Thursday, September 24, 2009

Western Romance Author Paty Jager

Western Romance Author Paty Jager is visiting today. Let's welcome Paty!

Hi Paty. Welcome to Life, Unedited! Tell us a little about yourself.

I live in Central Oregon with my husband of thirty years. We raised four children and currently ranch 160 acres. We built the house we are living in. It was a wonderful experience even though many people said we'd be divorced before it was through. Ironically, we had few arguments and when we did start getting on each other's nerves we'd take a break from the house for a couple days. I started writing when the kids were small, making up children's stories for them. When I was told I wrote too adult, I wrote two mysteries to exorcise (murder off) a person who had wronged both my husband and myself. Then I read LaVyrle Spencer's Hummingbird and I knew I had to write historical western romance. At this time, I was also writing freelance stories for the two local newspapers. Once I joined RWA, a whole new world of people and learning opened up to me. And after eight years of honing my craft, I became published with a new publisher, The Wild Rose Press.

What drew you to Romance?

Reading LaVyrle Spencer's books I realized I wanted to bring characters to life like she did and entertain people with history. But the best part about writing romance is the dawning of attraction between the hero and heroine and the gripping moment when all seems lost and the wonder of the happy ever after.

Of all the past great Romance authors, who would you say had the greatest influence on you/your writing style?

As a teen I read Phyllis Whitney, Victoria Holt, and Mary Stewart. I read the stories because they took me to far off lands. ( I grew up in a very rural secluded area) I always wanted the hero and heroine to experience more intimacy I those books. Now, I write spicy stories where the hero and heroine always make love in a heated fashion. I think the somber mode of those books and my desire for more intimacy has made my books hotter.

I, too, am a huge fan of Phyllis Whitney, Victoria Holt and Mary Stewart, so can definitely relate! How do you find ideas for your books? Real happenings? Dreams? A great imagination?

Everywhere. Often when I'm researching for a book I'll run across something that will make a good story for another book. I've come up with ideas for books from songs, something I read in the newspaper, see on TV or hear on the radio. That's the fun part about being a writer- your mind is always thinking in terms of a story. Anything that catches your attention immediately gets attached to the story board in your head. Will it work? Can I make it stretch for a whole book? How about a short story? Would there be enough tension/conflict?

How difficult is it for you to get into “writer’s mode”?

Some days are more difficult than others, but I keep a pretty good schedule. Every morning I get my husband out the door to work and sit down at the computer. I go through e-mails and read blogs and write my blog. Then I do PR work and have breakfast. After breakfast I sit down and write for 3-4 hours. In the afternoon, depending on my deadlines, I either work on my writing or freelance editing for three hours. By keeping my schedule on track I can slip into writer mode quickly and get my 10-15 pages a day written. Now this is an ideal day- some days I have to feed animals or check on cows birthing, rake hay, bale hay, change irrigation, or run errands.

You have a new book out. We’d love to hear about it.

My current release is Miner in Petticoats. It is the third book of a historical western five book series about the Halsey brothers. Ethan, Hank, Clay, Zeke, and Gil grew up in the mining country of NE Oregon. After the murder of their parents and youngest brother, Ethan took over the parental duties of the other four. Having finished raising his brothers and working to build their mine into something that will sustain all their families, Ethan isn't looking for marriage or a family of his own. To fulfill his commitment to enhance the Halsey family future, he plans to build a stamp mill and he needs property the widow Miller refuses to part with.

Aileen Miller is twice widowed and has a twelve-year-old son and a four-year-old daughter. Her first marriage was for love. When her husband was killed she had to flee Ireland and found herself married to an abusive alcoholic. When that husband came up dead she vowed to never let another man into their lives.

This story is about learning to bend and compromise and realize fate can sometimes throw you a curve. It is also about overcoming fears and learning to trust again.

How did the inspiration for this work come to you?

This is the third book in the series, and I decided I needed to have the oldest brother fall in love before he would be dating an old woman. LOL Since the series titles all have predominantly male occupations-Marshal in Petticoats, Outlaw in Petticoats- I had to give the heroine a male occupation. And since they live in mining country I made her a miner, having been left the claim when her husband died.

