Friday, December 1, 2017

Writers Round Table-Promo Tips & Holiday Treats

In honor of the holidays, I'm extending an invite to the Writers  Round Table to fellow-romance authors.  Please answer these two questions in the comment section. Include a link to your blog or website. In order to have plenty of room at the table, please limit your response to 200 words.

What is one of your favorite marketing techniques?

What is your favorite holiday treat?

Hmmm marketing techniques....I have to admit I'm still learning the promo ropes especially advertising. As a lifelong chatterbox, I have learned to keep an ear open for new fans or potential guest interviews for my blogs. Keep the tag line of your latest book in mind and have your business cards ready.  Your next fan can't wait to meet you.

As for holiday treats, I like my desserts like I like my romances...sweet with some spice. Soft gingerbread cake topped with cream cheese frosting is irresistible to me. Santa can have plenty of cookies, just leave me the cake.

Wishing you all good eats and great reads over the holidays!
Mariposa



Saturday, November 18, 2017

Bell, Book and Candle (1958)

Many women long for a boy-next-door type. But nice guys can be hard to find especially if you’re a witch from Greenwich Village.  When Gillian Holroyd (Kim Novak) discovers her upstairs neighbor, Shep Henderson (Jimmy Stewart), is about to marry her college rival, she casts a spell on him to make him hers.  What starts as a vengeful impulse turns to love and Gillian must choose between the love of her life and her magical powers.


The 1958 film was based on a successful Broadway play of the same title by John van Druten. Garnering two Academy Award nominations (Art Direction and Costume Design), the film is visually snazzy and headed by an “A” list cast. While the film is more style, than supernatural, it is definitely worth a watch for fans of Novak-Stewart and Siamese cats.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Author Interview-Maureen Bonatch

What inspired you to become a writer?
I’ve always been somewhat of a writer, whether by writing poems and short stories, filling a journal, or torturing teachers who chose essay questions. But about ten or so years ago, I spent a little time soul-searching and decided I wanted to pursue writing more seriously. I wanted to write novels. I began taking writing classes and eventually I started writing more than flash fiction and short stories. I discovered my characters had a lot to say when I began writing novel length fiction.

Who are your favorite romance characters (besides your own)?
My favorite romance characters are old school. Romeo and Juliet (I think I was one of the only kids in the eighth grade excited about the assignment) and Rhett and Scarlett.

Tell me what inspired this story.
The usual question I hear (like most authors) is, “Where do you get your ideas?” My answer is often, everywhere since it’s a challenge to explain how a story brews in my brain and the characters whisper in my ear or where my muse comes up with the story.
EVIL SPEAKS SOFTLY explores this same concept of where story ideas come from and goes a little further by making my heroine’s ‘muse’ a spirit wanting to tell their story.
What is one of your favorite romantic locales?
I believe most places have the capability for romance if provided with the right ambiance and elements. Although a walk on the beach or a secluded cabin under a moonlit sky do have a bit of an advantage for inspiriting romance.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
No matter what type of story I write, the need to love and be loved always finds a way into the story.
One of my heroine’s biggest fears is that she might never find love.

Here’s a short synopsis for Evil Speaks Softly:
They were never supposed to meet. Fame came easy for Liv by following in the footsteps of the female writers in her family. The cycle repeated for decades…until Liv changed the story. Her villain doesn’t like the revision—and he isn’t a fictional character. In his story, the bad guy always wins.
They were never supposed to find love. Liv never questioned her demanding nocturnal muse, or the strange incidents in her old, family home until she met Gage. His job was to watch her from afar, not reveal the truth about the curse and the stories of the dead.
They’ve broken all the rules. Together they unravel secrets as they strive to stop the cycle. Liv’s ability to find love, and protect her loved ones, hangs on the fickle whims of the dead—and they’ve got nothing to lose.

Amazon






About Maureen:  
Maureen Bonatch grew up in small town Pennsylvania and her love of the four seasons—hockey, biking, sweat pants and hibernation—keeps her there. While immersed in writing or reading paranormal romance and fantasy, she survives on caffeine, wine, music, and laughter. A feisty Shih Tzu keeps her in line.


