Saturday, June 30, 2012

Lucky 7!

One of my wonderful online friends, KE. Saxon, tagged me in the 7, 77, 7 game. I've seen it on Facebook, and I'm delighted someone pulled me in! Yay! =D

The idea is to:
  • Post seven lines from an unpublished work of fiction
  • Go to page 7 or 77 in the manuscript
  • Find line 7
  • Post the next 7 lines or sentences as they are (no cheating, lol)
  • Tag 7 other authors to do the same.
Mine doesn't have 77 pages yet - I've only written 45 - so took page 7 instead.


When Sharon didn’t answer, her friend said cheerily, “I’ll tell you what, if you want to try this out, I’ll come over to your place and wait for you. If you don’t show up and don’t call me, I’ll get the police. If he follows you home and doesn’t want to leave, I’ll shoot him with Big Pink. If you don’t want him to leave, I’ll sneak out the back. How’s that sound?”

Big Pink was Mona's Mossberg pump rifle, a pink model 500 made for women. She also had a pink AK47, and a pink Glock. Come to think of it, her friend was quite a walking armoury, girl style. “I love you.” Mona grinned, "I love you too, but not in that way."


Now, for seven friends to challenge... I'll pick Christy Elkins, Chris J. Randolph, Patty Froese, Linda Ann Rentschler, Angela Britnell, Merry Farmer, and Shaunna S. Gonzales,

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Thursday adventures

I have been looking for a shelf for the living room this week, and Target's website informed me it might be found at a Target store on the other side of town. Driving there, I needed to get into the left lane so I could turn, well, left... That lane housed a young man driving a small white car, and he seemed to think preventing me from turning was the funniest thing ever.

I tried to speed up to get in front of him, and he sped up too. I tried to fall back to go behind him, and he matched my speed, glancing over at me with a gleeful look of, "Haha, this is fun!"

Today was a long day, my back hurts after falling at work, and I lost my patience. My truck has a few years on it, but it also has a bizarrely big engine. (I imagine a whirlpool in the gas tank every time I press the accelerator, LOL) He didn't stand a chance, and being left behind really ticked him off.

My adversary went into the right lane and struggled to catch up. I decided to be a good sport, so I slowed down, and he reached the stoplight a bumper-length before me. He made a jubilant gesture of, "Yes, I won," before giving me the finger with a triumphant grin. I thought, "I'm not trying to race you, moron, I'm trying to turn left. If I was trying to race you, I'd be in the next town by now."

I was still grouchy when I reached the store. The grumpyness was soothed when I saw they had one box left, but returned when I realized it was too heavy for me to lift with my owie back. I stood there staring at the box, muttering, "How the f... do I get you into the cart?" when a friendly voice said, "Do you need help with that?"

My savior had smiling blue eyes and curly hair. Had I been unmarried and ten years younger, I would sooo have tried to flirt with him, haha! He added, "Yeah, you're kinda looking like the box is heavy."
Sweetest young man ever, totally made my day! I'm making him a hero in a future book. ;-)

Anyway, from there it was downhill. When I came home, hubby helped me carry it in. Now I just have to put it together, but that can wait until tomorrow. :-)

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Have you celebrated Oden's day lately?

This is a blog post bound to get me into trouble, but I will write it anyway. ;-) From time to time, I see bumper stickers saying, "Keep Christ in Christmas." I don't mean to offend my devotely Christian friends - some will probably take it personally and be upset anyway - but to me that saying is kinda funny.

Pope Julius I
As far as I know, English is the only language where the name of the holiday and the religion coincide, and funny enough, England is also the country that re-wrote the bible to fit their own king... (While we're talking historical trivia, Pope Julius I decided the birth of Christ was to be celebrated December 25th; he found himself unable to get rid of the pagan winter solstice rituals, and decided to just change the festival into something that would work for everyone.)

Alright, now I've probably made at least half of the US froth with fury, and that was not my intention. Back on track... My point is that whatever you celebrate should come from the heart, and not from a word, or because someone else tells you it's right.

When it comes to my own country and language, we call the midwinter holiday "Jul". Sweden is very secular, and you can believe whatever you want as long as you keep it to yourself and don't involve other people. As a Swede, I don't care if you believe in Jesus, Jahve, Allah, Shiva, Confucius, Ra, or something else, as long as you keep me out of it. (It doesn't work like that in America, and this is the aspect of life in the US I personally have the most trouble with.)

I want one of these bumper stickers!

Oden with Hugin and Munin
Back home, the old Norse deities are always peeking over our shoulders. We might not always be aware of it (I didn't think about it until I moved to the US and got a new perspective), but they are ever present in our society and language. Check out the Swedish weekdays ("dag" means day):


Måndag          The moon's day
Tisdag Tyr's day. Tyr was the Norse God of War, amongst other things.
Onsdag Oden's day
Torsdag Tor's day
Fredag Frej's day (God of harvest) or, some say it's Freja's day (Goddess of love)
Lördag Short for "Lögardagen" - it means the day when you wash yourself, lol
Söndag The sun's day

Is there a similarity in English? What do the English weekdays mean?

Friday, June 22, 2012

Happy Midsummer!

I sometimes mention how the old ways are pretty much alive and well in my home country of Sweden. It is more evident than ever at this time a year - we close most of the country down to go celebrate the summer solstice. When I was a little girl we did it on the actual day of the summer solstice, but I think we lost too much productivity, so nowadays it's always celebrated on a Friday.

In Sweden, Jul (the Christmas holiday with a good portion of old norse activities), and Midsommar (the summer solstice) are the two biggest holidays. We have a really long winter, so the big summer holiday is popular.

Today, people all over the country are celebrating with food, flowers, and peculiar dances. One of the most popular is "Små Grodorna" (The little frogs) which is accompanied by both children and adults froghopping around the Midsommarstång.




Both women and men like to dress up in traditional dresses. There is a "Sweden dress," but most villages also has a unique style.

Many people decorate their houses with flowers and birches, and even the cars get their fair share of flowers and leaves.

It's a big food holiday too. And drink, of course...

There are many myths surrounding the Midsummer night. If you pick seven different kinds of flowers (it's supposed to be certain kinds of flowers) and put them under your pillow, you allegedly dream of the love of your life. It's also possible to see the fairies dance, and possibly to see Näcken sitting in a river, playing violin, trying to lure maidens to come into the river and drown. If they do, they'll belong to him forever.

The midsummerpole is a flagpole or taller dressed up with leaves and flowers. Every village have their own take on what it's supposed to look like. Getting it up can be quite an ordeal. Eveyone watches and cheers.



Swedes abroad take Midsummer with us when we leave. In my area, the Scandinavian society of Sarasota celebrate Midsummer each year. The IKEA restaurants provide Swedes living abroad with a traditional Swedish midsummer buffet. It's not the same as doing it at home, but a pretty good substitute.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Embarkment 2577

I have a series of novellas slumbering peacefully far down on Amazon's ranking lists; the Embarkment 2577 series. Something very bad happened when I started writing them: I giggled. A giggling writer can be a good thing, but when it's me, not so much. Enter absurdity!

The main character, Alexandra Marie, wakes up with amnesia in a strange environment. She doesn't recognize the room she's in, and bad quickly takes a turn for worse when she finds herself surrounded by a hologram of a rock star and a woman looking like a cat. During the first few chapters, poor Alex finds out that she died and was taken to the future by the android Adam.

In this version of the future, a big financial disaster almost destroyed the Earth, and when society recuperated, people wanted to remind themselves of everything lost and of what went wrong. Thus, all spaceships are named after fast food restaurants. To make Alex's life even worse they're soon invaded by bizarre creatures, and she has to draw on all the spunk of her own century to be able to deceive the intruders and save everyone.

I enjoy the books myself - clearly, since I wrote them, hahaha - but one has to be in the right frame of mind to read them. A reader expecting something serious will be disappointed.


Thursday, June 14, 2012

Belfast and Lennox; fiasco of the decade.

When I grew up, I associated Belfast and Northern Ireland with terror, bombs, and injustice. Belfast by Boney M played on the radio over and over again, and TV showed countless bombs exploding in suburban areas. Back in the 70's I was too small to really understand what was happening, but both the news and the song followed me into the 80's.



I still associate Belfast with something negative, but now it's cruelty to animals.

Lennox as puppy

I have followed the case of Lennox since 2010. Lennox is mix between Labrador and American Bulldog. His family had him since he was a puppy, and he was a companion dog to the disabled daughter. Lennox never did anything wrong, he never harmed anyone, but someone saw him and decided he looked like a Pitbull.

One day, people knocked on the family's door. From what I hear, they even had coffee with the family, while they measured Lennox's head. They took him away to a city pound, explaining that based on his looks he might be dangerous. According to the local law, the family loses all rights to the dog once he falls under the breed specific legislations.

He has been held by the city for two years, in a sad cage with sawdust on the floor. For two years, the family has fought to get him back. They don't even have the right to visit him, and when the 12 year old girl calls Belfast City Council to ask if she can come see her dog, they hang up on her.

In some countries, keeping a dog in such a small confined area surrounded by his own feces, without even a decent place to lie down, would land you in jail for cruelty to animals.

There has been petitions (if you haven't signed one yet, please  click here to do so) and protests from people all over the world. They have even DNA tested Lennox to prove he isn't a Pitbull, but it doesn't matter; he looks enough like one to fall under the breed specific legislation.

The mailbox of Belfast City Council is always full - very likely with e-mails regarding Lennox - and all the debate leads nowhere. The day before yesterday, courts decided the decision from 2011 stands: Lennox will be put down, because he looks like he could possible hurt someone in the future.

I know a lot of people struggle every day to save pets no one wants; I'm one of them. This guy has a loving family that doesn't give up hope on him, and will probably still die. It's so frustrating and I feel so bad for both him and the family I want to cry. Honestly, if it was my dog, I'd be shot dead or in jail by now.

Oodles of people (including me) have offered to take Lennox so he can live, but guess what - Belfast City Council won't let him leave the country. When did it become okay to condemn someone to death based on the way they look?

I'm not really surprised the court's decision stands; when so many people get involved in such a big fiasco, it might be hard to back down and admit they were wrong. Still, Belfast City Council, the one saving Lennox will be a hero of international proportions.

You want people to think your city is the best place in the world. You want people to think they should go visit and spend their money in your stores, maybe think they should move there and open a business. Turn the Lennox fiasco around; let him go home, and become heroes in the eyes of the world.

For more information on Lennox and how you can help, please visit:

The Save Lennox Webpage. The menu "About Lennox" tells his story very well.

The Save Lennox Facebook page is a good source for news.

There is also a Save Lennox Twitter account.



Sunday, June 10, 2012

Interview with Janis Lane

Being a dog lover, just seeing the cover of Janis/Emma Lane's new book, Gone to the Dogs, makes me grin. I am delighted to present her on my blog!

Welcome Janis Lane - author of regency and contemporary romance!

Welcome here, ! Please tell us your latest news!

My sequel to SANDPIPER AFFAIR, GONE TO THE DOGS, is slotted for release the first week in June. I love the cover which has a laughing Labrador and the pink sneaker he stole.  

Who is your favorite author, and what really strikes you about their work?

Depends on the mood I’m in. I like Georgette Heyer when I feel like historical romance with great characters. Steven King occasionally, his book about writing. Janet Evanovich when I want to laugh. JD Robb is always a favorite, love her hero and heroine, Eve and Roak.  Jane Austen, of course. So many…for sheer envy of great writing, I choose John Steinbeck. He knew his way around a sentence, for sure. But what about…okay, okay. That’s enough.

I also love Stephen King's book On Writing. When I read it, he seemed like a real person for the first time. Is there a single book or author that made you want to write?

Nope. I think I would read the label on paper towels if I hadn’t anything else. My head has always spun stories whether I wrote them down or not.

I know the feeling. Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

I’m told I learned to read at age three sitting on my father’s lap with the comics. Reading and Writing seem to go together.

How does your family feel about having a writer in the family? Do they read your books?

They love it. Yes, and help me with plots.

What do you love about your latest book?

Again as in the prequel, I get to follow wild life photographer, Abby Naycomb, around on her adventures. Nature is a favorite theme for me. I love the relationship between Abby and Adam. My characters are flawed human beings and I love that about them too.

Can you tell us something behind-the-scenes about this book that the readers would love to hear - something not easily found on your website? 

If you haven’t experienced the wonderful natural springs in Florida, you’re missing out. There’s more to that state than the beaches although they are wonderful too.

Do you base any of your characters personalities off people you know, and if so, do you tell them? 

I’m frequently asked that question and I always deny it. Truth, I use bits and pieces of many people that I know to make a whole new person. Once I used secondary characters and based them on a couple of my friends. They failed to recognize themselves so I probably got it all wrong. Okay, I got their descriptions right anyway. 

Tell us about your all-time favorite character (of your creating.) Is he/she modeled after a real person?


Again, Abby Naycomb from SANDPIPER AFFAIR and the sequel, GONE TO THE DOGS. She’s not a real person, but she allows me to live vicariously as she goes on her nature photography trips. In another world I would have loved that job.

What type of scene do you enjoy writing the most? 

They are all interesting with challenges that differ. I can get carried away when describing nature scenes. I have to do some severe editing later.

When did you discover you are a writer? Was there a specific catalyst?

I think we work where our God-given talent takes us. You’ll never find me applying for a job as an accountant. 

How does it feel when you write?


Great, but I am always amazed when I finish that I wrote a new story.

What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced in writing? 

POV! I struggle to stay in one point of view.

I recognize that one... You have written many books, which is your favorite?

MY PASSIONATE LOVE, A SCANDALOUS DESIGN, BELINDA, MY LOVE, DARK DOMINO and soon to be published, BELOVED SOLDIER RETURNS. These are all Traditional Regencies published @ MUSA PUBLISHING.

SANDPIPER AFFAIR and GONE TO THE DOGS, both Contemporaries, are found @ DESERT BREEZE. They are all my favorites.


That is an impressive list of books! What’s your favorite place you’ve visited?  Do you have a “must see” destination on your bucket list?

Hawaii, I guess. I loved England too. Bucket list, hmmm. I want to take a cruise down the Mississippi River.

Is there something funny about you people don’t know?

I’m part owner of a plant nursery and herbtique. I love helping young couples plan their first perennial gardens. While I’m transplanting petunias, I often plot and plot and plot.

Very cool! Anything else you want to share?

Thank you for hosting me. I know you’ll enjoy seeing the laughing dog on my cover.

Thank you for being here! Don't miss the excerpt from "Gone to the Dogs" below!

To see more of Emma, visit her blog: http://janislane.blogspot.com/

Blurb:

First romantic stage of falling in love: check. Now comes the challenges for a wealthy and handsome park ranger and a very independent wild life photographer learning to live together while respecting each other’s autonomy. Abby appreciates her friends’ advice when an unruly puppy disrupts her work while Adam is too busy with his own tasks to solve the problem. Abby delights in capturing the love and affection in the budding romances of her friends. She agrees to photograph the beautifully behaved entrants of a sanctioned AKC contest. An unruly contestant holds a grudge when Abby reveals her work has placed him in a compromising location. Abby works to set up her own photography shop in town. Poor puppy. He knows there’s a dangerous animal lose in the neighborhood, but is anyone listening to him?

Excerpt from "Gone To The Dogs"

Adam was sitting on a bench by the door and rose at her entrance. They smiled at one another, each looking deep into the other's eyes. His hand tightened around her elbow as they followed the waiter to a reserved table against the back wall of windows -- their favorite seat.

Adam leaned forward, catching her hands in his. "Hello, Ms. Abigail Naycomb."

"Hello, Adam, the handsomest man in the world. Were you waiting for me long?"

They smiled at each other. She supposed they were in love. Well, he said it often enough, and she thought it all the time.

"Only about five minutes, but I think I was early. Have I told you that I love you?" He looked at her and she chuckled.

"I don't think you have. Would you like to tell me?"

He raised her hand to his mouth and kissed the center of her palm. She shivered with pleasure. Okay, she never said he was a slouch in the romance department, did she?

"I love you, Abby. I have loved you from the first moment I saw you crawling around on your stomach in that sand dune with your seat sticking up in the air, and the wind blowing your hair around."

She laughed at the word picture he drew and self-consciously tucked a curl behind her ear.

"No, don't. I love the way your curls surround your face. You remind me of a Renoir painting I once saw. Oh, but she was bathing in a stream. Do you suppose you could get naked so I could compare?"

Abby laughed out loud, attracting the attention of the waitress who came over to take their order. Adam, with a grin still on his face, ordered the house specialty for them both.

The restaurant was crowded with diners. Adam waved across the room at a couple who just came in. Abby waved as well. She couldn't remember their names, but she recognized their faces. She was feeling more and more confident as she grew accustomed to the small town and its inhabitants.

Out the window, the brown pelicans lined up on the deck railing, all facing outward for some show that only they could see. She and Adam both turned to enjoy the lakeside view while the wind whipped the water into white capped waves. Wheeling overhead, she could see two eagles slipping into circles around each other in some courting dance, she supposed. It was spring. There was a lot of that going on.

She turned her attention back to Adam, who was wearing a shirt in her favorite blue color. She loved the way his thick, straw-colored hair flopped onto his forehead. His eyes were striking in his deeply tanned face, and she felt she could sink into them. Gosh, I love you. He looked at her, smiling with a question on his face. She drew in a deep breath.


Friday, June 8, 2012

History and pop culture

I recently saw the Avengers movie, and while I enjoy both that movie and Thor, they disturb me just a little bit. I like action movies, it's impossible not to like what's-his-name who plays Thor, and I am proud that one of the old Norse Gods has reached this level of modern day stardom. I still wonder, why do the writers have to distort the mythology so much?

Is it okay to make a God into a cartoon, a superhero, and change history just because it's another people's mythology and history?
Front cover of a 19th century Icelandic version of the Edda

We have runestones, and the "Edda" written in the 13th century, depicting old Scandinavian beliefs. In some parts of Scandinavia, the old Gods lived just fine up until the 19th century. Some of the mythology and original stories has been distorted or lost during the years, of course, but much still remains.

When I was a little girl in Sweden, we studied all world religions in school, and our own historical beliefs was among them. My mom told me lightning came from Tor throwing his hammer Mjölner across the skies. While a part of me is very aware of the scientific explanation, another part also believes in Tor creating thunder, because I heard it so many times growing up.

Back home, things are somewhat different than in America. In my home town, we have a mine that's a thousand years old. We have the oldest corporation in the world; when I was a little girl, they celebrated 700 years and the entire city was there. My best friend back home used to live in a house from the 17th century. Mine was pretty new, it was built in 1903. Every little city has a coat of arms, and history is very much alive.
Popular depiction of Mjölner

We might not actively worship the old Gods today, but they're around. We have jewelry with Mjölner, and it has become a symbol for pride in one's history and national heritage. (A little too much so at times, but that's a story for another day.) We still celebrate many old pagan holidays and traditions. Best case scenario, they've merged with modern religions and modern ways, but they're still there, just under the surface.

I wrote on Twitter the other day, "Just for the record, Loki was never Thor's brother." The response was fascinating; people wrote back, "Of course not, he's adopted." In Stan Lee's version of reality, sure, but traditionally, Loke is part giant, and Oden's friend. He's considered something of a blood brother to Oden, until he betrays Asgård and is exiled. Loke is considered very beautiful, and able to shift his form.

I am ambiguous. Pop culture brings awareness to something that might otherwise be forgotten in large parts of the world. Thor is cool. I mean, both the character and the actor are awesome. Many might say, "So what" in response to my complaint that pop culture distorts tradition and history. Am I'm overreacting to the past being Hollywoodized and Americanized? I'd love to hear what you think.

I didn't even know someone made Thor into a cartoon until I moved to the US. To me, it's very weird.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Human aliens, silicon, and science fiction

Sometimes people ask me why aliens in my books are so human. Good question! Let me give a little background to my line of thinking.
 
Most science fiction fans know life on our planet is considered carbon based. Carbon is the base building block both in us, and in the world around us. The carbon atom is versatile, and able to bind itself to many different substances in different ways.

Some science fiction deals with silicon based life forms. I always wondered, "Why Silicon?" It is the element closest to carbon in the periodic table, and in a theoretical environment where carbon didn't exist, or was scarce, silicon would seem the next logical choice.

I'm in no way a scientist - I am a writer - and even though I like to think I write at least feasible scenarios, my books are about people and their adventures and relations. The settings might be otherworldly, but I want the characters to be identifiable. If an intelligent silicon-based being exists outside our imagination, would they be able and willing to communicate with us? Maybe. Could we be friends? Maybe. Would such a life form look even remotely like us? I don't find it likely. Could they even exist in our environment? Maybe all this carbon would be lethal to them? Thinking of silicon based life forms makes my imagination run off with me. Unless I were to write something completely without humans, silicon seems like too much work.

We tend to assume life on other worlds will share characteristics with our own, but it's not necessarily so. There's no reason to assume life in other places would share our physical build with arms, legs, a head, a mouth, eyes... That line of thought makes even my imagination run headfirst into a brick wall. My mind, at least, needs something familiar to attach new ideas to. In our world, mammals, insects, fish, birds, almost every animal one can see has a head. Jellyfish might be an exception; they do look pretty alien. 

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think most people can love a being very different from oneself, but there's a step from that to being in love with someone. Without going into details about DNA and genetic compatibility, I find the likelihood of a main character falling for someone of the same species much higher than the likelihood of him or her nurturing a crush on a stapler with tentacles. Thus, my main characters are humanoid. :-)

Monday, June 4, 2012

Webhunt and great review!

I woke up this morning with the chilling sensation of something being wrong in my mouth. A filling has come loose, and I find it almost impossible not to touch it with my tongue. Of course, touching it makes it move. Not good. I've never been to a dentist in America and I really don't want to start now, but I might have to. The coward in me says, "Let us put it off for a day or so, maybe it will reattach itself." I haven't decided yet whether to listen to that voice or not, LOL!

Great review!

My buttonThe day became immediately better when I turned on my computer. I have received a great interview for "Kidnapped!" The website Smitten with Reading says, "This book covers a long period of time and I loved every moment of it. It's an adventure the entire way and I never knew which way the story was going to go next."

Happy Joy Joy!

Summer Fun Webhunt!
Other news... I participate in Night Owl Reviews summer web hunt! This is a great competition with over 100 prizes. One can win books, gift baskets, and gift cards up to $100! There is a  number of questions to answer, and to do so, one needs to visit authors' websites. Great fun, and the odds or winning are good.



Sunday, June 3, 2012

Automation overload

A couple of weeks ago I joined this group called Tweets For Authors. The basic idea is people helping each other out through cross posting, and it works quite well. Since I like to consider myself a busy bee (even though I do have time to play around on Facebook, hahaha) I investigated different ways to tweet automatically.

A little googling led the way to various tweet schedulers, most of which have a wide number of other features, like automatically finding people to follow, and sending automated messages. It made me think; someone follows you on Twitter, and the computer automatically not only follows them back, but also sends a welcome message. Computers are, of course, smart enough to be able to auto-respond to messages.

Where does all this automation leave us in the end? Computers are following each other, tweeting each other, and sending e-mails to each other. Makes me wonder if it's time to pack up the social networking and go to the beach instead...

Friday, June 1, 2012

Interview with Melanie Atkins

I am very excited to introduce today's guest, who writes scary and suspenseful books with a touch of romance. Welcome Melanie Atkins!

Melanie Atkins, author of killer romance and suspense!

Please tell us your latest news!

I have a new free author app for iPads and iPhones up in the iTunes store! I'm really excited about this. Search "Melanie Atkins" to find it.

Also, Deliverance from Evil, the fourth book in my Keller County Cops series, will come out June 1 at Desert Breeze Publishing.

If you were to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?

No. Except I would have written it faster. I had too many distractions and kept getting sidetracked.

They say there's an app for everything, and there's now an app for you. Would you tell us a little about that?

Yes. I met Frank Danna from Onseeker Technologies at the Romantic Times Convention in Chicago in April and signed up with that company to develop an author app. With it, readers can pull up a list of all of my books complete with all prices and sales venues, blurbs, and excerpts. They can also connect with me via Twitter and Facebook straight from the app and access my blog feed. In addition, I can input any book signings and appearances to let them know where I'll be. What a great way to connect with people!


You blog about Castle (the TV show) - how did that come about?

I met Lee Lofland when he was an instructor at Forensic University in St. Louis in 2007 and have been using him as a resource for law enforcement info ever since. I've also attended his Writers' Police Academy for the past two years. He found out I'm a big Castle fan and asked me last year to blog about the relationship (romance) part of the show, while he critiques the police procedure. It's been fun. Lately, we've had a good cop-bad cop thing going on.


Who is your favorite author, and what really strikes you about their work?

I don't know that I have one favorite, but I do love Lisa Gardner, John Sanford, Karen Rose, Tess Gerritsen, and Robin Perrini. All write great suspense and/or thrillers, my favorite types of books.

Is there a single book or author that made you want to write?

Not really. I've always read, beginning when I was just a kid. My mom would take me to the library every week and let me check out stacks of books. We lived in a small town with a tiny library, and before long we had to order books from another library. I read everything I could get my hands on.

How does your family feel about having a writer in the family? Do they read your books?

They like it. My mother has read all of the books I have in print. She's 90 and doesn't understand ebooks, although I think she'd like them if given the chance. Once she has cataract surgery and can see better, I plan to introduce her to my Kindle Fire.

Do you have a favorite object pertinent to your writing? (Pen, coffee cup, pet, blanket, chair…?

Not an object, per se, but I love to write outside on my deck. I have less distractions out there and enjoy writing while listening to birds chirping with my cats sprawled out under my chair. Great creative mojo.


What do you love about your latest book?

Deliverance from Evil will be out June 1. In this story, Tessa Doucet chose to go into mortuary science because the dead can't hurt her. Then a monster from her past turns up on her embalming table, and she's forced to confront the demon she thought she'd put to rest. Puzzled by the case Tessa stirs up, Detective Cash Starkey finds himself falling for her, even though he swore to keep his distance. He doesn't want a relationship, especially not with a woman running from her past. Yet when Tessa's life is threatened, he runs into the fray, and together they defeat her demons and put the past behind them.

I enjoyed watching Tessa and Cash's story unfold. They had trouble learning to trust one another, but once they did their bond grew strong. Their relationship took a turn I didn't expect, but I love how it all worked out.

Do your fictional characters develop on their own, or do you have their lives planned out in advance?

I know their backgrounds before I start writing, but often learn their secrets as the stories unfold.

Do you base any of your characters personalities off people you know, and if so, do you tell them?

Not whole personalities, but I do use little quirks and oddities I spot in people I meet. You've heard the old adage: Be careful what you do, because you might end up in my novel. That's true!

Tell us about your all-time favorite character (of your creating.) Is he/she modeled after a real person?

Nick Marconi from Blood Rite, my March 2012 from Whiskey Creek Press, is my favorite character so far. And no, he's not modeled after anyone. He came straight out of my head. I wrote that book in six weeks. I don't know where it came from.


What type of scene do you enjoy writing the most?

I love writing action scenes the most.

How does it feel when you write?

I feel an urgency to get the words down. I have to type fast to keep up with the words flowing from my brain. When my characters start to talk, I have to write. And quickly.


What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced in writing?

Finding enough time to write without distractions. Sometimes, life gets in the way.


What’s your favorite place you’ve visited? 

I've done a fair amount of traveling and really loved New York City, the energy and complexity of the place, and I also love the Caymen Islands and London, England. Let's just say I love to see and explore new places of all kinds. I'd love to go back to those places and also explore more of the world, mainly Italy, Greece, Spain, Portugal, and Brazil. One day, I hope to visit all of those places.


For more information about Melanie, go to:
Website:  http://www.melanieatkins.com 
Blog:  http://melanieatkins.wordpress.com
Facebook:  http://www.face-book.com/melanie.atkins 
Twitter:  http://twitter.com/melanie_atkins


Check out Melanie's brand new release:

Tessa Doucet chose to go into mortuary science because the dead can't hurt her. Then a monster from her past turns up on her embalming table, and she's forced to confront the demon she thought she'd put to rest. Flummoxed by the case Tessa stirs up, Detective Cash Starkey finds himself falling for her, even though he swore to keep his distance. He doesn't want a relationship, especially not with a woman running from her past. Yet when Tessa's life is threatened, he runs into the fray, not away from it, and together they defeat her demons and put the past behind them.