Tag Archives: Author Interview

Guest Author & A Giveaway: Carolyn Jewel

Hey guys! My apologies – we’re going to pretend this is totally on time, okay? :X As you see we have the wonderful Carolyn Jewel as our special author for March! Whee! She also chose an Author Interview (what’s with everyone picking them?! We’re going to need to come up with new and even better questions!) So without further ado, the questions. As usual, littered with covers. Which adorn awesome stories. You should read them.

1. What five dead authors would you invite to a dinner party if you could?
Assuming they would not be zombies or some other undead creature after my brains or my blood:

1. Kit Marlowe because I’d like to know if he was as hot as his pictures suggest. Also, does he know how he died? Was it espionage or something else?

2. Charlotte Bronte so I can tell her she was right and, hey, look, it’s WAY better now, even though it’s not perfect.

3. Erma Bombeck, because, damn, I miss her writing.

4. Oscar Wilde, because I would like for him to know it gets better. I’d also like for him to know how enduring his legacy has been.

5. Emily Dickenson. So many questions for her. So. Many.

2. 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?
Nope.

That’s such a boring answer. Let me make one up.

Why, yes! I do. How strange that you should ask me that. Before I write a word, I light three candles, one blue, one yellow, and one red. I let them burn for precisely 30 seconds and then pour the wax onto a sheet of paper and plot my day’s writing from the patterns in the wax. If any of the blobs are shaped like the planet Saturn, I have to run three times around the house and kill off any character whose name starts with S.
(Isn’t Carolyn such a great sport? ;D)

3. If you could be a super hero, what would your nemesis be named? Along those lines, what is the super power you would most like to have? And least like to have?
My nemesis would be named Pete the Pitiless. It’s such a lame nemesis name that he would be easily defeated. My superpower would be the power of negation. Whatever dread weapon a Criminal Mastermind attempted to use against me would be negated. My least favorite superpower would be the ability to read minds. That would be…awful. I do NOT want to know what people are thinking.

It reminds me of this book my son loved where there were talking cookies, and this one certain kind of cookie was always making inane comments followed by “Isn’t that interesting?” Like this, “Peanutbutter is made of 20% yak hair, isn’t that interesting?” Well, no, it’s not. I think the ability to read minds would be a lot like that.

4. What is your secret plan for world domination?
I signed an NDA (non-disclosure agreement) so all I can say is it involves cats, uncut diamonds, and telekinesis.

5. If you were to become a spammer, what product would you peddle? And what would your message be? Come up with the most attention getting, creative, crazy thing. Yes, that’s a challenge.
I would send kind spam. Spam that compliments. My spam would be like this:

Hello Fellow user of the Interwebs!
My name is E.S. Pam, and I think you have the prettiest eyes. Thinking about your eyes makes my day happier and I want to thank you for that. If you’d like another compliment, please wire me $5 (pay pal accepted!) and I will send you one compliment a day for the next ten days. Free of further charge.
Thank you, and hey, the color looks GREAT on you!

Love, E.S. Pam.

6. What’s the first type of alcohol you ever tried to drink? What is your current favorite alcoholic drink? (What about non-adult beverage?)
Wine. But I don’t drink so, sorry, no favorite drinks in that category. I do have a fondness for limeade, and I’m not just saying that. I love summer because that’s when Odwalla sells its limeade. Also, it’s when our local smoothie shop sells an amazing smoothie called Lime In The Coconut. Mmmm.

7. What do you think is the best commercial of all time?
Uh, oh. I also don’t watch TV.

8. What’s the most unique/strange silly skill your possess?
Oh, geez. I don’t have any unique skills. No strange ones I’m willing to confess to, either. However, I am somewhat ambidextrous and if I’m tired, I will sometimes start writing left handed and not realize it for a while. It’s kind of convenient, actually, to be able to write legibly with either hand. My right hand is dominant, but I do a lot left-handed. Sometimes I switch up just because.

9. What’s the most embarrassing thing to ever happen to you at school? What about at a conference?
Guys threw stuff at me in High School. It was awful. That was why, when I got to college, I thought the guys who were asking me out were playing a joke on me.  I looked one guy in the face after he asked me out and said, with complete sincerity and rather hurt feelings, “Right.”  I know how stupid that sounds now, but I truly believed that.

10. How do you feel about the dentist? And what about clowns?
I floss religiously. I love the dentist because I can nap and they say nice things about my dental hygiene. I have no issue with clowns. No really. None at all.

11. 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.
Years ago, my mom said, “The only reason people complain about Madonna is that she’s a woman.”  And she was right, I realized. Her comment made me think about the way women are portrayed and treated in the media, as well as examine a few of my own internalized beliefs at that time.

And that thing about the fork, Lime, are you kidding me? That only happens if you run with the fork in your mouth.

12. What was your first job? Your most interesting one?
My first job was as a janitor in a Catholic Church. I am not Catholic but the Church was an equal opportunity employer for non-religious jobs. There were always TONS of peanut shells in the balcony and the day after Palm Sunday was the worst because people with nervous hands shredded their palm fronds. Those things were hard to sweep up. To this day I puzzle over the carefully concealed picture I found in the room where the priests prepare for the sacrament. It was in a handmade, asymmetrical paper envelope smaller than one’s palm and it contained a much and oft folded picture of lady parts. It was also carefully hidden, but I was a very thorough duster. I suppose it may have been surrendered by a conflicted parishioner. Or something.

13. Describe your perfect day.
Sleep late, wake up refreshed, perfect shower temperature followed by the perfect cup of coffee. Then, after I win twenty million dollars, I get lots of writing done in time to go on a fun outing with my son. Also, I eat delicious chocolate that has no calories. Then I meet Arjun Rampal and I don’t make a fool of myself AND he agrees to be on the cover of my next book.

14. Why did the chicken cross the road?
Because Arjun Rampal is on the other side. Doh.

15. Tell us two truths and a lie. (The catch is you have to tell us which is what at some point.)
My day job is in tech, and I am usually the only woman doing in-the-trenches tech stuff. I once had a job where one of the programmers refused to do any work that came from a woman so whenever I needed him to do something, I would either send the email to one of my male colleagues to send as if the request were acutally from him, or I’d send the email and we’d take bets about how long it would take him to jump up and curse. (We had low cubes.) On the other hand, there’s fun to be had in tech. A third party vendor told us a certain functionality we needed in their application was not possible, but they would be happy to send us a quote for the customization. That really cheesed me off because it was an obvious thing to offer and the lack of that feature was causing serious, serious production errors. I downloaded a hex-editor and with a little help from one of the other programmers (I’m a DBA not a programmer) located the code we needed to change and then made the update. He showed me now to recompile and voila. All done. And it worked perfectly. When the quote came–for $50,000–we declined. Seriously. We updated their code in about 20 mintues. $50K FFS.
(I’m saving the truth for later – I want you guys to guess it :D)

One lucky commenter wins 3 of Carolyn’s books – so go on. Ask her any crazy question, or something about her books. She writes hot historicals, and also paranormals. As for the fan letter contest? That winner gets a good prize too. 🙂

Special Guest Author & A Giveaway: Jennifer Haymore

Hi friends! Today we have one of my most favorite people visiting with us! Fabulous author Jennifer Haymore! She’s super sweet and totally awesome. She’s also our inaugural Crazy Fan Letter Author! Whee! Obviously she’s a great sport, and she chose an Author Interview for her GA&AG spot. 😀

What five dead authors would you invite to a dinner party if you could?
Stephen King (I’d like to hear his comments about the food), Anne Rice (to talk about vampires in literature) , JR Tolkien (to discuss the LOR and Hobbit trilogy), JD Salinger (love it if he actually said something), and Diana Gabaldon (to discuss historical Scotland. And Jamie Frasier).

If you could be a super hero, what would your nemesis be named? And what would your super hero power be?
My power would be astral projection…or life. I could infuse life into anything. My enemy, of course, would be death. LOL

Tell us two truths and a lie about yourself.
(1) I was secretly engaged to my husband when I was seventeen.

(2) I’m terrified of spiders.

(3) I enjoy watching my favorite movies over and over again.

What’s your favorite tv show? Now your favorite guilty pleasure secret shame show. I’m talking Real Housewives, The Kardashians, Bridalplasty, Jersey Shore, etc. *shudders*
Downton Abbey is my favorite right now (although they killed off a main character last week so I’m none too pleased at the moment!).

Secret shame show would either be Storage Wars or American Idol!

If you have to listen to a song 24/7 for four days, which one would you choose?
Kill me first.

