Thursday, December 23, 2010

Cover Model and Cover Art

Yesterday I had a photo shoot.  Yes, me - I'm going to be on the cover of the March 2011 Business Woman magazine (a local Pennsylvania magazine).  A local hair stylist did my hair and makeup.  It took her an hour and a half - the photo shoot lasted half and hour.  LOL - it took more time to make me look decent than to take the pictures!  And it took way more time the night before picking out an outfit.  I don't own any business suits and I try to find fun clothes that have an artistic flair.  I actually ironed for this shoot - something I never do - the cat was fascinated by the squeaky ironing board.

Below is a picture my daughter took last night - my family thought I cleaned up nice ;)  Since I was out and dressed, I went to the mall to buy my last x-mas present.  YAY.  I was in Sears and a very nice man asked me if I was Maria V. Snyder the writer?  He recognized me!  First time I've been recognized in public that wasn't in my home town AND I looked good (unlike being recognized in the grocery store wearing my sweat pants and glasses).  He even gushed - such a nice early x-mas present for me :)

Speaking of cover models...  MIRA INK, the new teen line in the UK has released the cover art for OUTSIDE IN.  Another snazzy cover from my publisher in the UK - just be warned - if you find it posted on other blogs - DON'T read the story synopsis unless you've read INSIDE OUT - otherwise it will spoil the twist in INSIDE OUT.  Both books are coming out in the UK in 2011 - INSIDE OUT on January 1, 2011 and OUTSIDE IN on March 18th, 2011.

What do you think of the cover?  A blogger named Love Fantasy Novels has put up both the USA and UK covers and asked people to vote for their favorite.  If you like to express your opinion and vote go here:


And I also have the Australian cover for INSIDE OUT.  It will be released in Australia in April 2011, with OUTSIDE IN coming out in July 2011.

I really like this one - what do you think??

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Coming full circle!

As you may know, I graduated from Pennsylvania State University (a.k.a. Penn State) with a Bachelors of Science degree in Meteorology (a BS in weather ;>)  One of the classes I took during my four years, was TV Meteorology with teachers Fred Gadomski and Paul Knight.  They also are the hosts of Weather World, along with Dr. Jon Nese.  Weather World does a nightly forecast for Pennsylvania as well as some other cool weather features and interviews.  It's shown on the Pennsylvania Cable Network (PCN) or you can watch it online at:  And if you watch it on Tuesday, December 21, 2010 at 5:30 p.m. Eastern Standard time or later on that day, you'll see an interview with me :)  If you miss it, don't fret - you can watch it here the next day:

My TV meteorology class was...interesting.  I learned the graphics/maps are not really behind you, but on a TV screen off to the side.  You can't wear blue or that part of your body disappears on screen, and the second that camera light turns on your mind goes completely and utterly blank.  (Most on-air weather forecasters ad lib as they go - they know the weather forecast and don't have a script.) Well, my mind went blank, and I couldn't remember the names of states or cities.  At the end of the class, we made a resume tape that we could send to TV stations in hopes that they would hire us.  I enjoyed the class, but forecasting on TV wasn't what I wanted to do.  Occasionally, we'll watch the video for laughs as my children find it quite hilarious.

I recently went back to Penn State to tape an interview with Dr. Nese for Weather World.  He was a Ph.D student while I was there, and way to studious at the time to mingle with us undergraduates.  You may recognize him from his 3 years on The Weather Channel.  The weather station is still located in the top floor of the Walker Building - a nice big area with windows all around so we could see the weather fronts coming in.  It was recently renovated to keep up with the technology.  As soon as I walked into the elevator in the Walker building, the memories just slammed into me.

Back in my day, we had a map wall filled with maps that were printed off these huge printers.  They used purple ink that reeked.  We hung them still damp.  Below is a picture of me and Ed Chiang, another graduate student, but he was cool.  We both wore our Dept. of Meteo sweatshirts and the department wanted to get a picture of us.  I was supposed to look like I was asking Ed to explain some weather detail like we were a couple of weather weenies.  We called the people that would drool over big storms, weather weenies :)  And yes, we all acknowledged the fact we were all weather weenies. In that picture, you can see the map wall behind us.  When friends and family used to ask me what the weather was going to be like the next day or so, I would say, "I don't have my maps."  Of course now the maps are available online.

I also included a picture of the map wall as it looks today - a big difference.  And the other renovations to the weather station looked sleek and modern and comfortable -see picture below.  Me and my meteo friends hung out in the station all the time - we did our homework there, worked the campus weather station there, we goofed off there, we fell asleep on the couches there, we hooked up there  ;>  Let's just say, at that time, there were about 10 female meteo students and 65 males - odds were good for the girls.

Right before I graduated, my good friend Jennifer and I sneaked up on the roof of the Walker building and had a picnic with a bottle of wine.  The classes were hard - all math, science and fluid dynamics - but the people were fun and I had a blast.  When I went back, I watched the students in the station.  They hadn't changed - they still wore their Penn State sweatshirts - a group still sold special Dept. of Meteo T-shirts and hoodies - they still drooled over the weather forecasts - they still mooched food. 

Yep, I had come full circle.  I might miss those days, but I'm happy to be where I am - writing books, hanging with my family, traveling, and not having to mooch food anymore :)  And I still have my curly hair!  It's just not as long (see picture below).

Monday, December 13, 2010

Busy Blog day...just not my blog

I already posted some links, but I wanted to re-post them as there are 4 different blogs where I've been featured or interviewed and 3 of them are holding contests to win a free copy of one of my books :)

An interview and international contest at The Secret Writer:

Interview and contest at The Page Turner's Blog: 

Interview and contest at Between the Covers Blog:

And an interview at Finding Wonderland for their Winter Blog Blast Tour:

Stay tuned... I have another interview and contest coming up.  This time, we're offering all 3 Study books and not the US editions...oh no!  But the Australian editions!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Last minute blogging

It's sort of like last minute shopping - where you rush around and can't find exactly what you were hoping to find.  If only you had planned ahead, or had more time, or could clone yourself...

I keep wanting to post blogs, but I want them to be wonderful, informative, and interesting.  I have pictures from the rest of my European trip, but they require me to re-size them and crop and... So what happens?  I delay and delay posting because the post in my mind has grown into this huge time commitment which would be wonderful, informative, etc... except it ends up being a quick post with links.  

So I'm making my New Year's resolution early - I will blog once a week in 2011 even if it's short and includes links.

A last minute notice about a book signing next week!  On December 17th, I'm going to be at the Penn Presbyterian Medical Center: at 51 North 39th Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104. 215-662-8000. The hospital is hosting a craft/book fair in their Wright/Saunders building on the first floor corridor outside of the cafeteria. I will be selling and signing all my books from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. This event is FREE and OPEN to the public. Feel free to bring your own books (as many as you want) for me to sign! Here's a Campus Map:

Penn Presbyterian is where my father works! So come meet my Dad :)

So here's what I've been doing these last two weeks:
  • I updated my Appearance Page - I have trips to Ohio and Texas planned for March and April!!  I also added a last minute event - for more info go here:
  • Doing interviews for various blogs and providing prizes for various contests.  Here are some links:
  • I attended my first Photoshop computer class - an all day affair, but filled with oodles of info.  It's an amazing program that is another procrastination generator as I play with my new knowledge.
  • I'm hard at work on the new Healer fantasy novel - no title yet, but we're getting close.  The title has to be approved by my editor, her boss, the marketing and PR department - lots of people so many early titles have been knocked out of the running.
  • I did an interview on Weather World at Penn State University's main campus in State College, PA.  The interview will be shown on December 21st over the local TV stations, but if you don't live in PA, don't fret, the interview will be posted online the next day!  I'll post a link next week.  The meteorology department updated the weather station and it looks sleek - with computer monitors instead of the old maps that used to print out of these giant printers.  They'd be damp and the purple ink reeked.  I probably lost a few brain cells sniffing those maps.  Here's a link if you want to see today's show:
  • I'm working on a short story set on the Penn State Campus :)  About a meteorology student who has a run in with a furry co-ed.  Let's just say my recent trip to my Alma mater inspired the setting for the story and keep it at that.
 That's it for this blog.  Let's hope I keep my New Year's promise!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Back in Action :)


I returned from my adventures in Europe a couple weeks ago. And I've been spending my time meeting little deadlines all due before our Thanksgiving holidays.  One was doing the final edits on OUTSIDE IN - due today and finished last night :)  Another was writing a travel article for a local magazine called b magazine - it's geared for boomers.  I enjoy writing these articles, plus they allow me to take my travel expenses off my taxes :)

Another deadline is filling out the Art Fact Sheet for my new Healer fantasy.  The only problem, I still don't have a title and I'm only a quarter of the way in.  But the art department likes lots of time to come up with cover I'll be brainstorming the next couple of days.  Either that or procrastinating.

I was also visiting schools last week.  I visited my son's high school's creative writing class (no - he's not taking it :) and talked about writing and publishing.  Here's a group pic:

 I'm in the back row, third from the right :)

I also visited a cyber school through my laptop - that was fun as well as we had an audio connection so I just talked to my computer - something my family says I do frequently anyway - but this time I had 35 people listening and asking questions.  I learned how to use Power Point and made a presentation - go me!  I'm feeling one with technology right now, but I'm sure it will change the next time I try something in Photoshop (grrrr.....).

Speaking of Photoshop - I also took a Photography class since I've been back (and you think I'm just making excuses when I say I've been busy - ha!) and I'm going to take a Photoshop computer class in early December because I'm frustrated with the program because I don't know how to do anything in it besides crop and Auto Smart Fix (grrrr.....).

I do enjoy taking pictures and took over 400 during my European Trip.  I posted a few of the good ones below from Switzerland (I'll post more in another post - consider yourself warned ;)

In Switzerland, we stayed in a small town called Uzwil and the next train stop was Flavil - we went to Flavil to tour a chocolate factory and as we walked about 30 minutes in the freezing cold, we saw many colorful houses - pink, blue, purple, etc...  but this particular house really caught my eye

What I really liked about the buildings in these towns, was the signs that hung from either the corner's of the buildings or just above or near the front doors.  the signs sometimes had the place's name, but many times it just had objects, letting the passerby know what you could find inside.

Here's one for the Hotel Appenzell (another small town):

From the sign, you  can see they offer beds, ice cream, drinks, and food.  Can you guess what this store offered:

Also where we stayed was close to the Alps.  I could see the top of Santis Peak from my hotel window.  On our last day in Switzerland, we drove to the peak and took a tram up to the top.  Santis Peak is 2505 meters high (about 8,209 feet) and all during the cable car ride, I kept thinking of those disaster movies I used to watch with my mom back in the 70s!

