Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Chatting Today

I'm chatting today at If you haven't read my interview stop in at
I'll be happy to answer all of your questions.

Welcome, Louisa Bacio

Summer Lovin’

When thinking of the phrase that describes the hot, sultry days of summer, the infamous song from “Grease” instantly flows through the mind. Think of the sensory details: the warmth of the sun beating down on bare shoulders; the taste of sea salt upon one’s lips and the freedom that a young summer fling provides.

When the temperature outside heats up, it’s only natural that the clothes come off. What better time to set an erotic thriller? My debut novel PHYSICAL EDUCATION is based at an exclusive sex school in the heart of San Francisco. Anyone who’s ever visited can only imagine the secretive groups hidden within the bustling city.


The opening line for Sex University: Physical Education was written while taking an online workshop about first lines. That opening zinger carried through from the first draft to the query to the synopsis to the final version. And, I’ve only had one friend actually tell me that he couldn’t get past the first line (something about knowing me and knowing what I was writing … he just couldn’t do it). Or, so he says.

Without giving too much away, the plot twist came together amazingly well. Some friends will swear that I possess a smidgen of psychic abilities. So when I was working on the final version, and then read about a related story happening within the United States … well, let’s just say that it was meant to be. Art that imitates life makes it all that much more real.

Erotic vs. Pornographic

In my non-writing life, I teach college classes in writing, English and then some fun subjects like popular culture and film studies. One student told me that she didn’t watch any R-rated films, and couldn’t stand even an “implied sex scene.” I couldn’t imagine: Isn’t that two people kissing on screen, and they go into the bedroom and shut the door. The lights dim and morning comes, and they come out looking all rumpled? The implied is what happens once the door shuts. You know, they get down and dirty!

Erotic romance may be descriptive, but like any type of literature there’s a place for it. Personally, I love the escapism of a steamy novel. Let me break away from my daily life of household chores and running errands for the kids (loveable but mundane) and whisk me on an adventure to another century, another dimension, or another country, and make sure that the hero is hunky and virile and the heroine knows what she wants between the sheets. Throw in a bit of kink, and the possibilities remain endless.

The Future?

As a reader and a writer, sometimes part of a story continues to resonate long after the book is finished. The chemistry between San Francisco Sex University’s headmistress Ms. Lucy and the budding dom student Clarissa continues to haunt me. After her tumultuous past, Clarissa deserves to find a secure and lasting love. Likewise, Officer Madge possesses more complexity than what she lets on. The woman has to ditch the badge, take her hair down and go wild. Perhaps, she can learn some new Physical Education lessons, herself!

Roseanne, thanks so much for the invitation to visit. I appreciate the opportunity, and I’ll be around to answer any guest questions.


An Erotic Thriller

Available now via Ravenous Romance

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Best Seller List

Time to Live Again is on the best seller list at Red Rose Publishing at the Autumn Rose and Paranormal imprint

Review of Time to Live Again     Cleveland

Review - Time to Live Again - Mainstream Romance By Ginger Simpson

Time to Live Again - Roseanne Dowell - Paranormal with 40+ Heroine

Rose Ashbury has suffered too many losses in a short period of time. First her parents, then her beloved husband, Frank, and her sister, Mary. Left with so much sorrow to absorb, and no will to recover from it, Rose becomes a recluse. Her constant companion is the ghost of her sister who constantly reminds her that life is passing her by and that she's become a bitter, old grouch.
Even the neighborhood kids fear the grumpy old lady whose house is the only one on the snow-lined street without Christmas decorations. Rose can't let go of the past and accept the future without those she loved so dearly. Her children have moved away, taking her grandchildren and leaving an even bigger void in her life. Aft fifty-eight, Rose feels certain she'll never love again and all the future holds for her is more pain and loneliness.
But life does take a turn when Stephen, the grandfather of the little girl next door comes calling. He's had loss in his life, too, and he's determined to penetrate the wall Rose has built around herself. Can he make a difference in her life? Will he be able to silence Mary's voice and bring happiness to a bitter widow? You'll have to read and find out.
Time to Live Again by Roseanne Dowell is a breath of fresh air for those readers who tire of the young beauties with perfect bodies who portray the heroines. You may even find yourself identifying with Rose's emotions and insecurities. This story is a feel good read that proves that with love and caring, all things are within our grasp. Kudos to Ms. Dowell for such a heart-warming story.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Welcome, Lynn Crain

1: Thank you so much for being here, Lynn. First up is the obligatory question. When did you first begin writing?

 I started writing when I was eleven.

2: What inspired you to write?

At eleven it was church and that poem eventually got sold. Then I was hook and saw inspiration in everything I read. I remember after reading Gone With The Wind and The Flame and the Flower, I wanted to write a great American novel.

3: What do you like the most and least about writing?

The freedom and the freedom. In this business you need to be very, very focus and just the least little thing can pull you off. You have to learn how to balance everything.

4: What do you for fun and relaxation when not writing?

I spend time with family and travel. My youngest is graduating this year and the plan is for me to start traveling more with my husband.

5: Which authors do you like to read?

I think the more appropriate question is who don’t I like to read...LOL! Right now I have Touched By An Alien by Gini Koch on my desk. I have a huge TBR pile and start a new one every couple of days. The pile includes both fiction and non-fiction alike.

6: What’s the one thing you’d most like people to know about you?

I love to write and really get into my characters and if no one bought another book, I’d still write.

7: Tell me about your current novel, where I can find it and your website/blog.

My next novel to release should be Captive Illusions 2: Merrick and Jenna. It got nailed by a virus and Trojan infestation so it was put off from April and should be ready in June. I had to recreate a lot of sections of it. Go to and it should be right there on the front page. You can always find me at as well as my yahoogroup and blogs. Here’s the complete list: ( I blog here on Wednesdays.)

8: Do you have any tips for aspiring authors?

Never give up. While there is no magic formula for any published writer, one of the keys is to always learn, always right and always submit. Hone your skill, become the best writer you can be and believe in yourself.

9: Do you base your characters on real-life people?

I have traits of real people in my characters but I rarely use someone I know in my books. I would say that my characters have more of me in them than anyone else.

10: Where do you get your ideas and what inspired you to write this book?

I get my ideas from everywhere and everything. That is one of my gifts. I can look at a situation or a scenario and come up with one to ten different ideas.

11: What are you currently working on?

I’m working on a couple of things. I have a NYC submission that I’m editing called Where’s My Underwear. It’s about old lovers reuniting and the man is Scottish. It’s been great fun to write. I’m also working on another non-erotic for Devine Destinies about alien abduction and I’m working on a new erotic romance which is under wraps until its contracted.

12. Is there anything else you’d like us to know about you?

I haven’t been around recently because I became a grandmother to twin boys in March. They were born prematurely and spent an additional three weeks in the hospital. I help out when they needed me and just recently told them I had to get back to my own life...LOL! Readers can ask me a question at and I love hearing from you all!

Unedited Excerpt

Captive Illusions Book 2: Merrick and Jenna

By Lynn Crain

“Crying now?”
Her head snapped up. When had he come into the room? “Not really,” she stated quietly, turning her head in the direction of his voice. “Just thinking about things that can never be.”
“What things?” The whisper came from next to her ear.
“Things you wouldn’t understand,” she stated more firmly, convinced that she couldn’t let him know just how he affected her or her body.
“I can understand a lot of things,” Merrick replied.
The touch of his warm tongue on her neck made her jump and her heart race. “What – what are you doing?” she questioned.
“Come now. A hunter like you should know these things.”
She snorted. “You think you know everything, don’t you?”
“What an unladylike noise coming from you. Tsk – tsk. We’ll have to train you better.”
“Train me? You think you can train me?” Jenna shook her head in amused disgust. “And I supposed you’re already trained?” She was amazed at the sound of her voice. It was firm, strong and confident which was so unlike how she really felt.
Merrick’s rich laughter filled the room. “How can anything wild be tamed?” he questioned from somewhere in front of her.
“How indeed,” she answered with more confidence than she felt.
“Maybe you need a lesson about training.”
The touch on her inner thigh was warm and brief. Although, she couldn’t see him she could feel him and he was very close.
“There’s no reason to keep my blindfold on now, is there?”

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Welcome, Hera, Queen of the Olympian gods

1: Thank you so much for being here, Hera. I understand you’re a Queen of the Olympian gods. What are you goddess of?

Thank you so much for having me. I hold providence over two areas. I serve as Goddess of both marriage and childbirth.

2: Are you married?

I’m divorced. Anyone who knows about me will be well acquainted with my ex-husband’s many adulterous affairs. I finally decided I’d had enough and divorced him.

3: Do you have any children? If so tell us about them.

I have three wonderful children. The eldest is my son Hephaestus. He’s God of the Forge and all I can say is don’t believe everything hear about me and my son.

My second born is Ares God of War. I love him dearly but I do worry that he needs to seriously grow up.

The youngest is my only daughter, Hebe. She’s the Goddess of Youth and her personality very much fits her Goddess powers. All three are the center of my world.

4: Do you have any pets? If so, tell us about them.

I don’t have pets but I do have animals who are sacred to me. The peacock is a very sacred bird to me and if you want to stay on my good side you better be nice to these birds.

5: How about friends? Do you have a best friend?

I’m afraid I have very few friends. History has done me few favors. But I have one in particular who is my best friend and I cherish her. Iris is the Goddess of the Rainbow and my best friend in the whole world. I can always count on her.

6: So, I’m curious, why did you come down to earth?

Well, to be blunt the Gods are broke. Not many people worship us anymore and those that do stopped leaving us offerings of money. So, in order to make a living we’ve all come down to earth and taken jobs.

7: How do you like being on earth? Were you excited about coming here?

At first I was scared to be coming down here. I have never been on my own in eons of living. But now I quite like it and actually prefer my earth home to the palace on Mt. Olympus.

8: What do you do here on earth? To earn a living I mean. And where do you live?

Well, I decided not to use my marriage skills since my own marriage ended in divorce. Instead I became a midwife and opened up a practice right in my home in Vermont.

9: I’ve heard you were vindictive, is this true?

Again, don’t believe everything you hear. I did lots of things to try and fix my marriage to Zeus, but I never hurt anyone in the process.

10: Have you met anyone interesting since you’ve come here?

Oh yes. I have met two really scrummy guys. Both are single and for some reason both guys want me too. Time will tell though what will happen between us, if anything.

11: What’s the one thing you’d most like people to know about you?

I’m not vindictive. I have never hurt anyone while trying to get Zeus to stop his philandering. That’s most important to me.

12. What do you for fun and relaxation?

Sundays are my day off. Barring a call to a delivery I just like to stay home, sit on my porch swing and watch nature.

13. Is there anything else you’d like us to know about you?

Hmm let me think. Well, yes actually. Athena, Aphrodite and I did not cause the Trojan War. We actually had nothing to do with it in spite of what people say.

Thank you again for joining us today, Hera. To learn more about Hera, go to: Kat Holmes blog site.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Wecome Rebecca Ryals Russell

1: Thank you so much for being here, Rebecca. First up is the obligatory question. When did you first begin writing?

I wrote a lot as a preteen until I began teaching as a young adult. Then it was sporadic. But once I retired a few years ago and the kids were teens I began writing again in earnest and finished the first book of the series I’m working on.

2: What inspired you to write?

My father wrote poetry for special occasions and after he died I discovered an unfinished manuscript. I’ve always had the desire to write, so I guess it’s in my blood. My son, age 16, aims to be a journalist. See what I mean?

3: What do you like the most and least about writing?

I love writing because it stretches my mind. Since I write Fantasy I create new worlds and creatures and such. The thing I like least about it is the marketing. I’d much rather just write, write, write.

4: What do you for fun and relaxation when not writing?

That almost never happens. Writing IS relaxing for me. I carry my laptop or a pad everywhere I go. BUT, I have been known to go to a movie with my daughter or sit on the front porch and have a beer with my husband. Then it’s back to writing until 3am.

5: Which authors do you like to read?

My favorite is Ray Bradbury. I also enjoy Stephen King, Terry Brooks, Anne McCaffrey (dragons of course), Susan Cooper, Lloyd Alexander, JRR Tolkien, JK Rowling. There are so many more! I love YA lit. I just bought Skin Hunger by Kathleen Duey because I attended an SCBWI conference and she was a speaker. Can’t wait to start it.

6: What’s the one thing you’d most like people to know about you?

I guess that would be that I’m genuine. Sometimes I come off as conceited or uncaring and tactless, but it’s usually because I’m a one-track person and not because I meant any slight. I usually say what’s on my mind, I hate playing mind-games and despise politics. I’ve tried to change, and hopefully I’ve gotten better, but I’m passionate about things and that sometimes is read wrong.

7: Tell me about your current novel, where I can find it and your website/blog.

My website/blog is Plotting Worlds. I also have a book website called Seraphym Wars, which is also the title of my series. I’ll be posting current book info at that site, while Plotting Worlds is all about helpful links and tips for writers as well as info about me and the series. Readers can also go to the Dragon’s Lair page for links to all of the sites I’m on (like Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, etc.)

18-year-old Myrna is drawn into the middle of an epic battle between Seraphym and Demons. An average High School student from Florida, she wakes one morning on the Steampunk planet of Dracwald, home of the demon-dragons responsible for her brother’s death and many other atrocities in the news. She meets Michael (19), who becomes her guide and explains that according to prophecy, Myrna must gather the remaining six Vigorios (teen warriors with special talents) then train with the Majikals on an enchanted island.

Reluctantly, and knowing it is her only way to get back home, she agrees to lead, battling dragons and monsters while crossing swamps and mountains, forests and seas. She discovers love when three very different men join her quest—a seasoned demon/dragon-slayer who irritates but beguiles her, a tender and sweet mentor in whom she trusts completely and a roguishly handsome Scientist who sets her senses aflame. How is she expected to lead the others and keep everyone safe with so much inner turmoil?

Will love and lust, jealousy, greed, deceit and distrust break the delicate tie that binds these teen warriors called The Vigorios? Can a troupe of teens help the Seraphym finally defeat the massive empire of evil dominated for eons by the demon-dragons of Dracwald?

8: Do you have any tips for aspiring authors?

Don’t wait to start your marketing. Blog, create a website, join ALL of the author-related websites, read editor/agent blogs WHILE you are writing the book of the century. If you wait until you are finished writing, it will take a few years of platform-building before anyone will look at your book.

On the writing side--write, write, write. It takes practice to get it right. (lol) And read other author’s book in your genre, underline and circle good passages, take notes on description, characters, etc.

Then spend months editing. Put it away for a month then edit again and don’t be afraid to revise, even to the point of completely changing the story, if it’s for the better.

9: Do you base your characters on real-life people?

I did. Early on they were closely based on my own children, but through the evolutions of editing and rewrites they have meshed and become amalgamations. I like them much better than the original characters. Anyone who knows my kids and reads the books will be able to tell who is based on whom.

10: Where do you get your ideas and what inspired you to write this book?

My ideas come from news articles, mostly. This particular series is based on atrocities reported in the news over the past few years that is worse than I could EVER imagine. I’ve been writing a version of this series for the past 30 years, off and on. It wasn’t until I retired three years ago that the final version came pouring out onto the page.

11: What are you currently working on?

I’ve been thinking about a MG series involving a dragon (of course) and a little boy. I want it to be Historically and or Science-based so it can be used in classrooms. When I was teaching I used a lot of novels to help teach subjects. It would be cool to be on the other side of that coin. I’d be curious to know if readers would prefer a boy or a girl character. Maybe readers could leave a comment on this blog or mine and let me know.

12. Is there anything else you’d like us to know about you?

I want readers to know that I am passionate about books. I love to read and instilled that passion in my students and my own children. I’m not in this business to make a ton of money (remember, I was a teacher lol). I want to get my story read because I think it’s a good one and Myrna is dying to tell it. Literally.

An Excerpt From Chapter 16:

Traveling alongside the dark and foreboding Humac Forest in a car had been a piece of cake compared to the scoots. We stayed on the far left margin of the road, careful not to fall into any of the millions of potholes lining its edge. The sky was as light and bright as it got here on Dracwald. Although I glanced at the edge of the forest often, I had yet to see evidence of the monstrous zombies said to live inside its borders. I tried to put them out of my mind by thinking about our next phase on this quest and just how far we had come in only two days.

We had been grinding the road for a few hours when the sky began to darken. Glancing up I feared the dragons had returned, but was even more chagrined to realize we were losing daylight. Michael glanced back quickly. I nodded fiercely, acknowledging that I had noticed. Moments later he swerved to the right nearly into the forest itself. I panicked and swerved as well, following his lead. Sure enough there had been a pile of fallen branches in our path. Had they been put there deliberately?

As I swerved back onto the left edge of the road I felt Tien yanked away from me. I screamed and Michael turned his head to look. Tien screamed insults and curses into the darkness. Michael swung his scoot around and roared back toward me. I stopped, unsure what was happening. I could still hear Tien swearing and screaming, but she was becoming fainter. Once he was past, I swung around in time to see Tien, kicking and screaming as a Phosboor dragged her by the ponytail into the forest. I screamed again and sped forward. Michael had already disappeared into the forest. Unsure what I should do I waited. I walked the scoot to the edge of the forest so I could see in a little better, although with darkness falling the forest was nearly pitch black. Fear clattered my teeth together and whooshed the blood in my ears.

Once my eyes adjusted I could just make out Michael roaring across the pine needle and leaf strewn, slippery forest floor after the Phosboor who had Tien. Her arms flailed trying to grasp trees as the Phosboor galloped away hauling her by the hair. She dug her feet into the soft forest floor but the needles just bunched up giving her no hold. Michael swerved around the Phosboor, grasping Tien around the middle and sped back toward the road. She continued screaming and cussing every foul word I had ever heard and then some. The Phosboor, refusing to release his grasp on her hair, dragged behind the scoot, causing an imbalance which nearly threw the scoot sideways.

A blur out of the dark landed on the Phosboor, growling and snapping until sections of the poor rotten zombie lay scattered across a ten foot stretch of forest floor. The blur continued following Michael as he now sped through the forest avoiding trees, his rear tire slipping on the forest litter. Tien clung tightly to his back, head lowered.

Suddenly I was assaulted by a huge furry creature that leapt from the dark forest landing on the rear of my scoot with his paws on my shoulders. I screamed and gunned the scoot forward when I heard a soft purring voice in my head, “Calm yourself, human. I’ll not hurt you. I’m here to help. Be ready to ride momentarily.” While ordinarily I wouldn’t have been calmed by such a statement, there was a wash of peace throughout my being that quelled fear. At that moment Michael jumped the edge of the road onto its surface where his tires found purchase and he sped away toward the distant lights of Hallsea Village, leaving a long scratch of burned tire on the asphalt. The smell of burning rubber reminded me of our night in the repair station avoiding the Shubons. A tan blur ran behind him before I could gun my own scoot into action.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Birth of a child

One of the most beautiful things in life is the birth of a baby. It's such a miracle. Nothing can compare to the happiness it brings.
Today, I'm awaiting the birth of my first great grandchild - my first great grandson matter of fact.  It doesn't seem like that long ago I was the one giving birth to my first born - a daughter. And all too soon after that, I sat waiting for word on the birth of her first child - my granddaughter.
Now my daughter sits and waits for the birth of her first grandchild and my granddaughter awaits the birth of her first child.
As I wait for the phone calls about updates from my daughter, I can't help reflect on the birth of my own children. Such miracles. One looks at the tiny being you carried for nine months, and you can't help wonder how this beautiful being came from you. All the pain vanishes in that instant when you first look at and hold them.
From that day on they learn to be indpendent of you. Sure, they still depend on you for food and to change thier diapers, and love, but from that first breath, they learn to live in the outside world. Every day they become more and more independent. Then they start school, and you're no longer the only influence in their lives. From that day on, they become their own person, develop their own ideas. Eventually, they grow up, go to highschool and maybe college. They get jobs and fall in love, marry and have children of thier own. The cycle begins again.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Welcome Paul Green

1: Thank you so much for being here,Paul. First up is the obligatory question. When did you first begin writing?

Well that’s a tricky question...I have been writing in my business life for more than 20 years. Each role I have had, whether it be my own company or larger corporate gig’s I have enjoyed writing white papers, promotional materials, training manuals and the like. As far as this book goes, I started it just over 8 years ago, LOL. I divorced in 2000 and went through a “mid-life” attempt to re-capture some of the things I thought I had missed out on. I got a tattoo, bought and learned (badly) how to play the guitar and started playing around with plots and character development for a crime thriller. Life kept moving on and I started and stopped it seems like a hundred times before I settled in about 14 months ago and really put rubber to road as they say. I spent the better part of 6 months almost isolated writing chapter after chapter until I was ready to share it with anyone. Once I received some feedback, I was even more driven to complete it. As I look back, this book is the culmination of many years of thinking, jotting down, tearing up and has been a truly amazing process, one I hope never to forget.

2: What inspired you to write?

I have realized over the past year or so that inspiration for me comes in many forms. I like to think of myself as a student in human behaviour. My post secondary education is in psychology and counseling and I think my whole life I have enjoyed people and how we interact with each other. I am driven from an odd place. One where others think I should be doing something else, something better or something less complicated...something different than what I am doing at the time. It has taken a long time for me to finally just sit down and do what I have been telling others and myself to do...Just write...complete something and if it does nothing more than that, then it will be great...why??? Because I did it, I wrote my novel!!! Now I have the fire within burning inspiration comes from many people, places and many things...mostly from my dear friend Lisa and my two boys, Evan and Zack!

3: What do you like the most and least about writing?

I think, for me the best thing about writing is the creativity, the complete and total freedom to invent a person, a group of people, places and events. I like being able to take some of the characteristics I have encountered in my life and build them out into my story. How I can weave together all the various plot lines and how each character interacts with another, directly or indirectly. It is simply amazing for me when I am reading a book to find that one paragraph, maybe even just a single sentence, you know the one, that captures me and almost pulls me into the book. I want to write that great moment. I believe I have it in me and in digging deep this past year and a bit I have found it. I hope to put my words in such an order that readers become captivated. Where turning the page is a must. Where the reader looks at the clock and tells themselves just 5 more minutes, many times over. That is the best thing about writing for me...creating that moment, that paragraph, that chapter, that one sentence that grabs the reader so completely they just “have” to read on.

As far as what I least like about writing...well...I guess right now it is all the other life events that have to keep going on...I would love to be able to write full time and enjoy that kind of freedom, but I can’t right now, so it is a time issue I guess. The other component to writing that I struggle with is simply the fear of rejection. I am a pretty thick skinned guy, but having a whole book out there for the first time has been scary...exciting, most enjoyable, even exhilarating, but scary at the same time. I’m not sure this ever goes away, so I am using it to motivate me further down the road on the second book. I want it to be better than the first and my fear is driving me harder than the first, so we will see how it all plays out. I will keep you posted.

4: What do you for fun and relaxation when not writing?

LOL!!! Lisa and I have an active life. Fun, for me, has become very simple. Cooking a nice meal, having a great conversation, walking down at the beaches on a hot, sunny day together, curling up and watching a great movie and reading to her each night...I am not the big out at the club kind of guy anymore. Sometimes we take off and go up north to a lake, or south to a friend’s place where we tune everything and everyone else out and just be together. In reality, each day brings fun and relaxation. If it didn’t then the “everything” becomes a series of chores, of “musts” and “shoulds”. Everything opens itself to become boring, mundane and difficult to swallow. Therefore, I try to find the fun in anything I do, because as someone once told me it is easier smiling than it is frowning, it is healthier if we can laugh out loud, with others and at ourselves and I have learned that activity is the appetizer to the best relaxation. I choose to look at the world through rose colored glasses as much as I can, not stained ones.

5: Which authors do you like to read?

I enjoy a number of different authors. I like James Patterson, Stephan King, John Caldwell, Jack Welch, Anne Rice, Stephanie Meyer and have just started reading Danielle Trussoni ... I find her phrasing and descriptive language fascinating, brilliant even.

6: What’s the one thing you’d most like people to know about you?

Hmmmmm...there are so many answers I could give here, the heavy ones or the more lighthearted ones. I am a firm believer in the power within each of us to change. I have been in a bad spiral down for a long time. The divorce really rocked my world, but after numerous attempts and much support that I ignored, someone finally broke through and I have once again found that fire within. So no matter what anyone’s circumstance may be, each of us has the power to change. That would be the heavier answer. On a lighter note, I am a huge Springsteen fan and an even bigger Toronto Maple Leaf fan. I hope that answers the question.

7: Tell me about your current novel, where I can find it and your website/blog.

Darkness on the Edge of Town can be found at It is available both as an e-book and in an eco-friendly print version. As I am writing these answers I don’t have the specifics on the various retailers that will be carrying it, but should that become more clear before June 11th, I will update you.

My blog is:

Please feel free to join up and interact as I go along. I set out to write something each day, but writing the sequel and life’s other twists and turns have made it more a once every three or four day event. I will get better as the first book gets integrated more into the mainstream and I am not so involved in its launch...I HOPE!!!

8: Do you have any tips for aspiring authors?

Yes...Never stop!!! Find a mentor or trusted friend that you can share with and get honest feedback from...two or three of these are better because one may not like the genre or type of story, but regardless it is their feedback you will most value...and oh yes, never stop!!! Always believe. If you can simply complete your first book the power to move forward and continue is absolutely incredible!!!

9: Do you base your characters on real-life people?

Yes and no. In an earlier answer I talked about characteristics I have encountered in people I have and do still know. I have taken some of these and created a new person. If you are asking if anyone in my story is more real that fictitious...I am going to leave that to everyone’s imagination. Those tidbits are one of my great joys...although I have written this in the hope that others will read it and like the story, there is deeper meaning in it for me and those moments within the book are very precious to me.

10: Where do you get your ideas and what inspired you to write this book?

I cannot tell you where the first idea for this book came from. I mentioned earlier that it has been an evolving concept for more than 8 years. What amazes me is that the basic plot has held firm all this time. Now with the second book I know a news article inspired the basic plot. Flash Drive wraps itself in a real life global issue and narrows down to a specific story that centers around my lead character, Steve Hicks. The third book in the series will also come from a real life series of events that a good friend has recently gone through. It captures perfectly the need to raise another central character’s profile while at the same time moves the whole connectivity along for my readers. As I said earlier, inspiration seems to come in many different forms at the quirkiest of times.

11: What are you currently working on?

The next book, as I just dropped, is called FLASH DRIVE and is the second in a planned 3 book series with Steve Hicks at the core. I also have a book started in a completely different genre, romance and have started the layout on a children’s book that is inspired by both of my boys and Lisa’s 3 wonderful children. It should be a lot of fun!!! But my primary focus is dedicated to the Steve Hicks series. I have so much more for his character and those around him. When I sit down to write the words come flying out. I think the struggle will be what to include in book two and what to save for book three. Relationships are a wonderful thing...writing them to be believable is sometimes the challenge I think.

12. Is there anything else you’d like us to know about you?

Another tough one...I guess that I have made a tremendous amount of mistakes in my life. That today I choose to be simple in my ways and try and be the best person I can be. I love my two boys dearly and have found great love and joy in my relationship with Lisa. I hold great hope for my future no matter where it leads me and that integrity and brutal honesty are paramount to a happy, healthy life.


Baby this town rips the bones from your back

It’s a death trap, it’s a suicide rap

We gotta get out while were young

`cause tramps like us, baby we were born to run.

Bruce Springsteen – Born to Run, 1975

What a perfect day I thought as Springsteen blasted through the sound system in the truck. The lake house will be a sight for sore eyes I kept reminding myself. I had driven the past 4 hours straight and had only 30 or so minutes to go. I was running, escaping, everyone knew it and I did not care. I had spent the last couple of years working what seemed like 24/7. My down time was spent trying to clear my head in the concrete jungle by walking my dog Tasha, a beautiful Malamute Husky or passing out from sheer exhaustion. I had decided enough was enough. I needed some time away if not a permanent change…I needed my little slice of heaven and my home on the lake was just that. I needed to be close to the people that mattered most in my life, my two boys.

As I left the city behind, I thought of all the people, places and things I would miss…it was a short thought. The people, places, and things I would not miss crept into my thoughts and they took me much longer to review. Clearing my head, I told myself...Out with the old and in with some fresh new perspectives. God how I needed this! Tasha and I had not been up to the lake house in more than a year, almost two. I could not wait and judging from her excitement as I turned on to the last stretch of familiar highway, neither could she. Together we would relax, re-energize, and make some decisions on the next steps, in the ongoing journey of ours.

As a homicide detective working the special crimes unit, I had been involved in some of the cities worst cases over the years. My job had cost me a marriage, lost time with my two boys, friendships and both my mental and physical health, hence the leave of absence. The past three years had been especially difficult. I had been working with a select group of detectives on a high profile serial case. Nine murders spanning 3 years all committed by some lunatic that liked to play ritual games with his victims and the police. He dropped us notes, left blood-painted messages at his crime scenes, made the odd phone call to us on the task force and then there was his bizarre signature, ritualistic killing style. I shook my head hard to lose the imagery.

All this and with the exception of some constantly evolving behavioral profile bullshit from the department Psych Unit, we were no closer to catching this guy than we were on Day One. He had gone into hibernation again as he did each September 22, one day after his final kill of the year. He went silent from then until the first day of spring each March. He told us he did not like the cold and added some bullshit about the importance of the seasons changing and then he would disappear for close to 6 months.

