Welcome to my blog! Pull up a chair, grab a cup of coffee and read what's on my mind. I've a vicious sense of humor, an apprecation for romance and a mad addiction to writing.
Saturday, December 11, 2010
What Every Woman Wants Under Her Christmas Tree. Katie O'Sullivan and her fabulous ghosts. Chance to win!
Welcome to my What Every Woman Wants Under Her Christmas Tree blog event! It’s been such a wonderful event thus far I'm considering making it a tradition here at A Writer’s Mind. I think it’s a fabulous way to not only get to know some fantastic authors better but be welcomed inside their ‘homes’ at Christmas as they share their traditions. For those visiting for the first time, this event runs through December 25th and is chock full of some fan-tabulous giveaways!
This weekend is extra special because I get to welcome back the woman who started all of this for me. All of what you ask? Well, before this author visited my blog at the start of this year, I didn’t host blog events! Who is this ‘began it all for me,’ writer you ask? None other than paranormal romance author, Katie O’Sullivan. We’re both thrilled to be able to reunite again at the end of the year and as I’ve told Katie since “Wow, just look what you started!” Katie and I had just met cyber style back in February when I featured her and I’ve got to tell you, I’m so glad! She’s incredibly talented, fun, creative and more importantly, someone I now consider a friend. Interestingly enough, we both live in haunted houses and love swapping stories. We tend to bring a smile to one another’s face I’d say. Yep, we’re weird like that! AND, (this is the really cool part) she lives in Cape Cod, Massachusetts about an hour and a half from me here in New Hampshire! What do you think, did Fate have a hand?
Alright, back to business. After all, I’ve a blog event to host for you. So, without further adieu, let me introduce Katie O’Sullivan, editor for Cape Women Online and romance writer of all things that go 'bump in the night' as well as romantic suspense. Wait a sec! Katie has something to say before the interview. Seems she’d like to put something beneath this blog’s tree for two of you to win. Here she is…“Two lucky people will win copies of my books, winner’s choice of e-book. What a great holiday gift to give yourself – instant gratification and it’s so easy to enter! First: Leave a comment here on A Writer’s Mind and tell us your absolute favorite thing about the Holidays! Then: Click through to Katie’s blog and become a Follower. Good luck and Happy Holidays!”
Thanks Katie from me and my readers, blog followers and friends. Fantastic!
So let’s get to know Katie a bit better…
SKY: Thanks so much for visiting, Katie. It’s a pleasure to have you!
KATIE: Thanks for inviting me back, Sky! It’s so cool that I get to both start and end the year with visits to your blog! I like the symmetry of it all.
SKY: As do I! Before we dive into your books I’d like to first dive into the holidays. What’s your favorite part of Christmas?
KATIE: Favorite part? Oh, where to start! I love everything about Christmas, so it’s hard to narrow down. Caroling, Christmas strolls, candy canes, holiday parties, Mistletoe, Christmas movies, holiday music in the air… it’s so hard to choose just one favorite thing!
Guess my absolute favorite part of the holidays would have to be… baking Christmas cookies with my kids. I love going through the cookbooks and recipes each year, choosing what types of treats to bake and who to give them to. My daughter’s favorites are roll-out sugar cookies she can cut out in shapes and decorate with candies. My sons both favor chocolate chip and m&m varieties – but I think it’s mostly to eat the raw cookie dough!
The best part is being together in the warm kitchen, with Christmas music playing and the scent of cinnamon in the air. To me, Christmas is about traditions, the connections between generations.
I guess the best thing about Christmas is the family moments. The holidays are one big wonderful excuse to make warm fuzzy memories of doing fun things with your kids and relatives!
SKY: Oh, I couldn’t agree more. Jeesh, you mentioned sugar cookies. Just made some with my son. Pretty sure I ate half the batch! Ugh! So, I’m too curious, If you could ask for one thing to be delivered under your Christmas tree this year, what would it be?
KATIE: Hmmm… last year my wish was for a Kindle under my tree, but it fell off Santa’s sleigh somewhere. I did finally get a Nook for my birthday this summer… so maybe this year I’ll wish for a bunch of new e-books to fill it up! A “bunch” is one thing, right?
SKY: LOL, yep, I’d say a bunch is one. I like your way of thinking. *winks* I have to know, if you could give readers one of YOUR heroes under their Christmas tree…which one would he be? Why?
KATIE: My neighbor has already asked me to wrap up Keefe Walker (with a big red bow you know where!) to put under her Christmas tree. Keefe’s the hero of PERFECT STRANGERS, and my neighbor fell in love with him in the very first draft of my story! Tall, blond, sensitive and sexy, with an artist’s sensibilities and temperament but the muscles of someone used to hard work.
SKY: Oh, he sounds perfect! Now, if you could pick one heroine from your stories who would willingly pass out gifts Christmas morn, who would she be? Why?
KATIE: Jane Peterson, the heroine from PERFECT STRANGERS, grew up in foster care. Her parents died when she was young, and one of the things she realizes during the course of the story is how much she really wants a family. I think her first Christmas with Keefe’s large, boisterous clan might be a little overwhelming to her, but she’ll definitely be loving every minute of it.
SKY: Which one of your heroes and/or heroines in your stories would take one look at a Christmas tree and say, “no thank you.” If so, share. Why? It’s okay, we like the bad guys/gals too!
KATIE: Going back to my first book, UNFOLDING THE SHADOWS, I think the character of Kyle Greene – the heroine’s unfaithful husband – was the least interested in holidays and family of any of the characters I’ve penned. Even though he was married and had 3 kids, he was a self-centered bastard with little consideration for those around him.
SKY: Sounds like it! Back to the warm and fuzzies. Share with us the scene (found within any of your stories) that was─ to this day─your favorite to write. Why?
KATIE: LOL, this is a hard question!
From writing classes and talks I’ve attended, it seems most authors consider themselves either “plotters” or “pantsers” – they either plot out their books ahead of time and work from an organized outline, or “fly by the seat of their pants.” I’m a “pantser” all the way – I don’t know where the story is going before I write it! So sometimes I sit down to write one thing and something totally different ends up on the page.
This totally happened in PERFECT STRANGERS, in the scene where the realtor, Brent, first propositions Jane. In an earlier version of this story, it was completely different – longer, drawn out… in a word, boring. I had to hit delete and start over. I love the way it turned out in the end – I feel like you “get” Brent’s character. It’s not a “warm and fuzzy” scene, but those aren’t always my favorites. I like the scenes where the characters discover something about themselves, and the reader gets insight into their motives.
So far, so good. What she’d seen of Cape Cod was beautiful, even in the middle of winter. But this was not where she’d expected to find herself at this point in her life, or her career. Jane reminded herself that everything happens for a reason. The Universe must have some plan for me, she thought. A plan that doesn’t include Dave.
“Earth to Jane,” Brent was saying, snapping his fingers to bring her back from her internal monologue. “I was asking if you had any dinner plans for this evening. I’d love to show you around town some more. That is, if you’re available?”
Jane grimaced. “Oh, I’m available all right,” she said, thinking again about Dave. He still hadn’t called. Then she realized that Brent was asking her out! She quickly back-pedaled. “But I’m not sure that I’m up for a dinner date tonight. I’m afraid I’m too tired to be good company.”
“Hey, I understand. I’m tired, too, after we saw so many properties today. Why don’t I cook something for you back at my place? We could curl up on my leather couch and watch a movie on the flat screen?” He grinned and winked one chocolate brown eye. “I’ll even give you one of my famous Nickerson massages. Guaranteed to relax every muscle in your gorgeous body.”
“Hmm, that sounds lovely, Brent, but I am really tired.” To reinforce the point, Jane yawned widely, stretching one arm toward the ceiling. “Can you just drop me back at the B&B, and I’ll take a rain check on the dinner and massage?”
She saw the scowl pass swiftly over Brent’s features, before it was quickly replaced with a smile. “No problem, baby,” Brent said, sounding casual. “The offer’s good any time.” He turned and walked toward the front of the house, holding the door open for Jane and locking it behind them. He turned and handed her a key on a long metal keychain shaped like a…
Jane thought the keychain looked remarkably phallic. “Oh, it’s the lighthouse from your logo,” she said, finally recognizing it for what it was supposed to be. “Kind of… big for a keychain, don’t you think?”
“It’s so you’ll think of Lighthouse Realty every time you unlock the door,” Brent said, meeting her eyes. He smiled, showing his brilliant smile of perfect white teeth. “And think of me, too, of course.”
Jane stifled her laugh, realizing that giggling probably wasn’t the reaction he was aiming for. She also knew she needed to squash this budding romance before he thought she was truly interested in what he had to offer.
“Look, Brent. I need to tell you something.”
“That you’re head over heels for me already?” he joked, continuing toward the SUV parked in the driveway. “But Jane, we just met this morning. Don’t you think we should wait?”
Jane hesitated. Was she reading something into Brent’s behavior that just wasn’t there? Maybe he was just flirty like this with everyone. She sighed, deciding she should still tell him about Dave. She grabbed his arm gently, and pulled him to a stop beside her on the brick walkway.
“No, seriously. I recently got out of a bad relationship. I thought we were in love and he didn’t. And it all ended badly. I’m not ready to start dating right away, no offense.”
He was quiet for a moment, a thoughtful look on his face. After a long moment, he smiled and took her hand. “Jane, I’m glad you told me. I’m sorry you’ve been hurt. But I feel like we have this real deep-down chemistry at work between us, where we can be honest with one another.”
She nodded, thinking just the opposite. What kind of chemistry class did he take in high school? The only chemical reaction Jane was feeling was the rumbling in her stomach telling her it was almost time for supper.
“I understand if you don’t want a serious relationship,” Brent said, “but I’m sure you could use a friend-with-benefits while you’re here in Chatham. I’m willing to be that friend, anytime you need me.”
Jane’s eyes opened wider, her brain trying to process what he’d just told her. “So, you’re saying you’ll sleep with me? No strings attached? What a… generous offer.” Jane knew that other people made arrangements like this, but it had never occurred to her to line up sex partners whom she wasn’t in love with. She could still count on one hand the number of guys she’d ever slept with in her entire life, and she didn’t think Brent was going to be joining that list any time soon. If ever.
Brent smiled. “See? I knew we were on the same page.” He squeezed her hand, still clasped within his own.
“Uh, I think you’ve got the wrong idea about me,” Jane said, pulling her hand away from him. “Call me old fashioned, but I think there has to be some romance before there’s any sex. I’ve never really been the friends-with-benefits kind of girl.”
Brent took a step back, putting both hands up in the air as if to surrender. “Hey, I’m sorry. I figured if you were friends with my cousin Marcie, you were a party girl like she is. I apologize if I’ve offended you with my assumptions.”
Jane smiled, glad that he’d backed right off. “That’s okay. I’m not really friends with Marcie, we worked together at the newspaper office.”
His eyes widened with surprise. “So you’re that Jane Peterson? The one who was dating Sassy Daniels’s fiancé? Oh, man, I had no idea!”
Everything suddenly seemed darker. “Fiancé?” Jane asked, her voice sounding small even to her own ears.
How could that be?
How could Dave spend almost a year dating Jane without popping the question, and in just two weeks be engaged to that other bimbo? Was it because she was blonde? Or rich? Or a pop star? Or better in bed? Or was it some combination thereof?
Jane stopped speculating, realizing that the list of pros to marrying Sassy Daniels was probably way longer than the list of cons. He’d be a fool not to marry her, Jane thought. And I’m a fool to care one way or the other.
SKY: I’m a ‘panster’ all the way too! While I think ahead of time I’m going to plot a novel out…I always tend to toss my best laid plans aside and dive in headfirst. By the way, great excerpt! Now I’m going to make you really think. You must have written a scene in one of your stories you weren’t sure about but you wrote it anyway. AND, you were SO glad you did. What was it? If you had no doubt about any scene you wrote, just say so!
KATIE: There’s a violent scene near the end of UNFOLDING THE SHADOWS that was based on an accident I actually experienced while the story was still a work in progress.
It was one of those days, where I had too many things to do and not enough time and wanted to keep writing. If you’re a writer you know what I mean! I stayed at my computer until the last possible second, and was headed out for a lightning round of errands when the school nurse called to tell me my son was sick and needed to be picked up! Talk about a wrench in the master plan… in my frenetic rush to try to “do it all,” I tripped and crashed my arm through a plate glass window, slashing the hell out of my wrist, blood and glass absolutely everywhere… a trip to the emergency room and 15 stitches taught me to slow down.
A few weeks later, I was writing the confrontation scene between Kyle and Jillian. By this point in the story, Kyle is tipping over the edge of sanity and getting violent. As their argument escalated on the page, I drew on my own recent memories of blood and the searing hot pain as Kyle smashed Jillian’s arms into the plate glass kitchen window, shattering the glass and causing her that same searing pain. As I wrote it, I could feel the glass in my skin – I still had the fresh scars staring up at me from the keyboard. But I kept writing it. Talk about bleeding for your art! In the end, I’m glad I wrote it because the rest of the story flowed from there.
Here’s a famous writing quote attributed to a few different authors, that goes, “There’s nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and open a vein.” I laughed the first time I read that, as I felt like I’d already tried that method!
SKY: LOL, that last paragraph made me a chuckle…I know, rather sadistic of me! Still. You’ve a good sense of humor about you. But you touched on something I know is said often to we writers but is so very accurate…write what you know. And Katie, however painful it was *mega ouch* you did just that! (I hope your son was okay too!)
Hmmm, I say we leave off with some sizzle. What do you think? After all, that’s essentially what every girl wants under her Christmas tree (winks). SO, let’s talk hot, hot, hot. Share with us the story─the very scene─that will make every reader at this blog walk away….steamin’ ready, searching out your tale!
KATIE: I love first kiss scenes! They offer a glimpse of things to come, a promise of a deeper connection. One of my favorite scenes in PERFECT STRANGERS is the first bar scene where Jane goes to the local bar on a dare from her best friend to kiss a “perfect stranger.” The heat is smoldering between her and Keefe, when he surprises her with this first kiss…
She leaned closer to him. “You want to get out of here?” she asked. She opened her mouth to say more, and suddenly Keefe leaned down and kissed her. Surprised, Jane started to pull away, but Keefe’s hand was right there around her waist, planted firmly on her back, pressing her closer against his body. His mouth was gentle, grazing her lips, his tongue flickering in only slightly as if to explore.
Her eyes slowly closed as she focused on the softness of his lips and the tenderness of his hand against her back. She felt an unexpected thrill course through her body, zinging from where his lips locked with hers straight down to her toes, leaving all of her nerves tingling with anticipation.
As she started to respond more completely to his kiss, he became more insistent, pressing his mouth more firmly to hers. The kiss went from warm to blazing hot in mere seconds. The pounding of her own heart drowned out all the noises from the bar crowd around them – nothing else existed or mattered except for the two of them. The kiss was all she could think of, her mouth becoming just as insistent as his. She wrapped her arms around his neck, feeling as if her body was burning up but craving the heat. Needing it. Wanting more.
He drew his lips from hers, feathering kisses along her cheek as his mouth made its way toward her ear. The stubble on his cheeks scratched a path that sent lightning shivers running through her. His hand grazed her breast as it moved up to twist in her hair. She let out a low moan as she felt his hot breath in her ear. “You said you were ready to leave?” he whispered before pulling his head away to look into her eyes. She nodded mutely. “Let’s go,” he said.
SKY: *swooning sigh* Well done. And again I agree, the first kiss is the ‘tell all’ of how a romance will unravel. However, there’s nothing quite like a ‘beyond the first kiss’ sweeter than sweet ending at this time of year. If you could leave ONE of your tales under your reader’s Christmas tree because it’s your personal favorite, what is it and why are you leaving it? If it’s the same story as your steamin’ hot story, I’m sure we all agree, that’s okay too!
KATIE: Of my two novels, UNFOLDING THE SHADOWS is still my favorite, partly because I’m in the midst of writing the follow-up story! Jillian and Jake don’t get any love scenes in the first book – I don’t even think they get a first kiss! – because she’s still married to her cruel and controlling husband. I’m trying to make up for that in the second book. There are more ghosts to meet, and mysteries to unravel, but Jake and Jillian find time to steal kisses… and sometimes more. Here’s an excerpt from early in the story.
Although her twins seemed unfazed by the strange spirit they’d seen in the driveway, Jillian was troubled. It was the first time one of the spirits she’d spoken with in session had followed her to her home. Why hadn’t the ghost manifested itself directly to her instead of the children? Could the twins’ powers be growing so fast that they were attracting untethered spirits?
Jillian shook her head, puzzled. She’d have to consult with her grandmother to see if such a thing was even possible. “I wonder who she was?” she mused out loud.
“Who are we talking about?” said a voice close to her ear. Jillian whirled to find Jake standing there.
Her hand flew to her chest, feeling her heart pound as she tried to steady her breathing. “Jake! You scared me!” He grinned, and she felt her heart beat even faster as his sexy smile widened. At times, she still couldn’t believe that this passionate hunk was in love with her. Eight months together as a couple and still going strong. Despite what he called her psychic illogicality.
On some level, Jake believed in the ghosts who whispered to Jillian and her children. He’d had enough interactions with Jillian’s spirit world to believe she was telling the truth, but the whole concept didn’t make sense to him. As an artist, he wasn’t a black-and-white thinker. He was able to take the leap of faith needed to know Jillian wasn’t crazy, but he didn’t completely understand what she did or how she did it.
He put his arms around her waist, pulling her close. Her stomach muscles clenched as a surge of warmth rushed through her body like lightning, her arms snaking around his muscled torso to return the embrace.
For a second, the crowds around them melted away into silence, as if she and Jake were alone in an empty field. She stared into the grey depths of his eyes seeing the love and compassion within before her gaze traveled lower, resting on his mouth.
His lips were slightly parted, his breath warm and sweet. She tipped her chin up to meet him as he lowered his mouth to hers for a soft kiss, their lips meshing together in perfect harmony. She pressed her body more closely against his, feeling the strength and support he offered as she relaxed into the embrace, but also sensing the passion simmering just under the surface.
SKY: Loved it! Katie, thanks so much for joining me this holiday season. Wishing you and yours a very, very Happy Holiday.
KATIE: Thanks for having me! And Happy Holidays to you and all your readers. May all your holiday wishes come true!
Learn more about Katie, visit her Website. Chat it up and have a blast. Visit Katie at her Blog. Social networking your thing? Then join Katie on Facebook!
Fair enough to admit it...you'd like to purchase Katie's books now. Find Unfolding the ShadowsHere. Perfect StrangersHere.
Love Amazon as much as me? Purchase Katie's books there...just click HERE.
Well, I’d say Katie’s novels should definitely be under every woman’s Christmas tree this year. Don’t forget to enter the contest. Two winners drawn. The rules? Leave a comment here on A Writer’s Mind and tell us your absolute favorite thing about the Holidays! Then: Click through to Katie’s blog and become a Follower. Katie and I can’t wait to hear your responses. It’s such a fabulous time of year and everyone’s feedback is sure to warm our hearts.
Contest closes Monday, December 13th, 12 AM EST. Winners will be announced Monday on the right hand side of this blog.
ALSO, there will be a second winner drawn from every post now through December 24th. On Christmas day all winners will be announced and given a little something extra. My treat!
Award-winning New Hampshire native, Sky Purington writes a cross genre of paranormal/fantasy romance heavily influenced by history. From Irish Druids to Scottish Highlanders many of her novels possess strong Celtic elements. More recently, her vampire stories take the reader to medieval England and ancient Italy. Make no mistake, in each and every tale told you'll travel back to another time and revisit the romanticism history holds at its heart. Sky welcomes feedback from readers and can be contacted at Sky@SkyPurington.com.
Contest winners are selected by me using the random generator shown below. Each commenter who follows the rules given each week-whether it's to answer a question or simply comment-is assigned a number according to when they left their comment. For example: Jane comments first, then Sue, then Maria. Jane becomes #1, Sue #2, Maria #3. If the contest requires an answer to be left and Jane and Maria answer it, Sue does not, then Jane and Maria have entered the contest. Therefore, Jane is #1 and Maria is #2. Make sense? All numbers are then entered into the Random Generator. The number selected is therefore the winner. Make no mistake, I welcome those of you who choose not to enter the contest. Kind comments are always well received by visiting authors! Thanks so much. ~Sky
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