Friday, March 29, 2013

British Agents

Today's special guest is MK McClintock, who is a self-described over-worked entrepreneur, baker of decadent desserts and all things chocolate, photographer of beautiful places, and most importantly, a writer.

She dreams of a time when life was simpler, the land rougher, and the journey more rewarding. With her heart deeply rooted in the past and her mind always on adventure, McClintock will always call Montana home.

McClintock is a member of Romance Writers of America, Montana Romance Writers, Hearts Through History Romance Writers, and Women Writing the West.


Why did you choose England as the backdrop for your book? What was it about that region and the 19th century that captivated you?

I’ve always wanted to visit England, but have only been as close as their northern neighbor, Scotland. That hasn’t stopped my fascination with the country, from a historical standpoint. Growing up I wanted to be more English, like most of my ancestors. I would have proper tea parties, speak as they do, and even adopted a few of their customs. I’ve since relaxed some of that behavior, but after years of engraining England into my mind, it seemed like a good fit to base a book there. Now I’m obsessed with Scotland rather than England, but that’s another story.

As for the time period—it’s not present-day. Yes, it doesn’t take much to captivate me with any time period during or before the 19th century. So much chance occurred at the turn of the century, and if I had been there I would have wished to go back a hundred years. If you transported me back in time to the 18th or 19th century, I’d fit in quite nicely.

Was Tristan Sheffield's vocation of finding people who don't want to be found based on anyone you've known? Did you have to research ways in which people could be located long before modern technology?

I don’t know any spies or special agents, but what a wealth of information they would have been! There was a bit of research involved, but basically what it came down to was playing it out. Here’s Tristan and he has a problem to solve—he has to find the bad guys. How does he do that? To answer that question, I simply had to take away all possible methods that involve modern technology. After that, you’re not left with much except for a lot of leg work, letters, and reports. I imagine they weren’t in great moods when they found people.

Will Tristan and Alaina return in future books?

Absolutely! They will both appear in the other British agent novels. I originally didn’t plan on a series, but I enjoyed Charles and Devon so much that I knew they needed their own stories. It pleases me not to have to say goodbye to Tristan and Alaina.

How would you describe your writing style?

Oddly enough, this has been a point of discussion with my editor lately.

Diana Gabaldon described it best: “Writing successfully is a matter of figuring out how your own brain works, and doing that—not trying to adopt someone else’s methods.”

I, like many new authors, are works-in-progress—our styles are still developing. I’m certainly getting closer, but I’m still figuring out my own methods.

What advice would you give to new authors?

This answer ties into question four and Diana’s advice—it’s also a recent lesson learned. I have purchased a dozen or so how-to writing books over the years and guess what—I’ve read only one. The others are in the library donation pile. Reading books about someone else’s writing style (or how they think you should write) isn’t going to help an author develop their own unique style. The only way to do that is to write.

The second piece of advice I have for new authors—find a good editor. Whether you’re self-publishing, or preparing a book for submission to a traditional publisher, you need an editor. Trust me, no matter how much you think you know about editing, or the English language, you don’t (yes, once upon a time that was me too). Agents and publishers alike enjoy tossing poorly edited manuscripts in the “I’m not even going to bother” pile.

Thank you for hosting me! - MK


How far would you go to avenge your family and save the one you love?

In nineteenth-century England, Alaina Claiborne had a loving family, a cherished friend, and devoted servants. She spent her days riding across the grassy hills of the English countryside, joyful and at peace.

Then tragedy strikes and her world is forever changed. Searching for those responsible is her only focus . . . until she meets Tristan.

Tristan Sheffield, a man of many talents, searches out those who don’t want to be found. His past is filled with secrets and deeds he would rather leave deeply buried. However, when his life unexpectedly entwines with Alaina's, he soon discovers they share more than a mutual desire to catch a murderer.

