Monday, August 17, 2015

MJ Schiller does it again

Max. The consummate ladies’ man.
He’s good looking, but not an absolute knockout. With Max’s charm though, he could have any woman he wants. Once he meets Faith, he doesn’t want anyone else.

Eli. He is a knockout.
But a dark past shadows him and holds him captive. Drinking dulls the pain, but meeting Faith makes him want to change all that.

Faith. She loves them both.
When a blackout brings her together with Eli, she’s happier than she’s ever been before. When another blackout tears them apart, Max is there to pick up the pieces. But can she forget the man who first made her whole?

Before the hubs and I leave for a long vacation, including a three day craft show in the glorious 1,000 Islands Region of Northern New York State, Wild Women Authors is thrilled to welcome back author MJ Schiller and Maxwell Theobald III, protagonists from MJ's latest, Blackout. Here we go . . .
That's quite a handle, pal. What do we call you? You can just call me Max, or Doc. That’s what everyone else does. Except my parents.
Where are you from? Albany, New York
Tell us a bit about Blackout. It is is Faith's and my story. And Faith and Eli’s story. Confusing? You bet it is!
What did you think the first time you saw Faith? Hel-lo! She was walking home to her apartment from her job at the diner. Her path happened to wander right by the construction site where Eli and I were working.
What was your second thought? Well, when I could think again, I wondered about my reaction to her. I mean, I’d dated some pretty hot numbers back in Albany, but Faith was different. Gorgeous, yes. But different. Fresh. Sweet. Innocent, even.
Did you feel it was love at first sight? Uuh…I don’t know how to answer that. It was definitely something at first sight. But love? No. Not at that point. But when I got to know her a little, I was a goner.
What do you like most about her? Everything. No, really. Everything. She funny, cute, smart. She doesn’t take any guff from me, and I can usually work my way around any woman.
How would you describe Faith? She’s…wonderful. She loves whole-heartedly. People, and just life in general. She makes the best out of each day and takes away the best from each person. She’s amazing.
How would she describe you? Ha. A joker. A cad. A loser. No. That’s my interpretation. She’d say I was easy to get along with. That we have a lot of fun together. Ahh. I don’t know. You’d have to ask her.
What made you choose medicine as a career? Well, my parents were both doctors. So I guess you could say it ran in the blood. I was always pretty good at school, and I figured, if you’ve got a gift like that you should use it to help people. It’s interesting stuff, too, the human body.
What is your biggest fear? Losing Faith. It takes a lot of guts to admit that, but that’s the honest answer.
How do you relax? I’m a pretty active guy. I like to run, swim, hike. I enjoy a good book, a good bottle of Merlot, and music. Sometimes all at the same time.
Who is your favorite fictional character and why? Tom Sawyer. That kid was smooth.
What is the best piece of advice you ever received? Huh. I guess, follow your heart. Of course that was before I knew I had one.
Thanks, Max. Let's talk with MJ for a moment. What movies or books have had an impact on your career as a writer and why? There was this one children’s book about the Civil War. I’m sorry, I can’t remember the name of it, but each chapter was from a different character’s point of view. A Union soldier, a Confederate seamstress, a father to soldiers on both sides. The way multiple characters can look at one event and interpret it in their own way I find fascinating.
What event in your private life were you able to bring to this story and how do you feel it impacted the novel? Umm…there is a trunk that Faith describes from her childhood that is one my brother owned growing up. And I was a waitress for a time, like Faith.
Tell us a bit about your publisher: how did you hear about them and what influenced your decision to submit to them? I was originally with Crimson Romance, but I self-publish all of my work now.
What project[s] are you working on now? Some fun ones. I’m finishing up the third in my Romantic Knights Trilogy and a women’s fiction novel about four lunch ladies on a cross-country road trip and their love interests.
What's up next for you? Well, I’m taking a trip to Ireland in the Fall and I can’t wait!
Ahh, Ireland. Been there, done that, twice!! The beauty is indescribable. The serenity is soul infusing. Almost immediately we knew we could easily spend the rest of our lives there. Have a wonderful time.

