Tuesday, October 18, 2016

WHAT THE EXPERTS SAY: Cate Beauman, Author

Cate Beauman, Author
11th The Bodyguards of L.A. County
Welcome back to Cate Beauman and her newest Bodyguards of LA County book, DECEIVING BELLA. The Bodyguard romantic suspense novels feature a new heroine and bodyguard in each standalone book and also some repeat characters.  DECEIVING BELLA, the eleventh of the Bodyguard books, involves a heroine who is a top skincare specialist, a long-lost father, and a “hottie” next door neighbor, formerly an NYPD detective.

Beauman uses music to inspire her writing and develops a playlist for each of her stories. You can see the list for DECEIVING BELLA following the interview. She is already working on the twelfth Bodyguard book and enjoys time in between writing at her home in North Carolina with her husband, two boys, and their St. Bernards, Bear and Jack.

Don't miss the opportunity to enter the Amazon Echo giveaway at the end of the interview; and check out the excerpt and song list.

Q: Can you remind us how you got started writing the Bodyguard series? What prompted you to create a series that gives you the flexibility to create new main characters but offers familiar structure with the bodyguard concept?

Cate Beauman: When I started my writing career I had no idea that my first book would be the beginning of a series. I began Morgan’s Hunter with the goal of telling a standalone story about a no-bull bodyguard and his feisty principal. I introduced Ethan and Sarah to the storyline and knew I had to share their adventure too. It wasn’t long after that the Bodyguards Of L.A. County was born.

I love that my readers get to check-in with previous characters all while meeting new heroes and heroines. It’s fun to come back to Los Angeles or wherever Ethan Cooke Security and his team of Close Protection Agents are going to take us. Although it’s a given that each novel will include a bodyguard, every storyline is entirely different.

Q: I am always curious how you select the careers for your heroines. In DECEIVING BELLA you chose ‘top skincare specialist’ for Isabella. Does her career help to engage readers? Or, define her character? Or tell the story?

Cate Beauman: I truly love Isabella Colby. She was such a fun character to write. She and Reed McKinley make an amazing team. Bella’s career is perfect for her. She’s a bit of a girly-girl. She’s into fashion and always looks amazing. Basically, she’s the exact opposite of her hottie next-door neighbor, Reed. Luckily, their differences seem to work for them. I can’t wait for everyone to meet this couple. They’re great!

Q: Do you find that humor helps to create characters and/or romance?

Cate Beauman: I can’t imagine telling a story without humor involved. What’s more engaging than characters that are having fun/making each other laugh/making the reader laugh? Everyday life can be pretty depressing. My goal is to create great adventures that take readers away from their troubles and drop them into a different world. If they’re bored, I haven’t done my job.

Q: Did setting DECEIVING BELLA in Los Angeles help to support the suspense and/or romance? It’s a great town for a mystery!

Cate Beauman: DECEIVING BELLA actually takes place in Los Angeles and New York City. It’s the best of both worlds. In this case, the setting helps support both the romance and suspense. Reed and Bella live in the Palisades. They often walk the beach together and eat ice cream. Their relationship mostly starts after a walk along the water. Reed is from the Big Apple. Unfortunately, trouble follows him to his new home in Los Angeles.

Q: Have you included any of your life experiences, even friends, in the plot?

Cate Beauman: Writers are constant observers. I’m always watching the way people interact or respond in everyday life situations. I never set out to base my characters on anyone I know personally. I want my heroes and heroines to be unique individuals who grow as the story unfolds. I think it’s vital to make my characters as real as possible with their faults and virtues just like any other typical human being. That’s what makes characters so beloved. They must come alive in a reader’s mind.

I think a writer’s personal experiences find their way into the pages of the book whether we want them to or not. After all, the story world is a reflection of how an author sees the world. The building blocks of any story start with the writer’s perceptions.

About Cate Beauman

International bestselling author Cate Beauman is known for her full-length, action-packed romantic suspense series, The Bodyguards of L.A. County. Her novels have been nominated for the National Excellence in Romance Fiction Award, National Indie Excellence Award, Golden Quill Award, Writers Touch Award, and have been named Readers Favorite Five Star books. In 2015, JUSTICE FOR ABBY was selected as the Readers' Favorite International Book Award Gold Medalist, while SAVING SOPHIE took the Silver Medal. SAVING SOPHIE was also selected as the 2015 Readers Crown Award winner for Romantic Suspense and FALLING FOR SARAH received the silver medal for the 2014 Readers' Favorite Awards.

Cate makes her home in North Carolina with her husband, two boys, and their St. Bernards, Bear and Jack. Currently Cate is working on her twelfth full length romantic suspense novel.

Isabella Colby has always yearned for normalcy. Now that she’s settled in LA, she finally has it. Good friends, a pretty home, and her thriving career as the Palisades’ top skincare specialist are a dream come true. Bella is content until she meets her hunky new neighbor, but her attraction to the blue-eyed cutie is the least of her worries when contacting her long-lost father threatens to destroy her happy life.

Reed McKinley is more than ready to forget the past. His seven-year stint as an NYPD detective nearly got him killed. His wounds have healed and he’s starting over as Ethan Cooke Security’s latest recruit. With sixty-hour workweeks and little time to himself, the last thing on his mind is a relationship. Then he bumps into the gorgeous woman next door.

Reed and Bella become fast friends. Before long, Reed discovers that Bella is keeping dangerous secrets. Bella may have the answers to decades-old questions he’s been searching for. Reed will risk it all to uncover the truth, but he soon realizes that the deeper he digs, the direr the consequences.


       Should we get started?” Bella gestured to the kitchen.
       “After you.”
       She walked in front of Reed, hurrying to the table to pull out a chair. “Does this work?”
       “Yeah, it’s fine.” He sat down.
       She immediately draped him with the black cover, wanting to get to his hair while it was still wet. “So, what are we doing here, exactly?”
       “Just a cleanup, especially on my neck.”
       “Sure.” She grabbed the sheers and took her place by his side, sliding her fingers though his short hair and stopped. “Oops.”
       His shoulders tensed. “What?”
       “Just kidding. A little haircutting humor.”
       He tilted his head up, meeting her eyes. “A comedian.”
       She laughed as he smiled. “I haven’t even started cutting yet.” She gave him a bump. “Try to relax. I promise you’re in good hands.”
       “Chop away.”
       “Thanks.” She combed her fingers through his hair once more, using small snips to freshen up his look. Silent seconds ticked by as she breathed in the masculine scent that was Reed. He didn’t seem to wear cologne or use any fancy shampoos, but he smelled good just the same. “So, how was your day?”
       “Not too shabby.”
       She worked her way around his head, finding his cut a breeze to clean up. He easily could have gone another week without any problems. “What did you do?”
       “Worked a little. Boxed.”
       “I could make up something about stopping a bank robbery in progress or rescuing a cat from a tree.”
       She smiled. “The truth is fine, thanks.”
       “What about you?”
       “It was pretty much a normal day at the office—a second-session tattoo removal, a microdermabrasion, two stretch mark reductions, the usual stuff.”
       “What’s the tattoo of? The one you’re taking off?”
       “A woman’s name. Genevieve. The relationship didn’t work out.”
       He winced. “Ouch.”
       “Triple ouch. Tattoo removal is not a pain-free procedure, nor is it cheap—and he went pretty ornate with Genevieve. Hopefully next time he’ll pick a woman with a shorter name or abstain from getting himself tatted up altogether.”
       He laughed.
       She grinned, loving that sound. Did he have any idea how gorgeous he was when he smiled like that? She picked up the clippers off the table and let her knees rest against his as she leaned in and gently lifted his chin, evening out his sideburns. She swallowed, feeling his breath on her skin and his eyes studying her face. Licking her lips, she met his gaze. “You better hope I get this part right, or you’ll have to tilt your head for the next four days.”
       He sent her another one of his pulse-pounding smiles. “You’ll have to help me decide if I should lean more to the left or right.”
       Oh, this cutie had the potential to be trouble. Her eyes darted to his mouth mere inches from hers as his five o’clock shadow tormented her sensitized fingers. She took a step back and a steadying breath. It was a good thing they were just friends—currently the only relationship status she was interested in.

