Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Interview with Erna Mueller: 'Self-publishing was the only way out of this maze'



I was born in Austria and my family immigrated to the U.S. I loved living here as a child and considered the U.S. my home. My family returned to Austria and of course I had to tag along. I missed the friendly faces and the cultivation of the free spirit which America symbolizes. In Austria I completed my education but always wanted to return, so here I am.
I traveled the world and lived in many exciting cities such as Paris, Munich and London. I currently work as an accountant for a large pizza company in Seattle by day and passionately pursue a career as a writer in my spare time.
My new book, "K-9 Cop", is adapted from my multi-national award winning screenplay.  The book has won several awards including first place in the 2009 National Good Read Competition sponsored by awomenswrite.com.
Please visit my web site at http://www.k9cop-woofwoof.com  for more reviews and other info.
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About the Book:

No one thought as highly of Lieutenant Spencer Watley as he did himself. This selfish cop met 14 year-old Justin Andrews during an important stakeout. Determined to nab a group of cyber killers, he wasn’t going to let anything get in his way, especially a smart mouthed teenager like Justin.

After Spencer bids him good riddance, he is killed by the hackers and stands before the gates of heaven. But - what’s this? After a life of putting dangerous criminals behind bars, he’s locked out?

He yells at the angel blocking his entrance, only to find out he needs to go through the J.R.P. program before he can enter. That’s the Jerk Redemption program, otherwise known as sensitivity training boot camp, which to his horror consists of non-stop Oprah and Dr. Phil reruns. Or he can go back to earth and help Justin’s dysfunctional family. Spencer opts for the lesser of two evils, to help Justin.

But the Angel pulls a fast one on Spencer. He can only go back to earth in the body of his K9-Partner. Spencer refuses, but like it or not, Spencer becomes a dog.  He falls back to earth and is slowly morphed into a dog that closely resembles a mop.

And if being a dog wasn’t bad enough, Spencer also swallowed an important microchip his killers need to hack into PC’s and steal millions. Now the criminals are hot on his trail for the only existing microchip that’s logged in his belly.

Justin and Spencer butt heads constantly; both are stubborn and willful, neither one wanting to give an inch. Spencer needs to find out what the killers are up to, so he swallows his pride and forms a bond with the boy. Spencer relays to Justin his past and together with the help of Justin’s girlfriend, Shahla; they discover the hacker’s plans. Spencer has broken down Justin’s reserve and he finally learns the meaning of unselfish love.

But it’s too late, the hackers have captured them.

Can Spencer maul the shins (and other choice areas) of his kidnappers and stop them from their evil plan?

Can a selfish man find a heart?

You bet.  He just has to become a dog first.

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Q: Welcome to The Writer's Life!  Now that your book has been published, we’d love to find out more about the process.  Can we begin by having you take us at the beginning?  Where did you come up with the idea to write your book?

I thought a Young Adult book would be a great idea to write for a first time novelist. I always loved family orientated books and movies and was searching for a story that depicts the human condition with all its splendor and frailties. What better way than through a surly cop who has to go back to earth in the body of his K-9 partner? The cop needs to help a troubled teenager and his dysfunctional family in order to be redeemed

Q: How hard was it to write a book like this and do you have any tips that you could pass on which would make the journey easier for other writers?

It’s hard but rest assured help is on the horizon. The internet is filled with writer’s help websites and an assortment of books and software to kick-start the imagination. I have tried a few and found them very helpful, although it’s ultimately up to you to fill the page.  After your idea, the empty page is the worst hurdle to overcome but once the words fill the void it’s easier to rewrite. In fact, writing is mostly rewriting. I am not the most organized being in the universe, so I sing praises of the keyboard with back buttons and delete functions.  Writing is just rewriting - there you have it. How did writers years ago work without MS Word?  I bet Hemingway would have killed for the cut and paste function.

 Q: Is there anything that surprised you about getting your first book published?

Once the novel was completed I sent out numerous query letters to agents and publishing houses and no one wanted to read a chapter of a first time novelist. I can start a bonfire with the rejection letters I received. And get ready to hear from Literary Agencies that their roster is full and can’t accept any new authors, and the majority of publishers do not accept any unsolicited manuscripts. For me, self-publishing was the only way out of this maze. Then I heard if you have a self-published book with somewhat decent sales, publishing houses are more apt to take you seriously. No company wants to gamble with their capital anymore; they want you to do the marketing for them.  Your start-up costs for Self-Publishing can be as frugal or pricy as your credit card limit will allow. So if you have the “I don’t have a contract blues,” SELF-PUBLISH!

Q: What other books (if any) are you working on and when will they be published?

I’m working on a sequel to K-9 cop.

Q: What’s your favorite place to hang out online?

I type in “how to market your e-book” and surf. Marketing is science onto itself and is more frustrating than writing a book. You have control over your book but not so in marketing. There’s a lot to learn so pour yourself a cup of coffee and blog. 

Q: Finally, what message (if any) are you trying to get across with your book?

I love the story of redemption and second chances. And I love to make people laugh.
   
Q: Thank you again for this interview!  Do you have any final words?

I just wanted to stress the importance of imagination. Albert Einstein hit the nail on the head when he said “I am enough of an artist to draw freely upon my imagination. Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.” 

Wow, that gives me goose bumps and makes my knees wobble.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The Murders at Astaire Castle Book Blitz Giveaway


We're happy to be hosting Lauren Carr and her THE MURDERS AT ASTAIRE CASTLE Book Blitz today!


Title: Married One Night
Author: Amber Leigh Williams
Publisher: Harlequin Superromance
Pages: 384
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Format: Paperback/Kindle
Purchase at AMAZON
- See more at: http://theliterarynook.blogspot.com/#sthash.phdOBY3i.dpu

Title: The Murders at Astaire Castle
Author: Lauren Carr
Publisher: Acorn Book Services
Pages: 286
Genre: Mystery
Format: Paperback/Kindle
Purchase at AMAZON

Mac Faraday Meets the Wolf Man!



Never tell Mac Faraday not to do something.

In The Murders at Astaire Castle, Spencer’s police chief, David O’Callaghan, learns this lesson the hard way when he orders Mac Faraday to stay away from the south end of Spencer’s mountaintop—even though he owns the property. It doesn’t take long for Mac to find out what lies on the other side of the stone wall and locked gate, on which hangs a sign warning visitors to Keep Out!

Topping the list of the ten most haunted places in America, Astaire Castle is associated with two suicides, three mysterious disappearances, and four murders since it was built almost a century ago—and Mac Faraday owns it!
In spite of David’s warning, Mac can’t resist unlocking the gate to see the castle that supposedly hasn’t seen a living soul since his late mother had ordered it closed up after the double homicide and disappearance of Damian Wagner, a world-famous master of horror novels.
“Halloween has always been a fun time,” best-selling author Lauren Carr explains in a note at the beginning of her fifth Mac Faraday mystery. “It’s the time to break out and be someone else. As a child, I would pretend to be one of the Bobbsey Twins searching for clues to lead me to a secret treasure. If I was lucky, it was made up of chocolate. As a teenager, I was Nancy Drew. Always, when October rolled around, I craved mysteries with something extra added—something beyond the normal—something supernatural. As an author, I couldn’t resist taking this one Mac Faraday Mystery on a scary Halloween adventure.”
In this latest installment of Carr’s hit series, what starts out as a quick tour of a dusty old castle turns into another Mac Faraday adventure when Astaire Castle becomes the scene of even more murders. Mac is going to need to put all of his investigative talents to work to sort out this case that involves the strangest characters he has run into yet—including a wolf man. No, we’re not talking about Gnarly.

