Monday, 28 February 2011

Blogoversary Interview with Gini Koch + Giveaway

Banner made by Beth from Maybe Tomorrow?
Today, as the last day of the month long blogoversary celebrations I have a special treat for you.

If you haven't noticed, it seems today it's all about the Aliens and the 'gators. So can you guess who I managed to lure to the blog? Hm? Yes!!

The amazing Gini Koch is here to spread the Alien love and tell us about some secrets! So please give it up for Gini and if you have a question you'd like to ask her, please do, I always love to learn more about the Alien universe and the Kitty team (I can just see Christopher glare at this.. *sighs*)

So without further ado please give the warmest welcome to
Gini Koch!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Ex Libris: Why alligators? Is there a funny story behind the inspiration? A childhood fear or just a freakish news piece?

Gini Koch: LOL, no, neither, honestly. While I was researching the Kennedy Space Center (once, you know, the characters told me that’s where they were going), I discovered they have a big alligator preserve, and they’re very proud of it and their ‘gators. It grew from there, especially when it came time for Kitty to come up with a plan of action.

Alien TangoEL: Since the promotion of Alien Tango "It's all about the 'gators baby!" became your catch phrase, is there another one ready to be released upon the world and your fans with the approaching release of Alien in the Family? :-)

GK: Alien in the Family -- it’s all about the Poofs! (And, yeah, that’s all you get. Heh. You have to wait for the book to find out what the Poofs are and do.) (Because that’s how I roll.) (Yes, because I’m evil, why do you ask?)

EL: Could you share with us the dating advertisements Martini, Kitty, Christopher (and any other character you feel like) would post about themselves or the person they are seeking? How would they describe themselves or the person they seek?

GK: Well, um, Martini and Kitty are NOT on the market. They’re kind of peeved you’re even asking this, Martini in particular. However, Christopher’s both up for it and he has Martini’s from when they were younger, and Chuckie dug out Kitty’s sorority exchange bio. So, here you go.

Kitty Katt: No, I’m not a stripper, my parents just have a sense of humor, which I do, too. I like to laugh, have fun, and am willing to give anything a go, at least once. Brains, looks, and open-mindedness are vital. Living by the rules is a turnoff. Loving comics a plus. If you think a woman’s place is only in the kitchen and/or if you don’t like Aerosmith, don’t waste your time or mine.

Jeff Martini: I’m looking for a strong, human woman who has the guts to face evil even when she’s not personally in danger. Intelligence a must. I honestly like long walks on the beach, doing thoughtful things for my lady, and being emotionally open and available. Looking for a lifetime commitment.

Christopher White: Ladies, do you like a guy who’s cheerful, always sees the bright side, and never broods? Then look elsewhere. I’m a guy with a tragic past, a lot of power and responsibility, and gold medals in both glaring and brooding. I’m also from a race of particularly attractive people with stamina to spare. Looking to play the field, because in my experience, any woman I love dies or is taken from me.

EL: I think a huge part of your readers fell for Christopher (instead of or besides Martini). Can you tell us a bit more about him? Is there anyone special planned for him? Will we see Christopher happy? will he get his time to shine in the series (or separately)?

Touched by an AlienGK: He’s flattered! And I like to think that Christopher shines all the time.

This, however, is Kitty’s series, and it’s told in first person POV, so no, at this time, there are no spinoffs for any characters planned. Those happen down the road, if at all, and they’re seriously considered from a lot of different business perspectives. However, Christopher is an integral part of the team and one of the more major characters, so he’s going to be around a lot.

As far as seeing Christopher happy, this question, like anything else that deals with stuff down the road, will only be answered in vague terms, because I do my best not to give out spoilers. Yes, one day, Christopher will find his love connection. No, I’m not saying who or when. That’s part of why you have to read the books. :-D

EL: The 3rd book in the series Alien in the Family is to be released on 5 April 2011, just a bit over a month! yay! Can you tell us a bit about this newest installment and what excitements we can expect? Who will usurp the spotlight from the 'gators, who will be the fuglies this time?

GK: Sure!

Alien in the FamilyPlanning any wedding is hard enough, but Katherine “Kitty” Katt and Jeff Martini have a lot more to worry about than seating arrangements, because multiple interstellar invasions, Alpha Team in mortal peril, and inter-alien conspiracies are all on the guest list -- and the gifts they’ve brought explode.

