An Interview with Author Gemma Halliday

Gemma HallidayGemma had a hard time figuring out what she wanted to be when she grew up. She worked as a film and television actress, a teddy bear importer, a department store administrator, a preschool teacher, a temporary tattoo artist, and a 900 number psychic, before finally selling her first book, Spying in High Heels, in 2005 and deciding to be a writer.

Since then, Gemma has written several mystery novels and been the recipient of numerous awards, including a National Reader’s Choice award and three RITA nominations. She now makes her home in the San Francisco Bay area where she is hard at work on her next book. Gemma is a lovely woman with a riotous side she showcases in her hilarious novels and was kind enough to take some time for an interview with me, so sit back and enjoy!

How would you say you have evolved as a writer over time?

I would like to think that the more I write, the better I get at it, but I’ll leave that to readers to decide. 😉

When you’re not writing, what are your favorite ways to relax and have some fun?

I’m a shopaholic. I feel most at home at the mall, so I love to spend my down-time there. When my wallet can’t take it anymore, I like spending time at the beach or at the park with my kids.

Of all the books you have written, do you have a favorite? If so, which one and why?

It’s hard to say I have a favorite, but one book that will always have a soft spot in my heart is SPYING IN HIGH HEELS, mostly because it was the first book I ever published.
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Do you have plans to write other genres in the future?

I’m currently writing four different series, so that’s enough for me to keep track of. All of them have elements of mystery to them, but two are more humorous (the High Heels Mysteries and the Hollywood Headlines Mysteries), one is more of an action thriller (PLAY NICE), and one is for young adults (the Deadly Cool books).


Has your life changed since you’ve become a published author? If so, how?

I get to do what I love all do long! Okay, I’ll admit that it is work sometimes, but it’s really an amazing thing to be able to make a living off of your passion.

Have you ever had an embarrassing moment at a booksigning?

I guess the most embarrassing thing for me is that I’m a terrible speller. I always ask people to spell their names for me when I sign books. Which earns me some interesting looks form the “Janes”s and “Susan”s of the world.

I have found that some authors listen to music while they write. Do you listen to music or is it something that is distracting to you?

Usually, I don’t listen to music. But once in a while, if I’m at a really noisy Starbucks and need to drown people out, I’ll listen to classical music while I write.GH BabyItsColdOutside_4in

Do you ever fear writer’s block or that you’ll let your audience down?

All the time. I think every writer has this fear. With every book that I start, I worry that it won’t be as good as the last one. I just try to push that voice to the back of my head and write anyway.

Do you belong to any writers groups and what do you feel you have gained from the social sites?

Writing is very solitary, so it’s been amazingly important for me to belong to writers groups. Most of the groups I belong to are online, but it gives me somewhere to go where others get what I’m going through. I can whine about edits and everyone knows exactly what I’m talking about.

Are there any characters in your books that represent you?

I think there’s a little bit of me in all of my books, but I’d say that the character that is most like myself is Maddie Springer, the heroine from my High Heels Mysteries. When I first wrote her, my mother read the book, then comments, “You wrote a book about yourself!”

How much of the characters and story lines come from people you know and your own experiences versus your imagination?

I steal a lot from people I know. Usually my basic plots are totally made up (I’ve never actually found a dead body), but a lot of the characters and places I write about are real.
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Can you tell us one thing about yourself that most of your fans don’t already know?

I’m very short and always have to ask for help reaching items from the top shelves in stores.
What do you feel are the benefits of the new electronic readers to the environment?

I love paper books, but what always bugged me about them is that bookstores generally order way more copies than they need, keep them on the shelves for a couple of months, then strip the covers off of the leftover books and send them back for a refund. Usually at least 30-40% off the books originally ordered are destroyed and returned. Not only is this sad to an author – my babies are being destroyed! – but also incredibly wasteful. So, I love that with ebooks some of that waste is eliminated.

What impact do electronic readers create on the bottom line for authors in the end? Do you feel they have a negative impact or positive, or no impact at all that you can see?

For me, they have had an incredibly positive impact. I’ve been self-publishing several titles in primarily electronic form, and the returns have been staggering compared to what print returns in the past have been.BrashBlonde_5in

Visit Gemma’s website and publishing website for the latest dish.

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Copyright © 2011 by Diane Morasco

Coming Soon: Stranded by Diane Morasco

DM Stranded cvr

Publisher House: J Fox Ink Publishing
Author: Diane Morasco
Release date: Winter 2016
Series: Stranded  (New Hampshire Thriller Trilogy)

Buried secrets kill . . .

I know who you are. I know what you did. I know where they are. When Avery Daniels reads these words carved into her garage door, her universe smashes to bits. Ten years ago, she was lauded bestselling mystery writer Melanie Clark—until a psychotic stalker turned her life into a terrifying nightmare. Now ensconced in the seaside town of Stranded, New Hampshire, living in terror, constantly triple checking the doors, windows and alarm system.

The doorbell chimes, and no one is there. The tea kettle shrieks every morning at 3:33 a.m., and the attic door is left unhinged.

Then her cottage is vandalized… Shortly Avery realizes she’s being targeted again.

Copyright © 2016 by Diane Morasco

Social Media Angst and Antipathy

I am not a social media enthusiast. In fact, I think it is a productivity parasite. I know it is possible to schedule your social media time efficiently but for me it is a time leech. I often find myself becoming nauseous whenever I so much as think about having to login to my social media accounts. Which is counterproductive as an entrepreneur who has a sundry of hyphens attached–writer, publisher, agent, designer, and media consultant. When it comes to social media posts for me there is no gray area. I either post or I don’t. And I don’t. I haven’t posted in ages. I actually do become physically ill. I feel as if it is a chore. When I have posted to my sites I found myself making a face, procrastinating and acting out. I was definitely misbehavin’ badly. I also felt as if I was forcing myself to do something I didn’t want to. I realized my heart just wasn’t in it. I did everything to “psyche” myself up to join the media sphere. I have amazing writer friends and mentors who partake but I missed and still miss many posts due to staying off of the social media grid. Recently, I have been pondering ways to ease myself back into the social media fray but still my tummy tumbles and I feel my hackles hiking. Grrr! Since we are midway through the first month of a new year, I know I can’t continue with this social media aversion absurdity. I have to come up with some resourceful tips and entertaining tricks to overcome my apprehension. For now, I have taken the first step by admitting my angst and antipathy for social media.

Copyright © 2016 by Diane Morasco

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Fuller House debuts all 13 episodes on Friday, Feb. 26 on Netflix.

Stellar Series Spotlight: Caught Dead Handed by Carol J. Perry

Caught Dead Handed Mech.inddGrowing up books were my sanctuary. I would curl up and read with my pets, my cousin’s pets when I was sleeping over or just visiting her house. Christine’s pets ranged from birds to cats to dogs to ducks to turtles! I definitely hold “story time” with Petey, Kim, Yim, Cocoa, Sammie, General, Fifi, Daisy, Donald, and the rest of the menagerie as a precious memory during a turbulent childhood.

I had a bunch of books, comics, and magazines with me at the beach, on the boat, in the car, at the doctor, at picnics, sitting poolside, at school, and visiting my ma’s family. I always had something with me to read.

As a child, reading was my escape, my haven and my stillness from an extremely chaotic upbringing and it is my bliss, my calmness and my refuge as an adult. I have been challenged, encouraged, and solaced by the written word.

With my Spotlight Titles I will share my new favorites and my all-time beloved reads with you. I hope you discover or rediscover a cherished friend.

Cheers to the written word!

Now to kick off the Stellar Series Spotlight is Caught Dead Handed Book 1 in the Witch City Mysteries by Carol J. Perry.

Most folks associate the city of Salem, Massachusetts with witches, but for Lee Barrett, it’s home. This October she’s returned to her hometown-where her beloved Aunt Ibby still lives-to interview for a job as a reporter at WICH-TV. But the only opening is for a call-in psychic to host the late night horror movies. It seems the previous host, Ariel Constellation, never saw her own murder coming.

Lee reluctantly takes the job, but when she starts seeing real events in the obsidian ball she’s using as a prop, she wonders if she might really have psychic abilities. To make things even spookier, it’s starting to look like Ariel may have been an actual practicing witch-especially when O’Ryan, the cat Lee and Aunt Ibby inherited from her, exhibits some strange powers of his own. With Halloween fast approaching, Lee must focus on unmasking a killer-or her career as a psychic may be very short lived. . .

What I’m Reading…

AB TheEx_hc-c1-678x1024Coming January 26, 2016!
Pre-Order Here

In this breakout standalone novel of suspense in the vein of Gone Girl and The Girl on a Train, a woman agrees to help an old boyfriend who has been framed for murder but begins to suspect that she is the one being manipulated.

Twenty years ago she ruined his life. Now she has the chance to save it.

Widower Jack Harris has resisted the dating scene ever since the shooting of his wife Molly by a fifteen-year-old boy three years ago.An early morning run along the Hudson River changes that when he spots a woman in last night’s party dress, barefoot, enjoying a champagne picnic alone, reading his favorite novel. Everything about her reminds him of what he used to have with Molly. Eager to help Jack find love again, his best friend posts a message on a popular website after he mentions the encounter. Days later, that same beautiful stranger responds and invites Jack to meet her in person at the waterfront. That’s when Jack’s world falls apart.

Olivia Randall is one of New York City’s best criminal defense lawyers. When she hears that her former fiance, Jack Harris, has been arrested for a triple homicide and that one of the victims was connected to his wife’s murder there is no doubt in her mind as to his innocence. The only question is who would go to such great lengths to frame him and why?

For Olivia, representing Jack is a way to make up for past regrets, to absolve herself of guilt from a tragic decision, a secret she has held for twenty years. But as the evidence against him mounts, she is forced to confront her doubts. The man she knew could not have done this. But what if she never really knew him?