Saturday, February 26, 2011

Ellen Keener talks about the sequel to Blood Moon!!!

Hello!  And thanks to Leslie for letting me crash her blog for the day!  I’m dedicating this blog today to letting everyone in on a secret – the sequel to Blood Moon is in the works!  Right now, its got a crappy title, so I won’t bother mentioning it. (No really – I’m not sure what I was thinking when I wrote that at the top of the screen).

If you read Blood Moon, then you are certain to have met Thaddeus. He’s a secondary character with a flair for the dramatic. And I love him to pieces. So this time, the second book is about him. There’s even a third book half plotted about Aaron, which I hadn’t intended, but cropped up while I was making notes about Thaddeus.

Writing a sequel is more difficult that I imagined it would be. It’s taken me a long time to get started because I had this mental block about writing a story with my two MC on the outside, rather than the inside. It stumped me far more than it should have. But I finally sat down and forced myself to map out a plot. And with that came the strange twist of fate where I introduced Julian Thessangelos, Thaddeus and Lawrence’s father.

I did not plan for him to enter the scene, but he insinuated himself there, and now he’s made himself one of the biggest plot points. It’s his nature, I guess.

But here is the problem – as much as I adore Thaddeus, I love his father even more. And his father is bad. We’re talking the kind of villain who really should die at the end. But I don’t want to kill him. So for now, no one knows how this book will end. Because Thaddeus and Lawrence have managed to escape Dad’s radar for a long time.

But things are about to change, and they’re going to have to deal with each other.

What can I tell you about this book? You’ll still love Thaddeus. You’ll love to hate Julian. And there will be more magic, a little more darkness, and a great love story.

I’ve included a page from the beginning – something to whet your appetites.

If you want to see more, stop by the blog – http://ellenkeener.wordpress.com

I’m also always looking for more fans on FB - http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Ellen-Keener-Fan-Page/100927549965507

And you can follow me on twitter - @ellenkeener

***

“What is it?”
“Serena Winterhaven.”
They all moved forward as a tall, raven haired beauty dressed in an impeccable suit got out of the car. She wasn’t just graceful. She flowed.
“Thaddeus, how lovely to see you again.” She said. One red-tipped hand waved in the air.
Thaddeus teeth clenched. Wherever Serena went, disaster followed in her elegantly managed wake.
Lukas folded his arms across his chest, a growl rumbling around them as her high heel touched the bottom step. She paused, her smile brittle. “I thought you’d be a little more accepting of a guest.”
“Where did you get that idea?” Lukas asked. “What do you want?”
Serena examined her fingernails. “Thaddeus and I need to have a word. If you’d prefer, we can just take a stroll around the grounds,” At Lukas narrowed gaze, she huffed. “Or the parking lot. Whatever.”
He turned to Thaddeus. “Your choice.”
Not really. Thaddeus thought. She’ll just find a way to get me alone and no one will like that.
His fists rubbed the side of his pant leg. “Let’s walk, shall we?”
Serena waited for him to get to the bottom of the steps before curling her arm around his elbow. She flashed a flirty smile over her shoulder.
Thaddeus wanted to groan. Ella was back there watching somewhere, he knew it. And there’d be hell to pay later.
“Start talking, Serena.”
“Julian sent me,” she sniffed. “Otherwise I wouldn’t be within a hundred miles of your god-forsaken little backwater.”
Thaddeus tried to be cavalier, though his blood turned to ice. “And what does dear old Dad want?”
“The same as always, darling. You.”
“Well, there are some things he just can’t have.”
Serena was silent a moment, then stopped abruptly and jerked his arm. “Listen to me, Thaddeus. I don’t like your father any more than you do, but I know when to fight him and when to give in. Take a piece of free advice: he’s let you slide in the past, but whatever is going on this time, he won’t take no for an answer.”
He crossed his arms. “That sounds an awful lot like a threat.”
She laughed. “Not from me, you idiot. He’s planning on coming here himself.”

(Thanks for stopping by!!!)


Monday, February 21, 2011

The Sweater Curse by Leanne Dyck


Hello there everyone! Today we're featuring Leanne Dyck's novel The Sweater Curse!
Blurb: 
    Aspiring knitwear designer Gwen Bjarnson is stuck in Purgatory. To escape, she must re-examine her life, journey through her past and right a wrong. But which wrong?
    Young and in love, she works to establish her career except fate has different plans. One rash act and she loses everything. Never resting, always seeking, and yearning for what she can no longer have, Gwen faces the truth:  if she remains, others are destined to die.
    How will she solve the mystery before it is too late?
 
Quote:
    The earliest impressions my mind retains are a patchwork of senses:  the smell of bread baking, the wet tongue of a farm dog, and the crunch of autumn leaves. These memories are seductive. I could get lost in them.
 
    I must focus on cold hard facts.
    Place of birth:  Blondous, Manitoba.
    Date of birth:  April 14th, 1988.
    I was born into a world of big hair, padded shoulders, and disco. Freaky.
    Two years after my birth, we entered a new decade, the 90's. At twelve, we were in a new century--the twenty-first.
    Dead at the age of twenty-five.
 
Review:
The Sweater Curse:  A Modern Edda
    Leanne Dyck has crafted a tale as exotic and existential as Danish author Isak Dinesen's. Her novella begins in a Ship-of-Fools fashion, with a bitter voice in some mysterious waiting room beyond the grave. The speaker, Gwen Bjarnson, returns to her childhood years in Blondous, a small town in northern Manitoba with a major Icelandic population. Her sweet and easy-going father is a simple farmer, but her mother is an ambitious doctor bent on pursuing her career.
    Gwen finds solace in the love and care of her Auntie Oli, who shows her the art of crafts. "Knitting wove us together." But dark forces will take the family from their safe haven to Vancouver, where her storyteller dad falls quickly into alcholism. Stubbon but vulnerable Gwen is torn between two worlds, the tradition of her common-sense, hardworking forebearers and the demands of the modern life with its soul-crushing and superficial definition of success. To marry? To go to university? To become a fashion designer and as master of wools, colours, and patterns? Or to drown one's sorrows with liquor and the "sweet breath of Mary Jane"? In the creative atmosphere of Kitsilano, where "anything goes", love may come to Gwen, but is she ready to receive it? Temptations come at a price.
    Overhanging this brooding and complex story is the time-honoured tale of the Sweater Curse. Knitting a sweater for a man who is not yet a husband will bring tragedy. Creating modern characters against the fateful background of the sagas, Dyck gives them free will to choose their own destinies. This book defies genre definitions as it finds its unique place on the fiction shelves. Here's hoping Leanne Dyck returns many times to the intriguing roots of her family's past.
 
Lou Allin
 
She Felt No Pain (RendezVous Press, Oct. 2010)
That Dog Won't Hunt (Orca, Oct. 2010)
 
On Kindle:  A Little Learning and Man Corn Murders
 
Links
 
Buy link:
 
Leanne Dyck
 
Author of (the thriller)The Sweater Curse
Website: 
www.oknitting.com
Blog:  http://sweatercursed.blogspot.com

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Keira Kroft - "For The Love of Chocolate"

Valentine's Day often brings up the power of chocolate for me. Your significant other brings you flowers and candy, just sweet little tokens of affection. But for some, its velvety smoothness can mean much more. It could signify love, comfort and laughter. It’s also featured in movies and in television shows. It’s also apparently mentioned in music as well, but we aren’t going there.
For me, it means a lot that my husband goes out his way to a packed Fannie May candies and picks up my favorite—dark chocolate covered caramels. To me that is love—and that’s also paying attention.
It has also proven to increase libido.
Personal quote: Please don’t inform any shady characters that I will follow a trail of chocolate…anywhere.
One of my favorite writers JoAnn Ross has said on her website that “she dearly hopes editors never discover that she'd write for chocolate.” But she is just joking…isn’t she?

The History of Chocolate
Delicious, delectable, soothing and, yes, American. Chocolate was a New World discovery, one of the most sought-after treasures brought back to Europe from the brave new land across the Atlantic.
Cacao, from which chocolate is created, is said to have originated in the Amazon at least 4,000 years ago. The Aztecs were so enthralled with the bean that they attributed its creation to their god Quetzalcoatl who, as the legend goes descended from heaven on a beam of a morning star carrying a cacao tree stolen from paradise. In fact, the Aztecs valued the cacao bean so much that they used it as currency.
Chocolate on TV
The closer’s Brenda is famous indulging in chocolate treats in almost every episode.
Chocolate in movies
You know the answer to this one… Chocolat. If you’re single, buy yourself a box of fine chocolates, you will need them and buy or rent it. Then indulge in the hotness that is Johnny Depp.
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005) Also Johnny Depp and chocolate.
(I don’t think I will ever recover from writing this blog.)

Like Water for Chocolate (1993)

This article is actually from the NY times
Chocolate once offered simple pleasure and easy choices: plain or with almonds? Milk or dark? Now, from many perspectives — including controversy about some aspects of its production — chocolate is viewed as a far more complex food.
Fine chocolate now shares the status of wine and cheese: connoisseurs have learned to taste differences among producers and even among cacao growers, with single-plantation and single-origin chocolates emerging from Indonesia, Venezuela and the Cote d’Ivoire. (The Theobroma tree, from whose seeds chocolate comes — Theobroma is Greek for “food of the gods” — grows in hot humid climates within 20 degrees of the equator.) Click on the link to read the rest of the story. http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/subjects/c/chocolate/index.html

Alas there is a chocolate.com. Have fun  http://www.chocolate.com/
My hypothesis is that the world’s favorite sweet treat plays more of an important role in Valentine's Day than we think. Is it more important than love? For some that may be true…
One lucky commenter will win, you guessed it… A heart shaped box of Fannie May chocolates.
Keira Kroft
“Glow in the Dark”


Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Interview with Rose Stadler!

Hello everyone, and welcome! Today, our guest is Rose Stadler, author of the novel Family Reunion.


Well, let's get started! Rose has answered ten interview questions for us.
For this I chose Family Reunion because it was a fun, silly book to write. My other books have a more serious nature, historical fiction, truth and fiction combined. I call it faction. There always has to be an element of truth when you write fiction, and you have to research as seriously, because just when you think you have it right, someone will call you on it. Ask me more about it later.
1.      Is there a message in your work that you want readers to grasp?
 Family Reunion is a light-hearted look at Kallie McGill,a boring accountant until she attends a family reunion. In the time it takes for a tornado to sweep in, her life is changed. Granny is swept up, an old toothless guy steals her purse and her gay cousin's lover is up a tree. Later, after she wipes the baby goop off her hair, she goes to a bar with the intention of forgetting her soon-to-be ex husband. That's when she discovers that her wallet is missing. The bar is now a biker bar and she finds herself ass down on the barroom floor, surrounded by bikers who eat their weight in human thigh bones every day. Not only is Uncle Morty missing somewhere in the tropics of Columbia, her Aunt Celeste is lost in the jungle wearing her Jimmy Choos. I wanted people to laugh reading it as much as I laughed writing it. Don't take yourself so seriously. A good laugh is good for the soul.
Here I threw in ATF, undercover cops, bikers, a stray dog, hot and heavy sex, Columbian drug lords and the MS-13, one of the most brutal gangs in the world.
2.      What genre is your favorite to write?
I'm not terribly good at romance because, perhaps, I was a sensible social worker all my professional life, therefore, I'm too practical for the Mr. Rights. I can change my own tires if I have to... besides, my characters turn into sluts on page three.  I've tried my hand at romance, but I keep tripping over dead bodies. I like the complex w plots of mysteries. I also like writing when I don't particularly have a road map. Like taking the dog for a ride and yelling “Road trip!”  It has to work together in the end... but mysteries are my favorite.
3.      What are your current Works In Progress?
Interesting question: right now I'm trying to sell four novels and as if I had the sense God gave a goose, I wouldn't have started another. Got up one morning after a 2am dream, and started writing. What if Cain's daughter married Job's son?  Now I have Cain's Daughter (working title only) with a female villain... I may change that, depends on what happens next. She's just been kidnapped out of her condo while getting dressed. She's wearing a skirt, a red camisole, gray stockings and heels, and a bathrobe. The wind off the Atlantic is harsh.... and damnit, if she was going to be kidnapped before breakfast, she would have worn long-johns. The idea is to keep the reader guessing on every page. That's the good thing about mysteries. 
4.      Tell us about your most recent book.
Family Reunion is the most current on the market. It's a fun book and some of the reviews are saying, “I laughed so hard my face hurt.” I like that. Also on the market are 1) The Confederette, 2) Parallel Lives, 3) Lock, Stock and Wine Barrel and 4) Release Your Inner Bitch. (non-fiction, because bitches don't get abused.) The review for The Confederette ranged from “That blankity-blank author should be hung. My great grandfather fought in the Civil War and he would never have raped a woman. That woman should be horse-whipped.” to, “If you liked Cold Mountain, you'll love The Confederette.
5.      How did you come up with the title?
Titles find me. With The Confererette, I wracked my brain day after day, then one day I was watching a parade and the announcer was talking about drum majorettes.... and bang, ettes... female. I wanted my readers to know they were dealing with a strong female character post Civil War. Lock, Stock and Wine Barrel (children of Lebensborn - - Hitler's breeding camps) my main character was an army nurse, and when they leap-frogged in Italy (Anzio - - along the mountain ridge) they had to pull up stakes every time. They moved lock, stock and barrel (gun terms) but I threw in a wine barrel - - thus Lock, Stock and Wine Barrel. With Release Your Inner Bitch it was easy. As a social worker, I had worked in a shelter for domestic violence. We had a young mother, beautiful as a dove with a voice like the morning sun, terribly abused. I was trying to get her ready for court, and she kept saying that she would pray for her husband, and I wanted shake her until her teeth rattled. I made her stand up and yell at me.... then I said, “be a bitch! Tell me to go to hell!” Finally she did.  Yay....
6.      What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your book?
Don't be a wimp. Tell people up front that you're doing research on whatever. Everyone I've met has bent over backwards to help me. I acknowledge them in writing and make sure they get a copy of the book at my expense. Another thing: Don't expect everyone to love your work. With The Confederette I had to kill a horse in order to move the plot in the right direction. Horse lovers hated me, offered to pray for me and sent me information from PETA.
7.      Where and when do you write?
I often get up at 3 a.m. My most creative time is in the morning. After that, there's dishes, phone calls, marketing, sending out queries, the left-brained stuff. I can edit in the afternoon, but I slam down thoughts at first breath.
8.      How do you overcome Writer's Block?
 Writer's block is an excuse for not writing. When I get stuck I use clustering to get me moving. Take one word.... anything... rain, and see where it takes you. I taught fiction writing for 20 years and students would always say, “I'm stuck.” So what do you do when you get stuck in snow and ice? Get out the salt... sprinkle it around your tires. Words are the salt. Sprinkle them around your word-tires and move it.  
9.      Do you have any suggestions for aspiring writers? If so, what are they?
Don't ever give up.... avoid the nay-sayers (doesn't matter who.... spouse, lover, friend, agents who reject you). Do not stop learning your craft, and  do not give up. When you die... and you will, the Goodwill truck will back up to your front steps, and everything you own(ed) will either go to the kids or charity or get sold at the next rummage sale. Don't let your stories be sold along with old coffee cups. Your writing is your legacy. Keep it alive.
10.  Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Yes, if you love or hate my work, let me know. If I made you laugh or cry, tell me. If you threw  my book across the room, or wept for hours... tell me. If it gives you nightmares, tell me. If you laughed so hard you peed yourself, tell me. My readers are my reason to keep going when I feel like quiting, and every author asks, “what the heck am I doing this for? Darn, I could have been happy measuring men's inseams...”

Thanks so much for joining us today, Rose!
Check out Rose's work, everyone! Also, you can purchase Family Reunion at the following address: http://www.publishamerica.net/product21298.html