Beginning January 1, 2013

Stop by the new site and take a look around.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Thursday Spotlight: Sandra Sookoo


What’s it gonna be?

Duck, duck, goose!  Remember that game when you were a kid?  Everyone sitting in a circle hoping or not hoping to get picked?  Well, we’re going to play a little game kind of like that right now.

Genre, genre, how’s got the genre?

I want to know what sub-genre of romance tickles your fancy, gets you all hot and bothered, or generally trips your trigger!

Paranormal?  Maybe vampires, werewolves, witches and ghosts do it?

Historical?  Does the pageantry of getting swept away into a by-gone era float your boat?

How about Contemporary?  Love the modern day feel of boy-meets-girl?

Maybe Romantic Suspense?  Chilling on the edge of your seat? Will they foil the murderer?

Sci-fi/fantasy?  Does the idea of wizards or fantastical worlds make you smile?  How about a romance set among the stars?

Or do you prefer an Erotic mix of any of the above?  A little something that will make you tingle?

Why do I want to know?  Well, I’m curious.  What would you like to see more of out in the market?  What are you completely sick and tired of?

And here’s the payoff.  One lucky commenter will have the option of naming a heroine or hero in one of my upcoming books plus get their name on the acknowledgment page.  Not bad, huh?

Remember to leave your email address with your comment.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Wednesday Spotlight: Sandra Sookoo

I’m a big fan of writing historical romance.  I love all the attention to details, the planning, the backdrop history lends to a story.  Sometimes, writing within the confines of historical romance means just that—restrictions.  No electricity.  No technological gadgets we’ve become dependent on.  No ease-of-access clothing.  No indoor plumbing.  That’s pretty much what I wanted for my upcoming release Dragons at Dawn.  It’s the third book in the Eight Realms line and even though my hero, Braeden, is a very plugged-in kinda guy, I wanted him to be so thrown off his game he’d have to readjust his priorities.  What better way to do that then drop him in a world that is only advances are comparable to Regency England circa 1820?

The other thing I love to do is blend genres, which is exactly what happened in Dragons at Dawn.  On top of the historical aspect, it’s also a paranormal romance.  Why?  The hero is a dragon (who you met during Vegetarian at Midnight).  The heroine is also a dragon, but she doesn’t know it for awhile.  Not only does the leading couple need to cope with historical shock, they’ll need to come to terms with their paranormal sides.  It makes for some great conflict.

I’m excited for this book to be released and hope you’ll check it out!



When fear and extinction threaten life, the only way to survive is to change…or fight back.

Mona Moussai is on the run—from her family, from a dragon and from herself.  She wants nothing more than to stay in the Mortal Realm and live a normal live, yet when she tangles with a shape-shifting attorney bent on her capture, instinct demands she hide.  However, the secrets buried deep inside could have deadly consequences.

Braeden Hollister has long ago made peace with his dragon heritage but he refuses to live it.  He’s a man with many vices, always living for himself, and when the opportunity to drag Mona to the Moussai Realm for a bounty presents itself, he can’t resist the glitter of gold.

What happens next is a foray into a backward realm circa the 1820s where dragons not only exist but they’re intent on ruling the realm and restoring power.  Personal agendas are forgotten, battle lines are drawn in a world where familial ties strangle and old foes resurface.  Political angst explodes all around them.  In the end, only the strong will survive to live, and love, another day.

Excerpt from Chapter One (unedited)

“What the hell do you mean you started the rumor?”
The roar that accompanied the bellow sent chills over her skin. Fear unfurled in the pit of her stomach like a rolled tea leaf in hot water, expanding, filling her insides until a quick shot of adrenaline sent her into action. She darted through the Portal, and upon leaving the Mortal Realm, tripped over its threshold and tumbled to the ground. Landing on her hands and knees, she wrinkled her nose against the sharp smell of dirt.
She couldn’t afford another stupid mistake. Not now. Now with him close on her heels and problems multiplying with the speed of copulating rabbits.
Mona Moussai, missing daughter of the First Family of the Moussai Realm, jumped to her feet as her heart hammered through her chest like a freight engine. Risking a quick glance over her shoulder, she saw the dragon bearing down on her as he stepped from the Portal, a string of curses issuing from him that would make a sailor blush. At least he hadn’t shifted into dragon form. No amount of positive thinking could make her forget the acid green belly scales or the darkly black scales on the remainder of his body that she’d seen the night before.
“Damn it, Mona, I order you to stop!”
She was sick of being commanded to do things. No more.
Ignoring him, she ran as if death would claim her if she were caught. Maybe it would since Braeden Hollister was a bad-ass attorney with a large appetite for fine food and fast women. Unfortunately, until she could fix her current problem, she was also bound to him. Thanks to one regrettable incident a day ago when she’d picked his pocket and stole a pair of rings that worked as supernatural handcuffs, once she’d slipped a ring on and he did the same, she’d become a prisoner.
No time for regret.
Mona’s pulse pounded loud in her ears. With every ragged breath, her lungs burned as they struggled to pull oxygen into her body. Barely aware of the nighttime world around her, she ran indiscriminately through a heavily wooded area. A crash and subsequent cursing from somewhere behind let her know Braeden hadn’t given up the chase.
Fear knotted her insides and bile rose in her throat. She pushed on, stumbling over twigs and forest debris while her soft wool sweater snagged on pine trees. Straggly branches reached out to snarl in her hair. Tears prickled her eyes but she didn’t stop. She couldn’t. Of all the places in the Eight Realms she didn’t want to be, it was here.
The thought spurred her onward. Her feet ached. The muscles in her legs screamed for a reprieve. A second wind brought a burst of speed and she shot forward over the semi-damp ground. Just being back in the Realm that bore her name made her physically ill. She’d worked hard to create a new life, far away from the drama that belonged to her family. Her efforts were for naught.
A clearing loomed close, frosted from the light of the full moon high overhead. She set her sights on it to get her bearings, reaching the edge of the grassy patch. For two seconds she paused, turning slightly toward him before Braeden tackled her. Mona’s back smacked against the earth. His weight on top of her drove the air from her lungs.
“What part of stop did you not understand?” His deep voice rumbled near her ear and his breath warmed her cheek. “Running is stupid. You already know you can’t move farther than twenty feet from me at any given time.”
She did know and had tested the boundary more than a few times since she’d slipped the damn ring on her finger last night. Unfortunately, it was a cold, hard fact. Any attempt at breaking the twenty foot mark resulted in a sudden migraine and terrible stomach cramps.
Mona struggled, desperate to be out from under him. “Get off me.” She pushed at his broad shoulders. His muscles flexed beneath her fingertips. “I mean it. I won’t stand for this sort of treatment.”
“Considering that you’re not standing at all, I don’t see how it’s an issue.”
“Semantics.” She beat on his chest with her fists, huffing out her irritation when he didn’t budge. “In case you haven’t noticed, you’re not in a courtroom anymore.”
“That may be true, but I still wield the power.” Instead of doing as she asked, he shifted his weight and held her captive with a palm to the ground on each side of her head, his face close to hers. “Until I deliver you back to your family, you will do as I say.”
Her heart pounded and little shivers raced up and down her spine as much from his touch as his close proximity. The moonlight gilded him with silver light, highlighting dark hair, coiffed and gelled in the style of a New York morning news show anchor. His lips could charm any woman’s heart if he would ever give a genuine smile. Braeden Hollister could potentially be a huge threat to her peace of mind.
Lucky for her, she loathed him too much to be affected.
“You realize I’m going to fight you every step of the way. I refuse to go back. I don’t want to have anything to do with that way of life anymore.” She renewed her escape attempt but the dragon pressed his hard body against her softer one, pinning her to the ground. “I won’t go.”
His breath warmed her lips. “Do you really think your opinion matters to me?” Green lightning flashed in his eyes. “I work for whoever offers me the highest bid, and right now, your family wants you the most.”
“My family.” Her laugh sounded bitter to her own ears. Unable to stand the intense scrutiny in his gaze, she looked over his left shoulder at the darkened tree tops. “My family doesn’t want me. They want what I can supposedly give to the country.”
“What does that mean?”
“Nothing.” She shook her head, secretly pleased that the great Braeden Hollister didn’t know every little fact about her. “It means absolutely nothing. Forget I said anything.” At all costs, she had to keep that secret to herself.
Awareness of him crept into her brain. He’d removed his suit jacket some time ago while they answered innumerable questions in the Bureau of Realm Travel. Now, the heat from his skin radiated through the grey silk button-down shirt to warm her chest. The pungent scent of pine needles and soil mixed with his spicy, citrus cologne, confusing her brain.
When she moved her head and met his gaze once more, she shivered at the open animosity she found there. “I’ll ask you once more, let me up.”
“Why, so you can attempt to run again? Go ahead and try.” Braeden’s deep, rich laugh reverberated in her chest. “You put the restrictions on yourself once you slipped on that ring.” In one fluid movement, he stood, pulling her up with him. “It suits my purposes nicely.”
“I don’t care what you do. I’m not leaving this area.”

Dragons at Dawn will release on April 8th, 2011 from Eirelander Publishing (http://www.eirelander-publishing.com), but will also be available at Amazon and All Romance e-books.

In the meanwhile, I invite you to visit my website (http://www.sandrasookoo.com) to keep current about book releases, reviews or just browse books currently available.  You can also connect with me on Twitter  (http://twitter.com/SandraSookooo) or Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/sandra.sookoo).

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Tuesday Spotlight: Sandra Sookoo


Print or Digital in a Fickle World

Here's the question of the day.  How do you prefer to read your books?  In print or digital format?

For the last three years I've been an e-published author, which means, the bulk of my work is published in digital format.  Surprisingly, through all those years, it's still a fight to get readers (and even other authors) to recognize I am a legitimate author who writes legitimate books.  Yes, I do have books that have gone into print, but sometimes selling those books is more difficult than their digital counterparts.

To me, it doesn't matter which medium a book is presented on.  A book is a book.  Period.  However, I must say that ever since I got a Sony e-reader, I almost exclusively buy digital format books.  Why?  Digital books don't take up space in my house.  They don't collect dust.  I don’t have to reorganize book shelves.  I don't have to haul them anywhere when I don't want them anymore.  Heck, Goodwill won't take boxes of books anymore in most cases because they can't unload them.  Not to mention that buying a book in print is oftentimes way more expensive than its digital counterpart.  With my e-reader, if I didn't like the book or didn't finish it, deleting it is just a click away instead of having to find a place for it until it can be donated in print format.

Also, the ability to take dozens of books with me wherever I go on the e-reader has huge appeal.  I can read a book to match my mood.

To me, it's the words in that book that matter, not the need to "feel" or “smell” a book.  And since I am part of the "e" movement, the bulk of my book buying is to support other "e" authors.  Rarely do I ever buy a NYT best seller.  I'm interested in the new talent.

So, what about you?  Does it matter or do you have a hard and fast preference?  And if you do, why?

Monday, March 28, 2011

Monday Spotlight: Sandra Sookoo


What’s better than introducing a little magic into your life?  Nothing if you ask me!  That’s why I’m pleased to be able to announce the 4th book in my Holiday Magic series will release on April 4th.  No Such Thing brings you a closer look at the mysterious match maker and magical “witch” from Crystal Falls.  Enjoy!

Blurb for No Such Thing (releasing from Lyrical Press on April 4th, 2011) www.lyricalpress.com

When magic fails, sometimes trust and a second chance are all you need.

Magical things are happening once again in the tiny town of Crystal Falls, Indiana. But this time, the source of that magic is in trouble.  May (Malaya) Wiggins, the owner of a boarding house, has been called to task by a member of the Magical Enforcement League.  It seems May’s been practicing magic and nurturing the special spark in others without a license.

Enter Tavian Brightmore—the good-looking, play-by-the-rules Magical Enforcement officer sent to drain May’s energy.  He’s also her former lover and the man who betrayed her ten years ago.

As Mrs. Wiggin’s May Day celebration nears, she and Tavian must learn to interact with each other, regardless of the attraction and anger that sizzle between them—magical and otherwise—before the power-hungry dean of the Institute of Magical Instruction kills them both.

Excerpt from Chapter 1

The silhouette of a man appeared amidst a flash of golden light and a thin veil of green smoke. When the air cleared, he glanced about the porch then stepped in May’s direction. “It’s vital that I speak to Malaya Strothers.”

For the space of a heartbeat, May froze. “There is no one here by that name. I suggest you keep looking.”

She cocked her head and gave him a critical once-over. A tick taller than six feet tall, the top of his head almost brushed the roof of the old-fashioned porch. Short, sandy-blond hair fell into soft-cropped waves, a few silver strands sparkling in the afternoon sun. But it was his deep, whiskey-colored eyes that held her attention. She’d only seen eyes like that once before, ten years ago.

May sucked in her breath as recognition dawned. It couldn’t be him. Too much time had passed--and he didn’t know where she’d gone.

“Ma’am?” He scoffed. “I don’t have time to play games. Are you quite sure you’re not Malaya?” A muscle clenched in his chiseled jaw.

“I’m very sure.” As sure as she was that the man before her was indeed the same man she’d run from all those years ago. She narrowed her eyes and stiffened her spine. The inevitable had finally happened. “I haven’t been that woman for a long time, Tavian.” Although she won the small victory of surprise, she couldn’t revel in it when his eyes reflected nothing but cold animosity. “I’ve been May Wiggins since I left the Institute. I have no intention to return to the woman I used to be then.”

“I should have known. You always were a master of deception.” He shifted his weight and reached into a camel-hued briefcase near his feet, withdrawing an envelope. “This is your formal warning. You are under investigation by the Magical Enforcement League for teaching and practicing magic without a valid license.”

“Oh hell. This is exactly why I left.” May ripped the paper into little pieces and tossed them in his face. “Get off my property.” She crossed her arms under her breasts and glared. “If you wanted to dispute my license, you’re years too late. The list of crimes I’ve committed against the
Institute is long and tedious.” She didn’t know what bothered her more, the fact he had finally tracked her down or that the years had been kind to him. He was still as gorgeous now as he had been when she’d known him.

Tavian waved a well-manicured hand at the litter until the pieces became one. “We wouldn’t have minded the small indiscretions, except now enrollment at the Institute is down, largely because of you.”

“You’ll have to enlighten me.” For one long moment, she allowed her gaze to sweep over the black polo-style shirt that pulled taut over his broad chest and lingered over his lightly tanned skin. He hadn’t been that built the last time she’d seen him. She wondered what transpired in his life to drive him into a gym. “I’ve done nothing outside of the rules that would warrant a visit from you now.” A flash of sunlight off his monogrammed belt buckle drew her eye to his slim waist encased in well-fitting khakis.

No good would come from her persistent appraisal of his person. The opportunity for romance in her life had passed her by a long time ago.

“You’ve done everything possible to violate the rules, and now there’s a reporter out there who’s gotten wind of the supernatural goings-on in this town. He’ll come back to Crystal Falls, mark my words.”

“And why is someone’s curiosity being dumped on my doorstep? Isn’t that human nature?”
Crackers! Her attempt at goading him failed, but then it usually took more than one attempt.

His lips twitched but he didn’t display any anger. “Human nature can become a sticky thing. It only takes one person to believe his story, and then what? This town will cease to be the peaceful hideaway you crave.” Tavian moved a few steps toward her. “The first thing I want to know is why the name change?”

For the first time since he’d arrived, May allowed herself a small smile. “It would have been far too easy for the Enforcement League to find me without an assumed name. When I moved to
Crystal Falls, I bought this house. It had been abandoned for years, but I felt an affinity for it and
I took inspiration from the name on the mailbox.” She narrowed her eyes. He had just the hint of a thin mustache on his upper lip. It gave his serious face a playful air--much different from his somber business look of years ago.

“May Wiggins is hardly inspired. You are much more powerful than that simple moniker suggests.”

Unexpected pleasure swirled through her stomach at his praise, but she had learned not to put her trust in mere words--especially his. “Did you come here to waste the afternoon with pointless conversation or do you have an agenda?” She lifted a brow in challenge.

“Always blunt.” Tavian’s expression never changed. He circled around her and leaned a shoulder against the doorframe as if he had all the time in the world. “I can be just as direct. If you don’t stop encouraging magic to bloom in this town, the Institute has given me the authority to drain your powers, whether you give permission or not.”

Saturday, March 26, 2011

A Venue for Romance by Sharon McGregor


Dani motioned to a comfortable chair. “Have a seat Lacey," She sat down again behind her desk and smiled at her afternoon appointment. She went on, "And congratulations on your engagement.”

The tall slim taffy-blonde girl with wide mouth and ready smile responded, “Thanks, Mrs. Hawthorne.”

“Call me Dani. We’re going to be working closely together for the next few months.”

“You remember me from school, don’t you? I knew Matt.”

“Of course. You and my son were friends. That’s why I’m really excited to get a chance to help arrange your wedding.”

Lacey went on, "You were friends with my dad, too, after he and Mom got divorced.”

“Yes,” said Dani, and a picture came unwanted into her mind of the easy-going but shy man with the wide-mouthed smile he shared with his daughter. It was the only decent relationship she'd had since her husband Ted had died. Well, she'd thought it was going well; Stephen apparently viewed it differently. To stem the direction of the conversation she said, “Let’s go tour the facilities first. Then we’ll come back and talk about details.”

As she went over the venue with Lacey, her mind kept drifting to the girl’s father. They had dated a few times and Dani thought the relationship was on its way to becoming serious. Then for some reason she had yet to determine, it stalled. Stephen quit calling. She spent nights wondering if she had said or done something wrong. At first, she thought maybe Stephen had reconciled with his wife, but she found that wasn’t the case. Reluctantly, she let it go.

As they pored over possible menus for the wedding dinner, Lacey said, “Dad’s coming to meet me here. He wanted to have a look at the function room.”

“Oh,” was all Dani could think of to say. She really didn't want to see Stephen again. She had hoped the wedding arrangements would be strictly Lacey's turf. Of course the mother of the bride was usually involved and Dani thought with a shudder that might prove to be worse. Especially if Lacey's mother had the same forthright attributes as her daughter. She quelled her thoughts and tried to get back the enthusiasm she usually felt for her job. It was a dream job actually; most of the functions she arranged were weddings. Overseeing them appealed to Dani's innate romanticism.

It was only a few minutes later that a knock came at the side of the open door. Stephen poked his head around the corner.

“Can I come in?”

Lacey and Dani took him for a guided tour and as Lacey slipped off to the cloakroom, Stephen turned to Dani.

“I’ve been putting this off a long time, but I came here partly to see you.”

“Oh?’ said Dani, trying to raise her eyebrow in movie star tradition but failing miserably.

“Yes. I owe you an apology.”

“You don’t owe me anything.”

“Yes, I do. Don’t argue.” He smiled at her and her reserves melted.

“I was still smarting from my divorce when I started seeing you. I guess it was too soon. I found myself falling for you and I didn’t know how to react, you see.”

Dani didn’t but just said, “Go on.”

“Well, I didn’t know how much of my feelings were a reaction to the divorce. I thought you deserved a lot better than that. I decided the best thing for you was to let you get on with your life.”

