Friday, February 24, 2012

Fun Fridays: Q&A with author Dee J. Adams

These days it's difficult for me to find time to sit down and actually read a book, so I often rely on audiobooks to get my storytime fix. It doesn't seem that long ago since I began and finished the audiobook of Dangerous Race by Dee J. Adams, and today I started listening to its just-released sequel, Danger Zone. I loved the first book, which was an entertaining blend of romance, suspense and action-adventure, and Danger Zone sounds like it's going to be a worthy predecessor, which is why I invited Dee to be my Q&A guest today.

Danger Zone:
In her ten-year career as a stuntwoman, Ellie Morgan has experienced her share of thrills. None compares to the rush of being behind the wheel of a race car for her latest movie shoot. Certain she was born to race, Ellie’s ready to shift gears—but a secret from her past holds her back.
Quinn Reynolds is tired of being in the driver’s seat of his family’s company, Formula Racing Design. He’s ready to sell—if he can get his co-owner and brother, Mac, to agree. Quinn’s not sure what he wants to do with his future, but almost as soon as he meets Ellie, he knows he wants her to be part of it.
Though Ellie tries to resist her attraction to the charming businessman, she’s quickly in danger of losing her heart. But after narrowly escaping “accidents” both on and off the set, it becomes clear that getting involved with Quinn could be downright deadly...

Angela: I have to start off by saying I really loved reading Dangerous Race and have been eagerly anticipating its sequel, Danger Zone! I'm listening to the audiobook now, in fact. What inspired this series?

Dee: Thank you! And thank you for letting me play in your sandbox today. I’m really jazzed to be here. So, to answer your question… Dangerous Race was inspired by my visit to the Indianapolis 500. There was only one female in the race that year and I wondered what kinds of obstacles a woman might have to endure in such a male-dominated sport. Danger Zone came later when Quinn kept asking for his own HEA. He was tired of bed hopping and needed a stable gal to reel him in. Though racing is prevalent in both books, it’s not the through line of the series. Anything that gets the blood pumping is what drives this series.

Angela: How many books are you planning in the series? Which one was your favorite to write?

Dee: I’m halfway through a fourth book now, but I don’t have a specific number in my head. My favorite … wow, that’s a tough one. Like asking who your favorite child is. LOL. I may have to go with Danger Zone because it revolves around an industry I love. Show business has been a huge part of my life for twenty-five years. And there’s the fact that I got to narrate it, so it’s close to my heart for that reason. I was able to tell this story the way I want people to hear it. That is immensely satisfying!

Angela: I think it's awesome that you narrated the audiobook of Danger Zone! And although I'm only a few chapters in, I can say with sincerity that you've done a terrific job. Congratulations! What was that experience like?

Dee: It was AMAZING! I was so nervous, but I had such a great time. It had been years since I’d been in a recording studio, but I guess it’s like riding a bicycle… it all came back to me. It was a huge challenge to speak slowly because I’m normally such a fast reader. Anytime I made a mistake and had to stop, the director would say, “You’re doing great, just slow it down a tiny bit more.” I think the poor guy must have said it a dozen times in the course of the four-day session. And I’d always shake my head because that was my biggest fear. (Or at least one of them!)

Angela: Flash forward five years from the end of your book: What do you think your main characters have been up to?

Dee: That’s easy. (I’m thinking about Danger Zone here.) Ellie is one of the top race car drivers in the business with millions of dollars of endorsements and Quinn has opened a chain of his schools designed to help students with learning disabilities.

Angela: So tell us, what are you working on next?

Dee: Right now I’m finishing the edits for Dangerously Close due in July. Then it’s back to work on a potential fourth book in the series. I’m about sixty percent finished, so there’s still a ton of work to do.

Let’s get to know Dee the person with these questions:
Angela: Are you a member of any TV show/film/book fandoms?

Dee: Nope. Clearly I’m hugely boring.

Angela: Nah, hardly boring! What’s the last book you read?

Dee: I just finished an ARC of Suzanne Brockmann’s Born to Darkness, the first book in her Fighting Destiny series. Holy cow…it might be my new favorite Brockmann book to date. I can’t recommend it highly enough. I couldn’t put that puppy down.

Angela: If you could spend one day as any fictional character, which one and why?

Dee: Oh, man, another tough one. Okay, I know this is lame, but I can’t come up with one specific name, but I can tell you what she’s made of and why. I would be any kick-ass female who can save herself and her man. She can throw a punch or wear a gown with equal parts perfection. She’s smart, funny, loyal and an animal lover who gets along with men and women alike. So any fictional character who fits that bill, is who I’d like be for a day.

Angela: Celebrity crush?

Dee: George Clooney

Angela: Hobbies?

Dee: I love to read. And love to cheer my kid on in sports. I like the occasional racket ball or tennis game every once in a while. I wish I had more hobbies, but I don’t seem to have the time.

I want to thank Dee for stopping by today and sharing her thoughts with us! The Danger series is now available for purchase on the Carina Press website and ebooksellers everywhere. You can also connect with Dee in the following ways: Twitter | Website | Facebook.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Aw, do I have to?

In a mood of faith and hope, my work goes on. A ream of fresh paper lies on my desk waiting for the next book. I am a writer, and I take up my pen to write.
- Pearl S. Buck
I'm calling it. Waiting is the hardest part about being a writer. First, you wait for inspiration. Then you wait for your fingers to catch up with your thoughts. And then you wait to reach the words every writer loves and hates at the same time -- The End.

At least when you're doing that, you're usually writing. For me, the worst part of being a writer is the seemingly endless waiting between querying an agent/editor/publisher and getting a response. I think the average time -- if you get a reply at all -- is 12 weeks. Suppose you get a reply (and again, you should consider yourself lucky). It's usually a request for either a partial or a full manuscript and synopsis. Then you wait to hear something from that, which seems to be anywhere from 12 weeks (if you're incredibly lucky) to an entire year, with the average falling somewhere in between.

That's where I am right now, with my sophomore book, tentatively titled The Hybrid. Two publishers now have requested fulls after reading the partial, and now, I have to wait and see what happens.

So what do I do in the meantime?

Well, I'm a writer. I'll trudge on through the next two books I currently have in progress, and try to forget about the one currently on the crowded desks of editors somewhere.

What about you? How do you handle that tedious waiting period between querying and reply?

Friday, February 17, 2012

Fun Fridays: Q&A with Finding Bigfoot's Cliff Barackman

For those of you who have read my book, Cry Wolf, it will come as no surprise that I am fascinated by the subject of cryptozoology - the study of as-yet undiscovered animals believed to exist by many, such as Bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster and, of course, werewolves. Last July, when my always skeptical best friend told me there was a new show on Animal Planet that I absolutely had to watch because she loved it, I too became hooked on Finding Bigfoot and the antics of the four researchers featured on the show. There's Matt (a longtime Bigfoot researcher), Ranae (a biologist and skeptic), BoBo (who is the group's Bigfoot stand-in during reenactments), and Cliff (who analyzes the evidence obtained on each investigation).

When I read on his bio on the Animal Planet website that Cliff Barackman became interested in Bigfoot after spending hours at the library, reading books about the legend, I knew I wanted to invite him to do a Q&A with me, since books and reading obviously impacted him in a big way. I also have to admit, there are some aspects of the show that remind me of my novel (which was written and contracted long before I ever saw an episode of the show!) Being the awesome guy he is, Cliff agreed to let me pick his brain.

Angela: Thanks for agreeing to this, Cliff! I have to start off by saying I am a big fan of Finding Bigfoot, and while my book isn’t about the hunt for a Bigfoot, it does contain a plot where two reporters are trying to track down another cryptid, and Bigfoot is mentioned a number of times. I’ve long been fascinated by the field of cryptozoology, and I read numerous books on the subject before writing my fictional story. Mind if I ask what led you to pursue cryptozoology?

Cliff: Like most little boys, I was always interested in monsters of all sorts. I grew up in the 1970’s, and was absolutely hooked on the “In Search of…” style of TV shows that were very prevalent then. I kept up my interest in that sort of “weird” stuff throughout my adolescence, but my interest really bloomed when I was in college. I had a couple hour break between classes, so I’d wander through the library reading books on interesting subjects. One day I stumbled upon a collection of scholarly papers written on the sasquatch. I devoured that book, and went to the next bigfoot book, and so on. Soon thereafter, I started doing field research, and I have never stopped. 

Angela: You’re the team’s evidence analyst. How many sightings get reported to you in a year, and how do you decide which ones deserve investigating for the show? 

Cliff: I get dozens of reports sent to my website ( every month. Very few of them get properly investigated because of time and man power. Unlike the BFRO, which has a couple hundred members across the continent, I am a one-man website. I read every report, but unless the encounter was very recent, or was in my own areas of study, I don’t really have the time to look more deeply. I wish I did, but I’m pretty busy with the show, answering emails (hours every day), and trying to live a normal life, whatever that means for a bigfooter…

Angela: Personally, I live in South Carolina. Have you ever heard of any Bigfoot sightings in S.C.?

Cliff: Yes, there are bigfoots in South Carolina. The entire length of the Appalachian Mountains have a long history of reports.

Angela: I’ve always wanted to use a thermal imager. What is your favorite Squatch-hunting device to use? 

Cliff: My favorite device for fun would be the thermal imager, but the most useful device would be an audio recorder. Therms show you what you cannot see, but the easiest way to come back with some data would be the audio recorder. 

Angela: Your team seems to have a lot of fun saying “Squatch” and “That’s very Squatchy” on the show. Is that something unique to Finding Bigfoot, or are they common phrases in the Bigfoot community?

Cliff: “’Squatch” has been used for years, but you’ll notice in the shows that I don’t tend to use that term very often. I prefer “sasquatch” or “bigfoot.” The term has become more common as of late, and I guess that’s probably because of the show, but I’ll stick to the longer, more cumbersome words for now. I also tend to say “crocodile” instead of “crock” too. Maybe it’s the teacher in me...

A still from the famous Patterson/Gimlin film.
Angela: Out of the investigations the Finding Bigfoot team has done so far, which one was your favorite?

Cliff: My favorite was going back to the Patterson/Gimlin Film Site with Bob Gimlin himself. Just to ride horseback with Bob would have been thrilling, but to head down to the film site on horseback with Bob was a highlight of my life.

Angela: I just have to ask this...If you and the team ever came face to face with a Bigfoot on camera, what do you think your initial reaction would be? And really, what would you do with a Bigfoot if you found one?

Cliff: I think I would honestly be afraid, but really excited. They are big, wild creatures that could easily hurt me, though I don’t think it would. If I “found” a bigfoot (whatever that means), I would try to observe it and learn about it through my observations. Then I would try to “find one” again.

Angela: What do you tell skeptics who refuse to believe animals such as Bigfoot exist?

Cliff: I encourage skeptics to be skeptical, but to at least look at the data that’s out there before coming down on either side of the argument. I don’t bother trying to convince others of anything. I kind of don’t care what others think or believe. Bigfoots are real, and their reality doesn’t depend on anyone’s belief, not even my own.

Angela: Do you think you will ever write a book on the subject of Bigfoot?

Cliff: I suspect I will. The future’s a bit hard to see, though. I’m not even sure what I’m up to tomorrow…

I want to say a HUGE thank you to Cliff for visiting my blog today, and if you haven't watched this show on Animal Planet, I highly recommend it. Whether you believe in Bigfoot or not, it's highly entertaining and addictive! It airs Sundays at 10 p.m. EST on Animal Planet. Visit Cliff's website to learn more about his research.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Fun Fridays!: Valentine's Giveaways

I’m making real headway with my contemporary romance, and it’s put me in a good mood. I love writing stories that make me smile when I spend time with my characters! I’ve also consulted an expert to help me dig deep into one of my character’s minds a little more. A pet psychic — Angela Moore — who has been featured on national radio, television and more. 

That’s right. One of my new stories features some fluffy characters who are really stealing the spotlight (and plot) right out from under their humans. 

They’ve put me in such a good mood, I’d love to celebrate by giving away a prize to one of my lucky blog followers, just in time for Valentine's Day coming up next week. Now this is where it might get a little confusing, because I'm part of TWO giveaways going on this week. The first one - my own personal giveaway - is for a $20 Amazon gift card. There are two ways to win the prize in my personal giveaway. One, simply follow my blog to be automatically entered, or leave a comment below telling me a little about your favorite animal or pet. You can enter until midnight Feb. 14, and I'll announce the winner on Wednesday.

I'm also one of the contributing authors at the Here Be Magic blog, which is holding a Valentine's giveaway of its own.

From February 10th until February 14th at 8:00 p.m., anyone who visits Here Be Magic and comments on the Giveaway post will be automatically entered to win that special something dear to every reader's heart - gift cards for books! Here Be Magic is offering two gift cards to you, our special Valentines, one for $50 and one for $25 to Barnes & Noble or Amazon. (Winner's choice!)

Just click on the banner above to visit Here Be Magic blog and enter that separate contest.

Two chances to win! What could be better than that?

Friday, February 3, 2012

Fun Fridays: Q&A with author Shawna Thomas!

I have to be honest. I bought my copy of "Altered Destiny" because of its cover. I mean, look at it. It's awesome. Anyway, I'm glad I did, because I loved this story. It has some romance, lots of fantasy, and a very cool and creative premise.

"Altered Destiny" follows the story of Selia, who has run her family's tavern since she was 15 and can hunt and fight the equal of any man. (For my fellow Hunger Games fans, yes, Selia and Katniss would totally make great hunting buddies and kick lots of tail together). When Selia rescues a badly wounded man and nurses him back to health, she has no idea she's about to change not only her life, but also the destinies of two peoples…

The battered warrior is Svistra—a race of bloodthirsty savages determined to destroy her homeland. Or so the stories claim. Jaden reveals a different truth: how his ancestors were driven into the barren northern mountains. Now they are strong and war parties are pushing south wanting their land back.

The son of a Svistra Commander, Jaden is looking for a way to bring peace to both humans and Svistrans. He tries to ignore his growing passion for Selia, but when she is captured he has to decide what he would be willing to sacrifice to save the woman he loves…

Shawna Thomas is the author of "Altered Destiny," and she graciously agreed to participate in my Q&A today to talk about her book, what she has coming up, and her love for Star Trek and the WWE.

Angela: Welcome to my blog, Shawna! I have to admit that “Altered Destiny” ended up being one of my favorite reads of 2011. Congrats on it earning a Top Pick from RT! What inspired the story?

Shawna: Wow! Thanks. That's one of the best compliments a writer can get. : ) Beaming now. Honest? I was running on the treadmill and the scene between Selia and Jaden—which is now in a barn after she brings him his dinner—started playing in my head. I jumped off and wrote it down. At the time I had an agent and I told her about it. She said it was too close to vampires and vampires were done. This was 3 years ago. But the scene and the characters would not leave me alone so I sat down and wrote their story.

Angela:  Any chance you’d ever write a sequel or another book set in the world you created there? (Hint, hint, perhaps Nathan?) 

Shawna: You know, you're not the first person to ask me that. I'm actually working on a Valentine short between Selia and Jaden, and yes, I've considered telling Nathan's story. I think I need to read the book again to get inspired.

Angela: So tell us, what are you working on next? 

Shawna: I've been trying to reconstruct the first book I wrote. It's slow going.

Angela: Let’s get to know Shawna the person. Tell us a little about yourself.

Shawna: Me? The person? You mean the me you would find if you came to hang out at my house for a few hours? Well, I love to cook, but I love to bake even more and if you give me notice, I'll have cookies or cake or something waiting for you. I have been really craving scones lately, so maybe some scones and homemade lemon curd. Serious yum. Did I mention I'm pregnant with number 6? Yes, we're crazy and yes, we love kids. 

Angela: Aww, congratulations! Tell us more...something only your closest friends would know. ;)

Shawna: I'm really kinda boring. I love sitting on the couch with my husband and watching WWE. Seamus is my favorite. He has such a good time beating everyone up. It's fun to watch. At any given time there will be at least 5 kids running around here...and their friends. I am a neat freak without the time to follow through, an avid scheduler that has finally learned sometimes you have to just let go, and I don't know when to slow down...but my husband is teaching me. : 0 )

Angela: Are you a member of any TV show/film/book fandoms? (If so, which ones and why?) 

Shawna: I will always be an avid fan of Star Trek. I have read every book printed before 1990. I thought the remake was absolutely brilliant. I mean they didn't take anything away from the original and managed to make it all new. My first crush was Spock. You see, Vulcans have intense emotions, that's why they learned to control them. That boy is a  volcano of passion ready to explode with the right fuse. ; ) And smart. There is something so sexy about an intelligent man. 

Angela: Hobbies? 

Shawna: Gardening. I'd buy every fruit tree I could if I had space and money. Right now I have an orange, tangerine, two grapefruit (and I don't like grapefruit) plum, apricot, peach and avocado. I had a blueberry bush and banana tree but they succumbed to the heat during rush edits. I'd love a kiwi vine, apple tree and to replace the blueberry and banana. I'd really love an almond tree too. Do you really want to get me started on flowers? LOL Didn't think so. 
I want to say a HUGE thanks to Shawna for letting me pick her brain today. To learn more about "Altered Destiny" or Shawna Thomas, visit her equally awesome website at


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