Q&A & Giveaway with Barbara Taylor Sissel! {Author of The Volunteer}

Today’s featured author is Barbara Taylor Sissel, author of The Volunteer!

Read below to discover more about Barbara and her writing… and enter the special giveaway three winners will receive a Kindle Copy* of  The Volunteer! Just leave a comment on this post for entry!

See the bonus entry details after the Q&A!

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Thank you for spending some time with us Frugal eReaders! Can you please tell us a little about yourself?

First, thank you so much for having me. I love The Frugal eReader and am so glad for an opportunity to share on the site.  As for a bit about me … I am the mother of two sons and live near Houston, Texas. When I’m not writing, I love to garden. I also do cross-stitch and find both these activities very meditative and helpful in my writing endeavors.

When did you first know that you wanted to write? What inspired you to start?

I can nearly recall the exact instant. I was eleven, reading Wuthering Heights, and I was so moved by the story, so caught up in the eeriness and the heartbreak of Catherine’s and Heathcliff’s drama. It had happened to me before, but this time, I glanced up from the book and had the sense that I wanted to give others the gift I was being given. I wanted to create stories that would transport readers into another world, stories that would move them.

How would you describe the style of your writing?

I think what I write is broadly called commercial fiction and/or women’s fiction, although that would suggest it wouldn’t appeal to men and I don’t think that’s true. More narrowly, it is about families in jeopardy. Ordinary families in crisis and how they survive.  My logline reads: At the heart of every crime, there’s a family, someone you love….

From the description, The Volunteer is a story about families, how they are made, and how in one single, horrifying instant, they can be broken. I found the story line to be heartbreaking but thought provoking. Can you talk about how you came up with it?

I read in the newspaper about a man on death row who had called off his appeals and the State of Texas had granted his right to die. There was quite a debate then around the question of whether an inmate had the right to do this. People asked if it wasn’t just state assisted suicide and why should such a request be granted? Others claimed the inmate was only trying to call attention to himself and to mount some kind of protest against the death penalty. Others, including many inmates, were angry that he was asking to hasten a process that they felt was inherently wrong. I couldn’t stop thinking about the implications: How would his family feel? What would it be like to know the exact date of your death? What sort of mental and emotional process would lead someone to make such a request? What led them to commit the crime that got them on death row? Was there remorse involved in the request to die? What about forgiveness? Especially among members of the family? I really wondered about and wanted to look at these issues and the story just evolved from there.

What were the challenges of writing this novel?

The research was a big challenge in a couple of ways. It was easy enough to come by a lot of the public knowledge regarding death row, but not so simple to get a more realistic, inside view. I give credit to several sources for providing me with as close to an accurate picture as possible and I list them in my acknowledgements. But another aspect that was challenging was that so much of what I discovered was just devastating and sad so it was difficult to handle. I would find myself moved to tears over an inmate’s story or a family’s story.

What was your favorite part of writing The Volunteer?

I enjoyed developing Thomas’s relationship with Sophia, but truly, I loved writing all of it. It was very absorbing on so many levels. Speaking as a gardener, I didn’t mind a bit the afternoon or three that I spent researching Sophia’s roses!

What would you like the readers to take away from reading The Volunteer?

That forgiveness, while often difficult, is possible in even the worst situations, and that it is the only way to be free. Forgiving someone doesn’t mean you condone their acts only that you let yourself be free of anger and bitterness about those acts. It goes for ourselves, too. When we may have done a hurtful thing, it is possible to forgive ourselves and to find peace that way.

What was the creative process for determining the final title and cover for your novel?

The title came from the news articles I read. The inmate in them, and those like him, were labeled “volunteers” and I knew in that moment I would write about such a man and I would title the book after him in this role. As for the cover, it speaks to the pier Sophia visits and the danger of a child being left unattended. I wanted an image of a child in jeopardy that would suggest that left to their own devices, children often find themselves heading off an edge and into deep water. The image was meant to evoke concern, even fear for that child.

Are you working on anything currently that you would like to share? J

As a matter of fact, I’m excited to say that in the interim since publishing THE VOLUNTEER, and two other indie novels THE NINTH STEP and THE LAST INNOCENT HOUR, I signed with MIRA to write two new books. The first one, EVIDENCE OF LIFE, will come out in April of 2013. It’s the story of a woman whose family is presumed drowned in a flood. Unable to accept their fate, she goes in search of them only to discover that nothing she believed about the life she led was true. I’m working on the second one for MIRA now that is as yet untitled but will also concern a crime and a family in jeopardy.

Finally, would you like to leave us with one of your favorite passages from The Volunteer?

Some of my favorite passages happen late in the book and would maybe spoil the plot to quote, but one that I love, that seemed pulled from nowhere that was conscious, is the description of Sophia’s pier, the first time the reader goes with her when she walks there. Ever since writing that I have wished to have such a quiet, serene retreat myself, to walk through her moon gate and down the path, where the light is green and swimmy and shadows dart like fish.


Thank you so much for taking the time to let us learn more about you and your book! I wish you the best!

Thank you, Elizabeth. I appreciate the opportunity to share time with you and The Frugal eReader

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At the heart of every crime, there’s a family … this fact drives Barbara’s fiction. Her novels are issue oriented, threaded with elements of suspense and defined by their particular emphasis on how crime effects families, the victim’s family, the perpetrator’s family. Her first indie novel, The Ninth Step, was published in August of 2011, and she hasn’t looked back since. The Volunteer came out in October of that year and The Last Innocent Hour, originally published in trade print, followed in November.

Currently Barbara is represented by Barbara Poelle of the Irene Goodman Literary Agency and under contract to MIRA for Evidence of Life, which will make its print debut in April 2013, and a second as yet untitled novel.

Although she once lived on the grounds of a prison facility in Kentucky (a fact that might explain the nature of her writing) she now resides near Houston, Texas. An avid gardener and reader, Barbara is the mother of two wonderful sons, who are an endless source of learning, laughter and joy.

Barbara’s WebsiteFacebook Fan Page – Barbara Taylor SisselThe Volunteer – Amazon Buy LinkThe Ninth Step – Amazon Buy LinkThe Last Innocent Hour – Amazon Buy LinkFollow Barbara on TwitterFollow Barbara on Goodreads

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The Volunteer

In the fall of 1999, psychologist Sophia Beckman is compelled by the court to give testimony on behalf of a death row inmate that results in his sentence being overturned. Haunted by secrets from her past, she avoids the media spotlight as much as possible, but soon, other prisoners’ families come seeking her assistance. One family in particular, the wife, children, and brother of Jarrett Capshaw, is especially insistent. Forty-one days ago Jarrett’s request to die was granted by the State of Texas, and he became a dead man walking, a man they call a volunteer.
Jarrett’s crimes were unusual, involving the theft of precious Mayan antiquities. Murder was never part of the plan, but murder is what happened. He pulled the trigger, and as little as he feels prepared for it, as much as he struggles with matters of the soul, he’s ready to die. It is the only way his family and the families of his victims will be free to move on. While Jarrett labors to find the words to say good-bye to those he has loved, Sophia finds herself drawn into a relationship with his wife and oldest son. It is Jarrett’s family she can’t resist and there will be a price to pay. But not even Sophia could have foreseen the outcome when the brutal truth is exposed, the unalloyed facts that, incredibly, will deliver Jarrett’s fate straight into her hands. 

The Volunteer is a story about families, how they are made, and how in one single, horrifying instant, they can be broken. It is a story about mothers and the lies they tell to protect their children, to keep them from being hurt. But what happens when the truth comes out anyway and nothing and no one is spared? Sometimes the truth has the power to break your heart, and in Sophia’s case it will also endanger her freedom and threaten everything she has ever believed about her life.

The Volunteer is available from Amazon for $2.99 or Borrow FREE w/Prime!

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How to enter The Volunteer Giveaway:

Leave a comment on this post!

Bonus Entries {leave an additional comment for each one!}:

Happy eReading!

_______________________________________________________________

*Please note that the copies will be purchased and gifted directly from Amazon to the reader!

Q&A & Giveaway with Terri Giuliano Long!

Today’s featured author is Terri Giuliano Long, author of In Leah’s Wake!

Read below to discover more about Terri and her writing… and enter the special giveaway – One Grand Prize winner will receive a tote bag, signed paperback, and a bookmark, plus three additional winners will receive a Kindle Copy* of  In Leah’s Wake! Just leave a comment on this post for entry!

See the bonus entry details after the Q&A!

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Thank you for spending some time with us Frugal eReaders! Can you please tell us a little about yourself?

Thank you so very much for featuring me, Elizabeth. I’m honored to be here!

Above all, I’m a wife and mom. My family centers and sustains me. My husband and I walk 4 or 5 miles nearly every day. We love to travel and I’m a passionate foodie.

I received my best my parenting advice from the Robert Fulghum poem “All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten.” In kindergarten, he writes, he learned to: “share everything; play fair; don’t hit people; put things back where you found them; clean up your own mess; don’t take things that aren’t yours; say you’re sorry when you hurt someone.” When our eldest daughter, Jen, was in fifth or sixth grade, I met a mom whose overweight daughter was ruthlessly bullied. The mom hugged me and said that Jen was the only one who’d ever stuck up for her daughter, never bullied her. As a mom, I’ve enjoyed many proud moments. This one is at the top of my list.

Fun facts: I’m a closet nerd. On the outside, I appear cool and relaxed, but I’m actually quite shy. Before a public appearance, I’m anxious for days and it takes me forever to decide what to wear. I’m also a choc-o-holic and a shoe whore.

When did you first know that you wanted to write? What inspired you to start?

When I was a child, my mom read to my siblings and me every day before our afternoon nap, instilling and nurturing a love of reading and story. Throughout my childhood, I entertained myself by making up stories and plays. In high school, nearly all my hobbies and activities somehow involved writing. I wrote for the school paper, edited the yearbook. One day, determined to be a “real” writer, I marched into the office of the town paper and asked the editor for a job. At first, I covered sports and general high school news. Soon, the editor offered me my own column. I was sixteen. That column was my first paid writing job. I earned about a dollar a week. Writing that column – that people read and followed my work – was exhilarating! I knew then that writing was the only job I’d ever want.

When my children were young, I wrote news and feature articles for a local and regional paper, edited technical articles for trade magazines, and wrote marketing and web copy. About 15 years ago, I began writing fiction. In Leah’s Wake is my first novel. Nowhere to Run will be my second full-length work of fiction.

I’ve now taught writing for 16 years. Writing is really the only thing I know how to do.

How would you describe the style of your writing?

My style is very straightforward. Early on, I learned that writing should be transparent, a window into the story. The late short story writer Andre Dubus wrote gorgeous, moving stories about real people, about life. In his work, it’s content—the story, not the lyrical language—that matters. This appeals to me and I’ve tried to incorporate it into my own work.

The Christian Existentialist thinker Gabriel Marcel said, “There can be no hope that does not constitute itself through a we and for a we. I would be tempted to say that all hope is at the bottom choral.”  Marcel believed humans derive hope through despair – primarily through communion with others. This deep need to connect, the idea that we’re all in this together, is central to who I am and all I believe in. In this novel, this theme plays out through the struggles of the younger daughter, Justine. At heart, this is what In Leah’s Wake is about. The themes of struggle, brokenness, and the need for human connection run through my body of work.

While my stories differ—my novel-in-progress, Nowhere to Run, is a psychological thriller with a historical twist—they always tie back to the family. Families fascinate me – the ways we love, yet often hurt one another, the grief, the revelation, the joy. We’re all part of some family, which, it seems, is why we connect to family stories. For me, this human connection, this dialogue between writer and reader, is what writing is all about.

In Leah’s Wake holds a premise that may be familiar to many families in some way. Can you talk about how you came up with the story line?

When I wrote the early drafts of the novel, our four daughters were adolescents, so I was immersed in that world. I love teenagers—they’re tremendously optimistic and creative—but let’s face it: the teen years are turbulent. When our older daughters were in high school, there was a serious heroin problem in town. I knew of kids, good kids, who used and lost everything. Sadly, several died in car accidents or from an overdose. Their stories touched and saddened me.

When I began the novel, I had no idea where it was headed. It started with a popular high school girl getting involved with a horrible boyfriend—every mom’s nightmare—and the voice of someone in town, criticizing the family. I knew there would be trouble in the family and a loss of connection in the community—an issue that became one of the novel’s central themes. Early on, I thought one of the parents, in a misguided effort to protect their daughter, might somehow hurt the boyfriend. As the story evolved, it became more character-driven, focused on the family’s struggles. The push-pull between Leah and her parents, their failed efforts to communicate, and the ostracism by the community, drove her to go to the lengths she does. I’m sure the true stories I’d heard intuitively came into play.

What were the challenges of writing this novel?

I found Zoe’s scenes tough to write. She loves her children deeply – I hope that comes across. Ironically—she’s a child therapist—she makes many parenting mistakes. She can also be selfish, self-absorbed. When times are toughest, she escapes into drugs. Despite her flaws, I wanted readers to see her as a good, decent person. I also wanted to create a character different from me. I feel this way about all my characters – the stories are not, and should not be, about me – but writing a mom is hard, because I am a mom. With too much narrative distance, I’d lose authenticity. If I didn’t separate enough, the thoughts and feelings would become mine. It was a struggle to find the right balance.

What was your favorite part of writing In Leah’s Wake?

In a chapter called “Sisters Redux,” Justine, the dorky, goody-two-shoes little sister, asks Leah for a cigarette. It’s almost painful to see her trying so hard to win her big sister’s acceptance and affection. Leah scoffs; then it dawns on her that Justine is serious and her conscience kicks in. In her quest for independence, Leah has made certain choices; Justine doesn’t have to follow in her footsteps. Sure, Justine’s a dork, but that’s okay. In certain arenas, Leah thinks, dorks have the advantage.

As she’s about to say no, it occurs to Leah that Justine has a right to make her own choices. For the first time since they were young, Leah sees Justine as her equal. Despite her reservations, she gives her sister the cigarette. In a sweet moment, later in the chapter, Leah teaches Justine to dance. I loved writing these scenes. For me, the love between the sisters is heartbreaking and special. Leah has many funny, convoluted—yet often spot-on—ideas and beliefs. I also enjoyed inhabiting her body, writing in her voice.

What was the creative process for determining the final title and cover for your novel?

One night, Dave and I were sitting in the living room, batting around ideas for a title. He came up with In Leah’s Wake. I loved the image. I pictured Leah as a speedboat, racing headlong into disaster, her family in the swirling water behind her. Please forgive me—I know this sounds arrogant—I liked the play on the title Finnegan’s Wake. Believe me, I have no illusions. For a grad school class, I memorized the final paragraph of “The Dead.” Gabriel is watching the swirling snow. Joyce writes:

“His soul swooned slowly as he heard the snow falling faintly through the universe and faintly falling, like the descent of their last end, upon all the living and the dead” (225).

For me, ultimately In Leah’s Wake is about connection and life. The image of the swirling water replays in the epilogue, but the snow swirls outward, offering hope.

Cover: I found the image on a site that sells stock photos. I looked first for a photo of sisters, to highlight the bond between Justine and Leah, which is central to the book. The subjects were all too young or too old; none felt like my sisters.

I searched using the term “family problems,” then expanded to teens, teen rebellion, drug use. Coupling these terms with the words “young woman” produced images of teenage girls alone on staircases or in alleys, smoking. “Runaway” turned up vintage images of a young girl, ten or eleven, carrying a suitcase. In one, a younger child was following, as though chasing her. I kept returning to these shots. The older girl reminded me of Dorothy, from The Wizard of Oz. There is a lot of Dorothy in Leah—a good kid with a big heart, desperate for freedom and independence.

I copied my two favorite images of the girl with the suitcase and pasted them in a Word document. Having gone through all my keywords, I turned to metaphorical terms. “Independence” gave me photos of balloons, images of people skydiving, meditating on a beach, standing at the top of a mountain or on the edge of a cliff. I tried anger, frustration. Searching “loneliness,” I found a photograph of a screen door and, beyond it, a yard. The shadow across the grass and the square of light on the door suggested morning, and I thought of new beginnings, change. Now I was getting close. “Abandonment” turned up an abandoned Teddy bear. On the next page, I found the swing—and I knew. This is so corny, but I felt all tingly.

The empty swing calls to mind adolescence, a child growing up. The movement suggests recent abandonment, as if the child has left only minutes ago. The image captures the sadness, the lost innocence, the turbulence of adolescence. Yet, for me, the sadness is balanced by the hopefulness of the sunlight, the grass, the leafy tree.

I would like to repeat a question I found in the “A few minutes with the Author” section of your novel as I believe it is an insightful one: What would you like the readers to take away from reading In Leah’s Wake?

I used an epigraph from The Grand Inquisitor: “everyone is really responsible to all men for all men and for everything.” Although the Tyler family is far from perfect, they’re decent people, and they love one another deeply. They’ve been town royalty—they’re wealthy and beautiful; Zoe is a therapist and popular motivational speaker; Leah is a superstar athlete. When they experience problems, the community that worshiped them tears them down and ostracizes them, almost if their problems are catching.

Had the community rallied around and supported them instead, perhaps Leah would not have gotten as lost. Most teens just want acceptance, to be loved – not for what they accomplish or contribute, but for who they are. I’d be thrilled if my novel inspired readers to consider suspending judgment, to look less harshly at troubled teens and their families. I feel that we owe it to our teens, our communities, and ourselves to support and encourage all kids, not just those who conform. As Hillary Clinton famously said, it takes a village to raise a child. We lead busy lives. I’m not suggesting that we must actively pitch in, but a smile, a kind word cost nothing and they go a long way.

Your new Psychological Thriller, Nowhere to Run, is introduced at the end of In Leah’s Wake. Can you share more about this new release? When can we expect it? :)

Like In Leah’s Wake, Nowhere to Run is a family story. Although it would be categorized as a psychological thriller, at heart the story is about two families—one has lost a child; the other hopes to send a son to the White House.

The protagonist, Abby Minot, has a teenage son, Jesse. Like Justine, Jesse is lost, in his case caught in the dynamics resulting from the horrific murder of his younger sister. His sister’s death drove a wedge into his parents’ marriage and they’re now separated.

Reeling from her husband’s infidelity, Abby accepts a writing assignment in northern New Hampshire, a human-interest story on the powerful Chase family.

Matthias Chase, a self-proclaimed “new Republican”—fiscally conservative, socially just”—has built his reputation on an unsubstantiated claim that his ancestors were part of the Underground Railroad. During a renovation project, workers find a hidden chamber under a barn—just in time for his run for the presidency.

When Abby sees inconsistencies in the story and begins to ask questions, both the Chase family and the people in the town of New Madbury turn against her.

While the stories are very different, the books share quite a few underlying themes. I hope to release the new novel in November 2012.

Finally, would you like to leave us with one of your favorite passages from In Leah’s Wake?

A knock at her bedroom door caught Leah by surprise.

“Wait a sec,” she called, fumbling with the screen. Come on. Open.

Finally, the screen popped. She snubbed her butt on the shingles, flicked it away, and tugged the screen, pulling it too far inside the frame. She righted the screen as best she could, and yanked down the sash. Grabbing her perfume mister, she sprayed by the window and around her bed.

“It’s,” Leah said, breathing hard as she opened her door. “Only you.”

***

Only her? Justine’s heart sank. “You didn’t have to get rid of the cigarette. I wouldn’t have told.”

“Yeah,” Leah grumbled. “I know.”

With the heel of her bare foot, Justine pushed the door closed and then she hopped onto her sister’s bed. Over the last few months, Leah’s room had undergone a dramatic change, the Nike poster at the foot of her bed the only memento left from before. Leah’s old soccer schedules, which used to be taped to her walls, were gone. In their place, she’d hung posters of arrogant hip-hop artists and moody rock stars. There was a glossy picture of Sugarloaf, skiers gliding down the lush, sun-dappled mountain, a poster of a fat lady on the toilet reading the paper.

Justine crossed her legs, Indian-style. A package of Marlboro cigarettes lay on the nightstand. She wondered what her sister would do if she filched one. Justine was tired of being Queen Dork. She wanted to be like her sister. Fun and exciting and brave . . . It was time to make a stand, time to grow up. Time to earn some self-respect. Today, Justine told herself. Today is the day.

Justine rose, sweating, went to the window. “Okay if I open it?”

Leah shrugged. “Whatever.”

“Leah?” Justine said, faltering. Why was she so nervous? So what if she wanted to smoke? Leah smoked. What could her sister possibly say?

“Can I ask you something?”

Leah shrugged again. No. That’s what Leah could say.

“What is it, Jus? Want me to call that kid you like? What was his name?”

Justine stood alone at the window, shaking her head.

***

Her little sister tried Leah’s patience. Leah couldn’t stand when people beat around the bush. Why not ask for what you wanted? Be direct. Justine was such a baby.

“Well?” Leah said, clearing her throat. “You gonna tell me what you want? Or am I supposed to guess?”

Justine turned from the window, fanning herself. “Are you hot?”

“No. I’m not hot. Look, Justine.” Leah set her hands on her hips. “If you want me to do something, ask. Okay?” She wasn’t an ogre. Chances were, she’d say yes. “You’re doing algebra, right? I can help with that, if you want. Science, forget it. I mean, I would, but I’m lousy at science.”

Leah plucked a satin camisole off the floor and held it up. She’d never wear this shade of purple now. Too girly. “Want to borrow a shirt? Is that it? You can, but my clothes are probably too big.”

Justine hedged. “Could I—”

“God, Justine. Spit it out already.”

“—try one of your cigarettes?” There. She’d said it.

Cigarettes? Did Leah have cotton in her ears? Justine would never smoke. She was constantly nagging Leah to quit. She was scared of cancer. And heart disease. And all the other vile diseases that smoking supposedly caused. If Justine were anyone else, Leah would think this was a trap. Justine was too earnest. Leah doubted the girl could tell a lie to save her own life. Can I throw out your cigarettes, she’d probably said.

“Can I have a cigarette?” Justine repeated, confidently this time.

Leah swiped the pack of Marlboros from the nightstand. No way would she allow her sister to smoke. Sure, she’d offered a few times, only to tease. Their father was wrong. She’d never corrupt her sister. Leah was proud of her choices. She was glad she’d gone her own way, even if she was always in trouble. She was an independent thinker. The same decisions would spell disaster for an innocent girl like Justine. So what if Justine was a dork? In certain arenas, dorks had the advantage.

“Please?” Justine pleaded.

“Fine.” Leah reached into her pocket, retrieved the cigarettes, and tapped one into her outstretched palm. “Go for it, if you want.”

***

Justine was a dope. No, worse than a dope. She’d been obsessed about smoking. Bent on proving to her sister, proving to herself, she was mature, she wasn’t a baby. Naturally, the second Leah agreed, the urge vanished. Justine could name a hundred reasons smoking was a lousy idea. Yet she’d made such a production. If she chickened out now, Leah would think she was a ninny. How had she gotten herself into this mess?

“I don’t know, Jus. Maybe this isn’t such a good idea.” Leah closed her fist around the butt. “Let’s skip it, okay? Pretend you never asked.”

No. Justine wouldn’t back out now. She couldn’t. “Will you light it for me?”

***

Lighting a cigarette for her sister? Letting a twelve-year-old smoke? Maybe their father was right. Maybe Leah was evil. He hadn’t said those words exactly, but that was what he meant. Even evil people had limits.

Justine was staring up at her.

On the other hand—if the little geek wanted to smoke, Leah should probably let her. Who was she to judge? She could advise Justine not to smoke. But it wasn’t her call. Her sister had a right to decide for herself.

Leah opened the window to draw the smoke out of the room, returned to the bed, and sat beside her sister, their thighs touching.

Leah placed the cigarette between her lips, flicked her pink lighter. “Like this.” She took a long drag, and turned the filtered end to Justine.

Justine took a tiny puff and immediately blew out the smoke.

Oh God. She’s an even bigger geek than I thought. Leah couldn’t help laughing. “Watch. “ Leah took a deep pull, blew the smoke in the air, and handed the cigarette back. “You’ve got to inhale. Or you’ll look dumb.”

Justine brought the butt to her mouth, pursing her lips. Squeezing her eyes shut. Sucking hard, mimicking Leah. Suddenly, she was—

—doubled over, coughing.

Leah swooped, rescuing the cigarette before it burned a hole in her rug. “Easy, babe,” she said, patting Justine’s back. “You all right? You sure? That’s it for today.”

 


Thank you so much for taking the time to let us learn more about you and your book! I wish you the best!

Thank you again for featuring me! And thank you, readers, for your interest and for spending the time with me today!

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Terri Giuliano Long is a contributing writer for IndieReader and Her Circle eZine. She has written news and feature articles for numerous publications, including the Boston Globe and the Huffington Post. She lives with her family on the East Coast and teaches at Boston College. In Leah’s Wake is her debut novel. For more information, please visit her website: www.tglong.com Or connect on Facebook, Twitter or Blog.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/tglongwrites/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/tglong

Blog: http://terriglong.com/blog/

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In Leah’s Wake

A Story of Love, Loss, Connection, and Grace

The Tylers have a perfect life—beautiful home, established careers, two sweet and talented daughters. Their eldest daughter, Leah, is on track for a prestigious scholarship. Their youngest, Justine, more responsible than seems possible for her 12 years, just wants her sister’s approval. With Leah nearing the end of high school and Justine a seemingly together kid, the parents are set to enjoy a peaceful life…until Leah meets Todd, a high school dropout and former roadie for a rock band.

As Leah’s parents fight to save their daughter from a world of drugs, sex, and wild parties, their divided approach drives their daughter out of their home and a wedge into their marriage. Meanwhile, twelve-year-old Justine observes her sister’s rebellion from the shadows of their fragmented family—leaving her to question whether anyone loves her and if God even knows she exists.

Can this family survive in Leah’s wake? What happens when love just isn’t enough?

Margot Livesey, award-winning author of The Flight of Gemma Hardy, calls In Leah’s Wake, “A beautifully written and absorbing novel.”

Coffee Time Romance Reviewer Recommend Award

Book Bundlz 2011 Book Pick

Book Bundlz Book Club 2011 Favorites – First Place

Reviewer-nominated for Global eBook Award, 2012

In Leah’s Wake is available from Amazon for $2.99

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How to enter the In Leah’s Wake Giveaway:

Leave a comment on this post!

Bonus Entries {leave an additional comment for each one!}:

Happy eReading!

_______________________________________________________________

*Please note that the copies will be purchased and gifted directly from Amazon to the reader!

Q&A & Giveaway with Cheryl Kaye Tardif!

Today’s featured author is Cheryl Kaye Tardif, author of The River!

Read below to discover more about Cheryl and her writing… and enter the giveaway – Three Frugal eReaders will win either an Amazon Gifted Kindle Copy* of  The River, or two of her other novels, Children of the Fog and Whale Song! Just leave a comment on this post for entry, and let us know which you’d prefer!

See the bonus entry details after the Q&A!

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Thank you for spending some time with us Frugal eReaders! Can you please tell us a little about yourself?

Thank you, Elizabeth. I’m very happy to be featured on your blog. I’m an international bestselling suspense author from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. When someone asks me what I do for a living, I like to say, “I kill people off for a living.” I get a kick out of the looks I get afterward. Sometimes I’ll add, “Fictitiously, of course.” Sometimes I say nothing more and let them ponder on what I really mean. I’m evil that way. LOL.

When did you first know that you wanted to write? What inspired you to start?

I knew I wanted to write much earlier than most writers I know. When I was a toddler, my mom found me scribbling underneath the words in a Dr. Seuss book. She was horrified that I was defacing a book. When she asked me what I was doing, I looked up at her and said, “I’m writing the story.” I mean, couldn’t she figure that out for herself?

How would you describe the style of your writing?

According to reviewers, I am a mix of Dean Koontz, James Patterson, Margaret Atwood, Dan Brown, J.D. Robb, Luanne Rice, Stephen King, Michael Crichton…in other words, my works are very versatile, very unique and very different. I don’t write novels that are formulaic. I allow my characters to tell their stories, and there is always an element of suspense and sometimes a paranormal twist.

The River was such an interesting premise, and definitely held my attention through the entire novel! Can you talk about how you came up with the story line?

One day when my mother was visiting, I tried to help her locate old friends. She told me about this one friend who had told her she always wanted to travel down some mysterious river where people had gone missing. As soon as my mom mentioned this river, my novel was born. I mean, who wouldn’t want to write about a mysterious river where people had disappeared. This got me thinking. What really happened to these people?

After days of research, we finally found the river. The Nahanni River in Canada’s Northwest Territories is nicknamed the “Bermuda Triangle of Canada.” Not only have people gone missing, headless corpses have been discovered there. It is a wild, enigmatic area that is isolated and dangerous. While writing this novel, I figured out what really happened to the people who had disappeared…

What were the challenges of writing this novel?

One of the biggest challenges was writing about an area of Canada I had never seen. Ironically, I had caught the tail end of a documentary but didn’t realize until later that it was about the Nahanni. In order to set the scene and create a believable journey, I connected with Neil Hartling, author and founder of Nahanni River Adventures. He not only answered my endless questions but sent me the cookbook the guides use.

What was your favorite part of writing The River?

The research was my number 1 favorite part. I was swept away by photos of the Nahanni, by stories and history that were intriguing and sometimes gruesome. I have loved researching every book I’ve written.

The second favorite part of writing this book happened when my husband and I were playing cards—Hearts—with our friends, Bobbi and Rus. I’d already let the story of The River ferment in my head and hadn’t started writing it yet. Rus joked about how I always led with hearts as we played, and then he bet me $500 that I couldn’t begin a story with, “She always leads with her heart.” I accepted the bet. And won.

You have many other novels available Frugally on the Kindle. Do you have a favorite that stands out above the others? If it’s not The River, how is it different and/or similar?

I have two favorites, though I’m not sure I should. It’s kind of like having a bunch of children and singling two out. Yikes, bad mother! But I won’t lie. My favorites are Whale Song and Children of the Fog.

Whale Song is what I call “my heart book.” It has more of “me” in it than any other and I’m more emotionally connected to it because it has changed my life and the lives of so many of my readers. One reader told me it saved her life. How powerful is that?

Children of the Fog is another book I feel connected to. It explores one of my deepest fears—that someone would abduct my child. My daughter is now 21 and that fear has subsided somewhat, but the concept behind Children of the Fog runs even deeper than a kidnapping. Sadie, the mother, is flawed by a previous battle with alcoholism, and when her son Sam is abducted, she has to make a terrifying choice—let the kidnapper take her son, or watch Sam die. She sinks into despair and reverts to her addiction. What happens next is both horrifying and amazing. This is one of my best stories to date.

What is your creative process for determining the final title and cover for your novels?

I always know the title before I start writing. They often come to me seconds before the plot emerges. The covers often come to me as strong images in my mind. Creating them is a collaboration between me and my wonderful book cover designer, Jennifer Johnson of Sapphire Designs. She takes my concepts and brings them to life.

Would you like to share anything about an upcoming release, or anything else you’re working on?

I’m working on a ghost writing project that is going to be phenomenal. It’s a novel inspired by true events about a woman and her male friend who were lost in the Amazon back in the 90s. It is rich with description, heart-wrenching and terrifying. It portrays the strength and determination these two people had to fulfill one goal—to survive.

I’m also writing a new thriller.

What is one of your favorite passages from The River?

Here’s a scene I always remember when I think of The River

 

Del’s stomach lurched.

We aren’t going anywhere.

Muffled sounds caught her attention.

A shadowy shape jumped from the first canoe. Someone with a long ponytail and sharp nose.

Hawk.

“Just bring your day bags,” he said. “Leave the rest of the gear.”

She turned to Jake’s shadow. “Is it safe to walk in here?”

“I don’t think we have a choice.”

 

After making slow and careful progress through the winding tunnel, the blue light brightened.

And they stopped.

They had to. It was a dead end.

The tunnel ended in a cave, roughly the size of an average family room. The walls were solid rock, with no visible exit. On each side of the cave, two strips of large, sharp, sapphire-like crystals ran down the walls, from ceiling to floor. They gleamed, casting an eerie blue glow over everything and everyone.

She shuddered.

This can’t be the end of the underground river.

“Very unusual,” Hawk said, staring at the light.

Jake nodded. “I’ve never seen anything like it.”

Del marched forward, determined to find a sign.

Jake’s arm snaked out. “Wait!”

She raised a hand, warding him off, then strode toward the far wall. She made it halfway across the room when the air shifted around her. She stopped.

There has to be something! Schroeder wouldn’t lead us here for nothing.

She stepped forward, between the two strips of crystal.

And something weird happened.

The blue light of the crystals flared…alive.

Jake pulled her back. “Don’t go any closer, Del. It’s not safe.”

His blue eyes pleaded with her, but she shook her head, ignoring him. Her father needed her. She was his only hope. And there was no way on earth that she had come this far only to give up.

Out of the corner of her eye, she saw Peter heave a frustrated groan. He muttered something beneath his breath, then stumbled between the crystals.

“Peter!”

Frozen with fear, she gulped in a huge breath as two slender trails of metallic sapphire light crawled down the cave walls toward him. The tentacles of light slithered across the floor, colliding at his feet. Inch by inch, they wrapped around his legs, throbbing to the beat of the alarm. Within seconds, he was enveloped in a strange liquid mercury radiance.

“Oh my God,” she whispered.

Peter’s jaw dropped and his eyes widened, terrified. Bit by bit, his entire body disintegrated―each molecule separating, stretching grotesquely. He slowly became…dust.

In a flash, Peter Cavanaugh was gone.

Del knew that there were times when a decision must be made, and made fast―regardless of the possible outcome. A decision of fate. Or destiny.

Catching Jake’s eye, she threw him a beaming smile. Before he could stop her, she stepped between the crystals, welcoming the sapphire light that skimmed icily up her body.

Jake’s mouth opened in horror. “No, Del!”

She dissolved into an infinite number of particles…

Thank you so much for taking the time to let us learn more about you and your book! I wish you the best!

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You can learn more about Cheryl Kaye Tardif at http://www.cherylktardif.com.

Visit her blog: http://www.cherylktardif.blogspot.com

Connect on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/cherylktardif and on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Cheryl-Kaye-Tardif-novels/29769736630

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THE RIVER

STEM CELL RESEARCH, CLONING, AND WORLD DOMINATION–WITH A TWIST…

The South Nahanni River area of Canada’s Northwest Territories has a history of mysterious deaths, disappearances and headless corpses, but it may also hold the key to humanity’s survival―or its destruction.

Del thought her father was long dead. But someone from her past says otherwise. Now she and a group of near strangers embark on a perilous mission…

Seven years ago, Del Hawthorne’s father and three of his friends disappeared near the Nahanni River and were presumed dead. When one of the missing men stumbles onto the University grounds, alive but barely recognizable and aging before her eyes, Del is shocked. Especially when the man tells her something inconceivable. Her father is still alive!

Gathering a group of volunteers, Del travels to the Nahanni River to rescue her father. There, she finds a secret river that plunges her into a technologically advanced world of nanobots and painful serums. Del uncovers a conspiracy of unimaginable horror, a plot that threatens to destroy us all. Will humanity be sacrificed for the taste of eternal life?

At what point have we become…God?

“Cheryl Kaye Tardif specializes in mile-a-minute pot-boiler mysteries.” –Edmonton Sun

“Exciting and vivid. Tardif’s latest novel sweeps readers along into uncharted, wild Canadian territory.A thrilling adventure…”―Midwest Book Review

The River is available from Amazon for $2.99 or Borrow FREE with Prime!

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How to enter The River Giveaway:

Leave a comment on this post! Let us know if you want to win a copy of The River, Whale Song or Children of the Fog!

Bonus Entries {leave an additional comment for each one!}:

Happy eReading!

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*Please note that the copies will be purchased and gifted directly from Amazon to the reader!

Q&A & Giveaway with Melissa Foster!

Today’s featured author is Melissa Foster, author of Megan’s Way!

Read below to discover more about Melissa and her writing… and enter the giveaway – Three Frugal eReaders will win an Amazon Gifted Kindle Copy* of Megan’s Way! Just leave a comment on this post for entry!


See the bonus entry details after the Q&A!

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Thank you for spending some time with us Frugal eReaders! Can you please tell us a little about yourself?

Hi, Elizabeth. Thank you so much for having me as your guest today.

Hmm…a little something about me. I’m addicted to writing and to helping others find their paths. I’m looking for a 12-step program, but I’ll probably have to set one up, lol. I’m married, a mom to six great kids who are all taller than me, and I love anything outdoors – festivals, playing with my kids, hiking.

When did you first know that you wanted to write? What inspired you to start?

I’m always a little embarrassed to answer this question, because I’m not one of those people who carried around a notebook at the age of five. I have always loved to write, but not like I do now. The passion I feel for writing now became evident when I was about 25. I guess I’m a late bloomer. The urge to write came on so suddenly, and with such vengeance, that I could not turn it off. I’m truly happy that I didn’t.

How would you describe the style of your writing?

My writing is a mixture of raw emotions and suspense. I probably tend to lean a bit more toward the literary fiction side, even when I’m not writing that genre. I live in the character’s heads, therefore, so do my readers.

Megan’s Way is a powerful story between a mother and a daughter, and deals with something so tragic. How did you come up with such an intriguing premise, that I’m sure touches many so closely?

Thank you, that means a lot to me. Megan’s Way grew from a real-life event with my own mother. Thankfully, she didn’t have cancer, but when they thought she did, she’d made decisions about her life, and she kept her diagnosis from me.

Mothers go to great lengths to protect their children, and the decisions in Megan’s Way—not just Megan’s, but those of her friends and daughter, as well—were controversial. I wanted to challenge my readers to see beyond the visible, tangible aspects of life, to reach beyond what they might feel they “know”, and try to move toward removing judgment and accepting others and their decisions for what lay in their hearts—even if they don’t reveal their reasons.

Congratulations on Megan’s Way being adapted to film! What were the challenges of writing this novel? What was your favorite part of writing it?

Thanks you! When I wrote Megan’s Way, the presence of the characters were very strong, so I didn’t have much trouble with the usual character development, theme, or plot, but what did cause me agida was Megan’s plight, and her secrets. I actually acted out many of the scenes as I wrote them, fine tuning the emotions, and climbing into the heads of fourteen-year-old Olivia and Megan. I wrote scenes with tears streaming down my cheeks.  Because of what I had gone through with my mother, it was easy to step into both Olivia and Megan’s shoes, as daughter and as mother.

My favorite part of writing Megan’s Way was probably writing the part of Olivia. At the time, my step-daughter was somewhere around fourteen, and I had her raw teenage emotions to draw from. I did a lot of watching and listening during that time. I really enjoyed writing in a teen voice.

You have a couple other bestselling and award winning novels. How are these similar or different than Megan’s Way? Do you have a favorite?

I don’t really have a favorite book, although Megan’s Way will always be special to me, because of my relationship with my mother. All of my books are very different. I’m a genre hopper. Chasing Amanda is suspense, while Come Back to Me is contemporary fiction, and, of course, Megan’s Way is literary fiction. My next book is a psychological thriller.

What is your creative process for determining the final title and cover for your novels?

The title and cover have to feel right to me. I’m all about trusting my intuition, so when I choose a cover, or choose a title, I let it sort of float around me for a few minutes, and if I don’t feel the connection, I move onto the next. I’m in the midst of recovering my books and branding them with my cover artist, Kate Burns, and I have found it a very curious process. I realized very quickly that what I liked, was not typical, and I really wanted that style to come through in my covers. I can’t wait to reveal them! I’m also going to include additional content to the books.

Any advice to those who hold the dream of becoming an author?

If you dream it, you can live it. No one else creates our lives for us. We have to grab hold of that paper ticket and turn it to gold. Go for it.

Would you like to share anything about an upcoming release, or anything else you’re working on?

My current work-in-progress is titled THIRTY-SIX HOURS. Here’s a brief blurb about the story:

Kara Knight has just thirty-six hours to find her way out of her obsessive captor’s delusional world. Mistaken for Roland Greer’s long-lost fraternal twin, Kara struggles to make sense in the darkness that envelops her, and plan her escape, as the hours tick away and Roland Greer plays out his plan. In thirty-six hours, at the exact moment of their birth, he will take them both into death–never to be separated again.

THIRTY-SIX HOURS is a psychological thriller that will make you question your every memory.

What is one of your favorite passages from Megan’s Way?

I really like this passage, because as we age, I think we all recognize these feelings:

Megan snuggled into the couch, the afghan draped across her legs, the pillows embracing her petite frame.  The din became a dull hum, and she was enveloped by the kindness that emanated from her closest friends.  The lavender fragrance of candles, burning quickly down their wicks, mixed with perfumes and baked goods and filled the air. Scents of the ocean wisped through the open window, intertwining the many smells into one of comfort and happiness.  How did I get to this place? Megan wondered.  After thirty-nine years, she still couldn’t believe that she was now the age that she’d always remembered her mother being.  When did this happen? When had age crept up on her, like a flower that had bloomed, vibrant and beautiful, and quickly browned around the edges, struggling to simply keep erect? There is no going back.  Gone was the energy that once revolved around what could be—wants, desires, and aspirations—and it was replaced with thoughts of what was best, what had to be.

Thank you so much for taking the time to let us learn more about you and your book! I wish you the best!

Thank you, Elizabeth! I had a wonderful time answering your questions, and I’d be happy to answer questions from readers, too.

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“Melissa Foster is a wonderful connector of readers and books, a friend of authors, and a tireless advocate for women. She is the real deal” –Author Jennie Shortridge 

“Foster’s latest novel is in the same league as books written by such authors as Nicholas Sparks, Jennifer Weiner, and Kristin Hannah.”–Author Carrie Green

Melissa Foster is the award-winning author of three International bestselling novels, Megan’s Way, Chasing Amanda, and Come Back to Me. She has also been published in Indie Chicks, and anthology. She is the founder of the Women’s Nest, a social and support community for women, and the WoMen’s Literary Cafe, a cross-promotional site for authors, reviewers, bloggers, and readers. Melissa is currently collaborating in the film production of Megan’s Way.

Melissa hosts an annual Aspiring Authors contest for children, she’s written for Calgary’s Child Magazine and Women Business Owners Magazine, and has painted and donated several murals to The Hospital for Sick Children in Washington, DC. Melissa lives in Maryland with her family. Melissa’s interests include her family, reading, writing, painting, friends, helping women see the positive side of life, and visiting Cape Cod.

Melissa on The Women’s Nest or WoMen’s Lit Cafe. Melissa enjoys discussing her books with book clubs and reader groups, and welcomes an invitation to your event.

A portion of Melissa’s book revenue is donated to Provincetown Cares.

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Megan’s Way

2011 Beach Book Award Winner (Spirituality)
2011 Readers Favorite Awards, Winner (Fiction/Drama), Finalist (Women’s Fiction)
2010 Next Generation Indie Book Award, Finalist (Spirituality)
2011 New England Book Festival, Honorable Mention (Spirituality)

Currently OPTIONED for FILM

What would you give up for the people you love?

When Megan Taylor, a single mother and artist, receives the shocking news that her cancer has returned, she’ll be faced with the most difficult decision she’s ever had to make. She’ll endure an emotional journey, questioning her own moral and ethical values, and the decisions she’d made long ago. The love she has for her daughter, Olivia, and her closest friends, will be stretched and frayed.

Meanwhile, fourteen-year-old Olivia’s world is falling apart right before her eyes, and there’s nothing she can do about it. She finds herself acting in ways she cannot even begin to understand. When her internal struggles turn to dangerous behavior, her life will hang in the balance.

Megan’s closest friends are caught in a tangled web of deceit. Each must figure out how, and if, they can expose their secrets, or forever be haunted by their pasts.

Megan’s Way is available from Amazon for $3.99 or Borrow FREE with Prime!

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How to enter the Megan’s Way Giveaway:

Leave a comment on this post!

Bonus Entries {leave an additional comment for each one!}:

Happy eReading!

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*Please note that the copies will be purchased and gifted directly from Amazon to the reader!

Q&A and Giveaway with L.J. Sellers!

Today’s featured author is L.J. Sellers, author of The Sex Club {A Detective Jackson Mystery}!

Read below to discover more about L.J. and her writing… and enter the giveaway – Five Frugal eReaders will win an eCopy of The Sex Club! Just leave a comment on this post for entry!


See the bonus entry details after the Q&A!

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Thank you for spending some time with us Frugal eReaders! Can you please tell us a little about yourself?

I live in Eugene, where I’ve been since earning a journalism degree from the University of Oregon. So I’ve worked as a journalist and editor most of my career, including a long stint on a pharmaceutical magazine, where I learned a lot about drugs. :)

Personally, I have a lot of energy and I’m very physically active, despite spending most of my day at a computer. I love to bike, dance, swim, skate, and go for walks with my husband. We have three grown children we spend a lot of time with too. And as my bio says, I’ve been known to jump out of airplanes, go parasailing, and venture up in a hot air balloon. You could say I’m an adrenaline junkie.

When did you first know that you wanted to write? What inspired you to start?

Even as a child, I loved to write stories and reports for school. In college, I stopped writing fiction, thinking I wasn’t creative enough for it. But I continued writing nonfiction and made a career of it, even earning the Grand Neal for a magazine feature. Of course, I’ve always loved to read fiction, and one day I was reading a particularly bad novel and thought: I could write a better story than that. So I challenged myself to give it a try. And I loved it! Writing that novel was like coming home, and I knew it would become my life’s passion. As soon as I finished the first story, I started another and have been writing novels and improving my craft ever since.

How would you describe the style of your writing?

Because I’m a journalist, my prose is rather lean and straightforward. But my stories are complex, action-packed, and filled with tension. I also write from a variety of points of view to keep the story interesting for myself and my readers, and I like to include unusual characters, so readers never quite know what to expect from me.

The Sex Club is the first in your Detective Jackson Mystery series, and includes some powerful themes. How did you come up with such an intriguing premise?

I wrote the story in 2005 when I was upset with the White House at that time for its decision to waste money teaching abstinence-only sex education. And I’ve always felt that suppression of sexuality usually backfires and creates more problems than it prevents. I had also read a couple of news stories about bizarre sexual practices of young teens in the Midwest. All of those ideas came together for me, and I kept bouncing them off each other until the plot fully developed. I knew when I was writing it that it was a provocative story. Sometimes I would laugh out loud and think: No one will ever publish this. But thousands of readers have bought it, and hundreds have contacted me to say how much they liked it.

What were the challenges of writing this novel?

The biggest challenge was finding the right balance between portraying the issues and keeping the novel true to the mystery/suspense genre. I didn’t want the story to seem preachy, so in the second draft, I cut out half of the political stuff. Most of my readers think I found the right balance, but conservative readers disagree, and I expected that.

So recently, to be more inclusive of all readers, I decided to rebrand the Detective Jackson series and pull The Sex Club from its position at the top of the list. When I wrote it, the story was intended to be a standalone. Then years later when I finally had time to write again, I decided to base my next story on the same character. Secrets to Die For is really the first book I wrote intending to launch a series, and it’s now listed as Jackson’s debut. Of course, readers can start the series with either book.

What was your favorite part of writing The Sex Club?

I loved writing the ending and coordinating the timing of all the different events that come together in an explosive climax. I still like reading the ending too. It may always be my favorite conclusion.

You have several novels outside of the Detective Jackson Mysteries. How are these similar or different than your series? Do you have a favorite?

Almost all of my novels are set in Eugene, so my thrillers have that in common with my mysteries. Detective Jackson has a cameo in all my thrillers too. But compared to my police procedurals, my thrillers are unusual stories with unusual settings that make readers say, “This story was unlike anything I’ve read.” Picking a favorite novel is impossible, but in some ways, The Baby Thief will always be special to me because I worked on it for two years and eventually landed a great agent. It was the first novel I wrote that made people in the industry take notice of me.

What is your creative process for determining the final title and cover for your novels?

The title of the story usually comes to me when I’m writing it. I consider other possibilities and sometimes ask beta readers what they think, but I usually end up with the title that came to me during the creation. As for the cover, I spend hours and hours looking at images until I find a few I really like. Then I send them to my graphic artist and get her opinion. From there, we collaborate to create the final design.

Any advice to those who hold the dream of becoming an author?

Keep improving your craft through workshops and reading articles. Writers Digest is a great magazine for that. Then send your work to people in the industry or to professional evaluators for feedback. If they say you have talent, then never give up until your stories are published. At this point, I don’t advise anyone to send their manuscripts to agents or editors, but I don’t discourage it either. Everyone has to create their own path. For writers who have already been through that submission process and gotten nowhere with it, I advise them to invest in self-publishing and learn everything they can about promotion.

I know we’ll see more Detective Jackson mysteries, and you’re currently working on the 6th book in the series. Would you like to share anything about that upcoming release, or anything else you’re working on?

My new Jackson story will be released late next month and it’s titled Liars, Cheaters & Thieves. Each of my stories is unique with different crimes, different kinds of victims, and different POV characters, and this one is no exception. Here’s the back cover copy:

Thursday night, a young veteran’s throat is slashed in a parking lot. Friday morning, an older women dies of a heart attack when she realizes her bank account has been cleaned out. The homicide-scene evidence points to the man’s cheating wife, but when Detective Jackson finds bizarre materials in their home and a link to a phony charity, the case gets complicated. When another man is killed, Jackson and his team decide to follow the money—but can they find the trail before anyone else is murdered?

What is one of your favorite passages from The Sex Club?

My favorite passage is near the end, but I can’t share much of it without giving away the mystery. But this paragraph always give me a little jolt:

The bitch. She was trying to make them leave. Right after lying about not knowing the names of the kids in the sex club. Rachel decided Kera Kollmorgan could not be trusted.

Thank you so much for taking the time to let us learn more about you and your book! I wish you the best!

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The Sex Club

When a bomb explodes at a birth-control clinic and a young client turns up dead, Detective Jackson is assigned both cases. But are they connected? Kera, the clinic nurse who discovers that the girl’s Bible group is really a sexual free-for-all, thinks they are. But confidentiality keeps her from telling the police, so she digs for the truth on her own and becomes the bomber’s new target. Soon another girl is murdered. Can Jackson uncover the killer’s shocking identity in time to stop the slaughter?

“A thrilling, eye-opening read.” —Mystery Scene magazine

“A well-plotted suspenseful tale with a pulse-pounding ending.”—Midwest Book Review

 

 

“I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. The characters were compelling, the procedural work was dead-on, and the story was enthralling. Definitely recommended.”—Michelle Gagnon, author of Boneyard

 

“The Sex Club is a must read!”—Seattle Mystery Bookshop

 

 

Click here to read more about and purchase The Sex Club from Amazon for $2.99

Connect with L.J.:

http://ljsellers.com
http://readersrule.org
http://crimefictioncollective.blogspot.com
https://www.facebook.com/ljsellers
https://twitter.com/#!/LJSellers

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How to enter the Take The Sex Club Giveaway:

Leave a comment on this post!

Bonus Entries {leave an additional comment for each one!}:

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Q&A and Giveaway with Mel Comley!

Today’s featured author is Mel Comley, author of A Time to Heal {and the Justice Series}!

Read below to discover more about Mel and her writing… and enter the giveaway!

 

Five Frugal eReaders will win an eCopy of A Time to Heal, and five Frugal eReaders will win an eCopy of her newest release, Cruel Justice! Just leave a comment on this post for entry, and specify which title you would like to win!

See the bonus entry details after the Q&A!

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Thank you for spending some time with us Frugal eReaders! Can you please tell us a little about yourself?

First of all thank you for having me, Elizabeth. I live in beautiful France, right out in the sticks, a tranquil area which I find inspirational for writing.

When did you first know that you wanted to write? What inspired you to start?

I’ve always written a diary and the odd short story that I submitted to magazines, but I started writing full-time when I moved from the UK ten years ago. I started reading James Patterson novels and something sparked my imagination into life. I was determined to create a female, Brit version of Alex Cross.

How would you describe the style of your writing?

I try to emulate Patterson’s style where I can, I write pacey thrillers with short chapters which holds the readers interested. I’ve incorporated the same style in my romances too.

A Time To Heal is in quite a different genre from your popular Justice series. Why did you decide to write a romance novella?

In between writing the Lorne Simpkins thrillers I wrote three romances, the first was A Time to Heal. I think as writers we shouldn’t be restricted to writing in one genre, it does us good to diversify and to try and gain new readers.

I was rooting for a specific outcome to the story of A Time To Heal (I won’t spoil it!) – Did you know what the ending was going to be when you started writing it? Does an ending ever change as you’re in the writing process of a story?

That’s kind of you. Actually, in A Time to Heal the ending came first, however the story went through several rewrites to reach the ending I was aiming for. I worked with a new editor on my romances and the first drafts came back with a lot of red ink on them and the words ‘You can do better than that’. LOL. Harry was right of course and he put his foot down firmly before he agreed to let me upload them as ebooks.

What were the challenges of writing this novella? What was your favorite part of writing A Time To Heal?

I suppose the greatest challenge was getting the characters right. I needed Chloe to come across as both caring because of her role as a Family Liaison Officer, yet feisty for when things began to get tough in her relationship with Steve after the dreaded ex turns up. I loved the pool scene! ;-)

What was your creative process for determining the final title and cover for your novella?

I love the title A Time to Heal as it is applicable to both the main characters for different reasons. My good friend Tania creates all my covers. I find the image and she works her magic with them.

Any advice to those who hold the dream of becoming an author?

I’m not saying everyone can do it because writers have to be disciplined. But if the desire is eating away at you then you should certainly put your ideas down on paper and give it a shot. But always seek professional advice, an editor will see things in your work that you often miss.

The next book of your Justice series, Cruel Justice, was just recently released, however, are you working on anything new that you’d like to share??

At the moment I’m writing several short stories that centre around topical hard hitting issues. The first case will involve animal cruelty, I have two rescue dogs who are the soppiest dogs ever. My plan is to give all the proceeds to two animal charities close to my heart.

What is one of your favorite passages from A Time To Heal?

I love the part when Chloe is transformed into a beautiful woman and Steve’s reaction to her.

Steve shook his head and his gaze travelled from the hemline of the dress, almost touching the floor, up her slender body where it settled on her pinched in waist before taking in her revealing cleavage. Finally his eyes came to rest on her subtly made-up face. His breath caught in his throat and he whispered, “Stunning … absolutely stunning.”

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A Time to Heal

Family Liaison Officer, Chloe Fullerton is helping hero pilot, Captain Steve Ewing, recuperate from injury after he landed his stricken plane, avoiding a major disaster.

Chloe’s sworn off love ever since she lost the love of her life. But the spark between her and Steve makes her feel she may yet love again. There’s turbulence ahead though–Steve’s ex-wife is determined to wreck his and Chloe’s blossoming relationship.

Novella approx 33,000 words.

Click here to read more about and purchase A Time To Heal from Amazon for $0.99

Connect with Mel:

Websites:http://melcomley.blogspot.com/

http://melcomleyromances.blogspot.com/

Twitter Handle: @melcom1

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Mel-Comley/264745836884860

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How to enter the Take the A Time To Heal Giveaway:

Leave a comment on this post {don’t forget to specify if you want A Time To Heal or Cruel Justice!}!

Bonus Entries {leave an additional comment for each one!}:

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Q&A and Giveaway with Scott Nicholson!

Today’s featured author is Scott Nicholson, author of  Transparent Lovers! Read below to discover more about Scott and his writing… and enter the giveaway for his screenplay, Creative Spirit!

Scott Nicholson is giving away five copies of his screenplay Creative Spirit, based on his 2004 paperback The Manor. Just leave a comment on this post for entry!

He’s also giving away 15 percent of his ebook sales in September, and you can find the events at http://hauntedcomputer.blogspot.comor the Inner Circle newsletter.

Enter the giveaway after the Q&A!

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Thank you for spending some time with us Frugal eReaders! Can you please tell us a little about yourself?

I’m just the kid who never grew up.  I live a quiet life in the Blue Ridge Mountains, tending the garden, cutting firewood, gathering eggs, and typing a little bit. I’m very grateful to have this lifestyle and the time to make up more stories.

When did you first know that you wanted to write? What inspired you to start?

I was always grabbing crayons and scrap paper and doodling, and then I started making up my comics with the little stories and word balloons, and I just never quit. I always say Dr. Seuss was my first inspiration because those are the earliest books I remember.

How would you describe the style of your writing?

I aim to be accessible but with a little attention to craft. I love words and believe they have a lot of value and impact, so I will thumb through the dictionary and thesaurus to find the right word. I want my readers to have the best possible experience, to have fun and stretch their imaginations and examine their beliefs.

The book I most recently read was Transparent Lovers. It somewhat reminded me of Beetlejuice – a movie I have always loved. :) Where did the inspiration for this story come from? How did you come up with the premise?

The main idea was the twist of the dead detective to solve his own murder, with a ticking clock. In a rewrite, I added the vindictive ex-wife who seeks revenge from beyond the grave. So it was an idea that took a while to develop. The afterlife caseworker is a bit like what happened in Beetlejuice, but it’s hard to imagine an afterlife without a bureaucracy.

What were the challenges of writing Transparent Lovers? What was your favorite part of writing it?

I think the addition of several new elements during rewrite made me examine the whole story and worked to stitch all the swatches into place without the threads showing. I was able to work out some real-life stuff in it, too–most of us know what a vindictive ex is like.

You’ve had many bestsellers available on the Kindle, both novellas and full novels, including titles Liquid Fear and The Red Church. How are these similar or different to Transparent Lovers?

I write in multiple genres, so it all feels like “Scott” to me. Most of what I write are thrillers, some more serious than others. I used to want to be Stephen King and Ray Bradbury and Kurt Vonnegut and Shirley Jackson and Dr. Seuss and Ernest Hemingway, but now I think it’s okay to be me. So I just trust the story that is trying to tell itself. The universe has all these stories yet to be told and I am one of the lucky guys who gets to type them out.

What is your creative process for determining the final title and cover for your novels?

I often have a title early on, and I usually don’t do the cover until it’s done, because I want to capture the mood of the story. I’ve been doing most of my own covers lately because I believe I should know and reflect the mood better than anyone—not that I am a star graphic designer or anything.

Any advice to those who hold the dream of becoming an author?

Read a lot and write a lot. It’s really that simple. If you can write a sentence, you can write a novel. Make a lifetime commitment to the craft, and simply never take “No” for an answer. The universe will make room if you do what you love.

Are you working on anything new that you’d like to share??

I am finishing up the vampire book Bad Blood with J.R. Rain and H.T. Night, and I just turned in Chronic Fear to Amazon for Dec. 20 release. I will have a post-apocalyptic novel out for Christmas as well, and an older title I’m trying to get a rights reversion on. I have several projects already lined up for early 2011. This is lots of fun. Thanks, Elizabeth, for hosting me at your wonderful site.

Thank you so much for taking the time to let us learn more about you and your book! I wish you the best!

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Private investigator Richard Steele must solve his most difficult case ever—his own murder—while caught between women on both sides of the grave. His lover Lee is tangled up in the mess he left behind, and his dead ex-wife Diana has been waiting on the other side for her chance at revenge. 

In a race against time as his spirit slips away, Richard confronts his many, many failings and faces a power beyond his understanding–love. His only weapon is faith, and he’s running out of bullets.

It’s going to be a hell of a final showdown.

DRM-free. About 22,000 words, equivalent of about 110 book pages. Includes the bonus ghost story “She Climbs a Winding Stair.”

 

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“Always surprises and always entertains.” – Jonathan Maberry, Patient Zero

“He has entered a literary shadowland between Ray Bradbury and Neil Gaiman.” – Sharyn McCrumb

Click here to read more about and purchase Transparent Lovers from Amazon for $0.99

Connect with Scott:

Website: http://www.hauntedcomputer.com
Sign up for Scott’s newsletter and win prizes:
scottsinnercircle-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

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How to enter the Creative Spirit Giveaway:

First, a bit about the screenplay:

Original screenplay adaptation of the author’s 2004 novel THE MANOR. When artists gather at a remote mountain retreat, their energy feeds the fire of a slumbering spirit. DRM-free.

After paranormal researcher Anna Galloway is diagnosed with metastatic cancer, she has a recurring dream in which she sees her own ghost. The setting of her dream is the historic Korban Manor, which is now an artist’s retreat in the remote Appalachian Mountains. Drawn both by the ghost stories surrounding the manor and her own sense of destiny, Anna signs up for the retreat.

Sculptor Mason Jackson has come to Korban Manor to make a final, all-or-nothing attempt at success before giving up his dreams. When he becomes obsessed with carving Ephram Korban’s form out of wood, he questions his motivation but is swept up in a creative frenzy unlike any he has ever known.

Sylva Hartley is an old mountain witchwoman who is connected to Ephram Korban both before and after his death. Her knowledge of Appalachian folk spells and potions has bound her to the manor in a deeper and darker way. Sylva harbors a family secret that refuses to stay slumbering in its grave.

The manor itself has secrets, with fires that blaze constantly in the hearths, portraits of Korban in every room, and deceptive mirrors on the walls. The house’s brooding atmosphere affects the creative visions of the visiting artists. A mysterious woman in white calls to Anna from the forest, while Mason is driven by the whispers of an unseen critic. With an October blue moon looming, both the living and the dead learn the true power of their dreams.

It’s a power that Korban craves for himself, because he walks a shadowy land where passions burn cold and even the ghosts are haunted. And Mason and Anna are dying to join him.

Leave a comment on this post to enter!

Bonus Entries {leave an additional comment for each one!}:

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Q&A and Giveaway with Karen Cantwell!

Today’s featured author is Karen Cantwell, author of Take the Monkeys and Run! Read below to discover more about Karen and her writing… and enter the giveaway!

 

 

Five Frugal eReaders will win a Gifted Kindle Copy of Take the Monkeys and Run! Just leave a comment on this post for entry!

See the bonus entry details after the Q&A!

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Thank you for spending some time with us Frugal eReaders! Can you please tell us a little about yourself?

Thank you for having me, Elizabeth! I’m afraid I live a fairly mundane existence in the suburbs raising a husband and four kids (not to mention a dog, three cats and a rabbit). Nothing too exciting to report, but that’s okay, because I love my family and my life! (smile)

When did you first know that you wanted to write? What inspired you to start?

I first caught the writing bug when I was in the 6th grade. I started a couple of “novels” that I never actually completed. But I remember even back then, knowing that I wanted to be a published author some day. I was inspired by some of my favorite books I had been reading at the time: The Phantom Toll Booth, Harriet the Spy, and Are You There God, It’s Me, Margaret.

How would you describe the style of your writing?

Generally, I write humor because I like to leave people smiling. I also feel that I have a style that focuses on character development. I love to create quirky, loveable characters.

Take the Monkeys and Run was such a fun novel. How did you come up with the premise?

First, I’m so glad you thought Take the Monkeys and Run was fun, because when I sat down to write it, that was my primary goal:  give readers a fun time. The premise came to me in two parts. First, I had been wanting to write a mystery novel about a long vacant house and the secrets it might hold. Then, while drafting that idea, my neighbor told me her own story about finding monkeys on her roof one morning soon after moving into our neighborhood over thirty years ago. Somehow I combined those two ideas, threw in a nosy soccer mom with chutzpah, and my first Barbara Marr Mystery was born!

Barbara Marr is witty, gutsy, hilarious, and just all around fabulous. I love her! Is she based on anyone in your life? Do you share similar traits with her yourself?

I have to admit, I love Barb too. (smile) She’s sort of “every mom” I think. Living in the suburbs, I find that mothers all have very similar experiences, thoughts, feelings, fears, etc. so I fold all of those into Barb. She and I are similar in a few ways—we both love movies and either of us knows the joy of showing off cleavage. As far as being gutsy—that’s all Barb. I’m a true chicken to the bone and would run in the face of danger like a sissy, whereas Barb tackles it head on.

What were the challenges of writing this novel? What was your favorite part of writing Take the Monkeys and Run?

Take the Monkeys and Run was the first novel, so I would say the challenges were in actually completing it while keeping the plot unique and exciting. My favorite part of writing this book and all Barbara Marr novels is the aspect of creating fun, interesting characters.

What was your creative process for determining the final title and cover for your novel?

Originally, the book was titled Monkeys in My Trees, and I’m proud to say that under that title, it was a Semi-finalist in the 2009 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Contest.  But during a re-write to polish the storyline, I strengthened the movie theme and decided the title should reflect that. Take the Monkeys and Run is a switch-up of the Woody Allen comedy, Take the Money and Run. I thought it sounded fun and it’s my personal homage to Woody Allen films. Now all of my titles are based on popular movie titles.

Any advice to those who hold the dream of becoming an author?

My only advice—NEVER GIVE UP ON THAT DREAM. Work at it constantly and NEVER GIVE UP.

I know the follow up {Citizen Insane} was just recently released, however, are you working on anything new that you’d like to share??

Yes, Citizen Insane came out in June of 2011 and I’m hard at work writing Silenced by the Yams to be released in December before Christmas. After that will be Saturday Night Cleaver for June 2012.

What is one of your favorite passages from Take the Monkeys and Run?

My favorite passage – YIKES! I have many, but I am partial to the opening scene of the book, so here you go:

The sky was black, my toes were numb and I was a lunatic.

Forgetting that our recent October nights had turned colder, I had set out on my mission barefoot.  I had no idea what the thermometer said, but the ice-cold brick beneath my unprotected feet told me plenty.  And my worn-thin-through-the-years knit jammies were certainly no match against the biting air.  Evidently I had left my brains in the house along with my shoes and down-filled parka.  Indiana Jones, our orange Tabby, followed me and purred while he rubbed against my legs, offering a tinge of warmth at best.

I squinted into the darkness.  “Three thirty in the morning.  Am I totally insane, Indy?”

“Mew.”

“Thanks for the vote of confidence.”

Yes, I’m a grown woman and I talk to my cat.  What’s the big deal?  My cousin Samson the psychiatrist tells the family I’m delusional and should be medicated.  Pshaw I say.  Samson has a psychiatrist of his own as well as a far more disturbing obsession with large farm animals, so I severely doubt his legitimacy.  As long as Indiana Jones talks to me, I’ll keep talking to him.

My name is Barbara Marr.  I’m not a lady coroner, bounty hunter or crime scene investigator.  I don’t fight vampires, werewolves or flesh-eating zombies destined to destroy humanity.  Even worse, I don’t knit, sew, bake gourmet goodies for sweet English ladies or refinish houses and flip them for a profit.  In fact, I lack a veritable encyclopedia of talents and accomplishments.  I have managed to give birth to three children, but when my teenaged daughter looks at me like I’m an alien from the planet Freak, I wonder at my parenting abilities.

Then of course there is my marriage.  Not long ago I would have bragged to anyone about our solid bond.  True love.  True fidelity and commitment.  That was before Howard dropped the bomb and moved out.  So, perpetuating matrimony can be added to the list of things I don’t do.

When reviewing the list of lifetime achievements of which I am proud, being mother to my three girls sits at the very top, followed by the time I saw Yul Brynner in a convenience store and discreetly let him know he had ketchup on his chin.  He was so thankful that he autographed a bag of Fritos for me.

And most recently I got familiar with the video camera again and shot a music video with my daughters.  We called it Four White Girls Do Madonna. I posted it on YouTube and got over twenty-five views.  It was very exciting.  Still, I’m not exactly setting the world on fire.

So when Howard left, I decided it was time to resurrect my dream and write about movies.  I love the movies.  Old movies, new movies, musicals, dramas, comedies, westerns, action, science fiction, and anything starring Meryl Streep.  Some years ago, in between changing diapers and potty training, I had bought a domain name, ChickAtTheFlix.com, with the intention of building a movie review website.  I kept the domain name, but got side-tracked by little things like ear infections, strep throat, pre-school, elementary school and baby number three.  Now, with my life deteriorating before my eyes, the time had come to take the bull by the proverbial horns and start anew.

After putting the girls to bed, I needed a way to keep my mind off Howard.  I plotted and planned a grand design.  The website would contain reviews of current release movies as well as DVD releases of older classics.  I would also have a weekly blog where I waxed enthusiastic on different subjects of the cinema.  Since I had just recently watched a Men of Mystery Film Festival on the Classic Movie Channel, my first blog title would be, “Charlie Chan or Sherlock Holmes?  Whodunit Better?”

At two a.m., I was too tired to think about the website, but too upset about my marriage to sleep, so I turned on the TV.  Movie fare included The First Wives Club, A Bill of Divorcement, An Unmarried Woman and The Breakup on HBO.  Disgusted, I turned off the TV, turned out the lights, and contemplated learning voodoo so I could hex Howard with a festering urinary tract infection.

By three a.m., I had been crying for at least twenty minutes when I heard the rumble of a truck outside my bedroom window.  Suddenly, I had something else to occupy my frazzled mind.  The truck was back at House of Many Bones.

And that was how I ended up outside on a cold, fall night with no shoes on.

Thank you so much for taking the time to let us learn more about you and your book! I wish you the best!

Thank you, again, for having me here and letting me talk about my books.  It has been fun and I’m especially happy since The Frugal eReader is one of my favorite websites!

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Soccer mom, Barbara Marr, just found monkeys in her trees and a severed human head in her neighbor’s basement. Could her day get any worse? When she gets a little too snoopy for her own good . . . you betcha it does! 

237 pages of laugh-out-loud fun.

“This fun if light novel’s quippy, hilarious narrator, Barbara Marr, has so much warmth and genuine gumption, you’d certainly want her on your criminal investigative team.” – Publishers Weekly

Click here to read more about and purchase Take the Monkeys and Run from Amazon for $0.99

Connect with Karen:

Website: www.KarenCantwell.com

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How to enter the Take the Monkeys and Run Giveaway:

Leave a comment on this post!

Bonus Entries {leave an additional comment for each one!}:

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Q&A and Giveaway with David Carnoy

Today’s featured author is David Carnoy, author of Knife Music! Read below to discover more about David and his writing… and enter the giveaway!

 

Three Frugal eReaders will win a Gifted Kindle Copy of Knife Music!

*PLUS* one Frugal eReader will win a signed hardcover of Knife Music!

See how to enter the giveaway after the Q&A!

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Thank you for spending some time with us Frugal eReaders! Can you please tell us a little about yourself?

My wife says I’m cheap but she still managed to have four kids with me. I grew up on the West Coast, went to boarding school and college on the East Coast—and then stayed. I was a freelance writer and waiter/bartender for many years and have always done journalism along with fiction. Somehow I ended up as a tech writer in my day job.

When did you first know that you wanted to write? What inspired you to start?

I think after I read the Phantom Toll Booth as a kid. I wanted to write from a very young age. My father’s a professor at Stanford—he’s an academic but a closet novelist. They say you want your kids to be what you wanted to be.

How would you describe the style of your writing?

I like writers such as Don Delillo, Paul Auster, Joseph Heller, Mario Vargas Llosa, Philip Roth, and Truman Capote (to name a few). But as a kid I also read a lot of Agatha Christie and Hardy Boys Mysteries. So you could say my style’s bit of a cross between literary and commercial fiction, which is a challenging place to be until you really make it.

It’s funny but I’ve seen some people refer to Knife Music as a good beach read, which is OK. I think you can read it like that or can see that it’s got another layer or two.  Or so some people have said.

I enjoyed reading the familiar setting of your novel, as I’m a Bay Area resident. How did you determine the setting?

I live in New York but I spent my formative years in Palo Alto. I wrote an earlier novel for my thesis at Columbia (MFA program) that took place in New York City and wasn’t published. I then decided to try a more suburban setting. That was the only one I really knew well.

Medical thrillers are so intriguing to me, and this story was no exception. How did you come up with the premise for Knife Music?

Well, it goes something like this. Many years ago I heard a story about my high-school French teacher—or rather her daughter, who went to the same high school where her mother taught. The girl kept a diary and one day her mother found her diary (whether she was hunting for it, I’m not sure). In the diary the daughter wrote graphically about a wild, torrid affair she was having with one of the teachers at the school, her mother’s colleague.

Naturally, the mother was extremely upset and not only confronted her daughter but the teacher. She made a huge stink, justifiably so. But both parties denied the affair and the daughter said she’d made the whole thing up; what she’d written in her diary was fiction. Apparently, however, what she’d written was so vivid that it was very hard for the mother—and a lot of other people—to believe that it was a lie. Still, in the end, the police were left to take the girl at her word, and the teacher kept his job and wasn’t prosecuted.

Anyway, the story stuck with me and when I went to write a novel, I talked to my father about this story I’d heard and thought it might make an interesting plot. I found the whole notion of what is fact and fiction and how people had responded to what the girl had written intriguing.

“Teachers are boring,” said my father, the professor. “Why don’t you make the guy something else, like a doctor? You once said you wanted to be a doctor when you were a kid.”

What were the challenges of writing this novel? What was your favorite part of writing Knife Music?

My favorite part was finishing. The biggest challenge was I had a full-time job. I work at the CNET, the big tech website, where I’m an executive editor.

What was your creative process for determining the final title and cover for your novel?

I saw it in an article about how surgeons to listen to music when they operate. As soon as I saw it, I said that would make a good title for a book.

Any advice to those who hold the dream of becoming an author?

Think digitally. Knife Music has sold about 5,000 in hardcover so far, which is good for a first novel. But it’s now sold close to 50,000 in ebook format.

I was lucky because I cover the ebook/e-reader market for CNET and know it very well. I was able to convince my publisher to price my book cheaply at $3.99 as an ebook (Penguin, the distributor of the ebook, really didn’t want to do it). I know people don’t want to spend a lot to try out an author they don’t know. But if the book’s priced right and has some merit, people will take a chance on you.

At first my publisher was resistant to the pricing idea, but was very happy when it went to #4 on the Kindle (after Amazon promoted it) and also did very well on the Nook.

Alas, 10 years from now—maybe even sooner—only the big authors will have paper releases of their books.

Are you working on anything new that you’d like to share?

My publisher wanted some of my characters to continue on, so I’m not exactly doing a sequel but it’s a murder mystery that takes place in Silicon Valley and San Francisco. It’s more of a police procedural/legal thriller this time and doesn’t feature the heavy medical element. More tech this time.

What is one of your favorite passages from Knife Music?

No favorites really but I always liked the opening scene in the trauma center because it stayed the same through a bunch of rewrites. The opening lines never changed.

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Carnoy’s debut is gripping, suspenseful, totally believable — and shockingly good.” –Harlan Coben, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Tell No One Kristen Kroiter was sixteen, a high-school sophomore, when she was injured in a car accident. Dr. Ted Cogan had saved her life when he treated her in the ER six months ago — but now police detectives were questioning Cogan about her, in intimate detail. What was going on? What had she told them? 

That’s just it, the cops said. She hadn¹t told them anything. She had died. Looked like a suicide. And Cogan was in a heap of trouble.

Tense and twisting, Knife Music is the story of a doctor struggling to clear his name after being accused of raping and causing the suicide of a young girl. The novel pits Cogan, a forty-three-year-old surgeon and self-described womanizer, against Hank Madden, a handicapped veteran detective. From the outset it’s not clear who is victim and who is victimizer, as the usually dispassionate.

Madden grapples with his long-suppressed prejudices and his obsession with bringing Ted Cogan to justice at any cost. It all leads up to the most stunning surprise ending since Scott Turow’s Presumed Innocent.

Click here to read more about and purchase Knife Music from Amazon for $3.99

Connect with David:

Website: http://www.knifemusicbook.com/

CNET Fully Equipped: http://reviews.cnet.com/fully-equipped/

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How to enter the Knife Music Giveaway:

Submit your name through the “Enter Here” link below!

Bonus Entries: {you will note these in the form through the “Enter Here” link below}

~ Join The Frugal eReader eMailing List

~ Subscribe to the RSS feed

Facebook “like” this post {at the top of this post}!

Tweet this post {at the top of this post}!

~ Share this post {at the top of this post}!

{Enter Here!}

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Q&A and Giveaway with Author Vicki Tyley

Today’s featured author is Vicki Tyley, author of  Brittle Shadows! Read below to discover more about Vicki and her writing… and enter the giveaway!

 

5 Frugal eReaders will win a free gifted Kindle copy of Vicki’s novel, Brittle Shadows!

*PLUS* 3 Frugal eReaders will win an Advanced Review Copy of her upcoming novel, Bitter Nothings!

See how to enter the giveaway after the Q&A!

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Thank you for spending some time with us Frugal eReaders! Can you please tell us a little about yourself?

A New Zealander by birth, I’m now a proud Australian and have lived here for most of my adult life. Australia is a big country and, together with my husband, I’ve lived in and explored the central business districts of large cities, suburbia, idyllic seaside locations, rural areas, bushland, and remote desert mining camps. We currently live on a farm in North Central Victoria.

I’ve worked in a multitude of different industries including banking, stockbroking, importing and wholesaling, human resources, mining, hospitality, civil engineering, and toys in predominantly accounting, IT and management roles. I’m now a fulltime writer, but I also do a bit of freelance web design work on the side.

Outside of writing and reading, my main interests are photography and nature, hobbies that come together on my Eucalypt Habitat photoblog.

When did you first know that you wanted to write? What inspired you to start?

I’ve wanted to write for as long as I can remember. I’ve always loved reading and was the bookworm of the family – writing was a natural progression.

When I was in primary school, I won a children’s short story competition for a national magazine. But it wasn’t until my fortieth birthday loomed that I got serious. I decided then that if I didn’t follow my dream, I would never do it. It was the best decision I ever made. With a wealth of life experiences behind me, I feel I am a much better writer now than I could have ever been in my twenties or even thirties.

How would you describe the style of your writing?

My writing tends to be lean – as some reviewers have noted, I don’t spoon-feed the reader – and easy reading. The stories themselves are plot-driven murder mysteries (versus thrillers), complete with twists, suspense, and a dash of humor.

How would you describe Brittle Shadows to someone who has not read any of your previous novels?

A contemporary murder mystery set in Melbourne, Australia, Brittle Shadows is a fast-paced, easy read with red herrings, twists and turns galore. Despite the naked man hanging in the wardrobe in the prologue, there is no explicit sex or gore.

As I have a strong relationship with my sister, I am always intrigued by novels with sister relationships as part of the premise. How did you come up with the premise for Brittle Shadows?

Family dynamics fascinate me. I have three sisters and two brothers, so have plenty to draw on when it comes to exploring those relationships in my stories. The idea for Brittle Shadows, though, was sparked by a high-profile murder case in the news. Of course, by the time, I applied my usual series of what-ifs even those directly involved would be hard pushed to recognize it as the same case… a case that included no mention of a sister.

What was your creative process for determining the final title and cover for your novel?

My books are standalone novels, but I wanted to brand them in some way as Vicki Tyley novels. One way I could do this was through cover design. I also realized that what looked great on a trade paperback might not translate to thumbnail size. My covers needed to be simple yet distinctive. The final template/design was the result of a lot of trial and error with fonts, color palette, images.

Title: It needed to be a two-word title in keeping with my other books. Sometimes a title will just come to me, but more often it’s drawing up lists of words that are pertinent to the story and mulling on those until a title jumps out at me.

What were the challenges of writing this novel? Your favorite part of writing Brittle Shadows?

The biggest challenge I faced was silencing my inner editor. With each novel I write, she pushes me just that much further. Sometimes I just want to tell her to shut up.

Favorite part of writing Brittle Shadows? Typing END? No, the best part was probably getting inside my characters’ heads – an escapism of sorts. I’m glad no one can see me writing, because I often act out scenes. Not a good look.

Any advice to those who hold the dream of becoming an author?

Be a sponge. Read writing, editing and publishing blogs. (Not so many that you spend all day online.) Read the how-to books and take out of them what you need. Write a book you would enjoy reading. But more importantly, read. I can’t stress that enough. You can’t expect to be a writer if you’re not a reader.

But the biggest thing is perseverance. You’re going to need it by the truckload. That and a bit of luck.

A cautionary note: Be discerning whom you take your advice from. Some of the “advice” I’ve seen meted out online to unsuspecting new writers is downright scary. Look to those who’ve proven themselves.

Are you working on anything new that you’d like to share?

Prompted by a reader who’d heard that I’d consigned my first two novels to the bottom drawer, I’m now rewriting the book I wrote before Thin Blood, applying skills I didn’t have back then. An interesting challenge, to say the least.

I’m yet to come up with a new two-word title for it. All title suggestions most welcome – original title Dinner for Twelve.

My most recently completed novel, Bitter Nothings, is currently with my agent.

What is one of your favorite passages from Brittle Shadows?

This is a hard one, but I think I’ll have to opt for the opening scene:

One foot inside the apartment, the smell hit her. Sour, like cat pee. Except they didn’t own a cat.

“Sean?” she called, her voice cracking. She cleared her throat. “Sean, honey, are you home?” Louder this time.

Not a sound. Only that putrid smell.

She dumped her heavy satchel on the floor, kicked the door closed, and surveyed the room.

The late afternoon sun streamed through the balcony-facing floor-to-ceiling windows. Long shadows from the life-sized, headless bronze nudes standing sentry sliced the living area. The Age newspaper lay open at the business section in the middle of the narrow glass-topped dining table, Sean’s mobile phone next to it. Apart from one of the eight chairs sitting askew from the table, she could have stepped into the pages of Home Beautiful.

She crossed the carpet toward the short hall that led to the bedrooms and stuck her head into the apartment’s galley-style kitchen. Tomatoes, red onions and a cling-wrapped tray of meat – the makings of what looked to be one of her fiancé’s specialties, Spanish steak – sat on the stainless steel drainer next to the sink. Further down the bench, she spotted a bottle of red wine together with two wine glasses, one of which was already poured. She sniffed the air and moved on.

Usually wide open, the door to the guest bedroom was half-closed. Hoping Sean hadn’t offered a bed to one of his boozy mates, she hesitated for a moment and then gave the door a sharp shove.

The door swung in, releasing a rush of sour air. Pinching her nostrils together, she leaned into the room, ready to beat a hasty retreat if anyone was in there. Her gaze went first to the queen-sized bed. Although the quilt looked rumpled, the bed itself didn’t appear to have been slept in.

Breathing out through her mouth, she glanced across the bedroom to where sunlight, filtered through the window’s upward angled Venetians, striped the ceiling.

She took another step into the room and turned around. The leather strap of her handbag slid from her shoulder. She didn’t try to stop it, couldn’t stop it. Unable to move, all she could do was gape at the open wardrobe, her eyes bulging almost as much as the vacant ones staring back at her.

A silent scream blocked her throat. She couldn’t breathe in; she couldn’t breathe out. Her lungs wanted to burst. The purple, bloated face of the naked man hanging from the wardrobe’s steel rail on a belt, his swollen tongue protruding from his mouth, was almost unrecognizable. Almost.

She stumbled backwards, snaring her handbag as she landed in a heap next to the bed. She scrambled in the bottom of her bag, her mobile phone eluding her like wet soap in the bathtub. When she did manage to get hold of it, she struggled to still her shaking hands. Her fingers felt fat and clumsy, the buttons on her phone tinier than she remembered.

“Emergency. What service do you require? Police, Fire, Ambulance?”

She opened her mouth to answer, but a magazine page stuck to her leg now had her attention instead. She peeled it off, dangling the magazine at arm’s length as if it were a dirty sock. She had never seen anything quite like it. Naked flesh. Entwined bodies. Explicit sex scenes.

If she had thought things couldn’t get any worse, she had thought wrong. She shook her head, unable to come to terms with what she was seeing. Her fiancé, her lover, her partner was dead; dead and surrounded with hard-core homosexual pornography.

Thank you so much for taking the time to let us learn more about you and your book! I wish you the best!

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Brittle Shadows

“Tyley is a master at weaving a complex, multilayered plot.” ~BigAl’s Books and Pals

When soon-to-be-wed Tanya Clark is confronted with her fiancé’s naked corpse hanging from a wardrobe rail in the upmarket Melbourne apartment they share, her life is torn apart. Two months later, distraught and unable to cope, she drowns her sorrows in a lethal cocktail of alcohol and prescription drugs.

On the other side of Australia, a grieving Jemma Dalton struggles to come to terms with the suicide of her only sibling. Despite there being no evidence to the contrary, Jemma refuses to accept Tanya had intended to kill herself. Not her sister. Then the coroner’s report reveals that at the time of her death she had been six weeks pregnant. The will, too, raises more questions than it answers. How did a young woman on a personal assistant’s wage amass shares worth in excess of $1,000,000?

In a desperate bid to uncover the truth, Jemma puts her own life at risk and starts to probe the shadows of her sister’s life. But shadows, like bones, grow brittle with age. The consequences can be deadly.

Click here to read more about and purchase Brittle Shadows from Amazon for $3.99

Connect with Vicki:

Website: www.vickityley.com
Blog: vickityley.blogspot.com

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