Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Leaving for LA!!

That's Los Angeles, California not Louisiana :)  On Thursday, I'm going to be flying all the way across the USA to the west coast for a couple of book signings and to participate in a book festival.  And just like when I flew to Scandinavia for a Baltic Sea cruise back in July, LA is currently having a heat wave!  It was 113 F there on Monday...yikes!  We had temps in the low 90s F when we were in Sweden, which is normally around 75 F that time of year.

Speaking of the weather....I wrote a guest blog about weather and magic for Black Gate Magazine.  My short story, Cursing the Weather is going to be published in the magazine this December.  Here's a link if anyone's interested:

My mini West Coast tour is going to be a blast.  I can't wait to see all my southern California readers again and my friend, Alethea.  Plus my daughter, Jenna and niece, Amy are coming along with me.  I'll have an entourage ;>  I will be busy with events, but I do have some time to sightsee.  I think a tour of Hollywood and some time at the San Diego Zoo are on the schedule.

I know some of you are wondering why I'm going back (I was there in April 2009), when there are states and countries I haven't been to yet.  Well... I was invited to the Orange County Children's Book Festival for their Teen Panel and my publisher is helping to pay for my travel expenses.

If you live nearby and have some time this weekend, I'd love to meet you :)  Also feel free to bring as many of my books that you want signed.  I've had so many readers only give me one and say they didn't want to bother me to sign them all.  It's what I'm there for people!!  If I ever get sick of signing books and meeting readers, I hope someone smacks me upside the head! 

So much for my short post...  Here's my schedule just in case ;>

October 1, 2010 -  Book Signing at Borders in Glendale, California (100 S. Brand Blvd. Glendale, California, 91204, 818-241-8099). 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

October 2, 2010 - Book Signing at Mysterious Galaxy ( book store. (7051 Clairemont Mesa Blvd, Suite 302, San Diego, California, 92111, 858-268-4747) 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

October 3, 2010 - Participating in the Orange County Children's Book Festival ( at the Orange Coast College (2701 Fairview Road, Costa Mesa, California, 92626) 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. I will be on the teen stage for a presentation at 11:30 a.m. and will be signing books right afterwards. It's FREE with FREE Parking - you can't beat that price :) 

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Personal Demons

Welcome to my very first author interview and give away on my new blog!  Cue music!

PERSONAL DEMONS is Lisa Desrochers debut young adult novel. It was released in mid-September and already getting buzz.  I read her book back in the Spring and give it this blurb: “Fun and entertaining . . . the fight for Frannie’s soul isn’t going to be easy, and the excitement doesn’t stop. Good versus evil shouldn’t be this much fun, but it is! A hot debut.”   Uh... I tend to be wordy with my blurbs...

Leave a comment and/or ask Lisa a question by Monday, October 4th if you'd like to win a signed copy of PERSONAL DEMONS.  I'll chose one winner using  I also have the good luck to be meeting Lisa in person next Sunday where we will both be on October 3rd over at the Orange County Children's Book Festival ( We will be at the Teen stage. 

Here's the official cover copy:
Frannie Cavanaugh is a good Catholic girl with a wicked streak. She's spent years keeping everyone at a distance--even her closest friends--and it seems her senior year will be more of the same...until Luc Cain enrolls in her class. No one knows where he came from, but Frannie can't seem to stay away from him. What she doesn't know is that Luc works in Acquisitions--for Hell--and she possesses a unique skill set that has the king of Hell tingling with anticipation. All Luc has to do is get her to sin, and he's as tempting as they come. Frannie doesn't stand a chance.

Unfortunately for Luc, Heaven has other plans, and the angel, Gabe, is going to do whatever it takes to make sure that Luc doesn't get what he came for. And it isn't long before they find themselves fighting for more than just her soul. But if Luc fails, there will be Hell to pay...for all of them.

And now on to the interview:
1.) Why this book? What made you want to write this story?

Honestly, I didn’t have much choice. Luc’s name (Lucifer Cain) popped into my head one day and I thought to myself, what a fun name for a demon. He and Frannie started having conversations in my head. I had two choices: write them down or go totally insane. I opted for the first.

2.) Which authors inspire you? Has that changed over time?

I have some core favorites, but I’m always finding new ones. Melissa Marr recently said on her fan site that Luc reminded her of Irial (from Ink Exchange), which makes sense, I suppose, because she’s always been my biggest inspiration.

3.) Why fantasy? Is there something special about fantasy that draws you to write in the field?

Personal Demons was my first crack at writing urban fantasy. I really enjoyed it. I found it really liberating to be able to explore options that aren’t possible in the real world. In fantasy, there’s a real sense that anything can happen.

4.) What do you find most interesting about Frannie and Luc?

The double entendre title refers to Frannie’s own personal demons, as well as the demon who’s trying to get personal. (That would be Luc, in case you didn’t catch that.) She’s experienced some pretty hard knocks in her young life—the death of her twin brother among the hardest. Because of this, she lives within carefully constructed walls to keep anyone from getting too close. It was interesting to be in her head to get her reaction when Luc started to break through those walls.

One of the things that makes Personal Demons different is that we get the opportunity to hear Luc’s side of the story from his first-person POV. Because we’re in his head, we’re in on his inner dialogue as he muses about things from the unique perspective of a demon. He’s lived a dual life, moving between two worlds, so his perspective is going to reflect that. Through the course of the book, we also get to see how Frannie messes with that perspective as he struggles to define feelings he’s never experienced before.

5.) What else do you enjoy doing besides writing? Interests? Hobbies?

With a day job, a night job, and a weekend job I’m a little short on free time. I enjoy being outdoors and we live very close to Yosemite, so we do some hiking. Other than that, I spend time with my oldest daughter and her horse, and watch my youngest play volleyball. And read, of course.

6.) Did you have to do any special research for this book? What did you learn that you didn't know before?

I did some research for Personal Demons. As the trilogy progresses it dives deeper into angel/demon lore. I find cultural differences surrounding some of our common lore very interesting. The beauty of writing fiction, however, is that you can make up your own lore. A lot of Luc’s history comes from putting a different spin on things I’ve read. Such as his origin. When Luc’s name popped into my head, I started researching the biblical story of Cain and Abel. I found an on-line article that kept using the phrase “creatures of sin,” and it occurred to me that, in my fictional Hell, there could be actual creatures of sin. Luc was never human. He was borne in Hell from sin. He’s a true Creature of Pride.

7.) How did you become a writer? Is this what you saw yourself growing up to be? Or did it take you by surprise?

Surprise would be an understatement. Up until two years ago, the only thing of any length I’d written was my doctoral dissertation. Suffice it to say that ripping my toenails out one by one would have been a more pleasant experience. I didn’t have the slightest desire to write. But, sometimes the universe has other ideas. Along came my daughter, who is an insane reader. (read each Twilight book in a day) I don’t really understand how it happened—a brain aneurysm maybe—but I got the crazy notion to write her a book for her birthday last year. And I did. Without telling a soul, I wrote her a 100K word thriller. She loved it and I caught the bug.

8.) Do you have a writing routine? Talk process for a moment, how do the words get on the page?

I really don’t have much of a routine. My characters have conversations and I write them down. It’s a great system except for when they decide to have those conversations when I’m in the shower or trying to sleep.

9.) Office? Closet? Corner of the living room? Do you have a set place to write? A favorite?

I have my spot. It’s like hallowed ground. Okay, really it’s a loveseat in my family room. I’ve got all my references stacked at one end with just enough room left at the other end for me. (A stack of references sounds better than a “mound-o-crap,” which is what it really is.) My TBR pile is also stacked there for easy access when I need a break from writing. It’s big.

10.) What are you writing now? What's coming out next?

Original Sin, the sequel to Personal Demons, is finished and I’m working on the last book in the trilogy, Hellbent. I don’t write with an outline, and I have to say, Hellbent has taken some twists I never saw coming. I’m a little nervous about it.

Links for Lisa:

Amazon Link: 

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Back to School!

I'm heading back to my old Alma mater tomorrow.  I'm doing a really fun event at Penn State University's Abington Campus in Abington (close to Philadelphia - my old stomping grounds) in the evening.  I spent two years there before heading up to the main campus.  It was called the Ogontz campus then. 

During my two years there, I drove to school in a bright orange Oldsmobile Starfire - the car weighed a ton and got like 6 miles to the gallon.  Plus there was a dent from the previous owner (my Aunt, who gave me the car so I really can't The dent was patched up and covered with red primer (the plan had been to re-paint the car a more subdued red - my favorite color - it never happened).  Even the wheels were orange! 

I was always late for my early morning classes (no surprise - I'm not a morning person) and the only parking I could find was far away and way downhill from the Sutherland Building, which didn't have an elevator we could use - so add four flights of stairs onto the hike.  I didn't realize what great shape I was in at the end of the semester, until my mother came with me and she puffed just to get to the building :)

I made a bunch of friends my first year, but they were all sophomores and all left me the next year for main campus!  One of the downsides of being at a branch campus. The second year I found a couple of fellow weather majors and that helped.  The biggest upside of a branch campus is making friends before going to the mega-huge alien campus so you at least start out knowing a few people.  I was reunited with my first year buddies - we all stayed in Runkle Halls together.

Here's an embarrassing story - when I started at the campus, I had to take a basic writing class (English 004) because on my pre-admittance English test, I had gotten less than 20 questions right out of 100!  The questions where, "here are 4 sentences, which sentence is not grammatically correct."  I still struggle with grammar and spelling. I'm proud to say  I earned a B in that class and in my English Rhetoric & Composition class - (although I got a C in technical writing - which makes sense...right? Since I'm better at fiction.... Right?).

Fond memories:
  • Taking Skiing as a physical ed elective - getting credit to ski once a week - it doesn't get any better than that!
  • Avoiding the cafeteria and buying Lee's Hoagies (a.k.a. submarine sandwiches, subs, etc...)  these were loaded with meat, delicious, and cheap.
  • Doing Physics homework as a group with our friend, Gene, Gene, the Physics Machine explaining the concepts far better than our teacher.
  • Physics lab with that same teacher - where we all sat around and discussed how realistic the latest episode of MacGyver  was (true - I swear!  watching MacGyver became homework).
If you're still with me after this long...boring?, I'd love for you to share some of your favorite memories from college (or high school).

And if you'd like info on my event tomorrow, here are some links (one is an article about me :)):

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Fans, Friendship and Fun

Today I'm a guest blogger over at Harlequin's Paranormal Romance blog.  I don't really consider my books romance per say, but they have romantic elements for sure!  I've blogged about how my prison tour affected my story line in SPY GLASS.  And although I hardly use the term "fan" as I prefer "readers" it matched the other two words :)  Guess I could have called it Readers, Romance and....??  Anyone?

Anyway, here's the link:

And for those who missed the chat last night - it was fun and I was glad there were lots of people there despite my late notice (I really do need an assistant living in my house :)  The chat is still available to view on Eve's Fan Garden and I'll be answering the questions we didn't get to last night and those will be posted as well.  Here's the link:  You have to click on the "here" in the last sentence, "You can find the chat here." next to my picture.  The chat will replay after a commerical.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Live Chat Tonight! 9-21 @ 8 pm Eastern

I realize this is very late notice.  I'm having a hard time keeping up with all the promotion I'm doing for SPY GLASS.

But if you have some time, tonight at 8:00 p.m. Eastern time, I'm doing a live chat to talk about SPY GLASS and writing in general over at Eve's Fan Garden.  We're giving away two signed copies of SPY GLASS and a handful of signed bookmarks to those who attend the event.

Here's the link:

And before I forget - I'm doing a guest blog about SPY GLASS over at Harlequin's Paranormal Romance Blog tomorrow - September 22.  Here's the link for that one: 

Friday, September 17, 2010

Opal's Interview

Opal's interview is up on Bitten by Books and the comments are already rolling in :)  If you'd like a chance to win one of 10 signed copies of SPY GLASS go here: 

And if you'd like another chance to win, I did an interview over at The Authoress.  Here's the link: 

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Remembering Kiki

I'm very sad to announce the real Kiki passed away last week :(  Her owner/mother, Susan Kraykowski (Suekray from the Sandseed Clan) emailed me earlier this week and let me know.

Here's part of her email: Kiki passed away suddenly, late on Thursday afternoon (9-9-10). We think she had a massive heart attack or a stroke. Deb and Pete told me she had been fine all day and ate her dinner as usual (you always know a horse is unhappy about something if it doesn't eat). Her latest vet call was OK, too...except for the usual elderly horse gimpiness. Her coat was shiny, her weight was good and she was still active and interested in life despite almost 30 years of age (which is quite a respectable age for any horse). I am grateful it was quick and that she did not suffer through a long, painful illness. Tell your readers and Kiki's fans that we'll all meet up at the Rainbow Bridge one day!

Here's Kiki's official name: McDonald's Highland Love
She was a Five-gaited American Saddlebred Mare (16.1 hands high)
April 2, 1981 - September 9, 2010

Kiki earned her nickname from Susan's niece who called the large horse a Kitty, but since she couldn't quite pronounce Kitty - she said Kiki and the name stuck.

She was the first horse I rode, my favorite horse and my inspiration...She'll be dearly missed!  But she will live on in Sitia and Ixia with Yelena, sharing her adventures and misadventures :)

Kiki enjoying retirement at Crazy Woman Farm, NC

Susan riding Kiki with her Boxer, Chaunsey at Justamere Farm in PA

Monday, September 13, 2010

Ask Opal (i.e. Help!!)

I'm doing an event for Bitten By Books on Friday - and it's a Q&A with Opal plus I'm giving away 10 signed copies of SPY GLASS!

I need help thinking of questions for Opal. So if you have a question or two you'd like to ask her, now's the time! Please post it here and I'll post her answers over on the bitten by books website (I'll post a link here), and I'll be answering questions all day on Friday as well - should be fun :)

Thanks in advance for any help!!! *insert hugs here*

Friday, September 10, 2010

Capture the Flag in 2010

This past weekend was a combination of fun family activities and much needed yard work.  We had something to do every day.  One of the activities was a BBQ at my sister's house.  There were a bunch of teens and young adults and once the sun went down they decided to make two teams and play capture the flag.  Normally I would have joined them, but being sore from spreading wheelbarrows full of mulch...I was more content to watch. 

It started like any other game, but soon I realized these weren't the kids of my day or even of a few years ago.  No.  When my daughter was stuck in "jail" instead of calling out for rescue, she texted her teammate with her cell phone.  When they searched for the opponets' flag, they used the light from their cell phones to search. I had to laugh - they were still running around, laughing and getting skinned knees and elbows, and a few more scratches on their cell phones.  

A few years ago, I probably would have been annoyed by the texting.  But since getting a texting phone and unlimited texts (more for my teens), I'm understanding the appeal of texting.  It's a short/quick way to communicate without bothering people around you - handy when in noisy situations like a football game.  Of course - I would never text and drive - I can't even walk and text!  But this example reminds me to keep an open mind and give new things a try before I dismiss them out of hand!

Now for a change of subject!  Links to a few reviews and a Poll for best book cover for September 2010 over at Bitten By Books - SPY GLASS is listed so if you'd like to vote I provided a link below:

Poll (ends September 12th):

Bitten By Books SPY GLASS review:

Night Owl Reviews TOP PICK! (caution a spoiler in this review!):

And SPY GLASS was chosen to be a Fresh Pick at Fresh Fiction!  On September 12th, the book's cover will be all over their site.  Check it out here:

Sunday, September 5, 2010

More Links

It is that time of the year - not the start of school (although that's a very good time of year for me ;) but the time when I'm promoting a new book.  So instead of getting a blog about how I went to Hersheypark with the kids on Friday and spent all day today spreading mulch, you get links to interviews and contests and reviews.  Fun stuff right?  Right??  Well, better than hearing about spreading mulch anyway.

I also wrote a number of guest blogs that will be coming up in September so I'll make sure to posts links for those as well.  And I do have a couple of Author interviews of my own to post as well.

Here are the links:
An interview over at Bookyurt: 

An interview and give away of a signed copy of SPY GLASS: 

An interview and contest give away of a signed copy of SPY GLASS:

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Quick Link

Just thought you might be interested in a guest blog I did over at Reading Rocks 4 me.  It's about why I chose certain names in my Study and Glass books. And there is a great review of SPY GLASS as well that was posted the day before!

Here's the link: