Friday, July 30, 2010

Dishing it up with Christine Verstraete!

Today, I welcome author and short story writer Christine Verstraete who enjoys writing mysteries, fiction and short fiction.

Besides her children's book, Searching for a Starry Night, Christine has had short fiction published in various anthologies including Timeshares and the upcoming Steampunk'd from DAW Books, plus in Dragons Composed and The Bitter End: Nautical Tales of Terror. Her latest spooky stories in ebook form, include "Motherly Love" and "The Killer Valentine Ball" (coming in Oct.)

Hi Jane, thanks for letting me stop by your blog to talk about about Searching For A Starry Night, A Miniature Art Mystery and my other projects.

JET: In looking at your website , it looks as if you’ve transitioned between horror and children’s books. What made you change genres?

CV:  Well, I haven't really changed. I guess I'm a writing chameleon. I've always been drawn to horror so I've been writing short horror stories and ebooks for a while.

One of my favorite stories, "Motherly Love," is now up at Smashwords. The latest ebook, "The Killer Valentine Ball," comes out in October. (Links can be found at my website's ebooks page.)

I guess I like to write what I like to read. I read a lot of horror, mystery and I enjoy reading kid's books.

JET:What genre is your favorite and why?

CV: Being a longtime horror fan, I love Stephen King, of course. Also, Dean Koontz and whoever can make me jump out of my chair when I'm reading gets my vote.

JET: What’s been your most challenging hurdle on the road to publication?

CV: Probably myself. :?). Being a journalist it took me a while initially to make the transition from nonfiction to fiction. It just didn't "click" at first. I talk about that more in one of the earlier blog stops.

JET: What was your favorite moment in the journey?

CV: It would have to be getting my first short story accepted and published. That was in Futures Mysterious Anthology, run by Babs Lakey. The magazine is defunct and now coming out sporadically as an anthology. Then it may be writing Searching For A Starry Night, knowing I had a full book completed, and which has just been released on Kindle. It'll be scheduled for ebook release in other formats also.

JET:When did you know you wanted to take the plunge into the writing world?

CV: I knew in high school I wanted to write. I was a big "bookworm" growing up, so I always had a connection with words. The best indication of my future may be the baby photo on my website, showing me "reading" a newspaper with a pencil behind my ear. Pretty prophetic.

JET: Any advice for the novices out there?

CV: Keep at it. Numerous times I've come thisclose to giving up. But giving up gets you nowhere. Besides, I can't seem to stop writing anyway.

JET: All right - now that I’ve hammered you with the big questions, let’s tackle my favorite (and geeky) quick 10. . . starting with Paper or Plastic?

CV: Fun, I love goofy quizzes. Sorry, I'm bad: plastic (to pick up after the dog.) But I do recycle religiously.

JET: Steak or Tofu?

CV: Yuck, neither. I prefer fish or turkey, but I do like alfalfa sprouts sometimes.

JET:Beach or Mountains?

CV: Beach, probably, since I'm closer to Lake Michigan and I don't live near any mountains.

JET: Country or Rock-n-Roll?

CV: I don't like twangy country, but there're some good songs I like now (Lady Antebellum is good—and country has the cutest singers!) But I like rock and pop, too.

JET:Classics or Modern?

CV: Fiction? I have some old favorites I like to reread like Grapes of Wrath, Gone with the Wind and Dracula, but I'm hooked on current cozy mysteries.

JET: Vamps or Wolves?

CV: Definitely vamps (older style), though you can't beat Lon Chaney Jr. as the Wolfman.

JET: Zombies or Demons?

CV: Zombies crack me up. I loved the Zombieland movie. I'm working on my own take on zombies for a YA book.

JET: Horror or Comedy?

CV: Both.

JET: Salty or Sweet?

CV: Sweet tooth, definitely.

JET: Coffee or Tea?

CV: Total tea drinker.

JET: Thank you for indulging me. Before we wrap this up, can you tell us what you're working on now? What's next?

CV: I've started a YA zombie story which is pretty fun to write. I also have an adult mystery set in a diner that I'm shopping around, and I continue to write nonfiction.
Thank you so much for taking the time to chat on my blog. Folks, you can find out more about Christine Verstraete and her work at the following places:
* Website

* Blog

* eBooks page

* Searching For A Starry Night on Kindle,

**CONTEST: Anyone commenting on any of the blog stops on the tour can win:
* One person who comments on any of the blog tour stops will win a free Kindle copy of Searching for a Starry Night. (You can download Kindle for PC free here.)

* One person will also win a miniaturized dollhouse collector's edition of the first chapter from the first print edition, made by miniaturist LeeAnn Borgia. See myblog for links and photo.

** To celebrate the revised Searching for a Starry Night, one person will win a copy of the new print version when it is available.

Blog Tour Schedule:
Thurs, 7/22: Acme Authors Link - Real vs. Fictional Friends
Mon, 7/26: Morgan Mandel's Double M blog = Dogs and Such
Tues, 7/27: Killer Hobbies with Camille Minichino - Crafts and Writing, what comes first?
Weds, 7/28: Marian Allen's blog

- Talking about Writing
Thurs, 7/29: Helen Ginger, Straight from Hel - Getting Kindleized
Fri, 7/30: J.E. Taylor's blog – Writer's Quiz and Other Stuff
Mon, 8/2: Killer Crafts & Crafty Killers - craft how to with Anastasia Pollack – Writing and Crafts: Make Easy Miniature Cloth Decorations
Tues, 8/3: L. Diane Wolfe, "Spunk on a Stick" – Making the Switch from Nonfiction to Fiction

Friday, July 23, 2010

Dishing it up with Ty Drago.

Hi folks, today my guest is Ty Drago.

He’s a busy man. For the past eleven years, he's served as an editor/publisher - first of Peridot Books and now Allegory.

On top of that, he's also published two novels. The first, a historical mystery called The Franklin Affair, was released by Regency Press in 2001. The second, a SF mystery entitled Phobos, was published by Tor Books in 2003/2004.

In addition, he's written countless short stories, a number of articles on the craft and business of writing, and frequently speaks at writer’s conferences and SF conventions. A husband and father of two children, Ty travels extensively and - on top of everything else - manages to hold down a full time job as a business analyst. Jeez!

Best of all, he's just received word that his YA thriller: THE UNDERTAKERS will be released by Jabberwocky in Spring of 2011!

JET: You’re very busy these days with your new Middle Grade series the Undertakers as well as your duties as Editor-in-chief of Allegory e-zine AND holding down a full time “day” job - are you able to find a balance between your career(s) and your family?

TY: Well, my uber-supportive wife, Helene, once referred to me a “doer”. I guess that’s the best way to explain it. I’m not one of those people who can easily just sit. I split my life between two full-time jobs: one that I live and breathe for; and the other that pays the bills … for now.

On top of that I have my family, our interests, our trips. We recently bought a shore home that is taking up a lot of energy.

What can I say? I’m a “rolling stone!”

JET: You’ve written science fiction, fantasy and horror. Which genre is your favorite and why?

TY: Fantasy, hands down. Science Fiction is about taking what’s possible and extending it further. Fantasy is about taking what’s impossible and making it seem possible. Horror is about tapping into deeply rooted fears, finding out what scares you and putting it down on paper. Of the three, Fantasy is the most liberating, the most versatile, and the hardest to easily define. I love it!

JET: Do you think writing speculative fiction was a conscious choice or was it just a natural affinity? Why do you think that is?

TY: I’m a storyteller. A thousand years ago, I’d have been the guy who wandered into the village around sunset and, for the price of a warm bed, a hot meal, a liberal sprinkling of alcohol, would sit by the fire and regale his hosts with tales of faraway places and forgotten lands. In our modern world, that sort of thing simply doesn’t work. So instead I’ve chosen the medium of the written word. But the spirit’s the same.

I’ve never liked the term “speculative fiction”. All fiction is storytelling and all storytelling is speculative. All fiction asks the question “what if”, and starts with some manner of “Once upon a time.” It is the oldest art; the true oldest profession.

Overall, I write what I think I can sell. My first published book was an historical fantasy. The new one is a Middle Grade dark fantasy. But, when given my druthers? Fantasy and SF. I’ve loved it all my life. So the answer to the question would be “both”!

