Wednesday, March 30, 2011

An Interview with Author D.L. Robinson

Pick up your copy HERE!
It's Wednesday, the very last day of March! Let's end the month on a good note with author interview #18. Say a big hello to D.L. Robinson, author of her debut novel, Banish The Dragon, published by Melange Books. Check out D.L.'s website HERE and her blog HERE.

Thanks for stopping by, D.L.! Grab a seat and tell us all about yourself. Looks like you married your high school sweetheart. I did too! Tell us about him and about your non-writing life.

We’ll celebrate our 44th anniversary at the end of April and the magic is still there. He’s both a romantic and a ‘wild and crazy’ kind of a guy and my biggest fan. The other day, he put a brass plaque on our fence saying ‘Home of D.L. Robinson. Author of Banish The Dragon’. You gotta’ love a guy who’ll do that.

We’re both retired and, when not at our computers, we don’t seem to have any trouble keeping busy. When we were both working and the financial picture was brighter, we travelled to Australia, France, Spain and many times to the British Isles, knowing that when we retired, our ‘wings’ would be clipped. Now if we feel like travelling, we just open one of our photo albums and relive that particular trip.

We have a Shih Tzu named Chopstix  who pretty much rules the roost. We enjoy getting together with family and friends and, when they’re not in school, our grandchildren.

Banish the Dragon looks like your classic English romantic tale. Is it Victorian? Regency? What inspired you to write it, and how long was the process?

Banish The Dragon takes place about 1840 and is a romance with a happy ending. I’ve heard that you should write about what you know and, since I love to read romance books, that’s what I wanted to write about. I don’t know if there was any particular inspiration (other than my husband) but it has definitely been a long process. I started about 10 years ago – writing a few pages, crumpling a few pages and ignoring the whole thing for months on end. Finally, after I retired, I told myself to either get to it or quit trying and, as they say, the rest is history.

How long have you been writing? Do you have other publications, like short stories, or is this just the beginning of a great career?

I don’t have any other publications. Banish The Dragon was my first attempt at writing. I think I’ve always ‘created’ romantic stories but I was the only audience, too shy and too scared to share them with anyone. I hope it’s the beginning of a ‘great career’ but since I’ve recently turned 65, it might not be as long a career as one might wish.

What genres of books do you like to read? Any favorite authors?

I’ve always been a tremendous fan of romance writer Kathleen Woodiwiss and have read almost all of her books multiple times. Ken Follett is another favourite, especially his Pillars of the Earth and Time without End. I’ve just started Fall of Giants. I love history, especially within the British Isles.

Are you working on anything now, and can you tell us about it?

I started a second novel a few months ago, tentatively titled Oh Wicked Escort, set in Victorian England. Jack The Ripper will be a secondary character but it is mainly a romance with, of course, a happy ending. I haven’t gotten too far with it because of everything that’s going on with Banish The Dragon – I kept bringing in characters from that story – I guess I’m just not a ‘multi-tasker’.

Don't look now, but the random question is headed straight for you! What are your biggest pet-peeves?

My biggest peeves:
1)      Telephone solicitors
2)      Tightwads
3)      People who continually practise one-upmanship

Finally, Ms. Robinson, could you share a short excerpt from your novel or a work in progress?
From Banish The Dragon:

      Larkin, stepping aside as they fled the cottage, repositioned himself in front of the door as it closed, folding his thick arms across his chest menacingly. Shifting uncomfortably, he watched as his mistress circled the room, feeling a momentary twinge of sympathy for the lass. He had witnessed many of Lady Talbot’s savage attacks on the undefended and helpless over the years but fear of losing his position had always prevented him from interfering.
      Katherine, eyes flashing threateningly, stormed up to her unwanted visitor, heedless of the precariousness of her position. “What do you mean, barging into my home, uninvited, and dismissing my guests who were only here to lend what comfort they could on the loss of my beloved aunt?”
      Lady Talbot, looking down at the slight girl who faced her so fearlessly, smirked knowingly, causing a shiver of apprehension to course down Katherine’s spine. “Tush, my girl, don’t bother putting on airs with me.” Her tone was chilling. “I come bearing the most welcome tidings to you—an Irish guttersnipe, someone who has no dowry and absolutely no prospects, and this is your way of thanking me.”
      Startled, Katherine’s eyes, still sparkling with barely contained anger, gazed warily at the older woman. “What are you going on about, Lady Talbot?”
      “Why, I’m referring to your wedding, of course.” A shocked gasp escaped from the girl, making the older woman gloat in satisfaction. The little chit’s reaction was so much better than anything she had imagined. Almost trembling with glee, her arms swept the room. “Gather what belongings you have, girl, you’re moving back to the manor for the remainder of your time here.”
Thanks again for visiting Unwritten, D.L. I wish you all the best!

