Category Archives: Author Friends

Interview with Michelle Howard

Author Spotlight – Michelle Howard

Michelle Howard

I asked Michelle why she writes and here is what Michelle had to say:

“When first asked to put together a piece to describe or explain why I write, I panicked. I didn’t know how to put into words the constant buzz in the back of my head telling me all of these fascinating stories about people I didn’t even know. I can, however, tell you where it started.

A couple of years ago, a friend asked me if I had ever tried my hand at writing and I told her no way not happening. (Fear had a firm hold on me.) Then for my birthday, my sister gave me a membership to RWA, a journal and an engraved pen with a note to write the stories in my head. Under this kind of gentle persuasion aka pressure, I succumbed. LOL. I wrote a paranormal wolf shifter story. I loved what I wrote so much that when I read my monthly RWA, I noticed a contest offered by River City Romance Writers so I entered without telling anyone. Much to my surprise, I finaled and went on to win. I know some writers have mixed feelings on writing contests but for me it was so motivating and empowering. The judges feedback was very professional and detailed. Not sure if that always happens or maybe I was fortunate. I only know I appreciated what was provided at the end of the contest.

After that, I placed the story on the side and began another. It was as if a dam had opened and I couldn’t control the ideas streaming through my conscious. I wrote a novella to the wolf shifter, then No Reason to Run and then dived into the National Novel Writing Month. (NANOWRIMO) I know, I know, I was a little manic. The good news is that I went on to self publish No Reason to Run as well as my NANO project which became published as Honor Bound, my sci-fi romance.

I guess, in answer to SE Smith and anyone interested, I write because I can’t NOT write. It’s crazy, hectic and sometimes discouraging but I’m loving every bit of it and owe it to two people who pushed and prodded until I gave in.”

Project Genesis

Project Genesis

Vin Michaels gave up a lot when he “volunteered” for Project Genesis: a career, a normal life and a budding romance with the career-minded Helen Scott. But what else was he supposed to do when the government offered him no other option?

When a surprise attack on Earth brings Helen back into Vin’s life, he realizes he has a bigger fight on his hands than just getting rid of aliens, because his connection to her couldn’t be denied or brushed aside. But after Vin dumped her without explanation, Helen’s guarding her heart against the Alpha Squad team leader.

With a battle brewing on both fronts, Vin wonders if he’ll ever win either of them.

About the Author

Michelle Howard enjoys a crazy life that involves wild kids, a loud dog, and a husband who tolerates the madness. Like many authors, she’s dreamed of writing since reading her first romance novel many years ago. She loves paranormal and contemporary romances and is a fan of the classic romances, such as Judith McNaught and Julie Garwood.

I love to hear from fans so please reach out to me if you like the book and if you feel like it, leave a review on Amazon or Goodreads.

Email: michellehowardwrites@gmail.com
Twitter: @mhowardwrites
Website: www.michellehowardwrites.com

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Interview with Carol Van Natta

Author Spotlight – Carol Van Natta

Carol Van Natta

I am thrilled this month to shine my author spotlight on Carol Van Natta. Carol is a real sweetheart and I love her. I hope you enjoy discovering more about Carol.

  1. Tell us a little about yourself. How long have you been writing? What genre do you write?
    I’m an independent science fiction author and playwright. My muse’s home base is science fiction, but has vacation timeshare condos in romance, action-adventure, mystery, paranormal, and fantasy. Like most authors, I’ve been writing since I was old enough to put pen to paper and not scribble refrigerator art. I’m an independent author because my current Central Galactic Concordance series is science fiction romance (SFR), and that genre, while growing, is too small for traditional publishers. I’m also a playwright and screenwriter, mostly of comedic pieces, and have had several short plays produced.
  2. What inspired you to write your first book?
    When I was in high school, my friends and I wrote fan fiction for Star Trek. It was really dreadful, but we had fun, and the experience firmly fixed the writing bug in my brain. Fast forward a dozen years, and I co-authored a retro science fiction comedy called Hooray for Holopticon because we had a nifty idea and a free summer to write it. My first solo book, Overload Flux, came about from a Big Damn Story Arc that took over my brain one summer and wouldn’t let go. The resident Mad Scientist, my significant other, was convinced my computer had enslaved me, but he was kind enough to feed me regularly anyway. I wrote the story arc and the universe to go with it. If I’m calculating correctly, it’ll need 9 books to complete, which should keep me off the streets and out of the karaoke bars for a few years.Overload Flux
  3. Where do you get your inspiration from?
    Everywhere. I’m a big fan of science, so I read a lot of science articles. A comparative mythology article I read spawned an idea for an urban fantasy series, and a TV special on the Pacific Northwest rainforest in the U.S. and Canada spawned an idea for a fantasy romance series. I saw a gorgeous digital painting of an artist’s re-imagining the battle of Fort Sumpter (which started the American Civil War) in the steampunk style, which gave me the idea for a steampunk trilogy set in what the U.S. would be like 25 years after that. Little things inspire me, too, from the power source for interstellar spaceships to how you buy clothes in the 34th Century.
  4. Where/When do you do the most of your writing?
    On an ideal day, I’d get up really early (I’m a morning person) and write, then check in with friends on Facebook, take care of business, such as writing blurbs (a task I hate), or working with a cover artist (a task I love), then write some more. I don’t get very many ideal days, though, because I have a full-time job and life happens. I end up writing whenever and wherever I can—coffee shops, dentist’s waiting room, my car, hotel rooms, etc.
  5. What do you think has been your biggest accomplishment?
    Creating what I hope is a repeatable process for writing more books. It sounds prosaic, I know, but I really want to share the Big Damn Story Arc with readers, and to do that, I need to write a lot of books.
  6. What series/book did you write that has the biggest following.
    Readers who like action and adventure like my first book, Overload Flux, and demanded to know more, so I wrote a sequel novella, Zero Flux. Readers who like mysteries and character-driven SF respond to my second book, Minder Rising. The first book won a 2015 SFR Galaxy Award, which was a delightful surprise.
    http://author.carolvannatta.com/books/minder-rising/
  7. Who has influenced your writing the most?
    I’m undoubtedly the product of a dozen influences, but I’ll name two. Lindsay Buroker’s Emperor’s Edge fantasy series showed me how to handle a recurring cast of characters and make them fun and interesting, while tracking a bigger plot. Nalini Singh’s Psy-Changeling series showed me the power of romance in giving added emotional weight to an overarching plot. Both series deal with major societal change, which is what my aforementioned Big Damn Story Arc is all about.
  8. Do you have a favorite author?
    I’m fickle, I’m afraid. I have dozens of favorite authors, and because I read fast, it varies from week to week. I’ve already mentioned Buroker and Singh, so I’ll also mention S.E. Smith’s Cosmos’ Gateway series, and not because she’s having me over for virtual tea and crumpets. I’m a sucker for feisty, competent women, geeky beta males, and balanced relationships.
  9. Is there anything that you find particularly challenging in your writing?
    Not getting distracted by outside… look, a new cat video!
  10. Are the experiences of your characters based on any of your own or people that you know?
    Yes, of course. I tell my friends they’re all in my books, but they have to guess where. 😉 Honestly, I steal, uh, become inspired by bits and pieces everywhere to develop my characters, from the restaurant server with that amazingly annoying voice to the brilliant analyst I work with who can’t figure out make a pot of coffee. I love languages, so my series has a lot of multicultural characters and references.
  11. Do you have any advice for other authors?
    Write. You can’t edit what you don’t write; you can’t sell what you don’t write. Will all of it be useful, marketable, or even readable? No, but how can you get better if you don’t practice? Free bonus advice: Do your homework, and treat writing as a business. You’ll be a lot happier if you do.
  12. Is there a particular niche or direction you would like to expand your writing portfolio into?
    After I have a few more books in my current series, I’d like to start a new one, so I can be working on two series at the same time. Which of my various idea seeds will sprout when the time comes is anyone’s guess.
  13. Describe your latest WIP.
    I’m currently working on the third book in the Central Galactic Concordance series. Pico’s Crush has new lead characters and cameos by characters in the first two books, plus urban assaults by mercenaries and jack crews, a hunt for a killer, and lots of explosions. It both finishes a mini-plot arc begun in books 1 and 2, and launches the events in upcoming book 4.
  14. How can readers reach you?
    I usually check in on Facebook a couple of times a day, and I love hearing from readers there or from my website or email. People who sign up for my newsletter (http://bit.ly/CVN-news) get exclusive advance notice of new releases and sales.

Carol’s social media links:
Newsletter: http://bit.ly/CVN-news
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CarolVanNattaAuthor
Website & blog: http://author.carolvannatta.com/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3980825.Carol_Van_Natta
Google+: https://plus.google.com/+CarolVanNatta

Carol’s Bio:
Carol Van Natta is an independent author of science fiction, including Overload Flux, Minder Rising, and Zero Flux in the Central Galactic Concordance series, and Hooray for Holopticon, a retro science fiction comedy. She has been a swing-shift guard, secretary, actor, voiceover talent, singing telegram performer, non-profit director, business continuity specialist, and of course, an author. She still does some of those things so she can eat regularly and sleep indoors. She shares her Fort Collins, Colorado, home with a sometime mad scientist and various cats. Any violations of the laws of physics in her books are the fault of the cats, not the mad scientist.

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Interview with Pauline Gruber – Where Did She Get Inspiration

Author Spotlight – Pauline Gruber

Pauline Gruber

I am thrilled to be shining the spotlight on Pauline Gruber this month. You know how I like to ask questions! Well, here is my interview with Pauline. I’m looking forward to her new release, The Girl and The Gargoyle, coming out on June 26th.

  1. Tell us a little about yourself. How long have you been writing? What genre do you write?
    I’ve been writing “seriously” for five years, although I’ve been dabbling most of my life. I write paranormal romance, fantasy adventure, contemporary romance, and science fiction for young adults. Maybe it would it be easier to list what I don’t write. Dystopian, steampunk, and horror.
  2. Where do you get your inspiration from?
    The inspiration for The Girl and the Raven came while I was falling asleep one night and then it proceeded to rob me of sleep for a week. A sixteen-year-old girl from Tennessee moves to Chicago and is nearly run over by a wealthy investor barrelling down the street. Turns out a demon is coming for the man’s son and this girl is the only one who can save him. It’s an over simplified version of the story, but there it is. I loved writing that story!
    The inspiration for my vampire novel (not yet published) came from the Chateau d’Abbadie, a castle in France. I built a duplicate castle in remote Wisconsin where a group of poker playing vampires reside (they also garden at night). I had so much fun studying castles and interiors while writing that story.
  3. Where/When do you do the most of your writing?
    I write on the train while commuting to my day job. It’s fabulous because I can either plug in my earbuds and listen to one of my music mixes on my iPod or keep my ears open and eavesdrop on interesting conversations. It’s great fuel for future characters and stories. I also write at my dining room table at home.
  4. What do you think has been your biggest accomplishment?Writing and publishing my first book. It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done and the most rewarding.
  5. Do you have a favorite author?
    Just one? Seriously? I’ll be nice and keep it to 7. Ann Patchett, Stephen King, Anne Rice, Neil Gaiman, JK Rowling, Stephenie Meyer, and Judy Blume
  6. Do you have any advice for other authors?
    The first is to put your butt in the chair and actually write. It’s been said hundreds of times before, but it bears repeating. There is a guy in my IT Department at the day job. He’s so creative and comes up with brilliant story ideas. I touch base with him periodically, to find out where he’s at with a particular story and to cheer him on. The answer is always the same. He rattles off a dozen reasons why he’s made no progress. It’s frustrating. His stories need to be told.
    Second piece of advice: persevere. That one word is mighty powerful. I can’t tell you how many times I wanted to give up. Whether you suffer from writer’s block, anxiety, lack of time, lack of ideas, a ton of responsibility, the blues, lack of sleep, whatever it is, DON’T GIVE UP! Believe in yourself and your stories. I promise you, the satisfaction you will feel upon completing your book is unlike anything else. And, like one of my readers recently pointed out to me “You’ve got big time bragging rights!”
  7. Describe your latest WIP.
    The Girl and the Gargoyle, the sequel to The Girl and the Raven, is being released on June 26th. I’m so in love with this book! Here is the blurb:
    Being half-witch/half-demon and dating Marcus, a gargoyle, is complicated enough for Lucy. She can almost tolerate Jude, her demon father, implementing demon training. But when Marcus’s family arrives in Chicago, her world begins to crumble. Marcus’s mother wants him to return to the gargoyle clan where he belongs; his father wants Marcus to help him kill Jude.  There’s one very major problem with this: if Jude dies, Lucy dies.
    Marcus works with other supernaturals to help save Jude and Lucy. Meanwhile Lucy has her own plan and with the aid of a surprise newcomer, seeks help from the most unlikely—and dangerous—source.
    The Girl and The Raven is at Amazon
    The Girl and The Gargoyle will be released on June 26th.
  8. How can readers reach you?
    My website: www.paulinegruber.com
    Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/paulinegruberauthor
    Twitter: https://twitter.com/PaulineGruber
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Interview with Catherine Cade – Romance Author

Author Spotlight – Catherine Cade

Catherine Cade

  1. Tell us a little about yourself. How long have you been writing? What genre do you write?

    First, thanks so much to S.E. Smith, fabulous sci fi romance author for inviting me to guest here! Love SE’s stories, so I’m thrilled to meet her readers for a day.I’m Cathryn Cade. I grew up in Montana in the cowboy culture, taught school there, married and raised two wonderful sons. Now my husband and I live in the lake country of North Idaho, with a boat, bicycles and a love for brewpubs. When I’m not reading or writing, I’m usually quilting with colors as wild as my characters.I’ve been writing since I was old enough to hold a pencil! As a teen, I read my first romance and that was it — I became a romance reader & writer. I wrote scenes and snippets for years. In 2007 my husband, the boys and I moved to Portland OR, where I discovered Romance Writers of America. Then I learned how to construct a romance that other people would actually want to read, and how to get it before a publisher.
  2. What inspired you to write your first book?
    In 2007, Samhain Publishing put out a call for shifter novellas. I sat down and over spring break from teaching I wrote Tyger, Tyger, Burning Bryght, a 30K erotic sci fi romance. The book debuted in 2008 at #1 on Samhain and the #7 best-seller on Amazon. What a thrill that was!
  3. Where do you get your inspiration from?My space opera is just a short leap from the ‘horse opera’ westerns I loved as a child. My space captains are alpha heroes with lasers instead of six guns, my heroines wear fitted flight suits instead of petticoats and the Native Americans are planetary natives struggling to get Earthlings to behave when they show up uninvited on planet. I adore gadgets, so lasers, power shields and space ships are favorite aspects of my sci fi universe. I also love messing about with sexual mores and powers on the different planets—that’s just fun! Fiercely sexy alpha shifters, coolly arrogant empath-intuits, exotically beautiful desert-dwelling reptiloids … they all dwell in the Cade-iverse!
  4. What series/book did you write that has the biggest following.My current sexy, futuristic LodeStar Series has been very popular. Logan Stark, space billionaire and his two younger brothers Joran and Creed fight to hold their own against villainous space pirates, and win true love on a futuristic Earth II and beyond. These guys are alphas who are willing to get as down & dirty as it takes to show their feisty heroines where they belong—at their hero’s side and in his arms. The major romance arc of the series has wrapped up for Logan Stark, but I’m now giving some fave secondary characters their own stories, so watch for more LodeStar goodness.
  5. Is there anything that you find particularly challenging in your writing?

    Can someone please, please clone me so I will have time to write all the series, characters and stories in my brain?? Recently a funny meme appeared on Facebook, that inside the mind of a writer are 25,000 screen tabs open all the time that cannot be closed. This is so true! I write sci fi, contemporary, contemporary paranormal and have too many ideas to count in all of these genres.
  6. Describe your latest WIP

    Cyborg Pleasure; the Space Madam’s Warrior, Book 6 in The LodeStar Series debuts in February 2016. Having a blast writing this one!
    She lost everything …Ilya Mondas once lived her dream — life with a band of space gypsies wandering the wild plains of Frontiera, the freedom to use her tech savvy to wreak mayhem on pirates and slavers, and her big, soft-spoken warrior Var, who adored her. Then she lost him, and the life she loved.She’ll do anything to get it all back …Now on her own, she must take over The Pleasure Palace, a ragtag space-station casino, home to hookers, gamblers and rogues. But one or all of them want her dead, and they have the monsters to do it — human-cyborg gladiators, created for the illegal fight ring hidden deep in the center of her new home. Where the biggest, baddest cyborg of all looks eerily like her dead husband.But can she trust him again?
  7. How can readers reach you?I’m easy to reach & love to chat with readers. I spend a lot of time on Facebook, and I have an email link on my website, where you can also find all the books, along with reviews, exclusive excerpts and more. To keep up with new releases & maybe win books and bling, sign up for my newsletter!
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Ariel: Nano Wolves 1 by Donna McDonald

Donna McDonald has done it again with a new series with a twist and I am thrilled to share it with you. And it is brand spanking new today! Congratulations, Donna.


ARIEL: NANO WOLVESDespite her sharp scientific mind and her degree in bio-molecular genetics, Dr. Ariel Jones hasn’t figured out how her life changed so much in a single day. Before she can blink and ask about what is going on, she’s being shot with a billion nanos and some very potent wolf blood.

Now she can suddenly turn into a giant white wolf with the bloodlust of a starving animal. And she’s an alpha wolf…or so she is told by the even larger, very male, black wolf who was used to create her. Hallucination? She wishes. Whether human or wolf, Reed talks in her head and tells her how to handle things…or rather how to kill them…starting with the men who hold them all captive. Too bad he can’t tell her how to put her life back like it was.

Admittedly, there are perks to being a werewolf, such as meeting sexy werewolf guys like Matthew Gray Wolf. It’s not like the science labs were overrun with sexy men in white coats. She also doesn’t mind learning about a side of herself she never knew existed. It’s great changing into a real wolf whenever she wants, but being a living experiment wasn’t part of the scientific career she’d planned for herself. Neither was falling for the local werewolf alpha, but what else is a newbie werewolf caught in her burning time going to do?

Buy here: http://amzn.to/1Dzjqjp

Excerpt:
The black wolf on the table was still and unmoving. Ariel swallowed hard. She couldn’t let Reed die. She just couldn’t. His blood had created her. Perhaps her blood could save him. It seemed a viable risk to take given all they’d suffered together at Crane’s hands. She didn’t want to deal with this nightmare alone. She needed the creature on the table to help her survive what had happened to her.

She looked at the medic, a native woman with a kind face. “Can you hook up a direct transfusion? I’m one of Reed’s…family members…and his alpha in training. My blood stands the best chance of helping him.”

“He has lost more than we can take from you, Alpha,” the healer said softly.

Ariel shook her head. “Doesn’t matter. I have to try. Take what you safely can. My blood is special. I should build it back quickly and it should build quickly in him. After you’re done though, you will not be allowed to take my blood or Reed’s again. You’re better off not knowing why.”

Ariel turned her sincerest gaze to Matt. “If you trust me at all, see that the transfusion equipment is destroyed after we do this. Incinerate them completely if you can. I’m telling you this in case anything happens to me.”

“What could possibly happen to you?” Matt demanded.

Ariel shrugged. “I don’t have any idea about the long term effects of what was done to Reed, me, or the other women. My wolf turning was not natural. There’s no time to go into the whole story, but what I’ve become is the result of a science experiment. Now do as I say and protect your pack, Matt. I don’t want to die knowing I’ve harmed you or anyone connected to you.”

Ariel watched the native woman walk around Reed’s bed and stop in front of her. “I see the Great Alpha’s life in your determined eyes, which look so much like his. I will do as you ask. There is no need to charge Matt with watching me. My brother knows my word is good.”

“Brother?” Ariel said in surprise.

“We have different mothers, but similar hearts,” the healer said.

Ariel sighed. “Okay. Let’s do this then.” She turned to Matt. “It’s too cold to sit without clothes. Can you split this sleeve for me? I’d do it myself, but it’s too awkward a reach, and I don’t want to get naked.”

Matt waited until Ariel had climbed up onto the gurney Eva had wheeled close to Reed’s bed. “Eva, shouldn’t Ariel shift to her wolf to make her stronger?”

Eva studied the floor for long moments. Finally, she shook her head. “No. Something valuable will be lost if she shifts. We will try the transfusion with her in human form.”

Matt stepped to the side and ripped the sleeve of the coveralls up to her shoulder. He flinched when Ariel saw the size of needle Eva brought to insert into her arm. She looked away while it was being done.

“Damn. That was worse than the injections I got just before I was turned,” Ariel said. “I’m going to hate needles for the rest of my life now.”

Matt grabbed her free hand. “Me too. Try thinking of something you like. That always helps me. Maybe you could think of a nice hot fire and how much fun it would be for us to put it out.”

Ariel’s snicker made him feel marginally less helpless in the face of her pain.

Eva opened Ariel’s fingers and put a hand pump into them. “Squeeze this to get it going. The pump will take over after the blood begins to flow.”

Matt saw Ariel’s jaw harden in determination as she did what Eva told her to do. He tightened his grip. “You are one of the most unselfish, determined people I’ve ever met.”

Ariel snorted, her fingers squeezing the pump. “Now I know why all those women are chasing you. You’re just an incredibly nice guy in werewolf’s clothing.”

Matt gripped her hand tighter. “That was a terrible joke. And I am not always nice. You just bring out the nice in me.”

“Well, we are friends-with-benefits now,” Ariel joked, hearing the pump finally kick in and take over. “Listen Matt. Seriously. If anything happens to me, take care of Brandi and Heidi. Okay?”

Matt nodded. “I will, but nothing is going to happen to you, Ariel. I’m the alpha of this pack. I forbid it.”

“Crazy Crane—the guy who did this to me—was an evil SOB. Anything is possible. And last time I checked, you weren’t God, though you did make me see heaven today,” Ariel said, feeling herself getting sleepy.

From far away, she heard Matt calling her name, but sleep beckoned too strongly.

Buy here: http://amzn.to/1Dzjqjp

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