Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Happy June First!

Welcome to June!

We’ve got some outstanding releases from my backspace brethren this month, but before I go into that, I just wanted to say thank you to those that followed my blog tour in May. I had a lot of fun and hope you did too.

This month I have quite a few cool authors swinging in, starting with Brett Battles this Friday – June 3rd. The rest of the month lays out like a Hollywood who’s who with: Ian Barker on June 10th, Morgan Gallagher on June 17th, and finishing on a stellar note with Marcus Sakey on June 24th.

Now without further adieu, here are some books to check out for June…

Joe Moore & Lynn Sholes – THE PHOENIX APOSTLES June 8, 2011

Magazine journalist Seneca Hunt is reporting on the opening of Montezuma's tomb in Mexico City when the dig team learns that the remains of the Aztec emperor are missing. Within moments of the discovery, an apparent terrorist attack kills everyone at the site except Seneca, who barely escapes the carnage.

Determined to get answers, Seneca starts investigating. She finds out that someone is stealing the remains of the most infamous mass murderers in history-and plotting to slaughter millions in the name of an ancient cult. Seneca needs to prove the threat really exists while trying to stay one step ahead of those who want her dead. With time running out, she must follow a deadly 2,000-year-old trail that leads back to the death of Jesus Christ.

Marcus Sakey - THE TWO DEATHS OF DANIEL HAYS June 9, 2011

Marcus Sakey returns with his most ambitious novel, a captivating story of love and memory, where the only thing more frightening than the questions are the answers.

A man wakes up naked and cold, half-drowned on an abandoned beach. The only sign of life for miles is an empty BMW. Inside the expensive car he finds clothes that fit perfectly, shoes for his tattered feet, a Rolex, and a bank envelope stuffed with cash and an auto registration in the name of Daniel Hayes, resident of Malibu, California.

None of it is familiar.

What is he doing here? How did he get into the ocean? Is he Daniel Hayes, and if so, why doesn't he remember? While he searches for answers, the world searches for him-beginning with the police that kick in the door of his dingy motel, with guns drawn. Lost, alone, and on the run, the man who might be Daniel Hayes flees into the night.

All he remembers is a woman's face, so he sets off for the only place he might find her. The fantasy of her becomes his home, his world, his hope. And maybe, just maybe, the way back to himself.

But that raises the most chilling question of all: What will he find when he gets there?

Camille Noe Pagán - THE ART OF FORGETTING June 9, 2011

Marissa Rogers never wanted to be an alpha; beta suited her just fine. Taking charge without taking credit had always paid off: vaulting her to senior editor at a glossy magazine; keeping the peace with her critical, weight-obsessed mother; and enjoying the benefits of being best friends with gorgeous, charismatic, absolutely alpha Julia Ferrar.

And then Julia gets hit by a cab. She survives with minor obvious injuries, but brain damage steals her memory and alters her personality, possibly forever. Suddenly, Marissa is thrown into the role of alpha friend. As Julia struggles to regain her memory- dredging up issues Marissa would rather forget, including the fact that Julia asked her to abandon the love of her life ten years ago- Marissa's own equilibrium is shaken.

With the help of a dozen girls, she reluctantly agrees to coach in an after-school running program. There, Marissa uncovers her inner confidence and finds the courage to reexamine her past and take control of her future.

The Art of Forgetting is a story about the power of friendship, the memories and myths that hold us back, and the delicate balance between forgiving and forgetting.

Katie Alender - FROM BAD TO CURSED June 14, 2011

Alexis is the last girl you'd expect to sell her soul. She already has everything she needs—an adorable boyfriend, the perfect best friend, and a little sister who’s finally recovering after being possessed by an evil spirit.

Alexis is thrilled when her sister joins a club: new friends are just what Kasey needs. It’s strange, though, to see how fast the girls in the Sunshine Club go from dorky and antisocial to gorgeous and popular. Then Alexis learns that the girls have pledged an oath to a seemingly benevolent spirit named Aralt. Worried that Kasey’s in over her head again, Alexis and her best friend, Megan, decide to investigate by joining the club themselves. Soon, Alexis trades in her pink hair and punky clothes for a mainstream look, and finds herself reveling in her newfound elegance and success.

The club’s connection with Aralt seems harmless, and before long, Alexis can hardly remember why she joined in the first place.Surely it wasn’t to destroy Aralt. . . . Why would she hurt someone who has given her so much, and asked for so little in return?

Ally Carter - UNCOMMON CRIMINALS June 21, 2011

Katarina Bishop has worn a lot of labels in her short life: Friend. Niece. Daughter. Thief. But for the last two months she’s simply been known as the girl who ran the crew that robbed the greatest museum in the world. That’s why Kat isn’t surprised when she’s asked to steal the infamous Cleopatra Emerald so it can be returned to its rightful owners. There are only three problems. First, the gem hasn’t been seen in public in thirty years. Second, since the fall of the Egyptian empire and the suicide of Cleopatra, no one who holds the emerald keeps it for long — and in Kat’s world, history almost always repeats itself. But it’s the third problem that makes Kat’s crew the most nervous, and that is . . . the emerald is cursed. Kat might be in way over her head, but she’s not going down without a fight. After all, she has her best friend — the gorgeous Hale — and the rest of her crew with her as they chase the Cleopatra around the globe, dodging curses and realizing that the same tricks and cons her family has used for centuries are useless this time. Which means, this time, Katarina Bishop is making up her own rules.

Kristina Riggle - THINGS WE DIDN'T SAY June 28, 2011

What goes unsaid can sometimes speak the loudest . . .

What makes up a family? For Casey it's sharing a house with her fiancÉ, Michael, and his three children, whom she intends to nurture more than she ever took care of herself. But Casey's plans have come undone. Michael's silences have grown unfathomable and deep. His daughter Angel seethes as only a teenage girl can, while the wide-eyed youngest, Jewel, quietly takes it all in.

Then Michael's son, Dylan, runs off, and the kids' mother, a woman never afraid to say what she thinks, noisily barges into the home. That's when Casey decides that the silences can no longer continue. She must begin speaking the words no one else can say. She'll have to dig up secrets—including her own—uncovering the hurts, and begin the healing that is long overdue. And it all starts with just a few tentative words. . . .

Such great titles this month, just in time for beach weather.  Speaking of bathing suit form, I'm still holding steady on the Jenny Craig side of things.  No gain, no loss and this past week, no change in inches either.  I'll pick back up on my Wednesday Jenny updates next week. 

In the meantime, don't forget to swing in on Friday while I dish it up with Brett Battles. 

Until then,

Friday, May 27, 2011

Dishing it up with Suzanne Tyrpak

Today, I have the pleasure of chatting with Suzanne Tyrpak. Suzanne ran away from New York a long time ago to live in Colorado. Her debut novel is Vestal Virgin, suspense set in ancient Rome, available as a trade paperback and in all e-formats. Her collection of nine short stories Dating My Vibrator (and other true fiction) is available on Kindle, Nook and Smashwords. J.A. Konrath calls it, “Pure comedic brilliance.” Her short story Downhill was first published in Arts Perspective Magazine. Rock Bottom is published in the Mota 9: Addiction anthology, available on Kindle. Her short story Ghost Plane was published by CrimeSpree Magazine. Venus Faded appears in the anthology Pronto! Writings from Rome (Triple Tree Publishing, 2002) along with notable authors including: Dorothy Allison, Elizabeth Engstrom, Terry Brooks and John Saul. Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers awarded her first prize in the Colorado Gold Writing Contest, and Maui Writers awarded her third prize in the Rupert Hughes writing competition.

Suzanne: Hi J.E. Thanks for inviting me to post.

JET: Can you tell us a little about Vestal Virgin?

Suzanne: Vestal Virgin is suspense set in ancient Rome. Vestal Virgins were the most powerful women in Rome. Unlike other women, they were permitted to own property, and they were well educated.

My protagonist, Elissa Rubria Honoria is a Vestal Virgin--priestess of the sacred flame, and a visionary. Vestals are sacrosanct, sworn to chastity on penalty of death, but the emperor, Nero, holds himself above the law. He pursues Elissa, engaging her in a deadly game of wits and sexuality. Or is Elissa really the pursuer? She stumbles on dark secrets. No longer trusting Roman gods, she follows a new god, Jesus of Nazareth, jeopardizing her life and the future of The Roman

JET: What drew you to writing comedy and conversely, historical thrillers?

Suzanne: I’ve been fascinated by women’s roles in history all my life—my major in college was Greek theater and ancient religions. Also, I love to travel. In fact, I work for an airline. Setting stories in ancient times is a natural for me.

Dating, after nineteen years of marriage, was not a natural. At first it was an adventure, but ultimately it turned into torture. Since I didn’t want my life to play out like a horror story, I decided to write humorous short stories about dating, divorce and desperation. I figured, if nothing else, I could make myself and others laugh. So I wrote Dating My Vibrator (and other true fiction).

I like the contrast. My voice in the short stories is very contemporary—a very different voice than the historical suspense novels I write. I used to be an actress, so that may explain the split. Otherwise, I defer you to my therapist.

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

Suzanne: Getting published. I’ve had two agents, won awards, had editors tell me they like my work, but no one was willing to take the risk. I am soooo relieved to have stopped writing query letters. I really hated seeing though self-addressed, stamped, rejection letters. Is there some other industry where you actually pay for stamps so you can be rejected?

JET: What was your favorite moment in the journey?

Suzanne: Having readers read my books and respond is great. I also love meeting other writers—hanging out and talking about writing. My fellow writers have sustained me.

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

Suzanne: I’m still growing up. Wonderful writers who have touched my life include: Terry Brooks, Elizabeth Engstrom, Tess Gerritsen, John Saul, Blake Crouch, Eldon Thompson, Tory Hartmann—and now, many writers I’ve met on Kindleboards including L.C. Evans, Barbara Silkstone, Claire Farrell and Thea Atkinson.

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

Suzanne: In sixth grade I knew I’d be a writer some day. But first I had to be a dancer, then an actress, and finally a writer. What can I say? I was a weird kid. I’ve also worked in radio, marketing, and I’ve been a professional psychic.

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

Suzanne: Going into Cheops, the large pyramid in Cairo, at about 2am—finding the King’s chamber and lying in the sarcophagus, while other people chanted around me. We were told, by the bus driver, that the entire pyramid was vibrating with sound.

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

Suzanne: Vestal Virgin—because it’s published! The others aren’t, which means I can keep changing them. I’m may bring some of them out. Right now I’m working on Agathon’s Daughter, suspense set in ancient Athens. So, of course, I’m currently in love with that story too.

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

Suzanne: What Terry Brooks always says: Write, write, write. Read, read, read. Write, write, write. Repeat. And don’t be afraid to self-publish. The industry has changed tremendously in the last year, and the stigma regarding self-publishing is fast fading. This is a great time to be a writer.

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?

Suzanne: Plastic, but I reuse it and recycle.

JET: Steak or Tofu?

Suzanne: Both.

JET: Beach or Mountains?

Suzanne: Beach. But I live in the mountains.

JET: Country or Rock-n-Roll?

Suzanne: Definitely Rock-n-Roll

JET: Leather or Lace?

Suzanne: I like the combination.

JET: Angels or Demons?

Suzanne: Angels. Although, according to Jewish mysticism, the Satan is an angel who confronts you when you’re off the path. (Demons are a dime a dozen.)

JET: Paper or Digital?

Suzanne: Both.

JET: Silent Film Classics or Cheesy B Rated Horror?

Suzanne: Classics.

JET: Twilight or True Blood

Suzanne: Neither.

JET: Coffee or Tea?

Suzanne: Like them both, but have to have 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?

Suzanne: As I mentioned, I’m working on another novel, Agathon’s Daughter, suspense in ancient Athens. It will be coming out late fall. I’m also putting together another small collection of short stories—not humor, weird. Ghost Plane and Other Disturbing Tales will be coming out this fall.

Thank you so much for taking the time to chat on my blog. Folks, you can find out more about Suzanne Tyrpak and her work at the following places: (Please supply a list of the URLs you’d like listed in the blog)

Blog “Who’s Imagining All This?” http://ghostplanestory.blogspot.com/

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Suzanne-Tyrpak/144232238928903

Amazon Author Page http://www.amazon.com/Suzanne-Tyrpak/e/B003ZTP0J4/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

Next week, I’ve got June releases from my Backspace brethren and my fellow Kindle authors. I will also announce the winners of my Hunting Season Blog tour! Thank you all for swinging in. Don’t forget to comment here!

Until next time,



Monday, May 23, 2011

Manic Monday with Darren Pillsbury

Welcome to another Manic Monday. Today, I have Darren Pillsbury on tap. Darren graduated from the University of Georgia longer ago than he cares to admit. He followed a dream and set out to Hollywood to be a screen writer, but that didn’t work out and he ended up watching movies for a living, which is not nearly as fun as it sounds. He started writing again and self-published his first book, IMAGINARY FRIENDS in October of 2007. From there he blogged a page a day on his newest series of books (PETER AND THE VAMPIRES) for three years until he decided to jump into the e-book publishing realm. Now, he’s back in Georgia and has three e-books in the PETER series out there for public consumption.

Without further adieu, here’s Darren…

Thanks to J.E. Taylor for letting me write here on Manic Monday. I appreciate it!

I thought I would share one of the biggest insights I ever had as a writer. Actually, it’s less of an insight than it is a commandment, and it came to me while I was on a bad blind date.

Boiled down, it’s this:

Don’t be a bathtub refinisher.

Let me back up a little bit and give you some context.

I started writing novels at 18. Actually, ‘novel’ would be more appropriate. I worked slowly on the same book until I was 21, and made the colossal mistake of starting to rewrite it when I was only halfway done. (Yeah, don’t do that.)

Burned out from working on the same thing for years, I wrote a sci-fi novel quickly and submitted it. Lots of rejection, though I did get one very encouraging letter from an agent. I started on a third novel…and discovered that what I really wanted to do was go to Hollywood and write for ‘the movies.’

I learned a lot from my years writing screenplays. My major mistake was the same one that plagues a lot of people who say they want to be screenwriters (or novelists, or musicians, or actors, or artists): I never fully committed to going the distance, no matter what. And I never learned to deal with rejection.

For five years I wrote screenplays on and off as I lived a hand-to-mouth existence. I worked for a small (very small) production company writing scripts and promotional materials for them. In my off hours, I finally wrote what I considered to be the very best thing I had ever written and ever would write: a comedy about a single dad who starts to see his two little boys’ imaginary friends. I miraculously got an agent from the first batch of five query letters I sent out. The agent submitted the script to 20 major studios and production companies, and…

It didn’t sell.

I was crushed.

When you can’t sell the best thing you’ve ever written and ever will write, what do you do?! I tried to keep writing, but my failure was the capstone to a bunch of near-misses and back-stabbings on previous small script jobs. Plus, I was burnt-out.

So I gave up.

I quit writing. At first I told myself it was a break, and then I finally just admitted I was throwing in the towel. I decided writing wasn’t worth it, and that was that.

After drifting for a year, I wound up in what was (for me) a very lucrative but very brain-dead job in the backwaters of the entertainment industry. I got a new car, a new apartment, a new wardrobe, a new life. I was happy…sort of. But something was missing.

A couple of years after I abandoned writing, I found myself on a bad blind date. It wasn’t awkward or boring – in fact, the woman was beautiful, funny, and charming. It’s just that she didn’t ask me a single question about myself the entire night. Not one. She was the epitome of the Los Angeles stereotype “it’s all about me.”

But she did tell me a very interesting story.

She had managed a band back in Nashville before she moved to Los Angeles to be an actress. With her characteristic exaggeration, she said that the lead singer “was one of the most talented songwriters that has ever lived. He could have been the voice of his generation.”


But he had a drinking problem. She once locked him in a bathroom and refused to let him out until he finished the lyrics to a song. An hour later he slipped a page of scribbled lyrics under the door (“breathtaking…some of the most amazing poetry I’ve ever read,” naturally), and she opened the door and gave him a bottle of Jim Beam.

His drinking problem eventually doomed the band, and she gave up on him and left for greener pastures in California.

So what happened to this potential Voice of His Generation, I asked?

“I don’t know,” she said. “Last time I heard, he was refinishing bathtubs somewhere in Florida.”

That answer was a punch to the gut.

I realized that I was doing the exact same thing as the alcoholic rocker:

I was refinishing bathtubs.

Not literally, of course. I was actually doing quality control work on DVD releases of bad movies. And I was in California rather than Florida. But my job was just as creatively meaningless. It paid the bills but didn’t feed my soul. It wasn’t the reason that I was put here on Earth. When I abandoned writing, I might as well have just chucked all my dreams and passions out the window.

(Quick point: I don’t necessarily advocate quitting a job and trying to find one that ‘completes’ you, especially if you want to write. If you can find a job that inspires and fulfills you, awesome. You’re one of 0.5% of humanity. If you can’t find a job like that, at least get one that supports you in your quest to write, and doesn’t sap all your time or brainpower. I was working 60-70 hours a week in a job that sucked everything out of me, and which I gradually grew to hate.)

Shortly after that blind date, I went back to the script I’d put away on a dusty shelf and re-read it. I quickly discovered that while it was good, it was probably not the very best thing I would ever write. (Funny how your perceptions can change when you walk away for awhile.)

But it was way too good to die alone and unread on my bookcase. So I rewrote it as a novel and submitted it to agents.

Couldn’t get anybody to take a look at it.

Eventually I self-published it. IMAGINARY FRIENDS is available on Amazon.com as a $13.00 soft cover, but because I was horrible at promotions, I think it’s sold maybe 70 copies. And most of those to friends and family.

Didn’t matter – much. It always stinks when your fantasies of wealth and fame aren’t instantly gratified, but it does temper your expectations and bring you back to reality. (And hopefully makes future successes all the sweeter.)

I soldiered on and wrote a new series of stories, a supernatural-horror-comedy about a kid who moves into his grandfather’s creepy old mansion, and bad, baaaaad things start to happen. PETER AND THE VAMPIRES was structured more like a television series, where four stories make up each book, and each story was an individual “monster of the week” episode: “Peter and the Vampires.” “Peter and the Changeling.” “Peter and the Swamp Monster.”

I blogged the stories a page a day and developed a loyal following over the course of three years. I’m currently written over a thousand pages and am halfway through the 18th story.

Then I tried to get an agent. Fifty rejection letters later, only one person read it – and passed. I had a half-dozen people tell me that because I had ‘vampire’ in the first title, no one would want to touch it with a ten-foot pole. The market was oversaturated from TWILIGHT and television’s “Vampire Diaries” and “True Blood.”

Meanwhile, indie ebook publishing sensation Amanda Hocking went on to a multi-million dollar deal based partly on a trilogy of vampire books…but I digress.

That’s what’s amazing today, with the explosion of Kindle and Nook: more than ever, an astounding amount of power is in the author’s hands. It started with POD (print on demand, which is how I published IMAGINARY FRIENDS), but with the increasing embrace of eReaders and ebooks, a person can cheaply publish their work for sale and put it into a virtual bookstore where anyone can find it.

Is it still difficult? Ohhhhhhhh yeah. That’s my major reason for writing this blog, to try to draw attention to my ebooks. I read somewhere that “obscurity is a greater obstacle than talent” when it comes to selling books as an indie, and that’s definitely true.

But you have a lot more power – and with a lot smaller investment of time and money – than ever before. No more set-up fees of $200. No more $13 price tags that make customers balk. You can sell your work at the price you decide, and in a rapidly growing marketplace that will soon eclipse traditional bookselling venues.

But if you take away one thing from this article, let it be this: don’t be a bathtub refinisher. If you’ve always wanted to write, but never have, now’s the time to get off your butt and give it a try. If you’ve got a couple of novels languishing on the shelf but were always too nervous to send them off to agents – or, like me, stopped after 50 rejections – then dust them off, edit them, format them, get professional-looking covers, and put them out there in the world. Promote them. Then do it again.

You won’t know what you’re capable of until you try.

Don’t do it for money alone, because I can tell you that except for a few lottery winners, it don’t come quick, and it don’t come easy. (Though there’s a better chance than ever that the money will come, if you’re good enough at both writing and promoting yourself.)

Do it because it feeds your soul. Do it because after you finish writing for the day, you feel that sense of completion and nourishment that only comes from doing something you love. Something that you were put here to do.

It doesn’t specifically have to be writing; in fact, it could be just about anything.

But do what you were Meant To Do. Even if the money never comes, and it just has to be a hobby rather than a career.

Do that thing you always wanted to be when you grew up.

And unless your passion lies in enamel and water faucets…

…don’t be a bathtub refinisher.


Darren Pillsbury’s ebooks PETER AND THE VAMPIRES, PETER AND THE WEREWOLVES, and PETER AND THE FRANKENSTEIN are available on Kindle (Vampires, Werewolves, Frankenstein) and on the Nook (Vampires, Werewolves, Frankenstein). Remember that you don’t have to have an eReader to read these works: you can download a free Kindle app for your PC, Mac, iPhone, iPad, or smartphone. IMAGINARY FRIENDS is available in print on Amazon.com. Read more at Darren’s blog, http://darrenpillsbury.com/.

Don’t forget to swing by on Friday to dish it up with Suzanne Tyrpak.

Until then,



Friday, May 20, 2011

Dishing it up with Tracey Alley

Today I’m dishing it up with Tracey Alley. Tracey’s a writer, a poet, an academic and a scholar. She writes fantasy fiction, short stories, children's books and is currently working on a large scale non-fiction project in line with her academic studies. Born and raised in sunny South-East Queensland in Australia, she still lives in South Brisbane with her adorable dog and equally adorable two cats.

JET: Can you tell us about your most recent book, Slade’s Destiny?

Tracey: Slade’s Destiny is the final in a trilogy of fantasy novels and while it offers all the action adventure and dramatic life and death battles against formidable foes it is also a novel about the human condition and the most common thing we all share; powerful and life changing emotions and reactions to the circumstances the characters find themselves thrust into and which force them to reexamine themselves and their motivation.

JET: What drew you to the fantasy genre?

Tracey: I initially wrote in many different genres, usually returning to trashy crime thrillers but eventually I was led to fantasy; firstly because of the wonderful, enchanting stories of elves, fairies and magic that my mother made up and told to me as a small child, and secondly out of my love of role-playing games like Dungeons and Dragons etc. Once I switched to fantasy I started writing truly readable and decent stories, like The Witchcraft Wars series. I love the wonderful escapism of fantasy and the fact that in that genre there are few rules; you can essentially create the world as you want it to be and populate it as you see fit.

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

Tracey: The constant mixed messages from publishers and agents. I got exceptionally good feedback and positive critiques of my work but it was almost always coupled with an ultimate rejection. The few contracts I was offered were so binding and constricting that I simply couldn’t sign on the dotted line. That’s the main reason I ultimately went with Independent publishing, I have control, a far greater share of the money and the chance for immediate feedback from fans because of the social networking that goes along with Indie publishing.

JET: What was your favorite moment in the journey?

Tracey: My first sale, I knew none of my family or friends had purchased it as no one I knew, at that time, had an ebook reader so knowing that a stranger, somewhere out in the world, had bought my book and would read it was an indescribable feeling. I still feel that way with each new sale.

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

Tracey: I was actually highly influenced by Homer and Shakespeare; I loved the way they used language to tell the story and I particularly enjoyed Homer’s cliffhanger style of writing. After them probably Stephen King, Terry Pratchett, Katharine Kerr, Douglas Adams – each of these authors possessed some quality that I hoped to emulate. I was also a huge fan of Agatha Christie and her simple, yet eloquent style.

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

Tracey: I honestly cannot remember a time when I didn’t want to be a writer. I almost feel as though I was born a writer, it was the only career path that ever appealed to me.

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

Tracey: When I was first outlining the idea behind the Witchcraft Wars I wanted to learn more about Norse history, their myths and legends, in order to add an element of realism to my work. I attended a lecture at University in a class I wasn’t actually enrolled in, and was quickly found out to be an interloper. I had to explain to the lecturer I was merely sitting in for some background mythology for the book I wanted to write. It was a rather embarrassing moment but I discovered that unlike virtually all other forms of mythology Norse mythology actually begins at the ‘end of the world’ and works backwards. Also, from my studies in Comparative Religions, I was surprised to find so many parallels in Norse myths to the Christian story.

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

Tracey: So far probably Slade’s Destiny, there’s just so much going on in that book it feels almost like a rollercoaster and I like that in books I read so I’m hoping my potential readers will enjoy it as well.

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

Tracey: Keep writing. It’s like any craft, it takes time to become good at it and from good becomes better and so on.

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?

Tracey: Paper – I like natural.

JET: Steak or Tofu?

Tracey: Steak every time.

JET: Beach or Mountains?

Tracey: Beach with a great big super colorful cocktail by my side.

JET: Country or Rock-n-Roll?

Tracey: Definitely Rock n Roll.

JET: Leather or Lace?

Tracey: Leather, well most of the time.

JET: Angels or Demons?

Tracey: Angels

JET: Paper or Digital?

Tracey: Digital where possible, save the trees etc

JET: Silent Film Classics or Cheesy B Rated Horror?

Tracey: Who says B rated horror is cheesy?

JET: Classic werewolf or Modern werewolf?

Tracey: Definitely a classic werewolf, otherwise where’s the fun?

JET: Dark chocolate or White chocolate?

Tracey: Dark, although I really prefer milk chocolate.

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

Tracey: Have a couple of projects I’m working on at the moment, my series of children’s books which I hope will be published by Christmas. Still working on my non-fiction book on the history and evolution of Christianity. But the next book that I’ll probably publish is a mystery/thriller that is just flowing like a river at the moment.

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

Website - http://traceyalley.weebly.com/

Facebook - http://www.facebook.com/pages/Tracey-Alley-The-World-of-Kaynos/127959000550782

Twitter - http://twitter.com/traceylalley

Christian blog - http://traceyalley-whitehorse.blogspot.com/

Amazon Author Page - http://www.amazon.com/Tracey-Alley/e/B003OVMKFU/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

Next week I have Darren Pillsbury on Monday and Suzanne Tyrpak dishing it up on Friday.

Until then,



Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Jenny Craig Week 36

Two steps forward and one step back.  The weekend trip I was worried about - well yeah - it bit me in the ass.  I gained a pound on the scale and an inch back on my stomach measurement.  Now I have to get my butt in gear and get back on track. 

So here's to another week and we'll see how it all works out.

Until next week

Monday, May 16, 2011

Manic Monday & a Giveaway with Mysti Parker

Today on my Manic Monday series, I’ve got Mysti Parker on tap. Mysti is a full-time wife, mom of three, and a writer. Born and raised in Kentucky, writing has always been her first love. After many years of pursuing other things, she began her writing career in earnest in 2009. Look for more romantic tales from her fantasy world of Tallenmere, where magic, passion, murder, and mayhem are a part of everyday life.

Mysti is giving away an e-copy of her new release – A Ranger’s Tale. Give a little love and answer her question at the end and you may walk away with an e-book!

The First Kiss

First of all, a big thank you to J.E. Taylor for hosting me today! I hope you will all enjoy my post.

I bet you can remember your first kiss. A little awkward, a little embarrassing. You worried about your breath, whether to have just a peck or let it linger a while. More than that, you wondered if that first kiss would be the start of something much bigger. You may or may not have ended up dating or marrying that first kisser, but chances are, you remember it.

First kisses are, by far, memorable moments. Who can forget the famous scene in Lady and the Tramp when the sweet dog couple accidentally kiss while slurping up their spaghetti noodle? I bet any movie buff can remember Scarlett and Rhett’s first kiss in Gone With the Wind, and Rhett’s famous quote “You should be kissed and often, and by someone who knows how.”

I’m sure we could all name more famous examples of first kisses. Prince Charles and Princess Diana shared a peck after their wedding on the balcony at Buckingham Palace, though we all know how that ended. Their son William, just this April, shared two kisses in that very spot with his new bride Kate. (Let’s all hope for a better outcome there!) Remember that famous black and white photo of the V-J Day Kiss between the sailor and nurse in Times Square? What about the fairy tale kisses in Sleeping Beauty and Snow White—both of which woke up the fair lady and provided a happily ever after.

While kisses are normally associated with romance, some famous kisses were not inspired by love. The Bible says Judas kissed Christ to identify him in a moment of betrayal. A kiss for shock value occurred on an MTV awards show when Madonna smooched both Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera. Kisses have also been used as diversions, as when Princess Jasmine laid one on the slimy Jafar to give Aladdin a chance to swipe the genie lamp in the Disney movie Aladdin.

Still, I think most of us would rather see or read about a kiss as a gesture of love and passion. As a romance writer, I think it’s hard, but necessary to get that first kiss right. Usually, there’s a build-up to it, when the reader starts wishing they’d kiss already! And that’s a great point to insert a spectacular first kiss.

In A Ranger’s Tale, Caliphany and Galadin are head over heels for one another by the time they share that first kiss, though they’ve both been fighting their feelings. I think there’s definitely a “come on and kiss already” mood before it occurs:

I parted my lips and caught his kiss. He smelled like the forest, like his leathers. I reveled in the heat of his breath, the feel of sandpaper on his scruffy chin, his hands grasping me like I was the only thing keeping him from floating away into the universe. (From Chapter 18)

Q & A time! Feel free to share the answers to any or all of these below. Do you remember your first kiss? What was it like? What other famous kisses from real life, books, or movies can you remember?

A Ranger’s Tale:

Set in the fantasy world of Tallenmere, the high elf Caliphany Aranea longs to explore the world and escape from her controlling father. Her dreams are fulfilled when she meets ranger and ship captain Galadin Trudeaux. But, when secrets from the past bring tragedy to those she loves, Caliphany must fight to hold on to the life she's always wanted.

Buy link for A Ranger’s Tale at Melange Books: http://www.melange-books.com/authors/mystiparker/parkerarangerstale.html

Buy link for A Ranger’s Tale at All Romance eBooks: http://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-aranger039stale-511665-143.html

Don’t forget to swing in on Friday when I dish it up with Tracey Alley! Have a great week.



Friday, May 13, 2011

Dishing it up with Saffina Desforges

I have the pleasure of having Saffina Desforges on my blog today. Saffina is a crime fiction and thriller writer who lives in England and has been writing since school.

First, it was stories about ‘what she did in her summer holidays’, then it was a “rather too imaginative” Halloween short story in Primary School that scared her classmates! She once got grounded when her mum received a call from a neighbor, complaining that the story she had told their son had given him nightmares; he still talks about it today!

Teachers described her as “talented, but easily distracted, with a vivid imagination!” There really was no other path for her.

It went from there…

JET: Can you tell us about your most recent book, Sugar & Spice?

Saffina: Well, it is not an easy read, that’s for sure! It is a hard-hitting, crime thriller that delves into one of THE taboo subjects; Paedophillia and explores the inner-workings of a paedophile’s mind, whilst also following the race to catch a serial killer.

JET: What drew you to the thriller genre?

Saffina: I have always read crime/forensic thrillers and so it seemed only right that I should write in that genre. Having said that, we are also working on many other projects that cross genres.

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

Saffina: Hmmn, it hasn’t been too bad a process to get it onto Amazon and Smashwords, the hard part is getting people to read it!

JET: What was your favorite moment in the journey?

Saffina: It is pretty cool when you see your book on Amazon and on Kindle for the first time and the nicest part is getting a great review, you know that you have written something that someone has enjoyed reading then.

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

Saffina: Well, my co-author will say Enid Blyton and I have a hard time arguing with that. Her Magic faraway tree and the Wishing Chair series really do stick in my head from my youth. I mentioned before in a blog also that one of the first ‘proper’ mystery books I ever read was The Mystery of the crimson ghost by Phyllis A Whitney and that will stay with me always too.

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

Saffina: I have always written, right from being a child, but it was only really in the last two or three years that I believed I might actually be able to make a living out of it.

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

Saffina: That’s really a question for Mark, my co-writer, he did most of the research for Sugar & Spice, but the research for the third book in the series; Cold Blood, which is going to be about necrophilia should be interesting!

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

Saffina: That’s easy. Equilibrium: First blood, which is due out in the autumn is ‘my baby’ and is something that I have worked on for some time. Although it is a million miles away from the original draft, it has been in my head and my heart for many years. I just love the characters, even though some of them are very dark, they have lived with me for so long now, that I know them inside out.

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

Saffina: Hey, I am still a novice myself! All I will say is, man up! It is a cut-throat, tough business and the competition is over-whelming. Do not expect an easy ride. Read, read some more and learn the basics of IT and social networking. Writing is very little to do with writing these days!

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?

Saffina: Plastic. And that may surprise you from a writer, but presently, I am a H&S manager in a plastics manufacturing facility, so I have to say that! ;-)

JET: Steak or Tofu?

Saffina: Steak!

JET: Beach or Mountains?

Saffina: Beach

JET: Country or Rock-n-Roll?

Saffina: Country

JET: Leather or Lace?

Saffina: Leather

JET: Angels or Demons?

Saffina: Demons!

JET: Paper or Digital?

Saffina: Digital – it’s the future

JET: Silent Film Classics or Cheesy B Rated Horror?

Saffina: Cheesy all the way!

JET: Classic werewolf or Modern werewolf?

Saffina: Modern

JET: Dark chocolate or White chocolate?

Saffina: White

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

Saffina: Well, we have just released the US edition of Sugar & Spice, so we have been working on that:



The first book of the Rose Red crime series, Snow White is due out this summer and then Equilibrium should be coming to a Kindle/Nook near you in the Autumn. After that, a sequel to Sugar & Spice; Puppy Dogs’ tails and then who knows?

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

http://sugarandspicethenovel.com/ (all editions can be bought from Amazon & B&N here)





Thanks for swinging in and reading a little about Saffina and her books. Next week I’ve got Manic Monday with Misty Parker on the 16th and then I am dishing it up with Tracey Alley on Friday the 20th. Don’t forget to comment on these as well as the places I’m visiting for a chance at the Hunting Season Blog Tour Giveaway!

Until next time,



Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Jenny Craig Week 35

Dropped half a pound on the scale and a full inch off the stomach measurement.  Woot-woot! 

Now I'm just hoping that my weekend journey doesn't completely destroy my progress. 

I'm keeping this short and sweet. 

Don't forget to follow my blog tour and say hi on the posts for a chance to win a $50 Amazon gift certificat and signed Steve Williams series. 

Until next week,

Monday, May 9, 2011

Manic Monday with Barrie Abalard - Finding the Body: Why the Journey May Be More Important Than the Goal

Today I have the pleasure of hosting Barrie Abalard here for my Manic Monday series.  Barrie has been writing and selling erotic stories for longer than she cares to admit under the pseudonyms Barrie Abalard, Belle, and Miss Lee. You can find her books on Amazon and many of the other usual places.

Being of a certain age means she's done a lot of s*** in her life, notably many years of radio DJ-ing and software technical writing. She also did short stints as a taxi driver, clerical chartist for the Boston Federal Reserve Bank, and temporary office worker for over half a dozen companies. Never mind what else she's done.

A good story with quirky characters turns her on. Besides reading, she enjoys cuddling with her cat, singing, very long walks and working out, and hanging with friends. She's addicted to any number of TV shows, and currently lives in the Middle Atlantic but is moving back to the Boston area later in 2011. She's led a wild life, and as such, believes a woman should have a past that's juicy enough to bring a blush to her descendants' faces.

Without further adieu - here's Barrie....

Finding the Body: Why the Journey May Be More Important Than the Goal

by Barrie Abalard

JET, thank you for providing me with a place to meditate a little on the journey we take as writers.

When I think of a writer's journey, I think of Stephen King's story "The Body", where a group of thirteen-year-olds go in search of a missing body that they heard about on the radio. Along the way, they learn things about each other—and themselves—that they never would have, had they not taken the journey.

You probably know where your writing journey is headed—what your goal is—but where has your journey taken you? Which things have caused you to change your course? Which things that you thought mattered, didn't?

After writing a lot as a teenager and college student, I married, had a kid, and settled into a real-world job. I have worked in writing or communications-related jobs for most of my life. Very little of the writing I did would be called creative writing. All my fiction and poetry was done in the off hours, but I honestly didn't produce much because of the restrictions on my time. In fact, in my thirties, I put my dream of writing away, a dream from my youth I thought I'd outgrown.

And, because of this, I thought I was a failure. What I didn't know was that all the writing I did, though it wasn't Pulitzer-Prize material, was part of my journey. My employers, in part, had paid me to hone my craft, to learn to write simple declarative sentences, to explain something with logical steps.

All of this paid off when, at the age of forty-four, I became possessed by a need to write stories. I didn't struggle any more to wring out a few hundred words, as I did in my twenties and thirties. Instead, characters appeared uninvited in my head and badgered me to write their tales. A simple conversation with someone could blossom into a plot that nagged me until I finally arrived home, where I could write it down.

In short, I couldn't not write. I needed to write as much as I needed to eat and sleep. My husband began to complain that I spent most of my free time (which often included eight to ten hour stretches on at least one weekend day), at the computer, writing. He'd never cared much for changes in routine, and my sudden urge to write every story that popped into my head was a big change.

But I sold every short story I wrote to two small publishers of erotica. Very small—we're talking a penny and a half per word. Yet, because someone wanted to pay me for my fiction, it was then that, in my mind, I finally became a writer. Did that mean I wasn't a writer all those previous years?

Well, that's complicated. I hadn't been a writer in that I hadn't actually created any fiction to speak of. But I had been a writer in that I needed a life of my own before I could create other lives—stories—to fill my hard drive and provide a little extra money.

No, I haven't found "my body" yet, which for me means I can't support the family with my fiction yet. I'm still on the road, searching. But even if I never find that body, I wouldn't trade my journey for any other life. Because I am a writer.

On your writing journey, remember that what happens along the way can be more important than the goal, whatever that goal may be. Yet, without that goal, without a body to search for, we might never leave our own back yards and create anything. We need both, the journey and the goal, but it is the journey takes all our time. The goal is one moment, an endpoint. It's really the journey that counts.

Thanks for reading, and best of luck on your own journey!

Alice in Shtuppingland is Barrie's latest book, here's a little teaser for you all...

Alice in Shtuppingland
Seventies slacker (to use a word not yet invented) and aspiring writer Alice moves from Virginia to Boston, with nothing but her intelligence, sass, and a MasterCharge. Within weeks she's accumulated a shared apartment, a job, and an assortment of friends that you'd expect to find on the other side of the looking glass, from crazy-assed musicians to writers to pro dommes and call girls. Not to mention the two very fine men who take turns in her bed: the strong-willed, intelligent George, who finds Alice by turns endlessly fascinating and infuriating; and Doug, a hot wannabe journalist, whose past that holds a secret about his long-absent father, one that rips his and Alice's lives apart.

This rollercoaster, semi-autobiographical tale by Barrie Abalard takes Alice from helping her sister, Barb, escape abuse at home, to landing her first freelance writing job—with a porno mag—to a mission meant to help an assaulted call-girl friend which requires her to pretend to be a working girl herself. And the sex. Did we mention the hot, super-fun, crazy Seventies shtupping? In this coming-of-age tale, Alice finds that she doesn't always get what she wants, but, as the Rolling Stones sing, she usually gets what she needs.


Amazon Buy link to Alice

Barrie Abalard Facebook Page



Thanks for joining us today.  On Friday, I've got Saffina Desforges - swing in and say hi!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Dishing it up with Sandra Edwards & her Incredible Dreams Kindle 3 Giveaway Tour

Today I have the pleasure of having Sandra Edwards on my blog today as part of her Incredible Dreams Kindle 3 Giveaway tour. Sandra is an award-winning author of romance. She has eclectic tastes, penning tales in a variety of genres such as paranormal (mostly time travel and reincarnation), contemporary and suspense. She lives in the U.S. (west coast) with her husband, two kids, four dogs and one very temperamental feline. Sandra's books often push the envelope and step outside the boundaries of conventional romance.

JET: Can you tell us about your most recent book, Vegas Baby?

Sandra: Vegas, Baby is the second book in the Soul Searchers series. It picks up where Broken Wings left off. While Broken Wings is, for the most part, Maggie and Tajan’s story, the second book is definitely Rio and Eddie’s story.

JET: What drew you to the paranormal and suspense genres?

Sandra: My muse’s writing tastes are as eclectic as my reading preference. Basically, I like to write in the same genres that I like to read.

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

Sandra: Getting traditional publishers to seriously consider my ‘outside the box’ stories.

JET: What was your favorite moment in the journey?

Sandra: Definitely fan mail. I love hearing from readers who’ve enjoyed a book of mine.

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

Sandra: Rod Serling, Sidney Sheldon, Harold Robbins and Jackie Collins.

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

Sandra: I think it’s true for most writers that once you start writing, wanting to ‘take the plunge’ is a natural progression.

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

Sandra: Craziest thing I’ve ever done in the name of research? – I’ll never tell . Most interesting fact...? I’ve run across lots of interesting tidbits over the years but one of the most interesting things I’ve run across was in some records from the 1800s, a woman’s children were willed away from her in her husband’s will.

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

Sandra: That’s like choosing a favorite child. lol. I love them all.

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

Sandra: Never give up the dream.

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?

Sandra: Plastic

JET: Steak or Tofu?

Sandra: Steak

JET: Beach or Mountains?

Sandra: Beach

JET: Country or Rock-n-Roll?

Sandra: Rock-n-roll

JET: Leather or Lace?

Sandra: lace

JET: Angels or Demons?

Sandra: Sinners are much more fun. lol

JET: Paper or Digital?

Sandra: digital (I’m a Kindle girl :)

JET: Silent Film Classics or Cheesy B Rated Horror?

Sandra: I’d toss both those choices for old black-and-white movies.

JET: Twilight or True Blood

Sandra: Can’t say that I know much of anything about either.

JET: Coffee or Tea?

Sandra: Tea

JET: Thank you for indulging me and thank you so much for taking the time to chat on my blog. Before we wrap this up, can you tell us where we can find out more about you and your books?

Sandra: For more info on my books, and to read generous excerpts, please visit my website at: http://sandrawrites.com/

Followers of the "Incredible Dreams Kindle 3 Giveaway" here are your questions for this stop on the blog tour:

1. In which two categories did The Romance Reviews nominate Cate Rowan’s Kismet’s Kiss for the best of 2010?

2. In Debra L. Martin and David W. Small’s Otharia Books what planet do the Telkur twins flee to in order to escape the trumped up murder charges? – The answer can be found at http://twoendsofthepen.blogspot.com/

Next week we've got Barrie Abalard on Monday the 9th and Saffina Desforges on Friday the 13th - don't forget to swing in and comment on both these as well as my blog tour stops to have a chance at the Hunting Season Tour giveaways. 

Until then,

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Jenny Craig week 34

Same old thing - no difference on the scale - but another half inch off the stomach measurement.  At this rate, I'll hit my stomach measurement goal by my birthday.  :) 

Hope you're doing well on getting into bathingsuit form. 

Until next week.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Manic Monday with Jacqueline Paige

Hi folks, today on Manic Monday, I’ve got Jacqueline Paige dishing about her writing. Jacqueline is a world class multi-tasker. She is a mother to five adventurous and unpredictable children, a cafe manager and a colossal imagination that allows her to step outside of reality into a world of paranormal romance with just a touch of suspense. Her first book was published in 2009 and since then has published six, with the most recent being Twice Cursed.

So without further adieu, here’s Jacqueline…

Thanks for having me here today! Mondays are my ‘insane’ days in the real world and make me wish I could just camp out somewhere in cyberspace and pretend there aren’t any Mondays in that world.

My opening just gave me the answer to what I will post about today. (up until twenty words ago I had no idea)  Creating a world inside your story, that works.

When I first began to write I kept to the safe places that shadowed the everyday world we walk in. After the first book I sat back and thought ‘bleh!’ It was boring and so normal it made me itch. I don’t read stories like that, so I really wasn’t comfortable writing them either. I loosened the reins on my muse a little bit, just to see where she would take me and before I long I found my characters inside a world that appeared to be just like the one I live in, but with so much more.

That’s when the real work began. The idea of creating my own little world for my characters wasn’t as easy as I first thought it would be. For every aspect I created in this fantasy world I had to make sure I jotted it down, otherwise somewhere along the way I’d break the rules already established. More often then I like to admit I had to back track and rethink the rules so I could find an acceptable reason why a character is suddenly allowed to do something.

I suppose it’s similar to the vampire twist in the various popular movies/shows right now. In twilight the vampires can go in the sun, they’re just a little on the sparkly side if they do — with vampire Diaries, charmed jewellery is the solution to some being able to step in sunlight and some not.

I ran into so many plotting issues with the magical community I created in Twice Cursed I actually had to sit down with a notebook and find those rules so it made sense. For example the method of travel my witches use in the book, similar to portals, I had to figure out how they could just end up where they wanted to and have rules so it wasn’t too easy (easy = boring). I encountered the same thing when it came to the actual curses in the story. Why were they created? How were they created? What happened if they weren’t broke or solved? What would break them? How? The questions were just endless.

Even though it’s more work than others may realize, any time I find myself needing to escape the real world, I create my own for characters to live in.

Thanks again for having me ramble here today!!

Thank you for swinging in! Here’s a quick look at Twice Cursed:

Maddy is the oldest witchling to ever attend the Hidden Cove Academy, having been cursed as a teen; she’s forced to have a solitary life outside of her own magical community. With her magic so dangerously unpredictable, she rarely takes the chance on mixing with the general public.

From one harmless trip to a museum, she finds herself spellbound yet again by an invisible boundary, caused by a three hundred year old curse, dictating that Maddy must stay close to the stunningly sexy Colin.

Being stuck with a tall, dark, incredibly lick-able stranger can’t be all that bad, right? Until they discover if they get too close the spirits bound with the curse will take over their bodies ... at the same time, if they’re too far from one another the curse will kill them both.

Will the curse's secrets be unravelled in time or does certain death await them both?

Folks, you can find out more about Jacqueline at the following places: