Tag Archives: Interview

Mermaid Takeover – Kerri Bumps Alethea

Here at the Mermaid Lagoon, we each get at least one day a month to blog. Today is Alethea’s day. Or was… [Insert ominous laugh]

That’s right, I’m stealing Alethea’s day! But before you get your fins in a bunch, don’t worry. It’s all to talk about our lovely, amazing, sparkly, Princess, massively talented, beautiful Mermaid Alethea. And bonus, she has a new book out today called Dearest, the 3rd book in the Woodcutter series, and it’s amazeballs! I’m not just saying that because she was my crazy-fun roommate in San Antonio who encouraged me to put whipped cream in my coffee every morning or make waffles in the shape of Texas.

So read on to learn more about our very own Alethea, what she’d make me for dinner, how she’s taking my dog to Hawaii, and which noise she really, really hates. (It’s a good one!) Go Alethea! Dearest


When I think of fairy tales, I generally think of the Disney version of said fairy tale, which may or may not be an accurate depiction of the original story. What Disney adaptation of a fairy tale is your favorite?

Everyone always expects me to say Beauty & the Beast because I look like Belle…and act like Belle…but my answer to this question has to be The Little Mermaid. I loved this Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale so much as a child. I would read it…and cry…and then read it again. When I found out Disney was adapting “The Little Mermaid,” my eyes were like saucers. I mean…SHE DIES. Can they do that?!? But Disney gave that mermaid what we’d all been wishing for her for 150 years: a happy ending.

It’s a random Sunday night and I show up at your house. What are you making me for dinner?

If you caught me at the last minute, I’d make you Greek Chicken & Potatoes. It’s a staple of the Kontis house–a favorite, and easy to make. If I had all the ingredients and all the time, I’d make you my mother’s moussaka. Because it’s possibly my favorite dish ever. And if you don’t care for eggplant, I’ll do the Thea Ana variation that’s made with only potatoes.

You travel. A lot! What one place surprised you the most? And in what way?

There was this one place, at my horrid ex-fiance’s mother’s house in Newcastle, England. The ex was horrid but his mother was lovely, as was her husband (the ex’s stepfather) who, in his retirement, did things like climb mountains and grow things. There was a stone wall beside their house, and through the archway I found the most amazing garden. I walked among the flowers and plants, barefoot in the thick grass. Standing there on the top of that hill, with the wind in my hair, I had a moment of complete serenity. It occurred to me that this was the most beautiful place I had ever been to on the planet.

And then the ex called me inside and ordered me to wipe my feet off so I didn’t get grass stains on his mother’s white carpet.

Speaking of traveling… I’m very busy reading Dearest and my dog Harry needs to go for a walk so you’re going to have to help me out. He loves beaches. Where in the world are you taking him?

Let’s go to Hawaii. I’ve always wanted to go, and I have some friends there I’d love to visit!

Give me one Easter Egg from Dearest.

All the Kates in Dearest are named after my dear friend (and award-winning voice actress) Kate Baker, because I was writing that scene on her birthday.

As always, I have to go here. I love the ten questions that James Lipton asks at the end of every episode of Inside the Actor’s Studio. Your turn.

  1. What is your favorite word? — syzygy
  2. What is your least favorite word? — failure
  3. What turns you on? — intelligence
  4. What turns you off? — people who don’t read
  5. What sound or noise do you love? — dried leaves skittering down the street in the Fall
  6. What sound or noise do you hate? — When people say “blech” at food without tasting it
  7. What is your favorite curse word? — Joy. As in, “Oh, JOY.”
  8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? — Marine Chemist. It’s what I studied in college. I miss being a genius.
  9. What profession would you not like to do? — anything involving a cubicle. *shudder*
  10. If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates? “Alethea! Lovely to see you. Here’s the photo album you requested.”

I have always said that when I die, I wish to see a photo album of all the pictures where I appear somewhere in the background. Families on vacation, strangers at conventions, random folks on the street. I’ve always been curious to know just how many people I might have known…how many lives I might have touched but for some twist of fate.

Alethea & Kerri, Selfies at RWA 2014

Alethea teaching Keri how to take a selfie at RWA 2014.


Who is your favorite Mermaid sister? [Evil grin]

(You may deliver the truck of glitter to my new house in Florida. But only if you come too!)




Okay, I will alter that question because I’m not completely evil. [Shut up, peanut gallery!] Hollywood comes a-calling. Cast your Mermaid sisters in Enchanted, Hero, and Dearest.

Ooh…tough one!

Carlene — Sunday Woodcutter (without a doubt)

Denny — Aunt Joy (omg she is SO Aunt Joy!)

Kerri — Friday Woodcutter (big heart, big adventure)

Susan — Henry Humbug (silly but knows EVERYTHING)

Masha — Monday Woodcutter (beautiful, serene, dark, & powerful)

Dana — Thursday Woodcutter (only because Dana is too short to be Saturday Woodcutter)

Pintip — Yarlitza Mitella (exotic and fashionable, with a colorful history involving the Duke of Cauchemar)

Loni — Aunt Rose Red, The Abbess of Rose Abbey

Kimberly — Mama Woodcutter (because Kim has like 18 kids…)


BEST INTERVIEW EVER! I should totally steal Alethea’s day more often. While I ponder doing that, make sure you check out Dearest, out today in hardcover and digital versions. Seriously, check it out. Do it! Or I’m sending you one of those exploding glitter boxes!

For more about Alethea, check out her website here. And to really stalk her, click the icons below.

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Mermaids & Friends: Larynn Ford

Can you believe it’s August already! We, Mermaids, are spending extra time splashing around the lagoon to cool off and enjoy this last month of summer. So we thought we would invite one of our friends to join us today. Let’s welcome, Larynn Ford!!!

Besides being one of my fellow Soul Mate authors, Larynn has a new release, Rescued, she’d like to talk about. Plus, she’s giving away one copy – details below. Take it away, Larynn….

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Mermaids & Friends: Samanthya Wyatt

Welcome to another edition of Mermaids & Friends. I’m so excited to have this author with us in the Mermaid Lagoon today because not only is her new book, SOMETHING MORE, amazing, but she is a fellow Soulie. That’s right, we’re both authors over at Soul Mate Publishing. Welcome, Samanthya Wyatt!

Hello Kerri. Thank you for inviting me to the lagoon. I’m so excited to be here on the very day my book, Something More, is to be released.

Tell us a little about your writing journey.

Ever since I can remember, I have loved curling up with a book. When I was young I wrote poems and short stories. I signed everything UNKNOWN AUTHOR. I guess even then I feared rejection. When I graduated, my life changed. I married a military man, traveled across the US and abroad, then settled in the Shenandoah Valley and had a family. My children were in high school before I started writing again.

About fifteen years ago, I wrote to Catherine Coulter and was amazed that she wrote back. I couldn’t believe it. She was very encouraging and told me to join RWA. She said to write everyday even if it was only one sentence. I am a RWA member, joined several chapters including Contemporary Romance Chapter, and I’m a member of Savvy Authors.

I started writing again. I entered a lot of contests, workshops, and made some good friends via e-mails. I finally finished my historical romance, the first of a trilogy, and I completed a contemporary romance “Something More”. I contacted more publishers, sent my MS to editors, and continued to hope. A pitch opportunity with Savvy Authors resulted in two books being published. An editor asked for my contemporary, and another asked for my historical. Both books will be released this month. I’m over the moon.

How exciting! Tell us a little about your current release: your inspiration, main characters, setting, etc.

Something More

Something More

On his way to an important meeting, a light flirtation turns into more than Matthew expects. The alluring beauty does not need his money, and makes it clear she does not need him.

Carrie trusts no man. Until a pair of mischievous eyes melts her defenses, and has her second guessing her convictions.

Infatuation and excitement spark a journey of passion and forbidden emotion where two people must overcome their earlier convictions to find an everlasting love.

Why did you choose to write in this genre? Have you ever written any other genre? Do you plan on doing so in the future?

Dashing Lords and pirates seemed so romantic, so my first book was written in the historical genre. One day I was playing around to get my mind off edits and I wrote a scene with two women bantering back and forth. I had so much fun and the words seemed to flow. So I ended up writing my first contemporary Something More. Modern day women have more freedom, and my wit seems to come out more with contemporary. I have started several stories including a hunky fireman series. Station Eight. Can’t wait to get those published.

Who is your favorite character in your book and why?
I love my hero, just because hunky men are sexy and dark hair has always been my favorite. However, I love a strong heroine and Carrie is strong. Her assistant may deserve a book of her own. And her friend is a no-nonsense, anything goes sort of girl. I guess I like all my characters. I’m so indecisive. About everything in my personal life, too. It takes me forever to pick out a pair of shoes.

What do you do in your spare time?

What spare time? LOL. I keep the road hot. I go to soccer ball games, baseball games, cheer competition, or just babysit the wee ones. Can’t wait till July when I retire.

Any final thoughts you’d like your readers to know about you or your books?

I enjoy penning a story with strong characters, a bit of humor, and active scenes.I invite you to lay the worries of the world off your shoulders and get lost in the pages of a romance, where you embark on a journey with the hero and heroine, become involved in a dream, plunge into a world of fantasy, live an adventure your heart can share.


Thank you so much for joining us today, Samanthya, and good luck with your book!

Bonus: The interview’s not over yet. If you would like to read more of Samanthya’s thoughts on the writing process and a special excerpt from Something More, hop on over to my website here.

If you would like to learn more about Samanthya or either of her new books, please visit her webpage. You can also find her on Facebook, Goodreads, Amazon, and SMP Authors.

Avery Flynn Climbs the Vine to Tell Us About Jax and the Beanstalk Zombies

AFlynnHeadshot2Mermaids, friends, and romance readers galore… I have convinced the fabulous Avery Flynn to tell us a little about herself and dish on her latest release, Jax and the Beanstalk Zombies, a zombie-apocalyptic romance published by Lyrical Press.

Don’t forget, Avery is doing a Rafflecopter giveaway to celebrate the release of Jax and the Beanstalk Zombies, so read on for the details on how to enter to win those great prizes are below.

Hello, lagoon! 🙂

Welcome Avery! Can you please tell us a little about yourself?

Let’s see … I drink a lot of coffee. I have an unfortunate addiction to Oreo cookies. I’m a bit of a loud mouth. Stop laughing, there are people in the world who talk more than me. … There just aren’t many of them.

When you were five years old what did you want to be when you grew up?

I have never wanted to be anything other than a writer. OK, I may have wanted to be Wonder Woman, but I got over that. Mostly.

How long have you been writing and do you recall what originally sparked your interest?

I got my first typewriter before I could even spell and I used to write gibberish stories about my stuffed animals. I have no idea what sparked my first story, but I’ve always loved reading or being read to

What is your favorite part of the writing process and what is your least favorite?

That depends on the day. If everything is flowing, I LOVE everything about writing. It is all unicorns and rainbows. On the days when nothing but crap is coming out of my fingers (ewwww, now isn’t that a pretty visual?), I despise everything about writing

What was the inspiration behind your most recent story, Jax and the Beanstalk?

I was on the way home after a July 4 BBQ at Kimberly Kincaid’s house. That means I was well fed and a little tipsy – don’t worry, the Fab Mr. Flynn was driving. I knew I wanted to write a twisted fairytale involving zombies and Jack and the Beanstalk seemed like the perfect candidate.

What was your favorite chapter (or scene) to write and why?

The scene where Jax and Veronica have sex on the magic carpet was pretty fun. I mean come on, how do you top that?

What has been the toughest criticism you’ve received as an author? What has been the best compliment?

Criticism? No one criticizes authors. 🙂 I think I’ve blocked out the worst, but my own aunt did give me a three on Goodreads once. But we’re not really a hold-your-punches kind of family, so I’m OK with it. The best compliment? Really, anytime someone enjoys something I’ve written, it’s the best compliment.

What do you enjoy doing when you’re not writing?

Reading. Shopping. Eating. Spending the day in yoga pants with a bottle of wine. Wait, did I type that last bit out loud? 🙂

What is the craziest thing you’ve ever done to research for a book?

I wish I had done something crazy to research a book. Maybe I can work skydiving into a book. I’d need to research that. Of course, I’d have to hogtie the Fab Mr. Flynn to a chair or he’d tackle me before I got out the door.

Please share five random things about yourself.  

  1.   I love shoes, but spend most of my time barefoot.
  2.   I love to eat, but hate to cook.
  3.   I love men who are smart, funny and hot … hello, the Fab Mr. Flynn.
  4.   No one makes me laugh harder than my kids.
  5.   I would rather chew off my own arm than shop with my mother.


Thanks so much for letting me hang out with you today, Dana!

No, thank you Avery for taking a break from your crazy, busy schedule to keep us up to date on your latest release. But let’s not let the fun end now.


Jax and the Beanstalk Zombies by Avery Flynn

“I loved this story.” – -Darynda Jones, NY Times Bestselling Author

“4 stars. Snappy, smart, thoroughly romantic.” – RT Book Reviews

“This is Jack and the Beanstalk smexified, zombified and all grown up.” – Elisabeth Staab, Bestselling Author


The treasure hunter… Veronica Kwon is determined to be the only person in control of her destiny. After surviving a broken engagement and turning her back on her wealthy manipulative father, she’s started a treasure hunting company and is ready for the adventure of a lifetime.

The ex-fiance… Jax Taylor is a Southern charmer with enough sex appeal to melt the polar ice caps. He disappeared three months before their wedding and swore he’d never cross paths with Veronica again.

The magic beanstalk… Brought together again by their dying mentor, who has found three enchanted beans, Veronica and Jax agree to an uneasy partnership. Together they’ll climb a magic beanstalk to the cloud kingdom, but will their destiny be the riches they so desire, the passion they thought dead…or will the undead get them first? 

Avery Flynn has three slightly-wild children, loves a hockey-addicted husband and is desperately hoping someone invents the coffee IV drip. Find out more about Avery on her website, follow her on Twitter, like her on her Facebook page or friend her on her Facebook profile. Also, if you figure out how to send Oreos through the Internet, she’ll be your best friend for life.

Now for the GIVEAWAY!

Enter to win a JAX AND THE BEANSTALK ZOMBIES prize pack (including a Shaun of the Dead DVD, zombie hunting license and more) from Avery Flynn and a $25 Amazon gift card!

Zoraida Cordova Swims with the Mermaids

Zoraida, Queen of the MermaidsGood morning, everyone!

I hope you’ve all had as remarkable a month as I have. (And gods willing, a more relaxing one.) Are you ready for summer?

I thought I’d honor this fabulously scorching-hot day by sharing with you a really fun interview I did with my dear friend Zoraida Cordova. You’ll love her–not only because she is INCREDIBLY GORGEOUS, but because she also WRITES BOOKS ABOUT MERMAIDS.

That’s right — you heard me! Zoraida’s debut novel The Vicious Deep and its follow up, the recently-released The Savage Blue, are young adult novels that follow the adventures of Tristan: a young lifeguard on Coney Island who discovers that his father is…well…the Sea King.

I’ll let Zoraida tell you more in her own words! She and I recorded this interview while having a blast at MISTI-Con, a fantastic Harry Potter themed convention held in Laconia, New Hampshire just a few weeks ago.


To find out more about Zoraida and her work, please visit her official website at: http://www.zoraidacordova.com/

The Savage Blue by Zoraida Cordova


Swimming with the Mermaids: Carlene Love Flores

If you have never experienced in person the gorgeous and amazingly pure sweetness that is Carlene Love Flores, then I suggest you check your calendar and make an appointment to do so at your earliest convenience. If I could convey the effervescent loveliness with which Carlene so subtly reminded me to get my coughing, virus-ridden duff out of its funk and post the interview I did with her last month about her fabulous debut release, Sidewalk Flower, you, too, would wish you had such majestic and judicious grace.

I am as blessed and honored to have her as a Mermaid Sister as I am proud of her release…which just so happened to launch on my birthday. How’s that for awesome karma?


Alethea Mermaid: Tennessee, California, Australia — what special meaning (if any) do each of these places have for you?

Carlene Mermaid: Let’s start at the end and work our way back (which fits since this is how I wrote Sidewalk Flower-Trista and Lucky’s story.) When I think of Australia, I see brave people with gorgeous voices and a tenacious, fighting spirit. I can’t imagine Jaxon James (Trista’s best friend) being from any other place.

The first time I drove through Tennessee was years ago in the fall. I fell in love with the state that day and when fictional native son, Lucky Mason, stepped up to the plate to be Trista’s hero in Sidewalk Flower, I fell in love with him too.

Southern California is everything I know about being young at heart and free but also a place you have to leave sometimes to find yourself. I was honored to have made this trip with the heroine of the story, Trista Hart.

Alethea: Music is very important to you and your work. Do you listen while writing? Was there a “Sidewalk Flower” playlist?

Carlene: I do love music with all my heart! I listen to it most hours of the day & night and leading up to every scene I write. But during the actual writing, I prefer to be alone with those thoughts. Here is Sidewalk Flower’s playlist:
“Why I’m Feeling Blue” by Casey James (Lucky’s song)
“Blown Away” by Carrie Underwood (Trista’s song)
“Better Than Me” by Hinder (Jaxon’s song)
“The Dead of Night” by Depeche Mode (Sin Pointe’s song)
“Talk About Suffering” by Debra James (Gramma Grace’s song)

Alethea: What is it about a man in a cowboy hat?

Carlene: Intriguing, isn’t it? I’m a big fan of men in hats. Also men without hats. Hey, everybody look at your hands! Now let’s safety dance. Sorry, I just had to go there in the name of 80’s music. Hmm…I also like Men in Trees. I miss that show…

Alethea: Have you ever driven cross-country?

Carlene: Oh yes! Road trips are my favorite and so when I had the chance to hop in the truck and drive from Virginia to California and back, I was in heaven. Where else can you listen to music, ride with the windows down and watch the sun setting in the rear view mirror? Here are a few pics from that trip: http://carlenelove.com/2012/08/08/my-favorite-cross-country-road-trip-pictures/

Alethea: Who are some of your favorite fictional heroes?

Carlene: Gosh, I am hands down the biggest broken record when it comes to talking about my favorite fictional hero, but since you asked…Valerius Magnus. ☺ Swoon. I am very jealous that you are Facebook friends with him. But can I just geek out a little here and say how excited I am to be officially sharing Lucky Mason with the world?

Alethea: Who inspires you — in both fiction and real life?

Carlene: There is so much I appreciate about life and the people living it. I’m inspired by the weak and the brave. The hurt and the whole. People with unshakable faith and those on the brink of losing it. I’m inspired when people don’t give up.

Alethea: What’s the coolest thing about being a Mermaid?

Carlene: I can think of many cool things about being a Mermaid, but the coolest by far, is calling the ocean home.

Alethea: What would you say are your Mermaid super powers?

Carlene: Well, whatever you do, don’t Google Mermaid Super Powers! The results are full of unimaginative fluff. Of course we exist, and of course we are super and powerful 😉 My super power is that I believe in make believe.
[Edited to add: I believe Carlene’s Mermaid Super Power is her beautiful purity of spirit. Am I right? Mermaids, feel free to chime in with your opinions below!]

Alethea: What’s next for you?

Carlene: Now that Trista and Lucky’s book is out, I’m spending time convincing Jaxon James it’s a good idea to tell the world his story next. This is where that Aussie tenacity I mentioned earlier comes in to play. But underneath it all, he’s a good guy. It’s really not his fault he can’t stop thinking about Trista’s long lost baby sister…


Thank you, Carlene!

If you have any other questions for Carlene, feel free to add them to the Comments below. And if you haven’t yet picked up your copy of Sidewalk Flower, now’s your chance!

Hey There Darynda!

I’m honored to welcome the fabulous Darynda Jones to the lagoon today.

I’m ashamed to say I didn’t listen when I was told I just had to read FIRST GRAVE ON THE RIGHT.  But I’m glad to say that when I did, I could immediately buy SECOND GRAVE ON THE LEFT.  For the first time in my life, I paid full price for a hardback book.  It was worth every penny.   Many times over…

Then I—along with all of Darynda’s other fans—had to sit and (im)patiently wait until THIRD GRAVE DEAD AHEAD came out.

I’ve stalked her on Twitter.  I’ve visited her website so many times for updates on her books that I’m sure to get banned from there soon.

Imagine my surprise when she so generously agreed to be interviewed by me—with nary a restraining order in sight.

In 2009, Darynda’s unpublished manuscript (FIRST GRAVE ON THE RIGHT) won RWA’s Golden Heart award for Best Paranormal Romance.  Less than three years later, Darynda is a double RITA nominee in two categories (Best First Book; and Best Novel with Strong Romantic Elements) for that same book, only it’s now not only published but a bestseller.

Let’s ask Darynda a few questions, and maybe she’ll even answer a few more…

1.    What was your inspiration for FIRST GRAVE ON THE RIGHT?

My inspiration was actually my heroine Charley herself. She just kind of popped into my head one morning, told me all about her life, and the rest is history. It was her personality that drew me to her more than anything, though. I wanted a character who was fun and a tad crazy but who lived in a rather dark world. I wanted her to have accepted her circumstances, to treat them rather everyday, like they were nothing special, and not be a whiner about them. LOL

2.    How many books do you anticipate there being in the series?

Well, my editor wants it to be ongoing, so there’s just no telling. I would love it to continue for quite a while longer. I adore writing about Charley and her antics.

3.    Please, please, PLEASE tell us that Charley and Reyes finally get together in the flesh.  I know that’s not a question.  So just comment.  And comment to my liking.  🙂

Hahaha. They definitely do, and quite soon. *wink wink*

4.    In real life, are you more like Charley or her best friend Cookie? 

You know, I’m not sure I’m very much like Cookie. She is super savvy, efficient, a tireless worker . . . yeah, that’s not me. I am like Charley in one very basic element: We both suffer from serious cases of ADD.

5.    Do you have a Cookie in your life?  I think everyone should have one. 

Oh, don’t I wish! I agree. Everyone should have a Cookie. And if I ever find one, I’m going to kidnap her and force her to do research and go to the post office for me.

6.    How many hours a day do you write?

It kind of depends on where I’m at in the process and how tight of a schedule I’m on. If I’m on a first draft, I will usually write (actually put new words on paper) anywhere from 2-10 hours a day, although I will be at my computer for more like 14. There is SO much more to writing than writing. If I am nearing my deadline, my hours will jump up from there.

7.    Do you have something special you do as a reward for reaching a goal?   (Finishing a book.  Finishing a tough chapter…)

Well, I am all about the reward system. LOL. After I finish a deadline, I will take a couple of days off (schedule permitting) and just vegetate. My brain is usually quite mushy by then anyway. Finishing a tough chapter? I will probably take the evening off and watch an episode of my favorite television show or go to a movie.

8.    There is a rumor going around that FIRST GRAVE may become a television series.  Can you tell us a bit about that?  And if it happens, how in the world will anybody be good enough to play either Charley or Reyes?? 

Yep! It actually sold to CBS for the CW a couple of years ago. Hopefully they’ll do something with it someday, though I’m not holding my breath. I can see several women playing Charley. For some reason, that is not nearly as much of a challenge as finding someone to play Reyes. I do not envy the casting director that job.

9.    I’ve heard you mention your sons, who you call the Mighty, Mighty Jones Boys.  How old are they?  Have they read your books?  And if so, are they proud, embarrassed (by the hot scenes) or a little bit of both?

My boys are awesome even though my youngest wrecked my car yesterday. LOL. They are 23 and (as of today) 19.

My oldest is Deaf and is not a fan of the English language, so he has a great excuse, but neither has read my books. It doesn’t bother me in the least. My husband doesn’t read my books either. I have no problem with that at all. However, many of their friends, especially girls, do read them and that gets funny. One girl texted my youngest and commented on how hot they were. My son texted me with: “MOM! What exactly are you writing???”

It’s the little things in life.

10. What author living or dead would you want to meet and why?

Well, since I’ve met the amazing JR Ward and the incredible Neil Gaiman, I guess I would love to meet Stephen King. I’d also love to meet Jane Austen and Oscar Wilde. Oh, and Mary Shelley. How cool would that be? And I’d love to have a face-to-face with Suzanne Collins. And Stephen Hunter! Okay, you said ‘author.’ Sorry. They’re like Lay’s Potato Chips, you can’t pick just one.

11. What books have you read recently?  Any book recommendations for those waiting patiently for FOURTH GRAVE BENEATH MY FEET?

Well, anything by JR Ward should do the trick! LOL. That woman is amazing. Also, Molly Harper and Jacquelyn Frank. Fantastic books!

12. What time of the day do you find most productive for writing?

A quarter past deadline. 🙂

13. How did you come up with your character names?

Actually Charley Davidson was originally named Harley Davidson. My editor put a stop to that silliness, so Charley was born.

As for Reyes, I was writing First Grave while interpreting at our local Jr. High and there was a kid whose first name was Reyes. I’d never heard it as a first name before and just fell in love. So I told him I was stealing it. He seemed okay with my thievery.

Oddly enough, at that very same school, there was another kid named Garrett who was sitting a couple of desks away from me while I was trying to come up with a name for, you guessed it, Garrett. Weird. And Swopes is the last name of one of my best friends.

I had a friend named Cookie who lived in Albuquerque many years ago and stole her name for my loyal, fashion-challenged administrative assistant.

Uncle Bob is in homage to the Terminator where John Connor introduces the Terminator to his friends as Uncle Bob. I thought that was too funny.

14. You have a YA series debuting in October.  Can you tell us a little bit about that?  How many books do you think will be in the series?

Absolutely! The Darklight series will be a trilogy. Here is a quick blurb:

Ten years ago, Lorelei’s parents disappeared without a trace.  Raised by her grandparents and leaning on the support of her best friends, Lorelei is finally beginning to accept the fact that her parents are never coming home.  For Lorelei, life goes on.

 High school is not quite as painful as she thinks it will be, and things are as normal as they can be.  Until the day the school’s designated loner, Cameron Lusk, begins to stalk her, turning up where she least expects it, standing outside her house in the dark, night after night.  Things get even more complicated when a new guy—terrifying, tough, sexy Jared Kovach—comes to school.  Cameron and Jared instantly despise each other and Lorelei seems to be the reason for their animosity.  What does Jared know about her parents?  Why does Cameron tell Jared he can’t have Lorelei?  And what will any of them do when Death comes knocking for real? 

15. Do you listen to music when you write?  Do you come up with a playlist for your books and characters? 

I don’t listen to music while I write at all. I must have complete silence. There is enough chaos in my head while I write. Music only adds to the confusion.

16.  How do you balance your web presence (blogging, web site, interview) with your writing?

Badly. It’s really hard to come up with that balance and it’s a constant challenge for me. I will often spend more time on writing-related content than actual writing, and that is not how it should be. I’m considering therapy.

17. Do you believe in an afterlife?  Supernatural? 

I do believe in the afterlife, I’m just not sure how much of it I believe is here on Earth. I am quite the skeptic.

18. Plotter or pantser?

Plotter. I MUST know where my story is going or I get lost in all that confusion I mentioned earlier and it’s hard to come back from that. Pantsers amaze me. They are like these mystical creatures who are not really of this world. I think they’re from Saturn. Or one of its rings.

19. Tea or Coffee? 

Coffee. Sigh….

20. Do you snack when you write?  If so, what are some of your favorites?

Gah! I’m so boring. No, I don’t snack. It’s too distracting. LOL.


One lucky commenter will get his/her choice of either of Darynda’s October 2012 releases:  FOURTH GRAVE BENEATH MY FEET; or DEATH AND THE GIRL NEXT DOOR–the first in her YA series.   And making it even better…Darynda will personally sign it!  The winner will be randomly chosen and posted on Sunday.

I’m sure I’m not alone when I wish Darynda the very best of luck in Anaheim at RWA’s RITA Awards in July.  Thank you, Darynda, for swimming with your mermaid fans!   And those on dry land.

Carol Ericson Swims with the Mermaids

I have been lucky to belong to the GIAM writing communities for a couple of years now and the support, motivation, and friendship I’ve made has been amazing.  One of my support network is the very lovely Carol Ericson. Besides being one of the most popular Harlequin Intrigue authors, she has ventured into the area of self-publishing and has had great success with that as well!

And . . . you gotta love a woman who jumps in the middle of the Mr. Romance contestants and gets a pic for drooling posterity . . . sigh . . .


1. Set the scene for us, where are you and what are your three favorite objects within arms reach.

I’m on a tropical beach and the objects within arm’s reach are a Georgette Heyer or Victoria Holt book, a Diet Coke, and my husband (not necessarily in that order).

2. Are you a plotter or a pantser? Why?

I’m a plantser!  I need to have some kind of outline so I know the direction of the story, and I can sit down and have the words flow from my brain to my fingertips.  But I’m not wedded to my outline.  If the story takes an unexpected turn or a character decides to do something off the map, I go with it.

3. How often do you write and do you keep a set schedule? Do you ever start to get the shakes if you don’t write? 🙂

Since I also work a day job, I try to write a little bit every day.  I try to keep to a schedule of writing 3-4 pages every day (some days are more successful than others).  I bring my AlphaSmart to work and write a few pages at lunch; then at night I transfer the Alphie pages to my computer, tweak them, and add a few more pages.  If I’m not writing, I’m definitely getting antsy.  I start talking to myself more than usual.

4. What is your celebratory treat for finishing a book?

Ah, I zone out in front of the TV for a few nights, usually watching enlightening fare like Dancing with the Stars or The Bachelorette.

5. For the sake of this question, your best friend is single, which one of your heroes would you set her up with?

One of my best friends IS single, and I’d set her up with Jack Coburn from Green Beret Bodyguard.  Jack is smart and literate and best of all…he has amnesia, so no pesky baggage to deal with.

6. What was the last non-romance book you read that you’d recommend?

I’ll leave off the political stuff here, although I do read a lot of political books.  I would recommend The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson.  It intertwines the stories of the construction of the Chicago World’s Fair and America’s first serial killer, H.H. Holmes, who had set up a house of horrors near the World’s Fair. A fascinating juxtaposition of two minds:  one that soared to create and one that was compelled to destroy.

7. What are your favorite pair of shoes and how do they reflect your personality?

Hmm, my favorite pair of shoes right now are low-heeled, aqua-colored, and pointy-toed.  I can wear them with jeans or skirts.  They reflect my personality because they’re a bit sharp, a bit quirky, and a bit practical.

8. What kind of support do you have as an author to help you with your website, e-mails, promotion and all the other non-writing parts of being a successful author?

Not enough!  I do have a website designer, Rae Monet, who is fabulous.  Rae also designs my indie pubbed ebook covers, which totally rock!  I answer all my fan mail personally. (I even got a handwritten letter forwarded to me by Harlequin from a reader who does not have a computer or email.  I sent her a handwritten letter back, along with copies of two of my Intrigues that she was missing.)  I also do all my own promo; however, I’m a member of several amazingly supportive groups who share a wealth of information about advertisers and promo sites.  But I still believe the most important part of being a successful author is writing good books, so most of my blood, sweat, and tears go into producing the best book I can write.

9. With the increase in e-books, digital publishing, self publishing and all the changes in New York, where do you see the industry going and what are you doing to prepare?

I think the explosion of ebooks and Kindles and Nooks and iPads is fantastic.  The more ways to read, the better!  I don’t believe hard copy books will ever go away.  There are too many people who enjoy the look and feel of a book, paperback or hardback, for them to disappear completely.  (OMG – have you seen the covers on the Sourcebook reissued Georgette Heyer books?  They’re lovely, and I don’t think you’d get the same effect of the cover on an e-reader.)  I believe the publishing industry has already sat up and taken notice of the trend and they are reacting to it in a variety of ways.  I can only speak specifically to Harlequin, and I know they are changing the way they are approaching digital books.  Personally, I’ve prepared by getting my ass on the bandwagon.  Last summer I self-published three romantic suspense books and a romantic comedy.  I’m especially thrilled with the progress of the romantic comedy.  For a book I could not sell to a traditional publisher, it took off last summer, making the Kindle top 100 bestseller list for contemporary romance.

10.  Writing sex scenes – agony or ecstasy?

I love writing sex scenes. 😉  I used to write erotic romance, and when I first started writing for Intrigue, I’m afraid I got a little carried away with the sex scenes.  Intrigue sex scenes are fun to write because if the hero and heroine are about to have sex, having sex, or have already done the deed, you just know something bad is about to happen!


Carol is giving away a copy of Green Beret Bodyguard to a lucky commenter and if you want a chance to win another book and read the rest of the answers to my question and another giveaway, hop on over to my blog, Burning up the Sheets.  See you there!


Bio:  Best selling series romance author Carol Ericson suffers from a lack of privacy.  She always has a few characters floating in her head as well as snippets of dialogue and several “what if” scenarios.  She periodically purges all these voices and images by writing stories of romantic suspense for Harlequin Intrigue and recently for self publication.  When she’s not writing, Carol is busy reading other fabulous stories or running to her teenage sons’ soccer matches, water polo games and basketball games.  Carol and her family live in Southern California near the beach, where Carol is now officially the shortest person in her household.

Thanks for stopping by!

Robin Mermaid