Interviewing Shaine Cilimberg, Author of Crowded, Perfect Forgiveness, and Racing Bloodstream

Please welcome Shaina Cilimberg, the author of the Young Adult books Crowded and Perfect Forgiveness; as well as the Children’s Nonfiction tale Racing Bloodstream. Her stories focus on high school teens trying to navigate their way through life, relationships, faith, and who they’re meant to be.

When you’re not writing, what else do you do like to do? I love doing outdoorsy stuff with friends, going shopping, going online, watching Austin & Ally, Good Luck Charlie and The Bachelorette. I also enjoy getting smoothies and eating ice cream. I read the Bible, go to church, exercise

When did you realize you were a writer? I started at 11 but really saw myself as one in 11 grade. I just really enjoyed it and got people to help me.

What can you tell us about your books, and where can they be found? The Deep River High Series (Crowded, Perfect Forgiveness) are my way of reaching out to youth or teens at heart on topics such as bullying, sexual purity, abortion, school shootings and I kind of have a new one in the works. It’s still about bullying but touches on Asperger’s/OCD.  I write about teens who are outcasts.

Racing Bloodstream is non-fiction and I’m introducing a teen horseback rider to the world.

My books are available at:

http://www.amazon.com/Crowded-Deep-River-High-ebook/dp/B005HB1J7A/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1340767015&sr=1-1&keywords=Crowded

http://www.amazon.com/Perfect-Forgiveness-Deep-River-ebook/dp/B008055B7E/ref=pd_sim_kstore_1?ie=UTF8&m=AG56TWVU5XWC2

http://www.amazon.com/Racing-Bloostream-ebook/dp/B008EEUSYC/ref=pd_ybh_4

What was the inspiration behind the Deep River High series?

Crowded was inspired by One Life To Live (Don’t judge; I bite); I’d say Robert Liparulo was very effective in his books in that it showed me good writing along with Melody Carlson, the bullying epidemic, other people’s suggestions…Cole’s sexting was a suggestion from previous books. I actually had books before these but so many people did not like them, so I kept changing and changing. Only one was almost published. So, I made book two book one and changed it a lot except for Cole and Josh fighting over Emily, the sexting, and Josh being arrogant. Cole’s clumsiness didn’t change either. (Haha now I sound like a wuss.)

Ummm, Beastly (the movie) also inspired me. It’s funny because I was writing [Crowded] and saw the trailer (I like Glee but really was not enjoying the episode that was on that night) and was like: “That reminds me of Josh”, but at the same time the book and movie inspired me. Narnia inspired me too and my book isn’t even fantasy!  Tobymac’s “Love Callin’“, Tenth Avenue North, Skillet, and Mumford & Sons inspired me, too.

Perfect Forgiveness was inspired by Columbine, and Charles Andy Williams (Santana Shooter). All these cases of children being tried as adults, feeling remorse and the fact they should be tried as juveniles. (I am 24. Therefore, I’m smart and know everything), Someone on a soap opera message board inspired me, Point Blank ( a Christian book) inspired me even though I hadn’t read it since I was 15 then read it again while I was working on [Perfect Forgiveness] and I wanted to see if these killers felt remorse for their actions, whether it was a school shooting or something else.  Curiosity got the best of me. I’m like Lucy Pevensie from Narnia.

I had written about a former gang member in the past, brought him back into the book about the shooting. He’s Jacob and not a school shooter. He’s one of the Christian kids who tried to become friends with one of the shooters, Kirk Williams. Narnia again inspired me (I LOVE EDMUND PEVENSIE YAY!!!); POD’s “Youth of the Nation” and Superchick’s “Hero” are songs that inspired me. “Dustbowl Dance” and “This is War” got played a few times while writing this, too. I’ve also just used soundtracks for both books (Harry Potter and Narnia) while writing.

Basically, my books are inspired by some personal experience, other books, movies, how I would react in a situation, how other people have reacted, the news, old news, TV shows and music.

Racing Bloodstream came about because a friend asked me to write this about Brianna Moore. So, I agreed and asked her a few questions.

What can you tell us about Crowded?  I edited it quite a bit. The most recent edit is up on Kindle now. Please follow me @longhairrox because I let people know when I edit. That way, they can email Amazon to give them the most recent copy. I hope to one day achieve the level where I don’t have to edit an already published book. I really want people to read my books and buy them. By doing this you are saying my writing matters and that I matter (Yes I’m a basket case). I want to bring people to the Lord, closer to God and entertain them; I want to show people how they should treat others. My books are only 99 cents, which is great because you do not have to spend a lot of money.  What I like about Crowded is how Josh is more than he seems. He is the villain but he has a heart. You get to see into his mind and why he’s such a jerk and how he really feels about the way he acts. Emily is the tough, gothic chick; but she wants to feel beautiful just like any other girl.

What would you like us to know about Perfect Forgiveness? It is from the perspective of a very repentant school shooter, who did this with two other boys.  You also get to see the perspective of some of the Christian kids who tried to be his friend and learn more about the victims, their families; and how it affects them.  The question is really what drives a person to do such a thing? For Kirk, it was bullying and a bad home life. The other two claimed God wanted them to and they are not the type of crowd Kirk should even be associating with. They are on a whole different level of morbid and disgusting. At least you can feel for Kirk, and he has remorse. He is a very insecure kid who was bullied relentlessly, abused, abandoned and takes care of his brother. Kirk hates himself. For every self-loathing thought Josh has, Kirk hates himself ten times more.

If you hated Josh in Crowded, you may change your mind in this one. He’s the one to look out for other than Kirk.  Lydia gets more of a role and a little more spunk. Her innocence shines through in both books. In some ways she’s smarter, in some ways not as bright. She puts her foot in her mouth, gets freaked out and basically has some angst in her. Kirk actually has a crush on her.

How would you describe Racing Bloodstream? A Non-fiction story about a teenage horseback rider. The book itself is very short, so I listed it as children’s even though the only picture is the cover. [A friend of mine] answered a few questions for me and I wrote the answers the way I would for children because I decided it would be a good way to introduce an athlete. Then, they can read or have their parents read it to them and see if they want to ride horses as well. I learned a few things, since I am more of a small-city girl. Note I said small city not big city lol. I am small too but that’s beside the point (A little feisty; I probably bite)

Is there a central theme or message that you would come across in your books? Yes. I have a Christian theme, a psychological theme and try to leave in some room for a little bit of fun.

What inspires you to write? What do you enjoy about it? I enjoy the characters. I think of them like I would think about a real person. Josh and Kirk really stand out as misunderstood. Cole is abused, but anyone could relate to him and his ways of doing things. He’s Cole. He’s clumsy, and wants to do what’s right, but not always.  Josh and Kirk struggle more with self-loathing and insecurities. Josh is arrogant but very insecure as well. Kirk is just plain out insecure and does a cowardly thing because he sees no other way out. Cole is only mean to people who are mean to him. Josh is mean to people as a result of how people treated him in the past. Kirk is not mean; yet he’s a killer so that makes him mean. The moment he became the school shooter, he became the bully and he has a hard time coping with what he’s about to do and the fact he did it.

So, Kirk seeks redemption, and doesn’t know if God will even forgive him. He and Josh are actually the ones who get plagued by flashbacks from the past and nightmares. Cole is just Cole, no sugar coating it.  He’s like any other Christian boy who messed up and wants his girlfriend back. I do have my male characters cry a bit and feel remorse for their actions and think about it. I don’t care if it’s seen as “Girly,” it isn’t. Teen boys can feel remorse and be dedicated to God. Cole barely cries compared to Josh and Kirk and when they do, it’s merited.

What would be your ideal writer’s retreat? The beach.

Do you have any advice for new writers? Yes. Don’t let people change what you write, but let them give you advice too.

Where can readers connect with you?

@longhairrox on twitter.com

http://jesusfreak-ponderingsofanamusedwriter.blogspot.com/

Wanna be interviewed? Open Call For Authors of all Genres :)

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Now that personal drama has been reduced to a low simmer, and life is getting back to quasi-normal, I’d like to return to one of my favorite things to do on my blog: Interviewing authors. Over the next week, I’ll be getting in touch with those whose interviews were regrettably postponed amid the spider infested and box-cutter induced mayhem that prevented me from typing much of anything while my hand recovered. During that time, I’ll also be accepting interview requests from authors of all genres. Priority will be given to the authors who are already on my interview list, assuming they still wish to participate. After that, it’s first come, 1st served. I’ll try to have one author featured a week.

Here are the requirements:

You must be published.  I don’t care whether it’s traditional, indie, self-published, e-published, whatever…just as long as there’s some way for readers to be able to view your work in a published form. I will accept requests from debut authors with the following conditions:

  • Your book must be complete.
  • You must have a publishing date set.
  • Your interview will NOT go live until your book is published.
  1. Send me a comment indicating your interest in being interviewed either through my blog, or direct message/DM thru Twitter (@ErynLockhart).
  2. I will get back to you with the approximate date for the interview to go live if you accept.
  3. If you still want to be interviewed, please respond promptly with the name of the book(s) you want the interview to focus on, your email address, and few details that you’d like me to include in an author’s introduction.
  4. I will respond with your interview questions, then it will be up to you to answer them, and include any links you would like potential readers to have for getting in touch with you or reading/buying your books. I’ll format the interview, and will make an effort for you to be able to see it in order to make changes/suggestions before it goes live on my blog.

Disclaimer:

I reserve the right to refuse to interview any author for any reason. There is no fee, either implicit or implied, in being interviewed by me; there is also no guarantee, implicit or implied, that being featured on my blog will impact your sales one way or another. This activity is done on a purely voluntary basis, and being interviewed does not equal my personal endorsement for either you or your work. Review copies of books are not necessary, though if you’d like to give away a copy of your book to a lucky reader, you’re more than welcome. At this time I am NOT doing book reviews. I am simply offering authors a chance to showcase their works and themselves through interviews on my blog. I also do not require that you interview me in return; it would be appreciated, but is not mandatory. Lastly, interviews are open to authors of all genres.

Master List of Eryn’s Interviews

Want to know a little more about me? Check out the links below for a variety of interviews on different sites and author blogs:

If you’d like to interview me (or be interviewed by me), feel free to send me a request by commenting on the blog, or on Twitter @ErynLockhart.

After Dropping off the Face of the Earth…

What better way to say I’m back than by stopping by my blog, blowing off the cobwebs, and writing a little something to assure myself and the WordPress admins that I am not, in fact, deceased.

Actually–despite an unwelcome infestation of brown recluse spiders giving it their best effort–I’m still alive, with all limbs intact, and aside from a heightened degree of arachnophobia, I can even pass for being my normal, slightly zany self. I’ve moved to a new home, started a new second job, and even got my first set of wheels.

My New Ride: Lance Cali Classic 125–This is her ‘before’ picture; she’s about to have some custom work done ;)

My time away wasn’t spent merely losing the war against an empire of invading spiders then riding off into the sunset for a tactical retreat…I also managed to get in a fight with a box cutter. In case you were wondering, the box cutter won. I don’t think I’ve ever seen that much of my blood on the outside of my body since storm waves introduced me to Galveston’s Sea Wall. I got a nifty set of stitches, but temporarily lost fine motor skills. However—I’ve been recovering smoothly, and I’m due to get the blasted things out next week, which means that this charming little entry will hopefully be the 1st and only one I’ll have to type one handed.

Black Friday Shopping Siege

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Holiday season is kicking into high gear, as evidenced by the ravening hordes of shoppers stampeding through stores all across America looking for Black Friday deals. My family and I joined the fray, stomachs still full from lunch at the family’s Thanksgiving reunion yesterday. After a couple of years, banding together on Black Friday in a united hunt for goodies has become every bit as much a family tradition as the reunion that proceeds it.

After Thanksgiving lunch, relatives from near and far pull out their sales flyers, converge in the living room, and four generations lend their voice to drawing up price-matching battle plans. Shopping the day after Thanksgiving isn’t just a madhouse, it’s war—and my family’s combined tactical expertise in this area is the Shopper’s equivalent to Sun Tzu. United, we have a common mission: divide & conquer—scouts hold the place in line for high ticket items, runners are deployed to get the goods, and defenders guard baskets from opportunistic looters, make sure the handoffs from scouts to runners go smoothly, and hold down the fort while shopping’s underway.

The offensive generally starts around 9pm, and lasts until around 11am (though this year began even earlier), with scouts trudging in, legs chilled from hours waiting on concrete floors, battle-hardened runners with tales of being rammed and run-over by shopping carts, and defenders who’ve single-handedly managed to protect the family’s loot from scores of would-be snatchers. It’s a hard-won victory, but after the fleet of SUVs, cars, and trucks have been loaded, we  return  to Central Command (aka: Grandma’s House), and assemble together one last time to toast the day’s success over wassail, hot chocolate, or triple shot expresso for the ones who need to remain awake. We’re proud veterans of the yearly shopping siege, and have a blast swapping war stories from years gone by along with the latest ones added today.

Training for Black FridayFor a family with very active representation in the US military, it’s a wonderful change of pace to be able to tell tales of a campaign where there were no casualties, no fear of losing a loved one…it’s a comical campaign the entire family enjoys, despite the occasional horror stories like irate grannies swinging walkers at your head for getting the last flat screen.

This holiday season, as you gaze with satisfaction at your own Black Friday swag, or breathe out a sigh of relief that you skipped the madness to have a day of peace, I hope we can all remember to be thankful for our families, our loved ones, & our friends. For those in the military, I wish you and your loved ones the best of luck for the duration of your service; and for those who are or will be deployed, I hope that one day you too will be able to swap stories when you come safely home.

Interviewing Ranae Rose, Author of Demon of Mine

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Today I’m thrilled to present Ranae Rose, a romance author who specializes in red-hot Regencies, scenes that sizzle, and wickedly seductive heroes that will make your toes curl. Love and blazing passion combine for scorching reads that will keep you satisfied long after the last page is turned. She released a brand-new erotic romance this week, and by the sound of things, it’s a real pager turner.

What can you tell us about your latest book, and where is it available? Demon of Mine is an erotic Regency romance about a vampire heir and a terminally ill (and perpetually curious) housemaid. It’s available from major e-book retailers such as Amazon and All Romance. It hasn’t hit the virtual shelves in all venues yet, but can be expected to appear in places like iTunes and B&N within the next few weeks.

 cover art for Demon of Mine; Paranormal Regency Erotic Romance By Ranae Rose

Demon of Mine by Ranae Rose

Here’s the official blurb:

He’s the mysterious heir to an industrial empire.

She’s a dying housemaid.

The secrets that lie between them refuse to be kept forever.

Elsie always considered her attraction to Damon ‘Demon’ Remington to be a guilty pleasure, but when a strange illness begins to crumble the comfortable life she’s built in the Remingtons’ shadow, her future is threatened, along with her beliefs about her tragic past. Accused of a blue-blooded murder, Damon is both London’s most notorious devil and the guardian angel from Elsie’s childhood. Her testimony may save him from being convicted…if she can bring herself to confess that she hid in his bedroom on the night of the crime and why. His preternatural secret can save her from the sickness that’s consuming her, but salvation comes at a price – the sacrifice of her humanity, and a marriage that will last for the rest of their immortal lives.

Which character in Demon of Mine do you identify with the most? Probably Damon’s sister, Lucinda.

Is Demon of Mine part of a larger series, or do you have other books available? Yes, Demon of Mine is the first book in the Remington Vampires series. Book 2 will release next year (2012). I also have multiple other unrelated books that are available.

What inspired you to write Demon of Mine? The naughtiest scene in the book. LOL Really, the voyeurism scene in Chapter 2 popped into my head one day and I knew I had to write the story of the housemaid who’d dare to hide in her employer’s room (even if she got stuck there unintentionally) and spy on him. I thought she would be a different kind of Regency heroine.

When you’re not writing, what do you like to do? Read, though that’s probably a given. I really love horses, and I like to spend time with mine whenever I can – riding, or simply caring for them.

What books do you like to read? Romance is my genre of choice, though I do read outside of it. And as far as romances go, the hotter the better, in my opinion. I’ll read stories from any time period, though I have a soft spot for historicals. Especially Scottish Highland romances. I love those.

Are there any particular things you like for inspiration or writing fuel? Not really. Story ideas sort of just come to me, and if I need more ideas or to work out a plot point I’ll just sit there and brainstorm, or take a bit of a break.

What’s the most valuable piece of advice you’d like to give to writers just starting out? Write what you love and be persistent. Becoming a successful writer, or heck, even finishing a book doesn’t happen overnight. You have to stick with it, and that’s much easier to do if you’re writing what you love instead of what you think other people will like.

Do you have plans for books featuring other paranormal protagonists? Werewolves, shifters, witches, fairies, etc…? Seeing as how I’ll soon be writing Book 2 of the Remington Vampires Series, definitely yes. As for non-vampire paranormal creatures, ghosts and banshees have made some appearances in other books I’ve written, and I’m sure readers can expect to see more paranormal beings in my future works. I love the paranormal.

Where can readers get in touch with you? My main website is: www.ranaerose.com I also have a blog where I make bi-weekly posts featuring my thoughts on romance-related topics, excerpts from my work, etc… Readers are welcome to drop by & share their thoughts anytime. www.ranaerose.blogspot.com Lastly, I’m on Facebook and Twitter: @Ranae_Rose

The Ultimate Writer’s Block Slayer

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As the infamous second week slump for NaNoWriMo comes to an end, I figure there’s no better time to introduce a post that will hopefully inspire me–um, writers everywhere–to head back to their keyboards, type like the wind, and refuse to let Writer’s Block get the better of them. To help with that goal, Feliza Casano has graciously agreed to guest post, sharing valuable tips she’s learned as a writer that when put together become:

The Ultimate Writer’s Block Slayer

Throughout the time I’ve been writing – which has been since age 11, so a good nine years – I’ve experienced writer’s block more than a few times.

 That’s kind of an understatement.  I have had many an encounter with the bane of all writers’ existence over these past nine years.

 But since I started college in 2009, I’ve discovered something I’ve found to be the ultimate slayer of writer’s block.  It’s helped me through countless forms of writer’s block, from this year’s NaNoWriMo project to the Honors Thesis I did last year.

 The name of this magical sword?  Journalism.

 Now, that may seem counterintuitive.  I can just hear the upset readers now: “But wait!  Journalism is so boring!  How can something like journalism help writer’s block?”

 Accusations of boringness aside – journalism is actually pretty exciting – what I say is that journalism is one of the most demanding types of writing.  When working at a journalism job, writers must complete stories by deadlines.  I’ve written five to six stories in a week based on deadlines, and managing all of those are quite a chore.

 Deadlines aren’t the only things I’ve learned from journalism.  Since many of you will not be pursuing journalism degrees, though, I’ll be perfectly happy to share my knowledge with you.

  • Active verbs and sentences.  News style requires snappy copy – no extra words if they’re not necessary.  This means eliminating phrases like “She was sitting in the way of the storm” and replacing them with phrases like “She sat in the storm’s path.”  Much shorter – but much simpler to read and understand.
  • Accessible language.  A news story should be written so someone with the reading level of a sixth grader could understand it – and believe it or not, most of the people who need newspapers are only reading at a sixth grade level or a bit higher.  Use simple language that allows your readers to understand what you want.
  • Sticking to deadlines.  If you don’t meet deadline, your editor will kill you.  Plus, you’ll eventually get fired, and your reputation really takes a hit.  In the competitive world of journalism – even during college – missing a deadline can be a disaster.  Now apply this line of thought to your writer’s block, and BAM!  Instant kill.
  • Piecing things together.  When you work in journalism, you can’t just sit and write the story from start to finish: you gather notes, conduct interviews, and end up with a ton of pieces you put together like a puzzle.  Think of your novel this way.  You don’t have to write that book from start to finish.  Feel like writing that epic battle scene at the end?  Go ahead – you can do that.  Just make sure you tie things together when you’re done.

These are just a few of the things I’ve learned from journalism.  I’m betting a lot of you can apply these things when you’re stuck – or maybe you already do.

Are any of these lessons helpful?  What writer’s block slayers do you use when the bane strikes?

Feliza Casano

Feliza Casano

Feliza Casano majors in communication with a concentration in journalism at the University of Toledo. She has worked as a beat writer, copy editor and public relations writer in the news industry, published a novel through her publishing company Glass Tower Press, and blogs about writing and regional news. She plans to pursue a job in the publishing industry as an editor or copywriter.

It Won’t be Long…

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Until I can see my fiance again :) He’s pulled double time to be able to come in a full week earlier than the previously discussed best-case scenario. Apparently, he’s missed me every bit as much as I’ve missed him. We’re living about a 1,000 miles apart right now, and haven’t seen each other in over 6 months. In homage of his visit  & my general state of over-the-moon happiness, there’s no better music video to capture the mood than this:

I love Across the Universe & The Beatles regardless, but just now, it’s the perfect soundtrack. I’m pumped up and excited, and I’ve got a lot to do before Saturday rolls around…because much as I’m thrilled I’ll be able to see him earlier than expected, it means I’ve got a lot of rearranging of my own schedule to do in order to clear the day for him. So, while I blitz through the week & NaNoWriMo word count goals, I’m praying I’ll get a handle on things & be completely over the nasty Winter Cold I got no later than Thursday night. I’m already on the mend, but I don’t want to risk being contagious when he gets here.

I’d love to say neither cold, nor rain, nor flu, nor phlegm will stop me from hurling myself into his arms, but if I think there’s the slightest chance I’ll make him ill, I’ll force myself to keep my distance.  Which means for the remainder of the week I’ll be downing orange juice like a scurvy victim, gargling saltwater like I’m part-mermaid, popping vitamin C tablets like they’re tic-tacs, and sucking on Hall’s throat lozenges like they’re Jolly Ranchers. Oh, and let’s not forget lemon & honey laced tea–LOTS of it.

After 6 months of not being able to be with him at all, I want my hugs & cuddles darn it!—And kisses, lots, and LOTS of kisses. Honestly, the guy’s going to be lucky if I don’t pounce on him the second I see him pull into the driveway.

In the meantime, I’ve discovered a new internet radio site I really like: Last.fm, so between it and pandora.com, I’m set for endless free streaming internet radio. It’s the perfect writing soundtrack for NaNoWriMo and beyond. I also discovered Tumblr, which is micro-blogging platform that I’ll be using intermittently in addition to WordPress and Twitter–particularly on days when my blog is featuring the  latest author interview.

Interviewing Demzy Gueits, Author of the Blog: J’adore La Dolce Vita

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Today, I think it’s time for a change of pace~as temperatures drop & central heat clicks on for homes across the nation, it seems the perfect time to indulge, pamper yourself, and take some time to enjoy the season before holiday frenzy sets in. To help with that goal, I’m pleased to welcome Demzy Gueits, author of the blog: J’adore La Dolce Vita–where leading the sweet life is not only an art, it’s also accessible.

Please tell us about your blog: J’adore La Dolce Vita is a beauty, lifestyle, and empowerment blog. It was created with the vision of presenting to women the true meaning of beauty. That beauty is multidimensional and cannot be confined to only the superficial which is a focus on external beauty alone. In my blog you’ll find plenty of beauty secrets, tips, and tricks, but I also write about lifestyle advice and how to improve other dimensions of your life beyond external beauty. When creating it, I decided I would use some of the knowledge I have gained from being a Psychology major in college to teach women how to be assertive, enjoy life, and be empowered to be themselves in their most genuine state–to edify them to be who they were born to be.

Demzy Gueits J'adore La Dolce Vita Blog

What inspired you to create J’adore La Dolce Vita? Writing has always been a hobby of mine and I was frequently praised by teachers and professors throughout my school years about my writing, so it became something I believed to be my talent. So when I started to see a pattern of friends coming to me asking me for advice on beauty and even on things like how attract a man, it dawned on me that I could create a blog to empower women and share my advice to the masses.

Is there an underlying message in your blog you’d like readers to grasp? Yes, since my blog is targeted to women, the underlying message I’d like my readers to grasp is that a beautiful woman is in us all and what it takes to get the world to notice her will take more than just enhancing your features with makeup and other cosmetics, but also by growing your talents, your spirit, and that one of a kind charm that is your inner beauty. I hope to guide some of that growth through my blog posts that feature inner and outer beauty and lifestyle advice.

If you were creating an emergency makeup kit, but were limited to only 5 items, which ones would you choose & why? In the kit I would put a hydrating rosy colored lip gloss for gorgeous lips any time of day, a pressed powder to mattify any excess oils on the skin, a lash curler to turn limp lashes into voluptuous ones, a black mascara because it awakens the appearance of the eyes, and a peachy pink blush since it can really enliven the face!

If you could write a companion or update piece to your hilarious (and somewhat infamous) “The Ten Commandments on How to Keep a Guy”, what would it be? Good question! It would probably be titled “The Ten Commandments on How to Attract A Man.”

What are some of your favorite brands, and favorite resources for beauty products? Some of my favorite brands are Tarte, Lancome, and Korres. My favorite resources that influence my purchases on beauty products are the consumer reviews on sephora.com, beauty.com, and ulta.com.

How do you find ways to practice “The Sweet Life” in your own life? Pampering myself when I have free time, doing what I love and doing it often, and relishing the sweet moments life can bring by savoring any blessing I have and realizing there’s much to be grateful for.

What are some of your favorite tips from your blog? Rinsing conditioner off your hair when in the shower with cold water to boost shine, and working with excellence and all your passion and might to get promoted at work.

What’s something that not many people know about you? I love to cook and experiment with it by updating the flavors of meals. I try to change things on every plate I create for my family, kind of like an artist does when painting on a new canvas.

If you could have a single day to pamper yourself however you wanted, what would you do? I would spend hours at a spa getting a massage and I’d end the day by going home, lighting candles, and taking a hot bath as I read a compelling new book.

Are there any TV series or Movies where you particularly loved the look achieved by make-up artists? I still remember the look of Naomi Watts in the movie King Kong. Her natural beauty was emphasized with such subtlety, it captivated you. She looked ethereal, breathtaking, and simply unforgettable.

How do you express your own personal sense of style? I don’t let rules define my style but I lean more towards a classic style and express my individuality through little touches of my mood’s inspirations. I also dare myself to try new things.

When not writing J’adore La Dolce Vita, what do you like to do? I enjoy reading magazines, making my toddler daughters laugh, and being outdoors, especially near the ocean.

Where can readers connect with you?

They can follow me on Twitter: @JadoreLaDolceV
on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/jadoreladolcevita
or through the contact form on my website: http://www.jadoreladolcevita.com

Interviewing Elizabeth Jasper, Author of Meggie Blackthorn

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November is here and the holiday season is fast approaching, when the people we love and who love us gather together to share best wishes and hopes as another year comes to a close. Today, I’m pleased to feature Elizabeth Jasper as a guest author; people are the focus of her genre-blending tales, characters are the guiding force of her stories, and her explorations into motivations and development are fascinating.

In addition to writing whenever she feels like it, she is also a reader, reviewer, gardener, and cook originally hailing from Durham, NE England, before moving to Southern England for 13 years, then finally answering the siren’s call of Spain’s warmth and sun with her husband 7 years ago. Family always comes first for her, and she makes several trips a year to visit relatives still in the UK.

When you’re not writing, what do you like to do?

On a day-to-day basis, I love to curl up on the sofa with my Kindle, I adore cooking just about anything and I enjoy spending time working in the garden. I’m happy to give most DIY a go, though I don’t like going up ladders of any description and I’m banned from using an electric drill, though I’m sure I could manage fine in an emergency (don’t tell my husband I said that).

What can you tell us about your latest book?

My second book, Meggie Blackthorn, has recently been published through Smashwords and Amazon as an e-book and will be available within the next month or two in paperback. Set in the early 1960s in Newcastle, N E England, it follows Meggie’s adventures as she is sent to live with her grandparents in the city. She makes new friends, starts a new school, uncovers long-hidden family secrets, finds herself in danger from the Codmother and her vile son, Billy Fish, and discovers talents she didn’t think she had.

Cover art for Elizabeth Miller's Meggie BlackthornIs it part of a larger series, and do you have other books available?

Meggie Blackthorn is the first in a short series in which Meggie learns how to deal with changing relationships, makes new friends, discovers boys, learns how to put her lipstick on straight and becomes a singer in a rock band.

My first book, Lying in Wait, is available as an e-book through Smashwords and Amazon and will be published in paperback at the end of 2011. Another book, ‘A Bed of Knives’, is in development and will be published in Spring 2012.

What styles of writing do you enjoy experimenting with?

When I began writing, I started by using an omniscient narrator but quickly realized this allowed me to stray into long descriptive passages and too much back story so I changed to using third person. I prefer to keep my writing style tight, with little embellishment in the form of adjectives or adverbs or long passages of flowery prose. Third person works well for me, especially as I like to write from more than one character’s POV in my stories. Meggie Blackthorn is my first attempt in writing in the first person. The linear storyline lent itself to writing in 1st person and I’ve enjoyed the experience.

Why do you write in multiple genres?

For me, my characters are the basis for all my stories and it is what happens to them–how they react in various situations–that frees me to cross multiple genres. For example, in Lying in Wait Mal, my MC , is a naive young man up from the country to Dublin, where he intends to make money to send to his impoverished family back home on the farm. His naivety allows him to be drawn into criminal activity and into a situation where he finds himself married to an older woman whose unborn child he later discovers cannot be his. This allowed me to incorporate a strong thriller element into the story. A second storyline deals with sexual infidelity, revenge, love and redemption, giving me the opportunity to add romance to the equation.

Do you think that authors occasionally get typecast into writing certain kinds of books?

Under the traditional publishing model where, if a writer had a big hit with a particular book, publishers would understandably want to capitalize on this by requiring the writer to produce more of the same, this has happened. I`ve recently read that John Grisham is sick of writing about lawyers. I haven`t read any of his books for years but he is a good writer and if he produced something out of his usual genre I would certainly be interested in reading it.

One of the advantages of being an Indie author publishing my own e-books as well as paperbacks is the freedom to be able to write exactly what I want without suffering from the constraints under which some traditionally published writers seem to work.

If you could describe your ‘voice’ as a writer, what would it be?

What a difficult question. My aim as a writer is to remain invisible to my readers and to let my characters` voices do the talking. Having said that, the words I use, the order in which I place them and the way I direct dialogue may indicate I`m the author, but I guess you would have to ask my readers whether or not I have a distinctive ‘voice’.

Is there an underlying theme or message in your books you’d like readers to grasp?

It may be a little old-fashioned, but I would rather write stories where good overcomes evil, where light defeats darkness and where love overrides hatred than delve into the darkest, most brutal aspects of humanity. I know it`s there, and I may sometimes choose read about, it but I don`t want to use my writing to emphasize that dark side. For that reason, I guess my stories are more mainstream than alternative, with endings that satisfy rather than leaving the reader with nothing but despair.

What kind of books do you like to read?

Just as I like to write across different genres, I read across many genres. I’m open-minded in my reading and the explosion of e-books available for download over the internet has led me to discover many new, thrilling writers I might otherwise have missed. I read mainly fiction and enjoy thrillers, literary fiction, romance, fantasy, historical and sci-fi, among others.

What inspires you to write? What motivates you?

Another tricky question. I write to entertain. I write in order to stretch myself as an individual by examining various aspects of humanity then putting my characters into situations where they learn about their own shortcomings and strengths. With a bit of luck, this will achieve my overall aim of entertaining my readers through believable characters placed in interesting situations. I’m not sure I have a ‘motive’ as such for writing, except it gives me great pleasure and I find it extremely satisfying to finish a book then discover other people have enjoyed reading it.

What would be your ideal writer’s retreat?

I’m lucky enough to live in a remote mountain village in Andalucia, southern Spain. It’s not difficult to write in such beautiful, peaceful surroundings. I cannot think of anywhere more perfect than home for me as a writer.

Where can readers connect with you?

Links to Elizabeth Jasper’s Books:

Lying in Wait:
http://www.amazon.com/Lying-in-Wait-ebook/dp/B0055T772K/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1320069851&sr=8-1
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Lying-in-Wait-ebook/dp/B0055T772K/ref=ntt_at_ep_dpt_2
https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/97159

Meggie Blackthorn:
http://www.amazon.com/Meggie-Blackthorn-ebook/dp/B005UBZOPA/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1320070075&sr=1-1
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Meggie-Blackthorn-ebook/dp/B005UBZOPA/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1320070110&sr=1-1
https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/97169

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