Here's a picture of it from the bottom:

And here's a view from the top:

It was cold and windy at the top.  The walkways had icy spots.  We ate lunch in the restaurant in the building on top.  The restaurant had an outdoor eating area - and it was crowded outside (I wasn't out there - too cold for me).  There were these black birds that would just hover over the diners - I'm not joking they hovered in mid-air, coasting on the wind coming up from below.  I took a video, but am not sure I can post it here.... oh yes, I can!  It's at the top!  Woo Hoo, I'm still zoning with the tech!!
I also spent a day in Zurich. It's a beautiful city with a river that empties into Lake Zurich. At the lake, I could see the Alps.

One grand thing about Europe are the churches - they're everywhere.  Each town has at least one.  You can see the two towers of the Grossmunster Church in Zurich on the left.  The church below is the Cathedral in St. Gallens and is a world heritage site.  I had trouble reading the map in St. Gallens.  We visited the town, which is west of Uzwil about 4 train stops the day we arrived, after flying all night.  I can't sleep on a plane, so I stay up and wrote so I was a bit jet lagged.  I'm usually very good with reading maps, but not that day! 
That's enough for now :)  Don't want to bore you.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Greetings from Belgium!

The reason it's been quiet over here on my blog, I've been in Europe these last 9 days.  My husband has/had business in Switzerland and Belgium and at the last minute...well, not quite that short notice, more like a week...he invited me along.  I'm in Brussels right now and due home this Saturday.  I do love to travel, but I'm missing my kids - they're fun to travel with, but couldn't miss so much school.

It's been an interesting trip - we started in Zurich, Switzerland for a few days, then took a train to Luxembourg for the weekend.  My husband is on a quest to visit as many countries as he can and I'm happy to keep him company :)  A train ride through Europe sounds romantic doesn't it??  I was looking forward to the trip - however the realities of train travel is far from idyllic.  After being delayed 4 hours because of the strikes in France (they'er striking over the increase of their retirement age to 62), we finally get underway.

The scenery is beautiful - the trees are turning color and it's mostly farmland and quaint small towns - however we had a group of French boy scouts (ages 12-16) about 12 of them sit near us. They smelled of wet wool and had been camping out (i.e. they needed showers!) They were mostly well behaved and they kept other people away from the empty seats right next to us. At one point the younger boys made spitting noises until I gave them my best annoyed mother look - it translated rather well and they stopped. But that put the kibosh on my romantic notions!

Belgium this week has been overcast and a bit rainy, but I had a nice trip to Antwerp yesterday to meet up with Richard, the man who translated my Study books into Dutch.  He wanted to be percise with the translation, that he frequently emailed me.  I've no doubt the books have been translated well and I finally have copies!  The only other translator to contact me was my Italian lady.

I'll have to post pictures when I get home, but I haven't been idle over here. I've been writing and I wrote another blog for Black Gate Magazine about POISON STUDY.  It's the second post down.  Here's the link if you'd like to read it: 

And I didn't forget about celebrating POISON STUDY's fifth birthday - I just need a few days at home!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

West Coast Tour

As promised, I'm going to write about my mini tour in sunny California.  It was pouring rain in Pennsylvania when we flew out - we, as in me, my daughter Jenna and my niece Amy.  Jenna was going to miss four days of school, so she had a ton of school work to take along.  She's in 7th grade.  We flew into Los Angeles and Daniel directed us to our hotel in Glendale.  Daniel is my GPS - it's a Garmin and you can choose which "voice" you want and I picked the British Daniel.  Something about the British accent sounds

Our first full day we had breakfast with Alethea and her husband.  Can anyone tell me which of my books, Alethea is mentioned??  The real lady works at the Borders in Glendale and she has been a dynamo in hand selling my books and I'm not talking a few copies, but hundreds.  Maybe even over a thousand - it's been about two years.  The picture below is from the last time I was in Glendale for a STORM GLASS release party - April 2009:

After breakfast, we went to Hollywood, baby!  Saw all the sights, Hollywood sign, stars on the sidewalk, the Chinese Theater, and went in the Hollywood Museum.  I really liked the Hollywood museum, they had a ton of props from movies and stars.  The prison block from the movie Silence of the Lambs was in the basement...creepy!! I also learned about Max Factor - he's a real guy and basically invented make up - I never knew that.  I also had to take a picture of Russell Crow's star for my mother.  She is obsessed with him and thinks he should play Valek if there's ever a movie made of my books (no news about that - there has been zero interest from Hollywood).  Here are pictures:

Friday night I had a signing at Glendale Borders. Alethea couldn't make this signing, but there were plenty of people from all over CA. I talked about my books and signed copies.  Here's a picture from the signing:

Jane, one of the Study Buddies moderators on is next to me on the right.  Jane's also been wonderful about recommending my books.

Saturday - I left Amy and Jenna at Laguna Beach. Poor girls all by themselves had to lie on the beach, go swimming, make sand sculptures, and go shopping - they were bored without me :)  Mean while I was having fun at the Mysterious Galaxy Book Store in San Diego.  One of the best independent book stores in the US - they specialize in SF and Fantasy books.  The traffic from LA to SD was horrible, and an hour-long trip took me almost 2.  Locals told me that while in other places people might talk about the weather, people in CA talk about traffic!  I see why - it's a whole other entity - I think it's self-aware.

When I arrived at Mysterious Galaxy, about 5 minutes late, there were about 30 people waiting for me!  All sitting in front of a podium! I talked about my books and cracked some jokes.  I had many dedicated readers there - I mentioned one of my other POISON STUDY covers and about 10 people pulled out the old covers and the new covers so we could compare.

Even though there were a bunch of loyal readers like Chocoholic from Goodreads (she brought me chocolate - of course!  It didn't make it...home), I met my most dedicated reader of all.  I know a bunch of you are saying, "Now, wait a minute Maria, I'm your most...."  Sorry, but Sami drove all the way from Salt Lake City, Utah to San Diego, CA to see me.  12 hours one way - by herself!!  24 total hours in the car in one weekend.  That's dedication!  Second place for the title would be the two ladies who drove 8 hours one-way from Vermont to Pennsylvania to attend my writing workshop last month.  Third is a group of college students from Muncie, Indiana who drove to Pittsburgh to see me (about 5 hours),  Fourth goes to a lady who flew from Texas to attend a conference I was at, and Fifth place goes to Jessica who flew from St. Louis, MO to Pittsburgh with her mom to see me.  It's not really a contest - I'm just amazed by their willingness to come long distances to see me.  And y'all know you are all equally loved :)  Here's a picture of me (with my hair up) and Sami:

Sunday of my tour I attended the Orange County Children's Book Festival and did a reading on the Teen Stage, followed by a signing (Mysterious Galaxy maned the booth).  It was a lovely day and a lovely festival.  The Teen stage was popular and a few of the authors had long signing lines.  I met Becca Fitzpatrick, who wrote Hush, Hush and Crescendo, Nancy Holder, who wrote The Wicked series with her writing partner Debbie Vigiue.  Nancy also wrote over 30 Buffy the Vampire Slayer books and I love Buffy!  I also met Emma Michaels, author of The Thirteenth Chime, and Lisa Desrochers who wrote Personal Demons! They were all super nice - and we hung out and chatted books and writing, exchanging info and ideas :)  From everything I've heard, the festival was a big success!  Here's a picture:

Becca Fitzpatrick is the lady with the sunglasses and Nancy Holder is wearing the black hat! rained :(  That was the day for me and Amy and Jenna to go to the San Diego Zoo.  It's legendary - and when we arrived, it poured.  We debated outside the gate and one of the workers said that the rain might be bad for us, but the animals loved this weather and would be out and active.  So we went in.  I also helped that for the month of October kids 12 and under were free :)  Despite the rain, we had a great time.  It is a fantastic zoo and I would recommend it to anyone who is visiting San Diego - it's huge and the areas for the animals were big and clean. 

The only thing I didn't like was the tour buses driving around.  You can take the bus and just sit and visit all the areas without having to walk. And when the bus gets to an area, it sits there, idling while the tour guide talks.  Now, I know not everyone is mobile and the place is huge, but the buses were a distraction and the noise and exhaust seemed out of place.  

My favorite animal to see were the Koala bears - they were so cute and small!  I always thought they were bigger.  Of course by this time the battery on my camera had died.  And Jenna's did, too.  Amy had juice, and below you'll see the Koala pictures from Amy and some others:

Alethea gave us this umbrella on Friday and it was sunny and beautiful and I was thinking we wouldn't need it - I was wrong! Bright orange was a great color, I could spot Jenna anywhere in the zoo :)

My daughter loves, loves, loves Pandas! She took this picture.


 Koalas!!  So CUTE!!

The Zebras were having fun - fighting and running around in the rain. 

That's about it.  We flew home on Tuesday.  My son who had stayed home with my husband, until dh had to leave for Canada, was actually home alone for two nights.  At 15, he's old enough, but I worried.  We I got home, the house was intact, but the basement had flooded (from all that rain on the Thursday before we left - not his fault, but still bad timing), the litter box was full and stinky, the trash hadn't been taken out, and the cat was very hungry.  Might be awhile before he's left home alone again :)

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Scrambling to Keep Up!

Since I've returned from California, I've been scrambling to keep up with...everything!  I  can really relate to the 3 Doors Down song, Running Out of Days, from their Away From the Sun album.  Especially these lines: "All these little things in life and they all create this haze. Too many things to get done and I'm running out of days."  Yep, I hear you!

Last week I did get my email newsletter out on Wednesday the 13th. ICE STUDY Part 7 was included :)  If you're a subscriber and didn't get the issue - check your spam folder.  And if it's not there, then you need to add this email addy to your approved list:  

I've also been scrambling to reply to my emails.  So if you've sent me an email, I'm about a month behind, but I will answer.  I don't like to be so far behind, but I feel better about it after I saw Kelley Armstrong's post on Facebook that she had 666 unanswered emails in her inbox! 

I also picked - or rather picked a winner for a signed copy of  PERSONAL DEMONS.  Congrats to Crystal!!!  (Crystal you need to send me your mailing addy - please send it to my email

A few more housekeeping things :)  I did an interview over at YA Book Nerd that was fun.  And tomorrow she's going to have a contest to win a signed copy of SPY GLASS.  Here's the link:

And a friend of mine has posted a review of SPY GLASS that has generated an interesting discussion.  I sent her a few comments about it and I think she's going to post those as well.  Here's the link: 

Stay tuned - I'm planning to do a post about my LA/San Diego trip and one about POISON STUDY's fifth birthday that will have give aways!

And here's a question - what do you think of this color?  I thought the white is too hard to read, but it could be my aging eyes!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Leaving for LA!!

That's Los Angeles, California not Louisiana :)  On Thursday, I'm going to be flying all the way across the USA to the west coast for a couple of book signings and to participate in a book festival.  And just like when I flew to Scandinavia for a Baltic Sea cruise back in July, LA is currently having a heat wave!  It was 113 F there on Monday...yikes!  We had temps in the low 90s F when we were in Sweden, which is normally around 75 F that time of year.

Speaking of the weather....I wrote a guest blog about weather and magic for Black Gate Magazine.  My short story, Cursing the Weather is going to be published in the magazine this December.  Here's a link if anyone's interested:

My mini West Coast tour is going to be a blast.  I can't wait to see all my southern California readers again and my friend, Alethea.  Plus my daughter, Jenna and niece, Amy are coming along with me.  I'll have an entourage ;>  I will be busy with events, but I do have some time to sightsee.  I think a tour of Hollywood and some time at the San Diego Zoo are on the schedule.

I know some of you are wondering why I'm going back (I was there in April 2009), when there are states and countries I haven't been to yet.  Well... I was invited to the Orange County Children's Book Festival for their Teen Panel and my publisher is helping to pay for my travel expenses.

If you live nearby and have some time this weekend, I'd love to meet you :)  Also feel free to bring as many of my books that you want signed.  I've had so many readers only give me one and say they didn't want to bother me to sign them all.  It's what I'm there for people!!  If I ever get sick of signing books and meeting readers, I hope someone smacks me upside the head! 

So much for my short post...  Here's my schedule just in case ;>

October 1, 2010 -  Book Signing at Borders in Glendale, California (100 S. Brand Blvd. Glendale, California, 91204, 818-241-8099). 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

October 2, 2010 - Book Signing at Mysterious Galaxy ( book store. (7051 Clairemont Mesa Blvd, Suite 302, San Diego, California, 92111, 858-268-4747) 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

October 3, 2010 - Participating in the Orange County Children's Book Festival ( at the Orange Coast College (2701 Fairview Road, Costa Mesa, California, 92626) 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. I will be on the teen stage for a presentation at 11:30 a.m. and will be signing books right afterwards. It's FREE with FREE Parking - you can't beat that price :) 

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Personal Demons

Welcome to my very first author interview and give away on my new blog!  Cue music!

PERSONAL DEMONS is Lisa Desrochers debut young adult novel. It was released in mid-September and already getting buzz.  I read her book back in the Spring and give it this blurb: “Fun and entertaining . . . the fight for Frannie’s soul isn’t going to be easy, and the excitement doesn’t stop. Good versus evil shouldn’t be this much fun, but it is! A hot debut.”   Uh... I tend to be wordy with my blurbs...

Leave a comment and/or ask Lisa a question by Monday, October 4th if you'd like to win a signed copy of PERSONAL DEMONS.  I'll chose one winner using  I also have the good luck to be meeting Lisa in person next Sunday where we will both be on October 3rd over at the Orange County Children's Book Festival ( We will be at the Teen stage. 

Here's the official cover copy:
Frannie Cavanaugh is a good Catholic girl with a wicked streak. She's spent years keeping everyone at a distance--even her closest friends--and it seems her senior year will be more of the same...until Luc Cain enrolls in her class. No one knows where he came from, but Frannie can't seem to stay away from him. What she doesn't know is that Luc works in Acquisitions--for Hell--and she possesses a unique skill set that has the king of Hell tingling with anticipation. All Luc has to do is get her to sin, and he's as tempting as they come. Frannie doesn't stand a chance.

Unfortunately for Luc, Heaven has other plans, and the angel, Gabe, is going to do whatever it takes to make sure that Luc doesn't get what he came for. And it isn't long before they find themselves fighting for more than just her soul. But if Luc fails, there will be Hell to pay...for all of them.

And now on to the interview:
1.) Why this book? What made you want to write this story?

Honestly, I didn’t have much choice. Luc’s name (Lucifer Cain) popped into my head one day and I thought to myself, what a fun name for a demon. He and Frannie started having conversations in my head. I had two choices: write them down or go totally insane. I opted for the first.

2.) Which authors inspire you? Has that changed over time?

I have some core favorites, but I’m always finding new ones. Melissa Marr recently said on her fan site that Luc reminded her of Irial (from Ink Exchange), which makes sense, I suppose, because she’s always been my biggest inspiration.

3.) Why fantasy? Is there something special about fantasy that draws you to write in the field?

Personal Demons was my first crack at writing urban fantasy. I really enjoyed it. I found it really liberating to be able to explore options that aren’t possible in the real world. In fantasy, there’s a real sense that anything can happen.

4.) What do you find most interesting about Frannie and Luc?

The double entendre title refers to Frannie’s own personal demons, as well as the demon who’s trying to get personal. (That would be Luc, in case you didn’t catch that.) She’s experienced some pretty hard knocks in her young life—the death of her twin brother among the hardest. Because of this, she lives within carefully constructed walls to keep anyone from getting too close. It was interesting to be in her head to get her reaction when Luc started to break through those walls.

One of the things that makes Personal Demons different is that we get the opportunity to hear Luc’s side of the story from his first-person POV. Because we’re in his head, we’re in on his inner dialogue as he muses about things from the unique perspective of a demon. He’s lived a dual life, moving between two worlds, so his perspective is going to reflect that. Through the course of the book, we also get to see how Frannie messes with that perspective as he struggles to define feelings he’s never experienced before.

5.) What else do you enjoy doing besides writing? Interests? Hobbies?

With a day job, a night job, and a weekend job I’m a little short on free time. I enjoy being outdoors and we live very close to Yosemite, so we do some hiking. Other than that, I spend time with my oldest daughter and her horse, and watch my youngest play volleyball. And read, of course.