Kitty and Martini should be happily finalizing their wedding plans. Kitty’s biggest worries should be about winning over Martini’s mother, finding the right dress, and lining up her bridesmaids. But protecting the Earth from assorted alien threats seems to keep getting in the way.

The discovery that Martini is actually a member of the Alpha Centaurion Royal Family carries additional news -- emissaries are on their way to see if Kitty’s royal bride material. And they’re not the only things coming from the Alpha Centaurion system.

Amazonian assassins, spies, alien beasties, shape-shifters, and representatives from the Planetary Council, combined with a tabloid reporter who’s a little too on the mark, create a deadly situation for Kitty and the rest of Alpha Team. When the assassins strike far too close to home for anyone’s comfort, Kitty realizes it’s going to come down to more than flowers -- she’s going to have to face an entire planetary consciousness and dethrone a monarch in order to make it to the church on time.

Beyond that, not saying who the Big Bad of this book is, nor what kinds of fuglies show up, other than to say: Lots.

EL: Gini, besides the amazing main cast, which secondary or just pop-up guest character was a joy to write? Or to the contrary you love him/her despite the fact that he/she was really a pain in the butt while writing?

GK: I love all my characters, even the villains and the bit players. Also a bit player in one book can come into later books in a big way and stick around (like Chuckie, for example). I also don’t find my characters hard to write. If they’re hard, then there’s something wrong with them -- either how I’ve written or conceived them. Too hard, and they’re cut to make way for a character that WILL work within the whole. I basically find writing a joy, so when it isn’t, it’s an indication that something’s wrong. Usually when it’s wrong I’ve contradicted a plot line or have written someone doing something out of character without intending to.


Of what I consider the main supporting characters, I love Reader and Chuckie the most. I mean it, I LOVE them. They’re two of my fave characters and I love writing them, particularly in how they interact with Kitty.

Of what I consider the secondary supporting characters, a lot of the ones I just adore are coming in Alien in the Family. Not saying who yet, but I really enjoyed the secondary characters in Alien in the Family, in some ways more than the ones in the first two books. Not saying I don’t love my supporting players from the first two books, by the way, just that there are some in Alien in the Family that are beyond fun to write.

EL: And I'm curious about the titles too. How did the stories come to be titled the way they are? Moment of inspiration, or meticulous play with words and interviewing a private VIP focus group?

GK: Um, I think up the titles and then I write the books. LOL. I’m a very linear writer and, for me, the title has to fit the book. For Touched by an Alien, that was brainstormed with my crit partner and one of my beta team, aka the Big Dawg Pack. I came up with Alien Tango,Alien in the Family and Alien Proliferation during that session, too. The other titles come to me as I’m formulating what’s coming next for Kitty and Company.

Normally, when I’m writing a book, I’ll see the next two to four books ahead forming, titles included. For example, I’m working on Alien Diplomacy right now, so I’m very focused on what will be coming in Alien vs. Alien. But I also see what will happen for books further along in the series, too. Basically, as I say all the time, it’s a party in my mind. But it’s a fun party.

EL: In the Touched by an Alien cover Kitty seems to have brown long hair, then in the Alien Tango cover short, shoulder long blond/light brown hair, then again in the Alien in the Family cover long pale blond hair. Or was it just a trick of light and was Kitty always blond? I couldn't find a description of Kitty in Touched by an Alien (yep, I confess soon after I started my research the story sucked me in so I started reading it again.. :-p).

Touched by an Alien  Alien Tango  Alien in the Family

GK: Well, first off, what a lot of readers don’t realize is that most authors have no input into their covers. I’m extremely lucky in that Daniel Dos Santos is not only an awesome and amazing artist, but that he reads the books in full before he does the cover. However, and this is the key point, he’s an artist, first, and he’s interpreting what he’s read.

Kitty is fair -- fair-skinned and fair-haired. I don’t describe her more than that, in part because I want the readers to form their own vision of her, to make her “their” Kitty, if you will. I don’t care if someone sees her as having blonde, strawberry blonde, red, light brown, etc. hair. Her hair kind of changes in my mind -- for all I know, she dyes it, lots of us do, don’t we? And women get different hairstyles all the time. Longer, shorter, etc. But if it’s not a big deal to HER, or something another character’s going to comment on, then it’s not something that comes up in her narrative.

Touched by an AlienThat said, look at the Touched by an Alien cover. The main color is yellow-orange. Meaning that light hair is going to get lost in the explosion. Dan originally made her hair black. I kind of freaked on DAW, and they altered it to a reddish brown. After that, my editor shared that I saw Kitty as much fairer. So, in Alien Tango, which has a blue background that blonde hair stands out well against, her hair is lighter. And in Alien in the Family, it’s very blonde, again, coordinating with the gold that are the highlights on the green background.

Alien in the FamilyIn Dan’s sketch for Alien in the Family (which was also A-MA-ZING) Kitty’s hair was literally white-blonde. I though it looked beyond cool, but Dan altered that, and other things, in his final painting. I think both are great, but he’s the artist. He doesn’t tell me what characters to put in or leave on the cutting room floor, and I don’t tell him what colors or props to use.

Two other points. One: everything on the covers is in the books. Dan’s amazing that way, and I think it makes both cover and book better, because you can read the book and then when you look at the cover again, you really SEE what Dan put in there and you know WHY. Two: the only chicks on my covers are Kitty. So, if there’s a chick, it’s Kitty. The dudes, on the other hand, change. I can tell you definitively that Martini is NOT on the Alien in the Family cover. I know exactly where he is during the scene Dan chose, and he’s not “on screen” for anyone looking at the cover. As for who IS represented, well, my answer remains: You’ll have to read the book!

EL: Since music and songs always play a crucial part in Kitty's world and setting the scene, which songs can you see Kitty and Martini dancing to at their wedding? :-))

GK: I know exactly what they dance to. And for you to know? :-D You’ll have to read the book! (Yes, it’s my theme. ‘Cause I’m really a “no spoilers” kind of girl.)

Love and RocketsEL: You also write under the pseudonym of Anita Ensal. Could you please tell us a bit more about your other writer persona? What kind of novels do you pen as Anita Ensal? Are they that different in voice and atmosphere from the Kitty Katt series? Do you write under more pseudonyms or just these two? Why?

GK: Actually, I write under a variety of pseudonyms, Anita Ensal definitely being one of them. As for other things, I only talk about what’s sold, not what’s written and being shopped. (My other sold names are Jeanne Cook, in short humor, and J.C. Koch, in short horror.) I write under different names because your name is your contract with the reader -- they pick up your book, short story, or novella, they have some idea of what to expect.

So, while I do write novels under this name, so far, Anita’s only published in short science fiction, fantasy, and speculative fiction. Among those are two stories in two DAW anthologies that are currently on the shelves -- “Wanted” is in Love and Rockets, a science fiction romance collection, and “Being Neighborly” is in Boondocks Fantasy, a rural urban fantasy collection.

Boondocks FantasyAs for voice, among the differences is that Gini brings the funny and Anita brings the thoughtful. Not to say that Anita can’t crack a joke, or that Gini doesn’t think, but Anita’s not going to be making you snort water out of your nose while you’re reading her stuff. Anita allows me to approach ideas from a more serious viewpoint, even if she’s being whimsical. Not having to be funny also allows Anita to tackle different issues, and in different ways, than Gini can, does or would.

As for the atmosphere differences, again, when you’re writing something with a strong humor line in it, your atmosphere’s going to be different than anything else. Humor, by its nature, will tend to make a book feel light, even if you’re dealing with very serious issues. In contrast, if you’re going for something serious, even if you’re dealing with a funny idea, if your voice isn’t a humorous one, it will come out differently. That said, I see a lot of funny in a lot of things, and sometimes, the best way to show how funny it is is to have a non-humorous voice do said showing. It all comes down to what bests serves which particular story.

Basically, I think readers can, do and will enjoy both, but the voices are very different, which is why the names are different.

EL: Thanks so much Gini! :-)


Gini Koch lives in the American Southwest, works her butt off (sadly, not literally) by day, and writes by night with the rest of the beautiful people, while she listens to a lot of rock 'n' roll, particularly Aerosmith, at all times.

Her interests include seeing how often she can ask, "So, have I told you about this plot twist yet?" of her husband before he goes insane, going to rock concerts with her daughter, and training her pets to 'bring it'. Gini started writing to have an excuse to stay up late playing on the computer while listening to music and mooning over pictures of Steven Tyler and Joe Perry.

Now she's expanded her thinking -- she moons over a wide variety of hunks in order to keep the visual creative juices flowing. So to speak.



You can reach Gini at her website, blog and Twitter.

Oh and if you can't wait or cannot put everything on the favours of Mr. Random, do check out the fantastic Alien merchandise here.


GIVEAWAY RULES:

Gini generously offered some rare collector items for any Kitty fan: a Touched by an Alien tote bag and pen!  

To be entered all you have to do is:

1. fill out the main form so I have your contact info (just once, if you have already filled it out for a previous giveaway that's enough)

2. Leave a question/comment for Gini, tell us which song you would suggest for Kitty and Martini to have for their wedding dance. Or in your opinion what/who are the Poofs?

Giveaway is open worldwide and ends on Friday 11 March 2011.

Are You Worth Your Weight in a 'Gator Battle?


You all must be aware what a huge fan I am of Gini Koch's Kitty Katt series, so it was with immense pleasure that I learned that according to the opinion of Daniella aka Alpha Reader I am worth my weight in a 'gator battle! Yay! Thank you Dani! :-) *hugs*

And now it is time for me to spread the Alien love and nominate those 5 amazing people who I would love to have on my side in a 'gator battle and I deem worthy of this highly prestigious award. They are:


Caro aka pattepoilue from One Book Away From Heaven

Sullivan McPig from Pearls Cast Before a McPig

Sabrina from About Happy Books



I'm in great company, with these fearless and fierce ladies I feel courageous and confident to go into battle! And you, do you think you have what it takes to be a member of our elite team?


It's Monday, What Are You Reading? (#26)


It's Monday, What are you reading this week? is a weekly event hosted by Sheila at One Person's Journey Through a World of Books to list the books completed last week, the books currently being read and the books to be finished this week.

Books I completed this week

The Darkest Night (Hqn)

The Book Bloggers Anonymous will read and discuss The Darkest Night, 1st book in Gena Showalter's Lord of the Underworld series in March and I will be the host, so it was time I discovered the series :-) I liked The Darkest Night much more than The Darkest Fire and can't wait for the discussion to start! If you love the LOTU series, come and join us, the events will take place between March 1-15!

No Matter What

This is the 1st book of Erin Nicholas which was published, and yet I read it as the last. As always Erin Nicholas not only does not disappoint but transports the reader to a wonderful world for those couple reading hours. The characters are both lovable and exciting and No Matter What is another wonderful sweet and hot Erin Nicholas romance. (Though compared to the others, NMW is a bit sweeter and more emotional, but just as good!) 


Touched by an Alien

And I re-read it again. For the 3rd time I think. I can't wait to finally immerse myself in Alien Tango, but since it's been almost a year I read TBAA I wanted to refresh the details so I was completely up-to-date and roaring for AT! So here I am!! :-D (ps. was just as amazing as for the 1st time! *dreamy sigh*)


Books I am currently reading

Anything You Want by Erin Nicholas

*sighs* Finally! You don't know what a dangerous thing it is to read your first Erin Nicholas novel. Why?Because you immediately become addicted. Which doesn't seem like such a big or bad thing at first. You go through her backlist, but when you are reading the 3rd book and there is only 1 more left you start to have that queaky anxiety feeling starting and it gets worse as you go on (because you certainly cannot stop reading). Then when you arrive at the end of Book #4, when you close the book and can't turn the pages any more you try to reign in the trembling. I mean it is just a book. You can certainly wait a couple of months without problem. You have already done it with others. You can do this. Or so you tell yourself... Then when finally the release day draws near you start counting back the days and can't even describe the huge joy you feel when suddenly you see an e-mail entitled "Anything You Want ARC", because it most certainly is everything you want! Your heart rate calms down, you sit back with a contented smile until your hand suddenly jumps on the mouse and clicks feverishly on the link to open... Then you can't stop, you have to read it and get your daily fix. Your only problem is that now while reading it the terrifying thought at the back of your mind won't leave you alone: "that after this book is read there will be no more and you'll have to wait what seems like eternity for the next one", but you just can't resist, you absolutely have to read it now!

Books I can't wait to start soon

Alien Tango



And what are you reading this week?

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