Friday, December 30, 2011

Happy New Year!

I love this time of year. The after Christmas part. It makes me feel energized. Well, truthfully, this year, we’re having people over for New Year’s Eve. So guests equal cleaning. That’s not a complaint, but you know how we get. Sorta omg, is everything just right? Again. Didn’t we just do that last week?

Right now I’m thinking about 2011, what I was able to accomplish, and what I wasn’t. One of the things I didn’t do was set hard and fast concrete goals. Especially for my writing. Thus I watched the days and weeks blow by while doing something else. Something that was just as important I’m sure, as keeping my dream alive.

Really? Where’s that little ‘I call bullshit’ icon when you need it. I’ve been reading a lot lately about how goals should just be generalized because we shouldn’t be too hard on ourselves. Well, there’s hard, and then there’s HARD.

Hard (meaning difficult, uncomfortable, or just what you really don’t want to do) is when you give up your favorite television show to write that fourth chapter whose beginning just escapes you because can’t figure out where to start it. Hard is when you get up early, or stay up late to write, because it’s necessary to your happy existence. Hard is when you spend your lunch hour writing, instead of going out for burgers or shopping.

And then there’s HARD. Really, truly, gut wrenching, life-changing HARD. HARD is when your spouse serves in the military, and you have to serve right along with them because they have a dangerous job, and you keep the home fires burning without them, every day. HARD is not having enough food to eat. HARD is losing a loved one. HARD is being homeless. Really homeless, like living on the street, or in your car.

See the difference?

I’m not really a resolutions kind of gal, but this coming year I will set goals. And the first one is not to whine about how ‘Hard’ my life is. I know people in all of those situations who’ve got it HARD. There are times when my life has been HARD. And I’m incredibly grateful that my life isn’t that way right now.

We’re all crazy busy most of the time. Yet we manage to make time for things that are important to us. And we’ll happily or maybe not so much, let the rest slide. I’m going to spend the weekend thinking about my concrete goals for 2012.

Once I get them on paper, I’ll let you know what they are. And you can follow along and see if I do better with concrete goals than rather nebulous ones. At this point I have to say that I truly do admire people who can use nebulous goals and be successful. That must be awesome. Truly. It just doesn’t work for me. Thankfully, we can always change our strategy.

It’s with that thought in mind, that I’ll raise a glass of bubbly over the weekend, and be thankful for all of my writing friends and fans, who inspire me to be a better person. I didn’t say a softer one, but truly, a better one.

Wishing each of you a Happy New Year. And may it be the best one ever!!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Writing Contest

The First Annual Lyrical Press How Lyrical is Your Romance? Contest opens on Monday, January 16th. This contest is open to both published and unpublished authors.Entries must be complete works, ranging in word count between 15,000-100,000 words, any heat level, and fit into one of the following subgenre categories:

  • Contemporary romance
  • Historical romance
  • Paranormal or urban fantasy romance
  • Romantic steampunk
  • Romantic Suspense


1st Place: $200 advance and digital publishing contract (advance payable as $100 upon finalized contract and $100 upon publication).

2nd Place: $100 advance and digital publishing contract (advance payable as $50 upon finalized contract and $50 upon publication).

3rd Place: Top-scoring contestant in each genre category will receive an acquiring editor’s critique of synopsis and first 50 pages of manuscript.


File type: .rtf, .doc, or .docx only

12pt black font (Times New Roman, Cambria, Courier or Georgia preferred)

Line spacing: 1.5

Margins: 1" all

Page-breaks between chapters

Please include a title page listing the following information:

Legal name

Pen name

Email address

Contact phone

Working title (include series name and details if applicable)

Word count


Entries will be accepted from January 16, 2012 through February 5, 2012, and must be emailed to Entries sent to an email other than the aforementioned will be ignored. Please include book title and contest in subject line thusly: Booktitle – How Lyrical Is Your Romance?. Attach full manuscript, and 2-5 page synopsis in .rtf, .doc, or .docx format (Booktitle_MS and Booktitle_SYN as file names--your book title replaces “Booktitle”). After February 5, the contest will close, but we’ll still be accepting submissions as always at our submissions@lyricalpress.comaddress.

No entry fee required. Judges reserve the right to Decline to Judge any entry if it does not fit our lines, level of writing is not acceptable, or submission guidelines are not followed.

Entries will be judged on the following criteria: Hook, Pacing/Plot, Characterization, Dialogue, Mechanics, and Author Voice.

Winners will be announced on March 12, 2012 via our blog direct emails to winners.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Guest Author Autumn Piper

Hey everyone. Today's guest is my fabulous friend and awesome author, Autumn Piper. She's one of the authors celebrating the Christmas Bash with Lyrical Press. (*waves* Merry Christmas, Autumn!) Without further ado, here's our guest.

With a little help from our friends.

Who among us doesn’t need friends? I know I do—and claim some top-notch, world class best as my own. (Sutton Fox included. Merry Christmas, Sutton!)
I think characters need friends, too. And those friends can influence how a character thinks, feels, acts. Sometimes in positive ways, and others… Well, we don’t need a lesson in peer pressure.

I love secondary characters—reading them and writing them. For me, they make the story whole and give us another look at how our characters act/react in different social situations. And my characters always, always have friends, to use as sounding boards, to lean on, to party with and forget their troubles, get razzed by, to celebrate the good times with.

In Waiting for Revenge, my lead character Mandy is pushed, pulled, influenced, tempted, and goaded by various other characters. Poor Mandy gets Advice Overload. She’s in a tough spot trying to decide what to do about her wayward—though not wholly bad—husband. (As if the holidays don’t come with enough hassles already, right?) Though she strives to keep her predicament private, someone else is always finding out about her troubles. Her great aunt gives her pretty stern advice and tells her to take her husband to task, her big brother thinks she should leave him immediately, and his wife proves herself a First Class Girlfriend as well. Her son, who above all else she tries to shelter, guesses something is up and wants to protect her, her marriage counselor advocates revenge… And above all, her heart tells her she’s over her marriage and moved on, but she just can’t get past fear and guilt to welcome in those new feelings for someone else. She’s in a real quandary, and unfortunately for Mandy, the more she discusses her situation with other characters, the deeper her confusion (something of a Quagmire of Indecision).

As we all do, she eventually figures out what’s best for her kids and herself, and goes for it, with a few bumps along the way. She gets her happy ending, survives her ordeal, and provides the reader with a few laughs along the way (and a few emotional patches, too, though it’s not a gut-wrenching, sad story)…and her friends are by her side at the end just like they were in the beginning. Just like true friends should be.

Here’s a link for the book trailer:

And the book’s page on the LPI site: (currently on sale for .69)


One good heartbreak deserves another.

Mandy plans to leave her husband the minute their month of counseling is over. How can she forgive his outrageous affair? It would almost be funny if the consequences weren't so harsh. They've got kids, and families with strong -- and warped -- opinions on marriage.

Her aunt thinks she should take a page from the black widow spider. Her brother's begging to avenge her broken heart, and their marriage counselor offers to play the willing victim in some payback sex.

While her clueless husband launches a campaign to win her back, Mandy meets Adam, the perfect shoulder to cry on. Will perfect justice prove just how sweet revenge can be when you wait for it?

Content Warning: Real people aren't all good or all bad. Neither are the characters in this story. The shade of right or wrong you see may depend upon whose glasses you are looking through.

If you're looking for a great read this holiday season, or anytime for that matter, you should give this story a try. I've read it, and highly recommend it. It's got engaging characters, an emotionally gripping plot we can all relate to, and hot romance. But don't think it's a sad story, Ms. Piper has crafted a story filled with her sharp wit, touching scenes, and enough humor to keep you turning the pages. What's not to love?

Friday, December 16, 2011

Holiday Reading

Our regularly scheduled programming has been cancelled due to conflicting schedules. Those things happen. We'll try to get Ms. Selwyn to guest another day.

In lieu of guests, don't forget about the Twelve Days of Christmas.

The Passionate Critters are posting a great short free read every day.

Lyrical Press has fourteen authors celebrating their Christmas Bash with books that are 30% off.

Don't miss out on the fun!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Christmas Traditions at Ericka Scott’s House

Don't you just love Christmas traditions? I do. Without further ado, here's fabulous author, Ericka Scott to talk about hers.

Around the Scott household, the weekends between Thanksgiving and Christmas all seem to be jam-packed with Christmas parties and family get-togethers. Some years, we have too many to fit into two short days. Over the last couple of years, I’ve let activities crowd out some of our most memorable traditions. Not this year.

This year, we’re having a real tree which we’ll decorate to the strains of NSync’s Christmas album (it’s tradition, you know). Then, we’ll gather around the fireplace to light our Yule log and eat sugar cookies we made to distribute to the neighbors as gifts.

These cookies are, in our eyes, masterpieces. No, they aren’t those gorgeous things you see in bakery windows, but have the quirks that our family is known by. We decorate Christmas fish, only one of which is given three eyes and made especially for our friend, Jon. There are some traditional shapes, stars and Santas, but you are just as likely to find rocket ships amongst the Christmas trees, a T-Rex waiting to devour the red and green bunnies, and there is always a haunted church cookie -- complete with sugar black bats in the belfry.

Given the oddities of our family, I guess it’s no surprise to find that my holiday tales aren’t full of Christmas cheer, instead they tout titles like A Christmas Curse, which can be found in the ‘Twas a Dark and Delicious Christmas Anthology ( and my latest, Tidings of Fear ( I guess I enjoy making readers shiver from more than just the cold.

A psychic, a skeptic, and a serial killer…

Psychic Lia Morgan sees portents all around her. Although estranged from her family, she joins the search for her missing sister. A simple case gets complicated fast when she discovers her sister’s plethora of secrets includes a son.

Professor Jared Trimble’s world has no room for paranormal mumbo-jumbo. When asked to consult on a case involving a series of crossword puzzles, he’s conflicted. Is he a suspect, or an investigator?

While Lia uses her physic gift and follows signs, Jared uses his wits and experience. When the two collide, passions flare and the final clue brings them both into the bull’s-eye of a serial killer’s target.



“Hello?” she called. A creak sounded from above and a trickle of discomfort slid down her spine. She pulled out her key chain, from which hung a small canister of mace. Another creak made her jump.

“Hello?” she called again. Taking a deep breath, she strode purposefully into the house and found herself in a small living room. Lia glimpsed a small alcove off to the side and expected to find a small dining area, or perhaps an attached office.

Her breath caught in her throat as she walked into another large living room and straight into the past. Positioned under the window were the couch and loveseat she remembered from growing up. A recliner sat in the corner, a newspaper already opened to the comics on the seat.

She shivered. A tall enclosed bookcase, the one that had resided in Lia’s bedroom, stood next to the window. If she stepped closer, she knew she’d recognize every title on its shelves.

A small wooden rocking chair sat next to the recliner. A Raggedy Ann doll vied for seat space with her twin, Raggedy Andy.

“Oh, God,” Lia said. The memorial to her family should have been macabre. Instead, it brought tears to her eyes. Even the antique desk her sister, Sylvie, had thrown a fit to own and then despised when computers became popular and her father wouldn’t let her buy a more functional desk had a place in the room. A smile tugged at the corner of Lia’s mouth.

She could almost hear Sylvie’s famous whine, “But, Dad…”

As memories flooded her mind, she had to blink back a sudden rush of tears. She took a step back, turned and nearly ran back to the hallway. A light dimmed and brightened in another room. Lia didn’t need to count the pulses to know there would be eight.

A short walk found her in the kitchen. The stainless steel appliances sparkled and even the floor seemed to have been freshly waxed. She wished her kitchen looked this good. A towering pile of newspapers indicated they were sisters, after all. The stack teetered on the corner of the kitchen table. All of them were opened and folded to reveal the crossword puzzle.

Had Sylvie left these here? She couldn’t remember her sister having a penchant for crosswords, but she obviously didn’t know Sylvie as well as she’d thought.

Or had someone else brought these in and put them there?

Speaking of which, where was her sister?

She headed upstairs, calling as she went. Just as empty as downstairs. And just as neat. A small blue plastic item on the floor of her sister’s office appeared to be the only thing out of place.

Lia scooped it up. A thumb drive. She went to put it on the desk when a loud creak sounded behind her. She shoved it into her pocket and fumbled for her keys.

Heavy footsteps approached up the stairs.

Lia turned as a shadow fell across the doorway.


Check out the Free Reads Page on my website in December for our infamous sugar cookie recipe (it contains eggnog) and also one for a decadent chocolate Yule log (yum).

And yes, Virginia, there were once camels in California…

Ericka Scott is a multi-published, bestselling author of seductive suspense. She's written stories for as long as she can remember and reads anything under the sun (including the back of cereal boxes in a pinch). She got hooked on romantic suspense in her college days, when reading anything but a textbook was a guilty pleasure. Now, when she’s not chauffeuring children around, wishing she had a maid, or lurking at the library, she’s spinning her own web of fantasy and penning tales of seduction and suspense. She currently lives in Southern California with her husband and three children.

Get a behind the scenes look at her writing and zany family on her blog at

She also loves friends, so come friend her at

She's also on Facebook at and Twitter @ErickaScott

You can find out more about her books at

Thanks for being with us today, Ericka. We wish you much success with your books!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Great Free Reads

Here’s something to help get you in the holiday spirit. Or keep you there if you’re waiting in line.

Come join the Twelve Days of Christmas with the fantastic ladies of The Passionate Critters. They’ve written short Christmas stories for their blog. Starting today, they’ll post a new one every day for your reading pleasure.

 I’ve been fortunate enough to read most of them, and let me tell you, they rock!

The Passionate Critters

Don’t miss out on the fun!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Last Minute Gifts

If you’re like me, your evil day job has put you behind on all the holiday duties you should be doing. Like decorating, baking, sending cards, and shopping. Shopping, nope, I haven’t even started yet. Today will be my first foray into getting the perfect gift.

It’s wonderful to get the gift that’s just right for someone you care about. There’s really nothing better than watching the emotions cross their face as they unwrap something that’s special to them.

I’m doing things a little differently this year though. When I go out today, I’ll be shopping with a purpose. And that purpose is to make a concerted effort to shop locally. I’m either going to buy gifts that help a local charity, or shop at local merchants because they need help just like the rest of us. What better way to buy American than to do it in your own back yard. And help your own community in the process.

Not that malls aren’t great. But small town merchants need love too.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Christmas Holly

Due to a cancellation in our regularly scheduled programming, I came up with a last minute solution. I would be remiss in my duties as author if I went the entire holiday season without mentioning the reason for the shiny EPIC finalist badge on this blog.

If you like short stories, you may want to check this one out. In light of the holiday season, I'll give away a copy to one lucky commenter.

So without further ado, here's Christmas Holly.

Young, beautiful, and certain of her future, Holly Clark fully expected to have a wonderful time attending her mother’s annual Christmas Eve bash. The one thing she didn’t expect—was her own untimely death.

Gallery owner and world renowned artist, Greg Marshall is desperate to relive his past. Until he receives a startling visit from a woman he believed to be the love of his life. Her sudden appearance has the power to change everything.

Love doesn’t mean what it used to. Can the past really affect the future, or can the future transform the past?

We'll be back to our regularly scheduled programming starting on Monday. Have a great weekend, everyone!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Break Out

This week we have a very special guest for you. All of you know that paranormal is my absolute favorite genre to read, so it is with great joy that I welcome paranormal author Nina Croft.

Nina has a special gift for those of you who follow Fox Tales. She'll be giving one lucky commenter an ebook copy of book one of The Blood Hunter series, Break Out. So be sure to leave a comment and let us know you visited today.

I promise I’ll try to be still and not interrupt too much. Let’s get started!

 1. From your website, I see that you write paranormal, science fiction, and fantasy. What did you write first? And why were you drawn to it?

Actually, I first started out trying to write contemporary category romance. I submitted a few partials to Harlequin, got some encouraging rejections – they tended to like my voice but said I had way too much external conflict.

Then I realized I was reading far more paranormal romances than contemporary. Being a strong believer in writing the sorts of things you love to read, I decided to have a go. And loved it right from the start.

I think what really draws me to all forms of speculative fiction is the fact that absolutely anything can happen; the only limitation is your imagination.

2. Always curious about methods, are you a pantser or a plotter?

I’m a total plotter. I’ve tried both methods and if I try and pants it, I get lost in the middle and end up having to go back and do massive rewrites. So now, I plot. I outline and I do a scene by scene breakdown. Then I write a fast first draft. I’ve found it works best for me; I can concentrate on what the characters are doing in a given scene, without worrying about the bigger picture. It also gives me time to get to know the characters before I actually start writing.

3. Do you prefer music or white noise when you write, or is absolute quiet a must?

Quiet isn’t a must, but I don’t tend to listen to music when I write. Not because it distracts me, but because I end up just not noticing it, so there’s no point. Often if I’m stuck, then I’ll put some music on, and it often helps me through the rough patch.

4. You are an avid reader, as well as an author. Can you tell us what author is at the top of your auto-buy list? 

 It changes, but right now, Patricia Briggs, JR Ward, Jim Butcher, Janet Evanovitch, Karen Marie-Moning, Harlan Coben…

5. When you’re not writing, or reading, what do you like to do with your spare time?

I live on an almond farm in the mountains of Southern Spain. There are often chores to do around the farm; weeding, pruning, picking, making wine (we have a small vineyard). I also have a few dogs and enjoy taking them for walks. And I have a horse called Gencianna, so I ride most days. I’m also quite fond of lying under an almond tree, drinking wine, and admiring the view.

What incredible scenery! It would be hard to get any work done with a view like that. I commend you on your discipline.

6. As a lover of the creative process, where did you get the idea for your current release?

The Blood Hunter series is a mixture of genres. It’s science fiction, with a paranormal twist and a whole load of romance.

I’ve always been a huge fan of space opera, and I absolutely loved Joss Whedon’s Firefly. It was after watching this for the third time that I decided I wanted to write a space adventure. But I also love anything paranormal, so when the pilot of my space ship, El Cazador, kept hinting that he might be a vampire, I thought—why not.

7. Tell us about the series.

The Blood Hunter series is set in the future, where man has fled to the stars and there they have discovered the secret of immortality—Meridian. Extremely rare and exorbitantly expensive, Meridian is only available to a select few, and a new class has evolved—The Collective. Immensely rich and immortal they rule the civilized universe.

The series follows the adventures of the crew of the space ship, El Cazador, each book focusing on the romance of one crew member. Break Out, book 1, follows the romance of Ricardo Sanchez, owner, pilot and vampire and how he falls for a mysterious blonde, Skylar Rossario, who employs the crew to break her brother out of the Collective’s maximum security prison.

Book 2, Deadly Pursuit, releases this month. The book takes place in the aftermath Break Out, and follows the romance Skylar’s ‘brother’ who just happens to be a werewolf.

Break Out

The year is 3048, Earth is no longer habitable, and man has fled to the stars where they’ve discovered the secret of immortality—Meridian. Unfortunately, the radioactive mineral is exorbitantly expensive and only available to a select few. A new class comprised of the super rich and immortal soon evolves. The Collective, as they’re called, rule the universe.

Two-thousand-year-old Ricardo Sanchez, vampire and rogue pilot of the space cruiser, El Cazador, can’t resist two things: gorgeous women and impossible jobs. When beautiful Skylar Rossaria approaches him to break a prisoner out of the Collective’s maximum security prison on Trakis One, Rico jumps at the chance. Being hunted by the Collective has never been so dangerous–or so fun!

 8. What’s next for Nina?

I’m currently writing book 3 of my Blood Hunter series, but I’m also revisiting some of those contemporaries I wrote, and hopefully they’ll be released next year.

9. Where can we find you?


Thank you very much for spending time with us today, Nina. We wish you the greatest of success with your series!

Friday, November 11, 2011

What's A Wallbanger?

Most of us know what a wallbanger is. Or what it used to be. A book that was so terribly written, or that had such an unsatisfactory ending, that out of sheer frustration a reader would either literally or figuratively, throw it against the wall.

With the advent of ereaders, and tablet computers, I'm thinking we need a new term. I don't know about you, but I've come across a couple novels I would consider wallbangers recently. In light of the cost of my handy, dandy portable reading device, I practice restraint and don't toss it across the room.

But that doesn't negate the fact that there are still books that raise that emotion. So what do we call them now?

Is there a new phrase I'm not aware of? Or can we think of one?

What do we call the modern day wallbanger? Using a term that's acceptable in a PG13 situation, of course.

Looking for input here. Please feel free to comment. And after that, have yourself a great weekend!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Novel Work – Excuse Me, Do I Know You?

In honor of this being NaNo month and all (no, I’m not doing it this year, but keep it between us, okay?) I thought a little novel work would be appropriate for all the editing that will be done next month. And what good is a great plot without awesome characters.  

Don’t you just love great characters? When I read a story with brilliantly written characters, it’s like I’m part of their world, swept away for a few moments from my own. Their problems become fascinating, their pain grips me, and their happiness lightens my heart. I remember them long after I’ve finished reading. Long enough in fact, to buy the next book that very same author writes.
As an author, wouldn’t you like to be able to write characters that are able to capture readers with seemingly little or no effort? Me too. So much so in fact, I find myself constantly reading books on the subject. And here are a few tips I’ve picked up along the way.

1. Know Your Characters
This is number one because to me, it’s the most important. This sounds simple doesn’t it? Everyone gets to know their characters in different ways. Whether you use a character bio, astrological charts, or a check list, you as the author, need to know your characters past. While this may not transfer in so many words to the reader, it will show in the way your character responds to other characters, events, stressful circumstances, and sexual situations.

If you think about the lives of real people, everyone has faced challenges that shape who they are, and who they become. It’s no different for your imaginary people.

2. Know Their Place in the Story
What I mean by this is that each character has a role to play. Whether its hero, heroine, villain, secondary, or just a walk on, you must understand how they will interact with other characters. This will serve as a guide to how well you must know them, and enable you bring forth certain aspects of their personality that will not only move the story forward, but will also resonate with readers.

3. Understand Their Motivation
What do your characters want? Again, this is for you the author. You must have a clear idea what your characters goal is, in order to get it across to your reader in an entertaining manner. This is where you can really get into the deep point-of-view of your character, and pull the reader into the story. This is where reader empathy for characters begins. If the goal is not clear, your character could end up wandering around lost in the desert, and your reader will be lost. So lost in fact, that they try another author the next time.

4. Conflict, Conflict, Conflict
If you know your characters personalities well enough, and their motivation is clear enough, you’ll see immediately if your conflict is believable. If it’s not, don’t try to fake it. Readers won’t buy it. And to coin a phrase used a lot these days, let’s be clear: A Misunderstanding Is Not Conflict. Can a misunderstanding add depth to an already established conflict? Sure, if handled carefully. It can also add humor, and entertainment value. But by itself, it is boring. Totally.

One of the biggest mistakes an author can make, IMO, is to not know their characters. As your story progresses, if you find you are having trouble with your story being slow to start, sagging in the middle, or perhaps not having the emotional black moment that you’d hoped for, take a good long look at your characters. Review who they are, their place in the story, their goals, and the conflict. If you are willing to be honest with yourself, there’s a good chance you’ll be able to pinpoint the issue.
Happy Writing!

Friday, November 4, 2011

The Silver House

This week I’d like to introduce author Janet French. She’s written an epic fantasy that has something for everyone. Welcome to Fox Tales, Janet. Let’s get started, shall we?
Thanks Sutton. It’s good to be here.

1.   Do you write full time, or do you have an evil day job?

I am not very diligent so I don’t think I would enjoy writing full time, I need people and variety. I am lucky to have worked for myself for the last twenty years and I love my work. I keep a craft shop so I am obliged to embroider or knit all day until a customer comes in, then I can talk about crafts. Pretty good! The shop will be quieter over winter so I should be able to write some days. If I don’t we will never know what happens next in the Cardanon Chronicles and I would like to find out myself. I only work off a very broad outline!

2.   When you write, do you feel more comfortable writing in the same place, such as an office or desk, or can you write anywhere?

Anywhere, as long as I have a keyboard and a screen! Can’t get on with that papery stuff.

3.   Do you prefer music, other noise, or total silence when the creative juices are flowing?

Silence please, otherwise my mind wanders. It really doesn’t need any encouragement. I can just about keep up the Twitter addiction without slowing the writing down.

4.   When you’re not writing, do you have a favorite non-writing activity?

Crafts, of course, but especially bobbin lace making. That is a hardcore craft for an obsessive personality. I just googled bobbin lace to be sure it was what I thought. Wow! Folks, if you aren’t sure, look it up. This woman is amazing. Bobbin lace is absolutely beautiful!

5.   I can’t wait any longer, how did you come up with the idea for this book?

It just grew really. I had been thinking for years about the natural forces that shape the world and the masculine/feminine balance in witchcraft and magic. That led me on to wondering how governments would handle a religious power when it was obvious the power was real and not a faith issue. One day I saw Marka and Genya in their cellar, clear as could be in my mind and just as they are in Chapter 2. After that, well, surely dragons, handsome heroes, cute children, a lot of adventure and a splash of humour is the obvious way to go, don’t you think?

6.   Please tell us about your current release.

The Silver House is a House of Power in the city of Cardanon. It is a refuge for the city’s children during the Zashran siege but when the city falls the House is hidden out of this world. A group of refugees from the city, mostly in their teens or younger, escape together and set off to find safety. They face all sorts of adventures as they travel and explore their world and soon realise not only must they warn the world about the Zashran, but the fate of the Silver House is in their hands. Oh, and there is treachery in the Houses of Power, a murder mystery, love stories, battles, magic, politics and loads of history and geography. Something for everyone, surely!

7.   What’s next for Janet French?

As far as writing goes I am pushing on as fast as I can with book 2 of the Chronicles, The Ruby Princess, and I am working on some silly stories for my grandsons who seem to like them. As to the rest, I am designing for cross stitch kits and bobbin lace and enjoying keeping shop.

8.   Where can we find you, to follow this fantastic series?

You can check out, all my contact stuff is there plus how to buy. It’s all on my Gypsy Shadow author page as well with an excerpt. Do follow me @cardachronicles, I love Twitter and I won’t overwhelm you with Tweets, just now and then when I can’t help myself. Maybe if you ask how the writing is going once in a while it will keep my nose to the grindstone!

Thank you very much for being with us today, Janet and being kind enough to give us a glimpse into your world. We wish you every success with your current release, and the rest of the series.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Callie's Fate

Today we welcome author Lee-Ann Graff Vinson. Hi, Lee-Ann. It’s a pleasure to welcome you to Fox Tales.

Thank you, Sutton. I appreciate you taking the time to host me on your blog.

1. I see that your occupation is freelance writer. That’s very cool. Were you one of those people who started writing when you were very young, or did you figure it out later in life?

Although, I loved to write as a child and have many stories tucked away in a folder, it never occurred to me that I could do it full-time. When I quit my “real” job to be a stay-at-home-Mom, I thought perhaps I could take up where my childhood talents left off. After all, writing is something I could do at home, and most days wouldn’t even have to get out of my jammies.

I began writing my first novel when my daughter was six-months old, and completed it a month before I had my son (almost three years later). I quickly found out writing with small children at home was more complicated than working a “real” job, and jammies were only for bedtime.

I tried my hand at freelance, but the rejections weren’t to my liking –– neither was writing what someone else wanted me to write. I’m a bit strong-willed that way.

I guess my occupation should say “lucky to be a writer”. It is my passion, my release. When I write my mind fills with characters, doing and saying things I can only dream about in real life. And, just like in real life, I cry when they are sad and laugh when the sarcasm oozes across the PC screen. I may not ever see my name on the best-seller list, but writing makes me happy. And every family knows, ‘when Momma’s happy, everybody’s happy’.

2. Do you prefer silence when you write, or would you rather have your favorite soundtrack?

For the most part, my background noise used to consist of my children fighting with each other or the snoring dog. If I did have music on the radio, I would catch myself singing along to my favorite songs, completely distracted from the writing or editing process.

However, recently I discovered a website called AccuRadio. With this station, I can pick and choose my music theme according to my mood. And, oddly enough, I am able to concentrate better with it.

I just finished editing and re-writing my latest e-book to be published, called ‘Love and Liberty’. My writing is typically military motivated as it is a topic close to my heart. I switched from modern rock classics for the scenes that needed more energy or drama, to light R&B for the sexy, romantic bits. I think it actually enhanced my writing. I believe I’ve found the ultimate writing tool!

3. How did you come up with the idea for your current release?

Well, in the last decade, so many marriages have ended in divorce over one thing or another -- one of these being social sites on the Internet. So, I thought I would write about what would happen if you ever got to meet your online lover face to face. It seemed a timely topic and one perhaps people could relate to.

4. Tell us about your book.

When Callie takes the red-eye home to surprise her husband for their anniversary, she finds the surprise is on her. She watches as a blond tart in six-inch heels, teeters out from her home and toward a cherry-red Mustang, which is parked in her spot.

Enraged, Callie does the only thing she can do. She drives to her favorite coffee house, scrolls through divorce lawyers who claim to eat cheating husbands for breakfast, and cries. Her only consolation is, Christian, a Marine, whom she befriended on a chat site almost a year earlier.

While waiting for her marriage to end, Callie agrees to finally meet Christian in person. She was a woman in control, but the mere touch of this man had her begging for more. Christian was only too happy to oblige, leaving Callie agreeing with the motto ‘The Few And The Proud’. She had never experienced a man, who could make her see stars, but Christian did his duty and did it well.

Unhappy circumstances had brought them together. A week of sexual bliss made it impossible for them to part, leaving them to wonder how they could, once again, test the hands of fate.

 Let's get personal.
5. Mountains or beach?

Beach with a view of the mountains, preferably at sunset. I live in Vancouver, it’s what I’m used looking at. It sounds divine!

 6. Wine or chocolate?

Both. Never write without either. I’m just a gal who wants it all. Amen! I'm with you on that one.

Let's get back to work.

7. What’s next for Lee-Ann?

Right now, I’m working on edits to my next novel, ‘Love and Liberty’. It is a military suspense romance that takes place in Iraq. After that, I have a novel I’m currently working on which is set in Afghanistan. I’ve also signed up for NaNoWriMo starting November 1st. We shall see how that ends up. It’s my first year doing it. I have also started doing reviews for Great Minds Think Aloud. Crazy busy? Maybe, but I cherish every second of it. After all, isn’t happiness in life what we all strive for?

8. Where can we follow, find, or friend you?

Blog: http: //

Thanks so much for spending time with us today, Lee-Ann. We wish you much success with your book! 

Monday, October 24, 2011

Monday Meh

Not a morning person. This week, not a Monday person either. Not sleeping well just does me in. But this too shall pass. Tomorrow it will be Tuesday! Things will be looking up. In honor of that very fact, I'll leave you with one of my favorite photos/captions.

Wishing each of you the very best of days. I'll come back on Wednesday, when I won't be so growly!!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Flower Child

Today we welcome author Sheila Deeth. She's going to chat with us about her new release, Flower Child. This is a very interesting story, so get comfortable, and we'll get right to it. Here's Sheila to tell us what her story's about.

Have you ever told someone you’re a “wannabe writer,” or worse, that you don’t really have a job? Friends would say to me, “You write, so you’re a writer,” but it never seemed that simple when it came to answering the question, “What do you do?” I got really brave though at a restaurant recently. “I’m a writer,” said I; then the questioner asked, “What do you write?” I told her I had an ebook coming out—my beloved Flower Child. And then she said, “What’s it about?” so I struggled to reply.

Of course I know what happens in Flower Child. I know it’s about… a mother who miscarries her first pregnancy and can’t quite let go of the memory. She feels like it’s disloyal to love her unborn child when she’s got a real child to care for—oh, and the real child couldn’t exist if the pregnancy hadn’t miscarried because… Luckily the lady asking was a) patient, and b) hungry, so she stayed at the table while we waited for desert.
But was that really what she wanted to know? It’s the topic of my book I guess, a starting point, an ordered (or slightly disordered) set of scenes. But a story’s surely more than just the sum of its events, just like being a writer’s more than creating shopping lists. Maybe she meant, “Why does your story matter?” rather than just, “What happens?” And maybe I should have spent longer thinking of answers before rushing to speak.

So now I’m touring the internet with Flower Child and asking myself, why does it matter? It matters to me because I wrote it of course—but I had to have a reason for setting it down. It matters, perhaps, because it explores a relationship I never quite resolved—the one between a mother and the child that might have been. It matters because it looks for answers to questions that run round my mind—do unborn babies really have souls? Can I mourn the child I never saw? And it matters because Angela’s quest for identity isn’t really so different from mine, or anyone else’s. We all want to know who we are, where we fit in, and why we’re here. We want ourselves to have some importance, to make a mark in the greater scheme of things, and for that to happen, we have to search inside ourselves and learn who’s behind the mask.
Angela wears the mask of someone who doesn’t believe she exists. Megan wears the mask of a mother who’s convinced she’s not good enough. I wear the mask of a writer sometimes, storyteller, Sunday school teacher, mother, daughter, wife… so many masks.

What’s Flower Child about? Identity, I think, which may well be the theme in quite a lot of my stories. It’s a tale of characters searching for truth behind their masks, for meaning, and for self. In the end, Flower Child’s about taking risks and stepping out into the world. It’s about realizing we don’t know it all, and accepting ourselves as less important, less wise, less perfect even, in order to find the truth that we’re more important than we think.
Thank you Sutton for inviting me to your blog. And I wish you the very best of luck with Christmas Holly in the 2012 EPIC Awards!  *blush* Awww, thanks, Sheila.

About Flower Child: When Megan miscarries her first pregnancy it feels like the end of everything; instead it’s the start of a curious relationship between the grieving mother and an unborn child who hovers somewhere between ghost and angel. Angela, Megan’s “little angel,” has character and dreams all her own, friends who may or may not be real angels, and a little brother who brings hope to her mother’s world. But Angela’s dream-world has a secret and one day Angela might learn how to be real.

About the author: Sheila Deeth grew up in the UK and has a Bachelors and Masters in mathematics from Cambridge University, England. Now living in the States with her husband and sons, she enjoys reading, writing, drawing, telling stories, running a local writers' group, and meeting her neighbors’ dogs on the green.

Sheila describes herself as a Mongrel Christian Mathematician. Her short stories, book reviews and articles can be found in VoiceCatcher 4, Murder on the Wind, Poetic Monthly, Nights and Weekends, the Shine Journal and Joyful Online. Besides her Gypsy Shadow ebooks, Sheila has several self-published works available from Amazon and Lulu, and a full-length novel under contract to come out next year.

Find her on her website:

or find her books at:

Thank you for spending time with us today, Sheila, and sharing your extraordinary story. We wish you much success with your book!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Christmas Knight

With fall in mid-swing, winter isn't far behind. In an effort to make it a little more enjoyable, I'd like to introduce my shiny new short story. If you're waiting in the dentist or doctor's office, riding the metro to work, or waiting in line for that perfect holiday gift, this will help the time fly.

This story has a special place in my heart because it's the only one to have ever come to me in the middle of the night, complete. With names, a title, everything. Which is down right out of the ordinary in my world. But it's exactly as I wanted it to be, just a little bit of sunshine. Enjoy!

Here's the blurb:

Glory Dawson needs to catch a break. Thanks to the economic downturn, she’s lost her job, her home, and her child. Just when things can’t seem to get worse, they get weird. A crazy grandmother, muggers, heirlooms, and armor. Armor? Just what a girl needs to save the day.

Christian Knight has spent his life trying to make sense of his family’s patriarchal lore. In the process, he’s built a dynasty. It’s given him everything. And nothing. Despite his sibling’s best efforts, he still spends every Christmas, and most of his life, alone.
In the search for true love, do two kindred souls look to the future, or the past?

Monday, October 17, 2011

Fall Favorites

Fall is one of my favorite times of the year. The temperate days, the cool nights. The transformation of the leaves to from green to brilliant crimson, orange, or yellow. We’re lucky we have some that change to a deep red that looks more purple than any other color. I spend a lot of time on the deck this time of year. Just watching the leaves change.

A couple of the neighbors have these pumpkin displays that come in rows with all different sorts of faces on them. And they’re always lit from dusk to dawn. You can’t help but smile when you see them. Bales of straw with mums and stacks of real pumpkins are my absolute favorite.

I go out of my way to find odd looking gourds to put in a dish on the table. Tables remind me of baking. It’s time to think about what to give out for Halloween, and what to serve for Thanksgiving dinner. In between now and then, I’ll be practicing my recipes to ensure they’ll taste good on the big day.

Another thing I feel compelled to do starting in the fall and over the winter is either take writing classes, and or read books on craft. Just to keep the saw sharp, as it were. Maybe it’s because we’re indoors more. Who knows?

I’ve signed up for an online class with the Northeast Ohio chapter of RWA, entitled Fast Draft: A Book In Two Weeks. It sounds like something that could really help my productivity. I’ll keep you posted.

Another recent purchase is The Fire in Fiction by Donald Maass. The front of the book reads - passion, purpose, and techniques to make your novel great. Hey, who am I to argue? I’m looking forward to reading it. There’s always lots of room for improvement.

Do you like the fall? Or would you rather it be summer all year round?

Friday, October 14, 2011

If It's Monday It Must Be Murder

Welcome to the very first Fan Friday. I'm honored to have author Kathleen S. Allen to start things off. So let's get right to it, shall we?

1. You’ve been writing your entire life. As someone who started writing for publication later in life, I find this fascinating. Were you able to make a living at it right off, or did you have to have other jobs, on the side. If so, what did you do?

No, I’ve only been able to make some monies in the past year when I put my books up on Kindle. I would say that I’ve only been serious about trying to make a living from writing since 2004 when I decided to get a Master’s in English to improve my writing. I took all the creative writing classes they offered!

I’ve done a variety of jobs since I was eighteen. Waitress, factory worker, bookstore clerk, bakery clerk, office worker, document translator from French to English, costume shop manager, college professor, high school teacher, tutor, substitute teacher, nurse, actress, movie extra, editor. I probably forgot one or two! I am not yet at the point where I can quit my day job and just be a writer full-time. Right now I am teaching online as an income supplement. My dream job would be to teach creative writing at a college. BTW I have seven degrees, two bachelor degrees (education and nursing), four Master’s (education, social work, nursing and English) and one doctorate (in nursing). I recently started a MFA program and hope to complete that so I can find the teaching job I want.

2. At your level of experience, you can probably write anywhere, but what would make a writing day perfect for you? Do you prefer a specific place or atmosphere before you can write?

 I usually write at home on my laptop at the kitchen table. I have a great view of some trees (although I wish I was looking at the ocean or at least a lake). I like to write at cafes, too, especially during NaNoWriMo (more on this later in the interview) at the write-ins.

3. Over years, has writing gotten any easier? If so, how? Are there things you still struggle with?

I wouldn’t say easier, different and better. I started out writing poetry and progressed to short stories from there. When I first sat down to write a novel (at the age of 17-a gothic romance) I had no idea if I could do it. It seemed so daunting to put all those words down on paper!!! It took me a while, but I did it. Once I wrote that first novel I realized that determination is a big part of writing. Well, that and talent! LOL. I remember my seventh grade English teacher (Mrs. Mahoney—wherever you are, thank you) telling me I could be a writer. I never forgot that even when life circumstances got in the way of my writing. I’ve learned a lot about what not to do and that is valuable. I also learned that I like doing other parts of writing besides just the writing, making book trailers, designing covers, promoting and marketing my books are all things I enjoy doing. I started out as a theatre major as an undergraduate and have been in many plays so being on stage---so to speak---doesn’t faze me. Plus when you lecture in front of 200 students you get over stage fright pretty fast!

4. You have an awesome writing resume. I stand in awe. You write Young Adult fantasy, poetry, adult fiction, flash fiction, short stories and lyric essays. Is there anything at all that you haven’t written yet, that you’d like to write?

Thank you. I like to challenge myself so that’s why I try different genres. I haven’t written a hard-core Science Fiction novel yet. A couple of short stories but no novel. I’d love to do one and may yet. I haven’t done a biography or memoir either but have no interest in either of those.

5. When not writing, what do you like to do in your spare time?

Take care of two very high maintenance cats!!!! I read a lot and have my favourite TV shows. I am a huge Joss Whedon fan and love to watch anything he does or did. Firefly is still one of my favourite shows! And, of course, Buffy. Other faves include Blood Ties (Tanya Huff), Dark Angel, Wonderfalls and anything on BBC America. I’m also a Dr. Who fan (David Tennant is the “real” Doctor), Being Human (miss Aidan Turner-*sniff*), Torchwood (John Barrowman is my celebrity crush!!! He’s so awesome, he melts my heart every time I hear him sing). Here’s a link to my fave song by him I Owe it All to You:

YouTubeLink     It even has a photo montage!!! *swoons*

I am also a fan of Masterpiece Mystery and am watching the Inspector Lewis shows. I like the way BBC does Jane Austen and have all those to watch, over and over and over. Especially Persuasion.

6. Most authors are avid readers. Which author is at the top of your auto-buy list?

I read a novel every night before bed. I love to read cozy mysteries, especially those set in England. The latest ones I am reading are the Cotswold mysteries by Rebecca Tope. I just finished reading Laurie Halse Anderson’s YA novel, Fever 1793. I have a pile of books on my nightstand most of them are YA. I read the cozies on my iPhone with the Kindle app.

7. Would you tell us about your latest release? By the way, I love the title.

Thanks. Sure, since I read mysteries I wanted to try and write one. It took me two years to finish it and I put it away for a few months because I was stuck. I got it back out and was able to revise it so it was a much better book. Here’s the info on it:

Murder mystery from Gypsy Shadow Publishing!

Mel, a former cop shot in the back now lives in constant pain. When her best friend's daughter is missing, Mel is asked to help find her. When the girl is found dead at the bottom of a tall building, the cops believe she jumped. Did she? Or is it murder?
8. What inspired this particular book?

I was inspired to write a mystery because I love reading the cop mysteries where the main character is a female detective or private investigator. I wanted to try my hand at one.

Excuse my interruption, Kathleen, but while we're on the subject of your current release, here's my review:

Being a cop is not only what you do, it’s who you are.

Because of her injuries, Mel is forced to give up her day job. But she still acts and thinks, like a cop. So when her best friend’s daughter turns up dead, it only seems natural for Cindy to ask Mel to look into things.

Although she’s not privy to the formal investigative details and still recovering from her own injuries, Mel manages to make things happen. Much to the dismay of her former partner, who is currently assigned by the police department to handle the enquiry into the matter of the young girl’s death.

Ms. Allen has crafted a tale ripe with twists, turns, and red-herrings that will keep you guessing. It’s filled with fully drawn characters woven into complex emotional situations they can’t just walk away from, but must deal with. And how they do it makes this story a very entertaining read. If you’re looking for a well written whodunit to add to your reading pleasure, this book is it.

Now let's continue our interrogation, er, interview.

9. What’s next for Kathleen S. Allen?

I am in the process of editing my faeries v. humans novel, LORE OF FEI that is being published by Muse It Up Publishing in April, 2012. I just finished the first edit and sent it off to the editor. As soon as I get a cover I’ll do a book trailer for it. I am getting ready for NaNoWriMo, this is the competition that has you write a 50,000 word novel for the month of November. I did it for the first time last year (LORE OF FEI) and loved it. I already have my outline for my book. In NaNoWriMo you are allowed to plot out your book ahead of time but not write it. Here’s my outline: 19th Century woman falls in love with a man who may or may not be a vampire. Ta Dah!

I am also working on a YA historical novel. I finished it but I have to edit it yet. I did another YA historical novel about the illegitimate son of Henry VIII of England called Fitzroy: The Boy Who Would be King and I enjoyed doing the research for it. It’s the first time I wrote from a male point of view and I’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback on it. Here’s the link to it on Kindle along with the book trailer:

FITZROY: THE BOY WHO WOULD BE KING(210 pages)-YA historical.

The life and tragic death of the illegitimate son of Henry VIII of England.

Check out the book trailer here                Buy It Here

My agent is shopping around a contemporary novel for me. It’s about a high school senior girl who feels invisible and she tries to make herself more visible with humorous consequences! It’s the first time I’ve written “funny” and it turned out better than I hoped! Fingers crossed that an editor/publisher falls in love with it! Or at least wants to publish it!!!

10. Where can we find you?
My website is: which has all of my current news and books.
I am on Twitter as: @kathleea
I am on Facebook as: Witch Hunter!/pages/Witch-Hunter/142372955812353
Guest blogger every Wednesday on
Literary Agent: Nancy Knight of Sullivan Maxx Literary Agency

Thank you for the opportunity to be interviewed, it was fun!

And thank you for spending time with us today, Kathleen. We wish you much success with your books!