Author Christy Pastore Weaves Together Fashion, Passion & Intrigue into Fifteen Weekends! An Interview

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We met author Christy Pastore years ago when she first launched her fashion blog, Fashion Wrap Up. Through the years, we were lucky enough to collaborate with her on a few projects and follow her dream as an up and coming contemporary romance author. With the debut of her book Fifteen Weekends, Christy has woven together her love of fashion, passion and intrigue and has set a solid name for herself in the up and rising genre loved by so many. Christy took time off between Tweeting and finishing her next novel Unscripted, to talk to us and fill us in on the life of a romance novelist.

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Describe your writing style in five words.
Descriptive. Bold. Fluid. Sexy. Twisty.

How would you describe Fifteen Weekends in one sentence?
“Fifteen Weekends” is a captivating book combining three intriguing stories into one.

Where did you get the idea for Fifteen Weekends?
The story of “Fifteen Weekends” was something I developed fairly quickly. I had put some notes on paper about the order of events. The backstories of the characters flowed through my mind to the keyboard effortlessly. I wrote the book in less than four weeks. However, that was just expressing the story and getting it out in a fashioned order.

Which character do you most relate to in the book?
It’s easy to say I relate to each of the main characters in some fashion, but probably I am most like Emily or she is a lot like me.

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What will surprise readers while reading Fifteen Weekends?
So far readers are telling me they are surprised by the twists and turns that you don’t see coming, which is good for me. It means I did my job of not being too obvious with plot development.

What three things would your readers be surprised to know about you?
I picked up and moved to Hawaii six months after graduating college with no job. I just wanted to live somewhere exotic and warm. I recently found out I have a dairy allergy. I used to absolutely hate reading books.

What is the next book you’re working on and will there be a sequel to Fifteen Weekends?
“Unscripted” is my next book. It will debut later this year. What can I tell you about “Unscripted”? It’s a steamy and romantic love story set in Manhattan. Twenty-six year old Holliday Prescott finds herself in the throes of passion with Ronan Connolly, Hollywood’s most coveted leading man . (Oh did I mention, Ronan is Irish?) Holliday wasn’t looking for anything at all, but it’s funny how fate sweeps in with other plans.I guarantee Ronan Connolly will be your next book boyfriend.

Honestly, I would LOVE nothing more than to write a sequel to Fifteen Weekends! However, I am an Author under contract with a publishing house. The reality is that it’s a business, and numbers will determine that outcome along with determining Ashleigh, Emily and Amanda’s fate in storybook history.

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How did you start writing and what was your motivation?
Writing has been a constant in my life. It led me to create a fashion blog, Fashion Wrap Up, which was my full-time career along with running a boutique marketing and media company until I decided to become a full-time writer. I helped fashion, beauty and lifestyle brands with their marketing and branding. I worked on the sets of photo shoots helping to create the themes or just assist with production. Ultimately, a move to Saint Louis was the reason I decided to publish. Feeling a little burned out from the corporate grind, I just wasn’t having fun any longer, and I told myself when it stops being enjoyable it’s time to move on to other passions, goals and dreams. I still love to blog, and I do every so often, but I no longer work on a daily basis with clients. I have been writing full-time for nearly a year now. I love it because every day is different and exciting!

You often refer to your “writing cave”. What does your writing space actually look like?
Right now the writing cave is a little messy. It’s filled with boxes of Fifteen Weekends swag, that I need to find a place for, and because I am in the editing process things get a little crazy here in the cave. I have an L-shaped glass desk where my laptop sits and I have bigger screen that sits to the right… I NEED to have dual screens when I am working. I have a large cork board with all kinds of notes pinned up… action words, descriptive words, words to describe emotion and facial expressions. Not to mention inspirational quotes. File folders, index cards, post it notes everywhere and in the corner of course, there is a flat screen TV for “research” purposes. The walls are cream colored and there are two guest chairs facing opposite my desk.

What are your writing rituals?
I write when an idea sparks… mostly I am freshest for writing in morning. However as you know, writing is not a 9-5 job. It’s a 24/7, 7 days a week constant. If I am working on a new book I find that 10pm to 3am is usually the best time to write… the sounds of silence are best.

What advice would you give someone who wants to be a published author?
Dream Big! Do your research and never ever give up. Don’t take the first no or rejection as any kind of sign. Everyone has a story to tell, and every story needs a voice to tell it.

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Who are three of your favorite writers?
The list grows every day! Emma Chase, Sylvia Day and J. Kenner. I am in love with so many Indie Authors right now too!

What is one book you would recommend to a friend?
Depends on the friend, but I seem to be recommending Perfect Plans by C.J. Wells to everyone!

How do you define sexy?
Confidence. There is nothing sexier than confidence.

What is the Sexiest City?
Since I value confidence as sexy then of all the cities I think London is the sexiest.

Christopher Bailey of Burberry – the man can seem to do no wrong.

Shoe brand?
Brian Atwood.

It’s a tie for me between 9 ½ Weeks, Color of Night and Sliver.

Vodka and club soda with a twist of lime. A man who drinks scotch is very sexy though!

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If Fifteen Weekends was made into a movie, who would you want to play the main characters?
All of my muses of course! Karl Urban as Ethan Carlson, Sarah Lancaster as Emily Greene, Odette Annable as Ashleigh Preston, Rachael Taylor as Amanda Parsons, Steve Jones as Liam Frost and Julian McMahon as Vince Everett

Since you are a contemporary romance novelist, what advice would you give women to spice up their relationships?
Ha! Well I am no romance sex expert by any means. I can tell you that most CR Novelists will never share their bedroom secrets. That would put us in an entirely different career. If there is anything I have learned – don’t be afraid to tell your partner what you like and don’t like. Communicate your desires and passions.

What three items are on your wish list?
A Burberry Trench Coat, a Tod’s Handbag and a diamond ring from Graziela Gems, it’s called “White Stackable Pizza Ring.” Kate Bosworth wore the ring to an event and I was like “WANT”!

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Where would you like to see yourself in 10 years?
Hmmm that is a tough one….sitting at the top of the Best Seller’s List… Hosting Saturday Night Live?

What are your three simple luxuries?
San Pelligrino, eye-cream and pedicures.

Check out Christy on Goodreads and buy her book on Amazon!

Also check out her Twitter and Facebook pages! She’s pretty active on both!



Check out all of our author interviews in our Interview section!

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WARNING: We allow 100 words or less of content per interview to be taken, with a link to our original interview, and used without our authorization. Content larger than 100 words or copying our entire interview without our authorization to be used in ANY manner will result in our taking legal action per copyright infringement.


*Images courtesy of Christy Pastore


“Best New Book of 2014! Emotionally endearing and hilarious!”

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Author Brent Hartinger is Alot Like His Character Russel from Geography Club! An Interview

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Several months ago, a friend suggested we read the books in Brent Hartinger‘s Russel Middlebrook series, starting with Geography Club, which has recently been made into a movie.  As avid readers, we weren’t really sure what to think as we started, but literally within a few pages, we were hooked on the character Russel and the story that unfolded magically.  We finished the entire series in just a few days and then listened to them on Audible, just as impressed with the actor chosen to fill the role of Russel Middlebrook.  Here’s the thing about these books; other than being amazing stories, well written and centering on an easily likeable character, each book also stand alone as a well crafted, conceptual idea.  Without giving away the secrets of the series, Brent Hartinger has woven together a main character, who just happens to be a gay teenager, with sub-themes of physical discrimination, loyalty and betrayal of friends, school sports and the pressure to “fit in”, a desire to be loved no matter who you are…and zombies.  Yes, we did say zombies.  If you haven’t read the books, you’ve have to find out for yourself.  We were so intrigued by the magician who put these stories together and gave birth to Russel Middlebrook that we reached out to Brent and he was nice enough to give us an interview.  Check out what he told us about his inspiration for the series, his daily life as a writer and whether or not there will be more books.  And yeah…we adore this guy!

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If your life was a title of a book, what would it be?
The Agony and the Ecstasy. Frankly, I think that’s the title of every writer’s life. The lows are very low, but the highs are so cool that they always make up for it.
How did you get the idea for your Russel Middlebrook/Geography Club series?
Partly my own life, partly my looking around at all the gay books that existed when I was writing it (in the 1990s) and thinking, “Why aren’t there more books like the kind I want to read?”
At the time, the trend in gay male books was for the main character to be a total jerk (proof that the author was being “truthful”), and for the emotion to be really angst-y and/or bitter. There was also a lot of pretentiousness (IMHO). Those characters and stories didn’t really speak to me, so I was trying to create a gay male character who was lonely but not suicidal, smart but not bitchy, generally optimistic, more than a little dorky, somewhat flawed but not an asshole, and (hopefully) very funny.
Mostly, I just wanted to create a gay book that was fun and funny, but with heart. Those gay stories and characters are more common now than they were back then (which means that I think I was onto something!).

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Will there be more books in the series and where will Russel go next?
I’m working on it now. It’s the summer after graduation, and Gunnar has become a millionaire by inventing a popular iPhone app. His latest obsession is finding Bigfoot, so he invites Russel and the gang into the remote mountains on a Bigfoot expedition. Complications ensue, romantic and otherwise!
Have you thought about starting a new series and if so, what would it be about?
I have a very dark, warped gay teen thriller that my agent is shopping to publishers now. And I have a fantasy series in the works too (not gay though).
We’re also well into development on a couple of movies — one romantic comedy, and another gay teen drama that it probably the closest thing to my heart that I’ve ever written. Hopefully, it’ll be in theaters by 2016.
Geography Club was recently made into a movie, which in a lot of ways, was different than the book. How did you feel about the outcome?
I wasn’t involved creatively in any way (except for writing the book), so I have a few small quibbles. But mostly I just had a really positive, really interesting experience as an eyewitness to the creation of a film. They treated me like a king, and I also made a lot of very good friends.
And the fact is, it turned out to be a high quality production, so I’m proud to have my name associated with it.
Better still, I now have a number of other movie projects in the works –all of which I wrote. So it really opened a lot of doors for me. Sold a lot of books too, which sure doesn’t hurt!
Here’s a podcast I did where I talk more about the whole book to movie experience

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Who are three of your favorite writers?
Three? Please. I like Tolkien, Arthur C. Clarke, Ursula le Guin, Stephen R. Donaldson, Tony Kushner, Robert Charles Wilson, Robert Sawyer, Libba Bray, Ken Oppel, Roald Dahl, C.S. Lewis, Jacqueline Carey, and many, many others.
Uh, can you tell I like fantasy?
What three books would you recommend to a friend?
I’d recommend books that people may have never read, like The Great Brain books by John D. Fitzgerald (the best kids’ books I ever read); the Magister Trilogy, a great series I’m reading right now by Celia S. Friedman; and this series of terrific gay fantasy books by Steven Harper called The Silent Empire.
What five things wouldn’t we know by looking at you?
(1) I am an extremely picky reader and movie-goer: I think 90% of everything is crap; (2) I have high cholesterol (it’s genetic! I’m actually pretty fit); (3) I used to be a master of Beatles trivia, and can still geek out on them pretty well; (4) four times a year I get together for the weekend with five straight guys, and we always have a blast; and (5) I can’t relate to any movie or TV show where couples are secretly disappointed in each other, because I think my partner of 20+ years (Michael Jensen) is the most extraordinary person I’ve ever met. And the longer I know him, the more I think that!


God, I hope that doesn’t sound insufferable. It doesn’t, does it?
What are your writing rituals?
It’s really, really hard for me to get started, so I do the usual stuff like rewarding myself with snacks and candy, unplugging the internet, and on and on. But once I get started, I can get sort of manic (sometimes to the point where I write for days on end and make myself sick).
Basically, I’m a neurotic person who’s managed to sometimes channel my obsession into something good!

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How do you start the writing process when you are starting a book?
I always outline, although that really means I just spend a lot of time thinking about the story and making notes. I never stick that closely to my outlines, and sometimes I leave huge plot-gaps. But I never start writing until I have at least a vague idea what the story and character are about, and a pretty clear idea of how it’ll end.
George R.R. Martin says there are two kinds of writers — architects (who plan) and gardeners (who just let things grow). Every writer does some of both, but I lean toward architect. (And frankly, I think I save myself a lot of time, because I don’t have to write 200,000 words to “discover” my story. But all writers are biased toward their own processes. Whatever works for you is best!)
What advice would you give someone who wanted to be a published author?
Learn the craft — take classes, join a writers’ group, read a zillion books and study them all, good and bad. But then learn the BUSINESS of writing: work in a bookstore or a publishing house, talk to every person you can, soak up information like a sponge.
I made a zillion mistakes when I was starting out, mostly because I thought the rules didn’t apply to me, or maybe that it was all about “talent.” First, I wasn’t nearly as talented as I thought back then, and second, you absolutely need to know the rules of publishing — both the “written” rules and the unwritten ones. If you don’t, you’ll make your life much, much more difficult. And boy do I speak from experience!
You started and ran the website After Elton. How did the website start and what inspired you to sell it to MTV?
My good friend Sarah Warn started a website called (directed at lesbians). One night over dinner, she said, “I think we should do the same thing for gay men, and I think you [and my partner Michael] are the guys to run it!
Basically, we wanted a smart, thoughtful, non-bitchy, non-gossip website about pop culture from a gay and bi male perspective that did actual journalism (not just rip off other people’s reporting). There wasn’t anything else like that out there (and, frankly, still isn’t that much, although you guys give me hope!), so we did it ourselves.
Why did we sell to MTV? Basically, they made us an offer we couldn’t refuse. Truthfully, we weren’t making any money on our own.

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Have you ever thought about starting a similar website and if so, what would you do differently?
Alas, I’m mostly down on content websites these days. You have to know what I’m talking about. To make any money, it’s become all about SEO, click-bait, carpet-bombing posts, and trolling for traffic. But I’m into quality, not quantity, which meant I was continually frustrated. I suspect you are too.
Nah. Except for my author site, think I’m done with content-based websites.
What question would you ask yourself in an interview and then answer the question?
What’s the best part of my job? And the answer is my fan mail, hands-down. Seriously, I have the best readers in the world. If I’m ever feeling blue, or depressed, I usually just to wait a bit, and someone will send me something that will totally make my day. I write for money because I need to eat. But it’s the connection with other people that really makes it worth doing.
My first book, Geography Club, was the story of a kid who feels alienated and alone. And the irony is that that book, and the others I’ve written, have made me more connected to people than I ever thought possible.
What is your current obsession?
With books, I’m going through a “horror” phase. With food, I’m always after the perfect Asian anything.
Briefly take us through a day in the life of Brent Hartinger.
I spend a lot of time on the phone, with movie producers, with editors, with agents, with journalists. And I know that sounds romantic, but it’s never as exciting as it sounds.
The rest of the time, I write. All day long sitting at a computer, trying to figure out my plot, or revising a screenplay, or pitching a story. And that is just as unexciting as it sounds!
At some point during the day, I go to the gym — four days a week anyway.
And then at the end of the day, my partner and I go for a walk about the lake next to our house (Green Lake in Seattle). It’s three miles, it takes about an hour, and it’s BEAUTIFUL.

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In what ways are you like Russel Middlebrook?
Truthfully, we’re a lot alike. More than a little neurotic, generally optimistic, way too self-conscious, very dorky, and hopefully ultimately pretty decent.


If you could have any impact on your readers, what would it be?
Mostly, I just want to entertain people. I want to move them, or make them laugh or smile. I see the point of writing as communicating emotion. It’s great when people see a “message” in my work, but that’s really not the point. I just want them to feel something.
What’s next for Brent Hartinger?
I complain a lot about how hard I work (see all my previous answers!). But the fact is, I love what I do, and I spend a lot of time pinching myself that I get paid to do what I absolutely love. As Anne Hathaway annoying said when she won her Oscar, “It came true!”
Right now I’m actively working on those two different movie projects with some producers, and I’m also writing two more screenplays that I hope will sell soon. I just wrote a novel with my partner Michael, and I have those other two novels with my agent. And I’m working on that next Russel Middlebrook book too.
Oh, and I just finished something called The Real Story Safe Sex Project, which is basically me asking my writer friends to write about the subject of safe sex among gay and bi teens and twentysomethings. The stories are all free, including one staring Russel Middlebrook. Yup, I actually wrote about his sex life! Explicitly. Check it out HERE!

What are your three simple luxuries?
Lately I’m addicted to Trader’s Joe’s roasted hazelnuts. They’re AMAZING. I also love my morning smoothie: yogurt, soy milk, and frozen pineapple and berries. And every night, Michael and I make popcorn — the real kind, not the microwave stuff. That’s cheating!


Thanks buddy!

All of Brent’s Information including social media sites can be found on his website!


Check out all of our other author interviews in our Interview section, including Ellen Hopkins, Jackie Collins, Lauren Conrad, Charlaine Harris and many more!


And check out the new young adult book The Before Now and After Then coming 7/29 from author Peter Monn on Goodreads! “Must read summer romance of 2014!”

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WARNING: We allow 100 words or less of content per interview to be taken, with a link to our original interview, and used without our authorization. Content larger than 100 words or copying our entire interview without our authorization to be used in ANY manner will result in our taking legal action per copyright infringement.

*Images courtesy of Brent Hartinger/First Photo Credit Tim Cathersal

Tatiana Boncompagni…The Art of Social Death! An Interview


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Tatiana Boncompagni is smart, sexy and definitely innovative.  With the release of her most recent novel, Social Death, Tatiana has also collaborated with makeup company Votru Vu, in developing a signature lip stick aptly named “Social Death” which she will be sending out as part of her marketing strategy.   On top of this innovative creativity, she has also captured  fans with her intense ability to weave develop strong, female characters who weave their way through the world of the high society and wealth.  Social Death, which she describes as  “Gone Girl meets Gossip Girl”, proves to give her fans the same excitement they’ve read in her previous novels.  We were lucky enough to go a little deeper into the mind behind the writer and find out what really makes a true socialite.

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Describe yourself in 5 words.

Imaginative, friendly, athletic, loyal, lighthearted.

Tell us 3 things about you we wouldn’t know by looking at you or reading your work.

I love to exercise—running and yoga especially. I was a swimmer and runner when I was young. I hated competing (I would vomit before meets) but I liked pushing myself to do my best. There’s a saying in yoga—“keep your eyes on your own mat”—that I actually live by. The idea of personal best is one you can carry into every facet of your life.

I love music—anything from Johnny Cash and Van Morrison to Jay-Z and Lorde. My taste in music is eclectic but I must have it in my life. Nothing lifts my sprits like discovering a new song to rock out to.

 I never thought I would get married and have kids. I was a pretty late bloomer—physically, emotionally–and couldn’t relate to any of my friends who were obsessed with boys and going to dances in high school. I actually thought there was something wrong with me. None of that stuff really kicked in until my senior year of college. Then it was like, whoa Nelly!

Can you tell us what to expect with your upcoming novel Social Death?

Think Gone Girl meets Gossip Girl. It’s a little dark and twisted but also fun.  The main character is Clyde Shaw. She is a veteran news producer—curvaceous, tough-as-nails—on the wrong side of 35 who comes from a storied New York family and is trying to overcome various addictions. Alcohol and sex, mainly. She gets called to the scene of a crime one morning only to discover the murder victim is the daughter of her billionaire boss—and her best friend since childhood.  That’s the starting point.

What will your fans find similar and different to your previous novels?

I’m still treading in the same waters with this book. I’m still delving into the world of high-society and unthinkable privilege. This book is also more multi-layered and has more plot twists. Plus it is a murder mystery. The others were straight-up fun. This one has more weight to it.

Tell us about the lip-stick tie in associated with the release of Social Death.

I fell in love with the cover image as soon as I saw it. I thought it was really graphic and iconic. The red lip imprint mimicking a bullet wound. Loved that. Someone suggested I send out red lipsticks with my book as part of the marketing campaign. I thought wouldn’t it be cool to have a lipstick named after Social Death? Why shouldn’t we take it one step farther? Votre Vu, the company that made the lipstick, was so great to work with on the project. They sent me three lipsticks and I chose the one that I liked wearing the best and the one I thought Clyde, Social Death’s main character and the star of the series, would wear. Reds can be difficult to pull off, but this shade compliments all skin types.

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What is your ritual for writing a great book.  What does a day in your writing life look like?

I have three kids so finding time to write isn’t always easy. When I’m working on a new book I generally write from around eleven until 2 or 3 and then again I’ll sneak in some more time, like an hour or half an hour around 5 or 6.  Sometimes I get great ideas when I’m out with my kids, doing school runs or taking them to a play date.

Who are three writers you are addicted to reading?

For crime fiction my favorites are Lisa Gardner, Lisa Unger and now J.K. Rowling (who wrote Cuckoo’s Calling under a pseudonym). I’ve been fortunate enough to correspond with Jane Stanton Hitchcock, Marne Davis Kellogg and Candace Bushnell. They’ve all inspired and encouraged me.

What advice would you give to a writer who wants to be published and famous?

To paraphrase Winston Churchill, “Never give up.” Writing is a tough business. You have to love to write first and foremost; the desire for success has to come secondary to the love of the craft. Otherwise you’ll get your first rejection note and want to quit.

How do you define sexy?

Confidence. Power. Humor.

What is the sexiest city?

Anywhere I can wear a bikini to lunch

Sexiest hotel?

Hotel Costes in Paris. All the rooms are dimly lit—so everyone looks mysterious and gorgeous–and the whole place smells heavenly. They have a signature scent.

Sexiest bar or restaurant?

The Rose Bar at the Gramercy Park Hotel.

Sexiest designer?

Dolce and Gabbana

Sexiest perfume?

Femme by Tiossan

Sexiest movie?

James Bond movies are always sexy. My favorite bond is Daniel Craig and his best is Casino Royale.

Sexiest book?

There are a couple of good sex scenes in 1Q85 by Haruki Murakami.


What are five things you can’t travel without?

My Nook, headphones, a healthy snack (I hate airplane food), a big silk scarf and a cozy cashmere sweater.

You have said you like to write about fashion.  What are three fashion rules you live by?

Figure out what silhouettes flatter your shape most and stick with them. Don’t follow trends that don’t work for you. For example, not everyone looks great in a peplum….or a crop top!

Better to be overdressed than underdressed.

A Russian woman once said to me, “there’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothes.” This can apply to any climate, really.

Since you’ve written all about socialites, what do you think are three rules for being a true socialite?

A true socialite is elegant, worldly, fun and friendly.

What is next for you?

My next book in the Clyde Shaw Mystery series! Working on it now.

What are your three simple luxuries?

Childcare. Organic food. A house in the country where we can get away from it all.

Tatiana’s newest book Social Death will be available March 5th!

Check out all of our Interviews in our Interview section!

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Jackie Collins Loves a Great Mascara and Other Confessions of a Wild Child! An Interview

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Several years ago, we interviewed Jackie Collins, one of all-time favorite authors, about her book Goddess of Vengeance.  As lifelong fans of Jackie’s novels, being able to interview her was an absolute dream come true.  Not only were we interviewing Jackie, the queen of Kicking Ass with Style, but we were interviewing the mother of Lucky Santangelo; the hottest character to have ever been written into imagination.  Imagine our excitement to hear that Jackie had written a prequel to her Lucky novels called Confessions of a Wild Child, and that this newest book was being produced into a movie! Ahhh…sweet joy! We reached out to Jackie again and were overjoyed to be able to interview her, again, about this newest project…the birth of the teenage Lucky Santangelo!  Check out what she had to tell us and make sure to rush out to get your book or audio copy today of Confessions of a Wild Child!

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1.  You’ve said Confessions of a Wild Child was initially intended to be a young adult book.  What will feel different about this than other Lucky novels since that was the targeted audience?

I wrote CONFESSIONS OF A WILD CHILD in the first person from Lucky’s teenage point of view.  It’s not quite as graphic as my other novels, but it’s a lot of fun as Lucky discovers—boys, sex and rock’n’roll.

2. Can you tell us one secret we’ll learn about Lucky that we don’t already know?

That she’s an old soul, and very street smart for someone so young.

3. Will we learn anything more about Lucky’s gay brother Dario?

Yes.  I especially loved writing about Lucky and Dario’s relationship.  He confides in her about being gay, and she handles the information in true Lucky fashion.

 4. What do you think makes Lucky so sexy that characters continue to be captivated with her throughout the years?

Confidence is sexy, and Lucky has it it abundance.  She’s also very smart, compassionate and wildly beautiful.  And she gets along with both men and women.

 5. In our previous interview, you stated that you love to put together music tracks.  If Confessions of a Wild Child had a soundtrack, what songs would definitely be on the soundtrack?

Well, certainly plenty of rock’n’roll, classic soul, and sexy beach tracks.  When you read CONFESSIONS OF A WILD CHILD I want you to drift back to your teenage years and your first kiss and broken heart.  Music can evoke many good memories.  Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive” is probably Lucky’s theme song.

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6. What is your creative process when you are writing a novel?

Write!  Write!  Write!  I write in longhand and it’s a lot of work, but I  have a total passion for what I do.

7. Is there a possibility you’ll go back with some of your other novels and do prequels?

I love the idea of doing that!  Readers suggestions please!

8. What’s next on your list of projects?

THE LUCKY SANTANGELO COOKBOOK comes out in April, and I am currently writing THE

SANTANGELOS—a saga full of epic happenings to the entire Santangelo family.

9. Any chance Peter and Alex of raannt could ever get a guest appearance in a Jackie

Collins novel?

Hmmm . . . . you never know!!

10. What are your three simple luxuries?

MUSIC.  BOOKS.  And a great mascara!

Thanks again Jackie!

Check out our past interview with Jackie Collins; Kicking Ass With Style!

Make sure to buy your hardcover, ebook or audio version of Confessions of a Wild Child today!


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Ross Mathews is the Liaison to the Super Fan! An Interview!

Hello Ross - Season 1

Gay to gay, we connected.  Gay to gay, we laughed and joked and learned a bit about each other.  And gay to millions, Ross Mathews will connect and learn and joke and laugh as he embarks in a brand new television adventure! We had the pleasure to chat with Ross for a few minutes on the phone to learn a bit more about Mr. Mathews and his upcoming E! show, Hello Ross.  With the recent publication of his book, Man Up!: Tales of My Delusional Self-Confidence, his regular appearances on Chelsea Lately’s round table and now his own upcoming television show, Ross is breaking boundaries and taking over! He is so completely hilarious, down to Earth and genuine, that we wanted to share the interview with you exactly as it happened.  So here it is, word for word, our 10 minutes with comedian, author, celebrity enthusiast, and new talk show host…Ross Mathews!

Hello Ross - Season 1

Raannt: Hi Ross!

Ross Mathews: Hi Guys! How are you?!

R: We’re good, how are you you?!

RM: Beyond

R: Beyoonndd Awesome! Ok, so we know you have…

RM: BBB-yond!

R: (Laugh) So we know you have a tight schedule, so we have 10 – 11 questions for you, ok?

RM: Hit it! I’m so excited to talk to you! Tight schedule, smooch schedule… we’ll just talk until you’re done.

R: Ok! Well thank you so much! Here’s our first question:

Introduce yourself using 5 words or less.

RM: In five words or less?!

R: Yeah.

RM: Ok, umm, ok, um, um… Honest, positive, umm, umm, creative, umm, uuuhhh… can I hyphenate?

R: Yeah, sure.

RM: Weight-Challenged and um…eager.

R: Alright, great! And we’re not going to count the uumms!

RM: OK! Thank you!! (Laugh)

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R: When did you figure out you wanted to be in show business?

RM: It happened with I was watching Regis and Kathie Lee back in the day with my mom. She seemed so happy watching that, and I always wanted to talk to celebrities and make my mom happy… so it was like Ding Ding Ding! This job is sold.  I was 8 years old and I was like, this is what I want to do for the rest of my life. Since then, every decision I have ever made, career wise, has been trying to get me to this point.

R: Well there you go! Now you’re making yourself and your mom happy! We like that!

RM: I know and by the way, that was the first call I made when I was told ‘you’re going to get your talk show’. I was like, I gotta go call my mom!

R: She should be your first guest.

RM: Wouldn’t that be cute?

R: So cute

RM: We focused group her, she didn’t test well

(We all laugh)

R: What should we expect from your new show Hello Ross?

RM: You know, when I was a kid; I would always talk back to the TV when I would watch Rossie and other talk shows. And I was like They should be able to hear me. And now, with my show… We can hear you.  This show is about pop-culture and people coming together. When I have a celebrity on the show, I will go into the audience – which is built like in a round – so they can ask the celebrity questions.  And we’ll video chat in people from across the country. This is about pop-culture and people coming together All I am, I’m hosting the show, but all I really am is a liaison and a representative for the super fans.

R: How great! We cannot wait.

RM: It’s going to be so fun.

R: If you could pick 3 dream celebrity guests, dead or alive, who would they be and why?

RM: Ok… Ok… It would be, um, Lady Gaga because her fans are very passionate. It would be Oprah because I’m a very passionate fan! And it be, maybe Marilyn Monroe because she’s probably the most famous, iconic women and in modern American history, and I feel like she never had enough time to show her true passion to people.

Hello Ross - Season 1

R: Let’s play kill, marry, screw

RM: Oh My God! Ok, Ok…

R: Rob Kardashian…

RM: Who are the other ones?

R: OK, so Rob Kardashian, Zac Posen, and Justin Bieber?

RM: I would… Ok, first I wanna go on the record, that I would never kill anybody but I would kill Justin Bieber, because he’s driving too fast and being a nuisance to his neighbors! And somebody needs to give him a time out!

I would… who are the other ones?

R: Designer Zac Posen, from Project Runway, and fellow E! Rob Kardashian

RM: I would… oh geez! I would… I guess I would F Rob Kardashian because it would be quick and done! And then I would Marry Zac Posen because I think he’s so cute! And he’s in fashion and reminds me of my partner Salvador who’s a wardrobe stylist.

R: How do you define sexy?

RM: Funny

R: What do you think is the sexiest city? Restaurant? Celebrity? Book?

RM: I think the sexiest city, and it’s the weirdest thing, I think its Nashville.  I don’t know why, but I love Nashville and I love the people. And like sometimes, like, I would never think like something is sexy, but like when they would do like a wider jean and a boot and like a wide belt buckle… who knew! That for me is sexy! So, that’s why I think Nashville is the sexiest city.

The sexiest book, Man up by Ross Mathews, Duh

The sexiest restaurant…? Oh, you know what I love, but I never go there, I go there as about as often as I have sex; which is once every two years, is um… The Bazaar at the SLS Hotel, it is just so different and fun and kind of awkward because they make high content food…and that’s how I feel about sex – different and fun and pretty awkward with me.

R: And what about sexiest celebrity?

RM: Justin Timberlake, Oh My God!

R: Especially when he hits the high notes right?!

RM: Let me just tell you something, whatever he wants to do, I’m in!

 Hello Ross - Season 1

R: It’s tea time with  the Royal Couple on Hello Ross.  What would be your first topic of conversation?

RM: Did Kate wear a blue polka dots dress when they came out with the baby, in honor of Diana who wore a blue polka dots dress when she walked out carrying William from the same doors.

R: That’s a good topic, we like it!

RM: Cause, hello!!! It was like a modern, like it seemed like a hue of blue with polka dots with a modern cut! I think it was like an homage.

R: Now that same sex marriage is legal in California, do you and your partner have plans to get married?

RM: Um, yeah… We’re not engaged or anything… But, now that it’s legal in California, it’s a lot more likely to happen.

R: What’s next for Ross Mathews?

RM: Well, the talk show it’s just going to be the best thing in history… ever! Um, I’m going to keep selling Man Up because I think the message of this book is so important for people to read about.  It’s all about celebrating yourself and what makes you different. Um, I’m going to hit my goal weight one of these days, that’s going to happen! And I wanna get a cat, but Salvador won’t let me.

R: Well maybe you can get one of those weird cats that look like dogs or something?

RM: Well we have two dogs! But I always wanted a cat, because they scare me and I think I just want to rise to the challenge and overcome that fear.

R: What are your three simple luxuries?

RM: I love… Ok, I belong to a winery. And they send me wine… and that was a big splurge for me, Ok? Right? Sure!… I buy throw pillows all the time! I like to change those out, and I don’t care… I usually find them on clearance, but I don’t care if that throw pillow is still good! I won’t use it anymore because I’m sick of looking at it. I will replace it, I will give it to a friend or to a goodwill. And then my third luxury is that I spend a lot of money… a lot! Of money! On my dogs grooming. Because, I go to super cuts and spend $10 on a haircut.  But I pay like $60-$80 apiece for them to do, to be pat with mud, like in Native American style; and they do it in this room that is painted in a specific blue that is soothing to dogs… even though they’re color blind… but that’s what the lady tells me, and they get a massage and they’re chanted at and they spray them with pheromones that reminds them of their mother… And I… and I pay a lot for that, and it’s all probably fucking bull shit, but it makes me thrilled!

R: Well you know, that’s a good luxury to have.

RM: Thank you.

R: Well Ross, thank you so much! That’s all we got for you today!

RM: Well thank you guys! You’re so fun! Thank you so much.

R: Thank you!! We will catch Hello Ross Fridays at 10 pm on E! and here!

RM: Thank you! Bye!!

Ross Mathew’s Book is available in book or audio form below:

ross mathews 5_raanntitunes-button

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Catching Up With Lauren Conrad…An Interview!

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Lauren Conrad is one classy lady.  She has risen above her reality stardom start to become a respected fashion designer, novelist and owner of one of the coolest websites targeted towards women’s lifestyle and improvement.(See her website here) While humble, she is also a force to be reckoned as seen by her impressive list of accomplishments. Since she recently released her last novel Infamous in The Fame Game series, we thought we would catch up with Lauren and find out what was new since the last time we talked to her.

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1. We’re super excited to have you back on raannt – in 5 words or less describe the last 2 years of your life.

Busy and fulfilled

2. What inspired this new book?

This was the final book in my latest series. The end to this chapter in the girls lives.

3. Out of all of your books, which one would you like to see made into a movie and why?

No way I can pick just one. They all follow the same group of girls just from different points of view.

4. What has been your favorite thing about being an author and why?

I never knew I would enjoy writing as much as I have.  You really become vested in each character as the stories evolve.

5. Which character or characters do you most relate to and why?

I always felt most similar to Jane.

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6. Aside from the cameras, how do you feel your life is different today in comparison to 5 years ago?

It’s really the same life, just more private which is really nice.

7. Ever think about getting back in front of the cameras and rejoining the reality TV world (without being scripted)?

We were never scripted on our shows. I never say never but at the moment I am enjoying my design work and writing.

8. Teacups? What it is about them you love so much?

I love things that have a history and feel “found”. It’s like you find these little treasures and each have their own stories.

9. Since you’re extremely busy with your numerous brands, writing, etc.., what are three ways you relax?

I enjoy cooking, spending time with friends, just watching a great movie and going to the beach.

10. Who is your muse when it comes to designing and why?

There are so many amazing designers that have inspired me along the way; not fair to pick just one.

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11. Let’s see if your definition has changed – how do you define sexy?

HMM, what did I say last time? (Previously she stated, “Sexy to me is being confident and comfortable in your own skin.)

12. If you could pick any three people – dead or alive – to collaborate on any project, who would it be and on what project?

I get asked stuff like this a lot. I need to find some good answers.

13. What’s next for Lauren Conrad?

To continue doing what I love and designing for my Paper Crown, Kohls and XO(eco) lines.

14. What are your three simple luxuries?

Water, sleep and moisturizer.

Thanks Lauren! 

Check out her previous interview with us HERE!

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*Photos courtesy of Lauren Conrad.

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Hopelessly Uncool: Jay Bell-Author of Something Like Summer!

Honestly, we didn’t have high hopes when we opened the cover of Jay Bell‘s award winning novel Something Like Summer.  We hadn’t heard much about it and based on a recommendation from a follower, decided to crack it open and see if there was any merit to the award winning novelist.  We were quite pleasantly surprised, to say the least.  Something Like Summer might easily be the best read we’ve had all year! Jay Bell is not only a storyteller…he is a writer; there is a huge difference.  Storytellers simply tell good stories but struggle crafting their art.  Writers can lift the story above and beyond to a place all of it’s own.  With Something Like Summer, Jay Bell has created a space where love and romance; grief, understanding and change all resonate with the reader, whether gay or straight, much in the same way Annie Proulx did in Brokeback Mountain.  Jay Bell, the writer, happens to be gay and his subject matter happens to be gay themed, but the theme and understanding is universal.  Now, after having read several of his books in only a week’s time, we’ve learned that this universality in his writing is common within all of his characters.  His attitudes towards writing are passion filled and enlightening while his thoughts on bullying and teenage acceptance warrant a need to look in a more realistic view of these headline-pulling issues.  Simply put…he knows his shit! His writing is so raw and vulnerable that we wanted to talk with him and find out more about the guy behind the characters who will forever live in our minds, like friends we’ve known for a very long time.

1. How long did it take you to write Something Like Summer and what was your process?

For me, starting to write a book is like watching a movie trailer. I get a general idea of the plot, and there are flashes of exciting scenes. The process is then filling in the blanks. I usually know the beginning of a story and have a good idea of the ending, but all those parts in between are written as they are discovered. I don’t remember how long it took to complete Something Like Summer, but I became more fevered the further I went.


2. What inspired you to write Something Like Summer? What is the story behind Something Like Winter?

When starting Something Like Summer, I was burnt out on fantasy. At the time I had just finished writing my debut novel, The Cat in the Cradle, which had taken many years of struggle. I even started over from scratch at one point, discarding a complete novel many drafts in.  After that experience, I wanted to write something totally different, so I drew from my own experiences, or those oft repeated stories that so many gay people go through when growing up. I hadn’t read many gay books at this point, so I was driven by a need to write the book I wanted to read. I think that’s what most authors do. They want to entertain themselves. It’s only later that the audience is taken into consideration.


As for Something Like Winter, my readers wanted the story to continue, but I had my concerns. There’s a gay manga series I love to bits called Gravitation. By the time that series ends, the two lovers are on equal standing. They’ve faced their demons and come out stronger. Finally they can live happily ever after, right? Except the success of the series demanded more, so naturally the author brought the characters back, shoehorned a kid into their lives, and made one of the guys have an affair. Soap operas are so terrible because they’re never allowed to end. The writers have to resort to more and more extremes to keep the plot moving.


With this in mind, I decided the best way to give the readers more of Something Like Summer was to flush out the story that’s already there. Not only does this mean showing what Tim’s life was like in the years apart from Ben, but there are also scenes of their time together to be revealed or expounded upon. When writing Something Like Winter, I wasn’t sure if this method was going to work, but having read through the book many times now, I’m extremely proud of the result. A good sequel should be “more and yet the same”, and I hope readers are as happy to return to Ben and Tim’s life as I was.


3. On your blog, you defined yourself in high school as a rebellious nerd.  What made you a rebellious nerd?

Of all my characters, I probably have the most in common with David Henry from Kamikaze Boys. Like him, I was exceedingly uncool, engaging in long video game marathons and taking breaks to run around the woods while dreaming of magical realms. Also like David, I was never able to compromise when it comes to who I am. That meant getting picked on and being called names, but it would have been much worse to pretend I was someone that I wasn’t, or to not stand up for my beliefs. I gave teachers and principals hell, set stuff on fire, did drugs, skipped school, and got in endless trouble, all while collecting action figures and reading countless fantasy novels. I was all over the place, regardless of what society thought of me. But most of all, I was uncool.


4. What three pieces of advice would you give an aspiring writer who wants to be published?

Don’t take no for an answer. Agents and publishers might join the industry because of a love for books, but at the end of the day, they need to make money. Unfortunately, this means they focus on publishing what they perceive as marketable and profitable. A lot of original voices used to get culled by this process, but now with self-publishing, we all have a chance to be heard. The audience votes with their wallet. Focus on writing the best story you can. If a publisher wants it, great. If not, don’t let that stop you.


5. Can writers make a full time living off of their writing?

Yes, but it’s a marathon, not a race. Every book you publish adds to your income. Some will be hits, and others will help you pay your taxes and that’s about it. The more you try, the more hits you get, and the more you’ll make. But it takes years of trying and struggling and patience. I don’t recommend writing as a day job. Not at first, anyway.


6. What are 3 books you would suggest to a good friend?

The Giving Tree- Not only is it a gorgeous children’s book by the late great Shel Silverstein, but it’s a masterful example of how emotion can be evoked in just a few short pages and a handful of words. That’s powerful stuff!


Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone- It’s not Rowling’s best book by far, but it got legions of her fans hooked. I don’t care for the movies and have ignored all the merchandising, but the Harry Potter book series is gorgeous. It’s flawed, clumsy, emotional, idealistic, and at times too grim… but anything worth reading is!


The Time Traveler’s Wife- Innovative storytelling and a brilliant presentation of sci-fi/fantasy to a mainstream audience. I suspect more and more fantasy novels will be set in present day reality but feature extraordinary events. Aside from all that, this book really tugged at my heart strings.


7. Tell us about your husband Andreas and why he makes a good husband.

Andreas and I were outside dining at a restaurant the other day, when the guy next to us finished eating and left. On his table was a near empty glass of juice, with just enough left inside to attract bees. Soon the bees got trapped at the bottom. The walls of the glass were too slick, the bees’ wings covered in juice the more they struggled. I couldn’t pull my eyes away, so Andreas took a straw and started fishing the bees out, one by one. The other diners were soon staring and the waitress came to clear the table, but Andreas kept at it until every bee was free. Then he put them in a nearby plant, where we watched them clean themselves and dry out. By the end of the meal, they had all flown away. When I thanked him for doing this, he simply shrugged and said, “I saw that concerned look on your face.” Obviously there’s a lot more to Andreas than this, but it’s a perfect example of why I love him.

8. What inspired your book Kamikaze Boys?

Mostly I wanted to write a love story where the conflict came from the outside. No bickering or misunderstanding between these boys! I wanted to show two guys in love that are assaulted by their world, but strong enough when together to fight back. I also wanted to show the effects of bullying and the options that victims have. Adults tend to give advice that’s very safe and within legal limitations, when truly I think people need to do anything they can to cope. The haters want you to roll over. They want to drive you to suicide or self-destructive behavior. Don’t do that. Spit in their eyes instead and fight back anyway you can, even passively, if that’s what it takes to survive being victimized.


9. Of all of your characters you’ve written about, do you have one you got the most attached to and why?

Tim Wyman from Something Like Summer. When the reviews of that book first came out, I was surprised that some readers strongly disliked him. The more I spoke with these readers, the more I realized that they didn’t see Tim through my eyes. To me he’s very misunderstood, and I feel very protective of him, so I’m happy to be able to reveal his story. I think I love him so much because of how much he has to grow. Tim doesn’t have an easy road ahead of him, but he ends up traveling further than any of my other characters.


10. If you had a theme song for your life, what would it be?

All right, this one is vague, but I’d choose The Quest for Glory theme song. It’s from an old defunct video game series, and I’ve been humming it nonstop since I was a kid. I do a pretty mean opera version in the shower as well. … I mentioned how uncool I am, right?


11. What are three things we wouldn’t know by looking at you?

That I have abs of steel, x-ray vision, and that I’m not really a mild-mannered reporter.


12. If you were going to date any of your characters, who would it be?

Connor Williams from Kamikaze Boys. I guess I have a thing for misunderstood guys. Maybe that’s why I married a foreigner that I’m always misunderstanding. Anyway, Connor has the bad reputation, the sexy scar, and the killer body, but it’s really the gentleness of his heart that I find so appealing. He would never hurt David on purpose, which sounds so basic and expected in a relationship, but is rarer than some might think.


13. Tell us about the movie adaptation of Something Like Summer.

The Something Like Summer movie is being handled by the same talent behind the phenomenal Judas Kiss. We’ve got the same director and screenwriter, which I’m thrilled about, because I feel they are ahead of the game. Gay cinema isn’t just about coming out or falling in love anymore. People want to experience quality stories featuring characters that just happen to be gay. And we want movies filmed with just as much skill and care as mainstream cinema. I feel Judas Kiss delivers on all accounts. I’ve read early drafts of the Something Like Summer script, and I’m very impressed. All the important events are in there. Casting hasn’t started just yet, but I believe we’re in for a very big treat!

14. Tell us about a day in your life.

Oh man! There’s nothing more boring than an author’s life! Writing about exiting events means sitting in a stationary position for most of the day. Maybe it’s just me. I know other authors claim to have exciting lives. Stephen King plays in a rock band, doesn’t he? Really I think they just make this stuff up so no one discovers the boring truth. Basically I create butt dents in various chairs around the house all day until Andreas comes home. Then I become Suzy Homemaker, but it’s all good. I love my life.


15. What advice would you give a gay teenager who is wanting to come out?

Do it! Maybe your parents will hate you and everyone at school will point and laugh. So what? Life is full of ups and downs no matter what you do. You can be miserable in the closet worrying about what everyone might think, or you can be miserable out of the closet and have everyone judge you for the truth. Of course there’s always the chance that some of your friends and family will be cool, and that you’ll meet that person you’re dreaming of, but none of that’s going to happen while you’re hiding away.


16. Tell us about your experience at the Lambda Literary Awards and how it felt to win an award for Gay Romance?

Ask me again next year! I can tell you it felt great to be a finalist, but Something Like Summer didn’t take the prize. I honestly wasn’t sure how I’d feel about not winning until it happened, but I was okay with it. I got to meet other authors, which is a rare thing for such a solitary career. And I had a wonderful time in New York with Andreas. I’d do it all again in a heartbeat.


17. How do you define sexy?

I always say that hot guys are a dime a dozen. For me, sexy has very little to do with the physical. I like a guy that’s intelligent, but he doesn’t have to quote Shakespeare. In fact, I’d prefer he didn’t. A curious mind is definitely hot, no matter the choice of subject. A sense of humor is crucial, especially when the tide is high. Mostly I admire someone who isn’t ashamed to be their own person, no matter what that might be.


18. What is your attitude towards bullying and what do you think should be done about it?

I was bullied pretty bad for a couple of years in school, and before that, I did some bullying myself. I’ve experienced both sides of the coin, and I think the best strategy is to call them out. Make them go to the front of class and explain why they pick on someone smaller or different than them. Bring their parents in. Ask them why they raised a bully. If it keeps happening, put them in a segmented class or school, because not only is education being interfered with, but kids are killing themselves rather than facing more humiliation. Really it’s the people that bully who should be embarrassed. The more parents and teachers can attach a social stigma to such behavior, the less anyone will want to be known as a bully. The reasons behind bullying and how to deal with it definitely need to be a regular part of the class curriculum. Teach kids how to cope, because there are plenty more bullies in the adult work environment.


19. What would you like to have accomplished in the next five years?

I’d like to try a few more genres. Right now I bounce back and forth between fantasy and romance, so I’d like to challenge myself by trying something new. Eventually I’d like to write for television. Not regularly, I don’t think, but an episode or two of something would make for an interesting experience.


20. What are your three simple luxuries?

Time would be the biggest one. The great thing about writing for a living is the schedule. I work days, evenings and weekends sometimes, but I can also choose not to do anything at all. That freedom is wonderful, and I never take it for granted.


Living in Germany is a huge luxury in many ways, especially when it comes to travel. Visiting other European countries is like driving one state over in the US, so I’ve been able to see some amazing places. The quality of life here is exceptional too.


Finally, my action figure collection is my super big happy time. They’re toys, they’re simple, and they have nothing to do with staring at an electric screen. My little plastic people are characters made physical, and they often spark my imagination. Mostly I’m just a big kid who revels in not having to ask mom for all the awesome toys I want. … Yeah, I know. Hopelessly uncool.

