Saturday, September 14, 2013

Author Spotlight: Gordon Osmond Writes on "Book Reviews"

In Part 2 of his "Author Spotlight" feature, Gordon Osmond shares a few thoughts about reviews. Please feel free to respond to Gordon with any comments, thoughts, or opinions you have on this topic.

Book Reviews

I have both written and received book (and play) reviews. In the course of those opposite experiences, I have come to certain conclusions about how authors should deal with reviews of their work. This article is intended to supplement my thoughts as expressed in my Goodreads blog dated June 9, 2013.

Just as a reviewer has every right to evaluate an author’s work, the author has every right to turn the tables on the critic. Among the many criteria by which a review should be judged before reacting to it are:

  • What are the reviewer’s credentials? In other words, consider the source. Is the reviewer someone whose opinion should be taken seriously? A casual reader who states that a book did not satisfy the appetite of the moment is perfectly entitled to say so, but why should that opinion trouble anyone? Such a review tells a fair amount about the reviewer but is hardly probative of the issue of the book’s essential worthiness. In this category, I would place reviews that complain about a book’s length, its genre, and its vocabulary.
  • How impartial is the reviewer? The opinions of reviewers who are blood relatives of, or who owe money to the author are rarely valuable. My favorite reviews come from authors whose own works I have criticized in print. They had every incentive to respond in kind, and when they did not, I was immensely encouraged.
  • How detailed is the review? A book is the culmination of a multitude of disciplines—creation of a plot, delineation of characters, and the application of dialogue and descriptive passages to advance the book’s theme. Reviewers who do not dig deep into those authorial challenges are not doing their jobs, and their work products should be weighted accordingly.


A less than enthusiastic review from a qualified, impartial, and diligent reviewer should be taken very seriously to heart and treasured as a guide for improvement in the author’s future writing. An unfavorable review which does not satisfy those criteria should be ignored. How an author should react publically to an unfavorable review is covered in my prior Goodreads blog dated June 9, 2013.


From Christina: Thank you, again, Gordon, for visiting Time for Love and sharing your thoughts with my readers. 

Friday, September 13, 2013

Author Spotlight: Gordon Osmond - Part One


Today I have have Gordon Osmond in the "Author Spotlight".

Christina: Welcome, Gordon. Tell us a little about yourself, please.

Gordon: I practiced law as a partner in one Wall Street law firm in New York City for 35 years. I couldn’t wait to retire and put to use in writing fiction and non-fiction the valuable language skills that I believe I acquired in the course of my legal career. I was born in Washington, D.C., and couldn’t wait to retire from there as well, moving to New York City, where I began my graduate and post-graduate education.

Christina: Besides writing, what activities do you enjoy?

Gordon: I enjoy loving, learning, and creating. Writing has a way of getting itself involved in all three pursuits.

Christina: What's one thing most people don’t know about you?

Gordon: That I can be really nasty when provoked.

Christina: What would be your perfect romantic date?

Gordon: Having a 5-Star dinner with a 5-Star hotel room close at hand. A luxurious tropical setting wouldn’t hurt.

Christina: What’s your favorite romantic dinner menu?

Gordon: A salad with dill, followed by a strawberry risotto, both anointed with lots of brilliantly chilled champagne.

Christina: I happen to have dill growing in my herb garden. We have strawberries, too. I have to say, fresh ingredients always make a meal better.  So, what about favorite music?

Gordon:  Brahms. I really aimez it.

Christina: Mon fran├žais c'est de la foutaise. C'est la vie.  What's your best childhood memory?

Gordon: Learning to read, perform, and putting it all behind me.

Christina: Let's talk about your debut novel, Slipping on Stardust. What was the inspiration behind the story?

Gordon:  Exciting life experiences, appropriately enhanced for dramatic presentation.

Christina: Who is your favorite character from the book?

Gordon:  I’m very partial to Erin O’Malley. She’s a 19-year-old chemistry major, who, without the slightest intention so to do, manages to make every male she meets love and lust for her.

Christina: I'm always fascinated by book titles. How did you choose yours?

Gordon: Only after rejecting several others. I’m very happy with Slipping on Stardust because I believe it successfully captures the hazards in life of sacrificing real values for false ones. In terms of classic novels, I believe that this theme was most successfully expressed in Gustav Flaubert’s Madame Bovary. Add a sexy touch from Peyton Place and voila! you have Slipping on Stardust.

Christina: What research was involved?

Gordon:  The novel includes several references to movies and plays. With research, I was able to 
confirm that all these references are accurate.

Christina: How does the setting play a role in the story?

Gordon: There are several settings—the Mid-West and both American coasts. The atmosphere in each has a strong influence on what happens there.

Christina: Will there be a sequel? If so, tell us about it.

Gordon: I think there will be a sequel. The reading public seems to like ongoing stories. I’m currently engaged in the process of scoping out the sequel’s plot line, and would greatly appreciate any suggestions the readers of the first installment of the story would care to make. For example, which characters would they like to hear more about? Which less?

Christina: When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

Gordon: Honestly, I never thought there was an alternative. Practicing law, I had to write to earn a living. Later, I wanted to write as a source of great pleasure.

Christina: Where do you get your ideas?

Gordon: From my life experiences.

Christina: What’s your usual writing schedule?

Gordon: I’m a morning person. I like to write in the morning and gather material during the remainder of the day.

Christina: What genres do you enjoy writing, and why?

Gordon: I enjoy writing non-fiction. I also enjoy writing reality-based fiction. At the moment, I don’t think I’d be very good writing fantasy, paranormal, or very explicit sexual material.

Christina: What’s been the hardest thing on your journey as a writer?

Gordon: Dealing with the indifference of those who think of me only as a lawyer.

Christina: What advice would you give to aspiring authors?

Gordon: Brutally assess your talent at the earliest possible point. It will save you a lot of time and trouble.

Christina: What’s the most enjoyable thing on the journey?

Gordon: Satisfaction with the final product. One day, I’m hoping to achieve it.

Christina: How much support do you receive from your family?

Gordon: Virtually none. At first I was astonished; subsequently, I learned that this is fairly common.

Christina: How do you manage your schedule to balance writing with other responsibilities?

Gordon: I put the other responsibilities first. I don’t believe my writing would be as good if I felt that it was being pursued in preference to other, arguably more important things.

Christina: What aspects of your life have you included in your writing?

Gordon: Almost all of them. Life experiences, enhanced by education, are an inexhaustible source of inspiration, wherever, whenever, and however generated.

Christina: I'm very grateful to you, Gordon, for visiting today. It's been a pleasure to chat with you.





Readers: Gordon will be back tomorrow with more. Meanwhile, here are links to Slipping on Stardust:



Friday, September 6, 2013

Author Spotlight: Isobelle Cate

I've got Isobelle Cate in the Author Spotlight today talking about Love in Her Dreams.



What was the inspiration behind the story?
Love in Her Dreams was inspired by my second trip to Scotland. I fell in love with the country the first time I visited, and on the second visit I fell in love with a Scot. ;)

How did you choose your title?
You know when you feel that there’s a man who haunts your dreams? The man you’d like to be with but you don’t know whether he’s real or not? He becomes your ideal and you tend to measure every guy you meet against him that he becomes the love of your life? That’s how I chose the title.

What research was involved?
There was no planned research for this story.  Since I had been to Scotland already, I took bits and pieces of memory coupled with the pictures I took to create the setting. The steamier scenes in the book, uhmm…..that’s imagination. ;)

Will there be a sequel? If so, tell us about it.
A reader has asked me this same question. I’m not quite sure.  If Tamsyn and Alec want me to continue writing their story, then I will.

Bio:

Isobelle Cate is a woman who wears different masks. Mother-writer, wife-professional, scholar-novelist. Currently living in Manchester, she has been drawn to the little known, the secret stories, about the people and the nations: the English, the Irish, the Scots, the Welsh, and those who are now part of these nations whatever their origins. Her vision and passion are fuelled by her interest and background in history and paradoxically, shaped by growing up in a clan steeped in lore, loyalty, and legend.
Isobelle is intrigued by forces that simmer beneath the surface of these cultures, the hidden passions, unsaid desires, and yearnings unfulfilled.



