Thursday, June 30, 2011

Interview with mystery author Elle Druskin

Today at Reviews and Interviews is mystery and romance author Elle Druskin to talk about her writing and her "To Catch" books.

Welcome, Elle. Please tell us a bit about yourself.
I’m American born and educated, but ever since I finished college, I wanted to travel and have adventures and I did. I’ve been to so many countries and things have happened along the way that I hadn’t expected. In India, I was invited to a Bollywood wedding —just fantastic fun. In Venice, I fell in a canal. In Poland I accidentally started a riot. (That’s a long story!) but you get the idea and I am grateful for those opportunities. Not the incidents, but the travel.

I’ve lived in several countries, but I’ve always practiced nursing and for many years, I’ve been teaching nursing. I am especially grateful that I had the opportunity to further my education with a Masters and Doctorate which was not easy with little kids, but I did it and will always be thankful for those experiences.

Please tell us about your current release, To Catch a Crook.
This is the second book in the “To Catch” series. The first one, To Catch A Cop was my practice book. I had a story in my head and since I knew nothing about writing fiction despite a pretty long and successful career in academic publishing, I thought I would just write the darned thing. I thought I was writing a romance, but it turned out that the reviewers and editors all said mystery which I never really saw, and a romance. Go figure.

It was an exercise for me and I didn’t expect to go any further so it came as a complete surprise when it was published and nominated as Best Romantic Comedy of 2010 by The Romance Reviews. I thought I was finished with those characters but I was wrong. They kept speaking to me and I kept seeing images in my head, so I had to sit down and write again.

In To Catch A Cop we meet Lindy Kellerman; single mother, overworked, underpaid nursing professor, divorced and winner of the World’s Worst Fix-Up Dates, who walks in to teach a class and finds a dead body in her classroom. The dead body is one of her students. Enter Detective Fraser MacKinnon, single father, who is sick and tired of fix-ups and can’t decide whether to arrest Lindy or try to seduce her.

To Catch A Crook picks up their story six months later. A London archivist is murdered and the cops and the killer are after Lindy. She’s got to find MacKinnon up in Scotland before they catch up with her. Mix in a soap star, one Bollywood diva, Santa Claus, and the worst blizzard in years, but nothing thwarts Lindy. Who would murder an archivist and why? What does Lindy know or have that the killer wants? I guess you’ll just have to read the book .

I had a great time writing both of them and I especially enjoyed hearing from reviewers and fans who said, “Thank God. Finally a woman who wears plain underwear instead of thongs. She even has runs in her stockings. She’s so real.” “I can relate to Lindy, she’s a real person. She’s someone I would like to have as a friend.” When I hear things like that, I figure I must have done something right. To Catch A Crook is due to be released today with Red Rose Publishing and will be exclusive to them for the first few months before it goes out to other distributors. To Catch A Cop is available at Amazon Kindle, Fictionwise, Bookstrand and lots of other ebook stores.

What exciting story are you working on next?
Lots! I have 2 contemporary romance novels under contract for release in 2012. I enjoyed writing both of them. Going To The Dogs is one for the dog lovers and even if you don’t love dogs, it’s fun. My editor said she’s tempted to go out and buy one after reading the book. Detective Sam Kendall is a man with a mission. Find the jewel thief who murdered his partner and Sam will do anything to nab the murderer. Sam’s new partner is a giant poodle who lives for junk food, baseball, and country music and Sam hates dogs. Chief suspect is Jodie McBride, dog trainer par excellance. Jodie suspects Sam is a thief, Sam desperately wants Jodie to be innocent. Toss in a gang of quirky pooches and their eccentric owners and everybody’s going to the dogs. I did have fun with that.

The second book, Animal Crackers, (here come the animals again !) is due out May 2012. It is the start of a trilogy. Karma has it in for Manhattan workaholic Hayley Weaver. Fired, homeless, and hit by a car driven by a clown all in one day. In desperation, she takes a job housesitting a movie star’s home which sounds easy. Two catches — nobody told her the house was in New Jersey, a place Hayley loathes, and the house is filled with more exotic critters than the Beverly Hillbillies so it’s a cinch that local veterinarian and cutie, Jake Marx is on speed dial. Jake is thrilled to meet a woman he hasn’t known since kindergarten and pretty soon the whole town is involved in the effort to convince Hayley that Jersey rocks and so does Jake. I really had fun with that one and I hope the second and third book will also be contracted, but one thing at a time.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I can’t say. I’ve done academic writing for years. Book chapters, journal articles, that sort of thing. Maybe when I had my first article published. As far as fiction is concerned, like I said, I think of myself as a storyteller.

Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
Full-time? Not a chance. I still work in academia and in a way, I think that’s good. It means I stay plugged into the real world. I do tell my students that they are not going to appear in a book. I don’t know if they are relieved or disappointed. My work day varies; sometimes I get up very early in the morning and write, other days it might be in the afternoon. Just depends what I am doing that particular day. Sometimes I can’t work on a novel, I have to do interviews, write press releases, etc. It’s related to writing, the business of writing, which is different, but absolutely necessary. Finding time to write means snatching time when you have it. As long as I have a clear image in my head of what I need to write, I can do it.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I usually write on a laptop and I do find, contrary to other people, I don’t need complete silence. I often have some background noise going on. Sometimes I read my work aloud and my dog listens. He’s not much of a critic and a good listener. .

There is one quirk maybe; when I get stuck, I get up and wander around to think. That’s not unusual, but I take dance classes twice a week so sometimes I work through some steps in between writing. I’m thinking, but also moving to the Rumba or something else. Probably looks strange. I also speak to myself —I read dialogue aloud to hear how it sounds. What looked great on the screen may not sound right and I am sure anyone who sees it will think I am having a conversation with myself.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Big smile. From the time I was very little, I wanted to be a nurse. I used to line up my dolls and bandage them. I did a fair amount of writing in high school and I enjoyed that immensely, but my family was not prepared to fund that ambition; they insisted on getting a degree in something practical so I studied nursing. I’m still a nurse, still teach, and it’s been rewarding so I’m not sorry and have no regrets. No matter how talented, writing is a difficult way to make a living and nothing is certain so a fall back position is not a bad idea. We all still have to pay bills and try to live.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
I am really grateful to readers who have taken the time to write to me. I enjoy hearing from them and try to answer them all. When I write, I write for myself, not what I think or try to second guess will sell. If readers enjoy that final product with me, well, it’s the ultimate reward.

Thanks for stopping by, today, Elle. Congrats on the new release of To Catch a Crook! And best of luck with all your writing.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Interview with romance novelist P. J. Jones

Today, Reviews and Interviews is a virtual tour stop for romance novelist P.J. Jones as she tours her book, Romance Novel, with Goddess Fish Promotions.

Commentors have a chance to win a $15 Starbucks or Amazon giftcard from our guest today. Details are below.

Okay, there are a lot of laughs ahead, so make sure you're ready before you read on...

PJ Jones began writing Romance Novel in the spring of 2009 when she was seriously ill, thinking that this book would be her last dying legacy for mankind. After you read this book, you will probably wonder if she was trying to seal her fate in hell. Who knows? But PJ Jones has conquered her illness and is much better now.

PJ Jones has penned five ‘real’ romances under another name. She is also an avid reader of real romance novels. So why does she poke fun of them? Consider it comic relief.

Please tell us about your current release, Romance Novel.
Smella Rosepetal must find a millionaire husband to finance her baby’s heart transplant. She flies home to her deputy father’s ranch in Pitchforks, Texas, where she falls in love with Deadward Forest, a wealthy environmentalist vampire.

When a deranged murderer is on the loose in Pitchforks, killing romance heroines, Deadward assumes Smella would be safer without him. Smella turns to her childhood friend, Snake Long, for comfort. But Snake doesn’t have the money to save her baby, so Smella places herself in peril in a desperate hunt for a rich husband.

Time is running out for Smella’s baby, and she must escape the Australian Outback, then face down Flabio, an overweight and disgruntled, aspiring cover model, plus enraged vampire wives and their homosexual, vampire, cowboy husbands, a jealous were-gerbil, James Bond, a drunk rodeo clown and Smella’s strange boyfriend who wants to drain her blood, yet is repulsed by her smell.

What inspired you to write this book?
Over two years ago, I was suffering from an unexplained health crisis, and since laughter has always been my best medicine, writing Romance Novel was my source of therapy. I came up with the idea after dreaming about a crude and tacky love scene. I woke up, scribbled the scene on some paper and read it to my husband. We both had a good laugh, so I decided to finish the scene and share it with my critique group. Initially, it wasn’t my intention to publish Romance Novel, but my critique group urged me to publish through Kindle and Nook. I’m glad I followed their advice. Romance Novel has received great reviews and steady sales since its release.

What exciting story are you working on next?
Driving Me Nuts - Three mental patients, two loaded guns, one stolen car, and a whole lot of angry rednecks.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Am I a writer now? Awesome! I’ve been writing since childhood. When I was nine, I sold my first magazine subscription, The Dirty Toilet Water Book, to my best friend for a quarter. I sent her home-made magazines in the mail.

Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
I’m a graphic designer. When I’m not designing, I’m writing.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
Before I write, I usually sprinkle some fairy dust around the computer and chant, “My book doesn’t suck, my book doesn’t suck…”, then I create an altar of chocolate and offer it in sacrifice to the Muse of Creativity. Somehow, by the end of my writing session, the altar offering has dwindled, but that’s just the muse channeling through me to get to the chocolate.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Actually, I wanted to be a paleontologist, but I really can’t see myself digging up dinosaur bones in 100 degree heat. I have a hard enough time pulling hot towels out of the dryer. I’m glad I lowered my standards.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
Thanks for visiting me today. I hope you get a chance to read Romance Novel. I hope you don’t burn your e-reader afterward. Thanks, Lisa, for hosting me!!!

PJ, it has been my pleasure. You sure do know how to spread the laughs! Best of luck with your writing - and keep laughing. :)

Readers, PJ is giving away a $15 Starbucks or gift card to a lucky commentor at the end of her blog tour. Leave a comment here and at any of her other blog tour stops to be entered to win. The more times you comment, the more chances you have. You can find PJ's tour dates here.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Interview with contemporary romance author Lynn Reynolds

Today at Reviews and Interviews, we get to chat with contemporary romance author Lynn Reynolds. This is just one of many blog tour stops she's doing with Goddess Fish Promotions for her fun summer read, Love, Capri Style, published by The Wild Rose Press.

Please see below for details on how to enter for a chance to win a $15 Amazon gift card along with a copy of Colbie Caillat's CD Coco (featuring the song "Capri").

Welcome, Lynn. Please tell us a bit about yourself.
As I say often, I’m a city girl trapped in Green Acres. I grew up in an urban apartment and now my next-door neighbors are cows. I still haven’t adjusted after ten years.

I’ve been writing for a very long time, in all sorts of genres – literary fiction, poetry, and journalism among others. My short stories and poetry have been published in a few obscure literary magazines no one has ever heard of, but in my other life as a journalist, my feature articles have appeared in major daily and weekly newspapers.

I secretly dream of being a wench at the Renaissance Faire, but so far I always seem to be too busy to go audition for the part.

Love Capri Style is my second published novel. RT Book Reviews called the first, my romantic suspense novel Thirty-Nine Again, “… a first-class mystery . . . and a first-class read.”

Please tell us about your current release.
Love Capri Style is a sexy contemporary romance.

Amanda Jackson takes a job with Fame magazine to get closer to her estranged father, billionaire publisher Peter Tate. Instead of welcoming her, Dad sends her out of the country, to cover a music festival on the magnificent isle of Capri. There, Amanda finds herself up close and personal with her dad’s leading competitor – a dashing British playboy named Eric Greyford. Can inept reporter Amanda get an exclusive story on Eric’s hectic love life, or will she find she’s just another item on the gossip pages of Eric’s newspaper?

What inspired you to write this book?
I mostly write romantic suspense and mysteries, but I wanted to try the challenge of writing something that was pure, fun-filled romance. I’ve traveled a lot but never been to Capri. I decided it would be entertaining to send one of my characters there in my place.

What exciting story are you working on next?
I have a scary “haunted elevator” short story that I’m hoping will be out in time for Halloween this year. After that, I have a couple of historical mysteries I’ve started working on. It’ll be a change in direction for me, but I think it will be great fun.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
As long as I can remember. I made up stories from the time I was a little child. My mom saved a few, including the immortal "Ollie the Elephant," about an elephant from the circus who gets lost in the big city and stuck in an office building. In high school, I wrote a series of spoofs of movies that were popular at the time – like The Guam Syndrome instead of The China Syndrome – and I included characters who were parodies of the teachers at my school. That was popular with quite a few classmates.

Do you write full-time?
No. I have a teenager who is too young to drive, so my full-time job is chauffeur. And homework nag.

What's your work day like?
I try to find time to write a little every morning once my son’s off at school. I used to also do a lot of freelancing for local newspapers, but in the last couple of years, I’ve mostly concentrated on writing fiction. I’m trying to get back to doing more news and feature writing, too, though, because I really do enjoy getting out there and interviewing subjects for news stories.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
My obsession with Dixon Ticonderoga #2 pencils. I can’t write without them. Even when I’m writing on the computer, the first thing I do is sharpen a bunch of Dixon-Ticonderogas.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A playwright. But then I realized if I wrote novels, I could do my own casting and set design, too.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
I hope all those new Kindle and Nook owners will check out Love Capri Style. It’s full of sun and sex and glamour, and I think it’s the perfect “beach read” for summer vacations. I hope they’ll check it out and let me know what they thought of it – they can contact me through my website or Facebook page.

Thanks so much for having me at your blog today, Lisa!

You're very welcome. Best of luck with your tour. And you'll have to let us know if you ever find time to be the Renaissance Faire wench. :)

Lynn will be giving away a $15 Amazon gift card along with a copy of Colbie Caillat's CD Coco (featuring the song "Capri") to one lucky commenter. So say something below, and visit other stops on Lynn's tour to enter for more chances to win. Dates and tour stops can be found here.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Interview with paranormal romance author Karina Cooper

Please welcome paranormal romance novelist Karina Cooper to Reviews and Interviews today. She is doing a virtual book tour for her newest release, Lure of the Wicked from Harper Collins.

One lucky commentor will win a $25 gift certificate at the end of Karina's tour. Please see details below.

After weaving happily ever afters for all of her friends in school, Karina Cooper eventually grew up (kind of) and fell in love with writing. Imagine her delight to find that it counts as A Real Job! One part romance fanatic, one part total dork, and all imagination, she writes dark, gritty and intensely sexy paranormal romance, but reads anything she can get her hands on.