Thank you for the opportunity to participate in your interview program, Mysti. I enjoy reading how other authors think. On your ‘random question’, my favourite has to be ‘what’s in your fridge’? That was about as random as it gets and it really cracked me up.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Tuesday Linkies

Lots of stuff coming up in MystiLand. Thought I'd update and share a few links.

***Tonight I'm chatting along with some fellow Melange Authors at 9pm EST over at Coffee Time Romance!! Click HERE to access the chat room. You'll need updated Java to chat.***

1. Author interviews continue until early April. After that, I'm taking a hiatus from interviewing to allow time for my virtual book tour April 18-May 18. Please contact Roxanne HERE if you'd like to host me at your blog during that time. I'll be available for chats, interviews, guest posts, and giveaways.

2. Meankitty has been gracious enough to loan a few minutes of his time to interview me and my cat Poncho at Jody Wallace's blog. Check out Part One HERE and Part Two HERE. Please check out Jody's fabulous fantasy romance novels while you're at it. I've read Survival of the Fairest and it was awesome! See my review HERE.

3. Future author interviews: Open to published or unpublished writers. I'll start scheduling interviews again after May 18. They run Monday, Wednesday, and Fridays. Short, easy questions, plus an author and/or book cover pic and a short (250ish word) excerpt (PG only). So let me know if you'd like one, and I'll get you on the calendar.

4. Please check out yesterday's interview with Jenny Twist HERE. She's got a really interesting anthology of short stories coming out soon. Leave her some nice comments and I'll keep you updated on her release.

5. Finally--my next two books in the Tallenmere series, Serenya's Song, and Hearts in Exile are due to release in October, 2011 and September, 2012 respectively. Here are the tentative covers for them. The fabulous Mae Powers might tweak them a bit, but I like them a lot already.

6. Last but not least, if you've read A Ranger's Tale, would you consider writing a review? When you have a review ready, you can post it at a wonderful site called Goodreads HERE. Registration is simple and free. They have book giveaways, lots of reviews and author posts, and you might find some good books to read while you're there!

Monday, March 28, 2011

An Interview with Author Jenny Twist

It's another Monday, but hopefully spring is headed your way if you're lucky. If not, put a little spring in your step today by reading author interview #17, with Ms. Jenny Twist.  Jenny joins the ranks of the many Melange Books authors I've enjoyed here, with her soon-to-be-released anthology, Take One at Bedtime.

See Jenny's author page HERE
Welcome to Unwritten, Jenny! From your author page, it looks like you hail from sunny Spain. Tell us about your life there. What do you do when you're not writing?

Yes, I’ve lived in Spain for ten years now. My husband and I retired early and moved out here to a lovely area in the mountains of Southern Spain, overlooking the sea. Our house is out in the countryside, near the famous Los Pueblos Blancos, very pretty little villages with white houses and steep, winding streets.

When we first moved here I taught Spanish to English people and I also did some property management for vacation homes, which sounds important, but mainly consists of cleaning houses and greeting guests. Now I just do that for my own place- we have a studio apartment we rent – and for a friend who has a villa nearby.

Otherwise, I spend my time enjoying my family – my son and his wife and my 2 grandsons live nearby in Granada – and I have a highly entertaining dog and cat, not to mention Mr Twist, who is not only the world’s best cook but the most amusing companion. 

Now, fill us in on your upcoming release, Take One at Bedtime. When will it be released? What's it all about? Is it a book one would want to pick up and read by their bedside lamp?

Take One at Bedtime is my first book, a collection of short stories, due to be released next month by Melange Books. I don’t have an exact publication date yet. The stories consist mainly of horror and science fiction, ranging from a classic gothic tale – Jack Trevellyn – to the Wyndhamesque Victim of Fortune, and the modern Waiting for Daddy, with its spine-chilling twist.

There is also the occasional excursion into romance with A Castle in Spain and Jess’s Girl. Despite the title, I’m not sure whether I would recommend them as bed-time reading. Certainly not if you are of a nervous disposition.

I've found that writers are always either writing something or thinking about writing something. Can you tell us if you have another work in progress or plans for one?

I actually have a completed novel, which is due for publication in June, also by Melange Books. It is rather different from the short stories, being set in Spain in the 1950s under Franco’s rule. It is essentially a love story, but as the plot develops, we relive the terrible atrocities of the Spanish Civil War and the deprivations under Franco’s dictatorship through the stories of the villagers who survived. 

I have 2 other novels and several short stories in the pipeline. The first, tentatively titled ‘The Cradle of the Gods’ is a science fiction work which retells the Greek myths from the point of view of the ship-wrecked spacemen who perpetrated them. The second, tentatively titled ‘All in the Mind’ is about an old woman who mysteriously begins to get younger. The short stories are more of the same as in ‘Take One at Bedtime’. Every so often I have an idea for one and eventually there will be enough, I hope, for another collection.

Who have been your favorite authors over the years? What genres do you like to read?

My favourite authors are mainly horror and science fiction writers, the great Stephen King, who is always readable and sometimes sublime; John Wyndham, the British author (when he died I cried as if I had lost a dear friend, which, of course, I had); M R James, in my opinion the greatest writer of ghost stories ever. 

I also love everything Robert B Parker ever wrote, another really readable writer. Recently I discovered Kate Atkins and I just devour her books. I’ve read all of them several times and can’t wait for the next one to come out.

Although I love horror and science fiction, I’m quite picky about what I read. I prefer ghost stories to gory horror. I like spooky and thought-provoking stuff better than fast-paced adventure. I love good detective fiction, although I’ve never tried to write any myself. 

Mainly, I’m more interested in quality of writing than genre and I’ll read  nearly anything. 

Let's all stand as the random question enters the stadium--What was the last movie you watched and what did you think of it?

I can’t remember the last movie I watched; maybe it was ‘American Beauty’, which I loved. 

I think the best movie I’ve ever seen was ‘Angel Heart’ which not only had a great plot, beautiful photography and an all-star cast, but had me on the edge of my seat throughout. I LOVED the twist at the end.

Finally, Ms. Twist, could you share an excerpt from your upcoming release or a work in progress?



      It was a simple glass globe on a wooden stand, but she gazed at it reverently as if it were a holy relic. 
      Passing her hands over the top of it several times and crooning under her breath, her face bloodied by the red light, she could have been some ancient priestess communing with her dreadful gods.  Gradually, he began to get the impression that her face was under-lit, that the globe itself was giving out a milky luminescence. She closed her eyes and swayed slightly, then opened them wider than before and peered into the globe. 
      “I can see a strange land,” she declared in a sonorous chant, her voice suddenly taking on a deep and powerful note. “It is a dreadful place, all red desert and black rocks. And it is hot.” She drew her hands back from the globe as if she could feel the heat scorching her flesh. “So hot.” She moaned.
      She seemed to have forgotten the presence of the young man and he leaned forward, trying to see into the globe.  It remained clear and empty, bland and innocuous.
      “There are terrible storms here. The winds rage over the surface and rains fall on the black rocks. A terrible place.” She drew her breath in a long whistle. “The rain is poisonous. Nobody could live here. How could anyone live in this desolate place?”
      She lifted her eyes and looked at him, but it was clear that she wasn’t really seeing him. In a daze, she returned to the crystal. 
      “Yet there are people here. There are buildings, and I can see people walking amongst them. I think they are people.”
      She uttered a low moan, closed her eyes and shuddered, then her eyes snapped open and she looked directly at him, seeing him. 
      “You!” she cried. “You come from this place!”

Thanks so much for stopping by Jenny! I wish you much success!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

A new Blog Award!

Thank you Akoss for the "One Lovely Blog Award"! My efforts have paid off, and I hope to keep making Unwritten a lovely and happening place to be.

Who shall I pass this award to? How about some lovely blogs I've been following lately...

                                                      Liz @ Coffee and Romance

Get thee now to these blogs and follow. Do not pass GO. Do not collect $200. Leave some nice comments while you're at it!


Friday, March 25, 2011

An Interview with Author Ann Regentin

Whee! It's Friday and time for author interview #16, with the lovely Ann Regentin! Ann has published three short stories in three different volumes of the Spellfire series at Melange Books. She also has two novels available now, also with Melange Books--Second Sight and Train Wreck.

Thank you so much for stopping by, Ann! Tell us a little about yourself. Who's that woman behind the screen?

Thanks for having me, Mysti!  I'm delighted to be here.

I'm a single mother living in the Midwest with two parrots and a
teenaged son.  I read a lot of non-fiction, watch documentaries and
British mysteries, and play video games.  I have two guitars and a
keyboard, although I've been neglecting them lately. I'm also fond of
manga, especially Fruits Basket and Fullmetal Alchemist, and I'm a
long-time Dr. Who fan.  David Tennant is my favorite Doctor.

Twenty years ago, I was diagnosed with lupus. It started out
moderately disabling but became more serious over time, which had a
profound affect on my life. As my ability to do big things has
decreased, I find that small things give me remarkable pleasure. It
sounds like a cliche, but it's true.

I remember in a comment on the Melange Author forum, you said Train Wreck was a novel ten years in the making. Can you tell us about the decade-long journey that finally brought it to life?

Well, my approach is extremely disorganized, and I have a tendency to
overwrite.  With short stories, this isn't such a big deal, but with
novels it means taking a lot of time.  I had something like 175,000
words in many separate documents before I put it all together. I also
needed to find people willing to edit it.  Tulsa Brown helped me make
necessary cuts without losing anything important, but there was a gap
of a few years before I met Nobilis Reed, who went over it with a
fine-toothed comb.  I'm eternally grateful to them both.  Then I had
to find someone willing to publish it even though it was still well
over everyone's word count limits, for which I am eternally grateful
to Mae and Nancy at Melange Books.  And of course through all of this
I was writing other things and working on a podcast with Nobilis and
Helen E. H. Madden called The Write Threesome
(  We're no longer recording,
but all of the episodes are still available.

I was also very ill for a few of those years, which slowed me down a bit.

In the description of your anthology Second Sight it says, "With her trademark mix of unflinching honesty and sexual heat, Pushcart nominee Ann Regentin brings you thirty stories of lust, love and complications; and explores the power of desire to heal old wounds, inspire new hope, and uncover the extraordinary beauty hidden in ordinary lives."  

Were any of these stories inspired by real life events or observations? Were any of them particularly difficult or easy to write?

I draw from life, but mostly for my settings.  The rest is a mix of
research and imagination, but on the rare occasions I tried to do the
real-life-disguised-as-fiction thing, people objected that it wasn't
realistic. Those stories did not make it into the book.

I think the hardest story to write was Wonder, because it walks some
very fine lines, not just the difference between BDSM and physical
abuse, but the reasons why someone might stay in a abusive
relationship.  It's very easy to say they should just leave, walk away
the minute the first blow is struck, but if you've ever known anyone
in such a relationship, you know how incredibly difficult that it.
Abusive partners don't just abuse.  They control and reward.  They are
often very kind and reasonable in public, which cuts the abused
partner off from any support system.  It's a complicated, difficult
problem, and I'm not sure I did it justice.

What, if anything, are you working on now? Care to share?

A sequel to Train Wreck.  Hopefully, I can get it done in less than ten years!

Today's random question is a goodie: If you could be any animal in the world for 24 hours, which animal would you be and why?

I'd be an echidna, because they're such fascinating creatures.

They're spiny like hedgehogs but have noses like anteaters, and
they're monotremes, egg-laying mammals, with pouches like kangaroos.
They don't fit very neatly into any classification we try to put them
in, but I can't imagine they'd care even if they knew.  I also favor
Pick up your copy HERE!
Knuckles when playing Sonic the Hedgehog games, and of course he's an echidna.

Finally, Ms. Regentin, could you share a short excerpt of a published work or a work in progress?

This is from Train Wreck:
      By the time they took a break, I’d heard Chris on both tenor and alto sax.  He played them equally well, but when he came to me and sat down, he looked nervous.  “What do you think?” he asked.
      “I could listen to you all night,” I said, then I felt myself
blushing, which only made it worse.  In vino veritas.  “You’re really
good.”  I was trying to recover, but it wasn’t working.
      His smile, though, was reassuring.  “I’m glad you like it,” he said.
      The waitress came and he ordered a beer.  I didn’t recognize the
brand.  “Do you want another glass of wine?” he asked.
      “No, thanks.  Have you ever recorded?” I asked.
      The question seemed to amuse him.  “Yes.”
      “I’d love to hear it.”
      “Easy,” he said.  “I’ll give you a CD, but under one condition.”
      “What’s that?” I asked.
      “That you let me see your work.”
      I smiled, smothering a twinge of fear.  “Deal.”
      He didn’t frighten me because I thought he’d hurt me.  I trusted him
implicitly, instinctively.  He frightened me because for years I had
looked into the eyes of so many men, realized that I could see the end
as easily as the beginning, and had turned away without the slightest
twinge of regret.  In Chris’s eyes, I saw no ending, only a beginning
that seemed to go on forever.  Part of me wanted to turn and run, but
it was too late.  On the soccer field, I’d fought him with everything
I had and he’d beaten me easily, cleanly.  He was going to win this
game, too.

Thanks for visiting today, Ann. I wish you great success and a great weekend!

Thanks very much, Mysti, and I'm wishing the same to you and your readers!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Two new contest winners for A Ranger's Tale!

Congratulations to Deanna of MD for winning a signed copy and to Hotcha12 for winning a .pdf copy!

Stay tuned for more contests, interviews, and whatever else I can cook up around here....


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

An Interview with Author Kira Barcelo

Buy it now HERE at Melange Books!
Ride out your humpty-dumpty Wednesday with interview #15 here on Unwritten! Today, we welcome Kira Barcelo, author of I Dream of Amy, published by Melange Books. You can also follow Kira on her blog HERE.

