Saturday, June 25, 2011

Arizona Dreamin’ 2011 - A Romance Reader Event!

Welcome Kris Tualla, creator of 

Arizona Dreamin’  2011  - A Romance Reader Event

Amber: All authors want to connect with readers and potential readers. Many conferences and events are directed at writers or those who want to write. Not that writers don’t buy a lot of books (and those that don’t definitely should) but readers who gobble books for the sheer joy are like triple chocolate cake every night. Kris Tualla’s vision created Arizona Dreamin’ -  Arizona's first Romance Reader event! 

Amber: So Kris, how did you become the Arizona Dreamin’ Queen?

Kris: I attended the Romantic Times Booklovers Convention and heard about reader-focused events in other parts of the country. I thought - why not in Phoenix? A city this size can certainly support such an endeavor!

Amber: How did you advertise to attract readers?

Kris: The vision was to bring my fans and introduce them to your books, and vice versa. So I asked each of the 24 authors to get 4 of their own fans to come. If they did, we would be full.

Amber: Did you break even the first year?

Kris: Not even close, sad to say. Half of the authors didn't generate any ticket sales at all! I learned that new authors are hungry and understand that they need to promote. Authors published four or five years ago (or more) have no clue.

Even so, those readers who did attend had a blast! I have never seen so many consistent smiles in a very long time. Everyone was talking about who they would bring with them "next year"! Not only that, but they bought $1800 worth of books and raised $315 for charity!

Amber: Anything authors who want to attend and be part of AD2012 needed to know?

Kris: Yes. First, we are expecting double the attendees. Part of that will be generated by a special incentive offered to the 2011 attendees. Another part will be generated by the authors themselves who will each purchase 4 tickets to resell at a discount, or use in raffles and contest prizes as a thank-you to their fans.

Second, I am committed to keeping the event small and intimate. We plan to cap the authors at 24, and keep the "Book Clubs" - the meetings of authors and readers - at 10 per club.

Amber: I saw some pretty yummy photos with a cover model (definitely not female). How did you arrange that and did it help the publicity?

Kris: Ah, yes. Jimmy Thomas is definitely a thing of beauty - and currently on more than 1400 book covers. He's sweet as can be and was a doll to come, plus he added a very special touch to the event! He's also a smart businessman; he stages, photographs and sells images designed for every genre of romance novel ( ). I had him on my blog last year as an example of businesses that will rise up in support of independently publishing authors.

When I asked him to come to Arizona Dreamin' he agreed. While he was here he worked, shooting covers with two different models in two separate sessions. The fun part for us is that he allowed us to watch! Then he posed with readers in exchange for a donation to our charity. Next year we'll have a special backdrop that looks like a book cover for those photos!

Amber: What about the details for Arizona Dreamin' 2012?

Kris: Saturday, June 2, 2012, Noon - 10:00pm. Tickets (probably around $30) include a delicious and bountiful buffet dinner with the authors. 

Breaking News!

Location - Windmill Inns & Suites of Chandler / 3535 W. Chandler Boulevard / Chandler, AZ 85226. Event room rates are $79 per suite for those who want to make it a girl's overnight or weekend (it's next to the Chandler Mall)!

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on Arizona Dreamin' 2012

Amber: What is the one (scratch that)… What are the 5 most important things an individual or group would need to pull this off?


  1. Passionate belief in the concept. I took the financial hit in 2011 because I know this event will grow!

  2. People working with me who have a passionate belief in the concept. My committee was small but comprised of some truly amazing authors, including Deena Remiel and Tami VanGurp.

  3. Energy - which plays out in commitment and follow-through. This isn't a path for the faint of heart!

  4. The understanding that no author is an island. I help you and you help me; we are stronger together.

  5. Make certain that the things which are in my control are efficient and planned to the last detail. That way when things that are out of my control go awry (and they will) we are still successful!

Amber: Thanks Kris for telling us about your event for romance readers. And good luck with next year.

Kris Tualla, a dynamic award-winning and internationally published author of historical romances, writes with a fast-paced and succinct style. Her plots are full of twists, passion, and very satisfying outcomes! Kris started in 2006 with nothing but a nugget of a character in mind, and has created a dynasty - The Hansen Series. 

Find out more about Kris and her books on her website! 

"In the Historical Romance genre, there have been literally countless kilted warrior stories told. Well, I say it's time for a new breed of heroes! 

Come along with me and find out why:  

Norway IS the new Scotland!"


Sunday, June 19, 2011

Why I Write Fantasy - Deborah Riley-Magnus

Welcome Deborah Riley-Magnus, who writes of vampires in West Hollywood in her latest book Cold in California!

Amber: Why do you write fantasy?
Deborah: I’m the kind of person who drives herself crazy looking for the “what if?” Whether I’m writing fantasy, women’s fiction or non-fiction, my goal is always to challenge the standard thinking. If I explore a story idea, it’s bound to go way out of control before I can even begin to rein it back into the story it will become. It’s just the way I’m built. If I’m writing non-fiction, it’s the same thing. My motto is, “Who says it has to be that way just because it always has been? Why can’t it be this way?” Lure and accepted mythology beware!

Amber: Tell us about Cold in California. Why vampires? Why California?
Deborah: The first thing I probably should say is that I don’t like vampires. Everything I’d read or seen in films was kind of a turn off. It’s not so much the blood and gore, it’s the stripping of humanity that kind of bothered me. Granted, more contemporary authors have made their vampiric characters far more likeable and humane, but still, there was always something about the whole idea that never attracted me. Then I figured it out.
            It wasn’t the fact that vampires are dead, scary monsters, it was the fact that they had no hope. No redemption. No heaven. Cold in California is a book about redemption. Based on standard mythology I couldn’t have redemption for my vampire, Gabriel Strickland, unless I could give him a soul and a second chance. Oh, and it had to have humor, too. Lots and lots of humor.
            My urban fantasy takes a standard vampire, makes him double dead (twice-baked) and puts him in a West Hollywood warehouse where he has to live out purgatory with other dead supernaturals – trolls, werewolves, pixies, leprechauns, fairies, you name it. A chosen few from each supernatural race are there, even a few you may have never heard of. Against their natures, all these strange characters are challenged with earning the brownie points to get through the pearly gates. Gabriel, of course has far more difficulties, after all he’s handsome, has to now live among humans and dead supernaturals and the other ‘living’ supernaturals infesting the planet. He has to deal with the fact that everything he believed about final death was a lie, tolerate the unique West Hollywood culture, endure intense new love (of course) and win over pending disaster. Go figure. And all this guy wanted to do was be dead.

Amber: What are your favorite fantasy novels?
Deborah: Far too many to list, but I will say this, it must push the boundaries of everything we’ve imagined about a story. Stories of time travel twisted with supernatural elements and sprinkled with a layer of paranormal. To me anything that isn’t the day to day reality is fantasy. Is there a troll living in those trees or under that bridge? Are pixies causing my monitor to blink? Is there a spirit at my shoulder dictating this? Is that woman on the bus a witch? Stories that seem normal but pulse with the fantasy are my favorites!

Amber: Why do you think readers love fantasy?
Deborah: I think the typical answer to this question would be because people want to escape reality, but I don’t believe that for a moment. I think readers love fantasy because it defines our reality. Fantasy readers really don’t believe that a storm is coming; we believe it’s being sent to us. We believe that some force is bringing it to battle another force we just don’t know about yet. And of course, good will win over evil. We look for these confirmations in the newspaper stories and television news. Fantasy readers KNOW there’s more to the world than what we see. We read fantasy because it opens more avenues of thought, it stretches us, it helps us see the average in remarkable characters and worlds and vice versa. Fantasy lovers know we’re right about that too, lol.

Amber: Would you write fantasy if no one read it?

Deborah: I think all fantasy writers have. Of course, it far nicer when people do read it and discover the world you’ve created. Writing isn’t a job or a career as much as an obsession. Writers simply can’t help themselves. The other side of the coin is how to make a living at it or at the least, how to break even and get readers to look for us. I address that subject in my non-fiction, The Author Success Coach: Strategies for Success in a Turbulent Publishing Landscape, being released in August/September 2011. And oh yes, there are many sprinkles of fairy dust in that book too!  

Deborah Riley-Magnus is an author and an Author Success Coach. She has a twenty-seven year professional background in marketing, advertising and public relations as a writer for print, television and radio. She writes fiction in several genres as well as non-fiction.

Deborah produces several pieces weekly for various websites. She also writes an author industry blog, Writaholic, and teaches online and live workshops as The Author Success Coach. She belongs to several writing and professional organizations. In 2011, she has two novels and one non-fiction, “The Author Success Coach”, being released. 

She’s lived on both the east and west coast of the United States and has traveled the country widely.

Deborah's  Website and Blog Links

My Wonderful Publisher’s Link

Deborah's Contest!
Leave a comment
by June 25th
for a chance
to win a copy of 
Cold in California!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Why I Write Fantasy - Zenobia Renquist

Welcome Zenobia Renquist, fantasy author who makes her characters work for their happily-ever-after!

Amber: Why do you write fantasy?
: The only limit is my imagination. I can make the world what I want it to be, rather than limiting myself to the rules of reality. I love world-building. Creating a civilization and introducing it to my readers is my idea of fun.

Amber: What are your inspirations? What fuels your imagination?
: I'm an avid anime/manga fan. I love the art and stories that come out of Japan. The way the Japanese handle plot and story creation has influenced the way I write in a big way. I'm also a comic book fan from way back. I still watch cartoons and love watching most fantasy movies and TV shows that cross my path.

Amber: What are your favorite fantasy novels?
Harry Potter series by JK Rowling, Brotherhood of Blood series by Bianca D'Arc, most everything from Stephanie Burke, and I'm finally starting the Dragonriders of Pern series by Anne McCaffrey (yes, this one has been a long time in coming).

Amber: Why do you think readers love fantasy?
: I imagine fans of fantasy like it because things out of the ordinary happen all the time. People can fly, vampires exist, characters can change the flow of the world by simply making a wish. Anything is possible so the story is only limited by the authors imagination.

Amber: Would you write fantasy even if no one read it?
Most definitely. It gives me the ability to exorcise real life demons and acts as a nice stress relief when I put my characters through literary tortures before letting them get to their happy ending. Most of all I would continue because I like reading my stories. I still can get sucked into my own books and want to know what comes next even though I wrote them and know what comes next.

Whether as D. Reneé Bagby or Zenobia Renquist, Reneé lives in her imagination. When not traveling through her fantasy worlds, she can be found in MD living with her husband and two cats. She is an Air Force brat turned Air Force wife, which means she’s accustomed to travel and does it whenever possible (so long as she doesn’t have to fly). Her favorite pastime is torturing her characters on their way to happily-ever-after for the enjoyment of her readers.
On the few occasions her muse flees the scene of the crime, Reneé likes to read (comics, manga, and romance), go to the movies, play a few levels of whichever puzzle game has hijacked her interest or experiment with a new chain maille weave.


Patrice is the backbone of her company. She's never met a problem she can't conquer, except her stress. She's stretched to the breaking point until she finds Café Midnight. Her waiter serves up a cup of relaxing tea with hot passion on the side. She's found a way to truly relax, but is she willing to let her sexy waiter serve her at home? 

Caveat Emptor 1: Charmed Lover (Changeling Press)
It's only a matter of time before someone figures out Ryver and Theron's secret. With the threat of mages bearing down on them, Ryver has to decide if she's willing to give up her vampire lover -- or her freedom.
Buy Link:
Coming 10 June 
Caveat Emptor 2: Trapped Lover (Changeling Press)
Now living in vampire territory, Ryver is learning more and more about Theron. Not all of it is good. The more she sees, the more she's convinced that the man she fell in love with, the man who can make her body sing with a single touch, might not be the man she thought he was. What's worse, there's no way to get away from him if he's as bad as she suspects.

Learn more about Zenobia at her Website
& Renee’s Blog 

Zenobia's Contest!
Leave a comment for a chance to win an ebook copy of 
Caveat Emptor 1: Charmed Lover.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Why I Write Fantasy - Ann Wilkes

Welcome Ann Wilkes, space opera author, science fiction reviewer, and blogger!

Amber: Why do you write fantasy? 

Ann: I like to explore human behavior outside of the trappings of our own world, time or civilization. I love the "what ifs". I love to be transported to another reality and I want to transport readers to another reality of my creation. I want to get readers to consider social issues in a new way without even realizing they are. I love reading it, viewing and reviewing it, but mostly I love writing it. Making the wild things I can imagine become real for a while to the reader. 

Amber: What are your favorite science fiction novels? 

Ann: I just posted my top 10 2010 favorites with links to my reviews: 

The Evolutionary Void by Peter F. Hamilton
Who Fears Death
by Nnedi Okorafor
by Robert J. Sawyer
Mad Skills
by Walter Greatshell
by Gail Carringer
Mozaart's Blood
by Louise Marley
Shades of Grey
by Jasper Fforde
Unseen Academicals
by Terry Pratchett
Dawn of the Dreadfuls
by Steve Hockensmith
Are You There? And Other Stories
by by Jack Skillingstead

In addition, Who Fears Death and The Evolutionary Void will remain all-time favorites, adding to my all-time favorite list below: 

  • The Practice Effect, the Uplift War trilogy and Glory Season by David Brin
  • Realtime Interrupt, Code of the Lifemaker, Thrice Upon a Time and Multiplex Man by James P. Hogan
  • The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Universe series and The Long, Dark Teatime of the Soul by Douglas Adams
  • Fallen Angels by Larry Niven, Jerry Pournelle and Michael Flynn
  • A Swiftly Tilting Planet by Madeleine L'Engle
  • The original Ender's Game trilogy by Orson Scott Card
  • The Space Trilogy by CS Lewis
Amber: Why do you think readers love fantasy? 

Ann: Partly to escape, but mostly to dream. To let our imagination go and recall the wonder that was second nature to us when we were children. Readers also like peek at what might be around the corner for humanity and to speculate about what individuals or society might do in this or that otherworldly situation.

Amber: Would you write fantasy even if no one read it? 

Ann: That would be a very sad state of affairs indeed. I think I would, but not as much. I write not just to entertain myself, but to stir thoughts and feeling in others. I want to write prose that the reader simply can't put down and that they are still thinking about for the next few days. 

Most of Ann Wilkes' fiction found in anthologies and magazines leans toward tragic, funny or both. Her first published novel, Awesome Lavratt, is a tongue-in-cheek space opera filled with mind control, passion and adventure. On her blog, Science Fiction and Other ODDysseys, you'll find book and other media reviews, author interviews and commentary on writing and science fiction. She lives in California's wine country with her husband, Patrick. When she's not writing, she's dancing like a Greek at her favorite taverna or listening to the blues. 
(Unlimited Publishing/Redwood Writers)
     Beautiful Aranna Navna plans to conquer the galaxy one planet at a time. She steals the Awesome Lavratt, a mind control device, from a freighter in Horace Whistlestop's junkyard. She takes Horace, too. With the Lavratt, Aranna manipulates the thoughts and desires of everyone around her—until she gets to the Emperor of Calistania. Then things go from bad to worse for Aranna. The Lavratt, however, has only just begun! Oh, the fun you can have from a small cube with mind control powers. Travel the galaxy with Tyrantz Lavratt. Silly science fiction at its best. All puns intended.

Read Ann's story "Trapped Star" in the Dark Quest Books anthology

And "Immunity Project" in   

Learn more about Ann Wilkes and her books 

And don’t miss her Blog -
Read SF author interviews, thoughts on science fiction and writing

Ann's Contest!

Leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of  
Awesome Lavratt -
Contest ends  June 11th