The Hunted of 2060 by Ami Blackwelder and Book Giveaway

Today please give a warm welcome to my guest Ami Blackwelder.  She writes paranormal and historical romance and is kind enough to offer one free copy to one of you lucky readers today of her Limited Edition of The Hunted of 2060.  Welcome Ami and thank you for stopping in.

The Giveaway:

One Lucky winner will win a Limited Edition copy of the novel above (only 20 have been printed), numbered and signed! Leave your comments at Live Journal to enter and join my blog
The standard copy cover is a wolf-girl and the limited edition cover is a bleeding eye.
The Hunted of 2060 was inspired by the idea of metamorphosis, prejudice and wildlife conservation. I had one of the best times as a writer, writing the character of April. Though she is different from humans on many levels, she is completely relatable emotionally and accessible.
The feedback from readers has been incredible. Most everyone loves the novel. Though females rend to enjoy the story more than males I noticed. Because the story is about a young women in college and the first third of the novel is about who she is and her relationships, females dive straight into the story without looking back. The feedback from the male perspective has been different. While the first third is well written, they don't get into the story until the Rogue Militia show up and become a more central part to the story.
Maybe the old adage is true. Women are relationship based and men are action based. In any event, male or female, I have been told this novel is well constructed and intriguing with original concepts. A quick, easy, and fun read. The summary is below and I have added an excerpt and so I hope you enjoy this sneak peak!
The novel will be sent to directors shortly in hopes of the novel hitting the big screen. Wish me luck and enjoy your reading!


America 2060.
Three Lovers. Two Species. One Way to Survive.
Summary: Set in Alaska in 2060, when April enters her sophomore year at University, she thought Robert might be the love of her life, but as she discovers, she is hiding something inside her, something the rest of the world believes to have died out. She struggles with who she was and who she is becoming as she learns of a family she never knew existed and of enemies she will have to outrun, outfight or outwit to survive. As April embraces her new identity, will she have to leave the life she loves behind?
With underlining themes of how prejudice breaks human connections and animal/wildlife conservation, this novel which has received rave reviews will leave the reader flipping through the pages of April’s story.
Appendages 1-8 are character pages.


I smelled a poignant odor, a mix of sweat and perfume, and heard the soft padding of footsteps approaching. I glanced up and noticed someone in the distance speeding across the grass and heading towards me. The tall figure, about my height, with an athletic build, wore a gray jacket, its hood covering the face. It was the only figure here in the late morning behind the building. Most students either stayed in their dorms or classes. The figure brushed past me, and in one flick, an invasive arm twisted around my neck from behind. I kicked. The air became hard to breathe. I tried to scream. Blackness.
* * *
I awoke in the middle of a forest. Alone. Waking up after falling unconscious was nothing new during the past six months, but never by someone else’s hand. My senses heightened. I heard everything, the crunching leaves trampled by bugs, the flitting of a bird’s wing. I smelled too much, a strange odor behind the trees, a fawn in the distance. Danger. Fear. Blood pulsated through my veins. I felt it swarm in me. My nails grew long and my hands began to ache. Hair pushed out of the pores on my hands and became silver gray fur. I fell to the soil beneath me and cradled my hands, clasping them with each other. The pain is worse. My lips tightened. My teeth ground. I screamed in agony. The odor from behind the trees moved forward. I smelled it shifting.

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Thank you for stopping in and chatting Ami.  It has been a pleasure learning about your book.  Please be sure to leave a comment for Ami for your chance to win :).  Don't forget to follow her along her virtual book tour for other chances to win great prizes too.

Denise Verrico's VBT Pit Stop

Today I'd like to welcome Denise Verrico,  author of Cara Mia,  Book One in the Immortyl Revolution Series.  Welcome Denise and thank you so much for stopping in.

Please tell us a little about yourself.....

I’m originally from the East Coast, but I currently live in Ohio.  My husband and I met doing theatre and have been married twenty years.  I have a punk-rocker son that I’m very proud of.  We’re all roller coaster fanatics.  Other than riding coasters, watching good movies is my favorite way to relax.  Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Being Human and Dark Shadows are my favorite paranormal TV shows.  My favorite rock group is Queen.  I have seven birds in the parrot family: an African Grey named Gromit, three cockatiels, Pippin, Galadriel and Toby and three budgies, Wacko, Yacko and Dot.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing? 

Trying to give the characters depth, yet not weigh down the narrative with too much introspection or description.  It’s tricky to show and not tell.  This is a challenge I also happen to like.

How do you develop your plots and characters? Do you use any set formula? 

I start with a general outline, but then some character will hijack it and take it to places I hadn’t foreseen.  I’m not a big plotter.  Creating characters is the part I love best.  They come to me after I’ve done some research or read something that really inspires me.  When I create a character, I go back to my training as an actor and do my homework.  I come up with a back-story, attitudes, likes, dislikes and mannerisms, both physical and vocal.  I also try to give everyone an occupation of some kind.  I ask myself questions.  How do they dress and move?  What are their relationships like?  How do they feel about and interact with the other characters.  Most importantly, what do my characters want?  What are their beliefs and motivations?  Conflict arises out of obstacles placed in the characters’ way.  Even minor characters have a story. 
The plot of Cara Mia evolved over time.  I had the Mia, Ethan and Brovik triangle roughed out, and then Kurt came into the picture, creating yet another triangle and shaking things up.  Then I became interested in biotechnology and came up with the idea of Mia and Kurt rebelling against their masters to take the secret of immortality to science.  The whole idea of the revolution and the “forbidden science” grew from that.

What drew you to write about vampires/paranormal romance/horror/science fiction? 

I’ve always found vampires fascinating because they reflect the dark side of humanity.  This is a life-long obsession of mine.  It’s always intrigued me how easily people can turn into monsters under extreme circumstances.  History is full of examples of man’s inhumanity to man.
I’d say my story is urban fantasy with sci fi elements, rather than paranormal romance.  Although Mia and Kurt’s romance and love for one another is an important component to their story, I’ve never really been into romance for romance’s sake, or the vampire as alpha male hero.  My heroine doesn’t need saving.  Oh, she makes plenty of mistakes and bad decisions.  She suffers a lot because of them, but she fights back. 

How do you keep your writing different from the vast variety of stories (in your genre) out there today? 

I try to think outside of the box (or is that coffin?)  What I’ve tried to do is build a unique world, while not entirely throwing out some of the legendary vampire attributes.  My vamps are still stronger and faster than ordinary humans, but they are biologically mutated rather than “undead”.  They can’t go out in the sun and must drink human blood, but the blood doesn’t have to come from live victims.  I turn to mythology, literature, history and science for inspiration.  My vampires live in a multi-layered society, with cultural customs and even a religion.  There are no werewolves or other supernatural beings in this world and no magical powers. 
In my opinion, the key is to create a fresh cast of characters that doesn’t follow the stereotypes.  A hero doesn’t have to be six-two and rugged to be tough.  Kurt is five-six and a hundred and thirty pounds soaking wet, but he’s smart and courageous.  He doesn’t treat Mia as a possession but an equal partner.  Also, characters don’t have to be likeable all the time.  Mia can be a bit snarky.  She’s a native New Yorker and doesn’t mince words. 

How did your title come into play?

Cara Mia is an endearment in Italian.  It means, my darling.  It’s something Mia’s father called her as a little girl.  Her master, Ethan also calls her this, but it takes on a sinister connotation.  Mia is a possessive pronoun, conveying his ownership of her.  Mia Disantini loosely means, my little saint. 

Can you tell us a little bit about the main characters and/or the plot in your book?
The book opens in 1986, with Mia badly beaten and cast out by Ethan in the middle of a winter night to fend for herself.  We see a seemingly helpless young woman who turns out to be neither young nor helpless.  It flashes forward to 2000, to the POV of Dr. Joe Ansari, a neuroscientist at Genpath Laboratories.  Joe is assigned to create a behavioral profile on Mia and her lover, Kurt who are imprisoned in separate cells in the facility.  Mia refuses at first to cooperate, but strikes a deal with Joe, who agrees to deliver messages between her and Kurt.  She tells Joe of a fifty-year journey, fraught with peril and intrigue that led her to Genpath.  But Joe begins to realize that there are details in the story Mia has left out, and he is caught in the middle of a dangerous struggle.

Mia is a strong and independent woman who chafes against a culture that assigns her the role of concubine.  In Kurt, she finds a strong yet compassionate man who loves her for the woman she is. 

Are you working on any projects right now? 

Book Three, Fearful Symmetry is going through critique with my writer’s group.  I’m on a third draft of Book Four, Ratopia and I’m kicking around two other novels. 

If you could leave readers with one legacy, what would you want it to be?  

I’d like to take the genre to a new place.  My mission is not only to entertain, but to also raise some questions about human nature.   That’s my lofty goal, but I do like to make people laugh as well. 

What advice would you give to writers just starting out in this genre?
I’m still learning myself, but first off, every writer should be a reader and not only in one’s genre.  A writer should read up on all sorts of subjects and observe the world around him or her.  Also, read books on writing.  Join a good critique group who is supportive, but not afraid to tell you when you’re off track.  I’ve worked with mine on books two and three, and I’ve learned a lot.  The free editing advice is priceless.  Don’t try to be like anyone else.  Use your unique experiences and knowledge to write an original story.  There is only one Anne Rice or Charlaine Harris and there is only one of you.  Perfect your craft and find your own niche.  Learn to present yourself and your project in a professional manner.  The one thing writers seldom know about at first is how the publishing industry works.  Research the kinds of publishers and find the right fit for you.  Go to sites like Predators and Editors to learn to avoid pitfalls. 

Is there a website that readers may find you at?

I’m at and my blog is

You can follow me at my Facebook fan page, Immortyl Revolution and on Twitter.  I’m also on Live Journal, Bitten by Books in the Blood Bank, Goodreads, Shelfari and I have an author page at  I’m a member of Authors Supporting Authors.

Thank you so much for stopping in and chatting with us Denise.  I wish you much success in the future.  Please be sure to leave a comment and follow Denise on the rest of her tour for your chance to win a copy of Cara Mia.

VBT Pit Stop with Cate Masters

Today author Cate Masters stops in to chat with us.  Thanks for joining us and welcome Cate. 

The ebook controversy 

I’ve read some far-fetched notions about ebooks these past few years. That they’ll destroy the integrity of the publishing industry. That they’ll never catch on. That the release of the iPad will revolutionize ebooks. 

Hmm. Sounds more like science fiction to me. Last week, a <a href=””>Publisher’s Weekly article</a> finally seemed to present a more balanced view.  

At the Future of Book publishing panel at the NY conference Untethered, PublicAffairs founder Peter Osnos said, “book publishing is not in deep crisis. We haven’t lost advertisers or subscribers because we never had them.” 

Interesting. Does digital publishing provide a challenge? Absolutely, to both big print pubs, and newer indie ebook pubs. The big print pubs need to decide how to integrate digital with traditional books – sell as a package, or individually? Pricing’s also an issue. Ebook pubs must deal with the challenge of establishing a reputation to rival the print pubs, and technology to stall pirates from siphoning away profits. Pirating’s an immense problem, and some readers don’t realize if they hand off a PDF to a friend, they’ve just stolen an author’s hard-earned wages. 

If new technologies arrive in waves, ebooks are a tsunami. In 2009, sales of ebooks rocketed 176.6%, according to the Association of American Publishers, while print sales declined. 

But how does this translate for the average reader? What does it all mean to you? I’d love to hear from you, the reader. Do you prefer print books? Do you own an ereader, or plan to purchase one? Are you more likely to read an ebook if it’s short, rather than a full-length novel? Do you believe ebooks less valuable than print books because they’re digital? 

As an author with several epublishers, I have a vested interest in your response. While some of my releases are available in print, most are digital. All went through the same submission (and sometimes rejection) process that the print pubs employ. The same grueling editing process. I couldn’t be more proud of them, even if published by Random House. I’m more excited with each release, and more hopeful readers will embrace them. 

Here’s an excerpt from <a href=”

“> Angels, Sinners and Madmen</a>, my historical romance adventure novel, due July 27 from Freya’s Bower. You can view the trailer at: 

   Her intense scrutiny made him uneasy.

   “Did someone hurt you? So much you distrust every other who shares her gender?”

   Her face, illuminated by the setting sun, appeared so innocent, so youthful. She could not possibly know of the terrible danger inherent in offering oneself to another. The intricacies of a relationship.

   “Yes.” The lone word revealed more than he had ever shared with anyone else. He stood rigid, unwilling to display himself further through any action or language.

   “Then I am truly sorry, Sam. To close yourself off in such a way you can never know happiness again. It makes me sad for you.”

   His laugh was hollow. “You needn’t pity me.”

   Her face hardened, her beautiful lips retreating to a thin, disapproving line. “No. You’re right. To choose such a life willingly is your own doing. You deserve no pity.”

   This was the kind of woman he was used to. Whose tender caresses turned to merciless clawing, so deep his very heart was at peril. “Such harsh words from one who would have me believe—”

   “I will not be so pathetic as to cling to false hope. To wait for you to sort out your feelings could take years.” She bowed her head. “I hold you to nothing, Sam. Forget yesterday, if you must.” She lifted her head to hold his gaze for a moment, perhaps waiting for him to open himself to her. In resignation, she turned and walked out.

   Stunned, Sam stood there, looking at the closed door.

   She knew him. She knew him completely, her sweet touch had divined his true self, had breathed into his mouth and captured the essence of his soul. Her openness, her honesty, entranced him more than her beauty.

   Yet he still could not move, could not will himself to go after her, confess his feelings.

   The sensation of being in Livvie’s arms could not be more opposite to his time with Helen. When Livvie looked at him, she exposed herself completely. Nothing else existed in the world. Her giving nature resulted from her feelings, and what she did not feel, she would not give. He knew it to be true.

   If Livvie left Key West, he would likely never meet another near her qualities. Her inquisitive nature inspired him to share his thoughts, his world. He trusted her reaction to be true, not a response designed to please him. Her skills of comprehension and analysis exceeded those of many educated men. Were it not for the constraints of society, Livvie could have risen to great power, if she’d aspired to.

   He had never encountered another girl like her. That was perhaps what frightened him most. Yet he still felt rooted where he stood, even as he saw, in his mind’s eye, her figure grow smaller and disappear altogether. One thought repeated in his head: I will never forget. 

Thanks for having me as a guest, BK! It’s been a pleasure. – Cate.

You're welcome and thanks for chatting with us.  Wishing you much success!  Please be sure to leave Cate a comment,  she is on virtual book tour,  so follow her tour and leave a comment at her pit stops for your chance to win a copy of her book.

Author SpotLight with Mary Muhammad

Ms. Muhammad is an award winning author of poetry and prose. She is the author of two children books, one being a tool to help parents discuss the issue of sexual abuse with their children and the other a chapter book of short stories filled with adventure. She has also her first young adult novel Love Laws which is the first
of two sequels and was nominated for the 2009 Cyblis Award. Her recent work being a work of poetry called Journeys of a Soul. Her first book of poetry released in 2007 titled "Echoes of an Era" was written in dedication to her mother. In early 2009 she among many authors, became apart of the Anthology "Forever Friends" which was edited and hosted by Shelagh Watkins who's also the author of Mr. Plane makers flying Machine and " The Power of Persuasion". Ms. Muhammad is currently a staff writer for Poetic Monthly Magazine as well as book review manag er. She is now the author of five bo oks. Her books are also available on Kindle.

Journeys of a soul is poetry that whispers romance,reveals the chnges of nature and cries the ills of society while wrapping you spiritually.

The Secret of Life

The secret to a joy filled life Is being able to embrace
and feel the embrace.
The beautiful sequential series of Events
and inter-personal relationships
Weaving themselves into one Grand majestic tapestry of diversity.
Synchronizing, coalescing and presenting
Themselves into one awesome universe--
So complete that not a single creature Is deprived of the pleasure and richness
We share and that gives us each,
The security and sustenance
Like a baby in the strong yet tender
and Nurturing embrace of a loving mother-
The sanctuary of an infant child neither
Unaware of it's purpose Nor yet inspired by it's potential.

***1/2 Review of Life Blossoms Like A Rose In Thorns

Life Blossoms Like a Rose in Thorns: When a Goddess Rose in Revolt in God's Own Country Life Blossoms Like a Rose in Thorns: When a Goddess Rose in Revolt in God's Own Country by Raghavan Jayaprakash

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Life Blossoms Like A Rose In Thorns by Raghavan Jayaprakash was an intriguing story.

Starting with the life of Smitha, a young Indian girl who believes that arranged marriages should no longer be as they were accustomed to. When her sister is arranged to be married, Smitha is angered by the fact that the husband is only out for her father's fortune.

Smitha is determined to break free from tradition, earning her education hoping to be the one woman who fights for all in India. When she learns of her brother in law's abuse toward her sister and their children, she refuses to be put in the same situation.

She earns her education, traveling to Ethiopa to teach. It is here that she stumbles upon a conversation for assassination of the president. Sure that no one will believe her, she takes her information to the guards, as she is even more sure that she cannot live with such knowledge should something happen that she could have prevented.

When she is taken seriously, and the President is saved, she is given instant leadership by the president, where she learns military skills and gains riches. Upon her return to home, she is presented with multiple marriage proposals.

Much to her surprise, one man she actually felt a connection with and they were married. To her surprise, he too had wealth, and was not only after hers.

They bore two children, who were told would be great in the world. Though both children were like night and day, they both grew to make their parents proud.

After the death of her husband from a tragic accident, Smitha mourns for over a year. It is when her brother summons them home that they return to their native land.

The boys, Bhaskar and Prem, both attend private school and excel at a rapid pace. Bhaskar falls in love, only to win a scholarship where he must leave his one true love Anna behind.

After years of being gone and becoming a world class heart surgeon, he is paid a visit from his mother and brother, who left training for the Olympics to see his brother. When they land there is a tragic accident that claims his brothers life. Heart broken and grieving, Bhaskar decides to call his lost love, only to learn she has married another.

The years pass, and Bhaskar is called to an emergency heart surgery to save a wealthy Indian. As he boards the plane he sees a familiar face. "Good Morning Anna, how are you my Dear?" Shocked at the appearance of one that Anna thought was lost forever, she is more than happy to see her long lost love. After the flight they get together where they talk of the past and learn neither is married. They both agree to wait no longer and marry in a private ceremony before Bhaskar is scheduled for surgery.

The surgery was a huge success, Bhaskar is deemed a hero, and the love between him and Anna only grows deeper.

This was a great story. The only thing I had a problem with was that there was no notice of change in character. This title is entirely in the first person, and switches to first person of another character with no advance notice. I loved to learn about how there is wish to change customs in India, and found Smitha a very strong and empowering woman. I think the story could have ended better, having Anna meet Smitha and seeing her reaction to an interracial marriage by her son.

I give Life Blossoms Like A Rose In Thorns ***1/2 (3.5) Stars, BK Walker.

View all my reviews >>

***** Review My Punishment by Spring Carrion

My Punishment by Spring Carrion was a phenomenal read.  Spring is a newly published young author that holds nothing back when it comes to her writing.

Aubrey had the perfect life.  A mother and father who found love in high school and loved their daughter with all they had.  Life couldn't have been much better for Aubrey.

That is until the day tragedy struck.  Aubrey and her dad were on their way to her dance lesson when they were struck from behind and pushed into oncoming traffic.  Sadly,  this accident claimed her fathers life.

Through the turmoil of grieving the loss of the man they both loved,  Aubrey's finds she cannot cope,  turning to the bottle for relief of her pain.  Little Aubrey blamed herself,  and so did her mother.

As the years go on,  Aubrey finds herself in a life of solitude.  Kids from school pick on her,  her mother is in her own world,  Aubrey has nowhere to turn.  Her mother doesn't deal with the loss of "her one true love"  continually blaming Aubrey,  and eventually taking it out on her physically.

Through more desolation,  Aubrey deals with becoming pregnant,  to deciding to take her own life.  Will Aubrey escape the darkness that is determined to consume her?

Find out in My Punishment.  Carrion did a fantastic job writing this title.  This title definitely stirred emotions.  You will feel your heart breaking for Aubrey as you follow her through her life.  You will find yourself angry,  sad,  and wishing you could do something to help this child.

I give My Punishment ***** (5) Stars,  and hope to see more from Spring Carrion as she has a beautiful way of enthralling the reader from the moment you read the first sentence.  ~BK Walker,


Learn more about this fantastic author - Spring Carrion

Purchase My Punishment - Amazon

BK Walker Books - All Rights Reserved

Vampires and more Vampires! Interview with Susan Hanniford Crowley

Today my guest is author Susan Hanniford Crowley.  Please give her a warm welcome as she discusses her books with us.  Thank you so much for stopping in today Susan. 

Please tell us a little bit about yourself....

<evil grin> Well, I'm a cross over author from science fiction and fantasy and could not resist the fun of hanging out with romantic vampires, amorous shapeshifters, and fascinating rare supernaturals of every kind.  That's why I'm a paranormal romance author.  I have a family and a day job.  I am the associate editor for a science fiction and fantasy magazine (not a romance venue), and I'm the founder of Nights of Passion blog. 

When did you realize you wanted to be a writer?

I was eight when I started writing stories.  I haven't stopped.  Writing makes me the happiest. 

What does your family think about you being a writer?  Are they supportive?

My family is very supportive.  I've been married for 31 years to the same romantic guy and he was all for my cross over.

When you were a child what did you want to be?

I wanted to be a writer and an actress.  I tried acting and it wasn't for me.   Writing is like breathing.  I will always be a writer.

Can you tell us a little bit about your book?

The Stormy Love Life of Laura Cordelais is my debut novel.  Right now it's an ebook available at All Romance Ebooks, in Kindle at Amazon books, and at fine ebook stores everywhere.  I'm awaiting the print release.

It's about Laura Cordelais, a young woman in New York who is dumped by her fiancé, finds out her mother died in New Orleans, and is robbed so she can't get to the funeral all in the same few hours.  Something inside her loses hope and she climbs out over the railing of the Brooklyn Bridge.  But as she looks into the dark river below, Laura changes her mind.  Then she slips and plummets into the river.  In her last moments, she asks God for help.

Vampire David Hilliard begs God to have mercy on his loneliness.  Then her pain rushes into him like a heart attack (only vampires don't have heart attacks) and he has a vision of her falling.  He plunges into the East River to save her.  Laura is so badly injured that David has only one choice.

Laura doesn't know that she's inherited her mother's Telkhine powers, her line blessed by Zeus.  David doesn't realize that loving Laura dooms them both to an underworld of voodoo and sorcery.  Dark forces tear these deeply passionate lovers apart.  Is he willing to die to save her?

THE STORMY LOVE LIFE OF LAURA CORDELAIS is part of the Vampires in Manhattan series.

What draws you to write about vampires?

I love mysterious creatures.  I've always loved vampires.

How do you keep your writing fresh and different from the current writings in this genre?

I do a lot of research into obscure mythologies and interweave rare supernaturals in with the vampires, shapeshifters, and werewolves.  I also like to take situations in contemporary life and make them unusual.   Every story builds upon the next.

In WHEN LOVE SURVIVES (prequel), Gregor, a shapeshifter, pulls Regina, a half leprechaun/half elf, into a coffee shop minutes before the first plane hit the World Trade Center.  They fall in love as they work to rescue others.
The ebook is available at

In A VAMPIRE FOR CHRISTMAS (sequel), Trevor Stenwood, vampire and Arnhem Knight, is tongue-tied around Georgia Blake, who is marked for death by demons.  Georgia doesn't know she has a supernatural gift.  All she knows is there's a strange man staring at her and she thinks he's a stalker.  How is Trevor going to protect her if she's afraid of him?  LOL

The ebook is available at

This book introduced the secret society of vampires in New York called the Arnhem Society. The Arnhem Knights, their enforcement arm, work to protect humans from death by vampires and give assistance to supernaturals in need.

If you could have a power that a vampire is known to have, what would it be?

I think it would be grand to fly.  If I could fly, I would go someplace new everyday.  It would be easier planning trips that way too.  

Any upcoming events you'd like to share with us?

I'm going to be interviewed next on June 15th at Immortyl Revolution on my virtual blog tour.

For the complete list of the blog tour, visit my personal website:

I will be at Authors After Dark Romance Unlimited Convention on September 17-19 in Secaucus, New Jersey.  It's going to be the most outrageous time, a booklover's delight.  Here's the link to all the action:

How can readers connect with you?

They can visit me at
Or my blog:

Any parting comments?

Brandi, I had a blast.  Thanks so much for inviting me.  I leave you with this little surprise.
I have a tentative release date for a new book:  VAMPIRE IN THE BASEMENT on July 15th.  It's a sequel to WHEN LOVE SURVIVES and features two exciting new characters.  It's a supernatural/vampire romance with comedic elements.  <evil grin> 

Thank you so much for taking time to chat with me today.  It is has been so much fun chatting with.  Please be sure to check out Susan's books and her website to follow along her virtual book tour,  leaving a comment at her various pit stops for your chance to win a copy of one of her books.

Lee Libro is Swimming With Wings

Today my guest is Lee Libro.  Lee is the author of Swimming With Wings,  and just had a birthday not too long ago...Happy Belated Birthday Lee.  Thank you so much for being with us today.
Please tell us about yourself....
I’m a visual artist and writer who has worked for a decade in Corporate Marketing Communications and then the following decade as an editor of Foreign Language Translations, both great jobs, but even though I was using my college degree, I never felt quite fulfilled. The time I had to spread out between working off site for a company and my homelife rarely permitted any indulgence of painting or writing. For the last six years, however, I’ve been a real estate assistant for my husband and with the flexible schedule it allows me I’ve been able to pursue my creative passions more freely. Together we have five children so life is always very busy, but they are getting older now. I guess you could say I’m sort of feathering the growing empty nest with the “children” I produce in the form of paintings and books.
Can you tell us about your book?
“Swimming With Wings” is my first novel. Up until this book I had written articles and short stories. This novel is actually a spin-off of a short story I wrote several years ago. It’s about three characters brought together by a tragic drowning event in their family history. Meet Salvatore Roma, a mystical light healer; his grandson, Peter Roma, a suspected gypsy, turned evangelist; and Lark Jennison, an eccentric teenaged orphan who thinks she has wings. 
When Lark falls in love with Peter, she finds in him an equal, but is soon disturbingly set on a collision course with his fanaticism. The drowning accident that had killed their father remains a mystery, a harbinger of ill feelings between the Romas and the Jennisons.  Is Peter Roma, a scammer, a real gypsy or Lark's personal savior? To protect her, Lark’s older brother sends her to art school in Maine, the home state of their mother’s family. Peter follows and as his evangelical zeal grows, he violently rejects Lark’s free-thinking ways considering them a danger to their souls. 
Woven into the story are vignettes from Salvatore Roma’s life from his childhood in Italy to the present day. These tell the story of how he became a light healer. He spoke in tongues spontaneously as a child in Italy and was scorned by the Catholic priest in his village church. Later he develops other spontaneous symptoms of being “connected with the light”.  His story backlights the struggle between Peter and Lark’s to illuminate the rising tide of the new age of their present day (1970’s – 1980’s). Peter has inherited his grandfather's abilities but his “being saved” interpretation of this leads him into cult and a world of corruption. Through it all Lark and Peter remain in love, but in the end who will save who?
What inspired you to pen Swimming With Wings?
I was inspired to write Swimming With Wings because these characters just came to life one day. Each of them represents the various belief systems that I’ve been exposed to throughout my life and I think many people struggle to balance mainstream religion with the pursuit of higher consciousness and spirituality. I was raised a Baptist in the deep south and then moved to New England and California where I became interested in Unitarian thought, Buddhism and New Age spirituality. Swimming With Wings is a reflection of that journey.
Do you relate to any of your characters in any way?
I relate to all three of them and I think it’s hard for a writer not to relate to them. You either empathize or polarize with your characters but no matter how you look at it that’s a relationship. They spring from you so there’s no denying that they are you on some level.
Gypsies and free thinkers are a big part of your book.  Did you have to do a lot of research on those topics?
Free thinkers, not so much, because I consider myself a free thinker, which really I define pretty broadly as anyone who challenges the status quo of philosophy presented in mainstream religion. However, I did have to do a lot of research on gypsies. But I didn’t have to go very far to research gypsies, because one of the largest settlements of Irish Traveler’s lies just outside of my hometown in Georgia. They lead a very sequestered existence though and as you’ll find in the story the “gypsies” in Swimming With Wings, the enclave of families that sprouted up around Salvatore Roma, are “river gypsies”, a label they dubbed themselves with after being repeatedly mistaken for the real gypsies, just an example of how small town gossip sometimes can take over and effect the cultural reality. 
What do you hope your readers will take away from your novel?
Just a good read and some themes that might resonate with them. 
What dreams have been realized as a result of writing Swimming With Wings?
The dream of completing a novel-length story and seeing it in print,without a doubt, has been realized. The hard work to not just complete it, but to polish it, working with editors reworking it literally thousands of times and persevering to the end has helped me cross a threshold in my writing. It’s been a learning process and now I have more confidence in my ability to do it again so I already have two other works in progress…one of which will be my NaNoWriMo project this fall. I know that the Nanowrimo results, (spewing out 50,000+ words in 30 days) will need major editing after the fact, but it will be a great jumpstart on productivity. The 30 day NaNoWriMo writing challenge will put the fire under me and after that I know I’ll be in a state of constant editing and reworking for quite some time.
What advice can you give to aspiring writers?
I’ve learned that the best approach to writing is to be loose and let things flow; the first draft doesn’t have to be so perfect and in fact, there’s no way it can be, so just let go. That being said, once you have a first draft, get as much manuscript evaluation as you can, through first draft readers, reading aloud, participating in critique groups or hiring editors for manuscript evaluations. And even after you think you’ve got it polished, polish it some more. 
What, in your opinion,  is the biggest mistake writers make?
I think the biggest mistake that writers make is thinking they can publish a book without anyone’s help. The self-publishing industry provides a wonderful new level of freedom to publish, but unless the writer ensures their quality of writing, I’m afraid self-published authors will continue to struggle for clout with bookstores and other distribution channels. No matter how good your writing is, you need to employ outside readers, paid or non-paid, evaluators and editors, at some stage of the process and you need to continually ask yourself how can I improve? 
What do you like to do outside of writing? 
Read! I read constantly and review books for my blog and also as the book editor for The Paper Magazine out of Houston. 
Paint! I paint in watercolors and acrylic on canvas and occasionally exhibit although I haven’t inover a year. 
Workout! I stay pretty fit by working out just about every day. I got into the bootcamp kick and the rigors of it are enough to make you want to stop, but then when you  see progress there’s no going backward. You put in such hard work that you don’t want to undo it and make the pain be in vain. 
Beach! I also like to go to the best beach in the whole world here where I live, Siesta Key Beach! 
What is one thing readers might be most surprised to know about you?
That I was widowed young. My first husband died in his thirties of a sudden heart attack. That was the most devastating event in my life and the most defining. It made me realize how precious and short life is and that’s why I’m a multi-tasking, hyperactive over-achieving drill sergeant of my creative expression.
Thank you so much for stopping in.  
I’m happy to be here on your site today and thank you for hosting my interview.



Can you handle horror? Interview with author David Fingerman

Please give a warm welcome to one of my favorite authors,  David Fingerman.  David has a compilation of short stories currently on the market titled,  "Edging Past Reality".  He will soon be releasing his novel "Silent Kill". 

Welcome David and thank you so much for stopping in.

Please introduce yourself....

Hi Brandi. I'm a life long resident of Minnesota, and every fall I try to make it up to the north shore. I can't think of a place on earth I'd rather be in autumn than atop the cliffs overlooking Lake Superior or bopping around on The Gunflint Trail. As for my writing life - I've always loved the written word, despite what four years of college did to quash that interest.  After graduating from the U of Minnesota, I fell into a job with the Hennepin County Court system.  I figured I'd stay there maybe a year or two until I figured out what I wanted to do with my life.  It took me a little longer than that - around twenty-four years, but I finally figured it out.  I wanted to write.

Tell us about your work.....

I've been writing short stories for a number of years with a moderate amount of success.  They are mostly horror and speculative fiction.  I love writing short stories - by the time I get sick of looking at them (after all the editing and rewriting), I'm done.   My first book, "Edging Past Reality" is a collection.  After I left the courts, I concentrated on writing novels.  So far I've completed "Silent Kill" (I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it will be released sometime next month),  "Spyder," (hoping it will be out by the end of the year, but who knows?), and "Playing the Hand She's Dealt."  That one just got accepted.

Is horror the only genre you choose to write?

Nope.  A number of stories in "Edging Past Reality" wouldn't be considered horror.  "Silent Kill" is classified as a suspense/thriller.  "Spyder" is more of an urban adventure.  "Playing the Hand She's Dealt" is a mystery.  That being said, I'm in the process of writing a novel (I'm about halfway through the first draft) that is true blue horror.

If you couldn't be a writer,  what would you want to do?

Now that's scary!  Hmmm, it would have to be something creative.  I was in a rock band back in high school and early college.  That's a lifestyle I could certainly learn to love and abuse.

What about the horror genre pique's your interest?

As far as the supernatural aspect of it - who knows what might be on the other side?  Whatever it might be, I'm fascinated by all the possibilities.   I've also always been curious about the workings of the mind.  What circuit shut off that would make it okay, and even pleasurable, to torture and/or kill another human being (or in my case, want to scare the bejeebies out of them with my stories)?

What is the first horror book/story you ever read?

I don't remember the name of the story, or the author.  I was about ten years old (give or take a couple) and read a short story about a boy who was raised in the country by his grandmother.  They were vegetarians.  When his grandmother died, the boy went into the city and ate meat for the first time.  He was so impressed that he had to discover how it was made so he went on a tour to the slaughterhouse.  (SPOILER ALERT)  He ended up being taken with the pigs for slaughter.

What was the book that made you decide that was the genre you wanted to write in?

See above answer.  That story is still with me after all these years!!!

Do you ever come up with anything so wild that you scare yourself?

Only because it makes me question my mental health.

What is your favorite horror novel?

So many good ones.  I think my sentimental favorite would have to be "Pet Sematary" by Stephen King.  That was the first horror novel I read and it got me hooked.  But the one that really made me go 'ewwww' would be Clive Barker's "Books of Blood." Although, that's not a novel but a collection of short stories.

What is your favorite horror movie?

I've seen the original Frankenstein a number of times and still love it - I guess I'd have to go with that.  I'm also a sucker for a good zombie movie.  Romero's 'Night of the Living Dead' is classic.  But I also can't see 'Shaun of the Dead' too many times.  Well, maybe I can, but I haven't got there yet.  And once every few years I can't resist watching 'Hellraiser' (just the first one).  Um, you only asked for one, huh?   Sorry.

Do you feel any competitive pressure from horror films?  If not,  why not?

None at all.  I'm way too naive about the film industry to feel pressure.  Maybe one day if one of my stories is ever made into a movie I might start feeling it.  I like to think my horror is unique.  I've actually trashed a couple of my stories because I saw something that was too similar on the screen, but not similar enough that I could sue for plagiarism (I am paranoid about plagiarism and shudder at the thought that one day it might happen to me - and NO - I would never plagiarize someone else's work - but that doesn't mean someone might not think so.  It's happened a number of times to other writers).  But I digress.

What draws people to horror novels?

It's got to be mass hypnosis.  I can't think of any other explanation.

Why do you think we as readers like to be scared?

Speaking for myself, it gets the heart pumping, the blood flowing and it's much easier than exercise.  It also makes me realize that my life ain't so bad.  I might be behind on bills and my car is in the shop, but at least I'm not surrounded by zombies, monsters, or sadistic murderers.

Where do you as an author draw the line on gory descriptions?

When it stops adding to the story.  Sometimes a certain amount is needed to set the scene, add tension, feel the characters pain, or maybe even make the reader go "ewwww."  But gratuitous gore just makes a story boring and will desensitize a reader, especially if you want to make them feel pain or dread or whatever later on.   "Yeah, I get it.  There's lots of blood and guts scattered around.  (Yawn)  Can we move on now, please?"  Even worse, I don't want my reader to start laughing while I'm trying to scare the hell out of them.

The perception of the horror writer is that he/she is just a little bit weirder than most.  Do you find yourself - and other horror writers - to be more idiosyncratic than the average person?

I won't speak about other horror writers, but as for me - oh yeah!  A few people have told me I'm very weird.  Most others aren't nearly so tactful.  A very small example of my sense of humor is when I used to work in court.  One day a woman was caught shooting up in the lady's room right next to the courtroom used to hear all the drug cases.  I'm sorry - I find that hilarious (maybe you had to have been there).

Any parting comments?

T'is such sweet sorrow.

Thank you so much for taking time to chat with us today.

Thank you so much for having me.

David is on virtual book tour with Authors Supporting Authors,  so please be sure to leave a comment today for your entry to win a copy of Edging Past Reality.  Follow David along his tour,  leaving a comment for him at each pit stop for extra entries.  You can find David's schedule on his website at  

Be sure to watch for David's upcoming release,  Silent Kill! 

A Taste of Immortality with Katie Salidas

Today I welcome Katie Salidas.  Thank you so much for being here Katie,  it is such a pleasure.  Katie is the author of Immortalis Carpe Noctem,  and her newest title,  House of Immortal Pleasures,  which will be releasing June 1, 2010.  

Katie is discussing Vampires......

Vampires have been legend since the dawn of time. Stories and myths can be found in the most ancient of civilizations. They have proven time and time again that they a have sticking power. They go through cycles of hot and cold but over the centuries, they have never gone away.


I think one of the things that keeps the vampire genre so popular is the fact that they grow with the times. The vampire. He/She is so versatile. They can be both good and evil and on many occasions, some shade of grey in-between.


But, with the recent surge in vampire popularity, it's not enough to just write a vampire story. You have to give a little oomph to it. Lots of people make fun of the “sparkly vampires in Twilight. Like them or not, they are a perfect example of this concept. Mrs. Meyers did something different. She took an old idea and added a fresh twist. The same applies with the Southern Vampire Mysteries aka the Sookie Stackhouse series. In those stories, the vampires are “out of the coffin.” That is quite the turnaround from regular vampire tradition.


Point being, the market is hugely competitive at the moment; so, to stand out, you have to have something to give your audience that they might not get with another story.


We all know the standard vampire themes: Vampires cannot handle sunlight, crosses (or any holy relics for that matter) are a great deterrent, garlic is supposed to be toxic, and a stake through the heart makes a good killing weapon.


When writing my story, I asked myself, why? Why can't vampires handle the sunlight? Why do holy relics bother them? I wanted to give the reader a real, solid reason behind the answers to these questions. I wanted to make my vampires real enough to step out of the pages.


With all that in mind, I wanted to take it a little slower and really deliver a story that let you experience, with the main character, the transformation from human to full fledged vampire. While reading, I wanted you, the reader, to learn what it takes to be a vampire; you will experience the gut wrenching feeling of blood lust. You will make your first kill. You will feel the high and experience the guilt. If you can get over that, you will learn to hone your new supernatural abilities. In the end, you might even like being a creature of the night.

Katie,  thank you so much for stopping in.  I am very excited for your new release.  Be sure to watch for House of Immortal Pleasures,  it's going to be another fantastic read by Katie.

Katie is also on virtual book tour.  Please be sure to check out her website for her schedule of dates,  purchase her books,  and learn more about her at

Leave a comment here for her today for your entry to win a copy of her book.