Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Q&A w/Kristina McMorris and review of Bridge of Scarlet Leaves

Q&A w/ Kristina McMorris
Bridge of Scarlet Leaves 2-29-2102

Kristina, thank you for joining us and congratulations on the release of your second novel. I detect a common interest in both novels as they both are about WW2. What makes this time so interesting to you?
Thanks so much for having me here! You're absolutely right about the pattern. Even when I try to resist, I keep finding myself drawn to writing about the 1940s. Aside from the wonderful music and fashion, I think what I'm most intrigued by are the powerful emotions tied to the era due to wartime. The stakes couldn't have been higher, both on a global and personal scale, heightening a sense of romance and patriotism, fear, tragedy, and courage. (It's probably no surprise to you that Braveheart and Gladiator are among my all-time favorite movies!)

Tell us a bit about Bridge of Scarlet Leaves and what inspired it.
Bridge of Scarlet Leaves features a violinist, named Maddie Kern, who secretly elopes with her Japanese American boyfriend—the night before Pearl Harbor is bombed. When her beloved Lane is interned at a war relocation camp, she dares to remain at his side, but soon finds she doesn't belong in either world. As Maddie strives for the hard-won acceptance of her new family, Lane—in his own search for identity—enlists in a secret branch of the Army, responsible fore code-breaking and interrogating against Japan, risking all he holds dear to prove his allegiance to America.
The story was originally inspired by a true account of two brothers, one who'd fought for Japan and the other for America. It instantly reminded me of the U.S. miniseries "North and the South," wherein friends and loved ones were divided by battle lines overnight. (Don't ask me how many times I watched that entire VHS boxed set.) After I started researching, however, I stumbled across an obscure mention of roughly two hundred non-Japanese spouses who lived in the camps voluntarily. Before that, even being half Japanese myself, I'd never heard of such a thing. That's when I knew I'd found the story I needed to tell.

According to your bio you were in the wedding and event planning business.
How did you go from that to being a novelist and did you always want to write?
To be honest, up until a handful of years ago, I wasn't even much of a reader, let alone an aspiring author. But I was high on pregnancy hormones—if I could create life, a book didn't seem that hard—and I'd found inspiration in a collection of courtship letters my late grandfather had sent to my grandma during WWII. She had actually shared the pages with me when I was interviewing her for the biographical section of a cookbook I was creating, full of recipes she had created and collected over decades, as a Christmas gift for the family. It was then that she revealed the fact she and my grandfather had only dated twice during the war before they got married, their relationship having developed almost entirely through their written correspondence.
When I left her house that day I started to wonder how well two people can truly know each other through letters alone. The thought sparked the idea for a book, in which a soldier falls in love through a yearlong letter exchange, unaware the girl he's writing to isn't the one writing back. This premise laid the foundation for what became my debut novel, Letters from Home.

Speaking of which, your first novel Letters from Home has received more than a dozen national literary awards plus nominations for the Golden Heart and numerous other accolades, including film rights interest. Do you consider your novels romances? What do you think about being placed on a certain genre “shelf”?
Since my books are categorized as "women's fiction" or "love story," they're usually shelved in the General Fiction section, which I think is a fitting place. My novels always have a strong romantic element, so they offer a nice crossover for romance readers, but a range of evolving relationships take center stage in my books, rather than one couple's romance. Also, happily ever after isn't a guarantee. What I do try to leave the reader with is a firm sense of hope.

Do you write full time and what’s next for you?
I'm definitely spoiled now that I'm a full-time writer. As a mother of two young boys, I love being able to work from home, so I get to be there when they return from school. The challenge, of course, is the perpetual juggle—as any working parent knows—especially when you don't have set office hours. But hey, it's hard to beat a job that allows you to work in your pajamas, right?
As for my next projects, I currently have two more novels on contract to write for my publisher. Also, I just completed a novella titled The Christmas Collector, which will appear in a holiday anthology headlined by Fern Michaels, set for release this coming October. I'm excited to share that one of the main characters in my story is the elderly version of a minor character from Letters from Home!

Take us through a typical day in the life of Kristina.
You mean a usual day of being pampered by my personal chef, maid, chauffeur, personal assistant, and… oh, wait, you're referring to the actual not-so-glamorous life of an author, ha. Well, my alarm goes off at 6:30am, in order to get the kidlings ready for school. After doing dishes and tossing in a load of laundry, I'll clear out my emails. After a quick shower, I get into my comfy clothes and ugly fuzzy socks , and I park on the couch with my half-caff coffee and laptop to tackle writing, publicity and/or marketing. It's a cyber sprint until the kids come home, at which point I give myself an extra hour to wrap things up before handling all the usual mom activities until the munchkins are in bed. Then I often work on my laptop while my hubby and I catch a little TV. Since I'm a night owl, I stay up until at least midnight, then hit the hay and wait for that dreaded alarm to go off at 6:30am. (The cycle reminds me a bit of the movie "Groundhog Day" actually.)

What would be your “dream” vacation?
During college I was fortunate enough to live in Florence, Italy for a year. It's hard to imagine a more beautiful city. And the food? Pasta, gnocchi, gelato, tiramisu…don't get me started! Needless to say, I would opt for Florence, then head to Venice (I began collecting Venetian masks long before I realized they're not the easiest souvenirs to lug around and transport), and finally I'd end in Paris for the wine and chocolate croissants…. (Can you tell I'm answering these questions while I'm hungry?)

Who were and are your “go-to” authors and what do you enjoy to read?
When I'm not entrenched in research texts, I most enjoy reading women's fiction and young adult novels, especially if set during WWII. I love suspense as well, but don't read as much of it as I'd like.
At the moment, my favorite authors are Markus Zusak (The Book Thief), Sara Gruen (Water for Elephants), Ruta Sepetys (Between Shades of Gray), and Alma Katsu (The Taker).

Are you planning any signings or events at B&N? I’m sure the fans here would love to meet you in person.
I am! My officially launch party for Bridge of Scarlet Leaves is being held at 7pm on Friday, March 2nd, at the B&N in Clackamas, Oregon. Due to the book's topic, and in honor of the 70th anniversary of the internment, I'll be speaking on a panel there alongside a former internee and a Japanese American WWII vet who recently received the Congressional Gold Medal.

