Beyond the Books

Home » Romantic Suspense

Category Archives: Romantic Suspense

Book Review: ‘The Stranger’ by Anna del Mar

the-stranger-final-coverThe Stranger is the second book in Anna del Mar’s Wounded Warrior series. However, each book is standalone with new, different characters.
Having read the first book, The Asset, all I can say is that The Stranger is another tour de force from del Mar. Once again, she delivers an addictive romantic suspense read with a compelling, emotionally charged plot and engaging, likable characters whom you will root for—not to mention an explosive, passionate love story filled with dangerous twists and turns.
Treacherous circumstances related to the fact that her sister has gone missing bring sassy, hot-tempered architect Summer Silva to the Alaskan wilderness, only to end up freezing and stranded in the middle of a fast-approaching snowstorm.
Enters former military pilot Alaskan native Seth Erickson, who happens to be passing by in his truck on his way to his cabin when he spots Summer and comes to the rescue. However, it isn’t that easy. From the minute our alpha hero speaks with her, he becomes suspicious of her presence there, and quickly assumes she’s been sent there to spy on his family business. But he’s found a match in Summer, for she’s as quick to deliver comebacks as he is…and as quick to surprise him, too. That same night, as a result of her rare “condition,” Seth ends up having more than he bargains for. Soon after, Summer discovers that someone is trying to murder her.
The Alaskan wilderness, a cold-blooded killer on the loose, and murder bring them together, but they will need to trust each other if they want to get of this alive, something that doesn’t come easy for either of them.
This was a fabulous fast-paced read, simply addictive. Sexy, with a touch of darkness, and humor to boot! But the best are the strong, sympathetic, multi-dimensional protagonists and the way their love evolves. If you haven’t discovered Anna del Mar’s books yet, you’re missing something.
Cover art published with permission from the author. 
Originally published in Blogcritics.

Character Interview: Maggie & Matty Becker from Alison Bruce & Kat Flannery’s historical romance, HAZARDOUS UNIONS

We’re thrilled to have here today Maggie and Matty from Alison Bruce and Kat Flannery’s new historical romance, Hazardous Unions. Maggie and Matty are twins sisters, age 18. They were separated by the Civil War. Maggie’s employer served with the Confederate Army. Matty’s employer stayed with the Union.

It is a pleasure to have them with us today at Beyond the Books!

Bruce-HU-400Thank you so for this interview, Maggie and Matty.  Now that the book has been written, do you feel you were fairly portrayed or would you like to set anything straight with your readers?

Maggie: First I would like to thank you for bringing us together, though I understand it is only temporary. It seems like an age since I saw Matty and I have missed her so much.

I suppose Miss Bruce was fair enough in her telling my story. I think she makes me seem as if I was more in charge of the situation than I really was. But then Captain Stone keeps saying I’m officer material and that’s plain silly.

Matty: Oh, yes thank you kindly for having my sister and I here. I’ve missed her so.

I’m quite satisfied with Miss. Flannery’s portrayal of me however, I do wish she’d have kept out the part where I drugged Colonel Black.

Do you feel the author did a good job colorizing your personality?  If not, how would you like to have been portrayed differently?

Maggie: Miss Bruce did a fine job, but I can’t help wondering why she thought I would make a good subject when the rich and beautiful Patience was also available.

Matty: I feel Miss. Flannery could’ve added more about how much I read. You know I love Mr. Poe, Mag and I really thought she could’ve added more about that.

What do you believe is your strongest trait?

Maggie: I’m practical. I’m not the sort of young lady requires men to lay down their cloaks so they can step over puddles.

Matty: I’m giving. Pa taught us to love one another.

Worse trait?

Maggie: I’m practical. I’m not the sort of young lady that lay their cloaks down for.

Matty: Well, if you read the book I have a tendency to over embellish the truth.

If you could choose someone in the television or movie industry to play your part if your book was made into a movie, who would that be (and you can’t say yourself!)?

Maggie: I am very sorry, but your question makes no… oh wait, like a stage play? I cannot answer that but Miss Bruce says that I look a lot like an actress named Haylie Duff.

Matty: Maggie, I’m not sure I know what the question means. What is a television?

Do you have a love interest in the book?

Maggie: That is a rather personal question… I suppose you mean Captain Seth Stone.

Matty: Colonel Cole Black is quite handsome, but he has a nasty temper.

At what point of the book did you start getting nervous about the way it was going to turn out?

Maggie: I was nervous before the story began, from the moment we heard the Yankees were coming. It doesn’t matter that I’m a Yankee by birth and inclination, the family I was employed to take care of was on the Confederate side and the Major was languishing in a Union prison. I was deathly afraid I wouldn’t be able to keep the major’s wife and daughter safe.

Matty: On the second attempt on my life. I didn’t think Miss Flannery would ever get me out of the trouble I’d gotten caught up in.

If you could trade places with one of the other characters in the book, which character would you really not want to be and why?

Maggie: I truly would not want to be poor Nate Wentworth. What I put that man through to keep him safe. (giggles)

Matty: Oh, I wouldn’t want to be Mrs. Worthington. She is an awful women with a strong disregard for anyone who is not white.

How do you feel about the ending of the book without giving too much away?

Maggie: I would be happier if Miss Bruce or Miss Flannery brought Matty and I together but I know we’ll be together eventually. Other than that, I am content with how things are left. Very content.

Matty: I agree, Mag. I would have loved to been reunited but all in all I’m quite happy with the ending.

What words of wisdom would you give your author if s/he decided to write another book with you in it?

Maggie: I would truly like it if Miss Bruce found a happy ending for Thaddeus and I hope I am there to see it. Perhaps she’ll make me a little less practical and a bit more romantic, like Matty.

Matty: Please, have my sister in it. Maybe we could go on an adventure together. Oh, what trouble we would find.

Thank you for this interview, Maggie and Matty.  Will we be seeing more of you in the future?

Maggie: If it requires another dangerous adventure… Maybe.

Matty: Oh, I don’t know. I’m quite content to settle down and have a family.

———————————————————

SUMMARY:

Twin sisters separated by war, bound by love…

After the death of their father, twin sisters Maggie and Matty Becker are forced to take positions with officers’ families at a nearby fort. When the southern states secede, the twins are separated, and they find themselves on opposite sides of America’s bloodiest war.

In the south, Maggie travels with the Hamiltons to Bellevue, a plantation in west Tennessee. When Major Hamilton is captured, it is up to Maggie to hold things together and deal with the Union cavalry troop that winters at Bellevue. Racism, politics and a matchmaking stepmother test Maggie’s resourcefulness as she fights for Bellevue, a wounded Confederate officer and the affections of the Union commander.

In the north, Matty discovers an incriminating letter in General Worthington’s office, and soon she is on the run. With no one to turn to for help, she drugs the wealthy Colonel Cole Black and marries him, in hopes of getting the letter to his father, the governor of Michigan. But Cole is not happy about being married, and Matty’s life becomes all about survival.

Two unforgettable stories of courage, strength and honor.

Find on AMAZON.

——————————————————-

Alison's bio pic.Alison Bruce has had many careers and writing has always been one of them. Copywriter, editor and graphic designer since 1992, Alison has also been a comic book store manager, small press publisher, webmaster and arithmetically challenged bookkeeper. She is the author of mystery, suspense and historical romance novels.

Find Alison on the web:

Website: http://www.alisonbruce.ca

Blog: http://alisonebruce.blogspot.ca

Twitter: https://twitter.com/alisonebruce

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/alisonbruce.books

Kat bio picKat Flannery’s love of history shows in the novels she writes. She is an avid reader of historical, suspense, paranormal, and romance. When not researching for her next book, Kat can be found running her three sons to hockey and lacrosse. She’s been published in numerous periodicals. This is Kat’s third book and she is hard at work on her next.

Find Kat on the web:

Website: www.katflannery-author.com

Blog: www.kat-scratch.blogspot.ca
Twitter: https://twitter.com/katflannery1

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Kat-Flannery/131065966999142

Character Interview: Cedric, the Dark Lord, from Melodie Campbell’s Rowena and the Dark Lord

character interviews logoWe’re thrilled to have here today Cedric, the Dark Lord, from Melodie Campbell’s new fantasy novel, Rowena and the Dark Lord, book 2 in the Land’s End series.  Cedric is a 35 year old Earl, master mage, and ruler of Huel in Land’s End.

It is a pleasure to have him with us today at Beyond the Books!

Thank you so for this interview, Cedric.  Now that the book has been written, do you feel you were fairly portrayed or would you like to set anything straight with your readers? 

Damn right, I want to set things straight. They have me portrayed as the villain, the Dark Lord. That is utter nonsense.

Rowena_and_the_Dark_Lord_Front_Cover (1)I am the Earl of Huel. And yes, I am a powerful mage. Rowena is my wife. Everything I do is to protect her and our unborn child. How can that be villainous?

Do you feel the author did a good job colorizing your personality?  If not, how would you like to have been portrayed differently? 

I should be the hero in this book! Twice, I have rescued Rowena from certain death, and have killed the villains who dared to kidnap her. Yes, one was my worthless brother, a fool who would have risked her life among depraved men. The other was the King, an abusive tyrant who struck Rowena in front of the whole court. Of course I had to kill him. So why I am considered the villain?

What do you believe is your strongest trait? 

I never give up. It’s to the death. And I have never lost a battle yet.

Worse trait?

My weakness for Rowena. We are destined to be together, whether she believes it or not. She is my heaven, and without her I am in hell.

If you could choose someone in the television or movie industry to play your part if your book was made into a movie, who would that be? 

That fellow who plays Eric in True Blood…Alexander Skarsgard. He is strong. He looks like me.

Do you have a love interest in the book?

Rowena, of course. Our telepathic bond becomes stronger with each passing day. Soon, we will not be separated.

At what point of the book did you start getting nervous about the way it was going to turn out? 

When I had to leave my body and take on another. It was the first time I had done that. Luckily, I chose well. Ha! Wait until you read the sex scene that results from my invading another body. Rowena will feel the lust of two men for her…

If you could trade places with one of the other characters in the book, which character would you really not want to be and why? 

Why would I want to be anyone else? There is no need. I cannot be killed. Yes, you heard me right. I cannot be killed.

How do you feel about the ending of the book without giving too much away? 

Pah! This is not the ending that should be. I will be back in book three to make it right.

What words of wisdom would you give your author if she decided to write another book with you in it?

She has no choice. She must write another book. My power will influence her. I am a powerful mage, you see.

Thank you for this interview, Cedric of Huel.  Will we be seeing more of you in the future?

Look for me in Rowena and the Viking Warlord, book 3 in the Land’s Ends series, coming in fall 2013.  The battle begins…

about the book

Dark magic…dark passions….

When Rowena is abducted from Arizona and taken back to medieval Land’s End, one thing is clear: she must learn to control her powers of magic. It isn’t easy being a modern girl in an archaic land, and when Rowena accidently conjures up a Roman Legion in mid-battle, Land’s End is on the brink of a war that could jeopardize everything and everyone she loves.

The stakes are raised when the Dark Lord reappears and traps Rowena in a cyclone of lust and passion. Once again, she is torn between the man she loves and the mage who fires her desire.

Purchase the book on Amazon.

Currently #2 Timetravel in Canada!  Top 100 in US!

about the author

Campbell-author-400Melodie Campbell achieved a personal best this year when Library Digest compared her to Janet Evanovich.

Melodie got her start writing comedy (stand-up and columns.)  In1999, she opened the Canadian Humour Conference.  She has over 200 publications including 100 comedy credits, 40 short stories and 4 novels. Her fifth novel, a mob caper entitled The Goddaughter’s Revenge (Orca Books) will be released Oct. 1. She has won 6 awards for fiction, and was a finalist for both the 2012 Derringer and Arthur Ellis Awards.

Melodie is the Executive Director of Crime Writers of Canada. Her humour column ‘Bad Girl’ appears inThe Sage.

Find Melodie on the web:

www.melodiecampbell.com

www.funnygirlmelodie.blogspot.com

Facebook: MelodieCampbellAuthor

Twitter: @MelodieCampbell

Book Review: Chasing Victory by Joanne Jaytanie

Chasing Victory is a delightful debut novel by first-time author Joanne Jaytanie.

Our beautiful protagonist, Victory Winters, is a veterinarian and geneticist specializing in molecular biology for Claremont Research in Poulsbo, Washington. She also has a special innate ability she keeps secret: she has almost a telepathic gift to communicate with animals. As head of her department, she’s currently researching canine DNA and its potential benefits to humans.

Then one day, Victory receives a cryptic call from Jeffrey, an old friend and colleague who she hasn’t seen or spoken to in 5 years. Like her, he’s also a veterinarian and geneticist working for a competitor company, Biotec. Jeffrey insists he needs her help and asks her to meet him in a picnic spot. But, to her horror, once there she secretly witnesses his murder.

Soon after, she’s approached by a representative of Biotec with an offer to work for them. They claim that Jeffrey is working overseas, and they want her to take his place. Though she doesn’t trust them, she decides to play along in order to investigate her friend’s murder. But things go unexpectedly wrong when instead she’s kidnapped to a secluded island and forced to do research, injecting humans with wolf DNA. Unbeknown to Victory at first, the madman CEO wants to create the perfect invincible army.

Thus, Victory is soon pulled into a vortex of intrigue, blackmail and murder. Together with the hero, Tristan Farraday, a naval officer who also has telepathic abilities and who is sent undercover to investigate Biotec’s experiments, Victory must find a way to stop the company from carrying out their horrific plans and to get out of the island alive.

This was a fun, light, entertaining read! They story is compelling and the hero and heroine sympathetic. Victory is intelligent, yet caring and sensitive. Tristan is the perfect combination, not too alpha, not too soft. The action moves at a pretty quick pace, and there’s a lot of action and romantic suspense to keep readers turning pages. One thing I especially enjoyed about this story is that the love between Victory and Tristan develops gradually and organically. I certainly look forward to reading more works from this author. Recommended for fans of paranormal romance!

Visit the author’s website: http://www.joannejaytanie.com/

Purchase from Amazon.

Character Interview: Charlotte Dashiell from Chris Karslen’s romantic thriller, Byzantine Gold

character interviews logoWe’re thrilled to have here today Charlotte Dashiell from Chris Karlsen’s new romantic thriller, Byzantine Gold.  Charlotte is a 30 and a nautical archaeologist living in Istanbul, Turkey.

It is a pleasure to have her with us today at Beyond the Books!

Thank you so for this interview, Charlotte.  Now that the book has been written, do you feel you were fairly portrayed or would you like to set anything straight with your readers?

I think I was fairly portrayed. This was a very turbulent time for me. With the threat to Atakan’s life, my visa status up in the air, Atakan’s ex-girlfriend showing up asking all kinds of questions, then discovering my dive partner is a terrorist, and to top matters, Atakan’s mother making an excellent case for my leaving, I was grateful for the recovery project. It kept me focused on the wreck and from falling apart emotionally.

I am a little embarrassed about suggesting the Ipecac for Saska. I’d like the readers to know that is not something I’d normally do but the first thing I could come up with fast in that situation.

Do you feel the author did a good job colorizing your personality?  If not, how would you like to have been portrayed differently?

I think she did a good job with my personality even including my bad tendency to being secretive when I shouldn’t be.

What do you believe is your strongest trait?

My intellect, I’m a quick thinker in bad situations and logical.

Worse trait?

As I mentioned, I’m too secretive at times and it always comes back to bite me in the butt—so to speak. 

If you could choose someone in the television or movie industry to play your part if your book was made into a movie, who would that be (and you can’t say yourself!)?

Photo credit: Tyler Parker

Photo credit: Tyler Parker

I’d love Stana Katic to play me. I think she’s drop dead gorgeous and I love the fact that her character in Castle is smart and has good sense of humor. For Atakan, I see Oded Fehr. I’ve liked him since I first saw him in The Mummy. He’s handsome in a very masculine way, which I find attractive. 

Do you have a love interest in the book?

Yes, Atakan Vadim. He’s an agent with the Turkish Ministry of Culture, an archaeologist, like me. He’s one of the most honorable and ethical men I know, in addition to being handsome.

At what point of the book did you start getting nervous about the way it was going to turn out?

When Maksym Tischenko, who tried to kill Atakan once before, was spotted in Kusadasi, which isn’t that far by boat from Cyprus, where we were. At that point, Atakan and the Ministry figured he’d head to Cyprus and come after Atakan again. I worried knowing there was no way we’d discover where exactly he’d hide. He could sit on a boat any number of places off shore.

If you could trade places with one of the other characters in the book, which character would you really not want to be and why?

I wouldn’t want to be Rana. She filled her head with girlish romantic notions about Tischenko. She couldn’t have fallen for a worse man.

byzantine goldHow do you feel about the ending of the book without giving too much away?

I’m happy with it. Everything happened so fast and I’m glad I was able to participate.

What words of wisdom would you give your author if s/he decided to write another book with you in it?

I’d love for Chris to include Atakan and I in the next book, but I’d like my brother Nick to be one of the heroes as I’d also like to see Iskender in one of those roles too.

Thank you for this interview, Charlotte.  Will we be seeing more of you in the future?

Oh, I believe so.

_____________________________

chris karslenChris Karslen is a  retired police detective. She spent twenty-five years in the law enforcement with two different agencies. The daughter of a history professor and a voracious reader, she grew up with a love for history and books. She has traveled extensively throughout Europe, the Near East, and Northern Africa satisfying her passion for seeing the places she read about. A Chicago native, Chris has lived in Paris, Los Angeles, and now resides with her husband, and five rescue dogs in the Pacific Northwest.

Learn more about Chris and her work on her website and blog.

Listen to an audio interview with the author on At Random LIVE.

Watch the trailer of Byzantine Gold on YouTube.

Purchase the book on Amazon.

Interview & Review: SEVERED THREADS, by Kaylin McFarren

Please welcome my special guest, romantic suspense author Kaylin McFarren. I recently had the chance to read and review her latest novel, Severed Threads, and I have to say it is an entertaining, thrilling read. Kaylin was generous enough to take time out of her busy schedule to answer my questions about her book and her writing. I hope you’ll enjoy the interview!

About the author

A native of California, Kaylin McFarren has traveled around the world and is now settled in Oregon.

As the director of a fine art gallery, she assisted in developing the careers of numerous visual artists who under her guidance gained recognition through promotional opportunities and in national publications. Eager to unleash and develop her own creativity, she has since channeled her energy toward writing novels. As a result, she has earned more than a dozen literary awards and was a 2008 finalist in the prestigious RWA® Golden Heart contest. She is a member of RWA, Rose City Romance Writers, and Willamette Writers.

Thanks for this interview, Kaylin! Do you consider yourself a born writer?

Definitely. Since the age of eight, I’ve loved to write stories and have been filled with an active imagination.

What compelled you to start writing professionally?

Like many authors, I was originally inspired to write my first novel after reading a great book and seeing an amazing movie. Mine happened to be Memoirs of a Geisha and The Notebook, which will always be my favourites.

Severed Threads is full of romance, suspense and danger. What was the most challenging aspect of writing this romantic thriller?

The most difficult task to writing a suspense story is to keep the action moving while revealing character traits and emotions along the way. Severed Threads contains an array of characters and each serve their purpose in revealing a twisting and turning plot that ultimately leads to a pleasant resolve. However, keeping the voices of each person unique also proved to be a challenge.

Tell us something about your hero and heroine that my readers won’t be able to resist.

Chase Cohen is a handsome, womanizing, thrill-seeking treasure hunter who has found his greatest challenge and true love in Rachel Lyons. But she doesn’t trust Chase for good reasons and won’t be easy to win over.no matter how hard he tries.

What did you find most fascinating while researching underwater archaeology and ancient Chinese treasures?

I had no idea how much gold had been lost at sea. According to Greg Stemm, co-founder and co-chairman of Odyssey, there’s billions of dollars scattered beneath the ocean. However, much of the ocean floor is unexplored and unmapped and global imaging shows crushing depths ranging up to six miles. And there could even be gold or diamond mines that far surpass what anyone on earth could imagine. Since trade included priceless collectibles and dishware from China as well as gold and silver, these were lost along with ships that sank during storms and battles hundreds of years ago and many will never be recovered.at least not in our lifetime.

How long did it take you to write the novel and did you work from an outline?

It took me close to two years to write Severed Threads. This included the time needed to research details and edit my final manuscript. I typically create a synopsis and then write by the seat of my pants. I’m not big on storyboards and planning, as I’m too anxious to get my stories on paper.

What was the editing process like?

Although I tend to edit as I go, I eventually asked three published authors and two experienced readers to assist with my initial editing before hiring a professional editor to review my manuscript. After taking all of their advice into consideration, I fine-tuned my writing and sent it in for publication, hoping I’d done my best in creating a fast-paced, entertaining tale.

What advice would you give to first-time novelists who are just starting to market their books?

Spend a little extra time in researching your options. If you chose to approach a publishing house, be sure the agents you contact are experienced in your genre and have a great track record. If you decide to self-publish, be prepared to spend a little extra money and time in promoting your titles as well as yourself.

What’s on the horizon for Kaylin McFarren?

I’m currently completing the second book in the Threads series – Buried Threads – and will be following this with a third – Banished Threads. I’ve enjoyed my characters so much in my first installment that I decided to take them on adventures around the world and have been urged to do so by readers who follow my stories.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with my readers?

Keep reading and if you enjoy the work created by an author, be sure to let them know. Your praise and support encourages every author to write!

Thanks, Kaylin!

Find out more about Severed Threads on Amazon.

View the original article on blogcritics.org

_________________________________________________

Review of SEVERED THREADS

ImageThe story opens during a diving salvage operation with experienced divers and treasure hunters Sam Lyons and Chase Cohen. Though they’re working on the Griffith wreckage, Sam believes the site also contains the wreckage of none other than the Wanli II—the Ming Dynasty Emperor’s lost dragon ship containing an ancient figure head, a fierce dragon in gold leaf and preserved in resin for all posterity—the gift Mai Le intended for her lover.

Unexpectedly, however, things turn bad for Sam while he’s underwater: he suffers cardiac arrest for no apparent reason. Indeed, the circumstances surrounding his death appear more than a little mysterious.

Chase, who had loved him like a father, feels responsible and doesn’t know what to make of it. Did something malfunction or did something scare Sam down there? He’d been an experienced diver with over 20 years of experience under his belt. What had Chase missed? Sam was the only man Chase had allowed himself to trust. He and his daughter Rachel were the only two people he really cared for. But now all had changed: Sam was dead, and Rachel would forever blame him for his death.

Move four years forward. Rachel Lyons, Sam’s Daughter, is working at a grant foundation. All is pretty quiet and routine in her life…until she’s approached by a museum director asking for a grant to conduct another diving salvage operation, run by none other than Chase’s Trident Ventures.

Though Rachel has no intention of helping Chase, Chase is set on convincing her. Since the operation focuses on discovering the Wanli II, if they succeed, her father would receive his long overdue reward and the museum would fund a permanent exhibition to honor his memory.

Yet, Rachel is still hesitant. Then, a twist of fate puts Rachel’s brother in danger, forcing her to change her mind about funding Chase’s project.  Chase is more than suspicious about her sudden change of heart, but he isn’t about to say no to this opportunity which could help him leave his mark upon the world as a renowned treasure hunter.

Thus, she grants him the money and insists on joining the underwater expedition. Can she put aside pride and work with Chase on a daily basis?

Severed Threads is an engaging, entertaining read! I’ve always enjoyed stories about lost treasures and underwater archaeology and this one didn’t disappoint. The hero and heroine are realistic and sympathetic and there’s a sizzling chemistry between them. The plot is believable with a fair share of exciting twists and turns. I found the workings of a grant foundation and a diving salvage operation quite interesting and informative. Pacing is fairly quick with a nice balance of action, dialogue, description and the inner thoughts of the characters.

In short, Severed Threads is an exciting novel featuring danger in the high seas, romance, action and adventure, murder, and even a sprinkle of the paranormal for good measure. Recommended.

Purchase from Amazon.

Visit Kaylin McFarren’s website.

 

The Devil in Merrivale by Jackie Griffey l Q&A + Blog Tour

Jackie Griffey likes to read as well as write cozy mysteries and romantic suspense. She and her family, two cats, a Chihuahua, and a couple of wild bunnies live in Arkansas where she is working on another cozy mystery. You can visit her website at www.jackiegriffey.com.

Q: Welcome to Beyond the Books, Jackie.  Can we start out by telling us whether you are published for the first time or are you multi-published?

Multi-published. When my audio books are scheduled I’ll have books in all the formats known to man (Make that currently known to man – who knows what marvels are in store for us – did I mention I’m an optimist?)

Q: What was the name of your very first book regardless of whether it was published or not and, if not published, why?

My first wasn’t a book, it was a screen play, a reading script, The Christmas Vally Chronicles. And since I’m saving it for Stephen Spielberg it will probably never get to the big screen. LOL. Anyway, that’s when (1993) I joined a writing group and startd writing.

Click on banner to see where Jackie is appearing next!

Q: For your first published book, how many rejections did you go through before you either found a mainstream publisher, self-published it, or paid a vanity press to publish it?

See first ans. “I’m an optiminst.” I got enough rejections to paper a room just trying to get someone to read it, much less publish or produce it. I didn’t count them –  but the group had fun reading them with me.

Q: How did the rejections make you feel and what did you do to overcome the blows?

It looked like I’d set my goals on something impossible. But I didn’t quit writing as the rejections piled up, I just switched to novels. I discovered the pleasures in several fiction genres, and shared critiques and working with the writing group. Carolyn Hart, Joan Hess, and Charlain Harris came to LIttle Rock and Hart suggested I join SinC. I did and I still love all three of these wonderful ladies’ books.

Q: When your first book was published, who published it and why did you choose them?

Zumaya Publications was my first publisher. The book was Memphis in our Hearts, a historical-romance-suspense and I was really pleased when Zumaya opened their Enigma mystery imprint and offered me a contract on the Merrivale series.

The Devil of Merrivale by Jackie Griffey (click on cover to purchase)

Q: How did it make you feel to become published for the first time and how did you celebrate?

I called everyone I knew that wasn’t in hollering distance. LOL. Beginning with my sister in Memphis and the members of my local writing group here in Arkansas.

Q: What was the first thing you did as for as promotion when you were published for the first time?

I proudly announced on SinC and did my first book signing at Hastings Bookstore in Jacksonville, Arkansas.

Q: If you had to do it over again, would you have chosen another route to be published?

No. It was a fun trip ( and I ain’t through yet!)

Q: Have you been published since then and how have you grown as an author?

I’m finally making a little money, but mostly I’m writing; I’m published; the local and all the Central Arkansas libraries have my books; several here in my home town collect them and wait for the next one; and I’ve learned a lot from the really good editors with whom I’ve been privileged to work.

Q: Looking back since the early days when you were trying to get published, what do you think you could have done differently to speed things up? What kind of mistakes could you have avoided?

I enjoyed all the bumps, bruises, and experiences. I learned and none of them were too painful and as in Ans. One, I’m still an optimist. LOL.

Q: What has been the biggest accomplishment you have achieved since becoming published?

The feeling I get when people enjoy my books and tell me so.

Q: If you could have chosen another profession, what would that profession be?

I was an executive secretary for a long time and have used some of my experiences from that career in my writing. I guess I would have continued in that career if my husband hadn’t retired. That’s when I started writing.

Q: Would you give up being an author for that profession or have you combined the best of both worlds?

Definitely best of both worlds.

Q: How do you see yourself in ten years?

Still writing, probably more ebooks and audios, and as above – who knows what other formats? LOL.

Q: Any final words for writers who dream of being published one day?

Go for it! Write and enjoy it. There are so many publishers and formats now, your novel will make it – probably in more than one of them. Good luck!

Interview with K.M. Daughters, Authors of BEYOND THE CODE OF CONDUCT

K.M. Daughters

K.M. Daughters is the penname for team writers and sisters, Pat Casiello and Kathie Clare nee Lynch.  The author name is dedicated to the memory of their parents, Katherine and Michael, the “K” and “M” in K.M. Daughters.  Inspired by their father who wrote children’s books for them when they were small and their mother’s love of romance novels, K.M. Daughters was “born” a little under five years ago at a Romance Writers of American national conference when the sisters plotted their first manuscript, now published in E-book by Sapphire Blue Publishing: Past, Present and Forever.

Since that conference, K.M. Daughters has written five additional award-winning novels, all contracted to The Wild Rose Press and its new subsidiary, White Rose Publishing.  Most recently the 1st book in The Sullivan Boys Romantic Suspense series was distinguished in The Lories published contest; Past, Present and Forever received the Coffee Time Romance and More Reviewer’s award and their upcoming release, Beyond The Code of Conduct was rated 4-stars, “compelling”, page turner, in the June 2009 issue of RT Book Review.

K.M. Daughters resides in Illinois and New Jersey with husbands Nick and Tom, a total of five children and two grandchildren between them. 

banner bar

Welcome to Beyond the Books, K.M.  Can you tell us whether you are published for the first time or multi-published?  Can you give us the title(s) of your book(s)? 

Thank you so much for inviting us.  We’re multi-published in three romance genres with three publishers.  The Wild Rose Press publishes our romantic suspense Sullivan Boys Series:  Book 1, AGAINST DOCTORS ORDERS, released October 2008, and our new release is Book 2, BEYOND THE CODE OF CONDUCT.  White Rose Publishing is a new company affiliated with TWRP.  White Rose publishes our inspirational romances.  JEWEL OF THE ADRIATIC, our debut novel, released in August 2008.  The sequel, ROSE OF THE ADRIATIC, releases 7/31/09.  Our first manuscript, a contemporary romance, released in E-book from Sapphire Blue Publishing in February 2009.

 What was the name of your very first book regardless of whether it was published or not and, if not published, why? 

Our first book was entitled REUNION FOR THE FIRST TIME.  We came up with the title and thought it was catchy and built a story around it.  Yes, Sapphire Blue Publishing acquired and released it with the new title, Past, Present and Forever in E-book. Ironically the title didn’t survive. 

For your first published book, how many rejections did you go through before you either found a mainstream publisher, self-published it, or paid a vanity press to publish it? 

Actually, it was never rejected.  We submitted the completed manuscript to The Wild Rose Press because we wanted to write for them and found their philosophy appealing. But we’re not sure TWRP would be categorized as “mainstream”.  The Wild Rose Press is an independent publisher producing books in digital formats.  Paperback books are printed on demand, available through all major distribution outlets.  So we’re not “self” or “vanity” published, either. 

 How did the rejections make you feel and what did you do to overcome the blows?

 After we published our first two books we submitted our contemporary and it was rejected by one of The Wild Rose Press imprints.  The rejection letter was detailed and offered the opportunity to rewrite and resubmit the manuscript.  We accepted the opportunity and received a second rejection.  Ever resilient, we learned that a brand new publisher, Sapphire Blue, called for submissions, “Dust off those manuscripts in your drawer.”  So we dusted it and sent it off.  We had the pleasure of working with one of the owners, Maria Clayton, during the extensive editing process.  Since it was the first manuscript we’d written as a team, we’ll emphasize the word “extensive”.  Maria’s patience and experience guided us to transform it. 

 When your first book was published, who published it and why did you choose them? 

The Wild Rose Press published our first book.  We chose them for both personal and professional reasons.  The book features Marian apparitions and the rose is associated with the mother of God.  Personally, we thought the book was destined for The Wild ROSE Press.  The professional consideration was knowledge that the owners Rhonda Penders and R.J. Morris had established the house “by authors, for authors”.  They’ve kept their commitment to that philosophy.  Every stage of the submission process involved timely communication.  The query was acknowledged with a promise to respond within two weeks.  Within a week Nicola Martinez, Sr. Editor for the inspirational line asked for a partial.  Upon receipt it was acknowledged and a response was promised within thirty days.  A couple weeks later a full manuscript was requested.  The contract offer was presented in less than half the estimated ninety-day response time.  

How did it make you feel to become published for the first time and how did you celebrate? 

We’re writers, we should be able to capture that feeling in words for you!  Thrilled and ecstatic are the best adjectives that come to mind.  We were on a “sister trip” to Universal Studios, Orlando.  January 26, 2008.  We wandered into an attraction called The Eighth Voyage of Sinbad and took seats in the back of the small amphitheatre.  Pat was checking email and hung over her phone reading.  She glanced up at Kathie and whispered, “We sold our book.”  At that precise time a canon blasted on stage. After a flurry of breathless, screechy telephone calls home to husbands and children, later that evening we had a tropical cocktail in the bustling downtown area and toasted K.M. Daughters.

 What was the first thing you did as for as promotion when you were published for the first time? 

We asked our web designer if she could do bookmarks for us, and she did. 

 If you had to do it over again, would you have chosen another route to be published? 

The ideal route is the way that leads to your goal.  We can’t imagine rerouting. 

Have you been published since then and how have you grown as an author? 

Yes, we have.  In 2008 we contracted on five novels, everything we had ever written together up until then.  This year a contract has just been approved for the 3rd book in The Sullivan Boys series, acquired by our amazing Wild Rose Press Editor, Joelle Walker.  Our cheerleader, our friend, we count on Joelle for her honesty and expertise.  We have grown enormously as authors.  Joelle remarked that the 3rd book in the series (Capturing Karma), “…will give Against Doctors Orders and Beyond The Code of Conduct a run for their money.”  And she really loved the first two books.

 Looking back since the early days when you were trying to get published, what do you think you could have done differently to speed things up?  What kind of mistakes could you have avoided? 

It took about four years from the time we became serious about aspiring to be published authors until we achieved that dream.  We attended workshops and classes.  We talked to authors, agents and editors.  We entered our manuscripts in contests and poured over judges’ critiques and utilized the constructive criticism.  It took us that long and we think it takes as long as it takes.  This author couldn’t have sped things up or learned from mistakes any faster. 

What has been the biggest accomplishment you have achieved since becoming published? 

Pre-release, RT Book Reviews rated Beyond The Code of Conduct 4-stars in the June 2009 issue.  Included in the romantic suspense section of reviews for that issue were NYT Bestselling authors.  We couldn’t believe the company we were keeping. 

If you could have chosen another profession, what would that profession be? 

We’re currently engaged in other professions running small businesses.  We choose the writing profession! 

Would you give up being an author for that profession or have you combined the best of both worlds? 

We would do the reverse and give up our day jobs for full-time writing.  But right now we are blessed with the best of both worlds. 

How do you see yourself in ten years?

Full-time authors releasing two books a year to fans, similar to us for the treasured authors we follow, who can’t wait to get the books in their hands (or on their E-readers). 

Any final words for writers who dream of being published one day? 

The sentiment in the movie Field of Dreams pertains, build it and they will come. 

banner bar

Interview with Romantic Suspense Author Maryann Miller

A diverse writer of columns, feature stores, short fiction, novels,
screenplays and stage plays, Maryann Miller has won numerous awards including being a semi-finalist at the Sundance Institute for her screenplay, “A Question of Honor”. More recently she placed in the top 15 percent of entries in the Chesterfield Screenwriting Fellowship with the adaptation of her mystery, “Open Season”

Publishing credits include work for regional and national newspapers and magazines: Lady’s Circle, Woman’s World, Marriage and Family Living, Plano Magazine, The Children’s World, Byline, The Texas Catholic Newspaper. She has published nine non-fiction books for teens, including the award-winning Coping With Weapons and Violence : In Your School and on Your Streets released by The Rosen Publishing Group in New York. She
has a short story in the All About Muse anthology, The
Holiday Mixer. Her novel, One Small Victory, was a hardback release from Five Star Publishing in June 2008, and Play it Again, Sam, is a July 2008 release from Uncial Press in e-book formats.

