Friday, March 30, 2012

Book Review: Ghost of a Threat by Beth Dolgner

Ghost of a Threat 

Reviewed by Amanda James
5 out of 5 stars

This is the first book in a series about a paranormal investigator. Betty Boorman or 'Betty Boo' has been investigating paranormal cases in Savannah Georgia for three years when she comes across a case like she has never seen before. This forces her to partner with her nemesis, Carter Lansford, who runs a much-publicized paranormal investigation company. Carter thrives by promoting his self-proclaimed expertise in the supernatural.

When Betty is faced with a violent presence, neither she nor Carter know quite where to go next. Help arrives in the form of a GQ model. But looks can be deceiving; the handsome stranger named Maxwell turns out to be a demon. Maxwell involves himself in the investigation, and everything comes with a price. 

Author  Beth Dolgner pulls you in from the start with twists and turns that continue throughout the book. She combines the world of the paranormal with intriguing descriptions of historic Savannah. She paints a picture that will stick in your mind.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Book Review: Supernova by Crystal Ward

Reviewed by Courtney Whetzel 
4 out of 5 stars

Evania had a picture perfect life.  She lived in a small town with parents who loved her.   Her reality is fractured when both parents were killed in a car accident.  Evania struggles with what could have been, and what she feels should have been.  She shouldn’t be here.  She’s depressed, and is content to fade into the background to rejoin her parents, with whom she can feel visit her from time to time.  Enter Desmond, the darkly handsome, mysterious and gifted stranger that materializes out of the woods behind her house.  He promises a meaningful life, however, he’s extremely cryptic about what that looks like.  Evania is drawn to him and makes the effort to change her life, for good.
Supernova is a freshman effort from the new author, Crystal Ward.  Ward’s story is original, with exciting paranormal elements, intriguing characters and a touch of romance.  This is the first installment with a promise of more to come.  The book itself spends most of its time setting up the back story and introducing characters.  I found that some of the plot was predictable with the reader being able to figure things out before the main character does.  Perhaps that’s just a pet peeve of mine, but it made me want to shake the living tar out of Evania. My only criticism is that some of the wording didn’t flow well.  I had to reread a few sections to make sure I was following what was happening.  Her description of places and buildings left a lot to be imagined.  There were also a few loose ends, hopefully to be clarified in book two.  None-the-less, I stayed up way too late to see what would happen.  The ending of the book has a nice twist to it.  I look forward to more from Ms. Ward.

About Crystal Ward
The first story I ever wrote was about farm animals . . . I was eight. With no real training in the writing area, I'm a work in progress, learning as I go, and am just fine with it. :- )  I live in Southeastern Ohio with my old lady cat, Princess.  Until I strike it big, I'm a restaurant manager who can't cook at home and is obsessed with Arizona Green Tea, string cheese, and the color orange. I've lost count how many times I've changed what I want to be when I "grow up", but for the first time in my life, I know what I want, and I won't give up until I get it.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Interview with Beth Dolgner, Author of Ghost of a Threat

 Hi everyone! 
Today we are chatting with Beth Dolgner, author of the paranormal romance novel Ghost of a Threat. Beth Dolgner will be joining us for a live interview on Blog Talk Radio, Wednesday, March 28th, at 3:30 p.m. Pacific Time. We hope you'll stop by and listen in.

Be sure to leave a comment at the end of this interview for your chance to win three copies of Ghost of a Threat. Don't forget to leave your email address in the following format: parayournormalteam(at)gmail(dot)com. Now for the interview!
1. I have to admit that my paranormal investigator geek geeked out on your site! Wow! That was so much fun! Seriously! How did you pick this location? And is it a part of your novel?

The house at 432 Abercorn Street in Savannah is actually one of the stories from my first book, Georgia Spirits and Specters. The book is a collection of Georgia ghost stories, and I was amazed by how much interest there is in that particular story. People started sending me e-mails,
sharing their experiences at the house and showing me photos with strange anomalies.

The story I was originally told about the house involves a little girl dying in the front window, although some say that’s made up. Truth is sometimes stranger than fiction: the house is built on top of an old burial ground! I’ve heard first-hand accounts from several people about that house, so
whatever the story behind the haunting is, there is no doubt that there is paranormal activity there.
We’ve pretty much debunked the “girl in the window” photos, because it turns out the architecture
of the fireplace in that room looks like a girl’s face if you get it at just the right angle. However, I’ve
seen plenty of photos that I cannot explain.

As for me? I don’t like that house. It gives me the creeps in the broad daylight.

2. What drew you to ghosts and the paranormal? I see how you were naturally drawn to racing. *grin* But what about the ghosts?

A lot of it stems from my first trip to Savannah, when I was a kid. I picked up a copy of Margaret
Wayt-DeBolt’s Savannah Spectres and was hooked. I loved the blend of paranormal, lore and
history. From there, I started buying local ghost books wherever I traveled. I jumped at the chance
to add my own work to that collection, and Georgia Spirits and Specters was born. The book gave
me the opportunity to go on my first paranormal investigation, and now I can’t get enough of it.

3. What inspired the Ghost of a Threat novel?

I knew I wanted to write a series about a ghost hunter since I love the paranormal and have first-
hand experience to draw from. Savannah was the perfect setting since it’s reputed to be the most
haunted city in America. Plus, my mom lives there now, so I’ve gotten to know the city a lot better,
and she helps me get my Savannah facts straight: I like to include real locations in the books. The
story kind of stalled until I thought up the character of Maxwell. He was inspired by, of all things,
a trip to Disney World. Disney used to have a nightclub complex called Pleasure Island. Mom and
I went there for one last hurrah before they closed, and we were reminiscing about a mural there
that featured a train named “Maxwell’s Demon.” I suddenly got this vision of a crisp white business
card that said, “Maxwell, Demon.” Maxwell was the catalyst that really got the series going, and I
started Ghost of a Threat as soon as I got home from that trip. Maxwell might be a demon, but he is also my muse!

4. The people who review your books say they’re really glad there are no vampires! LMAO! Can you tell us a bit more?

I love vampires, and I have ever since I read Dracula in high school. However, plenty of other authors are doing a great job of covering vampire territory. I wanted to do something with ghosts, and of course, demons wound up being a part of the series, too. What I love about the demons is that I
could really get creative with their abilities and history: there aren’t as many pre-conceived notions
about them as there are about vampires.

5. What inspired these characters?

Characters have a tendency to spring into my head pretty much fully formed. I’ve said before that
I don’t make up the story, I just write down what my characters do. So even though Maxwell was
inspired by a trip to Disney World, I feel like characters just form themselves. I knew I wanted a good nemesis for Betty, though, and Carter Lansford fit the bill. I just love writing his character: he’s so arrogant, and he’ll do and say things that really annoy me. He and I have a love-hate relationship!

6. What was your favorite part of the research to create this book?

I think my favorite part was plotting Betty’s world on a map. I got a map of downtown Savannah—
the historic district—and figured out where she lived, where her favorite hangout was, and other
locations. Seeing it all laid out in front of me really gave me a feel for Betty and her adventures.

7. So you’re writing Book 2. Is there anything you can tell us without giving away the plot?

I’m actually working on book 4 now! Book 2, Ghost of a Whisper, has some sad scenes in it, and
Betty finds herself faced with a tough choice: will she sell her soul to save Maxwell? Book 3, Ghost
of a Memory
, deals with revenants—the walking dead—and that plot gave me a chance to really
have some fun with Carter. Book 4, Ghost of a Hope, is the final book of the Betty Boo, Ghost Hunter Series. Betty finds herself in a war against demons, demon hunters, and even some violent ghosts.

8. Where can readers purchase your book? (I may have already done that, but share with the class.)

You can get Ghost of a Threat in both paperback and Kindle on Amazon. It’s also available for the
Nook through Barnes and Noble and for the iPad through iTunes. Or, if you want a signed copy, drop
me an e-mail (beth at

9. May we read an excerpt from the book and can you provide it here? 

Of course! In this scene, Maxwell and Betty are at dinner together. He has told her that he’s a
demon, but she still doesn’t believe him…

While Maxwell talked, he absently rubbed the thumb and forefinger of his free hand together. A few
bright sparks of flame erupted from his fingers; tiny pinpoints that disappeared nearly as quickly as they were created.

I’d thought that his trick during our first dinner together had been just that: a clever trick that would
have made a veteran magician jealous. Now, though, Maxwell seemed almost unaware of what he was doing, and he certainly wasn’t doing it to impress me.

Maxwell followed my gaze and his fingers stopped moving. “Sorry, it’s a bad habit.”

“What are you?” The words just popped out of my mouth before I could stop them.

“We’ve covered this territory before, I believe.”

“Yeah, that’s the problem,” I said carefully, hoping I wasn’t throwing away all politeness for the sake of honesty. “You believe, but I wasn’t sure I did.”

“I generated fire for you. I got rid of Sam’s demon for you. How much more proof do you need?”

“I thought the fire was a trick of some sort, like maybe you had a lighter hidden in your shirt cuff or
something.” Saying it out loud, I realized how unlikely that was. Maxwell had held the flame in his
hands; there had been no hidden lighter.

Maxwell didn’t respond, so I continued awkwardly. “As for Sam, well, I just thought you were really
experienced at dealing with paranormal entities.”

Maxwell’s eyes were intent on mine, and for the first time since I’d met him I felt real fear. I couldn’t
look away and I couldn’t shut my eyes against the sight of his face, his jaw rigid and his pale skin almost glowing. My hand was growing hot, and I realized that it was still entwined with Maxwell’s. His grip hardened, and the searing heat flowed up my arm and into my shoulder. I would have cried out if I hadn’t been transfixed.

It felt like hot coals were coursing through my body. I’m going to be burned to death, I thought. My skin will be charred and my blood is going to boil.

The image of Maxwell’s face blurred as the heat slithered up my neck and into my head. I realized I must be passing out and felt relief: at least I wouldn’t be conscious when my body burned.

My relief soon turned to a new fear, though, as images crept into my mind. I saw flames leaping up from a dark pit, smoke curling around me so thickly that I could feel it brushing against my face. I tried to hold my breath, but still the stench of smoke and sulfur filled my nose. The heat was nearly unbearable, pressing at me from within and without now. I looked down but couldn’t see my body. Instead, I saw the precipice on which I seemed to be standing, the dirty rock scored with long gouges. There were two sets of long scratches, and somehow I knew that fingernails had made those as someone fought against whatever had dragged them into that pit of fire.

I shut my eyes against the sight, and the heat dissipated immediately. There was only one part of me
that still felt warm, and that was my hand, which was still clinging to Maxwell. I opened my eyes and he was looking at me grimly, but with sympathy in his eyes.

“Now you see why I wanted to get out of hell,” he said quietly.

10. Where can your readers connect with you on the web? 

My blog is at and you’ll find all of the stories and photos about
432 Abercorn there. I’m on Twitter at!/bethdolgner, and my Facebook page

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Interview with Kevin Paul Shaw Broden, Author of Clockwork Genie

 Hi everyone! 

Today we are chatting with Kevin Paul, author of the contemporary fantasy/paranormal murder mystery novel Clockwork Genie.  Kevin Paul will be joining us for a live interview on Blog Talk Radio, Wednesday, March 21st, at 3:30 p.m. Pacific Time. We hope you'll stop by and listen in.

Be sure to leave a comment at the end of this interview for your chance to win a copy of Clockwork Genie. Don't forget to leave your email address in the following format: parayournormalteam(at)gmail(dot)com. Now for the interview!

Hey, Kevin! And welcome! Why don’t you tell us a bit about yourself?

Thank you and all of ParaYourNormal for sitting down with my genie friend and I.

As a child I discovered comic books and soon knew I wanted to create comics and super heroes of my own. They would eventually become FLYING GLORY AND THE HOUNDS OF GLORY.

While taking art courses to learn how to draw muscular heroes as realistically as possible, I discovered what I was really doing, no matter the medium, was story telling.

This turned into short stories, the first appearing in my college newspaper, and on to scripts for comic
books and for television animation such as for the Japanese series MIDNIGHT HORROR SCHOOL (a series that has as of yet not appeared in America.)

I continue to have a passion for comic books and for animation, but a few years ago I took a serious dive into writing novels. As part of Nanowrimo I wrote a science fiction tale, but about half way through it, a complete different story idea came to me. I paused long enough to write down a page of notes and then finished the story I had committed myself to doing. Once November was over I jumped right into the new idea, a fantasy tale that eventually became my first published novel CLOCKWORK GENIE.

How do you carve out time to write?

I wish I knew. It was easier to find the time to write until about a year ago when I picked up a 'day job' with the scholarship foundation of my local community college. Truthfully, having a restricted amount of time has forced me to dedicate more of it to serious writing. When I have all the free time in the world, nothing gets done. Deadlines are good. No, really, they are.

What’s the biggest creative difference between writing a novel and writing/illustrating a comic?

Comic books are a visual medium and 90 % of the story is told in the pictures. If I'm writing for another artist, the description of the scene has to be made clear enough for the artist to understand, but not overly detailed that it takes away his/her own creativity when drawing it. When I am writer/artist on the comic I don't have to be as detailed as I already have a clear idea of what I want to draw and most of the story comes together as I start sketching the art. The story then has to be told in a 22 to 36 pages comic, usually with 6 to 8 panels per page, sometimes less. When Shannon and I write our webcomic FLYING GLORY AND THE HOUNDS OF GLORY, which is currently celebrating its 10th anniversary online, Each page has to tell its own story because people reading may not have seen the pages before it, and hope it will entice them to stick around for the next page a week later.

With comic books as my background, my novel writing carries some of the same style. I don't always
fully describe the details of a scene other than what is absolutely necessary for the story or to se the mood, and let the reader fill in the gaps with their own imagination as if they were the artists of our shared comic book. Am certain I have a lot to improve upon, and am still learning with each new story I write.

Which book are we talking about today and what is it about?

CLOCKWORK GENIE is my first published novel and is both a Contemporary Fantasy and a Murder Mystery, and in some ways it is also a Paranormal Romance. There may be no ghosts, vampires, or werewolves, but there is a very powerful magical genie that just learned her master has been murdered.

The story is about Cecilia Orchard who has been struggling on her own since graduating from college to earn enough money to pay the rent of her apartment. Her data entry job isn't great and she's always on the verge of being fired by a very nasty boss.

If that's not bad enough, Cecilia has just been informed she's the prime suspect in the murder of
a grandfather she never knew existed. Why did the cop that wants to arrest her have to be so darn

Cecilia discovers she's the heir to a vast fortune, and then is given a golden pocket watch. She finds
herself the new master of a very powerful magical genie. The entire world could be hers at the mention of
a wish, but what does Cecilia really want?

You may also be interested to know that I painted the cover of the novel.

What inspired this book?

The original kernel of an idea has been sitting in the back of my head for quite a while, maybe back to childhood. Like many of my stories it grew out of a question: "If a genie is so powerful, why is it trapped in the lamp?" The idea morphed through the years, until it took the form of the golden pocket watch. Along with the relationship with its new master and the people around her, I explore that question and give one plausible answer.

From there the story grew pretty quickly, and I dumped the first drafted on to the keyboard very quickly. It would take several more drafts and rewrites, and introduction of other characters along the way until it became the book that now sits on virtual bookshelves.

Tell us something about your characters that we wouldn’t be able to figure out by reading the book.

I suppose what no one knows is that Cecilia is, minus the magic and millions of dollars, is me. As a writer with a pretty vast imagination, that if I was ever confronted by the supernatural or aliens, I would take it fairly calmly and matter-of-factly. So I took that idea and transferred it to Cecilia. She writes fantasy and mysteries like me, and so when she confronted by it. She's surprised by it but takes it coolly, or at least tries to.

