• authors,  Books

    Winner Winner Chicken Dinner!

    What’s Jack up to? Sorry I have been quiet on the Jack front lately but I have been so swamped with the dear twins and college stuff that there has been to time to stay on the mischievous Jack. And believe me he’s taking full advantage of it. Getting into things were he can. Sneaking into bookbags and sneaking snacks. Reaching high countertops and getting what he can there. Even feeling his wild oats and going off the porch and chasing after big dogs who dare come up the street. Yeah, that one just about gave me a heart attack. Big trouble there.  Good thing the dog thought little Jack was a joke. I didn’t and he’s on the leash for good now. So that’s what Jack’s been up to. Never dull.

    We have a winner in THE ARMS OF THE ENEMY contest. Thanks to the random number generator it looks like Lisbeth will be sending her book clear across the country to our friend Ina In Alaska! You picked a great day to comment Ina and you get a free book from Lisbeth. Please send me your mailing info and I will be sure the book gets to you. Enjoy!


    True Random Number Generator

    2 Powered by RANDOM.ORG



  • authors,  Books,  my view

    Messin’ with my Mind

    Thanks so much to all of you that left comments on yesterday’s interview with author Lisbeth Eng. There is still time to comment and win a copy of her book IN THE ARMS OF THE ENEMY here. Go for it!

    So leave it to the PIC to know me and my neurosis so well that she can recommend the perfect book for me that plays right into them.  I’m talking about Carolyn Crane’s MIND GAMES. How Carolyn thought of a hyp0chondriac heroine I will never know, but I likie a lot and can’t wait to sink my teeth into her second book in her super trilogy DOUBLE CROSS. You can check out Carolyn at her super funny blog here. What a talent she is and now I want Mongolian food. Hmm…

    So what you reading?



  • authors,  interviews

    Interview With An Enemy…uh, not really :-)

    Ok so this is not an interview with an enemy it’s really an interview with a friend, my RWA/NYC chapter mate , Lisbeth Eng whose debut novel:  IN THE ARMS OF THE ENEMY has just been released from The Wild Rose Press.

    Here is a bit of a teaser: Isabella Ricci has pledged her life for the cause – to free Italy from Nazi oppression. Her mission for the Resistance, to seduce a German officer into revealing military secrets, could be deadly. Can she complete her assignment before losing her heart…or her life?

    Welcome to ye old blog Lisbeth it’s so good to have you here on just a joyous occasion.

    Tell us about your background. Did you know you always wanted to be a writer?

    I never really thought I’d be a writer, but even as a small child I fantasized about writing a novel.  And though I majored in English in college, I didn’t picture myself making a living as a fiction writer or even completing a novel.  I was not very career oriented (I just wanted to make it through those four years with good grades and a fun social life) but one of my professors, my mentor, you might call her, told me a major in English is a boon to any career.  Back then, I never thought I’d end up in the finance industry for 27 years, nor that I would complete an entire novel, much less get it published!

    Now you write is a time that is not seen too often what drew you to WWII as a setting for romance?

    Years ago, when I began In the Arms of the Enemy, I knew that a romance novel (or any novel) needs a strong conflict, and what could be a better source of conflict than war? World War II evokes particularly strong emotions, especially when the German army is involved, and one of my main characters is a German officer.  The heroine, Isabella Ricci, is a freedom fighter and member of the Italian Resistance. Her mission is to seduce a German officer, Captain Günter Schumann, to gain intelligence to fight the Nazis.  A love triangle develops between Isabella, Günter and Massimo Baricelli, Isabella’s Italian boyfriend and her commander in the Resistance.  But I recently realized the most likely reason I chose World War II Italy as the setting for my novel.  I spent the summer between my sophomore and junior years of college in Italy, and our professor regaled us with thrilling tales of the Italian Resistance.  He had lived in Italy during the war and his recollections were quite personal and moving.  I think that planted a seed, which subconsciously grew into a novel twenty years later.


    Now for one of my favorite questions… Tell us the story of your “overnight” success. Inquiring minds want to know.

    Overnight success?  Hardly!  I started this book nearly nine years ago and my manuscript has endured multiple rewrites, revisions, submissions and rejections along the way.  I also put it aside for a couple of years when I needed time to deal with some major life issues.  Even publication with The Wild Rose Press was not an easy road.  I submitted it to them nearly two years ago and had to revise it twice before they would offer me a contract.  After the contract came two rounds of editing, which lasted over six months.

    What’s can we look forward to next from you?

    I’ve a few ideas churning in my brain for another historical, though probably not set during World War II.  I do have an idea for a post-WWII romance set in Germany involving an American soldier and a German woman.  But I’m also toying with ideas for romances set during the American Revolution (a British soldier and a female American patriot), pre-Civil War (a northern abolitionist and a southern belle) and a romance between a Catholic man and a Protestant woman set in Ireland during the Anglo-Irish War.  As you can see, conflicts abound.  However, the one that’s been most on my mind of late is set in 18th century England and (surprisingly) doesn’t involve any wars.  Maybe I need a break from all the fighting!

    Thanks so much for being here today Lisbeth. I’m honored to have you here for you debut.

    Now for more fun one lucky commenter will win a signed copy of IN THE ARMS OF THE ENEMY sent from Lisbeth. So comment away or ask a question or Lisbeth and good luck!!! Winner will be announced on Wednesday.

    You can visit Lisbeth at her site   http://www.lisbetheng.com/ and pick up IN THE ARMS OF THE ENEMY from The Wild Rose Press here:





  • authors,  book launch,  Books,  interviews,  Uncategorized

    The Counseling w/ Marley Gibson

    Today I’m happy to once again have my friend, Marley Gibson here on ye old blog to talk about her newest book in her Ghost Huntress Series: THE COUNSELING

    Hi Marley I’m so happy to have you back on the blog to talk about another installment of your popular YA series Ghost Huntress. Tell us about it.

    What makes this world so exciting for you?

    I love Kendall’s world because I am master of all I survey…bwah ha ha ha!! Seriously…I like creating this setting with her friends, parents, etc., because we all know that how and where we grow up in our formative years really shapes us forever as a person. I wanted Kendall to be surrounded by support and love even though she’s going through a really touch time with her psychic awakening and all it has brought into her life. Besides, growing up int he South, I feel I know how to make a Southern town come alive with its quirky characters, oddities, and traditions

    Where do you get your ideas? I know you sometimes go on ghost hunts something I’d never do. I’d be way too scared. I believe there are ghosts among us I just don’t what to have any sit downs if you know what I mean.

    I get ideas from a variety of places – 1) mostly my warped imagination that likes to question and “what if” everything around me, 2) my even more warped dreams which are enhanced by the stomach medication I take at night with the side effect “vivid dreams, 3) listening in on other people’s conversations all the time, 4) things that happen to me or friends on ghost hunting adventures. I like to try and work in the realism of actual ghost hunts into the stories and often times, I will put in EVPs or details about things that we encounter at an allegedly haunted location. Come on, Kwana…go ghost hunting with me!

    Not me Mar! I’m totally afraid of Ghosts!! So what’s next for you?

    Well…GHOST HUNTRESS book 5, THE DISCOVERY comes out in May 2011. This will pick up where THE COUNSELING left off. I’m hoping that my amazing publisher will want more books in the series. In the meantime, I have several projects I’m working on, including the final edits on CHRISTMAS SPIRIT, which is the sequel to my CHRISTMAS MIRACLES that came out last year. CHRISTMAS SPIRIT will be out in October 2011. Other than that, just keeping busy with promotion, blogging, doing conferences and signings and traveling all over the US in my RV.

    Thanks so much Marley. It’s always fun to have you here.  See you on the road!

    Folks you can find more ghostly fun with Marley by going over to Books, Boys, Buzz and win prizes here all this week – http://yawriters.blogspot.com/and at Marley’s website at http://marleygibson.com/2010/08/28/awesome-giveaway-for-ghost-huntress-the-counseling/ – for contest, giveaway and prize package running through September 15th.



    Who watched the not so Real Housewives of NJ Reunion show? WOW Whee what a hot mess. Poor Andy. I hope he got a bonus for getting knocked around like that. My mouth was hanging open.

  • authors,  Books,  jack,  music,  videos

    Lifted we have a Wild Winner

    What’s Jack up to? As I write this Jack is tip tapping around. His little nails making lots of noise on the wood floor. Though he just got a spiffy new summer cut I think the nails could use more help. Or maybe I could use more Patience.

     Thanks to random.org the winner of the copy of Wendy Toliver’s Lifted is….

    Maria Geraci!! Congratulations Maria. Now for those of you that don’t know Maria let me introduce her. Maria is a talented author herself of 2 novels  Bunco Babes Go Wild and Bunco Babes Tell All. You can visit Maria’s site here to find out more about them and her next book The Boyfriend Club which comes out in December. I can’t wait to read it. Maria, send me an email with your info for your book.


    In random music news you may or may not want to hear or care about. I’m all about listening to the new Erykah Badu CD. Today I need a Window Seat. I won’t post the her naked statement on the Dallas Mall video here though I do think I get it.  Maybe? If I do. I like it. I will share this song which I can’t stop singing.



  • authors,  book launch,  Books,  my view

    BEA Haul Away

    So I thought I’d share the reason my back and shoulders are still so sore. Here is my haul away from BEA. Quite a few goodies huh? Some happy reading here.

    I kinda wish I could line the bedroom with bookshelves but no way the DH would go for that. I really need a library. Oh well, to dream.

    Happy Friday! Tell me what are you currently reading?



  • authors,  Books,  jack,  my view

    BEA Day and no Table Flipping

    What’s Jack up to? Jack, like me, is trying to get over this heat. I mean come on 92 in New York in May. It’s just not cute people. Not cute at all.

    Yesterday was such a fun and tiring day. It was BEA Day! That’s Book Expo America at the Javits Center which is way over in the boonies of 11th avenue of Manhattan where you are essentially captive, have to have overpriced food and drinks, breathe recycled air and walk miles in a big glass cube.

    But I was saved for the ride down from Freshchester by the kindness of a friend. Thanks so much Ellen. I’ll travel with you anytime!


    Once there I met up with my PIC Megan and I got to meet new friend author Victoria Janssen.


    We also hung with the great and all book knowing Stacy.


    And there was Chris and her friend Tina from Germany. Why didn’t I get a pic? Very sad. Good to see you Chris!

    And then Diana. Hooray! So happy to get Ascendant the much anticipated follow up to Rampant.

    I was, as usual, without restraint and have come home with too many books, but lots I’m happy to say are young adult that the Dear Twins can enjoy too. But I also got alot at the fab Harlequin booth from Brenda Jackson and Gwynne Forster and Rochelle Alers. At RWA I got to see Cathy Maxwell again who is just so nice and was wonderful on the romance panel.

    No spotting of the Duchess Fergie for me. I think her event was ticketed so I missed that crowd but see from the news it was some event.

    I was just about heading out the door vowing, “no more books!” when I saw a huge line and had to ask who it was. Well, my super blog friends it was none other than Teresa from The Real Housewives of New Jersey! And she was signing her book Skinny Italian! You know I wasn’t leaving without that book and meeting the famous table flipping Teresa.

     Let me just say her line was so long but she was gracious and had a smile for each person and signed every book. Then when I went and asked for an additional book for my super fan and knit friend Eileen she was only too happy to give me another one for her. So sweet and the book is beautiful.


    Great way to end the day!



  • authors,  book launch,  Books,  my view,  videos


    Thanks for all the comments yesterday on what good books you all are warming up with. Some really good ones there. Adding to the TBR pile.

    Today I wanted to share with you one of most fun book trailers EV-AH by super talented writer, Tessa Dare. Her book Goddess of the Hunt was one of my favorites last year. Now watch and Enjoy.

    You can find Tessa over at on her site Tessadare.com here.  Go and tell her what you think and pick up a book.

    Now  tell me what do you think of book trailers? This one is fab, yes?



  • authors,  book launch,  Books,  guests,  jack

    Guest Blogger Alert: Author Amanda McCabe Muses on Mayfair

    What’s Jack up to? Jack is happy to today because there is a guest blogger (with a nice giveaway) on ye’ old blog. Yay!  And how can Jack not be thrilled? Look at the company Amanda McCabe keeps. Here she is with her pug Victoria and checkout sweet Abigail in her Halloween costume.




    Yep, Jack in not alone in having an, um… interesting owner. Now here’s Amanda!


    Hi everyone!  I’m so excited to be back at Kwana’s blog today, and excited to be talking about my “Muses of Mayfair” trilogy from Harlequin Historicals.  These books, To Catch a Rogue, To Deceive a Duke, and To Kiss a Count (plus the prequel, a Harlequin Historical Undone short story, where a real Greek Muse comes to wreak havoc on Regency London!) are out in April, May, and June.  They’re very special to me since I got to re-visit two childhood dreams—to have sisters and to become an archaeologist!  Neither came true alas, but that’s what writing is for…

                I became fascinated by archaeology when I was kid and found a beautiful  book my parents owned about famous archaeological sites around the world.  There were gorgeous photos and detailed articles about the sites’ discovery and exploration.  I spent hours poring over this book!  But then I tore up the newly-planted grass in our backyard to search for Viking treasure (with assistance from our German shepherd, who was very enthusiastic about this kind of research!).  My dad was not happy, and my fledgling career as the new Howard Carter was nipped in the bud.  But I never lost my love of history and a good tale of adventure and discovery, and I was able to use this with the Muses.

                The Chase sisters are a product of the Regency-era love of the classical world and infatuation with its artwork.  Their father, Sir Walter Chase, is a famous scholar and antiquarian who named his daughters after the Muses.  Now the 3 eldest—Calliope, Clio, and Thalia—follow in his footsteps as scholars in their own rights.  They form the Ladies Artistic Society to further their studies—but their bookish lives are overturned by the unexpected arrival of 3 sexy, dangerous heroes!

                I had so much fun creating 3 very different heroines and finding the perfect men for them, as well as exploring their sisterly connections.  I also loved putting them 3 different settings and plotting the mysteries surrounding ancient objects.  Calliope and Cameron in To Catch a Rogue are in glittering London and Gothic Yorkshire, chasing after a statue of the goddess Artemis (based on one I saw in the Louvre!).  When I wrote To Deceive a Dukeit was the middle of winter and I wanted some warm sun, so Clio and the Duke of Averton get sent to Sicily to protect a precious hoard of temple altar silver (based on the famous “Morgantina silver” in the Met).  I loved finding out what was really going on between these two!  And Thalia and Marco in To Kiss a Countgo to Bath, also chasing after the silver and the villainess who has stolen it—or has she?  The genteel Bath façade of tea and assemblies conceals danger and skullduggery galore!  (Plus I do have a weakness for Italian men like Marco…)

                So I had a fabulous time re-visiting my childhood passions and playing “Regency Indiana Jones” with the Chase Muses!  What did you love as a child?  And what are some of your favorite archaeological sites or art objects?  I’ll give away a complete trilogy to one commenter…

    “Great conversations, an engaging plot with lots of complications, and realistic, charming characters make To Catch a Rogue and Amanda McCabe a winner” –Cataromance


    “Amanda McCabe has crafted a spell-binding, sensuous read grounded in Greek mythology.  Filled with muses, romance, intrigue, and mystery, this thrill-of-the-hunt Regency historical evokes visions of Aphrodite and Apollo amongst the ton setting.  Like any great read, I was sad for it to end!” –The Season

    Amanda can be found at her website at: http://ammandamccabe.com/

    or on her blog at: http://amandamccabe.blogspot.com/

    Thanks so much for being here Amanda! It was a pleasure having you guest post today.

    Now, comment away people. Winner will be announced on Wednesday’s post.



  • authors,  Books,  interviews,  writers,  writing,  writing life

    Going Uptown & a giveaway!

    Happy me, I have an author interview today on ye old blog and it’s one that’s close to my heart since it speaks to my Harlem roots.

    I’m proud to welcome The New York Times Bestselling collaborative writing team of Virginia DeBerry and Donna Grant here at Kwana Writes today to speak about their newest release UPTOWN. Whee!!! Insert bells, horns, whistles and marching band here.

    First off a little blurb about UPTOWN:

    A story as big as New York City itself. Enter the world of Uptown where you’ll find a prominent New York family strained to the breaking point by the high stakes Manhattan Real Estate Industry…….

    After twenty years of Foreign Service abroad, Avery Lyons returns to New York when her mother and uncle suffer a serious car accident. The tragedy brings the family together, but Avery is not happy about reuniting with her cousin, Dwight, from whom she has been estranged since the fallout over a college scandal. Avery no longer recognizes the tony, prestigious neighborhood of her childhood but the same old family dynamics and secrets are all too familiar. ….

    Heir to a real estate empire, Dwight is willing to do anything to realize his aging and demanding father’s dream: Dixon Plaza, a luxury high-rise development on Central Park North, the last undeveloped border of the city’s famed emerald park. There’s only one thing in his way: Avery has inherited a share of the property Dwight needs. She’s more than willing to sell until she starts dating a reporter on a mission to uncover the truth behind the rumored shady dealings surrounding the complex. ….

    Are you intrigued? Are you in? Trust me the read is even better…

    Now to Virginia and Donna… Thanks so much for being here.

    What drew you to Harlem for the setting of UPTOWN?

    Situated at the top of Manhattan, Harlem has been an iconic community and a cultural Mecca since the turn of the 20th century. We both also have connections to Harlem. Donna’s Mom was raised on 143rd Street. Even though the family had moved to Brooklyn by the time she was born, Donna remembers trips to Miss Helen’s beauty shop on 7th Avenue (now Adam Clayton Powell Blvd) and her own forays to the Apollo, Sylvia’s and other spots during her college years.

    In the early 80’s Virginia’s first NYC apartment was on 110th Street (now Central Park North) in one of the buildings “owned” by Uptown’s, The Dixon Group. We first get to know apartment 5D, and it’s glorious views of Central Park, in our book Better Than I Know Myself (where we gave Regina, Jewell and Carmen’s Virginia’s old apartment). So, when we decided to explore real estate development and gentrification, we realized we had already set the stage.

    What is it about now that makes this the right time for this book? (As a New Yorker I think I know the answer to this one)

    Real estate was the gold rush of the 2000’s. In so many parts of the country people were buying and flipping houses and apartments like they were pancakes, and luxury developments sprung up in neighborhoods that had never been in play. Harlem was one of those places where new development bumped up against a community with an established history and culture. The conflict allows us to pose questions about the rights of people who have enough money to pay for whatever they want, vs the rights of those who have a history in a particular area.

    You have written such strong characters in UPTOWN. Can you talk a little about your character inspirations specifically for Avery, Dwight and the Larger than life, King?

    Avery Lyons, like so many of us, carries a burden of hurt, anger and resentment for actions that have taken place in her past. And like many of us, she doesn’t realize how those feelings continue to impact her life. We wanted to force her into a corner, where she’d have no choice but to deal with them and see what happens.

    Dwight Dixon, and his father, the overbearing and ornery King Dixon were characters from Better Than I Know Myself who caused “strong” reader reaction. They had one of the classic, co-dependent, love-hate, father-son relationships and we really get to explore that dynamic in Uptown. King started buying properties that no one else wanted in Harlem decades ago and has amassed a sizeable fortune as a result. King’s out-sized personality casts a giant shadow—one Dwight is tired of living in and he’s determined to create his own spotlight. 

    How about some fun? If you could give UPTOWN a theme song what would it be? I’ll start, for some reason A Family Affair kept running though my mind. What about you both?

    Let’s hear it for Sly Stone! We love that choice–Donna’s first concert adventure, when she was 14 was Sly & the Family Stone at Madison Square Garden, and Virginia first saw them at a “joint” in Buffalo called the Pine Grill for a cover charge that was about $3.00!! But that’s a whole ‘nuther story.

     First things that come to mind are Stevie Wonder’s Livin’ For the City, and Bill Withers Harlem–both very old school, but there’s a lot about the vibe that’s old school. And then we’ve got a remix–Take Grandmaster Flash’s The Message–“A huh huh, It makes me wonder sometimes, how I keep from going under.” Add a sample from The Jeffersons, Moving on Up, “Finally got a piece of the pie,” and add a new spin that looks at the world in 2010. Clearly, we have moved into some kind of hallucination here, but it’s interesting that people have associated Uptown with music. We have a friend, Valarie Adams, who is a singer/song writer. She has written an Uptown theme song–we hope to get it posted online shortly. Maybe that means there’s supposed to be a soundtrack. We like that idea since we now have a production company and are working to produce Tryin’ to Sleep in the Bed You Made–The Movie, so soundtracks are definitely part of the equation (Regina King is already attached. We’d love to keep your readers posted. They can join our mailing list on the website,  http://deberryandgrant.com/DGContact.html, or keep up with us onFacebook.com/deberryandgrant and twitter.com/deberryandgrant for news. . .) 

    Now for a little writerly/publishing talk. As a writing team I’m curious as to how you both make it work. I know I for one can reconcile things with myself (I know, issues) let alone another person. Does being best friends help? Ever put a strain on things?

    Our friendship, which started while we were competition–during our time as plus size models at the same agency–has never been in question. If we never worked together, we would be friends who are more like sisters. Our working partnership has only enhanced our friendship. It means that whatever situation we are in, there is always one person in the room you trust without question. It also means that we can say whatever needs to be said to each other, knowing it comes from a place of love. As writing partners, we leave our egos at the door. What we strive to create is a single voice that combines our separate voices. That voice is The Author of our work and it’s vital that no one can tell what either of us has written–we can’t tell either. For as much as we are alike, we are very different, and we allow each of us to be ourselves. In fact, the differences keep our writing fresh. And did we say, we still have fun doing what we do? It’s the best scam–getting to work and travel with your best friend and still be able to call it work. Shhhh, don’t tell anybody.

    Ok  I won’t. LOL. Now where do you see multi-cultural fiction heading in the future? Forward, backwards, stuck in neutral?

    What we need, and currently find a struggle to realize, is the freedom to be individuals. We seem to be considered as a monolith–as though we speak with one voice and therefore there is only the need to tell one story. There is no single story of African Americans, as there is no single story for any group of people. But whether we write mystery, romance, thrillers, urban, historicals, erotica or contemporary fiction, we all fall in the same category, “African American Lit,” which describes our ethnicity, not the content of our writing.  Our work is labeled, categorized and handicapped, before it’s out of the gate, before it reaches the bookstore shelf or online link. What the two of us write is women’s fiction with Af-Am characters–stories of struggle and triumph, loss, coping, love, life, and learning, but many readers who might enjoy our work because the theme might be relevant to their lives (like What Doesn’t Kill You, our last book about a woman who loses her job after 25 yrs), don’t ever see it because it’s in “that” section. We wrote a blog about this subject a few years ago and repost it every year–because, sadly, it’s still relevant. (Nov 20 entry-Writing White. http://bit.ly/3isaSI) . There’s been a lot of conversation in online lit communities about diversity and multiculturalism—and we’ll have to see where it goes—if there are actual changes that take place. But as long as books like The Help and Little Bee, written about black folks, by non-black folks and time capsule novels about African Americans from slavery to pre-civil rights, stories that focus on our strife, struggle and resulting pathology are allowed the spotlight,  while wonderful works of fiction about our contemporary lives—black folks, dealing with the challenges and issues inherent in today’s American experience, languish, unnoticed; when writers like Celeste Ng, find themselves forever compared to Amy Tan, http://huff.to/8bN9V2, a resolution to the multi-cultural lit issue will remain elusive. Chimamande Adichie said it wonderfully in her speech, The Danger of a Single Story,http://blog.ted.com/2009/10/the_danger_of_a.php , at a recent TED conference.

     Finally, what can we look for next from you two?

    We have worked out the plot for our next book, which again seeks to pair a currently hot topic with a personal story, and look forward to getting back to the writing cave to work with it. We also continue to work on our production of Tryin’ to Sleep in the Bed You Made, and support the producer who seeks to bring Far From the Tree to the screen.

    Virginia & Donna

    I have to say once again how honored I am to have had Virginia and Donna on the blog today. I’m so happy to have met them through the online community.

    And YAY, Virginia and Donna have agreed to host a giveaway today. One lucky commenter will win a signed copy of uptown. So comment away we’d love to know your thoughts on today’s post. Winner will be picked by midnight on Wednesday.

    You can find Virginia and Donna at all these cool places. Go and say hi:
    Website: http://deberryandgrant.com
    Blog: http://twomindsfull.blogspot.com