MJ brought along an excerpt from Blackout . . .
Faith

He was there. I remember it all—the crowded street, Max holding the car door open, a bus passing by—and then he was just there, looking…as good as ever somehow, but not looking the same. I froze and everything faded away—the honking, Max’s laughter, the tires on the road, the sounds of construction. As if God pressed His giant mute button. And Eli stood there, peering at me from across the street, and I couldn’t breathe.
Instead of his khaki green flak jacket he wore a navy, cotton jacket, unzipped. The wind tugged on the ends of it as he glanced around. His hair was shorter, but it was definitely him, hands shoved into the pockets of tan Dockers, (Eli, in Dockers?). He leaned a little against a light post, his feet crossed in front of him. When his gaze landed on me, he straightened. A bicyclist passed in front of him, a bullet of color. My mouth froze in mid-smile and my throat suddenly ached.
And then, like some cosmic explosion, everything came speeding back into place.
“Babe?” Max turned and glanced across the street, but he didn’t seem to see Eli. How, I don’t know. “What’s wrong?”
“N-nothing. Nothing,” I finally spat out, looking up into his warm, brown eyes.
“Well, are you going to get in?” He gave me a teasing smile, his handsome face serene. Max’s sandy, red-brown hair was not as long as Eli’s had been, but long enough to show a hint of sexy curl. He wore his beard closely-cropped and carried himself with a confidence and style which was inherited from his successful parents.
“What?”
“In the car, you nut.”
He bent and kissed me on the lips, a sweet, simple kiss, but I pulled away; suddenly it was all wrong. He didn’t notice. He was too happy. Too happy I finally said yes. I gazed back across the street and, even though he wasn’t near enough for me to see his eyes, I knew what they looked like. I knew by the way he turned and hurried away. And Eli’s pain was mirrored in my own.

To learn more about MJ Schiller and the stories she creates, go to:

To purchase Blackout, go to:








Monday, August 10, 2015

Welcome back Pamela Thibodeaux

     Anthony Paul Seville is known as the ‘most eligible bachelor’ in New Orleans, possibly even the entire state of Louisiana, but finds himself alone—completely and explicitly alone. Jessica Aucoin is a writer on her way to fame and fortune, but is haunted by a man from her past. Will the “champion” lawyer and the author of romantic suspense find love written in their future? . . .
This week, Wild Women Authors is pleased to welcome back author Pamela S Thibodeaux who brings Paul Seville, from A Hero for Jessica a contemporary romance available through the Pelican Book Group. We'll begin with Paul.
What did you think the first time you saw Jessica Aucoin? That she was the loveliest creature I’d ever seen, too beautiful for words.
Good one. And your second thought? That the importance of eye contact during a lecture was wasted as my eyes always seemed to return to Jessica. Her name seemed familiar but for the life of me I couldn’t figure out why.
Did you think it was love at first sight? Let’s just say I was definitely intrigued when I saw her at my lecture on the finer points of law that Friday night. The next morning I realized who she was when I saw a book signing scheduled for her that afternoon. Then we ran into each other again on Sunday when I escorted my mother to church. Three meetings in three days were just too coincidental if you know what I mean. Then she dropped by my office on Monday morning to ask me to look into the contract with her publisher, and I finally understood what my heart had been searching for all along.
What do you like most about her? Everything! She is beautiful and talented in more ways than one. Although I seldom read for pleasure, her books leave me awed.
How would you describe her? Jessica has a classic beauty…..dark hair, oval face, almond-shaped eyes of brilliant green. She’s petite and not too steady on her feet when wearing heels. Everything about her, her looks, passion, talents. Each calls for protection and cuddling.
Aww. How would she describe you? Well, I’m not a real tall man, only 5’8 or 9” and slight of form. I have dark hair streaked with silver and dark eyes which, as Jessica puts it….glow with passion and intelligence. She thinks I’m ‘unbearably handsome’ and ‘purely sensual.’ Guess this is why I’m known as the ‘most eligible bachelor’ in New Orleans and the ‘best catch’ in Louisiana—labels which, by the way, I hate.
What made you choose practicing law for a profession? When I was a young boy my father’s business was ruined by a large corporation. This devastated the family and sent him to an early grave. I vowed then I would fight to stop such things from happening to others. I must say in all my years, I’ve gained the reputation of champion for the underdog.
What is your biggest fear? Until I met Jessica, it was that I’d never find a woman that would sweep me away with those fairytale emotions we all hear and dream about. And although I am one of the most sought after attorneys in Louisiana, I feared that at the end of the day, I’d always end up alone.
How do you relax? I run not only to keep in shape but to manage the stress of being a full time lawyer and professor.
Who is your favorite fictional character and why? Jake Brigance the lawyer in John Grisham’s “A Time to Kill.” He’s got the same passion for truth and justice I have and hope to never lose.
What is the best piece of advice you ever received? My mom once said that you know your soul mate the minute you lay eyes on him or her and to wait until I meet that person to settle down. Guess that’s been pretty good advice because I found my soul mate in Jessica.
Thanks, Paul. We'd now like to spend some time with your creator, Pamela. What movies or books have had an impact on your writing? Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers, almost anything by Nora Roberts. Other than these two, there are too many books/authors to mention.
Tell us a bit about your publisher. A Hero for Jessica was originally published by The Wild Rose Press under their White Rose imprint. I found out about TWRP back in 2008 when I submitted my novel, The Inheritance to them. This line eventually became White Rose Publishing then evolved into an imprint of Pelican Book Group. A Hero for Jessica is still available through PBG.
How long did it take from query to release? Back then it only took about 3-6 months from query to publication but as with any publisher, the growth of the business means somewhat slower production time. Which is still OK since major houses take up to 2 years to produce a book!
What book are you currently reading? Nothing at the moment.
What's up next for you? I’m working on a story I hope to complete and have added to an anthology of short stories next year.
As always this has been a real pleasure. Thanks for spending time with us, Pam.
Kat and Veronica
To learn more about Pamela S Thibodeaux and the stories he/she creates go to:
Twitter: http://twitter.com/psthib @psthib
To purchase A Hero for Jessica, go to:
Pelican Book Group http://pelink.us/16uzi4c

Monday, August 3, 2015

A little Hex, Death & Rock'n'Roll

Hex, Death & Rock'n'Roll . . . 
Having barely survived a haunting in her own house, journalist and reluctant psychic Quinn Matthews has vowed never to get involved with the supernatural again. But when she accepts an invitation to watch rock band Mad Love perform in an old theater, she witnesses a fatal accident with otherwordly overtones. A heavy chunk of plaster falls on a cameraman, and only Quinn saw a shadowy figure up on the theater proscenium commit the “crime.”
It looked to her like an attempt to injure someone in the band, but the police assure her no living person could have been standing above the stage. Mad Love’s lead singer, Alan Bardot, asks Quinn to use her gifts to discover who’s been sabotaging the band over the last few months. Are they really under a curse, as threatening messages have claimed? If an enemy from their past is using occult means to get revenge, can Quinn find out who, why and how before she ends up a target, herself? And, last but not least, can her shaky relationship with her reporter boyfriend survive her spending so much time with a sexy rock star?
Wild Women Authors is pleased to welcome author EF Watkins and Quinn Matthews, female protagonist from Hex, Death & Rock'n'Roll). As usual, we'll begin with Quinn. Tell us a bit about Hex,Death & Rock’n’Roll. Some background, first: In Dark Music, I bought a Victorian house that turned out to be haunted, and to get rid of the ghosts and keep my sanity, I had to solve a murder from well over 100 years ago. Once I’d survived that ordeal, I vowed to avoid all kinds of woo-woo situations in the future, and had no desire to hang out a shingle as a "psychic." But in Hex, I do use my newly developed abilities to help someone else with a paranormal problem. I’m very reluctant at first, but after awhile I kind of get into it…maybe too much!
Why did you decide to make this leap? I really was in the wrong place at the right time and saw something no one else saw. As a perk of my newspaper job, I went to a shoot for a video by a hot new rock band; in the middle of things, a big chunk of plaster fell on a videographer, who later died, and only I saw someone cause this supposed accident. Word got back to the band’s lead singer, who believes in ESP, and he insisted on bringing me in on the investigation. I would have put up more resistance, but he as payment he offered me the professional scoop of a lifetime. Also, he was really hot!
Did pursuing this "case" have any effect on your personal life? At first, it drove my boyfriend Tony crazy. He's an investigative reporter and was covering the accident and resulting lawsuit for our paper. But in working so closely with the band, I was privy to information I couldn't share with him. Also, he got very jealous because I was spending so much time around Alan, the lead singer. But in the end, when things got really hairy, Tony came through for me in a big way. So we're still good!
Knowing what you know now, would you do it again? This experience was even more harrowing, in some ways, than “cleansing" my own house—I got stalked by a dangerous, invisible entity and was held at gunpoint for the first time I my life! Those were parts I’d have been happy to skip. On the other hand, it was satisfying to learn that I had a special advantage in solving this kind of crime and could help someone else in a scary situation.
What is your biggest fear? That I’m going to tackle something too powerful for me to handle. I’ve already had a spirit can get inside my mind and make me act out of character, and now I know there are things beyond mere ghosts that can actually hurt and kill people. Since the haunting, I've also become hypersensitive to the vibes in places where tragic events have taken place. I wouldn't want to be sucked into that darkness and not be able to find my way back.
What is the best piece of advice you ever received? I've connected with a long-distance mentor, a professional psychic named Gail. She taught me that when I feel threatened by something paranormal, I can close my eyes and imagine a protective cocoon of white light around me, and even around others I want to shield. I’ve tried that a couple of times now—in pretty dire situations—and it does seem to work. So thanks, Gail!
Thank you, Quinn. Let's talk to EF for a moment. Which writers have had a major impact on your writing? I am a big fan of Ira Levin, especially his paranormal and techno-thrillers (Rosemary's Baby, The Stepford Wives), but of course he also was an outstanding mystery author (A Kiss Before Dying). And Barbara Michaels (a.k.a. Barbara Mertz) has been a big influence, because she was the first author I came across who injected “real” ghosts and paranormal situations into mysteries.
With regard to research, where did you start for this novel? I dealt with a lot of geographic areas in New Jersey that I already knew pretty well, but I researched details of the rock band’s video shoot by contacting a local professional who does such things. I knew I wanted an entity that could act as a kind of psychic "hit man" persecuting the band, so I poked around the web and other sources until I came up one that filled the bill. I had done research into Quinn’s various types of paranormal experiences for Dark Music, but expanded on those as she faced this new challenge.
Did that lead you down different paths, thereby changing the original concept? Quinn's "clients" in this book, the members of the rock band, came from a non-paranormal novel I wrote decades ago and never had published. This was a great way to bring them into the 21st century and give them new life and a more compelling story. By the time I started writing Hex, I had a pretty good idea of where it was going. But it actually has multiple villains -- a couple of them making only down-to-earth mischief -- and exactly which of them would do what, and when, changed and developed as the book progressed.
Tell us a bit about your publisher. How did you hear about them; what influenced you to submit to them? In 2002, I attended a meeting of the Garden State Horror Writers (now Garden State Speculative Fiction Writers) and heard a talk by a woman who wrote vampire fiction for an ebook publisher. Afterward, I asked her if she thought the publisher would look at my unpublished vampire thriller Dance with the Dragon. I submitted it, and the company went through some big changes, but in 2003 I had my first publication.
How is the submission process; what is the turn-around time from date of query to date of release? In its new form, as Amber Quill Press, the publisher also was producing POD paperbacks, all in a traditional royalty-paying format. There are pluses and minuses--you don't get a paid an advance or get ARCs for reviews months before publication. But you do get higher royalties, and once an MS has been accepted, it comes out in both ebook and print form in just three or four months. Amber Quill goes through periods when it is closed to new submissions and others when it's open, so for more details people can check www.amberquill.com.
What are you reading right now? I'm re-skimming a cozy mystery, Hide Nor Hair, by fellow Sisters in Crime/Central Jersey member Jo-Ann Reccoppa. I really enjoyed it on the first read and I promised her I'd review it on Amazon, but I've been so busy this summer that I haven't gotten around to it yet. And I feel bad, because I know how much I hate it when someone strings me along like that!
What's next for you? I'm currently working on something completely different--no paranormal and only a slight mystery element. It's about a woman in her 40s and her teenaged niece who are trying to start a horse-rescue farm. Many years ago, I had to place my chronically ill horse at a rescue farm and I learned a lot about how badly these places are needed today. Even though my second published book was a romantic mystery set on a horse farm (published under "Eileen" Watkins), this is an experiment for me because it's very character-driven. There is suspense, some bad guys and the occasional person getting kicked or thrown, but no gun play and no ghosts. However, Quinn will be back soon. I already have another "case" in mind for her!
EF brought an excerpt from Hex, Death & Rock'n'Roll:
During Randall’s big solo, Bardot hovered nearer the guitarist to sway and nod along to the ominous, chiming rhythm. He stayed in that spot and faced the audience as he launched into the last verse.
Something—maybe the shifting light from the movie screen—drew my eye up to the stage’s proscenium arch. It was dark by comparison, but I saw someone up there…just a hazy silhouette, dressed all in black, walking along the top. Could he be working a special effect or adjusting something?
The climax of the song pulled my attention back to the stage.
“Watch out when I start to draw you—”
BOOM!
At first, I thought a smoke bomb had gone off onstage. But the way the band members leaped back and the music stopped told me it wasn’t planned. They were all miked, and as the dust settled, I heard their shouts and curses.
“Oh, my G—”
“What the—”
A woman in front screamed, and chaos broke out.
Stagehands and band members surged to the apron, so at first I couldn’t see what was wrong. Bardot sprang back to the mic and yelled, with a catch in his voice, “A doctor! We need a doctor!”
All of us in the audience were on our feet, milling around in confusion. A couple of overwhelmed security guards rushed to the front of the theater and tried in vain to calm the crowd.
I turned to Melissa. “Did you see—”
But she was gone. Maybe she’d run up to the stage to check on her idol, though he seemed fine to me. So did all the other musicians. But someone else must be hurt.
Lalita jogged back up the aisle, cell phone clamped to her ear, calling for an ambulance. I followed her out to the lobby, and when she hung up, I asked what had happened.
Her face had gone ashen. “Oh, Jesus, a big chunk of plaster fell and hit one of the cameramen. They think he’s still alive, but he’s out cold!” Her eyes were wide with horror. “I can’t believe it… That proscenium is old, but it should have been secure!”
I knew what she must be thinking. If the cameraman was seriously hurt, the Friends of the Rialto would be liable. “It was probably the fault of the guy working up there. He must’ve jarred something loose.”
“What guy?”
“Somebody was up there—a stagehand, I guess—just before that piece fell. Walking on top of the arch.”
“Walking?” Lalita stared at me, then gave her head an emphatic shake. “Quinn, that arch is less than a foot wide. No one could stand up there—it’s impossible!”
Thanks for spending this week with us, EF—and thanks also for the information about Amber Quill Press. We look forward to Quinn coming back for a return visit.
Kat and Veronica
To learn more about E.F. Watkins and the stories she creates go to www.efwatkins.com.