Sunday, August 26, 2012

Interview with Romance Author Maxine Douglas

Join us in Paradise as we chat with Romance Author Maxine Douglas. We have leis for everyone to wear and ice cold pomegranate and mango juice to quench the thirst. 

Maxine will join us shortly. So while we wait, here's a little bit about her.

An avid horse lover and reader, Maxine Douglas loves spending time in the saddle, curled up with a good book, catching up with her oldest grand-daughter, or chasing her youngest grand-daughter around the house. She resides in Oklahoma with her husband, and is a member of both Romance Writers of America and the Electronic Publishing Industry Coalition.
Reader’s Haven: There's Maxine. Hi! *Deanna and Louise wave her over to sit on the rocks* It's beautiful here. Thanks for inviting us. Tell us a bit about yourself  that our readers might not know.

Maxine: Hi Deanna and Louise. I was totally a single mom (meaning never married) until 11 years ago, when I married a very good friend from high school. We just took separate paths during those 28 years apart, but I believe we were always meant to be together—obviously one of his brothers did as well when he said “Welcome to the family and it’s about damn time too!”  LOL  I married my best friend not only in this life but also in past lives. 

If it's one thing I've learned over the years of my life it's that you can never stop dreaming and reaching for the stars, because sooner or later you just may get to touch one, and it'll bring you more happiness than you can ever imagine. I've been lucky enough over the past couple of years to have been able to reach out and touch two stars...and I'm still reaching for more.
Originally from South-central Wisconsin, my husband and I traded the snowy winters for warmer days and nights. I currently am a member of such writing organizations as Romance Writers of American, Oklahoma Romance Writers of America, and Electronic Publishers Internet Coalition.

Reader’s Haven: Such a romantic story about you and your husband. What made you want to become a writer?

Maxine: I took creative writing in high school and liked it. Although I wanted to be a songwriter, I’m not writing longer versions of those songs of the heart. It took a friend’s sister, who is now an agent with 3 Seas Literary Agency, to become published that I finally put my storytelling skills to work. I thank Cori every day for that.

Reader’s Haven: Please share a bit about your new release without giving away any spoilers.

Maxine: RINGS OF PARADISE comes out today in fact. It started out being a rock-n-roll storyline and ended up being about professional wrestling. I know, do the two really go hand-in-hand, probably not. But I grew up in a home where it was on t.v. all the time, and my father, brothers and I went to as many live matches as possible. The sport kinda grows on ya … and what red blooded woman is immune to a great male body?

Reader’s Haven: No wonder the cover is on fire with Jimmy on it! Excellent design. Do you write under a pen name?

Maxine: I also write erotic romance as Debi Wilder when I’m feeling a bit on the wild side of passion in my storylines.

Reader’s Haven:
What types of hero or heroine do you like best?

Maxine: I like my heroes to be strong and sensitive, while my heroines are sassy and loving.  At least I think so anyway. LOL
Reader’s Haven: Tell us about a typical day in your life as a writer.
Maxine: LOL—not as productive as it maybe should be that’s for sure. I had my 5 yr old grand-daughter during the day until school started a week ago, so I didn’t get much accomplished. I don’t write when family is around—too big of a chance of being interrupted in my train of thought or in what my characters are trying to get across to me. Now that school’s in session I’ll be working outside the home for 10-20 hours a week, so that’ll leave my days off and evenings to get things done.

Reader’s Haven: Do your books have a common theme or are they all different?

Maxine: I would say yes and no. Some of them are contemporary, while others have a paranormal or time-travel twist to them. Depends on the hero and heroine and their story to tell.

Reader’s Haven: How long does it take you to write and then edit a story?

Maxine: I’m a muse writer and a punster on top of it. What this means is that it can take me several months, years, to write a story getting it the way I want it to be. I tend to write very slow, careful to get the scene just right before moving on. I’m trying to plot it out a bit more so we’ll see if it works with THE QUEEN or not.

Reader’s Haven:
 Do you have to be alone to write?

Maxine: I have found that I can’t write if I’m around famiy—they like to talk to you, or the t.v., and it takes a second to pull me out of my work and 15 minutes to get back into it. That being said, I like to have noise around me whether it’s the t.v., radio or just people milling about at McDonalds or the park because I know the chances of these people interrupting me is next to none.

Reader’s Haven:
How do you go about naming characters?

Maxine: Well…they tell me their names. It might be a cat and mouse game to begin with but in the end they let me know who they are.

Reader’s Haven: Is it easier to write about the characters if you find pictures of them before you write or do you write then find character pictures?

Maxine: Sometimes I get a feel for what they might look like. For instance, in THE QUEEN, my heroine Hanna, is from the late 1920s/early 1930s so I knew sort of what I wanted but just couldn’t visual her. Then one day while shuffling through some old photos at a local Goodwill I found her!  This is young woman is my inspiration for Hanna Amery, my heroine in THE QUEEN.  Cole is still a bit of a mystery to me and I don’t think he’ll truly reveal himself just yet.

Reader’s Haven: How do you pick locations for your stories?
Maxine: Actually, my characters pick them. LOL, I know it sound strange but it’s true. One they—the hero and heroine—have let me into their lives they take me on a journey and I don’t always know where I might end up.

Reader’s Haven: What are you working on now and what should readers be looking forward to from you in the future?

Maxine: I’m currently working on a novella for FOUR SEASONS OF PASSION to be published by in 2013/2014. THE QUEEN will be one of the summer stories and takes place on the Queen Mary in Long Beach, which I totally fell in love with while at a writer’s conference held there a few years back. It inspired this paranormal story line when I got home:

Cole Masterson is the lead investigator of GHOST, Ghost Hunters of Spiritual Transcendental and professional ghost hunter who’s aboard the Queen Mary investigating its paranormal activity. Cole’s about to realize the ship’s paranormal activity can be more than just shadows and cold spots.
Hanna Amery is a spirit looking for the man she lost decades ago aboard the Queen Mary during the early 1900s. What Hanna doesn’t understand is how she can see the man with the electronic equipment, but can’t figure out how to communicate with him.
What happens when two dimensions collide as Cole and Hanna struggle to find a way to be more than passing shadows?

Reader’s Haven: Oh, we do love a ghost story! Where can readers find out more about you and your books? 

Maxine: Best places is on either my blog or my FB page .. I’d love to hear from readers! 
I'll give away an eBook copy of Rings of Paradise. Enter the contest through the Rafflecopter below and good luck! Winner will be drawn Sunday, Sept 2.

One man’s quest to find the truth. One woman’s desire for more in life. A mistress that won’t let go.

Dear Reader,
I’m not much on putting words to paper, action is more up my alley. I’m Flame, the reigning champion in the Universal Wrestling World (UWW). So why am I here?
I grew up in a wrestling family and cut my teeth on the squared circle, which by the way is the only “lady” I trust any more.
I’ve gone and bought out a small press magazine in Madison, Wisconsin that was going nowhere fast, hired a woman by the name of Khristen Roberts, who according to the editor-in-chief is untrained and wants nothing more than to be a journalist.
Okay, I’m a sucker in helping people out, it’s my one weakness, if I have any. Problem is she’s on vacation in Hawaii. I’ve got to catch up with her somewhere along the line for her to join up with me and the UWW. I just hope Khristen is up for the ride…it’s always a trip.
Yours truly,
The Flame

The beautiful eyes of the man from the plane seemed to appear as an apparition in the deep-blue-green pool water. Thoughts of him ran wild in her mind, and Khristen felt the warm wetness of desire grow deep between her thighs. She shivered from wanton desire. Something about him seemed familiar.
No. Surely, I would have remembered if we’d met before. His eyes, if nothing else, would have been burned into my memory.
It seemed as if she’d seen them, and the challenge in them, once before—a dare to defy him in any manner.
Challenges. That’s what gave Khristen her drive. In her career, she had felt like a lamb lost in the fog in search of its home. She longed for the type of position that offered her the unexpected excitement of a contest each and every day.
Her current position at one of Madison’s once top magazines came very close to fulfilling that yearning. It offered variety in its article context, and nine times out of ten, they didn’t read like something out of Miami Vice. Plain Talk covered just about anything and sometimes everything. Still, something was missing.
She’d finally come to realize she wanted to be a staff member who did more than run around the office. She was going to spend the next few weeks thinking of a plan to convince Ric to move her up the ladder. One day, she would have her own byline.
Ric Scott, the magazine’s editor-in-chief, had become the big brother she never had. He drank too much coffee in a day for one human being and stayed at the office until well past midnight. She worried about his excesses in both areas and feared one day she would walk into his office to find him slumped over his desk.
More than once, she had wondered why their relationship had never gotten past the big-brother stage. Deep in her heart, she knew it was the lack of emotional and sensual challenges. The spark she felt with a total stranger wasn’t there with good ol’ reliable Ric.
Khristen slid a pair of red-framed sunglasses from the top of her head and perched them on her nose. She took a deep relaxing breath, leaned back, and forced the man’s image out of her brain. She knew she had to let this challenge go for what very well could be the first time in her adult life. If letting go was at all possible.
For now, one thing she knew for sure. Absolutely no way was she going to become caught up in another romance. The last one had almost destroyed her, both emotionally and professionally.

* * * *

His shadow draped across her skin. He’d known he would find her; he’d never thought it would be connected to one of his businesses. He had thoroughly enjoyed seeing her sweat earlier, looking for a place to escape the dining room. If looks could kill, she should have laid him to rest before noon.
Now it was his turn, and he couldn’t wait to see her reaction. It was going to get more interesting now that he’d decided in the length of time it took for him to reach her side that the game would start. He would have to proceed with caution before snaring her for himself.
Shadoe fought the temptation to pluck an ice cube from one of the glasses he carried and let it drip onto Khristen’s sunburned flesh. A mischievous smile played on his lips as he visualized the response he would get. It would be fun, but they had already gotten off on a bad foot, and he didn’t want to aggravate the situation further—or did he?
* * * *

“Khristen.” Someone repeated her name, and as she stirred, raised his voice, calling to her again.
“Huh?” Sleepy eyed and well-burnt, Khristen was not sure what had drawn her out of a groggy sleep.
“What’s your pleasure? Mai Tai, PiƱa Colada, or Aloe Vera?” Shadoe adjusted the two sweating glasses and one bottle on the tray he balanced with care.
Khristen shielded her eyes, suspiciously looking up at him. The touch of friendly sarcasm that had edged his over-exaggerated deep voice set off her warning light.
“Owweeee!” Pain and agony edged her voice, caused from the effects of too many hours in the sun and too little sunscreen.
“I’ve got just what you need.”
“Like what?” Khristen grimaced, seeing the bottle of lotion and look of concern in his eyes.
Or is it lust?
“Aloe Vera. It’s a great natural ointment with a cooling effect for skin that’s on fire.” He set the tray down on the small, round table next to her. “I could, ah, rub it in for you.” Another teasing smile played on his lips as he picked up the bottle.
Khristen smiled back and looked into his eyes. How sexy and sure of himself he looked as he gazed over the rims of his sunglasses, daring her to resist his charm, challenging her.
“Actually, I have a better idea.” She reached for the lotion and caught a look of satisfaction sweep over his face. With a crooked smile, she softly wrapped her fingers around the bottle and let them linger a moment too long before taking it into her possession.
“Mmmm, sounds very tempting.” He moved in closer to her.
“It is,” she said, reeling him in with her sweet, sexy tone, and placed her free hand on his bare chest, blocking his advance. As much as she’d love to feel his skin against hers, she wasn’t about to play on his web.
“Fortunately, there’s room for only one. You see, what I have in mind is, well...” She could see the anticipation grow in his eyes. “The ultimate total package of soothing the senses, everywhere, and all at once.”
Gathering up her belongings, Khristen walked away, in pain. After only a few feet, she turned and gave him a look of triumph.
His deep, sexy laugh did nothing to dampen her victory.

Buy Links:

You can find Maxine hanging out on these sites:


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Interview with Emily Tippetts, Chick Lit and YA Author

This week we join Emily Tippetts on Pelican Bluff off the coast of California. The weather is awesome with a cool breeze and degrees in the mid 70s. We've set up several huge umbrellas for shade, and blankets and lounge chairs to relax on. There are coolers filled with cold beverages; bottled water, soft drinks and juice. So help yourself.

Emily is giving away an eBook or a paperback of either her new release Castles in the Sand or a back list book (winner's choice). Details below!
If you've noticed the police gathered a few hundred yards away, don't worry, they're just arresting Alex. Guess Alex was in a really bad mood since he bashed a police car several times with a large rock. 

The winner could find out what happens to Alex!

Reader’s Haven: Hi Emily, thank you for chatting with us this week. The cool breeze across the ocean is very welcomed! Tell us a bit about yourself  that our readers might not know.

Emily:  I started out as a science fiction writer and attended Clarion West Writers Workshop for Science Fiction and Fantasy in 2001. I’ve sold several short stories to magazines, but decided to write a chick lit book in order to get published in the Utah/LDS market and gain some experience taking a book from manuscript to final. It’s very strange to me that I now make most of my money from chick lit novels, as that wasn’t my original goal. Not that I’m complaining!

Reader’s Haven: What made you want to become a writer?

Emily: It’s something I’ve wanted for so long; I can’t really say what started it. Ever since I knew where books came from, I’ve wanted to write them.

Reader’s Haven: Please share a bit about your new release Castles in the Sand without giving away any spoilers.

Emily: The official launch day for this novel is Monday, August 20th. It will show up on Amazon a few days before, and may pop up on Kobo, Barnes and Noble, and iBookstore a little earlier as well. I hope to have the eBook in stock everywhere by the end of the day on Monday.

Madison Lukas lives in the fictitious town of Pelican Bluffs, which is on the coast of northern California, with her mother, who prefers to throw pots than to spend time with her daughter. When a Mormon missionary comes to town and reveals he is Madison’s brother, she’s shocked. She never knew her mother was even religious. Stranger still, this missionary remembers Madison as this beautiful, amazing girl, while Madison thinks of herself as plain and boring. Her brother’s not going to let her keep thinking that, though.

Reader’s Haven: Do you write under a pen name?

Emily:  Not really. I use two different variations of my name for my two types of writing. For chick lit and YA, I’m E.M. Tippetts. For science fiction and fantasy, I’m Emily Mah. My real name, as you can probably guess, is Emily Mah Tippetts.

Reader’s Haven: What types of hero or heroine do you like best?

Emily:  The ones who fight battles most of us don’t even notice. Without giving too much away, there are several in Castles on the Sand, including people who care for disabled relatives, immigrants who’ve crossed oceans to give their children a better life, and a big brother willing to stick his neck out to remind his little sister that she can demand more from life.

Reader’s Haven: Strong family ties and personalities make the characters realistic. Readers like that. Tell us about a typical day in your life as a writer.

Emily:  If only I had one! Every day when my husband gets home from work, I sit down and write while he cooks dinner and puts the kids to bed. Sometimes during the day I write too, but that depends on what else is going on and whether my kids will let me.

Reader’s Haven: Do your books have a common theme or are they all different?

Emily:  They all have a romance plotline, but I’m trying to do as many different variations on that as possible. Castles has a love triangle and I try to keep the reader guessing who Madison will end up with.

Reader’s Haven: How long does it take you to write and then edit a story?

Emily:  A novel takes at least six months, often longer. The thing about writing is that you can do a lot of it in your head. Writers who sit down and “just write” have actually done all the plot-breaking and scene visualizations already. Writers who write a ton of drafts are doing the same process, just in a different way. I do a lot of both. Some novels I’ve had on the back burner for so long they seem to write themselves - my last novel, Someone Else’s Fairytale, was that way. Others I have to do draft after draft of. That’s how it was for Castles on the Sand.

Reader’s Haven: Do you have to be alone to write?

Emily:  No. I’m a firm believer in learning to write anywhere, under any conditions, or else I’d never write.

Reader’s Haven: How do you go about naming characters?

Emily: I try to have each character’s name begin with a different letter - this helps readers who are very visual to distinguish them. I also aim to have a lot of ethnic diversity appropriate to the setting. Since Castles is in California, its characters are from everywhere imaginable. When I’m working with an ethnicity I don’t know very well, I use baby name websites. Having said that, I went to the United World College of the Atlantic for high school (“college” is the British term for high school and these schools started in the UK), so my Facebook profile has friend links to a lot of really great, diverse names.

Reader’s Haven: Another resource for names, thank you. Of course we would have to get their permission. Is it easier to write about the characters if you find pictures of them before you write or do you write then find character pictures?

Emily: I don’t care too much about the details of what a character looks like, so a lot of that I add in towards the end of the editing process. Their minds interest me a lot more than their bodies, I guess! For Castles, I decided to make a book trailer, so I dug around on Shutterstock for images and that’s why these characters look exactly how they do. Jean-Pierre, for example, was an image before I came up with a name and backstory.

Reader’s Haven: How do you pick locations for your stories?

Emily:  With the exception of Castles, they’ve all been places I’ve lived. I went to law school in LA, where Time and Eternity is set, and even went to church in the same chapel as the characters. I did my undergraduate degree at Oxford, where Paint Me True is set. Albuquerque, where Someone Else’s Fairytale is set, is where I started my law career, so I used my favorite courthouse building, favorite restaurant, etc.

Reader’s Haven: What are you working on now and what should readers be looking forward to from you in the future?

Emily: Someone Else’s Fairytale has garnered such a wonderfully positive response from readers; I’m going to write a sequel. I’ve mulled over the plot long enough that I think I’ve got one that my readers will like, but they’ll have to take a little leap of faith, going from Fairytale, which is chick lit, to the sequel, which will be more of a police procedural. I expect a lot of my readers to see that and raise an eyebrow, but I hope to win them over in the end.

Reader’s Haven: Where can readers find out more about you and your books?

Emily: My website is, and if you sign up for updates, you can rest assured that you will only get them when I’m releasing a new book, or for other major news, like one of my books being nominated for an award. I don’t update that site often, because I really don’t think people want to know all the nitty gritty details of what I eat for breakfast and who I vote for. I do more updates on, and some of those are more personal. My Amazon Author page has links to all my books, as do my websites and my Goodreads pagePeople can reach me anytime through the email links on my sites or by tweeting at me
My books on US Amazon:
Someone Else's Fairytale | Paint Me True | Time & Eternity

My books on B&N    

Readers, enter to win through the Rafflecopter below. Each entry is a greater chance to win! Winner's choice of eBook or paperback of one book. Good luck.

Read a review of Someone Else’s Fairytale by Haven’s reviewer Lynn Reynolds.

My full name is Emily Mah Tippetts, and I write chick lit as E.M. Tippetts and science fiction as Emily Mah. I got my start in writing at the Clarion West Writer's Workshop for Science Fiction and Fantasy. Obviously, I wrote before I attended, but that's the first real credential I earned. From there I joined the Critical Mass writers group, an invitation only group that I had the privilege of working with for ten years. My first sales were to science fiction and fantasy anthologies and magazines, including Black Gate and Analog Science Fiction and Fact. I've gotten a few honorable mentions in the Year's Best anthologies for both fantasy and science fiction.

As for my chick lit writing, my first novel in that genre, Time and Eternity, came out in 2008 from Covenant Communications, a small press that caters to the LDS market. My second and third novels, Paint Me True and Someone Else's Fairytale, were first published in ebook format, with print versions to follow.

I'm originally from New Mexico, have a bachelors in philosophy, politics, and economics from Oxford University, and a juris doctorate in business law from UCLA. I also design jewelry (and no, that doesn't fit in with any of the other stuff I've listed here.) Currently, I live in London while my husband does his PhD.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Author Interview with Gale Martin

 Gale Martin
Women's Fiction

Reader’s Haven: Hi Gale! We’re so excited you’re visiting with us this week. Tell us a bit about yourself that our readers might not know.

Gale: I wanted to be tap-dancing missionary in the third grade and a musical theater star by grade 12. Eventually, I abandoned both quests though the dream of being a star on Broadway died harder. A few decades later I decided to write my first novel.

Reader’s Haven: What made you want to become a writer?

Gale: I really don’t know if most other small children were a lot like me, but I literally told one tall tale after another. I didn’t know where the truth ended and the lie began for most of my childhood. I suppose life was more exciting that way. I really didn’t check into reality until I went off to college. I stopped, um, prevaricating around age 23, but the talent for making things up sure came in handy once I began writing creatively. I was 43 when I had my first mid-life reckoning. That same year I wrote my first novel.

Reader’s Haven: Please share a bit about your new release Grace Unexpected, without giving away any spoilers.

Gale: It’s contemporary women’s fiction that is chick lit-ish in tone and scope. Grace is smart, well educated, and capable, but she’s a complete moron when it comes to finding guys who could become Mr. Right. As regards the premise of the story, I visited Shaker Village in New Hampshire, and the story sprang from my head faster than baby Dionysus from Zeus’s leg, nine centimeters dilated.

Blurb for Grace Unexpected:

Thirty-something Grace Savage has slogged through crummy jobs and dead-end relationships with men who would rather go bald than say “I do”. In search of respite from her current job, she visits Shaker Village in New Hampshire. Instead of renewal, she’s unnerved to learn that Shaker men and women lived and worked side by side in complete celibacy.

When her longtime boyfriend dumps her instead of proposing, Grace avows the sexless Shaker ways. Resolved to stick to her new plan – dubbed the Shaker Plan – despite ovaries ticking like time bombs, she returns to her life in Pennsylvania. Almost immediately, she's juggling two eligible bachelors: Addison, a young beat reporter; and True, a venerable anthropology professor. Both men have ample charms and soul mate potential to test her new-found Shaker-style self-control, and Grace appears to be on the fast track to a marriage proposal… until secrets revealed deliver a death rattle to the Shaker Plan.

Reader’s Haven: Do you write under a pen name?

Gale: I haven’t done that yet. I might have to at some point because I have novels that aren’t funny, and it’s not nice to confuse loyal readers.

Reader’s Haven:
What types of hero or heroine do you like best?

Gale: I like characters who aren’t perfect, who are flawed. They don’t all have to be uncommonly quirky, though selected ones are in each book because most people have no idea how funny and quirky they are in real life. But if the characters are smart or intellectual, then they have to lack common sense or be dorky in some other way. If they are beautiful, they have to be clumsy, that sort of thing. Subconsciously, I always feel in competition with characters I read in fiction and I’m a sore loser. I guess I just figured my readers don’t want to stack up against a character and measure themselves sorely lacking either.

Reader’s Haven: That’s true. Perfect characters aren’t realistic. Tell us about a typical day in your glamorous life as a writer.

Gale: Oh, my goodness. I get up at 5 am every day. Yes, it’s like I’m channeling Warren Zevon when he sang, “There’ll be time enough for sleeping when I’m dead” because, sadly, he’s no longer with us. Then I check my vitals (Twitter, FB, email, website traffic) and answer any urgent inquiries. Then if I’m not suddenly convicted to write a blogpost, I work on one of my WIPs for an hour. At the job I have at the moment, I work every lunch hour I can. When I come home at night, after dinner and chores, I sit down at my computer and follow the same routine as I do at 5 a.m.

Reader’s Haven: We know grueling over a keyboard all day can be a pain in the neck so be sure to get up and move throughout the day. Easier said than done, don’t we know! Do your books have a common theme or are they all different?

Gale: My books don’t have common themes, but I seldom stray far from what I know in terms of setting or backdrop. I have lived in Pennsylvania most of my life and that’s where I’ve set my books. I’ve worked as a schoolteacher or in higher education, and so far, with a few exceptions, so have my protagonists. Oh, sure. I’ll venture outside Penna. for a scene or two. But so far, not for long.

Reader’s Haven: How long does it take you to write and then edit a story?

Gale: I can bang out a 2,000 word story in a few days. But I am a chronic editor of my own work. I use the word chronic because people who have chronic illnesses can probably relate because chronic ailments can drive you nuts. Terminal editor works, too. Don’t let anyone kid you. Writing creatively can kill you. Or your marriage. So be careful not to let it overrun your life. Time you take away from writing can be productive time. Your mind can also solve problems when it is relaxed and detached from the issue at hand.

Reader’s Haven: Good advice! Do you have to be alone to write?

Gale: I can write with my husband at my side, but he better not be trying to have a conversation with me. How does our marriage survive? Ear plugs.

Reader’s Haven:
How do you go about naming characters?

Gale: Names just kind of land on me, out of the blue, without much effort, like butterflies alighting on flowers. Then I try them on the character to see if they fit. Rinse. Squeeze. Repeat.

Reader’s Haven: Now that’s cute! LOL Is it easier to write about the characters if you find pictures of them before you write or do you write then find character pictures?

Gale: Typically, I write the characters. Then I go looking for photos of them. Then I add them to my website, because readers like to see how you’ve envisioned the characters they’re reading about.

Reader’s Haven:
How do you pick locations for your stories?

Gale: I am quite susceptible to places I travel to because I don’t get out and about as much as I want to. This is evident in GRACE UNEXPECTED because Grace has an abiding sense of wanderlust. My husband is a homebody with a fear of flying. Therefore, almost every location I’ve visited is integrated in my fiction.

Reader’s Haven: What are you working on now and what should readers be looking forward to from you in the future?

Gale: I am drafting a sequel to Don Juan in Hankey, PA, my debut novel. It’s also funny and features some of the same (quirky) characters as DJIHP as well as being a humorous backstage novel.

Reader’s Haven: Where can readers find out more about you and your books?

Gale: You can purchase GRACE UNEXPECTED at and Barnes &

 Twitter   (@Gale_Martin)

My GoodReads Author Page

Email: galemartin (dot) writer (at) gmail (dot) com

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, August 5, 2012

An Interview with Cindy Huefner Cromer, Suspense & Mystery Author

This week Deanna and Louise welcome Cindy Huefner Cromer to Reader's Haven. Cindy is chatting with us via St. Kitts Island in the Carribean Sea; the setting for her debut novel Desperate Measures. Cindy describes the area and scenery a lot better than we ever could. Guess that's because we've never been there. We can only imagine!

Cindy is featuring a giveaway! The details are below.

As I write this, my feet dangle over a cliff. Forty feet below me the turquoise blue sea roars. Each wave crashes into the large black rocks, spraying seawater into the air. I breathe in the scent and it rejuvenates me. I look below at the jagged rocks and formations; some rising twenty feet in the air. The monumental structures were formed from the lava of the once active volcano on Mount Liamuiga in St.Kitts. These same structures are on the cover of my book, Desperate Measures. From my tranquil view there is no blood dripping down the cliff or the rocks. I reflect on the fiction I created and the secrets that were revealed in the climax of the book.
I glance at my watch, almost 2:00 p.m. I need to hustle to make my flight and reach my next destination; New York City, the location in which my second book, Desperate Deceptions takes place. I hit send to transmit this interview and shout to the wind blowing off of the sea, “I never say good-bye but see you later. I will be back to St. Kitts soon.” As I stand and turn, the lush green rainforest looms before me. Ah, the scene and pivotal role those mountains played in the plot in Desperate Measures. Enough melancholy, I race to the cab that is waiting for me. Some secrets were revealed here but not all of them….  I have big plans for Caitlin and have to get a move on. 

Reader’s Haven: Hi Cindy! We're so glad you could join us for a chat. Tell us a bit about yourself  that our readers might not know.

Cindy:   I am originally from Freehold Township, New Jersey and currently reside in Stuart, Florida with my husband, son, and daughter. I am a scientist and executive, formally the president of a laboratory network. In this role I have written numerous laboratory procedures and research documents.

Now for what readers might not know about me, I’ll have to take you back to my teenage years.  When I was in eighth grade, I wrote a descriptive essay.  On my way to basketball practice one day, I saw my father come out of the Principal’s office.  I immediately became nervous and thought I had gotten into trouble, for what I had no idea.  My father informed me that my essay was written so well, that I’d been placed in the honors English and Literature classes. You may ask if this bit of my history has anything to do with where I am today.  The answer is yes and no.  At the time, I had plans of grandeur and envisioned myself as a bestselling author but I focused on my favorite subject in school, science, and earned my degree in chemistry in college.  Through the many technical papers, contracts, and invaluable experience in my career, I’ve come full circle, realized my dream, and have begun my writing career.
Reader’s Haven:
What made you want to become a writer?

Cindy: Ever since I was little, I’ve been an avid reader. I always said one day I’d write a book, if I ever had the time.  My family teased me mercilessly about reading and encouraged me to write a book, since I had read so many.  Also, my friends, colleagues, and employees have continually told me I am a great story teller.

Reader’s Haven: Please share a bit about your new release without giving away any spoilers.

Cindy: This is the back cover blurb and below is the first chapter of Desperate Measures.

The secret is out AGAIN…! This time lives are in jeopardy.

What should have been the perfect vacation soon became a nightmare. Caitlin Martel made a stop before meeting her family at Miami International Airport. A cryptic message waited for her. She dismissed the threat and assumed it was directed toward the brilliant scientist that she recently hired. Caitlin has no idea that a forgotten secret was about to explode and put her life in jeopardy.

When Caitlin and her family arrive on the Caribbean Island of St. Kitts, they find their dream home vandalized. In the kitchen, another message has been left. In blood, leaving no doubt that Caitlin personally is the target.

In a flashback Caitlin recalls the secret that her father, Jack Spencer, revealed to her sixteen years ago. He didn’t tell her everything. Will Jack be able to confront the truth and reconstruct the past in time to save his daughter?

Caitlin’s husband Scott, FBI Assistant Director, also believes the threats are related to Caitlin’s professional life. Once Caitlin points out the significance of what was left in their home, Scott unofficially brings his top FBI agent, Tomas Medina, to St. Kitts.

When Tomas arrives, his status is quickly upgraded and the investigation becomes official. The third threat creates a direct link to multi-billionaire Lukas Bucklin. The suspense escalates through twists, turns, and family secrets yet to be revealed. A powerful climax unveils an unlikely alliance between two deadly and dangerous enemies.

The first five chapters are available at Smashwords

Reader’s Haven: Do you write under a pen name?

Cindy:  My maiden name is Huefner and for my debut novel I published under Cindy Huefner Cromer.

Reader’s Haven: What types of hero or heroine do you like best?

Cindy: I like strong independent heroines who shirk off help and are determined to solve their own problems. Hint # 1: This is how Caitlin gets herself into trouble in Desperate Measures and Desperate Deceptions. I love a hero that takes matters into his own hands. He’s usually on the up and up but verges on breaking the law if it is in the best interest of his family. Hint # 2: Lukas Bucklin has his share of secrets. When they explode and are revealed, some lives are shattered but he’s confident he did the right thing.

I don’t like the typical storyline of a heroine and hero thrust together who are at odds with each other and in the end fall in love and live happily ever after. Now to give you a sneak preview of my second book, Desperate Deceptions, when it is finalized and released some readers may call me a hypocrite with my above statement. Caitlin Martel finds herself in a moment of weakness with no one to turn to but her gorgeous body guard, Chris Dobbs. They almost become intimate but Caitlin maintains her integrity and doesn’t break her marriage vows.

Reader’s Haven: Tell us about a typical day in your life as a writer.

Cindy:  This is the most difficult question for me to answer. I have an eight year old daughter and a thirteen year old son, with completely different school schedules. In summary, I get up at 4:30 a.m. to workout, pack lunches, get the kids off to school, then sit down at my computer. To get the momentum going, I re-read the last scene I wrote then tap-tap away at my computer. Some days that dreaded writer’s block rears its ugly head and I go back and do some edits which usually gives me a burst of inspiration. Thankfully my husband is the cook in the family, so while he’s cooking dinner I usually utilize that time to check correspondences and e-mails. In a nutshell, an author’s job is 24-7 and I never know when the results of a scene I’ve been struggling with resolve itself in my mind and the plot. On occasion I have woken up in the middle of the night to turn on my computer and at least get a draft of what came to mind in my slumber.

Reader’s Haven: Do your books have a common theme or are they all different?

Cindy:  So far they are all suspense and I can’t seem to create a character, major or minor role in the plot, without giving them some sort of mysterious background. Just the other day in editing Desperate Deceptions, I had every intention of scrapping a scene and character then Voila! Suddenly a burst of inspiration hit and this character now plays a pivotal role in the suspense and has earned a larger role in the plot.

I have some funny scenes in my books intertwined in the suspense and would like to write a comedy one day. I’m comfortable writing a few comic scenes here and there but not sure at this time if I could conjure up an entire comedy plot.

Reader’s Haven: How long does it take you to write and then edit a story?

