At Warkworth Castle

A Conversation with Author Corey Holst

At Warkworth CastleCorey Holst is a young adult/historical fiction author who will join us from 11 a.m. to noon on Saturday, Oct. 3 in our pop-up book shop at El Dorado High School Holiday Boutique, 1651 Valencia Ave., Placentia.

 

When did you decide to try your hand at writing?

I have always liked the idea of being a writer because I’ve always been able to picture scenes in my head or imagine a location with such detail that, in my head at least, it feels like a place I’ve actually been to and not just a place that I have imagined. The one thing that held me back was that I never had any idea what I might write about.

I have always loved historical time periods and have a distinct fascination for castles. My dad’s favorite movie was always “The Adventures of Robin Hood,” and after seeing a production of James Goldman’s “The Lion in Winter,” I was intrigued by the idea that Richard the Lionheart and his scheming brother Prince John weren’t just part of a Robin Hood legend, but were real people with real problems. Then, one day, a few years later, the ending of a story popped into my head. I couldn’t shake it off. I let it stew in my brain for a while, coming up with ideas on how I could get characters to that point. I started writing out imagined conversations between characters that I hadn’t even defined yet. After a time, it was apparent I was onto something, and I decided to start from the beginning.  Because I had very little idea of what I was doing, that first book, Defender of the Realm, took me four years to write. But I just kept plugging away at it because I knew I would get to that ending eventually, and eventually I did.

 

Defender of the North - Cover Defender of the Realm - CoverSo, how did you get the idea for your second novel?

Originally, I had decided that Defender of the Realm would take place in the year 1174, but as I dug further into research, I found that year to be a very volatile time to be introducing my characters. A lot was happening in England in 1174, and I wanted to take more time in getting to know my characters, so I shifted Defender of the Realm to the year 1172. But when it came time to start writing the sequel I already had a wealth of research from 1174. Now that my characters were firmly established, it was relatively easy to drop them into the middle of all the turmoil that was going on that year in Henry II’s England. The research and the success of my first book really inspired me, and I finished Defender of the North in about a year and a half.

 

What are you working on now?

I am currently halfway through writing book 3 of the Defender of England series. After the rebellion of 1173-1174, King Henry did such a thorough job of defeating the dissidents that not much happened for the next decade (that I could find anyway). But I didn’t want to jump that far ahead in years for my characters. I liked them where they were. Instead of large battle sequences, I decided to stay closer to home. Defender of the Faithful concerns a brutal series of murders and forces the main characters to walk the line between truth and justice. Occasionally I go back and re-read the first chapter, and I have come to the conclusion that I am one sick puppy.

 

So, are you going to stick to the medieval time period for future endeavors?

No. Actually I now have several full outlines for new stories that are not medieval. One traces the origins of a pocketwatch given to me by my grandfather. It was originally purchased by his great-grandfather in the early 1800s, when he emigrated from Ireland to work on the railroads back when Wisconsin was the western frontier. Another outline I have is a New England ghost story with flashbacks to the Revolutionary War. My daughter and I brainstormed an outline for a fantasy involving dragons. I am even partially through writing a present-day terrorist thriller. There are lots of stories waiting to be told, I can’t wait to get to them all. Much like my first book, I’ll get there… eventually.

 

 

Both books are available in print, Kindle, and Nook. For more information, visit www.coreyholst.com.

Marlaphoto6-11

FEATURED AUTHOR: Marla Miller

Marlaphoto6-11Marla Miller’s “Deadly Little Secrets” is her first published novel though she’s been writing fiction for years. She makes her living as an editor and writing coach and teaches workshops at Santa Barbara Writers Conference and Southern California Writers’ Conference.  For 16 years, she was a journalist in Orange County before becoming founding editor-in-chief of an O.C. lifestyle magazine. Prior to that, Miller was a psychiatric nurse practitioner. It is through this prism that this medical suspense/romance is told.

For more about Marla, visit her website at www.MarlaMiller.com.

 

What’s your favorite scene in “Deadly Little Secrets” and why?

Any hospital scene is good reading, fast-paced, and authentic. I also loved writing the scenes that featured the teenage characters. They are brave kids.

 

What is your favorite holiday tradition?

Reading “’Twas the Night Before Christmas” to my kids and grandchild. We end up giggling a lot.

 

If a reader curls up with your book on a cold, winter night, what’s the perfect seasonal beverage you’d recommend?

Any stiff drink will do.

 

What are you working on next?

My next novel chronicles a middle-age woman’s panic over aging and will appeal to any readers who hear themselves humming “Is that all there is?” Working title “SweetSpot” and

yes, it is about one mid-life woman’s search for hers.

