Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!!

Just wanted to wish all of you a very HAPPY HALLOWEEEEEN!

It's traditionally quite a fun holiday in our neighborhood -- lots of excited costumed kids, lots of parents holding warm (frequently alcoholic) beverages, lots and lots of candy -- but I'm keeping my fingers crossed there won't be rain (or, heaven forbid, SNOW) tonight. Sending my thoughts to everyone out East who got buried by the surprise blizzard and is without power. Hope it gets resolved quickly!

Personally, I don't actually remember seeing snow in October before -- not even when I lived in Wisconsin. A dusting, perhaps, at most, but not these outage-creating storms. Even with our relatively mild temps here, I still can't help but wish for a few Indian Summer days... Winter, it always comes upon us so fast.

Anyone have any party plans? My Friday Mornings at Nine characters are going to a wild event (as they do every year on Halloween, LOL), but I will just be staying home, passing out Tootsie Pops and Milky Way miniatures. If you're in the neighborhood, stop by and say, "Trick-or-Treat"!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Travel Delights

While I didn't get back from a trip to Europe this week (lovely Portland, Oregon, yes; Paris, France, no...), my good friend Brett recently returned from the City of Light and just look at the luggage tags he and his traveling companions put on their suitcases!! LOVE IT! (I'll be giving more luggage tags away on my November Fresh Fiction contest, btw, so if you're interested... ;)

Speaking of travel, I had a wonderful time at the women's fiction writing retreat on Mt. Hood. We did a lot of work (she said, crossing her fingers behind her back), and we also ate some delicious things (no finger-crossing needed on that one!), including these "Voodoo" donuts that I'd heard about and always wanted to try: Maple Bacon Bars. SO. GOOD. Take a peek at what they looked like inside the pretty pink box!

I was with fellow authors (L to R) Erika Robuck, Sarah McCoy, Jael McHenry, Sarah R. Callender (kneeling in front), Therese Walsh, Kristina McMorris, (me), Margaret Dilloway and Julie Kibler. Here we are taking over Trader Joe's:

We needed to pick up a few bottles of wine... Having a glass or three helps, um, with plotting. No, really.

In the blogging world, I'm traveling today, too, and will be at Magical Musings talking about trusting your intuition. Hope you'll join me!! Have a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

And the winner is...

Congratulations to Christy Hayes!! The random drawing has just been completed and you were the winner of Jennifer Becton's wonderfully fun novel, Absolute Liability! I'll get you two connected so Jennifer can send you the copy of the book. I hope you'll enjoy reading it as much as I did!

As for news here, A Summer in Europe just got another really lovely review, this time a 4-star one from Romantic Times. They wrote: "Brant’s charming and engaging tale will allow readers to immerse themselves in the magic and beauty of Europe along with the characters. Although the descriptions of the scenery are amazing, the development of the characters and their unique personalities are what really make this novel shine. What an enjoyable escape!"

Happy sigh ;).

And, if I seem a bit frenzied, it's because I'm headed out of town for the next few days -- just me and some awesome women's fiction writers. I'm really looking forward to it. Only problem is that I need to stop leaving my packing until the VERY LAST minute!!! Tons yet to do today...

So, a question, when you take a trip, are you a minimalist when it comes to your baggage or do you have a tendency to overpack (like, um, I do)?!

Saturday, October 15, 2011


I just saw this TED video this morning and wanted to share it. Author Pamela Meyer, who wrote the book Liespotting, makes some fascinating points about recognizing lies. I watched the show "Lie to Me" with interest when it was on (loving the premise, not always liking the secondary characters) and I've been intrigued with Patrick Jane's character on "The Mentalist" for several seasons now. But, the science behind these shows was what drew me in the most, and I hoped this video might be as compelling to some of you as it was to me. Hope you'll all having a great weekend -- and that's the truth!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Jennifer Becton's Absolute Liability (+ giveaway!)

I'm thrilled to have my friend Jennifer Becton here today to talk about her wonderful ebook, Absolute Liability, which is the first of the Southern Fraud thriller series. The story has done fabulously well online. Selling for just $0.99, it's garnered an enthusiastic audience of comedic thriller readers that's kept it in the Kindle Top 100 for months! She's sold over 35,000 copies of that book alone since its release this summer, as well as several thousand more of her other novels. Recently, she just released her lastest Austen-esque novel, too, Caroline Bingley.

Welcome, Jennifer!
Thank you, Marilyn, for the chance to visit your blog. You asked great questions, and I had fun answering them!

Can you tell us the premise of your latest book, Absolute Liability, and a bit more about the series and the novels that follow it?
At the beginning of Absolute Liability, Julia Jackson, a fraud investigator for the state of Georgia, is on a coffee run when she hears on the radio that she has been abducted. She soon realizes that an innocent woman was mistakenly kidnapped in her place, and with the help of former-flame Tripp Carver, who is now a detective with violent crimes unit, and Mark Vincent, her new partner, she must find justice for the woman taken in her place.

Absolute Liability is the first in the Southern Fraud series, and it introduces Julia’s sister Tricia whose teenage rape destroyed their family and set the course of Julia’s law enforcement career. The official rape case has gone cold, but Julia has managed through less-than-legal means to procure a copy of the police report and bits of physical evidence, and she has been conducting her own personal investigation over the intervening years. Throughout the rest of series, Julia must identify her sister’s attacker and bring him to justice.

Death Benefits, book 2, will be out in January 2012.

Do you have a Writer Fantasy--i.e., to see your book make into a feature film, to be on the New York Times bestseller list for 40 consecutive weeks, etc.?
Even though I later read a great deal of mystery novels, I originally became interested in them by watching TV with my father. I loved them all: The Rockford Files, Remington Steele, Murder She Wrote, Father Dowling, Columbo, you name it. So I’ve always wanted to write a TV episode. I don’t think that’s going to happen, especially because I don’t live in Hollywood. But I fantasize about writing one episode or even seeing one of my books become the basis for a series. It would be amazing to see Mark Vincent and Julia Jackson come to life.

Did you go on any special research trips?
Writing the Southern Fraud series involved a great deal of research into the law enforcement and military world. Not only did I consult with experts—police officers, scientists, and a Marine—but I was also fortunate enough to visit my state’s crime lab, which, by the way, looks nothing like a CSI set. It’s more like your average high school chemistry lab with some expensive machines mixed in. I met and spoke with experts in fingerprint analysis, ballistics, DNA, chemical testing, questioned documents, and crime scene investigation. In September, I got to attend a Writer’s Police Academy, where I took classes in arson, self-defense, handcuffing and arrest techniques, and even snipercraft.

Do you pay attention to reviews? If so, has there been any particular review that made your heart do a little dance? I do pay attention to reviews. I want to know that my books are resonating with those who read them, and I want to read all valid criticism so that I can improve as a writer. My favorite review ever was on my first novel Charlotte Collins: A Continuation of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, which was released in September 2010. A bit of backstory: I own a horse, which I board at a working cattle farm. I’m talking real-deal cowboys here: hats, boots, jeans, roping, cattle driving, everything. I had mentioned my P&P sequel to one of the cowboys, and he actually bought a copy of it. I thought he was just being nice to a newbie writer, but he read it! What could a cowboy possibly say positive about a historical romance? He said, “It was better than I expected.” And that made my day.

Can you tell us a little about your Austen-related novels?
I have published two Austen related novels—Charlotte Collins and Caroline Bingley—and one short story—“Maria Lucas.” I’m a bit of an oddball in the Austen world. I love her minor characters, and my sequels focus on them, not Elizabeth and Darcy. I always wanted to know if Charlotte stayed married to the odious Mr. Collins and wondered why Caroline Bingley, whose brother was so open and sweet, was so sour. Did these women ever have a chance at true love? I knew Elizabeth and Darcy lived happily ever after, but I wondered about those other characters. What happened to them? So I wrote their continuing stories in the Personages of Pride & Prejudice Collection, which is available in one ebook or as individual novels.

Connect with Jennifer Online:
Blog: http://www.bectonliterary.com
Southern Fraud website: http://www.jwbecton.com
Twitter: http://twitter.com/JenniferBecton

Jennifer’s Books are available at:
And wherever ebooks are sold.

Thanks so much for visiting, Jennifer! One random commenter on today's post will win an ebook copy (in his/her choice of format) for Absolute Liability. Winner to be selected next Wednesday, October 19th. Good luck!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Versatile Blogging

Many thanks to lovely writers Jill Thomas and Brittany Roshelle for both bestowing the honor of this blog award on me -- it's most appreciated! In accordance with the rules, here are 7 things about me that you may not know:

1. Autumn is my very favorite season.

2. No matter how carefully I chew popcorn, it always gets stuck between my teeth and it drives me crazy. I have to floss right away.

3. I really wanted to visit Yugoslavia when I was in Europe, but it's a country I didn't get to see because of the war going on there at the time.

4. My husband and son understand the humor of "The Three Stooges," but I don't really get it. They laugh at me a lot because of this.

5. I don't enjoy board games and avoid playing them at all costs.

6. When I was in school, I studied a bunch of different foreign languages (French, Spanish, Italian, Russian and a few more), but -- except for French -- I only took them for a semester or two each, so I only know how to ask things like, "Where is the train station?" and "Do you have chocolate here?" (You know, the important questions...)

7. All of you probably know this one about me because I was so happy when I first read it that I already FB'ed and Tweeted it everywhere (*grin*), but my first official book review for A Summer in Europe was from Publishers Weekly. Just in case you missed it, they wrote: "Brant’s newest...distinguishes itself with a charismatic leading man and very funny supporting cast, especially the wonderful elderly characters with their resonant message about living life to the fullest." I celebrated with ice cream and a little jig around my office, LOL.

I'm sharing this blog award with all of you reading this. If you have time and would like to write 7 things about yourselves, I would most certainly love to read them!!

And, on the subject of versatile blogging, I'm going to be in 2 places on Monday: Austen Authors (talking about reviewers) and the Girlfriends Book Club (talking about why, exactly, we write). Hope you'll stop by. Happy Columbus Day Weekend!!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Another Bad-Dog Book

Virtual confetti today to my friend Joni B. Cole on the release of her fabulous and funny collection of essays, Another Bad-Dog Book: Tales of Life, Love, and Neurotic Human Behavior (Publishing Works).

About the book, Publishers Weekly wrote: "Despite its title, this collection of personal essays from Cole (Toxic Feedback) is not a dog book, and only the title essay concerns the author's Chihuahua mix. Instead, this is a person book, and its scope is personal, for better or worse. Cole shares her most private thoughts: her worries that her husband is not her "best friend"; her obsession with her previous book's Amazon.com rankings; her shock, after friend-ing her high school crush on Facebook, only to discover that he is an aggressive poster of right-wing rants... Nevertheless, by the end of this friendly, honest book, the reader will feel much affection for Cole, her little brood, and her bad dog."

Congrats, Joni!!!

I've had the pleasure of reading it early, and it's such funny, delightful and honest collection. Hope you'll pick it up ;).