Monthly Archives: October 2010

Happy Halloween!

Well, it’s finally here. Okay, I’m not really a big Halloween fan. If I had children, I’d probably love it more, but it isn’t my favorite holiday. However, Halloween has given us so many great movies and music, I had to post something today.

I hope you’ve had a wonderful October and if you’re trick-or-treating tonight, that you’ll be safe. Today is also the last day to comment for a chance to win a free book from Shelley Munro. The winner will be announced tomorrow.

For now, please enjoy this clip from Tim Burton’s Nightmare Before Christmas set to Marilyn Manson’s version of This is Halloween.

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Saturday Sing Along

I’m actually not writing today. No, I’m doing the pedicure thing with my sister and finally going to clean my house. It seems like forever since it had a good scrub down what with the renovations that took place in my brand spanking new bathroom! Booyah! My bathroom is lovely. New tub, new toilet, new floors…now I just need to paint the walls, but I’m saving that for later.

Anyway, today is my baby’s birthday. I suppose I shouldn’t call him my baby anymore because today he’s 19. He’s also not my baby, per se…he’s actually my sister’s baby, but he may as well be mine. He has my wit. Lucky child.

So in honor of his birthday, I’m posting this song:

This was his favorite song when he was about four or five. I remember driving in my mom’s Buick with him in the backseat. This song came on the radio and he said, “Nanny, turn it up.” I did and when I glanced back, he was bobbing his head looking out the window and singing along.

My precious baby *sigh* Happy Birthday! He won’t actually see this, mind you. He won’t go so far as to read anything I write unless it has to do with sports and blood or monsters and blood. Meh.

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Fantasy Man Friday

What a month it’s been! I hope you’ve enjoyed counting down Horror Movies, Music, and Novels with me in preparation for Halloween. It’s funny how the more I blogged, the more things I found to blog about. They’ll have to wait until next year though.

Don’t forget, you still have until Sunday, October 31 to comment to win a book by Shelley Munro. If you haven’t yet, be sure to stop by and read about her latest release and learn more about Shelley. I’ll be posting the winner on Monday!

And now for the most important part of Fridays. Ah yes, the Fantasy Man…considering we discussed horror movies, music, and novels this entire month, I thought it would be perfect to show a man perfect for hiding um, under the covers with:

He’s uh…already in bed…and um…he looks scared, doesn’t he? Um. I mean…maybe? *fans herself*

Happy Friday everyone!

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Author Interview: Shelley Munro

Greetings all! Today we have Shelley Munro on the blog telling us about herself and her latest book, The Spurned Viscountess. Without further ado, here’s Shelley!

BIO:

Shelley lives in New Zealand with her husband.

Typical New Zealanders, Shelley and her husband left home for their big OE soon after they married (translation of New Zealand speak – big overseas experience). A year long adventure lengthened to six years of roaming the world. Enduring memories include being almost sat on by a mountain gorilla in Rwanda, lazing on white sandy beaches in India, whale watching in Alaska, searching for leprechauns in Ireland, and dealing with ghosts in an English pub.

While travel is still a big attraction, these days Shelley is most likely found in front of her computer following another love – that of writing stories of romance and adventure. Other interests include watching rugby and rugby league (strictly for research purposes), and curling up with a good book.

BLURB:

She must marry him.
Cursed with the sight and rumors of witchcraft, Rosalind’s only chance at an ordinary life is marriage to Lucien, Viscount Hastings. She doesn’t expect love, only security and children of her own. Determined to go through with the wedding, she allows nothing she encounters at the gloomy Castle St. Clare to dissuade her.

He wants nothing to do with her.
Recently returned from the Continent, Lucien has no time for the English mouse his family has arranged for him to marry, not when he’s plotting to avenge the murder of his beloved Francesca. He has no intention of bedding Rosalind, not even to sire an heir.

Dark secrets will bind them.
Though spurned by her bridegroom, Rosalind turns to him for protection when she is plagued by a series of mysterious accidents and haunted by terrifying visions. Forced to keep Rosalind close, and tempted into passionate kisses, Lucien soon finds himself in grave danger of falling in love with his own wife…

****

Okay…the camel picture on your website bio…did it spit at you?
No, it was a real cutie. It was still a baby and was curious about me. It tried to lick me.  

Where did you get the idea for The Spurned Viscountess
I originally wrote the very first scene of The Spurned Viscountess as a writing exercise for the Auckland Chapter of Romance Writers of New Zealand. I can’t remember what the topic for the exercise was now, but I wrote about a man who had lost his memory. His family told him he was Viscount Hastings, but the man didn’t believe them. He recalled nothing of his childhood years or any of the time before he met his wife in Italy. His “newly found family” expect him to go through with an arranged marriage. Lucien doesn’t wish to marry again, but he wants a reason to stay at the castle while he investigates the murder of his first wife.

I really liked my finished scene and started to think about where the story would go. I added all my favorite elements from historicals including smugglers, a gothic element, a scarred hero and a heroine in peril plus a creepy castle. The Spurned Viscountess is the end result.

You mentioned in our pre-interview e-mails that you don’t celebrate Halloween in New Zealand. Is there any particular tradition you’ve learned about that you think sounds like fun?
Yes, it’s true. We don’t celebrate Halloween in New Zealand. Dressing in a costume and going trick or treating sounds like fun as do all the decorations and the weird party foods. I love cooking, so making special cakes and other food for Halloween would be fun for me. 

With Halloween upon us (just around the corner!), I can’t help but ask: what makes Shelley Munro cower under the covers, or at least sends a shiver down your spine?
I’m a terrible sissy when it comes to horror movies. I refuse to watch them. In fact anything with too much blood and guts sends me fleeing to another room.

What made you choose a gothic romance? 
I read a lot of Victoria Holt books and other gothic romances when I was a teenager. I like the creepy castles and the element of danger that shimmers between the pages. With that sort of reading background gothic historical romance seemed like a natural choice.

Your hero, Lucien, sounds delicious. What’s your definition of a hero and are there any in New Zealand looking for an American girlfriend?Thank you! I’m rather partial to Lucien. My definition of a hero—someone who is strong and capable, someone with drive and ambition who is kind to children and animals and also to people who are less advantaged than him. He’s honorable. He doesn’t have to be handsome but he has charisma, which makes him sexy.

LOL – my husband is my hero. I’m sure there are a few more like him around somewhere in the country.

You have quite the bookshelf! Do you have a favorite genre? How do you come up with your ideas and decide which genre they fit in?
I’m equal opportunity when it comes to genres. I like reading most genres and writing them all seemed a natural extension of this. I tend to write more contemporary and paranormal than anything else. Ideas are one thing that I find easy. Almost anything can inspire me—from TV, movies, magazines, the news or a trip to our local mall. The genre depends on how the idea comes to me and also if I need a break from a particular genre. I think swapping around helps keep me fresh.

Do you have a favorite movie? Actor? (I hope it isn’t Gerard Butler…)
I like The Mummy staring Brendon Fraser. I’ve watched this movie countless times and still love it. It’s the setting and the adventure plus Brendon Fraser looks pretty good. *grin*

What’s your writing routine like? Are you an everyday writer, or a binge writer? (I waffle between bingeing and everyday…but then again, my college advisor did say I had no discipline.)
LOL – I wouldn’t listen to them. I write every day. It’s a habit I’ve developed from when I first started writing. These days I feel a bit lost if I don’t do my daily writing. 

What kind of music do you listen to when you’re writing?
I like all kinds of music. At present I’m listening to a lot of Country music. I start off listening to music but, once I start writing, I tend to tune out. I’m afraid music is wasted on me during my writing hours.

What do you do when you’re not churning out your latest manuscript?
I like to travel. Most days I go for a walk and/or a bike ride to get out in the fresh air. I enjoy cooking, photography and of course reading. We also do a little fostering for the SPCA so when we’re fostering a dog, I do lots of extra walking.

Do you have one piece of advice you were given that you hold true to no matter what?
I steal the Nike motto – “Just Do It”. That always works for me.

