Saturday, February 26, 2011

Sample Sunday - Hunting Season sneak peak

Hunting Season, A Steve Williams Novel - release date: May 13, 2011 - Here's a couple quick samples to whet your appetite.

The first one that came through the door was Chris Ryan, led by his guide dog, his blue eyes staring sightlessly from behind the tinted glasses. “Agent Williams,” he said. The dog led him to the spot in front of Steve.

“Sir,” Steve acknowledged the older man.

“To what do we owe the pleasure?” Chris asked. His expression guarded and his German Shepherd took a seat next to him.

Steve studied the man in front of him and saw his jaw tense. He’s reading my thoughts. “I would rather wait until your wife is in the room before I discuss what brings me here,” he said. His mind flowed through the remnants of memories from Eric and the research he had done the day before, the flurry of activity rendering mind reading useless.

Chris turned slightly at the sound of the sliding glass door opening.

Jessica Ryan stepped inside with both Tommy and CJ in tow. “You two head up to the playroom,” she said. The boys ran by Steve and up the stairs while she removed her gloves and stepped into full view. “Hi.” Unbuttoning her coat, she stepped by her husband’s side.

Steve stared at her. She looked identical to what he envisioned Jennifer would look like if she reached forty. “Um,” he said and diverted his eyes to the man in front of him. Jesus, this is Ty Aris.

Both Jessica and Chris took a step back, their eyes widening a fraction.

Oh Christ, they both can read my mind.  “I’m sorry to inform you that there was an accident down at Quantico.” Accident, it wasn’t a fucking accident.

* * * *

He stood in the bathroom staring at the mirror. The eyepatch fell from his slack fingertips and drifted to the floor. Baby blue irises stared back. Both of them. He covered his right eye and the room went black. Blind, but an eye just the same. He uncovered his eye, staring at the reflection again. A hell of a lot better than the sunken deflated eye it was a couple of hours ago. A slightly hysterical laugh escaped.

He leaned closer; the small scar on his cheek was gone too. “Holy Mary, Mother of God!” The muttering mantra continued and he ripped through the buttons on his shirt. The words fell away and he stared at his perfect chest, running his fingers over the skin. There wasn’t a mark on him. He leaned against the wall and the world tilted again. Slowly he sank to the floor. Steve didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. He jumped at the soft tap on the door and scrambled to his feet as it swung open.

“Are you all right?” Her soft imploring voice reached his ears.

Steve uttered a high laugh and looked in the mirror. “I haven’t been all right since the day my daughter died.” He glanced at Jessica when she cracked the door. “Somehow this makes it worse.”

Jessica offered a smile. “Be careful what you wish for.”

Friday, February 25, 2011

Dishing it up with Mel Comley

Welcome to another fantastic Friday and another dish session, this time with Melanie Comley. Mel left her job as a store manager in Worcester (England) and moved to France nine years ago despite never having set foot in the country before. She renovated a French property, decorating 22 rooms in six months.

Renovation completed, she began to follow her dream of becoming a writer. After completing a creative writing course, she penned a romance, which was a near miss with Mills & Boon. Then she decided to turn her hand to crime writing and DI Lorne Simpkins was born.

Impeding Justice is the first in a series of novels featuring Lorne Simpkins. The book gained a Gold Star on the writer's site, Authonomy, with a Harper Collins editor saying, "It keeps the reader focused on the dramatic interest of the story."

She is currently finishing the sequel which should be completed early in 2011.

In her spare time, Mel loves pottering in her garden - which has, for the past few years, won a local award. She also enjoys painting and walking her dogs.

JET: Can you tell us a little about your October 2010 release, Impeding Justice?

MEL: Impeding Justice is a fast-paced thriller featuring feisty new BritCop, DI Lorne Simpkins in a gritty crime novel set in London. After The Unicorn kills her partner, Lorne knows if she doesn't bring the underworld criminal to justice soon, she will be his next target.

In a race against time, Lorne has 24 hours before the Unicorn uses her kidnapped daughter as a human bomb. Can Lorne track the criminal down before it's too late?

This book highlights the horrendous crime of people trafficking.

JET: What drew you to writing thrillers?

MEL: I started out writing romances but found that the adrenaline rush a writer gets from writing thrillers too great to ignore.

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

MEL: I wondered if some of the scenes in the book might be too graphic for some readers. I actually cried when I wrote some of the worse parts.

JET: What was your favorite moment in the journey?

MEL: The way I was able to bring the characters to life in my head and on paper.

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

MEL: Stephen King, Danielle Steele and most recently James Patterson.

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

MEL: After I moved to France and finished renovating our farmhouse I became bored and started a Creative writing course, the rest is history as they say!

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

MEL: I had to research expensive Yachts, the Super Yachts and reading about the luxury on board these vessels had me drooling at times.

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

MEL: Impeding Justice because I can’t believe how well it is being received by the general public.

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

MEL: Sign up to a writer’s site, i.e. Authonomy or Youwriteon, you’ll learn lots you never realized goes on in the craft. And never be afraid to cut what you originally wrote in half, we all tend to overwrite to begin with.

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?

MEL: Paper

JET: Steak or Tofu?

MEL: Steak

JET: Beach or Mountains?

MEL: Mountains

JET: Country or Rock-n-Roll?

MEL: Rock-n-Roll.

JET: Leather or Lace?

MEL: Lace

JET: Angels or Demons?

MEL: Angels

JET: Paper or Digital?

MEL: Digital

JET: Silent Film Classics or Cheesy B Rated Horror?

MEL: Cheesy B Rated Horror

JET: Twilight or True Blood.

MEL: Twilight

JET: Coffee or Tea?

MEL: 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?

MEL: The sequel to IJ is now at the editors and should be ready for release in February, it’s called Final Justice.

JET: Thank you so much for taking the time to chat on my blog. Folks, you can find out more about Mel Comley and her work at the following places:

Thanks for joining us today. Next week, one of my favorite new authors and a very good friend of mine Cat Connor is on tap for dishing up what’s happening on her side of the world.

In case you were not aware, Cat Connor is from New Zealand and while she does not live in Christchurch, she does have family in that area.  Thankfully, all are well, but it has been a trying couple of weeks. If you have a moment, please say a prayer for all those affected.   

In the meantime, mark your calendars and swing by next week to say hello.

Until next week,



Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Jenny Craig - week 24

Ugh - no gain, no loss this week.  I know why - I didn't get to do the usual length of time exercising.  My schedule went to hell and I have been way too exhausted to put the time in.  So based on that, a no gain/no loss situation isn't bad. 

Time to refocus and get moving again. 

Hope you all are meeting your goals!

Until next week,


Friday, February 18, 2011

Dishing it up with Betty Sullivan La Pierre plus a giveaway!

Today I have the pleasure of having author Betty Sullivan LaPierre on my blog today. Not only has she taken the time for my Q&A, she also has been kind enough to raffle off a copy of “THE SILENT SCREAM to a lucky commenter.

Born and raised in Oklahoma, Betty Sullivan LaPierre now lives in Silicon Valley California and writes Mystery/Suspense/Thriller novels, which are published in digital format and print. Her Hawkman Mystery Series is developing quite a fan base. She’s also written two stand-alone mystery/thrillers and plans to continue writing. ‘BLACKOUT,’ Betty’s story about a bingo hall (of the Hawkman Series), ranked in the top ten of the P&E Reader’s Poll, and won the 2003 BLOODY DAGGER AWARD for best Mystery/Suspense. EuroReviews picked ‘THE DEADLY THORN’ (One of Betty’s stand alone thrillers) for their 2005 May Book of the Month.

JET: You’ve written twelve books in the Hawkman series, can you tell us about the latest?

BETTY: My twelfth book of the series is “SHADOWS IN THE NIGHT”. Tom Casey, Private Investigator, better known as Hawkman, was hired by George and Maggie Hampton to investigate the deaths of their friends living in Morning Glory Haven. The facility houses people capable of independent living, along with those who need twenty-four hour assistance. It baffled him to think someone would kill people who were in the last stages of their lives, and doubted the Hamptons, but as he delved into the case, he found out there were definitely murders taking place.

