Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Ten More Questions With Gerri Brousseau

It's that time again, dear readers. We've reached a milestone here at Typing With Wet Nails, welcoming author Gerri Brousseau for her third visit in our comfy cyberhome. Anybody who loves historical romance and pugs is okay by me, and I'm happy to hep celebrate her newest relase, To Kill a Monarch. Grab a seat and a beverage of choice, and join in on the conversation...

1) Congratulations on your new release, To Kill a Monarch, and being the most frequent guest at Typing With Wet Nails. We won’t ask you to say which thrills you more. What does it feel like to now be a multi-published author?

Thank you, Anna, and thank you for inviting me to share with your readers. It’s always a pleasure to be here on Typing with Wet Nails. What’s it feel like to be a multi-published author? It feels surreal! I’m so blessed. I can hardly believe this has happened and I keep thinking that one day I’ll wake up to find it was all a dream, but then I got into B&N and see my book on the shelf and I know it is real. Real and wonderful.

2) What do you know now that you wish you’d known before your first book was published?

I wish I had started on the path to a writing career much earlier in my life. I think every writer’s journey is different and we all have our own unique struggle and story to tell, but it’s taking that journey that makes a writer an author.

3) What are you glad you didn’t know then?

If I had known how difficult it is to get published, I may have never even tried.

4) So far, you’ve written about pirates, time-travel, and now attempted regicide in the age of Napoleon. With such diverse topics across three different books, what would you say is the one thing readers can be guaranteed to find in all of your novels?

I thought long and hard about this when I was coming up with my tag line, which describes perfectly what a reader can expect to find when they read my work; “Danger, Adventure and Romance, because the journey to happily ever after should leave you .... breathless.”

5) Now, about that transvestite ... (which is not a phrase one uses every day when interviewing romance writers) we’ll let readers discover this particular character for themselves, but what would you say is the most important thing to keep in mind when creating memorable supporting characters?

Supporting characters are so important because they direct the actions of the main characters. Geoffrey Collins has quite an interesting role in this story, the extent of which is revealed close to the end of the book. I enjoy writing flamboyant characters such as The Contessa Theodora de Lorenzo in A Pirate’s Ransom, Half-Breed in According to Legend, and Geoffrey Collins in To Kill a Monarch because these characters add a layer of flavor to the story.

6) To Kill a Monarch has been described as “007 in 1811” – very catchy, by the way- and bears a title dripping with intrigue, but this is still a romance Why are romance and intrigue perfect partners.

Secrets. Lovers always have their private secrets, or they should, and so it’s perfect. The mystery of discovering a romantic liaison or rendezvous adds a layer of excitement to romance.

7) Where did To Kill a Monarch get its start? Plot, character, something else?

With this particular story it was plot first. I ask myself “what if” a lot. I knew I wanted an intrigue and had the time period in mind. I asked myself who would want to kill the Regent. Napoleon. Perfect. The more I thought about it, the more twisted the plot became, and before I knew it I was typing “The End.”

8) Describe a pug to somebody who has never seen one. Include appearance, personality and why they are perfect writing companions.

Ah, the pugs. They think they are my muses and my co-writers. They are small barrel-chested dogs, usually fawn colored with black ears and snouts. Their little snouts are pushed in, thus the name. They have faces so ugly that they are cute. (block your ears, pugs) They are friendly little creatures with quite easy going personalities. When I talk to my two, they move their heads from side to side as if they are attentive and hanging on my every word. They are very affectionate dogs, and great snuggle buddies. They lay in the recliner while I write and never bother me. In fact, they are here with me now. The only draw-back is ... they snore!

9) You’ve been given the chance to host a dinner party for any romance writers, living or dead. You may have five guests. Who are they?

Romance only? Wow. Kathleen Woodiwiss, because she was the first romance writer I ever read; Jane Austin, because she wrote Pride and Prejudice which is one of my all-time favorite books; Margaret Mitchell, because I would like to discuss Miss Scarlett; Nora Roberts, because . . . well, she’s The Queen; and, although not romance, J.K. Rowling because I wish I could be her.

10) What can readers look forward to next?

I’m presently working on three projects. Yes . . . three. This eliminates writer’s block. I just finished the research for a sequel of To Kill a Monarch; I have written the first few chapters of the first book in a YA series I’m working on; and I’m editing a completed novel which I hope to self-publish soon.

How can readers contact you?

All my contact information is on my website

and at on Facebook at!/gerri.brousseau.5

Thank you for inviting me. It was so much fun sharing with your readers.

So, what's To Kill a Monarch all about? Read on:

Whispers in dark allies say Napoleon’s best assassin, The Falcon, has been sent to London to kill the Monarch. The problem – The Falcon’s identity is known only to the French Emperor. Sir Walter Tinsdale’s new partner, Philip Hamilton, arrives to discover their mission is to find the elusive bird of prey before he strikes. But their nemesis is like a phantom and always one step ahead of them. Enter the lovely Miss Charlotte Winston, the object of Sir Tinsdale’s affections, as well as those of Philip Hamilton. Unlikely alliances, deception, murder, and suicide will keep you turning the pages until the identity of The Falcon is finally revealed. With all the seduction and action of a James Bond movie, To Kill a Monarch is like 007 in 1811.

An excerpt, for your reading pleasure:

“Our dinner is getting cold, Mister Hamilton,” Charlotte whispered as she leaned against him.

He drew her into his embrace. “To hell with dinner, Charlotte,” he whispered into his kiss. Lifting her into his arms, he carried her upstairs to the bedroom they shared.

He set her feet gently upon the floor, but his lips never left hers. He ran his hand up her back, pressing her to him, molding her body to his, while his fingers fumbled with the tiny buttons that ran up the back of her gown.

Her delicate and nimble fingers had unbuttoned his waistcoat and shirt, and she rested the palm of her warm hand upon his exposed chest. His breath caught in his throat at her touch. She drew her lips from his. “Mister Hamilton, allow me help you out of these damp clothes,” she purred.

Need a copy of your very own?


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Friday, September 13, 2013

Happy Dance Friday #123 - SYTYCD Season 10 Finale

Have to say, this wasn't a big surprise to me; Fik-Shun and Amy (who reminds me much of Sabra from season three; that's for a later post) stood out to me from the very beginning. Aaron and Jasmine are worthy competitors, so this year wasn't as much "who's going to win" as "let's savor the overabundance of awesome dancing." Which is, I think, what we got.

Mary and Nigel served heaping portions of entertainment and fun, and when I thought it couldn't get any bomb by Adam Shankman. Loved this. More, please.

One of my favorite parts of SYTYCD finales is the command performances, where guests (and dancers) get to pick their favorite routine to see again. I loved that we got to see two Travis Wall routines, which were both amazing, but if I'd been able to pick one encore performance, it would have been Jasmine Mason and Alan's blindfolded contemporary. Travis Wall tapped into something deeply emotional here, taking the visual away from the dancers, and giving it all to the audience. I can't say that I've ever seen anything like that before, and when I see choreography, when I see dancing that makes me want to be a better writer, that has to get the nod. So, my pick:

How did you like the finale, dance fans?

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Ten Questions With Alina Adams

1) When did you first know you were a writer?

Well, according to my parents, my first words were “pencil” and “paper.” Only they were in Russian. And sounded nothing like the actual words. But, they knew what I meant.

2) What's the first thing you know for sure about a new story concept? Plot? Character? Something else?

I like to start with a concept, or a “what if?”

My 1998 AVON romance novel, Annie’s Wild Ride, began with a lyric from Stephen Sondheim’s Sunday in the Park With George, which went, “What made it so right together/Was what made it all wrong.” I was intrigued by the idea of writing a story where what initially attracted the characters to each other is the same thing that ended up breaking them up – and getting them back together, too.

The first book in the Figure Skating Mystery series I did for Berkley Prime Crime was inspired by the 2002 Olympic judging scandal. What if the judge who awarded the medal to the “wrong” winners was then murdered?

Once I have the theme, I then build the characters. And, if I do a good job of that, the characters then create their own plot. I just write it down.

3) What are the best and worst pieces of writing advice you’ve ever heard?

The best piece of writing advice I ever got was from my 12th grade AP English teacher. Like all kids who have a knack for words, I tended to write flowing, run-on sentences full of great metaphors and clever asides… that never quite made it to the point. He told me, “Think about what you want to say, and say it.” Twenty-plus years later, when I’m stuck staring at a blank page (and a looming deadline), I think about what I want to say, and say it. And then I think about the next thing I want to say, and I say that. Eventually the whole page gets filled up. And I’ve actually said something, to boot.

The worst piece of writing advice I ever got was “write the book of your heart.” No, write the book that an editor wants to buy. If you write enough of those, you will eventually be able to write the book of your heart. And you will be paid for it. And people might even be willing to read it.

4) Over the course of your career, you’ve written historicals, contemporaries, mysteries, a coffee-table book, a biography, soap opera tie-in novels, as well as online soap opera continuations…so far. What would you say defines an Alina Adams book? Is there a genre you haven’t written in yet that you’d like to try?

I’m a plot and character girl. I respect authors who have beautiful prose and lyrical descriptions full of inner retrospections that prompt readers to reconsider long-held and cherished beliefs. But, personally, I write fast-moving stories with colorful (and hopefully) witty characters. My favorite romantic comedy of all time is His Girl Friday, where the dialogue and story points fly fast and furious… and nothing particularly (or, at least, traditionally) romantic actually happens.

I grew up watching soaps (and wrote three tie-in novels for “As the World Turns” and “Guiding Light,” as well as the multimedia continuation of “Another World”, so to me the most important question to answer (and one I hope the reader is constantly asking) is: And then what happens?

As for a genre I would love to work in: Musical Theater. I love musical theater (see the Sondheim inspiration above). Alas, I have absolutely no talent in that regard. The closest I came to it was producing an ebook book for Dan Elish, “The Worldwide Dessert Contest: Enhanced Multimedia Edition

5) Pretend you’ve met the rare reader who has never heard of medical romance. In one sentence, what is the appeal of this subgenre?

Love against a background of life and death.

6) Can we talk about Leo for a minute? This Russian-born paramedic may be a man of few words, but his strong heroic streak, both in life and in love, will send readers’ hearts racing. How did Leo find such inner strength to press on through his many challenges?

At one point, I was a volunteer for an organization called KidSave, which brings Russian orphans to the US in an attempt to find them forever families. Also, having been born Jewish in the former Soviet Union, I grew up surrounded by people who survived World War II and the Holocaust. Both experiences taught me that people – and especially children – have a phenomenal capacity to overcome horror and deprivation and turn it into bravery and compassion for others.

7) Alyssa, as well, undergoes a true heroine’s journey, finding the strength to choose what’s right over what’s safe. I’m struck by her observation that the emergency room is the most predictable place in the hospital, despite how chaotic it may seem. Can you tell us more about that?

I confess, I’m someone who loves predictability and knowing what’s coming up (so, of course, I became a freelance writer and TV producer because, really, what’s more steady, predictable and secure than writing and production as a career? An editor friend once told me that if I wrote myself as a character, she would send the manuscript back because it was inconsistent). But predictability comes in a variety of packages. In an emergency room, you never know what’s going to come rolling through the doors next, but you do know what you’re going to have to do to get the patient stabilized and passed on to the next specialist in line. The chaos in itself is predictable and, most importantly, if you feel confident in your skills to handle it – it’s controllable. For someone like Alyssa, having gotten her medical training in a war zone, she is more comfortable and familiar with the rhythms of an emergency room than she is around “normal” people and situations.

8) Besides the medical romance angle, “To Look For You” is a touching older woman/younger man romance, yet it’s Leo who brings a deep maturity to the relationship. Do you think Alyssa’s and Leo’s different backgrounds brought them to the same level of maturity?

Absolutely. As I said above, it’s amazing what children who’ve survived trauma can overcome and turn into a positive. Not that I advocate making life particularly difficult for your own children, but, the fact is, people who’ve never faced any sort of adversity are hardly interesting, either in fiction or real life. My number one turn on in a man is someone you can count on to keep it together in an emergency, and that, as a rule, comes from life experience.

9) Name five reasons why the romance genre needs more Russian, Jewish or Russian Jewish characters.

1) Diversity: I live in New York City and am a Russian Jew married to an African-American. Diversity is a huge buzzword in NYC and everyone claims to subscribe to it in theory. But, what my husband and I have found in practice is diversity means people of vaguely different colors who all think the same way. True diversity comes from people of different backgrounds who then come to different conclusions based on those backgrounds. Whenever I hear people decrying those who disagree with them as either “dumb” or “evil,” I always wonder if they’ve considered the possibility that those they’re vilifying have just lived different lives from them. Most characters in romance novels tend to be rather cookie cutter in backgrounds and outlooks and only superficially outside the mainstream. I think it’s fun to shake that up.
2) Education: It’s a chance to learn history outside of a textbook. “To Look for You” opens in Kosovo in 1999, during NATO’s self-proclaimed humanitarian bombing campaign in what was then Yugoslavia. It’s a tiny part of the overall story, but if readers pick up a bit of history along the way, I’m all for it!
3) Foreign Sales
4) It gets you off work for the Jewish holidays!
5) Everybody needs more borscht in their lives.

10) Surprise! We hid a parrot in your office during the writing of “To Look For You.” What three words or phrases did he learn while he was with you?

First of all, I would like to say this is the greatest question I have ever been asked in my life. I plan to open all conversations with it from now on.

Secondly… 1) This story is trying to kill me!
2) The best part of being a romance novelist is getting an email from your boss that says: Squelchy vaginas and hard, throbbing cocks make me very nervous
3) Shhh… Mommy is WORKING.