Friday, July 23, 2010

Interview With Pamela Palmer

Pamela Palmer Once Had Plans To Be Astronaut...

My guest is Best Selling author, Pamela Palmer. I hadn’t read any of her books. Oh, I heard and saw her name, but not read her. I attended RT (Romance Times Conference) in April and sat in on one of the panels on which she was a participant. Pamela was a bit quiet at first, but when she did speak she made some great points. I took note of what she said for later use and knew I wanted to have her as a guest.

I’ve since started reading her Feral Warriors series, which I love. Good solid stories, a touch of magic, suspense, a big dose of wonder. I love her world and it was fascinating how she created it. She shares a bit of that with us today.

Pamela, it was a pleasure to meet you at RT and I learned much from listening to you and others on the panels. I’m so glad to have you visit Over Coffee.

Thanks for inviting me, Sia! It’s great to be here.

I remember attending one of your panels during RT where you spoke about career arcs and when your publisher might prefer the use of a pseudonym. You have dual career arcs, one as Pamela Montgomerie, writing historicals and another as Pamela Palmer writing your Feral Warriors.

As Pamela Montgomerie you have a series called the Jewels of Time (Time travel) and Amethyst Destiny has just been released. Will you continue creating stories under this name how many books are planned in this series?

What made you decide to branch into dark paranormal?
There are currently two books in the Jewels of Time series, Sapphire Dream and Amethyst Destiny. Both are action adventure time travel romance set in 17th century Scotland. They were a lot of fun to write, but I’m concentrating on urban fantasy types of paranormals these days and don’t currently have any more time travels in the works. But that could always change.

Dark contemporary paranormal is my preferred reading right now, and my favorite genre to write. I actually started in this genre.

I didn’t realize that. I knew you wrote historical time travel…

You know I hadn’t read any of your Feral Warriors until I met you and you gave me a copy of Obsession Untamed (#2). I loved it. I like your world in this series. A kind of mixture of ancient and modern.

What gave you the idea for the idea of Feral Warriors?

My first sale was to Silhouette Nocturne. A couple of years later, I sold the time travels to Berkley and the Feral Warriors to Avon, almost at the same time. I’d submitted Sapphire Dream (the 2005 Golden Heart winner for Best Paranormal) to Berkley two years before and a new editor found it in one of their massive piles at the same time my agent was shopping the Feral Warriors.

It was a total coincidence that the two offers came in within weeks of one another. All three editors asked me to take a second name, so I did.

Thanks, Sia!

The idea for the Feral Warriors series started with the main characters of Desire Untamed – Kara and Lyon. At first, all I knew was that I wanted to tell a story about a girl-next-door heroine who thought she was human, and the fierce, dangerous male who stole her away for the power she possessed to save his race. I knew they were immortal. But not what kind of immortal.

I haven’t yet read Lyon’s story. But I love the idea of an unknowing immortal girl next-door theme. I like Kara, she’s strong but like glue that holds everyone together.

You’ve created a sort of family of warriors…

  • I’m a huge fan of J.R. Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood, Alyssa Day’s Warriors of Poseidon, and Suzanne Brockmann’s Navy SEALs. I love the band of brothers theme, the warrior males bound together by a common cause or a common enemy, and the wonderful interactions between them. I knew I wanted to tell that kind of tale. My warriors were immortal, but what were they?

  • I’ve always loved the concept of men who could shift into animals, but most shape-shifter books deal with packs and prides and although I love reading about them, that wasn’t the story I had in my head. I finally realized my band of warrior brothers weren’t exactly brothers at all. They were shape-shifters, but not a pack. Not a pride. Each man was the last of his unique line. Each shifted into a different animal. Each went by the name of that animal.
 The Feral Warriors were born.

Your series has only 9 warriors. Is there any significance to this number?

There really isn’t any significance. After coming up with that first story idea, I pounded out the details of the world, the warriors, etc. in a matter of a few weeks. There was no deep thought as to how many warriors I should have. Nine sounded like a good number, so I went with nine.

You’ve had one of your 9 warriors die. Will we see how they are chosen? Will we see a woman warrior?

Good questions, Sia. I haven’t written a scene about a warrior being chosen as yet, but I may. A woman Feral? Why not? : )

In your newest book in the series, Rapture Untamed, you write about one of my favorites of the Warriors, Jag. He’s a bit surly and argumentative, yet loyal, but you get the feeling he doesn’t want to care.

What do you like about him?

What about Olivia?

Jag has always been one of my favorites, too. He was great fun to write. I never knew what was going to come out of his mouth. But making him into a hero was a serious challenge. He didn’t want anything to do with that role. For a while, I wasn’t sure he had it in him. But he surprised me. And when he discovered the hero within himself, Olivia wasn’t the only one who fell in love with him.

Olivia is my favorite kind of heroine – tough, yet vulnerable if she ever lets you past her shields. She was absolutely strong enough to handle Jag. Even better, she saw past his pain-in-the-ass persona to the man he could be. Almost from the beginning, she understood him better than he understood himself. She almost had the upper hand with him for a while. Until he learned her secret.

You mention that you didn’t always want to grow up to write books?

I didn’t, not at all. I didn’t like English class, could see no reason in the world I needed to know parts of speech, and hated the books they made me read. I wanted to read Nancy Drew and Narnia, not Steinbeck. As a kid, I wanted to be an astronaut. In college, I lost interest in that dream and wound up majoring in Industrial Engineering, and then went to work for IBM.

Tell us a bit how you came to write romance?

I’d always loved to read and I was a constant daydreamer. Honestly, one day one of my daydreams got too big for my head and I migrated to the computer and started typing. A few days, and three chapters later, I was hooked.

For someone who didn’t think about writing as a career, you’ve done well, and Rapture Untamed is now on the bestsellers list.

Big congratulations on that!

Is this your first placement on the list? How did it make you feel or better, what was your reaction when you learned you were? Did you ever see yourself there?

Thank you! Yes, Rapture Untamed debuted at #28 on the New York Times extended list and #139 on the USA Today bestseller list. It was my first time on either list solo. (The anthology I did with Lynsay Sands and Jaime Rush, Bitten By Cupid, hit both lists last January.)

My agent and editor got the list at the same time, but my agent called me first, by seconds. My call waiting was beeping, my editor calling, while my agent told me I’d hit the NY Times list. I was thrilled, as you can imagine, though what I actually said, I don’t remember. Something like, ‘No way, no way.”

Did I ever see myself there? Sure. I don’t think there’s any writer who doesn’t dream that dream.

Do you write full time? Or are you still juggling a career as an Industrial Engineer, wife, mom, and now author?

  • I’m a full time writer these days. I quit IBM years ago to stay home with my kids and focus on the writing.

You have two books released in two series, what’s coming up for next year?
  • Hunger Untamed, book 5 in the Feral Warriors series, will be out in February. I’m still waiting on a release date for book 6, though I suspect it will be out late next year. Plus, I’m waiting for release dates for the last two books in my Esri series for Nocturne. The first two books, The Dark Gate and Dark Deceiver, came out a couple of years ago, but I got sidetracked with the other books and just finished up the last one. It’s possible they’ll be out next year, too.
Read, enjoy, and have a wonderful rest of the summer!


Rapture Untamed Blurb

The most combative - and tormented - of all the Ferals, Jag is a predator who hunts alone - until daemons terrorize the human population. To stop them, he partners with Olivia, a flame-haired Therian temptress as strong as she is beautiful. But Olivia is no ordinary immortal. The survivor of a vicious supernatural attack, she possesses a deadly and forbidden skill - one that must remain hidden, especially from the powerful Feral Warriors.

As Jag and Olivia's sensual dance of dominance and seduction gets wilder and hotter, a dark force sets its sights on Olivia, threatening to destroy everything she has vowed to protect. And the only one who can save her soul is the arrogant jaguar shifter she lusts for but dares not love.

When New York Times bestselling author Pamela Palmer's initial career goal of captaining starships didn't pan out, she turned to engineering, satisfying her desire for adventure with books and daydreams until finally succumbing to the need to create worlds of her own. Pamela lives and writes in the suburbs of Washington, D.C.

Please visit her on the Web at

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Tales Of Cindy And Ms. Crankypants

I work with authors who go through a grueling couple of months, after the book is released, meeting their fans either in person or on blogs. All the time, creativity, and plain hard work they do so you can enjoy their books. And the whole time, chances are, their Muse is screaming at them and telling them they should be using those skills for the next project. You know, the one with the current deadline?

Loucinda McGary (aka Aunty Cindy) has just such a muse,  aka Ms Crankypants.  She is not at all quiet about her thoughts on the matter either. Ms. CP  is a highly creative but argumentative wench. Also well loved by Cindy. But I'll let her tell you all about it. 

Thanks so much, Sia, for inviting me to join you today Over Coffee. But first let me get this one thing out of the way:

Buy my book, PLEASE!

According to my grumpy muse, this is the only reason to go on a blog tour – it’s all about pushing your current book.

I’ve tried to argue with her. I pointed out that it is not just trying to sell books. Blog tours are all about connecting with readers, developing a rapport with your audience, networking and promoting yourself and your work in the book world.

She just snorts (and rather rudely at that) and reminds me in no uncertain terms that if I don’t get my butt back in the chair and work on my WIP (work-in-progress) that there will be nothing for my readers to read, much less a reason for me to promote. (Aunty sighs heavily.)

She’s correct, of course, but does she have to be Ms. Crankypants? This entire blog tour has been a real test of wills. I sit down to write another guest blog post, and she throws a major hissy that I need to get back to my characters. I mutter about promotion, and she counters with my need to have a product to promote.

Yes, my muse is a harsh task-mistress… Not unlike what some people say about yours truly (and that would be my son and DH waving from the front of the crowd), but they hardly count because most of them make little effort to appease me. I, on the other hand, try really hard to obey Ms. Crankypants, even though she takes my story off in completely unexpected directions and has my characters doing and saying things I never imagined they would.

So why do I put up with her bossy and contradictory ways?

Because she never leads me astray, and this is critical for a seat-of-the-pants writer like moi. I can’t be wasting a lot of time and effort traipsing down the wrong path with my story, and as long as I trust Ms. Crankypants, I don’t.

I’ll give you a recent example. I love to end my chapters with a strong “hook” so that the reader has a hard time putting the book down (yes, I LOVE hearing that someone stayed up all night to finish one of my books). Being that die-hard seat-of-the-pants writer who never exactly knows where I’m going in my story at any given time, I sometimes have a difficult time finding that chapter ending hook.

Such was the case as I was writing my first draft of Chapter 4 of The Wild Irish Sea. I needed to find a hooky ending and I was utterly clueless what it might be. Enter my muse, aka Ms. Crankypants. After much wailing and gnashing of teeth over trying to figure out an ending for my chapter, I left my office and headed to the kitchen for a large dose of chocolate therapy. As I walked past the dining room table, I tripped over one of my DH’s sneakers. Do not ask me why, but the man insists on changing his shoes in the dining room (see my above comment about being a harsh task-mistress, but apparently not harsh enough). As I muttered a curse and kicked the shoe farther under the table to rest nearer its mate, Ms. Crankypants whispered, “What if that was Parker’s shoe, and it was washed up on the beach?”

Oh. My. Gosh!

I grabbed three Hershey’s kisses from the dish on the buffet and rushed back to my office to type the perfect ending for the chapter:

“The rain and the waves had swept smooth the sand around the half-buried boulders just as Kevin suspected. A few pieces of driftwood, hunks of seaweed and other debris lay tangled in the crevices around the rocks. If anyone had been through here, even as recently as this morning, no trace of their passing remained.

“While he breathed in a large draught of fresh, clean air, Amber sunk to her knees in the wet sand at the base of the closest rock. She clapped both palms flat against the sides of her head and squeezed her eyes shut.

Still trying to contact her brother.

…Through the remaining mist of rain, he spied the jutting black prow of the curragh at the same moment a shrill cry rang out. ‘Hallo! Kevin! Hallo! Amber!’

For the first time in the ten hours since they’d met, Kevin was genuinely glad to see Connor Magee. The boy stood and waved his cap in the air, while someone else, undoubtedly Michael Coyle, sat in the stern of the boat steering it.

Connor shouted again, and Kevin waved back.

"We’re about to be rescued," he called over his shoulder to Amber while the curragh angled toward shore.

…Her shoulders slumped and her head drooped in defeat. Behind him, Kevin heard the hull of the curragh scraping on sand. A moment later, Connor raced up to them.

“Kevin! Amber! I told Uncle Michael we’d find you," the boy breathlessly exclaimed.

“…C’mon!" Michael Coyle called out from the beached curragh. "You can talk later."

“Stall the ball half a minute," Connor yelled back. He plunked his hat on Amber’s head and grasped her by the elbow. "Tis only a short ride back to Malin Head."

While ConnerConnor towed Amber toward the curragh, Kevin took one more quick glance up the small crescent of sand.


But then his gaze moved over the rocks. Sticking up in the midst of the greenish-brown kelp, he spotted an object that didn’t belong—a shoe.

A large shoe. The red and gray treads on the sole were unmistakably those of a trainer.

An American trainer.

So, my muse may be grumpy and cantankerous, but she really does deliver! I think I’ll be keeping her around for a good long while. After all, what’s a little orneriness between friends?

Thanks again for having me as a guest and listening to my tale of woe. Please pass the chocolate!

Wild Irish Sea back cover blurb:

Drawn together by a force they can't resist...

The telepathic image of her twin brother fighting for his life sends Amber O'Neill rushing to the rocky shores of Ireland. Desperate to find him, she turns to reclusive local inspector, Kevin Hennessy.

Bound together with a passion as relentless as the tide...

His past full of pain, Kevin has withdrawn from the world. But when the rain-drenched American appears on his doorstep with her wild tales of danger, something more than her sensuous beauty makes it impossible for him to turn her away.

The wildness of the sea, the mystery of a selkie prince, and a dangerous band of ruthless smugglers bring two lost souls together in a connection of mind, body, and spirit that can't be denied...

Buy Wild Irish Sea: Amazon, Borders, Barnes &Noble

A long-time reader of romances, Cindy discovered and joined Romance Writers of America in 2001. But her stressful career as the manager of a multi-million dollar State and Federally funded program prevented her from doing much writing or traveling. She still managed to squeeze in a little of both, but not enough of either to be truly satisfying. Finally, at the end of 2003 she decided to take an early retirement from her career to fully pursue her twin passions of travel and writing. Cindy likes to set her novels of romance and suspense in some of the fascinating places she has visited.

Other books: Wild Sight, The Treasures of Venice

Monday, July 19, 2010

What IS It With Males?

I grew up with a houseful of testosterone running amok. Estrogen based creatures were in the minority, so you’d think I would know how to handle it all with ease.

Most of the time I do.

It doesn’t matter whether it’s two or four legged males; there are certain patterns that come to the fore in certain circumstances. Regardless of my years around two and four legged males, or how much *understanding I have of them; there are days they still drive me crazy.

Today was one of those days.

Sunday is usually a peaceful, kick back day. First battle was with my son wanting to borrow the car and the reminder regarding chores came first. And then hubs and using his wimpy little push mower rather than the nice heavy duty-riding mower we have. Wimpy broke. We got all that settled. Well, I believe I suggested dunking their heads under the hose to cool off before coming back into the house.

Peace resumed.

Until the new horse arrived.

That would be the gelding (a male) that wasn’t supposed to be delivered until next week, when we had the holding pasture cut and ready for him. I should add that this is not my horse. Very close friend owns it, Daniel (a male), who has been dying to get a horse to ride again and I said he could keep it here. So I’m just taking out the biscuits from the oven when my girlfriend, his wife, calls and says they’re on the way with the horse.

Say WHAT? Please tell me you’re kidding? She’s not. Apparently the former owner (yep, another male) had to deliver another horse in my area so he decided this was the time to kill two birds with one stone. And me in the process.

Great. I have three horses, a proud cut gelding, Doctari, and two mares. This is Doctari’s herd. They’ve all carved out a certain hierarchy. Bringing in a new animal, whether horse, cat, or dog, there is a time of adjustment and that means I have to be there.


Several hours, in fact, facilitating this new member’s introduction to my herd.

Daniel keeps telling me Diamond is a well-mannered gelding used to being around a herd and subordinate to a dominant male. I keep telling him, it’s not Diamond I’m concerned about, it’s Doctari, and my lead mare, Sweet Tea (who can be a nasty beeotch when she wants to be and should not have Sweet in anyway attached to her name).

We walk Diamond around on a lead in the pasture for a while. Proud arching of necks and nose sniffing ensues. Things are going well. This what I call the honeymoon period. Well, it was a short honeymoon. We let Diamond off lead. More sniffing. Sweet Tea takes exception to something Diamond does and kicks. Grrr. Doctari, of course, is concerned and comes closer to investigate. Nothing happens. They all head off to the oak in the pasture. Sweet Tea is being bitchy about this interloper. Doctari circles around and comes between them.

  • “Oh look, Doctari is protecting Diamond,” Daniel says.

  • I’m watching all this. I shake my head as Doctari again weaved between Diamond and the mares. “He’s not protecting Diamond, Daniel, he’s keeping his mares away from Diamond. Big difference. This is gonna get tricky, my friend.”

So long as Diamond kept his distance, all was well. But he’s young, not quite three. As soon as he tried to join the herd, Doctari would run him off. By now, I’m concerned because I’m watching how Doctari is moving and he’s run Diamond close to the fence a couple of times. Sweet Tea is instigating trouble and Doc disciplines her, and we have squealing and nipping as Doctari rounds up his mares drives them back to the oak. He’s now on guard between the mares and Diamond. I know trouble is brewing when Doctari comes to a stop on a small incline in the pasture. He’s turned to the side so he looks huge and his head is up, nostrils flared, he strikes the ground with his hoof. He’s watching Diamond slowly come back up the hill on the other side of the pasture (where Doctari chased him).

There is something very chilling about a challenging bugle of a male horse. The earth vibrates when Doctari takes off after Diamond again and this time I know there will be a fight. It doesn’t help that the mares don’t stay put but gallop behind him.

  • Oh sh!t, this is bad, Daniel. Diamond is going to go over the fence.”

  • Nah, he’ll get free.”
  • "I'm tellin' you..."

Both of us are running to the other fence in the yard so we can see what’s happening. I watch as Diamond tries to break free from them and attempts to retreat to the center pasture but Sweet Tea cuts him off. Through the tall brush and grass I hear them and watch, helpless as Diamond tumbles head first over the fence and into the next field. I exhale the breath I didn’t know I was holding as Diamond gets up and shakes himself. He wastes no time putting the field between him and Doctari. I can tell he’s hurt but from this distance, I can’t tell where or how. I’m relieved to see him cantor across the field.

Daniel goes over the fence with Diamond’s lead, I run for the truck. My concern is the pasture borders the creek and there is a section where the fence is out. I don’t need him going through the creek and into the next pasture.

Daniel is coming through the pasture and I drive the truck to the other end. Diamond is literally at the furthest point in the pasture from the home pasture. That big pasture is close to a hundred acres and belongs to my neighbor. I call to Diamond and start talking to him, cajoling and praising him when he comes to me. I have no lead rope but he comes. I can see he’s bleeding where his chest caught the fence as he tumbled. Some blood is on his front legs as well. Great.

As he gets closer, I see the bleeding stripes against his chest. Nothing looks very deep but I won’t know for sure until I get him back to the house. Daniel has arrived now and I can see Daniel’s worried, but he gets the lead on Diamond and walks him. He’s moving smooth, no limping and that’s good. We get him to the house and wash him off, just scratches and nothing deep. No swelling.

My Danes are barking because there is a horse in the yard and not in the pasture, where they belong. Diamond is spooked a bit, but he’s a plucky thing. I think he knows they’re in pens. Once we have him calmed again it’s time to walk the gauntlet through the pasture. This time, the pasture is MINE, by god. Doctari was reminded and so was Miss Pain In the Arse, Sweet Tea that I’m the alpha queen. Needless to say, they backed off and behaved.

Diamond is in the barn and in a stall. Where he will stay until the holding pasture is ready.

Tomorrow is another day.

Picture 1: Doctari
Picture 2: Sassy
Picture 2: Sweet Tea and Doctari