“You decided for me?” Now Dani was beginning to feel a new emotion towards Stephen- anger. “What right did you have to make decisions for me? You could have talked to me.” She broke off as Lacey returned. Lacey obviously realized she had interrupted something and looked uncomfortable.

“Excuse me,” said Dani, trying to mask her discomfort. “I have to make a phone call. Show your dad around, Lacey. I’ll be back in a few minutes.”

She darted into her office and closed the door behind her, trying to sort out her conflicting feelings. She knew the attraction she felt towards Stephen was stronger than ever. But she was angry at him as well. How dare he make arbitrary decisions that involved her. Didn't he realize an explanation would have been kinder than the sudden break-off? Then she began to wonder why he was bringing it up again now. Was he about to tell her he was ready to move on? Or was he just trying to explain, to put their relationship in the past?

“Don’t be a coward,” she said to herself. “You have to find out what he wanted to say.”

She slipped back towards the banquet area and stopped in the main entry. In front of her, backs turned in her direction, stood three figures, Lacey, Stephen and a woman. It must be Lacey’s mother, she decided. They must have reconciled and that’s what he wanted to tell me- to clear the air for the wedding preparations.

She was about to vanish quietly when Stephen turned. “There you are. I want you to meet Karen, Lacey’s mother. We’ve decided to be civilized and work together to make Lacey’s wedding perfect.” Then another figure approached from the side hallway. “This is Dennis, Karen’s husband.”

Dani recovered enough to stammer a greeting and shake hands all around. Then Stephen pulled her away from the crowd. “Now back to our conversation. What I was trying to tell you was that I realized my feelings for you were genuine, not a backlash. I'm sorry I didn't talk it out with you. Is it too late for us to try again, or have I waited too long?”

No, it wasn’t too late. Dani linked her arm in his and led him back to her office. She resolved to make Lacey's wedding the most perfect ever. Well, maybe the second most perfect, she qualified as she smiled back at Stephen.

About the Author: Sharon McGregor has had stories and articles appear in Lake Country Journal, Fifty Something, Great Mystery and Suspense Magazine, Horizon, and Stories That Lift.

Author Interview: Ann Yost


The Long and the Short of It is pleased to welcome Ann Yost, author of That Voodoo that You Do, which was a LASR Book of the Week, winner of the Published Beacon Contest, romantic suspense division, and was a finalist in the WisRWA Write Touch Readers Contest, and About a Baby, which was just named a finalist in the Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence contest in the contemporary category.

Ann told me that the publication of the first was especially thrilling for her, not only because it was the first, but because it was romantic suspense plus included a touch of magic. She also loved the cover.

Ann grew up in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and for several years thought the city was named after her. However, she got over her disappointment about finding out the truth and got busy with her life. She loves to read and was thrilled to discover that just reading the classics and filling a few bluebooks, she could get a college degree. She worked as a newspaper reporter on a total of three daily papers for ten years and then turned her hand to writing humor columns about her experiences as a wife and mom.

"It was a wonderful time for writers and journalism," she told me, "and I wish those papers were not disappearing. I’ve written short humorous essays, light verse and features for various papers and magazines but I always wanted to write books and I am just having the best time of my life."

Her favorite author is Jane Austen, and she's been at the top of Ann's "favorite author list" since high school. In fact, if Ann could be a fictional character, she would choose to be either Elizabeth Bennet or Emma Woodhouse.

"I so admire Austen's ability to build complex stories on everyday Events without ever resorting to anything fantastic or even grand. Her humor, satire and facility with words is unparalleled," she said, then paused and added, "I am aware that I am not the only person with this opinion."

Ann is currently working on a Regency era romp because, even though she's done all her work so far in the contemporary sub-genre, she's still in love with Austen's time period and couldn't resist trying to write something set in it.

"The constraints are completely different and offer new plot possibilities and I just love the formality of the period contrasted with the hot sex in modern-day historical," she explained.

Both Ann's father and husband worked as newsmen (her husband is with Associated Press), and her father was also an author. Many years ago, a psychologist told Ann that both men would have trouble with her having a writing career.

"My husband is totally supportive, emotionally and financially," Ann said. "The strange thing though is that I did not start writing novels until my dad died ten years ago. I started that very same year. Even though I can’t imagine him trying to hold me back maybe there was some unconscious competitiveness there."

"What's the best piece of advice you've ever had on writing?" I wondered.

"It came from my adult son who spent a semester with a writing teacher in Prague. He said to start from the archetypes (either story or character) and develop the small details that make your story unique," Ann responded. "It kind of takes the pressure off that sense of having to come up with something totally original which is pretty much impossible anyway!"

One book Ann feels that no writer should be without is Debra Dixon's Goal, Motivation, and Conflict.

"It provides an easily understandable chart for a writer to be able to see where there are weaknesses and strengths in her ideas. It is easy to understand but coming up with great GMC for the characters, especially conflicting ones for the hero and antagonist…THAT is not easy!"

"Do you believe in outlining?" I asked.

"I absolutely believe in outlining but I totally suck at it. I am quite possibly the world’s most disorganized person. I have to leave food and dishes and spices, etc. out on the countertop just to remember I have them and I can never ever find any of the countless notes I write myself. I have tried outlining and storyboarding and I love the concepts…just can’t stick to whatever I’ve written. I am a big, big, BIG re-writer. I can’t even take an excerpt out of a published book without re-writing it!"

On a more personal note, I asked Ann about the most embarrassing thing her mother had ever done to her.

"My mother is an older lady but quite sharp and spry (she plays golf, bridge, etc.) She reads nearly all the latest books thanks to a book club so she is not protected from steamy writing. She was embarrassed by the sensuality in my first book THAT VOODOO THAT YOU DO. Her comment: 'You had a nice little plot going there but is it really necessary to have all that stuff about bulges?' It was pretty embarrassing."

Ann feels that her hobbies, other than reading and talking with friends, are pretty silly. She enjoys needlework, including cross-stitch, knitting, and quilting, but doesn't consider herself very good at any of them, even though she's practiced for years.

"I also LOVE to do jigsaw puzzles," she told me. "I always choose puzzles of small towns and while I am searching for the pieces I imagine I am living in those small towns." She paused. "That sounds even stranger than I thought it would!"

For years, her favorite movie was What's Up, Doc? with Barbara Streisand and Ryan O'Neal, but now she believes it is The Bird Cage.

"I like to laugh in movies," she explained. "My favorite television show was The Gilmore Girls. That show was right up my alley: small town, quirky characters, love stories, a strong, strong mother-daughter bond."

"Writers are known to set their own schedules and work at their own pace," I said. "Do you enjoy that kind of spontaneity in your life? How great is it to be able to take a vacation or just take a day off without calling in sick?"

"It is great to be able to set your own hours but I really hate taking a day off. I feel as if I lose momentum and mostly I’d rather be able to fit a few hours of writing into the day. That isn’t to say I use my time effectively. I spend way too much time every day looking up stuff like which couple from The Bachelor has just broken up and lurking on my daughter’s Facebook page and checking out the latest styles at Nordstrom’s and other online stores. Still, my ideal day always includes writing."

In fact, her ideal day… that time where she could be anywhere in the world she wanted… she would spend right where she is.

"In my little office at my corner desk. I go other places but I like to be here. Possibly laziness but more likely anxiety. Also, I am totally a person who likes to be surrounded by familiar people and places. I write about the kinds of towns I’d like to live in."

Finally, I asked Ann, "Do you think the internet will ultimately change the publishing industry?"

"Yes, I really do. I love to hold a book in my hand or a newspaper or magazine but I think the future in publishing is with the handheld readers like Kindle. Our library here already has books that can be loaned out electronically. And, to my sorrow, the newspaper and magazine industries are fading fast. I’m sure we’ll all get used to it though!"

You can keep up with Ann on her blog, http://annyost.blogspot.com