"Gabrielle Holly spins her stories in a way that will take you on an emotional rollercoaster you'll never forget!"
~Paranormal Romance Junkies

Monday, September 30, 2013

Getting Personal With Author Maggie Mitchell

This week we’re Getting Personal With Author Maggie Mitchell. Maggie talks about the writing life and shares an excerpt from “Chasing Terpsichore” – her fantastic new novel about a Greek goddess who finds herself in modern times.

About Maggie Mitchell
Maggie Mitchell lives in her dream place by the sea. Of course, sometimes she even gets the dreams written down in a story. Lucky for her she has a musician for a husband who understands the creative spirit.
In her other life she teaches undergraduate university nursing students and designs eLearning courses for health organisations. Most days you’ll find her out on her balcony enjoying a glass of Moscato or a cappuccino made on her beloved espresso machine.

Connect with Maggie

And now, let’s get personal with author Maggie Mitchell!

What’s the best part of being a writer?
Being able to tell my stories. I love the process of moulding an idea into a fully developed story.

What’s the most challenging part of being a writer?
Getting enough time to do it!

What is your writing process?
I do a rough outline in the form of a long synopsis, plus I do character summaries. Then it’s a matter of getting the story down. I’m getting more organised these days and I’ve joined a few online support groups where we do timed writing sprints in a chat room. It’s made a huge difference to my word count. I love those guys!

Where do you write?
I don’t have an office at the moment, so most days I write in my living area. We have an open plan with kitchen, dining and lounge all together. Plus we have an amazing view, so I am inspired every time I look up from my screen.

What are you working on now?
Book 2 in my Muses across Time series.  This one is Calling Calliope. I’ve been a bit slower finishing because I broke my arm but it should be done very, very soon!

What’s your ‘guilty pleasure’?
At the moment I’m having a Mad Men marathon. Who doesn’t love Don Draper?

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
When I’m not writing, I’m down at the beach having a delicious cappuccino and enjoying the view.

Thanks for stopping by, Maggie! I know our pals will love the following excerpt from “Chasing Terpsichore” - Book 1 in the Muses Across Time series.

About “Chasing Terpsichore” Book 1, Muses Across Time

When a goddess lands in modern times there’s bound to be trouble.

Banished from her home in Olympus and trapped in modern day Australia, Terpsichore does her best to fit in, but when she is mistaken for a prostitute she needs the services of straight- laced solicitor James Barrington to help.

James Barrington is a man on a fast track to a stellar legal career. Being involved with a pole dancing tango teacher is not part of the plan.

Together they fight a Titan rebel and a journey through the Underworld but can they find each other on the way?


