Meet Me Mondays

Meet Me Mondays
Meet My Author Friends...Make Them Yours

Monday, April 11, 2011

Meet Me Mondays ~ Author Interview, CINDY JACKS

Please welcome multi-published author, Cindy Jacks, to the spotlight.   Cindy has over a dozen published works, in multiple genres, and has recently been accepted for additional works. Wow! She’s one crazy-busy gal ;)

Thanks so much for hosting me today, Kienna. I’m thrilled to be here!

Q1. Cindy, you have experience with multiple publishers (Ellora’s Cave, Cobblestone Press, Wild Child Publishing, and more) for your twelve titles, what words of wisdom can you share with other writers about the publisher selection process?

The two most important thing to consider when selecting a publisher are the genres they specialize in and professionalism. Some publishers have built readerships that prefer paranormal romance, some specialize in erotica, some specialize in mystery/suspense, etc. Choosing a publisher that comes with a following interested in the genre you write is a win/win situation.

As for professionalism, that sounds like a no-brainer, but all too often authors are so eager to get their work published, they jump at any publisher who shows interest. But unfortunately there are lots of fly-by-night e-publishers and some run by people who just don’t have a head for business. Submit your work to the biggest and most respected publishers you can, don’t be afraid to take that leap. You’ll save yourself a world of frustration!

Q2. What is your writing process? Do you write every day? Do you write in chunks? In your living room? At a café? With a cat your lap?

As a general rule, I write every day—there are exceptions, like when I’m under the weather or my son has a particularly busy Saturday or when I make the mistake of purchasing a new video game, LOL. I can write just about anywhere, but I usually do it in my little office nook by the kitchen. Lately I’ve taken to sitting on a balance ball as opposed to in a regular chair. It’s done wonders for my core muscles, plus I get in a little exercise while chained to my laptop.

I’m very much a plotter, I have to see the entire story from beginning to end. That being said, I have no trouble jumping around within the outline, working on different scene out of sequence. Whatever chapter speaks to me that day—that the chapter I work on.

Q3. For readers meeting you for the first time, which of your titles would you recommend they read and why?

For fans of erotic romance, I think Love Game and Waking Maggie are two great titles to start with. They’re both chock full of sensuality, romance, and very sexy heroes, but there’s also a lot of real emotion and vulnerability on the part of the heroines. I think the average woman can identify with their insecurities and wants.

If paranormal romance is your cup of tea, I recommend my Four Brothers Clan series. It revolves around four sexy wolf-shifters whose clan is under attack by a powerful and mysterious force. Not only do the critics loved the series, but it’s gaining it’s own fan base. I have folks on Facebook who debate which brother is the hottest. Personally, I love all four of them. And I’m excited to announce that the third book in the series, Cry Wolf, has been contracted by Cobbleston Press for release later this year!

Q4.  Waking Maggie, is an Ellora’s Cave Quickie that features a super hot 27 year old, Calvin, and a 40 year old, Maggie. You also have a few other titles in your “love after 30” category, All the Good Men, Love Game, and Leap.  What can readers find (and enjoy) in these titles? Are they all cougar themed? Or is the message that love (and the fun) doesn’t end in your 20s?

Of all my “love after 30” books, only Waking Maggie revolves around an older woman with a younger man and Maggie’s sort of an accidental cougar. She wasn’t looking for a younger man, she just happened to run into one—literally.

The other titles feature heroines and heroes who are both in the their thirties or forties. As I age, I find love and romance is more sophisticated and deliciously complicated than it was in my 20s. I’ve been told by readers and reviewers that these books give them hope. Romance, sex, and fun doesn’t end in your 20s—if anything I think it gets better with age.

Q5. What do you like most about being a published author?

I love connecting with readers. It’s the best feeling to hear that I’ve helped someone escape a stressful day or find hope for love. One reader said the Four Brothers Clan series made her want to slap her husband and buy another of my books, LOL. Not that I’m advocating violence against hubbies, but let’s face it, day-to-day life is boring and montonous and stressful. If I can help a reader escape all that, even for just a few hours, I feel like a total success.