The Unofficial DECEIVING BELLA Soundtrack

I love music! I can’t imagine a world without catchy tunes playing, especially when I’m writing. Music is inspiration. Melodies, beats, and the mood of each song help me portray emotions and feelings as I tell a story. It’s a rare day when I don’t have my headphones in place, bopping my head, while my fingers race across the keyboard. You can listen to the “soundtrack” for each book on my website

The soundtrack, of sorts, for Deceiving Bella:
·      Favorite Song by Ben Rector
·      Lay It All On Me by Rudimental w/Ed Sheeran
·      Into You by Ariana Grande
·      Cake by the Ocean by DNCE
·      Truth by Steve Moakler
·      Any Other Name by Thomas Newman
·      Rock Bottom by Hailee Steinfeld
·      All I Want by Kodaline
·      Crash by Usher
·      Stand By You by Rachel Platten


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Monday, October 3, 2016

WHAT THE EXPERTS SAY: Devra Robitaille, Composer, Songwriter, Keyboardist, and Author

Devra Robitaille, Composer, Songwriter, Keyboardist
Author of children's Muffy Series
Devra Robitaille, a successful composer, songwriter, keyboardist, and author has just released her second children’s story in the Muffy Series, MUFFY’S FLORIDA ADVENTURE: A DOG STORY FOR KIDS. Published by her independent children’s publishing company, The Hologram Library, the Muffy series features “a happy and curious Goldendoodle puppy” with stories targeted at four to eight year olds. In MUFFY’S FLORIDA ADVENTURE, Muffy goes on vacation in Florida in a “big house on wheels” and has some adventures.

In addition to the Muffy Series, Robitaille has also written and published PEACHEY AND THE GLOBOSIS and plans to publish a SciFi story she wrote for ages ten to fourteen, DEVIN ANAD THE DREAM STEALERS. She will also be publishing the third book in the Muffy Series, MUFFY MEETS THE MEDICINE CAT and is just finishing “The Efficiency Claus: An Improbable Christmas Tale" (for ten to fourteen year olds.) When she is not writing children’s books, or composing and writing for theater, she enjoys kayaking—at least floating, and she continues to really “love love love” music. She lives in Florida with her husband, multiple dogs, and dolphins and has an adult daughter who is co-founder of The Hologram Library.

Don't miss the excerpt from MUFFY'S FLORIDA ADVENTURE following the interview.

Q: Do you write a particular type of story for children, i.e., adventure, family, or fantasy? What age group read your stories?

Devra Robitaille: I write in various styles.  I have two books aimed at young children, four to eight years old: MUFFY AND THE DOG CATCHER and MUFFY’S FLORIDA ADVENTURE.  Then I have a SciFi Fantasy adventure about to come out called DEVIN ANAD THE DREAM STEALERS, which would be for ages ten to fourteen.  I am currently almost finished writing “The Efficiency Claus: An improbable Christmas Tale” also aimed at the age group of ten to fourteen.  If I had to categorize them, I think they would all fall somewhere in the adventure genre.
Q: What type of characters do children enjoy reading about? For example, you’ve written about Muffy, “a happy and curious Goldendoodle puppy.” Do children like animal characters? Are they easy to personify or engage young readers?

Devra Robitaille: Yes, I think children love reading books about personified animal characters, like Winnie the Pooh, and Aslan from The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. I found them easy to personify because the dogs I wrote about were based on my own dogs and of course one gets to know their foibles and personalities; so they became real to me.  I found the youngsters that read the Muffy books were very invested in the characters and I hope they feel that they are friends. 

Q: Do you embed messages or morals in your stories? Or do you write simply to entertain?

Devra Robitaille: Well, my goal is always to be entertaining, but what better way to teach a child about family values than to sneak it in on a wave of giggles.  Not so different than convincing a child to eat broccoli by frying it in sugar! Yes I do try to have my characters always take the high road, but certainly not in a preachy way.  For example MUFFY AND THE DOG CATCHER is about open channels of communication and accepting each other’s differences.  MUFFY’S FLORIDA ADVENTURE is about being brave and helping your friends when they need you. DEVIN AND THE DREAM STEALERS is obviously more complex since it is for older children, but it’s about coming of age and listening to your inner guidance.  Efficiency Claus” is just a good romp. (although the message is the deepest of all, but you’ll have to wait until I finish it. LOL)

Q: What is the Hologram Library?

Devra Robitaille: The Hologram Library is an independent children’s publishing company that I started with my daughter to be a vehicle for “clean” reads that promote family values, while still igniting the inner chuckle.  I have always been an avid reader, and I hopefully passed that along to my daughter.  We believe that a good author creates a whole universe, which is like a hologram, and, if we’ve done it right, it should transport the reader totally.  The hologram library is “a repository of little worlds for the kid in us all”

Q: How relevant is believability or credibility to engage children in reading? What does engage children? Do you include villains to frustrate your characters? Are they scary?

Devra Robitaille: I think believability is key, and yes sometimes you do have to put in some conflict, otherwise it’s too linear and you’ve got nothing to solve.  Even when its fantasy or SciFi, you don’t what your readers to be thinking “I just don’t buy that.” Or “this is boring.” It all has to hang together and make sense and come right in the end.  However, if you’ve created a world in which your animals can speak, then as long as you remain true to that world, and the characters are believable in that world; you’re OK.

Children are easily engaged because they are better than we are at suspending disbelief.  The world is still magical to them, and that’s something that we have a responsibility to help them keep going through to adulthood.  The adults that I know that are the most interesting are the ones that still have a child-like view of the world.  The main message of the “Efficiency Claus,” in fact is “Keep the magic alive”

Q: How important are illustrations to tell a story? Are they more relevant to younger kids?

Devra Robitaille: I started illustrating the books because I love to paint.  Now, as I look at the proofs, I think it was a good idea. They look nice. Young kids love things that are pretty and colorful. It will help keep their attention and get those good values across.  I illustrated DEVIN AND THE DREAM STEALERS originally, but now, due to the cost to readers my daughter and I are looking at having to take the paintings out. That would be sad. Even though they are not necessary, they add an extra dimension – like a helping hand to give your imagination a little boost as to what the author thinks the characters might look like.

Q: You are also a composer and keyboardist. What drove you to write children’s stories as well?

 Devra Robitaille: Good question.  I moved to Florida and it ate my head.  No seriously, summer heat and full-on humidity is why I started; you can’t really bike or kayak when it’s 100 degrees out. But then writing took hold of me and it became a glorious obsession. 

Q: Do you use humor to reach your young readers? Do they like to laugh?

Devra Robitaille: Absolutely.  Humor is the magic key to the kingdom. In my humble opinion everyone needs a daily dose.  Because I’m English my sense of irony is strong, so some of my humor is quite wry…….surprisingly, kids get it!  Who’d’ve thunk it.

Q: What’s next? Will you continue to write children’s stories or maybe branch out to pen novels?

Devra Robitaille: Well, I seem to be working my way up the grade levels, so who knows?

Q: Tell us about Devra Robitaille. What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

Devra Robitaille: I am an odd duck!  Born in England and grew up in London, I am at my very core a city gal.  I love the smell of diesel in the morning.  But now I live in Florida on the Sarasota Bay, and dolphins swim by my front door. I have many dogs, the biggest is one hundred pounds and the smallest weighs ten. They are crazy-nuts and like a pack of two year-olds on caffeine, they keep me hopping. My husband is like a four year old. My twenty-three-year-old daughter is the only one amongst us with any semblance of maturity.  We have a kayak and love to go out into the bay and just float. I would have to say it floats my boat. Of course I love love love music, as that was my profession for most of my adult life too. And good movies, and British murder mysteries on PBS… don’t get me started.

About Devra Robitaille

London-born Devra is a prolific composer, songwriter and keyboardist, as well as an author of books for kids.  Trained at the Trinity College of Music in England, she has worked with such legendary artists as John Lennon, Cher, Diana Ross, The Jackson Five, Leonard Cohen, George Harrison, Adam Ant and Thomas Dolby.  She wrote 2 top-ten singles for her own band on Jupiter Records.  She became well known as a virtuoso player in the London session scene in the eighties and joined Mike Oldfield of Tubular Bells fame as a keyboard player for a tour of Britain.  While on the road, her manager informed her that 2 of her songs had won 1st and 2nd place, respectively, out of over 3000 entries in the BBC Song Contest.  Moving to America in the nineties, Devra teamed up with a lyricist to write and compose a musical, “Cole and Porter” which had a successful run in Los Angeles at the Hudson Theatre, and has written the score for “Rinaldi” which will be onstage soon.

Devra lives in Sarasota Florida now and has authored a series of novels for children and young adults. PEACHEY AND THE GLOBOSIS was originally written as a cartoon series complete with musical score.  It is Devra’s plan to record it as an audio book in the near future.  Her soon-to-be-released book for older readers, DEVIN AND THE DREAM STEALERS has already received rave reviews, and she is now working on the “Muffy” series for children. The first books, MUFFY AND THE DOG CATCHER and MUFFY’S FLORIDA ADVENTURE are now available on Amazon and MUFFY MEETS THE MEDICINE CAT will be released soon. She continues to write and compose for the theatre, but loves to write for children.


Muffy is a curious and happy-go-lucky Goldendoodle puppy.  She and her sister, Riff, have been adopted by a fun-loving family who adore dogs; the Gabriels.  How lucky these dogs are to be taken on an amazing vacation to Florida, all of them together in a big house on wheels to visit their cousins
who live on the Sarasota Bay.  They drive across the country all together in the 'Great escape' and then take a breathtaking trip on Captain Skye's tourist boat.  Her puppy and first mate, Starboard, shows them all the ropes, and they go to Teapot Bayou and meet all manner of lively and interesting wildlife, including Puff the dolphin and Melodee the manatee.  Muffy's Florida Adventure is full of warmth and laughter and good family values too.  Little Oliver the Papillion discovers he is brave; Radar the Golden Retriever discovers the courage to stand up for what he believes, and Muffy discovers that it's better not to chase bees.

Excerpt From MUFFY’S FLORIDA ADVENTURE – Chapter Three – The Silly Bee

“C’mon,” he buzzed, “let’s play”.
Muffy got up to follow him.  Her leash slipped undone.  No one noticed. “Okay,” she said.
“Bzzzzzz, I’ll show you some really cool flowers, follow me, over here, bzzzzz.”
Now we all know that Muffy has a bit of a short attention span, and likes to follow pretty things that fly, like butterflies, or grasshoppers, or big blue flies…….and bees.
She chased the bee, with her leash trailing behind her and they chatted away.  He showed her this and he showed her that.  He buzzed and flew and she hopped and giggled.  Bzzzzz, hop and giggle.  Bzzzzz, hop and giggle.
Suddenly she looked up and saw the Great Escape pulling out of the parking lot.  Oh disaster!  Oh no!
She started to run, and to panic, and to bark…….and to scream inside her head to Radar and Oliver, to Freedom and Jazz, to Mum and Will.  But the Great Escape was pulling out onto the highway now.  Oh no!
On board the Great Escape, up in his little window place Oliver caught sight of something out of the corner of his eye.  MUFFY!!  MUFFY!!  He screamed and barked, he shouted and tried to jump down.
Mum saw how agitated he was and tried to lift him off his ledge, but she didn’t understand what was wrong and Will was just starting to go up the on-ramp to the highway.  Oliver tried to scream at Radar, who didn’t understand at first.  Riff had fallen asleep and was blissfully unaware of her sister’s plight and Freedom and Jazz looked on helplessly.  How could this happen?  Didn’t we take a head count?  She must have been missed in the confusion. Maybe Riff was counted twice.
“Muffy, Muffy, Muffy!” screamed Oliver, as best he could while Mum was attempting to put the wriggling Papillion onto the floor. 
Then it happened, Will glanced up into the rear view mirror and saw her; a bedraggled little thing valiantly running to catch up, dragging her leash behind her. Will slammed on the brakes and everyone tumbled forward in a heap.  “Sorry,” he said, turning just in time, before he would have been on the highway with no way to turn around, and coming about narrowly missing a low brick wall that surrounded the meadow.
Muffy saw him slowing down and she knew they’d spotted her, and she started to slow her little feet, almost tumbling head over heels down the embankment.  “Holy Moly,” she thought, “that was a close one. What on earth would I have done if they’d left me? Silly Bee!”
Everyone was very glad to see her and know that she was unscathed, well mostly.  They made a big fuss of her and Sara who felt quite guilty for not noticing she was missing, gave her extra treats.
After that, life in the Great Escape fell into a pleasant routine and so passed the first couple of days.

Muffy is a happy and curious Goldendoodle puppy who lives on a farm.  One day she chases a silly grasshopper and gets lost.  She finds herself alone and hungry, on the point of collapse, but luck is on her side and she is adopted by a wonderful family, the Gabriels, who have a very orderly and devoted pack of dogs.  Muffy becomes part of her new family, and is accepted by Radar and Oliver and the gang, but she still pines for her sister, Riff, and misses the Farm.  One of her new friends, Wise Dog, introduces her to a very unusual Dog Catcher who has a special talent; he can communicate with animals and helps them when they are in need.

Muffy’s courageous journey is full of laughter and adventure as she tries to unite her two families.


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