MEET THE AUTHOR AVA CUVAY

  • Have the main character of your last novel introduce you to our readers.

Hi, I’m Adam Lehmann, former cop and bar bouncer and, uh, [looks around nervously, then lowers voice] current alpha-phase cyborg. Look, Ava Cuvay said I could trust you, but I’m still cautious with that tidbit. Cyborgs aren’t very popular in my world, and keeping the details of my… uh, cybernetic condition… to myself is basic self-preservation. You all might be cyborg sympathizers, but I’m an old dog and talking openly about it is a new trick. I’d blame Ava for creating that fucked-up world, but she also introduced me to the woman I love, Eve Myer. Plus, Ava is a best-selling, award-winning sci-fi romance author… so I guess she can’t really help herself. Honestly, she’d throw the blame back in my face, claiming she just listens to what her characters tell her. She once admitted that Eve and I jumped in the sack way before we were meant to, not that I’m complaining. Yeah, so Ava might be a bit sadistic toward her characters, but she makes the end worth it. I wouldn’t change a thing as long as I get to keep Eve in my arms… the organic one *and* the cyborg one.

  • Without giving us spoilers introduce your latest and greatest novel or work in progress and let us know which it is and if it’s a WIP let us know when it goes live.

My current WIP is “Tin Toy,” the second book in my Silver Cyborg series, a slightly-futuristic (150+ years) Sci-fi Romance series set in my stomping grounds of Indianapolis, Indiana (“Tin Man” is the first book, featuring my surly former-cop character Adam, who so nicely *cough!*cough!*side-eye* introduced me). “Tin Toy” is the story of Betty, a forty-something cyborg-spy-turned-librarian. She looks like a pin-up model, kisses like an angel, and fights like a trained assassin. I’m still only about half way through the story, so don’t have a go-live date on it yet (crossing fingers by the end of Summer!).

  • What do you like best about your main character in your latest and greatest or WIP from above?

I love that Betty has been around the block, seen and done horrible things, but it hasn’t stripped her of her kindness. She might be once bitten, twice shy, (to which, she’d respond, “Oh, honey. I’ve been bitten so many times by life, I’m practically a chew toy at this point.”), but she’s not bitter. Neither is she a pushover. She kicks ass, and does it with a perfect Customer Service smile in place.

  • Tell us a little about one of your side characters from your latest and greatest or WIP?

“Tin Man” has an automaton bartender that works with Adam, named Arthur (or “Artie,” as the public calls robots). As 100% automech, it is a nice counter-point to Adam, who struggles with the synthesis of his organic and cybernetic parts. Arthur was fun to write. It had been vandalized by bar patrons with black markers, much like the poor guy who passes out first at a fraternity party. And the bar owner just went with it, dressing Arthur in costumes such as pirate and Shakespearean fop. Arthur even makes a bet with Adam, for a new hat. J

  • How did you come up with your idea for the above story?

“Tin Man” began with my desire to write something more earth-side, so I wouldn’t have to do so much world-building (joke was on me: there was still a ton of world-building! Lol!), and wanting to pursue the question of how society might react to the introduction of cyborgs. Would society accept people who were part machine as readily as they would a fancy toaster? The answer is Oh Hell No, because distrust of AI and machines are a common Sci-fi trope. And also because it makes for a far more interesting story when there’s this much tension.

  • What was your writing plan for this book or WIP?

HAHAHA! Plan?? We don’t need no plan!

Lol. I’m kidding. Kind of. Most of my stories (“Tin Man” and “Tin Toy” included) start with a vague idea, and then I usually let the characters take it from there. Which often leads us into some interesting areas and any plans I might have made usually get chucked out the window. Adam was correct: he and Eve got intimate way before I had planned, and it was like “Oh, wow… we’re doing this *now*? Uh, um, ok.”

  • How do you handle writers block?

If I’m just not feeling it, sometimes I bully through the section to get to the next section, and hope when I go back I’ll be more inclined to make it jazzy and awesome. Sometimes—and sadly this last year has been “one” of those times—I just have to walk away for a bit and wait for the muse to get her sh*t together. In those cases, it’s equally as frustrating to be writing as it is to NOT be writing. Not a good place for an author to be in. L

  • Do you have a secret writing ritual and what is it?

Unfortunately, I don’t have a writing ritual, which would probably help with my aforementioned muse issue. What I *do* have is two active teens, a hubby who likes to talk to me, a full time job, organizations I have been suckered into volunteer for, and an aging aunt I’m taking care of from a state away… it makes for a roller coaster lifestyle at the moment, which is awesome even though my writing opportunities are more random as a result.

  • What is your writing snack?

Whatever is in the fridge, which is usually requires cooking and is therefore usually disappointing. But if I could choose anything, I’d say a balance of savory and sweet… Twizzlers, bacon, chocolate, kettle cooked chips, and Sour Patch kids.

  • What do you do when you’re not writing?

I work full time as a Substitute Teacher, and I have two active teens. And if that wasn’t enough, I’m Treasurer for the Futuristic, Fantasy, and Paranormal RWA chapter and a local lacrosse organization. AND anxiously await the next season of The Mandalorian.

  • What is your favorite season and why?

Summer, because then I have way more free time to write. Otherwise, I’d say Lacrosse Season because most of the family is involved one way or another in the sport.

  • What is your favorite genre to read and what do you like about it?

Other than the over-arching genre of “Romance,” I don’t have a favorite. I read it all. Naturally, I lean toward Sci-fi or paranormal, but I also love a great contemporary, historical, male/male, reverse harem, various heat levels… if it’s a good story with engaging characters, I want to read it!

  • Do you have a writer mission statement? What is it?

Sorry, no mission statement. That would involve me being very organized. Lol!

  • What do you spend your music so you listen to when you write? How does it help to put you in the mood?

I can only listen to music if hubby is not home, because he always has the TV on for background noise. If I do listen to music, it’s often basic non-descript “white noise.” The summer of quarantine, I listened to a lot of relaxing yoga and hand drum music which had no lyrics or even a beat. I also got turned on to BTS, a popular Korean group, which was great because I couldn’t understand many of the lyrics.

JUNE QUESTION OF THE MONTH

June is full of hope and new beginnings what do you hope spring brings you?

I hope I can finish both the “Tin Toy” book and the second book in my Star of the North Dragons series this Summer! (So, not really a new beginning, but an ending… which would lead to new beginnings of with the next books in the series)


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MEET THE AUTHOR BILLIE DADDARIO

  • Have the main character of your last novel introduce you to our readers?

My name is Joseph I’m a widower with a five-year-old. Billie Daddario is quite imaginative and has really put me through the wringer as a character in her story. She introduces me to the person I want to grow old with. The person I want to raise my child with, but of course, she can’t let me realize that right off the bat.

Billie writes it so that I do something rash and go drinking with the least stable person in the county. The result is that when I come to my senses and reject her. She doesn’t take it well and she ends up doing horrible things to the woman I love.

Billie is a good person though; she gave me the happiest ending.

  • Without giving us spoilers introduce your latest and greatest novel or work in progress and let us know which it is and if it’s a WIP let us know when it goes live.

My latest novel is The Cowboy’s Secondhand Heart. It goes live on September 6th. It’s a beautiful story about redemption and how important it is to be redeemed. Our hero is redeemed and our antagonist has never had redemption.

The book is also a romance so eventually, the Hero and Heroine fall in love after they earn it. Their lives are complicated so they overcome they rise to the occasion.

  • What do you like best about your main character in your latest and greatest or WIP from above?

The main character in this book is Joseph and seeing the love unfold from the making perspective is wonderful. He has a steadfastness that takes a minute to develop but once it does it’s beautiful.

  • Tell us a little about one of your side characters from your latest and greatest or WIP?
Dania Vosshttps://buy.bookfunnel.com/gpxnfk1zb2?tid=4c09gu75gd

You need to know about Heather. Heather is our Antagonist. She is a very disturbed individual who may have gotten away with murder in the past and maybe plotting it again.

  • How did you come up with your idea for the above story?

My stories more or less just fall onto the page one word after the other. I do a character sketch and decide what I want to happen generally and then I just start to write and it comes to me the words just fall onto the laptop. Usually, the bool I am working on now does not work like that.

https://buy.bookfunnel.com/akbx84wlzf?tid=tbvv9tv7shHandsome sexy santa claus guy on black background
  • What was your writing plan for this book or WIP?

My writing plan for this book was to put my butt in the chair and write. I had very few distractions It was my third book and I loved writing so there was no drudgery in it. It took me about a month to get the first draft done. I don’t plot ahead of time. I just write.

  • How do you handle writers’ block?

I didn’t suffer from writer’s block while writing The Cowboy’s Secondhand Heart, but I did suffer from writers’ block while writing my next book. I got out of the habit of writing every day and I just struggle with it now. But the answer is to sit down and start writing and what you need will come to you.

  • Do you have a secret writing ritual and what is it?

I believe in rituals to get you ready to do things that are special and I believe that writing is incredibly special. So, you think I would have rituals that are mystical or special. But No. I don’t have a particularly special ritual I wake up take the dog out, watch the local news,  drink a cup of coffee, and then I turn on some bosa nova jazz and become a writer.

I take care of writer business and then I write.

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  • What is your writing snack?

I like M&Ms

  • What do you do when you’re not writing?

When I’m not writing I watch TV I watch a broad spectrum of weird stuff. I’m hooked on Time Team and the Murdoch Mysteries and I am a sucker for old movies.

  • What is your favorite season and why?

I love summer and late spring when it’s warm and the flowers in the garden are all in bloom before it gets too hot.

  • What is your favorite genre to read and what do you like about it?

I like romance novels but I’m a snob I like the classic old romance novels I love Jane Eyre and Sense and Sensibility. But I hated Wuthering Heights I thought Heath Cliff should have been pushed down the stairs. He had no redeemable qualities.

  • Do you have a writer’s mission statement? What is it?

My mission statement is to take my readers somewhere they haven’t been before and make them care about the characters and give them a happy ending eventually.

  • What do listen to when you write? How does it help to put you in the mood?

I listen to Bosa Nova Jazz with no words. I don’t know that it puts me in the mood for writing a specific book but like Pavlov’s dog, I hear the music and know it’s time to write. I do have Spotify music lists for each couple giving me something to listen to when I edit.

JUNE QUESTION OF THE MONTH

What is your favorite vacation and why?

As a child we took family vacations to California to visit relatives we drove cross country from Colorado to California. I loved those trips to see my cousins and my aunt and uncle. Sometimes we would drive straight through I remember staying up all night talking with my father coming over the hill and seeing Las Vegas at night all the lights and the heat even at night. I remember one year we had three flat tires. Coming from Green River to Bakers Field. Then when we would get to my aunt and uncle’s house it would be loud and there would be so many hugs. I remember the hugs and the conversation going in every direction. My Aunt would hold conversations with four people at the same time and not skip a beat and not ignore anyone she made everyone feel special. I would give anything for one more road trip with my dad to see my aunt.