On their hunt for a man driven by greed, Tristan and Alaina find that love is the greatest weapon against evil, and they'll stop at nothing to survive.

Reviews for Alaina Claiborne

Readers of historical fiction and romance will absolutely eat up this first book in the Alaina Claiborne British Agent novels!  It is beautifully written, intriguing, romantic and heat wrenching.  The historical content is worked in well, but it's the conversational content that makes it a magical and rewarding read.  MK McClintock is one to really be watching on the historical romance scene!

This one is a winner. 

It broke my heart several times, the poignant moments she describes are so real.

The primary protagonists, Alaina and Tristan are gorgeous, strong and brilliant characters.  Each has well-developed personalities and psychological make ups.  They blend and work together beautifully as they are bent on their single goal in espionage and revenge.  Their love story is so moving in McClintock's hands...not mushy but ringing so true and honest it pierces the heart.

I particularly love the strength of Alaina that MK gives her.  No matter what the circumstances she encounters, she is brave and noble.  It's wonderful to have a heroine of this caliber in historical romance novels.  I'm looking forward to reading more about her and I hope she inspires others to continue to bring such capable women to the forefront in romance and mystery.

This is an engaging and fast-moving book to read.  One you'll finish before you know it.  The action is steady and swift, and the characters are beguiling and beautiful.

I highly recommend the book and look forward to the series!

5 stars for this historical romance



Mystery isn’t my favorite genre but everyone once in a while I come across one that sounds intriguing. This one definitely is!

Being a mystery it did take me a little longer to read. I really wanted to get in every word, it’s a good book but really because I wanted to see if I could figure out the culprit! And I must say, just as I thought I had it in the bag, and then MK McClintock would pull a fast one! But even though I didn’t figure it out there are small clues so it’s not something that comes completely out of left field. Really great job!

As for the characters, they are great. I really got involved with each one. Alaina is a force to be reckoned with even with her past issues. She doesn’t want to face the night her parents died but it has haunted her very existence from the second it happened. Plus the boy that was also murdered just happened to be the boy she planned and dreamt of marrying. All of that for one child, she just hid. This is not only a mystery but a finding of one’s self after such a tragic incident.

Tristan was, hmmm… as a fictional character, let me just say, he is YUMMY! I love how Alaina and Tristan meet and how she doesn’t bow down to him and with this being in the 1800′s when women still had their “place” it just made the story all that much more interesting! But Tristan really does live up to Alaina’s fiestyness which makes him such a fun character.

The other characters are great and although this is a romance, they don’t fall head of heals in love at first sight. And thank MK McClintock for that!!! I mean seriously! I love it when an author can make the relationship seem reasonable, and this one completely is! There’s also some hot scenes in there, so definitely keep that fire extinguisher nearby!

All in all, if you’re a mystery fan, especially if you like settings in the 1800′s, you’ll go gaga for this one! I cannot wait to read more from M.K. McClintock!

-Nova Reylin/My Seryniti Blog


Across the acres, darkness enveloped another, her surroundings illuminated by the flickering flame of a lamp. Alaina moved around in the attic, searching through trunks of the items that had come from her mother’s cottage in Ireland. It was difficult to see so many memories that reminded her of her parents, but she also found it calmed her. She had avoided these things since they had been delivered years ago, but now her fears became secondary. She hoped that something from her parents’ past would shed light on what was happening in the present.            

Alaina rummaged through a trunk of some of her mother’s clothes, pulling them out and smelling them, hoping for a faint whiff of the soft rose scent her mother used to wear. There was something lingering around the old clothes, and it took Alaina back to a time when she was a little girl. Nevertheless, the memory ended there. She paused for a moment, as if the scent reminded her of something else besides her mother. She subsequently released the memory when she saw the bottom of the trunk was not as deep as it should have been. She pulled out the remaining dress and ran her fingers along the bottom and edges. She next looked on the outside of the trunk. Nearly six inches of extra space remained near the bottom on the inside.
Alaina felt along the inside edges and became excited when she found a gap. Slowly reaching her fingers into the hole, she simultaneously pushed down on the other edge for leverage and surprised herself when the bottom tilted to reveal the extra space beneath. Removing the thin board, she set it aside and gasped when she turned back to the trunk.

“Oh, Mother. What did you do?”


MK will be awarding a $10 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: 

MK McClintock Website:

Press Release: Html Version

Press Release: Pdf Version

Book Links

Amazon Kindle:

Thursday, March 21, 2013

The Elementalist

Today's special guest is Andy Coughlan, a writer and filmmaker from South East England. The Elementalist is his first novel. Andy grew up on a healthy diet of J.R.R. Tolkien and Michael Moorcock, so it's no surprise that his first novel should be a fantasy tome. He’s currently preparing to make a sci-fi film of Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure and plotting out the sequel to The Elementalist.


What time does your book take place? Why did you select that particular era?

The book is set in an alternate version of the late 1700's. So there's no modern technology and the main method of transport is horse or boat. I wanted to write a pirate story as I always loved them as a child, so that very much influenced the period. 

Where does it take place? Why did you choose that specific location?

I invented my own world, an alternative version of Earth. I have a map sketched out in my head out how it all fits together. It very much grew as the story unfolded and I discovered the places that Barin and the Pirates needed to visit. I still think there are plenty of places left to discover.

Weather plays a large role in your book. How did you get interested in using weather as an antagonist and how did you weave it into the storyline?

I've always been fascinated by weather; I'm definitely a weather geek. As the story deals with people messing with "the natural order of things", the weather became a good way to show how things were getting messed up by the antagonist's actions.

The book also deals with the main character's great love - of love lost and love worth fighting for. Would you consider the book as much romance as adventure? Did anything specific inspire you to write a book about a man who must fight for his one true love?

I suppose it is a bit of a romance, with the two main male characters fighting over a woman. Certainly, when I was younger, I used to have somewhat wildly romantic notions, which I don't think I've ever let go of fully! It was one of the many things that just came out while I was writing, there was no premeditation to that aspect of the storyline.

You have a contest going on to win a free Kindle paperwhite. Can you tell us about that and provide a link to where readers can participate in the contest?

As I say, I love the weather and as it plays such a large part in the story I thought it would be fun to have a competition where people share their photos of weird or surreal weather. You can enter the contest at


Barin Elicerio is having a rough time. As an Elementalist he had both the physical and spiritual worlds at his command, but it's all taken away when he's found guilty of crimes he didn't commit.

Just as he's resigned himself to a lonely existence under house arrest, with only his two cats for company, a mysterious storm heralds the arrival of a pirate ship, and a whole heap of trouble for Barin.

When the Pirates tell Barin of mysterious things happening all over the world, the temptation to find out what's causing it all becomes too much, and leaves him running for his life.

Can Barin solve the mysteries, rescue the woman he loves, and save the world, before it's too late?


He drifted forward and inspected the door closely. From the other side, he heard a loud crack and the muffled sound of shouting. He placed his ear to the door. He could make out the sound of a struggle going on. Another loud crack, this time just the other side of the door, caused him to jump back.

He placed a hand on the door and tried to push. The door shifted open a little but slammed shut again. A low guttural growl followed by the sound of something sliding down the door.

He tried the incantation one more time, and the low growl increased in volume. As it did so, it moved away from the door, joined by other growling sounds. He could discern at least three guttural voices, arguing in low bass tones, their words harsh and sharp. Fire Demons? Barin stepped back from the door in surprise. This was not what he expected.

His surprise grew as a fourth voice joined the conversation. A human voice – it was Blissett. Barin strained to hear the conversation. It sounded like Blissett was pleading with them. The sound of another struggle ensued followed by a thunderous roar of fire. The door started to smoke and glow as flames battered the other side.

Barin stood clear just as the door disintegrated and two Fire Demons rocketed past him back up the tunnel, sending him spinning.

Barin steadied himself and turned to see Blissett standing in the smoking doorway. Behind him, an ugly fire demon lay on the floor, seriously injured.

“Barin!” cried Blissett, “Go! It’s a trap!”

Barin brushed the remains of the demolished door from his cloak and glanced back up the tunnel at the receding shapes of the two demons. He turned back to Blissett. “What are you talking about?”

“There are more demons on the way,” Blissett said, “I’ve sent those two out to protect you. Go! Now!”

Barin was bewildered, “But… but…” his mind finally caught up, “Tukes?”

“He’s trying to frame you.”

Read the first chapter online at


The main web site for the book is:

Andy is on various social networking sites:

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Between Amos and Micah

Today's special guest is Alan Oakes, a Graduation Coach and Counselor at a Texas High School.  He is a featured writer for Green Building and Design magazine and a contributor to other magazines including Texas Architect and New American Luxury.  In the past, he served as Associate Pastor of Saint Austin Catholic Church and Director of Catholic Campus Ministry at UCLA.  

Alan holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the William Allen White School of Journalism at the University of Kansas and a Master of Arts degree from the Washington Theological Union in Washington, D.C.


What is it about the Young Adult genre that attracted your attention as an author?

Working nine years with at risk high school students does that to ya!  There is something so in flux with young minds – everything is vivid and in3-D!  It all may be going terrifically right one minute and then come crashing tragically down the next.  A genre of literature focusing on young people can’t help but be interesting. 

Does your book have a message for the reader?

Yes!  So much lousy stuff happens to young people that they have absolutely no control over.  We live in such a brutal world and it is easy to get swept away and be a victim.  But somehow we all have to find the inner strength to dig deep and claim our lives as our own.  And that’s not easy!

Is Ashleigh's character based on anyone you've actually known?

There is no one person out in the world whose life is the template for Ashleigh.  Certainly, young people I have the pleasure to work with have inspired me.  I wanted Ashleigh to embody some common plights I see a lot of young people coping with today.  I suppose I could say there is no one Ashleigh -- there are many!   

How is violence handled in a young adult novel versus a novel for an older audience?

I really struggled with this in this book.  I did a first draft that had more of an edge, including more vivid scenes of violence.  We all know that some of the most violent films and books are favorites for young adult audiences.  So it wasn’t like they would even have a problem necessarily with it at all.  But because I work in a school and I have parents and community members who might have other ideas about what is appropriate for young people to experience, felt I had to find a balance.  But I do find some of it kind of ironic – Julius Caesar is ripped to shreds by his assassins – that’s required reading – and nobody bats an eye! 

Are you originally from Texas? Were the towns of Micah and Amos based on any towns
you've known personally? 

I’m from Chicago originally.  Just a Yankee as my native Texan neighbors say.  In Texas if you go to the outer fringes of the suburbs of any of the major cities, you start running into towns like Amos and Micah – two towns next to each other – one seems to have all the money and the other, looks sorry and sad.  You know, I specifically checked maps to be sure there were no real towns of Micah and Amos in Texas – just so no one would slash my tires! 

What are you working on next?

I just submitted Crossfire to Whiskey Creek Press.  It is a novella that features Ashleigh’s boyfriend Billy and what happens to him about four months after the ending of Between Micah and Amos.  I want to follow the characters around more and make it a series.
Thanks for the great questions!!


Like a flash, the discharge from the gun lit up the inside of the dimly lit, filthy trailer Ashleigh called home. Ashleigh sat curled up on the stained pink carpet next to the pull-out bed in the living area where she slept.  The victim lay dead, slumped against the wall of the trailer.  Ashleigh looked at the motionless body.  She was petrified.

Meet Ashleigh Mae, a seventeen year old high school senior living in the small town of Micah, Texas.  Her boyfriend Billy calls her a wild child.  Her momma is always telling her she makes bad choices.  No matter what, no one really understands her.  

Ashleigh dreams of a life with Billy.  Their love is true, she thinks. When her mother forces them to leave Micah in the middle of the night and move in with her momma’s old boyfriend Casey, on the outskirts of a town called Amos, Ashleigh’s life is torn apart.  

This is her fight to get it back….


Ashleigh loved Billy. The faster she raced down the deserted country road to his singlewide mobile home, the more excited she grew at the prospects of their life together. She just wanted to see him, to hold him, to breathe in his manly aroma. Many times in school, Ashleigh daydreamed of settling down with Billy. They met only a year ago, but it seemed as if they had known each other a lifetime. They would have cute kids. Ashleigh would become a mother and care for her beautiful children. Her children would adore her and need her. She and Billy would buy a house in the new development on the outskirts of Micah—a real house with a real back yard.

            It seemed like no time when Ashleigh arrived at the trailer park where Billy rented his singlewide. The place looked so huge compared to Casey’s trailer, she thought, as she pulled up next to the mobile home. Ashleigh could see there were lights on in the living room and she could hear death metal rock music blaring. I’m gonna surprise his ass, Ashleigh thought. She opened the door to the single-wide. The place wasn’t as dirty as Casey’s but Billy still lived like a boy—dirty clothes strewn about, trash needing to be taken out and everything needed a good scrubbing, but not as bad as Casey’s.

            Ashleigh gleefully snuck up to the door to the bedroom. She couldn’t wait to surprise her handsome man. She would hold him and tell him what hell she’d been through and they would get it on as they never did before.

            She swung open the bedroom door, calling out, “Look honey, I’m home!”

            Before her was Billy on top of some fat chic. Billy stopped and looked her way. He was indeed surprised!

            “Are you serious?!” Ashleigh called out. Impulsively, Ashleigh dove into the bed, fists flying at the other girl. “You ugly slut!” Ashleigh hollered, throwing punches at the girl’s face. 


Alan will be awarding gift cards to three randomly drawn commenters during the tour. The characters are always going to Sonic – so he is giving away gift cards in the names of the main characters: Grand Prize: Billy-sized $25.00 2nd Prize: Manuel-sized: $15.00 3rd Prize: Ashleigh-sized: $10.00 If the winner prefers, they can get either an Amazon or gift card instead of the Sonic card. 

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

To learn more about the author, feel free to go to his website: 

Websites for Between Micah and Amos: 
Publisher Link:

Buy it:
Ebook Amazon:
Paperback Amazon:
Ebook Barnes and Noble:

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Journey to Ireland

Today's special guest is the co-founder of The Book 'Em Foundation and the founder of Book 'Em North Carolina. Many of the followers from this blog know her as "Trish" but her pen name is p.m.terrell, which stands for Patricia McClelland Terrell. Her 15th book has just been published; Dylan's Song takes the reader from Lumberton, North Carolina to Ireland.


Dylan's Song is the fourth book in the Black Swamp Mysteries series. Tell us where the title of the series came from.

My most popular suspense/thriller (at the time) was Exit 22, which takes place off Interstate 95 at Exit 22 in the real town of Lumberton, North Carolina. Readers loved the book so much that I was asked about writing a sequel or a series. When I decided to spin off the book into a series, I knew it had to continue to take place in Lumberton. The black waters of the Lumber River snake through the center of town and there was some talk about naming it the Black Water Mysteries Series but the firm Blackwater (also named after the black waters in these parts) was under investigation and it was decided that we didn't want readers to make a connection between my books and that firm. When the waters recede from heavy rains, they often leave behind black swamps, hence the name.

Why did you choose Lumberton as the backdrop?

I am very inspired by locations here in Lumberton. The downtown area is filled with historic homes, wide streets and trees that overhang the roads as if they're reaching out to one another. There are one-of-a-kind businesses, the parks along the Lumber River, and the Lumber River itself - which turns out to be the perfect place to hide a body.

