Saturday, July 30, 2011

Interview with Author, Marva Dasef

Today, my guest is multi-published author, Marva Dasef.  While Marva writes in a number of genres, she's here to discuss her latest release, Missing, Assumed Dead, available from MuseItUP Publishing.

AUTHOR: Marva Dasef
BOOK TITLE: Missing, Assumed Dead
PUBLISHER: MuseItUp Publishing
My Author Page at MuseItUp:
Please tell us about yourself?
I’m a full-time writer living in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and a fat white cat.  Retired from thirty-five years in the software industry,  I have turned my energies to writing fiction and find it a much more satisfying occupation.  I have more than forty published stories in a number of on-line and print magazines, with some included in Best of anthologies.  I have a few other published books, including an SFR release from Eternal Press, “Ultimate Duty,” and an anthology of my short stories titled “Mixed Bag II: Supersized.” I have a few other books, both by small publishers and self-published in ebook and print format.
Tell us your latest news?
Other than this month’s release of my murder mystery, “Missing, Assumed Dead,” I’m looking forward to a cross-tour of middle-grade and young adult authors for the release of my MG fantasy series, The Witches of Galdorheim. The first book is “Bad Spelling,” which is scheduled for an October release.
When and why did you begin writing?
Other than the usual short stories and poems (gad, I’m an awful poet) through my teen years, I seriously studied writing in college, taking a variety of courses on everything from expository to short stories to plays to poetry. I knew I was going to write, but I just didn’t know what it was. Being practical and having children, I used my skills in the software industry writing technical documentation. Throughout my thirty-five years in the industry, I didn’t find much time to write fiction. But when I retired, that was my goal. I’ve succeeded in switching from user manuals to fiction pieces.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I became a professional writer in college, but only became a “real” writer in 2007 when I retired.
What inspired you to write your first book?
Nanowrimo. Up til 2008, I wrote a lot of short stories and had good success with publishing. I honestly didn’t think I could write a longer work until forced to do so through the National Novel Writing Month program. 50K words in a month. When I accomplished that, I felt ready to continue to write longer work.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Not really. I write to entertain, not to instruct. If somebody gets a thought or two from reading my books, then that’s just a bonus. I just want readers to enjoy what I write.
What books have most influenced your life most?
Mark Twain’s works. I like his style. My love of fantasy and science fiction started with reading Robert Heinlein’s “Stranger in a Strange Land.” I quickly added fantasy to the great SF writers like Clarke, Asimov, Niven, and many others. From there it was a short step into the fantasy genre as well.
What are your current projects?
I’m working on a fourth book in my fantasy series, The Witches of Galdorheim. Other than that, it’s promotion, promotion, promotion.
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Description. I tend to internalize and my characters do too. They’re not always making faces, gasping, sighing, or any of that stuff. My alpha and beta readers keep reminding me to add those descriptions into my text. Maybe I should write plays, which only have stripped down stage direction. Stephen King once advised that when you’re finished writing a book, cut 10% of it. I have the opposite problem. I need to add 20%.
Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
Neal Stephenson. I’ve really loved nearly everything he’s written, and he’s one of the few whose works I re-read. I’ve read Snow Crash at least twice, Cryptonomicon three times, and I going through my second round on The Baroque Cycle (three volumes adding up to about 2500 pages). He’s had a few duds, but when he’s brilliant, he is simply the best writer I’ve ever read.
Any special appearances or events coming up that you want to mention?
The MG/YA cross-tour on several writers’ blogs. Mine, of course, plus whoever else signs up. I expect to have fifteen or so authors hosting each other in September. It ought to be both fun and confusing.

Who is your publisher and how did you connect with them?
MuseItUp Publishing is a small, startup Canadian ebook publisher. Lea Schizas has past experience with the publishing industry, so she does not what she’s doing. I believe all her authors who have released books are very enthused and thrilled to be with the MuseItUp family. I don’t know exactly how I found them, possibly through Duotrope or one of the authors I already knew, but I’m glad I did. My first submission to them was “Missing, Assumed Dead.” When I got that contract, and I saw the professional way the company was run, I had no reservations about sending them my Witches of Galdorheim series. There are three books in the middle-grade fantasy. The first one, “Bad Spelling,” will be released in October.

How can we find you? Website, Facebook, Twitter, blog, etc. - please share your public links.

Twitter Handle: @Gurina

Logline: Prejudice, murder, insanity, suicide: Every small town has its deadly secrets.

Book Description:

When Kameron McBride receives notice she’s the last living relative of a missing man she’s never even heard of, the last thing she wants to do is head to some half-baked Oregon town to settle his affairs. But since she’s the only one available, she grudgingly agrees.

En route, she runs afoul of a couple of hillbillies and their pickup in an accident that doesn’t seem . . . accidental. Especially when they keep showing up wherever she goes. Lucky for her, gorgeous Deputy Mitch Caldwell lends her a hand, among other things. Her suspicions increase when the probate Judge tries a little too hard to buy the dead man’s worthless property.

Working on a hunch and trying to avoid the Judge’s henchmen, Kam probes deeper into the town’s secrets and finds almost no one she can trust. With Mitch’s help, she peels away the layers of prejudice, suicide, murder, and insanity. But someone in town doesn’t like her poking around, and when they show their intentions by shooting her through the police chief’s office window, the stakes are raised. Kam must find out what really happened to her dead relative before someone in this backward little town sends her to join him.

And she thought Oregon was going to be boring.


The front yard—if the flat space in front of the house could be given that much honor—was a mass of sharp gravel. Kam was happy to have her tennies on. The bottom of her foot was still sore from her impromptu foot race along the creek.

“Let’s look in the house first. Mirabel said the body was in the shed, so I’d just as soon put that off.”

Kam tried the door. It swung open easily. The single room held only a cookstove on one side and a narrow cot on the other. A small table on the kitchen side had a single chair. Kam opened a wooden cupboard to find it lined with metal—an icebox. Desiccated carrots and shrunken potatoes hung limply on the wire racks that served for shelving.

Kam hunted for evidence of an electrical supply. Not so much as a two-prong socket adorned the walls. Two kerosene lamps stood on either end of the room. But the shack was neat and homey. Salvadore hadn’t had much, but what he had, he kept clean and tidy.

“This is awful,” Kam said, picking up a tin plate from the table. Something had congealed, and petrified itself to the plate.

Mitch was on the other side of the room examining the bookshelf. He held up a photo album. “You wanted to find photos or records. Is this what you’re looking for?”

“Yeah. Mom will definitely want that. Would you fetch the box off the porch and load it with everything from the shelf?” She leaned over one of the kerosene lamps. “I know a guy who collects these. I’ll snag them too.” As an afterthought, she added, “I hope Salvadore doesn’t mind.”

Kam opened the album to the first page. A stern-faced couple stared out of the sepia-tone pictures. She worked her fingernail under the edge and lifted carefully because of the brittleness. She could just make out a faint scrawling on the back. The writing was spidery and elegant, very turn of the century. The name Vasco was clear, but the rest of the notation was in a language she didn’t recognize. Her brief studies on the Basques revealed their language, Euskara, was not at all like Spanish. She decided that when she got back home, she’d help her mother research this side of her family.

Mitch brought back the box with the metal cup inside. “That might be a collector’s item.”

“Maybe.” She put her hands on her hips and stared around the room. “Damn! I feel like a thief, but it’s better for Mom to have these things. She’ll cherish them rather than letting them rot out here.” Kam put the album and a few other books in the box. The titles and authors were in both Spanish and Euskara. They packed everything and put the box in the back of the Expedition.

Mitch closed the hatch, put his finger under her chin and lifted her face to his. “When this is all over, we need to talk. Seriously. About us.”

“What? Well, hold that thought.” Kam took a deep breath and let it out slowly. “Okay, let’s look at the shack now.”

She followed Mitch. She didn’t want to admit she was afraid the two rednecks might be lurking out here. Perhaps the judge had contacted them. Maybe he knew she’d found out what happened. The whole situation tied her stomach into a knot. When they rounded the corner of the house, Kam pointed. “The shepherd’s crook. I guess the judge put it there.”

“Why do you think he did that?”

Kam shook her head. “Mirabel said she’d carried it back here from the porch and dropped it. He probably propped it up unconsciously. It’s practically a signpost saying ‘Look Here for Evidence’.”

Brown grass and a couple of loose tumbleweeds obscured the bottom of the wood door. Mitch shoved the dead vegetation aside with his boot and reached for the door handle. He stopped abruptly. Kam followed his gaze to the ground. A rusted axe and shovel lay on the ground almost hidden by the weeds. Kam stared at them. “Rust or blood?”

Mitch shrugged and pulled open the door to the shack. Two dusty windows, almost hidden by the shelves, lit the inside with a diffused, dim glow, just enough to make out the interior. The eight-foot square space had shelves lining every wall where Salvadore had neatly arranged a variety of tools, ropes, and cans. At the far end, a workbench jutted from the wall.

“I don’t see anything suspicious. Looks neat as a pin,” Kam examined the cans and bottles. “Paint, turpentine, weed killer. Just the usual stuff people keep in a shed.”

Mitch knelt down and examined the floorboards. “There’s a dark stain over here. It’s different from the rest of the floor.”

Kam bent to examine it. “The judge cleaned up, but it could be anything.” In her heart, she knew it was blood. A chill raised goosebumps on her arms despite the heat. She rubbed them. “This is really creepy, Mitch. Let’s go outside.”

“We’ll take the axe and shovel.”

“Can you get them analyzed? For blood, I mean?” Kam reached down to pick up the axe, but Mitch blocked her hand.

“Let’s not contaminate the evidence. I’ve got gloves and some plastic garbage bags in the truck.”

“Of course.”

Mitch went back to the SUV for the bags and gloves. Kam crouched in front of the shed for a moment, searching the ground for footprints or whatever. With a snort, she straightened. “Huh. That’s dumb,” she muttered. After seven years, the weather would have washed away anything left out in the open.

The growl of a truck engine startled Kam. She was about to follow Mitch, who had already disappeared around the house, but stopped abruptly when a voice called, “Howdy, Deputy Caldwell. Remember me?”

Marva is giving away prizes during her tour!  Check it out at

Be sure to leave a comment and contact info to be entered.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Interview with MuseItUp YA Author, Nick Giannaras

- How long have you been writing?
--I’ve been writing actively for five years.

- When did you feel called to write?
--When a lady spoke into my life, saying that there were untapped talents that needed to be revealed, I haven’t stopped since.

- Where do you get your ideas for your stories?
--My first novel actually came from an old Dungeons & Dragons game I ran years ago. The rest come in various ways: a title, a song, a movie, a verbal idea from my kids, and pure imagination.

- What are your thoughts on critique groups?
--They are good ideas and can be very helpful, since they hold a plethora of skilled people who can contribute in many ways.

- Was it hard to develop a writing style?
--Nope. When I type, it flows as it is given to me.

- Who is your favorite author?
--I don’t have a favorite, but I do own multiple books from Dennis L. McKiernan, Graham Taylor, and Donita K. Paul.

- Have you dealt with writer's block? If so, how did you overcome it?
--Hmmm, the main way I deal with it is I sit down with my wife and verbally discuss the story up to the sticking point. On many occasions she has come up with an idea or a tidbit that sparks new ideas for the story to continue. Gotta love her!

- Do you find a part of your personality sneaking into any of your characters?
--Yes. In my trilogy, Relics of Nanthara, I’ve found several of my traits in more than one character. Odd that it played out like that, but I try to spread the love.

- Were there any scenes you found difficult to write? Made you angry or made you cry?
--There wasn’t anything too difficult to write. Although the scene of the alliance fleeing Annotin after their confrontation was a bit unnerving as I pictured myself in the scene.

- Do you use outlines or let the story develop on its own?
--I’ve done both. Most of the time, it flows on its own.

- What do you want your readers to take from your book(s)?
--I want their hearts touched by what the characters experience
to the point of wanting to change their own lives for the better. Although it is YA, I try not to sugar coat the stories, and I am not afraid to portray real world strife and horror in my stories. It’s not hidden from the kids today, so why hide the truth in words?

- Can you share any upcoming projects with us?
--Currently, I am finishing up Relics of Nanthara: Dawn of the Apocalypse, Book 3 in the trilogy, and I have several other projects in the works at various stages of completion. One is a Sci-Fi superhero, The Nuclear Fist Chronicles; three take place in Nanthara, The Onyx Tomes (taking place 30 years after the trilogy); Sons of the Trident (most likely a trilogy); and We Came To Die (a mercenary seeking revenge after being left for dead). I also have a historical fiction, Enemy Within The Ranks.

- With a full schedule, how do you find time to write?
--I write in between patients, at home during quiet times, and when the kids are in bed. Even when we go out of town, the laptop is with me.

- When creating a character, where do you begin? Do you give them a background even if it may never be mentioned in the storyline?
--The name usually comes out first with an image of the character in my head. The background usually comes later.

- Can you share one or two nuggets of wisdom to those wanting to travel down the writing road?
--Don’t write for money. If God is part of your life, write for Him. That is, write with a purpose, a message. Bless God in your work, and watch what He’ll do for you. I’ve seen it in my practice and in all things I do, and I’ve never been sorry.

- Where can readers find your books and contact information?
--For The Relics of Nanthara trilogy, my website is Once the others show, I will either create a separate site or link them.

- What is your writing routine? Do you need peace and quiet, soft music, or does it matter?
--I prefer quiet with music relating to the genre/story I’m writing about playing softly in the background. It helps get the juices flowing.

Sir Angelo gave a casual observation of the Evanien troopers and the surrounding activity swirling around the party. The horsemen moved to block off the intersection, eliminating possible paths of escape.
Out of the corner of his eye, Courtar caught Azin slowly reaching for his weapons. His eyes bulged in fear, wanting to grab Azin’s arm and stop him. Instead, Isaac grabbed the assassin’s wrist, impeding the partly withdrawn blade. A small snarl curled Azin’s upper lip as he glared at Isaac.
“Not now…not yet,” Isaac whispered, eyeing the Evanien soldiers. Azin’s lips mouthed a smart retort. Nevertheless, he released the blade and relaxed under the soldier’s observation.
“Everyone hold,” Jaspar said.
No weapons were drawn as they approached the alert guards. As the group neared the intersection, a loud command bellowed from a mounted officer. “Halt!” The horsemen moved into action, surrounding the alliance with swords and short lances drawn. Civilians scattered.
Courtar gulped. E’Umae looked at him. “Hold your composure. Now is not the time to get nervous.”
As E’Umae shared her words of encouragement, Courtar’s attention focused down one of the connecting cobblestone streets where he spied a large wooden gallows guarded by Evanien troops, the nooses full of motionless civilians. Next to the apparatus stood a cart choked full of newly slain commoners of all ages.
Courtar tugged on E’Umae’s sleeve, directing her gaze down the dreadful road. “Yes, it is.”
“What is the problem, sergeant?” Sir Angelo asked with a calm disposition.
“You and your misfits are under arrest,” the sergeant said. No smile broke his rugged,
short-bearded face.
Sir Angelo stood with both hands up in a submissive gesture. “Under what charges?”
Foot soldiers now moved in to help surround the group. The crowd had circumvented a large area around the confrontation, keeping the alliance centralized under Evanien scrutiny.
Courtar watched the sergeant’s grip on the horse’s reigns tightened—the leather creaking under the strain. He slipped behind E’Umae in order to hinder the officer’s field of view. 
The sergeant spat onto the ground at Sir Angelo’s feet. “My men overheard your group speaking on forbidden topics, poison in this realm.”
Sir Angelo’s eyes showed a hint of narrowing, and his jaw muscles flexed.
“Oh, oh. He’s getting mad,” Courtar whispered.
            E’Umae shoved her elbow back into Courtar’s stomach. A small gasp hushed him.
            “Like what?” Jaspar asked.
            The sergeant pointed at E’Umae and Courtar. “Those two miscreants spoke of Sovereign and prayer. Filthy talk such as theirs is grounds for the gallows.” He directed one of his foot soldiers to shove Jaspar out of the way, exposing Sir Angelo’s attire. “Heh, another knight who believes in ghosts.”
            The Evanien soldiers laughed; others spat on Sir Angelo.   
            “Taking the blood of a knight of Temple Sovereign without justification has harsh repercussions. I suggest you conjure a more effective charge against us, or let us pass.”
A malevolent stare burned in the sergeant’s eyes. “Your insolence will be paid with your life, you foulskin misbreed.” Several of the horsemen moved in, tightening their noose around the party with looming iron spear tips ready to thrust, allowing two men to move in and grab E’Umae, one by the back of her cloak, the other by her hair, and drag her violently out of the
E’Umae screamed as she fought against her captors, yet to no avail.
Courtar slipped by Boren’s grasp and moved toward the soldiers. “Hey! In the name of Sovereign, I command you to stop!”
In an instant, the Evanien troops focused on Courtar and stopped for a moment. Perfect for the alliance to shift into improved angles of attack.
The sergeant growled. “Take that boy and stretch his scrawny neck as well. Use it as a lesson for anyone else who wants to shoot his mouth off.”
“Eh, we can take ‘em,” Boren whispered.
“Hold, Boren,” Sir Angelo replied in a soft tone. With reluctance, Boren obliged as Courtar and E’Umae yelled and struggled against their captors.    
Sir Angelo didn’t move. He smiled with his hands folded loosely in front of his belly. The alliance mimicked him.
The sergeant’s fist slammed his saddle in anger and spittle flew. “And take the pompous knight as well. For him, tell the men to ready the axe. His head will serve as a nice trophy to our collection.”
Two Evanien spearmen moved toward Sir Angelo. The paladin lowered his head, his gaze fixed upon the approaching troops. His arrogant voice bellowed in confidence.
“I think not.”
A crossbow string thwacked. The commotion forced the soldiers dragging Courtar and E’Umae to stop. Courtar could see a bolt embedded up to the fletching through a horseman’s throat. His gasp for air was blotted out by gurgling blood as he fell over dead on the cobblestones. 
Sir Angelo’s effective parries from two different foot soldiers allowed him to slash the face of one soldier then finished him with a thrust through his chest. Isaac stepped beside him and split open the second soldier’s side in a bloody repulse.
Dreg lunged toward the sergeant and grabbed his lance. With a mighty roar, the barbarian yanked him off his horse. The sergeant crashed onto the street and rolled over onto his back long enough to look up and see a longsword punch straight into his chest. Jaspar removed his blade and continued the fight.
Vindicar flowed with Alkanien grace as he unsheathed his bastard sword and splintered the lance of another horseman in one smooth, fluid motion. When the lance shattered, the soldier sat but a second before Azin flipped a front hand spring over the back of the horse, and landed with his blade red. The cavalier teetered for a moment before slumping onto his horse’s neck, coating the mane with blood.
With Boren cleaving the front limbs off one horse, the thrashing mount crushed his rider underneath and kicked another foot soldier and snapped his leg at the thigh, thus buying the alliance a moment of time.
“Run!” Sir Angelo said. The entire party broke from the encirclement, running pell-mell for Evershaw.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Interview with Author, Laurie Boris

Today, my guest is Laurie Boris who is here to talk about her novel, The Joke's On Me.

1) Tell me a little about your book.

The Joke's on Me is a contemporary novel. It’s told from the point of view of Frankie Goldberg, a former actress and stand-up comic whose career is tanking abysmally. Frankie has lived in Hollywood for the past fifteen years, becoming estranged from her family. But in a moment of panic, a natural disaster sends her back to her mother’s bed and breakfast in Woodstock, New York. Frankie spent her adolescence there, helping her mother and chasing after her crush, the handyman’s handsome son. Pulling into the driveway with the only possession she has left, a red convertible, she hopes for comfort but only finds bad news. Her sister Jude, a famous feminist, whom Frankie has always detested (and delighted in lampooning in her act) has moved in and taken over…even Frankie’s old room. Jude has put their mother in a nursing home, and plans to turn the bankrupt B&B into a holistic health retreat. Now Frankie has to decide…turn tail and run, or put her anger aside and help. Or just stay angry and help.

2) What gave you the idea for this particular story?

I was working in Woodstock at the time, for a couple who ran a small business out of their home. Woodstock’s an interesting little town.  On the surface, it’s all peace, love, and understanding. But underneath, there’s conflict between the locals (who lived there before the Woodstock concert, which wasn’t even held in Woodstock) and the transplants (mostly weekenders from Manhattan who got seduced by the Woodstock vibe and moved there full-time.) Some of the transplants feel entitled. They cut in line at the deli. They try to block new construction. They stop traffic by having conversations in the middle of the street. I love the place and love the people, but there’s this funny undercurrent of social politics no one really talks about. One day, stuck in traffic waiting for someone’s conversation to end, Frankie popped into my head, railing about this and that. She had a story to tell me about what happened when she came home to this quirky, at times over-the-top place. The conflict between Frankie and Jude felt to me like the Woodstock Generation versus the “Me, too,” generation—the kids who came along after the Baby Boomers took all the attention. This, plus the characters I had the good luck to meet while in Woodstock, enriched Frankie’s story.

3) Are you a full-time writer or part-time, and how do you organize your writing time?

I’m a freelance writer by day, so I write my fiction around the work. I have to be very disciplined. I map out blocks of time. I’m a morning person, and I try to write fiction then, at least an hour every morning. Then more on weekends. So I guess I’d call myself a part-time fiction writer.

4) When did you first know you wanted to be a writer?

My mother claims it was when I was two or three years old and wrote on my sheets with crayons. But I always liked to write. I’ve kept a journal since junior high. But the concept of being a writer popped up in an odd way. I was living in Boston and had just quit my assistant art director job to go freelance. (I was a graphic designer then—my first career.) My boyfriend at the time, a musician, said, “So, what are you going to do with your days?” Maybe this was a preemptive strike to let me know that I wasn’t going to spend them getting in the way of his music! That’s when I thought, “I’m going to be a writer.” I wrote a lot of rotten short stories and eventually got better. And got a new boyfriend, whom I married.

5) What do you hope readers will take from your writing?

I like to entertain; I like to make people laugh. I like to raise difficult questions, but they’re much easier to take with a little humor. There’s this great quote by C.K. Chesterton: “Humor can get in under the door while seriousness is still fumbling at the handle.”

6) Which genres do you write, which do you prefer, and why?

I write contemporary, humorous fiction, some stories darker than others. This is the genre I prefer, because it’s immediate. We face complex challenges today that were unknown thirty, forty years ago. Heck, just ordering a cup of coffee is an adventure. I find it fascinating to translate that into my work. I like to give a character the problems I’ve muddled through, and say, “Here. See what you can do with this.” But I love to read historical fiction, and would love to try writing in that genre one day.

7) What is the toughest part about being a writer and how do you get past it?

Rejection can be evil. It gets easier, though. When I got my first, I cried. Now I look at a rejection and think, “Well, that’s just one more closer to my goal.” Enforcing the discipline required to make writing a habit and revise draft after draft can also be tough. It’s so easy and so tempting to give up after the first draft of a novel. I should know; I have several waiting for me in my documents folder. That’s one way of avoiding rejection: if I don’t finish it and put it out there, it can’t be rejected. Now I’m learning to get past it by just making myself do it. I put “editing project whatever” on my to-do list like a doctor’s appointment.

8) Is there anything in your story based upon a real life event? If so, tell me about it.

Except for living near Woodstock, oddly, no. This is probably the most non-autobiographical novel I’ve written. Although the minor-league baseball team in the book is based on our local single-A ball team, The Hudson Valley Renegades.

9) How much is your protagonist like you? How different?
Frankie is a subset of me, cubed. We both have completely unmanageable hair. We both love baseball and cooking. Like her, I can be snarky, and I like to make people laugh. But while I’m kind of shy, and usually think of the perfect witty response in the car on the way home, she’s out with it right away and won’t back down. My grandmother used to call that moxie. This lack of moxie is why I’m not a stand-up comic, like Frankie. And she’s a much better cook.

10) What kind of research did you do for this type of story?

I didn’t have to do much. I did have to learn a bit of Yiddish, and my mother was a great help to me there.

11) Do writing violent or highly sexual scenes bother you? Why or why not?

They don’t bother me, as long as they’re pertinent to the book and congruent with the characters. I’ve written them for other books. The only violence in The Joke’s on Me involves a pot of marinara, and nobody gets hurt.

12) What about your book makes it special?

Frankie! She is adorably flawed, and so utterly human underneath her bravado. Also, what’s special about The Joke’s on Me is that although it’s technically “contemporary fiction,” aspects of the story fall between “chick lit” and “women’s fiction.” I like to call it “humorous women’s fiction.” It takes the best of both genres: the heart and deep family connection of women’s fiction and the breezy humor of chick lit.

13) What is your marketing plan?

I’m doing a blog tour (schedule to come) and events at local bookstores and libraries. I’ll also have some fun contests on my Facebook page. I might even throw in some recipes.

14) Where can people learn more about you and your work?

Cruise over to my website, or my book’s site, to learn more about me and the book.

15) Any tips for new writers hoping to write in the genre of your book?

Persistence! Keep at it. Learn to write great dialogue and compelling characters. Read omnivorously and learn from great writers. We need you. We need your stories.

The Joke’s on Me is Laurie Boris’s debut novel. It’s a story about family love and redemption, told through the eyes of former actress and stand-up comic Frankie Goldberg. Frankie has lived in Los Angeles for the past fifteen years, relegating her family to the outer regions of her solar system while she pursued her own, middling success. But a disaster sends Frankie scrambling back to her mother’s bed and breakfast in Woodstock, New York. She craves comfort, but finds that the joke's on her. Her much-older sister Jude, who incurred Frankie’s wrath by leaving home when Frankie was just a toddler, has moved in and taken over. She’s put their mother, following a stroke and subsequent memory loss, into a nursing home. Now Jude, a prominent social activist, is turning the nearly bankrupt B&B into a holistic health retreat. For her mother’s sake, Frankie agrees to stay for the summer and help. But will Frankie ever consider her sister’s company to be anything but an obligation? Or will the lure of family connection—and a possible new romance—prove stronger than her urge to bolt toward a fresh start in Hollywood?