Special guest author Jesse Giles Christiansen talks about why authors should sometimes embrace insanity

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Sometimes when you lose, you win.

This weekend is the big kickoff for a promo that I don’t think I’ll ever forget, and one that I’ve done everything in my power to ensure that I always remember. September 27-29 are my free days for my first foray with Amazon’s KDP Select program through my publisher, Imajin Books. Imajin Book’s owner and bestselling author, Cheryl Kaye Tardif, has used this program to become a bestseller, as well as other authors, including her own.
A part of me is afraid. A part of me is thrilled. The whole of me is a human live wire.
My novel, PELICAN BAY, was a list bestseller out of the gate. Being in a genre top 100 is like going to your local theme park. It’s terrific, and you definitely want to go back … but it isn’t Disney World folks.
I want to go to Disney World.
Really badly.
And stay.
Maybe I’m already there, hiding in the Haunted House and sleeping there with the familiar ghosts.
Am I a ghost? Right now I feel like a familiar ghost. And there’s nothing wrong with that. No. Not at all. I’m a new author who has tasted some success like drops of deliciously acidic rain on my tongue.
To go from ghost to bodily form, I must make the top paid 100 on Amazon … where the magic happens. But as most of you already know, this is much easier said than done. I have the help now of my marketing savvy, mentoring publisher, great authors, passionate readers, keen reviewers, artists, editors, and friends and family. However, as I write this, my promo group, which I’m calling Captain Shelby’s Skeleton Army (Captain Shelby is the big character from PELICAN BAY), consists of only 38 people. But you know what? I’d rather have 38 faithful, like-minded, artistic souls than a 1000 bandwagon-jumpers or doubters. Yes, I’ll take my little army and we’ll see what we can do.
My free days end Sunday, and then PELICAN BAY has to swim. I mean REALLY swim. I think it can. I really do. I believe it, but I need your faith, too. Your help. No one is an island, after all, in any realm.
What started all this madness, really, were two things. First, I’ve been watching PELICAN BAY and it has done some things I never dreamed a new book from a new author would. There are those days. Yeah, those days. When I’m not doing any promos, sending out just basic tweets or Facebook posts, and suddenly the book’s ranking, which I fear on those days will sink into oblivion, makes these jumps like a great tarpon finding its third and fourth winds. It truly amazes me. Also, PELICAN BAY was a list bestseller for over two months.
The other reason, truth be told, is that I was supposed to do this promo later in the year with a power author. Certain circumstances led to her having to cancel our promo. I was disappointed, not at her, but at life. Don’t laugh here, but I started to feel like Rudy in that cheesy but inspiring film, after his friend dies in the factory fire. This voice inside me just said, “You have to do this now, on your own … don’t wait.”
And so the insanity began.
Why is my promo insane? Why is reaching for the top paid 100 on Amazon nuts? Well, I’m not a math genius, but you don’t have to be to understand the statistics of a new author reaching for such a goal. There are over 3 million eBooks on Amazon. The closer you get to the top paid 100, the more your book, no matter how strong, turns into a colorful snail. It slithers inches along the pavement as if begging to be squashed by Amazon’s mighty foot.
But it’s good for an author to embrace insanity, chiefly because even the most basic, consistent things that we come to rely on in life … are incomprehensible. Take these words, for instance. Perhaps you are reading this blog post, and I thank you warmly for that. But these words. What are they? They appear so consistently to you now, but do you “know” them? You may be reading a computer screen in a complicated dream. You may forget that these very words are not objects, but only consistent flickers of your senses. Were any of countless possible events to occur inside or outside of you, these words would simply vanish.
So insanity for the artist may boil down to, really, reaching for things that defy our reliable senses, our common knowledge. If you want to do something unusual, you have to think unusually. Reach senselessly. Or as Cheryl Kaye Tardif says, “Think BIG.” And yes, she’s part of the Captain Shelby Skeleton Army. And I’m deeply thankful for that.
But what if I fail? Well … sometimes win you lose, you win.
Yours in literature,
J.G.C.
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Categories: Guest Blogs | Tags: , , , , , | 4 Comments

Guest Kat Flannery : Hazardous Unions

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Today I have the pleasure of sharing with you a new book by two of my fellow Imajin Authors. Kat Flannery and Alison Bruce have written a fascinating story about twin sisters at the time of the American Civil War. Once you read the excerpt, I guarantee you’ll be hooked!

Some background:

African American’s in the Civil War…

Though African Americans constituted less than one percent of the northern population, by the war’s end they made up ten percent of the Union Army. A total of 180,000 black men, more than 85% of those eligible, enlisted. By the time of the Confederate surrender in 1865, there were more African Americans in the Union army than there were soldiers in the Confederate army.

The above fact is the reason I chose to have an African American as one of my characters in HAZARDOUS UNIONS. It wasn’t until the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863 that all African men and women were issued free slaves.

African American soldiers faced discrimination as well as segregation. They were given substandard supplies and rations. Probably the worst form of discrimination was the pay differential. At the beginning of African American enlistment, it was assumed that they would be kept out of direct combat, and the men were paid as laborers rather than as soldiers. African American soldiers therefore received $7 per month, plus a $3 clothing allowance, while white soldiers received $13 per month, plus $3.50 for clothes.

Mowery story takes place the month before the Emancipation Proclamation was passed, but in my research African American men had enlisted to fight for the Union the first year of the war. Their freedom and the rights to equality is why these men went up against severe dangers from the north and south to enter into combat.

Twin sisters separated by war, bound by love…

After the death of their father, twin sisters Maggie and Matty Becker are forced to take positions with officers’ families at a nearby fort. When the southern states secede, the twins are separated, and they find themselves on opposite sides of America’s bloodiest war.

In the south, Maggie travels with the Hamilton’s to Bellevue, a plantation in west Tennessee. When Major Hamilton is captured, it is up to Maggie to hold things together and deal with the Union cavalry troop that winters at Bellevue. Racism, politics and a matchmaking stepmother test Maggie’s resourcefulness as she fights for Bellevue, a wounded Confederate officer and the affections of the Union commander.

In the north, Matty discovers an incriminating letter in General Worthington’s office, and soon she is on the run. With no one to turn to for help, she drugs the wealthy Colonel Cole Black and marries him, in hopes of getting the letter to his father, the governor of Michigan. But Cole is not happy about being married, and Matty’s life becomes all about survival.

Two unforgettable stories of courage, strength and honor

And now for an excerpt:

Matty by Kat Flannery

Fort Wayne, Michigan

December 1862

What had she done? Matty Becker was going to hell, and there’d be no one to save her. A loud snore echoed from the other room. She peeked around the corner and caught a glimpse of Colonel Black’s stocking feet. She’d burn for sure. She glanced at the paper she held and groaned. She was a horrible, devious, scheming letch. Maggie wouldn’t be pleased. Maggie wasn’t here. Another snore blew into the kitchen and she placed her head onto the table banging her forehead twice. There was no turning back now.

Last night she’d pushed aside her conscience and let fear guide her. For her plan to work, she’d have to throw all sense to the dogs, not that she hadn’t done so already by following through with the blasted thing. She couldn’t fail now. If her family found out what she’d done they’d never forgive her. Worse yet, if Colonel Black found out she’d be locked behind bars, a fate far better than the one that got her in this mess to begin with.

She placed the paper on the table and went into the bedroom. Colonel Black lay on the bed with his clothes stripped off and tossed about the floor. He’d been out for nine hours and would wake any minute. Matty stood, pushed all thoughts of reason from her mind and removed her dress, corset and pantaloons. Her face heated and the room spun. He rolled over and she jumped into the bed next to him, pretending to sleep. She knew the moment he’d woken. The bed stilled and she couldn’t breathe the air was so stiff.

“What the hell?” He sat up and she knew the instant he saw her. “Son of a bitch.”

She felt his nudge once, twice and now a shove almost knocking her from the bed.

“Wake the hell up,” he growled.

She squeezed her eyes closed and willed strength into her soul so she could face the dark Colonel. She rolled over pretending to wipe the sleep from her eyes.

“Who are you?” He placed his head in his hands. She’d bet he had one heck of a headache.

“Your wife,” she said.

“The hell you are.” He shot out of bed without grabbing the sheet, and she averted her eyes.

“Please cover yourself.” She held up the sheet and he ripped it from her hand. “The marriage license is in the kitchen on the table if you do not believe me.”

She watched as he grabbed his head and closed his eyes. The heavy dose of laudanum she’d placed in his drink the night before had done the trick and it wasn’t but a mere suggestion they marry that the Colonel jumped to the challenge. Soon they were standing in the dining room in front of a preacher. Words were spoken—words she thought to say with someone she loved, someone who’d wanted her. Her stomach lurched and her mouth watered with the urge to vomit.

“How did this happen?” he asked sitting on the end of the bed.

“Mrs. Worthington sent me to see if you needed anything.”

“I was drinking.” He looked at her. “I was drunk.”

She shrugged.

He stood holding the sheet tight to his midsection.

She couldn’t help but notice the rippled stomach and defined muscles on his chest.

“We can annul. I had too much to drink. My head wasn’t clear.”

She shook her head.

He frowned.

“We have consummated.” A lie of course but she was desperate.

His mouth fell open. A moment she knew he’d not remember. After the preacher left, she’d taken him to the bedroom where he passed out before hitting the bed.

“Impossible. I’d remember that.”

She shook her head again praying he’d buy the fib.

He pulled on his pants and dress shirt. “I don’t even know you. Why in hell would I marry you?”

“My name is Matty Beck—Black. I was employed with the Worthington’s. You’ve come to dinner several times.”

His brown eyes lit with recognition. “You’re the house maid.”

“Yes.”

“I married a maid?”

The words stung and she turned from him so he wouldn’t see the disappointment upon her face.

“Why would you marry me if I was into the spirits?”

“You seemed fine to me.”

He took a step toward her. “Why would you marry me at all when you don’t even know me?”

She gripped the blanket on the bed. “You…you said kind words, and I…I believed them.

“How desperate are you to marry a stranger?” he yelled. “You found out who my father is. You want money. You tricked me.”

Well, he got the last one right, but the first two irritated her. She was not the kind of person to marry for money. Really, who did he think she was?

“Sorry to disappoint you but I refused my inheritance years ago.”

“If you mean to say that I could not find myself a suitable husband because I am a maid, then you’re wrong.”

“That is exactly what I am saying Miss—”

“Black.”

“The hell it is.”

He went into the kitchen picked up the marriage license and stared at it.

Matty dressed quickly and inched into the room. Confusion pulled at his features and she began to feel sorry for him. This was her fault. She’d planned this. Now she had to continue telling the lie she’d told. She glanced outside and shivered. Boldness, be my tongue. Shakespeare’s words echoed in her mind. It was worth it. She’d been living in fear for a week. Colonel Black had been her saviour, and she risked a life full of love and happiness for this—a lie in which she’d speak for the rest of her life. She swallowed back the lump in her throat and willed the tears not to fall.

“Why can’t I remember?” He glanced at her. “And why in hell would I marry you?”

Buy HAZARDOUS UNIONS on Amazon

 

Bio: Kat Flannery’s love of history shows in the novels she writes. She is an avid reader of historical, suspense, paranormal, and romance. When not researching for her next book, Kat can be found running her three sons to hockey and lacrosse. She’s been published in numerous periodicals. This is Kat’s third book and she is hard at work on her next.

Kat Flannery’s love of history shows in the novels she writes. She is an avid reader of historical, suspense, paranormal, and romance. When not researching for her next book, Kat can be found running her three sons to hockey and lacrosse. She’s been published in numerous periodicals. This is Kat’s third book and she is hard at work on her next.

Website: www.katflannery-author.com

Blog: www.kat-scratch.blogspot.ca
Twitter: https://twitter.com/katflannery1

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Kat-Flannery/131065966999142

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“You don’t find JUSTICE-JUSTICE finds you!”

Justice-The ChoiceThis week’s guest is T.J. Tate, the author of the JUSTICE series. I’ve read both of these books and I can assure you that they’re intense, beautifully written stories full of emotion and heart! Original, thought-provoking fiction. Put me in mind of The Twilight Zone!

Take it away, T.J.!

“Second chances just became real.
From September 9-11, THE CHOICE and THREE DOORS DOWN, the first two books in my JUSTICE series, will be free.

The idea for JUSTICE came about by reading the news. My heart went out to the individuals affected by tragedies. Sometimes the crimes would remain unsolved, but even when they were, some decisions reached in the courtroom give us pause as to what true justice means.

That’s where fiction comes in. I decided to write my own stories by giving those touched by heartache a second chance at righting a wrong. By using this premise, I let my characters decide what justice means to them. It ensures that each outcome is unique and what makes the stories so compelling. With no one right answer for everyone, each individual seeks what will bring them peace. That unique perspective is what lives out on the pages, and what I hope shines through.

Another component I infuse into these dramas is the power of the human spirit. While I’m always pulling for it to triumph over evil, the dramas play out how they will. Like a gopher in a buffalo stampede, I do my best to keep out of the way and not interject my feelings. It’s not my story; it’s theirs. And so I play the part of a silent witness to the struggle, penning the epic fight waged.

Whether the ending is your concept of what justice means is debatable. All I can promise is that it is for them. Like the slogan for my series says: “You can’t find JUSTICE. JUSTICE finds you.”

“Here’s a bit more about my series:
While some will tell you JUSTICE doesn’t exist, those traumatized by life-shattering events pin their hopes on finding it. The walking wounded of the world start and end their day in pain, haunted by tragedies too horrible to imagine. Even after their bodies are healed, the mental anguish goes on. They remain caught in a trap, never moving forward from the past. They pray that one day they’ll find the commodity in short supply that will allow them to become whole.

In book one of this series of short stories, Janice Carver is tormented by an event in her past. The brutal rape occurred five years ago, but the assault has stripped her of all hope. Lurching through her life, she’s engulfed by fear, regret and self-recrimination. Worse, her assailant was never caught, and lives his life freely with an untroubled soul.
But things have a way of spinning round, and suddenly second chances are all too real. Janice Carver’s life is about to change in unexpected ways. Always trying to find JUSTICE, she’s about to learn that you can’t find JUSTICE, JUSTICE finds you.

In book two, THREE DOORS DOWN, Sylvie Vaughn’s daughter is dead. Taking her own life at the tender age of sixteen, Sylvie is left to deal with the aftermath of Katie’s suicide.
The distraught mother needs closure, but in order to find it, Sylvie must discover the reason behind the desperate act. She relies on Katie’s final note to give her the clues, but the letter states that sexual molestation is the cause. While the word is ugly, the thought that it could have occurred is even worse. Sylvie would like to dismiss the claim, but in her gut, she knows it’s true. Even before the tragedy, Sylvie’s been obsessed with one incident that happened sixteen years ago. Unable to let it go, she blames herself for not doing enough, wishing for that second chance.”

About the Author
T.J. Tate has held a multitude of jobs. A professional wine taster, barista, ghostwriter for technical manuals and lead vocalist for an obscure rock band (his), he is also an inveterate traveler.

His debut novel JUSTICE is a Fantasy Thriller with just the right touch of a classic western mixed into its DNA. T.J. readily admits to his love of watching westerns. “The whole idea of someone standing alone and facing their fear is what makes heroes–and that’s what a showdown is all about. It never failed to get my heart pumping and my rooting section going for the person wearing the white hat to win.”

Uniquely compelling JUSTICE deals with heartfelt emotions and trauma in an inventive way. As it says in the blurb, “Second chances just became real.”

***T.J. will be giving away three $10.00 Starbucks cards to three lucky people who download either/both books in the JUSTICE series while they are free. When you order, just check in the “Order summary box” and find your confirmation number. Then make a comment on this blog post and a direct link back to you before October 1, 2013. T.J. will choose three winners on October 1’st. Good luck!***

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I Know The First Flower

THE ONE!!This is a poem I wrote after my Dad passed away. I well remember walking in the winter and suddenly seeing the first crocus pressing up through the snow. I felt a sense of hope, and thought of the things we had loved in every season. Life does return. And when it’s no longer too painful, we can recall the best moments of it with joy.
This is for my sister, Charlene, and my friends Wendy, Chante, Toni and Maria who have suffered losses in the past few weeks. I hope it brings a little comfort.

I KNOW THE FIRST FLOWER

I know the first flower of spring
is creeping up between the clenched fingers
of winter and death and sodden decay;

that fireflies dance in summer hedges
delicate flickering lights that kindle
just for a moment, an ancient belief
in magic and fairies. Also I know that

trees will transform into sun-yellow, blood-red
breath-taking harbingers of fall
holding harvest moons within their branches
and bearing silent witness to the first soft snow
as it comes whispering down.

What I have to trust is that the time will come
when there will be no sorrow in remembering.

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Fire And Shadow Giveaway!

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May madness must have struck me because I decided to hold a Fire And Shadow Giveaway with some great prizes! You can go on over to http://bit.ly/10mLox3 on my Writer’s Page, click the Rafflecopter icon, and enter! If you haven’t read Fire And Shadow, it’s on sale for only 99 cents throughout the event (May 31’st). You can get points for liking my page, following me on Twitter, or leaving a review on Amazon, among other things. If you already have, don’t worry, you’ll still get points!
First prize is a $100.00 Amazon gift card. Second is a $25.00 Barnes and Noble gift card. There are six third-place prizes, a $10.00 Starbucks card.
So come on down! Tell me if you think that Stephen or Kent is the right man for Lily. I’ll be waiting!

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Secret For A Song Cover Reveal!

It’s a pleasure this week to welcome back Adriana Ryan. In December 2012 I participated in the cover reveal for her first novel, World of Shell and Bone. It quickly became an Amazon bestseller. Not content with that success, Adrianna has written another book that is sure to be just as brilliant. It’s called Secret For A Song, and doesn’t it sound intriguing?

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Saylor Grayson makes herself sick. Literally.

She ate her first needle when she was seven. Now, at nineteen, she’s been kicked out of college for poisoning herself with laxatives. The shrinks call it Munchausen Syndrome. All Saylor knows is that when she’s ill, her normally distant mother pays attention and the doctors and nurses make her feel special.

Then she meets Drew Dean, the leader of a local support group for those with terminal diseases. When he mistakes her for a new member, Saylor knows she should correct him. But she can’t bring herself to, not after she’s welcomed into a new circle of friends. Friends who, like Drew, all have illnesses ready to claim their independence or their lives.

For the first time, Saylor finds out what it feels like to be in love, to have friends who genuinely care about her.  But secrets have a way of revealing themselves. What will happen when Saylor’s is out?

I can’t wait for the answer to that question! And now, I give you, the cover of Secret For A Song!

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Look for it in June of 2013!

Website: http://www.adrianaryan.com

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

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/adrianaryansc

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/adrianaryan

Bio: A huge fan of spooky stuff and shoes, Adriana Ryan enjoys alternately hitting up the outlet malls and historic graveyards in Charleston, SC where she lives and imbibes coffee. Her husband and two small children seem not to mind when she hastily scribbles novel lines on stray limbs in the absence of notepads.

Adriana Ryan

Author, World of Shell and Bone

Visit me or sign up for my newsletter to be notified of new books!
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Prize Package Revealed!

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In my last blog I told you there would be a special surprise courtesy of my guest, Heather Graham. All those who write in with comments or questions are eligible. And the prize package is:

-A copy of LET THE DEAD SLEEP, Heather’s new hardcover novel;
-The complete Season 7 DVD’s of “Supernatural,” Heather’s favorite paranormal series;
-A copy of THE GHOST HUNTER’S FIELD GUIDE: OVER 1000 HAUNTED PLACES YOU CAN EXPERIENCE by Rich Newman, a five-star rated guide to haunted sites in all 50 states.

So go to the interview with Heather at http://wp.me/p294I9-68 and get a chance at this fabulous prize! All you have to do is comment. Of course “likes” are always appreciated as well 🙂

Thank you! Next week I’ll be participating in the cover reveal of Adriana Ryan’s new novel, Secret For A Song!

Categories: Heather Graham | Tags: , , , | 3 Comments

Special Guest: Heather Graham, author of Let the Dead Sleep

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A CHAT WITH HEATHER GRAHAM

AUTHOR OF “LET THE DEAD SLEEP”

It’s a pleasure to welcome N.Y. Times bestseller Heather Graham to my blog. Heather is the maven of romantic suspense and paranormal mystery, and a love of her work is one of the reasons I chose to write in those genres.

In her newest novel, LET THE DEAD SLEEP (April 2013), Heather again takes her readers on a spine-tingling visit to the world of the paranormal. When a centuries-old carving of an evil man is stolen from a New Orleans grave, it sets off a race for possession of the object – and control of its malevolent powers. The current owner visits an antique and curio shop, desperate to rid herself of the vile sculpture. But before shop owner Danni Cafferty can make the purchase, it disappears and the owner is found dead, plunging Danni and P.I. Michael Quinn into the conflict to try to keep its evil energy contained.

                                                   Question and Answer with Heather

  1. In your new book, LET THE DEAD SLEEP, the theft of a centuries-old sculpture, the carved bust of a wicked man, sparks a struggle between good and evil.  You introduce two compelling characters, Danni Cafferty, a young woman who inherits an unusual antiques and curio shop in New Orleans, and Michael Quinn, a private investigator with a mysterious past.  Is this the first of a new series of Cafferty and Quinn books with the pair battling evil with the aid of an ancient text?

Yes, thank you! The team of Cafferty and Quinn will struggle through more ordeals—and how to manage their relationship, as well.

  1. Like many of your books, LET THE DEAD SLEEP involves elements of the paranormal and the ability of human beings to deal with the unknown.  What intrigues you so much about the paranormal?

I love the possibilities out there.  I can be the world’s worst skeptic, but I’m also curious and ever hopeful.  Most of us have lost loved ones—I want to believe that I will see mine again. If such things are possible, then the world of what we don’t see all the time just might be possible, too.  I love hearing stories and I’ve heard some really good ones that make you wonder about the power of the human mind—and soul.

  1. You’ve been on a number of ghost hunts, ghost tours and walks.  Which ones are your favorites and where is your favorite haunted place?

I think I’ve loved them all. Last year (available on On Demand, I believe!) my daughter and I appeared on “Haunted Encounters” for the Biography Channel. It was for their half hour segment on the Lizzie Borden house. She played Lizzie and killed me as Abby and our friend, writer Dennis Cummins, as Andrew Borden. She was great! But they had me lying right where Abby had been found and Chynna had a real hatchet. It was pretty creepy!

I also love the cemeteries (and any place, really) in New Orleans, the Spanish Military Hospital, St. Augustine, a number of places in Key West, Salem, Massachusetts, and the Myrtles Plantation, in Louisiana.  There’s a YouTube video up (Heather Graham’s Krewe of Hunters Ghost Series, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FtC2fCOwV9A) from our Myrtles Plantations trip.  We had the whole plantation to ourselves for a weekend to film and explore.  My friends, the Peace River Ghost Trackers, were with us. 

We had a séance once at the House of Seven Gables. That was amazing! Other places in the world would include the Tower of London, the Capuchin Monastery church in Rome, the underground in Edinburgh . . . my list could go on and on.

  1. What was your most recent ghost hunt?

As I write this, the Queen Mary.  The Peace River Ghost Trackers arranged for us to have one alone with just a single guard to explore the ship.  We spent a lot of time in the pool area and beneath the stairs, said to be among the most haunted places on the ship.   It was the most convinced my daughter ever was that something or someone else might be there.

  1. A recent survey reports that six in ten U.S. voters believe in demonic possession, more than a third believe in ghosts, and 52% believe houses can be haunted but just 47% would be willing to stay in a haunted house overnight (Public Policy Polling).   You’ve stayed in several haunted houses.  What was the most interesting and do you believe the house was truly haunted?

Most probably the Lizzie Borden house.  The owner, Lee-ann Wilbur, has done an amazing job refurbishing and refurnishing—areas of the house look exactly as they looked in pictures taken at the time of the crimes.  She also has a number of headless mannequins dressed in period clothing throughout the house.  Every year after a great conference in Rhode Island called NECON, I go up to Fall River with a group of writers.  We take the entire house for a night.  The only time I was the last one to go to bed, I was moving through the house walking normally, when I suddenly began running to get to my room.  Lee-Ann is a wonderful hostess and the B and B is beautiful. Whether you’re a believer or not, it’s a great place to stay.

  1. You’ve written a number of books set in New Orleans.  Why is it such a perfect location for paranormal stories?

There’s something extremely special about New Orleans.  It’s where the documents for the Louisiana Purchase were signed and it’s been home to about every nationality in the world. The food is great and just walking down the streets in the French Quarter you can hear some of the best music in the world.  Jackson Square is as filled with life as the cemeteries are with the essence of death.  I think I especially love the city because you do see every one of every belief from everywhere in any flesh tone known to man. I love the history because it’s so rich, and I especially love it because it’s a living history. Lafitte’s old shop is a bar. Hotels where soldiers were cared for once still stand—and welcome guests. I love the art, the music, the architecture—you name it!

  1. The location always seems to come to life in your books, whether it be The Alamo, Salem, Massachusetts, South Florida and the Keys or New Orleans.  The locale almost becomes a character in the story, just as it does in LET THE DEAD SLEEP.  How does location help inspire your novels as you are developing the story line?

If I love a place, I try really hard to let a reader see it—and hopefully, love it as I do, or want to visit!  Also, I know in life that where I grew up influenced me. What we see, feel, live, and touch every day definitely has a bearing on our view of the world.  Some of us love snow and can’t see a Christmas without it. Some of us are accustomed to having water near by—warm water in my case!—and can’t imagine life without escaping to the sea. Growing up, I was lucky. My parents were readers. I read my dad’s war books and a lot of the histories and novels my mother brought from Ireland—they made we want to see the places I read about. I hope to do the same—bring a place to life.

  1. A blogger recently reported that there are over 70 first-run or syndicated television programs devoted to topics of ghosts, aliens, mediums and psychics airing in the U.S., England and Canada.   Paranormal romances have become one of the dominant romance novel sub-genres.  What do you believe is behind their popularity?

We’re mortal—and we don’t want to be! I think, as well, that most people feel the same way I do—that we must see our loved ones again. Also, curious but true, the concept of vampires remains sexy, superpowers, well, we all want them, and as for zombies . . . well, we’re always afraid that the apocalypse is coming, so you should be ready to fight off zombies, right?

  1. What are your favorite ghost/paranormal program on television?  Favorite movie with a paranormal theme?

On television, “Supernatural” is my favorite.  When it comes to movies, I have a few! “Ghost”—a beautiful story!  “The Frighteners”—funny and creepy.  And popping vampires in there, I’d say “The Lost Boys.”

  1. What is coming up in 2013 after LET THE DEAD SLEEP?

More of the Krewe of Hunters. They’ll travel to an old theater out west, in Arizona, to a haunted restaurant in Savannah, and then to Nashville, where a Civil War soldier still tries to warn others of impending danger!   THE NIGHT IS WATCHING is out in June 2013.

11.  You write both historical and contemporary romances.  Which do you prefer?

I love them both!  When you are writing an historical novel, you’re dealing with a different set of values, a different political situation, even a different moral code dictated by another time.  To make the story work, you have to take all those things into consideration, as well as everyday things like appropriate dress, the running of a household or the raising of children, to make the story come alive for the reader.

12.  You have five children.  What’s the most important thing you have learned from them?

That your kids really raise you. Children open so many doors. As parents, you meet people you wouldn’t have met, learn about things you would have missed out on, have experiences you’d never have had without them. I’ve gotten the inspiration for books from my kids’ Little League days, a friend of one who is a U.S. Marshall, one son’s passion for dance—and the love of the mysterious and travel that we all share. But the most important thing I’ve learned from them is that there is nothing more important than the ones you love.

13.  If you weren’t a writer, what do you think you’d be doing right now?

My major was theater, so if I hadn’t become a writer, I would probably be playing one of the witches from Macbeth somewhere in regional theater.  Who knows, maybe I’d be on a top soap like Kelly!

14.  What else would you like your readers to know about you?

That I feel so blessed to be able to do something I really love to make my living, and it’s the best career in the world with five kids.

We feel blessed to be your readers, Heather! Thank you for providing us with such wonderful entertainment.

Please write in with your comments because my next post will have news of a special surprise courtesy of Heather!

About HEATHER GRAHAM:

New York Times best-selling author Heather Graham, an acknowledged master of paranormal fiction, believes our fascination with the paranormal stems from our hope that there is an afterlife where we’ll meet our lost loved ones, leading us to believe that their spirits continue on after death. Heather’s fascination with the other-worldly has taken her on ghost walks in haunted locales across America and around the world, and on ghost hunts in New Orleans, on the Queen Mary and to Lizzie Borden House where she actually participated in a recreation of the infamous crime.

Heather has written more than a hundred novels, many of which have been featured by the Doubleday Book Club and the Literary Guild. An avid scuba diver, ballroom dancer and mother of five, she still enjoys her south Florida home, but loves to travel as well, from Venice, Italy, Cairo, Egypt, New Orleans, Los Angeles and Boston to her own backyard, the Florida Keys.

Heather Graham has written more than a hundred novels, many of which have been featured by the Doubleday Book Club and the Literary Guild. An avid scuba diver, ballroom dancer and mother of five, she still enjoys her south Florida home, but loves to travel as well, from Venice, Italy, Cairo, Egypt, New Orleans, Los Angeles and Boston to her own backyard, the Florida Keys.

Reading, however, is the pastime she still loves best, and she is a member of many writing groups. She’s a winner of the Romance Writers of America’s Lifetime Achievement Award, and the Thriller Writers’ Silver Bullet. She is an active member of International Thriller Writers and Mystery Writers of America, and also the founder of The Slush Pile Players, an author band and theatrical group.

Heather hosts the annual Writers for New Orleans conference to benefit both the city, which is near and dear to her heart, and various other causes, and she hosts a ball each year at the RT Booklovers Convention to benefit pediatric AIDS foundations. For more information, check out her website: eHeatherGraham.com. You can also find Heather on Facebook.

LET THE DEAD SLEEP

April 2013

HarlequinMIRA

ISBN: 9780778315056

$24.95 US / $27.95 CAN.

Categories: Heather Graham | Tags: , , , , , , , | 28 Comments

Interview with International Bestselling Author Cheryl Kaye Tardif

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Today’s guest is the author of many international bestsellers, Cheryl Kaye Tardif. Cheryl is visiting as part of her SUBMERGED Blog Tour, which runs March 15-24, 2013. And as part of the celebration for her new thriller, SUBMERGED, she’s got a 60-prize giveaway taking place on her blog. Welcome, Cheryl.

Thank you, Susan. It’s great to be visiting your blog. Have any questions for me?

What inspires you to write?

Novel plots are all around me. I “see” them when I’m watching TV, listening to the radio, out having dinner, watching people around me or just admiring the view. But all the voices in my head are mostly responsible for my writing. I know that makes me sound a bit schizophrenic, but I’m sure most writers can relate. When a character has something to say, they’ll only remain quiet for so long and then you HAVE to listen…and get writing.

Which writers have you been most compared to, and do you follow a formula?

According to reviewers, I am a mix of Dean Koontz, James Patterson, Margaret Atwood, Dan Brown, J.D. Robb, Luanne Rice, Stephen King, Michael Crichton…in other words, my works are very versatile, very unique and very different. I don’t write novels that are formulaic. I allow my characters to tell their stories, and there is always an element of suspense and sometimes a paranormal twist.

Tell us more about your books and the topics you’ve written about.

I write suspense mainly. I am drawn to mystery, so there’s an element of that in every book I’ve written, except maybe my marketing book.

My fiction titles: SUBMERGED, CHILDREN OF THE FOG, WHALE SONG, THE RIVER, DIVINE INTERVENTION, DIVINE JUSTICE, WHALE SONG: SCHOOL EDITION, LANCELOT’S LADY, SKELETONS IN THE CLOSET & OTHER CREEPY STORIES, REMOTE CONTROL. My nonfiction: HOW I MADE OVER $42,000 IN 1 MONTH SELLING MY KINDLE EBOOKS.

Most of my fiction titles are international bestsellers. I’ve explored topics of addiction, alcoholism, kidnapping, ghosts, assisted suicide, racism, bullying, native folklore, psychics, serial killers, abortion, conspiracy, time travel, brain stem research, nanotechnology, multiple sclerosis, abuse, murder, greed and more.

What advice would you give to a novice or aspiring writer?

If you want to write, write. Don’t just “talk” about doing it. The more you write, the better you’ll get—especially if you ask for feedback. Learn the business of writing and publishing. Too many writers think all they need to do is write a good story. That’s just not true in today’s market. If you want to be successful you need to have a firm grasp of the business, of what it takes to make your book shine and stand out amongst all others. So take writing/editing courses, join writers’ groups, join a critique group (if you can’t take criticism you’re in the wrong business), and be sure you have a website, blog, Twitter and Facebook account BEFORE you query a publisher or agent.

Please share the back cover description of SUBMERGED.

Two strangers submerged in guilt, brought together by fate…

After a tragic car accident claims the lives of his wife, Jane, and son, Ryan, Marcus Taylor is immersed in grief. But his family isn’t the only thing he has lost. An addiction to painkillers has taken away his career as a paramedic. Working as a 911 operator is now the closest he gets to redemption—until he gets a call from a woman trapped in a car.

Rebecca Kingston yearns for a quiet weekend getaway, so she can think about her impending divorce from her abusive husband. When a mysterious truck runs her off the road, she is pinned behind the steering wheel, unable to help her two children in the back seat. Her only lifeline is a cell phone with a quickly depleting battery and a stranger’s calm voice on the other end telling her everything will be all right.

Get SUBMERGED today.

Learn more about Cheryl Kaye Tardif at http://www.cherylktardif.com and follow her on Twitter.

Enter Cheryl’s March Giveaway – 60 Prizes! http://www.cherylktardif.blogspot.com

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Categories: Cheryl K. Tardif, Contest, Guest Blogs | Tags: , , | 4 Comments

Submerge Yourself in the World of Cheryl Kaye Tardif

This week I’m proud to have the publisher of Imajin Books and my friend, international bestselling author Cheryl K. Tardif, talk about her new thriller, SUBMERGED. I recommend that you pick up a copy as soon as possible, because this woman is as good as they come! Take it away, Cheryl!

                     

                   Cheryl K Tardif's SUBMERGED Only Two Weeks Away! 

                   Submerge Yourself in the World of Cheryl Kaye Tardif

When people ask me what I do, I like to tell them: “I kill people off for a living.” You can imagine the looks I get. Sometimes I’ll follow with: “Fictitiously, of course. I’m a suspense writer.” Sometimes I won’t say anything else. Yeah, I’m bad that way.

Writing thriller, suspense, mystery and/or crime novels has always been my passion—especially if I throw a pinch of supernatural or paranormal into the mix. I’ve always been drawn to dark stories, ones that raise the hairs on the back of my neck or make me glance over my shoulder. The two greatest influences in my writing life have been Dean Koontz and Stephen King. Need I say more?

So what can I offer you if you choose to read my books? I hope and strive to give you a satisfying read, one that will impact you emotionally. If I can make you shudder or tremble or wince or even cry, then I’ve done my job.

In SUBMERGED, I share with you a very personal fear of mine—the fear of being in a car that’s underwater and not being able to get out. I have traveled long distances by car hundreds of times during my life, twice from one coast of Canada to the other. Whenever we’re along a stretch of highway with a body of water beside me, my fear kicks in. And I hold my breath…waiting…praying…

I want you to relate to this fear. But even more, I want my characters to come to life. I want you to feel for Marcus Taylor, a struggling recovering addict who has had his fair share of grief and guilt. I want you to admire his strength, even in the midst of his weaknesses. I want you, dear reader, to feel compassion for this man who has lost his wife and son in a terrible accident, who blames himself for their deaths, and who is searching for redemption, though he doesn’t really know he is.

I want you to cheer on Rebecca Kingston, a mother on the verge of divorce who has left an abusive husband. I want you to feel empathy for her because this decision, no matter what others think, is not an easy one to make. I want you to cry with her when she realizes she is physically unable to help her children who are trapped with her in a sinking vehicle. And I want you to be holding your breath every time Rebecca does.

Marcus and Rebecca (and the others in SUBMERGED) may only be characters on paper, but they feel real to me. I gave “birth” to them and watched them grow. With every step they took, I wiped away their tears, hugged them and loved them. And, dear reader, I sincerely hope you’ll love them just as much.

Happy reading…with the lights on…

Cheryl Kaye Tardif, international bestselling author

PS: The Kindle edition of SUBMERGED is available on Amazon from March 4th – 7th for a special price during the Killer Thriller Book Launch.

KillerThrillerBookLaunch5-7

Learn more about me and connect at:

http://www.cherylktardif.com

http://www.twitter.com/cherylktardif

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Cheryl-Kaye-Tardif-novels/29769736630

Categories: Cheryl K. Tardif | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

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