The Bookshelf Detective

Let me introduce you to...

Whether you're a reader or a writer, the gumshoes wants to know what you stock on your bookshelf.  

A site (www.bookshelfdetective.org) dedicated to both readers and writers of children’s literature.
What's Included?  Information from children, teachers, parents, agents, and editors regarding Picture Books, Chapter Books, Middle Grade and Young Adult Novels.

Our mission is to help writers & readers of children’s literature

Goal #1: learn what kids stock on their bookshelves and why;

Goal#2: make solid book recommendations based on feedback;

Goal #3:  discover the secret sauce that helps writers craft successful stories by learning from the leading agents, editors, and publishers in the industry.


I was lucky enough to have a chat with The Bookshelf Detective creator, Kim Tomsic. She has a definite passion for the YA market not only because she is a mother but because she enjoys reading the books too.


What prompted you to start this project?
I am a reader and writer.  I love children's literature and I love talking about great books!  Kid lit includes books ranging from picture board books (Good Night Moon) to young adult novels (The Hunger Games).  A book typically gets categorized as children's literature if the main protagonist is a child. If you saw my bookshelf before you met me, you'd probably think I was a fifteen-year-old girl.  My shelf is stocked with books such as: Catching Fire, When You Reach Me, The Earth My Butt and Other Big Round Things, Thirteen Reasons Why, A Year Down Yonder, Crank, The Year the Swallows Came Early, Savvy, Mockingjay, Speak, Wintergirls, etc. The list could go on and on like an Academy Award speech, so I'll stop here. 

Who are you working with on this project? 
Just me, but I plan to interview authors, agents, and publishers.

Where do you plan to get your information and updates?
1. I plan to interview parents, kids, school librarians, public librarians, teachers, agents, and editors. 
2.I am a member of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) and I attend conferences and workshops with experts in the industry.  The SCBWI is a fantastic organization that brings writers, illustrators, agents, and publishers together.  People I've met through SCBWI include Jennifer Hunt of Little Brown Books (Twilight series), Jennifer Rees of Scholastic (editor of The Hunger Games series), Stephanie Lurie editorial director of Disney Hyperion (The Lightning Thief).  I know that not everybody can afford to attend conferences, so my intention is to share my notes through my website and blog--notes from seminars like:  "I wanted to love your manuscript; seven reasons why I didn't" a speech by Wendy Loggia editor Delacorte Press.
3.  I'm an avid researcher (I have my degree in History after all!).  My website will compile information in one useful location--information on kid picks and teen choice awards to guide people when making their purchasing decisions; and info and links for writers (how to write a query, word count rules, page turner principles, writing contests, conference updates, etc.). 
How will you help spread the word to people looking for your recommendations? 
I'll spread the word through social marketing sites like Facebook and Twitter, through contacts I make in the writing industry, through fellow bloggers, through workshops, through word of mouth from librarians, teachers, and authors, and through fans of the website.

How can readers and writers get involved in this project?  
If you're currently reading anything that qualifies as children's literature (to yourself or to your child), please tell me what it is, why you chose it, how you rate it, and would you recommend it.
Also, what was your favorite book when you were a child?


You can contact The Bookshelf Detective via her website http://www.bookshelfdetective.org/ or via Facebook http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#!/pages/Boulder-CO/Bookshelf-Detective/157428327618920

Halloween Fantasies



NOW AVAILABLE!!
My newest Erotic novella.
Get your copy on Kindle.

 
Touted as the sexiest party of the year, the annual Halloween Fantasy Ball is the one place a girl can let loose and succumb to her wildest fantasies.

Disguised as a sexy vampire huntress, Sasha captures the attention of Dante, a real life creature of the night. For Sasha, meeting bona-fide vampire is enough to fulfill one of her life long fantasies. She’s ready to go home a happy woman.

But Dante has other plans. It is after all, a night of fantasies, and he has a few of his own to share

*Excerpt*

A feeling of accomplishment washed through Dante. Success. He savored the moment, allowing himself to fall deeply into her pale blue eyes. She was his for the taking, and he would enjoy taking his time ravaging her.
His cock throbbed with need at the thought of it. The sensual caress of her body against his while they danced had been such a delightful torture. Her intense pheromones had been teasing his baser instincts, drawing out his need not only for sex, but also for the taste of her essence. Now he would soon be able to slake his burning desires.
Careful not to seem too eager and risk putting her off, he smiled and asked calmly, “Are you sure this is what you want?”
Her teeth still bit into her lip as she looked up into his eyes. He could sense she was battling with herself, but the scent of her pheromones assured him of her desire. Sasha’s scent was like sweet honeysuckle, a smell so pure and alluring he was tempted to take her right there on the dance floor. He couldn’t wait to sample just a taste of her essence. He absently licked his lips, awaiting her answer.
A moment passed in silence before she smiled and nodded at him. “You’re right. This is a night for fantasies. Let’s go.”
He bent his head to capture her mouth once more before allowing her to lead him off the dance floor.
They passed by the bar on their way out, and Sasha grabbed a shot and knocked it back quickly. She scrunched up her face as she swallowed. “A little more liquid courage,” she said and then pulled him out of the ballroom.
Excitement —and maybe a little of that liquid courage she’d just downed— seemed to have washed away all worry. Like a switch had been flicked on, she changed from timid to wild. She was on fire as they stepped into the empty elevator. Her hands roamed all over his body, as if she needed to feel every indentation of his rippling muscles and commit them to memory.
He slowly backed her into the corner, thrusting his abdomen into hers, both relieving and intensifying the burning need in his cock as their bodies rubbed together.
She devoured his mouth with hungry kisses, sucking his tongue into her mouth in imitation, suggesting what she would do with his cock later. Her hands cupped his ass, roughly kneading his soft cheeks. 
His cock throbbed, aching to be touched. The gentle press against her body was an unbearable tease, and he wanted—needed—to be inside of her. “I’m not sure I can wait to get you into the room.”
She moaned as he uttered the words. Her hands left his ass, finding their way under his tight shirt.
Her touch was like fire to his cool skin. Every gentle caress was filled with delectable heat, sending pulses of animalistic need shooting straight down to his engorged cock. Dante groaned in both pleasure and frustration. If it weren’t for the ding that signaled they had reached their floor, he might have pushed her to the ground and taken her right there.
She snaked out from his caging arms like a wildcat escaping a snare as the elevator doors opened. “C’mon. This way, big boy.” Sasha giggled and gave a little seductive wink before sashaying out into the hallway.
He couldn’t have picked a more alluring woman to share the evening with. She was pure feminine beauty. The tight leather pants hugged every curve, leaving nothing to the imagination. Thoughts of bending her over the bed resurfaced again. He saw himself pinning her against the mattress, plunging deeply into her body as he took his fill of her blood. His self-control was at the edge of its limits. He imagined the sweet essence of her blood filling him as her body tightened and clenched, milking him with her climax.
Dante’s eyes swayed with the motion of her luscious, curvy hips, and he fell into an almost hypnotic trance, lumbering behind her as if an invisible leash was pulling him. His pants rubbed roughly against his throbbing erection, making every step a luscious mixture of pleasure and pain.
He knew he shouldn’t have allowed her to tease him so much. He was so close to losing control. She had already proven to be an interesting and difficult conquest, considering he wasn’t allowed his normal supernatural methods, but he did enjoy this challenge: playing the game, using his charms, making her request his presence. Still, the price was high. He’d allowed his inner monster lie in wait for far too long. He wanted her blood… now.
He fought with the need, the persistent nagging in the back of his mind, and the empty feeling in his stomach. He was not uncivilized; she deserved pleasure for the sacrifice she would make to him by giving some of her blood. He needed to hold back, if only just a little longer.
Sasha fumbled with the key card at the hotel room door. Her long black ponytail swayed behind her as she moved, drawing focus to her long, sumptuous neck.
Dante bent his head and kissed the tender flesh. He felt the gentle thrum of her excited pulse. He allowed his teeth to scrape gently over her skin.
She sighed and leaned her head back into his body, arching her neck to give him better access. “Do it,” she whispered.
How can I refuse? “Maybe just a taste.” He lapped at her neck with his tongue before sinking his teeth in to the soft, warm flesh.
Sasha whimpered softly, and her body stiffened for a brief moment before she melted against him.
Her blood flowed hot and sweet into his mouth, tasting far better than he imagined.
He savored each sweet note of its flavor: vanilla, sugar, and honey with a hint of spice. His arm snaked around her perfect torso. He cupped one of her ample breasts in his hands. His other hand caressed down her leg, gently squeezing her inner thigh.
She cooed softly, and her hand fell limp from the door.
Dante gently caressed the bite with his tongue, stemming the flow of her blood while closing the wound. All that would remain were small dots, tiny bruises.
She hummed serenely, still leaning against his body.
Dante kissed at the tender skin, still caressing her breast with his large hands. “You taste so sweet,” he whispered in her ear before pulling away. His bloodlust slaked for the moment, he could now concentrate on the other needs demanding attention.
Sasha shook herself, appearing to regain her strength. She unlocked and opened the door then turned, grabbing his hand to pull him inside. “There is more where that came from.”

Cinders by Michelle Davidson Argyle - Review

Product Description (from Amazon.com)

Cinderella's happily-ever-after isn't turning out the way she expected. With her fairy godmother imprisoned in the castle and a mysterious stranger haunting her dreams, Cinderella is on her own to discover true love untainted by magic.

About the Author

Michelle Davidson Argyle lives in the Rocky Mountains with her sword-wielding husband and energetic daughter. She writes contemporary, literary, and fantasy fiction.

Paperback: 182 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace (June 23, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-13: 978-1453629956


My Thoughts…

A kingdom rife with problems, a cruel royal family, a mysterious man, and at the head of everything, a reluctant princess who thought she knew what she wanted when she got into this mess.

I’m reminded of the old adage, “Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it.”

