Win a Signed Copy of A Manuscript

My friend, Dana Marton and I have put together a contest. Like both of our FaceBook author pages by April 30 at 5 eastern time and you’ll be entered to win a signed copy of my Beauty and The Best manuscript, an ARC of Catch of a Lifetime, and a signed tote bag, plus bookmarks, excerpt booklets and other stuff.

My Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Judi-Fennell/325890415256

Dana’s Facebook page:  https://www.facebook.com/DanaMarton

Fee free to share!

Question: What Do Judi Fennell and Johnny Depp have in common?

Answer: They both created a character named Sparrow.

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Q: What do Adele Dubois & Johnny Depp have in common?

Answer: They both play characters named Sparrow.

 

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Call me Sparrow… Cap’n Sparrow.
…Or is that Miss Sparrow?

Yes, I’m talking about the cute, little brown birds. But I’m also talking about the hot and sexy pirate played by Johnny Depp. Okay, the pirate’s not so sexy (hot, in a rum-soaked-island-sun sort of way, yes, but not hot, as in sexy) but Johnny Depp sure was when he played Cap’n Jack.

And what in the world, you’re wondering, do the two have in common?

Yes, there is a method to my madness, and, no, it’s not the rum-soaked one of the Cap’n’s. (Are all those apostrophes correct?)

My current series on the shelves is about Mers: Mermen and Mermaids (though the maid part went by the quayside a while ago). And when writing about Mers one will naturally mention pirates. Or Johnny Depp. Or both. (And who doesn’t love the Johnny Depp reference?)

So, yes, there’s a Johnny Depp line in my first book, In Over Her Head, that sealed the deal for my agent. She loved that line, knew she liked my humor and our relationship was born.

The humor also sealed the deal with my editor, and along came book 2, Wild Blue Under, which launched this November 3rd. Now this story is about Rod, a Mer Prince who comes onto land (Kansas, because it’s as far as you can get from the ocean in the Continental US) to bring the lost half-Mer princess back to Atlantis. Only she doesn’t want to go, because, really. Mermen? Atlantis? Yeah, right. Matter of fact, she’s allergic to ocean water. No way, no how, is she going to the ocean.

And then the attacks start.

What attacks you ask? What kind of attacks could possibly get her moving?

Try dive-bombing peregrines and a mercenary albatross.

Now you see where the bird connection comes in.

But the sparrows are the good guys, er, ladies. Yes, Maybelle and Adele help thwart the evil villains and save the Prince and Princess so they can resume their rightful place on the throne of Atlantis.
Sadly, it’s not as easy as all that, and our hero and heroine – as well as the two industrious little sparrows – have a whole bunch of things to overcome.

Kind of like I did when I wrote this story.

And it’s thanks to my good friend Adele Dubois (seeing the tie-in with the sparrow now???) that I could get the research I needed for the cross-country dash to the coast.

Adele, fortuitously enough for me, was on her way to a drive out to the Midwest, along the same route I wanted my hero and heroine to travel, and she so very helpfully grabbed brochures and emailed me the sights & sounds, and her impressions of the trip, all of which were utilized in my story. She continued her trip to research her book, Desert Nectar

So, as Adele Dubois saved the day for my dearth of first-hand research, so, too, does Adele the Sparrow save the day for the hero and heroine.

*****
Visit award-winning author Adele Dubois at www.adeledubois.com and check out her latest release:

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An Author Getting Some “Air Time”

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Some would say, It’s Prime Time for Air Time! Here’s what else is being said:

“Sassy, fast-paced and appealing. First-class entertainment.” Sue Grafton

“I love this series!” Suzanne Brockmann

“AIR TIME is a fun, fast read with a heroine who’s sexy, stylish, and smart. I loved it.” Nancy Pickard

Smart and savvy Boston TV reporter Charlotte McNally is back. In AIR TIME she’s taking on the fashion industry, where she learns “When purses are fake – the danger is real.” AIR TIME is the third of the back-to-back-to back Charlie mysteries—the first PRIME TIME (also in bookstores now) won the Agatha Award for best first novel. FACE TIME (also in bookstores now) is a BookSense notable book.
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Let’s hear from Hank in her own words:

1.) How did you come up with the idea for this book?

Imagine the research I had to do into the world of designer purses! It was tough, but someone had to dive in…

Actually, Charlie’s investigation into the world of counterfeit couture came straight from been there-done that. In my day job as a TV reporter, my producer (not Franklin!) and I have done several in-depth investigations into the world of knock-offs—not only purses and scarves, but blue jeans and watches and DVDs and videos.

We went undercover and with a hidden camera—like Charlie does—into various back-alley stores where counterfeit merchandise was being sold, and also into some suburban purse parties where women—certainly knowing they were fake and thinking it was fine—were scooping up piles of counterfeit Burberrys and Chanels.

You should know— law enforcement tells us, it’s not illegal to buy the purses—unless you’re buying large amounts that are obviously for resale. The illegality is in the copying and manufacture and sale of what’s clearly a trademarked and proprietary item. (As the elegant fashion exec Zuzu Mazny-Latos tells Charlie in AIR TIME—it’s like taking Gone with the Wind—and putting your name on the cover.)

Anyway—lots of AIR TIME is based on research and reality—besides the undercover work, and the research, I’ve done many interviews with the federal agencies in charge of battling counterfeiting, the attorneys who help big companies protest their products, and even the private investigators the designers hire to scout out counterfeits.

2.)Are you more driven by plot or by character?

Ah, it’s both. I start with one little germ of a plot twist–and then figure out how Charlie is going to figure it out! So I know what I know–and she knows what she knows. And then she has to solve the mystery–based on what I let her know.

3.) Who’s your favorite character in this book and why?

Oh, I can’t possibly answer that. Charlie McNally is dear to my heart of course. When my husband talks about Charlie, he calls her “you.” As in: when “you” get chased by the bad guys, or when “you” get held at gunpoint. And I have to remind him, “Sweetheart, it’s fiction.” But Charlie can say things I can’t say about the reality of television, and because she’s fictional, she can go places I can’t go. And say things I can’t say!

And the very sweet 8-year-old Penny, I must say, touches me every time I write about her And I get so many letters from readers, concerned about her, and asking about her, and who I based her on. But really? She’s right out of my imagination. (She’s the character who sometimes makes readers cry…along with Charlie’s mother. I guess family relationships are sometimes—universal.)

And in AIR TIME there’s a new character, a gorgeous FBI agent named Keresey Stone. She’s amazing. And unpredictable. But I wonder what you’ll think about her?

3.) What’s your writing process/writing environment like?

I’ve been a television reporter since 19, um, 75. I’m still on the air at Boston’s NBC affiliate, and still at work as an investigative reporter. (And I’m always hoping my best story ever is just around the corner.) So I come to work at Channel 7 every morning—tracking down clues, doing research, hoping for justice and looking for a great story that will change people’s lives. (Hmm..sounds a lot like mystery writing!)

Then at night we go back home—and when I’m in writing mode, I write til about ten pm, in a wonderful study that’s lined with bookshelves. I admit—I have a cluttered desk, and no real filing system, except for “piles.” But I know where everything is. I like it to be quiet.. At the TV station, it’s chaotic and loud, with three TV’s blasting all the time—and I can work fine there! But at home, with the books—quiet.

Because my schedule is so tight, I keep track of my words. If I know I have to write 90,000 words by the deadline, I literally divide that number by the number of days I have—and then set that as a goal. If I can do that, I’m thrilled.

I push my way through a first draft. I say to myself—just get the story down. Just do it. And you can fix it later.

Then I cook dinner, and my husband and I have a very late dinner together! You can imagine how patient he is!

I used to be a pretty good cook, and diligent about exercise. My husband and I gave dinner parties and went to movies and went on vacation. Sigh. That’s all pretty much over. I have a full time job as reporter, a full time job as a mystery author, and a full time job as a wife (with two step-children and two step-grandchildren!) That doesn’t leave much time for much else.

4.) What’s your favorite part of writing?

Revision, no question. I love that. You have this whole first draft, and you get to go back and see what you really have. I often have wonderful revelations when I read over the first draft—there are themes and rhythms and even clues that I didn’t realize were there! It’s always so rewarding.

And after 30 years in TV, I know how valuable editing is—so I look at it as a real treat. To get to polish, and tweak, and rearrange, and make it all shine—oh, it’s great fun.

The other favorite part—when readers love the books. I can’t tell you how often I’m out on a story, for instance, and a stranger will come up to me , and pull the book out of a purse or briefcase, and ask me to sign it. I can barely resist bursting into tears. It somehow completes the writing, you know? when someone reads it.

5.) What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever gotten about writing?

There’s a plaque on my bulletin board with the question: “What would you attempt to do if you know you could not fail?” That gives me a lot of courage.

Hank’s giving away five ARC’s of PRIME TIME to readers…to enter the drawing contact her through her website and put ‘PRIME TIME ARC’ in the subject line!

Other books by Hank:

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Crossing Washington Square – A Novel

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Across Washington Square live two very different women …with their very different love of books.

Some women follow their hearts; others follow their minds. In this “charming, witty, and cerebral” second novel from the acclaimed author of The Professors’ Wives’ Club, we return to Manhattan University, where two strong-willed women are compelled to unite their senses and sensibilities.

Professor Diana Monroe is a highly respected scholar of Sylvia Plath. Serious and aloof, she steadfastly keeps her mind on track. Professor Rachel Grey is young and impulsive, with a penchant for teaching popular women’s fiction like Bridget Jones’ Diary and The Devil Wears Prada, and for wearing her heart on her sleeve.

The two conflicting personalities meet head to heart when Carson McEvoy, a handsome and brilliant professor visiting from Harvard, sets his eyes on both women and creates even more tension between them. Now Diana and Rachel are slated to accompany an undergraduate trip to London, where an almost life-threatening experience with a student celebrity will force them to change their minds and heal their hearts…together.

 Advance Praise for CROSSING WASHINGTON SQUARE

 “As readers spend time with these bright and engaging women, Rendell offers an interesting debate about the merits of studying popular fiction in an academic setting.” The Romantic Times

 “Rendell’s second novel is thoughtful and open, with plenty of interesting academic debate for truly bookish readers.” Booklist 

 “For every reader who has ever wondered why nineteenth century novels about women are called ‘the canon’, but contemporary novels about women are called ‘chick-lit’ comes a charming, witty and cerebral novel about Rachel Grey, an Austen-worth heroine fighting for love and respect in the academic shark tank.” Nicola Kraus, New York Times bestselling coauthor of The Nanny Diaries

 “Joanne Rendell has done it again! Crossing Washington Square is a book that will stay with you long after you turn that final page. Curl up on a park bench somewhere, watch the leaves fall, and spend some much beloved time with Rachel and Diana.” Jessica Brody, bestselling author of The Fidelity Files and Love Under Cover

 “Joanne Rendell admirably reveals the hypocrisy of an academic culture that claims to want to understand people and the world they live in, but refuses to take seriously the forms of culture that matter to them.” Professor Lawrence Grossberg, Morris Davis Distinguished Professor of Communication Studies and Cultural Studies at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

 Praise for THE PROFESSORS’ WIVES’ CLUB 

 “Alternately amusing and serious, with a little literary mystery thrown in for good measure, Rendell’s smart and pleasing tale of friendship and self-actualization has broad appeal.” Booklist 

 “[A] fun read about a wonderful group of friends.” Kate Jacobs, NYT’s bestselling author of The Friday Night Knitting Club

 “charming…a delight.” Christina Baker Kline, author of The Way Life Should Be

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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Joanne Rendell was born and raised in the UK. After completing her PhD in English Literature, she moved to the States to be with her husband, a professor at NYU. She now lives in faculty housing in New York City with her family. Visit Joanne’s website at www.joannerendell.com.

 

 

Links:

Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Crossing-Washington-Square-Joanne-Rendell/dp/0451227840/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1239050663&sr=1-3

Borders http://www.borders.com/online/store/TitleDetail?sku=0451227840

B&N http://search.barnesandnoble.com/Crossing-Washington-Square/Joanne-Rendell/e/9780451227843/?itm=3

Powells http://www.powells.com/biblio/62-9780451227843-0

Penguin http://us.penguingroup.com/nf/Book/BookDisplay/0,,9780451227843,00.html?Crossing_Washington_Square_Joanne_Rendell

 

 Hi Joanne and thanks so much for stopping by. A few questions for you:

1. Any fan/fan mail stories you care to share?

Thanks for having me, Judi! My first novel was The Professors’ Wives Club. A couple of months after its release, a woman contacted me and said she’d read and enjoyed the book. She told me she was a professor’s wife and after a few emails, she revealed that she was the wife of a very distinguished professor of cultural studies whose work I’d read, who I’d seen giving keynotes talks at conferences, and whose work greatly influenced the writing of Crossing Washington Square. Not really a “rock star” moment, but still exciting to know the wives of influential professors (professors I really dig!) read my book.

 2. I find it easiest to write when I’m completely secluded from everything, be it at Borders with my earphones in, or in my office, also with my earphones in. Where do you write? 

I write at my desk at the front of our apartment. We live on a very busy street in Manhattan so my writing is lulled by taxis honking, firetrucks hooting, and jackhammers pounding. With all this practice, I could probably keep writing through a asteroid shower!

3. What was your inspiration behind your latest novel?

The idea for Crossing Washington Square evolved over a few years. As someone who has lived the academic life (I have a PhD in literature and now I’m married to a professor at NYU), I’ve always loved books about the university – novels like Michael Chabon’s Wonder Boys, Richard Russo’s The Straight Man, Zadie Smith’s On Beauty, and Francine Prose’s Blue Angel. But what I noticed about such campus fiction was the lack of female professors in leading roles. Even the female authors like Francine Prose and Zadie Smith’s novels focus on male professors. Furthermore, most of these male professors are disillusioned drunks who quite often sleep with their students! I wanted to write a novel with women professors taking the lead and I wanted these women to be strong and smart and interesting  instead of drunk, despondent, and preoccupied with questionable sexual liaisons!

4. What line or section of your novel are you most proud of?

Rachel Grey and Diana Monroe are both literature professors in the old boys club of Manhattan University. While this should create a kinship between them, they are very much at odds. Rachel is young, emotional, and impulsive. She wrote a book about women’s book groups which got her a slot on Oprah and she uses chick lit in her classes. Diana is aloof, icy, and controlled. She’s also a scholar of Sylvia Plath who thinks “beach” fiction is an easy ride for students. My favorite scene is where these two women face-off in a department meeting. Neither of the professors is a shrinking violet and thus sparks really fly! The scene was such fun to write.

5. If you were in charge of casting the movie adaptation of your book, who gets the call?

Crossing Washington Square loosely echoes Austen’s Sense and Sensibilty with one professor being led by her sense, the other by her sensibility. I love the Ang Lee adaptation of Sense and Sensibility with Emma Thompson and Kate Winslet playing the two very different Dashwood sisters. I’d love Emma and Kate to play my professors too!

6. Is writing your main job?  If not, what do you do for your real source of income and how does it impact your writing?

When I’m not writing, I’m hanging out with my six year old son who is homeschooled. Although, “homeschool” is somewhat of a misnomer as we spend a relatively small amount of time schooling at “home.” We live in New York so are lucky enough to have an amazing array of fun and educational places on our doorstep. Benny and I, together with his homeschooled friends, are always out on trips to the Met, the Natural History Museum, aquariums, zoos, galleries, libraries, and parks. When we’re not out and about, Benny and I love to read either together or separately. I’m so thankful he loves books like I do!

7. What is one of the nicest compliments that you have ever received about your book(s)?

One of the nicest compliments I’ve gotten for Crossing Washington Square (so far – I hope there are more to come!) was from Lawrence Grossberg who is a distinguished professor at The University of North Carolina. He is a very big deal in the world of academia and I was so excited that he not only read it, but also said the book “admirably reveals the hypocrisy of an academic culture that claims to want to understand people and the world they live in, but refuses to take seriously the forms of culture that matter to them.” The book is not just for “high fallutin’ ” professors, of course! But it was exciting for me that a distinguished professor liked it.

8. What’s next for you?  

I’m working on final edits for my third novel (which was bought by Penguin last fall). The novel tells the story of a woman who thinks she might be related to the nineteenth century writer, Mary Shelley. On her journey to seek the truth and to discover if there really is a link between her own family and the creator of Frankenstein, Clara unearths surprising facts about people much closer to home – including some shocking secrets about the ambitious scientist she is engaged to. The book is told in alternating points of view between Clara and the young Mary Shelley who is preparing to write Frankenstein.

9. New readers want to know about your book! In 2-3 sentences, can you tell us the basic premise?

Crossing Washington Square is a story of two very different women and their very different love of books. Rachel Grey and Diana Monroe are both literature professors in the old boys club of Manhattan University. While this should create a kinship between them, they are very much at odds and when a brilliant and handsome professor from Harvard comes to town and sets his sights on both women, sparks really fly!

10. Who’s your favorite character and why?

 That’s a tough one! My knee jerk response is to say Professor Rachel Grey because, out of the two female leads, I identify most with her. Rachel teaches chick lit in her classes and has to defend her work and the genre to her stuffy colleagues who think only the classics and literary fiction should be studied. As a grad student, I would be reading classical literature and poetry by day, but then secretly read popular women’s fiction at night (Bridget Jones’ Diary, I have to say, is one of my all time favorite books!).  Rachel is also flawed and emotional, yet good and honest and brave. I like that about her.

Every time I revisit the book, however, I like Professor Diana Monroe more too. She’s super smart and has great poise and grace as a teacher. She’s the kind of uber-professor that every academic secretly wants to be. She’s also pretty darn scary in her austerity and brilliance. But she has a vulnerability too and her life started out pretty tough and therefore, every time I revisit the book, I like her more. 

11.  For you, what is the most difficult part of being an author?

Settling down to write. Once I get going, I love it. But there’s just that hurdle of getting going which is so hard — especially these days when there are so many demands on authors to go online and promote our books. It is wonderful to meet people and connect and learn through the internet, but the web is also a huge procrastination vortex! I sometimes kid myself I’m doing promo work, but really I’m just wasting time snooping around on Facebook or reading other people’s tweets about what they ate for breakfast!

Ha! I can so relate to that!

Thanks so much for stopping by and all the best with Crossing Washington Square- and the final edits on the third book!

Authors After Dark Readers Conference

Save the date! October 23-25, 2009 – The Authors After Dark Paranormal Weekend is filling up fast! Sign up by August 1st to get the lowest membership rate of $160 for the weekend. (After August 1st, the membership goes to $175.)

The event is being held at the Suffern, NY Holiday Inn, located conveniently about 1 hour from New York City and most of the area’s major airports. Guest include:

Jacquelyn Frank

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Joey W. Hill

Stella and Audra Price

Bianca D’Arc

Rosemary Laurey

Jennifer Armintrout

Madeline Oh

Georgia Evans

Mechele Armstrong

Samantha Sommersby

Cat Johnson

Cathy Clamp

Eliza Gayle

Diana Castilleja

Leigh Ellwood

Tilly Greene

Selena Illyria

Adra Steia

Stephanie Julian

Judi Fennell

Kayleigh Jamison

Donna Grant

Robin T. Popp

Linda Mooney

Mima

 

Area attractions include the phenomenal shopping at Woodbury Common (http://www.premiumoutlets.com/outlets/outlet.asp?id=7) and the Forest of Fear (http://www.theforestoffear.com/home.php), held on the site of the New York State Renaissance Faire at Sterling Forest.

The convention is limited to 200 attendees so your “face time” with your favorite authors is maximized. We’re having loads of panel discussions, parties and a fantabulous dealer’s room. We’ll also be holding a massive charity raffle to benefit the CAN and Pets Alive – a local no kill animal shelter.

Sign up now for the best rates! The conference registration is only $160 until August 1st ($175 after August 1st) and the hotel is $99 per night, double occupancy. Lots to do in the area will make this a weekend you will never forget!

I’m excited to be participating this year and hope you’ll join us!

Romantic Times Convention 2009 – It’s That Time Again! AND a Contest!

It’s the day before I leave for the Romantic Times Convention (not that I’m counting down the hours or anything…) and things are crazy. Working on the manuscript before I go, getting the promo ready, lining up my group blogs before I go, packing…

Why do we do this? Because there’s nothing like the energy of getting a thousand or two readers together with their favorite authors at a gorgeous resort with cover models. Really. Nothing like it.

I’ll be blogging about it as much as possible, and will toss in a few photos, so if you can’t make it this year, or are wondering what all the hoopla is about, check back during the week.

Yet Another Contest!

I’ll be raffling off one of my mermaid cell phone charms again to one of the commenters for the week. So comment often – one comment = one chance

(Notemermaid-cell-phone-charm2: no one-word series of comments, aka “Doing a Dana” in the Wombat world, please. I reserve the right to count simultaneous comments as one.)

AND – if you get your friends to come comment AND they leave your name, then you BOTH get an entry.

Be sure to leave your email address, and, yes, comments starting today count.

And just to whet your appetite for the convention blog:

Adele Dubois Adele DuBois with cover model, Jimmy Thomas  

Jimmy Thomas  Jill Lynn Anderson enjoying the convention 

Ellora’s Cave 2007 Mr. Romance, Jason Santiago 

Jason Santiago

A Killer of a Novel

When 17-year-old Senate page Katie Converse goes missing on her Christmas break fob20cover1near her parents’ white Victorian home in Portland, Ore., law enforcement and the media go into overdrive in a search for clues.

Three friends at the pinnacle of their respective careers–Allison Pierce, a federal prosecutor; Cassidy Shaw, a crime reporter; and Nicole Hedges, an FBI special agent–soon discover that Katie wasn’t the picture of innocence painted by her parents.

Did Katie run away to escape their stifling demands? Was she having an affair with the senator who sponsored her as a page? Has she been kidnapped? Is she the victim of a serial killer?

About the authors
April Henry knows how to kill you in a two-dozen different ways. She makes up for a peaceful childhood in an intact home by killing off fictional characters. April had one detour on her path to destruction: when she was 12 she sent a short story about a six-foot tall frog who loved peanut butter to noted children’s author Roald Dahl. He liked it so much he arranged to have it published in an international children’s magazine.

By the time she was in her 30s, April had come to terms with her childhood and started writing about hit men, drug dealers, and serial killers. She has published six mysteries and thrillers, with five more under contract. Her books have gotten starred
reviews, been on Booksense (twice!), translated into four languages, short-listed for the Oregon Book Award, and chosen as a Quick Pick by the American Library Association.

April co-wrote Face of Betrayal with Lis Wiehl, a legal analyst on FOX. They have a contract for three more Triple Threat mysteries.

In March, April’s young adult thriller, Torched, came out from Putnam.

What others are saying
Publishers Weekly
“A sizzling political thriller… The seamless plot offers a plethora of twists and turns.”

Romantic Times:
4.5 stars  “Wiehl and Henry have penned a winner that seems to come straight from the headlines. Captivating suspense, coupled with tightly written prose, will entertain and intrigue.”

Ingram:
“Readers are in for a treat as trial lawyer/commentator Lis Wiehl and mystery author April Henry team up for a political thriller.”

Links:
April’s Website: aprilhenrymysteries.com        
April’s blog: aprilhenry.livejournal.com

Tell us about your latest release and the inspiration behind it.
In Face of Betrayal, Katie, a 17 year old Senate page, disappears. The prime suspect: the Senator who may have been more than just a mentor. Three women – an FBI agent, a federal prosecutor, and a TV crime reporter – team up to find out what really happened. Lis and I wanted to weave in some of the experiences she has had as a federal prosecutor and a TV reporter.

Any fan/fan mail stories you care to share? The good, the bad and the ugly.
The good: Once I was recognized in a grocery store – and when the guy doing the recognizing told me his name I realized he was a well-known local chef. He talked to me for a minute, praising my books to the skies, and then said, “I’ll let you go. I’m sure you’re tired of being bothered.” I wanted to throw my arms around his ankles and beg him to stay.

The ugly: Having a guy come to a signing at Borders one time who thought my main character was a real person. He kept asking me, “Does Claire like to run in Forest Park?” Finally I said, she might, if she were real… The coordinator ended up walking me to my car. And a few weeks later, the bodies of three murdered women were discovered in Forest Park. My questioner, though, was not the killer.

Are your children readers and have they become more so because you write? What do they think about what you do and the pursuit of your dream?
My daughter is a reader, but I have to be careful not to push the books I love or she won’t read them. I write young adult books as well, so I read them, but I can’t walk in and say “You have to read this book.” I have to leave it lying around or get caught reading it. Her friends think that what I do is cool, but she tells them it’s boring – I just stare at computer all day. She still comes in very handing for critiquing. Since she was little I have read aloud chapters to her, and her comments have always been good. She’s told me when a phrase was too over the top or commented that a chapter ended in a “nice cliffhanger.”

When deadlines hit, what happens in your house?
We eat a lot of already prepared food from Costco.

Do you put your friends in your books? Names, incidents, characteristics? Have any of them recognized themselves in a not-so-good way?
I have used the first names of friends. In my first book, Circles of Confusion, nearly all the last names came from kids I went to grade school with.

If you weren’t writing, what would you be doing instead?
I thought about doing so many things: lawyer, doctor, researcher. But please don’t take writing away from me. It is the best thing ever.

What is the most memorable first line you’ve ever read in a novel?
They shoot the white girl first. —Toni Morrison, Paradise (1998)

Which do you most like writing–dialogue, action, or description?
Since I write mysteries and thrillers, I’m all about action.

Do you think about writing series or do you prefer stand alone titles?
I do both, so I have the best of both worlds. My adult mysteries with Lis Wiehl are part of a series (we signed a four-book contract). My young adults so far have all been stand alones.

Have you given your favorite names to characters yet or are you waiting for that special character and book?
I have written enough books (eight so far, with four more on the way) that I’m having trouble not re-using names. When I was writing my first published book, I was pregnant, and my husband and I argued over what to name our baby. For a girl, he wanted Sadie and I wanted Claire. Since I was sure it was going to be a boy, I told him he got to pick the girl name. So now we have a daughter named Sadie, and I published a four-book series with a main character named Claire. Looking back, I’m kind of glad he won.

Thanks for stopping by, April!

Link to buy Face of Betrayal:  amazon.com

Sharing the Love!

Rita / Golden Heart Finalists

click on the Rita/GH tab above the header to join the party!

 

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I’ve been humbled, honored, thrilled, and grateful for everyone’s good wishes on the launch of book one in the Mer series, In Over Her Head, so I’d love to send some of the love your way!

 

To that end, I am able to offer a $150 gift voucher for your choice of a 2-night weekend stay at the Atlantis Inn Bed & Breakfast in Ocean City, NJ through May 10, 2009, OR a Couples Massage for Two during your 2-night weekend getaway, valid through May 10, 2009 or while supply lasts.

 

This is IN ADDITION TO the three drawings for the two complimentary weekend stays at the Atlantis Inn Bed & Breakfast, and the one at the Hibiscus House in West Palm Beach, FL advertised on my website.

 

So, what do you need to do?

 

Very simple. Go to: www.AtlantisInn.com and book your stay, using the online promotion code JF-IN OVER HER HEAD.

 

Only one gift voucher per one two-night room reservation. Gift voucher may not be combined with other gift certificates, discounts, or promotional offers. Double-discounts do not apply. Offer expires April 30, 2009, therefore booking your 2-night stay ASAP is strongly recommended as offer is strictly subject to availability. Official rules below.

 

atlantis-inn-photos

 

Gift Voucher Coupon has no cash value, may not be redeemed for cash, and is subject to the following redemption rules:

This gift voucher offer can only be redeemed towards a two-night weekend stay (Fri/Sat) March 20, 2009 through May 10, 2009 and is valid towards $150 off your choice of any available luxury suite or villa (#1-12); OR you may opt to redeem the $150 gift voucher towards a relaxing Couples Massage for Two during your weekend stay. The redemption preference is yours to make, but must be redeemed at the time of booking.

 

Redeeming your Gift Voucher:

1)    Select a two-night weekend stay (Fri/Sat) March 20, 2009 through May 10, 2009 and call (609) 399-9871 to make your reservation now, or book online by completing the “Book a Reservation Now” form located on www.AtlantisInn.com TODAY!

2)    Offer is strictly subject to availability and will discontinue once all offered weekends are SOLD OUT; therefore advance booking is strongly recommended. Gift voucher offer is valid toward new reservations only; booked March 16, 2009 – April 30, 2009. Offer expires April 30, 3009 or while supply lasts. As a courtesy, we thank you in advance for not calling the Inn with exception or extension requests, as this offer is subject to availability on designated dates, based on a “first come first serve basis” only.

3)    Gift voucher may only be redeemed at the time of booking either by phone reservation, or in the “Comments Section” of the online booking form. Voucher offer may not be redeemed or applied on arrival date/check-in, and is not valid toward any type of “refund” for existing confirmed reservations. When booking your reservation and redeeming this voucher gift offer, please provide:

a)     Guest ID#: JF-IN OVER HER HEAD

b)    Gift voucher redemption preference (apply towards room booking OR towards a Couples Massage for Two).

4)    Double-Discounts DO NOT apply. Offer may not be combined with any other promotional offers, coupons, discounted gift certificates, courtesy credits, and/or third party gift certificates. Offer is not valid for one night stays. Taxes and gratuities are not included. Reservation must be booked in advance and completed before May 10, 2009. This is a separate promotion from the Romantic Getaway Contest. You are still eligible for the drawing if you take advantage of this promotion offer.

 

Secure both your preferred weekend dates and preferred room selection by picking your weekend now and BOOKING TODAY!

Don’t delay. Offer expires April 30, 3009 or once property is SOLD OUT!

O.M. Gosh! A FIRST OFFICIAL: Blog Award!!

*Snoopy dancing here!

Many, many thanks to Hawk, aka Houston A.W. Knight for loving my blog enough to award me the “I Love Your Blog” emblem!i_love_your_blog_award-from-a-w-knight

Must.

Share.

With.

Web.

Designer

(Josephine Piraneo at Glass Slipper Web Designs who did such an amazing job with both the template for the blog and my website. Thank you, Jo!!)

Woo hoo!!!

And I’ll pass it on to five others:

Sia McKye

Stephanie Julian

Adele Dubois (Classic Hunk of the Month, anyone??)

Jenny Gardiner

Killer Fiction Writers

First Official: I’m a Panelist!

Since this journey is all so new and exciting and fun and unknown, I thought I’d start chronicling all the firsts. I’m going to go back and rename some previous posts and re-categorize them under the First Official tags, but in the meantime, enjoy this offering:

My First Official time as a panelist on an industry panel.

Along with Leanne Banks, Catherine Mann, Beth Ciotta and Traci Hall, I’ll be presenting a workshop at the Romantic Times Convention in Orlando.

KEEPING IT CONTEMPORARY

How to use setting, dialogue, new technology, places, events and other contemporary cultural points of reference to establish a “now” feel for your novel, appealing to readers of all ages while keeping it timeless for generations to come.

Since I write contemporary paranormals with lots of cultural references and plays off the “real” world, I figure this ought to be fun.

So now I’m getting my promo cap on and trying to come up with some ideas to get the word out about In Over Her Head since, sadly, the book won’t be available for the convention (but will shortly afterward). I do have a cute giveaway for some lucky attendee: a mermaid cell phone charm, just like the one on my cellphone:

Cell Phone Charms / Pendant  * MERMAID BLUE * X 10

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