Category Archives: alien

10 QUESTIONS FOR…Lynda Hilburn, author of “The Vampire Shrink”


Author interview with Lynda Hilburn

Lynda Hilburn writes paranormal fiction. More specifically, she writes vampire books. After a childhood filled with invisible friends, sightings of dead relatives and a fascination with the occult, turning to the paranormal was a no-brainer. In her other reality, she makes her living as a licensed psychotherapist, hypnotherapist, professional psychic/tarot reader, university instructor and workshop presenter. Her first novel, “The Vampire Shrink” — which introduced us to Denver Psychologist Kismet Knight and a hidden vampire underworld — was released by Medallion Press, October, 2007. The second book in the series, “Dark Harvest,” released October, 2008. Several more books are planned. Her short story, “Blood Song,” is part of the “Mammoth Book of Paranormal Romance” anthology, April, 2009. For more information, visit Lynda’s website:

Tell us about your latest book.

My latest novel is the second in my Kismet Knight, Vampire Psychologist series. The first was called The Vampire Shrink and the second, Dark Harvest. The series explores the ongoing story of a Denver psychologist who stumbles into a hidden vampire underworld. The books blend genres: urban fantasy, romance, mystery, humor, sex and are written with a contemporary vibe.

2. How did you get started as a writer?

I wrote nonfiction for a long time: articles, columns, various teaching materials and case studies. In 2003, I discovered the wonderful world of paranormal romance. I’d been a vampire fanatic since childhood, when I read Bram Stoker’s Dracula, but I hadn’t considered writing fiction myself. Something about the blending of paranormal aspects with romance really got my attention, and, after exploring the genre, I got excited about writing my own vampire books. After a session in my psychotherapy office, involving a young client who talked about wanting to belong to a non-ordinary species, the idea of writing about a Denver Psychologist who counsels vampires was born!

3. What does a typical day look like for you?

That question made me smile. There are no typical days. I work for a mental health center 4 days per week, and I have a private practice on Mondays. Evenings and weekends I do singing activities and try to get some writing in.  I do best when I have a few disciplines and routines, such as using my treadmill twice per day (morning and evening) for 30 minutes per session. It would be great to have a personal life, and I’m thinking about how I can work that into the schedule! I haven’t even thought about going on a date in years (I’m divorced).

4. Describe your workspace.

I live in a “garden level” apartment in a lovely home. My computer sits on a huge table, surrounded by files, books, magazines, office equipment and various papers. There are vampire posters on the walls around me. I keep the TV on in the background for noise. I can’t play music because I’m a singer and music distracts me.

5. Favorite books (especially for writers)

I’m a fan of good stories. All of my favorite books are fiction. J.D. Robb’s “Eve Dallas” series. Diana Gabaldon’s “Outlander” series. Anne Rice’s books. The “Dexter” books. So many I can’t even think of all of them!

6. Tell us 3 interesting/crazy things about you

Hmmm. I don’t know if it’s interesting or crazy, but in addition to being a psychotherapist and hypnotherapist, I also work as a psychic/tarot reader. I’ve done that since I was a teenager. I sing in a rock and roll band. I write vampire books. I have clients who talk about being abducted by aliens. I had a childhood filled with ghosts and bizarre situations. My favorite programs are about a serial killer (“Dexter”) and a narcissistic genius (“House”).

7. Favorite quote

“Argue for your limitations and you get to keep them.” – Richard Bach, Illusions

8. Best and worst part of being a writer

Best part is typing the words, “the end.” LOL. Worst is forcing yourself to sit in the chair long enough to get the words out.

9. Advice for other writers

It really is true that you should never give up. Read stories about other writers and how many dark times they had to overcome before achieving whatever they consider success. Just when you think it’s all over, it begins again. Be persistent, tenacious and stubborn. Keep writing. Keep laughing.

10. Tell us a story about your writing experience.

I don’t have one specific story. Since I had no experience writing fiction for publication, I did a lot of impulsive things for the first couple of years. I didn’t know about any “rules” regarding genre writing or publishing, so I did what I wanted. I made lots of mistakes! I talked WAY too much. Gave my opinion MUCH too freely. The entire experience of writing, selling, and publishing books has been humbling.

Where can people buy your books?

My books can be purchased at a book store near you, as well as online outlets (, Barnes &, and many others). Website:, blog:

FREE sci fi / fantasy short story contest


No entry fee; April 15, 2010 deadline; cash prizes; 3,500 words or fewer; theme is “The Color of Silence”

Info and entry HERE:

Writing contest (poetry, one-act plays, short stories)


Deadline Oct. 15; $10 entry; 5,000 words or fewer

Rules and entry here:

10 QUESTIONS FOR…award-winning sci-fi/romance author Linnea Sinclair


Author interview with Linnea Sinclair folly96linneasinclair-author-72sm

Winner of the prestigious national book award, the RITA®, science fiction romance author Linnea Sinclair has become a name synonymous for high-action, emotionally intense, character-driven novels. Reviewers note that Sinclair’s novels “have the wow-factor in spades,” earning her accolades from both the science fiction and romance communities.  Sinclair’s current releases from Bantam Dell are GAMES OF COMMAND (PEARL Award winner and RITA finalist), THE DOWN HOME ZOMBIE BLUES (PEARL Award Honorable Mention), and SHADES OF DARK, with HOPE’S FOLLY on the shelves in late February 2009.

A former news reporter and retired private detective, Sinclair resides in Naples, Florida (winters) and Columbus, Ohio (summers) along with her husband, Robert Bernadino, and their two thoroughly spoiled cats. Readers can find her perched on the third barstool from the left in her Intergalactic Bar and Grille at

1. Tell us about your latest book.

On February 24, 2009 Bantam will release Hope’s Folly, which is the third book in the Dock Five series that started with the story of Gabriel Sullivan—mercenary and telepath—and Captain Chaz Bergren in Gabriel’s Ghost  Folly is Admiral Philip Guthrie’s story.  Philip is Captain Chaz Bergren’s ex-husband, and while in Gabriel’s he straddled the fence between being a hero and being an obstacle, in Shades of Dark he had quite a lot happen to him, and as one blogger noted, was  starting to sport his hero duds. He’s blossomed into a take-control, very sexy man and in Folly, he faces one of the toughest challenges of his life:

It’s an impossible mission on a derelict ship called HOPE’S FOLLY. A man who feels he can’t love. A woman who believes she’s unlovable. And an enemy who will stop at nothing to crush them both.

Admiral Philip Guthrie is in an unprecedented position: on the wrong end of the law, leading a rag-tag band of rebels against the oppressive Imperial forces. Or would be, if he can reach his command ship—the intriguingly named Hope’s Folly—alive. Not much can rattle Philip’s legendary cool—but the woman who helps him foil an assassination attempt on Kirro Station will. She’s the daughter of his best friend and first commander—a man who died while under Philip’s command, and whose death is on Philip’s conscience.

Rya Bennton has been in love with Philip Guthrie since she was a girl. But can her childhood fantasies survive an encounter with the hardened man, and newly-minted rebel leader, who it seems has just become her new commanding officer? And will she still be willing follow him through the jaw of hell once she learns the truth about her father’s death?

Romantic Times BOOK reviews magazine just awarded Folly their TOP PICK designation, and gave it 4-1./2 stars, which is their highest rating.

2.     How did you get started as a writer?

I’ve been writing for so long I honestly can’t remember a time when I wasn’t writing. I’m an only child and making up stories in my head was a favorite pastime. I began putting them on paper in junior high school. In my twenties, I was active in Trek fan-fic. But I never took the plunge to write fiction full time until I’d completed successful careers as a news reporter and a private investigator. At that point I had a few of the ubiquitous manuscripts under the bed, so I unearth them, dusted off the cat fur and took a critical look at what I had. Polished off a few, sent them to a small press publisher who accepted them. When I started winning awards for the books—against major, much more well-known NY authors—I decided to take a stab at the larger publishing houses. As Fate would have it, I was sitting in a bar (no surprise, that) in a writer/reader conference when noted author Robin D Owens (HeartMate, Heart Duel, etc) asked who my agent was. I said I didn’t have one, she put me in touch with hers who then gave me a recommendation to another agent…who read my work, put me under contract and three months later, sold me (or rather, my books) to Bantam. Serendipity in action.

3.    What does a typical day look like for you?

Wake up because Daq-cat, my Maine Coon-Norwegian Forest (rescued) mix, is howling incessantly. Pull on sweat pants, sweat shirt, shove feet into Crocs, stumble past husband reading newspaper in kitchen, grab harness and leash and take Daq for his morning walk (yes, my cat walks on a leash.) Half hour or so later, shoo cat into pool area, head for coffee-maker. Fortified with caffeine, thread way past whatever my latest promo project is, strewn about the floor, and find computer, download emails and wonder how I could possibly have over 4,000 emails in my inbox when I cleaned out 1,800 of them only last week. Perform email triage which, depending on what’s going on, can take anywhere from an hour to several. File whatever blogs I’m due to file that day. Get more coffee. Move cat off of notepad. Bring up last chapter worked on in current book-under-contract, bring up notes, remove cat tail from keyboard. If the husband goes off to play golf, then I will have several hours of uninterrupted time to get my characters in and out of trouble. If the husband does not go out to play golf, then I will spend a goodly part of time listening to him play Bubble-Pop on his computer (behind me), listening to him talk golf on the phone with his brother in Ohio, or being asked where his socks are. Writing then will happen after dinner when Seinfeld reruns keep him busy.

4. Describe your desk/workspace.

Organized chaos. With cats.

5. Favorite books (especially for writers)

If stranded on a desert island (with power and wifi access), and being perpetually on deadline, I’d want

Techniques of the Selling Writer – Dwight V Swain

GMC: Goal, Motivation & Conflict – Deborah Dixon

Self-Editing for Fiction Writers – Browne & King

The 38 Most Common Fiction Writing Mistakes – Jack Bickham

6. Tell us 3 interesting/crazy things about you

(1) I’m a retired private detective. I know what the business end of a gun looks like and it’s not pretty. High-speed automobile surveillance is not fun. Being a PI was one of the most interesting and rewarding careers I’ve ever had.

(2) I’ve killed off people I don’t like in my books. A lot of authors do that so I’m not so sure it’s all that crazy. Or maybe we’re just crazy enough it seems normal.

(3)  I can wiggle my nose like Samantha on Bewitched. Which also gives away my age (in that I even remember that old TV show).

7. Favorite quote

I’d rather learn from one bird how to sing then teach ten thousand stars how not to dance.

–e.e. cummings

8. Best and worst part of being a writer

Best? That I get paid to do what I’d be doing anyway? That’s probably a big part of it. The other is the thrill of seeing your book come alive and sharing your dreams and fantasies and adventures with other readers.

Worst? I think it’s a toss-up between the whole marketing/promotion issue and the work-at-home issue. I love doing promotion but as author Nancy “Bad Hair Day Mysteries” Cohen told me years ago, you can’t write and promote at the same time. The muses are just different. I need forty-hour days and ten-day weeks. The work-at-home issue means people often don’t see you as actually working, so you get hit with stuff (Where are my socks?) that you’d not ever hear if you were in an office.

9. Advice for other writers

First, read. Read as much as you can in the genre in which you want to write. Second, realize that writing is both an art and a craft. Yes, the muse must speak to you. But it’s up to you to put that creative inspiration in a grammatically correct form, or you’re wasting your and the muse’s time. Study and understand plot structure, characterization, conflict and dialogue. For all that fiction is freewheeling creativity, it’s also rules and regulations.

There are plenty of books out there to help you do this. My favorite is Dwight Swain’s Techniques of the Selling Writer. When I teach writing, I tell my students that if they can buy only one book, buy that one. It’s essential. Almost every published author I know has a dog-eared copy. From there, look for the how-to books by Jack Bickham, Nancy Kress, Debra Dixon and Renni Browne/Dave King. These books work no matter your genre.

Then find a writers’ group—locally or online—that has at least one published author in its ranks (preferably more than one). Get your work critiqued. Learn to give critiques in return.

I’d also tell beginning writers to never forget that writing is part art, part craft and part business. Ignore any of those three and you’re setting yourself up for failure.

Yes, you have to have the art—the desire to write the story that’s burning up inside you. But you have to have the craft—grammar, spelling, pacing, understanding of GMC and a story arc—to make that burning story come alive for the reader. Then you absolutely must understand the business: agents, editors, marketing, reviewers, etc. or you’ll either get royally ripped off in the business or professionals won’t choose to work with you because you’re not a professional.

