Thursday, January 31, 2013

To Dance in Liradon

Today's special guest is Adrienne Clarke. She says, "I think I became a writer because the world inside my head was so real and vivid, sometimes more so than the outside world. In some sense I have lived parallel lives, present in my real and imaginary lives in different ways. Because much of my childhood was spent searching for faeries or reading about them, it is natural that my work encompasses fairy tale themes and other magical elements. In the words of Tennessee Williams, forget reality, give me magic!"

Adrienne has previously published short stories in The Storyteller, Beginnings Magazine, New Plains Review, and in the e-zines A Fly in Amber, Grim Graffiti, Les Bonnes Fees, The Altruist, The Devilfish Review, and Rose Red Review. Her short story, Falling was awarded second place in the 2008 Alice Munro short fiction contest. To Dance in Liradon is her first published novel.

An avid reader of fairy tales and other magical stories, a thread of the mysterious or unexpected runs through all of her work. When she’s not writing Adrienne can be found searching for faeries along with her daughters Callista and Juliet.


How did you come up with the plot for To Dance in Liradon?

The story for To Dance in Liradon has been with me for a long time. I have a shared passion for fairy tales and Celtic mythology, and I knew I wanted to write a book that drew on the magic and romance of both. I’ve always loved stories about the Irish Tuatha De Danann, tall, beautiful, proud and amoral, who have a propensity for falling in love with humans. To Dance in Liradon explores what happens when the human and Faerie worlds collide.

What special challenges were presented in developing a totally new world for the book? Are there special rules for books on faeries, themes that resonate through all such books, or is each author free to develop their own world?

I think the challenge for any fantasy writer is to create a world that is believable and compelling. Whether it be a thriving urban metropolis, an alternate steampunk reality, or an enchanted kingdom long ago and far away – you want to take the reader on a journey they’ll never forget. I’m not aware of any special rules for books on fairies, and even if there were I wouldn’t follow them. I don’t believe that any author’s imagination should be subject to arbitrary rules or guidelines. That being said I was definitely inspired by the large body of Irish faerie lore and superstition when creating my own work, particularly fairy changeling stories and the Celtic fairy tale Etain and Midir.

Why did you select your particular genre to write in?

I’ve always been drawn to the passion and idealism that for me is the very essence of YA literature. Young adulthood is a time of almost limitless hope: The conviction that we can do anything, feel everything, be with anyone. Nothing is beyond our reach.
Of course the teenage years can also be a time of tremendous doubt and insecurity, but it’s this juxtaposition of fear and idealism that makes YA literature so compelling. I think that’s one of treasons YA has become so popular with older adults as well as teens. Although we often associate issues of first love and identity with teens, the feelings associated with these universal themes resonate with many of us at any age.

Do you have a process for developing your characters?

I don’t really have a process for developing characters. I just seem to start dreaming about them and then do my best to bring them to life on the page. When it comes to imaging what a character might look like I’m often inspired by fantasy art and photography.

What books or authors do you enjoy reading?

This is always a difficult question because I love all different kinds of books for different reasons. I enjoy fantasy, literary fiction, gothic, historical, mysteries, even a dash of horror depending on my mood. My list of authors is too long to name them all, but some of my favourites are Kazuo Ishiguro, Juliet Marillier, Patricia McKillip, Neil Gaiman, Alice Munro, Martine Leavitt, and Emily Bronte. A very eclectic list.

What was your path to publication like?

My path to publication was difficult – it’s still difficult. The process of querying agents and editors about your work is very time consuming and it requires a lot of perseverance. When people ask me for advice about finding a publisher I always say the same thing. Don’t give up!
What would you like readers of this blog to know about you?

I would like readers to know that, for me, the best part of being a writer is connecting with readers. Writing can be lonely so when I have the opportunity to talk to a reader about what they thought about one of my stories it’s really just a moment of pure happiness. So if any of your readers do decide to read To Dance in Liradon I hope they’ll connect with me on Facebook, Goodreads, my website, anywhere! 


Seventeen-year-old Brigid O'Flynn is an outcast. A chance encounter with the Faerie Queen left her tainted in the eyes of the villagers, who blame the Faerie for the village’s missing women and children. Desperate to win the village’s acceptance, Brigid agrees to marry her childhood friend: Serious, hardworking, Connell Mackenna. But when Connell disappears before their wedding, Brigid's hopes are shattered. Blamed for her fiancé’s death, Brigid fears she will suffer the same fate as the other village outcasts, the mysterious Willow Women. Lured into Faerie by their inhuman lovers, and cast out weak and broken, the Willow Women spend their lives searching for the way back into Faerie. When Connell suddenly reappears, Brigid is overjoyed, but everything is not as it seems. Consumed by his desire for beauty and celebration, Connell abandons his responsibilities, and Brigid soon finds herself drawn into a passionate, dangerous world of two.

When Brigid discovers the truth behind Connell's transformation she’s forced to choose between two men and two worlds. Brigid’s struggle leads her into glittering, ruthless Faerie, where she must rescue her true love from a terrible sacrifice or lose him forever.


Connell was waiting for her when she arrived. He took her hand without speaking and led her into the forest. Once they were safely inside the trees’ protection, Connell removed something from the heavy cloth sack he wore around his waist tied with a silken cord. It was a harp, the most beautiful instrument Brigid had ever seen. The tuning pegs looked to be made of gold and the strings of pure silver. When Connell touched them with his fingers, the music made her want to weep and sleep and laugh, all at the same time. She reached out to touch it, but Connell snatched her hand away.

“Forgive me, my love, but I cannot let you have it. As pretty as it is, it would burn your delicate fingers.”

“Why should it burn me and not you?” She thought it would be worth the risk to run her hands along the deep U of the harp’s neck.

“‘Tis no ordinary harp. It will only endure the touch of its owner.”

“How did you come to have it?” 
Connell brushed his fingers gently across the strings. “It was given to me as a gift.”

“By whom?” Brigid asked, bewildered. There was no one in the village save for the lord himself who could afford such an instrument.

Connell leaned towards her. “‘Tis a secret.”

“If I am to be your wife, there must be no secrets between us.”

Connell seized Brigid’s hands and pulled her towards him. “I am not myself,” he whispered in her ear.


Adrienne will be awarding winner's choice of a Kindle touch, Nook Simple Touch, or a $100 Apple gift card, and one crystal Faerie necklace similar to what Brigid wore to the Faerie ball to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour.

Follow the tour and comment; the more you comment, the better your chances of winning. The tour dates can be found here:

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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Revenge of the Mad Scientist

Today's special guest is Lara Nance. Lara grew up and lived in many cities throughout the South. She loves to write in a variety of genres, but the basis of all of her stories is a great tale that will take you on an adventure of imagination.

If you want to escape and lose yourself in a novel, you've come to the right place. Choose your genre and settle in to be entertained. From thrilling mysteries and steampunk tales, to paranormal romance and adventure, she's willing to explore a variety of compelling stories full of danger and suspense, along with a touch of romance.

Having been on the fencing team in college and now living on a sailboat convinces her that she was a pirate in another life, or possibly kin to Errol Flynn… However, due to the unfortunate demise of the romantic pirates of the past, she lives out her fantasies, thrills and adventures in her stories. Lara loves to weave interesting true historical tidbits into her fiction which invite the reader to explore further after the novel is finished.

Currently docked in Norfolk, Virginia (until the wind changes) Lara enjoys living on her sailboat and spends time reading, of course writing, indulging a variety of artistic endeavors, cooking and sailing with her husband, Joe and their Yorkie, Rio.


When Lady Arabella Trunkett’s father, the High Lord Minister of Urbannia is kidnapped, all clues point to the mysterious country of Gandiss and the world is thrown into political upheaval.

Arabella is convinced the more sinister nation of Carabarras is to blame, urged on by a mad scientist seeking revenge. So, she sets out on a perilous airship journey across a variety of exotic locales to save him, and halt the potential world war.

But airship pirates, secret assassins and slave traders aren’t her only trials. The fickle hand of fate has made the captain of the only airship available for charter, the man who left her at the altar. For eight years she's wished him dead. Now he's her only hope. 


Another scream sounded and then another. A group of people blocked her view and she didn’t hesitate in pushing them aside. She gasped when she reached a body sprawled on the floor and noted a trail of red blood tracking from a side room. She recognized the injured man as Conrad Bellows, her father’s assistant. Horrified, her champagne glass slipped from her fingers and shattered on the marble.

She pushed another man out of her way. What the hell was wrong with everyone standing around like statues while a man needed help? She knelt at Conrad's side. A knife protruded from his back but when she put her fingers on his neck she found him still alive, thank God. He struggled to his side and blinked as he looked up at her.

“Gone,” he whispered. “So…sorry, My Lady…gone.”
“Who is gone, Conrad?” She put a hand on his shoulder as panic shot through her.

“You’re, fa, fa, father…they took him.”

“What? Who took him?”

“Ahh, all in black, don’t know…” He closed his eyes and then slumped on the floor, unconscious.

Belle sucked in a sharp breath. She jumped to her feet and spun around. “Someone call for a doctor and help Mr. Bellows. Where’s my father?”


Lara will be awarding an autographed original map of Arabella's steampunk world to a randomly drawn commenter at each stop, and a $50 Amazon gift card and an original steampunk necklace to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour.  Also a steampunk necklace will be awarded to a randomly drawn host.

If you sign up for her newsletter on her website from Jan 29 - Feb 3, you will be entered for an autographed copy of her book as well as an original steampunk necklace.

Follow the tour and comment; the more you comment, the better your chances of winning. The tour dates can be found here:

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Monday, January 28, 2013

Love of Shadows

Today's special guest is Zoe Brooks, a British writer and poet, who spends half her life in a partly restored old farmhouse in the Czech Republic, where she writes all her novels and poetry. She aims to write popular books, which have complex characters and themes that get under the reader's skin.

Zoe was a successful published poet in her teens and twenties, (featuring in the Grandchildren of Albion anthology). Girl In The Glass - the first novel in a trilogy about the woman and healer Anya was published on Amazon in March 2012, followed by Mother of Wolves and Love of Shadows. In May 2012 she published her long poem for voices Fool's Paradise as an ebook on Amazon.


Did any real life situations inspire or influence the plot of Love of Shadows?

In terms of my own life the first book in the trilogy was written as a close friend and a personal mentor was dying of cancer, so Judith's grief at the opening of the book for her dead mistress was very much drawn from my own experience of how raw one can be and how angry. I worked for many years with people who have been disadvantaged and experiencing prejudice: people with mental health problems, refugees, the homeless, abused women. Fighting prejudice is at the heart of the book. Judith says somewhere that she doesn't believe in altruism, that we do this work because we need to. The same is true for me. Would I have the same courage as Judith? I very much doubt it.

The story of the suppression of women healers is inspired by history. Between the 14th and 17th centuries in Europe thousands of women were killed as witches. Anti-witch books even suggested that the worst witches were those who worked for good - perversely curing someone was proof that you were in league with the devil. We do not know how many women died in this period nor do we know how much wisdom of cures was lost. Knowledge of healing plants is still being lost all over the world as habitats and indigenous cultures are destroyed.

How did you become interested in this particular genre?

About a year ago I went to a fantasy conference and was describing what I wrote to a fellow author. "Oh, you write magic realism," he said. I had never heard of it, so when I got home I looked it up on Wikipedia and discovered that not only did I write it but I read it too. In fact I had been enjoying it for years. One Hundred Years Of Solitude  and The Master and Margarita had a huge impact on me when I was younger.

Magic realism has a basically realistic world, but with an element of magic or fantasy, which is treated as normal and isn't explained. I am still exploring magic realism. I have set myself the challenge of reading and reviewing fifty books a year; you can follow my progress on I'm loving it. You can find magic realism in books of different genres. It doesn't have to be conventional fantasy books - Alice Hoffman uses it to tackle serious issues in a contemporary setting, as in The Story Sisters. There's quite a tradition of writers using magic realism to explore women's stories and that really appeals to me. Angela Carter's Nights at the Circus is a favourite of mine. My books are set in an unspecified world and time, which I hope gives them a universality. The world is very realistic (I've used my training as a historian) but then there are the Shadows.

How do you develop the characters in your books?

I have been making up stories ever since I was a very little girl; they have been as much a way of understanding the world and people around me as a way of escape. I can trace Judith's roots back to a comic I read when I was about five years old. I used to make up what would happen in the next episode. After I stopped reading the comic I carried on making up stories about this girl and as I matured so did she.

Judith is drawn from all sorts of women I have met over the years, including some very dear to me. She is partly inspired by the women I met in my work. I was humbled to hear stories of their suffering, endurance and bravery. I wanted to understand what they had been through, so I made up stories in my head and out of these came Judith. I have always said that Judith is not me, and she isn't.

All my novels to-date have had a strong complex heroine, which I suppose is inevitable seeing that I am a woman. In Mother of Wolves, the central character, Lupa, is in many ways very unlike Judith. The thing they have in common is that they are survivors and outsiders.

I really enjoyed creating Sarah. As a Shadow she was born without emotions, one might say she is autistic, but in this book we see how she has learned to understand people. She was partly influenced by a family member and also by people I had met through my work. I was very keen to show that the prejudice against people like Sarah underestimates what they have to offer. Ironically I have had a few people say that Sarah reminds them of me, although I'm not quite sure what to make of that.

What are you working on next?

I am already half way through writing the first draft of the final book in The Healer's Shadow Trilogy. Once more we will follow the healer Judith. At the same time I am playing with the idea for a paranormal mystery set somewhere in Central Europe in the present day.

Is there anything you'd like readers to know about you?

I'm a pretty boring person really. One interesting thing about me is that I spend approximately half my year in a semi-restored farmhouse in the Czech Republic, where I write all my books. I fell in love with the Czech Republic twenty years ago. It's the country of fairytales: old castles, deep forests and old wooden cottages. I loved fairytales as a child and I still do. In a way Judith's story is an adult fairytale, so it's not surprising that I wrote the book there.


"I had always felt most alive, when I was healing. Without healing I was a tin top spinning out of kilter soon to catch the ground. It took all my energy to hold myself from skidding into chaos."

But in the city of Pharsis traditional women healers are banned from practising and the penalty for breaking the law is death by hanging. After being arrested and interrogated twice Judith is careful to avoid suspicion, but then scarlet fever breaks over the city like a poisonous wave, leaving in its wake the small corpses of children. What will the young healer do?

Love of Shadows is the second novel in The Healer's Shadow trilogy, which began with Girl in the Glass, and follows the lives of Judith and her Shadow, Sarah. It is a study in grief, love and defiance.


“Peter,” I say. “I don’t think I’ve changed that dressing for a while.”

The rumble is growing to thunder and there are voices.

I pick up a clean dressing and a pot of ointment from the shelves and walk across the room.

As I bend over the bed, I try not to think of the light of flames moving along the house walls of the square. I try not to see the look of hatred on the faces of the torchbearers. I try not to listen. I try to focus only on Peter and my hand as it peels back the dressing. I try not to listen to the clamour.

Under my breath I say a prayer: “Angels who are blessed, take this darkness from me.”

And the darkness does clear, for a while. The wound is healing, so I apply some ointment to keep it clean and pick up the new dressing.

They are overhead now. There is no escaping the words, the room almost shakes with them: “Burn the witch! Death to the witch!”

My legs fail me and I slip to my knees. I am in the darkest of my nightmares, darkness shot through with flames. “Sarah, they are coming.”


Zoe will be awarding a $25 Amazon gift card to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour.

Follow the tour and comment; the more you comment, the better your chances of winning. The tour dates can be found here:

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Friday, January 25, 2013

The British are Coming!

Today's special guest is Marni Graff, the author of the Nora Tierney mystery series, set in the UK. The Blue Virgin is set in Oxford and introduces Nora, an American writer, as she involves herself in a murder investigation to clear her best friend, who has been wrongfully accused of murdering her partner. The Green Remains follows Nora to the Lake District where she’s awaiting two firsts: the publication of her children’s book and the birth of her child. When she stumbles across a dead body at the edge of Lake Windermere, England’s largest lake, Nora sets into motion a series of events that will have consequences for herself and those she’s come to love.

Graff is also co-author of Writing in a Changing World, a primer on selecting and being a part of a supportive writing group, as well as helpful critique techniques for many genres. She writes a weekly mystery review at Graff’s history includes working on movie and television scripts and providing onset medical consultation through her nursing background. For seven years she conducted interviews and wrote feature articles for Mystery Scene magazine.

A member of Sisters in Crime, Graff runs the NC Writers Read program in Belhaven. She has also published poetry, and her creative nonfiction has most recently appeared in Southern Women’s Review. Her books can be bought at or at

We hope you'll stop by and meet her in person at Book 'Em North Carolina on Saturday, February 23!


I’m an admitted Anglophile and my reading list is heavily tilted towards UK authors. Early readings of Christie, Sayers, Marsh, Tey and P. D. James were a heavy influence on my writing, but I’ve continued to read mysteries set in the UK with great delight. They are frequently featured on my weekly crime review blog ( to bring new readers to these authors. A few of my favorite writers these days are: Michael Robotham, Mark Billingham, Peter Robinson, Barry Maitland, Denise Mina, Susan Hill, Graham Hurley, Mo Hayder, John Harvey, Stephen Booth, S. J. Bolton, Rosamund Lupton, Ian Rankin, and Val McDermid. Unfamiliar with them? Check them out!
There’s something about the enigma of a true mystery I find captivating, especially when it’s combined with the psychology of the characters. My mysteries, to this point at least, have not revolved around sociopaths or psychopaths, the genesis of serial murderers, but feature normal people who cross the line to murder. What motivates them to make this move fascinates me as a writer; and if I can give my readers a decent puzzle as they try to figure out the culprit, so much the better.
While honing my fiction writing skills, I interviewed many of my favorite mystery writers for Mystery Review magazine. Meeting with and learning from writers I enjoyed reading, such as Val McDermid, Ian Rankin, Deborah Crombie, and my hero, P. D. James, went a long way to helping me get my wiring chops. When I decided I was ready to write my first mystery series, I knew it would be set in England. I’ve traveled there extensively and several areas beckoned for settings. So although my protagonist is an American children’s book writer from Connecticut, Nora Tierney lives and works in the UK.
This means that I try very hard to keep a British accent in my ear when writing dialogue for most of the characters. Brit slang appears, too, and while Nora has appropriated some words in common usage just from living there, she still has a distinctly American twang to her own dialogue. Good email contacts and friends I’ve developed allow me to find answers to questions that Google just can’t supply. And I’ve found that many policemen are willing to answer my questions via email when I dangle a mention in my Acknowledgments page.
After studying Gothic Literature at Exeter in Oxford, (think Wilkie Collins and Du Maurier) I knew that ancient town had to be the setting for my first Nora Tierney mystery. Oxford is the city of Inspector Morse, a mix of town and gown filled with the many colleges that make up Oxford University. While my books are set in contemporary times, this small but exuberant town provided the perfect backdrop to murder.
The Blue Virgin introduces Nora to readers, as she’s packing up for a move to Cumbria to work with illustrator Simon Ramsey on her first children’s book. But she quickly becomes waylaid by events when her best friend, artist Val Rogan, is accused of murdering her partner. Nora swings into action to clear Val, to the chagrin of Simon and of Declan Barnes, the DCI on the case. And did I mention she’s three months pregnant by her dead fiancé?
Nora doesn’t hesitate to fabricate ways to get information, drawing on her journalistic background. There will be more deaths, and Nora will find herself in jeopardy before the case is solved.
In the second book in the series, The Green Remains, Nora has moved to the magical land of Wordsworth and Beatrix Potter, filled with England’s highest peaks and loveliest lakes, including its largest, Windermere, which is where Nora will make her home for the next year. She’s living at Ramsey Lodge with Simon and his sister, Kate, awaiting the publication of her first children’s book and the birth of her child, a boy she will raise alone.
On her morning walk along Bowness Bay, Nora stumbles over the body of the heir to Clarendon Hall. Keith Clarendon was Nora’s reason for meeting Simon and moving to the Lake District; she gets involved in the investigation when it’s decided Keith was murdered. When Simon falls under suspicion, she doesn’t hesitate to explore for the real murderer, despite being heavily pregnant. Unfortunately, Kate’s lover, Ian Travers, is the local CID man assigned to the case. Complications abound, as Nora tries to unmask a wily murderer as the bodies start to pile up.
My books are written in a classical English mystery style, complete with a Cast of Characters listing and chapter epigraphs. For the third book, which is in progress, the epigraphs will all be lines from the play Blithe Spirit, which necessitated getting permission from Noel Coward’s estate. In The Scarlet Wench, the action revolves around a theatre troupe staying at Ramsey Lodge to put on the play; a series of escalating pranks lead to murder.
I have a second mystery series, set in Manhattan and revolving around nurse Trudy Genova, who has my favorite job from my nursing career: as a medical advisor to television, soap operas and films shot in the Big Apple. Death Unscripted is making editors’ rounds through my New York agent.
But my heart is drawn to England, and this August I’ll be able to travel there again. I’ve received a Regional Arts Grant to attend St. Hilda’s Crime Conference, and will stay on to do research in Scotland, Bath and maybe Cornwall. You never know where Nora Tierney will turn up next.


Nora rounded the corner of Bowness Bay; her gaze flitted across the shallow water along the pebbly shore. A few yards ahead, the tip of an overturned green scull caught her attention; it was wobbling up and down at the stony shore, disturbing its neatness.
            As she came abreast of the scull, the next slopping wave nudged it higher onto the pebbly shingle. Without pausing, Nora left the path and reached out to pull on the scull’s tip to keep it on shore. Someone would be looking for it later today. She was surprised when it barely budged, and she heaved harder, throwing her small frame into the effort. It must be filled with sand and water, she thought, and tugged harder. There was a sucking sound, and suddenly the scull slid up the bank, knocking Nora off balance and onto her knees on the damp sand. She was abruptly opposite the swollen, glassy-eyed face of a very dead man, partially covered in muck. He lay curled on his side, half-hidden by the scull. There was a greenish cast to his skin, mottled with gouges and missing pieces of flesh. His swollen, purple lips grinned grotesquely at her; one eye socket was empty. The distorted features shifted with the next wave.
            Nora’s stomach roiled, and her breakfast threatened to come back up. She sucked in air and gasped. Then she heard her own screams echoing across the water as she realized the dead man was someone she knew.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Highland Quest

Our special guest today is B.J.Scott. With a passion for historical romance, history in general, and anything Celtic, B.J. always has an exciting work in progress. Each story offers a blend of romance, adventure, suspense, and, where appropriate, a dab of comic relief. Carefully researched historical facts are woven into each manuscript, providing a backdrop from which steamy romance, gripping plots, and vivid characters—dashing alpha heroes and resourceful, beguiling heroines you can’t help but admire—spring to life. A member of RWA, World Romance Writers, Celtic Hearts Romance Writers, and Savvy Authors, B.J. also writes contemporary, paranormal, time travel, and romantic suspense.

C.S. Lewis first captivated B. J.’s imagination in the fourth grade, and her desire to write sprang from there. Following a career in nursing and child and youth work, B.J. married her knight-in-shining-armor, and he whisked her away to his castle by the sea. In reality, they share their century-old home in a small Canadian town on the shore of Lake Erie with three dogs and a cat. When she is not working at her childcare job, on her small business, or writing, you will find her reading, camping, or antique hunting.


Where does the book Highland Quest take place? Did you do research into that region or do you have firsthand knowledge of the area?

Highland Quest takes place in medieval Scotland (1307) As with any book set in another time period of area of the world research it essential to set the stage for the book to take place. A lot changes in several hundred years and you want the book setting to be as accurate as possible. While I have never been to Scotland, I do hope to visit some day.

Were there special considerations you had to make to have a book in that era?

Historical settings, customs, speech, clothing etc all need to be taken into consideration when penning a book set in the past. Readers of historical romance are often well versed in the era and expect the book to depict the time period.

How did you get the idea for the book?

I know it sounds cliché, but the ideas for my books just come to me. Never know when the muse will strike so always have pen and pad ready. I have a passion for this time period, anything Celtic or Scottish. They are my favorite books to read, so coming up with a story set during this time period was a natural choice for me. Highland Quest is the sequel to Highland Legacy. While both books were written to stand alone, Highland Quest picks up where the first book left off, so it was easier to come up with the story line once the characters were established in the first book. I was careful to pick a time where there were consecutive battles, spaced strategically apart that could carry one book into the next.

Are the main characters modeled after anyone you know? Do you have tricks or tips you use to develop your characters?

Not really. I set out my story line and my characters just kind of appear and fall into place. Nothing is set in stone until the book is done so you never know who might show up and where. I have a basic idea of what the characters are like, often look for a picture that I think resembles them physically, or at least how I envision they would look. They take on a life of their own from there.

I love the cover! Can you give us some insight into how the elements on the cover fit into the plot?

While I would love to take credit for my covers, they are both the work of Rae Monet, the cover artist hired by my editor. We submit a wish list so to speak when the book is done, telling her what we would like and how we see the characters, but the final decision is made between the editor and cover artist. I didn’t even get to see it until it was finished. We are shown the completed cover and if there is something we really don’t like can ask for changes, but that seldom happens. If you look at both my covers they have a similar theme going. We have the hero in the foreground, the Scottish landscape in the back ground and the presence of the heroine, watching over the hero through bewitching eyes. The cover is done in layers which could be considered symbolic of the layers of emotion, mystique and events that unfold in each book.


No longer content in the shadows of his older brothers and on a quest to find his destiny, Bryce Fraser's chosen path is fraught with danger, passion, and decisions. Can his unspoken love for spirited, beguiling Fallon be triumphant in a time of war and uncertainty, or will they both fall prey to the devious plans of a traitorous laird from a rival clan?


Loch Ryan Scotland, 1307

“Wa . . . water,” Bryce mumbled, but there was no one there to listen.

 His throat was parched and he ran his tongue over dry, cracked lips, but his action offered no relief. An entire loch lay only a few feet away, but he couldn’t muster the strength to drag himself to the bank and quench his thirst.

“Cold . . . so cold.”

 Despite the sun beating down on him, he’d swear he was encased in ice. His life’s blood seeped from his wounds, soaking the ground beneath him. He tried to raise his head, but the excruciating pain radiating across his chest stole his breath away.

Was this what it felt like to die? If so, he prayed the Almighty would be merciful and take him now.

Bryce moaned, a shift in his position bringing on another nauseating wave of agony. He sucked in a short, sharp, gulp of air and stretched his arm out as far as he could, his fingers grappling in the dirt.

If only I could reach my sword.

Beads of perspiration dampened his brow. As the strength slowly drained from his body, drawing a simple breath became more difficult. The end grew near. No time to make amends for sins of the past, and he had committed his share.

Regrets? He had those, too. “Fallon.” He whispered her name then heaved a ragged sigh.


The author will award gifts of swag (including a canvas tote bag, a mouse pad, a pen, book thong, bookmark, can cooler, magnet, and key chain -- US/Canada only) to randomly drawn commenters from this tour and her Virtual Book Tour, and a grand prize of one $50 Amazon GC to one randomly drawn commenter from this tour and her Super Book Blast.

Follow the tour and comment; the more you comment, the better your chances of winning. The tour dates can be found here:

Monday, January 14, 2013

Captured Lies

Today's special guest is Maggie Thom. Maggie made the hard decision to leave her successful, twenty year career in management, to write full time. The leap was easy, the freefall was adventurous and very enlightening. When she’s not running her children around or spending time with her best friend, her husband, she’s writing - anywhere, anytime. Give her five free minutes and you’ll find her busy scribbling down ideas. She lives in the real world but loves to get lost in the lives of her characters - who live, love and laugh and are all figments of her imagination. She is thrilled to release her first novel - Captured Lies - filled with suspense, murder, mystery and romance - available October 2012. She is busy writing her second novel to be released, spring of 2013.


I asked Maggie some questions about her writing. I know you'll enjoy her answers!

How did you come up with the plot for Captured Lies? Was any research involved?
It was one of those situations where a number of things just came together. I am always playing with ideas in my head. I take something normal and then put it in an impossible situation. For Captured Lies, a plane flew overhead and I started wondering what if it crashed. What if someone survived it? What if they wanted to hide their past? Then I heard about a kidnapping of a child by a family member and I thought, what if it had been a baby? What if that baby was the one to survive the crash? What would happen to that infant? How would that person ever learn his or her true identity? I had wanted this baby to be able to vanish, so I had to find out about airplane flights and did they register babies on the manifest, 30 years ago. It was interesting research, finding someone who had some answers.

Do you have a process for developing your characters?
When I'm plotting out my book and looking at the situations that will happen, I look at who are the characters needed to make that scene believable. What is unique, special about each of them and then I figure out their back story. Sometimes I start with their name - to me names have a persona, so I have to find one that fits with the character I want to develop. And sometimes I start with looking at who they are - good or bad in the book and what has made them act the way they do - what home life did they have, what kind of childhood, what do they do for work, wealthy or poor, trauma's in their lives, etc. I often go through a series of questions, which varies depending on the character, to figure out who that person is. I try to learn whatever is relevant, for me to know that individual well enough, to be able to put them in different situations and know how they'd react.

Why did you select your particular genre to write in?
I love reading books that have elements of suspense/murder/mystery/romance/women's fiction/espionage. It really was a process to get to this genre. I've written romances, I've written children's stories, young adult stories and I really got to a point where I wanted to write a book like the ones I like to read. So I started a new novel and made the suspense, murder, mystery, the main part of it with a bit of romance added in. Captured Lies was the story that I ended up with.

What books or authors do you enjoy reading?
A few authors I like, are: Robert Ludlum, Sandra Brown, Stephen R. Donaldson, James Patterson, JR Tolkien, Terry Brooks, Ann McCaffrey
Some new authors, I like are: Virginia McKevitt, David M. Brown, Pauline C. Gordon, Diane Mae Robinson
Books that I enjoyed reading: Thomas Covenant - White Gold Wielder, The Bourne Identity, The Switch, The Hobbit, Lord of the Rings, The Reef

What was your path to publication like?
Long and arduous but adventurous. I've been writing pretty much all my life but it's really only been the last 15 years that I have seriously pursued it. I have actually written several novels, a few I sent off to publishers and then waited and waited and waited. Then I got the rejection letters. Cried a bit. Stopped writing for a short period of time. Dusted myself off and then started over with another novel. Captured Lies is my first published novel. My next one, Tainted Waters will be published spring 2013.

What would you like readers of this blog to know about you?
If I have a choice of going to the city or going to the mountains, I will always choose the mountains.

She was kidnapped not once but twice and now someone wants her dead because of it....

Her life was a lie!

Bailey knew her upbringing wasn’t normal but she’s worked hard to stabilize her life. At 29, she finally has a good business, a stable home; her life is miles from that of her childhood. Then suddenly her mother dies, leaving a gaping hole and a discovery that they may not even be related. If Guy, the private investigator is to be believed, her life is a lie. Using the skills she learned on the streets, Bailey travels back through a sketchy and dangerous past, to find answers. Dodging bullets, staying ahead of those who want her dead and convincing Guy she can do it alone, are making it difficult to discover not only the secrets of her mother’s past but that of a family claiming she is theirs.

Everyone seems to have a story... but who’s telling the truth? And who wants her dead? Is Guy part of the solution? Or part of the problem? To discover the facts, she’ll have to untangle a web of deceit, lies, and secrets, dating back over thirty years.

But can she do it in time.....

Her door was yanked open. She jerked sideways, her arm coming up to shield herself, her foot lifting to lash out. Before she could make contact, a body pinned her and a hand reached across her, ripping out the keys. The scream that formed on her lips was swallowed, as she met a steely pair of blue eyes. He moved back but not before redirecting her foot to the floor mat. Her hand instinctively wrapped around the flash drive and slipped it into her pocket. Feeling faint with relief, she slumped back. Her door slammed and her would be thief was soon around the car and opening the passenger side. Sliding into the seat, Guy closed the door, leaned back and glared at her.

Too tired to move, she rolled her head sideways to meet the glower. Neither spoke. She waited him out. After a long period of time, she raised her eyebrows.

He folded his arms across his chest, and turned to look out the window. “Who was the guest at your house?”


“Who was the nice man who was waiting at your home?”

“What were you doing at my mom’s place?”

“Looking for you.”

Since he wasn’t looking at her, she took the time to study him. He definitely had the cute bad boy down pat, all dressed in black, with his black leather coat and his hair looking windblown and falling over one eye. The scruffy beard thing was almost going too far.

Maggie will be awarding winner’s choice of a $20 Amazon or Barnes and Noble gift card to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour, and an autographed ebook copy to a randomly drawn host.

Follow the tour and comment; the more you comment, the better your chances of winning. The tour dates can be found here:

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