What’s the best book you read as a school assignment?
I loved a lot of the books everyone else hated in school. 😛 My favorite…hmmm…probably Jane Eyre.

Are you an early bird or night owl? What made you so?
A night owl, thanks to genes and coffee!

What kind of toothbrush and toothpaste is on your bathroom counter right now?
Oral B electric toothbrush and some fancy kind of whitening Crest.

What is your writing process?
I write mostly when I have big chunks of time in which to do so. It usually ends up being from when my husband gets home at night to the wee hours of the morning.

I used to be a pantser (wrote all my stories by the seat of my pants) but now that I write under contract, I always write a pretty detailed synopsis first. After my editor discusses the story with me, and we work out the kinks, I begin. After I start a book, lately, I’ve been writing hard, every day, until it’s done. I find that I feel closer to the characters and situations when I don’t take days or weeks off from the story.

What’s the most embarrassing thing to ever happen to you at school? And what about at a conference?
At school:  Having my college boyfriend’s dorm-mate come home early one Saturday night…

At conference: Walking into a room of a group of people I’d met before, and after recognizing and greeting all of them, realizing none of them knew who I was!

Do you collect anything? If yes, what?
Most anything related to my children (their favorite toys, school projects, etc.).  They grow up too fast, and when the last one leaves for college, I’m sure I can spend years scrapbooking and organizing.

As a child which character/book(s) would you most want to be [or be in] a Laura Ingalls Wilder book, Madeline L’Engle, Lloyd Alexander, L.M. Montgomery, or Gail Carson Levine? Or if none of those, which book?
Close call, but I think Laura Ingalls Wilder. I have always loved historical places and situations and ever since I was a kid, I have always dreamed about/envisioned living in a different time.

What would you put in your ideal candy bar?
A bunch of magically delicious and healthy ingredients that contained no carbs or fat.

Walk in pantry, walk in closet, or extra garage space?
Extra garage space. We have more junk than can fit in a pantry or closet. 😛

What is your secret plan for world domination?
Work harder than everyone else (so fair I’m a total fail at this hard-work ethic, so it looks like I’m not headed for world domination!).

Bio:  Jennifer holds a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from UC Berkeley and a master’s degree in Education from UCLA. Before she became a full-time writer she held various jobs from bookselling to teaching inner-city children to playing bit roles in soap operas.

You can find Jennifer in Southern California trying to talk her husband into yet another trip to England, helping her three children with homework while brainstorming a new five-minute dinner menu, or crouched in a corner of the local bookstore writing her next novel.

One lucky commenter will win a copy of Pleasures of a Tempted Lady, and the winner of the crazy fan letter contest for this month will win a $20 gift card to Barnes & Noble. 😀 Isn’t Jennifer lovely and generous?! (I’ll be adding more information to the “Crazy Fan Letter” contest today, so keep an eye out. Thanks!)

Guest Author & A Giveaway: Jess Granger aka Kristin Bailey

Hi everyone! To kick of 2013 we have author Jess Granger visiting with us! In fact, to add to the fun we’ve got double the fun because beyond writing sci-fi romances, she also is writing YA! (And psst – Jess has this OMGHOT+GOOD side project that I’m really pushing for, but she’s too busy writing her other books. *sulk*). Jess is a riot, and I hope you enjoy the interview fun! Beyond that, it is also release day for her, so remember to wish her a happy release day!

1. Which sitcom would you most like to live in or be a part of? New or old.
Does the Muppet Show count?  Because I’m pretty sure that’s where I truly belong. If it isn’t crazy, colorful, and made of felt, I’m afraid I might be a little out of place. The more I think about it, the more I like this idea. I’d have my own personal chef (Bork!), music, since I’ve always had a thing for edgy drummers, and Pigs in Space. What more does a girl need?

2. 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 one is tough, because I’m really bad at listening to advice. The one I remember is my mother sitting me down and telling me that yes, it is okay to sleep without underwear on because things need to breathe.  I’m pretty sure I stopped breathing after that one. (Gak!) It was good advice though.

3. What was your first job? Your most interesting one? (Aside from writing)
My first job was as a certified latex manipulator, otherwise known as a balloon artist. I used to work in restaurants for tips. I was good too, in fact, I still am. You should see my balloon lobster.  I used to play a game with people called “Stump the balloon girl.” I won every time, even when people asked for a water skiing dinosaur. My best night twisting balloons used my other talent for making up weird crap on the fly. A table of half-drunk people was trying to convince their buddy to go on a Snipe hunt. He grabbed me by the arm, and asked. “Have you ever heard of a Snipe?” looking for a neutral third-party to tell him his friends were pulling his leg.

Instead I gave him very detailed instructions on some sure fire techniques to catch the elusive Yellow-crested Snipe. He really couldn’t go wrong blowing into an empty beer-bottle as a bird-call while crawling on his hands and knees through a corn field with toothpaste smeared on his cheeks and peanut butter on the backs of his hands. I hope he caught one.

4. What two movies from different genres would you most like to see combined in a mash up?
I’m going to go with Zoolander and The Princess Bride.  Couldn’t you just imagine the really, really, really good looking dread pirate Westley? His “new look” is inconceivable, and more deadly than Iocane powder.  Then there’s his compatriot and rival, Hansel Montoya.  They can fight left handed-so long as no one turns that direction.

5. Did you ever imagine your stuffed animals might come to life as a child?
Are you kidding? My stuffed animals did come to life as a child. I can’t think of any other possible way for them to end up on the floor every morning, spread around my room like they’d just had a fluff-filled bender rave while I was sleeping.

6. Who would win in a fight to the death? A Mongolian Warrior or a Roman Centurion?
The Mongolian, no question.  A Centurion was nothing without the entire army of Rome behind him. The Mongols had to fight with a much more individualistic style, which made them very effective.  I don’t think the Centurion would have a chance.  Now a Mongol vs. a professional Gladiator would be a match.

7. Did you ever read under the covers at night as a child with a flash light or night light? [So your parents wouldn’t know you were awake?] Did you ever get caught and what did your parents do?
I am both a night-owl and a reading addict, so I think I spent more time in my bed reading when I should have been sleeping than actually sleeping. My parents ignored it. I think they knew I’d fall asleep when I was tired. This led to many an all-nighter with a good book.  I still love staying up reading all night.

8. What’s your favorite house chore? Least favorite?
I really don’t like chores as a general rule, but I do enjoy taking care of my garden.  I like weeding and seeing the garden go from overgrown mess to neat and well-tended. I also like cleaning my fish tanks. I absolutely hate cleaning bathrooms, and it is a vow that should I ever become well-off by any means, the first thing I’m going to do is hire a housekeeper.  If she did bathrooms alone, I would love her forever.

9. If you had to become a bear, which type would you choose?
Grizzly, no question. Like there is any other bear worthy of the awe and power of the bear’s greatest reputation. Polar Bears are awesome, but they’re nothing without the ice. A mama Grizzly can take you out, and doesn’t have to think twice about it and the only reason they’re threatened is because we’ve decided they are two awesome and scary to live too close to us. Black bears are jokes. My grandfather worked as a game warden in Alaska. He came back down and kicked a black bear in the ass because it was annoying him.  True story.

10. What would you put in your ideal candy bar?
Cookies, definitely, and caramel corn with nuts covered in chocolate, like a Twix but extra crunchy with popcorn.

11. What’s the most unique/strange silly skill your possess?
I know how to skin a mouse. Don’t ask.

12. What is your secret plan for world domination?
First, my YA trilogy takes off and becomes a phenomenon, then I’ll be invited to be a part of Dancing with the Stars. Once I win because America falls in love with my adorable personality and enthusiasm, I’ll be invited to all the late night talk shows including Craig Ferguson’s.  Once I meet Geoff Peterson, who is the head of the robot skeleton army, I’ll let him know I was at least 1/200,00th responsible for his creation. Since he’ll totally owe me one for his existence, I’ll take over the reins of the robot skeleton army for a day and the world is mine! Simple really. What could go wrong?

13. If you were to become a spammer, what product would you peddle? And what would your message be? Come up with the most attention getting, creative, crazy thing. Yes, that’s a challenge.
I would peddle a service that allows you to send random cans of SPAM™ to spammers. That way, if anyone feels my Anti-spam Spam’Ogram is spam, they can sign up for my service and send me Spam, which I could then turn around and use as product to ship out to more spammers.

Or I could cut up some tomatoes, make a sandwich and prepare for the zombie apocalypse.

14. Did you ever wake up laying on the sidewalk in front of a McDonald’s 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?
Since I’m a member of the Intergalactic Bureaucratic Senate and intramural softball team, sometimes I get called up to act as an intermediary for matters of planetary protection and diplomacy.  And you know how space-aliens can be, everything has to come down to the very last second before we inevitably save the earth from destruction and/or an influx of pop-singers from Yagarlion 5. It’s a little known fact that the golden arches are actually portal gateways to the major space hubs on the far side of the galaxy. They needed the ones on earth to be pervasive and also innocuous, so they decided to hide them behind something no one would take too seriously, like a fast-food franchise.  Ronald McDonald’s real name is Rothiauld M’Domrat’ha, and that was an accurate portrayal of the first secretary of interplanetary transport with his native coloring and dress.

As I was saying, as a member of the IBS, if we do save the Earth once again from evil plots to vaporize all of mankind, or we win the coveted “Softball Masters of the Universe” trophy, usually a pretty big party breaks out, and Nillish Rum is really potent. Let’s just say it can be easy to jump back through the wrong arches.  It’s a bitch, but hey, it’s all in the name of good intergalactic relations.

15. 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?
I always write out a rough outline with every thought that comes to me about the book with a black pilot pen in a special notebook, then clean my desk and play the Sims for about four days straight until my eyes bleed.

Thanks for the awesome interview, Lime. I haven’t had this much fun answering questions in a long time.  Just a reminder to everyone.  THE MAMMOTH BOOK OF FUTURISTIC ROMANCE!!! (Said with that deep echoing Pigs in Space voice) is out today! I just read my copy through cover to cover and I enjoyed it immensely.  There’s a lot of action and romance and lots to love from some of the best science fiction romance authors out there.  You can check out my story Wasteland, but it is only one of many great stories in a fabulous anthology. I was particularly fond of Mandy M Roth’s, and Linnea Sinclair’s stories.

Also, if you are interested in the YA side of my writing persona, you can find out more about my new steampunk-inspired trilogy coming March 5th at my YA website www.kristinbailey.com

As a fabulous start to 2013, Jess is giving away three signed copies of Beyond the Shadows!!! (Did you see that cover?) 😉 Whee! So what fun and off the wall questions do you have for her?

Guest Author & A Giveaway: Pamela Clare

Hi friends! Can you believe that it’s December? I can’t. This year has flown by. I had such high hopes for 2012. It was… well, a year. So I’ll transfer my high hopes to 2013. But in the meantime, don’t you worry, because at least in the ALBTALBS world I’ve got some semblance of control. (Although maybe that should make you fret…) My point is though that we’ve got a lot of fun and good things ahead. AHOY!

Erm, and now that I’ve scared Pamela Clare and all her readers away… you know. That’s okay. She was super awesome and a good sport because I’m losing my mind with “sick brain” and did this all rather last minute. (And she was so kind about it! It’s sad I’m so pleasantly surprised to see a nice author response…) But anyway, Pamela Clare is awesome. She also wrote one of my favorite romances ever. Extreme Exposure. (Read it – you’ll see. And if you don’t, your loss. More Reece for me!)

Without further ado… (since I got to it so quickly and all…) Ms. Clare’s non-traditional, traditional ALBTALBS interview! \o/

1. 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.
I’ve got two boys. When they were little, they fought a lot. I remember being on a car trip and being at my wit’s end. I ended up shouting, “If the two of you don’t stop fighting and be quiet right now, I’m going to take your Play Station and throw it out the window when we get home!” That shut them right up.

2. Immediate response: what is the most interesting thing that has ever happened to you? [I know you were a journalist so I can imagine you’ve got a number of them…]
Immediate response? OK. My immediate response is so many that I can’t even single one out. Being an exchange student and living abroad. Staying overnight in jail as a bogus felony arrest to better understand women in prison. Traveling to the Navajo reservation to cover forced relocations there. Those three stand out.

3. What’s your favorite drink? (alcoholic, and non-alcoholic)
WATER! I don’t always drink alcoholic beverages, but when I do, I prefer pinot — grigio or noir.

4. What is your favorite TV show? now your favorite guilty pleasure secret shame show. i’m talking real housewives, the Kardashians, Bridalplasty, Jersey Shore, etc. *shudders*
I don’t have television. I got rid of it years ago. I’ve never seen Seinfeld, Real Housewives, Survivor, Jersey Shore, none of it. I can’t fathom why anyone thinks the Kardashians are interesting. I love Star Trek, Firefly, Castle, Game of Thrones, True Blood and Hawaii Five-0, which I watch on DVD.

5. What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever eaten?
Mutton stew prepared for me by a very kind family on Black Mesa. In the stew, I found one of the slaughtered sheep’s teeth. At least I hope it was one of the sheep’s teeth.

6. Which would you most like to go to? Ancient Greece, Rome, Egypt, China, Mesopotamia, Africa, or South America? (or another ancient place?) Why?
ROME! I studied Latin for 10 years and my undergraduate and graduate work were in archaeology, focusing on Greece, Rome, Egypt and the Minoan and Cycladic cultures (Crete, etc.) I’d choose Rome over Greece because women were treated terribly in ancient Greece.

7. Which fairy tale would you most like to be in? Least?
Sleeping Beauty. I get lots of rest and wake up to find a prince kissing me. That works. Snow White. Too scary!

8. When did you get your first aol screen name? Do you remember what it was?
Never had one. 🙂 I’m a bit old fashioned. No smart phone either. No cable television.

9. What author promo has been most effective for you? (As far as you can tell.)
I think word of mouth has been the most helpful for me. Social media after that. Thanks to the Internet, it’s so easy to connect with people who share our interests.

10. Have you ever owned any crazy pets? What kind(s)? If you’ve never had a pet, which exotic one would you consider?
I had a zoo in my bedroom as a teenager: a mouse, several guinea pigs, a cat and a bird. Nothing too crazy. I have been to wildlife refuges where I was able to pet, among other things, a mountain lion. They’re the biggest of the cats that purr, and it purred up a storm. It sounded like a little motor. It’s fur was very rough, not soft at all. I also got to bottle feed a 400-pound male Bengal tiger. He was seven feet tall when he reared up on his hind legs. He drank the bottle very quickly and almost knocked me onto my butt just by brushing me with his shoulder when he passed by me. I had tiger slobber on my shirt, and I thought that was pretty damned cool! … I’m so jealous I think I might need to stop the interview right here.

(I needed a moment)

11. 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).
Vanilla latte, chocolate (sometimes M&Ms — I like the almond variety), lip balm, lots of pens (not sure why), and my earbuds. I listen to a LOT of music.

12. How do you feel about the dentist?
I love my dentist. She’s wonderful. I haven’t had a cavity since I was 18. Maybe that’s why I love her. I just go in for cleanings and come home. 🙂

13. What is the super power you would most like to have? And least like to have?
I would love to be able to teleport myself wherever I wanted to be in the world. That would cut down on travel time, and I’d be able to hang with my friends and readers in Europe and be home in time to have dinner with my kids. As for the super-power I’d like LEAST to have… Body odor that kills?

14. What was your worst traveling mishap ever? Or most constant one? (Did your luggage get stolen by a monkey? Is the flight canceled every time as soon as your ride drives away from the airport?)
Oh, God! I lost my driver’s license in the Philly airport in the middle of a two-stop flight. The people in the airport were exceptionally unhelpful. I’ve never met airport staff who were more rude. But the TSA folks were great. I really slowed down my trip. Can you imagine having to say to TSA, “I am me. Yes, really, I am. Would I lie to you?” I was able to use my social security card and my Colorado press card, together with answering a bunch of questions, to get on my flight. I am now VERY careful with my driver’s license. I don’t want to do that again!!!

Annnnd somehow, a question slipped by. And based on her other answers – I don’t think Ms. Clare meant to miss it. I’ll ask it in the comments. 😉 Maybe. I’m curious though – what do YOU want to ask her? As you see, anything goes. Incidentally, all the book covers you see here are linked to the books, so feel free to check them out, and ask Pamela any questions you have.

OH! And how could I forget? The main draw for some of you… 😉 up for grabs? One lucky commenter gets her (or his!) choice of either an audiobook version of *Hard Evidence or a signed copy of Defiant.

*N.B. neither of which are pictured. I just like keeping you guys on your toes 😉

Guest Author & A Giveaway: Louisa Edwards

Hello friends! We’ve got lovely author Louisa Edwards with us today! I’ve had the good fortune to meet her a few times, and I’m very happy to have her here visiting with us today! Did you know that Sunday with her birthday? And yet she took the time to answer a few silly questions, and beyond that, instead of taking presents, she’s offering one! Whee!

So let’s get on to it – the typical ALBTALBS Author Interview!

1. What is one thing you always wish people would ask you about yourself, or your books, but they never do?
I wish people would ask who I think should play my characters in a movie. It would really help me justify the truly ridiculous amount of time I spend googling things like “redhead actress glasses” and “blond actor rugged.”

2. Do you speak anything other than English? What [other] languages do you wish you could speak?
I was actually a romance languages major in college! So according to my diploma, I speak French, Spanish, and Italian. If I’m honest, the languages I wish I could speak are….French, Spanish, and Italian. ‘Use it or lose it’ is totally true when it comes to foreign languages!

3. What’s the most embarrassing thing to ever happen to you at school? What about at a conference?
At school, let’s see. There’s the obligatory story of the time I got my period in the middle of class but didn’t realize it until I stood up—but what’s really embarrassing about that is that I was wearing a white denim mini skirt. At a conference? Probably the time I went up to Kresley Cole after she won the RITA and slobbered all over her about how amazing she was and how I’d reviewed A Hunger Like No Other for Fresh Fiction (this was before I started writing books myself) and loved it, and just generally blushed and stammered my way through an Epic Fangirl Moment. But the story has a happy ending, because Kresley was lovely and gracious—even to the point of saying she remembered my review!—and now however many years later, we’re actually good friends!

4. I know you’re a foodie – what’s your signature dish? What is something that you’ve always wanted to make but haven’t yet? What is your biggest/most abysmal cooking failure?
Not being a chef, there’s no pressure to come up with a signature dish at my house. If anything, my signature is trying new recipes—my husband complains that I never circle back to re-make the things he loved! I’ve always wanted to try to make a good, basic, old-fashioned moules frites: mussels in a white wine broth with French fries on the side. But my secret kitchen fear is shellfish. They seem so tricky, with the shells and the beards and the claws and the grit and that gross, green stuff that comes out of lobsters.

Biggest cooking failure…when I first started throwing dinner parties with my husband, I hadn’t learned the #1 Rule of Dinner Parties, which is to make recipes you know and love, that require minimal fussing at the end of cooking. I think my first party was scheduled for 7:00 and we didn’t sit down to the table until 10:00. I was frazzled, harried, didn’t have time to speak to my guests, and worst of all, the dinner I’d slaved over for hours was barely mediocre. Tons of work for very little reward. Now I follow the Ina Garten method of choosing dinner party recipes that are all about roasting, make-ahead, serve room temperature, etc…and I greet guests at the door with a smile on my face and a drink in my hand!

5. As a child which character/book(s) would you most want to be [or be in] a Laura Ingalls Wilder book, Madeline L’Engle, Lloyd Alexander, L.M. Montgomery, or Gail Carson Levine? [Or any other not listed here character.]
I loved Anne of Green Gables so much, it’s not even funny. To this day, I usually cite it as my favorite book, if only because of the level of influence it had on my at a very impressionable age—and because of how well it stands the test of time. But the L.M. Montgomery character I identify with the most is probably Valancy from The Blue Castle. Her journey from painfully awkward and downtrodden to confident and happy was pretty inspiring to this shy, nerdy middle schooler!

6. Walk in pantry, walk in closet, or extra garage space?
Dude, I specifically moved to Austin, TX instead of back to Manhattan so I could have all three. You are not making me choose between my shoes and my Le Creuset!

7. Would you rather live in a foreign drama, foreign comedy, soap opera, sitcom, or prime time show? Which?
Ha! Having just last night watched God of Cookery, Stephen Chow’s Hong Kong cinema send-up of Iron Chef, I’m tempted to say a foreign comedy. The absolute zaniness really appeals to me. But I’d probably do better living in soap opera land—I already know to avoid all twins, stay off the stairs when pregnant, and of course, the cardinal rule: no body, no death!

8. 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?
I’d absolutely shave my head, and it wouldn’t take $50K to convince me, either. It’s only hair, and mine grows pretty fast. Plus I look cute in hats. I’d love to say I’d donate the hair to Locks of Love, but I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t want it after the many highlights, low lights, and color rinses. (Again, it’s only hair! And I like to play.)

9. What five dead authors would you invite to a dinner party if you could?
Good one! I’ve done this with celebrities before, but never authors. Jane Austen is a given, and probably the most boring answer imaginable, but I’d make her stay after to help clean up, and dish about the night. I’d also invite J.R.R. Tolkein, on the condition that he speak only Elvish all night, P.G. Wodehouse to make us laugh, and Nora Ephron to keep us grounded. And, of course, Julia Child, to help me cook!

10. 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.
If you pee in the pool, there’s a chemical that will turn the pee purple and everyone will know. I actually am not sure where I heard that one, but I still believe it.

11. What was your first job? And your most interesting one? Got any stories to share from either?
My first job was probably babysitting. My most interesting job…other than author? Probably waiting tables at the ritzy, rich-folks-only retirement home in my town. Some of those people were so used to being waited on hand and foot, it was impossible to get their creamed chipped beef to them fast enough. I heard a lot of, “You, girl!” as I rushed around with a tray of prune juice.

12. What would you name a pet rock?
I would never own a pet rock. I’m not the type to expend energy and affection on something that will never snuggle me back.

13. If you had to become a bear, which type would you choose?
Polar bear! Because they’re beautiful and funny, and also the tallest! It would be nice to finally be tall.

14. If you were to become a spammer, what product would you peddle? And what would your message be? Come up with the most attention getting, creative, crazy thing. Yes, that’s a challenge.
You are killing me here. Can I refuse to answer this on the grounds that I haven’t had enough coffee yet? Oh! How about: Coffee! It only SEEMS bad for you! But actually it’s proven to make you smarter, live longer, and reduce the risk of everything from acne to Parkinson’s. You can’t afford NOT to drink it.

The winner gets to choose her (or his) choice of any of Louisa’s books! Now it’s your turn! Have you ever read any of Ms. Edwards’s books before? What do you think of chef/foodie romances?

What question do you have for her? As usual, the crazier the better. 😉

Guest Author & A Giveaway: Amy Knupp

Everyone please welcome Harlequin author Amy Knupp who is the “October Author” at ALBTALBS! 😀 This sounds dorky, but I first “met” her on twitter, and then at a few conferences. She’s totally fabulous, and I think she’s the best.

1. Do you collect anything?  Good intentions and calories.

2. What would your ultimate meal consist of? Describe each course and beverage.  I don’t know exactly, but it would definitely include bacon.  And cheese…lots of cheese.

3. What was your first job? Your most interesting one?  I worked at Dairy Queen for a total of about 6 years in high school and college.  I still have dreams about making that perfect curl on the top of the cone (and I’m pretty sure I still could, even though it’s been a LOT of years.)  Most interesting job?  Easily the current one I have as a freelance copyeditor (www.blueotterediting.com).  Not only do I get paid to read, but I get to indulge my punctuation OCD-ness. 🙂

4. What are five of your biggest pet peeves? What do you think would be fitting punishments for each?  1. Drivers who swing their car out to the right to take a left turn.  2.  People who use the word “irregardless.”  3.  Insurance companies that think they can prescribe what’s best for my health.  4.  Radio stations that ruin really good songs by playing them every twenty minutes.  5.  Wizard of Oz comments when I tell people I used to live in Kansas.  (I hate Wizard of Oz.  Don’t judge me.) [I’m a little surprised Amy doesn’t have punishments for them… she seems like she’d be the type. ;X]

5. What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever eaten?  I’m not very adventurous with food, so it’d probably be some kind of Blizzard combo from back in my Dairy Queen days.  The most disgusting one I remember was Nerds candy and Whoppers…together in vanilla ice cream.

6. If you have to listen to a song 24/7 for four days, which one would you choose?  I would throw the iPod in the lake after about an hour, no matter what song it was.  I love music but need to have a variety.

7. Cowboy boots, Stilettos, or Go Go boots?  The only one I own is stilettos, so if I have to choose one, I’d go with that.  My shoe of choice would be my fur-lined Sketchers.  They’re ugly, comfy and warm, and during the Wisconsin winter, comfy and warm win out.

8. How’d you come up with your author name? Have you ever forgotten your author name/accidentally ignored someone when they called out to you?  My parents gave me the Amy part and my husband gave me the Knupp part, so no, I’ve never forgotten or ignored. 🙂

9. Who would win in an ultimate death match? A Ninja or a Viking? A ninja.  Vikings are all big and bad-ass, but I’m thinking they’d lack the finesse of a ninja.

10. What was your favorite book as a child?  There was a book in my grade school library called A Letter to Amy.  I checked it out EVERY week just because my name was in the title.  No memory of what it was about, but it just shows how important a title is, right? 😉

11. What did you do with your first royalty check?  What I do with all my royalty checks…pay bills.  Glamorous, yes?

12. What’s your writing process?  Plot and plot and figure and plot and start writing and then figure out my plot sucks and won’t work for my characters.  From there, I pretty much have to wing it.  You’d think skipping the plotting stage would be a good idea for me, but that causes me more anxiety than it’s worth.  That original plotting craziness seems to be a necessary step in order for me to get to the eventual story.

13. What’s the most unique/strange silly skill your possess?  I’m pretty sure I could win a belching contest but I’ve never had the nerve to try one in public.  (I do rule the Knupp house, even though I’m the only female, though.  My mom is so proud.)

14. Which is worst? Hang nail, splinter, or paper cut?  Paper cut!

15. What’s the first type of alcohol you ever tried to drink? What do you prefer to drink now?  Kahlua and cream is the worst because I detest coffee.  I prefer gluten-free beer…or vodka.  I try to avoid having them together because that never ends well.

16. Is there a genre you’d like to write but haven’t? What genre would you personally never try to write?  I plan to try young adult, but probably most of what I write will always have some kind of romance in it.  I would never ever try to write historical because I am a history idiot for the most part.

She’s giving away copies of her upcoming November book After the Storm. Have you ever read a book by Ms. Knupp before? What questions do you have for her? Remember, the more off the wall the better! 😀

Guest Author & A Giveaway: Alyssa Day

Today we have totally awesome author Alyssa Day visiting with us, and she’s also a life saver. She’s a rock star that saved my bacon at the last minute, so yay Ms. Day!

She answered a few questions, obviously opting for the ALBTALBS style author interview. Without further ado, the questions! (I also gave her a strict time line – kinda like – negative time – so… pretty impressive, huh?)

What do you think is the best commercial of all time?
The Sprint herd of dachshunds commercial. “STAMPEDE!” Cracks me up every time.

What’s the most unique/strange silly skill your possess?
I can sing the French national anthem in French and the national anthem of the Philippines in Tagalog. (!!!)

Did you go to prom? if so – describe your dress. Would you admit to wearing it today, much less actually wear it? 😉
Didn’t go. Was DESPERATELY shy in high school, and was dating an older guy (out of HS). (I dunno, I think if you were dating a  guy out of HS you weren’t that shy… since you had a older boyfriend ;))

What was the first type of alcohol you tried to drink? How was that experience? Do you still drink that?
Beer.  ICK. Hated it. Like some beers now, but more of a wine girl.

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?
Yes, every new release day, my family and I go “visit” my new book at the bookstore and then go out to dinner.  It’s a welcome bit of celebration in a crazy industry.  While writing, I listen to one music CD over and over and over during the mad rush at the end of the first draft. (Norah Jones, Come Away with Me.) I’m like Pavlov’s dog: put that CD on and I start drooling.  Er, writing.

What would you put in your ideal candy bar?
Dark chocolate, caramel, and pecans. And possibly nacho chips & jalapeños.

What tv show do you wish was still on the air?
FIREFLY FOR THE WIN!!!

Did you ever read under the covers at night as a child with a flash light or night light? [So your parents wouldn’t know you were awake?] Ever have any mishaps with it?
YES! OMG, yes! Read The Exorcist when I was only 10 and living in the Philippines and scared myself so badly I had to sleep with the lights on for weeks!

What’s the most embarrassing thing to ever happen to you at school? What about the most embarrassing thing to happen at a conference?
You don’t have that kind of money. (Guys, I think that’s a challenge! Anyone want to start up a fund? :P)

Do you collect anything? If yes, what and why?
I have an involuntary snow globe collection, thanks to my crazy husband. Also, we have a tradition between us that whenever one of us travels for work, we bring the other one a gift to try to win the “Most Tacky” prize. The item must be no larger than 1 or 2 inches tall/wide, so we don’t fill up our house with this crap.  Judd (aka Navy Guy) is currently ahead with the sumo wrestler he got me in Japan.

What’s your favorite hair care product? shampoo, conditioner, and other?
My Paul Mitchell Smoothing Serum. Could never time travel to the past–my hair would be a frizzy mess without it.

If you could be a character in any children’s literature book – which book would you choose, and who would you be?
Prince Caspian. Or Batgirl.

Ms. Day is giving away TWO prizes today! One person will win a print book from her Warriors of Poseidon series and another will win an audiobook to the series! Wow!

So – have you read any of her books? Do you like Atlantis, or Greek Mythology? Does the name Poseidon mean anything to you? Or in general – have any questions to ask Alyssa? Remember, the zanier, the better. Outrageous questions are encouraged! 😀

Guest Author & A Giveaway: Roxanne St. Claire

You guys! June is over! (Thank goodness) I can’t believe July is here, and yet it is. The year is more than half over! As you know, the first Tuesday of the month is a Guest Author & A Giveaway post, and we’ve got Roxanne St. Claire with us today! She has been around the romance community for many years, and writes in various genres too, so I expect she’s quite familiar to most of you. 😀 (And she’s shared an exclusive excerpt with us before…)

1. 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?
Before I write “Chapter One” I have to have a picture that captures the looks and attitude of my hero. So, I have to spend days and days (sometimes more, if you can believe that) surfing the internet for pictures of hot guys. I also like to have a title I love, even if I know it might not make the final cut. Those two things are worthy procrastination techniques, er, I mean pre-writing goals.

2. What is the super power you would most like to have? and least like to have?
I would like to be bullet proof and nothing — no words, no weapons, no mean looks, no gossip, no lies, no pile of hungry red ants, no monsters, no nothin’ — could hurt me. Least? I would never want to be able to read people’s minds. Why? Because I’m not bullet proof.

3. What do you think is the best commercial of all time? (Is it online?)
It was a pro-bono ad written and produced by my stepson for a homeless shelter, and he won an Emmy for it! Here it is!

4. What’s the first type of alcohol you ever tried to drink? Where did you have it, and how old were you? What’s your favorite drink now?
Southern Comfort and orange juice, freshman year in college. Blech. My drink depends on my mood and surroundings, but I find that most situations call for wine. Perhaps all situations. In fact, this interview just called for some. Hold on…I’m pouring. Things might get more interesting now.

5. 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?
For $50,000? That’s a good question. There’s a book idea in that question, I tell you. Since I have so many friends who’ve lost their hair to chemo, I might be convinced to shave but only to give the money to cancer research. Otherwise, it would seem pretty smarmy to me. And, trust me, no one would want my paltry, bleached strands that don’t hold a curl and can be blow dried in less time than it takes most people to apply their product.

6. What’s the most embarrassing thing to ever happen to you at school? What about at a conference?
I got yelled at by Sister Tarsisius for claiming I had a headache, and stood in the hall of St. Gabriel’s in front of her and peed my pants. (Second grade, true story.) At a conference? Same thing. Only it was Kresley Cole and I was laughing.

7. What’s the most interesting thing you’ve ever eaten? What about the best thing? What’s your favorite dish? Your favorite fruit? Your favorite vegetable? Is it “just because” or is there any reason for each?
Honestly, I don’t think of food as “interesting” or not. I am married to a foodie of the enth degree. I think of food in terms of delicious, more delicious, and “oh my God, I will never divorce the man who made this meal.” Fave fruit is a dessert he makes based on a recipe by Adriana Giramonti called “Strawberries Italian Style” that is TO DIE FOR. Here’s recipe.  We serve those over puff pastries and they’ll give you a buzz, so don’t serve to the little ones. Vegetable? What is this vegetable you speak of? Do French fries count?

8. Do you prefer Winter Olympics, or Summer? And which sport/event?
My favorite part is the opening ceremonies! Seriously, it’s all downhill (especially skiing, ha ha) from there for me.

9. Which ancient culture/civilization would you most like to visit? Ancient Greece, Rome, Egypt, China, Mesopotamia, Africa, or South America? Why?
Oh, somewhere around Jerusalem in 33 AD. I would love to have been there and met Him.

10. What is a question you always wish people would ask you [as an author or otherwise]?
Tell me about your next book! Why,thank you, Limecello, I will! My first Young Adult book, Don’t You Wish, releases in TEN DAYS (a week from today, now,) from Random House/Delacorte. This is a parallel universe story full of hilarity, emotion, romance, and a little (very little) quantum physics. I love this book and think everyone in this universe and the one parallel to us should read it. Also, it has been optioned for film!! You can ask me about that, too!

11. Which fairy tale would you most like to be in? Least?
Aladdin! Sinbad! Ali Baba! My favorite fairy tales are from a book I still have, called Tales from the Arabian Nights: A “tween-age” book. My mother ordered it from her monthly book club when I was ten, and I think I’ve read the Aladdin fairy tales a thousand times. I still have the book, all yellowed and dog-earred, with some of my favorite lines highlighted and notes in my little girl handwriting. Here’s an example of something I underlined.

On his fourth voyage, Sinbad was almost eaten by cannibals, who did not mind his being skinny.

12. What did you do with the money from your first royalty check?
That sound you hear? That’s me guffawing in laughter. My first royalty check was worth less than the postage on the package the statement came in.

13. What TV show do you wish was still on the air?
Dallas. Wait! They brought it back. And, honestly, they should have left it off the air. The lesson is: you can never go home, even to South Fork. Especially to South Fork. JR’s eyebrows were epic, though.

14. Which do you prefer? 15 degree weather, or 105 degree weather? Along those lines – would you rather go to Nebraska, or Vermont?
I’m a hot weather girl, which is why I live in Florida. I can take anything but being cold. I have been to Vermont many times (gorgeous!) so I would choose Nebraska…with someone to keep me warm.

15. Which has been your favorite genre to write? Is there any new one you want to try? Which genre are you focusing on now?
I love ‘em all! I’ve written more romantic suspense than anything, and I guess that’s my wheelhouse. (Free book to anyone who knows where that expression began!) I’m comfortable in that genre, that’s for sure. But, this past year, I’ve written only contemporaries and young adult, and I’ve found them both to be fresh and fun. I’d like to try an epic paranormal YA fantasy next. (Did I say that?)

16. What is one luxury you simply cannot live without?
Pedicures. Cleaning ladies. Finishing salt. Why must it be one?

17. What would you put in your ideal candy bar? What’s your favorite snack food? Are you a sweet, or savory girl?
My ideal treat is both sweet and salty. Hands down, my number one favorite snack is (are?) chocolate covered potato chips made locally, sold here and obviously in invented by a woman in the middle of PMS. Ladies, you will thank me for this link, I promise.

18. If you weren’t a writer, what would you be doing? What is one career/profession you could never do? Why? (To both)
If I weren’t a writer, I would have convinced my husband to open a restaurant and I would be the hostess, a job I was born to do! I love strangers, I love food, and I have a bit of a control freak in me (You can’t sit there!!!). His name is Rich and my daughter decided the restaurant would be called “Rich With Flavor” – can you beat that? Barring that, I would have been Christiane Amanpour, traveling to warzones to cover heartwrenching news stories and have drunken, lusty affairs with brooding foreign correspondents.

I could never do anything that requires math, for obvious reasons.

As you can see, Rocki is herself quite the character! 😀 Thank you so much for visiting with all of us today, Ms. St. Claire!

Roxanne is giving away a copy of Barefoot in the Sand and Don’t You Wish – two winners! So what questions do you have for her? Have you ever read her category romances? (That’s how I “discovered” her way back in the day! … Or was it French Twist? Either way, you should read all of them. :D)

Y’all know the drill. Have you read anything by Rocki before? Which genre that she writes is your favorite? And, as always – my challenge to you. What crazy questions do you have for her? *NB you can find how the giveaway is run here.

Guest Author & A Giveaway: Julie Anne Long

Hi friends! Birthday month is almost over 🙁 And not a single present! But that’s okay, because you know what? I have presents for you! And you know what’s a great gift? A fun visit from author Julie Anne Long! She’s answered some questions, and is also sharing an exclusive excerpt of A Notorious Countess Confesses which isn’t out until October 30! Whee!!!

Ms. Long is also a sneaky one, so keep an eye out for her! 😉 Anyway, let’s start out with those questions!

1. Which would you prefer wearing – cowboy boots or stilettos?
Cowboy boots. Where else would I keep my miniature pearl-handled  derringer?

2. As a child, did you ever imagine your stuffed animals came to life?
“Imagine”? What do you mean? Didn’t…yours?  I suspect my Breyer horses of galloping all over the place while I was sleeping.

3. What do you think about clowns?
I try not to think about clowns.

4. What author promo has been most effective for you?
It’s so difficult to meaningfully quantify the impact (though it’s tempting for anyone who likes to analyze things, and boy do I) of any particular promo. I think I’ll instead offer a bit of advice: think the smartest (and it sounds simple) thing any author can do is to make sure the readers who love her books know when she has a new one coming, however that works best for you—newsletter, Facebook, Twitter or so forth.  Maintain a consistent, ongoing connection with your readers. It’s such a pleasure.

5. What was your favorite book as a child? Which character in it did you most want to be?
I loved so many books as a child it’s nearly impossible to choose one. But when we were little, my sister and I went through a phase where we were obsessed with all the Laura Ingalls Wilder books. We played “Little House on the Prairie” every day. We baked mud pies on baking day and pretended to milk our poor Malamute (she was the stand-in for a cow) and churned fake butter. If I could have been Laura Ingalls Wilder riding Black Beauty, that would have been SWEET.

6. What kind of toothbrush and toothpaste is on your bathroom counter right now? What about your toothbrush? Are there brands for either you prefer?
My toothbrush, huh? It’s pink. And has bristles at all different heights. The toothpaste is Crest and apparently it does an awful lot of things—whitens, brightens, scrubs, freshens my breath—and the tube is huge, about the size of a forearm, maybe because I bought it at Costco.

7. If you were to become a bear, which type would you choose?
I think I might like to be a Giant Panda. I quite like the idea of the word “Giant” in front of my name.  Their scientific name, Ailuropoda melanoleuca, translates to “black and white cat-foot,” and I’m for anything to do with cats. They’re omnivorous, and so am I. Black and white as a color combination never goes out of style.  And they look unbearably (unbearably. Ha!) puffy and adorable, but they’re still BEARS, and they might just attack anyone who irritates them.

8. What is your secret plan for world domination?
Little do you all know, but I’ve been dominating the world for some time now. You are all puppet s in my intricate master plan. 😉 But I’m a benign (and subtle) despot.  But you have nothing to fear: unlike Chase Eversea in Since the Surrender, I don’t have any issues with puppets.

9. Do you collect anything? If no, have you ever collected anything? What did you do with it?
I don’t collect anything with real conviction. Unless you count, of course, books (then again, I’m sure most of the people reading this blog have prodigious libraries).  I love very old books, but I don’t have a lot because  I like to come across them serendipitously—I love thrift stores and rummage sales and the huge Friends of the Library sale at Fort Mason for that sort of thing. I have several books with lovely worn Art Nouveau covers. I have a few special Art Deco objects. The older I get the less stuff I seem to want, and I’m particular about what I acquire.

10. What five deceased authors would you invite to a dinner party?
Deceased authors?!? That’s an alarming notion! Are they zombies? Will I need to serve brains??
If I may resurrect five authors, let’s see…if I don’t do this completely off the top of my head I’ll be mulling forever, so I’ll do this completely off the top of my head. I want to laugh, think and flirt during my dinner party, and I want my guests to get along with each other and have a wonderful time, and you didn’t specific fiction authors (and I love wriggling through a loophole), so I’ll invite Jane Austen, Benjamin Franklin (a thinker and a flirter if ever there was one), Richard Feynman (Nobel Prize winning Physicist; I read his book “Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman”, many times—he was a kick. I wish I knew him), and George Gordon, Lord Byron. I think they’ll all hit it off.

Exclusive excerpt from A Notorious Countess Confesses, coming October 2012
copyright 2012 Julie Anne Long (It’s so exclusive and early Avon hasn’t even posted the cover on Amazon yet! Eee!)

A little bit of set-up here: Shortly before this excerpt takes place, the Countess of Wareham and Reverend Sylvaine had an inauspicious and very brief first encounter, right after morning services at the church in Pennyroyal Green. They’re coolly polite to each other, but our jaded countess is unmoved by the admittedly handsome vicar,  and Adam privately thinks the countess, though beautiful, seems remote and untouchable, “as sealed and gleaming as a jar of preserves,” and therefore not terribly interesting to him. When Lady Wareham  and her maid run into a little carriage trouble on the Sussex downs and the countess steps out of her carriage while her maid goes in search of help,  they have another little encounter when he accidentally startles her. Do impressions change? Let’s see…

She leaped back with a stifled shriek, clapping her hand to her heart.
“Sweet Merciful Mary Mother of God, ye shouldna sneak up like that! Ye creep like a cat ye bloody big …”
She stopped.
A very ripe Irish accent, long dormant but apparently healthy and whole and frisky and unleashed by shock, echoed across the countryside. Bloody big bloody big bloody big …
Ohhhh. The shame of it.
She wanted to close her eyes and sink deep, deep into the earth.
Instead, she forced herself to look up—very up—at who proved to be the Reverend Adam Sylvaine, the vicar.
He appeared entirely unruffled. Apart from his eyes, that was. They fair danced like flames with wicked, wicked, downright un-Christian mirth.
One of her horses whickered into what threatened to be a never-ending silence.
Be a gentleman, she silently willed him. Leave it lie. Pretend you heard nothing at all.
Up his eyebrows went.
“Biiiig …” he prompted.
She eyed him stonily.  Bastard, she was tempted to complete. Why not? In for a penny, in for a pound.
He waited. Patient as Job. Wicked as Lucifer. Amused as hell.
“Vicar,” she completed inanely, finally, on a mumble.
His head went back as though this was almost too good to be true, then came down on a nod.
“I suppose I am,” he agreed thoughtfully, though his voice held a suspicious tremble. Stifled laughter. “I suppose I am a big …vicar …. Though no one has ever before accused me before of creeping like a cat. Something to do with being … well, big, I suppose.”
The vicar was taking the piss out of her, as her brother Seamus would say, and quite effectively, too.
She looked full into his face then. His eyes were such a disarming blue—the color of deep, still water, of Lough Leane in Killarney—they made her strangely restless. It was if the weather inside him was always clear and temperate. Like his conscience and unblemished soul, no doubt, she thought sardonically. An unprepossessing black wool coat—Weston hadn’t stitched up that one, she knew this for certain—whipped behind him in the stiffening wind, which was also doing its best to pluck a carelessly knotted cravat from the confines of a gray, striped waistcoat  of no discernible pedigree.
And as though it they were was a beckoning road, her eyes followed the line of longer, finer, harder thighs than a vicar had any business possessing down to the dusty, creased toes of his boots. Which most definitely had not been made by Hoby.
Her eyes stayed safely on the ground. She took advantage of a moment of unexpectedly necessary composure gathering in the wake of the revelation about his thighs.
“I thought vicars were supposed to wear dresses.”  She said this almost testily. At least she had gotten  control of her accent.
“Oh, a dress is optional.”
Ping! Insults bounced from him, it seemed.
“And by ‘dress,’ I suppose you mean ‘cassock’?” he added helpfully. “Difficult to creep like a cat in a cassock, you see, Lady Wareham. It swirls about one’s ankles, flaps noisily in the breeze. One needs stealth to stop iniquity in its tracks.”
In … iquity?
The word was a slap.
But … perhaps he was jesting? Surely he was? Did he know about her? Was the whole of this horrid village going to take turns plaguing her in turns? Would they turn out with boiling oil?
“Is that why you’ve suddenly appeared? Did you scent iniquity on the wind then, Reverend Sylvaine? Do you roam the Sussex countryside sniffing for it, like a truffle-hunting pig?”
He didn’t reply for so long she finally turned to look at him.
To find he’d gone as rigid as if he’d been driven into the ground.
Something about that stillness made her think that angering him would be very unwise, indeed. Which seemed a peculiar thought to have about a vicar. But despite the fact that he wasn’t blinking, he didn’t seem angry. He was studying her the way one might study a lock about to be picked. The only movement was his hair. The breeze lifted it, let it fall, lifted it, let it fall. Hidden in the dark blond were dark gold or copper threads and strands sun-bleached to silvery fairness. In the silence and stillness it was absurdly fascinating.
“I’ve dozens of cousins and a number of siblings, Lady Wareham. If you’ve siblings, you won’t be surprised to learn that my hide is quite callused. It’s nearly impossible to offend me.”
Well.
He said it evenly. As if he hadn’t just seen right through her, and neatly incinerated her defenses, as surely as if she were a petulant child.
“Some might interpret that as a challenge, Reverend.”
He went quiet again.  And then he smiled. Very, very faintly. Just enough, it seemed, for her to notice the elegant shape of his mouth. To tease out one dimple at the corner of it. And when at last he spoke, again she felt his voice more than she heard it, like fingers brushed along the short hairs at her nape. It had gone soft, so soft. But somehow it wasn’t gentle.
“Oh? Did you come to Pennyroyal Green for challenge, then, Lady Wareham?”
She stared at him.
He stared back.
And to her astonishment, heat slowly washed the back of her neck, the backs of her arms, and tightened the bands of her stomach. It was suddenly more difficult to breathe. It occurred to her that she’d never seen a man who was so … contained. Yes: That that was precisely the right word. As though something in him, some potential, required control. And whatever it was, whatever he was, pulled at her. The way earth pulled water into it. It felt stronger than she was, and her entire life had depended upon her being stronger than anyone.
She turned abruptly away. She inhaled in the hopes of clearing her head, but the traitorous air had turned to wine or some such; her thoughts staggered like foxed heirs at a gaming hell.
He was only a vicar, she reminded herself. The man had caught her in a rare moment of weakness amidst a particularly vulnerable episode in her life. That was all. And she was very weary, of course. After all, the church nap had hardly been the restorative kind.
She tugged her pelisse about her more snugly and stared toward her halted carriage with a little frown. Where the devil was Henny?
“It seems one of our horses threw a shoe,” she said finally. Her voice was fainter than she would have preferred.
She wondered if she’d disappointed him.
He’d been watching her. She half suspected he knew the number of her eyelashes now.
“I see,” he said easily enough, after a moment. “I was on my way to visit a parishioner when I saw your stopped carriage. And as since there’s no worry about brigands on this road since One-Eyed William haunted these parts a few decades ago, and as this isn’t precisely one of the more scenic parts of Sussex, I feared something might be amiss.”
One-eyed William? Was he jesting?
She said nothing.
“I’ll just have a word with your driver then, shall I?”
When she didn’t reply—for she couldn’t seem to find her voice—he turned. She listened to him take one step, then two steps away, and somehow the sound of his footsteps seemed like the sound of failure.
“Reverend Sylvaine …”
He stopped, turned back toward her, his brows raised in a query.
The surest way to regain her power was to deploy what made her powerful.
“I must ask your forgiveness. I fear you startled me from my manners, and … I’ve never before met a vicar, you see, and it seems like such an interesting, important role. Pray, how does one become a vicar?”
She, possibly better than any other woman in England, knew the way beneath any man’s ramparts—whether he was the Home Secretary or the King of England or a coal monger: It was flattery, served up with flirtation and innuendo.
She was startled when Reverend Sylvaine drew up visibly, instantly almost comically wary.
“One of the best ways, I’ve learned, to become one is to be related to the family who owns the living,” he living.” He said shortly. With just a hint of irony.
And said nothing more.
“Must one be faultless of character? Entirely … free of vices?”  She folded her hands before her and aimed her gaze up at him through her lashes with the precision of a rifleman.
The vicar glanced down at her demurely folded hands as though she’d unlocked a pistol. And then he slowly looked back up into her face.
He hesitated.
“I suppose it depends on how one interprets the word.”
A masterpiece of circumspection, that sentence.
His eyes were now unreadable as an empty sky, shuttered. Hers, she was fairly certain, thanks thank to some collusion between her thick black lashes and the color of her eyes and the angle of sunlight and the sheer intent to charm, were sparkling.
“Have you any vices, Mr. Sylvaine?” Her tone implied that she sincerely hoped he did, that she would be understanding and forgiving, would indeed find them fascinating, and that her own would nicely complement his.
The vicar was now as tense as a bunched fist.
And then a faint dent appeared between his eyes.
Alas, by no stretch of the imagination could she interpret this expression as “bewitched.”
“None, I’m certain, that would interest you.” He said it gently, and turned his head just slightly back toward the road, where his duties apparently awaited. As though, of all things …
… he was bored.
She was speechless.
“I should think it’s safe enough to walk alone along this part of the green, Lady Wareham, but perhaps you oughtn’t go far until you know the country better. Perhaps you’d prefer to wait inside your carriage out of the cold?”
She knew when she’d been dismissed. Pride—and astonishment—prevented her from flailing.
“Seeing to the safety of your flock, are you?” she managed almost lightly. Her voice was faint from the jostling her pride had taken.
He smiled politely. “And to my duty as a gentleman.”  More of that peculiar, distancing gentleness.  “I apologize for startling you. It wasn’t my intention.”
To her horror, heat bloomed in her cheeks again.
“My maid is very nearby,” she said shortly, struggling to hide her embarrassment. “And I don’t mind the cold.”
“I’ll just see if I can be of some assistance to your driver then, shall I?”
When she said nothing, he made a very elegant bow and turned away from her. She stood still as a stone, watching as he hailed the driver and her footman, who greeted him cheerily. All those male heads gathered together, the wigged one and her stocky, hatless driver and Mr. Sylvaine’s fair one, conferring in low voices. While the driver gently held the horse’s head by the harness, the vicar bent and lifted up the glossy animal’s hoof and inspected it. Evie watched in astonishment as he tugged his cravat free of his waistcoat and carefully, almost tenderly, wrapped the horse’s hoof to the evident approval of her staff.
And then he turned and waved a farewell, striding up the road, no doubt toward his original destination. Cravatless.
She watched him go.
At last she heard the huffing of Henny’s breathing before she saw Henny, and then Henny crested the hill, skirts lifted in her hands, exposing a few inches of thick, sturdy ankle decorously covered in thick, sagging, thick woolen stockings. “I fear no one answered me knock at the door, m’lady.”
She dropped her skirts and froze in place when she saw her mistress’s face.
Her eyes went wide.
Then she narrowed them shrewdly and swiveled her great head about and raised a hand to shade her eyes when she saw Adam Sylvaine walking away, posture like a soldier’s, stride long and easy.
Silently, they both watched him.
They in fact watched long enough for it to become ridiculous.
He never once looked back.
“Now that one is a man,” Henny pronounced finally. As though they’d been debating the topic.
Evie snorted. “The country air has curdled your brain.” She tossed her head and strode toward the carriage. Henny followed on her heels, still huffing.

So what do you think of the excerpt? Are you sold? Gonna preorder it right now? [Getting my hints? ;D] So you know the drill – ask Julie Anne Long any question you want! And one lucky commenter gets any two Pennyroyal Green series books of his/her choice! Fantastic!

Guest Author & A Giveaway: Leslie Kelly

Hey y’all! You’ll notice I am NOT ON TOP of things lately. My apologies. No reason to get into it here/now – nor is it the place. Especially since you don’t want to hear what I’ve got to say, because the fabulous Leslie Kelly is here! She’s super awesome, and agreed to be a guest here even though I missed meeting her in NYC last year because someone *coughsJoycoughs* decided to get a second margarita. ;D No, actually, this was probably scheduled at least six months before that happened. Yeah I’m totally sleep deprived.

Anyway, it’s still part of the birthday month festivities! And today is extra special and fun because Leslie wrote a guest post and decided to answer some of those zany “author interview” questions! You’ll notice everyone in June is getting some from the same set. I did it on purpose. (Honest!) Thought it’d be fun to compare them. 😀

Adaptation

By

Leslie Kelly

 After having written dozens of books during my fourteen-year career, I am always on the lookouts for projects that excite me creatively. My Harlequin editor has told me many times that she knows as long as she can keep me interested, she’ll get great books. If I get bored—if I feel like I’m doing the same old book again and again—writing is an utter chore.

Fortunately, a few years ago I was invited to participate in a new Blaze miniseries, called Blazing Bedtime Stories. Since that time, I’ve found something I really love to do—adapting fairy tales, standard tales or classics, and giving them a modern, sexy, fun Blaze twist.

I’ve now written several bedtime novellas, spicing up stories loosely based on Little Red Riding Hood, The Princess and the Pea, The Prince and the Pauper, and Sleeping Beauty. I just finished the next story in the series, which is a mash-up of The Nutcracker and Coming To America which will be coming out in December.

Having realized that I wanted to do more than fairy tales, I thought about it last year and decided to try something different. I am a big William Shakespeare fan, and decided to write an updated, modernized, super-steamy version of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Believe it or not, I’d never actually read that play, or seen any version of it, so my first job was to read it. I then took bits and pieces that I thought would translate well into a contemporary story, and layered them into my version, Blazing Midsummer Nights. I had a great time dropping in little Easter eggs throughout the book—from the setting in Athens, Georgia, to the “magical” woods surrounding the southern estate where the hero and heroine both live, to the names of their eccentric landlords (Tatiana and Obi-Wan…ha!) I played around with some dreams, some mystical tea, an overbearing father and a love quadrangle. I was thrilled with the result, and can’t remember the last time a story was so easy for me to write.

I loved doing that book so much that I began thinking of other types of story I could adapt for a Blaze release. I have read most of the “classic” novels and that’s where I went for my next bit of inspiration. I immediately thought of the D.H. Lawrence novel Lady Chatterley’s Lover. Though that book was incredibly racy in its day, it is relatively tame compared to what’s being published today, and I thought I could take the heat up another notch. The problem is, I abhor infidelity. I knew I would never be comfortable writing a married heroine who’s cheating on her husband, so I had to play around with the premise to reach my comfort level. So far, the story’s coming along really well and I think readers will like it.

Now, the “author interview!”

1.     How’d you come up with your author name?
Actually, Leslie Kelly is my real name. When I sold my first book, I just thought it would be easier to stick with my real name rather than a pseudonym. Looking back, I wish I’d chosen another one since my books get some attention for their steam content.

I also write dark romantic thrillers under the pseudonym Leslie Parrish. I was going back and forth with my NAL editor on possible pseudonyms—one would be too short, one too long, one too similar to another author’s. Finally I said, “Well, how about Parrish…since so many people will perish in these books?!” She loved it and that’s how we settled on that.

2. What’s the most embarrassing thing to ever happen to you at school? And what about at a conference?
I remember being in 11th grade, sitting in one of those open classrooms that were popular back in the 80’s. (Basically an enormous area, with “giant cubicles” for each classroom.) It was Mr. Virts’s Contemporary Issue class—he was my favorite teacher, it was my favorite class. Anyway, I was leaning back on the back 2 legs of the chair, and of course I leaned too far. Not only did I fly backward, but as I was holding onto the edge of my desk, I brought that with me. It did a complete flip-over, smashing into another girl who sat nearby.

I was mortified to say the least!

As for the conference—at the RWA conference in Dallas in, oh, I think it was 2004? I was in the bar (not even having had a drink yet, believe it or not) and was pulling over a really heavy chair to join my editor and a few other authors. I was wearing really super-thick-soled flip-flops, and the chair was heavier than I expected. I ended up pulling, but it didn’t budge, and I fell back on my butt. Flat, hard, SLAM on my tailbone. I was in utter agony. My roommate came back to the room and found me lying on the bed, face down, with a towel full of ice on my butt. I had to fly home to Florida that way, and when I got home and went to the doctor for an x-ray, I found out I’d actually broken my tailbone. Talk about painful!

3. If you were to become a spammer, what product would you peddle? And what would your message be? Come up with the most attention getting, creative, crazy thing. Yes, that’s a challenge.
Dick of the Year Awards. They’d go only to spammers who constantly hit me with Viagra or “finance minister from another country” schemes. I would totally love to counter by spamming those spammers with a whole bunch of “Congratulations, you’re a dick” messages!

4. What’s the most interesting thing you’ve learned while writing/researching a book?
Hmm, going to be careful with this answer…lol! Let’s just say there’s a book I wrote called Overexposed, which most readers call “The Cannoli Book.” While writing that book, I discovered I reaaaaalllly love cannoli. 😉

5. What five deceased authors would you invite to a dinner party?
Oscar Wilde and Edgar Allen Poe definitely—they are two of my all time favorites. Mark Twain seems like an interesting guy to spend an evening with. I’ve always thought it so sad that Margaret Mitchell died such a tragic death, and since Gone With The Wind has long been a favorite, I’d invite her, too. Finally, Kathleen Woodiwiss, because she introduced me to the romance novel. I read The Flame and the Flower when I was twelve or thirteen years old, locked in my bedroom closet with a flashlight. My love affair with romance has continued ever since. She was, truly, the grand dame of our genre.

Now, Leslie has questions for you!!

I’m curious, am I the only one who loves these adaptations? Do you like seeing classic stories re-told in some new, original way? And what story would you most like to see made into a sexy, sassy Blaze?

Guess what?! Leslie said “I’d be happy to give away 3 backlist books, to random commenters, of any of my Blazing Bedtime Stories books.” So whee! Any comment – or fun questions for Leslie? (You can answer her question…) But I’m just waiting for that one outrageous one that tops my interview repetoire… ;D

*NB – ETA: So to clarify… the prize is a two-book set to each of three random commenters. Isn’t Leslie so generous?