Writing a publishable novel is hard work. Blessedly, it’s also a tremendous amount of fun. I can’t think of anything else I’d rather be doing—except, perhaps, piloting a starship.

10. Tell us a story about your writing experience.

One of my most popular books—one I get the most fan mail about, one that probably got the most blog coverage and whose hero constantly is sighed over by various readers, reviewers and bloggers—is GAMES OF COMMAND, a whopping 125,000-word science fiction romance that has with all due affection been called a ‘doorstop.’ What a lot of readers don’t know is that GAMES was never meant to be a book. It is actually derived from a series of emails that went to a dear friend going through a horrible divorce a few years back. That friend is Doc Eden Fynn in the book and the stories were adventures I penned simply to give my friend something pleasant to think about—and to dream about. The cat-like creature in the book, Riley, is her cat Radar. So it was written with love, never intended for publication, but I guess the emotions showed. When my agent and my editor at Bantam saw it, they both insisted I clean it up and make it into a book (it was about 300,000 words of emails at that point).  GAMES went on to win the PEARL award and was a finalist for the RITA®.

So I guess the adages of “do what you love” and “write what you know” do actually apply.

Where can people buy your books?

You can find my books wherever paperbacks are sold (Borders, Books A Million, etc.) as well as online bookstores. My website is, and from there you can find links to my blogs, Facebook, MySpace, Goodreads and more.



10 QUESTIONS FOR…futuristic romance author Rowena Cherry


knightsforkAuthor interview with ROWENA CHERRYimm_les_poster1


Rowena Cherry (SPACE SNARK™)

Chess-inspired (“mating”) titles. Gods from outer space. Sexy SFR.

Poking fun, (pun intended). Shameless word-play.


Heroines get more hero than they bargain for….

Rowena Cherry has played chess with a Grand Master and former President of the World Chess Federation (hence the chess-pun titles of her alien romances). She has spent folly filled summers in a Spanish castle; dined on a sheikh’s yacht with royalty; been seranaded (on a birthday) by a rockstar and an English nobleman; ridden in a pace car at the 1993 Indy 500; received the gold level of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award; and generally lived on the edge of the sort of life that inspires her romances about high-living alien gods.

Books so far:  (all chess-titles)

Forced Mate (e-book, January 2005)

Forced Mate (paperback, November 2004)

Mating Net (e-book, short, October 2005)

Insufficient Mating Material (paperback, February 2007, Kindle)

KNIGHT’S FORK (paperback, newly released on Amazon 2008)


Visit Rowena Cherry online at a Preditors-and-Editors award-winning “Author’s Site of Excellence.”

Rowena Cherry’s Mission statement

“My goal as an author is to give good value. I expect to provide my readers with six to eight hours of amusement, a couple of really good laughs, a romantic frisson or two from the sensual scenes, a thoroughly satisfying HEA, something to think about when the book is finished, and possibly some useful information.”

1. Tell us about your latest book.


All my titles are taken from chess moves or chess positions. In chess, if your opponent’s Knight forks you, you have a tough decision to make, because he is simultaneously threatening two of your best “heavy pieces”, and you can only save one of them.

Knight’s Fork is about a Queen whose life depends upon giving her King an heir. (If you followed “The Tudors” you might think that Electra’s dilemma is very like that of Ann Boleyn.)

The problem is that Queen Electra is married to an alien King to cement a political alliance, and they are genetically incompatible. She cannot fake a pregnancy and adopt, because the King’s hairless subjects don’t wear clothes. (They change their skin color at will, a bit like body painting.)

The Queen needs a sperm donor! One who doesn’t advertise. One who is the soul of discretion. Only one green-eyed god-Prince has the right stuff, but –being virtuous, sworn to chastity, and politically savvy– he refuses to give it to her.

From ‘Rhett’s point of view, the last thing he wants is to become entangled in any sense of the word with an enemy King’s consort. ‘Rhett has no desire to play a latter day Prince Paris to Queen Electra’s Helen of Troy.

So, the chaste Knight sets off on an interstellar quest, unaware that he has a sexy royal stowaway and, a saboteur along for the ride.

‘Rhett knows why he is going to Earth. He has a lost Princess to find, a secret that might petrify his enemies to unearth, and a scandalous Queen (whose motto is “Carpe Scrotum”) to avoid. What is unclear is why his half brother in law, Prince Tarrant-Arragon is so eager to lend him an Imperial space destroyer, a young Prince in need of a mentor, and the dour fellowship of the human mercenary, Grievous.

I love writing novels of character which are also quest stories! Take Lord Of The Rings, which is a classic quest involving a dangerous journey where the hero is obliged to travel with a motley crew of companions, some of whom are natural enemies, and not all of whom are what they seem. The team has to visit various (also dangerous) other people to ask for help, which they either get, or don’t; and along the way, they are given magical –-or incomprehensibly high tech– artifacts, garments, ornaments, weapons.

As for where it’s available, if you might be interested in Knight’s Fork (or the previous books in the series) you can find them through any online retailer, and most bookstores can order them. There are lots of links on my website, including for Europe, South Africa, Australia, the UK, Canada, and the USA.

2. How did you get started as a writer?


I started writing the book of my heart, FORCED MATE, in 1993, but it took me ten years to sell it.


In 2003, I received what I considered to be the definitive rejection of Forced Mate from the New York print publisher that I’d pursued for six years… because I believed that that publisher was the right place for my sort of writing.


Meanwhile, through RWA contests which I’d won or in which I’d placed, I’d received offers from e-publishers (and also from a few predators), and more than a couple of contest judges had suggested NBI to me. (NBI went belly up within a month of publishing their version of Forced Mate.)


I wrestled with the formatting for an e-submission, and submitted to NBI.


Less than two weeks later, I got The Call from Penny, the owner of NBI. It was a very pleasant and flattering conversation. Penny told me that she loved Forced Mate, and that she had forwarded it to her top author, Linnea Sinclair for a second opinion. Apparently, Linnea had read it overnight, disturbed her husband with her laughter, and had advised Penny to publish everything I could write including my laundry list!

Linnea has been a friend ever since. (Linnea Sinclair has won at least one RITA for Gabriel’s Ghost, the Oscars of the Romance industry, at least one PEARL award –for Shades of Dark– and is a rising star of sfr with Bantam.

A few months later, while the contract was still under negotiation, another friend, Susan Grant, RITA award winning author of Space Opera, now with Harlequin, but was at Dorchester at the time ( told me that I would be an idiot if I didn’t enter the 2003/2004 Dorchester and Romantic Times New Voice In Paranormal Romance contest. This contest later became American Title.

With publisher Penny’s blessing I entered. To my astonishment (because I hadn’t yet met a Dorchester editor who liked my writing!), Forced Mate was one of the three finalists, and I was offered a contract for publication.

Since I already had an electronic and POD contract, we all agreed that I would split the rights so I could honor both contracts. Dorchester wasn’t doing e-publishing in any case. I worked with two NBI editors on the electronic version, and with the brilliant Alicia Condon of Dorchester on the print version. That was very, very interesting…. to work with different editors on different versions of the same story!

I had my own cover photo for Forced Mate. That’s another story. NBI agreed to use it. (Dorchester didn’t) When NBI went out of business, the cover was still mine, and I couldn’t bear to let it sink from view, so I made some changes to the cover and to the text, bought the package of ISBNs, and self published FORCED MATE as an e-book.

It’s available exclusively through and links from my website.

Forced Mate, the paperback, is still in print with Dorchester.

3. What does a typical day look like for you?

No day is typical. I may get up at three in the morning… or five.

I’ll make sure my email hasn’t been clogged by a surged of forged mails from me, to me, inviting me to buy products to cure poor performance by  or the laughable appearance of a body part I don’t own.

After doing Triage on my mail, I’ll try to micro-blog on Facebook and Twitter. Twitter is optional. Then, I’ll write, as I have time, until I hear my husband’s alarm clock, at which point, I’ll get breakfast and fix packed lunches.

Around nine am, if I have the house to myself, I shall return to writing, and in the background, I listen to CNBC, unless it is the first Tuesday of the month, in which case, I do a radio show from ten to noon. Just before three, I collect my child from school. Around four, my child does homework. I return to my projects. We work until it is time to prepare supper (which can take two hours).

4. Describe your desk/workspace.

I write in my home office. It’s a lovely, spacious room with desks along two walls, and plenty of storage space for my research materials and chapters of my works in progress, and a view of a woodland lake. The sex lives of ducks and swans is quite inspiring. Very few things are in their proper places.

5. Favorite books (especially for writers)

“Find It Fast”   ISBN 0-06-273747-3  Robert J Berkman (How to Uncover Expert Information on Any Subject Online or in Print)

“How to Write Science Fiction and Fantasy.” Orson Scott Card. Cincinnati, OH: Writer’s Digest Books, 1990

“The Physics of Star Trek”  L. Krauss

“Conceiving the Heavens”– M. Scott

“The Science of Star Wars”– J. Cavelos

“World Building” – Stephen L. Gillett

“Aliens and Alien Societies” – Stanley Schmidt

Writers Guide to Creating a Science Fiction Universe–George Ochoa and Jeffrey Osier

Emily Hendrickson’s “Regency Reference Book” Contact her at 

“The Joy Of Writing Sex” Elizabeth Benedict

6. Tell us 3 interesting/crazy things about you


I believe in cooking from scratch and in recycling food. I prepare kedgeree every weekend for breakfast… and I’ve started adding wheat bran to make it go further. I boil up chewed artichoke leaves (as long as only my immediate family members did the chewing) to make artichoke leaf tea, which is very good for my imagination. I make ginger root tea from real, gnarly ginger roots to clear my head and chest and to ward off colds and flu.


I once made a bonfire of a boyfriend’s magazines (the sort that are sold in shrink wrap, and NOT in the supermarket check out aisles) without considering the strength of the prevailing wind. I sent flaming paper penises flying over London.

None of the above (but idiosyncratic)

My favorite punctuation marks are: parentheses or dashes if my editor won’t permit brackets in prose passages, the Oxford/Cambridge or Harvard comma, ellipses (with a punctuation mark attached as appropriate), semi colons.

7. Favorite quote

Favorite quote by someone else: Voltaire “If you would converse with me, you must first define your terms”

Favorite quote by one of my characters: ‘Rhett “If you’ve made up your mind to impale someone, do it with conviction.”

8. Best and worst part of being a writer


At various times –when asked about the hard and bad parts of Romance writing– I’ve discussed the challenge of sex scenes, bemoaned my burgeoning middle sections and also my tendency to stray off topic and amuse myself.

Promoting and marketing are always challenging. I’d rather have a mammogram that write my own press release! (Which is something I’ve been putting off doing for the last two weeks. I find it hard to believe that anyone in the print media is likely to be impressed that my latest novel, Knight’s Fork, won the December “Authors’ Choice” award at

Writing can be a solitary passion. You might be surprised how many of us are shy, private, modest, and even slightly insecure people. It’s no wonder, then, that some of us are distinctly uncomfortable when we are expected to give a speech, or a public reading, or sit at a table in a bookstore waiting for someone to buy one of our books.

What is easiest? you ask. For me, it’s snark. Humorous, sarcastic dialogue. I have the most fun when I am writing scenes involving my secondary character Grievous, the Englishman. His proper name is Gregory Bodley Harmon. The acronym GBH stands for “Grievous Bodily Harm” which translates as “Great Bodily Harm” in American legal circles.

He is a sidekick, and the futuristic equivalent of a Greek chorus. He comments on what is going on, usually by “checking” that he has understood his part in his employer’s dastardly and convoluted plot. He verbally cuts the heroes down to size, but gets away with it. When I’m in Grievous’s point of view, even instruction manuals and government forms become a riot to fill out.

9. Advice for other writers

My advice to authors on the threshold of a career as a published author is:

When writing: Respect your reader. Whether you write Regency, Erotic Historical, Scottish Historical –Men in Kilts!!!—Western Historical, Werewolves, Vampires, Shapeshifters, Futuristics, or sexy science fiction romance, you must seduce your reader into suspending disbelief. 

Readers generally like to be seduced, and to feel that their integrity and sensibilities are safe in their seducer’s skilled hands.

If you do your research into the things that can be researched (and the things a well-read reader might know), your readers will happily accept the things you make up.

Professionally: Register your own name for a domain before you become famous. Design your website to be helpful to your visitors… not just as a catalogue about your work. 

Network. Be polite and pleasant in public, always. That includes any reviews you write, and in your responses to any reviews you receive. Never forget, no matter the temptations, that most people do not react well to an aggressive, fly-by sales pitch from a stranger. 

Remember that if you cannot hook the right agent, you can always retain an intellectual property attorney to make sure you don’t sign a bad contract. 

Select a group of authors whom you admire. Follow them on Twitter, Technorati, Blogspot, become a fan of their Facebook “Celebrity or Public Figure Pages” etc. Comment constructively on their blogs and inteviews, notice where they link, what they follow. Emulate.

10. Tell us a story about your writing experience. 

I may have mentioned that I am very keen on research for my books. Sometimes, my research is unexpectedly dangerous.

Take “Insufficient Mating Material” (the title refers to a game that looks impossible to win, no matter how good your own moves, or how bad a player your opponent is). The hero has a tattoo in a delicate area. It’s bioluminescent, which means that it glows in the dark under certain circumstances. There comes a point in the story where the hero (Djetth, pronounced Jeth) needs to find out if the heroine has ever seen a tattoo like it. So, he goes into the sea, and pretends that he has been bitten by a fish… there, and asks the heroine to see if the (non-existent) fish broke his skin.

Yes. There is quite a bit of bathroom humor.

It’s a bit ironic. While doing some eleventh hour research for the cover scene, I was attacked by a fish! I went away for my summer holiday, thinking that I could relax secure in the knowledge that Insufficient Mating Material was all ready to go to the printers. Then, my editor sent me the cover art. Have you seen it? Almost everyone who sees it thinks of the Burt Lancaster movie “From Here To Eternity.”

The problem was, there was nothing at all in the book involving a couple frolicking in the surf. Nothing! There is now. One of my passionate beliefs is that cover art should illustrate something in the book.

I had a couple of months, one of which was my summer holiday, to tear apart the book and write in that scene. That is a story and a half in itself! At least I was at the seaside, but it was a cold sea, and I couldn’t persuade my husband to immerse himself in the interests of scientific research. The best he would offer was to stand ankle deep on the shore at low tide, while I lay at his feet and did what I had to do.

Trust my bad luck, there were weaver fish buried in the sand, and I stepped on one… not heavily, but I felt the spine and the sharp injection of venom. I was lucky on two counts. First, we knew what to do and home wasn’t far away, so I spent the rest of that day with my foot in a bath of Epsom salts and water so hot that it felt cold for an instant when more hot water was added to keep up the temperature. Second, I go barefoot a lot. You may extrapolate what that means. The spine probably broke.

I suppose I should thank my luck stars I didn’t sit on one!

And then, there’s the story that begins with a quote:

“…the fish skin couldn’t be used as a condom but the intestines of the rabbits could…”

Mission statement

“My goal as an author is to give good value. I expect to provide my readers with six to eight hours of amusement, a couple of really good laughs, a romantic frisson or two from the sensual scenes, a thoroughly satisfying Happy Ever After, something to think about when the book is finished, and possibly some useful information.”

I’ve had a lot of fun creating lists of Ten Reasons Not To Read…. for each of my books. The reasons reflect my mission statement, but in a more entertaining way.

Ten Reasons Not To Read FORCED MATE

10. I’m told that it’s not a bodice ripper, but it sounds like one.

9. PS. I like bodice rippers.

8. It’s going to take about eight hours to read.

7. The hero is an alpha male. I don’t like books that give male chauvinist pigs a happy ending.

6. I don’t identify with beautiful, spirited, young, virginal heroines who have some funny ideas about sex.

5. I can’t get my tongue around the Dj- names. I know that I simply pronouce them as if the D isn’t there, but all the Ds bother me.

4. I’ve heard that if I read Forced Mate in bed, my giggles and guffaws will annoy my significant other.

3. The alien hero uses alien swear words. Moreover, his command of English grammar isn’t perfect. He says unsense instead of nonsense. I hate that!

2. The spirited heroine uses her wits and her tongue. I can never have enough of heroines who kick the heroes in the goolies.

1. I don’t like fantasy books set in England. Or in outer space.

 Where can people buy your books?

Books so far:  (all chess-titles)

Forced Mate (e-book, January 2005)

Forced Mate (paperback, November 2004)

Mating Net (e-book, short, October 2005)

Insufficient Mating Material (paperback, February 2007, Kindle)

KNIGHT’S FORK (paperback, newly released on Amazon 2008)

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