Tag Archives: author

Meet Wade, he’s a writer

The Lincoln Park Horror

Blurb for “The Lincoln Park Horror. A Richard Dick Mystery.” Untreed Reads Publishing, 2011

Private investigator Richard Dick encounters his most challenging case yet when a prospective client unexpectedly appears in his office. Percival J. Buttersnipe is a multi-millionaire, an incorrigible snob, and thoroughly dead—that’s right, Percy is a ghost!

In this latest, rollicking release in the worldwide bestselling Richard Dick Mysteries series, Percy hires Dick to evict a group of cutthroats from his deteriorating mansion in Chicago’s stylish Lincoln Park. An uproarious tale of ghosts and gangsters, Dick unveils previously unknown secrets of life in the afterlife as he encounters ghosts around every corner. Will Dick become a ghost himself when gunfire erupts during a daring daylight bank robbery?

A new, hilarious novelette from the author of Bite This!, Witches Which?, Naughty or Nice?, and Flying Solo.
______________________________________________________________________________
Meet Wade J. McMahan, creator of the bestselling Richard Dick Mysteries series

Thanks, Kim, for interviewing me on your blog. I have your list of questions, and…oh wait. First, let me say how important sites like yours are for new as well as established writers. It gives us a chance to pick up a few pointers from our peers—not to say writers will pick up any gold nuggets here today. I suppose the downside is that readers can see how whacked-out writers truly are.

Now, where was I? Oh yes, your list of questions. Allow me to begin.

I didn’t begin writing because I wanted to become an author. Seriously, I didn’t! In fact, I still fumble around, or hang my head and drag my toe through the dust at the very mention of the word. To me it seems, okay I’ll say it, pretentious to refer to myself as an “author.”

Very simply, I’m a writer. I write things—dark things, scary things, funny things, upside down things, right side up things, all manner of things that capture my interest. My writing is not intended to change the world or the lives of my readers. Nor do I aspire to reach lofty heights of literary distinction (as if that was in the cards, eh?). I write purely for entertainment—to entertain myself, and hopefully, my readers.

Why would I do such a silly thing? The primary reason behind why I began writing is simple. I wanted to see if I could. I don’t mean just write, but write to a standard where an established editor would read my work and say, “Holy cow! We have GOT to publish THIS!”

How hard could it be to write a book, right? I embarked on my writing career by spending a year tapping away on my first novel, “The Cave of the Gods.” I wrote, and wrote, and researched, and re-wrote, and edited, and wrenched it and tore it and sweated buckets over it until I finally had my first completed novel shipshape and ready for public viewing. I packaged it neatly, typed up a synopsis, and zinged out query letters to agents and editors across the land. Then I waited for an acceptance from somebody, anybody, and waited, and… Um, don’t go searching for “The Cave of the Gods” at bookstores or online. It resides comfortably on my bookshelf inside a three-ring binder. You guessed it. The book was a total piece of crap.

What did I learn from my first writing experience? I couldn’t write! Honestly! I couldn’t write, and that’s the dog dirt truth of it! I pondered my miserable existence for a while, and finally came to the dazzling realization that I had to get better.

I didn’t want to write another novel only to discover after another year of struggling that I’d created, “Return of Crap.” Therefore, I decided to write short stories and allow them to serve as my training ground. I could whip one out fairly quickly, and get a pretty quick response back from editors. You get it, stimulus-response. It’s kind of like when a doctor taps your knee with a hammer and immediately your foot flies up into the air, stimulus-response.

I stimulated a lot of editors before I received the response I was hoping for. “Vengeance of the Wolves,” a short dark fantasy was accepted for publication by “Crows Nest Magazine.” I think it’s out of business now, but it was an online magazine, one of those digital story mills. In fact, I believe I’ve contributed to killing more than one e-magazine.

If there is a moral to all of this, and you’re an aspiring writer, I suppose it’s to just start writing. No excuses, no more hedging, start writing now! Start this instant!

Um, hello? Are you still with me? If you are that aspiring writer I was just talking to, you don’t take direction very well, do you? That’s okay, I’ve never been one to take direction well myself.

If there is one thing every writer needs, it’s pure dumb luck to be at the right place at the right time with the right product. There are thousands of outstanding writers out there constantly snatching and grabbing at publishers. Let me tell you, boy oh boy, did I get dumb and lucky!

I had just completed my first Richard Dick Mystery, “Bite This!,” when I discovered a brand new publisher, Untreed Reads Publishing. I dangled my little tale in front of their editor and he bit! They not only took the bait, they shipped the story worldwide where “Bite This!” rapidly climbed bestsellers lists at e-bookstores around the globe! That little yarn earned 5-star reviews everywhere, and stayed on the overall Top 10 Bestsellers list at OmniLit for months! Later, Untreed Reads published my fantasy spoof, “Flying Solo,” as well as my subsequent Richard Dick Mysteries, “Witches Witch?,” “Naughty or Nice?” and now, “The Lincoln Park Horror.” Be watching for another novelette in the series, “Fanged!” when it arrives on e-bookshelves this fall—I really entertained myself writing this one.

The above works are available at the Untreed Reads Store—click the book cover above, it’ll take you there. Otherwise, go to your usual e-bookseller and download them to your Nook, Kindle or other reading device. If you’re a Sony user, look for my “Richard Dick Mysteries” bundle at the Sony Reader Store—you know how to do it. Don’t have one of those new gizmos? Not a problem, you can download them in standard pdf format directly to your laptop or PC.

I’m currently working on a full-length fantasy novel, tentatively titled, “The King of Stones. An Irish Ballad.” Soon, I will begin sending out a few sample chapters to my new, dedicated group of beta readers who collectively serve as my “Crap-O-Meter.” How will they react to what they read? I don’t know, but I’m edgy; let me tell you, I’m edgy.

Thanks again, Kim, for allowing me to visit with your audience. We now return you to your regularly scheduled program.

Wade’s Bio;

Wade J. McMahan has published five stories with Untreed Reads Publishing. In addition to his bestselling Richard Dick Mysteries series, Untreed Reads also released his fantasy spoof, “Flying Solo.” Furthermore, his stories have been published at such places as The Ampersand Review, Crow’s Nest Magazine, the df_Underground, and Pine Tree Mysteries.

More Richard Dick works are already in the pipeline, or under construction. Wade is also currently writing a fantasy novel based upon an ancient Irish legend.

Owner of a forestry consulting firm, Wade and his wife Glenda live in the green rolling hills of Tennessee where they enjoy an active life filled with family, friends, sports, travel and three spoiled dogs.

Track Wade on his website and blog, “The Incorrigible Liar” at Wade McMahan
and you can also find him on Facebook.

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Heartbroken Promises 2, by Sherry Shumard

Heartbroken Promises2: BLURB:

Vicky Wainright decides to visit Jake’s Island so she can be close to her sister Miranda. She is offered a nanny job by Jordan a very handsome and eligible bachelor who is raising his son by himself. She meets her sister’s waiter Noah and is quickly torn between loving him and Jordan. She gets kidnapped while babysitting along with Jordan’s son Derrick and her sister believes that Noah was one of the kidnappers. How will she feel about Noah after she finds out the truth? Will Derrick and her be rescued or be killed?

Q: Tell us About Your Book:
In Heartbroken Promises 2 the main character Vicky Wainright decides to move to Jake’s Island to be close to her sister Miranda who recently got married to the man of her dreams named Jake. Vicky isn’t so lucky in her love life. She is torn between two men Noah and Jordan. Things are further complicated when she is kidnapped along with a baby named Derrick who she is babysitting. To make matters worse, one of her kidnappers may be Noah. She isn’t so sure who she can trust and life for her isn’t so great when she gets the news that she is pregnant. Will she and Derrick be rescued or be killed? Who are the kidnappers? Being on an island isn’t always a vacation when there’s someone out to get you…

Q: Tell us a little about yourself:
I’m married and I have three teenagers and a cat named Tiger and a beagle named Patches. I love to read and write romance and mystery novels. I’m the published author of: Heartbroken Promises and Heartbroken Promises 2. I’m currently working on Heartbroken Promises 3. I’ve also started writing a book about my personal experience as a sixteen year old runaway. I bought a one-way ticket to Jekyll Island when I was sixteen years old because I was going to runaway and start a new life on an island and all my problems would be over. I was so wrong. I never made it to Jekyll Island. I would like for the book to be inspiring to others because no matter how bad your life is running away will not solve your problems. You should face your problems and deal with them and move on.

Q: Who has inspired you as an author?
I think that Carolyn Keene who has written the Nancy Drew mystery stories has been my inspiration my whole life. I used to go to the local library and check out all the Nancy Drew books that they would allow me to check out at one time when I was younger. I’ve probably read about all of them. I’ve always wanted to be a detective just like Nancy Drew and solve mysteries. Later on, after my Heartbroken Promises series are finished, I would like to write some more mystery stories since I have a lot of ideas on what I want to write about.

Q: What age did you discover writing? What is your earliest work about?
I discovered writing in middle school. I loved to write way back then. I would write short fictional stories in a notebook. My earliest work was of course about a fictional detective who would solve crimes at schools. My best friend and I in middle school vowed that we would be detectives together when we grew up. That didn’t happen but it sounded like a real good idea at the time. Plans change and people take different career paths sometimes.

Q: What’s the most interesting comment you have received about your book?
The most interesting comment that I have received about my book is that it has an interesting plot and that it does have a lot of action in it.

Q: Do you have a specific time or place for writing?
During the day or at night is my best time for writing on my novels. I Definitely don’t write first thing in the morning or late at night. In the morning it takes me awhile to wake up and late at night I’m too tired to think. I like to sometimes sit outside on my back deck and write on my laptop. Also, I will sometimes take a notebook with me to a local park and while my husband fishes, I will write some more on my novel. Other than that, I will sit in the office and type on the computer.

Q: What is next for you?
I plan to write many, many more books. I have a lot of ideas on what I want to write about and I really enjoy writing. It is not a task to me it is like a hobby because I thoroughly enjoy it. I want to inspire others who may think that their life is bad not to give up and that they don’t run away from their problems. Life can be great even though there are ups and downs.

book excerpt for Heartbroken Promises2:

“Well, I don’t care about him and he can propose to someone else for all I care,” she said fighting back the urge to cry. “All he thinks of is only one thing anyway,” she said. “And that’s sex!”
“Miranda laughed. “Most guys do but that isn’t a reason not to marry a guy,” she said looking at her sister. “You’re just young that’s all,” she stated. “Come on,” she said tugging at her arm. “We’re going out for supper.”
“Supper…but what about lunch?” she asked surprised. Miranda laughed. “You slept through lunch silly,” she said tugging on her arm. “Come on…let’s go…” she said pulling her toward the door.

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Meet Ron Adams


Ron has been a good cyber friend for several years now and I am too excited to be able to help him promote a tremendously fun book, Key Lime Squeeze. Here is the interview done with Ron recently.

Tell us about yourself. Please share a short bio with us.

I have always loved a good story. Growing up around an extended family, I learned to appreciate the stories told by my great grandfather of “the old days” in Boston, of the family histories related by my grandparents, by my aunts, uncles and parents. And then there was the assortment of characters that always seemed to be around my parents home. Priests, cops, bar owners, bikers, Marines, cross country hitchhiking cousins, and even international animal rescue workers all provided their own unique stories, and a base for my imagination.

Based on a lifetime of colorful individuals and a love of the mystery and crime fiction genre, I published my first novel, Lake Effect, in 2003. I am active in several online writing communities, and has written several short stories, as well as article on topics from rehabilitation to fitness and health to poker basics. My latest novel, a sequel of sorts to Lake Effect, was just picked up by Charles River Press and is due to be released sometime in mid-2010.

I live in a beautiful town on the shores of Lake Erie just south of Buffalo, NY, with my wife, Trish, and my son and daughter.

Tell us about your book and where it can be found.

Key Lime Squeeze follows Buffalo P.I. Joe Banks as he tracks runaway husband and insurance executive, Robert Boothby, all the way to Key West. But this is no ordinary midlife crisis victim, because he runs away with the money he helped his criminal in-laws steal from his own company, and Banks finds himself saddled with the family’s enforcer for a traveling companion. They discover they aren’t the only ones looking for Boothby, leading to a confrontation with Banks’ old mentor-turned-mercenary who is looking not only to recover the stolen money, but also to blackmail the Cantolinos at the same time. The job becomes a game of cat and mouse with the Cantolino crime family, as allies become enemies, and enemies turn to allies, with help coming from a most surprising source. Even the police can’t be trusted when there’s so much money at stake. The story twists and turns to the very end, as Banks discovers who to trust, and who’s in on the squeeze.

My first novel, Lake Effect, can be ordered through your favorite book store, from the publisher, (PublishAmerica), and from many online bookstores like Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-a-million, etc.

What age did you discover writing? What is your earliest work about?

That’s a great question. I have been writing all my life, starting with really bad poetry for my wife, my girlfriend at the time. I have written journal articles for a rehabilitation publication, and then really started to take fiction seriously when I turned 40. My first novel, Lake Effect, is about the carjacking and murder of two small children in the dead of winter in the Buffalo, New York area. Private investigator Joe Banks, himself a father of two, is called in to help find out what happened when it turns out the victim’s own family may have something to hide. It was a lot of fun writing this character and his family, and is the start of what I hope will be a successful series.

Who has inspired you as an author?

I have been inspired most by my favorite authors, notably Robert B. Parker, Harlan Coben, Janet Evanovich, and most recently I’ve become a big fan of David Baldacci. I also gain a lot of inspiration from my family, my wife being my biggest supporter, and from my writing friends I’ve met in person and online. I owe a lot of my approach and knowledge of writing, promotion, and publishing to my friends Kim Smith, Henry Gravelle, Stephen Clark Bradley, and Suzanne James.

What’s the most interesting comment you have received about your books?

The most interesting comment I’ve ever received about my writing came from a Marine stationed in Iraq a few years ago. He got his hands on a copy of Lake Effect as part of a CARE package sent from his family and friends. He wrote and thanked everyone for the goodies, and that the book gave him a taste of home. He also told his mother it was the first book he ever read cover to cover, and was planning on keeping it with him as he is re-deployed to Afghanistan. I may never have a bestseller, but that was the best review I could ever hope for.

Do you have a specific time or place that you write?

The truth is I write whenever, wherever. I have note pads I keep close by for ideas and information, and I use a Toshiba laptop to write. It lets me work in my family room after homework and kid’s bedtimes, at the office during my lunch time, at my son’s karate dojo. I guess you could say I am a very opportunistic writer.

What’s next for you?

Primary for me right now is getting Key Lime Squeeze released and out to the public. After that, I have a third Banks novel currently in progress, with a working title of Crossing Midnight. A lot of the characters people liked from Key Lime Squeeze are back as Banks takes on human traffickers, a street gang, and corrupt politicians in an attempt to find a missing Chinese prostitute.

Thanks a lot for the opportunity to share all this with your readers, and I hope they take the time to check out Lake Effect, and look for Key Lime Squeeze sometime this spring/summer.

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Interview with Yvonne Walus aka Eve Summers

Tell us a little about your latest novel and when and where we can get it.

“Murder @ Work” was published by Echelon Press in August 2009 under my own name (Yvonne Walus). It’s set in the “new free South Africa” of 1994, where men are still boss, women still carry handguns for self-protection, and some mistakes can change your life forever. When a body is found during their weekend away with friends, Christine Chamberlain must use her brilliant mathematical mind to prove her husband’s innocence… whether he’s innocent or not. Every marriage needs honesty, but when it comes to your loved ones, is it possible to know too much?

How do you balance the creative process of writing with the demands of public appearances, maintenance of your website, and your family?

In a word, badly. “Balance” doesn’t come into it. Try “run around like mad, dropping the balls and falling on my face with exhaustion”. I have a day job and two children in primary school, so if I want to find time for writing, something has to give – and it’s usually household chores. I look at the dusty furniture, the carpet that has forgotten the loving touch of the vacuum cleaner, the creases on my blouse and I pretend that I don’t care (come to think of it, at 3 A.M. I really don’t care).

One thing I’ve noticed is that I can’t do creative writing and publicity at the same time: it’s either making more pages of my book appear on the word processor, or it’s making more sales happen by blogging, chatting and book signing. Partly it’s due to time constraints, but mostly it’s because my brain can’t switch between book-writing and book-selling fast enough.

Give us an example of a day in the writing life of. Do you stick to a schedule of X amount of hours writing, editing, answering email, etc.?

It’s summer holidays here in New Zealand, so my schedule is disrupted, but I usually have time to write when the children are in bed. When I’m writing the first draft, I like to get about 1000 words a day down – good words, bad words, as long as they are words. It helps when I tell myself I can’t go to bed until I’ve hot target.

About the great ‘rule’ debate: we are told you can’t do this and you can’t write that. But it is stepping outside the lines that gets many authors noticed and eventually published. What are your opinions on the rules?

My only rule is to write responsibly. I try to think of the kind of message I’d like to send to the reader. Do I want to tell them that atheism is ok, or make them think about the wonders of the world? Do I want to be controversial? Do I want to give a potential murderer a great idea on how to use poison? How will I feel when my children read my books? And what do I want to leave as a legacy for the generations to come?

What music do you listen to when you write?

When I need inspiration, I listen to REM’s “Losing my religion” – there’s just something in the beat that fires up my brain. But mostly I need the silence of the sleeping house and the knowledge that nobody will interrupt.
Has a song inspired you to write?

One of my Red Rose Publishing releases, “Safe Sex Incorporated” (written under the pen name Eve Summers), was definitely inspired by Mike Batt’s “Love makes you crazy”. The lyrics go like this:
a href=”https://bookmadness.files.wordpress.com/2009/12/likeavirgin.jpg”>

I was reading in a history book,
Before the seventh war,
They used to have a thing that they called love,
That we don’t have any more.
I don’t know the feeling,
But I’m told it was an evil thing,
It used to make you crazy and fall down,
No one knows what it could bring.

My book’s all about that.

Do you have a favorite show on TV that helps in moving your muse?

When I write my Eve Summers romances, I always cast Sawyer from LOST as the hero, even if my leading man is black. Sawyer looks good with dark skin and hair….

If you could collaborate with any author, living or dead, who would it be and why?

Anybody famous and bestselling, but I would only do it for their name on the cover, but the book would have to be all mine or all theirs. I can’t write as a joint project. Don’t get me wrong: I love brainstorming, and I think it’s a great idea to get someone in the know to edit my work… but ultimately I need to be the boss of what goes on in my book.

What are your thoughts on promotion for books?

I honestly don’t know. Sometimes I feel as though all the promo effort is wasted, kind of like a tree falling in a forest without making a sound. Other times it looks like the more online presence I have, the better the book sells (“Like a Virgin” is at number 10 at Red Rose Publishing at the moment, and climbing).

Fortunately, I really love talking to my readers, so author talks and interviews are always fun, regardless of whether or not they sell any books.

What advice do you have for authors who haven’t quite gotten their manuscript to the next level, which for most is publishing?

Write the kind of book you’d like to read. Write what you’re passionate about. Write – simply write.

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Meet Pat Brown

LA BONEYARDRecently, Book Madness interviewed author, Pat Brown about her latest release. We are happy to share that with our readers!

Tell us a little about your latest novel and when and where we can get it.

L.A. Boneyard is my newest release. It’s the third book in the L.A. series featuring LAPD homicide detective David Eric Laine. This time around 2 dead Ukrainian women propel David on a journey that takes him and his new partner from the bucolic streets of West Hollywood to the gritty drug warrens of South Central L.A. in search of a human trafficking ring smuggling Ukrainian women into the U.S. and forcing them into prostitution.

Information, links to reviews, excerpts and where to buy L.A. Boneyard can be found at my web site

How do you balance the creative process of writing with the demands of public appearances, maintenance of your website, and your family?

I live alone, so my time is pretty much my own. At this time I make very few public appearance, mostly because it’s difficult to travel. I’m hoping to do more next year. I maintain my own web site and with it in place, adding books or updates to existing pages takes very little time. Since I can write pretty much when I want, I feel free to go out and socialize whenever I’m invited.

Give us an example of a day in the writing life of. Do you stick to a schedule of X amount of hours writing, editing, answering email, etc.?

I don’t have any type of schedule. I will get up, check my email and depending on what I’m working on, I’ll get to it. It might be proofing a ms I got back from my editor, working on a first or second draft. I usually have a couple of stories on the go at any time. I just finished one up that I’m shopping around to agents, I have a sequel I’m working on and I just started a new novel, my second shapeshifter story. And I just took some books out of the library to look over with the idea of doing a story dealing with RCMP officers to add more content to my Canadian novels.

When a story is going really well I will often get up really early – 4 or 5 in the morning and write most of the day, staying up until 2 or 3, then up again early the next day. I get very little sleep when I’m deep in the creative mind-set. My mind literarly won’t shut down.

About the great ‘rule’ debate: we are told you can’t do this and you can’t write that. But it is stepping outside the lines that gets many authors noticed and eventually published. What are your opinions on the rules?

I think rules are often hobbles that can keep writers from stretching. My suggestion is to learn those rules, understand them, then break them when it suits your story. It’s not always easy. Once you start selling, it can be scary to break away and do something bigger or different. I’ve done that with that recently finished book. I stepped way outside my comfort zone. It’s not a romance, it’s not really a crime novel, it has some literary components and is semi-tragic. Plus it’s set in a Latino barrio in South Los Angeles, and deals with a young man and his fragile family that he is struggling to keep safe from the criminal elements around them. He meets up with an LAPD patrol officer and there is romance between them, but it’s only a small part of the story. I’m hoping to get a larger audience for it, which is why I want to go the agent route. Only time will tell if my gamble will pay off. But I’ve taken the chance to write it, even knowing it might never find that audience. Sometimes you can’t stay safe. Take chances.

What music do you listen to when you write?

I’m very partial to rock: Linkin Park, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Supertramp, Good Charlotte, Nirvana, The Killers, and U2 among others.

Has a song inspired you to write?

Good Charlotte’s song The River inspired me while I wrote L.A. Boneyard. I played it over and over again. I even posted a link to the video on my web site. That and Red Hot Chili Pepper’s Californication which I also linked to.

Do you have a favorite show on TV that helps in moving your muse?

I loved Southland until the idiots at NBC canceled it. I also like Numb3rs and Castle. I enjoy watching various documentaries on different things. I never know when inspiration will strike. I saw a show on the History channel about the underground city in L.A where speakeasies used to operate. But what was really interesting about it was that unlike eastern cities where the mob ran those things during prohibition, in L.A it was the cops and city hall that controlled them. This is the main reason LAPD had the reputation of ‘being hard’ on organized crime. Whenever they tried to break into L.A. they were told by the boys in blue to get lost, this was their town, so it had nothing to do with protection of the citizens, it was protection for their own money making ventures.. The LAPD had their men acting as doormen to keep people from bringing their own booze in. They were all in these elaborately set up rooms under the main city, with secret entrances. The image of all these gin joints being run by crooked cops and politicians fascinates me.

If you could collaborate with any author, living or dead, who would it be and why?

It’s a toss up between Michael Connelly, Joseph Wambaugh or James Ellroy. With Ellroy we could write about those corrupt cops in the 20s.

What are your thoughts on promotion for books?

That it’s hard. The Internet is a great way to find readers and promote all over the world, but it’s also so full of other people trying to do the same that I think a lot of people get burned out with overload. Coming up with ways to get people to notice you gets harder and harder. It’s really important I think to build up a fan base, they’re often the best ambassadors for my books. I love talking to people who have read my books, it’s a lot more satisfying to get an email from someone who just read one of my books and had to tell me how much they liked it. I’ll take that over a good review any day.

What advice do you have for authors who haven’t quite gotten their manuscript to the next level, which for most is publishing?

Read, read, read. Then write, write, write.

Develop a thick skin. Make sure your story as polished as you can make it – and that means you have to get someone to independently review it, someone who can give you an honest appraisal. In other words find a good crit group online or in person. And learn to listen to what they tell you. It does no good to get into a crit group and get defensive or shut your mind to suggestions. If you ever put your story in front of an editor you can’t expect them to be gentle. Nor will they ‘fix’ your book for you. These days that’s your job. The days when an editor would see something good in your manuscript and take it and work with you to make it into a good novel are gone.

Don’t stop at one book. Write another. And another one after that. It’s rare that one’s first book is successful or published. I wrote something like 8 books before I wrote the one that got me both an agent and a publisher. None of those 8 have ever been published. Only one of them still even exists. But with each book I learned. I had some of them critiqued and learned from those critiques. After I had a publishing contract I went on and wrote more. Stories, books, whatever I could. Experiment. Read a lot. Read in your genre. Read outside your genre. Pay attention to what works and try to figure out why it works. Take writing courses if you can afford them. There are some good ones online that don’t cost a lot. Expand your mind with knowledge and your ideas will get bigger.

Thank you Pat for this great interview!

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Interview with LARA ZIELINSKY

THANK YOU LARA ZIELINSKY FOR BEING ON BOOK MADNESS TODAY.

1. Tell us about yourself. Please share a short bio with us.

Thank you for having me on today, Kim! I’ve been a writer all my life, but I first ventured into publishing my work only a few years ago. My first novel, Turning Point, received the 2007 Lesbian Fiction Readers Choice Award. That same year I was a finalist for the Debut Author award from the Golden Crown Literary Society.
Half a dozen of my short stories have appeared in a variety of anthologies. Several book reviews and articles have appeared in the Boston Bisexual Women’s Network (BBWN) newsletter as well as a Canadian bisexuals newsletter. I host the bi-weekly show “Readings in Lesbian & Bisexual Women’s Fiction” on Blog Talk Radio.
I am a member of the Golden Crown Literary Society, and Florida Writers Association, and a regular participant at Saints & Sinners each year. I identify as bisexual and live in Orlando, Florida with my husband and son.
Website: http://www.lzfiction.net/
Email group: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/lzfiction2

2. Tell us about your book and where it can be found. this can be a blurb, an excerpt etc.

My latest novel, Turn for Home, is the sequel to my first novel, Turning Point. It continues to tell the story of two women who fell in love despite having never been in love with women before, set against the backdrop of their lives as actresses on a television series together. The first novel was about their feelings, reactions, and growth as they fell in love. Turn for Home picks up the story with the reactions, feelings and challenges to their relationship by people like their coworkers, ex-husbands, boyfriends, and children.
Flush with new love, Brenna Lanigan and Cassidy Hyland set out to make a family together. The women struggle with conflicting needs for openness and secrecy. When an evening out together alerts the paparazzi to their relationship, Brenna and Cassidy face a greater threat to their happiness. Mitch, Cassidy’s ex-husband, refuses to allow his son Ryan to be raised by lesbians, and he intends to stop it – by any means necessary.

(begin excerpt) Turn for Home:

A reporter stopped Cassidy on the walk outside requesting “a few minutes.” Taking him at his word, she took him to her trailer steps, sat down, and gave a simple interview. She was spotted half a dozen more times.
Finally she entered her trailer to get a few hours of memorization done. Just near the end, as she heard her stomach rumble suggesting she find some lunch, Cassidy heard a knock at her trailer door. Maybe it would be Brenna, she hoped.
Cassidy definitely wanted to go find something to do together off set. Just not too far away. Maybe some clothes shopping afterwards.
However the visitor introduced himself as Peter Murray with the Virginia Dispatch newspaper.
“Ms. Hyland?” he asked.
“Yes?”
“I’d like to ask you some questions about the series and the final wrap. Do you have a few minutes?”
Hoping it would be only a few minutes, she didn’t invite him inside. Leaning against the railing of her trailer steps she said, “All right.”
He started off simply asking if she had been enjoying the work. She answered by rote until a question came out of the blue.
“Do you have a favorite designer shop in the mall?”
Since she had just been thinking about clothes shopping with Brenna she wondered if she had said something out loud. “Excuse me?” Cassidy gave him her full attention.
“I was picking up a gift for my kids at the mall, and I spotted you at the food court.”
“Me?”
“You are quite recognizable. So is she.”
“She?”
“Lanigan. This is her right?” He held out a small photograph. It had been taken at the food court at the mall when they all were there the day after Christmas. Centered in the frame, she and Brenna leaned over a table, passing out food. “Who are the kids? Yours or hers?”
“The two teens are hers,” she supplied evenly, knowing lying would be stupid. She began thinking of ways to convince him to give up the picture and any ideas to sell it. “The youngest is mine.” She hadn’t even seen a flash go off. Well, she reasoned, I was distracted. At least it wasn’t when they had their heads bent together discussing Thomas and James.
“Ms. Hyland, the general line is the two of you hardly speak. I’d like the scoop if that’s changed.”
“Working hard together creates friendships in the toughest situations, Mr. Murray.” Vaguely she recalled Brenna saying something similar months ago.
“So you were just Christmas shopping together?”
“Yes,” she answered. “Mind if I show her?”
He stepped back. “That’s all I needed,” he said hastily. “Thank you for your time.”
Cassidy watched him leave then feeling a presence, spoke to the shadow off her left shoulder. “I was waiting for the right moment to get the picture,” she said. She did not have to turn to see the hard look Brenna had offered the reporter go slack.
“Picture? All I saw was your face go pale–”
“How can you tell under the makeup?”
“You’re not wearing any, and neither am I.” Brenna’s expression turned tender as her voice became softer, private. “I learned to pay attention. I care.”
“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to snap.” There was silence as their gazes met. Cassidy swallowed. “I was thinking about doing something with you. Now I’m not so sure.”
“Why?”
“I didn’t get the pictures from him.”
“Pictures of…?”
“Us at the mall with the kids.”
“We can explain that easily, right?”
“But how many more are out there?”
“Would it really harm anything to be seen out shopping together? Or dinner?”
“Bren…”
“Why don’t we go out after work? It might be fun. Nothing intimate. Just shopping, a little dinner. Someplace nearby.” Brenna shook her head, her hair in disarray enough around her features when she looked up she had to brush the locks behind an ear to see Cassidy.
“Why don’t we go back to the set, work on some walk throughs and then we’ll call it a day?”
“I’d like that.”
“You need to meet Max,” Brenna said as she took Cassidy’s hand.
“Do I?” Cassidy asked, hoping her jealousy didn’t show in her voice.
“He’s got a wicked sense of humor.”
Cassidy smiled as Brenna’s gaze was all for her. “All right. Let’s go.”

(end excerpt)

3. What age did you discover writing? What is your earliest work about?

I’ve been writing as long as blank paper was put in front of me and I knew what words were. I was a voracious reader as a kid. I didn’t start writing my own stories though until middle and high school. These were all “high fantasy” with magic, gods, and goddesses, and replica tribal/feudal societies. I loved sword and sorcery. I kind of fell out of love with the genre in my late teens and twenties and started writing more romance (though there were romantic components in my fantasy novels). I think I finally turned on the gas and started writing a lot of contemporary or recent historical setting stories in the last ten years. Romance continues to feature heavily, and erotica. Fantasy has been sporadically revisited but nothing has stuck around yet.

4. Who has inspired you as an author?

I can’t say any one author inspired me to write. There are a lot of individual works that I admire, mostly classics from school, but other than a single book of “inspirational quotes” from authors on my bookshelf, I don’t idolize any authors.
There’s no author of whom I’ve said, “I’d really like to have his/her career.” I don’t want to be “the next Johanna Lindsey” or “the next J.D. Robb.” I want to craft my own career, make my own mark however small, or big, it might eventually be. I love the choices I’ve made in my life and I’m quite happy with the path I’m on.
I do like to talk with other writers about writing, methods, inspiration and story crafting. That’s one of the primary reasons I began my radio show “Readings in Lesbian & Bisexual Women’s Fiction.”
But I definitely craft to my own voice. Even when I was writing “fanfiction” I worked hard to have stories that fit the universe in which I was writing, but that didn’t sound like every other story out there. I am very wary of sounding like any other writer. I want to sound like me. Do I occasionally admire an individual writer’s turn of phrase? Of course. I’m a student of the literature I write. I make myself well-informed about what is being written in the genre. Then I strike out on my own and try to put my own voice out there among the others.

5. What’s the most interesting comment you have received about your books?

My favorite comment I get about my books is about how visually they play out for readers, and how they seem to gradually grab hold and there’s this point after which they just can’t put it down. I don’t write action or suspense thrillers, so I really appreciate that a romance, even when you know (or at least expect) it’s going to end up HEA, can make readers anxious enough to be sure that’s really what will happen.
I definitely love when I get email from a reader who picked up the book though they might have not thought it was something they would read, and tell me how much they enjoyed the universal themes.

6. Do you have a specific time or place that you write?

I prefer to write in the mornings. That’s when I’m freshest. For the longest time I didn’t have a desk, then I didn’t have a computer for a long while, so my “place” has had to be extremely flexible. I do need relative quiet, or at least a way to block the “outside” from coming in. Without a door to close I need a way to put up a mental wall with noise that can become “white noise” whether it’s the backdrop conversations/buzz of a cafe, or the drone of a radio playing 80s pop or soft rock. I can also work in absolute silence (though that is hard to come by).
I tend to edit on the contract jobs I do, and do “business side” writing like articles, reviews, and designing promotional flyers, in the afternoon and evenings. I try not to work on more than one fiction project at a time. Short stories however will slip into my afternoon routine sometimes even in the middle of a novel project.

7. What’s next for you?

Currently I am draft writing my third novel, a murder mystery. I had hoped to have the draft finished at the end of 2009, but it wasn’t to be. I’m about one-third of the way at the moment. I’ll be looking for a publisher for it probably by the end of 2010. Somewhere in 2010, I also hope to finish a novella that I’ve been kicking around for a couple years, and a couple short stories for a few anthology calls as the mood strikes. I’d like to meet more of my readers, so I’m trying really hard to schedule in a lot of festivals, conferences, and a few bookstore stops with Turn for Home’s release.

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Wade Rouse, author

Wade Rouse, author

Wade’s Writing Women
copyright Wade Rouse

I have two women to blame for my lot in life: Erma Bombeck and my mother.

Both conspired, it seems, to make me not only a writer but a damn humorist. (And if you think art and books are subjective, try humor.)

As a kid, I used to write about everything going on around me in my tiny Ozarks town: Whether I was forced to go cowtippin’ with the country boys or watch my mom the nurse make dinner in her bloody scrubs, it seemed to be only the only way I could make sense of the world.

For a while when I was young, I called my mom “Digit,” because she became infamous in our little town for being the go-to gal whenever a local cut off a toe with a lawnmower, or whacked off a finger with a chainsaw.

My mother would answer our giant red, rotary phone, the kind presidents use in comedy skits when they are about to launch a nuclear bomb, and calmly say, “Do you have your big toe? Well, can you locate it? Good!”

And then she would rush out of the house, often barefoot, in a nightgown, with a little Igloo cooler filled with ice. She would retrieve the detached digit, and personally rush the injured idiot to the ER of the neighboring hospital where she worked.

She, of course, eventually found my journal entries about her, and ended up – one morning when I was inhaling a bowl of Quisp for breakfast – shoving the daily paper in front of my nose.

“You need to read Erma,” she sighed.
I immediately adored her.

From that point on, I was devoted to Erma Bombeck’s column, “At Wit’s End,” in our small-town newspaper, and even clipped a few of my favorites to adorn my corkboard wall.

Though I was very young, maybe 11 or 12 at the time, Erma connected deeply with me.

She was a humorist and human who made the mundane memorable.

She wrote about family and food, laundry and life.

She wrote about everyday stuff with which I could relate.

For instance, “The Grass Is Always Greener Over the Septic Tank” was funny, yes, like its title, but it was also deeper: Along with daily suburban family issues, Erma tackled diet and self-image in this book.

And for a chubby little gay boy in the middle of nowhere who had a fondness for ascots and dreams of being a writer, I found a role model in a middle-aged mother who seemed to be dealing with just as many self-esteem issues as I was.

Actually, make that two middle-aged mothers.

From that day my mom led me to Erma, I wrote and journaled more earnestly about my life, yet I always tried to do it with humor, just like she did. I found laughter softened the pain, made life seem so much more bearable, even through incredible tragedy.

And that would be a fortuitous lesson. The summer my older brother graduated from high school, he was killed. That was followed in subsequent years by the deaths of my mom’s father and sister.

When my mother seemed no longer able to laugh, to dream, I made it my sole goal to bring her back to life. I read to her from Erma. I read to her from my journals. I held her hand. We became more than mother-son, we became friends.

I vividly remember the New Year’s Day in 2005 when I stood in front of my city mailbox clutching a fistful of query letters after I’d spent two years completing my first memoir, AMERICA’S BOY. It was cold, and I was shivering, but not because of the temperature. I was nearly 40. I hated my job. And my mom was tired, after having lost a son too early, of her only remaining child being unhappy, unfulfilled, not living his dream.

“Here’s to rejection!” I said, waving my query letters.

“Here’s to dreams coming true!” my mom had said.

She forced my hand into the mailbox, made me drop the letters, and then promptly slammed the slot on my fingers.

“Thanks, Digit!” I told my mom. “I’m glad you’re here, so you can save my fingers, or I’d just be all nubs and unable to type the letters H, J, M, N, U or Y, forever knocking words like ‘hominy’ and ‘yum,’ from my vocabulary.”

“This is meant to be,” she said, laughing. “And, I’m retired now anyway. Really, how many times are you ever going to write, ‘I love hominy. Yum!’”

Two weeks later, I had three formal offers of representation from literary agents, and a few months later – when I went to visit my agent for the very first time in New York – I was overwhelmed by what greeted me when I entered her office: Knee-high stacks of manuscripts and packages swallowed the lobby.

“This is what you were picked from,” I was told. “The slush pile.”

But, oddly, that didn’t overwhelm me; it emboldened me. It made me realize that if I – an odd Midwestern boy with zero connections in the publishing and literary world – could get his foot in the door, then anyone with talent, drive, thick skin, and a gut-wrenching desire simply to write, could do the same.

“People are going to read about you now, mom,” I told my mom after I returned from New York. “And some of it’s not pretty.”

“Good!” she told me. “Life isn’t pretty, sweetie. It’s life.
That’s why you better have a damn good sense of humor.”

My mother passed away this June, but only after seeing my current memoir, AT LEAST IN THE CITY SOMEONE WOULD HEAR ME SCREAM, featured on NBC’s Today Show as a Summer Must-Read Selection.

“To dreams!” she had said from her hospital bed. “And laughter.”

Though my mom and Erma are both now gone from my life much too soon, they remain with me: They continue to make me laugh, think, dream, and appreciate the fragility and foibles of people and life.

Because those are things that are most beautiful: The imperfections in each of us.

And that’s what I still try and remember every day, focus on in each and every memoir: I write about everyday life from a unique perspective – with a whopping dose of humor and cynicism – touching upon those themes that touch us all, be it unconditional love, loss, family, sex, relationships, jobs, self-esteem, neuroses, dreams. I believe that the very best books force us to hold a mirror up to our collective faces and take a good long hard look at what’s reflected back.

And that image always looks so much better if we somehow manage to smile, even through all those damn tears.
____________________________________________
WADE ROUSE
Author Bio

Wade Rouse is a “laugh-out-loud-funny” (NBC’s Today Show), “wise, witty and wicked” (USA Today) writer whose humor is “successfully akin to suburban housewife Erma Bombeck” (The Onion). Rouse “beautifully combines humor and pathos” (Out Magazine), and, in a short time has established himself as “an original writer and impressive new voice” (The Washington Post) whose “combination of honest emotion and evocative prose seems destined to be a hit!” (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

Wade Rouse is the author of three, critically-acclaimed memoirs, including America’s Boy (Dutton/2006), Confessions of A Prep School Mommy Handler (Harmony/2007), and At Least in the City Someone Would Hear Me Scream: Misadventures in Search of the Simple Life (Harmony 2009). At Least in the City Someone Would Hear Me Scream chronicles the misadventures of two neurotic urbanites who quit their jobs, and leave the city, cable and consumerism behind in order to move to the Michigan woods and recreate a modern-day Walden. At Least in the City Somone Would Hear Me Scream was an IndieBound bestseller, and named a Summer Must-Read by NBC’s Today Show, Detroit Free-Press, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, St. Petersburg Times, Grand Rapids Press, Out Magazine, MetroSource Magazine, Chicago Magazine, Chicago Public Radio, Michigan Public Radio, St. Louis Magazine, Frontiers Magazine and bestselling memoirist Jen Lancaster’s “Jennsylvania” blog, among others.

Rouse’s writing has been lauded and named to multiple “Best of the Year” lists by such influential media and booksellers as the Today Show, USA Today, The Washington Post, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Detroit Free-Press, Out, Genre, Entertainment Weekly, OK! Weekly, WGN and KMOX Radio, as well as Border’s, Target, B&N, and the nation’s independent booksellers.

Rouse’s first memoir, America’s Boy, which chronicles his life growing up gay in the Ozarks thanks to the unconditional love from an unconventional family, was named by Border’s as one of its Best Books (Literary Memoirs) of 2006 (alongside Gore Vidal, Jonathan Franzen, Gay Talese and Augusten Burroughs), “A Best Book of 2006” by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch as well as a May 2006 BookSense selection by the nation’s independent booksellers. The memoir was also included as part of the American Library Association’s inaugural “Rainbow List” of recommended books for GLBT young readers and their families, and PFLAG has placed “America’s Boy” on its permanent must-read list for families.

His second memoir, Confessions of A Prep School Mommy Handler, about his tenure (and lack of self-esteem) as PR director at an elite prep school where he quickly learns his “real job” is to cater to a Lilly Pulitzer-clad clique of “Mean Mommies,” was selected by both Barnes & Noble and Target as a Breakout Bestseller, and hailed as “Funny!” by Entertainment Weekly.

Rouse was a contributing writer to the humorous essay collection on working in retail, The Customer Is Always Wrong: The Retail Chronicles (Counterpoint-Soft Skull Press/October 2008), which was featured prominently on NPR and in the “Wall Street Journal.” Rouse’s essay on working at Sears after years of wearing Husky’s was selected to kick off the collection.

Rouse is a columnist with MetroSource Magazine (www.metrosource.com), the largest gay magazine in NYC and LA, and his essays and articles have appeared in numerous regional and national magazines, and collections. He earned his B.A. in communications (with honors) from Drury University and his master’s in journalism from Northwestern University.

Rouse’s fourth memoir, Big Box O’ Wine: How I Survived My Family Holidays, from Easter to Thanksgiving, will publish (again from Harmony/Random House) in fall 2010. It is a compilation of tender, torturous and touching tales about his family’s holidays and America’s obsession with picture-perfect holidays. He is working on his next memoir about his mother’s battle with cancer and how they turned to Erma Bombeck, humor and each other throughout life and hardships to forge an even more beautiful relationship. It is tentatively titled, Me, My Mom & Erma: How I Learned to Laugh through Tragedy and Live with Passion from Two Great Women.

Rouse lives on the coast of Michigan, where – in between beach weather and blizzards – he writes humorous, heartbreaking memoirs and battles for bed space with his partner, Gary, and their beloved mutts, Marge (a 12-year-old Husky-Ridgeback-Collie’ish sort of dame) and Mable (a 2-year-old Labradoodle-beagle inbred who looks like an insane bat).

For more, please visit his web site at Wade Rouse

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