Thursday, February 26, 2009

What Celtic Princess are you?

I took this test this morning. You should try it. Here are my results!

What Celtic priestess are you?
You are a Priestess of Blodeuwedd At your best you are logical, intellectual, idealistic, rational, objective, social, clever, inquisitive and adaptable.

But focus your inner work so that you do not become detached, unaffected, scattered, impractical, inconsistent, superficial, overly analytical or shallow.

The challenge you seek to address is: How can you reclaim the energies tied up in maintaining false perceptions of your selves and the word?

Your guide is the Owl: teach you to see past the darkness of illusion to find truth and to hold fast to your convictions.

Blodeuwedd is the Lady of Initiation. She calls us to cast off the garments of expectation and to peer into the darkness of the self to find, and ultimately live, our inner truth.

You are now a priestess of the Coven of the Callanish led by Lady Morag in the story ANCIENT WHISPERS which was in part inspired by the Pagan Avalonian Tradition. You can help get ANCIENT WHISPERS published by casting your vote
Fun quizzes, surveys & blog quizzes by Quibblo

Monday, February 23, 2009

Author Interview: K. Celeste Bryan

Today, I'd like to welcome K. Celeste Bryan to my blog. She has graciously agreed to tell my readers all about herself!

Kat will be discussing why she started writing and why she writes romance. She will also talk about her books, her hobbies and more.

So, grab a cup of coffee, sit back and relax. Enjoy this little look into the life of Kat Bryan.

Tell us a little about yourself? What is your typical day like?

Kat: First off, thank you so much for having me here today. I live in the Midwest portion of the U.S., on an environmental lake named after a famous Indian chief. Here, we commune with nature (think owls, loons and eagles). I love to write, read and garden and I’m very fond of animals.

Most days you’ll find me at the computer, probably in an old pair of faded jeans and a comfy t-shirt. There’s an overweight kitty perched by my computer mouse (she’s fascinated with it) and a big old dog curled up at my feet. Between writing and promoting my books, I probably spend nine hours a day in front of the screen. Although, at times, the day seems long, I wouldn’t change it for a thing.

How did you break into publishing?

Kat: I’ve always written in one form or another. I began writing family histories and became very intrigued with the lives of pioneers, their hardships, their joys and tragedies. Some of the stories really moved me and from there, historical “what ifs” took flight in my mind. My first novel was more of a historical fiction, with a small element of romance, but then, the market called for more romance. Now, my novels are more romance than anything else, with a smattering of historical facts tossed in.

What influenced you to write?

Kat: I love books, the smell of them, the feel of them, and I’ve always found it intriguing that one can go anywhere in the world through books. I remember reading To Kill A Mockingbird when I was about 10, and fell in love with Jem, Scout and Atticus. I felt the sultry summer air, tasted the prejudice in that small town and imagined myself Scout. Then, I wondered how in the world Harper Lee could bring a book to life like that with words. I was forever hooked and the rest was history.

What inspired you to write romance?

Kat: Well, my publishers inspired me (ahem!) to put more romance into my books. It’s a changing world and let’s face it, romance sells, the hotter the better! And, I must say, there’s nothing more rewarding than watching a man and woman change and grow from the beginning to the end of their relationship or from the beginning of the book to the end.

Tell us about your other works, books, stories, etc.

Kat: Thank you so much for asking about my favorite subject. I’ve been very blessed with my two latest releases, Sojourn With A Stranger through New Concepts Publishing (a paranormal/historical) and Where The Rain Is Made released by The Wild Rose Press (a paranormal/time-travel). Sojourn is fairly new yet, but Rain has been out for three months and has received some stellar reviews. Here’s a portion of one from Cheryl’s Book Nook. You can read the full review here:

“First off let me start off my saying . . . I loved Where the Rain is Made! I predict this book to be a best seller. It is so good that words can’t describe it, but I will try.”

What are you working on now?

Kat: I’m having to rethink my schedule. Several reviewers have been asking for a sequel on Where The Rain Is Made. I also write under another name for six publishers in the erotica genre, so I have my hands full. Most of the time, I have at least one full-length novel going and

several novellas, with a short story thrown into the mix. I hop back and forth between them, working on each a little every day.

What type of writer are you? Do you plan ahead (plot) or do you simply fly by the seat of your pants?

Kat: I confess I’m a “punster.” I don’t use note cards or outlines, but I do plot heavily in my head for weeks before I begin. I know my characters inside and out by then, have gone through every scene, every conversation and know what makes them tick. By the time I sit down the write the story, it pretty much writes itself. Once in a while, something will come up that I didn’t expect, but I just roll with it and work it into the story.

What do you like to do when you aren't writing?

Kat: Did I mention I was a cat and dog lover? I visit the local animal shelter more often than I should. I wish I could bring them all home. Last year, I adopted Emma, a 6-year-old cat who was so despondent the staff couldn’t get her to eat or drink. She was literally dying by the day and she had very little interest in me when I visited her for three weeks. Her family moved, took their furniture but left her behind. Go figure! So, I adopted her and now, we’re bonded at the hip. She’s “Queen of the Abode” here and trust me, she’s eating me out of house and home. That’s a good thing, though.