Are there other books in the works? Can you tell us a bit about it?

Last month I released my second novel, entitled: REVENGE OF THE MASKED GHOST. This story
takes me back to my first love of the masked heroes. Going back to the 1930s' Pulps the heroes grew out of and became the super heroes of the comics.

I am currently working on a sequel to CLOCKWORK GENIE. Without going into a lot of detail, our
heroine and her friends must deal with the consequence of the genie's existence. Wishes out of the past come back to haunt them.

Where can readers purchase your book?

Currently my books are only available online as ebooks.

CLOCKWORK GENIE can be found at most major ebook distributors, and some, to my excitement, not so major. Best to start off at Amazon.

REVENGE OF THE MASKED GHOST is also available on Amazon and soon at other locations.

FLYING GLORY AND THE HOUNDS OF GLORY - The webcomic that Shannon Muir and I have
been producing for the last ten years can be found at it's own website:

May we read an excerpt from the book?

Certainly, here is an important scene from Chapter 4 of CLOCKWORK GENIE, after this everything goes crazy:

“Tastes like a tin can.” Cecilia said after the third bite of the microwave dinner.

As Cecilia ate, she kept reading each entry on the man who was supposed to be her grandfather. He owned a multinational corporation, which included many subsidiary companies in Los Angeles as well as New York. It went on and on. It was all just crazy.

“There is no way in the world that all this could be possible,” she said as she dropped the dinner
tray into the already overflowing trashcan beneath the kitchen sink. Cecilia felt confused and didn’t know what to do next. She picked up her purse from where she had dropped it on the couch and pulled out the cell phone. She scrolled through the contact list until she reached the right number and pressed Talk.

Her uncle Phil had always been there for Cecilia when she needed the extra support as she
struggled through college. She could always call him when life got too much for her. This was one of
those times.

The phone rang three times and then went to voice mail.

“Darn! Hi, Uncle Phil, it’s me. Can we chat one of these days? No rush, I’ve just got a question
about my dad…” Her voice trailed off when her eye caught the glimmer and sparkle of the watch as it gently swayed in the glass case.

After a moment of silence she realized she was still on the phone, “I’ll try to call you tomorrow.
Night. Love ya.”

Cecilia put the phone down and sat at the table. She stared at the watch for several minutes, almost mesmerized by it. Finally, curiosity got a hold of her.

“I’m probably knocking a thousand dollars off the value just by opening the case,” Cecilia said as
she did just that, “and ten thousand by touching it.”

She unhooked the chain from its support and examined the watch. The outer case had fine ornate engravings all over it and as she turned it in the light the patterns seemed to change, to dance. Sometimes it looked like writing, other times decorative floral patterns, and then again like mechanical gears of what must be inside.

“Has to be a trick of the light,” she moved away from the desk lamp to look at it under the fluorescents of the kitchen and yet again the pattern was different. She saw brushes and quills.

“So exhausted I’m seeing things. Wake up already Cecilia,” she said to her herself.

She was returning to the table to put the watch away when her finger came across the little
clasp and the watch popped open.

“Oh, no. I’ve broken it!”

The crystal face of the watch was perfect like a diamond. The hands pointed exactly at the right
time but suddenly spun around the dial and stopped on twelve.

Light flared across the crystal startling Cecilia and she fell back on to the floor, tightly grasping
the watch so it didn’t break.

“Tommy? I’m sorry, Tommy? Really I am. Tommy? Hey, where am I?”

Cecilia’s vision was blurred from the flash, but she could make out a woman’s form standing in
front of her, “Who’s there?”

“Who the hell are you?” the woman shouted down at Cecilia on the floor.

“I…” her vision cleared. Standing before Cecilia was a young woman; her hair was red like flames
of a campfire. Though dressed in an emerald green evening gown, she wore a leather bomber jacket over it. She was quite beautiful.

“Now this confirms it, I’m dreaming. I’ve gone insane,” Cecilia said aloud, “That woman from
those photographs is standing in my apartment. That … that Genevieve woman.”

“Of course, I’m Genevieve, that’s Tommy’s watch,” the woman said with a childlike voice yet
scolded like a parent.

“The watch?” Cecilia looked from the woman to the watch and back again, “This is my
grandfather’s watch.”

Genevieve gasped, “Your grandfather? How long have I been in there?” She looked about and
began to panic.

Cecilia gathered herself and stood up, and noticed fear in the strange woman’s eyes.

“You have the watch.”

“Uh, ya.”

“You have Tommy’s watch!”

“Ya, this was Thomas Granger’s watch, what of it?”

“Where is Tommy? Where is he?” Genevieve demanded, tears filled her eyes.

“Oh, God, you don’t know. I thought maybe the police had finally contacted you, or that lawyer
Kramer sent you to talk to me.”

“Tell me where Thomas Granger is!” Genevieve was shaking now; tears flowed down her cheeks.

“I’m sorry to be the one that has to tell you this. Thomas Granger was killed yesterday.”

“Killed? No, no, no.”

“Ya, I’m sorry, but he was murdered. The police are still investigating. They’ll probably want to
talk with you. I should call Detective Lambert.”

“I don’t want to be alone,” Genevieve said through her tears.

“Why would you be alone?” Cecilia was doing her best not to freak out, yet she seemed to be the
calmer head here. It was this figment of her imagination that was going nuts. Certain this was all going on inside her head; the stress of work had finally gotten to her. If her imaginary friend had just cracked, didn’t that mean she had already lost it herself?

Genevieve looked at the watch again, and forced away her tears as she looked towards Cecilia.
Suddenly the woman dropped to her knees and bowed her head to the floor facing Cecilia.

“Mistress,” she said humbly.


“Your wish is my command.”

Where can your readers connect with you on the web?

The best place to find me online is my blog where I ramble on about writing, comic books, animation, and from time to time put up a book review:

You can follow me on Twitter: @Kevinpsb00

Thank you for this opportunity to explore what's Para in my Normal with you. Genevieve had a good time too.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

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Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Interview with Eisley Jacobs, Author of Runaway Choices

Hi Everyone. Today we are chatting with Eisley Jacobs, author of Runaway Choices, a Christian Speculative Fiction/Fantasy novel. Eisley will be joining us for a live interview on Blog Talk Radio, Wednesday, March 14th, at 3:30pm Pacific Time. We hope you'll stop by and listen in.

Be sure to leave a comment at the end of this interview for your chance to win a copy of Runaway Choices. Don't forget to leave your email address in the following format: parayournormalteam(at)gmail(dot)com. Now...for the interview:

Eisley! *wild grin* I’m so glad you finally get to join us here on PYN. Please tell our readers a bit about yourself.

Thanks! I'm happy to be here and even happier to be outside the four walls of my insanity (brain), which as luck would have it, is giving me a run for my money. So right, I'm Eisley, Mom to three children whom I homeschool. I'm active in our homeschooling group, church, life, and I still find time to write down the bossy characters that stroll through my brain. Some people wonder who is bossier, my characters or my kids... Really, it depends on the day.

You write in complete chaos! LOL! How do you do that on a regular basis?

Yes, it has been called chaos, but it's an organized chaos. Since we homeschool, I have to keep a pretty tight schedule on our time and efforts (which my characters don't always understand). We have school in the mornings and then after any activities we might need to attend, I dive into my writing. I try to write at least 3-5 hours a day. But since my kids are 12, 11, and 9 the “chaos” really does swirl around me all day.

Also, headphones. Really good headphones. But on top of that, when you have a really good story that needs to get out, you just ignore deal with the chaos. Sometimes I write one sentence and the 9yo needs something. I have to stop take care of issue, then I get back and write one more sentence before 11yo needs something. And so the process continues until sentence by sentence the chapter is written. It can be frustrating, but I know that this time with my kids is short and my characters can wait a little longer because my little people need me.

You just recently launched Runaway Choices. I’ve also had the chance to read it and it’s *singing* AMAZING! I felt wonderful after reading it. Please tell us a bit about it.

Runaway Choices is a story of twenty-three year old Beck and how she finds her way again. The story is one of growth and accepting things we cannot change. It’s about accepting our flaws and still knowing we’re loved and can love despite our short comings.

It’s labeled Christian Fiction, but I barely noticed it. As a pagan, I was drawn by the strong paranormal aspects and the history of the places your characters went to. Can you tell us what inspired this book?

Beck's character was inspired by my own growing up years. I was a bitter young adult and I lashed out at everything and everyone because I was hurt so deeply by circumstances life had afforded me. Choices people had made around me directly affected my life and my relationships and I choose to allow them to rule me. Instead of physically running away from life, like Beck had, I'd run emotionally from the world and accepted anger in place of anything anyone could offer. Choices are a huge part of Christianity and played a huge role in the way this book came together. As a Christian, I weigh my choices heavily, but sometimes choices runaway with us before we realize it, and this aspect of life ultimately inspired the rest of the book.

Tell us something about your characters that we wouldn’t be able to figure out by reading the book.
When I began this journey (RUNAWAY CHOICES) I had no idea Beck would be a fictional portrayal of the young me. No, I'd never conned my way onto a plane, but I was a good liar and could get almost anything I desired. When I realized this was somewhat allegorical, I wasn't sure what to do with it. To think someone might find out that I was once so bitter I couldn't see straight and to maybe realize I still struggle with some of these aspects was difficult to come to grips with. So after I wrote the novel, I tucked it away and told myself it was just another shelf novel. God had other plans.

You have a couple of other books. Can you tell us briefly about those as well?

I started my publishing journey with a lower middle grade series DRAGONS FOREVER. Book One - BORN TO BE A DRAGON came out in July 2011 and was met with immense enthusiasm from kids and schools. I did a mini book tour (mostly speaking at schools) around the western United States in September - October and then wrote Book Two - BLINK OF A DRAGN and released it in January 2012. Again, the feedback has been overwhelming! Kids love these books and parents are enjoying them as well. While they aren’t Christian novels, they do hold fast to the morals and convictions I try to impart in my children. Friendship, believing in yourself, adventure, love, forgiveness… you name it, we will explore it in my children’s books. Also in each book, the child learns something about an obscure area of the world that unless they leave close, they won’t necessarily learn the things I put into the book. The first book tells us a lot about the Cook Island Atolls. The second about Mount Rushmore and the Caverns nearby (as well as the Phoenix Islands in the South Pacific). The third book will be no different, but this time we are heading over to Scotland for part of our adventure. It will be amazing!

Where can readers purchase your book? (Please provide links)

May we read an excerpt from the book? (Please paste here)

Chapter 1 excerpt:
Sleeping had been a useless endeavor. My pillow had been my ineffective attempt at a buffer, and I’d debated, more than once, on using it as a deadly weapon.
“Ma’am?” I heard from the aisle.
The mouthy flight attendant, whom I’d encountered during a bathroom break two hours into the flight from O’Hare, stood awkwardly at the end of my row.
“Can you return your seatback to the upright position?” Her tone was less than friendly.
A wide, cynical smile crept across my lips. Tilting my head, I raised my eyebrows in the most sarcastic pose I could muster.
“Please?” came her snarky inclusion.
My row buddy turned, and I transformed my face, offering the biggest puppy dog eyes I could muster. The seatback clicked into place.
The flight attendant glared.
“Does she have a problem with you?” the concerned man said in his thick British accent.
“I… She…” I started, maintaining my confused expression as I poured on the dramatic improvisation, complete with quivering lip.
The flight attendant’s glare turned into outrage and she hurried down the aisle.
I wiggled my fingers in a little sarcastic wave outside the man’s view.
My neighbor twisted toward me, and I contorted my face into bewilderment.
Shrugging my shoulders, I leaned my head against the cabin wall again, invisibly rejoicing at my small triumph. That would teach her to mess with a girl who needed a cola outside of “serving hours,” as she had put it. Who cares what time it had been? I’d needed the cola. I would have gladly paid the last five dollars in my pocket for it.
“Give me the freaking can,” I’d demanded, raising a huge scene at the back of the Boeing 747.
“Keep it down,” she’d begged.
Ouch. The wrong thing to say to a woman suffering a caffeine addiction headache the size of a watermelon.
I’d kept it down all right. Only the back ten rows had heard me over the dull roar of the engines. Three-fourths of the plane hadn’t seen the display.
Tragic, really.
It had been my best performance to date. I may not have a lot going for me, but I do have a few talents tucked up my sleeve. After all, I was on my way to London by sheer talent alone.

Where can your readers connect with you on the web?  (please provide links)

My Website –

Monday, March 5, 2012

Interview with Regan Black, author of The Matchmaker's Mark

Joining us today is Regan Black, author of The Matchmaker's Mark. If you'd like to win a free copy of this paranormal romance novel, please leave a comment below. Don't forget to include your email address. 

On Wednesday, we'll be chatting with Regan, live, on our Blog Talk Radio channel at 3:30 pm Pacific Time. We hope you'll listen into the show. Now, for our interview...

Hey, Regan! It’s so good to meet you. Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
There isn't much to me... it's a life of servitude to three retired greyhounds, two manipulative cats, and three quirky finches. Oh, and there are bon bons. And a personal masseuse and chef. Oh, wait. That's my fantasy life! In reality there are all those pets, and a fabulous family who support me through the process of every novel. I'm a voracious reader (we all are), proven by our extensive collection of both hard copy and ebooks. I'm also a reformed runner (meaning I do mostly yoga these days), a coffee addict (because mornings seem to keep happening), and an uber-fan of Walt Disney World (it's the happiest place on earth!)

How do you carve out time to write? 
Very carefully - or rather deliberately. It's so easy to get lost in promotion tasks or the wonderful world of social media, so I try to get in one hour on the novel before I even look at a computer with an Internet connection. That seems to keep me on task for the rest of the day, because I'm enthused about what's happening with the story, despite necessary breaks to deal with either the business side of writing or the needs of the pets.

What started you down the path of being a novelist?
Now, that's a funny story. As a stay at home mom and a published poet, I was working on a new poetry collection when my husband came home to work for the second time in two years. My poetry was sunshine and light one day, and angst and despair the next. It was maddening, to put it mildly. So out of desperation I began to write a story, fictionalizing the way we met and trying to recall what the hell I found so attractive about him. The book is THE worst romance novel ever, but I realized I could write a complete, novel length story and I've been addicted to the process ever since. (Oh yeah, we're still happily married).

Which book are we talking about today and what is it about? 
The Matchmaker's Mark is the book for today and it addresses the concern: When you're more than human, there's more to finding your soul mate than answering a survey online. The Matchmaker's Mark introduces Amy (and her greyhound Guinness) as she unexpectedly comes into her power as the Matchmaker - a direct female descendent of a Scottish witch who can persuade and empower love and attraction in creatures that most people don't believe exist anymore. 

What inspired this book?
This book was inspired by my need to tell a more lighthearted story. I'd been working on my 2096 novels and short stories and I love that crew of characters, but the storylines are much darker. It was springtime, I only had a bit of time because of end of school events and I just needed something fun to focus on for a while. The idea of a magical 'witch' who could affect love matches or smooth the path for arranged marriages was full of delightful potential for both tender and comedic moments. Setting the book in Charleston, SC gave me a chance to share one of my favorite places (full of legends and intrigues) with readers.

Tell us something about your characters that we wouldn’t be able to figure out by reading the book.
While some mythical people/creatures seek the Matchmaker for love or soul mate advice, there are plenty of others who want her contained or even dead, to prevent what they consider meddling in matters of the heart or matters of politics. This is particularly critical to the storyline at the moment because Amy Campbell is the last of the hereditary line. If enemies succeed in capturing her, it might be the absolute end of generations of matchmaking.

Is there a book 2 in the works? Can you tell us a bit about it?
Yes, there is a second book on the way! Titled The Matchmaker's Curse, it features the werewolf who was searching for the Matchmaker in book one and who was 'marked' by her accidentally. He did not come to Charleston to find his soul mate, but she just might find him. I'm really excited about this novel, the starring couple, and their overall adventure. It's been a great deal of fun to brainstorm, research, and write.

Where can readers purchase your book?
The Matchmaker's Mark is currently available at Amazon, B&N, Smashwords, and wherever ebooks are sold.
May we read an excerpt from the book?
Of course! Here’s Chapter One:
My dearest Amy,
How are you and Guinness doing? I can't imagine how a skinny little greyhound might feel in that wicked Nebraska winter. Should I send him some snow boots? Surely you are settled in and pampering each other after six months together.
I'm so sorry I missed you and the family at the holidays, business was unusually crazy this year.
Be on the lookout for a package from me, darling, you will absolutely treasure it! Above all take good care of yourself (and Guinness, of course).
All my love,
Auntie Camille
Lily Parker was in her element. Almost completely. Surrounded by flowers and serenaded by the bell above her door as customers walked in and out of her florist shop, she felt as radiant as her own beam of sunshine. She wrapped up the sale and murmured a blessing over the blooms as another happy customer left.
January wasn't typically her best sales month, but her regulars kept her company and she always enjoyed the respite after the rush of the holidays. She'd tweaked the display window yesterday and patted herself on the back, since her register had been ringing steadily since.
Through that window she smiled at the woman on the street. The potential customer was currently admiring the sweet baskets of daisies flanking a stunning array of white tulips Lily's wholesaler had brought in just for her. Then Lily spotted the dog.
She pushed open the shop door. "What a beautiful greyhound."
"Thanks. This is Guinness." The woman at the other end of the leash was pretty in an understated way, but her proud smile lit up her face as her dog leaned forward, eager to bask in any and all attention.
Lily chuckled. "Isn't he a character?" She let him sniff her knuckles and considered herself approved when he ducked his head under her palm so she could scratch his ears. "Is he a rescue?"
"Yes. From an Iowa track. We've been together about six months."
"That's wonderful. I'm Lily, by the way."
Lily took in the open coat and glove-free hands and pegged Amy for a snowbird, or possibly the cruise lines were doing a new promotion. "I didn't know they allowed dogs on the cruises." The other woman blinked, her smile giving way to confusion. "Forgive me. You're not a tourist?" Having lived here so long, she knew the faces of most of the locals.
"Yes. Well no. Not officially."
"That's what I get for assuming," Lily said, cooing over Guinness until the woman relaxed again. She usually read people with uncanny precision, but lately, it was as if she was a half step out of sync. "Would Guinness like a drink of water?"
Amy snorted. "He'd like anything that involves more attention."
"Well come on in."
"Your shop is lovely." Amy held Guinness at the door, her gaze scanning the displays with sincere appreciation.
Lily sensed a kindred spirit, or at least some common interests. "There's not a thing in here he can hurt," she insisted. "I'll just go get a water bowl."
Connecting with new people was the best part of her job. She thought of it as her calling. It gave her such a rush to find out what they needed, how her flowers might brighten a day or mark a memorable, romantic moment. Feeling connected professionally kept her mind off her bleak personal prospects of romance.
She returned to the showroom, bowl and water bottle in hand, pleased to see Amy admiring her cooler while Guinness seemed curious about a stuffed teddy bear tucked next to a planter.
Lily thought of her cooler as an evolving painting, as well as a testing ground for how long she could keep a flower fresh in various stages of design. She'd once kept a carnation going for three weeks, but so far she couldn't keep an orchid fresh beyond its normal life expectancy of a few days.
"Here's some refreshment for Guinness," she said, willing her mind away from her flaws.
The dog sniffed at the water, then lapped it up with the enthusiasm of a broken lawn sprinkler.
Amy started to apologize for his sloppy manners, but Lily cut her off. "Don't worry about it. This place can take it. Water's just one of many job hazards."
"You're the owner?"
Lily beamed. "Primary designer and head janitor, too. It keeps me humble."
"Well you've got a brilliant gift." She waved back at the front window, then the cooler.
"Thank you." Lily smiled. "Spring's my favorite season. Typical for a flower child like me." She laughed at herself. "And just around the corner."
"Around the corner?"
"Oh, February will be brown and bland, but come March things will start budding and popping with color and it won't stop until –" She stopped short. She was as exuberant with the seasons as Guinness had been with the water. "Well not until next February, really."
"Sounds heavenly."
"The excessive humidity and nine months of hawk-sized mosquitoes are the tradeoff," Lily confessed in a stage whisper.
The bells on the door danced and Lily turned her welcome smile toward Jim, the cop who walked the King Street beat. "I've got your order ready." She moved around Guinness to pull a box of roses out of the cooler. "I'll be right back," she said to Amy.
"Good looking dog," Jim said, letting Guinness get his scent and head butt his hand. "Busy day?" he called back to Lily. He moved closer to the register and whistled when he got a look at the roses. "Oh, my wife will love these."
Lily felt a little sting on the inside of her wrist and rubbed it, annoyed that she'd managed to catch a thorn even through her long sleeved shirt.
The bells jingled again, announcing the arrival of the owner of the cupcake bakery two doors down. "Morning, Lily."