6.) Did you have to do any special research for this book? What did you learn that you didn't know before?

I did some research for Personal Demons. As the trilogy progresses it dives deeper into angel/demon lore. I find cultural differences surrounding some of our common lore very interesting. The beauty of writing fiction, however, is that you can make up your own lore. A lot of Luc’s history comes from putting a different spin on things I’ve read. Such as his origin. When Luc’s name popped into my head, I started researching the biblical story of Cain and Abel. I found an on-line article that kept using the phrase “creatures of sin,” and it occurred to me that, in my fictional Hell, there could be actual creatures of sin. Luc was never human. He was borne in Hell from sin. He’s a true Creature of Pride.

7.) How did you become a writer? Is this what you saw yourself growing up to be? Or did it take you by surprise?

Surprise would be an understatement. Up until two years ago, the only thing of any length I’d written was my doctoral dissertation. Suffice it to say that ripping my toenails out one by one would have been a more pleasant experience. I didn’t have the slightest desire to write. But, sometimes the universe has other ideas. Along came my daughter, who is an insane reader. (read each Twilight book in a day) I don’t really understand how it happened—a brain aneurysm maybe—but I got the crazy notion to write her a book for her birthday last year. And I did. Without telling a soul, I wrote her a 100K word thriller. She loved it and I caught the bug.

8.) Do you have a writing routine? Talk process for a moment, how do the words get on the page?

I really don’t have much of a routine. My characters have conversations and I write them down. It’s a great system except for when they decide to have those conversations when I’m in the shower or trying to sleep.

9.) Office? Closet? Corner of the living room? Do you have a set place to write? A favorite?

I have my spot. It’s like hallowed ground. Okay, really it’s a loveseat in my family room. I’ve got all my references stacked at one end with just enough room left at the other end for me. (A stack of references sounds better than a “mound-o-crap,” which is what it really is.) My TBR pile is also stacked there for easy access when I need a break from writing. It’s big.

10.) What are you writing now? What's coming out next?

Original Sin, the sequel to Personal Demons, is finished and I’m working on the last book in the trilogy, Hellbent. I don’t write with an outline, and I have to say, Hellbent has taken some twists I never saw coming. I’m a little nervous about it.

Links for Lisa:

Amazon Link: 

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Back to School!

I'm heading back to my old Alma mater tomorrow.  I'm doing a really fun event at Penn State University's Abington Campus in Abington (close to Philadelphia - my old stomping grounds) in the evening.  I spent two years there before heading up to the main campus.  It was called the Ogontz campus then. 

During my two years there, I drove to school in a bright orange Oldsmobile Starfire - the car weighed a ton and got like 6 miles to the gallon.  Plus there was a dent from the previous owner (my Aunt, who gave me the car so I really can't The dent was patched up and covered with red primer (the plan had been to re-paint the car a more subdued red - my favorite color - it never happened).  Even the wheels were orange! 

I was always late for my early morning classes (no surprise - I'm not a morning person) and the only parking I could find was far away and way downhill from the Sutherland Building, which didn't have an elevator we could use - so add four flights of stairs onto the hike.  I didn't realize what great shape I was in at the end of the semester, until my mother came with me and she puffed just to get to the building :)

I made a bunch of friends my first year, but they were all sophomores and all left me the next year for main campus!  One of the downsides of being at a branch campus. The second year I found a couple of fellow weather majors and that helped.  The biggest upside of a branch campus is making friends before going to the mega-huge alien campus so you at least start out knowing a few people.  I was reunited with my first year buddies - we all stayed in Runkle Halls together.

Here's an embarrassing story - when I started at the campus, I had to take a basic writing class (English 004) because on my pre-admittance English test, I had gotten less than 20 questions right out of 100!  The questions where, "here are 4 sentences, which sentence is not grammatically correct."  I still struggle with grammar and spelling. I'm proud to say  I earned a B in that class and in my English Rhetoric & Composition class - (although I got a C in technical writing - which makes sense...right? Since I'm better at fiction.... Right?).

Fond memories:
  • Taking Skiing as a physical ed elective - getting credit to ski once a week - it doesn't get any better than that!
  • Avoiding the cafeteria and buying Lee's Hoagies (a.k.a. submarine sandwiches, subs, etc...)  these were loaded with meat, delicious, and cheap.
  • Doing Physics homework as a group with our friend, Gene, Gene, the Physics Machine explaining the concepts far better than our teacher.
  • Physics lab with that same teacher - where we all sat around and discussed how realistic the latest episode of MacGyver  was (true - I swear!  watching MacGyver became homework).
If you're still with me after this long...boring?, I'd love for you to share some of your favorite memories from college (or high school).

And if you'd like info on my event tomorrow, here are some links (one is an article about me :)):

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Fans, Friendship and Fun

Today I'm a guest blogger over at Harlequin's Paranormal Romance blog.  I don't really consider my books romance per say, but they have romantic elements for sure!  I've blogged about how my prison tour affected my story line in SPY GLASS.  And although I hardly use the term "fan" as I prefer "readers" it matched the other two words :)  Guess I could have called it Readers, Romance and....??  Anyone?

Anyway, here's the link:

And for those who missed the chat last night - it was fun and I was glad there were lots of people there despite my late notice (I really do need an assistant living in my house :)  The chat is still available to view on Eve's Fan Garden and I'll be answering the questions we didn't get to last night and those will be posted as well.  Here's the link:  You have to click on the "here" in the last sentence, "You can find the chat here." next to my picture.  The chat will replay after a commerical.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Live Chat Tonight! 9-21 @ 8 pm Eastern

I realize this is very late notice.  I'm having a hard time keeping up with all the promotion I'm doing for SPY GLASS.

But if you have some time, tonight at 8:00 p.m. Eastern time, I'm doing a live chat to talk about SPY GLASS and writing in general over at Eve's Fan Garden.  We're giving away two signed copies of SPY GLASS and a handful of signed bookmarks to those who attend the event.

Here's the link:

And before I forget - I'm doing a guest blog about SPY GLASS over at Harlequin's Paranormal Romance Blog tomorrow - September 22.  Here's the link for that one: 

Friday, September 17, 2010

Opal's Interview

Opal's interview is up on Bitten by Books and the comments are already rolling in :)  If you'd like a chance to win one of 10 signed copies of SPY GLASS go here: 

And if you'd like another chance to win, I did an interview over at The Authoress.  Here's the link: 

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Remembering Kiki

I'm very sad to announce the real Kiki passed away last week :(  Her owner/mother, Susan Kraykowski (Suekray from the Sandseed Clan) emailed me earlier this week and let me know.

Here's part of her email: Kiki passed away suddenly, late on Thursday afternoon (9-9-10). We think she had a massive heart attack or a stroke. Deb and Pete told me she had been fine all day and ate her dinner as usual (you always know a horse is unhappy about something if it doesn't eat). Her latest vet call was OK, too...except for the usual elderly horse gimpiness. Her coat was shiny, her weight was good and she was still active and interested in life despite almost 30 years of age (which is quite a respectable age for any horse). I am grateful it was quick and that she did not suffer through a long, painful illness. Tell your readers and Kiki's fans that we'll all meet up at the Rainbow Bridge one day!

Here's Kiki's official name: McDonald's Highland Love
She was a Five-gaited American Saddlebred Mare (16.1 hands high)
April 2, 1981 - September 9, 2010

Kiki earned her nickname from Susan's niece who called the large horse a Kitty, but since she couldn't quite pronounce Kitty - she said Kiki and the name stuck.

She was the first horse I rode, my favorite horse and my inspiration...She'll be dearly missed!  But she will live on in Sitia and Ixia with Yelena, sharing her adventures and misadventures :)

Kiki enjoying retirement at Crazy Woman Farm, NC

Susan riding Kiki with her Boxer, Chaunsey at Justamere Farm in PA

Monday, September 13, 2010

Ask Opal (i.e. Help!!)

I'm doing an event for Bitten By Books on Friday - and it's a Q&A with Opal plus I'm giving away 10 signed copies of SPY GLASS!

I need help thinking of questions for Opal. So if you have a question or two you'd like to ask her, now's the time! Please post it here and I'll post her answers over on the bitten by books website (I'll post a link here), and I'll be answering questions all day on Friday as well - should be fun :)

Thanks in advance for any help!!! *insert hugs here*

Friday, September 10, 2010

Capture the Flag in 2010

This past weekend was a combination of fun family activities and much needed yard work.  We had something to do every day.  One of the activities was a BBQ at my sister's house.  There were a bunch of teens and young adults and once the sun went down they decided to make two teams and play capture the flag.  Normally I would have joined them, but being sore from spreading wheelbarrows full of mulch...I was more content to watch. 

It started like any other game, but soon I realized these weren't the kids of my day or even of a few years ago.  No.  When my daughter was stuck in "jail" instead of calling out for rescue, she texted her teammate with her cell phone.  When they searched for the opponets' flag, they used the light from their cell phones to search. I had to laugh - they were still running around, laughing and getting skinned knees and elbows, and a few more scratches on their cell phones.  

A few years ago, I probably would have been annoyed by the texting.  But since getting a texting phone and unlimited texts (more for my teens), I'm understanding the appeal of texting.  It's a short/quick way to communicate without bothering people around you - handy when in noisy situations like a football game.  Of course - I would never text and drive - I can't even walk and text!  But this example reminds me to keep an open mind and give new things a try before I dismiss them out of hand!

Now for a change of subject!  Links to a few reviews and a Poll for best book cover for September 2010 over at Bitten By Books - SPY GLASS is listed so if you'd like to vote I provided a link below:

Poll (ends September 12th):

Bitten By Books SPY GLASS review:

Night Owl Reviews TOP PICK! (caution a spoiler in this review!):

And SPY GLASS was chosen to be a Fresh Pick at Fresh Fiction!  On September 12th, the book's cover will be all over their site.  Check it out here:

Sunday, September 5, 2010

More Links

It is that time of the year - not the start of school (although that's a very good time of year for me ;) but the time when I'm promoting a new book.  So instead of getting a blog about how I went to Hersheypark with the kids on Friday and spent all day today spreading mulch, you get links to interviews and contests and reviews.  Fun stuff right?  Right??  Well, better than hearing about spreading mulch anyway.

I also wrote a number of guest blogs that will be coming up in September so I'll make sure to posts links for those as well.  And I do have a couple of Author interviews of my own to post as well.

Here are the links:
An interview over at Bookyurt: 

An interview and give away of a signed copy of SPY GLASS: 

An interview and contest give away of a signed copy of SPY GLASS:

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Quick Link

Just thought you might be interested in a guest blog I did over at Reading Rocks 4 me.  It's about why I chose certain names in my Study and Glass books. And there is a great review of SPY GLASS as well that was posted the day before!

Here's the link:

Monday, August 30, 2010

Stiff, Sore and Sunburnt!

If you're thinking I'm going to write about books, then that's an odd title isn't it?  Actually, I'm writing about me.  I'm very stiff and sore today because I played volleyball ALL DAY yesterday!  Six hours in the hot 90+ sunshine (33C).  My team is part of a summer volleyball league and we've been playing the other teams all summer.  Yesterday was our end of the season tournament.  We had to play each team once - which meant 8 games in a row (except one bye) and the top four teams played in the playoffs (which meant another 3-4 games). 

We went into the tournament as the first place team.  So we had a team meeting before play started and my husband, whose also a teammate asked, "What's our game plan?" and Missy, the cheerleader of the team (and the one who tells us to pick it up when we're dogging) said, "To win."

Well, after two games in that heat, I thought I was going to pass out or throw up! I did survive the day (just embarrassed by how out of shape I was from traveling all summer) and our team stuck to our game plan.  We went undefeated, winning the tournament!!  Probably the first and last time I'll be able to type those words ;>  My other volleyball teams are always in the middle of the pack and I don't mind, I play competitive, but also for fun.  We weren't the youngest or the oldest team, but I think the most experienced (or stubborn).

I just wanted to share that :)  And also this - I did an interview with Book Lovers, Inc today and we're giving away a free signed copy of SPY GLASS to one lucky winner!  So hop on over and enter to win. 

Here's the link:

Thursday, August 26, 2010


According to my bookstore commandos, the book has been released!  And if you already get my Free email newsletter, this should be old news so feel free to skip this post :) 

One of the unique things about this release is SPY GLASS is also going to be available in the United Kingdom and Australia in the same month. Usually, my overseas readers have to wait, but not this time :)

The UK edition will be out September 17th. And, according to my Australian Editor, the AU edition is available now at: SPY GLASS
See all the beautiful covers below??  I must admit...the Australian one (purple with diamond) is my favorite of the  three (shhhh....don't tell!).
I'm thrilled to see this book in print. It was a difficult one to write - Opal had tough choices to make and difficult obstacles to navigate.

For this story, I toured the State Correctional Institute in Camp Hill, PA for men. This facility also has a SMU (Special Management Unit - a.k.a. max security). A friend of mine arranged the tour and helped to educate me on the prison system. Walking among the prisoners was the biggest surprise to me. I thought my tour would be behind bullet-proof glass or at a safe distance, but the facility isn''t all maximum security and my friend showed me the cell blocks, the cafeteria, the gym, the classrooms and the exercise yards. The cafeteria was filled with prisoners and we passed a bunch when we entered the block. We were outnumbered 50 to 1, but everyone was nice and polite. There were correctional officers (they are not prison guards!) nearby, but only a few, and they weren't even armed. That was uncanny and scary.

This is the last Study/Glass book for now – I do see potential in many characters in this world, including Heli (the young Stormdancer), Quinn and Fisk.

My tour schedule if anyone is interested:

August 28, 2010: RELEASE PARTY for SPY GLASS!! The wonderful people who work at my local Borders in Lancaster, Pennsylvania are hosting a release party for SPY GLASS! (940 Plaza Blvd. Lancaster, PA 17601, 717-293-8022) 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.

September 7, 2010: Book Signing at Elizabethtown Public Library (10 South Market Street, Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania, 17022, 717-367-7467) Books will be available for sale. 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

September 11, 2010: Writing Workshop: Maria's Nitpicks for Pennwriters Area 2 one day seminar Writing for Children and Young Adults (The Fire Hall, 911 Market Street, Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania, 17815) Everyone is welcome to sign up for this writing workshop ($35 for Pennwriter's members, $40 for non-members - includes a box lunch). I will be teaching in the afternoon. To sign up or find out more, contact Kathryn Yelinek through her website: Kathryn Yelinek

September 24, 2010: Reading, Q&A Session and Book Signing at The Pennsylvania State University's Abington Campus ( (1600 Woodland Rd, Abington, PA 19001 at a place called @611. 7:30 p.m. start time. According to my information, this @611 is a quarter mile from campus. There will be books available for sale. This event is FREE and OPEN to one and all!

October 1, 2010: Book Signing at Borders in Glendale, California (100 S. Brand Blvd. Glendale, California, 91204, 818-241-8099). 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m

October 2, 2010: Book Signing at Mysterious Galaxy book store. (7051 Clairemont Mesa Blvd, Suite 302, San Diego, California, 92111, 310-542-6000) 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

October 3, 2010: Participating in the Orange County Children's Book Festival! at the Orange Coast College (2701 Fairview Road, Costa Mesa, California, 92626) 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. I will be on the teen stage for a presentation and will also be signing books. It's FREE with FREE Parking - you can't beat that price :)

October 21, 2010: Book Signing & Book Group Discussionat the Cupboard Maker Books (157 N. Enola Road, Routes 11 & 15, Enola, Pennsylvania 17025. 717-732-7288). The Cupboard Maker's Urban Fantasy book group is going to discuss INSIDE OUT. The book signing is from 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. and the discussion group is meeting from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. All are welcome to the discussion, but I'd recommend you read the book first otherwise you'll hear spoilers :)

Here's some links to reviews (watch out for Spoilers to SEA GLASS - can't be helped since SPY GLASS starts right after!):

  • All About Romance Book Reviews

  • Kyle Borland

  • Fresh Fiction

  • AmberKatze Book Blog

  • Night Owl Reviews