Marie Lavender on Her Blood At First Sight Series: Clever Title! Clever Girl!

I want you to all to meet Marie Lavender, the Bestselling Author of UPON YOUR RETURN and 19 other books. 2014 BTS Red Carpet Review Nominee. Finalist and Runner-up in the 2014 MARSocial’s Author of the Year Competition. Honorable mention in the January 2014 Reader’s Choice Award. Liebster Blogger Award for 2013 and 2014. Top 50 Authors on Winner of the Great One Liners Contest on the Directory of Published Authors.

Is she awesome or what?

ML photo3Marie Lavender lives in the Midwest with her family and three cats. She has been writing for over twenty years. She has more works in progress than she can count on two hands. Marie has published twenty books in the genres of historical romance, contemporary romance, romantic suspense, paranormal romance/fantasy, mystery/thriller, literary fiction and poetry.

ML photo2Lavender just released Second Nature, a paranormal romance/urban fantasy, in December of 2014. She released Magick & Moonlight, a romantic fantasy, back in March of 2014. Upon Your Honor, released in late April of 2014, is her second historical romance. Her current series are The Heiresses in Love Series, The Magick Series and The Blood at First Sight Series. Feel free to visit her website at for further information about her books and her life.

Marie is also on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn.

Today I am writing about Second Nature, her Paranormal Romance/Urban Fantasy. 

Can this unique human tame the beast in Alec?

For women and men 18-75, who don’t mind reading romance novels or books about supernatural beings 

The Blood at First Sight Series is about how our characters deal with being in the Other world, a world that will change them forever.

Second Nature is available on the publisher’s website, on Amazon, CreateSpace and Barnes & Noble.

A list of her other books and pen names are as follows:

Marie Lavender: Upon Your Return; Magick & Moonlight; Upon Your Honor; Second Nature

Erica Sutherhome: Hard to Get; Memories; A Hint of Scandal; Without You; Strange Heat; Terror in the Night; Haunted; Pursuit; Perfect Game; A Touch of Dawn; Ransom; Leather and Lace

Kathryn Layne: A Misplaced Life

Heather Crouse: Express Café and Other Ramblings; Ramblings, Musings and Other Things; Soulful Ramblings and Other Worldly Things

Tell us something about your books. 

I have written and published twenty books so far. My titles under Marie Lavender are Upon Your Return, Magick & Moonlight, Upon Your Honor and Second Nature. The other sixteen were published under my alternate pen names.

 Where do you write? 

I usually write wherever I can, but a lot of my heavy writing happens at night when I’m in bed.  I also compose on the computer when I’m fully focused on a project.

Are you a plotter or a pantster?

I am a bit of both. I start out writing randomly, getting down scenes however they come to me. In the back of my mind, a basic plot has already formed for the most part, but no details have been filled in yet. Eventually, when I am ready to really focus on a project, I start doing a major plot outline and do more writing after that. I use that outline as an anchor of sorts, but I’m not afraid to let my characters go outside of the lines a little.

I think I’ll set up a scale from plotter to panster since most of us have to do a lot of both. How did you come up with the title of your book or series?

Second Nature finally came to me when I was at my wit’s end about the title. I used a generic title of Love or Blood before it just popped into my head one day. Second Nature made a crazy kind of sense when you really looked hard at the story. The series title came later, and that was about the time that the sequels started nagging at me too. LOL.

Just as your books inspire authors, what authors have inspired you to write?

Oh, let’s see. I have quite the list. I have to count Nora Roberts, Catherine Coulter, Rosemary Rogers, Tessa Dare, Emma Wildes, J.R. Ward, Kris Tualla, P.C. Cast, Kerrelyn Sparks, Chloe Neill and there are so many more that have brought me to the place where I am today. Even Natalie Goldberg in her way fascinated me, and inspired me to keep writing.

With the exception of a couple of Nora Roberts audiobooks, I have to say that I have read none of these authors’ book. If you could cast your characters in the Hollywood adaptation of your book, who would play your characters? 

I’ve only thought of the main characters thus far. For Desiree, I would choose Moon Bloodgood, and for Alec, I might pick Matt Bomer.