Thank you again for letting us dig into the real Kristina McMorris a little bit and congratulations again on your new release, Bridge of Scarlet Leaves.
Thanks for celebrating with me. I really hope readers will enjoy the book!
Here is the cover of last month's issue of RT Reviews with Kristina on the cover

Vistin the author's website here

Now for my review

Bridge of Scarlet Leaves
Kristina McMorris
352 pages
ISBN13: 9780758246851
On a dreary winter’s day in 1941 California natives Maddie Kern and Lane Moritomo elope in Seattle where it’s legal for a mixed race couple to wed, Lane born in the US the son of Japanese immigrants is all Maddie ever wanted in a spouse and vice versa but little did they know that the disapproval of their families would be the least of their worries, that the whole nation would soon be against the union when the very next day Japan would attack Pearl Harbor. Thus begins this countries fall from grace when fear, insecurities, tempers and prejudice flare and the US gives in to anger against a civilization by separating and isolating it’s own citizens who’s faces remind them of a terrible and recent loss without thinking of those innocents that will be caught in the crosshairs of rage. And thus begins this couple’s journey into the thick of conflict where they have no sanctuary even as their own disavow the marriage, all around them the world goes on and so must they find their place in this new and terrible era. Maddie who used to rely on her music hears it no more and Lane who once believed in the sanctity of the Government has no more heroes, yet the one constant is the love they have for each other and the light they see in each other’s eyes. Will that love be strong enough to survive separation, isolation and family pressure and war or will it be too much for even a love as pure as theirs.

Rarely there comes along a novel that I can’t put down, that make my senses zing that make my other work wait and that is what I found in this beautifully, poignant piece of historical literary fiction, it’s as intense as a thriller, based on truths but not the ones I learned in school, the ones historians would like to forget, but we must never forget because history has a way of repeating itself and we can’t afford another chapter like this one. Ms. McMorris is as talented a storyteller as I’ve ever read and has a unique perspective to add to the novel being a Japanese Americaherself. Her dialogue expertly takes me back to the tune of The Andrew’s Sisters “Boogie Woogie Bugle boy”, to the days of rationing and Rosie the riveter, to the all girls Baseball league and our boys “Comin in on a Wing and a Prayer” and her narrative paints the accompanying pictures. Her characters do and should stand out, they are as remarkable as they are unforgettable from the persecuted couple to the family that surrounds them to the community and world that encompasses them all. And just like the situation described this is a realistic look at life, there’s no guaranteed Happy Ever After of romance but there is survival, there is love and there is hope and when it’s all said and done what more can you ask for.
I believe lovers of WWII fiction, literary fiction and-or women’s fiction will love this, lovers of prose filled pages that flow like a lotus blossom down a river will love this too and after it’s read it will go on a cherished spot on your keep shelf to be read again and again.
Thank you Ms. McMorris for the best novel I’ve read in a while.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Q&A w/Gena Showalter on her new release The Darkest Seduction

Gena, first off I have to tell you that I am a HUGE fan of the Lords of the Underworld series, have devoured them all and can’t wait for the next one In all the series that I love there is always one story that readers anxiously wait for and this one is mine. In all the pre-emptive novels you have cast many sides of Paris and not all of them glowing, but when he met Sienna I knew he’d met his match and I’ve been literally waiting years to find out about their story.

Tell us a little about this novel:

(First, thank you so much!)  You know, when I created the Lords of the Underworld, I had no idea Paris, keeper of the demon of Promiscuity, would become the reader favorite.  He seemed so…well, happy, as though he had his life all figured out. He never had to worry about commitment, he could have any woman he desired—and did, every day—and he was doing what he’d been created to do: fight alongside his brothers by circumstance.  But so many readers saw beneath the cocky exterior to the wounded heart inside, and knew this strong man with the warped sense of humor craved what his friends were taking for granted: love and monogamy.   But…I had no idea how to give him those things.  He had to sleep with a new woman every night or he weakened and died.  If that wasn’t bad enough…
When I first introduced Sienna …and killed her…I had no plans to bring her back.  (Sorry Paris!)  I wasn’t her biggest fan, and honestly, she was meant only to be a means of torturing him on yet another level.  Of course, that backfired and tortured me!  Afterward, Paris would step onto the pages only to mourn her or look for her and finally I could take it no longer.  I threw him a bone.  And yes, that too came back to bite me. I tried to write this book with a different heroine (you’ll actually get to meet her in the book) but Paris wanted nothing to do with her.  After four false starts, I finally allowed him to take over and that’s the story you’ll read.

To sum the story up in one sentence: Through life and death, war and peace, one man will risk everything to save the woman who once sought to destroy him…the only woman he craves…

So let’s talk about the Lords series, where did the idea for the series come from:

You know, I’d love to say it was this really complex process, and make myself look really intelligent, but the truth is, the entire series sprang from one idea.  I’d never liked the myth of Pandora’s box, where one curious female was blamed for all the world’s misery.  I decided to rewrite it—and blame men.

Is there a set number of volumes in your Lords series?

My plan was always to write the twelve original Lords, but along the way I’ve introduced secondary characters I’ve come to love.  William, Neeka, Taliyah, Lazarus, and even new demon-possessed Lords you’ll meet in The Darkest Seduction (including another female!) .

You write both adult and YA fiction, do you have a preference to write, to read?

This might surprise everyone but I loooove to write the young adults, especially my brand new Alice in Zombieland series launching later this year.  There’s something about the characters, the world, and the situation that just enraptures me.   I never wanted to leave the pages.  But I do love writing the adult titles, as well, and have never felt as inspired as when I wrote Wicked Nights, the first in the upcoming Angels of the Dark series, and Last Kiss Goodnight, the first in the upcoming Otherworld Assassin series.

As for reading, I’ll read whatever captures my attention!

Walk us through a normal day-in-the-life of Gena Showalter:

I wake up pretty early and immediately brew a cup of herbal tea.  (I’m a former coffee addict, so the tea was a big change.)  I’ll usually spend an hour reading, thinking, catching up on email and web-related things, then I’ll dive into the pages of whatever book I’m working on.  I’ll work until I’ve hit a set number of pages (which changes depending on the stage the book is in—rough draft, line edit, copy edit, galley.)

I recently read a copy of Dating The Undead where you and Jill Monroe are featured, I LOVED it, recommended it to all my friends and especially their daughters and thought what a unique concept to spoof all the fashion, cologne and self help rags and mags. Where did this idea come from and will there be more?
To find out more or buy this book here

Jill and I have both written in the paranormal romance genre and readers have mentioned how cool it would be if those heroes actually came to life.  So, we did it!   We wrote Dating the Undead with the thought that immortal men do, in fact, live among us.

One of my favorite aspects of the book is the idea that for every immortal man, there is a human counterpart.  The vampire – the sophisticated one.  The werewolf—the active one who loves hanging out with his friends. The zombie – the endearing couch potato.  The demon – the party animal.  The angel – the all-around good guy every girl should bring home to mom. The dragon shifter– the warrior as well as the protector.

The other thing I love about Dating the Undead is that it truly does offer something for every reader. There’s dating advice—after all, dating a zombie or a vampire or a has far more challenges than dating a normal guy, similarities or not—and quizzes and ads and articles showing just how different the world would be if we really could meet and interact with the otherworldly men from our fantasies.  We had SO much fun working on this book!

What would be your dream vacation?

I’m a staycation kind of girl.  I love snuggling in bed with the hubs, watching TV or reading.  But if I actually had to travel, it’s a dream of mine to go to Israel.

Do you have any B&N book signings or events? I’m sure our visitors here would love to meet you in person.

I don’t currently have any book signings in the works, but that could change and I’ll be sure to post the information on my website (!

Gena, Thank you so much for giving us more insight into this series and you too. And good luck with The Darkest Seduction!

Buy the novel here visit the author’s website here  .

Monday, February 27, 2012

Interview with Lisa Verge Higgins author of The Proper Care and Maintenance of Friendship

March at the General Fiction Book Club forum at B&  is dedicated to friendship so to celebrate friends we're featuring a remarkable and fitting novel The Proper Care and Maintenance of Friendship, the author Lisa Verge Higgins will be along for the whole month. So if you're looking for something to do in March, why not join in, click the link above for more information.
Now without further ado here's my interview with Lisa.

Lisa, first thank you so much for joining us in March for our month long featured read and discussion of your last novel The Proper Care and Maintenance of Friendship, I say last because you have one due out soon One Good Friend Deserves Another.
Thanks so much for inviting me here!  I’m thrilled to be part of this forum, and I’m looking forward to some fabulous, nitty-gritty discussions.

Tell us a little about the new novel
Well, my next book, One Good Friend Deserves Another, is about love, marriage and, of course, friendship.  It follows three women as they struggle to save a fourth—Dhara, an Indian-American cardiologist—from her sudden and shocking decision to submit at the age of thirty-seven to a traditional arranged marriage.  It’s Dhara’s commitment to this path that troubles them most, because it calls into question all the friends’ former assumptions about romantic relationships, and shines a harsh light onto their own troubled situations.  Forced to take a fresh look at the choices they’ve made, each woman must decide how much she’s willing to risk for happiness, for love, and—most importantly—for each other.

Now let’s talk about your history as an author, according to your website you have a wicked past, would you like to enlighten us about that.
Ah, yes, my “wicked past!”  I actually started my career writing historical romances, sweeping, sensual stories mostly set in France and Ireland in the eighteenth century and published in the 1990s under the name Lisa Ann Verge.    (Saucy details at
But when my third child was born, I took a hiatus from writing.  When the youngest went off to kindergarten, I took up my pen again . . . and decided pretty much right away to switch genres.  I have three daughters, you see.  It became increasingly difficult explaining to them and their Catholic school teachers what I was doing, scribbling in the attic all day
Here’s my secret vice:  I still adore big historical novels.  When I’m reading for pleasure I’ll most often pick up a nice meaty tome like Madame Tussaud by Michelle Moran, or Ghost Light by Joseph O’Connor.

Now on that same note tell us about the challenge of going from a Harlequin heart throb writer to mainstream fiction, what is different and what’s the same.
The main difference between the two genres is this:  Romance is glorious escapism; romance is all about the happy ending.  Mainstream women’s fiction is reality-based, gives the writer a breathtaking amount of freedom, and is most fundamentally about a woman’s emotional journey. 
Strangely, I’ve never felt that it was much of a “switch” for me as a writer.  When I wrote romance, I always felt that I was writing about a woman’s romantic journey that led, after much strife, to a satisfying ending.  Now, writing women’s fiction, I feel I’m writing a different sort of emotional journey but it’s still about women, it’s still about transition, but it’s less singularly focused, more grittily real, and more all-encompassing of the many issues any woman will face.   
I like to think I’ve grown as a writer; I guess it’s only natural that the issues I write about have matured, too.

The Proper Care and Maintenance of Friendship is very definitely a Women’s fiction and from the description of your upcoming novel it would fit in that category too, do you mind getting put on a genre shelf like that.
Genres are created for marketing purposes—they define books in a way that’s easiest for the readers who love them to find them.  I think my latest books fit smack in the middle of the women’s fiction genre, so I’m happy to be so wisely placed.

What’s next for you
Like most authors, I’m very excited about the book I’m writing right now!  It’s slated to be released next March as Friendship Makes The Heart Grow Fonder. 
It’s about a widow whose husband left behind a “bucket list” as well as the financial means to fulfill it.  For four years she has ignored it, too busy raising her only daughter to think about resurrecting old dreams.  But when one neighbor starts acting wacky in her empty nest, and another receives a shocking medical diagnosis, the widow starts to wonder if that crazy list of adventures might just save them all.

Do you know how the novel ends before you start writing it.
I do!  Or, at least, I think I do.  I write a detailed outline before I start the first draft, so I don’t write myself into a tiny dark corner.  But it’s during the first-draft process that all kinds of exciting new ideas emerge, and I will adjust the outline accordingly.  I’m fifteen books along, now, and it’s still a wonderful, mysterious process every time.

Now I have to ask about a tidbit I saw on your website, it says that you were a PhD candidate in chemistry, now this we have to hear, tell us about what happened on the way to the lab.
Yes, I was a Ph.D candidate in organic chemistry at Stanford University, taking classes, teaching as a TA, and working in a laboratory for one of the professors.  But after a year I began to doubt this was my path, so I took a leave of absence and got a job working as a chemist in a local environmental lab.  I also began writing a novel, just for fun.  Avon Books bought it and published it, and soon I had an agent and two more books in the pipeline.
For a number of years, I worked as a chemist and wrote novels at night, and always in the back of my mind dangled the possibility of returning to get my Ph.D.  Three fantastic choices: A strange luxury.  So I sought advice.  A friend told me this story about Pavarotti, the opera singer:  When Pavarotti graduated from college, he asked his father if he should teach or sing.  His father said:  Choose one, because you can’t sit in two chairs.
I followed my heart and chose the writer’s chair.  I’ve never regretted it. 
It’s one of the reasons why my books are all about taking risks.  

