Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Even in Darkness - Giveaway

OK, for all of you who have a passion for Aiden MacRae, here is a competition being run by Cyndi Tefft during the Even in Darkness Blog Tour !



There will be three categories where you as readers can stretch their creative muscles:
 
  • Create a book trailer for Even in Darkness.
  • Create a new, original book cover for the first title in the series, Between.
  • Write a fan fiction piece using the characters from the Between series. There is no word limit, and the subject matter is entirely up to the writer.
 
There will be 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Place prizes for each of the three categories. Koomkey, a company that offers a way to send small monetary donations to artists, charities, and others via social media (how cool is that???), has graciously provided the following cash prizes:
 
1st Prize is $30 in Kashkeys
2nd Prize is $20 in Kashkeys
3rd Prize is a $10 Kashkey
 
Please visit https://www.koomkey.com/Account/How for all the deetails on this awesome new company.
 
To be eligible to win, participants must have a Twitter account.
 
Writing and artwork submissions are to be sent to: aidensangels@yahoo.com.

Contestants may submit entries in all three categories. The contest will run from Sunday, 28 July until Saturday, 3 August 2013. The winning submissions will be announced Saturday 10 August 2013 at cynditefft.com.
 
In addition, Cyndi will also be featuring a daily photo challenge on Twitter beginning 27 July 2013: "Where in the World is Aiden MacRae?"

Readers will be invited to send a photo of one of the books in the series taken from any and all locales and interesting settings. Ereader pics work as well as physical book pics.

Creativity is what Cyndi will be looking for, and each picture sent to @cynditefft will receive a Kashkey in the amount of 25 cents. There's a limit of one photo per participant, per day (cuz otherwise that could add up like crazy fast).

OK Guys - Get Cracking!!

Meet - Cyndi Tefft


As part of the Even in Darkness Blog Tour, today I am very pleased to have Cyndi Tefft, the author of Even Darkness here at Pinky's Favorite Reads.

Welcome Cyndi !

 
Where are you from originally?
I’m a Pacific Northwest gal, used to the rain after all these years. I don’t tan, sadly, but have two skin shades: white and red!
 
Tell us your latest news?
I just finished outlining the fourth and final book in the Between series, which I’m pretty excited about! After I’m finished with that, I have a couple more books on the backburner. Both are romance, but one is adult and the other is YA.

If you could have a dinner party with any author from any time in history, who would you choose and why?
Robert Burns is the poet laureate of Scotland and was also quite the ladies’ man in his day. I would love to spend an evening at his side during a party to see him in action (not to mention basking in his glorious Scottish accent!).

What books or authors have influenced your writing?
Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight series started me reading after so many years of only reading off and on, but it was Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series that made me fall in love with reading (and with Scotland).
 
What book are you reading now and in what format (ebook/paperback/hardcover)?
I just started reading The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein, a fellow Seattle author (hardback). It’s not my typical read, as I usually read romance novels, but I like to branch out now and then.
 
Tell us a little about your background. When did you start writing?
In 2009, I was watching a video online with Stephenie Meyer where she noted that she was a stay at home mom who had a dream that she wrote down. It didn’t sound complicated, this writing business, so I thought I’d give it a try to see if I could write something from beginning to end (never thinking that I’d publish it). I didn’t think I’d see it through, honestly, as I have a habit of diving into things and not finishing them. But the book took on a life of its own and I was hooked!
 
Do you write full-time now?
Sadly, no. I would love to sell so many books that I could become a full-time writer, but until that day comes, it’s just a hobby, something I do on evenings and weekends.
 
Where do you get your ideas?
I often get my ideas while driving to and from work, since it’s alone time where I can be quiet or talk out loud without it being weird. On long drives, my husband is subjected to my brainstorming process, too!
 
What is your writing process?
I usually write on Saturday mornings at Panera. I put on my headphones, pull out my laptop, and give it my best. I don’t write very fast; my normal word count on any given day is around 1000. So you can see why it takes me a year to write a book!
 
Can you tell us a little bit about Even in Darkness?
As the third book in the series, Even In Darkness picks up where Hell Transporter left off, but goes in a surprising direction. The book is full of twists and turns, but allows us to go back to the land between earth and heaven, since I had so much fun writing in that realm. It’s hard to talk about it without any spoilers!
 
How long did it take you to complete?
It took about nine months to write and three months to edit the book. I’ve been releasing books roughly once per year.
 
Are any of your characters based on real-life friends or acquaintances?
I wish I knew an Aiden MacRae in real life! LOL I would say that writing characters is like taking everyone you know and putting their personalities in a blender, and then pouring them out onto the page. There are certainly aspects of my friends and family in there, but no specific character is based on someone I know. 
 
Do you ever incorporate yourself into your characters?
Of course! There is much of me in Lindsey, especially since the book is written from the first person point of view. She reacts to situations similar to what I’d imagine I would do. However, there are aspects of her personality that differ from mine, and that was purposeful.
 
Tell us about your cover. Did you design it yourself?
I love the covers of all the Between novels, but this one in particular! The artwork was done by a man named Caner who lives in Turkey. He has some wonderful creations on Deviant Art. All of my book covers have been designed by Woulds & Shoulds Editing and Design. I highly recommend them!
 
Where did you get the inspiration for your cover?
I was really torn on what to do for the cover of this book and I cycled through several ideas. I saw Caner’s artwork on a Paranormal Romance Blog site through Facebook and instantly knew it was the one. So I contacted the artist and he graciously agreed to let me use it. He is extremely talented!
 
Does your reading inspire you and your work?
Absolutely! I read nearly 100 books a year (and I would read more if I could squeeze them in) and I take something away from every book I read. Sometimes I learn how to write better in reading a fantastic book, and sometimes it’s how not to write when I come across a book that doesn’t ring true to me. But I’m always learning, always gleaning insights from other authors and their work.
 
Where can we find you online?
Thanks for having me on the blog and for participating in the Even In Darkness tour! I love connecting with readers, so here are some links to make that easy:

Blog: www.cynditefft.com
Youtube:
http://www.youtube.com/user/cynditefft/videos?view_as=public
 
 
Giveaway
  
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Even In Darkness

I thought it was over, that all our troubles were behind us.

We had a fairytale castle wedding surrounded by family and friends. Aiden wore a dress kilt, looking so handsome it made my heart squeeze, and I floated on air in a white version of the ball gown he’d cast for me in Versailles. Flower girl, ring bearer, Scottish ceilidh afterward—check, check, and check. It was perfect.
 
We were supposed to live happily ever after.
But that was before I walked in to find another woman in his bed, a demon with blood red eyes who’d disguised herself as me in order to get what she wanted most: a child from a heaven transporter.
And it was in that moment—watching my entire world crumble to the ground—that I knew.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Guest Post with Dani Morgan

As part of the Insanely Drawn Blog Tour, Dani Morgan is back with us here at Pinky's Favorite Reads today.
 
Hi Dani, Welcome back! Ok, readers here at Pinky's Favorite Reads want to know....
 
If you could be any character for a day who would you be !
 
If I could be any character for a day, I would actually pick a character from my own novel, Dr. Lawrence Montgomery.  The reasons why are simple. He is one completely messed up, morally bankrupt, creature with a sick, perverted side.  How fun would that be?
First off, I would be the boss, the main head honcho, and no one would be able to tell me no. All that power… oh what a rush.
Secondly, he has been around, shall we say, a LONG time. I would love to be able to know all the things he’s seen and done.  Can you even imagine going into his personal files and reading, absorbing all that knowledge?  I think it is because it is that he has seen everything, done everything, that he is frankly bored. So what better way to pass the time than experiment on the insane. It’s a perfect set up.  Most of the people are society’s cast offs. No one visits. No one cares.  What would happen if you mated a vampire and a human or a vampire and a werewolf? Heck, maybe there are even fairies, zombies, mummies or gargoyles lurking in the cells of Western State Hospital. 
And lastly, the man’s moral compass is turned off. He is void of all emotions and sometimes that would be fun.  Who can do what he does with not even blink an eye? Spoiler alert ahead- I wanted him to whip it out when he was watching Mason and Madison.  But that just shows how dead (pardon the pun there) he is inside.  He feels nothing but scientific curiosity. I would love to be able to detach like that. 
So all in all, being in his shoes would be an experience like no other, to be a real monster.  I would enjoy that a hundred times more than being the hero or even the heroine.  Mad scientists rule!  
Wow ! Putting it like that, who wouldn't want to be Dr Lawrence Montgomery !
 
For those readers who haven't read Insanely Drawn yet, here is a bit about the book.

 Your first job out of college. It’s supposed to be a stepping stone or a transitional job, not the single defining decision that will alter the course of your entire life.  Sienna Kennedy never signed on for the craziness, danger and even love that her new job thrust into her world.

But she didn’t run either.
Assigned to a maximum security floor of Western State Hospital for the mentally ill, the last thing she expected to encounter was a reminder of her past.
Cade Collins’ animal magnetism draws her into an unseen world filled with creatures from her wildest imagination. Discovering his story, as well as the very institution in which she works, becomes her obsession. Her every waking moment is consumed with unearthing a way to free the man that has stolen her heart, body and mind.
The secrets Sienna finds will free them of their bonds…or lead them to their doom.  Fate flung the two destined souls together, but how can any love survive in such a demented place, filled with peril and danger?
More About The Author
I was always the girl who spent most of her life living in her head, even at an early age. My made up worlds were so much more interesting than real life. In them, anything was possible. I could be a reckless archaeologist digging up a mummy who came to life, terrorize a medieval village by drinking all their blood, start an intergalactic war between rival planets, or ride a wild stallion with a hunky Native brave clad only in a breech cloth, all within the course of a weekend.
 
Life didn’t stay simple. I had to grow up, get a job, became a wife and mother and put all my dreams on hold. After a change in my life, I found myself a single mom who had plenty of time to fall back into the land of make believe.
 
One night I opened up my computer and soon several novels were penned. Now I have embarked on a journey to become the person I always envisioned myself to be, an author, sharing my crazy ideas with the world.

 
Want to connect with Dani Morgan ? you can via these links:



 
Insanely Drawn is available from:



 

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Insanely Drawn

Author: Dani Morgan
Published: 15 July 2013
Genre: Paranormal Thriller
Pinky's Rating (out of 5): 5 dragonflies

Book Description
Your first job out of college. It’s supposed to be a stepping stone or a transitional job, not the single defining decision that will alter the course of your entire life. Sienna Kennedy never signed on for the craziness, danger and even love that her new job thrust into her world.

But she didn’t run either.

Assigned to a maximum security floor of Western State Hospital for the mentally ill, the last thing she expected to encounter was a reminder of her past.

Cade Collins’ animal magnetism draws her into an unseen world filled with creatures from her wildest imagination. Discovering his story, as well as the very institution in which she works, becomes her obsession. Her every waking moment is consumed with unearthing a way to free the man that has stolen her heart, body and mind.

The secrets Sienna finds will free them of their bonds…or lead them to their doom. Fate flung the two destined souls together, but how can any love survive in such a demented place, filled with peril and danger?

My Thoughts
Insanely Drawn is the first novel by Dani Morgan and I believe she has done fabulously well.
 
I was gripped from the very start, as we got to know Sienna and learnt the reason behind her magnetism toward Cade Collins. And we stand in the wings and watch like voyeurs as her love for Cade grows. But is everything as it seems?
 
There are twists in this plot that the reader won't see coming, and an ending to end all endings. We are taken on a wild ride right to the very end!
 
Yes this book contains paranormal themes, but it is not overly done. In fact it has been done is such a way that it enhances the story, it isn't the entire story. 
 
Readers be warned though there is a bit of sexual activity, but again it has been beautifully entwined in the story, not just added to pad out a few extra pages.
 
I thoroughly enjoyed this novel, and can't wait to read further works by Dani. She is definitely going on my favourite author list !
 
I must acknowledge Moon Rose Publishing for the ARC of this novel.
 
 


Meet - Dani Morgan

Hi Dani thanks for stopping by Pinky's Favorite Reads on the Insanely Drawn Blog Tour ! Lets get started

Where are you from originally? Indianapolis, IN, USA

Tell us your latest news? July 15th is the official release date for my first novel entitled Insanely Drawn. It’s a thriller suspense with a bit of romance thrown in.

If you could have a dinner party with any authors from any time in history, who would you choose and why? I’m going with the 1980’s (romance side). For some reason, I am picturing Jackie Collins in furs and diamonds, carrying a miniature poodle in her purse, regaling stories about her sister, Joan and their glamorous life while we eat caviar off of a young naked Fabio on the dining room table of a Beverly Hills mansion. Ooh you've got my imagination going now Dani !

What are your current projects? I have a self-pub book coming out in the next few months called Wayward Son.  I am also writing on two different series, neither have names yet. One is sports themed based and pure erotica while the other has a paranormal element with some erotica tones, possibly delving into the BDSM world in one or more of the books.

What books or authors have influenced your writing? Anne Rice - her Vampire series and also her erotica.  Stephen King in my youth and teen-aged years. Lastly, I would say, V.C. Andrews - well the books before she died and they had a ghost writer recycle her own words and ideas time and time again.

Is there an Author that you would really like to meet? I already met Anne Rice so I have fulfilled the number one person on my list.  I guess Stephen King would be next in line.  The way his mind works amazes me.

What book are you reading now and in what format (ebook/paperback/hardcover)? The Dom who loved me by Lexi Blake in paperback.

Tell us a little about your background. When did you start writing? I have been writing for a long, long time.  When I was around ten, I starting making up my own worlds. By the time I was twelve I was writing more adult themed stories and it just took off from there.  After school, my life got a bit busy traveling around the US, and I put the pen and paper aside. Eventually, I married and became a mother.  After my divorce, I took up the pen again and here I am.

Where do you get your ideas? Mostly dreams but it’s funny how many come to me in the bath or while I’m driving. I have a few friends that I bounce the ideas off of and they give me the thumbs up or down.
 
What is your writing process? I am a plotter to the core, almost to the point of obsession. Every story has a folder. I figure out the basic plot and write it down on a pad of paper and start my folder with that. Next, I come up with the cast, find pictures of who I picture in my mind (or as close as I can find) and write their names and stories on a piece of paper with their image.  Next, I create a playlist of music that is the right tone. Lastly, I open up a document and write.
 
Do you write full-time now? No, not currently but that is my goal.
 
Can you tell us a little bit about Insanely Drawn? It is the story of Sienna Kennedy’s struggles. She is drawn into a crazy paranormal world, and the only thing that makes sense to her is her feelings for Cade Collins. He is not the typical hero in that he is not the one taking care of her; she is the one taking care of him. But it is through their love that both are able to deal with the sinister Drs. Montgomery. 
 
How long did it take you to complete? I started it back in 2011, wrote the whole story in about three to four months then let it sit.  It was last year that I picked it up again and went back to polish it up and found myself rewriting almost the whole thing. I was amazed at how much my style had changed over that time period.
 
Are any of your characters based on real-life friends or acquaintances?  
Yes. There are a few of my friends sprinkled throughout my books but my sports themed erotica has A LOT of them, but I have changed the names to protect the not so innocent.
 
 
Do you ever incorporate yourself into your characters? Parts of me are definitely in there. And more often than not, things I wish I was.
 
Tell us about your cover. Did you design it yourself? The lovely Miranda Stork over at Moon Rose Publishing did the cover. We love Miranda's work !
 
Where did you get the inspiration for your cover? When I closed my eyes, it’s almost exactly what I saw.  I wanted the creepy building and the obstructed person in a window. I felt that gave a huge clue what the story was about and set the right tone.
 
 
Does your reading inspire you and your work? Reading lets me know boundaries of that particular genre. Sometimes my reading is as much research as anything else. I also try to pick up different word choices and imagery while I read.



Where can we find you online?
 

Friday, July 12, 2013

Often Overlooked

Author: Cary Polkovitz
Published: 25 February 2013
Genre: Short Stories
Pinky's Rating (out of 5): 4.5 dragonflies

Book Description
There is more to the everyday than it seems...

A few years back, as a lark, Cary Polkovitz began to write little stories about the things he came across. He would post them along with photos for his friends to read. Much to his surprise, the response was overwhelming.

It became a daily affair with stories ranging from the absurd to the horrific.

This is a collection of over 70 of his stories.
 

My Thoughts
Have you ever been out walking and seen something and thought I wonder, what if that seemingly normal object isn't really what we think it is...
 
Well that's just what Cary Polkovitz has done in his book "Often Overlooked".
 
He has compiled a collection of everyday photographs taken by himself and others and given each a back story. Some are only a few lines, while others tell a more deep and thought provoking tale.
 
My favourite has to be "Hello, is anyone there" it really makes you stop and wonder at the possibilities of something as simple as a hole in a wall. You really start to connect with Edward and Kenysha and feel like you are spying on their lives.
 
Each of these seemingly inanimate objects give food for thought about the possibilities of what lies buried deep within our imaginations.
 
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Cary Polkovitz truly has a beautiful imagination. I would highly recommend it to everybody both young and old.
 
Just let your imagination go wild !
 
I  must thank Cary Polkovitz for the free copy of "Often Overlooked".

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

His Twisted Choice

WARNING - ADULT CONTENT
 
 
Author: Amelia James
Published: 7 July 2013
Genre: Erotica
Pinky's Rating (out of 5): 5 dragonflies
 
Book Description

Will loves Talia, and he’s willing to give up everything to be with her. Their future hinges on her answer to one simple question. But when he leaves his life behind to pursue her, he’s confronted with choices he didn’t expect.

Alex loves Talia, but he needs proof he can trust her. Words mean nothing to him without action. But his actions lead him to believe that love has no limits, and the choices he faces may not, either.

Talia loves Alex… and Will. One man pushes her sexual boundaries and indulges her fantasies, while the other understands her twisted desires and keeps her secure in his heart. How can she possibly choose between them?

No more secrets. No more lies. Old love? New love? Or do they have a third option?

Sometimes, love takes an unexpected twist.

 
My Thoughts
OMG when I read the second book in The Twisted Mosaic Series, Their Twisted Love, I thought things couldn't get any hotter.  But Amelia James has taken it to a whole new level with "Double" the action.
 
I loved how the characters are finally drawn together to make the ultimate decision, and how Talia deals with this decision.
 
While I did expect the outcome, there were a few times along the way that I thought, OK, maybe things aren't going to turn out, especially with the entrance of "Claire".
 
As mentioned in my previous reviews, I love the characters in this series, and while this may be the last instalment for Will, Talia and Alex, I'm hoping that Amelia has left the door open to explore a bit more of Claire. As I would love to see what she gets up to now that Will has unleashed her.
 
As with all of Amelia James' work, there is plenty of bedroom, (and other room) action.
 
I must thank the wonderful Amelia James for the ARC.
 
 
 
 

Friday, July 5, 2013

Meet - Minnie Lahongrais

To coincide with my Review of Divergent Lives, I am very pleased to have Minnie Lahongrais with me today here at Pinky’s Favorite Reads !

Hi Minnie !

Hi Pinky! Thanks for having me today. I’m so happy to be here!

Where are you from originally?

I am a native New Yorker, born and raised in a section of Manhattan called East Harlem, or “El Barrio.” I currently live in the Bronx in an area that offers the cultural diversity I crave.

Tell us your latest news?

I’m in the process of producing a radio show called “Pink Diamond Inspirations” which will air on a brand new Internet radio station, AllMediaRadio.com, founded by my friend Joseph V. Sultana.

I am grateful and overjoyed to have been given this opportunity!

That sounds fantastic Minnie, what's the radio show about?

My goal is to inspire people, women in particular and especially those who might be of a certain age to follow a dream. I believe that as women, too often we put aside our dreams for the sake of family obligations, then, when we near middle age, we remember the dreams of our youth.

As an independent author, I’ve had the good fortune of meeting other authors – both men and women - who have overcome many obstacles in their lives, who did not allow those negative experiences to stop them from pursuing their dream. They inspire me daily as I continue on in my chosen path as an author. My plan is to bring these people on the show, talk about those experiences and discuss how they overcame those hurdles in order to achieve their goal. In addition, we will delve into the mechanics of their writing process.

My shows haven’t begun to air, however, I do have several shows I’m editing and expect to begin airing them before the end of July. 

Well once you go to air, let me know, so I can help get your show out there for others to enjoy and benefit from!

If you could have a dinner party with any authors from any time in history, who would you choose and why?


I am somewhat of an unconventional character, a non-conformist. The author I most admire and relate to is Anais Nin because of the way she lived her life.

As a young lady in my pre-teens (early ‘70s), I came across her spicier writings. I was about to enter middle school and, at the time, had a glossy, romanticized idea about love. I thought every married couple was like my parents, who were married for 58 years before my father died in 2005.
Reading Ms. Nin’s vivid and graphic novels showed me otherwise and made me want to read everything she ever wrote. And I did. As a matter of fact, I still own and cherish some of her books, with pages now yellowing that I purchased in the late 70s -- almost 40 years ago. When given writing assignments in High School, I not only found it easy to complete these assignment, but I wrote the assignments with her in mind because I had read her books over and over. Her style was a huge influence on me.


Another author I would love, love, LOVE to sit around with is Ernest Hemingway. I like big personalities and I think it would be interesting to watch those two in a room. I believe the three of us could have been great friends. In fact, they are my friends -- in my head.

Here’s an interesting tidbit: In 1993, I worked as Executive Assistant at a small boutique hotel called The Hotel Elysee, famous for its Monkey Bar. Each room was named for a famous person who had stayed there. Ernest Hemingway kept a room there and I got to not only work there and access it, but assisted in the planning of its renovation! That would have been a wonderful experience for you !

What are your current projects?

Aside from my “Pink Diamond Inspirations” show, I am working on my urban fantasy series, “Resurrection of Dead Dreams.” This was the first piece I began writing in earnest in 2010, five years after my father died. The premise of this tale asks the question: “What if you had an opportunity to reunite with someone you’ve lost through death?”

Originally, I thought this story would just be one book but it turned out to not be that simple. The story grew and grew in my head and now it involves generations of a family of supernatural creatures. I believe this story deserves more time than I can give it right now, so I’m not rushing to get it done.

In addition, I’ve begun work on another story whose working title is “Skin Deep.” This story might be as close as I can get to an HEA – but don’t hold your breath! I only know how to write twists, murder and mayhem! There are many psychological elements in this story having to do with a certain type of co-dependency, which may or not be a bad thing … depends on what side of the fence you’re sitting on.

And, finally, there’s an idea I’m mulling for another fantasy story I’ve called “Trans-Celestials.” This story is still “in utero” and I’m only getting tiny bits and pieces for this one right now.

What book are you reading now and in what format (ebook/paperback/hardcover)?

I tend to read more than one book at a time. Every once in a while I want to crack the spine of a book, bring it to my nose and smell the binding glue. Sorry, that’s one of my quirks and I do it in private lest I be surrendered to some insane asylum. That said, I am almost done with the hard cover copy of “Gone Girl” by Gillian Flynn. I absolutely love this story! I love its plot’s density – you have to really take your time with it. I love how the author goes back and forth relating each of the main characters’ POV. I think I know how it’s going to end – or at least I know how I would end this story – but I still want to be surprised.

I’m also reading “Split Decisions” by independent author Carmen DeSousa on my phone’s kindle app. I read on my phone in bed right before I fall asleep. I don’t sleep well. I often awaken several times during the night and then, I can’t fall back asleep because my mind is always racing. So I read or I use voice notes to record my thoughts.

Tell us a little about your background. When did you start writing?

I was educated in the NYC public school system, and didn’t finish college. My parents immigrated to El Barrio in 1948 and didn’t speak a lick of English; we spoke Spanish at home. My father took English lessons so he could get a job. I learned English alongside him. On Saturdays, we would spend the afternoon at the library. That’s where my love for reading was born.

Though I wrote for school assignments, I didn’t do any serious writing for many years for various reasons. But, I began to write in earnest on May 13, 2010. I remember the date because it was one week before my father’s birthday. I awoke that morning with heaviness in my heart and couldn’t see beyond that day, I was so depressed.

While riding the train in to work, I looked up from the book I was reading (“Rooms” by James L. Rubart) when I glanced over at the book in the lap of the lady sitting next to me. It was opened to a chapter called “When Dreams Die.” I wanted to ask her what she was reading, but had to get off and didn’t want to intrude.

As I walked to my office, I asked myself “What if dreams could be resurrected?” I began writing “Resurrection of Dead Dreams” on my lunch hour that day and the dam broke open and words rushed out of me.

That year, I learned of Nanowrimo. I put “Resurrection of Dead Dreams” aside to participate because I wanted to see if I could write something new under a tight deadline. My debut novel “Sinner’s Ride” was born during that frenzied month of November and released the following April.

Where do you get your ideas?

Everything I write has a bit of truth of my life in it. That is where I get most of my ideas. I love to people watch. Because of my vivid imagination, someone might catch my eye and I’ll try to guess what that person does for a living by studying their shoes. Or I might see a couple, say at a restaurant, and I’ll imagine how they might relate to one another.

With Divergent Lives, the premise of the twins wasn’t part of my original plan.

One day, I had a vision of a dead body in a foyer. I then took that scene and played it backwards in my head and wrote it out as I saw it. I thought that vision and what I had written would be the last chapter of this story. Now all I had to do was map it out backwards. I printed out what I wrote with the intention of reviewing it on my train ride in to work. The next morning I recalled a conversation I overheard as a child about a twin who died en utero and that set me on a much different path altogether!

What is your writing process?

I’ve written and published two books and the process for each was entirely different though both were character driven. I had in my mind an idea as to what kind of person the main character was going to be like for each story. Though I did psychologically profile each of the main characters in both stories, I actually met with psychiatrists while profiling Adina, Rhys John or “RJ,” my twins in Divergent Lives as well as Tommy and Mason, and Dr. Cohen and his wife/nurse, all of whom were my supporting characters. That was all the plotting I did.

Once I had gathered the typology for those characters, I sat down and started typing. When I dried up, I would print out whatever I wrote and read it out loud into voice notes so I could listen to it on my train ride. Sometimes I’d discuss what I was writing with my young attorneys at work and they would just listen and let me talk it through. Afterwards, I’d go into the ladies room and breathlessly record newly conceived ideas in voice notes to type out when I got home in the evening.

At this stage, my work is just a mish mash of scenes that I later weave into a cohesive tale.  However, going in, I know where I’m going with a story. The devil is in the details. (I love that phrase!)

Do you write full-time now?

Unfortunately, I do not. Please don’t misunderstand. I am extremely grateful for my job. I work as a legal secretary at an international law firm in the Times Square Area. I have been at this firm for eleven years. I love the people I work with and I enjoy the work that I do. However, since my surgery last year, I’m getting more and more worn out by the commute. I yearn for a time when I can work at my writing, navigating self-publishing and my radio show at my own pace, during hours that I set because I have a passion for what I am doing. I feel this is my life’s work. I feel I have a lot to do and lots to catch up on because I came upon this path late in life.

Can you tell us a little bit about Divergent Lives?

Let me start by saying that I am very proud of this piece.

Divergent Lives is the story of fraternal twins born to immigrant parents in the middle of a snowstorm in East Harlem in 1962. The mother, Cruzita, is in distress during labor and a C-section is performed. To everyone’s surprise, twin babies in independent placental sacs are taken from Cruzita. As initial medical examinations are performed, one of the twins is found to have a physical defect. Dr. Cohen, the obstetrician, decides on his own that he will not tell the parents of the other twin but instead will sell the child with the defect on the black market.

The biological parents never learn of this child.

This story is told in parallel as the two children grow up and develop sociopathic traits.

One of the two is a serial killer.

How long did it take you to complete?

I began work on this story in July of 2011 and released it December 12, 2012 on what would have been the 50th birthday of my main characters had they been real people.  So it was almost 18 months.

Are any of your characters based on real-life friends or acquaintances?

Some of my characters are nothing more than a conglomerate of people I know. In this case, Adina and RJ are pure figments of my imagination though they have traces of personalities of people in my life. Some of the other minor characters are based on real people.

Do you ever incorporate yourself into your characters?

I’ve often said that writing was quite schizophrenic. So the answer to that is “yes.” When I’m immersed for long periods of time in a piece, when I finally emerge from my cave, I have to make a conscious effort not to behave like my characters. It’s crazy, I know….

Tell us about your cover. Did you design it yourself?

The idea for an almost identical cover had been marinating in my brain since I wrote the first sentence of my WIP. Needless to say, the story and parts of the cover changed somewhat but I was able to keep all the elements I had in mind. Originally, I wanted to use a silhouette but when we (my designer, Renee Groskreutz and her partner, Andi Reis both of Ralph’s Design and Deli) and I weren’t satisfied with what we had, we came up with the idea of using a helix instead. Their idea to place it on the road with the blood splatter beside it was genius.

I wanted this cover to send a subliminal message that even though these two characters grew up apart from each other in vastly different environments, they still shared the same inescapable DNA and sociopathy.

The rural feel on the side of the road was for RJ – who grew up in a small rural town in Pennsylvania.  The urban skyline in the distance was for Adina representing NYC where she grew up and where they would eventually cross paths.

Where did you get the inspiration for your cover?

I had a vision. That’s the only way I can explain it.

Does your reading inspire you and your work?

I don’t read the genre I’m writing in order to keep my writing pure. Everyday life inspires me. Sometimes a news report I might catch will get the wheels spinning.

Where can we find you online?

Thank you, again Pinky for inviting me today. This was fun for me!!

I can be found online in various places.  See below.

This page needs work…but I’ll accept any friend requests J