Blurb:

Alec and Tamsyn know they are meant to be together though they have never met. And yet their passion for each other consumes them when they dream.

Alec knows that Tamsyn is the woman for him, but finding her at the moment is an impossibility. Or is it?

After resigning from her job, Tamsyn takes a break in Scotland when she feels the presence of the man who haunts her dreams. He is tangibly near and in Edinburgh. The sex they have in her sleeping moments becomes more real. But how can she find him in the streets of Edinburgh when the only thing she remembers is his touch, his scent, his passion?


 Excerpt: (General Audience rated)

“Tall iced decaff latte for Tamsyn!”

“Thanks,” she said. Her voice sounded strangled.

She cleared her throat and thanked the barista again. Her heart still kept beating at a fast pace. And she hadn't even drank from her latte. She found an empty table by the window and sat down.

The tingling was more forceful now. Like invisible hands caressing her. Tamsyn looked out of the window and closed her eyes when she felt her nipples beading. She opened her eyes again as she scanned the faces of the men that walked by. No one remotely resembled him. She inhaled deeply before she buried her face in her hands. Squeezing her eyes shut, she willed her tears not to fall and forced lump in her throat to subside. If he wasn't real she needed to get him out of her mind. For the sake of her sanity. Probably it was time to let go of the dream. He was probably the love meant for her but she could never have. Someone she could not physically be with to share her life, her passions, and her dreams. It was that kind of love that never died even though it was never meant to be.

The sensation was very, very strong now. It held her spellbound and cocooned her desperation in a sea of longing. Slowly the tears finally fell. Tamsyn vaguely heard the scrape of the chair beside her being pulled, but she didn't take her face out of her hands. Damn, she wasn't even sure if she had any tissue in her purse and she hadn't taken some napkins from the counter. She didn't want to let people see her crying. Tamsyn felt heat emanating from someone beside her.

Someone very close beside her. Christ! She didn't need this. She needed to be alone. She couldn't have someone's body heat beside her. It would only make her think of him and make matters worse. But the body heat did not move, and with it the tingling peaked. Then it hit her. Tamsyn stiffened, her breath coming out of her in a whoosh. Could it be? Her heart galloped as though wanting to bolt out of her ribcage. She could feel her heartbeat in her ears. She began to breathe heavily.

She removed her hands from her face, her eyes still closed. The cool air started to dry the trail of tears on her face. She turned her head to the heat source, anticipation putting a slight frown on her forehead.

Tamsyn opened her eyes. His blue-black eyes crinkled at the corners the way they did when they were together. His smile dazzled her. His thumb brushed away the wetness from her face before he leaned toward her. It was him. She couldn't believe it, but he was here. In front of her. He took her mouth in his and she closed her eyes savoring him. His kiss was just as how she knew it would be and more. Then he lifted his head. Tamsyn didn't give a damn about the stares they were getting. New tears threatened to fall down her cheeks, but she successfully held them in check. She smiled. His eyes mirrored her happiness. They had finally found each other.


Friday, August 30, 2013

Author Spotlight: Samantha Combs




From Christina: Today, I have Samatha Combs in the Author Spotlight. She's a multi-published author with nine books ... so far. I'm sure there will be many more to come.

You can visit Samantha's author page at Amazon's Author Central for a complete listing of her books.






Christina: You’re a very prolific author. What is your daily writing routine, Samantha?

Samantha: I write mostly at night, after the house is asleep. Hard to write any other time with the kids.

Christina: Where do you get all your ideas?

Samantha: Happily,  they come to me in the strangest forms.  Mostly when I am in the shower or driving.  I have had to pull over at least a thousand times to jot a note in my phone about an idea I had, or a conversation I am having inside my head.  Have you ever noticed how psychotic writers sound?

Christina: I worry about that at times, LOL.  So, what’s one thing most people don’t know about you?

Samantha: How famous I will become. LOL

Christina: Great attitude! So, let’s talk a little about romance. What’s your favorite romantic dinner menu?

Samantha: Steak. I’m a steak girl. Steak and potatoes au gratin and asparagus.

Christina: Sounds good, especially the asparagus.   How about favorite music?

Samantha: Classic rock. And weirdly, Bruno Mars.

Christina: In your writing, what genres do you enjoy?

Samantha: YA paranormals and adult horror.

Christina: What advice would you give to aspiring authors:

Samantha:  I always tell them the same thing.  Get thick skin.  Get ready for rejection.  Use every one as a motivation to write more, write better.

Christina: What’s the most enjoyable thing on your journey as a writer?

Samantha: Having a perfect stranger tell me how much they loved my book. A perfect stranger. No one I am related to.

Christina: How much support do you receive from your family?

Samantha: My kids can name all nine of my books. And they celebrate with me when I complete one.

Christina: It’s great that you have support from your kids. I’m sure it’s not easy to keep up with writing and family obligations. How do you manage your schedule to balance writing with your other responsibilities?

Samantha:  As a writer, you find time.  You have to.  You can’t live if you don’t.

Christina: Do aspects of our life, such as hobbies or places you’ve traveled, show up in your writing?

Samantha: Not on purpose, but I have found that there is a part of me and my life in every one of my stories.  Either in setting, or a character, or an event.  All me.

Christina: Thank you so much for visiting today, Samantha. It’s been a pleasure chatting with you and getting to know more about you and your writing.  For my readers, I’ve included a link to your profile at Amazon’s Author Central. 


Thursday, August 22, 2013

Author Spotlight: Mae Clair

I've recently had the pleasure of reading Twelfth Sun, by Mae Clair. I loved the book and asked Mae to join me again in the Author's Spotlight.





Tell us a little about yourself, please.
Thank you so much for inviting me on your blog, Christina. To share a bit about myself --I’m married to my high school sweetheart, hold a day job in real estate marketing and have been writing since grade school. I’m thrilled to finally be able to share some of my stories with others. What an amazing and supportive writer/reader community I’ve discovered online!

Besides writing, what activities do you enjoy?
I’m a voracious reader and enjoy everything from romance, thrillers and mysteries to horror, science-fiction, YA, fantasy and non-fiction. I adore cats, love old photographs, genealogy, American history, folklore and exploring old graveyards. I prefer small gatherings to large parties and would rather have a good conversation with someone than watch a movie.

What is your daily writing routine?
I wish it were daily, LOL! Because I work full-time, writing is mainly limited to one day a week. I set aside Sunday afternoons for that purpose and can usually accomplish a fair amount since it’s a set routine. During the week, I write posts for my blog and jot notes on any fresh story ideas that start puttering around inside my head.

What’s one thing most people don’t know about you?
I can’t parallel park. It’s ugly when I try to, so I avoid driving to locations where it might be required. If there is a parallel parking gene, it skipped me over!

What genres do you enjoy writing and why?
For now I’m happy writing character-driven romances with a touch of mystery, whether contemporary, mythical or paranormal. Romance has a magical quality - - star-crossed loved, the triumph of overcoming obstacles, the flush of forever and the promise of an HEA. I’m a romantic sap. J

What would be your perfect romantic date?
Dinner and drinks at an intimate restaurant or pub…preferably in a small coastal town with a view of the water. Afterward, a stroll along the shoreline or meandering through a park at twilight. The evening would end with an overnight stay at a small cottage or a 19th century B&B. I love anything with overtures of stepping back in time.

How did you choose the title of your release?
I combined my favorite number and an appreciation of astronomy to create a fictional 19th century schooner. My hero and heroine become involved in the treasure hunt for an artifact rumored to have been on the vessel TWELFTH SUN before she sank in the 1800s.

Who is your favorite character from the book, and why?
I’m pretty partial to the hero, Dr. Elijah Cross. He’s a twenty-five year old marine archeologist with a PhD who looks like a street musician and has an off-the-cuff attitude. He’s got his hands full between the hunt, other treasure seekers and the reclusive billionaire who set the whole thing up, but the person commanding his attention is Reagan Cassidy. They’re paired up on the treasure hunt and he’d like to get to know her better. A lot better. Unfortunately, she’s thirty-five and considers him too young for any type of romantic involvement. He’s really got his work cut out for him in changing her mind.

How does the setting play a role in the story?
The story takes place on the eastern seaboard in a small coastal town, one of my favorite settings. I was able to draw on my love of the ocean, beach settings and a smattering of nautical folklore. And then there’s the lavish seaside mansion belonging to my billionaire, where all of the treasure hunt participants are invited to lodge as guests. It was a lot of fun creating his estate and staff.

How do you manage your schedule to balance writing with other responsibilities?
It’s rough, and like many authors, there are days I feel completely overwhelmed. If it were just home life, writing and work, I would probably find a better balance, but toss social media into the mix and it can be daunting.  I’m frequently exhausted but remind myself that’s a typical state for a struggling author. I’ve become very good at juggling priorities and going without the proper amount of sleep, LOL!  On the plus side I’m doing what I’ve always dreamed of doing - - writing stories that others are able to read. The fatigue is worth the trade-off J

Thanks for having me Christina. I enjoyed the interview immensely!

TWELFTH SUN BLURB:
The hunky young PhD knows all about seduction, but what does he know about love? 



Reagan Cassidy is settled in her life. She has a thriving interior design firm, an upscale condo, two cats, and a goldfish. As a favor to her uncle, she agrees to team up with his marine archeologist friend to validate and retrieve a nineteenth-century journal, reputedly that of a passenger aboard the doomed schooner Twelfth Sun. Finding a hunky twenty-five-year-old coming out of the shower in her hotel room wasn’t part of the deal, but it’s hard to complain…

Dr. Elijah Cross is cocky and he knows it. He enjoys trading barbs with the lovely Reagan. Barbs, and some innuendo. He can tell she’d rather get back home to her business than stick around for the extended treasure hunt they’ve been talked into, but he’s fine with the situation. At least, until the “clues” start getting personal.

Reagan finds Dr. Gorgeous is as skilled in matters of the heart as he is behind the lectern. Throw in a series of clues which mean more to Elijah than he’ll explain, several odd-ball competitors out to win the journal, a saboteur, and a lavish seaside mansion, and Reagan has enough trouble keeping her head straight, let alone her heart.


WARNING: Younger man, older woman, nautical riddles and romance.


Purchase TWELFTH SUN at:
Amazon

To learn more about Mae Clair, visit her at:

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Author Spotlight: Whitney K-E


From Christina: Today I’m happy to have Whitney K-E as my guest in the Author Spotlight. She’s here to tell us a bit about herself and her travels to Ireland...plus give us a little background on her romance novel, “What Happens in Ireland”.


Christina: Welcome, Whitney! To start, will you tell us a little about yourself?

Whitney: Where to begin. I’m Whitney. I live on the east coast of Australia, and for the last four years my greatest passion in life has been to write romance. This year I had my first novel published, and I am the proud owner of a grump thoroughbred and a coffee-addicted mini foxie (not intentional, I swear). I am a twin and just this year, I travelled to Ireland.

Christina: Besides writing, what activities do you enjoy?

Whitney: Coffee drinking is one. I also like to read, ride my horse, although I don't seem to be doing that much of late, and I love to 
travel.

Christina: What’s one thing most people don’t know about you?

Whitney: I’m a twin. Most people who I know through the writerly world won’t know this.

Christina: Since you enjoy writing romance, I’m guessing that you’re a bit of a romantic. I’m going to put you on the spot a bit. What would be your perfect romantic date?

Whitney: The perfect date would involve the perfect guy. And I suppose, it would have to be something I could never fathom.

Christina: Do you have any favorite music?

Whitney:  I’m broad in my tastes. But I love rock, rock alternative and I do love traditional Irish music.

Christina: Yes, Ireland. What was the inspiration behind What Happens in Ireland?

Whitney: I came up with the idea for What Happens in Ireland on a bus. I was planning my trip to Ireland around this time and bus rides cause me to daydream. I started with an ending and the rest of the book pretty much wrote itself. My characters had the wheel with this one.

Christina: Who is your favorite character from the book?

Whitney: Jack O’Reilly. My Irish studmuffin.

Christina: I can probably guess, but why is he your favorite?

Whitney: Let’s just say… I couldn’t resist the Irish charm.

Christina: I’d love to write stories in faraway places, but the research seems daunting. What research was involved for What Happens in Ireland?

Whitney: All my research was done through the planning of my own trip to Ireland. And when I went to Ireland myself, I changed some of the setting to suit my own experiences.

Christina: No doubt the setting plays an important role in the story.

Whitney. Yes. Ireland is a beautiful country. Its charm was equivalent to my hero’s.

Christina: Do you have a sequel planned?

Whitney: There will be two, maybe three.  What Happens in Ireland is the first in my Irish series. I’m currently working on Deceive Me in Ireland. It’s not a continuation of Jack and Kate’s story, but about Kate’s cousin, Cara, and Jack’s equally rakish brother, William.

Christina: When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

Whitney: It was strange, but I’d been writing since I was in year 9. But at that point, I was writing a story I didn’t end up finishing. I was focused on horses then. I wanted to work with them. But in the years to come I found myself relying on my writing, and my desire to be an author was undeniable. I’m a bit of an escapist.

Christina: What’s been the hardest thing on your journey as a writer?

Whitney: The length of the days and having to deal with real life. Ha ha. My writing depends greatly on my moods. If I’m having a bad week, I tend to lack the motivation to edit. When I’m in the middle of a new novel, however, I tend to ignore the real world, which is always a blessing when it comes to getting those words down.

Christina: What advice would you give to aspiring authors?

Whitney: Work every day towards your goals. Build your name from the beginning. You might not get there right away, but you never will if you give up the first time.

Christina: Excellent advice. Do you receive a lot of support from your family?

Whitney: My family is my biggest fan base. I don’t know a single auntie who hasn’t read my novel.

Christina: So, what does happen in Ireland?

Whitney: Here’s a little about the story.

When Australian, Kate Barrow, meets a handsome Irishman in a Dublin bar, she has no idea that he’s about to turn her world upside-down and inside-out.

In Ireland to take on a position on a thoroughbred stud, Kate is shocked when her manager-in-co reveals himself to be the same man she’d met in Dublin.

Jack is drawn to Kate. The problem is, she won't have him. But Jack has always loved a challenge and the intriguing woman from Oz is one he cannot resist.

Harbouring the sting of another man’s betrayal, Kate is certain she wants nothing to do with love and nothing to do with Jack O’Reilly. But when naked torsos, Mother Nature and dysfunctional umbrellas start plotting against her resolve, she realizes the charms of an Irishman are going to be hard to resist.

Christina: Sounds intriguing...especially that part about dysfunctional umbrellas. Thanks so much, Whitney, for visiting today.   
 ~ ~ ~ ~

Want to know what Happens in Ireland? You can find Whitney's novel at the following websites:



You can also find Whitney on the following social media sites:
Goodreads Add to your shelf
Whitney K-E Romance Author – Facebook page

Whitney K-E Author Add her as a friend!
Twitter   (@whitney_ke) 


Friday, August 9, 2013

A Sweet Treat for a Hot Summer's Day

I'm always looking for love...in the form of sweet treats and great books to read. This weekend, authors at Sweet Cravings Publishing are getting together to share lots of great, sweet love stories, so how about a tasty treat for your sweet tooth, too?

I like quick. I like easy. So this little 5-minute "quickie" is a definite favorite:



Looks good, doesn't it!  It is good.  Here's how to make it.

Ingredients:

  • 1 10-ounce package of frozen sliced strawberries (or another frozen fruit)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream
Just combine the frozen fruit and sugar in a blender or food processor. Process until the fruit is roughly chopped. While the processor is still running, slowly pour in the heavy cream and blend until it's thoroughly mixed. Serve immediately, or freeze for up to one week.

My favorite variation is using frozen sliced peaches. My family also likes making this with mixed frozen berries. 

So, got 5 minutes? Make yourself a sweet treat, then grab a sweet love story, curl up and enjoy the summer's day.




Be sure to leave a comment below for a chance to win a $10.00 gift card from Amazon.