Tuesday, October 23, 2012


Author Joyce DiPastena tagged me in The Next Big Thing. It's a game where I get to tell about my work-in-progrress. I also write historical fiction, and contemporary ghost stories, but this is what I'm working on right now.
What is your working title of your book?
Fairy Dust

Where did the idea come from for the book?
When coming home from a writer’s retreat, I was talking with a friend and came up with the idea.

What genre does your book fall under?
It’s a mixed genre that I call women’s fantasy. Sounds intriguing, right?

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
Amy Adams for Angela, and Jude Law for her husband, Ted.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Angela Anderson wakes to discover she has fairy wings and a fairy mission to perform, but as she tries determining whether or not she’s gone nuts, her non-believing husband, Ted, becomes increasingly alarmed with Angela’s erratic behavior and a growing friendship between her and a handsome fireman.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
If traditional publishing falls through I won’t hesitate to go Indie.

May we see an intro to your manuscript?
Fairy Dust has a prologue , but this is a few paragraphs from the first chapter when she first discovers her wings:

Angela groaned with frustration. If only she could get some sleep. Leg cramps. Hot flashes. They were having a heyday with her tonight—and that familiar ache in her shoulder. Rubbing it now, she tried alleviating the pain, but something was there—unfamiliar, foreign. Angela swept her hand across the sheets thinking to remove a stray candy wrapper.


Puzzled, she rubbed her shoulder again. Something was stuck to her back. Only able to reach so far, she fingered the edge. It felt soft. She tugged, but it didn’t come off. Curious and sitting in bed now, Angela arched backwards, reaching.

It felt strangely like . . . wings. Wings?

Shagging the sleep away, Angela leaned forward, elbows on her legs, chin in her hands, and massaging her cheeks. What month was it? Had she forgotten to take off her Halloween costume again? No, it was September. Chills surged down her spine and sparkled down her arms, making the hairs stand on end.

Were the kids, or Ted somehow responsible? She glanced at her sleeping husband. This wasn’t some misguided joke, was it? Angela shook her head at the improbability. But wings? It seemed like too much to hope for. That didn’t stop a hopeful grin from spreading across her face.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
Although, there are lots of books with teens who develop super powers and such, I haven’t heard of any with a middle-aged protagonist. I’m not discouraged though. Before Twilight, most readers hadn’t heard of a vampire/human romance, and now they’re everywhere. Maybe I’ll start a trend.

What else about your book might pique the reader's interest?
Most books end with the ‘happily ever after,’ but what happens after that? In Fairy Dust, Angela is already married to the man of her dreams, but can they hold on to that love after middle-age and hormones set in? To add a little fun to the mix, Angela sprouts wings, a local fireman gets a little too friendly, and just before their first granddaughter is born Ted wants to move the family to California.  

Here is the link back to Joyce DiPastena's blog: http://jdp-news.blogspot.com

Tuesday, October 16, 2012


Once again it’s time for the Author Inquisition. Please welcome Heather Justesen. [hearty round of applause]

So, let’s get right to this thing, shall we?

Heather: Sounds good. [smiles politely] 

How many novels have you published?  

Heather: I have five published romance novels, plus a couple of novellas, and my newest book is a culinary mystery, Brownies & Betrayal—which has been a totally fun change of pace and includes yummy scrumptious recipes. My character, Tess is fun and a little irreverent giving the book a bit of a chick-lit-y feel.

Yum. Culinary mysteries are a hot genre. [Whispers: That means popular.] And, I love brownies.

A lot of authors like lots of advice. What’s your favorite bit of writing advice?

Heather: Keep writing. You can’t finish the book or have it published if you sit back and dream. Don’t be afraid to rewrite or write crap—it’s the best way to learn.

Nods, then looks off camera. [Whispers: Are we allowed to say crap online?] I’ve been dreaming of being published for several years now – so you’re saying that I need to get up and go to work?

Heather: Absolutely.

I’ll keep that in mind. Although you don’t advocate sitting back and dreaming, everyone needs a break occasionally, even authors. What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

Heather: Baking. I love to tweak recipes and try new things.

Mmm, I’m starting to feel hungry. What’s your favorite flavor of ice cream? That’s one of the four food groups, you know.

Heather: I love Brownies Over the Moon by Farr.

I can’t say that I’ve ever heard of that flavor. Is it by farr your favorite? haha. A little Farr joke there.

Heather: [frowns]

No. It’s funny. Really. Farr – far [lifts eyebrows]

Heather: If you say so. [smiles patiently, clasps hands together on table] 

Okay, so that didn’t go over very well. Do you like vegetables? And which one do you think is most vile?

Heather: What does this have to do with writing?

Your newest book – it’s a culinary mystery. That means there’s food in it. Right?

Heather: [sighs] I detest Jalape├▒os. I don’t like hot and spicy things.

Speaking of hot and spicy ... I understand that you knew a hunk-a, hunk-a college stud-muffin in college. [wiggles eyebrows] Did you get my culinary reference?

Heather: Oh, I got it all right. [Thrums table with fingers]

Well? Tell us more.

Hmmm, there was this guy I worked with in college. He was seriously hot, and an over-the-top flirt. I based a character in a book (okay, make that two books) off of him. [smiles slyly] I even used his name when I wrote the first draft. But he doesn’t read romance so when I finally finish fixing those books and put them out, he’ll never know it was him.

Very clever. They [the writing powers that be] say to write who you know – but to change their names to protect the innocent. Doesn’t sound like he was too innocent though. Eh? [pokes at the air with an elbow]

Heather: I guess not, now that you mention it.

Moving on, what is your writing process after your initial story idea?

Heather: It depends on the book. Some of them I play with characters and plot ideas and find a setting—.

I’ve heard that it’s not polite to play with your characters. [looks sternly] 

Heather: Some of them I start writing with minimal forethought and when I start to get past the first burst of inspiration, I go back and fill in the important details that will make the story sing. My mysteries start with characters, a dead body and motives galore.

There’s a couple of holes in your story—they don’t sing—hello, people sing.

Heather: Metaphorically, speaking.

Meta who? [shakes head and blinks] This is just too confusing. Let’s move to something a bit easier. Are you published as an Indie author, or traditionally? 

Heather: I have three novels out with a traditional publisher and have done the others either indie or with BigWorldNetwork.com, which puts the books out first in serial format and then later as a complete story—that’s sort of hybrid: not really mainstream, but not indie, either.  

Hm. [nods thoughtfully] That’s something new. I’ve never heard of hybrid publishing.

Are you a plotter or a pantster?

Heather: I used to be a total pantser. Now I figure out who my characters are and do a loose plot so I have some direction on where I’m headed and start writing.

Do you snack when you write? If so, what?

Heather: Sometimes. If I do, I eat whatever is handy. It’s hard to type with food in my hands, so if I’m feeling really snacky sometimes I just grab a piece of gum, because I don’t keep a lot of munchies in the house or at the office.

Smart girl. The keys get kinda sticky if you eat too much candy while typing.

Heather: Smirks

You’ve been a good sport today, Heather. Will you tell us about your newest book, Brownies & Betrayal, and give us the links so that we can learn more about you. 

Heather: Thanks for having me. Here is a short bit about my book:

Pastry chef Tess Crawford thought moving from Chicago to quiet Silver Springs, Arizona would simplify her life. That was before she found the body of a woman with whom she had traded heated words the previous night, left her fingerprints on the murder weapon, and came under attack for trying to clear her name. When her cheating ex-fiance shows up, intent on convincing her to come back to work for him, Tess—armed with an extra batch of ├ęclairs—decides to take control and solve the mystery herself, with the help of friends and frenemies alike.

But will that be enough to save her when she gets too close and the killer decides it’s safer to get her out of the way?


Here are my links:

Twitter: @HeatherJustesen

Thanks! Heather
No, Thank you, Heather. I think I'm off to find some Farr out ice cream.


Tuesday, October 2, 2012


If you like to spend cold nights wrapped in a blanket and reading a good novel, A timeless Romance Anthology, Winter Collection, is just in time. There are six short historical romances set at Christmastime. Each is written by a well-established author. Each is written like a little gift to the heart.

Some of my favorite authors of all time are included in the selection. Joyce DiPastena’s first novel, Loyalty’s Web was so expertly written that I was hooked, and read it four times before finally being able to move on to a new selection, and I've read her subsequent novels nearly as many times. Donna Hatch’s novel, The Stranger She Married, had such a clever twist that I laughed out loud and immediately re-opened the book and started reading it again. Sarah Eden’s historical romances reflect her clever personality, and her characters are full of fun and wit. I don’t know the other authors well, but I’ve heard good things about them.
The stories are short, but they’re not short on plot or romantic adventure. I just finished reading Joyce’s story, Caroles on the Green, twice.

In Caroles on the Green, we are brought into Joyce DiPastena’s medieval world with Isabel and Sir Lucian. Isabel is a stubborn girl who refuses to turn into the mute and docile housewife that most men of that era expect. She has fire, spunk. She has known Sir Lucian most of her life, but it was only after he returned from the Crusades that they became attracted to one another, and were, at one time, betrothed.

As the story opens, we are in Isabel’s home, a castle run by her father under Isabel’s actual command. They are having a Christmas feast with several eligible bachelors vying for Isabel’s hand. But she also wants to find a suitable husband for her younger sister, Agnes.

During desserts, Isabel begins eating her apple tart and discovers a ring inside. Determined to show Sir Lucian that she has the upper hand and will marry whomever she pleases, Isabel immediately puts the ring on her finger. When bashful Sir Theo asks for the first dance, Isabel mistakenly believes that he is the giver of the ring. She could rule his life with no complaints.

When a mistake in etiquette causes Isabel and Sir Lucian to dance together for most of the evening, Isabel realizes she still loves him—but she had accidentally broken his nose, and then told him that she would not marry him. Could he forgive her? Would she ever be able to be the docile wife that she believes he desires?

These questions are not forgotten when Sir Eustace steps forward, claiming the ring as his, and announcing loud enough so that the hall of guests can hear, that they will become man and wife. Knowing it would enrage her father to return the ring, Isabel has no choice. And yet, she is a stubborn vixen, surely she will find a way.

I’ll not say any more. It is a short story after all, and I don’t want to give the whole thing away. Just know that this short story by Joyce DiPasena does not disappoint. If you enjoy her full-length novels, this one will also leave you smiling.

To purchase an e-copy of A Timless Romance Anthology, Winter Collection, go to:

Joyce is also hosting a giveaway on her blog. She'd love for you to join her at:http://jdp-news.blogspot.com/2012/09/not-one-but-two-new-releases-and-four.html#.UGkWFJG9KK0
Learn more about Joyce, and purchase her full-length novels at:

To order a copy of Joyce DiPastena's newest Christmas story, A Candelight Courting, go to: