Sunday, October 14, 2007

Two Guest Authors! Ruby Duvall and Marianne Stephens!

Some times you have an embarrassment of riches. Today I have not one author and review, but two. And thanks to Kelly and Amarinda's assistance, I even have covers from their books on the blog! Since there is so much to cover, I think I'll leap right into the interviews so that you can get to know my two guests. They are fascinating women.

Ruby Duvall

1. If you could start over with your writing career, what if anythingwould you change? My writing career only started about a year ago, but I do wish that Ihad more practice under my belt, such as that which comes with a degree in English, for example. So far, I think it's going prettywell, considering how new I am to writing and publishing.

2. What was the best piece of advice you received regarding the lifeof a writer? It's a strange answer, but when I was younger and first getting apenchant for writing, I saw a scene from Sister Act 2 that reallyinspired me. Whoopi Goldberg was talking to one of her students and basically said this, "If, when you wake up in the morning, the first thing you think about is writing, then you're a writer." I really took that to heart and found that when I decided to sit down and complete my first story, I would constantly think about the plot, the characters, and things that worked or didn't work, even if I wasn't sitting at the keyboard.They say that the best job is one you feel passionate about. A writer takes a lot of inspiration from the things around her and never really stops thinking about the stories she wants to tell. That kind of motivation (AKA obsession) is what makes being a writer easier. Ifyou've got that motivation, you've won half the battle.

3. If you could meet anyone, living or dead, who would it be? I'd love to meet J.R. Ward. I have a strange mix of feelings about her, such as jealousy for how well she writes and fan girlish glee when I think of reading her next book. All in all, I get butterflies in my tummy thinking about talking to her someday and getting an autograph. Hopefully, my dream will come true when I attend RT 2008.

4. If you could meet any fictional character, who would it be? I found this question most difficult to answer. Like any other reader of romance, I could name any number of heroes with whom I've had infatuations, and like other readers, the infatuation fades (somewhat) once the book is over and another one opens. Like an old crush, you remember these characters fondly but would rather leave them to their happily-ever-after. However, there are a few charismatic characters I would love to meet that are not (yet) attached. #1 on that list would be Sherrilyn Kenyon's Acheron from her Dark-Hunter series. Who wouldn't want tomeet a sexy Atlantean god? I'd only hope that he wouldn't curse me forbeing a fangirl.

5. What do you want to be when you grow up? Probably like any other budding author who has to work a day job to pay the bills, I'd like to be full-time author of fiction someday. Iwant to write down all the stories crammed in my head and leave behind something memorable and enjoyable.

6. In the next century, what do you hope people will remember you for? I'd like people to remember the characters I've created. I would like these characters to be like real people in the minds of readers, with rounded, fully fleshed out personalities that leave a lasting impression.

Caught in the Devil's Hand by Ruby Duvall from Ellora's Cave

Have you ever read something someone recommended and discovered an unexpected treasure? Ruby as written just such a treasure. With a culture based on sixteenth century Japan and a fascinating mythology, Caught in the Devil's Hand captured me from the first pages and kept me glued to my seat through lunch and the rest of the afternoon.

It's an age where personal status is based on hair color...blonds at the top strata and those with black hair at the bottom. Shumei, a blackie is one of the poorest of the poor. In the midst of a strange plague, she journeys to the medicine fields to gather more herbs to save her young brother. While there, she is captured by the sex demon, Vallen. In return for her surrender, he promises to release her so that she can return to her village with the precious herbs.

The spiraling relationship between Vallen and Shumei is both dangerous and ensnaring, but eventually leads to redemption and their destinies. This was a sensual love story with a well-thought out, interesting cast of characters. I look forward to the next in this series...surely Ruby won't leave me in suspense! If you want a wonderful read, then go at once to Ellora's Cave and get your own copy of Caught in the Devil's Hand by Ruby Duvall.

Marianne Stephens

1) If you could start over with your writing career, what if anything would you change?I'd start earlier! I waited until my kids were teenagers and driving me nuts (all four were teenagers at the same time for a three-year period!) before I started writing as a sanity escape. I should have started when they were younger...who needed sleep then, anyway? As it was, I got less sleep the older they got!

2) What was the best piece of advice you received regarding the life of a writer?Don't change your voice to suit anyone. You'll find a publisher/editor who likes your voice. An editor at one of the "big" NY publishing companies wrote that there were "issues with my voice". I now realize that this particular house will never take anything of mine. Why should I change something that characterizes who I am?

3) If you could meet anyone, living or dead, who would it be?I know this will sound weird, but I'd like to meet Nostradamus. His predictions have been argued over many times, and I'd like to understand what was behind his statements. Of course, he'd have to speak English so we could communicate!

4) If you could meet any fictional character, who would it be?Jessica Fletcher from "Murder, She Wrote". Her uncanny knack of being in the middle of murders and solving them interests me.

5) What do you want to be when you grow up?I always said I wanted to teach, and did so. Then I decided I wanted to write romance books, and am doing so. Now I want to be a world traveler and visit places I've never been to.

6) In the next century, what do you hope people will remember you for?Joining the inspired force behind bringing new technology to everyone's attention...namely the onset on e-books. I want future generation to look back and say, "She was insightful enough to realize e-books would be the wave of the future." Of course, I'd like them to LOVE my books, too!

Second Sight Dating by Marianne Stephens from Cerridwen Press

This weekly review process has been a most interesting voyage of discovery for me. Marianne's book was a delightful surprise. In this comedy of errors, Serena the owner of Second Sight Dating and Dan, an undercover copy investigating her dating agency, work at cross purposes with quite humorous results.

Every action can be viewed from more than one viewpoint. Toss in a highly protective cop brother, a screwball cast of clients, and an insistent police captain and you have a recipe for laughter and disaster.

Fighting their attraction all the way, Dan and Serena find love in the most unlikely places. When all the secrets are revealed and they finally surrender to the inevitable, both of them discover that truth and trust are possible with love. If you want a love story that will make you grin while satisfying your craving for a happily ever after, then trot on out to Cerridwen Press and buy a copy of Second Sight Dating by Marianne Stephens.
Kelly has the Blogga Saga today. Check it out at and then trot over to Amarinda's blog at to see what she's up to. Tomorrow I review Amarinda's Last Man Standing from Cerridwen Press.


  1. I like these interview and review things of yours Zen queen as you get to see what the authors are like and how their personality relates back to the book. And two such diverse and intersting writers.

  2. Can I quote you, Marianne? I've been struggling with the issue of my voice for 10 years...and was planning on a future blog with this topic!

  3. Well done as always. You've picked another two wonderful authors. Good job everyone!

  4. So different, yet both so appealing! Well done, Anny, Marianne, and Ruby!

  5. I was in the neighborhood and thought I'd drop by. Nice interviews as always.

  6. I love the quote about voice Marianne. I read something similar in a trade journal that warned against agents who tried this. That's one of the best things about working with my editor is that she never tries to change my phrasing or rhythm unless I've managed to become incoherent.