Book Excerpt:

Prologue



November 2002 – Astaire Castle, top of Spencer Mountain, Deep Creek Lake, Maryland

Shivering, Rafaela turned up the fan for the heater in her old Plymouth. The weather channel was calling for snow. With an eye on the storm clouds heading straight for Spencer Mountain, she picked up the speed a notch. Her car bumped along the worn road cut through the trees and rock to take her to Astaire Castle.

The notion of being trapped at the castle by a winter storm made her curse the day she had accepted the job as housekeeper at the Astaire estate. The young illegal immigrant thought her prayers had been answered by landing the job at the luxurious estate. Not only was it prestigious to work in a castle, but lucrative since Damian Wagner was paying almost twice her normal hourly wage.
What a gem to put on my housekeeping resume! To be hire by only one of the world’s most famous authors of horror books—even more famous than Robin Spencer—to clean an honest-to-goodness castle. So what if the Astaire Castle has a reputation of being haunted? I’ll be making a bundle for cleaning five days a week in the daylight. Besides, I don’t believe in no ghosts.
Rafaela regretted her decision the first time she walked into Astaire Castle.
At first, she dismissed her cleaning supplies moving from where she had left them as forgetfulness.  Then there was the time she kept hearing someone whispering her name. She had looked around, but never saw anyone. Same with doors closing or opening or footsteps coming up behind her, and the old-time music and party noises in empty rooms when no one was there—she tried to tell herself that it was all her imagination.
None of that was anything compared to the Wolf Man who she had seen in the dining room mirror while she was cleaning it.
She had heard all about the Wolf Man who lived in the woods surrounding Astaire Castle. The woman with two teenagers who lived in the apartment next to hers was quick to tell her about him. Rafaela had dismissed it all as ghost stories made up by her neighbor’s kids to scare her—until she had seen him with her own two eyes.
That day she ran out of the castle. She returned only after Genevieve, Damian Wagner’s daughter, had promised that her father finish his book and be moving out of the castle by the end of the year—at which time he would pay her a handsome bonus that would give her enough money to visit her family in Brazil for Christmas.
Rafaela caught her breath when her Plymouth entered through the gate at the end of the road to pull into the front courtyard and fountain.
The fountain was off. Damian Wagner had never bothered to turn it on. He wouldn’t notice if it was. He spent his time banging away on his computer in the study on the top floor. He wouldn’t eat if it weren’t for his daughter bringing food to him.
Then there was the editor—Mr. Jansen.
He reminded Rafaela of a bird with his bony frame, high cheekbones over a pointy chin, and thick eyeglasses with his blinking eyes magnified behind them. He sounded like a squawking bird with his high-pitched voice no matter what his mood or what he was saying. Ready to pounce in anticipation of any need from Damian Wagner, he was always lurking nearby.
Damian’s daughter, Genevieve, was as charming as beautiful. She often asked Rafaela about her family in Brazil and about her life in Deep Creek Lake.  For the new immigrant to America, Rafaela felt as if she was making a friend who would give her good references for more housekeeping jobs in the resort town of Spencer—more millionaire estates to clean—estates that weren’t haunted.
Rafaela pulled her car around the circular drive and parked at the bottom of the steep steps that led to the front door. When she got out of her car, the wind howled and whipped her long dark hair around her head. The wind actually seemed to want to rip her thin coat off her body. Grabbing her box of cleaning supplies, she squared her shoulders, and sucked up her nerve to go inside.
Need to make this quick. They don’t have enough money to make me stay here during that storm.
The wind yanked the heavy wooden door from her grasp to slam it against the side of the house.
“Stupid door!” Rafaela set the box inside the foyer and went outside to grab the door and pull it shut. “Mr. Wagner! Mr. Jansen! Genevieve! It’s me, Rafaela! Hope I’m not disturbing you.” She picked up the box and made her way through the foyer.
“Raf-aela …”
She stopped. With wide eyes, she peered up the staircase to the second floor balcony. “Is that you, Mr. Wagner?” She paused to listen. “Genevieve?”
“Get out. Now.”
Has to be my imagination. She reassured herself. “There’s no such thing as ghosts. There’s no such thing as ghosts,” she muttered over and over to herself while hurrying to the back of the castle.
“I don’t suppose you had any trick-or-treaters last night, did you?” she called out to ease her nerves with the sound of her own voice. “Not up here I suppose.”
She waited for an answer. She heard footsteps on the floor up above.
The smell of burnt meat came to her nose. It smelled like steak that had been left on the grill for too long.
They must have grilled steaks last night.
“Lots of little children stopped by my apartment.” Feeling braver as she rattled on, Rafaela set the box of cleaning supplies on the kitchen table and gathered together her duster and furniture polish.
Best to start in the living room. The antiques, wood, and silver takes the longest.
Admiring the decades-old priceless china encased in the china closet, she went through the dining room. With her cleaning lady’s eye, she gauged what needed to be addressed on this visit that she may have missed before. She stopped when the blotch of red on the doorframe through the kitchen caught her eye.
What’s that? Catsup?
It wasn’t until she spotted a spot on the floor that she first considered that it wasn’t a condiment, but something much more sinister.  She spotted another. Bigger this time … and another.
There was a red pool in front of the kitchen door that opened out onto the back patio and deck that projected out over the rocks to provide a massive view of the valley down below. All of the drops and splatters and pools led to the common source—the fire pit outside.
She saw the flames and smoke wafting in the wind whipping around her where she stood in the open doorway. She stared at the blackened objects in the pit. What at first appeared to be a burnt log projecting out of the flames took shape.
The hand and fingers reached out to her.
The index finger was pointing at her.
Through the rapid beating of her heart, Rafaela could hear the footsteps behind her coming closer.
“Get out!”
His image was reflected in the glass pane of the door. The wild hair. The crazed eyes.
It’s the Wolf Man!


Watch the Trailer!


About the Author:


Lauren Carr is the best-selling author of the Mac Faraday Mysteries, which takes place in Deep Creek Lake, Maryland. Twelve to Murder is the seventh installment in the Mac Faraday Mystery series.

In addition to her series set on Deep Creek Lake, Lauren Carr has also written the Lovers in Crime Mysteries, which features prosecutor Joshua Thornton with homicide detective Cameron Gates, who were introduced in Shades of Murder, the third book in the Mac Faraday Mysteries. They also make an appearance in The Lady Who Cried Murder.

Lauren launched the Lovers in Crime (first introduced in Shades of Murder) mystery series in September 2012 with Dead on Ice.

The owner of Acorn Book Services, Lauren is also a publishing manager, consultant, editor, cover and layout designer, and marketing agent for independent authors. This year, several books, over a variety of genre, written by independent authors will be released through the management of Acorn Book Services, which is currently accepting submissions. Visit Acorn Book Services website for more information.

Lauren is a popular speaker who has made appearances at schools, youth groups, and on author panels at conventions. She also passes on what she has learned in her years of writing and publishing by conducting workshops and teaching in community education classes.

She lives with her husband, son, and three dogs on a mountain in Harpers Ferry, WV.
For More Information
 Giveaway!

Lauren is giving away one paperback copy, two ebook copies and three audiobooks of THE MURDERS AT ASTAIRE CASTLE!


Terms & Conditions:

  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • Six winners will be chosen via Rafflecopter.
  • This giveaway begins October 6 and ends October 31.
  • Winners will be contacted via email on Monday, November 3.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.

Good luck everyone!

ENTER TO WIN!

  a Rafflecopter giveaway

Interview with Leslie Tentler: 'I don't think there was anything that didn't surprise me'



Leslie Tentler is best known as the author of the Chasing Evil Trilogy (MIDNIGHT CALLER, MIDNIGHT FEAR and EDGE OF MIDNIGHT). She was named as a finalist for Best First Novel at ThrillerFest 2012 for Midnight Caller, and as a finalist in the 2013 Daphne du Maurier Awards for Excellence in Mystery and Suspense for Edge of Midnight. She is also the recipient of the prestigious Maggie Award of Excellence. Her newest romantic suspense novel is titled FALLEN.

Leslie is a member of Romance Writers of America, International Thriller Writers, The Authors Guild and Novelists, Inc. A native of East Tennessee, she currently resides in Atlanta.
Her latest book is the romantic suspense, Fallen.
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About the Book:

“If it wasn’t an armed robbery, it was a hit. An execution.”

Amid a sultry Atlanta summer, someone is targeting police…

The investigation becomes personal for APD Detective Ryan Winter when a colleague and friend is shot dead, the second victim in just weeks. But even as he finds himself being drawn into the tense hunt for a serial cop killer, he is forced to re-examine his own shattering personal tragedy.

An ER physician at Atlanta’s busy Mercy Hospital, Dr. Lydia Costa is no stranger to suffering. Still, the recent police slayings reopen barely healed wounds—and bring her face-to-face with her ex-husband, Ryan Winter.

As the body count rises and paranoia tightens its grip on the police force, Lydia and Ryan are pulled together by circumstances and fate…causing old passions to reignite despite their painful shared past. But as Ryan moves closer to discovering the killer’s identity, someone is watching, placing both him and Lydia in mortal danger.

For More Information

  • Fallen is available at Amazon.
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.

Q: Welcome to The Writer's Life!  Now that your book has been published, we’d love to find out more about the process.  Can we begin by having you take us to the beginning?  Where did you come up with the idea to write your book?

A: After completing the Chasing Evil Trilogy, I had an idea germinating for a new book, one that was still set against the investigational aspects of law enforcement, but that also told a parallel story about a once happy couple who had come apart in the face of a terrible loss. That book became Fallen, which is set in Atlanta, where I reside. It’s a romantic thriller built around the tense hunt for a serial cop killer, but what is playing out between the two main characters – Dr. Lydia Costa, an ER physician, and her ex-husband, Atlanta Homicide Detective Ryan Winter, who are thrown together again in the midst of chaos – takes equal spotlight.

Q: How hard was it to write a book like this and do you have any tips that you could pass on which would make the journey easier for other writers?

A: There’s a self-help book titled Feel The Fear And Do It Anyway by Susan Jeffers. That title is right on the money. Doubt and fear of failure are cold-blooded killers for anyone attempting to write a story and put it “out there” for the world to see. You work hard, of course, but you also have to take a bit of a leap of faith with every book.

Fallen was a bit harder to write than my other stories, due to the tragedy that precedes where the current story begins. Both of the main characters are still struggling with lingering grief in their own way.

Q: Who is your publisher and how did you find them or did you self-publish?

A: MIRA published my first three books. Fallen is an independent publishing project, or “Indie release.” Some background: Before writing my first novel, I worked for two decades as a senior writer and editor for public relations firms in metro Atlanta. The firms were all small and entrepreneurial, so I have a big streak of that independence in me. So far, I’m really enjoying the Indie experience, although it requires wearing a lot of hats!

Q: Is there anything that surprised you about getting your first book published?

I don’t think there was anything that didn’t surprise me! When my agent pitched my first book (Midnight Caller, the first in the trilogy), I was completely unprepared for the possibility that the publisher would want it as part of a three-book deal. Before finding that out, I’d always thought, “Hey, I’ll try writing a book and if it’s fun, I might try it again sometime.” So I had to make a decision as to whether I was all-in on this novelist thing pretty quickly.

Q: What other books (if any) are you working on and when will they be published?

I have another novel close to completion that I’m planning to publish sometime next year. While Fallen is a standalone novel, my next book, tentatively titled Clarity Bay, might be the start of a series. It’s my first foray into something outside of “law enforcement-oriented romantic thrillers.” While Clarity Bay certainly has aspects of romantic suspense, it also has a Southern, small town romance vibe. I’m actually very excited about this book!

Q: What’s your favorite place to hang out online?

A: I’m on Facebook constantly. I love it when readers “like” my author page and/or send a friend request to my personal page.

Q: Finally, what message (if any) are you trying to get across with your book?

A: There’s an old proverb that says: A shared joy is a double joy; a shared sorrow is half a sorrow. The latter part of that adage is especially relevant to Lydia and Ryan’s struggle and is at the heart of their story.

Q: Thank you again for this interview!  Do you have any final words?

A: Final words? That sounds like maybe I need a blindfold and cigarette? Kidding!

Seriously, I’d just like to thank my readers for their continued support and encouragement. It’s amazing to be able to make up these characters and worlds and share them with others.


Monday, October 20, 2014

Interview with Edie Harris, author of 'Blamed' & WIN PRIZES!!!



We're thrilled to have Edie Harris today at The Writer's Life!  Be sure to check out the giveaway at the bottom of the post and enter!

Edie Harris studied English and Creative Writing at the University of Iowa and Grinnell College. She fills her days with writing and editing contract proposals, but her nights belong to the world of romance fiction. Edie lives and works in Chicago and is represented by Laura Bradford of Bradford Literary Agency.

Her latest book is the romantic suspense/espionage, Blamed.
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About the Book:


Born into a long line of spies, sanctioned killers and covert weapons developers, Beth Faraday carried out her first hit-for-hire when she was still a teenager.

That part of her life—the American spy royalty part—ended one year ago, with a job gone wrong in Afghanistan. The collateral damage she caused with a single shot was unfathomable and, for Beth, unforgiveable. She’s worked hard to build a new life for herself, far away from the family business. But someone, somewhere, hasn’t forgotten what Beth did in Kabul. And they want revenge.

As the Faraday clan bands together to defend Beth and protect their legacy, Beth is forced to flee her new home with the unlikeliest of allies—MI6 agent Raleigh Vick, the only man she’s ever loved. And the one she thought she’d killed in the desert.

For More Information


Q: Welcome to The Writer's Life!  Now that your book has been published, we’d love to find out more about the process.  Can we begin by having you take us at the beginning?  Where did you come up with the idea to write your book?

Blamed started life as a weekly serial back on my website in 2011, under the title “In Her Sights.” I got seven chapters in before losing interest entirely and putting it on my backburner, but I never forgot about the concept that I had initially loved—a former-assassin heroine and the British-spy hero she thought she’d killed in the Middle East. Thank goodness I had the opportunity to come back to the Faradays for Harlequin Carina Press.

Q: How hard was it to write a book like this and do you have any tips that you could pass on which would make the journey easier for other writers?

Any book you write is going to be difficult. One of the hardest parts for me, always, is finding the time, as I work a high-demand day job and try to maintain a personal life, too. My only tip is to make sure you, as a writer, very clearly know your priorities and stick to them.

Q: What other books (if any) are you working on and when will they be published?

The second book in the Blood Money series will be out in late spring of 2015—Tobias’s story. The cover, back-cover copy, and an excerpt will be posted in the not-too-distant future.

Q: What’s your favorite place to hang out online?

I’m an avid Twitter user, and I’m not on Facebook at all—personally or professionally. Twitter is the best place to connect with me. 




Edie is giving away one digital copy of Blamed (formats available: PDF & ePub), ‘I Only Kiss Spies’ t-shirt, ‘Lincoln Park After Dark’ OPI nail polish and one bag of Van Houtte ‘Belgian Chocolate’ ground coffee!· 




Terms & Conditions:
  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • One winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter.
  • This giveaway begins October 19 and ends December 22.
  • Winner will be contacted via email on Tuesday, December 23.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.
Good luck everyone!
 

a Rafflecopter giveaway