Sunday, 12 February 2012

Author Interview - Tish Thawer

We had the pleasure of interviewing Tish Thawer, author of The Rose Trilogy.  Tish was also kind enough to offer a giveaway of a signed bookmark and an ebook copy of Scent of a White Rose, the first book in The Rose Trilogy.  See below for details of the giveaway!

~The Rose Trilogy, book 1~
A vampire's love...

An innocent's guilt...

A secret no one could've imagined...

A paranormal romance that entices with a heroine that isn't quite what she seems, a vampire whose love story is filled with dark surprises, and a vampire clan whose Sire has lost the ability to inflict "the change".

~ ROSE ~
I'm Rose Reynolds. I have recently lost my Mom in a "freak accident".
Now everyone sees me as an innocent girl.... a “white Rose”.
But I have a secret that no one can imagine.
I'm not as innocent as everyone thinks…

I'm Christian and I’m in love with Rose. I also have a secret as old as time.
I’m a vampire.
No, she doesn’t know…yet.
But when our new Sire is revealed, I'll petition them to change her.
Because truly, I can't live without her..

Thank you, Tish for taking time out of your schedule to answer our questions!  As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? When did you first know you wanted to be a writer?
As a child, I wanted to be a secretary like my mom. I fulfilled that dream at a young age and eventually worked my way to graphic design and into computer networking. I still type 93 wpm to this day. But once I had my children, that's all I wanted to be...a mom. I've been lucky to be a stay-at-home mom while my kids grew up and then decided about three years ago to finally follow my passion for writing and started putting words to paper.

Were the characters in your book created around people in your life? How did you decide on the character names?
No, I did not base my characters on anyone in my life. The names of my characters come from, what I like to call, divine inspiration. When I woke up with the title of the books in my head–obviously I knew they would be about a girl named Rose. Then once I started writing and would reach a place to insert a character's name it would just fly from my fingers onto the page without any thought. And most of the time they were the perfect fit.

What is your work schedule like when you're writing?
I'm usually up by 5:20 a.m. to get the kids ready for school. Once everyone is out the door by 9 a.m., I turn the lights down, draw the shades and write. As far as a schedule...I don't think I really have one. I write as long as the story is flowing and if it's not, then I take a few days off. I try to write every day, but sometimes life just gets in the way.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing? 
I have a hard time with the technical aspects of writing, because I tend to write like I talk. I can't force myself to think about the tenses and proper grammar and punctuation WHILE I'm writing...that's what editing is for.

How has your environment/upbringing colored your writing?
Growing up, I've always been a fan of the supernatural or anything paranormal, and as a kid my favorite cartoons were the ones about superheroes. So I'd say that because of that, my reading choices and writing have definitely been influenced by my childhood.

How would you describe Scent of a White Rose to someone who has never heard of it? 
Take the vampire love stories you've heard about and flip them around. What if the vampire was the good guy and the human girl was the one to fear? Scent of a White Rose is full of surprises, twist and turns, and will leave you thinking of vampires in a whole new light.

Why vampires? How did you come up with the ideas behind your books?
When I woke up with the title of the first book in my head, Scent of a White Rose, I knew it would be a story about a young woman named Rose, and I think the "scent" part of the title is what made me thing of they would smell her. Kinda lame, but that's really all there was to it. Plus, I love vampires and was excited by the challenge to make mine something new and unique.

What were your feelings when you first saw the finished product of your first book? 
LOL. This is a great question because I told my friend, "I don't think I'm reacting to this like I should be."

When I held my first proof in my hands, it was such a surreal feeling. I'd seen the cover for months online, working with my cover artist back and forth, and then having it displayed on Goodreads, Shelfari, Amazon & Barnes and Noble, but then when I got the actual was so strange because it just felt like any other book that I'd ever picked up. I didn't really sink in that it was mine. But after I received the first run shipment, it finally clicked, and I was filled with excitement and a sense of accomplishment and joy.

What was one of the most surprising things you learned in writing/creating your books?  
Writing is the easy part. I usually have the entire story mapped out in my head before I even start the books. I know what will happen from beginning to end and which parts will be in which books. It's the formatting, prepping and marketing that are the hard parts.

What tools do you feel are must-haves for writers?
A great cover artist, and an amazing editor. I'm blessed to have both. And the skills and desire to research every aspect of the writing process. Buy books, attend webinars, ask other authors questions. It's important to gather as much information as you can so that you are not surprised by any of the steps along the way. I'm a research fiend!

What book are you reading now? 
Immortal Rider by Larissa Ione

Thank you, Tish, for your time and for the giveaway of your book!                        
You can find out more about Tish Thawer and her books here:

~The Rose Trilogy, book 2~
Doubt blooms...

Someone bleeds...

Change is coming... time to take heed.

Book 2 in The Rose Trilogy. A paranormal romance that continues to surprise with a heroine that’s embracing her darker side, a vampire whose love starts to waver, and a vampire clan whose new Sire is filled with doubt.

~ ROSE ~
I'm Rose Reynolds. I’ve shared my secret and ruined lives.
I’m no longer welcome in my childhood home.
And, I’ve recently threatened to kill my best friend.
I warned you - I'm not as innocent as everyone thinks…

I'm Christian and I’m worried about Rose.
She’s changed and I’m not sure that’s a good thing.
She knows my secret and loves me still.
This I know, because I’m starting to hear whispers wherever I go...

 ~The Rose Trilogy, book 3~
A black Rose dies...

Now it's time to run...

The one I love lost... oh God, what have I done?

Book 3 in The Rose Trilogy. A paranormal romance that concludes with a heroine who's now the one to fear, a vampire who vows to save the soul of the one he loves, and a vampire clan whose new Sire is already facing extinction.

~ ROSE ~
I'm Rose Reynolds.
I’m now a vampire and everyone's afraid of me.
My blonde hair has drifted to black,
indicating just how "bad" I've become.
Christian swears he can save me....
... but what if I don't want to be saved?

I'm Christian and I’m still in love with Rose.
She’s now a vampire, which is not a good thing.
She turned out darker than I could've ever imagined.
I know I can save her. I have to....
.... because my very existence depends on it.

Now for the giveaway!  Tish is giving away one copy of Scent of a White Rose, the first book in The Rose Trilogy, plus a signed bookmark!  Fill out the Rafflecopter form below to enter to win!

Author Interview - Leslie Deaton

Leslie Deaton, author of A Marked Past, stopped by our blog today for an interview! Leslie was also kind enough to offer up 10 ebook copies of A Marked Past. See below for details of the giveaway!

Lyla Mercer’s life changed the moment her dad was murdered, and again when she heard that she could be next. Forced to move to Salem for safe keeping, Lyla soon discovers her family has a dark history in the small town, and when a glossy black moon appears on the back of her neck she becomes newest part of that legacy. Her family is marked and being hunted, but Lyla may be the weapon they need to survive. Lyla attempts to ignore the danger, pretending to be normal, but whispers and rumors follow her everywhere. She thinks nothing can ever be normal for her again until she meets Caleb, the minister’s son, and the absolute wrong boy to be dating a witch. He’s everything she wants to be, just a normal kid from a normal family. At least that’s what she thinks, but nothing is as it seems in Salem. Caleb has secrets to keep about his family that rival her own. Until recently, her father's murderer has managed to keep his true identity a secret, but when Lyla uncovers the truth about him, nobody is safe, especially her.

When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I’m a little embarrassed to admit it, but as little girl I dreamed of being a Cowgirl. Not the kind who repaired the fence line and rustled cattle, but the kind with a red hat, a cute jean skirt with a rhinestone belt buckle, and some pretty boots.

When I got a little older that dream faded (thank goodness) to something a bit more realistic. I thought I wanted to be an English teacher; but after I completed my English degree, I landed in the consulting world, and I really love it. I write every day, creating processes, instructions, and educational materials for my clients.

When did you first consider yourself an author?
It didn’t come until I arrived at my first book signing…I remember smiling at all the people who were carrying my book in their hands; my book, and waiting for me to sign it for them. It was an amazing day, and definitely a dream come true.

Do you have a favorite character from A Marked Past? Which character did you have the most fun writing?
Lyla is definitely my favorite character; she is the heart of the storyline, holding all the emotion and drive as the protagonist but still possessing the innocence of a teenage girl. The fire behind her character was inspiring and I loved telling her story.

But honestly, I loved writing about Hana the most. Lyla’s cousin, Hana, is one of the main characters of A Marked Past and she is the antithesis of Lyla in every way. Hana is the quiet to Lyla’s voice, the thoughtful to Lyla’s sometimes selfish nature, and the reserved to Lyla’s fight. Hana carries a loss and fear in her heart and because of that, it was challenging but very rewarding to tell her part of the story.

What kind of research was necessary for A Marked Past?
I did a lot of research for A Marked Past, from reading about the Salem Witch Trials, to investigating Wicca, to researching old New England barns, and finally I drove to Salem and wandered through the streets. I went to witch shops and let the cold wind of Salem steal my warmth. I listened as the trees creaked in the wind and let the place haunt me. I felt the old houses watching me as I walked the cobblestone streets. And when I left, it all stayed with me.

What was the hardest part of writing your book?
I loved writing A Marked Past, and I was lucky enough to have a sister who was reading right long side me as I wrote. My sister Sarah and I worked hand in hand to evolve the storyline together. So that part was great.

The most challenging part was definitely editing. I spent hours poring over specific wording, phrases, dialogue, and searching for typos. I also worked with a reader to perform major enhancements to the storyline, evolving the battle scenes, and ultimately the outcome of the novel. I had to stay emerged in Lyla’s world but also be able to take a step back far enough to accept the need for change. It was a difficult line to maintain, but editing is probably the most important final step of writing a novel.

What were your feelings when you first saw the finished product of your first book?
Elation! I literally cried when the final product arrived and I held the book in my hands. It was a surreal moment to open the cover and see my words, my characters, my novel, right there in print. The small black book represented so much to me, all the years of wanting to write, the hours revisions, the help of friends and family to create the look and feel, and finally the pride of actually having done it. The only thing better than all of that, was the smile on my Dad’s face at my first book signing.

A Marked Past is the first in a series. Are you working on the next book, and can you share a little bit about that?
The manuscript for my second book, A History Renewed, is in editing right now and is due out June 2012. The storyline is a continuation of the Mercer family’s adventures leading to more mystery and discovery along the way. I’m very excited to be finishing the second, and starting on the third later this summer.

What do you do to unwind and relax?
I love to travel, watch TV and movies, and of course I read. I’m always looking for a new adventure to try or a great story to get lost in. Last year some of my adventures included hanging out in English pubs, visiting a bison farm in Wyoming, snorkeling in Maui, and spending a week on a houseboat in Kentucky. I’m game for almost anything, and I try to absorb as much as possible when I am visiting a new place. You never know when you might weave part of a personal experience into a character’s plotline.

What book are you reading now?
I’m reading the Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater. I love the relationship that’s unfolding between the two main characters. It’s strange and wonderful at the same time.


Thank you Leslie for stopping by!!

To find out more about author Leslie Deaton or her work check out her Gooreads page or her website. You can follow Leslie Deaton on Facebook and Twitter.

Now for the giveaway!!  It's easy...simply follow Leslie via Facebook or Twitter.  Leave a blog post comment below letting us know how you are following and your e-mail address.  The first 10 people to comment will recieve an ebook of A Marked Past!  (Giveaway ends March 1, 2012)

Monday, 6 February 2012

Author Interview - Nicki J Markus

We had the opportunity to interview Nicki J Markus this week! Nicki's new book, Day- Walker, is now available for purchase through Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
Make sure to check it out!  

Darci Madison seems to have found her ideal man. But mysterious stranger, Will, has a dark secret. A secret that could put her life in danger as the sun sets.

When Darci spots a mysterious stranger at her latest concert, she is instantly smitten. Will is the perfect gentleman and seems to be everything she has been waiting for. But Will has a terrifying secret and soon Darci finds herself in grave peril. Will her love for him give her the strength she’ll need to prevail against overwhelming odds?

Will is drawn to Darci Madison from the moment she steps out onto the stage. He knows he shouldn’t approach her, knows his secret could put her in danger if he gets too close. But he also realizes that he cannot live without her. When his enemies learn of Darci’s existence and emerge from the shadows, Will must fight to save the woman he loves ... even though it may require the ultimate sacrifice.

For deep in the night, creatures are stirring in the darkness; creatures that long to infiltrate the light.

Genre: Paranormal Romance/Vampire
Publisher: Silver Publishing
Release Date: 24th September 2011
Format: E-Book
Pages: 141
Word Count: 27,750
ISBN: 9781920501136



Thank you, Nicki, for taking time to answer some questions for us. I know you are extremely busy!

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? When did you first know you wanted to be a writer?

Actually I always wanted to write—from as far back as I can remember. My favourite thing to do as a child was to read a book and that has always stuck with me. I’ve had other dreams along the way—at one point I wanted to be a professional musical theatre performer—but the writing and the books have always been a constant in my life. For a while it was a dream only, just one of the things you say when people ask you. But then just over a year ago, I decided to really go for it and the rest is history, as they say.

How do you come up with the titles for your books?
Most titles seem to find themselves and they come to me early. In a couple of cases, it has even been the title that started the whole story. An idea, a title, would come into my mind and I’d take it from there. Time Keepers is an example of that.

You have multiple books published. Do you have a favorite?
Well, some of those previous releases are no longer available as my first publisher changed direction and returned all rights to me. Day-Walker is my only book currently available and it is one I had great fun writing. But I also love Time Keepers. This tale was published before as series of four short-story-length parts, but in a few months time it will be rereleased (first in e-book format then in print) as a short novel by Silver Publishing. I had some great responses to the original mini-series, so I am hoping readers will also take to the novel version and come to love the characters as much as I do.

Which character did you have the most fun writing? Are any of your characters based on people in your life?
I’ve loved writing all my characters—both heroes and villains. But I have a soft spot for Will in Day-Walker because he’s the sort of dashing hero any girl would want to meet. I also love Ellie in Time Keepers because she just came out so quirky and fun. Hmm. I wouldn’t say I’ve particularly based my characters on anyone I know in real life, but I am sure some elements creep in without my realising it. There is a bit of me in Darci (Day-Walker) though. She is living out my own dream of a singing career!

What is your work schedule like when you're writing?
I’m in-between day jobs at present. When I’m working full-time it can be so hard to find time to write. I had thought I’d have plenty of time while job-hunting, but I am also trying to fit in: editing work for Silver Publishing, studying for diplomas in editing and publishing, job applications, and all the other day to day stuff of cleaning a house, running web pages etc. So, it is hard. I don’t earn enough from my writing to do it full time, but I just fit in the odd hour here and there whenever I get the chance. I’m sure plenty of other budding writers are in the same boat.

Where do you get your ideas for your books?
Oh gosh, from all over the place, I guess. Often I’m inspired by something I read or watch. I find myself considering existing characters and wondering ‘what if this character trait about them was different’, ‘what if someone with this sort of personality was placed in such and such a setting’. It’s all about taking something you know and twisting it in some way to form something new. Other times, ideas come to me in dreams or just before I fall asleep. Sometimes stories are born from a mixture of the two.

What were your feelings when you first saw the finished product of your first book?
Oh, it’s a great feeling of excitement, a sense of accomplishment. It’s amazing to see your name on the cover and think that strangers may open the pages and read your words. All my books so far have been e-book only release, but Time Keepers is due to be released in print too. I am so excited about that. I think holding a physical book, with my name on the cover, in my hands will be even more of a thrill than seeing it on the screen!

Can you share a little of your current work with us?
Sure. At present I am working on a new manuscript and the story is essentially an urban fantasy/paranormal romance featuring vampires and witches. It’s pretty early days yet—I’m only about 4000 words in—but I am pleased with how it’s coming along so far. Names of characters are important to me, so I’ve been researching that a lot to start with, making sure they all have names to suit their personalities and roles. Now I can get to work properly and that will be my main focus whenever I get some time to write.

Do you have any advice for budding writers?
Just keep plugging away. I’ve been extremely lucky so far and have had a lot of contract offers for my work from e-publishers. But one day I’d like to aim a bit higher, approach some agents or bigger name publishers, and when I do, I am sure I’ll be able to start a rejections pile. At that point I’ll need to keep believing in myself in order to move forward. Self-belief is an idea that gets thrown around a lot, but I really do think it is vital for anyone starting out as a writer. Have confidence, write and send your work out there. Who knows what could happen! Good luck everyone!

Who is your favourite author and why?
I love so many that it is always hard to pick just one. So, just grabbing one of them randomly, I’ll say: Chelsea Quinn Yarbro. I adore her historical vampire novels as she managed to blend paranormal romance with historical fiction, creating absolute perfection. Her novels are always really well researched and beautifully written. Definitely a writer I’d aspire to be like one day.

Do you have any hidden talents?
Well, I sing—check out my blog ‘about me’ page if your interest is piqued. I also adore languages and speak pretty fluent French and German as well as a little Czech and Italian.

What are you reading now?
I have two books on the go at present. One is in German; a fictional account of the life of Sissi of Austria. The other is an e-book ARC I got from NetGalley called A Partial History of Lost Causes—a literary fiction piece. I still have another 17 books on my ‘to be read’ pile to get to once I finish those.

Thank you Nicki!  We wish you the best of luck in your current and future novels.

Nicki J Markus was born in England in 1982, but she now lives in Adelaide, South Australia with her husband. She has loved both reading and writing from a young age and is also a keen linguist, having studied several foreign languages. She has completed a BA (hons) English with French from the University of Greenwich, London and a PGDip in Translation from the University of the West of England, Bristol. She is currently studying for diplomas in Editing and Publishing.

Nicki J Markus launched her writing career in 2010 and her fiction work has been accepted for e-book publication by both Wicked Nights Publishing and Silver Publishing.

In her spare time, Nicki J Markus also enjoys many other creative pursuits including music, theatre, photography, sketching and web-design. She also has a keen interest in history, folklore and mythology, pen-palling and travel.




Sunday, 5 February 2012

Author Interview - Melissa Douthit

Author Melissa Douthit stopped by our blog for a visit.  Melissa was kind enough to take time out of her busy schedule to share a little bit about herself. 

In addition, Melissa is giving away copies of her latest book The Firelight of Maalda, book 2 in the Raie'Chaelia trilogy.  Book 1, The Raie'Chaelia, and the prequels, can be downloaded for FREE at SmashwordsSee below for details.

When Chalice sets off for Branbury in the middle of the night with her grandfather's instructions, she has no idea of the dangers that await her. The King's men have destroyed her home village of Canton and she is suddenly thrown into a Terravailian world that she does not know. Lost and alone, she is hard pressed to evade the iron grasp of the madman who rules the land. With the help of a friendly Chinuk, an old man, and a book that she discovers along the way, not only does she find true friends and true love, but she also finds her true self and what it means to be the Raie'Chaelia.

The Firelight of Maalda: A story that unites the real with the fantastical and turns science into magic …

Chalice and her group leave Barenthren to travel to Portalis. There she and her friends discover the beautiful city, its people, its history, and its secret that has been kept hidden for thousands of years. During their stay, they learn that Dar’Maalda has the Firestone and that he plans to use it.

What is the Firestone and what does Dar’Maalda plan to do with it? What are the Naezzi? What does the title, The Firelight of Maalda, really mean? And … what is the secret of Portalis, the secret that has been guarded so jealously for so long – so jealously, that many have given their lives to protect it?

In The Firelight of Maalda, the second novel of the trilogy, The Legend of the Raie’Chaelia, you find out. It is a tale of intrigue and wonder where two opposite worlds collide in an explosive journey that leads Chalice and her friends to the dark islands lurking just beyond the horizon of Ielieria, where the Firelight of Maalda sits … and waits.

 Thank you for stopping by Melissa! When and why did you begin writing? What inspired you?
I began writing notes for this trilogy back in 2005 but never really got around to writing the first novel until 2007. It was when one of my favorite authors died. I wrote about it in the preface of
The Raie’Chaelia:
On the morning of 21st of September, 2007, I sat down at my computer with a cup of coffee and clicked a familiar bookmark on my internet browser. The link took me to a website that I knew well. In doing so, I learned that one of my favorite authors had passed away. His name was James Oliver Rigney, Jr., also known as Robert Jordan. The website was

Ever since I was seventeen, I have been reading his epic fantasy series, The Wheel of Time. I remember buying the first book, The Eye of the World, from a local bookstore and rushing home to read it. I remember it like it was yesterday. To this day, after twenty-one years, I am still reading his series as it quickly draws to a conclusion in its final completion by Brandon Sanderson.

I never thought I could be a writer given that my talents lie in other areas, mostly in mathematics and science, but when I learned of Jordan’s passing, I decided to start writing a story that I had been tossing around in my head for a while. The ideas were there but the realization of those ideas into a book was a problem. I didn’t believe that I could do it. So, that morning, inspired by Jordan’s life story, I sat down and started typing. 

Were the characters in your book created around people in your life? How did you decide on the character names?
A few are inspired by people that I know, a couple being combinations of certain people. I didn’t really realize who they were until I sat back and read what I had wrote. Then I recognized them. Chalice is mostly my sister, who is a petite, blond woman with a major attitude. Jeremiah is a combination of two men that I know and me. Jeremiah has many characteristics that I have. Kiran and Tycho are loosely based on two of my best friends and Ben on my late grandfather. Bunejab isn’t really based on anyone. He just kind of popped into my head.
Character names - Chalice’ name is purposeful but the reader won’t know that purpose until the end of the trilogy (don’t want to give it away.) Jeremiah - this is a name I’ve always loved for some reason, so I chose it to be the hero’s name. All the other names just kind of popped into my head.

What is your work schedule like when you're writing?
I work a full-time job on a government project, Monday through Friday, so I cram in writing whenever I can. I always keep my laptop with me in case I get a flash of inspiration, which comes from time to time, and I have to write down what I’m seeing in my head before I forget. Sometimes I even get up in the middle of the night to jot down ideas. It drives me crazy.

It sounds like you keep busy! Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
What I find challenging is editing. Yuk! I hate editing.

I hear that from a lot of authors! How has your environment/upbringing colored your writing?
My work experience definitely comes out in my writing. It’s particularly obvious in book two, The Firelight of Maalda. I’ve worked at a lot of places where I dealt with secret classified data. One job was at a nuclear weapons lab in Livermore, CA, and the other, I worked downstairs in a basement vault on secret military stuff in Monterey, CA.

I grew up in a matriarchal family and I think that also comes out in my writing. In the story, The Legend of the Raie’Chaelia, there are a lot of strong female characters who are leaders and who take crap from no one.

How would you describe Raie'Chaelia to someone who has never heard of it?
The Raie’Chaelia is a coming-of-age story about a young girl who is thrown into a world that is strange to her after a young life of being sheltered and hidden. Along her journey, she discovers information not just about this world in which she lives but also about herself, and she meets some interesting characters along the way. She also comes across a true love that she has forgotten she had.

How did you come up with the ideas behind your books?
I’m not sure. I’ve always wanted to write a fantasy trilogy and I wanted to write about a strong heroine, too. The idea behind the world in which Chalice lives I’m pretty sure came from my work experience.

Who designs the covers for your books? What is your part in that as an author?
Charles Nemitz of Lucky Bat Books designed the covers for The Raie’Chaelia, The Vanishing, and The Journey Begins. He also designed the B&N cover for The Firelight of Maalda. Brielle Porter designed the Amazon cover for The Firelight of Maalda and she also did the cover for The Return, book three, which is being written right now. The cover she designed for book three is beautiful. It is here on my website:

My part in the process is that I give them a description of the cover I envision for the book and maybe a relevant excerpt from the text. Then, they try to create what I am describing. Both Charlie and Brielle integrated their own artistic vision into the covers as well and when they did, I found their ideas to actually be better than my own. So in between my vision and theirs, they both have created covers that I absolutely love and that I hope, the readers will love, too.

What were your feelings when you first saw the finished product of your first book?
Wow, that’s a good question. Disbelief for one. I couldn’t believe I had actually done it. I was also relieved, ecstatic, proud, grateful and worried. You know, a mix of emotions.

What do you do to unwind and relax?
I sit by the fire with a glass of wine and listen to an audiobook while I knit.

Can you share a little of your current work with us?
I am currently working on The Return, book three of the trilogy. I am also doing some editing for book one and writing a glossary with a pronunciation key to go in the back of book one, two and three. In addition to that, I’m getting ready for the blog tour for The Firelight of Maalda that starts this February. Details of the tour here:

What book are you reading now?
I’m finishing up several books: Outlander by Diana Gabaldon, Inheritance by Christopher Paolini, and Carrier of the Mark by Leigh Fallon.

Thank you for your time Melissa and for sharing your books with us!

Now for the giveaway…
Melissa is giving away copies of The Firelight of Maalda, book 2 in the Raie'Chaelia trilogy.  The Raie’Chaelia, book 1, and the prequels can be downloaded for free at Smashwords.

To get your copy of The Firelight of Maalda, follow Melissa in some way (your choice, see below) and leave a blog comment with your email address and tell us how you are following.  Giveaway ends March 1, 2012.

Melissa is also giving away a free Kindle in a drawing for her blog tour.  For information on that, just visit the tour stops listed here on Melissa's website:

To follow Melissa or find out more about her books:

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Author Interview - Elizabeth Lister

Author Elizabeth Lister stopped by our blog today to answer a few questions for us about her writing career, her books, and her life.

When and why did you begin writing? What inspired you to write male/male romance?

I’ve been writing since I was about fourteen and actually began writing down sex fantasies at that age, believe it or not. I only showed these stories to my girlfriends and they were entirely heterosexual. But I’ve always been drawn to gay men and attracted to the idea of two men being physically intimate together. It wasn’t until I started exploring fanfiction over the last few years that I discovered I wasn’t the only woman who enjoyed reading ‘slash’ (the term for m/m erotica in fanfiction). When I found a publisher who detailed exactly what kind of stories they wanted I just went with it. Luckily, they liked the first story I sent them and I’ve since had several more published.

When did you first consider yourself an author?

When my first e-book, Exposure, was published by MLR Press in June of last year. It happened just before my 42nd birthday and on my actual birthday, the 29th, I discovered that Exposure was available at Amazon. Now that was a cool birthday present!

Did you have a teacher in school who influenced or encouraged you?

I had two teachers that I can remember really encouraging me and, looking back, I know one was definitely gay and the other I strongly suspect was gay, which is very interesting. One was my drama teacher and he had me write one-act plays for the class to perform and encouraged me to enter a local playwrighting contest, where I received an Honorable Mention. The other was my English teacher and I remember him reading one or two of my stories to the class. They were both sweethearts.

How has your environment/upbringing colored your writing?

Well, my parents grew up in the fifties/sixties and my upbringing was very conservative. I do remember challenging my parents about their views on homosexuals and homosexual behaviour. I think my dad has come a long way but I think my mom still thinks of it as ‘deviant’ but that’s her problem. She’s always been very anti-sex unless it’s between a married man and woman. This definitely influenced me because it took until I was 42 to even consider publishing the erotic fiction that I knew I was good at writing.

What tools do you feel are must-haves for writers?

Well, obviously a good imagination; a good handle on grammar and spelling; a willingness to put yourself out there and let the public in on the secret workings of your mind; and, a confidence that you have something to say and a good way to say it.

Some authors say their characters are "real" to them. Is this the case with you?

Absolutely. When I’m writing a story, I’m seeing it in my head and really just following along and describing what is happening almost independently in my mind. Sometimes when I read over something I’ve written I can’t even remember writing it. The characters sort of take over and run with it.

Which character did you have the most fun writing? Do you like one more than the others?

The character of Jack in The Crush was a lot of fun to write. He’s young and sex-obsessed and a bit rude and very daring. He’s also a sweetheart who puts up a tough front to protect himself emotionally. It was fun watching the other character in The Crush, Michael, strip away Jack’s defenses and get to the heart of him.

And the character of Jeremy in Exposure will always be dear to me, because he has MS like I do and I just love his energy and enthusiasm and the way he draws Martin out of his shell.

Do you ever suffer from writer's block? If so, what do you do to get over it?

Well, I did get stalled on a project this fall. So what I eventually did was start on another project that I had been mulling over and that one took right off. I’m half way through a full-length novel now. Switching things up often helps.

You have written multiple books. Do you have a favorite?

I guess it would be Exposure because it was a work of faith and the first of my stories to be published.

What are you reading right now?

I’m reading a fascinating book that a friend gave me for Christmas called ‘Pleasure Bound – Victorian Sex Rebels and the New Eroticism’ by Deborah Lutz. It’s all about a group of artists who lived in the Victorian Era and challenged some of the status quo opinions about sex and morality and artistic expression. Really, really interesting.

What were your feelings when you first saw the finished product of your first book?

Thrilled to bits. When I originally found out that it was too short to go to print, I was disappointed. But by the time the e-book came out and I’d gone over the galleys and all the formats were done, it felt like a real book to me and I’m so proud of it. My next goal is to have a book actually go to print, so that I can hold a copy in my hands and say, ‘I wrote this.’

I guess the most exciting thing when Exposure came out was getting it onto my Kobo e-reader and seeing the cover come up on my reading list with all these other published books. Very cool!

You can find out more about Elizabeth Lister and her books on her website:

When 23 year-old Jeremy Trask wanders into Martin Lewis' photography studio one bleak October day and requests photos for a modeling portfolio, neither man is prepared for the immediate and intense attraction between them. What follows is a series of progressively intimate encounters that leads them on a scintillating erotic journey together. But Jeremy has a secret. Will his revelation destroy the burgeoning intimacy between them? Or will Martin rise to the challenge of loving a 'less than perfect' man?

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Jack Claridge’s sister, Amy, has a big crush on her English professor, Michael Donovan. When Jack agrees to accompany her on an outing with the object of her affection, the last thing he expects is the professor’s reaction to him. One surreptitious hand-job later and Michael is hooked. But will Jack ‘use him and lose him’ or does Jack care for the professor more than he thinks? And what will he tell Amy?

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Jack Claridge has been dating Professor Michael Donovan for a couple of months. When Michael discovers that Jack has never seen The Nutcracker, he insists on purchasing expensive seats for a performance by the prestigious Winnipeg Ballet. During the production, Jack and Michael relive their initial encounter at the National Arts Centre and experience a resurgence of the intense feelings that brought them together. What begins as a relaxing afternoon at the theatre ends up as a passionate exchange at Michael's apartment involving some early Christmas gifts and an unexpected proposal.

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