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Thursday, April 29, 2010

Thursday Recipe - Butter Toffee

I said I would, so here it is - butter toffee. Crunchy and sweet with just a hint of salt, you decide what you want on top. I prefer mine with semisweet chocolate and no nuts. This is a candy so it cooks very hot. Not a recipe suitable for children to help. It can be a bit tricky to get it right, but the result is well worth the effort. Candy is surprisingly easy to make. A good candy thermometer can really help until you get a feel for the different stages of boiling sugar mixes.

Butter Toffee

1 c. butter
1 c. sugar
2 T. water
1 t. vanilla
1 c. semisweet chocolate chips
1 c. chopped nuts, optional

Butter or spray a large baking pan. I just use a heavy cookie sheet. Melt butter over low heat in 2 qt heavy-bottom saucepan. Add sugar and water, bring to a boil over medium high heat, stirring often. Cook and stir to soft crack stage, about 300 degrees. (Drop a tiny amount into a bowl of ice water. It should form brittle strands when it hits the water. If it's still chewy, not hard and cracking, cook it longer.) This will take about 15 minutes, keep stirring the whole time. The mixture will turn medium brown. This is the critical point. It will burn very quickly so watch it closely. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Pour onto the prepared cookie sheet. Tilt it back and forth to get the toffee to spread if you want it thinner. Let it cool for about 5 minutes. Sprinkle with chocolate chips. Wait another five minutes. Spread chocolate to cover top of toffee. Sprinkle with chopped nuts if desired. Set the whole pan aside until candy is cool and chocolate is set. Pry candy off sheet; if you buttered it enough, it won't stick but you will have to break a little bit of suction. Break candy into bite-size pieces. Store in a loosely covered container, if you have any left over. Makes about 1 pound of toffee.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Author Interview - Michael Angley

Today, I welcome Michael Angley, author of the Child-Finder Trilogy, to my blog.

As a retired Air Force officer, what made you decide to write novels following your first career?
“I’ve always loved to write, but I postponed my long-term goals while I pursued my Air Force career.  In hindsight, I think that was a good thing because it allowed me to focus on my writing with the precision it needed.  I retired as a Colonel having spent 25 years as a Special Agent with the Air Force Office of Special Investigations, or OSI for short.  The OSI is the Air Force version of NCIS, so I had plenty of rich experiences to inspire my writing, from running felony-level criminal investigations, as well as counterintelligence and counterterrorism operations around the world.  In my last assignment, I was the Commander of OSI Region 8, at Air Force Space Command.  I like to tell people, ‘If it entered or exited Earth’s atmosphere, then I had a dog in the fight!’”

What is the Child Finder Trilogy about?

“The trilogy is a mystery/suspense series with paranormal and religious edges.  It features a protagonist, Air Force Special Agent Patrick S. O’Donnell, who is as tough as 24’s Jack Bauer, but with the endearing, family-values heart of 7th Heaven’s Eric Camden.  He’s an early-thirties Air Force Major assigned to the Pentagon when the 9/11 terrorist attacks take place.

In the debut novel, Child Finder, Agent O’Donnell’s haunting dreams about missing children reveal a hidden psychic gift which the government eagerly exploits, drawing him into a Top Secret program to find missing kids.  But to make matters complicated, Uncle Sam has other ideas in mind for his unique paranormal talents…after all, there is a War on Terror underway. One thing’s for sure—ever since joining this new, secret community, he is surrounded by murder, and the very real threat of harm to his own family!”

And the second book?

“Child Finder: Resurrection launched in November 2009.  It has been a year and a half since Agent O’Donnell left the secret child rescue program after it went horribly off-track, resulting in murder and endangering his own family.  And just when he thinks he’s comfortably put this painful past behind him, he receives a call from his mentor.  The murky, shadowy Top Secret community where he once was center-stage has been revised, revamped, resurrected!
The government needs his psychic skills more than ever.  A sick, twisted, menacing child killer is on the loose, and no one but Pat can stop him. But Agent O’Donnell soon discovers this new nemesis is more than he bargained for.  Nothing can prepare him for the psychotic genius he must fight…and the life and death cat-and-mouse game that entraps him! Once again, Pat must call upon his faith and strong spiritual connection with God to sustain and guide him, especially during his darkest hours as he battles…pure evil.”
When will the third and final story publish, and what happens in it?
“Child Finder: Revelation (to publish circa December 2010), is the grand finale, so to speak.  Many people believe the saying, ‘The truth is out there.’  But as my website says, ‘The truth is in here, and it’s not what you think!’ Patrick O’Donnell is dispatched to Korea on a sensitive mission to crack the disturbing abduction of a high ranking U.S. official’s children.  What he discovers about their sudden disappearance — especially where they have been taken — shocks the foundation of international relations. But more intriguing is what makes these particular children so special.  What O’Donnell learns about them, and himself, involves sensitive government secrets he regrets ever knowing.  These new revelations will rock his faith, his concept of life, and his understanding of his place in the universe.”
How did you develop the character of your protagonist?

“I took a chance. I realized that most protagonists in this genre are rough and tough, and rarely show a soft side.  I wanted both!  Pat is a family man (has two small children), a deeply-faithful Christian, happily-married, and has an incredibly strong moral/ethical compass. At the same time, he is a ‘kick-ass’ investigator and counterterrorism operator. These contrasts come into play as he enters this Top Secret program – he finds himself pulled in many directions where he must make tough moral/ethical decisions (is everything he is asked to do actually legal?). He wants to save kids, but at what price? I also used his faith for contrast as well. He is a man who grew up with an unfulfilled sense of calling – is it the psychic gift and rescue of children? He’s not sure, so he grapples with what it all means.”

Please talk more about your military career.
“I retired from the U.S. Air Force in 2007 at the rank of Colonel.  I was a career OSI Special Agent, and served on thirteen different assignments throughout the world.  Among these were five tours as a Commander of different units, to include two squadrons and a wing.

I enjoyed an exciting and dangerous career, experiencing all things imaginable as a criminal investigator and a counterintelligence and counterterrorism operator.  Following the 1996 Khobar Towers terrorist attack in Saudi Arabia, I was dispatched to command all OSI units throughout the Middle East, with responsibility for 23 countries.  During my tenure my teams and I effectively neutralized numerous terrorist threats to U.S. forces in the region, to include an imminent threat to senior Department of Defense officials.  In 2004, I commanded all OSI units in South Korea where we countered a classified target in Seoul.  I was honored when the President of South Korea presented me with a Presidential Citation and medal, and the Korean National Police Agency (KNPA) Commissioner decorated me with the KNPA Medal of Cooperation.

Earlier in my career, while commanding an OSI unit in northern Japan, I conducted an operation that effectively blocked a KGB agent’s efforts to steal critical U.S. technology, and thereby stymied Soviet military advances for years.  In 1999, I was the Chief of Counterintelligence within the Directorate of Intelligence, U.S. Strategic Command.  My office competed for the prestigious Killian Award, a White House level honor that annually recognizes the very best intelligence unit in the entire U.S. government.  We came in as first runner-up for this significant honor!

Did any of your experiences in law enforcement factor in to the Trilogy plot at all?

“Generically, yes.  The main reason I decided on this concept for the series was because of the number of crimes against children I worked in the Air Force.  Every one of them literally broke my heart, and as a dad myself, it made it even tougher on me.  In some respects, Child Finder is a kind of catharsis, enabling me to save some kids even if fictional.”

Obviously Pat O’Donnell stars in all three books, but what about other characters?  Will any of them migrate over to the other two books?
“Pat would be nowhere without his team!  His career mentor, Colonel John Helmsley, accompanies him on his journeys, as well as the team psychiatrist, Dr. Woodrow ‘Woody’ Davis.”
When Child Finder debuted it received a glowing review from the Library Journal, and earned placement on its Summer Reads List.  Were you nervous about the review process?

“VERY nervous!  As a debut author, I had zero experience with reviews until then.  While everyone involved in my writing projects has been supportive and positive, getting my first impartial review flooded my gut with butterflies.”
What about the award your debut novel received?

“I am thrilled that Child Finder won the Silver Medal for fiction in the 2009 Military Writers Society of America’s Annual Awards program.  This was such a huge honor for me, and from what I have been told by the MWSA community, competition was tough this year with the largest number of fiction submissions in the society’s history.”

What do you want readers of your books to walk away with?
“Inspiration.  Plain and simple, I want them to be inspired by my protagonist and his exceptional moral grounding.  I want them inspired by his love of wife and children, his love of God, his dedication and devotion to his country.  I want readers to believe again in the goodness of people.  And with regard to Child Finder: Revelation, I want them to challenge everything they have come so comfortably to believe about life.”

Mike Angley
Special Agent, USAF (ret)
Colonel, USAF (ret)
Award-Winning Author of the Child Finder Trilogy

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Thursday Recipe - Basic Bread

The art of breadmaking isn't as difficult as many people believe. With a basic understanding of the ingredients and mastery of a simple recipe, you can create all sorts of breads, from savory to sweet. It takes time and patience, true, but not as much as you may think. I love yeast doughs because they are very forgiving. Unlike pie crust or other pastries, yeast breads love to be handled, shaped, stretched, punched, and kneaded. Breadmaking is a great outlet for frustration. Take it out on the dough, you'll be pleasantly surprised with the results.

So take the plunge, try making bread. Nothing beats the smell of baking bread, either.

Basic Bread (This recipe is hand-kneaded. If you have a heavy-duty mixer with a dough hook, you can use that. But be warned, it has to be heavy-duty. I've stripped gears on many cheaper mixers that just weren't able to handle the dough. Even if your mixer came with a dough hook, proceed with caution.)

Step 1-
2 c. warm water
1 T. yeast
3 T. sugar OR honey

The water should be about 100°, nice warm bathtub water. If it's too cold, the yeast won't activate. If it's too hot, you'll kill the yeast. If you have a thermometer, you can check, but I rarely bother. Yeast is forgiving, to a certain extent. The water should feel warm to your hands, but not hot. I usually use hot tap water.

Put the water into a 4-quart mixing bowl. Sprinkle yeast and sugar on top. Set aside for at least 10 minutes.

Note about yeast - I buy yeast in the big bags. Seal it in a freezer-weight ziploc bag or a tupperware-type container. It keeps in the fridge for at least 6 months or in the freezer for a year or two. If you bake a lot, you'll save plenty of money buying yeast in bulk. If you're still timid, you can buy the individual packets or the small bottles of yeast. 1 packet is equal to 1 teaspoon of yeast. You will need 3 packets for this recipe.

Step 2-
2 c. flour
2 t. salt

Your yeast should have "bloomed", which means the mix in the bowl should be foamy and look almost like milk. It should smell yeasty, strong and almost unpleasant. This is a good sign. It means your yeast is active and ready for the next step. If the yeast is still in the bottom of the bowl, either your water was too hot or too cold or your yeast is too old. Dump it out and repeat step 1.

If the yeast is nice and foamy, go ahead with step 2. Add the flour and salt. Beat with a spoon, a big wooden mixing spoon is ideal, until everything is well mixed. The dough should be gloopy and sticky. We aren't done yet. Keep beating until the mixture begins to form stretchy strings. It should take about 2 - 3 minutes with a mixer or about 5 by hand.

Step 3-
2 - 3 c. flour

Add another 2 c. flour. Work into the dough. When it gets too thick for the spoon, use your hands until it comes together into a soft dough. Sprinkle 1/2 c. flour onto a counter or sturdy, clean surface. Turn dough onto floured area. Knead - push heel of hand into dough, spreading and smushing it, turn 90°, fold dough in half, repeat. Keep doing this process until the dough is smooth and elastic. If dough is sticky, add flour 1/4 c. at a time. But BE CAREFUL! You don't want to add too much or your bread will be dry.  It takes 5 - 10 minutes to really develop the gluten in the flour and make a nice chewy bread. The longer you knead, the chewier your bread will be.

Step 4-
Wash out the mixing bowl and dry. Spray inside with oil spray coating, just a light coat to keep the dough from sticking. Put the dough back in the bowl. Spray the top very lightly with oil. Cover the bowl with a clean cloth and set aside in a warm place. Let the dough rise until it is about double in size. This should take about one hour. If your kitchen is really warm, it will rise faster. If it is cold, it will take a lot longer.

To check the dough, press a finger into the top. If it springs back, give the dough another 10 minutes or so. If the dent remains, you're ready for the next step.

Step 5-
Punch down the dough. Don't be shy, slam it around for a minute. Squeeze the dough into two equal portions. Pinch together and roll each into a loaf shape. Lightly grease two regular size loaf pans. Drop dough loaves into pans. Cover and let rise again. This takes less time, usually about 30 minutes.

Step 6-
Preheat oven to 375°. Let it get all the way to temperature. Set loaf pans on a rack in the center of the oven. Bake for 20 - 25 minutes. Loaf should be golden brown and sound hollow when tapped. Remove loaves from pans and cool on wire rack. Wait at least 20 minutes before slicing. Hot bread does not cut very well. If you let it cool completely, it slices much better. But hot bread is really good, so dig in if you want. Just don't expect it to be pretty.

This is an art form all by itself. Try making French bread loaves by stretching out the dough and baking them on a cookie sheet. Pinch the dough into 36 balls and bake as rolls. Roll it out flat and make pizza. The variations are truly endless.

For a softer loaf, add 1/4 c. butter with the hot water.
For richer dough, add 1/2 c. powdered milk to hot water.
For egg bread, add 1 - 2 eggs with the flour. You may need to increase flour by 1/2 c. or so.
For healthier bread, replace half of the flour with whole wheat flour.
For sweet bread, increase sugar to 1/2 c.
For Italian pizza bread, add 1 T. Italian seasoning with the flour.
For Scandinavian sweet bread, add 1 t. ground cardamom with the flour.

Make sweet rolls, sandwich buns, raisin bread, pizza - whatever you can imagine. Bread is truly a versatile food.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Excerpt Monday - Try something new!

Head over to the Far Edge on WordPress to read chapter 1 of Nexus Point, then follow the links to try out some new authors on Excerpt Monday -

Good reading, everyone!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Thursday Recipe - Accidental Brownies

I wanted to make brownies one day, so I started mixing away. Then I found out I was almost out of cocoa. No cocoa means no chocolately goodness. Not enough cocoa means pale brownies that just don't taste right. I dug through my cupboards looking for a solution. Inspiration hit when I found an almost empty can of gourmet hot chocolate. The flavor wasn't one my kids or I liked, I think it was Irish cream. Anyway, I dumped it into the brownie batter and continued baking.

The result? Extreme deliciousness. Accidental brownies were born. We've made these with other flavors of cocoa. My favorite so far is cherry chocolate, but feel free to experiment. These brownies have a cake-like texture.

Accidental Brownies

1/2 c. butter, melted
1 1/2 c. sugar
1/4 c. cocoa powder
1/4 c. hot cocoa mix, dry
2 t. vanilla
2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
4 eggs
2 c. flour (1 c. whole wheat, 1 c. white if desired)

Mix butter, sugar, cocoa, and cocoa mix. Stir in vanilla, baking powder, salt, and eggs. Beat until smooth and lighter in color. Stir in flour just until mixed. Spread in a greased 9x13 pan. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes. Add frosting when cool, if you want.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Blog Tour Winner!

As far as I'm concerned, we're all winners with the blog tour. Big thank you to the authors who joined me and to the readers who came and hopefully found some new books to read. I had fun learning a bit more about what makes the authors tick. I also learned I don't want to host that many interviews in one week unless I'm on vacation and not planning anything else for the week.

Still, for those of you who commented, please email me at for your prize. Yes, everyone who commented gets something cool. I'm feeling very generous today. Just mention the blog tour in your email.

Thanks again for joining me. Keep on the lookout for more fun authors in the next couple of months, and probably again after that. I really did have fun doing this.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Aspiring Author Lynn Andrade

Today we have an aspiring author visiting. Please welcome Lynn Andrade.

1. How can we find you? Website, Facebook, Twitter, blog, etc. - please share your public links.

I'm in the process of establishing a web presence. I ramble pretty regularly on my blog, "Manuscription," which can be found at: I've also been known to chirp on twitter:

2. Tell us about your writing - What genre do you prefer to write? What books, stories, other publications that you've written are your personal favorites? Anything new coming up?

There's not really a single genre I prefer. It depends on the story I end up telling, really. I have a draft on the back burner that my writing group tells me is a romance, I'm writing a lot of Spec Fic, lately. It gives me wiggle room and keeps my restless nature in check. I don't think that I have a favorite piece. I think that could change when I make the transition from aspiring author to published author. Maybe that the first publication would always hold a special place in my esteem. I'm currently working on an urban fantasy/horror vampire novel. I guess that's the closest description. The trend of warm and fuzzy treatment of monsters of old kind of bugs me. I miss the old style myth and folklore stories. I miss the scary.

3. What about you as a person? What do you do to relax? Favorite movies or tv shows? Hobbies?

Most of my relaxation time is spent with my family. We're all finally in the same area, so we usually do a lot of cook outs and such. I'm also a huge game nerd. Computer, console, pen and paper, you name it, I'll play it. My taste in movies tends to confuse people. Two of my favorite movies are Howell's Moving Castle and the 2002 version of The Count of Monte Cristo. I'm addicted to the Discovery and History channels; almost all the t.v. I watch are documentaries. I claim research and inspiration, When my hands cooperate, I love to draw, sew, and quilt.

4. What gets your creative juices going? Do you write to a music, and do you want to share your playlist?

I watch people and take notes. That's not nearly as creepy as it sounds, I promise. The weirdest things spark my imagination. A conversation about a keepsake box, the viewer comments on the news, an all-day marathon about medieval times, anything. I have about a 50/50 music to absolute silence preference. When I do have music on, the playlist ranges from Japanese heavy metal to country music. I have a problem, I know.

5. "All writers must have cats, especially if they write fantasy or speculative fiction." Do you have a stand on this one? Any cute pictures of your kitty or other pet?

Hmm, this is something I will have to investigate. Cats are pretty good at channeling other-worldly phenomenon, though. I have a pack of spoiled-rotten canines at the moment, Although, two of them, Bailey and Hoover, are beagles, and the nature of the breed almost reminds me of cats I've had in the past: stubborn, ornery, and just a little bit evil. My blue heeler/shepard mix, Barni, is a neurotic ball of energy, while my german shorthair, Sammi, thinks she's a teacup chihuahua.

6. What organizations do you recommend for those wanting to become writers? Any advice you'd like to share about writing?

Finding a good writer's group/guild/association is probably the best stepping stone for any aspiring author. Ideally there will be a wide-range of background and knowledge that the members can utilize. It's also a good way to keep motivated and on task. I think that it's important to take the idea of a writing career very seriously. Because if you act like it's only a maybe someday daydream, that's all it's ever going to be, to you, and to the people around you.

7. What writers inspired you to become an author?

Serman Alexie and Octavia E. Butler. As a younger kid, I always was a story-teller, but seeing another Native American make it as an author made me realize that it wasn't out of reach for me. The same with Octavia E. Butler. Seeing a female author, in a predominantly male dominated genre, produce such amazing and fantastic work, just inspired that part of me that loves to push boundaries of convention and tradition.

8. Any special appearances or events coming up that you want to mention?

Just the usual weekly vexing of the long-suffering baristas at my local coffee shop. :)

Lynn Andrade is an aspiring author that suffers from an incurable case of multi-genre-itis, with pieces ranging from literary fiction to horror. She started writing at a young age, but only recently began the push for a career. She lives with her family (and too many dogs) just off center in Washington state.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Please welcome the Perilous Pauline Baird Jones

Last stop on my tour! Please welcome Pauline Baird Jones.

Pauline Baird Jones is the award-winning author of nine novels of science fiction romance, Steampunk, action-adventure, suspense, romantic suspense and comedy-mystery. She's written two non-fiction books, Adapting Your Novel for Film and Made-up Mayhem, and she co-wrote  Managing Your Book Writing Business with Jamie Engle. Her seventh novel, Out of Time, an action-adventure romance set in World War II, is an EPPIE 2007 winner. Her eighth novel, The Key won an Independent Book Award Bronze Medal (IPPY) for 2008 and is a 2007 Dream Realm Awards Winner. She also has short stories in several anthologies. Originally from Wyoming, she and her family moved from New Orleans to Texas before Katrina.

Tell us about your writing - What genre do you prefer to write? What books, stories, other publications that you've written are your personal favorites? Anything new coming up?

I started out writing contemporary romantic suspense, but have been moving persistently into action/adventure type romances for years. I committed to paranormal AA when I wrote OUT OF TIME, a WWII time travel, then headed into space with THE KEY. For now I’m solidly into science fiction romance, with a fillip of Steampunk romance for fun. I’ve also recently had some short stories published in a variety of anthologies.

I’m a “love the book I’m writing” kind of girl, though I have to say, I’m really feeling the SFR love. It’s just a heck of a lot of fun to write about space travel, to break the bounds of gravity and head for distant galaxies. I’m hugely excited about my April release: GIRL GONE NOVA, a follow-on to THE KEY (though both books can be read stand alone).

I had so much fun writing Doc, my kick-butt genius heroine. And my hero is a redeemed, semi-bad guy from THE KEY. I did NOT plan that. He wouldn’t leave me alone until I gave him a girl to love. What’s an author to do?

What about you as a person? What do you do to relax? Favorite movies or tv shows? Hobbies?

Well, obviously I read, but I also like TV and movies. My current favorite shows are: HUMAN TARGET, LEVERAGE, BIG BANG THEORY and NCIS. I also like to mix a bit of reality tv into my viewing. Favs are TOP CHEF and DANCING WITH THE STARS.

What gets your creative juices going? Do you write to music, and do you want to share your playlist?

I do use playlists to gin up the creative juices. I create one for each book, because my characters have different tastes. The songs tend to filter into the book, so I have to go in and remove them when I edit, because you can’t use songs without proper permissions. I did post playlists for my last two books. Back when I wrote earlier books, I had to create my own music mixes. Wow, does that date me.

"All writers must have cats, especially if they write fantasy or speculative fiction." Do you have a stand on this one? Any cute pictures of your kitty or other pet?

We do have a cat, though technically he belongs to my son and loves only him. Me he tolerates because I feed him (and my son is now at college). He is quirky and demanding. Only likes fresh water, but won’t drink from a pet fountain. Can tell time (DST messes him up more than it messes me up!). And can whine like nobody’s business when I don’t do what he wants, when he wants it. He is bitter and suspicious, which helps us get along when the son’s not around.

Any advice you'd like to share about writing?

The advice I always give is: reject rejection. There will always be people who will tell you that you can’t, or what you shouldn’t do or how you shouldn’t do it, but this is a business littered with people who went over and around barriers to get where they wanted to do go (legally, of course!). DO YOUR RESEARCH. KNOW WHAT YOU’RE GETTING INTO and you’ll like it better.

What writers inspired you to become an author?

Georgette Heyer. Mary Stewart. Elizabeth Cadell. Helen McInnes. Alastair Maclean. Each of these authors delighted me when I found them and taught me important things about what needed to be in my novels.

How can we find you? Website, Facebook, Twitter, blog, etc. - please share your public links.

Any special appearances or events coming up that you want to mention?

I’ll be running release contests to celebrate GIRL GONE NOVA debuting in print and e. I have a contest page on my website, so check back often to see what’s going on!

Pauline will randomly pick a poster from one of the blogs to receive either a digital or print copy of A TEXAS BOX OF CHOCOLATES anthology.

Thank you so much for joining me today. Good luck on your release!

Friday, April 9, 2010

KS Augustin now on tour

Today, please welcome KS Augustin to our tour!

KS Augustin is a Malaysian-born writer of science-fiction, romance, and
permutations of the two. She also dabbles in fantasy and contemporary
action romances from time to time. She has been nominated for a CAPA
award and has been a Spectrum award finalist. She has visited, lived or
worked in the UK, North America, Australia, and has now settled back
in south-east Asia so she and her husband can draw breath and the kids
can manage to get some education in.
Also travelling with them, with species-appropriate passports, are
their two fur-shedding cats, Fluff and Squeak, and their irrepressible
miniature bull terrier, Sausage.

1. How can we find you? Website, Facebook, Twitter, blog, etc. -  please share your public links.

My website is And I have an opinionated blog, called "Fusion Despatches", at where, quite unfashionably, I tend to discuss politics ... but that's only because I love the topic so much! Given enough time, I'm sure my blog will end up offending pretty much everyone in the world, so you've been warned.

2. Tell us about your writing - What genre do you prefer to write?  What books, stories, other publications that you've written are your  personal favorites? Anything new coming up?

My first love was, and still is, science-fiction. I tend to read right across the genre from social sf to hard to slipstream, although my favourite is space opera, so I suppose it isn't any surprise that I tend to write space opera romance the most. While I love a good space battle as much as the next geek girl, I always thought that a bit more characterisation and interpersonal dynamics in my favourite novels would go a long way, which explains why I add romance to the mix.

I'm sure someone has already said that wherever you go, you always take yourself with you, so why would it be any different in the future or in another galaxy? You always take yourself with you--brain, heart, wishes, regrets, yearnings. Everything else is an extension of yourself, and engagement (whether positive or negative) is when an extension of one person or group meets an extension of another. Technology is merely one channel through which such engagement can play out, but it's not the only one.

And indeed, I do have something new coming out. Carina Press is the new digital-first imprint of Harlequin Enterprises and I am extremely pleased to have a novel of mine as part of their June launch. ENEMY HANDS is a hard sf romance that covers stellar mechanics, politics, a bit of pharmacology and--of course!--romance between a brilliant physicist and the savant she falls in love with. I hope there's something there for everyone, but we'll see.

3. What about you as a person? What do you do to relax? Favorite  movies or tv shows? Hobbies?

I mostly read to relax. And I also love kite-flying. To me, there's nothing quite so exhilarating as harnessing something you have no control over (the wind) to make something you do (the kite) do what you want it to do.

I also cook. I love cooking, I adore cooking, although I don't have enough time to do much of it. In our library at home, we must have at least 200 cookbooks and I sit down and read through them in much the same way as I read a novel, from start to finish. I find it exceedingly relaxing. And it helps that my husband and children are happy to act as my guinea pigs.

4. What gets your creative juices going? Do you write to music, and do you want to share your playlist?

I think I'm in the minority on this one, in that I tend to appreciate silence, but I also think that's a holdover from my martial arts days. You can't be aware of what's happening around you if there's music blaring out of several loudspeakers and writing, by itself, is distracting enough. If you're talking musical tastes, then I listen to everything, from opera to techno. However, there is one sub-genre I never, ever listen to and that's Country & Western. I just can't get into it.

5. "All writers must have cats, especially if they write fantasy or speculative fiction." Do you have a stand on this one? Any cute pictures of your kitty or other pet?

Ah yes, I think cats are favoured because they're lower maintenance than dogs. We have both: two cats called Fluff and Squeak and a mini bull-terrier called Sausage. Each type of animal has its own characteristics that make it quite lovable. I occasionally have updates on our pets in my blog but not often enough, or so I've been told.

6. What organizations do you recommend for those wanting to become writers? Any advice you'd like to share about writing?

There are lots of organisations around for aspiring writers, and they even span national boundaries. The constraining factor is that you have to have access to an Internet connection in order to fully leverage the information and resources out there. To be honest, I may not be the best person to ask about such things. I sold my first novella in almost complete isolation in 2006. It was only after we left the USA that I discovered thriving writer communities in and around San Francisco. And it was only after we left Australia that I discovered the same about speculative fiction writers in Australia. I'm sure the same thing will play out after we leave Malaysia. I always tend to be behind the curve like that!

Having said that, the best advice I can share about writing is that, if you want to make a living at it, it's not enough to be JUST a writer. You have to be able to run your own small business, and that means self-discipline, multi-tasking, organisation and planning skills, and so on. And you have to realise that there's always something out there you need to know that you haven't learnt about already.

7. What writers inspired you to become an author?

I still clearly remember reading "A Martian Odyssey" by Stanley Weinbaum as a child, and being mesmerised by it. Henry Kuttner, Isaac Asimov, Harry Harrison, Ray Bradbury, EE 'Doc' Smith, Eric Frank Russell, they were all wonderful and still are. I got made fun of at school for reading a book entitled "The Stainless Steel Rat Saves the World". Female high-school students didn't read books with such titles, but it didn't worry me too much. *That* place was where I wanted to be--ravening beams of destruction, conflicts in the oceans of Venus, high-jinks across the galaxy, interstellar puns. Why would I want to be in school where people made fun of me because I wore glasses and had different-coloured skin? I think science-fiction saved my sanity then, and I'm forever grateful to it for doing so.

8. Any special appearances or events coming up that you want to mention?

It's difficult being a writer living literally on the other side of the world to North America. I often feel that I'm missing out on lots of opportunities to connect with potential readers. But still, with the interconnectedness of most of the world today, the situation is a lot better than it used to be.

For the latest news, best to read my blog and I'm always available via email at ks [at] ksaugustin [dot] com.

Thank you so much for visiting this week. Good luck with your release!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Thursday Bonus - recipe and coupon!

Just for fun, here's an easy recipe to try:

Peanut Chews

1 c. corn syrup
1 c. sugar
1 c. peanut butter
6 c. cold cereal - corn flakes, cheerios, corn chex, something not too sweet

Bring corn syrup and sugar to a boil in medium saucepan. Remove from heat and stir in peanut butter. Stir until smooth. Pour over cereal, stir to coat. Dump out onto sheet of waxed paper, smooth into rectangle about 1 inch thick. Let cool. Cut into squares and eat, but not too many. These babies are rich.

And the coupon: My book is on sale until April 21 on Smashwords - get the ebook version for only $2.99 Coupon code: TF69P
The print version, signed and personalized, is only $15 (that includes shipping!) if you order direct from me through my website:

Happy Thursday!

Tracy S. Morris on BU Blog Tour

Today we welcome Tracy S. Morris to our tour.

Tracy S. Morris is a writer, photographer, gardener, herbalist and self-proclaimed kamikaze speller. She is the author of the Tranquility mysteries, a series of books that have been described as "Jeff Foxworthy writing the X-Files set in Cicily, Alaska."  The newest book in the series, Bride of Tranquility was a finalist for the Darrell Award in 2010. She has been awarded an Honorable Mention by the Writers of the Future on three separate occasions.

Morris's other works include short stories with the Esther Friesner anthology Strip Mauled and the Grantville Gazette, both by Baen books, essays with the Benbella books Smart Pop anthologies as well as numerous short stories in the Bubbas of the Apocolypse zombies vs. rednecks line of anthologies by Yard Dog Press.  You can find her on the web at

She lives in Fort Smith, Arkansas with her husband and two dogs.  The dogs are in charge.

1. How can we find you? Website, Facebook, Twitter, blog, etc. - please share your public links.

The best way is through my website:
All my other accounts including, facebook, twitter, livejournal link through that.

2. Tell us about your writing - What genre do you prefer to write? What books, stories, other publications that you've written are your personal favorites? Anything new coming up?
Mostly I write urban fantasy.  Or more accurately, rural fantasy since the settings are generally towns in the Ozarks with smaller populations.  My best known work is the Tranquility series, which is sort of what you would get if Jeff Foxworthy wrote the X-Files and set every episode in the town of Cicely, Alaska.  The second book in the series, Bride of Tranquility, just received an honorable mention for the Darrell Award. 

My tendency is to write offbeat, satirical genre stories.

In June one of my short stories will be released in the Yard Dog press Rednecks vs. Zombies anthology A Stitch in Time Saves None.  This is the 5th anthology set within the Bubbas of the Apocalypse shared universe.

3. What about you as a person? What do you do to relax? Favorite movies or tv shows? Hobbies?

I actually spend a lot of time in front of the computer.  My day job involves writing content for websites.  I write a lot of how-to articles, travel articles and gardening articles.  No surprise that my hobbies include photography, travel and gardening.  Things that I can get dirty doing, as opposed to sitting in front of a computer. If I have down time, I try to read for fun.

4. What gets your creative juices going? Do you write to a music, and do you want to share your playlist?

I don't write to music because it's distracting.  Stirring music makes me want to jump up, run around the house, choreograph the next fight scene that I am going to write, etc.  I actually carry a journal and pen with me everywhere so that I can write when the inspiration strikes. Usually it strikes when I have to be in a meeting and I'm daydreaming, so at least I can look like I'm taking notes.

5. "All writers must have cats, especially if they write fantasy or speculative fiction." Do you have a stand on this one? Any cute pictures of your kitty or other pet?

I'm not a cat person.  I've got two Shiba Inu puppies that my husband and I adopted.  They keep me company while I'm writing.  Mostly they lay around getting fat.  Occasionally when the mood strikes me to get in shape they will take a run with me.  Dogs have friends.  Cats have staff. 

I used to have three ferrets, which are the inspiration behind the ferrets in my detective novels.  They're partially a tip of the hat to all the great pet mysteries out there.  The thing with ferrets is that they're not really focused animals.  So while dog and cat detectives might help their owners out, a ferret will be off sleeping in your sock drawer or hiding your keys. 

6. What organizations do you recommend for those wanting to become writers? Any advice you'd like to share about writing?

Writing is a process of collecting rejection letters. Don't get discouraged, because rejection is a part of it.  Today was a good example for me. I checked the mailbox and found a certificate for an Honorable Mention award that I was recently given by Writers of the Future tucked in next to a rejection letter from a major publisher. 

I would also suggest finding a good (emphasis on good) writing group.  That kind of mentorship is invaluable to your growth as a writer. If your writers group is not helpful, or if it's just stroking your ego, it's time to move on. 

7. What writers inspired you to become an author?

I was a huge reader before I ever wrote, but I made the decision to write when I was about 12 years old.  I can't remember just what it was that I read at the time, but I put the book down thinking that I would love to write like that and put out books and short stories.  

8. Any special appearances or events coming up that you want to mention?

I will be at ConQuest in Kansas City on May 28-30, and then Soonercon in Oklahoma City June 4-6.  Soonercon is helping my publisher, Yard Dog Press celebrate their 15th anniversary.  They will be releasing their anthology A Stitch in Time Saves None at the convention.

Thanks for everything

Thank you for joining us. Good luck on your upcoming release!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

BU Blog Tour Continues - Brenna Lyons Interview

Today, I'm happy to welcome Brenna Lyons to my blog.

Brenna Lyons wears many hats, sometimes all on the same day: former president of EPIC, author of more than 80 published works, teacher, wife, mother...member of ERWA, MWW, IWOFA, MFRW, WPM, AWaY, and Broad Universe. In Brenna’s seven years published in novel-length, she's won two of EPIC's e-Book Awards and has finaled for 11. She's finaled for 3 PEARLS (including one HM, second to Angela Knight), 2 CAPAs, and a Dream Realm Award. The NOBODY anthology of dark fiction she's included in won Spinetingler's (UK) Book of the year for 2007.

She writes in 21 established worlds plus stand-alones, poetry, articles, and essays. She's a bestseller in indie/e fantasy, horror, and erom. Brenna has been termed "one of the most deviant erotic minds in the publishing world...not for the weak." (Rachelle for Fallen Angels Reviews) Milieu-heavy dark work is practically Brenna's calling card, with or without the erotic content.

1. How can we find you? Website, Facebook, Twitter, blog, etc. - please share your public links.

I’m all over the place.
 Home web site-
The best e-mail address to reach me at is brennalyons4168(at)gmail(dot)com, but be sure to put something like GENERAL QUESTIONS, BOOK QUESTIONS, or CHARACTER QUESTIONS in the subject line, or it may get lost in Yahoogroup mail. Since I average more than 1000 e-mail threads coming in a day, that has happened before, and I apologize profusely when it does.

2. Tell us about your writing - What genre do you prefer to write? What books, stories, other publications that you've written are your personal favorites? Anything new coming up?

I am a spec fic writer first and then romance or erotic romance, if it’s a cross-genre book. Even if the book is balanced 50/50 science fiction, paranormal, fantasy, or horror with romance/erom, the mood and usually the opening of the book will show that I view writing that way. People that want sunshine and roses probably aren’t looking for my books. People that like urban fantasy, grit, dark… I’m for you.
My favorites change from day to day, depending on my mood. Usually, the favorites will either be Kegin/Kielan/Wolkin (my three Council of Worlds series), Night Warriors, Renegades, or Xxan. Those worlds, out of the 21 I write, are the ones that stick with me most, which may be why I write so much in them.
I always have new things coming up. Before this interview posts, I will likely have re-releases of the first two books in my Star Mages series: WRITTEN IN THE STARS (fantasy sensual romance from Mundania) and THE MASTER’S LOVER (a M/M…my only M/M, at the moment…fantasy erom from the Phaze side of the company). My next scheduled release is in May. It’s the first in a new series (Fire and Ice) titled MAGMON’S HUNGER, coming from Phaze. I have at least three more anticipated releases after that in 2010, which include the first of yet another new series (Angel-Wing Saga) from Phaze (SONS OF HEAVEN: BELDON), the next Night Warrior series book from Phaze (HUNTER’S MOON), and the next Kielan from Logical Lust (ANOTHER MAN’S MATE). Additionally, I’d like to get the next Xxan series story out with LooseId before the end of 2010 (MATING SEASON). All of the above is in addition to the seven releases I’ve had already this year. And yes…we’re still in March.

3. What about you as a person? What do you do to relax? Favorite movies or tv shows? Hobbies?

I’m somewhat hypergraphic, so writing does relax me, but I don’t write all the time. I enjoy cooking and baking, hiking, swimming, camping, photography, fingerloop braiding…
We don’t watch broadcast TV/cable in this house, at all. Aside from movies and such we pick up on Netflix or purchase, there are only a few shows we watch on Hulu or buy on Amazon Unbox. Those would include: Dr. Who, Torchwood, Heroes (which sounds like it’s over now), V (not as good as the original, but interesting), Flashforward, Battlestar Galactica, and Caprica. I’m thinking of trying The Sarah Jane Chronicles on Netflix to see if it’s worth purchasing.

4. What gets your creative juices going? Do you write to music, and do you want to share your playlist?

As I said, I’m rather hypergraphic, so having a pen and paper or computer is enough to get the juices flowing. Don’t ask me about the time I thought I could give up writing for three days of a camping trip and didn’t bring writing gear with me. Grinning…
I don’t usually write to music, because the temptation to either type the lyrics into the book or to sing along and stop typing is too strong. I do enjoy white noise, which can include movies or TV in the background. For some reason, that doesn’t intrude on my writing mind as songs do, even if I know the movie well enough to do the dialog from memory. I do sometimes listen to music when I’m editing, since it doesn’t bother me, unless I’m typing. What music I listen to depends on my mood and on the mood of what I’m working on.
If you’re asking where my inspiration comes from… Well, that’s another story. I get it from everywhere…people watching, a single quote or look that catches my attention, dreams (mine and those of others that I find interesting pieces in), playing games of what-if, six degrees of separation (which I have a great blog post about), noisy characters from old books or spin-off worlds…readers that ask when X person gets a book or when Y story will be told in detail… You name it, and I’ve probably used it.

5. "All writers must have cats, especially if they write fantasy or speculative fiction." Do you have a stand on this one? Any cute pictures of your kitty or other pet?

My house is the veritable animal farm. It’s a good thing it’s a huge old 1901 or so home. At the moment we enjoy (and sometimes curse) three large dogs, five cats (well…three cats and two kittens, to be precise), two leopard geckos, and three hermit crabs. That’s what you get when you have three kids, one of which is training to be a vet. I fully agree that most authors have an affinity for animals. I’ll share some favorite pics of my fuzzy writing helpers…uh…hinderers.

6. What organizations do you recommend for those wanting to become writers? Any advice you'd like to share about writing?

There are a lot of great Yahoogroups out there I’d suggest. Among them?

If you’re writing erotic, I highly suggest joining the mailing lists that ERWA maintains.

Once you’re published, you can remain a member of all of the above. There are a whole bunch more that you can join then, including:  -$30 per year membership fee  -$30 per year membership fee

Specialty industry groups I’d suggest include: 

The advice I’d offer aspiring authors is long and pointed to various topics. The best thing to do is visit my site and go to the FOR AUTHORS portion. That’s a good place to start. If you don’t find what you’re looking for there, ask me.

7. What writers inspired you to become an author?

Any I’ve read, in my lifetime. That said, I think all beginning writers have a couple of authors they emulate, before their own voices form fully. Mine were Stephen King and David and Leigh Eddings…and perhaps Piers Anthony. As I got older, some other voices crowed in there: James Morrow, Robert Heinlein, Joan Vinge, John Varley, and many more.

As for the “push” to become a writer, that largely came from inside. Encouragement to enter contests and submit came from my very early English teachers. Starting at about age 11, my teachers insisted on me entering anything they found for me. One even took my work to a local newspaper without telling me and suggested they publish me.  When I moved from articles, essays, and short stories to writing novels, there was no question I would publish. I’d been published in recognized venues since I was 13.

Thank you so much for joining me on this tour, Brenna. Congratulations on all your publications!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Lynn Flewelling Interview

Today, I'm happy to welcome Lynn Flewelling.

Lynn Flewelling is the author of the internationally acclaimed Nightrunner and Tamir Triad series, published in a dozen languages. Her first novel, Luck in the Shadows, made the Locus list for best first novel, and was a finalist for the Compton Crook award. Several of her other books have been Spectrum award finalists. She is adjunct faculty at the University of Redlands and also works as a freelance editor,  writing instructor, and is a tea reviewer for Maine natives, she and her husband currently live in Redlands, California. 

1. Welcome, Lynn Flewelling. Tell us about your writing - What genre do you prefer to write? What books, stories, other publications that you've written are your personal favorites? Anything new coming up?

I am a fantasy novelist, author of the ongoing Nightrunner Series and the Tamír Triad. I have a few short stories in anthos to my credit, but that's not my forte.

 My favorite short story is "Perfection," which appears in Elemental: The Tsunami Relief Anthology. All of the contributors donated the profits to the relief efforts for the 2004 tsunami in Sri Lanka.

As far as my books go, I'm especially fond of The Bone Doll's Twin, the first book of the Tamír Triad. It's dark fantasy, it's a ghost story, it's a hidden child story, and it deals with issues of gender and identity. As for the Nightrunner Series, they're all so different that I can't really claim a favorite. I modeled the series on the Sherlock Holmes model; a series of book-length adventures loosely tied together, but complete in themselves, although some of them are duologies within the series, rather than a single long epic. The main characters are rather dashing spies who solves problems with wits as often as they do with weapons. They are both men and end up becoming lovers as well, although that is not the focus of the books, just an aspect of their characters.

My upcoming publication is the fifth book in the series, titled The White Road. That's coming out on May 25. It's the sequel to Shadows Return—one of those duologies I mentioned. At the moment I'm at work on a sixth Nightrunner book, with a seventh under contract.

2. Do  you get fan mail? What's the best or most memorable? What's the worst/weirdest?

I do get a lot of fan mail from readers all over the world. For the best, I can't really narrow it down to a single letter so much as a type: many gay readers have written to thank me for Seregil and Alec, heroes they can identify with. They've used the books to get through rough times in their lives, even to come out to family and friends. When I created the characters, I never imagined anything like that.

The weirdest fan letter, if you can call it that, was definitely one I got from a man who wrote to tell me, at length, in tiny hand printing, over six sheets of paper, how I was "destroying the fabric of the American family." The return address was a state prison.

3. What gets your creative juices going? Do you write to a music, and do you want to share your playlist?

Tea and music, both chosen to suit my mood. Lately I've been drinking a lot of matcha and listening to Tom Waits, Apocalytica, and the sound tracks to Alice in Wonderland and Henry V.

4. What's the best thing about being a writer? What's the worst?

The best thing is that freedom to bring the visions from inside my head out into  the world to see. I love entertaining people, and the fact that the stories I tell do that is deeply satisfying, but the actual creative act is the best of it. It's not always fun, but I can't think of anything I'd rather do.

The worst part is the isolation. Years ago I worked in an office with people I liked, and the socializing was a big part of my day. Working alone all day with only the dogs for company wears on me at times. So does being the only person at a party who does what I do. I don't live around many other writers. It's such a relief to get to a convention and sit around with other writers, comparing notes, bitching and complaining about the same things, talking shop and everyone around the table is nodding and saying "Oh I know!"  It's good to be among your own.

5. Any advice you'd like to share about writing?

Do it. Do the work. Write those awful stories and terrible books that you have to write on your way to becoming good. Classes and workshops can help, but you learn the most about writing by writing, and learning to look at your work with a critical eye. A good writer's group can be a wonderful resource and source of inspiration. Feedback can help  you pinpoint weaknesses, and strengths in your writing. And, very importantly, when you're first starting out, don't worry whether you're "good enough." To publish? You're not. You won't be if  you don't do the work. To write? All it takes is a willingness to apply pen to paper or fingers to keys on a regular basis and work on those basics: character, plot, theme, dialog, etc.

6. What made you into a writer?

The inability to stop daydreaming when I grew up.

7. What special appearances or events are coming up for you?

I'll be doing books signings at Mysterious Galaxy bookstore in San Diego on June 5, and another at some point during Comic Con, also in San Diego. In October I'll be a guest at Yaoi Con. I don't write yaoi, but because of the Nightrunner books, I have a lot of overlap with that fandom.

Most exciting of all, however, is the writing workshop I will be teaching aboard a Royal Caribbean cruise ship May 23-30. It's going to be a lot of fun. We'll be cruising in the Caribbean, and alternating between at sea workshop days, and four ports of call, days when people can get off the boat and explore exotic places.  We still have some space in the workshop. The cruise price includes the cruise and all the amenities, including meals, and the workshop. For more information:

8. How can we find you? Website, Facebook, Twitter, blog, etc. - please share your public links.



Live Journal:

Facebook: Personal page:
Fan Page:

Yahoo Groups:


The LJ is my main hangout these days, but I repost to the FB fan page, Yahoo, and Twitter, too.

9. Do you have any goodies for my readers today?

I sure do! I will send signed White Road bookmarks to the first ten people who comment, and lucky eleven will get a signed copy of the White Road as soon as it comes out!  Keep count and email me your addresses, folks.

Thank you so much for joining us today. Good luck with your upcoming release!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Trisha Wooldridge Interview Part 2

We're back with Trisha, for more insight.

What brought you to Broad Universe, and what do you like best about the organization?

A friend of mine from a longstanding writer's group, the DragonWriters, said that she loved Broad Universe and had found a lot of publishing information and opportunities there, so she convinced me to join.  I thank her very much because I've met so many amazing women in the organization - many who have had a direct influence on getting my fiction and non-fiction published and forwarding my career.  Also, I have always felt that women need to help each other because, unfortunately, we are still at a disadvantage in the realms of business, publishing, rights, expectations, and opportunities.  We should honor, celebrate, and nurture each other, and I believe in taking an active role to do that.

What do you feel is the greatest challenge and the greatest asset of being a woman author?

I recently wrote a blog post entitled, The Devil Wears Post-Feminism, where I shared several stories of women who still had to hide behind male or non-gendered pseudonyms.  Yes, there are women who submit the very same work under a non-feminine name and not only get it accepted but get offered more money!  That's wrong and needs to be changed.  On the other hand, in a recent poll Broad Universe did of various magazines, women's submissions followed submissions better and overall had a higher level of writing.  I do think women are more detail-oriented than men, and in many cases we already expect to work hard to get what we want; we don't automatically assume an agent or publisher will do our work for us.  We know how to be part of a team.

What is the story behind the greatest lesson you've learned so far as an author?

The greatest lesson I've learned, not only as an author but a person, is that you never stop learning.  There will always be things we will never, ever know; our world is so HUGE we simply cannot learn everything about anything.  Never assume you know what you think you know.  Always double check yourself.  And forever search for new things to learn about.

The story behind this is that my co-author and I wrote a good 75% of a novel based on a Biblical premise that we both were sure we knew.  Well, when we got to the details of the story and opened our respective Bibles - well, let's just say we had an AWFUL LOT of rewriting and reorganizing to do.  This was about 3 weeks into NaNoWriMo for both of us, too.  Yeah.  Research = Healthy Blood Pressure.

What is your favorite comfort food or drink to help you write?  What do you save as reward treats for meeting goals and deadlines?

My number one comfort food for writing is chocolate - dark, dark, chocolate.  Potato chips are a close second.  I am also a fan of a proper California Zinfandel (deep, black red with a hint of chocolate and a huge burst of fruit - did I mention I was a food/wine writer, too?).  However, I also will drink various mixers when I need them, usually containing amaretto.  During the day, I'm a coffee and tea fiend and will eat all meals at the keyboard if not watched.  As a reward, I open an expensive dessert wine, like a Trochenberrenauslese or an Ice Wine.
What is your favorite organizational trick for meeting all of your goals and deadlines?

My favorite trick is to force accountability and have outside forces create deadlines for me.  I've got regular readers of my blog, so I will let them down if I miss a blog deadline.  I get friends to pester me because they are expecting a chapter/scene/whatnot, and whenever I write with a partner, I feel dedicated to that other person - so it has more priority than stuff I have no deadline for but to myself.

What is your favorite guilty pleasure (be it food, a habit, a show…)?  And how do you rationalize giving into it?

Sleeping in and dreaming is my favorite guilty pleasure, especially on weekends and when I don't have anywhere immediate to be.  I often lose hours dreaming - and I recall all of my dreams with the utmost vivid detail.  But, I can rationalize all this because many of my favorite stories have either germinated or found resolution during these times.

Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts and time with us at the Far Edge of Normal!

Check out more about Trisha here: Trisha Wooldridge, A Novel Friend,

Trisha Wooldridge Interview Part 1

Welcome to Trisha Wooldridge, the first interview on my blog tour. She's got some great insights and great information to share. This is just part 1.
Trisha J. Wooldridge, a member of the Broad Universe Motherboard, is a freelance writer, editor, and educator whose experience includes Dungeons & Dragons Online, animal rescue public relations, and web-based learning.  She loves interviewing goth and metal bands, reviewing food and wine, helping other writers, and giving words a dark yet whimsical twist.  Her fiction is in Bad-Ass Faeries 2: Just Plain Bad, the upcoming Bad-Ass Faeries 3: In All Their Glory ( both co-authored with Christy Tohara) and Fantasy Gazetteer.

1. How can we find you? Website, Facebook, Twitter, blog, etc. - please share your public links.

Hi!  I'm Trish Wooldridge, and you can find me at,,, @novelfriend on Twitter.  (There's this theme thing…)  I'm on Facebook and LinkedIn as Trisha Wooldridge, or Trisha J. Wooldridge.

I've done my best to become Google friendly.

2. Tell us about your writing - What genre do you prefer to write? What books, stories, other publications that you've written are your personal favorites? Anything new coming up?

I write in non-fiction and fiction.  In non-fiction, I love writing about writing (of course), food, wine, horses, animals, art, education, music, feminism, and various spooky things.

In fiction, I tend to lean more towards action-packed contemporary and urban fantasy.  That said, I have a Blade-Runner-esque android story in the works and a mid-grade/YA science-fantasy about a deaf girl destined to hear the future from the songs of stars that I'm querying.

In May, the latest Bad-Ass Faeries anthology, In All Their Glory (Mundania Press), includes a piece by me and Christy Tohara, my co-author and good friend.  Faerie is more than a little pissed when relations between human and fae have ended in nuclear war as surviving human and fae factions battles decide whether Faerie will take over the human realm--or leave it forever.  Also, in May, I've got a poem coming out that I wrote for my parents, "To Me, You are Holy," in Eye on Life Magazine's Poetry Locksmith.

3. What about you as a person? What do you do to relax? Favorite movies or tv shows? Hobbies?

You mean writing for hours over a keyboard isn't relaxing?  Shoot… I must be doing it wrong. I kill stuff in writing to get over a bad day.  Mercilessly and with utmost cruelty and fervor.

But… when my wrists are in pain because I have horrific posture… I do occasionally watch TV.  My favorites include House, MD; Caprica; Burn Notice; Castle; Fringe; Bones; Doctor Who; and Eureka when it comes back.  Movies… my husband could open a branch of Netflix, so it's hard to pick a favorite when I can pick just about anything.

For non-writing hobbies, I work with horses at the Bay State Equine Rescue.  It's an amazing experience to communicate with these majestic creatures who have suffered so much by human hands… yet still want to trust us more than anything (except food.  They want food most of all.  Even if they are a pushing the limits of a healthy weight.)  I also have a few artistic endeavors: I love painting, drawing, wood-burning, and other crafts.  Hiking and playing with pets and hanging out with my Husband-of-Awesome are the rest of my favorite things.

4. What gets your creative juices going? Do you write to a music, and do you want to share your playlist?

Music.  Music, music, music!  I have very eclectic taste, but the Crüxshadows are almost always in my list, as is Nightwish, and frequent regulars (because I still use a CD player and not my mp3 player for writing) are Voltaire, Blackmore's Night, Roger Cline & the Peacemakers, Within Temptation, Loreena McKinnet, La Oreja de Van Gogh, Trans Siberian Orchestra, Omnia, Emerald Rose, Brobdingnagian Bards, Iron Maiden, Metallica, Bruce Dickenson (apart from Iron Maiden), Ozzy Osborne, Unto Ashes, and some soundtrack of something or another.

Current CDs:  Crüxshadows' Birthday, Lady Gaga's Fame, Band of Skulls' baby darling doll face honey (from their being featured on an episode of Castle), Omnia's Pagan Folk, and Nightwish's Once.

5. "All writers must have cats, especially if they write fantasy or speculative fiction." Do you have a stand on this one? Any cute pictures of your kitty or other pet?

I have found this to be mostly true.  I have a few writing friends who are exceptions… they may be the exceptions that prove the rule.  Who knows.  I have both a cat and a rabbit.  In fact, I've had three rabbits in my life; two have since passed away.  I've noticed the rabbit trend among comics, however, and know of at least two top webcomic artists who have house rabbits… which I include as support for a project I haven't done a LOT of talking about yet, but will when more is done on it.  ;)

My sweet cat (well, sweet to me; my husband is another matter) is Nylis, a mackerel tabby.  My brother adopted her from the MSPCA, then a couple years later, got a promotion and had to move to Florida - so she moved in with me (an act which required great feats to obtain the forgiveness of my otherwise Husband-of-Awesome).  Her original name was Nile, which didn't work for any of us, so with the suggestion of a fellow writing friend of mine, she became Nylis - the name from a race of cat-people from said friend's work-in-progress.  For as fabulous as my kitty is, she is in the running for the Dumbest Cat in the World.

Loki is my appropriately named rabbit.  He is a grumpy 10-year-old, 3-lb Siberian Rex who has no problem letting people know his opinion of everything (which can be summed up "I am the most awesome being in existence, worship me now!  With food!  Or nose pets!  Better yet: Both!  Now!")  At his venerable age, it goes without saying he usually gets what he wants - including getting the cat in trouble/injured for his amusement and knowing neither the H-of-A nor I have the heart to scold him.  (So we occasionally find ourselves apologizing to the cat when we find out she was NOT, in fact, chasing the rabbit - or at least not without due cause of him teasing her first.)

6. What organizations do you recommend for those wanting to become writers? Any advice you'd like to share about writing?

Broad Universe!!  Some of the best contacts I've made as a writer have been through my work and membership in Broad Universe.

Besides Broad Universe, I'm also a member of the Editorial Freelancer's Association (which is on the higher end of membership dues), where I've gotten several jobs in editing and writing (such as editing the text for the MMORPG Dungeons & Dragons: Stormreach!)

I follow the blogs of Writer Beware! and QueryTracker, and have found both some of the best resources for information and advice on the business of writing.

There are two important pieces of advice I can offer.  One is to read everything you can get your hands on:  fiction to enjoy and study, blogs, books, and articles about both the craft and business of writing, and each other - with heart and mind to help one another.  That leads me to the second piece of advice: be part of the greater community.  There are some wonderful communities for writers out there, and we should seek them out and put our positive energy into them; it really does get returned exponentially.  Science fiction, fantasy, horror, speculative… our niche has one of the most amazing communities of fandom.  If possible, get to know the community online - or in one of the hundreds, thousands, of conventions across the world.  Being involved in the community - and sharing my active reading within the community - have been the two most important parts of making my career happen.

7. What writers inspired you to become an author?

I wanted to be an author for as long as I remember, so you could really date things back to Dr. Seuss, Judy Blume, whoever wrote those many Classic Children's Stories that my mother read me… and Jane Yolen and Ruth Sanderson are in my childhood collection.  I have always been a voracious reader, but one of the key persons who showed me how amazing writing could be was Madeleine L'Engle, who I discovered at 11 with A Swiftly Tilting Planet (kudos to the person who decided to throw a unicorn on the cover!)  From there, I found even more SF & F lit, like The Last Unicorn, and eventually the pulp series of DragonLance and Forgotten Realms and other Dungeons & Dragons-Lord-of-the-Rings-esque stories.  (Though, I never read LOTR until college.)  Currently, I'm a huge fan of Neil Gaiman for the same reason I loved L'Engle: the breadth of each work.  Gaiman also works in multiple media, which I also want to do.  Besides Big Names, there are many colleagues who inspire me to no end, particularly members of Broad Universe, who write mind-blowingly amazing work and are Real People I have gotten to know on a regular basis - like the other women featured in this blog series.  I've read a lot of their work and just love it!

8. Any special appearances or events coming up that you want to mention?

Not in April; it's my birthday month - along with about 20 of my closest friends and family.  However, in May, look out for the release of Bad-Ass Faeries 3: In All Their Glory at Balticon, and my poem in Eye on Life Poetry Locksmith.  I'll be at the following conventions:  Wiscon, Readercon, Pi-Con, and Dragon*Con… and I'm considering World Fantasy.  On June 12, there's a Massachusetts release party for Bad-Ass Faeries 3, at Generations Herbal Apothecary and Gift Shop. My good friend who through the successful MA release party is holding it again.

Lastly, thank you Jaleta for organizing this blogging event - and to all of the wonderful Broad Universe authors who are taking part!

And for all you readers who made it this far, don't forget to comment. One lucky commenter will get a free copy of my book Nexus Point. For the rest, use download code TF69P to order the ebook for only $2.99 at

Thursday, April 1, 2010

For anyone joining the book blog tour...

Just for reading the posts and joining in the tour, I'm offering a coupon for 40% off the ebook price of my book. Get an immediate download of Nexus Point (in any ebook format) for just $2.99 during the next two weeks! Use coupon TF69P

Or if you order through my site from me, you can buy a print copy for only $15 and free shipping, now through April 21. I'll even personalize it for you.

Thursday Recipe and Blog Tour Schedule

Yep, it's Thursday and that means recipe day. Now to decide what deliciousness to share...

Meanwhile, I have a blog tour scheduled next week. New author interview every day. Anyone who posts a comment is automatically entered in a contest to win a free ebook copy of my novel. If I get enough comments, I may add a real print copy to the pot. Or chocolate. How about a chocolate rat on a stick? (Our April Fools Day joke of the day was chocolate rats for school teachers.)

Here's the schedule for my tour:
Monday April 5 - Trisha Wooldridge
Tuesday April 6 - Lynn Flewelling
Wednesday April 7 - Brenna Lyons
Thursday April 8 - Tracy Morris
Friday April 9 - Kaz Augustin
Saturday April 10 - Pauline Baird Jones

Great women and great authors! Check out their blogs and their books. Links will be posted with each interview.

Now for the recipe:

Easy and Quick Cookies

1 stick of butter, softened
2 eggs
1 box vanilla cake mix
Add-ins (1/2 c of any or all): white chocolate chips, chocolate chips, craisins, macadamia nuts, shredded coconut, dried cherries, dried blueberries, chopped almonds, chopped pecans

Mix together. Add whatever add-ins you want. Dough will be sticky. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto greased cookie sheets. Bake at 375° for 9 - 12 minutes, until set. Let cool on sheet. Makes about 3 - 4 dozen.