Monday, January 30, 2012

TBR welcomes Brenda Whiteside

TBR: Welcome to TBR, Brenda. Will you share a little bit about yourself?
Brenda: Thank you so much for having me. After publishing several short stories, my first novel was published in 2010. My husband and I have recently moved to prairie country in Arizona where we are enjoying the wide-open spaces while tending fruit trees and veggie gardens. We’re trying a new way of life in a large home with our son and his lady and three dogs between us. I’ll blog about our experiences on my personal blog all year. When I’m not at my laptop writing, I enjoy hiking, motorcycling and the company of good friends. 

Visit me at or on Facebook

TBR: Tell us about Honey on White Bread and where it's available.
Brenda: Honey On White Bread is a 1945 historical romance. Claire Flanagan, a starry-eyed young woman, has been raised by her crop-worker father. Benjamin Russell is helping support his five siblings without a father. The two families are poor and struggling but have plenty of love. There’s plenty of drama with these families.

Buy Links:

TBR: Please tantalize us with a story blurb or excerpt.
Brenda: When seventeen-year-old Claire Flanagan is wrenched from her father and deposited at the Good Shepherd’s Home for Wayward Girls, all dreams for Hollywood stardom are lost. But when twenty-year-old Benjamin Russell helps secure her release, she starts to believe in a happy future with him…until she discovers his ex-girlfriend is pregnant.

In this post WWII coming of age novel, Claire discovers the silver screen can’t compare with the fight she takes on for the leading role in her own life.

TBR: What inspired you to write about the theme?
Brenda: My mom was the number one inspiration. She grew up in the 30s and 40s. She’s a great storyteller and led a most unusual life. Movies and movie stars captivated her and my sister and I would watch old black and white movies from her childhood on television. I loved them as much as she did. Between her reminiscing and the old movies, my book took shape.

TBR: Are you a plotter or pantser?
Brenda: Definitely a pantser. The smallest idea can set me off and I start writing. Sometimes it works beautifully…and sometimes not. The book I am working on right now is quite involved and I had to stop at one point and do some plotting. Hated it. But once I had a clearer picture, I was off and running again, letting the characters do most of the writing.

TBR: Do you have a favorite quote you’d like to share?
Brenda: I’d like to share one from Honey On White Bread. This is Benjamin speaking to Claire.

“You know what honey does to plain white bread?” … “You dribble it on, slow…and…thick. The bread soaks the honey in and changes.” … “Well, I’m white bread to your honey.”

TBR: Which of your characters would you most/least like to invite to dinner, and why?
Brenda: The hero in my first book, Sleeping with the Lights On, is so darn charming. If he’d flirt with me like he did with Sandra and maybe sing me one of his country western love songs, I’d gladly cook him dinner. I don’t even like to cook.

TBR: While creating your books, what was one of the most surprising things you learned?
Brenda: The characters take on a mind of their own once they first hit my page. I’ve since heard other authors say this in one way or another, but I was quite surprised when it happened to me. There are times I can’t force the storyline in anyway but how a character is guiding me. And another thing is the appearance of unplanned characters. This could be a result of being a pantser instead of a plotter, but it still amazes me when it happens.

TBR: What's next for you?
Brenda: I’m well into a romantic mystery set in Flagstaff, Arizona. This book takes me back to writing slightly older hero and heroine – in their forties. While writing this book, I’ve gotten two more spinoff books percolating in my head inspired by minor characters. And then there is the desire to return to an historical but in the 1930s this time. This idea is unusual for me in that the main character will be male.

TBR: Any other published works?
Brenda: Sleeping with the Lights on is a contemporary romance published by The Wild Rose Press available in print or ebook. Tattoos, Leather and Studs is a short published by Melange Books and available in ebook. Sometime this year, The Morning After, a contemporary western novella will release through The Wild Rose Press as an ebook. Thank you for asking!

TBR: Is there anything you’d like to ask our readers?
Brenda: I’m always interested in hearing what readers are looking for in a book. When I was working to get Honey On White Bread published, there were publishers not interested in the 40s era. What era and genre would you readers like to see more?

TBR: Readers, Brenda is giving away a Night At The Movies 1945 Style, which includes a 1940s DVD, popcorn and candy. She'll pick a winner next week and announce the winner here. Be sure to include your email address so Brenda can reach you if you win.
Thanks for visiting TBR, Brenda. Best of luck to you.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Another great lineup - and the first Blurb Fest!

Yes, TBR has yet another fantastic lineup of authors this week!

Monday - Brenda Whiteside

Wednesday - LaVerne Thompson/Ursula Sinclair

Friday - Sarah Grimm

Hope you'll pop in and show these wonderful authors some love! And there's only a few more days left to visit with TBR's January Featured Author, so don't miss out. Visit with Jennie Marsland.

And next weekend, TBR will kick off a new feature - Blurb Fests. How does it work? Thanks for asking. :)

The Blurb Fests will focus on one genre at a time, with the exception of the days specified as "open to all."  Romance was a tricky one - I know there are many, many subgenres, but it seemed unfair not to have a Romance Blurb Fest.

First up...
On Saturday, Feb. 4
Fantasy Blurb Fest!

To keep it easy for everyone, all you have to do is paste your book's title and blurb into the comments section, and provide a link back to the point of sale. 

It's very simple, but please adhere to these suggestions:

Blurbs only - no excerpts, please.

One blurb per author (regardless of how many pen names you have)

The Blurb Fest will end Sunday night, so please don't post after that. Until next time, of course. :)

Blurb Fests will take place twice a month.

Next up, on Saturday Feb. 19 - Romance Blurb Fest. Hey, it's so close to Valentine's Day, it had to be Romance!

Friday, January 27, 2012

TBR welcomes Jessica E. Subject

TBR: Welcome to TBR, Jessica. Will you share a little bit about yourself?
Jessica: Thank you so much for inviting me here, today. Besides a romance author, I’m also a wife and mother. I enjoy reading, dancing and hiking. Most of the stories I write are science fiction romance, although I do have a contemporary romance. And I believe everyone in the universe deserves a happily ever after.

TBR: Tell us about Unknown Futures and where it's available.
Jessica: Unknown Futures is the story of two young women looking for love in uncommon situations. Here’s the blurb:

Attacked as a young adult, Jewel is left scarred and alone. She applies to the 1 Night Stand service, believing no one can see past her appearance to love her. But she doesn’t expect to be sent to a space station where her date could be any number of unusual alien species.

Flavia left everything behind to be one of five humans working for the Space Service space station. Extremely homesick, she is excited to learn she will be a guide to a woman from Earth visiting the station for a couple days. She is immediately drawn to the petite woman, seeing past her scars to her true inner beauty, stirring unforeseen desires.

Unfortunately, Jewel is there for a date which Flavia hasn’t been told about. Can she contain her lust and simply show her a good time? Or will she let her desire lead them into an unknown future?

TBR: Please tantalize us with an excerpt.
Jessica: Sure, in this excerpt, Flavia gets her first look at the visitors from Earth.

She waved to get their attention, thankful her charges had arrived without incident. “Hi, I’m Flavia, but you can call me V. That’s what everyone here calls me.” Because no member of any other species on the station had been able to pronounce her name without it sounding vulgar in his or her language.
The Ginnunian stepped forward and surprised her by reaching out to shake her hand—not a custom for his people. “Hello, I’m Frey, and this is my wife, Carrie.”
She shook his hand and then his wife’s, trying to hold in her excitement at meeting someone from home.
Frey moved to the side, revealing the petite woman behind him. “And this is Jewel.”
V squealed. Unable to hide her exhilaration any longer, she wrapped her arms around Jewel. Not only was she from Earth, but she looked to be only a couple years younger than her. All the Terrans on-station were her parents’ age. For once, her unwavering loneliness would ebb, at least for a few days.
But her hug wasn’t returned, only met with a gasp. V stepped back. “I’m sorry, did I hurt you?”
Jewel shook her head, but wouldn’t make eye contact.
“I think she’s a little self-conscious about her scars,” Frey said.
V winced. Why did he have to mention them? Sure, she’d noticed, but she had friends with fins, feathers, and elephant ears. A few scars wouldn’t stop her from being social. Was that why she’d been asked to entertain Jewel during her stay?

TBR: What inspired you to write about the theme?
Jessica: As I mentioned before, I believe everyone deserves a happily ever after. The two women come from different situations, but are both very lonely. The book started as a sequel to Celestial Seduction, and though it is, the romance between Jewel and Flavia is the main story.

TBR: How do you develop your characters?
Jessica: I wish I could say I have a magic formula, but I don’t. These characters come to me as I daydream (or brainstorm) which I do for two days to a week before I start writing. When I have a good idea of who they are, they become willing to share their story.

TBR: Did any music inspire your book? Do you have a playlist?
Jessica: For Unknown Futures, many songs inspired me while I was writing. Actually, one scenes takes place in a dance club. (Yes, there is a dance club in the space station.) 

Here is a sample of the songs on my playlist:
Afraid by Nelly Furtado
Don’t Phunk With My Heart by The Black Eyed Peas
Faces by 2 Unlimited
Hook Me Up by The Veronicas
Take Me On The Floor by The Veronicas

TBR: Which of your characters would you most/least like to invite to dinner, and why?
Jessica: Oh, I’d want to invite both to dinner. Flavia loves pasta as much as I do. And in no way could I exclude Jewel. I would not want Gar to show up for dinner though, for fear he’d pull a stunt like he did on the dance floor.

TBR: Tease us with one little thing about your fictional world that makes it different from others.
Jessica: Well, Unknown Futures is set in a space station. That in itself is different, but the most interesting aspect is “the tube” transportation system, which sucks you up then shoots you out at your destination. It can make for some interesting situations.

TBR: Who are some of your favorite authors and books? What are you reading now?
Jessica: Although I read many genres, I’m on a big science fiction romance kick right now, with books by Gini Koch, D.L. Jackson, Rebecca Royce, and Cathy Pegau on my immediate TBR list.

TBR: What's next for you?
Jessica: Actually, this coming Tuesday (January 31), I have the first book in The Underground series releasing, Never Gonna Let You Go. On top of that, I have many other science fiction romance projects on the go, including some sequels.

TBR: Any other published works?
Jessica: Before Unknown Futures, I wrote two other books as part of Decadent Publishing’s 1Night Stand series, Beneath the Starry Sky and Celestial Seduction. All three stories are connected through recurring characters.

TBR: Where can readers find you on the web?
Jessica: Here are the places I frequent most:

For anyone interested, leave your email address in the comments and I will send out swag for my books. *International.*
Thanks again for having me!

TBR: Thanks for visiting TBR, Jessica! Best of luck to you.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

TBR welcomes Jennifer Jakes

 TBR: Welcome to TBR, Jennifer. Will you share a little bit about yourself?
Jennifer: I live in the Mid-West on fifteen acres with my hubby-hero, our girls and assorted spoiled pets ;)

TBR: Tell us about your erotic romance, TWICE IN A LIFETIME, and where it's available.
Jennifer: No-nonsense stuntwoman Isabella Douglas will do anything to stop an unwanted divorce and reclaim the happy life she had, even allow her old friend to concoct a magical spell to turn back time. But when the spell goes awry, Izzy finds herself trapped aboard a 1768 Caribbean pirate ship with a captain who’s a dead ringer for her sexy as sin husband, Ian. Convinced he’s playing a cruel joke, she’s furious – until she realizes he doesn’t know her or believe they’re married.
Captain Ian Douglas does not have time to deal with an insane woman who claims to be his wife; he has to save his kidnapped sister. But as Izzy haunts his dreams and fills him with erotic memories he can’t explain, he’s forced to admit he feels more than lust.
Trapped in a vicious cycle of past mirroring present, Izzy knows they only have days to find Ian’s sister and prevent disaster from striking a second time. If she doesn’t, their marriage will be destroyed again – along with the man she loves.
TWICE is available at Amazon and B & N for  .99 cents. Also available at SmashWords and Are.

TBR: Please tantalize us with a story blurb or excerpt.
Ian wrapped an arm around her waist. “Miss, can you walk?”
“Yes.” She leaned into his body as if it were the most natural thing in the world. Her gaze never left his face. Something inside him sparked as he stared into her dark eyes, something that scared him more than a fifty foot swell. A feeling, a connection, something more than physical appeal, though that was most assuredly present too.
“And lieutenant, tell Edwards to boil some of his medicinal tea for the lady,” he ordered, ignoring the unsettling thoughts.
“Ian, I know you're angry, but don't act like you don’t know me.” She clutched his hand and heat sizzled up his arm. “You were right. I was wrong. But now I'm hurt and need your help.” Tears filled her eyes, pricking his conscience.
He patted her hand for reassurance as they walked. “I’ll be glad to assist you.” He smiled. “Why don’t you tell me your name? Then I’ll know.”
Her shoulders drooped. “Fine. Whatever. Isabella Douglas.”
“Ah, yes.” My wife. She had a nasty cut on the head for certain and that could explain her confusion about being married. But that didn't explain how she knew his name.
He led her to the quarter deck and through the door, her wet skirt slapping against his boots as they made their way to the cabin. The cool, dark air of the interior hall surrounded them, and she shivered as they passed the stairwell to the lower deck, her small body pressing closer to his.
White-blond hair stood out in tufts like a bird with ruffled feathers, exotic, her rich, coffee colored eyes peeked at him expectantly. No, they had never met. How could a man ever forget her?

TBR: Are you a plotter or pantser?
Jennifer: I’m a recovering pantser. Is there a 12-step program for that?

TBR: Do you have a favorite quote you’d like to share?
Jennifer: Well Behaved Women Rarely Make History – Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

TBR: Did any music inspire your book? Do you have a playlist?
Jennifer: I usually just find a song that fits my current work. For TWICE I listened to CRAZY GIRL by The Eli Young Band.

TBR: Which of your characters would you most/least like to invite to dinner, and why?
Jennifer: Oh, I’d love to have any of my heroes/heroines to dinner. I can’t help but love these people – which is a good thing. If I don’t love them, I couldn’t expect anyone else to!

TBR: What's next for you?
Jennifer: I’m working on another erotic western historical, ALASKAN HEAT, set during the 1898 gold rush.

TBR: Any other published works?
Jennifer: Yes, RAFE’S REDEMPTION, an erotic western historical set in 1866 Colorado.

TBR: What’s the most challenging aspect of writing? Most rewarding?
Jennifer: LOL – Well, the first chapter is challenging for me. I want to make it so perfect …..I end up re-writing it several times before I’m happy. And I’m big on logical reactions for my characters. But then that’s such a subjective thing b/c one woman’s logic is another woman’s stupid mistake. In the end, I just try to write what I love and hope there are others who will enjoy my work. J

TBR: Who are some of your favorite authors and books? What are you reading now?
Jennifer: Sabrina Jeffries is a favorite, Emma Holly and PJ Mellor also. Right now I’m reading AFTER MIDNIGHT by Sarah Grimm

TBR: Where can readers find you on the web?
Jennifer: or join me on my blog for Man Candy Monday  

TBR: Is there anything you’d like to ask our readers?
Jennifer: Yes, I write mostly western historical but have to have a pirate once in awhile J So readers, which do you prefer reading about: Cowboys or Pirates? Who is the sexier hero?

TBR: Readers, Jennifer Jakes is giving away an e- book to one lucky commenter. She'll pick a winner on Sunday, Jan. 28 and announce the winner here. Be sure to include your email address.
Thanks for visiting TBR, Jennifer. All the best to you.

Monday, January 23, 2012

TBR welcomes Emma Lai

TBR: Welcome to TBR, Emma Lai. Will you share a little bit about yourself?
Emma: Thanks for hosting me at TBR. I love fiction and write a variety of genres, though only romance as Emma Lai. When I’m not penning a new story or editing, I’m chasing my two-year old son.

TBR: Tell us about Riding Rodeo and where it's available.
Emma: Riding Rodeo was released by The Wild Rose Press and is available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble as well as All Romance e-Books and Fictionwise.

The last person Amanda Goodson expected to walk into her bakery was Sean Cassidy, the bareback bronc rider who rode her hard one night and left without a good-bye the next day. Since then, she’d sworn off one-night stands and cowboys, but one look at the man she called Rodeo leaves her hankering for another ride.

A nasty injury ended Sean’s career and left him with nothing but time to contemplate past sins, especially the most damning one...walking out on Amanda, the one woman he couldn’t forget. Eager to right the biggest mistake of his life, he finds Amanda—and learns he has competition. Never one to back down from a challenge, he offers to fulfill her darkest fantasy—taking two cowboys for a ride.

When the dust settles, will Sean’s plan to win Amanda’s trust backfire or will she risk her heart for one more shot at Riding Rodeo?

TBR: Please tantalize us with an excerpt.
The bell over the door tinkled as a new customer entered the bakery. Amanda Goodson's breath caught when she glanced over the shoulder of her current customer, elderly Mrs. Thompson. Bright afternoon sunshine from a beautiful late-spring day entered the storefront window and cast a delicious glow over the tastiest man Amanda had ever seen.
A navy blue T-shirt clung to broad shoulders, a muscled chest and six-pack abs. Brawny thighs strained the denim of a pair of faded jeans, and she knew from a previous encounter that the material hugged a firm ass.
She licked her lips. The rodeo was back in town.
Sean Cassidy winked when he noticed her gaze. He strode toward the counter with the same slow roll of his hips she remembered, his cowboy boots, polished to a high sheen, clomping against the slate floor with each step. The rhythmic tattoo of his sexy walk called to mind their one headboard-banging-against-the-wall sexual exploit.
Thud. Thud. Thud. She wasn't sure if it was her heartbeat or echoes of her memory.
Sweat moistened her palms, but it wasn't sweat tickling the insides of her thighs. Damn the man. He could still make her cream her panties even though their one-night stand happened more than a year ago--one year, six months, and some change, but who was counting?

TBR: What inspired you to write about the theme?
Emma: My sister lost her best friend, who was one of those people who always had a smile on her face. I wanted to give her the happily-ever-after she wouldn’t get.

TBR: Are you a plotter or pantser?
Emma: I’m pretty much a panster. Story ideas come to me as an opening scene, and I just go where the characters take me after that.

TBR: How do you develop your characters?
Emma: The interaction in the opening scene sets the personalities of the characters. I just try and stay true to them.

TBR: Do you have a favorite quote you’d like to share?
Emma: My personal motto. Writing is my life. Life is my hobby.

TBR: Did any music inspire your book? Do you have a playlist?
Emma: I’ve never been inspired by music though I like to have it playing while I work.

TBR: Which of your characters would you most/least like to invite to dinner, and why?
Emma: My current favorite is the Earl of Markham, a secondary character from Twice is Not Enough. I just finished writing the sequel to the story, in which he plays an important part, and fell in love with him. Too bad he’s married. I might have to go write a prequel to the two books so I can spend some more time with him.

TBR: What's next for you?
Emma: Oh, I have lots on the schedule for 2012. The third book in the Mates of the Guardians series, His Capture, Her Rescue is due out in April. I’m joining forces with a couple of other authors for a planned series of four erotic anthologies. I’ve also finished my first M/M romance and the sequel to Twice is Not Enough. With any luck they’ll be picked up and published this year. Finally, I have a full length contemporary erotica in rewrites.

TBR: Any other published works?
Emma: The first two books of the Mates of the Guardians: His Ship, Her Fantasy and His Hope, Her Salvation and a handful of erotic titles: Twice is Not Enough, Slave to Innocence, Tempting Terms, Not Just Friends and Riding Rodeo

TBR: What’s the most interesting comment you have received about your books?
Emma: I had a German fan tell me I have a special gift for sensibly describing the complex feelings associated with the slave systems of antiquity.

TBR: Where can readers find you on the web?
Twitter: @emmalaiwrites

TBR: Is there anything you’d like to ask our readers?
Emma: If you’ve read any of my stories, is there a secondary character you’d like to see get his or her own story?

TBR: Readers, Emma will give away a pdf copy of Riding Rodeo to one lucky commenter. She'll pick a winner on Tuesday, January 24th and announce the winner here. Be sure to leave your email address so she can contact you.
Thanks for visiting TBR, Emma. All the best to you.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

This week on TBR

This week, TBR welcomes a trio of wonderful romance authors!

Monday - Emma Lai

Wednesday - Jennifer Jakes

Friday - Jessica Subject

Hope you'll visit and give them a rousing welcome.

And though January's slipping away fast, you still have time to visit with the January Featured Author, Jennie Marsland.

I'm also brainstorming about pumping up weekends at TBR with Blurb Fests. So far, I'm thinking of days targeted to specific genres. Authors can post their blurbs and buy links in the comments section that weekend. It would be another way for readers to add to their TBR list! What do you think?

Friday, January 20, 2012

TBR welcomes Nancy Jardine

TBR: Welcome to TBR, Nancy. Will you share a little bit about yourself?
Nancy: Happy endings draw me every time, and that’s why I love reading and writing Romance novels. I live in a beautiful part of Scotland, brimming with ancient castles and monuments, which may explain my addiction to history, though my fledgling writing career has, so far, straddled different genres. Contemporary romances, one historical romance and some time-travel fiction for older children have been completed over the last couple of years. I like variety both in reading and writing, and as such read almost everything I can lay hands on!

TBR: Tell us about Monogamy Twist and where it's available.
Nancy: My debut novel, MONOGAMY TWIST, was published in August 2011 as a sensual Champagne Rose by The Wild Rose Press. It’s available in print and eBook formats from: The Wild Rose Press,,, and Barnes and Noble.

TBR: Please tantalize us with a story blurb or excerpt.
Nancy: You’ll be able to tell from this excerpt I sneaked in quite a bit of that love of the historical, and a touch of mystery.
“I’m really pissed off, Luke.”
Rhia’s mood was obviously not good. After more than six months living together Luke knew the best thing to do was let her blow, listen, and then maybe…make some suitable comment.
“You’ve had no update on my researches regarding your inheritance for ages. I purposely held back till I had something concrete, but all I’ve got is still a puddle of mush!”
Her disgusted tone left Luke in no doubt of just how frustrated and exasperated she was feeling. Settled into the comfortable couch in the modest sized room they had decorated as a family den, he cradled his wine glass. Rhia strode around the room having set her glass on the nearest table when they retreated there after their dinner. Luke had sensed something was bothering her during their meal preparations but realized she wasn’t ready to tell him at that point.
After months of extensive research at Greywood Hall, Rhia had yet to make the final connection between himself and his benefactress…and that lack of success really bugged her.
From Luke’s perspective he didn’t really care what she’d uncover, although he still admitted to curiosity about it. His initial drive to use Rhia’s considerable skills for that task had dissipated. He loved that she was still so motivated to find out, but he hadn’t found parting with his own money to restore Greywood Hall a chore. For the first time ever he was feeling he had a proper home taking shape, a place he was settling into comfortably like an old shoe—

TBR: What inspired you to write about the theme?
Nancy: It developed from ancestry research I’d been doing for my own family tree. Coincidentally, I was re-reading a Charles Dickens novel, and the combination of a Dickensian bequest in a contemporary setting was just too irresistible.

TBR: Are you a plotter or pantser?
Nancy: For MONOGAMY TWIST I started off as a pantser. I only had a vague plan and everything developed as I went along. By around Chapter 3, though, I had to put pencil to ‘large paper’ and plan more–to ensure the threads of the plot were intact, none broken or lost. After that I decided I needed a bit more structure, but I don’t think I’ll ever be a true plotter.

TBR: How do you develop your characters?
Nancy: 1. I have an idea of what their general character will be. 2.  I put a ‘face’ to them. 3. Further physical characteristics. 4. The rest of their personality evolves as the plot develops.  
TBR: Which of your characters would you most/least like to invite to dinner, and why?
Nancy: I’d love to have Nairn from my second contracted novel with The Wild Rose Press. I don’t have a publication date for it yet but expect it sometime later in 2012. The hero just happens to be a Gerard Butler look-alike. Dinner, I’m sure, would very interesting…

TBR: While creating your books, what was one of the most surprising things you learned?
Nancy: To keep my computer files tidy, and up to date. I’ve become much better at bookmarking sites for future reference and at setting up folders for research info-just in case I want the info again. I’ve been very frustrated when I know I’ve read something useful, but can’t locate it a second time! And I adored making the book trailer for MONOGAMY TWIST, so much that I’m already making one for my second contracted contemporary.

TBR: What's next for you?
Nancy: I’m currently doing edits for my second contemporary romance for The Wild Rose Press-Champagne Rose line. It’s another sensual light-hearted romance with a little twist. My current project on the writing desk is another contemporary history mystery but very different from MONOGAMY TWIST. I’m somewhere around a quarter through, and then I plan to start on a family saga historical, based loosely on a black sheep in my family!

TBR: Any other published works?
Nancy: My novel for children is at a contractual stage.

TBR: What’s the most challenging aspect of writing? Most rewarding?
Nancy: Doing those miles on my exercise bike! I get so tied up writing I find it’s already dark outside, and too late to go out for walk.  And creating new work. I spend too much time revising, aiming for a better way to express something. As a newbie to the marketing aspects (since March 2011) I’m still struggling with setting aside the appropriate amount of time to spend on writing and reading blogs, face book, etc. This year I intend to be more efficient with that slot every day. The most rewarding thing, though, was having the first print copy of my first ever book in my hand last year. That was fabulous! 

TBR: Who are some of your favorite authors and books? What are you reading now?
Nancy: I’m an avid reader but I tend not to remember the names of books I’ve loved a short while after reading them- since by then I’ve moved onto pastures new. I’m often drawn back to the classics-Jane Austen, H. Rider Haggard, Tolkein, Dickens. I love Morgan Llywelyn’s ‘Bard’ and her other Celtic works.  At present I’m reading two books. The first is ‘A Beautiful Cage’ by Alyson Reuben, and the second a novel for children by Ali Sparkes called ‘Frozen in Time’ that won the British ‘Blue Peter Award’ in 2010. As an ex-teacher I’m still keeping up with what’s what for younger readers. 

TBR: Where can readers find you on the web?
Nancy: My website is 
my blog is and I have facebook and amazon author pages under Nancy Jardine.

TBR: Is there anything you’d like to ask our readers?
Nancy: Just to ask them to contact me on my website or blog and tell me what they find most entertaining/endearing about MONOGAMY TWIST.

TBR: Readers, Nancy will give one lucky commenter a PDF version of Monogamy Twist. She'll pick a winner on Saturday 21st January and announce the winner on TBR on Sunday. Be sure to leave your email address so Nancy can contact you.

Thanks for visiting TBR, Nancy. All the best to you.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

TBR welcomes Brooke Johnson

TBR: TBR is happy to present Brooke Johnson. Will you share a little bit about yourself, Brooke?
Brooke: Well, I am a twenty-something writer from Northwest Arkansas, where I live with my husband and dog. I like wearing the color purple, listening to techno, and doing nerdy things like playing Dungeons & Dragons.

TBR: Tell us about The Clockwork Giant and where it's available.
Brooke: The Clockwork Giant is a steampunk adventure tale, full of geeky science and a touch of romance. It’s available at most online retailers, most notably Amazon.

TBR: Please tantalize us with a story blurb or excerpt.
It's 1881, the fiftieth anniversary of the founding of Chroniker City, the global hub of technological advancement in the modern world. Based off the British coast, the city is home to the most prestigious polytechnic university worldwide, a center of mechanical ingenuity teaching everything from clockwork mechanics and thermodynamics to electromagnetism and electricity.

Petra Wade, self-taught clockwork engineer, dreams of one day becoming a member of the Guild, an elite group of inventors and innovators who envision a future fueled by technology, but her ambitions will only come to fruition if she can find a way into the illustrious university—an institution reserved for men only. When she meets Emmerich Goss, an accomplished engineer newly recruited into the Guild, Petra discovers that he needs help building a top-secret, government-sanctioned automaton, and she is just the girl to help him.

Together, they craft the clockwork giant, and as the deadline for its completion nears, Petra finds that she can love more than gears and mainsprings.

TBR: What inspired you to write about the theme?
I wanted to tell a story about a girl who despite her current situation isn’t afraid to follow her dreams, even if she has to fight the entire way. It’s something I’ve always believed in. If you’re determined enough, you can achieve anything, no matter what life throws at you.

TBR: How do you develop your characters?
Brooke: I try to make my characters as realistic as possible, giving them dreams, flaws, past relationships, etc. But t
he most important thing about a character is what they want, why they want it, and how far they’ll go to get it. You can learn a lot about a character based on their dreams and how they react to obstacles, more so than their current occupation or eye color.

TBR: Did any music inspire your book? Do you have a playlist?
Brooke: I didn’t really create a playlist, but I did have a long list of albums I’d listen to while writing, including the TRON: Legacy, Atonement, The Painted Veil, The King’s Speech, Finding Neverland, Spirited Away, Steamboy, Howl’s Moving Castle, and House of Flying Daggers soundtracks. I also listened to a lot of Daft Punk.

TBR: Which of your characters would you most/least like to invite to dinner, and why?
Brooke: Almost everyone who has read the book can agree that the last person from Chroniker City they’d want to see at their dinner table is Tolly. He’s crude, selfish, and a sorry friend. That dinner party would not go well, and it would probably end up with Tolly badly injured.

TBR: Tease us with one little thing about your fictional world that makes it different from others.
Brooke: I think the biggest thing that sets it apart from other steampunk books is the fact that there are absolutely no paranormal elements in Chroniker City. No vampires. No werewolves. No zombies. No magic at all. I wanted to create a world that celebrated science and the ingenuity of its people—in this case, the Victorians—and I think I accomplished that. Chroniker City is a testament to scientific progress and innovative vision, cultivating the talents of anyone who dares to dream big. There, anything is possible.

TBR: What's next for you?
Brooke: Now that the post-release jitters have gone, I’ve started the sequel to The Clockwork Giant, currently untitled. Petra’s story will continue through this book and probably a third. But after that? I plan on doing something different. Maybe a Norse epic, or a space opera, or may a handful of standalone novels. I have a good two dozen book ideas, so rest assured, there will be something after Petra’s story is over.

TBR: What’s the most challenging aspect of writing? Most rewarding?
Brooke: I find the whole experience challenging. The moment I realize that I’m no longer challenging myself with each book, that will be the moment I’ll be most disappointed in myself. Writers should always challenge themselves. It forces them to be more creative, takes them to places they could never imagine, and it creates books that are passionate, daring, and awesome. The most rewarding thing about writing is finishing something that you never thought you could do. When I got the idea for The Clockwork Giant, I didn’t think I could write it. I knew it would be far more difficult than anything else I had written, and I was afraid of it. But I wrote it anyway. It’s the best thing I’ve ever written, the most challenging thing I’ve ever written, and I hope I can continue to say that with each book I write.

TBR: Who are some of your favorite authors and books? What are you reading now?
Brooke: I love anything written by Diana Wynne Jones. She is a storytelling goddess. My favorite book of hers is Howl’s Moving Castle. I also love The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings by Tolkien, as well as the Green Rider series by Kristen Britain, the Leviathan trilogy by Scott Westerfeld, and the Infernal Devices trilogy by Cassandra Clare. Right now, I’m reading the How to Train Your Dragon series by Cressida Cowell, and I have several other books lined up, including Gail Carriger’s Parasol Protectorate series, Across the Universe by Beth Revis, and The Amaranth Enchantment by Julie Berry. You can of course see everything I’m reading on Goodreads (link below).

TBR: Where can readers find you on the web?
Brooke:  My website:

TBR: Readers, Brooke is giving away a copy of The Clockwork Giant, either ebook or paperback (winner’s choice). She'll pick a winner from among the commenters on January 25 and announce the winner here.
Thanks for visiting TBR, Brooke. Best of luck to you.