Sunday, September 18, 2011


Today I have a chance to chat with author Smoky Trudeau Zeidel.  We have already "met" via emails which began when I realized we had a common interest in the Chesapeake Bay.  Smoky is a new-to-me author, but I like what I read.  See what you think!

Where are you from?  Tell us a little about yourself.
I was born and raised on the flat plains of Illinois, and lived there the first fifty-two years of my life. But I always longed to live near the mountains and ocean, so three years ago, I sold my house and most of my belongings, packed up my daughter, my dog, two cats, and a guinea pig, and headed to Southern California. I didn’t even have a place to live!
It turned out to be a good move. Three months later I met Scott, and we married the next year. I found my husband and soul mate because I took a big risk.
What inspired you to write?
I’ve been writing since I was a little girl. I loved the book Harriet the Spy, and that inspired me to start writing things down. I’ve kept journals, written poetry, and just noodled around ever since.
I began my writing career shortly after I was struck by lightning and nearly killed. My body was severely injured (I’m still feeling the after effects 22 years later), but my mind worked just fine. I answered an ad in my local newspaper for freelance feature writers. Freelancing was a perfect job for me, because I could work when I felt well, and decline assignments when I was not well. But I always wanted to write books; after my first one was published, I never wrote another feature article.
Do you find that your muse takes over when you write?
Absolutely. I think it is very important for a writer to let their characters lead them in telling their story, and that can’t happen if you write by a strict outline. If you let your muse take over, your story will ring much truer.
Do you have any works in progress that you want to share?
I’m working on two novels right now, The Storyteller’s Bracelet and The Madam of Bodie. I don’t really like to talks about my WIPs until after they are complete. I guess I’m superstitious; I feel like if I talk about them, I’ll tick off my muse!
What would be your advice to aspiring writers out there?
First, study your craft. People tend to think they can just decide to write a book and sit down to write one. But writing a book is an art, just like playing the piano and painting a masterpiece are art forms. Yo-Yo Ma didn’t sit down at the cello one day and decide to play, and produce exquisite music. Picasso didn’t decide one day to paint and produce The Guitarist. They studied their craft. Writers need to do that, too.

Second, get your book professionally edited. I’ve seen so many books full of errors because writers had their Aunt Frieda or their next-door neighbor edit for them, even though neither had a bit of editing experience. Editors know things your aunt and your neighbor don’t know about what a good manuscript looks like. They can find mistakes you probably didn’t even know were mistakes. Don’t skimp on this step.

Third, don’t give up just because your book isn’t accepted at first. I used to tell my students, publishing a book is like running into a wall at full speed. When you hit that wall, you knock yourself out and bloody your nose in the process. But if you pick yourself up, wipe the blood from your face, and say, “Gee, that felt good! I think I’ll do it again!” you’ll eventually knock that wall down. The same goes for getting your book published. If you’ve studied your craft and had your book professionally edited, and if, of course, your story is any good, you will find a publisher.

What are your favorite books at the moment?
Well, I’m partial to my own books, of course. But from other writers? Death With Interruptions by Jose Saramago is my favorite book of all time. It’s a tough read, but very worthwhile. Snakes, by Patricia Damery, was a wonderful read. I just finished Malcolm R. Campbell’s fantasy adventure, Sarabande, and loved it. Also Appalachian Justice, by Melinda Clayton, was a fabulous read. In the interest of full disclosure, those last two titles are from my own publisher, Vanilla Heart, but I would have wanted to read them no matter who published them.
What is your favorite word?  Least favorite?
Quirky! I love quirky, because that’s what I am. Least favorite word? Hmmm, don’t think I have one. Words are my life. There are no bad words; there are only bad ways of using words.
About My Book:
My latest novel release is On the Choptank Shores, a love story. The love between a young wife (Grace) and her decidedly middle-aged husband (Otto), and the love of a big sister for her abused baby sister (Miriam). It is the story of the love for an aging, grief-stricken father (Luther) who is spiraling into a dark world of insanity, and the love of a kind and benevolent God whom Grace knows must exist, despite the crazed ravings of her father, who paints a picture of a vengeful, angry God as he spouts biblical verse to defend his abuse of both Grace and little Miriam. It is a story of the land on which they live, and the power of Mother Nature. Most of all, it is a story of love conquering all.

A Blurb:
The tragic deaths of her mother and two younger siblings have left Grace Harmon responsible for raising her sister Miriam and protecting them from their abusive father, Luther, a zealot preacher with a penchant for speaking in Biblical verse who is on a downward spiral toward insanity.
Otto Singer charms Grace with his gentle courtship and devotion to his brother, Henry, but is unable to share with Grace the terrible secret he has kept more than twenty years.
Luther’s insane ravings and increasingly violent behavior force Grace to question everything she every knew or believed in. Then, tragedy strikes just when Otto’s secret is uncovered, unleashing demons that threaten to destroy the entire family. Can Grace find the strength to save her sister … her husband … them all?
My main Website and blog. “Smoky Talks…” is at  Here you’ll find more information about all of my books, my editing services, and links to my other blogs, “Smoky Talks Books” (book reviews), “Smoky Talks Authors” (author interview), and “Observations of an Earth Mage (reflections on nature).
My Facebook author page can be found at Please, stop by and “like” my page!
I’m on Twitter, @SmokyZeidel. If you friend me, I’ll friend you back. I also retweet frequently.
My Goodreads Author Page can be found here:
My Amazon Author Page can be found here:
My Smashwords Author Page can be found here:
Or, you can Google me. I’m very scattered on the Internet! But what would you expect from a person who describes herself as quirky?
Thank you for this fabulous interview! If you post a comment here, then like my Facebook Author Page (link above), I’ll enter you in a drawing to win a free pdf copy of one of my short stories!
Thanks, Smoky, for this interview today.  I'd like to end with the book cover.  I love its portrayal of land along the shores of the Choptank River where my parents spent so much time when they were first married.  Best of luck with your books!

Monday, September 12, 2011

KISS ME GOODBYE by Heide Katros

Today I'm excited to have material from a new release by romantic suspense author Heide Katros.

"Kiss Me Goodbye" continues the story of Nick and Stephanie which began in "Judas Kiss."  For those of you who haven't had the pleasure of reading "Judas Kiss," I'll try to summarize:

The promise is simple. If Nick Andropov is willing to risk his life on a suicide mission to Afghanistan, he'll be guaranteed a new identity and U.S. citizenship. For Stephanie's sake, Nick is willing to do anything. Stephanie has no idea that Nick is training covertly for the impending mission until the morning he gets his marching orders. Shocked by that unexpected news, she is too angry to even kiss him goodbye one last time. While Nick dodges enemy fire along the mountain ranges of Afghanistan, Stephanie fights her own battles at home. She is stalked by someone who seems to know her every move. The moment Stephanie is notified that Nick died in a helicopter crash, the stalker abruptly ceases to harass her. But Stephanie is unwilling to believe that Nick is dead. During his life, he was a master at subterfuge. She begins to investigate his death and stumbles across a horrendous secret. Her discovery will do monumental international harm, and those behind it have no intention of letting Stephanie live to tell about it.

Holding both hands palms up in submission, he shook his head in denial. “Steffi, I am sorry. I know that sounds lame after all we’ve been through together. I love you. I knew it the minute I met you. I really thought I’d have more time to prepare you for this. The suddenness of the orders took me off guard. Please, don’t hate me. Give me some hope to take with me into combat.”
“You are going into combat?” Alarm turned her voice into a squeak.
  “Yes, that’s what I’ve trained for these past two months. It would be suicide to venture into enemy territory without being able to defend yourself.” It was a suicide mission, but he couldn’t tell her that.
   Enemy territory? It sounded so ominous. “When … when did you prepare for all this?” Pressing a hand to her lips, her eyes widened with dread. “God, where are you going?”
His gaze slid away from hers. “Most times I trained while you were at work, but sometimes I snuck out after you were asleep. It seemed fitting since we’ll be moving mostly during the nights. I learned to get along on little sleep. And I’m sorry I can’t tell you where I’ll be headed. I don’t really know myself yet.”
He dragged her back into his arms, tried to kiss her, but she twisted away and his mouth grazed her jaw line instead. Her rejection hit him with the force of a sledgehammer, but he didn’t let on. Instead, he held her close and rubbed his lips along the side of her face, loving the softness of her skin. “Please, believe me, Steffi. I didn’t mean to deceive you. I meant to tell you sooner, I just couldn’t.” It was the truth. The patriot in him told him he was doing the right thing. The lover wanted to hold on to her forever.

Sunday, September 4, 2011


Legions of Kate Hofman fans will be delighted to hear Kate has a new release, her long-awaited Reluctant Prince.  "Prince" is available only in print at this time, so those who want this fantastic cover of model Billy Freda are in luck.

I will be giving you teasers of this great "little" book (well, it isn't little, but it is an easy read!).  I had the pleasure of seeing this one before it was released and all I'll tell you is that it's an uplifting tale of true love conquering all.  And in usual Kate Hofman style, there's quite a bit of "all."  Those of you who follow her know what I mean.

Later in the week Kate will be offering a copy of the book, so be sure to stop back.

Let's take a look at the introduction of our hero:

Prince Armando di San Raffaele is on the mezzanine of his new hotel, watching the guests mill about below him at the opening festivities.
The excerpt begins here:

Scanning the crowd lazily, his attention was drawn to a woman who seemed to hold herself aloof from the celebrating crowd.  She seemed to be more interested in the furnishings of the room than in the people.  From where he stood, she seemed to be petite and elegant, coppery highlights showing in her luxuriant brown hair, when she turned her head.    An eyebrow-length, wispy fringe softened her hair style.  He thought she stood out because of the simplicity of her dress, the cut superlative, the black fabric probably crêpe de Chine—since it clung in all the right places, reaching just over the knee.  And from where he was standing, he had an unusually good view of her cleavage—dear God, that was worth a second look, close up…
Although her heels were high, they weren’t the usual 5” stilettos.  She walked with an easy grace, not teetering on too-high heels. 
          He frowned when he saw a heavy-set man lurch forward to approach her from behind, bumping into her—purposely, he felt sure.  She took a step aside, and even from the balcony he could see she gave the man a disgusted look.  Meanwhile, the man’s motor mouth was moving a mile a minute, without making any impression on the woman, who frowned, occasionally shaking her head.  When she turned away, he put his fat hand on her arm—to hold her back?
          Suddenly no longer bored, Armando went over to the grand stairway which led from the mezzanine to the great reception area.  As he flew down the stairs two at a time, he saw the woman go into the gardens through the French doors opposite to where the stairway ended.  To his disgust, the fat guy was still in hot pursuit.
          When Armando slid through the French doors, he saw the woman instantly—she was walking on the outside balcony, still pursued by the creep—his private name for the man making an evident nuisance of himself.
          He heard the woman say, “For the last time, I design interiors for your firm, a business arrangement…”
          The man sneered, “Your nose in the air attitude doesn’t put me off in the least, Pammipoo.  If you know what’s good for you, you’ll change your tune and be very, very nice to me, or your job is toast.”  With that, he seized the woman’s upper arms, trying to turn her to him—stretching his beefy neck as far as he could, pushing his rubbery lips forward—evidently trying to kiss her.  “Owww!” he yelled, halted for a moment.  “You bitch, you dared kick me!  I’ll make you pay for this, and you’re coming with me right now to start the first instalment.”
          “Take your hands off me,” the woman bit out, her tone outraged.  Although she had spoken quietly, the attacker stopped his attempt to force his slobbery mouth onto hers, but only for a moment.   Doing his best to claw his hands around her, his face became distorted with rage when the woman kicked him again.  “No!” she insisted, speaking more loudly—her hands pushing at him to keep him away.
          And then Armando was there.  He said, his tone commanding and ice-cold, “The lady said No.  Step back.”  Furious at being thwarted in his plans to force the woman to have sex with him, the man tried to take a swing at Armando, missing ludicrously, losing his balance in the attempt.  When he had righted himself, Armando hit him with precision on the jaw, and the man went down.  Without looking around—for Armando knew he was always kept in view by at least one bodyguard—he said, “Dispose of this.  Not on these premises.” 
          “Yes, Sir.  Of course not here, Sir.”  Bryce looked around and whistled softly between his teeth.  Another man came forward out of the shadows.
“Jock, help me dispose of this, somewhere in an alley.  I have my car here on the apron at the end of the garden.”
          “Guid mon.” 
          Bryce grinned.  “You fake Scotsman—I know for a fact that you’ve never even been to Scotland.”
          Jock responded, “I’m no fake—I’m a McTavish.  My parents are Scots.”  He slipped into his broad Scots accent again.  “Verra guid.”  The two men grinned at each other, carrying the heavy, unconscious body to the far end of the garden.  
          Armando did not bother to watch them, all his attention was for the woman who was—as he had guessed—petite and with a sensational figure. 
          “I’m sorry I couldn’t get to you more quickly,” he said.  “This must have been very upsetting to you.  Will you allow me to get you a drink, to calm you?
I have a suite here in the hotel.  And I assure you, you’ll be quite safe with me.
I’m not in the habit of forcing myself on unwilling ladies.”
          The woman glanced at him, and seemed to get some of her cool back.
“I shouldn’t think you’d have to,” she said, with a brave attempt at a smile.  “And your offer of a haven to sit down and get over this—this unpleasantness…”  She sighed.  “It’s very welcome, thank you.”  Her voice was soft and melodious. 
          “Allow me to introduce myself—Armando di San Raffaele.”  The woman gazed at him in amazement.
          “B-but y-you are—”
          “The owner of the Bijou Hotel chain, yes.”
          She seemed to pull herself together with an effort.  “My name is Pamela Stanhove,” she said.