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MURDER TAKES THE CAKE WITH GAYLE TRENT

Please tell us more about your new release, MURDER TAKES THE CAKE.  This is a re-issue of the first Daphne Martin right?  Why a re-issue?

The book is being reissued because the series was bought from Bell Bridge Books by Simon & Schuster’s Gallery imprint. Gallery also added more back story on Daphne and Ben and included a back-of-the-book section called “Daphne’s Kitchen.” This section has cake decorating tips, recipes, and book club discussion questions.

Murder Takes the Cake Trailer

click on the link to watch the trailer

Do you ever find it hard shifting between Daphne and Marcy?

Yes! Before working on a book in the series, I go back and reread previous books in order to get a feel for the voice. And I have to stop and think, “Am I doing cakes or embroidery projects?” :)

Why cozies?

I love solving the puzzles presented by mysteries, but I prefer not to incorporate very much blood and gore or profanity into my stories. Cozies allow me to present a conundrum while most of the gross-out stuff happens off-stage. For example in Murder Takes the Cake, Daphne finds Yodel Watson dead on her sofa, but it’s not a bloody, horrible crime scene described ad nauseam. Here’s how Daphne describes the event to Myra: “…I went in and…and found Mrs. Watson in the den.” “And she was dead?” I nodded. “Was she naked?” “No! She had on a robe and was covered with a blanket. Why would you think she was naked?” Myra shrugged. “When people find dead bodies in the movies, the bodies are usually naked.” She opened her soda. “So what happened?” “I don’t know. Since there was no obvious cause of death, she’s being sent for an autopsy.” “Where there any opened envelopes lying around? Maybe somebody sent Yodel some of that amtrax stuff.” “I don’t think it was anthrax,” I said. “I figure she had a heart attack or an aneurysm or something.” “Don’t be too sure.” “Why do you say that?” “Because Yodel was mean.” Myra took a drink of her soda. “Heck, you know that.”

Why the different series?

I enjoy them both. I started with the Daphne series; and then when I got the opportunity to do the Marcy series, I jumped at the chance. I’m currently even working on a stand-alone. I’m a glutton for punishment! Sometimes, I’m merely a glutton, which is why I can’t concentrate solely on the cake decorating series. ;)

Did you always want to write?

Actually, I wanted to write, I wanted to act, I wanted to sing, I wanted to be a spy, I wanted to direct films, I wanted to be a detective…. With writing, I get to do all that!

Very true…you do.  How cool is that?

Do your characters “talk” to you; visit you, live w/ you in a “special lil place”?

Funny you should ask that. The resource officer at my children’s school knows I’m a writer, and I sometimes ask him technical questions. About a month ago, I was asking him about a scenario for the stand-alone book I’m working on. I thought I’d made it clear I was asking a “literary question,” but apparently, I hadn’t. His eyes widened, and he asked, “Where is all this taking place?” I smiled and said, “My head.” He said, “Oh, this is a book! I was wondering why I hadn’t seen anything about it on the news.” I laughed and said, “Well, at least you did find it interesting.” The other strange thing is that I’ll see a red Mini Cooper on the road and think, “There goes Daphne.” Or I’ll see a petite blond and think, “She looks a little like Marcy.” So, yeah, these folks become very real to you! :D

That’s hilarious….had him going there.

Do you have a favorite genre to read?  An all time favorite book?

Favorite genres - cozies, mysteries, thrillers. I can’t pick an all-time favorite, but one that comes to mind as being one of my first mysteries that made me gasp in surprise is Victoria Holt’s Bride of Pendorric. I found in in hardcover and bought it for my daughter last Christmas. I had to pass that one along to her.

I devoured Victoria Holt..I loved those gothics.

Currently reading?

The Twelfth Imam by Joel Rosenberg; The Monster of Florence, by Douglas Preston; and The Purse Driven Life, by Anita Renfroe (from whom I’ve learned, by the way, that I might have purse schizophrenia – meaning that I must have a purse for every mood or outfit.)

Gayle, I always enjoy your humorous visits.  Thanks for making time for Manic Readers & including us in your release party!

Thank you and your readers for including ME! :)

Lisa Paitz Spindler & Science Fiction Romance: What’s in it for you?

Faster than light travel. Other dimensions. Planet-destroying weapons. Artificial intelligence.

Science Fiction can make your head spin, can’t it? The genre has a reputation for being plot-driven and relying heavily on high-minded concepts. Over the past few years, though, character-driven stories have become more popular and in many cases without sacrificing all of those nifty scientific concepts. This has opened the door to Science Fiction Romance (SFR).

Like other types of character-driven stories, Romance makes all sorts of concepts relatable from Medieval legends to police procedurals. Science Fiction Romance makes high-minded scientific concepts relatable as well and shows us how science might affect our daily lives and relationships. Character-driven stories, specifically Romance, address directly what turns some people off from Science Fiction: What’s in it for me?

In my debut SFR THE SPIRAL PATH, scientists have discovered a way to inflate wormholes and travel to another dimension. What could this mean for humanity? What could this mean for me, right now, in my living room on planet Earth?

Scientists in my fictional world soon realized that people and objects didn’t fare so well in the opposite dimension. In fact, after a short time, objects and even people began to fall apart. Turns out, at the Big Bang every dimension vibrated at its own frequency and never the twain shall meet. In the meantime, some travelers had developed relationships and some had even conceived children.

This is the world Lara and Raphael Soto were born into, rare live births and even rarer twins. Children like them, called Chimerans, could live in both dimensions, but not their parents. So they grew up in fractured families, something many of us today — in our living rooms right here on planet Earth — can relate to.

Lara grew up and fell in love not with another Chimeran, but with a Star Union officer named Mitch Yoshida. Neither dimension knows just what to make of the Chimerans, but both also want to use them to their own advantage. The situation turned sour enough to force a mass Chimeran defection with Lara at the helm, but she had to leave Mitch behind. Not all Chimerans defected, however, and Raphael stayed on to serve with Mitch in the Star Union. When he goes missing on a dangerous mission, Lara and Mitch must team up to find him and dredge up their feelings for one another all over again.

The Romance genre excels at meshing with just about any other genre out there because it focuses concepts through relationships. We all want to be loved, whether you live on a mid-western farm at the turn of the century, solve crimes in a giant metropolis, or travel faster than light to start a colony on Mars – or even in another dimension.

Romance also excels at the intricate dance between plot and character. This makes Science Fiction Romance a natural blend. Romance readers expect at least a “happy for now” ending, but the getting there has to be believable. We have to intimately relate to the characters and how they evolve to achieve the award at the end.

Fiction of all types takes us to other worlds. Give Science Fiction Romance – and specifically THE SPIRAL PATH — a chance to take you to another dimension.

If you could visit any fictional world you’ve read about or seen in a movie, which would it be and why?

Click on link below to watch the book trailer

Book Trailer

Bio

Lisa Paitz Spindler is a science fiction author, web designer, blogger, and pop culture geek. Her debut space opera novella, THE SPIRAL PATH, will be released March 28, 2011 from Carina Press. In addition to contributing book reviews and television recaps to SF Signal, she also maintains the Danger Gal Blog hosted by her alter ego, Danger Gal, whose stiletto heels are licensed weapons and whose ninja stars travel faster than light. Lisa, however, gets through each day on caffeine and science blogs. Lisa can also be found on Twitter and Facebook.

Buy THE SPIRAL PATH now: AmazonBarnes & NobleCarina Press

Out Of This World Blog Tour Giveaway

As part of the Out Of This World Blog Tour, Lisa is giving away a copy of THE SPIRAL PATH and this Retro Saturn T-shirt to one lucky reader.

Everyone who enters will receive a door prize: THE SPIRAL PATH electronic trading cards depicting the four main characters in the story. Click here to enter.

On Sunday, April 3 Lisa will draw and announce the winning name on her blog.

MEMORIES OF YOU ~ BOBBIE COLE

I’ve always been intrigued by what makes folks tick, whether it was nosy neighbor Mrs. Kravitz in “Bewitched”, conniving Villefort in The Count of Monte Cristo, or Atticus Finch in To Kill A Mockingbird. One of the best clarifications of characterization was given to me by writer Mona Sizer, who writes historical romance as Deana James. She told me to remember that every hero has his flaws and every villain has his reasons. I shall always treasure Mona’s advice, because now when I write, her words are forefront in my mind as I craft characters.

In my first novel for Carina Press, Memories of You, the premise gives each character their reasons and flaws, some of their own making, some given due to circumstances. Protagonist Charlene Vargas works cold cases for the Houston PD, and when one case dovetails with the disappearance of her boyfriend, resolving both cases puts her in danger. Seth has a new face, given to him after a tragic automobile accident. What’s worse, he doesn’t remember the woman who can’t forget him. Somehow his memory loss is connected to her cold case, and a killer is determined that neither discover who Seth really is and why he was resurrected after the car crash as someone else.

Please join me TODAY when Memories of You debuts. I don’t have a copy right now of the new book, but one much-appreciated visitor to this blog today gets their choice of one of my past releases. They may choose either La Bella Luna, published by Samhain, or erotic romantic suspense book Spies, Lies, & Duct Tape, published by Ellora’s Cave.

May the Universe keep you in suspense…the good kind!

Bobbie Cole http://authorlyncash.blogspot.com/

A VISIT WITH JANUARY ROWE

Welcome to Manic Readers, January.

Thanks for having me here!

You've published two novellas: My One and Management Skills.  Both are
BDSM erotic romance. What appeals to you about the genre?

I love the drama of romance. How do two independent people decide to
come together to form a partnership? Writing erotic sex scenes,
however, is tough for me. The sex should reflect the nature of
individuals and the character of the couple. And the sex is also
supposed to be fun to read. And hot. BDSM, which involves a measure of
power transfer, intensifies both the hazards and delights of the
romantic relationship. I see BDSM as an extension of the romance, not
the sex, and so it’s a blast to write!

Tell us a little about your latest novella.

Management Skills is a smokin’ hot BDSM Chick Lit romance. Here’s the blurb:

When CEO Grant Edmonds meets with his new production manager, he
immediately recognizes her as Silver, an exotic dancer who once
mesmerized him at an exclusive fetish club. Though he was forbidden
from pursuing her back then, there's nothing standing in his way now.
He's not looking for an after-hours fling—he wants to own her. In
every way.

As much as Allie Fairfax tries to deny her past, and the way her body
responds to Grant, she soon finds herself having mind-blowing sex with
the boss. Despite her own desire to surrender to Grant's sexual
authority, she's not willing to risk her career. After all, she's been
owned before, and it ended badly.

It's all or nothing for Grant. If Allie wants more of the fiercest
orgasms she's ever experienced, she must consent to his rules...

Management Skills was just released by Carina Press, the e-publishing
arm of Harlequin.

Harlequin publishes BDSM erotica?

Yes! Carina publishes BDSM, straight erotica, M/M romance, and even
mainstream mystery. I'm delighted as a reader and as an author. I’ve
always been a big Harlequin Blaze fan, and now Harlequin offers
something even hotter than Blaze!

So what are you reading now?

I’m reading a Blaze! It's Lori Wilde’s Sweet Surrender. The book is a
collection of novellas about a group of friends who are determined to
be celibate. Hah! It’s a Blaze. Those friends are so doomed! I’m also
reading Los Alamos, a crime mystery by Joseph Kanon. It takes place in
the wartime forties, set in the New Mexico town that didn’t exist.

Can you give readers a little hint about what projects you're working on?

I’m outlining a new BDSM novella about a long-term D/s couple. Life
and responsibilities have gotten in the way of their dynamic. The
story is about how they get their kink back.

What characteristics should the perfect fictional Dominant male have?

Being strong, good looking and sexy are plusses, but that describes
most romance heroes. A Dominant hero should also inspire with his
leadership, be competent, patient, and super empathetic. Most
importantly, the perfect fictional Dominant should be creative.

What do you do for fun when you’re not writing?

When I’m stressed, I enjoy searching through thrift shops for
treasures. I pretend I'm an archeologist.

Have you ever found any treasures?

For sure. I found a shrink-wrapped original Rubik’s cube for 99 cents.
I sold it on eBay for $50.00. My favorite find, though, is fabric. I’m
a fabriholic. I’ve discovered dainty floral dimity from the early
1930s, simple civil war era cottons, weird sputnik mid-century modern
barkcloth, and wild psychedelic sixties textiles. I love them all.

Do you sew?

Yes. When my kids were little I got away with sewing them cute little
dinosaur shorts and whale skirts. Not anymore. My oldest daughter
allows me to sew her some stuff, but only because she hates to do
laundry. I recently made my son a Ren Fest cape.

So, you write and sew. How big is your butt?

Not that big. I do move. To the groove. I love to Zumba. That’s dance
aerobics with a heavy emphasis on Latin. We also dance hip-hop and
Bollywood.

Any chance you’ll be on Dancing with the Stars?

Heh! Probably not. I’d have to be a star first!

Thanks, January. Where can readers find out more about you and your books?

BLOG: http://januaryrowe.blogspot.com
BOOKS:
Management Skills
http://ebooks.carinapress.com/F003BE6E-3185-4B85-BD88-2AA8B8DC418F/10/134/en/ContentDetails.htm?ID=8F2A141C-E3DE-4F2B-AB1E-11356144CAA8

My One
http://store.samhainpublishing.com/my-one-p-4918.html

KC BURN ~ SEXY SCI-FI HEROES

Thanks to Manic Readers for having me here on the day of my new release!  I’m KC Burn and my gay, sci-fi, erotic romance, Spice ‘n’ Solace, releases today from Carina Press.  In celebration, I thought I’d countdown my top three hottest, sexiest sci-fi heroes.

3. Han Solo from Star Wars

This slot was a tough one.  I love Han’s sarcasm, moral flexibility and rock solid belief in himself.  Han is a total bad boy who makes good.  There’s not much better than that, and he looks HOT, HOT, HOT in those tight pants.

2. Mal Reynolds from Firefly/Serenity

I had a really difficult time trying to determine whether Mal or Han should get the higher spot.  In the end, it was Mal’s quirky sense of humour  combined with his ability to get serious and be a dependable leader that put him ahead of Han.  And space cowboys… always sexy.  I could easily use the same description for Mal as I did for Han… sarcastic, morally flexible, confident bad boy who makes good.  Hmm.  Is there a pattern here?

1.  Captain Jack Harkness from Torchwood

OMG.  Yummy.  Jack is my top-pick.  Omni-sexual and very, very focused, but stunningly sexy.  He’s out to save the world and he’s capable of making the hard decisions, such as whether to sacrifice one or two for the good of millions.  His inability to die has undoubtedly affected his sanity, but his energy, his determination and his protectiveness are wildly appealing.  He’s also a little morally flexible… so, yeah, there might be a theme here ; )

Anyone care to share your choices for sexiest sci-fi hero?  Obviously, I think I listed the cream of the crop, but I’m willing to entertain other options.

My heroes from Spice ‘n’ Solace have some of these attributes… check ‘em out, maybe you’ll find them as sexy and sweet as I do!

Blurb:

Every year, Jathan One-Moon faces increasing pressure that he marry and have children. What Jathan really wants is a male mate that can enjoy both playful sex and his more dominant nature. To tame his stress, Jathan orders a male escort from Spice ‘n’ Solace, the premier male brothel in the Galactic Alliance—and is thrilled to be sent a man whose air of innocence and obvious desire for Jathan arouse him like never before.

Jathan doesn’t know he has mistaken Kazha Deinos, the owner of Spice ‘n’ Solace, as his escort. Kaz doesn’t intend to pleasure Jathan personally, but his powerful masculinity is irresistible. Kaz has dreamed of a man who’d take charge and indulge his hidden cravings—a man just like Jathan.

With their explosive passion and unexpected tenderness, Jathan and Kaz soon want to stay together—if Jathan’s position and Kaz’s secrets don’t tear them apart…

Find KC online:

Web || Twitter || Facebook || Blog

Cindy Spencer Pape & Alpha Males

Merrick Hadrian—Alpha Dog?

Having my academic background in animal behavior gives me a very clear impression on what the alpha male means. The smartest, toughest wolf, the biggest silverback gorilla, or the ram with the biggest horns. When it comes to people though, the definition can vary.  Are we talking about the captain of the football team? The class president? The corporate raider or the military officer?

I’ve written several books with traditional “alpha heroes,” but even more with heroes who for one reason or other aren’t.  Alpha implies a very social hierarchy. So by definition, the wounded loner isn’t an alpha.  I also write a lot of geek heroes, who rely more on brains than brawn. And if you’re setting up a series with a group of men, say a SEAL team or a family of brothers, then by definition only one can be the alpha. But the others…oh, yeah, they can be heroes too.

When we talk about alpha, I think we’re really just talking about ideals.  Men with strength and honor and brains and courage. Men who can wield a frying pan or a hairbrush as well as a gun or sword or baseball bat if necessary. Men who are protective and willing to lay down their lives for their woman, but would rather live for her and with her. He might be a little bossy, but he’s always there for her and willing to subordinate his needs for hers.

Are the heroes in our books realistic? Sometimes. There are a lot of good men out in the world who may not always have those eight-pack abs, but still have what it takes to make a woman smile.  They bring home paychecks, cook meals, and some of them even bring home roses when they know their wife had a crappy day. (Thank you, love!) And yes, they’re still flawed. Goes with being human. And sometimes those flaws are what make us love them all the more.

With that in mind, I’d like to introduce Sir Merrick Hadrian, baronet. He’s the direct descendant of Sir Tristram, and the Roman emperor Hadrian. Most importantly, he’s a member of the Order of the Round Table, which even in 1851 protects England from threats both human and supernatural.

Merrick joined the Order young, right out of University, replacing his father who was killed in the line of duty. Merrick isn’t the head of the Order—he is, as he tells his aunt, a mere foot soldier, fighting vampyres and rogue mages, and human villains. So he’s not an alpha at all, not in his own mind. Uninterested in marriage or children, he lives with the unconventional aunt who raised him. The two get along fine, each leading their separate lives.

Then he meets five street children, most with supernatural gifts of their own, and Merrick’s inner alpha dog rears its head. He can’t leave them on the street, so he brings them home. Enter the governess, who soon rouses his protective instincts as well—and others. Because of course, sooner or later, the alpha male has to find his mate.

To see more of Merrick and his adventures, I’d love for you to stop by the Carina Press website and check out Steam & Sorcery, the first in my new Gaslight Chronicles series. I’d like to thank Manic Readers for having me here today and letting me share the fun. To celebrate the new release, I’m running a contest. Comment on any (or all) of the blogs I visit on my blog tour this week. One entry per person, per blog stop. You can visit my blog to find the other stops. After the final stops on Sunday, March 13, I’ll draw one winner for a free download of Steam & Sorcery, or their choice of my other available titles. Happy Reading!

Steam & Sorcery

Gaslight Chronicles #1

By Cindy Spencer Pape

Buy here from Carina Press

Sir Merrick Hadrian hunts monsters, both human and supernatural. A Knight of the Order of the Round Table, his use of magick and the technologies of steam power have made him both respected and feared. But his considerable skills are useless in the face of his greatest challenge, guardianship of five unusual children. At a loss, Merrick enlists the aid of a governess.

Miss Caroline Bristol is reluctant to work for a bachelor but she needs a position, and these former street children touch her heart. While she tends to break any mechanical device she touches, it never occurs to her that she might be something more than human. All she knows is that Merrick is the most dangerously attractive man she’s ever met—and out of reach for a mere governess.

When conspiracy threatens to blur the distinction between humans and monsters, Caroline and Merrick must join forces, and the fate of humanity hinges upon their combined skills of steam and sorcery…