Q6. As authors, we aim to have a style and a voice that is unique to our name.  When we CINDY JACKS on the cover, what can readers expect?

I think my slogan—Fiction for the bad girl in every woman—says it all. And I mean “bad girl” in a very positive way. With every book, I explore and celebrate female sexuality in all its forms. I also strive to strip sex and romance down to those rare, but beautiful moments when two people connect without barriers, without boundaries, when they are at their most vulnerable. Nothing fascinates me more and I hope to continue exploring love and passion for years to come!

Q7. How may your readers/fans contact you?

Twitter: @CindyJacks

Commenter Prizes!!!

Cindy ~ Do you have any free reads or other items for one lucky commenter?

I do! I’ll be giving away a copy of my latest release, Waking Maggie! Thank you so much, Kienna, for having me as your guest. I’ve enjoyed spending this time with you!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Author Spotlight ~ Rhiannon Ellis

Please welcome debut author, Rhiannon Ellis, to the spotlight.   We are so delighted that she’s decided to land at my blog, during her blog tour.Cozy up to those keyboards, guys and gals, and let’s talk romance!

Rhiannon, thank you for taking the time to chat with us today, with two new releases, BONDED in BRAZIL, and DARK WOLF PROTECTOR, you certainly have a lot to talk about.

Q1. Dark Wolf Protector features animal protector, Jaci Waters, hunting down a wolf that has invaded her tiny town and is preying on women.  Enter Dolton Freye, the protector who storms into town destined to hunt and kill the wolf that’s after Jaci.  Where did your inspiration to write the sensual romance, Dark Wolf come from?

I can’t pin down my inspiration to one thing or another, but after reading dozens of paranormal/shifter stories and loving them all, I wanted to write one of my own. Isn’t that how all of us writers start out? We get sucked into a genre or series and can’t let it go, even after we get to the end. The desire to live in that world never goes away, so we continue it in our own words, with new characters, and in fresh locations.

Q2. With two preschool-age kids at home, where do you find the time two write? Two releases at the same time, you are one incredibly busy gal!

I get this question a lot. The answer is simple: I don’t. Lol. Really, I don’t find time; time sort of finds me in between dirty dishes, boo boos, building forts and cooking meals. I’m constantly throwing my writer’s hat on and off as I center my 2nd greatest passion, writing, around my 1st greatest passion—my family.

Q3. Now that you have two releases available, please share your road to publication.  Perhaps, any rejection and how you handled them. How you felt when you received a proposal.

I have a knack for bad timing, so I started writing my first novel when my daughter was 2 years old and my son was 6 months old. Since then I’ve written three novels and a novella. That first book was eventually offered representation by my current agent, but we’ve put it on hold for further revisions. As mentioned, I have two releases available now, and I also have a newly completed MS with my agent.

The journey thus far has been exhausting but exhilarating. I’m so happy and proud to be part of such an exciting process and supportive community, and I can’t imagine writing not being in my life. Sure, there have been rejections, but that’s what being an artist is about. Some people will like your work, some people won’t.

Q4.  Brazil is the setting for your novel BONDED IN BRAZIL. What is one fascinating fact you discovered while conducting your research?

Oh, boy. This is a tough one. I learned SO MUCH while doing research for this story. It isn’t just a story about Brazil (and Napa Valley); it’s also a story about a vineyard. Matter of fact, I learned so much about both locations and vineyards that I decided to write a sequel J

One thing I’d love to share is that Brazil is home to the largest tropical rainforest on the planet. The Amazon rainforest doesn’t make an appearance in my stories, but I learned a lot about the importance of rainforests—many facts I didn’t know before—and even did some special projects with my 5-year-old so she could learn about them, too.

She really liked learning about some of the over 4 million species of plants and animals that live in Brazil. If you have children, they’d probably enjoy learning about them, too J

Q5. What do you like most about being a published author?

It’s an accomplishment no one can ever take away. Even if I never write another book, I can always say that I’m an author. I also love that, one day, I can tell my daughter that just because you’re a stay-at-home mom and your life revolves around your family, it doesn’t mean your dreams have to die. Women really can have, and be, it all!
Q6. As authors, we aim to have a style and a voice that is unique to our name.  When we RHIANNON ELLIS on the cover, what can readers expect?

First, readers can expect dynamic, memorable characters. Characters are what drive my stories and what will linger with the reader afterward.

Secondly, I love strong female characters. I aim to create heroines who are a lot like my female friends and family members—real women who are capable of incredible things. And my heroines don’t need rescuing, even if it seems they do at the beginning of the story. However, my strong women still love their alpha-male heroes…don’t we all?

Q7. How may your readers/fans contact you?

My website! There you will find everything about my books, links to my Facebook page, Twitter, blog and email. If you’re interested in learning more about Bonded In Brazil or Dark Wolf Protector, my website has trailers, blurbs and excerpts.


Commenter Prizes!!!

Rhiannon ~ Do you have any free reads or other items for one lucky commenter?

Sure do! My online book tour ends this Friday. At that time, I’ll randomly pick 4 commenters from my blog stops and give each winner an e-copy of either Bonded In Brazil or Dark Wolf Protector.


One lucky commenter will receive a readers pack from Kienna.  This includes a pencil with Thomas Jefferson’s famed quote, “I cannot live without books”, and a bookmark purchased from the Library of Congress in Washington D.C.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Meet Me Mondays ~ Author Interview, VALERIE MANN

Please welcome Valerie Mann, erotic romance author to the spotlight.   She’s multi-published, talented, and is currently celebrating her latest release, HEY YOU, available via Decadent Publishing as part of the Run Devil Run anthology.

I first met Valerie via a mutual writing friend, Olivia Starke (we all write erotic romance and run in the same circles ;)  She commented and won a prize on my blog, imagine our surprise when we found out she used to live in my hometown! 
Thank you for taking the time to chat with us today, Valerie.  So please spill, how did you get involved in writing the series inspired by the band members of Run Devil Run?

Several months ago, Heather Bennett, one of the Decadent Publishing owners, mentioned that she was working on putting together a cross-promotion with an LA rock band. I am the “blog maven” for Decadent, plus I’m a content editor for them as well, so I have a lot of contact with Heather. I told her I wanted to be a part of the series she was putting together and then forgot about it. Sometime in November I got an email telling me it was time to start writing and I had that OMG moment…I decided I must have been crazy to get involved, especially once I found out who else was writing for the series. The other author’s credits were pretty intimidating!

Q1. Your paranormal story, HEY YOU, features Cara (straight laced and nerdy) and Marek (her Watcher) who’s only able to protect her in her dreams, when she reaches a crossroad in her life that puts her mortality in jeopardy. Please tell us about this couple and how the two came to meet.

About three years ago, I had a snippet dream of a young woman looking out her bedroom window and seeing a man standing across the street, staring at her. I knew he wasn’t a stalker, but rather, he had an important reason for being there—he was watching her. But for what purpose?

When I woke up, that dream weighed heavily on my mind and I thought about it all day at work and by the time I got home, I had a basic idea of who these people were and what the deal was. So, basically, Cara and Marek met in MY dreams, not in hers, LOL.  When Heather Bennett from Decadent asked me if I had any ideas for a story for the Run Devil Run anthology, I really didn’t. Then she said, “We want all of the stories to be paranormal.” Lightbulb moment! Yay, Cara and Marek get to see the light of day! I hunted through my hard drive for what little I’d written three years ago and found some old sticky notes with plot scribbles stuffed in the back of my nightstand and off I went. The finished story has some similarities to those scribblings but it veered off in a different direction that my original plot. Some of the original was so dark and somewhat deviant, I knew the band and Decadent wouldn’t go for it. Side note: even though this is a cross-promotion with a rock band, these guys are pretty conservative compared to what you might expect. All of the authors had to keep their stories on the sex lite side, LOL. 

Q2. With a rockin’ husband, five kids, two cats, a full-time career as a director at an online bookseller, running a review site, and editing for an ebook publisher, how do you find time to write?  You’re one busy gal ;)  (actually, I have a day job, the other stuff is all part-time, but add it all up and I’m working at least 80 hours per week. Yikes!)

I don’t write as often as much as I should. I’m easily distracted by all that I have going on, unfortunately. In fact, I know I gave Decadent Publishing major ulcers because I had a deadline of January 31st to turn in my final draft of Hey You…and it got sent at 11:35 PM. And that was after four solid days of reclusion at a bed and breakfast so that I didn’t have any other obligations pulling me away. I was very stressed. I found out I don’t work well with deadlines, LOL.

Q3. Your current work is a paranormal romance, but you’ve published in different genres.  Do you intentionally choose a genre? Or do you let your characters decide?

All of my published works, other than Hey You, are contemporary erotic romance. I find that’s my niche. I adore historicals  but I would never attempt one. Maybe a time travel though….hmmm…..

Q4. If you were to choose one of your published titles to suggest to a new reader of your work, which one would you choose and why?

Wow…hard to say! As every author knows, each story has a special place in their heart. I would have to say that Hey You is probably the one I’d steer readers toward, if for no other reason than the awesome cover, LOL.

Q5. What do you like most about writing erotic romance?

I never set out to write erotic romance, it just sort of happened. I like some sexual tension and heat in my stories, whether reading or writing them. Although, I had to laugh when I wrote Hey You—I emailed a friend of mine and said, “What’s wrong with this picture? I hit the 12K word count and the hero and heroine still aren’t in the sack!” Even more ironic? I never wrote over 12K before. Hey You topped out at about 18K. Anyone who knows me says this is my miracle book, LOL!

But, the best part about writing erotic romance is getting into the minds of the hero and heroine and feeling all of their emotions, even the physical. 

Q6. As authors, we aim to have a style and a voice that is unique to our name.  When we see VALERIE MANN on the cover, what can readers expect?

Ha, that’s easy! All of my heroines are smart and sassy. And the heroes are intelligent and arrogant, but with a very sensitive core.

Q7: Where can we find you?

****Prize Alert****

Comment Prizes (Must Comment by 4/1):
1)     Leave a comment on Kienna’s Interview of Valerie Mann, you will be entered to win the ebook giveaway.

2)     Leave a comment on Kienna’s Facebook page that you read this blog. One commenter will receive a $5.00 gift card to Starbucks!!

Grand Prize (Must Enter by 3/25):

Buy a copy of Hey You from Decadent Publishing by March 25th. When you purchase your book, you will also receive a free download of the song "Hey You" by Run Devil Run. You'll be sending a print screen file as proof of purchase to Decadent Publishing in order to receive the download. So ~ send a print screen file to me as well, confirming your purchase of my book. Send it to  I will announce the winner on my blog, Facebook and Twitter on March 26th. 

      What will the LUCKY WINNER win? A basket full of goodies, including Run Devil Run autographed swag like their latest CD. I'll also throw in a copy of the Run Devil Run anthology print book, goodies from all of the RDR anthology authors, and decadent edibles (chocolate comes to mind). So....follow #2 to the LETTER and I'll enter you in the big drawing. Good luck!!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Selfless Sundays Post ~ Helping Japan

March 13, 2011
Please check out Untreed Reads author, Jesse S. Greever.  He is offering up his royalties through midnight tonight to aid Japan.
(Taken from Untreed Reads Facebook Post)From now until Sunday night (until midnight), for anyone who buys "The
Annex" at Untreed Reads Store or Barnes & Noble, 100% of the author
royalties will go directly to the Red Cross to help the victims of the
Earthquake in Japan. (Untreed Reads is below. For Barnes & Noble, click here: )

Thank you Jesse and Untreed Reads staff!