CindyDesperate Measures didn’t take me very long to write, I’d estimate three months. Obtaining a publishing contract took a year. Desperate Deceptions is taking much longer.  Since I’ve been through the editing process, the analytical side of my brain took over for a while.  I’ll explain what I mean in that statement a bit further.  I’ve received great reviews, know what the editor is going to look for as far as mistakes, and I began overanalyzing every word of the book.  To summarize, I found myself scared to death of failure.  I’ve gotten past this stage and have continued the plot.  The creative side of my brain is now connected directly to my fingers tips, by- passing the editing side, to write and create then edit when done.  Hey, maybe I have found a new invention!  Cardiac surgeons use the by-pass technology; I have the author/editor by-pass!  I wonder what those royalties would pay?  Just trying to be humorous here.

Reader’s Haven: Do you have to be alone to write?

Cindy:  Typically, yes I have to be alone to write with no distractions. However, there are occasions when a scene comes to mind and I drop everything to get those magic words down before I forget them. My family has gotten used to me now when I go into writers mode. Sometimes when working out a plot I pace the house, not only talking to myself but answering myself back. This gets embarrassing sometimes when my children have friends over. One day during this process, my eight year old daughter’s friend said to me, “Mrs. Cromer, could you speak English?” My daughter responded, “Oh, ignore my mom, she’s writing.” I laughed!

Reader’s Haven: How do you go about naming characters?

Cindy:  My characters names aren’t as important as the secrets and mysterious pasts I create for them. I do try to keep their names simple, traditionally spelled, and easy for the reader to pronounce.

Reader’s Haven: Is it easier to write about the characters if you find pictures of them before you write or do you write then find character pictures?

Cindy: I write and create the characters based on my imagination and their story in the book. Though when I finished Desperate Measures , I envisioned some actors playing the roles if the book were ever turned into a movie. Josh Duhamel could play Tomas Medina perfectly. Tomas, FBI Senior Special Agent, has some serious scenes with some comedy scenes as well. Sandra Bullock would be a great Caitlin Martel and Clint Eastwood as Lukas Bucklin. A few others include: Nick Holland-Robert Dinero, Drew Porter-Martin Lawrence, Jack Spencer-Nick Nolte, Scott Martel-Nicholas Cage. Oops, I’ve gotten off track and having dreams of grandeur again, reaching higher and higher to the next level. That would be a big production budget wouldn’t it?

Reader’s Haven: How do you pick locations for your stories?

Cindy:  I would never pick a location for my book that I hadn’t been to personally and be able to describe in detail to my readers. I chose St. Kitts as the location of Desperate Measures for a few reasons. One being that I love to read books about tropical locations. Second, I’ve been to many Caribbean Islands but St. Kitts is my favorite. My husband, son, daughter, and I go there at least once a year. In my book I also cover some historical facts about the island. Due to the developments in Desperate Measures most of the plot of my second book Desperate Deceptions takes place in New York City. My third book, the medical thriller, is still in the draft format and I don’t have a defined location yet. I’ve been to Europe, Belgium and France, so that may become an interesting location. For the sports related NFL mystery, that will have to take place somewhere in the United States. I live in Florida now but I’m originally from New Jersey. Miami might be a good choice or New Jersey/New York again. I could also cover the discrepancy of how the Jets and Giants are both called New York teams yet they play in the Meadowlands which is located in New Jersey. That would spark some controversy in the suspenseful plot, wouldn’t it?

Reader’s Haven: What are you working on now and what should readers be looking forward to from you in the future? 

Cindy: I am currently putting the finishing touches and edits to my second book, DESPERATE DECEPTIONS, and it involves more family drama and suspense. It is focused on the newly formed but strained relationship between Caitlin and her biological grandfather. It could be considered a sequel, but I have written it as a stand-alone and the reader won’t be lost if they haven’t read DESPERATE MEASURES. Of course, my goal is to propel the sales of my first book and make the reader want to read both. I have a third and fourth book in rough draft format that are completely different from the first two. They are mysteries but totally different characters and plots. One is a sports related mystery revolving around the NFL and the other is a medical thriller. Once I finish those two I would like to get back to a few of the characters I created in DESPERATE MEASURES, especially Tomas. I created him as a minor role to provide a bit of comic relief to the reader, but he took on a life of his own and I want to create his own story line. Barry Solerno also needs to be the main focus of a book. I have no idea where I came up with him, but he became my favorite character. Also, I a have children's book I've been dabbling with, no title yet, but this one shouldn't take me long to finish.
Below is a preview of what I envision on the back cover of Desperate Deceptions:
Lukas Bucklin has it all, money, wealth, power, and most importantly control; or so he thought. He has finally formed a bond with his granddaughter, Caitlin Spencer Martel, and intends to name her the heir of his empire worth billions.  On the eve of a board meeting he receives a threatening phone call.  The caller knows what he has done. He revises his will again.  He can’t make the announcement, not yet.  He has some loose ends to wrap up and flush out another devious loose cannon that is on a rampage to destroy his family and legacy.

Lukas flies Caitlin to New York City on his private Learjet for the board meeting.  He devastates her when he doesn’t acknowledge her as a viable board member nor his granddaughter.  She doesn’t know her grandfather is protecting her and he doesn’t know that she has her own agenda for the meeting.  She rises to the occasion and proves that she is Lukas Bucklin’s heir and unwittingly aligns herself with Lukas in the path of a revengeful greedy psychopath.

Lukas is forced to distance himself from everyone close to him, especially Caitlin.  She can never know the truth, no one can. It would be devastating and cause a rippling affect that would tear the family apart; the family Lukas strived to protect for decades.

Reader’s Haven: Where can readers find out more about you and your books?

Cindy: My web site is Cindy’sWriting Studio

Twitter: @CromerCindy
Desperate Measures is available at:

Amazon  Print or Kindle

  Print or e-book

Barnesand Noble Nook

VeroBeach Book Center Print 

Reader, I'll giveaway an eBook or signed copy (Winner's choice). You can enter through the Rafflecopter below. Rafflecopter will draw the winner. Good luck!

 Here's an interview with Lucas so the Readers can get to know him better.

Television Host: Thank you audience for tuning in. I have an exclusive interview with ‘The Lukas Bucklin’, a multi-billionaire with a take charge attitude. He has secrets, let’s see if we can get him to expose them!

Host: Mr. Bucklin, you look nervous. This interview is very informal and I’ll start out with an easy question. What’s your favorite food?

Lukas: What kind of question is that? I can afford any delicacy I want, delivered whenever I want. Caviar, lobster, you name it!

Host: Okay, so my attempt to ease into the interview back fired, I’ll get down to business and ask my next question. Who was your first girlfriend and how old were you when you met?

Lukas: I was seventeen when I met the love of my life and she is the mother of my son. I’ll leave it up to you to figure out who I mean. You’ll have to read it in Desperate Measures, the novel in which that damn author, Cindy something or other, chose to write my life story.

Host: You don’t want to talk about that book do you, so I’ll ask about your career. How long have you worked at your current job?

Lukas: Job? I don’t have a menial job! I’m the CEO and Chairman of the Board of my own company. I built an empire.

Host: What’s your greatest pet peeve with you Mother/Father? Why?

Lukas: My father was ruthless but a peon. Oh, he may have started a gourmet grocery store but I turned it into a national chain. That move on my part started the foundation on which I built Bucklin Enterprises.

Host: Mr. Bucklin, you looked lost in thought there for a moment. Could there be some truth in the saying, “Like Father Like Son?”

Lukas: Absolutley NOT!!

Lukas slams his fist on the table.

Host: Lukas, if you could meet anyone living or dead who would it be and why?

Lukas: HA! What kind of question is that? Anyone in their right mind would love to meet me. Didn’t you read what I did to protect…, Oh, well never mind that, you can read the story in Desperate Measures but I am a force to be reckoned with, let me tell you that!

Host: Who’s your favorite artist, singer, etc.?

Lukas: I don’t have time for such nonsense! I have secrets that I have to scramble to keep hidden. Desperate Deceptions, the next novel by that newbie author, is keeping me hopping and I can’t let my past catch up with me. So if you’ll excuse me I have to protect my family and…..

And an article I'd like to share with authors and readers:  

Technical Writing vs. fiction writing – The similarities and differences

As I scientist and executive I have written many research papers, laboratory procedures, safety manuals, and bid proposals. This doesn’t include the letters to regulatory agencies, statement of qualifications of myself and staff, client correspondences, and reports to the Board of Directors.
Many are misled and assume it was an easy transition into the mystery fiction writing arena. When I am asked about this topic I sometimes find myself bumbling for an answer and will try explain some of the similarities and differences.

Technical writing of, proposals, bids, and grants, are for the most part boiler plate. Once you have a template it just takes some tweaking to modify it to the specification of the project; focusing in detail on previous relevant projects and this is where some creative writing comes into play. At this juncture a first time author and a newly hired Ph.D scientist are attempting to delve into their careers. The author has to first write his/her manuscript, edit it numerous times then find an agent and publisher. The first step is that all important query letter to attract someone’s attention. The scientist has just graduated, received a job offer and salary but now must obtain grants and funding. 

At this stage the advantage leans toward the scientist who most likely has a research dissertation under their belt and platform for a research project worth funding and a base salary.
The author has no income pertaining to writing but strives to obtain a publisher and agent with the hope of a contract and possibly an advance.

Both the scientist and author wait in anticipation of positive news and have dreams of grandeur. One imagines receiving the Nobel Prize and the other envisions reaching the # 1 Best Sellers list. Each has to be patient and endure rejections but never give up.

Scientific research papers and a fiction manuscript also have some areas of comparison.  A scientist utilizes their area of expertise to produce a study and laboratory project. A detailed method and laboratory procedure with supplies and specific high tech equipment are outlined. The scientist hopes the results will support and prove the hypothesis resulting in a publication, copyright, or even a patent.

In writing a manuscript, an author has a draft and idea of the plot with some characters developed. They may or may not have an ending in mind at the beginning but are not bound by any guidelines and have free reign to create a story where their creative mind takes them. The scientist does not have much freedom to deviate from the specified procedure.

Most authors suffer some bouts of writers block. They stare at their computer screen, re-reading scene after scene, willing a burst of inspiration and creativity to burst through. A similar situation occurs with the scientist. The laboratory tests are under way and the paper cannot be written until all of the data is submitted and evaluated. The scientist is in a holding pattern.

In summary there are some parallels in fiction and scientific writing yet drastic contrasts. For me personally I can’t honestly say that my science background is what propelled me to embark on a career as a mystery/suspense author. The only co-relation I can make is that I created the protagonist of Desperate Measures, Caitlin Martel, utilizing my background to give her an interesting career. The rest of the plot was based on my wild imagination. As an avid reader I thought of a book I would like to read and the story took off from there. While writing my first book the plot of my second, Desperate Deceptions, formed.

I hope my somewhat technical dissertation above didn’t scare off any potential readers. I assure you I don’t use scientific jargon or acronyms that overwhelm the reader. In the scenes where some science is introduced there is some light comedy involved. One particular scene features Caitlin describing the testing her company, CSM Technologies, is involved with to the St. Kitts Chief of Police and the FBI. She suddenly realizes her audience is struggling to comprehend and their eyes are glazing over. She then recites what she needs to in simple layman’s terms.

Thank you for this opportunity. This is a fun blog. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway