Monday, November 29, 2010


Click here for my post on Virtual Paris!

Click here for The Paris Secret Facebook page where you can find different info than on the blog!

Angela ; )

Friday, November 19, 2010

Excerpt of The Paris Secret!

Click here for an excerpt of The Paris Secret!


Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Cover Love!

Here is the cover for The Paris Secret! Turn out the lights and it glows! I've also created a blog and a Facebook page specifically for the book! I hope you'll join me. But I'll still be blogging here from time to time.

Angela  ; )

Monday, October 4, 2010

Kendra Clayton Series Trailer!

Lately I've been playing around with iMovie trying to put together a book trailer for The Paris Secret. While I was searching for the perfect video clips and images to use, it suddenly occurred to me that I'd never done a trailer for any of my Kendra Clayton mysteries. The reason being that when I was under contract for my series book trailers were still pretty new and even now their effectiveness in getting readers to buy a book is questionable. But I still think they are a lot of fun and just one small piece of the bigger promotional picture. Recently I discovered Animoto. Animoto is a service that allows you to upload images, video clips, and music and mixes them into cool custom slideshow videos. You can create unlimited 30 second videos or pay just $3 bucks for a full length video. They also have other payment plans. Here is the one I created for my Kendra Clayton series!

Create your own video slideshow at


Angie ; )

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Hollywood, Are You Listening?

Psst! Ever wonder which actor and actress I think would be perfect to play Maya Sinclair and Simon Girard in a movie version of The Paris Secret? Just look how magnifique Halle and Olivier look romping through Paris together! Just sayin...

Photo courtesy of Bossip

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

One Step Closer

Can you believe it's September already? I can't. This year is flying by. Next week starts the beginning of fall quarter at the college I work for. After a nice quiet summer, I am sooo not ready for the rush of students and...ugh...helicopter parents! But then again I never am.

On Monday I turned in my second round of revisions for The Paris Secret. I think there will probably be another round or two of revisions before we get to the copy edits. Anyone who thinks ebooks aren't well edited needs to think again, at least when it come to Carina Press. I've never worked so hard or learned so much! After four published novels, I'm still learning and growing as an author. And I'm sure there will be even more lessons to come.

I am happy to report that I also got an email from Carina's art department on Monday. They are ready to start working on the cover! They sent me an Art Fact Sheet asking for detailed feedback on everything from the mood and setting of the book to physical descriptions of my main characters. And boy did I give them detailed feedback! This is the first time I've ever filled out an Art Fact Sheet. They even asked me to send along cover images and pictures that captured the mood of the book. I already had a lot of potential cover images picked out from when I had contemplated self-publishing The Paris Secret. But I also searched for covers on Amazon and Barnes and Noble that illustrated the type of cover I envisioned for The Paris Secret. I've been very impressed with Carina's covers so far. I can't wait to see what they come up with for my book!

And just in case you're wondering what images I sent them, the links are below! Enjoy! And have a safe and happy Labor Day weekend!

Angela ; )

Paris photo courtesy of Photo Everywhere

Monday, August 2, 2010

How I Spent My Summer Vacation

Okay, I know technically summer isn't over yet. But since I've been MIA as far as blogging goes, I thought I'd report on what I've been doing since my last post.

1. Turned in my first round of revisions for The Paris Secret, which leads to the second thing I've been doing.

2. Waiting for my editor to send me my next round of revisions for The Paris Secret.

3. Wrote 40, 000 words ( so far) of an urban fantasy novel featuring a kick ass MALE protagonist, and having a little too much fun doing it!

4. Teaching myself how to use iMovie and working on a book trailer for The Paris Secret, which I will debut here just as soon I get cover art so I can finish it! Being completely stunned at how much great, free, stock footage and images you can find online (Just pay attention to those usage licenses!) and learning to love the term Public Domain!

5. Putting together bonus content for The Paris Secret to turn into a free app for iphone and droid!

6. Brainstorming promo ideas for promoting The Paris Secret. Any and all suggestions are welcome ; ).

7. Waiting to see if I placed in a contest that could lead to a new publisher for my Kendra series. Fingers crossed!!!!!

8. Reading some great books. I'll do a post on them shortly.

9. Spending too much time on twitter.

10. Laughing every time I see this adorable commercial!

So, how about all of you? What have you been up to this summer? Come on! Don't be shy!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The agony & the ecstasy of the editorial letter

Last Wednesday I got my editorial letter for The Paris Secret. When you take into consideration that my last book (Diva's Last Curtain Call) was released from Kimani Press in the summer of '07, and went through the editorial process several months before its release, then it's been almost four years since I've worked with an editor. And I'm not counting the one I hired to edit Schooled In Lies, because she was hired to do copy edits and not line editing. Now that I have a publisher and an editor again, I'd almost forgotten what it was like to have someone being brutally honest about what isn't working in my manuscript. I equate the editorial letter to getting a shot of medicine. You absolutely know it's going to make your book better in the end. But, the needle can still sting a little going in. Every writer has different ways of dealing with the editorial letter. Here are some things to remember that always help me.

1. Your editor is on your side-(S)he wants your book to be the best it can be! It may not seem that way when you find out (s)he wants you to get rid of your favorite character Clucky the Wonder Chicken. But once you're thinking more clearly, you'll realize that Clucky really was dragging down the whole manuscript.

