Interview with Ashley Christman, Author of The Lady and the Highwayman and Giveaway!

Please give a warm welcome to Ashley Christman!  Ashley’s latest release, The Lady and the Highwayman, is published by Entranced Publishing, under her pen name Charlotte Davila.  Enter for a chance to win a copy of The Lady and the Highwayman after the interview!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Describe yourself in 140 characters or less.

[Ashley Christman] I’m an editor, publisher, writer and caffeine addict. Also a roller derby player.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about The Lady and the Highwayman?

[Ashley Christman] The Lady and the Highwayman is a historical romance set in Georgian England.

Lady Elizabeth Bennington has the perfect life: she’s the daughter of an earl and betrothed to her childhood friend, William Hartley, the second son of a duke. But, when her sister’s indiscretion leads to an unplanned pregnancy, and the subsequent disgrace of Elizabeth’s entire family, her idyllic life is thrown into disarray.

First, her fiance is prohibited from marrying her. Then she receives word that William has been killed by thieves. To top it all off, she gets abducted by a highwayman. Can Elizabeth find love again, and with the most unlikely of people?

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How did you come up with the concept and the characters for the story?

[Ashley Christman]  I’m a huge history buff and Georgian England happens to be a period that I’m fascinated by. I wanted to write about an aristocratic family and a woman who lives by her own rules.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three words best describe Elizabeth?

[Ashley Christman] Intelligent, Strong, Passionate

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If Elizabeth had a theme song, what would it be?

[Ashley Christman] Johnny Cash’s Walk the Line

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Name one thing Elizabeth is never without.

[Ashley Christman] Her wit.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is Elizabeth’s greatest regret?

[Ashley Christman]  Not always saying what’s on her mind and missing opportunities to pursue the things she wants in life.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are your greatest creative influences?

[Ashley Christman] It depends on my mood really, but music and pictures have a way of creating scenes and characters in my mind.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things do you need in order to write?

[Ashley Christman] Red Bull, my laptop, and a great playlist

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is the last book that you read that knocked your socks off?

[Ashley Christman]  That’s a difficult question to answer. I read so many of them. Probably Vicki Pattersen’s The Taken from the Celestial Blues series.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you had to pick one book that turned you on to reading, which would it be?

[Ashley Christman]  Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss. I’ve been a lifelong reader, but that was one of my faves when I was really young.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?

[Ashley Christman] I play roller derby, train for half-marathons, and enjoy spending the precious little free time I have with my partner. We both have busy schedules.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How can readers connect with you?

[Ashley Christman] Readers can check me out on FB, Twitter @AMChristman, and of course, my website ashleymchristman.com

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Thank you!

Giveaway Time!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

You can order The Lady and the Highwayman from your favorite bookseller or by clicking the link below:

About the book:

Lady Elizabeth Bennington has the perfect life: she’s the daughter of an earl and betrothed to her childhood friend, William Hartley, the second son of a duke. But, when her sister’s indiscretion leads to an unplanned pregnancy, and the subsequent disgrace of Elizabeth’s entire family, her idyllic life is thrown into disarray.

First, her fiancé is prohibited from marrying her. Then she receives word that William has been killed by thieves. To top it all off, she gets abducted by a highwayman. Can Elizabeth find love again, and with the most unlikely of people?

Ashley M. Christman writing as Charlotte Davila

Romance Author

As a child, Ashley M. Christman spent many hours in imaginary worlds, exploring the depths of mythology and immersing herself in a breadth of classics. After spending so much time reading, she decided to try her hand at writing.

An avid fan of film noir, she combines fantasy, noir style heroes and heroines, and the paranormal in a modern day setting in a way that hopefully would make even Bogie proud.

When not writing, she can be found in the wilds of Minnesota enjoying great cuisine, avoiding the gym, and being walked by the dog with her partner, Tom.

Author Links

Author Website and Blog: www.ashleymchristman.com

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17696596-the-lady-and-the-highwayman

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Ashley-M-Christman/270726188001

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/AMChristman

Email: Ashley@ashleymchristman.com

Buy:

Kobo: http://www.kobobooks.com/ebook/The-Lady-and-the-Highwayman/book-EUbs6khXfkGohnKD32VYeg/page1.html?s=pmY-ryxgBkWd0P2Fp1bcfw%3D1

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-lady-and-the-highwayman-charlotte-davila/1114964686?ean=2940016688732

Excerpt

Every morning, at exactly half past noon, Lady Bennington began her traverse of the entire

length of Rathbonne, the Bennington family estate. She did this at the insistence of her Mama, who recommended that she do so in order to have a desirable marriage. It was advice that she took very seriously — that is to say she took only half of it very seriously. She refused to refrain from pastries and pies, both of which satisfied her demanding sweet tooth.

The estate did not make for an easy walk. It spanned over twenty acres and took her the

better part of half an hour to complete, if she moved at a leisurely pace. She always moved at a

leisurely pace, getting lost in her thoughts and fantasies of faraway lands and foreign cultures.

Sometimes, rather than walk back to the house, she would bring a book and stay in the high field amongst the shepherds and their grazing sheep, and read.

This morning she decided that rather than reading in the high field, she’d go to the brook

behind the property that divided Rathbonne from the neighboring Highborne estate. Highborne was the country home of the Duke of Staffordshire and his family, with whom the Benningtons were well acquainted. She removed the blanket from under her arm and smoothed it out on the grass beneath the tall oak, making herself cozy enough to lose herself in Paradise Lost.

“Lady Elizabeth, I bid you good afternoon,” a familiar voice yelled in the distance.

Elizabeth looked up from her book. Lord William Hartley, her childhood friend and the

second son of the Duke, was approaching on horseback. Will, like herself, was a younger child and the two of them had been raised closely. Unlike Elizabeth, he would inherit property in his own right, and his father’s title if something should cause the death of his brother. Elizabeth’s fortunes relied entirely on her marrying well.

Interview with Kit Grindstaff, Author of The Flame in the Mist

Please give a warm welcome to Kit Grindstaff! She’s visiting the virtual offices to discuss her book The Flame in the Mist.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Describe yourself in 140 characters or less.

[Kit] I’m an English, female, musician/songwriter-turned-author, sun-and-chocolate-loving sushi-maniacal Francophile, and happy to be alive Smile

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about The Flame in the Mist?

[Kit] Sure! It’s a dark middle grade fantasy about 13-year-old Jemma, who’s prophesied to save her country—a medieval-flavored parallel England—from its evil rulers and the sinister Mist they create. At the outset, Jemma has no clue about this (of course), nor about the magical powers she possesses. But soon, some very Disturbing Events propel her onto her journey. There’s plenty of action, mystery, ghosts, and sorcery—and rodents. Jemma has two telepathic golden rat friends who go everywhere with her. And not forgetting her friend Digby, who she just might have a crush on…

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How did you come up with the concept and the characters for the story?

[Kit] The concept came to me years ago at a workshop where participants were asked to imagine their life as a fairy tale. No, I didn’t live in a castle miles from anywhere, but there was a certain amount of isolation in my childhood, which the castle represented. When I took up writing children’s fiction in earnest, the girl trapped in that castle—who morphed into Jemma—was still itching for me to tell her story.

And of course Jemma needed a support cast. A family (which may not be quite as it seems), allies, enemies. The characters at Agromond Castle were inspired in part from an English book by Mervyn Peake that I loved as a teen, called Gormenghast. Gormenghast is a gothic castle full of deliciously weird people who definitely influenced the (more evil) Agromonds. But Jemma also needed some respite from all the evil creepiness, and finds it in her old nurse, Marsh, her two rat friends, Noodle and Pie, and Digby, the boy who delivers groceries to the castle with his father. Beyond the castle walls, I kept creating characters to play out whatever part of the plot was needed to tell Jemma’s story.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three words best describe Jemma?

[Kit] Feisty, stubborn, courageous.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Name one thing Jemma is never without.

[Kit] Well, it really has to be two: her magical rats, Noodle and Pie. But if it has to be just one thing…Well, after a certain point in the book (which happens fairly early on, so it’s not spoilerish to say), that would be her Stone, a magical amulet that channels her Powers.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things will you never find in Jemma’s pockets?

[Kit] A cat (since the rats are often there). A cell phone (they’re not invented yet). Anything belonging to Shade Agromond.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is Jemma’s greatest regret?

[Kit] Ah….telling you that would give away the book’s biggest secret! Second on her regret list would be…something that would also be a spoiler. So of the things I can tell you, I’d say, being impulsive. It often gets her into hot water. Or worse.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are your greatest creative influences?

[Kit] In no particular order: Vast open spaces – mountains, ocean, forests. Music. And reading, reading, reading!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things do you need in order to write?

[Kit] Laptop, quiet, focus. (Preferably with internet off.)

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is the last book that you read that knocked your socks off?

[Kit] Completely, utterly, socks-offness? Oooh. There are so many I loved last year, it’s hard to choose. So I’m going to hedge my bets and mention one MG and one YA, both fantasies (though I love contemporary fiction too). Middle grade:The Peculiar by Stefan Bachmann; YA: Leigh Bardugo’s Shadow and Bone. Both sequels are high on my list of Can’t-Wait-Fors later in 2013.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you had to pick one book that turned you on to reading, which would it be?

[Kit] Noddy in Toyland, by Enid Blyton. I fell in love when I was three.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?

[Kit] In no particular order: Walk. Read. Hang out with my husband and/or friends. Watch TV. Go to France. Do yoga. Eat.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How can readers connect with you?

[Kit] They can contact me via my website (www.kitgrindstaff.com, where there’s a Connect page), on Facebook (www.facebook.com/kitgrindstaff) or they can find me on Twitter @kitgrindstaff.

Thanks so much for the interview! This was fun.

[Manga Maniac Café] My pleasure!

You can order The Flame in the Mist from your favorite bookseller or by clicking the links below:

 

About the book:

Set in an imagined past, this dark fantasy-adventure is for fans of Philip Pullman’s The Golden Compass. Features  Jemma, a fiery-headed heroine held captive in Agromond Castle, yet destined to save mist-shrouded Anglavia.

Fiery-headed Jemma Agromond is not who she thinks she is, and when the secrets and lies behind her life at mist-shrouded Agromond Castle begin to unravel, she finds herself in a chilling race for her life. Ghosts and misfits, a stone and crystals, a mysterious book, an ancient prophecy—all these reveal the truth about Jemma’s past and a destiny far greater and more dangerous than she could have imagined in her wildest fantasies. With her telepathic golden rats, Noodle and Pie, and her trusted friend, Digby, Jemma navigates increasingly dark forces, as helpers both seen and unseen, gather. But in the end, it is her own powers that she must bring to light, for only she has the key to defeating the evil ones and fulfilling the prophecy that will bring back the sun and restore peace in Anglavia

Interview with Marcie Kremer, Author of Torch in the Forest

 

Please welcome Marcie Kremer to the virtual offices today!  Marcie is here to chat about her new historical romance Torch in the Forest. Check out what she has to say.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Describe yourself in 140 characters or less.

[Marcie Kremer] Writer, reader, wife, lover of medieval history and quirky puns

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about Torch in the Forest?

[Marcie Kremer] Eighteen-year-old widow Eleanor of Strathcombe is stunned to realize she has a powerful attraction to Hugh of Wykeham, the arrogant, neighboring lord returned from the Crusade, who not only asks for the hand of her younger sister in marriage – but feuds with her over the control of their forest boundaries, because poachers are running rampant. As she struggles to keep control of her forests and find the poachers, unsettling feelings confront her when she deals with Hugh, feelings she never felt in her brief, loveless marriage — feelings she tries to fight, because she knows Hugh to be a cold, harsh man who may have murdered his faithless wife in revenge — and who trusts no woman. When she finds herself in the midst of a net of intrigue and lies, how can she find the conspirators, save herself and her sister, and battle her feelings for Hugh?

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How did you come up with the concept and the characters for the story?

[Marcie Kremer] TORCH IN THE FOREST is completely the fault of my DH! He knows how I love medieval history and romance, so he suggested I write one of my own! I had to learn how to write a romance novel, which is an art itself. Because I majored in medieval history, I already knew in what era I wanted the story to take place. I had been reading about the Law of the Forest for a long time and I was fascinated by the intrigue, power struggles, and danger that went along with it, so I decided that would be a great jumping-off place for a plot. Character-wise, I’ve always admired Eleanor of Acquitaine, a strong, intelligent woman far ahead of her time, so that’s whom I patterned Eleanor after, but, of course, she becomes her own person in TORCH. Lord Hugh is my favorite kind of male character, strong, ruthless, but with a hidden soft side that he refuses to let others see, but, somehow, Eleanor finds out…. For suspense and drama, there are a lot of plot twists involving marriage proposals, the intrigue and bribery surrounding the poaching, and the passionate yearnings Eleanor and Hugh have for each other. For the research, I pulled a lot of books off my shelf and went to the internet to read transcripts of assizes, and it was so entertaining to read what people got incensed about and arrested for in 1272!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three words best describe Eleanor?

[Marcie Kremer] Strong, intelligent, and loyal.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If Hugh had a theme song, what would it be?

[Marcie Kremer] Rascal Flatts’s "God Bless the Broken Road That Led Me Straight to You." Really!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Name one thing Eleanor is never without.

[Marcie Kremer] Eleanor is never without her family motto of ‘Honor et Fides,’ because it was bred into her and means everything to her: honor and loyalty. All she has to do is convince Hugh she is for real. He, of course, doesn’t believe any woman is capable of being honest and loyal, so Eleanor has her work cut out for her!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things will you never find in Hugh’s pockets?

[Marcie Kremer] First, there are no pockets in 1272  but, he would never carry money, since he’s a lord and has no need of it; his steward and marshall handle all of that. Also, you’d never find him with a letter of apology, because he knows he’s never wrong (ah, but just you wait, Lord Hugh!), and you’d never find Hugh with a rose for Eleanor, because he thinks of her as a trusting ninny, whose younger sister he asks to marry so he can get an heir. Little does he know what is going to take place in the forest—or in the buttery!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is Eleanor’s greatest regret?

[Marcie Kremer] Eleanor’s greatest regret is probably not kissing Hugh sooner than she does, because it’s driving her crazy with intense, passionate dreams at night and haunting visions in the daytime.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are your greatest creative influences?

[Marcie Kremer] I love listening to music before (not during!) I write, and Purcell’s trumpet voluntaries (think Princess Diana’s wedding) and opera are great for setting the ambiance I need to put myself back in 1272. Just having a notebook near me is a creative influence, because those lined, blank pages are just begging for words to be written on them.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things do you need in order to write?

[Marcie Kremer] In order to write, I need a sharpened pencil (goodness, yes, for first drafts and revision notes – always!), my laptop, and quiet! Then I can watch the characters take on lives of their own, and, as William Faulkner wrote, "All I have to do run along behind them as fast as I can and write down everything they say and do."

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is the last book that you read that knocked your socks off?

[Marcie Kremer] I absolutely loved WOLF HALL by Hilary Mantel. How I wish I’d written it! I have the second in her trilogy, BRING UP THE BODIES on my TBR list.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you had to pick one book that turned you on to reading, which would it be?

[Marcie Kremer] When I was very young and living in Europe, my parents gave me a copy of OUR ISLAND STORY by H.E. Marshall, a history of England in the form of a collection of stories about the English kings and queens. I was fascinated by the intrigue and passion, and, because I saw castles on a daily basis, it all seemed so real to me, and I wanted to read more about them! I know, such a geek!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?

[Marcie Kremer] I love reading, of course, (I’m never without a book or two!), and traveling with my DH and visiting friends all over the world. Just put me in front of a castle and I’m happy!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How can readers connect with you?

[Marcie Kremer] They can visit my blog at www.marciekremerromance.wordpress.com and follow me on Twitter at @MarcieKremer1 and on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/MarcieKremer. They can email me at marciekremer (at) gmail.com I’m also on Goodreads and LibraryThing, of course! I love hearing from readers! Please stop by!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Thank you!

You can purchase Torch in the Forest from your favorite bookseller or by clicking the link below

About the book:

Eighteen-year-old widow Eleanor of Strathcombe is stunned to realize she has a powerful attraction to Hugh of Wykeham, the arrogant, neighboring lord returned from the Crusade. But he wants to marry her sister, and when he learns that poachers are running rampant he blames her and feuds with her over the control of their forest boundaries.

As she struggles to keep control of her forests and find the poachers, unsettling feelings confront her when she deals with Hugh, feelings she never felt in her brief, loveless marriage — feelings she tries to fight, because she knows Hugh to be a cold, harsh man who may have murdered his faithless wife in revenge — and who trusts no woman.

When she finds herself in the midst of a net of intrigue and lies, how will she find the courage to capture the conspirators, save herself and her sister, and overcome her feelings for Hugh?

Interview with Grace Burrowes, Author of Darius and Giveaway!

Please welcome bestselling romance author Grace Burrowes to the virtual offices today!  Grace is celebrating the release of her latest book, DARIUS, and she brought along a copy for one of you to win!  Please check out what she has to say, and then enter for your chance to win1

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Describe yourself in 140 characters or less.

[Grace Burrowes] Quiet writer lady with many beasties, much humor, and a tender heart. Love books, dear friends, good cheese, good chocolate, and happy ever afters.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about DARIUS?

[Grace Burrowes] Darius is the next thing to a man-ho, and he hates himself for it. Mean twists of fate (including a villainous father) have backed him into a financial corner, and his own sense of honor has obligated him to provide for those too weak to look after themselves. Along comes aging Lord William Longstreet, offering Darius a devil’s bargain: If Darius will give up the last shred his self-respect to get William’s young wife of convenience with child, William will solve Darius’ financial problems once and for all. Darius accepts the bargain and finds that rather than surrender his self-respect, his regard for Lady Vivian becomes the means by which he reclaims his honor and his soul.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How did you come up with the concept and the characters for the story?

[Grace Burrowes] Darius was a secondary character in an earlier book, The Virtuoso, and I noticed he kept dodging back into London (or so he said), and he was forever going for a hack across the countryside. “What’s up with that?” says me. He was also a secondary character in his sister’s story with Nicholas Haddonfield, and again, he was out until all hours doing something naughty. I asked myself: What is the worst compromise a man can make, the lowest point at which he could start a book where the goal is to come out a hero? This book is the result.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three words best describe Vivian?

[Grace Burrowes] Kind, honest, brave.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If Darius had a theme song, what would it be?

[Grace Burrowes] The slow movement from the Emperor Concerto, by Beethoven. Beautiful, sad, despairing, noble, lost, but ending in triumph. Beethoven started the composition thinking Napoleon was the hero of a new age, and ended up realizing Europe was being turned into a bloody wasteland instead. Darius never intended to end up where we find him at the beginning of the book…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VVk73dFpZ0M

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Name one thing Vivian is never without.

[Grace Burrowes] Her integrity.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things will you never find in Darius’ bedroom?

[Grace Burrowes] The women who are exploiting him, a riding crop, money.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is Vivian’s greatest regret?

[Grace Burrowes] That she did not protect her mother from the man who exploited her.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are your greatest creative influences?

[Grace Burrowes] The first author whose books I consider keepers was Judith Ivory. She’s brilliant. In terms of broader influences, I have a degree in music history that sparked my interest in how technology, art, and politics interact to create stories, and I have a degree in conflict resolution that has honed my fascination with how people do (and do not) solve problems.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things do you need in order to write?

[Grace Burrowes] Peace, quiet, my computer.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is the last book that you read that knocked your socks off?

[Grace Burrowes] Joanna Bourne’s The Black Hawk. THE. BEST.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you had to pick one book that turned you on to reading, which would it be?

[Grace Burrowes] The Wolf and the Dove by Kathleen Woodiwiss (shows my age)

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?

[Grace Burrowes] I have a day job as a lawyer for foster children, and that’s interesting, meaningful work. I love to read, particularly period sources, keepers and craft books. I do not own a TV.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How can readers connect with you?

[Grace Burrowes] My Grace Burrowes Author Facebook page, my www.graceburrowes.com website, @GraceBurrowes on Twitter, or simply by emailing me at graceburrowes@yahoo.com.

[Manga Maniac Cafe]  Thank you!

Giveaway Time!!

Ready for your chance to win a copy of Darius?  Just fill out the widget below. Earn extra entries for following.   US and Canada only, please.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Didn’t win? You can order Darius from your favorite bookseller or by clicking the links below:

DARIUS BY GRACE BURROWES – IN STORES APRIL 2013

A story that breaks all the rules…

Darius is a tender and remarkable tale of desperation, devotion, and redemption from award-winning New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Grace Burrowes. Her gorgeous writing and lush Regency world will stay with you long after you turn the final page…

With his beloved sister tainted by scandal, his widowed brother shattered by grief, and his funds cut off, Darius Lindsey sees no option but to sell himself—body and soul. Until the day he encounters lovely, beguiling Lady Vivian Longstreet, whose tenderness and understanding wrap his soul in a grace he knows he’ll never deserve…

Praise for Darius:

“Burrowes brings to life a deeply moving romance that’s sure to be remembered and treasured.” —RT Book Reviews, 4 ½ Stars, Top Pick

“This rising author handles powerful romance and complicated family life with skill in romances with great appeal.” —Booklist

“Burrowes creates her usual intelligent characters, exciting chemistry, and flowing dialogue…” —Publishers Weekly

“Very compelling… Likable characters with enough angst to keep the story moving along.” —Night Owl Reviews, 4.5 stars, Reviewer Top Pick

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Grace Burrowes’ bestsellers include The Heir, The Soldier, Lady Maggie’s Secret Scandal, Lady Sophie’s Christmas Wish and Lady Eve’s Indiscretion. The Heir was a Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2010, The Soldier was a PW Best Spring Romance of 2011, Lady Sophie’s Christmas Wish won Best Historical Romance of the Year in 2011 from RT Reviewers’ Choice Awards, Lady Louisa’s Christmas Knight was a Library Journal Best Book of 2012, and The Bridegroom Wore Plaid was a PW Best Book of 2012. Her Regency romances have received extensive praise, including starred reviews from Publishers Weekly and Booklist. Grace is branching out into novellas and Scotland-set Victorian romance with Sourcebooks. She is a practicing family law attorney and lives in rural Maryland. For more information, please visit www.graceburrowes.com.

To purchase Darius:

Barnes and Noble

Books-a-Million

IndieBound

Indigo/Chapters

Discover a New Love

Sourcebooks

Interview with Paula Altenburg, Author of The Demon’s Daughter and Giveaway!

Please welcome Paula Altenburg to the virtual offices today.  Paula dropped by to chat about her new release The Demon’s Daughter, and she brought along a digital copy for one of you to win!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Describe yourself in 140 characters or less.

[Paula Altenburg] Easy! I’m an obsessive/compulsive couch potato with (remote) control issues.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about The Demon’s Daughter?

[Paula Altenburg] The Demon’s Daughter is a dystopian demon western, set on Earth in the not-too-distant future. The story theme involves prejudice, and it’s about a young woman’s search for a place to belong in a harsh world that doesn’t welcome her.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How did you come up with the concept and the characters for the story?

[Paula Altenburg] I always come up with the characters first. Hunter and Airie’s first meeting was the first scene I had in my head. I wanted Hunter to be a bounty hunter at first, which is how he got his name, and I really saw him in a western/desert setting. He morphed into a demon slayer. Airie started out as a half demon bandit. I’d meant for her to be more of an outlaw, but as she grew, it was obvious her personality was much more innocent and gentle. She has quite the temper though, and Hunter finds that out the hard way. The story world grew up around the two of them with a little prompting from my editors. I’m all about the characters and have a little trouble remembering that the reader doesn’t “see” my setting if I don’t put it into words.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three words best describe Airie?

[Paula Altenburg] Innocent, kind, and passionate.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If Hunter had a theme song, what would it be?

[Paula Altenburg] We Will Rock You by Queen.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Name one thing Airie is never without.

[Paula Altenburg] Fire. It’s a significant part of who she is, kind of like breathing.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things will you never find in Hunter’s pockets?

[Paula Altenburg] That’s a great question! Hmm. 1) Pretty stones, or anything someone else might pick up out of curiosity and want to save. He’s not a collector. 2) Bullets. He’s not much into guns either. 3) Hair ribbons. That seems like it should go without saying, but the guy has seven sisters so it’s not too much of a stretch. He hasn’t seen them in years, but he still really loves them and thinks of them often.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is Airie’s greatest regret?

[Paula Altenburg] Airie never got to say goodbye to the priestess mother who raised her. That bothers her because rituals that should have been carried out had to be abandoned, and her mother was left without a proper burial.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are your greatest creative influences?

[Paula Altenburg] It doesn’t take much to get me going. My imagination’s pretty active. I’m big into “What if” scenarios, but I’m an abstract thinker and not visual at all. At some point I’d like to write a story that’s kicked off by Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah,” though. A song, an image, or a movie can all inspire me, but it’s usually an emotional reaction to one specific thing about them. In Hallelujah, it’s the line “He saw her bathing on a roof.” From there, an entire storyline jumps into my head.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things do you need in order to write?

[Paula Altenburg] Quiet, coffee, and an idea. If I don’t have my scene in my head, my day is ruined.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is the last book that you read that knocked your socks off?

[Paula Altenburg]  I only read books that knock my socks off. Life is too short to read anything else. I will totally toss one aside if I’m not wowed by it because there are plenty more out there waiting to amaze me. Having said that, I have a bit of a love affair going with George RR Martin and his Game of Thrones series. He’s an author who does everything well.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you had to pick one book that turned you on to reading, which would it be?

[Paula Altenburg] I was reading before I started school, so I’m not really sure what got me started. Johanna Spyri’s Heidi sticks in my mind. So does Black Beauty, by Anna Sewell. My mother tells me I read the original versions. She’s a former English teacher and alternates between horror and fascination at my reading choices. As long as the writing’s good, I’m okay with it.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?

[Paula Altenburg] I’m a reader. It’s my favorite thing in the world to do. Next up comes watching movies. I also like to run. I enjoy traveling too, but overall, I’m quite boring. (Notice that travel placed last on that list?) My husband’s European and we go often, but I’ll take my Kindle and sit on someone’s couch while he visits with family. His sister and I went to Paris and Brussels together a few years ago and visited every museum and art gallery we could find because we both love history. I talked her into taking a tour of the sewers in Paris and she hasn’t forgiven me yet.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How can readers connect with you?

[Paula Altenburg] Through my website at www.paulaaltenburg.com, on Facebook, and Twitter @Paula Altenburg. I swear I will friend and follow, and respond to all e-mails!

Thanks for having me!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Thank you!

Giveaway Time!!

You can win a digital copy of The Demon Hunter’s Daughter by filling out the widget below. Earn extra entries for following. Open Internationally.

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You can order The Demon’s Daughter from your favorite bookseller or by clicking the link below.

 

About the book:

Hunter is the only man capable of killing the demons that left the world in ruins. But when he’s hired by a notorious priestess to bring a thief to justice, the Demon Slayer gets more than he bargains for.

Airie was raised in an abandoned temple as a priestess’s daughter, having no idea of her true origins. In a time when any half-breed spawn of a demon is despised by mortal and immortal alike, not knowing the truth is the only thing keeping her safe.

Forced to flee her home in the wake of disaster and discovery of who she is, Airie must place her trust in a man who believes she should never have been born. And when a demon uprising threatens lives he has sworn to protect, Hunter has to make a choice: abandon Airie to an uncertain fate, or overcome his own personal demons and love her for who she truly is.

Interview with Ros Baxter, Author of Fish Out Of Water

Ros Baxter is our special guest today.  Ros is visiting the virtual offices to chat about Fish Out of Water, her latest release from Escape Publishing.  Fish Out of Water blends mystery, crime fiction, and urban fantasy in one hard to put down story. 

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Describe yourself in 140 characters or less.

[Ros Baxter]  Author of fresh, funny, genre-busting fiction. Mother of four lovely, noisy children. Omnivorous reader. Insane multi-tasker. Imposter Syndrome sufferer.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about Fish Out of Water?

[Ros Baxter]  Fish Out of Water is hip crime fiction meets urban fantasy – Stephanie Plum meets Splash – and available from Escape Publishing on 1 April.

My heroine, Rania, is part small-town cop. Part deep-sea mermaid. And she’s got a sinking feeling that she’s about to get wet. For the first time in 13 years.
Rania has a lot on her plate: a nicotine addiction that’s a serious liability for a mermaid, a solider-of-fortune ex who’s hooked on her Mom’s brownies, a gorgeous, naked stranger in her shower, and a mysterious dead blonde with a fish tattoo on Main Street.

Oh, and one other thing. She’s scheduled to die on her thirtieth birthday – in three weeks – unless she can ‘change the course of destiny and save the world entire’. But where to start? With her bad boy ex? With the smokin’ hot coldblooded swimmer who seems to know more than he’s giving up? Or with a ten thousand year old prophesy about the End of Days?

If she can just steal a corpse, get a crazy Aegirian priest off her case, work out who the hell’s trying to kill her and stop sleeping with the fishes, Rania might be able to unravel the prophesy, the mystery of the missing choirgirls and the secrets hidden in her Mom’s past.

And maybe even save her own skin while she’s at it.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How did you come up with the concept and the characters for the story?

[Ros Baxter]  I’ve always harboured a secret fascination for mermaids (blame seeing “Splash” at the tender age of ten!), love triangles, and things which are not as they seem.  My mermaid Rania has all that in spades – she hasn’t been home to the deep ocean for thirteen years because of a terrifying visit to a clairvoyant; she lives incognito in a small frontier town working as a cop; and she’s torn between land and sea.  She’s also torn between two men who represent those worlds – her solider-of-fortune ex and a sexy, wolfish merman with secrets of his own.

Most of all I wanted to create a heroine who was totally different from me.  Someone tough and cool.  Rania packs heat, dates the wrong men and can beat anyone in an arm wrestle. But she also has an over-developed sense of responsibility.  She’s trying desperately to keep everyone around her safe, while the clock’s ticking on her own life.

I loved intertwining romance, Norse legend, gumshoe mystery and modern pop culture to create this quirky, layered tale.  I hope readers love it too.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three words best describe Rania?

[Ros Baxter]  Tough, vulnerable, BUSY!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If Rania had a theme song, what would it be?

[Ros Baxter]  It’s got to be “I will survive” by Gloria Gaynor. Hey, she’s been told she’s only got three weeks to live!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Name one thing Rania is never without.

[Ros Baxter]  On land, her glock and her beautiful Chevy Corvette Stingray, Ariel. In the sea, her BFF the Princess Lecanora.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things will you never find in Rania’s bedroom?

[Ros Baxter]  An Air Supply CD. A girly dress. Fish and chips.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are your greatest creative influences?

[Ros Baxter]  My mother – she taught us all to love words and books.

My kids – they tell the best stories of all.

The wordsmiths who shaped my world as a child and teenager – Enid Blyton, CS Lewis, Nirvana.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things do you need in order to write?

[Ros Baxter]  Some paper or a keyboard. A place. A few minutes.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is the last book that you read that knocked your socks off?

[Ros Baxter]  Stephen King’s On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you had to pick one book that turned you on to reading, which would it be?

[Ros Baxter]  Argh so hard, so many. It would have been something kind of lowbrow, because I remember my Mum being called up to the school for a “please explain” about my home reading list. As I recall, the offending title was “A Passion for Treason”. I was nine.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?

[Ros Baxter]  Sleep. But it doesn’t happen often.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How can readers connect with you?

[Ros Baxter]  email: roosbaxterink@gmail.com

facebook: www.facebook.com/RosBaxterInk

twitter: @RosBaxter

web site: www.rosbaxterink.com

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Thank you!

You can order Fish Out of Water from your favorite bookseller or by clicking the link below.

About the book:

Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum meets Splash in a sexy, smart-talking debut about a mermaid in a desert, a city under water, and the secret that no one is supposed to uncover.

Dirtwater’s straight-talking Deputy Sheriff Rania Aqualina has a lot on her plate: a nicotine addiction that’s a serious liability for a mermaid, a soldier-of-fortune ex who’s hooked on her Mum’s brownies, a gorgeous, naked stranger in her shower, and a mysterious dead blonde with a fish tattoo on Main Street.

Heading home to Aegira for a family wedding, Rania has a sinking feeling that’s got nothing to do with hydroporting seven miles under the sea and everything to do with the crazy situation. Now, if she can just steal a corpse, get a crazy Aegiran priest off her case, work out who the hell’s trying to kill her, and stop sleeping with the fishes, she might be able to unravel the mysteries. And maybe even save her own ass while she’s at it.

Fish out of Water is Stephanie Plum meets Splash, and the first book in a trilogy about Aegira, an underwater kingdom based on the historical Norse legend of Aegir.

About the author:

Ros writes fresh, funny, genre-busting fiction. She digs feisty heroines, good friends, quirky families, heroes to make you sigh and tingle, and a dash of fantasy from time to time.

Ros also runs a successful business consulting to government and the private sector. She teaches professional writing skills and has authored a writing guide, Clarity.

Ros lives in Brisbane’s North with her husband Blair, four small but very opinionated children, a neurotic dog and nine billion germs.

You can email Ros at rosbaxterink@gmail.com or find her at www.facebook.com/RosBaxterInk, @RosBaxter, or www.rosbaxterink.com.

Interview with Helen Sedwick, Author of Coyote Winds and Giveaway!

Please welcome Helen Sedwick to the virtual offices today.  Helen’s novel, Coyote Winds, is set during one of the most devastating environmental calamities to befall the Midwest.  I find the Dust Bowl, and all of the heartbreaking challenges it presented, fascinating, so I am thrilled to have Helen here for a chat.  After the interview, please enter for a chance to win a copy of Coyote Winds!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Describe yourself in 140 characters or less.

[Helen Sedwick] An intense redhead who’s spent her life balancing restlessness and responsibility.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about Coyote Winds?

[Helen Sedwick] COYOTE WINDS follows the adventures of a boy and his coyote living on the prairie in the years leading up to the Dust Bowl. It explores the American spirit that drew families to the wind-swept frontier and the consequences of that spirit, both good and bad. And it asks whether that spirit can survive the over-supervised life of a modern boy.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How did you come up with the concept and the characters for the story?

[Helen Sedwick] I was inspired to write COYOTE WINDS by my father’s stories of growing up during the Dust Bowl. While there was plenty of blowing dust in his stories, he also talked about freedom and adventure. With the schools closed, he spent his days hunting rattlesnakes and rabbits. And driving at the age of 9. I wanted to contrast my father’s unfenced boyhood with the over-supervised life of a modern, suburban boy who “couldn’t ride a bike without a helmet, play soccer without pads, or ride in a car with a driver under thirty.”

As I researched the Dust Bowl, I discovered that it is a classic story about American optimism. Our can-do attitude drew families to the prairie with dreams of owning their own land. They plowed up millions of acres of native grassland. Then the wind did what it always did–blow. What followed was one of the worst man-made environmental disasters in history, the Dust Bowl. COYOTE WINDS is about good families doing what they believed to be the right thing, only to have the results turn out so terribly wrong. I wanted to tell that story.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three words best describe Myles?

[Helen Sedwick] Fun-loving, school-skipping punster.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If Andy had a theme song, what would it be?

[Helen Sedwick] NO SUCH THING by John Mayer

“They love to tell you
Stay inside the lines
But something’s better
On the other side.”

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Name one thing Myles is never without.

[Helen Sedwick] His Remington .22 rifle.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things will you never find in Andy’s pockets?

[Helen Sedwick] Andy is a 21st century suburban boy trapped in a life of rules.

At the beginning of the novel, he wouldn’t have a pen knife (too dangerous), an arrowhead (politically incorrect), or car keys (not until he has a B average, which means no time soon).

By the end of the novel, he has all three in his pockets.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is Myles’s greatest regret?

[Helen Sedwick] Trying to chop off the head of a live rattlesnake.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are your greatest creative influences?

[Helen Sedwick] I love the power of a story to make us laugh, cry, learn, believe, and connect with others over distance and time. Whenever I experience a new story, whether it be in a book, a film, or a play, I am inspired to write more.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things do you need in order to write?

[Helen Sedwick] Characters I love.

A vague yearning to express.

Time alone.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is the last book that you read that knocked your socks off?

[Helen Sedwick] Out Stealing Horses by Per Petterson

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you had to pick one book that turned you on to reading, which would it be?

[Helen Sedwick] Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. If this 19th Century novel could move a 20th Century Manhattan girl, that says something.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?

[Helen Sedwick] Hike the granite outcroppings of the Sierras.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How can readers connect with you?

[Helen Sedwick] My website: www.helensedwick.com

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

I also welcome emails at Helen@helensedwick.com.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Thank you!

Here’s the trailer for the book:

GIVEAWAY TIME!

Ready for your chance to win a copy of Coyote Winds? Just will out the widget below. Earn extra entries for following. US addresses only, please.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

About the book:

When thirteen-year old Myles brings home a coyote pup half-blinded by a dust storm, his father warns him a coyote can’t be trusted. His neighbor loads his rifle and takes aim. Yet Myles is determined to tame the pup just as his father is taming the land. The time is 1930. Tractors and fertilizers are transforming the prairie into the world’s breadbasket. The American dream is within every man’s reach. But when drought turns these dreams into paint-stripping, crop-killing dust, Myles wonders if they have made a mistake trying to tame the untamable. Seventy years later, when Andy remembers his Grandpa Myles’s tales about growing up on the prairie, he wonders what stories he will tell when he has grandchildren. Algebra, soccer practice, computer games, the mall? Determined to keep his grandfather’s memories alive and have some adventures of his own, Andy heads out to discover what’s left of the wild prairie. Inspired by her father’s tales of growing up during the Dust Bowl, Sedwick weaves insight, humor, historical details and unforgettable characters into a coming-of-age story that reminds us that chasing a dream, even if it brings heartache, is far better than not dreaming at all.

 

About the Author:

Helen Sedwick is the author of COYOTE WINDS. A finalist in the 2011 Mainstream Fiction Writer’s Digest Competition and the Lorian Hemmingway Short Story Contest, Helen Sedwick recently won second place in the Redwood Writers Flash Fiction Contest for a piece adapted from COYOTE WINDS. She is a lawyer and lives in the Sonoma wine country with Howard Klepper, a builder of handcrafted guitars, and an exuberant hound dog named Farlow. For more info, http://www.helensedwick.com.

Interview with Michelle Smart, Author of Tempted by Trouble and Giveaway!

Please welcome Michelle Smart to the virtual offices today!  She’s here to chat about her debut book Tempted by Trouble.  She also has a $30 gift card of the winner’s choice for Amazon, Amazon U.K., Barnes and Noble or Book Depository to give away at the end of her blog tour, so make sure that you enter for a chance to win. 

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Describe yourself in 140 characters or less.

[Michelle Smart] Bubbly and scatty are the two most common descriptions. My kids would also add grumpy, but only in the morning. Oh, and I’m a redhead.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about Tempted by Trouble?

[Michelle Smart] It’s about Pippa Rowantree, a socialite, who is shunted off by her family in disgrace to the Caribbean to stay with her nemesis, Marco Capello. But Marco is not just her nemesis – he’s the man her adolescent heart fell in love with, and the man who rejected her. He’s also the man whose life she almost, unknowingly, ruined.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How did you come up with the concept and the characters for the story?

[Michelle Smart] Gosh – I’m sorry but this is a really hard one to answer. Sometimes stories come fully formed but this was not one of them. I knew I wanted to write about adolescent love  and the sheer intensity of it all, and about the inappropriate crushes I’m sure most adolescent girls have, especially for older men. I remember I had more than a few of them! I always used to create my own stories (in my head) about my future, and those crushes meeting me as an adult and falling in love with me.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three words best describe Pippa?

[Michelle Smart] Feisty, misunderstood and proud.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If Marco had a theme song, what would it be?

[Michelle Smart] And I thought the concept question was hard! If his song was connected to his relationship with Pippa, I would say Fleetwood Mac’s Go Your Own Way.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Name one thing Pippa is never without.

[Michelle Smart] Her piano.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things will you never find in Marco’s bathroom?

[Michelle Smart] Hair dye, epilator and lipstick.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is Pippa’s greatest regret?

[Michelle Smart] Screwing up her education.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are your greatest creative influences?

[Michelle Smart] Ooo, books, obviously. I love reading a book and being blown away by the sheer talent of the author. Stephen King, especially his books of the past two decades, does that to me and (other end of the spectrum) Jilly Cooper’s book Rivals. For pure romance, I find Sarah Morgan’s books wonderful – when I grow up I hope I can write half as well as her! I also love films that hit me in the heart and make my throat hitch, even if I’m watching it for the twentieth time.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things do you need in order to write?

[Michelle Smart] Music, earphones and a laptop – you can stick me anywhere, and as long as I can tune the world out with my music, I can write.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is the last book that you read that knocked your socks off?

[Michelle Smart] Hilary Mantel’s Wolfe Hall. That was an utterly fabulous book. It took a couple of pages for me to get into the rhythm of her writing, but once I was there, that was it – I was hooked.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you had to pick one book that turned you on to reading, which would it be?

[Michelle Smart] I can’t answer that, sorry. I’ve been a bookworm since babyhood. Honestly, I refused to cuddle teddies when I was in my cot as all I wanted was my books!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?

[Michelle Smart] Read, read and read! I will read anything and everything, from contemporary romance to comedies and thrillers and more literary works. Saying that, I have a particular loathing for pretentious books. What I read at any particular time depends entirely on my mood.

Oh yes, I also like cooking – catch me in the right mood and I think I’m a Cordon Bleu chef.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How can readers connect with you?

[Michelle Smart] Readers can contact me via my website, which is http://www.michelle-smart.com – this also links to my blog, which is http://michellesmartblog.blogspot.co.uk/

I also have a facebook page, www.facebook.com/michellesmartauthor and my twitter handle is @chellebellwrite

[Manga Maniac Café] Thank you! 

You can order Tempted by Trouble from your favorite bookseller or by clicking the link below:

About the book:

Socialite Pippa Rowantree has always provided excellent fodder for the UK’s gossip rags. After another unfortunate scandal sends the gossips into a feeding frenzy, her shamed family retaliates by forcing her into hiding at old family friend Marco Capello’s lush Caribbean estate—literally the last place on earth she wants to be.

As far as Marco’s concerned, wild child Pippa has ruined his life once and he’ll be damned if he lets her do it again. But it’s hard to reconcile the adolescent he knew with the mature, beautiful woman who stands before him. Soon he’s questioning if everything the media is claiming about PIppa is the truth or if he should trust his heart.

Giveaway!

Michelle is giving away a $30 gift card of the winner’s choice of Amazon, Amazon U.K., Barnes and Noble or Book Depository. The giveaway will be given at the end of the tour to one international winner.  Just fill out the widget to enter for your chance to win!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

A bit about the author Michelle Smart:

Michelle’s love affair with books began as a baby when, according to her mum, she would throw her teddies out of the cot and cuddle with books instead. This love of all things wordy has never left her. A voracious reader, her tastes cross all genres. Her first experience with romance was as a child devouring copious amount of fairy tales. As her reading tastes evolved, she discovered something special–a book has the capacity to make her heart beat as if falling in love the first time.

When not reading or pretending to do the housework, Michelle loves nothing more than creating worlds of her own featuring handsome heroes and the sparkly, feisty women who refuse to take crap from them. She hopes her books can make her readers’ hearts beat a little faster, too.