Tag Archives: Author Interview

Guest Author & A Giveaway: Erica Monroe

My dears, I am alive! Alive and not cold for the moment and a happy girl. Today we have a new author visiting with us, Erica Monroe, and it was all very much a surprise, but a good one. 🙂 She’s also continued the new trend of asking herself questions. … In a way. I like that she put her own twist on it. Very fitting for A Little Bit Tart, A Little Bit Sweet.

Even more fun, she’s a debut author, and her book just came out two days ago! Everyone give her a very warm welcome!

A Dangerous Invitation So, when Lime told me about the author interview on her site, she encouraged me to really go whole-hog with the questions. Be original. But see, here’s the thing about that—I write dark, gritty historical romances. Inside my head is a weird place to be, as I’m sure you’ll understand from my answers to the following questions. I polled my readers to see what they’d like me to talk about today, and made the solemn promise I’d answer whatever they asked.

What’s your favorite thing to research when writing?

Lord hope the FBI doesn’t ever find my bookshelves or Internet searches, as with writing historical romantic suspense, things get a little suspicious. Upstairs I’ve got a bunch of books with titles like “Body Trauma,” “Crime and Punishment in the 19th Century,” “Madams, Bawds, and Brothel Keepers,” “The Italian Boy: A Tale of Murder and Body Snatching” (basis for the case I use in A Dangerous Invitation). My newest exciting purchase is “Pleasure and Pain: Opium and the Orient in the 19th Century.” I enjoy learning about how the lower class lived, and the more obscure the statistic is, the more I love it.

What’s the weirdest death you’ve used in a novel?

In my debut novel, A Dangerous Invitation, my hero is charged with the stabbing of a warehouse laborer. Said laborer had his throat slit, which isn’t very original, now that I think about it. I’m just getting started with my Rookery Rogues series, so it’s my new personal goal to make sure I write a death scene that hasn’t been used 5,000 times before. The “Death by being oversexed by one’s mistress” is always a classic, but I’m thinking more like death by a vicious disease that makes it so Scully from the X-Files has to come investigate your demise. (What? I like the X-Files, and I really wish Scully would pop out of my TV.)

Any favorite snacks you like to eat while writing?

Ah, you’ve found the way to my heart with this question. I’m married to a man who is a classically trained chef, and I’ve never met a (gluten free) pastry I didn’t love. When writing, I like to eat chocolate, almonds, and potato chips. Sometimes I go through a period where I eat an entire box of Dots while writing a scene. Said husband does not enjoy this, as then I’m loaded with sugar and springing off the walls.

You’ve been known to have a Twitter Army. Should we be concerned?

Yes, very much so. Given enough coffee, I’m pretty sure I could put my world domination plans into action. I have a friend who addresses me as “The Dictator.” I’d like to institute this as a national order, personally. All applications for joining my fabulous pink-wearing, glitter-covered Army can be taken through carrier pigeon.

Have you ever tried to stand on your head?

Yes, and it went very badly for me. I am highly uncoordinated. My idea of “dancing” is to bop around because I cannot move my hips independently. As a child, I tried to take both dancing and gymnastics classes. Eventually when they figured out I could neither do a split nor had the ability to maintain silence throughout an entire routine, my mother was kindly told by my instructors maybe it’d be best if I didn’t come back to class. I guess they feared the damage I was doing to my brain by continually falling down, to which I want to say, “hah, fooled you, it just made me more creative.”

If you could have dinner with any four people, dead or alive, who would you pick? And WHY?

I’d like to see my father again, so that’d be one for sure. Then I’d like to meet Jane Austen, as she founded my love for British literature. I’d also like to meet Aubrey Hepburn, because she’s my all-time favorite actress and she intrigues me as a person. I was once Jean Jacques Rousseau in a historical reenactment salon for high school, so I’d kind of like to meet him and punch him in the nose. (As much as I found his social philosophies intriguing, he was kind of a tool.)

A Wayward ManWhat author’s works do you avoid like the plague?

There are certain times in your formative education when you are forced to read books you don’t like, and because you then have to attend a three-week unit on them afterwards, you get a little angry and bear a probably entirely unjustified resentment toward that author. I’ll confess I harbor such resentment toward Richard Wright for having to read Native Son while I should have been studying for my AP Euro final. Intellectually, I recognize the value of his book and its contribution to American literature, but I will never, ever read it again.

I also hate with the passion of a thousand burning suns Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights, though it has been explained to me now in a way that makes me a little less ragey. As much as I love 19th century British lit, this just isn’t the book for me.

Would you be a man for a week?

Sure, why not? I’d like to be like Jack on Will and Grace. I don’t really think I could pull off an alpha male type man. Assuming I’d keep my current voice, it would sound like Minnie Mouse has been put into Sylvester Stallone’s body, and nobody could take that seriously. I assume I’d also still be quite short, which just adds to the awkward picture.

If you could be any piece of (time) period underwear, what would you be?

I’d like to be a bustle. I mean, think about it. Have you ever tried to wear a bustle? You start knocking into stuff—and people—with your rear. Imagine the chaos you could cause as bustle. Whole parties of people could be rolled over by the sheer might of your fanny. That kind of power might get to my head, though.

What’s your favorite words for naughty bits?

Cock. It’s a rooster, it’s a tilt to your head, it’s a penis. I admire the ambiguity. Plus, it works in both historical and modern times.

What is the stupidest thing you’ve ever done when drunk?

I’m not actually a heavy drinker, given the fact that I’m definitely a lightweight. But I do remember one time about four years ago in which I decided I was very angry at my husband over something he did four years prior to that, and I smashed two wine glasses and poured wine in his lap. I have no idea why I was that astronomically angry, but there you have it. Suffice to say he was not pleased. Then I had to buy two new wine glasses, which totally goes against my cheap-ass mentality.

Top or bottom?

Why, a lady never tells…or something equally vague here, right? But I will say it depends on the position.

What’s your favorite TV show?

So many. Top contenders are Castle, Chuck, The X-Files, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Star Trek: Voyager, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Charmed, Friends, Modern Family, The Originals, Elementary, and Sleepy Hollow.

I’m giving an e-copy of my debut novel, A Dangerous Invitation.

Pertinent information about me you may need:

A Dangerous InvitationOne fatal mistake cost Daniel O’Reilly the woman he loved, spiraling him toward drunken self-destruction. Now sober, he’ll have to prove he’s innocent of the murder he was accused of three years ago. But pistol-wielding Kate Morgan hasn’t forgiven his sins.

Torn from her privileged existence by her father’s death, Kate Morgan has carved out a new independent life in the Ratcliffe rookery as a fence for stolen goods. Daniel’s invitation to assist him jeopardizes her structured existence. Yet Kate can’t resist his touch, or the wicked desires he stirs within her.

As their renewed passions grow reckless, their investigation takes them through the darkest and most depraved areas of the City. To catch a killer, they’ll have to put secrets behind them and trust only their hearts.

Bio: Erica Monroe writes dark, suspenseful historical romance. Her debut novel, A Dangerous Invitation, Book 1 of the Rookery Rogues series, released in December 2013. She is a member of the Romance Writers of America, Heart of Carolina, and the Beau Monde Regency Romance chapter. When not writing, she is a chronic TV watcher, sci-fi junkie, lover of pit bulls, and shoe fashionista. She lives in the suburbs of North Carolina with her husband, two dogs, and a cat.

So now I want to know, what questions do you have for Ms. Monroe? (And how has the new year been going for you?)

Special Guest Author & A Giveaway: Shannon McKenna!!!

You guys! I cannot believe it’s already December! I can’t think about it. It’s also 2:23 AM and I kinda feel like I want to die but I have to get this done because it’s Shannon McKenna!!! Meltdown  and Out of Control are like two of my most favorite romances ever. If you’ve never read them, you must. Must. But anyway, I got Shannon to visit with us today, and she’s our special author of the month, and can you believe it – the last one of 2013!! Eep! But way to end on a high note, right? 😉 I had the chance to meet Shannon a few years ago and she is delightful.

Ms. McKenna opted for an “Author Interview” so … here we go! (I hope you enjoy – one of them made me cackle snort. :X)

Standing in the ShadowsHi, Lime! Thanks so much for inviting me to be on your delightful blog! I’m so pleased to be here! And hello to all of you reading!

What’s the most interesting thing you’ve ever done for research? what’s the most interesting thing you’ve learned while doing research? In general, or for this book?‬
Well, gee. I have been playing around with this mind control trope for several books now, because it fascinates me, and it’s a metaphor for the way I fear we are already being controlled, in subtle and not so subtle ways, by the media, by our addiction to our devices and our social media, etc. I have been unnerved by the ways we are expanding our mental function with devices, and I doubt it will stop there. My fantasies about neuroscience allowing people ever deeper into each other’s heads, challenging the very basic premise of what it is to be a human being, are becoming more possible every day. A couple months ago, I found this article.

I was so horrified! We as humans are just not ready to go where this research will inevitably take us (if it hasn’t already gone there, long ago!) No matter how many innocent applications this research might have, I am sure that greedy, opportunistic people are rubbing their hands together and thinking “ka-ching.” I call myself a “lazy conspiracy theorist,” which is to say, plenty paranoid, but I don’t really have the time to do the research to be a proper conspiracy theorist, having book deadlines and small children. So mostly, I’m left with just the sense of creeping menace, but no hard facts to back it up. So what do I do? I make up crazy stories about my worst nightmares, and then create heroes and heroines to defeat them utterly and rescue us all. Works for me.

Out of ControlHostile alien invasion, or zombie apocalypse? Which one do you think is more likely to happen? Which one is scarier?
Alien invasion, no contest! I do not stay awake nights worrying about either one, because I believe we are doing an admirable job of destroying our world and ourselves without any help at all from zombies or aliens, but I think that it is almost a certainty that there are other beings out there. The only reason I don’t say “an absolute certainty” is because I have not seen them with my own eyes. But the universe is so huge. It makes no sense, that we would be the only ones—but they must be so different from us, their agenda so unfathomable and unknowable. And they would probably also have the same personality ranges, from saintly good to twisted evil that we have here on Earth—why wouldn’t they? I believe there is always roughly the same percentages of people in any given place who are either doing their best to be kind and decent, or else just looking out for number one. With a handful on the far ends of the spectrum, a few noble righteous heroes, a sprinkling of hideous monsters. Can you tell I love sci fi? Heh.

A twisted fairy offers you perfect health. You’ll never be sick or get a migraine again. The catch is you’ll break a bone every three years until your 70th birthday. Nothing crippling, but still a break. (Anything from a femur to your pinky toe.) Do you take the offer?
Hell, no! I’ll take my chances with colds and flu and whatever else happens! And what about after I’m seventy? I hope to live to be a hundred! That’s a long time that I wouldn’t be covered! A whole generation! (I had a great aunt that lived to be 104. My great grandmother died at the age of ninety-four after having eighteen children. Who knows if I inherited their tough Ukrainian sinews or not? Only time will tell.

All About MenWhat five dead authors would you invite to a dinner party if you could?
Charlotte Bronte, Emily Dickinson, Dorothy Parker, Louisa May Alcott and Sappho. Big hen party. Wow, what a mix.

Do you have any writing rituals or superstitions? Either for before you begin a book, while you’re writing it, or around the time the book is released?
Not a lot of them, but I am very nervous about talking about a book to anyone before I have at least finished a first draft, as if the energy of another person’s attention could derail that delicate point of contact between my subconscious mind and the blank page. It’s so important to be able to write bad, stupid horrible shit without being judged for it—the minute someone looks at the writing, they start to have opinions that need to be fended off. It’s a mysterious thing.

Assume reincarnation. You have the power to bring Hitler back as any animal/creature you want for his next ten lives. What do you pick? (Or would you switch it up? And if so, what?)
Wow, that’s tough! Ten lives? That would hardly be enough to work out the karma that guy took onto himself! But it’s a complicated question, because he was totally insane. My first thought is that he should definitely be reborn into lives in which he has to experience just what he dished out, but that is problematic, since it requires envisioning more concentrated cruelty. My mind boggles at the task. Maybe I’d just take him back to animal form. Let him be an ox, pulling a heavy plow for a hundred lives or so, and then a sheep chewing on the grass a few hundred more. Just let him take a big, loooonnnggg time out, and chill the hell out before he tries again with human form.

Tasting FearWhat is one question you always wish as an author people would ask but nobody ever does?
I don’t believe in having expectations, insofar as it is humanly possible. (This is my ideal, zen-calm self! I realized, as soon as I wrote that, that I have all kinds of expectations; about toilet seats being put down, and undies getting into the laundry, and homework getting done on time, and violins getting practiced, and people obeying traffic signals, but hey. I try) Longing for validation from people is just setting myself up for suffering and pissiness, and dissatisfaction in general. I’m just happy that people read my books. They don’t need to have any curiosity about me or my process at all, as long as they enjoy the end result!

If you were a serial killer, who would be your target? And what would be your modus operandi? [What would be your “calling card,” and what memento from each victim would you take?] (Is your target = old men, young men, school children, college aged women, etc.)
Um. Blinking, stupidly. I just can’t go there! I tried to watch Dexter, because I think that actor is brillaint, but I just couldn’t bond with a guy that would do that. And I do plenty of blood and guts in my stories, too! This is a tough one, because I have really internalized the concept that curses come home to roost tenfold, so you better watch out what you put out there into the universe. I’m such a wuss! I don’t want to take any chances!

Another issue is, if I create a character, I have to be able to love him or her, probably because s/he is just another facet of myself. I can’t imagine an instance in which I could love a serial killer. My imagination just won’t stretch that far! It thwacks right back in my face, like a rubber band! (ouch!)

Baddest Bad BoysTell us two truths and a lie. (The catch is you’ll have to tell us what the truth is eventually in the comments. :D)
Let’s see . . . My favorite kid’s book is Anne of Green Gables. I love sexy high-heeled shoes. And I grew up in a in a hippie enclave, in a fragrant cloud of smoke.

Who/what is your favorite cartoon character of all time? Why?
Letterman, from The Electric Company! Who’s faster than a rolling O, more powerful than silent E, and able to leap capital T in a single bound? God, I loved that show when I was little. It taught me to read early, which influenced my destiny!

You have to listen to only one genre of music for the rest of your life. What do you pick?
Classic sixties and seventies rock. I just love the stuff. Gimme that old time rock and roll—that kinda music just soothes the soul!

You have the opportunity to be part of any TV show for one episode. (One that is on or off the air.) Which one do you pick, and what is your role?
I want to be in Prison Break . . . I want to be rescued by dreamboat Michael, mmmmm, and then break him out of prison with my intrepid brilliance, and go live with him on a desert island forever. Hell with Sarah. She was such a sad sack, always moping around. Kick her to the curb. Recast it, with me, me, me! Ahem. (cough)

What’s the most unique/strange silly skill your possess?
I can make a seriously awesome pancake man with chocolate chip eyes for my kids. Or a pancake teddy bear, too, when put to it. I have even been known to make pancake aliens, to return to the alien theme. I guess I have an affinity for aliens.

