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Thursday, October 11, 2007
MIKE: THE CIRCLE OF FRIENDS by L. Diane Wolfe
I’ve always been a reader, devouring several books a week. As a kid, I loved The Chronicles of Narnia and Watership Down. However, the desire to write sparked inside of me when I read Anne McCaffrey’s “The White Dragon”. I’d already fallen in love with science fiction, but what I admired most was richness of character. Holding that book in my hands, I could picture my own name on the cover. At the age of just thirteen, I set a goal of becoming an author.

Over the years, I wrote hundreds of short stories. I even started two novels and completed a novelette. A journal sat on my nightstand, ready to capture every idea and dream. I wrote almost constantly! However, despite encouragement from my English teachers, my writing got pushed to the back burner when I became an adult. Funny how all those dreams of youth wither in the harsh light of maturity …

And then it happened …

LORI was inspired by the wisp of a dream. I don’t remember the details surrounding Lori and Jason, but I saw them so vividly in my dream. I began writing Lori’s story of a young woman in search of Olympic Gold and had a complete outline in no time. The characters became so real and alive; their world simply took on a life of its own.

Halfway through LORI, the struggles of the secondary characters began to speak to me. I identified with Sarah’s self-image problems; felt the agony of James’s past; cried at Mike’s inner turmoil; and was intrigued by Heather’s dominating nature. Before completing LORI, I outlined four more books in what was to become The Circle of Friends series.

Along came the challenge…

I knew little of the publishing world, but understood that finding a publishing house or agent would be extremely difficult. Add the fact that LORI needed to coincide with the Summer Olympics and I realized it would be years before my first book became a reality going that route. So I found a publisher to put my book together for me and LORI was released late spring of 2004. SARAH came out the next year, followed by JAMES in 2006. I steadily built a fan base and my sales were even good enough to garner an invite to Book Expo in DC. The fourth book and my current release, MIKE, has benefited tremendously from my experience with the first three books and aggressive Internet promotion. One more book will follow, HEATHER, and after much research into marketing and publishing, I have decided to start my own publishing company for this final book. I intend to take on other authors as well as publish books of my own, too.

Inspired to give …

I always dreamed of making a difference in the world. I participated in a motivational training program that taught success principals, a positive attitude and goal setting, so I poured a lot of that into my books. The theme of my series is overcoming obstacles through friendship and love. So many books out there today, especially those geared towards young adults, are negative and salacious. I wanted my series to uplift and inspire! I wanted people to read my books and realize they could accomplish their dreams, too.

Now encouraging emails and cards from fans motivate me to continue writing. They have become my inspiration. And hopefully along the way I can spark the dream in another future author!

L. Diane Wolfe
Author of MIKE: THE CIRCLE OF FRIENDS, BOOK IV
http://www.thecircleoffriends.net/

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posted by Dorothy Thompson @ 12:00 AM   0 comments
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
THE DOWRY BRIDE by Shobhan Bantwal
I like to call my fledgling writing career a “Menopausal Epiphany.” I had not written a single creative word (other than school and college essays) until I hit 50 — a landmark year that brought home the ravages of menopause and then some. Fighting Mother Nature was a losing battle, so I decided to put those yo-yoing hormones to creative use instead.

My muses came alive along with my menopausal woes, and I started writing articles and short stories for a number of publications. THE DOWRY BRIDE project was born much later, after I had a taste of minor publishing successes.

Growing up in India, the horror stories about dowry-related abuse had always been abundant — a wealth of fodder for a creative mind. But thankfully that kind of violence had never touched my life. I was lucky to be born in an enlightened community that eschewed dowry. Nonetheless the disturbing topic stayed in the back of my mind.

The fact that atrocities like dowry deaths continue unhindered today in India, despite anti-dowry laws, sparked the idea for the novel. Also, as far as my knowledge went, dowry had not been the main theme in any fiction book published in the United States. I wanted to give American readers a rare glimpse into an archaic practice that still persists in the twenty-first century in certain parts of the world.

But in spite of its controversial topic, THE DOWRY BRIDE has all the elements of popular fiction: romance and intrigue, a young bride in jeopardy, a gallant hero, humor and anguish, betrayal and hope. Notwithstanding the drama, adventure, and action essential to a work of fiction, I have tried to paint a realistic portrait of a culture that is simple yet complex in many ways, abundant yet lacking in some areas, progressive yet shockingly primitive.

Please visit my website: www.shobhanbantwal.com for the book cover, an excerpt, information on the book, my Indian recipes, articles, short fiction, and pictures depicting life in India.

Shobhan Bantwal is the author of THE DOWRY BRIDE (Kensington, Oct. '07). You can visit her website at http://www.shobhanbantwal.com/.

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posted by Dorothy Thompson @ 12:00 AM   0 comments
Monday, October 8, 2007
THE RESURRECTION OF LADY SOMERSET by Nicola Beaumont
The Resurrection of Lady Somerset was borne out of some constructive criticism I received on a couple of other manuscripts. I was told that my sentence structure was "too proper." While at the time, I didn't quite understand the problem with that, I did understand that if it was an issue keeping me from being published, I needed to do something about it. I needed to turn my weakness into a strength. My solution was to turn to a genre where "proper" was expected: The jolly old era of Regency England. I picked up a few Regency romances--because, at the time, I had never read one, and one cannot write what they do not read--and I completely fell in love with the time period.

My next step was to devour all the information I could about Regency England, all the while trying to formulate a unique plot that would simultaneously fit the genre, turn my weakness into a strength, and most importantly, entertain readers.

A marriage of convenience--a very common occurrence between 1811 and 1820--seemed the way to go, but it had to include uncommon elements, and it had to have a hint of mystery. Thus was borne my mute heroine, Lark, and my hero, Jonathon, a man who wants no scandal in his life such as would be found by marrying a "deficient" woman, but who is honour-bound to protect Lark, whose life may be in danger.

The only apprehension I had was whether or not I could write a convincing Regency. So, I penned the novel and entered the manuscript into a contest--just to see if I had the execution down properly. To my utter delight and surprise, the entry took second place--and nobody said my sentence structure was too proper!

Placing in a contest and finding publication are two completely different things, however, and it took many submissions and rejections before Resurrection found a home. But, with each rejection I would receive, I would listen to the reasons why it was rejected (except for those form-letter rejections, of course!) and then incorporate the ideas for improvement into the manuscript.

Needless to say, The Resurrection of Lady Somerset holds a special place in my heart. As I said, it's gone through some revisions that have made it better than it was in the "early days," and now it has received rave reviews from such places as Romantic Times Magazine (4-stars) and The Romance Studio (4-hearts). It is available in both electronic and print formats and can be ordered directly from the publisher at http://www.thewildrosepress.com/ or from Amazon, or order it from your favourite bookstore. -- And I'd love to hear from you, so visit my website at http://www.inicola.net

If you'd like to see the book trailer for it, it's available at http://previewthebook.com/book.php?id=159 .

Nicola Beaumont
Author of The Resurrection of Lady Somerset
http://www.inicola.net/

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posted by Dorothy Thompson @ 12:00 AM   1 comments
Friday, October 5, 2007
DARK LULLABY by Mayra Calvani
Does the end justify the means? Is the idea of a ‘higher good’ ethical? Can a good man commit murder? These were some of the questions that obsessed me while I wrote Dark Lullaby, a paranormal horror novel just published by Whiskey Creek Press.

Besides these controversial moral questions, which are an essential part of the theme, I had various others sources of inspiration. The protagonist, 26-year old astrophysicist Gabriel Diaz, was inspired by my brother, who also happens to be a scientist. They both share the same physical traits as well. In addition, I lived in Turkey for four years and this was a major influence in choosing the setting and adding an exotic flavor to the story. Many Turkish people believe in fairy-like supernatural beings called jihnn. While living there, I listened to many stories, some intriguing, some plain scary. The folklore was so appealing; I just knew I had to eventually include those supernatural beings in one of my books.

