Saturday, 24 December 2011

A Very Merry Christmas to all!

And best wishes for a happy, peaceful and successful 2012. I'll see you in the New Year!

Jane x

Friday, 23 December 2011

The One-Link Lowdown on...Lindsay Townsend!

There are two things I've loved doing these One-Link Lowdown interviews - making new friends and celebrating old one. Lindsay Townsend falls into the second category. As well as being a great friend, she's a terrific writer and a great inspiration to me. This year has been wildly productive for her - as well as her latest release, A Christmas Sleeping Beauty
,she's also released and re-released a huge number of other works, both contemporary and historical, including romances The Snow Bride - releasing in just a few days' time - and the medieval tale from Kensington Zebra, To Touch The Knight. So no more delay - it's time to hear from the lady herself. Take it away, Lindsay!

What would be your perfect day?
The day when the film rights for ‘To Touch The Knight’ are sold to Ridley Scott and my husband and I celebrate by jetting to Venice for a week.

Wouldn't that be fab? Fingers crossed! Okay, onto more everyday matters for now - what’s on your bedside table/nightstand?
A small lamp, glass of water, pills, books.

What’s your favourite piece of music?
I love music and couldn’t possibly choose a favourite piece! It depends on my mood.

I also happen to know you're an opera fan too, Lindsay - like me! Which household chore would you happily give up for ever?
Tidying up – I’m rather a hoarder.

What’s your favourite fruit, and what's the best way to eat it?
I love ripe, fresh nectarines that I can really sink my teeth into. I like to eat them in the bath!

The things people do in the bath...! So, tell me - what’s the best review you've ever had?
A Five Red Roses review at Red Roses for Authors for To Touch The Knight. 'The time of the Black Death was terrible for people in England and Europe. Townsend treats this period with honesty and sympathy. Parts of the book are perhaps dark because of the period but there is also a great deal of humour, fun and sensuality in this book, which should delight Townsend’s fans. I found it a thoroughly enjoyable read and the equal of her earlier knight books. This author is one to be followed as she carves a prominent place for herself on the historical list. If you enjoy medieval you must read this, because it is one of the best.'

What's your guilty pleasure?
Eating chocolate.

I'd go along with that one! If you'd like to know more about Lindsay and her enormous range of books and short stories, do pop along and visit her website here. Thanks for being my guest, Lindsay. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Edinburgh Fog's Greg Morton is interviewed today!

Can you believe it? Neither can Greg! But there's a fabulous interview with him over at the Ravencraft’s Romance Realm blog today. Pop over and say hi, but watch out, too - he's got mistletoe!

Friday, 16 December 2011

The One-Link Lowdown on...L K Hunsaker!

My guest today is writer L K Hunsaker. A passionate champion of independent authors, L K writes 'literary fiction with an artsy twist,' and as her own blog by-line rightly proclaims, 'not all romance is graphic - not all literary fiction is stuffy.'

Having read some of her work, I can tell you that's true. It's deep and emotional, hugely perceptive and wonderfully descriptive, and sticks in your mind long after you've read it.

Her latest work is Moondrops & Thistles, a 'short & spicy edition' military romance. I urge you to seek out her work - it's so wide-ranging and varied, I'm certain you'd find something wonderful that speaks to your heart. Please join me in welcoming her to my blog, and enjoy one of the most candid and thoughtful interviews it's been my pleasure to host this year. Welcome, L K!

If you could retrieve one thing from your childhood, what would it be?

I was an odd child. One of my most prized possessions was a big plastic file tub where I kept postcards, letters, magazine clippings, recipes, statements from my starter bank account, that sort of thing. It disappeared somewhere along the line. Those things don’t matter, other than the postcard from my first crush before he also disappeared somewhere. ;-) But it contained much of my first writing: some bad poetry, various story ideas, and the first scenes I ever wrote for my Rehearsal series, plus a little story I called “Hollywood Heroes” that I liked a lot. There wasn’t much to it yet, but it still crosses my mind at times as a comedy with some potential. I would love to have those back.

What would be your perfect day?

Waking up in a beach cottage to a cool ocean breeze coming through the window, having a leisurely light breakfast I don’t have to make or clean up from, writing for a couple of hours while sitting on the porch that overlooks the ocean, going for a swim in a pool by myself and swimming laps until my muscles say it’s enough, resting under the sun until dry, a change of clothes, a quick lunch, and then back to writing. By dinner time, I’d be ready to join my family for a leisurely meal full of lightly cooked veggies to listen to their day’s excursions. As they settle in for the evening, I’d take a good book back to the porch and read until dark, write a bit longer, then sink in to a plush pillow with the ocean breeze lulling me to sleep. I haven’t tried this yet, but it sure sounds good!

I so agree. Falling asleep to the sound of the sea is wonderful. As you drifted off, what would we find on your bedstand?

A lamp, the book I’m currently reading at night and maybe one or two that are waiting, pens, notepad, pencil, sticky notes for marking passages in the books I want to find again, dust (what can I say?), reading glasses, the cordless phone, a radio alarm clock, a tissue box, scented pillow spray (aromatherapy for relaxation), and the one thing that has been beside my bed ever since I got it: a little white Bible that was a treasured gift during my teen years with some of my favorite passages marked in the back.

L K< I know you're a huge music lover, and musicians and their work have featured in your books before. Can you tell us what’s your favourite piece of music?

Oh, I’m fully music obsessed and I like a lot of genres, so it’s impossible to name one favorite. I can say right now I’m quite into David Garrett’s rock violin CDs and am anxiously awaiting his next. It’s great for writing because it’s inspiring and uplifting and has no lyrics. It’s also nice for cleaning music because it’s relaxing and lets my thoughts wander as I work. At times, I simply sit and listen to it, focusing on every nuance I can pick up. On the other hand, I’m anxiously awaiting Sawyer Brown’s newest as well as Nickelback’s newest.

I envy you being able to write with music playing - I can't do that, but I do use music as fodder and inspiration for writing, so I'm right with you there. Well, let's move to less arty matters for a moment! Which household chore would you happily give up for ever?

Putting clothes away! I don’t know what it is about putting clothes into drawers or hanging them up that I detest, but I detest it. I’d rather clean the toilet, actually.

Aside from clothes chores, what else drives you seriously nuts?

When people listen to rhetoric without doing the research themselves. It’s so easy to manipulate words and ‘facts’ that everything most people ‘know’ is what they hear at the end of the telephone chain – you know, that game where a line of people whispers a phrase one by one to each other and it comes out completely different than the way it started? That’s what we’re taking as truth, and it’s sad. It drives me seriously nuts.

What’s the best review you've ever had?

I’ve been fortunate with reviews and although I don’t have a lot of them, they are all very nice (other than the 1 star for a free read short story because it was too short!), but the two that stand out are actually personal emails about two different books. A few years ago and again very recently, I was told that my book meant so much to someone that it was on their bedstand at the end of their fight with a long illness, and it meant a lot to their families that it meant so much to their lost loved ones. I can’t imagine anything better than that as an author, to know you touched someone who needed to be touched during a very difficult time.

Neither can I - how wonderful. L K, what's your guilty pleasure?

Dancing With The Stars. Although I don’t like reality shows in general and rarely spend time watching TV at all, I’m hooked to the show. I get tired of the drama and iffy voting/scoring, but I love watching the pro dancers. Also, I took dance for many years as a child/teen and it gets me how fast the non-dancers learn the complicated ballroom steps. I can’t imagine having the energy to practice so many hours in a day for so many days at a time and I can’t help a grudging respect that they do it while I’m sitting on my tail just watching. But mainly, I love the pro dancers. Maks, especially. Wow is he incredible to watch! My husband knows and even calls him “your guy,” so it’s all okay. Now if they’d get a novelist or two on there to help promote books!

I should have asked you for a list of novelists you'd like to see there! Knowing you as I do as someone who thinks deeply about things, let me ask you this - if you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

Okay, do I admit this or not? I have talked about it to an extent, but although I’m fairly comfortable with myself in general, I do have one thing I would truly, truly love to change. I’m social phobic. I get nervous talking with friends in person or on the phone, and strangers are harder. Casual acquaintances are the hardest. Heck, I get nervous typing to people online if it has any kind of little confrontation involved. My hands shake. My heart races. If I speak to a small group in person, I can feel my face get hot and I know it has to be red. The room gets fuzzy and it’s all I can do to concentrate on forming a complete sentence while I feel suddenly disassociated from where I am and from my bearings, as though I’m in a swirling tunnel sweeping me away. I hate how hard it makes everything that “normal” people do on a daily basis without any thought, such as grocery shopping or sitting at a football game. I hate that it makes me look like a snob in public. I’m not. It’s just honestly that hard to talk to people. But ... I’m working on it, and it is better than it was. I still don’t accept talks when someone asks me to do one for my books, but I do signings and they are easier than they used to be. I often end up with a migraine the day after a signing from the incredible stress, but I keep going out there hoping it will change, fighting for it to dissipate. In the meantime, most of my book promo is online and I’m thankful for the many opportunities to interact without being face-to-face.

What single invention would change your life for the better?

The transporter from Star Trek. My family and friends are scattered in different states and countries, and it would be incredible to pop in on them now and then. I also love to travel but I don’t like car trips and I hate to pack! I love where I live now, except for being away from everyone, so if I could go visit for a day or go sight-seeing anywhere in the world for a day and then return to sleep in my own bed at night, that would solve one of the hardest things I’ve had to deal with ever since I left my family homestead. At least we now have the internet!

L K, thank you for being here - I've loved doing this interview with you very much! Which One-Link would you like to leave for everyone today?

Thanks for having me, Jane! I’m leaving you with the link to my Facebook author page, where I post my events and projects and enjoy ‘talking’ with readers.

And I know they'd enjoy talking with you as much as I do. Thanks again, L K - good luck with all your future projects.

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Wish I Was Here....?

Writer Janice Horton has asked a bunch of her on-line writing friends to think about that today - where in the world would you like to be, right now?

Okay, I know - everyone who knows me will say I'd want to be in Italy. It's my favourite country. Well, wouldn't you, when you see things like this ancient stone wall on what is a fairly ordinary house in the beautiful Umbrian hilltop town od Assisi? I'd live there tomorrow! And check out the stunning view below from my friends' garden, and imagine waking up to that every morning. Wonderful!

It's my ambition to visit Italy at as many different times of the year as I can, and I've already managed it for late November/early December. That's the time of the olive harvest - it can be bitterly cold, but the work of raking the olives from the branches and collecting them up in the nets draped around the bases of the trees will soon warm you up.

In the rural areas like Umbria, where I've visited many times, most of the houses will have olives trees somewhere on their property. Some have many, and will bottle litre after litre of oil to see them through the year, while those with just a few trees might band together with neighbours and combine their olives together, and everyone gets a fair and useful share of the harvest. The year we helped friends with their harvest, we were treated to a visit to the local olive mill - the frant'olio - later that day. Forget dreams of stone buildings and ancient wheels - these days it's mostly a modern, highly efficient operation, all stainless steel and geared up for maximum oil extraction and maximum profit, but the magic is still there.

Inside the frant'olio, the scent of oil hangs so heavy on the air you could almost grab it in both hands. It impregnates the fibres of your clothing so much, you'll smell it for days. The expression of quiet satisfaction on the faces of the Umbrian olive farmers, young and old alike, must be the same expression seen over many centuries as the first oil, the extra virgine, drips from the press. In the old days it would have gone into a large glass fiasco, but now, again, shiny, hygienic stainless steel is the norm - but no less wonderful for that.

Have you ever wondered what happens to the rest of the olive after they've extracted every last drop of precious oil? The skins and stones are pressed together and used as fertiliser for the land. Nature in full circle, and the circle complete. I love that.

Ahh....I'm waxing romantic about one of my favourite places! Well, Janice did ask...though the truth is, if I can't be in Italy - and I can't, this year! - I would be just as happy here, at home, with my husband and children around me. Home truly is where the heart is, as far as I'm concerned!

Of course, there's more to 'Wish I Was Here' than just me banging on about Italy! It's a chance to share the HUGE fun today as Janice releases her new book, Reaching For the Stars. I'm really happy to showcase a fellow Scotswoman's work - what's more, it combines two more of my great loves, Scotland and food!

In Reaching For The Stars, Chef Finn McDuff feels he's had enough of all the food campaigns, the TV cookery shows, the constant frenzy surrounding his private life and disappears into a self-imposed exile for a while. No wonder Janice has picked as her launch day theme, 'Wish I Was Here'.....!

I love the pun in her title, too, with a chef reaching for Michelin stars as well as - well, you're going to have to read the book to find out what else Finn is reaching for, and where it takes him. You're guaranteed a great read!

Reaching For The Stars is out now on Kindle UK and Kindle US.

To find out more about Janice Horton and her work, do take a moment to visit her blog and website here. Good luck, Janice - happy release day!

(PS - If I've given you the urge to visit Italy and its gorgeous 'green heart,' Umbria, I highly recommend you check out this place to stay, the beautiful Casa Delle Rose.)

Friday, 9 December 2011

The One-Link Lowdown on.....Celia Yeary

My guest today is writer Celia Yeary. Texas born and bred and proud of it, Celia is one of the loveliest people I know. Her own blog is like a favourite magazine you look forward to reading, with its mix of fun topics and thought-provoking articles about the world and its ways, as well as her thoughts on writing. I guarantee you're going to love this lady as much as I do - so read on!

Welcome, Celia! Okay, let's get right to it with my first question - what’s the naughtiest thing you've ever done?

Who will read this? If anyone I know in person reads this, then I will declare this document was hacked. Okay. I went topless on a small island just off the coast of Texas, close to Corpus Christi, around age 40. My girlfriend and I went by ferry boat over there with two other women friends to spend the afternoon looking for shells. The two of us were separated from the other two, and we decided this would be a good time to get a tan all the way to our waist. So, we did. The island was about the size of two city blocks, covered in sand dunes higher than our heads, and we knew no one else was over there. So, there. How many of you have done this and kept it secret?

Celia! I'd never have thought that of you - hang on, wait a minute - maybe not! Okay, I know the answer to this next question because you've told me about this before, but for the benefit of your new friends reading today - what’s the best job you've ever had?

I know you'll think I'm crazy, but the best job I ever had was teaching teenagers. Yep. That age that drives parents crazy much of the time. But I liked them, found them endlessly entertaining and inventive. I once said that my students were the most interesting people I knew. At times, I would gladly strangle a few, but sixteen-year-old kids wake up in a new world each day - their memory is short - and as a rule, they don't hold grudges.

Tell us three surprising things about yourself, one of which is a fib - and we'll try to guess the fib!

1. I was Homecoming Queen my senior year.
2. I am an honorary colonel in the U.S. Army.
3. As a teacher, I won a Spelling Bee in which all the teachers were the contestants - for the students' entertainment.

What’s on your bedside table/nightstand?

I'm answering this one because I don't have to think! My Kindle, a lamp, a vase of artificial purple flowers, a lace runner, and a framed photo of me and our first grandson when he was four months old. Oh, and a 3x5 card with a list of TV channels, a remote control, a flashlight, and a clock radio....a lot of dust.

What’s your favourite piece of music?

Hmmm, I cannot say. I do love Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake Ballet music, especially the dramatic theme song. And just as equally, I love Tears in Heaven by Eric Clapton and Waylon Jennings. As far apart as you can get, but good music is good music! Oh, and Georgia by Ray Charles. That's three - sorry.

What your favourite sandwich, and where in the world is the best place to eat it?

This is so easy. Sliced ham, Pepper Jack Cheese, lettuce, red onion, spicy Dijon mustard, all on a croissant, with a glass of red wine, sitting in my recliner with my feet up, watching Megan on Fox News at noon. I'm a news junkie.

Who would you invite to your ultimate fantasy dinner party?

Kevin Costner, LaVyrle Spencer, Gary Cooper, Taylor Swift, Daniel-Day Lewis, Robert Duval, and Princess Kate.

What drives you seriously nuts?

For the contestants on Wheel of Fortune - okay, now you know how old I am - to say, "I am married to my husband," or the other way, "I am married to my wife." Really, now. Isn't this redundant and stupid? I have emailed Pat Sajak and Vanna White more than once to explain this faux pas and no one pays any attention. I correct them every time - under my breath - because my husband is tired of hearing me do this.

What’s the best review you've ever had?

My husband reads all my books and tells me how much he likes them. But not long ago, he wrote how he felt, and since it is so sweet and personal, I can't quote it verbatim. But he said that "when he looked at me sometimes, he wondered, do I really know this woman? She writes with such clarity, and emotion, and vividness that it makes me realize she has a depth and talent that I never imagined. How have I missed this?" He said much more, but that's enough for you to know how special this "review" is. It made me cry. He's my biggest and most loyal fan.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

Just one? When there are so many? Okay, I would make myself Sophisticated. To be a Sophisticate does not include how one dresses, but how one speaks and acts toward others. But I'm a Texas girl, and while I am educated, I still have those countrified ways. I am simple and artless, and even though I've travelled all over Europe four times, and the Scandinavian countries, and other places, that does not mean I am worldly and urbane. I still see the world through rose-colored glasses. Not a speck of Sophistication in my entire being. I know a few women I consider Sophisticated, and trust me...I feel like I just walked out of the cornfield when I'm around them. So, I continue to say, "Well, bless your heart," and address people as "Sugar" or "Sweetheart", and cross my legs and swing one foot. Drats.

There you are - now you see why I think Celia is one of the sweetest, kindest, thoughtful and most inspiring people I know. Her latest publication is The Stars at Night a contemporary love story - set in Texas, of course - and you can find out more about it, read some reviews and enjoy an excerpt - as well as reading more about Celia herself - here at Desert Breeze Publishing.

