Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Meet Paranormal Author, Liena Ferror

Hello Everyone,
Welcome my guest, author, Liena Ferror. She writes paranormal shifter romances. Liena, I am glad to have you here today, and I'm loaded with questions.
Response: Thanks for having me today, Sandy. It's a pleasure to be here with you.
SM: Liena, before we get to business tell us a bit about yourself and your family. Do they support your writing?
LS: I live in South Central Pennsylvania with my husband and daughter. My son is currently serving in the U.S. Navy. I have a small zoo's worth of animals. When I'm not writing, I'm reading or making jewelry. I'm a huge sports and documentary fan so I watch a lot of TV in the evenings.
My family has been amazingly supportive of my writing career. My husband is actually the reason I gave writing a try.
Question: When did you first start writing?
Answer: My husband told me that I read so much that I could probably write a book. He was right on both counts. I was always reading. After his comment, I decided to give writing a try. It took two years but I finished my first manuscript which was a suspense. It was rejected but I was undeterred and tried writing a story in my favorite sub-genre of paranormal romance. It is getting published in November. It's amazing what the power of suggestion can do.
Question: What made you choose this genre to write in and what exactly is a paranormal shifter romance?
Answer: Romance has always been my favorite genre to read so it was natural for me to write it. I love happily ever afters and romances are chock full of them.
A paranormal shifter romance is a story about a hero or heroine who has the capability to physically change some part of their bodies as in a lycanthrope or werewolf. My lycans can change from human form, to a wolf and lastly, a mid-form or combination of both. They grow fur, claws and their faces change into that of a wolf's, but they stand upright and can speak.
Question: What made you choose digital over print? Do you think digital is here to stay? Oh, I know that's two questions, but I'm really curious about this technology.
Answer: I researched publishers, both digital and print and came across my current publisher, Eirelander Publishing and liked the fact they were a green publisher. I immediately had a good feeling about them so I submitted my manuscript to them for consideration.
I think that digital publishing will be here to stay as the world becomes more eco-friendly. More and more companies are turning to the internet for their commerce. Going paperless. I believe publishers will be no different.
Question: Tell us a bit about your story.
Answer: My first and latest release is Queen of the Ghost Drakon which is part of the Risen Series. The heroine, Keara McCabe starts every day thinking she is your typical human female until the fateful night when she gets bit by a bloodsucker and watches as he dies a painful death. She is thrust into a world where paranormal species exist and she find out not only do they exist, she's one of them and her blood is toxic to vampires. Together her and her hero, lycan Gannon Langon work to help her cope with being more than human and to keep her alive.
Question: Your story has a carnal rating. Does that mean it's steamy? lol
Answer: By definition carnal means pertaining to or characterized by the flesh or the body, its passions and appetites; sensual: carnal pleasures.
It is a steamy story though I tried to add sensuality. My story isn't just sex, it's about two people taking pleasure from one another physically while maintaining emotional ties as well. It isn't about two strangers meeting on the street and deciding a roll in the hay is in order. There is a bond between my hero and heroine.
Question: How hard are the sex scenes to write, or do they come easy for you?
Answer: They aren't hard to write, at least to me. It's just keeping the scenes fresh that becomes a challenge at times. Having the same scene repeat throughout the story makes for a boring read. Keeping it hot and fresh is the most important factor in writing a sex scene in my opinion.
Liena, I know you must be getting thirsty after talking so much.
Response: Yes, I am.
What is your favorite beverage?
Response: Depends on the time of day and my mood, Sandy. I usually drink coffee up until 3:00 in the afternoon. I try not to drink it after that time but some days require more caffeine than others. I like cherry colas and southern brewed iced tea as well. Then there are times when plain water suits me just fine.
Okay, I'll be right back. You can post a blurb and an excerpt of your story while I'm gone.
Blurb: A vampire's ultimate fatal attraction is the essence of a ghost...
Innocent to the paranormal world and innocent to the world of men, Keara McCabe finds herself caught in a century's old battle between renegade vampires and lycans after witnessing the murder of her friend at the fangs of an immortal bloodsucker. On the other hand, the vampire barely sips her blood and dies. From that moment forward, she becomes dead or alive. The vampires want her destroyed for the danger she is, the lycans want her as a weapon against all vampires.
Lycan Gannon Langon vows to protect her from both her enemies. But its in her arms that he finds innocence and fire, tentativeness and passion. As their desires ignites, the enemy implements a deadly plan.
Will Keara and Gannon survive to explore their new love together or will that love be destroyed?
"Did you see the tall guy with the long black hair?"
Keara heard her best friend Donna ask. The two women had just left Maelstroms, the local nightclub, and enjoyed the walk to Donna's car. The streets were nearly deserted, as it was three in the morning.
Her rich and husky laughter filled the night air. "You mean the one with all the bulging muscles?"
Donna nodded. "That wasn't the only thing bulging." She winked as they reached the alley where she had parked.
"You would notice." Keara frowned when she saw Donna pull out a pack of cigarettes and leaned against her car. "Such a nasty habit," she scolded.
Donna frowned. "This is the first one I've had since we went into Maelstroms." She pulled out a smoke and lit it. She inhaled, obviously savoring the nicotine that flooded her lungs. "I'm down to less than half a pack a day. Give me a break."
Keara leaned against the car. Why would anyone pollute their systems with such obnoxious smelling toxins? She tried one cigarette in her life and didn't like the feeling she was going to pass out or vomit. She never smoked again and wasn't a heavy drinker; even on her nights out with Donna. Only two drinks in case she needed to drive. Coffee was her poison of choice.
"Anyway, what did you think of the guy? He had to be at least six-foot tall, " Donna said as she took a drag from her cigarette.
Keara had to laugh again. Donna stood at five foot three if she was lucky. Keara had a good seven inches on her. Donna was forever attracted to men who were much taller than she was. "Why is it you go for the men who'll give you a crick in your neck?"
Donna chuckled as she exhaled. "I just like my men tall, dark and absolutely gorgeous, which he was by the way."
"I have eyes, I saw him." Gorgeous but not my cup of tea. She perferred her men taller with athletic builds and shorter hair. She was partial to men dressed in jeans and a t-shirt over a man in dress clothes. She liked them more ruggedly handsome than drop-dead gorgeous. "Have you ever seen him there before?"
"No, come to think of it. I wonder if he's going to become a regular," she said, and a wistful note entered her voice.
Keara shrugged. "I don't know. Maybe he's new to the area." A small sound had her turning her head to the opening of the alley. An involuntary shiver overtook her. A single harsh light outlined a tall figure walking into the entrance of the alley. "Uh oh, we got company, Donna." She reached to open the passenger side door. Damn, it was locked. Her eyes turned to her friend. Unease filled her with dread. "Unlock the car, Donna." Urgency made her voice tremble and her pulse pound.
"Relax, Keara. It's Mr. Tall, Dark and Absolutely Gorgeous." Donna said, waving away Keara's concern.
Keara relaxed marginally as she, too, noticed who it was. She still wasn't fond of the idea of being pinned in a dimly lit alley as a hulk of a stranger approached them.
Donna smiled. "Are you lost? Do you need directions?"
The man smiled in return, which showed perfect white teeth glowing in the harsh light of the alley. "Yes, as a matter of fact I am. I noticed you two were talking and was hoping you could give me directions."
The man was indeed gorgeous, Keara thought. Almost too gorgeous. His face was heavenly, like a dark angel. His eyes were an amazing shade of blue. His thick hair fell around his face and reached his shoulders. Still something about him wasn't quite right. She couldn't put her finger on it.
"Sure. Where are you heading to?" Donna asked, totally at ease with the stranger.
"While I was in Maelstroms, I overheard a couple talk about a diner close to here. I didn't catch the name of it." He walked to no more than three inches away from Donna.
Warning bells rang in Keara's head. Trepidation crept into her voice. "Come on, Donna. Let's get out of here." She tried the door handles again.
The stranger laughed as he gazed deeply into Donna's eyes. "Your friend appears to be afraid of me."
Keara felt her eyes widen and gasped. He had fangs. People don't have fangs. Panic gripped her. The other possibility was absurb. Maybe not. The stranger ran a finger down Donna's face and tilted her head to the side slowly as if her were about to caress the skin of a lover.
He looked directly into Keara's eyes. "You will stand where you are and not move. You will not make a sound," the stranger said. His voice dropped an octave and wrapped around Keara's mind, first like wisps of mist then like fog rolling off the ocean, thick and dense.
She couldn't move. The stranger entranced her. She watched helplessly as the stranger leaned down toward Donna's exposed neck. The stranger licked his lips in anticipation. He swirled his tongue gently over Donna's skin. Once. Twice. Keara's mind screamed when the stranger sank his fangs into Donna's jugular vein.
Donna moaned in what sounded like bliss as the stranger drank in long pulls from her neck.
Holy shit. A real live vampire drinking from her best friend. She tried to move but was unable to . She struggled with the hold the stranger had put on her body and mind, but it was useless.
The vampire continued to drink from her friend. After what seemed like an eternity, he lifted his head. He licked his blood-coated lips until he'd gathered the final drop on his tongue.
She watched in horror as the vampire lifted his hand, and one of his fingernails lengthened into a razor sharp point. Her mind screamed again as the vampire drew the fingernail over Donna's throat, cutting her from one ear to the other, effectively covering the signs of his bite.
"What is your name, human?" he asked.
Keara felt the fog in her mind lift enough to answer his question. "Keara McCabe."
The vampire smiled sinfully as he gazed into Keara's eyes. "Asian American," he commented as he walked around the car.
She tried desperately to turn and run, but her body was like lead. She wanted to vomit when he used the same razor sharp fingertip to turn her neck to the side. The tip of his talon nicked her skin.
"You are indeed a beautiful woman. It's a shame I'm as hungry as I am or I might spare you, make you my pleasure slave," Evil laughter erupted into the night as he lowered his mouth to her neck. The tip of his tongue gently followed the trail of blood that trickled from the wound. His tongue swept back up to her jugular.
A moan broke from her throat when she felt his fangs puncture her skin. After the initial shock and pleasure, bile rose into her throat. I need to run. The trance had her rooted in place. She stood and waited for her life to be drained out of her.
To her utter surprise, the vampire lifted his head and his eyes widened. "What are you?" His body started to convulse wildly as he dropped to the ground like a felled tree. "Oh, fuck," he wailed. His body thrashed as spasms wracked his body.
Keara felt the enthrallment of her mind weaken and finally she was released. Running out of the alley and literally running for her life, she panted hard against the residual fog still weighing down her legs. Her heart pounded wildly in her chest as she ran away from the pure evil she had encountered, a creature that only inhabited legends, novels and movies. She could barely think it. Vampire.
Handing a glass to her; here's one of your drinks of choice, Liena.
Thanks, Sandy. Taking a sip. I certainly needed this. My mouth felt parched.
Question: Now, I'm dying to know how you came up with the idea for this story, Liena?
Answer: Just my overactive imagination. Part of it came from watching a show on television about blood disorders and my love of the paranormal made up the rest. I've always loved stories and movies about vampires and werewolves. When I decided to seriously try and complete my first paranormal romance, the idea just fell into place. I often get my ideas (I have a notebook full of them) from television shows, usually documentaries.
Question: Do you write at the same time every day, or do you just fit writing in when you can? What is your schedule like?
Answer: During the school year, I usually write as soon as my daughter is off to school. That gives me the length of her school day to write. During the summer, I write after I get my exercise in for the day. I still manage to get as much writing in as I can. I usually try not to write in the evenings or weekends unless inspiration strikes me. I reserve that time for my family. It's a balancing act but it works for us.
Liena, tell everyone when your book will be released and where it can be found.
Answer: The Risen: Queen of the Ghost Drakon will be released on November 20, 2009 and can be found at
Liena, I've enjoyed having you here today, but I know you want to get back to writing your next story. I wish you much success with your career.
Response: Thank you so much for having me today, Sandy. I appreciate you taking time out of your busy schedule for me. Have a great week, everyone.
The Risen: Queen of the Ghost Drakan
November 20, 2009 release
Frost at Dusk
April 16, 2010 release
I hope you have terrific sales, Liena. Your excerpt was very intriguing.
Enjoy the rest of your week, folks, I'll be back on Sunday.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

To Blog or Not to Blog

Hi Everyone,

I’m a mystery romance writer. I have had two books published digitally, The Catalyst and Addiction. I have a website at and I post blogs at two different sites, on Sunday’s and once a month.

Yesterday, I went to my RWA chapter meeting and our program was on blogging. The discussion came up whether to blog or not.. Some said it takes too much time away from their stories, one said she didn’t know what to write and no one will read what I have to say. One author said she was too negative, another said she came across as sarcastic when she was really trying to be funny, or I’m boring. One well-known author even said she goes to her blog every now and then and writes some silly little thing, but she never gets any comments.

Blogging does take some time and effort. I usually write mine in two settings and look it over three times before I post it. All in all I spend about two or three hours on it. There are times when I write it in an hour and post it like I may have to do this week.

I never run out of ideas for a blog. If it happens I have a file full of possible subjects to write about. Seldom have I had to use that list because new thoughts are always popping into my mind. For instance, blogging wasn’t the topic I was going to write about this week, but I felt like this needed to be addressed.

Okay, no one will read what I have to say is a little harder to deal with. We don’t really know if people are going to like or want to read what we write. Duh! Does everyone like what you say to them in person? Does everyone just love your little pea picking heart? Hell no! Can we really allow ourselves to worry about that? Yeah, we want to be liked, but let’s be realistic we can’t bat a hundred on our blogs anymore than we can in our every day life.

I try to write about a variety of topics so most of them are geared to readers and not to writers. Some of the blogs I’ve visited are totally geared to writers and that’s fine, but I’m much more interested in attracting readers. One of the things I’ve found is that readers are not likely to leave comments. They go in and read your blog and leave, but if you have a stat counter in place you’ll be able to see how many people visited you, how long they stayed, where they came from and if they are repeat visitors.

As a blogger you need to know that you should set up a certain day every week that you’ll be posting, and make it an obligation to post on that day. When you can’t make it at that time be sure to explain why. Your readers are forgiving when there is a valid reason.

To the author who writes silly little things and doesn’t get any comments, what do you expect when you don’t post but once in a while and when you do you don’t tell anyone.
You should send a message to your friends and groups to let them know you posted because that’s the only way you’ll gain a following. Also, if you don’t follow up with a response people do quit returning to your site. As for writing silly little things, I don’t agree with your assessment on silly. Your personality shine through on your blog. Smile. Everyone who knows you loves that bubbly person.

In today’s world having a website and a blog is a necessary tool for promoting your self and your books. This blog will show everyone the type of person you are when they read it. Most of the time I’m far too serious, but there are times when I’m silly, too. Some people like the serious side and others don’t, and the same is true with my funny side.

Next, I want to ask writers what is your opinion about blogging. Do you think it is beneficial to your career? READERS, do you like my blogs, topics, etc.?

That’s it for this week. See you next Sunday.


Sunday, September 20, 2009

Credit Card Fraud

It seems lately that so many of the posts I write about on my blog are unlikely topics for a writer. Not really because I am an issue oriented person, and when I write my stories they are almost always about some concern I have about our society.

So now we come to one of those topics that worry me. Credit card fraud is a growing white collar crime along with many others. With the age of the Internet, hackers who are diligent can get in anywhere, and any security you have is not one hundred percent safe.

Recently, when my computer was hacked into, I had to change our credit cards because I had bought some things on-line using my CC numbers and didn’t want to take the chance that they had been stolen.

Last week, my Wisconsin RWA group was all abuzz because many members had received letters from the Radisson Hotel where they had their writer’s conference saying that their credit department had been breached. At this time, everyone thought it was just their group at this particular hotel who had been hit. Only it turned out the main credit department for all the Radisson Hotels had been broken into.

Some members had their CC’s used in California, Colorado, Oregon, Bangladesh, and probably many more places not mentioned. Was this the work of hackers? It’s too wide spread to be just a hotel employee (not to say there isn’t one working with them), so I say most definitely somewhere there are hackers involved in getting these numbers.

RT (Romantic Times) had their conference in Orlando, Florida, and some of those people had their credit cards used by someone other than themselves. One of the MARA-RWA members told me her roomy had charges on her card that she didn’t make, but her roommate hadn’t used that card at the hotel. She’d used it across the street at a convenience store.

One author even had someone try to buy $1250.00 worth of shoes with her numbers. Now, I’m guessing she might like to have those shoes for herself. Smile. Although, I doubt she would buy that many at a time or spend that much.

Another place where there have been fraud issues is at Vista Print, a company where you can order business cards. A parent company takes your CC number and signs you up for something called Passport to Fun, whether you want it or not, which gets you discounts.

Two other authors found problems with Vista Print, there were charges on their CC’s that they didn’t recognize that came from them. One author happened to read an article in AARP about “negative option marketing,” which said a merchant doesn’t have to sell you anything; he can assume you bought it. Those free sites and free trial period deals get you into these kinds of deals. This is an illegal practice and it is fraud.

What can you do? 1. The article suggested you insist on them sending you a contract. 2. If you get charged for a negative option program, contact your state attorney at, file a complaint with the FTC at or call 1-877-382-4357. 3. Check your charge statement and beware of free trial offers. There are fraud hotlines to go to as well. Also, the article said some insurance companies use this practice, too.

One of the author’s from MARA recommends getting pre-paid Visas, but check into other CC’s to see if they do this, too. For a pre-paid card just put enough money on the card for the trip, then your home account information isn’t available for theft. Just max out those cards during the trip or cash them out when you get home so there is no paper trail leading to you.

Many of you reading this may think that just conferences or writers are being targeted, but that would be far from the truth. Each and every one of us is a target in today’s world.

For instance, my brother was overcharged on his telephone bills a year or so ago for calls made to Jamaica. They tried to tell him he’d misdialed, but he fought them on it and got the charges dropped.

Do you check your credit card statement, or do you just pay the bill?

I always go over my monthly statement and check each item off before I send in my payment. I attribute my care to detail to my work in the airline maintenance. We were required to go over the paperwork multiple times to make sure everything was done.

Keep a watchful eye out for anything to do with credit, money, etc. There’s always someone there waiting to take advantage of you. (When my hubby reads this paragraph he will laugh out loud because it has been his mission in life to teach me this.) lol

Have a great week, and I’ll see you next Sunday.


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

How safe is the Internet Highway?

Hi Everyone,

Right off I want to apologize for posting my blog late this week. Those who visit here often know I usually post on Sunday’s, but for the last few months I’ve had computer problems due to viruses and an old computer. I finally got a new computer on Saturday, and it’s been a chore setting it up. For the most part it’s up and running even though there’s a lot more work to be done.

On to my question about the internet highway being safe. My answer is not very. The Internet is wonderful in bringing people together all around the world, but in all things there are some who are malicious enough to take advantage of anything good.

What can we do to protect ourselves? There are many security systems, firewalls, etc. that you can install on your computer to protect you from viruses, spy ware, Trojans, and worms. Like my husband says, there’s nothing out there that will catch everything so most of us have more than one security system installed but that’s not a guarantee that something won’t get through.

Every single one of us is in danger. We visit sites all the time and many of them we don’t know who operates them. How many of you are on MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, etc.? I’m on all of those, and I can tell you right now it’s dangerous. We want to network with others, so what can we do to protect ourselves?

One thing we can do is not click on links we don’t know where they come from. All right! All right! I clicked on a link that came from a friend, and I thought I was safe. The one thing you must remember is that friend may not know where the link came from. I clicked on a link at Facebook from my friend, but she got the site from someone on MySpace (probably a friend) and neither one of us knew where that link originated. I hope you’re getting the drift now.

None of your friends are going to intentionally give you a virus, but sometimes they don’t even know they have a bug. Some viruses can stay on your computer for a long time without being detected while infecting all of your friends if there anti-virus doesn’t catch the bugger.

Where can you pick up viruses? Just about anywhere. My husband is a ham operator, and he has gotten viruses off the sites he’s visited looking up information on ham radio equipment. Porn sites are notorious places to get viruses, so you guys stay away from them.

I have never heard of anyone getting a virus at Google, but the sites they direct you to for your research can be susceptible to viruses and you’re taking a risk when you go to them. I’m not telling you this to scare you away from all sites because then the information highway would be useless for all of us. Just err on the side of caution and realize that just one firewall and anti-virus checker is not enough.

See you on Sunday when my topic will be credit card fraud.


Sunday, September 6, 2009

What Are Some of the Things that Irritate You?

There are many things that upset me, and some of them aren’t really important. For instance, my husband opens a drawer to his dresser and doesn’t close it (he’s gotten better over the years). He used to come into the house after work taking off clothes and dropping them through the house as he walked to the bedroom. I did eventually convince him it would be better to drop them all in one spot in the bedroom, which he does now.

You are probably asking yourselves why I didn’t teach him to put his clothes in the hamper by now. The answer to that is, I tried, but that didn’t take. Grin. I just learned to live with it. There are other things that he does that annoy me, but I am going to give the poor guy a break and not make this post about him.

Something else that stirs me up is people who complain or are negative all the time. I am an optimistic person and pessimistic people can get me down in the dumps if I’m around them too much. My husband is a complainer, but he’s not depressing, so you would think after all these years I would have learned when he is badmouthing a driver in front of him. Of course, he complains about other things, too. Oop. So much for not being about the hubby. Smile.

There is one thing that really irritates me. I hate to start saying something and have someone interrupt me before I have a chance to get the words out of my mouth. At times, I only say a few words before I am cut off. It makes me furious, but who are the rude people who do this?

Families are the worse culprits. I remember my mother saying she could never get in a word around her mother and her sister. Friends get to laughing and talking so fast, they try to speak over one another. You and I are also guilty. I don’t know of anyone who doesn’t do it at one time or another.

When is enough, enough? If it becomes so rude that it irritates the hell out of everyone. Usually, everyone let’s the person or persons take over and keep their frustrations to themselves. There are those people who know it all, and since they do, you know nothing.

Okay, I admit that sometimes I can’t get the information out the way I want to. Oops! That goes back to not being able to finish what I was saying in the first place. Are we as a people becoming bad-mannered, or have we always been rude? Once upon a time, I was much more courteous and a better listener than I am now. Since I’ve become busier and more rushed I have become discourteous by saying curt words, or brushing people off.

These are just a few things that get my dander roused. Since I know I interrupt people, I’m going to try harder not to. What irritates you and do you do them, too?

Have a great week everyone. I’ll see you next Sunday.