Sunday, January 29, 2012

Behind the Book Mania ~ Author Spotlight on Sarah Grimm

Posted by Mackenzie Crowne at 6:26 PM
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Hi folks, 
I'm so glad you could stop by to help me welcome fellow Wild Rose Press author, Sarah Grimm. The lovely and talented Sarah has graciously consented to visit a bit and tell us about her latest release, After Midnight. Izzy and Noah's story has received some sweet reviews, with good reason. So, without further ado...

Good morning, Sarah. Thanks so much for being here. Ready? Here we go...

Most authors begin writing because they love to read. Is this true with you and if so, did you write your first book because you were inspired, or because you thought, hell, I can do better than this!

For me it was inspiration. I love to read and do so as often as possible. When I read I’m inspired to sit down and write. In fact, whenever my characters stop talking to me and I find it hard to put words on the page, I pick up a book and start reading. Pretty soon my characters are back, insisting I return to their story.

Got to love those pushy voices in the head. They have agendas of their own. Was your road to publication a hair-raising, pothole ridden mountain pass, or a well-tended superhighway?

Definitely a hair-raising, pothole ridden mountain pass.  About five years ago I submitted a romantic suspense to a publisher who had just received RWA recognition, and they accepted it. I wasn’t with a big NY publisher, but I didn’t care. I was going to be published.
When the publisher began having problems, I was one of the authors who saw it coming but was helpless to do anything about it. My book had just been released, and they’d accepted my second book on proposal. After they folded, I stopped writing for a while. The joy was gone. Thankfully, I’m back to it and having more fun than ever before.

Ugh! What a nightmare. I can imagine how difficult it would be to press forward under those circumstances, but I, for one, am glad you overcame the trauma. What is the first book you remember loving?

Socks by Beverly Cleary.

Meow! Sounds as if your love of books started early. You did read it as a girl, right, not just recently? Sorry, kidding. Ahem, never mind. Where is the oddest place you’ve ever pulled out a book?

A Thanksgiving gathering at the in-laws. (horrible, I know) I was just so bored – sports in one room and conversations about fashion and clothing in the other - that I buried my face in a book and retreated to my happy place.

Well now, I can’t think of a better time and place to pull out a book and find your happy place. (If you're here MIL, I wasn't speaking from experience. Really, I wasn't) Okay, this next question is two part, and just me being nosy. If I knew then what I know now, I would have… and I wouldn’t have…

If I knew then what I know now I would have finished a book, instead of just a few chapters, much sooner. There’s nothing quite like holding your book - something you created - in your hands. It’s surreal! 

I am so with you there! Oh sorry, you weren’t finished. Go ahead.

What I wouldn’t have done is allowed what happened with my first publisher to stop me from doing what I love.

Amen! Which of the characters you’ve written most resembles you, and why?

Honestly? None of them. My characters come to me like a new friend, sit down and begin talking to me. They’re fully formed when they arrive and never much like me.  I guess it’s a bit like a young child and their imaginary friend. Imaginary friends usually have these grand, interesting lives–lives that are nothing like the lives of the child who imagines them. That’s what my characters are like for me, totally different than I am, which makes it that much easier for me to ‘lose’ myself in their world. 


*Blinking while the light bulb flicks on* Wow, I feel like I’m listening to Yoda. You just expressed my experience in a way I never quite could, oh wise one. I'll be using that if you don't mind. So,what was the germ of the idea behind After Midnight?


Teenage fantasies about meeting and marrying a rock star, combined with the maturity to know that a twenty-something musician is not happily-ever-after material. Add to that the picture in my mind of a woman alone in a bar, playing the piano. That picture spawned a series of 'what if' questions which led to After Midnight.


I can attest your words paint that picture beautifully.  I loved that hazy moment of unexpected interest in your intriguing opening scene, with Izzy alone at the piano while Noah watched. *Sigh*

Please give us a little peek at After Midnight.

Blurb:
Thirteen years—that's how long Isabeau Montgomery has been living a lie. After an automobile accident took her mother's life, Izzy hid herself away, surviving the only way she knew how. Now she is happy in her carefully reconstructed life. That is until he walks through the door of her bar...
Black Phoenix singer/front man Noah Clark came to Long Island City with a goal—one that doesn't include an instant, electric attraction to the dark-haired beauty behind the bar. Coaxing her into his bed won't be easy, but he can't get her pale, haunted eyes nor her skill on the piano out of his head.
Can Noah help Isabeau overcome the past? Or will her need to protect her secret force her back into hiding and destroy their chance at happiness?

