Friday, August 31, 2012

TBR welcomes Mariposa Cruz

TBR: Welcome to TBR, Mariposa Cruz. Will you share a little bit about yourself?
Mariposa: As a writer, I enjoy interviewing local musicians, writers and artists as well as crafting stories.  Like my heroine, Linda, I’m a paralegal.  I write, work and dance salsa in Reno, Nevada.

TBR: Tell us about Roar! and a valid purchase link] and where it's available.
Mariposa: Roar! follows the story of Linda Underwood, an edgy loner who appears briefly in Howl.  Roar! is available from The Wild Rose Press.

TBR: Please tantalize us with a story blurb or excerpt.
Mariposa: Focused on the bottom line, Linda Underwood answers to no one. Linda’s world is torn apart when a black bear shifter turns her weekend rendezvous into a desperate struggle for her life.  As a recently-turned shifter, she is determined to beat her affliction by ignoring her beastly impulses.
After the accidental death of his wife, shifter Flynn Cromwell finds solace immersed in his work in a remote mountain cabin.  When he discovers Linda’s ravaged body near the brink of death, he’s compelled to protect her.  Can Flynn save Linda from her own stubborn nature and defend her from a vicious shifter with a taste for her blood?

TBR: What inspired you to write about the theme?
Mariposa: Before heading off for a family camping trip to Yosemite, my dad warned me about bears.  No bears raided our campsite, but they roamed through my dreams during our trip and have resided in my imagination ever since.  As soon as I finished Howl, I knew my next shifter story would be about a bear.

TBR: Are you a plotter or pantser?
Mariposa: I’m a little of both.  I usually start a story with a certain destination in mind, but the specific route to the end is always a surprise.

TBR: Do you have a favorite quote you’d like to share?
Mariposa:  “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”  Mahatma Gandhi

TBR: Which of your characters would you most/least like to invite to dinner, and why?
Mariposa: I’d love to dine with Flynn Cromwell, a towering sexy rogue with an irreverent sense of humor.  With his grizzly-sized appetite, I would not want to be the one picking up the tab.

TBR: What's next for you?
Mariposa: My current WIP is a contemporary romance involves one of my favorite passions—Salsa dancing.

TBR: Any other published works?
Mariposa: Roar! includes characters from Howl, though either can be read as a stand-alone story.

TBR: What’s the most challenging aspect of writing? Most rewarding?
Mariposa: Editing-on a bad day it is challenging-it seems impossible to shape the story the way you want to.  On a good day-editing is the most rewarding to finally get the right polish on a story.

TBR: What’s the most interesting comment you have received about your books?
Mariposa: Howl-“ The novel shines with creativity and imagination while it retains a very "human" feel.

TBR: Where can readers find you on the web?

TBR: Readers, Mariposa Cruz will give away a copy of Howl to one lucky commenter. She'll pick a winner on Saturday, September 1st and announce the winner here. Be sure to leave your email address so she can contact you.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

TBR welcomes Adrienne deWolfe

TBR: Welcome to TBR, Adrienne. Can you tell us a few of the titles you have written?
Adrienne: Thanks for asking! I am a #1 bestselling historical romance author, who has been published through Bantam and Avon books. The 3 books in my WILD TEXAS NIGHTS series have won 5 awards, including The Best Historical Romance of the Year.   
Texas Outlaw (Book 1, Wild Texas Nights) is the story of a lady train robber who tangles with a sexy US marshal, who has vowed to bring her to justice. (Right now, Texas Outlaw is FREE on Amazon, so be sure to download your copy of this wildly popular book while the promotion still lasts.)
Texas Lover (Book 2, Wild Texas Nights) is the story of a ruggedly handsome Texas Ranger, who must disguise his identity to figure out whether or not the heroine (a spirited young divorcee, who is protecting a house full of orphans), is guilty of killing her lawman lover. 
Texas Wildcat (Book 3, Wild Texas Nights) is the story of a beautiful, hot-tempered sheep rancher, who accuses local cowboys of theft and becomes a vexing problem for her closest neighbor, a drop-dead-gorgeous cattle rancher.

TBR: What is the most rewarding thing about being published?
Adrienne: Receiving enthusiastic letters from fans -- and getting to meet readers in person! 
Because I wrote 3 Western novels set in Texas (where I live), I’ve attracted a small cadre of gentleman readers.
I'll never forget the book signing where the store manager called me over the loud speaker to report to the phone.  One of my gentlemen readers had been driving across the state to attend my book signing, and he had a minor traffic accident.  I was so touched that he'd gone to so much trouble to meet me – and then to have me reserve signed copies for him!  As it turned out, he was one of the last true Texas Cowboys, who used to drive cattle along the Chisholm Trail!

TBR: You love traditional romance novels as well as paranormal. What is it about these genres that you love so much?
Adrienne: I absolutely love reading and writing stories with happy endings.  That is why I started my publishing career by writing Romance.
Romance is an optimistic genre. It allows women the same fictional privileges that, in other genres, have been traditionally reserved for the male protagonist.  

In genre Romance, a woman is consistently characterized as “heroic” and is given power over her life.  Romance remains one of the few bastions of fiction where a reader can turn, with confidence, knowing that in the end, the girl will get the guy, and perhaps more importantly, the guy will treasure her as a woman.

As for Paranormal Romance:  I have always been interested in the supernatural.  Believe it or not, the first novel that I ever tried to sell to a New York publishing house was a Paranormal Romance with a heroine who could heal people with her hands.  Unfortunately, I was 10 years ahead of my time:   no one was publishing  Paranormal Romance at that time. 
The good news is that my e-publisher has asked me to write a third book in my NAUGHTY AND NICE series, and that book, AN IMPERFECT ANGEL (Winter 2012), has Paranormal elements.

TBR: You teach online writing courses, like “How to Write a Novel That Sells.” What is your motivation for teaching workshops and courses?
Adrienne: I was so blessed early in my career to have wonderful mentors! I started writing in Houston, Texas, which was a hotbed for Historical Romance novelists, including Susan Wiggs, Barbara Dawson Smith, and Christina Dodd. After I moved to Austin, I was invited to join a critique group that included Harlequin authors Patricia Wynn, Cara West, and Pamela Ingram.
I am absolutely certain that I would NOT be published today if these talented Romance writers had not given so generously of their time and knowledge. I vowed that I would someday give back to the writing community the way my mentors had given to me. That is why I developed my website, And that is why I am so passionate about providing constructive story critiques.
My mission is to help aspiring authors live their publishing dream. How to Write a Novel That Sells is an 8-week course that starts Sept. 10 and includes story critiques.  One lucky student will receive the opportunity to have his/her book turned into an ebook through eBook Prep / eBook Publishing (a $250 value).  We’re accepting registrations now.  (Early birds get a discount!) 

TBR: What advice would you give a struggling and/or aspiring author?
Adrienne: Write every day. NEVER GIVE UP! (Read my blog for tips and inspiration.)
Before I became published in book-length fiction, I was already a successful newspaper journalist and business writer with more than 45 writing awards to my credit. Nevertheless, it took me 10 years to break into the Romance market – which only proves that I was stuck in my ways. My publication experience in non-fiction did NOT adequately prepare me to write for the commercial fiction market.
For me, the great “A-Ha” that eventually led to the publication of my #1 bestselling novel, Texas Outlaw , came when a published Romance author looked at my manuscript and pointed out, line by line, how to correct a Romance editor's vague criticisms (such as, “There’s not enough conflict in this scene"). That’s why I offer professional story critiques and private coaching to fiction writers. And that’s why I teach fiction writers how to recognize the difference between a “valid” writing criticism and an Urban Myth or a “personal prejudice.”
In my personal opinion, too many aspiring authors lose faith in their writing because someone (who doesn’t know what they’re talking about) provided feedback that made a novel unsalable, or worse, that left the writer feeling like s/he had no talent.
My mission is to make VERY sure that my students don’t walk away from my classes or my critique sessions feeling unworthy to be published!
TBR: Do you think that publishing a Romance novel and getting it to sell well is difficult? Why?
Adrienne: Every year, 78 million people around the world read at least one Romance novel. The publisher, Harlequin Romance, sells 4 books per second, and half of those are bought internationally. If you want to break into the commercial fiction market, I believe that your odds are going to be better in Romance than in any other adult fiction genre, simply because of the vast quantities of Romance novels that are sold each year.
Is it easy to break into Romance? Well, that all depends on your attitude. It took me 10 years to get published in book-length Romance, but I found mentors, and I kept my eyes focused on the goal. To help aspiring Romance authors understand the writing business, I have written a series of non-fiction books:  How to Write Wildly Popular Romances; How to Write Romance Heroes with Sex Appeal; and How to Write Sensual Love Scenes.
The simple truth is, if you give up, you will never be published. If you persevere, the odds are in your favor. The only way to remain sane throughout this process is to surround yourself with positive-minded people who support your goals and help you celebrate your successes.

TBR:  What do you like to do in your spare time when you are not writing and teaching?
Adrienne: I blog like a fiend!
Oh, wait a minute. That's writing, isn't it?
It's a little-known fact that I am a classically trained soprano, who has actually been paid to sing solos at weddings! (But only because those darling brides and grooms didn’t hear me braying Mozart's Requiem in concert.)
Sometimes, the local hospital calls me to sing and play my zither harp for comatose (yes, comatose) patients. I like to think this is a compliment, but the jury is still out on the matter.
Thank you for the opportunity to “chat” with you and your readers! Don’t forget to visit me on Twitter, Facebook, GoodReads, and Google Plus.

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

Monday, August 27, 2012

TBR welcomes Lesley Diehl

TBR: Welcome to TBR, Lesley. Will you share a little bit about yourself?
Lesley: I retired from my life as a professor of psychology and reclaimed my country roots by moving to a small cottage in the Butternut River Valley in upstate New York.  In the winter I migrate to old Florida—cowboys, scrub palmetto, and open fields of grazing cattle, a place where spurs still jingle in the post office, and gators make golf a contact sport.  Back north, the shy ghost inhabiting the cottage serves as my writing muse.  When not writing, I garden, cook, and renovate the 1874 cottage with the help of my husband, two cats, and, of course, Fred the ghost, who gives artistic direction to our work. 

I am author of two mystery series, both featuring country gals with attitude: the microbrewing mystery series set in the Butternut Valley of upstate New York—A Deadly Draught and Poisoned Pairings—and my old Florida, Big Lake Murder Mystery series—Dumpster Dying and Grilled, Chilled and Killed.  Untreedreads publishes my short stories as well as a novel length mystery, Angel Sleuth.   

TBR: Tell us about Poisoned Pairings and where it's available.
Lesley: My newest release is the second in the microbrewing series, Poisoned Pairings.  You can purchase it on Amazon at this link:   

TBR: Please tantalize us with a story blurb or excerpt.
Lesley: A student helping set up for a beer and food pairings event in Hera Knightsbridge’s microbrewery dies there under suspicious circumstances.  At first the death looks like a suicide, but the medical examiner determines it is murder, and Hera and her lover, Deputy Sheriff Jake Ryan again find themselves partners in searching for the killer.  Not only does murder threaten the community, but something more explosive has come to the valley—hydraulic fracturing or fracking, a controversial gas drilling technique whose proponents say can take the poor families of the region out of debt.  Hera and her fellow brewers are convinced it will contaminate the water supply, as it had in other places, and change forever the pristine beauty of the valley.  Connections among the student, the family of a dead brewer, a religious leader and the gas companies lead Hera and Jake into a maze of confusing and conflicting clues.  Before the two can unravel the case’s tangled threads, Jake is called away to another job, leaving Hera alone to uncover the identity of the killer before she becomes the next victim.

TBR: What inspired you to write about the theme?
Lesley: When I began the first in the microbrewing series, I wanted an unusual occupation for my protagonist, something others had not done before, so I chose brewing.  More men than women brew craft beers, so I knew the position of being in a minority would be an interesting hook for my female sleuth.  In my second in this series I decided to give my reader a little more information about pairing beer and food so readers could see beer as an interesting accompaniment to food much as we see wine and food paired.  I added the controversial gas exploration of hydrofracking as an environmental backdrop because of the current controversy in the valley here and because it has implications for the quality and quantity of water so necessary in making fine craft beers.

TBR: Are you a plotter or pantser?
Lesley:I am a pantser.  Sometimes I may know the ending scene between my killer and my sleuth, but I often do not know who committed the murder.  I do adhere to some general elements of plotting: plot point one, plot point two, the dark moment, resolution.

TBR: How do you develop your characters?
Lesley: I do that as freely as I plot.  I have a general idea of how I wish a character to be.  I know what the person looks like, what the core set of values is, family background, education, then I fill in by creating difficult situations, contact with people who care about the person or others who fear or hate the individual.  Once I have a situation I can place a person in, I determine what behavior I want.  Enough of these events, and I have a character who emerges with strengths and weaknesses, qualities the reader may identify with or hate, and desires, passions, intellectual stances I decide would work for this particular character.  Most of this I do almost unconsciously, but I am bound by needing t make the character grow and develop throughout the book.  This is true of the protagonist and the villain as well as other characters also.  As much as the plot drives what my characters do, my characters must do the things that shape how the plot evolves also.  And, of course, this is quite fluid as I may need to make a bad guy a bit nicer and a goodie two-shoes a bit more believable as I the story line unfolds.

TBR: Do you have a favorite quote you’d like to share?
Lesley: To paraphrase Mark Twain - Humans are the only animals that blush or need to.

TBR: Which of your characters would you most/least like to invite to dinner, and why?
Lesley: I have a real bad boy character in my Florida series.  I think he would be an interesting dinner guest, perhaps not a very polished one.  He chews tobacco, so one would either have to tolerate that and set a coffee can at his feet or order him to go outside.  I continue to explore how he thinks when I write about him.  For example, he believes the county would be a whole lot better off if he could simply sit in his police cruiser under a palm tree and snooze away the afternoon.  He also considers most of his bad luck as due to the uppity Yankee women he encounters.  His deductions about life are not bound by either truth or reality, but by how he believes his world to function.

TBR: While creating your books, what was one of the most surprising things you learned?
Lesley: I was always a scotch and wine drinker, but needing to research microbreweries, I spent time touring some of the breweries in Florida and New York State.  I was certain I didn’t care for beer.  I never drank it even in college when everyone went to keg parties. To my amazement, I found craft beers so unlike beers from large breweries, and I now have some brews.  It’s this knowledge I hope to convey in my microbrewing series, to let people know they’re in for an unusual taste experience.  While many men seem to find microbrews interesting, it’s a hard sell to get women to try them.

TBR: Tease us with one little thing about your fictional world that makes it different from others.
Lesley: Murder in a brewery?  The smell of malt and yeast and foamy ales?  High ceilings with towering shiny vats containing IPAs, stouts, porters?  A very different world for a murder.  Who knew a brewery could be such an enticing, yet threatening place?

TBR: What's next for you?
Lesley: My publisher will release the second in my Florida Big Lake series this fall/winter.  This one is entitled Grilled, Chilled and Killed.  Poor Emily Rhodes.  She’s always tripping across dead bodies. This time she discovers a contestant in the local barbeque cook-off covered with sauce, an apple stuck in his mouth, in a beer truck. 

TBR: Any other published works?
Lesley:   If the reader likes something more “heavenly”, Untreedreads publishing released Angel Sleuth in April.  You can find out why my protagonist needs two guardian angels, a pool shark, a detective and a pot-bellied pig to help her find a murderer.

TBR: What’s the most challenging aspect of writing? Most rewarding?
Lesley: The most challenging part is rewriting, editing.  It’s so difficult to keep at it, but I know it needs doing.  The most rewarding?  When I write something that even I find funny enough to laugh out loud.

TBR: What’s the most interesting comment you have received about your books?
Lesley: Someone said my plots were as complicated as P. D. James’.  I write nothing like her, and, as I said above, I’m a pantser in plotting, so I take that as something of a compliment.

TBR: Who are some of your favorite authors and books? What are you reading now?
Lesley: I love Robert Parker, Agatha Christie, P. D. James, Martha Grimes, Elizabeth George, Janet Evanovich, Lisa Scottoline, Harlan Cobin.
Right now I’m on the fourth book in the Harry Potter series.

TBR: Where can readers find you on the web?
Lesley: and

TBR: Is there anything you’d like to ask our readers?
Lesley: How do you find books to read?  Do you use social media, internet book sites, Amazon, word of mouth?  And what makes you pick up a book by a writer who is new to you?

TBR: Readers, Lesley will give away a copy of the first in my microbrewing series, A Deadly Draught, to one lucky commenter. She'll pick a winner next week and announce the winner here. Be sure to leave your email address so she can contact you.  I’d like to give away.

Thanks for visiting TBR, Lesley! All the best to you.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Coming up on TBR

Wow, the last week in August already! Which means only one more week to visit the August Featured Author, Sydney Scrogham.

Double wow on this weekend's blurb fest! TBR had a stampede of wonderful blurbs. Thanks to the authors who shared theirs. And thanks to the more than 75 visitors who viewed them.

This week, three fantastic authors are coming to TBR:

M - 27  - Leslie Diehl
W- 29  - Adrienne deWolfe
F - 31  - Mariposa Cruz
In September, watch for the Suspense and All Genres blurb fests.
Thanks, as always, for your support.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Round up your blurbs!

This weekend, TBR invites authors of Western stories to post your blurbs.

It's easy to share. In the comments section, post:

- the book title and author name

- the book blurb

- buy links

One post per author, please.

Hope you lasso some new readers. Post away!

Friday, August 24, 2012

TBR welcomes Lynn Hones

TBR: Welcome to TBR, Lynn. Will you share a little bit about yourself?
Lynn: I’m a wife of 24 years and mother to two beautiful daughters. I have two rescue dogs and two rescue cats. At the moment I’m about to strangle the younger of the dogs because he just tore up my couch cushion. Grrr. He suffers from separation anxiety. (And so do I. I’m anxious about what he’s going to destroy next while I’m gone.) lol

TBR: Tell us about A Titanic Tale and where it's available.
Lynn: My latest book, A Titanic Tale, is a young adult ghost story, but good for any age. I like to make my ghost stories as scary as possible. I’ve had a few people tell me they couldn’t continue reading one of my books because they were alone and had to wait until they were with someone else. I LOVE that.

TBR: Please tantalize us with a story blurb or excerpt.
Lynn: Buy link:

A Titanic Tale –
Beautiful Cornelia Bainesworth cared only about herself and her own life the night the Titanic went down. A curse brought on by a woman who witnessed her selfish behavior that evening destroys her, but it doesn’t stop there.
One hundred years later, the curse rears its ugly head in the life of small-town teenager Callie. As if the tragedy of her boyfriend’s death wasn’t enough, strange occurrences bring her to the brink of insanity. Callie’s search for answers is unsuccessful until a nerdy schoolmate takes up her cause and together they experience frightening apparitions, unexplained phenomena and chilling truths. These truths turn Callie’s life upside down and reveal a shocking ending to a story that began on the deck of a ship doomed the moment it saw light.

TBR: Are you a plotter or pantser?
Lynn: I have to be a panster because even when I take the time to make a beautiful outline for my story, my characters laugh and say, “Oh, really? I don’t think so.” And they change it all around.

TBR: How do you develop your characters?
Lynn: I actually think of a person in my head and suddenly they take shape. I know how they feel, what they like to wear, and what they’d say in any given situation. My husband often tells me it’s remarkable that I can do that, but to me it’s so darn easy, I think anyone can write. Of course he’s an appliance repairman and can fix anything. I can’t figure out how to use a manual can opener, so…

TBR: Do you have a favorite quote you’d like to share?
Lynn: If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. It’s simple and to the point.

TBR: Did any music inspire your book? Do you have a playlist?
Lynn: It depends on what book I’m working on. Two of my books are based in the era of the Civil War, so I’ll listen to waltzes of that time. I have one I’m working on about WWI and I listen to that type of music, much to the chagrin of my teens. Lol I love the looks on their faces when they walk into my room and listen to what I’m playing. “Where did you get THAT?” They scream. It’s actually hysterical.

TBR: Which of your characters would you most/least like to invite to dinner, and why?
Lynn: That’s a good question. The one person I’d love to have over would be Jackson Taylor from my book Those Who Wait. He’s a quiet, hard-working, honorable man who falls in love with my heroine, but has a secret so unbelievable, he has to leave her. He is so dang sweet I want to have him over to dinner even though I’m married. LOL.

TBR: While creating your books, what was one of the most surprising things you learned?
Lynn: I’ve learned that it’s not me who’s creating these stories. Believe it or not, it’s as if the characters themselves are doing it. They take over and sometimes the things they do shock even me.

TBR: Any other published works?
Lynn: Yes. I have several. My young adult books, along with A Titanic Tale, are, Gore Orphanage Road, Laugh in the Dark and Yesterday’s Island. My contemporary women’s fiction is The Cult of Light and Lies and my two paranormal romances are Those Who Wait and Haunted Vows.

TBR: What’s the most challenging aspect of writing? Most rewarding?
Lynn: The most challenging is to find the time to do it. Also, it’s so fun for me, I feel like I should be doing something like “real work.”

TBR: What’s the most interesting comment you have received about your books?
Lynn: I had one person tell me that they were so scared reading one of my books that they thought they heard a voice and put the book down. They wanted to…but couldn’t finish it. It scared them that much. (At least I hope so. Maybe they just didn’t like it and were afraid to tell me.) lol

TBR: Where can readers find you on the web?
Lynn: or I’m also on Facebook with Lynn Hones Books and I have a twitter account, too.

TBR: Is there anything you’d like to ask our readers?
Lynn: What scares them the most when reading a good, old fashioned ghost story.

TBR: Readers, Lynn will give away a handmade beachglass earrings and necklace set to one lucky commenter. She'll pick a winner and announce the winner here. Be sure to leave your email address so she can contact you.

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

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

TBR welcomes Natalie G. Owens

Everything to Lose

This story is special to me for several reasons. First, because in part it was the second book I wrote a long time ago. At the time, it was at least half in length and very poorly developed, but I still loved the basic premise and wanted to do something with it. It spent 3 years with a publisher and finally, I had my rights back and the opportunity to revisit it. To make it what I intended it to be.

Second, in this story I mention one of my favorite places in the world - Ascoli Piceno in Italy. This place has great meaning because it's where one of my dearest friends lives. We had met when we were both children. I saw her name in a magazine for kids and tweens. She was looking for people who had a passion for a certain Japanese cartoon - "Lady Oscar". The rest is history. I immediately wrote to her (didn't have email at the time, so it had to be snail mail) and told her I was crazy about that cartoon and, can we be friends? We met some time later in Rome. We had our families with us and were treated to some delectable Roman meals - pizza one day, and risotto with squash and mozzarella another day. To die for. 

Years later, when we both grew up, my friend was in emotional trouble. She felt lonely because the love of her life had traveled to some place far away and she hadn't seen him in a long time. I left everything and went to Ascoli Piceno to spend some time with her... and I fell in love with this place. So, it was no surprise I had to put it in a book. Today, my friend and I still communicate, and there's still the mutual love of "Lady Oscar" that binds us. I suppose there are things one never grows out of :).

Ascoli Piceno is the perfect backdrop for a couple to mend their broken hearts. It is old, it has character, and it welcomes you with a quiet smile. It is not glamorous like Rome or Milan, but its buildings also have stood the test of time. It is solid and full of stories to tell. My characters, Dane and Lisbeth Marsh, can surely feel its magic.

I hope you feel its magic too...

From the suburbs of London to the old charm of Ascoli Piceno, Italy, follow the journey a broken couple must take to discover the long-buried secrets that shattered their marriage. 

Lisbeth Marsh put everything on hold to be with her ideal man, even the wish to have a family. But when the dream of everlasting love vanished into thin air, she was faced with the mistakes and prejudices of her choices. 

Dane Marsh is a proud man who spent years worshiping the gods of ambition. Toward this single-minded purpose, he sacrificed his happiness and peace of mind. Now that he knows what he's lost, will he have the courage to turn his life around? 

With a little meddling from Moonlight Dating's Jeanette Lagrange and a dash of magic, the two embark on the trip of a lifetime to bury the ghosts of the past. 
Natalie G. Owens ~
Romance with a dark edge.
No rules. No formulas. Just love, mystery... and a world of surprises in between! 
Something to Live for, (Moonlight Dating Series #1), contemporary romance with supernatural elements.
Everything to Lose, (Moonlight Dating Series #2), contemporary romance