For more information on Jay Bell and his books visit his website and blog HERE!


Be Yourself.  Be Fearless.  Be Your Own Unexpected Luxury!

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Austin Kleon…The Artist Magician!

Austin Kleon is a magician.  Well…not really. Actually, he’s a writer who draws.  The magic is found in between the words he weaves together in simple perfection.  As soon as we picked up his book, Steal Like An Artist, it was almost as if the passion from his fingertips left his hand and electrically transferred into our creative minds.  His suggestions were so inspiring and authentic that we instantly wanted to rearrange our entire lives and push full throttle into our creative dreams.  In that way, Austin Kleon is a magician; a performance artist inspiring creativity where it might otherwise be unseen.  After having read Steal Like An Artist and his first book, Newspaper Blackout, we were excited to interview Austin and find out his deeper thoughts on writing, living and laughing.  We were not surprised to find his responses so authentic that they spoke almost like the quotes from his books…

1. Define yourself using six words.

I am a writer who draws.


2. Tell us about Newspaper Blackout.

Newspaper Blackout is a poetry collection made by redacting newspaper articles with a permanent marker. (Imagine the CIA doing haiku.) 


3. Tell us about your book Steal Like an Artist.

Steal Like An Artist started out as a talk I gave at a community college — it was a simple list of 10 things I wish I’d heard when I was first getting started. The basic idea of the book is that all creative work builds on what came before — nothing is completely original — and the way to be more creative isn’t to run away from influence, but to run towards it. 


4. What are your three favorite books?

Ack, what a question — one I find impossible to answer. Instead, I’ll give you my 3 favorite books I’ve read this summer:

– Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick

– The Art of Money Getting by P.T. Barnum

– On Solitude by Michel de Montaigne

Also: Some novels I love and books I foist on people.


5. What would be the theme song for your life?

Oh, that’s easy: Elvis Costello’s “Everyday I Write The Book.”


6. When you’re writing, what, if any are rituals you do?

I have an “analog” desk in my office — no electronics are allowed on it, and that’s where most of my writing starts, in longhand.

When I’m on deadline and I have to crank something out, I try to pick the most meat-headed loud rock and roll I can and punish myself by blasting it until I’ve finished — Soundgarden is really good for this.


7. Of all of your quotes, do you have a favorite?

“You are a mashup of what you let into your life” pretty much sums up my POV.


8. What advice would you give to a writer who wants to get published?

Forget it. Forget being published. Write what you like and find a community of people online that you can share your work with.


9. What are 3 essentials to being a writer?

I have a favorite New Yorker cartoon where a girl is sitting in a window writing a letter to her parents: “Dear Mom and Dad: Thanks for the happy childhood. You’ve destroyed any chance I had of becoming a writer.”

1. You have to read a lot.

2. You have to write a lot.

3. You have to really like doing number 1 and number 2.


10. Tell us about how you incorporate drawing in your live events.

When I’m giving talks, a lot of times I’ll draw the ideas out for the audience — way better than a slide show.  


11. Having lived in both, what are the main differences between Ohio and Texas?

Texas is a hell of a lot hotter.


12. How do you measure success?

I take it day by day, and I have low standards. If I took my dog for a walk, made my wife laugh, and made something, it was a good day.


13. Of the 10 things you write about in Steal Like an Artist, which do you think is the most important?

8. Be nice. (The world is a small town.)

The world doesn’t necessarily need more creative artists — it need more decent human beings.


14. What are 3 things no one ever told you about being an artist?

Other than the 10 things in my book? Hmmm…

1. “Authenticity” is a marketing term.

2. You will benefit tremendously from a solid knowledge of sales and showmanship.

3. It doesn’t get any easier.


15. What are your three simple luxuries?

My piano.

My library.

Each person who lives in my house has access to 1.5 toilets at all times.


Check out Austin Kleon’s website for information about his books, blog and speaking engagements!

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Heather McDonald…THE Interview!

When reading this random tweet on Twitter “I’ve been at the little league field with back to back games since 10:30 AM & still here-happy Mother’s day 2 me!”, you might not realize those are the words of one of the funniest women in the country. Closer examination brings us into the world of Heather McDonald. Besides writing, producing and starring as a regular “round table” comedienne on the award winning television show Chelsea Lately, she is also on a running tour of performances around the country, presenting her stand-up routine to sold out crowds. Not bad for a wife and mother of three who consistently channels the voices of Sarah Palin, Drew Barrymore, Celine Dion or our favorite, Geri Jewel from The Facts of Life. Every night, we literally wait for the moment when something Heather randomly quips makes even Chelsea Handler laugh and lose her train of thought; a talent which she has perfected well! And while we continue to wait, reading her new national bestseller You’ll Never Blue Ball in This Town Again, we thought we’d reach out and find a little bit more about the funny girl next door under the Amy Winehouse wig…and in front of the Kardashian butt!

1. How would your define yourself using 10 words or less?
A tall hot hilarious brunette married mother of 3!

2. If you weren’t a comedienne, what would you be doing?
Selling residential real estate because I’ve done that on and off for almost 20 years.

3. A teenager comes to you and tells you they want to be a comedienne. What advice would you give them to help them be successful?
I would first say only be a comedienne if people tell you are funny. If they do and you love when you’re telling a story and people are laughing start to write every funny thing you say and think down. Then look into taking improvisation or stand up comedy classes and get up there and do it.

4. You’re a regular member of the Chelsea Lately round table. How do you typically prepare for each show and how do you keep your material fresh?
First I think of what is my point of view and make sure it is different than Chelsea’s then I type a few jokes down for each topic. As I’m getting my hair and make up done I go over them with my make up artist and based on what she laughs at. I choose to say those jokes first.

5. What would we, the boys of raannt, have to do; bribe, threaten, strip, screw…to get on the round table? How is it decided who is a new member?
It is very rare that we have anyone new on because Chelsea really likes having regulars on because of the relationships and chemistry we have with each other. But I would say keep doing what you are doing.

6. Where did the “Heather Long Boobs McDonald” nickname come from?

I was wearing a low cut dress in a sketch and Chelsea called me Long Boobs and it got such a big laugh she kept saying it and caught on. I do not have long boobs.

7. What’s your favorite thing about being on the round table?

Being myself and getting my hair and make up done.

8 You recently released your book “You’ll Never Blue Ball in this Town Again.” Tell us about your book.
It is about all the guys I did not have sex with in LA during the 90s. The main reason being I was virgin until I was 27.

There are a lot of very embarrassing funny dating stories.

9. What is your favorite and least favorite book you have ever read?
Besides Chelsea’s books my other favorite book was Mackenzie’s Phillips autobiography about how she was having a consensual sexual relationship with her father in her 20s for over 10 years. I mean it doesn’t get more juicy than that.

10. Since you’re now a New York Times Bestseller List honoree, what would be two other awards you would like to earn?
I would like to get an Emmy for playing a mom in a hit sitcom and I’d like an Oscar for best supporting actress because comediennes only win Oscars if they are for supporting roles never for best actress.

11. You worked closely with the Kardashians in this book. What was their role in it and how was your experience working with them?
I did not work with them. They are just my friends who loved the book and gave me a quote for the back. However, I’d love to work with them one day designing clothes for flat butts for girls like me.

12. Who are your two favorite celebrities to impersonate. Who have you wanted to impersonate but found too difficult?

My two favorites are Drew Barrymore and Celine Dion. Everyone thinks I do Cher and I can but only when she sings not when she talks.

13. You have been married for over 10 years. What is the secret to a successful marriage?

I got married in the Catholic church and therefore made a promise to God. I plan on going to heaven so therefore I’ve stayed married. No seriously, we do stuff on our own away from our kids and we never let any fight last too long.

14 The bio on your website states you “reside in the San Fernando Valley next door to her parents just in case they run out of milk, Chardonnay or need one of her dad’s Vicodin.” Which one happens most often?
I run out of Chardonnay a lot but my always has a chilled bottle waiting and she loves to drink it with me.

15. Name the sexiest city? Hotel? Movie? Place to kiss? Place to get drunk?

The sexiest city is Cabo. Movie is Unfaithful, Kiss is in the rain (I’ve yet to do that) get drunk in any pool.

16. Let’s play fuck, marry, kill. Chelsea, Chuy and Brad Wollack?

I’d fuck Chelsea because she’s completely bare down there so it wouldn’t be too bad. I’d marry Brad because his parents have their winery and I’d have to kill Chuy, sorry.

17. Give us quick thoughts on the following: Jenna Jameson, the death of Osama Bin Laden, Amy Fisher’s porn career and gay marriage.
Jenna: Amazing mother of twin boys, Osama: I’m having sexual fantasies about the Navy Seal who shot him, Gay Marriage: I want it to be legal everywhere also I love weddings and feel I have a lot of gay invites in my future.

18. If you were going to start your own line of Heather McDonald Chardonnay, since you’re such a huge fan, what would it be called and what would make it so special? How much would you charge?
It would be called Impressions because I do a lot of impressions and it will make an impression at your table. It’s special because it’s buttery. I would charge around 11 dollars.

19. What would you like to be doing in 10 years?
Being on television even more either as myself or playing a comedic role in a funny show.

20. What do you find sexy on a man: boxers, briefs, jockstrap, or nothing at all?
I find boxers sexy because I like the excitement that it might slip out at any moment.

For more information on Heather McDonald, her New York Times bestselling book or her tour dates, contact her website!

Be Yourself.  Be Fearless.  Be Your Own Unexpected Luxury!

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*Photographs thanks to Heather McDonald and Eva Magdalenski and Alex Spieller of Anderson Group Public Relations

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Sarah Colonna…THE Interview!

We first saw Sarah Colonna in her early days as a guest member of the roundtable on Chelsea Lately.  Her quick quips and short andecdotes had us begging to know more about her and find out how this woman of subtle humor found her spot on the cherished roundtable of Chelsea Lately.

Sarah got her start as a stand-up comedienne finding success as a semi-finalist on Last Comic Standing and the BBC’s The World Stands Up.  Since that time, she has appeared on television shows such as Monk and United States of Tara and is now a regular roundtable member on Chelsea Lately as well as producer and star on E’s After Lately.  Her first book, Life as I Blow It, was released earlier this month and has already made the top 20 on The New York Times Bestsellers List.  (An excerpt can be found, plus her current tour dates, on her website HERE.) We had such an amazing time doing this interview and became even bigger fans in the process! Instead of writing some lengthy introduction, we’ll let Sarah speak for herself…something she seems to do with hilarious ease.

1. Introduce us to Sarah Colonna in 15 words or less.
Three people that I have had sex with have died, later-not from the sex.

2. What makes someone funny?
I think it’s just a natural instinct.  Plus what makes one person laugh doesn’t always make another person laugh, so it’s kind of subjective.  The exception is when someone falls down, which is always funny.

3. Who are the three funniest people you know and why?
Chelsea Handler, because she is honest, smart, and quick on her feet.  She’s also my boss, so I’m not going to leave her out…but in all honesty, she’s one of the funniest people I know.  Chris Franjola, because he can make fun of something terrible in your life right to your face and make you laugh about it.  And my mom, because she doesn’t realize how funny she is.

4. Tell us about your book, Life as I Blow It, which is out now!
I grew up in a small town in the South, which is full of great material.  Then I moved to LA when I was 21, which is also full of great material…stumbles, failed attempts at jobs and love, all that stuff.  My parents divorced when I was young and my dad lived in California most of my life and has been married- um, several times.  My mom is much more traditional so I had these two very different paths in front of me and found myself cofused about which one to take.  At the end of the day it’s about a struggle to grow up when you’re already supposed to be grown up.  But it’s funny, I promise! I think a lot of people relate to that struggle.

 5. Which chapter is your favorite and why?
I think my favorite chapter might be “Trundle Beds and Masturbators.”  It takes place right after I move to LA and my first apartment, roommate, etc.  It reminds me of what it was like when I first got here.  The good and the bad.  It’s also got a story in it that was difficult to write, but made me reflect fondly on the time I got to spend with the person that story is about.  I’m not meaning to be cryptic,  I just don’t want to give away what it is, of course!

6. If you were to write a follow up book: what would this next book be about and why?
That’s such a good question.  And one my book agent would love for me to have an answer to, ha.  I don’t know exactly, there are definitely stories I didn’t get to tell in the first one, but I do feel like I’ve covered so much of my life in “Life As I Blow It,” that the next one can’t go back through it.  I’m 37, I’m single, I’m seeing a lot of things change in my life and even in the people around me-maybe something from all of that will spark the idea for book two!  Or maybe I can finally write my dream fiction novels featuring Detective Lorena Fusilli, FBI.  However thus far nobody involved in the first book is taking me seriously about that.

7. What are three things that go on behind the scenes of The Chelsea Lately Show that most people don’t know?
Nothing!  Chelsea tells everything that goes on, usually while you’re sitting next to her on the round table.  So- you have to watch it at parties and make sure you don’t do anything you don’t want told on TV.

8. What are the three best things about being a comedienne?
The freedom to talk about things going on in your life, vent in a way, while laughing about it.
As cheesy as it sounds- making people laugh.  Sorry!  But it’s true. It’s why I do it.
Getting to say words that are usually frowned upon in social situations.

9. What are the three worst things about being a comedienne?
There’s really just one down side, which is guys I date saying “is this gonna end up in your act?” They think it’s hilarious and that nobody has ever asked that- they have.

10. You have said you were greatly influenced by Lucille Ball and Carol Burnett.  Both had profound endings to their television shows.  If The Chelsea Lately Show ended, what profound ending would you write?
I’d have Chelsea and Chuy be wrongly convicted of a crime and have to go into hiding because the police won’t believe they are innocent.  This way we could always have a nice reunion show where they clear their names.

11. Let’s Play Marry, Murder, Fuck.  Pick from Chelsea, Heather McDonald or Loni Love.
I’d marry Chelsea, murder Heather and Fuck Loni.  I can’t marry Heather because she has kids and I can’t fuck her because I think she’d be too scared to reciprocate so I’d be doing all the work. 

12. What are the three funniest movies of all time?
Arthur (the original, don’t bring up that remake to me, ever)
Happy Gilmore (random I know.  But it kills me every time)

13. How do you define SEXY?
A good sense of humor, olive skin, a little scruff on the face, and a possible drinking problem.

14. Sarah Palin, Arnold Schwarzenegger and President Obama.  Write a quick joke using all three…no matter how bad it is.
Sarah Palin and Arnold Schwarzenegger walk into a bar. President Obama leaves.  (you said bad was fine- that’s all I have!)

15. If the round table was going to have snacks, which it should, what would everyone want?
Is alcohol a snack?

16. Three things you always have in your purse?
Lip gloss, powder, and my health insurance card.  The first 2 are my necessities, the last is something my mom convinced my I have to carry at all times and I’m too afraid not to now.

17. What is a book you would recommend to your best friend?
“Apathy and Other Small Victories” by Paul Neilan.  One of the funniest books I’ve ever read.

18. If you were trapped on a comedy deserted island with five famous people in the world today and you had to only make jokes using these five people’s lives, who would you pick that would give you enough material for the rest of the time?
Keifer Sutherland (in a good way, he’s kind of my hero), Paris Hilton, Waka Flocka Flame, Kate Moss and David Hasselhoff.

19. Boxers, briefs, jockstraps…or nothing at all?

Thanks for the interview Sarah! Can’t wait to hear our shout out on Chelsea in between jokes about Mel Gibson and Teen Mom!

Follow Sarah on Twitter @sarahcolonna or on her fan on Facebook.

Visit her website for tour dates and book information HERE!

Be Yourself.  Be Fearless.  Be Your Own Unexpected Luxury!

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*Photographs courtesy of Sarah Colonna


WARNING: We allow 100 words or less of content per interview to be taken, with a link to our original interview, and used without our authorization. Content larger than 100 words or copying our entire interview without our authorization to be used in ANY manner will result in our taking legal action per copyright infringement.