Thanks for coming, Kira! Please take a moment and tell us about yourself. What do you do when you're not writing (as your blog says) "fun and sexy romance"?

Enjoying Real Life! We writers spend so much time in our characters' worlds that we need that time with family and friends. I love watching old movies with my hubby and scouring for new dishes to whip up in the kitchen. My idea of unwinding is taking a long walk, either outside or on the treadmill, where I can catch up on my reading (thanks to my favorite new toy--my Kindle!) It's also fun to have a Girls' Nite Out with my friends, when we can get together and share girltalk over cheeseburgers and sweet tea. When I've spent time with people I love, with all their positive energy, I feel like I can bring a lot more to the life of my characters.

I've read the excerpt for I Dream of Amy, and it cracked me up! It's not as much a case of mistaken identity as it is a mistaken location. Can you tell us a little about it and how you came up with the idea?

I'm so jazzed that you liked it! To me, romantic comedies are always a lot of fun, whether you're reading them or writing them. Amanda Brindle, the "Amy" in the book, was a heroine that I really liked spending time with. Here's a young woman working in the competitive, high-powered field of advertising, who's being held down by her controlling boss, yet she puts her whole heart and soul into landing a huge account and some recognition for herself. That means she'll roll up her sleeves and burn the midnight oil...or dress up like a genie in a skimpy harem outfit. Whatever it calls for, if it needs getting done, she's the woman to call! Amy, though, is Lucille Ball, Barbara Eden, and Anne Hathaway all rolled into one. So there she is, dressed as the ice cream company's logo--a pretty genie--being delivered to the CEO's door. Only her coworkers mistakenly deliver her to the wrong address, much to the bewilderment of the hero, Sheriff Jonah Vogel.

I'd also like to add that Amy is a voluptuous heroine who really fills out that genie's outfit (and much to Jonah's delight, I'd have to say). She struggles with her weight, and her growth and self-acceptance--seeing herself as Jonah sees her, as a gorgeous and desirable woman--is part of her journey. There's also some kinky fun to their relationship, but I don't want to give away too much!

Who have been your favorite authors over the years?

Wow, there's been a lot! It's hard to pin down. I'd have to say I've loved LaVryle Spencer and Oscar Scott Card, even if one writes romance and the other writes speculative fiction. My reading tastes are about as eclectic as my musical tastes (and I love so many genres of music). Jan Karon is another favorite of mine, because I absolutely love stories about small towns and the interesting characters who fill them.

Ready for a random question? If you could be any Disney character, who would you be?

Oh, that's a great question! I didn't have to think about it very long, either. As a little girl, I literally fell in love with Cinderella--both the Disney version and the one brought to life by the wonderful Leslie Ann Warren. That ageless story about that tender and mistreated girl whose most cherished dream was to be loved, and how that dream, when it comes true, transforms her and her life forever. Cinderella perfectly demonstrates the great power of love. To this day that still moves me, and I believe that elements of that story have found their way into my own work, too. She's definitely the character I'd most easily identify with!

Finally, Ms. Barcelo, would you share a short excerpt of a published work or work in progress?

      From I Dream of Amy:

      Out of the box stepped, of all things, a genie. The only thing more scorching-hot would have been her bursting out of one of those crazy bachelor party cakes. His Coke, his book, his late dinner of a frozen pizza, all that peace and quiet he’d yearned for, that all got shot to hell as those little shoes with the curled-up toes brought her closer to him. Jonah stared at the curvalicious little refugee from a male fantasy, this golden-haired harem girl with her blue chiffon pants, see-through veils and coin-trimmed waist scarf. She stepped right up to him, holding something in the crook of her left arm, and gave a little bow. Up close, he could see she was holding a carton of Mint Chocolate Chip Delight Ice Cream.
      Her lips parted in a naughty smile. “Don’t you wish you had some…ice cream?”
      That question, together with her full and rounded bosom nearly popping out of that genie costume top, inspired a couple of very innovative uses for the frosty dessert. Any flavor, he didn’t care. He hadn’t been with a woman in some time, and this one had every nerve ending in his body fired up.
      He cleared his throat. “Wow….”
      Jonah could almost tell the very moment reality dawned on that sexy little kitten. He saw her look around, her smile fading, that hint of horror in her eyes.
      “You’re not Mr. Whitley, are you?” she asked.
      “Okay. So—so—who are you?”
      “I’m Jonah Vogel. Sheriff Jonah Vogel.”
      “Sheriff?” He watched her swallow hard. She was also shivering from the cold. Jonah supposed genie costumes weren’t meant to be worn in impending snowstorms. “Where’s Simon Whitley, the ice cream magnate?”
      “In his home, I guess.”
      “In his home? Where’s his home?” That was one flustered little genie.
      “About half a mile, uh, that way.” Jonah pointed toward the north. “I think your friends dropped you off at the wrong house, Miss…uh…Genie.”
      “They—no. No!”
      “Are you cold? Why don’t you come in the house and warm up?”
      She ignored his offer, instead flinging the ice cream carton into the crate angrily. He was fascinated, watching her pat her sides and the pants’ waistband.
      “Looking for something?” Jonah asked.
      “My cell phone. I hope I didn’t leave it in the truck.” Groaning, she slapped her forehead. “Oh, I left it in the truck! ****!”
      Jonah flinched slightly. Maybe he was old-fashioned, but he’d never gotten completely accustomed to women swearing, especially one as comely as this one.
      “It’s not a big deal. You can come into the house and call them on my phone.”
      “I can’t do that, either.”
      “Why not?”
      “Because Bradley’s number was programmed into my phone. I don’t know it by heart. I know my boss’ by heart.”
      “That’ll work. So call him.”
      “Her,” the genie corrected him testily. “And I can’t do that. I can’t tell her this got all screwed up. That I screwed up. I can’t tell her that.”
      “What got all screwed up? And where do you think you’re going?”
      “To catch that truck before it gets any farther!”
Thanks so much for visiting today, Kira! I wish you a ton of success!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Guest Blogging at Brandyz Books Today!

Check it out--another .pdf giveaway too! Leave a comment on my guest post (link below), and I'll draw a name on Thursday!

Please follow Brandy's blog while you're at it!


Monday, March 21, 2011

An Interview with Author Molly Allman Smith

Learn more about Molly HERE!
Welcome to interview #14--a great way to beat your Mundaze! Up today is Molly Allman Smith, author of Tales From Imagination's Closet, an anthology of twenty-nine stories just released by Melange Books. Visit her website HERE to see her other short stories, poems and children's tales. Click the link under the picture to visit her blog, where she has some excerpts from her latest release. And don't forget to follow!

Thanks for coming over, Molly! Pull up a chair and tell us about yourself. What do you do when you're not writing?

Thanks, Mysti. Delighted to be here. Actually, I am always writing. I work as a freelance writer,  I attend college and write fiction, so 90% of my day is spent doing some type of writing. I enjoy it, though!

From looking at the story blurbs, it looks like Imagination's Closet is just that--tales spun right out of a vivid imagination ranging from paranormal to psychological. Did you write each one with the intent of putting them together or did you decide that afterward?

It was afterward. I really enjoy writing short stories, and I love speculative fiction, so I ended up large collection of that specific genre, some were previously published in magazines and the rights reverted back to me, so I decided instead of sending out my stories to various magazines, why not compile them into a collection of short stories. 

You've published many short stories, according to the magnificent list on your website. Are they similar in theme to the stories in Imagination's Closet? Are there any genres that you'd like to try or don't want to try?

The majority of my published works are the similar to Imagination’s Closet, but I do have a few children’s stories. My short story, Viral Smiles, is scheduled for publication next month in The Other Herald and it is comedy. 

The only genres I wouldn’t want to try are romance and erotica. That just isn’t something I am interested in writing. 

What authors have inspired you over the years?

Two of my favorite authors are Ray Bradbury and Jack London. Bradbury’s stories, though, are my biggest inspiration. I love short stories that make the reader think, but at the same time entertain and surprise them. 

Is there something you're working on now, and can you tell us about it?

I am working on a second book of short stories. Again, these are speculative fiction much like Imagination’s Closet. As I mentioned earlier, I really enjoy the speculative-what if?- kind of story mixed with humor, mystery and drama. I am also working on two YA novels and series of children’s picture books. 

Now for today's random question: If you could live in any TV sitcom, which would it be?

I know this is now in syndication, but I’d love to be on Third Rock from the Sun. It is one of the funniest shows I’ve ever seen, and no matter how many times I’ve seen an episode, it always makes me laugh.  Plus, I like the idea of quirky aliens living among us and we humans can be so peculiar ourselves, we don’t even realize it.  

Finally, Ms. Smith, can you share a short excerpt of one of your published works or a work in progress?

Sure. This is an excerpt from “Laugh Like a Baby,” a short story from Tales From Imagination’s Closet.

      My life is kind of like a week old banana. It has some bruisedareas, but it’s still good. As I reflect upon the soft, bruised areasof my past, I laugh hysterically. But, I will try to control myemotions as I fill you in. 
      I was unusual from the day of my birth. The doctor slappedmy wrinkly bottom the day I was born, but I didn’t cry; I laughed.Everyone in the room was stunned; newborns can’t laugh. So,with Momma’s permission, I went through all sorts of tests. Theresults: all doctors found me to be perfectly healthy. The doctorsdecided I was a baby with an abnormal cry, and I would grow outof it as my tiny lungs matured. 
      Momma took me home and soon discovered the doctorswere wrong. I laughed at a full diaper and bawled while playingpeek-a-boo. 
      Every doctor that examined me as a child was baffled. “It issomething that will straighten itself out as he heads intoadulthood,” the doctors told us. 
      Momma finally gave up on the doctors and accepted me “asis.” She gave birth to me in her late forties. I was probably thefirst and last child she’d ever have, so she loved me even thoughI was a freak. 
      Momma learned to deal with my abnormality, laughing alongwith me as I sobbed watching cartoons, and kissing my bumpsand bruises as I chuckled.

Thanks so much, Molly, for visiting today! I wish you much success!

 Thank you, Mysti.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Another 4-star review for A Ranger's Tale!

From Queentutt on Goodreads:

Fantastic Read! 

I really enjoyed this Fantasy, Wizards, mages, spells, and magical powers with lots of action entrance you right away and the romance was weaved within the story perfectly as were the love scenes that were described with creatively written clean taste that left you with all kinds of erotic visions to imagine. The story grabbed me right away with the rebellious daughter of a master wizard who wanted nothing to do with the controlled life that was set before her. 

Cali, a beautiful high elf with long golden hair and blue eyes wants more out of life than following in her father’s footsteps and having her life planned out for her with an arranged marriage to a man who she didn’t love. She wanted to see the world and experience life and discover who she was. 

Friday, March 18, 2011

An Interview with Author Olivia Ritch

Visit  Olvia's website HERE!
Welcome to author interview #13! But, it's anything but unlucky, because here on Unwritten we have Olivia Ritch, author of The Unwanted Heiress, published by Wild Rose Press and Duke of Her Dreams, published by Melange Books.

Thanks for stopping by, Olivia! Let's talk about you first. What's Olivia do when she's not writing romantic tales?

I am a full-time fundraiser for a nonprofit here in Birmingham.  I ask people for money for a good cause...of course part of that includes writing persuasively so I get a little practice in my work.  At home, there are two busy kids -- almost teens -- too many pets, and most days I try to get in a 3 mile run.

I've been perusing your website. You've had some very nice reviews for The Unwanted Heiress. Was this your first published story? How long did the process take from first draft to publication?

 Heiress was my first story but interestingly, it was picked up the same day my full-length novel was accepted by the folks at what is now Melange.  You can imagine, that was a banner day.  Heiress only took about four weeks to write and I sent it to an editor who had been interested but ultimately passed on a previous story.  She actually had a call for short stories out and I gave it a shot.  Seems it took her about a month to get back to me from my query.

Duke was a much longer process.  I started writing it in November 2008 and didn't begin sending it out until April/May of 09.  It got some interest and it did get remarkably helpful after much editing and rewriting, it was ready to go out again late in 09 and early 2010.  It was accepted April 14, 2010 and came out this January.

It is exciting for me to report to you that the sequel to Unwanted Heiress titled Unseen Heiress is on its way.  I hope to have the cover up on my site any day.  My vision is to write at least one more in that series.

Your excerpt for Duke of Her Dreams, looks, well...dreamy! What inspired you to write a romantic tale involving time travel?

A wise writer whose "how to" book I was reading said "write what you know."  So, I thought about placing a female character whose experiences and circumstances would be familiar into a situation that was extraordinary.  Sticking with the familar, I chose an area of England that was "researchable" and that was near where I had actually been.  The actual time travel element gave me a lot of flexibility because if you begin with the premise that this is a paranormal -- that it is stretching the imagination -- then you can keep stretching it.  While Kathryn and Michael's interactions are fairly typical for Regency-era romances, there is still an air of... "really?"

But you actually picked up on the key -- the dreamy part -- isn't it anyone's dream to have something fabulous and thrilling and even a little frightening come into our lives?  Can you imagine just having even a few hours or days in Regency England -- the clothes, the pomp, the wealth, the society and the chivalrous, heroic lords of the land?  And, if it's to fulfill a dream, I made Michael what was dreamy to me -- brooding, honorable, heroic, a bit unsure with women and not a little pigheaded, wealthy, and gave him wonderfully sexy friends, meddling, well-meaning servants and difficult female relatives.  Then, for one really great girl, the dream of happiness with someone like Michael becomes a reality. 

What authors have inspired you over the years?

 When I was 12, I read several of the Belva Plain novels although I got away from reading for pleasure all together in high school and college.  I have to admit that the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew were my first and favorite books for absolutely years!

Recently, when I discovered and fell in love with romance, Stephanie LaurensThe Lady Chosen from her Bastion Club Series was my first true adult era romance.  I couldn't get enough and soon found her Cynster series that began with Devil's Bride -- my favorite all-time story.  I've probably read it over again once every month or two for the last two years.  What makes Stephanie's stories significant is that the man and woman truly seem destined for each other but outside forces are pulling them apart -- it's not usually the growing love that's in question but whether they'll survive to enjoy it.

Close second is Mary Balogh.  Her "Slightly" series is terrific.  I have not read a Nora Roberts I didn't enjoy and Julia Quinn is just always smart and funny.  I also have many stories from Amanda McCabe, Hannah HowellJohanna LindseyLynsay Sands and Eloisa James.  It's difficult to leave out any romance author I like because I have truly learned from so many of them and now have a large library.

I am a bit of a purist in romance -- I prefer stories where there's no cheating or three-way conflict that confuses the one on one love story. Since I also avoid stories where one character is unkindly manipulated or somehow unusually unequal to the other, I have developed personal favorites as well as others who I tend to avoid (at least a second time.)  You will not be confused in my stories about who is hero and heroine.  My favorite authors definitely influenced that standard I set for myself. 

In thinking about my truly favorite books, there are also some characteristics that are significant -- stories about family members, stories where next love stories are introduced in small ways, multiple love stories within a book and humor throughout.  I love a good attempted murder sub-plot with a dose of humor to offset the tension.  Lynsay Sands might be the best writer I've read who combines the two.

I'd bet you're working on (or at least thinking about ) another story at the moment. Want to tell us about it?

I mentioned the Unwanted Heiress sequel coming out soon, but the next major project is the sequel to Duke -- Lord of Her Dreams.  It is the story of Christine Ragland, younger sister of the Duke heroine and a dashing cavalry officer who is the best friend in Duke.  I've started it and completed the outline to the end but the hardest part is just taking large chunks of time to sit down and work on it.  I've also been struggling with the villain's profile whose demise I am plotting to hold off until the third book, Earl of Her Dreams.

It's amazing to be able to talk about my "next" project as a reality rather than a dream, that I have multiple stories published.  I feel truly humbled and blessed.

Brace yourself for the random question of the day: If you could eat unlimited amounts of any food and not gain an ounce, what would it be?

Chocolate...a total cliche I know but I've become hooked on dark chocolate.  Even running 15 or so miles a week hasn't kept down the weight creep.  For me though, it's really any food.  I can barely ever indulge without the consequences. I never eat fried foods or chips, no pizza or burgers but if I even eat what what most people just think of as a regular meal, I gain.  Can you imagine, my husband is 5'11'' and weighs 170?  Weight is truly a battle every day. 

Finally, Ms. Ritch, would you share a short excerpt from a published work or a work in progress?

Excerpt from Duke:

      Kathryn saw the moment he recognized her plight for the very real
problem it was and the instant he softened. She watched the man’s lovely
dark eyes shift as he scanned the room for her nonexistent luggage and
the changes of his expression from exasperation to confusion and finally
concern. While the gentleman, because he surely was that in her humble
opinion, concentrated, she studied him in greater detail. At first look, his
size, his commanding carriage and the sheer maleness of him had made
him seem rather forbidding, but there was intelligence and a gentle sense
of humor in his personality that Kathryn found surprising.

      On even closer conspicuous inspection, his period attire of tight
riding pants molded to huge muscular thighs and what she knew to be a
riding jacket that was itself stretched over amazingly broad shoulders
marked him as a prosperous man from the 1800s. This man, with his
deep drawling English accent and regal bearing, was the real, in-the-flesh
confirmation of Kathryn’s time travel. Her resolve wavered as the
enormity of Kathryn’s dilemma became clear. She was, she could not
even imagine, in another time and place.
Here's just a small taste of the planned Lord of her Dreams...that has never been seen by anyone else!

      Matthew needed to ride.  He had not slept well, visions of creditors rushing to claim their debts pushing him, jostling with one another to take Worley away from him.  He had tossed and turned finally resolving that getting up and dressing for a ride was the only way to dispel the images and relax the nervous tension investing his entire body.  Striding briskly through the cool morning air across the gravel toward the stable, Matthew wondered not for the first time how he was going to save his estate and keep himself out of debtor’s prison.

      Now fully awake, Matthew opened the stable door, about to speak a welcome to his horse, when his eyes snapped to the hayloft ladder where tiny feet connected to luscious calves were descending the rickety contraption.  For a moment, Matthew was frozen in place as lean thighs appeared topped by a perfectly rounded female bottom marked by a single strap of seafoam green lace. 

Thank you so much for visiting today. I wish you a ton of success and a great weekend to boot!

I cannot thank you enough for your time and thoughtful questions.  It's been a blast sharing writing with a fellow author.