The Thirteenth in the Hawkman Series, “THE ARCHER” has just been published and is up at my site and my publisher’s for purchase. It’s about a young college woman, Laura King, who is being harassed on her cell phone, and the calls have escalated into vile and treacherous threats. Hawkman takes it upon himself to find out who’s tormenting her. It leads him into the world of archery.

JET: What drew you to crime thrillers?

BETTY: I’ve always enjoyed reading, and loved the plotting aspect of mysteries, even as a child. I never dreamed I’d take up writing, but with encouragement from my family, I finally tried my hand and love it.

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

BETTY: Being rejected over and over again by the big publishers. I finally got tired of putting out the money to send manuscripts and then get a ‘good, but not our thing’ comment stamped across the front page. There were times when I could tell the manuscript had not even been read. Very frustrating.

JET: What was your favorite moment in the journey?

BETTY: When I turned to e-publishing. I could see it would be the “wave of the future”. Then came the royalty checks....’How sweet it is...” and to know someone is actually reading your work and likes it.

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

BETTY: Carolyn Keene. I loved the Nancy Drew mysteries and tried to read every one.

When I couldn’t find them, I’d go to the Hardy Boys Series by Franklin Dixon. I started reading mysteries at a very young age.

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

BETTY: After I wrote the first book, “THE ENEMY STALKS” where I introduced Hawkman, I couldn’t phantom not sharing the stories about him. He’s a fantastic man. That’s when I decided to take the plunge.

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

BETTY: I had to think about this, because I do so much of my research on the internet. However, when I first started researching, I remember being in the library when a young police officer came in. I grabbed him by the arm and said, “I need to talk to you.” I’m sure he thought I was going to report some lewd man exposing himself to children behind the shelves. When I started asking questions about his job, he almost breathed a sigh of relief.

As far as the most interesting fact I’ve uncovered was when I was writing “THE SILENT SCREAM”. I needed to know how to skin a large animal and cure the hide. I had no idea there were so many ways this could be done. A very fortunate finding as I needed a specific method and found it.

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

BETTY: My favorite is ‘THE SILENT SCREAM’. I graduated from college with a degree in Speech Therapy, with a speciality in the Deaf. I did my student teaching at a deaf school on the campus, Jane Brooks School for the Deaf. These children were taught to speak and were not allowed to use sign language. They were extraordinary, and what they accomplished was close to miraculous. When I started writing, I wanted to do a book about a deaf person. In “THE SILENT SCREAM’, Richard is my protagonist, a young deaf lad. Everyone who read the book fell in love with him, and I loved writing about Richard.

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

BETTY: Research what it takes to write a book. It’s not easy. You need to know the genre and what is required. Once you’ve written your book, had it critiqued, edited, and polished to the best of your ability, then submit it to a publisher, either a big house or small house. In this day and time, I’d suggest an e-book publisher. Then wait to see what they think. If you’re turned down, go back to the drawing board and work on it some more. Never, never, never give up. Someone out there will like your story.

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?

BETTY: Both (prefer Paper)

JET: Steak or Tofu?

BETTY: Steak

JET: Beach or Mountains?

BETTY: Mountains

JET: Country or Rock-n-Roll?

BETTY: Country

JET: Leather or Lace?


JET: Angels or Demons?

BETTY: Angels

JET: Paper or Digital?

BETTY: Both. I just received a Kindle for a gft, so this is up in the air as yet. ;-)

JET: Silent Film Classics or Cheesy B Rated Horror?

BETTY: Silent film Classics

JET: White Chocolate or Dark Chocolate?

BETTY: Dark Chocolate..yummy

JET: Coffee or Tea?

BETTY: Coffee (I like iced tea)

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

BETTY: I’m working on #14 of the Hawkman Series. Just started, so I can’t reveal much. Other than it will involve Randy, a ten year old boy.

Thank you so much for taking the time to chat on my blog. Folks, you can find out more about Betty Sullivan LaPierre and her work at the following places:

Kindle version of Betty Sullivan LaPierre's books

Also for the Kindle version you can get at the above link.

