Friday, April 25, 2014

Fun Friday Q&A with author Samantha Birch!

Samantha Birch
You wouldn't happen to be getting married soon, would you? If you are, you can thank me later.

Today I'm happy to welcome to my blog author Samantha Birch, whose new book The High-Street Bride’s Guide, released yesterday to excellent reviews. A nonfiction guide for brides to be, the book is sure to be a best seller and can help brides navigate the sticky waters of wedding planning.

I invited Samantha to answer my questions, and she is so nice she agreed. Without further ado, let's get started!

Angela: Welcome to my blog, Samantha! Describe yourself in five words or less.

Samantha: Writer, worrier, hoper, tenacious, nerd.

Angela: Nerd, you say? The next question should be a good one (says the fellow nerd). Are you a member of any fandoms (TV/film/books)? If so, which ones?

Samantha: I was buy-it-the-day-it-comes-out into the Harry Potter books back in the day. Now I reserve the same level of commitment for Terry Pratchett’s Discworld.

Angela: Awesome! Describe your ideal man or woman.

Samantha: Dark hair, ruggedly handsome, broad chest, strong arms, manly hands, perfect ass, good sense of humour, creative, nerdy streak, accepts me for my bonkers self… Oh, wait, I just described my husband.

Do you have a celebrity crush?

Samantha: Chris Piiiine. That’s how you have to pronounce his name because he’s too beautiful to say it without your knees buckling.

Angela: You can invite five people to dinner, living or dead. Who would you invite?

Samantha: Erm… You know I said I was a nerd? Well: Professor Brian Cox, because he knows everything about physics. Stephen Fry, because he knows everything about everything else. David Attenborough, because he’s a living legend (who knows about whales). Ross Noble, because I’d love to see him chatting away to David Attenborough (cue impressions of monkeys). Zooey Deschanel, because I need to make friends with her so I can borrow all of her clothes.

Angela: That sounds like it would be an awesome dinner party! Thanks, Samantha, for visiting.

Please visit Samantha's Facebook page to learn more about her and her book. And please do pick up a copy of her book, which you can learn more about below!

Brides-to-be, this one’s for you! 
You can say your vows in a catwalk gown so beautiful it reduces your mum to tears (and not because she paid for it). 
You can style a reception so stunning your guests won’t believe you didn’t hire an A-list planner. 
And you can sprinkle the day with personal touches that make everyone feel like you gave them special attention before they even got there. Without spending a house deposit on it. Honest. 
Samantha Birch has written for GLAMOUR, Brides, You & Your Wedding and Cosmopolitan Bride. She knows a thing or two about planning a wedding on a budget, how much you can expect to pay for everything and where to go to get it for less. And she’s put it all down here.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Everything I learned about writing I learned from...Scooby Doo. Wait. What?

So a funny thing happened last week. Yeah. Not really, but for cliché’s sake (and because I'm still too weak to think of anything better), I’ll stick to that opening.

I. Got. Sick.


For the last almost-week I have been pretty much bedridden. So I’ve left my bed a few times, here and there, but considering how little sleep I usually get, I seriously should have changed my Facebook status to “In a relationship with My Bed.” That’s how serious it got.

Some R&R is a good thing. When you’re coughing so much you’re not sure if you still have a lung, it’s not all that fun to be stuck in bed. I don’t think I would have survived it without Netflix either. I couldn’t read. Too much effort. I couldn’t write. Way too much effort. But I could stare mindlessly at my TV while I laid there and coughed and writhed in misery.

And I renewed my love of all things Scooby Doo.

Ask anyone. They’ll tell you my desk at work has always had Scooby memorabilia on it. Always. I heart the Scooby gang and always have.

The new “Scooby Doo” movies produced in recent years? Own them. Most of them I like with a few misses here and there. But I had never watched Mystery Incorporated, one of the newest incarnations of the Scooby gang.

It popped up in my Netflix recommends cue. So I watched it. Both seasons.

Why have I never watched this show before? Why was it cancelled?! It’s awesome!

Granted, I was beyond annoyed to begin with. I didn’t like that Velma was dating Shaggy and kept suggesting ways to “ditch” Scooby in the first season. Velma was not a likable character to me. But the rest of the gang? So hilarious. Daphne is my new favorite. That girl had me in stitches, and when did she get so smart? Fred? Hilarious. His love affair with traps is too funny. The Sheriff, voiced by Patrick Warburton, was a genius addition. (Don't worry. In the second season, Velma became way more likable again. And funny!) The overall jokes are wicked funny, too. Not inappropriate for kids, which I appreciate, but simply…funny. 

Anyway, I realized as I lay there in my fever-induced sickness watching it, how much Scooby Doo has probably influenced my own style of writing, possibly more than anything else. I write (hopefully) witty mysteries with a supernatural baddie usually thrown into the mix. I have my own Scooby gang of characters working together to solve those mysteries. And I have a dog — two of them — and a cat, who are all sidekicks of a sort.

A stretch? Yeah, probably. Still. Here are a couple of things about great writing that resonated with me after watching Mystery Incorporated. And while it in no way is as good as the original series from my childhood, it’s awesome to see the gang live on in modern times in a worthy follow up. 

Great writing includes cohesive continuity.

One thing that really put me in this new show’s favor was that it kept nodding back respectfully to its origins. For example, some baddies from Scooby Doo! Where Are You! made cameos throughout the series in the town’s Haunted Museum. And the characters maintained their trademarks from the original series, including their dialogue catchphrases “Jinkies!” “Jeepers” and so on. This kind of writing is great for writers of series books to learn from. It gives an insider’s joke feel to longtime readers and piques the curiosity of new ones. 

Every one in the gang is important.

Shaggy and Scooby are the main heroes in any Scooby tale, but Mystery Incorporated really gave each of the members a cool backstory and defined personality. Thus, I felt engaged with each episode. Characterization is so important in writing. You can only have so many two-dimensional secondary characters until the overall plot begins to suffer. Make those secondary characters come alive! And the story will be better for it! 

Romance speaks to all ages.

I never thought much about Fred and Daphne as a couple until watching Mystery Incorporated. But the writers of the show had a lot of fun with their relationship, which changes dynamics throughout the show. By the end of it, I was totally rooting for them! Because who doesn’t love a good romance when it’s that organic?

Friday, April 18, 2014

Fun Friday Q&A with author Lynn Montagano

Lynn Montagano
I'm very happy to introduce readers to new author Lynn Montagano, whose debut book Catch My Breath released yesterday from Harper Impulse. Lynn is a former TV news writer who took the plunge and finally wrote a novel, and don't you just love its cover (see below)?

Let's both get to know Lynn a little better with some mind-delving questions.

Angela: Welcome to my blog, Lynn! Describe yourself in five words or less.

Lynn: Outgoing, sarcastic, loyal, fun, control-freak

Angela: Fellow control freak, right here.  *raises hand* I'm also a geek, so I always ask, are you a member of any fandoms (TV/film/books)? If so, which ones?

Lynn: I like a lot of different things but I don’t know if I’d consider myself part of a fandom. I’m overly obsessed with football, does that count? ;) I love the Harry Potter books and movies. I also adore the Indiana Jones trilogy (the 4th one was…meh).

Describe your ideal man or woman.

Lynn: Oooh, my ideal man. A sense of humor is really important, along with a sense of style and intelligence. I’m pretty much sold on funny and smart. I don’t care if he’s the most gorgeous thing to walk the planet, there has to be a personality behind the looks.

Angela: Celebrity crush?

Lynn: I have to pick just one?!? At the moment it’s Rob Kazinsky. He’s a British actor probably best known for EastEnders. Last summer he was on True Blood, which I never watch, but tuned in to see him in action. He’d be a good candidate for the “ideal man.” Handsome, funny AND British. Win!

Angela: Oh, I know who he is! All right, final question. You can invite five people to dinner, living or dead. Who would you invite?

Lynn: Oh, wow. Only five? I’m Italian and love to cook so I’d make enough food for at least 20. I’d probably invite Walt Disney, Oprah Winfrey, Richard Branson, Tom Brokaw and Hillary Clinton. Seems like a diverse enough group, no?

Angela: Sounds like an awesome group! Thanks for stopping by today, Lynn!

For the rest of you, please check out Lynn's Facebook page:

Also, please pick up her book, Catch My Breath, which sounds great, doesn't it?

Lia Meyers' plan for a relaxing Scottish vacation is short-lived when one uncharacteristic moment of clumsiness lands her in the arms of her very own Knight in Shining Armani… 
The perfect opportunity for a much needed holiday romance? Wrong! Lia’s still reeling from the mother of all bad breakups, and she really doesn't have the patience for Alastair Holden – despite his effortless charm and cute British accent.
Arrogant and totally inscrutable, he's exactly the sort of guy she wants to avoid but can't: the man behind the mystery proves just too tempting to resist. 
Drawn to him, Lia is forced to battle with her own insecurities, and the closer they become, the more she recognizes her own weaknesses as she peels away his layers with every night they spend together. Discovering the past Alastair is so desperate to conceal, Lia must decide if they can heal one another together or if their deepest fears will tear them apart.
who took the plunge and finally wrote a novel.
who took the plunge and finally wrote a novel.
who took the plunge and finally wrote a novel.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Monday Q&A with author Dani-Lyn Alexander

Dani-Lyn Alexander
What better way is there to kick off the week than by learning about a new author? Today I've invited a new friend and author Dani-Lyn Alexander to stop by so we can get to know more about her and her book, Anonymous, which releases this week from Harper Impulse. The cover is kind of awesome, by the way. Can't wait to read it! And because Dani-Lyn is so nice, she's giving away prizes to celebrate her release, so be sure to enter using the form below before you leave.

Dani-Lyn Alexander lives on Long Island with her husband, three kids and three dogs. She loves spending time with her family, at the beach, the playground, or just about anywhere. In her spare time, which is rare, she enjoys reading and shopping—especially in book stores. Some of her favorite things include; Bernese Mountain Dogs, musicals, bubble baths and soft blankets. She’s an incurable insomniac and has an addiction to chocolate.

Angela: Welcome to my blog, Dani-Lyn! Describe yourself in five words or less.

Dani-Lyn: A kind, sensitive, busy insomniac.

Angela: I think we'll get along just fine.The geek over here (that's me) always asks, are you a member of any fandoms (TV/film/books)? If so, which ones?

Dani-Lyn: I do follow Jacquelyn Frank’s Nightwalkers on Facebook. I love her Nightwalker series!

Angela: I have not heard of this. Must remedy that! Describe your ideal man or woman.

Dani-Lyn: My ideal man is a bad boy with a good heart.

Angela: Got any celebrity crushes?

Dani-Lyn: Mark Wahlberg.

Angela: Marky Mark! I adore him! can invite five people to dinner, living or dead. Who would you invite?

Dani-Lyn: Margaret Mitchell—for conversation; Elvis—for entertainment; Mark Wahlberg—for eye candy; and my brother and mother-in-law to sit on either side of me—because they both passed away too soon, and I miss them terribly.

Angela: That sounds like the perfect answer, Dani-Lyn. Thank you so much for visiting with us today!

Please check out Dani-Lyn Alexander's website at, and please pre-order Anonymous because it sounds great, doesn't it?
What happens when an online date is not what it seems?
After Ali's heart is broken, she decides to try Anonymous, a new dating website where you can retain complete anonymity while you search for your soul mate. When she discovers Joe, she thinks she may have at least found a new friend and decides to put her past behind her and move on.
Several death threats and an attempt on her life force her back into contact with her soon-to-be ex, Mark, who is the lead detective on the case. The tension builds between them while Ali struggles to get over Mark, and Mark races to find the maniac who's trying to kill her.
When Ali meets up with her online flame, she finds he's anything but the friend she imagined…

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, April 11, 2014

Fun Friday Q&A with author Eleri Stone!

Eleri Stone
 I am very happy to have on my blog today an all-around awesome person, fellow geek, and author, Eleri Stone, who I'm proud to say recently finaled for a RITA award for her paranormal book Witch Bound. Eleri and I are chums who both contribute to the Here Be Magic blog, and I absolutely adore her writing. Her latest book, Reaper's Touch, is a fantastic read. Go. Buy a copy and read it. Now.

Well, after you read my interview with her, that is.

Angela: Welcome to my blog, Eleri! Describe yourself in five words or less.

Eleri: Mother, wife, writer, reader, geek

Angela: *gives high five* So how did it feel to get nominated for a RITA this year?

Eleri: Incredible. I nearly dropped the phone when I heard the news. It’s still sinking in.

Angela: Congratulations again, and I'm rooting for you! You know I'm a total geek, so I always ask people: Are you a member of any fandoms (TV/film/books)? If so, which ones?

Eleri: GOT, Doctor Who, Sleepy Hollow, TWD, LOTR… I might watch too much TV.

Nonsense, woman! No such thing as too much TV. (I have to say that because I do. I watch too much TV). Anyway. Describe your ideal man or woman.

Eleri: Oh, this one is easy. My husband. We’ve been married almost 19 years and he’s still the best person I’ve ever known.

Angela: Wow, that's wonderful! Congratulations! And you do not look old enough to have been married 19 years. Just sayin'. Okay, next question. Celebrity crush?

Eleri: Fassbender and Hiddleston are two of my favorites. They’re very different actors, but they both do an excellent job of playing the villain. It’s a rare talent, I think. And they’re not half bad to look at either.

Angela: You can invite five people to dinner, living or dead. Who would you invite?

Eleri: I would invite my parents who died young and my children who didn’t get a chance to know their grandparents. I always feel badly when I’m asked this question. Maybe I should just make something funny up, but honestly? Just the thought of my parents and children together makes me happy.

Angela: I think that is a lovely and perfect answer, Eleri. Thank you so much for stopping by today. Good luck on the RITA!

You can learn more about Eleri and her books by visiting her website, Please also check out Eleri's latest release, Reaper's Touch by Carina Press:

Abby is a Ranger, part of an elite group who defend the border against Reapers-humans infected with a parasite that turns them into mindless cannibals. Rangers are immune to Reaper infection, and as one of the only female Rangers, Abby is expected to settle down and breed more Rangers-a fate she's keen to avoid. When she's ambushed on the plains, she's ready to go out with guns blazing-until a mysterious, handsome cowboy rides to her rescue.

Jake has his own motives for helping Abby, beyond aiding a damsel in distress. He's a Reaper, and while he's learned to wrest control of his mind from the parasite, the effects won't last without a permanent cure. And he needs Abby to get it.

Abby and Jake are natural enemies and unlikely partners. But when their search reveals a conspiracy between Reapers and the rich industrialists who own the mountain cities, they must work together to find the cure-or lose the border, and each other, forever.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Farewell, ‘Being Human.’ We will always be besties

{Spoiler alert! If you have not seen the series finale of “Being Human” on SyFy (I’m talking about the U.S. version of the series) then read ahead at your own risk!}

Can I just start by saying what total creeps the powers-that-be are who decided not to tell viewers that this series was ENDING until, like, five episodes ago? Sorry, but I need more time to process, thank you. I mean, this was a show about a vampire, a werewolf, and a ghost who became roommates and who navigated the murky waters of (drumroll please) trying to be human against their natures. It could have gone on forever. Literally.

I’ll be honest. I’ve watched the show since season 1 episode 1. I liked that first season okay. But I became addicted during the second season, totally became a Josh and Nora shipper somewhere along the way, and am more than a little peeved to be saying goodbye to Aidan, Sally, Josh and Nora now. I mean, they were my Monday night homies! My moping buddies, because, boy, did those four know how to bring the angst. Just sayin’.

As for the finale itself, good gracious, where do I begin?

I’ll begin by saying I was skeptical about this one, folks. The last half of the season felt kind of, I dunno, rushed, maybe? And I wasn't sold on some of the plots happening in this finale either. Just sayin.' 

When we last saw our supernatural roommates, they were basically trapped on moving day by psycho ghost girl Ramona, who it turns out was (spoiler alert!) a manifestation of THE HOUSE itself! And the house did not want them to leave. Seriously.

Obviously the last episode picked up from the cliffhanger from the episode before it, but we also got a series of flashbacks to happier times with a poignant voiceover from Sally that tightened my chest and filled me with both sentiment and foreboding. Then, boom, we’re back in the present.

