Friday, September 20, 2013

Lori Herter Interview and Giveaways

I'm straying away from cozy mysteries on this interview because this author is so great and her new book THE THIN PLACE is so amazing I had to share her with you!

Lori Herter is best known for her vampire romance series Obsession, Possession, Confession and Eternity. Ms. Herter was the front runner in paranormal romance long before vampires were cool. She, to me, made them cool! She also wrote many romances for Silhouette and Harlequin.

Now Ms. Herter has penned a story unlike any of her past books. THE THIN PLACE is an amazing story about a woman's journey of discovery. You can find my review here in a past blog as well as on Amazon and Barnes & Noble under the name Lisa and/or Tiggedy2. (Yup, that't me too!)

Lori has been kind enough to offer a giveaway of a Kindle verison of THE THIN PLACE to one lucky reader! All you have to do to win is leave a comment about the this interview, the book or to Ms. Herter. A winner will be choosen at random on Monday, September 30. Please remember to include your email address with your comment so we can contact you!

Note: THE THIN PLACE is only available in ebook format.

Bonus Giveaway! Please check the end of this interview to see how 5 lucky winners can each win a signed print copy of one of Lori's backlist titles! These paperbacks are no longer in print. All signed books come directly from Lori's own collection!


Author Lori Herter

LKBR: What is your draw to Ireland?
LH: This is something I wonder about myself, since I’m not the least bit Irish.  My heritage is Swedish and Czech.  I didn’t know much about Ireland, but the idea of Irish fairies like Leprechauns and Banshees caught my fancy.  People who had an Irish brogue charmed me, pictures of the Irish countryside were always beautiful, and everything Irish seemed rather enchanting.   Along came The Irish Tenors on PBS a dozen years ago.  I fell in love with their voices, particularly Anthony Kearns’, and the emotional lyrics of their traditional Irish songs.  The fact that the tenors were so comfortable expressing their feelings—unlike American men—captivated me.  I wanted to see the places they sang about—The Fields of Athenry, Bantry Bay, Boolavogue, the Mountains of Mourne.  So my husband and I began what became a series of vacations in Ireland.  When we discovered tiny Caldragh Graveyard on Boa Island, County Fermanagh, I was intrigued that a centuries old Christian cemetery had been established around a pre-Christian pagan stone with a curious face carved on either side of it.  The Irish have long been devout in their faith, and it fascinated me that their Christian beliefs were not opposed to the idea of fairies and the Celtic Otherworld.  The Irish have a rich spiritual heritage, and I think that ultimately is what I’m drawn to.

LKBR: Has anything magical or mysterious happened to you at the graveyard and/or during your time in Ireland?

LH: My husband and I have visited Caldragh Graveyard several times over the years.  After our very first visit, when I saw the coins left in the top of the pagan stone, I began to get ideas for a book.  I decided it might be fun if I put a fairy tree in the graveyard and also invented the idea that Maeve would come and go to the graveyard by rowboat, since the cemetery is on an island.  By our next visit, I’d learned that fairy trees were usually whitethorn trees that had many small blossoms in spring.  I quickly noticed a tree full of white blossoms, a tree I hadn’t paid any attention to the year before because it wasn’t in bloom.  My husband and I looked closely at its branches and saw pieces of cloth, a necklace, ribbons, etc., that people had left on the tree, and there was a white quartz stone tucked between the tree’s roots.  Clearly locals looked upon it as a fairy tree.  Then I noticed a barely visible path between tall blades of grass outside the graveyard’s metal fence.  My husband hopped over the fence and walked down the path, disappearing from view in the dense foliage.  He called back to me and said, “There’s a rowboat tied up here!”  He took a photo of it.  So the story elements that I thought I’d invented turned out to be true!  I have to say it spooked me a little.

Coins in Janus stone

Fairy tree, Caldragh graveyard

Cloth in fairy tree

Row boat at Caldragh graveyard

LH: Another thing that happened, probably the second year we visited the graveyard and discovered the fairy tree and rowboat there, was that I left a quarter at the pagan stone and also in the fairy tree.  When we got back to our hotel, The Manor House (where Finn stayed), and parked in the hotel’s lot, I got out of the car and saw some coins on the ground by the back tire.  I picked them up, and they were American coins!  And it wasn’t like the hotel was full of American tourists; we hadn’t run into any other Americans.  Seemed like a surprising coincidence, after I’d left U.S. quarters at the graveyard. 

The Manorhouse

LKBR: Is there any part of you in your character Glenna?

LH: Yes, Glenna’s reactions to people and events is rather similar to the way I would react.  Though I’ve never carried the torch for a married man, I’ve had a lifelong, romantic notion in my head as to what the ideal man would be like.  I could easily imagine her meeting such a man, someone she connects with and views as a soul mate, and never finding his like again after he disappears from her life.  There’s a dichotomy about Glenna that I find in myself, in that she’s outwardly practical, sensible and down to earth, but she has a hidden, passionate romantic side few see.  Also, like me—and many women, I think--Glenna is a little too nice for her own good, longsuffering and patient to a fault.  But once someone finally crosses a line, she can be tougher than she seems and stand up for herself very well. 

On the way to Columbas well

Lori at Columbas well

LKBR: Who has inspired you in your writing career?

LH: This is a hard one for me to answer.  I never had a role model for my writing career.  As an only child, I daydreamed a lot, watched old movies on TV a lot, and always loved romantic stories.  I started inventing my own stories in my head, just for fun.  Never wrote them down or told them to anyone.  As I got older, my favorite authors were Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer.  After I got married, my mother-in-law gave me a Harlequin romance novel she’d finished reading.   As I read it, I realized it was similar to the stories I invented.  So I tried writing a book and sold NO TIME FOR LOVE to Dell Candlelight.  If I hadn’t sold my first book—at age 30--I probably would have quit writing.  I didn’t place enough significance on my ability.  Later, a psychologist told me that creativity is more rare than intelligence, and I began to understand that I should value my talent.    But creativity is such a nebulous thing.   I don’t know where it comes from, but it seems to be both within and outside myself.  You may recall a lyric from the musical “A Chorus Line”:  “The gift was ours to borrow.”  That’s how writing seems to me, a gift that comes from somewhere—I’d like to say from God, but that seems presumptuous--and I’m not always sure what to do with it or how long I’ll have it.  When I read some of my old books now, I wonder how I wrote them.  So I guess the answer to your question is, I don’t know who or what inspires me.  It’s a great mystery
Lori at Turas Chomcille stad

Lori standing by stone

LKBR:   Where do you do most of your writing?
LH:  I write at my computer in my office at home.  When I’m editing a chapter, I print it out and read it sitting on a couch or recliner in another room, and use a pen or pencil to make changes which I transfer later to the manuscript on my computer.

LKBR:  Do you need to have quiet when you write or do you listen to music/TV?

LH:  Absolute quiet!  I couldn’t work with music or the TV on. Maybe it’s because I’m an introvert.  Other authors I’ve met not only write with the TV going, but can also keep up with the show that’s on.  Some can even write on an airplane, using their laptop. I’ve never understood how they are able to do that, and I envy them. I’m not good at multi-tasking.

With Janus Stone

LKBR:  What has been the most rewarding part of being an author?
LH:  Two things come to mind.  When I have one of those rare writing days that goes really well, when the creative juices are flowing and the scene I’m working on seems to effortlessly take flight—that experience is a very real “high”.   It doesn’t happen often, but when it does it’s exhilarating and uplifting. 
The other type of reward is quite different.  When I was writing my romantic vampire series for Berkley, I received quite a bit of fan mail, especially for the first book, OBSESSION.  A lot of the letters said things like, “David de Morrissey can come over and bite my neck anytime!”  And those were fun to receive, but a few were more serious.  One letter was from a woman who read my book in a hospital waiting room while her son was undergoing heart surgery.  She wrote to thank me, saying that my novel helped keep her anxious mind occupied during the hours she waited for the doctor to appear and tell her that her son had come through okay.  Another woman, who was caring for a sister who was very unwell, said my book was an absorbing diversion that eased her stress.   Learning that a paperback book I’d written could help someone I’ve never met get through a difficult time helped me place more value on my work.    
Lori and husband Jerry at Giants Causeway

LKBR:  Do you have any other books in the works or any ideas for more? 
LH:  I have a book titled EXIT TO WONDERLAND that I’m hoping to publish by the end of the year.  This one is quite different from my previous romance novels, or my vampire series, or THE THIN PLACE.  EXIT TO WONDERLAND is about a middle-aged career woman who drops out of her life to follow a tenor half her age.  
By the way, if readers would like to see my earlier books, some of which are now available in ebook format, please go to my Amazon Author’s Page: 
My new website, which I still need to work up a bit more (but it’s very pretty!), is:
THE THIN PLACE is on sale as an ebook for $2.99 at Amazon,
Just an added footnote:  People often ask if my vampire series, OBSESSION, POSSESSION, CONFESSION, and ETERNITY will be reprinted.  Sadly, the answer is probably not, due to legal complications.  The original books are available, however, through used book sellers and on ebay.
A big thank you to Lori for a great interview and for sharing with us her amazing photos of Ireland and the places she has woven into her amazing book! Seeing the photos gives reading the story a whole new depth.
Now, for that other giveaway I mentioned...The first 5 people who purchase a copy of THE THIN PLACE from either Amazon or Barnes & Noble and emails me ( proof of purchase will win a signed print copy of one of Lori's backlist titles! These paperbacks are no longer in print. All signed books come directly from Lori's own collection! I will send you a list of the titles available (first come/first serve).
A few of Lori's backlist covers. (There is a chance that not all covers shown will be available for the giveaway.

Note: Please remember that THE THIN PLACE is only available in ebook format. And the winning copy is for Kindle.
To win a signed print copy of one of Lori's backlist titles, your purchase of THE THIN PLACE may be purchased for any ereader.
Thank you for stopping in for this very special to my interview!
Good luck to all!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Plum Deadly by Ellie Grant


Who could resist such pies? Who would even want to resist the pie shop that makes them? Certainly not the residents of Durham, North Carolina, and the little bakery and café called Pie in the Sky is one of the most popular meet-up places in town.

Unjustly accused of cooking the books, Maggie Grady is forced to retreat from her high-flying New York financial career to the town where she grew up. Her aunt Clara greets her with open arms and a job at the family-owned business that has baked the best pies in the South for over forty years. Unfortunately, while Maggie is determined to return to banking, her reputation there seems permanently in the pits. That is, until her old boss, Lou, visits with news that he’s found the real crook. Before he can reveal the details, though, Maggie finds his body right behind the pie shop.

With only her own word that Lou planned to exonerate her, Maggie is in the spotlight. The police seem to suspect that Aunt Clara’s damson pie may not be just dangerously delectable, but downright deadly. Maggie doesn’t just have her own name to clear; she has to make sure that her aunt’s beloved business isn’t harmed, either. Yummy local reporter Ryan Summerour appears eager to help, and Maggie can’t help hoping that it’s not just the police who find her a person of interest—but Ryan, as well. She’d thought it challenging to make the perfect pie crust that Aunt Clara demands, but that turns out to be nothing compared with finding a murderer. . . .

Plum Deadly is plum delightful!

When a murder victim, Maggie Grady's former boss Lou, is found on the pie shop's back step Maggie looks like prime suspect #1. But with Lou about to clear Maggie's name on embezzlement charges with an announcement of the real thief and an unsavory business man trying a little too hard to buy Aunt Clara's shop at any cost, there are plenty of other suspects to go around!

This first in a new series is a delicious threat. Maggie and her Aunt Clara are wonderful new characters. I had a great time hanging out with them in their pie shop Pie In The Sky. I don't even eat pie and it made me hungry! A fast and entertaining read, I was kept guessing until the surprising conclusion of this great book. I really look forward to the next installment in this new and hopefully long running series.

NOTE: Recipe lovers will be thrilled with the recipes included for flaky pie crust and 3 tasty pies!