Monday, January 30, 2012

Author Interview: Ashlynne Laynne

Our interview today is with Ashlynne Laynne, author of The Progeny.

Jennifer: Where can we find out more about you and buy your book?

Ashlynne: At my author blog, on Twitter @qlane, on my book's Facebook page, and on my Facebook author page The Progeny will be available, as an e-book, on February 15, 2012 on my publisher's website, through Smashwords (Sony, Kobo, Itunes), Amazon as a Kindle book, Barnes and Nobles as a Nook book, Bookstrand and All Romance.

Jennifer: Tell us about your book.

Ashlynne: At its core, The Progeny is simply a story about a man and woman who fall in love, and the fact that he’s a half-blood (half-human, half vampire) and she’s a Wiccan human are secondary factors. It started as research about the Salem witch trials, some rough sketches of a special family heirloom that my guys would wear and two names—Ascher and Shauna. In the beginning, of the book, Ascher is grumpy. Frankly, who could blame him? He’s engaged to seal to Ursula—a cold and careless vampire who wants nothing more than to get her hands on a bloodstone— and he feels conflicted about his existence. All of that changes when he meets Shawnette McCutchin. She’s beautiful, intriguing and possesses some of the most potent blood that he’s ever smelled. A war immediately begins inside Ascher. He craves Shauna’s blood just as much as he craves her body and the closer they get, the harder it is for him to control his urges. After Ascher calls off the sealing to Ursula, the trouble begins. His family’s peaceful period ends when Ursula’s army attacks the Rousseaus. Kidnapping, some steamy love scenes between our hero and heroine and Wiccan rage complete the plot.

Jennifer: Where did you get the idea for the story?

Ashlynne: I've always loved the horror movie genre and I have to admit that I have a soft spot in my heart for vampires. I figured if I was going to take a crack at my first novel, I'd write about something that I loved. My research started with a way to explain why my vampires are walking around in the daytime, which lead to research about the witch trials and the subsequent creation of their amulets. The rest is history.

Jennifer: What other projects do you have coming up?

Ashlynne: I'm currently working on the sequels to The Progeny. And when I tell you that they are going to be great, I'm not exaggerating. Book two is going to have more excitement, more romance and an unusual party that you won't want to miss out on!

Jennifer: Do you write full time? If not, what is your day job?

Ashlynne: Unfortunately, I am only able to write part-time right now. My goal is to be able to write full time, successfully. I'm so neurotic that I'm not sure I'd ever quit my day job. I've worked for a major power company since 1998.

Jennifer: What is your writing process like?

Ashlynne: Before each book, I do a chapter by chapter outline. It rarely holds up but it’s nice to have a stopping and starting point in mind. Most times, I write the first three or four chapters, skip to write the end then fill in the middle of the book. It’s weird—I know—but it just works for me.

Jennifer: If you had a piece of advice for authors, what would it be?

Ashlynne: Write every day, even if you don't feel like it.

Jennifer: In your opinion, what is the best movie adaptation of a book that you've read?

Ashlynne: Without a doubt, The Shining. That was some spooky stuff to read and what Stanley Kubrick, as the director, and Jack Nicholson, as an actor, did with it on the big screen was amazing. No matter how many times I watch it, I still get the chills.

Jennifer: If your book was being made into a movie, who would play the lead roles?

Ashlynne: I wrote The Progeny knowing that Ascher would resemble one of my favorite young actors, Thomas Dekker, so I always knew he’d be the one if it ever got a movie option. As for Shauna, I never had a clear view of who’d play her until my very talented artist, Faleasha, suggested Zoe Kravitz as a Shauna reference, for the beautiful cover she created for me.

Jennifer: What made you become an author? At what age did you begin writing?

Ashlynne: I think the fire to write sparked in me when I placed third in an oratorical contest when I was eight. I’ve always been inclined to write poetry and have since I was a teenager. The epilogues of The Progeny, and its sequel, are my original poetry. Writing poetry started as a type of therapy for me to get whatever I was feeling out. I never really thought myself patient enough to write a novel. I got serious about writing in October of 2010 and I never looked back.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

This week on A Cup of Coffee and a Good Book

This week on the A Cup of Coffee and a Good Book BlogTalkRadio show, Jennifer will interview Cindy Sample, author of funny romantic mysteries Dying for a Date and her latest,  Dying for a Dance. LIsten live on Wednesday, February 1st at 3:30 Pacific Time, or hear the recording any time after the show, at

It takes two to tango--but only one to murder.

Lead-footed single mom, Laurel McKay, agrees to learn a foxtrot routine for her best friend's wedding. After she trips her instructor, crashes into a pair of dancers and breaks the heel of her new shoes, she thinks her evening can't possibly get any worse. Then she stumbles over another dancer. A dead one. With her broken shoe heel stuffed in his mouth.

The action moves from the California Gold Country to Lake Tahoe as Laurel searches for the killer amid the sequins and flying feathers of a ballroom competition. Can she samba her way into the heart of the handsome detective who has once again entered her life? Or will dancing and detecting prove to be a lethal combination?

One, two, three, four. Too many suspects on this dance floor.

Five, six, seven, eight. Find the murderer before it's too late.
Learn more about Cindy Sample and her books at

Sunday, January 22, 2012

This week on A Cup of Coffee and a Good Book

This week on the A Cup of Coffee and a Good Book BlogTalkRadio show, Jennifer will interview Donna Del Oro, author of A BODYGUARD OF LIES. Listen live Wednesday at 3:30 Pacific Time or hear the recording any time after the show at

Lady Justice has a long memory as FBI analyst Jake Bernstein investigates a suspected Nazi spy wanted for war crimes.

A BODYGUARD OF LIES is a riveting blend of romantic thriller, mystery and WWII espionage.  A Jewish-American FBI analyst, Jake Bernstein, is recruited by MI-5 to go undercover and investigate a naturalized American grandmother. The elderly woman is suspected by MI-5 of being a notorious Nazi spy wanted for war crimes. Jake Bernstein runs into a series of complications: This spy knows a secret that could endanger the British royal family; his attraction to the old woman’s beautiful granddaughter; an Irish, neo-Nazi group tries to kill him; and all the while, a clever, cagey old woman stands in the way of justice.

Learn more about Donna Del Oro and her books at

Sunday, January 15, 2012

This week on A Cup of Coffee and a Good Book

This week on the A Cup of Coffee and a Good Book BlogTalkRadio show, Jennifer will interview Teresa Roberts, author of Finding the Gypsy in Me - Tales of an International House Sitter.

Listen live on Wednesday, January 18 at 3:30 Pacific Time or listen to the recording any time after the show at

Finding the Gypsy in me - Tales of an International House Sitter is a true adventure story! If you have ever entertained the idea of just "walking away from it all" in order to travel the world, this book provides enough inspiration and practical advice to make the dream come true.

Find out more about Teresa and her book at

Monday, January 9, 2012

Guest Post: Review of It's a Wonderful Spice coffee

I had hoped to make this a more regular feature of the blog, but what cn you do? Here is a guest post from my brilliant husband Greg Walker, in which he extoles the virtues of our current favorite coffee. Enjoy!


Followers of my epicurean writings know that I do not care for flavored coffees. Despite loving most things French, I do not want French vanilla invading my morning brew, and, whilst I am a fan of both pistachios and lychee nuts in their proper places, the mere idea of mixing coffee with them offends. I like a robust brew of fine quality beans with clean, clear water, enriched with a splash of cream, and that is all. If I were to pick a brand label for my favorite coffee, it would be the pure, rich offerings of Peet’s Coffee. When I crave coffee, it is the rich, dark notes of their Fair Trade Blend or their iconic Major Dickason’s Blend that I long for.

And, then, just to be a contrarian, I will make an exception. Around the holidays I love to have the aroma of cinnamon in the air. And, by way of convenient coincidence, cinnamon is a flavor that marries nearly perfectly with coffee. Moreover, and perhaps most importantly, the aroma fills the kitchen with this most desirable of spices, bringing to mind autumnal apple crisps and morning cinnamon rolls, hot from the oven.

Cinnamon, however, is the gateway spice. Early in the 2011 holiday season my darling wife pointed out a blend at our local grocery. The name is what attracted her to it – it was It’s a Wonderful Spice. This is a product of the Rio Grande Coffee Company, and it is available in whole bean or ground form, and regular or de-caf. I agreed to it mainly because it was named after one of my very favorite pieces of holiday schmaltz, Capra’s 1946 classic, It’s a Wonderful Life. So I said, “OK. Just this once.”

“Just this once” may one day be inscribed upon my headstone as my last words. Whenever I say them, I end up eating them, or, in this case, drinking them in a delightful holiday brew, the mere scent of which whispers “Christmastime is here.” This was some wonderful coffee. Like cinnamon coffee, the main effect of the spices were in the aroma, but here, in conjunction with the cinnamon, there were suggestions of cloves, cardamom, vanilla, and allspice. The over-all affect was that of mulled ciders or wines on Christmas Eve, or, perhaps, an eggnog by the fire. The coffee itself is a good quality mid-range bean with a medium roast on it. The spice flavors are bright and fresh seeming, though they are not brought by fresh spices – the beans are bathed in a flavoring solution, similar to the way in which most industrial flavored coffees are made. The coffee is mildly acidic – just enough to give it a bright presence on the palate, and perfect for framing the spice flavors. This coffee is perfect with a splash of cream and a scant spoon of sugar.

Though I love this every morning from the day after Thanksgiving until into the new year, this is a coffee that calls out for after dinner treats to be served alongside. Perfect with an autumnal pear galette or with a mildly sweet dark chocolate flourless chocolate cake, It’s a Wonderful Spice is sure to enter your holiday repertoire as a favorite.

Added by Jennifer: Mmmmm I can't wait for morning!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

This week on A Cup of Coffee and a Good Book

This week on the A Cup of Coffee and a Good Book BlogTalkRadio show, Jennifer will interview Bill Pieper, author of What You Wish For, a contemporary family saga dealing with the issue of death with dignity/assisted dying and set in California's beautiful Napa and Marin counties.

Listen live on January 11 at 3:30 Pacific Time, or listen to the recording any time after the show, at
Learn more about Bill Pieper at

Monday, January 2, 2012

This Week on a Cup of Coffee and a Good Book

This week on the A Cup of Coffee and a Good Book BlogTalkRadio show, Jennifer will interview Holly Patrone, author of Death is a Relative Thing. Listen live at 3:30 Pacific Time this Wednesday, or listen to the recording any time after the show, at

Six years ago, April's husband Sal died while having sex. Now April's raising their three sons alone. Her mother Marie takes April to see a local celebrity psychic, convinced Sal will talk to them. April knows Sal hasn't held up his end of a conversation in a long time but goes anyway. Her life, further complicated by a dead musician, a little latex and a few bad guys becomes a rollicking read that you won't want to miss.

Learn more about Holly Patrone and her books at