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Andrew's horror novella, 'The Bathtub', is now available.

Friday, 29 January 2010

Guest Blogging

I'm guest blogging at Roxanne's Realm today, and giving away an electronic copy of 'The Shoot' to a lucky commenter.

Join us at:

Saturday, 9 January 2010

Hot Chocolate Kiss: Character Interview

On Thursday, January 7, Gianna Bruno’s short story "Hot Chocolate Kiss" was released by Eternal Press.

Extreme weather, three witches, two skiers fighting their own demons--and each other…who wins?

The ‘star’ of the story is Keela Branford. Keela’s passion for extreme winter sports, fueled by anger at a cheating soon to be ex-husband, drives her to brave sub-zero wind chills and break a lot of rules--including the one to never ski alone.

Gianna granted me a few minutes of Keela’s time for a short interview between adventures.

You are one of the joys of ‘Hot Chocolate Kiss’, and I’m sure the reader will share your pains and take pleasure in your joys. Tell me about yourself.

Wow, it's nice that someone thinks I'm a joy. I teach high school so my students don't always love me. My ex and kids haven't been treating me too nice lately--they blame me for everything. It's hard not to be bitter, but that's really not my nature. Thanks for the compliment.

You’re going on a bit of an adventure, particularly venturing out skiing alone. What drives you out into the wilds?

We New Englanders-- and folks from New Hampshire in particular where the state motto is "Live Free or Die"-- pride oursevles on self-sufficiency. We also love the outdoors and the natural beauty and majesty of the mountains. They can be as treacherous as much higher peaks in the Western United States and Europe, though.

Physical activity in the natural environment always makes me feel better since it challenges me to push on, to survive.

You’re obviously attracted to Rick. What is it that draws you to him?

I miss being a part of a couple: the coziness of cuddling on cold winter nights or skinny dipping in a pristine mountain lake after a strenous hike on a hot summer day. I don't want to get my hopes up too high that Rick and I will stay together, but for now I'm savoring his attentions. He seems like the perfect balance of outdoorsman to gentleman for me right now.

Hot Chocolate Kiss’s web site at Eternal Press is here:

Readers can connect with Gianna at:

Subscribe to Gianna's webpage forums for character blogs – including Keela’s:

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Hot Chocolate Kiss Author Interview: Gianna Bruno

I’ve invited Gianna Bruno here to talk about Hot Chocolate Kiss, which will be released by Eternal Press on 7th January. Gianna has written non-fiction for a long while, but this is her first stand-alone fiction piece. Readers will delight at Keela’s character, who manages both a charming woman-next-door ordinariness with that certain indefinable ‘something’ that raises her well above the mundane.

First off, thanks for having me, Andrew. It always makes me happy when readers identify with my characters since it shows I've succeeded.

‘Hot Chocolate Kiss’ is your first published piece of fiction, so it’s possible that the name ‘Gianna Bruno’ is going to be new to a few people. Tell us a bit about yourself.

Yes, Gianna is new on the writing scene but her alter ego does freelance work, journalism, and feminist nonfiction. I also write urban fantasy, paranormal romance, and magical realist fiction. Somehow, I found myself venturing into erotic fiction--most of it in the speculative genres-- even though I do come back to reality from time to time.

I know you run a busy life, with a family, a job, and several outside passions. You also spend a lot of time helping fellow writers. How do you fit in time to be creative – do you put aside time or just write when you can?

My life is wild. I have three kids whose foibles and activities keep me running. Plus a big hound dog and a very mean cat who doesn't like the dog--or men. Lots of mess and confusion all the time. But due to the chaos that is New York City, I'm used to doing several things at once and blocking out extraneous noise and stimulation. Riding the subways gives you a finely honed sense of who and what you need to pay attention to and what it is best ignored.

I do volunteer work with women in crisis so I thank the gods everyday for my crazy but happy-go-lucky life, my wonderful, patient and loving husband, and fairly well-adjusted kids. Yoga and ballet keep my physically active (important for writers who sit around and munch a lot). Dance classes keep me quick and sharp, and the music-mostly classical-stimulates the creative and artistic processes. Yoga relaxes and centers me. Two to three hours blocked out of my day three times a week pays me back two-fold with increased productivity and creativity.

Where do I find the time? Well, any writer knows that when you have to write -you do. I get up at 5:30 most mornings for a couple hours of quiet time. I'm most efficient then--fueled course by very strong coffee and carbs (bagels and thick old fashioned oatmeal are my staples) and use the time to organize what must get done that day.

I squeeze in reading/writing during down time, including on the subway and while waiting for the kids at music and dance lessons. I try to do some writing after supper and before I fall into bed about 10 p.m. to read a few pages of published fiction or nonfiction so I know what the current trends are.

And of course, deadlines are a writer's best friend. I pride myself on keeping all my promises to editors, submitting at least one piece of fiction or nonfiction per week, and pitching stories and proposals on a regular basis.

So many editors and other writers have helped me over the years. I am committed to "paying it forward." If they hadn't extended their support and advice, I wouldn't be so successful. This is a tough business.

You’ve said that some people thought you were the inspiration for Keela’s character. Can you confirm or deny!?

Those that know me "see" a lot of my personality in Keela. But Keela is fictional-I'm happily married and not searching for amorous adventures in the wild. Hell, I'm just looking for a few hours of peace and quiet--and sleep.

‘Hot Chocolate Kiss’ has a background of skiing. You write about it with a confidence that has me guessing you know the skiing scene well. What sort of things provide inspiration for your writing?

I lived in Vermont for a while. Thanks to my husband, I spend a lot of time on New England adventures like back country skiing and hiking. The forces of nature are awe inspiring and surreal at times. I've been at the summit of Mount Washington with fog so thick I couldn't see my hand in front of my face, crawling my way from cairn to cairn to avoid getting lost and dying of exposure (in May). I've skied with wind chills well below zero, when brain freeze and hypothermia make you deaf and disoriented.

Even less intense moments: walking through a quiet forest or sitting on the beach on a gorgeous summer day fills me with the sense of a spiritual presence. Those are the moments I imagine the fairies and witches nestled amidst the pines. There are a lot of magical creatures hiding behind rocks on the Atlantic coast. Aliens prefer to make their appearances on the New York City subway, though.

Do you have any other plans for Keela and Rick? Are we likely to come across them again?

Oh, it's very likely they will take a backcountry hike next spring, and Keela wants to try surfing. Being lost in the woods during Samhain might be in their future.

For the immediate future, what are your hopes for Hot Chocolate Kiss?

I hope that readers will understand the deep metaphors in HCK. It's about survival and winning a spiritual as well as physical battle. It's about the wisdom people develop as they get older, and the lessons they learn. It's about staying vibrant, fit, and sexy even though life has other plans.

And in the longer term, for your writing future?

I'm very excited about an historical/paranormal/erotic novella I just finished which is under consideration someplace. Talk about cross genre! I have no idea where that came from, but my beta readers were thrilled with the story.

I'm also working on a humorous mainstream story about a couple in the suburbs trying to "reinvent" their relationship. The working title is At Home With Peter and Sandra and it's got some ménage, BDSM, and M/M scenes.

Here’s a random but not particularly original one to end up with. You’re stranded on a desert island but can take one of each: novel, CD, DVD and luxury. What would you pack?

The CD would be The Nutcracker Suite by Tchaikovsky. That music evokes so much magic, especially the Waltz of the Flowers and the Grande Pas de Deux. The DVD would be "A Room With a View" by Merchant Ivory Productions, which is one of the most romantic, sumptuous films I have ever seen. I'm Italian so the backdrop of Florence makes it even better.

The luxury would be a Jacuzzi. Some desert island, huh? Running water, electricity.

Favorite novel: that's tough. My favorite classic is Rebecca by Daphne DuMaurier. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone is a close second. I think that was my favorite of JK Rowling's series.

And can we reach you on January 7 - launch day?

In addition to hanging around on the Eternal Press Readers Group every day to answer readers' questions, I'll be the guest at a live chat on the Eternal Press website on January 7. Please join me for a trivia contest about New England and skiing, and a chance to win a PDF of Hot Chocolate Kiss. I'll announce the time on Twitter and on my group.

Hot Chocolate Kiss’s web site at Eternal Press is here:

Readers can connect with me at:

They can also subscribe to my webpage forums for Rick and Keela’s upcoming character blogs: