Linda Gerber

I feel like I've known Linda online for years, but I finally had the pleasure of meeting her in person last summer in Orlando. And what a lovely person. Fabulous author, too. I'm excited to have her here today, on a US Holiday no less.


YA author Linda Gerber recently returned to life in the Midwest after four years in Japan, where she served as the Regional Advisor for the Tokyo chapter of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. Her books - TRANCE, THE DEATH BY BIKINI MYSTERIES series, S.A.S.S. NOW AND ZEN, and S.A.S.S. THE FINNISH LINE - have been honored as ALA Popular Paperback, Junior Library Guild, Women’s Sports Foundation recommended read and Literacy Lab recommended read selections. Her next book, CELEBRITY is due out Spring 2012.

Currently, Linda lives and writes in Dublin, Ohio with her husband, her kids, and one very naughty puppy.


Just in time for summer reading: All three of the hit Death by Bikini Mysteries - Death by Bikini, Death by Latte, and Death by Denim - are now available in one fabulously priced volume!

Aphra Connolly was living a quiet, teenage life. But that was before devastatingly handsome Seth Mulo turned up at her family's island resort. And that was before a girl-the strings of her bikini top tight around her neck-was discovered dead on the beach. Without warning, Aphra is plunged into a vast conspiracy that takes her from Seattle to Paris to Italy. And, in the end, Aphra and Seth will be lucky to escape with their lives-and hearts-intact.


MAUREEN: What’s your favorite holiday?

LINDA: Christmas. I love the music, the decorations, the magic of Christmas, especially when there are little kids in the house to get excited about it.

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

LINDA: There are so many great movies, I can’t choose just one! So let’s go with some of the most oft-quoted movies in my house. Those include Princess Bride, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, O Brother Where Art Thou, Singing in the Rain, Return to Me, Only You, Bandits, The Importance of Being Earnest, Much Ado about Nothing, and Nacho Libre. What can I say? We’re eclectic.

MAUREEN: I think I share the same sense of humor as your family. :) Where do you most like to read and how often?

LINDA: I don’t require a special place. As a busy mom, I take my reading time wherever and whenever I can find it. I never leave the house without a book tucked into my purse (even easier now that I caved and got a kindle.) For me, reading transports me to another place anyway, so I’m not picky about where I am when I enter that world. (Although, now that I think about it, I wouldn’t mind a lounge chair on a white sand beach with crystal blue water gently rolling in and a cabana boy on hand to provide Diet Cokes, fruit plates, and fish tacos…)

MAUREEN: I <3 your reader's fantasy... What’s the first book you remember reading?

LINDA: Well, obviously I read books before this one, but the first book I remember being completely, hopelessly, stay-up-all-night-with-a-flashlight-under-the-covers sucked into was Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls. I was in elementary school and knew right then that I would be a reader for life.

MAUREEN: What really scares you?

LINDA: A blank page. (It also kind of thrills me with its possibilities…)

MAUREEN: Do you believe in ghosts?

LINDA: Yeah, if it can be Jesse from Meg Cabot’s Mediator series.

MAUREEN: Hiking boots or high heels?

LINDA: Flip-flops.

MAUREEN: :) What’s the best vacation you’ve ever been on?

LINDA: Wow. Another cop-out answer from me. It really is hard to choose one best vacation, so I’m going to go with the most recent one. I just returned from my daughter’s graduation trip and I’m still in the afterglow of it all. It was just the two of us in Greece and Italy, wandering off the beaten path, taking pictures, sampling the food, and meeting some truly fascinating people. Love, love, loved every minute.

MAUREEN: That sound fabulous. What turns you off like nothing else?

LINDA: Small mindedness and prejudice.

MAUREEN: What’s the most romantic thing anyone ever did for you?

LINDA: When we were starving students in college, my dear husband managed to find the money, time, and babysitter for our one-year-old, and surprised me with a trip to Denver to see Les Miserables on stage because he knew how much I loved the music. I was so excited when the actual play began, I started to cry as soon as the house lights went down and the orchestra struck those first notes: “ba-BA, dum-da-dum!” My DH has managed a lot of sweet surprises since then, but the thought, planning, and sacrifice that went into him making that dream come true when we were struggling students was such a sweet and romantic gift, it will always be one of my favorites.

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

LINDA: Read!!! The final weeks of finishing a manuscript are always very single-minded, head-down, power-through for me, so I miss being able to curl up and enjoy a book. I’m too focused on the WIP. So when I’m done, I reward myself with the luxury of doing nothing but reading for the pleasure of it for a day or so.

Then I face reality and clean the house.

MAUREEN: If you were given a chance to travel to the past where would you go and why?

LINDA: Right now I’m researching 17th century Scotland for a new project, so I’d really love to travel there. Of course, I’d want to take my 21st century hygiene with me...

MAUREEN: What do you like on your burger? (and do you take your burger veggie or beefy?)

LINDA: I’m not really much of a burger person, except for the occasional beefy splurge at a fantastic local joint called Graffiti Burger. I’m boring with toppings - just lettuce, tomato, cheese, and their sekrit Graffiti sauce. Best thing ever.

MAUREEN: My mouth is watering. What do you do to unwind and relax?

LINDA: This will be a big surprise: read.

MAUREEN: Do you believe in alien abductions?

LINDA: I don’t think so... although there have been times I could swear my children were abducted and replaced by alien beings.

MAUREEN: LOL. What was your favorite subject in school and why?
History (love the stories although I never was that good at memorizing dates and such), and English (Literature, yes! Grammar, no.)

MAUREEN: Do you remember your grade one teacher’s name?

LINDA: Yes. She was Mrs. Ammott and she had this... er... really interesting beehive hairdo. She used to get mad at me because I would whisper the answers to my friends during circle time and for some reason, she didn’t want me to do that.

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

LINDA: I didn’t realize it even was a dream until after I was published, but one of the biggest thrills for me as an author is to get notes from kids who say they were never big readers, but after they found my books, they are hooked. I’m a strong believer in the impact of books, so it thrills me to be a part of a person discovering the joy of reading. I also love hearing how readers have been inspired to take up writing themselves after reading my books.

MAUREEN: What would you say is your most interesting quirk?

LINDA: My kids say I have a song for every occasion. They thought this was normal until they realized their friends’ parents didn’t have a musical rebuttal to every argument. In my defense, sometimes lines from songs fit a situation really well. And I don’t sing at my kids all the time. Sometimes they get movie quotes.

MAUREEN: Which era would you least like to have lived in, fashion-wise and why?

LINDA: Already lived through it: the 70’s. To my horror, there exists photographic evidence of a certain purple polyester jumpsuit my mom dressed me in when I was a kid. Cruel and unusual. (The jumpsuit, not my mom...)

MAUREEN: Ha! My sisters and I had matching purple fringed fake-suede vests in the 70's. (Maybe late 60's. Dang. Dating myself.)


MAUREEN: If you could relive high school, would you?

LINDA: No way. Not unless I got to take everything I have learned since then with me. Even then, probably not. I didn’t hate my high school experience, but I was happy to be done with it. It doesn’t feel like it when you’re in the midst of cliques and proms and popularity (or the lack of it) and testing boundaries and exploring, etc, etc., etc., but there’s a big world outside of high school. I’d much rather relive parts of that world instead.


What are your summer plans? Tell us about it for a chance to win a signed copy of The Death by Bikini Mysteries for your beach (or poolside) reading pleasure!


Michelle Diener

Today I'm pleased to introduce to you an author to watch. Meet Debut Author, Michelle Diener.

What people are saying about IN A TREACHEROUS COURT:

"IN A TREACHEROUS COURT is an action-adventure-mystery-historical that grabs the reader on page one and doesn't let go. It reminds me of SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE in the way it captures the "feel" of Tudor England, moving with equal aplomb from royal palace to refuse-clogged London street to leaky rowboat on the Thames." Kate Emerson (Author of BY ROYAL DECREE: Secrets of the Tudor Court)

"Awesome! History woven flawlessly into riveting fiction." Tammy J. Schneider (Special Features Editor and book reviewer at "Affaire de Coeur" magazine)

IN A TREACHEROUS COURT by Michelle Diener (Gallery Books, 2nd August 2011)

Henry VIII’s most lethal courtier and his newly appointed artist become the only thing keeping him on the throne – and if they survive, neither will ever be the same.

John Parker is one of Henry VIII most useful courtiers — utterly merciless and completely loyal. But one small favour for his King will pull Parker into a deadly plot against the throne, one that will test his courage, his resolve, and most especially, his heart.

A commission from Henry VIII should have been the crowning achievement of Susanna Horenbout’s career, but before the beautiful and talented artist even sets foot in England, she finds herself in possession of a secret that could change its history. With Parker as her only protection against killers who will stop at nothing to silence her, Susanna has to trust the dangerous, enigmatic courtier. She’s used to fighting in a man’s world, but she never expected to be fighting for her life.

Shall we learn more? Welcome, Michelle to GET LOST IN A STORY.

DONNELL: If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?

MICHELLE: It would be a toss-up between the Lake District in England and the south of France.

DONNELL: What’s your favorite room in your house, and why?

MICHELLE: The kitchen. I love baking. And eating what I bake. :)

DONNELL: Have you ever written a character who wasn’t meant to be a hero/heroine but he/she wouldn’t go away?

MICHELLE: Never. My characters are all impeccably behaved. (Real answer – at least twice.)

DONNELL: What’s in your refrigerator right now?

MICHELLE: Assorted vegetables, cheeses, milk, yoghurt, juice, and waaay more condiments than I need.

DONNELL: What is something that not a lot of people know about you but you WISH more people COULD know?

MICHELLE: That my Virgo-ness is a pro, really, not a con. Everyone likes their lists alphabetized, don't they? Well, don't they?

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

MICHELLE: Making a really big thing about birthdays. My husband didn't have that, but my family really got into it, and I've carried that on.

DONNELL: What do you do to unwind and relax?

MICHELLE: Read or walk. I really love cold winter days where there is nothing I HAVE to do. I love curling up under a blanket with a good book.

DONNELL: Do you suffer from writer’s block? If so, what do you do about it?

MICHELLE: I do. Or rather, I look at a blank page and would rather do anything else than write on it. I'll get up and make myself do something even more unpleasant, like ironing, or hanging up washing. And then sit back down again. If that doesn't work, I force myself to write anything at all. Even if pain and suffering are involved and I hate every moment, I quite often find that I've managed to make at least some progress.

DONNELL: What was one of the most surprising things you learned while writing/researching a book?

MICHELLE: It's hard to pick just one, I've found so many! From kings disguising themselves as commoners and roaming the streets of London, to English noblemen riding with the King of France and throwing rocks and eggs at peasants, to court musicians who are spies.

DONNELL: Which era would you least have liked to live in, fashion-wise? Most?

MICHELLE: I already lived through the 80s, thanks. Never again. Although the corsets of the Victorian era are also not something I'd like to have experienced. Most? Right now. As an historical author who has done plenty of research on historical clothing, I love the comfort and ease of care of current clothing.

DONNELL: How many languages do you speak?

MICHELLE: Including English, I speak 4. The others being French, German and Afrikaans. I used the Afrikaans in my Tudor-set series because my heroine, Susanna Horenbout, is Flemish, and Afrikaans is very similar to Flemish. I tried to think of what my heroine would say in Afrikaans, and then translated it to English to give her a slightly foreign cadence of speech.

DONNELL: If you were given a chance to travel to the past where would you go and specifically why?

MICHELLE: Oh, no question, back to London in 1525. I'd love to take a look at how it really was then. See if the world I've created for Susanna and Parker in IN A TREACHEROUS COURT bears some resemblance to the real thing.

DONNELL: How much money does it take to be happy?

MICHELLE: Just enough to not have to worry about it.

MICHELLE DIENER'S Question for Readers:

The two main characters in my debut, IN A TREACHEROUS COURT, are outsiders. My heroine, Susanna, is a foreigner, and my hero, Parker, is one of the King's 'new men', a courtier who has been given a great deal of power – the kind of power usually only given to noblemen - through his professionalism and loyalty to the King. Both of them have a place in the hierarchy but do not feel part of it. What is your favorite outsider in fiction, either book or film?

Michelle, it's been a pleasure. Readers, questions or comments will enter you in a drawing to win Michelle's Advanced Reader Copy of IN A TREACHEROUS COURT.

Born in London and brought up in KwaZulu Natal, South Africa, reading and writing have always been my passions. I write historical fiction and my debut novel, IN A TREACHEROUS COURT, is set to release August 2nd, 2011 with Simon & Schuster imprint Gallery Books.

The second book in the series, KEEPER OF THE KING'S SECRETS, also featuring Susanna Horenbout and John Parker, is scheduled for a February 2012 release.

I currently live on the west coast of Australia with my husband and two children.

When I'm not writing, or driving my kids from activity to activity, you can find me at my website, blogging at Magical Musings, or online at Twitter and Facebook.



Robin D. Owens


What's not to love about an author with so much Heart? Robin D. Owens is the author of twelve Heart series Paranormal Futuristic romances from Berkley Sensation. She has five books in the Summoning series and two in the Mystic Circle series from Luna Books, and of course in her free time she writes anthologies, teaches and inspires writers. Please welcome, Robin D. Owens to Get Lost in a Story.

Robin EXCERPTS at: http://www.robindowens.com/reads/reads.htm

Heart Change, 2010 Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery Suspense Best of the Best, e.g. the Overall Winner of the Published Contest.

DONNELL: Robin it's an honor... Now let's get to work:). The beach or the mountains?

ROBIN: Ooooh. This is HARD. I live in the mountains but I've been attending a beach retreat for five years. But, actually, I would say The Forest.

DONNELL: Okay, I admit, the above was a trick question because I know how much you love your beach retreat. And you still stumped me. The Forest. Of course ;) If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?

ROBIN: Also difficult. I think, like "true love" there is a "right" place for everyone. I'm not sure that I've found mine yet and all my family and most of my friends live in Colorado.

DONNELL: Cat or dog person?

ROBIN: I've had both and I use both, as well as foxes, as Familiar Companies in my "Heart" series. Actually, I'm sure the cat with attitude (redundant) sold that book. Zanth is still a favorite with my fans,though I've written. . .um. . .many. . .since then. Cats have allowed me to live in their house for years.

DONNELL: What makes you happy? What turns you off?

ROBIN: Happy. A good writing day. Spending time with my friends and family. Traveling. Sleeping. Reading a good story.

Turn off: Mean people.

DONNELL: What's in your refrigerator right now?

ROBIN: Oops. It's at the end of a long haul of writing and the fridge isn't stocked, but OJ, spinach, mushrooms, turkey breast (that needs to be tossed, why do I always think I will eat it?), two sorts of cheese, eggs, soda that someone brought in December and I don't drink and need to dispose of, left over sesame chicken.

DONNELL: If you had a time machine, would you go back in time or into the future?

ROBIN: This supposes that the future would be good and easy to travel to and back. I have questions about history and the past -- any person who contemplates it does. It would depend how long I would have to stay in the past. I don't think I could live without hot baths and toilets for very long. So I am completely equivocal about this question.

DONNELL: Do you read you reviews?

ROBIN: Ouch. Yes, I make that mistake, usually when I'm down, which is even worse because it's hard to pull yourself out of a spiral into depression. Regarding reviews: Bad reviews will always reinforce your self-doubt. Good reviews are like drugs, you need more, and more glowing, and with increased frequency, all the time. The rock bottom validation that a writer can have is that s/he has written the absolute best book s/he could with the resources s/he had.

DONNELL: If you could interview any person in the world, and it doesn't have to be a writer, who would it be?

ROBIN: I think I will stick with a writer. J.K. Rowling.

DONNELL: What is the number one thing you've achieved as a result of your writing?

ROBIN: Entertaining people. There are awards, etc. But knowing that I entertained people--took them away from their daily struggles, like other writers take me away--is the most important thing in my book. :)

Great answers, Robin. Now we've come to the phase of Get Lost in a Story where a crew member asks, and the author's gotta answer. Here's mine for you.

I understand you're in deadline hell. How clean is your house and how much sleep are you getting these days?

ROBIN: Eeek. The house is NOT clean. I've started the dishes, ok? The vacuum is around here under the dust somewhere. I live alone so no one guilts me to clean. Well, I have two cats. One has long hair. Neither of them lift a paw to help. Sleep? I've been getting about six hours. I need seven. Lack of sleep isn't usually a problem with me, it's the darn unpleasant dreams in deadline hell that wear me down.

Thanks for sharing that. Now here's your chance to get even.

Readers, Robin wants you to answer this question: How many of you are buying your favorite authors on ebooks? I'm thinking of writing a few novellas that fit into my worlds and self-publishing them to Amazon, etc. Is this something you'd like to see from your favorite authors?

Readers: Today one lucky person will receive ENCHANTED NO MORE by Robin D. Owens, and don't forget, she's participating in the Brenda Novak Auction for Diabetes Research where she's auctioning off an Advanced Reader Copy of Heart Search as well as a critique!

Join us tomorrow, Friday May 27th, as I host Debut Author Michelle Diener!


Emily March


I am pleased to welcome USA Today and NY Times bestselling author EMILY MARCH.

I'm switching things up today, starting with my GOTTA ASK Q&A. When I read about my fellow Texan and chapter mate's new passion, I wanted to share it with you.

ANGI’S GOTTA ASK: So, Emily, I doubt you remember the first time we met but it was at a book signing. I think I bought EVERYthing Walden’s had on the table by you. I loved your historical fiction written as Geralyn Dawson. But I’d like to know more about Patchwork Angels. AND it really does sound like fiction when you admit you couldn’t sew a hem but have started a quilting project. So how do you go from not sewing to quilting?

EMILY’S GOTTA ANSWER: First, thank you for the kind words about my work. I started writing historical romance, so it will always have a special place in my heart.

Thanks for giving me the opportunity to talk about Patchwork Angels! One of the most important themes of my Eternity Springs series is friendship, particularly friendship between women. I am blessed to have many wonderful friendships in my life and recently as a result of some volunteer work I did, I made friends with a wonderful woman who introduced me to a new sisterhood, the world of quilters. As someone who didn’t even sew hems at the time, it was quite a wonderful discovery.

Quilting is a hugely popular pastime--something I didn't know at the time. For instance, there's an annual quilt show in Houston that attracts over 50,000 each year.

I discovered that quilting and writing are similar in that both are creative endeavors and both require discipline to complete a project. Quilters are good people--like readers, in fact. I enjoy spending time with them and learning the craft, just like I enjoy spending time with other writers and learning from them, too.

Of course because all of life is fodder for the muse, I wrote a quilting bee into the series. In Eternity Springs, the group calls themselves the Patchwork Angels and they are making quilts from wedding gown fabric--something my master quilter friend introduced me to. Somewhere along the line we got the idea to turn fiction into reality and our Patchwork Quilters project was born.

It took some time to take it from idea to reality, but we now have a plan in place. Basically, I furnish fabric that's been salvaged from damaged wedding gowns to volunteer quilters who agree to make a simple table runner which will be offered for sale at wedding-related fundraising events for Project Pink, Inc., a new 501©3 charitable organization founded by other friends of mine who have a background in the wedding industry. Part of Project Pink, Inc.'s mission is to grant college scholarships to students who have lost a parent to breast cancer and they've agreed that funds raised from sale of the table runners will go toward part of the mission.

This is a labor of love for me and as we get the program up and running, I hope it will offer an opportunity for those involved to make new friendships while participating in a good cause and using their creativity to make something unique. For more information, please email angels@emilymarch.com



John Gabriel Callahan has lost everything that mattered. All he wants is solitude on an isolated mountain estate. Instead, he gets a neighbor. Vibrant, no-nonsense Nic Sullivan is Eternity Springs' veterinarian, and she has an uncanny plan to lure this talented architect back to the world of the living. First with a dog, next with a renovation project, and, finally, with a night of passion that ends with a surprise.

Now a man still raw from tragedy must face the biggest struggle of his heart. Can he forgive himself and believe in the power of second chances? Dare he trust in the promise of a future and brand-new family here in Eternity Springs?


Shattered after her experiences in war-torn Africa, obstetrical surgeon Sage Anderson gives up medicine and moves to Eternity Springs. There she finds a place to call home, but even her new-found success as a gifted artist isn't enough to keep her nightmares at bay. Colt Rafferty is about to change all that.

Eternity Springs is a refuge for Colt, a place to ground himself when the stress of investigating tragedies takes its toll. He has come here for a little R&R, but instead of relaxing, he finds himself fascinated by the mysterious redhead whose secrets beg to be discovered--a beauty running from her past, a heartsick woman in desperate need of the sweet sanctuary of a devoted man's embrace. And he is just the man to show her the true path to peace--by offering her the healing power of love.


Ballentine, May 2011

ISBN: 0345518381

Married for more than twenty years, and with her children out of the nest, Ali Timberlake has come to Eternity Springs alone. She's looking for answers to heartbreaking questions and searching for something that's missing deep within herself. Taking a lease on the Bristlecone Cafe in pursuit of a lifelong dream, Ali feels revitalized as she becomes part of this charming mountain town. But a big piece of her is still back in Denver with her husband, Mac, a successful judge--and a man who isn't going to let the woman he loves leave without a fight.

When Mac shows up in Eternity Springs--sexy, seductive, and determined to win his wife back--he experiences the wonder of the place that has given Ali such feelings of happiness and belonging. He wants that for her, but even more, he wants that with her. Ali has found a special place for her heart. But is there still enough room left in that heart for him?

What’s the first book you remember reading?
EMILY: Cat in the Hat. Gotta love Dr. S!
ANGI: What’s your favorite “love” word?
EMILY: Steve (That's my husband's name and our anniversary is tomorrow so he's on my mind.)
ANGI: What’s your favorite fairy tale?
EMILY: Beauty and the Beast
ANGI: What turns you off like nothing else?
EMILY: Liars
ANGI: Where do you read and how often?
EMILY: Lately I do most of my "reading" through audiobooks. I LOVE audiobooks. I listen to one every day as I exercise and every night as I go to sleep. One of the big thrills for me as a writer is to have my Eternity Springs series available in audio.
ANGI: What sound or noise do you love?
EMILY: I love the sound of moving water. Most peaceful sound in the world to me. Love the surf, fountains, mountain streams, waterfalls.
ANGI: Be honest, when reading...do you put yourself in the heroine’s role?
EMILY: Nope.
ANGI: Is writing or story-telling easier for you?
EMILY: Story-telling. I learned from my dad, the greatest storyteller ever born
ANGI: What’s something you’d like to tell your fans?
EMILY: After writing 24 books in a variety of sub-genres, I feel that with my Eternity Springs series, I'm finally writing what I was always meant to write. I hope you will give them a try.

Twitter: @emilymarchbooks

GOT A QUESTION YOU’D LIKE TO ASK YOUR FANS? I'm about to jump into the e-book market with my backlist. There are a couple titles of the books I either hated (MY LONG TALL TEXAS HEARTTHROB--gag) or didn't feel fit the story. I'd like to give those books new titles, but list "previously titled xyz" clearly on the buy page. Good idea or a huge mistake?

EMILY will be giving a lucky commenter a copy of ANGEL'S REST (the first book of the Eternity Springs series).
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.

Don't miss tomorrow's guest Robin D. Owen and come back Friday for Michelle Deiner. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter to stay updated on all our guests. And don't forget to check out the WINNER'S CIRCLE.


Vanessa Kelly

Get Lost in This Story…

Spirited, stubborn, and entirely irresistible...

She is difficult, demanding, and at times, quite fierce. And Dr. John Blackmore can’t take his eyes off her. The Countess of Randolph is the most striking woman he has ever seen...and the most infuriating patient he has ever tended.

Mired in responsibility, Bathsheba doesn’t have time to convalesce in the country. She should be in London, hunting for a wealthy new lover to pay off her late husband’s vast debts, not dallying with a devastatingly handsome doctor.

But it is only a matter of time until the good doctor and the obstinate countess will have to contend with the sparks that fly between them. Once their bodies surrender, their hearts may follow...

I am thrilled to host fellow historical author, Vanessa Kelly, on the blog today. She’s smart, talented, funny and versatile…and you’re going to love her!

Vanessa Kelly writes Regency-set historical romance for Kensington Zebra. She also writes contemporary romance with her husband under the pen name of VK Sykes. You can visit her on the web at: http://www.vanessakellyauthor.com

Let’s get right to The Get Lost Interview…

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

Vanessa: Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King

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

Vanessa: I love historical or epic adventures that sweep you away to a different time and place. I also enjoy reading contemporary romances that draw you in with humor, heart, and passion.

Heather: What’s the first book you remember reading?

Vanessa: I loved a series of children’s books called The Happy Hollisters, which were mysteries featuring a large family of children – five, to be exact. Since there were five children in my family I probably identified with them. I also started the Nancy Drew books at an early age, too. Loved them!

Heather: What’s your favorite cartoon character?

Vanessa: Bugs Bunny. He’s such an anarchist.

Heather: What turns you off like nothing else?

Vanessa: Bad smells. They drive me crazy.

Heather: Where do you read and how often?

Vanessa: Mostly I read in bed at night.

Heather: What sound or noise do you love?

Vanessa: The sound of the ocean, or the breeze rustling through the leaves of a tree.

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

Vanessa: I never listen to music when I write. I find it too distracting.

Heather: What was the first story you remember writing?

Vanessa: It was a first-person Western that I wrote when I was in college. What a bad idea that was!

Heather: Who’s your favorite villain?

Vanessa: Darth Vader. I like villains who redeem themselves.

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

Vanessa: I have been known to burst into tears of gratitude and relief.

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

Vanessa: Fanny Burney. She was a British novelist during the Georgian and Regency eras, who also served for a time at the Court of King George III. She knew just about everybody in British society, led a really interesting life, and had a scathing wit and a wonderful memory. I think she would be really cool to talk to.

Heather: If you were given a chance to travel to the past where would you go and specifically why?

Vanessa: On the understanding that I could get back home whenever I wanted, I think I would pick ancient Rome. What a culture that would be to get a glimpse of!

Heather: What do you do to unwind and relax?

Vanessa: Read and watch TV, go for walks.

Heather: Which of your characters would you most/least to invite to dinner, and why?

Vanessa: I’d most like to invite the heroine of my current book, Bathsheba. She’s really got a sharp wit and does not tolerate fools. I think she’d be a lot of fun.

Heather: Do you read reviews of your books? If so, do you pay any attention to them, or let them influence your writing?

Vanessa: Unfortunately, I do. Even the bad ones! But, no. I don’t usually let them affect my writing. They tend to be all over the map, from raves to rants, so I don’t know how useful they would be anyway.

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

Vanessa: Coffee. With soymilk!

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

Heather: Wow! I saw on your website that you have a Masters degree in English literature, specializing in British female writers of the Regency! How has that experience best translating to the Regency fiction you create for us today?

Vanessa: Yes, I do have a Master’s degree. I also spent several years in a doctoral program in English Lit, which is where I did most of my work on British female writers of the Regency period. As you can imagine, I did gobs of research, quite a bit of which gave me plot ideas and background info for my books. So even though I never completed my PhD I don’t feel as if I wasted my time in grad school at all!


Vanessa: There are so many types of Regency romances out there these days, which is great for readers. Which kind do you prefer – light and sexy with lots of humor, or dark, tormented and sensual, or something more traditional?


Vanessa: Yes, a copy of My Favorite Countess

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

**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 tomorrow when Angi hosts Emily March!


Amanda Brice


Amanda Brice lives outside of Washington, DC with her husband and toddler daughter. An intellectual property attorney for a large federal government agency, she combines her love of writing with her legal career by speaking on basic copyright and trademark law on the writers’ conference circuit. A two-time Golden Heart finalist, Amanda’s debut novel, CODENAME: DANCER, was released in April. You can learn more about Amanda and her books at http://www.amandabrice.net/


Aspiring ballerina Dani Spevak is thrilled when hit TV show Teen Celebrity Dance Off comes to the campus of her performing arts boarding school. She trades the barre for the ballroom and gets set to cha-cha-cha to stardom with Hollywood wonderboy Nick Galliano.

At first their partnership is awkward, because Dani is in awe of her longtime teen idol crush. But soon their chemistry is heating up the dance floor and the attraction moves into real life.

Her excitement is short-lived, because someone wants her off the show. Bombs, poisoning, arson… Will Dani’s 15 minutes of fame be over before she reaches age 15? Dani and her friends are suddenly at the center of some serious sabotage. And if she doesn’t find out who is behind it, her next pirouette could be her last.

It’s like Nancy Drew in toe shoes in this light-hearted tween mystery, a finalist for Romance Writers of America’s Golden Heart® Award for Best Young Adult Romance.

What they're saying:

“Fans of Pretty Little Liars and Ally Carter’s Gallagher Girls will love Codename: Dancer. Sparks fly, tutus twirl, and a clever mystery unravels in what is sure to become a favorite among teens and tweens everywhere. Amanda Brice’s debut is a must read for every girl who ever danced – or ever wanted to!”
~ Gemma Halliday, National Readers Choice award-winning author of SPYING IN HIGH HEELS and the upcoming DEADLY COOL

"Amanda Brice's debut novel has something that will appeal to everyone, especially ballet enthusiasts, mystery lovers and fans of reality TV competitions. Even if you don't know a thing about dance, you'll be easily drawn into this quick-paced story with authentic characters and big stakes. I adored Dani and found myself rooting for this spunky heroine. Can't wait for the sequel!"
~ Rhonda Stapleton, author of the STUPID CUPID trilogy


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

AMANDA: Nobody puts Baby in the corner. Definitely Dirty Dancing! I still get chills when they do the lift in the final scene and then all the pros and guests join them on the dance floor.

The movie came out when I was in 5th grade, so of course nobody’s mom would let them watch it. But then at Becca’s birthday sleepover party later that year, her mom rented it and said we could only see it if our parents said it was okay. Needless to say, we all lied. And watched it six times that night.

MAUREEN: What’s your favorite fairy tale?

AMANDA: It’s a cliché, but definitely Cinderella. I’m a sucker for that rags-to-riches storyline.

MAUREEN: Hiking boots or high heels?

AMANDA: High heels, although I do enjoy hiking. (I went to law school in Arizona, so we used to take advantage the wonderful winter weather and go up to Sedona or the Grand Canyon.) But as for heels, I actually started dancing in high heel tap shoes at age 9. Over time, it’s actually become more comfy for me to wear heels than flats. Weird, huh?

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

AMANDA: I prefer to write to classical music, or other instrumental music. Lyrics pull me out of the zone and I start concentrating on what the performer is singing instead of what I’m writing. I’ve even started subconsciously typing lyrics directly into my work that way. Hello, massive copyright infringement! Not good. So I stick to instrumental now. But fortunately most coffee houses play the instrumental stuff anyway, so it works for me. Right now I’m sitting in my kitchen listening to my daughter’s Baby Einstein CD over the baby monitor. So classical it is tonight!

MAUREEN: What’s your favorite kind of cheese?

AMANDA: Mmm…cheese. Okay, this is going to sound really weird, but one of my favorite late night snacks is to shake some shredded mozzarella or Monterey Jack onto a plate, stick it in the microwave, and then eat it with a fork. If it’s melted and gooey, I’ll eat it!

MAUREEN: What was the first story you remember writing?

AMANDA: I remember carrying around a tiny little note pad and a purple pen all summer when I was about 7 or 8 years old, and constantly working on a story. I was determined to write a book. I think I managed about 10 pages before I gave up. I don’t really remember what it was about. Runaway orphans on the prairie in the 1800s or some other such nonsense. My first story I actually remember the plot was “Nancy Flew and the Mystery of the Lady Ghost.” I was 9 at the time. It was a brilliant piece of literature. At least I thought so.

MAUREEN: What was your first boyfriend’s name? Would you want to meet him again?

AMANDA: Matt, and we “dated” in 7th grade (if you can really call it that). He moved away during the summer between 7th and 8th, and I never saw him again until we were 30. I was riding the Metro here in DC and saw a guy wearing a fire department windbreaker with Matt’s last name stitched on. (He has a very unusual last name.) I thought to myself, “Could it be? Naaah…” But then I heard, “Amanda?” I have no idea how he recognized me 18 years later, but he did. Small world!

MAUREEN: Now that's an amazing story. What a coincidence. But on to more probing topics... Is Elvis really dead?

AMANDA: Well, according to a manuscript my friend is working on, he’s actually a vampire now. So it’s anybody’s guess, really.

MAUREEN: Oh, that's priceless! What’s the first thing you do when you finish writing a book?

AMANDA: As soon as I type THE END, I jump up and down and run around the house, taking a victory lap. Then we go out to dinner that night.

MAUREEN: If you were given a chance to travel to the past where would you go and why?

AMANDA: My 2008 Golden Heart manuscript (Party Like It’s 1899) is a time travel. My hero and heroine stumble upon an old Jules Verne book in a used bookstore in Paris, during a French class Spring Break trip. Turns out the book is enchanted, and it sends them back in time to 1899, during the Belle Epoque, at the height of popularity of the Moulin Rouge and Impressionism. I had a blast researching it, so I think it would be super fun to travel to that era. I’ve been fascinated with that time period ever since I got assigned as an understudy at age 13 in Gaite Parisienne, a fabulous can-can-inspired ballet.

MAUREEN: That time period would be cool, and I always loved the title of that manuscript. I hope we'll see it in print some day soon. :) Did you belong to a clique in high school? Which one of the standard high school stereotypes did you best fit in to?

AMANDA: I guess I was sort of the Girl Next Door. I had friends in many cliques, but didn’t really belong to any one clique. Lots of friends, but no true BFF. In a way, it was kind of nice, because I was able to straddle a lot of boundaries. I was on Student Council and in all the honors classes, but I was also a cheerleader. I was the girl everyone liked, but not “Popular,” if that makes any sense.


MAUREEN: Your book features a teen ballerina. Do you have experience as a dancer?

AMANDA: I started dance class at age 3, when my mom noticed that I would jump around
and spin in a circle whenever the Coke commercial came on. (Crazy as it sounds, the 30th anniversary of my very first dance recital is just a few weeks away!) From that point on, it was pretty much a constant in my life all the way through college until I started law school. I danced in a local pre-professional company as a teen, and then was a member of my college ballroom dance team. I’ve done ballet, tap, jazz, pointe, lyrical, modern, contemporary, flamenco, all forms of ballroom, African, hip hop, clogging, Irish step dancing, and 18th century English country dancing. Pretty much everything except belly dancing, but I’m sure I’ll rectify that at some point!


What’s your favorite dance movie?


Amanda is giving away an e-book version of CODENAME: DANCER. The contest is open worldwide!



Karin Tabke & Karin Harlow


This was a tough one, fellow readers. I have a wonderful friend in Karin Tabke, but she comes with a sidekick. And I couldn't very well invite Karin Tabke without extending an invitation to Karin Harlow. I mean Harlow has feelings, right? So let's see how both Karins play together as they answer the Get Lost Crew's Fun Get-to-Know-You questions. Please welcome National Bestselling author Karin Tabke and her alter ego, Karin Harlow.


For all eternity, only one thing shall separate them--until the Blood Law is avenged . . .

The coming of the Blood Moon will lead two Lycan packs into war, spur two rival brothers into conflict, and spark an act of vengeance s evil that its effects will be felt for generations.

One woman stands in the center of it all . . .

As undisputed Alpha, Rafael must choose a life mate to preserve the dominance of his Lycan pack. He never suspected, his mate would be a human, the same wounded girl-woman he seduces from the brink of death. Falon is a dangerous combination of Lycan and Slayer--beings bred to destroy his kind. Even more, shes a mesmerizing beauty whose sensuality tempts the seasoned warrior to take unnecessary risks. The primal heat between them is irresistible, yet surrendering to it could destroy them both . . .for a vengeful foe stands ready in the shadows to fulfill what is rightfully his by Blood Law.

Read an excerpt here: http://karintabke.com/books/blood-law/


Book two in the L.O.S.T. series.

Pocket Star, August 30, 2011

Lovers from opposite worlds reunite in Karin Harlow’s explosive, erotic new L.O.S.T adventure...

While tracking a hijacked cask of enriched uranium in Kyrgyzstan, L.O.S.T. operative Nikko Cruz is ambushed and left for dead. Which means he must be hallucinating when the only woman he ever loved—the woman he was sentenced to death for killing—comes to his rescue.

Half-daemon Selena Guererro has secrets she’d kill for. The most important one, she’s already died to protect. Now she’ll do anything to keep her daughter safe. But she can’t just leave her lost love to perish. She injects Nikko with immortal blood serum, putting herself in grave danger.

When Nikko comes to, he is superhuman and super pissed. The mother of his daughter—the one he thought killed their child—is alive. He wants answers. He wants blood. And despite his best intentions, he wants Selena. He traces her to a mysterious terrorist cell where the cask has surfaced. First, he must retrieve the deadly material. Then he’ll take revenge on his beautiful ex. But when nothing goes as planned, Nikko and Selena find themselves burning with desire . . . and blowing the roof off their separate worlds, human and daemon alike.


DONNELL: Hello, ladies! Great blurbs! First question: Big City or Small Town Girl?

KARIN HARLOW: A city girl, who lives in a small town ;)

KARIN TABKE: That's stupid. If you're a city girl, why do you live in a small town?

HARLOW: Mind your own business.

TABKE: Pfft!

DONNELL: Do you prefer mornings or evenings?


KARIN TABKE: I was going to say evenings but since someone else did, and since she will undoubtedly accuse me of copying her, I'll say I'm a morning writer. Like one a.m. to five a.m. in the morning, writer.

DONNELL: Which of your characters would you most likely invite to dinner and why?

KARIN HARLOW: I'd invite Jax Cassidy, the heroine of ENEMY LOVER over for dinner and pick her brain about her job as a L.O.S.T. operative and ask how it is living with a hunky vampire. Then I'd tell her I had a headache, all the while Marcus Cross would be on his way over for dessert. I think the reason I invited him over is obvious . . .

KARIN TABKE: (shakes heads and rolls eyes.) You really need to get a life. Okay, who would I invite and why? Hell, if I could pick just one! I'd definitely invite those sexy Blood Sword knights. I'd want to pick their brains and get a firsthand account of what it was really like in 1066 England. Then I'd have to invite my Lycan brothers, Rafael and Lucien from BLOOD LAW, and ask for a shift demonstration.

DONNELL: What's in your refrigerator right now?

KARIN HARLOW: Fresh fruit and veggies, a half a bottle of Pinot Grigio, several types of imported cheese, assorted condiments, olives for my occasional martini, and Godiva dark choc truffles.

KARIN TABKE: Left over pasta, pretzel M&Ms and several plastic containers with mystery food. But when I'm really hungry, I go raid Harlow's fridge.

DONNELL: Answer this statement: When I'm not writing, I'm . . .

KARIN HARLOW: Reading, at the firing rage or doing cool stuff with my FBI Citizen Academy alum.

KARIN TABKE: If I'm not hanging out with my adorable granddaughter, I'm showing my Cane Corso (Italian mastiff) pup, Bella.

DONNELL'S QUESTION FOR KARIN TABKE: If you had to say something nice about Karin Harlow, what would it be?

KARIN TABKE: She has good leftovers.

DONNELL'S QUESTION FOR KARIN HARLOW: Say something nice about Karin Tabke.

KARIN HARLOW: She has a cute granddaughter.

DONNELL (Sighs.) NEXT QUESTION: What's the most interesting thing you've discovered while doing research?

KARIN HARLOW: That Tabke's husband is a veritable cornucopia of law enforcement information! He's like a cyborg! As far as information gleaned, I learned how to make a dirty bomb. Hijacked enriched uranium is at the center of ENEMY MINE, book two in the L.O.S.T. series.

KARIN TABKE: That William the Conqueror may have been a brutal man, but damn if he didn't drag England kicking and screaming out of the dark ages. I also learned some very interesting facts about the Saracens and the Koran. Fascinating stuff!

DONNELL: What's the best piece of advice you've ever received?

KARIN HARLOW: The publishing world is small. What goes around comes around.

KARIN TABKE: Don't quit. Ever.


Ladies, thanks so much for answering The Get Lost Crew's questions. Now it's your time to ask Readers a question. And, Readers, for those of you who answer either Karins' question, you'll be entered to win one of Karin's backlist.

KARIN HARLOW: I'd like to know by a show of hands, how many readers out there have e-readers, and if you do, is it your primary format for reading fiction?

KARIN TABKE: I'd like to know what makes you remember a story.

National Bestselling, award winning author Karin Tabke isn’t just another author with steamy stories to tell, but a cop’s wife who has “seen it all and heard it all.” Some of the hottest stories come from behind the blue wall of law enforcement rather than from in front. Married to a street cop, now retired, Karin is intimate with both and proves it with her sizzling tales of hot cops. Not only are her cops hot, but so are her sexy knights and bad boy werewolves. Karin’s Blood Sword Legacy series is a must read for anyone who loves tales of yore when men were men and women were women, and love did conqueror all. Her dark, erotic Blood Moon paranormal trilogy is best described as “Sons of Anarchy meets Rise of Lycans”. Her L.O.S.T. series (w/a Karin Harlow) is paranormal romantic suspense at its “chilling and sizzling”* best. You don’t want to miss any of Karin’s deliciously edgy tales of danger and passion!





You can follow both Karins on twitter!

Thanks, all. Join us again on Monday, May 23rd when Maureen hosts Amanda Brice!