Friday, 27 April 2012

The One-Link Lowdown on...Suzanne Brandyn!

My guest today is Suzanne Brandyn. Born in rural Australia and having travelled widely in her beautiful and diverse homeland, Suzanne has experienced pretty much all that fine country has to offer.  She now brings it to you in in all its forms in her wonderful contemporary romance and romantic suspense novels.  Be prepared for beautiful beaches, dramatic coastlines, glamorous cities – and the hot breath of the wild red outback.  Her latest release is the romantic suspense, Forgotten Memories, published by Eternal Press.  Welcome, Suzanne!

What’s the naughtiest thing you've ever done? 
Shot an arrow between my younger brother's legs. Lol. Lol. Thank heavens I didn't miss. My mother went berserk.  

What’s on your bedside table/nightstand? 
My ipad, a lamp, and I'll leave that last one up to your imagination. :)

Which household chore would you happily give up forever?
All of it. Hate, hate housework. But one would be ironing. It's so boring.

Agreed!  You're talking to a person who purposely buys fabrics that rarely need ironing! ;-)  Suzanne, who would you invite to your ultimate fantasy dinner party?  
Really who would I invite. *sighs* It would have to be Hugh Jackman. He's like, so so um.... I'd drop to his feet in a whisper. :) Shush, don't tell my hubby. :)

What talent or skill would you love to have that you don’t have now?
I can dance pretty well, it's the singing voice that sounds like an old toad on its way to death. I don't sing. Lol

What drives you seriously nuts?
Bad Posture.

You're given a time travel machine - where would you go, and why?
Oh wow, what a present. I'd go everywhere, but to choose one, I'd go back into the western days, where women wore long dress, frilly bits and pieces. It would be nice to wear this type of dress, but perhaps I couldn't sit around and sigh for too long. I'd have to be Annie Oakley. Lol.

A rebel!  Quite right!  Tell me - what’s the best review you've ever had?
Suzanne Brandyn paints wonderful word portraits of Michele and Jacqueline with beauty and sexuality plus shining through. Her description of the island creates a place that is both enchanting and terrifying depending on the circumstance. (from Long and Short Reviews. ) 

What's your guilty pleasure?
I have a glass of wine with my meal. But secretly I have a glass about four o'clock if I'm home. I just love sitting out the back on the balcony taking in the view of the mountains, and listening to the roar of the ocean. It' s truly paradise.

We need those moments, don't we?  Good for the soul.  Aside from writing achievements, family, etc - what are you most proud of?
Being a survivor. I was abducted once. It was pretty bad. I don't like to go into the details but I survived. :)  I am a survivor. Yah!!!

Suzanne, it’s been great spending time with you today!  Readers who want to know more can follow your One-Link to your website where they’ll find out all about Forgotten Memories and all your other fantastic novels.  Thanks so much for being my guest today, and I wish you loads of luck in all that you do! 

Friday, 20 April 2012

The One-Link Lowdown on...Elizabeth Bailey!

 My guest today, Elizabeth Bailey, grew up in colonial Africa 'under unconventional parentage and with theatre in the blood.'  After a theatrical career of her own, she turned to writing in her thirties, first concentrating on historical romance.  Eighteen - yes, eighteen! - novels later, she has since expanded her writing into both mainstream and crime fiction.  Her latest publication, The Deathly Portent, is the second in her 'Lady Fan' nineteenth-century crime series.  Welcome, Elizabeth!

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

The very first time I read Friday's Child. I was 10 or 11 and I found it in my dad's bookcase. It was a moment containing the supreme joy of discovery, which you can never recapture. Although I reread it countless times, and all Heyer's novels thereafter, and enjoyed them tremendously, that first dip had special resonance. If even one person felt that on reading one of my books, I would be over the moon.

What’s the worst job you've ever had? 


Making lanterns! I did it for a week and it was the closest I've been to a factory environment, although it was a small outfit and there were only about three workers. I got fired by the boss in the end because he endlessly needled me for being "posh" as he thought, and in the end I hit back. I refused to leave until he paid me, but I was glad enough to be shot of putting together bits of metal and glass to build the damn things.

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

When I was 14, I won a cup for target shooting with a 303 rifle.

I once created a Regency style high-waisted fur coat and bonnet out of two old furs (bought secondhand when you still could get real fur) and left two inches of fur all over the carpet by the end!

I rode a donkey when I was only 3!

Hmm...I'm wondering about the rifle shooting, but something tells me you're full of surprises...!  Elizabeth, what’s on your bedside table/nightstand? 

I don't have one, but on the window sill behind my bed at the moment is a calendar of fantastic Regency carriage prints made by a writing friend, my night light, a bottle of magnesium tablets, a cough medicine bottle, a half-used tube of Rescue Remedy cream, an old 4Head headache remedy which just about works, a red biro (for the crossword), and a couple of Propolis lozenges - from all of which you'll gather that I use alternative meds and read in bed. Next to the bed is my bookcase, with to hand a stash of cryptic crosswords (culled from our Radio Times over here) and a crossword dictionary, the current Writing Magazine, about four separate books that I'm reading (the novels I read straight through, the others I dip into). And next to the bookcase is one of the ginger cats (who usually sleeps on the bed). At night, there is also my night drink of Calm (Calcium, magnesium and cider vinegar mix which helps me to sleep) and a glass of water. No glasses because once my contacts are out, I can read comfortably without them.  Amazing what a nest one makes for oneself around the bedhead! Don't you just love that moment when you get into bed with your drink, sigh thankfully against the banked pillows and prepare for that wonderful half-hour or so of indulgence. Bliss!

Bliss indeed, and I have to say your little nest sounds a lot like mine, including cat!  What your favourite sandwich, and where in the world is the best place to eat it?


Oh lord, it's cheese and tomato! And in bed would be perfect. How uninteresting am I? I hardly ever eat bread these days, though, so don't have it often. But if I'm allowed to be totally self-indulgent about this, my truly favourite thing is to picnic in an Italian piazza with a feast of baguette style bread, olives, continental cheese and sausage or salami, with a small bottle of red wine and that lethal espresso, highly sugared, to follow. Watching the passers-by and gazing at the surrounding architectural beauty. That's when I feel completely relaxed and truly as if I'm on holiday.
Set me a place, I'm coming over for a sandwich!  Now tell me - which household chore would you happily give up for ever?
All of them! I'm a rubbish housekeeper and can live in acres of dust and cobwebs without noticing. Suddenly I wake up and look at the place and realise it just won't do. Then I have a binge of cleaning until I get too tired and resolve to do a little every day. Then I'm back at the PC and forget about it completely until the next time it suddenly hits me again. If I cook, I usually don't prepare because I forget I've got to do it, and then I have to do a speed version. I'm not one of these cooks who lovingly spend hours getting it just right, that's for sure. What's in the freezer that I can do in half an hour max is about the sum of it! Though I'm quite enjoying making chips in the new fat fryer because I'm endlessly fascinated with the speed. I don't mind washing up though.

What talent or skill would you love to have that you don’t have now?

I wish I could play the piano really well. I learned but gave up when I was in my teens. I started all over again when I had a piano one time and struggled to play better. I was never much cop at reading music despite learning and was never able to read fast enough to play properly. It's the only instrument I learned and I loved playing - just wasn't good. And then my piano died in a flood in a friend's basement where it was housed and that was that. Also would have loved to play by ear but I can't, never could.

That's a skill I bet many of us would love to have.  Now to a subject I suspect will be very close to your historical heart!  You're given a time travel machine - where would you go, and why?

I'd do a Doctor Who and pop into several timeframes. Of course I'd spend a while in the Georgian period - just to check on some of my research facts and get them right. But for the hell of it I'd jet off to somewhere that no longer exists like Mesopotamia. I'd definitely jump into Inca country in South America and hope to bring back a bit of gold! Plus have to go to Tudor London and watch a Shakespeare play at the Globe, and Venice during a masquerade, and don't let's leave out Sarah Bernhardt in action and Stanislavski in Russia. I think I'd probably do a through the centuries theatre tour from Greek to Laurence Olivier - wow, what a treat!
That all sounds wonderful!  Can I come along for the ride?  Elizabeth, what’s the best review you've ever had?

I had some super reviews for my first historical crime The Gilded Shroud, but the best one which beats all reviews hollow was this single sentence: " The late Regency writer Georgette Heyer lives—and she's writing mysteries as Elizabeth Bailey! " What an accolade! To be compared to my favourite writer ever whose work I so much admire - it just totally made my year.

What single invention would change your life for the better? 

What a fascinating question! I can think of a number of things I wish someone would invent, but I have to say the one I really really want is an automated maid to do all those personal niggly jobs that drive me nuts. I just find it sooooooo boring having to keep cutting and filing my nails, washing my hair, not to mention messing with unwanted hair, and faffing around with creams and lotions and stuff. I'd love to be pampered. Oh and while it's about it, that automated maid can do the washing and dusting and all that jazz - and the ironing, I NEVER iron! - which would take care of that eternal housekeeping which is quite as boring as bodykeeping. Oh, for a servile robot - know what I mean? 

Yes,  I know exactly what you mean!  Thanks for being such a fun guest, Elizabeth, and for giving us today's One-Link to your website where we can read all about The Deathly Portent and all your other fabulous novels.  Good luck with all your future projects, and I'll leave the last word to you - your fib!
The last one is the fib - I actually got thrown off a donkey when I was 3 because it was sitting down when I got on its back with my brother, and then it got up and I promptly fell off!

Monday, 16 April 2012

Goodbye, Sharon.

My dear friend Sharon Donovan - taken from this life far too soon and missed so much.

I'll be lighting a candle for you today, Sharon. Your smile will never be forgotten.

Friday, 13 April 2012

The One-Link Lowdown on...Debra St. John

My guest today is Debra St. John. From her home in a suburb of Chicago, Debra writes 'sultry contemporary romance with sexy heroes and spunky heroines.' I know a lot of people who'd jump in line to get their hands on that kind of story, and Debra delivers big-time in both novel-length works and short stories.

Reviewers have sung her praises with accolades like 'she masters the art of revealing just enough to keep you guessing,' and 'an author who can make the reader feel so many things is one that has staying power in the writing world.' Wow! Welcome, Debra!

What’s on your bedside table/nightstand?

A lamp (for reading in bed of course!), a (dusty) vase of artificial flowers, two pairs of glasses (one for distance, one for reading...bifocals do not work for me), Chapstick, a wedding picture, and a Bible. (Which makes it sound crowded, but it’s not.)

What’s your favourite piece of music?

I can’t really pick a piece of music, but my music genre of choice is country. There’s a story in every song and I’ve gotten ideas for whole stories from just a line or two in a particular song. Country music is honest, pure, and real. And it works for me, because although I live in a suburb of Chicago, I’m a country girl at heart. My music must have twang!

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

Grilled kitchen!

Food always tastes best at home! Speaking of matters domestic, Debra, which household chore would you happily give up forever?

Cleaning the toilets. (As long as they would self-clean themselves...otherwise that would be icky.)

What talent or skill would you love to have that you don’t have now?

I’d love to be able to sing. I do now all the time (in the car, at church, around the house) but I’m terrible. It would be nice to be able to carry a tune.

What drives you seriously nuts?

Mean people.

I'm with you there! People can be generous in all sorts of ways, and generosity of spirit counts for so much, doesn't it? Now, tell me this - I'm letting you borrow my time travel machine. Where would you go, and why?

I’d go back to the 1860s for the American Civil War. There’s just something about that time in the South that’s so tragic, yet so romantic. I’d also like to write a Civil War romance someday and this would help me get the research just right.

It would be fascinating. Debra, what's your guilty pleasure?

My hubby and I are “True Blood” addicts. We never miss an episode, and we have all of the past seasons on DVD. And although he’s the vampire, I’d really love to sink my teeth into Eric Northman.

I love a good TV drama series too! What single invention would change your life for the better?

Something that would make weekend and evening hours longer than week day ones.

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

My hubby and I renovated a 1920s rundown two-flat and made it into a beautiful home. One of my favorite rooms in the house is my personal library with over 1000 books.

It sounds beautiful, and I can guess how much it means to you, especially as you mention at your website that your husband is your real life hero!

Friends, you can find out more about Debra and her factual and fictional heroes here at her One-Link to her website.

Debra, I wish you loads more success with your fabulous contemporary romances. Thanks so much for being my guest today!

Friday, 6 April 2012

The One-Link Lowdown on...Barbara Ehrentreu

My guest today is Barbara Ehrentreu. A retired teacher with a Masters degree in Reading and Writing K-12 and seventeen years of teaching experience, Barbara lives with her family in Stamford, Connecticut. Also a Literature Examiner and a radio writing show host, she's well qualified as the successful published writer she's fast becoming. Her recently published YA novel, If I Could Be Like Jennifer Taylor, was described by one Amazon reviewer as 'one of the best novels about teenagers I've read.' Welcome, Barbara!

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

I’d want my Nancy Drew books. I’m sure someone stole them from me!

Those books of our childhood mean so much, don't they? I'm so glad my daughter is reading many of my favourites now! Tell me this - what’s the worst job you've ever had?

I worked in a middle school in the Bronx where the principal did nothing and the kids were so rowdy the security staff was there more than the teachers.

Wow - that must have been pretty rough! And the best job...?

Working as a fourth grade teacher in a magnet school in Buffalo, NY. What a class!

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

I love all things Betty Boop.
I have lived in New York, California and Connecticut.
My favorite color is blue.

Hmmm. The fib could be any of those! Barbara, Let me think about that one while you tell me about your perfect day.

I would be in the Caribbean somewhere near a beach. When I wake up the smell of the flowers wafts in on the warm breeze. I have breakfast on my terrace overlooking the aqua water and afterward I go out to the beach and sunbathe, interrupting it for swimming and/or snorkelling. I would be sipping delicious cocktails and having lunch at the beachside restaurant attached to the hotel. Maybe I’d take in a little sightseeing or shopping and at night dress up and go to the restaurant again for a delicious meal and more rum drinks. Then later, I’d write all about my day.

What’s your favourite piece of music?

“Moon River” from Breakfast at Tiffany’s.

Ah, we are soul sisters - that's one of my all-time favourites ever, too. Ok, on to matters of the stomach! What your favourite sandwich, and where in the world is the best place to eat it?

Corned beef and pastrami on rye bread with coleslaw and mustard. Probably the best place to eat this is either The Carnegie Deli in Manhattan or The Second Avenue Deli in Manhattan. The Second Avenue Deli is where they filmed “When Harry Met Sally”. I can only eat a quarter of it, though, because they are huge!!!

Which animal do you think you’re most like, and why?

I’m like a lion, which is my birth sign. If you leave me alone I’m placid and content and I’m lazy. However, bother me in any way and my claws come out and I will be vicious. Especially if you bother anyone in my family and I think an injustice has been done.

You really are the Lion Mother! What’s the best review you've ever had?

That’s a hard one to answer, since I’ve gotten so many great reviews! I think it was one of the first ones where the reviewer said it was a “break out YA novel” and an “important and thoroughly enjoyable read”.

Wonderful! When you're not writing, what's your guilty pleasure?

I love to do jigsaw puzzles on my iPad. This really relaxes me.

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

I guess I would want to be less stubborn. I tend to stick to my own ideas a little too much and I don’t like to change things much.

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

What else is there? Oh, there is one thing. I’m proud I was able to meet President Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton in person, talk with both of them and have photos with them.

Wouldn't we love to see those photos one day! And I'd love to have been a fly-on-the-wall at that meeting, it must have been fascinating. Friends, Barbara's One-Link today is this one to her novel If I Could Be Like Jennifer Taylor, where you'll also be able to find out more about both Barbara and the eponymous Jennifer, and read a superb extract.

Barbara, thanks so much for being my guest today. You told me your fib was the one about your favourite colour being blue, but here's the truth just as you told me - My favorite color is red! I once wrote a poem about it, but I can't find it. I just love red, because it makes me smile and it gives me energy. It's bright and also commands attention. Need I say more?

Nothing more to be said - I think red just about sums you up! I've really enjoyed our time together today. Good luck with all that you do!