Well, this time I was pulling the disappearing act. Spring was coming, the lake would be beautiful and I did not have another season, let alone another day of this freaks show left in me. I was positive he would start up again and I figured it best I leave now before he got rolling. I wrapped up my files and transferred all my information to my rookie replacement on the team, Sean Krieger. I then packed up my personal belongings and put the few sticks of furniture I had in storage. It took me all of two days to put all of my city affairs in order.

Today, Wednesday March 17 – St. Patrick’s Day, I loaded Tasha and our few simple boxes into the truck and we left the city, the job, and the insanity behind. Tasha has been with me for the past 9 years. She needed this return to the lake as much as I did, maybe even more. “There’s the sign Girl,” I read Wolf Lake 15 KM.

She sat up and I could feel her energy and excitement across the seat as her tail wag speed increased. It was great to see her so happy! Walking her in the city doesn’t hold a candle to the wild runs across the land we have out here and when spring and summer hit she can’t get enough of the lake water! This will be great for the two of us. I felt the darkness that had been my life for all too many years now, slipping away already.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Welcome, Becky Moore

1: Thank you so much for being here, Becky. First up is the obligatory question. When did you first begin writing?
I’m a southerner, and we tend to be a little melodramatic … that said, I’ve been a storyteller all my life. When I was in college, I knew I wanted to be a writer, but figured I should have some type of “real” degree to fall back on. My mother, on the other hand, told me that I had my whole life to have a job and that I should go for what I really wanted. So armed with my degree in English literature and editing, I quickly figured out that the most important corporation in the world couldn’t sell the most important widget ever developed without being able to talk about it. Working as a writer in a variety of industries has given me a broad view of the world … but no matter how stressful my deadlines have been through the years, my mind wandered in imaginary tales with interesting characters. About five or six years ago I decided to get the ideas out of my head and onto paper, and loved working in fiction. But time is the greatest enemy of a writer, especially one like me, who has a full-time job and writes romance in the evenings and on vacation. As a result of my staccato approach to writing, I have a dozen manuscripts in progress (some as much as 80-90% complete). It was driving me crazy, so as the Christmas came and went last year, I said out loud: “2010 is MY year.” And I sat down and forced myself to finish one book. I sent it in to a new e-publisher (XOXO Publishing), and they picked it up. I was stoked, and knew that if I really put my all into it, I could do it. And I did.

2: What inspired you to write?

I am, by nature, a great idealist. I believe in the best life has to offer, and that everyone deserves a chance. My love of reading comes from watching my mother, and learning to love the way a book lets you escape to another world of possibility. She also taught me the power of the written word, which I have always held in high regard. My full-time work now is as a grantwriter and public affairs officer for a non-profit agency supporting individuals living with HIV/AIDS … and most of those stories have sad endings. It gives me such hope to be able to immerse myself in my stories in my free “me time,” where I have the power to give my characters a happy ending. No matter how desperate the situation my characters find themselves in, true love helps them find a way to each other, and the way to a happy ending.

3: What do you like the most and least about writing?

The most: a world of possibilities that takes me on the most exciting adventures. The worst: I’m compelled to write more and more so my mind can rest … some days the story rests, others it roars.

4: What do you for fun and relaxation when not writing?

My son and my husband and I are really close, and look for every opportunity to do things together. We love to do anything outdoors, especially hiking, cycling, kayaking, playing tennis, and walking with our beagle Magnolia May. A good massage is also a real treat!

5: Which authors do you like to read?

I love to read just about everything, and while I’ve probably got two or three books going on my own at any given time, my 12 year old son and I keep a running book together, too. My favorite romance authors are Julie Garwood, Linda Howard, Shannon McKenna, Susan Andersen, Rachel Gibson, and Amy J. Fetzer. Other favorite adult authors are Peter Mayle, Michael Chabon, Janet Evanovich, and James Patterson. My favorite children and teen authors are Rick Riordan, J.K. Rowling, Maurice Sendak, and Kate DiCamillo.

6: What’s the one thing you’d most like people to know about you?

I hope the thing that would stand out would be that I’m a kind, fun, interesting, aware person. Those are the traits I’d like for people to realize about my son, and I think they’re important for anybody.

7: Tell me about your current novel, where I can find it and your website/blog.

The Right Words is a sexy contemporary romance that, ultimately, is a book about hope. Hope for a happy life, for a future that’s worth living, and for finding love.

For Jane, an optimist by nature, she’s burned out from years on the road as a travel journalist. When faced with a sudden dose of reality—the murder of her sister—Jane realizes that there’s more to life than chasing the next story. So she comes back to North Carolina, to the beautiful family homestead she inherited from her grandmother, to start the second phase of her life.

Lucas finds his way to North Carolina for a completely different type of respite—his from a decade of dangerous work as an undercover agent with a handful of government agencies. He’s seen one too many senseless murders, turned one too many heads, taken on one too many stains on his soul. His latest assignment with a Columbian drug cartel is especially hard to forget since bringing it down meant snapping his flexible undercover morals.

Jane needs somebody to love, somebody who’s worth taking a chance on. Lucas needs somebody to love him, somebody he can be himself with. Theirs is a match made in heaven.

You can read more about me, The Right Words, and my upcoming novel, The Penalty Box, at

The Right Words is available for sale through the XOXO Publishing Online Store at

8: Do you have any tips for aspiring authors?

Stay with it. Never give up. Write the kind of stories that you like to read, and know that other people in the world will find something compelling in your story to make you an author.

9: Do you base your characters on real-life people?

I think my characters are probably amalgamations of people I see, people who make impressions on me. I like to have music playing in the background because I have a constant soundtrack running through my mind. I like to imagine the most unusual bits and pieces of people and the possibilities of mixing them up together.

10: Where do you get your ideas and what inspired you to write this book?

I’m always so sad to read about young people who are just so distraught with their lives, with feeling that they’ve got no options. In my day job, I write the saddest statistics about mortality rates for people living with HIV or AIDS. I have a young child who is the light of my life, and happy and smart and shiny and new. I think of all the things I want to say to him, the right words to help him become the strong man I just know he’ll grow to be. So I thought of a situation that would allow me to delve into those feelings of hopelessness and the possibility of being able to help someone work through the much in their life to find the bright, shiny possibility of hope, and of a good future.

11: What are you currently working on?

I’m working on a story called “Mine By Design,” which is a suspense, and I’m in the editing stages of my second book with XOXO Publishing, called “The Penalty Box.”

12. Is there anything else you’d like us to know about you?

Nope. But thanks for reading.

Jane Porter squeezed her goose down pillow tighter around her head to try and block out the incessant pounding and blaring tunes of The Ramones coming from the efficiency apartment in her attic. She’d only gotten into bed two hours ago and, until the cacophony of sounds started, she was enjoying the blissful after-effects of her migraine medicine kicking in. Three songs in, the pain was beating out the remedy.

“Shut up!”

Oh, God. She flipped onto her stomach, groaning, and resettled the pillow to try and drown out the sounds. I deserve a medal, she thought. Maintaining her fledgling camaraderie with her flighty neighbor, Amber Taylor, was going to kill her … or cause her brain to melt down. Even on good, migraine-free days it was difficult at best to get along with that Barbie-bimbo—a self-centered, high maintenance, whiner of a slut who thought the world revolved around her and that any male within sight or scent of her should fall to their knees to worship her greatness. Jane snorted at the picture that popped into her mind of Amber standing spread-eagled at the front of the kindergarten class she taught, with one of the dads sitting on his knees going down on her, and the shocked expressions on the kids faces. Eww.

She groaned again, irritated that she was letting the pain was drowning out her patience. Jane found it was best to not dwell on how much she hated Amber; it made it easier to live with her.

But the pounding music was making her rethink her decision to open her home to a roommate. It was getting harder and harder to remind herself that she wanted the hustle and bustle of another living soul in the house with her.

When her grandmother died last Christmas and left the old brick mansion to her, Jane had been more than happy to leave Manhattan for Durham. Her work as a travel journalist kept her on the move, and for the last six years had lived out of a series of suitcases, hotels and friends houses. Hence, the thought that a roommate would be “fun”. Gah!

They were four months into a six month lease, and the only thing keeping Jane from kicking Amber out on her ass was the lease they’d both signed. Legal and binding, damn it.

Jane glared at the ceiling, willing the noise in the attic to stop. But it was no use. The pounding went on and on. God, she had to get some sleep. With a muttered curse, Jane pulled the phone onto the bed and called Amber to pick up. Of course voicemail picked up.

“Amber . . . it’s Jane. I’m not sure what you’re doing up there, but you’ve got to stop. It sounds like you’re running with a herd of elephants. I was up late last night with a deadline and I’ve only been in bed for two hours. Please give me another couple of hours with some peace and quiet and I’ll go over to Duke Forest with you and run. I’ll even treat us to lunch afterward.”

She sighed and hung up and then went to the bathroom while she was up. The motion made her stomach lurch, so she sat on the toilet until she was able to stagger back to bed without vomiting all over the bedroom.

Twenty minutes later the banging continued enthusiastically. “Shit.” She was going to have to go up there. She was all the way at the attic landing outside Amber’s door, knocking with the flat of her hand, when she realized she was in her summer jammies. The only thing covering her little bikini panties was an old threadbare T-shirt with ‘Marauders’ emblazoned in pink rhinestones across the chest. She groaned and let her head drop back on her shoulders. Great.

Staring at the ceiling, she reached out to knock again—but instead of the solid door, her hand met solid, unyielding flesh. Crap!

She sucked in a quick breath, jerked her head up and came face to face with a tanned Adam’s apple. Ooh, and little dribbles of sweat trickled down it. “Noooo,” she wailed. Then with a thud she dropped her forehead to rest in the solid notch between two very fine pectoral muscles. Neither she nor Mr. Pecs said a word.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

I'm pleased to announce

I signed a contract for another book, Double the Trouble. Release date is set for March 2011. More information can be found soon at

Friday, June 4, 2010

Welcome, Heather Haven

Richard blogs about his sister, Lee Alvarez, from Murder is a Family Business.

My sister is the best but she can drive a person crazy. She takes chances, she doesn’t listen to reason, and she certainly doesn’t listen to me. Maybe that’s because she’s three years older. Lee’s pretty smart, but don’t tell her that; I like to pretend I’m the smart one in the family. I’m a computer genius, if I’m to believe any of the write-ups in Wired, but Lee’s got this other talent, which is pretty awesome.

She’s a natural born ferret. She can find anything or anybody, anytime, anyplace. That’s why she’s got a reputation as one of the best investigators at Discretionary Inquiries. Some people might say that’s only because our mother is CEO of D.I., but nepotism will only take you so far, especially with Lila Hamilton Alvarez. Behind her back, I call Mom ‘Our Lady’ and she’s designer tough. I’ve known her to crack open a coconut just by staring it down. We’re quite a family.

But back to Lee and her ferreting, I remember when I was in the 6th grade, this bully a year or two older, started beating me up after school for no reason. Lee found out that his dog had been missing for three weeks and he was taking his frustration and anger out on me. Wearing her non-judgmental hat, Lee went to him and said that she would find his dog if he promised to leave me alone after that.

Even I didn’t think she could pull that off and I knew about her skills from day one. This kid laughed in her face but she got him to promise. Long story short, Lee took her bicycle out every day after school and found the guy’s dog five days later chained in a yard in East Palo Alto. She had to walk back with dog in tow, because she’d traded her Schwinn for him. The bully turned out to be pretty nice guy after that, serving in Iraq now, and we still keep in touch at Christmas.

Anyway, that’s the kind of sister Lee is. She’s got your back. Which is good. She may drive me crazy but when Murder is a Family Business, she’s exactly who you want to be hanging out with.

Read more about Heather and Murder is a Family Business at

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Welcome, Belinda McBride

1: Thank you so much for being here, Belinda. First up is the obligatory question. When did you first begin writing?

Thanks for having me today! As to when I started writing, I distinctly remember a poem I wrote called “The Tiger,” which was about a day in the life of a kitten. I was in the first grade! LOL! After that, I’ve dabbled in journalism, poetry, play writing and fiction all my life. My first professional writing job was to adapt Dracula for the stage back in the late ‘80s. I was paid about $500 for doing that. As to my fiction writing, I decided to make a go for it professionally in 2007. My first contracts were signed in 2008 and I have over 20 distinct works available now.

2: What inspired you to write?

I’ve always lived in my head. My grandma always talked about me being such a day dreamer and told me I should be a writer. That idea lived in the back of my head most of my life. As to my present course of writing, I discovered erotic romance and e-books, and once I read some awful stuff, mixed in with the excellent stuff, decided that I had what it too.

3: What do you like the most and least about writing?

I love that I am not restricted to any specific genre. My imagination is completely indulged. I love going back into some of my old dreams and fantasies and putting them on paper.

What I like least is the isolation. I really cherish the conferences and gatherings we go to. Fortunately, I’ve met a few authors that live near me, and we occasionally get together for very, very long lunches!

4: What do you for fun and relaxation when not writing?

I read an awful lot. I go to dog shows, travel and just try to be around other people.

5: Which authors do you like to read?

Boy, there’s a question without limits! I like so many authors! I do have a few authors that are keepers, meaning I tend to return to their books. Among them are Patricia Briggs, Charlaine Harris, Neil Gaiman, Laurell K Hamilton, Kate Pearce, Marjorie Liu…have I run out of space yet?

6: What’s the one thing you’d most like people to know about you?

Well, I had a couple experiences that nearly took my life when I was in my 20s. I think the outcome of that was that I became the sort of person who actively goes after the bucket list items. It started with a trip to the UK. I’d wanted to go for a few years, and everyone that was committed to going with me would drop out for one reason or another. So I went on my own. I’ve had some amazing experiences over the years largely because of adopting a “Why Not?” attitude.

7: Tell me about your current novel, where I can find it and your website/blog.

My current book is actually in an anthology called, “Doms of Dark Haven.” My novella is a BDSM/shapeshifter story called Educating Evangeline. The anthology itself is really special; I visited a BDSM club with author Cherise Sinclair last year, and we were amazed at how we had such different perspectives on what we saw that night. We decided to do the anthology based on a single night in the club, and the magnificent Sierra Cartwright joined us.

My website is

My blog is

8: Do you have any tips for aspiring authors?

Don’t be afraid to try. Writing is like any other art, it’s mostly discipline mixed with a touch of creativity. It’s intensely personal, and if you want to cross the line from hobby to professional, you need to get a thick skin and approach it as a professional does. Get over the fear and the self-consciousness. Cultivate the knowledge that you can actually change things in your manuscript to make it better. Persevere.

9: Do you base your characters on real-life people?

Not directly, but they are influenced by people I’ve met. Rose Lee from Little Dragon has a fight in the opening of the book that was pulled from the real life experience of a friend who was a cop. Sometimes you see someone or hear of an experience that’s just too vivid not to use in your writing.

10: Where do you get your ideas and what inspired you to write this book?

With Educating Evangeline I knew we were going for a Victorian theme night in the club. When we began bibling the anthology, we decided to stick with our own particular genres. I tend to write mostly sci fi and paranormal, so it became a shifter book. My werewolves tend to be very dominant, so that suited the whole BDSM genre. This time around, the title of the story came first, and then I built the story up from there.

11: What are you currently working on?

I’m presently writing a m/m paranormal romance called Blacque/Bleu. It will release in October at Loose Id in observation of Coming Out week. I have a few other projects going as well. One is the sequel to An Uncommon Whore, and another is for my sci fi series, Black Planet.

12. Is there anything else you’d like us to know about you?

Stay tuned and keep checking in at my blog and website; I’ve got an amazing year ahead!

For more information about Belinda and her book check her website:

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Welcome Rie McGaha

1: Thank you so much for being here, Rie. First up is the obligatory question. When did you first begin writing?

As soon as I learned how to make my letters. I told stories to my parents and siblings before that, and then I wrote stories for my cousins, classmates, and as I got older, I wrote poetry, song lyrics, and in the 8th grade, I wrote my first book. It was a historical set in the 1880’s, about a school teacher from Boston who came to the wild, Wild West and fell in love with the town sheriff.

2: What inspired you to write?

I don’t really know. It’s just something I have always done, I guess it’s the same way with any art. Being a writer is who I am, not what I do.

3: What do you like the most and least about writing?

I like being able to create worlds that exist only in my mind. I like being able to create characters and put them in situations of my own doing. It’s kind of like being omniscient.

4: What do you for fun and relaxation when not writing?

Writing is fun and relaxing…I’m not sure I understand the question.

Seriously, I have 28-½ grandchildren and I like spending time with as many of them as I can. I also rescue and care for abandoned and abused animals, so I have plenty of companions. My husband is a truck driver, so he’s gone quite a bit, but when he’s home we like to take long rides on his motorcycle, going out to dinner, picnics or whatever strikes us.

5: Which authors do you like to read?

Anyone who knows me, knows I think James Patterson is tops when it comes to authors. I am so in love with Alex Cross. I also like to read Sherrilyn Kenyon, Karen Marie Moning, Jesse Fox, Bryl Tyne, and many others.

6: What’s the one thing you’d most like people to know about you?

That’s funny…I don’t want anyone to know anything about me. I hate it that I have to have any type of publicity. I’m a very private person and I like to go unnoticed. Unfortunately, I have had to come out of my shell and be a public person. Compared to when I first got published, I’m a diva! 

7: Tell me about your current novel, where I can find it and your website/blog.

Ancient Blood is the sequel to Blood Line and picks up the story line with Ganda’s adventures. This is a werewolf story and began as a dream my husband had. After he told me about the dream, I thought it would make a good story, and Blood Line was born. Ganda was a secondary character, but such a strong one that everyone fell in love with her, so she got her own book.

My website is and I have three blogs where I interview other authors.

8: Do you have any tips for aspiring authors?

This is a tough business, so get that thick skin early. You’re going to get rejected, you’re going to get bad reviews, and not everyone is going to like you. Above all learn this business, all aspects of it, not just the writing part.

9: Do you base your characters on real-life people?

Sometimes they wind up sounding like people I know, but I don’t create them to be like anyone in the beginning. Well, that’s not completely true, in Closure (coming in September from Champagne Books), I did kill off my ex’s, so those characters were created after some men I know. My upcoming book, Comes An Outlaw (from eXcessica publishing), was inspired by the first man I ever loved.

10: Where do you get your ideas and what inspired you to write this book?

My ideas come from the voices in my head, but I don’t know where the voices are from. Ancient Blood, like I said, is a sequel, but there’s really no telling what specific thing, place, or event might start a story line rolling around in my head.

11: What are you currently working on?

I am working on my dream book—I am co-authoring with William Maltese, The Wine Diaries. I am contributing a section on the wineries of Oklahoma, which is something I’ve wanted to do for a while. I am laughed at every time I mention Okie wines, people just don’t seem to believe we have good wine here. Even William Googled them to make sure I wasn’t pulling his leg!

12. Is there anything else you’d like us to know about you?

I would like to thank you for having me on your blog, and right now everyone can go to my website, click on the Ancient Blood tab and get in on the contest to win free reads, a T-shirt, and a poster.

Excerpt from Ancient Blood by Rie McGaha

Ancient Egypt 1997 BC

The entire country had been decimated by a civil war that had raged for the past hundred years. The land had once been green with fertile valleys watered by the great river. Crops had grown and the people had been happy. Once filled with gold, silver, and jewels, the king's treasury now lay nearly empty. The fertile valleys lay barren and the great river choked with debris, and there seemed to be no way to win a war that continued day after endless day, the people screamed for peace, for relief, and for rescue, but were met by silence.

King Mentuhotep IV inherited the debacle from his predecessor and had been largely unsuccessful in his attempts to quell the rampage. His friend and advisor, Amenemhat I, had stood by his side for the past twenty years, helped him, and prayed to the god, Amun, for intervention on Mentuhotep's behalf. The King valued Amenemhat's opinions and was thankful to his friend for all his help. Mentuhotep hadn't the slightest idea that Amenemhat also prayed Amun would make him successor to the king. Amenemhat was not of royal blood, would normally never be able to succeed the throne, a position reserved for an eldest son, but he would never let a little thing like rank and order stand in the way of becoming the next ruler of Egypt.

The dais resided in Memphis, the last stronghold of the war that raged throughout the country. Little was left, the gods knew. Nearly everything that could be used to fund the king's campaign had been sold or melted down as weapons. Egypt had little left worth fighting for and Mentuhotep knew it wouldn't be much longer before the factions were fighting at his gate. He also knew he had precious little left to fight with, little ability to keep the gates from being destroyed and with them, the last shreds of his dynasty, his kingdom, and his life. A desperate man in the middle of desperate times, he would turn away no idea, no suggestion. If anyone presented an idea with the possibility of turning the tides of war, he would willingly accept them. So when Amenemhat excused himself to travel to Thebes to pray before his god, Amun, on behalf of Egypt, on behalf of its one true ruler, Mentuhotep wearily nodded his consent.

Amenemhat traveled under the cover of darkness, knowing the danger he would face if recognized, and knew it would surely end his life. The people would welcome no consort of the crown. They were hungry, their children were dying, and they had little will left to help themselves, but they would have no problem killing the right-hand man of the dynasty they blamed for their deplorable lives.

After traveling most of the night, he reached Thebes by early morning light. Exhausted as he entered the temple to pray and be fortified, he stood before the altar of Amun, and Amenemhat felt a shiver run over his flesh and knew he was not alone. Slipping the knife from his waistband, he held it hidden in the folds of his robes. He turned slowly, and then involuntarily sucked a breath into his lungs at the sight he beheld.

The woman was ethereal in her beauty. Dark, thick hair fell to her knees in glorious, shining waves. With eyes as black as night, she peered at him from beneath heavy lashes. The faintest blush against alabaster skin highlighted her cheeks. Red and full, her perfect mouth nearly curved into a smile, but not quite. Her gown appeared to shine like silver, held beneath her firm, full breasts with a girdle of braided gold. The long sleeves fell like bells past her wrists, covering her hands as they lay loosely at her sides. Standing with bare feet, she observed him as if he was the intruder. The knife in his hand clattered on the marble floor.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Welcome, Craig Gehring

1: Thank you so much for being here, Craig. First up is the obligatory question. When did you first begin writing?

I first began writing as a wee lad. My motive was revenge. My cousin had sent me the movie “The Land Before Time” as a Christmas gift, and it frightened me so badly that I wanted to scare him back. So my first story was a five-year-old-ish horror piece. I don’t think Grandma actually sent it for me, though. Even then, the hardest part of the business was getting published!

2: What inspired you to write?

I love to entertain. I love creating an effect on an audience. What keeps me going is that laugh or that tear or that occasional “WHAT THE HELL?” I get from someone reading my work.

3: What do you like the most and least about writing?

I like most the writing part, from that primary spark of inspiration to that rush at 3:00 a.m. as the pages keep churning to that empty dread that maybe the story slipped away to the I THINK I CAN I THINK I CAN final stretch to that rewarding churn of the printer as the words breathe their first breaths in this world.

I like least the part where…well…hmm…I love it all. Even when literary journals reject me and I have to bite back tears and be cranky with my wife all day. All part of the fun.

I guess the part my wife likes least is literary journals.

4: What do you for fun and relaxation when not writing?

For one, I’m a Frisbee fanatic.

But mostly I play with my little girl. She’s one year old and terribly fun. She’s happy and energetic and quite unstoppable and definitely the best thing my wife and I have going for us.

5: Which authors do you like to read?

That depends on what I’m reading. One of my favorite authors is David Ives. He published a wonderfully hilarious book of one-acts called “All in the Timing”. Neil Simon and Steve Martin make the list. If I’m in a mainstream mood, it’s John Grisham, Stephen King…

Sometimes I go on a sci-fi binge, though, in which case it’s John Varley, Isaac Asimov, L. Ron Hubbard, Heinlein, Frank Herbert, Orson Scott Card…

6: What’s the one thing you’d most like people to know about you?

I’d like for people to know that I have stories and that they can get them from various places and that when they get them they can then read them and hopefully enjoy them. I have quite a bit of short fiction that is available on various free ezines on the web – my homepage links to them:

7: Tell me about your current novel, where I can find it and your website/blog.

My current novella is Norman. It’s about an artificial intelligence with an enormous heart circuit. He encounters Clayton, a cutthroat journalism student who will do anything for a story. Norman risks becoming a news spectacle, himself, in order to teach Clayton what it means to be human…or at least, he tries to.

Norman is being published by MuseItUp early 2011. Right now you can learn more about Norman by going to

8: Do you have any tips for aspiring authors?

One thing I LOVE is Heinlein’s five rules of writing. Hugo award winner Robert J. Sawyer has a great article on the rules on his site:

9: Do you base your characters on real-life people?

Absolutely. I don’t know how else I could write. It’s way easier and comes off way more genuine and alive if I just use the people I’ve known. Sometimes I synthesize my characters out of different people.

10: Where do you get your ideas and what inspired you to write this book?

I get my ideas from reading and from conversations, mostly. These spark up series of “what ifs” that become the basis of the characters and plot. I have a very good friend who is a computer programmer, and the thought struck me after one of our conversations that any computer program is just one gigantic number. I got the funny idea, “What if someone tried to make artificial intelligence by just randomly picking numbers using a supercomputer?” And then, “What if supercomputer made the artificial intelligence, but nobody actually knew it had happened, so the A.I. just sat there and played solitaire or something until one day someone typed ‘hello’ on his computer, and he said ‘hello’ back.” And then, “I think I’ll call him Norman. Norman is a good name for an artificial intelligence. Any A.I. named Norman would probably be quite pleasant.” And then I got another completely unrelated spark: “I really want to write a book with a TOTAL JERK as a main character/narrator!” And thus Clayton East was born. But I ended up making him a somewhat likeable jerk. Norman tries to make him more likeable and less jerk. Clayton tries to make Norman a news story. And there’s Norman in a nutshell!

11: What are you currently working on?

I have a novel-length thriller called Nirvana Effect that I’m wrapping in the next month or so. I’ve also got a few shorter pieces in the fire. My monthly column on American cultural figures appears in American Fiction. You can learn more about all of my current works by going to my website –

12. Is there anything else you’d like us to know about you?

Thank you for giving me this opportunity. I really appreciate your readers for taking the time to meet me.

At this point in the story, Clayton East has just met Norman, the artificial intelligence, and conducted an all-night interview. Norman’s caring angle on life is definitely having an impact on Clayton. Now Clayton tries to undo some of the damage he’s done with his ex-girlfriend Raksha.
Reading the pages brought back the memory of the night in full. It had been like a sleepover with a best friend, where at some point near three in the morning you start talking about the girls you like and the fears you have and things you know you’ve never told anybody and never will tell anybody again. Norman, the computer, heard all of that from me, and I heard all of that from him.

Norman didn’t have a love life or a woman to worry about like I had Raksha, but he did have his relationships. Computers obviously can’t cry, but I could have sworn the monitor got a little foggy when he talked about losing Eisenberg.

Norman thanked me afterwards for listening. I didn’t thank him, but I noticed I felt better than I had in a long time when I finally left the lab.

“Where’d you go?” asked Raksha as I walked back into the living room.

“I was just…reading…” She wore her dark hair in a ponytail. A few wispy strands strayed around the frame of her forehead. Her eyes were dark brown, almost black, and yet they shone bright. She’d been my pathetic crush since middle school.

Raksha looked different after my long night with Norman. I’d never looked at her the way I did at that moment. She wasn’t my crush, or my love, or the girl I worried over at all hours of the night. She was Raksha without anything having to do with me attached to her.

Somehow I’d always seen her as that girl in middle school. I’d seen her every day and yet missed the entire transition she’d made into womanhood. I had the awkward realization that I didn’t know very much about her.

I owed her something. The truth was, I’d never told her how I really felt about her. I’d worried that it would freak her out, that she would see me in a different light, that maybe she would take me for granted. Norman’s stupid essay echoed in my head. It shouldn’t be all about me. I owed it to her to tell her, even if it came to nothing.

“Raksha,” I croaked. I tried again. “Raksha, I need to tell you something.”

“What’s that?” she asked. She started to rise, concern tightening her face.

“No, stay there. I just want to tell you something, okay?”


I resisted the urge to say something lame like “I like your teeth.” I had to lay it all out. “Okay, here goes. I’ve never told you this because I’m basically a chicken, at least when it comes to you, probably because you’re the one person that can really get under my skin.”

She opened her mouth to say something but I kept talking. “I mean, you’re the one person that I let in, really. What you think…well, I care what you think about me. You’re very important to me. You’re my best friend and you’re more than that to me. So I’ll tell you this: I love you.”

“I love you, too,” said Raksha. Love is such a nonspecific word.

“No, I mean I love you love you,” I said. “Like I think about you all the time and really my secret desire is to spend the rest of my life with you.” Wow, I’m on a roll. “Like the only reason I’m still at this school is because you’re here. Like I wish every day that we were still together, I wish I could take back everything, I wish I could just have shut my ears and never overheard Maggie talking to you…” My body felt all mixed up, like my heart was doing my breathing for me. It was the cheesiest, most honest thing I’d ever done.

I stopped talking, though, because Raksha looked angry. It wasn’t the reaction I was expecting. I didn’t know what to expect but I certainly wasn’t expecting for her eye to tick.

“Well, take it back!” she shouted.

“I would if I could…”

Raksha stood up. “You can! Call her! Take it back!”

The thought overwhelmed me. Everything we’d been fighting over for the past year shot from her lips in a concentration of seven angry words. I couldn’t figure out what to say. I could tell she wanted me to just do it.

She gave me three seconds. I thought I saw a tear roll off her cheek.

“Fine!” she said. She grabbed her purse off the sofa and left.

I watched the front door glide to a halt in her wake. Had the ceiling become the floor? I wasn’t certain.

“Thanks, Norman,” I muttered to myself.