I have never claimed to be an expert with technology. Now that inexperience is showing. It seems I've lost and/or deleted blog comments for several blog posts. I'm not entirely sure what happened, but I'll do my absolute best to figure out it did and make sure it doesn't happen again. Huge apologies to everyone whose comment was deleted and every author who lost messages on their interview posts.
Hey everybody! Did you miss me? I missed you!! I'm currently visiting Toledo to see my handsome Prince Charming, but I have another awesome interview to share with you. It couldn't wait! Today's interview features Ms. Becky Lower. The Reluctant Debutante will be out July 2nd. Just days away! Let's get started.
NL: Tell us about your book.
Becky: The Reluctant Debutante is about the beginning of the Cotillion Ball in America, a tradition that still exists in elite society today. The idea was imported from Europe in 1854 by a relative of John Jacob Astor, and by the following year, all young women from affluent backgrounds were expected to participate in the Ball, which introduced them to society and to their prospective husbands. Ginger Fitzpatrick is the first of the family to participate, and does so with a great deal of reluctance. She'd rather be campaigning for women's rights alongside Amelia Bloomer or working in her father's bank. But she agrees to participate, and ensure the family's position for future years so her younger sisters can have their turn. And then, at the Ball, she dances with the man who becomes the love of her life and makes her see that she can have equal rights and a marriage at the same time.
NL: That sounds awesome! Can't wait to read it. I heard that you recently signed your second contract with Crimson Romance for a second book. Can you give us details?
Becky: The second book in the Cotillion Ball Series is about Heather Fitzpatrick, who unwittingly becomes involved in abolitionist activities in New York in 1856, and quickly becomes an outspoken advocate for ending slavery. She meets and falls in love with a handsome military man who is in New York for the Cotillion, but who also is looking for one of his father's slaves who has run off the family plantation in Savannah, GA. When they get engaged, he wants to take her to Savannah to meet his parents, but she knows the south is no place for an abolitionist.
NL: I have to say I love the time period you've chosen! These books both sound great. On Facebook, you share that you like to move around. Where all have you lived, and what was your favorite place to live?
Becky: I grew up in Ohio, and immediately after graduation from college, (BGSU) I moved to the closest big city--Detroit. The only good thing about that move was that I met some people who I am still friends with, after all these years. My best friend and I moved from Detroit to Washington, DC. I lived on Capitol HIll for awhile before migrating to the suburbs in Virginia. I had a weekend log cabin in West Virginia during this time. I've also lived in Arizona and Texas, then moved back to Virginia, to a wonderful town called Leesburg, then back to Ohio. I now live in the college town of Oberlin. Of all the places I've roamed, my West
Virginia cabin has been my favorite. I'm using it as the setting for one of my works in progress--a time-travel story that I've been wanting to write ever since I saw the History Channel's special on Jedediah Smith, legendary western explorer.
NL: Tell us about you. Married? Children? Day job? Love where you live?
Becky: I know it's a bit ironic that I write romance since I've always been single, and have no children. But, I believe there's a special someone for everyone. Mine's just taking his sweet old time getting here. I recently started working as a part-time merchandiser for American Greetings. I like the flexibility it offers me, but am finding it hard to juggle work and writing both. I need to figure out a better system. As for loving where I live, I tell people I get the seven-year itch with my wanderlust, regardless of how wonderful a place is. Oberlin is a great town to be in--good people, an active writing group, lots to do, since Oberlin College is known for its preforming arts curriculum, and nice restaurants. But in four more years...
NL: Sexiest Man Alive.
Becky: That changes almost daily, which is probably why I've never married. I based my hero in The Reluctant Debutante on Daniel Day-Lewis' character in Last of the Mohicans. But lately, I've been having dreams about Blake Shelton. Give me a tall man with a good head of hair and a sense of humor any day. A little country twang doesn't hurt, either.
NL: Mmm... Tall men. Yum. : )
When I was twelve, I entered and won a writing contest sponsored by the Akron Beacon Journal. Got my picture in the paper and everything. With that success, I then submitted a screenplay to the Bonanza television series and promptly got my first rejection letter. So, you might say I've been destined to write about the West and American history for years. I live in Oberlin, OH, which is known as the little town that started the Civil War, with my small puppy-mill rescue dog, Mary, who keeps me company on the cold Ohio nights.
You connect with Becky at her website, www.beckylowerauthor.com. From there, she invites you to check her Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest accounts as well as her personal blog.
Hello again, readers! I hope you've been looking forward to getting back to author interviews as much as I have. It's so exciting to learn more about authors you enjoy reading. For today's interview, I'm interveiwing the writing team Morgan O'Neill. This team is made up of two really great ladies. The book Love, Eternally will be available July 2nd from Crimson Romance. Let's get started!
NL: First things first, tell us about your book.
Morgan O'Neill: Love, Eternally is the first book in our Roman time travel series. In it, a witch's ancient curse propels our 21st century flute playing heroine, Gigi Perrin, back to A.D. 408, to the court of the depraved Emperor Honorius and his admirable sister, Princess Galla Placidia. Enslaved by Honorius, Gigi escapes with the help of a pagan military commander, Quintus Magnus, a man exotically different from anyone she has ever known. On the brink of a dark and war-torn age, Gigi joins forces with Magnus, battling to save a princess and her people, and ultimately finding love amid the ashes, before the fall of Rome.
NL: Morgan O’Neill is actually the name for a writing team made up of Deborah O’Neill Cordes and Cary Morgan Frates. How does your partnership work?
Morgan O'Niell: We met at a writers' conference and discovered our mutual love of time travel and historical fiction. Our eventual collaboration necessitated the search for a pen name, since our given names were much too long for book covers. Our maiden names provided a great solution – and "Morgan O'Neill" was born.
From the start, we decided to write about pivotal historical events and unique locales. We find ways for our time traveling heroines to learn, or already speak, the foreign languages they encounter, allowing us to choose more exotic settings like ancient Rome and medieval Italy, without stretching credulity. In other words, our heroines can't speak modern English and expect to be understood once they travel back in time. Our first attempts at writing together sounded foreign to our ears. We had different styles - and different ways of thinking!
Our efforts at co-writing suffered from fits and starts, and it was a difficult transition for two individual brains to "merge" for the creation of something as intimate and personal as a novel. Our hard work ultimately paid off, and we've now co-authored several Morgan O'Neill books, with plots sparked by things as diverse as Deb's discovery of a new ancestor through her genealogical research, or Cary's study of and fondness for the prowess of a vibrant English queen.
Regarding the actual nitty-gritty of writing - although we write what has been characterized as historical fantasy, we weave our plots around actual history. Time travel fiction is intricate by its very nature, because one must create something akin to two separate plots: the present day and the past, which must be seamlessly woven together by the characters and their experiences. Deb's MA in history and talent for research provide the historical framework for our novels, and Cary's experiences while living in Europe, her language skills, and her knowledge of horses and seamanship give added layers of authenticity. That's not to say Cary doesn't provide historical information or Deb color commentary on European surroundings. It's a definite give and take. As they say, two heads are better than one.
Once we've started on a novel, we get down to the basics and divvy up who will write what, then edit and reedit each other's work, taking the time to hash things out if we disagree. Rarely do we come to blows over this, but if we're nearing the edge of the precipice, coffee or tea, lots of chocolate, and a good chat usually settle the matter. We admit to having had a few great screaming matches, followed by periods of utter silence, but, so far, we have not drawn blood. The love of what we do - and our mutual admiration society - keeps us, and will
continue to keep us, coming back for more. <grin>
NL: According to your website, you both have backgrounds excellently suited for writing time travel novels. How did you decide to use your knowledge to become writers?
Deb: I've always loved history, particularly books and movies of an epic sweep. I was the child with my nose stuck in historical novels like James Michener's Hawaii, or James Clavell's Shogun. I also adored watching movies such as "El Cid", "Dr. Zhivago," and "Lawrence of Arabia." Sure I loved the kid things, too, but the epic always pulled my mind back, to dream of faraway periods and exotic locales. I guess that's why I love the intricacy and challenge of writing time travel fiction. I would love to do what my characters do - but without the danger of trying to survive in the past!
Cary: History thrills me. I've always preferred really big books, that taught me something about history, while weaving a wonderful tale. Since early childhood, I've wished I could travel through time (always to the past) and have kept a mental check list of what I would take with me, given the chance. I love the ‘ancient-ness’ of Europe. I'm intrigued by those who lived before, who built and toiled and gave their lives to create all that we now enjoy. From the lowest slave, to the most powerful leaders, I honor them by telling the stories of
their struggles and triumphs.
NL: Tell us a little bit about each of you. Married? Children? Day job? Love where you live?
Deb: I've been married to the same wonderful guy, my dear "hubster," for 36 years. I was a secondary school teacher (social studies) for fourteen years, and now I write novels and screenplays. I love walking my two Westies, beachcombing, and swimming - in Hawaii, preferably. The hubster and I happily call the Pacific Northwest home, although Kauai continues to beckon to us, with its emerald cliffs and turquoise waters. My genealogical research also causes travel longings in a different direction, Europe being another favorite destination. I do admit to merrily traipsing through graveyards and cathedrals, searching for
the tombs of my ancestors, the hubster in tow (his reward for this is several pints of Guinness).
Cary: I am a fifth-generation Washingtonian, which means my toes are webbed. My husband and I still live in the Pacific Northwest, and just celebrated our 24th anniversary. We have two children in college, two English Setters, two cats, and fifteen chickens. We love to combine sailing and travel as often as possible, and recently returned from our third visit to St. Vincent and the Grenadines, a truly lovely part of the world, filled with truly lovely people. France is also a destination favorite. I lived there for five years and love to return as often as possible. On the last trip, my daughter and I worked the vendange - the grape harvest - in Provençe. When I have down time (never), I paint (oil on canvas), or work on stone sculpturing.
NL: Sexiest Man Alive. Go!
Deb: Although he's not living, Cary Grant is so iconic, gorgeous -and timeless. I am also quite taken with the very much alive Channing Tatum, who played the Roman warrior in the film "The Eagle." I think he evokes everything I've come to know and envision about our hero, Quintus Magnus.
Cary: Gregory Peck, bar none. I know he isn’t literally alive, but just watch a film of his, "Roman Holiday," for instance, and he will live in your heart forever. Okay, alive: Hugh Jackman. Yum. I’m picturing him a day or two past his last shave, and he’s just come into our country home from chopping wood on a crisp October day…. Need I say more? He could do wonderful things in the role of Magnus in our Roman time travel series.
Uh oh! Tatum vs. Jackman - sounds like we might have another screaming match in the offing! No, wait, we'd be casting a film based on our novel. Never mind.
NL: Why am I not surprised that the time travel author both picked dead men as the sexiest man alive? LOL!! :D
Two authors writing as one, Cary Morgan Frates and Deborah O'Neill Cordes specialize in recreating pivotal moments in history, epic adventure and romance- with a time travel twist.
Love, Eternally, published by Crimson Romance, is the first novel in their Roman timeswept series. It will be available on July 2, 2012. The sequels, After the Fall and Return to Me, will follow in October and December of 2012.
Connet with Cary and Deborah
My brother- who needs a “code name” like Lizard so he doesn’t feel unloved- would like me to clarify my statement about him in yesterday’s post. He has text me several times today about it. In the interest of being fair, I’ll share a portion of today’s conversation with you.
Brother-No-Name: “I rarely text you at 3 am to see if your home.”
Me: “You read my blog? Gasp!”
Brother-No-Name: “Yeah, I very rarely text you at 3 am. It is to only make sure you are safe… Or asleep.”
I would like to dispute this claim, but I just deleted our conversation thread from my phone on Sunday and now have no firm evidence. Instead, I’ll resort to sticking my tongue out at him the next time I see him.
What do you think we should name Brother Grumpy Pants?
Recently, I started back to school with the goal of receiving my teacher certification. I spend four days a week living with some really awesome girlfriends in the amazing town I fell in love with the first time I went to college there. It's fantastic. I love it.
I'm closer to these girlfriends and others that I have desperately missed. I'm attending class again, and that especially feels wonderful. It's only been a year since I graduated, but I'm one of those nerdy people who likes class. I'm close to the mall and the bookstore and the hip little frozen yogurt place, all of which are hard on my meager bank account.
I love being there, but the whole time I'm there, I'm desperately missing home. I spend my remaining three days a week back at home. It's what I need. I need to play with my dog and cuddle with my cat. I need my mother to insist I come over for dinner and try some new recipe she's concocted. After four days of frozen dinners and fast food, I just need a homecooked meal. I need to hug on my Lizard. That's my baby sister in case you missed her introduction. I need to sleep in my own bed and trip over my crap in the floor. I try to be neater when I'm couch surfing at my girlfriends' place. I need to talk to my daddy and let him show me the latest trash he's found on the internet. This weekend, it's Mighty Boosh. I don't recommend watching it, but if you must, start with Old Gregg. I need to visit with my Gramma and tell her how much I love her. I need my brother to text me at three a.m. to ask me if I'm home.
Life is different here in a small town. It's not just the pace, which is admittly much slower. Life in a small town is about family. It's about community. It's about the owner of the bar where you go for lunch asking how your boyfriend is doing in school. It's about showing off the cover art of your new book to your mechanic and your seventh grade science teacher at the same time. Life here is about knowing that you're part of a whole. Sure, you're as much an individual here as you are in a city of 160,000 people. The difference is you're not just that individual. You matter as part of the whole here in a small town.
You're not another cog in the machine or the strange guy who lives in the apartment upstairs who tap dances at all hours of the night. You are your parents' child, your siblings' sibling. You're the sweet kid who stuck quarters in the jukebox at the diner and made her daddy dance with her. You're the woman who takes home every stray animal in town. You're the teenager who painted the water tower. You're the man who ran his car through the store.
You are who you are. People know you. They care about you as much as you care about them. They know when you skipped church to go floating on the river or bought a pregnancy test because your period was late. They know when you break up and when you hook up. They know when you missed your curfew and call your dad to tell him who you were with.
To some people, life in a small town is horrifying. Everyone knowing their business is an invasion to their privacy. To every teenager who grows up here, the small town is something to escape. Quickly. Some of us can't live without it, though. I'm one of them. Here at home, things just make sense.
Tell me, do you live in a small town or big city? What do you love about where you live?
Today is one of those days. You know the type. You have a bajillion things to do and no motivation to get anything done. You just want to curl up in a ball with mouthfuls of chocolate, a warm fuzzy blanket, and your favorite teddy bear- or four because picking favorites is wrong. Yes, I have four teddy bears. Stuff it.
You just want to lay as still as possible, except for chewing, and listen to the nothingness around you. Or you know, the episode of Criminal Minds playing in the living room for the bajillionth time. Deep breathes, around the mouthfuls of chocolate, and pretend you're asleep with Agent Morgan beside you. Or Reid. Or Hotch. Or JJ. What?! She's pretty! And, it's a lousy day. We may not like men today. Even insanely hot ones.
You just lay as still as you can and maybe the day won't notice your presence. Maybe the day is like a T-Rex and as long as you don't move-not an inch!- it won't notice you're there. Almost asleep... It doesn't matter you've slept thirty hours in the past two days. You're catching up... You could sleep some more, right? Everybody needs more sleep. Don't they?
Then comes the thing, the thing that makes you drag your butt out of bed even if you know it isn't going to be a productive day. It isn't the bajillion dings from your smart phone as your email's inbox fills up with things that need your attention. Or maybe, it is. Maybe you're weird like that. Personally, with every ding, I burrow a little deeper.
No, your thing is something special. Something that means something. It's the sweet text from Prince Charming saying "Hey Beautiful. What have you been up to?" Awww... Ohhh... Umm... Nothing? Shit. Better do something before he realizes I haven't done shit.
Maybe, your thing is the adorable eleven month little girl who wobbles her way into your bedroom as stealthily as she can so her mom can't catch her before she slaps at your bed insistent you come play. She knows you're not really sleeping.
Your thing is the bajillionth call from your mother asking how you're feeling. Gee, Mom, I thought I was dying yesterday but I guess I'll get up and come see you so you can assess my condition for yourself.
Or maybe, your thing really isn't special. Maybe it isn't sweet or beautiful or caring. Maybe your thing is just a desperate need to pee...
PS Bajillion is a word. I looked it up. So what if it only came up on Urban Dictionary. It's a dictionary.
Hey Readers! Today is officially Launch Day for the Crimson Romance line. We have author Heather Rodney-Diaz here to celebrate her release day with us.
Heather: Thanks for having me here Nikkie, on one of the most important days of my life! It’s indeed a pleasure. My debut romance novel Island Pursuits releases today.
NL: Thank you for being here on such an exciting day!! I’ve already bought Island Pursuits and plan on curling up with it tonight. :) First things first, tell us about your book!
Heather: Here’s the back blurb from my book Island Pursuits:
When former U.S. Marine Adrian Mendez decided to return to his beautiful twin-island homeland of Trinidad and Tobago in the southern Caribbean, he didn’t expect to find the woman of his dreams. But one chance encounter with the captivating Cory Phillips was all it took. Adrian quickly realizes once just isn’t enough with this beautiful but feisty island goddess.
Headstrong and set in her ways, Cory struggles tremendously with the military stereotypes of the island. But when this gorgeous, sensual—and deadly—soldier offers her his help, how could she resist him? After many sultry and pleasure-filled steamy Caribbean nights with Adrian, Cory finds herself going against everything she once believed in.
Their lustful island pursuits lead to a sizzling romance in paradise—but what they both discover about the past threatens to destroy any chance of a happily ever after. Can their love survive this tropical turbulence even as danger and deception
NL: I hear your book is set close to home. How much of the locations in your book are fact and how much are fiction? Tell us more about living in Trinidad and Tobago.
Heather: Yes, Island Pursuits is set in my beautiful homeland, the twin-islands of Trinidad and Tobago in the southern Caribbean. All the locations used in my book are in fact real. The bars, hotel, restaurants, beaches and other historical sights and places of interest. I was born, raised and still live in Trinidad. This is the bigger and much faster paced of the two islands. And I also live in the capital city. Tobago is the more tourist island with many more beautiful beaches and known for its quiet and laid back charm. Trinidad is always busy and bustling, it’s a very modern island and highly commercialized. We basically have everything we need here for our 1.3 million population. We even have free university education for all here. Our economy is fuelled by oil and natural gas and actually we are the about the world’s 5th largest supplier of natural gas to the United States.
NL: With your release date here, you’ve probably done some publicity“stuff” already. Are you enjoying promoting your book or is it like pulling teeth? Social media fan or hate it?
Heather: Social media and I had a very luke-warm relationship before I signed my contract with Crimson Romance. Now, we’re sleeping together literally. It is just crazy now. It’s the first thing I am on each morning and the last thing I do at night. Before, I knew not what Pinterest was! I never tweeted once in my life. Not to mention never posted or even commented on a blog. So yeah, I’m a fan now because I have really come to understand the necessity of using it to promote your work. Although it’s like another job altogether due to the amount of time is spent navigating them daily. But honestly, if I could afford a social media manager, I would, lol.
NL: What was your journey to publication like?
Heather: Island Pursuits is my debut novel. I wrote it in 2009 in about two months time. Then I edited, and tweaked and changed and revised and submitted and got a couple rejection letters and did everything all over again. Then one day in March this year, I got an email from Writer’s Digest about submitting to Crimson and it sounded really simple. So I emailed my query and then I was asked to submit my manuscript and then a few days later I received an email from editor Jennifer Lawler saying that they wanted to use Island Pursuits for Crimson’s Spicy line. And I was like spicy?????? But hell yeah!!!!!! And just like that, that was the day my life changed.
NL: Final question, sexiest man alive. Go.
Will Smith-David Beckham-Cristiano Ronaldo-John Cena-Dwayne-the-rock-Johnson-Trey Songz-Chris Evans-Willy Monfret!
And yeah, my motto is variety is the spice of life!!!!
Heather Rodney-Diaz lives on the twin islands of
Trinidad and Tobago in the southern Caribbean, indeed her motivation for writing spicy and super-sexy multi-cultural romantic island escapes. Here, on these fascinating islands of sun, sand, and sea, there’s no better place for dreaming up scorching hot heroes or falling in love.
To make life easier on you, here are some buy links for you!
Barnes and Noble
You can find Heather on:
This will be our last author interview for a while because I know you'll all be very busy reading all those new Crimson Romance relesases!!
Another fun interview with a Crimson Romance author tonight! Tonight's interview is with author Irene Preston. Irene's book is another that I'm super excited about reading. (Fine! You've caught me. I admit I am excited about all the Crimson releases, but especially these!)
Infamous, by Irene Preston, will be available June 4th from sellers including Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, and other sellers.
Here we go!
NL: In the publishing world, authors do fun
things to get published—Like writing queries in which you get to sum up your 200+ page novel in maybe two paragraphs. In that same vein, tell us about your book. :)
Irene: In a nutshell, it's Paris Hilton weds soccer dad.
Okay, she's not really Paris Hilton, but you know the type - the girl that's always on the cover of the tabloids, always in the news, always in the middle of the latest scandal. That's my heroine, Jessica Sinclair. She's second generation Hollywood 'royalty,' beautiful, spoiled, a trouble-magnet. The problem is she's fallen for the one guy who's not interested in sharing her fame and fortune. Morgan is a self-made man, your basic nice-guy. . . and his whole life revolves around his teenage daughter. Super-dad Morgan has absolutely no use for a tabloid queen.
So what's a girl like Jessica to do? She secretly longs for a stable, loving family of her own but has no idea how to achieve it. She manages to snag the guy, but she's sure she'll never be able fit into his upscale suburban life-style. She tries to muddle through by asking herself "What would June Cleaver Do?" Everything seems to be going well until she accidentally winds up back up in the tabloids. This time it's not just her, Morgan's darling daughter is right next to her. Oops!
Interested? I have the entire first chapter available free at www.IrenePreston.com Warning! Jessica is showing her tabloid-persona in the first chapter - be prepared for some heat!
NL: Infamous comes out in just days. How are you feeling? Planning anything special to celebrate?
Irene: I can't wait. I'm lucky enough to have a large support group of other writers, friends, and family who have all given me lots of encouragement to get here. I did a lot of celebrating when the contract was signed so I don't have anything huge planned for the Monday release. Well, maybe a little over-indulgence in chocolate and wine!!
NL: With your book coming out so soon, you’ve probably had to do some promotion- blogging, connecting with readers on social media sites, and other things. What have you most enjoyed about spreading the word?
Irene: The most wonderful thing about promotion is connecting with other writers and romance-lovers. I tweet daily and I check in regularly on Facebook. The great thing about social media is it's social. It brings people with common interests together. I love meeting new people on Twitter and through guest-blogging. I've found some wonderful friends online that I never would have met any other way.
NL: Tell us a little bit about your personal life. Married? Children? Where do you work? Big family? Small family? Love where you live?
Irene: I'm married and I have one grown child. I absolutely adore where I live, which is in the hill country just outside of Austin, Texas. Austin is this amazing place full of artists and politicians and musicians and freaks and rednecks and intellectuals and techies and cowboys. Writer paradise. My husband and I run a small business together, garden, cook, spoil a Golden Doodle. I think this is why I write romance. I have a wonderful marriage and family. I want my characters to have that at the end, too. Of course, they won't appreciate it if I don't torture them a little before they
NL: Final question, sexiest man alive. Go.
Irene: That would be Mr. Irene Preston! . . .No, wait, Johnny Depp. . . . no. . . husband (I mean it this time). . . .well. . .Brad Pitt?. . . Nah, definitely husband - he's a keeper!
About Irene Preston:
Irene Preston has to write romances, after all she is living one. As a starving college student, she met her dream man who whisked her away on a romantic honeymoon across Europe. Today they live in the beautiful hill country outside of Austin, Texas where Dream Man is still working hard to make sure she never has to take off her rose-colored glasses.
Visit with Irene at:
Read the first chapter free at www.IrenePreston.com
Buy on Amazon: Click Here
Buy on Barnes and Noble: Click Here
Buy on I-Tunes: Click Here
Check www.IrenePreston.com for KOBO and additional e-tailers coming soon!