Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Anita is in the Garden!

Everyone find a seat and relax. It’s finally warming up in the garden, but you still may need a light jacket. Refreshments, as always, are over there on the table. Everyone settled in? Great, let’s begin. We have Anita Clenney as our guest in the garden. Anita’s first book is out! I’m excited to have her here today to help celebrate her success.

Before we start here is a brief bio for Anita:
Anita Clenney grew up an avid reader, devouring Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys books before moving on to mysteries and romance. After working as a secretary, a Realtor, teacher’s assistant, booking agent for Aztec Fire Dancers, and a brief stint in a pickle factory (picture Lucy and Ethel--lasted half a day)…she realized she'd missed the fork in the road that led to her destiny. Now she spends her days writing mysteries and paranormal romantic suspense  about Secret Warriors, Ancient Evil and Destined Love. Anita lives in suburban Virginia, outside Washington DC, with her husband and two kids.

Mary: Let’s start with your new release, Awaken The Highland Warrior, please give us a link of where people can find a blurb and/or excerpt and a buy link. Also, anywhere we can find you, web site, Facebook, etc.

Anita: My website, www.anitaclenney.com has a link to the blurb, excerpt, and bookstores.  It’s available in all major bookstores: Amazon, Borders, Barnes and Nobel, Books A Million, Joseph Beth, and more.  You can find me on Twitter, Facebook, and Goodreads as anitaclenney

Mary: If you can, please give us a one-sentence hook for your story.

Anita: A mis-adventurous Civil War historian who acts more like Indiana Jones finds a 19th century Scottish warrior buried in the crypt behind her house, but the warrior isn’t dead.

Mary: Awesome! Tell us a bit about your hero. What inspired you to add him to your story?

Anita: The series started with a dream, but Faelan’s role came from an idea I had been playing with of having someone find a buried warrior who wasn’t dead. Faelan Connor is a really special guy, in more ways than one. He’s from a group of secret warriors created by Michael the Archangel to stand between humans and the demons trying to destroy them. Faelan is from one of the Scottish warrior clans and has no equal when it comes to destroying demons, so when Michael needs a warrior to stop the demon who’s stirring up the strife in America which will eventually culminate in the Civil War, he sends Faelan, but Faelan gets trapped in a time vault intended to imprison the demon. The vault won’t open for 150 years, and his family, although they find Faelan’s time vault, can’t find the key that will eventually open it. They put Faelan in a safe place to be released when it’s time, and continue their search. But as the generations pass and the key isn’t found, Faelan’s story fades to a myth. So for 150 years Faelan sleeps.

Mary: Now tell us a little about Bree, your mis-adventurous historian. And when and where did her character come to you?

Anita: I wanted a heroine who had inherited her grandmother’s home, a place that had been in the family for generations, and Bree just evolved as I wrote. I wanted someone smart, but quirky, kind of a contrast to her character. And I need a very modern minded woman who is prone to getting in trouble. Which drives Faelan crazy because he’s so protective of women anyway, and especially Bree. Here she is running into danger constantly.

Mary: Everyone okay on treats? I can see more stuffed mushrooms, please enjoy. Anita, how young were you when you decided that writing was what you wanted to do?

Anita: Yum. Thank you Mary. I was 42 years young when I decided to become a writer. I’ve always loved reading, and I suspect that somewhere in my subconscious lurked the desire to be a writer, but it seemed too unattainable to really formulate. I do recall thinking my dream job would be as a writer’s assistant, never thinking I could actually be the writer. When I was 42, my daughter was almost ready to start kindergarten and the agreement my hubby and I had was that I would go back to work then. I didn’t want to. I had been reading like mad and it occurred to me one day that I wanted to write a book. That I believed I could write a book. And if I could do it, and I sold a book, I wouldn’t have to go back to work. I don’t know why I was worried about going back into the workplace, because being a stay at home mom and being a writer are both much harder than any job I had. But I decided it was now or never. So I decided to do it. I sat down at the computer and never looked back. It’s been surreal in so many ways. I think I may still be in shock.

Mary: What was the first book you remember reading and loving? The one you kept and read over and over?

Anita: Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter. I remember going to the library with my mom and seeing all those little green books on the shelf. It was magical. I’ll always remember that.

Mary: When it’s time for you to relax and take some much needed rest, what do you do?

Anita: I love to read, and I love to shop. Bargain hunting, but I go about it in such an intense way, it leaves me exhausted. I need to rethink relaxing. Now I do love watching TV with my husband and kids. He usually has a favorite series, which inevitably becomes my favorite, and we’ll watch them in the evenings if I’m not pounding away at the keyboard. That’s very relaxing.  So I’m good. I can still exhaust myself bargain hunting, and then unwind by watching TV.

Mary: What is next after this series? Any thoughts or plans?

Anita: Who knows how far this series will go. I have so many characters that I’m attached to and would love to do their stories. I’m also writing a mystery series that my agent is shopping now.

Mary: What is the one piece of advice you’d like to tell new authors, you wish someone had told you?

Anita: Don’t get overwhelmed by the competition, the rules, and the how to’s. Learn as much as you can and write an awesome book. Each writer’s journey to publication is different. If it isn’t fun, it isn’t worth doing.

Mary: And because I have a curious mind, and I’m a Nora groupie, what was it like to sign with Nora at the Washington Romance Writers retreat?

Anita: It was the most incredible thing. First of all, my critique partner and I stayed at Nora’s Inn the night before. Can you say fabulous? The rooms were incredible, the bathrooms to die for. The toilets had more controls than my TV. It was an amazing experience to see the people lining up on the street and know that I was part of it. There were so many wonderful authors there, including Nora Roberts, Sherrilyn Kenyon, and Kristan Higgins. What an amazing thing to be included with such a group, and get this…I SOLD OUT! They were scrambling to try and find more books, but they were all gone. I heard that Nora’s table was surprised and very pleased because debut authors don’t sell out at her booksignings.  A reporter from a nearby paper came and he interviewed some of us. I was quoted and the article talked about me and my books. It was a fairytale booksigning.

Mary: Man, I'm jealous! I wished I cold have been there. Congratulations on selling out! WOW. Anything else you’d like to share with us?

Anita: I hope readers will enjoy this series as much as I enjoyed writing it. The characters and the story was so much fun. If anyone would like to know more about upcoming events and giveaways, check out my website, www.anitaclenney.com and sign up for my newsletter, or just poke around.

Thank you, Anita, for visiting the garden today. We all wish you a long a successful journey!

Here is a Tease for Awaken the Highland Warrior:
Bree’s fingers tightened around the metal disk as she ran through the graveyard, zigzagging past leaning headstones. Her lantern swayed, throwing shadows on the crypt looming before her, its stone walls the color of bones. Thick vines crept over it, sealing in cracks left by time, while gnarled branches from the twisted oak hovered like outstretched arms. Protecting… or threatening?

An owl screeched overhead as she scurried up the crumbling steps, wishing night hadn’t fallen, when shadows twisted into monsters and spirits came out to play. The burial vault lay open near the back of the crypt, waiting. Blood rushed past her ears, a sound like all the angels’ wings beating in unison. She moved closer and peered at the chest inside. It was ornate, made of metal and wood, with green gemstones embedded in each corner. It looked ancient, like it belonged in a museum or a pyramid, or perhaps Solomon’s Temple. The beauty of it struck her again, as it had when she’d first discovered it.

She set the lantern on the edge of the burial vault and studied the markings on the chest. Swirls and shapes like writing shifted in the amber glow. Stretching out a finger, she touched the surface. Warm? She yanked her hand back and hit the lantern. It crashed to the floor, throwing the top of the crypt into darkness. Dropping to her knees, she scrambled for the light. A sound cut through the silence, scraping, like fingernails against stone. She grabbed the lantern, not daring to blink, then remembered the wind outside and the claw-like branches of the old tree. 

She placed the lantern securely on the vault cover she’d pushed onto the alcove and unfolded her hand. The metal disk she held was three inches in diameter and appeared to be made from the same metal as the chest, not silver, not gold. One side had deep grooves; the other was etched with symbols. With trembling fingers, she lined up the disk with the matching grooves on top of the chest and pushed. There was a series of clicks as the notched edges retracted. 

A voice rushed through her head. What lies within cannot be, until time has passed with the key.

Bree whirled, but she was alone. Only stone walls stood watch, their secrets hidden for centuries. It was sleep deprivation, not ghosts.

She pulled in a slow, steadying breath and tried to turn the disk. Nothing. Again, this time counterclockwise, and it began to move under her hand. She jerked her fingers back. A loud pop sounded and colors flashed… blue, orange, and green, swirling for seconds, and then they were gone. Great, hallucinations to go with the voices in her head. 

Her body trembled as she gripped the lid. This was it. All her dreams held on a single pinpoint of time. If this ended up another wild goose chase, she was done. No more treasure hunts, no more mysteries, no more playing Indiana Jones. She’d settle down to a nice, ordinary, boring life. She counted.

One.

Two.

Three.

She heaved open the chest.

Terror clawed its way to her throat, killing her scream.

The man inhaled one harsh breath and his eyes flew open, locking on Bree. A battle cry worthy of Braveheart echoed off the walls. Bree jumped back as metal flashed and a rush of air kissed her face. Petrified, she watched him crawl out of the burial vault, a wicked-looking dagger in his hand. Her scream tore loose as she turned and fled.
Fingers grazed her shoulder, and she glanced back. The last thing she saw before her feet tangled with the shovel was the dead man reaching for her.
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10 comments:

Lavinia Kent said...

Anita, I am not normally a highlander girl, but this is definitely going into the TBR pile. I was sorry not to have time to find you and talk at the WRW retreat.

Keep up the good work!

Lavinia

Mary Martinez said...

Anita, thank you for dropping by today. It's always fun to get to know someone better. Good luck and much success!

Anita Clenney said...

Lavinia, can I just say...I love you! I saw you at the signing and the retreat, but there are just so many people. The funny thing is this story wasn't a highlander story at all in the beginning. It morphed into one. Thanks!

Anita Clenney said...

Mary, thanks so much for having me here. Your garden is just delightful!

Mary Martinez said...

Anita, I do relax here. I'm glad you could visit with us.

Thelma said...

I must say that I did get to meet Anita at the book signing, and I also bought her book. Had to finish a book I was reading, but once I picked this book up, I did not put it down until I was finished. Great book. For anyone who hasn't gotten this book, I highly recommend. Thanks Anita for a wonderful book.

Mary Martinez said...

Thelma if that isn't a great recommendation, I don't know what is. You all heard it, and there are buy links on the post.

Happy Reading,
Mary

Anita Clenney said...

Thelma, you're a doll. Thank you so much. I'm so glad you liked the book, and wasn't that day so much fun? Well, it did get a little warm inside the bookstore with all those people.

Lindsay said...

Afternoon Anita and Mary
Sorry I'm late for the party. Well Anita, another book read and it only took a day and half to finish your debut tome. Fallen was good but Bree really captured me. Always wondering what would happen next. I can't wait for the next one.
Yes, I agree that each one of us has our own path to follow to publishing.
Congrats on the sellout at the signing

Anita Clenney said...

Lindsay, I'm so glad you liked Bree. I loved her character too. She's so great.