Don’t expect talking mice and happy tweeting birds. This is no cartoon rendition of Cinderella (though you might see a sprite or two). This is a refreshingly gritty take on the idea of what happens next.

Weeks have passed since she wore her fur slippers and won the heart of her Prince Charming. Now Cinderella, better known as Christina, is learning what it really means to be a royal. And it is not all a fairytale with a happy ever after. She questions the reality of her new life suspecting everything, even the love of her Prince Charming, is fake and only an illusion created by magic. Her dreams, however, feel real, and so does the secretive man who visits her there.

Realizing this may not have been the outcome she wanted, Cinderella seeks out the council of her, now imprisoned, fairy godmother. She’s told to think carefully on her choices; however, if she really wants to break the ties to her Prince and find “real love,” she must find three specific items and perform a special spell.

It is in the searching out of these three items that takes the story into its dark and gritty place. Cinderella will be forced to do things she never imagined and make terrible choices and sacrifices that will both shock and amaze you. (I found myself literally gasping after certain scenes.)

Needless to say, I enjoyed it and I think you will too.

Author Spotlight with Michelle Argyle (contest info too)



K.S. Hello and welcome to the blog. I am very excited to have you here. Why don’t we start off with a small introduction? Tell us a little about yourself.

M.A. Thank you for having me here! I’m a wife, mother, artist, and writer all rolled into one. It makes for an interesting combination, but I love what I do. My husband is an actor, so we’re a very artistic and interesting family! I’m sure my daughter will end up on stage one day. She’s extremely dramatic. I have no idea where she gets that from…


K.S. Any interesting writing quirks or stories you would like to share with my readers?

M.A. Until I wrote my latest novella, Cinders, I rarely read fantasy, and I’d never attempted to write it before. I feel like I’ve jumped into deep water and I’m learning how to swim for the first time. Kind of scary!


K.S. When did you realize you wanted to be a writer? What sparked the desire to pen your first novel?

M.A. I wanted to be a writer as young as 10 years old, and I have a few little books I wrote between then and the time I turned 16. By that time, I had an idea for a full-fledged novel. I’m not sure what sparked the desire, but I’m pretty sure it was my characters. I knew they had to be heard!


K.S. What genre do you write?

M.A. I write contemporary, literary, and fantasy fiction. All of my short fiction is literary. I’ve written three contemporary novels, two of them bordering on Young Adult and the other an adult thriller. My latest work is a fantasy novella that I mentioned above.


K.S. What would you say has inspired you most in your writing career? Or, who is your favorite author and why?

M.A. I think reading other novels has inspired me most in my writing career. I love to emulate those I admire, and since I graduated with a degree in English/Creative Writing, I got to read a lot of amazing classical literature. My favorite novel of all time is The Great Gatsby. For me, that book comes as close to perfection as any novel I’ve ever read.


K.S.What does your family think of your writing?

M.A. They support me fully, although I think my parents sometimes think I’m a bit insane, and I tend to be a recluse, always working on my writing, so that can breed frustration. Still, they are happy for me. My husband has always been 100% invested in my work, as I am in his own creative pursuits. I have no idea what my 4-year-old thinks. I’m sure she thinks I’m crazy.


K.S. What was one of the most surprising things you learned while creating your book/s?

M.A. That I can write any character I want and have them come alive for me.


K.S. What inspires you?

M.A. Reading other great novels that I wish I had written. That makes me try harder!


K.S. Can you tell us a little about any of your novels?

M.A.
My novella, Cinders, is my most recent achievement. It has been described as “a wonderful ride through a dark suspenseful world, which features a cunning, secretive Cinderella. Luscious prose, and seat of your pants page turning suspense will have you gulping down this gem in one sitting.”

The novella is about Cinderella’s happily-ever-after not turning out the way she expected. With her fairy godmother imprisoned in the castle and a mysterious stranger haunting her dreams, Cinderella is on her own to discover true love untainted by magic.


K.S. Where can we buy your novel?

M.A.You can purchase Cinders as a paperback on: Amazon.com or on my author site here.

You can purchase Cinders as an ebook on: Kindle or Smashwords.


K.S. Do you have a website, fan site, or Blog that we can visit?

M.A.Yes, you can visit my Author Site at: michelledavidsonargyle.com

Or my blog at: theinnocentflower.blogspot.com


K.S. Do you have any closing advice to aspiring writers?

M.A. Write first, then network, then write some more. Also, one person’s publishing path may not be right for another. Some people don’t need agents, some people do. Some people are fine with a small press, some people need more than that. No matter how you decide you want to get your work out there, be proud of your decisions and go forth boldly as soon as you feel ready. I think many writers publish too soon, so take the time to do your homework and see what will work for you.

NOW FOR THE FUN STUFF
GIVEAWAY INFO

Michelle is doing a giveaway in conjunction with this tour!! To participate click this link.

https://spreadsheets.google.com/viewform?formkey=dFNiQVlrY0RBVXNMT24zaTVUcUg0T2c6MQ  

Or go by her blog http://www.michelledavidsonargyle.com/2010/09/cinders-blog-book-tour-begins-shortly.html

Sign up for the giveaway. She has lots of great prizes. It only takes a second to stop in and add your name to the list.




A Thin Line -Review



One of the great things about being apart of the writing community online, is working virtually, elbow to elbow with some awesome authors. Emma Hillman being one I want to spotlight today. She's an erotica author that I have the great pleasure of working with on the Coffee Fueled Erotica blog.

I read her sexy novella, A Thin Line and just fell in love with Kate and Jace's story. Thought I might share with you, my thoughts.

Product Description (from Amazon)
Publisher: Excessica Publishing


Kate finds herself locked up in her apartment building’s laundry room. It’s the middle of the night and there’s a man with her. Which would be the great start of a horror movie, except this is real and thankfully the man isn’t that bad. Actually, he’s quite nice. Oh, and hot. He’s a neighbor she’s seen a few times, the playboy with the golden looks. And as they find themselves sitting increasingly closer in an effort not to freeze to death, hands bump into parts of her body that haven’t been touched in years.

It could have stopped at that: one night of pleasure, albeit in a weird location. Except it doesn’t. Even though she knows Jace has another girlfriend, she still opens her door to him every night. He is addictive. And sometimes, he’s even nice. But what happens when the drama finally takes its toll and she bars her door to him?




I just loved this story! It's a naughty little liaison turns into so much more.

The way it starts out, you think it's just going to be a non-stop sexathon. Not that it isn't, but there is a lot more to the story than just good sex. Kate was such a great character. She was "real." I liked that the author didn't make her some skinny supermodel. She had real, deep emotion that made her a person that we all can relate to. She wanted to be loved. Really loved, not just used.

Jace was hot both in and out of the bedroom, but he wasn't exactly available, though he certainly made him self seem that way every night for Kate. I'll admit, I hated Jace for the first half of the story. I was right there with Kate, on the other side of the door, practically screaming "Don't let Jace in," at the middle of the story. I felt so bad for her. Kate was a good girl. She wanted love not use.

Once I learned that Jace had his reasons, I started to like him a bit more but was wary of if he would really do the right thing. The end was perfect. The phone call break up in the elevator just solidified my feelings for him and when he told he dad to tell Liz sorry I was cheering!

This was a wonderful story and I am looking forward to more reads from Mrs. Hillman.

The Book Layout -Part 2 - EBooks




So, we now know some basics about Print books, but what about Ebook layout??

Thanks to the super popular e-reading devices flooding the market today, print is not the only format a self-publisher need worry about.

Ebooks are completely different from their paper-bound counterparts when formatting and layout are concerned. In some ways though, Ebooks can be easier to format, however due to the variety of readers on the market,  you may have to create various different layouts. 

In the Ebook world, you have two popular formats Epub and Kindle/MobiPocket. (these are not the only formats, they are just the most common.) It is recommended that you format your ebook for both of these if you wish to reach a wide variety of devices. 

Thankfully formatting for Epub and MobiPocket is pretty easy can be done with MicrosoftWord and the help of some free programs you can find online.

My favorite program for creating Kindle files is:

MobiPocket Creator
http://www.mobipocket.com/en/downloadsoft/productdetailscreator.asp

This easy to use creator takes your word document and turns it into PRC file. This file can be directly uploaded to the Amazon DTP site.
https://dtp.amazon.com

For Epub there are quite a few options out there. I use Ecub 1.11 right now, but a simple Google search will bring up plenty of options.

To show you a little of what goes into ebook formatting (it’s really pretty easy) I’m going to run quickly though the steps using MobiPocket creator, to make a Kindle-ready ebook.


Step 1 -Layout your Word document as you would if you wanted to create a PDF.

*Don’t worry about adjusting page sizes; use your standard 8.5x11 page size with 1 inch margins. 
*Make sure you use page breaks between chapters and initial cover pages.
*Do not use fancy fonts. Times Roman and Arial are standard. Do not use excessively large font sizes either. 10pt-14pt is standard.
*Never use page numbers in Ebooks. Due to the compression of page size to accommodate the smaller screen, your page numbers will become oddly placed and will not represent the actual page the reader is seeing.
Example Layout:

Page 1 should be your cover image. Insert the image and size it and center it so it takes up the whole page.
Page 2 would be a title and published by page.
Page 3 Copyright info.
Page 4 Acknowledgements. 
Page 5 Optional title page.
Page 6 Start of book. (Make sure you use page breaks between chapters.)
Page… About the author & upcoming books.

Step 2 – Save your document as a “Filtered” HTML/Web Page.

*Mobi Pocket creator states it can use standard formats for conversion, however, I have found this is the easiest way to make it look like your original document. Trust me on this and save yourself the headache.
*There is a difference between saving as HTML/Web and “Filtered” HTMl/Web. You want Filtered.

Step 3 – Upload your HTML file into Mobi Pocket Creator, add your Cover Image, and convert.

*It would be a good idea to brush up on some basic HTML formatting language. It’s not necessary but it will come in handy if you want to have chapter titles and a Table of Contents in your book. See Mobi Pocket FAQ for details on that.

Step 4 – Once you have uploaded and converted your file you can upload it to the Amazon DTP page. Here you will be given a chance to preview your work before publishing.

*One trick I like to use is to download the Kindle for PC program. This is a free program that will read your PRC file. It’s a good idea to check your work here before uploading it to DTP.


 If done correctly, you can have a clean-formatted Kindle-ready file in under 2 hours. As I said, it is a lot easier than the print formatting. Unfortunately though Kindle files are only read by Amazon kindle, so you will still have to create another format for the next e-reader you want to make your book available on.

There is an indie site Smashwords.com that will format your ebook for a wide variety of readers; however, it requires you to adhere to their specific formatting guidelines. 

To list your book with their site, they will take a small cut from your sales but it can be worth it. I highly recommend using this site if you are new to e-publishing as it will help you get your book on Apple, Nook, Kobo, Sony, and Kindle. You can find information on the site and their formatting guidelines here.
http://www.smashwords.com/b/52

After all of that I hope I haven’t scared you off of self-publishing. It can be a huge headache at times but in the end, I think it is worth it. You will have a product that you created all on your own. That’s something to be proud of.

The Book Layout -Part 1 - Print Books



What is a book layout? The layout is the internal formatting of your book; everything from the Title to About the Author.

Go grab a book off of your nearest bookshelf and take a look at it. Notice how the headers alternate between pages? Notice how the page numbers are spaced?  Notice the different fonts used? Notice how chapter pages lack both page numbers and headers?  Notice that nifty extra-large capital letter at the beginning of the first chapter paragraph? These are just a few of the things that need to be set up during the layout stage of book design.

As a self-publisher you are already fighting an uphill battle. Though your book might be the next Twilight or Mockingjay, it will already start off with a stigma because you self-published it. Things are changing in the publishing world self-publishing or Indie publishing are becoming  much more mainstream, however they still have not garnered the prestige of their traditionally published counterparts. What that means for you, the self-published author, is that you must do that much more to make sure your book is indistinguishable, in quality, from others on the bookshelf.
To really nail down what your book should look like inside, you need to look at its piers.  Take 10 or so traditionally published books from your genre and go through them with a fine tooth comb. Note the standards in their layout so you can try to mimic them.

So, now that you know what a book should look like, how do you recreate it?

On paper it sounds pretty easy.  Change a few fonts here, create some page breaks there, and add in a few page numbers the poof, a bright shiny new book!

Once you actually try to duplicate what you see in printed books, you find out how difficult it can be. 

While word is great for general word processing, it can be very difficult to use when formatting books. Trying to get page numbers to show up on some pages but not others will provide a bit of a challenge. Same goes for alternating headers that only appear within chapters but not on title pages, acknowledgement pages, about the author pages, or copyright pages. Drop Caps doesn’t ever work as it was intended and usually adds extra spacing to your lines. In short, it creates a lot of headaches.

Even though it is a headache, book layout can be done in word. It is, however, going to be a frustrating and time consuming process. Be prepared for long hours. For the do-it-yourself publisher, this is going to be your cheapest option.

There are some other alternatives if you just don’t want to deal with the added stress. For those choosing to use a service, I believe Lulu, CreateSpace, and many others offer layout and design as part of their packages. You can also hire out for this too. There are many companies out there who specialize in layout (This will cost you some money. Around $200-$400).

There are also many programs the pro’s use (Quark and InDesign come to mind). They are available for anyone to purchase and use but they will cost you a pretty penny.  I was lucky enough to stumble across a program that works within Word. I found it on Self-pub.net and it was quite helpful and only cost around $40.

http://www.self-pub.net
Book Design Wizard 2.0
What this program does is standardize things for you via VBA coded templates. You answer some questions about your book and plug in your layout desires, (e.g. what fonts to use for chapter headings, title pages, etc…) and it creates a template for you to work within.

I found it to be extremely helpful. It still took me about three days to get the book layout exactly as I wanted it. For the do-it-yourselfer, this is probably the best happy medium you will find.

I’m sure this is not the only program of its kind out there, do a Google search for book layout templates and programs. If you don’t like this on, you can probably find plenty to suit your needs.

Win a copy of Immortalis Carpe Noctem!

Today I am over at Bitten by Paranormal Romance,



Chatting about my books. Please stop by an leave a comment. You could be entered to win an autographed copy of Immortalis Carpe Noctem!

Author Spotlight with George Sherman Hudson

K.S.  Hello and welcome to the blog. I am very excited to have you here. Why don't we start off with a small introduction? Tell us a little about yourself. 

G.H. My name is George Sherman Hudson I was born and raised in Atlanta Ga.. I am owner of G Street Chronicles and the author of the best selling title Drama. I have two biological kids and one step daughter that I love like she was my own. I'm engaged to Erica Jones who is also my publishing company COO.

K.S.  Any interesting writing quirks or stories you would like to share with my readers?

G.H. I can only write with a specific pen if I don't have my special Zebra BP pen I won't write until I get it. Its a crazy habit I'm trying to break.

K.S.  When did you realize you wanted to be a writer? What sparked the desire to pen your first novel?

G.H. When I was in prison reading a Terri Woods book. It made me want to tell my story. That same day I just started writing down ideas and a few weeks later I started formatting my book.

K.S.  What genre do you write?

G.H. Urban fiction. Its easy to write about your own real life experiences.

K.S.  What would you say has inspired you most in your writing career? Or, who is your favorite author and why?

G.H. Vickie Stringer inspired me the most. She started off as an author then became the Queen of urban lit with her  urban book company Triple Crown.

K.S.  What does your family think of your writing?

G.H. They love my stories. They love my business venture more.

K.S.  What was one of the most surprising things you learned while creating your book?

G.H. The most surprising thing I learned was that I have a very creative mind. I knew I could put a story together but while writing my first novel I found my God given talent and that was writing a story line that gave readers a vivid and clear picture of what your story is about.

K.S.  What inspired you to write your novel?

G.H. A female friend that was going through a tough time in her relationship. I put the typical street story to the side and gave readers a look into the life three women surviving life up and downs.

K.S.  Can you tell us a little about your novel?

Drama by George Sherman Hudson

Deb is a savvy entrepreneur who is taking the corporate world by storm but is enjoying her success without the comfort of her man. Tammy has everything she’s ever dreamed of, that is until she discovers she is not the only woman in her fiancĂ©e’s life. Lisa is a free spirit, who falls victim to a vicious attack by a scorned lover. Three very different women with one thing in common, their lives are filled with nothing but drama!


K.S.  Where can we find your novel?

G.H. You can find Drama at www.GstreetChronicles.com , amazon.com , barnes and noble and everywhere else books are sold.

K.S.  Do you have a website, fan site, or Blog that we can visit?

G.H.
www.gstreetchronicles.com

K.S.  Do you have any closing advice to aspiring writers?

G.H. Never give up and when one door close go to the next one until you are invited in.

Author Spotlight with Tina Folsom



K.S.  Hello and welcome to the blog. I am very excited to have you here. Why don’t we start off with a small introduction? Tell us a little about yourself.

T.F. I just recently gave up one of my jobs in order to devote more time to writing – yes, I said one of, because not only did I have a full time job as a finance manager, I also run a small real estate company in San Francisco. Now I split my time between writing and real estate and find that I’m much less stressed than before.

It’s just my husband and I, no kids, no pets.


K.S.  Any interesting writing quirks or stories you would like to share with my readers?

T.F.  Since I was a CPA for a long time, I keep my daily word count on a spreadsheet. My critique partners howl every time they see me do it, especially since it also calculates how many words I have to write tomorrow in order to keep on schedule. Yes, it’s geeky, but it helps me tremendously.

K.S.  When did you realize you wanted to be a writer? What sparked the desire to pen your first novel?

T.F.  I wanted to be a writer when I started reading Agatha Christie novels at the age of twelve, but I didn’t really start until over twenty-five years later. When I read my first vampire romance novels a few years ago, I finally realized what I felt passionate about: romance, hot alpha males, and great sex.

K.S.  What genre do you write?

T.F.  I write exclusively romance, mostly paranormal. All my books are very steamy and fast paced. I’m not one for endless descriptions of wallpaper, so if you like descriptions of the scenery, my writing is not for you. What you’ll get from my books is to-the-point dialogue and fast action.

K.S.  What would you say has inspired you most in your writing career? Or, who is your favorite author and why?

T.F.  I have many favorite authors, mostly in the paranormal, erotic and historical sub-genres of romance: Lara Adrian, Kresley Cole, Amanda Quick, Lisa Kleypas, Kerrilyn Sparks (just got an autograph from her at the Romance Writers of American conference in Orlando in July), Beth Williamson, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Sarah McCarty, and many more. Last year I read about 200 romance novels.

I get a lot of inspiration from my critique partners Grace and Virna and our brainstorming sessions. It’s extremely helpful to bounce ideas off each other. It has definitely enriched my writing, and without them my stories would be only half as good.


K.S.  What does your family think of your writing?

T.F.  My husband likes to introduce me to new acquaintances as a nasty writer which is his definition for someone who writes steamy romance. He quite likes the gasps people let out when they realize what I do – and he’s not shy to say that he provides me with any research I might need in order to write convincing love scenes.

My family in Germany is very proud of me, but of course has never read anything I’ve written. Luckily, my parents don’t speak any English apart from a few words to communicate with my husband. It’s not like I would like my mother and father to read the explicit sex scenes I write. No parents should know these things about their kids and vice versa.

K.S.  What was one of the most surprising things you learned while creating your books?

T.F.  I was always under the impression that I could never write anything that would be 300 pages long. It seemed such a daunting task. That is, until I discovered that writing a book was actually very similar to writing a screenplay: scene by scene. I would just think of a scene I wanted to write, imagine it playing out like a movie, and it worked. Suddenly I could write eight or ten pages at a time without the dreaded writer’s block.

K.S.  What inspires you?

T.F.  Good writing. Whenever I’ve finished reading a particularly good book, I’m totally motivated to work on my own writing, because I want to become as good as the author whose book I’ve just read.


K.S.  Can you tell us a little about any of your novels?

T.F.  I published Book 1 and 2 of my new Vampire Romance Series Scanguards Vampires in May and July this year. I’m planning at least three more books in the series, with the third one scheduled to release around Christmas.


Vampire bachelor Samson can't get it up anymore. Not even his shrink can help him. That changes when the lovely mortal auditor Delilah tumbles into his arms. Suddenly there's nothing wrong with his hydraulics ... However, trying to hide the fact he's a vampire is all of a sudden not his only problem, because when compromising documents are found in Delilah's possession, Samson wonders whether she's the one who has more to hide than he does.



Vampire Amaury LeSang is cursed to feel everybody's emotions like a permanent migraine. The only way to alleviate the pain is through sex. When he meets the feisty human woman Nina, a cure for his ailment seems within reach: in her presence all pain vanishes. Unfortunately, Nina is out to kill him because she believes he's involved in her brother's death. And she would succeed if only Amaury's bad boy charm didn't play havoc with her hormones and catapulted her into his arms and his bed every time she was near him. As every kiss brings them physically closer, danger is lurking and threatens to destroy the little trust they have in each other.


K.S.  Where can we buy your novel?

T.F.  All my books are available on Amazon.com Kindle and on Smashwords.com.

K.S.  Do you have a website, fan site, or Blog that we can visit?

T.F.  You can find info on me and my novels on http://www.tinawritesromance.com


K.S.  Do you have any closing advice to aspiring writers?

T.F.  Just write. I always thought I’d start writing when I had enough money and time to do it, but as it turns out, you don’t have to wait that long. I wasted many years thinking like that. But books are written in short increments of an hour here and there. So, even if you only have a half hour during your lunch break, use it and write that book you always wanted to write.

Author Spotlight with Jay Di Meo

K.S.  Hello and welcome to the blog. I am very excited to have you here. Why don’t we start off with a small introduction? Tell us a little about yourself. 

J.D.M. Let’s see what constitutes important information. ;-)

1. I am a girl and I love boys. Very much. I love to see them get all hot and bothered, and I love putting them through hell to see their reaction. Oh, and I believe in happy endings. Definitely.

2. I love the supernatural and am a great fan of fantasy and science fiction.

3. I am European and (omigod) I’ve never been to the US. I’ve lived in Central America for some years, though, and in different European countries (Germany, France, England).

4. I am married, and have no cats (yet). I’ve done all sorts of jobs. I have taught English, French, and German, I’ve been a translator and a text editor. I worked at KFC for a while, did interviews from door to door and was tourist tour guide in Paris for a month - necessary all round experience for any author.



K.S.  Any interesting writing quirks or stories you would like to share with my readers?

J.D.M. Usually what comes to me first is a scene or snippet of dialogue. I jot such things down before I forget, then start thinking how my two heroes would come to this point and where they might go from here. The next step, always, is to find out their names. Without names I can’t write the story. I usually go through lists of names from specific countries that are linked in my mind to the story. The names most often jump out at me, yelling “Take me!” - and I do. The names tell me a lot about the characters, how they look and how they behave. They are like passwords to the personalities (which is also why I have trouble changing names afterward). And then I get down to writing the story.
Is this quirky? I don’t know. It’s how my writing mind works.



K.S.  When did you realize you wanted to be a writer? What sparked the desire to pen your first novel?

J.D.M. Well, in typical author anecdotal fashion, I decided I wanted to be a professional author when I was ten. A year later I wrote my first epic of 700 pages. I still have it. It’s high fantasy. *grin*
It’s hard to say what sparked my desire to write the first time, having been a fan of stories since I can remember. I do know that when I was nine I read Michael Ende’s “Neverending Story” and that definitely marked a turn in my life. I think that book pushed me to finally try my hand at writing.


K.S.  What genre do you write?

J.D.M. I write erotica in the fantasy, paranormal or science fiction genres.

K.S.  What would you say has inspired you most in your writing career? Or, who is your favorite author and why?

J.D.M. Favorite author… Apart from you? Okay, let’s see.
In erotica, I love Barbara Elsborg’s books, esp. the Trueblood series featuring vampires, werewolves, fairies and all sorts of supernatural beings. Her world building is amazing, and her characters unforgettable.
Arlene Webb. Very unique stories, funny and lovely.
I also adore Marie Kulhane and Misty Malone, great authors of erotica. 

K.S.  What does your family think of your writing?

J.D.M. My family is quite traditional and has no idea I write erotica. Please don’t tell them! Lol! Except my husband. He’s happy with my choices and supports me every step of the way.

K.S.  What was one of the most surprising things you learned while creating your book/s?

J.D.M. That I can write them. No, really! First of all, I never thought I could write erotica. Second, I never thought I would like it so much. Third, I had no idea that I would be so inspired when I put two boys together. I picture them, and plots begin bombarding me. What can I say? Boys together do inspire me, and it’s something I only found out quite recently (in the past few years). Call it a journey of self-discovery.

K.S.  What inspires you?

J.D.M. Boys. Hot boys. Boys together. Supernatural and magic. Elves. I love elves, no clue why. I want to write many stories with them. Tolkien made them too perfect and saintly. I want them hot and horny. ;-)

K.S.  Can you tell us a little about any of your novels?

J.D.M. I will tell you a little about my novella BINDING SPELL and my novel THE FALCON AND THE JACKAL, both released by Cobblestone Press.

My M/M novella BINDING SPELL was just released last week. It’s the story of Mador, a beautiful demon, released from Hell only to be bound in flesh by a mortal man, Jay, who made a desperate deal to save his family. These two men find themselves bound by lies and desire, and in the end perhaps love.

Excerpt from opening scene (ca. 500 words):
If only the hellhounds would lose his scent, Mador could be free for a while. He ran faster in the dark hallway. He’d make it. Not too far now. His hiding place was close. A wonder Prince Sitri hadn’t discovered it yet.
He might hide and stay low for a couple of days, sleep and dream and try to forget—forget the knives carving his flesh, the whip cutting through his muscles, the twisting and beating and hurting.
Being a demon didn’t mean he had to like being in Hell.
A shout.
Mador stopped and turned, his heart thundering.
Nobody.
Faint wisps of red light beckoned from the balcony ahead. He sprinted toward it. Nobody would seek him in the cave. After his long sojourn in the pits for disobedience, compliments of his master, he yearned to curl there, quiet and barely breathing, pretending not to exist. He longed for a moment of reprieve. I’ve earned it.
Just one moment alone. Safe.
“Madorael…”
Who was calling him? He swallowed a curse and glanced over his shoulder.
The voice threaded the air, whispering. Male or female? He couldn’t tell, but it burrowed and buzzed into his ears.
He shook his head in an attempt to snuff it out, his long hair caressing his bare shoulders and chest. He spun around, snapped his fingers, and several torches in the wall flared.
He scanned the passage. It stood empty.
The torches sputtered. Thin smoke swirled in the light.
Figures I’d finally go fucking mad in here. He shrugged and let the torches die, yet he hesitated to turn away. He stood still in the dark. Cold currents whipped his pants and hair, making him shiver.
He turned his head this way and that, trying to make out any sound other than his own breathing.
It really was all in your mind, Mador.
Inhaling deeply, he turned once more, the gleam from the balcony inviting. His light steps whispered on the stone floors. Red reflected on the walls, and he already felt the air change, rush past his face, not stale like in the depths of the castle but fresh with a hint of wood smoke.
Heavy steps pounded behind him. He glanced over his shoulder. Winged shadows detached themselves from the wall, spread on the floor, lengthened.
That goddamn voice had distracted him, slowed him down.
A spiral staircase loomed at his right. He sprinted up the narrow steps, but hands grabbed his ankles, and he tumbled back down, hitting the steps with his ribs.
Curse them, that hurt.
He instinctively curled and kicked at them. He heard grunts and reached out for the stairs again but only made it onto the second step when they fell on him again and flipped him over. His head hit the stone, and his eyes blurred.
Two bat-winged demons leered down at him, long black tongues lolling.
Fuck, that was way too soon. “Who sent you?”
They did not reply, but he was pretty sure he knew the answer.


My novel THE FALCON AND THE JACKAL is coming out in September. I love this one. It’s the story of James and Silver, two young men who are vessels of ancient Egyptian gods and are caught in a fight that might destroy their world before they even decide how they feel about each other.

Blurb:
James had never been attracted to a man before. But Horus, the Egyptian god of the sun, is not just any man. Drop dead gorgeous, Horus is also the harbinger of bad news. He proclaims James to be Seth, his dark godly counterpart and ally, and warns that Osiris, god of the dead, is about to take over the world once more. Caught between a game of power and falling in love with Horus, James must remember his past and regain his powers, or he’ll lose everything—his future, his former lover, and his own life.

This story benefited an awful lot from your great comments, Katie, thanks again!


K.S.  Where can we buy your novel?

J.D.M. Novella BINDING SPELL from Cobblestone Press: http://www.cobblestone-press.com/catalog/books/bindingspell.htm

Upcoming novel THE FALCON AND THE JACKAL from Cobblestone Press: http://www.cobblestone-press.com/comingsoon.htm

Short story (“The Crown’s Blade”) from Whispers Publishing: http://www.whispershome.com/book_pages/the_crowns_blade.html


K.S.  Do you have a website, fan site, or Blog that we can visit?

J.D.M.
http://jaydimeo.wordpress.com


K.S.  Do you have any closing advice to aspiring writers?

J.D.M. Keep writing. Take advice and use it, but never let comments discourage you. When you write a story you like as a reader, you’re halfway there.