Saturday, May 3, 2014

Author Interview: Her Ghost Wears Kilts by Kathleen Shaputis

Her Ghost Wears Kilts
Kathleen Shaputis

Genre:  Paranormal Romance
Publisher:   Crimson Romance
Date of Publication:  August 26, 2013

About the Book:
Something's not right at Baillie's popular used bookstore in rain-soaked western Washington and frigid, heart-stopping air is her first clue. When the cat refuses to enter the shop and Baillie hears faint bagpipes in the travel book section, her nerves are rubbed raw.
Meanwhile in Scotland, the heir of a local castle falls to a suspicious death. An evil banker claims ownership of the castle, leaving the staff to ponder their fate.
How are these events connected? The answer lies in a Ghost and Mrs. Muir tale, twenty-first century style that flips the table with a ghostly twenty-seven-year-old hunk, Lord Kai, and fifty-something bachelorette Baillie. Her gay best friend Gillian Nation and his girls dash to Scotland to Baillie's rescue when the combination of alcohol, villainous banker, Dna, and good old-fashioned jealousy throw Baillie into the fight of her life. Will she choose to reclaim her normal Northwest existence or grab onto an unorthodox love that makes life magical and breath-taking?

Author Interview:

Welcome, Kathleen, we are delighted to have you with us today, to share a little bit about yourself and your writing. Where are you from and from where/who did your love for writing come from?

I moved up from southern California to the great Pacific Northwest in 2000 and am now nestled in the county area of Olympia on two wooded acres. Yes, I have my own little forest. My love of writing sprang from a deep passion very young for reading, turning pages tucked in the corner of the couch or bed. I found if I wasn’t reading, my imagination took me on adventures even more incredible with characters of all kinds surrounding me. As an adult I found my maternal aunt and grandmother also had the same magical draw to books, so it’s in the genes.  

Can you say that your journey to publication was difficult? If so, what were the hardest 
moments to get through?

This book took a strange twist to publication. It’s intended audience was more “Sleepless in Seattle” type, light romantic comedy with a ghost. But after a few rejection slips, a dear friend who had been published with Crimson Romance, a new division of Adam Media, strongly suggested I submit the manuscript to them. From my query letter and synopsis, I got back a list of changes needed before they would consider taking the book. Mainly it was drop the more chick-lit scenes and bump up the relationship between the two main characters. I did and they accepted. 

How do you overcome I-suck-at this, that little voice in your head that tells you your writing 
isn’t good enough?

Great question! All writers fight the invisible editor on the shoulder constantly critiquing and side swiping your confidence. Over the years I’ve learned to ignore and drown her out with background music. Doesn’t mean she’s gone and zeroes in for attacks still, but I “have” to write. And if I give the characters an open door, they will take over for the most part so it doesn’t seem like my work, but theirs.

What is your dream vacation?

A relaxing, comfortable spot – whether on the beaches of northern California or a cute cottage in the forests, where nature is louder than humans. 

Describe your writing style in five words.

Sassy, light-hearted romps with characters. 

What movies are you currently excited to see?

“Into the Woods” coming out in 2014! I love fairy tales and this one includes Johnnie Depp and Meryl Streep. Muscials and romantic comedies are my favs – and I believe Mr. Depp will be singing in this one as well.

What are you currently reading?

“The Lost Summer of Louisa May Alcott” by Kelly O’Conner McNees 

If you weren’t a writer, what other careers would you pursue?

Ah, now you have to remember this was back in the Sixties, after my childhood dreams of being a playwright and novelist had been buried by very practical parents, I wanted to be a guide dog dog trainer. I saw a show about the first guide dog, Buddy, and knew working with dogs and people would be perfect for me. I wrote to a guide dog school in San Rafael, California asking what I needed to take in college to be one. I was politely informed that only men were selected to become trainers. I still have the letter to this day. I went into clerical work until computers came along.

If you could create a holiday of your own, what would it be called?

I actually did this when I wrote “The Crowded Nest Syndrome,” a humorous look at the return of adult children in 2004 and created Crowded Nest Syndrome Awareness Day on June 12 gotten a lot of air time across the nation over the years, listed in the Chase book of Special Days. But it wasn’t really for me.   

For people who haven’t read your novel, how would you summarize the plot?

Inspired by the 1939 movie “The Ghost and Mrs. Muir,” this romantic comedy is a contemporary adventure involving a fifty-something woman who is haunted by a gorgeous Scottish ghost trying to warn her of danger. A cast of characters come to Baillie’s rescue when she does indeed find her life in danger. 

What are two of your pet-peeves?

Waiting for people to show up at a promised time and there’s no contact is worse than fingernails on a chalkboard. I hate to be late – which is not an easy thing when you live with a family of procrastinators. 

To you, what makes a good story?

A good story wraps its tentacles around believable, three-dimensional characters. Doesn’t matter if they are a dog, a vampire or a house – the characters will make a book great. 

What usually turns you off about a story?

Dry, on-going details that seem to drag into multiple paragraphs. I don’t mind a thousand page book if I’m engaged in the characters and storyline. But if it’s dry, sixty pages is too much.

If you could collaborate with any author, who would you choose, and why?

Before she passed away, it would have been Nora Ephron. The woman’s talent with words and humor traveled fairly similar to mine. My bucket list includes having one of my books made into a movie and that would have been ensured working with the likes of Ms. Ephron.

What is on your night stand? 

Hmm, one, two, three stacks of books surrounding this poor table lamp. With another stack of 
books on the floor against the front of the night stand. And there’s a Kindle on top of one of the 

What is your favorite book?

Is there such a thing as “a” favorite? That would be like saying you have a favorite child (slapping hands to my cheeks). Those that I read over and over are the Harry Potter series (JK Rowlings), Twilight series (Stephanie Meyer) and The Outlander series (Diana Gabaldon).

Thank you so much for joining us, Kathleen. 

About the Book:

Drag queens, a ghost and murder, oh my. Love spirits through the modern day tale of inheritance and greed, crossing the vale between worlds.

Baillie thought life was content, successful in the Pacific Northwest until her bookshop became haunted. Inheriting a Scottish castle leads her on a wild adventure of Celtic chaos where she meets her gorgeous ghost. Finding her life in danger, Baillie calls the diva squad to the rescue: her friend Gillian Nation and his girls.

Will she choose her normal, safe existence or grab onto an unusual love that makes life magical?


About the Author:
Kathleen Shaputis, author/ghostwriter, lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, Bob, where curling up with icy Diet Coke, writing romantic comedies is her ultimate paradise.

Author Contacts:

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest

Friday, April 18, 2014

Author Interview & Giveaway: Nightmare Ink by Marcella Burnard

Nightmare Ink
Marcella Burnard

Release Date: April 2014
Publisher: Intermix
Genre:Urban Fantasy

Book Description:
With the needle of a tattoo gun, Isa Romanchzyk has the power to create and destroy. In her shop Nightmare Ink, Isa helps those in need by binding the powers embedded in their Live Ink—the magical tattoos that can enhance the life of the wearer, or end it.  But binding tattoos has earned Isa the contempt of her fellow artists—including her former lover Daniel.
When a friend comes to the shop with a tattoo on the verge of killing him, Isa can’t turn him away. For the first time in years, she works Live Ink into someone’s skin—something she swore she’d never do again. But breaking her vow soon becomes the least of her problems.
Isa is horrified to discover her friend’s body in the shop, but the real nightmare begins when she’s abducted and inked against her will.  Now, as she seeks retribution from the man who betrayed her, Isa must figure out how to bind her Living Tattoo before it consumes her completely...


PRFL would like to extend a very warm welcome to Marcella Burnard, author of Nightmare Ink. Marcella, can you tell us where you're from, and where/whom did your love for writing come from? 
Air Force brat – born in Alaska, but moved all over. If I’m from any place, it’s Seattle, which is where I choose to live now. The love of writing came directly out of a childhood spent consuming books like they were candy. When I ran out of books, I coped by making up my own stories.

Can you say that your journey to publication was difficult? If so, what were the hardest moments to get through? 
Certainly, I had a learning curve. From the moment I began finishing projects and actively trying to publish to the day I got the call – took just over a decade. The worst point for me came when a terminally ill friend died after urging me to write a particular story. His death was hard enough, but when the book got rejected over and over again (deservedly so, it turns out) it got pretty tough. Felt like those rejection letters were killing my friend over and over again.

How do you overcome i-suck-it is, that little voice in your head that tells you your writing isn’t good enough?
It’s possible there are obscenities involved. That said, I don’t overcome them, really. I think it’s a case of ignoring them, of saying, “Yeah, yeah. Thanks for your opinion. Shut it.” If that fails, I shake out those voices and peer at them – I learn the shape and texture of them. I figure out which emotional razorblade they wield. Then I ask where in a story my hero or heroine is feeling the same thing and I use those voices/emotions/etc in the work they tried to stop me from doing. Never fails to shut ‘em down. <Insert evil cackle here.>

What is your dream vacation? 
Antarctica.  This same company had a tour called The Great Walk of Africa – 11 days hiking across Tsavo National Park. I still really want to do that.

Describe your writing style in five words. 
O_o You assume I know what my writing style is – Okay. I’ve been told: Dark, cerebral, thriller-y, strong heroines.

What movies are you currently excited to see? 
Movies = migraines for me, so I don’t often get to see anything in the theater. My husband goes and then tells me if a movie is worth a migraine. He hasn’t been wrong yet. It isn’t likely that I’ll see it, but the CGI for the new Godzilla movie looks awesome.

What are you currently reading? 
The Pizza Bomber – it’s a book detailing an FBI case. I’m reading it for a criminal justice class I’m taking online (no credit – but lots of great details for use in writing law enforcement characters).

If you weren’t a writer, what other careers would you pursue? 
Sang professionally for a little while…day late and a dollar short, now, but I’d like to pretend it was still an option.

If you could create a holiday of your own, what would it be called? 
Day of the Cat (I’m owned by a few). 

For people who haven’t read your novel, how would you summarize the plot?
If you’re going to sew a second soul to your hide, shouldn’t the two of you get along first?

What are two of your pet-peeves? 
People who mistreat animals (10% of all my book proceeds goes to Best Friends Animal Society because they’re actively working to end the killing of healthy, adoptable animals in shelters in the US) and then boaters who go out on the ocean without a life jacket. There are too many people in the Seattle area who drown every year because they won’t put on a PFD. There’s no excuse – PFDs aren’t the huge, orange things you remember from childhood – they can be flat, unobtrusive things that only inflate if you hit the water. Boat safe, people.

To you, what makes a good story? 
The rumors are true. I’m easy. If an author makes me care about the characters, I’m in for the ride.

What usually turns you off about a story? 
When characters do something stupid that isn’t adequately motivated – which is to say – hey. We all do stupid stuff, even when we know it’s stupid. But we have reasons which seem really, really good at the time. I need that in a story, too, please.

If you could collaborate with any author, who would you choose, and why?
Oh, my childhood hero – Andre Norton. Her stories had a sense of fun I love.

What is on your night stand? 
My Kindle and an asthma inhaler. :P

What is your favorite book?
Sunshine by Robin McKinley.

Thank you so much for joining us today, Marcella. We really enjoyed the visit. Good luck and great sales with Nightmare Ink. And now, a little bonus from the author ~

The writing playlist leans to the creepy. Usually, I don’t want someone else’s words competing with writing, so most of the music is instrumental. Lisa Gerrard is the exception. The Myst soundtracks in my mp3 player are Myst, Riven and Exile. Exile is my favorite (Peter Gabriel had a bit of a hand in that soundtrack and that’s a huge win from my perspective.) The Halo soundtrack is usually reserved for writing science fiction, but there were scenes in NIGHTMARE INK that called for some fight music. By far, however, Nox Arcana got the most play. Nox Arcana defines creepy. Every one of their albums is a concept album built around a theme. But here. Here are the YouTube links so you can sample the music I piped directly to my brain while I wrote NIGHTMARE INK:

Lisa Gerrard from The Silver Tree | Myst III Soundtrack | Halo soundtrack | Nox Arcana

About the Author:

Marcella Burnard graduated from Cornish College of the Arts with a degree in acting. She writes science fiction romance for Berkley Sensation.
Her first book, Enemy Within won the Romantic Times Reviewer’s Choice award for Best Futuristic of 2010. The second book in the series, Enemy Games, released on May 3, 2011.
An erotica novella, Enemy Mine, set in the same world as the novels was released as an e-special edition by Berkley was released in April 2012. Emissary, a sword and sorcery short story released in the two volume Thunder on the Battlefield Anthology in the second half of 2013.

Author Contacts:
Website | Twitter | Facebook| Amazon | Blog | Goodreads | tumblr

Tour Wide Giveaway:
5 ecopies of Nightmare Ink by Marcella Burnard

Guest Post: Mind's Eye by Rebecca Rogers

Mind’s Eye
Book 1
Rebecca A. Rogers

Genre: Paranormal (with romantic elements)
Publisher:  Rebecca A. Rogers
Date of Publication:  January 1, 2014
Number of pages:  284
Cover Artist:  Rebecca A. Rogers

Book Description:
Seventeen-year-old Kearly Ashling can travel anywhere her mind takes her—literally. Becoming Empress of the planet Cyeor and battling monstrous, otherworldly creatures isn’t a problem. Living among the elves on the Plains of Glasslyn has yet to be an issue, as well. Even touring normal places like Paris, London, Tokyo, and the Amazon Rainforest isn’t difficult.
But traveling through her imagination isn’t just fun and games—it has consequences. Following a battle on the planet Cyeor, she’s visited by a guy who’s unimagined. He warns her to stop using her gift or they will find her. Kearly doesn’t heed the messenger’s advice and soon wishes she had. When the messenger finds her again, he transports her to the M.I.N.D., a corporation which specializes in “healing the psyche.” Once she’s inside the M.I.N.D.’s doors, however, Kearly realizes escaping is nearly impossible.

Now, she must figure out the M.I.N.D.’s true intent, try not to fall for the irritating-yet-handsome messenger, and find a way to outsmart the organization before they stop her from ever imagining again.

Amazon US Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU BN Smashwords Createspace | iBook

Guest Post by author Rebecca Rogers

Music and the Writing Playlist

It doesn’t matter what country you’re from, or what language you speak, there is one thing that’s universal: the love of music. Which is why it’s no surprise readers adore seeing what their favorite authors listen to while writing. Which song or artist kept the creative juices flowing? What genre of music do they listen to? What mood does the music set? I’ve recently released my tenth book, and I know I couldn’t have completed many scenes without the aid of a playlist. Music has a tendency to relax our mind and body, help us forget our problems, and allow us to just drift along with the melody. For me, it’s all about envisioning 
other worlds and losing myself in those daydreams. Music, much like reading, is an escape. So, without further ado, here’s the list of songs I listened to while writing Mind’s Eye: 
“Endlessly” - Green River Ordinance
“Texas Rain” - Sleeperstar
“Ocean Wide” - The Afters
“Down” - Jason Walker (This was featured on an episode of The Vampire Diaries!)
“Our July in the Rain” - He Is We
“When I’m with You” - Faber Drive
“Telescope” - Graham Colton

I know. It’s an extremely short list, but I kept it on repeat throughout the entire writing process. More than likely, this playlist will stick with me throughout the remainder of the trilogy, and I’ll be tacking on a few more songs.

What’s your favorite music to listen to while blocking out the rest of the world?

About the Author:
Rebecca expressed her creative side at an early age and hasn’t stopped since. She won’t hesitate to tell you that she lives inside her imagination, and it’s better than reality.
She’d insert something here along the lines of living in the Northeast, USA, or Europe, with her wonderful husband and their dogs, but these things haven’t happened yet. Instead, she’ll tell you she’s an avid gamer, chocoholic, coffee addict, animal lover, and owns way too many books and shoes.

Author Contacts:
Website/Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads