Thursday, May 30, 2013

TBR welcomes Steve Whibley

TBR: Welcome to TBR, Steve. Will you share a little bit about yourself?
Steve: Hi, TBR, thanks so much for having me. My name is Steve Whibley. I’m Canadian. I write children’s literature—middle grade and young adult adventures mostly. My first novel, GLIMPSE, which is part of the Dean Curse Chronicles, was released on April 15th.

TBR: Tell us about GLIMPSE and where it's available.
Steve: GLIMPSE is about a 13 year old boy named Dean, who becomes gifted with the ability to know when someone has 24 hours to live. He can save them, if he can figure out how they’re going to die before the time is up. But there’s a learning curve when it comes to saving lives, and Dean doesn’t have a promising start.

The book is available as an eBook exclusively from Amazon, but the print versions are available at all major retailers, and can be ordered in to most bookshops. I have links on my website: but below is a link to Amazon.

TBR: Please tantalize us with a story blurb or excerpt.
Steve:  Dean Curse avoids attention the way his best friend Colin avoids common sense. Which is why he isn't happy about being Abbotsford's latest local hero—having saved the life of a stranger, he is now front page news. Dean's reason for avoiding the limelight? Ever since his heroic act, he's been having terrifying visions of people dying and they're freaking him out so badly his psychologist father just might have him committed. Dean wants nothing more than to lay low and let life get back to normal.

But when Dean's visions start to come true, and people really start dying, he has to race against the clock—literally—to figure out what’s happening. Is this power of premonition a curse? Or is Dean gifted with the ability to save people from horrible fates? The answer will be the difference between life and death.

TBR: What inspired you to write about the theme?
Steve: I’m inspired by a lot of things, but I most of the time, when I set out to write a book, it’s because a bit of the plot played out in my mind and hooked me. That’s what happened with GLIMPSE. A scene played out, and when it was over I knew the boy I had seen was cursed, and that he saw visions of people who had 24 hours to live. From there I just started asking myself questions: Why is he cursed? Who cursed him? After a few hundred questions and page after page of plot, I had the foundation for the story.

TBR: Are you a plotter or pantser?
Steve: Touched on it a bit above, but I definitely plot, and usually my plots are quite detailed. That said, if I’m inspired to deviate, I will. But, if I deviate from the plot, I usually stop and make adjustments so I still have a clear direction of where I’m going. I want a clear end point, and I want a map showing me how I intend to get there. I tend to ramble if I don’t have the right directions plotted.

TBR: Which of your characters would you least like to invite to dinner, and why?
Steve: The main character, Dean, would not be a good person to have for dinner. His visions come at the most inopportune time, and they’re frightening. With my luck he’d be in the middle eating of a bowl of soup and I’d be wearing it.

TBR: While creating your books, what was one of the most surprising things you learned?
Steve: That the Happy Birthday song is copyrighted and you can’t use it, or portions of it in books. Also, that university libraries generally don’t use the dewy decimal system to catalogue their books.

TBR: Tease us with one little thing about your fictional world that makes it different from others.
Steve: Fictional world? Everything I write is true! Okay, maybe not. In my fictional world there is a secret society of people who are willing to sacrifice themselves for others. They’re called The Congregation of Sacrifice.

TBR: What's next for you?
Steve: Well, book two, RELIC, is slated for release in the summer, so I’m quite excited about that. Also, my agent is pitching a couple unrelated novels to publishers, so hopefully I’ll have some news to report later in the year.

TBR: What’s the most challenging aspect of writing? Most rewarding?
Steve: Writing is solitary, and I don’t just mean that in the sense that you have to write alone, which you do. It’s also solitary in the sense that publishing is an industry that not a lot of people understand. So when you really want to vent or talk to someone about a challenge, you’re often on your own.

TBR: What’s the most interesting comment you have received about your books?
Steve: A few people have pointed out that I did a fairly good job depicting the sibling relationships. I found that interesting since it was the easiest part of the book to write and I never really had to think about it. But I think that comes to the whole, “write what you know” meme. I am the seventh of nine kids, and have a little over 30 nieces and nephews so I get to experience family dynamics all the time.

TBR: Who are some of your favorite authors and books? What are you reading now?
Steve: I’m a huge fan of Kenneth Oppel. His Skybreaker series is one of my favorites and I keep hoping he’s developing another in that series. I have two books going at the moment, one is Clive Cussler’s Plague Ship, and the other is Mark Frost’s The Paladin Prophesy. I am enjoying both immensely and recommend them to everyone.

TBR: Where can readers find you on the web?
Steve:  The best place is my website – .

TBR: Thanks for visiting TBR, Steve. All the best to you.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

TBR welcomes Cassandra Dean

TBR: Welcome to TBR, Cassandra. Will you share a little bit about yourself?
Cassandra Dean: Thank you so much for having me on TBR!
Hi everyone, I’m Cassandra Dean, and I write romance of the historical variety, with books ranging from Ancient Rome to Early Victorian Times to the Wild, Wild West! I’m also extremely interested in Steampunk, Fantasy and about a hundred million other genres – I blame my short attention span. Also, Game of Thrones, cos that show fricking rocks and I REALLY want to write something just as awesome ;)

I’m Australian, love making cakes and have about a billion film cameras – it’s a sickness, but at least one I admit to.

TBR: Tell us about ROUGH DIAMOND and FOOL’S GOLD and where they're available.
CD: Ohhh, the Diamond Series! So cool!

I never thought I’d write a western, and now I’ve written two! The Diamond Series is part of Decadent Publishing’s Western Escape and revolves around the Diamond Saloon in Freewill, Wyoming, the fictional town featured in all Western Escape stories. Set in the late 1870s, I get to play with saloon girls and coal miners and hopefully gunslingers, if book 3 works out how I want it to :D



TBR: Please tantalize us with a story blurb or excerpt.
CD: Certainly!

The Diamond Series Book 1

Owner of the Diamond Saloon and Theater, Alice Reynolds is astounded when a fancy Englishman offers to buy her saloon. She won’t be selling her saloon to anyone, let alone a man with a pretty, empty-headed grin…but then, she reckons that grin just might be a lie, and a man of intelligence and cunning resides beneath.
Rupert Llewellyn has another purpose for offering to buy the pretty widow’s saloon—the coal buried deep in land she owns. However, he never banked on her knowing eyes making him weak at the knees, or how his deception would burn upon his soul.
Each determined to outwit the other, they tantalize and tease until passion explodes. But can their desire bridge the lies told and trust broken?

The Diamond Series Book 2
Christmas in Freewill
Christmas Eve, the Diamond Saloon is empty of its people, and Pearl la Monte has a hankering to retire early. A pounding at the Diamond’s door rids her of such a fool notion. Her irritation rises when she sees the prissy, polite-like Garrett standing outside.
Ethan Garrett has a powerful need to gain succor. When the saloon’s voluptuous redheaded singer scowls at him from the threshold of the Diamond, he doesn’t stop to think on how his ire at her has disappeared. Or how he just wants to spend some time in her company.
When a blizzard storms in, trapping them, will they spend their time arguing or find their irritation for each other disguises something more?

TBR: What inspired you to write about the theme?
CD: In the case of the Diamond Series, it was actually my editor on a previous book. She suggested that I might like to write for Decadent Publishing’s Western Escape line, stories set in the fictional town of Freewill, Wyoming and featuring Western-like tales. I had a bit of a think, and come up with Alice and Rupert’s tale, ROUGH DIAMOND.

Once their story was done, I couldn’t shake the feeling that there was more to Alice’s friend, Pearl, and that annoying man Garrett than meets the eye, so I set about to discover what it was. The result, FOOL’S GOLD.
To round out the series, I’m thinking up ideas for EMERALD SEA, the third and more than likely final story in the series. I’m pretty sure there will be a gunslinger and he’ll probably look a lot like Nathan Fillion, a la Firefly... ;)

TBR: Do you have a favorite quote you’d like to share?
CD: I have a few, actually!
Leaf on the wind – From my favourite source of inspiration, Joss Whedon. I’m not sure if I use it as intended, but I’m a bit of a control freak and I use this saying to remind myself I can’t control life and I should just go with the flow, or be a leaf on the wind.
We’re not saving lives – uttered often at The Day Job to remind myself what we’re doing is not so important that it can’t wait five minutes.
Always forgive your enemies; nothing annoys them so much – the late, great Oscar Wilde. Enough said.

TBR: While creating your books, what was one of the most surprising things you learned?
CD: That it gets easier. Funny how when you practice something and do it everyday, you get better and quicker and more efficient at it. I found I spent a great deal less time editing the the most recent book I wrote as opposed to the first.

Of course, remembering this doesn’t help the next time you’re staring at a blank page and wondering how on earth you’re going to end up with something resembling a story... :)

TBR: What's next for you?
CD: Next up is a complete change of tack. SILK & SCANDAL was released on May 8 as part of the brand new imprint from Decadent Publishing, Decadent TEASE. It’s the tale of circumspect lawyers and scandalous ladies and begins a brand new series for me, The Silk Series, about law-loving people and the people who love them.

I also have a contribution to THE MAMMOTH BOOK OF ER ROMANCE, releasing in September of this year. ‘WOUNDED HEART’ is a Medical Romantic Suspense Action type thing short story (hows that for genre mashing??!).

Finally, I have plans to write the third in the Diamond Series, as mentioned, and continue with the Silk Series, as well as many other bits and pieces.

TBR: Any other published works?
CD: Yes! My most recent release, as I’ve said, is SILK & SCANDAL, but I also have an Early Victorian erotic romance, TEACH ME, which is currently on sale for $2.99 on Amazon, and an Ancient Roman erotic romance, ENSLAVED, which is also on sale for $1.99! Bargain basement prices, peeps!

TBR: What’s the most challenging aspect of writing? Most rewarding?
CD: Man, this is going to sound facetious, but the writing itself! It’s so hard to get those words down on a page, to wrestle the picture in my mind into words and sentences. However, when it finally gets on the page and you see it all pretty and book-like, it’s the bestest feeling ever.

TBR: Where can readers find you on the web?
CD: Here!

Thanks so much for having me on TBR!

TBR: Thanks for visiting TBR, Cassandra. Congrats on another release, and all the best to you. Readers, be sure to enter Cassandra's giveaway below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, May 23, 2013

TBR welcomes Amanda McIntyre

TBR: Welcome to TBR, Amanda. Will you share a little bit about yourself?
  Amanda: I’m still working on the process of the whole, but I’m a mother of four, live in the rural Midwest. I began writing after the birth of my last two children-twins, when I needed to stay home. I wrote a weekly newspaper column for seven years on the vital importance of the fine arts education in schools and then crossed over into reviewing and finally took the step to fiction writing about eleven years ago. I view writing as any other creative endeavor-I’m not interested in the art of the storytelling, in painting a picture in your mind with words. To evoke emotions from my readers.

TBR: Tell us about RUGGED HEARTS and where it's available.
  Amanda: Rugged Hearts is the first in my Kinnison Legacy Contemporary romance series. Set in End of the Line, Montana it tells the stories of three formidable men-Wyatt, Rein and Dalton--and the women who will tame them. Though the story is a holiday set, the E-book was released in a special launch for the RT Booklovers E-Expo with the print to follow in late summer at the authors request. It is available at Amazon, where its enjoyed staying in the top 100 bestsellers in western romance since its release two weeks ago. It’s available also at all e-book distributors, including Decadent Publishing, All Romance E-books and Smashwords.

TBR: Please tantalize us with a story blurb or excerpt.
Amanda: Excerpt from RUGGED HEARTS: (**Set-up; Wyatt after a long time of not stepping foot in a bar, decides to go to Dustys where Aimee is heading up a karaoke fundraiser for the food bank in town and an unruly admirer gets too friendly with her and Wyatt’s patience with the guy snaps causing a ruckus that carries out to the parking lot.)

Show’s over, folks. Back inside.” Dusty stood at the top of the steps with his arms folded across his chest. He blocked the way of the troublemakers. “Where do you think you boys are going?”
“Inside for a drink.” One of the men punched his fist into the air.
“You all right, Wyatt?” Dusty called to him.
“I’m fine and sorry about the table, Dusty. I’ll replace it.”
“Damn right, you will. You want to press charges? Sheriff’s just a phone call away.”
“Nope, I suppose in a way I had it comin’,” Wyatt responded.
“And you, dumb ass?” Dusty spoke directly to the bloodied man. He shook his head. Dusty nodded. “Good. Now you boys get on out of here. The rest of you, let’s get back inside and remember the real reason we came here tonight.”
Aimee brushed the snow from her coat.
“Do me a favor, you two,” Wyatt spoke to his brothers. “Could you take care of the cleanup and help Aimee when it’s over?”
“And just where do you think you’re going?” Aimee asked in surprise.
“Home. Where I should have stayed.”
“Hell, no.” Aimee turned and called to Dalton. “Tell Sally I had to leave.”
Dalton waved in response, but tossed a smile at Rein.
She faced Wyatt. “You and I are going to have this out come hell or high water tonight. My place is closer. Take me home.” She breezed past him and climbed into the cab of his truck.
Wyatt drove through town and neither spoke. Aimee wanted to thank him for coming, but she was thinking more about what she was going to say to him when they got alone.
“Do you have some ibuprofen?” he asked, his eyes on the road. He hadn’t looked at her once since getting in the truck.
“Probably,” she remarked and considered she might need it herself before the night was over.
They rode for another few moments in silence.
“I’ll replace your coat,” he offered.
Aimee snorted. “You’ve been gunning for my coat since the first time we met.”
He sighed.
“Take a right, there in the parking lot. I’m the spot on the end.” Only then did Aimee realize and thankfully she’d slipped her phone and keys in her coat pocket. She’d have to call Dusty’s and have Sally get the book bag she’d left behind the bar. She felt his eyes on her as he followed her up the stairs. She hoped to find a gentle way of approaching the subject of Jessie, this woman who’d apparently left a deep scar when she betrayed him and let him know she wasn’t like her. Aimee let herself in, dropped her keys on the counter, and turned to face him as he came through the door. “You can hang your hat over there.”
He took off his hat, tossed it the counter, and grabbed her shoulders, planting a firm kiss on her lips.
“We need to talk,” she cautioned, though the next kiss, gentle this time on the side of her neck, caused her to rethink the idea. She accepted his mouth on hers and released a soft groan. She’d missed the taste of him, but they had things to discuss. Maybe after just one more kiss….
“We can talk later.” He nuzzled the sweet spot beneath her ear and unzipped her coat. It fell to the floor. “When you sang tonight….” His cool hands snaked under the hem of her shirt and she shivered with anticipation. “Was it only Sarah you thought of? Because I burn for you, Aimee. It started the night you showed up on my doorstep, and it’s been building ever since. I can’t get you out of my mind.”

TBR: What inspired you to write about the theme?
Amanda: No matter what genre I write, my passion is to take ordinary people and place them in extraordinary circumstances. To see the evolution of their personas when challenged beyond their comfort zone—and what rewards and sacrifices result from their decisions. This series idea started with the combination of a short story I wrote once called “Stranded with Children” and a Christmas story I’d written for a newspaper column called the Cowboys Christmas. Together, it inspired the idea for the series of three unlikely brothers and the obstacles –both personal and professional—they meet while attempting to live out the legacy of the man who raised them.

TBR: Are you a plotter or pantser?
  Amanda: Both and I prefer to write first draft in longhand.

TBR: How do you develop your characters?
  Amanda: I research pictures, movies, listen to music to develop specific details, but I love to take ordinary people and place them in extraordinary situations. That’s really, I think when a characters persona shines brightest. At the moment when doing what is right, becomes a hero or a heroine, in the making.

TBR: Do you have a favorite quote you’d like to share?
  Amanda: I am a quote fanatic. Seriously. But the one I’ve had taped to my computer for the length of my career is an anonymous quote that sums up writing and romance in a nutshell, IMO. “The Greatest Risk Is Not Taking One.”

TBR: Did any music inspire your book? Do you have a playlist?
  Amanda: I do use music. No particular playlist as I use a variety of music or sometimes silence as inspiration for a particular scene.

TBR: While creating your books, what was one of the most surprising things you learned?
  Amanda: How alike creating a painting is to telling a story.

TBR: Tease us with one little thing about your fictional world that makes it different from others.
  Amanda: I don’t know necessarily that its different from others, but I like to think that I paint pictures, feelings with words. Many authors will tell you that they can see a movie playing through their head as they write. And that’s happened to me as well, but mostly I want my characters to linger long after the book is over. Like a beautiful painting or piece of art work that sticks with you. Lofty goal and one I may never really know if I’ve accomplished, but I figure if I’ve fallen in love with my hero by the end of the book, chances are others will.

TBR: What's next for you?
  Amanda: I’m currently at work writing the second Kinnison Legacy book. I’m always plotting ideas, and some of those include the release of an historical erotic thriller-possible series and some a rural romance series that I’m collaborating with a friend on.
TBR: Any other published works?
  Amanda: I have a number of historicals and paranormal/celtic lore books out with Harlequin(HQN and Spice Briefs) I have a time-travel series called tales fo the Sweet Magnolia (Wild and Unruly and Fallen Angel) as well as a few novellas at Decadent. I have a WWII set Faery duet with talented Isabo Kelly over at Crescent Moon Press and an erotic twist on Cupid & Psyche. I also just recently self-published Unfinished Dreams, which was the award-winning first full length novel I ever wrote. There seems to be a term going around called a hybrid. Seems fitting for a gal who is in her contemporary western romance period.;)
TBR: What’s the most interesting comment you have received about your books?
  Amanda: I’m always humbled and amazed when I receive emails from readers who tell me how a book affected them. I think the best one so far involves a reader who literally sat in the parking lot of her grocery store intending to finish one chapter and wound up reading so long that the light began to wane. I think she got her groceries finally. LOL To think my storytelling touches people’s emotions is why I do what I do. It’s terrifying and at the same time, inspiring.
TBR: Who are some of your favorite authors and books? What are you reading now?
  Amanda : I have far too many fav authors to name-and some of them I’ve read. ;) My book tastes are eclectic as is my music, so I read everything-literally. News columns, non-fiction, research, historical , contemporary, paranormal, erotic romance, western romance, and more…Just a few books on MY keeper shelf: Pink Moon, By Stef Ann Holms (which I am currently reading for about the umpteenth time) Christmas Knight (Christina Skye) At Your Command By Donna Kauffman, Colony, by Anne River Siddons, The Shining by Stephen King, Roan by Jennifer Blake.

TBR: Where can readers find you on the web?

TBR: Is there anything you’d like to ask our readers?
  Amanda: I would! I’d love to know what your readers enjoy reading and what would they like to see more of. Also, how many now own some type of e-reader?

TBR: Readers, Amanda will give away an ebook copy of Rugged Hearts to one lucky commenter. She'll pick a winner on May 24, 2013 and announce the winner here. Be sure to leave your email address so she can contact you.

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