Wednesday, 11 July 2007

Christopher Howell Interview

What a man. Christopher is warm, sincere and an absolute pleasure to know. I had the honor of interviewing this cover model and 2007 RT Convention pageant's what he had to say.......

First things first........tell us about your family! Any brothers or sisters?
I have three brothers. Two older and one younger. Paul is the oldest, followed by Matthew, me, and the youngest Aaron.

How close are you to your family?
I am very close to my family. From time to time we might argue, but deep down inside, it’s family. You only have one family, so make the best of it.

How long have you wanted to be a model? Why? What pulls you to a modeling career?
I have wanted to be a model for a very long time. Since I was just a boy. Wanting to be famous is what pulls me to modeling. I enjoy being in front of people and keeping a smile on their face. Besides that, It’s always nice to get paid to stand around and look good.

On your page at MySpace, it states that you have lots of different interests and talents, including acting and performing stunts. Out of all of these talents, do you have one that is your favorite? Why?
I don’t really have just one favorite. Everything that I learn to do takes me on some type of adventure leaving me with a wonderful story to tell in the end. If you can have a never ending amount of stories to tell in your old age, than you most likely had a life that you truly lived to its fullest.

On your page you say that anyone can be beautiful nowadays with the availability of photo enhancements form computer programs. How do you think that affects men and women in today's society? Do you feel that it sets good standards or bad ones?
I think that it affects them a lot. Here’s an example :D….I once went on a blind date/met up with a girl based only on one of her pictures that she had showed me. I stopped by her work after doing a photo shoot….(yeah, I was prettied up and ready to go) and received my first glance of what she looked like. It was nothing like the photo or the photo had been enhanced BIG TIME! I think that it sets both good standards and bad ones. It sets bad ones because anyone can do it and it sets good ones because they can make you look really good!

If you had to pick one city in the USA, which would it be? Why?
I would have to visit a few more before I could make that decision. If I had to just name one off the top of my head, it would be New York.(I’m going there at the end of July, so I can give you a definite answer afterwards). I am a people person. I like to be around lots of people and I heard that there is a lot of people there and always something to do no matter what time it is…which is perfect because I have a hard time trying to sleep.

When you're not using those bulging muscles to haul boxes at UPS or posing for photo shoots, what do you do?
Haha Funny question….I actually like to just do anything and everything. From lounging around the house watching movies and doing absolutely nothing, to doing whatever pops into my head first!

Ladies.......hang on to your britches for his answer to this question.........LOL

If you could define the perfect moment, what would you describe?
Standing face to face with your lover with her soft lips about to meet yours. There are clouds out, but they are scattered…just enough to keep the sun from being too bright. It’s about seventy five degrees out with a nice breeze sweeping through the air. After the two of you finish caressing one and other, you realize that it’s morning. This brings a smile to your face, because you still have the whole day to spend with each other.

While at the RT Convention this year, did you buy any books? If so, which ones?
No, I can’t stand to spend money when I’m doing events and things such as that. I admit, I’m a little spoiled. I love free things and will take what you give me, but will always focus my time on something else once I find out that I have to spend my money on something. I think it’s because I have a brick wall built up to keep me from getting scammed in the whole industry. When your younger and don’t’ know any better, many people will try and scam you for thousands of dollars in the modeling/acting industry.

What was your favorite thing about this year's convention?
How we were treated like celebrities. I enjoyed always having someone coming up to me and wanting to talk or get their picture with me.

I heard the opinion of an editor recently that the rise of romantica and erotica books has set unattainable standards for the real men in the women's lives who read these books, making women's expectations too high. What is your opinion of that?
I think that there is no such thing as the word unattainable. I always romance my girl friend and I probably do it more than a romance novel does. Yes, it’s a never ending amount :D….I’m a bit of a hopeless….no longer hopeless…romantic.

When asked what was your favorite part of your body, you stated your eyes because "you don't have to worry about perfecting them in any way to make anybody happy" you feel that you have to be perfect?
My goal to be perfect leaves me on a never ending journey. Yes, I would like to be perfect or almost perfect in everyone’s eyes. I want people to be able to look at me and be able to say, “ I like something about him.”