Oh, it feels so good!
It never failed to move her. The thrill she experienced every time she danced here at The Cave, Sydney’s premier dance club. She didn’t do it very often, but she loved it. It was the closest Corey got to the feeling of being home at Pieria, near Mount Olympus. Who would have thought that Terpsichore, the Muse of Dance, would be pole dancing in a   fancy discotheque in Sydney? Certainly not Corey herself, although she had wished for the power to travel to other dimensions—little did had she known that one day she would be doing just that.   Except she had no idea how Hera had sent her here, and or, more to the point, —how to get home.  
Oh the irony. Once she’d looked down on those who served her but now she was one of the ones who served. Wouldn’t her family be shocked to know she worked for money, and, worse than that, she was a tango teaching pole dancer!
She giggled as she pictured the scene in her father’s court.   Zeus had a pretty strong opinion on manual labour and working for payment—especially his progeny.   Gods and goddesses should be served, not the other way around. He’d probably lock her up for a month if he found out—or worse. If I ever found find my way back home to Olympus, that is.
No point in worrying about that right now, she thought as she took another ankle spin around the pole. She jumped when someone’s hand reached up from below her platform and grabbed her ankle through the bars of the cage. She scanned the crowd and found the culprit. A randy, twenty-something guy with a stupid grin was attempting to slide his palm higher up her calf.
Oh no you don’t!
She lifted her foot in an attempt to shake him off, but he dug in his fingers and gripped harder. Great. Just great. Even though The Cave was more of a retro sixties club, occasionally some over-enthusiastic patron hoped for a bit more of a show—just her luck to have one of those idiots zero in on her tonight. Her irritation increased when her second attempt to dislodge him failed and his sweaty skin sent shivers of revulsion through her. A pounding started inside her head and her eyes flashed fire and light, aiming directly at her captive‘s offending body part
Holy crap. Did she just send a fireball at that boy? Her powers must finally be coming back.
But this probably wasn’t the time to rejoice since she prayed to the gods that she hadn’t hurt him. Annoying thing that he was, he was still an innocent mortal. Even as she’d thought it, she marvelled at how she’d changed. Back home she wouldn’t have given it a second thought.
Amazing what living with mortals can do for you.
The young man released her leg instantly, as he fell down to the floor below. “Ow! What the f—?” He waved his hand back and forth, blowing on his fingers before dunking them in his glass of beer.
“She burned me, the bitch!”
One of his mates laughed and slapped him on the back. “How could she burn you, dude? All you did was touch her leg. She didn’t even move.”
He pulled his hand out of the glass and inspected it. Corey leaned over the cage to get a look. Nothing. No marks, no blisters, no redness and now, apparently, no pain.
“Shit, this is just too weird,“ said the boy. “Let’s get the hell out of here. I’ve had enough of this place.”
Relieved to find that she hadn‘t accidentally caused the boy harm, Corey watched the group leave and sighed. She’d either have to give up the pole-dancing gig, or have her cage elevated higher. She loved being at The Cave but she’d only agreed to dance here if she could be out of reach of the patrons. As much as she enjoyed the dancing, she didn‘t want to be so close to the audience. Having strangers try to touch her wasn‘t something she was willing to put up with. She shuddered to think of what might have happened if that incident had happened at home. If that young man had even touched her with a whisker in her homeland, her father would have executed him for daring to lay a finger on one of his offspring.
She hadn’t meant the young man any harm, but she hadn’t known her powers would decide to come back at that moment. Normally the mortal Corey wouldn‘t have lost her temper, but she‘d had a particularly crappy day so far. Her students had been extra trying and today would probably set a new world record for having her foot stamped on.
However, when she thought about it, of all the things she missed about home, she didn’t miss the brutal consequences. In fact life here among the mortals in Australia was actually pretty darn good. She danced away her days teaching at Terpsichore’s Tango school, and a couple of nights a month she indulged herself with pole dancing at The Cave.
Of course, her friends didn’t know about her real identity. She wasn’t stupid. They’d lock her away if she ever mentioned it. Not for one minute would they believe that she was Terpsichore, the muse of dance, goddess, and daughter of Zeus. Heck, from what she’d learned about society here in Sydney, she wouldn’t believe her either. To them she was just Corey, a dance teacher, and that’s the way she wanted it to stay. Apart from her penchant for having fun, she was through with being the centre of attention, so being a slightly quirky dance teacher who was accepted at face value was just fine with her.
She stopped dancing, giggling to herself as she thought about it. So maybe her friends thought of her as more than just a tad eccentric. More to the point, they probably thought she was a lot eccentric.   She shrugged. It didn’t really matter anymore. Here she could get away with it. So what if her clothes always made a fashion statement and she liked to have fun as often as she could? So she thought sleeping was overrated?   She didn’t know how long she was going to be here so there was little time to get bogged down with seriousness when there was some fun to be had.
But it wasn’t all about the fun. There was something else about her that her friends didn’t know. This was probably the most surprising change she’d made since she’d arrived in this time.   She’d started teaching underprivileged kids from the community centre and for the first time in her life she knew the joy of doing something for others and not expecting anything back. Who knew? She actually felt pretty darn good about it and if that made her eccentric, then so be it.
As her sister Calliope was always saying, one never knows what was around the corner, and Corey was living proof of that. One minute she was had been at home with her family and poof, she was trapped here in another time, another place and another dimension.
Hera had a lot to answer for, but Corey had to admit that she’d learned a lot about herself since she’d been here. When and if she did return home, her family would find her changed, and she sure as heck was going to show them just how much she’d missed them.
After unlocking her cage from the inside, Corey threw out the rope ladder and climbed down to the back of the platform. Her lungs closed in on her from the smoke haze as she reached the bottom rung. She’d had enough for tonight. Using her powers on that kid had surprised the heck out of her. She’d forgotten what it felt like and she wasn‘t sure she even liked it now.   At least he didn’t seem to be any worse the wear for the experience. It was a solid reminder to her that she really needed to be less conspicuous. Being a goddess meant she had a perfect body shape that many men liked looking at and women seemed to envy. From now on she’d have to tone down her looks, especially if her powers were coming back. She didn’t need another accidental zap happening. Her powers did seem a bit rusty and she needed to take things slowly while she figured out how she could use them to get back home.
She snuck out of the back door and made her way down the dark alley towards her car. She rested her body against the wall in the lane way, and leant forward to take off her high heels so she could rub her aching feet. The sound of a police siren startled her as she slipped the shoes back on and peered out of the alleyway to see what was happening at the front of the club.
Oh crap, it’s a raid. So much for staying inconspicuous.
Ducking back into the alley she prayed to the gods that the police hadn’t seen her. All she wanted to do was go home. When the ruckus calmed down, she decided to take her chances and took a step outside. When she was almost to the end of the block and in sight of her car, she breathed a sigh of relief.
She felt a hand on her shoulder, scaring the bejeezus out of her.
She turned her head to find a cop stopping her from moving, accompanied by that kid from the bar.
 “That’s her, officer. She’s the one,” said the kid, smirking at her as he took a step forward.
She opened her mouth as the surprise set in. “What the heck are you talking about?”
The cop looked from the young man to Corey, taking his time, his eyes moving up and down her smutty attire.
Oh great. The one time I don’t take the time to change into my street clothes and this happens. “Look, officer, I can explain—”
The kid grabbed on to the cop’s arm. “Who are you going to believe, the word of a hooker or the son of a prominent judge?”
This kid was beginning to annoy her big time.
The cop lifted his eyebrows and sighed. “I’m sorry, miss, but soliciting to a minor is an offence. I’ll have to take you in and charge you.”
“What? I didn’t solicit anyone. I was only dancing. I didn’t even speak to him—hang on, did you say minor? Then what was he doing in The Cave in the first place?”
The kid smirked again. She was really beginning to dislike this spoilt brat.
“I wasn’t in any club,” he said, poking his tongue out at her while the cop wasn’t looking. “You propositioned me here in the alley, bitch!”
The policeman stepped between the two of them as Corey tried to move closer to her accuser. As she restrained herself from an overwhelming urge to zap him again, the boy must have picked up on her train of thought and retreated. “Careful, officer,” he said as he stepped backwards.   “She burns.”
“That’s enough, kid,” said the cop as he placed a small notebook in his shirt pocket. “I have your details, now move on. Show’s over. I’ll take it from here.” The cop took her arm, gesturing for her to place her hands behind her back before he attached plastic restraints to her wrists. He then ushered her towards a police car that conveniently waited on the corner, pushing her into the back seat with his hand firmly on her head.
Oh my goddess, they really do that. Just like in the movies.
Shuffling forward in the seat as well as she could with her hands tied, she leaned towards the front seat where the cop was now sitting. “Officer, you can’t arrest me. I didn’t do anything except dance.”
The cop started the car and angled his head to check his mirrors. “You’ll get your chance to talk when we get to the station,” he said as he put the car into gear and drove away from the kerb. “In the mean time, keep your trap shut. I’ve got a real humdinger of a headache and I get really nasty when I don’t get my peace and quiet.”
“Am I really under arrest then?”
At the corner of the lane as the car slowed to a stop, the cop turned his head and nodded towards her cuffed hands. “Well, duh.”
 She twisted her wrists back and forth under the cuffs. “But you didn’t read me my rights.”
“You watch too much television, woman. This isn’t the US of A. It’s Sydney, Australia, and we don’t have any of those fancy Miranda rights here, but if it makes you any happier, you’re under arrest, and anything you say may be used against you, so shut the hell up.”
Oh lucky me. A surly comedian. This just gets better and better.

