Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Garden Interview with Mariah Ankenman

Hello Mariah

Tel us about you and your books


1.Do you plot or let the story unfold as you write?

I am a heavy plotter. I have a new notebook for every book I write and I plot out every scene down to dialogue sometimes. My Outline is really more of a 1st draft.

2.What tips would you give a new writer?

Read as much as you can. Write as much as you can. Don’t get so attached to your story that you can’t put it down and walk away if necessary. Listen to all advice with a grain of salt because what works for some doesn’t work for others.


3. Describe your writing style in ten words or less.

Sassy and swoon-worthy


4.Do you have set times during the day that you write?

I used to write at night after my kids went to bed, but now I try to sneak in 30-minute sprints throughout the day.

5.Does working to deadline inspire or annoy you?

Yes! Give me a deadline! If I have an end goal in sight it helps me to schedule my time better. I love deadlines.



And for a little fun...


1.If you came with a warning label, what would it say?

Warning, corny dad jokes ahead.

2.Do you have any hobbies?

I do! I love music, specifically playing my ukulele, but we have almost 2 dozen instruments in our house and I can play most of them. I also love crochet, scrapbooking, tabletop games, facepainting, cosplay, and aerial hoop.

3.What is your favorite drink?

Dirty Vodka Martini!

4.If you were stranded on a desert island, what three things would be the most essential for you?

A solar powered ereader with an endless supply of books on it/A RoverTac multitool Camping tool/
Lifestraw

5.Do you laugh at your own jokes?

Sometimes I’m the only one laughing at them, lol!



Where can we find you online?





And find all Mariah's books at http://mariahankenman.com/books-2/


Monday, May 25, 2020

Garden Interview with Margaret L. Carter

Welcome Margaret


Do you plot or let the story unfold as you write?

I outline extensively. Since first-draft writing is a slow and laborious process for me, especially since I edit as I go (probably a byproduct of my academic background), I need to know in considerable detail where the story is headed. Early in my attempts to write novels, I learned that without an outline I would usually bog down in the middle and give up.

What's your favorite book you've written?

Dark Changeling, my first published vampire novel, in which I expounded the biology and psychology of my naturally evolved vampire species in the most detail of any of my works. I’ve used Dr. Roger Darvell, the half-human, half-vampire psychiatrist from that book, in several other novels and stories. Of all my characters, he feels the most “real” to me.

How did you do in English as a kid?

Honor roll student in high school. I majored in English at the College of William and Mary (Williamsburg, Virginia) and went on to earn an M.A. and a Ph.D. in English.

When did you decide to become an author?

Shortly after reading Dracula at the age of twelve. The novel enthralled me and got me into reading horror, fantasy, and all sorts of speculative fiction. From the first, I wondered how the “monsters” felt about the stories in which they were portrayed as villains. I started writing fiction about vampires and other supernatural creatures at age thirteen, often from the viewpoint of the “monster.”

When did you first, without hesitation, call yourself a writer?

When I sold my first professionally published piece of fiction, a story in Marion Zimmer Bradley’s anthology Free Amazons of Darkover. One of my favorite authors approved of my work—and paid me for it!


And for a little bit of fun


What did you want to be when you grew up?

In childhood, I wanted to be a doctor, because I was fascinated by biology and anatomy. I wouldn’t have been able to handle the stress, so it’s a good thing I dropped that idea. During the 1960 Kennedy-Nixon election campaign, I got the notion of wanting to go into politics. As a hardcore introvert, I would have been terrible at that! At age thirteen, I decided to become a writer (as explained above). I majored in English in college and graduate school on the premise that I could eventually get paid for reading.

Do you have a favorite quote?

“Adventures are nasty, uncomfortable things that make you late for dinner.” — Bilbo Baggins

Have you ever found true love?

Yes, with my husband of over fifty years. We met in a church youth group when I was in high school and he had just graduated. We were drawn together by our mutual love of speculative fiction and the fact that both of us wanted to become writers. We got married at ages eighteen and twenty, respectively, and we’re still married, thank Heaven.

What is your favorite comfort food?

Main dish: My husband’s chicken curry. Dessert: Ben and Jerry’s Chocolate Therapy ice cream.

What is your favorite time of year and why?

Summer. I enjoy hot, dry weather. I loved Southern California, where we lived off and on as a Navy family. Summer in our present home (Maryland) doesn’t fulfill the “dry” criterion, but even with the humidity I like it much better than being cold.


And tell us where we can find out more

Carter’s Crypt: http://www.margaretlcarter.com



Available today! Spooky Tutti Frutti 
On Amazon https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0868Z5VRD and other online retailers






Sunday, May 24, 2020

New Romance and Fiction In The Garden

New Romance and Fiction In The Garden

Click on covers for more information and to purchase
 
Tandy Blakemore spends her days running her New England ice cream parlor, single-parenting her teenage son, and trying to keep her head above financial water. No easy feat when the shop's machinery is aging and her son is thinking about college. Tandy hasn't had a day off in a decade and wonders if she'll ever be able to live a worry-free life.
Engineer Deacon Withers is on an enforced vacation in the tiny seaside town of Beacher's Cove. Overworked, stressed, and lonely, he walks into Tandy's shop for a midday ice cream cone and gets embroiled in helping her fix a broken piece of equipment.
Can the budding friendship that follows lead to something everlasting?
Rejected by her family for her bisexuality, graphic artist Margot DuPont yearns for a life with no fences, no limits, and no family ties. Between college, work at Book Nirvana, and an art competition, she barely has time for her part-time girlfriend much less a flirtation with her competitor.

Dumped into the foster system at a young age, ceramics artist Elmer Byrne craves a big, loving family of the heart. His artist family almost fills that need, but something is missing...until Margot. But when he offers his heart, her thorny defenses shatter him.

Thrown together in an art competition that could jump-start one artist's career, but not both, their irresistible attraction forces them to reconsider the meaning of success.
Josephine Brevil has lived hundreds of years haunted by the horrors she experienced during the Salem Witch Trials. She takes great care to hide her powers, though serving a Root Brew Float laced with a magic potion now and again never hurt anybody. The Order sends her to Massachusetts to deal with a paranormal threat, and she meets the young and handsome widower, Clarence Watts. However, being with him comes with a choice. How can she choose between the man she loves and the magic she holds dear?
Beth Jorgennson crawls from the wreckage of widowhood into a woodworking class for women. Her four younger classmates spill their secrets during friendly get-togethers, but she keeps hers safe within her guarded heart. Over time, Beth learns to rely on new friends instead of clinging to memories of her late husband. But when a secret from her past reappears, Beth isn't certain if she can handle her world being upended again.
Widow Melody Rose has already lost one man whose job involved guns and violence. She swore she'd never put herself through that again.
At first Sheriff Jake Bennett wants nothing to do with the taciturn café owner, but Melody intrigues him. When a stalker targets her, he's determined to protect the woman he has fallen for. Can Melody overcome her greatest fear and save the man she never dreamed would claim her heart?         

Saturday, May 23, 2020

Garden Interview with Joanne Guidoccio

Welcome Joanne

Tell us about you and your books


When did you decide to become an author?

While sitting in high school English class (circa 1973), I dreamed of writing the great Canadian novel. Instead, I followed the conventional advice of the times and pursued a career in teaching, but in my heart of hearts, I knew that someday I would resurrect that writing dream. In 2008, I took advantage of early retirement and devoted my second act to writing.

Are your characters based on real people?

Having lived and taught in different cities throughout the province of Ontario, I felt free to “borrow” characteristics from former colleagues and students to create composite characters. While Gilda is approximately 70% of me, the same can’t be said of the other characters. I would be very surprised if anyone recognized himself/herself in the novel.

How much time do you spend writing each day?

After some experimentation, I came up with a daily regimen. Nothing too dramatic, but it works for me. I like to sleep in each day and enjoy a leisurely breakfast. But after my second cup of coffee, I start writing. My goal is 1,000 words a day. After I reach that quota, I’m free to meet with friends for lunch or coffee and plan other outings.

What is your least favorite part of the writing process?

A linear pantser, I write brief character sketches, plot the first three chapters and the last, and then let the words flow. At some point, usually around Page 80, I encounter the murky middle, that nebulous place where I find it difficult to continue or sustain the tension of the novel. In short, I’m lost with no clear trail or direction in sight. 
In the early days of my writing career, I struggled to regain my motivation, wondering if I should abandon the novel. Thankfully, I have discovered several strategies that have lifted me out of the abyss.

What tips would you give a new writer?

Carve your own journey and take time to discover what you really like to write. In most cases, you will gravitate toward the genres you read. But don’t limit yourself. Instead, experiment with other genres, nonfiction, and poetry. I highly recommend attending local readings and workshops. If you need more direction, sign up for a creative writing course—online or offline—that exposes you to short stories, children’s and adult writing, creative nonfiction and poetry. Search until you find a warm, supportive environment where your words can flow freely. And most important of all, enjoy the journey.


and for a bit of fun


Do you have a favorite quote?

“We can choose courage or we can choose comfort, but we can't have both. Not at the same time.” ― Brené Brown

What is your favorite beverage?

I start each day with two to three cups of organic, fair-trade coffee from Planet Bean (a local café). My preferred blend is “Chatty Matty” and can be described as “light and mellow…nutty with a caramel finish.”

Do you have any hobbies?

While writing occupies the lion’s share of my time, I also enjoy reading, yoga, scrapbooking, blogging, movies, artist dates, and meeting friends for leisurely brunches and lunches.

What is your favorite comfort food?

Years ago, I would have answered pasta, any kind of pasta with tomato sauce or pesto. Since embracing a low-carb diet, I have grown to love and appreciate my daily bowls of comfort. I especially like puréed, low-starch vegetable soups that are quick and easy to prepare. Puréed broccoli soup is at the top of my list. You can find my recipe here: https://joanneguidoccio.com/2019/02/03/warming-up-with-broccoli-soup/

If you were stranded on a desert island, what three things would be the most essential for you?

Clean drinking water. Compatible companions. Pen and paper (preferably a journal).



Where can we find out more?


Website:                      https://joanneguidoccio.com

Twitter                        https://twitter.com/joanneguidoccio

Pinterest:                     https://www.pinterest.ca/jguidoccio/

Download   A Different Kind of Reunion  on Amazon and other online retailers https://www.amazon.com/Different-Reunion-Gilda-Greco-Mystery-ebook/dp/B07BSTTNS2





Friday, May 22, 2020

Garden Interview with Liz Flaherty

Welcome Liz

tell us about you and your books


How did you do in English as a kid?

I did great in English, from the first grade until the last day of Senior English. Since I’m one of those people who tend to disappear into the woodwork—you know, the girl the third from the end whose name you can’t remember—I loved being good in English. I was a little embarrassed about it, too, but when I started writing when I was in the fifth grade, I was grateful. Grammar and spelling came so easily that all I had to do was come up with a story. And a plot. And a voice…

When did you decide to become an author?
Decide? You mean there are people for whom that is a conscious decision? Seriously, it may have been that I was an unhappy kid who enjoyed creating worlds for herself where money was no problem, the heroine had good hair, and her siblings didn’t think she was a pain in the neck. It grew from that, of course, but I think that was the basis for the “decision.”

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
When I was young, I wrote quickly. If I had to take out a bunch of stuff I never worried about it because replacing it would take no time at all. Nowadays, I write so slowly that I have trouble keeping up with the story. I have to check and re-check make sure I have eye color right, last names right, personality points in the right person. I get very impatient with myself.

How do you get to know your story characters better?
By writing them, which admittedly is a clumsy way of doing it, because I might realize that the person on page 154 isn’t at all the same one I introduced on page two, which means going back and inserting things and taking things out to give the person cohesion. I’ve never had a cohesive moment in my life, so I’m not sure why it’s necessary that my people do, but it is. 

and for something fun


Do you have a favorite quote?
Yes. From A. A. Milne. “‘What day is it?’ asked Pooh. ‘It’s today,’ squeaked Piglet. ‘My favorite day,’ said Pooh.” Thanks to Mr. Milne, I make it a point to have as many “favorite days” as I possibly can.

Do you have any hobbies?
I sew. I don’t do it particularly well, but I do it a lot. I make quilts mostly, and projects where there is need. I hardly ever watch TV, but I have it on while I sew, and the combination puts me in a nice, peaceful place.

Have you ever found true love?
If it’s love, it’s true, right? The fact that my first love didn’t end well didn’t make it any less true. I say that, but the fact that my last love is still the beginning and ending of my every day after 50 years—I guess maybe that’s my ultimate truth. So, yeah, I have, and I’m everlastingly grateful.

What is your favorite time of year and why?
Other than February, every time is my favorite. Even February has Valentine’s Day and my younger son’s birthday. I’ve always thought, even more now that I’m…of a certain age, that the journey is so much more fun and exciting than the destination. Therefore, every single time of the year is part of a journey and I like it. Except for February.



where can we find out more?






and other online retailers


Thursday, May 21, 2020

A garden interview with Hunter J. Skye

Hello Hunter

welcome to my corner of the garden

tell us about your books

Are your books or characters based on anyone you know, or events in your own life? Many of the spirits appearing in A Glimmer of Ghosts- Book One in The Hell Gate Series are based on actual ghost stories from the Olde Towne district of Portsmouth, Virginia, where I grew up. Once a year, these stories are told on the city’s annual Halloween Ghost Walk. These apparitions are well known to the residents of Olde Towne, Portsmouth and the city considers them ambassadors of a sort. One such ghost, Colonel William Crawford, founded the town three hundred years ago and is the inspiration for Grayford- Melisande’s haunting lover.
Also, my main character navigates life with type one narcolepsy just like me.

Do you plot or let the story unfold as you write? I’m just going to let my Pantser flag fly. I love it when the story leads me rather than me leading the story. With that said, I believe the right side of my brain is feverishly plotting as I go. It’s just sneaky and nonverbal so I’m unaware when it’s happening.

Do you have to travel researching your book? Imagine running as fast as you can over the surface of an asteroid surrounded by crushing darkness with only a small flash light. That was me last June in the Grotte de Niaux in the French Pyrenees. The craggy, slanted cave had a chamber a half mile into the mountain with pre-historic paintings we could still get up close to. The only problem- our exhales were damaging to the art, so we had to get in and out quickly. It was dangerous, slippery and the time of my life. You better believe it’s in my next book.

Which phrase in the book are you most proud of? I’ve just written a line in my WIP- the second book in The Hell Gate Series- that I absolutely love. A secondary character is issuing a warning to one of the bad guys regarding the main character, Melisande. The character simply says “If you kill her, she will be unstoppable.” I love the fact that my main character could go evil at any second, and no one knows how powerful she might be- living or dead.


What is your least favorite part of the writing process? I’m horrified that I’ve gotten to a stage in the series when I may finally have to write a Series Bible. I don’t wanna.

and now a little about you


Are you fun to go on vacation with? I love adventures and take pride in being open to unforeseen changes and serendipity. I don’t snore, and I’m also a fairly good chuck wagon cook. I can make anything from spaghettios to barbequed iguana- which is handy in a travel partner. But just kidding about the iguana- I would never… unless we were lost and starving.

If you came with a warning label what would it say? Don’t spill water on her, or feed her wheat gluten after midnight.

What is your favorite comfort food? Spaghetti or chicken & dumplings, but before you feed me dumplings, check my warning label.

What is your favorite time of year and why? Autumn- wood smoke, fiery leaves, foggy fields, hay rides, and pumpkins.

Do you have any hobbies? Star-gazing, birding, fossil-hunting, gem-mining, hiking. Basically, I’ll suit up for any outdoor nature activity.


Where can we find out more?





and other online retailers





Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Garden Interview with Micki Miller

Hello Micki

1. Question: Do you plot or let the story unfold as you write?
   Answer: I’ve been both a plotter and a pantster. These days I start off with a thorough plot. Sometimes it carries me through. Other times, like with the book I’m writing now, the story goes off the rails and I’m plowing through the woods, at night, without a headlight.

2. Question: When did you decide to become an author?

   Answer: I never decided. I just wrote stories, always. Even before I learned how to write I was making up stories in my head. As I got older, people often thought I was a space case, because, well, I was. Still am, with stories dancing in my head all the time vying for my attention.

3. Question: Do you have set times during the day that you write?

  Answer: I love to write early in the morning, before the sun rises. It feels like the whole world is asleep. The phone doesn’t ring. No one knocks at the door. Everything is quiet and peaceful. I often get some time in the afternoon, but it doesn’t have the same all-for-me vibe as early mornings.

4. Question: How do you deal with writer’s block?

   Answer: I’ve never had anything so extreme as writer’s block. I often get stuck. When that happens, I go brush my teeth. If my breath is extremely fresh, you know it’s been a tough day of writing.


and for a little fun...

1. Question: Who do you see as a hero in your life?

  Answer: My hero is my husband, Randy. I was at a very low point in my life when he appeared like a fairytale prince and wrapped me in his love. Besides, he’s the only man I’ve ever met who was brave enough to marry me, lol.

2. Question: What did you want to be when you grew up?

   Answer: I always wanted to be a writer. I told my mother that once and she laughed at me. For many years I didn’t say it again. When I did, it was only to a couple of close friends. I think a lot of people were shocked when I was offered a contract.

3. Question: Who’s more fun, bad boys or a perfect gentleman?

    Answer: I had my fill of bad boys growing up. The concept is very different from the reality. I’ll take a gentleman every time. Every time.

4: Question: If you came with a warning label, what would it say?

    Answer: Warning, anything you say or do could end up in a story. Befriend me at your own risk. Hehehe.


Where can we find you online?

Twitter: @millermwriter

Instagram: micki.miller

Download A Bandit’s Request on Amazon and other online retailers.
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07W55B4WY