Saturday, August 26, 2017

Author Interview-Christina George

What inspired you to become a writer?
Well, I’ve always loved writing. I’d written poetry, some short stories. I’ve even gotten some work published as a freelance writer. But I only got serious about it after I started working in publishing. Seeing these authors inspired me to write more, to become this creative who just gets lost in her work. I find it so extraordinary when authors can do that. Like nothing else exists but the world they’re working on and the people they’ve created to be a part of that world.

Who are your favorite romance characters (besides your own?)
That’s tough! There are so many! Though I’m quite enamored with Jaime and Claire from Outlander! What a romantic story!

Tell me what inspired this story.
A lot of things, actually. You know it’s the 20th anniversary of the death of Princess Diana and anyone who is over 30 remembers where they were when it happened. I think my real fascination with royals started with her, when she married Charlie. So my fascination with royalty lends to this story. It’s so steeped in old world traditions which must be hard to keep alive in such a modernized, fast-moving world.
Second, I love Belgium. I spent a number of years there, growing up. I adore the country more than I can say. Third, is my fascination with past lives. There was a story a friend told me, some years ago, about an “encounter” she had with a man who said he traveled through time just to see her again. He told her they’d been together in a past life. And maybe he sounds like a nut, but when she went to verify it (researching details, etc.) she found that they had in fact been married, several hundred years ago. But the real shocker in this was that they both looked similar to the people who had lived during that time. Meaning my friend could have been her sister, or even her twin.
Hearing that, it sent me on this search to find out if this could ever happen, meaning looking similar or almost identical to the person you were a hundred or so years ago. Turns out there are cases where this has happened.

What is one of your favorite romantic locales?
Well, pretty much any place in Europe. Not that the US doesn’t have romantic spots, it does! But there are some really breathtaking places overseas, too. Pretty much anywhere along the Seine River in France is romantic. Bruges in Belgium is to die for romance. I also love that there are hundreds of castles across Europe. I mean some we know, the famous ones, but there are many that have never made the history books. All over Europe you see these magnificent castles just dotting the landscape. As a writer you look at these castles and think: I wonder what the story is behind that beautiful structure.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers? 

Well a few things actually! So I was really fortunate to get a BookBub deal on August 30th. The bundle book will be discounted $1.99 from August 30th till the end of the week!

Also, there’s a Royal Romance playlist on Spotify. I’m going to be doing a lot of giveaways just for signing up for this playlist so keep an eye out! 



Saturday, July 22, 2017

All Dressed Up & Somewhere to Go Part II

Besides choosing what to wear, deciding where to go can be one of the greatest challenges in dancing particularly if you’re flying solo. Even if you discover the latest trendy venue there’s nothing worse than cooling your heels at the hottest place in town.  Here are a couple of suggestions to get you out there.

Dance socials
Many dance studios host a monthly/weekly social.  The social begins with a group lesson followed by a couple of hours of open dancing.  Often these events are free to the public as a means of attracting more students for private lessons. Socials are best for beginners, but are also great for experienced dancers to brush up on their skills.

Club lessons
Some of the more savvy venues will host a weekly free dance lesson followed by open dancing.  The inspiration for Package Deal’s Eclipse generally attracts the twenty-something crowd willing to pay the cover charge and for pricey drinks.  On Friday nights at 7:30, this club waives the cover charge for their Latin Dance Social, a one-hour free lesson followed by Latin dancing until around 10:00. The Friday night Salsa crowd spans a broad spectrum of abilities and with the ages ranging from college age to retirement.


Finally, even if you are at the right place and still feel lonely on the sidelines—ask the instructor to dance.  There’s nothing like dancing with an accomplished partner to sharpen your skills.  Besides any instructor who understands the nuances of social dance beyond the basic steps will treat you like a queen.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Author Interview-Skye Taylor



What inspired you to be a writer?
Fred Keyes was one of the strictest English teachers in my high school and I had him for both my junior and senior year. He challenged me to think outside the box and to write beyond anything I’d thought myself capable of. I knew the basics of grammar, but he taught me how words can transform and create stories that capture the imagination.

Who are your favorite romance characters (besides your own?)
Jamie Fraser is my all-time favorite hero in any book, series or movie. Long before the STARZ series on TV – I read Outlander when it first came out, even before it was a best seller.
Nils Sorenson, from a trilogy by Elizabeth OgilvieHigh Tide at Noon, The Storm Tide & The Ebbing Tide. I read these books when I was a teenager and loved the setting and the hero.  The heroine, not so much, Joanna was too much like me. Perhaps I saw the things I liked least about myself in her? But Nils was everything I pictured myself wanting in a lover or a husband.
Jessie Best, from Pam Morsi’s Simple Jess. Something about Jess caught my heart and I’ve never forgotten him. My favorite heroines have all come from Cheryl Reavis: Gillian Warner from The First Boy I loved and Grace James from The Marine. Although I thoroughly enjoyed all of Georgette Heyer’s heroines as well and there are way too many to mention by name.

Tell me what inspired this story.
Iain’s Plaid was inspired one day when I sailed out to explore an abandoned island off the coast of Maine with an intriguing and lengthy history. As I stood at the brink of an ancient old foundation gazing down at the bright blue water of the harbor, trying to imagine that island and the men and women that called it home hundreds of years earlier, the slab of granite wobbled. I jumped back alarmed, not wanting to fall into the grassy old hole. Then the crazy thought leapt into my head, “What if I did fall in? What if I hit my head and was knocked unconscious. And what if I woke up in a different century with a sturdy floor above my head? So, that’s exactly how Dani Amico’s adventure begins, and how she comes to meet Iain MacKail, a patriot and hero she’d read about in a book.
BLURB for Iain’s Plaid:
When Dani Amico falls into an abandoned cellar hole and wakes up in another century, she has to decide whether to stay and save Iain MacKail from the fate she knows is coming or run away before she falls in love in love with him and gets hurt trying to change history.
Iain MacKail has already put his liberty on the line for a cause, now he has to decide how much more he’s willing to sacrifice, and the arrival of this bewitching woman from the future is making his life even more complicated. Falling in love with her is easy, understanding her is impossible. And what if she disappears as mysteriously as she came?

Here’s a link to an excerpt from Iain’s Plaid:  http://www.skye-writer.com/iain_s_plaid_excerpt
Buy Links for Iain’s Plaid:
Amazon
BN
Google
Apple

What is one of your favorite romantic locales?
A moonlit beach is one of my favorite places to have a romantic scene. I live at the beach and I love walking on a moonlit night, bare feet in the still warm sand with moonlight glittering across the ocean in a beautiful twinkling carpet of silver. It just seems like one of God’s prettiest sights.
Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?   
I’m currently working on several projects. One is another historical romance set in early America. I’m also working on books 5 and 6 in my contemporary Romance series- The Camerons of Tide’s Way. The Camerons are a big, close-knit family. Descendants of hard-working folk who came from Scotland with little more than the clothes on their back and a steadfast faith in God, the Camerons are a patriotic, enterprising clan more apt to spend their spare time volunteering in the service of others than playing golf or checking their investment accounts. They’ve settled in Tide’s Way, a fictional little town that grew up around the old Jolee Plantation in Coastal North Carolina. Available now: Falling for Zoe, Loving Meg, Trusting Will and Healing a Hero. Still to come: Keeping His Promise and Believing in Love.
And if you’re looking for something with a hint of romance but a whole lot more, check out my mainstream political intrigue, The Candidate. “The Photo caught Matt Steele off guard jerking him back to a time he’d done everything to forget, to emotions he never wanted to relive. In the midst of a hotly contested race for the White House, the photo and the man who brought it will challenge everything Matt thought he knew about himself. The choice he faces to put honor on the line could impact the outcome of the election and change the fate of a nation.”

I love to hear from my readers and they can reach me at all the places below:
Email: Skye@Skye-writer.com
My Website:  www.Skye-writer.com
My Blog: http://www.Skye-writer.com/blogging_by_the_sea
FB: skyewriter2

Twitter: @skyewriter22

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Read 'Em & Eat-Ladies Man

Clark Stevens has always had a way with women, but his teenage daughter despises him.  When his daughter comes to live with him fulltime, he enlists co-worker, Julie Wahl, to coach him on parenting skills.
As a single mom and paralegal, Julie, has successfully balanced family, work and swing dancing. After heartbreak on the dance floor, the last thing Julie needs is an office romance.  But she can hardly say no to a colleague in need, especially one with dark brown eyes and a killer grin.

Since Ladies Man is as much about raising teens as swing dancing, I’d recommend pairing it with Cincinnati-style chili which features two ingredients favored by kids, ground beef and spaghetti. My version is cheap and quick which are key factors when cooking for ravenous teens.

1 pkg chili seasoning
1 pound ground beef
1 can tomato sauce
16 oz spaghetti
Optional toppings: chopped onion, diced tomato, shredded cheddar cheese.
Cook spaghetti according to package directions while browning ground beef.
Drain any excess fat from the ground beef and stir in chili seasoning and tomato sauce.
Top spaghetti with chili and toppings and serve.
For a healthier vibe, use ground turkey and whole wheat spaghetti noodles.


I’ve also found that this recipe pairs well with a classic horror film or mystery particularly after a bad day at work.  There’s nothing like intrigue and chili to chase off the worries of the day.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Dance & the Mind

“Let us read and let us dance-two amusements that will never do any harm to the world.” Voltaire

As if I haven’t mentioned enough reasons why you should be dancing, here’s another one. A study by the Albert Einstein College of Medicine discovered that dancing reduced the risk of dementia more than any other physical activity, including cycling, golf, swimming and tennis. Apparently both the mental effort of learning new dance steps as well as the social interaction helped reduce the risk of dementia.

Sudoku and crossword puzzles are also reputed to be beneficial toward keeping dementia at bay. However pen and paper puzzles lack the awesome music and the people watching opportunities of the dance floor. Besides you're more likely to meet that special someone on the dance floor than noodling over a crossword.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Read 'Em & Eat-Package Deal

I’ve always liked dinner and a movie whether it’s on a date or the TV show.  You Tube’s, Cinema Sins, has added their take on the dinner/show by featuring professional chefs and their dishes inspired by a particular movie.  The chef talks about his favorite movie scene while the host and editing staff of Cinema Sins enjoy a delicious repast.  I’m always fascinated how one creative pursuit inspires another, so with that in mind, Read ‘Em & Eat posts will profile a delicious title flanked by a tasty accompaniment.

Package Deal was inspired by Reno’s Salsa scene.  While being one of my favorite dances, it is also the key ingredient in one of my go-to recipes.

Salsa Chicken (Can also use leftover Beef, Pork…Turkey you get the idea).
Cut leftover cooked chicken into smaller pieces and place into medium sauce pan.
Season with chili powder, salt and pepper.
Cover chicken with salsa and cook on medium heat stirring and adding salsa as needed.  When the chicken shreds, it’s ready to be used for tacos, quesadillas, nachos or even on top of a salad if you’re feeling virtuous. Even better this dish cooks up quickly, leaving you more time for reading (or dancing).

Package Deal-1st title in Rhythm & Romance series.

Widowed attorney, Liz Grant, buries her grief in a deluge of paperwork.  On whim she takes a free dance lesson at the club Eclipse where the mojitos are cold and the Salsa is hot.  She falls for Salsa’s spicy rhythms and Patrick Cavanaugh’s sexy grin.  But can Liz handle the dramatic change of tempo in her well-ordered life?  

Saturday, March 25, 2017

The Third Man (1939)

Poor Holly Martins, not only did his parents saddle the pulp Western writer with an odd moniker, but when he travels to Vienna at the invitation of a school chum, he arrives just in time for his friend’s funeral. Harry Lime’s death leaves his lovely actress girlfriend, Anna Schmidt, to grieve and Holly with many questions. Though warned by British MP, Major Calloway, that Lime was a criminal, Holly is determined to uncover the truth and clear his friend’s name.

Set post-WWII Allied-occupied Vienna, The Third Man has all classic elements of noir, a grieving beauty who knows more than she reveals, chase scenes down shadowy streets and a hero intent on discovering the truth.  A common pitfall of mysteries is too many plot twists and not enough character development.   Thanks to Graham Greene’s script, the British film has both mystery and distinctive characters.