Some people think that the life of a model is easy, that looking good just comes naturally to some people, do think that's true?
Haha that’s funny. If you only knew what I have to do to stay like this. I have to constantly work out, scan my body for any flaws, and remind myself that even though I ‘m a guy and what I want to do at this very moment (of what ever I might be doing) will possibly hurt me or even scar me, I shouldn’t do it because I have to keep looking pretty.

Can you give us a little insight into your daily routine?
Wake up at 2:50a.m. for work(UPS). Get off work around 6:30a.m. and come home, take a shower fallowed by bed. Wake up, get onto the computer and look for modeling jobs or call to see if I can get more work from a friend. Hopefully get some type of shoot or something set up or a job installing the super expensive shower doors, windows, mirrors. Go to the gym, come home and relax, then go to bed and wake up early for work again.

How hard is it to constantly keep an image?
Very, because there are so many factors that will throw you off in every day life. It’s hard to do stuff that you don’t want to do and on top of it keep fit.

What is your idea of the perfect woman?
My girl friend hahah :D A flawless personality that makes her my best friend and looks to keep me always wanting more. She is very unique and one of a kind.

Have you ever been drawn to a woman from across a room? What was it about her that drew you in?
Yes, she would have given me a look showing she’s interested in meeting me or I was bored and had nothing else to do….haha yeah, not many women want to hear the second answer coming from a guy.

Do you have any plans to attend the 2008 RT Convention? Any other events/plans where we can expect to see you?
I do indeed have plans on attending the 2008 RT convention. Hopefully someone will sponsor me like several of the other guys there were and I do intend to go to other events coming up here in the future.

Here are some places you can see more of Christopher......

Christopher's got a bright future ahead of him and I'm quite certain we'll be seeing more of him!
*picture by Styx Photography

Tuesday, 3 July 2007

Marta Acosta ~ Interview

It was an awesome opportunity for me to get to interview Marta Acosta, author of HAPPY HOUR AT CASA DRACULA and MIDNIGHT BRUNCH. Marta has offered a free copy of her book, MIDNIGHT BRUNCH to a lucky winner! For your chance to win, all you have to do is leave a comment and you will be automatically entered! I will pick a lucky winner, deadline is July 30, 2007.

Your books are fresh, hip and seem to add a little flair to the vamp genre. Can you tell us a bit about what inspired you to write them?

First, thanks for having me as your guest! It's a pleasure to be here.

I wanted to create a heroine who had the qualities I love in my favorite fictional characters, from Eliza Bennet to Bridget Jones. They're smart, funny, passionate, and a little flawed, but they have a solid core and they want to do the right thing. They take missteps, but they will usually choose to do what's right over what's selfish. They're the kind of women you'd want as a best friend. I love Jane Austen's comedies of manners and the way her characters negotiate social and economic class, ethical quandaries, and the desire for love.

So I started with the character of Milagro de los Santos and then I put her in a classic situation: she's an impoverished, yet bright, funny young woman is stuck out in a country home with a wealthy, sophisticated family. One of the current cliches of vampires is that they're rich and sophisticated. Take that one step further and you've got blood-drinking snobs. So I imagined a rich, sophisticated vampire family who thinks that Milagro is a tacky, gold-digger.

Where did the idea for your character, Milagro de los Santos come from?

As I mentioned above, I was inspired by Jane Austen's character, but I also love P.G. Wodehouse and his good-natured, clueless Bertie Wooster character. She's embarrassed by her name, which means "miracle of the saints," but she does have an amazing ability to survive any situation. Milagro's a little oblivious sometimes, as we all are, and that leads her to misinterpret things and get into more trouble. My sister-in-law, who's very smart, said, "If Milagro is so smart,why does she do stupid things sometimes?"

I said, "Haven't you ever known a smart person who made stupid mistakes?"

She took a long look at me before saying, "Yes."

Has the writing "gene" always been there for you?

Yes. I read obsessively, and I write compulsively. I don't care what I write -- emails, columns, ridiculous poems, stories, novels, so long as I write.

What's your typical day consist of?

I start the day early with a long walk with my dog. (My beloved old dog, Dr. Buddy Valentine, just died at age 15, and I recently adopted another rescue dog, Professor Baxter Dog.) While I'm walking, I plot out scenes. After that, I have coffee and read the newspapers, then I'm on the computer. I blog, catch up on news and emails, and eventually I get around to writing fiction. I've realized that it takes me a long time to settle into fiction writing, but I'm usually thinking about scenes and dialog all day long. At lunch, I'll go outside and do a little gardening. At about five, my dog reminds me that it's time for our evening walk, and I get off the computer. I cook dinner for my husband and son, and we eat together and chat. If I'm on a tight deadline, I'll work again in the evenings. I realize that I'm incredibly lucky to be able to stay home and write.

Do you have a publicity agent or marketing coordinator?

My publicity agent is Jessica Silvester at Simon & Schuster. We work together trying to get the word out about my books. It's an overwhelming task. I don't have a marketing coordinator.

What are your views on using these two venues to further a writer's career? Do you believe they are essential?

Having a publicist isn't essential, but it's extremely important. Some people are terrific self-promoters, but it takes time and a certain kind of personality. Even with a publicist, an author should be out there promoting her books, because publicists at publishing houses are very busy and working with many, many authors at once.

I noticed while at your website that you attend signings. Can you tell us your favorite memory from a signing?

I'm always happy to meet readers who've come a distance just to meet me. I've had great times at events with 300 people and events with five, where I can have a conversation with readers. But my husband and I still joke about the time a woman from our neighborhood came to a signing just to ask me if I'd sell her my ancient Honda.

You have received a huge amount of great reviews for your does it feel to have Romantic Times quote your book HAPPY HOUR AT CASA DRACULA, "Hilarious...Acosta's heroine is fresh and sassy." ?

I love the positive reviews, of course! I consider myself a humorist, so when I get a comment like "hilarious," or "laugh out loud funny," or "hysterical," I feel that I've succeeded. I was surprised to get a blurb from a writer I love, Julia Spencer-Fleming, who called my book "stunning and darkly hilarious." I admire her so much as a writer, and I was honored that she'd read my novels.

Did you ever think you'd make it this far?

Yes, I did. You really have to believe that it's possible, or else you'll never survive the rejections and roadblocks. You have to be determined and trust in yourself to succeed as a writer. I'm sure there are great writers who never get published because they are intimidated by criticism. But if you don't try and try and try, you'll never know.

Would you have any advice for aspiring writers?

Practice your craft. So often I pick up a book and the sentence structure is clumsy, the imagery bad, the dialog cliche. A novel is not just a plot and characters, but craft. Read your stories aloud, because your ear will often detect problems. Learn from criticism, but don't let it depress you. Ignore those who want to discourage you, and persevere.

What are two things you wish you would have known about being an author beforehand?

I wish I had known that a good way to establish myself was to sell columns to newspapers. I'd suggest that any aspiring novelist send out work to papers, blogs, journals, even newsletters. Not only do you learn to write for an audience and meet a deadline, you also get feedback and clippings.

I also wish I'd known that I didn't have to write serious fiction to be a serious writer. I was writing fiction that was third-person, detached, grim. But my heart is in humorous writing and giving people some cheer.

Last, but certainly not least....What can we expect from you in the future?

I'm currently working on the third novel in my series. Milagro de los Santos once again walks right into trouble. It's not all her fault -- she is a freak magnet and strange people gravitate to her. She's planning her wedding to Oswald and dreading the thought of inviting her horrible mother Regina. Not only that, but the vampire council is making demands on her in exchange for full rights as one of them. Dangerously magnetic Ian Ducharme reappears in a bid for Milagro's attention, and she's got a writing job with a looney man who believes he can shape-shift.

Readers can keep up with Marta on her website,, or at her blog, She also has a blog that features news about paranormal books, movies, and television shows, Marta can be contacted at, and she is always happy to hear from readers.

Java @ The Hut and new contest!

Announcing JAVA @ The Hut.....a group for everyone's promos, contests and chats! Java @ The Hut will be open to promos everyday of the week! There are only a few rules which are posted on the home page. Eventually I hope to host author's chats and special events, so I hope you'll come join me for a cup of java at the hut!

CONTEST! Everyone who joins Jave @ The Hut this week will be automatically entered to win a free banner! You can use the banner for promo purposes!

Hope to see you at JAVA @ THE HUT!!!!

Sunday, 1 July 2007

LORI DEVOTI ~ Interview

I had the pleasure of interviewing Lori Devoti, author of UNBOUND, a novel from Sihouette's hot paranormal line, NOCTURNE. Here's what Lori had to say;

What inspired you to become a writer?
I don’t know. I wrote a lot of poetry as a child/teen—who didn’t? Started a couple of novels in my twenties, but never went far with them. Then after I had my daughter my husband suggested I write a book—so I did. My first manuscript was actually a mystery.

Do you feel that UNBOUND is any different from others of the same genre?
Well, people keep telling me it is. I guess it is. I didn’t try to write something incredibly different. It is just what came out. I read a lot of fantasy and mystery—not just romance. I guess that is why.

What advice can you give an inspiring writer?
This is tough because it depends on what stage the writer is at. No agent is better than a bad agent is always a good piece of advice. A rejection doesn’t mean you are a bad writer, just that that particular person at that particular time isn’t looking for what you wrote. Everything in this business is basically one person’s opinion—reviews, agent rejections/acceptances, editor rejections/acceptances. Don’t let them get you down and keep going. Pick the pearls out of critiques and toss everything else. See, I have TONS of advice.

Did you feel you would go as far as you did?
I don’t think I am that far yet. So I hope to go much further. To be honest, I don’t think I thought about how far I would get.

Can you tell us a bit about your contemporary novels, LOVE IS ALL AROUND and LOVE IS ALL YOU NEED?
They are both set in Southern Missouri. They are very different from Unbound. Light contemporary romantic comedies. I have had people say they can’t believe they were written by the same person who wrote Unbound—but they were. J Love is All Around is about a small town girl who wants to get out and move to the city—St. Louis in this case. Love is All You Need is about a small town girl who has left and been working in Chicago at a high brow auction house. Her boss sends her to Southern Missouri to find a piece of legendary art pottery. The hero is after the same piece of art pottery. I think both books are fun and they both have characters similar to people I knew in my childhood—which made them fun to write. There are excerpts from both on my site.

What is your favorite thing about writing Contemporary? Paranormal?
Romantic comedy is easy for me. It just pours out. Writing dark is harder. I have to get into dark mode—and stay there. But I love the paranormal aspects and being able to just go with my imagination. Hellhounds can get away with a lot more than a small town girl from Missouri.

In which areas are the two genres the most different?
If asking about my particular books, it’s my voice. It is totally different between the two.

Where did the idea for UNBOUND come from?
I wanted to write about shape-shifters, but didn’t want to do werewolves. I came across a picture of the Black Dog of Ireland in a book and the idea for hellhounds were born. This is also where the seed for Lusse came from. This same book said some people believed a witch named Lusse ran the Wild Hunt (usually it is Odin). I just ran with it.

Was there a specific event or person who spurred the creation of Lusse's character in your UNBOUND novel?
Just the book I mentioned above. The rest just kind of happened. I am not a writer who does character sheets or anything. My characters are fairly organic.

Can you tell us a bit about GUARDIAN'S KEEP, your next book for the Unbound series?
It’s Kelly and Kol’s story. Lots of action in this one and lots of new beings. Kelly is harboring bad feelings against Kol for the death of her friend in Unbound. On Kol’s part—someone has been attacking his bar trying to take over his portal—he suspects Kelly. So each is watching the other when the book opens. There is a lot more about garm in this book and a new place that I love—Lyngvi and a new character, Fenrir. Plus dwarves, dark elves, trolls, mud type monsters and the corporeal undead. Lots and lots of action—and it’s hotter than Unbound. I really like Kol. He’s an alpha, but a protector. That is part of a garm’s nature—to protect.

How about the third book in the series?
This is Venge’s story and I am writing it now. I can’t say a lot about it because the proposal is still out with my editor, but I plan to introduce some more new beings: Valkyries and Norns. And the Wild Hunt is a focal point. And some characters from the first two books will make appearances.

On your website's hompage you feature Hellhound Bookplates. Can you tell us about those?
They are printed on Avery labels, but I think they look pretty nice. If anyone would like one, they can send me a self-addressed stamped envelope and a note letting me know if you want one or two. I’ll sign them and ship them back off. My mailing address to send the SASE is Lori Devoti, PO Box 46251, Madison, WI 53744-6251

Thanks for the interview!!


Thank you, Lori! I'm delighted and honored!

You can visit LORI DEVOTI to learn more about her books and the lady herself!