Since Ethan is all about his family and not motivated to have a family of his own but definitely motivated to provide for his brothers, I had to place a roadblock in his grand plan to build a stamp mill. So I plopped in a stubborn Scots woman with children who refuses to be battered or used by a man again. And she has a goal to get her son's inheritance back. Giving into Ethan's plans won't help her with her goal.

Do you identify with the characters you write about?

I recently blogged about this topic on my RWA chapter blog. In some ways I think all writers identify with their characters, they have to, to make the character believable and real. But the good thing is you can give them traits you wish you had, like courage, or the ability to be outspoken. In a way, I live vicariously through my characters.

You have several books in print (or upcoming releases). Is there a favorite among them? Why?

I have the three books in the Halsey brother series, a historical western, Gambling on an Angel about a saloon owner and a sister of the Temperance movement, and a contemporary western, Perfectly Good Nanny which won the 2008 Best Contemporary EPPIE. (Electronic Publishing award) I don’t have a favorite among them but I have a reason why I like each one. Marshal in Petticoats was a fun story because the heroine was accident prone and it made for fun writing scenes where her clumsiness got her in trouble. Outlaw in Petticoats pitted a staid, stand-offish heroine against a hero who was bound and determined to make her love him. Miner in Petticoats I pitted the hero and heroine against each other in a battle of wits and showing their admiration and attraction grow. Gambling on an Angel I incorporated some history about the sternwheelers traveling up the Columbia River and how people with strong beliefs can learn to see both sides. Perfectly Good Nanny was written on a dare by another author, and after I wrote it, found I had the capability to write contemporary and to enjoy doing it.

What does your writing schedule look like?

I kind of covered this up above. I usually do my writing in the morning and research or edit in the afternoon. But I also find I get scenes or ideas for books while I’m driving the tractor, so I always keep a notebook and pen with me when raking, baling or harrowing.

Do you have a “writer’s cave”? Where do you do your best work?

I guess you could call my loft the "writer's cave". I have my desk facing the windows looking out at the Cascade Mountain Range. I also have a 10 x 16 cabin I spend considerable time in during the summer when I go to our other property and change the irrigation pipes. I have electricity but no phone or internet. I use a microwave and electric skillet to cook and have a small refrigerator. My running water is outside(from the irrigation pump) and I use an outhouse. This is my "writer's cave" when I am on water detail. It works well because there are no distractions. Well, an occasional call of the chukar, quail, ravens, or eagle. Oh, or the chhh, chhh, of a rattlesnake.

Do you have a “day” job?

See above. I have two jobs besides my writing. I help ranch our 160 acres and I'm a freelance editor.

What advice do you have for aspiring writers?

You're writing because you have a passion. Don't let naysayers or overly harsh critics get you down. Critiques are needed to make sure you are polishing and making your work the best it can be, but if someone is harsh or negative, don't keep them in your circle of creativity. Keep only those you know are there to help you get better. And when you do come across someone (like a contest judge) who is overly critical, read what they have to say, take a step back, then review their words again. There may be some truth in what they said, they just didn't say it in a constructive manner.

What is your next project?

I just finished the fourth Halsey brother book, Doctor in Petticoats. And I have a contemporary western out to an editor, my historical paranormal set among the Nez Perce Indians is being evaluated by an editor, and I also have, what I hope will be the beginning of a series, out to another editor. It is a historical western about a female Pinkerton detective and a U.S. Marshal.

Do you have any writing rituals?

My ritual is always going through e-mails and blogs before I start writing. It's like my little warm up to get my fingers working.

Today, writers need not only write great books, but be great promoters of their books, too. What kinds of things do you do?

I have a monthly contest on my website-, I try to get as many blog spots on other people's blogs as I can, and I showcase other writers to my blog on Wednesdays, I contact bookstores to set up book signings, participate in online chats at reader loops, and give workshops at conferences. And I've participated in several blog talk radio shows as well as get on the local TV station when I have a new book out.

What else would you like to tell us?

My books so far are all set in Oregon. I love introducing readers to my state and the history and lifestyle of the people who tromped across the continent to live in "Eden". They were a hardy group who took on challenges and worked hard to build family legacies.

I'm not one to toot my own horn, so I'll leave you with some reviews:

Marshal in Petticoats

For a trip back to the raw, wild days of the silver and gold rushes, with a bit of romance thrown in for added effect, this book is perfect. ~ Charissa, Reviewer for Coffee Time Romance

Outlaw in Petticoats

With an intriguing mystery, an action-packed adventure, fully realized characters and a story filled with surprising twists, Ms. Jager has crafted a sensual and gratifying romance that will have you turning those pages. A keeper for any lover of romance or the Old West. Love Western Romances

Gambling on an Angel

Ms. Jager tells an emotional tale full of characters that you’ll take into your heart and want to remember long after you’ve read the last page.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Where The Wild Things Are

Are you a follower?

I'm a follower and so is my son. We LOVE the book, Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak. My son says that those of us who love the book are followers.

Last night I shared a late text message conversation with him that warmed my heart. The conversation went something like this:

Son: Holy Shit! They are coming out with a "where the wild things are" movie!

Me: LOL I saw that over the weekend. Will you go see it? By the way, you made me laugh out loud.

Son: Hell yeah I'm gonna go see it!!!! Wanna go?

Me: Sure! Would be fun. Gonna take your wild thing doll?

Son: I don't have it, and it's not a doll! Do u have it?

Me: I don't know. I'll have to check. Oh, right, not a doll...

Son: Yeah. Action figure.


Oh, in case you haven't guessed, my son is not a little boy anymore, he's 24 years old and married! And yes, the book is probably his fave of all time. (and no, it's NOT a doll!)

Here's a sneak peek of the movie!

Release Day! Mate to Order

Matchmaker, Matchmaker bake me a match?

Oh, sorry, that’s make me a match.

No, really, it’s bake me a match…

Released TODAY! from Resplendence Publishing

Mate to Order

Book Five in The Matchmaking Chef series

Here is the blurb:

Patricia Plum has an agenda and a list. A husband list, that is.

When Suzie’s success as The Matchmaking Chef hits the national scene at the same time as her debut cooking show on The Food Channel, her new producer comes to her with a list of requirements—not for Suzie’s job, but for a husband.

Patricia Plum has a specific list and if Suzie really wants to make it big in New York City, she’ll make every attempt to deliver, Patricia’s “Mate to Order.”

Food photographer, Ames Cooper, possesses not one characteristic on that list of Patricia’s. In fact, if you could make a list of everything that Ames is not, Patricia’s list would be it. But Ames never let not being on the list stop him before, and he doesn’t intend to let it stop him, now.


“And that, ladies, is how you set a cozy desert table for two, complete with a warm and gooey Double Chocolate Decadent Delight Brownie ala mode with my signature Buttered Almond Toffee Topping followed with a Bourbon Coffee chaser.” Suzie learned closer to the camera and brought a bite up to her mouth, stringing fudge from plate to spoon. “All I can say is this.” She took a bite of the gooey confection and savored it. “Yummmm. I’m Suzie Matthews and this is one way to bake you a match, girls.”

There was a second’s pause and then, “That’s a wrap.”

Suzie whooshed out a breath. “Okay, I’m officially tired.”

“Same.” Patricia swept up next to Suzie and gave her a hug. “Perfect, hon. It was classic. You are a world class pro in front of the camera now.” Glancing down at the dessert, she wanted to swoon from lack of food since she’d skipped lunch. “That brownie is absolutely sinful.”

With her pointer finger she reached to scoop up some fresh whipped cream.

“Stop!” Ames caught her wrist.

A bit flustered, she turned what she hoped was a serious-as-hell scowl on him. “Take your hand off me, Ames.”

“Don’t touch that. It’s perfect. I need a shot.”

“It’s melting, Ames.”

“No, it’s perfect. Move your ass, honey.” He crowded up to her and shoved her aside with his hip. “This will only take a—“

For the likes of her she didn’t know what possessed her to do what she did next. Maybe because it was Ames, and maybe it was because she was hungry, and maybe, just maybe, it was because she didn’t like being hipped out of the way.

She wanted like hell to pick a fight with him. Some sort of weird payback?

“Go home, Ames. We can do this tomorrow.”

He was hunched over the desert with his camera poised, snapping away.

She bumped him in mid-snap.

He turned an annoyed but wicked grin on her. “You don’t really want to do that, Plummish.”

“Do what?”

“Interrupt me while I am in pic mode.”

“Well, I’m in ala mode and I want that ice cream.”

He turned away and positioned himself again to take a shot. “You’re going to have to wait another couple of minutes.”

“By then it will be too melted.” Why was she goading him? “Even though I have to work with you doesn’t mean you call the shots, Ames. I do.”

“Not when you’re in my arena. I—”

He started to snap and Patricia shoved her hand forward and simultaneously scooted him out of the way. With two fingers, she scooped up a huge dollop of semi-melty ice cream and whipped cream topping.

“What the hell?” Ames lowered his camera and squared himself in front of her.

Uh oh, she had angered him now. For some odd reason she giggled inside. “Oh, you weren’t finished?” She brought the ice cream up to her mouth and sucked her fingers dry.

There was a distinct twinkle in Ames’ eyes. The outer corners crinkled. Without hesitation, he set his camera down, picked up the brownie plate, and took a step closer to her. “No, I wasn’t finished.”

“Hm.” She swiped her finger into fudge this time, then again, brought it to her tongue and licked. Damn, it was almost like a dare. Maybe closer to a tease.

Before she could react, Ames took a couple of fingers full of the brownie goo as well, and without words, crowded closer and smeared it down the side of Patricia’s face, raking his chocolate-covered fingers across her lips.

“Oh, now you’ve done it.”

She stood steadfast but truth be told, the act of his hand smearing chocolate over her face and lips was way too sensual. The way he lingered, smoothed....


She scooped up another finger of cake and ice cream and slung it. The sticky mass splatted across his nose.

Ames palmed a handful of the dish and smeared it across her chest.

Patricia dove for the table and the other dessert. Unfortunately, just as she scooped up the second plate, her heel slipped in melted ice cream on the floor and down she went. But not before she fisted Ames’ black t-shirt at his chest and pulled him down with her.

The second dish of Double Chocolate Decadent Delight Brownie ala mode with Buttered Almond Toffee Topping tumbled from her fingertips and landed on the floor between them.

Soon, cake, ice cream, hot fudge, whipped cream, and topping were flying, and Ames and Patricia were rolling on the floor of Suzie’s new kitchen set, squealing and shoving and pushing, while the crew jeered and hooted, and Suzie fretted about her tablescape, until…

A deep voice, reminiscent of the voice of God, boomed out over the chaos. Patricia knew that voice and also knew that things weren’t going to bode too well for either of them.

“Ahem,” the voice said and then paused. “You know, when I was a child we used to fetch the water hose to separate dogs in heat from their rather aggressive suitors. Anyone have a hose handy?”

Patricia immediately stopped shoving cake in Ames’ face. His eyes were wide and his smile broad. He looked like a candied chocolate confection laying there on the floor opposite her. His hands were on her waist and the look in his eyes was one of…


She pushed back and stood. Ames followed.

Like it? Get you own copy at Resplendence Publishing.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Lazy Sunday

Every once in a while we get one of those, you know? A lazy Sunday.

I woke to thunder rippling through overhead and rain gently beating down on my roof. I glanced at the clock, realized that it was Sunday, smiled and turned over in my covers. Nice. I slept another couple of hours. That set the tone to the rest of my day very nicely.

The Muses agree. They've been lazy all day with me. Clio is at her perch at the back door, watching the rain come down and wishing for an occasional bug to come by so she can make an attempt to pounce on it through the glass door. Of course, she can't get to it but she still loves to try. Calliope has been at my side most of the day, curled up next to my legs and sleeping. I think they missed me last week while I was out of town in New Mexico.

So, today is a great day to catch up and that is what I have been doing. I've already done a couple of blogs, updated my Facebook page, and plan to work on a short story later in the day. I have an article to write, too, and pictures to select and send to the editor for that piece. I'll probably just get the pictures ready today, doubt that the article will find it's way onto my list. Still, I'll be happy to lazily run through my day's to do list and check a few things off.

Lazy days are nice. I can handle them. My comfy chair, my feet up, my Muses occupied with sleep and bug-watching, laptop on my lap and the Food Network on the tube. What else could I want?

Bug Watchin'

Saturday, September 19, 2009

A visit to Cupcakeology!

I think many of you know that I have a little thing for cupcakes. It waxes and wanes, and over the summer, I didn't break into cupcake mode one time. I suppose that is why when I was driving down the road in Albuquerque this week, and this big CUPCAKE sign jumped directly into my line of vision, my rental car made a hard right turn and suddenly I was pulling into a parking space in front of Cupcakeology.

You may also remember that several months back I tinkered with the Iron Cupcake Challenge and submitted several entries. You can read some of my cupcake recipes here. I am quite the amateur cupcake baker. Even though I have a degree that says I might know something about baking (I was a Home Economics teacher for 16 years) I don't believe I practice enough to be good at it, so I'll take the amateur status and run with it. Still, it's fun.

And cupcakes are pretty. I'm not sure if I'm attacted so much to eating them or just looking at them. See? Pretty, huh?

Okay, so I had to buy the cupcakes. I had a meeting going on down the street and why not take some to my co-workers? I walked right in to Cupcakology and felt like I just stepped into a pretty pink confection.

Here is what I saw.

I had a nice talk with the owners' hubby and I believe he said that the cupcakes from Cupcakeology were voted the best cupcakes in Albuquerque. I can certainly see why! They were a hit with my co-workers. And...since I frequent old ABQ for my day job work, I know I'll be back.

If you would like to visit Cupcakeology, they are located at 2000 Carlisle Blvd, NE. You can also visit their Cupcakeology Flickr group for more cupcake pictures. Yummers!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

The National Day on Writing

The National Day on Writing, October 20, 2009, is an effort to celebrate the written word. Established by the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE), a professional association of educators in English Studies, Literacy, and Language Arts, the day features writing in all its forms—fiction, non-fiction, letters, emails, text messages, and so on.

We all use writing everyday and in many ways. We use it to inform and entertain, to provide direction or explanation, to alert and to notify, and in many other ways. Technology increases the opportunities for us to write on a daily basis. Just think how many different ways we can spread the written word today, than say, twenty years ago. This blog being one example.

Even our government is getting in on the act. The House of Representatives will be considering a resolution declaring October 20,2009, the National Day on Writing.

Part of NCTE’s Day on Writing is to showcase writing from people all over our country. To this end they have created the National Gallery of Writing. NCTE has created partnerships with several national organizations, such as the National Center for Family Literacy, in hosting a number of partner galleries within the site. Anyone can host a gallery and I have decided to host one of my own.

Romancing the Written Word is a local gallery I am hosting within the National Gallery and I invited you to submit! This is a chance to showcase an unpublished work of yours you would like to share with others. These short works of romantic fiction must not contain explicit, graphic sexual situations. The guidelines are posted on the site.

You may submit your writing anytime starting now through next summer. The galleries will not officially open to the public until the launch on October 20.

So please consider submitting a short piece of romantic fiction to this gallery! Visit the Romancing the Written Word gallery and follow the sign-up directions. You’re invited!

You may also want to follow the National Day on Writing on Facebook, Twitter, or Ning.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Jeanne C. Stein pens the Anna Strong Vampire Chronicles


Jeanne C. Stein writes vampires. Enough said, huh? Just when you've heard that books with teeth were so yesterday? Not. Let's meet Jeanne as she talks about her Anna Strong Vampire series.

Hi Jeanne. Welcome to Life, Unedited. You have a new book out. We’d love to hear about it.

Thanks for inviting me today. And yes, the fifth book in the Anna Strong Vampire Chronicles has just been released. Retribution finds Anna facing a foe from a previous book, the black witch Belinda Burke. It also features a character from a short story I wrote for the anthology Many Bloody Returns. Sophie is a witch with a real split personality—she shares her body with a vampire. She and Anna team together to save the lives of Culebra and Daniel Frey.

You have several books in print. Is there a favorite among them? Why?

I think my favorite book is always the one I’ve just finished—in this case, the sixth book, CHOSEN, which will be released next August. It completes Anna’s first year as a vampire and answers the question of what it means to be The Chosen One.

Let’s talk about your writing process. Are you a plotter or a pantzer?

I’m a little of both. Two years ago, I would have said I’m a pantzer. But I found myself stalled on the fourth book, Legacy, partly because I had only four months to write it and partly because I realized I didn’t know the story question. I had to write a detailed thirty-two-page synopsis before I could complete that book. Now I begin with the story question, fill in key scenes and turning points and go from there. It seems to work.

That's a great piece of advice that I could use, as well. Thanks! What drives your story, your characters or the plot?

Characters. Everything that happens in my books revolves around Anna’s reaction to what’s happening in her life. Her loyalty to her family and friend’s is always her first consideration. It is more and more difficult to maintain that focus, though, when her place in the vampire hierarchy becomes clear.

What does your writing schedule look like? Are you a morning writer? A night owl?

Morning. Definitely. I’m at my computer by 5:30. Work until eleven or so. Take a break. Back at one until about five. I treat writing like a job (the best one I’ve ever had) and try to maintain the same hours every day. I have to. I’m easily distracted. If the writing is not going well, I can find a million excuses to do something else.

Do you have a writer’s cave? Can we see a picture?

I do. Here it is. I love my writing space.

I like it, too! Reminds me of mine. (grin) What is your next project?

I just completed two short stories for anthologies. One comes out next month (The Mammoth Book of Vampire Romance) and one in February of next year (A Girl’s Guide to Guns and Monsters.) I have a third short to complete and of course, book seven. There’s another project I’m working on with another writer, but we don’t have that firmed up yet so I can’t say much more except that it involves angels and demons.

Thanks, Jeanne! Wow, your upcoming works sound exciting. Thanks so much for being with us today. Jeanne would like to leave us with the blurb from Retribution.

With her partner out of town, her family abroad, and her mentor estranged, newly-turned vampire Anna Strong is keeping a low profile.

But now young vampires are turning up dead, completely drained of their life force. And though Anna wants to say no when Williams, her former teacher and now leader of a supernatural enforcement squad, asks for her help, she can't.

But soon, she'll wish she had.

Available at Amazon

Barnes & Noble

And an independent near you.

Places you can find Jeanne C. Stein on the Web.

Jeanne's Website

Her Blog with fellow author Mario Acevedo

An Urban Fantasy Hot Spot

And with an eclectic bunch of crazy UF authors

More Interviews: Did you see author Linda Hilburn's recent interview? She talks about her vampire psychologist series.

More About:

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Paranormal romance author Lynda Hilburn's Vampire Psychologist series

Author Lynda Hilburn is a whole lot more than a paranormal romance author--one quick look at her Web site makes that abundantly clear. Lynda is nationally-known for her psychic/intuitive abilities and she is a frequent guest on radio and TV programs. She writes for mainstream and metaphysical publications, and she teaches seminars, workshops, and classes on psychological and spiritual topics.

Hi Lynda. I'm very happy to have your here as a guest and I look forward to exploring your Web site in more depth. What else would you like to tell us about you, up front?

I live in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, in Boulder, Colorado. In addition to being a paranormal writer, I’m a licensed psychotherapist, certified clinical hypnotherapist and professional intuitive. I work four days per week at a community mental health center and see private clients another day or two. I used to sing professionally and I really miss performing (there are so many hours in the day!!) I have a grown son who lives in a nearby town with my two furry grandchildren (my son loves dogs).

Congratulations on your latest release! How many books do you have in print now?

Two books in my Kismet Knight, Vampire Psychologist series are out so far: The Vampire Shrink and Dark Harvest. They’re in trade paperback from Medallion Press. In addition, I’ve sold 4 short stories and a novella to epubs. I’m currently working on the third book in the Kismet series, plus expanding the novella into a novel and brainstorming an outline for a series about a couple of psychics in Boulder, where I live.

I loved reading about your new book, Dark Harvest. The Vampire Psychologist series is exciting! Tell us more about that?

My most recent release is Dark Harvest, the second book in the Kismet Knight, Vampire Psychologist series. Here’s a blurb:

Denver Psychologist Kismet Knight counsels vampires. Her life changed forever when she discovered a preternatural underworld, met Devereux, the powerful leader of a vampire coven, and was forced to rethink her notions of “reality.”

Still adjusting to her new role as an expert on all things paranormal, she schedules what she believes is simply another radio interview. She couldn’t be more mistaken. Not only does the radio host behave very strangely, but an ominous, on-air call from day-walking vampire Lyren Hallow turns Kismet’s world upside-down -- again.

Shortly thereafter, Maxie Westhaven, a tabloid newspaper reporter in search of a juicy story, befriends Kismet, leading her into a bizarre world of role players, lost souls and death. Enter Victoria Essex, Devereux’s building manager and resident witch, who discloses a startling secret of her own.

Meanwhile, Luna, Devereux’s hostile femme fatal personal assistant, recognizes a perfect opportunity to throw a wrench into her boss’s blossoming relationship with the human psychologist, and, to complicate matters further, Kismet’s old boyfriend, self-absorbed Psychologist Tom Radcliffe, shows up with his own outlandish request.

I also have a short story, “Blood Song,” in the recently released anthology, Mammoth Book of Paranormal Romance.

What does your writing schedule look like? Are you a morning writer? A night owl?

Since I’m working so much these days, my writing schedule is chaotic: I just try to sit in front of the keyboard whenever I have a minute! I used to write in the evenings (before I took the structured position at the mental health center), but now I come home so tired it’s a challenge to even think, much less type. But I’m rethinking my priorities and expect to move writing back toward the top of the list.

What advice do you have for aspiring writers?

I’ve learned a lot about the business of publishing in the last few years. I learned through making every mistake possible! Here’s what I think now: write what you love to write, and don’t follow trends and fads. Find your voice/style and don’t let anyone talk you out of it. Explore critique groups until you find the one that is right for you. Being with the wrong critique partners can kill a writer’s creativity, confidence and growth. Remember when you’re looking for an agent that you’re hiring her/him – not the other way around. That individual will be working for you. Ask lots of questions and make sure you find someone who believes in you, your writing and who shares your goals for your writing future. Make sure the two of you are similar in communication expectations. Submit, submit, submit. Never give up. Begin again, begin again, begin again . . .

Book promotion seems to be on every author's mind these days. What kinds of things do you do?

I do everything! Discovering the amount of promo I’d be responsible for as an author was eye-opening! I had the fantasy that my publishing company would handle all my promotion – that I would just show up for the book signings, author events, conference appearances, presentations they set up for me. That I’d bask in the excellent book sales triggered by their awesome marketing campaign for me. Uh, nope. My publisher ran ads for both my books in several appropriate magazines, which was great, and I did the rest. I have an author website (and a different website for my clinical work), several blogs, a myspace page, a facebook page, I belong to 90 yahoo groups/loops where I promote when they allow promotion. I have an author group. I schedule book signings with other authors every weekend I can. I give talks/workshops/presentations for writing groups, conferences, community organizations. I guest blog and comment on other authors’ blogs. I have other authors guest blog on my blog. I take every interview opportunity that comes my way. I belong to many writing organizations (online and in person). I record portions of my books and post them on my website so people can listen. I have book trailers made. I have begun exploring Second Life. Whew! I’m tired just thinking about it. Name recognition is key!!

If you could interview any of the characters in your books, which one would it be, and why? What shocking thing might that character say?

My psychologist character, Kismet Knight, Ph.D., has asked me to let her vent a little about a question that comes up often from readers: Why did it take you so long in the first book to accept the reality of vampires, even after you met several real vampires?

Kismet: I was very surprised by this question when it started showing up. I’m a psychologist – a scientist. Why on earth would I believe in vampires just because certain mentally ill individuals insist they’re the undead? I have clients in my practice who say they’re demons, possessed by demons, alien abductees, aliens, angels, walk-ins, zombies – the list goes on. I’ve worked with these clients for years and have never been persuaded to believe their delusions. But, suddenly, I’m supposed to throw my clinical training and professional discipline out the window because a few strange folks insist they drink blood? Hey! Claiming to drink blood isn’t specific to vampires! I’ve worked with many individuals who are fixated on blood. Even now, as I look back at the situations I shared in the first book, I can come up with logical, linear explanations for most of them. I’ve seen young women move objects with their minds. I personally know many psychics who can “read” emotions/thoughts. Even I have the ability to simply “know” things. And, most important, I’m acquainted with professional hypnotists who can trick subjects into believing whatever they wish them to believe. So, having seen all that, why would I believe in vampires? I think I should be given credit for being willing to open my scientific mind as quickly as I did! After all, the events in the first book took place over a few days – not a few months!! I think I got with the program very quickly. But I do understand the frustration, since so many paranormals these days start with the assumption that preternatural creatures exist. Maybe readers expect that now. But my experience wasn’t like that and it isn’t likely that I’ll ever accept things at face value. Thanks for giving me the opportunity to share my thoughts! I’ve got to run now. My “fear of sharp, wooden objects” therapy group for vampires starts any minute...

How can we find you online?

Here are my links:

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