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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Holiday Hop Giveaway WINNERS!


The numbers have been crunched. has been consulted...and we have some winners!

Giveaway #1: Friendship on Fire by Danielle Weiler, paperback and .PDF ebook

The winner of the paperback book is


Congratulations, I'll be in contact soon to snag your postal address!

The winner of the .PDF eBook is:

Denise Z.!

I'm gonna skip ahead now to Giveaway #4 - a professional edit of the first 25 pages of your manuscript (if you have one, of course)!

The winner of the free edit is...

Teressa Oliver!

I look forward to helping you with it!


Why did I skip over Giveaways #2, the Sarah Billington and Giveaway #3, the Edwina Ray ebook packs? 
Because it's Christmas, I'm in a giving mood. So the winner of the Sarah Billington and Edwina Ray ebook packs are....


All entrants in the Holiday Hop, if you wanted prize pack 2 or 3 or BOTH - it's yours! I hope you enjoy them.

Email me with the subject "I'm a winner of the (Sarah Billington/Edwina Ray) ebook pack!" with the name you entered with and I'll send you a coupon code so that you can download the ebooks in the ereading format of your choice.

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas. And good luck to ALL my winners, it's not over yet! You're in the draw to win a Kindle Fire!

Sparkly and awesome: The Kindle Fire

Love Sairz

The being drawn!

Bonjour lovely ones!

How was your Christmas? I am still in the place of four legged friends, lots of sleep and patchy internet access! Where is that, you ask? My parents house by the beach!

There was the Christmas Day lurgy, and my sister's trip to the emergency room on Boxing Day...but all in all a great holiday! Nothing a cuddle with a dog can't fix. Or crutches.

I loved reading all your entries to the blog hop competition, it's a shame it's over, isn't it?

I shall do some calculating while twirling my moustache and who entered which competition and within hours (or longer depending on internet access) the WINNAHS AND CHAMPEENS will be announced!

All winners are also entered into the Holiday Hop GRAND PRIZE competition for a Kindle Fire!

I want in on that one, myself.

Stay tuned!


Friday, December 16, 2011

Holiday Hop: GIVEAWAYS GALORE! (Including a Kindle Fire!)

Merry Christmas savvy readers!

There's something tres humongo going on in the book blogosphere and I'm a part of it!

Prizes...prizes everywhere! Including the grand prize of a Kindle Fire! So seriously. Check out all the awesome and snag yourself some freebies!

From the official Holiday Hop Blog itself...THE DEETS:

The hop runs from December 15th to December 25th.  Winners will be chosen after the contest has ended, and the results will be posted on their websites/blogs between December 26th-December 31st.

The grand prize winner of the KINDLE FIRE will be chosen on December 31st and announced on January 1, 2012 on this site.


New to blog hopping? No problem!

To begin, go to the HOLIDAY HOP page in the tab above.  You can blog hop in any order you choose.  Start with an author and then work your way through everyone.  Click on the NAME of the author to be directed to their blog site.  Once there, check out their contest and enter to win.'s that easy! 

After you finish with one site, return here and click your way through the rest of the author sites. 

There are some amazing prizes this year including: holiday mystery bag, signed books, gift cards, dog treat bag, jewelry, iTunes gift cards, etc.  To see a sample of our wonderful prizes, click HERE

Ready to get going?  Click HERE.  


So glad you asked!

I have 4 prizes available, open internationally!

1) Friendship on Fire by Danielle Weiler paperback or PDF ebook!

2) Sarah Billington young adult ebook pack, in your choice of ebook format! (Pack includes Life Was Cool Until You Got Popular, and short stories The Death & Life of Rocky the Crab and Life Was Easier When Boys Were Stupid)

3) Edwina Ray thriller ebook pack! (Pack includes short stories I, Zombie and best seller, The Runaway)

4) Writers this one's for you! I will do a thorough edit of the first 25 pages of your manuscript for free! (Some of you may not know - I AM actually an editor too. I'm not just some random who'll give her opinions on your baby. I know what I'm doing.)


Just leave a comment below with the number (or numbers) of the prize packs you wish to win, and tell me what BIG present do you hope Santa brings this year, but you don't ACTUALLY think he will? 

Do you really want a motorcycle? That Tiffany necklace you saw? How about the kids waking up at 9am instead of 5am on Christmas Day?

I'm looking forward to your answers (but winners will be chosen at random).

What are you waiting for? Go Blog Hop! There's heaps more prizes out there!

And remember - you don't need an ereading device to read ebooks! Think I'm crazy? Click the link at the top and learn all about it!

Have fun hopping!


Monday, December 5, 2011

Celebrations, Giveaways and Promotions!

Dear poor, neglected blog readers.

How have you been since I saw you last? I have been incredibly busy with a hospital stay (I'm right as rain - don't worry!) and moving house (No more scary neighbours and spider infestation! Hello 2 storey townhouse with added new housemate and MY OWN OFFICE!)

And a pretty abysmal attempt at NaNoWriMo which was severely interrupted by the above hospital stay and house move. Also the fact that I was irritating myself by trying to write a thriller...but it was coming out funny. How you other WriMo's do? Didja win?


Some of my friends have had fabulous news lately, Angela Townsend sold her werewolves in Alaska book, Amarok to Spencer Hill Press, and Meagan Spooner & Amie Kaufman sold their Titanic in Space sci fi trilogy Wrecked to Disney-Hyperion!

I'm so very proud of them all. This is the same Meagan Spooner I was excited for who sold her dystopian/fantasy trilogy a couple of months ago. So she has six books coming out, starting next year. O.O

Speaking of people with six books coming out, Robin Mellom's debut Ditched has been released and is garnering rave reviews which doesn't surprise me as it sounds hilarious.

I may not have book deals coming out the wazoo like some people I know and love, but November was my highest selling month for my ebooks to date, so if you've read any of them, I hope you've enjoyed them. And if you feel so inclined, a short review on the site you bought it would be so appreciated!


Intrigued about my ebooks?
Komz the Review Girl is giving away FIVE COPIES EACH of my ebooks! The Sarah Billington ones, that is. It's international so go now! Quick! Go now and win! Entries close December 9th!


In honour of so many successes and attempts at NaNoWriMo and writing 50,000 words in one measly month, I am offering my editorial services cheapity-cheap! (You know I'm an editor, right? More info here.)

Editing 50k words would usually cost you upward of $400 from me, but if you take part in this promotion (mention it when contacting me) I will edit 50k for $360! (Longer works shall cost slightly more)

I am extremely thorough with my editing and utilise tracked changes so that you can see every little thing I've done, I make comments in the margins and provide you with a 5-8 page editorial letter, giving tips and ideas that could help fix problem areas. So if you want some help with YOUR book - I'm your gal. Check out the testimonials on my site.


Though there was an awful lot of lurking going on, I KNOW my interview with Danielle Weiler was extremely popular, so coming soon: An INTERNATIONAL giveaway of Danielle Weiler's Friendship on Fire!

Adios amigos,


Monday, November 7, 2011

Welcome YA Contemporary author Danielle Weiler to the blog!

I am lucky to have a special guest with me today, and that is Danielle Weiler, author of the YA contemporary Friendship on Fire!

Let's talk to her, shall we?

Hi Danielle! When did you first realise you wanted to be a writer?

I've always written, in some way or another. Whether it was diary entries, poetry, emotive articles, immature stories attempted at 13 and discarded shortly after...
The inspiration and writing bug really hit me in 2009 while I was living in Melbourne. I woke up one cold Sunday morning with Daisy's story on my fingertips. She didn't stop hassling me until I started writing it down. And once I started, I quickly developed RSI in my wrists from the onslaught of information. But it was when I handed it to a year twelve girl and asked her to be brutal that I started to believe in myself. She read it in about two days and pestered me for the rest of the year to send it off to publishers. So I felt brave enough to give it to others after that.
 What made you decide you wanted to publish with Sid Harta?

They gave me really positive feedback and believed in my story. They are small and fast-growing and they have a variety of options available for writers. They gave me the leg up I needed.  
 How long does it take you to write a book?

The first draft of Friendship on Fire was 135,000 words. I could easily have written about it forever. I mean, it does cover the entire school year of year 12. That took me about 3 months and I was teaching full time. I polished it for a while but it still could be pared down a bit I suppose. My second ms took me about 4 weeks for a first draft. Still working full time. I added a heap to it then cut a heap out of it and polished it. It's nearly half the size of FoF. The third ms took me about 2-3 weeks for a first draft and after that I was too scared to touch it in case I'd over-write and have to cut a heap out of it. So I got Sarah to appraise it before adding in meaningful sections to give it more depth. If I'm forced to write I can do it but it might not be good. If I have the right encouragement and inspiration I can be pretty efficient with what I do. 
 What is your work schedule like when you're writing?

Well my teaching always comes first so that's my day job. I have been known to get up really early before work and write something that's bugging me, or write a few lines here or there in class. I took to taking a journal around with me so I could record ideas that flew my way. I'd then get home from school, park myself on the couch, and write until hubby got home from work. It's generally every night until I purge the story from my system. I don't let it get past midnight, though. I write silly things after midnight. 
 What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

I don't know how different it would be from other writers. My husband says I talk about the characters as if I actually know them. I'm pretty protective of them. I read him random parts of the story and assume he knows what happens in between. I constantly talk about the plot until I nut it out, while he nods and smiles. Now you've got me wondering if I'm quirky at all. I'm naughty and write ahead, not chronologically, OK? That's all I can think of. 

 Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?

I've never researched for a book. I write contemp YA so I make it up from my history as a teenager or people I've come into contact with, or just from my brain. Something about researching seems clinical to me, but I found with my third ms in particular that I hadn't met anyone like the antagonist I created and I don't have a messed up head so I found it hard to convey those steps along the way. I think that's one way I need to grow. The ideas, however, just pop into my head. Generally the main character goes, 'Hello, I'm here. Tell my story.' (in a non-creepy way) and I groan and say, 'I'm busy. Must I? Really?' And it goes from there.

When did you write your first book and how old were you?

Does it count if I never finished it? When I was about 6+ I would constantly fold up coloured paper and staple it and make stupid little books for my parents to read. That was part of the teacher ‘calling’ too. I got to about 50 pages for the above-mentioned immature book at 13 years old and then the storyline got a bit creepy so I just stopped. That and my mum didn’t like the fact that the MC’s mum was a smoker. It just dampened my spirit. I’m sensitive like that.
What do you like to do when you're not writing?

Shopping. Going to the beach. I read when I get time but it’s an indulgence. At the moment hubby is trying to be my personal trainer (before summer, you know?). So it’s not that I actually like to do that stuff but I like hanging out with him. I also like my job, most days!
What do your family and friends think of your writing?

My Dad usually reads my first draft and tells me how amazing it is, unless it has really naughty characters in it. My Mum doesn’t like the bad language and raw scenes I put in my stories but she eventually loves the characters with all their flaws just like I tell her she will. I get my sisters-in-law who are my age to have a read too. Hubby is helpful but totally biased. My friends know nothing about the writing world so they are quite useless (sorry). It’s the students who prove most helpful. They tell me if the voice is authentic and they don’t hesitate to tell me if it’s crap.
What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?

That I could write about characters so unlike myself and so unlike how I would behave and talk and still love them as though they were friends of mine. That writing is addictive. That the yearning to be published never goes away. That it is a big responsibility to be in sole charge of something like a novel.
How many books have you written? Which is your favourite?

I’ve written 3 books in 3 years. If I don’t have inspiration, I don’t write in-between because it’d probably kill me to have a day job and be constantly writing. The last 2 are awaiting feedback from publishers. You can’t ask me which one is my favourite – it’s like choosing between children (not that I’d know). But they are all very different and I’ve developed my style across the 3 so I love them for who they were when I wrote them and how they helped me learn for the next one, if that makes any sense at all. Writing from a teenage male voice was very interesting and challenging, so I felt a real sense of accomplishment when I finished number 3.
 Do you have any suggestions to help budding authors write a good book? If so, what are they?

     Read, read, read. You don’t read because you want to copy, you read because it helps
 inspire you to write. It gives you hints as to how long a book is in that particular genre,
 what type of stories are getting published, what different authors’ voices sound like. Then
 try your hand at your own voice. I did it the opposite way in the beginning. I didn’t read
 anything or research any YA books before I wrote Friendship on Fire. I didn’t have any
 hang-ups or pressures. No one knew I was writing and it was blissful. It was only
 afterwards that I read and read and read and adjusted how I wrote the second two. It all
 depends on how much you’re willing to adjust and refine your craft.
Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?
  Yeah I do hear from them quite a bit and it helps sustain me. If I’ve had a bad day where I
feel like I’m a failure, I’ll get a little message saying, ‘Just finished reading _________ and
 wanted to let you know how much I loved it. It really spoke to me and I’ve given it to (insert
 name here) to read.’ Something like that. I love hearing what people thought about
 particular characters’ dynamics and how scenes shocked them etc. One girl emailed me
 and told me what she thought of the blurb for my second book that I was playing around
 with. She joined the two options I had there and it was really cool. Sometimes people who
 are unbiased can see a story differently to the writer. Feedback like that spurs me on and
 helps me believe that I can actually do it.
What do you think makes a good story?
Strong characters. Strong dialogue. The plot of course is integral but I love immersing
 myself in the characters and barely hanging on to find out what they’re going to do/say
 next. I’ve just read Froi of the Exiles by Melina Marchetta and I haven’t been able to enjoy
 anything since. If you haven’t read it, get it now and it’ll ruin you forever.
As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
A teacher. Always.
Tell me about your newest book.

See, that’s mean. How can I put it in a nutshell? I was playing around with blurbs while writing it and I did the boring ones and then I did this one just as a dare:
Your best friend has gone to Juvenile Detention,                 
Because of you.
Your other friends blame you.
You want a girl who’s not yours.
Your Mum’s pregnant to an abuser.
You’re in trouble at school again.
You have two strikes against you and you’re that close to  going to Juvi yourself.
Seventeen was never meant to be this hard.
 What would you do?

(Sarah's note: I've read this one, and it's good!)

Where can we find your books?

All good bookstores (the ones that are still left?) might have it or can at least order it in, or there’s Amazon of course. There are a few random online places that have it. Readings is a good one. Dennis Jones & Associates. Kobo Books. Planet Books. And lastly, I have a secret stash if anyone wants a special one from me.

Thanks so much for visiting Danielle! I have been lucky enough to read an early draft of her next one and I can tell you now it's going to do big things. Look out for it!

Friendship on Fire is available now.

Find Danielle here!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

I you?

I'm doing it. Are you?

Australian WriMo's get started in just over 24 hours. I'm sort of a little bit ready but not really.

If you're joining the fray, be my buddy - I'm SairzB!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Cover Love #3: Indie Edition!

I have discovered some FABULOUS covers on indie author books lately.

I think these three are really evocative.

The deep shadows, fonts, the coloured smoke in the background...
oh Tawny you've won me over.

I love the soft lighting
And how creepy does this one look?

These indie authors have certainly found some epic cover designers, don't you think? Sold!

Have you come across any primo covers lately? (yeah, I said primo. I'm owning it.)



Monday, October 24, 2011

Writers Block Schmiters Block: An Update


I don't have generalised writers block anymore. YAY! I have a very specific writers block on the zombie book but I think that's because I need to know SPECIFIC details for the next third of the book and do not know them yet. Research can be hard.

But in order to combat The Block, I started writing something else.

Something unplanned.

Something I have no expectations for.

It could be a short story, it could be a novel. It's just going to be whatever it turns out to be. That freedom is kind of liberating, actually. I've been purely writing novels for the last couple of years so this is certainly making for a fun change.
And getting to know the characters as I write them is bringing back the fun and joy.

So I have combated The Block by playing. And it's awesome. And not coming out too badly, I must say! This is a big statement for me - do you remember my last blog post in which I announced the supreme suckage of everything I wrote lately?

Here are some hints of what the story is turning out to be like.

A very, very white Christmas

Watching movies in bed

So. Much. Snow.

Scary stary emo boy

Chilling by yourself cos there's no one else around

Empty college dorm
Potential Satanism

Frolicking in the snow



So there you have it. An empty dorm. A satanist. Christmas time. A blizzard. But it's a comedy.

I dunno. We'll see. I'm gonna go with it and see what happens.

I handed in my last essay for the year today (WOOHOO!) so I have one more class next week and then it's all over until next March. Or April. One of those, I can never remember. We visited the biggest printer in Australia today and it was really cool seeing how the end product is made.

If any of you lovely readers are interested in my editing or manuscript appraisal services, I have some vacancies coming up so by all means contact me and find out if I'm the right editor for you!

Have a fantabulous week, all!



Tuesday, October 11, 2011

I Didn't Believe In Writer's Block the title says: I didn't believe in writers block. I've always got loads of ideas. But loads of workable ideas to help me get my characters from A to B?

I have been stuck 46,000 words into this book, in this one scene for a month and it's completely bumming me out, guys. Peeps are telling me it's not writer's block, it's PROJECT block, and to just write something else and it'll work itself out.

I'm trying that. And everything else I write SUCKS. There is major writing suckage happening in my life right now. I am NOT in the zone, people. I AM NOT IN THE ZONE. And with NaNoWriMo looming ever closer it's really not a good time for writing suckage.

If you too share the woes of writer's block, you might find this post from helpful:

They seem to have a thing for old pulp fiction covers over at io9
and I found this one quite disturbing.
Me? I'm experiencing some number 3 and number 4 and a bit of number 9. And you?

On that happy note I bid you adieu,

Love Sairz

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Sarah's Store of Awesome!

Oh my God you guys...

I'm so psyched I can do this. Amazon Associates has this thing where you can make your own shop so as a way to help you get to know me, I have made a shop of my favourite things (that are available on Amazon).
It includes books on writing and the publishing industry I have found really helpful, obscure but amazing and completely underrated books as well as TV series that everyone loves - including me - and TV series that were brilliant but cancelled early. Oh - and my ebooks, of course!

So if you're looking for something new to enjoy, by all means, click here!

Amazon gave me a username of Sarah Billieboop. I kinda like it. :D

More later,

Love Sairz

Friday, September 30, 2011

R U OK: A Confession.

It's a commonly known fact that creative types, artistes if you will, seem to suffer from mood disorders such as depression and anxiety moreso than non-creative types.

And it's perfectly understandable. We pour our soul into our work, be it writing, painting, music, choreography or other types, we put our heart and ourselves out there for the world to see, to judge, to deem worthy or to reject.

There is a lot of rejection in creative fields. And a lot of depression.

You may not have noticed, but I noticed a significant absence of myself on this blog lately. I've been posting, sure, but they've been about other awesome folk. They have been lacking in me.

And that is because I had what I tend to call, a 'down period'.

I have depression. It's a clinical thing to do with hormone levels that I have to control with medication. And most of the time I am perfectly capable of operating in the real-world and getting shit done.

But sometimes I'm not. And I realised, a week into canceling plans with friends, ignoring important emails, watching a lot of TV and napping that I was in a down period. It suddenly dawned on me that wait a second, this isn't exactly normal for me and though I thought I was okay - I wasn't. I had withdrawn from the world.

The day I realised that I was not okay (yes, it took me awhile. Not the sharpest tool in the shed, this one), I spent the whole day out of the house interacting with people and confiding in close friends and that has helped me come around and get back my passion and determination and hell...get back into this game called life.

In Australia a couple of weeks ago we had national R U OK day. It took me a little while to be brave enough to post this, but I feel it's important to say.

As most of my readers are also creative people, I know that many of you will suffer from bouts of depression, and anxiety and feelings of failure.

So I want to ask you:

Are You Okay?

Take care of yourself,

Love Sairz

Monday, September 26, 2011

Cover Love #2: Bumper Edition!

I was at the Apocolypsies site today (site for YA authors debuting in 2012...the year of the apocalypse. At least they have a sense of humour about it.) and stumbled upon a goldmine of freaking awesome upcoming book covers. Here, in no particular order, are the ones that appealed to me.

I have no idea what these books are about but their covers have me intrigued.

I do feel for the boy readers out there. With so many girls on books - some of these look super creepy, but I don't know how many boys would want to pick them up. They'll miss out on the awesome because of the stylised chick on the cover.

This observation isn't based in fact, just...well...observation.

So what do you think of these apocalyptic book covers? Have you found anything lately that you love?

Much love


Friday, September 23, 2011

You Can Judge a Book by it’s Cover! Guest Post by Lynn Hubbard

Today I have special guest, romance author Lynn Hubbard on the blog talking about cover art. As you may know, I love book covers. If done right they can tell you so much about what you'll find inside, and hopefully make you think what you'll find inside will be AWESOME.

Take it away, Lynn!

 - Sairz

The Cover is the most important aspect of the book.  I don’t care how amazing your story is if you have a drab cover, it’s a hard sell. The cover is the first thing people see. You have maybe a second of their time for them to make a decision and click on your book.

It took me awhile to come to grips with that. For example my book Desperado. I originally had it published under a different name, “The Hand You’re Dealt” and a different cover. My sales were down so after consulting with family and friends I was told the title was depressing. The original cover which I LOVED had two people on horses staring into each other’s eyes. I saw a man and a woman. Others saw two men. Since it is a romance book I decided to put a hot guy on the cover. Where o where was I gonna find a hot guy? I turned to the internet. And so my quest began.

The vision of the new cover that popped into my head was of a handsome dark headed man with the queen of hearts tucked into his pocket.  So after searching through thousands of pictures of muscular men online I finally came across Julian Fantechi. He was perfect. Moreover, he was on facebook so I sent him a message. The next day I awoke to find several very hot pictures of Julian in my email box. Picking my favorite, I had my son design a card and tuck it into his pocket to keep the original poker theme going.

Below is the Original Cover and my Current Cover.

I also changed my Young Adult book. The original cover was perfect. I LOVED it, it  had a rustic feel with a bridge that perfectly expressed Joanie’s neighborhood and the feel of the book. And I loved the title. “Things Change.”  But apparently no one else did. So a little bit of my soul died and I changed the name, and I changed the cover. And people bought it. And people liked it. And I grew to like it as well.

My Third book was much easier. I again spent countless hours searching for the right guy for the cover. (Its hard work but someone has to do it!) Then there he was. Jeandre. This one was perfect from the start. I cropped him out and slapped him on a pic from my Vegas trip. Perfection. Now the cover is as hot as the inside!

 My current project Chase the Moon is a sequel to Run into the Wind.  I again went with Julian from my Desperado Cover. For my Chase the Moon Cover I wanted it monochromatic blue. I found a wonderful pic of Julian on the beach and matched it to a lake setting. An amazing graphic artist named Tamara made it come to life. Even though technically Chase is a western the cover does not scream Old West. But it does scream PICK ME UP! Which is what we are all aiming for!~Lynn Hubbard
Chase the Moon: Coming October 2011

You can pick up Lynn Hubbard’s books in Print or ebook at Amazon or Barnes and Noble
Desperado is .99 cents for a limited time on Nook, Kindle or Smashwords!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Author Interview: Mary Pat Hyland!

Today I have a special guest on the blog, indie author Mary Pat Hyland, author of books for grown ups (adult books has different connotations to me, you know?) A Sudden Gift of Fate, The Cyber Miracles, 3/17, and new release The Terminal Diner. 
Let's all welcome Mary Pat!

Diving in: When did you first realise you wanted to be a writer?
When I was in my early twenties and working as a paste-up artist at an offset printing company. The work was dreary (dull agricultural publications and such) and my imagination started blocking out my first attempt at a novel.

What made you decide you wanted to be an indie author?
I’d sent out a ton of query letters and got form letter responses that made me wonder if anyone had truly read my letter. I believed in my novel and felt the story needed to be published. Then I met a guy who self-published through Lulu and thought the concept was great, so I did some research and published with CreateSpace at first. This year I’ve gone digital via Kindle and Smashwords.

How long does it take you to write a book?
I’ve written first drafts of three of my novels in a month’s time each. My first novel took years—about a decade. With the several months spent editing, I’d say I average a year. 

What is your work schedule like when you're writing?
I write every day, usually in the morning but sometimes late at night.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
Sometimes before I start I need to give my brain a workout by doing a logic puzzle or Sudoku.

Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?
Ideas pop into my mind every day and I try to jot down the best ones as soon as possible or else they go *poof*! I’ve used all sorts of online resources to research story lines. A woman in “A Sudden Gift of Fate” is a Holocaust survivor, so to research her character I watched videos of Auschwitz and Birkenau survivors. That was a difficult day, to say the least.

When did you write your first book and how old were you?
That first novel was written about three quarters of the way through when I was around 25.

What do you like to do when you're not writing?
In my day job I’m a cook, so I enjoy trying new ingredients or cooking methods. You’ll often see scenes involving cooking in my work. I also enjoy wine, especially varieties produced in New York’s Finger Lakes region. (In “A Sudden Gift of Fate,” an Irish couple gets a winery there to manage as a wedding gift.) Love the outdoors—walking, bird watching and gardening. Music and dance are also a big part of my life.

What do your family and friends think of your writing?
I’m blessed to have been raised in a creative family—we’re all artists, musicians, poets—so they think it’s cool.

What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
Now that I can construct a story pretty well, I guess movie plots too soon. Sigh. I pick up all the hints the screenwriter laid down while constructing the story.

I do that too! And I'll say things like "well that's Plot B all wrapped up now". I can be impossible to watch a movie with. How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?
I’ve written five so far; four are published. I think the writing in my latest, “The Terminal Diner,” is my best to date. There are some characters in the story that I’m very proud of and adore.

Do you have any suggestions to help budding authors write a good book? If so, what are they?
The most important thing is to write every day. It doesn’t have to be a work in progress; it can be a letter, journal entry, even a well-crafted tweet. Think of yourself the way an athlete does and be dedicated to working out—using your talent—every day. The more you use your writing ability, the finer it will be toned and your work will reflect that.

That's good advice. Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?
Yes I do, quite often. Almost all of them discuss the characters I create and how real they seem to them. I think it’s amazing how words written on a paper (or typed on a screen) can elicit strong emotions such as love or hate toward imaginary people.

That's awesome. My readers don't seem to be that vocal, at least they aren't vocal to ME. What do you think makes a good story?
A good story leads you deep into your imagination, and takes you to a place where all the stresses of the modern world can’t bother you for an hour or so. When you close a good book it should linger in your mind like perfume from a handshake or kiss.

So true. As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
First I wanted to marry Paul McCartney. When that didn’t pan out, I wanted to illustrate record album covers or be a pop star.

Tell me about your newest book.
The Terminal Diner is about a family that runs a restaurant near an airport terminal in upstate New York. The mother abandons the family suddenly when a trucker from Missoula stops by and samples her lemon meringue pie. That morning she’d ironically told her daughter Elaina (the main character) that “Men like pie.”
The story opens a decade later, Elaina is 26, and all she knows to be true about men is that thing about pie. It’s Sept. 10, 2001 and some customers come into the diner who will change her life forever, especially as she tries to figure out her path in the world after the terror attacks the next day.

And finally, where can we find your books?
On my web site I have a complete listing: I’m on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords among others.

Thanks for being my guest, Mary Pat!