Ramona had sent our favorite vampire Aidan into a grief-stricken rampage intent on killing Josh, and I assume Nora, so that Josh and Nora’s ghosts would be trapped in the house forever with Sally and Ramona.

I was like, Nooooooooooo! After all Aidan and Josh have been through together, all it took was a psycho ghost girl to push Aidan over the edge? And that’s another thing. Psychotic young girls seem to be the thing on genre shows this season. I mean, Lizzie from The Walking Dead anyone?


We’re not even five minutes into the episode when Sally makes a decision to sacrifice herself to save the others, most specifically Aidan. She does some crazy magic spell, and (spoiler alert) Aidan's not a vampire anymore!

Before you ask, well, why didn’t she do that sooner? I’ll tell you. Because it meant the end of ghost Sally. She had just enough time to say her goodbyes to Aidan, Josh and Nora before fading into oblivion. Based on past occurrences of the show, we were left to assume she literally went into oblivion because she had previously passed on her door, which would have taken her to the afterlife. And the scene was so quick. Almost as fast as this...

Break my heart, Sally. Because you did. I was totally like this, when I realized she was just…gone.

Poof! Four seasons, and Sally’s big sendoff was in the first eight minutes of the last episode of the series. I felt kind of cheated by that, actually, but you know what? It kind of makes sense when you think about it, so kudos to the writers for that strategic move.

Then we moved on with the heartbroken Josh, Nora, and Aidan, who fled the evil house and made it to Josh and Nora’s new place. It was Nora’s quip that lightened the moment — and I laughed too even though I was sad, at the idea of Sally bursting right out of Aidan's chest — then the survivors decided to do what anyone in a time of great stress would do. Go eat.

It was a cute scene with the three friends in the diner as Aidan, after centuries of eating only people, enjoyed his first cheeseburger. And it was in that moment that I realized that while the show had started with the main three — Sally the ghost, Aidan the vampire, and Josh the werewolf — Nora the werewolf had slipped in and truly claimed her place, too.

I totally heart Josh and Nora, in case I haven’t mentioned it. He bumbled around for four seasons, but in the end, he got the girl. The girl he accidentally turned into a werewolf, but eh, accidents happen.

Anyway, when we come back from commercial we’re back at the hospital where nurse Nora mournfully informs Aidan his body is catching up with his age, and he only has one week to live. Actually, Aidan gives himself one week to live because Nora thinks he should already be dead, but whatever. Go ahead and step on my heart some more, Being Human, cause I’m like this at this point.

So Aidan decides to have a positive outlook and suggests to Josh and Nora they spend his last week together, being happy, and ooops, he accidentally mentions the fact that Nora is pregnant, even though she hasn’t told her hubby Josh yet. Way to go, Aidan. You dunce. *sniffs*

We have a nice, normal scene with Josh and Nora, where we’re treated to a voiceover by Nora that makes that tightness in my chest squeeze harder. We also get a scene with Aidan in a bar, drinking his sorrows away, where he meets a new vampire and offers the guy some advice on how to survive. And then he shocks the heck out of me by asking the vampire to turn him again.

Then Josh comes and finds him and sends the vampire away, and Aidan breaks down and admits he’s afraid to die. And he admits it in the most heartbreaking way possible. Because Aidan believes when he dies, there will be no heaven for him because of all the horrible things he’s done. But Josh, being Josh, gives him a big ole man hug and lets Aidan cry. Because that's what Josh has always done throughout the show — offer his humanity (which he never lost) as an example to the others. I realize that now.

Which makes me do this…

Before the show can end, though, we’re reminded of Ramona, who Aidan reads in a newspaper has killed a construction worker in their old house. He and Josh decide to end Ramona once and for all, but Aidan lies to Josh, sending him away to get Nora, while Aidan goes alone to take care of business.

So Aidan the dying human sacrifices himself by burning down the house — with himself in it — and destroying the evil Ramona in the process. The house had to die. I realize that now. It was as much of a character all four seasons as the living people, and I needed that closure as much as the characters did.

And Aidan died. Again. For good. Excellent mirroring by the writers, having him land on the same spot Sally landed on when she died in the show's first episode. 

And I’m like this…

Especially when Nora and Josh arrive at the house, only to find it burnt to the ground. They walk through the ruins, and suddenly, wait a second, there’s Aidan! Ghost Aidan, who is happy to see his friends and say his goodbyes right before his door appears.

That’s right, Aidan. You got a door. And presumably since Aidan sacrificed himself to save the others, his door led to a very good place, which it did, because there was Sally on the other side, waiting for the ex-vampire beefcake with open arms and kisses. Which meant that Sally went to a good place, too! I think.

It was a very bittersweet moment, because these two angst-ridden characters got a very final happy ever after. I'm not sure how I felt about the sudden Sally-loves-Aidan and vice versa plot that was pushed on us, but you can't deny they did LOVE each other as best friends. So I was ugly crying in both a good and a sad way.

I was very emotional, more than I expected to be. Maybe my hormones are whacked, but still. 

So then we get our last scenes with Josh and Nora — with a very optimistic voiceover by Josh — and see them years ahead. Happy. Still together. And with a daughter named Sally and a son named Aidan.

The end.

And I was, unfortunately, pretty inconsolable at that point.

Honestly, I’m not sure if Being Human ever intended to be more than a genre show about a ghost, a vampire and a werewolf living together, but the final episode was so full of substance, it really deserves some serious credit. The inclusion of the voiceovers — one for each character — was a nice touch, something the show had never done before that I can remember. It helped with the closure of the series, hearing the characters each explain what the past four seasons had meant to each of them.

I saw someone on Twitter say this, and so I'm stealing it (sorry anonymous Twitterer: please don't sue me). If TV shows had souls, Being Human deserved to be greeted with a big, shiny door to a very happy place when its credits faded to black one last time.

I really think Being Human was too good of a show to have been buried on the SyFy Channel. It's dialogue was smart, the talented cast had fantastic chemistry, and the stories were always entertaining, even though sometimes I had to shake my head at them, to be honest. I loved these characters, and that was the point of the show, wasn't it? To make these monsters seem human?

Well done, guys. I’ll miss you.

And Josh and Nora, I have one word — spinoff? Just sayin'.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Fun Friday Q&A with...Meankitty!

The one and only Meankitty.
One of my favorite websites belongs to Meankitty — — because it's full of feline deviousness deliciousness. Cute cat pictures. Funny stories of evil cats. And Meankitty herself. So I invited Meankitty to be my Fun Friday Q&A today. She instantly put Typing Slave (i.e. her owner Jody Wallace) to work answering my in-depth questions. Cause that's what cats do. Order people around.

So, without further ado, let's get to know the cat behind the website...

Angela: Thank you for stopping by, Meankitty. Describe yourself in five words or less.

Meankitty: Astonishingly clever omnipotentish tabby feline.

Angela: O-kay. Well, I'm a geek, so I always ask my guests. Are you a member of any fandoms (TV/film/books)? If so, which ones?

Meankitty: I really like the Bad Kitty series by Nick Bruehl, at least the earlier ones, and there were a couple episodes of the TV show GRIMM with a kick-ass killer kitty who put this annoying skinny human female in a coma.

Angela: Describe your ideal man or woman...or whatever.

Meankitty: My ideal woman or man is soft n puffy, stationary (unless I want food), 4 armed/handed for increased scratching, fond of fish for dinner, kind of slow moving in case I need to get away with shit, devoted about cleaning my litter box, wealthy enough that I have a nice, big house and lots of food plus the human doesn’t have to leave much, and hates dogs. Willing to compromise on the 4 arms part.

Angela: You know, I realize now I have a lot in common with you. I wouldn't mind finding a man like that either, except it's fine if he likes dogs in my book (kind of a priority, actually). Okay. Next question. Celebrity crush?

Meankitty: Jackson Galaxy.

Angela: I love him, too! Heh. Okay. You can invite five people to dinner, living or dead. Who would you invite?

Meankitty: Soft n puffy humans who love cats and fish and feeding fish to cats but don’t smell like dogs.

Angela: Allrighty then. Thanks for stopping by today, Meankitty!

Please check out Meankitty's awesome website, and check out my own cat's profile there while you're at it.


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