2. Your writing isn't perfect-Writing can be a lonely vocation. Many of us tend to write in a bubble receiving very little by way of feedback. As a result, we can be way too close to a project to see its flaws. Be happy you have an editor to point them out to you and suggest possible fixes.

3. You editor isn't a dictator-Most suggestions are negotiable. If your editor makes a suggestion that you truly do not agree with, explain your reasons behind not wanting to make the change. The two of you should be able to work together to come up with a compromise that benefits the book and makes both of you happy.

4. Your editor wanted to work with you-Your editor acquired your manuscript, right? And with publishers being more and more selective in the books they acquire, getting a book past all the levels it takes to get it acquired is no mean feat. If your editor wasn't enthusiastic about your book, believe me they wouldn't have bothered.

5. Get over yourself-Don't be your own worst enemy. Realize you don't know everything and that you're always going to be learning new things that will only make your writing better.

Oh, and for the record, I'm happy to say there wasn't a Clucky the Wonder Chicken in the Paris Secret.

Angela ; )

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Interview: Shonell Bacon

Today it is with great pleasure that I welcome author-and a woman of many talents-Shonell Bacon to my blog!

Welcome, Shon!

Tell us a little about yourself.

There’s so much I could say, LOL Here’s my short bio on Twitter: Author, blogger, coffee addict, editor, educator, journal/pen collector, podcaster, screenwriter, & Ph.D. student in Tech. Comm. & Rhetoric @ Texas Tech Univ. I’m a little bit of everything.

Tell us about your new book, Death at the Double Inkwell, and what inspired you to write it.

I actually started writing DDIW back in 2000 for a novel writing class I was taking in college. We had to pick a novel we wanted to study throughout the semester and then write the first three chapters to a novel within the same genre of the book we studied. I selected one of my favorite book, All Around the Town by Mary Higgins Clark, so by default, I had to write a mystery/suspense novel. At the beginning, all I had was the main character’s name and a few details – a marriage, a murder, an affair. And from that and with the help of the class, I started Death at the Double Inkwell, which is about twin mystery novelists who find their idyllic world turn upside down when a murder occurs close to home.

What other genres do you write in?

I have co-authored contemporary fiction, have published romance and erotica short stories. For the most part, I stay in the general women’s fiction category; however, I have written Christian romance as well. Overall, I like writing stories about broken women who are made whole through their journeys in life. I go where the character wants me to go and pick up the genre along the way.

You’re also an editor. What are some of the biggest mistakes you see in the manuscripts you edit?

Probably some of the same things I see in my own work after a very rough draft, LOL Here are the three big things I see in manuscripts while editing.

There was a moment last year when I received a lot of manuscripts that were true stories fictionalized, and the biggest issue with those types of ‘scripts is the writer relying too much on reality and forgetting the components of fiction. Although we do have conflicts in real life and we have dialogue and we have setting and we have all those other fictional components, we real life is pretty, well, BORING. If we tell a story, especially in novel length, exactly how it happened in real life, we could have a lot of dwell time in which readers would wander off and find something interesting to pique their interest. When you fictionalize the truth, you have to think about how to build up the tension, how to write dialogue that resonates with the story and with the characters.

Another issue I see a lot while editing occurs within dialogue. We’ve all heard the adage, “Write how people talk.” Yeah, well, no. We do want dialogue to be real, but not necessarily realistic because in real life we tend to go on and on sometimes with no rhyme or reason, and unless that’s part of a character’s personality or serves a purpose in the story, we don’t want that. We also don’t want dialogue that tells everything. When we say write dialogue that is real, we often mean to write dialogue that is real to the character you create and that is real to the story you are developing.

POV is another issue I see a lot while editing. A lot of people love writing in first person; they claim it makes them feel closer to the main character, which is cool. And I don’t have a problem with that though I often argue that a close third-person POV can be just as intimate as first person. The problem that often arises is that writers want to write in first person, but they want a story told in third-person omniscient, meaning they still want to tell you what all the other characters are thinking and doing when you can’t do that when stuck in one person’s mind.

What is your writing schedule like?

Lately, I would have to reply, “What writing schedule?” With school, I often don’t get to write too much except during November for NaNoWriMo and April for Script Frenzy. However, when I have a project that I want to get finished, I set myself a deadline and chart out my writing. I don’t write every day, have never really done that, but I do write enough so that the project gets done when I schedule to be completed.

Are you a plotter or a pantser?

I’m a major plotter, much to some of my writing friends’ chagrin, LOL!

I love, I adore order and organization. I need structure prior to writing a story so that I can jump in and feel comfortable with the story. By the time I sit to plot out a story, I have already watched the story numerous times in my mind. I have created mental character dossiers, acted out scenes of the story, mentally edited and spliced scenes together and have it pretty much the way I want it. A lot of the stuff that is for other writers a part of the writing process is a part of my mental writing process. Once I have a story played out in my mind, I draft an outline, and then I begin writing the story. This does not mean the story is set in stone, however. More often than not, I meander all over the story and end up with something a lot deeper than I expected. But if I didn’t take the time to mentally write and outline the story, I wouldn’t feel comfortable enough to play and change and tweak the story in other ways once I set upon writing the story.

Can you tell us what you're working on now?

Well, RIGHT now, I’m not working on anything creatively. However, I do have two projects I’d like to finish and start sometime soon. In April, I began a screenplay and I’m about 100 pages into it. I want to finish that, cut and edit it to death, then start submitting it. I started writing screenplays again about three years ago and every year since, I’ve placed in a contest, and I’d like to finally place higher in a contest or get the actually “platinum” ring and get representation. In addition to the screenplay, I want to work on book two of the Double Inkwell series. I always had the thought of doing a series featuring Jovan and Cheyenne as amateur sleuths ala Jessica Fletcher in “Murder, She Wrote.” I have concepts for about five stories, and I already know which one I want to start on—just need to DO it.

Do you have a website or blog?

Sure do! My official website is I have a page on the site devoted solely to DDIW: On that page, I will be showcasing podcasts that feature excerpts of the book and my journey in writing and having the book published. Also, I will be showcasing commentaries about themes/topics that resonate in the book.

What good books have you read recently that you'd like to recommend?

Hmm, good books. This is difficult because all I’ve been reading lately are academic articles and textbooks! LOL I have had the opportunity to read a few books lately that I really enjoyed.

Bride of the Living Dead by Lynne Murray--a light, funny romantic comedy featuring a feisty full figure chick.

Whiskey Heart by Rachel L. Coyne--a short but poignant story about returning to your past to overcome the pain and emotions of that past.

Glorious By Bernice McFadden--a literary novel by my favorite author that left me deeply moved. I didn't know I could ever find a book that touched me the way McFadden's "Sugar" did, but with "Glorious," I did.

What advice do you have for aspiring writers?

1- Do not write to fit a trend; they come and go, and so will your work.

2- Write from the heart; if you don’t care about your work, no one else will either.

3- Study the writing craft; it’s great to write because you have the love of it, but at some point, you have to show people you are serious about growing as a writer, too.

4- Get into PR; no one is going to promote your work as hard as you do. Study the various ways, online and offline, that you can sell your work to your audience.

Thanks for stopping by, Shon! Click here to find out more about Shon and her books!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Carina Carina!

I'm very happy to announce that Harlequin's new digital-first imprint, Carina Press, has offered me a contract for my novel, The Paris Secret! As you can imagine, I'm very thrilled to have finally found a home for this book. I'll admit it's been a rough couple of years as far as my writing career has been concerned and I was very worried that I'd never sell another book in this tough publishing climate. In a lot of ways, despite the fact that I've had three books published, I'm starting all over again with not only a new imprint but a different genre and an exciting new format!

The Paris Secret is a very special book for me as it's the first non Kendra Clayton book I've written as well as my first attempt at a writing something other than a cozy mystery. And while there is still murder and mayhem involved, it's a much edgier and sexier book than I've ever written and is set in a foreign county. I hope you'll all love this book and these characters as much as I do. The release date is in five to six months! How cool is that? I plan to blog regularly about my new journey as author with Carina Press. So without further delay, here's the preliminary synopsis for The Paris Secret!

Recently dumped by her boyfriend, librarian Maya Sinclair vows to enjoy herself on her Paris vacation if it kills her—and it just might. First, a reservations glitch lands her in a hotel room with uppity art history professor, Juliet Rice. Then Juliet is brutally murdered and Maya—who was the last person seen arguing with her—becomes the prime suspect and is warned by the police not to leave Paris. When Juliet’s killer viciously attacks Maya, French journalist, Simon Girard, rescues her. Simon is investigating the suspicious death of his brother, an art forger whose last client was Juliet Rice.

Needing answers, Maya and Simon form a reluctant, volatile, and ultimately passionate partnership in hopes of finding out the truth. When the killer frames them for another murder, and demands the crucifix Juliet Rice hid in exchange for proof of their innocence, Maya and Simon find themselves on the run from police, and on the hunt for Juliet’s hiding place.

Together they discover Juliet’s murder is connected to a society of academics searching for a priceless seventeenth century book, which the crucifix is the key to finding. As the body count grows, Maya discovers all is not as it seems when it comes to the killer. And what they don’t know could kill not just them but also someone else Simon holds dear.

Coming soon from Carina Press!

Later, Angela ; )

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Interview: Kimberly Alan

Today I'd like to welcome author Kimberly Alan to my blog!

Welcome, Kimberly. Tell us about yourself.

I’m originally from New Jersey and ended up in Connecticut after college and law school in the New England area. I’ve been writing since junior high and finished my first “book” at sixteen, long before computers were around. Though I continued to write, school and work demands, followed by marriage and children forced me to “steal” time to write but I never made much progress. By 1989, the voices of the fictional characters and their adventures shouted so loudly in my head that I could no longer ignore them. It was then that I decided to learn about the actual business of writing and how to submit a novel for publication. I joined Romance Writers of America and the Connecticut chapter, finding them wonderful resources and making great friends who gave me the courage to take my writing seriously. But alas, my personal and professional obligations continued to overtake my attention. After writing countless legal documents all day, then taking care of my children, I was pooped. So I would start tons of stories but found it nearly impossible to find the time to actually polish and submit anything. Finally, in 2008, nineteen years later, I took two weeks off from work, finished TRUTHS UNVEILED, and submitted it to what is now White Rose Publishing. Thankfully, they published it the following year. And so now the process continues. But this time I am not waiting nineteen years. ☺

Describe Tom Jarrod and Pam Harrington, the hero and heroine of your inspirational romantic suspense novel, Truth Unveiled, and what inspired you to create them.