One Wrong MoveWhat’s the most embarrassing thing to ever happen to you at school? What about at a conference?
I haven’t been to enough conferences to have embarrassments to recount, sadly, but how about the time I was caught reading a very erotic spoof of the Lord Of The Rings that I’d picked up from home, on my playground during recess, in the second grade. I believe the playground monitor caught me reading a very spicy interlude between Dildo Baggins and the seductive Queen of the Elves. They called my parents. Very bad scene. It was pretty embarrassing for my mother, but I think I weathered it all right. And just look how I turned out in the end! (cackling)

Which fairy tale would you most like to be in? least? Why? Which character would you want to be?
I’m really fascinated these days by the tale of the Frog Prince. I recently read this essay about zen meditation that talked about the trope of “finding the golden ball,” which requires the collaboration of some unattractive or scary or icky creature from the watery depths, like the frog, or the scary witch, or whatever; it depends on the culture, and the version of the tale. The essay asserts that around the age of eight or so, we lose that “golden ball” which represents the wonder and innocence of our childhood, and then we spend the rest of our adulthood trying to recuperate the mature version of that marvel and wonder. But in order to do so, we must make peace with the deep, scary, wild, unattractive aspects of ourselves which come from the barren wilderness or the cold watery depths. We have to kiss the frog, so to speak. So I’m just here to state, to everyone concerned, that I’m fully ready to kiss any and all frogs who come along. I want that golden ball. I really, really want it. It’s why I’m a writer. It’s why I love this crazy stuff so much. Not only do I want my own golden ball—I want my stories to help everyone else find their golden balls, too. Golden balls for everyone!

Thanks for the wacky and wonderful questions, Lime! I wish everyone many wonderful books and magical golden balls charged with wonder and mystery (Christmas balls, too!) for the holiday season to come!

Thanks so much for being such a good sport, Shannon! Now, I want to know – have any of you read Shannon McKenna’s books before? Do you like romantic suspense? And books with a lot of heat? (Sexytimes of omg yes.)

Fatal StrikeLara Kirk lives in a shadowy world where reality and fantasy are one. Her captors have poisoned her body with concoctions that enhance psychic abilities – and they seem to be working. To escape, Lara has formed a deep attachment with a man whose virile, sensual presence in her mind is her only comfort. She’s not even sure if he’s real – until the six-foot-five-inch powerhouse bursts in to rescue her…Once freed, Lara has no choice but to trust Miles with her life as they run from enemies too twisted to imagine. But they’re also fighting a dangerous attraction that could kill – or save – them both. Either way, it’s going to be a hell of a ride…

And pssst One Wrong Move is on sale right now for just $1.99! Amazon tells me that’s 75% off! Come on – I saw you ogling that cover. Admit it. 😛

You know the drill – ask Shannon any question you like. Be it about her books, writing, or you know, try to top one of the crazy ones I asked her. 😉 I like being entertained. And someone will win a copy of Fatal Strike! Yay! And so you know what you might be getting…

Guest Author & A Giveaway: Jess Dee!!!

You guys – Jess Dee is amazing. She has been nothing but patient and kind and you know, a fantabulous author, so I’m thrilled to have her visiting with us today! She’s the special author for November! Whee!! (Although holy hell how did it get to be so late in the year already?!)

If you missed it, you should check out the spoof story Jess Dee and Mari Carr wrote specifically for us at ALBTALBS! An original work! Yes! For you!

And for her guest post, Jess chose an author interview, ALBTALBS style. 😀 I hope you enjoy.

Office AffairYou have to be a nun, a kindergarten teacher, or a trash[woman] for a week. Which do you pick and why?
Oh, man. I have to be one of these?
Yikes. Okay, well I have no choice but to select my answer by process of elimination.
I write erotic romance, so I could never be a nun.
I don’t have the patience to handle my own kids for a day, so a kindergarten teacher isn’t gonna work.
I guess that leaves trashwoman – or as we call them here in Australia, a garbo.

Did you ever wake up laying on the sidewalk in front of a McDs in Tokyo at 5 AM after a night of drunken debauchery? If yes what were you doing? If no – tell us – what do you imagine it would take for such a thing to happen?
Oh, I did. I did. Just the once. But I was sworn to secrecy, and have thus promised never to tell anyone the how or the whys of it all.
It’s a pity, coz it’s a really, really good story. *coughs* cop out *coughs*

Photo OpportunityWhat is your spirit animal?
I wasn’t sure, so I went online and did a bit of research. Turns out my spirit animal is the deer.
That one surprised me. I always just figured it was a lion or leopard. Or maybe even an eagle.
(You too can find your spirit animal, by clicking here. It’s fun.)

Now, if you had to become an animal, which would it be?
A bottle-nosed dolphin.
In fact I always kind of figured if there is such a thing as reincarnation, I’d come back in my next life as a dolphin.

What’s the first type of alcohol you tried? Is there a story there?
To be honest, I don’t know what it was. I was young (like 5 or 6) and at a big family gathering and I spotted a glass of coke on the table. Knowing I wasn’t allowed coke (waaaaay too unhealthy), I looked all around to make sure my mom wasn’t watching, then snuck a huge sip.
Big mistake!
Only TylerYep, it was coke – but that wasn’t all. There was something else in there too. Something very bitter and very strong and possibly the worst thing I have ever tasted in my life. Took me a long time to ever taste coke again. *Haaa I have a similar story with Sprite! … Didn’t take me that long to drink Sprite though as soda [pop!] was such a treat.

Walk in pantry, walk in closet, or extra garage space?
I’m sorry, I refuse to choose between extra pantry or extra closet space. I need them both.

What do you think is the best commercial of all time?
My first choices are all old South African commercials that I can’t even find on YouTube to share with you.
This “Big Ad” is probably my favorite Aussie choice:

What super power would you most like to have?
I want to fly. I would love to fly.
And least?
I’m not sure there’s a super power I wouldn’t want. (Does that make me a power hungry cow?)

You’re a character in a fairy tale. Which story and which character do you pick?
I want to be Prince Cahrming. Not because I secretly wish I was a man, but because, damn it, the prince always has the best life. He lives in a castle, goes on amazing adventures, is a brave hero, has loads of friends (and gold), there’s always someone watching his back, he has women falling at his feet, and he unfailingly finds the one perfect person to love.
Seriously, you couldn’t get more fairy tale perfection than that.

You’ve been cursed as a Disney villain. Who would you most want to be?
Shere Khan from the Jungle Book.
Or maybe Shenzi, the hyena from the Lion King.

What three dead authors would you invite to a dinner party?
Jane Austen
William Shakespeare
Anne Frank

Visiting ParadiseWhat’s the best admonishment your mom ever gave you, or that you’ve ever given a kid? e.g. if you make that face it’ll freeze like that. or… if you walk from the kitchen to the table w/ a fork in your mouth you’ll stab yourself through the throat and die.
“Don’t eat corn before you swim. It will swell in your tummy and you’ll drown.”
Really, Ma? Really?

If you have to listen to a song 24/7 for four days, which one would you choose?
Ack! I don’t know. I wouldn’t choose a song I love, coz I’d only end up hating it, and if I chose a song I hated it would drive me to drink.
I think I’d have to go for something that I have no opinion about one way or the other. Maybe a Beethoven symphony. (Does that count?)

You can only eat three things for the rest of your life – prepared the same way – what do you pick?
Breakfast, lunch and dinner.
😀

Hidden FireHow’d you come up with your author name?
I combined the first name (Jess) and the nickname (Dee) of two of three people I love most in this world.

In a death match, who would win? A Ninja or a Viking?
I’m going to have to go with Viking here, but only because the only Viking I know is Eric the Vampire from Sookie Stackhouse, and as far as I’m concerned, it doesn’t matter what contest you put him in, he will always win!

Thanx for having me over, Lime.

Jess

———————

More than Words
He’s just seen the one thing that was meant for her eyes only.
More Than, Book 3

Molly Harris never intended to send that letter. It was only meant to be a secret record of her true feelings for her boss, gorgeous pediatrician Sam Shepard. But in the chaos of a crazy day at work, Molly accidentally hits “send” instead of “delete”.

Mortified by her mistake, Molly acts in the only way she can. She submits her notice of resignation. A professional-etiquette line’s been crossed, and there’s no going back.

Sam’s mouth goes dry—then it waters—when he discovers his receptionist has sent him a dirty love letter. Or to be more explicit, a wicked, erotic love letter, neatly outlining her many fantasies involving him.

Now Sam has two choices. Either he can be the ultimate professional and accept Molly’s resignation, or he can acknowledge the depths of his desire and maybe, just maybe, convince her to send him another saucy email…

Warning: Could cause the uncontrollable urge to write—and receive—dirty love letters. But proceed with caution…you’re going to want to act on those letters. Immediately.

Jess has also offered one lucky commenter her choice of Jess’s books – one, or potentially a series. In the digital format of her choice. (Or his – have we ever had a male win? Anyway.)  We’ll see how this goes and how nice all of you are to me. 😉

Paula Roe Debuts a New Guest Author & A Giveaway Type

Hi friends, we’ve got Paula Roe here today! I “met” her when the Diamonds Down Under series (and blog) first started, and wow, I can’t believe that was ~six years ago? Sadly we’ve never had the chance to meet, because Paula lives down under, and I’ve never been there. Speaking of, Paula was at RWA Australia, so some of our communication was lost in the ether. Which led to Paula offering to ask herself questions. I jumped on it, because hello – new thing and more, I was so tickled by the idea. Hilarity potential = high! Win win win! So here we go!

And an author interview from Ms. Roe herself! Interviewing herself! 😀 [Since I use the colors green and purple as me … I gave Paula a lovely blue as “interviewer her.”] Enjoy!

Name one thing about you that surprises people
I’m actually six foot two. I just hide it really well.

Favorite place to holiday?
Twitter. I love it there so much, I’ve bought a house.

Name one thing that irritates you
Just one?  Okay, genre bashers, narrow minds, gluten, religious intolerance, Facebook terms and conditions, hypocrisy and carrot cake without proper cream cheese icing.

What superpower do you wish you had?
Definitely the flying thing.  I’d never walk again.

What’s a common misconception about where you live?
That we have killer bugs, vicious snakes and  evil dropbears…  Yes, I’ve seen a few redbacks but not much else in the way of deadly creepy crawlies.  I live in suburbia and have yet to be bitten… Touch wood.  And the dropbears?  Fiction. Yeah. Someone’s having a go… That’s Aussie humor for you.

Name three things you’d take with you to a desert island
Rechargable iPod, wifi and Henry Cavill.

What advice would you give a tourist coming to Australia?
Swim happy and stay between the flags because our oceans love to drown people (wow, I never knew how much Australia HATES everyone…)  And sunscreen, sunscreen, sunscreen.  My town has reached scorcher days of 46C (115F) and during summer (anywhere from October until April… Yeah, it stays hot for that long) the air conditioner is your best friend.

If someone was to start up a conversation with you, what subjects should they avoid?
Politics or sport. Either send me into a deep sleee….. *snoooooores*

Okay, so what should they talk about?
How much they love coffee or food. The last brilliant holiday they took.  How awesome my books are. The fact they know Henry Cavill personally and he’s just dying to meet me.

Any childhood aspirations you never fulfilled?
Well, I wanted to be a steel town girl on a Saturday night, looking for the time of her life… Yes – I wanted to Flashdance. One day I shall achieve that dream because I’m gonna live forever… I’m gonna learn how to fly.

You have a Tardis and can go anywhere.  Where do you go?
1662, The English Restoration – parties, clothes and debauchery.  Yay!

Finish these sentences:

My favorite candy is… Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. Seriously I would kill for those.

If I had a million dollars I would… Travel the world and bestow monetary gifts on the people I love.

I have yet to… Grow up.

Most people don’t know this but… I fangirl with abandon

The one skill I wish I had is… Mind control. Then I could rule the world mwahahahaha! No, not really. Well…. Maybe just a little.

The one thing that scares me is… My Visa card bill

If I had more time I would… Probably still spend it watching DVDs, writing or hanging out on Twitter

My idea of hell would be… No internet

My life would be complete if I could… marry Henry Cavill. *grabby hands*

Hehe I hope you enjoyed that! I had fun reading it through. I will make one comment though – Ms. Roe is mistaken. Henry Cavill is mine. I claimed him over a decade ago, so you know – end of story. 😉 I also noted that Harlequin seems to love giving her covers with women in red dresses. 😛

Now though, it’s your turn! What questions do you have for Paula? Of course, the zanier and more off the wall the better… But we also encourage questions about the author’s books, because what author doesn’t love to talk about her (or his!) books?

And here’s another new spin! Paula is offering up a great prize – a copy of Moonlit Encounters – an anthology she’s part of. But get this – Australian readers can win a hardcover copy, or anyone not in Australia has the chance to win a digital copy. Yup, US-ians, this time we’re “the other” 😉 and I kinda like it.

Guest Author & A Giveaway: Katharine Ashe

I know we’re already a few days into the month of [Ack!] August, but it’s only just the first Tuesday of the month. And we all know what that means – a special monthly author! And almost inevitably… the author interview. So without further ado… Katharine Ashe answers some questions for my *coughs* super professional on topic author interview!

What’s your favorite drink? (Alcoholic, and non-alcoholic)
Champagne.

A person has you trapped and will shoot you if you do not a) eat yourself sick on something and b) watch a marathon for 72 hours. What do you choose to eat, and what show/series or movie would you watch?
Hilarious question. But I can’t answer “a”. I feel queasy even considering it. As for “b”, the Buffy tv series ties with the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Can I watch both and still keep my life? Pretty please?

Which fairy tale would you most like to be in? Least? Why?
Most: These days, with two jobs and a busy family life, I have to say Sleeping Beauty. All that time to just lay around doing nothing while everyone takes care of troubles, then to be woken by a handsome man! I’m changing my name to Aurora now.

Least: The Little Mermaid. Disney’s happily-ever-after version aside, I don’t care for the idea of drowning my man from love. Now, drowning him in love, that’s another thing altogether.

What five dead authors would you invite to a dinner party if you could? What about general historical figures?
Authors: Jane Austen, Dorothy Dunnett, Virginia Woolf, Virgil and Francis Petrarch.

Historical figures: Gandhi, Dorothy Day, Martin Luther King Jr., Boudica and Susan B. Anthony.

If you won the next SuperPowerBallMegaBucks Lottery (whichever), what are the first three things you would do? (And if those things had nothing to do with money – what would you do with the money?)
Pay off all my loved ones’ debts; set up my son, nephews and nieces with money for college; and donate the remainder to local and regional charities that fight child abuse and poverty. I’d also like a red Mustang rag top convertible, but maybe I can buy that with money from all the product endorsement deals I’ll get simply from being the SuperPowerBallMegaBucks winner, right? 😛

What is one question you always wish as an author people would ask but nobody ever does?
I can’t think of even one!

Celebrity/Author death match – who would you most want to take on? [you don’t have to say why ;)]
Cherry Adair because it would be BEYOND FUN. And of course she’d win and that would make me happy. #IadoreCherry

What’s a career you could never do? Why?
Astronaut. Discomfort with enclosed spaces. Desperate need for fresh air, lots of space to run around in, and my dog.

What author promo has been most effective for you?
I don’t know which has been most effective in terms of selling books, but I can tell you what I enjoy the most: while I like chatting and having fun online, I love love love meeting readers in person. In fact tonight (August 6) I’ll be at Lady Jane’s Salon in Naperville doing an advance reading from I Married the Duke and I cannot wait!

What was your favorite book as a child?
There were too many to choose just one! But my favorite series as an older child were the Black Stallion books by Walter Farley. I was in love with The Black. He was pure beauty, speed and wild power, and entirely untamable, but he would do anything – anything – for love. That’s my kind of hero.

Do you like sports-  yes or no? which, and college or professional?
I do. My husband writes books about international soccer, so we watch a lot of that, and I teach at Duke, so naturally college basketball is a family fave. My favorite sport to attend live is—hands down—ice hockey.

You have your choice between any of the X-Men’s super powers… or the ability to eat unlimited cake and stay the same size. Which do you choose?
CAKE.

Which would you prefer? Never having to tweeze/brow shape for the rest of your life, or not have to cut your fingernails, or toe nails?
Brows. Nails are easy to do while watching tv or reading a book. 🙂

Hostile alien invasion, or zombie apocalypse? Which one do you think is more likely to happen? Which one is scarier?
As Ellie’s father says in the movie Contact, “If we’re alone in the universe, that’s a lot of wasted space.” So I’m guessing aliens. Zombies are not my cup o’ tea.

What’s the most interesting thing you’ve ever done for research? What’s the most interesting thing you’ve learned while doing research? In general, or for your current book?‬
The most fascinating—and disturbing—was the transportation of white Englishwomen to the Indian subcontinent to marry army and East India Company men so they wouldn’t be tempted to marry native women or take them as concubines. These women were essentially poor mail order brides, though not hand chosen for specific men, and many of them didn’t really know what they were getting into when they agreed to set sail. I learned that while working on In the Arms of a Marquess.

Fortunately my research isn’t all about the dark secrets of history. 🙂 In researching my new Prince Catchers series, I’ve spent fabulous days and nights at spectacular country houses in England and France. Several scenes in I Married the Duke (coming out on August 27) takes place in a chateau that suspiciously resembles Chenonceau. It’s fairy tale dreamy!

Isn’t Katharine a great sport? Now, you know the drill. Ask Katharine any question you like! About her books, or otherwise. And feel free to ask her ridiculous zany questions as well.  I always like to challenge you guys to pull out all the stops. 😉 Someone who participates in the fun will win a signed copy of my novel How a Lady Weds a Rogue plus its companion novella How to Marry a Highlander.

Heads up: at the moment the following two kindle titles are only $2.99 – When a Scot Loves a LadyHow to be a Proper Lady. How a Lady Weds a Rogue and I Married the Duke, Katharine’s upcoming release are both $4.74 while How to Marry a Highlander is $1.99

Guest Author & A Giveaway: Ruthie Knox

My friends, Ruthie Knox is pretty much the best ever. And I mean ever. I am absolutely certain she thinks I’m not all there – like if it weren’t attached to my body, my head would float away. >.< She’s also a rockstar because she has been totally accommodating and chose one of the [in]famous ALBTALBS interviews. 😀 [To our new friends, that means an off the wall totally random unprofessional set of questions.] And remember Ruthie also shared an exclusive excerpt with us earlier this month. Really, it’s like the month of Ruthie, not Lime. 😉 Whee!

1. If you were told the only way an evil entity could be imprisoned forever was if it lived in a boil behind your ear, would you agree?
If it was a really evil entity, and the boil was fairly small, yes. And I would probably enjoy fondling the boil, truth be told. But if it was only a moderately evil entity and/or a large boil, then no, thank you.

2. What is one question you always wish as an author people would ask but nobody ever does?
“How many months has it been since you wrote [current release]? How much awesome is the book that you’re currently working on, which won’t be out until [far-off future date]?”

3. You have to be on a reality TV show. Which one do you pick? Why? Which one would you absolutely refuse to go on?
Oh! I would like to be on one of those living-in-a-cool-house ones, like Real World or Big Brother. Something with high levels of interpersonal drama not only possible but encouraged. I would SO unleash my inner drama queen. I couldn’t bear to be on The Bachelor. Firstly, because I’ve never seen a season where the bachelor himself wasn’t a total d-bag. And secondly because I have no feminine wiles and don’t wish to pretend I do, much less be judged on that basis against other women.

4. If you could switch places with someone for 72 hours, whose life would you want to live?
I would like to live the life of eighteen-year-old me. I would tell myself to break up with my nice-but-not-worth-this-much-of-my-time boyfriend and sleep around like a fiend. Because otherwise, what is the point of college?

5. What’s the most embarrassing thing to ever happen to you at school? How about at a conference or author/reader event?
In eighth grade, a boy who I had never noticed before delivered a note to my classroom for me. The teacher gave it to me, then asked me after I read it if I was okay, because apparently I looked mortified and like my grandmother had died or something, but actually it was because IT WAS A LOVE NOTE. FROM A BOY I DIDN’T KNOW. Then that same day he called me at home and I was kind of mean to him, because I don’t deal well with love being foisted upon me, apparently. I would make a highly ungracious Regency romance heroine.

At my first RWA, my editor introduced me to Miranda Neville. I told her I’d liked her book but then couldn’t remember which one I’d read. Then I looked her up in my room, except I think I had her confused with Meredith Duran, and I saw the title of the book I’d liked. Then I ran into Miranda again at a party and told her which book I’d liked, and she said it wasn’t her book. Which, yes, because she’s not Meredith Duran. Then I stared at her boobs, turned red, and fled.*

*I have since read a book by Miranda Neville. It was excellent!

6. Why do new crystals self-organize into a lattice that is matched by all subsequent crystals of that type everywhere? [Or uh, how do you feel about Chemistry? Did you excel in science?]
They don’t get a choice, those crystals. They just do their thing.

[I can’t say that I have any chemistry feelings one way or the other. I got As in science because it was my job to get As in everything, lest the world explode, but it doesn’t make a lot of sense to me beyond the surface level of memorizing stuff. I do have a chemist sister-in-law who, when drunk, will wax on about chemistry in the most adorable way.]

7. Who are you choosing for your zombie apocalypse team? [Real, then fictional?]
My husband. He’s the only one I would need, because he puts the “P” in preparedness, and also he has given a lot of thought to the apocalypse.

If I had a fictional team, I would choose the father from Cormac McCarthy’s THE ROAD. Because (a) I have a little bit of a crush on him and (b) when the world blew up, he immediately filled the bathtub with fresh water. And that is the kind of intelligence one needs to survive the zombie apocalypse.

8. What would you put in your ideal candy bar? What would you put bacon on?
My ideal candy bar is like a really fresh, awesome Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup, except in little candy-bar squares. Probably this already exists.

I’ve been a vegetarian for a long time, so I guess I’d put bacon on my first meal, post-apocalypse, because why the hell not?

9. What was your first job? Your most interesting one?
My first job was bussing tables at a Chinese restaurant in a strip mall. Most of the staff was Chinese and I had nightmares for weeks in which I bussed tables badly while being yelled at in Chinese (although this never happened in real life).

My most interesting job was as a camp counselor in Colorado. I became a certified rafting guide, rappelled, learned riflery, became life guard and first aid certified, got a great tan, figured out the meaning of exploitation, cleaned trash by the side of the road, and bruised my tailbone, all in the space of one summer. (Note to my ninteen-year-old self: This would also have been an excellent opportunity to sleep around.)

10. Which would you most like to go to? Ancient Greece, Rome, Egypt, China, Mesopotamia, Africa, or South America? Why?
Hmm. Is it okay if I don’t want to go any of these places? Because that is my actual answer.

11. If you had to be turned into a flower, what kind would you choose to be?
A small, not-so-smelly one. Clover?

12. What’s the first type of alcohol you ever tried to drink?
I think maybe beer? I’m pretty sure the first time I ever got drunk was on one of those spiked fruit punch things at a party that makes your gut hurt and turns half-naked dancing into a brilliant idea.

13. Do you collect anything? If yes, what is it, and why?
No. I don’t like to have things. The smallest number of things, please, for me.

Annnd because it’s my birthday bash month. 😀

14. What is something awesome that has to do with the number 2, or 20s. Either something that happened to you in your 20s, a 20th book milestone, etc.
At 20, I started grad school. At 29, I had a baby. In the middle I got a Ph.D. and got married. That’s a lot of awesomeness for one decade.

15. What’s the best birthday present you’ve ever received? What about the best birthday present you’ve ever given? How would your ideal birthday go?
When I turned 16, I got an ancient used Volkswagen Fox from my parents. That was a pretty awesome present — I drove that car for years. I once gave my husband 10 pounds of ginger candy for his birthday, which turns out to be a LOT of ginger candy. I’m not sure he appreciated it as much as I did.

On my ideal birthday, I get left alone to do whatever I want all day long, and also I have $500 in cash that I have to spend on something, and then at the end of the day there is informal drinking on a stoop and a lot of laughter that turns to cackling, and probably someone has a choking fit. Sex would be nice, too.

Ruthie is giving away a very special, signed paperback copy of Flirting With Disaster to one person who comments! How do you enter to win? Ask Ruthie a crazy question. The craziest you can think of. (Or you know, one relevant to her as an author and her books. Whatever. And feel free to ask as many questions as you like! There are no limits!)

So come on, that’s my challenge to you. Ask crazy fun questions, try to one up each other! Let’s have some fun and entertainment!

Guest Author & A Giveaway: Birthday Girl Jill Sorenson

Hello hello hello! It’s Tuesday! And it’s June! When means we have a GA&AG feature! And today I snagged a birthday girl, as you see! Yes! Jill Sorenson is here and she asked for an ALBTALBS author interview. You know the deal.

1. What is one question you always wish as an author people would ask but nobody ever does?
I don’t know! My least favorite question is “Where do you get your ideas?” because it’s hard to explain.

2. What was the first book you remember reading as a kid? What was your favorite childhood book?
I remember reading the Laura Ingalls-Wilder series. Scott O’Dell’s Island of the Blue Dolphins was my favorite.

3. If you could switch places with someone for 72 hours, whose life would you want to live?
Another hard one! I don’t want to be anyone else. It would be like cheating.

4. What’s the most embarrassing thing to ever happen to you at school? How about at a conference or author/reader event?
I fell down a set of stairs at my community college. Conferences are just one embarrassing moment after another. I once asked a pair of sisters if they were mother & daughter. I also told Sherry Thomas I didn’t know what “Luddite” meant.

5. How do you feel about the dentist? What about clowns?
I hate going to the dentist because I feel trapped in the chair. Clowns don’t bother me.

6. What’s the best admonishment your mom ever gave you, or that you’ve ever given a kid? e.g. if you make that face it’ll freeze like that. or… if you walk from the kitchen to the table w/ a fork in your mouth you’ll stab yourself through the throat and die.
This isn’t an admonishment, but I remember my mom telling me that a man who hits a woman once will do it again.

7. What would you put in your ideal candy bar?
Dark chocolate and toffee.

8. What was your first job? Your most interesting one?
My first job was a feeding assistant at a nursing home when I was 14. I’ve had plenty of interesting jobs… veterinary assistant, sports park supervisor, English language development teacher.

9. What is your [secret] plan for world domination?
Write slow, share unpopular opinions, forget to do promo.

10. What are your five most prized possessions?
I really don’t own anything of great value. I treasure my laptop and I like my kindle.

11. Which would you prefer? Never having to tweeze/brow shape for the rest of your life, or not have to cut your fingernails, or toe nails?
I’d rather give up shaving my legs.

12. Imagine you had to take on a warrior from Deadliest Warrior. Who would you fight, and why?
Is there a dance-off warrior? I’ve got some mean dance moves.

13. What author promo has been the most effective for you? What do you think you’ll try next?
I’ll tell you this much: doing nothing is not effective. I might try creating a parody sock puppet account for J.S. Sockenson, Esquire. Anything that involves goofing off on twitter is my kind of promo. Vagina.

Annnd because it’s my birthday bash month. 😀

14. What is something awesome that has to do with the number 2, or 20s. Either something that happened to you in your 20s, a 20th book milestone, etc.
I have two daughters.

15. What’s the best birthday present you’ve ever received? What about the best birthday present you’ve ever given? How would your ideal birthday go?
I’m terrible with gifts! I once gave my husband a guitar book he really wanted that was out of print. My ideal birthday would include some kind of vacation. I’d rather go somewhere than get something.

I’ll give away two copies of Freefall.

So everyone, wish Jill a very happy birthday. She also loves the word “vagina” so my challenge is to involve that somehow. Like, “Jill, I hope you have the most vagical birthday ever!” 😉 And also, feel free to ask her any question. The crazier the better. Let’s get her to spill some secrets. 😀

Remember! There are two copies of this book up for grabs! You definitely want your hands on it – there’s been a lot of positive buzz.

Guest Author & A Giveaway: Katy Madison

It’s June! June, for our new friends (and a reminder to the old) is a birthday month! So it’s super loaded! Which means I’m going to be pancaked with posts. Or something. And YAY BIRTHDAY. First up, we have author Katy Madison. Can you believe it’s her first time visiting ALBTALBS? She chose to do an author interview, so we’re off!

1. What five dead authors would you invite to a dinner party if you could?
William Shakespere, Jane Austen, Charlotte Bronte, Isaac Asimov, and Daphne du Maurier. Weird mix I know but how could I not invite the bard? Then of course the writers whose works I read and reread and have influenced my writing in some way.

2. What is one question you always wish as an author people would ask but nobody ever does?
Will you help rewrite the tax code so it makes sense? No, seriously I can’t really think of a question that nobody asks. I can think of a question that I wish no one would ask, but everyone does, which is: Where do you get your ideas? Ideas are the easy part. They’re so easy I don’t really know other than I hear something, see something, read something, and then start wondering what would happen if this happened to a character and then I’m off and running. By the time it becomes a story I couldn’t tell you what originally sparked the question in my mind, and the connection may be pretty tenuous by that time. Getting the idea down on paper is the work.

3. If you could switch places with someone for 72 hours, whose life would you want to live?
Hmmm, that’s a tough one. There are a lot of things I’d like to experience like flying a jet or driving a racecar at 200 mph, but would I want to live a jet pilot or racecar driver’s life? Probably not. So maybe I’d like to be a trust-fund baby on a private tropical island somewhere and I could not have any worries and just read and swim and relax.

4. Who are you choosing for your zombie apocalypse team? [real, then fictional?]
Real team: My friend Laura because she raises chickens and ducks and goats and knows how to milk, butcher animals, card yarn and make soap. She knows how to forage for food, cook from scratch (and I mean scratch not a box like me.) She’d keep us fed and clothed when the supply chains are cut off. My cousin Mark because he’s Special Forces and speaks about a bajillion different languages, I think around twenty at the last count. So he’d knows his weapons, knows how to train people, and knows how to communicate with a lot of people. My friend George because she’s a doctor and I think it would be good to have one on board. And Bear Grylls because that guy can get through anything—or at least is willing to be out front. And that would make us five which is about as big a team as I’d want to keep moving. Okay if I can’t get Bear, because I don’t actually know him, I’d opt for someone with good engineering or mechanic skills.

Fictional team: Of course I’d want Superman, Batman (but not Robin), Zeus, Thor and Wolverine. Might as well have superheroes and Gods on my side. The hard part would be keeping their egos in check when they’re not fighting zombies.

5. How many times do you hit snooze in the morning? Or are you happy to roll right out of bed? Or are you someone who doesn’t even need an alarm clock?
One of the joys of being a writer is that I rarely use an alarm clock. I get up when I get up. Even so I’m usually not in a good mood first thing in the morning, better to give me an hour or so to actually wake up and get my mind working. However on the rare times I do use an alarm clock because I need to be somewhere I usually hit the snooze until I’m worried it won’t work. So at least twice sometimes three or four times.

6. What’s the best admonishment your mom ever gave you, or that you’ve ever given a kid? e.g. if you make that face it’ll freeze like that. or… if you walk from the kitchen to the table w/ a fork in your mouth you’ll stab yourself through the throat and die.
Mostly what I remember mom saying is, You’ll poke your eye out. I think my favorite line is one my dad used and I use on kids, “You can do anything you want, but you have to suffer the consequences.”

7. What’s the first thing you learned how to cook?
Probably cookies. I remember helping my older sister bake chocolate chip cookies. Then deciding to do a batch myself when I was about eight. I was a middle child, so I was often left to my own devices. Probably next was scrambled eggs. Then I was pretty proud of myself when I learned to make a perfect pot of rice when I was around seventeen. And of course after I moved out the house I remember calling my mom often on how to cook things, what temperature, how long kind of questions.

8. What was your first job? Your most interesting one?
My first job, other than babysitting, which I did a lot of between the ages of 12 to 16, was working at Hardees. My most interesting job by far is writing. Of course there was that stint of working for FedEx loading delivery trucks, which I maintain was the best diet I was never on. I worked my butt off—literally—and got paid for it.

9. If you have to listen to a song 24/7 for four days, which one would you choose?
I feel like I should say something erudite and highbrow like Look Down from Les Miz, but no I’d want Sugar, Sugar, by the Archies. I know I might hate it when the four days are up, but it never fails to put a smile on my face when I hear it.

10. If you had to eat from one fast food restaurant [chain] for the rest of your life, which one would you choose?
Wow, that’s a tough one. Wendy’s I guess because they have more variety, not everything is fried, and they serve pretty decent salads.

11. Did you ever imagine your stuffed animals might come to life as a child?
I was sure if I were sneaky enough I’d catch them before they managed to get back in place. But they foiled me every time I tried to creep in on them.

12. What items have to be close by when writing & not just the sensible stuff like research notes, but the other perhaps slightly goofy stuff (bowl of m&ms, stuffed animal, stress ball, pot of coffee).
My glass of iced tea is imperative. I almost can’t write if it isn’t there. Then my chocolate Rita statues and two stuffed pink flamingos sit on the shelf behind my computer screen. And usually at some point there will be a small bowl of munchy food with either raspberries, blue berries, strawberries, goldfish or Cheez-its.

13. What author promo has been the most effective for you? What do you think you’ll try next?
The most effective promotion was being part of the NookFirst program. Other than that it is really hard to measure. I honestly think the best promo is to write the next book and the next.

Annnd because it’s my birthday bash month. 😀
Aww. Happy Birthday!

14. What is something awesome that has to do with the number 2, or 20s. Either something that happened to you in your 20s, a 20th book milestone, etc.
Hmm, all but one of my five kids was born when I was in my twenties. They are all huge blessings and very special. And I really like using the word score in my historical fiction instead of twenty. Oh and one of my favorite baseball players wore number 20. 2nd baseman Frank White of the Royals. He was smooth as glass and made double plays look easy.

15. What’s the best birthday present you’ve ever received? What about the best birthday present you’ve ever given? How would your ideal birthday go?
I received a beautiful diamond necklace a couple of years ago from kids that was a really nice surprise. The best present I’ve ever given may have been ten days in Florida for my two youngest kids. (They both have October birthdays.) We did Disney World, Universal Studios, and drove to the ocean for a day. Of course one of my best birthday parties was when I was a kid and got to take five friends to a local amusement park, which may be why I repeat it with my kids when I can.

My ideal birthday would either be a trip somewhere like Disney World or the beach, involve a nice dinner out somewhere—no singing by waiters. Just fun time with my family. Because I’m not much of a cake person, my mother used to make me a cherry pie for my birthday and for many years my husband would bake me brownies, but now I’m kind of let’s skip straight to the ice cream, who needs all those candles anyway.

I’ll give away a copy of my 2012 Daphne du Maurier winning book Tainted by Temptation (Print copy NA addresses only) or an e-book of Awakening His Duchess, my January release. Winner’s preference. In the “crazy author fan letter contest” I’ll give away an e-copy of my upcoming midsummer release Lord Coleraine’s Scandalous Offer.

Oooo an ARC! (That’s Lord Coleraine’s Scandalous Offer. I’m jealous! You guys should enter the contest! So! You all know the drill! Ask Ms. Madison the most crazy question possible! (Or you know, one about her books. Definitely you can think of something!) And?! As of this posting, her book The Wedding Duel is free! Whee!

Guest Author & A Giveaway: Cathy Pegau

Hello my lovely little friends! (Big friends?) As you see, we have Cathy Pegau visiting with us today! (ETA and we also see that I’ve had problems with the “publish” button so let’s all pretend it’s Tuesday, shall we? So bonus – Tuesday, but also the weekend! Whoo!) Geez o Pete. It’s May already. *faints* As usual, our author of the month elected for an interview. Wonder why. 😉

1. How many times do you hit snooze in the morning? Or are you happy to roll right out of bed? Or are you someone who doesn’t even need an alarm clock?
I smack the snooze at least once, usually twice. Happy to roll out of bed??? Who does that???? (No offense to the bright-eyed and bushy-tailed out there.)

2. Would you rather win the largest SuperMegaZillions lottery in history or be #1 on the NYT Best Seller list for 25 weeks?
Can I elect to share the millions and be #1 on the NYT list for 12 ½ weeks? No? OK, I would go for the Best Seller list. Money is great, and I do think about it more than maybe I should, but as an author I sort of need to know people like my stories. Don’t tell my husband I opted out of the millions. He wants a new boat ; P

3. What’s the most interesting thing you’ve ever done for research? what’s the most interesting thing you’ve learned while doing research? In general, or for this book?
I love research. Most of mine is done online, so not terribly interesting as far as gathering goes, but I learn some cool things. I did a lot of research on mining techniques for Deep Deception. Who knew mining was so vast and varied? Well, other than miners, I mean.

I’ve been doing some historical research at our local library and museum here for a current WIP. That’s been loads of fun. Crazy stuff happened in this town back in the day. And I’m hoping to go up in a small plane this summer to check out a site that’s the setting for another story.

4. What are your five most prized possessions?
I wear a silver pendant of a tree with four small stones, the birthstones for my kids, my husband and myself. I never take it off except to clean it. Another is my wedding ring. The last three, in no particular order, are my coffee maker, my laptop, and my Subaru.

5. Tell us two truths and a lie – the catch is you have to tell us the lie in the comments.
I have eaten walrus liver, stuffed moose heart, and whale blubber.

I have a tattoo on my shoulder blade: a heart with my kids’ birthdays.

I got lost on my first day of a biology job while wearing a compass around my neck and spent the night on a mountain.

6. What is the super power you would most like to have? And least like to have?
I love to be able to control time. Stopping it when I’m on deadline or have too many things to do at once, or fast-forwarding to the good parts. Would make mornings easier on me too : )

I’d least like to have X-ray vision. Unless you’re paranoid or searching for someone, it’s not a great power. And what if you can’t turn it off? I don’t need to see through people’s clothes or bodies!

7. What is your secret plan for world domination?
If I told you, it wouldn’t be much of a secret. On the other hand, if no one knows I’m trying, how will they ever learn to bow down to me? Mostly it relies upon my training cats to obey my every command, releasing them into the world and having them adopted. They will, in turn, train their “owners” to do as I bid. Fool proof.

8. What’s the most embarrassing thing to ever happen to you at school? How about at a conference?
I think I’m managed to block out most of the stupid things I’ve done. The closest I’ve come is chatting up a big-time agent at a conference without having a bloody clue who she was until later. Maybe that was a good thing? I don’t think I said anything too stupid, but you never know : P

9. Can you name at least four US Supreme Court Justices without looking?
Sotomayor, Ginsburg, Kagan, Roberts,Thomas, Scalia, Alito. I cheated a little and looked up spelling of names, but these are the ones I know off the top of my head.

10. Which would you most like to go to? Ancient Greece, Rome, Egypt, China, Mesopotamia, Africa, or South America? Why?
Ancient Greece. Lots going on there that I would have loved to see being developed. Exciting times.

11. If you had to live in a constant climate of 15° F weather, or 105°F weather? Why?
Oh, give me 15°F over 105°F any day! I’m a cool weather girl. Anything over 75 and I melt. Also, it gives me a good reason to retain my internal layers ; )

12. Do you eat marshmallows straight out of the bag, hold them at the edge of the fire till they’re lightly golden brown, or torch ‘em till they’re black and crackly on the outside?
Lightly golden brown. “Raw” marshmallows are too cloying. Burnt sugar is too bitter, and super-heated marshmallow that sticks to everything like napalm? No thanks!

My May release from Carina Press, Deep Deception, drops on the 27th, but you can win an early copy here or one of my earlier releases, Rulebreaker or Caught in Amber. Your choice! Check them out at my website.

Here’s the blurb for Deep Deception to whet your appetite ; )

Colonial Mining Authority agent Natalia Hallowell doesn’t always play by the rules, but she wouldn’t compromise a case either. Put on administrative leave under a cloud of accusation, with no support from her boss, Natalia seeks a little anonymous companionship at her favorite bar. But she’s surprised when the woman who catches her fancy starts buying her drinks.

Desperate, Genevieve “Gennie” Caine has no choice but to seduce, drug and tie Natalia to the bed to get her attention. With the Reyes Corporation after something she has, Gennie needs Natalia to open an investigation and distract them long enough for her to get off Nevarro.

Natalia doesn’t trust Gennie—despite the growing attraction between them—but the corporation’s suspiciously high profits and abnormal business dealings convince her that they must be hiding something. She has no idea just how deep the deceptions run…

So what questions do you have for Cathy? Come on – top the crazy that I asked! And you know, finding out more about her will only help you in the monthly May contest. 🙂

Guest Author & A Giveaway: Manda Collins

Hello my darlings! Can you believe it’s April already? And no April Fool’s Day jokes here! (I didn’t see any really good ones – did you?) As you see we have the lovely and wonderful Manda Collins today as our special ALBTALBS author of the month! And true to author form, she decided on a special ALBTALBS interview. You’ll notice, if you’re a regular, that I added some new questions – always looking for those!

Anyway, heeeeereeeee’s Manda!!!

1. Do you speak any languages other than English? If so, what?
I speak very rudimentary French. I couldn’t pass a written test in it, but I think I’d do all right conversationally.
Along those lines, if you had to be dropped into a foreign country where you do not speak the language, which one would you pick?
Gosh, that’s a tough one. I suppose somewhere that I’d be least likely to die horribly from an inability to speak the language. Like Sweden or Norway or Finland. Don’t they always seem to come out on top in quality of life surveys? That seems safe enough.

2. What is your favorite snack? Is it the same as your go to snack? Do you prefer sweet or salty? Which is your favorite in each?
My favorite snack is Doritos.  But I cannot allow them into the  house because I’ll eat the entire bag by myself. My go to snack is popcorn, because if I do end up eating the entire bag by myself I won’t feel too guilty about it. Whether I prefer sweet or salty depends on my mood. Sometimes one, sometimes the other. Favorite sweet snack is Jello Chocolate pudding snacks. I love me some pudding.

3. What’s the name of your first crush? Do you have any idea what happened to him?
In Kindergarten I had a huge crush on a boy named Jake whom I showed my affection for by punching him in the stomach every day at recess. I actually feel horrible about it in retrospect. But I was a kid and for whatever reason stomach punches meant love to me then. I have no idea what happened to him. I’m hoping he’s not out there having flashbacks to the horrible little girl who punched him in the stomach every day of his Kindergarten life.

4. Which deceased author would you most like to meet if you could? Why?
This seems like cheating because her death wasn’t that long ago but I so wish I’d met Edith Layton before she died. She wrote one of my all time favorite Regency trads (LORD OF DISHONOR) and I wish I’d been able to meet her in person at least once to tell her to her face how her books changed my life. She is among a handful of romance writers who quite literally altered my perception of what historical romances could be. Her characters never failed to fascinate and she always, always included some surprising historical detail of the era she was writing about. Whether it was Elizabethan or Georgian or Regency, her stories were page turners and her characters were so freaking real. And when she told the story of a heroine who had to battle her way back from a life threatening illness in TO WED A STRANGER I know I wasn’t the only reader who felt her own story being told at last.

5. Which fairy tale would you most like to be in? Least? Why? Which character would you want to be? And (assuming this isn’t your default) – if you had to be a fairy tale villain, which one would you like to be?
I think I’d like most to be Belle in Beauty in the Beast. I mean come on, I’m a librarian. I covet that library like nobody’s business. If I had to be a fairy tale villain, I think I’d rather be the Evil Stepmother from Cinderella. At least she doesn’t try to kill Cinderella, as opposed to the Evil Queen from Snow White and Maleficent from Sleeping Beauty. And the witch from Hansel and Gretel. And the Big Bad Wolf from Little Red Riding Hood….Dang, these fairy tale villains are a murderous lot aren’t they?

6. Celebrity/Author death match – who would you most want to take on? [you don’t have to say why ;)]
Matt Lauer. I’m still not over the Ann Curry business.

7. Who is on your speed dial on your phone? (Or the equivalent)
My sister. My grandmother. My aunt. (I’m southern, we’re all about the fambly.)

8. What was your favorite book as a child? What is one book you think everyone should read?
LITTLE WOMEN. I read it in the second grade and remember being riveted. And heartbroken when Jo rejected Laurie. I’m still not over it. I think everyone should read Hamlet. Not because I think it’s the greatest thing ever written (though it’s pretty freaking awesome), but because it’s one of those foundational texts of Western civilization that informs so much of what came after it that you need to have read it to get the joke.

9. Who are your biggest influences, if you have any, and when did you decide to become a writer or what made you take that step? Have you ever had the chance to talk to that person about it?
Jane Austen, obviously. Agatha Christie, Georgette Heyer, Martha Grimes, Margaret Atwood. Among romance writers, I’d say Edith Layton, Mary Jo Putney, Jo Beverley, Mary Balogh, Eloisa James, Julia Quinn, and Lynn Kerstan have all informed my writing style. I always wrote, but I never really thought of myself as a writer but instead as more of a dabbler. I didn’t take the real plunge until I became a part of a group of drabble writers on the Eloisa James/Julia Quinn bulletin board who banded together during the Avon Fanlit competition. I didn’t win any of the rounds but I finaled enough times to make me think I might be able to make something of this writing business and I finished my first novel a year later. I haven’t ever really spoken to Eloisa James or Julia Quinn or the other girls from the group about how much of an influence they were on me, but I have thanked them in the acknowledgements pages of my books.

10. What’s the funniest (or worst) typo you’ve ever found? (Either one of your books or someone else’s)
Worst for me so far has been in my second book HOW TO ROMANCE A RAKE. The heroine has a severe injury to one of her feet and I have it moving from one foot to the other–not unlike Igor’s hump in YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN. Only that was meant to be funny. Mine is more headdesky.

11. What TV show do you still wish was on the air? Along those lines, what do you think is the best TV commercial of all time?
It’s a toss up between HOMICIDE: LIFE ON THE STREETS and HOMEFRONT. (Yes, I am old.) Best TV commercial of all time is Where’s the Beef?

12. If you won the next SuperPowerBallMegaBucks Lottery (what/whichever), what are the first three things you would do?
1. Donate to St. Jude’s, 2. Pay off my student loans, 3. Pay off my house.

13. Would you shave your head for $50,000.00? If yes, would you do it for a lesser amount/what’s your minimum? If no, how much would it take for you to go bald? And then… would you do anything with your hair?
Sure. I was bald for chemo years ago so I could do it again. It’s just hair. It grows back. My minimum is 10,000 dollars. If anyone wanted my hair I’d donate it.

14. If you were a zookeeper, which animals would you terrify David Letterman with?
Lions and tigers and bears. (*raspberry*)

15. What is one question you wish as an author people would ask but nobody ever does?
“Where would you like me to put your Nobel Prize?”

So! What questions do you have for Ms. Collins? One lucky person will win a copy of Manda’s latest release, How to Entice an Earl. And! Remember the special monthly contest? Someone will win a complete set of her Ugly Ducklings Trilogy!