Other than spending time with my animals, I love to read and garden.

What one thing do you like most about writing? Least?

Kat: Oh, that’s easy. I love it when I hear from readers and they tell me how much they loved my book. There’s nothing more rewarding. The thing I like the least is that there aren’t enough hours in the day to write everything I want to. So many ideas roaming about in my head and not enough time to bring them to fruition.

If you could spend an hour talking to anyone from any time in history, who would it be? And why?

Kat: John Wayne. Isn’t that corny? I just love his movies, his westerns, and I think he was such an interesting person. Years ago, I was in Acapulco with my aunt and some friends. Well, my aunt, bless her heart, likes her martinis and after several, she gets carried away with cuss words. We were having dinner with a large group of people and half way through the dinner, my aunt looked across the table and said to this big, handsome man, “Sorry, I didn’t get your name.” And he replied, “John Wayne, ma’am.” I wanted the floor to swallow me up! I was so tongue-tied I never did get to speak to him. All I could think about was all the cussing my aunt had done through dinner. I missed my chance!

What is your all time favorite book?

Kat: Without question a book called “Windflower.” Written by a husband and wife team in the 80s, I simply love this book. They had the ability to draw you in until you felt as though you WERE the heroine, bailing water from a sinking skiff with her moccasin. The dialogue sparkled, the prose was unbelievable. I’d give anything to be able to write like them. The book was put out under the name Laura London and I highly recommend you try to buy a copy. Mine is so tattered and worn from reading it, I’ll have to buy a new copy one day soon.

What advice would you give aspiring writers today?

Kat: Patience, perseverance and politeness. You must have a thick skin to survive in this arena. Rejections are frequent, praise rare and many naysayers exist everywhere. Don’t listen to them. If you want to write, you can. If people tell you you can’t, or tell you to get a “real” job, ditch them.

Thanks so much for having me. You can find out more about my books by visiting my Web site: or follow my blog: Kat’s Kwips and Rants:

Don’t forget to enter my contest at my web site to win free books. I give them away every month.

Thanks, Kat, for joining us here today. I enjoyed interviewing you and I'm sure my readers will want to find out more about you by visiting your Web site and checking out your books.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Sojourn With a Stranger

One thing I like more than anything when I read it to pick up a book and get hooked by the first sentence or paragraph.

K. Celeste Bryan does that with “Sojourn with a Stranger.” Check this out:

Under a gray sky, Derek stared out the nine-pane window in his study and watched the leaves dance at the feet of the massive oaks.”

Doesn’t that hook reel you right in?

This book is actually what I call a novella. At only 135 pages, it’s perfect for a rainy day when you want to curl up for a couple hours and enjoy the warmth of a plushy comforter!

Besides, it’s a fun read that I know you’ll enjoy.

Tomorrow, Kat will join me here at Reading Frenzy to talk about her books, her writing and her hobbies. I know you’ll enjoy learning more about her.

Please, join us for a great interview!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Author Interviews

If you are an author who would like to be interviewed by an award-winning journalist ... yours truly! ... I'd love to have you on my blog. There are only a few requirements to make the task easy for both you and me. The information is listed on the right side of this page under "author interviews."

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Win a book of quotes!

Here's a great contest for readers! Walnut Springs Press is giving away a book of quotes titled "Love: The Greatest Gift of All." To win, you just need to post a comment on your own blog and on the contest blog entry at this link
Give it a try!
Personally, I love to look through books filled with quotes. It a guarantee I'll find something to add to my favorite sayings.
Hurry, though, the deadline is February 28.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Author Interview: G.G. Husak

Passeggiata:Strolling Through Italy

Dear readers: Please help me welcome G.G. Husak to my blog today. She's written a fun, inspiration book about traveling through Italy. It's more than simply a travel guide ... it's a personal diary of the annual treks she and her husband take to this beautiful country.

(This travel memoir will appeal to those who love travel in general and Italy in particular. A couple’s journey that is both personal and universal, the author recounts their first shared trip to Italy in 1993 and their annual passeggiata over the next decade.)

Why did you choose Italy as the subject of your book? Why did you go there?

In the early 1990s, my husband and I visited our daughter, who was studying in Florence.
We returned to Italy the next spring, just the two of us, and have gone back every year since. Every trip gave us more ideas for other places to visit, small out-of-the-way villages, as well as the cities. We always seemed to come home with a plan for what we needed to go back to see, for the things we missed. Somewhere along the way, we got hooked on the whole Italian experience.

Your book makes a great guide for couples traveling to Italy. What are the advantages of couples travel? Are there any drawbacks?

For me and my husband Al, these trips coincided with our empty nest years and gave us a new way of connecting. These years were a good time to share travel experiences, just the two of us together. And even when we came home, anything about Italy became a kind of shared hobby. We would clip articles about Italian politics, try new Italian restaurants, seek out Italian films.

It can be hard to travel for an extended period with anyone, but with one’s spouse, it’s a particular challenge to spend two or more weeks in little hotel rooms planning what to do each day.

One key for us is instead of driving, which is more stressful, for both Al, as driver, and me, as navigator, we take trains and buses. Al likes the challenge of figuring out the schedules and I like not having to worry about us getting lost!

Traveling as a couple definitely has its moments of arguments and disagreements, since we are spending so much time together and have to make so many plans and decisions every day, but we’ve gradually learned how to blend our differences as we travel around Italy. Our disagreements are fewer and we have enjoyed every one of our trips. The special travel moments we experience together are memories we can share when we get home.

Are there films that have influenced your writing, travels and how you look at the world?

We like lots of movies, but once we started going to Italy, we began to pay more attention to Italian movies and Italian subjects in movies. We saw an early Fellini film that was inspired by his life in Rimini and liked it more because we had been to Rimini on the eastern seacoast. We rented “Ciao, Professore,” about a teacher in a village in southern Italy, and appreciated its view of village life we had only seen on the surface. These films deepened our understanding of places we had seen.

The year after we saw the Sistine Chapel, I watched Charlton Heston play Michelangelo in “The Agony and the Ecstasy” and the year after we went to Assisi, we watched “Brother Sun, Sister Moon,” about the life of St. Francis. And we will watch any old and new American or British movies filmed in Italian cities or countryside.

So, I guess our film watching has been inspired by our travels in Italy rather than the other way around.

Tell us about the people of Italy.

In some ways, it doesn’t feel appropriate for me to describe Italians as a group since we are outsiders. But from our perspective as visitors, we can say that hospitality is a strong national characteristic. When you walk into a restaurant for dinner, you are greeted immediately “Buena sera!” and enthusiastically offered a table. If we don’t understand something on the menu, waiters try to explain. We have even been taken to the kitchen to be shown the fish or piece of meat in question. We are never rushed through our meal and feel welcome until we ask for the check.

It also seems to me that, for all of the honking horns and rushing cars in the cities, Italians are in less of a hurry than we are. Life is savored for itself. The traditionally long midday meals are a sign of that. Most stores still close from noon to 4:00. When they reopen, they stay open until 8:00. The tradition of the passeggiata in the evenings, of just walking with others for enjoyment, is still almost universal. Italians also seem to be very family and community-minded. They like to be together.

Italy is modern in lifestyle, but very different from the U.S. in tangible ways. Takeout food, for instance, is still more likely to be a sandwich in a piece of waxed paper than Styrofoam-packaged meals.

While Italians like nice things, there is less materialism. When we come home, I often think that Americans could learn a lot from Italians, especially how to enjoy life more simply.

How different is Italy from the rest of Europe as a destination?

We love to travel and have been to other countries in the European Union. We always have a good time and are glad we went, but still like Italy the best. Italy has so much variety – mountains, great old cities, art, seacoast villages – in a relatively small space. It’s easy to get around by train and the distances aren’t excessively long.

One year, we crossed the border into Italy after two weeks in Spain and southern France. While waiting for our train connection at 10:30 at night, we ate delicious pasta and red wine in the cafeteria of the small station. The small staff chatted with us and one another in an upbeat way that was different from the other countries we visited. Maybe it’s our familiarity, but in Italy everything feels better. We experience a sense of homecoming when we arrive.

Your book came out last year. Do you think that 2009 is a good year to go to Italy?

This year will be interesting. We’ve noticed in the last several years, tourist crowds have been bigger, even in the off season of early spring when we like to travel. It’s good for Italy’s economy, but we’ve missed the years when there were fewer travelers. With the present world economy, we are curious about whether Italian tourist centers will be less crowded. We’d also like to see how the Italians are doing since they depend a great deal on tourism.

Prices might be down a bit with less demand. The euro is less expensive now compared to our dollar last year. 2009 could be a great year to go.

I’m looking forward to hearing the Italian take on America’s new President when I ret

You now live in Houston. That’s one of the better points of departure for foreign travel, isn’t it? Is it the airport or the mix of cultures in Houston or what?

We moved to Houston in the early 1980s from the Northeast and those were two of the things we liked the best. The cultural diversity and the number of internationals working here gave us new perspectives. Being in Houston inspired us to see the world from a different point of view and made us curious to cross other borders and learn more.

By air, we can get to most places with minimal stopovers. Lately, we like to travel through New York directly to our European destination. It’s nice to get the stopovers out of the way on this side of the Atlantic. Houston also has nonstop flights into Europe. When we fly European airliners, we sense a different culture as soon as we’re on the plane.

How can readers learn more about you and your book?

Please visit my website,

Thank you for visiting my blog today and I hope you will pick up a copy of the book. It's a great read for anyone who wants to learn more about one of the most beautiful countries in the world.