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Welcome to this week's book chat!

Karen McCullough writes in several genres but today she's brought us a romantic suspense/mystery, which I'm just dying (pun very much intended) to hear about! :)
How do you take your coffee, Karen?

KAREN: With half a teaspoon of Splenda and just enough low-fat milk to change the color. Coffee is my main drink, and I love the stuff. I'm a bit of a snob about it, however. Really good coffee is one of my indulgences.

Ally: Since my magic pot makes the most exclusive coffee on earth, I'll have the perfect cup ready in a moment. In the meantime, please show them your bio and add something unique about yourself that isn't in your official bio.

PictureKaren & grandson
Author Bio:

Karen McCullough is a web designer by profession, and the author of a dozen published novels and novellas in the mystery, romantic suspense, and fantasy genres as well. She has won numerous awards, including an Eppie Award for fantasy, and has also been a four-time Eppie finalist, and a finalist in the Prism, Dream Realm, Rising Star, Lories, Scarlett Letter, and Vixen Awards contests. Her short fiction has appeared in several anthologies and numerous small press publications in the fantasy, science fiction, and romance genres. She has three children, four grandchildren and lives in Greensboro, NC, with her husband of many years. 

Hmm… Something that isn't in my bio… I'm a huge sports fan, especially pro football (Go Panthers, Go Patriots!), baseball (Braves, Red Sox) and college basketball (Duke!!).  Every year for Valentine's Day my husband gives me diamonds - baseball diamonds, i.e. a package of tickets to our local minor league baseball team games.

Blog: http://www.kmccullough/kblog

Ally:  Since we're talking romance today, tell us the types you write? Do you write in more than one subcategory or heat level?

KAREN:  I write several varieties of romance including romantic suspense, romantic mystery, paranormal romance and fantasy romance. The heat level in my stories varies from  sweet to blazing.  Most of my romantic suspense, mystery and paranormal stories are low heat (except for Shadow of a Doubt, which does have some on-the-page sex). My romantic suspense, A Question of Fire, keeps the bedroom door mostly closed. The three fantasy romances (Witch's Journey, Wizard's Bridge and The Wizard's Shield) are all fairly hot.

Ally:  What are the characteristics you feel every hero needs to possess? Do you write primarily about alpha males or average Joes?

KAREN:  For me, the bottom line characteristics of a real hero are loyalty and a rock solid sense of honor. Other things I value in a hero are strength, intelligence, courage and compassion. I feel like my heroes are neither very alpha nor average Joes. They're men who operate according to their own sense of right and wrong, who will do almost anything for the people they care for. They're smart and powerful in their own way, but in general my heroes aren't the leaders of a pack or obviously stronger than others. They tend to be loners, in fact, men who steer their own course, with little concern about whether or not others follow. 

Ally:  Do you have romance novels or favorite authors that you re-read? Tell us at least one thing you really like about his or her writing.

KAREN:  Yes, definitely. From my favorites shelf:  Mary Stewart: Madam, Will You Talk, My Brother Michael, The Ivy Tree, This Rough Magic; everything by Barbara Michaels/Elizabeth Peters; Linda Howard: Mr. Perfect and Cry No More.   Mary Stewart has a wonderful way with description that puts you right into the story. I love the way Barbara Mertz (Michaels and E. Peters) draws vivid characters who smart and witty.  And Linda Howard can wring emotion out of every word in a story.

Ally:  If you could go anywhere, do anything, what would be your fantasy weekend getaway?

KAREN:  Tough one. A luxury hotel in an interesting place, like an upscale hotel in New York or New Orleans would be delightful.  On the other hand I love the beach--in summer a long weekend at the ocean is great.

Ally:  Let's wind up with a few quick answer questions:
  • Cake, cookies or pie:  Cookies
  • Favorite type of jewelry: Necklace
  • An item on your bucket list:  Visit Switzerland, France, Germany and Italy.
  • Favorite spring color: Purple
Ally:  Thanks so much for visiting with us today. Before you get on with your busy day, please show us the book you brought.
Blurb for A Question of Fire:

When Catherine Bennett agrees to attend an important party as a favor for her boss, she knows she won't enjoy it, but she doesn't expect to end up holding a dying man in her arms. Nor did she anticipate she’d become the recipient of his last message about the location of evidence that would prove his brother innocent of murder. 
Now the killers are after her to get that information. She’ll need the help of attorney Peter Lowell, as well as the victim’s difficult, prickly younger brother and a handsome private detective to help her find the evidence before the killers do. 

Buy Links:

Barnes & Noble

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