And last but not least, can you believe Celia's fib was No. 1 - she wasn't Homecoming Queen in her senior year. Ah, well - you're still a princess to me, dear chum! Good luck with The Stars at Night, and with all your future projects.

Friday, 2 December 2011

The One-Link Lowdown on...Starla Kaye.

My guest today is writer Starla Kaye. A woman who has travelled the world, she says that 'all of my many adventures and observations of people and places help my writer’s imagination. I’m filled with ‘what ifs’ and ideas for yet more characters.' Read on to find out more about this writer with 19 novels, 22 novellas and 5 anthologies to her name. Welcome, Starla!

If you could retrieve one thing from your childhood, what would it be?

I want the small Coke bottle back that came with the Coca Cola Santa I got when they first came out a gazillion years ago. I know it is a stupid thing, but I still would like to have it. My sister and I go antiquing a lot and I’m always looking for one. I’ve seen Santas like mine, in near perfect condition and with their attached Coke bottle. But I don’t want a new one…just the bottle. MY Santa is well-worn and had been well loved during his early years.

What would be your perfect day?

My perfect day would be 48 hours long so I could manage to accomplish everything on my TO DO list. I would have time to sit outside in the early morning and watch the sunrise while eating a blueberry muffin and drinking coffee. After that I would whip through answering emails, checking Facebook, and Tweeting…instead of spending half a morning like I normally do on those things. Then I could actually spend several focused hours writing on whatever current project, followed by meeting my sister for lunch and catching up on our lives. Or I could blink myself to California and have lunch with my daughter (my best buddy). Refreshed now, I would return to my writing until my husband came home. Then we’d take a walk around our housing area or go to the Botanical Gardens and walk and talk. Okay, now I’m getting tired. Guess 48 hours would be too much to handle. I’ll just stick with 24 and not getting everything done, continue shoving some of those To Dos on to the next day.

What’s on your bedside table/nightstand?

My nightstand is in a constant state of chaos with a stack of paperbacks, my Nook, my Kindle (yes, I have both and I know that’s crazy), my iPad, a small notepad (that I never can seem to locate when I want to write something down), a pen (that never seems to work), a highlighter (who knows why), two pairs of glasses (neither pair really right). Need I go on….

Which household chore would you happily give up forever?

I would happily give up forever almost any kind of housecleaning chores. Except then I wouldn’t have those to fall back on when I’m stuck for the moment on some writing project…or avoiding a deadline. Those are the times when my house can get an emergency cleaning job.

What drives you seriously nuts?

People anywhere who complain that there is nothing to do drive me nuts. Really? Look around you. I’ve lived in large cities (Seattle, Denver), medium cities (Wichita, Alamagordo NM), and blink-quick-size towns (Strong City KS). There is always something to do, people to meet, things to experience. You just can’t go around wearing blinders.

If you could go anywhere in the world right now, where would it be?

I love to travel and it is so hard to pinpoint just one place that I would like to go. But my long-time favourite place is the UK, especially Scotland. I’ve been there, but didn’t get to spend nearly as much time there as I wanted to.

What's your guilty pleasure?

Just ONE guilty pleasure? How about I combine some of them into one giant guilty pleasure...I love taking my Kindle with me to a chaise lounge chair around a resort pool in Kauai, having a Funky Monkey to drink, some chocolate to nibble on, and sneaking peeks at the hunky studs deliciously on display in the area. (Can you guess that I took such a vacation in late September?)

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

I wish I could stay focused better. My problem is that everything interests me and I want to try many more things than I should. Along with this I have a serious problem with saying NO. If someone needs my help, I’m there...even if I already have commitments that I should be working on. If an opportunity to travel comes up out of the blue, my bag is packed within in seconds.

What single invention would change your life for the better?

I would dearly like to have a universal charger cord to work on all of my various electronics: iPhone, iPad, Kindle, and Nook. I travel a lot and having to tote a bag of various cords is a real hassle. Why can’t these companies play well with each other and give their customers a real treat?

Aside from writing achievements, family, etc - what are you most proud of?

I’m proud that I had the determination to stick to my goal of getting my college degree. It took me 4 decades (1969-1996), of which my husband loves to tease me about. But it was HIS fault, because we moved so much for his career. I did it, though! I’m a gerontologist (I work with senior adults) by degree now…although I only volunteer in the field.

Starla's latest release is Maggie’s Secret Wish, a contemporary erotic romance. Find out more and buy it HERE from Decadent Publishing.

Thanks for being my guest, Starla. I so agree with you about people who complain 'there's nothing to do.' There's always something and somewhere to explore! Congratulations on all your achievements so far, and lots of luck with all your future projects!

Friday, 25 November 2011

The One-Link Lowdown on.....Christine London!

I'm delighted to welcome writer Christine London as my guest today. A native of Chicago, Illinois, you'll now find her spending her days in the Californian sunshine, where she write her contemporary romance novels. Her latest release, which goes by the beautiful and evocative title When We Were Amazing, is now available from MuseItUp Publishing. Read on to find out more about this highly accomplished and thought-provoking writer.

Tell us three surprising things about yourself, one of which is a fib - and we'll try to guess the fib!

I am the cover model on two of my book covers - Sunninghill Snow and Soul In His Eyes.

I never read a romance before writing one.

I surf in Malibu and have on occasion run into celebs doing the same.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

I would turn up my metabolism, both physical and personality. The physical one ranks as low as you can get without needing thyroid supplements. The personality one is an introvert who struggles to be the kick-arse gal that does crazy stuff in the name of adventure and research. Just do it, is my aspiration!

What single invention would change your life for the better?

The Star Trek series had an invention on the starship Enterprise that allowed the crew to push a button and give a voice command ordering anything they would like to eat. It was called the replicator. Just imagine the time saved in planning, shopping and preparing. Serious R&D needs to be put into

What is your favourite sandwich, and where in the world is the best place to eat it?

It's true. The French make the best bread on the planet (closely followed by sourdough from San Francisco, but that is so good it needs to be eaten warm, crusty and alone--not as part of a sandwich) There are sidewalk vendors and pencil thin cafes that sell baguette sandwiches in Paris incorporating this life staple. Almost anything put on this bread tastes like heaven, so choose your poison. Walking along the Seine is not at all a bad place to partake of this wonder. Okay. I'll take one.

What would be your perfect day?

Sharing one of those baguette sandwiches, warm spring stroll along the Seine with Gerry Butler. Yeah, that Gerry Butler. I really need to speak with him, and not just the snippets we manage at too-crowded events. The man is often seriously over extended and could do with a bit of a slow down for a few hours to chat. Me too. Amongst the topics? Legacy: how, why, what. Evening meal of delicious Scottish food at a little restaurant I know that is all woodwork, dancing fire and charm. Good kind of tired from a long day's hike in the fresh air. Good conversation. Perfect.

What’s your favourite piece of music?

Instrumental (piano piece): the theme from the film Somewhere In Time. Ballad with lyrics: Have You Ever Really Loved A Woman. Now that lyricist 'gets it'. Can you tell I am a romantic? ;)

Which household chore would you happily give up for ever?

I should probably choose dusting because I am allergic to dust mites, but I will say toilet bowl cleaning. Need I expound as to why?

What’s your favourite fruit, and what's the best way to eat it?

Strawberries. Large, ripe, sweet, chilled - eaten by the stem out in the sunshine of a beautiful afternoon.

What drives you seriously nuts?

Ignorance. People who remain ignorant if they have access to information to alleviate that ignorance. People and circumstances that prevent the education that could alleviate ignorance. Most of the world's truly large problems and prejudices are a result of ignorance.

If you could go anywhere in the world right now, where would it be?

Remember that stroll with Mister Butler? Yeah, that. Anywhere without paparazzi, noise or interruptions would serve. Someplace peaceful and lovely preferred. How about along the shore of Loch Lomond in the shadow of Ben Lomond? A really beautiful place, that.

Thanks so much for being my guest, Christine, and for conjuring up so many vivid pictures for us. I'm inclined to agree with you about what drives you seriously nuts, and on a far lighter note, your perfect day sounds a lot like mine might be! Oh, and if you didn't guess, friends, Christine's fib is No. 3. She doesn't surf - though I have no doubt she could if she put her mind to it!

Find out more about Christine and her work here at her website, and if you're lucky enough to be in the Manhattan Beach area on December 4, pop into the Barnes and Noble store where she'll be doing a book-signing. Have fun, Christine!

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Looking for a gift from Scotland? Edinburgh Fog!

If you're 'Black Friday' shopping tomorrow and know someone who loves e-books and contemporary romantic short stories, Edinburgh Fog might be just the ticket!

You can buy it on US Kindle, UK Kindle, or choose from a whole bunch of other e-formats direct from the publisher here at MuseItUp Publications.

Happy Shopping!

Friday, 18 November 2011

The One-Link Lowdown on...Rebecca J. Clark!

My guest today is contemporary romance author Rebecca J. Clark. Writer, mom and fitness trainer, she's published by Siren-Bookstrand and The Wild Rose Press. Read on to find put more about this smart, funny and very talented woman.

What’s the naughtiest thing you've ever done? I grew up in Olympia, home of the Olympia Brewery (that’s now closed down). One weekend when I was in college, I brought home two of my guy friends. My brother, who was in high school at the time, told us he and his friends knew how to sneak into the brewery and get beer. My friends were all over that. So we drove to the brewery in the middle of the night, climbed the fire escape to the third or fourth floor, entered through an unlocked door, reached into the huge vats and filled our thermoses with beer. For a “good girl,” that was really bad, wasn’t it?

What’s the worst job you've ever had? I was a ho-er one summer in college. It’s more fun to say than write. Go ahead, say it. J Yeah, I get some weird looks when I tell people how I paid my way through school… My college roomie’s family owned one of the big tulip farms in the Skagit Valley in Washington. I lived with them one summer and worked the rows, using my handy-dandy ho to make sure the pickers had picked up all the bulbs.

Sounds like the name was the best thing about that job! So let's turn the question round - what’s the best job you've ever had? My current job. I work as a personal fitness trainer and group exercise instructor at a small gym in the Pacific Northwest. I teach Pilates, yoga and Zumba®. It’s so awesome to work with people who originally hate to exercise, and show them how to make it part of their lifestyle. You might think it’s most rewarding helping people lose weight. And yes, that is rewarding, but it’s the little accomplishments that mean the most to me. Like when my 80-year-old client was able to walk down her driveway to get her mail without needing to stop to rest. Or when my client with a bad shoulder was able to lift her arm over her head for the first time in nine years. Or when one of my overweight clients was able to bend over to tie her shoes for the first time in her adult life. Or when a little 78-year-old woman in my Zumba® class hugged me and said, “Thanks for bringing dance back into my life.” Can you see why I love my job?

Sure can. That's amazing, and so rewarding. Aside from your super job, then - what would be your perfect day? Sleeping in, having the fireplace on and watching Bones reruns much of the day, and reading a great book on my Nook. Then a bacon cheeseburger and fries for dinner (just cuz I’m a personal trainer doesn’t mean I don’t like to indulge now and then).

What’s on your bedside table/nightstand? Bag balm (I rub it into my feet every night), my Nook, hand lotion, my alarm clock and KY jelly. Seriously on that last one. My teenage son saw it one morning when I’d accidently left it out and goes, “Really, Mom? That’s totally gross.” So now I keep it out on purpose just to freak him out. Because a mom’s job is to embarrass our kids, right?

Right - it's a major part of parenting! Which household chore would you happily give up forever? If you could see my house right now, you’d think I’d given up ALL household chores forever. I’m serious.

What drives you seriously nuts? People who think they’re better than others just because of the way they dress, the money they make, their jobs…whatever. And mosquitoes in my bedroom at night when I’m trying to sleep. Those little buggers also drive me crazy. Just sayin’.

You're given a time travel machine - where would you go, and why? I’d go back to my sophomore year in high school, back to the tech ed class, when a popular football player (who happened to be dating a friend of mine) said loudly in front of all of his friends, “Oh. My. God. You have the biggest thighs I’ve ever seen on a girl.” Yeah. I wanted to die. I would love to go back in time and respond, just as loudly, “Better big thighs than a little penis. Yeah. I’ve heard the stories.” Sigh. If only.

I bet we could all think of someone we'd like to go back in time to and hit with the perfect comeback, that's for sure. On to the good stuff, though - what’s the best review you've ever had? Long and Short Reviews said this of my first book, BORROWED STILETTOS, "It is one of the best contemporary stories I’ve read this year,” and they gave it a 5-book rating, their highest.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? My fat thighs. Seriously. That guy in high school wasn’t lying, just a jerk for saying what he was thinking out loud. But I’m working on a program right now for big thighs – if it works, I’ll put it together in a fitness e-book and self-publish it next year.

Thanks so much for being my guest today, Rebecca - your answers are a load of fun, and make sure you let us all know about that thigh book! Friends, you can find out loads more about this fun and talented (and super-fit) woman here at her website - where you can also read about her latest release, Her One-Night Prince.

Good luck with all your future projects, Rebecca - it's been a blast getting to know you!

Friday, 11 November 2011

The One-Link Lowdown on...SB Knight!

Today I've got the lowdown on writer SB Knight. His poetry and short stories have been published books and magazines, but his debut novel, the dark fantasy Born of Blood will be published by MuseItUp Publications in March 2012.

Currently working on the sequel for his novel, the first in the Blood Chronicles series, Brian is also the man behind the blog The New Author, which serves not just as a learning tool for writers, but also a community of friends and peers.

Brian, you're very welcome to Home Is Where The Heart Is - now it's time to get The Lowdown on you!

If you could retrieve one thing from your childhood, what would it be?

There are so many things to choose from. It could be the youthful energy, sense of discovery, the explosion of a new found imagination. The list goes on and on as whereas I still hold on to many of the above attributes I must admit that they have waned as I grow older. If I had to pick just one I would go with the youthful energy.

Tell us three surprising things about yourself, one of which is a fib - and we'll try to guess the fib!

Three surprising things about me:

1. my parents were told by the doctor that they would never have any more children after my oldest brother was born. Five years later, my middle brother and I were born.

2. I took a road trip from Virginia to Alaska and camped in a trailer for 4 months.

3. While surfing I swam with giant sea turtles off the coast of North Carolina.

What would be your perfect day?

It would start with the rays of the sun shining through the window. I wake to the sound of seagulls and the scent of freshly brewed coffee in the air. After a breakfast of bacon, eggs and toast I would sit on the porch swing of a little cottage located at the Outer Banks of North Carolina. There I would watch the slight ripples travel over the water as the salt tinged breeze blows over my skin. My family and I would pack a picnic lunch in the truck and travel to the beach. The surf washing over my feet as we look for shells and fish. I would be reading a book more than my fishing pole but then again, my boy would let me know if anything happened.

At the end of the day I would start a fire in the grill; surf and turf with all the trimmings. After dinner while my son still plays, my wife and I would get a glass of wine, sit on the porch and watch the orange and red colors of the sun extend over the evening sky and reflect off the water as it travels behind the horizon.

What’s on your bedside table/nightstand?

That would be the most annoying thing ever created – the alarm clock. Next to my clock is the single most important book I own – my Bible.

What your favourite sandwich, and where in the world is the best place to eat it?

That would be smoked pork, seasoned and spicy BarBQ with cole slaw on a toasted bun. That is a great sandwich. The best place to eat it is in a small hole-in-the-wall restaurant where you can talk to the owner. It is hard to beat that. Oh yea, you need to wash it down with either sweet tea or an ice cold Coke.

Oh, yeah - sounds like my idea of a great sandwich in a great location too! While we're on the subject of food, let me ask you this - who would you invite to your ultimate fantasy dinner party?

My family would be at the top of the list. Next would be everyone from MuseItUp Publishing but after that would be my favourite authors and artists. Authors would include Stephen King, Raymond Feist, and J.K. Rowling.

What’s your favourite fruit, and what's the best way to eat it?

I love fruit. Peaches, plums, grapes, oranges, the list goes on and on. I really enjoy peaches though. The best way to eat a peach is outside on a warm day so when you bite it the juice explodes from it and runs down your arm. The second best way is grilled and served over French Vanilla ice cream.

What drives you seriously nuts?

There are two things really. One would be the lack of common sense that we seem to see on a daily basis. The second would be individuals who completely avoid taking responsibility for their actions. If you think about it, these two combined played a large role in the economic mess we find ourselves in.

If you could go anywhere in the world right now, where would it be?

This is a long list because I love to travel. I would go to England. From there I would have the means to travel to France, and Ireland.

You're given a time travel machine - where would you go, and why?

I would go back to the year 1992, to my home town. I would find the teenage me and smack him upside the head because the younger me is, most likely, getting ready to do something stupid that will impact my life for a long time.

Ah....your perfect day sounds a lot like mine, Brian. Blissful. And I wouldn't mind being a guest at that dinner party, think you could squeeze me in on the corner of the table? ;-) It's been a joy and a pleasure to have you as my guest today. Thanks so much for coming along!

By the way, friends, Brian's fib was #3 - his dad swam with the sea turtles, not Brian himself. You can find out much more about SB Knight, his writing and his future projects here at his website, where you'll also find the links to The New Author writers' blog.

Good luck with Born of Blood and the whole Blood Chronicles series, sir - and here's to your launch date next March!

Saturday, 5 November 2011

Edinburgh Fog gets 4 Night Owl Review Stars!

Super review - I am so chuffed! Diana Coyle at Night Owl Reviews says....

