Monday, June 20, 2011

Interview & Giveaway: Elyse Mady

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Today it's my pleasure to welcome author Elyse Mady! Elyse's latest novel, LEARNING CURVES, releases today from Carina Press.

About The Book:

Leanne Galloway has no time for dating; her focus is on launching her academic career. Dragged along to her childhood frenemy Gillian's bachelorette party at a male strip club, she just wants to get through the evening—but she can't help interfering when Gillian sends a note to a sexy dancer proposing a hot hookup.

Brandon Myles is working backstage at the Foxe's Den to fund his post-graduate studies in dance, but he's forced onstage when the headliner fails to show up. He feels a surprisingly strong connection with a quiet woman watching from a table full of tipsy bridesmaids, and he's delighted when she appears backstage after his set.

After a scorching spontaneous encounter, Leanne and Brandon agree to go their separate ways. But they're both grad students on a small campus, and avoiding each other and denying their attraction won't work for long, especially when a jealous rival appears, determined to ruin both their academic careers.

Welcome, Elyse! Tell us a little about yourself.

Writer. Mom. And as of this coming Thursday, married for a whole 10 years to a wonderful guy. (Seriously, don't know how that happened. I swear, I was finishing school and looking for my first job yesterday. Now, we're hitting double digits?! But they've been a great ten years and I'm looking forward to a bunch more :) I live in Hamilton, Ontario and wear several different writing and working hats: in addition to my contemporary and historical romance with Carina, I also write magazine articles for a half dozen or so different publications and teach literature and film at a local college.

Describe Leanne Galloway and Brandon Myles the hero and heroine of Learning Curves, and what inspired you to create them.

Leanne and Brandon are wonderful characters who are completely convinced that romance is something that other people need. It's not that they have anything against falling in love but they've both got really definite reasons for why it can't be them. Of course, disabusing them of that notion entails lots of steamy encounters, some hard personal realizations and sacrifices on both their parts before they can learn differently.

The germ of the story appeared when I was thinking about applying to do my doctorate a couple of years ago. For those of you who haven't had the pleasure, applying for a graduate degree is almost a full time job. 20 million forms (and each university has their own process), grant applications to fund your research (the universities pay their grad students a very small amount to cover tuition but they like you better if you bring your own research money!) reference letters, interviews. It's craziness, like filing your annual taxes times about....a gazillion. It becomes all-consuming, and people legitimately get very invested in the process because it is their future career on the line. At the same time, I started wondering about what some of the students I was talking to would do when they were done being professional students? What else would there be for them outside of their books and the rarefied experience that an academic life can become because they were pouring everything into this one goal and it seemed like a very limited way to live a life?

Leanne marched into my mind a little bit later, very determined to convince me that she was fine, thank you very much, and I should go write someone else's story. So of course I didn't. And then I bumped into Brandon, who was rambling around my subconscious and I knew that they would be perfect together. Leanne thinks she's very logical and focused but in reality she has this really tender heart while Brandon is a dancer who relies on his body for expression but has cut himself off from his emotions. I had way too much fun twisting them into pretzels until their HEA, I tell yah!

How much research was involved in writing Learning Curves?

A lot of the story is based on personal experience, rather than research per say. Not, mind you, that I met my husband while he was dancing at a strip club. Lovely fellow, adore him to pieces, but lets just say he dances like the farm boy he once was. A lot of Robot Chicken, in other words! But I've lived as a graduate student, done the late nights and the non-existent budget and the lengthy papers and I know the world well. I wrote this story over the course of a couple of years, and actually wrote the first draft while I was doing my Masters so a lot of the small elements: the crummy office Leanne shares with her friend, the bad student essays, the campus layout, the atmosphere in other words, are cobbled together from a wide range of my own experiences, just reordered and shaped to fit the story.

But as I've assured several of my friends that I went to school with, all my characters are fictional. Unless, of course, I didn't like you and then absolutely, the girl in chapter three who gets run over by a Mac truck? Yeah, totally based on a real person! LOL Because I'm the author and I can smite you as I please (Disclaimer: no one *actually* gets run over in the book, in Chapter 3 or otherwise! :))

What appeals to you about writing romance?

I like writing about people who feel things. Although I enjoy a wide range of book styles and am a big science fiction fan, I tend to gravitate towards real life situations in my own stories. So no alternate universes, shapeshifters, sparkly vampires or the like. And as of yet, no ultra-rich sheik billionaires or English venture capitalists. I like to explore the challenges inherent in any successful relationship and see how people balance all of the competing pressures in their life successfully.

Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Panster all the way, baby. I don't even write my books in order. I build out from a scene, connecting them together very organically as I write. Of course, once I have a completed draft, I'm a little more conventional but I find that letting the story tell itself works best for me.

What is your writing schedule like?

I try and write four afternoons out of seven. My mornings are generally given over to exciting things like laundry and shifting the family detritus around. Evenings are often very busy with activities and it can be hard to be creative when I'm tired so the routine gives me a chance to write something regularly and keeps my characters front of mind.

Can you tell us what you're working on now?

I'll have my third Carina Press title released at the end of September. "Something So Right" is another contemporary, set in Northern Canada. It's a friends-to-lovers storyline that explores the lingering effects of surviving an abusive relationship and the vulnerabilties inherient in falling in love again. I'm really excited about it. Then I'm 2/3rds of the way through my fourth novel, which will be coming out early in 2012. It's a departure for me. Although my first novella was set in the Regency, it was completely fictional. This is historical fiction. It's based on a notorious gay brothel raid; the men who were arrested and tried were known as the Vere St. Coterie. I've found it very exciting balancing the need for historical accuracy with a story that respects the characters as I've imagined them.

Then I've got a few more pots boiling for future stories: a prequel to "The Debutante's Dilemma", a linked pair of Regency novels with a very distinctive hero and a couple of new contemporaries.

Do you have a website or blog?

I do. And I tweet.

Readers can find me at and on twitter at @elysemady.

What good books have you read recently that you'd like to recommend?

I really enjoyed "The Mistress of Nothing" by Kate Pullinger. It's historical fiction set in 1860s Egypt and the writing is gripping. It explores a time and place in history I knew little about.

What advice do you have for aspiring writers?

Write, write and then write some more. And when you're not writing, read. Workshops and connections and a great blog are all important elements to a successful career, but in the end, your work is what your reputation will sink or fail on.

Thanks for stopping by, Elyse! Congrats on your new release ; ).

Thanks so much for having me today, Angela. I really enjoyed having a chance to talk about my new book. I'd love to give one of your readers a chance to win a copy of "Learning Curves" in their choice of eformat. Before they get together, both Brandon and Leanne have a lot of trouble living a well-rounded, balanced life. And that's something not just fictional characters have trouble with. I'd like to know what they do to balance work and life? How do they find time for themselves? Family? Romance?

Monday, June 13, 2011

Interview & Giveaway: JB Lynn

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I'm so excited to welcome the awesome JB Lynn to my blog! JB is a fellow Carina Press author and today is the release of her romantic suspense novel, THE FIRST VICTIM. I've been looking forward to reading this book since I first heard about it and I'm so happy she agreed to let me interview her.

About the Book: 
Fifteen years ago, Emily Wright barely escaped from a serial killer dubbed the Baby Doll Strangler. She wants nothing to do with the small town where she was abducted, but when her father is hospitalized she reluctantly returns home to care for her teenage sister. 

When her sister's friend is killed and left in front of Emily's house, Emily begins to relive the nightmare she endured long ago. Soon she realizes that her sister, too, is in danger from the killer—and the only person who can help is the man Emily left behind: Deputy Bailey O'Neil. Together, Emily and Bailey must discover the killer's identity before he claims his next victim...

Welcome, JB! Tell us a little about yourself.

Thanks so much for having me! I’m a voracious reader, an obsessive writer, a long distance walker, and someone who drinks way too much coffee. When I was a little girl I pretended to be Nancy Drew…or when I was feeling particularly adventurous, The Hardy Boys (didn’t matter to me if I was Frank or Joe…their adventures were equally thrilling). As I got older, I thought it would be pretty cool to be Alex Cross from the James Patterson novels. Now I’m resigned to the fact that I’m most similar to Isabel Spellman from The Spellman Files by Lisa Lutz. Except I’m older, married, and I’m not a P.I.

Please tell us about The First Victim and what inspired you to write it.

I wrote the kind of story I like to read. I have a soft spot for really creepy villains. I’m a fan of victims becoming victors. And, of course, I’m a sucker for love conquering all, lol. I wanted to explore all those things and that’s just what I got to do in THE FIRST VICTIM.

How much research was involved in writing The First Victim? 

I consulted with a former FBI agent and a forensic psychologist – don’t those sound like two really cool jobs? I mean, they’re the closest thing to Alex Cross I could find in real life, lol.

What appeals to you about writing romance suspense? 

I think a romantic storyline enhances the suspense in a novel. It raises the emotional stakes for the hero and heroine and allows the reader to root for them (not just against the villain). The romantic suffering of the hero and heroine results in something more than the defeat of the villain. It results in a loving relationship…and I don’t know about every other reader out there, but that’s the part I can identify with (having never hunted down a psychotic serial killer myself).

Are you a plotter or a pantser?

I’m a plantser…I do some plotting and some pantsing. I plot out all the major turning points and I don’t start a project without knowing how it’s going to end, but I don’t do a fifty page outline the way some writers do. Hence my “plantser” status.

What is your writing schedule like? 

Ha! In a perfect world I’d say that I write Monday thru Friday and edit on the weekends. Or maybe I’d say I write five thousand words five days a week. Or maybe I’d say I work on one project at a time. But those are all delusions. Most weeks I end up writing about ten thousand…and then deleting at least five thousand when I sit down to edit. Really it’s a miracle I ever finish anything.

Can you tell us what you're working on now? 

I could tell you but then I’d have to kill you! Only kidding. Maybe. I’m working on a new humorous crime series. It’s sort of Carl Hiassen meets Lisa Lutz…with a healthy dose of JB Lynn’s warped bent thrown in. I’m a big fan of old movies like ARSENIC AND OLD LACE and THE THIN MAN series that managed to integrate humorous elements into crime stories, so in some ways, this is an homage to them (although my books are considerably darker). I’m also developing a novel featuring FBI agents Chase Morgan and Sebastian Black from THE FIRST VICTIM.

Do you have a website or blog? 

What good books have you read recently that you'd like to recommend? 

I thought Kate Brady’s ONE SCREAM AWAY was a great read and I loved Allison Brennan’s LOVE ME TO DEATH (then again, I love all of Allison’s suspense novels). And I highly recommend Emma Donoghue’s ROOM.

What advice do you have for aspiring writers?

Learn how to finish writing a book. It’s relatively easy to start a book, but getting through the middle and to “The End” is a real challenge. And from the wonderful wisdom of Galaxy Quest “Never give up. Never surrender!”

Thanks for stopping by, JB!

Thanks so much for having me, Angela. I’d like to give away a copy of The First Victim to one of your followers. To enter all they have to do is leave a comment telling me their favorite villain(s) of all time. I’ll announce the winner (who will be chosen at random from the entries) in the comments section on June 17th!

To celebrate its release, I’m running multiple contests this week, so everyone should check out my blog to find other ways to be entered to win a copy of The First Victim.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

In Print and on Tour!

Some of you have emailed me asking if The Paris Secret will ever be available in print and I'm happy to finally be able to say, YES! The Paris Secret has been chosen by Harlequin's DTC (Direct to Consumer) program! That means that subscribers of the DTC mystery/suspense program will receive a mass market paperback edition of The Paris Secret in their December shipment. The paperback version will also be available for sale on the eHarlequin website, though I'm not sure exactly when. Click here
for the official announcement and to win some fun stuff in celebration of  the Carina Press  one year anniversary!  I'm also doing a summer blog tour in July with Kismet Book Touring and giving away a cool Paris Secret prize pack to one lucky winner ; ). 


Monday  July, 4th – “That’s Swell”
Tuesday, July, 5th – “YA bibliophile”
Wednesday, July, 6th –  “Bewitched Bookworms”
Thursday, July, 7th – “The Great, The Good and The Bad”
Friday, July, 8th – “Mysterious Books”

Monday  July, 11th – “Deea’s Book Journal”
Tuesday,  July, 12th – “Workaday Reads”
Wednesday, July, 13th – “Baffled Books”
Thursday, July, 14th - “Splash of our words”
Friday, July, 15th – “Romancing the Darkside

Monday July, 18th – “The Reading Fever”
Tuesday, July, 19th- “Well Read Wife”
Wednesday, July, 20th- “Bookish Delight”
Thursday, July, 21th- “The Unread Reader”
Friday, July, 21th – “Elegantly Bound Books”