Getting to know Katherine Prairie

Katherine Prairie v2Katherine, a geologist and IT specialist, stepped away from the international petroleum industry to follow her passion for writing. An avid traveller with an insatiable curiosity, you never know where you’ll find her next! But most days, she’s in Vancouver, Canada quietly plotting murder and mayhem under the watchful eye of a cat. She is an award-winning presenter and the author of the thriller THIRST.

www.katherineprairie.com

www.facebook.com/katherine.prairie

www.twitter.com/authorprairie

 

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Where would you live if you could live anywhere in the world?

London, England because it has all the theatres, culture and energy of New York City, the rugged shoreline of Canada’s east coast and easy access to Europe and beyond.

 

State a random fact about yourself that would surprise your readers.

One summer, I spent four months working out of a tent in the Canadian Yukon, travelling to mountain-tops by helicopter and hiking with a pack filled with too many rocks most of the time!

 

What’s your current guilty pleasure?

Endangered Species dark chocolate with cranberries and almonds.

 

If you weren’t a writer, what would you be?

An astronaut. Since Neil Armstrong’s first moon walk I’ve been absolutely fascinated by space and I’d love to count myself among these modern day explorers.

 

When did you decide to become a writer?

When I had finished the second draft of Thirst and I was still excited to work on it every day, I knew this was what I wanted to do.

 

When did you begin writing?

About ten years ago I sat down to write the story that just wouldn’t leave me.

 

Aside from writing, what do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

I’m a passionate traveller and photographer so I’m either planning a trip, taking one or sifting through the thousands of photos I bring back! I also quilt and read, and I’m on my yoga mat as much as possible or out for a long walk.

 

What’s the most memorable thing (good or bad) that’s happened to you in promoting your work?

At my very first Left Coast Crime conference just after Thirst was released, a woman who had chatted with me the first day flagged me down at the door to the hotel. She was excited that she had caught me just before she flew home because she wanted me to personalize her copy of Thirst. That one moment when I connected with a new reader made the long hours of the conference worth-while!

 

With more books being released each month now than ever before, what do you think sets you apart from the others?

Each of my stories is built on current headlines and told through the lens of a woman working in an intriguing male-dominated profession, geology. The fact that I’m a geologist myself means I offer an insider view and very-real science.

 

What would you like to share with writers who haven’t reached the point of publication yet?

Never stop learning your craft. I take advantage of every opportunity to attend workshops and classes, especially those offered at writer’s conferences.

 

What do you feel is your most effective tool for promoting your published work?

I really enjoy meeting and talking to people, so conferences and festivals are a lot of fun for me and I do well at them.  It doesn’t hurt that I’m a fearless presenter!

 

What area of book promotion is the most challenging to you?

I find blogs the most difficult because it’s a one-sided conversation. I’d rather chat with readers and answer their questions directly than try to guess at what they would like to know about me and my writing.

 

What are your favorite books and authors?

My top three favourite books at the moment are The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon, The Hunt for Red October by Tom Clancy and Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton. I’m also a huge fan of Daniel Silva, Steve Berry, P.D. James and Elizabeth George.

 

Which genres do you prefer to read?

Mysteries and thrillers, but I also read science fiction, fantasy and literary fiction.

 

Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?

I recently met two debut British Columbia authors, R.M. Greenaway and Marty Allen, who write police procedural crime novels. Their books, Cold Girl and Cordelia intrigued me enough that both are now on my bookshelf waiting to be read.

 

What book is currently on your nightstand?

Just One Evil Act by Elizabeth George.

 

Are there any particular books and or authors that inspired you and continue to do so?

Michael Crichton and Tom Clancy are by far my biggest influences. Crichton used science as a cornerstone of fascinating stories and Clancy concocted sinfully good complex plots.

 

How many books do you read/month?

When I’m writing the first draft of a new book, it might drop to one or two and I tend to stay away from mysteries because I don’t want anything to influence my storyline. Otherwise, I typically read about four books a month.

 

What is the one book that you think everyone should read?

I’d have to say The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien. I’m amazed by the complex world Tolkien built and he wove compelling sub-plots into a real page turner.  I also think it’s an interesting reflection on life in general with its underlying “power corrupts” theme and the importance of friendship, loyalty and co-operation.

 

Do you have an all time favorite book?

The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco. It’s an intriguing mystery filled with rich history and the medieval monastery library setting with its labyrinth of rooms drew me in.

 

How important do you find the communication between you and your readers?

I write to share stories with readers, and hear what they have to say about those stories. At the end of the day, it’s incredibly rewarding to speak to a reader who enjoys something I’ve written.

 

Do you reply to their messages or read their reviews?

Yes, to both.  I respect the time it takes for a reader to pen a message or review, so I give time back to them.

 

Do you prefer Twitter or Facebook?

Facebook by far, because it allows more interaction with others.

 

Where can fans find you?

My website www.katherineprairie.com is the hub of my communication with readers. It’s where I keep a current list of in-person events, guest blog appearances and snippets of life. I can also be reached via Facebook and Twitter.

 

Do you have a local independent bookseller you would like to mention?

Otter Books, a bookstore in the small town of Nelson, British Columbia was the first store to stock Thirst. They carry a fascinating mix of books, highlighting those set in the local area and I’m proud to see Thirst on their shelves.

 

Give us a list of your published titles in chronological or series order:Thirst cover

Thirst is my first novel, and it is the first the Alex Graham suspense thriller series.

 

 

Share with us an elevator pitch (no more than 30 seconds of your latest title:

Science. Politics. Deadly intent. In the thriller Thirst, mining geologist Alex Graham joins the search for a suspected toxic spill deep in a Columbia River Valley rocked by violence and controlled by a joint US-Canada military force. But the lethal contamination is no accident and she soon finds herself directly in the path of a killer.

 

Where can we buy it?

Through almost all independent North American bookstores, Amazon, iBooks, Indigo/Chapters and Barnes and Noble.

 

If you could ask your readers one question, what would it be?

Where in the world would you like to see Alex Graham venture to next?

 

What topic do you enjoy hearing an author speak on other than about his/her book?

I like to hear about their research experiences – what it’s like to visit the Vatican library or an antique book shop on a backstreet in Paris.

 

Are you working on anything new and when can we expect to see it?

I’m hard at work on the second Alex Graham mystery, a book that will be available late 2017.

 

Is there anything else you’d like to share to your followers and readers?

I’m grateful that readers have embraced Alex Graham because I’ve grown to really enjoy her company.

 

What last thing would you like to share with us that nobody knows about you and your work?

I keep a sketch book that I use to draw scenes from my books and it also holds photographs of places and people that I find intriguing.

Getting to know Sarah Glenn

SarahCouchMomeCropState a random fact about yourself that would surprise your readers.

 

I was a political blogger for a while. In 2008, the Democratic Party invited the writers from a single blog in each U.S. state to attend the Democratic National Convention with press credentials. Our blog, Bluegrass Roots, represented Kentucky. Twenty-some years after getting my degree in journalism, I had my first reporting gig. It was a heady experience, attending meetings with real political wonks, listening to elected officials give their pitches in person, and generally sharing in the excitement of the convention. I also won a seat in the skybox lottery on the final night, and had a great view of Barack Obama addressing the crowd and the fireworks afterward.

 

 

If you weren’t a writer, what you would be?

 

I would still be an editor and publisher for other authors.

 

 

When did you decide to become a writer?

 

When I was very young. My father taught me how to read, and books were where I found the most joy. The stories and characters came alive in my head. I couldn’t imagine anything nobler than giving this gift to others.

 

 

Who are your cheerleaders?

 

My spouse, my friends, certain relatives, the members of Sisters in Crime, and, in November, the National Novel Writing Month crowd. Other writers are my best cheerleaders. So many of us want to encourage one another.

 

 

When you made your first sale, how did you celebrate and with whom?

 

I went to a spa and had a massage. I wasn’t being paid for the story, but it was a real victory and deserved a special reward.

 

 

Do you listen to music while writing?

 

Indeed I do. I try to find music that suits the story in some way – setting, time period, or theme. My Great Unfinished Novel was written under the influence of Debussy, Saint-Saëns, Paganini, and the Alan Parsons Project. There were several shifts in the time period, in case you couldn’t tell. I listened to a large number of standards while working with Murder on the Mullet Express.

 

Other things I listen to: instrumental music and shamanic drumming, if it’s not too jarring. Plus more Alan Parsons. It’s evocative.

 

 

What’s the most memorable thing (good or bad) that’s happened to you while promoting your work?

 

I had a gentleman, Keith Stewart, show up for my first book signing (for All This and Family, Too). He’d decided to come, based on the description in the paper. He liked the book well enough to share an excerpt on an Internet radio program covering local authors for Halloween. He was an absolutely hilarious author in his own right. When he did a signing in the same store for his first book, Bernadette Peters Hates Me: True Tales from a Delusional Man, I called the shop and had the staff snag me an autographed copy.

 

 

With more books being released each month now than ever before, what do you believe sets your work apart from the others?

 

Gwen and I have a great synergy when we write together. She brings her strong sense of justice and history together with my command of Murphy’s Law and good snark, and you get an intelligent story with layers of both comedy and tragedy. I can’t believe I just wrote that.

 

 

What would you like to share with writers who haven’t reached the point of publication yet?

 

Get beta readers. You will develop mental fatigue after going over and over your work, missing typos, awkward sentences, and, worst of all, places where you know what you were talking about, but you never explained it to the reader.

 

 

What do you feel is your most effective tool for promoting your published work?

 

The Internet. I love it, and I love social media. It’s amazing what you can learn, and who you can meet. Of course, that’s a double-edged sword, but the rewards outweigh the risks in my case.

 

 

What area of book promotion is the most challenging to you?

 

In-person sales. My father was a great salesman, but that gene seems to have skipped me. It takes a certain amount of nerve to approach a stranger and convince her to buy something. I’ve heard other authors frequently have the same problem, at least the ones who write fiction. Many of us are introverts, and selling our work to an editor is taxing enough.

 

 

Your favorite books and authors?

 

A Little Princess, by Frances Hodgson Burnett

The Encyclopedia Brown series by Donald J. Sobol

The first five books of the Amber series by Roger Zelazny

The Heritage of Hastur, by Marion Zimmer Bradley

The Face of a Stranger, by Anne Perry

Tales of the Unexpected, by Roald Dahl

It, by Stephen King

 

 

Which genres do you prefer to read?

 

I like mysteries the best, because I love puzzles. I also like true crime, and horror that doesn’t focus on splatter.

 

 

Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?

 

New is a relative term. I didn’t begin reading Louise Penny until a few years ago, but I love the Gamache series.

 

 

What book is currently on your nightstand?

 

I don’t really read in bed; sitting up on that soft surface annoys my back. I’m hoping to read The Nature of the Beast by Louise Penny in the near future.

 

 

Are there any particular books and/or authors that inspired you and continue to do so?

 

The Amber series got me to try writing prose. I’d been writing and drawing comic book stories before that.

 

 

How many books do you read/month?

 

Not enough. I listen to a great number of stories on YouTube, mostly creepypasta and audiobooks (FYI, many H P Lovecraft and Poe stories are in the public domain).

 

 

What is the one book that you think everyone should read?

 

I don’t think one size fits all with any book. Even the Bible has multiple translations.

 

 

Do you have an all-time favorite book?

 

No single book for all time, no. I engage in serial monogamy where books are concerned.

 

Do you prefer Twitter or Facebook?

 

Oh, that’s a difficult choice. I enjoy talking with friends on Facebook, but I also love the quick spread of news and humor on Twitter. I join in the humorous hashtag wars and I even have a list of accounts I follow simply for the amusement value.

 

 

Where can your fans find you?

 

Twitter: @saraheglenn

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MysteryAndHorrorLlc/

http://saraheglenn.blogspot.com

 

 

Do you have a local independent bookseller you’d like to mention?

 

Books at Park Place in St. Petersburg is very nice. They have events and a wide selection of genre fiction. I also like Gene’s Books in Sanibel. The Morris Book Shop in Lexington, Kentucky was where I did my first book launch, but the owner is retiring and the future of the store is uncertain.

 

 

Give us a list of your published titles in chronological or series order:

 

I have a number of short stories published in various places. My first novel, All This and Family, Too (a vampire comedy), is currently out of print but the rights have reverted to me and I hope to re-release it.

 

Murder on the Mullet Express is the first of three books Gwen Mayo and I plan to release together.MMExCoverFront

 

 

Share with us an elevator pitch (no more than 30 seconds) of your latest title:

 

It’s 1926, and the Florida Land Boom is in full swing. Army nurse Cornelia Pettijohn takes leave to travel to Florida with her ancient uncle, who claims that he wants a warm winter home. When their car breaks down, they take the local train, The Mullet Express, into Homosassa. By the time they arrive, though, a passenger is dying of poison. Uncle Percival’s hidden agenda makes him the sheriff’s prime suspect. Furthermore, the little old man has run afoul of the local mob. Cornelia and Teddy Lawless, a twenty-year-old flapper in a body pushing sixty, must chase mobsters and corner suspects to dig her uncle out of the hole he’s dug for himself.

 

 

Where can we buy it?

 

Initially: from Amazon, CreateSpace, or our site at http://www.mysteryandhorrorllc.com. Nook and Apple versions of the ebook will follow. You can also order it through your favorite indie bookstore.

 

Are you working on anything new and if so when can we expect to see it?

 

I’ve been puttering with a story that’s an offshoot of my vampire comedy, but it’s on the back burner at the moment.

 

 

What last thing would you like to share with us that nobody knows about you and your work?

 

My writing began as fanfiction. First, I wrote Black Stallion fanfiction (with horse drawings!), then Archie comics (I learned to draw the human figure from these comics). This was followed by X-Men fanfiction. After reading Zelazny, I made the jump to prose writing. So, there was Amber fanfiction and, later, Darkover fanfiction. During the process, I learned a lot about writing that I was able to apply later to my own material. All writing is valuable.

Getting to know Gwen Mayo

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State a random fact about yourself that would surprise your readers.

In my twenties, I was a locomotive engineer.

 

If you weren’t a writer, what you would be?

I would be the most avid reader on the planet.

 

Aside from writing, what do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

Spare time? Seriously, what is spare time? I think everyone I know is busy all the time. There are things that I make time for; my family heads the list. I love spending time with my family. I make time for cooking and trying new recipes. I also make time to read, to walk by the ocean, and sometimes to just sit quietly for a few minutes without all the noise being constantly connected to the world. I have to unplug from everything now and then to give my mind space to explore ideas.

 

What’s the most memorable thing (good or bad) that’s happened to you while promoting your work?

That question requires backstory. Most people know that the medical examiner in the Nessa Donnelly series is based on a real person. I worked for Dr. Richard Haydon for about 13 years. When he found out I had a doctor in the book, he wanted the character to be him. After several discussions, I agreed to let him be the character and rewrote several scenes in the book to make my medical examiner reflect his personality.

Shortly before the book was released Dr. Haydon was diagnosed with stage four cancer. He was too ill to go to the book launch party. The last time I went to see him he had a copy of Circle of Dishonor on his bedside table. He picked it up, smiled at me, and said “I’m going to live forever.” I don’t think anything that is ever said will top that.

 

With more books being released each month now than ever before, what do you believe sets your work apart from the others?

I write characters with a strong sense of justice in a world that isn’t fair or just. Beyond that, when you pick up one of my books, the story is going to take you to a unique moment in time in a place you wouldn’t have thought to visit.

 

What would you like to share with writers who haven’t reached the point of publication yet?

If you want someone else to publish your book, read their guidelines for submitting a manuscript and follow them to the letter. Don’t give agents or publishers an excuse to reject your book without reading  a single word. You may still get rejected many times. There are thousands of other unknown writers out there competing for a handful of new author slots in any publisher’s calendar. Those slots are going to go to writers willing to give them what they requested.

 

What do you feel is your most effective tool for promoting your published work?

More work. The question I hear most from readers is “What are you working on now?”

 

What area of book promotion is the most challenging to you?

All of it. When it comes to promotion, I’m kind of clueless. What works well for one writer doesn’t work at all for another.

 

Your favorite books and author?

Favorite authors and books:

Anne Perry, Resurrection Row

Louise Penny, The Nature of the Beast

Catriona McPherson: Come to Harm

Cynthia Riggs: Shooting Star

Ariana Franklin: Mistress of the Art of Death

 

Which genres do you prefer to read?

In fiction, I read mostly mysteries. I love a good puzzle with lots of surprises.

 

Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?

My fellow Kentuckian, Kim Michelle Richardson, should be on the radar of mystery readers. Liars Bench, her first novel, is well worth reading.

 

What book is currently on your nightstand?

None, I don’t read in bed. I’d never sleep. There is a Catriona McPherson novel and a Kentucky history book on the table by my chair, waiting to be read. In the car, I’ve been listening to Nevada Barr’s Anna Pigeon books. They’re great company on a commute.

 

Are there any particular books and/or authors that inspired you and continue to do so?

Agatha Christie’s work is probably my biggest inspiration. I started reading her books when I was about twelve and have never stopped. She had an awesome grasp of how to construct a mystery. She also did a number of innovative experiments with her plots. Her unreliable narrator in The Murder of Roger Ackroyd brought her a lot of criticism, but it is one of my favorites.

 

How many books do you read/month?

Not as many as I would like. I have a full time job, and am working on my own books as well as publishing others. Most of the time I settle for listening to books while I drive. I’m looking forward to my first vacation in three years. Maybe I can catch up on some of the books I’ve missed.

 

What is the one book that you think everyone should read?

I don’t believe there is just one book that everyone should read. Reading is personal. I think everyone should read widely and discover what captures their imagination. One of the local libraries has a table labeled brown bag reading. The books are in brown paper covers and all they tell you is the genre. I love to see people grab one of those books and check it out.

 

Do you have an all-time favorite book?

Agatha Christie’s Nemesis has to be my all-time favorite.

 

How important do you find the communication between you and your readers? Do you reply to their messages or read their reviews?

Yes, I reply to messages and read reviews. I have a google alert set for my books. It has been interesting to discover what people say. I’ve also found a few interesting groups of people I wouldn’t have thought of as potential readers. For instance, Circle of Dishonor attracted a bunch of treasure hunters interested in locating the Union Army payrolls that were stolen.

 

Do you prefer Twitter or Facebook?

Facebook. I have a Twitter account, but am not good at Tweeting.

 

Where can your fans find you?

http://www.gwenmayo.com, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, LinkedIn, and our publishing house site http://www.mysteryandhorrorllc.com

 

Do you have a local independent bookseller you’d like to mention?

Books at Park Place is new, and not as well-known as Haslam’s in St. Petersburg. Both are great stores with good mystery sections. There’s also a quirky book store on Sanibel Island I love to visit, Gene’s Books. It is three beach cottages linked together, and overflowing with books and music. I could spend days there.

 

Give us a list of your published titles in chronological or series order:

I have two Nessa Donnelly mysteries out now, Circle of Dishonor and Concealed in Ash. The series is set in the 1870’s. Nessa is a former Pinkerton agent who tangles with the secret societies of the time.MMExCoverFront

Sarah E. Glenn and I are kicking off a new series set in the 1920’s. Murder on the Mullet Express is the first book.

 

Share with us an elevator pitch (no more than 30 seconds) of your latest title:

Murder on the Mullet Express is set during the 1920’s Florida land boom. Army nurse Cornelia Pettijohn is traveling with her ancient uncle, who claims he’s looking for a warm winter home. When their car breaks down, they find alternate transportation on the Mullet Express. They end up embroiled in a poisoning case, plus in the crossfire of rival mobsters looking to cash in on a planned casino in New Homosassa. Uncle Percival’s hidden agenda makes him the prime suspect in the poisoning, and his love of mechanical inventions makes him a target of the mobsters. Cornelia and her companion, Teddy Lawless, are forced to step in and save him from himself.

 

If you could ask your readers one question, what would it be?

What makes a mystery feel real to you: when do you step into the detective’s shoes and start untangling the puzzle?

 

Are you working on anything new and if so when can we expect to see it?

I’m currently working on the third Nessa Donnelly mystery, Blood Relations. This book will take her back to Chicago, where she grew up, and into investigating the murder of a nun. It will be out late next year.

Sarah and I are working on the second book with Cornelia and her uncle, Murder at the Million Dollar Pier. Cornelia is going to be out of her element mingling with the rich and famous at the fancy new hotel her uncle booked. It gets more difficult for her when Teddy, who grew up in society, is arrested for murder.

 

Is there anything else you’d like to share with your followers and readers?

Concealed in Ash is on the short list for the Florida Authors and Publishers Association President’s Award.

 

What last thing would you like to share with us that nobody knows about you and your work?

I owe a tremendous debt to the Sisters in Crime. If it were not for the people I met through that organization, I would never have written the first novel. It is an awesome organization with the most amazing readers and writers I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting.

 

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Gwen Mayo is passionate about blending her loves of history and mystery fiction. She currently lives and writes in Safety Harbor, Florida, but grew up in a large Irish family in the hills of Eastern Kentucky. She is the author of the Nessa Donnelly Mysteries and co-author of the Old Crows stories with Sarah Glenn.

 

Her stories have appeared in A Whodunit Halloween, Decades of Dirt, Halloween Frights (Volume I), and several flash fiction collections. She belongs to Sisters in Crime, SinC Guppies, the Short Mystery Fiction Society, the Historical Novel Society, and the Florida Authors and Publishers Association.

 

Gwen has a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Kentucky. Her most interesting job, though, was as a brakeman and railroad engineer from 1983 – 1987. She was one of the last engineers to be certified on steam locomotives.

 

Website URL:          http://www.gwenmayo.com

Blog URL:     http://gwenmayo.blogspot.com/

Facebook URL:                  https://www.facebook.com/Gwen-Mayo-119029591509479/

Twitter:         @gwenmayo

LinkedIn:      https://www.linkedin.com/in/gwen-mayo-41175726

An interview with Amy Metz

AmyMetzAmy Metz is the author of the Goose Pimple Junction mystery series. She is a former first grade teacher and the mother of two sons. When not actively engaged in writing, enjoying her family, or surfing Facebook or Pinterest, Amy can usually be found with a mixing spoon, camera, or book in one hand and a glass of sweet tea in the other. Amy lives in Louisville, Kentucky.
Links:
Website: http://authoramymetz.com

Blog: http://abluemillionbooks.blogspot.com/

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/AuthorAmyMetz

Twitter: https://twitter.com/authoramymetz

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/AmyMetz

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Rogues-Rascals-Pimple-Junction-Mysteries-ebook/dp/B01EGOZKSW?

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/amy-metz-1a648639

Google+: https://plus.google.com/+AmyMetz/

 

 

Where would you live if you could live anywhere in the world?
Stockbridge, Massachusetts. I visited there for a month in 2014 and fell in love with it. But if I could live anywhere in the world, I’d live in Stockbridge in the summertime and somewhere in the South by the ocean during the winter.

What’s your current guilty pleasure?

Donuts. Boston Cream Pie or chocolate donuts, specifically, but really any donut is my kryptonite. It’s a terrible problem.

 

Who are your cheerleaders?

My family: my two sons and daughter-in-law, my dad, and my sister; my friend Tom; and a few readers who have become online friends.

 

What would you like to share with writers who haven’t reached the point of publication yet?

Take all those necessary baby steps and then take the giant leap. If you haven’t found a publisher and your manuscript is done to your liking, self-pub it yourself. I was reluctant to self-publish because of the negative stereotype sometimes given to indie authors. But I’m glad I did it and wish I’d done it sooner.

 

What do you feel is your most effective tool for promoting your published work?

I think exposure through blogs is invaluable. Unknown or new authors sell books through word of mouth, and the online book community is huge. Getting a spotlight or feature on book blogs is the best way I know of to get the word out about your book.

 

What area of book promotion is the most challenging to you?

I haven’t found author fairs or book signings to be successful. I don’t count any of them as defeats, because I think it’s a positive thing anytime you can promote your work to the public. But monetarily, I am stumped on how to sell books that way!

 

Which genres do you prefer to read?
I am partial to mysteries. I love all three of Robert B. Parker’s series, but I also love David Rosenfelt, Nelson DeMille, Chris Knopf, Michael Connelly . . . I could go on and on. If it’s a mystery, I’ll probably like it unless it’s too gory or scary.

 

What book is currently on your nightstand?

House of the Hanging Jade by Amy Reade.

 

How important do you find the communication between you and your readers? Do you reply to their messages or read their reviews?

I love communicating with readers. I always respond to messages, which thankfully so far have been encouraging and supportive. I do read reviews, which are, unfortunately, not always encouraging and supportive! But I try to remember one of my favorite quotes: “You can be the ripest, juiciest peach in the world, and there’s still going to be somebody who hates peaches.” All reviews are appreciated, although I try to forget some of them.

 

Do you prefer Twitter or Facebook?
Facebook. I use Twitter, but I’m not sure I’ve ever really understood it. I like the interaction with people on Facebook. Since I work at home alone, it’s my water cooler.

 

Do you have a local independent bookseller you’d like to mention?
I think Joseph Beth Booksellers in Lexington, Kentucky is the best bookstore in my area, even though I live an hour and a half away from it. There are several indie bookstores in Louisville, but when I published my first book, none would agree to host a launch. It is so nice to find an indie bookstore that supports indie authors. And I swear I hear angels sing when I walk into Joseph Beth. That place is awesome.

 

Give us a list of your published titles in chronological or series order:
Murder & Mayhem in Goose Pimple Junction
Heroes & Hooligans in Goose Pimple Junction
Short & Tall Tales in Goose Pimple Junction
Rogues & Rascals in Goose Pimple Junction

 

Share with us an elevator pitch (no more than 30 seconds) of your latest title:
What do you get when a hit woman, a Southern belle, and a juvenile delinquent cross paths? Murder, mystery, and humor in Rogues & Rascals in Goose Pimple Junction.

 

Where can we buy it?
At Amazon in Kindle and paperback: https://www.amazon.com/Rogues-Rascals-Pimple-Junction-Mysteries-ebook/dp/B01EGOZKSW?

 

If you could ask your readers one question, what would it be?
Who would you like to see more about in the next book?

 

Are you working on anything new and if so when can we expect to see it?
Right now I’m writing the fifth book in the Goose Pimple Junction series. I would love to say it will be out by the end of the year, but the truth is I don’t know. It will depend on how much and how quickly my characters cooperate with me.

 

Is there anything else you’d like to share to your followers and readers?
I am so honored and grateful when readers spend time and money on my work, so I’d like to say a huge thank you to all who do that. If you’d like to be put on an email list for future news, visit my website and fill out the form on the home page. One of these days I’m going to figure out how to do a newsletter.

Thank you so much for hosting me! It is much appreciated.

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Goose Pimple Junction mysteriesLike any good Southern belle, Caledonia Culpepper was raised by her mama to be gracious, charming, witty, and above all, a devoted mother and loving wife, so she’s baffled when her marriage falls apart.

 

Wynona Baxter is a master of disguise but is often a ditzy airhead. A hit woman wannabe, when she’s Rogues&Rascalshired for her first job in Goose Pimple Junction and things don’t go as planned, she’s forced to resort to Plan B. She’ll also need Plan C and D.

 

Crooked lawyers, restless husbands, a teenaged hoodlum – it seems there are rogues and rascals everywhere you look in Goose Pimple Junction.

When Caledonia and Wynona’s paths cross, they prove there isn’t a rogue or a rascal who can keep a good woman down. Mama always said there would be days like this . . .

An interview with Gino Bardi

Gino BardiHow would your friends describe you in 20 words or less?

 

That depends. If they liked me, they might describe me as ‘generous, funny, big heart, big smile, tries hard to make you laugh.’  If they didn’t like me they might say, ‘stingy, smart alec, goofy, tries too hard to make you laugh, will eat off your plate if you sit close to him.’

 

Tell us a little about yourself:

 

In a few weeks I will be officially old, yet I still get a kick out of being able to legally buy a beer. I am still surprised when I look in the mirror and don’t see a teenager. It’s more than ‘surprised,’ it’s more like ‘shocked. Absolutely shocked.

 

Where would you live if you could live anywhere in the world?

 

At an airport, where I owned a small jet aircraft.

 

State a random fact about yourself that would surprise your readers.

 

I make everything up, especially the random facts.  A lot of my stuff sounds and even feels like memoir, as if it actually happened. But usually only the inciting incident- the ‘party starter’ happened, and I made everything else up. If I wrote memoir, it would be appallingly boring.

 

What’s your current guilty pleasure?

 

Eating the ice cream in secret before my wife eats it in secret. I am rarely quick enough to do that, however.

 

If you weren’t a writer, what you would be?

 

Rich.

 

 

When did you decide to become a writer?

 

In third grade, when I got C’s in all the subjects but language arts, where I got an A. Also I got a D in arithmetic. You can tell that because I was asked to answer three questions and I answered all of them.

 

How long have you been writing?

 

Now? Just a few minutes. Oh, you mean, like, forever? I became a professional in my senior year of high school; I didn’t have the fifty bucks I needed to take my girlfriend to the prom. I won the Newsday “Letter of the Week” contest and got the fifty. It was the easiest money I had ever made; then or now.

 

Who is you mentor? Who do you look up to?

 

The guy who runs my writers’ group is very encouraging. His name is David Edmonds and he writes international thrillers. He keeps trying to point me in the right direction and tell me everything I’m doing wrong. Sometimes I even listen to him. But I still fight with him, just to keep up my chops.

 

Who are your cheerleaders?

 

One of my daughters likes my stuff. The girl I took to the prom is still impressed.

 

Did you have support at the beginning and/or during your writing?

 

No, in fact, one of the first things I have to do when I sell a few books is to replace my desk chair. I can hardly get out of it anymore. Not a lot of people took me seriously…boy, I showed THEM, I tell ya.

 

Did you always have in mind to be a writer or did it just happen?

 

It didn’t ‘just happen,’ I MADE it happen. I’ve been waiting for years to actually say that to someone. Thanks.

 

Aside from writing, what do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

 

I enjoy cooking a wonderful meal. I love to go for long walks on the beach, watching the sunset, or enjoying hot chocolate by a roaring fire, and… Hey! Wait a minute! You’re not from Playboy Magazine!

 

 

Do you keep track or write reviews for books you read?

 

Yes. I’m brutal. I have no friends because of that.

 

 

Do you read reviews written about your book?

 

So far, I have read only good ones. When I start getting bad ones, I will be too busy to read them.

 

 

Have you always wanted to be a writer?

 

I STILL want to be a writer. It’s taking a long time.

 

 

What started you on your journey to be a writer?

 

When I was a little kid I discovered that no matter how mad my mom was at me, I could write her a poem or story and she would laugh and forget all about whatever stupid thing I had done. It was a magic power I developed when I was about eight.

 

 

When you made your first sale, how did you celebrate and with whom?

 

I took my girlfriend to the prom and we…uh…celebrated.

 

 

Do you listen to music while writing?

 

No, I can’t get anything done if I do that, it makes me pick up the guitar and play along, which I can’t do, which makes me frustrated. Then I get up and make something to eat. It is very counter-productive.

 

 

What are your favorite hobbies?

 

Looking for my wallet, car keys, sunglasses and credit card; calling the credit card company and cancelling the card, and calling Netflix and the cell phone company, etc, and telling them to bill my wife’s card. I’m not sure these are actually hobbies but I spend a lot of time doing that stuff.

 

What’s the most memorable thing (good or bad) that’s happened to you while promoting your work?

 

Someone BOUGHT A BOOK!!!

 

 

With more books being released each month now than ever before, what do you believe sets your work apart from the others?

 

It is the only stuff that was written by me!  I don’t see a lot of stuff that sounds like mine in bookstores.

 

 

What would you like to share with writers who haven’t reached the point of publication yet?

 

“It’s not too late to turn back!”  Okay, that’s not what I mean. What I mean is, get into a writer’s group, listen to all the criticism, and when they rise up against you, enraged, you are getting someplace!

 

 

What do you feel is your most effective tool for promoting your published work?

 

An actual book that people can actually hold onto, with your picture on the back cover and your name on it. Until you can hand someone that, they don’t believe you actually wrote anything. It’s not real impressive to wave a Kindle around. I tried it.

 

 

What area of book promotion is the most challenging to you?

 

Convincing myself that I want to spend all day on Facebook pretending I’m fascinated by what everyone had for lunch.

 

 

Your favorite books and author?

 

I split my time between humor and books that are very evocative of time, place and strong emotions. I don’t have a ‘favorite,’ but here are some authors that I actually pay money for: (humor) Mark Twain, Dave Barry, Jean Shephard, Fanny Flag, David Sedaris, Kurt Vonegutt, Garrison Keilor. That other thing, the evocative thing: Junot Diaz, James Lee Burke, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Joanne Beard, Stewart O’nan.

 

 

Which genres do you prefer to read?

 

Coming of age (I’m expecting that will happen to me any day now), romantic comedy (that too, I hope), high tech spy and international thrillers (just for the descriptions of the female leads), anything really funny no matter what the genre. Anything really good, ditto.

 

Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?

 

I am so behind in my reading, anything written since 1975 is ‘new.’

 

 

What book is currently on your nightstand?

 

Wait a minute I’ll go look. Okay, I’m back. “How to Raise a Jewish Dog,” by Ellis Weiner and Barbara Davilman. It’s funny. And short. I love short books.

 

 

Are there any particular books and/or authors that inspired you and continue to do so?

 

I fall hard for authors that can make you laugh and cry on the same page. They have power over you, and it’s frightening. I have to keep these titles to myself in the interest of public health.

 

 

How many books do you read/month?

 

I read very slowly because I am still rebelling against the reading lists I had to deal with in college. I read all the dialog aloud as if I were in a play. This drives my family insane. As a result, I am lucky to finish two books a month. I also read the newspaper funnies and never miss them. It’s very instructional to see a writer tell a whole story, with a plot, characters, an issue and a resolution, in three panels.

 

 

What is the one book that you think everyone should read?

 

I can’t think of a single book that everyone would WANT to read enough to make it past the first chapter. If I could, I’d keep that to myself. Life should not be turned into a literature class. But Tom Sawyer would be a safe bet.

 

 

Do you have an all time favorite book?

 

I bet you don’t want me to say “My own,” huh?

 

 

How important do you find the communication between you and your readers? Do you reply to their messages or read their reviews?

 

Absolutely. I love to answer their letters. They rarely write a second time. I wonder why that is?

 

 

Do you prefer Twitter or Facebook?

 

Facebook. But after my daughter teaches me how to use Twitter, I might like that. I have a problem with Facebook.  Looking at all the pictures of food and empty bottles of wine, and places people go on vacation makes me wonder what the heck I am doing staring at a computer screen all day.

 

 

Where can your fans find you?

 

For the time being, while I finish my fabulously complicated and nonworking website, contact me at ginobardi.author@gmail.com, or on Facebook at Gino B. Bardi author. Put in the extra B because, surprisingly, there is another Gino Bardi, who appears to speak Italian and lift weights. Be nice if you meet him, he could be violent.

 

 

Do you have a local independent bookseller you’d like to mention?

final art for cover with changes 1/9/16

final art for cover with changes 1/9/16

 

No, the only bookstores near me are Books-a-Bazillion and similar giant places which are gigantic, scary places which I am afraid to enter.

 

Give us a list of your published titles in chronological or series order:

 

Oh, let me think….hmmmmm…Okay I got it:  The Cow in the Doorway

 

Share with us an elevator pitch (no more than 30 seconds) of your latest title:

 

“What floor are you going to? Me too! Hey, wanna buy my book? It’s about a kid who goes to a tough college because his dad wants him to, and if he flunks out he’ll get drafted. He falls in love with this terrific girl, but she likes his roommate more because the kid is just…hey, wait! We’re not at that floor yet! Where are you going?”

 

 

Where can we buy it?

 

Right now (early May 2016) you can buy it from Amazon as a Kindle book or paperback, or from my publisher, 99% Books at the website address 99pctbooks, or directly from me at Ginobardi.author@ gmail.com.  You should be able to order it from places like Books-a-Bazillion but it’s more fun to just order it from me; I’ll autograph it for you and write anything you want in it, even a convincing alibi for where you were last Friday when you got home at five AM.

 

 

If you could ask your readers one question, what would it be?

 

What’s more entertaining for you- to laugh or cry?  Don’t just say, laugh, because maybe it’s not. I’d really like to know.

 

 

Are you working on anything new and if so when can we expect to see it?

 

I have three other projects in the works. Two novels and a collection of short stories. The short stories are finished, they’ll come out in the fall, probably.

 

 

Is there anything else you’d like to share to your followers and readers?

 

I can’t finish this sandwich. But it’s got mustard on it. Some people don’t like mustard. Of course, I’m just kidding. I can always finish a sandwich.

 

 

What last thing would you like to share with us that nobody knows about you and your work?

 

I go through a lot to make people understand how hard I work and difficult this is. Which is all crap. I love doing this, and it’s easy. But I have to keep that a secret, so pretend I never said that. Even my family doesn’t know that. Especially them.

Persistence and Patience by Serita Stevens

_MP_0244Maybe it’s because I’m an Aquarius,  but they say it’s our “advanced”  thinking that keeps us from accomplishing things in what we believe is a timely manner.  Whatever it is, I’ve had to have patience and a lot of persistence with my ideas and especially my writing.

Living in Chicago with my first husband, who seemed to be jealous of writing even though he said he wasn’t,  I was pleased when he gave one of my manuscripts – a novel about Deborah the Prophetess (based on the 4 Bible pages of Judges 4/5)  to a literary writer friend of his father’s.  Her cruel words to me were “Honey, go home and do your housework.”  I cried for a few days before I fisted up and said “Hell no.” I was not going to give up despite the lack of support from my husband or my own family.

While taking a class from Chicago writer in residence, someone asked “When do you give up?”  His words to her were – “Honey if you can do so, you’re stronger than me.  If it’s in your blood, than your screwed.” Writing was in my blood and it could not be denied.

I penned 8 books before the 8th was published and I was able to later revise and rewrite 4 of the 7 books. Going back to those original manuscripts I saw how poorly those had been written and how I had improved. The book about Deborah was finally published in 1990 – a good 10 years after the first draft – by Leisure Books as Lighting and Fire.

Other ideas also took their time to mature.  Sometimes I wasn’t ready and other times, the market had changed before I could finish what I was writing.

Living in England while I obtained my masters in writing from Antioch, I became infatuated with the story of Boudicea, the Celtic queen who rebelled from Rome’s oppression in 60 AD. Destroying much of Roman Britain including London.  I wrote a historical romance using the events as a background with her fictional niece falling in love with a Roman centurion – great conflict there.  It’s been almost 28 years since the idea first percolate in me and will now finally appear in July as A Pagan Love by Oak Tree Press.

Persistence also proved to serve me with my Y.A. drama, based on my work with teens thrown into psychiatric wards merely because their parents couldn’t handle them.  Against Her Will was finally published 2015 by Motivational Press when my new agent asked if I had any young adult material.  I pulled out the half done manuscript, updated a bit and, because I was already deep into other deadlines, worked with another client of hers to finish the book.

My western romantic suspense, Deceptive Desires, also published by Leisure has now been turned into a script – Logan’s Land – with several options under its belt.  Since westerns are currently not in favor for the movie market, it might have to wait a bit longer before showing it’s screen version, but the book will be re-released by Oak Tree Press in December 2016.

One of my gothic novels – The Shrieking Shadows of Penporth Island – went to publishers 21 times – 8 times to the same house – Zebra Publishers- who finally put it out when the time, they felt was right.

My non-fiction book The Forensic Nurse  (St Martin’s Press) about how we as nurses help police solve crimes and written for the ordinary public to forensicpaperback-1understand what we do, took years to find the right home.  Then it was optioned for a TV series not once but several times, always with something spoiling the deal at the last moment.  (In Hollywood, one must have attachments – stars and directors – push projects forward and the studios want A-list writers whom they already know can produce shows.  So I don’t know what went wrong.  But finally when the last option expired, I took it on myself to write my own speculative pilot  for Nursing the Evidence – and show bible, which, has attracted attention.  Fingers are still crossed on that.

Now, in addition to my own writing, I teach at various universities and conferences and published a workbook based on my lectures – The Ultimate Writers Workbook For Books and Scripts (Motivational Press.)  While there are some differences in writing books and scripts, you basically need an exciting story that will entice the reader and make him care about your characters.   I also assist writers with their stories, too.

I can’t say it has been easy watching my friends snap up quick contracts, but I realized that when the time is right for something, an opening will appear.  One just has to keep on writing, and know that if it is meant to be, it will.

Please check out my page at http://www.seritastevens.com

An interview with Maria Grazia Swan

Maria Grazia SwanBestselling author Maria Grazia Swan was born in Italy, but this rolling stone has definitely gathered no moss. She lived in Belgium, France, Germany, in beautiful Orange County, California where she raised her family, and is currently at home in Phoenix, Arizona.

As a young girl, her vivid imagination predestined her to be a writer. She won her first literary award at the age of fourteen while living in Belgium. As a young woman Maria returned to Italy to design for–ooh-la-la–haute couture. Once in the U.S. and after years of concentrating on family, she tackled real estate. These days her time is devoted to her deepest passions: writing and helping people and pets find the perfect home.

Maria loves travel, opera, good books, hiking, and intelligent movies (if she can find one, that is). When asked about her idea of a perfect evening, she favors stimulating conversation, Northern Italian food and perfectly chilled Prosecco–but then, who doesn’t?

www.mariagraziaswan.com

Facebook  https://www.facebook.com/MariaGraziaSwan?ref=hl

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What’s the most memorable thing (good or bad) that’s happened to you while promoting your work?

OMG!! I still blush after all the years. Barnes and Noble. One of my first booksigning. The event was covered by the local media. I quickly had to use the restroom before walking to the podium and unfortunately my beautiful flirty chiffon skirt got stuck in my panties, in the back…made for a Screen Shot 2016-04-13 at 10.03.23 PMmemorable event..

 

What would you like to share with writers who haven’t reached the point of publication yet?

Never, ever give up. Follow your dream. You never know when lighting will strike.

 

What do you feel is your most effective tool for promoting your published work?

I will have to say word of mouth???

 

Screen Shot 2016-04-13 at 10.04.12 PMWhat area of book promotion is the most challenging to you?

Anything connected to the digital world.

 

Which genres do you prefer to read?

I read mystery because I’m a sucker for a good plot. However, I like anything that’s well written. If the writing catches my fancy, I’m in.

 

Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?

Honestly, I have a very hard time keeping up with my usual suspects, I only buy a new author if a trusted friend recommends it.Screen Shot 2016-04-13 at 10.04.55 PM

 

What book is currently on your nightstand?

Marked Masters, Ritter Ames

 

How many books do you read/month?

Two or three, it depends on my schedule.

 

What is the one book that you think everyone should read?Screen Shot 2016-04-13 at 10.05.19 PM

Bird by Bird. By Annie Lamott it’s my go to bible.

 

Do you have an all time favorite book?

Not really, it changes like everything in life. Maybe I should say that my needs and preferences evolve.

 

How important do you find the communication between you and your readers?

Do you reply to their messages or read their reviews? I do, I do. And I often seek their input. I’ll be nothing without them.

 

Do you prefer Twitter or Facebook?

Screen Shot 2016-04-13 at 10.11.31 PMFacebook, of course. Doesn’t everybody?

 

Where can your fans find you?

Not sure about the question. I send out a newsletter, I have a website, Facebook and twitter and Goodreads presence and if all fails, I have a page on Amazon with my e-mail address. I’m easily accessible.

 

Give us a list of your published titles in chronological or series order:

Mina’s series (6 books to date)

Love thy Sister

Bosom Bodies

Italian SummerScreen Shot 2016-04-13 at 10.10.58 PM

Ashes of Autumn

A Cat to Die For

Best in Show

 

Non fiction

Stories my Grandfather told me

Mating Dance-Rituals for singles who weren’t born yesterday

 

Share with us an elevator pitch (no more than 30 seconds) of your latest title:

This is not my latest, but it is the one on sale next two weeks. A Cat to die For

Two Calico cats, almost alike except for one detail. The love of Mina’s life, Diego Moran shows up with a Greek heiress wanting Houdini although she has a look-a- like cat named Zeus.The cat caretaker is found dead. Now the adventure begins…

 

Where can we buy it?

Amazon.com