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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

INTERVIEW and Giveaway: Saranna DeWylde

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Long and Short Reviews welcomes Saranna DeWylde who is giving away a copy of How to Lose a Demon in 10 Days, which releases today, and an ARC for How to Marry a Warlock in 10 Days, which releases next month. She's currently working on the fourth book in the 10 Days series called How to Get a Date With Death in 10 Days.

Saranna actually almost deleted How to Lose a Demon in 10 Days. It had started out as a short story for a Harlequin Cravings call, but it was rejected and Saranna didn't think she could do anything else with it.

"Then I saw a post on one of my writer’s loops about a contest sponsored by Dorchester on Textnovel. So I entered," she said. "And I won."

Saranna watched The Exorcist at her 8th birthday party and decided she wanted to make people feel all the emotions she did. She wrote her first story that night and though she was going to become the next R.L. Stine. A few years later, romance novels came on the scene, and Saranna actually chose her pen name when she was 12.

"When I told my mother I wanted to write romances, she told me that I needed a good romance novel sounding pen name," she told me. "So I chose Saranna because my name is Sara and DeWylde was the last name of a character in one of the books I was reading. Saranna DeWylde is my George Stark. I don’t think the real me is as exciting as Saranna."

"How do you personally distinguish between pornography, erotica, and erotic romance?" I asked.

"Pornography is meant to titillate your body, erotica is meant to stimulate your mind and your body, sometimes your emotions and erotic romance is meant for your mind, body, and always your emotions with a Happily Ever After or a Happily For Now."

Authors that Saranna believes writes excellent erotic fiction include Justine Elyot, Jennna McCormick, Kate Pearce, Bertrice Small, Tiffany Reisz, Megan Hart, Lauren Hawkeye, Colette Gale—with her favorite erotic author being Justine Elyot.

"Her books always engage me on every level and her use of language is an art form. She’s a master of her craft," Saranna explained.

Saranna told me she always had trouble talking about how she develops her stories because her characters and plot come to her fully formed like Athena from Zeus' head.

"It’s like I’m not even writing the book," she said, "I’m just transcribing it."

"What books or authors have most influenced your own writing?" I asked.

"There are so many. I think writers are influenced by everything they read, see, hear, experience. I’m a voracious reader. But one of the kindest authors I’ve ever met is Amanda Ashley. I wrote her a fan letter when I was 16 and asked her about getting published. She responded with a personal letter, bookmarks, and advice on how to get published. She’s a classy lady and I’ve always promised myself that if I ever got published, I would remember her kindness and pay it forward."

I asked her about her writing space.

"It’s less than ideal. My husband and I give in-home care to my bedridden mother-in-law. We don’t have a lot of space, so I have to write at the kitchen table. So, of course, the table is covered in books, promo stuff, my lists of projects and things to accomplish, notes about this project or that. It’s very scattered and crazed."

Saranna is always writing—producing anywhere from 5K-10K a day, nearly every day, even holidays.

"My husband has worked two jobs forever to keep us financially solvent so I feel like if he’s working, I should be too. I get up and I write until my kids come home from school and then I make dinner, spend time with them, and when they go to bed, I write some more. Throughout, I have to see to my MIL’s needs."

"What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?" I wondered.

"I don’t know if it’s a writing quirk, but I used The Shining as a tutorial for my kids on why they shouldn’t interrupt me while I’m working."

When she's not writing, one of her favorite things to do is spending time with her daughters. They go to museums, to the lake, on nature walks, and sometimes just for random drives in the country.

"What is the most surprising thing you discovered while writing your books?" I asked.

"That I’m funny. Or so I’ve been told. I’ve always thought my writing was kind of dark, but I guess I have that gallows humor that’s a staple for law enforcement, or corrections."

She's a former corrections officer which made her pick up some strange habits.

"I tend to be weird about eating or drinking anything that’s been unattended or sitting with my back to the door," she admitted.

I asked Saranna how she did research for her books.

"A lot of the things in my books include things that already interest me and that I’ve already read about or experienced. Although, I hesitate to say that given some of my work is more erotic in nature and everyone assumes that because I write about explicit sex I’ve done everything I write about. Which is so not true."

"What is your most embarrassing moment?" I asked.

"Dear God. What’s NOT? I have a klutz gene, so if it’s possible for me to trip, injure myself or make an ass of myself, it will happen. I fall up stairs, I’ve lit my own hair on fire trying to light a candle… I think one of the most embarrassing things that’s happened to me was probably when I met a good friend of mine. We really hit it off when my other friends brought him to the movies. We ended up holding hands and it was just… we clicked. So after the movie, we exchange numbers, etc. Then we said our goodbyes. And I decided to finish off the half of box I had left of Tart N Tinys. And he decides to come back and go in for the romance novel style back-bend kiss. There is not enough room in the human mouth for two tongues and a half a box of Tart N Tinys. I choked and shot them out of my nose that deadly, sugary, BB assassins. The green ones were the worst. He laughed so hard, I thought he was going to die. Needless to say, we decided to just be friends. Neither of us could get that imagery out of our heads. We’re still friends, have been for fifteen years."

Another embarrassing moment happened with the man who would later become her husband—thanks to her mother.

"When I first met my husband, I knew on our first date I was going to marry him. So the next day, I went out and bought bride magazines and started planning the wedding. I know, a little psycho, but when you know, you know. So he came over the day after and my mother dumped them all in his lap. I, of course, had to play it off. I told him I just liked the magazines and had been buying them since I was a little girl. The look on his face when she dumped those in his lap was like he’d been scaled with boiling oil. Luckily, by then, I was prepared for her antics."

Finally I asked, "What advice would you give a new writer just starting out?"

"I have a place on my website called The Dungeon. It’s my page for advice to writers."

About the Author: Saranna De Wylde has always been fascinated by things better left in the dark. She wrote her first story after watching The Exorcist at a slumber party. Since then, she’s published horror, romance and narrative nonfiction. Like all writers, Saranna has held a variety of jobs, from operations supervisor for an airline, to an assistant for a call girl, to a corrections officer. But like Hemingway said, “Once writing has become your major vice and greatest pleasure, only death can stop it.” So she traded in her cuffs for a full-time keyboard. She loves to hear from her readers.

Find Saranna online at

www.sarannadewylde.com
www.facebook.com/SarannaDeWylde
www.twitter.com/SarannaDeWylde
www.writersgonewild.blogspot.com



GOT DEMON?

Grace does. She's got more demon than she can saddle. In fact, she's got a sinfully sexy Crown Prince of Hell named Caspian. She's also got ten days to get rid of him or Bad Things shall ensue. See, her Russian mobster ex-boyfriend didn't take kindly to her smutty Mephistophelean contract. It's not that she's conspiring with fiends; that was his idea. It's that she's conspiring against him with outrageous devilry that runs the gamut from embarrassing to a dead hooker turned dominatrix demon gunning for his soul.

One should never trust demons, let alone shag them. They don't have hearts. Yet Grace is buying hers some slightly tarnished armor and hoping that once he's been shoveled into it, kicking and screaming, he'll find it's just his size. This damsel in distress needs a dark knight for a Happily Ever After.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Win during our 5th Anniversary Celebration!


We're celebrating our 5th Anniversary with a huge party -- where you can win $100 Amazon GC, $50 Amazon GC, and hundreds of smaller prizes:  books, $5 Amazon GCs and more!

Monday, August 13, 2012

INTERVIEW: JOANNE STEWART

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Long and Short Reviews welcomes JM Stewart whose latest book The Playboy's Baby is now available.

Joanne was born in Queens, New York, but she only lived there until she was three. Her parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, were all born and raised in New York City. Her parents, though, moved around a lot when Joanne was a child. When she was three, they moved to California.

"I’m told we live in Carolina for a while before we got there," she said. "When I was eight, my parents divorced and my mom remarried, and we moved up to Washington state. At sixteen, my mother divorced again and we moved to Philidelphia, Pennsylvania. That’s where my grandmother and my aunt live. Most of my family still lives in NY, though I do have an aunt that lives in Florida."

Joanne's first book began as a dream. I asked her to tell me about it.

"I remember seeing this teenage boy in a wheelchair, and just knowing that he had a story and I had to write it down. In writing out the story that unfolded, I found a love for telling the tale. For discovering the nuances of the characters and their situation. And I wanted to do it again. I was well and thoroughly hooked," she said with a smile.

So, she sat down and immediately started working on her next book.

"How many books have you written?" I asked her.

"This was a hard question! I had to go count them all," she told me, laughing. "Three or four of them will never see the light of day. But I believe I’ve written eight complete books. I also have several bits and starts as well. One novel I quit writing about 130 pages in, and I’ve got several first chapters just waiting for me to finish the book."

"Which is your favorite?"

"That’s like asking me to pick my favorite child." She laughed. "But… I do admit that I’m rather partial to The Playboy’s Baby. There’s a very sweet quality to the book that tugs on my heartstrings. I’m also partial to my latest work-in-progress, currently titled Love’s Healing Touch. It’s the first long novel I’ve written in a while. I cut my proverbial teeth on category, so my books are usually category length, between 50 and 60k. This one tops out at about 73k. It was a hard book to write. The hero and heroine have very dark pasts that come into play in the book. I put a lot of myself and my own dark past into this book, so this one is the book that’s the closest to my heart. I’m currently editing it to send it to my agent, but hopefully, someday soon, it’ll be published as well."

Joanne is a perfectionist by nature, and she can be pretty hard on herself sometimes. When she is and the "I suck" voice in the back of her mind gets too loud, it can suck the creativity right out of her. When it happens, sometimes she gives in and takes a break—she will give herself a day or two to not thinking about writing. She might read a good book (but generally is a different genre than what she writes—she's partial to historicals). Other times, she gets tough with herself and forces herself to start writing.

"Even if it’s total and complete crap," she said. "I find that when I refuse to give in, and allow myself to write crap, eventually, I push through it and it starts to flow again. But I’ve also learned over the years that sometimes, writer’s block means my characters are giving me a hint. They’re telling me I’ve taken the book in a wrong direction, usually something that goes against their character. When I go back and change that bit, it often clears up the block."

When it comes to the historical she loves, her favorite author is Diana Gabaldon.

"Her book, Outlander, really enthralled me," she explained. "I love historicals and I love time travels, but the author drew me so completely into this world that I got lost in it. The book is told from the first person, the voice of the heroine, Claire Randall, but every character in the book comes alive. Her descriptions make me feel like I’m there. She’s very good with accurate details, right down to the way the hero, Jamie, fights with his sword. She pulls me into the lives of these people and makes me feel like I’m there with them. And she makes me care. That’s good writing to me."

It's the characterization that makes Joanne either love or hate a book—if an author can draw her into the characters' world and make her care about them, she's hooked.

I asked her to describe her writing space.

"Ha. I’d be embarrassed for people to see my writing space," she admitted with a laugh. "I write on the kitchen table, which sadly, doesn’t get used for its intended purpose. Caddy corner to my computer is my husband’s laptop. Beside me is a back scratcher that always stays on the table. I have very dry skin and I’m forever itchy. There’s also always a box of tissues (lotion variety). I’m a chronic allergy sufferer. Usually a bottle of water, some earphones for when I want to shut out the noise and listen to music (so I can better concentrate on my current work-in-progress). If I close my laptop lid, I see the slowly growing stack of papers my husband piles on his side. Along with a couple of pens and a pair of nail clippers. It’s organized chaos, but it works."

"If you had to do your journey to getting published all over again, what would you do differently?" I wondered.

"I know this probably isn’t a popular answer, but I don’t believe in changing my past. I believe that my life is a culmination of my experiences. Honestly, I’ve probably made a lot of mistakes over the years. I’ve always wondered if I’d just relaxed and not panicked, if I’d have been able to do those requested revisions better. I might have tried to find an agent sooner. It’s all been a learning process for me, and I’m not sure I’m sorry I ended up here. I kind of like where I’m at. That being said, there is one thing I would have done differently. I would started on the social media aspects a lot sooner. You know, creating your online persona and developing a readership? I would have started that a lot sooner. I’m amazed by how much self promotion really goes into this and it would have helped a lot to have started some of this way before now."

Speaking of social media, when Joanne's not writing, she admits to a love for playing computer games.

"You know all those annoying games on Facebook people are always sending you invites to? I love playing those. Though, just for the record, I don’t send invites to people who don’t play. I’m very careful to make sure the people I send invites to actually play the game," she assured me. "Also like games like Diner Dash. I find them very mind numbing. When I play them, I have to concentrate solely on the game, so my brain gets occupied and I don’t worry about my writing. I think too much. I can never really relax and I can sit at my computer doing writing stuff until my back aches. I can be very OCD when I write. I don’t balance very well. And games and books are my way of shutting out for a while."

"What did you want to be when you grew up?" I asked.

"This sounds so down to say this. This is normally a question I would avoid answering, for that very reason. The answer isn’t pleasant. It’s a side of myself I don’t show often, because I’ve found over the years that it tends to make people uncomfortable. So I tend to avoid the subject. But the truth is, I grew up in a dysfunctional home. I was abused as a child. So I never really thought about what I wanted to be when I grew up. I never really knew. Oh, I thought about being a teacher, or a veterinarian, the usual kid stuff, but mostly, I just wanted grow up and move out of the house. When I went to college, I had the hardest time then, too, trying to figure out what I wanted to major in. Life had always been about survival for me and nobody had ever asked me what I wanted. Course, nowadays I wished I’d majored in English and creative writing! lol In fact, I should add this to that question above about going back and doing things over. I wish could go back to college and major in English! Get a jump start on my career."

Joanne was feeling brave for the interview, because she agreed to answer another question that she usually avoids—what readers would be most surprised to learn about her.

She admits to being a very spiritual person—she believes in the unseen world, in things people sometimes refer to as "woo woo" or "new age."

"I communicate with angels. I also communicate with the dead. And saying that out loud, yes, I’m very aware not everybody believes in that stuff and I do worry people will think I’m crazy. Or delusional. In fact, I’ve been called both and more," she said. "You’d think that would make me naturally inclined toward paranormal writing, but sadly, it doesn’t. Most paranormal romances are vampires and werewolves. Alternate reality type stuff, usually a lot of suspense and action, and I don’t do any of that. My writing is very centered in the real world, and my plots are always emotional and character driven. So thinking up a paranormal plot that matches what I see in the market today is difficult. So, I do have the start of a book I hope to finish someday, but I don’t have a plot to go with it. Yet. I’m determined to change that someday!"

About the Author:
I started writing novels somewhere around eleven years ago. It started out as a dream I had early one morning that begged to be written down, and the more I wrote, the more story unfolded. That manuscript has since been lost, but I'm very grateful to the powers that be for starting me on this road. It's an understatement to say I love to read romance. There's just something about reading a good love story. It warms my heart and gives my soul a bit of hope. Writing them has become a passion.

Personally...I live in the state of Washington, in the rainy great Northwest! I'm married to my very own hero for sixteen years now. We have two teenage boys and two very spoiled puppies.

When I'm not writing, I'm usually reading, playing computer games, or playing with the dogs.

Find the author online at

Website: http://authorjmstewart.com
Blog: http://jm-stewart.blogspot.com/
Facebook Fan Page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Author-JM-Stewart/129990420383155 Twitter: https://twitter.com/JMStewartWriter
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3159044.J_M_Stewart



They can't forget the past, but is it enough to create a future?

When an accident leaves her guardian to her six-month-old niece, Emma Stanton must return to her small hometown of Hastings, Montana to find the one man she's spent the last eight years trying to forget. She and Dillon had grown up together--he was her sister's best friend. But that hadn't stopped him from sharing a kiss with Emma that had followed her through the years. Now, not only must she break the news of her sister's tragic death to Dillon, but she must risk the only family she has left and tell him he's the baby's father.

Wealthy nightclub owner Dillon James has been used for his name and money one too many times, so when he comes face-to-face with Emma Stanton and her gorgeous lips, he's determined to keep things light. All he wants is to be the father his daughter needs, to make up for not being there for her and her mother. But spending time with Emma, as she shows him the ropes of caring for his daughter, is wearing down his defenses. Perhaps it's time he took a chance on love.

If only he can convince Emma to take a chance on him...

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

INTERVIEW: ABBIE WILLIAMS

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Long and Short Reviews welcomes Abbie Williams, whose debut novel Forbidden has recently been released. She first had the idea for the story when she was sixteen--the year she found out that both her parents had been married prior to their own marriage.

"My first question was, 'Did you have other kids??!!'," she told me. "They hadn't, but I began speculating with my best friend Melissa about what would happen if you met someone someday and found out that he was your brother. Scary! So I played around with the idea, and started a story about a girl who was raised by a very unloving mother (truly, the opposite of how I was raised!) who met her true love and then discovered that he was her mother's half brother. It was so scandalous, and I found that I hated the idea of them being really related, so I played around with the details and Forbidden was born. Matthew and Bryce were so in love, so hot for each other, and yet so tortured, I have had more fun writing about them. I have many other stories, not all complete, but they are brewing on the back burner. I have never been at a loss for ideas on that front."

Her characters are usually so busy trying to tell Abbie their stories that she doesn't often get stuck; if she does, it's because she can't make a scene come out exactly the way she was planning.

"Often my characters will just go in a different direction," she explained, "something I didn't expect. I'll stop and take a break, grab something to eat, and then tackle that scene again. Sometimes just writing another part of the same book helps too."

Writing has always been a part of who Abbie is.

"I can't imagine a time before I had my notebook and a good pen, using both to create stories, play around with 'what if' questions," she said. "When I first started writing as a preteen, I had a character named Missie who was traveling the Oregon Trail with her family. The story started as an adventure but slowly evolved into more of a romance. I can't help it... I love romance novels. Ever since then, I have written love stories, playing with the age-old question of what makes one person fall for another. What is it exactly that draws two people in a crowded space to one another? I love writing about that connection, that spark."

Usually Abbie will have an idea generated before she starts writing, but as she writes the plot evolves. She has written numerous love stories, but the romance and heat between Matthew and Bryce from Forbidden was stronger than any other characters she's created.

"They often do and say things I was not planning, and take the plot in difference directions. but I don't mind. It makes the writing process so much fun, and very entertaining," she said.

She currently working on a story set in northern MN, in which a woman named Joelle takes her three daughters from Chicago back to her hometown following a separation from her husband. Joelle is heartbroken, but there is love waiting for her back home...in places she wasn't expecting.

Abbie writes on her laptop, so her writing space is wherever she can find a quiet space to hide (which is not an easy task, she assured me). Sometimes it's the laundry room, or the back porch swing, or the kitchen table. Fortunately, she's very good at tuning out what is going on around her if she has to.

The hardest part about writing is the fact that she doesn't have enough hours in the day to write. She is a teacher, and loves it, but would love for her writing career to take off. When she's not writing, she enjoys being outside. Her family camps a lot and when they go camping they hike, swim, and fish. She also loves biking, jogging, and trying new recipes.

"I just bought a fabulous new cookbook by the Casserole Queens (check them out, they are amazing) and have been working through those," she said. "I love hanging out with my husband and girls, and my fabulous sisters, watching movies, listening to music (especially bluegrass and the Dixie Chicks), imagining where in the world I would like to travel, and scrapbooking. I love taking pictures, and I love soaking in a hot bath." Abbie doesn't believe in setting a book in places she hasn't been before, because she likes to use prior knowledge to describe the scenery and how things look, sound, and smell. She wants her books to be full of imagery. Other than that, she loves Google and is a stickler for making sure she's accurate on things like dates and days of the week--even double checking on the phases of the moon for specific dates.

About the Author:
I have been writing for as long as I can remember, ever since I first realized how great it was to observe the world around me and then make up a story. I love reading and writing, but spend most of my time as a very busy mom to three gregarious girls. In my spare time, I sneak to my laptop and spend a few hours with my characters. I also love to jog, experiment in the kitchen, listen to Alison Kraus and Union Station, watch movies, and teach high school.



A chance encounter. An intense desire. And a forbidden love too strong to resist.

At 20, Bryce Mitchell is no stranger to hardship, raised by an unloving mother with a terrible secret. But when she meets Matthew Sternhagen, it seems as though life may be offering her a second chance. She is inexplicably drawn to gorgeous, sensitive Matthew on the humid June night they meet. Despite the fact that they are total strangers, they come to realize one absolute truth: they are meant for one another.

There is only one problem: Matthew is Bryce's half-uncle, a man her mother never told her about. Will the truth of their relationship be enough to stop their forbidden love? Or will long-buried secrets ruin their chances forever?