Monday, December 31, 2007

Top Ten Reasons to Read Enchanting The Lady

Top Ten Reasons to read Enchanting the Lady by Kathryne Kennedy.

10. Escape the real world and those dirty clothes that keep piling up. You won’t regret hiding at the coffee shop, or in the closet if you must, to quietly enter this kingdom of magic and romance. Publishers Weekly says, “The latest from Kennedy (Beneath the Thirteen Moons) is simply delightful, set in a fantasy-touched Victorian England that's imaginative, historically vigorous and ripe for further adventures.”

Speaking of romance…

9. This hero has the magic touch. You know what I mean. And no, he’s not a chiropractor. USA Today best-selling author, Jennifer Ashley, calls her hero “a yummy shape-shifting lion.” (He can shape-shift in my bed anytime.)

8. This treasure hunt can’t be missed! Merlin created powerful relics everyone wants to get their greedy hands on. (If they truly are powerful, they will also be self-cleaning.) Anyway, there are 13 relics and 6 have already been found. That means seven enchanting stories. I hope. I can’t wait to read the whole series.

7. Enchanting The Lady is packed full of suspense and danger. The shifters, monsters and magicians practicing dark magic will keep you turning the pages all night. (You’re a doctor? Don’t worry; you can nap between surgeries.)

6. Now that Harry Potter is in retirement, we need a new author to write about magical England and Kathryne Kennedy is just the one we’ve been waiting for. Award-winning paranormal romance author, Erin Grady, says Enchanting the Lady has, “The imagination of JK Rowling and the romance of Julie Garwood all rolled into one fabulous novel.” But can she write books thick enough to prop up my car when I get a flat?

5. Kathryne Kennedy has wonderful contests (that I haven’t won yet.) She’s already given away a pearl pin, and her current contest prize is a strand of pearls. We’re not talking Cracker Jack decoder rings here. The relics in her story inspired the prizes. I hope the next relic is a silver convertible. (Self-cleaning, of course)

4. Her heroine is one we can all relate to: First, she was orphaned and forced live with her less than loving aunt and uncle. Then, when it’s learned that she failed to inherit her parent’s magic, she shames the family, and loses her title. Finally, she falls in love with a were-lion. Okay, so maybe I just have a war going on with my homeowners association because my daughter parked in guest parking, and I need more hours in the day to write, but I feel her pain, just the same.

3. The characters come to life! Terence’s lion instincts, and at times his wild behavior,
will trigger your own animal magnetism as you root for him to win Felicity’s heart. Romance Reviews Today loved Kathryne’s characters and story so much; they gave Enchanting the Lady, “a perfect 10.”

2. Kathryne Kennedy has hair like Lady Godiva. I know that has nothing to do with the story, but if you ever meet this truly nice woman, you will tell forever more refer to her as “the writer with the hair.’ Just joking. Okay, maybe not. Check out the picture on her website, then you tell me.

The Number One Reason to Read Enchanting the Lady is…

1. You must discover this awesome world builder. Remember you heard it here first; Kathryne Kennedy has set the bar high for historical, paranormal romance. (Say that five times fast.) The Best Reviews says, “…Kennedy is destined to be one of the sub-genre’s superstars.” Read the excerpts of Enchanting the Lady at her website and you’ll know what I mean.

Run to your computer! Okay, you’re already there. What are you waiting for? Click onto your favorite bookstore and order TODAY! Better yet, drive to your favorite bookstore and buy it now.

To read excepts or enter contests go to
Enchanting the Lady – Dorchester Love Spell – January 2008
ISBN 10: 0-505-52750-2
ISBN 13: 978-505-52750-9


Friday, December 28, 2007

Interview with Carolyn Browm

I’d like to welcome our guest today, Carolyn Brown. It’s a pleasure having you come visit us at Much Cheaper Than Therapy, where chocolate is plentiful and advice is free. So grab some chocolate and a lounge chair. Your therapy session has begun.

I understand you have a new release out called Evening Star. Can you tell us a little bit about your fabulous new book?

Evening Star is the final installment of the Drifters and Dreamer’s Trilogy. Morning Glory (Aug. 2007) was first and Sweet Tilly (Oct. 2007) preceded it. All three are about the Anderson cousins in Healdton, Oklahoma, 1917. Times were changing with the War and discovery of oil in the cotton town of Healdton as well as the more pronounced movement toward women’s rights.

Addison Carter was hired by Magnolia Oil to work as their company doctor in Healdton, Oklahoma. In 1917 oil companies didn’t hire women to work for them so that alone was quite a miracle. At least it was until she arrived from eastern Arkansas with an ego the size of Texas and dreams twice as large, only to have them all shredded to pieces in ten minutes when the directors of the oil company informed her they thought she was a male with a name like Addison.

She was sitting on the bench outside the drug store waiting for her ride to take her back to Ardmore to catch the train back to Arkansas when Tilly Anderson sat down beside her. In less than an hour Addison found herself at the Evening Star ranch setting Tilly’s cantankerous cousin’s broken leg and suturing the gash in his hand. Just as suddenly she was offered the job of caring for him until he healed. Anything beat going back to Arkansas with her deflated ego and shattered dreams so she took on the job.

Tucker Anderson had his ideas about women. They should live to serve and obey the male species and rather than endure a lifetime with one like either of his girl cousins, Tilly and Clara, he’d be a bachelor until he reached the Pearly Gates of Heaven. Then he broke his leg and the two cousins hired a female doctor to take care of him. He figured he’d died and gone straight to hell.

Evening Star is a very interesting title. How did you arrive at that name?

Evening Star is the name of the ranch Tucker Anderson owns. It was passed down to him by his parents when they died and is named for his grandmother, Katy Evening Star, an Indian woman who ran moonshine.

Did you have to do a lot of research for the book?

Yes, that time period is just opening up for historical romance. Up until a couple of years ago historical stopped before 1900. The research was really interesting and fun.

What character did you like writing about the most, and why?

I loved Addison and her sass and brass, but then it was fun to write about Tucker coming around to another way of thinking, too.

If your book was made into a movie, what actor would you like to fill your hero’s shoes?

Keanu Reeves

Do you have any authors that inspired you?

Oh, my yes. I’ve read everything LaVryle Spencer has written and went into depression when she retired. If I began to list all those who have inspired me we’d be here for hours.

What do we have to look forward next?

Right now, I’m working on a five book series called The Broken Roads Series. It’s contemporary and set in Sulphur, Oklahoma. Titles are TO TRUST, TO COMMIT, TO BELIEVE, TO DREAM and TO HOPE. The first one will be released in April, the second in June. After that there will be a historical called THE DOVE in August.

Thanks, Carolyn!

The author loves to hear from her readers at

Buy: Evening Star and the rest of her books are available online at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Books A Million, Target, Wal-Mart, and all of your bookstores can order them for you.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Recipe for Glogg

My grandmother used to make a variation of this recipe every year for the holidays. It was the only time I ever saw her snockered. It's not for the feint at heart. Enjoy.

Swedish Glögg

Makes about 1 gallon

1.5 litre bottle of inexpensive dry red wine

1.5 litre bottle of inexpensive American port

1 bottle of inexpensive brandy or aquavit

10 inches of stick cinnamon

1 Tablespoon cardamom seeds

2 dozen whole cloves

Peel of one orange

1/2 cup raisins

1 cup blanched almonds

2 cups sugar

Garnish with the peel of another orange

Notes: There is no need to invest in expensive wine or brandy because the spices are going to preempt any innate complexity of a fine wine, but don't use anything too cheap. Remember, the sum will be no better than the parts. Do not use an aluminum or copper pot since these metals interact chemically with the wine and brandy and impart a metallic taste. Use stainless steel or porcelain.