In Dylan's Song, you make a departure from Lumberton and take the main characters to Ireland. Why Ireland?

In the second book of the series, Vicki's Key, an Irish character was introduced that has turned out to be just about everybody's favorite character. His name is Dylan Maguire and he comes to Lumberton from his native Ireland to assist Laurel Maguire after she suffered a stroke. His past remained a mystery through Vicki's Key and Secrets of a Dangerous Woman. But I knew at some point I would have to tell his story. And the best place to tell it is in Ireland.

Do you have a connection to Ireland?

In a way. My father's ancestors came to America from what is now Northern Ireland (Belfast region) in the 1700's. And their ancestors traced back to both the Irish and the Scots. I began exploring our family history when I wrote Songbirds are Free, about my ancestor Mary Neely, who was captured by Shawnee warriors in 1780 near Fort Nashborough, Tennessee.

My mother's family was traced back to Ireland closer to the southern region, but I don't know as much about that family tree as I do the Neely family.

What are you working on now?

I am working on two series at once. Last year I completed a novel entitled The Tempest Murders, about an Irish detective who moves to Lumberton and works for the police department. He is investigating a string of murders when he discovers the real target is the woman he is falling in love with. Lest you think Ryan O'Clery and Dylan Maguire are similar, think again: their personalities are very, very different. Ryan is an educated man from Dublin, from a family whose history includes generations of law enforcement officers and he can be moody and short-tempered. But the Ryan O'Clery series is also my sexiest series.

Anyway, I am working on the sequel, After the Tempest. I hope both books will be published in 2014 or 2015. My agent is shopping the rights now.

I am also working on the next book in the Black Swamp Mysteries series, The Pendulum Files. In that book, Dylan and Vicki must investigate a string of bombings in which goods heading to the United States are targeted. It begins with the trail of a terrorist - but ends in Washington, DC. This book is already scheduled for release in the spring of 2014.


In Dylan's Song, Dylan Maguire returns to his native Ireland with psychic spy Vicki Boyd. Their mission: to locate and extract a missing CIA agent. But when Dylan receives word that his grandmother is dying, it plunges him into a past that he thought he'd left behind forever. Now he must confront his demons before his past rises up to derail his mission. And as Vicki discovers the real reason he left Ireland for America, she is harboring a secret of her own.

It's the fourth book in the Black Swamp Mysteries series (behind Exit 22, Vicki's Key and Secrets of a Dangerous Woman) and reviewers are saying it's p.m.terrell's best book yet.

Vicki's Key was a 2012 International Book Awards Finalist and 2012 USA Best Book Awards Finalist. Secrets of a Dangerous Woman is an IPPY nominee.

Suspense Magazine says, “p.m.terrell’s writing is powerfully written and masterfully suspenseful; you have to hang on for the ride of your life.” Midwest Book Review says the Black Swamp Mysteries series is “page-turning action, unforgettable characters, breathtaking descriptions and unexpected plot twists.” And syndicated reviewer Marcia Freespirit says the series is “riveting, spell-binding, sexy and intense!”


The bogs were no place to be during the witching hour.
Dylan had grown up with stories of the bogs at night. The ground percolated; it lived and it breathed. There had been many a time when he was harvesting peat in broad daylight that he’d heard a whisper at his ear or felt hot breath on his neck, only to find there was no one near. Now as he rode his horse in silence, he felt that presence tenfold; there were eyes watching them. The intermittent tuffs of heather swayed in the growing storm and he found himself watching them with narrowed eyes, waiting for the plants to morph into sinister creatures that claimed this land after the sun went down.
He knew there was a simple reason why animals were required in lieu of an all-terrain vehicle and he was glad Sam had taken this unique land into consideration when planning the mission. He could feel the hooves beneath him sinking into the spongy earth; a wheeled vehicle wouldn’t have stood a chance, especially as they ventured from the area farmed for its peat to one far less stable.
A mist began; a slow, fine spray that he knew well. One moment the air was still and dry and the next, as though they’d passed through a curtain, the air swirled around them, the moist haze further inhibiting their ability to see. It was said many a man lost his internal compass in the Irish mist; it taunted as it grew into monstrous shapes, turning the landscape into something foreign and active.


The nationwide launch for Dylan's Song will be held at the Carolina Civic Center Historic Theatre in downtown Lumberton, North Carolina on Thursday, March 14, 2013 at 7:00 pm. p.m.terrell will discuss the book and her writings in general. Her talk is followed by a signing of all her books. Admittance is free and open to the public.

How to follow the author:

Facebook: Patricia M. Terrell and p.m.terrell, Author
Twitter: @pmterrell

Monday, March 11, 2013

Michel Prince

Today's special guest is Michel Prince. Michel graduated with a bachelor degree in History and Political Science.  She writes young adult and adult paranormal romance as well as contemporary romance.

With characters yelling "It's my turn damn it!!!" She tries to explain to them that alas, she can only type a hundred and twenty words a minute and they will have wait their turn.  She knows eventually they find their way out of her head and to her fingertips and she looks forward to sharing them with you.

When Michel can suppress the voices in her head she can be found at a scouting event or cheering for her son in a variety of sports.  She would like to thank her family for always being in her corner and especially her husband for supporting her every dream and never letting her give up.

Michel is a member of RWA Pro and Midwest Fiction Writers.  She lives in the Twin Cities with her husband, son, cat and new puppy.

In the annals of dysfunctional families, the Chisholm’s are working their way to the top. Drug abuse, an unwed mother with multiple fathers, and the questionable cash flow for the 'pretty one'.   All this from a seemingly normal, two parent middle class family. But were the choices truly made of their free will?
Bad choices are a Chisholm family trait, one that confounds the youngest child, Ellie, who's trying to separate herself by making smart decisions. And falling for Oscar Jeffreys, the hottest guy at school, would be number one on the list of  Chisholm family disasters.  Yet the crazy part is it’s not a one sided attraction.  Somehow Ellie has caught Oscar Jeffreys’ eye.   Sure she could see the barriers between them.  Race, age, popularity.  They were at opposite ends of the spectrum.  But a demon set to destroy her family? She can't see that.  
Oscar provides security and acceptance Ellie never imagined she deserved.  As the passion of first love grows, Ellie honestly believes she has a chance to beat the odds and live a happy, normal life. Then her world collapses around her. With the help of a guardian angel, Ellie learns of a world that has unknowingly surrounded her for years.  And she'll have to find strength buried deep inside to save not only her future, but flush out and stop the demon in her midst.
And Ellie will have to learn that sometimes the hardest lesson about growing up is accepting that you're worth more. 


The Chisholm family sounds very interesting - and very dysfunctional. How did you develop each of these characters and their flaws? Did you have anyone in real life that their character traits were modeled after? 

I don’t know if I should plead the fifth on this question.  In developing the flaws I had to look at all the mistakes a person could make. The standards are sex, drugs, envy, etc.  Normally you have a family with the one black sheep that people either enable or ostracize.  Instead with the Chisholm’s we have multiple mess-ups in one family.  As far as real people…sadly yes.  Some I’ve met in passing others I had to deal with directly, because as humans we all make mistakes…with the Chisholm’s I just had them not learn from them.

There is a theme with Ellie of someone who believes against all odds; believes in a better life and believes in love. Was she based on anyone in particular? Was it difficult to transition between her dysfunctional family's negativity and Ellie's optimistic attitude? 

I think I tapped into the young me.  That’s the joy of writing YA, when we are younger everything is a possibility.  Although some people might try to tell you no (I had more than a few between teachers, family members and acquaintances) you have to find some thing inside yourself to push through for what you want not what is expected of you.  Anyone can do what’s expected of them…it takes strength to do what you want.  As far as transitioning, part of the reason I call the book Chrysalis is because Oscar really keeps Ellie safe from her family.  Ellie’s family rarely acknowledges her existence in everyday life, but in book two The Beam her family’s dysfunction exists to the point Ellie walks the line of sanity.  It’s not easy to go back and forth between the two because they always make Ellie question what she’d learned to be true.  In the second book she feels like they are watching her every step ready to tell her what she’s done wrong and how she too is a failure. 

I love the premise of the guardian angel. Do you believe in guardian angels? Do you have any stories you can share with us? 

I hope so.  People usually look at a City of Angels type guardian who kind of tap you on the shoulder and you stop right before the bus hits you and saves your life.  I’ve had a few of those incidents where I had remembered something or it seemed like I needed to stop for something and then I learn my five minute stop saved me from being in a car crash.  As for Ellie’s live in guardian angel I look to my husband and the people in his life that helped him, just because.

How did you come up with the plot of this book and the lesson Ellie must learn? 

This book started out as an adult book flashing back…that really didn’t work.  I knew where I wanted the book to go and in book three people will finally see the beginning that I wanted for the series.  This whole series developed itself.  I finished book two with Ellie being strong, but not where she needed to be.  When I began book three even I was amazed and her development.  She becomes so incredibly strong and a force to be reckoned with it surprised me.  Growing up is hard in general, having the burden of basically raising everyone else when you’re the youngest takes a character I didn’t know for sure I could make feel real, but Ellie seems like a person you could know.


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Friday, March 8, 2013

Love in Provence

Today's special guest is William Auch, a physician residing in Sacramento, California. When not seeing patients, he writes, studies French, and travels the world.


When John Martin is forced to sell his tech company, he decides to take a six-month vacation to the south of France. 

When he meets Madame Garcin, her daughter Sophie, and her granddaughter Isabelle, his life is changed forever.   What began as a long vacation becomes a journey of self-discovery marked by love, loss, and tragedy. 

He is molded by this family of three generations of women, tempered by tragedy themselves, in ways that he could never have imagined. 


It seemed to John that the next three weeks could not go by fast enough. He was energized and quickly got back into the routine of jogging along the Embarcadero. It was a Sunday morning and John had made it all the way to the Marina Green, which was farther than the length of his usual run.

The green was filled with joggers, mothers pushing strollers, and the sailors heading for the yacht harbor. The sky was bright blue and cloudless, and a stiff breeze blew into the harbor from the other side of the Golden Gate. John stopped in the middle of the green to catch his breath and looked up to see a sky full of kites. There were large ones, small ones, one that looked like a dragon, and another which resembled a bird, all in a kaleidoscope of colors that were enhanced by the sun from above. They all danced in the wind, some darting side to side, and others diving toward each other as if to demonstrate who owned the skies. Some would descend to the ground then dart back up into the sky again.

Off to one side was a small girl with a pony tail, who ran across the grass as though she were about to lift off like a bird. Behind her she towed a small red kite, which stubbornly refused to become airborne despite her best attempts to launch it. Each time the kite plunged to the grass she would tighten the string again and make another run at it, only to have the kite rise about ten feet, then plummet to the grass. She tried over and over again with such determination, John wondered how long she had been at it. After each failed attempt she would look over at her mother who was keeping an eye on her from a distance, then the girl would continue with more determination than the previous attempt. John thought about Isabelle and how much he missed her. He could not wait to see her. He could imagine Isabelle when she was young, pulling on the kite string with the same determination as the little girl.

John walked over to her mother sitting on the grass and asked with a smile, “Do you mind if I give her a hand?”

Her mother raised her eyebrows at first and studied John from top to bottom, but then a smile slowly crept onto her face. “Sure, why not?”


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