Friday, 29 June 2012

The One-Link Lowdown on...Jane Toombs.

My guest today is writer Jane Toombs. Born in California, she now lives in the beautiful Upper Peninsula on the shore of Lake Superior. She's written more than eighty books in both paper and electronic formats for publishers such as Silhouette, Zebra, Harlequin and Avon. Her latest, Deception’s Bride, is a historical romance that will be up on Amazon shortly as an ebook from Books We Love. Ltd. Welcome, Jane!

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

My diaries.

Whats on your bedside table/nightstand? 

Meds for the next day, bottle of water, Kleenex, clock.

Whats your favourite piece of music?

Practically anything by Glen Miller (Yeah, I go waaay back)

They say vintage style is very fashionable at the moment, though! Jane, what's your favourite sandwich, and where in the world is the best place to eat it? 

Peanut butter-banana sandwich on marble rye at my kitchen table while working a crossword puzzle.

Which household chore would you happily give up for ever?

Changing the cat’s sandbox.

Ewww...I'm with you on that one. Jane, what talent or skill would you love to have that you dont have now?

I’d love to be able to sing in tune.

What drives you seriously nuts?

Mindless drivel instead of intelligent conversation.

Sadly, there's an awful lot of it around these days. Which animal do you think youre most like, and why?

I’d like to be like a cat, except I‘m clumsy and cats aren’t. But I do tend to be picky abut friends and tend to be a loner. Although I like being petted by the right person.

Whats the best review you've ever had?

I’d say from my writing instructor, a published mystery writer who told me Tule Witch, the book I’d finished and he’d critiqued in class, was good enough so that he was willing to send it to his agent. (He did, it sold to Avon and that was my first published book in 1973.)

That would be pretty hard to top, I'd imagine! Jane, last question - if you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

I’d like to be taller. Short people are often at a disadvantage.

Very true. I'd like to be a little taller, too. As they say, size matters! Readers, you can find out more about Jane's books at today's One-Link, her website.  Thanks so much for being my guest today, Jane. Good luck with all your future projects!

Friday, 22 June 2012

The One-Link Lowdown on...Lynette Sofras

Today’s guest is Lynette Sofras - aka The Manic Scribbler!  A former Head of English in a large school in Surrey, Lynette took the plunge a few years ago to give up her job and concentrate full-time on her writing and freelance editing.  Since then she’s had three contemporary fiction novels published, all to great reviews. Her latest, Shopping For Love, has been described as ‘a great read for everyone who believes that love will prevail!’  It’s available on Amazon along with her previous novels, The Apple Tree and Wishful Thinking.  Welcome, Lynette! 

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

As a small child I had a large and quite old porcelain doll I called Lady Jane.  We were so inseparable that I wore her out - literally.  My parents sent her to the local dolls’ hospital for a makeover and when she returned she was so altered I hated her.  Her hair colour had changed and she had those old and cold soulless eyes, like a fish.  She went in a lady and came out a dowager.  I’m afraid I treated her abominably after that and I’d like to get her back now to apologise.  Besides, she’d probably be worth a small fortune now!

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

Well this happened a few years ago when I lived abroad.  I was…no, I really can’t say that on your nice blog.  It’s far too naughty.  The second naughtiest thing?  Okay, I remember when…no, that’s no good either – I’m blushing just to think of it.  Shame on me – I must have been a very wicked person ;)

I think we're going to have to use our imagination on that one!  Lynette, what’s the worst job you've ever had? And what’s the best job you've ever had?

I can kill two birds with one stone on this question as my worst and best job are the same.  Being a teacher, especially head of department can be extremely stressful and difficult at times.  But it’s also the best job ever because you share those eureka moments with students when you can see their faces light up as they understand something or discover something wonderful in a piece of literature.  And that’s when you know why you became a teacher and why you put up with the worst bits.
What’s your favourite piece of music?

I have lots – and they constantly change, but one that I’ve always had a soft spot for is Ravel’s Bolero.  My father introduced it to me when I was a child, so it has very special connotations.  It was the first serious piece of music I owned – and this was long before it was over-popularised by Torville and Dean.  You hear it so often these days that some of the magic dust has worn off.  In modern music I tend to prefer female singers to males as I think they have more interesting and versatile voices.

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

I don’t usually eat sandwiches, but I would if I could have it served at one of those outdoor pavement tables at a restaurant in Rome, preferable in June.  Or in Venice or Florence – I’m not that fussy.  I just love Italy so much I wouldn’t mind what was in the sandwich.

Yes, I'd agree with you there - the sandwich would be somewhat irrelevant in those settings!  Who would you invite to your ultimate fantasy dinner party?

The Booker Prize Committee and a really good hypnotist or mind controller like Derren Brown or Paul McKenna – you do the maths!   

I like your line of thinking, Lynette!  Tell me, what drives you seriously nuts?

Well there’s that fashion young men wear with their jeans hanging off and displaying their underclothes.  I just don’t get it.  I mean I do, to some extent.  I sort-of understand the statement it makes, but I can’t believe any fashion-conscious boy actually thinks it looks good or cool. 

And the fact that so many foreigners speak better English than vast numbers of people who are born and raised here.  It seriously saddens me that we have so little pride in our own language and are wilfully allowing it to degenerate.

I'm with you on the trousers thing.  The mother in me wants to get hold of them and pull them up properly!  Now tell me, do - you're given a time travel machine - where would you go, and why?

Firstly I’d go back to my childhood and give myself a firm talking to, to ensure I worked harder at school.  After that, I’d stop off in Kent around 1890 just to show HG Wells the real McCoy; then I’d nip back another hundred years or so and tell Jane Austen’s sister, Cassandra, in no uncertain terms that she must not destroy her sister’s letters and documents.  Next, I’d whizz back to the early seventeenth century to say hello to Shakespeare and ask him if he really did write everything attributed to him, to settle that little argument once and for all and my last jaunt would be to Ancient Greece, to soak up the atmosphere and listen to Socrates in the Agora – though I guess I’d probably need a gender change, so maybe I’d have to go into the future to execute that.   

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

It was one of the very first, when someone likened my writing to Jane Austen.  At first I thought this was from a friend who was playing a joke, knowing I admire Jane Austen’s writing style quite a lot.  When no one owned up to it, I had to believe the review was real and felt immensely flattered.
I'm not surprised - what a compliment!  My blog readers can check it out for themselves here at your One-Link to your own beautiful blog, where they can find out more about you and your writing and, most importantly, find out where they can buy your books!  Lynette, thanks so much for being my guest today.  Good luck with all your future projects. 

Friday, 15 June 2012

The One-Link Lowdown on...Viviane Brentanos!

My guest today, Viviane Brentanos, was born in Reading, Berkshire, but now lives on the beautiful Ionian island of Corfu.  She’ll never forget the day she made the decision to stay – ‘I still remember to this day, sitting in a café-bar, overlooking the crystal clear azure sea and saying to my friend. "I never want to leave here.” Her latest novel, a romantic suspense called Past Undone is released today by Muse It Up Publishing.

Viv describes her writing as ‘romance with a quirky, humorous Brit twist and I am always striving to make my characters real, characters we can all relate to’ – I for one definitely relate.  You’re very welcome to my blog – here we go!

What’s the naughtiest thing you've ever done? 
The naughtiest thing I have ever done or the ‘naughtiest’ thing?  Okay, let’s forget the second. I am presuming this is a family blog so let’s keep it clean. So – my naughtiest thing is, in fact, a series of naughty events. It involved knocking a policeman’s hat off and I enjoyed every minute of it. Let me take you back to 197blah blah blah. It was the year of the Osmonds, their first visit to the UK and I was desperate to see them. Unfortunately, my parents refused to let me go to London and camp outside the Rainbow theatre and queue for tickets. You guessed it. When I eventually got there in the morning.... no tickets. Hell hath no fury like a teenage girl thwarted in her attempt to see her one true love. I was not alone. Thousands of us protested, screaming for them to give us tickets [even though the management had none}. A riot followed, involving a lot of police shoving and ankle kicking. I think this is when a certain Bobby lost his hat. I do hope he ain’t reading this.

I love it!  I do remember the whole Osmond-mania thing very well.  Now, I think I can guess a little of your next answer, so tell me - what’s the best job you've ever had?
The best job? Not sure it was the best in terms of great money but it certainly was a cushy number. I was employed as a doctor’s receptionist in the small Corfiot village of Benitses. Here is a rundown on a typical working day.
Husband drops me off at surgery. I open up, change into my bikini and head down to beach for an hour’s swim. Come back to office, shower, put the coffee on, nip down to local newsagents, borrow all the days’ newspapers, take them back to surgery. Pour coffee, bite into chocky croissant and then read newspapers. Once I have copied out Sudoku puzzles, return newspapers, and back to surgery for morning round of phone calls to friends. Time for lunch. Nip next door for a tasty pita. More coffee and then pull out writing pad and continue writing my next best seller. Oh did I mention my boss supplied the paper? Occasionally, someone would call or come in and request an appointment with the doctor but God help them if they interrupted my creative flow.

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

1} I have a phobia about driving. I will never learn to drive.

2} I am an avid reader of romance. It is my favourite genre.

3} I once received a phone call from Darren Hayes at 5am, all the way from L.A

Hmm…think, think, think!  While I’m thinking, tell me about your favourite piece of music.
Oh this is tough. I adore music of any genre but, mostly I am into rock and heavy metal. Different songs move me at different times and for different reasons. I suppose if I have to pick one, it is the closing song from the movie Gladiator. It kills me every time. It is such a heart wrencher. Oh but if we are talking heart wrenchers then I must post a list:
Sara – Fleetwood Mac
Run – Snow Patrol
Mine – Savage garden
The Idol – Wasp
I can’t go on. The tears, the tears.....

Who would you invite to your ultimate fantasy dinner party? 

Oh come on. This is easy. Enrique Iglesias, Rafa Nadal, Darren Hayes, Russell Crowe, Sheldon Cooper and Tyrion Lannester. What fun it would be. Now who would I spend the night with? Well, I love them all; a beautiful, talented bunch’s got to be Enrique. The man is simply perfection.

Well, if you’re happy to keep Enrique to yourself for the evening, may I ask you to budge along the table so I can squeeze in beside Rafa? ; -)  What a great party!  Viv - what talent or skill would you love to have that you don’t have now?
Oh this is another easy one. I wish with all my heart I could play lead guitar and play it to Angus Young/Jimmy Page/Van Halen/Slash level. I would sell my soul to appear on stage with Angus.

What's your guilty pleasure?
I am only allowed one? Shame on you, Jane, for spoiling my fun. Okay, it has to be Darren Hayes. While he is not as gut-achingly gorgeous as my Enrique, I adore this singer-song writer with a passion. I have three times flown across Europe to see him perform. He is the inspiration behind my novel, Cold, Cold Heart, his songs have kept me company through many a long, lonely night of writing. He is simply – well – simply Darren.

Viv, your life in Corfu and your writing career that’s going from strength to strength, it sounds to me like you must be so very happy with your lot!  I’m almost loathe to ask – if you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
My obsession with unobtainable men, {see answers to most of the questions. You get the picture}

I get it!  What single invention would change your life for the better?
I would love a writing machine that was wirelessly in tune with my imagination. You know the feeling. You are walking along the street while a perfect scene runs through your head. You can’t wait to get home and put it down on paper/pc but, as much as you try, as good as you can get it, it never quite matches that zone you were lost in.

You are so not alone with that wish!  Aside from writing achievements, family, etc - what are you most proud of?
Showing my Afghan hounds in the eighties. I loved it. I was good at it and they gave me immense pleasure. I wish I had time to do it again. Who knows? 
Who knows, indeed?  Viv, it’s been great talking to you today.  I wonder who has guessed your fib correctly?  It’s No. 2 – as you say, ‘I hardly ever read romance.  I love thrillers, murders.’  Last but not least, I hope our readers will follow your One-Link today over to your Muse It Up Publishers page for Past Undone, where they can read a fabulous excerpt and  treat themselves to a copy.  Thanks for being my guest, Viv- good luck in all that you do.

Friday, 8 June 2012

The One-Link Lowdown on...Maggi Andersen

My guest today is Maggi Andersen.  A writer of many genres, Maggie describes herself and her husband as 'empty nesters' living in the suburbs of Sydney where 'parrots demand seed, possums fruit, ducks swim in the stream at the bottom of the garden, and the neighbours chickens roam their yard providing wonderful eggs,' which sounds like a  fairly un-empty nest to me! 

Maggi is a Master of Arts in Creative writing, which might explain her wonderful ability to create not only romantic Regency novels but also darker Victorian stories, young adult books and contemporary romantic suspense.  Her latest release, a Georgian romance with the intriguing title The Reluctant Marquess, is now available from Knox Robinson Publishing.  Welcome, Maggi!

What’s the best job you've ever had?
Writing is the best job I ever had. I can do it in my pj’s, have a snack when I fancy it, and knock off early without the boss complaining.

What’s your favourite piece of music?
That would depend on how I’m feeling and what I’m writing. Claire de Lune by Debussy is one of my all-time favourites and perfect for a scene between two star-crossed lovers.

One of my favourite pieces too, it's very beautiful.  Ok, to matters of the stomach now! What’s your favourite sandwich, and where in the world is the best place to eat it?
Seems somewhat unimaginative to eat a sandwich in Paris where the cuisine is superb, but I love their crunchy baguettes stuffed with ham and cheese, and where better to eat it than in a little bistro on the Champs-Élysées with a fabulous coffee, while watching the passing parade of fascinating people.

Ah, there's nothing unimaginative about a sandwich in Paris!  Maggi, which household chore would you happily give up for ever?
There are many, but scrubbing bathroom tiles would be the most reviled.

Who would you invite to your ultimate fantasy dinner party? 

Hilary Clinton, a remarkable lady, Greta Garbo, did she really want to be alone? Stephen King, who’s lively and unpredictable, and Mr Darcy from Pride and Prejudice, need I say more?

That sounds like a party I'd love!  Now tell me this - what talent or skill would you love to have that you don’t have now?
A good memory.
And what skill would you....oops, looks like we could both do with that skill!  What drives you seriously nuts?
Politicians. The older I get the more childish most of them seem to become.

I Which animal do you think you’re most like, and why?
According to the Chinese horoscope, I’m born in the year of the dog. I like to think that’s me. The Dog is a listener, always available to lend an ear or a shoulder to a friend in need. Often Dogs know more about their friends than their friends know about them or even themselves! They are also worriers! 
Maggi - let's be friends!  Now I think I can guess the answer to this next question, but I'll ask anyway!  You're given a time travel machine.  Where would you go, and why?
Back to the English Regency era. Some of my books are set then and it would be great to see what it was really like.

What single invention would change your life for the better?
 A way to lose weight without exercise!
Ah, Maggie, you're definitely not alone there!  It's been great fun having you as my guest today.  My blog readers can find out lots more about you at your One-Link, your website right here.  Lovely to see you - good luck in all that you do!