Excerpt:
     His shirt sleeve slipped down as she pressed the warm cloth to his skin. She shoved it back out of the way.
     “Wait,” he said as it slipped a second time. He reached his arm over his head. Fisting his hand in his shirt, he pulled it off.
     There was something so inherently male about the move that she didn’t look away. Then, once he stood before her wearing nothing but his jeans, she couldn’t look away. He was built. His body was sleek, smooth, and leanly muscled. Lightly tanned, with hard six-pack abs and a dark blonde line of hair that started below his navel and trailed down to disappear beneath the waistband of his jeans.
     Not that she was looking.
     Or drooling.
     There was no doubt about it, he looked better than most men half his age.
     “Is something wrong, Isa?”
     Arousal clouded her mind. Her body thrummed with it. “What? No.”
     But as she pressed the cloth against his skin, her hands shook.
     She tried to keep her focus on the task at hand and off his chest, but it was right there. Suddenly she was hyperaware of the heat coming off him, of the scent of musk and man that swam through her senses.
     “So what do you think?” he asked, his voice a whisper against her temple.
     She thought she wanted to reach out and see if his skin was as soft as it looked, his body as hard. She swallowed. Her dry throat stuck together. “What do I think?”
     “About the tattoo.”
     “The tattoo?” Perfect. She sounded like an idiot. Heat flooded her cheeks. She could feel his eyes on her and knew he noticed. He had a habit of watching her in a way that made her toes curl, her stomach turn over. She’d caught him doing it on more than one occasion and knew if she tipped her head up, she’d catch him doing it now.
     So she focused on his tattoo, and smiled.
     Thomas had given him a small skeletal body, wings and a halo above the over-sized and even more animated skull. “It’s perfect.”
     Trading the wet washcloth for a clean, dry one, she patted his arm dry, then applied a thin layer of ointment. “There you go.”
     “Thank you.” Reaching up, he tucked a stray wisp of hair behind her ear.
     Her breathing shallowed when his fingers grazed the side of her throat, caught as his other hand settled on her hip. Slowly her eyes raised, moved up his throat, past his dangerously tempting mouth, before she met his gaze and felt a punch of awareness.
     “You have the most beautiful eyes,” he said, and shifted just a little closer.
     Never had her eyes been called beautiful. Strange? Yes. Beautiful? Never.
     “They change color depending on what you’re feeling, did you know that?”
     “I…no.”
     “Right now they’re blue—a very pale blue. What does that mean, Isa? Tell me what you’re feeling right now.”
     Desire. Need, unlike she’d ever felt before. She’d had no idea how much she’d craved a physical touch, his touch. Her stomach fluttered. Her heart skipped a few beats. She slicked her tongue over her lips, and his hand flexed against her hip.
     “I have to know,” he murmured.
     “What?”
     “Your taste.”
     He slipped his hand from her hip to the small of her back, pulling her against him. Their bodies molded, soft to hard. His thigh slid between hers and desire curled her toes, tightened her nipples into hard, aching points. And still, he didn’t kiss her. Why didn’t he kiss her? Then he did. Finally, he did. He teased her lips with his tongue, and she opened to him, drank in his dark seductive flavor.
     She settled her hand against his chest, reveling in the feel of hard muscle and hot male. Good God the man could kiss. His body surrounded her, engulfed her as his mouth continued to seduce. She arched into him, and as his erection pressed against her stomach, she couldn’t hold back a moan.

Oh, my. Well, hmmm. Ah, well, thank you, Sarah. Where can we find you, and After Midnight?

My website Sarahgrimm.com 
After Midnight can be found at The Wild Rose Press and Amazon

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Friday, January 27, 2012

Magical Gifts?

Posted by Mackenzie Crowne at 10:51 AM
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I'm sharing a sneak peek of my debut title, Gift of the Realm. Stop on by and answer a question for me @ Jennifer Jake's blog

In Gift of the Realm, Keely is surprised to discover she has fairie gifts. One in particular allows her to zap wherever she wants with a simple thought. What magical gift would you wish for if you could have just one?

Friday, January 20, 2012

Success and a Chia Pet

Posted by Mackenzie Crowne at 10:12 AM
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What do Chia Pets and success have in common, you ask? If you were to ask that question of Joe Pedott, the man who first discovered the cheesy terracotta planters at a housewares tradeshow in Chicago back in 1977, I’m sure he could tell you. To hear him tell it, his is a typical Cinerella-make that Cinderfella-story. After leaving home at sixteen, he moved into a tiny room at the local YMCA, sleeping on a cot the size of a door and living off a hot plate. But Joe had a dream and the drive to achieve it. Today he has made millions off those little chia-sprouting figurines.

Who hasn't heard the jingle, ch ch ch chia? Successful brand recognition. And haven’t we all made jokes about that odd looking guy with the really wild hair, looking like a Chia pet? Successful word of mouth. And did you know that 500,000 Chia pets are sold annually, and they are only available during the holiday season? Talk about successful marketing!


Call me a snob, but I always considered his holiday novelties silly, which considering my brown thumb makes my thinking not only snobbish, but narrow-minded as well. Still, millions disagree with my opinion, and Joe had the foresight to understand one person’s junk is another’s pleasure.


This Christmas, my reluctance to waste money on cheesy marketing phenomenons crumbled beneath the weight of my granddaughter’s excited pleas. You see, what I saw as junk, she saw as a magical treasure. What six year old can resist the opportunity to get her fingers slimy, spreading seeds on a clay figurine, with the promise of sprouting life to come? Consequently, I now have a furry little Kung Fu Panda sitting on my windowsill. (That pic isn't it, btw. Brown thumb remember? Ours looks a little like I did at the beginning of chemo) I still think it’s cheesy because ... well, it is! But the magic in my granddaughter’s eyes when she scrambles onto the counter to add water is well worth the price.


And the lesson learned from the experience—priceless.


Like Joe Pedot, I also have a dream. And like his Chia pets, I have a product to sell. While I can't hope to achieve what he has, success is subjective. The release of my debut title is fast approaching, and with it, the knowledge that there will be people out there just like me; rolling their eyes and proclaiming my work unworthy or cheesy. But there will be others who will find Gift of the Realm the magical treasure it is for me.


So, thanks for the lesson, Joe. 

And for you lovely visitors, What about you? Ever had one of those junky, I mean, magical figurines of your own?

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