Monday, October 31, 2011

Rebecca Walker - Author, Feminist, All Around Great Gal:)

Rebecca Walker, author, feminist, writing coach. 
Photography of Rebecca Walker by Amanda Marsalis.

Rebecca is inspirational. She is truly among the Who's Who on any important lists about feminism, women's issues, writing, the arts and politics.

She is a wonderful writer, speaker, feminist, and contemporary woman. I had the pleasure of meeting her in 2009, when I attended one of her writing workshops for memoirists. Well, I don't write memoirs (not yet), I write romance fiction, but the experience and what I learned in a jam-packed week of reading, writing, marketing sessions, and idea exchanging, changed my writing life. So, I am honored to have her as a guest blogger, and she's going to hang around for a day or two - just to talk. So enough of my ramblings, here goes...

Let's get to the facts right up front. What's your full name, website, your latest release, the WIP that is keeping you up at night, your agent, your editor, how long have you been writing…your successes? Yes, I want the mini bio right here, right now!

Rebecca said: Rebecca Walker here, and there are a plethora of ways to find me. Check my site at www.rebeccawalker.com, my FB fan page, Twitter feed @rebeccawalker, and of course LinkedIn for all you business-minded folks. There's more, but I will leave it at that.

My new book coming in February 2012 is called Black Cool: One Thousand Streams of Blackness. It's a look at the different elements that make up what we think of when we see Obama step out of the limo with dark glasses, or strut across the White House lawn. What is that ineffable quality of cool? Reserve, audacity, swagger, what? And where did it come from.

This will be my sixth book, my fourth collection. My other two are straight-ahead literary memoirs, one on growing up mixed race in the seventies and eighties called Black White and Jewish and another about my decision after much ambivalence to have a child, called Baby Love, which was very controversial!

I am fortunate that my books have done well, and are taught all over the world. Today I signed  a permission for my introduction from my book on masculinity, What Makes a Man, to be included in 350,000 textbooks! One of my manuscript clients just sold her book to a major publisher, and I'm thrilled to be teaching another master class for writers in December in Maui at one of the most gorgeous resort properties in the world: the Grand Wailea. AND I get to come home and kiss the most beautiful six-year old you ever did see. I count my blessings.

Q.  What's the best-kept secret about your writing process?

Rebecca said: I hate to actually write. I like to write the entire book in my head before sitting down at the computer so the sitting down isn't so brutal and lonely and terrifying. I also find sitting and "trying to find you story" extremely inefficient. Time management people!

Q.  What character/theme have you written or are writing about that keeps you up at night - just one, please:)?

Rebecca said: Lost love. Fidelity. The vast ocean between continents. The need for human evolution.

Q. What recording artist/television or pop culture fictional character has had the greatest influence on your writing style and why?

Rebecca said: Gosh, so many! I feel like a big sponge. I'm constantly inhaling high art and pop art and mashing it all together in that thing called my creative brain. Maybe Miles Davis because I play Kind of Blue on repeat for hours? Maybe Michael Jackson because he's Michael Jackson and my son worships him. Maybe Michael from the Office because his self-deprecation makes me laugh. Don Draper because his character is so beautifully written with so much complexity. Nikki from Big Love because she's at once completely lovable and repugnant.

Q. What book/author is the current "hot read" on your bookshelf?

Rebecca said: I'm reading the Steve Jobs book right now, like everyone else. Also a gorgeous memoir/biography of a woman who started her creative career at 72: The Paper Garden by Molly PeacockVery inspiring.

Q. What's your favorite drink on a cool October evening - and who (fictional or not, friend or family, celebrity or historic figure) would be sitting at your side enjoying that drink with you?

Rebecca said: Steaming hot chai with almond milk and agave with my husband, for sure. I'd like to have tea with Joni Mitchell. Coffee with Joan Didion.

Q. Who's your favorite author, poet, lyricist and what would you ask them if you had the chance (or when you had the chance)?

Rebecca said: I would definitely ask James Baldwin if it was all worth it. The exile, the torment, the struggle, the coming out, the bearing of the torch. All of it. Was it worth it, in the end?

Q. Last question…what question have you been dying to answer but no one has ever asked?

Rebecca said: People have asked me so many questions, I feel I've covered everything over the years. Let's see. I think the question would be the same: Is it worth it? The struggle to write, to publish, to share, to risk? Is it worth it? What have you lost and what you have gained. The answer to both questions is...everything.

Thank you Rebecca!

Now, it's your turn readers. Take a moment and ask her a few questions, also if you want to spend a week in paradise enjoying the freedom of being a creative artist (because that's what we writers are)...check out her workshop December 19-26. I'll be there!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Six Sentence Sunday & Denny's Eye Candy - Week 13


Ian Somerhalder (Lost, The Vampire Diaries) snagged from the Internet by Denny S. Bryce 


Six Sentence Sunday returns after a brief hiatus and some reminders on the rules. But I'm still sharing the WIP about a vampire FBI agent struggling to keep a promise to a witch...
Gideon didn’t want to listen. The bits of information the deputy shared had little to do with what he was looking for. If the man didn’t scream witch, sorcerer or worse, Gideon could care less. Besides, how many times in the past ten years had he sat in a car heading toward a dead body? Most of the time there was nothing supernatural about the killings. Just some deranged human collapsing from the weight of their own fragile sanity.
Take a moment and visit some of the other sentences out there in the world of SSS--and don't forget to comment!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Today's Thursday Treat: Award Winning Author Gail Barrett



Award Winning Author Gail Barrett's new release High-Risk Reunion is the first book in the Stealth Knights miniseries ("Stealth Knights: Powerful, passionate heroes with their own code of law.")

I am excited! Today's Thursday Treat is award winning author Gail Barrett. She is a multi-published author who I am thrilled to have as a guest blogger. A big thank you to Gail for agreeing to spend a few minutes here sharing a bit about her writing process and providing some insights to her success. Speaking of which, her new release High Risk Reunion is the first book in the Stealth Knights miniseries from Harlequin Romantic Suspense. 

Let’s get to the facts right up front. What's your full author name, website, your latest release, the WIP that is keeping you up at night, your agent, your publisher, how long have you been writing…your successes? Yes, I want the mini bio right here, right now!

Gail said: Okay, here goes.  My name is Gail Barrett, and I’ve been writing forever.  I’m one of those people who knew from childhood on what I wanted to do with my life, but I didn’t get serious about trying to publish a book until my children were in school full time.  My agent is Pam Hopkins, and my ninth book for Harlequin is out right now, High-Risk Reunion.  The tenth will be out in March.  Probably my biggest success is all the awards and contests I’ve won or finaled in over the years. Meltdown was a Rita ® finalist last summer, which was an enormous honor and a personal milestone for me.  My books have also won the Holt Medallion, the National Readers Choice Award, the Book Buyers Best Award, and the Golden Heart, among others.  My website is www.gailbarrett.com.

Q. What’s the best-kept secret about your writing process?

Gail said: I don’t know that it’s a secret, but I’m very obsessive about my writing.  I revise everything dozens of times, and even then I’m never quite satisfied with how it comes out.  I can spend hours on a single paragraph.  I have a certain ideal in my head, a kind of internal rhythm to my sentences, and I go crazy until my writing sounds like I think it should.  As a result I tend to write more slowly than I’d like, but that seems to be the way I work.

Q. What character have you written or are writing that keeps you up at night - just one, please:)?

Gail said: Once I finish a book and have completed all the edits, I stop worrying about the characters because they have achieved their happy endings and don’t need my help anymore.  The ones that keep me up at night (literally) are the ones whose stories I can’t quite figure out.  Right now I have a dozen such characters making me toss and turn in the middle of the night.

Q. What television or pop culture fictional character has had the greatest influence on your writing style and why? 

Gail said: Howard Roark from The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand.  I read that book in high school, and his philosophy has influenced all aspects of my life ever since -- from my writing to politics.  He embodies the triumph of the individual against collective society.  He is a man who thinks for himself and isn’t afraid to go against the mainstream.  He resists all pressure to conform and seeks perfection in his work.

Q. What book/author is the current "hot read" on your bookshelf?

Gail said: Right now I’m on a Nora Roberts binge, trying to finish some of her older trilogies that have been collecting dust in my to-be-read pile.  I plan to pick up the first book in her new trilogy at her book signing this weekend and can’t wait to read it.  That trilogy is set in Boonsboro (just a few miles from my house) and I’m really looking forward to seeing what she does with it.

Q. What’s your favorite drink on a hot August evening - and who (fictional or not, friend or family, celebrity or historic figure) would be sitting at your side enjoying that drink with you?

Gail said: My ideal night would be sitting at an outdoor cafe in Spain, drinking red wine and eating tapas with my husband and a few good friends.

Q. Who’s your favorite romance author and what would you ask them if you had the chance (or when you had the chance)?

Gail said: Oh, that’s a hard one because I have several favorite romance authors.  I’d love to find out from Nora how she writes so fast, though!!!

Q. Last question…what question have you been dying to answer but no one has ever asked?

Gail said: Is it true that you used to play the bagpipes?  The answer is YES.  I am a bagpipe and Celtic music fanatic.  My favorite group is Berrogüetto, which hails from Galicia, a Celtic area in northern Spain.  I have some links to their music on the Bio page on my website.

Thank you Gail. 

Now it's time for you to ask questions. Gail will be around and looks forward to chatting. So take a moment to say hi! 

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Today's Thursday Treat: Erotic Romance Author Louisa Baico

The first in the series: The Vampire, The Witch and The Werewolf: A New Orleans Threesome by Louisa Bacio.

It's Thursday's Treat at my blog! Glad you could come hang out. Today, I am thrilled to have Louisa Bacio, an up and coming writer of erotic romance who has been doing it (that's in front of the computer) for a few years now. A dedicated writer, mom and critique partner - I am thrilled she took the time to join us here today. So here goes. Louisa Bacio!

Q: Let's get to the facts right up front. What's your full author name, website, your latest release, the WIP that is keeping you up at night, your agent, your publisher, how long have you been writing…your successes? Yes, I want the mini bio right here, right now!

Louisa said: I’m Louisa, and my first book Sex University: Physical Education was published by Ravenous Romance in June 2010. This year, I’ve published two novels and a third – an erotic paranormal ménage – The Vampire, The Witch & The Werewolf: Chains of Silver should be out within the next month. (It’s in my editor’s hands as I write …). It’s been a whirlwind first year, and I’ve learned a lot about the publishing process. I adore my publishing house, and also my ePub agent, Saritza Hernandez, who is with the L. Perkins Agency.

How long have I been writing? Let’s just say that my first poems were about Garfield the Cat, and I’ve evolved a LOT since then.

As for haunting, that would have to be The Vampire, The Witch & The Werewolf. While I just finished the second book in the series, I’ve got a contract for a third, and two more are vying for attention!

Q. What's the best kept secret about your writing process?

Louisa said: It’s not too much of a secret but I do a lot of writing late at night. As a working mother with two small children – homework’s killing me! – I’ve got to squeeze writing-time in somewhere. I, along with a few other busy writing-moms, have pitched a workshop for RWA #12 on that very topic. Hopefully, it’ll be a go!

Q. What character have you written or are writing that keeps you up at night - just one, please:)?

Louisa said: One? Oh, come on! OK, to be honest since I recently started a new short story, it would have to be Alison Baba. She’s a motorcycle-riding hottie, whose father recently passed away. He left her in charge of his gang, and she’s got a thang for two very different members – Dragan and Taj. It’s a modern threesome retelling of a common fairy tale. And – without giving anything else away, we’ll see if you can figure out which one …

Q. What television or pop culture fictional character has had the greatest influence on your writing style and why?

Louisa said: Oooh, pop culture. Have I mentioned that I teach pop culture classes? Yep. Early influences come from the summer lovin’ that happened between Danny and Sandy on Grease. I used to reenact scenes from the film with my Barbie dolls (you’ll notice a trend with Barbie dolls later).

More recently, it would have to be Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Such brooding love with both Angel and Spike. Last year, I submitted a YA Halloween-themed short story that was rejected. The feedback was that it was too much between funny and scary, but if you look at my influences (Buffy), that’s my preferred niche.

Q: What book/author is the current "hot read" on your bookshelf?

Louisa said: I’ve got so many, to be honest. But, if I want a good, quick and dirty read, I’m turning to Decadent Publishing’s 1 NightStand series.

Q. What's your favorite drink on a hot August evening - and who (fictional or not, friend or family, celebrity or historic figure) would be sitting at your side enjoying that drink with you?

Louisa said: Homemade limoncello. Every year, we make it from lemons in my father’s backyard. When it gets hot, it’s delightful with ice and sparkling water. And the good thing about making your own liquor is that there’s plenty to share. So, when are you coming out to California?

Q. Who's your favorite romance author and what would you ask them if you had the chance (or when you had the chance)?

Louisa said: This type of question always throws me because I have so many “favorite” writers. Let’s pick Charlaine Harris and her Sookie Stackhouse novels. I want to know who Charlaine thinks Sookie should stick with. My choice has always been Eric (even before the hunky portrayal on True Blood).

Q: Last question…what question have you been dying to answer but no one has ever asked? 
Louisa said: What’s with all the kidnappings in your books?
You know, if you want to do the psychology on it, I’d love it. I’ve come to the realization that it’s a theme that somehow fascinates me. Maybe it has to do with forcefully being kept from doing something that a person wants. And, I’m remembering that I used to have my Barbie dolls be “kidnapped.” Totally bizarre to make these connections and I swear, it’s never happened to me in real life …

Author Web or Blog Site: http://louisabacio.blogspot.com

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Six Sentence Sunday and Denny's Eye Candy: Week 12

Photo of Croatian Model Denis Nikolic snagged from Internet by Denny S. Bryce

Good Sunday morning. Here is my Six Sentence Sunday for today. Still the WIP about the vampire who is struggling to keep a promise to a witch.
The crystal stemware hanging from the rack in the mahogany cabinet sparkled in the candlelight. Gideon reached up and touched a long stemmed flute perfect for sipping cold champagne. “Turned into a vampire at twenty-eight,” he muttered. 
On nights like these, the cold, white snow falling against the black sky and the roar of Lake Michigan outside his windows, reminded him of being alive. Bathing in the sunlight, enjoying the taste of meat and buttered bread, savoring the aroma of a good cabernet, he missed those uniquely human things and more than ever, he missed the warmth of a woman’s body in his bed, a woman like Georgia Cole. 
He chuckled ruefully, caught off guard by how quickly she had worked her way into his thoughts.
Post a comment, please, and then go and read more Six Sentence Sunday posts!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Six Sentence Sunday and Denny's Eye Candy: Week 11

Photo snagged by Denny S. Bryce from Leverage on TNT, my latest OTP:) - Hardison and Parker.

This Sunday I'm in Orlando during a multi-day rainstorm. Nothing but rain, rain, rain. And frankly, I'm loving it. I just feel bad for those folks who are here with families for the supposed sunshine and amusement park fair. Anyway, it's time for Six Sentence Sunday -- week 11!

Gideon (tentative title of the WIP) is coming along. Plotting is a bear by the way. But here's my six for this week. He's still a vampire struggling to keep his promise to a witch. This gives a slight hint to their back story.
An hour later, he held Rachel’s hand and recalled the day a hundred years before when a witch’s spell had stopped him from feeding on humans. Before that day, he hadn’t contemplated his destiny. Hadn’t worried about it. Killing was his art. He’d understood that with clarity since 1696—the last thing he’d ever wanted to be was necessary.
Now he had no choice. 
Well, thanks for dropping by - make certain you visit some of the other authors who share their Six Sentence Sunday - there's some really intriguing stuff out there I know will hook you!

A note about my OTP - Leverage is a funny, well-acted show that uses the Robin Hood motif except with a team of thieves instead one merry man, we've got five. The slow burn of Hardison and Parker is only one of the sexier aspects of the show. It also stars Christian Kane, formerly of Angel the series and Tim Hutton (loved him for years and years). Get caught up On Demand...or find 'moments' on YouTube. Yes, I'm a fangirl!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Today's Thursday Treat: Erotic Romance Author Vivien Dean

Vivien Dean's new book is available from Amber Quill on October 16, 2011!

I get giddy when I think of this author whom I've known for nearly a decade (yes, ma'am, think about that!). Her talents were legendary to thousands of online readers of fan fiction, and she was touted from the get-go as the first break-out star of the writers who held us spellbound back in the day. We weren't wrong. For the past seven years, she has written professionally and could easily claim the mantel of the Nora Roberts of erotic e-romance--she's knocked out nearly 100 published stories from novellas to full length novels. A 2009 Eppie winner (for "Walk Among Us" with Samhain Publishing) and 2010 Eppie winner for best erotic romance/novella and paranormal romance respectively, and a 2012 Epic finalist for paranormal romance - let me stop drooling, and just let you take a moment to learn more about the luscious Vivien Dean.

So here's my Magic Eight questions:

Q.  Let's get to the facts right up front. What's your full author name, website, your latest release, the WIP that is keeping you up at night, your agent, your publisher, how long have you been writing…your successes? Yes, I want the mini bio right here, right now!

Vivien said:  My name is Vivien Dean, and I've been writing erotic romance professionally since 2005. In 2006, I teamed up with Pepper Espinoza to collaborate as Jamie Craig. To date, I have 67 collaborative stories and 29 solo titles, spread over seven different e-publishers, running the gamut of genre and sexual orientation. My next title, a gay werewolf erotic romance called "Moon-Touched," comes out on October 16 at Amber Allure, but I'm currently working on a het fantasy about the eldest daughter of a powerful, influential family in love with the head of her father's guards. You can find me at http://viviendean.com/ and on Twitter as @VivienDean.

Q. What's the best kept secret about your writing process?

Vivien said:  Don't stop. As fun as it is, writing is still a job. I write every single day, seven days a week, fifty-two weeks a year. I find the time in between everything else in my life. At my height, I'd regularly write 4-5k a day (both JC and VD), but as my kids have got older, I've cut that back to 2k a day to keep my sanity.

Q.  What character have you written or are writing that keeps you up at night - just one, please:)?

Vivien said:  It's always someone I'm currently writing that occupies my thoughts. So right now, I'm obsessing on Klea, my heroine in my fantasy. She's the character that shows the most growth within the story (or is meant to, anyway, lol), and I find myself constantly thinking about why she is in the place she's in, why she makes her choices, what she wants.

Q.  What television or pop culture fictional character has had the greatest influence on your writing style and why?

On my style? Hm. That's tough. I think my style is mostly influenced by my education in film and theater, to be honest. But if I have to pick one that helped mold how I approach most stories, I'd probably say Spike from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. It's the combination of deep emotion, humor, and the fragile mask he wears that hides the real pain that often leaks into my work most.

Q:  What book/author is the current "hot read" on your bookshelf?

Vivien said:  This past summer, I discovered Cara McKenna/Meg Maguire, and I've been devouring her backlist ever since. She had a release at Ellora's Cave last week called "Curio" that I'm chomping to read, but I'm saving it as a treat for myself because I'm trying to meet a deadline. :)

Q.  What's your favorite drink on a hot August evening - and who (fictional or not, friend or family, celebrity or historic figure) would be sitting at your side enjoying that drink with you?

Vivien said:  If it's evening, it's after dinner, and then my tipple of choice is a good aged port, regardless of the season. And it's always my husband at my side. He's my rock. And my watchful eye when the alcohol begins to have its way with me, lol.

Q.  Who's your favorite romance author and what would you ask them if you had the chance (or when you had the chance)?

Vivien said:  Oh, just picking one is hard! I'm torn between Joey Hill and Diana Gabaldon. How's that for disparity? I love Hill for her luscious, sensual prose, and for daring to have male submissives and still make them sexy as hell. Gabaldon, on the other hand, wrote one of my favorite heroes ever, Jamie Fraser. I guess since I've had the opportunity to meet Hill before at a convention (and got all my books signed, woo hoo! I'm such a fangirl, lol), I'll go with Gabaldon. I'd ask her how she feels about creative license in making historical fact work with the story. Then, on a purely superficial note, I'd ask her who she'd cast as Jamie in a movie adaptation, if budget wasn't an issue.

Q.  Last question…what question have you been dying to answer but no one has ever asked?

Vivien said:  "Can't you just pick a genre and be done with it?" To which the answer is, no. I'd get bored. If I could only write one genre for the rest of my life, I'd probably write one story and then quit. Maybe I just have the attention span of a gnat, because I'm the same way about the kind of music I listen to, or the TV/movies I watch, but a diet of all the same, over and over again, would dull it all. I write about the people who interest me in that moment. Sometimes, it's a bisexual vampire with control issues. Others, it's a straight girl from the streets doing everything in her power to stay alive. They're the ones who tell me what to write. I often don't have much say in the matter at all:)

Thank you Vivien!

Now, fans and writers - here's a chance to ask questions of a lady who has put her mark on erotic romance...ask away!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Six Sentence Sunday and Denny's Eye Candy - Week 10

Actor Jason George photo snagged from Internet by Denny S. Bryce

Another Six Sentence Sunday and here's my six, still from my WIP about a vampire, a witch and a promise. This is Gideon, on the job, investigating a homicide...but he's always torn between the present and his past...
Gideon made his way down a narrow hallway to an archway leading into the kitchen, and stopped. When he still killed, he never thought about how much the living hated dying. It took Rachel’s magic to remind him. Then the faces of the people he’d butchered crawled into his memories everyday, all day long. The terror in their eyes, as vivid as the night he’d held them by the throat, fangs embedded in their flesh, draining their lives into his belly.
As he stepped into the kitchen, he saw this look in Alice Wilson’s eyes--although she was very much alive.
I'll be back later with some eye candy in case you see this before I finish...:)...eye candy up - but yes, more clothes than in prior weeks - but something about this man and his eyes, hat and attitude work for me. He also was the inspiration for a character I created in a short story called The Garden Party to debut later this month at Waterworld Mermaids...see last post for more info...

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