I had to look them up. I watched/watch Falling Skies but not White CollarHow important are names to you in your books?  

I believe names are very important. Sometimes I go with the way it sounds or I check the meaning to make sure it fits with the character. I did that with a series I have in mind for a set of six books centering on a coven of witches during the time of the Salem witch trials. I also spend a lot of time ruminating on names for my historical novels. One source I use quite often, other than a baby names’ book, is You can search by nationality and gender. You can also find surnames for any nationality there.

 Thanks for the links! What do you consider to be your best accomplishment?

 I would have to say writing my first historical romance novel and getting it published. When Upon Your Return was released, not to mention the moment I received the contract in my inbox, was one of the proudest moments of my life. And the feeling of having a copy in my hands? Priceless.

Good for you! What is your least favorite part of the publishing / writing process?

I have a love/hate relationship with research. It can be great fun to learn so much information about a topic, but it can also be frustrating when you are unable to find what you’re looking for. But, as my friends and family know, I am pretty stubborn when I want to be, and I will find that breadcrumb if it kills me. LOL. Another dreaded part of the process is editing. Though it’s a necessary evil, I compare it to jumping off into a dark abyss. You don’t know what will come out on the other side, but you’ll be a better writer for it.

 What can we expect from you in the future?

Well, I’m finishing up final edits on A Little Magick, which is the second book of the Magick Series. It is also a children’s fantasy. I am also writing Upon Your Love, which will be the third and final book of the Heiresses in Love Series. That is a Victorian romantic suspense. I am getting closer to finishing that, and I should be in the editing stages soon enough. So, you will probably see both of those out this year. After that, I plan to focus on the sequels in the Blood at First Sight Series, and I may finish up the last book of the Magick Series.

Do you have a pet or pets?

Yes, I have three cats. When my fiancé and I get married, I will have…yikes! I will have nine of them.

You know, you rarely hear of a “Crazy Cat Man, or a Crazy Cat Couple.  So, I think you’re good! Have you ever dyed your hair an unusual color?

 I tend to choose different shades of red, though I have entertained the idea of doing pink. I think this time I will try purple.

ML image5

That would depend on the shade! Do you make up your bed every morning? 

Yes, I make my bed, or at least pull the covers up to keep cat hair out of the sheets. I have an Egyptian themed comforter and pillows. My entire room is Egyptian right now. I like to try different design schemes.

ML image6Where is one place you want to visit that you haven’t been before? Provide images if you want.

 I would love to go to Ireland! It’s in my blood, and I’ve always been drawn to the country and the music.

ML image7 Me, too! If you were any plant or animal, what would you be? 

 A white tiger. They are so beautiful!

If you could have any accent from anywhere in the world, what would you choose?

 I love accents! I’d probably choose something European, perhaps British, Irish or Scottish.

 What? Not Irish. Of course, I always get my Irish and Scottish jumbled. Do you have any scars? What are they from?

 I have one defining scar from my childhood, on my leg where I cut myself on a piece of metal. I had to get twelve stitches. It’s pretty faded now, but you can see it if you look close.

What is your favorite song?

 My favorite song right now is “I Choose You” by Sara Bareilles. So romantic.

 I listened to it! It’s GREAT! What is your favorite junk food?

 Chocolate, of course! Dark chocolate is my favorite.

Especially with almonds! What is your favorite book?

Dark Lover by J.R. Ward. I love Wrath!

VERY IMPORTANT!!!! Please describe something (significant number of words/a character/entire scene) you “deleted” from your work and why. Because a real writer knows when to hit THE DELETE KEY!

I didn’t worry too much about the length. I never do. My aim is to finish writing the book first, however long it ends up being. Then I can worry about whether it will fit a publisher’s guidelines. Mostly, I don’t try to cut word length, but I do cut out unnecessary words or repetitive things, or rearrange/revise scenes. If I delete anything big, it’s usually something that I decided wasn’t necessary to the story. With regards to Second Nature, the significant scene I thought about cutting (I hadn’t written it yet as it was dancing around in my head) was of Desiree going for a run near Alec’s house, and then something unfortunate occurs. In hindsight, I decided it didn’t fit the first book, but would be perfect for the sequel. I can’t go into too much detail because of spoilers.

Check out these following links to learn more about Marie Lavender and her work.

Other Interviews: 

Awards & Speaking engagements:


I have truly enjoyed this opportunity to get know Marie Lavender better.

She is an incredibly prolific writer and I hope the very best for her continued success.


ML photo1“A true man does not need to romance a different girl every night, a true man romances the same girl for the rest of her life.”

-Ana Alas

Meet James W. McAllister and His Latest Book Release, “RODS”

james McAllister

I’d like to introduce my readers to James w. McAllister.

His first novel, THE BEST LAID PLANS, was selected as a Runner-Up in the MARSocial Author of the Year Competition. This is where and when I met him. 

He grew up in Syracuse, New York. and still lives in Central New York State. When not writing, he’s usually busy working in Healthcare Accreditation or with sports, history, computers, photography, gardening, fishing, or scale model building. Sounds like fun! His interest in science fiction began in Junior High School with the Lensmen Series of books by E. E. “Doc” Smith, and was spiked by Star Trek and Star Wars.

James McAllister RODS

Title of Work: RODS

Genre: Paranormal/Detective/Action/Humor/SciFi

Tagline: What detective John Martin sees in that ally changes everything.

Intended Audience: 13-133

It always happened in a stinking back alley. And in the middle of the night on my watch. Cold. Raining. Or hot and steamy. These things never happened in sunny flower studded meadows…

Publisher’s Website:


And now for some Q&A

Is this your first book? Rods is my fifth book. How many books have you written prior (if any?)Four. List other titles if applicable.





What does your writing process look like? I visualize the story, then each scene. Then I write it down. I try to imagine what the characters are experiencing, and explain that in my writing.

Where do you write? I write in airports, on planes, in hotel rooms, as my ‘real’ job requires constant travel.

Do you have any strange writing habits (like standing on your head or writing in the shower)? Not really, unless you consider writing in bed in a hotel room strange!

Are you a plotter or a pantster (writing by the seat of your pants)? Definitely a pantster! Once I get a good, solid visualization in my head, the story seems to write itself. Sometimes that means an entirely different direction than I had first planned!

Is there a certain type of scene that’s harder for you to write than others? Love? Action? Racy? My biggest difficulty is when I write exciting, action-packed scenes; I get so involved I skip words or letters. Then when I re-read, I know in my head what should be there and sometimes don’t see the errors on the page!

Is there one subject you would never write about as an author? What is it? I can’t think of anything. I generally write what I like to read.

How did you come up with the title of your book or series? It’s an important part of the story.

What book do you wish you could have written? LOL The one that sold a billion copies! Seriously, though, I write to tell stories. As long as I have a story in my head, I’ll write it.

What other books/authors are similar to your own? What makes them similar? I don’t know about similar, I know some authors I like to read: Michael R. Hicks, B. V. Larsen, Edgar Rice Burroughs, H. G. Wells, Isaac Asimov, and Robert Louis Stevenson to name a few.

Tell us a little bit about your cover art. Who designed it? Why did you go with that particular image/artwork? I’ve designed all my covers. My brother Jack has contributed some photographs for some of them. I put them together on my MacBook Pro. For the Starclan Series, I went through four totally different covers before settling on a layered compilation. With UNIVERSE, it’s a picture from Jack’s telescope and the MacAlister clan tartan. The Page uses a photo shot from my living room window with some added artwork. For RODS, I went with a stylized view of the opening scene with details from my memories of New York City.

Just as your books inspire authors, what authors have inspired you to write? Michael R. Hicks I would say. He brought me from “maybe I could” to “why not!”

Who is your favorite character from your book and why? How about your least favorite character?  What makes them less appealing to you? Detective John Martin. He’s a lot of fun to write; a good guy with a strong sense of right and wrong, but fatalistic and seemingly at the mercy of events surrounding him. For least favorite? Can’t think of one!

If you could cast your characters in the Hollywood adaptation of your book, who would play your characters? John Martin would be best played Bruce Willis. Patty O’Rourke by Elisha Cuthbert. Po by Michael Clarke Duncan. Dr. Lisa Martin by Natalie Portman. Director Marlowe by Linda Hunt. Dr. Wattson by William Baldwin. Francis Herbert by Chris Evens. Deputy Inspector Alice MacDonald by Jodi Foster. With that payroll it will never get made! LOL

How important are names to you in your books? Do you choose the names based on liking the way it sounds or the meaning? Do you have any name choosing resources you recommend? In the Starclan Series I researched Scottish names. Also, there are a few ‘easter-eggs’ in the Starclan Series-the name of a law firm in THE TURRET for example. In THE PAGE, I used ancient Celtic and Gaelic names along with historical figures. In my short story, THINGS LOOK DIFFERENT BY FIRELIGHT, published in the Nocturnal Press anthology TORCHED, every character’s name is from a comedy film of the 1920s, 30s, or 40s. For RODS I used variations of people I know and characters I enjoyed. For example, SISSI Director Samantha Marlowe is a combo of Humphrey Bogart characters. I like to have some fun while I write!

If you could change ONE thing about your novel, what would it be? Dunno, since I CAN change whatever I want! LOL

What do you consider to be your best accomplishment? I’m very happy with THINGS LOOK DIFFERENT BY FIRELIGHT. RODS also turned out well. AND the Starclan books. My wife’s favorite is THE PAGE.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years? Shopping for a retirement place on the water.

Have you always enjoyed writing? I’ve enjoyed storytelling. I used to do Bill Cosby routines in Jr. High; Noah and such. When I began traveling so much for work, I started reading eBooks. Then I figured I could write them!

What writing advice do you have for other aspiring authors? Write what you like. Treat every review, good or not, as gold. And have fun!

Do you read your reviews? Do you respond to them, good or bad? Do you have any advice on how to deal with the bad? I used to respond, but that goes nowhere. I do read reviews. Feedback from customers is very important to the quality of your product. Without reviews, I never would have thought about proof-reading, editors, and beta-readers.

What (when not writing) do you do to support yourself? I am a Respiratory Therapist working in healthcare accreditation.

Do you have any other talents or hobbies? I like to fish, garden, and build models of WWII aircraft.

What can readers who enjoy your book do to help make it successful? Tell everyone you know about the books you enjoy by writing reviews on Amazon, Goodreads, and anyplace else you can!

What is your best marketing tip? When I have one worth sharing, I’ll let you know! LOL

Do you have a favorite conference to attend? What is it? I’ve only been to Scare-A-Con 2014.

What are you working on now? My current project d the third Starclan book, A MATTER OF HONOR.

What is your next project? Either a terrorist-fighting action/adventure series, or a medical/political paranormal suspense book.

What can we expect from you in the future? The two I mentioned above. Maybe a fourth Starclan.

And now for some FUN!

What do you wear (if anything) while writing? Not much!

Do you have a pet or pets? Jordan The Wonder Cat

Do you drink or smoke? Single Malt Scotch and red wine. Not together!

Have you ever gotten into a bar fight? I have a scar on my lip from one.

What literary character is most like you? LOL Charlie Brown!

Characters often find themselves in situations they aren’t sure they can get themselves out of. When was the last time you found yourself in a situation that was hard to get out of and what did you do? I slammed on the brakes. It didn’t work, the van (paid for) was still totaled. But I was unharmed, and was able to pull the driver of the SUV that hit me out of it before it exploded.

What do you want your tombstone to say? “His goal was to live forever. He died trying to fulfill it.”

I asked James to describe something he “deleted” from his work and why. (Because a real writer knows when to hit THE DELETE KEY!)

“I had a scene in RODS of the ‘bad guys’ planning things. It didn’t fit, since the story was told by the main character in the first person.”

James would like to share a small piece of wisdom from Marx; “Outside of a dog, a book is a man’s best friend. Inside of a dog it’s too dark to read.”

Okay, now one from W.C. Fields; “If at first you don’t succeed, try again. Then quit. There’s no sense becoming a fanatic.”



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Awards: MARSocial Author of the Year Runner

Speaking Engagement:Scare-A-Con 2014