It’s been a pleasure, and before I go, I’d like to give away a book to a lucky commenter. Once you’ve removed the blog, we’ll draw a name for the winner of “THE SILENT SCREAM”. So everyone be sure and put your e-mail address on your comment, so we can reach you.

Thanks for joining us today!

Next week I have sensational author of Impeding Justice - Mel Comley on tap.

Until then,

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Jenny Craig -week 23

I'm another half pound down and 9 pounds away from my goal.  I'm weaning myself off the packaged food little by little so when I hit my goal - I won't have system shock going back to non-packaged foods. 

At this point - I don't think I'm going to drop 5 pounds this month like I had hoped - but if I can see another pound or pound and a half - I'd be jazzed. 

So from now on, I'm thinking a half pound a week is not out of the question - that means realistically - another 18 weeks till I hit my goal.  Seems like a long time, but it really isn't in the scheme of things.  I was really hoping to hit my goal before May 1.  But I'd rather do this right and keep it off than starve myself and hit my goal only to bounce back up. 

Until next week...

Friday, February 11, 2011

Dishing it up with Betty Ann Harris

Hi all!

Today I have the pleasure of having Romantic Suspense author Betty Ann Harris on my blog. Here’s a snippet from the bio on her website:

I have been a self-admitted hopeless romantic ever since I can remember. My love of words and the English language was developed in elementary school when I had the good fortune of having an awesome sixth grade English teacher. She had the class do a visual book report, either finding or drawing pictures with written captions, to explain what the book we had read was about. It's then I realized how important a writer's description of characters and scenery is when telling a story.

Writing is my passion and an important part of my life. But besides writing, I'm a happily married mother of two grown boys and two adorable dogs. I enjoy reading, music, gardening, and interior decorating.

JET: Can you tell us a little about your latest book in the Special Agent Series?

Betty Ann: My latest book in the Special Agent Series is titled Agent Of Mercy. Agent Of Mercy is a mainstream romance-suspense/mystery.

The story is about New York City FBI Special Agent Sam Blake who is working undercover on the Catherine Jones case. Catherine is a mentally disturbed woman who has a deep psychotic hate of men. She finds wealthy, single men and seduces them. Once in her clutches, she steals from them and takes off, leaving them heartbroken and broke, and sometimes dead.

Sam poses as a cunning criminal himself, gains Catherine’s trust and friendship and tries to bring her into custody, only to find himself feeling sorry for her and falling for her feminine charm.

They are both deceiving each other and become engaged in a high-stakes game of cat and mouse. Catherine deceives Sam and takes all the money and flies to St. Croix, the Virgin Islands. But he’s a good investigator and agent and he’s right on her tail.

Meanwhile, Sam’s assistant, Melissa, who had an affair with Sam previously and who is still very much in love with him, is trying to help him not fall prey to Catherine’s charms, and keep him alive.

JET: What drew you to romantic suspense?

Betty Ann: I’ve always enjoyed reading romantic suspense, so when I decided to write, it came naturally to me to write the kind of stories that I liked to read myself. You get the emotional involvement with the characters and a good thrill all in the same story.

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

Betty Ann: Promoting and marketing is time-consuming but it’s something every author has to do if they want to get their books noticed and hopefully purchased. It’s difficult to find a balance in finding enough time to promote and market my published books and to continue writing and publishing books.

JET: What was your favorite moment in the journey?

Betty Ann: I think my favorite moment was when my first ebook, Eureka Point, was put into print. Actually holding my book in my hands made me feel that I’d finally done it.

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

Betty Ann: Growing up I totally enjoyed Agatha Christie and Alfred Hitchcock books and movies.

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

Betty Ann: I didn’t seriously think about writing a book until I was about fifty years old and my kids had become adults, when I felt I had the time to do it.

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

Betty Ann: Hmmm, the craziest thing… I’d have to say it was probably deciding to go look at guns to make sure I knew what I was talking about. My sister and I sometimes write together, and she was at an airport waiting for a flight in an airport restaurant. I happened to call her and asked if she could check with the flight attendant about using cell phones while in the air, for a book I was working on. She told me there was a pilot having something to eat in the restaurant, and as soon as she was finished her snack she was going to interview him, if he had the time. And she did.