'I really enjoyed this short story and was thrilled that Greg and Julia seemed to come back into each other’s lives for a reason. I was hoping they would get back together and use their past together as a stepping stone to a hopeful future with one another. If you’re looking for a feel-good story that will fit into your busy schedules, then look no further because this is the perfect short-story for you!'

If you want the lowdown on Greg Morton, Julia Brady and all the whacky staff at Tellers' Bar-Bistro, you can get the full review and all the buying info HERE! Enjoy!

Friday, 4 November 2011

The One-Link Lowdown On...Paula Martin!

My guest today is UK writer Paula Martin. Paula shares my love of theatre, and her latest novel His Leading Lady, set in and around that fascinating world, has been getting rave reviews. Read on to find out more about her and her work!

Welcome, Paula! Let's kick off with the question that almost all of my guests love to answer - if you could retrieve one thing from your childhood, what would it be?

I wish I still had all the notebooks in which I wrote my earliest stories (starting when I was about 8 or 9) and all my teenage stories (dozens of them). I can remember some but not all. My first published novel was based on one of my teenage stories, so maybe some of the others would give me inspiration for more novels - if I still had them. On second thoughts, maybe they’d made me cringe with embarrassment, so perhaps it’s as well that I no longer have them!

Tell us three surprising things about yourself, one of which is a fib - and we'll try to guess the fib!

I met the Queen at a Buckingham Palace Garden party.

I once flew all the way from the UK to Los Angeles for 3 days to see Martin Sheen in a play there.

The first novel I ever submitted was accepted by the first publisher I sent it to.

What’s your favourite piece of music?

Anything from Les Miserables which is my favourite show of all time. Songs like ‘Can You Hear the People Sing’ and ‘One More Day’ make the hairs on my neck stand on end though. Can’t really choose one special song, I love them all.

Who would you invite to your ultimate fantasy dinner party?

How many am I allowed? Martin Sheen would have to come because he’s been my favourite actor for 30+ years, and I’ve seen/read enough of his interviews to realise what a fascinating and complex man he is. Colin Firth would be my second choice, not just because he’s eye candy but also because he’s an intelligent, articulate man. Oh, who am I kidding – he IS eye-candy! Third choice – Hugh Jackman (eye-candy again?) – love his smile and laugh, and he can entertain the guests after dinner with his wonderful singing voice. Female choices would be author Sharon Kay Penman, the writer of the best medieval novels I have ever read. Her knowledge of all things medieval is amazing. Also British actress Julie Walters, because she’s so down-to-earth and would make everyone laugh.

If you could go anywhere in the world right now, where would it be?

Luxor in Egypt. I had two weeks there last year, and loved it. So much history to see everywhere you go. I’ve set my latest novel there, a lot of it in the famous Valley of the Kings, burial place of many of the Pharaohs. Going into the Valley was a long-time dream, and I’d love to see more of the tombs there.

You're given a time travel machine - where would you go, and why?

To London in 1483, to find out the truth about the ‘Princes in the Tower’, allegedly put to death by their uncle, Richard III. I’m one of the many people who believe Richard was maligned by Thomas More and Shakespeare, and was not responsible for the deaths of the princes. There are various theories about who had them killed, so I’d interview them all and find out the truth!

What’s the best review you've ever had?

This review of His Leading Lady came from someone who admitted she did not usually read romances: 'If you had asked me a few months ago if I read `romance' novels, I would have replied with a definite no. But after coming across the first chapter of Paula Martin's His Leading Lady online, I wanted to read the rest....Paula Martin expertly weaves a tale of not just romance (though there's plenty of heat!), but also of family, intrigue, drama, and ultimately, of the choices we make in the name of love. The story takes a handful of turns, leaving readers with just a spot of uncertainty as to whether or not this character is as sweet as she seems or that character is to be trusted. The journey through this book was utterly enjoyable and the conclusion satisfying. Ask me today if I read romance novels and I'll answer, "If Paula Martin wrote it, you bet'cha!" '

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

As a child, I always wanted dark curly hair instead of my straight mousey-brown hair. But these days, it’s my weight which I wish I could change i.e. lose some of it! When I was younger, I could eat whatever I wanted and not put on any weight. Even after having my two daughters in my twenties, I soon returned to my pre-pregnancy weight. Sadly that changed when I got to my mid-thirties and gradually the extra ounces became extra pounds. Although I’ve had several attempts at losing weight, I manage to shed about 5 pounds (over 3 months) and that’s it, even though I continue eating ‘sensibly’. So frustrating and soul-destroying!

What single invention would change your life for the better?

Since I hate ironing, I’d love a robot which could do the ironing for me, and hang up all the clothes afterwards!

Aside from writing achievements, family, etc - what are you most proud of?

In the 80’s and 90’s, I directed two shows each year with the junior section of our local Musical Theatre Group, and I’m proud of being able to give so many young people the opportunity to develop their talents, especially those who started as shy chorus members and had gained enough confidence a few year later to take lead roles. Many of them are still involved in amateur theatre, and I know of about five who went on to the professional stage.

Thank you, Paula! I agree with you about the Richard III issue, much as I love Shakespeare, I think he did give Richard a bad rep, and it's a pity that what we 'know' about the man nowadays is most probably myth.

By the way, Paula's fib was about meeting the Queen. She told me, "Yes, I did once go to a Buckingham Palace Garden Party (along with about 6,000 others) but no, I didn’t actually meet her, just saw her from a distance!" Ah, well - one day, maybe!

You can find out more about Paula herself plus her contemporary romance His Leading Lady HERE at her website.

Paula, thank you so much for being my guest today, and good luck with all your future projects - or should I say, 'break a leg!'

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Announcing A Very Special Contract!

I'm so pleased to tell you that last week I signed a contract with MuseItUp Publications to re-publish my contemporary novel, A Different Kind of Honesty.

I had the rights for this book returned to me at the start of the year - disappointing at the time, but as often happens with these things, it turned into a whole new opportunity. I didn't want to leave a novel that had received 5-star reviews languishing on my hard drive, so I had a choice - offer it to another publisher, or self-publish. I love the idea of self-publishing, but right now I don't have the wherewithal to do it properly. The other option was to continue with the revision of the book and offer it elsewhere, which is what I did. I'm SO glad my first choice of publisher snapped it up!

I'm especially pleased that it's going to be with Muse. Out of the many thing I like about them, the main thing is the way they don't pigeonhole writers. They don't say 'if this story is to be considered as part of this ABC genre, then it must have elements X, Y and Z,' but instead, they allow the story itself to shine through, as well as allowing the author's individual voice to be heard. What's more, the two editors I've worked with at Muse already have been beyond amazing, and I hope to work with them again on this project.

A Different Kind of Honesty will be released sometime around the end of summer 2012, but in the meantime, you can have a sneak peek with this unedited excerpt. Hope you enjoy it - and now it's back to work for me!

'Tony slowed the silver Taurus to a halt and killed the engine. The clock on the dash showed ten after one. He glanced in the rear and side view mirrors, but didn’t see any other cars on the road; besides, he’d done a couple of tortuous circuits of the area before finally pulling into the Linares’ driveway.

He got out and walked up the path in the full afternoon sun, noting Ramon’s old station wagon in front of the garage. Behind that, parked in front of his own Taurus, stood a brand new red Ford Fusion he hadn’t seen before. He checked through the driver’s side windows. A map lay open on the passenger seat, and on the backseat, a light blue sweatshirt with a faded surfer logo and a woman’s red jean jacket. Next to those, a couple of small mineral water bottles with sports caps, one empty, and a copy of the week’s Time Out. As he walked around the car, he saw a sticker in the rear window that read ‘Star Car Rental, NYC, NY.’

Tony thought a moment. Ramon hadn’t mentioned any houseguests. It occurred to him the car might be a set up, but he dismissed the idea almost immediately. The types who might have wanted a couple of short-and-to-the-point words with him weren’t that subtle.

Shrieks and yells burst from the garden behind the house and he jerked his head up. A woman’s laughter and shouts of encouragement floated over sounds of children squealing, and he recognized Nina Linares’ voice. Letting out a long breath he hadn’t realized he’d been holding in, he closed his eyes and ran a hand over his forehead, wondering when the hell he’d forgotten how children’s games sounded. A knock on glass startled him and he looked up to see Ramon wave from the window and jab his finger towards the front door before he disappeared from view.

Tony walked over to the porch steps and turned to look back along the road he’d just driven. Very few houses sat out here and those that did were mostly obscured by bushy shrubs and mature trees. He didn’t see anyone, and it was doubtful anyone could have seen him. There were no cars parked on the street.

Despite the sunshine, a misty blue haze hung around the top of the hills beyond the valley, the way it always looked every time he’d visited. He’d last been here a couple of months back; before that, several years ago, before he’d gone undercover. The landscape had a Mediterranean look about it, the reason Ramon and Nina had chosen it as the place to make their home and bring up their three children.

Ramon sauntered down the front steps, relaxed in his weekend clothes instead of one of his tailored office suits. “I heard the car. Glad you made it, my friend.” He clapped Tony on the shoulder. They shook hands and then Tony returned his gaze to the view.

“Always looks so peaceful out here. And the air tastes so good. Makes you think about what you’re breathing in the city.”

Ramon nodded his agreement. “Nina chose well. It reminds her of the mountains she knew as a child in Spain.”

“She still want to go back?”

“Ah, maybe one day.” Ramon shrugged, stroking his neat beard. “When we’re old and grey.” He looked at Tony. “What about you? You going to make that return trip to
Italy you keep telling me about?”

“Sure, soon as I can. You know my folks went back there for good?”

“No, I didn’t know. To be near your brother and his family?”

“Paolo the hot-shot Rome lawyer, yeah. Seemed like the right thing for them to do, this time of their life. My dad decided he wanted to die where he was born. He’s not dead yet, though,” he added with a smile. “I’ll visit soon. When this case is over.”

“Relive a bit of your youth, huh?”

“Yeah. Last time, I was seventeen. Worked on my uncle’s farm a whole summer. Drove my aunt crazy, running around with the village teenagers at night.” He gave a short laugh at the memory. “She was all for sending me home, but my uncle bailed me out.”

Ramon nodded. “She’d be proud of you now, though.”

Tony turned to him in surprise, but Ramon kept his gaze directed at the distant hills. Tony looked at them too. “Something else about that summer...I fell head over heels in love with the village beauty. Infatuated. She’d have nothing to do with me, though.” He smiled. “I don’t think she ever knew.”

“And it broke your foolish teenage heart?”

“Into a million pieces. And you know what? I can’t even remember her name.”

Ramon laughed. “C’mon. Nina is cooking a celebration paella to die for, and there’s a cold beer out there with your name on it.”

“Sounds good to me.”

Ramon headed up the steps to the front door. Before he followed, Tony took one last look at the distant blue hills. He thought about the village beauty all those years back. Now there was another girl in the picture, and it looked like she didn’t want to know either. Only this time, he hadn’t forgotten her name. This one was inked on his heart like a tattoo. And removing it would hurt like hell.'

Friday, 28 October 2011

The One-Link Lowdown on...J Q Rose!

I'm deliciously spooked to have as my Lowdown guest this Halloween weekend the author J Q Rose, writer of mystery, suspense, and horror - with humour! While she's written many newspaper and magazine articles and features, her first foray into the world of fiction, a story called Sunshine Boulevard, has recently been released by MuseItUp Publishing. Read on....if you dare!

If you could retrieve one thing from your childhood, what would it be?

I would like to retrieve a day spent with my grandmother, Maw. She always had her treadle sewing machine ready to make doll clothes with me. We often baked something delicious. Mmmm….I can smell the chocolate crumb cake in the oven now. Add a cold glass of milk. And of course, we would go shopping with my mom. I can still see Maw’s twinkling eyes and grin on her face when she would open her billfold to show me all the cash she had in there for shopping. (She had just cashed her social security check and they were probably all one dollar bills!) Lots of happy times with Maw.

What’s the naughtiest thing you've ever done?

When I was very young, I loved watching Westerns with Roy Rogers, The Lone Ranger, Rex Allen. Yes, I was a tom boy, but perhaps the girly girl in me appreciated these handsome men. The shows influenced me. I told my mom I wanted a gun and holster for Christmas one year…no dolls!!
Well, if you recall, the bad guys were always supposed to get hanged in the Westerns. I don’t believe they actually showed a hanging, so I decided to try it out on a cat. Yes, indeed I slung the rope over our back yard clothes line, tied it around Fluffy’s neck, and pulled her up with the rope to swing in the air. Thank goodness my mother came to the yowling cat’s rescue. I think this may qualify as a naughty deed. I want to point out that I am an animal lover, so I know for sure at that age I had no idea I could have killed the cat with this hanging.

What’s the worst job you've ever had?

My father was an undertaker. So you would think working in a funeral home would be a bad job. But, no, the worst job I had was selling encyclopedias door-to-door. A car full of us college-age kids drove into a town, and our leader dropped one of us off in a neighbourhood each night. (I don’t believe I told my mother I was roaming strange neighborhoods alone.) I knocked on doors and tried to sell the set of books. I learned a LOT about selling. I also learned, no matter how much money you had…I was in some ritzy neighborhoods… there was always a discussion if the family could afford the books. Yes, I sold several sets of encyclopedias that summer, and the commission was excellent. The only problem after beat feetin’ around the state and garnering great sales, the customer had three days to cancel the contract. Some weeks, I got zilch for all my effort when expecting a fat pay check. Crushing…

Tell us three surprising things about yourself, one of which is a fib - and we'll try to guess the fib!

(NB - please tell me which one’s the fib and I'll post the answer at the end of your Lowdown, unless you’d prefer not!)

1. My husband and I were full-time Rv’ers for over eight years.
2. I gave birth to triplets...all girls born on New Year’s Day. The hospital wouldn’t give us 3 gifts for the first babies of the new year.
3. Fortunately I have received only one speeding ticket while driving my red Mustang convertible.

What would be your perfect day?

My day has to begin with a blue sky and warm, but not hot, sunshine, perfect weather for a cookout at our house. My daughters, sons-in-law, and grandkids are in attendance which already makes it perfect. Delicious food, lawn games, and water balloons make up the activities for the day. A strawberry shortcake with ice cream would top it all off. Oh, and the clean up? Perhaps a bunch of invisible workers would magically arrive to put everything away, do the dishes, and clean the kitchen while I sit on the deck and relax with my hubby.

What’s on your bedside table/nightstand?

I have a tall lamp I purchased at an auction. It is one of a matched pair. The other one resides on my hubby’s night stand. The lamp has a gold shade and a base of three copper rods with copper ivy wrapped around them. I don’t know why I have a lamp because I use a reader’s book light to clamp on my book or Kindle instead of the lamp light since I read in bed and do not want to disturb my hubby. Kleenex tissues, several books everchanging titles, and my Kindle are permanent fixtures. Tums, an anti-acid tablet, is always available for those nights when I eat too much pizza for supper or too many onions, etc.

What your favourite sandwich, and where in the world is the best place to eat it?

My favourite sandwich is the Brown Bear Burger Supreme prepared masterfully at The Brown Bear in Shelby or Pentwater, Michigan. Grilled burger made of one pound, yes one pound, of ground beef grilled and topped with cheeses, pickles, grilled onions, ham slice, peppers, and sauce served in a tasty bun the size of a dinner plate. It is enormous. We use a knife to slice the burger into four pieces and I eat this “sandwich” with a knife and fork. No way can I get my mouth around it to take a bite. It’s fun sitting in the old bar and watching all the patrons devour one of the restaurant’s many burger choices- not all are one pound. This summer the Supreme was voted the best burger in West Michigan. You’ve gotta try it if you get to this area.

Which household chore would you happily give up for ever?

This is the easiest question to answer…I dislike all aspects of housecleaning, but I find cleaning toilets absolutely the most disgusting.

What’s the best review you've ever had?

My writing compared to Stephen King’s is quite a compliment. Here’s part of that review - author Rochelle Weber wrote in her Amazon review, 'Move Over Stephen King, J.Q. Rose's writing is as "bad" as Stephen King's. When I read Salem's Lot, I couldn't put it down and I slept with a Bible, a Lutheran prayer book, and a Catholic prayer book for several weeks. I didn't pick up another of his books for twenty years. … The fact that I read the whole book (Sunshine Boulevard) is a testament to J.Q. Rose's writing. She had me from the first truly weird death to the ominous ending.'

Wow! That's quite some compliment, Janet! So, aside from writing achievements, family, etc - what are you most proud of?

I always dreamed of being Carol Burnett. She had the most entertaining show on television. She made everyone laugh and forget their troubles for that one hour through her crazy skits and loud, and I mean loud, singing voice. I also thought I would be a great actress and dancer, but alas, none of that happened...until...I was chosen to play a maid and a Hooverville bum in our community players production of Annie. How I got into the play is a long story for another time. I was a chorus member. I did not have a speaking part as the maid, but I had one line as the bum. The very best part of the play, for me and the scene I was most proud of, occurred when I joined all the other bums at the front of the stage and formed a chorus line performing like New York’s Radio City Music Hall’s Rockette dancers kicking and dancing as we sang. I finally fulfilled my dream in front of an audience of townfolk and friends who raucously applauded our efforts every night. I think even Carol Burnett would have been proud of my “performance.”

Thanks so much Janet, for being my guest today, and that burger sounds like a must-try! If you didn't twig it yet, answer No.2 is Janet's fib!

I've so enjoyed having you over to my blog today, and know we're all going to hear so much more from you in the future. You can find out more about J Q Rose and her writing by visiting her website here.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Could Your Novel Be Adapted For The Stage?

Welcome to paranormal author Margaret West, with details of an amazing competition!

'A great big thank you to Jane for allowing me to hijack her wonderful blog today.

My latest release Abigail Cottage has been picked out by director Elizabeth Newman of the Octagon Theatre, Bolton, as the best paranormal she has read this year.

On the back of that, Elizabeth has decided to launch a competition for three lucky authors in the UK and one international author.

Elizabeth has worked as a casting director for theatre and television and has been a lecturer and senior lecturer at various HE and FE facilities across the country.

As the Associate Director at the Octagon Theatre, Elizabeth directs productions and also runs the Theatre's new writing department - and she's in search of authors who are interested in adapting their novels for the stage!!!

This competition has been inspired by her working with novelist Margaret West and her novel Abigail Cottage, who has already been picked to join the chosen three at the Octagon in December 2011.

The competition will open on 20th October 2011, and you will be able to post your submissions on the Authors Promoting Authors Food for Thought Blog, hosted by Margaret West during the week of 20 - 27 October 2011.

Guidelines for the competition can be found on Margaret West’s blog on Wednesday 19 October.

The Winners will not only attend the day workshop at the theatre with the team of playwrights currently working with Ms Newman to adapt Frank L Baum's classic novel, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz at the Octagon, which opens on the 19 November 2011, but they will also be invited to see the show in the evening.

The international winner will have a skype session with the director on adapting their book for the stage.

The winning briefs will be announced on the 22 of November 2011.

Please note: the writers will have to fund their own travel/accommodation to attend the workshop day at the Octagon.'

This sounds like an amazing opportunity! As Margaret says, you can find the guidelines and ask any questions you might have at her blog tomorrow, Wednesday 19 October. Be there!

Thanks to Margaret for passing this along!

Monday, 17 October 2011

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Writing The Scots I Know....

Come and visit me at Anne E. Johnsons blog today, and see how I decided to write the way I wrote.....:)

ANOTHER 5 Stars for Edinburgh Fog!

Author Lindsay Townsend has given Edinburgh Fog a 5 star review, so you can imagine I'm well chuffed!

'If you fancy a trip to Scotland, then please read Jane Richardson's `Edinburgh Fog'. It's full of the sounds, smells, sights and sounds of that amazing city, and more. The story is one of love lost and then recovered, a haunting, beautiful tale that stays long in the memory......'

You can read the whole thing here!

Sunday, 9 October 2011

#SampleSunday - Julia reappears, from 'Edinburgh Fog.'

“Hiya, boss. So where did you hide the body?” Ben’s deep Edinburgh brogue lent itself particularly well to sarcasm. Behind Ben, Chrissie Henderson, Greg’s bar manager and second-in-command, gawped goggle-eyed around Ben’s lofty shoulder.

“What body?” Greg looked down at his blood-spattered shirt front. “Aw, no, would you look at that! I cut myself shaving. I thought I’d staunched it.”

Ben laughed as he tipped ground coffee into the pot and filled it with hot water. “Lucky there’s a spare shirt hanging in the office.”

Greg groaned. “But not so lucky, it’s one of yours.” The reason Ben could never do Saturday afternoon shifts was that he spent them propping up the back row of the Edinburgh Academicals’ rugby third fifteen. Borrowing a shirt from a rugby player like Ben would be like draping himself in a beer tent.

“Maybe I can cover it,” Greg suggested, adjusting his Tellers’ staff tie. At three inches wide, it was still three inches too narrow to cover the stains.

“Aye, right.” Ben grinned. “On the other hand, you could wear the clean shirt and just keep puffing out your chest for the rest of the day so it looks like it fits you.”

Greg admitted defeat. “I’ll go and put it on. Give me a minute.” He eyed the pot of coffee. “Have you just made that for a customer?”

“Table six.” Ben made to pick up the pot, and then caught the determined gleam in Greg’s eye. He sighed heavily, and slammed the plunger down. “It’s all yours, boss. I’ll make them another.”

Five minutes later, ignoring Ben’s hearty guffaws, Greg emerged back into the bar. He’d tucked the enormous shirt into his jeans as best he could, but it felt like wearing a bedspread. The sleeves bunched up underneath the arms of his waistcoat, no matter how many times he rolled back his shoulders to make it more comfortable. Ah, well. At least he could congratulate himself on his self-imposed and totally egalitarian uniform policy. Even though he was sole owner of Tellers’, he still dressed the same as everyone else...even if he looked utterly ridiculous.

Lunchtime was the usual Friday affair, trainee lawyers and giggling office-girls from the Georgian-pillared businesses in Queen Street and Charlotte Square. The booze they knocked back made sure the most efficient thing they’d achieve that afternoon was a spectacular slump over a desk. Three o’clock came and went, bringing its throng of no-class-but-plenty-of-cash Edinburgh WAGS, all done in after hours of nail extensions, Brazilian waxes and clearing the designer concession rails in Jenners department store. They ordered sustenance in the form of Tellers’ own coffee blend and plates of Danish pastries, which they prodded with forks but left uneaten.

After they’d cleared out, Tellers’ was at last blessed with a couple of hours’ peace. The staff heaved a collective sigh and set to preparing the place for the Friday evening crowd. Nothing eventful happened except Chrissie tripping over Ben as he knelt behind the bar to re-stack the mixers shelf and tipping half a bottle of vermouth and a bowl of stuffed olives down the back of his neck. Ben took it in good part, commenting that while he smelled like a martini, he was only stirred and not at all shaken.

Leaving them to clean up as he sliced lemons and limes for the bar, Greg mused on whether the olive incident counted as Thing Number Three, and was on the point of convincing himself that definitely, absolutely nothing else could possibly go wrong for the rest of the day, when she walked in.


Greg froze, hypnotized by the reflection shimmering in the long mirror behind the bar. It disappeared briefly, moving out of his line of vision and he stepped sideways, following the mirror along the wall, seeking her out if only to convince himself that it couldn’t possibly be her — that Julia hadn’t just walked back into his life four years after he’d walked out of hers.

Read a Five-Star review and buy Edinburgh Fog in all its formats including Kindle here at MuseItUp Publishing.

Friday, 7 October 2011

The One-Link Lowdown on...Adriana Ryan!

Adriana Ryan is an exciting new author whose debut novel Her Heart's Desire will be released by MuseItUp Publishing in March 2012.

Welcome, Adriana - and let's go with the questions!

If you could retrieve one thing from your childhood, what would it be?

This GIANT marble I used to own. It was an incredible deep green color, and I was so proud of it! I still think about it sometimes. Don’t ask me why, because I have no clue either.

Tell us three surprising things about yourself, one of which is a fib - and we'll try to guess the fib!

Ooh, I love this game! Okay, here goes:

- I own so much makeup that I have a makeup “train case,” which is essentially a briefcase professional makeup artists use to tote their “offices” around.

- I have never had a broken bone.

- My inner nerd gorges on virtually everything in the field of discrete mathematics.

What would be your perfect day?

I’d wake up to a sunny day, write a satisfying scene, hear the sounds of a happy family in my home, and read a great book till I drifted off.

What’s on your bedside table/nightstand?

My glasses! I am essentially blind without them, and some people claim I’ve crooned to a pair of boots by the bed, thinking that they were my cat. Ahem – no comment.

What’s your favourite piece of music?

This changes according to what’s going on in my life, what I’m writing (especially what I’m writing, actually! Each story comes with songs that sound “right” and ones that don’t), and what I have access to. Right now I’m loving “Just a Girl” by No Doubt. Girl power!

What's your guilty pleasure?

Netflix streaming! I am strongly anti-cable television as far as my family goes, but I just can’t help myself. It’s like I get addicted, have to watch all the episodes they have of one show, and then I go off of it for a while. For instance, I had a phase where I couldn’t get enough of the free Law and Order episodes. Then it was Intervention, and now it’s Monk! TV’s such a waste of time and brain power when you have kids and need those last bits of reserve for your writing, but alas, I do not heed my own advice!

Which household chore would you happily give up forever?

Oh, God. Folding clothes. I mean, who even came up with that? It’s so arbitrary!

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

I so wish I had better self-confidence. Being a writer is awesome, but it also means that you can be isolated all day if you want. Sometimes just talking to other people feels like a foreign language.

What single invention would change your life for the better?

A magic clothes-folding-contraption! It would take my clothes from the dryer, fold them, and put them where they belong.

Aside from writing achievements, family, etc - what are you most proud of?

The sense of genuine caring I have for the world. I am a compulsive volunteering machine.

And now, it's confession time! - the fib is that my inner nerd gorges on anything in discrete mathematics. I’m, in actuality, a total forensic psychology nut. In fact, it’s what I’ve selected to be my “day job.” The other two, unfortunately, are totally true – I have a severe eyeshadow addiction, and I guess I have super Calcium-infused bones!

Thanks so much for being my guest, Adriana - it's been a joy getting to know you. Good luck with all your future projects!

To find out more about the fabulous Adriana Ryan, visit her One-Link HERE!

Sunday, 25 September 2011

AMAZING first review!

I'm stunned by this fabulous 5-Star review from writer Christine London, who went as far as to say she'd have given Edinburgh Fog SIX stars if she could! Here's a snippet:

Poignant, tender, wrenching, romantic and oh-so real-- Edinburgh Fog packs more emotional punch and deeper characterization in its thirty two pages than most books do in three hundred. Every phrase, every word so perfectly chosen, it engenders both the joy in, and painful regret of a relationship ended too soon......It will command your heart like love at first sight.

Read the rest of Christine's amazing review here at

Saturday, 24 September 2011

9000 lovely words - buy it at Muse It Up Publishing here!

Blurb: When Greg Morton returned to Edinburgh, it was to follow his dream of opening the smartest bar-bistro in town. Now Tellers’ is a huge success—but the truth is, deep inside, it means little without the love of his life.

Four years ago, he left Julia Brady behind in London to realize his business ambitions in his Scottish home town. By the time he’d recognized his mistake and admitted to himself he wanted her back, the grapevine told him Julia had moved on—and Greg had to face the fact that he’d been a fool.

When Julia appears out of the blue in Tellers’, he knows the only thing he should do is walk right up to her and say hello. But it looks like someone else has their sights set on her, and he’s a quick worker.

Is Julia about to disappear from Greg's life a second time - this time, for good?

Excerpt: ' “Another pot of coffee, boss.”

Ben shattered Greg’s getaway plans as he slapped his notepad on the marble bar-top. “And Mr. Smarty over there says could that be with hot milk, because he wants a macchiato caldo, not freddo. I told him the milk comes hot out of the machine anyway, and is Freddo no’ that wee bloke with the big feet out Lord of the Rings? Don’t get smart-arsed with me, pal, is what I really wanted to say.” Ben curled a lip and turned to face the growing crowd in the bar as he waited for Greg to top up another coffee jug. “Mind you, for a smart arse, he must have something.”

Greg glanced over at the object of Ben’s ire. “How’s that?”

Ben gesticulated with his chin towards Julia’s table. “Look at him! Manky wee ginger git, and he’s got those gorgeous babes with him. What’s he got that I haven’t?”

“Well, let’s think.” Chrissie wandered over from the other end of the bar to join in the conversation. “Wit? Intelligence? Charm and personality?” she offered, giving Greg a sly wink. Any opportunity to wind up Ben about his ways with women usually wasn’t to be missed, but tonight Greg’s heart wasn’t in it. He pulled out a wooden tray inscribed with the Tellers’ logo and set the coffee pot down. “Probably just friends from work.” He half-filled a stainless steel jug with milk, jammed it under the foamer nozzle and let it rip.

Chrissie wrinkled her nose and nodded. “He doesn’t look like the world’s greatest lover to me, Ben. Your crown’s safe, big man.”

Ben grinned as he reached for the tray. “Aye. You’re right there. Watch me go.”

Greg frowned. “Go where?”

“To show lover-boy how it’s done, what do you think?” He flicked a look over his shoulder. “Those babes’ll be nibbling their complimentary biscotti from my hand before I’m done. Man, oh, man...gimme an older woman any day. There’s no substitute for experience. What age do you reckon?”

“Twenty-nine,” Greg said, with much more precision than he’d intended to let show. “Or thereabouts,” he added lamely, relieved Ben hadn’t noticed the fact that Greg could have given him Julia’s date, time and place of birth too, had he asked.

Ben tipped his head, weighing up the facts. “A bit older than my usual conquests, but then, what’s life if not a challenge, eh, boss?” He balanced the tray high on one hand and sauntered in the direction of Julia’s table, six-pack abs and butt muscles on display, looking like a walking anatomy chart.'

Friday, 23 September 2011

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Edinburgh Fog is in the Kindle Stores!!

Great news! The ultra-fabulous Muse It Up have already got Edinburgh Fog into the Kindle stores!

UK Kindle HERE, and US Kindle HERE.

Check back tomorrow for news of the main release PLUS where I'll be blogging!

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

I'm a Twit!

My crusdae into the cyber age continues! I'm on Twitter - you can catch me tweeting (twitting? twooting?) at #gimmeahugyou so come and follow me and I'll follow you.

(PS - here's how techno-savvy I am - it took me about four minutes to find the # sign on my keyboard.)


Friday, 26 August 2011

The One- Link Lowdown On.....Pat Dale!

Welcome to the first in my occasional One-Link Lowdown series, where I'm delighted to have as my first guest the superb writer Pat Dale!

Pat sums up his writing as...'for fun and frivolity. For spinetingling suspense and drama. From the most innocent of characters to villains who murder without qualm...the place to find them all.' Whoa - sounds great! What kind of mind comes up with that, I wonder? Here's the lowdown on Pat, and I know you'll enjoy his answers as much as I did!

Pat, if you could retrieve one thing from your childhood, what would it be?

My innocence. It started eroding at age five and is still evaporating, day by day.

What’s the naughtiest thing you've ever done?

In the eighth grade, I was the class ‘angel’. The class ‘devil’ sat immediately behind me. I brought a roll of undeveloped photographic film to school and held the end of it while our ‘devil’ lit it with his cigarette lighter. He released it just before I did, so the burning film rolled all the way to the front corner of the classroom. Heavy black smoke billowed out and somebody screamed, “Fire!” The entire school had to be evacuated, and the upper story aired out for the rest of the day. The principal knew the ‘devil’ was in on it, but he couldn’t believe that I, the ‘angel’, could have helped. It was a stupid and dangerous thing to do, and I don’t know to this day why I did it.

What’s the worst job you've ever had?

Delivering and picking up chinchillas from all over the nation. I know, it was awful and as soon as I discovered it was a scam, I quit.

What’s the best job you've ever had?

What I’ve been doing for the past fifteen years; sitting at my desk and writing tales of romance and murder, not necessarily in the same books. LOL There is nothing to compare to a writer’s lifestyle. Sure, it has its ups and downs, but so does every job, and most do not give the same sense of fulfilment this one does. So, if it’s alright with the Almighty, I’d just as soon go on another fifteen years or so.

Tell us three surprising things about yourself, one of which is a fib - and we'll try to guess the fib!

1. I once drove a car off a highway at 70 mph, and sailed it through tree tops, circling in a perfect 360, and landing going forward on a big granite slab, bouncing over a creek, and landing in a marshy bog; all without flattening the tires or doing body damage, other than shortening the wheelbase by three quarters of an inch.
2. While serving in the U.S. Air Force in Japan, I put together a jazz quartet and we toured the mountainous regions entertaining anti-aircraft batteries that were too remotely located to afford their troops relaxation. The gig ended when our service club burned to the ground and, with it, all our instruments.
3. In college, I allowed myself to be hypnotized and given an instruction to disrupt the following day’s all school convocation by jumping to my feet and yelling, “I don’t believe a word of what you’re saying.” Of course, the message was for the college president, a dear friend and my former pastor.

Pat, you're outrageous! Wonder if I've guessed the fib right...??!! Anyway, here's my next question - what’s your favourite piece of music?

This is a tough one. I’ve loved classical music forever, and I have many favourite pieces. Perhaps it would be better to list my favourite composers. In choral music, I absolutely love anything by John Ritter! In wind music (I’m a trumpeter), Percy Grainger is at the top of a tall stack. By the by, Grainger had an amazing personal history, going from Australia to Britain, and finally to the U.S. where he taught himself to play saxophone in just two weeks, so he could pass an audition and join the U.S. Marine Band, under the direction of one, John Phillip Sousa. In orchestral music, it depends on my mood, which shifts like quicksand, between Debussy’s impressionism, Rachmaninoff’s orchestral works, and Paul Hindemith. Probably my all-time fav is Mathis der Maler, by Hindemith.

Which household chore would you happily give up for ever?

This one’s easy! Cleaning up after my nineteen year old cat, Dusty. She’s a dear sweet girl, but messy. My god, that cat’s a disaster!

What drives you seriously nuts?

Culling from a short list, I’d say it is the people who tell me they’re loving my books, only they’ve never bought them. I’d gladly send them a free copy if they’d just read the damn books! LOL

What's your guilty pleasure?

Eating biscuits and gravy! For those of you in the Isles, this American treat is a thick white gravy reduction from sausage drippings, ladled onto fluffy Missouri biscuits.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

I would learn the alchemist’s art of self-promotion, without losing my writing touch.

Aside from writing achievements, family, etc - what are you most proud of?

If I had never penned a single word, I would still treasure having raised five children (with a lot of help) and passed on a sense of honour and trustworthiness that seems to be in short supply these days. Sounds like an old man reminiscing, doesn’t it? Well, it is. Enough said. Cheers!'

And a rousing 'Cheers!' to you too, Pat! I so enjoyed your answers. By the way, Pat tells me that the 'fib' in his answer was No. 3 - although it's a true story that happened to his seat-mate!

Last but not least, Pat's One Link is this one which will take you to his blogspot where you can find out more about his published books.

Thanks so much for being my guest, Pat, and all the very best of luck with your writing career!