Thursday, May 10, 2012

Artful Dodging by M.S. Spencer

Please join me in welcoming M.S. Spencer as she shares with us some information about her books, as well a little bit of personal info.

INTERVIEW QUESTIONS:

1) Links to website and list of books with purchase links.

AUTHOR PAGES:


BOOK INFORMATION

All five books are full-length contemporary romantic suspense, 2 to 3 flames, M/F. All but the last are available at Bookstrand, Fictionwise and allRomanceEbooks as well as Amazon and the publisher.

Lost in His Arms
Red Rose Publishing (2009)
eBook,  ISBN 978-1-60435-375-0
Buy Links:

Lost and Found
Red Rose Publishing (2010)
eBook, ISBN 978-1-60435-707-3
Buy Links:
                 
Losers Keepers
Secret Cravings Publishers (2011)
eBook, ISBN:  978-1-936653-95-9
Print, 199 pp., ISBN: 978-1-61885-081-2

Buy Links:

Triptych
Secret Cravings Publishing (2011)
eBook, ISBN: 978-1-61885-064-5  
Print, 206 pp., ISBN: 978-1-61885-145-1, EAN13: 1618851454
Buy Links:


Artful Dodging: The Torpedo Factory Murders
Secret Cravings Publishing (2012)
eBook,  ISBN: 978-1-61885-250-2
Buy Links:


2) How long have you been writing? What got you in to writing?
Forever.  How long have I been writing with the goal of publication? Only since 2007. I wrote one murder mystery and actually got as far as a second edit with an agent, when she decided to leave the business (no, I never found out if it was my manuscript that put her over the edge). My first book sold in 2007 and I’ve had one to two books out every year after that.  For me, I had no choice: I had to write. Otherwise I’d die. My story then is not an unusual one.

3) What was your first published book? Looking back, is there anything you’d change about it?
Funny you should ask. My first book, Lost in His Arms, is due to be released in print this summer, and  I had to reread it for major corrections. While the story is still great, and the romance intriguing, there are stylistically awkward bits I’d love to fix.

Here’s a quick look:

In my first book, Lost in His Arms, Chloe Gray, political writer, and Michael Keller, CIA troubleshooter, meet under curiously conventional circumstances. Despite the instantaneous sparks, they both sense there is more between them than physical attraction. As the dramatic world events of the 1990s in the USSR, the Middle East and Vietnam unfold, their love affair intensifies.  Michael appears and disappears at unpredictable moments, leaving her limp and lovelorn. Is he using her or protecting her? In her quest for answers, she is yanked into his dangerous world. Looking for safe harbor, she submits to the advances of a dashing French diplomat. Will she embrace the luxury and comfort of Emile and his chateau or the romance of international intrigue with Michael?

4) What or who has influenced your writing?
I still love the great English writers—Jane Austen in particular. The complex sentence structure and precise description in her novels are the best introduction you can find to the beauties and versatility of the English language. T. S. Eliot added rhythm, Shakespeare humanity, Tolkien, grandeur, and Evelyn Waugh, elegance. Of course Dorothy Parker and Ogden Nash are my idols.

5) Where do you get your ideas?
I have a huge backlog of experiences, settings, and people—I doubt if I’ll ever have to make something up out of whole cloth for the predictable future.

6) What hinders your writing? (distractions? noise?)
All of the above! The worst is music—if anyone within a ten-mile radius is playing something with a lot of bass I feel it and it makes me crazy. Recently I’ve acquired heavy-duty tinnitus in one ear. Imagine trying to write with an eighteen-wheeler driving through your head. Other than that…well, we’ll stop there.

7) What genre are you most comfortable with? What would you like to explore?
I like romantic suspense with some mystery and a dash of humor. My books have developed from fairly simple to more complex plots. I have some children’s stories I’d like to develop for publication; principally, my series of the Adventures of Edward the Fly.

8) Are you a by-the-seat-of-your-pants kind of writer or do you have to use an outline to put your collective thoughts into some semblance of common sense?
Both, although I generally ignore the outline until the first draft is written and I realize I’ve incorporated enormous inconsistencies into the plot line.

9) Which of your books is your favorite? Why?
Shhh, they might be listening. Each of my five books is ENTIRELY different from the others, but since my writing has become more fluid with constant practice, I tend to like the latest one best. But I don’t want to influence any of my/your readers—let them be the judge…presumably by reading them all. J

10) Do you incorporate some of yourself into your characters? Personality traits? Likes? Dislikes?
The heroines of my books are much more patient than I am.  They can live comfortably on their own for months on end without the need for constant reassurance of their worth. When they love, it’s with both trepidation and passion.  Where do these women come from? I create them, but they’re all so much less needy than me, so much more disciplined, self-sufficient, accepting of fate, than me.  Of course they’re my ideal, but it must come from somewhere inside me, mustn’t it?  At least I hope so.

As to likes/dislikes: Sure! It’s an easy avenue for airing my personal grievances. I try not to put too much politics in a story though—or at least have characters with lots of different viewpoints.

11) What do you think is the perfect hero/heroine? Why?
Oh gee, they’re as varied as…well…people, aren’t they? I like them when they’re decisive and independent and intelligent and creative. A good hero/heroine doesn’t check into the Bates Motel—that’s just irritating. Other than that, I like one that wants to do the right thing.

12) What is your latest release? Please share the blurb and purchase info with us.
My latest release takes place in Old Town Alexandria, an historic cobblestoned city on the Potomac River in Virginia.  It follows the adventures of several artists at the Torpedo Factory Art Center. An old munitions factory on the waterfront, the Center lay abandoned after World War II until the 1970s, when an intrepid band of local ladies convinced the city to lease it to them. Today it houses 82 studios, the Art League, the Friends of the Torpedo Factory, and an Archaeology center.

Artful Dodging: The Torpedo Factory Murders
Released April 24, 2012 by Secret Cravings Publishing
65,000 words; M/F; 2 flames; ISBN 978-1-61885-250-2
Romantic Suspense/Murder Mystery

Blurb:
Waiting out the rain, Milo Everhart takes stock of her widowhood and the handsome man standing in the door to the bar.  Little does she know she will meet that man again and again under both passionate and terrifying circumstances.

Tristram Brody waits for his date, too conscious of the beautiful woman sitting by the door. Little does he know that she will hate him for trying to destroy her beloved art center, and even suspect him of murder. Nor that she will be drawn inevitably into his arms.

Little does either of them suspect they will be embroiled in not one, but two murders, in which the fate of the Torpedo Factory, an art center housed in an old munitions factory on the waterfront in Old Town Alexandria, will be decided.

Buy Links:

13) What do you have in the works?
I’m glad you asked! Two really fun novels—one, “Love in the Air” is a story within a story of a couple who meet every few years on a plane. Journalists, they become embroiled in all kinds of international crises, from the Iranian revolution to the Lebanese Civil war. Along the way they get to fly in whatever the latest aircraft is available.  The second is a murder mystery set in Sarasota, Florida, and involves Russian gangsters, sea turtles, feral pigs and all kinds of other weird stuff. Oh, and romance. Lots of romance. And sex.

14) Do you have any suggestions/comments for prospective authors?
Most poor prospective authors hear the same tired if true bits of advice—edit your manuscript to within an inch of its life; promote, promote, promote, research your target market. It’s more fun to focus on the actual writing, so I’ll offer this one tidbit: 

Characters: Do not try to rein them in.  Even their names become attached like leeches to your characters. Accept it with grace and concentrate on the only thing you can really control—their looks. But then, that’s the fun part, isn’t it?

FOR FUN:
1) If you could be an animal, what would it be? Why?
Homo sapiens--ain’t nothing better than that!

2) If you could change three things in the world, what would they be? Why?
A) People would listen, actually listen, to the entire argument by someone they disagreed with; B) bucket lists would include something you really don’t think you’d like to do but everyone says you’ll love; C) everyone would be taught to fish so no one need depend on handouts.

3) What would be a perfect date for you?
A picnic dinner next to a large body of water (any kind). Menu: Bollinger champagne, raspberries, caviar with the trimmings, a good baguette and a soft cheese smuggled in from France (unless of course I’m IN France). Maybe a swim in the darkling water under a full moon, and making love.

4) Is there anywhere you’d like to visit? Why?
I’ve been lucky enough to see both the Mona Lisa and the Parthenon unobstructed by crowds, but I’ve never been to Florence. To see Michelangelo’s work up close and personal and a glorious medieval city would be a dream come true.

5) Do you have any obsessions? What are they?
I have pet peeves—do they count? Paying for parking; people with perpetually sour expressions; liars who get away with it; ads for medications that use acronyms rather than the name of the affliction using this smug tone as though it’s cool to have whatever it is and disdaining anyone who doesn’t know what the hell they’re talking about.
 
6) Do you have a crush on any actor/actress? Who?
Currently Robert Downey, Jr. He is SO sexy.

Murders, misdirection, misfits, and miscreants—needlepoint artist Milo Everhart has her hands full. Can love blossom amidst it all?

My latest release takes place in Old Town Alexandria, an historic cobblestoned city on the Potomac River. It follows the adventures of several artists at the Torpedo Factory Art Center, a hulking warehouse of a place on the waterfront. An old munitions factory, it lay abandoned after World War II until the 1970s, when an intrepid band of biddies got the City of Alexandria to lease it to them for an art center. Today it houses 82 studios, the Art League, the Friends of the Torpedo Factory, and an Archaeology center.

Artful Dodging: The Torpedo Factory Murders
Released: April 24, 2012
Publisher: Secret Cravings Publishing
Format: eBook
Length: 65,000 words
ISBN: 978-1-68118-250-2
Genre: M/F, Romantic Suspense/Murder Mystery

Blurb:

Waiting out the rain, Milo Everhart takes stock of her widowhood and the handsome man standing in the door to the bar.  Little does she know she will meet that man again and again under both passionate and terrifying circumstances.

Tristram Brody waits for his date, too conscious of the beautiful woman sitting by the door. Little does he know that she will hate him for trying to destroy her beloved art center, and even suspect him of murder. Nor that she will be drawn inevitably into his arms.

Little does either of them suspect they will be embroiled in not one, but two murders, in which the fate of the Torpedo Factory, an art center housed in an old munitions factory on the waterfront in Old Town Alexandria, will be decided.


EXCERPT: The First Meeting

The bartender backed out past the man, who made no move to get out of his way. Milo frowned. The fellow appeared oblivious to the fact that his position inconvenienced everyone. At first she’d assumed he was waiting out the rain, but his body language said expectant. Every minute or so he’d poke his head out and look up and down King Street.

For lack of anything more exciting to do, she fell to observing him. The top of his head brushed the door jamb, making him about six feet three inches. His bulk didn’t jibe with his height though. She guessed him to weigh in at maybe 175 pounds stripped. He was undeniably her type—lean, trim, tall, clean-shaven—none of that painted-on five-o’clock shadow male celebrities sported nowadays. And old enough for once. Maybe forty? She could only see his profile at the moment, which revealed thick black hair curling over his ears, slices of silver gray relieving the dark waves at the temple, a straight nose, moderately rosy—from drink? Or the cold?and a forceful chin. Without warning he pivoted and Milo caught the full impact of a deeply masculine face right in the kisser. Whew. Even with the Armani suit, definitely not gay.

He tapped a highly polished Gucci loafer with impatience and pulled out a pocket watch. By this time Milo had dropped all pretence and openly scrutinized her subject. He thrust the watch back in his pocket with a scowl and spun around toward the bar, almost colliding with Tony. He took Milo’s glass from the startled bartender. “Thanks, just what the doctor ordered.”

Milo began to rise in protest. Tony looked at her and the man followed his gaze in surprise. He held up the whiskey. “Er, I take it this isn’t for me?”

Milo tried to come up with a flip response but his rich baritone rattled her. Tony stepped between them. “Yes, Sir, that drink belongs to the lady. May I get you something?”

The man didn’t answer. He stared at Milo more or less the way she was staring at him. Flustered, she plopped back down on the narrow bench, barely avoiding an embarrassing slide to the floor. He continued to stare. She resisted the impulse to pat her short fawn-colored ringlets which always appeared tousled no matter what she did, and blinked. He blinked back. Finally she blurted out, “Would you care to join me?”

He shook his head as though to clear it and replied, “Thank you. Forgive me—I’ve never seen such lovely eyes…I mean, eyes that color…I mean…sorry, what would you call them? Mahogany? Bronze?” His admiring gaze did wonders for Milo’s discomfiture and her mood took a decided uptick.

“I just call them brown. But thank you.”

“I’m sorry about purloining your drink. Can I buy you a freshener in restitution?” 

“Okay. Did you want to sit down?”

“I’d better not. I’m waiting for someone.”

“Oh.” His plight, though not unexpected, depressed her. Of course Armani man had a date. He probably always has a date, even during Lent.

Tony brought another glass. The man paid him, then hesitated as though considering. “You know, she is awfully late. Since you’re right in the window seat with a commanding view of the entrance, may I change my mind and sit here until she arrives?”

Ulp. “Not at all.” Good—got that out without stuttering.

“Thanks.” He pulled a low barrel stool next to the bench and clinked her glass. “Cheers.”

They sipped their whiskies in companionable silence. The rain pummeled both the sidewalk and the pedestrians with barely concealed antagonism. Milo decided her heart had settled down sufficiently to ensure a quaver-free sentence. “I’m Milo Everhart.”

And I’m Gorgeous George. You don’t mind if I seduce you, do you? No, wait—he didn’t say that. I did. Hopefully in my head. “Um, I didn’t catch your name?”

“Tristram Brodie. Pleased to meet you.”

M. S. Spencer ~ Romance in Suspension
Latest Release: Triptych, love & intrigue above the Potomac
Coming soon: Artful Dodging: The Torpedo Factory Murders
Blog Facebook Twitter Latest Release Losers Keepers Website





2 comments:

msspencerauthor said...

Hi everyone--thanks, Shannon, for listening patiently to my pet peeves etc. I'm giving away a copy of Losers Keepers or Triptych to the lucky commenter who can name one of my idols. M. S. Spencer

msspencerauthor said...

Just to clarify: the winner will be randomly chosen from commenters who answer the question correctly AND leaves his/her email address in the comment. Thanks for playing all!