Showing posts from 2015

How The Greatest Gift Became It's a Wonderful Life

Most people know that when a bell rings an angel gets his wings. But do you know the true story behind “It’s a Wonderful Life”?
In 1938 Philip Van Doren Stern was inspired to write about a desperate family man’s encounter with his guardian angel who showed him what life would be like if he’d never been born. In 1943 he finished his 4,100 word short story, “The Greatest Gift” which proceeded to be rejected by a variety of publications from “The Saturday Evening Post” to farm journals.  As an established Civil War historian and biographer, Stern published over forty books during his lifetime, but he was unable to find a publisher for this story.

 Determined to share his tale Stern had 200 pamphlets printed of his story and distributed them to friends and family as Christmas cards.  He told his third-grade daughter, Marguerite, that even though they were sending it as Christmas card to friends “It is a universal story for all people and all times”. Several months after Christmas a prod…

Author Interview-Janice Oberding

How did you become involved in researching and writing about Nevada’s haunted past?  I’ve been interested in the paranormal since I was a child. My grandmother shared many stories of ghosts and ghostly experiences of hers with me. Alas, none were about Nevada. As a Nevadan, I love our state’s rich history, lore and ghosts. In early 2001 I started looking around for books on Nevada’s ghosts and hauntings and discovered there were none. This was not acceptable to me. I wanted our state’s ghosts and rich ghostly history to be shared. And so I wrote my first book, Haunted Nevada. My next was the Ghosthunters’ Guide to Virginia City. From there I continued to write, to travel, and meet people throughout the state.
What were some of the challenges you encountered while researching these stories?  When I started writing about Nevada’s ghosts I was the only one doing so. There weren’t but a handful of ghost investigators in the entire state. Consequently there wasn’t always a lot of informa…

Author Interview-Kate Hill

What inspired you to become a writer? I can't remember a time when I didn't want to be a writer. I've always liked to tell stories. When I was sixteen I decided to start submitting my work for publication. It took ten years before I had a story accepted.

Who are your favorite romance characters (besides your own?) Wow, that's a hard question because there are so many great characters. I love Charlotte Boyett-Compo's Kamerone Cree from Bloodwind, Jude Deveraux's Alexander Montgomery from The Raider, Jack Greene's Jordan from News at Eleven, Sean Michael's Rose and Thorne from the series of the same name, Gabriel Belthir's Evie Johns from Lily of the Wastelands, all the heroes from the Men of Valor series by Kiru Taye, Vance and Victor from the Cirque Caprice series by Julia Talbot. The list could go on.
Tell me what inspired this story. Though St. Augustine's Silhouettes is short, there was a lot I wanted to do with it. Like most of my stories, th…

Cooking Up Some Magic-Update

I've interviewed many authors from young mothers to empty-nesters and having time to write is always a challenge. In fact having time for one's passions is a struggle for just about everyone including crafters, gym rats, joggers, sports fans, pet parents, readers and gardeners.

Just in time for holiday shopping, We'd Rather Be Writing, is now available in print as well as an e-book. 88 authors share their favorite time saving dinner recipes and other tips. Edited by USA Today Bestselling Author, Lois Winston, the contributors range from debut authors to authors with an established writing careers and I'm thrilled to be part of a very talented group. Best of all a portion of the proceeds go to No Kid Hungry.

Author Interview-Rebecca Grace

Blues at 11:
Kimberly Delagarza is a familiar face in Los Angeles as she can be seen nightly on the evening news. She drives a fancy car, lives in a house on the beach and wears designer clothes. But the TV anchorwoman has been accused of murder No one believes she didn’t kill her louse of an ex-boyfriend after he dumped her. Her next picture may be on a wanted poster, and her home may be The Big House and she may soon be wearing an orange prison jumpsuit.
Can Kimberly catch a cagey killer who will stop at nothing to bring her down?
What inspired you to become a writer? I am not certain what inspired me.  I always just felt like I HAD to write. From the time I was young I was making up stories and as I got older they seemed to keep focusing on romance or adventure. I was a voracious reader so I think if anything inspired me it was reading those books and wanting to make up my own stories.
Who are your favorite romance characters (besides your own?) I absolutely love Elizabeth Bennet (

Classic Horror Movie Review- Dead Men Walk

Dead Men Walk (1943)
“You creatures of the light how can you say with any certainty what dwells in the oceans of the night.”  Eerie declaration by disembodied head in the fire during opening credits.
Kindly Dr. Lloyd Clayton (George Zucco) has secretly murdered his evil twin brother, Elwyn Clayton (also played by George Zucco) to protect the town from Elwyn’s sorcery.  Unfortunately, Elwyn is more of a master of the dark arts than his brother anticipated. Elwyn returns from the dead intent on revenge by enslaving their niece, Gayle (Mary Carlisle) for eternity.
This movie has some interesting similarities to a latter vampire flick, Black Sunday which also opens with the murder of a sibling. Asa is executed by her own brother for witchcraft. Both movies have the lead playing dual roles of hero/vampire.  In "Black Sunday" Barbara Steele portrayed wicked Asa and her innocent descendent Katia.  While both movie villains faithfully follow the vampire genre (coffin dwelling and cr…

On the Road Again

One of the things I loved best about taking my kids trick or treating is going to the neighbors' houses and getting a peek inside--some had a full view of the living room with a warm fire in the hearth, others offered only a glimpse of an antique coat rack or winding staircase.

Today I'm chatting about Package Deal at Rebecca Grace's blog with a hint about the next title in the Rhythm & Romance series. I love visiting authors' on-line homes (without the dark, chilly walk).
I'm happy to report Rebecca will be a guest on my blog on November 7th.  Hope to see you there!

Author Interview-Casi McLean

Note from Mariposa, The original post had to be deleted and re-posted due to formatting problems. Personally I think gremlins are to blame.  Special thanks to Casi for her patience with the technical difficulties.
A ghost town submerged beneath Atlanta's famous man-made Lake Lanier reportedly lures victims to a watery grave. But when Lacey Montgomery's car spins out of control and hurtles into the depths of the icy, black water, she awakens in the arms of a handsome stranger, in a place she’s never heard of––
34 years before she was born. When the 2012 lawyer tangles with the 1949 hunk, fire and ice swirl into a stream of sweltering desire. Bobby Reynolds is smitten the moment the storm-ravaged woman opens her eyes. Learning the truth about her origins does nothing to stop the passion from taking root in his heart, and leaves him torn between finding a way to help Lacey return to 2012 or convincing her stay with him. The desperation to find her way home dissolves as Lacey fall…

Author Interview-Casi McLean-Please see next post


Cooking Up Some Magic

As much as I love to cook, I hate trying to figure out what's for dinner. That's why I'm thrilled to be one of the 88 authors featured in We'd Rather Be Writing, a compilation of recipes and writing tips.

Both the recipes and tips are designed to give you more time to pursue your passion (like finishing your current WIP!) If you pre-order, your copy will be waiting for you on your Kindle by October 30th just in time to stock up on some quick dinner recipes before the holiday rush.

I haven't yet heard when the paperback version will be available, but will keep you posted.

Author Interview-Isla Grey

What inspired you to become a writer? You know, I don’t remember a particular event.  I remember writing as a young girl so I guess it’s always been in my blood.  Of course, when I was smaller, it was mainly writing some pretty bad poems for my grandmother.
Who are your favorite romance characters (besides your own?) I love old school romance.  Jane Eyre and Mr. Rochester from “Jane Eyre” by Charlotte Bronte come to mind as well as the main character from “Rebecca” by Daphne Du Maurier.  Oh, there’s also Allie and Duke from “The Notebook” by Nicholas Sparks.
Tell me what inspired this story. The idea for Asylum Harbor came from a family vacation to the beach where we visited Shell Island.  Yes, this place actually exists but no one lives there.  Vacationers like to visit during low tide to grab seashells and sand dollars.
What is one of your favorite romantic locales? The beach is one of my favorites.  Definitely Williamsburg, VA—the colonial section.  I love walking Duke of Gloucester d…

Hanging Out At the Haunted Diner

Legend has it that if you stare into a mirror at midnight on Halloween, you will see your future spouse. I love all the legends and lore surrounding Halloween.

While I can't say whether you'll see your future husband in a midnight mirror, I can tell you'll see some great authors at Kate Hill's blog (including yours truly!)  Her haunted diner is to die for!!
And be sure to stop by on November 21st when she'll be a guest here.

Happy Haunting!

Author Interview-Vicki Batman

What inspired you to become a writer? After my son was born, Handsome and I were shopping in a Half Price bookstore and I told him I was looking for Dick Francis mysteries. He asked why I liked them so, and I blurted out, “Because I wish I could write like him.” But I didn’t try to write for a long time. A friend prompted me to do so. My mind had really expanded in writing and I love it!
Who are your favorite romance characters (besides your own?) I’ve always been drawn to curious heroines, particularly those in mysteries. I cut my teeth on Nancy and Trixie. Oh how I wanted to be them and have their adventures. As a teenager, my mom lent me her Emilie Loring romances. The women where strong and looked for someone to match them. They were willing to try new things and go new places. Eventually, I discovered stories by Mary Stewart who weaved intriguing suspense into her romances.
Tell me what inspired this story. (see question 1) My friend suggested writing the opening paragraph of a book …

Mr. Craven's Neighborhood

"You go down the stairs to find these characters. It's not a place anyone can go, and sometimes it's not a place you want to go." Wes Craven

A career that started with Last House on the Left (1972) led horror fans through the dark neighborhoods of the soul.  33 titles as a writer, 28 titles as a director and 44 titles as a producer.
All I can say is "Thanks for a memorable and terrifying journey."

Dancing the Day Away

One was the surprise hit of the 80's which won the Academy Award for Best Original Song, the other featured Richard Gere in an American remake of a popular Japanese film. Today I'm chatting about two of my favorite dance films at  Isla's Grey's blog:  isla's inklings

In case you're wondering, the song was "(I've Had) The Time of My Life" which also won a Golden Globe and a Grammy for Best Duet.

Hope to see you there!

Saturday Shifters-Author Interview-J.C. McKenzie

the Shucker's Booktique After her fiancé dumps her and her beloved Aunt Jenny goes missing, Willa Eklund travels to Lobster Cove with a broken heart to search for Jenny while running her bookstore. When a mysterious man visits the Shucker'sBooktique on a stormy night drenched in rain and covered in mud, Willa's heart melts under his stormy gaze. She wants Lon and the answers he may have, but he also has a secret. Can Willa trust him?
Lon Devlin is a Tempest, a water sprite who can only take a human form during stormy nights. He rides the waves, lives by the tides, and nothing can hold him down, not even a beautiful woman. When he visits his mortal friend, he discovers she's missing and her intriguing niece has taken her place. He wants Willa, but he also wants answers. What happened to Jenny?
What inspired you to become a writer? My mother and fellow author, Jo-Ann Carson, always encouraged me to write. I grew up in a very remote island off the west coast of British Col…

Here's Looking at You-The Beast with a Million Eyes

The Beast with Million Eyes (1955)
"...because it will seem like I see your most secret acts, you will know me as the beast with a million eyes."  Alien
 If you watch this flick expecting to see a multi-eyed creature you will be sorely disappointed. Yes, I know the movie poster and opening credit art hint at such a creature. The actual “beast” is an alien with the power to control animals (and eventually humans) to do its bidding.  The alien’s vision is expanded through the creatures it controls.  When the alien’s ship lands outside a remote date farm, the Kelley family is forced to get a grip on their various issues in order to fight the alien threat.
The premise is promising but falls short in delivery.  While an all encompassing animal attack on humanity could be terrifying as in Hitchcock’sThe Birds  or James Patterson’s Zoo  most of the attacks in this flick seem more silly than scary.  Maybe it is because a flock of churlish chickens or a single rampaging cow is not a…

Some Like It Hot

In celebration of the publication of Hot Flash, the production team shares their favorite hot stuff. These multi-talented ladies worked with me on “Package Deal” and I’m thrilled to work with them again.
Stevie DeInk-Formatting In addition to formatting, Stevie also does graphic design. My Vampire Wedding is one of her recent covers.
If you're looking for a hot vacation spot, definitely check out Hawaii. Sand and sun are in no short supply. You can tour, take helicopter rides, attend luaus, and also check out your island of choice's array of restaurants. Not to mention the endless stretches of beach that you can lounge about on if you so choose. (And don't forget the swimming!) But be aware of the wind- it gets a bit wild at times.
Harris Channing-Cover Design Besides doing cover design Harris is also a romance author.
Hot....a sunny summer day.  Hot...a steaming plate of food.  Hot...a beautiful person.  Hot...a raging fire... So much hot, so little time. 
But what's my fav…

Of Wynn & Romance

“The heart of the romantic literary tradition is providing audiences with a world that is better than what is real—an idyllic world.”  Steve Wynn
Recently, I had the good fortune to spend the night at one of Mr. Wynn’s resorts and I have to say the man knows a thing or two about idyllic settings.  The lobby of Wynn Las Vegas is a floral wonderland of whimsy.  Starting the morning with apricot brioche French toast in a sunlit atrium surrounded by lush turrets of fruit and succulents sure beats the usual cold cereal routine.  And yes, there was an impressive array of dry cereals available for those who can’t bear to be parted from their breakfast bran.

And while I thoroughly enjoyed the lush surroundings, I disagree with Wynn’s view of romantic literature.  Don’t get me wrong I like a good flight of fancy as much as the next girl. But the romances that have most stirred my heart were grounded in reality. Even Cinderella went from rags to riches. Would her story have been as beloved if …

Classic Horror Movie Review-Black Sunday

Black Sunday The movie opens in Moldavia 1630 with the brutal execution of Asa (Barbara Steele) and her lover for witchcraft and vampirism by her own brother.  Prior to her demise, Asa places a curse on the Vajda family and all future generations.  200 years later, a doctor and his protégé happen upon the crypt.  Through a series of misfortunes (including a run-in with a giant bat), the good doctor happens to awaken Asa who summons her lover and proceeds to wreak havoc on her brother’s descendants. Asa relentlessly stalks the lovely, Katia (also played by Barbara Steele) in hopes of draining her blood and gaining immortality.
Considered exceptionally violent for its time, the film was banned in the UK until 1968. Even after so many years the film retains its chilling atmosphere and is worth watching. Filmed in central Italy, this  1960 movie has all the elements of a classic black and white vampire movie looming shadows and an eerie castle.
Notable Quotes
“You mustn’t be afraid of the …

Making the Most of Writers' Conferences

Writers' conferences can be an excellent opportunity to network and learn about the business of writing. But in order to get the most out of any conference, you must define your primary goal. Yes it has to be more specific than "be a successful writer". Think about what you are trying to accomplish and who can help you toward that goal.

Study the panel biographies and develop a short list of relevant questions. Keep your questions brief. While a panel member may have a wealth of industry knowledge, she does not have the time to tell you everything she knows about the business.

On the other hand don't be so focused on your mission that you lose sight of potential opportunities. Even if you are intent on the traditional publishing route, it might not hurt to strike up a conversation with an indie romance author who happens to be on the USA Today's best seller list.

On Saturday, April 18, 2015 the Truckee Meadows Community College Writers' Conference provides a…

Author Interview-Lynda Coker

What inspired you to become a writer? I've always been a hopeless daydreamer with multiple scenarios bouncing around in my head. But I never equated that with being a writer until I read an interview where the writer said that she decided one day to turn her daydreaming into a book.  Well, duh! That seemed like a fun thing to do, and if you knew me well, you'd know I usually leap before I look. Before I knew it, I was chin deep into a writer's world.
Who are your favorite romance characters (besides your own?) Usually the characters in the last book I've read are my favorites. They're fresh on my mind and still linger in my heart and imagination, so they get first place until I read another great romance.
Tell me what inspired this story.  Men who are born leaders and commander have their own unique attraction, however, not every woman finds that quality endearing, especially in the beginning. So I thought it would be fun to see how one reacts when faced with a woma…