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MEET THE AUTHOR EVELYN SOLA

  • Have the main character of your last novel introduce you to our readers.

Introducing Evelyn Sola, queen of the writers.

  • Without giving us spoilers introduce your latest and greatest novel or work in progress and let us know which it is and if it’s a WIP let us know when it goes live.

I am working on Takeoff. It’s the third novel in the Take series. The other books are Takeover, Takedown, and Takeoff. I don’t have a release date yet for the last book, but I’m hoping for June. It’s with the editor right now.

  • What do you like best about your main character in your latest and greatest or WIP from above?

I like how the male main character does not take himself too seriously. He’s kind of silly and fun. The heroine doesn’t know how to take him sometimes due to the ridiculous things he says and does.

  • Tell us a little about one of your side characters from your latest and greatest or WIP?

Two of my main characters were the main characters in Takeover. Most of the other side characters were in previous books, so I already know them. They were easy to write, but I did introduce the hero’s family in this book, and it’s always fun drafting new people. I think that’s my favorite part of writing, creating characters and giving them a backstory.

  • How did you come up with your idea for the above story?

Like I said, they were side characters in Takeover. I didn’t really intend to write their story. I just threw them in. The heroine in this book is the sister to my heroine in Takeover. The main characters in Takeoff met in that book, and they had a lot of chemistry. He was interested right away, and she shut him down. Readers have been asking for their story ever since.

  • What was your writing plan for this book or WIP?

I never really have much of an outline. I always have my trope and I go from there. My plan for every book is the same. I want to keep the readers turning those pages. I want them to feel something toward the main characters, whether it’s love, anger, or rage. As long as readers are not bored, they will keep reading. I also want to make people laugh, so I do my best to throw in humor where I can.

  • How do you handle writer’s block?

I take a day or two off from writing. I’ll also read the story again from the beginning and start my self-edits. That usually will give me ideas on how to keep it going.

  • Do you have a secret writing ritual and what is it?

No. I just start typing and see what comes out. I can always edit or delete it if it’s not good.

  • What is your writing snack?

No particular thing. It’s whatever is available to me at the moment.

  • What do you do when you’re not writing?

I have a husband and two daughters. I spend as much time with them as possible. I also love to travel, even though Covid has put a stop to that.

  • What is your favorite season and why?

Summer. I love the heat, and I love the beach.

  • What is your favorite genre to read and what do you like about it?

I love contemporary romance. Sometimes I take a break from reading it, but I always come back. I love to read about a couple’s journey to their happily ever after, and I love a happy ending.

  • Do you have a writer’s mission statement? What is it?

I don’t, but it’s a good idea. My goal is always to entertain.

  • What do you spend your music so you listen to when you write? How does it help to put you in the mood?

I don’t listen to music while I write. I usually have The Office on in the background or the ID channel. Sometimes Dateline.

MAY QUESTION OF THE MONTH

May is full of hope and new beginnings what do you hope spring brings you?

I hope May brings me lots of fresh ideas for books and more hours in the day to write them.


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MEET THE AUTHOR KAY ALBER

  • Have the main character of your last novel introduce you to our readers.

“Hi everyone. My name’s Alice and I’m so excited to see you here today. I’m going to introduce you to our main speaker today, but first, let me tell you something about her. Ms. Alber, or Kay as I call her, well—we’ve known each other for a long time. She’s been in my head a few times and I know at night I’m sure in hers. She writes Romantic Suspense, which means she’ll be loading guns, driving fast cars, and maybe even have a someone stolen in this book of hers. Anyway—she’s really laid back and a great listener. So here she is—Miss Kay herself, ready to meet y’all in person. Ta-da.”

  • Without giving us spoilers introduce your latest and greatest novel or work in progress and let us know which it is and if it’s a WIP let us know when it goes live.?
  • My stories are about women and their troubles and misfortunes combined with romance. “A Deadly Promise” is no exception. It is at my editor’s right now getting the last read and then it will be published May 1st. Next month. Yay!
  • What do you like best about your main character in your latest and greatest or WIP from above?

I modeled my main character Alice, in this next book, after someone I knew in real life. I love her character in this book and especially love the defiance she portrays that will get her into trouble. She has a special willpower to try and make things better, but sometimes women need to stand their ground, and sometimes—they just don’t know how to do that. That could be Alice.

  • Tell us a little about one of your side characters from your latest and greatest or WIP?

There’s Anne who grows up from a teenager, as the series progresses. She is Cassie’s sister, from book #1, but has a part in every book thereafter. She’s a tall beauty with a sassy personality. She knows every answer about any question whether she’s asked or not.

  • How did you come up with your idea for the above story?

Anne’s character came about from my own sister’s antics and even though Anne’s a secondary character in books #1 and #2, she makes an impression on everyone she meets.

  • What was your writing plan for this book or WIP?

My original plan was to have this book out before Covid hit. But unfortunately, everything in my life must be good when I write and during Covid, my daughter who has recurring cancer, had to have a couple of stage four surgeries, so I stopped writing until she got better.

  • How do you handle writers block?

I can’t write if everything is not fantastic in my life. I don’t handle writer’s block well, but I know when it happens, that things WILL get better, and so the stopping period doesn’t last long.

  • Do you have a secret writing ritual and what is it?

Writing comes to me in the middle of the night. I absolutely love the quiet at that time, along with a cup of espresso plus milk. I am a middle of the night person, but I also love to chat in the mornings—especially about what I just wrote.

  • What is your writing snack?

I love dark chocolate or just anything chocolate when I write.

  • What do you do when you’re not writing?

As an avid traveler, I take off either abroad or across country to visit family and friends. I am also a dedicated animal lover. So, I belong to a couple of rescue groups, who rescue seniors and save dogs from puppy mills. In fact, I love animals so much—I always have an animal or two in my stories.

  • What is your favorite season and why?

Autumn is my favorite season. Fall foliage, the crunching of falling leaves, and the nippy weather.

  • What is your favorite genre to read and what do you like about it?

Mysteries are my favorite genre to read. Anything that keeps me dangling until the last page and especially when I can’t guess how the ending will turn out.

  • Do you have a writer mission statement? What is it?

Keep writing—writer’s block or not. If writing is a passion, follow through with it. I started writing late in life, after years of teaching abroad—and to this day, I swear I will continue writing until I tell every character’s story.

  • What do you spend your music so you listen to when you write? How does it help to put y ou in the mood?

I don’t use music while I write, but if I did—it would be operatic songs. Especially Andrea Bocelli. Now when I exercise, I listen to Heavy Metal and the heavier the better.

APRIL QUESTION OF THE MONTH

What is your favorite silver lining moment? ie bad situation that turned out great.

Rushing to get things done, used to be my way of life. Since my daughter has had recurring cancer, I have learned from her, to take each day as a blessing. To enjoy what’s around me. To have happy conversations with people, and to be a good listener.



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MEET THE AUTHOR HONEY PHILIPS

  • Have the main character of your last novel introduce you to our readers.

Honey writes sweet and steamy tales about hot alien warriors, true love, and the joy of found family.

  • Without giving us spoilers introduce your latest and greatest novel or work in progress and let us know which it is and if it’s a WIP let us know when it goes live.

My next novel is A Gift for the Alien Warrior, coming May 8th. It’s the story of a former alien warrior who rescues a human woman and a baby from an abandoned spaceship – only to discover that the woman doesn’t remember anything about herself or how she ended up on the ship. Or why there’s a body on the ship!

  • What do you like best about your main character in your latest and greatest or WIP from above?

The hero, Taranov, is the captain of a trading ship who left his dying planet knowing that he would never have a family. What I love about him is that he’s so honorable and protective of both Wendy and the baby. He (and his tail!) would do anything for them. He may not always make the best decisions, but he believes he is doing the right thing.

  • Tell us a little about one of your side characters from your latest and greatest or WIP?

Curall is a crusty older male, part of Taranov’s crew. He’s a little rough around the edges, but he takes great pleasure in feeding and caring for the crew – and he turns out to be quite an expert on babies!

  • How did you come up with your idea for the above story?

The Treasured by the Alien series is based on two main ideas. The first is that older women can also have fun, sexy adventures in space! The second is that family is where you find it – and that babies and children and crusty old cooks can all be part of your family.

For this particular story, I was interested in the idea of amnesia, and how much not remembering your past affects who you are as a person. Wendy’s lack of memory contrasts with Taranov, who remembers all too much.

  • What was your writing plan for this book or WIP?

Start at the beginning and write until I reached the end! More seriously, I do tend to start with the initial scene and let the story unfold from there. In this case, I started with a picture of Taranov finding the luxury space yacht “floating” in space. I knew that Wendy would not remember what had happened and that there was a baby on board.

  • How do you handle writers block?

I really dislike that term! Generally, if a story isn’t coming together for me, it needs some more time for my subconscious to work on it. In that case, I might try writing something else for a while. If that doesn’t work, I find that sitting down with a notebook and writing out questions to myself usually results in answers that lead me to the next part of the book.

  • Do you have a secret writing ritual and what is it?

Weather permitting, I love to sit in our hot tub and dictate. It’s quiet and private, and I find being surrounded by water very inspirational.

  • What is your writing snack?

When I’m really focused on a book, I don’t pay much attention to food. But, depending on the time of day, I usually have a cup of coffee or a glass of sparkling water close at hand. And maybe a glass of champagne in the evening!

  • What do you do when you’re not writing?

I love to read – of course! – but I also really enjoy cooking. My husband and I also love to travel. That’s been limited for the past few years, but we have a big trip planned for this summer and I can’t wait!

  • What is your favorite season and why?

Honestly, I enjoy all of them – although some of them for shorter periods than others! For example, I love to see it snow, but I’m glad I don’t live somewhere where it snows for six months out of the year. If I absolutely have to choose, I would go for fall in New England – warm days, cool nights, and amazing fall colors everywhere!

  • What is your favorite genre to read and what do you like about it?

I love science fiction romance, which is why I write it. I love the exploration of new places and new ideas which is so intrinsic to science fiction, but I also really enjoy the exploration of character which is part of a good romance. For me, it’s the best of both worlds!

  • Do you have a writer’s mission statement? What is it?

I simply want readers to enjoy my books – to explore a new place with characters they can care about, and to close the book with a smile on their face.

  • What do you spend your music so you listen to when you write? How does it help to put you in the mood?

I prefer silence – if I have songs playing, I want to sing along. (And no one needs to hear that!)

APRIL QUESTION OF THE MONTH

What is your favorite silver lining moment? i.e., bad situation that turned out great.

I spent many years working for my previous company. I believed in the company and I enjoyed the people that I worked with. I was still working there when I began my writing journey and I didn’t mind juggling both jobs, even as my author career took off. But the company expanded and I no longer enjoyed my corporate job. I struggled with the decision for quite a while, but in the spring of 2021 my unhappiness finally pushed me into quitting.

The silver lining is that I am now a full-time author and I’ve never been happier!

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MEET THE AUTHOR  Shelley Munro

  • Have the main character of your last novel introduce you to our readers.

Hi, and thanks for interviewing Shelley. My name is Isabella Mitchell, former assassin, now Leo’s wife and Kian’s mother. I first met Shelley in My Peeping Tom, part of the Middlemarch Shifters series, and she wrote about my meeting Leo in My Assassin. More recently, Shelley decided Leo and I had another story in My Precious Gift. That’s how we ended up with an adopted son. Shelley lives in New Zealand and writes paranormal and contemporary romances full of steam, adventure, and humor. She also likes to include an odd body or two. The bodies were present in our two stories!

  • Without giving us spoilers, introduce your latest and greatest novel or work in progress and let us know which it is and if it’s a WIP let us know when it goes live.

This year, I’ve started writing a spin-off series to one of my popular paranormal series—Middlemarch Shifters. The first book in the new Middlemarch Gathering series features Rory, a Scottish werewolf, and Anita, a feline shifter from Middlemarch, New Zealand. My Highland Mate features the rejected mate trope. Here’s a portion of the blurb: Introducing the first romance in a Middlemarch Shifters spin-off series. A stubborn werewolf and an irked leopard shifter dance around their feelings at a special gathering to find fated mates. Forbidden love and second chances bring suspense and danger, and the handsome and oh, so sexy wolf faces up to the truth about his headstrong feline lover.

My Highland Mate is currently available for pre-order and is live on 14 July 2022. https://books2read.com/myhighlandmate

  • What do you like best about your main character in your latest and greatest or WIP from above?

I admire my heroine’s strength and determination to move forward despite setbacks and live her life as she chooses. The hero is equally determined, which is part of the reason they butt heads so often.

  • Tell us a little about one of your side characters from your latest and greatest or WIP?

The villain in this romance tries hard to break up the hero and heroine, and they appear blinkered about the situation and what they wish to achieve. The truth is their past has fed a great deal of their rage and pain, leading to decisions that are not the best.

  • How did you come up with your idea for the above story?

Last year, I decided to write a Christmas story set within my Middlemarch Shifters series. I enjoyed writing that and wondered how I could extend the series. The obvious solution was a spin-off, which gives readers a new entry point into my Middlemarch world. I decided to go with a fated mates trope and base the entire six-book series at a gathering for shifters who require a mate.

  • What was your writing plan for this book or WIP?

Over the New Year holiday, I planned my six books and jumped into writing. I’m about to start writing the third book in the series.

  • How do you handle writer’s block?

I don’t believe in writer’s block. If I have trouble writing, it is because I’m trying to take my characters in the wrong direction or I haven’t thought enough about a scene. Typically a brisk walk will help, or I do some of my best thinking in the shower! Once I rethink what I’m writing or my character’s motivation, the words usually flow again.

  • Do you have a secret writing ritual and what is it?

Not really. I look upon writing as my job, and once I start each day, I’m at work. I use 4TheWords to write my first draft. ( https://4thewords.com/) This site gamifies writing, and I battle monsters as I write. This keeps me honest, and I pound out my words every day.

  • What is your writing snack?

No writing snacks for me, although I do have a coffee or two to keep me alert.

  • What do you do when you’re not writing?

Because writing involves so much sitting around, I prefer to be active during my non-writing time. We have a dog, so I do lots of walking. Sometimes, I’ll run or cycle when I’m in the mood. I do line dancing once a week and water aerobics, and I recently started playing croquet. I’m also on the social committee of the village where we live and spend a lot of time organizing functions, selling raffle tickets, and working on the bar. Oh, and I love reading, so I fit in a book or an audiobook as time allows.

  • What is your favorite season and why?

It’s autumn here in New Zealand, and at present, we’re having warm and sunny days. It gets cooler at night, so it is perfect for sleeping. I love this time of year.

  • What is your favorite genre to read and what do you like about it?

My e-reader is full of contemporary, sci-fi, historical, and paranormal romances. I also enjoy urban fantasy, mysteries, and thrillers. I’ve always adored paranormal romance, but I get bored reading the same thing all the time. I’m an equal opportunity reader.

  • Do you have a writer mission statement? What is it?

Not a mission statement, but I have a quote by Maya Angelou, which speaks to me. It is, “Nothing will work unless you do.”

  • What do you spend your music so you listen to when you write? How does it help to put you in the mood?

 I go through phases, and at present, I listen to ocean waves or flowing rivers. During the winter, I’ve been listening to crackling fires. White noise seems to work for me at present, and it’s a kind of a ritual, I guess. I put on a Youtube video and start work.

APRIL QUESTION OF THE MONTH

What is your favorite silver lining moment? ie bad situation that turned out great.

I can tell you about a recent silver lining moment. We had a village social last night. Because of Covid and a four-month-long lockdown at the end of last year, many functions had to be canceled. As I canceled each band, I rebooked them for this year. There was a misunderstanding with the band for last night, and thankfully, I’ve started checking in with each act a few days in advance. Luckily, I did because the group thought we’d canceled and couldn’t come. Cue panic on my part! I had 100 plus people attending with no band. I tried a possible replacement, but they were busy. Before I started on my list of alternatives, the original band rang me and told me they’d canceled their commitments and were coming after all. “Great,” I said, but I didn’t relax until the band arrived and started setting up to play. I had visions of the 100 attendees taking their anger out on me! Luckily, that didn’t happen, and it turned out to be a fantastic night. The band was brilliant, and everyone enjoyed the night.

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MEET THE AUTHOR SEANA KELLY

  • Have the main character of your last novel introduce you to our readers.

“Hi, I’m Sam Quinn and this is my friend Seana Kelly. She’s all right. Kinda quiet. She often comes into my bookstore bar The Slaughtered Lamb, sits by the window wall overlooking the San Francisco Bay, and types on her laptop. Owen, my good friend and wicche extraordinaire, tells me they often get into discussions about books. She was an English teacher and now she’s a teacher-librarian in a high school. What else can I tell you? She’s tall, absurdly so, and mostly keeps to herself, reading and writing. Her husband once came to pick her up—after a few too many lemon drops—and he’s outrageously tall, offensively so. Nice guy. Her daughters are cool. I hear her books are good, but I haven’t gotten to them yet.”

  • Without giving us spoilers introduce your latest and greatest novel or work in progress and let us know which it is and if it’s a WIP let us know when it goes live.

The Hob & Hound Pub—out April 26th—is the fourth book in the Sam Quinn series. Sam is the werewolf book nerd owner of The Slaughtered Lamb Bookstore & Bar. A lot has happened since the first book. She was trapped in visions while werewolves hunted her. She went to New Orleans with her vampire beau Clive, the Master of San Francisco, to kick some evil vamp butt. She had to cautiously negotiate with the fae as she finally dealt with the person who’s been trying to kill her since she was born. Sam’s life has been especially chaotic the last few months. She’s growing into her powers as she learns more about her past. In The Hob & Hound Pub, Sam and Clive travel to Europe for romance and to hunt down the vampire who has been targeting Clive for far too long—did I mention there are dragons?

  • What do you like best about your main character in your latest and greatest or WIP from above?

Sam is a woman battling her way back from a traumatic past. What I love about her is that she leads with kindness. Her life may be in utter upheaval, but if she sees someone else in need, she’ll always figure out how to stop and help. It isn’t easy to come back from horrific experiences, but Sam pushes herself every day to do the hard thing, rather than hiding in her bookstore.

  • Tell us a little about one of your side characters from your latest and greatest or WIP?

Owen Wong is Sam’s right-hand guy at The Slaughtered Lamb. He’s also a wicche—I use the antiquated spelling of witch because it’s not a gender-specific word. I wrote a short story about Owen and George, Owen’s dragon-shifter boyfriend, titled All I Want for Christmas Is a Dragon. The story is free to newsletter subscribers. Owen comes from a family of wicches who have the gift of healing. Owen doesn’t believe himself to have that family gift. He thinks of himself more as a general, all around wicche. He’s dated lots of guys over the years, but George is different. Owen is head over heels and is trying to figure out if George feels the same. Spoiler: he does. In the holiday short story, we get more background on both Owen and George, and some of the events in the short story cross into the plot of The Hob & Hound Pub.

  • How did you come up with your idea for the above story?

The Slaughtered Lamb Bookstore & Bar was the first book I ever wrote—not the first published, but the first I wrote—about thirteen years ago. I was still trying to figure out how to write a book and it was therefore rewritten more times than I can remember. The three things that have never changed in all the years of rewriting are Sam, Dave (Sam’s half-demon cook), and the description of the bar. I knew who Sam was, her backstory, her fears, her strength, and her isolation. She was a character who wanted to hide, so I needed to put her in a situation that would lend itself to more characters and dangerous situations. I liked a bar for that because she was forced to interact with her customers. She had the distance of bartender and customer, but over the years, friendships grew. The bookstore was necessary because I love books. As for where I come up with the stories, that one is hard. I had my main character and the setting…and then I just let different scenarios play out in my head until I hit ones that were interesting/exciting and fit with Sam’s character growth.

  • What was your writing plan for this book or WIP?

The best laid plans and all that. I write early in the morning (3:30am) and on weekends because I have a full-time job. Unfortunately, those plans went awry when my dad got sick. I spent many weekends driving from the California Bay Area down to the Palm Desert area where my parents had retired. In the span of four months, everything spiraled downward, and my father passed. My writing plans went out the window as personal issues took over. Normally, my plan is to get 500-1000 words on weekdays and 1500-2000 words on the weekend. I’m a slow writer and I don’t always make it, but I write every day.

  • How do you handle writers block?

If I get writers block, it means I’ve hit a snag and I know there’s something about the plot that isn’t working. Sometimes, I close my eyes and think obsessively about the story, the histories of the characters, the plot points I need to hit and how to get there. Sometimes, I put the story on the backburner and read a book (different genre than what I’m writing) or watch a show. The goal is to come back to the story with my head unstuck. Sometimes, I’ll go back to the start and read over what I have, knowing the block that’s coming down the road. I’m looking for the stumbling spots I’ve inadvertently added that clearly need to be changed in some way, so the path is clear a hundred pages from now.

  • Do you have a secret writing ritual and what is it?

That sounds cool. I wish I did, but nope.

  • What is your writing snack?

I don’t have a specific snack, although you can never go wrong with chips and chocolate.

  • What do you do when you’re not writing?

As Sam said earlier, I’m a high school teacher-librarian. I used to be an English teacher before I decided to go back to school and get the additional degree and credential to move to the library. I still get to talk with teens about books. The difference now is that they’re the books the students enjoy reading rather than the ones I forced them to read J

  • What is your favorite season and why?

All of them have their benefits. I hate the heat and relentless sun of summer, but I love the couple of weeks I get off between the end of summer school and the beginning of regular school. In spring, we have milder temperatures and flowers. In fall, we have leaves falling and spooky stories. My favorite season, though, is winter. I love the cold and rain, snuggling under a blanket, and reading a book.

  • What is your favorite genre to read and what do you like about it?

I don’t have one favorite genre. It all depends on my mood. I love romances, historical and contemporary. I enjoy the banter, the clear focus on relationship, and the swoony bits. I love urban fantasy and paranormal romance, but I can’t read it when I’m writing. I love paranormal stories because they’re set outside the mundane world of going to work and needing to pay rent. A werewolf running a bar for other supernatural characters is infinitely more interesting to me than a jerk boss and irritating coworkers. I can get that in my real life. I also love mysteries and am constantly trying to think a few steps ahead of the main character. If I can’t figure out who done it before it’s revealed, I’ve failed.

  • Do you have a writer mission statement? What is it?

I think it’s more a mantra than a mission statement. “When you knock me down, I get the f@ck back up again.” Hercules Mulligan sings this in the musical Hamilton. I embrace that sentiment.

  • What do you spend your music so you listen to when you write? How does it help to put y ou in the mood?

I’m so jealous of people who can listen to all types of music when they write. I can’t listen to anything with lyrics. I don’t know how other writers are able to have someone else’s words in their head while they’re trying to write. If I’m all by myself, I prefer silence. If I’m trying to drown out the noises around me, my go-to is the Lord of the Rings soundtracks. The music is beautiful, has an epic fantasy quality to it, and helps me stay focused in the world I’m creating.

APRIL QUESTION OF THE MONTH

What is your favorite silver lining moment? ie bad situation that turned out great.

The first book I published was Welcome Home, Katie Gallagher. It’s a rom-com for Harlequin’s SuperRomance line. My agent was pitching the second book in the series to them, and I was already 150 pages into the manuscript, when Harlequin shut down the line. Years, I’d been writing for years, and I’d finally sold a book only to have the rug ripped out. I was devastated. I thought about just going back to reading, which required FAR less work. But, as Hercules Mulligan says, when you knock me down, I get the f@ck back up again.

I returned to The Slaughtered Lamb and began another series of rewrites. When my agent pitched it to tradition publishing houses, we were told over and over that they loved it but didn’t know how to sell it. So, not one to give up and walk away, I decided to indie publish The Slaughtered Lamb through my literary agency. It’s been a dream come true to have so many people buy and read my books. I’m a huge step closer to being a full-time writer. I’m going down to 60% next year at my day job, so I can have more time to write. I doubt I ever would have been able to do that if the line hadn’t closed. I think that’s a very bright and shiny silver lining.

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MEET THE AUTHOR JULIE KRAMER

  • Have your latest main character explain your current genre and introduce you.

Julie L. Kramer is a young lady (snickers at the lady part) that writes fantasy for young adults, also known as people slightly younger than she is. She loves dogs and spends most of her free time watching movies or reading fantasy books about strong women with magic (and usually swords).

  • Explain for your latest book how you came up with that idea.

My latest book is book 2 in my series about magical superheroes. I have always loved superheroes and I can’t seem to write about anyone that doesn’t have magic, so it just kind of made sense. There will be one more book in this series, and that is next up on my roster of things to work with.

  • What is the point of view that you use and how many points of view do you explore in your latest book?

I write in first person past tense in all of my books because that is what I am most comfortable with, and this one is from the point of view of Calliope Vance, also known as the superhero named Prism.

  • What special computer programs do you use to create your books.

Nothing special! I just use Google Docs, and then I use Vellum to format it.

  •  What’s your favorite attribute of your main character in your latest book?

I love that Callie is strong but also empathetic toward other people. Not to mention sassy!

  • How do you deal with writer’s block?

Normally I stop writing for a little while and either read, listen to music, or watch tv. Anything to get my mind off of things.

  • Do you have a YouTube inspiration? Who?

Mostly I just listen to music on Youtube, although I do like listening to videogame walkthroughs. My favorite for that is RadBrad. His voice is very unobtrusive and he doesn’t talk a lot while he plays, so I let the videos play in the background while I write, and then I watch the cutscenes for the video games because I love the animation/ graphics of them.

  • What’s your writing drink of choice?

Normally water or sugar-free strawberry lemonade. I’m pretty tame.

  • Do you have a secret writing ritual that you could share with us?

I don’t do too much special lol. Usually, I do video sprints with other authors to keep myself motivated.

  • What do you do when you’re procrastinating and you should be writing?

Normally I watch tv or read.

  • What food do you hate to eat but you eat anyway because it’s good for you?

Milkshakes! I’m lactose sensitive, so it kills my stomach, but I do it anyway. My favorite is strawberry milkshakes.

  • What movie kiss scene makes you swoon?

I’m kind of hard to impress! The one that comes to mind right now is probably from Push, which is absolutely not a romantic movie lol. They’re in the bathroom kissing and he uses his telekinesis to push the door shut. I just really like it for some reason.

  • What household chore do you try to get out of and what do you do to get out of it?

All of them! I am by myself, so I usually just ignore it until it irritates me and then do a frenzy of cleaning and then repeat the cycle haha.

  • Did you kiss the Blarney stone? The Kissing the Blarney stone blesses the storyteller.

I have never heard of the Blarney Stone before now, so no!