 

 

 

DEADLY LITTLE SECRETS, by Marla Miller -- 99 cents

Deadly Little Secrets

By Marla Miller

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Two best friends since grade school may not be much longer in this romantic suspense set in an O.C. California coastal community. In the spring of 1985, a school board meeting is held to decide the fate of an AIDS education module faculty at the local high school recommend be added to the curriculum of the school’s sex education program. Only a few people knew that the meeting would turn ugly; protagonist Loretta Casterini was not one of them.

Over the next ten-days – in the middle of which Rock Hudson’s face, more grim reaper than leading man, splashes across newspapers around the world– Loretta not only learns about secrets her best friend Julia has kept but that one of them could have had deadly consequences.

Until this incident happened, Loretta had always held Julia Brooks in the kind of high regard reserved for those women who pushed open those ‘boys only’ clubhouse doors by using their intelligence. That was Julia Brooks. When Stanford Med accepted her in the spring of 1969, days after she had turned twenty, Loretta was not the least bit surprised.
What surprised her was Julia’s reaction at the school board meeting to this public health education issue. Also a shock was watching Julia’s reaction to her former lover, Steven Wilcox, now president of the town’s school board.
The only one at that meeting not surprised- besides the health education teacher parent protesters were trying to malign – was Steve Wilcox’s seventeen year-old son, Mark.
Hours after the meeting, Loretta finds out that Mark’s car crashed over North Canyon Road. Once everyone converges at the hospital, only then does Loretta begin to figure out what was probably always right in front of her, Dr. Julia Brooks didn’t walk on water after all.

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SusanSquires2

FEATURED AUTHOR: Susan Squires

SusanSquires2Since beginning her career in 2000 with Danegeld,” which won a Golden Heart for best unpublished manuscript from Romance Writers of America, Susan has published 17 novels and three novellas with Dorchester Publishing and St. Martin’s Press, as well as self-publishing four books and a novella in The Magic Series. She’s been a finalist in the Rita contest for Best Romance Novel and garnered several Reviewer’s Choice awards from Romantic Times BookReviews. Publisher’s Weekly named “Body Electric” one of the 10 most influential mass-market books, and “One with the Shadows” a Best Book of the Year. Her work has appeared on the New York Times and USA Today best sellers lists. She’s known for breaking the rules of romance writing, and whatever her subject, historical period, or theme, her work always contains some element of the paranormal.

For more about Susan, visit her website at www.SusanSquires.com.

 

What’s your favorite scene in “Do You Believe in Magic?” and why?

My favorites scenes are not big action scenes, not even the sex scenes—though who doesn’t like sex scenes?—or even the satisfying ending. No, I’ve always liked the “getting-to-know-you” scenes, where the reader first understands the deep reasons the hero and heroine are right for each other (no matter how unlikely a couple they seem to be on the surface) and exactly what is standing in the way of their happy ending. Those are some of the most complex scenes to write, yet often, when I understand the characters, those scenes can just come flowing out. So, in “Do You Believe In Magic?,” the first of my Magic Series, my favorite scene is the one where Maggie takes Tristram home. He’s been in a mysterious accident in the middle of Nevada. She gets him to a hospital. But when he gets out he has nowhere to go, so she takes him to her father’s remote and decaying ranch for a night, before giving him a ride back to L.A. and his family. They’ve had several scenes together. The attraction has become palpable, but in this scene readers really start understanding who Tris and Maggie are, and what a relationship might cost each of them.

 

What is your favorite holiday tradition?

My favorite holiday tradition is probably caroling. I have always loved to sing, and I belonged to a caroling group when I lived in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Cold nights, warm scarves, coats and gloves, and voices singing together the familiar holiday favorites: what could be better? Only the holiday beverage we got when we came in. That was hot chocolate when I was young, and it got a shot of peppermint schnapps in it as I got older.

 

If a reader curls up with your book on a cold, winter night, what’s the perfect seasonal beverage you’d recommend?

If you are going to curl up with “Do You Believe in Magic?” this season, I’d recommend mulled wine.  Steaming red wine with all those delightful holiday spices in it is a perfect companion when you are snuggling up with a book.

 

What are you working on next?

I’m working on the fifth novel in the Magic Series, “The Magic’s in the Music.” This series is about the large and successful Tremaine family who are descended from Merlin, and have magic in their DNA. It comes alive when they meet another with the Merlin gene. The couple are irresistibly attracted, and each gets a magic power.  Sounds great, huh? But it’s not that easy. There are others descended from Morgan Le Fay, who want to do very different things with their power. The Tremaine family is under siege. The youngest brother, Lanyon has seen five siblings find their destined lovers and come into their powers. He’s seen the cost of magic too and wants no part of it.  But the music inside him almost compels him to drift from club to club to play music that keeps the audience spell-bound. Everyone calls him the Ghost. He’s living a half-life, hoping to avoid the day when his destiny finds him. So when he looks up at the bar and sees a blond girl at the bar and feels that instant tug, he knows exactly what’s happening. He’s met his Destiny and, try as he might, there will be no avoiding her. He’s being drawn back into his family’s struggles, if for no other reason than the fact that only they can protect Greta Falk. At least for a while.

 

 

 

DO YOU BELIEVE IN MAGIC

Do You Believe in Magic?

By Susan Squires
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Award-winning NY Times Bestseller Susan Squires begins her new MAGIC series, with Do You Believe In Magic? Tristram Tremaine has never fit in with his large and boisterous family. They believe they carry a magic gene that comes alive only when they fall in love with another who carries that gene. After disappointing his parents one too many times, Tris, the bad-boy brother, hits the road on his cycle, drifting away from his destiny.

That is, until he meets Maggie O’Brian, a spit-fire rodeo rider with a strange ability to calm wild horses. Maggie lives on the road too, avoiding relationships. Her mother left her, the boy she loved left her, even her dog left her. The last thing she wants in a man is a tomcat with “love ‘em and leave ‘em” written all over him.

But the connection between Tris and Maggie is instantaneous. After a mysterious accident nearly kills Tris, he and Maggie must learn to believe in their destiny and each other to stay one step ahead of those who will do anything to prevent them from claiming it.She lost her memory … now she’s misplaced her heart. A finalist for the Romance Writers of America RITA Award.

Lady Elizabeth Fairchild is weary of playing flirtatious games in Regency London. Henceforth, she’s determined to be her caring and honest self. But that can be dangerous in a scandal-loving society, especially when she loses her memory . . . and falls in love with a highly honorable lord. No matter how strongly he may return her affections, he’s convinced she caused his friend’s untimely death. And without a memory, how can she be certain of her innocence?

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Mary Castillo

FEATURED AUTHOR: Mary Castillo

Mary Castillo

Mary Castillo’s novels have turned romance and paranormal mystery readers into dedicated fans. Her latest, “Lost in the Light” and “Girl in the Mist” have been widely praised by critics and readers. “Lost in the Light,” the first in the Dori O Paranormal Mystery series, finaled in the Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence. She is also the author of “Switchcraft,” “In Between Men,” and “Hot Tamara.” Her novellas are featured in the anthologies “Orange County Noir,” “Names I Call My Sister,” and “Friday Night Chicas.” She lives with her family in Orange County, California.

For more about Mary and her books, visit www.MaryCastillo.com.

 

What’s your favorite scene in “Lost in the Light” and why?

There are so many! The book really came to life in the fourth and fifth drafts when I was able to make real connections between the characters I had created and real people from my historical research. For example, Vicente’s crime lord boss, James Mc Clemmy, was initially just something I’d created in my imagination. In my mind, he was a large Black Irish guy with a big voice, barrel chest, black hair, and cold blue eyes. He lived in the best hotels in San Diego, L.A., and Santa Barbara, commanding his empire that brought in hooch from Mexico into the United States.

There is very little written about Prohibition on the West Coast and yet, it was just as wild as it was back in Chicago and New York. However, when I started “playing” on genealogy research sites, I found an article in the L.A. Times about a bootlegging boss who was sentenced to McNeil Federal Prison in Washington. His name was James Ryan. I extended the search to locate his prison intake record, which indicated he was a six-foot man with curly black hair and blue eyes!

It was as if history was telling me, go for it; that my instincts were leading me straight and true. A similar thing happened with Anna, the young woman Vicente had died to protect. I had thought her backstory was a little farfetched but upon spending some hours at the San Diego History Center, I located an interview with a woman who had been “sold” at the age of 12 by her parents to a much older man. She had to live with his mother until she was of age to marry him!

And then again, I was worried about Dori’s PTSD being too over the top. But my parents introduced me to their friend and retired police officer and he confirmed her reactions were very authentic. Also, he gave me a great real-life crime to use in a future book!

So with that kind of confirmation, I completed the book with a cold-hearted villian, a mysterious young woman, a very handsome and devilish ghost, and of course, Dori, the heart and soul of the book.

 

What is your favorite holiday tradition?

Ever since I was a child, my parents always took us Christmas “lighting.” We’d go to neighborhoods in Chula Vista, Whitney Circle, and Candy Cane Lane, where all of the houses would be decorated with lights and displays. Candy Cane Lane is no more, but my husband and I take our son Christmas Lighting to Whitney Circle and other places in Orange County.

 

If a reader curls up with your book on a cold, winter night, what’s the perfect seasonal beverage you’d recommend?

As you’ll read in “Lost in the Light,” Dori is a tea devotee! On a cold wintry night–in a drafty Victorian no less–she would recommend a Chai Latte using Good Earth’s Roiboos Sweet and Spicy Blend. First, she heats the milk to almost boiling and then soaks the tea bag for three minutes, or five minutes if you like it super spicy. Pull on some thick socks and cozy flannel jammies, and you’re ready for some thrills and chills!

 

What are you working on next?

I’m working on “Lost in Whispers,” the second novel in the Dori O Paranormal Mystery series. It is scheduled to release in October 2015. And once again, historical research and instinct are guiding me!

 

 

 

LOST IN THE LIGHT, by Mary CastilloLost in the Light

By Mary Castillo
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A soul held captive . . .

One October morning in 1932, Vicente Sorolla entered the white house on the hill and was never seen again.

Now, Detective Dori Orihuela witnesses his brutal murder in her nightmares.

Drawn to this tough but tender woman, Vicente materializes out of her butler’s pantry and asks her to find his lost love, Anna. Dori wonders if she’s not only about to lose her badge, but also her sanity. Instead, she learns how to live and love again from a dead man who becomes her friend.

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MichelleKnowlden

FEATURED AUTHOR: Michelle Knowlden

MichelleKnowlden

While working as an engineer, Michelle Knowlden published 14 stories with Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine that featured hypochondriac detective Micky Cardex and two stories that did not. “No, Thank You, John” was nominated for a Shamus award. Many of these stories have been included in anthologies and translated in multiple languages. She also published a science fiction story for “More Amazing Stories,” an Amazing Stories anthology published by Tor.

In December 2013, Amazon Kindle published the first of four short novels in the Abishag Mystery series: “Sinking Ships.” The second Abishag mystery, “Indelible Beats,” was published January 2014. “”Riddle in Bones,” the third, was published April 2014 and the last of the quartet, “Eggshell Present,” was released September 2014. She has also published Young Adult SF with Neal Shusterman: “X Files YA No. 10 Dark Matter,” for HarperCollins under the name Easton Royce and an e-novella “Unstrung,” in Shusterman’s Unwind world published by Simon & Schuster.

For more about Michelle, visit her website at http://mlknowlden.wordpress.com.

 

What’s your favorite scene in “Sinking Ships” and why?

When Leslie Greene bursts into tears with Mrs. Timmons. The college student has been holding it together for half the book—finding a murdered hospice aide on her wedding night, caring for her octogenarian, nearly-dead husband, and dealing with threats to her and her friends—when she finally loses it with the sympathetic housekeeper. She lets down her guard and as a result, she learns something key about Thomas’s past.

 

What is your favorite holiday tradition?

It made me laugh thinking that most of my favorite holiday traditions are food related. One of my non-food related traditions is getting together with friends and shopping for children’s gifts for Operation Christmas Child.  It’s fun to spark ideas from each other and put together a perfect collection of practical and fun gifts that will fit into a shoebox. Uh oh, we also have lunch afterwards.

 

If a reader curls up with your book on a cold, winter night, what’s the perfect seasonal beverage you’d recommend?

Leslie and her friends are fiends for coffee, which I can’t drink at night. Steamed coconut milk with a dribble of almond extract and a dash of cinnamon will be this year’s winter beverage of choice. I drink chamomile tea if my brain is on fire after writing all day.

 

What are you working on next?

I have two manuscripts that are mired in revisions. I’m also writing discovery drafts of a series set on 1920s California orange ranches. I recently completed the 1922 prequel, a mystery novella, set in prohibition Long Beach. For the actual series set in north Orange County, I’m finishing the first romance novel about an on-the-run Americanization teacher who is trapped in a fake engagement when her past catches up to her. Then there is a YA dystopia novel that wakes me up at night and follows me to the tea kettle mid-afternoons. Not to mention that while walking, I jot down ideas for the sequel to “Jack Fell Down” …

 

 

 

SINKING SHIPS, by Michelle Knowlden -- 99 cents

SINKING SHIPS, by Michelle Knowlden — 99 cents

Sinking Ships: An Abishag’s First Mystery

By Michelle Knowlden
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Nineteen-year-old Leslie Greene finds a way to solve her money woes. Having had four contract marriages, her friend Jen assures Leslie that nothing will go wrong.

After signing with the Abishag agency (a firm that supplies temporary wives to comfort dying men), Leslie marries a comatose 83-year-old executive. Always the analyst, she calculates she’ll be a widow before Fall semester. Three weeks of training and armed with the Handbook for Abishag Wives, Leslie arrives at Thomas Crowder’s Palos Verdes home … and finds a murdered hospice aide.

An old Portuguese shipwreck, an antique stack of hidden ledgers, her university housemates and a red-haired agency lawyer are all that stand between Leslie and a vengeful killer.

Sinking Ships is the first of four short novels in the Abishag murder series.

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Merrie Destefano

FEATURED AUTHOR: Merrie Destefano

Merrie Destefano

Novelist and magazine editor, Merrie Destefano has two novels published with HarperVoyager, “Afterlife” and “Feast.” Her self-published work includes “Fathom,” “Waiting for Midnight,” and “The Plague Carrier.” The editor of Victorian Homes magazine, Vintage Gardens magazine, American Farmhouse magazine, and Zombies magazine, she has also co-authored a number of how-to-draw books including “How to Draw Vampires” and “How to Draw Grimm’s Dark Tales.” Born in the Midwest, she currently lives in Southern California with her husband, two dogs, a Siamese cat, and the occasional wandering possum. She loves to camp in the mountains, walk on the beach, watch old movies, and listen to alternative music—although rarely all at the same time.

For more about Merrie and her books, visit her website at www.MerrieDestefano.com.

 

What’s your favorite scene in “Fathom” and why?

When the main character, Kira, who is a 16-year-old girl, is talking on the phone to her best friend, Sean, and she is wondering what it would be like to kiss him.

 

 What is your favorite holiday tradition?

Getting my Christmas decorations out and remembering who made them or when I got them. Some were made by my son when he was a child, some were made by me, others were gifts. I also keep holiday cards friends and family have sent in past years, and these become part of my current holiday décor. Sometimes I hang them on colored ribbons, sometimes I set them out on my buffet.

 

If a reader curls up with your book on a cold, winter night, what’s the perfect seasonal beverage you’d recommend?

Definitely hot cocoa!

 

What are you working on next?

I’m currently editing a gothic romance horror novel set in the early 1800s that I just finished writing, and I’m putting together sample chapters and a proposal for my next YA novel, which features a teenage boy who has witnessed a traumatic event.

 

 

 

FATHOM Fathom

By Merrie Destefano
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Turning sixteen can be hell, especially if everyone in town thinks your mother killed herself and your sister. All Kira Callahan wants to do is swim, hang out with her best friend, Sean, and ignore the kids who torment her at school. That is, until one day when she gets invited to a party. For three minutes her life is wonderful—she even kisses Sean. Then somebody spikes her drink and some girls from out of town lure her into the ocean and hold her underwater.

Kira soon discovers that the group of wild teenagers who have come to visit Crescent Moon Bay are not as innocent as they seem. In fact, nothing is as it seems—not the mysterious deaths of her sister and mother, not her heritage, not even her best friend. And everything seems to hinge on the ancient Celtic legends that her mother used to tell her as a child.

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FEATURED AUTHOR: Greta Boris

Greta Boris

Greta Boris is the author of the Amazon Fitness and Exercise bestseller “The Wine and Chocolate Workout,” a freelance writer, and a budding novelist. She is currently hard at work on a series of thrillers based on the Seven Deadly Sins. She describes her work (and her life) as an O.C. housewife meets Dante’s Inferno. Come visit her at http://gretaboris.com.

 

What’s your favorite part of “The Wine and Chocolate Workout”  and why?

In the chapter on Playing Versus Exercising, I tell the story of a woman I knew who played her way to the weight loss she’d been unsuccessfully attempting for years. She got her mind off her waistline and on to becoming a better tennis player. One day she put on her tennis skirt and it almost fell off. She’d lost the unwanted pounds without even realizing she was doing it.

I love this story because it encapsulates the message of the book. Diets, striving, self-deprivation are not only miserable, they don’t work. There is a healthy, joyful, and fun way to get in the best shape of your life and, when you do it that way, it lasts.

 

What is your favorite holiday tradition?

I love to sing—daughter of an opera  singer that I am.  Growing up, we stood around the piano every Christmas Eve and sang carols for hours. Now I sing in a community chorale. We perform four concerts in December, which is great, but my favorite thing is to sing in local hospitals. This year we’ll be singing at CHOC and in the Veteran’s hospital. It’s wonderful to watch the faces of those who are struggling light up when they hear the familiar words of hope.

 

If a reader curls up with your book on a cold, winter night, what’s the perfect seasonal beverage you’d recommend?

Wine, of course. I guess, for the holidays it could be mulled wine, but I’d hate to ruin a great glass of Cab or a Pinot with a bunch of spices. I say, drink it straight with some chocolate on the side.

 

What are you working on next?

I’ve totally been bitten by the fiction bug. I just completed a thriller with supernatural elements that is out there in the ether waiting for agents’ reviews. I’m also working on a series of novellas based on the seven deadly sins. There is a story for each sin.

“Lust,” the one I’m focused on currently, is about a married real estate agent who has become smitten with a younger man.  She sets up a tryst in a beautiful, beach home she has listed, but before they can seal the deal something goes horribly wrong.

I’m calling my genre Cozy Horror. The best way to describe it is: Real housewives in the O.C. meet Dante’s “Inferno.” The stories are about regular women, with the kind of flaws we all deal with, who encounter some pretty harrowing circumstances. There are thrills, chills, and some humor, but they are ultimately stories of hope and redemption.

 

 

 

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000038_00052]The Wine and Chocolate Workout: Sip, Savor, and Strengthen for a Healthier Life

By Greta Boris
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Do you wish you could afford a personal trainer? Statistically, you are more likely to reach your fitness goals if you hire one. Trainers know their clients aren’t going to give up their favorite treats, like wine and chocolate, so how do they have such great success? Learn their secrets with this simple, step by step approach to a healthier, lighter life.

 

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DeAnnaCameron

FEATURED AUTHOR: DeAnna Cameron

DeAnnaCameron_AuthorPic_300dpiDeAnna Cameron writes contemporary romance and historical fiction featuring feisty heroines transformed by true love and belly. Her novels have been translated into Japanese, Polish, and Serbian, and her work has been praised for its “deft prose, energetic characters and . . . colorful images” by RT Book Reviews and called “most entertaining” by the Historical Novel Review. She’s also the founder of O.C. Writers, a network of published and aspiring authors in Southern California. And she’s the founder and editor of Lit Central O.C., an e-magazine that showcases the work of O.C.

Before turning to fiction, DeAnna worked as a journalist, writing and editing for several Southern California newspapers and magazines. For more information, visit her website at http://www.DeAnnaCameron.com.

 

What’s your favorite scene in “Shimmy for Me” and why?

My favorite scene comes near the end and involves a bellygram situation that goes terribly wrong. When the idea for this scene first came to me, I imagined how it would go and how it could lead to additional scenes that in my mind would lead up to a particular ending. But when I sat down and started writing this scene, it didn’t go according to plan—at all. It completely took a left turn, and suddenly what I thought was going to be a lighthearted, fun scene turned into something very different. It really rattled me, but I just kept writing because the way things were unfolding felt true and real. So I went with it, and somehow the characters—Abby and Derek—found their own way back together. It wasn’t the path I had originally planned for them, but that made it even more fun for me. I felt like I was just observing their story, not creating it.

 

What is your favorite holiday tradition?

My husband and I started a tradition when we were dating of making a Christmas tree ornament with a photograph from a momentous occasion during the year. One year it was a photo from our first vacation together, another it was from the night he proposed. We now have ornaments that feature our wedding day, the birth of our daughter, and so many other wonderful occasions. It’s fun to have all these images on our holiday tree and to rekindle all those amazing memories.

 

If a reader curls up with your book on a cold, winter night, what’s the perfect seasonal beverage you’d recommend?

I’m a big fan of Bailey’s Irish Cream, but in honor of my family’s Scottish heritage I like to make a Scottish version. It tastes great in coffee or over ice, and it’s incredibly easy to make.

 

HOMEMADE SCOTTISH CREAM

Yield 4 cups

1 c. light cream

1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk

1 2/3 c. single malt Scotch whisky

1 t. instant coffee

2 T. chocolate syrup

1 t. vanilla extract

1 t. almond extract

Put all the ingredients in a blender and mix on high for 30 seconds. Pour the mixture in a tightly sealed container and keep in the refrigerator. The Scottish Cream will keep for up to two months in the fridge. Shake the bottle well before serving.

 

What are you working on next?

I’m finishing up “Dance with Me,” the first full-length novel in the California Belly Dance series, which will continue the story of the women of the Shimmy Shop belly dance studio. If all goes well, it should be available by early summer.

 

 

SHIMMY FOR ME

Shimmy for Me

By DeAnna Cameron
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One passionate night. Two lost souls. A whole world of trouble.

Juggling two jobs to keep her belly dance studio afloat keeps Abby Anderson’s mind off her shattered love life—until a reawakened pain sends her into the arms of an anonymous stranger she plucks from the audience of her tribal belly dance show. No names, no strings, no romance. She tells herself it’s a harmless hookup.

Until he turns up at her day job . . .

Derek Collier, the sexy heir to the Collier media dynasty, just landed everything he’s always wanted: the publisher’s seat at the Orange County Herald. Except his first order of business is to sell the newspaper. Reeling from his family’s betrayal, his only comfort is the memory of that mysterious belly dancer and the perfect night they spent together.

He won’t rest until he finds her again.

She’ll lose everything if he does.

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FEATURED AUTHOR: Gayle Carline

Gayle CarlineGayle Carline spent almost 30 years as a software engineer until she chewed her way out of the cubicle to become a writer. In 2005, she began writing a humor column for her local newspaper, entertaining readers with stories of her life as a wife, mother, and life juggler. In 2009, she published the first of her Peri Minneopa Mystery series, “Freezer Burn.” As of 2014, she has published two more books and a short story in the Peri series, two collections of her humor essays, a romantic suspense novel set at a horse show, and her horse’s memoir (she took dictation). But what she’d really like to do is direct. For more information, visit www.GayleCarline.com.

 

What’s your favorite scene in “Murder on the Hoof” and why?

My favorite scene is probably the one where my protagonist, Willie, is trying to put her chaps on and Tyler shows up, and offers to help. Chaps zip down the back of your leg, starting right under your tush and are very fitted. Anyone who helps you spends a decent amount of time pushing your flesh around to get the zipper down. To have Willie accept Tyler’s help and try not to get flustered at having a handsome cowboy handling her backside was a fun scene to write!

 

What is your favorite holiday tradition?

I love so much about Christmas, from picking out the tree to going to see holiday concerts and plays. On Christmas Eve, we like to go renew our passes to Disneyland, then we have a little fun on the rides, watch the fake snow, and walk to Downtown Disney for dinner.

 

If a reader curls up with your book on a cold, winter night, what’s the perfect seasonal beverage you’d recommend?

“Murder on the Hoof” takes place in July, so any winter readers will be transported back to sunny, 80-degree days. Still, since Willie likes a glass or two of cabernet, I’d say a nice mulled wine sounds like the ticket.

 

What are you working on next?

I’m writing two books at the moment. One is the fourth book in my Peri Minneopa Mystery Series, featuring a 50-year-old housecleaner-turned-detective. The other is a fantasy about a girl pirate. If that makes me schizophrenic, I plead guilty.

 

 

 

MURDER ON THE HOOF, by Gayle Carline

Murder on the Hoof

By Gayle Carline
Reg. $3.99

On sale for 99c

 

She was looking for a horse. What she found was romance. And danger.
Willie Adams is at the L.A. Equestrian Center shopping for her first horse. A young widow struggling with the idea of dating again, she never expected that a gorgeous trainer like Tyler Ransome would notice her. But he did.
He wasn’t the only one, either. Bobby Fermino is not as handsome, nor as pleasant. After attacking Willie he ends up dead in her tack room, leaving her the most likely suspect.
Willie has to convince Detective Lucas Macy that she’s innocent, but her physical attraction to him isn’t making the task easy.
With growing evidence pointing to her, and two famous actors drawing attention to the investigation, Willie decides to take the reins. She must find the murderer before they find her, but will she survive opening her heart to someone new?

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Kitty Bucholtz Author

FEATURED AUTHOR: Kitty Bucholtz

Kitty BucholtzKitty Bucholtz writes light urban fantasy and romantic comedy, often with an inspirational element woven in. Her stories feature women whose sense of humor and nervous gutsy-ness get them into and out of all kinds of trouble. Her newest hobby—exploring the fascinating worlds in comic books—led her to write a superhero series in the urban fantasy genre. She writes romantic comedies because—well, she lives in one!

She grew up in Northern Michigan, the setting for many of her stories, and married her college sweetheart. Their romantic romps have included a scolding at Parliament House in Belfast for canoodling, and two trips Down Under while her handsome hubby made a movie penguin named Mumble dance. While in Sydney, she earned her master’s degree in creative writing. She decided to combine that with her undergraduate degree in business and her years of experience in accounting and finance to become a writer-turned-independent-publisher. She loves to teach writing workshops online and in person.

