’s Sainthill/Saint’s. I’m a tiny bit disappointed, but there’s still a chance! I keep telling/asking/begging Ms. Hawkins not to write Frost’s book last. (Don’t you think it’s a bit too cliche for him to go last?) But she says he needs more time. Or something. And I guess as the author of the series she knows best… ;P

Alexandra Hawkins is the USA Today bestselling author of the Lords of Vice Novels. An unrepentant Anglophile, she discovered romance novels as a teenager, and knew that one day she would be writing her own stories. She has combined her love of English history, mythology, and romance to create sensual character-driven stories that she hopes will touch readers’ hearts.

That’s it, folks! I think I should have asked her more questions, don’t you? ;) So – what questions do you have for Ms. Hawkins? Either related to the Lords of Vice … or you know – something like what I asked. I don’t have to tell you which *I* personally would prefer, do it? :P

Two lucky commenters will win their choice of books Ms. Hawkins currently has available, which are All Night with a Rogue, Till Dawn with the Devil,  After Dark with a Scoundrel, or Sunrise with a Notorious Lord. So let me see some crazy fun! ;)

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