Who are your favorite authors?
I have so many favorite authors—too many to mention. I like Kate Pearce, Louisa Edwards, Keri Arthur and Ilona Andrews and many others.

What is Shelley Munro working on next? We like to be teased.
Well, since you asked…I’m working on more than one book at present.
-I’m working on book 11 (the final book) in my paranormal Middlemarch Mates series about a feline shapeshifter community living in a small New Zealand country town.
-I’m working on a follow up to Fancy Free (a story about a woman who inherits a condom factory)
-I’m working on a follow up story to The Bottom Line – this story is about one of the secondary characters from The Bottom Line.
-And finally, I have another gothic romance in the planning stages.

Now, for the extra special treat. Shelley is offering a prize to one lucky person! Shelley, tell us what the prize is.

PRIZE – I’ll give away a download from my Ellora’s Cave or Samhain Publishing backlist. The winner can choose one download from my backlist.

Be sure to comment between now and Sunday for your chance to win one of Shelley’s books. The winner will be announced on Monday. Good luck!

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Whisper Your Fear

It’s okay, I won’t judge!

Today is the final day of Horror Novel Week. Tomorrow will be exclusively for an author interview with Shelley Munro who has a brand new gothic paranormal romance out called The Spurned Viscountess. Be sure to check it out and comment because one lucky person will win a copy of her book!

Now for today’s Horror Novel…As I’ve mentioned before, I’m not much into horror novels, but the ones I’ve read were guaranteed to leave me with chills or just a sense of being unsettled. Today’s book is one of the few I’ve read that really bothers me.

Whispers by Dean Koontz was released in 1980. Since I was only 4 at the time, it was several years before I read it, but it didn’t take me long to realize this man has a twisted mind. No, I’m sure Koontz is considered more of a suspense novelist, but Whispers is horrifying to me.

Why?

Well, without giving too much of the book away…the villain is mentally disturbed with good reason. Have you ever been scared of something, let’s say…roaches, and no matter how logical you try to be about them, when you see one you freak out? You know what I mean, you can squash them, set your pets on them (my young kitty, Cookie, is a spectacular insect killer), or buy little hotel Californias (cause they can check in any time, but they can never leave!) for them, but you still cringe and whimper when you see one? Well, imagine if you were locked in a basement with millions of them as a “punishment”. Yeah…you’re not going to come out sane, if you know what I mean. Luckily for me, we can’t have basements in south Louisiana (the water, you know), so mom never got to threaten me with the “roach room”. But the villain of this story…well, let’s just say his mom did a number on him and he’s taking it out on the heroine.

Now, back to the roaches. Because…well, I truly can’t stand them. I don’t squeal and run away from them. No, I shudder and look for something to keeeeeel dem with. (It has to be said that way, sorry.) My sister-in-law’s best friend, however, can’t even say the word “roach”. I didn’t believe this and tried to get her to say it, but she couldn’t. She’s so scared of them, she can’t even think about them without freaking out. Now, that’s fear!

I’ve read a whole helluva lot of Koontz’s books because he manages to scare me without bringing in the monster into the story. No, he just reminds me how much people can be monstrous and lets my imagination go from there. By the way, if Mr. Koontz is reading this blog – cause I know he does! – Thanks, Dean, for scaring the hell out of me for so many years.

So what’s your greatest fear? Can you whisper it?

Don’t forget! Tomorrow we’re having Shelley Munro by to talk about her book and writing process. Be sure to comment for your chance to win a copy of The Spurned Viscountess!

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Misery Loves Company

It took me a long time to decide which book I was going to pick today. When it comes to Stephen King, it’s hard to say which of his stories are scarier. I suppose it depends on what your greatest fear is. Are you scared of rabid dogs? Cars that have minds of their own? Strange monsters that know what your biggest fear is? Or are you scared of becoming a famous writer and being kidnapped by your number one fan? Hehehe.

I’ve mentioned Misery before because I really worried I’d pull an Annie Wilkes and stalk my favorite authors at RWA Nationals. I didn’t, to my ever-lasting relief, but there was still that fear.

The hero of the book, Paul Sheldon, finishes his latest novel. It’s a crime novel, as opposed to the Victorian-era romance books he’s written. He gets into an accident and is rescued by Annie Wilkes…who’s his number one fan. And she is not happy about his latest endeavor.

Right, so without getting into the whole story, I have to say this is a scary ass book/movie. As a reader, I could kind of understand Annie’s er, passionate love for the romance series he wrote. I mean, I really get into my books and I used to have very set ideas of how a series should go. I’m not saying I’d find the author and break their ankles with a sledgehammer or anything, but this book made me wonder if I could ever be that passionalte about a celebrity. As a reader, this book was horrifying. You can’t help but think Annie is absolutely nuts.

Now that I’m pursuing a writing career, I see the sheer, unadulterated terror this book represents. Writers, no matter how famous, walk a very fine line with their audience. If you’re well-known for one genre and one genre only, taking a step in a new direction could be equated with jumping off a cliff. What if your fans hate it? What if they send you hate mail? What if you find your child’s pet bunny in a pot of boiling water? What if you find a horse’s head in your bed? Okay, so getting my movies and stuff mixed up, but you get the idea.

So what do you think? Do you fear stepping outside of your comfortable writing zone? Do you worry your fans will hate you for not rising to their expectations? Are you scared, yet strangely attracted, to the idea of becoming as famous as the hero of Misery? Did you cringe and squeeze your eyes shut when she breaks his feet?

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The Spark

Today begins the end of October and day one of Horror Novel Week. I’ll admit, I’m not much on horror stories (I much prefer movies), but there are at least three books I believe fit into this genre. Some of you may not agree with me, but just as one man’s trash is another man’s treasure, so is one woman’s “fears” another’s entertainment.

First on my list is a book that sparked an array of horror movies and is considered one of the first works of science fiction. In 1818 Frankenstein was published. Written by an 18-year-old Mary Shelley, the novel managed to become a literary classic and a story that began a slew of interpretations and reproductions.

I wonder if Mary Shelley had any idea what her story would become. It started off as a way to pass the time. Mary was in Switzerland with her lover (and eventual husband) Percy Shelley, Lord Byron and friends. The weather wasn’t cooperative for outdoor activities they’d planned, so Byron decided everyone should write a short supernatural tale. So Frankenstein was born.

When I was in college, I read this book maybe five times. It was required. I wasn’t enamored of it in any sense. In fact, I hated it. As I mentioned before, I don’t read many “horror” novels, so I wasn’t exactly happy when five different professors made me read this book for a grade. Meh.

However, when I was trying to think of novels that fit the horror genre, this book was first on my list. In deciding to write about it, I tried to put myself in the mind of 19th century readers and thought: ‘Damn that Mary Shelley!’. As a writer, I can’t help but admire her. Mary Shelley…at 18 (I was more concerned with partying than writing) wrote a story that is still being read nearly two hundred years after she wrote it. To compound that admiration, she wrote it at a time when women were considered too fragile to even read about certain subjects, much less write about them.

What’s not to admire? Her book has been made into plays and movies. It’s been spoofed, Frankenstein’s creature has become a Halloween favorite costume, songs have been written about it. You name it, it’s been done. All because one 18-year-old girl had a kernel of an idea at the prompting of a friend. She made a short story a novel with the support and encouragement of Percy.

Now that I’m older, I feel compassion for the creature I hadn’t before. I wonder what would have happened if Frankenstein had shown his creation a little love and care. What if Frankenstein had created a bride for his creation? As a romance writer, I can’t help but be curious as to what their relationship would have been like. I suppose that’s the beauty of her novel, it sparked so many ideas for generations of novelists, screenwriters, musicians, and artists. My absolute favorite of every interpretation of Frankenstein is Young Frankenstein. I can’t help it, I’m a Mel Brooks fan and it’s hilarious.

If you’ve read Frankenstein, what do you think about it? Do you enjoy reading it? Do you loathe it as much as I dislike Charles Dickens? (Sorry Dickens fans, I can’t help it, I’ve disliked Dickens since I was forced to read Hard Times.) What’s your favorite interpretation of it?

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