Sunday, February 13, 2011


Happy Valentine’s Day!!! Please welcome Olivia Starke, author of paranormal erotic romance to the spotlight.   She’s multi-published, talented, and touts that she loves kink;)

I first met Olivia when writing an erotic romance novella was entirely new territory for me.  Olivia was there to help when I needed the scoop on if my story had the right 'heat level' and if it was suitable for publication.  Since then, we’ve swapped crits on occasion, and keep in touch on FB, she’s an author to watch!

Q1. Olivia, with over half a dozen works published, and more on the way, how do you balance your busy (and full) life with writing?

I squeeze writing in whenever (and where ever) possible! Some days it can be frustrating balancing the stress of managing a retail store with the demands of my muse. I am still learning balance, but I’ve gotten the year off to a great start with helping create a new series & being part of an anthology based on the 7 Deadly Sins.J

Q2.  Your latest, Familiar Desires, is part of a 1 Night Stand series from Decadent Publishing, please share what you can about the series.  How many authors are collaborating? Do you have more works in progress for this series? How did you come about that you began writing for the series?  

Oh I am super excited about this series, it’s always amazing when a publisher accepts your personal work. It’s tenfold when they fall in love with a series idea! Decadent Publishing is a fabulous publisher with big plans for the future. 1NightStand (1NS) got its start when Kate Richards, Valerie Mann, and I decided to get together and create an anthology based on a dating site idea. From that Madame Evangeline was born, the creator of the site, and though it’s called 1 Night Stand, Madame Eve has a happily ever after (or at least a happily for know) ending in mind for her daters and readers alike.

We took the idea to Decadent and they ran with it and decided to make it a series. Many more amazing authors are joining in on Madame’s fun, and the sky’s the limit for 1NS. J

Also, I’d like to add that me, Val, Kate, Stephanie Beck, Becca Dale, Keta Diablo, and Ashlynn Monroe, are in the final stages of creating an anthology based on the 7 Deadly Sins. We have plans of going Indie with it, so you’ll have to stay tuned on when it’ll be available. My sin is Lust and I have a steamy cougar love story in the works with, of course, a dash of paranormal thrown in. A little teaser—Bigfoot makes an appearance ;;)

Q3.  If you were to choose one of your published titles to suggest to a new reader of your work, which one would you choose and why?

I feel I am continuing to grow and improve my craft, so I’d have to say my latest creation, Familiar Desires, but I don’t as yet have a release date. Outside of that I still love Mind Games and A Sorcerer’s Pleasure. Those two were so much fun to write.
Q4.  Why do you write paranormal erotic romance? And, do you foresee writing for additional genres?

 I love the paranormal and for whatever reason writing erotic works for me. I’m a frank person so I like to be frank in my writing. As far as other genres I’m studying up on the 1920s and have plans for stories based in this era. I’ve always been drawn to antiques from the 20s and old silent movies from the time period. There is such a huge jump from the Victorian age to the Roaring 20s, it’s fascinating.

Q5.  What do you like most about writing erotic romance?

I love the idea that I’m not only creating a believable story to entertain readers, but I’m making them blush as well…

Q6. As authors, we aim to have a style and a voice that is unique to our name.  When we see OLIVIA STARKE on the cover, what can readers expect?

 A super spicy paranormal work and I’m starting to throw in surprise twists at the end starting with Familiar Desires.

****Prize Alert**** One lucky commenter (US resident due to snail mail issues) will receive a variety pack of Olivia’s promos.  Comment by Friday, February 18 at 9pm CST.
****BONUS DRAWING**** LIKE Kienna on Facebook and write on her wall that you read this blogpost, your name will be entered into a drawing to win a $10 BN eGiftCard or a Starbucks gift card. Deadline, Friday, February 18 at 9pm CST.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Please welcome Laurie Larsen to the "Meet Me Mondays" spotlight.  She's the 2010 Eppie Award Winning author of Preacher Man, a multi-published author, the Treasurer of the Central Illinois Heart and Scroll Chapter, and my mentor/my friend.  Oh, and she's also a busy mom and full-time Project Manager at a large corporation.

Q1: So Laurie, please share, as the author of Casey V (Young Adult), Preacher Man (Inspirational Romance), Legacy of Lies, Momentary Lapse and Whispers of the Heart (Women's Fiction), what motivates you most to write?

I’ve always loved to read and write.  One of my favorite past times is to get swept away by a great story, whether I’m writing it or reading it!  What motivates me most to keep writing book after book is the desire to do something all my own.  As you mentioned, I’m a wife, a mother, a career woman.  I’m always doing things for others, by the nature of my various roles. And I love all those roles!  But writing is for me.  It allows me to use my creativity and talent and skills to create a story all my own.  And if it gets published, and therefore shared with others who enjoy it as well, then that’s the greatest feeling in the world.

Q2: With five published novels under your belt, two additional works under submission, what can your fans (both present and future) look forward to next?

I have begun submissions for my latest manuscript, a contemporary romance.  Inner Diva is the story of Monica, a play-by-the-rules wannabe actress and Carlos, a hot Hispanic reformed bad boy.  They are total opposites with nothing obvious in common.  However, as their relationship develops they realize that each is instrumental in helping the other achieve their deepest personal dreams.  Inner Diva is a little bit hotter on the sensuality scale than any of my previous novels.  Although far from erotic, I really let loose and opened up the sensuality levels for this book!  The pages sizzle with Carlos and Monica’s passion for each other.  I hope to be able to announce to my readers a new release soon! 

Q3:  If you were to choose one of your five published titles to suggest to a new reader of your work, which one would you choose and why?

As a writer, I think I have a touch of ADD – each of my books have been very different as far as genre.  Of my five books, I’ve published one contemporary romance, two mainstream fictions, an inspirational romance and a Young Adult romance.  Although each one has a different target audience and genre, I believe the tone and voice for each of my books are consistent.  Having said that, when I meet someone new to my writing and they ask which one they should start with, I usually tell them:  Preacher Man.  My fourth book was the one that made me “an award-winning author.”  In March of 2010 Preacher Man won the Inspirational Romance category of the esteemed EPIC award, and I took home a trophy – a highlight in my writing career, and a moment I’ll never forget. 

Q4:  Your first book, Whispers of the Heart, was released in 2000, what sage advice can you share with new authors beginning their journey?

Stay true to yourself, while understanding the market.  To write the best book you can write, you have to draw on your unique talents and write what really speaks to you as an author.  But in order for it to be published, your work needs to be able to fit into a line or a genre that publishers are acquiring.  Sometimes that differentiation is clear, and sometimes it’s darn murky.  But finding a satisfactory resolution to both is where the best and most successful authors will reside. 

Q5:  For those of us in the business, many of us know what it's like to work with a critique partner.  Do you have a story to share about a great cp relationship you have/had?

I don’t really have a story, but just some guidelines to follow when you’re trying to match up with a critique partner.  It’s sort of like finding a spouse.  Don’t commit to one just to say you have one.  Wait till the right one comes along!  A critique partner should be someone you have a mutual respect for – you should respect their advice, and they should have a respect for your work.  They need to be able to point out things about your work that need changes, and they need to be able to communicate those changes in a way that leaves you feeling clear and comfortable about them.  Effective communication with the right amount of tactfulness is a vital skill between partners.

Q6:  What about a horror story?  (ha ha)

If a critique makes you want to curl up in a ball, cry and never go near your manuscript again that’s a horror story!  And that’s the wrong critique partner for you!  Be careful about giving over your work, just like you’re careful about giving over your heart!

Q7:  As authors, we have to be our biggest promoters ourselves, plugging away at blogs, interviews, appearances, etc. For the readers just meeting you today, please describe in a brief paragraph why they should read your books. 

In my books you’ll meet ordinary people who meet up with extraordinary circumstances.  Every day life with just a touch of worst case scenario.  Stories that will live on long after the book is closed. 

Visit Laurie’s website for news, a journal, photos and giveaways! 

****Prize Alert**** One lucky commenter will receive a variety pack of Laurie’s promos (bookmarks postcard, notepad).  Comment by Friday, February 4 at 9pm CST.