Thursday, February 24, 2011

Careless Whisper-no, not George Michael-Wendi Zwaduck!

As promised, the winner of the gift card of your choice (Amazon, B & N, ARe) has been chosen using RANDOM.ORG. The winner was commenter #8-Harlie Reader (Marika Weber) Congrats, Marika! I hope you will come back for our next author event on March 11, but for now, Congrats again to Harlie Reader!!!!

First, I want to Welcome Wendi Zwaduk to My Odd Little World. Thank you for sharing some time here with us. Could you tell us a bit about yourself, please, before you jump into my questions?

Thanks Nancy for letting me stop by. I’m having a blast. But you asked for a little bit about me...I’m little. Hee hee. No really, I’m short. I look people in the throat and chest. Sometimes that’s good (if he’s a hunk and built it’s really good). Sometimes, well, I wish I was taller. I talk too much and have been known to shout things out that are completely true, just not the right thing to say at the time. I love to read and have my ereader packed. I’ve got a wall of books that’s only half the collection. I can’t turn down animals and the menagerie seems to grow by the year. I have a youngling and a DH. I love them both and am grateful they both back my writing now (for a while it was touchy). DH is the best research partner and he’s given himself over to exploration more than once for the sake of art. Hee hee. My mom knows what I write and yes, it makes her blush. But then again, if it doesn’t make you blush, then what’s the use?

The Writer

1) What is the best thing about being a writer? The worst?
WZ) The best thing about being a writer is getting the thoughts in my head, the chattering of the characters down on paper and having others enjoy what’s there. Fan mail is awesome because I know I’ve touched someone with the work.

The worst? There’s lots of not fun things. Rejection letters and negative reviews. I totally realize that what one person thinks about a work can be the complete opposite of what someone else thinks is fantastic—and actually, that’s great. If we all loved the same things, life would be boring. But it smarts a little when someone doesn’t like what I’ve written. It gets my brain going to figure out what went wrong and fix it in the next story which is a good incentive to write more.

2) What is your method of breaking through writer’s block?

WZ) Dh would say it’s personal research with him. That does work, but not all the time. Sometimes I read in the genre I’m stuck in. I feel immersed in what I want to write and it can kick-start the characters to talking—like, hey, why are you reading that when I want to tell you this? That works well for me. I’ll listen to music, whatever sparked the story in the first place and lots of times I’ll watch a movie. The Goodbye Girl is a favorite because there’s lots of snarky comments, fantastic characters, and a HEA.

3) Do you bring your own life experiences to your writing? Your own personality? If so how?

WZ) My heroines tend to have similar personalities to mine. They’re strong but sometimes timid, they want the hero but don’t always feel like they deserve him, and they are usually not real tall or skinny. My life experiences absolutely come into the story. DH is a pilot, so I know my way around a plane. I love racing, so all the dirt racing stories and moments are things I’ve done. I’ve waitressed at a Mexican restaurant, so I know my way around a restaurant and I’ve got a BA in art ed, so I know what I’m talking about when it comes to art. I won’t say I know everything—I don’t—and I’m not at all fast on my feet when it comes to comebacks, but hey, we can’t all be perfect. J

4) What fuels you as an author to continue to write?

WZ) I write for the same reason I create art—I just have to. It’s deeply engrained in me to create. I started writing because I read a HQN NASCAR book. I thought, gee, I’ve got stories like that in my head, too. So I started writing. It’s funny. There are moments when I think, gee, I’m just done. This usually comes after a tough review or rough set of edits. And then the characters start talking to me again and I have to tell the story. I have a great example. I love that Brad Paisley song, “And We Danced”. I’ve had it in my head for a week or so but I wasn’t sure what to do with it. The characters let me know. I’ve got a scene for them and personalities, but I have no idea what the full story will be. So, I can’t not write it. And I’m sure when I get that one done, that’s about the time another character will tell me what they want written.

5) Can you tell us a bit about what book(s) you have coming out next and what you’re working on now?

WZ) At this exact moment, I am working on a contemporary called “Please Remember Me”. It’s a follow up to Right Where I Need to Be and gives one of the antagonists from Right a chance to redeem herself. This book actually came out of a real situation. I had a dear friend who had a cat. Now, she talked about her cat like he was her kid. It was sweet to listen to her talk about him. Unfortunately, she passed away. Her cat had nowhere to go. I couldn’t take him in because I already had two cats who weren’t real thrilled to have another cat show up. Yes, they are brats. Anyway, her brother ended up taking him, but it got me thinking, what does happen to the pets of older people when the owner passes? The heroine was thinking the same thing, so I let her run with it. I love the story because Jade gets to redeem herself and because there’s a basset hound in the story.

Another story I’ve got on the docket right now is a high school reunion story called “What Might Have Been”. Macy came back to Mason high school to show them she wasn’t a wallflower any longer. Tanner’s back to show Macy he’s never forgotten her. This one contains some healthy domination, a little toy play, and lots of steamy sex.

I tell you, my characters are all hornballs.

The Person

6) When you get a chance to read, what books do you love to read?

WZ) I’m in a MM kick right now. I love the works of KA Mitchell. She just seems to write characters that wrap around my heart and don’t let go. Another of my favorites is J. Hali Steele. Her shepherd shifters are so hot. Makes me want to get a German Shepherd. Kresley Cole, Lora Leigh, and Anne Rainey are autobuys for me.

7) What bores you as a reader?

WZ) Head hopping and misspelled words. I can be plugging along just fine, but if the book has a lot of goofed up words and head hopping, then I quit. Sad but true.

8) What is your favorite feature on a person? Man?

WZ) Arms. I love strong arms on a guy. Female? Um...we’d better laugh. I love to laugh and have a good time.

9) Do you have a secret talent?

WZ) I can play the clarinet. In high school, I used to play in the marching band and the joke was I could project the sound into the stands. Maybe that’s not something to be proud of, but hey, I could do a great Benny Goodman imitation back in the day.

10) What is your favorite time of day?

WZ)Night. I’m the only night owl in my household and it works just fine for me. I can write and jam to my itunes playlist while working and not bother anyone. Oh, yeah, I use my earbuds otherwise the house would be bopping to whatever’s playing.

11) What do you think is romantic? What does the word Romance mean to you?

WZ) This will sound so silly, but it’s very romantic to me. A ceiling full of Christmas lights, a blanket on the floor and a bucket of KFC. Oh, and add a bottle of sparkling something—grape juice, wine, doesn’t matter.

What Romance means to’s something from the heart. It’s that moment you finally surrender and succumb to the feeling that you care about someone. It’s those little things DH does just because he wants to, not because I ask him to. Romance is those little touches that come because he’s walking past and just can’t help but run his fingers through my hair or a hug for no reason.

12) What type of music gets you dancing?

WZ) Gary Allan gets me dancing. He’s the favorite of my muse. Another one that makes me dance would be anything heavier...metal, rock...dunno. It depends on my mood and the mood of my muses.

Random Thoughts

13) Aliens have landed on the planet. What are the three things you would tell them that are great about this planet?

WZ) We have cats. They rule the world, so don’t bother trying to take it over. We have chocolate and will kill to keep it safe. And if you think you’re going to probe...well...not around here you won’t.

14) If you could create your own drink what would go in it and what would you call it?

WZ) You know, I don’t drink very often—like less than once every 6 months—so I have no idea. I’m more of a crushed ice and soda kinda girl. (And yes, I call that fizzy stuff made by Pepsi and Coca Cola soda not pop.)

If I had to come up with a mixed drink, it would be Mt. Dew, vodka, and OJ and I’d call it the Big ZwaDick. Why? Cuz it sounds funny.

15) You have been locked in a mall and told you can get anything you want and when they open in the morning you won’t have to pay a single cent. What stores would you hit? Better question how would you haul away all your loot?

WZ) I’ve never been a mall girl (and I’m part of the mall rat generation) but I’d totally hit the bookstore and the shoe store. I’m a sucker for a fabulous pair of knee high leather boots. So I’d nab all the size seven boots that struck my fancy and then head to the bookstore. I’m a picky book buyer. Ebooks, I’ll just grab and go. Print, I’m a little more conservative, but I am a cover snob. If it’s a new to me author, I’m more likely to look at the cover. If it grabs me, I’ll read the blurb. If the combo of blurb and cover catch me, then I’ll consider. I’d probably goof around too long and get caught in the morning. If I didn’t, I’d have my trust dusty canvas bags to haul out my booty...I mean loot. :P

16) If you could share one major writing tip, to help other writers in their quest for publication, what would it be?

WZ)This is actually a two fold tip. One, read. Why? Because you won’t know anything about your genre and what’s out there if you don’t read. Two, don’t rely just on spell check. There are a lot of words out there that are spelled right, but used wrong. There’s nothing an editor will hate more than a great story with all these spelled right but misused words. It makes the author look bad and can really stunt your growth as an author.

17) If you could write in any other genre what would it be, and why?

WZ)I’d love to write a historical, set in ancient Greece. I took a course in college that revolved around Greek art and I loved it. I loved the idea of all the gods and goddesses. But, for all the research I’ve done, I just can’t make the leap to actually finishing the story. There’s lots of little things I know I’ve forgotten or done wrong and I’m stuck. Sad but true.

18) Where can we find out more about you and your work?

WZ) Seems like, when I’m trying to update pages, I’m everywhere. J

You can find out more about me on my website:

I’ve got an author page on both Manic Readers and Goodreads, as well as a Forum on Coffee Time Romance. You can find me on twitter and facebook.

And finally, have you got a sneak peek excerpt from your current work in progress you can share with my readers and me?

Sure! Here’s a glimpse into the NASCAR novella I’ve been working on.

Megan nodded and bit down hard on the inside of her cheek to suppress a smile. “Stop back when the race concludes. It should be worth your while.”

“I’ll be here with bells on.” His lips parted and his eyes widened. “I want to tell you, I—I wish I could take back what happened.” He toyed with the knobs on the radio. “I made mistakes, lots of them, but losing you is right at the top.”

He regretted his actions? A shred of the anger she’d held for the past ten years dissipated. “We all have things we’re not proud of.”

“I want to start over and show you I can love you the way you deserve.”

The earnestness in his voice chipped away at the fortifications around her heart. “You love racing and race cars, not women.”

“There’s one woman in particular who is very near and dear to my heart. Tell me what you want me to do to make things up to you,” he murmured. “I’ll do whatever it takes.”

Megan glanced over Tucker’s shoulder. Her assistant Janine remained a few feet away but crooked her brow and crossed her arms. Thank God for friends with attitudes. Another moment and she’d cave to Tucker’s sweet apologies. “How about you just show up?”

“You got it.” Tucker tipped his hat and jaunted off.

Drawing a long breath and letting it out, Megan leaned against the hauler wall. She couldn’t take back the invitation. She followed the slight sway of his ass as he blurred into the crowd. Why did the cute ones have to leave the deepest emotional wounds?

“At least he’s got a nice butt.” Janine dug her elbow into Megan’s side. “Just right for whacking with a paddle until it’s pretty and pink.”

Megan buried her face in both hands to cover her gawking and her embarrassment at Janine’s frank language. Hell, part of her wanted to stick around and rekindle the lost romance with Tucker. The rest of her wanted to paddle him and push him far, far away. Nah, the only paddling involved meant him in control and her squealing on his lap.

Janine’s voice broke through Megan’s thoughts. “What exactly are you going to do? He’s the man who broke your heart.”

“Good question.” Megan dropped her hands and sighed. “Mathew needs a mentor and Tucker needs payment. In some ways, I’m in a bind. In others, I’m not.”

“You’re devious when you’ve been hurt. Something’s percolating. What are you thinking?”

Megan turned away from the track and toyed with the ring on her right hand. “We do need the help.” She nodded as the plan formed in her mind. A little harmless fun never hurt anyone as long as she kept her heart safe behind the concrete walls. “He had cheap and easy and I’m not free.”

Thank you for visiting, Wendi, and here’s to much success with your new book.

He’s her kinkiest desire, if she’s willing to open her heart and believe in him.

The dead don’t always rest in peace. Some stick around to make the lives of the living hell on Earth. Ryan Black knows the frustration of dealing with the dead. He’s a Ghost Explorer. He’s conquered houses filled with apparitions, abandoned school buildings that house angry vermin, and managed to woo the female population of Snake Falls, Ohio. But he’s about to face his toughest challenge, convincing sceptical Samara Jacobs she not only shares his gift, but holds his heart.

Women fall at Ryan Black’s feet and Samara’s determined not to be one of the many—that is until she’s forced to work with him. He’s certain ghosts exist and willing to prove it. The more she gets to know the man behind the television persona, she decides the handsome klutz who chases things that go bump in the night isn’t so silly after all. But is he worthy of her love?

This book contains anal sex and a little harmless domination.

Available February 21, 2011 FROM TOTAL-E-BOUND!

Remember to leave a comment, with your email address so I can contact my winner. Winner will be chosen using RANDOM.ORG.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Dark Passages-Revisiting the Vampire Myth with Sara Reinke

Congratulations to my site winner, chosen using RANDOM.ORG. Mary Jo has won a gift certificate of her choice-Amazon, B & N, whatever strikes her fancy. But don't dispair, We have another visitor on Thursday-Wendi Zwaduk, and another chance at goodies.

Today I want to welcome Sara Reinke to My World. Sara's new release is Dark Passages, a story of the Brethren. I asked Sara a few questions and her answers are below.

1) The purpose and importance of research in paranormal romance:

You’d think it would be easy to write in the paranormal genre. By definition alone, the term encompasses whatever you can imagine. But personally speaking, I have a hard time presenting something as a writer if I first can’t buy into it as a reader. For me, this means having a strong back story in place before I even begin to type out a word. And that requires research. History is full of rich and diverse mythology and legends, and I find myself drawing frequently from these as I develop ideas for vampires, werewolves, demons and other paranormal beings.

2) What six things are most important for a writer to be successful and why.

Have faith in yourself and your abilities as a writer. This is a challenging industry, and it can definitely take its toll on your ego in any number of ways. As long as you truly believe in what you’re doing and work hard to continuously improve your craft so you’re presenting your best stories to the world, you can steer yourself in the right direction, success-wise, despite rejection letters, contest near-misses, stinging reviews, etc.

Surround yourself with positive influences. Friends, family and fellow writers who are supportive of your efforts and empathetic to your struggles are worth their weight in gold.

Write as much as you can whenever you can. I don’t advocate for having a set time and place where you must make yourself write a set number of words each and every day—primarily because I’ve never had time for such a stringent schedule, and don’t know many people who do. But if you’re serious about writing, then you need to make time whenever you can reasonably do so to do it. Sometimes this means even when you don’t feel like it, or when you’d rather be doing something else. It’s only as much a priority as you make it, and I personally strive to keep it a high one in my life, despite my other responsibilities and distractions.

Throw away your rejection letters. If you can take some constructive criticism or suggestions away from them, great. If not, toss them. Who needs that kind of negativity, not to mention clutter?

Contact your favorite authors and pick their brains for career advice. You might be surprised by their responses. I have been, pleasantly so, more often than not.

If you want to be a writer, you have to know how to write. This means knowing basic rules of English grammar, which should be a big DUH. You’d be surprised how many aspiring writers don’t have a basic grasp of spelling or grammar, however, and will tell you that’s what an editor is for. Uh, no. That’s your job as the writer. Learn how to do it correctly.

3) World building

Have I mentioned I really like world building? Researching the back story and setting for my work is a blast for me, the chance to really let my imagination run wild, and to learn something while I’m at it. As I mentioned before, I love basing a lot of my world building on real or historical events, including mythology. The internet is a terrific place to begin your research and world building, but you can take it even further at your local library, or by talking to experts in different fields such as anthropology, forensic science, etc.

4) POV

I’m not one much for head-hopping. I try to keep my readers oriented in my stories by keeping to as few viewpoints as possible, and when using multiple points-of-view, keeping each one separated by individual scene breaks or chapters. Personally, I have always liked writing primarily from the male perspective, probably because as a woman, I don’t feel like it takes as much imagination to get into a heroine’s headspace as a hero’s.

Tristan Morin is a vampire on a mission: to not fall in love with Karen Pierce. To do so would prove that humans and Brethren were meant to be physically and emotionally bound to each other -- something he, as a full-blooded Brethren, refuses to believe. It would be so much easier if Karen wasn't beautiful. And if there wasn't something about her that draws him like a moth to a flame, damn near impossible to resist.

Karen has always felt an inexplicable attraction to Tristan. More than just the fact he's strikingly handsome, it's as if being with him is something natural, comfortable and right. But soon a brash choice on his part leaves her heartbroken and confused, and a sadistic new enemy will put their tentative love -- and their lives -- to the ultimate test

Excerpt from Dark Passages
From the darkness, a muffled digital ring drew Tristan from the depths of sleep.

My phone, he thought dimly, as his mind made the groggy, reluctant transition from unconsciousness to alert. I had it in my pocket, he remembered, stumbling out of bed and limping around blindly until he found his pants in a rumpled heap halfway across the room.

“Shit,” he said, because it occurred to him that they’d forgotten completely about Mason’s promise to join them once he’d finished talking to Michel on the phone. He glanced over his shoulder at the bedside clock and winced. It was well after midnight; more than three hours had passed since they’d parted company at the restaurant. And we’ve been sleeping this whole time. He’s probably been and left, beating on the door, wondering where the hell we are.

“Shit,” he said again, thumbing the keypad to answer the call. Raking his fingers through his hair to push it out of his eyes, he tried his best to sound dutifully repentant. “I’m really sorry, Mason,” he began.

“I’m sorry, poppet,” a voice purred in his ear—a voice he recognized from earlier that night. “Mason’s a bit…tied up at the moment.”

Tristan’s brows furrowed, his free hand closing into a sudden, strained fist. All of the muscles bridging his shoulders and neck drew instantly taut. “Davenant,” he seethed. “Where is he? What have you done with my uncle?”

Jean Luc Davenant chuckled gently into the phone. “I haven’t done anything with him,” he said, with feigned insult in his voice. “It’s what I’ve done to him that should worry you.”

I want to thank Sara Reinke for stopping by, and I want to remind my readers that one commenter will win an as yet to be decided goodie just for commenting. Please be sure to leave your email address, so I know how to get in touch when you win. As always, winner will be chosen using RANDOM.ORG. Good luck to you all.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Blood, Smoke and Mirrors--Coming In Print from Samhain

Robyn Bachar is celebrating the print release of her Samhain book, Blood, Smoke and Mirrors with a blog tour, and I am pleased to announce that she will make a stop here on Friday March 11. As with all my guests, she will be answering some of my burning questions, and everyone who visits and comments is entered for a chance at prizes. Come on over and make her welcome. Robyn's prize for one lucky commenter is a $20 Amazon GC.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

February Double Header-Two New Blog Tours

This month I have two authors stopping by to visit. On February 21, Sara Reinke will pop in with a blog post and a bit about her newest book, Dark Passage. Below is a list of the stops on the tour, if you want to follow for more chances to win.

February 14: Launch Party at Goddess Fish Party Pavilion

February 15: D. Renee Bagby Presents First Chapters

February 16: Realmantic Moments

February 17: Black Velvet Seductions

February 18: Intense Whisper

February 21: My Odd Little World

February 22: Paranormal Romantic Suspense Reviews

February 23: Books of Secrets

February 24: Just Views

February 25: Erotica for All

February 28: Romance to Make Your Heart Race

Then, on February 24, I will have my interview with Wendi Zwaduk, and hear about her latest release, Careless Whisper. If you'd like to follow her tour, the links are below. The more you enter, the better your chances are for winning.

February 14: My Foolish Wisdom

February 15:Getting Naughty Between the Stacks

February 16: Fantasy Pages

February 17: JoJo's Book Corner

February 18: Book of Secrets

February 21: Sue Perkins

February 22: Beyond Romance

February 23: Realmantic Moments

February 24: My Odd Little World
February 25: Sexy Adventures, Passionate Tales
And because I have a birthday this month, on February 25th, I will be handing out a present to one commenter on each tour. Not sure if it will be hand crafted book thongs, gift cards, or a surprise gift or two. To be eligible to win, you must comment on the post, and leave your email address so I can contact you when you win. Winners, as usual, will be chosen using