US VETERAN DIANA COSBY–MAY 2nd

Cover art for Forbidden Legacy a Scottish medieval romance by Diana Cosby.During the months of May, June and July, the Author Travels blog will be honoring U. S. military veterans. All of these vets are authors (some published, some not), but they are my sisters in arms and visiting with them to learn about their life journeys is the best way I know to say thank you to some very special people. Please welcome our first veteran visiting author, Diana Cosby (USN Ret.).

Thank you so much, Rue, for having me as a guest on the Author Travels blog.

You are most welcome, Diana, and thank you for answering questions about your life and careers for our readers.

Q:  What moved you to enlist in the Navy and stay until retirement?

A:  With my dad retiring from the Navy, I grew up a military brat, which meant continual moves during my youth; I’m currently on move #34.  As I neared graduation, I wanted to continue to see the world, and I joined the Navy as a meteorologist/oceanographer.  I enjoyed the travel, meeting so many incredible people, and forecasting weather, so I decided to make the Navy a career.

Q:  Would you recommend enlisting to high school graduates today? Why or why not?

A:  I believe a tour in the military should be a venue considered by anyone preparing to graduate.  In addition to exposure to different cultures along with travel, military training provides a solid decision making foundation that will serve a person throughout their life.

Q:  While living in Europe you acquired an interest in the middle ages. What place or part of European life sparked that interest?

A:  I had the sincere pleasure of a tour in Rota, Spain.  The culture, and people, and rich history were incredible, and it’s one of my all-time places to have lived.   My interest in the middle ages was sparked by a combination of my experience while living in Spain along with traveling through Western Europe.

Q:  Are you bothered by ‘inaccuracies’ in historical fiction (or any other type of fiction)? Or do you concur with those who claim, ‘Accuracy is unimportant in fiction’?

A:  When I write my Scottish medieval romantic suspense, I work hard to ensure any historical events mentioned are true to the best of my ability.

Q:  You are very involved in a number of charitable causes including The National Trust for Scotland, Habitat for Humanity, the Semper Fi Fund, Homes for Our Troops, and The Navy SEAL Foundation. You are definitely leading by example.  Please tell us about one of your favorite charities and how we could get involved.

A:  Giving back is important to me, and I’m honored to share that I’ve joined with Habitat For Humanity for, Diana Cosby’s Romance Reader’s Build A Habitat For Humanity Home.  This fundraiser is an amazing opportunity for romance readers to join together to give a deserving family more than just a home, but provide a foundation on which to start their future and build their dreams.

Goal: Raise $55,000 to build a Habitat For Humanity Home. Now—$7,600!

Exciting news:  We’re only $6260 away from having enough to build two bedrooms and a bathroom!

*Note: All donations, Paypal or via mail, go directly to the Grayson County, TX. Habitat For Humanity.  Please note on your donation:  ‘For the Romance Readers HFH House.’

Q:  Do you think fictional characters should be involved in similar efforts? How might that enhance or detract from a reader’s enjoyment of a romance?

A:  As I tend to write trilogy’s or series, often secondary characters will have their own book, or a hero in one story will appear in as a secondary character in a later novel

Q:  Please tell us about your most recently released book, how we can purchase it, and how we can leave a review.

A:   Fascinated by the Knights Templars, I was thrilled at the opportunity to write The Forbidden Series.  After hundreds of years, many questions remain of where the Templars fled, what treasure they took, and how were so many valiant knights able to disappear without a trace? In The Forbidden Series, I weave my character’s journey, where they face challenges, and in the end fall in love, around these questions and more.

About Forbidden Legacy – book #1 Stephan & Katherine:

A Knight Templar, Sir Stephan MacQuistan desires no bride, only vengeance for a family lost and a legacy stolen.  A profound twist of fate tears apart the brotherhood he loves, but offers him an opportunity to reclaim his legacy – Avalon Castle.  Except to procure his childhood home along with a place to store Templar treasures, he must wed the unsuspecting daughter of the man who killed his family. To settle old scores, Stephan agrees while aware Katherine is but a pawn in a dangerous game, not a woman he will ever love.

*Reviews are always deeply appreciated, and your comments can be left where you purchase my story.

Thank you very much for taking the time to participate in my 3 month thank you to the military veterans.

Rue, thank you for inviting me as your guest.  I thank you for your service to our country.  And, another thanks to your readers for stopping by.  Take care, and I wish each of you the very best.

Diana Cosby, AGC(AW), USN Ret.

International Best-Selling Author

www.dianacosby.com

The Oath Trilogy

MacGruder Brother Series

Forbidden Series: Book #1 Forbidden Legacy — 16 August 2016

About Diana Cosby:

A retired Navy Chief, Diana Cosby is an international bestselling author of Scottish medieval romantic suspense.  Books in her award-winning MacGruder Brothers series are translated in five languages.  Diana has spoken at the Library of Congress, Lady Jane’s Salon in NYC, and appeared in Woman’s Day, on USA Today’s romance blog, “Happy Ever After,” MSN.com, Atlantic County Women Magazine, and Texoma Living Magazine.

After her career in the Navy, Diana dove into her passion – writing romance novels. With 34 moves behind her, she was anxious to create characters who reflected the amazing cultures and people she’s met throughout the world.  With the release of the third book in The Oath Trilogy and the e Box Set of the MacGruder Brothers series, she is now preparing for the release of the first book in The Forbidden Series, Forbidden Legacy, on 16 August 2016!

Diana looks forward to the years of writing ahead and meeting the amazing people who will share this journey.

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DOWN UNDER SIDE TRIP

Please welcome fellow author, Iris Blobel visiting from Melbourne Austrailia to tell us about her book, Fresh Beginnings. Iris is very well traveled, as her bio indicates, so ask her lots of questions, please.

Fresh Beginnings Cover ArtFRESH BEGINNINGS

By Iris Blobel

The small town of Hobart in Tasmania has witnessed many beginnings in recent years. At yet one more beginning, the wedding of a friend, Jared Fraser decides it’s time for some fresh beginnings to come his way… And he sets out for a holiday to the US to travel along the Route 66 in a motorhome.

Ivy Bennett thought leaving her boyfriend would be the hard part. It doesn’t take long to figure out how wrong she was. As she struggles with making a new start in her life, the last person she expects to lead her to happiness is a laid-back Australian on holiday.

Then the arrival of family friend Mia Levesque and her boyfriend, Josh, turns Jared’s holidays upside-down when he’s forced to play arbitrator between the two teenagers.

Scroll down to find an excerpt.

 

About Iris Blobel: Iris Blobel 2013BIOpic

Iris Blobel was born and raised in Germany and only immigrated to Australia in the late 1990s. Having had the travel bug most of her life, Iris spent quite some time living in Scotland, London as well as Canada where she actually had met her future husband. Her love for putting her stories onto paper has only recently emerged, but now her laptop is a constant companion. Iris resides west of Melbourne with her husband and her beautiful two daughters as well as her dog. Next to her job at a private school she also presents a German Program at the local Community Radio.

Buy Links:

Amazon Australia: http://bit.ly/1y0N4bo, Amazon US: http://amzn.to/1s7xTiq, Smashwords: http://bit.ly/1pBrpEY

Barnes & Noble:  http://bit.ly/1nqaT6t

Where to Find Me:

My Blog: www.iris-b.blogspot.com, Facebook: www.facebook.com/irisblobel, Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4067254.Iris_Blobel, Twitter: @_iris_b,

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/iblobel/, Google+:  https://plus.google.com/107759085454255573026/posts

Excerpt:

“G’day!” He stared at her and for some reason something tugged at his heart. Not that he wanted that. He had no room for women, let alone American ones. They all were on earth to make life complicated. Mark was constantly running around for Sophie or Hope, even though Mark’s wife was one in a million and little Hope was simply adorable, especially when she was asleep.

“Ya know it’s dangerous to hitch a ride,” he finally said when she was still quiet.

She stared at him for a moment, but then replied with the typical American twang in her voice. “I know you said something, but I have no idea what.”

He chuckled. “It is dangerous to hitchhike,” he repeated with exaggerated pronunciation.

The woman stepped a bit closer to the window. “Are you from Austria?”

He laughed aloud.

“Australia, I meant,” she added, seemingly embarrassed by the mistake.

“I am indeed.” He watched her looking ahead towards the horizon. “So you wanna hitch a ride?”

Jared had a feeling she didn’t want to, but her current situation didn’t give her many choices. There they were in the middle of nowhere, with the next place a fair few miles away.

“Name’s Jared,” he said and then he opened the door and walked around the motorhome. Leaning against the vehicle, he looked at her. She was pretty. Thin, but pretty. When her brown eyes met his, he experienced another one of those heart tugs and wasn’t impressed at all. He tried to look right past her. It wasn’t happening though. They were like magnets.

“Jared,” he repeated and held out his hand.

Her look went right past him into the distance, and he assumed she was fighting with herself, part of her wanting to get off the road, the other part being worried.

“Anybody else travelling with you?” she asked quietly.

He shook his head. “Nope.”

She closed her eyes, took a deep breath, and, after a brief moment, reached for his hand. “Nice meeting you.”

Acknowledging that she wasn’t much into sharing details like her name, he opened the door for her. “Where are ya headin’?” he asked.

A smile started in her eyes and played with the corner of her lips. He felt himself smiling back. There was an appreciation in her smile.

“Could you drop me off at the next stop?” she asked hesitantly.

“Most certainly, but where are ya headin?”

She shrugged. “Kingman?”

“Is that on this road?”

Nodding, she said. “Yes, it is. It should be less than a hundred miles along this highway.”

“Then hop in.”

She turned to get into the motorhome, and he took in her small stature and the narrow shoulders which seemed even smaller in her tight, red T-shirt. Jared noticed her cargoes were just hanging onto her hips. A nice steak wouldn’t go astray on these hips. Suddenly she stopped and moved to look at him. “Thank you,” she whispered.

“No worries mate.”

Jared held her gaze and wasn’t sure what to say or do. She simply stood in front of him like frozen.

“My name is Ivy,” she said after a long moment.

“Hedera. An evergreen climbing or ground-creeping woody plant in the family Araliaceae.”

With a frown, she stared at him. “I really didn’t understand that one.”

He laughed. “Sorry, mate. I got carried away. I’m a landscaper. Ivy is a climbing plant.” Scratching the back of his head, he added, slightly self-conscious, “And, of course, a beautiful name.”

There was a small laugh as she stepped into the motorhome. He went around and slid behind the wheel before driving back onto the road. There was a long silence, and Jared wasn’t really sure what to do or say. Usually, he was good with silence. Actually, he loved it. But at that moment, the silence made him uncomfortable.

“So, what brings ya out into the middle of the sticks?”

When there was no reply, he turned and looked at her. There was a big frown on her face, and he sighed.

“I thought you all speak English as well?”

“We do,” she said with a slight giggle. “But I’m not so sure about you Australians.”

With a grin he replied, “Now, don’t be cheeky, Ivy.”

“Don’t bite the hand that feeds you, my mom always said.” She laughed. “No way would I make fun of you.”

“So, you’re expectin’ a meal as well?”

There was a moment of silence again, and he glanced over. The smile was gone and panic was written all over her face.

“I… I didn’t—”

Quickly he reached out for her hand. “I’m pulling your leg.” And when she didn’t reply again, he muttered, “This thing with you Americans not understanding English is turning into a problem. I was kiddin’.”

“Pulling your leg?” She shook her head. “Never heard of it.”

A bark of laughter filled the small space. “Anyway. Talkin’ about food. There’s a small place ahead. Want some lunch?”

The Stuff in My Office—5

BKSHELF1Yep, I’ve got even more stuff to tell you about now that our short pause is over. The four pictures in this blog are of the wall length bookshelves opposite the corner where my desk sits (desk stuff in a later installment). There are six shelves (I couldn’t fit the top self into the camera frame, each roughly 10 feet in length and completely filled with paperback romance novels (and yes, those novels absolutely get included on the list of stuff I like that makes me happy). I won’t describe any of the books, but I will mention some of the other items.

In the foreground of the picture at the left you can see a couple of the items I discussed in the 4th installment of this series. You can also see part of the floor lamp that stands between the table (see installment 4) and my reading chair (also installment 4). I love that shade because it turns this lovely glowing gold color when the bulb is on, and it gives terrific light for reading.

Moving on to the next picture (below right) you see the rest of the lamp. The small needlework pillow peeking out from behind the lamp is another gift from my mother in law. That pillow was sitting on her royal blue sofa in her living room the first time my sweetheart brought me to their home for dinnerBKSHELF2 and to meet his folks. I was scared spitless because I knew about her upper crust Boston background. Mom was everything that is gracious. Nonetheless it took me several years to get over being intimidated, mostly because of my personal fears. I like to think that we now have a very friendly relationship. She certainly remembered that first visit, because one of the few things I managed to say was how lovely the pillow was. Who wouldn’t like a pillow with irises (Mom used to grow award winning Iris blooms) in varying shades of blue, including cobalt. On the shelf above the pillow are four framed covers from my books. Below those is yet another gift from my mother in law. This gift is more recent (just this past Christmas), yet I treasure it almost as much as the pillow. The seascape set into the tray is one of my favorites, and since I love the sea (add that to the list too) I keep the tray where I can see it.

The third picture (at left) shows the enBKSHELF3tire tray, and above that the remaining four covers from my books. If you look closely you can see a small two-tone brown box at the end of one of the shelves. That is a recipe box that my own mother gave me. It holds my grandmother’s recipes for Swedish coffee bread, dream cookies, and depression era frosting (made with flour, milk, butter and granulated sugar). The confectioner’s type of sugar that is usually used in frostings was nearly impossible to get during the depression, so flour was substituted. Even granulated sugar was expensive, so frosting on cakes was a real treat. The Dream Cookies are another depression era recipe, requiring only flour, granulated sugar and butter. Preparing Dream Cookies requires careful attention because the butter must be melted and browned to a point just shy of burning. The caramelized bits in the melted butter create the delicate flavor of these cookies. Once baked they have a very crumbly texture. My grandmother called them dream cookies because they practically melt in your mouth and disappear so fast that you feel as if you imagined eating them. Dream Cookies (along with homemade pecan sandies) are my favorite cookies, so they go on the list too. I’ve made the Swedish coffee bread—which is an all day project. Grandma used to fill hers with citron (candied dry fruit). I prefer un-candied dry fruit and more nuts—especially pecans. The bread was a daily item in my life while I was in school during the years when my grandparents lived with us (they moved into a small apartment in our house once neither of them could drive). I would come home from school and Grandma and my mother would be sitting at Grandma’s kitchen table having coffee and buttered coffee bread. They always had at least one piece waiting for me. I’d savor the bread and listed to Grandma and Mother share memories of their early lives. That’s how I learned about depression frosting and the origin of Dream Cookies.BKSHELF4

The last image (at right) shows the end of two more shelves, one of the two windows in my office and the stuff that sits below the window. I’ll write about the window stuff next time. Right now, I want to mention that the elephant bookends were a gift from me to my own mother and probably one of the first purchases I made with money I earned. I got elephants for her overflowing bookshelves so she would never forget where they came from and how much we both loved reading. The elephants came back to me when Mother passed away. Below those sits a small basket containing old checkbooks. I don’t know where the basket came from, but I like open containers. I tend to forget things when they are out of sight. I want the checkbooks in plain sight so I remember to throw them out when I no longer need them as tax records.

So those bookshelves contain a lot of stuff ranging from the treasured to the mundane, and as always a host of memories. Do you have memories of your parents and grandparents; stories and/or recipes that have been handed down and treasured for generations; little knick knacks that hold meaning only for you? Please share with a comment.

The Stuff in My Office–4

SideTABLESometimes life gets in the way and not just of writing blog posts and novels. Take a look at the table (above) that sits next to my easy/reading chair (the chair’s picture is below). What a mess. Wish I could tell you that wasn’t normal. The truth is that much of my life is very messy because I consider myself too busy to be neat. Oddly, I had a  character in one book who was the complete opposite; she was excessively busy and neat. Her claim was that she didn’t have time to be messy and always looking for things which she could find easily if she kept her life tidy. So about the stuff on the table and what it might tell you about me.

The table itself is a ‘gift’ from my mother-in-law when my DH and I moved into our first home shortly after we married. The top of the table needs refinishing. Mind you, we just celebrated our 38th anniversary, so a lot of life has gotten in the way of that particular task. The items on top of the table are used when I’m not ‘writing,’ i.e. pounding on the keyboard at my desk across the room. Under the scissors (I have no idea why the scissors are there, I use them to open packages and trim paper) is a small portfolio containing an 8 X 5 pad of paper and a pen used for taking notes. Behind that is a box of tissues. I have year round allergies, so I keep tissues all over my house. The large can of peanuts is empty (rescued from my DH who ate the peanuts) and is used to keep sweets. At the moment because I’m being good about my diet the can is empty. On top of the can is the hand held massage tool that I use on my sore feet when I get home from my ‘day’ job. Beside the can are two small stacked plates. If I’m working—research reading, revisions—or relaxing—reading for fun, watching TV on my desktop monitor, napping—I often bring lunch or dinner upstairs so I don’t forget to eat. The top plate is cobalt blue glass, and while you can’t see it well, the bottom plate is cobalt blue on white china. Guess what else you can add to the list of stuff that I like and makes me happy. I’ll give you a hint. It’s a color. In front of the plates is another pen and two more small pads of paper. Those migrated to the table with me when I moved from desk to easy chair for revising work. I’d forgotten I already had the small portfolio on the table. The orange cloth under most of the stuff is just there to protect the largest part of the unfinished table surface. Yep, that’s a straw wrapper in front of the second pen. I was sick recently, and I baby myself with straws in my drinks when I’m forcing liquids. Last the brown and white tile is another treasure given by my mother-in-law. It depicts the Old Dutch Church at Sleepy Hollow. Her family hails from New England, so she has a trove of mementos that she shares with all of her children. She well knows how much the written word and authors mean to me, so her gifts often have some connection with the literary world. In this case the connection is to Washington Irving and the 19th century New England school of authors that included, Hawthorne, Emerson, Thoreau and others. Oh yes, before I go and ask for your comments, note the two bookshelves visible behind the table. The black shelf unit is the one that contains the chotchsky shelf described in the first two posts of this series. The bare wood shelving, I installed myself when we moved in. Both units hold many of my 3000+ books.

Lots of stuff in this post to comment on or ask questions about. If nothing else see if you can list all of the ‘stuff’ that I’ve said I like from The Stuff in My Office posts given so far. Who knows, I might draw a winner and use his/her name in my current WIP, The Valentine Tycoon. Can’t wait to hear from you.

EasyCHAIR

The Stuff in My Office–2

Remember that chotchskie shelf in my office? I still have eight items to tell you about.

OfficeSTUFFblog1Four of them are butterfly art two shiny propped up against the back of the shelf and two flat yellow and black lying on the horizontal surface. The black one is really hard to see and looks more like a splotch against the bottom of the bigger shiny butterfly. The other four items are more interesting, since they all hold memories for me. The painted wooden heart was made by my youngest son when he was in first grade as a Valentine’s Day gift. The flat piece of metal is another key fob, given to me after two years working at the University of Michigan. Next to the fob is a smashed copper penny my husband gave me on our honeymoon. The gold painted wooden shoe was carved by my Swedish grandfather, who when I was five was my favorite person in all the world. I loved him so much that when his visit to our home ended and he was boarding the train to head back to Florida, I was inconsolable. I would not stop crying and wailing until my mother told me that if Grandpa didn’t leave he couldn’t come back. At five I was so puzzled by that piece of information that I shut up instantly, kissed my grandfather and almost didn’t notice when the train left the station. It didn’t occur to me until much later that if he didn’t leave he didn’t have to come back. That’s just one of many memories I have of my grandfather. He was a very special man—told me stories, showed me how to see the small things in the woods, and played his guitar while I sang. He encouraged me to try the new and the different but always in the context of the familiar. Despite some problems we had later in life, I miss him terribly.

Leave a comment and tell me what kinds of stuff you keep to remember your loved ones and the very special times you shared. I’ll have another piece of my office to discuss tomorrow.

The Stuff in My Office–1

The whole idea of social media is to put yourself out there and join the conversation. Problem is that I have difficulty approaching strangers in person. I find it even more difficult when I can’t see them. The thought occurred to me that I’m not the only person who has this problem. So in the interest of not being a stranger (although I may be strange), I’ll tell you about the stuff in my office.

My office is where I work and play. It is my personal space in a home that I share with my spouse and two cats (our sons are grown and no longer live at home). My office is also where I keep my ‘stuff,’ mementos, supplies, files, books, hand-me-downs and other objects that are of interest to me. You can tell a lot about people in general from their personal spaces. I’m very lucky in that I have a personal space with plenty of room and a door that can shut the world out or let it in depending on my preference at the time.

But I’m supposed to be telling you about the stuff not just the office, which presents the difficulty of where to start.  I’ve got a lot of stuff (been accumulating for the past 60 + years). I made a random and arbitrary decision to begin with the chotchskie shelf at the top of the bookshelf that stands nearest my easy chair. Here’s a picture of that shelf and the chotchskies it holds.

OfficeSTUFFblog1

So what’s all this stuff? Most of this is mementos and things I think are pretty.  There are a total of  5 +1pieces of butterfly art. The one is a pair of broken wings that used to be a key fob. I really liked that key fob, so I kept the broken wing pieces to remind me that even the strongest things can break and even the broken things have beauty. You may not be able to see the broken wings very well. They’re lying flat in front of the translucent cube with the unicorn carved in the middle. I’m as fond of unicorns as I am of butterfly art. (I like live butterflies too, but only when they’re alive. Please don’t kill them and put them in a box to look at—I’ll cry.) The unicorn was a gift, I think from my mother-in-law, who is one of the most thoughtful people I know. Behind the unicorn is a dog tag, purchased from the USPS that honors Women In Service. I served in the US Navy for ten years but have lost my dog tags, so I bought these as replacements. Next to the dog tags is a Christmas ornament given to one of my sons when he was a child. We still put their ornaments on our tree (neither of them has started setting up their own trees yet). Occasionally one or two of the ornaments doesn’t make it back in the box after the tree comes down. Those ornaments end up in my office so they don’t get lost. The blue lump in front of the ornament and the gold butterfly is actually an acrylic, star-shaped paper weight. Add stars and cobalt blue to the things I like as much as butterflies and unicorns. The slim line of sliver looking material beside the paper weight is the frame of a small unicorn painting on glass.

Eight items are left, but this blog is IMHO already too long, so I’ll give the rest of the details next time. Meanwhile, I’ll let you guess the what and why of the remaining eight items. Leave a comment and tell me what your guess is, or whatever else you might think about this first glance at the Stuff in My Office.

Kathleen Jabs Brings Mystery to Friendship Friday

Kathleen Jabs at the beachMy guest today is Kathleen Jabs, author of the military mystery Black Wings and a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy. She holds an MFA from George Mason University. Her stories have been published in a number of literary journals and received several prizes, including selection in the NPR Selected Shorts program. She lives with her husband and two children in Virginia. I’ve asked Kathleen to tell us more about herself, her book, and of course, to answer her selection of my weird questions–my favorite is her answer about her worst enemy. Now, here’s Kathleen.

I’m a writer, wife, mother of two teenagers, daughter, sister, friend, public affairs officer, Navy reservist and insatiable reader. I grew up in Boston, left for the Naval Academy in 1984 and have lived around the world – in Japan; Hawaii; Panama; Washington, DC; Miami and New Hampshire. I live in Virginia now, but I love to travel. I served 6 years on active duty and have been a Navy reservist for the last 15 years.

My mystery novel, Black Wings, was published in December 2011. It’s hard to believe it’s been a year! It was published by Fuze Publishing, a small Cover art for the novel Black Wingspress, www.fuzepublishing.com and I’ve had a wonderful experience with them. Fuze is co-owned by Molly Tinsley who was my advisor at the US Naval Academy. It was very inspiring to reconnect with her and work with her to get my novel ready for publication.

1. What’s the color of your toothbrush? Orange.

2. What cd is in your cd-player right now? I’ve got Celtic Women Christmas Carols – it reminds me of my Irish heritage and gets me in the spirit.

3. How much do you use ketchup? (1 – not at all, 5 – on all foods)I hate ketchup! 1!

4. What’s the model of your mobile phone? I have an old Samsung – it embarrasses my kids because it is not “smart” and I need them to look up maps and phone numbers for me.

5. What’s the size of your shoes? 8 ½.

6. Is your middle finger longer than your ring finger? Yes.

7. What time do you normally go to bed on a working day? 10:30.

8. What is the most distant place you’ve visited (from your home)? I’ve been to the DMZ on the border between North and South Korea.

9. How often do you brush your teeth? 2-3 times a day.

10. Do you like carrots? Yes.

11. The size of your hard-disc? I don’t know…

12. What’s your favourite word? Serendipity.

13. If you were a tree, what tree would you be? A Birch!

14. What’s a word that rhymes with TEST? Best.

15. Name the brand of shoes you’ve recently worn. Dansko clogs – I live in them.

16. What were you doing at midnight last night? Sleeping.

17. Who told you they loved you last? My daughter.

18. Your worst enemy? Time! There is never enough.

19. What is your favorite cheese? Machengo.

20. An angel appears out of Heaven and offers you a lifetime supply of the alcoholic beverage of your choice. “Be brand-specific” it says. Man! What are you gonna say about that? Even if you don’t drink booze there’s something you can figure out… so what’s it gonna be? Acacia Pinot Noir.

Friendship Friday~~Please Welcome Author, Nancy Gideon

Cover Art for Betrayed by Shadows by Nancy Gideon

I’ve known Nancy Gideon for. . .well not long enough. She is generous to a fault and one of the most kindly honest people I know. It is an honor and a pleasure to have her as my guest this week. She’ll tell us a little about herself and her latest book then follow up with hilarious answer to a few of those weird questions I like to ask my guests. Read all the way to the end of Nancy’s interview and you’ll find a short treat (I”m not telling). If you don’t know Nancy or haven’t read her books, you’ve got some terrific times ahead of you when you do. If you already know Nancy and/or her books, I don’t have to tell you how much fun she is to be around. Now, here’s Nancy.

Hi! I’m Nancy Gideon. I’m a writer.  I’m a Gemini. That pretty much says everything.  I can’t NOT write.  I love words and I love brainstorming plot ideas.  I was always trying to guess the end of books and movies growing up –  and in many cases came up with a better twist ending. I’m the ultimate multi-tasker (it’s that Gemini thing), thrive on chaos, but admit to control issues (ADD with OCD rising!). I was first published back in the ‘80s (yes, I’m an ‘80s lady!) and have sold over 54 books (and recently 4 more in reissues!) including historicals, contemporary suspense, dark paranormal and even a horror novelization as Dana Ransom, Rosalyn West and now under my own name.  Because writing doesn’t provide health insurance, I’ve worked as a legal assistant for the past 12 years in the same small firm going back to the 9-to-5 after a 15 year ‘real job’ hiatus to raise two boys.  I have a Netflix addiction and feed a menagerie of creature feathered and furred off my 4th floor apartment balcony. For more about me and my books, visit http://nancygideon.com or my blog at http://nancygideon.blogspot.com

I’ve got lots of launch party giveaways going on.

Please tell us about your most recent release.

Gladly!  BETRAYED BY SHADOWS, the 7th book in my “By Moonlight” dark paranormal series with Pocket Books is available on 12-17-12! That’s NEXT week!!  This is my first e-exclusive as part of Pocket’s new Star program and it’s tastily priced at $1.99 for the first four weeks before going up to the regular price of $5.99. You can pre-order at Amazon or Barnes & Noble  What’s it about? I’ll tell you in pictures and music in my book trailer.

 

I just turned in the next book in the series. PRINCE OF SHADOWS will be available on 5-27-13 – my birthday!

1. What would you want to be written on your tombstone?

“Here lies Nancy Gideon, skin and bones at last!”

2. Explain relativity.

What’s in it for me?

3. Who is the person you trust most?

Its persons.  My critique group. These fabulous ladies have seen me through all my major life dramas, both ups and downs.  They’re more than friends . . . they’re family.

4. What’s your favorite word?

If you’ve ever ridden in a car with me or bought me a drink (I’m not a big drinker!), you already know what it is. How ‘bout that drink and I’ll tell you all about it.

5. Who told you they loved you last?

My five-year-old grandson. I never get tired of hearing it.

6. Last furry thing you touched?

Thank goodness it wasn’t something in the back of the refrigerator!  It was Jasper.  He’s my new $800-in-dental-bills free cat. He’ll be working off his debt by being snugly for the next 8 to 10 years!

7. If you had to choose between a million bucks and being able to fly, which would you choose?

I’d take the money and pay someone else to do the flying so I could ride first class.  It’s all about those hot towels.

8. What is your guilty pleasure Disney movie?

“The One and Only, Genuine, Original Family Band” from 1968.  I fell madly in love with Kurt Russell’s singing and dancing! Still very fond of him to this day! Who knew a Disney boy would become such a badass?! Kurt, you aged well.

9. Do you have a secret talent and what is it?

I have a photographic memory that helps me be uber organized (which I have to have since I have ADD! Ooo, shiny!). I know where every file and piece of paper is in the office at any given time.  I’m the go-to person for setting up meal reservations and daytrips on vacations and conferences. I live to make lists! And check them twice.

10. What is one unique thing are you afraid of?

Things that aren’t in their proper order (see above!). . . you know, cupboard doors half open, spoons and forks co-mingling, patterned towels hung wrong side out, mail or money not all facing the same direction, M&Ms not sorted by color and number, anything on my desk that’s been moved since I last sat there. Freaks me right out.  OCD much?

11. You have the opportunity to sleep with the movie-celebrity of your choice. Who would it be?

I would do Jeremy Renner in a heartbeat! Poor guy is probably hiring extra security right now! I can hear my son – “No, Mom, they don’t have a life-sized Hawkeye figure with removal clothing!” Too bad. That’d be on my couch watching Netflix with me and son would be out the door!

12. What is your favorite expletive?

Didn’t I already answer this f-ing question? Oh, sorry, that was favorite word. My bad.

13. Your house is on fire! You have just enough time to run in there and grab ONE inanimate object. Don’t worry, your loved ones and pets have already made it out safely. So what’s the one thing you’re going to save from that blazing inferno?

My laptop . . . duh!  My entire life is on that hard drive. Stuff can be replaced. Ideas and memories can’t be.

14. You accidentally eat some radioactive vegetables. They were good, and what’s even cooler is that they endow you with the super-power of your choice! What’s it gonna be?

It’s always good to get some benefit from vegetables . . . I’d like the ability to clone myself so part of me could sleep in instead of getting up at 5:00 a.m. to write. And so I could send the clone to work for me on those icy winter mornings in Michigan.

Extra Treat for all who read this far, the blurb for Nancy’s newest release, Betrayed by Shadows.

BETRAYED BY SHADOWS

“By Moonlight” Book 7

By Nancy Gideon

Pocket Star * 12-17-12

 

Balancing a criminal empire and a preternatural clan war, reluctant front man Giles St. Clair doesn’t need a problem like Brigit MacCreedy . . . How much trouble can the head-strong and manipulative Shifter beauty get into in two weeks? Plenty when her schemes range from kidnapping to fleeing the retribution of her dead lover’s clan.

With her family’s lives on the line, Brigit is willing to do whatever it takes to save them. The only thing standing in her way is an immovable stone wall of a man she can’t bully or beguile . . . a human, no less, who has promised to protect her from the secrets and dangers she conceals.

Risking her own safety gets complicated when an honorable and annoyingly desirable man puts himself between her and her powerful enemies in a battle he can’t win in this Taming of the Shrew meets Shifter Goodfellas on the Bayou tale of consequences, redemption and finding love in all the wrong places.

 

Friendship Friday ~ Please welcome, author Shelly Bell

ayeartoremembercoverI’ve known Shelly for a little over a year. She is a vibrant, exciting person and makes me feel good just being around her. I know you’ll love her as much as I do. Here’s Shelly to tell us a little about herself, her books and to answer some of thosw weird questions. 

I just turned forty…but I’m not bitter! No really, I’m not. It’s hard to believe that I’ve accomplished so much of what I dreamed for myself growing up in Metro-Detroit. I moved back to my childhood neighborhood, married a man who can fix just about anything in the house plus he sews, and have a boy, a girl, and a dog. By day I’m an attorney, fighting for the rights of…a metal recycling company; by night I’m a mom, wife, and maid. I’m also a published author! So who cares that I never starred on Broadway when I got all How do I fit in the time to write? I gave up the three hours of television I watched every night. I also write when my kids are doing homework, lunch breaks, and occasionally, I hire a babysitter so I can write. I make the time because it’s important to me.

 My book, A Year to Remember, was published with Soul Mate Publishing in January of 2012. It’s about a twenty-nine year old woman who’s looking for her soul mate and vows to marry him before she turns thirty. On her journey, she is forced to confront her addiction to food and to decide what’s most important to her. I’m very proud of it because it was my first book and it was cathartic to write.

 I love reading and writing paranormal, but since the market is saturated with it, I’m currently working on a contemporary romance with magical elements. It’s been a lot of fun to write! Unlike paranormal stories, the magic is accepted as fact and it doesn’t have to be explained. For example, the reader will believe that the cat is actually dearly departed Uncle Al and I don’t have to explain how it’s possible. It just…is. It’s been used primarily in Latin American literature, but my characters are Greek.

1. How much cash do you have on you?

 Absolutely none. I almost never carry money with me. If I need some, I steal it from my husband’s wallet or the kid’s piggy banks.

 2. What were you doing at midnight last night?

 Reading. I always read at night. Lately, I’ve been on a self-published kick and I’ve found a lot of fabulous authors that way. Apparently, I’m not the only one because several of them have been recently acquired by large publishers.

 3. What is your favorite cheese?

 Feta. I’ve been addicted to Greek salad since I was five years old. I used to eat it for breakfast as a kid! We have a high population of Greek Americans in the area, so I’ve been fortunate to grow up on Greek food.

 4. What is one unique thing are you afraid of?

 Only one???? I’m afraid of sharks. I won’t go in the ocean and even though I want to go parasailing, I’m afraid they’ll land me in the water. My parents let me see Jaws at an early age and it became a phobia after that. Which makes this next question and answer ironic…

 5. You just got a free plane ticket to anywhere. You have to depart right now. Where are you gonna go?

 Naples, Florida. Yes, that’s correct. I love Florida. I lived there for three years and I never went in the ocean. My parents are snowbirds and we go down to visit them every winter. I already have clothes there, so if I had to depart right now, that would be simple.

 8. Your house is on fire! You have just enough time to run in there and grab ONE inanimate object. Don’t worry, your loved ones and pets have already made it out safely. So what’s the one thing you’re going to save from that blazing inferno?

 My laptop. No contest. Sad, isn’t it? Most people would save their wedding album or an heirloom. It’s all about the electronics in my house.

 9. The Angel Of Death has descended upon you. Fortunately, the Angel Of Death is pretty cool and in a good mood, and it offers you a half-hour to do whatever you want before you bite it. Whatcha gonna do in that half-hour?

Easy question! I’m going to drink Diet Coke and Jack Daniels, smoke a pack of Malboro Lights, and eat Bill Knapp’s Chocolate Cake with vanilla ice cream and hot fudge. I’ll hang out with my kids and my husband if the smoke doesn’t drive them away.

Please Welcome Ella Quinn to Friendship Friday

US ARMY LOGO

US Army logo

Author, Ella Quinn

Ella Quinn is one of my favorite people whom I’ve never met in person. She is a fellow veteran–although Ella chose the US Army, while I chose the USN. That link, shared service, has been the foundation for a friendship that has lasted more than ten years. In addition to being one of my favorite people, she is a talented author and a fascinating person. But I’ll let her tell you about herself, so you’ll see how fascinating she is. Please welcome, Ella Quinn.

Please tell us a little bit about yourself: I had several lives before deciding to be a writer. I dropped out of college and to tend bar and play in a rock band. Enlisted in the Army for five years. Got out and went back to college. After getting an MS in International Relations, I attended law school and went back in the Army for several years. I’ve lived all over the world and now reside in the Caribbean. About a year and a half ago, I decided to write Regency romances. I have an agent and am currently on submission, but not yet published.

Please share with us your current project (does not need to be a writing project) I’m writing my 6th book which is the second of my second series. It’s about a very politically conservative, priggish, young marquis who falls in love with a reformer who is the daughter of a country baronet.

1. Please answer at least five of the following questions.  Your answers may be but do not need to be ‘true.’  I highly recommend using no names or changing names to protect both the innocent and yourself.

2. What’s the color of your toothbrush? Blue and white, because I could find a different color.

3. What cd is in your cd-player right now? It’s a Beautiful Day.

4. How much do you use ketchup? (1 – not at all, 5 – on all foods) 1

5. Are you a “dogperson” or a “catperson”? Both. I have a Great Dane and a Chartreux cat I picked up in Belgium after our old cat died. Americans were not allowed to adopt from the pound.

6. What’s the meaning of life? Love.

7. What’s the model of your mobile phone? I have an iPhone.

8. What time do you normally go to bed on a working day? 10:00 PM

9. What is the most distant place you’ve visited (from your home)? Home is wherever I am.

10. In scale from 1-5, how afraid of dark are you? 1

11. The person you would never want to meet? Georgette Heyer.

12. How much cash do you have on you? $7.00 and 50 Euros.

13. What’s a word that rhymes with TEST? Best

14. What shirt are you wearing? Tank top.

15. What do you label yourself as? I don’t.

16. Name the brand of shoes you’ve recently worn. Teva flip-flops.

17. Bright room or dark room? Bright

18. What were you doing at midnight last night? Sleeping.

19. Where is your nearest 7-11? Probably about 1500 miles away.

20. What’s a saying you say a lot? Spit in one hand and wish in the other, see which one gets full faster.

21. Who told you they loved you last? My husband.

22. Last furry thing you touched? The dog.

23. Favorite age you’ve been so far? The age I am now.

24. What is your current desktop picture? Palm trees and water.

25. What was the last thing you said to someone? Actually talking to a person? I love you.

26. If you had to choose between a millions bucks and being able to fly, which would you choose? The million bucks.

27. What is your favorite cheese? Smoked Gouda.

28. What’s the longest you’ve gone without taking a bath? I was in the Army in the woods for a week.

29. What is your best physical attribute? (Then, you can dare the person to show you their best physical attribute.) My smile.

30. You just got a free plane ticket to anywhere. You have to depart right now. Where are you gonna go? Austria. The ski lifts are open.

31. Upon arrival to the aforementioned location, you get off the plane and discover another hundred-dollar bill. Cripes! Now that you are in the new location, where are you gonna go to spend that? Lift tickets.

32. An angel appears out of Heaven and offers you a lifetime supply of the alcoholic beverage of your choice. “Be brand-specific” it says. Man! What are you gonna say about that? Even if you don’t drink booze there’s something you can figure out… so what’s it gonna be? Châteauneuf-du-Pape

33. Rufus appears out of nowhere with a time-traveling phone booth. You can go anytime in the PAST. What time are you traveling to and what are you going to do when you get there? I’m going to Regency England to study the culture.

34. What is your favorite expletive? Shit.

35. Your house is on fire! You have just enough time to run in there and grab ONE inanimate object. Don’t worry, your loved ones and pets have already made it out safely. So what’s the one thing you’re going to save from that blazing inferno? My laptop.

36. The Angel Of Death has descended upon you. Fortunately, the Angel Of Death is pretty cool and in a good mood, and it offers you a half-hour to do whatever you want before you bite it. Whatcha gonna do in that half-hour? Make love to my husband.

37. You accidentally eat some radioactive vegetables. They were good, and what’s even cooler is that they endow you with the super-power of your choice! What’s it gonna be? Wiggle my nose like Samantha.

38. This question still counts, even for those of you who are under age. Check it out. You have been eternally banned from every single bar in the world except for ONE. Which one is it gonna be? That’s hard. Either The bistro in the bistro on the corner of Avenue de la Motte Picquet  and Avenue Bosquet in the 7th arrondissement Paris or La Chevre d’Or in Eze, France.

39. The Celestial Gates Of Beyond have opened, much to your surprise because you didn’t think such a thing existed. Death appears. As it turns out, Death is actually a pretty cool entity, and happens to be in a fantastic mood. Death offers to return the friend/family-member/person/etc. of your choice to the living world. Who will you bring back? My mother.