Like what you've read so far? Find out what happens next!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

What If? ... Ask the Question. Write the Answer.

I try not to spend too much time looking in the rear-view mirror. It's far too easy to beat ourselves up over should-haves, could-haves, would-haves. Who among us hasn't wondered how things might have been different, if only...?

That said, my job is to ask, "What if?"

What if? Is the basis for every book I've ever written:

I'd already sold Dressed for Success and Mr. Fix It and was trying to figure out my next move when I found a coffee-stained note tacked to the bulletin board over my desk. 
It had been hanging there amid a jumble of  other random jottings, newspaper clippings, and images torn from magazines... for nearly EIGHT years.

That germ of an idea became "Soldier of Love" and was picked up by London publisher, Total-e-Bound. The editor liked it so well, she asked if I thought I could build a series around the main character - smart-mouthed, reluctant psychic medium, Toni Bianchi.

I could. And I did.

Writing about Toni, her ghosts, and the members of the television ghost-hunting show Paranormal Research Team, was a wonderful experience. 

The three books in the Ghost Encounters series were born of a single random musing jotted on an old, coffee-stained slip of paper.

I'm incredibly grateful that I'd kept the ragged little note that posed such a weird "What if?" Pondering that question changed everything. 

The moral of the story? Ask "What if?" then have the guts to answer the question.

Happy Writing -- and Reading -- Darlings!


Monday, September 23, 2013

Getting Personal With Author Ninette Swann

This week we’re Getting Personal With Author Ninette Swann. Ninette stopped by to talk about the writing life and share an excerpt from her action-packed contemporary romance “Memphis Nights.”

About Ninette Swann
When not writing her next romance, Ninette Swann spends her days rock-climbing and taming wild horses. Or not. You decide. Or ask her about it at ninette.swann@gmail.com.

She lives with her amazing husband and children in Florida…not to be confused with Miami, unfortunately.

Ninette loves to talk to her readers and can be found at
http://ninetteswann.com or @ninetteswann on Twitter.  

Connect with Ninette

And now, let’s get personal with author Ninette Swann!

What’s the best part of being a writer?
The best part about being a writer, for me, is that it's fun. I can write anything I want (and I often do) from feminist screeds, to parenting essays, to romance novels, to literary works. Once I'm sitting at the keyboard, I am powerful. I can get a message across. And I love that. Freelancing also allows me to be my own boss, and I'm the best boss I ever had.

What’s the most challenging part of being a writer?
Not being heard. People (especially beginning writers) expect to write something and have people see it, and that's just not the case. The hardest work in writing is promoting that writing, getting it out there. You have to find the audience it's meant for, and you have to get the work to them without seeming like you're selling something or coming across as any of the following: smug, annoying, unsure of yourself, a know-it-all, ignorant, boring, pushy, and many other things. Getting just the right touch in promotions is the hardest part of writing for me.

What’s the most challenging part of writing erotic romance?
The sex scenes. According to reviews, I'm good at them, but I'm a plot and character based writer, and detailing sex scenes always seems to get in the way for me, dragging the storyline down. Thankfully the readers don't think so.

What is your writing process?
All I do is write. I put it on my to-do list and attempt to get a few projects worked on a day. Since the fall semester started (I'm in grad school), I've been unable to be very productive. However, over the summer I managed to publish numerous places. I do well with deadlines, too. For my last book (Direct Contact, which people seem to like the best of my books) I wrote the last 17,000 words in three days.

Where do you write?
I have a little office nook in my living room I usually use. I used to do it at Starbucks, but I haven't had time to get down there and get settled lately. Right now, I write a few sentences, then am called away to real life, then write a few more sentences, then real life, etc. It's not an easy route, but I'm making it work.

What are you working on now?
In terms of romance, I have a m/m holiday book I'm writing, and I'm reworking a ménage spy thriller I wrote a few years ago, trying to get it into a bigger market.

What is your most current release and what is it about?
The book that just released, Memphis Nights, is about a bounty hunter who lost both her parents at a really young age. She's attempting to scope out a possible jumper when she realizes the man is abusing one of her acquaintances and things get personal. Along the way, she reluctantly joins forces with a cop (she hates the police), and they end up working together to keep her friend safe from the antagonist. It's a fast-paced, cute read, if I do say so myself.


We're so glad you stopped by, Ninette! I love a smart, strong, sexy heroine and Aster Dunn is all those things! Thanks for sharing this great excerpt from “Memphis Nights”


Sweat inched its way down Aster’s back as she crouched behind a pile of half-empty crates in an alley just west of the train tracks. She knew her target would be coming out of the back door of the seedy bar any minute now. If she could just stay still under the hot August sun, she’d have a chance at surprising him as he made his way to that train.
In her business, surprise was all she had. That and the street-fighting skills she had honed over the past six years after a fugitive from the law had shot her father in front of her teenage eyes right in their own backyard. He’d found them all the way out in the sticks where her dad had been on the police force before striking off on his own after her mother had died at the hands of a convict. She shivered in spite of the heat, the memories running over her like a cold wave of water, just as her feelings at the time had rendered her mute and unable to think or move.
Her neighbors had heard the shot and called the law enforcement, though. After that it had been a whirlwind of identification, lineups, trials. Most kids got to wait until they’d graduated high school to become an adult. Aster was on her own at only fifteen.
But she was no longer that child. Now, at twenty-one, and with no formal schooling after dropping out of high school, she had worked her way up the chain as one of Tennessee’s most feared bounty hunters. She worked alone. She took no precautions. Life meant nothing to her, which was what made her so dangerous. That and her childlike looks—big brown eyes, plump cheeks and a choppy, short haircut made her look more as if she were meant for an overcrowded coffee shop than the hot, dark streets of Memphis. She stood out a bit in Collierville, but visited the city enough so that she didn’t feel too out of place. Hell, most of her catches came from there. Even in a town with forty thousand residents, she found more action in Memphis, a half hour northwest.
Still, this little nightclub seemed to be a melting pot for thugs who couldn’t quite make it in a bigger, faster-paced location. Collierville’s own little crime-fest. Aster ran her hand over the top of her thigh under her mini skirt, checking to make sure her knife was in place. Bill McCrane might not be the man who shot her father, but to Aster, they were all the same. All ruthless, immoral killers who deserved whatever she could dish out before she returned them to the law.
Her cropped locks fell over her forehead as she repositioned her legs, praying they wouldn’t fall asleep. Just a few more moments now. She brushed her hair back with annoyance, and McCrane chose that instant to burst out of the doorway.
“Fuck you, man,” he shouted in a belligerent tone to someone standing just inside. Whomever he was yelling at was out of sight. “I didn’t need that fifth drink anyway. I’ve got a damn train to catch.”
She smiled to herself. The drunken ones were always the easiest. McCrane plodded toward her, his sloppy flannel shirt falling off one shoulder as he tottered a bit. She considered jumping him and making it quick, but her thirst for revenge called to her. Her fifteen-year-old self still craved justice.
She remembered the criminal’s steely look as the smoking gun swung toward her. “You’re next, sweetheart,” he had said, but something had spooked him before he got that shot off, and he’d run.
These days, Aster loved to knock an asshole down after playing damsel in distress. She had a feeling McCrane would bend over her fallen frame and stick his ugly mug right in her face. A swift kick, an arm-wrench flip from there, and she’d have her man.
McCrane was ten paces away now, and Aster didn’t have much time. She thrust her legs out from under her and let out a loud, feminine groan—the kind that said “I’m completely helpless” without saying a word.
Just as she suspected, the lout quickened his steps and was breathing whiskey in her face before she could even issue her follow-up whimper.
She opened her eyes as wide as she could.
“Please, mister,” she whispered, “I think I’ve broken my ankle. Can you help me?”


Like what you’ve read so far? Find out what happens next. Buy “Memphis Nights” today from Resplendence Publishing.