Tom and Pam are composites of wonderful people who found each other at an early age but made mistakes that tore them apart and would affect their lives forever. During the past fourteen years they’d struggled separately to right the individual wrongs they’d committed, each continuing to blame themselves. Then they unexpectedly receive a second chance at love and a life together, but only if they can finally resolve the issues from their pasts.

Tom is that bad boy we all knew and swooned over in high school whenever he looked at us. He wasn’t the captain of the football team but he had a certain independent charisma that made him attractive and fun to be with. Those traits followed him into adulthood, making him chief of emergency medical rescue operations for a large medical center, set in a rural but developing area where he also continues to manage his family’s dairy farm.

Professionally Tom has everything going for him. Personally, however, his life is a mess. A failed marriage based upon an unexpected pregnancy, a troublesome ex-wife and two beautiful children caught in between run havoc with his emotions. Then he learns that Pam may return to the area. He hopes and prays that this is their chance to start again.

Pam was a super smart, painfully shy and pretty high school girl who knew at an early age that she wanted to be a doctor. Years later, she fulfilled that dream and became an emergency department physician, relentlessly driven to save every patient in a big city hospital. When she receives a too-good-to-be-true job offer at a new medical center, she knew there had to be a catch. And there was. The medical center was located in the small town she’d fled years earlier. Though she’d long ago gotten over Tom’s betrayal, Pam still continued to have nightmares about the horrible auto accident that killed her best friend that night she had learned the truth. She had vowed never to return to her past. And now here it was, demanding her attention.

I was inspired to write this story because bad things can happen to good people and yet life goes on. So many of us are affected today by decisions or circumstances that occurred in the past. Some good and some not so good. I truly believe that God forgives our mistakes and hears our prayers. After all, to err is human. Our job is to forgive ourselves, learn from the experience, and make sure that each new day is better than the day before. We see this through Tom and Pam. We also see that things are not always as they first appear. Time and faith do have a way of clarifying and healing all things, if we let them.

What appeals to you most about writing inspirational fiction?

Writing inspirational fiction is the one place I feel free to recognize and share God and His blessings, along with the gifts and struggles we all experience as human beings. Personally, I live in a very secular world. While I know He is definitely with me and everyone else here in Connecticut (and around the world), faith is not something that is typically openly discussed. Especially in the business world in which I operate. Fortunately, our church provides a much different atmosphere. I can’t tell you how many wonderful story ideas continually pop into my head each Sunday morning during services and other functions. It gives me chills just to think about it! So, keeping in mind that is helpful to write what you know, many of my characters tend to live in secular-type places and have secular-type careers. And yet I hope they convey the message that God is everywhere. We just have to look for Him.

Do you write in any other genre?

I tend to write contemporary, inspirational romantic mystery/romantic suspense. In addition, I’d like to inject some humor in the mix. My first attempt is one of the current stories I am working on. It’s called, Is He Dead Yet? It’s a divorce romantic comedy blended with inspirational undertones and suspense.

Currently, I continue to practice divorce and family law under my “real” name, Kimberly Peterson. In that capacity, I have written two legal textbooks, subtitled Anatomy of a Lawsuit. They are published by Prentice Hall and are how-to books for new lawyers and paralegals, along with people representing themselves. I wrote them to help readers navigate the very confusing courthouse process in Connecticut and other eastern states.

What is your writing schedule like?

My “schedule” is always “to be determined” or “under construction.” No matter how much I plan and prepare to write, there are no guarantees that it will actually happen. Recently, I have determined that my writing must be the first thing tackled each day, before I check email, answer the phone or return a call, pay the bills, do the breakfast dishes, put in that one load of laundry, or do “that one last thing.” Because those one last things are like a mutating bacteria, resistant to antibiotics and determined to take over every second of my life! They constantly multiply and morph into new obligations and before I know it the day is over, I’m pooped and little if any writing got done. I also still manage my small law practice and I have two “tween” daughters, so life is very busy. Fortunately, writing is the one thing that helps keep everything in perspective.

Are you a plotter or a pantser?

I think I am a mental plotter. Characters and ideas can swirl around in my thoughts for quite a while before I actually sit down and write about them. Once I start typing and the story begins, I tend to jot down ideas for scenes so I don’t forget about them but the actual writing comes with little initial outlining. Every twenty or so pages I often create a very loose written outline, to get a sense of the story’s structure so far. I look at the different points of view, the characters who are introduced or involved in that section, how the conflict is building, etc. Then I create a punch list of sorts to fill in the blanks later. Whenever I feel “blocked,” I skip the scene and move on to another scene, to keep the writing flow going. Later I go back and fill in the blanks.

Can you tell us what you are working on now?

I have three major projects in the works. My mood that day will determine which one I work on. I already mentioned Is He Dead Yet? The other is entitled, When Destiny Calls. It is a contemporary inspirational romantic suspense that involves events that took place in Hitler’s Nazi Germany. Two major characters are a Jewish resistance fighter and a young German woman from a high ranking Nazi official family who joins his cause.
On a lighter note, I am working on Imperfect Justice. Again it involves inspirational romantic suspense. The hero is a defense attorney who has a spinal cord injury and the heroine is a prosecutor, intent on proving his client’s guilt.

Do you have a website or a blog?

I have a blog entitled, Love On and Off the Rocks. It’s like a relationship advice column that I started last year and also talks about writing. It stems from all the experience I received about relationships as a divorce lawyer for twenty years. I am hoping to have more time to devote to it in the upcoming months.

My newest project, which is also under construction, is a blog called, Today’s Good News. It was created as an alternative to all the negative news the media constantly inundates us with. The idea started to materialize while I was reading Joel Olsteen’s book, Become a Better You. There he talks about how dwelling in negativity only creates more negativity and that’s not what God wants for any of us. I shudder to think what the rest of the world thinks about America when they watch our evening news. It must seem like a horrible dangerous place, filled with hateful people. And yet we know that it’s not. In fact, it is by His grace that we are able to live in this most wonderful country, compared to many other places on this earth. Therefore, we need to put forth and share all of the good that happens in our lives every day. When we live in a state of gratitude and faith it is easy to see all of God’s good, all around us. So what your TGN?

What good books have you read recently that you’d like to recommend?

I smile as I write this because it’s such a difficult question. There are so many fabulous stories out there. In fact, I tend to feel intimidated when I walk into a bookstore and see each author’s masterpiece. My writing career developed as I read everything Nora Roberts wrote so I want to take this opportunity to recognize her and say that her work is simply breathtaking. Jane Ann Krantz, Lori Avocato, Susan Elizabeth Philips, Robin Lee Hatcher, Dee Henderson, Suzanne Brockman, Robert Parker and Jeanette Windle are my other favorites but there are so many wonderful authors. Please don’t take offense that I have not mentioned all of them. It’s just that I consider these folks my mentors, whose works I have devoured over the years.

What advice do you have for aspiring writers?

First off, believe in yourself and believe that you have something to say. Next, write! Keep writing! And keep writing some more! Be sure to read also. Read everything you like to write about. It helps keep you centered. In addition, be sure to surround yourself with other productive, committed writers. Learn from them. Go to conferences, join writers’ groups, and meet other writers as well as editors and agents. Learn as much as you can about the profession. I can’t say enough about Romance Writers of America, along with the state and special interest chapters. They are invaluable to all writers.

Furthermore, the actual craft of writing is a very individual and isolating process. The words will not just write themselves. Also remember that no one can tell your story, except you. Therefore, I find it incredibly helpful to read and listen to nonfictional motivational-type books/CDs and websites/blogs written by Anthony Robbins, Wayne Dyer, Joel Orsteen, and then Rick Warren. He wrote Purpose Driven Life. Each of them helps me to renew my faith and belief in my God-given abilities. They give me the inner strength and perseverance to move forward, regardless of the obstacles. (There are countless other gifted motivational people. Find those who “speak” to you and keep them close. It really helps.)

In Joel Orsteen’s book, Become a Better You, he said, “God would not have put the dream in your heart if he had not already given you everything you need to fulfill it.” And then how about this really powerful statement: “He doesn’t call us to do something without giving us the ability or the wherewithal to do it.” Now if that isn’t inspiring, what is? (Both statements are found in the first chapter, on page 12, Free Press, NY, 2007). Every time I read it, it makes me race to the computer to write! God Bless!

Thanks for stopping by, Kimberly!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Doing The Happy Dance!

Got a phone call yesterday that made me very, very happy regarding my novel, which has been retitled, The Paris Secret! The novel that has been on submission to various publishers since early last year that I feared would never sell. I'll give more details later. But check out the video below for a big hint!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Today I'm welcoming author and bookseller Kris Neri to my blog!

Kris Neri’s latest title is REVENGE FOR OLD TIMES’ SAKE, the third book in her Agatha, Anthony, Macavity Award-nominated Tracy Eaton mystery series, featuring mystery writer, detective wannabe and the offspring of eccentric Hollywood stars, Tracy Eaton. Also recently published was the first book in a new paranormal mystery series, HIGH CRIMES ON THE MAGICAL PLANE, a Lefty Award nominee for Best Humorous Mystery, featuring fake psychic Samantha Brennan and genuine Celtic goddess/FBI agent Annabelle Haggerty. Kris has also published NEVER SAY DIE, a standalone thriller, and A ROSE IN THE SNOW, a short story collection. She has published some sixty short stories, and is a two-time Derringer Award winner and a two-time Pushcart Prize nominee for her short fiction. Kris teaches writing online for the Writers’ Program of the UCLA Extension School. Two of her former students have also produced a mystery writing DVD with her, WRITING KILLER MYSTERIES WITH KRIS NERI, which is based on her UCLA course. And with her husband, she owns The Well Red Coyote bookstore in Sedona, Arizona.

Welcome, Kris! Tell us a little about yourself.

I have a wildly busy, totally book-related life. I'm a published, award-winning mystery writer, as well as the owner of a general-interest bookstore, The Well Red Coyote in Sedona, Arizona. I also teach writing for the Writers' Program of the UCLA Extension School, and I also do freelance editing for writers and for an independent press. At one time I was quite a prolific short story writer -- I've published more than sixty, and I'm a two-time Derringer Award winner and a two-time Pushcart Prize nominee for my short fiction. But these days I simply don't have enough time to write that many. I limit my short story publications now to the occasional anthology. My husband, Joe, and I live in Northern Arizona with our pets, our Maine Coon cat Philly, and our Cocker Spaniel Annabelle, both of whom have been named for characters in my books. In the little downtime I have, I love hiking in Sedona's magnificent red rock trails.

You’re the author of two mystery series and a standalone novel. What are the challenges and rewards of writing a series versus a standalone novel?

There's nothing like writing a series. You get to develop your characters so much deeper than any one novel would allow. You put them in so many different situations, it's like actually creating a full life for them. Over time, you build such an instinctive connection to your characters in an on-going series that you don't need to think about what they'd do, because it becomes second nature to you. I love writing series. But I also enjoy variety and a change of pace. It's exciting to get to know new characters, and while it's challenging to put everything you want readers to know in a standalone novel, it's also an intense experience, and gratifying to know you've nailed it.

What appeals to you about writing mysteries?

For me, it's the element of justice. In real life bad things happen to good people, and if that cliche is true, that "what goes around come around," it often comes around too slowly for us to draw any satisfaction from it. But in mysteries, no matter how much chaos enters into our fictional worlds, some level of order is always restored and justice is served at the end, and often in the most poetic way. I think reading about fictional justice helps us to live with the wrongs in our own lives.

Do you write in any other genre and if not, would you like to?

One of my series is an urban fantasy, which is basically a mixture of mystery and fantasy, and often romance. So, in a way, I write in all of those genres. At some point, I'd like to try general fiction, too.

What is your writing schedule like?

I typically write in the mornings and the evenings, and I work in my bookstore in the afternoons.

Are you a plotter or a pantser?

I'm somewhere in between. I always work out the backstory between the villain and the victim, so I understand the roots of the crime. I also know how a book will end, and some of the high points in between, but there's a lot that comes to me along the way. I could never write a complete outline. It would feel as if I'd already written the book, and I know I'd lose the sense of excitement that I experience now.

Can you tell us what you're working on now?

I'm writing books in both of my series. MAGICAL ALIENATION will be the next episode in my urban fantasy series, featuring fake psychic, Samantha Brennan, and Celtic goddess/FBI agent, Annabelle Haggerty. It will deal with domestic terrorism, but with a magical bent. I'm also writing the next book in my Tracy Eaton mystery series, featuring a detective wannabe and the offspring of eccentric Hollywood stars, REVENGE ON ROUTE 66, which will visit various real and made-up places along Route 66. It will be a madcap road romp, with a murder, of course.

Do you have a website or blog?

I have both! My website is: I blog with the Femmes Fatales -- Donna Andrews, Dana Andrews, Charlaine Harris, Toni L.P. Kelner, Hank Phillippi Ryan, Mary Saums and Elaine Viets -- at: We have a pretty engaging blog, with some lively discussion.

What good books have you read recently that you'd like to recommend?

The best mystery I've read lately was THE FATE OF KATHERINE CARR by Thomas H. Cook. I loved that so much, I'm now reading an ARC for Cook's next book, THE LAST TALK WITH LOLA FAYE. I just finished THE 19TH WIFE by David Ebershoff, which is general fiction, although it does contain a mystery; it takes both a contemporary and historical look at polygamy, which I find fascinating, though abhorant. I'm also reading a memoir by Azir Nafisi, THINGS I'VE BEEN SILENT ABOUT. I'm a bookseller -- I read everything.

What advice do you have for aspiring writers?

The publishing business has never been more challenging than it is today. Writers today really need to learn their craft, and to make their books as good as they can be before submitting them, because you don't get much time/pages today to attract the attention of decision-makers. Writers should read everything they can, in every genre, because reading will teach you so much about good writing, and you simply absorb it unconsciously. You also need a support system of other writers because nobody else knows how tough it can be.

Thanks for stopping by, Kris!
Click here to check out Kris's books!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Interview: Patricia Sargeant

It is with great pleasure that I welcome author, and fellow Crime Sistah, Patricia Sargeant to my blog today! Plus, anyone who comments is eligible to win a copy of Patricia's novel, Sweet Deception!

Tell us a little about yourself.

Angela, thank you so much for inviting me to your blog. I appreciate this opportunity.

OK, a bit about myself. I write romantic suspense and contemporary romance. I'm from Brooklyn, New York, but my husband and I now live in Ohio. My hobbies include reading - fiction and nonfiction - jogging, hiking, movies and pastries. Not baking them; eating them.

Describe Steve Crennell and Valerie Parker, the hero and heroine of Heated Rivalry, and how you came to create them.

Ah, neat question. Steven is a former NBA star and future Hall of Famer. He's the junior partner of the heroine's father's advertising firm. On the outside, he's confident. On the inside, he's a people pleasure because he wants people to like him.

Valerie is an award-winning art director with her father's advertising firm. In her mind, a promotion to account executive would prove her emotionally distant father loves her. On the inside - and on the outside - she has low self-esteem.

I gave Steven and Valerie characteristics to support Heated Rivalry's theme, which is self-worth. The story's question is do you determine your value or do you allow others to measure your worth? Valerie's character journey leads her to realize her own worth and to stop her futile campaign for her father's approval. Steven's character journey leads him to realize he has to do what he believes is right and not act just to please others.

What appeals to you about writing romance?

The character motivation. Characters are the story. To keep readers in your story, they have to connect with your character's motivation. I don't believe there is any greater motivation than love - familial love, romantic love, patriotic love. When your character is willing to risk everything for love, your readers will root for your characters and will stay in your story to the end. And, with romances, the endings are always happy ones.

How much research is involved in your writing?

I do as much research as I need to feel comfortable writing my story. Even though we write fiction, our stories must be grounded in fact to keep readers in our story. My first drafts usually have holes that need to be filled and/or corrected before I submit my manuscript to my editor.

Are you a plotter or a pantser?

I'm most definitely a plotter. I need a plan. I admire people who say, "I need to discover the story with my characters." I get nervous if I don't have some idea of where I'm going. Granted, there have been many, many occasions in which my characters took a sharp turn in an unexpected direction, but I can work with that. I can't work with a completely blank canvas.

What is your writing schedule like?

Oh, tragedy! My writing schedule starts out very disciplined. Three pages a day Monday through Friday fits in comfortably with my day job. Five pages a day each Saturday and Sunday. Somewhere along the way, my schedule always get derailed and I end up in Panic Mode, writing and revising every spare minute until my deadline. Sleep is pretty much suspended until I turn in my manuscript. Oh, I should add "sleeping" to my list of hobbies. I love to sleep.

Can you tell us what you're working on now?

I would love to. Thank you for asking. I'm working on the first book of a contemporary romance trilogy featuring an NBA team based in Brooklyn, New York. I'm very exicted about this project. I'm taking on a pseudonym for my contemporaries, Regina Hart.

In the meantime, I'm working on a romantic suspense proposal that I hope will put Patricia Sargeant back on the shelf.

Do you have a website or blog?

I don't maintain a regular blog any longer. Sadly, I don't have the time management skills. My Web site is

What good books have you read recently that you'd like to recommend?

I don't usually read fiction while I'm on deadline. Before I started writing my current work in progress, I read Beverly Jenkins's Captured. It's an African American historical romance that takes place during the American Revolution. It was fantastic! Right now I'm reading Who Wrote the Bible? It's nonfiction, of course. Very interesting. However, I can only read a few pages at a time. The deadline is creeping up on me. I don't write that fast and the revisions are murderous. LOL!

What advice do you have for aspiring writers?

May I provide more than one?

Go for it!

First, never stop studying the craft of writing. Never become "confident" in your abilities. If you give in to that confidence, you'll become stale.

Second, learn the business. Learn about contracts, distribution rights, the imprints and lines within publishing companies. Learn about promotion and what booksellers need and need to know to help market your books. Sadly, writing a really good book isn't enough anymore. You need to know the industry and understand the business of writing to make your career last.

Third - and final point - love what you write. If you try to write to market trends just to try to "sell," you'll do yourself more harm than good if you don't enjoy what you write.

Thank you for stopping by, Patricia!

Angela, thank you again for inviting me over. I've enjoyed chatting with you. I look forward to chatting with your friends, too, and sending a commenter a copy of Sweet Deception.

Click here for more info on Patricia's books. And don't forget to comment for your chance to win Sweet Deception!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Interview: Jenny Gardiner

Today I'm happy to welcome author Jenny Gardiner to my blog! Welcome, Jenny!

Tell us a little about yourself.

I've been writing books for oh, maybe 4 or 5 years--my first novel, Sleeping with Ward Cleaver, won the American Title III contest a few of years back. I have a memoir, Winging It: A Memoir of Caring for a Vengeful Parrot Who's Determined to Kill Me (sort of David Sedaris meets Marley & Me, with a deadly beak) that came out in March, and of course Slim to None, just out last week digitally. I live in Virginia with a lot of housepets and my family!

Describe Abbie Jennings, the heroine of Slim to None, and how you came to create her.

Abbie has SUCH a good heart. And she just LOVES food. And she means well, she really does. She gets lost in her world awfully easily, and she finds comfort in food, to a fault. Abbie evolved from a few books I'd written, then changed, then mixed up a bit, then tried to take it higher concept. I'd talked a bit with an agent friend who loved what I was writing but thought it needed to be higher concept. So we brainstormed a bit about taking this woman fixated on food and making something happen that would mean she'd have a sort of do-or-die gauntlet thrown down so that she couldn't eat, and voila, this is what we came up with. Also with Abbie I was mindful that some folks thought my protagonist in Sleeping with Ward Cleaver was a bit unsympathetic, so I set out to make Abbie very lovable (though not in a treacly way!).

What have been the differences and or challenges in promoting an ebook versus a print book?

It's not so easy getting mainstream reviews. But then again, it's not so easy getting mainstream reviews anyway. Also you don't have hard copies to send out for review or for giveaways. The other thing is that it's still early as far as who has an e-reader, so it's hard when friends and readers I know of can't read it because they don't have an e-reader. Though after the Kindle exclusive is up in July they can do the publish on demand option through Ingrams.

For me book promotion is book promotion, to some extent. But it is really about finding those readers who *can* read it, and hope that maybe some who were sitting on the fence will take the plunge (and then they'll love the book enough that they won't be mad they spent the money on an e-reader LOL).

What advantages do you think digital publishers have to offer authors?

I think the biggest thing is it gives authors some control back. There are very few authors out there who would tell you they feel as if they're in the driver's seat. Just about everything is out of our control, shy of whatever attempts we can muster to get the word out to market/publicize the book. Well, and of course writing it.

One thing I have ALWAYS hated hearing industry professionals and ultra successful authors say--you always hear this at conferences--is "Write a good book." Well, duh. Do you think writers are out ther deliberately writing bad books? I'd like to think we are doing our damnedest, for the most part, but of course there are variables over which we have no control: for instance, finding the editor who connects with your writing and with your story. More and more these days even if that happens, it's extra hard for it to go up the chain of command and have enough people sign on to it for an acquisition to happen, especially in women's fiction. Many authors are frustrated with this. So if one has the ability to market/publicize a lot, and of course a platform or prior books in the marketplace would help, then it seems like a pretty obvious choice to at least try. Because the reality of it nowadays is whether your book is in print or in e-format, you're going to have to do most of that marketing/PR anyhow.

What is your writing schedule like?

If only there was a schedule to it...I write when I can, really. I prefer to write in the morning after the kids go to school--when I'm freshest is when I'm most creative. But I'll grab time whenever/wherever I can (and that has been in the past at pick-up line at school, at soccer practice, at halftime of soccer games, you name it, if I have to be idle for more than 20 minutes or so, I'll often whip out my laptop and try to get some words down).

It's hard, though, because marketing and publicity take up a LOT of time, but it's the nature of the beast nowadays, so it's gotta be worked into it. Suffice it to say my house does not get cleaned as it should LOL

Are you a plotter or a pantser?

TOTALLY a pantser. I love to just sit down and see what happens. I mean I'll have a vague idea of start-to-finish but I noodle on things all the time and my books are evolving as I write them.

Can you tell us what you're working on now?

Oooh, I get superstitious about talking about things I'm working on...

Do you have a website or blog?



facebook fan page:


What good books have you read recently that you'd like to recommend?

I loved Ad Hudler's Househusband, Loved Jamie Fords Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, Loved Beth Hoffman's Saving CeeCee Honeycutt, love Sarah Pekkanen's Opposite of Me. I'm sure there are others but those are recent ones that stick in my head!

What advice do you have for aspiring writers?

Believe in yourself! It's a tough business, getting tougher by the day. It is fraught with rejection. But if you are determined and you are a good writer, then hang in there and tough it out. Try not to be demoralized (at least not too often!), and also learn everything you can about the business. Join writing groups online and nearby. Network, meet other writers. And read a LOT. I think the more you read the better a writer you become, or at least you will learn what type of writer you are. My friend and I always remind each other: The last writer standing gets the publishing contract!

Thanks for stopping by, Jenny!

Thanks for having me!!

Click here to check out Slim to None!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Interview: Lauren Baratz-Logsted

It's my pleasure to welcome author Lauren Baratz-Logsted to my blog today! Lauren writes adult, children's and YA novels and has 4, count 'em, 4 books being released this year!

Welcome Lauren!

Tell us a little about yourself.

I've been writing seriously since 1994, published since 2003. By the end of this year I will have had 19 books published. I love what I do. I also love spending time with my daughter, shooting pool, and General Hospital.

You have four books being released this year. Can you give us a brief description of each one?

The Sisters 8 Book 5: Marcia's Madness (May 3) and The Sisters 8 Book 6: Petal's Problems (Oct 4) are the fifth and sixth books in the projected nine-book series for young readers I created with my novelist husband Greg Logsted and our 10-year-old daughter Jackie. It's about octuplets whose parents go missing and readers can learn more about it at

The Education of Bet (July 12) is a YA novel set in Victorian England about a 16-year-old girl who impersonates a boy in order to get a proper education.

The Twin's Daughter (Aug 31) is a YA novel set in Victorian England about a teen who discovers that her gorgeous society mother has an identical twin who was raised in the poorhouse.

What appeals to you about writing for children and young adults and how is it different than writing for adults?

I love it all. Generally speaking, YA books are shorter than adult books and children's books are even shorter. As a rule, the shorter the word count and the younger the audience, the tighter the writing needs to be because attention spans are also shorter and kids today have more distractions than any previous generation. Also, when writing for teens and younger children, there's also a greater responsibility in terms of being careful about what one says - not to sugarcoat things, but rather so that you don't send the wrong messages.

How much research is involved in your writing?

It depends on the book. Some books require zero research - just whatever crazy ideas enter my crazy head! Others require more, particularly for books set in earlier time periods. For The Education of Bet, I re-read Tom Brown's Schooldays and looked into how a teenage boy at that time might enter the military without his family knowing. For The Twin's Daughter, I researched where a young man might be sent to fight and what sort of circumstances he might find there. Also, because the heroine is a big reader, I researched what sorts of things she might be reading in the latter part of the 1800s.

Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Why confine myself to just one method? I'm both!

What is your writing schedule like?

If I'm working on a novel, I start as soon as I see my daughter off to school at seven a.m. and then work pretty much straight through until three p.m. when I break for General Hospital. If I haven't met my goal for the day or if the writing is good, I may go back to it later in the day or evening.

Can you tell us what you're working on now?

I recently completed two books: The Middle March, a YA novel already under contract and due out I believe next year, about a contemporary teen who finds herself literally sucked into Little Women, becoming the fifth March sister; and The Bro-Magnet, a comedic adult novel not under contract and that I just delivered to my agent, about a man's man whose secret wish is to find the right woman.

Do you have a website or blog?

I do! My website is I'm in rotation as one of a large group of bloggers who take turns at Teen Fiction Cafe: I also write the Writer-in-Residence column at BiblioBuffet:

What good books have you read recently that you'd like to recommend?

The book I most recently loved is the adult novel Happy Now? by Katherine Shonk. On the surface, it doesn't sound like the kind of book to inspire love - it's about a woman whose husband has committed suicide - but the writing is simply amazing.

What advice do you have for aspiring writers?

An easy question! I always advise the same two things: 1) read, read, read - read widely and read everything you can get your hands on because you can't be a good writer without first being a good reader; and 2) always remember, the only person who can ever really take you out of the game is you.

Thanks for stopping by, Lauren! Click here to check out all of Lauren's books!