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

Betty Ann: Eureka Point is my favorite for a few reasons. It was my first book. I also poured myself into the main female character and felt like she was my best friend, like I really knew her personally. I’m so attached to the characters and the story that I’ve written a sequel. That way I can keep it alive.

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

Betty Ann: I would say you should write because you have a passion for it, but not to expect a big return on your investment right away.

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

JET:Paper or Plastic?

Betty Ann: Paper, preferably in plastic, but I don’t ask for that anymore. It’s convenient but not practical.

JET:Steak or Tofu?

Betty Ann: Tofu.

JET:Beach or Mountains?

Betty Ann: Beach AND mountains together, like in Northern California.

JET:Country or Rock-n-Roll?

Betty Ann: Rock-n-Roll.

JET:Leather or Lace?

Betty Ann: Lace.

JET:Angels or Demons?

Betty Ann: Angels.

JET:Paper or Digital?

Betty Ann: Digital.

JET: Silent Film Classics or Cheesy B Rated Horror?

Betty Ann: Cheesy B Rated Horror.

JET:White Chocolate or Dark Chocolate?

Betty Ann: Dark chocolate.

JET:Coffee or Tea?

Betty Ann: Tea.

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

Betty Ann: I’m working on finishing up the sequel to Eureka Point, which is titled Beyond The Point. I’m also finishing up my next book in The Special Agent Series. This time the special agent is a woman, Ruby Stone, in Danger In Paradise. I’m also working on my first paranormal, possibly a gothic, titled Possessing Prudence.

Thank you so much for taking the time to chat on my blog. Folks, you can find out more about Betty Ann Harris and her work at the following places:

The Special Agent Series Blog:

Romance, Roses & A Gun Blog:

Thanks for joining us! 
Until next week.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Jenny Craig week 22

Lost another pound this week so I'm psyched.  Not sure if I'll hit the 5 pounds I want to lose by the end of the month - but I'm going to try like crazy. 

Physical therapy on my shoulder is going well too - so that's another plus and I'm hoping for a complete week in the office instead of being hit with more snow days. 

All in all, February looks like a great month for the program.  How is everyone else doing with their weight loss resolutions?

Sunday, February 6, 2011

#Sample Sunday

Sample from Vengeance:

Jennifer settled in his arms, a small satisfied smile on her lips.

“Tell me what you saw,” Steve whispered in her ear, spooning her in the soft bed.

“A hunting knife covered in blood. It reminded me of the knife in the movie Rambo.” She cuddled closer into him. “It was a blonde this time and the bastard played with her before he killed her.”

“Anything else?”

“There’s something on his right wrist, but I couldn’t make it out,” she yawned. “I think it’s a tattoo.”

Silence filled the room. When her breathing evened out, he slid out of bed and booted up his computer. This was the third dream Jennifer had in the last few months involving a dead woman and a hunting knife.

Typing a special secure URL and his clearance code into the computer, the FBI logo appeared, giving way to the internal email system. Steve scanned his inbox before typing a new message to his boss.

Jenny had another one. Let me know if you find anything.

He looked between the message and Jennifer sleeping a few feet away, wondering if he was doing the right thing. He’d put her in the line of fire before and that miscalculation almost got them killed. But this is different. He inhaled and pressed send before shutting the computer down.

Yawning, he crossed to the window and looked out at the street.

Someone was watching.

He stepped back into the darkness.

The car in contrast, sat under the street light. Steve sat on the edge of the bed, his mind racing over the steps he took to cover his tracks tonight.

He must have missed something.

“Shit,” he muttered and climbed under the covers next to Jennifer. “Shit!”

Friday, February 4, 2011

Dishing it up with A.S. King

Folks, I’m uber excited to have one of my Backspace idols here today. She was one of the first authors I met at the Backspace conference and she couldn’t have been more welcoming. Please join me in giving a warm welcome to Award-winning YA author A.S. King.

A.S. King is the author of cult favorite THE DUST OF 100 DOGS and the 2011 Printz Honor Book PLEASE IGNORE VERA DIETZ, described as “deeply suspenseful and profoundly human” by Publishers Weekly, and picked as one of Kirkus Reviews’ Best Books for Teens 2010.

Recently returned from Ireland, where she spent over a decade living off the land, breeding rare poultry, teaching adult literacy, and writing novels, King now lives deep in the Pennsylvania woods with her husband and children. Her next YA novel, EVERYBODY SEES THE ANTS, is due in Fall 2011.

JET: First of all, let me say I really enjoyed The Dust of 100 Dogs and I devoured Please Ignore Vera Dietz as soon as it arrived on my doorstep, before either of my kids had a chance to get a hold of it. Can you tell us a little about the book?

A.S. King: Thanks for the kind words about The Dust of 100 Dogs! Please Ignore Vera Dietz is a tough book to describe. I say this after a year of trying to describe it. It’s about a girl who’s trying to clear her dead (ex) best friend’s name. It’s about a boy who thinks he’s a loser and who gets mixed up with the wrong crowd. It’s about ignoring the important things that we shouldn’t ignore. It’s about pizza delivery, alcoholism and a red neon pagoda that has its own thoughts.

JET: What made you choose Young Adult as a genre?

A.S. King: Young Adult chose me, not the other way around. I’d written 7 adult novels over 13 years before one of them, a coming of age story of a reincarnated pirate, sold to a YA publisher and was shaped into a YA novel. That said, I love writing YA literature. Teenagers are often more open to quirky stories and structures than most adult readers are. Also, when I look back to my own youth, I realize that the things that shaped me most were the books I’d read. For me, it was Paul Zindel—a man who showed me that I wasn’t the only person on the planet who felt like a freak, and Kurt Vonnegut—a man who made me feel less like a freak for exploring heavy things and finding funny ways to discuss them.

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

A.S. King: I think it must have been a challenge to continue to write after 12 years and over 300 rejection letters. I often look back and wonder why I didn’t give up. After much deliberation, I have decided that I must have gone bonkers at some point. Because who would do that? At the same time, I look back on those years with great joy. I had a great time. A lot of fun. I was doing what I wanted to do. And I always felt I was learning something about writing.

JET: What was your favorite moment in the journey?

A.S. King: That’s a tough question! I think I can say that January 9th, 2011 was pretty amazing. That was the day I got a call from California and someone said, “Hi, I’m [someone] from the Michael L. Printz Award committee calling from the American Library Association mid-winter conference.” She then went on to tell me Please Ignore Vera Dietz was Printz Honor book. I cried instantly. Dude. I didn’t even cry at my wedding.

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

A.S. King: It started with Maurice Sendak and Where the Wild Things Are. When I was in elementary school, I was a voracious reader. I don’t remember many titles, but the ones I read over and over were: A Wrinkle in Time, Harriet the Spy, and a really cool book about a witch. Then, in junior high, thanks to my 7th grade English teacher, I found Paul Zindel. He shaped me for the next 3 years. I read all of his books about a trillion times. I could name great books that I loved all day long (Lord of the Flies, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, Animal Farm, Fahrenheit 451) but my biggest influence in high school and post high-school was Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

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

A.S. King: I think I really knew when I was 14. But an adult in my life told me that wanting to be a writer meant that I had to work at a newspaper. And that wasn’t what I wanted to do, so I changed my mind. Then, when I moved to Ireland at 24 and had some time on my hands for the first time since preschool, I realized that this was what I was made to do and I started to do it. I never stopped.

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

A.S. King: I don’t know how crazy it is, but for book #7, which hasn’t been published but might one day find its way into the world, I learned how to play the drums. (I should add that the drum kit was already in my basement and my husband plays, so it wasn’t that big of a stretch, except that it’s really hard to play the drums.) It’s a very odd book—a mix of love letter to John Bonham from Led Zeppelin, commentary on consumerism and pornography, and a “historical” about what life in darkrooms was like before digital photography. My most interesting (and disgusting) fact is related to this same book. Did you know that child pornography was legal in most US states until the LATE 1980s? In my state, it was legal until I was a senior in high school. Ew. Also, in Sweden, they have seen a rise in animal sexual assault injuries since child pornography was made illegal in 1999. Yeah. Interesting, right?