For facebook friends of yours we know you often tell of life with teenage girls in the house so let’s expand on that just a bit and go one further and give us an average day in the life of Lisa Verge Higgins
I do live with three teenage daughters.  Someday I’ll write a book about all the drama and upheaval . . . when they let me.  In the meantime, my life is a sit-com, and I’m shamelessly mining it for my facebook friends in the snippets “Life With Three Teenage Daughters.”  I invite you to laugh heartily at my expense at
I’d wager that an average day in my life mirrors the average day in the lives of any woman:  I get up, shuttle a car full of neighborhood teenagers to school (hopefully not in my pajamas), run errands, gulp coffee, and settle down to my computer.  While I’m supposed to be writing I’m cackling over a video someone posted on my facebook wall, reading my email, paying bills, and thinking up new ways to avoid working (I call this “refilling the creative well.”)  But when I finally start writing, I’m all in:  I lift my head and suddenly it’s three in the afternoon and my kids are texting me wondering why I’ve forgotten about them again.  I chauffeur them to their various activities then, after taking care of mail and phone calls, I make a fabulous dinner (McDonalds? Pizza? Only under deadline of course!)  Finally, I collapse into the dining room table to share my day with my patient, fabulous hubby of twenty-three years. 

What is your dream vacation
In my youth, I spent three months backpacking through Europe. I lived on a few dollars a day, slept in a series of frightful youth hostels, drank a lot of cheap wine, slept on a lot of trains, met amazing people, laid eyes on many of the world’s masterpieces of art and architecture, and roamed through breathtaking cities from Edinburgh to Rome. 
My dream vacation is to be twenty-four years old and do it all over again.  ;) 
Buy the book here visit the author's website here

Friday, February 24, 2012

Review of The Darkest Seduction by Gena Showalter

The Darkest Seduction
Gena Showalter
ISBN13:9780373776573 Release Date 2-28-2012
504 pages

Thousands of years ago when the world was still young and the Greeks still ruled Olympus, Zeus King of the Gods created an elite band of warriors to protect him and all he held dear. This band of brothers did the unthinkable and released the demons from what we now call Pandora’s Box. To punish them Zeus entrapped the demons set free within these fighters to war with their own souls and banished them to earth where they became The Lords of the Underworld.
The Lord known as Paris is paired with the demon of promiscuity, he must feed the demon with sex but never from the same partner twice and he has since the beginning never been able to have a relationship with one woman, this has never mattered to him until he met the hunter Sienna who drugged, betrayed and seduced him and in return he was ultimately responsible for her death. But death in the realm of myths and Gods is not the same as for humans and Paris has been searching for her because he and his demon both want her again.
Sienna Blackstone became a hunter to replace a family lost but soon found out that they like everyone in her life is not what they appear on the surface. In death she has been given the demon wrath and in struggling to accept him has also accepted her culpability in atrocities against mankind and Godkind alike. The one truth she knows is that Paris is who she wants but knows also that he will never accept her for her crimes against the Lords. She is recruited by Cronus but there are others out there who want her as well and the one thing she knows is that she will only fight on the side of Paris and the Lords.
She and Paris escape her prison and find that the rules are changing, the war is escalating and new battle lines are being drawn. If they can only survive they may finally found what was missing for them both, belonging.

Gena Showalter has successfully evolved this series into a whole new world in Paranormal Romance with characters I was first introduced to in mythology then goes on to enhance and add to their numbers until she has created a mirrored existence. Paris may have started out to be just another Lord but as she told me other stories she also made me yearn for Paris’ happy ever after and in this novel she not only gives me that but she also turns yet another page in her series, adds yet another twist in the road. Her narrative is a mix of gutter and old world that fit her characters to a tee. Her characters are amazingly lifelike even in their immortal bodies, her main protagonists in this novel Paris and Sienna have been introduced to fans in previous books but now stand front and center and proudly so. The romance is so far beyond what I can imagine and yet with her special way she pulls me in for the ride of my life and what a ride it is. The love scenes are fit for immortals in the intensity and in the imagery the author brings and are very adult in content. As a part of a long running series the best way to enjoy this is to read them in order. Ms Showalter does a good job of giving readers glimpses of how we got to this stage but no amount of hints will bring you up to speed.

If you are a fan of paranormal romance and have not yet read Ms. Showalter, if you are a fan of JR Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood this series would be right up your immortal alley, if you love rock em sock em page turning edge of your seat action with a mythical twist join the ever growing crowd of fans of The Lords of the Underworld series.
Be sure to look for the next Lord’s story and also Gena’s brand new series spinoff  “Angels of the Dark” staring the angels we have met and loved in the Lord’s series.
Ms. Showalter thank you again for a trip to the beyond imaginable that you always make me yearn to see for real.

And for your added pleasure stay tuned because coming Tuesday 2-28-2012 I will be publishing my exclusive Q&A with the author so be sure and check back then.
Buy the book here visit the author's fan site here.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Review of Celebrity in Death by J D Robb and Q&A with the author

 Please welcome #1 NY Times Bestselling Author J.D. Robb aka Nora Roberts

Ms. Roberts, thank you so much for taking the time out of your incredibly busy schedule to answer a few questions to celebrate the release of your 34th in the In Death series, Celebrity in Death.

1. It’s amazing to think that this is the 34th book in the series. How did you come up with the idea of a “futuristic police procedural?”

It started with a character. When the idea of writing as J.D. Robb came up, I didn’t want it to be the same sort of books that Nora Roberts wrote. I didn't see the point in doing straight relationship or straight romantic suspense under a different name. Years before this, I'd had a glimmer of an idea for Eve Dallas--a take-no-prisoners cop in the near future. At that time I didn't know what to do with her, but here was my chance to see where we could go.
I wanted to explore this woman and the people in her world book by book. Each book resolves the particular crime or mystery that drives it, but the character development, the growth and the changes, the tone of the relationships go more slowly. I enjoy that tremendously.

  1. Do you see the In Death series as open-ended, or are there a finite number of books planned?
There’s no end in sight.  I plan to continue to write them until there's nothing more to tell about the characters. Since I'm very, very attached to them, I expect I'm going to keep writing the series for a long time.

  1. In April, your 200th novel, THE WITNESS, will be published.  Did you ever think you had that many stories to tell or would attain this level of success when you started your career?
When I started out I just wanted to write books. I still do. It’s the best job in the world for so many reasons. I wanted the thrill of seeing my books on the shelves in bookstores. I still do. The idea of someone reading my work, enjoying it, was just amazing—and it still is. And as long as there are fresh stories to tell, I’ll keep on writing.

  1. Why do you think that readers enjoy the candy thief so much?  Do you have a personal favorite candy bar that you think is worth stealing?
I guess readers love the Candy Thief because whoever that person is, he or she continues to outwit Eve and her frustration can be pretty funny.  I’m not much of a candy bar person, that’s Eve.  Give me some M&Ms and I’m happy.

  1. What about Eve Dallas keeps you writing this series?
Well, it’s not just Eve Dallas anymore, is it? It's tremendous fun to go back regularly and visit characters I've become so fond of, and to peel off another layer in their relationships.
I don’t think Eve and Roarke are particularly easy people, but their relationship unifies them, and has--I think--made each of them better people. Not too good, of course.  Since I write the books with little time passing between each, I think that keeps the tension high as the relationship and the actions develop book by book.

  1. What personal or pop cultural interests play into writing Eve or any of the other In Death characters?
It can be a lot of fun to look back at what makes up pop culture today through the eyes of characters living 50 years from now.  But mainly it all depends on the story.

7.    The In Death series is set in the late 21st century and you’ve invented technology for the series’ futuristic setting.  Which of your inventions have come to pass or are current to similar technology?

I have no idea what might become reality, but I’d be first in line for an Auto Chef!

  1. In Celebrity in Death, a major movie is being made about one of Eve Dallas’ highest profile cases.  How did your experience on the sets of the Lifetime movies based on your books inform how Eve would react to the Hollywood actors and media surrounding the movie?
Well, I only visited one set – Montana Sky – for three very busy days so it’s not like I hung out and drank up the atmosphere.  From my own experience doing commercials and promotional videos, I know that there’s a lot of hurry up and wait on a set.  All that down time brings people together – or drives them completely apart.  I think you can see some of that in Celebrity.
But mainly Celebrity deals with Eve’s reaction to everything that surrounds a movie.  And since she’s not one for make believe or buying into hype, her reaction was pretty much par for the course.

  1. For years fans have imagined what it would be like to see Eve Dallas on “the big screen.”  What are some of your favorite big-screen adaptations?  
To Kill A Mockingbird.  For me, it’s the closest thing to a perfect book  and it was made in to a perfect movie.  Gregory Peck was Atticus Finch.

Thank you so much for answering the questions, good luck to you with the release of “Celebrity In Death” and in all your endeavors.

Review of Celebrity in Death
Celebrity in Death
J.D. Robb
400 pages
G. P. Putnam Son’s

Reporter Nadine Furst and friend of Eve wrote a book about the Icove case and now has caught the attention of the big screen movie moguls who’ve made it into a major motion picture production, near the end of filming it’s decided that a grand party is due and of  course the people who inspired the real life case have to be there too, which means that Eve and Peabody are in attendance when a death occurs. It at first appears perhaps accidental but soon becomes a murder investigation which turns into more than one murder investigation and soon Eve is up to her armpits in suspects but low on evidence.
With the help of her crack team of cops and her “civilian contractor” she puts together a cause and effect that may just become a movie of it’s own by the time all the facts are collected and the crime is solved.

When you’ve read 33 previous novels in a series there are bound to be a disappointment or two and this series is no different, but then you think of the accomplishment of it and you enter the realm of unbelievability. Number 34 is not a disappointment, in fact it’s astonishingly good. In her futuristic thriller series Ms. Robb takes us where Eve Duncan hates to tread into the glitter and sparkle of Celebrity as Nadine’s book about the Icove case comes to the big screen with big stars and big egos to match and of course in the course of the first few pages there’s a murder and it’s not the murder that stands out but the attention to detail this fabulous author goes into to catch this killer. We also get to as always catch up with the minor stars of the series who’s lives we’ve been invited into numerous times we also meet some new characters some you’ll like and some you won’t. The killer, you’ll meet him/her but you won’t know who he/she is until the author let’s you in. The love between Roarke and Eve is as always an integral part of the story because of it’s implausibility but perfection all the same. The narrative is flawless, the dialogue is all classic Robb with it’s hard edged and adult matter.
This fiery thriller will keep you on your toes and keep you entertained as you desperately try to solve the crime before the author let’s you in on her secret. It will appeal to both men and women and young and older adult audiences as well,
Thank you Ms, Robb for a trip into the future that was all that and more.

 Click here to purchase the novel, visit the author's website here.

Monday, February 20, 2012

The Proper Care and Maintenance of Friendship, March feature at B& Fiction forum

March at the Fiction General Discussion at B& I am so pleased to be featuring The Proper Care and Maintenance of Friendship by Lisa Verge Higgins.
It's a rare find for me to read a novel in January and it still have influence with me enough to feature in on my 20 best of list for 2011, click here to see it or any of my choices.
Please let this be your invitation to join in the conversation and remember that Lisa will be with us all month, there may be some surprises and some prizes as well. If you have a B&N account come on over, if not sign up it's free, come share the joy of reading and discussing a novel as a group with the much added benefit of having the author on hand to answer questions, explain things and just hang out with.
Stay tuned for more updates and coming soon, My interview with Lisa too.

And in preparation for our discussion of this novel I re-present to you my review

The Proper Care and Maintenance of Friendship
Lisa Verge Higgins
Grand Central Publishing
ISBN13: 9780446563512
352 pages

Four very different friends have remained so with much effort, but when tragedy strikes and deathbed requests are made the least that will happen is head scratching, the most will be life changing.

Ms. Higgins has a sure to be hit on her hands in this her first foray into mainstream women’s literature. The first thing that was apparent to me was her astonishing storytelling capability, the second is her capacity to pull some deep emotions from me while reading. She gives us a heart-wrenching tale that will affect even the most stoic readers and she does this with a gracefully flowing narrative that will transport her readers from the most exotic of locations to the mundane of everyday life. She makes this happen with the most incredibly unforgettable characters not stopping with the stars of her novel but right on down the line to the most minor of roles. Her main characters are outstanding in their density and Ms. Higgins does an excellent job of making them very real to her audience. They were not only authentic in the roles they played but also very multi-dimensionally faceted in their personalities. She did an excellent job of making them believable and at times frustratingly so. This is not a romance even though there are romantic elements to the story it’s instead a love story about what it really means to be a friend, what it takes to keep that friendship alive and makes those of us who haven’t done that ashamed and looking up names that we have forgotten about along the way of growing up and growing older.

Anyone who has ever had a lifelong friendship should not only read this but buy it for that special someone they call friend, every woman who’s ever experienced the whole hearted friend love between herself and another woman should experience this awe inspiring novel. And every man who loves a woman will get a better insight into her should he read this tale.

So go out and get this the first “Best Read” of 2011, you won’t be sorry and you will be a better friend if you do.
Kudos to you Ms. Higgins for an inspiring, heart warming and very emotional read.
Buy the novel here visit the author's website here.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Review of A Deeper Darkness by JT Ellison

A Deeper Darkness
JT Ellison
384 pages Pub Date April 17,  2012

Dr. Samantha Owens has lived the last two years of her life in a fog of tragedy, only surviving by focusing on her work as the Chief Medical Examiner for Nashville, but not really living since the waters of a cataclysmic flood stole her entire family from her. Sam gets a call from the mother of a former love Eddie Donovan, a love that is now also lost to tragedy but his mother is not convinced of the circumstances of his death and calls Sam to perform a second autopsy to be sure. Needing an excuse to escape from her self imposed prison for awhile Sam answers the call to help even though she hasn’t heard from Eddie since they broke up after his decision to join the service. When she arrives in DC she’s not welcomed by everyone, Eddie’s wife isn’t at all happy to be hosting a former girlfriend and the detective on his case sees her as a distraction at best and a hindrance at worst. This does not deter Sam as she goes about her business letting the dead tell their secrets and this death is no different it also has secrets to tell, secrets that are pointing in the direction of murder especially as further evidence comes to light and another murder is committed that has ties to Eddie and his time as an Army Ranger serving in Afghanistan. The more Sam digs the more questions arise and with the help of detective Darren Fletcher who’s come to welcome her help they start putting pieces together, but the answers are still just out of reach and the terrain is getting very hazardous as the body count is piling up. But being here a part of something bigger than her, Sam realizes that a partial healing is taking place and is realizing that the human heart is much more than mere valves and blood flow and much more resilient than she first thought. The question is will she survive this new threat long enough to find out what else her heart is telling her or will she become just another victim of a different kind of flood.
JT Ellison has once again gone above and beyond what I expect and done it beautifully. She’s taken fact and fiction and together she’s woven an intricate patterned drama filled mystery. She uses the very real Tennessee flood of 2010, some call it the thousand year flood where very real lives were lost and some of those exactly as was depicted here. She also brings light to life after combat for our homebound men and the real healing they must also go through. Her storyline is imaginative, it’s illusive, it’s brilliantly filled with twists and turns and kept me from closing the pages until I either found out what happened or fell asleep trying to. Her narrative is that of the profession shown, the cop-speak and doc-speak fluently mixed with the everyday dialogue of everyday people. Her characters are all so well defined that I knew them intimately by the end of the novel, some I came to care for and some I hoped to stand under a large falling tree. Is this a mystery, very definitely but it’s so much more, it’s a love story, past present and future, it’s a drama with an edge and it’s a story about one woman’s weakness, her strength and her will to live on.
If you’re lucky enough to have read JT’s Taylor Jackson series then you already know Sam, if this is your first foray into the vivid mind of Ms. Ellison you will learn all you need to know and yet at the end you might be itching to find out what else this talented author has written while you’ll also get to know Sam a little better as well.
JT it’s as always my immense pleasure to be an early reader for you and I look forward not only to your next story but the fact that you’ll be sharing yourself with my B& book club later on in the year.
Pre-order the novel here visit JT's website here.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

New Release and Q&A with Lauren Fox and her newest novel Friends Like Us

Q&A Lauren Fox
Friends Like Us

Lauren congratulations on Friends Like Us, tell us a little about it.

Thank you!  Friends Like Us is about (you guessed it) friendship.  It’s the story of twenty-six-year-old Willa Jacobs, who lives with her best friend Jane in an apartment in Milwaukee.  They’re riding the wave of impending adulthood happily together, working jobs for which they’re overqualified, hanging out, going out with guys but always coming back together to tell each other the stories of their dates.  It’s clear that they are the most important people in the world to each other, the way friends are at particular points in our lives.  At the beginning of the novel, Willa’s high school best friend, Ben, re-enters the picture after several years’ absence.  He and Willa reconnect, to her delight, and she brings him home to meet Jane.  Pretty quickly, and with Willa’s blessing, Ben and Jane begin a romantic relationship.  Willa, Ben and Jane are a perfect, happy trio of close friends… for a while, until things get more serious between Ben and Jane, and Willa has to figure out how much she’s willing to sacrifice for her friends’ happiness.  To me, Friends Like Us is also very much about adulthood and that intense time in your life when some people are striding confidently toward the future, and others are stuck, stagnating in jobs they don’t like and relationships they can’t sustain.  Willa is forced to figure out who she is when everything in her life comes together in a moment of crisis.

I love your bio and invite everyone to read it here, it’s very poignant in it’s vulnerability and yet is funny too. Friends Like Us in your second novel, let’s go back to before Still Life With Husband.
Tell us what it was like getting the message that you were going to be a published novelist.

My friend Elizabeth says that on the day I found out that my first novel was going to be published, I called her, “weeping like Miss America.”  (I remember calling her, but not the weeping part.  Although I’m sure it’s true.)  It was the culmination of years and years of hard work and just loads of failure.  I had tried to support myself after college by working as a freelance writer, which I did for a long time and found to be very difficult.  Finally, when I moved to Milwaukee with my husband, I just decided that I would get a part-time job and focus my energy on writing a novel.  It took the pressure off of me.  I wasn’t doing it for anyone, and I wasn’t pitching it or trying to sell it.  I didn’t really have any expectations for the novel (hopes, yes, but not expectations), so when Knopf bought the book, it was just one of those amazing, shocking, perfect moments.

Is writing a full time job for you, do you limit it to novels or do you still write for publications too.

Right now, yes, I’m writing full-time, and at the moment I’m focusing on novels.  These days, if a freelance assignment comes my way, I’m very happy to do it, but I’m not struggling through the hard part of pitching ideas right now.  I’m just starting my third novel and getting excited about falling into a the world of new characters and situations and conflicts.

What does Lauren do for fun

I love to read.  My ideal vacation would involve a cabin near a lake, a comfortable chair, and a suitcase full of novels.  (And a maid and a cook.)

Do you belong to a writers group
why or why not

I do, and I love my little group so much.  We’ve been meeting for a few years now, and we’re comfortable enough with each other that any one of us can show up with a messy few pages from a scene we haven’t quite figured out yet, or a more completed draft of something, or just a few ideas we want to toss around.  And I think I speak for all of us when I say that no matter what, we leave our meetings having received excellent feedback and critique, excited about writing the next pages.  For me, just knowing that three people expect me to give them something to read and comment on is great motivation.

Take us through an average day in the life of Lauren Fox

Well, I have two young children, so during an average day I’m on mommy duty in the mornings and afternoons/evenings, and in between, while they’re at school (or, with my younger daughter, at my parents’) I write.  I feel insanely lucky.  I get to spend a ton of time with my family, and when I’m not with them, I get to do the other thing I love.

Who is your focus audience or do you not like to be put on a specific genre shelf

I had a creative writing professor in college who said that she writes for a reader who is exactly like her, only smarter.  I think about that a lot as I’m writing.  I think it keeps me from overexplaining or dumbing things down, at the same time that it gives me free reign to be weird or funny or dark.  I guess this implies that I prefer not to be put on a specific genre shelf, mainly because when people hear something like “women’s fiction,” it excludes a whole section of readers.

Do you have any signings or events planned for Barnes & Nobel locations, I’m sure some of the members here would love to meet you in person.

I would love to meet readers, too.  Unfortunately we don’t have anything scheduled at this time.

Thank you for taking the time to answer a few questions and good luck with the book.
Thank you so much!

Visit Lauren's website here

Monday, February 13, 2012

Review of Flashfire by Deborah Cooke

Deborah Cooke
Penguin Group
416 pages

Lorenzo is an illusionist, deception is his business he’s also a Pyr, a dragon shapeshifter part of a brotherhood of dragons who protect the earth and it’s treasures. He’s been estranged from his brother dragons for a very long time finding the battles between them and their dark enemies the slayers barbaric and he chooses a life of solitude with his father his only close companion. During an eclipse that tells of a Pyr’s firestorm, his uniting with his destined mate it becomes all to clear to Lorenzo that this firestorm has his name on it and he only wants to sate it and move on. But the firestorm is leading him down a path he doesn’t want to journey, a path of commitment and duty and Lorenzo only has a duty to himself.
In the middle of the show Cassie Redmond sees sparks flying from the hand of Lorenzo right to her and it’s causing her no amount of comfort when she’s experiencing lusty thoughts about the magician. It’s not her job as a paparazzi photographer that brought her here to the hot Vegas sun, but she’s not one to look an opportune gift horse in the mouth when her greatest opportunity is changing into a dragon right before her eyes.
Gifted with an ancient spell Lorenzo has one last disappearing act to perform but the woman who attracts all his thoughts is making this decision harder than he would have thought and their firestorm is attracting more that just heat, it’s calling dragons both good and evil into their path and it’s giving Lorenzo and Cassie something that neither of them ever imagined possible, a future. But there’s evil in hiding wanting nothing more than to rid Lorenzo and Cassie of not only the child the firestorm will bring but their very lives as well. Can they win the war or will they be a victim of Flashfire.

Deborah Cooke is a dragon master of a storyteller and her stories only get better as the series goes on and she brings us new and different dragons, the women they must love and the enemies that are trying to get rid of them. In this novel she takes us in a different direction with Lorenzo who’s a showman and secretive at the same time. Lorenzo fills the pages with enigmatic glory only rivaled by his mate Cassie and I did not stop turning pages until the firestorm had ended and the battle between good and evil was once again fought. The dialogue always reminds me a little of Europe and a little of an long ago time and place filled with knights and maidens but there is also something very contemporary about it too and whatever “it” is works very well. The love scenes are hotter than dragonfire both in intensity and in action and what in this novel starts as lust soon grows into something much more permanent as the romance is nurtured by it’s participants. As always she brought me much more than just a mere paranormal romance but a bit of legend, myth and a creed that gives honor to her characters as well.
Deb, thank you so much for another trip to the sky courtesy of dragon wings and I as always look forward to my next journey there.
Buy the book here visit the author's website here

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Review of Shift Book one of the ChronoShift Trilogy by Zack Mason

Shift Book one in the ChronoShift trilogy
Zack Mason
Dogwood Publishing Company
311 pages
In a split second Mark Carpen lost his children, it took a bit longer to loose everything else and instead of loosing his soul and his sanity he takes to the woods of Georgia to get well and truly lost. While on his self imposed isolation he comes upon a strange watch like apparatus and is thrown literally for a loop when he discovers it enables the wearer to shift time. The discovery enables Mark to come back to society a different man, with new goals and the money to accomplish them and he soon learns to use the device to right wrongs, when the ultimate right is set before him the obstacles refuse to give way and his children remain gone. He is eventually joined by fellow shifters who will accompany him in his altruistic quest. But there is also a malevolent force trying to put an end not only to Mark’s humanitarian mission but to Mark and his partner’s lives as well. And so a circular cause and effects begin as the villain tries to hamper Mark and Mark and his friends try to stop him. Will good overcome evil or will evil win the day.
I love science fiction and especially alternate history but I’m also very particular in what I like and I loved this novel. Zack Mason gives his reader an imaginative, inventive, highly electrifying adrenaline filled novel, he fills it with characters that will not soon be forgotten and a protagonist that you can’t help but root for, cry with and empathize with in all his struggles, his triumphs and his pain. His villain(s) is someone you wouldn’t mind seeing under the tire of a very large truck as he goes around maligning Mark, his work and his associates. The dialogue is easy to follow, easy to read and is happily short on foul-language and shows his audience that you can have a great read without four letter words. The narrative is very intense and will give the reader a clear picture in their mind. If you like Science Fiction and are looking for a new author give Zack Mason a try, you won’t be sorry, If you liked the alternative history of Stephen King’s 11/22/62 or Harry Turtledove’s Supervolcano Eruption you will like this novel as well.
Thank you Mr. Mason for this wonderful read and I can’t wait to read Chase the next installment in the trilogy due out sometime in Spring 2012.
Buy the book here visit Zack's FaceBook author's page here

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Q&A with #1 NYTimes Bestselling author Lisa Gardner

Q&A with Lisa Gardner
Catch Me

Debbie - Lisa, this is an honor for me as you are my all time favorite author. When I began my second life as a reader The Perfect Husband was one of the first books I read and in fact I won your monthly contest and was offered a signed copy of any novel, I chose The Perfect Husband. You told me that it was only available in paper back and therefore wasn’t as valuable as a hard back copy. My response was that it was invaluable to me and it still has a place of honor on my signed copy bookshelf. So without further ado, welcome to the B& General Fiction Book club forum.
My first question has to be-(and I know you hear it all the time) what’s a nice girl like you doing coming up with some of the scariest, evilest, vilest bad guys out there that would even give the boy writers out there nightmares. I still see the spiders from Say Goodbye, yesh.
Lisa - Ah, you’ve made me blush!  I’m so happy you enjoyed The Perfect Husband, and I only wish I understood how a nice girl like me got into this business.  Growing up, I always gravitated to murder mysteries.  I’m fascinated by the criminal mind—is evil nature versus nurture?  I think every book I’ve written has attempted to delve into that question, what makes a murderer, and better yet, what can a good cop do to catch a killer.

D - Tell us a little about Catch Me
L - Meet Charlene Grant.  Each year, same day, same time, one of her best friends has been murdered.  Now, she’s the last woman standing and it’s four days till another gruesome anniversary.  Charlie believes she’s dead woman walking, but she doesn’t plan on going down without a fight.  She’s been training—shooting, boxing, running.  She’s also approached Boston’s top cop, D.D. Warren, to handle her case.  On January 21, someone’s going to try to kill Charlene Grant.  But he’s gotta catch her first.

D - Congratulations on the release of Catch Me the 7th in the DD Warren series (counting the ebook The 7th Month)
You have stand a lones, series, and connected character novels and your fans are in for a thrill because in Catch Me many of them have cameo appearances.
Do you have a set number in mind for DD or does she tell you.
L - True confession time:  I never planned on writing a D.D. Warren series.  She was supposed to be a walk on part for my sniper novel, Alone.  I just needed a Boston cop for one scene.  But her take-no-prisoners attitude captured my attention and the next thing I knew, she needed a book.  Except, at the end of that novel, she was still alone, and that bothered me so she needed another book, then another.  And I’m still not sure how I got in this mess.  So I guess D.D. Warren is calling the shots, because it’s all been a mystery to me.  I’ve missed my FBI profiler characters, however, so it was a lot of fun to bring Quincy and his daughter Kimberly into D.D.’s world.  J.T. Dillon from The Perfect Husband also appears, which I hope readers will enjoy!

D - I have to laugh at you’re A-Day-In-The-Life-Of on your website and I was fascinated by instead of spa trips you go to Quantico ( I guess to work on that tan).
When you do go on a “real vacation” what do you like to do.
L - Real vacations all involve lounging somewhere with a great book.  Setting is irrelevant, great novel to read all important.  I particularly love Karin Slaughter, Tess Gerritsen and Lee Child.  I open one of their novels, and I can take a first class vacation while still sitting on my sofa.

D - Tell us a little about how The Lisa Gardner Raceteam started
L - My crazy husband.  I mean my brilliant adrenaline addicted husband.  No, I mean my crazy husband.  He spends his summers racing in the SCCA circuit.  I noticed lots of people at the track read books to pass the time between races.  Not being a dumb bunny, it occurred to me that here was a built in audience:  people, waiting four hours for their turn to drive at high speeds, meaning clearly they need a short term adrenaline fix to fill the void.  I started handing out thrillers, and the rest is history.

D - If your daughter told you she wanted to be an author as a career, what would you advise her
L - Writing is the hardest and most rewarding profession there is.  You have to be able handle the rejection, while maintaining faith in your imagination.  I always picture the industry as this giant roller coaster ride.  As long as you’re prepared for the ups, downs, and occasional vomiting, you’ll do just fine.

D - Do you have any B&N signings or events planned
L - I have an event February 11 at the Palm Beach Gardens B&N.
For those who are interested here is the Palm Beach Gardens store details
Also, I generally do a lot of stocking signings at B&Ns as I wing my way cross country.  Hope to see people at Palm Beach Gardens!

D - I usually have a review when I do these Q&A’s but I’m afraid my Catch Me review belongs to LibraryJournal which is listed below courtesy of them
L - I got to see it and I did love.  Thank you!)

Please visit the author’s website here and you can see my review on her website here thank you very much Lisa.

Here is the my review of Catch Me courtesy of Library Journal
Gardner, Lisa. Catch Me. Dutton. Feb. 2012. c.400p. ISBN 9780525952763. $26.95. F
D.D. Warren has returned from maternity leave and is back on the job just in time to investigate a crime spree in which the victims are also child predators. She’s soon contacted by a young woman named Charlie Grant, who announces that she expects to be killed in several days and asks D.D. to investigate her murder. As D.D. copes with personal issues while working with her old team (plus a new face in Detective O) to piece together this crime puzzle, the two seemingly unconnected cases begin to show signs of overlapping. The clues all point in one direction, prompting D.D. to rethink and reevaluate the evidence in the race to put that final piece in place. 
Verdict New York Times best-selling author Gardner (Love You More; Live To Tell; Alone) always plays in the big leagues, but this scare-your-socks-off thriller is a grand slam, packed with enigmatic characters (some good, some crazily evil), expert procedural detail, and superb storytelling. Readers will be guessing who done it until the final pages—and the author’s fans will love all the name-dropping from previous works. Fans of Michael Connelly and Harlan Coben will delight in Gardner’s scare-fest.—Debbie Haupt, St. Charles City–Cty. P.L., St. Peters, MO

                                          Copyright Philbrick Photography