JET: What’s been your most challenging hurdle on the road to publication?

TY: We’re living the single hardest time for a new writer to get established since Gutenberg was putting out nothing but Bibles. I’ve written more than a dozen novels and, so far, have sold three. I’d say that’s probably pretty typical.

The hardest thing for any writer is to get noticed, to get out of the “slush pile”. There’s more competition out there than ever before; the modern computer age has made it less tedious to write a novel than it used to be. After all, rewriting on the typewriter and rewriting with a word processor are two very different things! With so many writers submitting so much work, it’s more important than ever to network, to get to know your market personally, and to get recognized!

JET: What was your favorite moment in the journey?

TY: That’s impossible to say. I love speaking in front of people. If pressed, I’d admit that I especially enjoyed an invite I received to attend the Oklahoma Writers Federation annual conference. They flew me out there, put me up for three nights, and then actually paid me for my time. It was a wonderful experience and I made some great friends that weekend with whom I still stay in touch.

JET: Which authors had the most influence over you growing up?

TY: Stephen King – a master storyteller. He has his hits and his misses, but he still has the best narrative style I’ve ever seen. And Isaac Asimov, the father of modern Science Fiction. I have books signed by both men. Their work was a huge inspiration to me.

JET: When did you know you wanted to take the plunge into the writing world?

TY: Birth. I started writing picture books at the age of four and never stopped. I can’t remember a time when I didn’t want to be a writer.

JET: What’s the craziest thing you’ve done in the name of book research? Most interesting fact you uncovered?

TY: I like to visit the locales I’m writing about. I enjoy walking in the footsteps of my characters. I don’t know how “crazy” that is. Doing so is hugely valuable to me, as it gives me insight into details and nuance that might not otherwise get. Once of the things that sold The Undertakers, I think, is that the city of Philadelphia is almost a character is the story.

JET: Of all the novels and stories you’ve written - which one is your favorite? Why?

TY: Jeez! That’s like asking a parent to choose his favorite child! Right now, my fav is The Undertakers, probably because I’m spending so much time thinking about it. I have two unpublished Adult Fantasy novels that I’d love to see in print. Once is called Chivalry, and it’s the story of a Philadelphia prostitute whose life is saved by a mysterious stranger who wields a silver walking stick as if it were a sword and calls her “Milady.” The other is Angelfire, a tale of Heaven and Hell, in which a young angel sneaks to into Hell to rescue his damned wife – kind of a modern Orpheus.

JET: Any advice (from a writer’s standpoint) for the novices out there?

TY: Let’s go to Robert Heinlein to answer that one. Here are his five rules for writing:

1) Write

2) Finish what you write

3) Edit what you write

4) Submit what you write

5) Write something else

I don’t think anyone has ever said it better than that.

JET: Any advice from an editor’s standpoint?

TY: Know your market. Don’t submit to a publication that you haven’t actually read. Be mature. Be professional. Accept rejection and don’t ever take it personally. Keep writing. Never ever give up!

JET: All right - now that I’ve hammered you with the big questions, let’s tackle my favorite (and geeky) quick ten. . . starting with Paper or Plastic?

TY: God (and my eco-sensitive wife) forgive me … Plastic!

JET: Steak or Tofu?

TY: Steak!

JET: Beach or Mountains?

TY: Beach! Just bought a shore home. Hellooooo!

JET: Country or Rock-n-Roll?

TY: Rock and Roll! I’m a Jersey boy!

JET: Classics or Modern?

TY: Both!

JET: Vamps or Wolves?

TY: I’ve always been a wolf guy. Used to dress up as the Wolfman for Halloween. I know some vampire-writer friends who will gasp to hear that!

JET: Zombies or Demons?

TY: Both. I’ve written about both.

JET: Horror or Comedy?

TY: Depends on the Horror and it depends on the Comedy. I love to laugh, but you can’t tear me away from a good scary flick.

JET: Salty or Sweet?

TY: Sigh. I’ve recently had to dial back on my salt, so I’ll say Sweet.

JET: Coffee or Tea?

TY: Tea. Never developed a taste for Coffee.

JET: Thank you for indulging me. Before we wrap this up, can you tell us what you're working on now? What's next?

TY: I’m heavily into the editorial changes for The Undertakers, working with my amazing editor at Jabberwocky. After that, I’ve diving into Book Two of the series, which is entitled “Queen of the Dead”!

Thank you so much for taking the time to chat on my blog. Folks, you can find out more about Ty Drago and his work at

As always, thanks for stopping by!



Friday, July 16, 2010

Vacation blues

It's a good thing Survival Games is coming out this weekend - just in time for the end of my vacation - it will distract me from what I call the vacation blues. 

Anyone else out there get bummed out after vacation when you have to return to the "real world"? 

I normally don't - not as much as my other half.  He gets really down, but I have a feeling after this phenomenal week, I'm going to be in that weird space.  Especially Monday when I have to crawl out of bed at 5am to go to the office.  

The last two weeks have been ideal - first in Maine and now New Hampshire - we couldn't have asked for better weather, and relaxation wise it has been stellar - even with my debut release as well as my birthday tucked in there.

We have one more day in this glorious place and I'm wishing we could stay another week - and another, and another.  You get the drift.  I'm enjoying this way too much.  :-)

It makes me wonder why I work so hard in the first place.  But then again, if I didn't, I wouldn't be able to appreciate this as much as I do.  A week on the lake with family wouldn't be as precious if I didn't have to work hard for it.

I guess the same mindset goes along with everything worthwhile in life.  Including publication. 

And with that - it's time for some shut eye - so I can enjoy the last day on the lake. 

Catch you folks next week when I have Author and Editor Ty Drago here on my blog. 


Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Mid-week madness!

It's Wednesday - hump day - and the weather was eh today but the company couldn't be better. 

We're just a laid back crew on vacation.  I've been on line a little more than usual today because of the weather - trying to make up for so many days out in the sun.  My daughter was sweet and did my hair and make up and proceeded to take pictures because I said I wanted to try to get a decent author photo. 

And these are our favorites:

And my personal favorite:
Just kidding, although this one really does capture my personality. 

She did such a good job.  Anyhow, I'm getting antsy for the release of Survival Games at the end of the week and waiting for the Kindle version of Dark Reckoning to make its way onto Amazon. 

I'm stoked about my interview on Bitten By Books at the end of the month and I hope to see you all there.  I've been busy with a mini-blog tour of my own making and trying to get more author interviews on this blog for your entertainment.  Any authors in particular that you'd like to hear from? 

Anyhow, that's enough rambling for tonight.  I'll have my usual Friday post later this week.  I don't have a guest blogger lined up, so I'll just have to think of something entertaining to post . . . maybe a short story? 

Catch you all later - thanks for stopping by.


Friday, July 9, 2010

Guest Blogging with Ty Aris . . .

Hi all. Seeing as it’s Friday, I figured I’d let one of my more colorful characters have cart blanc reign over the blog today. So without further adieu, I give you Ty Aris.

*Laughs* You know, I’m not sure Ms. Taylor knows what she’s doing here.

I’ve never blogged, so forgive me if I screw up some mysterious blogger etiquette.

I’m certainly not used to the spot light.

Well, I take that back, I have had a starring role in some . . . a-hem . . . risqué flicks. My talents extend well beyond the screen and my step-brother benefits from some of the most sought after black market porn in the industry - pieced together by yours truly.

While the one’s I’m in are much more mainstream--you know, the hot and steamy type -- the one’s my step brother insists on producing are vile and violent and twisted beyond reason. I’m sure Ms. Taylor’s fine fans probably wouldn’t have the stomach for it. Hell, most of the time I don’t either, but what am I going to do?

Walk away?


Yeah, like Frank would allow that. I’d probably end up another prisoner in his fucked up fantasy world.

You see, I was fine with operating the cameras and the occasional screw - just fine with it.

Until I kidnapped Jessica Connor.

I should have known better. I really should have. My gut told me she was trouble from the first time I laid eyes on her. But my gut wasn’t what was in control when I saw her. Nope - it was a little south of there and it took over my entire being.

Man what a colossal fuck up.

Now all I can think about is getting my hands on her. I can’t stay away from the holding cell where my step-sister is prepping her for the videos and even though she’s drugged to the hilt, the woman fights any time her conscious pulls through the haze.

My problem? . . . Well, I don’t want to share and I can tell that’s going to cause problems with Frank.

I see the gleam in his eyes too.

Shit, speaking of Frank . . . I gotta run.

Ms. Taylor - Thanks for having me and perhaps I’ll run into some of you folks in the near future. ;)

Thanks for swinging in and catching a glimpse of Ty Aris, one of the main characters in Survival Games which is due for release on July 19th from eXcessica.

"SURVIVAL GAMES started out with a hook and made me anxious to read more. . . . This book had it all, and even though I started off not knowing if I would truly like the content, I was blown away by how honest, true, emotional, and frightening it really was. Jane E. Taylor has spun a story that is sure to catch reader’s attentions and hold it until the last page. If you are looking for a story that will keep you on the edge, make your toes curl from the eroticism, and make you feel love and sorrow, then I would highly suggest SURVIVAL GAMES. I can’t wait to read the other two books in what is to be a wonderful trilogy. Bravo Ms. Taylor!" - Manic Readers:

"Sexy dark and intense, SURVIVAL GAMES will bind you to the page, kiss you slowly and then kick you where it hurts the most; I couldn't stop reading until I knew who won the game . . . Jessica Connor is one amazing character, and SURVIVAL GAMES is one hot read!" - John Everson, Bram Stoker Award-winning author of The 13th and Siren

Pre-order your ebook now:

Or order the book in print on July 19th at :

Thursday, July 8, 2010


Part 2: DARK RECKONING meets BANISHED WITCH (for Part 1 please jump over to

Danni closed the door to her room and turned. The muscular man lying across her bed had a body that would bring any woman pleasure. But that wasn’t the only reason behind the magic she’d used to entice him to her room.

The man had secrets. Some of which might help Danni.

She hoped to discover a few which might help her protect her family. Crystal blue eyes swept repeatedly my long dark lashes, tracked her path to the bed. A large hand cupped her waist when she drew to a stop beside him.

“Did you tell me your name?” Steve appeared confused. Thanks to the special herbs she’d slipped into his drink.

“Oh, yes, you know my name.” She ran her hand down the center of his white cotton shirt and stopped on the button of his pant. A very nice budge lay under the material and Danni couldn’t stop herself from caressing the length.

“Wait a second.” Steve grabbed her hand and lifted it away from his body. The bed squeaked and he sat up.

A concern frown marred his face, and the man fidgeted like he was uncomfortable with her touch.

Black and white, she could tell the man didn’t see the gray areas in the world around him.

Danni couldn’t hold back the grin and stepped between his legs to lay one hand on his shoulder. She stared into eyes that reminded her of her childhood boyfriend, Omar. He had acted nervous too every time she’d gotten close. He’d always insisted that they had to wait until they were married.

Well, that certainly hadn’t worked out.

“I’m not going to hurt you. Matter of fact, I think we’ll both enjoy this encounter.” She edged closer and rubbed her breasts against his chest.

He sucked in a sharp breath and released her hand.

She took advantage of his mistake and slipped her arms around his neck. Need tingled down the center of her body. “The hunger to enjoy a woman is pulling you apart. You need a release from your passions.”

His alluring sense beckoned her and she melted against him. Her head falling forward, she ran kisses along his neck. “I can feel the dark water running through your veins. You are on a path to discover the truth, but…”

He stiffened and clasped his hands around her waist. “What are you talking about?”

“Well, I’m a witch. I see lots of things about person when I get near them.” Danni marveled at the shock, clouding his face.

Steve pushed her away and stood. “I don’t know what you’ve done to me, but I’m out of here.” He strolled to the door.

Danni could not hold back the warning that sprang to her lips. The man need to know that the future wasn’t secure. “Blood will flow from paper and your honor will be tested. Watch your step and trust your heart.”

The door swung open and the man disappeared.

“Oh, but it’s fun to see a man squirm.” She sat on the bed and envisioned the fun she’d have with Omar when he finally found her. That is if he found her.

Steve raced down the stairs and out of the tavern. Never had he encountered such a strange place.

After settling into the seat of his car, he slammed it into gear and pulled out onto the dirt road.