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

A.S. King: Impossible to say. I do love Please Ignore Vera Dietz and knew it was something special when I wrote it. But I feel the same way about many of my books. My favorite story is called “The Tests I Failed” and it was published in Quality Women’s Fiction back in 2009. But again, I also love many other stories. Final answer: Impossible to say.

JET: Any advice for the novices out there?

A.S. King: Keep writing. And be nice. And write what you want to write. And don’t write to trends. But mostly: Keep writing.

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?

A.S. King: Paper!

JET: Steak or Tofu?

A.S. King: Chicken.

JET: Beach or Mountains?

A.S. King: Both, on alternate days.

JET: Country or Rock-n-Roll?

A.S. King: Rock-n-Roll.

JET: Classics or Modern?

A.S. King: Both, on alternate days.

JET: Silent Film Classics or Cheesy B Rated Horror?

A.S. King: B Rated Horror.

JET: Zombies or Demons?

A.S. King: I say neither, but my daughter said ZOMBIES!

JET: Paper or Digital? Depends.

A.S. King: I swing both ways on this one.

JET: Salty or Sweet?

A.S. King: I just gave up sugar.  And most carbs. So, unsalted almonds, please.

JET: Coffee or Tea?

A.S. King: 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?

A.S. King: I’m working on novel #4 at the moment, which is tentatively called Ask the Passengers. I can’t tell you what it’s about because that’s against my rules until the book is done. But I will tell you that book #3 is coming in fall of 2011. It’s called Everybody Sees the Ants and it’s about a bullied boy who mysteriously communicates with his long-lost POW grandfather still missing in action in Laos/Vietnam. Also, there are ants.

JET: Thank you so much for taking the time to chat on my blog. Folks, you can find out more about A. S. King and her work on her website.
Next week I'm dishing it up with Betty Ann Harris. 
Until then,

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Jenny Craig Week 21

Lost another half pound - so now the chocolate binge pound is gone.  :)  Happy day.  February's focus is dropping five pounds by the end of the month and strength training for my shoulder along with continuing the exercise regiment. 

January was a bust - but now that I'm back at work, I think my focus will be sharper and my access to food more limited.  :) 

So that's the progress report.  Overall, I'm feeling great about the changes I'm making in my body, my eating habits and that is energizing!

Happy February!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Welcome February!

Welcome to the first day of February. Not only do we have Valentine’s Day this month, but we also have these fantastic releases by my cohorts over at Backspace. Curl up by the fire and enjoy one of these puppies on those long cold winter nights!

T. J. Forrester - MIRACLES, INC. (Simon & Schuster, February 1, 2011)

The rise and fall of a ne'er-do-well–turned–preacher fuels Forrester's promising debut. Waiting to be executed in a Florida prison, Vernon Oliver reluctantly agrees to write his autobiography at the request of his attorney, who hopes to sell it to cover Vernon's legal fees. His story begins 11 years earlier, in 1997, living in an RV park and working for Tabernacle Carnival, a shady Holy Roller church. His girlfriend, Rickie, sells Bibles, and the two are content to mostly get high and play Scrabble until carnival owner Miriam MacKenzie sees epic televangelist potential in Vernon and packs him off to religious boot camp where Vernon meets the actors who will receive his "healing" touch. Soon he's taking the stage in pyrotechnic displays of Jesus-loving fervor, amid cries of blasphemy from other Pentecostal leaders and a crumbling relationship with Rickie. While alternating between Vernon's autobiography leading up to the act that lands him on death row and his life in prison is a structural choice that mostly pays off, the depiction of life in prison suffers compared to the inventiveness of Vernon's life as a sham faith healer. 

Lisa McMann - CRYER'S CROSS (February 8, 2011);

The small town of Cryer’s Cross is rocked by tragedy when an unassuming freshman disappears without a trace. Kendall Fletcher wasn’t that friendly with the missing girl, but the angst wreaks havoc on her OCD-addled brain.

When a second student goes missing—someone close to Kendall’s heart—the community is in an uproar. Caught in a downward spiral of fear and anxiety, Kendall’s not sure she can hold it together. When she starts hearing the voices of the missing, calling out to her and pleading for help, she fears she’s losing her grip on reality. But when she finds messages scratched in a desk at school—messages that could only be from the missing student who used to sit there—Kendall decides that crazy or not, she’d never forgive herself if she didn’t act on her suspicions.

Something’s not right in Cryer’s Cross—and Kendall’s about to find out just how far the townspeople will go to keep their secrets buried.

Cat Connor - exacerbyte (February 10, 2011)

SSA Ellie Conway is well aware how delicate life really is, so when the child trafficker known as Hawk surfaces in New Zealand, and the Director suggests 'Delta A' welcome Doctor Kurt Henderson to their ranks she agrees. The events that unfold haul Supervisory Special Agent Ellie Conway out of her comfort zone and into a terrifying personal situation. Delta A work to find missing children in New Zealand before they disappear forever.

This time Hawk's not hunting children from the Butterfly Foundation.

He's found a new place to meet his vulnerable prey. He's broadened his net, and increased his activity.
And he’s watching...

J.E. Taylor – END GAME (eXcessica February 14, 2011)

Chris Ryan has everything he's ever dreamed of: the love of a beautiful woman, two amazing children, an obscene amount of money and mystical powers beyond his wildest dreams.

His perfectly planned Valentine's Day proposal hits a speed bump when Jessica receives a call from her ex-husband and agrees to attend the premier of his movie in New York City. A movie Chris isn't so sure he wants to see, especially on the same night as his wedding.

Sharing the spotlight with her ex becomes the least of his concerns when three thousand miles away on the sunny coast of California, a scorned woman activates a contract on Jessica.

He lands in the cross hairs between an endless trail of assassins and his wife, fending them off and vowing revenge on the crazy bitch that set them loose. But his valiant efforts crumble in a near fatal hit leaving him on the brink.

In the dark plane between life and death, Chris is given a choice: Save his family or save his soul.

Sara J. Henry - LEARNING TO SWIM (Shaye Areheart Books February 22, 2011)

The opening lines of Sara J. Henry’s moving and disturbing novel plunge us directly into the action, along with our narrator, Troy Chance. It is a child she’s seen thrown overboard. Harrowing minutes later, Troy and a terrified little boy emerge shivering from the spring chill of Vermont’s Lake Champlain.

Troy is a freelance writer living in Lake Placid, New York, with no responsibilities to speak of and just a few close friends. Suddenly, little Paul is in her life. Her fierce protective feelings stun her. Who could even think of doing such a thing to a child? She’s repulsed and determined to find out in equal measure. Her search will take her into a world of great wealth—a world in which horrible things are all too imaginable, a world in which she’ll either sink or swim. And along the way, she’ll come to discover that it is amazing what you can do if you don’t stop to think.

J.A. Konrath - SHAKEN (February 22, 2011);

Since her debut in Whiskey Sour, Lieutenant Jacqueline “Jack” Daniels has dealt with her fair share of criminals. But she may have finally met her match in “Mr. K,” the brutal serial killer who has eluded Jack not once, but twice, over the years. Mr. K is the essence of evil, credited with more than two hundred horrific homicides. Now, on a hot August night, Jack finally gets the chance to face the maniac—unfortunately, she must do so while bound and gagged in a storage locker, primed to be his next victim. As she awaits her fate, Jack looks back on her career, from her first homicide case to her recent retirement. The twenty-five years in between saw Jack’s attitude toward justice, the law, her job, and her personal life shift drastically. She is a different woman now…but is she good enough to stop a madman? Novelist J. A. Konrath’s trademark blend of suspense and wry humor are on full display in this tense thriller, a gripping tale that will keep readers on the edge of their seats.

The rest of this month is packed with guest interviews starting with a very special guest - A.S. King award winning author of Dust of 100 Dogs and Please Ignore Vera Dietz. On the 11th, I have romantic suspense author Betty Ann Harris and then on the 18th, we have Betty Sullivan LaPierre. 

Until Friday...