Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Q & A with Petie McCarty and a Giveaway!



1. Tell us about your release.

Thanks so much for allowing me to visit Romance Reviews Today to talk about my April 1st release, The SEAL's Angel. This is the third story in my Mystery Angel Romance [MAR] series. Each love story in the series has an angel hidden in the plot, and the angel's identity isn't revealed until the finale -- unless the reader figures it out first.

In The SEAL's Angel, Navy SEAL Sean MacKay's teammate is murdered after stealing a deadly nerve-gas formula from Syrian terrorists. Naval Intelligence believes MacKay's teammate was a traitor and shipped the stolen formula to his sister in the states for safekeeping. MacKay is given orders to find the sister before the terrorists do and to retrieve the stolen formula at all costs.

Foreclosure looms for Cory Rigatero as she fights to keep her rustic resort near Mt. St. Helens afloat after her brother deserted her to join the SEAL teams. Cory's whole world dives into a tailspin when Sean MacKay shows up at her resort with the news of her brother's death and the wild suspicion her brother may have sent her traitorous classified documents. No way will Cory trust MacKay -- the man who once seduced her and then vanished into the night without a trace.


2. What makes your story special to you?

As every author knows, research adds color and authenticity to a story, but when you can get help from an actual expert, you can make your story come alive. I was thrilled to receive help for this story from a friend of mine, a former Lieutenant with the Navy SEALs, who had to answer way too many of my questions and kept me from making any SEAL faux pas in the story. While I wanted to acknowledge him in my new release, like most Navy SEALs, he wished to keep his identity anonymous, so I'm giving him a shout-out and a big thank you here.


3. When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

Through most of my life, I had never, ever considered writing a book, not in my childhood or college years or later. I always loved to tell stories, but I never wrote them. About a decade ago, I thought about a job change, but had no idea what I wanted to do. Now, I know I'm going to sound like a wack job, but one odd day during that decade back, a movie started running in my head -- first the general plot, then scenes flitting in and out.

I know. I know. Hard to believe. Surprised the dickens out of me, too. Well, the movie pestered me day after day until I finally started speed-writing scene bullets to get them all on paper, and that turned out to be my first book. Oddly enough, all my books have "arrived" that same way -- movies that run in my head, so real that I can see the scene layouts in color with all the characters.  *smile*  And no, I'm really not crazy. Just lucky, maybe.


4. What is a typical writing day like?

I don't have any of those unfortunately. I know the best plan for any author is regular office hours, but I can't seem to manage that. I write when the movies are running in my head -- *wink*  see above. The scene writing can run until midnight or start up at five or can occur in the doctor's office waiting room or in a hotel room on vacation. I never travel anywhere without a steno pad. I can't take a chance on missing anything, so I write when the movie runs. Everybody is different, and this works for me, but I can tell you that I write every day, and I'm most at peace when I'm writing.


5. Do you have an interesting writing quirk or habit?

If you want my writer's quirk, then promise not to snicker. You've heard the phrase, "always has her nose in a book?" That's me. I sniff books. Yes, you heard right. I love the smell of books, especially brand new ones -- hard cover, paperback, doesn't matter. I do have to catch myself when I read in public. *grin*

As far as writing habit, my manuscripts are written in two ways: longhand and shorthand. I tried typing straight into the computer, but I move chunks of prose around too much as I write, and it's easier for me to have the first draft in longhand.

When the story action speeds up and that dreaded movie in my head runs faster, I slip into shorthand to keep up. Yes *eyeroll* the old Gregg shorthand. But, at least I don't miss any of the action. Nothing is worse for an author than seeing that great piece of narrative or slice of dialogue in your mind and then have it disappear -- poof! -- before you  can get it typed.


6. What was one of the most surprising things you learned as a published author?

When you're first published, you're enamored with your accomplishment -- "Wow, I write a whole book, and someone wanted to publish it!" Euphoria sets in and you marvel for a while until the big surprise sneaks up on you when the marketing process begins and you join Amazon Author Central, Goodreads, and all the social media outlets to promote your big accomplishment.

This is where astonishment swoops in to override all else: "Holy cannoli! Everybody else wrote a book, too! How do I make mine stand out among the 253,000 romance eBooks available on Amazon?"


7. What authors or friends influenced you in helping you become a writer?

When I first started writing, I buckled to any and all outside writing influences. I subscribed to several writer's magazines and bought dozens of texts on the mechanics of novel writing. Read them all. And subsequently, learned that everyone has a different opinion on what works in a novel. So, who's right? Hard to say -- matter of opinion.  *grin*

For me, the greatest advice was to read -- a lot. So I did. And reading the fiction masters -- an eclectic mix of James Patterson, Michael Connelly, Suzanne Brockman, Jane Anne Krentz, Grisham, and others -- taught me more than all the writing texts combined. That's not to say the texts aren't valuable. They are. But, I learned so much more by studying the techniques of the bestsellers.

The priceless influence comes from the support of family and friends. I have several spectacular friends who kept me going in the years before publication. Rejection hurts and can make a new, or not-so-new author want to quit, but you just have to "author up" and keep going.


8. What does your family think about your career as a published author?

My family always tells me they're proud when I have a new release, and there's a whole lot of them. Six brothers and sisters, sixteen nieces and nephew. My sister Katy has been my biggest support therapy from the very beginning. She was the first to find out I was writing novels, and she never, ever let me give up. There were at least a half dozen times I really tried to quit. She'd hound me right back to writing again.

I also have to give a shout-out to my brother-in-law Tom who -- believe it or not -- has read every one of my romance novels. He says, "They're a little girly, but I like them." Is that a great brother-in-law or what?


9. Besides writing, what other interests do you have?

I love to play golf. I stink at golf, but who cares? My sweetheart loves golf, and believe me, you can get in some great quality time snuggled together in a small golf cart for three or four hours, especially in the winter when it's cold. Did I say I loved golf?


10. Can you tell us about what’s coming up next for you writing wise?

I've started work on a second series: The Cinderella Romances -- fall in love with the fairy tale all over again. Not a true series with returning characters, but a series of love-at-first-sight tales, each with a different Cinderella and Prince Charming.

The first story -- Cinderella Busted -- is complete. The romantic fairy tale moves to present-day Jupiter Island, Florida where a beautiful gardener is mistaken for a wealthy socialite by a billionaire resort developer. Anxious for one fabulous date with her handsome prince, the gardener cultivates her inadvertent masquerade. Love at first sight controls their mutual attraction, and feelings run deep before her deception is inevitably discovered. This story is presently under review for publication.

My present WIP is something completely different, a regency time-travel romance. In Duke Du Jour, the fourteenth Duke of Reston falls into a fountain in an overgrown section of his ancestral estate and wakes up in regency England in 1816 where he is mistaken for his namesake and great-great-and-so-on grandfather, the seventh Duke of Reston, who has been missing since the battle of Waterloo. I haven't had this much fun writing a story since Catch of the Day.


11. How can readers connect with you online?

Thank you for allowing me to spend time on Romance Reviews Today. Readers can check out the first two chapters of each of my books on my website at http://www.petiemccarty.com and also find me at the following social media links:


About Petie: 

Petie earned a zoology degree from the University of Central Florida and received many unique assignments during her career as an aquatic biologist, including performing aquatic plant surveys in Florida lakes and streams by every type of floatable craft - including airboats. She even spent a few years collecting and identifying aquatic macroinvertebrates, aka "water bugs."

Petie spent the bulk of her career as a biologist at Walt Disney World,"The Most Magical Place on Earth." She had the fun of working in the land of fairy tales by day and creating her own romantic fairy tales by night. She eventually said good-bye to her wonderful "day" job to write her stories full-time.

She is proud to be a member of the Florida Aquatic Plant Management Society as well as a member of Romance Writers of America and an author with Desert Breeze Publishing Inc.  

Petie shares homes in Tennessee and Florida with her horticulturist husband, a spoiled-rotten English springer spaniel addicted to green olives stuffed with pimento, and a talkative Nanday conure named Sassy who makes a cameo appearance in Angel to the Rescue. She loves golf, running, and reads voraciously. That's Petie, not the conure.

                       
 Got any questions or comments for Petie? Post them and you'll be entered in a chance for a download copy of her release!

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Chat Wed night with.... Sarah M. Anderson!

Romance author, Sarah M Anderson joins us to discuss her new release, THE NANNY PLAN. Door prize: One lucky winner will receive a copy of HIS LOST AND FOUND FAMILY! 
Moderated by CrazyMo.
When? Tonight at 9:00PM Eastern time
Where? http://client0.addonchat.com/sc.php?id=102122 or go to www.romrevtoday.com and click on RRT CHAT. Once the Sign In screen loads, just type your name and choose Mo's room from the chat room menu.
 
Hope to see you there where we will find out just what plans this nanny has ;)
 
Mo
Mo's Book Buzz - weekly author chats over at www.romrevtoday.com!

Promo Spotlight on... M.J. Rose's THE WITCH OF PAINTED SORROWS


New York socialite Sandrine Salome flees an abusive husband for her grandmother's Paris mansion, but what she finds there is even more menacing. The house, famous for its lavish art collection and elegant salons, is closed and under renovation. Her grandmother insists it's too dangerous to visit but Sandrine defies her — an unexplainable force is drawing her home.

There she meets Julien Duplessi, a mesmerizing architect, who introduces her to the City of Lights — its art world, forbidden occult underground, nightclubs — and to her own untapped desires.

From a mysterious fire at the Palais Garnier opera house, to a terrifying accident at the Eiffel tower and classes with Gustav Moreau at the École des Beaux-Arts, Sandrine's experiences awaken her passions. Among the bohemians and demi-monde, Sandrine uncovers her erotic nature as a lover and painter.

Then more ominous influences threaten — her husband is tracking her down and something insidious is taking hold, changing Sandrine, altering her. She's overcome by the spirit of La Lune, a witch, a legendary sixteenth-century courtesan, and an unsung artist in her own right, who exposes Sandrine to a darkness that could be a gift or a curse.

This is Sandrine's "wild night of the soul," her odyssey in the magnificent city of Paris, of art, love and witchery, and not until she resolves a tragic love story and family curse will she be free of the ghost's possession.

Effortlessly absorbing and richly imagined, with sumptuous detail and spellbinding suspense, The Witch of Painted Sorrows conjures the brilliance and intrigue of Belle Époque Paris and illuminates the fine line between explosive passion, and complete ruination.


Excerpt::


Paris, France April 1894
I did not cause the madness, the deaths, or the rest of the tragedies any more than I painted the paintings. I had help, her help. Or perhaps I should say she forced her help on me. And so this story—which began with me fleeing my home in order to escape my husband and might very well end tomorrow, in a duel, in the Bois de Boulogne at dawn—is as much hers as mine. Or in fact more hers than mine. For she is the fountainhead. The fascination. She is La Lune. Woman of moon dreams, of legends and of nightmares. Who took me from the light and into the darkness. Who imprisoned me and set me free.
Or is it the other way around?
“Your questions,” my father always said to me, “will be your saving grace. A curious mind is the most important attribute any man or woman can possess. Now if you can just temper your impulsiveness . . .”
If I had a curious mind, I’d inherited it from him. And he’d nurtured it. Philippe Salome was on the board of New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Art and helped found the American Museum of Natural History, whose cornerstone was laid on my fifth birthday.
I remember sitting atop my father’s shoulders that day, watching the groundbreaking ceremony and thinking the whole celebration was for me. He called it “our museum,” didn’t he? And for much of my life I thought it actually did belong to us, along with our man- sion on Fifth Avenue and our summerhouse in Newport. Until it was gone, I understood so little about wealth and the price you pay for it. But isn’t that always the way?
Our museum’s vast halls and endless exhibit rooms fascinated me as much as they did my father—which pleased him, I could tell. We’d meander through exhibits, my small hand in his large one, and he’d keep me spellbound with stories about items on display. I’d ask for more, always just one more, and he’d laugh and tease: “My Sandrine, does your capacity for stories know no bounds?”
But it pleased him, and he’d always tell me another.
I especially loved the stories he told me about the gems and fate and destiny always ending them by saying: “You will make your own fate, Sandrine, I’m sure of it.”
Was my father right? Do we make our own destiny? I think back now to the stepping-stones that I’ve walked to reach this moment in time.
Were the incidents of my making? Or were they my fate?
The most difficult steps I took were after certain people died. No deaths were caused by me, but at the same time, none would have occurred were it not for me.
So many deaths. The first was on the morning of my fifteenth birthday, when I saw a boy beaten and tragically die because of our harmless kisses. The next was the night almost ten years later, when I heard the prelude to my father’s death and learned the truth about Benjamin, my husband. And then there were more. Each was an end-ing that, ironically, became a new beginning for me.
The one thing I am now sure of is that if there is such a thing as destiny, it is a result of our passion, be that for money, power, or love. Passion, for better or worse. It can keep a soul alive even if all that survives is a shimmering. I’ve even seen it. I’ve been bathed in it. I’ve been changed by it.


********
Learn more by visiting M.J. Rose's website at http://www.mjrose.com/content/


Monday, March 30, 2015

Q & A with Wendy Byrne!

1.  Tell us about your newest release.
 
Hard to Stop is the third book in the Hard Targets Trilogy through Gemma Halliday Publishing. The trilogy focuses on the Shaw siblings who were orphaned at a young age and forced to become assassins for survival. They were able to escape their Serbian homeland and settled in New York when they were in their twenties. Sabrina and Jake both work for The Alliance--a top secret agency specializing in protection and retrieval. Max decided long ago to forget his past and is a trader on Wall Street. The first book, Hard to Kill, introduced Sabrina Shaw as she went undercover to track down child traffickers. In the second book, Hard to Trust, Jake was sent on an assignment to bring in a rogue CIA agent who's suspected of being a double agent. In Hard to Stop, Max Shaw has a contract on his head. But, in a case of mistaken identity, the killer murders his friend Damon instead. To get to the bottom of who is behind the contract, Max must confront his past as an assassin in order to save his own life.
 

2. What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your story?
 
When I wrote this trilogy, I pictured Max and Jake with completely different personalities. Jake, prefers the grunge look and Max never walks out the door unless he's wearing a Hugo Boss suit. Jake is more fly-by-the-seat of his pants where Max is very calculating in everything he does. It wasn't until I wrote this last book that I realized why Max feels compelled to always dress and be in control: He's so sickened by what he did in the past, he uses the way he dresses and acts to make himself believe it never happened. 

3.  Do you have any interesting writing quirks or rituals?

I'm not sure how interesting or different this is, but I find that I get more accomplished when I make a pact with another writing friend of mine to get X amount of words written in a specific period of time. Then we check in with each other to keep each other honest. Along the same concept is NANO in which writers unite to try to write 50,000 words during the month of November.

4.  What authors or friends influenced you in helping you become a writer?
 
In 1999 I joined a local chapter of Romance Writers of America, Windy City Writers. Through Windy City, I connected up with a critique group that I'm still close with. Two of the four members gave up writing, but two of us still correspond via email at least once every day. The writing life is not easy and it helps to have support from others who understand your struggles.
 
5.  What does your family think about your career as a published author?
 
My husband and sons are supportive of my writing career. I'm kind of low key about being a writer, but my sisters are my biggest fans, spreading the word about my books.

6.  Besides writing, what other interests do you have?
 
I teach social work classes part time at a local university. I've sewn since I was about 10 or 12, but that morphed into making quilts somewhere along the way. I've made numerous quilts for friends and family over the years. I even have an industrial sized quilting machines in my basement.

7. Can you tell us what is coming up next for you?
 
I have three contemporary romances coming out from Entangled Publishing. A short story (as part of a collection) from Gemma Halliday Publishing this summer and I'm working on a mystery series. 

8. How can readers connect with you online?
 
 Readers can reach me at my website at http://wendybyrne.net or like me on FB at https://www.facebook.com/WendyByrneAuthor or twitter @wbyrneauthor or sign up for my newsletter:  http://www.wendybyrne.net/contact/

Friday, March 27, 2015

Two-in-one Book Giveaway:

The Vampire's Wolf/The Resurrectionist



Blurbs:

 These two heroes are more than protectors! 

THE VAMPIRE'S WOLF 

As a werewolf, marine captain Travis MacConnelly should be immune to the deadly attraction of female vampires. But Brianna Vittori ignites his most primal desires. When Mac realizes that his beautiful prisoner doesn't know what she is, it's up to him to provide her with answers…and protection. As the bond between them grows, so does the danger they're in. 

THE RESURRECTIONIST 

Dani is so tough even the grave couldn't keep her down. After mysterious beings brought her back from her murder, she's been restoring justice to humans. And she gets help from cop Sam Lopez. But Sam has demons of his own. They ignore the heat between them—until a great evil begins to rise. Now Dani and Sam must get closer than ever.


What's your favorite type of paranormal story?

Post a comment and be entered to win a copy of this book.
Open to US mailing addresses only. 

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Q & A with Julie Johnstone!



Tell us about your release.

My Seductive Innocent is book 2 in the Once Upon A Rogue Series. Though it is the second book, it can definitely stand alone. Here is the blurb!

Miss Sophia Vane, a hoyden of the first order, makes an unlikely match when she weds Nathaniel Ellison, the rich and wary Duke of Scarsdale. What starts with an unexpected friendship soon blooms into a fiery passion. But a betrayal plunges Sophia into the thorny world of London Society and entangles her in a labyrinth of manipulation and jealousy that will test the strength of her marriage. Behind her husband’s sudden icy facade, Sophia believes dwells the caring, passionate man she loves. To break through the barriers and reclaim their happiness, they must do more than simply cast away their pride. They must fight for their very lives.
 

Buy Links:


What makes your story special to you?

I love to write books that force the main characters to question everything they have ever believed in, and this story does that in a huge way. I also love a romance that has suspense woven in, and depending on the story I’m trying to tell, sometimes I get to explore suspense and sometimes I don’t. This story not only allowed me to weave suspense into the tale, but I got to explore a bit of a darker side, which I adore.

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

I had a friend in fourth grade whose mother was a writer. She would sit us around the coffee table when I would spend the night, give us paper, and tell us to write stories. Sometimes, she would start the story and sometimes we would make them up. I’m certain the seed was planted then!

What is a typical writing day like?

I start every day by getting my kids off to school! Then I usually head to the gym and workout to clear my mind. If I’ve already done the research for a story, I will usually sit down at my computer and write for three to four hours, getting up at various times to do a few chores here and there. I work best by setting myself a word count goal. I know how many words I have to write a day to get the story done about when it needs to be. Of course, sometimes the story tricks me and ends up being a lot longer than I planned, like this book!

Do you have an interesting writing quirk or habit?

I’m not sure how interesting it is, but I have to write in complete silence. I cannot stand distractions!

What was one of the most surprising things you learned as a published author?

The end is only the beginning. Once I have written those two words a whole other round of intensive work begins like editing and promoting.

What authors or friends influenced you in helping you become a writer?

Well, I do believe my friend’s mother was my first influence. However, I would have never dared to take the chance without the encouragement of my parents who told me I could do anything I wanted to. I also would not be where I am today without the constant encouragement, help and advice of many published authors who are my friends as well as critique partners. As to authors I admire that made me want to try to write, I’d say as far as the romance genre goes that Julie Garwood was my first influence.

What does your family think about your career as a published author?

My kids are so funny! They love it! My youngest child wanted to give all his classmates bookmarks and books of mine last year for Christmas. Of course, we didn’t! They’re only 8, after all! My oldest son was rather indifferent until a magazine featured me, and he had his picture in the magazine. And to top that off, a classmate’s mother told him she was a fan of mine, and he thought that was pretty cool! My husband is incredibly supportive as are my parents.

Besides writing, what other interests do you have?

Well I’m pretty fanatical about working out. It’s my stress relief. I love to spin, do yoga, do cardio classes and lift weights. I love to cook and have recently started making my household a non-processed household. I love to read, of course! And I love to travel!

Can you tell us about what’s coming up next for you writing wise?

The rest of this year is busy, busy! I’m currently writing book 3 in the Once Upon A Rogue series, and I am also writing book 5 in the Whisper of Scandal Series. I’m also going to be in a huge box set with a bunch of other fabulous authors that will be coming out later this year, and I am hoping by the end of the year to have book 2 in the Lords of Deception series finished.

How can readers connect with you online?

You can find me on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/authorjuliejohnstone
On Twitter: @juliejohnstone
At my website at: www.juliejohnstoneauthor.com where you can join up for my newsletter or street team.

Excerpt:


Sophia trailed her fingers over Nathan’s strong jawline. She would reveal some of her fear in hopes that one day he would reveal some of his. “You’re like Michelangelo’s David. I’m afraid one day you will wake up and wonder who the stray puppy is that you married.”
He stood so abruptly she feared he was about to agree with her and then walk out of this room and her life. He looked down at her from his towering stance, reached behind him to tug off his shirt, and revealed a rippling abdomen and muscled chest. She stared in awe and wistfulness; his body―marred only at his shoulder by the bandage covering his healing wound―was every bit as beautiful as his face.
“I’m no statue, Sophia,” he growled as he yanked his boots off, then his pants and undergarments. She gaped at the size and power of his body that could not be denied now that he stood there without a stich of clothing.
“You are perfect,” she whispered, ashamed that she was so far from it, so very unmatched to him.
His gaze grew hard. “Expecting perfection from me will hurt us both. I like that you’re not perfect. Do you understand?”
She understood that he’d been hurt deeply and that he was trying to tell her how without saying it explicitly. “I do.”
He lowered himself over her, and something fierce glittered in his eyes. “I’ll hurt you and I’ll fail you, and then you’ll see. You won’t think me perfect. You won’t want to love me then.”
“Come to me, Nathan,” she replied, knowing arguing was futile. “Show me your imperfections.”

About the author: 


Julie Johnstone is a USA TODAY best-selling author of Regency Romance and the author of a new urban fantasy/paranormal romance book. She’s been a voracious reader of books since she was a young girl. Her mother would tell you that as a child Julie had a rich fantasy life made up of many different make believe friends. As an adult, Julie is one of the lucky few who can say she is living the dream by working with her passion of creating worlds from her imagination. When Julie is not writing she is chasing her two precocious children around, cooking, reading or exercising. Julie loves to hear from her readers. You can send her an email at juliejohnstoneauthor@gmail.com or find her at www.juliejohnstoneauthor.com, or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/juliejohnstoneauthor and www.facebook.com/authorjuliejohnstone and on twitter at @juliejohnstone. You can join Julie’s newsletter here: http://juliejohnstoneauthor.com/extras/subscribe/