“Boy, will I be glad to see the last of this place,” He muttered and glanced in his rearview mirror.

His reflection showed his shock. Eyes wide, mouth dropped open. He stared at the empty field behind him.

Chills ran down his spine and he punched his foot down on the gas petal.

“Time to find Brookfield and forget I ever made this stop.”

* * * *

I’d like to thank Anita Philmar for taking time out of her busy schedule to entertain you folks with her version of Steve meets Danni. It has been an absolute pleasure! Check out BANISHED WITCH:

A princess of Ardenia, Danella accepts her role as witch in the human world so she can protect her family and track down the traitor to the crown. But when Omar Mandel, her childhood sweetheart and the reason behind her leaving her homeland enters the tavern where she works, she decides to seek her revenge and live out a few unfulfilled fantasies.

The queen wants her daughter to come home and Omar’s job is to see that it happens. However, Danella isn’t the same sweet girl, he remembers. In her place is a sexy woman, who excites his lust and claims his heart. He must teach her to trust in his love and face the sins of the past so they can have a future together.

But the traitor has other deadly ideas. . .

You can purchase BANISHED WITCH at the following location:

Thanks again for joining us today!



Friday, July 2, 2010

Happy July!

As you know - it’s the first Friday of the month and before I get into my blog, I want to give a shout out to those of us at Backspace that have releases this month along with a special shout out. So without further adieu . . . here’s to the following July releases: Jon Clinch -KINGS OF THE EARTH, and Lauren Baratz-Logsted - THE EDUCATION OF BET.

Don’t forget my two releases this month: DARK RECKONING and SURVIVAL GAMES!

Now for that special shout out to those who like a good horror story, check out John Everson’s SIREN released at the end of this month. He’ll be on this blog on Friday the 13th of August talking about both SIREN and The 13th which was released earlier this year. Stay tuned . . .

Now back to our regularly scheduled program . . .

Summer is upon us and we’re getting ready to celebrate the anniversary of our country’s freedom. The 4th of July is always such fun, especially in New England. I love this time of year because my birthday follows the 4th of July and sometimes there are fireworks on MY birthday too. And I’m not necessarily talking about those that sparkle in the air. :-)

TMI? Oops, sorry but after 21 years of marriage, it’s nice to know the fireworks are still burning bright!

But I digress. This year, I seemed to have lucked out on my birthday gift. My birthday coincides with the release of my debut novel. Dark Reckoning, my mainstream paranormal suspense about FBI special agent Steve Williams, a clairvoyant college co-ed named Jennifer, and a killer that she swears isn’t human, is coming out on July 5, 2010. And then two weeks later I’ve got my erotic thriller SURVIVAL GAMES knocking on the release door.

I’ve been invited to blog or be interviewed on a whole host of blogs and there are give-aways on a few of these stops:

July 5th on Randy Susan Meyers blog:

July 7th I’ll be over with CJ Gabriel -

July 8th is something special - Anita Philmar and I did a “what if” scenario introducing my main character Steve Williams to her main character Danni in a story that starts on her blog and ends here on mine. It’s a fun intro to both our characters, so show some love and check it out!

July 12th I’ve got my normal guest spot over on eXcessica’s blog:

July 14th: Cate Masters blog and giving away a signed copy of Survival Games to one of the lucky folks that posts there.

July 14th : I’m also over at / www.fang-tasticbooks.blogspot and again will have another Survival Games giveaway.

July 16th - I’ll have my normal Friday blog here.

July 21st I’m at two separate places as well: Lisabet Sarai - and then over at

CJ Gabriale books again. I’ll have book giveaways of Survival Games for each of these as well.

You can see all these stops on my calendar page on my website along with the guests on my blog for the next couple months! Check it out -

As you can see, July is a tremendously busy month with all this, I also have a vacation nudged in the middle of the chaos. I have a feeling this summer is going to go by in a blink and I’ll be stunned when September rolls around again and the kids have to go back to school. I certainly hope you’ll follow the zigzag pattern of my blog tour and say hi at the different places. Who knows, I may have an extra special treat for someone now that DARK RECKONING is also being released in paperback.

Hope to see you all there!