Monday, October 29, 2012

Welcome Victorian author, Rachel Brimble

This morning we are pleased to have a member of TWRP's rose garden and alum of the Class of '85, Rachel Brimble, who has brought a devil of a man with her, Joseph Jacob. Welcome Rach and Joseph!
Joseph, what is Love’s Debt about? It is a Victorian romance between Milly Shepherd and myself, two people fighting poverty but in entirely different ways and circumstances. When I meet Milly you could say I was down on my luck having struggled to keep my father afloat due to his gambling. He brought my family down from riches to rags. Milly, on the other hand, rose her family up and will continue to do so forever as far as I can tell. Nothing stands in her way…not even me!
What did you think the first time you saw Milly? Who is this woman? That was the first thought that went through my head.
And your second thought? I had to know her, speak to her, touch her…I was mesmerized from the very first moment and still am now.
Did you think it was love at first sight? Without doubt – she’s a beautiful woman inside and out. Her goodness, her tenacity and fire shine from inside her. Though she doesn’t realize it, there isn’t a man who walks by Milly and not turn for a second glance
What do you like most about her? Her goodness – she’s strong as an ox and as stubborn as a mule, but everything she does is grounded in good. She might give you a slap up the head or refuse you a second serving at the table, but you can guarantee both actions were needed at the time for your own good, ha ha!
How would you describe her? Strong, sassy, honest and good….with the faintest shadow of insecurity running through her. That’s what I’m here for. I’ll make her see her entire world is going to be all right…
How would she describe you? On which day? Ha ha! If I’m in her good books or in bed…then I’d like to think she’d say I was the best bloke in the world. If I’m in her bad books or not seeing to something that needs doing, she’s says she’ll kick me out with the trash. Deep inside though? That girl loves the bones of me…I hope!
What made you choose bartender and the docks as a profession? Ahh, now then, you’ll have to read my story to know that. Let’s just say it’s not by choice, the paths we find ourselves on sometimes. We can only do God’s bidding and make the most of it while we learn our lessons.
What is your biggest fear? Losing Milly or not making her happy – my entire world changed the day I met that woman. She is the single, best thing in my life. I have no idea what I’ve done to deserve her but I’ll spend my life keeping a smile on her face. That’s a promise.
How do you relax? That is far, FAR too personal a question for me to answer…like I said, I like to keep Milly happy.
Who is your favorite fictional character and why? Probably the Artful Dodger from Dicken’s Oliver – that kid reminds me of what it takes to survive in this world. Maybe his stealing and pilfering aren’t the best example to follow but he’s doing what he has to do, with a big lump of love thrown in. I like to think I try to do the same.
What is the best piece of advice you ever received? Don’t risk pride before a fall.
It's time to learn a bit about our author guest. Where are you from, Rachel? A small market town in South West England, near the famous City of Bath. I lived for the first twenty-seven years of my life in Bristol, England where my latest story is set. It is a famous maritime city that was teeming with ships, sailors and dockers during the 18th and 19th centuries. It was inevitable I set a book there one day.
What movies or books have had an impact on your writing? Wow, there are just too many to list! I read voraciously and watch TV and movies in much the same way. I find inspiration in almost every book, whatever the era. The thing I love about writing romance is that everyone can relate to it. Young, old, male or female, everyone has experienced love and/or loss.
Whether I am writing a contemporary or historical novel, love is an emotion that is global and never changing. Whether a person falls in love in 1712 or 2012, their hearts would have endured the same sensations, hurt and joy.
Tell us a bit about your publisher. How did you hear about them?
What influenced your decision to submit to them? I learned about The Wild Rose Press through a writer friend in the US that I had been talking to for a while. I was getting rejected over and over in the UK so she suggested I try a new publisher, which was getting more and more good things said about it. That was in 2006 – I haven’t looked back since.
Tell us a bit about the submission process. How long did it take from query to release? Just recently I signed with Harlequin and Kensington but I will never forget The Wild Rose Press or their belief in me. I hope to continue to write novellas for them for the foreseeable future. I have three novels and two novellas with TWRP and each time the submission process has been fluid, fun and educational. I have learned so much from each of my editors! In my experience the process has taken around ten months from submission to release.
You signed with both Harlequin AND Kensington? Fabulous! Many, many congratulations—and thanks for visiting us today.
To learn more about Rachel Brimble and the stories she creates go to:

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Meet Bob Doerr

Award winning author Bob Doerr grew up in a military family, graduated from the Air Force Academy, and had a career of his own in the Air Force. Bob specialized in criminal investigations and counterintelligence gaining significant insight to the worlds of crime, espionage and terrorism. His work brought him into close coordination with the security agencies of many different countries and filled his mind with the fascinating plots and characters found in his books today. His education credits include a Masters in International Relations from Creighton University. A full time author, his fifth mystery/thriller, No One Else to Kill, will be released later this year. Two of his books were selected as finalists for the Eric Hoffer Award, and Loose Ends Kill was awarded the 2011 Silver medal for Fiction/mystery by the Military Writers Society of America. He lives in Garden Ridge, Texas, with Leigh, his wife of 39 years.


Now that we've learned a bit about today's guest, Bob Doerr, let's chat with Jim West, protagonist from Bob's book No One Else to Kill a November release from TotalRecall Publications.

Where are you from Jim? While I have lived in many parts of the world, I’m from a small city in New Mexico, Clovis. That is where I currently reside, too.
What is No One Else to Kill about? This book recounts the frightening handful of days I recently spent in the Pecos Wilderness. I had the bad luck of timing a trip to a small lodge that happened to coincide with a couple of murders. Mix in a small group of quirky guests at the lodge, and you can see why I thought it was a strange weekend.
What made you choose private investigations as a career? Actually, that’s what a lot of people think I do, but I’m not a private investigator. I’m just a retired Air Force investigator, who happens to get sucked into the most confounding murder investigations. I do a few lectures at colleges, but mostly I’m just trying to be left alone.
Knowing what you know now, if you had it to do over again, would you like to be doing something different? No. I had a lot of personal reasons for retiring from the military when I did and moving back to New Mexico. I think I’m finally getting a handle on my life again.
What is your biggest fear? That fate has other plans for me. Since my retirement, it seems that murder and mayhem have followed me around. My plans for a peaceful retirement and to be left alone have been shot to hell, no pun intended.
Who is your favorite fictional character and why? I have so many it’s hard to pick only one. Maybe today I’ll pick Hercules Poirot. I’ve always been a fan of using one’s little grey cells over violence, but ask me tomorrow and I might pick Travis McGee.
What is the best piece of advice you ever received? Be persistent. A persistent person’s success begins where most people accept failure.
It's out turn to quiz Bob: Which writer or character[s] have had a major impact on your writing? I enjoy the writing styles of the mystery writers I read when I was younger, like Raymond Chandler and John D. McDonald. I like books that seem to tell you a story.
With regard to research, where did you start for this novel? I really didn’t have to do too much research for this book. I’ve been to the area before, so I used a few New Mexico travel books to refresh my memories.
Did that [the research] lead you down different paths, thereby changing the original concept of the story? No, but it did help me refine my concept and focus on one specific region in the state.
Now, for a blurb of Bob's story:
No One Else to Kill is the fifth book in the Jim West series. In this book, Jim West travels to a small, remote hunting lodge in the Pecos Wilderness area in New Mexico to rendezvous with an old friend and do some hiking. His friend stands him up, and Jim is about to return home when a murder occurs in the lodge. Law enforcement jumps in, and Jim’s early departure plans are scrubbed. When a second murder occurs less than twenty four hours later, things really start to get dicey. Both crimes were intricately planned to mislead the authorities, no one appears to have a motive for the killings, and everyone has an alibi. Up against a wall with time running out, the deputy-in-charge asks West to be their man on the inside, but West is adamant that this is not his case to solve. Since his retirement from the Air Force, however, Fate has had her own plans for West. Why should this be any different?
Here is what Holli Castillo, award winning author of Gumbo Justice and Jambalaya Justice, had to say about No One Else to Kill: “. . . In the world of mysteries, Doerr’s protagonist stands out as a unique foil, a man with the skills and knowledge to solve a murder, but a burning desire to keep a low profile and avoid attention. Jim West is perfectly flawed, reluctant, and extremely likeable. An edge-of-your-seat whodunnit, No One Else to Kill is a page turner that will keep readers guessing until the end . . .”
Tell us a bit about your publisher, Bob. How did you hear about them? What influenced your decision to submit to them? My publisher is TotalRecall Publications, an independent publisher based out of Friendswood, TX. In the midst of my sending out dozens of query letters, I heard about them from another author. My timing was good as TotalRecall was just branching into Fiction. Up to that point they had primarily focused on non-fiction publications.
Tell us a bit about their submission process. How long did it take from query to release? Their submission process is much like any other small, independent publisher. Send them a query letter and keep your fingers crossed. Once they accepted my book, it took about four months for it to get released.
To learn more about author Bob Doerr and the stories he creates go to: www.bobdoerr.com .
To purchase No One Else to Kill or any of his earlier Jim West mystery/thrillers via his website or directly through www.amazon.com or www.B&N.com or at select bookstores near you.
We thank Bob very much for visiting us this week and wish him many many sales!
Veronica and Kat


Sunday, October 14, 2012

Confessions of a Teen Idol

Good morning.
Today 2 Wild Women Authors are pleased to welcome author Sally Carpenter who brings Sandy Fairfax from “The Baffled Beatlemaniac Caper” a 2011 release from Oak Tree Press.
What is The Baffled Beatlemaniac Caper about? It’s the story of what happens when a former ‘70s teen idol tries to make a comeback in a world that’s pretty much forgotten him except for a handful of faithful fans. My biggest fan, Bunny McAllister, invited me for a guest appearance at a small and somewhat disorganized Beatles fan convention in Evansville, Indiana. Unlike the ‘70s TV show I had starred in—Buddy Brave, Boy Sleuth—things didn’t go exactly according to the script. A member of the tribute band was shot and he died in my arms (rather traumatic for me and more so for him). The local Barney Fife detective thought I did it and to prove him wrong I took on my boy sleuth persona to track down the killer. All this while dealing with the fans and filling in for the dead musician for a concert.
What made you choose teen idol as a career? Teen idols are made, not born. That particular career chose me; I didn’t pursue it. All my life I knew I’d be a musician. My father conducts a symphony orchestra and my mother was a singer before she was married. I grew up with piano and violin lessons and choir rehearsals while the other boys were out playing sports.
I went to college with the notion that I’d eventually pick up my father’s baton—at least that was his plan. But in college I fell in love with rock and roll and started a band with my school buddies. After my freshman year I quit school so I could play professionally with the band. My father was angry with me turning my back on “real” music, meaning classical.
After a few months in Los Angeles, working odd jobs and playing dives at night, an agent named Jarvis Lycowitz saw the band perform. He didn’t think we sounded that good (he was right) but he thought I had the looks and personality for pop stardom. He offered to groom me and promised me the world if I’d signed with him—just me, not the other guys. They were furious at me for quitting.
Next thing I knew Jarvis had me in front of a mike at a recording studio, in front of a camera at a movie studio, and in front of the lens of a teen magazine photographer. Pretty soon I was selling more records than Donny Osmond and Shaun Cassidy.
Knowing what you know now, if you had it to do over again, would you stick with teen idolism or do something different? That’s a loaded question. Sometimes I wonder what would my life be like if one of the other guys in my band had become the big star. One of them ended up teaching music in high school and the rest drifted off into menial jobs. Ultimately it’s pointless to play the “what if” game because I think most people, no matter where they are in life or what they do, wished their circumstances were different. And they might regret it if their wish came true. For me, stardom is a two-edged sword. It gave me my highest highs and lowest lows.
I loved performing. I loved the fans. I loved the money I was earning. I had a great time making my TV show. I met the woman I married there. I had some amazing experiences. I traveled the world and met many incredible people.
But the downside is once your time in the spotlight is over—and it will end eventually—life is hell. After my TV show was canceled and my records stopped selling, I couldn’t get work. I became an alcoholic. I went through a miserable divorce and lost the respect of my family. And being in the public eye means that when you goof up, and did I ever goof up, the whole world knows about it.
I recently sobered up and now I’m trying to get my life in order. I’m starting to get jobs and I’m trying to make amends with my family. Having the world worship me means nothing if my kids think I’m a loser.
What is your biggest fear? That I’ll end up like too many actors who die alone, destitute and drunk in some filthy Skid Row flop house.
Who is your favorite fictional character and why? I don’t read much but I love movies. When I was a kid I saw all the Gene Kelly films. That’s what got me into dancing. Gene showed that dancing wasn’t for sissies and that cool dance moves will help you get the girl. So I like any movie character than Gene Kelly played.
What is the best piece of advice you ever received? I had precious little acting experience when I started filming my TV show. I started getting up tight and worried about how I would play a scene. One of my co-stars, the man who played Buddy’s guardian, was a fantastic character actor. He told me, “Trust your instincts.” He said I should relax and react naturally to what was happening in the scene and the acting would take care of itself.
His advice is good for life in general. When I’m facing a problem and people are giving me conflicting advice, I “go with my gut,” as they say. I go with the solution that feels best for me and generally things work out right.
It's our turn to ask Sally: Which writer or character[s], from either books or movies, or both, have had a major impact on your writing? Lt. Columbo. He acts disorganized and slovenly but his mind’s razor sharp. I like the structure of the shows, how the clues are laid out with such precision and he builds the case brick by brick. Columbo doesn’t suddenly “figure it out” at the end. Sandy’s sloppy in some areas but he’s smart and can piece clues together.
Frank and Joe Hardy. The Buddy Brave TV show is blatant takeoff of The Hardy Boys Mysteries TV show. According to my book, the two shows ran simultaneously. I also use the Hardy Boy “style” to some degree—lots of action, fast pace, humor, threats on the hero’s life, stunts.
Sherlock Holmes. Natch! Not only for Sherlock’s crime solving skills but the use of the sidekick. Sandy has his “Watson” that he uses as a sounding board to figure out the case.
With regard to research, where did you start for this novel? Did that lead you down different paths, thereby changing the original concept? The concept didn’t change, no. I knew pretty much what kind of protagonist I wanted. The best research I did was reading autobiographies of real teen idols, not only for the factual information but insights into their personalities. That’s why my book is in first person—it’s Sandy relating his own memoir.
I also had first-hand experience in attending concerts, talking to other fans, the collectibles and all that. I was doing this long before I started the book. When I decided to set the story at a Beatles fan convention, I re-played all my Beatles records (on vinyl!) and re-watched the movies and re-read my Beatles books. Who says research isn’t fun? I used Beatles references for the clues.
Here's a blurb for The Baffled Beatlemaniac Caper:
Detective Braxton turned over a fresh leaf in his journal. I had a feeling he wouldn’t let me go until he filled every stinking page in that stupid notebook. “How well did you know the victim?”
Exhausted, I sat in the easy chair and clasped my hands. “Not well. I only met him today.”
“Why did you come to the room?”
“Earlier this evening he wasn’t feeling well and I wanted to stop by and see if he was okay and . . . “ The more I said, the lamer I sounded. Braxton crossed his arms and shot me a disapproving look that spoke volumes. “It’s not what you think.”
“Uh huh. Just checking up on him. Is that all you had in mind?”
I tried to give the Sherlock Holmes wannabe an outraged scowl, but with my pretty boy face the best I could muster up was a peevish frown. Damn my good looks. In school the girls I dated didn’t take me seriously because they thought I looked like a kid brother and the boys beat me up because they said I looked like a sissy.
Before I could say something to the detective that might land me on the wrong end of a police baton, Bunny screamed. She had sneaked past the police and now stood outside the door of the crime scene. She stared through the open doorway at the body, her hands over her mouth. I jumped up and pushed my way past the cops to reach her. I grabbed her shoulders and turned her away from the unpleasantness.
“Don’t look at it, Bunny,” I said.
“Is he really dead?”
“I’m afraid so. I’m so sorry.”
I handed her my linen handkerchief. She gripped it in a fist as the tears kept flowing. She cried so hard that I wrapped my arms around her and patted her on the back.
“Shhhhh, now. It’s all right. Everything will be all right.”
She hugged my waist and rested her head on my chest. Her tears dampened my shirt. “Sandy, what are we going to do?”
Her words triggered something deep in my subconscious. I answered her loudly, full of confidence. “Don’t worry! I’ll think of something!”
Bunny gazed up at me and grinned through the tears. “That’s your catch phrase from your TV show!”
My frazzled brain must have checked out for the night without leaving a forwarding address. And I can’t explain why I did what I did next. Maybe I felt sorry for Bunny as she gazed at me with those sad eyes. Or perhaps old habits are tough to break. Whenever Buddy found himself in a tight jam, he always kissed the girl before pulling off a fantastic escape. So I leaned over and bussed Bunny. A gentle peck on the check.
From a few feet away a camera shutter clicked.
I raised my head and stared straight into a telephoto lens. The only paparazzo in the Midwest and he’d found me.

Tell us a bit about your publisher, Sally. How did you hear about them? Oak Tree Press is a mid-size independent publisher that puts out trade paperback and e-books. I first heard the name on the Sisters in Crime list serv where some of the other members were talking about the good experiences they had with that press.
What influenced your decision to submit to them? When I started marketing my book, I contacted some agents but nowadays the Big Six publishers and most agents won’t handle unpublished writers. That’s why small presses and self-publishing is booming—the major publishers are shutting out writers.
Tell us a bit about their submission process. How long did it take from query to release? To submit to OTP, one first emails a query to Sunny Frazier, the acquisitions editor. Like most small presses, OTP does everything electronically, which was a change for me as I was used to the ol’ paper and stamps routine. Sunny liked my query and I sent in some chapters. At first she turned it down and told me why. I asked if she would read my manuscript again if I made revisions. She said okay and sent me more feedback. I did some extensive surgery on the opening chapters and sent it back. Sunny liked my rewrite. I might mention that very few publishers will read a mss. a second time even with revisions. Some publishers even say so in their submission guidelines.
Sunny then passed on my story to the publisher, Billie Johnson, on a Thursday or Friday. The following Monday I received a “yes.” Billie must have read the book over the weekend! The book came out six months later—most publishers take 12 to 18 months. I don’t know if OTP publishes all of its books so quickly but I was impressed.

Veronica and I appreciate Sally taking the time to blog with us today—as well as giving our visitors more information about Oak Tree Press. Thanks, Sally—and much luck in your career.

To learn more about Sally Carpenter and the stories she creates go to Facebook or scwriter.com or www.sandyfairfax.com.

To purchase “The Baffled Beatlemaniac Caper,” go to amazon.com or barnesandnoble.com or www.oaktreebooks.com (available in paper, Kindle and Nook).

Monday, October 8, 2012

Good morning!
Wild Women Authors is very pleased to welcome Holli Castillo, fellow PSWA member and ADA out of New Orleans who brings us a honey of a story. We know you'll be as intrigued with the characters as we are. . .
First, here's a little teaser for Holli's book, Jambalaya Justice, and protagonist Ryan Murphy. . .
When the body of a hooker is discovered in a crack house, New Orleans prosecutor Ryan Murphy refuses to let the case languish into yet another unsolved homicide. She has a connection to the victim and won't back down until the murder is solved, even if it means insinuating herself into the investigation. And if she hides her involvement from her detective boyfriend, it's only because he's busy working late nights on a secret case of his own.
When Ryan isn't hounding the homicide detective for information or investigating the murder behind his back, she's juggling her Strike Force cases, including a four-victim mob hit, a nasty domestic violence assault, and the armed robbery of a strip club.
At first, Ryan's only concern is getting justice for her victims. By the time the weekend ends, she'll settle for staying alive.
Let's meet Ryan Murphy. First, tell us where you're from. New Orleans, Louisiana
Tell us a bit about Jambalaya Justice. A hooker is murdered in a crack house in New Orleans and the detective on the case doesn’t seem to care a whole lot about getting to the bottom of it. He doesn’t know that the dead woman is sort of a friend of mine and I’m going to do everything I can to make him find out who do it. So I insinuate myself into his investigation while trying to prosecute my own cases and hide the fact that I’m looking into the case from my boyfriend, who is an NOPD detective. He wouldn’t like some of the things I have to do and places I have to go to look for answers. I don’t want to give too much away, but by the time the weekend ends, I’m going to have to fight to stay alive. But that’s how New Orleans life is sometimes, whether you’re a prosecutor or not.
What made you choose prosecution as a profession? I come from a family of cops. Daddy’s a cop, my four brothers are cops—hard as it is to believe they would let those fools carry guns—so being a prosecutor seemed the normal path for me to follow. I also love to argue, so it was a natural fit.
Knowing what you know now, if you had it to do over again, would you stick with prosecution or do something different? I would definitely be a prosecutor. I like putting the bad guys in jail and getting paid to argue. You can’t beat that. Not that the job doesn’t have its drawbacks. Sometimes, it can be pretty dangerous, but it’s nothing I can’t handle. I’ve saved myself from some pretty scary people.
What is your biggest fear? Losing. I hate to lose, whether it’s a case, an argument, a promotion, or a boyfriend. I’m a little competitive, which is a necessity for advancing in the male-dominated D.A.’s Office, but it also makes me a little impulsive sometimes. And that’s usually when I run into trouble…
Who is your favorite fictional character and why? I love Scarlet O’Hara. Being from the south I can totally relate to the need to sometimes act helpless to get your way, the whole time knowing you really have the upper hand. Scarlet knew how to get what she wanted and knew how to compete in a man’s world while still being a woman. I don’t think I’m quite as dramatic as Scarlet, but I can turn on the waterworks if it helps me get out of trouble. I’m not as mean as Scarlet, but I’m also not a pushover. I always mean well, even if it doesn’t always come off that way.
What is the best piece of advice you ever received? Advice I didn’t follow and I wish I would have. Daddy told me to make sure I double bolted my back door, because it would be too easy for someone to break in. I ignored his advice and almost ended up dead. But I don’t want to ruin any surprises.
It's Holli's turn to take the stand. Which writer or character[s], from either books or movies, [or both] have had a major impact on your writing? John Sandford who writes the Prey series influenced me when I first started writing because I loved the way his earlier books made you sit on the edge of your seat and want to warn the person what was coming. Similar to slasher movies, but not as graphic and a lot more intelligent, the first Lucas Davenport books showed me how to hook a reader and drag them into the story and make the reader want to keep reading. Not that his later books in the series aren’t good, but they don’t have that same “grab ya” factor. We couldn't agree more. We've been hooked on Lucas Davenport since the first time he hit the book stores. It's nice to find a fellow Sandford groupie!

With regard to research, where did you start for this novel? Did that lead you down different paths, thereby changing the original concept?
For Jambalaya Justice, I already had the premise of the story set out. I didn’t do a whole lot of research because most of what I use I learned as a prosecutor and that stuff stays with you. The one area I did research was location. It was problematic because Katrina happened while I was writing the novel, so half way through my writing the landscape of New Orleans changed. I had to figure out whether to fast forward the book to the present day or keep it in pre-Katrina New Orleans. I elected to keep things, such as buildings, the D.A.’s Office, and local bars, as they were before Katrina, and use the next book, Chocolate City Justice, to bring Ryan into the present climate.
Another thing that changed from my original concept is that the original premise had Ryan working undercover as a hooker to help the detective find the person who killed a prostitute. This idea came about a few years before I started writing, when I was a child support collector at the D.A.’s office, a job I did during the day while I attended law school at night. At that time, the Child Support legal supervisor was working undercover with the police on a prostitution sting. They were only looking to catch customers, but the idea served a springboard for the rest of the novel. By the time I finished, the original premise was just two scenes in the book.
Here's an excerpt from Jambalaya Justice:
Dead eyes.
Ryan could think of no other way to describe them. Except maybe dead eyes staring back, if something dead could stare. Did eyes actually die? Or did they just stop working when the heart stopped beating and the brain synapses stopped telling them to see? She should have paid more attention in biology. Or was it chemistry?
Assistant district attorney Ryan Murphy let the jumbled thoughts brew in her mind like the coffee and chicory that once percolated in the battered silver pot on the dead woman’s stove.
She fought the urge to close Cherry’s eyes. Regardless of whether the cause was biological or chemical, the woman couldn’t see anything now. She was smiling, though, or so it seemed, dying the way she lived, with a gold-capped grin spread across her ebony face.
Ryan remembered that smile and the way Cherry called everyone baby. She also remembered Cherry’s help, which had saved Ryan’s ass on more than one occasion.
And now Cherry was dead, her pit-stained tank pushed up to reveal a bloody, makeshift tattoo. If anything would salve Ryan’s conscience, it was that crude smiley face, cut just above Cherry’s right breast. The bodies of two other prostitutes had recently been found bearing the same mark, making Cherry’s lifestyle the more likely reason for her untimely death than Ryan’s tenuous connection to her. Either way, Ryan doubted she would get much sleep tonight.
Murders were common in New Orleans, and homicides occurred for a multitude of reasons–drug deals gone wrong, gang and turf wars, or in the case of a working girl, sexual deviance carried too far. But this was different. Whatever his motivation, this killer wanted the world to know he thought the murders were funny.
Friend of yours?”
Ryan jumped at the sound of the detective’s gravelly voice.
If the rotting carpet in the decaying house had muffled the sound of his holey tennis shoes, the stench that accompanied death and crack houses had also masked his odor. Up close, Detective Octavio Christakos–Tave–looked as if he had just rolled out of bed and smelled like he had recently stumbled from one of the nearby bars.
Tell us us a bit about your publisher. How did you hear about them? What influenced your decision to submit to them? Tell us a bit about their submission process. How long did it take from query to release?
My publisher is Oak Tree Press. I read about them in the Writer’s Market and they weren’t in my first cycle of submissions. My original idea was to try to get an agent. It didn’t occur to me initially to query a publisher because I thought it was a scary idea. Not knowing enough about the publishing world, I thought a publisher was unobtainable without an agent.
Eventually I submitted to my target agents and was shot down. I realized at some point that my target was not targeted enough. About half of the agents gave me a reason why they wouldn’t take me on, and most of them said such things as they didn’t handle work with serial killers, or this was too dark for them, etc. I realized then I was not researching agents carefully enough. At the time I didn’t know I was extremely lucky to have received notes with reasons from the agents, because at least I could figure out what was wrong with my submission process.
I took a break from querying to research more agents and added publishers to my list. I purchased books from the publishers I was considering to make sure this time my targets published novels that were at least somewhat similar to mine. In the meantime, I took an online novel writing course for writers who had a completed novel and found out on the first day that my novel was much longer than most agents or publishers would accept from a first time author. So I edited and ended up with a shorter, but in my opinion better, novel.
I started submitting again and this time caught the interest of an agent. While she was still considering it, Katrina hit and I was busy with life for a while. The agent contacted me eventually and said she wasn’t taking on new clients because of health issues. I was seriously contemplating self-publishing when I received an e-mail from Billie Johnson at Oak Tree, who I had previously queried, asking for the manuscript. I emailed it to her and in time she said she wanted to publish it.
Right as we were discussing a date for release, I was in a head-on collision with a drunk driver, which put me on my back for seven months with a broken left femur, broken right tibia and fibula, shattered left elbow, and fractured lower lumbar vertebrae. This pushed the release of my novel back by a year while I had surgeries and learned to walk and function again with a lot of titanium in my body. Almost a year to the day of the wreck, my novel was published.
It was a long road. I received over 40 rejections, most of them before I edited, one not too nice one from a well-known agent who said my dialogue wasn’t believable. From the time I finished the manuscript until publication was about 5 years, including the delay from Katrina and the car crash. I don’t know the exact amount of time it took from the date of the query to Oak Tree, but from the date of the manuscript request until publication was two years, including the year delay from the wreck.
Kat and I thank Holli, and Ryan, for taking the time to visit Wild Women Authors today. We extend our best wishes for a complete recovery from what sounds like devastating injuries.
Kat and Veronica
To learn more about Holli Castillo and the stories she creates go to: www.hollicastillo.com, www.gumbojustice.net, or www.jambalayajustice.com.
Or



Monday, October 1, 2012

Meet Mary Campisi

Love and Betrayal . . . Regency Style
Madeline Munrove’s mother instilled three truths in her daughter. These truths were as follows: First, men were basically useless creatures driven by decisions calculated below the waist. Second, women were far superior in intelligence and fortitude. And third, women must pretend the first and second were untrue if they hoped to navigate in a society ruled by such worthless creatures.
Enter Douglas Fontaine, a man whose life is ruled by logic and analysis. Such behavior is the reason he has created a ‘test’ which prospective brides must pass in order to gain consideration for the position of ‘wife’. When a chance game of cards with a scoundrel wins him a country estate, Douglas has no idea Madeline resides at the estate or that his very ordered existence is about to be upended.
As Madeline and Douglas attempt to determine the true nature and secrets of the other, they will soon learn that no amount of calculation will account for the moment when logic collides with passion…
Now let's meet Madeline and Mary . . .
Madeline, where are you from? “Actually, I was born in London, but as time and circumstances changed, we moved to Lingionine, an estate in the country. I don’t regret the move, mind you, it was just that, well, I wish I had been told the true reason my pony and piano disappeared.”
What is The Redemption of Madeline Munrove about? “It is the tale of a man and woman who battle wits and will. And it’s a love story, though at first, it would not appear to be such.”
What did you think the first time you saw Douglas Fontaine? “I thought there was too much of him, sprawled in the stall of my barn…imagine that? All long legs and broad shoulders, filling up the very air!” A sniff. “I did not quite know what to make of him or his disposition, which is the reason I readied a shovel in my hands…in case he needed conking.”
And your second thought? “After he grabbed me and hauled me to the ground? I thought him a beast, with those eyes and that ferocious stare.” Another sniff. “Douglas was most certainly not a gentleman, a fact he now admits. Heavens, I did not even know his true name but believed him to be the nephew of my dear old friend and former caretaker, Harold Schilling. And Douglas did nothing to dissuade me of this notion. We have discussed this in great detail…on many occasions.”
Did you think it was love at first sight? “Love? I should say not. I thought him daft with his pauses and quiet considerations. How was I to know he was a man of great intellect who examined issues at extraordinary length before speaking? I did not even like him and my dislike only amused him.” Shakes head. “I do not care to think on it.”
What do you like most about Douglas? “His wit and his ability to chal-lenge me at every turn.” Lowers voice. “Douglas possesses reasoning and deductive skills that are quite...invigorating.”
How would you describe him? “He is a proud man of honor, intellect, and compassion. And of course, I find him quite handsome, but then, doesn’t every Model Wife consider her husband to be such?”
How would he describe you? “He would say I was a bossy bit of baggage who constantly challenges him…a high compliment, I might add. And he would readily admit that while I possess none of the qualities in The Model Wife book, I am indeed the perfect wife for him.” Lowers voice to a whisper. “Who is fiercely loyal and loves him very much.”
It's our turn to learn more about Mary:What is your biggest fear? I don’t know that it’s a fear, but I’m a mother, so keeping my children safe is always at the top of the list.
How do you relax? I play in the dirt with my perennial flowers and herbs, read, cook, walk and play with my rescue dog, Cooper. I watch Pride and Prejudice, chat with my sister on the phone, and on a beautiful day, I hop on the back of my husband’s Harley and go for a ride in the country – open roads, no phones, just us and our rock n’ roll music!
Who is your favorite fictional character? Mr. Darcy from Pride and Prejudice. I model many of my heroes after him. He’s so wounded and in need of rescuing…and he fights this so hard…love that character. He is a man of integrity and honor who do anything to protect his family and friends.
What is the best piece of advice you ever received? My father once told us the only thing a person really has in this world is his word, otherwise known as integrity. My brothers, sister, and I have carried this with us all these years and it’s how we live our lives.
What movies or books have had an impact on your writing? Oh, that would be Pride and Prejudice – book and movie. (The movie version is the one with Matthew Macfadyen and Keira Knightley. I know I’m in the minority, but I absolutely love Matthew as Mr. Darcy. I watch it at least once a month!) All of Judith McNaught’s books…and too many others to list!
The Redemption of Madeline Munrove, Book One of The Model Wife Series is an e-original.
To learn more about Mary Campisi and the stories she creates, visit

To purchase The Redemption of Madeline Munrove, go to: Amazon; Barnes & Noble; i-Tunes; or Kobo