MARCH QUESTION OF THE MONTH

What’s at the end of your rainbow?

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MEET THE AUTHOR TARA SEPTEMBER

  • You have several stand-alone titles, but there aren’t any series do you plan on writing a series?

Yes! While I prefer the variety of reading stand-alone books, several of my readers have asked for an update on Gwen and Reade from my first book, Jesse’s Girl. I’d always planned to turn it into a small-town series but was too busy writing out the other stories that were in my head first. I’m finally getting down to business though writing out Danielle and Hunter’s arc, which I briefly teased in JG for that reason. Although, to be honest, at the start of this year, I almost gave up on the idea thinking no one cared. But then received a Facebook message asking when they would be able to read their story, so it was the motivational kick in the butt I needed. I’m hoping to have a draft for my editors by the end of the year.

  • How do your hero and heroine meet in your latest book?

In Don’t Start Now, the hero Adam, and heroine Eve (yes, Adam & Eve, it’s a cute bit referenced in the story too) are journalists at odds with one another. However, our hero is crushing on Eve, but she doesn’t know it. Instead, she erroneously thinks he is mocking her talent, instead of flirting with her. Regardless, Eve has sworn never to make the mistake of dating a coworker again and is set on focusing on her career only.

  • Without  giving spoilers how did you exploit tension in your book?

Oh, I definitely exploit the tension! The two are forced to work together on a he said, she said travel piece aboard a new cruise ship. Thus, getting them out of the office and away from their daily routines, so they can lower their guards. Plus, throw in some tropical drinks, a romantic setting, a friendly bet, close quarters and a fake relationship, and the tension ensues.

  • What was the hardest part of your book to write? What was the easiest ?

The easiest part was the setting since I love cruising. I’ve also had the opportunity to go on several media trips previously as a journalist, so I was able to add authenticity to their assignments too. The hardest part for me is always writing the ultimate conflict keeping our characters apart and then of course resolving it. But in Don’t Start Now, it was fun layering the drama in and keeping the hero’s secrets hidden until the end.

  • How do you handle writers’ block?

Writer’s block is something I always battle with, but I finally realized it was my own fears keeping me from my craft, so I do my best to curb my inner head trash and push forward. I’ll often write up dialogue and initial ideas in an email to myself, as I find it’s less pressure than staring at a blank Word Document.

  • Are you a plotter or a pantser? Have you ever tried to write the other way what was the result?

I’m a total pantser as I LOVE the freedom to change things up. The idea of lists and plotting only increases my writer’s block and destroys my creativity. It’s not to say that I don’t plot at all, but it’s mainly a general direction that I have in my head for the story and my characters. I’ll know their meet-cute, the drama, and how it gets resolved, but it’s not till I’m sitting down to write that I am able to connect the dots.

  • What is your secret writing power? What are you especially good at writing and how do you know it?

Banter! I was a class clown growing up and am addicted to making others laugh with my wit or a smart comment. As a result, I’m always writing down dialogue or funny comebacks, which I then try to assign to my characters if it fits. My favorite reviews are when readers say they laughed out loud, it’s the best compliment ever. 

  • Do you have a special ritual that helps you write?

The only ritual I can think of is that I must have a cup of jasmine tea with honey on the mug warmer next to my computer. This little device keeps me from having to leave my desk to keep microwaving it. Total savior!

  • What‘s the jam that helps you write?

Raspberry jam with a warm croissant, yum! 😉

Although my book titles are based on songs, I don’t like to listen to popular music while I write. I can have jazz playing or Bocelli’s Italian operettas, but nothing with English lyrics otherwise I’ll sing-along and lose my train of thought. Or worse, I’ll look down at my computer and see I’m simply typing the lyrics like a stenographer.

  • What household task do you loath and what do you do to get out of it?

I loathe all household tasks, except cooking! But the worst is laundry. I try to make a game of it now though. I’ll throw a load in the washer and see how much I can write before the alarm goes off. It’s like the homemaker version of the Pomodoro technique, lol.

  • Have you kissed the blarney stone? The blarney stone is the stone that blesses the story teller.

No, this is news to me. I’ve heard of the Blarney Stone in passing but didn’t know it, blessed storytellers. Count me in though! I’d kiss a frog if it would help.

  • What do you do when you’re not connected to the internet and you’re not writing?

Yikes, I’m always connected to the internet since I also blog and have an influencer Instagram account @TaraMetBlog. It’s another creative outlet and passion for me. But when I finally put down my phone, I love to travel. You’ll find me traveling on at least one flight or two each month. I just got back from a trip of a lifetime, skiing in Meribel, France with a catered chalet only walking distance to the lift. And right now, as I type up these responses, I’m in Disney World at the Wilderness Lodge hotel with my family.

But besides travel, skiing, and avoiding laundry, I enjoy spending time with my husband and our twin nine-year-old boys, as well as petting my three kitties. 

  • What’s your book do you go back  to again and again? Why?

Every year, I’ll do a Julie Garwood and Judith McNaught reread. Garwood because I love the historical escapism, it’s a palate cleanser compared to the contemporary writing that I do, and Judith because she reminds me of why I fell in love with romance books in the first place.

MARCH QUESTION OF THE MONTH

What’s at the end of your rainbow?

Happiness. It’s my ultimate end goal and what I work for. I’ve made the same wish on every star, on every penny thrown into fountains, and each pinky pull since I was a child – “I wish for a happy future.” I also figure if I’m not specific I’ll never be disappointed and when things are hard, then I have something to look forward to eventually.

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