"Hey, Belinda. Your order's all set on the back counter."
"Thanks, so much. I'll just put these red velvets in your fridge."
"Oh, today is a good day," Lily said with a grin, earning agreement from Jim. Bartering with other King Street businesses was just one of many perks of her location. Ringing up the order, allowing for the community discount, her shopkeeper's eye roamed over Amy and Guinness to another new arrival.
"Guess it's going to be a busy day after all. Have a great anniversary, Jim." The cop nodded and left, the box tucked under his arm. He looked casual, but Lily appreciated the vigilance he applied to her modest business as well as the rest of the neighborhood.
The newest customer stood tall and lean, and she felt an odd tremor of familiarity. She did a double take to verify she'd never seen him before. His jaw was shadowed by a day's growth of beard and his dark, windblown hair was a little too long, curling a bit around the sunglasses he'd pushed to the top of his head. He didn't have the typical, hang dog look of a guy searching for a way to mend a rift with a woman, which made a flower shop a strange place to stop in.
She smiled at him. "Shopping for anyone in particular?"
He shook his head and gave her a half smile that put her hormones on alert. "Just looking."
When Belinda came back through the shop, carting a box of bud vases and a big bag of rose petals, he moved to open the door for her and followed her out without a word.
Lily stared after him. Weird. She'd call down later and see if the baker was training someone new. Rubbing absently at her arm, she rejoined Amy and Guinness. "So what can I do for you?"
Amy grimaced. "Tell me the secret to keeping flowers fresh. I can hardly keep a silk plant looking healthy."
Flower secrets, well, all of nature's secrets, should've been as easy as breathing for Lily. Since it wasn't that simple, she basked in the praise and tried not to blush. "It comes down to trimming the stems and keeping the arrangement watered," she offered the easiest advice first. "There are certainly specific flower options that will last awhile." Wanting to honor the connection she felt with Amy, she looked around her shop. "Where are you staying?"
"With a friend. I'm mixing business and pleasure this winter." She stroked her greyhound's ears. "My friend has been absolutely amazing to welcome us both."
"Does your friend live here? Downtown," Lily clarified.
Amy nodded. "She's in a neighborhood near the college. Why?"
"Hmmm." Lily considered the options in her cooler. "You should have this." She pulled out a French blue basket filled with yellow button mums, white daisies and a splash of purple statice. Springtime in a basket, she thought. "It's a perfect breakfast table centerpiece."
"Wow! This would just light up Maeve's kitchen. How much?"
"Did you say Maeve?" Lily carried the arrangement toward the register counter. "Do you mean Maeve King?"
Amy nodded, a blend of surprise and 'stranger-danger' worry flitting over her face. "How did you know?"
"Oh, it's a pretty close town. This arrangement's definitely on the house if you're a friend of Maeve's. Consider it a thank you for introducing me to Guinness." She grinned. "He really brightened my day."
Amy turned Guinness's long nose away from the teddy bear. "I've heard of Charleston hospitality, but I'd feel better if I paid for it."
Lily shook her head. "Don't worry. Maeve, or rather her busy social life, keeps me in business. Besides, it's a day old already. Don't tell anyone," she said with a wink, "but I dawdled in the back with my wholesaler." She murmured a little charm over the blooms to keep them fresh and the women happy as she wrapped layers of protective paper over the arrangement.
"She'll love it, if can I get her to open it."
"Is she the sort who refuses to tear into a gift? I didn't know that."
Amy grinned, relaxed again. "It was a shock that first Christmas in college, but we've managed to stay best friends despite her irregularities."
Lily laughed, liking Amy more with every passing minute. "I met Maeve after a particularly busy weekend. It seemed my delivery driver had filled her office to bursting and she wanted to meet me." She glanced at the door when the bell jingled again. Jim's partner walked in, with a face only a florist could love. "Another tiff?" He stared at the floor. "Give me a minute to finish up here." She turned back to Amy. "So how long are you in town?"
"Through the spring semester. We're teaching an interim class on Romeo and Juliet, then I'll guest lecture between bouts of designing a new creative writing curriculum."
"That's fantastic. Will you be presenting the play to the public?"
"Not a chance." Amy's snort caused Guinness's ears to perk, making Lily chuckle at them both. "It's more about digging into the subtext of the story than the performance."
"Ah." Lily nudged the wrapped flowers across the counter. "Please tell Maeve I said hello."
"Will do." Amy sighed and shook her head. "I'm going to take a picture of these and send it to my assistant. It might give her hope to carry on through the remaining snowy months back home."
"Be sure to come by anytime you want to chat or anything." Lily murmured adoring nonsense to Guinness and waved goodbye as the pair left her shop. Empty water bowl in hand, she faced Jim's partner. "What happened now?"
He brought her up to speed while she reached for the first aid kit under the counter. Pulling back her sleeve, she stifled a gasp. The skin around the birthmark on her left wrist was irritated all right, but not by a simple thorn. Unwilling to consider the most likely possibilities and ramifications, she smeared anti-itch cream on it and pulled her sleeve back in place, grateful for the distraction of how to get her customer out of the doghouse this time.
Later, when the closed sign was posted, she'd take time to think about the magic she'd obviously missed in the process of doing business like a normal person.

Where can your readers connect with you on the web?
My website is full of all kinds of articles, book features, bonus content for newsletter subscriber and more.

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