Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Unsinkable Maureen McGowan




I had hoped to have an additional special interview today…but she had homework. That’s right. One of the 11 year olds that plays softball here in North Texas saw the post about Maureen McGowan’s drawing for a free book. She didn’t wait to see if she won, her mom ordered SLEEPING BEAUTY VAMPIRE SLAYER immediately and it arrived last week.


Alyssa loved it. Her mother loved that it was NOT TWILIGHT and thought the concept of the fairy tales was awesome!

You know Maureen, it’s one thing having your writer friends tell you and repeatedly assure you that you’re a great writer. It’s totally different having a stranger read your work (even buy your work) and then surprise you by writing to tell you it’s good (and you’ll be on their favorite author reading list). But it has to be so very special to touch the life of someone in their early teens. Someone who went to the trouble to ASK me if I knew you. To which I replied, “HECK YA!”


They normally don’t go to the trouble. They don’t have to. So this is a huge compliment to you and your writing. If you missed the extraordinary circumstances of how Maureen's books came to publication, you'll want to review yesterday's post. I know a lot of people will be happy that Maureen found a second publishing company for her tales. She's truly unsinkable.


So, my fellow UNSINKABLE, my sister writer, my new and dear friend…

LET’S HAVE SOME FUN !!


ANGI: What’s your favorite kind of story to get lost in?

MAUREEN: I read books in just about every genre. If I had to pick a favorite, I think I’d choose YA right now. I think some of the most exciting, inventing storytelling is being aimed at that market. I also love what many would call “accessible” or “commercial” literary fiction. Authors like John Irving, Anne Tyler, Alice Hoffman, Margaret Atwood, and the late Robertson Davies. On the romance front, I absolutely inhaled JR Ward’s Brotherhood of the Dagger series. So give me some hot, angsty, vampire heroes and lots of action and sexual tension and I’m captured.


ANGI: What’s your favorite holiday?

MAUREEN: Thanksgiving. In Canada, we celebrate Thanksgiving about 6 weeks earlier than Americans and it’s not quite as big a deal up here… but it’s always been my favorite holiday. It’s less tied to Christmas, because of the time of year and I think there’s less pressure on the holiday, too. (I say this based on living in the US for about nine years.) But no matter where you live, the combination of turkey dinner, fall colors, family, and celebrating being thankful can’t be beat.


ANGI: What turns you off like nothing else?

MAUREEN: Arrogance. I ran into it a lot in my previous profession and do not miss it. One of the things I love best about writing is how humble most authors are. Even the very successful ones.


ANGI: What sound or noise do you love?

MAUREEN: Toddlers laughing. Particularly my niece’s when she was that age. She was a great laugher.


ANGI: Do you write while listening to music? If so what kind?

MAUREEN: I often write in coffee shops, so I’m listening to whatever they’re playing. If I get distracted by my fellow patrons, I put in ear buds and I suppose what I’m mostly listening to is indie rock. I like listening to old favorites. Songs where I don’t have to listen to the lyrics.


ANGI: Hiking boots or high heels?

MAUREEN: I’d like to think I can pull off both. I certainly have a variety of each in my closet. True confession: I have a shoe collection to rival Imelda Marcos.


ANGI: Do you believe in alien abductions?

MAUREEN: No. I sometimes wish I believed in that sort of thing, but I don’t. I do believe that we can’t be the only life forms in the universe, but I think the idea that these other life forms would be interested enough to stop by and secretly abduct people is plan silly. Or is it… Hmmm…


ANGI: Tea or Coffee? And how do you take it?

MAUREEN: I do drink tea on occasion, but I am a dedicated coffee addict and it has to be good, fresh coffee—strong, black, no sugar. ANGI: What does it mean to love someone? MAUREEN: Never saying you’re sorry? No. Joking. I think it means unconditionally supporting someone even when they are at their weakest and least loveable.


ANGI: What color would you make the sky if it wasn’t going to be blue anymore and why?

MAUREEN: Swaths of fuchsia and tangerine. Because it would be like the best sunsets all the time.


ANGI’S GOTTA ASK: Did you dedicate your novels to anyone?

MAUREEN’S GOTTA ANSWER: I dedicated CINDERELLA: NINJA WARRIOR to my editor and friend Bev Katz Rosenbaum, because she thought of me when she was hired to edit this series. She could have gone to someone previously published with an established name and following, but she asked me (based on critiquing some of my adult manuscripts) and I’ll always be grateful for the shot. I also dedicated it to my twelve-year-old niece whom I love more than anything.


I dedicated SLEEPING BEAUTY: VAMPIRE SLAYER to my two closest writer-friends, Molly and Sinead, who are both on the Drunk Writer Talk blog with me. I had to write these two books under crazy deadlines in the dead of winter and I’m not sure I would have survived without their calming influence, support and unwavering belief in me.



WHERE TO FIND MAUREEN:





Maureen’s giving away four books this week. Two of each title. The draw will be made on Saturday, April 2, 2011, from all the comments made Monday to Friday this week. Better yet, if you come back and comment on more than one day, you'll get more than one entry. So, if you come back every day this week and leave a comment, you can have up to five chances to win one of four books!


If you live in the US or Canada, you'll get a signed copy, but if you don't happen to live in either of those two countries, you can still enter! Yes, that's right!!!! Anyone who lives in a country that The Book Depository ships to may enter! (Except in jurisdictions where such contests are not legal).


~'til next week, Angi

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Day Three of Maureen McGowan's Release Week



Hello everyone, my name's Donnell Ann Bell and it's my turn to help celebrate Maureen's release week. Today, Maureen talks about her thought processes that went into these books. I know I was impressed. Tell us if you agree.

Donnell: Maureen, I just have to say I love fairy tales. You're talking to a person who has watched The Little Mermaid at least 15 times. When you described to me the story adaptation that brought about CINDERELLA: NINJA WARRIOR, I made the decision right then and there to pick up this book. You take the tried and true Cinderella fairy tale, in which the message to little girls is, let the prince save you. You, however, turn it into a kick-butt heroine who can darn well save herself. Love your message. What inspired you to create this version?

Maureen:Thanks, Donnell. When I was asked by the editor to take a shot at writing a proposal for a Cinderella story with a choose-your-own-adventure element, I jumped at the chance. But because the idea had come from the editor, I worried that I wouldn’t be able to tell the stories the way I wanted. The editor assured me I’d have complete creative freedom. To test her assertion, I asked, “Can there be ninjas?” She said sure, and the rest is history.

I also liked the idea of “fixing” some of the elements of the traditional stories that bothered me. For example, the original Cinderella character was too much of a victim for my taste, waiting around for a handsome prince to save her. I wanted to create a strong heroine who was doing all she could to save herself. I also never liked the idea that the prince needed a shoe to recognize her the day after supposedly falling in love, or that he fell in love with her because of her beauty—beauty which he doesn’t recognize the next day when she’s out of her fancy dress. What kind of message does that send to modern young readers about love or their self-worth?

Donnell: Not much of an esteem builder at all. I so agree. Would you say the theme is still good vs. evil, or do you see something else in the storytelling?

Maureen: The traditional fairy tale themes of finding true love and good vs. evil are definitely in CINDERELLA: NINJA WARRIOR, but other themes in the story include: believing in yourself and seeing through the superficial to what really matters—the person inside.

Donnell: You have a prince in disguise and a fairy godfather. Will you tell us about those switches and what inspired those roles?

Maureen: I made the decision about the godfather right from the start. One of the first things that popped into my mind as I started working on this book, (after ninjas), was the line, “Hi, I’m Fred, your fairy godfather.” It just struck me as funny.

That line, minus the word “fairy”, ended up in the books. He’s actually her real godfather, not a fairy. But he has a magical secret, too… and that element is something I discovered organically while writing the opening pages.

The prince in disguise was a happy accident while writing—when he showed up at the door, I realized the messenger bringing the invitations to the ball wasn’t who he said he was—but in hindsight that element was essential to the story. I wanted Cinderella and the Prince to fall in love, so I needed to get him into the story well ahead of the ball—especially since, depending on the readers’ choices, Cinderella doesn’t necessarily go to the ball. The prince-in-disguise element also nicely ties together with the theme of seeing the true person inside.

SLEEPING BEAUTY: VAMPIRE SLAYER

Donnell: In SBVS, Sleeping Beauty is actually a beautiful girl named Lucette (meaning light). The story is similar to the Sleeping Beauty fairy tale, with the exception that Lucette doesn’t fall asleep for 100 years, she pricks her finger at 16 and sleeps when the sun is up, while the rest of the kingdom sleeps when it’s night. (which is a bummer of a way to meet boys, I might add). The wicked stepmother isn’t a witch in this case, she’s actually a vampire. And a nasty one at that. Lucette will spend the awake-time training to defeat the Vampire Queen.

This fairy tale has some important lessons, too. Lucette not only fights prejudice, she learns that even though she’s cursed, doesn’t mean it’s her fault. Sounds to me like there’s some important self-esteem work going on in this story. When you write a story, do you have a theme in mind?

Maureen: I usually start with a theme in mind, but it always changes. When I wrote the synopsis for Sleeping Beauty: Vampire Slayer it was primarily a story about prejudice. But as soon as I started writing, it became more of a child of divorce story. A common issue for kids whose parents fight is learning that it’s not their fault and no matter how hard they might try to keep the peace, they can’t control their parents’ relationship. This theme and/or story element popped out at me as soon as I started thinking about how parents might react if they knew their daughter was cursed. And then what would happen if each parent had a different idea of how best to protect her. It all flowed from there.

Donnell: You not only turn the traditional fairy tale, you alter the vampire legends as well. I’ll bet you weren’t a follower in junior high, were you? You like to buck trends. When you see a story as the status quo, do you always think of ways to mix it up?

Maureen: Ha! It’s true that I don’t like to be told what to do, that’s for sure. (I am a Taurus.) But I was probably more of a follower back then than I am now. I was one of those kids who learned the inherent rewards in pleasing adults (parents, teachers, coaches) early on, and was, I suspect, kind of a suck up in junior high. Maybe I’m making up for it, now?

Donnell: What’s next in your adventure as a writer, and what do you hope readers come away with when they read your stories?

Maureen: I’m working on a few things right now, but nothing I can talk about. While my new projects are also aimed at the young adult market, they will likely be darker and for the fourteen and over age group. The Twisted Tales series is suitable for readers as young as nine or ten—but fun for readers of all ages.

First and foremost, I hope that readers will enjoy CINDERELLA: NINJA WARRIOR and SLEEPING BEAUTY: VAMPIRE SLAYER. While they do have themes, they aren’t “issue books” by any stretch of the imagination, and what I most want readers to experience is fun. They’re fast-paced, page-turning (I hope) adventure stories—but like most fairy tales, they also have romance and happy endings.

Bottom line: Happy endings are worth fighting for!

I'll say, Maureen. Can't wait to read both these book from cover to cover. Happy Release Week!

Question for Readers: In honor of Day 3 of Maureen's release week, we're giving away a $25 gift certificate to Barnes and Nobel. But there's a little work involved. Do you have a movie or book that you watch or read over and over again? Tell us what makes it special for you. And of course, feel free to ask Maureen questions about these fab books!

C.C. Hunter

C.C. Hunter grew up in Alabama, where she caught lightning bugs, ran barefoot, and regularly rescued potential princes, in the form of Alabama bullfrogs, from her brothers. Today, she's still fascinated with lightning bugs, mostly wears shoes, but has turned her focus to rescuing mammals. She now lives in Texas with her four rescued cats, one dog, and a prince of a husband, who for the record, is so not a frog. When she's not writing, she's reading, spending time with her family, or is shooting things-with a camera, not a gun. C.C. Hunter is a pseudonym. Her real name is Christie Craig and she also writes humorous romantic suspense romance novels for Grand Central. http://www.christie-craig.com/ Born At Midnight Kylie Galen has had a lot of crap tossed in her lap lately. Her parents are getting a divorce for who the heck knows why. Her boyfriend broke up with her because she wouldn't put out. And her grandmother died because . . . well, older people do that. But now, Kylie's acquired a stalker and she hasn't a clue what he wants or how to get rid of him . . . and she really wants to get rid of him because apparently she's the only one who sees him. Thinking she may be losing it, her parents send her off to see a psychologist who gets Kylie sent to Shadow Falls Camp. Kylie and her parents think it's a camp for troubled teens. They thought wrong. Kylie's surrounded by vampires, werewolves, fairies, witches and shapeshifters. And if she believes what they tell her, she's one of them. They're just not sure exactly how she fits in. As Kylie struggles to cope with the realization that these creatures even exist, and the fact that she might not be human, she's got two hot guys, a werewolf and a half-fairy vying for her attention. And they can just keep vying. Kylie's determined that before she lets her heart loose on love, she needs to unearth the truth. What does the ghost want? Who can and can't she trust? And most of all . . . What is she?

CAT: How often do you get lost in a story?

C.C.: As often as possible, whether I’m writing or reading. First, about reading. I love to read. When I’m under deadline I do have a limited time to spend on pleasure reading, but nothing is more rewarding than losing myself in a great story. As for when I’m writing, I love it when I get lost in the story. It means the story has become real to me, that the characters are doing what comes naturally as opposed to doing what I tell them to do. I usually get that feeling by the third chapter but sometimes I’m lucky, and I’m sucked in by Chapter One. When that happens, the book usually writes itself.


CAT: What’s your favorite cartoon character?

C.C.: Pepe le Pew. I love that little guy and his cute French accent. Okay, so I love all skunks and they show up in my books quite a lot, too. In Awake at Dawn, the second book in my Shadow Falls series from St. Martin’s Griffin, a skunk plays an important role. Sort of, anyway. LOL.


CAT: What turns you off like nothing else?

C.C.: Oh, that’s easy. What turns me off are people who think they are above others. People who are bullies. I don’t care if you’re a cheerleader, the president of the US, or a movie star–you’re no better than anyone else. We are all alike and we should treat everyone with the same decency and respect.


CAT: Where do you read and how often?

C.C.: In bed, right before I go to sleep. I keep a book at my nightstand, always. Actually, I keep about a dozen there.


CAT: What sound or noise do you love?

C.C.: Hmm. I think I’d say the sound of slot machines. I admit it, I love the casinos, although I only get to go about once a year. In a way, I think that’s why I was attracted to writing. Every time I sent out a manuscript, it was dropping another coin in a slot machine or putting another chip on my number at the roulette table. Yup, I come from a long line of gamblers. Of course, most of them were also moonshiners. I like to call them good Alabama Stock. LOL.


CAT: Die Hard or Die Harder?

C.C.: Die harder. I don’t give up easy. I wrote for ten years before I sold my first book. And then I waited another thirteen years before I sold the second. And it’s not just writing that I’m stubborn about. My husband jokes that I even fish hard. Put a fishing pole in my hand, and all my attention goes to waiting for the little jerk that says “I got my fish.”


CAT: What’s the first thing you do when you finish writing a book?

C.C.: This is a little embarrassing but the first I do is a chair dance. I scream out, “Yes, yes, yes!” Then I’ll pick up the phone and call one of my critique partners and scream, ”It’s done. I did it. I really did it.” I know some people think that writing four books a year would make crossing the finish line less of a triumph. But nope. I’m totally psyched.


CAT: What is your favorite tradition from your childhood that you would love to pass on or did pass on to your children?

C.C.: Oh, this is a good question. I’d say laughter and the ability to laugh at our mistakes. When I was growing up in Alabama, laughter was very common in my house. When someone made a mistake or a goof, it was not uncommon to share it with everyone else. We always seemed to follow the old rule, if you can laugh at it, you can deal with it. If we laughed during good times, we laughed harder during stressful times.


CAT: What dreams have been realized as a result of your writing?

C.C.: Several years ago, I was at a RWA conference and Debbie Macomber handed out little green notecards and said to write down your three big goals. I did it. I wrote, “Get a three book contract. Write a book on writing that will help other writers, and make a “big” list, such as in New York Times or US Today.” At this point, the only one I haven’t made is hitting a list but I’ve got my fingers crossed that it will happen.


I believe in the importance of goals and dreams. I believe in working hard to make those dreams happen, too. I don’t believe in giving up. I tell people all the time that my best talent isn’t the craft of writing, it’s my stick-to-it-ness. I’ve met and know so many writers who are much more talented that I am, who haven’t published because they don’t have what it takes to put the effort into achieving their dreams. But honestly, while this is the hardest job I’ve ever had, I wouldn’t change it for the world.


CAT’S GOTTA ASK

If you were a t-shirt, what color would you be and why?


C.C.:’S GOTTA ANSWER

Hmm. I guess I’d say pink or purple. I like happy colors and for some reason, those colors scream happy to me.


GOT A QUESTION YOU’D LIKE TO ASK YOUR FANS?

Writing has always been my life-long dream. What is yours? Better still, what are you doing to make that dream happen?


C.C. will offer one copy of the book with a bag of Shadow Falls swag. Then she will give away another bag of swag to the second place winner. And for our adult vistors only, C.C. offers a copy of one of her romance novels, or Wild, Wicked & Wanton: 101 Ways To Love Like You’re in a Romance Novel.**


C.C. would love to hear from you. Visit her at www.CCHunterBooks.com. On Facebook at www.facebook.com/cchunterfans or on Twitter at http://twitter.com/cchunterbooks.



**Note: Offer void where prohibited. Prizes will be mailed to North American addresses only. If an Advanced Reading Copy (ARC) is available, the author may utilize that option for International participants. Odds of winning vary due to the number of entrants.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Release Week Party!


My, how time flies!

Maureen McGowan
This time last year, I was still working on my two debut novels, Cinderella: Ninja Warrior and Sleeping Beauty: Vampire Slayer, and now they are both being released--on the same day!--to launch the Twisted Tales series!

The official release date is April 1, 2011, but they are already shipping from some online retailers. I can't wait to actually see/hold one myself and/or hear that someone has spotted one in the wild! If you see a copy in a store, please let me know! Even better, take a picture and send it to me. :)

In spite of the long and twisty road I took to this point (worthy of any challenging fairy tale fraught with evil witches) I'm not letting the April Fool's Day release date temper my excitement. Tune back on Friday to find out whether the joke's on me. LOL.  I might tell some of the twisty tale that day.  :)

In the meantime, here's what the publisher and some fabulous bloggers/reviewers have said about the first two books in the Twisted Tales series.

SLEEPING BEAUTY: VAMPIRE SLAYER

In this thrilling story full of adventure and romance, Sleeping Beauty is more than just a lonely princess waiting for her prince—she's a brave, tenacious girl who never backs down from a challenge. With vampire-slaying talents that she practices in secret, Sleeping Beauty puts her courage to the test in the dark of night, fighting evil as she searches for a way to break the spell that has cut her off from her family. In a special twist, readers have the opportunity to make key decisions for Sleeping Beauty and decide where she goes next—but no matter the choice; the result is a story unlike any fairy tale you've ever read!
Sleeping Beauty: Vampire Slayer is an entirely new type of fairy tale–one that will keep today's kids guessing and offer them hours of magical fun.

"If you’re just a fan of retold fairytales, then Sleeping Beauty: Vampire Slayer is exactly what you’ve been looking for." Maianka Verstraete of I <3 Reading

"It's a fairytale full of teen angst, comedy, romance, mystery and adventure! The 'choose a path' option was brilliant and made the book a lot of fun. I will be looking at other works by this Author and look forward to any other writing she has coming out." - Kristi Stern of The Book Faery

"Once upon a time a story comes along that makes your heart soar and transports you to a world filled with royalty, magical beings and immortal creatures. Sleeping Beauty: Vampire Slayer is one such story."  -Aobibliophile of Aobiblioshpere


"This was a wonderful new twist on the Sleeping Beauty fairy tale. ... Lucette was one butt-kicking vampire-slaying princess."  -ReaderGirl of NightOwl Reviews



CINDERELLA: NINJA WARRIOR

In this fast-paced story full of adventure and romance, Cinderella is more than just a servant girl waiting for her prince—she's a tough, fearless girl who is capable of taking charge of a dangerous situation. Seeking to escape the clutches of her evil stepmother, Cinderella perfects her ninja skills and magic talents in secret, waiting for the day when she can break free and live happily ever after. In a special twist, readers have the opportunity to make key decisions for Cinderella and decide where she goes next—but no matter the choice; the result is a story unlike any fairy tale you've ever read!

"An extremely funny, enjoyable and entertaining read that doesn’t take itself too seriously, and brings a fabulous twist to a well-known fairytale."  Majanka Verstraete of I <3 Reading

"My favourite princess made even stronger, it couldn’t be better!  A world filled with magic with love being the strongest magic of all.  A wonderful concoction of Maureen McGowan: a retelling of Cinderella mixed in with wizardry, martial arts, and choose-your-own-adventure!"  Tien of Tien's Blurb

"I was never fan of Cinderella to tell you the truth. But this book...oh my...! I wish the original stories were like that! Forget the sweet cliché love story and the poor girl. Here we have witches, championships, warriors, villains and even dragons! How awesome is it?" Yiota of Splash of Our Worlds

PARTY PLANS

All week we'll be celebrating the books' release. But it won't be boring. I promise. :) Tomorrow, we have a special guest, YA writer Christie Craig, and there will be new content every day.


Plus....


THERE'S A SPECIAL WEEK-LONG GIVEAWAY!!!


I'm giving away four books this week. Two of each title. The draw will be made on Saturday, April 2, 2011, from all the comments made Monday to Friday this week.


Better yet, if you come back and comment on more than one day, you'll get more than one entry. So, if you come back every day this week and leave a comment, you can have up to five chances to win one of four books!

If you live in the US or Canada, you'll get a signed copy, but if you don't happen to live in either of those two countries, you can still enter! Yes, that's right!!!!
Anyone who lives in a country that The Book Depository ships to, may enter! (except in jurisdictions where such contests are not legal)

Thanks for stopping by to help me celebrate!

Do you love fairy tales? Which are your favorites and why?

Friday, March 25, 2011

Katharine Ashe

Get Lost in This Story…





She would marry no man…

Serena Carlyle dreams of a happily ever after. Firmly on the shelf at twenty-five, instead she’s determined to find the perfect match for her beautiful younger sister. What better prospect than their neighbor, the wealthy, rakishly handsome Earl of Savege? Now Serena can beg his help in halting a local band of smugglers. Then, one night, stealing away from yet another disappointing ball, Serena finds herself trapped alone with a stranger …


Until he captured her—body and soul

His kiss was irresistible, his caress unforgettable, and he hides a devastating secret. A Robin Hood upon the sea, Alex Savege is the brazen pirate Redstone, seizing the yachts of spoiled noblemen to settle an old debt. Serena needs a hero, but her heart is in the gravest danger—for it is soon to be captured by a man as skilled at seduction as he is at plunder.


Today, I am thrilled to welcome historical romance author Katharine Ashe to the blog! The American Library Association’s Booklist named Katharine one of the “New Stars of Historical Romance” and her debut, Swept Away by a Kiss, was nominated for Best First Historical Romance in the Reviewers’ Choice Best Book Awards. Katharine lives in the wonderfully warm Southeast with her husband, son, two dogs, and a garden she likes to call romantic rather than unkempt. A professor of European history, she has made her home in California, Italy, France, and the northern US. Please visit her at www.katharineashe.com


So let’s get to know Katharine better!


Heather: What’s your favorite movie of all time?

Katharine: Moonstruck. It has everything: laughter, romance, heart-stopping speeches, gorgeous music, deep philosophical ponderings, cute dogs, New York City, family warmth, and a full moon that makes everybody go wild with love. Perfect!



Heather: How often to you get lost in a story?

Katharine: Often, and sometimes BIG. When I love a story — I mean really love it — I cannot stop reading it. I will stay up all night until it’s time to walk my dogs and get my son to school, and suffer the consequences of exhaustion in perfect bliss. Recently after one of these no-sleep-all-read binges, I wanted to immediately read the book again. Of course I had to go to work. So when I went to campus I actually (I kid you not) thought about taking it up to my lectern to read while my students were doing short projects. I didn’t! But I seriously considered it. Oh, but I did re-read it while walking the dogs and doing the laundry for about a week. Then I wrote the author a page-long fan letter (the first fan letter I’d ever written!) detailing what I loved about the book. That is how deeply I can get lost in a story.


Heather: What’s your favorite kind of story to get lost in?

Katharine: Any romance featuring a handsome, smart hero with a heart of gold and willingness to laugh at himself, and a heroine daring and delightful enough to win him. J


Heather: What’s your favorite “love” word?

Katharine: I simply adore “adore”. Adore has power and emotion and passion. It also has sweetness and depth and constancy. It is used for the emotion a person feels for another, for the earth’s creatures, for a god. It’s the word engraved on the inside of my wedding ring.


That said


“Love” is exquisite beauty, ecstatic joy, and profound pleasure all rolled into one. When I read a romance novel, I wait on the edge of my seat for the moment the characters declare their love with this simple, sublime word. It is The. Best. Thing. Ever.


Heather: What turns you off like nothing else?

Katharine: Hatred. Intolerance. Clique-ishness. Unkindness.


Heather: Who’s your favorite villain?

Katharine: Tragic villains! — villains who suffer emotionally for their crimes, or commit crimes because of their soul-deep suffering. In Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, when Captain Barbossa utters “I feel… cold” and the apple tumbles from his hand, my heart aches for him every time I watch it! Yes, he’s a blackguard. Yes, he has treated the fabulous Captain Jack Sparrow horridly. But he has lost all the beauty of his humanity while still being obliged to live as a human. His suffering is so poignant, I simply love him. (I love Jack Sparrow and Will Turner better, of course, but for rather other reasons.) ;)



Heather: What’s the first thing you do when you finish writing a book?

Katharine: Laugh. Weep in happiness. Shout with joy. Drink a glass of champagne. I actually write a lot like I read – thoroughly engrossed in the dance of desire a hero and heroine engage in while their hearts are gradually intertwining. I savor each moment of their story, which makes those final declarations of love so incredibly satisfying to write. And because my hero and heroine are deliriously happy at the end, I am too!


Heather: If you could interview one person (and it doesn’t have to be a writer) who would it be?

Katharine: Mahatma Gandhi, because he asked only for peace. But if he weren’t available, because, well, he’s not anymore, then Hugh Jackman, because… um… well… ;) (Does everybody know that Hugh starred in the 1999 Aussie film Paperback Hero as a closet, best-selling romance novelist? I’m sure I could come up with lots of fun facts about Mahatma, too, by the way. I’m just saying.)



Heather: What soundtrack or playlist do you recommend for your current release?

Katharine: Here are few songs from my playlist for CAPTURED BY A ROGUE LORD:


“Talk Show Host” – Radiohead

“This Kiss” – Faith Hill

“If You Were Here” – Thompson Twins

“Brave” – Nicole Nordeman

“Sweet and Low” – Augustana

“In Your Eyes” – Peter Gabriel

“Possession” – Sarah McLaughlan

“Carve Your Heart Out Yourself” – Dashboard Confessions

“For My Love” – Bethany Dillon

“God Made Woman” – Keith Urban


(I post my book playlists on the Exclusives page of my website www.katharineashe.com.)


Heather: What color would you make the sky if it wasn’t going to be blue anymore and why?

Katharine: I cannot imagine the sky any color but blue… or gray, or pink, or flaming orange, or black, or silvery white, or mustard. The heroes of my “Rogues of the Sea” trilogy are lords of Regency England, but they are also sailors. From their ship decks, they have seen skies nearly every color imaginable.


Heather: What’s in your refrigerator right now?

Katharine: Milk. Champagne. Pizza. Strawberries. Blueberry-pomegranate juice. Dill pickles. Champagne. Pimento cheese (forgive me; I live in the south!). Nutella (it moved there from the cabinet because the ants who live in the cabinet took a shine to it). Some vegetables with which I’m sure my husband will do something nice but which are otherwise irrelevant to me. Guacamole. Champagne.


Heather’s GOTTA ASK – Katharine’s GOTTA ANSWER J


Heather: So, Katharine, you are a professor of European History...How have your students reacted to your new career? Any of them dare rib the teacher?


Katharine: I like to keep my two professional worlds apart, so in academia I don’t talk about my fiction writing. But just last week, in fact, I discovered that some of my students do indeed know of my alter ego. I think it’s a lovely mark of respect that they haven’t mentioned it in my classroom (where our work is not about romance fiction). If and when they finally do mention it, I’ll let you know! J


GOT A QUESTION YOU’D LIKE TO ASK YOUR FANS?


Katharine: I could not resist saving this question from my lovely hosts to ask you: If you were given a chance to travel to the past, where would you go and specifically why?


WILL YOU HAVE A DRAWING FROM THOSE LEAVING COMMENTS?**


Katharine: I’ll give away an autographed copy of CAPTURED BY A ROGUE LORD to one randomly chosen commenter. J


Thanks so much for being with us today, Katharine! Where can your fans learn more about you on the web?






Thanks Katharine! And readers, here's the links to Katharine's current releases :)


CAPTURED BY A ROGUE LORD



A LADY’S WISH






**Note: Offer void where prohibited. Prizes will be mailed to North American addresses only. If an Advanced Reading Copy (ARC) is available, the author may utilize that option for International participants. Odds of winning vary due to the number of entrants.


Join us next week when we celebrate Get Lost in a Story crew member, Maureen McGowan’s releases of Cinderella: Ninja Warrior and Sleeping Beauty: Vampire Slayer!!!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Erin Quinn

Erin Quinn and the Mists of Ireland I read Erin Quinn's Haunting Beauty last year and loved it. Time travel, sexy Irish guys, adventure, magic, and lyrical prose - what's not to like? The second book in the series is Haunting Warrior (also awesome) and the third book, Haunting Desire, arrives April 5. I invited Erin to Get Lost in a Story for a chat. A woman lost in a nightmare Shealy O’Leary thought the ancient Book of Fennore a myth until she and her father are sucked into the past—and into the cursed no-man’s land called Fennore. There Shealy learns that she has a rare power that their enemy seeks. Aided by the dangerous and compelling warrior, Tiarnan, Shealy must find her father and learn how to wield her gift to save those she loves or die in this waking nightmare... A man desperate to regain his honor After failing both his land and people, Tiarnan was damned to spend eternity in the black heart of Fennore. His only hope comes in the shape of a beautiful, frightened woman from the future. For she possesses a gift she is unaware of. A gift with the power to save ...or destroy them all. A desire that drives their destiny Together, Shealy and Tiarnan begin their perilous quest—a mission that draws them closer and closer together. And as the odds against them mount, so does their passion. The intensity of their bond electrifies the couple, their love powering Shealy’s gift and Tiarnan’s strength. But their newfound connection threatens to ruin them both—and bring to life a long ago prophecy of devastation and betrayal... Simone: What's the first book you ever "got lost" in? Erin: Charlotte's Web, EB White. I loved it so much that at age 6 I wrote to the author and was thrilled to get letter back. Simone: Where is your favorite place to read? Erin: Definitely the bathtub. This comes from the bath being the only place where I could escape when my kids were little. Now I just love to soak and read. My kids are all grown up and they tease me when I take a bath and say I'm going to marinate, ha ha. Simone: What are some of the things that inspired you for the Mists of Ireland books? Erin: I loved the idea of an average everyday person suddenly discovering they were anything but average and everyday and I think I explore that with each of the Mists of Ireland books. In my stories, time is a fluid thing--no beginning, no end. It toys with the idea that everything in time is happening simultaneously so there is no butterfly effect. If you change the past, it's because the past was always meant to be changed. Sometimes it ties my brain in knots to think that way--but when I can unravel it, I think it's cool. :) I also wanted to explore Ireland with this series and that has been so much fun!!!! Simone: Did you do any special research for the Mists of Ireland books? Did you travel? Erin: Alas, I didn't travel but I visit the land of mist and blarney every night…in my dreams. Unfortunately, my budget hasn’t stretched overseas as of yet—but I can dream with the best of them. I’m a first class researcher though and I love to dig for the details. The Irish have such an amazing history and so many incredible storytellers that finding each new fact is like a treasure hunt. At first I found it daunting to write about a country where I’ve yet to set foot, but then I reminded myself that I dare to write eras I’ve never lived and from the point of view of males which I’ll never be. Obviously, I’m quite daring—must be the Irish in me. And with Irish friends to guide me on local customs, culture and slang, I try very hard to be true to the land and people I write about. Simone: The covers for these books are beautiful. Did you have any input into them? Erin: No, like most author's my input on the cover is minimal. The publisher asks for a few story concepts to incorporate and then they deliver a finished product. I've been very fortuante and blessed by the cover gods with my books. I really love the covers. Simone: Tell us all what's coming next for you? Erin: Haunting Desire comes out April 5 and Haunting Embrace will be out October 4. Although Haunting Embrace will tie up a lot of story questions and bring partial closure to the series, there will be more Mists of Ireland books that continue with characters who I've introduced in the series. I'm also working on a new series but I'm in the beginning stages so can't give more than a few details--I plan for it to be an urban fantasy and will it be set in contemporary times. Here's an excerpt from Haunting Desire... The heat of Tiarnan’s body blazed down Shealy’s back, silken and hot through the thin fabric of her dress. He was aroused. She felt the weight and pressure of his erection against her, knew instinctively that he held onto his self-control by a very thin thread. They’d both almost died last night . . . or today . . . or last year, if Tiarnan could be believed—and she thought he could. On a very visceral level, she sensed that Tiarnan was a man of truth and honor. If he said the sky was yellow, then yellow it would be. But right now, he wasn’t saying anything. His breathing was strained, coming in short, hot bursts against her ear. The muscles in his arms bunched tight, but his hands were gentle where they held her, almost apolo­getic as they stroked. Shealy didn’t let herself dwell on anything that tried to crowd into her overloaded brain. At that moment, she needed to feel. She needed to know that however terrifying this place was, she, at least, was real. Before she could change her mind, she turned in his arms, feel­ing him resist for just an instant as he tried to hold her still. Then she pressed against him, her dress twisted at her hips, her face level with his. For a long moment they stared at one another, searching the shadows that concealed their expressions, each seeking mercy, absolution perhaps. He spoke with a deep murmur. “I don’t think—” “Don’t think,” she said against his mouth. She caught a glimpse of pain in his golden brown eyes and for a panicked moment she thought he might reject her and pressed closer, letting him feel her body. “Don’t think, Tiarnan.” She ran her hands up his bare chest, reveling in the feel of him. He was hard, slabbed muscle beneath hot, silken skin. Every inch of him, strong and hewn. Her fingers slid up the column of his throat then back to tangle in his dark brown hair, twisting in it to bring his lips closer to hers. He made a sound in his throat that lit a fire deep inside her and then he pulled her tight against him with a groan, and that, too, fanned the inferno, as if her having him against his will made the forbidden moment that much sweeter. His reluctance didn’t extend to his body though, and he rolled, pulling her beneath the satisfying weight of him, crushing her in a way that screamed sex through every nerve ending. One massive thigh slid between her legs and she arched up, rubbing against it, thrilling in the friction. He brushed his lips against hers, the kiss soft, and she opened to him, letting him know he was welcome wherever he might want to venture. The feel of his tongue, so hot and velvet, so foreign and somehow exotic in her mouth, made her moan and her fingers clench in his hair. Whew! Erin is giving away an autographed copy of Haunting Beauty or Haunting Warrior (winner's choice) to one lucky commenter today. So tell us: If you could travel back in time, where would you travel?

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Lisa Paitz Spindler

GET LOST IN SPACE with THE SPIRAL PATHAvailable March 28 ISBN 978-14268-9141-0Carina Press After defecting from the Star Union eleven years ago, spaceship Captain Lara Soto is now the leader of the free Chimerans. Her only regret is the intense young officer she left behind. But when Terra’s S.U.S. Interlace goes missing with her brother Rafael on board, she has to push aside the pain of her betrayal and team up with her old love once again. Commodore Mitch Yoshida has never stopped thinking about the woman who deserted him. He’s also witnessed first-hand the Terran discrimination Lara foretold, from sequestering Chimerans on spaceships to enforcing indentured military service. With Rafael and the Interlace crew held prisoner by a being out of legend, will Lara and Mitch be able to resist their long-denied attraction and complete a rescue mission? To secure the Chimerans’ release, they must risk traveling to a whole new dimension. . . The wormhole, what sailors called the Spiral Path, led to only one of the many dimensions in space-time. Unfortunately, Lara might not be crossing into any of them today. “Gryphon, your launch slot has been denied,” said a voice from Cassini Command. “Captain Soto, please report to the embark bay antechamber for inspection.” “Inspection? What’s stuck up those Star Union asses now?” Camryn Rossa, Lara’s first officer for the past eleven years, locked down her station and unsnapped her restraints. Lara leaned back in her command chair and clicked her nails on the arm. Those damned royal pains. All her permits were in order, immaculate even. The Gryphon’s manifest had been logged days ago. Star Union officials could be sticklers—especially out here at Cassini Station—but no one had ever denied her launch before. No one would dare threaten a Creed aristocrat, even one with a reputation as tarnished as hers. Plus, pissing off the Creed prime minister by detaining her daughter could destroy diplomatic relations, which meant the Union might have finally given up on peace. Except, like the rest of her crew, Lara wasn’t just Creed, she was also half-Terran. In other words, a Chimeran—born of both dimensions. And neither Terra nor Creed trusted the Chimerans. They were unnatural, after all. Lara’s stomach clenched and a cold sweat shivered on her skin. Maybe the Union was finally trying to make good on their threat to enslave her and her Chimeran crew. Maybe her days of freedom were over. “Captain, are we going?” Cam stood statue-still and patient, gods bless her, hands clasped behind her back. Despite walking out of the Union Academy with her over a decade before, the woman had learned her lessons well. No way could Lara let her longtime friend down now. Lara stood and smoothed the creases out of her leather jacket. Outside the viewport, Saturn’s rings floated behind its moon Titan. She glanced at her young navigator. “Chandra, you have the conn. If we don’t return in fifteen minutes, blow through that launch bay and rendezvous with the Centaur on Alpha Haven.” The ensign swallowed and nodded but took her command seat without hesitation. “Yes, ma’am.” Lara clenched her jaw. This was the boy’s third mission. If anything happened to Chandra, his uncle would kill her. “Expecting trouble?” Cam fell into step beside her. “We’re not even transporting anything illegal this time. What’s Union’s diss?” “I have no idea, but activate your wrist-sync.” Lara kept her gaze trained ahead and pushed her panic away. If the Union wanted a fight, she’d give them one, but not at the risk of her crew. She’d ceased following their orders a long time ago. “We’re stopping at the weapons locker on our way.” NOTHING SPACEY ABOUT LISALisa Paitz Spindler is a science fiction author, web designer, blogger, and pop culture geek. Her debut space opera novella, THE SPIRAL PATH, will be released March 28, 2011 from Carina Press. In addition to contributing book reviews and television recaps to SF Signal, she also maintains the Danger Gal Blog hosted by her alter ego, Danger Gal, whose stiletto heels are licensed weapons and whose ninja stars travel faster than light. Lisa, however, gets through each day on caffeine and science blogs. I've known my "cyber playground" buddy for several years. It's awesome that this hard-working, friendly, supportive gal has found the right fit for her space adventure. I love that. But I also love that Lisa has provided me with the perfect excuse to schedule some reading time on March 28th. I will be downloading her book next Monday and enjoying the return of futuristic romance. ALIGNING THE PLANETS WITH ANSWERS TO THE QUESTIONS ANGI: How often to you get lost in a story? LISA: If I’m not lost in a story, I put it aside and move on. Life is short. ANGI: What’s the first book you remember reading? LISA: I remember having the Little Golden Books series, so it was probably “The Poky Little Puppy.” ANGI: What’s your favorite “love” word? LISA: I love the Irish Gaelic phrase “A chuisle mo chroí" which means "Pulse of my heart." ANGI: Where do you read and how often? LISA: On the couch, but I’ve been known to hide wherever I need to if a book has captured my attention. ANGI: What sound or noise do you love? LISA: The rain. ANGI: Fairy Tale or Action Adventure? LISA: How about a Fairy Tale Action Adventure? ANGI: What was the first story you remember writing? LISA: OK, I’ll admit it. When I was 12 I wrote a 19-page screenplay sequel to Empire Strikes Back. I am strong with the Nerd Force. ANGI: Be honest, when reading...do you put yourself in the heroine’s role? LISA: Yes, this is why I prefer strong, active heroines. ANGI: Is writing or story-telling easier for you? LISA: Story-telling, definitely. ANGI’S GOTTA ASK: So, Lisa, what is your favorite Sci-Fi flick of all-time? And did it inspire you to write Sci-Fi romance? LISA’S GOTTA ANSWER: When Empire Strikes Back was released I was at the prime movie-star crushing age, so absolutely the love story between Princess Leia and Han Solo left me wanting more science fiction romance. Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan and Blade Runner are tied for a close second. LISA WANTS TO KNOW…If you could visit any fictional world you've read or seen in a movie, which would it be? As part of Lisa’s Out Of This World Blog Tour, she’s giving away a copy of THE SPIRAL PATH and this Retro Saturn T-shirt to one lucky reader. Everyone who enters will receive a door prize: The Spiral Path electronic trading cards depicting the four main characters in the story. Click here to enter. Note: Offer void where prohibited. Prizes will be mailed to North America addresses only. If an electronic Advanced Reading Copy (ARC) is available, the author may utilize that option for International participants. Odds of winning vary due to the number of entrants. Lisa can also be found on Twitter and Facebook. Don't forget to LIKE us on Facebook or FOLLOW us on Twitter to keep track of who's next to "Get Lost". Come back tomorrow when Simone hosts Erin Quinn and Friday when Heather hosts Katharine Ashe. Til next week when I party with fellow GET LOST crew member, my Unsinkable GH finalist bud, Young Adult debut author, and a new friend... Maureen McGowan. ~~Angi