Monday, January 31, 2011

What Are You Reading?

Yes, that's me, buried underneath a pile of books.  LOL!  I keep saying I won't add to my TBR pile, but then I see all these great books I want to read. I have several books I'm reading for virtual book tours--some Pump Up Your Book's clients and some for others.

I recently read The Innocent by Vincent Zandri. He is a client of Pump Up Your Book--not my client, but he's been with us to promote a few books. When I heard he was touring again, I knew I had to read this one. Zandri has such a following. I needed to know why.

The Innocent is an excellent read. Gripping, raw, and edgy. It's is available in a Kindle edition for only 99 cents right now.

I finished The Tudor Secret (The Elizabeth I Spymaster Chronicles) by C.W. Gortner a few days ago. I loved his The Confessions of Catherine de Medici and The Last Queen, so I knew I was going to read this one. I had the pleasure of helping him promote The Confessions of Catherine de Medici and will work with him on the The Tudor Secret. The latter features a fictional main character. The writing is superb and the plot intriguing. It's a must read.

Over the weekend I read, Angel Lost, the latest Rocky Bluff P.D. crime novel by F.M. Meredith. This book will be available in March. Marilyn is also one of my clients. I've read all the Rocky Bluff P.D. books and this new one is great.

Next up, I'm reading Resurrection Garden (A Decade Series Mystery) by Frank Scully. This is Frank's first book, published by new Canadian e-Publisher, MuseItUp Publishing. I'm thrilled to have a chance to help Frank promote this first of several books we'll be seeing from him. Then after that, I need to read The Secret Life of Emily Dickinson: A Novel by Jerome Charyn, which is being released from W.W. Norton & Company on Valentine's Day. Dickinson is one of my favorite poets, so I hope this is a good book.

How about you? What did you just finish reading? What's up next?

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Enough Winter Already!

Now, I've been known to pray for snow. I always want a white Christmas. But I never pray for any snow after January 1st. It's silly, but I only want snow for the holidays and then it can stay away until next year.

The East Coast has gotten slammed during the month of January with one major storm after another. My girls have been out of school this month almost as much as they have been in. Here are a few photos of what it looks like around here:

This is our front yard after the second major snow storm during the week of January 17th. We have added at least another 8 inches of snow since then. My girls had 2 snow days that week and 1 this past week.

The nice thing about our property is that we have our own hill for sledding. It's getting a lot of use this year.

I had cleared some of the snow off the deck in between storms, but this is what is out there right now. Gee, I hope it doesn't collapse under the weight.

I hear the next storm is headed our way Tuesday night into Wednesday. I have a feeling the girls will be home again if things play out the way they have so far this winter. Calgon, take me away!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Inside the Mind of a Writer by David Richards, Author of Pairs

Today's special guest is David Richards, author of the women's fiction book, Pairs.

Pairs is the story of Kayley and Adam, a single mom who makes her living writing greeting cards and a young carpenter; and Alexandra and Henry, a former stripper with dual identities and a math teacher with some unusual gender issues. The couples are connected through Henry and Adam, who are cousins, and through Kayley’s friend Helen, who is also Henry’s step-sister. As each couple builds a connection, the joint friendship turns into family. Kayley’s daughter, Terra, becomes a central focus of both relationships; she is loved and nurtured by the village that the couples create.

With the tightening of the bond between the couples, the mission for the pairs—which begins and ends with Kayley—turns to parenthood for Henry and Alexandra. The story weaves the elements of past sexual abuse, sexual dysfunction, problem pregnancies, and absolute devotion to family into a plot that draws the reader into the lives of these very unconventional characters.

Inside the Mind of a Writer by David Richards

My formula is simple, as long as writing remains a form of procrastination pulling me away from a more pressing matter to which I should be attending, then I can regale on ad infinitum. Should I actually be thwarted in my attempts to sit down and work on a project, then I am in my prolific glory. Confine me to a room of roadblocks, and I will weave you chapters.

Over this last year I found my life arranged in such a manner as to grant me great luxurious swaths of time where my writing could take centre stage. It was dreadful. This stint in my shirker purgatory was compounded by the thorny encumbrance of being relocated to the extraordinarily inspiring setting of Venice, Italy. Cruelty, thy most searing weapon is irony.

Engorged on the fat of all-the-time-in- the-world, I had little else to do with my day but to procrastinate. However, temporarily unfettered from the usual daily concerns I was left utterly abandoned by all that from which I had so diligently shrugged off in the past. Cast into the world, without concern, worry, nagging issue or deadline, I was adrift in the cold bleakness of opportunity and endless possibility.

When I sat to write, blank pages were exchanged for Internet pages, and my slow spiral downward began. It started by frequent email checks, but quickly grew to a compulsion as I opened new email accounts and then fanned out into social networks. In an ever escalating search for the bigger hit of wasting time, I descended upon the Internet like a ravenous cloud of locusts consuming celebrity gossip, dating tips and the like.

To save my writing aspirations, it was clear that I needed something else to avoid, and I needed it soon. At my darkest hour, an executive search had found me and offered a position – one that was sure to be an endless treadmill of deliverables. Thus was my salvation.

Facebook: David W. Richards – Writer
Twitter: DW_Richards
Goodreads: David William Richards

D.W. Richards is a member of the Canadian Authors Association and beyond being a novelist he is also a script-doctor and freelance writer. An excerpt from Pairs will appear in the October 2010 issue of the international literary PDF quarterly Cantarville as a standalone fiction piece. In addition to creative writing, D.W. Richards has a Bachelor Degree in Psychology from Carleton University and is a Certified General Accountant. He divides his time between Venice, Italy and Ottawa, Canada.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Book Connection is Participating in February's National Blog Posting Month

It's been a while, but The Book Connection will participate in National Blog Posting Month (NaBloPoMo) in February . You can visit their website to see who else is taking part in NaBloPoMo.

Book Publicist Charlie Barrett to give away Kindle at Facebook Party TONIGHT

Charlie BarrettHollywood, CA - - Award winning national book publicist Charlie Barrett ( will guest at a "FaceBook Party" hosted by the leading book promo Internet firm Pump Up Your Book on Thursday, January 27th, 9-11pm EST. A free Kindle ($189 value!) will be given away during the session. Those interested can log on to to participate in this Net event and have a real time chat with Mr. Barrett, who heads The Barrett Company based in the nation's creative center, Hollywood.

During the two-hour session Thursday evening with Pump Up Your Book, Mr. Barrett will take questions from those participating such as how to get your book marketed in the evolving publishing marketplace, how authors can get booked on top market radio and TV shows and overall tips on creating a best seller book by using creative publicity techniques.

Mr. Barrett was voted Book Publicist of the Year by the Southern California Book Pub Society and is a member of the Publishers Association of Los Angeles. His book publicist credits range from Carla Malden's upcoming book Afterimage to Ben Berkley's Before You Say I Do Again to many, many others in the non-fiction and fiction genres. The Barrett Company also represents personalities and companies involved in both film and television production. Earlier Mr. Barrett served with NBC as the publicist for Johnny Carson's Tonight Show. His new website may be accessed via
* * * * *



Full details at!

Pump Up Your Book Announces February ‘11 Authors on Virtual Book Tours


Join a talented and diverse group of 23 authors who are touring with Pump Up Your Book Virtual Book Tours during the month of February 2011.

Follow these authors as they travel the blogosphere from February 1st through February 25th to discuss their books. You’ll find everything from psychological mysteries to personal narratives, from business books to thrillers, from self-help books to romance novels, and more!

Amazon bestselling author Vincent Zandri returns to Pump Up Your Book to promote his latest thriller, “The Innocent.” We also welcome back C.W. Gortner, who is promoting the re-issue of his historical mystery thriller, “The Tudor Secret.” Other returning authors include Becky Due and her contemporary romance novel, “The Dumpster”, Lou Aronica and his fantasy novel, “Blue”, Rose A. Valenta and her humor book, “Sitting on Cold Porcelain”, Frank C. Matthews and his urban fiction book, “Respect the Jux”, Kath Russell and her comical mystery thriller, “A Pointed Death”, David Richards and his women’s fiction book, “Pairs”, and Pamela Samuels Young and her legal thriller, “Murder on the Down Low.”

Frank Edwards, James LePore, and Allan Leverone are promoting their thrillers, while mysteries are being promoted by Jeanne C. Davis and Frank Scully. Business books come to you from Cynthia Kocialski and Lynne Matthews, and Michael Ferris is touring with his personal narrative, “Crossing Borders.”

Also on tour in February 2011 are Dr. Jennifer Freed, Sheila Hendrix, Kristina McMorris, and Tom Roy. Erin Bassett is touring during the last two weeks of the month with her urban fantasy online series, “Clockwork”, and New York Times bestselling author Diana Gabaldon is touring mid-February through mid-March with the first book in her popular historical romance sci-fic adventure series, “Outlander.”

Visit Pump Up Your Book on YouTube at to view a video trailer introducing our authors on tour in February.

Pump Up Your Book is a virtual book tour agency for authors who want quality service at an affordable price. More information can be found on their website at

Contact Information:
Dorothy Thompson
Founder of Pump Up Your Book Virtual Book Tours
P.O. Box 643
Chincoteague, Virginia 23336

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Spotlight: Amanda Wolfe, Author of Beneath the Silver Lining Trilogy: Secrets of the Black Box

On the outside, her family appeared to be one big, happy family. Their house, with her parents, three sisters, and two brothers, was the epitome of a simple yet fulfilling life lived in a small town. But as the author would soon discover, her childhood was in fact a nightmarish phase of her life she would always be running from. Growing up as a carefree girl, Wolfe struggled to comprehend why she was reared in a family where children are deprived of their right to know the truth, adults are always right, and smoothing out a misunderstanding is never an option.

At the young age of nine, she started experiencing cruelty at the hands of her father, who not only abused her emotionally, but physically and sexually as well. Her mother, whose love she sought, was a stern woman who refused to see her husband’s mistakes. As if her deeply troubled relationship with her parents was not enough, Wolfe also had to deal with inner secrets involving creepy characters from the afterlife. Feeling tormented, confused, solitary, and even filthy, this naïve girl had yet to be transformed into a strong-willed woman who would become cynical about love and learn to depend on no one but herself while facing more of life’s bitterness.

The first of a series of three, Beneath the Silver Lining Trilogy: Secrets of the Black Box chronicles the author’s journey along a perplexing road of growing up. It was originally written as a therapeutic way to heal her inner wounds and to let go of the pain and anger. However, it is now shared to bring inspiration to readers — especially women.

Read the Reviews!

"A book of total honesty and bravery. This is the story of an amazing woman and the courage she shows in the face of horrific circumstances. You will not only be shaken by the author's story of her childhood, you will also be moved by her unquenchable spirit. I can't wait for the second book in this trilogy!"
-June Mcleish

"This book documents a courageous effort to reveal the horrors of a secret and disturbing childhood endured by a young woman trapped in a dysfunctional family. Despite beatings and personal violations on numerous occasions, this young child makes a valiant effort to unravel the confusion, search for the truth and persevere with a positive outlook on life."

-M. Jacobs

Amanda Wolfe was born in Ottawa, Canada in the mid ‘60s. She matured at a very young age out of necessity growing up in unusual circumstances. She has always been a happy-go-lucky, carefree spirit and a very strong-willed person. She has done everything from waitressing to owning her own restaurant and selling things from Mary Kay cosmetics to real estate.

She is married to a wonderful man. They currently reside in the great state of Texas with their horses. When she is not at home writing her latest novel, you will find her and her husband flying in their plane and traveling the world together.

For more information on Amanda and her book visit where you'll find an excerpt from Beneath the Silver Lining.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Interview: Emily Pikkasso, Author of The Oak King's Daughter

Joining us today is author Emily Pikkasso. She lives on a farm that she shares with a multitude of creatures. Emily’s first poems and short stories were published while still in grade school. We’ll be talking about her writing today and about The Oak King’s Daughter, her recent release from MuseItUp Publishing.

Welcome to The Book Connection, Emily. Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

I am a proud Albertan and horsewoman. I live on a farm near Balzac, Alberta with three horses, one pony, twenty-four chickens, various dogs, cats and whatever else happens to wander into the yard. I enjoy writing poetry and stories, both long and short.

Where did you grow up?

I grew up in southern Ontario in the suburbs of Toronto.

What is your fondest childhood memory?

I remember the first time I rode a horse; it was at the Bowmanville Zoo. The horse was a bay and we rode around in a little circle, I was about three and surprisingly I can still see the horse’s ears and smell that lovely horsey smell.

When did you begin writing?

I honestly can’t answer that. I have been writing as long as I can remember, little stories and lines of poetry were always floating into my mind when I was a kid, not much has changed. The thoughts just have a bit more structure now.

Do you write during the day, at night or whenever you can sneak a few moments?

I write anytime, anywhere. I keep a journal with me when we drive to my son’s in Saskatchewan because my Muse always seems to be active when the wheels are rolling under me. I write best late at night when it is quiet and the world around me is sleeping.

What is this book about?

The Oak King’s Daughter is based loosely on the old Welsh myth about the Oak King and the Holly King. The Oak king rules the six months of summer and the Holly King the six months of winter, so twice a year on the Solstices the two fight - generally over a woman who represents the Earth and sovereignty. Predictably, the Oak king wins at Winter Solstice because now the sun begins to strengthen and the days grow slowly longer, the Holly king wins at Summer Solstice since from that time until the next solstice the sun loses a little bit of strength each day. In my tale the Oak King has a daughter named Dara and the Holly King wishes to steal her away. How he works to accomplish that feat is quite innovative if I do say so myself.

What inspired you to write it?

I wanted to see if I could. I don’t write a lot of romance and there were so many romance publishing houses represented at the Muse OnLine Conference I thought perhaps I should give it go. I’m quite pleased with the result and I hope my readers will be too.

Who is your biggest supporter?

My writing partner Lynne in Surrey, B.C. and my BFF Carol.

Are you a member of a critique group? If no, who provides feedback on your work?

No, I don’t belong to a critique group, but Lynne and I exchange manuscripts for feedback all the time and another MuseItUp author and I exchange ideas with each other as well.

Who is your favorite author?

Charles de Lint, he’s Canadian and lives in Ottawa. He writes Urban Fantasy as well as Celtic Fantasy.

Do you have an agent or are you looking for one?


Was the road to publication smooth sailing or a bumpy ride?

The road to getting the two books that are coming out this year was a bit bumpy but it all worked out for the best in the end.

If you knew then, what you know now, is there anything you would have done differently?

I would have started to submit earlier and I would have told my younger self to believe in myself and the dream and not worry so much about what other people thought.

Where can readers purchase a copy of your book?

The Oak King’s Daughter is available from the MuseItUp Bookstore, Omnilit and Bookstrand at the moment.

Just go to the website and click on my award winning cover.

Do you have a website and/or blog where readers can find out more?

I have a website.  I welcome feedback from my readers and can be contacted at

Do you have a video trailer to promote your book? If yes, where can readers find it?

I do! It is on youtube and is the magical creation of D.K. Renders.

What is the best investment you have made in promoting your book?

I think the trailer, I love it. Although I have gotten a lot of mileage out of some promotional things I have ordered like full color postcards and magnets.

What is one piece of advice you would like to share with aspiring authors everywhere?

Write, write, write and submit. Believe in yourself.

What is up next for you?

I have had a story accepted for MuseItHot’s Lacey’s Lamp series which will be debuting in 2012. A whole year of spicy stories with a similar theme. The stories all take place in a bar called Lacey’s Lamp which is run by a genie who grants you one wish. After that, hold on to your hat because it’s all up to the individual author at that point. Mine is called "Choices" and is scheduled for March 2011. I can’t wait.

Is there anything you would like to add?

Thanks for allowing me to be your guest, I hope I have entertained your followers and inspired them to start or keep writing, and of course to rush to their computers and scoop up a copy of The Oak King’s Daughter.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Author Spotlight: Martin Sharlow, Author of Shades of Twlight

Melissa has waited her whole life to move out and start her own. This is her first summer after graduating and now she has her own place and a job. Everything she wanted is starting to happen.

Until the accident.

When the most gorgeous guy she has ever seen saves her life, he also forever changes it. What do you do when you find out that life as you have always known it isn’t real, and the man you love is a vampire, out to save you from something worse?

Read the Excerpt!

The lights came back on in the theater, and still half the people hadn’t left yet. The first portion got up and left the moment the credits came up, but the rest sat in their seats and talked about everything they’d just watched. A few of the last people leaving let their eyes linger on Michael as they walked out, but most didn’t even seem to notice him any longer. I guess they were more wrapped up in their new world of vampires and werewolves. I couldn’t blame them, really. Bella’s world looked all romantic and fun. Somehow even with a horde of vampires trying to kill her, the movie seemed to make it a cool thing. I realized that, had I been Bella and that was my life, it wouldn’t seem so cool anymore. At the moment, though, it did. Her romanticized life seemed preferable to mine, and yet a part of me knew I wouldn’t leave mine right now even if it were possible.

I looked over at Michael to see him sitting there staring at me. I wondered what he was thinking, if he thought I was his Bella, or was he just amused that I had the need to escape into fantasy. I noticed a kernel of popcorn stuck on his shoulder, then one in his hair, and couldn’t help wonder how they got there.

“Are we done yet?” He asked with a bit of hope in his eyes. “Or are we going to go get another ticket and watch it again?”

He looked so adorable right now, just sitting there with popcorn in his hair. I wasn’t sure what it was or why he so appealed to me right then, but without thinking I found myself pressing my lips against his silky soft ones. His lips warmed to the touch of mine, as we kissed.

Read the Reviews!

"If you like a paranormal storyline with some mystery and a little romance thrown in, than you will enjoy Shades of Twilight."

--Acting Balanced

"I do recommend this story for those who enjoy vampires with mystery."

--Goodreads Reviewer

Martin Sharlow was always a storyteller. In his youth he used to play role playing games and usually he was the game master. That allowed him to create and modify stories and then tell them to his captive audience in the form of a game. Because of this and the many fantasy books he read, Martin went the next step and started writing fantasy novels.

Recently, however, Martin changed genres to vampire romance as he got bitten by the vampire bug. This happened after picking up one of the latest novels and finding himself hooked on it. Today Martin has written two vampire romance novels, and is in the process of writing many more.

Martin currently lives in Vancouver, WA with two of his three children, who help to keep him grounded in reality.

You can visit Martin Sharlow at


Saturday, January 22, 2011

February Romance Novel Event

Starting on February 1st, we will be featuring a variety of romance novels--some old, some new, maybe even a few that are coming out soon. Historical romance, contemporary romance, paranormals, and some great romantic suspense novels, you'll find them here.

We hope you'll join us all month long while we celebrate the month dedicated to lovers.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Updated the Upcoming Events Page

Be sure to check out Upcoming Events Page to know what authors will be featured during the coming months.

Thank you for your support!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Interview: Rose Valenta, Author of Sitting on Cold Porcelain

Joining us today is Rose A. Valenta, author of Sitting on Cold Porcelain.

Rose is a nationally syndicated humor columnist. Her irreverent columns have been published in Senior Wire, Associated Content, Courier Post Online, NPR, Newsday, USA TODAY, the WSJ Online, and many other local news and radio websites.

She regularly attends the Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop at the University of Dayton, is a member of the Robert Benchley Society and the National Society of Newspaper Columnists (NSNC).

Rose worked for a subsidiary of McGraw-Hill, Datapro Information Services, for 12 years as a technical staff writer, and also wrote freelance articles for other computer industry publications.

Welcome to The Book Connection, Rose. It is wonderful to have you with us. Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

I’m one lucky woman. I have a great husband, three wonderful children, and 10 beautiful grandchildren.

Where did you grow up?

I spent my childhood in Olean, NY; Burlington County, NJ; Bucks County, PA; and Philadelphia. Yes, they called me Gypsy Rose.

What is your fondest childhood memory?

I enjoyed spending time with my grandparents. My Grandma in Olean was a professional baker and I loved eating her sugar cookies. My Italian grandparents in NJ were fun too. My Grandfather made wine in huge wooden barrels in the basement. The house always had the wonderful aroma of an Italian restaurant: a happy combination of garlic, locatelli, biscotti, and wine. You always wanted to eat when you got there. I never saw the kitchen table without food on it, even if it was just a large pot of brewed tea and biscotti.

When did you begin writing?

I began writing when I was a young mother raising my children in Philadelphia.

Do you write during the day, at night or whenever you can sneak a few moments?

I think better at night, but I’ll work on an essay whenever it’s quiet around the house and I can spare the time.

What is this book about?

Sitting on Cold Porcelain is a compilation of humorous essays. Its underlying theme is getting a good laugh out of Murphy’s Law. Things always go wrong to tick you off, so you need a humorous perspective.

What inspired you to write it?

Just turn on the TV and listen to all the doom and gloomers' vying for a piece of your good mood. You can wake up in the morning feeling pretty and end the day wanting to deck Glenn Beck. What’s that all about, right? I thought it was supposed to be entertainment.

Then, we have political candidates getting themselves into sex scandals and feel the need not to spare us the details on prime-time news. Where are the kids supposed to do their homework? You can’t V-chip the x-rated news while they are trying to think. You need a good laugh by the end of the day.

Sitting on Cold Porcelain reminds me of a famous Erma Bombeck quote “If you can’t fix it, you can laugh at it.”

Who is your biggest supporter?

My husband is my biggest supporter. He always encourages me to tackle tough topics. You know, when I’m writing about current events or some political fiasco, news you wouldn’t think had any potential for humor.

Are you a member of a critique group? If no, who provides feedback on your work?

I have a terrific support group among my friends from the Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop; and I have a great publicist, Marti Lawrence.

Where can readers purchase a copy of your book?

Sitting on Cold Porcelain is available at Amazon, The Kindle Store, Barnes and Noble (also for Nook), Better World Books, and the order desk of your local bookstore. You can also order an autographed copy on my blog.

Do you have a website and/or blog where readers can find out more?

Yes, Rosie’s Renegade Humor Blog – This is the blog for people who would be knowledgeable about current events and politics if only politicians and news anchors didn’t stretch the truth. “What else is there to do, but share an honest laugh?” Rose said.

What is the best investment you have made in promoting your book?

Signing up with Pump Up Your Book for a virtual book tour.

What is one piece of advice you would like to share with aspiring authors everywhere?

In addition to enjoying your work, pay attention to the important grunt work like editing and marketing. Here are a few things for your guerrilla marketing arsenal: Purchase The Frugal Book Editor and Frugal Book Promoter by Carolyn Howard-Johnson; 1001 Ways to Market Your Books by John Kremer; read Nettie Hartsock’s PR Blog –; and take a course called “Writing Is A Profession – Are you A Professional” by Gordon Kirkland at

What is up next for you?

I’m currently working on the manuscript for Sitting on Cold Porcelain II. I’m hoping Mahmūd Ahmadinezhād owns up to whacking Paul the Octopus before press time.

Thanks for spending time with us today, Rose. We had a great time. We wish you continued success.

Interview: Heather Haven, Author of Murder is a Family Business

Joining us today is Heather Haven, author of Murder is a Family Business, the first book in her Alvarez Family Murder Mystery series published by MuseItUpPublishing.
Heather is a story teller by nature and loves the written word. In her career, she’s written short stories, novels, comedy acts, plays, television treatments, ad copy, commercials, and even ghost-wrote a book.

One of her first jobs as a writer was given to her by her then agent. It was that of writing a love story for a book published by Bantam called Moments of Love. She had a deadline of one week and then promptly came down with the flu. Writing "The Sands of Time" with a temperature of 102 delivered some pretty hot stuff. A short stint with No Soap Radio in New York City as a staff comedy writer was a dream come true! She knew writing was for her, in particular, funny writing.

Two one-act plays, The Closet Corpse and Baltimore, farcical comedies both, were well received whenever and wherever they've been performed. She had the good fortune to have Baltimore done at Playwrights Horizon in New York City, shortly after The Closet Corpse premiered off-off B'Way, starring the very talented Sandy Faison, of Broadway's Annie fame. Both have also been recently done in San Jose to an appreciative audience.

Heather is in the process of writing the third novel of the Alvarez Mystery Series and finds it a joy. She gets to be all the characters, including the cat!

Welcome to The Book Connection, Heather. It is wonderful to have you here today. Let's start off by learning a bit more about you.

Where did you grow up?

Sarasota, Florida, winter home of Ringling Brothers, Barnum and Bailey Circus. That’s because both parents were members of the circus. My mother was a featured performer and my father was an elephant trainer. But that’s a story for a later time.

What is your fondest childhood memory?

At the tender age of 9, I was brought to the public library to check out my first book. I chose Nancy Drew, The Secret of the Old Clock. It changed my life. I knew then and there my life would revolve around mysteries and books.

When did you begin writing?

At around sixteen years old, I started writing lyrics to popular songs that had none. It was a fun start the writing process and one I sometimes do to this day, solely for my own amusement. I never did anything with them. I think they’re tucked away in a drawer.

Do you write during the day, at night or whenever you can sneak a few moments?

Yes, yes, and yes. Although, I prefer the morning, when I’m fresh.

What is this book about?

Set in the present, Murder is a Family Business is the first in a series of humorous mysteries revolving around Lee Alvarez, a combination of Sue Grafton’s Kinsey Millhone and Janet Evanovitch’ Stephanie Plum, and the rest of Alvarez Family, detectives all. Basically, just because a man cheats on his wife and makes Danny DeVito look tall, dark and handsome, is that any reason to kill him? Quirky Lee doesn't think so. The 34-year old ½ Latina, ½ WASP and 100% detective has her work cut out for her when the man is murdered on her watch. Her thinking is, of all the nerve.

Completing the family is Lee’s Never-Had-A-Bad-Hair-Day aristocratic mother, Lila; computer genius brother, Richard; beloved uncle “Tio;” and her energetic orange and white cat, Tugger. When this group is not solving murders, they run Discretionary Inquiries, a successful Silicon Valley agency that normally deals with the theft of computer software. Seemingly light and frothy on the surface, the novel nevertheless explores familial love, the good, the bad and the annoying.

What inspired you to write it?

I don’t know that inspiration has anything to do with it. I write because I have to. Driven, don’tchaknow. But I belive in the family unit, whatever form it takes.

Who is your biggest supporter?

Lucky me, I have a family that is very supportive, down to the cats. Most friends and writing buddies are behind me 100%. That makes it a lot easier.

Are you a member of a critique group? If no, who provides feedback on your work?

Every writer should be a member of a writing group, in my opinion. The help and support is unbelievable. So, yes, I am a member of several writing groups, plus I have been fortunate to study in the Stanford Continuing Studies Creative Writing program and with Ellen Sussman, a wonderful teacher and superb writer, in her own right.

Who is your favorite author?

Get ready for it: P.G. Wodehouse. I have read every book of his I can get my hands on and he wrote over 90! His writing can make me laugh like no one else’s. He’s most famous for the Jeeves and Bertie Wooster collection of short stories and books but he was a prolific writer of screenplays, plays, novels, short stories, pretty much anything. I’m a big fan.

Was the road to publication smooth sailing or a bumpy ride?

It was loooooong. My then agent – a lovely lady - had some near misses with major publishing houses for nearly three years. Then the economic disaster happened. Publishing went into the outhouse and hasn’t quite come out yet. I thought my little series was doomed, but hauled it out of the drawer last year and sent it off to MuseItUp Publishing, a new house in Canada and voila! It was accepted and now we’re off and running. Ain’t life grand?

If you knew then, what you know now, is there anything you would have done differently?

Not one danged thing. I did what was called for at the time. It’s worked out just fine. Maybe I would have exercised more, wouldn’t have eaten so much chocolate…wait a minute. Who am I kidding?

Where can readers purchase a copy of your book?

MuseItUp Publishing! It awaits there! Specifically at:
It’s lengthy but direct!,, and are some that carry the book.

Do you have a website and/or blog where readers can find out more?

You betcha!

Do you have a video trailer to promote your book? If yes, where can readers find it?

The trailer, which I did myself, is on my website. I worked on it for about 50 hours – learning curve – and then revamped it in about 15 minutes three weeks ago. So happy I did! The result is on my website and I’m proud of it. You can also follow Lee’s adventures at Twitter@PILeeAlvarez and join me on Facebook at

What is the best investment you have made in promoting your book?

Listening to my betters and those in the know. These people seldom steer me wrong. Also, everyone at MIU is supportive and helpful. We’re there for each other.

What is one piece of advice you would like to share with aspiring authors everywhere?

Write, write, write. You can’t be a writer if you don’t write. And don’t listen to anyone who says you can’t do it, or you don’t have the talent, or it’s crazy. Ignore them. Write. The world would be a better place is everyone in it planted a tree and wrote one story, even flash fiction. Get out there and write!!!

What is up next for you?

Finishing up the 3rd book of the Alvarez series, Death Runs in the Family, then I have a very exciting idea for a new novel, plus I need to finish a 3-act play I’m writing, and do the final edits on another mystery novel, not part of the Alvarez Family Series. I also like to write short stories whenever I get fifteen minutes or so.

Is there anything you would like to add?

Yes. Live, live, live! As Auntie Mame says, ‘Life’s a banquet and most sons-a-b------ are starving to death.’


Murder Is A Family Business – January, 2011
A Wedding To Die For – April, 2011
Death Runs In The Family – coming soon!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Author Spotlight: Katie Salidas and Immortalis: Hunters and Prey

Becoming a vampire saved Alyssa from death, but the price was high: the loss of everything and everyone attached to her mortal life. She’s still learning to cope when a surprise confrontation with Santino Vitale, the Acta Sanctorum’s most fearsome hunter, sends her fleeing back to the world she once knew, and Fallon, the friend she’s missed more than anything.

Alyssa breaks vampire law by revealing her new, true self to her old friend, a fact which causes strong division in the group that should support her most: her clan.

Worse yet, her revelation entangles Fallon in the struggle between vampires and hunters and The Acta Sanctorum is ready to attack again, with a new army of hybrid creations: the Frenzy Soldiers.

If Alyssa hopes to survive and keep her mortal friend safe, she’ll have to be willing to make a deal with the enemy, and regain her clan’s support. It will take everyone working together in a precarious truce to fight against the Acta Sanctorum’s new threat.

Book Information

ISBN: ISBN-13: 9780984419654

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Publisher: Publisher: Rising Sign Books

Publication Date: Pub. Date: December 2010

Barnes and Noble:

Read the Reviews!

"...a book I could not put down..."

--Angelfirewithwings, Amazon Reviewer

"...if you're looking for an action packed paranormal book then you must buy this book. You won't be disappointed. I give this one a 5 out of 5 stars."

--GCRWanda, Amazon Reviewer

"What I appreciated in Book 2 of this trilogy is the growth of Alyssa's character and she continued to struggle with leaving her old life behind."

--Katrina Michaels, Amazon Reviewer

"I highly recommend this book for an afternoon of escapism. It is an engaging, fast paced, action packed read that will leave you wanting more!"

--Minerva T. Balaguer, Amazon Reviewer

Author of the hot new Urban Fantasy series, Immortalis, Katie has always had a desire to entertain. Since, early childhood, she’s dreamed up fantastical characters and scribbled them into pages of various journals and notebooks. Taking an interest in vampires at an early age, she devoured every book, featuring those mysterious, blood sucking creatures, in any genre she could find. She claims that, of all the monsters out there, vampires had always been the most interesting.

It was only natural that a love of reading about vampires, and a love of writing turned into a desire to write her own stories.

A Las Vegas native, having grown up in the famed City of Sin, Katie loves to feature it as a recurring setting for many of her stories.

Find Katie Salidas at



Facebook Author Fansite


Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Interview with Tanya Stowe, Author of Tender Touch

Joining us today is Tanya Stowe, author of Tender Touch. Tanya has had an eclectic career in market research, arts education and event coordination. She has written for the real estate industry, television, publicity firms and national publications. Her first novel, Time’s Embrace, a time-travel adventure, was released in the United States in 1993 and internationally released in 1995. Most recently Tanya contributed to a collection of women’s survival stories titled, "Triumph! The Beautiful Face of Courage" and collaborated on her first full-length play, a Christmas musical titled "The Night Before Christmas."

Tanya has been a member of Romance Writers of America since 1992. She’s taught at writing conferences and numerous workshops as well as seminars and conferences throughout California. On her blog, Creative Writing Forces, she blogs about all things writing. Follow the workshops, classes and ups and downs of writing at
Tanya has been married to her high school sweetheart for thirty-seven years. They have four children and seventeen grandchildren.

Welcome to The Book Connection, Tanya. It's wonderful to have you here. Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

My husband was an Air Force brat. He lived all over the world, including Japan and Germany. I was born in Colorado and lived there until I was 11 years old.

We figured out that we were in Colorado about one hundred miles apart for about a year before he went to live in Germany. Then we both ended up in California and became high school sweethearts. Thirty plus years later, we’re going to travel again but this time together!

When did you begin writing?

I started writing in junior high because I didn’t like how my favorite television stories ended so I rewrote them in my head to my satisfaction. Finally I decided I could start the stories too, so I wrote my first book. I only stopped writing long enough to have my babies. When the fourth child was about three, I started writing again and never stopped.

What is the inspiration behind Tender Touch?

The inspiration for Tender Touch came shortly after I started writing again. My husband needed to go back to school. He worked and went to school full time so I was basically a single parent with four rambunctious children. My sister decided to help me out and planned a trip in her motor home through the California gold country. I loved the quaint towns we saw and I wondered how they survived after the gold ran out. It took me a long time to figure out why Lacy, my heroine, was living as a recluse on a mountain above a gold mining town.

What is one of the challenges you deal with as a writer?

I have a hard time with my characters. No matter how many character charts or interviews I do, I can’t get a handle on my characters until I write their story. I have to sit down and start writing. I have to let the characters play before I get a feel for them. And sometimes when I come to a dead stop, I know it’s because I’m making the character do something that isn’t right for them. When that happens, I know I finally have a realistic character. I couldn’t find the real Lacy for a long time. I had her as an early environmentalist, abused, multiple back stories and none worked until I finally realized she needed to be a healer.

What is Lacy's story?

She’s graced with the gift of healing. She can save strangers…even those undeserving…yet fails to save her mother. Rejecting her gift, God, and society, she's content to live alone high above the mining town of Harperville. But her solitude is shattered when Royce Darnell builds a water flume through the middle of her mountain. To protect her sanctuary, Lacy sabotages his efforts. Little does she expect Royce to track her through a blizzard and end up half frozen to death on her doorstep. She can heal him, but why should she when he threatens to steal her peace...and her heart? With the livelihood of the miners and their families depending on his project, Royce refuses to stop building, no matter how good the reason or how lovely the masked saboteur turns out to be. Besides, he's convinced God wants Lacy to use her gift for good and not to hole up in her cabin like a reticent recluse afraid of human contact. But first, she must learn to trust, and Lacy doesn't trust anyone, not Royce and especially not God. Soon Royce finds himself in a battle to save the two things he loves the most…Harperville and Lacy. Is his faith strong enough to save them both?

Where can readers purchase a copy of Tender Touch?

Readers can purchase Tender Touch online through my publisher, White Rose Publishing, The website also has other fabulous stories to download and a great reader’s loop!

Is there anything you would like to add?

I’m running a contest on my website,, titled God’s Healing Touch. I love stories about God working in our lives so I’m looking for short, 2 paragraph submissions about His healing, mental or physical, in your life. The winner will receive a lovely handmade necklace and I’m going to post the story on my blog, in February. In between all the interviews, signings and contests for Tender Touch, I’m working on the story of two secondary characters. Alex and Penny have a heart wrenching story of their own to tell. I hope to finish Tender Trust sometime in the spring … before I head over for our big adventure in the Middle East!

Thanks for spending time with us today, Tanya. We wish you continued success and safe journeys.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Interview: Terri Lynn Main, Author of Dark Side of the Moon

Joining us today is Terri Lynn, Main. Terri teaches communication at Reedley College in Reedley California. She has been writing professionally for more than forty years, but Dark Side of the Moon is her first novel.

Welcome to The Book Connection, Terri. Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

I hate that question. I am not that exciting as a person. I live a fairly quiet life with three cats and a lot of books. I love teaching my classes and writing. In many ways it’s my dream life. There really is not much interesting about me, and I kind of like it that way.

I think in some ways that helps writing fiction. In fiction you can explore parts of yourself that you don’t express openly. If you live a very exciting life, there’s not much left of explore. :)
When did you begin writing?

That would be about third grade. I learned about paragraphs then. Seriously, my first published piece was in the school newsletter that went out to the parents. It was about the sun. I found it after my mother passed away in her cedar chest. I had written that the light from the sun took eight minutes to reach the earth.

The principal had changed it to read “eight light-minutes.” I scratched it out and put back what I wrote. I then went to the principal and explained to him that “light minutes” were measurements of distance and not time. He invited me to join the science club two years before I was eligible to join.

What is this book about?

Dark Side of the Moon is a science fiction/cozy mystery novel. That’s right. There are not that many of those sort of novels around. It takes place in a small community built underground on the moon at the end of the Twenty-First Century. The main character is Carolyn Masters, a history professor and former FBI profiler, who is looking for a change after her mother dies. She is offered a position at Armstrong University and she heads off to the Moon.

She isn’t there long, though, before Juan McAlister, a astromechanics professor and lunar independence advocate, is murdered in his office. Being the first recorded murder on the moon, they call in Carolyn and a former Dallas homicide detective who runs the criminology department to investigate the case. They must now solve the murder, but also deal with clashing personalities, stop a terrorist attack on Earth, and exorcise their own demons.

What inspired you to write it?

Oddly enough, it was a dream. I had this dream in high school about a golden eyed alien who shows up at a lunar colony where I am working as a teacher. He gets arrested for a crime he didn’t commit and I am defending him.

What does that have to do with this story? Well, back in 2007 when I was planning a novel for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), I thought about doing something with that dream. Being in my 50’s, golden eyed handsome aliens were not quite as attractive as they were when I was 17. So, my main character aged a bit, but she was still a teacher and there was still a murder. And the love interest? Well, you’ll have to read to find out, but he’s definitely not a golden eyed alien.

Where can readers purchase a copy of your book?

It will be released in February at a number of locations, but it will appear first on the MuseItUp Publishing website. The URL for that page is huge. So just use this TinyURL

Do you have a website and/or blog where readers can find out more?

Yes, I have a website with free reads featuring these characters, excerpts from the book, information about the moon, and a map of the places mentioned in the novel. I’m updating it frequently.

It’s at

You can also “like” us at

What is up next for you?

Well, right now, I’m working on four sequels to Dark Side of the Moon. The next one which I will be finishing up this month is called Stormy Weather. Someone is messing with the weather control system in Armstrong City. Carolyn and Mike are called in to investigate. Soon they are on the trail of a serial killer. Their investigation takes leads them to sports betting, big time wrestling (in 1/6g it’s pretty interesting) and steroids for the brain. And, yes, it was inspired by another dream.

Thanks for spending time with us today, Terri. We wish you much success.

Giveaway: Saving Max by Antoinette van Heugten

Up for grabs is an ARC of Saving Max by Antoinette van Heugten.

Single mother and lawyer Danielle Parkman doesn't know what to do anymore. Her son Max has always been a handful. He is an ultra-smart teen with high-functioning autism. When he starts using drugs and exhibits violent behavior, Danielle decides to have Max assessed at a top-notch psychiatric facility.

Max soon becomes more violent and the assessment indicates he has severe behavioral issues that mean a long-term stay at the facility. When Danielle finds Max unconscious and covered in blood at the feet of a patient who has been fatally and viciously stabbed, Danielle soon becomes an accessory to the crime.

Separated from Max and afraid of the person he seems to have become, Danielle must discover the truth--no matter what her investigation uncovers.


The cover on the ARC is different than that of the published book. It shows a woman reaching out to a child, but all we see is the child's hand. They are separated by glass, with what appears to be woods behind the child.

Here are the rules and details for this giveaway:

1) You must be a follower of The Book Connection to win.

2) Leave a comment telling me how you follow with a valid email address so I can contact you if you win. You cannot win if I don't have your email address.

3)  One additional entry if you friend me on Facebook. Leave a comment with your profile link to show you're friending me.

4) One additional entry if you follow me on Twitter. Leave a comment with your profile link to show you're now a follower.

5) Three additional entries if you blog about this contest. Leave a link to your post here.

6) You must be 18 years of age or older and reside in the U.S. or Canada to be eligible to win.

Deadline for entries is 11:59 PM Eastern on Sunday, January 30, 2011. Winner will be selected out of all entrants who followed the rules governing this contest. Winner will have 72 hours after being contacted to email me their mailing address. If I have not heard from the winner within that time frame, I will select a new winner. Book will be shipped Media Mail through the USPS. The Book Connection is not responsible for lost or damaged goods.


Faery's Bargain by Madeline Drake Winner!

Our congratulations go out to Farrah, winner of an electronic copy of Faery's Bargain by Madeline Drake. Farrah has 72 hours to contact me with her email address. If I don't hear from her during that time frame, I will select a new winner.

Thanks to all who entered. More giveaways are coming soon!