Dark Lullaby is an atmospheric horror story set partly in Baltimore, partly in the Turkish countryside. It is a scary, bizarre story that doesn’t fall into the bloody-gory kind of horror.

To learn more about Dark Lullaby, visit the following links:

Excerpt: http://www.mayracalvani.com/dark_lullaby.html
Synopsis: http://www.mayracalvani.com/index.html#books
Reviews/Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1593749074
Book Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xZgbg5wk5Ug

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posted by Dorothy Thompson @ 12:00 AM   2 comments
Thursday, October 4, 2007
LOVE FROM A TO Z by PG Forte
Love From A to Z is the book I swore I’d never write.

I’ve never been a big fan of Romance cliches. You know the ones I mean, right? The secret babies, the evil twins, the prince or princess in disguise and, perhaps worst of all, the use of amnesia as a plot device. So, imagine my horror when I first came to realize that—gasp!—I’ve actually used most of them already...albeit in my own somewhat twisted fashion.

My ‘evil twin’ was not so much evil as she was misunderstood. Like Jessica Rabbit, she’s not bad, she’s just drawn that way. My ‘secret baby’ turned out to be, well frankly, not that much of a secret after all.

But...amnesia? Oh, hell, no. Never, never, never was I going to write about that! And yet...Oh, yeah. I lied.

Love, From A to Z (book two in the LA Love Lessons series) features a heroine, April Valenzuela, who just happens to be an heiress. Heiress—that’s just one small step removed from princess, right? And while April is, technically, not in disguise, she does spend a good three-quarters of the book hobnobbing with the common folk from whom she learns to appreciate the three Bs—beer, bowling and BBQ.

*

“Here,” I heard Tony say. “On the house. Maybe it’ll help cheer her up.”

A minute later, Zach placed a large glass filled with foamy, amber liquid in front of me. He seated himself on the other side of the table and watched as I sniffed cautiously at the glass. Once again, a little of the fragrance mystery was resolved. Whatever this was, its aroma was heavy in the cool air. “What is this stuff?”
“Ale. Tony’s answer to all life’s problems.” Zach grimaced slightly. “Look, I know it’s early, but just try and drink a little of it, okay? Otherwise, you’ll hurt his feelings.”
I took a sip. It tasted cold, crisp, slightly yeasty. “Not bad. I like it.”
“You like beer?” Looking almost as surprised as he was pleased, Zach leaned back in his seat and smiled at me. “Well, all right then. My kind of woman.”
That smile of his had a way of messing me up, big time. From some hidden, inaccessible corner of my mind came the thought that I was not his kind of woman—not even close. But, ooh, when he smiled at me that way, I so wished I was. “What was I drinking last night?” I asked, partly out of curiosity, partly just to have something to say. But, man, was that ever the wrong question to ask!
My stomach did a funny little flip when his smile powered up another notch or three and turned wicked into the bargain. “Baby, all’s I know is it had a straw. And the way you sucked that thing—damn.”

*

Of course, the common folk are unaware of her real (and so unoriginal) poor-little-rich-girl identity. But, then again, April doesn’t know who she is either because—dum-dum-dum—in an effort to get their hands on her fortune, she’s been drugged (right there in the prologue, too—imagine!) by her evil uncle and cousin.

*
George Venezuela was furious. “You did what?” he bellowed in his most stentorian tones as he paced around his office, eyes bulging, neck veins prominent, causing his only son to wince in pain.
“Papa, please.” Slumped in a chair in front of his father’s desk, Richie clutched his aching head. It wasn’t enough, was it, that he’d had to spend all of last evening bouncing from bar to bar in an effort to establish the premise that April had been drinking heavily--and contracting the Mother of all Hangovers in the process. No, on top of that, he’d also been forced into performing a variety of criminal acts, into consuming too many revolting drinks, and now--Did he really have to endure his father’s yelling at him, as well?
“You lost her?” his father continued, taking no notice of Richie’s distress. “How is this possible? This is your cousin we’re talking about, not some stray Chihuahua that slipped off its leash! How could you lose an entire person, someone you’d taken out for the evening? Explain this to me. From the beginning.”
Richie sighed. “I already told you. It didn’t work. The plan didn’t work. I gave her the scopolamine, just like you said to do, and... nothing happened.” The drug, which one of his father’s friends had procured for him in Ecuador, was supposed to have rendered April temporarily docile and compliant; submissive enough to do whatever was asked of her. Under its influence, she was supposed to have willingly put her signature to whatever papers George needed her to sign--and then retain no memory of any of it ever happening. It had failed to affect her. “Compliant, my ass. I couldn’t even get her to leave the bar.”

*

Hey, c’mon, it could have been worse. I could have given her a stepmother and stepsister to contend with but...oh, wait, never mind, I’ve already done that before, too.

When April wakes up the next morning— smack dab in the middle of Cliche City and in bed with a Greek-god-gorgeous, stunner of a stranger—she has no memory, no ID and no clue.

*

I took a moment to assess the situation. I was naked in a strange bed, under a navy blue sheet whose depressingly low thread count begged the question, what was I thinking?
A fabulous question that, by the way. One I wished I’d had the sense to ask myself the night before.

*

Wow. And what was I thinking? Well, I guess I was thinking that these particular characters would never get together as long as they were both in their right minds. Once that little problem was out of the way, the rest of the book just flowed...

*

He shook his head. “Hey, it’s like I told you at breakfast. This doesn’t have to be so bad. The fact that you can’t remember... well, that just makes things more interesting, doesn’t it?”
“Not really.”
“Then maybe you’re looking at it the wrong way. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity, a chance to discover who you really are--not your name or your address, but the important stuff. It’s the perfect time to play, to experiment, to try things.” He leaned in even closer, captured my hand and held it tight. “I want to watch as you experience that; as you learn about yourself. I want to help.”
“How? How can you help? How can I...” How can I even begin to learn... anything about myself.
“Come back home with me,” he urged. “Give me until Monday. I bet, by then, we can find out more about who you really are than you ever knew before.”

*

The weirdest thing about this book is—I ended up loving it. It’s turned out to be one of my very favorite books to date. Go figure.

I think that’s partially because it doesn’t take itself too seriously and the same can be said of the hero of the tale, Zach Harris, who first sprang to life in my previous book, Waiting for the Big One.

Zach doesn’t take anything seriously other than his music, perhaps, and his love of having a good time. I tell ya, if Peter Pan had grown up just a little bit more—just enough to be legal and dangerously enticing—he’d have grown up to be Zach.

By the time the story opens, Zach has pretty much resigned himself to being deemed ‘not commitment material’. Or, as he puts it... it was something he’d heard repeatedly from just about all the women he’d dated: he was nice, good company, sexy, he was a great lay and one helluva guitar player. But no matter how much they liked him, loved him, enjoyed spending time with him; he just wasn’t the kind of guy any one of them would ever choose to settle down with.
Peter Pan had been referenced. Several times, as he recalled. As well as his fondness for games and lack of a steady paycheck.
He couldn’t support a family with his music; that seemed to be the general consensus. And even if he could, even if he found a way to prove them wrong on that count, as the wife of a musician, what kind of life would they lead?
A lonely one, stuck at home with the kids while he was off on the road. An unpredictable one, given the fickleness of fame, the preponderance of drugs, the ubiquity of groupies. A thankless, unfulfilled one, a life lived in his shadow—and, honestly, Zach, who would want that?
It had long since ceased to bother him, however. Life was good, women were plentiful, he had his music and, if honesty was really what they wanted to hear, he’d yet to meet the woman he’d be willing to give that up for.

*

Aww, poor baby. Perhaps this might be a good time to mention that, as an author, I occasionally find myself channeling Cat Woman. I definitely like to play with my characters (for which read: prey) before I dispatch them. Zach and April suffered beautifully (another thing I loved about them) as can be seen from this scene which occurs after April’s identity is finally revealed:

*

“Look around you,” he said spreading his arms. “This is never gonna work out. One of these days you’re gonna regain your memory, and then you’ll figure out that you don’t belong with me. Then what’ll I do, huh? Forget it. It’s better to end it now.”
No, no, no. I stared at him in dismay. No, please... “It’s just a house, Zach.”
“Yeah.” He nodded. “You’re right. It’s just a house. And you’re just a girl, I’m just a guy and all this stuff...” He glanced around again. “Is a whole lot bigger than both of us.”

*

Bigger than both of them, huh? Well, I guess that’s the key. Some stories demand a larger-than-life, fantasy backdrop. And that’s where cliches come in. They’re there for a reason, and the reason is: they do the job.

PG Forte is the author of LOVE FROM A TO Z. You can visit her website at http://www.pgforte.com/.

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posted by Dorothy Thompson @ 10:00 AM   2 comments
Monday, October 1, 2007
ENTHRALLED by Nadia Aidan
Where did I get the inspiration to write my book. Ahhhh! That is a good question, but it is complicated. The first question should be where did you get the inspiration to write? And the second should be where did you get the inspiration to write Enthralled?

To answer the first question, I began writing over a year and a half ago when I was finishing my dissertation, but once I finished my dissertation I didn’t look at the novels again. It wasn’t until my mom was diagnosed with uterine cancer that I began searching for an outlet for the emotional highs and lows of taking care of her. My mom recently lost her battle to cancer, which finally gave me the courage to submit my work. My mother was (and continues to be in spirit) my biggest cheerleader and support system. She was a strong, courageous woman who wasn’t afraid of anything and she raised me to be the same. I know she would have been disappointed in me if I let insecurity and fear stop me from submitting my work. So writing for me has taken on this new dimension because I feel that I HAVE to do this. She was always so proud of my with the other successes I had in my life and my accomplishments. I still want to make her proud so that means I CAN'T give up! My love for my mother and respect for who she was as a woman drives me to continue to send my manuscript to publishers over and over despite the rejection letters! Despite the ups and downs of this entire business, my mother's spirit inspires me to remain dedicated to my passion which is writing erotic romance novels.

Now as to where I got my inspiration to write Enthralled, well that came from several avenues. First, I love interracial erotic romance stories BUT there are very few of these stories that are NOT straight contemporaries or vampire related. I love those too, but I am a fantasy/sci-fi buff and I always felt bereft when searching through new releases on my favorite sites and coming up with nada in the fantasy category. I thought to myself, well hey, if you want to see an interracial fantasy romance then you may just have to write it and hell, that is just what I did!

Enthralled combines my loves for history, mythology, interracial relationships, and of course romance and hot sex! Like I said I love fantasy but I am also am a fanatic when it comes to ancient history. I enjoyed writing Enthralled because I was able to weave in historical elements and still remain true to the fantasy genre. Therefore, you will see many references to ancient battles, cultures, people and places throughout the story. I think it is a wonderful element to bring to a story, especially a fantasy novel. And I enjoyed creating it.

I am just so thrilled and excited about the release of Enthralled. This has truly been a labor of love and I am happy to see that my dream has finally come true. I enjoyed interweaving many people and places into this erotic fantasy world and I hope others will love reading it as much as I loved writing it.

Nadia Aidan
Author of ENTRALLED
http://www.nadiaaidan.com/

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posted by Dorothy Thompson @ 12:00 AM   5 comments
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Name: Dorothy Thompson
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About Me: Dorothy Thompson is CEO/Founder of Pump Up Your Book, an innovative public relations agency specializing in online book promotion and social media marketing for authors.  Visit her website at www.pumpupyourbook.com.

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