Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Today I have a wonderfully special guest being interviewed here on the blog today. Lori Perkins, the co-founder of Ravenous Romance talks about her career as a literary agent and then branching off into opening an e-publishing company. I've read a couple of books by Ravenous Romance authors such a Keta Diablo, Lisa Lane and Elle Amery and they won't be my last. I have recently been helping out the Ravenous Romance authors create a wonderful blog for them to promote their blogs so you have to check out Ravenous Romance Authors blog.
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Phoebe Jordan: When did you know that going into the literary business was the career for you? How did you choose who to represent as a literary agent? Lori Perkins: I have a journalism degree from NYU and had started a newspaper in upper Manhattan. Since I couldn’t pay my authors that much, I was always telling them where to sell their articles. One of them told me I was like their agent. Then my editor left to work for an agent, and he said I would make a great agent. An opportunity came to work in an agency, and I went for it. I hated the sleazy guy I worked for, but I loved the work, and I sold a book in auction right away. The editor called and invited me to meet with him. I spent hours sorting through my closet looking for the right clothes to wear (he was the V.P. of a big company), but when I got to his office, he informed me we weren’t going to lunch. He told me I was working for a man with a bad reputation, that I was a good agent, and that I should quit as soon as I got back to the office. Which I did. I got a job with another agent, who taught me everything I know, but she was a screamer, and I hated being yelled at, so I set up my own business after 3 years of training. I love getting new writers into print. I see being an agent as an extension of my editor training. I like to think of myself as a writer’s fairy godmother, making dream’s come true. Phoebe: Did you know what type of genre writers you wanted to represent? Did that change over the years? Lori: I started out representing investigative reporters, and I thought I would find the great American novel of my generation. But I soon learned that journalists felt that they owned their story (and were therefore terrible to edit) and that literary fiction was a genre just like romance or science fiction. One day, my boss asked if anyone had ever read any of these books by Stephen King, and I confessed that I had read every one (and realized that I often lied when asked what I was reading, “Oh, the new Roth or Updike,” I’d say, when I was actually reading the new King or Rice or Koontz). She said, (and this is a quote), “Poof. You’re the new horror agent.” As soon as she gave me permission to represent horror (which really was one of my passions), I went into the back room where we stored the piles of unsolicteds, and found four horror first novels. I sold them all within a month. And a horror agent was born. I helped start Horror Writers of America with Charlie Grant on the east coast and Dean Koontz on the west coast. I have sold more than 200 vampire novels. So that’s how I became an agent of science fiction, fantasy and horror. I ended up dropping all my investigative journalists, but representing the feature writers (who wrote about music, art, theatre, TV), because they could meet deadlines and didn’t feel they owned their stories, and that’s how I became an agent of popular culture. Because I repped popular culture, I was approached by the adult entertainment industry, and ended up representing a number of those books (I’m Jenna Jameson’s agent). They told two friends and they told two friends, and before I knew it, I was up to my elbows in porn. But I wanted to do more fiction, so I was wondering if I could use this new clout in the erotica and romance market. I started reading erotica and erotic romance, and found some very talented female authors who were writing incredible stuff. I took them on, and sold all of them to the majors—Harlequin, Avon, Bantam, etc. They could write a book a month, but the major New York publishers only wanted a book a year or every year and a half. I looked into the e-pub market and realized there was a tremendous audience for this material, some of whom were already reading online. Phoebe: What pushed you to start Ravenous Romance with Holly Schmidt and Allan Penn? Where do you see RR in two years time? Do you have any long-term goals for RR? Lori: I met Holly and Allan when we were working on nonfiction sexuality books. They wanted to start a romance publishing company. I suggested that the greatest growth was in erotic romance. They researched the market and said, yeah, this is the future. Then we looked into the e-pub business and realized that that really was the future of publishing. We see e-publishing as the new mass market—an affordable way for readers to get as much as they want in a given category. When the economy picks up, we hope to offer other genres of fiction. Phoebe: RR is one of the first to break into audio. Where do you get the readers to tape the books? Are they professional readers? How are the audio sales doing? Lori: The audio book market is huge. Sexuality titles are the best-selling category, so it was only natural to offer erotic romance. We hired one of the studios that produces audiobooks for Audible to record our books. Phoebe: What do you believe to be the heart of the books at RR, the short stories, the anthologies or the full-length novels? Lori: The heart of RR? All categories sell. I think what sets RR apart from other houses is the creative twists we bring to the table, such as retelling of classic romances. For instance, we offer a M/M of Casablanca (MARRAKESH) and an erotic romance that should remind readers of GONE WITH THE WIND (except the Rhett character is a Yankee and he does give a damn!)—LAND OF FALLING STARS. We also take popular ideas from the zeitgeist and spin them. We have an erotic American Idol (all the sex you ever imagined behind the scenes is in AMERICAN STAR) and an erotic Star Trek (LUST IN SPACE is one of my favorites). Phoebe: Is there one genre that is easier to sell than another? Lori: Everything sells. We have readers who will buy 5 books at a time across category. Our best-selling categories are M/M, paranormal and contemporary. Phoebe: Have there been any surprises about the books your writers have submitted? Have any done really well that you didn't think would or vice versa? Lori: We knew M/M was popular, but we didn’t know how popular it was. We thought readers would be impressed by some of our more literary credentials, but they seem to love everything. We were surprised that a third of our readers are men! Phoebe: What do you think of all the technology and the advancement of e-books in the last few years? Do you have any ideas on what the e-publishing world might develop into in the next few years with the advancement of our technology? Lori: I firmly believe that more than 50% of all books sold will be downloaded in 3 years. That is already the case in Japan. There will be one device that you can use as a phone, pocket internet, audio device and reader. Phoebe: Do you think RR will branch into other areas like more male/male novels and Novellas or will it always be short stories and full-length novels? Lori: We’re talking about doing novellas. Phoebe: What is your biggest reader pet peeve, if you have any? (stock characters, unresolved endings, predictability, everything wrapped up hurriedly in the end, etc.) Lori: All of the above. I like when an author knows the rules, so she can break them on purpose. Phoebe: Is there any advice that you would give to an aspiring romance writer that you as a literary agent might give? Lori: Write a short story for one of our anthologies. Read our books, and our author blogs. Join our our Ravenous Readers' group. Many of our novelists sold a story to an anthology and then we coaxed them into writing novels. Off the top of my head, I can think of 10 first time novelists at RR. Phoebe: Is there any writing tips, research tips, promotion and marketing tips that you would give to an aspiring romance writer that you as a literary agent might give? Lori: Do your research. Make sure the agents you are approaching represent what you are writing. Join a writer’s organization. Finish the novel before you approach agents. A lot of romance (and genre) writers are really encouraging to younger writers, so try to get a mentor. Phoebe: Do you have a favorite genre you like to read? Who is your favorite author(s)? Lori: My favorite books are Dracula, 1984, Alice in Wonderland, Gone with the Wind and Anne Rice’s Beauty Books. I think that taste is reflected in RR. I could read vampire novels for the rest of my life (and into my afterlife). Phoebe: What are you reading now? And what do you plan to read after that? Lori: Since I edit three RR titles a week, I no longer read for pleasure. I am currently editing our Sex and Taxes anthology. I am listening to Dharma Key on my car stereo. If I ever get three minutes to myself, I will read X, Susie Bright’s new erotica anthology (which was given to me as a Christmas present). Phoebe: Lori is there anything else you would like to add? Lori: This was an amazing interview. Your questions were really thought provoking. Thanks for having me. Phoebe: Thanks for being on here Lori!

Sunday, March 29, 2009
Well this is the High Noon movie Preview that is going to be airing in it's World Premiere on Saturday, April 4th at 9PM EST on Lifetime TV. So remember to mark your calendars so you won't miss this world premiere of a Nora Roberts NYT bestselling novel High Noon. It will be featuring Emilie de Ravin (LOST's Claire Littleton) as expert hostage negotiator Lieutenant Phoebe McNamara and Ivan Sergei (Jack and Jill) as Duncan Swift.

Saturday, March 28, 2009
This is my second book by the author Lauren Dane and my first book by the author Megan Hart who both wrote this book together. I was lucky enough to have one this ARC of Taking Care of Business and thought it would be a book that I would end up enjoying very much. I'm sorry to say that wasn't the case when I was about a quarter into the novel and started drifting from the novel since the plot was not really grabbing my attention any more. I did finish the novel and was satisfied with the ending but throughout the novel I had to stop because I couldn't keep my attention on the book. I thought the characters were intriguing enough when I started reading it but towards the middle of the novel I felt that there was more sex and not enough emotion to keep my interest anymore. Don't get me wrong I enough having my romance novels full of hot steamy sexy but there has to be some emotion in it mixed with some drama and intrigue as well. I was disappointed a bit that I wasn't getting it here even though I thought that it was going to be a good read. I enjoyed the characters Leah, Kate, Brandon and Charles a.k.a "Dix" because they are characters with personalities that captured me. That doesn't mean that for someone else it will be disappointing because everyone has a different taste in novels and it might be just the book for you. I am sad to say that I have to give this book 3 Open Books:
Here is the description of the book from the back cover and picture:
TAKING CARE OF BUSINESS $ 12.95 (295 Pages) After leaving the wrong man, Leah Griffins’ not ready to look for the right one. All she wants to do is survive the conference she’s planned and spend time with her best friend, Kate Edwards. But she never expected the conference services manger to be so tall, dark and handsome…or so eager to please. It’s Brandon Long’s job to make Leah happy, and after a scorching interlude in her hotel room, neither can deny that business has become pleasure. Smart, driven and successful attorney Kate Edwards has spent her life making the right choices. Directly counter to those right choices, she’s involved in a long distance, secret love affair with a co-worker. And Charles Dixon is a bad choice she can’t help but make—over and over. A conference and a promotion bring Kate back to Pennsylvania and suddenly Dix wants far more than a few nights in random hotel rooms. He wants something permanent and Kate has to figure out if sometimes a wrong choice is exactly what a woman needs.

Friday, March 27, 2009
I found out about Linda Gerber through Amanda Ashyby's blog diary and I went to find out more about Linda Gerber and her young adult novels. She writes young adult mystery novels and I've dubbed her recent series the Aphra Connolly Death Mystery Series because she doesn't name it. I bought the first two in the series called Death by Bikini and Death by Latte because they really caught my attention when I read the blurbs. Aphra Connolly had a very dangerous but enlightening mystery adventure in teh first book. She met Seth Mulo and can't get over him even though his parents and him are on the run from the CIA agency who want to use them at all costs. At the end of the first book Aphra finds out that her mother had been in touch with her over the 6 years since her dad moved them to the island. She had also found out where she lives right now in Seattle and has decided tha she was going to visit her without her father knowing about it. I really like Aphra because she is a strong, intelligent and independent young woman who somehow finds a murder mystery that puts her life on the line almost every time.
She finally gets to be with her mother after years of thinking she didn't want her anymore, though Aphra is starting to see that her mother might have had a very good reason for leaving her and her dad. It was great to read about Seth and Aphra after their goodby on the island in the first book. I really like Aphra and Seth as a couple but I don't see how their relationship is going to work because Seth and his parents are still on the run. There were so much going on in this novel that had me flipping the pages to find out how Aphra would get out of this dangerous mess or solve this murder. Finally getting to know about Aphra's former CIA agent mother because in the first book she was mentioned and it made me very curious about her and why she left Aphra and her father. Linda Gerber delivers a suspenseful mystery that kept me on my toes and flipping the pages to find out how things ends for Aphra. I can't wait to get my hands on the third book in the series called Death by Denim coming out in April 2009 because the last book left me wanting more! I give this book 3.5 Open Books:
Here is the description of the book from the back cover and picture: DEATH BY LATTE $ 6.99 (Book 2)(203 Pages)
Coffee can kill.
It was only a few weeks ago when Aphra Connolly’s life changed completely. She had been living a quiet existence at her father’s secluded island resort until Seth Mulo turned up, stole her heart—and provided information that led to her mom in Seattle. But the reunion isn’t quite what she expected. Aphra’s mom, Natalie, doesn’t seem happy to see Aphra; and Natalie’s partner, Joe, insists that Aphra go home. Even worse, Seth shows up, only to ask her to return the ring he gave her a few weeks ago. At least Natalie’s hunky neighbor is sympathetic. But when Joe is found dead at a nearby coffee shop, Aphra discovers her whole trip to Seattle has been based on a lie. And now someone just might be trying to kill her….

Thursday, March 26, 2009
Today I have a the wonderful Harlequin Blaze romance author Tawny Weber as an author guest blogger here on the blog. I was lucky enough to have Tawny get in touch with me for an author interview, author guest blog and two book reviews for her April 2009 and May 2009 Harlequin Blaze releases. The first guest blog for her April 2009 release, Coming on Strong, is today and the second guest blog for her May 2009 release, Going Down Hard, will be posted at the end of April. I already interviewed Tawny on the blog and you can read the interview by following this link. I have reviewed Coming on Strong here on the blog and watch out for my review of Going Down Hard in April. Now for Tawny Weber's author guest blog!
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I came up with the basic idea for Coming On Strong by wondering why a woman would go after a guy she'd left at the altar. At the same time, I'd been reading a lot about the paparazzi stalking of stars and how invasive it was—which led to my heroine, Belle's, idea to turn a super fancy luxury resort into a paparazzi free zone for the rich and famous—the perfect place for them to come and visit. A place that would be completely private, and because of that complete privacy, it'd be the perfect sexual getaway. Of course, Belle has to test the theory out with her hero, Mitch, who owns the resort first to make sure it all works out the way she wants.

Blurb:

By private invitation only…

Event: Very Sensual resort opening. Place: In bed, hopefully! Host: Hottie millionaire Mitch Carter. Planner: Belle Forsham. Who once jilted Mitch at the altar. Oops…

When Mitch’s new hotel falters, he needs a pro. Enter the It Girl of event planning: the traitorous, damnably sexy Belle. Time for some red-hot revenge! But Belle has her own secret agenda for her ex-fiancé. And in the meantime, she’ll enjoy how Mitch still makes her legs—and every other body part—deliciously quiver. But it’s strictly business between them this time. At least it is…until Belle decides that the best sexual revenge goes both ways! You can find Tawny Weber at her website, blog, Twitter, Facebook, MySpace and on her Yahoo! Group.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Today I will be reviewing Tawny Weber's April 2009 Harlequin Blaze release Coming on Strong. I was lucky enough to have Tawny get in touch with me for an author interview, author guest blog and two book reviews for her April 2009 and May 2009 Harlequin Blaze releases. The first guest blog for her April 2009 release, Coming on Strong, will be Thursday, March 26 and the second guest blog for her May 2009 release, Going Down Hard, will be posted at the end of April. Yesterday I interviewed Tawny Weber here on my blog and she answered all the reader comments so that means if you missed it come back tomorrow because she will be stopping by to check if there are any comment questions from readers. I will be reviewing Going Down Hard in April so keep coming back to see when I finally post it.
Mitch Carter and Belle Forsham have a past together that they have left to fester for years after Belle jilted Mitch at the altar. But after years past Mitch is a very sucessful businessman who is in need of an event planner for his new resort. Belle has also really made a success of her life in her partnership with her best friend in their event planning business. The instant Mitch and Belle came face to face with each other again after what happened the last time they were together I knew they still had something between them. I could practically feel the blazing heat and attraction between them though Mitch hid it very well from Belle at the beginning but soon enough they just couldn't resist one another. It was really a pleasure reading about Mitch and Belle's renewed relationship with one another because from the beginning I knew that they would be good together as long as they find a way to resolve their past misfortune. Tawny Weber delivers a blazingly intense love story about two loves who were broken apart by a missunderstanding and a trecherous enemy who hid in the shadows. I look forward to reading Going Down Hard because it will be about Belle's BFF and Mitch's cousin who we meet for the first time in Coming on Strong. I give this book 3.5 Open Books:
Here is the description of the book from the back of the cover and picture: COMING ON STRONG $ 4.99 (217 Pages)
By private invitation only…
Event: Very Sensual resort opening. Place: In bed, hopefully! Host: Hottie millionaire Mitch Carter. Planner: Belle Forsham. Who once jilted Mitch at the altar. Oops… When Mitch’s new hotel falters, he needs a pro. Enter the It Girl of event planning: the traitorous, damnably sexy Belle. Time for some red-hot revenge! But Belle has her own secret agenda for her ex-fiancé. And in the meantime, she’ll enjoy how Mitch still makes her legs—and every other body part—deliciously quivers. But it’s strictly business between them this time. At least it is…until Belle decides that the best sexual revenge goes both ways!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009
Today I have a the wonderful Harlequin Blaze romance author Tawny Weber being interviewed here on the blog. I was lucky enough to have Tawny get in touch with me for an author interview, author guest blog and two book reviews for her April 2009 and May 2009 Harlequin Blaze releases. The first guest blog for her April 2009 release, Coming on Strong, will be Thursday, March 26th and the second guest blog for her May 2009 release, Going Down Hard, will be posted at the end of April. I will be reviewing Coming on Strong soon and watch out for my review of Going Down Hard in April. Now for my interview with Tawny Weber!


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Phoebe Jordan: When did you know that writing romance was going to be the thing that you would do with your life? Which author inspired you to start writing romance?


Tawny Weber: I’ve always loved reading romance and used to wish I could write. But it never occurred to me to actually try until 2001 when my husband and I were playing “if you could do anything” and I said if I could do anything, I’d be a romance author. He asked why I wasn’t trying and it just went from there. *grin*


Phoebe: Did you know what type of romance you wanted to write about or did you experiment with different genres before you chose the one that you felt was for you?


Tawny: I knew I wanted to write in for either Harlequin Temptation or to write romantic comedy paranormal. I tried both, but found that I had a better feel for writing my Temptation hopefuls. But then the line closed and I shifted focus to Blaze which is where I sold my first book.


Phoebe: What was the first fiction you ever wrote? And do you still have it with you?


Tawny: The first fiction story I ever completed was called Sweet Indulgence. It’s sitting on my hard drive. *grin*


Phoebe: How much research do you have to do for your novels and does it take you a long time to gather that research?


Tawny: I don’t do a lot of research for my books. They are all contemporary, usually set in familiar places. I’ll do some research into careers or particulars that the story needs as it comes up.


Phoebe: How did you come up with the concept for your upcoming April 2009 Harlequin Blaze novel Coming on Strong?


Tawny: I wanted to do a runaway bride story with a twist and thought it would be fun to turn the typical “married because he wants sex and she won’t go for it without a ring” on its ear by having HER be the one who’d wanted the fling and him holding onto his virtue until he got a wedding ring. I added a luxury resort aimed at the rich and famous trying to avoid the paparazzi and ta-da—I had the premise.


Phoebe: How did you come up with the concept for your upcoming May 2009 Harlequin Blaze novel Going Down Hard?


Tawny: I came up with the premise for Going Down Hard while writing Coming On Strong. After getting to know the characters in Belle and Mitch’s story, I wanted to do a bodyguard story. Sierra and Reece met in Coming On Strong and both were such strong, independent characters who basically got turned on by challenging each other. I also wanted to tie it in to a degree one of the minor threads in Coming On Strong, the paparazzi angle of being stalked via photos.


Phoebe: How do you come up with each of your characters for your novels? How do you choose their names out of so many names out there?


Tawny: Hmm, confession time. Belle and Sierra are named after my dogs. *grin* What can I say, I love the names. As for characters, I do start with a premise and can pretty easily imagine up character types that would fit that premise. But then developing the types into actual characters takes me much longer. I will write and rewrite the first three chapters until I know the characters and what drives them—their fears and issues and where those issues came from. Once I’ve got that, the rest of the story comes together pretty quickly.


Phoebe: Do you have a process of how you start to write your novels?


Tawny: Painfully? *grin* I start with a premise and write an outline—a long synopsis. I send it to my editor and once she green lights it, I start writing. I’ll spend as long writing and rewriting the first three chapters, as I will the entire rest of the book. Once those chapters are written, I know my characters and their motivations—as well as have a lot of ideas for scenes that will drive the story. I tweak my outline to fit, note any scene ideas I came up with and then dive in to finish the book. In the beginning, I’ll get maybe 3 pages a day. Once I’ve got the partial finished, I’ll average 8-10 and in the last few chapters I’m usually at 12-15 a day.


Phoebe: Which do you like best, writing a series or writing stand alone novels? How is writing each different for you?


Tawny: I love writing series because I love reading them. One of my favorite authors is Nora Roberts. I was reading her way back in her category days and my favorites were always the family stories. It’s delightful to revisit characters that I fell in love with in earlier books. That’s influenced my preference for writing series, I think.


Phoebe: What process did you have to go through to get your first book published and did it take you long?


Tawny: I started writing in 2002 and sold in May of 2006. I wrote 5 manuscripts before my 6th one sold. 3 were Golden Heart finalists and 1 was targeted at the single title market. In late 2005 I won the Harlequin Blaze 1st chapter contest. But all I had written was that first chapter. I quickly finished the next 2 chapters and sent it to the editor. After she read them, she wanted the full, and then bought it 3 weeks after I turned it in.


Phoebe: How did you feel when you finally saw your first published book came out and how do you feel about your other novels being published?


Tawny: OMG. It was such a total dream come true. Very surreal, very emotionally overwhelming. I actually wasn’t the first person to notice it on the shelf. I was in the local bookstore with my family and my youngest daughter saw the book on the shelf and yelled “Look Mommy, it’s YOU!” Every book has that same element of awe, of teary eyed excitement and terrified hope that readers connect to it.


Phoebe: Do you ever get writers block? What do you do to get rid of it so you can get back to writing your novels?


Tawny: I get tired, but I can’t say I’ve ever had writer’s block. I might not know my way through a story, or understand my characters motivation but those aren’t blocks. When I’m tired or stuck, I talk to my critique partner or my editor, I brainstorm ideas, I play with character worksheets or read craft books. If that doesn’t work, I resort to exercise and cleaning. *grin* Distractions that keep my body busy but let my mind mull over the issue. It usually only takes a day or so before I find the answer.


Phoebe: What is your biggest reader pet peeve, if you have any? (stock characters, unresolved endings, predictability, everything wrapped up hurriedly in the end, etc.)


Tawny: Gratuitous sex. Or gratuitous violence. Or gratuitous anything. I hate feeling like the author threw something in there because it fit a requirement, but doesn’t actually move the story forward or intensify the plot.


Phoebe: Which aspects of writing do you enjoy the most and why? And what is your biggest writing pet peeve? (overuse of exclamation points, adverbs, bad guys named Wayne, etc.), if you have any?


Tawny: Probably the same as my reader pet peeve.


Phoebe: What is the one writing tool can you not live without?


Tawny: My iPod. Wait, can I have two? Because I have to have my computer, but I’m pretty sure that’s required for me to stay sane anyway. *grin*


Phoebe: How do you handle your writing schedule and your personal life without going insane?


Tawny: We home school, so my daytime hours are focused on my children. I write at night—I always have and it works really well for me. Once the family is settled into their own evening interests, I put my headphones on and focus on the story. The insanity comes in when I have early morning commitments that mean I have to actually sleep and not have the freedom to write as late into the night as I like. When that happens, I just try to balance it and make up the pages and writing time later.


Phoebe: What do you do to relax after having spent a long while writing?


Tawny: Sleep. *grin* I write late at night, so when I’m done, I go to bed. After I finish a book, though, I do try to refill the creative well in different ways, depending on my mood and how hard the story was to write. I might read voraciously for an entire weekend, a book never leaving my hands. Or I’ll get out and go somewhere—a movie, a concert, anything that gives me a lot of outside visual impressions.


Phoebe: Do you have any hobbies?


Tawny: I love to scrapbook. It’s a fabulous way to unwind, create a visual story and spend time with my favorite memories all at the same time. I’m learning to knit, but am really, really bad at it so far.


Phoebe: Is there any advice that you would give to an aspiring romance writer that you wish someone had given you?


Tawny: I’ve been really lucky to be a member of Romance Writers of America and have access to an incredible wealth of advice and information. I think the most important advice I ever received and would pass on is to know your voice, to learn what makes your writing unique—and use that strength to make your stories stand out.


Phoebe: Is there any writing tips, research tips, promotion and marketing tips that you would give to an aspiring romance writer that you wish someone had given you?


Tawny: I write category, and the best advice I’ve ever gotten is to read the line. That’s not only the best way to understand what’s selling for that line, but to learn pacing, characterization and plot as it works for that particular line.


Phoebe: Do you have a favorite genre you like to read? Who is your favorite author(s)?


Tawny: Romance and fantasy. I love both, although romance is my always number one favorite. My favorite authors are Nora Roberts, Vicki Lewis Thompson and Jennifer Crusie.


Phoebe: What are you reading now? And what do you plan to read after that?


Tawny: I just finished reading David Eddings’ The Belgariad and The Malloreon series last night. I have Kate Carlisle’s bestselling debut, Homicide In Hardcover on my nightstand to read next.

Monday, March 23, 2009
I found out about Ally Carter through the amazing website/blog called Free Book Friday Teens edition, which branches of the main website Free Book Friday, that is both founded by author Jessica Brody. I'm so glad that I read and even heard the wonderful podcast interview of Jessica and Ally talking about her young adult series the Gallagher Girls, which is about an all girls spy school. I also recommend that you all listen to it also so you can decide for yourselves if you agree with me about Ally Carter's experience in writing young adult novels about girl spies. She has an upcoming novel, on June 9, 2009, in her Gallagher Girls series coming out soon called Don't Judge a Girl by Her Cover.
After staking out, obtaining, and then being forced to give up her first boyfriend, Josh, all Cammie Morgan wants is a peaceful semester. She is feeling a bit blue now that the semesters over and she has lost the first boy who made her feel like a girl and not some invisible secret agent. But that’s easier said than done when you’re a CIA legacy and go to the Gallagher Academy, the premier school in the world…for spies, which is covered up with the lie that it's an all-girls academy for the rich. Despite Cammie’s best intentions to be a normal student, danger seems to follow her almost in every OPs mission she's ever been given but that doesn't change this semester when she and her friends learn that their school is going to play host to some mysterious guests—code name: Blackthorne. Then she’s blamed for a security breach that leaves the school’s top secret status at risk, which isn't doing any good for Cammie's piece of mind after last semester's disaster. Soon Cammie and her friends are crawling through walls and surveilling the school to learn the truth about Blackthorne and clear Cammie’s name, even though they have confidence in their spy skills, this time the targets are tougher (and shorter), and the stakes for Cammie’s heart—and her beloved school—are higher than ever.
I absolutely loved reading about Cammie Morgan in the first book and was excited to get my hands on the second book. I devoured it in less than a day I was so enraptured with the Gallagher Girls in this second novel after an action packed Fall semester in the first book. In the first book Cammie and her best friends Bex and Liz make a new friend, the daughter of their state senator. Now that Cammie has met and has had to give up the only normal guy who really saw her things start to get more interesting in the Spring semester for the Gallagher Girls. There is a very big and shocking secret being hidden from the Gallagher Girls by the headmaster, Cammie's mom, and the other staff members. There is so much going on in this novel that I want to talka about but then I'd have to kill you...no I'm just kidding I just don't want to spoil the book for any new readers. So I will say I didn't expect anything that happened in throughout the novel when I started the second book but it was GREAT!
I saw that as the novel progressed Cammie along with her two BFFs are really growing up so much since the first book in a goodway since their future line of work is dangerous. I was feeling conflicting emotions as I finished the second book because I wanted to find out how it would end but I was also dreading the ending to such a wonderful novel. But end the novel did so I was just glad that there are going to be more novels about Cammie and her friends as well as the rest of the Gallagher Girls in the future. Ally Carter delivers a wonderfully exhilirating continuation to the amazingly intelligent Gallagher Girls series that is sured to capture your attention from the start to finish of the series. I give this book 4 Open Books:
Here is the description of the book from the back cover and picture:
CROSS MY HEART & HOPE TO SPY $ 8.99 (Book 2)(236 Pages)
After staking out, obtaining, and then being forced to give up her first boyfriend, Josh, all Cammie Morgan wants is a peaceful semester. But that’s easier said than done when you’re a CIA legacy and go to the Gallagher Academy, the premier school in the world…for spies. Despite Cammie’s best intentions to be a normal student, danger seems to follow her. She and her friends learn that their school is going to play host to some mysterious guests—code name: Blackthorne. Then she’s blamed for a security breach that leaves the school’s top secret status at risk. Soon Cammie and her friends are crawling through walls and surveilling the school to learn the truth about Blackthorne and clear Cammie’s name. Even though they have confidence in their spy skills, this time the targets are tougher (and shorter), and the stakes for Cammie’s heart—and her beloved school—are higher than ever.

Sunday, March 22, 2009
I found out about Linda Gerber through Amanda Ashyby's blog diary and I went to find out more about Linda Gerber and her young adult novels. She writes young adult mystery novels and I've dubbed her recent series the Aphra Connolly Death Mystery Series because she doesn't name it. I bought the first two in the series called Death by Bikini and Death by Latte because they really caught my attention when I read the blurbs. Well now for my review of the first book in the series which was such a joy to read because it was a new taste at young adult mystery. Aphra Behn Connolly has the type of life most teenage girls envy because she lives on a tropical island and spends most of her time eavesdropping on the rich and famous. That can both be amazing but lonely at times when you really would like to be like everyone else and the problem is that her family’s secluded luxury resort allows few opportunities for her to make friends—much less to meet cute boys.
So when a smoldering Seth Mulo unexpectedly arrives with his parents, she’s immediately drawn to him and who wouldn't because he is the first hot boy her age she has seen in a long time. Then a girl turns up dead on the beach—the strings of her bikini top tight around her neck—and alarm bells sound. What exactly are Seth and his family hiding? And is it too great a coincidence that they turned up just one day before a murder? As the plot thickens, Aphra finds that danger lurks behind even the most unexpected of faces. There was so much suspense in this novel I just couldn't but it down unless absolutely nessecary because I wanted to know everything that would happen with Aphra and Seth. I thought that Aphra is such a wonderful character that I could at times relate to because it was so long ago I was her age. I also thought that Seth is such cute guy but with a lot of issues that can make a relationship between Aphra and him a bit complicated.
I've read a couple of young adults books before and loved them very much so I was so happy that Death by Bikini didn't disappoint me it was so good. I also loved the book cover because it is so different to all the other book covers I've seen with the other young adult novels. Linda Gerber delievers an exciting, suspenseful mystery with many twists and turns that I couldn't put the book down until I finally knew how things would end with Aphra. This is the beginning of an amazing series that I will definitely be putting on my keeper shelf as well as looking forward to reading any of the future books in this series. I look forward to reading the next book in the series, Death by Latte, as well as the upcoming release, Death by Denim, which comes out in May 2009. I give this book 3.5 Open Books:
Here is the description of the book from the back cover and picture: DEATH BY BIKINI $ 6.99 (Book 1)(225 Pages)
A bikini can be very dangerous.
Aphra Behn Connolly has the type of life most teenage girls envy. She lives on a tropical island and spends most of her time eavesdropping on the rich and famous. The problem is that her family’s secluded luxury resort allows few opportunities for her to make friends—much less to meet cute boys. So when a smoldering Seth Mulo unexpectedly arrives with his parents, she’s immediately drawn to him. Then a girl turns up dead on the beach—the strings of her bikini top tight around her neck—and alarm bells sound. What exactly are Seth and his family hiding? And is it too great a coincidence that they turned up just one day before a murder? As the plot thickens, Aphra finds that danger lurks behind even the most unexpected of faces….

Saturday, March 21, 2009
I found out about Ally Carter through the amazing website/blog called Free Book Friday Teens edition, which branches of the main website Free Book Friday, that is both founded by author Jessica Brody. I'm so glad that I read and even heard the wonderful podcast interview of Jessica and Ally talking about her young adult series the Gallagher Girls, which is about an all girls spy school. I also recommend that you all listen to it also so you can decide for yourselves if you agree with me about Ally Carter's experience in writing young adult novels about girl spies. She has an upcoming novel, on June 9, 2009, in her Gallagher Girls series coming out soon called Don't Judge a Girl by Her Cover.
Cammie Morgan is a student at the Gallagher Academy for Exceptional Young Women, a fairly typical all-girls school. An academy that the locals always snub as stuck-up rich girls who don't know anything but how to step on the little people. Its a typical, that is, if every school taught advanced martial arts in PE and the latest in chemical warfare in science, and students received extra credit for breaking CIA codes in computer class. The Gallagher Academy might claim to be a school for geniuses, but it's really a school for spies, which is not known to anyone expect the ones who run the school and the students. Even though Cammie is fluent in fourteen languages and capable of killing a man with her bare hands, she has no idea what to do when she meets an ordinary boy who thinks she’s an ordinary girl. Sure, she can tap his phone, hack into his computer, or track him through town with the skill of a real “pavement artist”—but can she maneuver a relationship with someone who can never know the truth about her?
When I first heard Jessica and Ally's podcast interview on Free Book Friday Teens about Ally's Gallagher Girls series I knew I would have to read this series. I love the concept of main character going through so much secret agent scenarios but she's only a teenage girl. Cammie Morgan is just a teenage girl bugt she is anything but an ordinary normal because both her parents were CIA operatives during her childhood. I really like her because sometimes I can blend into a crowd and not be seen or noticed unless I want to be. I also really like her friends Liz and Bex because they are loyal girls who will make good spies that could really be useful to Cammie when they finally graduate. I thought that it was so cute that Cammie finally gets to meet a boy who really sees her even though she is known as a "pavement artist" with all her spy training. Josh Abrams who notices Cammie when she's on her first OPs mission is pretty special and I think that Cammie and Josh make such a wonderful cute couple. But there are too many lies between them from Cammie's side because she is a spy-in-training.
I really enjoyed reading about all the wonderful and complex characters and situations that make up the wonderful world of the Gallagher Girls. I also thought that the title of the book was a bit long, but very appropriate for this book about an all-girls private spy school. Ally Carter delivers a fresh, witty and entertaing new series that will be keeping you turning the pages until you are finished with the book. It is a book that begins a series that you should look out for because it is good for both teenagers and adults. It also gave me at times an "ah" moment and made me think that I wished I was creative enough to come up with this kind of book myself but didn't. I recommend this book highly because it is definitely fresh and new that you need to give a try. I'm going to be devouring the next book in the series called, Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy, as well as her upcoming book in the series called, Don't Judge a Girl by Her Cover, which comes out in June 2009. I give this book 4 Open Books:
Here is the description of the book from the back cover and picture:
I’D TELL YOU I LOVE YOU, BUT THEN I’D HAVE TO KILL YOU $ 8.99 (Book 1)(284 Pages)
Cammie Morgan is a student at the Gallagher Academy for Exceptional Young Women, a fairly typical all-girls school—typical, that is, if every school taught advanced martial arts in PE and the latest in chemical warfare in science, and students received extra credit for breaking CIA codes in computer class. The Gallagher Academy might claim to be a school for geniuses, but it's really a school for spies. Even though Cammie is fluent in fourteen languages and capable of killing a man with her bare hands, she has no idea what to do when she meets an ordinary boy who thinks she’s an ordinary girl. Sure, she can tap his phone, hack into his computer, or track him through town with the skill of a real “pavement artist”—but can she maneuver a relationship with someone who can never know the truth about her?

Friday, March 20, 2009
MaryLu Tyndall is a Christian Romance author that I got in touch with through Christian Romance author Linore Rose Burkard after I reviewed her novel Before the Season Ends. She contacted me about a possible book review, author interview and author guest blog. After I checked out her website to know more about her current released novel The Red Siren, I got back to her and we set up for an author interview that I posted on Tuesday, March 17 and an author guest blog for Thursday, March 19 and for a book review that I am posting today. Now for my review of MaryLu (M.L.) Tyndall's The Red Siren. Faith Westcott abandoned her shallow faith when a series of tragedies struck her family. There was just such misfortune happening to Faith and her family that she has stopped believing that God is watching over them. To save herself from forced marriages, this fiery, born-to-the-manor redhead is a lady by day and a pirate by night. That is something that only some really desperate ladies of this time would do because it took courage to turn to pirating when you were raised in strong religious family.
How long can she maintain this dual identity before she's caught red-handed? Well that is a question that has only recently been on Faith's mind since she met the God-fearing Dajon Waite, who scours the Carolina coast, expunging it of pirates, is a more-than-capable captain in the British Royal Navy. But when he is asked to take on the guardianship of Faith and her sisters, he's headed for deep water. Having vowed to avoid women, what will he do when he finds himself falling for Faith? Sir Wilhelm Carteret has always gotten everything he desired, but Faith seems to be unaffected by his charms and when he devises a plot to rid himself of his competition, more than Captain Waite's reputation is at stake as alarming secrets are revealed. Will Faith regain her trust in God only to find herself headed for the gallows? Will Dajon scuttle his good name—and neck—to save her?
I didn't think I would ever read more Christian Romance books after I read Before the Season Ends by Linore Rose Burkard. because I didn't know much about this genre. Well I'm glad that Linore spread the word about my book review for her on several of her Christian Romance communities. That is how MaryLu Tyndall came to get in touch with me about a book review as well as an author interview and an author guest blog. The Red Siren is the first book in her new series called Charles Towne Belles and it came out in January 2009. MaryLu (M.L.) writes historical Christian Romance that focuses on pirates, which is a favorite of mine since Johnny Depp played Captain Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribben. I went to her website to find out more about her and her novels so I could get a feel for the novel she wanted reviewed. So I found out she had written a previous pirate series that I had to try as well because the blurb and covers intrigued me.
Now for the review of The Red Siren, which is my second historical Christian Romance and I think it will definitely not be my last. The heroine of the novel, Faith Westcott, is the second oldest sister of 4 girls and since her oldest sister Charity is married and her mother has recently died in child birth. She has taken the responsibility of taking care of her two younger sisters which isn't an easy task because they are ruled by a very stern and sometimes uncaring Admiral British Navy father who loves the sea than his daughters. This has led her to becoming a lady pirate in order to amass the fortune she would need to be independent for both herself and her younger sisters. I think that Faith is one amazing female character that has such strength that is not something women of that century are known for. I also think that Dajon and Faith are so made for one another because they have suffered their loses but in the end they return to their faith because it has helped them even though when they thought it wouldn't. I'm so looking forward to the next installment of the Charles Town Belle series called The Blue Enchantress. This is a keeper for me and I am going to look forward to reading some of her pervious novels as well as her future novels. I give this book 4 Open Books:
4 Open Books
Here is the description of the book from the back cover and picture:
THE RED SIREN by M.L. Tyndall $ 14.95 (Book 1)(318 Pages)
The Red Siren by MaryLu Tyndall
WORLDS COLLIDE WHEN A LADY PIRATE MEETS A GODLY NAVAL CAPTIAN
Faith Westcott abandoned her shallow faith when a series of tragedies struck her family. To save herself from forced marriages, this fiery, born-to-the-manor redhead is a lady by day and a pirate by night. How long can she maintain this dual identity before she's caught red-handed? God-fearing Dajon Waite, who scours the Carolina coast, expunging it of pirates, is a more-than-capable captain in the British Royal Navy. But when he is asked to take on the guardianship of Faith and her sisters, he's headed for deep water. Having vowed to avoid women, what will he do when he finds himself falling for Faith? Sir Wilhelm Carteret has always gotten everything he desired, but Faith seems to be unaffected by his charms. When he devises a plot to rid himself of his competition, more than Captain Waite's reputation is at stake as alarming secrets are revealed. Will Faith regain her trust in God only to find herself headed for the gallows? Will Dajon scuttle his good name—and neck—to save her?

Thursday, March 19, 2009
MaryLu Tyndall is a Christian Romance author that I got in touch with through Christian Romance author Linore Rose Burkard after I reviewed her novel Before the Season Ends. She contacted me about a possible book review, author interview and author guest blog. After I checked out her website to know more about her current released novel The Red Siren, I got back to her and we set up for an author interview that I posted on Tuesday, March 17 and an author guest blog for today and for a book review that will be posted here soon. Now enjoy the author guest blog about The Red Siren by Christian Romance author MaryLu Tyndall.
* * * * *
The concept for The Red Siren—actually for the entire Charles Towne Series—came to me while I was on one of my long walks on the hills behind my house. I had been doing some research on lady pirates and a particular scripture kept popping into my mind from Matthew 13. It’s a story that Jesus tells about a farmer who scatters seed. Some seed lands on the road and the crows eat it up. Other seed land on rocky soil and the plants start to grow but have shallow roots and wither away. Other seed falls among the thorns and the plants get choked out. And some seed falls on good soil and grows into a bounteous crop. The seed is God’s word and the different types of soil are people’s hearts. I thought it would be a cool idea to write a series about 3 sisters, and have each sister represent one of the seeds. So, in The Red Siren, the heroine Faith is the rocky soil. She starts out strong in her faith, but problems and struggles come and she fades away from God. Becomes a pirate, in fact, in order to provide for and protect her sisters. Hope, the 2nd sister (The Blue Enchantress) represents the thorny soil where the pleasures of this world choke out her faith and she ends up getting herself in the precarious situation of being sold as a white slave to some planters in the Caribbean. And Grace, (The Raven Saint) is the good soil. But she has problems of her own! She is a bit pretentious and self-righteous so I have a French Mercenary kidnap her in order to humble her. (I’m quite mean to my characters!) The Red Siren takes place mostly in Charles Towne in the year 1718. I had the privilege of spending a week there last year doing research, so the street and house names, taverns, and some of the characters in my book are true to the time. I tried to capture the tiny port town’s wild atmosphere in the story, along with the pirates that used to frequent the city. Anne Cormac, for example, makes an appearance in the book. She is the same Anne who became Anne Bonny, the famous woman pirate who scoured the Caribbean. I had a lot of fun writing this adventurous tale, and I hope if you get a chance to read it, you’ll enjoy it too!
The Red Siren Blurb:
Faith Westcott abandoned her shallow faith when a series of tragedies struck her family. To save herself and her sisters from forced marriages, this fiery, born-to-the-manor redhead is a lady by day and a pirate by night. How long can she maintain this dual identity before she’s caught red-handed? God-fearing Dajon Waite, who scours the Carolina coast, expunging it of pirates, is a more-than-capable captain in the British Royal Navy. But when he is asked to take on the guardianship of Faith and her sisters, he’s headed for deep water. Having vowed to avoid women, what will he do when he finds himself falling for Faith?
Author bio:
M.L. Tyndall, a Christy Award Finalist, and best-selling author of the Legacy of the King’s Pirates series is known for her adventurous historical romances filled with deep spiritual themes. She holds a degree in Math and worked as a software engineer for fifteen years before testing the waters as a writer. MaryLu currently writes full time and makes her home on the California coast with her husband, six kids, and four cats. You can visit Christian Historical romance author MaryLu Tyndall at her Website, Blog, Facebook and Shoutlife. Live in the awareness of your eternal destiny.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

“Soul Stealer” by Kimberley Troutte

Buy from MBaM! Read An Excerpt Online Genre:

ISBN: 978-1-60504-473-6 Length: Novella Price: 3.50 Publication Date: March 17, 2009 Cover art by Angie Waters

Blurb:

When Death falls in love with a saint, there’s holy hell to pay.

Sara Lane expects to die young, but when the time comes, she’s not ready. She needs two more weeks to finish a homeless shelter before winter sets in and people die on the streets. Who does a girl have to sleep with to live a few extra days?

How about the sexiest, most dangerous of all bad boys—Death himself?

Cain’s job as a designated death dealer is clear. Kill and move on. Don’t get attached. Don’t feel. But when Sara pleads to cut a deal for more time, Cain is tempted by an unexpected craving for this beautiful, courageous woman. As their lips meet, her life force shakes him to his bones, seals the bargain—and breaks all the rules.

Keeping Sara alive is a dangerous proposition. The Powers That Be are furious and unleash bloodthirsty demons to steal Sara’s soul from Death—the one man who’s hell-bent on saving her life.

Warning: This book contains the sexiest of all bad boys, a woman desperate to get what she wants, deadly soul-sucking demons, surprise visits by Biblical characters, frog grenades, very bad dogs, sacrifice, redemption and eternal love.

Read An Excerpt Online

Tuesday, March 17, 2009
MaryLu Tyndall is a Christian Romance author that I got in touch with through Christian Romance author Linore Rose Burkard after I reviewed her novel Before the Season Ends. She contacted me about a possible book review, author interview and author guest blog. After I checked out her website to know more about her current released novel The Red Siren, I got back to her and we set up for an author interview for today and an author guest blog for Thursday, March 19th and for a book review that will be posted here soon. Now enjoy my interview with Christian Romance author MaryLu Tyndall.


* * * * *


Phoebe Jordan: When did you know that writing Christian romance was going to be the thing that you would do with your life? Which author inspired you to start writing romance?


MaryLu Tyndall: Not until I got my first contract! I always loved writing, but I wrote mostly as a hobby until 2003 when I felt a strong desire to write a pirate story, but not just any pirate story, a tale about a Christian Pirate. I finished my very first manuscript and then went in search of a publisher, knowing full well that the chances of getting publisher were very slim. But doors kept opening for me wherever I went, and I received a contract for a 3 book series just a few months after my agent sent the manuscript out to publishers. That’s when I first realized that maybe, just maybe, God’s plan for me was to write Christian novels.


Phoebe: Did you know what type of Christian romance you wanted to write about or did you experiment with different genres before you chose the one that you felt was for you?


MaryLu: I’ve always loved historicals, so it was a no-brainer for me which genre I wanted to write. I love being swept away to another time and place where men were strong and brave and women didn’t mind being cherished and protected. I think in our modern age, we’ve lost so much of the lure, the attraction between the genders that goes beyond the physical. Our roles have become so blended and confused that it’s hard to tell who’s who from their behavior.


Phoebe: What was the first fiction you ever wrote? And do you still have it with you?


MaryLu: I “attempted” to write a historical romance about twenty years ago called Out of Time. I never completed it but did submit the first three chapters to AVON and was flatly rejected. At the time I was a single mother who worked full time and I didn’t have much confidence in myself so I gave up. I burned the manuscript, and I’m glad I did. It was truly horrible!


Phoebe: How much research do you have to do for your novels and does it take you a long time to gather that research?


MaryLu: I do quite a bit of research for each novel—probably close to a couple of weeks to a month full time before I even begin writing. And then the research continues while I’m writing as small details arise that I need to investigate. I use a variety of research tools: good old-fashioned books from the library, online websites, museums, and on-site research. For my Charleston series, I spent a week in downtown historic Charleston taking all the tours and visiting the museums, etc...


Phoebe: How did you come up with the concept for your current novel The Red Siren, which is the first in your new Charles Towne Belles series?


MaryLu: In my research for pirates, I came across various stories, fact and fiction, about women pirates. The idea intrigued me so much that I decided to create a story around one who roamed the Carolina seas. In the early years of Charleston, SC, the port city was ravaged over and over again by pirates, so my tale fit right into the time period. But being a Christian novel, I had to give my lady pirate a good reason to be doing what she’s doing, and I couldn’t make her as violent as some of the lady pirates I read about. (Some were worse than the men!)


Phoebe: How did you come up with the concept for your upcoming August 2009 novel The Blue Enchantress, which is the second in your new Charles Towne Belles series?


MaryLu: The Blue Enchantress is the story of the sister of the lady pirate in The Red Siren. There are three books in the series and three sisters, each representing one of the seeds sown in the parable of the sower found in Matthew 13. This story is about Hope Westcott, a beautiful woman who thinks her only value is found in her appearance and who throws herself shamelessly at any man who will give her the love and attention she craves. But her plans go awry when her latest lover abandons her to be sold as a white slave on the island of St. Kitts in the Caribbean.


Phoebe: How many more novels do you have planned to write for your new Charles Towne Belles series?


MaryLu: At this time only 3, but the stories lend themselves to further sequels.


Phoebe: How do you come up with each of your characters for your novels? How do you choose their names out of so many names out there?


MaryLu: I select names that were used back in the time in which I’m writing, but I also go to a website (baby naming websites are great for this!) where I can look up the meaning behind the name. That way I can choose a name that suits the personality of the character. As to how I come up with the characters themselves, it is a long complicated process that has much to do with the theme of the book, each character’s journey or character arc, and the plot. I have an extensive character chart which I fill out for each main character, and I rely heavily on the book 45 Master Characters by Schmidt and my own personal experience with different types of people to create interesting characters.


Phoebe: Do you have a process of how you start to write your novels?


MaryLu: By the time I start a novel, I already have an outline bulleting the general plot of the story and the three or four major crises that occur in the novel, as well as a general idea of where I’m starting and where I want to end. I also have a fairly detailed character chart for each of the main characters listing things like their physical description, quirks, favorite sayings, goals, fears, background, personality, and how they change in the course of the story. I’m not a detailed plotter. I find I can write more freely if I allow the characters the freedom to move in directions they want to. I gather all my research around me, say a prayer, and begin writing!


Phoebe: Which do you like best, writing a series or writing stand alone novels? How is writing each different for you?


MaryLu: I prefer stand-alone novels because when I finish one book, I feel like I’m truly done! With a series, there’s much more to consider when you try and connect the books together with theme and characters.


Phoebe: What process did you have to go through to get your first book published and did it take you long?


MaryLu: My story of publication is not typical. As I said above, I wrote only as a hobby for many years, never having the confidence to even submit my work. It wasn’t until 2003 that I felt led to try to find a publisher. Once I made that decision, it only took me three months to find an agent and it only took him another two months to get a nibble on the manuscript. I truly believe this was a miracle from God, because I know it usually takes years and thousands of rejections for most authors to get published.


Phoebe: How did you feel when you finally saw your first published book came out and how do you feel about your other novels being published?


MaryLu: The day I got my author copies from my publisher in the mail, I think people heard me screaming for joy in the next county! There’s nothing quite like holding your first book in your hands. But with each subsequent book, the joy doesn’t fade. I feel truly blessed and give all the credit to God who has enabled me to do something I love to do every day.


Phoebe: Do you ever get writers block? What do you do to get rid of it so you can get back to writing your novels?


MaryLu: Yes. I think every author suffers through times when the creative well has dried up. What works for me is taking a break from writing and doing something I enjoy that inspires me: watching my favorite movies, listening to music, painting, going for long walks...etc..


Phoebe: What is your biggest reader pet peeve, if you have any? (stock characters, unresolved endings, predictability, everything wrapped up hurriedly in the end, etc.)


MaryLu: Lack of conflict and tension and predictable, trite characters.


Phoebe: Which aspects of writing do you enjoy the most and why? And what is your biggest writing pet peeve? (overuse of exclamation points, adverbs, bad guys named Wayne, etc.), if you have any?


MaryLu: My favorite part of the writing process is the time when I turn off my left brain that contains all the rules and restrictions, and I close my eyes, dive into a scene and let my creativity go wild. I don’t really have a writing pet peeve. If it’s a good story with lots of conflict and interesting characters, I don’t mind exclamation points or adverbs or any of the other things that drive some readers mad.


Phoebe: What is the one writing tool can you not live without?


MaryLu: My Online Thesaurus.


Phoebe: How do you handle your writing schedule and your personal life without going insane?


MaryLu: Who says I’m not insane? LOL. You’d have to ask my husband about that one. But honestly, it’s not easy. Right now, for instance, I’m on a tight deadline for my next book, I’m doing the edits for the last one I wrote, and I’m doing marketing for the one that just released. Besides that, I’m going on a weeklong book tour in Michigan and attending two conferences this year. That and caring for a home, a husband and two kids still living with us. Crazy! Yup. That’s me.


Phoebe: What do you do to relax after having spent a long while writing? Do you have any hobbies?


MaryLu: I love to oil paint, but I haven’t had much time to devote to that recently. I also love long walks and good movies.


Phoebe: Is there any advice that you would give to an aspiring romance writer that you wish someone had given you?


MaryLu: You may have a ton of good story ideas, but if you want a chance at getting published, you must study the craft of writing. Learn how to put together a scene, how to create tension, chapter endings, create deep interesting characters. There are a ton of great writing books out there, which you should study daily. Also, read the best sellers and study what makes them tick. If you can afford it, hire a book doctor to go over your manuscript line by line and teach you how to make it perfect.


Phoebe: Is there any writing tips, research tips, promotion and marketing tips that you would give to an aspiring romance writer that you wish someone had given you?


MaryLu: If you want to be successful in getting your name out there, you must have a strong web presence. Web site, blog, Facebook, etc...and you should join writers groups such as RWA, ACFW as well as local groups. Get involved, go to conferences, and review books on your blog. Make a name for yourself even before you get published. Publishers want to see that you’ve thought ahead about marketing and that you already have a potential following.


Phoebe: Do you have a favorite genre you like to read? Who is your favorite author(s)?


MaryLu: I love historical romance, which is why I suppose I write in that genre. My favorite author is Rafael Sabatini, who died in 1950. A more modern author who I really admire is Francine Rivers.


Phoebe: What are you reading now? And what do you plan to read after that?


MaryLu: Currently, I’m reading Sandokan, The Tigers of Mompracem by Emilio Salgari. Next in line is Tosca Lee’s Havah. Thank you Phoebe!


Sunday, March 15, 2009
Well this is the Midnight Bayou movie Preview that is going to be airing in it's World Premiere on Saturday, March 28th at 9PM EST on Lifetime TV. So remember to mark your calendars so you won't miss this world premiere of a Nora Roberts NYT bestselling novel Midnight Bayou.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Well this is the Northern Lights movie Preview that is going to be airing in it's World Premiere on Saturday, March 21st at 9PM EST on Lifetime TV. So remember to mark your calendars so you won't miss this world premiere of a Nora Roberts NYT bestselling novel Northern Lights.

Friday, March 13, 2009
Jessica Andersen is not one of those authors that I have stumbled upon in one of my many trips to Barnes and Noble. I was brought to the attention of author Jessica Anderson aka Doc Jess through JR Wards Black Dagger Brotherhood forum. I went to her website to find out more about her and about her books. I found out that she has been writing Harlequin Intrigue for a couple of years before she came out with her new series called The Final Prophecy. Her first novel in the series called Nightkeepers came out on the same day as Ward's 6th novel of her BDB series Lover Enshrined. It was only recently that I was able to finally get to reading Andersen's book but I finally gotten to it and was lucky enough to win a signed copy of her second novel in the series Dawnkeepers. I've interviewed Jessica Andersen here on the blog last year if you want to check out what went down in that interview that she mentioned many interesting things.
After reading Nightkeepers I was really looking forward to find out more about all the characters that I came to know and love from the first book come back in the second novel. The countdown to the end of days has begun and according to ancient prophecy, on December 21, 2012, Mayan demons from the underworld will trigger an apocalypse. That is not something you want happening if you want to continue living the lives you have or making a better life than you already have. Now only the Nightkeepers, mortal descendants of a race of magic-wielding warrior-priests, can prevent the annihilation of all mankind and it's going to be a very rocky road that they will be travelling. In the first book we learned about the Nightkeepers as well as the king named Strike and his mate Leah, who use to be a mortal police officer. We met the other surviving Nightkeepers that are going to help the Strike save the world from the Mayan demon destruction that was awaiting them at the end time on December 21, 2012. They are all in the twenties and so not ready to become the Nightkeepers that they were meant to be in order to save the world from the dangerously evil Mayan demons who want to come to the mortal world.
Nate Blackhawk, who we met in the first book Nightkeepers, can’t help but resent the demands of his bloodline and unlike his fellow Nightkeepers, he isn’t about to let the gods determine his destiny—especially when it comes to love. Which means he refuses to submit to the unquenchable desire he feels for Alexis Gray, the shockingly beautiful trainee who first appeared in his visions. But that’s easier said than done, considering that Nate needs Alexis’s help to uncovering the seven Mayan artifacts inscribed with clues on how to defeat the demons. Alexis is willing to do whatever is necessary to prove herself as a Nightkeeper and she believes in the life she was born into and the future the gods have written for her—even when it comes to Nate, who seems intent on ignoring the intense passion between them. But as she and Nate test their powers in a race to recover the seven statuettes before the demons do and Alexis finds it impossible to deny her feelings for the one man who’s destined to be hers.
The Nightkeepers world just keeps getting more intense with each book and that's a good thing because it makes reading them so much fun. There were some scenes in the first book about Nate and Alexis that leads us to believe that there will be a future for them in the Nightkeeper world. It was so amazing to finally get their love story read because they are complete opposites who I had a bit of trouble trying to get why they would be so attracted to each other besides knowing that they were meant to be mated Nightkeepers. There are a lot of new things going on this book that really hit me because I didn't expect it but it was very enlightening to this new Nightkeepers world that I've only just begun understanding. Nate and Alexis are not always on the same page with one another but they have this attraction to one another that pulls them closer and closer to each other that they can't stop it. Even though at first I didn't think they were right for each other as I got further into the novel I saw that they are just right for a couple who will live an interesting and full life together. I was very sad that the novel ended but I consoled myself with the knowledge that soon the third book Skykeepers would be be coming out for me to know what's going to happen next. I give the 4 Open Books
Here is the description of the book from the back cover and picture:
DAWNKEEPERS $ 7.99 (Book 2)(465 Pages) The countdown to the end of days has begun. According to ancient prophecy, on December 21, 2012, Mayan demons from the underworld will trigger an apocalypse. Only the Nightkeepers, mortal descendants of a race of magic-wielding warrior-priests, can prevent the annihilation of all mankind.
Nate Blackhawk can’t help but resent the demands of his bloodline. Unlike his fellow Nightkeepers, he isn’t about to let the gods determine his destiny—especially when it comes to love. Which means he refuses to submit to the unquenchable desire he feels for Alexis Gray, the shockingly beautiful trainee who first appeared in his visions. But that’s easier said than done, considering that Nate needs Alexis’s help to uncovering the seven Mayan artifacts inscribed with clues on how to defeat the demons. Alexis is willing to do whatever is necessary to prove herself as a Nightkeeper. She believes in the life she was born into and the future the gods have written for her—even when it comes to Nate, who seems intent on ignoring the intense passion between them. But as she and Nate test their powers in a race to recover the seven statuettes before the demons do. Alexis finds it impossible to deny her feelings for the one man who’s destined to be hers.

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Phoebe Jordan
I'm a part-time aspiring romance novelist, book reviewer and blogger. I've always wanted to travel the world and learn everything I can about other countries. Learning the Italian language is one way of trying to make that dream come true. Traveling will help me with my writing because I'll be learning about the history of the U.S., Latin America, England, Italy, and Ireland, the countries I find so fascinating while reading the romance genre.
 
I read and review romance novels of almost every subgenre along with erotic romance, mystery, sci-fi/fantasy and young adult novels. You can find the reviews at my blogs, Talk About My Favorite Authors and Phoebe Jordan's Reviews. I’ve also started a live podcast show called TAMFA | Phoebe Jordan hosted on Blog Talk Radio. This show is dedicated to everything I love about romance and young adult novels. I love having romance and young adult authors live on my show to be interviewed and showcase their books.

I plan to write contemporary romance, romantic suspense, erotic romance, paranormal romance and young adult when I get my writing career started with help from Keta. I'm not sure what genre I'll write to begin with since I love to read so many different romance genres.
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