Southern belle with a story to tell. Refreshing iced tea served after literary punches thrown.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Win Giftcard & HEREAFTER, Plus Author Interview With Terri Bruce

Update:  The Contest is CLOSED.  No more entries will be accepted.  

Two winners will be announced on Friday evening, November 2nd!  One wins the gift card & book (for the scariest entry) and the other winner wins the book (drawn from my fabulous and feathery witch hat!). !

Winner of scariest entry will be chosen by the past winner of our 2012 Flash Fiction Writing Contest, someone who also survived a harrowing Halloween Week (courtesy of Superstorm Sandy).

Are you brooms gassed up and ready to go?  Well get ready to kickoff and soar, because the wildest and wackiest holiday blog hop has begun, and Soul and Sweet Tea is a part of it!

Today across the web, there are contests galore beginning today, and we’re proud to be among over four hundred fantastically freaky book blogging and writing sites participating in the Spooktacular Halloween Blog Hop!

Click this link below to find over 400 blog contests:

And here's what to do!  Click on the link I've placed above, and check out the over 400 sites that will have their giveaway/contests go live beginning both today and tomorrow!  The blog contests will all end at the stroke of midnight on Halloween (October 31st, Eastern Standard Time)!

But now, it's time to fly into our contest and interview with my friend Terri Bruce, author of the deliciously fun paranormal adventure, HEREAFTER.

After reading the interview, enter the contest for a chance to win hereafter, and a $20 Barnes & Noble Giftcard!

Thirty-six-year-old Irene Dunphy didn't plan on dying any time soon, but that’s exactly what happens when she makes the mistake of getting behind the wheel after a night bar-hopping with friends. 

She finds herself stranded on earth as a ghost, and to make matters worse, the only person who can see her—courtesy of a book he found in his school library—is a fourteen-year-old boy genius obsessed with the afterlife. 

This sounds suspiciously like hell to Irene, so she prepares to strike out for the Great Beyond. The only problem is that, while this side has exorcism, ghost repellents, and soul devouring demons, the other side has three-headed hell hounds, final judgment, and eternal torment. If only there was a third option...

JF:  Welcome to Soul and Sweet Tea, Terri.  Would care for a cup of hot tea or cocoa on this chilly October afternoon?

TB:  I guess I have to go with the hot tea.  You see, lately I've started a ritual of making myself a formal afternoon tea every Sunday. I get out the china teapot, one of my china teacups from my collection, and one of my special teas ("Oasis" from Tea Forte is a favorite at the moment).

JF:  That sounds yummy!  

JF:  By the way, our readers are eager to get to know you, so do you mind if I ask you a few questions?

TB:  That'd be great (sips tea).

JF:  How long have you been writing?

TB:  I’ve always written; in grade school, they had us write a story every year, which we then made into a book – we printed it neatly on nice paper, drew pictures to accompany the story, and then sewed it all together with cardboard wrapped in wall paper for covers. I think that was my favorite thing we did all year and I still have those stories (thanks Mom for keeping them!). It wasn’t until 2001, however, that I really set out to write a novel “for real,” and that’s when I started working steadily toward becoming a professional author.

JF:  Who are your favorite authors?

TB:  This is a toughie because I tend to like particular books, rather than particular authors; that is to say, I don’t always read or like everything a particular author writes. However, I own a lot of books by Alexander Dumas, Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, Jan Karon, Lisa See, and Terry Pratchett. In general, I tend to like classics—Ivanhoe, Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, The Count of Monte Cristo, The Three Musketeers, Idylls of the King; young adult fantasy—Philip Pullman, Lloyd Alexander, C.S. Lewis, Madeline L’Engle; and “Asian” fiction (especially Asian women’s fiction)—The Secrets of Jin-Shei, Peony in Love, Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, Memoirs of a Geisha, The Tea House Fire.

JF:  Tell us a little about yourself.

TB:  Currently, I work full time, as a grant writer for a non-profit, and fiction writing is a second full time job on top of that, so there isn’t a lot of free time right now. When there is, I love horseback riding, hiking, quilting, and gardening. Now ask me the last time I did any of those things! However, if Hereafter does well, my husband has agreed to let me buy a horse, so hopefully there will be more horseback riding in my future. My secret wish is to someday own a horse and move to Bar Harbor, Maine. I’ll ride my horse in Acadia National Park every day and spend my winters snowed in, writing novels and spinning wool into yarn (which I will then crochet into beautiful garments). 

JF:  Since HEREAFTER is a paranormal tale, do you believe in ghosts or the afterlife?  Have you ever had a paranormal experience?

TB:  Have I had a paranormal experience?! J I’ve blogged about the odd occurrences at my house and about the spirit of one of my cats that hung around after she died. That’s all just the tip of the iceberg, but many of my other experiences are too personal to share. I can definitely say that I think there are things in this world that we can’t explain yet!

JF:  Halloween is just around the corner.  Are you or your family doing anything special to celebrate?

TB:  I wish—I love Halloween and when I was a kid, my mom would go all out (see this guest post about the costumes she used to make us and later in the week I’ll be blogging about the pumpkins she used to carve). Then later, as an adult, I lived in Salem, Massachusetts—which is a WILD place to be on Halloween. I loved it! Unfortunately, now I live in a different place, in a neighborhood where we don’t get any trick-or-treaters so we really never do anything. 

On a side note, while Halloween is cool and one of my favorite holidays, I’m actually really looking forward to the Day of the Dead (November 1st and 2nd). Halloween is more about warding off ghosts and ghouls and the negative side of death, and Day of the Dead is about commemorating departed loved ones. I’ve never celebrated Day of the Dead.

JF:  Thanks so much Terri, and I can’t wait to read the rest.  I’ve read the first few chapters myself, and can say I love the feel, your writer’s voice,  and the unique plot of this book.  

So you wanna win HERAFTER?  
You do?  Great!
Now let me lay down the rules:

1)Entries will be accepted from today until midnight eastern standard time on 
October 31st, 2012.

2)Either join my blog, or sign into Google or Wordpress, because I will need your screen name (if you win).

3)If you are a winner, I will need your contact information so you can receive your prize.

4)Everyone who enters must write in 100 words or less, a short account of their scariest, spookiest moment ever!  Be creative and have fun with this.  One winner will be chosen from among all entrants for their spookiest, scariest moment.  

No wrongs, just fright!

5)So you’re not a writer but a reader?  Never fear!  Another winner will be chosen from among all entrants, as I place every entrant’s screen name into my fabulous feathered witch’s hat and draw out the screen name of the lucky winner.

6)Make sure to enter by the deadline, as there will be no exceptions.
You snooze, you lose.

7) Terri's also kind enough to throw in MORE books as prizes!  There will be 2 winners awarded the book if there are 20 entrants or less, but the prizes multiply by the number of entrants.   So if there's 40, we'll have 3 winners, etc.  Potentially there can be up to 5 books given away, but that's based on an estimate of 100 entrants.  One overall winner (who has scariest answer) wins the gift card.

Good luck and Happy Halloween!  Also, a special thank you to my readers for making the first year of my blog such a success. 

Monday, October 22, 2012

Coming Tomorrow! Author Interview, Big Contest & Deets on the Spooktacular Giveaway Blog Hop!

Allow me to let you in on a little secret my pretties.  
The girl who's running this blog is about to have another contest.  But because I'm not totally a bad witch, I'll let you in on a secret plan she's hatched,  so you can win fabulous prizes.  

Tomorrow, Soul and Sweet Tea will link up with over 400 blog contests happening this week during the annual Spooktacular Giveaway Hop!  If you can do the math, that means hundreds of prizes.
If you want to win, you'd better hit the link to this gargantuan blog hop when the contest gets underway!

So jump on your brooms tomorrow with me, because we'll need them to fly around the web from blog to blog.

And don't forget, on Soul and Sweet Tea, our contest will give you TWO ways to win the paranormal adventure, HEREAFTER  by Terri Bruce!
Why let a little thing like dying get in the way of a good time?

It’s ghoulishly good fun, and the perfect Halloween read.  

I give it a five cauldron rating!  

Now enter this contest tomorrow or else I'll send forth my flying monkeys to find you! 
(Joey's note:  Listen to the witch!  She's green, scary, and really means business.  Plus if you don't enter, that means she'll be flying all over the web trying to snatch prizes that could have been yours.  Don't let the witch win!  Plus her darn flying monkeys creep me out.)

Saturday, October 13, 2012

And so it begins..."The Hobbit" Finally Comes to the Silver Screen in December!

So many of us grew up reading the books of J.R.R. Tolkien, and can't get enough of the fantastic realms of middle-earth. Heck, even moi, a lowly thriller writer, is a huge fan of both the books and films, and I can't wait for The Hobbit to be released this December.

But there's another reason I'm also quite happy it's finally a major motion picture.  And that's because as sure as I'm sitting at this desk typing away, I know there will be kids wanting to read even more because of the film, thus inspiring a whole new generations of readers.  Pardon the unjust-comparison if you will, but I call this the "Potter Effect", although the target reader may be slightly older than the beginning H.P. reader.  I also think this trend is catching on in schools because at my son's middle-school, he and his classmates are being introduced to middle-earth and are presently reading THE HOBBIT.

Don't you love it when teachers are able to link popular culture and literature?
Ready to inspire a new generation of readers!
But what for adult fans of Tolkein who can't wait?  What can we do to bide our time until Peter Jackson once again casts his cinematic spell upon all of the world?

Well, we could try doing these things~

 1)Dance!  While away the hours waiting and burn some calories galloping and boogey-ing along with your favorite wizard. Psy who?  Gandalf's style is waaay cooler.

2)Challenge Gollum in a contest of riddles just like Bilbo Baggins did! Link to this recently- launched app by Warner Bros called,       

                                     Riddles in the Dark

3)Catch up on the latest happenings in middle-earth fandom on this site:  The Hobbit Blog

4)Dress up as a wizard or hobbit for Halloween!

Good costume ideas:

Wear a pointy hat and be a kick-butt wizard!
or be a Hobbit!

But please... don't forget Hobbit feet.  This kid above forgot the feet and I'm deducting one piece of 
candy for this infraction.

A must-have!  Hobbit feet!
But maaaybe don't wear this costume below.
Unless you enjoy people screaming and running
away from you.
Typical reaction to an Orc.  

So, are you excited about the upcoming release of  The Hobbit?  Have you read the book?

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Congratulations to...

SLJ, the lucky reader who won an autographed copy of  A CUP FULL OF MIDNIGHT by Jaden Terrell!

The new release by Jaden Terrell, A Five Star Read!
And there's more fun to come as October Thrills and Chills continues for the rest of the month!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Stand Up and Cheer for Beta Readers!

Show Book Love to Your Writing Friends~Offer to Beta Read for Them!

Now I must admit, I’ve been feeling rather lucky lately, because, I’m beta reading two manuscripts (incredible thrillers) and I’m having a blast.

Hopefully you and your writing circle friends are doing the same thing for one another, as I think it’s an integral step to take before submitting your work to an agent.  Plus, It’s like getting a front row seat to a new Broadway play on opening night.  You’re one of the first to see and experience it, and your opinion counts. 

The Beta Read is Your Front Row Seat On Opening Night!
 Your Opinion Counts!
But what’s the truly exciting part?  Reading a good manuscript, knowing you're helping your friend turn it into great manuscript, and eventually into a book.  Thus,  with every  suggestion or critical comment we make, or nuance we tell them we love, we’re encouraging our friends as writers and helping them elevate their craft.
Are beta reads time consuming?  Sometimes.   But as I’ve learned, each read has brought with it a rich and rewarding experience.  It’s been fun, and  through my friends’ manuscripts, I’ve had some pretty damned amazing literary adventures, and virtually traveled to military bases, circuses, college campuses, Alaska, haunted houses, and super-secret scientific laboratories. 
Yea, I guess you could say I’ve enjoyed my front row seat. 
In the end, it’s my hope that I won’t be one of the few in the audience getting a taste of these fine manuscripts, but one of thousands.  I truly hope that one day, not too far in the distant future, I'll see them as books populating shelves at my local bookstore.

Ask to Beta Read For Your Friend!  Show a Little Manuscript Love!
After all, we know how many hundreds of hours they spent writing it.  
My friends are outstanding writers, but I want them become great authors.  So I’ll keep turning the pages they’ve spent hours writing, and when I’m finished reading, I’ll stand up and cheer for them from this front row seat.

I could not resist.  This little fella's too cute.  
Do you beta read or critique manuscripts for your writing friends?  What do you love best about doing this?

Monday, October 1, 2012

Meet Author Jaden Terrell & Win A CUP FULL OF MIDNIGHT!

Well folks, it's here!  October Thrills and Chills has begun, and with it comes A CUP FULL OF MIDNIGHT and a trivia contest after our author interview.
Jaden Terrell is the author of the Jared McKean mysteries and a contributor to Now Write Mysteries, a collection of writing exercises published by Tarcher/Penguin for writers of crime fiction. Terrell is the executive director of the Killer Nashville Thriller, Mystery, and Crime Literature Conference and a recipient of the 2009 Magnolia Award for service to the Southeastern Chapter of Mystery Writers of America. The former special education teacher is a member of Mystery Writers of America, Private Eye Writers of America, International Thriller Writers, Sisters in Crime, and the Tennessee Writers Alliance. A graduate of the Citizen Police Academy and the FBI/TBI Citizen Academy, Terrell has a red belt in Tae Kwan Do and is certified in Equine Sports Massage Therapy. Contact the author at:

Tonight we're joined on my virtual front porch with my friend, author Jaden Terrell, and she's popped by to answer a few questions.

Welcome Ms. Terrell.

Visit Author, Jaden Terrell's webpage:
Q:  When did you first decide you wanted to become a writer?
Jaden:  From the time I was old enough to understand that I could never be an Indian chief, I've wanted to be a writer. When I was eight, and people asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I always said a teacher and a writer, and that’s never changed.

Q:  Who are your literary influences?
Jaden:  I have so many. For crime fiction: Dennis Lehane, Steven Womack, Robert Crais, Jonathan Kellerman, Lawrence Block, and Timothy Hallinan. In general: J.R.R. Tolkien, Stephen King, John Knowles. I should probably add Louisa May Alcott (Little Women, Little Men, and Jo’s Boys), L.M. Montgomery (Anne of Green Gables), and Eric Knight (Lassie Come Home), because I read them over and over when I was a child.

Q:  Do you have any advice for new writers seeking a literary agent?
Jaden:  Write the book first. Finish your first draft without self-consciousness, and after it’s done—and only after it’s done—revise and edit until it’s as good as you can possibly make it. Anne Lamotte’s book Bird by Bird is a must-read for any aspiring writer.  While it’s never too soon to educate yourself about the publishing business, the quality of the book should come first. As for agents, www.aaronline, and are all good sources for agents. You can search by genre to narrow the field. Then do your homework by looking up their websites, looking them up on Preditors and Editors (, and checking out their sales on Publishers Marketplace. Conferences, like Killer Nashville, Sleuthfest, Thrillerfest, and Backspace, can also be great places to meet agents. You can learn a lot about writing an affective query from Nathan Bransford’s website,, or Janet Reid’s Query Shark blog, Educate yourself.

Q:  Tell us a little more about yourself.
Jaden:  When I can find the time, I like to play with our pets, read for pleasure, play guitar (I’m not a professional; I just play enough to write songs and amuse myself and my closet friends), do canine freestyle (which is heeling and tricks to music) with my dogs, massage and give treats to my 32-year-old quarter horse, draw, paint, and make dolls.

Q:  Do you see a bit of yourself, or anyone you know, in the characters you've brought to life in your novels?
Jaden:  Some of the characters, like Jared’s son Paul and his housemate Jay, are composite characters. Paul has traits of several students I taught when I was a special education teacher, and Jay is inspired by—but not literally based on—a good friend I lost to AIDS. I think there must be some part of the writer in every character. I hope I have very little in common with the villains in my books, but I have to be able to find a way to understand why they do what they do. I wouldn’t take the actions they take, but I have felt the emotions that lead to the actions.

Thank you so much for the interview and for the great advice.  But what's that?  You've got a few autographed copies of A CUP FULL OF MIDNIGHT you'd like to give away to some lucky readers?  


Well I say we kick things up a notch, and begin the first contest of October Thrills and Chills with a fun trivia contest, and award the winners your latest release!

First, let's lay down some rules:

1)You may enter from the time the post is up on October 1, 2012 until the contest ends at 11:59 p.m. Eastern Standard Time (also known as Hotlanta time) October 5, 2012.  
2)Only ONE entry per person.  
3)From the pool of entrants who get the answers right, we'll take their names (please leave a name your reply and email if you're not subscribed to the blog) and I'll place them in my son's football helmet and draw out the names of the winners on October 5th!  
4)If you are chosen a winner I will need your contact information so we can send you the book.   
And now, let the trivial pursuit begin!

Choose the best answer, a, b, c, or d!

1)Jared McKean is an investigator in what city:
a) Las Vegas
b) Nashville
c) Memphis
d) Kodiak, Alaska

2) (Not book related, but somewhat Halloween-related.  Gotta throw a curve ball now and then!) Elaine Benes, character on Seinfeld, tried to choose her own theme song because her boyfriend at the time drove her crazy with his.  What song did she choose?
a) Brick House

b) The Seinfeld Theme Song
c)Witchy Woman
d) Desperado

3)What superhero bobblehead do we see in Ch. 1 of A CUP FULL OF MIDNIGHT?
b)Captain America

4)Name of Jared McKean's ex wife  (You gotta dig for this one!  Hint:  See author's website. Second hint:  Brooks & Dunn sang a song called...)

Good luck!