When not writing in her home office, Kitty is always looking for reasons to take work—or maybe a novel—to the beach. She and her husband regularly run half-marathons to offset the hours spent on their TV addiction. Eagerly awaiting the next adventure, all she knows is that it’s certain to be filled with romance and laughter! Find out more at www.KittyBucholtz.com.

 

What’s your favorite scene in “Unexpected Superhero” and why?

Favorites are hard because they have a tendency to change based on your mood. I just now wrote about my favorite scene and then deleted what I wrote. It might spoil the fun if you read about it and hadn’t read the book yet!

So let’s see . . . well, definitely one of my very favorite scenes is the first one. Imagine you’re just living your life, minding your own business, and then POW! Something happens to not just change everything about your life that you thought you knew, but the very essence of who you are. Imagine if one day you woke up and finally realized you were someone who could make a big difference in the world!

AND imagine realizing you could choose to go out there into this new scary life, or you could ignore it and stay home where it’s comfortable and safe. What would you do? In my imagination, I go out there and change the world. But in my real life . . . I don’t know. I think of people who are out there making a difference as politicians or missionaries, and I don’t want to be either of those. (I want to stay home and write books that change the world, but I’ll never know if I succeeded.) But in the book, Tori is looking for something she can’t explain . . . and what if she’s found it?

 

What is your favorite holiday tradition?

I LOVE Christmas! I love hearing about Jesus being born, and singing music that is so full of joy and life, and seeing all the beautiful decorations at church and at home and pretty much everywhere! I LOVE having a good excuse to pause in my busy work life and go see friends I don’t see enough, and go to big blockbuster movies together, and bake and eat more than anyone should be allowed to. Haha!

We’ve moved around a lot over the years, so there is very little that I’ve been able to do every year since I was child. But whether we lived in Michigan or Arizona or Australia or California, we have always been able to go drive around and look at other people’s amazing displays of Christmas decorations outside. Because it is the one thing I’ve never had to give up, I think it is my favorite tradition (outside of church stuff). In fact, I even wrote it as Tori and Joe’s favorite tradition in “A Very Merry Superhero Wedding”!

 

If a reader curls up with your book on a cold, winter night, what’s the perfect seasonal beverage you’d recommend?

Well, my favorite seasonal beverage is Starbucks hot chocolate! It is so rich and decadent. I found a big tin of it at Costco last year, so I drink it a lot. I’ve been known to leave the windows open in California (and in Arizona) to get cold enough to enjoy hot chocolate. I like it plain with hot milk (never water!), or with some peppermint flavor, or with a touch of brandy, or with some chocolate cookies. (Aussie friends—Tim Tam Slam, baby!!! But during Christmas in July, of course. I can’t do that when the temperature is 35-40 C outside!)

 

What are you working on next?

Oh, I’m so glad you asked! Nothing is more fun than writing a Christmas story near the holidays—except for reading a Christmas story during the holidays! I wanted to give my readers a few shorter stories to tide them over until the next full-length book comes out, so I’m writing a novella about Tori and Joe’s Christmas Eve wedding, “A Very Merry Superhero Wedding,” coming out on Christmas Eve this year.

Then I’ve got a Valentine’s Day short story about Hayley and Bull (Tori and Joe’s best friends) trying to go on a real date; everything that can go wrong, does. These shorter stories give me an opportunity to spend a little time on the romance aspects rather than fully focused on bad guys doing bad things. It takes me a lot of time to plot out all the dastardly deeds that need to happen to make the urban fantasy elements work the way I want them to for the full-length books. So it’s a nice break to write a little romantic comedy in between.

 

 

UNEXPECTED SUPERHERO, by Kitty Bucholtz -- 99 cents

Unexpected Superhero

By Kitty Bucholtz
Reg. $3.99

On sale for 99c

 

From Wallflower…

Newlywed Tori Lewis wants nothing more than a quiet life with her hunky new husband. She doesn’t expect to walk into a robbery right after her honeymoon. But even more shocking is her discovery that she stopped the gunman with a super power! How did that happen?

Undercover superhero Joe Clarke and his team are investigating a string of missing children. When the father of a lost boy turns up dead, the team must decide if the death is related to the disappearances – or to the super villain group, The Nine.

…To Super Power!

Meanwhile, Tori decides to try out this superhero thing. She needs a mentor, so she asks Superhero X to help, the only superhero she’s ever met – and the only one she’s ever kissed. As they work together, Tori worries that the superhero is getting too familiar. How can she be attracted to one man when she’s wildly in love with another?

Will she have to choose between her husband and her destiny? No one warned her that love would be so complicated!

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