She is currently the Managing Editor and writer for an online community magazine, WinnsboroToday.com, and does book reviews for ForeWord Magazine and two online review sites, BloggerNews.net and Curled Up With a Good Book. She also does freelance editing. Other experience includes extensive work as a PR consultant, a script doctor, and a freelance
editor. She has been writing all her life and plans to die at her computer.

Until then, Miller stays active in a number of organizations including Sisters In Crime, The Trails Country Centre For The Arts in Winnsboro, Texas, and was a founder of The Greater Dallas Writers’ Association.

She makes her home in the beautiful Piney Woods of East Texas where she happily plays farmer. She has a horse, two goats, three cats, and two dogs. She shares these critters and five acres with her husband and an armadillo that visits frequently. You can visit her website at www.maryannwrites.com.

Welcome to Beyond the Books, Maryann! Can we start out by telling us whether you are published for the first time or are you multi-published?

Thanks for the opportunity to be here. It has been so much fun visiting a number of sites and meeting all kinds of interesting people.

I have been published quite a bit as a journalist, as well as having a number of nonfiction books published with The Rosen Publishing Group. A small publisher also published my mystery, Doubletake, and a romance, Play it again, Sam, which has been re-released this summer by Uncial Press. One Small Victory, however, is my first foray into major publication and distribution.

What was the name of your very first book regardless of whether it was published or not and, if not published, why?

My very first book was a Y/A novel, Friends Forever, which was well liked by a number of editors in NY, but never loved, if you know what I mean. At the time I wrote the book, I was busy with my freelance work, so after a while I stopped trying to market it. Then about fifteen years ago, it had a short life as an e-book from New Concepts Publishing. It sold moderately well, but after a couple of years they gave me the rights back. It is now available through the Amazon Kindle program.

For your first published book, how many rejections did you go through before you either found a mainstream publisher, self-published it, or paid a vanity press to publish it?

My first published book was nonfiction and I sold it on a proposal to Rosen. Of course it helped that the publisher was looking for someone to write about destructive cults and I found out about the need. My background in journalism also helped because I didn’t know a thing about destructive cults, but I knew how to do research. That book was Coping With Cults, and I went on to write eight more books for them, including Coping With Weapons And Violence In School And on Your Streets, which was named a notable book for teens by the New York Public Library.

How did the rejections make you feel and what did you do to overcome the blows?

While I didn’t experience rejections with that first book, I had plenty for other books and for short stories. The first short story I had published received over 40 rejections before Lady’s Circle Magazine bought it. At first the rejections could put me in a dark hole for weeks, but after a while I learned to separate the work from me personally – as much as any author is able to do that. (grin) So I tried to focus on “the work” and look for reasons why it was rejected. If it came down to the right place at the wrong time and the writing was not weak, I would send it out again. I once read a tip in a writers’ magazine to always have a long list of places to send a piece, then get it out there again, so that’s what I did.

How did it make you feel to become published for the first time and how did you celebrate?


Even though I had had a lot of articles, columns and stories published, I was thrilled to hold my first book. It was such a wonderful sense of accomplishment. At the time, I belonged to a writer’s group that always celebrated a member’s first book. We had a wonderful party where I felt like the most special person alive.

What was the first thing you did as far as promotion when you were published for the first time?

That first book was widely marketed to libraries – as is One Small Victory – so I set up an event at our local library. I gave a talk about destructive cults and had books there to sign. Most of the proceeds went to the library because the reference librarians there had been a tremendous help during the research.

If you had to do it over again, would you have chosen another route to be published?


I don’t think so. Looking back on my career, I can see that the growth has been small compared to other authors, but it has been steady, and one thing built on another. It has also been a wonderful and interesting journey. If you are not enjoying the trip, get off the train. (grin)

Have you been published since then and how have you grown as an author?

I’m certainly a better writer today than I was 30years ago when I first started a professional career. I’ve learned how to meet deadlines; how to accept editing; and how to discipline myself to write every day. Since we writers set our own schedules, discipline can often be a challenge.

Looking back since the early days when you were trying to get published, what do you think you could have done differently to speed things up? What kind of mistakes could you have avoided?


I suppose if I had put as much time and energy into building the writing career as I did into my family, the career could have grown faster. But I don’t regret it for a moment. My family is still the most important thing in my life. Had I never published, I would be disappointed, but had I never had children and been part of their growing into such fine adults, I would be devastated.

What has been the biggest accomplishment you have achieved since becoming published?

One of the greatest thrills of my writing career was the opportunity I had to mount a production of one of my plays at a community theatre here in East Texas. I was honored to direct a talented cast, and humbled beyond words on opening night when the audience honored the cast with a standing ovation.

If you could have chosen another profession, what would that profession be?

As a good friend once said, writing is not just what I do, it is part of who I am. So even if I worked at another profession, I would still be a writer. That was true for most of my adult life when I was a homemaker first and a writer second. I also had a ten year period when I was enrolled in a Clinical Pastoral Education program and then worked as a hospital chaplain. I still wrote when I could find time and actually finished the first draft of One Small Victory then. My play, There is a Time was also written during that time. It was based on some of my experiences in a cancer support group I facilitated, as well as some dynamics of the dying process that I learned in classes.

Would you give up being an author for that profession or have you combined the best of both worlds?

I am no longer working full time as a chaplain, so now the writing is full time and the ministry is part time. They both seem to feed each other and I find great joy in both.

How do you see yourself in ten years?

In ten years I hope to still be here on my little farm in East Texas taking care of my animals and my husband. As far as writing is concerned, I hope to be working on book five or six in a mystery series. Five Star is considering the first book now, and I am halfway through the second. I have five more plotted out, so I would like nothing more than to hang out with those characters for a few years.

Any final words for writers who dream of being published one day?

Don’t give up. The difference between success and failure is hanging in there despite the obstacles and roadblocks. Quitting can’t be an option if you really want to see your book published.

Author Interview with #1 New York Times Bestselling Author Lisa Jackson

Lisa Jackson can’t keep away from murderers, especially serial killers. She’s been killing people everywhere from Savannah , New Orleans and Baton Rouge to San Francisco and the Pacific Northwest —and it’s been worth it. Her readers come back again and andanagain, and again, and her novels are fixtures on national bestseller lists. In fact, her book Fatal Burn was a number one New York Times paperback bestseller, and the first two of her novels to be published in hardcover, Shiver and Absolute Fear, were in the top five on the New York Times Best Sellers list. Next, readers will be looking for LOST SOULS, just published in hardcover by Kensington Books to go on sale March 25th.

Having made serial killing her business—sort of—she has put her characters through the wringer. They have been up to their necks in danger and stared death, usually a pretty gory one, right in the face. She continues to be fascinated by the minds and motives of both her killers and their pursuers—the personal, the professional and the downright twisted. As she creates the puzzle of relationships, actions, clues, lies and personal histories that haunt her protagonists, she must conversely confront the fear and terror faced by her victims, and the harsh and enduring truth that, in the real world, horror and madness touch far too many lives and families.

Lisa began writing at the urging of her sister, novelist Nancy Bush. Inspired by the success of authors she admired and the burgeoning market for romance fiction at the time, Nancy was convinced they could work together and succeed. They sat down, determined to write and to be published.

They did and they were.

Initially they wrote together. Later, they moved in different directions. Lisa brought more and more suspense to her work and began writing much darker stories. Nancy ’s writing expanded to include not just her own novels, including her highly praised Jane Kelly Mysteries, such as the recently published Ultraviolet, Electric Blue and Candy Apple Red, but she also spent several years writing for one of television’s leading soap operas, even transplanting herself for a time from the sisters’ Pacific Northwest roots to Manhattan . This year, they plan to work together again on a thriller set for publication in 2009.

Meanwhile, for Lisa the killing goes on as this mother, daughter, workaholic and amazing writer pursues her habit of making the hair stand up on the back of readers’ necks, and landing her books on The New York Times, the USA Today, and the Publishers Weekly national best seller lists.

Lisa Jackson’s novels include the upcoming LOST SOULS and the best sellers Absolute Fear, which will be published in paperback for the first time in March, Hot Blooded, Cold Blooded, The Night Before, The Morning After, Deep Freeze, Fatal Burn, and Almost Dead. Last year, Most Likely to Die, written by Lisa, Beverly Barton and Wendy Corsi Staub was published and became a number three New York Times paperback bestseller. She is a member of the Mystery Writers of America, the International Thriller Writers and the Romance Writers of America.

You can visit Lisa’s website at www.lisajackson.com.  

Welcome to Beyond the Books, Lisa. Can you tell us whether you are published for the first time or multi-published? Multi-published., Can you give us the title(s) of your book(s)?

Well, there are a lot. The most recent are ABSOLUTE FEAR in paperback and LOST SOULS, in hardcover from Kensington Publishing.

What was the name of your very first book regardless of whether it was published or not and, if not published, why?

I wrote my first novel with two other women, one being my sister, author Nancy Bush. That book was never sold, probably because it was a first novel and wasn’t all that good. Who knows? It was 1981. I do remember there were rejection letters saying it had too much suspense in it. Ironic, I think, considering the path my career has taken.

For your first published book, how many rejections did you go through before you either found a mainstream publisher, self-published it, or paid a vanity press to publish it?

I just sent it to one publisher and they bought it.

How did the rejections make you feel and what did you do to overcome the blows?

Rejection is a part of the business. I knew that from the get-go. I just picked myself up, complained to my sister, dusted myself off and got back to it. Rejections aren’t fun. They hurt. But if you use them as a tool and don’t let them dig too deep, you can learn from them. I did.

When your first book was published, who published it and why did you choose them?

A TWIST OF FATE was published by Silhouette Books. I chose them because they were expanding and didn’t have a lot of authors who wrote the “new longer” romance novels. I figured it might just be my “in” and it was.

How did it make you feel to become published for the first time and how did you celebrate?

I was elated—over the moon!! It was great. I can’t remember how I celebrated but I do remember I actually paid off some bills.

What was the first thing you did as for as promotion when you were published for the first time?

I didn’t promote my first novel. It was a category book; I didn’t know anything about promotion in 1981. I just went to work on the second book.

If you had to do it over again, would you have chosen another route to be published?

Absolutely not. It was great. But if it were today, things might be different. I don’t know. I did learn a lot writing category romance novels.

Have you been published since then and how have you grown as an author?

Well, I’ve written lots of different kinds of books, everything from historical and contemporaryromance to the suspense novels like LOST SOULS that I write today.

Looking back since the early days when you were trying to get published, what do you think you could have done differently to speed things up? What kind of mistakes could you have avoided?

I doubt I could have changed things. Times were different. Today there are computers and the Internet, more information shared, but back then I would have done things just as I did, though I might have gotten an agent earlier.

What has been the biggest accomplishment you have achieved since becoming published?

For my writing, I guess it’s becoming a #1 New York Times best-selling author; personally it’s raising my sons.

If you could have chosen another profession, what would that profession be?

Wow…that’s tough. I wanted to be a writer. If I had been more inclined maybe a veterinarian, I guess. But that probably wouldn’t have worked as I hate to see animals in pain.

Would you give up being an author for that profession or have you combined the best of both worlds?

No way, and believe me all the dogs and cats in the world are thankful.

How do you see yourself in ten years?

Older, of course. Still writing, I hope. But I really don’t think in terms of 10 years. I look to a max of three.

Any final words for writers who dream of being published one day?

Keep at it. Read and learn. My sister taught me this: It’s easy to find out what you don’t like about a book. But somewhere an editor bought it. It can only help you as a writer to try to understand waht it was about the book that compelled that editor to go to bat for it?

Technorati Tags:
, , , , , , ,

%d bloggers like this: