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Just Imagine

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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.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Brenda Whiteside LAYS it on the LINE! Cha-ching. Amazon/Digi Books Cafe Gift Certificate Giveaway!

Welcome! Through April, I’ll be interviewing several authors. This is not part of a blog event. Nope. Even better. It's kick-back time. A casual meet and greet of sorts. Never know, you might just find your next favorite author here this month!

Starting May 9th, A Writer’s Mind will have a new format for promotion. Please read the previous post to learn more!

This week it’s my pleasure to welcome back talented romance author, Brenda Whiteside. When she visited A Writer’s Mind last year we focused primarily on Brenda’s work. This visit, we’ll learn a bit more about the author herself. I truly enjoyed this interview. Brenda has a great attitude and an open, honest way of answering questions.

Also, Brenda would like to run a contest! From her lips to my blog..."Somewhere in this interview is a word that doesn't belong. To win a gift certificate to either Amazon or DigiBooks (your choice), simply find the word, leave a comment on this blog (DO NOT say what the word is) and then email me with the word. brenda@brendawhiteside.com"

SKY: What a super contest idea. Thank you! ! So great to welcome you back to my blog, Brenda.

BRENDA: I’m happy to be back. There’s a comfort in returning to the scene of a crime. LOL

SKY: *Grins* Very true! I can’t believe it’s been nearly a year since your last visit. Tell me, what have you been up to within the ‘writing realm’ since we last interviewed?

BRENDA: I’ve been on a learning curve. There’s much to learn about self-promotion. If an author isn’t careful, she’ll forget about writing that next book. That smacked me in the face one day, so I took some time off and finished book two. This was a new venture, a YA. It’s yet to be published but I’m working on it.

SKY: So ‘hear’ you about learning the ropes in regards to promotion. It’s an endless journey that can easily eat into our ‘writing time.’ Very cool that you’re kicking out a YA. That takes some serious talent! I see your latest release, Sleeping with the Lights On, is getting some rave reviews. You must be thrilled! Are you working on anything special right now?

BRENDA: I’ve been very happy with reviewer’s responses. I’m working on two things simultaneously. One is a miniature rose for the Yellow Rose line for The Wild Rose Press and the other is the first book in a series which should be considered a romantic mystery, if I do it right.

SKY: I’m sure you will. Best of luck always! Time to learn more about you. Tell us, when did you first know you wanted to be a writer? Was it a moment in time you’ll absolutely never forget? How so?

BRENDA: I think I grew into it or it grew on me. I’ve always enjoyed writing, but I thought I was going to be an artist. Even that goal fell away with the first few years of marriage. I married young, went to Germany for three years and partied hearty! We totally lived in the now and I didn’t have much energy left for anything else. I journaled off and on but the writing bug had not bitten. And then in 1993 we moved to Minnesota. There is something about Minnesota that breathes life and imagination into me. I had stories in my head – weird little snips of life stories. I took a couple of writing classes, joined a writers’ group and now you have the rest of the story. Oh, but there is a side note here. I hadn’t realized it until one day a lady in my writers’ group told me there was always a bed somewhere in my short stories. Hmmm…wonder if that’s why I ended up in the romance genre.

SKY: Not going to lie… would’ve loved to have partied with you in Germany! Lots of family from there. And I totally get you being inspired by the state in which you live. Happened to me as well! So glad your imagination found inspiration. That’s the key! Now, you found the love of your life in your husband. Do you find that the heroes in your stories strongly resemble him in looks and/or personality?

BRENDA: No. Said with a deadpan face as if why would he? Now I smile. He’s a special man, but I’ve never written him into one of my books. Why not, one might ask? Haven’t a clue. I guess I could concede one trait – he’s a beta male and my heroes are all beta males. I think to put up with me, my writing, my passions, I couldn’t handle an alpha – they just don’t tune into the female psyche. So maybe I’ve used him subliminally. But physically, my heroes have been all different from him and different from each other.

SKY: Wow! Nice answer. Love your honesty. Sounds like you’ve found the right recipe in a man. One meant to be with you. Absolutely wonderful! So talking story layout, if you could choose any location in the world as a setting for your next story, where would it be and why?

BRENDA: Ah, there’s book two of my series – Ireland. I had a fascination for fairies and leprechauns when winner I was a child. A couple of my favorite authors have written stories set in Ireland. And I’m one quarter Irish. I’ve never been to Ireland, but pictures I’ve seen have captivated me. I’ve already told my husband that I have to visit to write the book – strictly business, you know.

SKY: Well, I totally get the draw of Ireland. Huge Celts fan! Irish ancestry as well. Let me know when you’re heading over as I’ve got to gather more info. too. We writers really do pen better after field research. *Mega Wink* As an author, share with us what you feel is the most important element of a novel. In the same token, what are your pet peeves in a novel? Those which you make a point of not including when penning a tale?

BRENDA: Good characterization ranks as number one for me. If I don’t like the good guys and like to hate the bad guys, the book is lack-luster. I finished a book last week by a well known author. She’s a pretty good story teller, but I never did get involved with her characters. I had trouble finishing the book. A character has to have you sympathizing, identifying, laughing, crying or something – just move me, please. Pet peeves as far as what I wouldn’t put in a novel – hmmm – I guess that puts us back at the alpha male. Wouldn’t write one. I also have to see some strength in the heroine. I recently read a book where the heroine was quite timid, felt inadequate, insecure and then along comes the hero who I fell in love with. He interacted with her in such a way that we should have seen her growth. At one point I was screaming at her – are you a dimwit or what? Quit your damn whining and realize your potential.

SKY:  Gotta say, totally on the same page about the weak female character who never seems to grow. Drives me nuts. Almost put your quote, "Are you a dimwit or what? Quit your damn whining and realize your potential," into the title for this blog post. PERFECT way to draw attention and darn... isn't it the truth sometimes? Grrr.

Back to business. Do you find that you tend to like to read books in the same genre that you write? If not, why?

BRENDA: No, I’m all over the place with what I read. I read mostly for entertainment. A good story, good characters pull me in. If someone tells me they’ve read a good book or I see a good review, the genre doesn’t matter.

SKY: Brenda, it was fantastic having you return to share a bit more about yourself. As you know, you’re welcome back anytime. I thought in ending this interview you might like to share your absolute favorite excerpt from Sleeping with the Lights On!

BRENDA: Sure. This excerpt is a longer version of the one the publisher uses. I think it says a little more about the book. Thanks for having me, Sky. I’ve had a great time.


Carson, have you ever considered dating?” I couldn’t get over the six marriages.

“Dating?” He looked at me and smiled. “You mean instead of marrying.” He shrugged. “I’ve been rethinking it…since Melanie, who next to you was the best marriage I’ve had and even then she didn’t compare. You’ll always be the best. Special.”

He melted me with his choice of words. I couldn’t speak. Carson told me I had been one of those really good things about his life. The adage came to mind – you don’t know what you have until it’s gone.

“Man, this weather is good chili weather.” He stretched his arms in appreciation of a nice spring Minnesota night. The phrase rang pure Texan. I guess you can’t take Texas out of the Texan no matter how long it’s been. “Let’s do this again tomorrow night, Sandra.”

“I can’t. I have plans,” I said relieved. Sort of. This evening, supposedly a one-time meeting should be a brief hello. I had a life.

“Your caller?”



He actually said good. Why did he find every aspect of my life so pleasing?

“Then lunch?” He reached out and took my hand. “We haven’t had nearly enough time to talk. Unless, we extend this night some more.”

“I don’t think that would be such a good idea.” Actually it would be a great idea for all the wrong reasons. “I have to get up so early for work.” I needed to call Wesley and put Carson out of my mind. Carson Holiday needed to slip back into my past.

“Then I’ll take you to lunch.” He nudged me with his shoulder affectionately.

“When do you go back to Vegas?”

He hesitated. “In a day or two.”

“You sound rather vague.” And still allusive. What could be the big secret about this charity gig he couldn’t divulge?

“I have a few more things to find out. I’ll be out of here as soon as I get all my questions answered. It’s complicated.”

“Carson, honestly, how complicated can a gig – ”

He stopped walking when we reached the edge of my apartment complex and pulled on my hand so we faced each other. My head said turn and run but my legs wouldn’t respond, mushy from wine or Carson and moonlight. I couldn’t be sure which.

“Have lunch with me tomorrow, darlin’.” He looked at me, not smiling. His hand let go of mine and his fingers gingerly brushed along my forearm while I couldn’t break the connection between our eyes. “Another hour of your time with a long lost friend?”

“Yes.” My voice went all husky and come-hither. I wanted to kick myself for being so easy.

“Good. What’s the address of your office?” He turned and took my hand again, leading me toward the door of the building. I struggled to shake off the moon shadows and to remember where I worked. Once inside the building, I took a scrap of paper from my purse and wrote the address.

“And now I’ll walk you to your door and say goodnight,” he said tucking the scrap of paper in his pocket. “Unless you want to have me in for a goodnight drink.” I didn’t answer. If he’d only known my uncertainty about my renewed attraction to him, a little persistence might have made me cave. He took my hand again. “Okay, then – ” His mouth gaped. I followed his bewildered look to my apartment door.


We both stared at an ordinary piece of white typing paper, taped to my door, with no other marks or writing other than the one word, and then looked at each other. He gave me one of those arched-eyebrow-quizzical looks, but I couldn’t find my voice. We looked back at the paper like maybe we missed part of it. The black block letters couldn’t be mistaken for anything other than what they said. And I knew whose artful hand had branded me.

“What have you been up to since we last saw each other, darlin’?”


After two failed marriages and countless relationships, Sandra Holiday thinks she’s met the man to end her years of less than perfect choices; choices that not only derailed her travel-related career plans but also left her single and broke.

Carson Holiday, a Las Vegas country crooner with swoon-inducing good looks, spent his adult life pursuing a recording contract and love, never holding on to either. After eighteen years, he drops back into Sandra’s life, reigniting an attraction he can’t deny.

When Carson reappears, Sandra must choose again. Only this time, nothing’s as it seems. A secret admirer, a redheaded stalker, and an eccentric millionaire throw her on a dangerous path, with Carson her only truth.

As life confronts her with yet another turning point, will her decisions find her eternally sleeping with the lights on – or will she finally discover a way to turn them off?

What the critics are saying...
RT Book Reviews, June 2010: Cheers to Whiteside for writing a heroine who exists outside of conventional romance novels in terms of age and marital status...novel is written with a pleasantly light sense of humor...

Rating: 4 Cups, Coffee Time Romance & More, July 2010

Brenda Whiteside writes with a voice that keeps the reader coming back for more. I recommend Sleeping with the Lights On for the hair-raising suspense as well as the melt your heart romance.

Rating: 4 Stars, Night Owl Romance, July 2010

I could immerse myself in the ambiance she created and the ending was a real surprise!!

Rating: 4 Stars, My Overstuff Bookshelf, September 2010

The suspense was great…The romance was great. A new debut book from a wonderful author who I will be definitely looking out for in the future.

Purchase Sleeping with the Lights On HERE.

Learn more about Brenda's work at her Website. Befriend Brenda on Facebook.

Don't forget about Brenda's contest! Here's a reminder... ..."Somewhere in this interview is a word that doesn't belong. To win a gift certificate to either Amazon or DigiBooks (your choice), simply find the word, leave a comment on this blog (DO NOT say what the word is) and then email me with the word. brenda@brendawhiteside.com"

Contest ends Friday, April 8th, 12 PM, EST.

Interested in browsing around another super site that focuses on authors? Pop over to The Write Life now!



Sky Purington said...

This interview is fantastic, Brenda! Loved your answers.

Seriously, let me know when you think you might head to Ireland. Really do think you'd research better with some fellow authors alongside. Hee hee. (Sky's already doing comparitive shopping for airfare cost to the Emerald Isle.)

Here's to a fabulous week ahead.


Brenda Whiteside said...

Thank you, Sky. You ask fun questions! And I'll keep you posted about Ireland for sure.

Mary Preston said...


Great interview. Fun to read & informative.


Brenda Whiteside said...

Glad you dropped by, Marybelle.

Zequeatta Jaques said...

Enjoyed reading your interview, Brenda. Best of luck with your books.

Calisa Rhose said...

My mother and I always talked of going to Ireland together. I still want to go even now that she's gone.

Good luck with your books.

Barbara Edwards said...

Nice to know more about you, Brenda. You're book sounds great.


Brenda Whiteside said...

Calisa, you should go. I'm hoping my sister can go with me and we can do some family research!

Brenda Whiteside said...

Thanks, Barbara!

Caroline Clemmons said...

Brenda, best wishes for great sales! And take me on the trip to Ireland, please, although you'd have to bring my husband too. We yearn to return there for another visit. Love the country!

Brenda Whiteside said...

Hi Caroline. It sounds like I could put together a tour bus for Ireland. Thanks for dropping by.

Brenda Whiteside said...

Good morning to everyone on day 2. Hope you're looking for that hidden word and emailing to tell me what you found.


Cherie Marks said...

The excerpt drew me in. The story sounds interesting.

Can't wait to check it out.


Brenda Whiteside said...

Thanks, Cherie. Hope you like it. If you like a little humor with your suspense and romance, Sandra is your heroine. :-)


Sky Purington said...

Morning on day 2 Brenda! Really like your contest idea. Might have to borrow that idea sometime. :-)

Brenda Whiteside said...

It's yours, Sky!

Diana Coyle said...

Great interview and wonderful blurb!

Diana Coyle

Brenda Whiteside said...

Thank you, Diana. An author can never hear that enough!!

Scully Love Promo said...

Great interview! I think Brenda's book sounds like fun, I totally agree with her when it comes to wimpy heroines and alpha males and I am very partial to stories set in Ireland too. I've been there 3 times and it's the most beautiful, magical place on earth! I'm going to post the link to this review on my Facebook page.

Best of luck with your new book, Brenda!


Brenda Whiteside said...

Christine - thanks for posting the link! And it sounds like you do enjoy Ireland. Do you go strictly for fun or business? I'm getting more excited to get the trip planned.

Unknown said...

I found it! I am emailing you now :)! Wonderful interview and I cannot wait to read the book!

Brenda Whiteside said...

Hi Colleen. Thanks. And good luck!!

Carol Burge said...


SLEEPING WITH THE LIGHTS ON sounds like a great book. Love the excerpt! Cool contest, too. I do believe I found the "word" that doesn't belong. :) Sent an email with my answer.

Best of luck with your release(s)!


Brenda Whiteside said...

Carol, you stay up much later than I do! I did get your email. Thanks for playing along.

Diana Ballew said...

What a great interview! Thanks so much for sharing. Best of luck to you, Brenda.


Brenda Whiteside said...

Diana, glad you stopped by and thanks for the well wishes.

Sky Purington said...

So how many wanting to go on the 'Ireland trip' so far, Brenda? Too much fun this week. ;-)

Hywela Lyn said...

Great interview, Sky and Brenda, and 'Sleeping With The Lights On' sounds like a great read. I do agree with your dislike of wimpy heroines too - although at the opposite end of the spectrum I also hate overly 'kickass heroines' who are so macho one feels they could totally manage alone without any need for a love interest - and they're actually more male than female themselves.

For myself, I like a heroine who's feisty and courageous, but not afraid to show her feminine, gentler side when the occasion warrants!

Brenda Whiteside said...

Oh Sky, only if Ireland could be a bus ride away. I have a bus hired for all of us tomorrow!

Brenda Whiteside said...

Hywela, I couldn't agree more. I've known a few "men's men" and I'd never write one into my story. When a man needs a woman - as the song goes - he's so much more appealing. He should be strong but oh so tuned in to the female psyche. And your description of a female heroine is a well rounded lady. Thanks for commenting!

P.L. Parker said...

Great interview! Nice to meet you Brenda.

Brenda Whiteside said...

Thank, PL. Glad you stopped by.

Sky Purington said...

Brenda, it's been wonderful having you over this week. What a blast! You're welcome back anytime.

A few hours left for your contest. Going to spread the word one last time!

Brenda Whiteside said...

It's been a great week, Sky. Thanks. I'll put a few reminders out, too.

Joni said...

The interview was very interesting and informative. I would love to read this book.

o2oole (at) verizon.net

Brenda Whiteside said...

Hi Joni. I had fun doing it. And I hope you do read my book! It's out there in print and ebook. Thanks.