When she isn’t writing, Karina is an airship captain’s wife and Steampunk fashionista. She lives in the beautiful and rainy Pacific Northwest with a husband, four cats, one rabbit, the fantasy of a dog and a passel of adopted gamer geeks.

Karina, welcome! Please tell us about your current release.
Lure of the Wicked is at the polar opposite end of the city of New Seattle. Where Blood of the Wicked took place in the lower, filthier, desperate streets and the ruined remains of the old city, this one will take us to the very top – the crème de la crème of the idle and rich. It’s such a different feel, a different mentality and world, that it’s almost as if it’s not in the same city at all!

Which really just goes to show much of a divide there is between the two layers of the city. A divide even more stark by the presence of a mid-city missionary masquerading as a wealthy heiress to get inside New Seattle’s premier resort and spa. And if you’ve read Blood of the Wicked, you’ve already met Naomi West – rough, abrasive, and nobody’s idea of a polished woman of any means. Now put her in a place filled with wealth and luxury. Let’s add one charming, smooth-talking businessman, one rogue agent bent on a killing spree, and shake. Vigorously.

What inspired you to write this book?
After I’d written Blood of the Wicked, I knew I wanted to explore the opposite end of the city. Having set the tone for the lower levels, all I had a thought of was how to showcase the epic divide between rich and poor. I didn’t really get the idea for the plot until I visited my first spa. It was while I was soaking in the heated pool did a particular scene – let me just say “cufflinks” and leave it at that! – come to me. From there, it all quickly fell into place. Who the heroine was, what kind of man could match such a virago, and the truth behind Naomi’s brass-balls façade.

What exciting story are you working on next?
All Things Wicked is the next story in the Dark Mission line, and that’s going to be out in February 2012 or so. Of course, that’s all done and in, so I’m not working on it. I can tell you, though, that I’ll have at least two more books out down the line – in fact, I’m working on the next book now to help explain some of those lingering questions that I know are going to drive readers batty. (I apologize for nothing! Nothing!)

In another vein, I’m also working on a new book that is set in an alternate history version of London, during the Victorian Age. It’s Steampunk meets urban fantasy meets Victorian-style classics, and a completely different feel from the Dark Mission series entirely. I’m really excited for the moment when I can announce it, so shhhh. This is our secret, okay?

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
The first time I wrote THE END on Blood of the Wicked, I sat back and thought to myself, “This is it. Even if I don’t sell this, even if no one else likes it, I did it. I plotted it. I wrote it, I finished the book. I’m a writer.”

That’s it. Simple! And I think it’s different for every writer. I love hearing about those moments from everyone, personally.

Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
I write full time, and I also hold down a part time job as a photographer’s assistant. My schedule works like this: I write five days a week, from about 9 to 5, give or take. I stop for nothing! Except, of course e-mails and interviews. Ahem. Since the mancandy works by day, it leaves us the evenings to catch up. You know, pretend to play house.

The other two days are devoted to my job, which is a lot of fun because I get to take photos of people and have a neat little glimpse into the lives of other people and families.

For the most part, I’m a writer, through and through. I chew through pages like it’s sustenance – which is sort of true, especially on days when I forget to eat until much later. This happens a lot. Coffee, for the record, isn’t really food. Just in case you were wondering.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I have several, really, and I’ve already talked a lot about the weird need I have to keep a hot cup of coffee or tea or something at hand. I mean, it’s just weird. Really.

Another thing I do – especially with characters who have strange speech patterns – is as I write them, I say everything out loud. (It’s one of the reasons I don’t write well in public.) It’s as if I’m dictating to myself, so it’s all very slow and halted. “And… .that’s… sort of… annoying... Don’t… you think?”

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Ha! At which point? When I was very young, my mother worked for the California Academy of Sciences and, later, the Smithsonian. Because of my exposure to the sciences, I wanted to be an ichthyologist, and I wanted to study sharks. Then I wanted to be a paleontologist and specialize in dinosaurs. After that, I wanted to be an archaeologist and focus on Egyptology.

Later, I wanted to be a lawyer, an actress, an author (this started early!), and then even later, I dabbled with fashion designer, web designer, and back to author.

As you can tell, I landed on author.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
I get a lot of questions asking me why in the name of all things cheese did I choose Naomi as my heroine for this book. It seems a majority of readers reacted so strongly to her behavior in the first book that they can’t possibly see what makes her heroine-material.

I have to admit, every time one of those crosses my attention, I laugh. I can’t help it! I really can’t figure out if readers really don’t see that potential here, or if they’re too used to a Certain Type of Heroine. Or maybe they’re just so put off by first impressions that they don’t care to know more.

I have to admit, Lure of the Wicked is my favorite book so far, and I think it has to do with the fact that I sympathize with Naomi a little. I mean, sure, I’m no Mission-sanctioned hunter, and I can’t possibly compare my life to hers, but I know what it’s like to be trapped in a situation that feels as if there’s no way out. Even if you excel in it, even if you’re the best of the best, there has to be room for choice. For an option.

I wanted to give Naomi hers. And see if she was strong enough make the right one.

I hope you enjoy Lure of the Wicked as much as I loved writing it! And thanks so much for having me here. I can’t wait to dive into the comments, so if you want to ask me anything – and I mean anything! – then please do!

Thanks for stopping by today, Karina. Now I guess you have to get back to writing!

Readers, anyone who leaves a comment on this blog, or on any other blog that Karina is visiting while on her tour, will be entered to win a $25 gift certificate. The more times you comment, the more times you're entered to win. Nothing to lose, but you can gain more insight about the author if you follow her tour. Dates and locations can be found here.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Live chat/interview with author Erika Talbot - 7/3/11

The Writer's Chatroom presents novelist, picture book author, and poet Erika Talbot.


Sunday, July 13, 2011

Eastern USA Time.....7-9 PM

Not sure what time that is wherever in the world you are?


The Writers Chatroom at:

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Please note: The chatroom is only open for regularly scheduled chats.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Review - Julius Katz and Archie by Dave Zeltserman

Julius Katz and Archie
Author: Dave Zeltserman
Rated: Excellent (*****)

Private Eye Julius Katz is good at solving cases, but he avoids work if at all possible. Archie is eager to learn from his boss, but it’s hard to get any hands-on experience when his boss doesn’t want to do more than raise an eyebrow.

Archie, Julius’ all-around, ever-efficient, and inconspicuous assistant, does his best to nag Julius into producing a steady income, but his efforts, more often than not, are futile. Archie is bursting with the desire to solve crimes as effortlessly as Julius, however he is not at all pleased with the newest case Julius has taken on. Archie thinks Julius has sold his soul for money and a rare bottle of wine. The case has the potential to destroy Julius’ impeccable closure rate which will make future work dry up like the Sahara. With 6 potential suspects and a 1-day deadline to solve the crime, there isn’t any time to sleep.

The author has crafted two main characters that balance each other well. The lazy detective who wants to spend all his time on gourmet dining, betting on the horses, and increasing his already large wine collection is offset with the assistant who is chomping at the bit to learn from his mentor, if only he could get the mentor to work. The story is written with humor, intellect, and a lot of potential guilty parties. Choosing to tell the story from Archie’s point of view allows the reader to work right along with Archie in trying to solve the crime, and it’s hard not to get caught up in Archie’s desire to solve the crime before Julius. The author pulls the reader into the story and doesn’t let him go.

Dave Zeltserman is the author of twelve novels, including Outsourced, Killer, The Caretaker of Lorne Field, Small Crimes, and Blood Crimes. He’s published numerous short stories and a collection of short crime fiction. His writing covers the gamut from charming and light (Julius Katz) to the extreme dark (Pariah). He has something for everyone. Learn more at his website,

Julius Katz and Archie is an excellent, fun, and entertaining read. I thought I’d read it in at least four sittings, but it turned out to be two…and that’s only because I couldn’t keep my eyes open after the first 111 pages. I had to finish the last 19 pages as soon as I woke up the next day to find out whodunnit. It’s very engaging and appropriate for any age.

E-book formats available through: and

Title: Julius Katz and Archie
Author: Dave Zeltserman
Publisher: Top Suspense Books
Format: Kindle and Nook
Pages: 130
Price: $2.99

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Interview with fantasy and paranormal writer Wendy Callahan

Today's guest is fantasy and paranormal writer Wendy L. Callahan. She talks about her newest release from Damnation Books, Dead Wrong.

Wendy L. Callahan is a Priestess, writer, homeschooler, and genealogist from Massachusetts, currently living in England with her husband, son, caique (kī-EEK - a parrot), and two cats (one of whom is certifiably demonic).

She has walked the Goddess path since 1984, and most of her fiction writing tends to include an element of Paganism or magick. Her writing has appeared in numerous Pagan periodicals, the independent paranormal comic book, “The Necropolis Chronicles”, and she is author of the novella Dead Wrong.

Wendy, welcome! Please tell us about your current release, Dead Wrong.
Shiva is a vampire who would rather let go of the painful memories of her past. Unfortunately, a piece of her past walks back into her life in the form of a vampire slayer named Desmond. Even as they become lovers, Shiva holds him at arm's length for fear of secrets being revealed. Desmond sets out to understand why Shiva is so guarded and self-protective, and ultimately uncovers all of the details of a murderous plot set in motion by the organization in which he had so much faith.

What inspired you to write this book?
It was either 1993 or 1994. A small group of us were playing “Chill” at the local comic book store after hours. While the characters in the book are not identical to the characters we played, and the plot is definitely not the same as the game that night, I was inspired many years later to develop a fictional short story based upon my friends as vampire slayers.

What exciting story are you working on next?
Would you believe that I have 25 stories in the works, all in various stages of completion? I write based upon my mood. Most of what I write is dark, urban, or Steampunk fantasy. My current focus is a romantic sword-and-sorcery fantasy, with a light Steampunk element to it. The manuscript is complete and I just need to put it out there to publishers. I am also actively working on a sequel to Dead Wrong, since people have been asking to learn about the characters in greater depth.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I would say in 3rd grade when I wrote, produced, and directed a play, which I cast my classmates. We performed the play for the 1st graders at our school, Fishkill Elementary. It was called “The Principal Who Hated Easter.”

Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
I would absolutely consider myself a full-time writer. My day is scheduled and To-Do listed down to the minute sometimes (I’m very type A). I get up, work out, grab breakfast, and catch up on email, make sure my son is all set with breakfast, clean my caique’s cage, do errands and homeschooling, and that covers my morning. Afternoon is for writing, as is any time at the playground, or during homeschooling activities or classes outside of the house. From 1 p.m. until roughly 10 p.m., my day is devoted to writing and anything related to it – keeping in touch with my publisher, supporting other authors in their endeavors, connecting to readers through Shelfari, GoodReads, blogs, and more. For me, writing is definitely a full-time job and I love it. My husband actually has to force me to sit down and relax at night with video games when he gets home from work.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
This could be a tad embarrassing to share… I tell myself my stories. I mean, I actually speak to myself, in character, when ideas come to mind. This usually happens in the shower or while I’m driving – always in the least convenient places to write things down – so I think talking to myself actually reinforces what I want to remember, until I can get to my laptop or a pad of paper.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A writer! How boring am I? I also wanted to be an actress, an artist, and a fashion designer. All in all, I wanted a career that centered around being creative.

Thanks for stopping in, Wendy. You're inspiring with your writing pursuits...such variety. :)

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Interview with mystery author Debra C. Thomas

Today at Reviews and Interviews we have mystery writer Debra C. Thomas.

Freelance artist and fiction writer Debra C. Thomas has published short stories in Futures Magazine, Somniloquy, Great Mystery, and Suspense Magazine and the anthology Poetry and Prose, and has won several short story contests. She has also published writing-related illustrations and cartoons in Futures. She fears she is cursed, however, as every publication that accepted a short story from her has since gone under ....

Welcome, Debra. Please tell us about your current release.
Timewarp is a mystery that takes place in a small Nebraska town. A diary that hints at tragedy, missing newspaper files, and snatches of overheard conversation about an event covered up a hundred years ago that may be repeated become all too real to textile historian Kate Edwards when she suddenly finds herself living a hundred years in the past. She must rely on her experience with Living History presentations to create a believable persona in 1904, not an easy task for someone whose specialty has been the Colonial era. As a single woman and a stranger in a small Midwestern town, can she bring the man responsible for three mysterious deaths to justice? Can she avoid becoming his fourth victim? Will she ever return to 2004, or is she destined to remain in the past?

What inspired you to write this book?
Like my protagonist, I am a handweaver and spinner. When, a number of years ago, I mentioned to a weaver friend that my wristwatch had died yet again, she said I must generate a magnetic field with my weaving, and if I wasn't careful, I'd go downstairs and find it was a hundred years ago. That statement stayed in the back of my mind for many years, one of those "some day I'm going to write this" ideas. In 2004, I decided to take the NaNoWriMo Challenge. National Novel Writing Month is a free program in which one attempts to write 50,000 words in 30 days. It happens each November, and that was the first year I had the time to attempt it. I dusted off that old idea and ran with it. I completed the challenge, and then completed the full manuscript three months later.

What exciting story are you working on next?
I'm in the "thinking" phase of two projects, a sequel to Timewarp, and a series set in the world of Fulltimers--people who live in their RVs full time. I'm not yet in that category, but hope to be in the next few years.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
About fifteen years ago, when I finally sat down to write the novel that entered my mind every time I wasn't concentrating on something else. I had a complete plot, fully populated, living in my head and knew if I didn't write it down, it would fade away.

Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
I don't currently write full time. In addition to providing daycare for my grandson, a temporary "day job," I am a freelance artist and illustrator, knitter, spinner and weaver, and in my "spare time" I play guitar and folk harp.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
Probably my need for quiet, so I can concentrate. When I'm drawing or painting, I like to listen to music, but when I'm writing, any extra words get in the way.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
In early elementary school, I wanted to be a teacher. Then my mother started teaching high school, and after hearing about her day, I changed my mind. After that, I wanted to be a musician, an artist, and a writer.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
Traditional publishing wisdom says that time travel = science fiction, which is why I ended up publishing this novel in electronic form. Timewarp is currently available for the Nook and the Kindle. I discovered an added bonus to electronic publishing, in that I was able to do my own cover art. I hope readers will enjoy my new subgenre, Time Travel Mystery. Please check out my website and feel free to let me know what you think.

Debra, thank you for being here today and talking about your writing. I think NANO is great for any writer - it's a great way to just get that novel out - or at least the crappy first draft out of the way to make room for the 'true' novel. :)

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Interview with short story writer Jason Kahn

Reviews and Interviews welcomes short story writer Jason Kahn today, just to start mixing things up a bit more.

Jason Kahn lives in Brooklyn with his lovely wife amidst all of the other young families fleeing Manhattan for more space. His online series, The Dark InSpectre, is currently running courtesy of Abandoned Towers Magazine.

He has had short stories published in various places including Baen’s Universe, Damnation Books, Abandoned Towers Magazine (print version), and several anthologies. When not writing, Jason enjoys rooting for his University of Michigan Wolverines and chasing after two mischievous gnomes who claim to be his children.

What do you enjoy most about writing short stories?
The endless variety. If an idea pops into my head, I’ll write about it. Then in a couple weeks, if I get another idea about something completely different? I’ll write that too. I’ve written dark humorous pieces about the devil, hard boiled crime fiction, and fantasy pieces about witches in love. Not to mention the obligatory zombie story. With short stories I can explore the most random interesting idea—and then move on to something else.

Can you give us a little insight into a few of your short stories – perhaps some of your favorites?
Hey, I don’t play favorites, then the other stories would get jealous! I can certainly touch on a few, though. I suppose my story "Devil May Care" was significant for a couple of reasons. It was my first (and to date only) professional sale, to the now defunct Jim Baen’s Universe, which definitely opened some doors for me in terms of joining SFWA. The story was also important because it served as my introduction to the Baen’s Universe slush board, an electronic forum where contributors all critique everybody else’s work. I learned more about the craft of writing from that bulletin board over a few months than I had over the past several years. I also very much enjoyed creating the story, about a down-on-his-luck lesser demon working in a dilbertian version of hell.

Another key story for me was "The Killer Within," an e-book published by Damnation Books. It represented my first foray into hardboiled crime fiction and was a real departure from the fantasy and sci-fi pieces I had been writing up to that point. Of course, after that I was hooked…

What genre are you inspired to write in the most? Why?
As you may have guessed from the above question, crime fiction, at least right now. There’s a certain voice you have to get into to write these stories that I absolutely love, stark, cynical, and at times funny. And the world these stories inhabit is especially juicy to explore, a noir universe where everybody’s working their own angle. Absolutely delicious.

What exciting story are you working on next?
I am working on two main things. The first is my ongoing sci-fi crime series, The Dark InSpectre, published online by Abandoned Towers Magazine, with new episodes every two weeks.

Here’s the blurb:
In a near-future society where “normals” fear and mistrust those with telepathic ability, Jack Garrett leads a special police unit of telepaths with the unique talent of contacting the psychic awareness of the dead. Seven years after solving a notorious murder spree that culminated in the killing of his best friend’s daughter, Jack starts receiving visits from the murdered girl. Determined to follow her paranormal clues, Jack uncovers a web of police corruption that threatens to end his career and his life the closer he gets to the truth.

The second thing I’m writing is a more straight up crime novel, very hardboiled, no sci-fi elements. Should be finished over the summer. So between the two of those, I’m pretty busy, especially considering I have a normal day job and a rather hectic family life!

What else do you have coming out?
I have three short stories set for publication in the spring/summer:

• "Forge of the Soul" is a dark historical fantasy based loosely on characters form The Crucible. It will appear in Something Wicked Magazine.

• "Voyage of the Hangman" is a sword and sorcery tale set to appear in the Pulp Empire anthology: Swords and Swashbucklers.

• "The Emerald Heart" is my zombie story set to appear in the Static Movement anthology: Best Left Buried, a Cursed Anthology.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
It changes depending on my mood. Sometimes I think it was my first short story sale. Sometimes I think it was my first (and thus far only) professional short story sale. Sometimes I don’t really consider myself a writer at all because I don’t write fiction for a living. Sometimes I think that’s ridiculous because I do make a living writing and editing, just not fiction. Then there are other times when I think that if and when I have an actual novel published, like I hopefully will with the one I’m writing now, that I can honestly look in the mirror and say, Chum, you’re a writer, you are.

How do you research markets for your work, perhaps as some advice for writers?
I read, plain and simple. When I wanted to know more about how to write crime fiction, I started reading: Joseph Wambaugh, Elmore Leonard, James Ellroy, everything I could get my hands on. If there’s something specific I need to know for a realistic detail in a story I’m writing, I’ll look it up. That’s why God created the internets. Otherwise, my advice is to read your genre, and then occasionally something totally outside your genre just to expose yourself to different styles and themes. It’s like food for your brain if you’re a writer.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I’m hoping what I write is far more interesting than how I write. There’s really very little quirky about how I write. I’ll either sit at my desk, or at my older boy’s karate class, or on a plane, or on a train….now why am I thinking about Dr. Seuss all of a sudden?

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Professional soccer player, no question. I was very into soccer. Still am, though I’ve long since given up the dream of playing overseas and buying a castle on the English countryside. Okay, maybe not the castle part.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
Feel free to check out more about my writing. Or stop by and say hi on my Facebook page.

Thanks for being here today, Jason, and talking about your passion for short story writing. Write on. :)

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Live chat/interview with C. Hope Clark - 6/26/11

The Writer's Chatroom presents C. Hope Clark, creator of Funds for Writers, author, and speaker.


Sunday, June 26, 2011

Eastern USA Time.....7-9 PM

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Friday, June 17, 2011

Review - Opur's Blade by James Ross

Genre: Fiction
Title: Opur’s Blade
Author: James Ross
Rating: 3.5/5

Owen Purler Jr.’s mom takes stuttering 12-year-old Owen to Prairie Woods Golf Course one summer to take advantage of free golf lessons. He learns about the sport and so much more.

J Dub Schroeder, the golf pro and manager at Prairie Woods quickly realizes the natural talent Owen has with a golf club. As is appropriate with just about everyone on the golf course, Owen Purler gets a nickname. His first and last name merge and he becomes known as Opur. Learning how good he is at golf helps Opur with self-confidence. As Opur grows up, he learns more about life through J Dub than his estranged father and comes to appreciate his mother’s sacrifices. The theme of Opur’s life seems to be that just when he can see his goal within reach he is blindsided by an action or event that forces him to reassess his plans.

Ross uses short chapters to keep the pacing of the story going, and it works well. It could almost be a young adult novel, except that it follows Opur well into his twenties and has adult topics in the back story of his father. In this novel, more than the previous three, Ross delves into the actual details of how to play golf. Ross uses his in-depth experience of the sport to include details that golf fans will understand, but also enough for people unfamiliar with the sport to be able to grasp and appreciate. Pulling the point of view around the golf course works especially well in this novel. The reader moves from the sportscaster’s booth, to the golfers’ shoulders as they discuss strategy with their caddies, to various spectators in the crowd commenting on what they are seeing, hearing, and experiencing. The shifting point of view can be distracting, but in this instance it helps add to the suspense of play at each hole and keeps the reader moving along with the game.

James Ross took up golf at the age of twelve. After turning fifty, he decided to pursue his creative side. He went to a keyboard and let the words flow through his fingertips. Opur’s Blade is fourth in a series of books centering on the Prairie Woods Golf Course. It follows Lifetime Loser, Finish Line, and Tuey’s Course. His fifth novel, Pabby's Score is due out this year. When he’s not writing, Ross can most likely be found on a golf course.

Opur’s Blade is my favorite of the four I’ve read in this series, although the editing and ending leave a bit to be desired. Opur’s Blade is about keeping focused on your passion and pushing through any and all obstacles to reach your goals without being tempted to take what, at first glance, appears to be the easy way to the finish line. Persistence and patience will get you to your destination. It is a recommended read. Reviewer: Lisa Haselton, Allbooks Reviews,

Available through: and

Publisher: Nightengale Press
ISBN: 978-1-9334-4987-6
Pages: 472
Price: $18.95

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Interview and blog tour stop with author Killian McRae

Today, Reviews and Interviews is a blog tour stop for Killian McRae as she tours with Goddess Fish Promotions for her new book 12.21.12. There's a chance to win a $20 Amazon gift card, too. Details below.

History is Killian's primary love in life, outside her family and, yes, sadly her dog. Therefore, her works of fiction often are packaged inside historical wrappers, as she tugs and twists on the edges of reality to ask the ever-present "What if?"

Born and raised in rural Michigan, Killian used the local library - a single room in her village's firehouse - as an escape, before actually escaping to the relative jungle of Ann Arbor and the University of Michigan. There, after several minor attempts to establish a major, she finally completed a BA in Turkic History and nearly attempted a Bachelors of Music in Vocal Performance. ("Theys call it the opry 'round these parts," she says in her heavy, Michiganian accent.)

Though she had written three novels before graduating high school, she never thought of trying to publish for - oh, it must have been well into her 30s. 12.21.12 is her first published work, released in late 2010.

Killian is a member of Stanford University's Writer's Certificate program and a PRO member of the Romance Writers of America. Her other interests include musicology and did we mention history? She currently lives in the San Francisco Bay area, though she is quite often unhappy about this fact.

Welcome, Killian. Please tell us about your current release.
12.21.12 is a cross-genre speculative fiction that combines elements of sci-fi, romance, history, and mystery. As time ticks away towards December 21, 2012, the date the Mayan calendar claims the world will end, Egyptologist Prof. Shep Smyth tries to decode the past in order to save the future.

What inspired you to write this book?
I was inspired by a trip to Ephesus in the late 1990s, where I began to wonder what a person who inhabited the ancient Greek city would have experienced if that’s have been able to come across time and witness the parade of cultures that had inhabited the region.

What exciting story are you working on next?
My next release comes out in early Autumn this year, a historical romance set in 1860s Ireland entitled, A Love by any Measure.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I remember making text books for my stuffed animals around the age of seven. By ten, I was writing short stories and poetry, and wrote my first novel at age sixteen.

Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
It would be a dream to be a full-time writer, but for now I sneak it around my day as I’m able, in between family, job, and school.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I’m a collector of world music, and a random shuffle of my iPod can bring up anything from Amadeus Mozart to ZZ Top and everything in between and outside.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Taller. :)

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
This summer, Omnific Publishing will be offering two short story anthologies by its authors to raise funds in the fight against breast cancer. I hope lovers of romance will consider buying one or both volumes, in which I have one short story (contemporary romance). 100% of the proceeds will be donated to Save the Ta-Tas.

Feel free to connect with me: Website, Blog, Twitter,
Facebook, and Goodreads.

Folks, remember, Killian will be giving away a $20 Amazon gift card to one randomly drawn commenter. So leave a comment here and/or at any of her other blog tour stops.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Interview with fantasy author Teel James Glenn

Reviews and Interviews is happy to welcome fantasy writer Teel James Glenn today.

Welcome, Teel. Please tell us a bit about yourself.
As a writer, I have over two score novels currently on the market including the SF thrillers 'The Exceptionals' series for Whiskey Creek Press, one of which was a best seller and one an EPIC finalist. One book in my sword and fantasy Altiva series, Sister Warrior was named one of the hundred best fantasy novels of all time by

I have had short stories published in Mad, Black Belt, Fantasy Tales, Pulp Empire, Sixgun Western, Fantasy World Geographic, Silver Blade Quarterly, Another Realm, AfterburnSF, Blazing Adventures, Fantasy World Geographic, and scores of other publications.

On stage, I’ve performed at 53 Renaissance Faires and on screen I have been in many genre films and TV series including Citizen Toxie (as fight choreographer and Toxie’s double), Spenser for Hire, Lord of the Strings, and all the New York soap operas, but am known most widely as Vega in the world wide web series “Street Fighter: the later years.” Needless to say, all my sword swinging on stage and screen go into my written work.

Please tell us about your current book, Wake of the Red Mistress.
The book is a fantasy tale of thwarted love and piratical lust, blood and treasure! Sister Shinara of the Yulinites is on a ship that is attacked by the notorious pirate Aurzia - the Red Mistress. When the pirate’s men are going to kill Shinara and the five novices in her care the sister makes a deal with the pirate queen to lead her to a ‘great treasure’ in a distance monastery.

Meanwhile, near that monastery, young monk Zak has been having an affair with a noblewoman but he feels guilt for the affair (and has memories of Shinara) and keeps trying to resist his desires for the older woman.

The Red Mistress leads her brigands on a cross-country trek to loot the monastery with Shinara and the sisters in tow.

When these characters come together and how they interact is the tale.

What inspired you to write this book?
I had written two stories before My Seven Kingdoms World (a novel “The Traveler’s Tale” and a short “The Jester’s Touch”) but wanted to explore other parts of society. And I wanted to write something that dealt with life on a number of different levels; lustful, unrequited, religiously motivated and platonic — all in the same story. I’m very happy with the result – it is one of the more unusual and unpredictable stories I’ve written.

What exciting story are you working on next?
I am working on the next of my Dr. Shadows series. He’s an adventurer in the 1930s who investigates unusual crimes and fights against the Japanese Imperial ambitions. His stories take place in America and China and are written with an attempt to create a character/series that might have been on the newsstands then, with no nod to the modern point of view. It takes a lot of research but its very rewarding.

The first collection “Shadows of New York” is out from

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I’ve always written and I sold articles to major magazines while still in college, but it was just a ‘side thing’ to my performing career. It wasn’t until I was sidelined by an ailment in 2004 that I pulled an old novel out of my ‘trunk’ and sent it out into the brave new world of cyber publishing. The day I got the phonecall from the acquisitions editor was the day I new that I was a writer!

Do you write full-time? If so, what's your workday like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
When people ask me what my day job is I tell them writer, but I still teach sword one day a week and have the ‘odd’ show or film to choreograph fights for. It has reached the point where I resent the ‘intrusion’ of the other work into my writing time - which is how I know I’m really a writer!

My best work day involves rolling out of bed directly to the computer (about five feet away) and writing for 16 hours without leaving my 'work station.' And when I’m lucky I can get two or three of those days in a row. Heaven!

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I hate to write in silence so I have the TV running from the second I wake up — I love the history channel and the military channel — get lots of good ideas/facts as a bonus.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Oddly enough, I always dreamed of writing and drawing comic book characters and then playing them in film. Skip ahead 40 years and I drew comic professionally, I write characters, and have even played some characters I have created on film. Pretty cool.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
Just that you can never be sure what is coming so never give up — any dream can be achieved with enough time, work and a little luck. I’ve been blessed to live many of my dreams so just keep dreaming!

Thanks for being here today, Teel. You're quite a busy guy!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Interview with mystery author Stacy Juba

Reviews and Interviews welcomes mystery author Stacy Juba today.

Although Stacy Juba specializes in writing adult mysteries, she has also authored books for children and young adults – she pursues whatever story ideas won’t leave her alone. Stacy’s titles include the Amazon bestselling adult mystery novels Twenty-Five Years Ago Today and Sink or Swim, the mystery short story "Laundry Day," the children’s picture books The Flag Keeper and Victoria Rose and the Big Bad Noise, and the upcoming young adult novels Dark Before Dawn, Face-Off, and Offsides. She is a former journalist with more than a dozen writing awards to her credit.

Stacy, please tell us about your current release.
Sink or Swim was published in trade paperback by Mainly Murder Press and is also available in multiple e-book formats. It's a fun beach read about Cassidy Novak, a personal trainer who appears on a hit reality show called Sink or Swim. (nicknamed SOS) After she returns to her normal life in a small New England town, Cassidy discovers that she has attracted a stalker. Soon Cassidy will need to call SOS for real. I like to describe it as a cross between a cozy mystery and a romantic suspense novel.

What inspired you to write this book?
With reality shows being so popular, I wanted to explore why a normal person might want to appear on one of those shows, how this brief stint with fame might affect her life, and whether fame was all she expected it to be. Since I love writing mystery novels, I injected this theme into a suspense story. Although fans of reality shows should appreciate the premise, you don't need to be a reality show lover to enjoy the novel as the show is just the hook that sets the story into motion. The reality show's season ends at the end of chapter one and then Cassidy returns to her normal life, working for a health club. I was an exercise science major in college and worked briefly in a health club, which is why I chose the health and fitness field for Cassidy.

What exciting story are you working on next?
I'm preparing for the release of my paranormal thriller Dark Before Dawn, which is scheduled to come out from Mainly Murder Press in January. It's a young adult novel, but adults who enjoy Twilight-type books should enjoy it also. This summer, I'm working on re-releasing my 1992 Avon Flare young adult novel Face-Off as an e-book and I'm also revising its previously unpublished sequel.

Once all of those novels are published, which should be by early next year, I'll be finishing up my adult mystery Sign of the Messenger, which was a recipient of the William F. Deeck Malice Domestic Grant awarded annually at the Malice Domestic convention. That's about Deirdre Sheridan, a psychic healer who co-owns a metaphysical shop. It's the first in a series, and in this book, she's trying to predict a serial killer's next move.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
When I was in fifth grade. I was fortunate that my elementary school teachers recognized and nourished my talent with words. I was very introverted and writing was a way for me to express myself. I wrote dozens and dozens of stories back then, mostly mysteries. By high school, I was submitting to magazines and I got my first book, Face-Off, published at age 18. There were many years of rejection after that, though, but while I was pursuing publication for my novels, I was also writing for newspapers, newsletters, and magazines as my "day job." I was always writing in some capacity.

Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
I write full-time, working around my family's schedule, so I do a lot of chipping away at my work in the early morning, at night, and on weekends. Right now, I'm mostly working on marketing my published books and editing the ones that will be going into production. I also write wellness newsletters for a couple of wonderful clients that I've had for several years, about five newsletters per year. I used to do a lot of freelance writing for magazines and other publications, but as my novel-writing career has taken off, I've eliminated all of that to focus on writing fiction and promoting my published books.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
That no one can read my writing - my handwriting, that is! I've interviewed hundreds of people over the years, either for newspaper and magazine articles or to research my novels, and I can't even begin to estimate how many interview subjects have looked at my handwriting and nervously asked me, "Is that shorthand? You can actually read that?" I can read it, but no one else can. It's like a secret code. That's just when I'm doing an interview though, when I have to write fast to keep up with what the person is saying. My "every day" handwriting is acceptable. Not great, but acceptable.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I loved to write stories as a child, but I dreamed about being a private detective like the women on Charlie's Angels. I didn't seriously think I'd become a detective, but it was my fantasy to go undercover and then surprise everyone by revealing my true identity. In high school, I daydreamed about being a Hollywood scriptwriter.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
Feel free to connect with me on Twitter or visit my web site. I have lots of book trailers, excerpts, reviews, book club discussion questions, and blog posts. If you browse my past blog posts, there are numerous columns and interviews featuring guest authors from various genres.

You can also download my free short story "Laundry Day" and the Stacy Juba Mystery Sampler via my web site at It is available as a free download from Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, and other retailers. In addition to the short story, the download also contains an interview and sample chapters from Twenty-Five Years Ago Today and Sink or Swim.

Stacy, thank you for stopping by and talking about your writing with us. It's been a pleasure. See you at Crime Bake!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Live chat/interview with dark fiction writer Lincoln Crisler - 6/19/11

The Writer's Chatroom presents dark fiction writer Lincoln Crisler.


Sunday, June 19, 2011

Eastern USA Time.....7-9 PM

Not sure what time that is wherever in the world you are?


The Writers Chatroom at:

Scroll down to the Java box. It may take a moment to load. Type in the name you wish to be known by, and click Login. No password needed.

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Friday, June 10, 2011

Stylish Blogger Award recipient

How cool is this? Reviews and Interviews has received the Stylish Blogger Award from Dallas Woodburn.

Thank you, Dallas for recognizing my blog with this award. I've interviewed Dallas a few times here (she has so much going on that one interview just didn't cut it), and she was also a gracious guest at The Writer's Chatroom recently. She's a constant source of inspiration for writers. I hope you'll visit her site and see all that she's been up to. She's a college student, runs her own non-profit that inspires kids to read, and still finds time to write and publish stories, articles, and novels.

This is a pay-it-forward type of award. So I get to pass it along to 7 others. There are so many stylishly inspirational blogs that have my attention but here are my 7 picks for the Stylish Blogger Award, in no particular order:

Wendy Thomas' Lessons Learned from the Flock
Warren and Betsy Talbot's Married with Luggage
Hope Clark's blog C. Hope Clark
Sage Cohen's The Path of Possibility
Jon Winokur's Advice to Writers
Kelly James-Enger's Dollars and Deadlines
Jennifer Mattern's All Freelance Writing

And also as part of the award, I get to share 7 things you might not know about me. Here you go:
* Coffee has always been my favorite flavor of ice cream, but amazingly I didn't start drinking coffee until a few years ago - and that's only because I started spending a lot of time writing in a cafe
* I grew up behind a wild animal farm and was awoken every morning by the growls of lions, and tigers, and, yes, bears
* I made snow cones at a race track concession stand as a teen - it was great to play with ice on hot summer nights :)
* I won several top candlepin bowling trophies from my teens through 20s, even had a couple sweet double strikes
* I would love to be able to travel back in time
* I collect sea glass when I'm at the ocean
* I get motion sick when contra dancing

Thanks, again, Dallas for the award!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Interview with novelist Richard Brawer

Thriller author Richard Brawer is Reviews and Interviews' guest today.

After graduating the University of Florida and a stint in the National Guard, Richard Brawer worked 40 years in the textile and retail industries. He spends his retirement years writing novels, sailing, and gardening. He has two married daughters and lives in New Jersey with his wife. Beyond Guilty is his fifth published novel.

Richard, please tell us about your current release.
Beyond Guilty is a high concept thriller where a wrongly convicted woman escapes from death row and fights to prove her innocence.

Teenager Eileen Robinson lives in an ideal, middle class African-American family in Houston, Texas. Through a careless act she causes the deaths of her two younger sisters. Tormented and alienated from her mother, she runs away from home. Befriended by a drug dealer, she moves in with him. At twenty-one she is a single mother of two falsely convicted of killing a state senator’s son and sentenced to death. At thirty-three she is executed. Or is she?

Reviewers have said about Beyond Guilty: "Twisting Action", "Thought Provoking", "A Fast Paced Thriller", "Sympathetic Character", "Authentic Dialogue", "Spirited Prose", "A Real Winner"

Please see all the reviews at my website.

What inspired you to write this book?
Beyond Guilty was inspired by a screen play written by my daughter, Marlo Brawer Lyons. In her script, the protagonist is an African-American male wrongly accused of a murder and sentenced to death. Despite her being a lawyer in the movie industry and the screenplay winning a number of awards including $1,000 from a “Writer’s Digest” contest, she was not able to generate interest in Hollywood. I said to her, “Let me write it as a book with an African-American female protagonist as there are many black actresses looking for a strong leading role.” Thus, Beyond Guilty was born.

However, in the process, the book took on a life of its own and dramatically deviated from the screen play. Marlo has written a new screen play from Beyond Guilty and is shopping it around.

What exciting story are you working on next?
A fourth Murder at the Jersey Shore mystery with Detective David Nance.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
First, let me say if one’s main consideration as having “made it” as a writer is money received, I have not yet made it. However, money was not my primary criteria. To me, getting rave reviews from both reviewers and readers was when I considered myself as having arrived as a writer. So I first considered myself a writer when my historical novel, Silk Legacy was published in 2006.

Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
I am retired, so I find plenty of time to write. I try to write every day, but occasionally I get stuck. I don’t like to write just to fill pages with words. If I’m stuck, I take a break and think about where I want the story to go next. Some of the inspiration comes during my hour walks that I take almost every day. Unfortunately, most of the inspiration that “unsticks” me comes when I turn the lights off in bed at night. I keep a huge pile of paper and a flashlight next to the bed to jot down the nocturnal inspirations. It is those nights that I don’t get a lot of sleep. There are even times I get out of bed and begin to write again, sometimes to dawn.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A businessman. The family have always been independent business owners in the textile industry of which the retail end was one facet.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
I like to include something educational in my novels. In Beyond Guilty it's nanomedicine, a revolutionary field of medical science that has the potential by the mid 2020s to cure cancer, alzheimers, diabetes, and many more diseases.

Although only a small segment of the plot (the main focus being Eileen's quest to prove her innocence) nanomedicine is a fascinating subject. I chose it after reading an article about it in a magazine. My daughter's screenplay had her protagonist trying to salvage his DNA before it got destroyed to prove his innocence. I thought that was old news.

Of course I ran into immediate problems trying to include nanomedicine in the plot. I was neither a doctor nor a scientist. So I started research on the internet. 99% of the articles were way over my head, but one author, Robert A. Freitas Jr., Senior Research Fellow at the Institute For Molecular Manufacturing, explained it in "English". I contacted him and asked him if he would look at what I wrote. Not only was he happy to do so, he graciously edited the references to nanomaufacturing and nanomedicine and has written the essay at the end of the novel about the progress being made in developing nanomedicine.

The next question I had was would the reader understand the subject? I think this review answers that question: “The author’s inclusion of the concept of nanomedicine in the plot is articulate and intriguing …Readers who like the thrillers and mysteries with a medical theme should find Beyond Guilty interesting and entertaining, as well as faster-paced than most books in this sub-genre.” Von Pittman for The Genreview

Anything else you like to share with the readers today?
My writing process:

First: I form a major premise along with the ending of the story. In the mysteries it’s naturally "who-done-it." In the historical fiction novel, it’s the resolution between the characters. And in the suspense novels, it’s how to the protagonist gets out of peril.

Second: I create my protagonist and antagonist―their looks, quirks, and their experiences in life that affect their personalities and the way they react to events.

Third: I create a very rough outline as to how the story will progress from beginning to end. Note I said very rough as this changes as the story evolves.

Fourth: I try to create a captivating opening chapter such as finding the body in the mysteries, putting the protagonist in jeopardy in the suspense novel and creating the conflict in the historical fiction.

Finally: I write from my opening chapter to the conclusion of the story. I strive to take the reader on a journey that is never a straight line, but more like the line of a gyrating stock market. I place red herrings in my mysteries, adventure and jeopardy in my suspense novels and many setbacks in my historical fiction novel. However, one thing remains constant―there is always CONFLICT. The most important aspect of a novel is the conflict between the characters. Without conflict there is no story.

Richard, thank you for stopping by today and for sharing so much with us. Best of luck with your writing projects.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Interview with dark fiction author JE Gurley

Today on Reviews and Interviews, is dark fiction author JE Gurley. He's chatting about himself and his new release Hell Rig from Damnation Books.

JE Gurley is 57 years old, retired, born in Corinth, MS, but spent most of his life in Atlanta, GA as a professional chef. He lived a brief time in the Poconos in PA but now lives in Tucson, AZ with his wife, Kim, and their two cats, Elsie and Shoes. When not writing, he plays guitar and keyboards in local Tucson rock and roll and blues bands.

Jim, welcome. Please tell us about your current release.
Hell Rig takes place on an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico between Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005. Twenty-two men die mysteriously on Global Oil rig #13 during Katrina. The one survivor suffered a mental breakdown. Three weeks later, he and a crew from Re-berth, Inc. go to the rig to refurbish it. When they began to die horrible deaths, Jeff Towns and Lisa Love discover they are facing Damballah Wedo, father of all voodoo Loas. They battle voodoo spirits, deadly fog, an unseen murderer, Hurricane Rita, and their zombie dead friends.

What inspired you to write this book?
I worked on an oil rig for a while in 1976-77. I used my experiences then and added a New Orleans voodoo flair. It’s dangerous enough on an oil rig without zombies.

What exciting story are you working on next?
Blood Lust, with a serial killer vampire who is really a Chupacabra; not the ‘goat-sucker’ myth, but the basis for all vampire and gargoyle legends. The Chupacabra is strong, flies, very intelligent and lives for hundreds of years. Oh, yeah. Did I tell you he was pregnant?

Please tell us a bit about your writing life.
I’ve always written for myself and friends, but I sold my first story in 2004 and added about 35 to that total. My first real novel is Hell Rig from Damnation Books, though I have self-published 3 novels through I write constantly and have four novels making the publishing rounds and about six in the works.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
My first sale – a children’s ghost story titled “Memories in Green” about haunted kudzu. We have a lot of that in Atlanta.

Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
I write full-time, off and on all day and night. I play music, all kinds and play in local bands sometimes. I make time to write. You have to. You can’t sit down for thirty minutes and expect to gather your thoughts and put them down.

What do you do for fun (other than write)?
I play guitar, keyboards, bass, read, hike, and party with friends.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I have a macabre sense of humor. Does that count? No, I would say my deep Southern drawl. I can’t get rid of it. It shows up sometimes in characters. I’m always fighting with Spellcheck on my computer about a word or sentence structure I’ve used all my life. My parents and grand parents, like a lot of country folk, weren’t well schooled. My syntax sometimes sucks.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Hmm? Either a research scientist or a demolition expert. I studied per-medtech for 3 years before I grew bored with school. Traveling and playing in rock and roll bands was more fun. I still love to research my stories though. It keeps my mind sharp. I did manage to blow up some stuff working on the Tenn-Tom Waterway in TN, MS. And AL, along canal that lets ships and barges go from the Tenn. River to Mobile Bay, at least it was supposed to. It’s mainly used by skiers. Our tax dollars at work.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
Yeah. Check out my website or the book's website, follow my blog, buy my book, and don’t litter.

That's a great closing, Jim. :) Thanks for being here today. Best wishes for your future writing projects.