“A person doesn’t change just because you find out more,” Anna Schmidt declares.  
A statement you’ll want to consider when you check out The Third Man.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Why You Should Be Dancing

"We should consider every day lost in which we have not danced at least once." Friedrich Nietzsche


If German philosophers aren't your thing, consider a University of London study which revealed that patients with anxiety disorders showed significant improvement when they participated in a modern dance class.

A study in the New England Journal of Medicine noted that dancing may boost memory and prevent dementia. The hippocampus (the part of the brain that controls memory) naturally shrinks as people grow older. Aerobic exercise (like dancing) can reverse volume loss in the hippocampus.

Plus dancing is a great way to meet people. Dancing attracts people of all ages from college to retirement from all walks of life. On the dance floor I've met architects, engineers, professional musicians even a doctor who kept her profession on the down low since she wanted to dance not diagnose on Friday nights at Salsa.

With one activity you can improve your memory, lose weight, reduce stress and meet interesting people. What are you waiting for?

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Author Interview-Judy Penz Sheluk

Tell me about your latest book.
Skeletons in the Attic is the first book in my Marketville Mystery series, which I envision as a trilogy. In the first book, Calamity (Callie) Barnstable inherits a house in the commuter town of Marketville from her father, who died in an “unfortunate occupational accident.” The catch? She didn’t know the house existed and there’s a condition: she must move into the house for the period of one year and find out who murdered her mother, a woman Callie believed had left, voluntarily, 30 years before, when Callie was just six years old. It’s what I would call a suspenseful amateur sleuth mystery.

What’s next for you?
I’m currently working on the sequel to Skeletons, as well as the sequel to The Hanged Man’s Noose, the first book in my Glass Dolphin mystery series.

Who are your writing role models?
Not sure I have a role model, exactly, but there are a lot of authors I read and admire. For example, Sue Grafton is a wonderful example of a prolific author who has improved with every book. Read A is for Alibi (a fine read) and then X (simply wonderful) and you’ll see how she has grown. I’ve read and loved every one of her books. John Sanford’s Prey series is a great example of how a character can grow and age over a series. And nobody paces a story as well as Sanford.
How do you balance your day-to-day commitments with your writing life?
Who said I could balance it? In all seriousness, it can get a bit crazy. For a while there my day jobs included freelance writing magazine articles, editing two magazines, plus writing fiction. I’m gradually evolving to just fiction writing and one day job. It’s tough, because I love writing fiction, but I also enjoy eating.
What are your other passions outside of writing?
I belong to two golf leagues. I’m not particularly good, but I am passionate. Unfortunately, I live north of Toronto, Canada, so our season is May through September. If you’re lucky, there are some days in October. But I usually put my clubs away October 1st.
I also enjoy running. I’ve done some marathons and half marathons, but lately I’ve been happy to run three to five miles 3 or 4 times a week. I’m dreadfully slow, but it’s about clearing the mind.
I have a golden retriever, Gibbs, who I enjoy walking the trails with. Basically, I love to be outside, though I prefer spring/summer/fall to winter!
Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
I have a few short stories published in anthologies, and two self-published collections. If you enjoy short fiction, they’re all available on Amazon
I’m on the volunteer for Bouchercon 2017 in Toronto. Bouchercon is a mystery readers/writers conference that moves to a different city each year. In 2017, it’s Toronto. October is a nice time in Toronto. The weather is usually decent, without being too hot or too cold, and we have all sorts of cool things planned. Check it out at http://bouchercon2017.com.
Last, but not least, I’ve signed a contract to release Skeletons in the Attic in audiobook format. I’m not sure of the release date, so stay tuned!
Bio
Judy Penz Sheluk’s debut mystery novel, The Hanged Man’s Noose (Barking Rain Press), was published in July 2015. Skeletons in the Attic (Imajin Books), the first book in her Marketville Mystery Series, was published in August 2016.
Judy’s short crime fiction appears in World Enough and Crime, The Whole She-Bang 2, The Whole She-Bang 3, Flash and Bang and Live Free or Tri.
Judy is a member of Sisters in Crime, Crime Writers of Canada, International Thriller Writers and the Short Mystery Fiction Society.

Find Judy on her website/blog  where she interviews other authors and blogs about the writing life. You can also find Judy on Facebook (facebook.com/JudyPenzSheluk) and Twitter (@JudyPenzSheluk) and on her Amazon author page,