Sunday, October 16, 2011

Awe-Thors Blog Tour - Interview with Regan Taylor

Today my guest is Regan Taylor, a very prolific fellow Awe-Struck Publishing author. I'm always impressed with the interesting links on writing and the writing business that Regan passes along on our author loop. She is a very savvy writer! Without further ado, here's Regan!

Hi Jana!
Thank you for having me visit with you and your readers today on our blog tour.  I’m sitting here with one of my favorite triple venti lattes and a slice of cheese cake. About the cheese cake, one of my closest friends recently passed and her favorite food was cheese cake so this is for Debi. And if I might, what Debi left me with was it’s not being able to say goodbye that matters but having had the gift of saying hello because without that hello, that person wouldn’t be in your life.

Jana:  Thank you for that reminder about the importance of friendship, Regan. It's a lesson we all need to remember. About your writing - Where do you get ideas for your stories?

Regan:  Pretty much from my life. Events or things that just happen through the day. For instance, The Glass Cage was based on an experience that happened to several friends of mine as well as myself. Her World (tentative title) is based on an incident that happened at work which was pretty innocent – one of my attorneys had a meeting with some mucky muck and my imagination took off.

Jana:  Where did the idea for your latest Awestruck release come from?

Regan:  That would be The Photograph, book 1 of my Treasures Antique series. In the romance community, as a reader, we talk about wanting to meet a guy just like the heroes in our books. What would happen if one of those heroes was suddenly standing there in your life? What would you do? What would you want to happen? What if he was from another time – and had to go back. Would you brave time and space to be with that one true love?

Jana:  I love the cover for The Photograph, by the way. It's gorgeous!  How do you research? Internet, interviews, books, etc.? Do you like to research?

Regan:  It depends on the book. For my romantic suspenses I rely on my own experience working in law enforcement and then go to friends who are still officers for the most up-to-date information. For my western series (The Bride Series with Awe-struck) I’m pretty old fashioned -- I spent a lot of time in the library researching the movement west in the 1850s-60s.  I also watched some of the early westerns, like Stagecoach with John Wayne. By the way, he was quite the hottie when he was younger!  I live in a city of 54,000 people (give or take) but we are still very much a small town and our librarians are part of that atmosphere so when I’m looking for information they have been outstanding in their assistance.

Jana:  What is the most unusual thing you have ever done in the name of research?

Regan:  I wouldn’t say it was unusual per se but it was a lot of fun. For With All Dispatch, book 2 of my Treasures series which is due out in spring 2012, I spent a day taking the route my hero and heroine take as they are getting to know each other. I went to the Cheese Factory which was founded in the early 1850s and is still a fully operating cheese factor in western Novato. From there I went out through the Platform Bridge to Pt. Reyes and spent a few hours at the Pt. Reyes Lighthouse. I treated myself to dinner at the Pelican Inn – an authentic English pub and restaurant out in Muir Beach. Along the way I stopped at different places and wrote what my characters were doing and thoroughly enjoyed myself.

Jana:  What authors or friends have influenced you as a writer?

Regan:  Oh gee, so many – Karin Tabke, Tawny Weber, and Allison Brennan just to name a few.

Jana:  What’s next for you? Tell me about your next or newest release?

Regan:  I have three in the works. Well actually With All Dispatch is due out in Spring 2012 and it  picks up at the end of book 1 with Molly dealing with the fall out of her roommate Carrie’s relationship with Black Eagle. She meets a guy named Gareth (it is a romance <G>) and learns something very interesting about his past, something that changes her whole world view. Book 3 of that series moves into a darker area for me with a serial killer. I’ve written a few scenes of it and talk about creepy!
And I have my first draft of Traveling Bride, book 3 of my Bride series, completed.  This one is a time travel. I can’t seem to stay away from them.

Jana:  How can readers connect with you online?

Regan:  Easiest is Regansreads @ or my website,

Jana:  What is the biggest compliment you’ve ever received about your writing from a reader, editor, reviewer, etc.

Regan:This was about Devil’s Details where a reader said she wanted Luke to be real and to come into her life.

Jana:  What (and who) do you like to read for fun and relaxation?

Regan:  Deanna Raybourn and Tasha Alexander.

Thanks for visiting with me today! It was great getting to know you and your books a little better.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Uncial Press is Having a Birthday Party!

Uncial Press is five years old! To celebrate, Jude and Star are having a birthday party, but you get all the gifts. Every day an ebook, written by one of Uncial Press's talented authors, will be given away. My book "Her Best Man" will be given away October 29.

But wait, there's more! Two grand prizes will be given away. On October 13, a Kobo eReader loaded with several Uncial Press books will be awarded. And on October 27, the second grand prize, a Kindle eReader, also preloaded with several Uncial Press titles, will go to one lucky entrant.

All you have to do to enter is to go to  Good luck!

And if you need more contests, please go to my website at  for details about my own contest. In conjuntion with Uncial Press's birthday, I'm giving away a copy of each of Uncial titles, "Her Best Man", "Seeing Things" and "A Long Way from Eden". Please stop by!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Awe-Thors Blog Tour - Interview with Skyla Dawn Cameron

I'm very pleased to have Skyla Dawn Cameron as my guest this week. In addition to being a talented and award-winning author, Skyla is also an editor with Awe-Struck/Mundania Publishing. Thank you for being here, Skyla!

Thank you very much for having me, Jana!

Jana:  When did you realize you wanted to be a writer?

Skyla: I never wasn’t writing—when I was about eleven, I was writing YA horror novels. It wasn’t until high school when I realized I was wasting my time taking law and science and a million other classes when my natural talents lay elsewhere, so I began pursuing writing as a career when I was eighteen.

Jana:  What genre/genres do you write in? How/why did you choose these genres?

Skyla:  I write primarily urban fantasy and I’m not sure why as my first love for my entire life was horror. But UF itself is such a wonderful mix of genres that I was immediately drawn to it. I think everything I write—except for a trunk novel I wrote years ago that was a thriller—has a paranormal bent of some sort. My personal taste in films, books, and music varies widely, so I like to try everything.

Jana:  If you could write a new book in any genre you haven’t written in before, what would you choose?

Skyla:  I’ve finished eighteen novels and have another fifteen or so in various states of completion, so I think at this point I’ve tried everything I want to.

Jana:  Where did the idea for your latest Mundania release come from?

Skyla:  The first book in my current urban fantasy series, Bloodlines, had a snarky, violent, promiscuous vampire as a narrating character. I wanted to try something totally different and outside of my comfort zone for the second book, so I decided to write about a demon hunting nun in Hunter. I’m still undecided as to whether it was a good idea or not.

Jana:  How do you research? Internet, interviews, books, etc.? Do you like to research?

Skyla:  I do a lot of reading online because my budget is limited. Perhaps my favourite thing to do is to just ask random questions of friends and family who might know the answer. “So let’s say that a large Biblical demon caused an earthquake and destroyed a high school: what would be the procedures for setting up a temporary school?” “It’s winter and I need to raise zombies from a cemetery: exactly how deep is the ground frozen?” (This actually had a fascinating answer, as my friend’s father used to work in a cemetery.) “Let’s say I shot you in the shoulder...”

Jana:  What interests and hobbies do you have, aside from writing?

Skyla:  I run, bellydance (some tribal fusion and hip hop fusion, and I totally suck at it), cook/bake (primarily vegan), and I do some indoor gardening as I live in an apartment. Generally my time is pretty split between the day job and writing. I sadly even have very little time for pleasure reading because I have to read so much for work. I also have five cats and a dog, and they keep me rather busy. Oh, but video games! Some people meditate, I game; it’s the only time I can shut off my brain and relax. I schedule regular time for gaming as it’s one of the few things that keep me sane.

Jana:  What’s next for you? Tell me about your next or newest release?

Skyla:  February (tentatively) marks the release of the third book in my current series, called Lineage. It’s about a sociopathic, suicidal quarter demon out for revenge, and is filled with car chases, explosions, magic, conspiracy theories, and very morbid humour.

Jana:  What are you working on now – your current WIP?

Skyla:  I have several. I’m finishing Lineage then I’ll be working on the fourth book, Exhumed, to release at the end of 2012. I’m also working on the fifth book in a very dark YA paranormal (unpublished) series, the first in an urban fantasy post-apocalyptic urban fantasy series, and the first of a dark paranormal horror comedy trilogy. Among others.

Jana:  Why do you write?

Skyla:  Because I have to. It’s pretty much like breathing at this point. Also, it helps me process and deal with things in a way that won’t lead to me being arrested.

Jana:  What does your writing schedule/routine usually look like? Do you write a little every day or do you block out large chunks of time to devote solely to your writing?

Skyla:  It’s common for me to work eight to ten hours a day at the day job plus another three or four on extra stuff (like editing or reading submissions), so I basically write whenever I can. A couple hours late at night when my brain isn’t fit to work on other people’s stuff is when I work on my own, and I *try* to devote my weekend evenings to my work (which doesn’t always happen).  I used to work in short, creative bursts of two weeks and I had trouble finishing books if I couldn’t in that amount of time; I’ve now disciplined myself to stick with projects for longer periods of time as I can’t devote thirteen hours a day to writing anymore.

Jana:  What is the biggest compliment you’ve ever received about your writing from a reader, editor, reviewer, etc.

Skyla:  It may sound the opposite of most people, but actually my mother reading and enjoying my work is a big deal to me. I know many writers whose family shows no interest in their work or make no effort to discuss their work, so I’m very grateful. My mother, for example, read a WIP of mine last year and the end made her cry—that was a huge deal for me. And just last week she finished my latest release (Hunter) and remarked that she both thought it was my best book to date (I think only her and I share that opinion, as most people preferred the first in the series) and that she couldn’t “hear” me in the book and forgot I wrote it while she was reading. This tells me I did my job as a storyteller taking a totally different point of view, and my mother isn’t a writer/editor/etc, but one hundred percent a reader, so her opinion is very important to me.

Jana:  How can readers connect with you online?

Skyla:  I’m just about everywhere but I’m primarily on Twitter at On Facebook I’m at You’ll also find me on Google+ and GoodReads to a far less extent. My website is at where I sporadically blog, and I blog every other week at

About the Author: Award-winning author Skyla Dawn Cameron has been writing approximately forever. Her early storytelling days were spent acting out strange horror/fairy tales with the help of her many dolls, and little has changed except that she now keeps those stories on paper. She signed her first book contract at age twenty-one for River, a unique werewolf tale, which was released to critical and reader praise alike and won her the 2007 EPPIE Award for Best Fantasy. She now has multiple series on the go to keep her busy, which is great for her attention deficit disorder.

Skyla lives in Southern Ontario where she dabbles in art, is an avid gamer, and watches Buffy reruns. She’s naturally brunette, occasionally a redhead, and will probably go blonde again soon. If she ever becomes a grown-up, she wants to run her own pub, as well as become world dictator.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Awe-Thors Blog Tour - Interview with Sharon Poppen

My guest today is Sharon Poppen, author of the Awe-Struck Publishing novel "Abby-Finding More than Gold". Here's Sharon's bio:

Sharon Poppen ( has won awards from Arizona Authors Assoc. and National League of American Pen Women. Her western novels After the War, Before the Peace, Hannah and Abby-Finding More Than Gold are available at Amazon Books, most web based book sellers and from her website.
Her work has appeared in such publications as A Flasher's Dozen, Desert Treasures, Skive, Offerings from the Oasis, A Long Story Short, Apollo Lyre and Laughter Loaf.  Her workshops on Journaling, Short Story Writing and Blogging bring rave reviews.  Sharon is a member of Lake Havasu City Writer's Group.

List of Published Novels -
    After the War, Before the Peace - Xlibris Publishing
    Hannah - Virtual Tales Publishing
    Abby-Finding More Than Gold - Awe-Struck Publishing

Jana:  Where did the idea for your latest Awestruck release come from?

Sharon:  Abby-Finding More Than Gold is my third novel. My first two novels covered times and areas I wasn’t familiar with and took a bit of research. I read somewhere that a writer should write what they know/have experienced. I don’t necessarily agree, but I thought I’d give it a try. I stuck with locations and cultures where I have lived and experienced. I gave my characters names from my past. But like in all my writing, I find that no matter where I put my characters or how well I think I know them, they have a way of taking over plot and planning. Then it gets exciting. So, I’m a firm believer that action/imagination coupled with the use of the five senses will lead to a good story every time.

Jana:  What keeps you motivated?

Sharon:  The voices in my head. When I conduct my writing workshops about writing fiction, one of the things I tell the attendees is that I believe fiction writers have a touch of schizophrenia. But, our ‘voices’ tell us to tell their stories, not pick up an UZI or something. Also, I read a lot and am a big movie goer. Sometimes after I finish a book or movie, a happening in that book/movie will stay with me and I begin to have ‘what if …’ thoughts. Those thoughts often lead to another story line that begins to take shape and characters that begin to develop.

Jana:  How do you deal with rejection?

Sharon:  I expect it. I sincerely believe my books are good reads, but that doesn’t guarantee they will get the indepth attention of a publisher or agent. So often, when I read an interview with a popular writer, I find that they had a friend/relative who worked for this or that publishing house or they are already a entertainment or political celebrity and decided to write a novel. That doesn’t mean that the newbie writer can’t get noticed, it’s just a matter of having your work in the right place at the right time. So, I take the rejections and do a quote that I have posted on my desk says to do. Per Isaac Asimov, ‘You must keep sending work out: you must never let a manuscript do nothing but eat its head off in a drawer. You send that work out again and again, while you’re working on another one. If you have talent, you will receive some measure of success – but only if you persist.’

Jana:  What authors or friends have influenced you as a writer?

Sharon:  I have always loved family sagas. In my early teens, I read Dear Wife, a book by young adult author, Gladys Malvern. Her books are coming back into print and I was lucky enough to get a copy of Dear Wife and I enjoyed it as much today as I did so many years ago. Another of my hero’s is Leon Uris with his Battle Cry, Exodus, Armageddon and so many others. I also loved the very early Harold Robbins. One of the best books ever written was A Stone for Danny Fisher. I avidly read the political drama of Allen Drury and the powerful books by Ayn Rand. And recently, thru my local book club, I’ve found the lovely humor of Janet Evanovich and Carl Hiaason.

Jana:  What is the biggest compliment you’ve ever received about your writing from a reader, editor, reviewer, etc.

Sharon:  My biggest compliment was when my six year old granddaughter found my book in her mom’s car on the way to school, she took it and stood at the entrance to the school yard. As her friends came through the gate, she fanned the book saying, ‘Look. My grandma wrote this. All words. No pictures.’ For my granddaughter to feel such pride in my accomplishment still brings tears to my eyes.

My second biggest compliment was when I had two different publishing houses offer me contracts for one of my books. That memory sure helps when I get the rejection letters.

Jana:  Two differnet publishers? That's very exciting! What’s next for you? Tell me about your next or newest release.

Sharon:  My next novel ‘Regardless’, a gay/sci fi, is scheduled for release in Sept. 2012. It’s a whole new genre for my usual works of historical romance. Because it crosses genres, it was a hard sell, so
I’m so happy that Regal Crest Publishing has seen fit to add it to their prestigious library.

Jana:  Any words of wisdom you’d like to pass along to fellow authors?

Sharon:  Just sit down and write. Don’t worry about what others think. Don’t worry about editing. Don’t worry about publishing. Just get into your characters – picture them, feel them, smell them, taste them, hear them talk. Don’t worry about plot. Make your characters so real that your reader will dread the last page of your book when they can no longer travel along with the character you have created. The character who has become like a friend/relative/enemy to your reader.

Here's a blurb from Abby-Finding More then Gold:

    In 1897, Abby Barron, a young Irish-American girl, loses her cousin to a
fire and with him the plans to escape Chicago to search for gold in the Yukon
fields.  A want-ad for a cook revives the plan and she soon hires on with Paddy
and Tommy, a medicine-show man and his son.
   Despite Abby's wanderlust and Tommy's desire to settle down, the two
fall in love. But it's a long road to fulfill Abby's dreams of reaching the Yukon--one
that tests the bonds of love and uncovers long-held family secrets.

Book Excerpt-
The Leaving
Chapter Five

Abby smiled at the gatekeeper as the little caravan pulled out of the storage lot early on a cold, breezy morning. The wind whipped against her face as she sat next to Paddy on the frosty wooden bench of a wagon containing the men’s living quarters, clothing and food supplies. Tommy was driving the second wagon carrying their tonic, cooking equipment, musical instruments and her sleeping quarters.

A lumbering, but sturdy, farm horse pulled each wagon along. Their thick, winter-coated bodies, along with their mammoth size, frightened Abby. When Tommy had asked her to hold the reins of one as he cinched it into its harness, it took sheer force of will to override her fear and manage to do one of her first tasks as a member of this trio. Both Tommy and his father noted her determination and shared an approving smile.

They made their way down the busy city streets crowded with trolleys, horses, pedestrians and a few of the new motor cars. On occasion, folks came to walk beside the wagon and purchased a bottle or two of Dr. von Poppel’s Health and Beauty Tonic. Paddy kept a case of the brew handy for easy dispensing. Abby noted his unabated enjoyment of interfacing with people. He was glib of the tongue and generated a genuine sincerity.

Paddy was whistling as he guided the horses along. Abby stole a look at the jolly man. He turned and met her eyes.

"Well, colleen, you’re on your way.”  His eyes twinkled. “Afraid?”

“Oh no. Of course …”

He raised his eyebrows, which caused her to pause in a blush.

“Well, yes. Maybe a little.”



“Abby, love. Whenever you start on a new venture, make sure you have a little fear deep in your gut.”


“You see, child. Life is more exciting if you take chances now and again. But, once you make a decision to take a chance, be sure you have a trace of fear as your partner in the venture. That fear may be the difference between success and failure. It will keep you on your toes. Keep your senses on alert for danger. Mind me now. Always respect your fear. Make sure you’re the boss of it, but don’t deny its nagging companionship.” He turned and smiled at her. “Understand, love?”

“I don’t know. But I do know that I’m a tad afraid right now.” They were just a few blocks south of her old neighborhood. If she jumped from the cart, she could be back in the safety of the Moynahan flat with Aunt Kitty in no time. She shivered, not sure if it was the weather or fear. She squared her shoulders trying not to think about the known, just down a few familiar streets, and focus on the unknown up ahead, beyond her view.

Paddy noticed the neighborhood and watched Abby struggle. “You put that fear in its place right proper this time.”  He reached over and patted her heavily gloved hand.

Abby smiled weakly in return. She wasn’t so sure her fear was in its proper place. Her mind drifted to the last few minutes spent with the Moynahans. Long before she needed to be awake, her heartbeat had stirred her awake. It was so strong and loud that she’d been amazed her chest could contain it.

The Moynahan cousins said their good-byes the night before. There were hugs and tears as well as good wishes shared abundantly. Peggy had led them in a prayer for Abby’s safekeeping. The girls had never been close, so Peggy’s tears had been a surprise.

Her last words before falling off to sleep had been, “I’ll miss your energy and rosy outlook. Always remember, you’ll be in my prayers. I truly believe you’ll be successful. And Abby, I love you.”

“I love you too, Peggy. Thank you. When I get frightened, I’ll remember your prayers.”

“Remember to write.”

“Oh, I will.”

Now, here in the wagon, she squared her shoulders and did, in fact, draw strength thinking of Peggy’s prayers. The warmth of the embraces she had shared on the dark back porch with her aunt and uncle slipped into her consciousness bringing tears. She swallowed in an effort to push the bittersweet memory aside for now and turned to Paddy.

“How far will we go today?”

“We make about twenty mile a day.”  From the corner of his eye, he watched her struggle with her emotions and hoped each mile traveled would help her move emotionally from what lie behind to what lie ahead. He smiled with a hunch that this colleen would probably make it. She had a fire that would stoke the energy necessary to sustain her curiosity and drive to pursue her dreams.

In an effort to make things easier for her he launched into one of his thousands of tales of life on the road. The girl laughed and urged him to tell more stories. As the populated area became less dense, Abby noticed the old fellow’s eyes scanning the horizon.

“Looking for something?” she asked.

“Just watching out for a good campsite.”

Abby started. “You don’t have a place set up?”

“Oh no, colleen. That’s part of the adventure.”

You can find Sharon on the web at the following spots:

Website -
Blog Site -
Email -  
Next week my guest will be Skyla Dawn Cameron. For a complete schedule of the Awe-Thors Blog Tour including my guest blogging schedule and guests to Journeys with Jana, please go to my website at