Cardamom comes in three forms: pods, seeds, and powder. Do not use powder. If you can only find the pods (the look like orange seeds), take about 2 dozen and pop them open to extract the seeds. Cardamom seeds may be hard to find, so you may need to order them from a spice specialist like

Assembly: Pour the red wine and port into a covered stainless steel or porcelain kettle. Add the cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, orange peel, raisins, and almonds. Warm gently, but do not boil. Boiling will burn off the alcohol. Put the sugar in a pan and soak it with half the bottle of brandy. Warm the sugar and brandy slurry over a low flame. The sugar will melt and bubble until it becomes a clear golden syrup of caramelized sugar. If you wish, you can speed up the process a bit and create quite a show by flaming the brandy. Flaming will create a 2 foot high blue flame, so be sure there is nothing above the stove that can catch on fire. Then, stand back and light the brandy. Turn out the kitchen lights and watch it burn! This caramelization is crucial to developing complexity. Add the caramelized sugar to the spiced wine mix. Cover and let it mull for an hour. Just before serving, strain to remove the spices, and add brandy to taste (about 1/2 pint). You can serve it immediately, or let it age for a month or two. If you are going to age it, make sure the bottle is filled as high as possible and sealed tight.

To serve glögg, warm it gently over a low flame or in a crockpot, and serve it in a mug. Garnish it with a fresh orange peel, twisted over the mug to release the oils.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Interview with Roz Denny Fox

I’d like to welcome our guest today, Roz Denny Fox. It’s a pleasure having you come visit us at Much Cheaper Than Therapy, where chocolate is plentiful and advice is free. So grab some chocolate and a lounge chair. Your therapy session has begun.

I understand you have a new release out called Looking For Sophie. Can you tell us a little bit about your fabulous new book?
The year prior to the start of the story, Garnet Patton’s daughter, Sophie, was kidnapped from her preschool by Garnet’s ex-husband. Garnet, a high school teacher in Alaska, faces a long summer without Sophie. Friends know she needs to stay busy or she’ll fall apart. Work and friends have been her salvation.

In Atlanta, GA, detective Julian Cavenaugh gets a call from his mom who lives in a nearby small town. Julian’s dad, a postman near retirement, is sure he’s found a little girl pictured on one of the missing children postcards he gets each week to deliver. He thinks the child is living with a new family on his mail route. The problem is—Julian’s dad thought that once before and he goofed. It caused a huge controversy in town and Julian’s father almost lost his job.

Julian elects to take a well deserved vacation to see if his dad is right or wrong. The jaded bachelor cop, who comes from a large, happy family, personally thinks his dad is wrong again. But he will do what it takes to protect the really good-hearted man. And Julian certainly doesn’t expect to feel anything for a stranger, a woman who is working and socializing with friends instead of exhausting every resource looking for her daughter.

Looking For Sophie is a very interesting title. How did you arrive at that name?

My working title was: The Atlanta Detective. The title was changed after the book was written, from a list of possible titles I sent to my editor.

Did you have to do a lot of research for the book?

I talked to some cops who have worked domestic kidnappings, did some digging into missing children where the person making off with the child is a non custodial parent, and I chose settings I’ve visited as I always try to do.

What character did you like writing about the most, and why?

I liked all of the characters in this book, primary and secondary. Each had a special role to play. I tried to go deep into the hearts and souls of all the players, because I knew from the beginning that I wanted this book to have an unconventional ending. And I was worried about how it would be received by readers. I’m grateful that the letters I’ve received to date have all been positive. And readers have shared their own touching stories and said the book caused them happy tears.

If your book was made into a movie, what actor would you like to fill your hero’s shoes?

I’m not sure since I’m not an avid movie goer. The hero would have to be someone with quiet intensity, but who has a lot of heart.

Do you have any authors that inspired you?

So many stretching back to the individuals who wrote Nancy Drew stories and others I consumed as a kid. When I started writing just to see if I could, I lived in Seattle. I was fortunate to have met so many wonderful and encouraging writers who helped me along my journey. I credit any success I have to Harlequin editor, Paula Eykelhof, who I’ve been privileged tow work with throughout my writing career.

What do we have to look forward next?

I’ve recently finished two Superromances. Both only have working titles to date. One features a heroine who suffers from memory loss. Her mother lied to her about her background. The other has a hero and heroine who fell in love and married as teens, had their marriage annulled, but meet again as adults through an odd circumstance.

Thanks for inviting me to talk about my career and about Looking For Sophie,


You're welcome!

To celebrate her book release, Roz is offering an autographed copy of Looking For Sophie to one lucky commenter on today's blog.

Bio: While working as a secretary at an elementary school in Phoenix, Roz freelanced a series of self-help articles and a short story. Her youngest daughter and friends, all voracious readers, were consuming Harlequin/Silhouette books. The girls badgered Roz to write a romance. A move to Seattle in 1986 opened the doors to do that when she took a college creative writing class and met other writers who introduced her to Romance Writers of America. She attended her first national conference and came home to write the book that would be her first sale to Harlequin Romance in 1989 under the pseudonym Roz Denny. After Roz's sixth traditional romance, her editor moved to Superromance, and she invited Roz to submit a longer, more mainstream-style book.

With Superromance, Roz added her real last name, (Fox). Her thirtieth Superromance will be released in December 2007 under Roz Denny Fox.As well she=s written three books for the Harlequin American imprint, two Signature Selects, and in August 2007, her first Harlequin Everlasting Love.

Check out author’s website at

Buy on line or at your local bookstores.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Hero of the Month

I learned of Sister Rosemary through CNN's Hero's contest. She heads The St. Monica Girls’ Tailoring Centre.

The Gulu district in Uganda has been under conflict for two decades now. Many young women and boys are abducted and taken into the bush by rebel soldiers, known as the Lord's Resistance Army. They have terrorized the communities in this country, and are known for cutting off peoples hands, feet and ears. If abducted girls survive from the LRA, they are at times forced to become wives of the rebels. Many of the boys are tortured and forced to join the rebels’ army against their will. Both boys and girls may also be forced to kill their own parents and siblings among other innocents.

Sister Rosemary Nyirumbe has lived her whole life in Gulu, Uganda and has seen LRA's devastation. She refocused her school to help rehabilitate the girls by giving them room, board, an education and vocational skills free of charge. The girls also receive classes in life skills, such as sewing, cooking and cleaning. St. Monica's Girls Tailoring School has made a huge impact on the community. Many companies call the school requesting employees. Also, the school feeds, houses and rehabilitates about 300 girls and their babies each year.

As Sister Rosemary, the Centre Director says, "We need to develop people so they can cope with the future. Many of these girls are not accepted by their families when they return from the bush. We want to give these girls a chance to survive and succeed as well as helping them to learn to love the babies they have been forced to have."

They do accept donations at

Thank you Sister Rosemary. You've not only touch one life but many.

Until next time.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Top Ten Reasons to Create a MySpace Page

MySpace is the newest rage in promoting fiction novels, so like many writers, I hired a relative to create my profile. As a result, I have discovered…

The Top Ten Reasons to Have a MySpace Page:
(Half-serious, half-not. You guess what is which, or which is what.)

10. Promotion! Promotion! Promotion! Download/upload a picture of your book instead of your smiling mug and leave it with every comment, message, and request to add friends. You want to get your name out there!

9. Networking is great! I have “met” some incredibly nice people who have offered to do cross-promotional work. I’ll blogroll you, you blogroll me. Kinda kinky.

8. Speaking of kinky, cute men will hit on you! Okay, they probably just want your money, but hey, no one else needs to know that. Brag about all the men who want to be your friend, then change your age to 90 on your profile and the con artists will fade away. (Not a guarantee, so use common sense)

7. Speaking of men, you can spy on your old boyfriends if they have a MySpace page. Create a fake account with a picture of a buxom blonde, then befriend your ex. You can see all of his photos, read who is leaving smutting comments, and then get mad and throw pillows. Okay. Maybe you shouldn’t do that, after all.

6. Bulletins are a great promotional tool! Stamps will soon be $2 each. Instead of mailing out your newsletter, you can send your latest news to all of your friends for free. Simply type a message on the bulletin board and click send. It automatically goes to all of your friends. Way cool!

5. Explore new technology. I’ve learned so much since I’ve started my blogs and playing on MySpace. Play with all of the links and doohickeys, see what they do, then call in a teenager to fix the mess you made.

4. Invites can be better than bulletins! Bulletins can be ignored. They go away, eventually. The message that you have an invite sticks around until you can’t stand it anymore and you have to go delete it. Invite all of your friends to your book signings. It doesn’t matter if you live in Fargo and they live in Nogales, they will see your name and the name of your book. More name recognition! See how this works!

3. Multi-tasking takes on a new meaning! While you’re up watching movies on a Friday or Saturday night, forget the laundry. You can fold it Monday. Drop your whites onto the rocking chair, and then collect friends while you watch movies.

2. Forget stamps and coins, collect friends! I’ve seen people with tens of thousands of friends. The reader/writer with the most friends WINS! (Don’t forget to leave comments on profile pages. It’s all about promotion.)

And the number one reason to create a MySpace page is…

1. You can become friends with famous people! They’re all over MySpace. Or maybe nerdy guys in Fargo are pretending to be famous people. It doesn’t really matter. I’m telling everyone I’m friends with Will Smith and Dolly Parton and it’s no lie. I have proof on MySpace.

Now that you’ve created your profile page and you’re ready to add friends, where do you start? At where I have 700 live links to Romance Readers, Writers, Reviewers, and Publishers who want to be your friend. No lie! They told me so. Add them today!

Happy Holidays, friend.

EPPIE Finalist!

I'm proud to announce Liquid Hypnosis is an EPPIE finalist in the suspense category!
Liquid is currently on sale at Print copies will be available in February through Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Interview with Erin C. Niumata

I’d like to welcome our guest editor today, Erin C. Niumata with Avalon Books. It’s a pleasure having you come visit us at Much Cheaper Than Therapy, where chocolate is plentiful and advice is free. So grab some chocolate and a lounge chair. Your therapy session has begun.

What exciting new projects are happening over at Avalon Books?

We’re always excited about our upcoming books. We have several new Carolyn Brown, Holly Jacobs and Amanda Harte romances coming out as well as a few Kent Conwell mystery and westerns coming up.

Can you give us a little history about Avalon?

Avalon Books has been publishing books for the library market for fifty-five years. We started by publishing sci-fi and westerns. Nursing novels were added in the sixties which evolved into romances. Now we publish 60 books a year, 10 books every two months: 4 contemporary romances, 2 historical romances, 2 mysteries and 2 westerns.

What are your top five pet peeves a new writer makes?

*Not knowing your subject (ie writing about a city they’ve never visited)
*Ignoring editorial advice
*Creating false friction or unbelievable tension between characters
*Scooby-do endings in mysteries – the big confession instead of a good solid ending
*Too many subplots
*Trying to write too much to create drama which takes away from the main story

What are your top five pet peeves a published author makes?

*Selling to another publisher ;-)
*Writing a book almost identical to the one I just published
*Not listening to editorial advice
*Making outrageous demands
*Sending in a first draft instead of a polished manuscript

What old trend or new trend do you see in publishing for Avalon?

Avalon has a formula that works well for us but we’re always looking for something new and fun to publish. We have a few romantic comedies coming out and we’d like to publish more of them. But for now you can guarantee that all our forthcoming books are true to Avalon style.

What catches your eye in a new writer’s work?

Great writing and a new idea. In romance – when they can really capture that feeling of new love – the excitement, the anticipation – that’s hard to do so when I see a new writer who has ‘it’ I’m ready to fork over a contract and start working with them.

For the submission process, what do you want from an author ?

The first three chapters and a brief 2-3 page synopsis.

What is your response time?

For queries about 2 weeks. For full manuscripts about six months.

What new author have you recently signed?

Deborah Mazoyer and Shelly Mosley writing as Deborah Shelley, Jennifer Lawler, Loretta Rogers, Betty Archer Liddington

What new project made you grab that hidden piece of chocolate in your pencil drawer?

Carolyn Brown’s new five book series that I’m about to sign up. And a few other surprises!

Any other chocolate nuggets you can give authors looking to break into your house?

I like well written sweet romances that touch the heart and/or funny bone. Old themes with a new twist are always good to read, and new ideas are always welcome. We’re not afraid to take on new writers and work with them, we are small enough to groom novice writers with potential. We love unpublished authors and hope to make their dreams of publishing come true.
Thanks, Erin!

Thank you!

Check out Avalon Books Web site at

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Holiday Traditions & Contest

With the holiday season in full swing, I'd like to know what your Holiday traditions are.

Mine are:

1) Decorating the Christmas tree with the kids 2) A visit with Santa 3) A visit to the McCormick Ranch Train Park 4) Baking cookies 5) Making a gingerbread house 6) Making gifts for the kids aunts, uncles and cousins 7) Finding and donating gifts to Toys For Tots 8) Putting together a box for the homeless 9) Lester & Roberta’s Christmas Eve party 10) and finally Cave Creek's Annual Christmas Pageant.

So what are you traditions?

This month I'll be giving away a copy of my latest release
When Johnny Comes Home to one lucky winner.

There's three ways to enter:
1) reply to this post on the blog.
2) Reply to this post to my e-mail address
3) Join my Yahoo Newsletter Group. (see the join key on the blog.

That's it folks. Have a safe and happy holiday season.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Happy Holidays from the Neurotic Writer


Therapist: Good morning, Suzie.

Suzie Writer: Can we make this fast? I have a million things to do.

Therapist: If that’s what you want, but I don’t think it’s a good idea. The holidays are very stressful.

Suzie Writer: You’re telling me. It took me hours to come up with just the right gift for all of the editors and agents I’ve been targeting.

Therapist: Oh? (Looking fearful) What did you finally choose?

Suzie Writer: Well, my story is about a cowgirl vampire who saves Christmas, so I painted bloody fangs on 500 Santa Clause ornaments.

Therapist: You what?

Suzie Writer: It wasn’t easy. It took me all day to paint them. When I was done, I lined all 500 on my condo windowsills to air dry. The homeowners association fined me $50 for an inappropriate holiday display. Can you believe that?

Therapist: Do you understand why they might consider your ornaments inappropriate?

Suzie Writer: Enough about them. Let’s focus on me. I want to leave early because I have to slip my bookmark into every Christmas stocking for sale in every store between Phoenix and Tucson. (Holds up bookmark with picture of cowgirl vampire sinking her teeth into Santa, along with the title, Bite Me Big Boy, and the caption, Coming to a Store Near You – One Day!) Promotion! Promotion! Promotion!

Therapist: Suzie, parents don’t usually check the stockings for bookmarks. Children will see these and become quite upset. The sight of Santa being attacked will traumatize them.

Suzie Writer: (Rolls her eyes and releases exasperated breath.) Has anyone ever told you, you’re a glass-half-empty kind of person?

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Contest Winner!

The winner of a $30 gift certificate to Barnes and Noble is Reader1287. The next drawing for another gift certificate will be on January 13th. To enter the contest, all you have to do is join my Yahoo Newsletter Group Suspensebytina. Click on the Yahoo icon on the right side of the blog to join.

Good luck! Here's hoping you win next month.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Interview with Linda Style

I'd like to welcome our guest today, Linda Style. It's a pleasure having you come visit us at Much Cheaper Than Therapy, where chocolate is plentiful and advice is free. So grab some chocolate and a lounge chair. Your therapy session has begun.

I understand you have a new release out called GOING FOR BROKE. Can you tell us a little bit about your fabulous new book?

GOING FOR BROKE is the third book in the Texas Hold 'Em continuity series about five lifelong buddies who play Texas hold 'em once a week. Dubbed "The Wild Bunch" by everyone in the small town of River Bluff, Texas, the five guys are now older and wiser...or maybe not so much. :-) Each book is about one of the guys in the poker group and while all of the heroes show up in all the books, each story stands alone. My book is Jake's story (Jake Chandler) who, after taking the rap for a crime he didn't commit, swore he'd never return to his unforgiving hometown--until his uncle's funeral brings him back...face-to-face with his past. Face-to-face with Rachel Diamonte. Not only did Rachel break his heart, she was the lone witness whose so-called evidence fifteen years earlier branded him a "barn burner." And now, the former homecoming queen--a single mom who needs help--has the nerve to ask him for a job. And, as you can imagine, Jake soon learns that when it comes to love, the stakes are high.

GOING FOR BROKE is a very interesting title. How did you arrive at that name?

All the titles in the series relate to the Texas Hold 'Em poker theme in the series. My title came up while I was playing Texas Hold 'Em with a group of friends. I liked that it fit the story, which is more than a cowboy buddy story. It's about love, redemption and forgiveness--on several levels. I wasn't sure if it was possible to love someone who betrayed you. To forgive? I wasn't sure...but I knew Jake and Rachel would have to go for broke if they wanted a future together.

Did you have to do a lot of research for the book?

I love researching and always do a lot for each of my books. But this time, the research was a little different. I usually have research related to the suspense elements in my books, but GOING FOR BROKE is more of a straight romance. I didn't have the technical police procedural things to deal with. Instead, I had main characters with major issues, five buddies who get on each other's nerves at times, and a small Texas town that has it's own personality. I'm big on authenticity in my stories, so I also had to learn to play Texas Hold 'Em. To do that, I enlisted a group of author friends (who understand this kind of research) and we began a monthly hold 'em game. I had one of my son's teach me how to play and, at first, it was very much like the blind leading the blind. Now, even though the book has been long finished, we still play--just like the Wild Bunch in GOING FOR BROKE! I even win some times. :-}

What character did you like writing about the most, and why?

My hero, Jake Chandler, of course! He's not only easy on the eyes, he's smart and doesn't need to live up to anyone's expectations but his own. He's a rebel with principles, he takes chances, he's an entrepreneur who made it big in the business. But even though he has no money worries, he's still living with a past that isn't his. Well, not entirely. He's a complicated man with a soft center, the kind of man I like.

If your book was made into a movie, what actor would you like to fill your hero's shoes?

Oh, easy question. But a good one. I always picture my hero and my story as if it were a movie. Scenes come to me visually, so I have my main characters firmly envisioned before I ever start writing. If GOING FOR BROKE was made into a movie, I'd love to see Jake played by Matthew Fox (with longer hair) from Lost. Fox's character on Lost is similar to Jake. An honest guy with a turbulent past. If Matthew isn't available, my second choice would be a taller Patrick Dempsey. (from Gray's Anatomy)

Do you have any authors that inspired you?

Absolutely. In fact, too many to list. Early on when I first started writing, I read all the top authors and was inspired by all of them--whether I liked a particular story or not. The authors who inspired me (and still do) are those who work hard at their art/craft and always bring to the reader the best of what they do. The authors who inspire me are those who bring a piece of their heart to their stories.

What do we have to look forward next?

I'm actually working on two books. The first book, THE WRONG MAN, (working title) is about a man who spent ten years in prison for a crime he didn't commit--and the woman whose testimony put him there.

Thanks, Linda!

Thank you for inviting me, Kim. The pleasure was mine.

To celebrate her book release, Linda is offering a free book of your choice from her backlist to one lucky commenter on today's blog. She will be around all day today. I'm sure some of you have questions or comments for her, so please ask away...

Bio: Linda Style moved from one extreme (20 below zero winters) to the other (120 degree summers) when she left Minnesota for Arizona. Since then, she's visited every ghost town in the state, explaining that she likes to seek out the unusual. "I've been to the Corn Palace in Nebraska, the Sturgis S.D. motorcycle rally, trekked the outback in Australia, hung upside down to kiss the Blarney Stone, climbed Cichen Itza in the Yucatan, and drank more than my share of ouzo in Istanbul."

She combines those adventures with her writing career, which began after graduating ASU with a degree in journalism in the early '80s. Her venture into romantic fiction came about after she took a class on writing romance novels "as a lark," in the early '90s. Recently she finished her eleventh Harlequin Superromance, which will be out in December 2007. GOING FOR BROKE is part of the new Texas Hold 'em series, for which she had great fun doing research. She started a monthly Texas Hold 'em poker game "with a bunch of crazy-fun writers," who she says continue to play even though the book is finished.

Along with writing her novels, Linda serves as editor of View Highlife Magazine. For fun, she enjoys travel, hiking and photography...and recently, she went to her first opera!

Check out author's website at

Buy GOING FOR BROKE at Just click on the book page.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

The Results Are In!

The results are final. Here is the ranking for favorate romance review site on the web. Surprised or not? Let us know.

Fallen Angel Reviews 44 (42%)
Coffee Time Romance 14 (13%)
Romance Reviews Today 12 (11%)
The Long and The Short of It 11 (10%)
Ecataromance 7 (6%)
Romantic Times 4 (3%)
Romance Reader at Heart 3 (2%)
The Romance Studio 2 (1%)
Romance Junkies 2 (1%)
Joyfully Reviewed 2 (1%)
Two Lips Reviews 1 (0%)
Cocktail Reviews 1 (0%)
Night Owl Romance 1 (0%)
The Romance Reader 0 (0%)
Sensual Reads and Reviews 0 (0%)
My Book Cravings 0 (0%)
CK2SKwips and Kritiques 0 (0%)

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

And the Winner is.......

The winner of my short story When Johnny Comes Home is Jaycee from Massachusetts.

Thanks for playing along everyone.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Looking for that perfect holiday present for yourself?
Register for the Desert Dreams Conference today. This conference, put on by the Desert Rose Chapter of RWA, has a great reputation and is bound to fill its remaining slots quickly.
Enjoy Arizona in the spring.
April 4-6, 2008
Crowne Plaza
San Marcos Golf Resort
Chandler, AZ
Speakers include Sherrilyn Kenyon, Carly Philips, Mary Jo Putney, Vicki Lewis Thompson, Cheyenne McCray, Jennifer Ashley, Lori Wilde, Brenda Novak, CJ Lyons, Jade Lee, and BrendaJoyce.
Editor/Agents attending include Leah Hultenschmidt of Dorchester, Toni Plummer of St. Martin's, Joanna Raisanen of Harlequin, Rachel Vater of Lwenstein-Yost, Bob Mecoy of Creative Book Services, Elaine Spencer of The Knight Agency, Jessica Faust of Bookends, Inc., and Michelle Grajkowski of Three Seas Literary Agency.
Editor/Agent Appointments are
Free of Charge!
But Hurry!
Appointments are available only for those who register and pay before they fill up.
Awesome Conference Contest
The first 60 people to enter the first 10 pages of their manuscript
will have it judged by an editor or agent!
Don't Miss This Opportunity!
For more information go to

Sunday, December 2, 2007

7 Days Left!

Only 7 days left until I name the lucky winner of a $30 Barnes and Noble gift certificate!
Don't miss this opportunity.
No excerpts to read. No hoops to jump through.
To be eligible to win, you must be a member of my Yahoo Newsletter Group. Click on the link on the right side of the blog to join the SuspensebyTina Yahoo group. Kim Watters also has a link to join her group, too.

Good luck!

Friday, November 30, 2007

Interview with Kathryn Meyer Griffith

I’d like to welcome our guest today, Kathryn Meyer Griffith. It’s a pleasure having you come visit us at Much Cheaper Than Therapy, where chocolate is plentiful and advice is free. So grab some chocolate and a lounge chair. Your therapy session has begun.

I understand you have a new release out called Egyptian Heart. Can you tell us a little bit about your fabulous new book?

Well, it’s a time travel romance…about an Egyptologist, Maggie Owen, who while on an archaeological dig uncovers Ramose Nakh-Min’s ancient tomb and a magical amulet hidden in his sarcophagus. It sends her back to his time…1340 B.C – where she falls hopelessly in love with him, the man she was destined to love. At first she’s mistaken for a slave, but she looks so different…pale skin, bright green eyes like a jinn…which is a sort of a demon. Ancient Egyptians were very superstitious and some believe Maggie is evil. Of course, that causes her a lot of trouble. She also finds herself in turbulent times with Pharaoh Akhenaton and Queen Nefertiti’s power waning and war about to break out with the Hittities. To make a long story short, Maggie ends up helping Queen Nefertiti and her daughters escape Egypt, she gets her man and she helps change history…for the better. I love a happy ending. The book is my first e-published, but my tenth published novel. It comes out today from The Wild Rose Press.

Egyptian Heart is a very interesting title. How did you arrive at that name?

I wrote it under another name, The Cursed Scarab; sold it as Of Another Time…but at the last minute I decided that the first sounded too much like a horror title and the second sounded too generic. I wanted the readers to know it was an Egyptian story. Egyptian Heart popped into my head. I thought it sounded more romantic since Maggie not only loved ancient Egypt but ends up giving her heart to an ancient Egyptian. The title and the beautiful cover created by The Wild Rose Press artist, Tamra Westberry, with the face, the pyramids and the camel, I think, help place it in ancient times.

Did you have to do a lot of research for the book?

Oh, my gosh, yes! I have a file folder three inches thick with notes and copies of photos. I spent many, many hours studying the history of that time and the people. Simply, everything in the book is basically historically correct except Maggie Owen and Ramose Nakh-Min…who never actually existed. They’re fictional characters thrust into a real time, real situations and with people that once lived. I think a lot of writers do that.

What character did you like writing about the most, and why?

Maggie. She’s like me in some ways – artistic and curious – but better. She’s fearless and adventurous. I find giving my heroine courageous traits I don’t have (I’m afraid of everything!) makes her an interesting character – and it’s great therapy for me. I have her do everything I can’t or won’t do. You know…like defy a soldier, face down a lion or physically defend the man she loves.

If your book was made into a movie, what actor would you like to fill your hero’s shoes?

Ah…funny that you should ask. There’s this new show on called Moonlight about a vampire PI. The actor is Alex O’Loughlin. He’s Australian. I’m hard to please and not many actors catch my eye and attention like he has. He’s…handsome and so charismatic. Got the dark hair and eyes, too, of my hero. Except ancient Egyptians were a little more tanned than he is. But he’ll do.

Do you have any authors that inspired you?

When I was a kid I read science fiction and historical romances. Mysteries. Anything spooky. I loved Ray Bradbury and Robert Heinlein. I had a lot of authors that moved me; too many to list. But Stephen King and Dean Koontz are two of my favorites.

What do we have to look forward to next?

I have two more novels (Winter’s Journey, a romantic suspense, and The Ice Bridge, a romance with a dose of murder mystery) and two ghostly short stories (In This House and Don’t Look Back, Agnes…to be a series) contracted with The Wild Rose Press. They should all be out in the next few months. You can get updates on them (and see my homemade book trailers with music by my musician/songwriter brother, Jim Meyer) at: or or

Buy Egyptian Heart at:

Trailer for Egyptian Heart

Thanks, Kathryn Meyer Griffith!

Bio: Kathryn Meyer Griffith has been making up stories since she was a child and has been writing for over thirty-five years. She was a graphic designer for twenty-three years; she’s a wife (husband, Russell), a mother (son, James) and a grandmother (grandchildren, Joshua and Caitlyn) and lives with her husband and two quirky cats (Cleo and Sasha) in an old house in a small town in Illinois. She’s had nine books* published and Egyptian Heart will be her tenth.

*Evil Stalks the Night, Leisure 1984; The Heart of the Rose,Leisure 1985; Blood Forge, Leisure 1989; Vampire Blood, Zebra 1991; The Last Vampire, Zebra 1992; Witches, Zebra 1993 & Pinnacle 2000; The Calling, Zebra 1994; Scraps of Paper, Avalon Books, 2003; All Things Slip Away, Avalon Books, 2006. Egyptian Heart, November 30, 2007 (paperback May 30, 2008); Winter’s Journey, early 2008; The Ice Bridge, early 2008; In This House and Don’t Look Back, Agnes, winter of 2007 or early 2008…all from The Wild Rose Press.

To find out more about Kathryn : or or

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Enchanting the Lady

In the spirit of the season, and because Kathryne is a great author and this author can't wait to get my copy of Enchanting the Lady, I'm going to play along in her contest.
"The imagination of J.K. Rowling and the romance of Julie Garwood
all rolled up into one fabulous novel." Erin Grady, author of Whispers
Make sure you check back to see her author interview right here at Much Cheaper Than Therapy in January.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Interview with Kim Watters

I’d like to welcome our guest today, Kim Watters. It’s a pleasure having you come visit us at Much Cheaper Than Therapy, where chocolate is plentiful and advice is free. So grab some chocolate and a lounge chair. Your therapy session has begun.

Thanks for the chocolate and the therapy. I'm in definate need of both!

I understand you have a new release out called When Johnny Comes Home. Can you tell us a little bit about your fabulous new story?

It’s a reunion story with a different twist. For years, the heroine, Audrey, has masqueraded as her sister and written love letters to Johnny. Now, the man she adores is coming home to marry his pen pal, whose letters kept him sane and hopeful throughout the destruction of war. Because her sister has married someone else, Audrey is left to face the consequences of her deception, which turns out not to be a bad thing after all.

When Johnny Comes Home is a very interesting title. How did you arrive at that name?

I played it off that old song When Johnny Comes Marching Home, which is where I got the idea for the book a well as the hero’s name. Of course, the original song was written for soldiers fighting in the Civil War, not World War II, but I think the song is still inspiring as much today as it was when it was first written.

Did you have to do a lot of research for the story?

Yes I did. Since this is my first time period piece I went overboard. I was able to find books about that time period and found tons of stuff-especially images of the war letters on the internet. It’s amazing what you can find there. To get the cadence of how people talked (or Hollywood’s version), I remembered some of my favorite movies that were filmed back then like “It’s A Wonderful Life” and tried meld that into my character’s voices and mannerisms. Plus, I remembered stories that my grandmother used to tell of living in the Midwest.

What character did you like writing about the most, and why?

Since my shorter stories are all in the heroine’s point of view, I’d have to say her, though I absolutely loved the hero, Johnny.

If your book was made into a movie, what actor would you like to fill your hero’s shoes?

Well, if Jimmy Stewart were still alive, I’d pick the young version of him. Present day though, no kidding, Matt Damon. Absolutely Matt Damon.

Do you have any authors that inspired you?

Now that’s a question. Having read romances since the 70’s, there’s tons of authors that have influenced me over the years. But I’d say since I’ve started on the journey to publication, it would be all of my fellow Valley of the Sun and Desert Rose authors. I don’t want to list them for fear of leaving a special person out by mistake. Hugs to all of you and thank you. I wouldn't be here without you. Another special thanks to my critique buddies Shelley, Marion, Sandy, Carol, Kerrie and Linda.

What do we have to look forward next?
Another loaded question. The print version of Web of Deceit will be available on January 4th, 2008. I’m currently working on another short story for The Wild Rose Press as well as longer books for Harlequin/Silhouette and Avalon Books.

To celebrate her story release, Kim is offering a copy to one lucky commenter on today's blog.

Author Bio:

At twelve years old, Kim Watters fell in love with romance after she borrowed a romance novel from her older sister. An avid reader, she was soon hooked on the happily ever after endings. For years, she dreamt of writing her own romance novel, but never seemed to have the time until she relocated from Chicago to Phoenix. The rest, they say, is history. She’s a multi-published author with releases from Avalon Books and The Wild Rose Press. She’s a member of RWA, PASIC, NINC, Valley of the Sun Romance Writers, Desert Rose RWA, and the ACFW.

Author Website:

Buy Link:

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Thanksgiving Treat

Just in time for the Thanksgiving Holiday. Here's a special recipe for those of you incharge of bringing the dessert like me.

Pumpkin Orange Mousse

1 envelope unflavored gelatin
1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
4 large eggs
2/3 cup sugar
1 cup pumpkin puree
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons ginger
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
2 teaspoons freshly grated orange zest
1 cup very cold heavy creamwhipped cream (optional)

Place the orange juice in a heat proof bowl. Sprinkle the gelatin over the top and place the bowl in a small saucepan. Poor simmering water into the pan and halfway up the outside of the bowl. Stir the rum, and remove from the heat when the gelatin is totally dissolved. Remove the bowl from the pan and let cool to room temperature. Beat the eggs in a large bowl until the mixture thickens. Slowly add the sugar, beating constantly until the mixture becomes light and lemon colored (about 4 minutes). Mix in the pumpkin, spices, and orange zest. Add the gelatin mixture and mix thoroughly. Using clean beaters, whip the heavy cream in a separate bowl until stiff. Gently fold the cream into the pumpkin mixture. Spoon the mixture into individual dishes or cookies and refrigerate for at least 4 hours. Top with whipped cream before serving if desired.

Monday, November 19, 2007

The Neurotic Writer and The Black Eye

Welcome to another episode of

The Neurotic Writer


Therapist: “Suzie, what happened to your eye?”

Suzie Writer: (Pressing powder over the black and purple bruise.) “It’s nothing really, just another example of me sacrificing for my art.”

Therapist: “Exactly what happened?”

Suzie Writer: “It all started when I took the online class: Submitting to Agents. The instructor said we should appeal to the agent’s likes or interests. For example, if you know the agent likes horses, mention your heroine trains horses.”

Therapist: “What if there is no horse?”

Suzie Writer: (Guffaws) “You rewrite the story, of course.”

Therapist: “Did you fall off a horse? Is that how you got the black eye?”

Suzie Writer: “Of course not. I don’t have time to ride.” (Impatient sigh) “I asked my cousin Howard to look up Agent Studly. It only took thirty minutes for Howard to find his address.”

Therapist: “You what?”

Suzie Writer: “Don’t look so surprised. A good detective can find out anything. By the way, how do you like living in Chandler?”

Therapist: “What? How?”

Suzie Writer: “Focus. We are talking about me. I flew to New York and I followed Studly for a full week. He likes double espressos, club sandwiches, and leggy blondes.”

Therapist: “Stalking someone is not healthy behavior, Suzie. ”

Suzie Writer: “You’re telling me. I got a black eye and I still don’t know if he likes horses. I peaked inside all of his windows, but couldn’t find any collectables of any type. I needed to get inside.”

Therapist: “You didn’t…”

Suzie Writer. “Of course I did. I turned the knob on his back door, and out of nowhere, an overstuffed, smelly, garbage bag hits me in the face. Who knew Studly could swing a bag so hard?”

Therapist: “Suzie, you cannot continue to follow people.”

Suzie Writer: “You’re telling me. According to the restraining order, I can’t step foot in New York for another year. Luckily, Studly’s attending a conference next month, and I’m ready this time. I’m bringing my hockey mask.”


Friday, November 16, 2007

Interview with Shelley Mosley

I’d like to welcome our guest today, Shelley Mosley. It’s a pleasure having you come visit us at Much Cheaper Than Therapy, where chocolate is plentiful and advice is free. So grab some chocolate and a lounge chair. Your therapy session has begun.

Thank you for inviting me here today. Where’s my chocolate?

See Hans on your way out.

I understand you have a new release out called The Complete Idiot’s Guide to the Ultimate Reading List. Can you tell us a little bit about your fabulous new book?

There are many lists of the “best books” to read, and, as a librarian, I’ve seen patrons struggle through these as though they were on a death march. They’ve been brainwashed to believe that if they don’t read every single title prescribed by some “expert,” no matter how dry and dull the novel, they’ll somehow be woefully short of I.Q. points, and the world will label them as “culturally inadequate.” Guess what. Reading can be fun, and there are great books out there just waiting to be read. John Charles, Sandy Van Winkle, Joanne Hamilton-Selway, and I put together lists of our favorite books in the categories most requested by library users: romance, mystery/suspense, horror, science fiction, fantasy, chick lit, westerns, humor, true crime, inspirational fiction, inspirational non-fiction, popular fiction, literary fiction, history, biography, travel, science and medicine, and true animal stories. Our book is designed for people who read in a specific category as well as those who would like to try different genres, but don’t know where to begin. In the back of the book are lined pages for people to list more authors they’ve discovered along the way, books they want to read, or notes on titles they’ve finished reading.

Why did you write The Complete Idiot’s Guide to the Ultimate Reading List?

We were asked to write it, and it was something we thought we could do well.

The Complete Idiot’s Guide to the Ultimate Reading List is a very interesting title. How did you arrive at that name?

The publisher gave the book its name, which is usually the case. We actually had some other ideas for a title. Leah Hultenschmidt, for example, suggested Books for the Bedstand, which I really liked.

How did you go about pitching this book to an editor?

I went to the Society of Southwestern Author Conference in Tucson, where I met Mike Sanders, Editorial Director at Alpha Books, the company that publishes the Complete Idiot Guides. He seemed like a really nice guy, and I thought he’d be easy to work with. (It turns out I was right on both counts!) Anyway, I pitched The Complete Idiot’s Guide to the Library. Mike said it wasn’t “sexy” enough, but he did have a project he thought I could do. That project was the Complete Idiot’s Guide to the Ultimate Reading List.

How did you convince your writing team to work on this book?

John, Sandy, Joanne, and I were all pretty exhausted from writing Romance Today: An A-Z Guide to Contemporary Romance Writers, which took something like four years to complete. Plus, John and I were writing The Suffragists in Literature for Youth: The Fight for the Vote at the same time. To top everything off, John and I were reviewing for Booklist and Library Journal and writing for What Do I Read Next? John was writing a column for the Chicago Tribune, and I was writing romantic comedies with Deborah Mazoyer. Sandy started writing children’s books. Despite the tight deadline and our heavy writing workloads, John, Sandy, and Joanne agreed to join me on the Ultimate Reading List project. For librarians, getting the right book to the right person is almost a holy mission. To have a chance to list what we considered the best of the best books--what an opportunity! What troopers the members of “Team Mosley” (as John has named us) are!

Did you have to do a lot of research for the book?

We did extensive research. We interviewed dozens of writers, readers, librarians, and people in the publishing industry and asked them what their favorite books are. We pored over lists of award-winners. We read or re-read many of the books that we eventually recommended (and there are over a thousand of them!) Lastly, we drew on a total of 75 years’ library experience--we’ve done a lot of reader’s advisory work over the years! We also had to learn all of the protocols necessary to format a Complete Idiot’s Guide.

What kind of deadlines did you have for this book?

Deadlines were tight. There were six months from contract to finished book.

Is there anything about The Complete Idiot’s Guide to the Ultimate Reading List that you would change? Any roadblocks?

No writing project is perfect. We had a good team and an excellent editor, but six months isn’t much time to complete a book like this, especially with the massive research involved. We’ve written an article about our experiences, “Six Months, Five Revisions, Four Authors, Three Editors, Two Meltdowns, and One Book.” You get the picture! With four of us, we had four different ideas about what books should be in the Ultimate Reading List. One…um…enthusiastic discussion lasted six hours.

The only real roadblock to our book was when we got the galleys to review, and it was the same time the book went into production. We were unable to correct our errors. Fortunately, there aren’t many, but one of the bloopers is Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Apprentice instead of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. If our book goes into a second printing, these errors will be corrected.

Would you ever do another Complete Idiot’s Guide?

You bet!

Do you have any authors who inspired you?

The other night, when I saw Nora Roberts get the Quill Award for the best romance for her book Angels Fall, I really wasn’t surprised. The woman is a publishing phenomenon. But when she won for best book of the year, too, it occurred to me that here’s a person who’s taken a much-maligned genre and earned the respect of everyone, even those who hate romance novels. If that doesn’t inspire all of us, I don’t know what does!

What do we have to look forward next?

On the non-fiction, reference side, the Crash Course in Library Supervision, which I co-authored with Dennis C. Tucker, will be out any day now. It can actually be used for supervisory situations outside of the library world, too, and focuses on using the Golden Rule as your philosophy of management, and treating your staff as though they are fellow human beings. (Hasn’t everyone worked for someone who was a bully boss and/or acted as though he or she was superior to the employees?)

As far as fiction is concerned, Deborah Mazoyer and I have a romantic comedy, tentatively titled Marriage 101, coming out from Avalon in June. It’s written under our pseudonym, Deborah Shelley. Marriage 101 is about Rachel Levin, a young teacher who gets her graduate degree in human relationships, considers herself an expert, but has never had an actual relationship of her own. Her first job, of course, is teaching Life Skills (a.k.a. Marriage 101) to a class of high school seniors. The hero, Danny Ricucci, a commitment-phobic high school coach, is blackmailed by the students into going through the class as Rachel’s “husband.” Soon, the lines between their hypothetical romance and a real one begin to blur. Of course, Danny’s family, including his sister, the stealth nun, feels obligated to become involved.

Thanks, Shelley!

Thanks for the interview, Ladies of Much Cheaper Than Therapy! This was fun!

Check out author’s website at

Buy The Complete Idiot’s Guide to the Ultimate Reading List at

Bio: Shelley is a retired library manager and a full-time writer. She’s co-authored several non-fiction books: The Suffragists in Literature for Youth: The Fight for the Vote; Romance Today: An A-to-Z Guide to Contemporary American Romance Writers; The Complete Idiot’s Guide to the Ultimate Reading List; the What Do I Read Next? series and Crash Course in Library Supervision. Shelley has won two Romance Writers of America’s Veritas awards and was RWA’s 2001 Librarian of the Year. She reviews books for both Booklist and Library Journal. As half of the romance writing team of Deborah Shelley (the other half, Deborah Mazoyer, is the Director of Building Safety for Glendale, AZ), Shelley has written four romantic comedies. Their newest novel, tentatively titled Marriage 101, will be out in June, 2008, and will be an Avalon hardback. Their novels have been translated into Dutch, Danish, French, Russian, Norwegian, and Portuguese. Shelley has just signed on as a writer for Novelist. She likes cats, chocolate, and all things Disney.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


What do we look for in our characters as writers or readers? I know when I read a book, I’m always attracted to the one person who sacrifices something they deeply care for to save another person or crucial situation.

I thought I’d take a look on the net and search for everyday heroes. Some might spur me on to write about them as characters in a new book, but some might just make me grateful that there are people out there who are willing to make deep sacrifices for someone other than themselves.
I decided to celebrate those everyday people by finding a Hero of the Month. I’ve stumbled upon far more people than I ever thought I would, so it was very difficult to find that special person until I read about a man in New York City:

A teenager fell off a subway platform right onto the train tracks with an oncoming train fast approaching. A man saw what had occurred and at first thought he might be able to pull the teenager up off the tracks, but then realized he didn’t have time. So instead he dove on top of the teenager and pushed him down on the track.

According to reports, the train’s operator saw them and applied emergency brakes, but not quickly enough. Two cars passed over both men with only a few inches to spare.

I don’t know about you, but to me that truly is a heroic act. Thank you, Wesley Autrey.

Until next time.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Agent Interview with Lois Winston

I’d like to welcome our guest agent today, Lois Winston of the Ashley Grayson Literary Agency. It’s a pleasure having you come visit us at Much Cheaper Than Therapy, where chocolate is plentiful and advice is free. So grab some chocolate and a lounge chair. Your therapy session has begun.

Can you please give us a little information about your publishing background? Who many clients do you have? How many agents? And how many of those agents represent romance? What other genres do you represent?

I began my association with the Ashley Grayson Literary Agency as a client. Carolyn Grayson is my agent. Two years ago Ashley and Carolyn invited me to join the agency as an associate. I began as a reader and am now an agent and still a client.

The agency has been around since 1976. There are four agents. Carolyn Grayson and I represent all the sub-genres of romance, women’s fiction, and mystery. Carolyn also handles women’s oriented fantasy, horror, and children’s books. Ashley Grayson handles literary and commercial fiction, historical fiction, dark fantasy, mysteries, thrillers, young adult, and humorous or edgy children’s fiction. Denise Dumars handles horror and dark fantasy fiction, offbeat literary and women’s fiction, and multi-cultural fiction. The agency also handle some non-fiction.

The agency represents approximately 100 authors.

What fees (if any) does your agency charge? What is your agency’s commission rate?

The agency does not charge any fees. Agency commission is the standard 15% for domestic sales and 20% for sales to international publishers.

What’s your response time for queries, partials and full manuscripts?

I try to read queries the day they come in. Most are read within a week. Partials, up to 6 weeks; complete manuscripts, 3 - 6 months.

What new author have you recently signed?

In romance the agency has recently signed and sold Jill Myles (Pocket), Michelle Willingham (Harlequin), and Nicole North (Red Sage).

What new project made you grab for that hidden piece of chocolate in your pencil drawer?

I fell in love with the voice of an author who pitched to me at RWA. She’s not quite “there” yet when it comes to plot and character development, but I see a lot of promise in her writing. Although she’s not a client at this point, I’m hoping she’ll be able to take her work to that next level where we can eventually offer her representation. To that end, I’ve been working with her and encouraging her.
What can an author do to grab your attention?

Write a compelling, unique story in a captivating voice. And if you can also make me laugh, that’s a definite plus.

What houses have you recently sold to?

The agency has recently sold romance, women’s fiction, urban fantasy, and mysteries to Pocket, Harlequin, Grand Central, St. Martin’s Press, Red Sage, and Dorchester, and children’s books to Little Brown and Feiwel & Friends.

What do you love/hate most about being an agent?

I love discovering new talent; I hate that there are not enough hours in the day to accomplish all that I’d like to accomplish, and I really wish I could read faster.

What trends do you see for the future of publishing?

Trends are cyclical. Not too long ago authors had a hard time selling paranormal manuscripts. Right now paranormal, erotica, and erotic paranormal are the hot sub-genres. Eventually, there will be a glut of these books on the market. I’m already hearing editors say they’re not interested in seeing any more vampire books, but they’re still looking for non-vampire paranormals. Urban fantasy is hot. There also seems to be a lot of interest in romantic fantasy; dark, sexy thrillers; historical fiction (as opposed to historical romance); and emotional women’s fiction.

Any other chocolate nuggets you can give authors looking for representation?

Don’t try to write to the market. Unless you can write so fast, something that is so perfect for the market, by the time the book is written, the trend may be waning, and your manuscript will be a hard sell. Don’t forget: the books you see on the shelves today may have been bought by editors two years ago. If you write a book that really pushes the envelope to break out, you might just find yourself at the forefront of a new trend.

Thanks, Lois!

The Agency website is under construction; in the meantime, check our page at Publishers Marketplace:
Authors can query me via email at:

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Recommended Read - The Complete Idiot’s Guide: The Ultimate Reading List

The Complete Idiot’s Guide: The Ultimate Reading List by Shelley Mosley, John Charles, Joanne Hamilton-Selway, and Sandra Van Winkle is a comprehensive list of recommended reads. It’s perfect for someone who wants to try a new genre but doesn’t know where to start or if someone has read all the bestseller’s in a certain area but wants to delve deeper. It is also obvious these authors’ have done extensive research in coming up with such a comprehensive list.

The table of contents is clear and concise with each chapter on a different subject or genre. From true-crime, historical fiction and humor to romance and horror. Each section has a list of the classics and then recommended reads, and under each recommended book is a brief synopsis.

I dove into the romance section. The picks were perfect. French Silk by Sandra Brown. I loved that book, and of course Whitney, My Love by Judith McNaught was listed. Actually, if this title had been missing I would not be able to recommend this book.

Other authors in the romance genre I hadn’t heard of. Examples are Eve Silver and her book Dark Desires and Date Me Baby, One More Time by Stephanie Rowe. Both books are on my must read list now.

I also spent tons of time in the horror section. I was glad to see so much more than Stephen King and Dean Koontz. I was pleased that Dead Until Dark by Charlene Harris was included under ‘More Great Reads’. Harris was one of my favorite new authors I discovered a couple of years back.

The only downfall to the book is that it is too short. I would love for the authors to have a book on each genre—one on romance, one on history, etc.

I do highly recommend this book. The authors have great taste, especially when I can’t really argue much with their recommendations. Who better to give advice than these authors who are all librarians with 75 years of combined experience? I don’t think anyone can top their wealth of knowledge on what people read and enjoy.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Interview with Jennifer Ashley

I’d like to welcome our guest author today, Jennifer Ashley. It’s a pleasure having you come visit us at Much Cheaper Than Therapy, where chocolate is plentiful and advice is free. So grab some chocolate and a lounge chair. Your therapy session has begun.

Thanks! Love the chocolate. Godiva extra dark chocolate truffles for me, please.

I understand you have a new release that came out last month called The Queen’s Handmaiden. Can you tell us a little bit about your fabulous new book?

The Queen’s Handmaiden is a historical novel set in Elizabeth I’s childhood up through the time she takes the throne. It’s told from the POV of a young woman who becomes Elizabeth’s seamstress. My character tells the tale of Elizabeth’s struggles to regain her title as princess (she was declared illegitimate and out of the succession at one point), and then the incredible intrigue surrounding Elizabeth as she grew to womanhood.

Plots abounded both to put Elizabeth on the throne and to keep her from ever getting there. My heroine finds herself in the thick of things, and she also finds romance along the way with one of the conspirators.

The Queen’s Handmaiden is a very interesting title. How did you arrive at that name?

Elizabeth I had a governess, Katherine Ashley, who was probably the woman who loved Elizabeth best. Kat pretty much raised her, and Elizabeth never forgot that, even when Kat got herself into trouble (she was thrown in the Tower at one point, in Fleet Prison at another). Kat was Elizabeth’s right-hand woman, at least emotionally, and I thought The Queen’s Handmaiden would be a good title to reflect this. The story is told from the POV of Kat’s niece, the seamstress (who is a fictional character), who also becomes a “handmaiden.” My editor liked the title, so we stuck with it.

Did you have to do a lot of research for the book?

Oh, my yes!!!! There is very little written about Kat Ashley, so it was a challenge to find that information. I read every biography of Elizabeth I could get my hands on, plus background material on the age (food, clothes, architecture, way of life, drink, dance, etc.). I read bios of the secondary characters in the story (Mary I, Jane Grey, Robert Dudley, Thomas Seymour, Catherine Parr, and many more).

I also read Elizabeth’s letters and documents about Kat Ashley’s interrogation in the Tower. I got a wealth of information from those letters, and I quoted some of them in the book. It was a fascinating window back into another time.

What character did you like writing about the most, and why?

I loved writing my POV character, Eloise. She is born at the same time as Elizabeth and grows up with her. Eloise is fictional, so I could do what I wanted with her.

Eloise observes everything around her with a dry wit, and she helps Elizabeth through some tough spots. She’s smart and funny, but she has a romantic streak. She falls in love with one of Elizabeth’s gentleman, who is in thick with conspirators against Mary I, and who has a dark secret of his own.

If your book was made into a movie, what actor would you like to fill your hero’s shoes?

Gosh, hard to say. I don’t watch many movies, so I’m never up on who the hunk of the day is. When I visualize my characters I never think of an actor or actress, because they’ll never look quite right to me. So readers are free to put whatever actor and actress they picture into my book. For Elizabeth I of course—Cate Blanchett!

Do you have any authors that inspired you?

I’ve been inspired by many authors through the years, and I continue to find new ones to inspire me. Authors I think have influenced me most are: Elizabeth Peters, Barbara Hambly, Terry Pratchett, Mary Jo Putney, Charlaine Harris, Amanda Quick, Judith Merkle Riley, Barbara Samuel. These are authors I go back to over and over again.

What books do we have to look forward next?

A slew of books! In November, The Black Dragon, book 2 of my Dragon series as Allyson James will be out from Berkley Publishing. Next year, I start off with Highlander Ever After, the third book in the Nvengaria trilogy by Jennifer Ashley (historical paranormal). And then, more of the Immortals series. Immortals: The Redeeming will be out in Sep. 2008. I will also appear, as Allyson James, in an anthology called Private Places with Robin Schone and two other wonderful authors in August.

Thanks, Jennifer!


Jennifer Ashley has lived all over the world, including Europe and Japan, with side trips to China and other exciting places. She is the USA Today and award-winning author of romances, mysteries, and mainstream fiction under several pseudonyms.

Check out Jennifer’s website at

Check out Jennifer's blog at

Buy The Queen's Handmaiden.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Haunted Hotels

Happy Halloween!
I promised friends that I would
write about my ghostly experiences.
First, I should tell you I am a huge chicken.
When I was young I would make up scary
stories while washing my hair.
(Sign of a future suspense writer) I was
afraid to put my head under the faucet,
but did because I had to get the soap out.
When I left the bathroom, I ran down
the hall, then casually walked into the family room like nothing was wrong.
I still can't believe no one ever caught
me. Not that I couldn't come up with a good excuse.
Anyway, my fascination with ghosts outweighed my fear. (Sort of) Five years
ago I joined the Valley of the Sun Chapter of RWA and quickly turned their writer's retreat into a haunted one. Every October we stay at a haunted hotel.

The first two years we stayed in Prescott, AZ. Eighteen wild and crazy-
okay - mostly middle aged and bored women, invaded this bed and breakfast armed with laptops and liquor. We laughed, brainstormed, shopped, and shared ghostly stories. I'm convinced some of those were made up-Not mine, of course.

Every year I take my secret weapon; my sister. She is ten years younger and a whole lot braver. Most of our ghostly experiences happen to her, so we can keep going year after year. When we stayed in Prescott, about 15 of us were talking in the haunted room and the closet door suddenly closed by itself. You would think we would have been afraid. Mostly we looked at each other, trying to figure out how that happened. While in my room, I felt something push off my bed, like a cat. I turned, expecting my sister to be standing there. Nope. She was in her bed on the other side of the room. I can handle a ghostly cat, so I did manage to get some sleep. At least thirty minutes.

The last two years we stayed at the Grand Hotel in Jerome. It was once a thriving mining town. Now it's Arizona's infamous ghost town. The Grand is reported to have a lot of paranormal activity. One of our writers woke up to an apparition of a man standing at the foot of her bed. Too bad it wasn't George Clooney.

Last year a ghost pushed down on my sister's head during her sleep. We think it was because a worker there died when the elevator landed on his head. Talk about a migraine! This year, a ghost played with my sister's hair. She moved to the couch, hoping it would leave her alone, but it didn't. I snored through the whole thing. My sister brought a tape recorder to capture ghostly voices and soon realized that was pointless. The ghost would have to scream and basically throw a tantrum to be heard over my snoring.

My most fascinating ghostly moment happened to someone else. (Couldn't have planned it better.) Young teen aged boys were hanging around taking pictures with their cell phones. In one of the pictures, a ghost was standing next to one of the boys. At first, I thought I was seeing a man standing next to the boy. I did a double take when I realized I could see through the man. I walked around with my cell phone for hours, but couldn't capture any ghosts.

I spoke to a young lady who worked at the hotel restaurant. (She knows my daughter) She said she saw an apparition of a woman several times, and the ghosts constantly locked her in the dry storage room. She worked there longer a lot longer than I would have.
At the end of the weekend we all agreed it was another successful trip and we booked our rooms for next October. I'm ready. I have my camera, my nose strips and my younger sister.