Sunday, July 29, 2012

For the Love of Horses

St. George the Dragon Slayer
(aka Georgie Porgie)
Hangin' in our backyard
The horse lover’s gene. In college one of my favorite classes was genetics, and something I’ve always pondered is whether or not certain obsessions were genetically predetermined. If so then I was born with a gene that made me horse crazy. I grew up with two sisters and a brother and we all had different likes and dislikes. My oldest sister liked cars, my brother was into surfing and my middle sister was a book worm. But for me it was horses. And it wasn’t just a simple fondness for horses, I was obsessed with them. I only read books about horses. My room was filled with Breyer horses, stuffed animal horses, glass horses and anything else that resembled a horse. My poor father struggled with the guilt and parental disappointment of never being able to buy me horse. He would always tell me-- I can buy you the horse, I just can’t afford to keep one. Unfortunately our small suburban backyard was not big enough or legally zoned for a horse so I could only dream about owning one. I never took lessons because my mother worried riding horses was too dangerous, so I had to settle for my books and toys. Then when I was a mom and my daughter Nikki was eight, I talked her into taking riding lessons with me. She was not horse obsessed like her crazy mom, but she liked the idea of learning to ride. And she turned out to be a natural. I, on the other hand, was far from it. But it didn’t stop me from eventually buying a horse for myself. In fact, after awhile we had four of them and we even moved to an area that allowed horses so they could live with us. (My husband is wonderful). I’ll never forget the day I called my dad to tell him I’d finally bought a horse. He just laughed and laughed.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Home is Where the Heartbreak is

Book #3 in my Summer Romance Collection, Home is Where the Heartbreak is, will be released the first week of August 2012.

Check out the cover! :)

Friday, July 13, 2012

Chihuahuas are definitely not ergonomic

Chihuahuas are definitely not ergonomic. I am someone who feels off kilter if I’m sitting and I don’t have an animal in my lap. Whether it’s a dog, a cat or, in my case, when I’m outside, a goat (which is fine except Janie occasionally leaves a hoof print on my thigh), I’m most content when I have a critter in my lap. But this summer while I’m taking advantage of the down time between school years to write, I’ve discovered I can’t slide my keyboard shelf out if Wally, my Chihuahua, is on my lap. Now, I could always push him off my lap, but since he’s already suffering from a Napoleon complex, I don’t want to damage his self-confidence. Instead I push my chair back so there’s room for Wally and my keyboard, and I arch over my lap to type. Needless to say it is a slow and not terribly convenient way to type 70,000 words, and I’ll probably have major back troubles. But at least my little Wally will feel good about himself. I’m just glad Janie is not an inside animal.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Introducing T.K. Twist

     For several years, I’ve had a few middle grade books hiding on my hard drive. Being a teacher, I’m always trying to devise plans that will get kids interested in books-- especially boys. So I decided to write a few based on what I’ve learned about the likes and dislikes of my students. They love humor, they love gross, and they love scary. 
     My wonderful literary agent, Rebecca Friedman, is currently trying to sell one of my middle grade stories but in the meantime I had the pleasure of placing one of my middle grade short stories in an anthology with nine other terrific authors, including MJA Ware, the architect of the project. All profits from the anthology will go to the Children’s Literacy Initiative. 
     The whole thing has prompted me to publish one of the other middle grade novels I had hiding in my computer, The Mortal Enemy List. My middle grade books will be written under the penname T.K. Twist.  

The Mortal Enemy List Blurb:

Quinn Stevens has four entries on his mortal enemy list. Luke, his oldest brother is number four, but he wasn’t always on the list. Trini Dawson is number three because beneath her perky blonde ponytail, she’s pure evil. Number two is Sam Parker because he was dead and blue when Quinn discovered him floating near the rocks on the beach. The ocean holds the number one spot because without the ocean Sam Parker wouldn’t have been dead, Quinn would still be a surfer, and he wouldn’t have to worry about things like stepping on cracks and keeping his colored pencils in order.

When spirited Bronte Stratton, a girl with an unusual past and a penchant for adventure, moves in four houses down, Quinn finds an instant friend and ally, an ally with a virtual revenge computer program. But it is not long before Quinn discovers that sometimes revenge can be more terrifying than sweet.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Shot Through the Heart, Author Interview

Book title:  Shot Through the Heart
Author:  Niki Burnham
Short Blurb:  Two guys, two girls, two thousand dollars, and one epic water gun battle.

When did you know you wanted to be an author?
I've loved to write since I was old enough to hold a pen. However, I didn't think "real" people became authors, so I made a detour through law school before writing my first book. I figured that if you love to read, love to write, and can see both sides of any story, the law was a good career.  

Why do you Indie publish?
I love the flexibility.  For me, the best path is a hybrid one--some traditionally-published projects, some independent projects. Shot Through the Heart is my first independent title, but I've published twelve other books with New York publishers. I plan to continue doing both.

What inspired you to write your book?
I've toyed with the idea of writing about off-limits relationships for years--dating a friend's ex, dating a friend's potential crush, dating a best friend's sibling--and had a partial outline for a story that touched on those types of tricky situations. When I saw articles about local high school's senior year water gun tournaments, I knew I'd hit on a great framework for exploring those relationships in a humorous way. Having characters fire on each other made for fun writing.

What are three things you want people to know about you or your book?
1)  Reading is my passion. I still spend more time reading than I do writing.
2)  Shot Through the Heart is available in both e-book and paperback formats.
3)  I have excerpts of all my books at my website,  There are also writing tips, answers to Frequently Asked Questions, and an e-newsletter signup for readers who want to be notified of upcoming releases.

What advice do you have for parents to encourage their kids to read more?
If your kids don't like to read, it's quite possible they haven't hit upon the right books. When I was a kid, I loved adventure--Hardy Boys, Treasure Island, Robinson Crusoe, Trixie Belden and anything about Joan of Arc were guaranteed hits with me, even if those weren't the books topping current bestseller lists. Do your kids relish a puzzle to solve? An adventure? A laugh? A romance? A look into a life vastly different than their own? Are they history nuts? Look to the books that speak to their interests. Then, once you find one or two books they enjoy, look for other books by the same author.  Look at online bookstores to see what else people who bought that book purchased or what other titles they recommend--it's a great way to expand their reading tastes. Finally, don't hesitate to ask local booksellers or librarians what they recommend based on your child's particular tastes. You might find some real gems.

Just as important as finding the right books, however, is setting the right example. Most kids I know who love to read have parents who read on a regular basis.  They see that their parents don't spend all their free time playing computer games or watching TV, but keep reading high on their list of entertainment choices. When parents cherish reading time and treat it as a reward, kids usually will, too.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Make sure to visit Paranormal Book Beat today for your chance to win a copy of Camille.
The giveaway winners will be chosen on July 4th, and entering is as easy leaving a simple comment!

Ami Blackwelder Interview

Book title: She speaks to Angels
Author: Ami Blackwelder
Short Blurb: When Ali Maney discovers a world of angels and demons, her own world flips upside down. Join Ali at Millennium high for the romantic adventure. 

When did you know you wanted to be an author? Since birth...LOL

Why do you Indie publish? Love the independence and freedom.

What inspired you to write your book? Love angels and mysteries and wanted to combine them. 

What are three things you want people to know about you or your book? Like all authors, I work my butt off. A job-teaching, a passion-writing  and neither is ever complete. My books all tell stories of romantic suspense and usually comment on social issues. 

What advice do you have for parents to encourage their kids to read more? Buy them books they like. Take them to the book store. Read to them. Read yourself. Children mimic what adults do.