Friday, June 29, 2012

You have been "Summoned' by Susan Leigh Noble

Today, I want to welcome Susan Leigh Noble to the blog. Susan's book, Summoned, is a fantasy novel, and she is awarding one random commenter on the tour a $15 Amazon GC, just for stopping by to visit. When you comment, please leave your email address so you can be contacted in case you are the lucky one.

Before we start the interview, lets learn a bit more about Susan.

Susan Leigh Noble has always loved dragons and magic so it is no wonder that she became an author of fantasy novels. As a cat lover, she also threw a telepathic cat into the mix for her The Elemental Series. The first two books, Summoned and Quietus, have already been released in e-book format. She is currently working on the third and final chapter of the trilogy.

When she isn’t writing, Susan is an active volunteer in her neighborhood and at her children’s schools. She lives with her husband, two children and three cats in Texas.

She loves to hear from readers:
Follow her on Twitter: @SusanLeighNoble

And now, on with the, interview.

The Writer
Where were you born and where do you call home?
I was born in Maine but coming from a military family we moved about four weeks after I was born. Currently, home is San Antonio, Texas. We have been here for about 10 years and have no plans to move.
What is the best thing about being a writer? The worst?
One of the best things is reading positive reviews from readers. And of course, one of the worst is getting a negative review. You just have to remember that not everyone is going to love your work. Not sure why that is because everyone should love my writing J but I know it will happen.
Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
As a child I loved to read. I loved to immerse myself in the story. During the summer, we would take long trips in our RV, and I would spend my time making up stories in my head to pass the time. I began with writing poetry but then moved on to short stories and didn’t try a full-length novel until after college.    
What fuels you as an author to continue to write?
I love my characters. You really feel like you know these people - or as a fantasy writer - sometimes creatures. There is a certain “high” that I get when writing a particularly good scene. I write because I enjoy it, and I certainly hope others enjoy reading my novels.  
Where can we find out more about you and your work?
I don’t have my own website yet but do have a page on the Independent Author Network - and of course, an Author page on Amazon -
Can you tell us a bit about what book(s) you have coming out next and what you’re working on now?
The sequel to Summoned, Quietus, was released at the end of 2011. I am currently finishing up Book 3 in “The Elemental” trilogy. After that I have an idea for a stand-alone fantasy novel. I have the storyline and a few of the characters already developed.  

The Person

When you get a chance to read, what books do you love to read?
I read fantasy of course but also like romance and mysteries.
What bores you as a reader?
I don’t like books with lots of description. I think the best example here is I remember reading one of the classics in high school, and the description of the landscape went on for pages. I know the author was trying to “paint the scene” but I much prefer action or dialogue to the long poetic descriptions.  
What do you think is romantic? What does the word Romance mean to you?
Romance is part of the intense feeling of being with the one you love. It doesn’t have to be a big display or giving of material things but could be gentle words or a loving touch. My husband bringing me flowers for no reason or even just holding my hand while watching a movie are romantic.  
Youve been given the honor of naming a planet, what would you name it?
I would call it Alexandria, which actually is the name of the fantasy novel that I plan to write after I finish “The Elemental” trilogy.  
You’re having a dinner party, what five people would you invite?
Johnny Depp, Tom Hanks, Jon Bon Jovi, Whoopi Goldberg, Sarah Michelle Gellar
Random Questions
If you could create your own drink what would go in it and what would you call it?
I rarely drink alcohol so it would probably be a non-alcoholic drink and since I love strawberries, I think it is a given that it would contain those. Hmmm, maybe call it Strawberry Mist, which would be strawberry puree and a clear-type soda mixed together.    
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?
Well, I love to spoil my kids, so I think for sure I would be hitting the toy store. And then of course, clothes for me or my daughter. Anything technology related - games, TVs, DVDs - would be for my husband. To haul away my loot, I think for the clothing, I would probably pack it up in a rolling suitcase or two. For the toys and other stuff, I would probably place them on a comforter or blanket that I could drag behind me.  
If you were in a rock band what would the name of your band be? What would your rocker name be?
The rock band would be called “Dragon’s Fire” - which, by the way, is a cuss word in my “The Elemental” trilogy. My rocker name would be Red Eye.
If you were a pirate what would your booty consist of? What would your pirate name be?
My pirate name would be Scarlet Rose, and I would probably hoard the usual golden coins and pretty trinkets and jewels.  
Let’s talk characters. If you could cast an actor/actress for your leads, who would they be? Do you have someone in mind as you write your characters? What kinds of character aids do you use in your writing process?
I really have no clue what actor or actress I would cast for my main characters. I didn’t base them on anyone in particular and I don’t watch a lot of movies to know which actor or actress would be right for these parts.
Lightning Round (Don’t think, just answer)
Vanilla or Chocolate? Vanilla
Steak or Sushi? Steak
Summer or Winter? Summer
Dog or Cat? Cat
Las Vegas luxury or Country Inn quaint? Las Vegas
Boots or Sandals? Sandals
Beach or Mountains? Beach
Beer or girly drink with umbrella? Girly drink
And finally, have you got a sneak peek excerpt from your current work in progress you can share with my readers and me?
Sure, I do. The following is a scene where Lina and Val (the two main characters) search for a renegade dragon (Kset) and are attacked by Dakos (small flying cat-like creatures with sharp claws). Zoot, Gre and Tre are all dragons and communicate telepathically.
In the distance, Val caught sight of a farm. Two barns were positioned behind the small white house. The empty brown fields were framed by tall trees. It was there by the forest that he caught sight of a red dragon.  
“Is that Kset or Tre by the trees?” Val asked Zoot.
Tre. Kset is by the barn.
Val was just about to ask which one when one of the barns moved. He then realized that it wasn’t a barn at all but the red dragon Kset. The dragon reared up as he spotted Zoot and Gre flying toward him. Half of a horse hung from his jaws. Blood covered his mouth and chest as he bellowed a warning to the approaching dragons. 
“Dakos,” Lina cried.
Val quickly turned and saw her pointing at the five small cat-like creatures flying with their claws extended toward them. Their faces were feline, but their eyes glowed red as their long thin wings beat rapidly bringing them closer. Zoot dove quickly to avoid them. Val gasped at the sudden move and grabbed the ridge in front of him. He reached for his sword. Before he could draw it, one of the Dakos swooped toward his head. He raised his arm, hitting the creature. Sharp claws grazed across his skin, leaving behind faint red lines. A second Dako veered toward him. Suddenly, a gust of wind blew it away. Whether the blast of wind came from Lina or Taylor, Val didn’t have time to wonder. He quickly pulled his sword, swinging as yet another Dako made a pass at him. The creature’s dark green hide glistened in the sunlight. It turned its red eyes toward him. It shrieked as it flew at him but easily darted out of the range of his swinging sword.       
One after another, the Dakos dove at Lina and Val. With every swing of his sword, the creatures darted away. One snagged Lina’s hair. She screamed as it pulled at her long honey-colored locks. Val caught the look of concentration on Lina’s face as she sent a vicious gust of wind at the beast. The creature tumbled through the air and in front of Zoot. The Dako shrieked as the black dragon opened his mouth. With one quick motion, Zoot chomped down and tore the creature in two.
Suddenly, Val felt claws hit the back of his head, digging slightly into his neck. He cried out as he turned. The Dako made another pass. He swung his sword. But again, the agile creature darted out of reach as another Dako came toward him. Val recalled that the nimble creatures liked to coordinate their attacks. In their first meeting with the Dakos, they had used that knowledge to predict the creatures’ next moves in order to plan their counterattacks. But that battle had been on the ground, and they had had room to maneuver. 
Val swung again at the Dako hovering over his head, his blade cutting into its wing as the creature was not quite nimble enough this time. Dark blood gushed from the wing as the creature went spinning toward the ground. But even as that one disappeared, another took its place. He swung his sword as the Dako before him burst into flames. The shrill cry of the creature pierced the air as it fell toward the ground. Again another of the agile creatures flew at him. Val leaned toward it, swinging his sword, just as another crashed into his back. Val pitched forward. His stomach tightened as he viewed the ground below them. As Lina grabbed his arm, Zoot twisted slightly in the air, trying to stop Val from sliding off.  Lina pulled on his arm, but she wasn’t strong enough, and he slipped from her grasp and fell.       
Blurb for Summoned:
Lina wants an ordinary life in the Grasslands of Zena. But she isn’t ordinary at all. At the age of four, she discovered she could start fires with a mere thought - an ability believed to have died out long ago. Cautioned by her telepathic cat, Tosh, she keeps this Elemental power a secret in fear of how the outside world would react. There is something else different about Lina - she feels a strange force compelling her to go north.
Before she can decide whether to give into this mysterious urge, she is kidnapped by gypsies and wakes in a foreign land. The desire to travel north is as strong as ever. When a strange raging fire prevents her return home, Lina realizes she must find out once and for all what or who is summoning her.
On her journey, she befriends an odd assortment of allies including the son of a High Council member, a thief, a former guardsman and a large sarcastic black dragon. Together they battle mystical creatures and unnatural forces, although such magic had ceased to exist over 800 years ago.  During each battle, Lina must use her innate Elemental power as she becomes more certain that someone is using magic against her. When she discovers the shocking truth, it will change her life in ways she could never imagine.

Excerpt from Summoned:

Excerpt # 1 - Stern Prison  
The cold surrounded her, chilling her bones. She woke slowly, rubbing the sand from her eyes. Only a thin sliver of light from the narrow window barely illuminated the small room. Lina sat up, her boots scraping across the stone floor. Where was she? She glanced around; her fingers reaching out to brush the damp stonewall. She wrinkled her nose at the musty odor. A scratching sound came from the far corner of the small room. She thought of rats and quickly pulled her feet back onto the narrow cot.
As her eyes grew accustomed to the darkness, she saw the door on the other side of the cell. She pushed the thoughts of rats out of her mind and stood up. The room spun. She grasped the wall. Her body felt weird as if it was not fully hers. She vaguely remembered a man knocking her to the ground and the sweet smell of the cloth over her face. She had a faint memory of being thrown on the back of a horse and being forced to drink something with a strange aftertaste.
She leaned against the wall until the room stopped moving and then hesitantly, Lina shuffled toward the door, her arms outstretched until she felt the cold metal door. She pushed and pulled at the handle but the door did not budge.
 “Tosh?” she called. Her voice echoed in the stone cell. She pounded on the door. “Val? Anyone?” She pounded on the door again but no sounds came from the other side. “Tosh? Tosh where are you?”
There was no answer. She glanced around the tiny room. It was bare save the cot. She edged away from the dark corner where she had heard the scratching. The lone window was too high for her to reach, and even if she could, it was barely a slit. Her only exit was the door. But even as she turned to consider it, she knew that her Elemental powers couldn’t help her. Maybe if the door had been wood, then she could burn her way out, but not metal. She would incinerate herself before the door would begin to melt. The walls were made of thick stone. There was nothing she could do. Wearily, she climbed back onto the cot. Cold and hungry, she curled into a ball. She wondered where her friends were and if they had survived the battle.

I want to thank Susan for coming by, and I hope everyone will come and sneak a peek at the interview. I an definitely getting this one. After all, dragons are near and dear to my heart-I've never read a story with dragons that I didn't love. Don't forget, comment and please leave your email address.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Dancing Naked In Dixie-a Fun Filled Trip

Today, I'm trying something a bit different-no interview, but just a review of Lauren clark's delightful book, Dancing Naked in Dixie. Lauren will be awarding one commenter on the tour a $25 Amaazon GC, so be sure to leave your email address when you comment. Now, a bit of background before my review.

Lauren Clark writes contemporary novels set in the Deep South; stories sprinkled with sunshine, suspense, and secrets.

A former TV news anchor, Lauren adores flavored coffee, local book stores, and anywhere she can stick her toes in the sand. Her big loves are her family, paying it forward, and true-blue friends. Check out her website at


Travel writer Julia Sullivan lives life in fast-forward. She jet sets to Europe and the Caribbean with barely a moment to blink or sleep. But too many mishaps and missed deadlines have Julia on the verge of being fired.
With a stern warning, and unemployment looming, she's offered one last chance to rescue her career. Julia embarks on an unlikely journey to the ‘Heart of Dixie’—Eufaula, Alabama—home to magnificent mansions, sweet tea, and the annual Pilgrimage.
Julia arrives, soon charmed by the lovely city and her handsome host, but her stay is marred by a shocking discovery. Can Julia's story save her career, Eufaula, and the annual Pilgrimage? 

Excerpt from Dancing Naked In Dixie

I’m a travel writer at Getaways magazine. Paid for the glorious task of gathering up fascinating snippets of culture and piecing them into quirky little stories. Jet-setting to the Riviera, exploring the Great Barrier Reef, basking on Bermuda beaches. It’s as glamorous and exhilarating as I imagined.
Okay, it is a tad lonely, from time to time.
And quite exhausting.
Which is precisely why I have to get organized.
I sink into my chair and try to concentrate. What to tackle first? Think, think.  
“Julia Sullivan!”
Third reminder. Uh-oh.
Marietta rolls her eyes and jerks a thumb toward the inevitable. “Guess you better walk the plank,” she teases. “New guy’s waiting. Haven’t met him yet, but I’ve heard he’s the ‘take no prisoners’ sort. Hope you come back alive.”
I grope for something witty and casual to say, but all of a sudden, my head feels light and hollow.
I’ve been dying to find out about the new editor.
Every last gory detail.
Until now.
“I’m still in another time zone,” I offer up to Marietta with a weak smile. My insides toss from side to side as I slide out of my chair.
Marietta tosses me a wry look. “Nice try. Get going already, sport.”
I tilt my head toward the hallway and pretend to pout. When I look back, Marietta’s already disappeared. Smart girl.
“Fine, fine.” I tug a piece of rebellious auburn hair into place, smooth my wool suit, and begin to march toward the inevitable.
Our new editor.
My neck prickles.
I’m not going to worry. Not much anyway.
My pulse thuds.
Not going to worry about change. Or re-organization. Or pink slips.
Focus, Julia.
Dancing Naked in Dixie is a delightful mix of romantic comedy and suspense, with a big helping of down home Southern charm, and a dose of truth thrown in for good measure.  Ms. Clark has a way of mixing facts and fiction to bring about a very engrossing and charming tale of romance, greed and betrayal, with a twist of wry irony through it all. Just when you think you know what is going on, something comes by and changes the whole scene on you, making you want to read more and more.
The characters are all well developed, from Julia Sullivan, the slightly jaded travel writer looking to her next location, and being ever so slightly disorganized, to Shug Jordan, Julia’s host and the epitome of the handsome Southern gentleman. These two, and the supporting cast of characters are most definitely people worth knowing.
Learning who’s who in Eufaula Alabama is just the beginning of Julia’s assignment, and I loved watching as she became immersed in the laid back life of the south. Ms. Clark gives us a look at nearly every southern stereotype: the beauty queen, the strong willed matriarch and the stubborn head of the house whose word is supposed to be law. But then, she puts a twist to each personality, and soon no one is who they seem to be. I am going to keep the surprises to myself-no spoilers here-but I will say that the biggest surprise of all was Julia’s new editor/boss at the magazine, and the history surrounding them.
There is a big conflict, and the road to love for Julia is rocky at times. And when things turn dangerous, she is not sure who to trust. But just when things look darkest, Julia learns some life lessons about what is important, to her and to sleepy and beautiful Eufaula Alabama.
I enjoyed the brief history lessons threaded through this story. The Pilgrimage is the celebration Julia is there to cover and actually exists, and is a major event every year in Eufaula. I loved learning about the historic old homes, and how they were in danger of disappearing in the name of ‘progress’ if people didn’t step up. I love the romance of this location, where life proceeds at a much less harried and hurried pace, and where people take time to actually talk to each other.
Watching as Julia discovers what has been missing in her life, and the slow and easy way that romance builds for Julia and Shug in spite of the many obstacles they encounter is a true joy, and I could not put this one down. Do Julia and Shug find out who is behind all the skullduggery in town? Can Julia figure out what her new boss was trying to tell her? Can a big city girl and a Southern gentleman find love in lovely Eufaula Alabama? I’m not telling, you’ll just have to read Dancing Naked in Dixie to find out the answers to these questions, and the secret behind the title.