Thursday, October 25, 2012

Smitten Image: An Interview and Giveaway with Author Pam B. Morris

Magic and love might save them, but can they survive each other?

We welcome author Pam B. Morris on tour today with her book, Smitten Image. Get ready for some high-tech, futuristic, romantic fun! Welcome Pam!
First, please tell us a little about yourself.
I was born and raised in Montana, grew up camping, fishing, skiing, riding horses in the mountains. I am passionate about books and the more the better. I read everything, I journal and blog and write, I draw and paint, knit and garden. I graduated with a degree in English Literature and a minor in Library Science. So I became a librarian and worked in bookstores. I’m married with two children, grown up and brilliant. Smitten Image isn’t the first book I’ve written but it’s the first one to get published. 

What has been your greatest challenge as a writer? Have you been able to overcome it?
My greatest challenge is putting my work out there. I only did it with Smitten Image when my writer’s group made me suck it up. So I overcame a bit of my insecurity, but it’s still an obvious smear very visible on my sleeve!

Is writing a full-time career for you? If not, how else do you spend your work day?
I would love writing to be a full time career. Painting just doesn’t pay. I have Meniere’s Disease, which is a degenerative disorder of the inner ear that causes ringing and extreme vertigo. The kind you can’t get out of bed with. So I found it impossible to keep a scheduled job, especially in the winter. And I refuse to be disabled. So writing is where I have to make money. Eventually.

If you had to sum it up Smitten Image in 30 or less words, what would you say?
In Smitten Image, the mix of imagination, love and magic bring chaos to a drifty artist’s life after she drinks a love potion that awakens fantastical powers inside her.

What inspired the idea behind your book?
I wanted to write a story from an artist’s perspective, with magic and portraits coming to life. And it needed to be humorous, have unexpected themes and plot twists and a love component.

Do you have a favorite character in Smitten Image? Who and why?
Madame Bagasha is my favorite character. She’s Romany, ancient and the most powerful witch in the New Chicago Cohort (a witch’s consortium). She advertises on late night television, has a “900” number for predictions, but her shop is a world unto itself and shifts from place to place around the city. The Madame is very wise with a great sense of humor,  knows a lot about spells and yet she hasn’t a clue what to do with Lily.

Without giving it all away, please tell us a little something about how Lily Barnett is going to get through their biggest challenge.
Very badly and with more than a few blunders! Lily has an artist’s escapist temperament and lives in her imagination, not reality. She longs for love, thinks it will ground her. So she drinks a love potion which, of course, does just the opposite. She must learn to control the catastrophic, unpredictable magic the potion unleashes before it destroys her and those she loves.

What is your favorite scene in Smitten Image?
I have a couple. But one of my favorites is when Madame Bagasha and her apprentice Nila try to teach Lily how to control her magic and cast spells. It all goes hilariously wrong and was great fun to write.

What kind of research was involved for Smitten Image?
I spent a lot of time researching the contexts and history of magic, the properties of various stones and gems and some herbology. I also had to dabble in quantum physics and aspects of science looking for some way magic could plausibly be released into our environment. I came up with the magnetic pole switching from north to south… and then speculated what that would do to the earth and our world of technology.

What has been your greatest pleasure in writing this book?
Writing the humor, especially in the dialogue. And coming up with funny, flip sides of serious scenarios. I like to think I’m witty.

What do you have in store next for your readers?
A paranormal fantasy set further in the future of New Chicago about an apprentice pleasure succubae (courtesan) trying to get out of the family business and a space jumping spy willing to die to keep her alive.

What has been your greatest pleasure or personal success as an author?
Finally knowing I write well enough and tell a grand enough tale that people will love it.

What type of heroine do you like best?
An odd ball, creative, is constantly fighting her personal demons and who’s magic is as much a curse as a gift!

Who or what has most influenced your writing?
Reading so many books, of all kinds, all types from literature to sci-fi to steam punk. I love the flow of great writing, imagery and characters that you cling to. So I owe whatever writing skill I have to all the author’s I’ve read, even the poor ones.

Is there a genre you wish you could write, but haven’t made the plunge? Which one and what appeals to you about it?
I would love to write space opera and really great science fiction. But I’ll never grasp the science of astronomy, physics and quantum mechanics enough to do it as well as the masters.

What is the best piece of writing advice you’ve received?
Write the next book. And never stop.

Favorite place?

Best Christmas present?
My daughter and she was late. But I got my son for my birthday!

Favorite author?
William Shakespeare. Cliché, I know.

Favorite smell?
A baby’s head.

Favorite series?
Lord of the Rings, by Tolkien.

Favorite movie?
Much Ado about Nothing with Kenneth Branagh and Emma Thompson.

Favorite dish?
Anything my husband, a real live chef, makes!

Favorite color?
Royal Blue

Favorite quote?
“I am Fortune’s Fool!” from Romeo and Juliet, by Shakespeare.

Your best trait?
I’m a nurturer.

Your worst trait?
I’m a procrastinator.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with your reader’s today?
A hearty thank you for taking an interest, for reading, for buying books and sharing my love of writing with me today.

The Book

In high-speed, high-tech New Chicago, 2039, magic has gone viral. Lily Barnett, a brilliant but drifty artist wanders into a strange magic shop where she impulsively guzzles a love potion. Erratic and unpredictable powers awake inside her. Her houseplants turn ravenous and strings of flamingo lights spout poetry. When she paints a portrait of her perfect man, he steps free of the canvas and stalks her. Desperate, she turns to her best friend, Daniel, for help.
But Daniel has problems of his own. He’s a telepath who must shield thoughts, emotions, and desires or go mad. He wants Lily, desperately, but knows his passion will drive her away and that his friendship is of more value to her than his love.
As Lily negotiates the catastrophic blends of her fear, imagination, and chaotic magic, Daniel must fight against his own impenetrable reserve and the psychic gifts he’s always despised.
Magic and love might save them, but can they survive each other?
Sensuality Level: Sensual

Get the Book

The Author
As soon as I could read, I fell in love with books. Born and raised in Montana, I live in the Bitteroot Valley with my husband and near our two grown, intelligent and creative kids. I grew up skiing, fishing, camping, went through 4-H raising and training colts- got bucked off more times than I can count. Pretty much the perfect life... until puberty. Always shy and self-conscious, I lived to escape into stories. And wrote. Always.

I have a B.A. in English Literature and a minor in Library Science from Montana State University and became an elementary school librarian in Bigfork, MT where I finally hit my stride.

I'm an artist, love to draw, paint, create funky art out of wire, fabric and cloth; gardening, cross country skiing, mountains, horses and herons. I'm not a traveler, love movies, science fiction, string theory, space opera, fantasy fiction and classical literature. My favorite author aside from Shakespeare is Neil Gaiman. My favorite bands are The Decemberists (they broke up) and The Barenaked Ladies (they sort of broke up too). Absolutely love soundtracks.

I have Meniere's Disease, a degenerative disorder of the inner ear that causes mean vertigo at times. Diet, exercise and medication keeps it mostly under control. Bird watching and building snow sculptures helps. Also sleeping. Love my crazy, vivid dreams.

An Excerpt
Flipping on her VPEG player, Lily donned her paint smock, snatched up her pallet and brushes and disappeared into alizarin crimson, the perfect color to bring the sensuality of her male nude to life.  Such a brazen red would highlight the man's strength, the masculine line of his jaw and chin, his confident brow.  Oh yes, his vigorous, male features definitely needed more attention...
Hours passed while songs shuffled in her comp-deck and Lily lost herself inside her work, brushing paint in long, sensual strokes across the curve of a manly shoulder, over the shadow of his collarbone, emphasizing an arched cheekbone or the sweet curve of his mouth.  She breathed in linseed oil, tasted licorice and worked her magic. The nude took on a vitality of his own, arm stretched upward towards the light, face lifted in anticipation.  His face looked nothing like the model she'd sketched in her drawing class Monday night but that always happened, her own inner vision replacing a less substantial reality.
When at last she stepped back and stretched to relieve cramped muscles, Lily felt a jolt of pleasure at her creation.  The painting worked composition wise, the greens and purples an ambiguous dark behind his skin of crimson and gold glowing with virility.  She dropped her brush in a jar of waiting paint thinner, tugged free other paintbrushes she'd absently stuck in her hair and realized a hot bath would ease her aching bones and perhaps cool the tingling excitement she felt after stroking paint over male muscles.

She had pulled her paint smock off over her head, skimmed out of her t-shirt and unzipped her jeans when she heard a loud sucking sound behind her. Turning, Lily watched in  horror as the figure in the painting moved. Just a twitch of a hand at first, a stretch of an arm. Then in one violent lunge the man tore himself free of the canvas and stepped onto the floor, real, animated, looking around her apartment with every naked inch of his skin gleaming in fresh oil.


  1. It's my lucky day to have you on the blog Pam! I love how much readers have been enjoying the book over the tour. Nicely done my fellow Montanan! :) You keep teasing us with talk of your previous books--when do we get a sample?

  2. Thank you, MK, for hosting me today and for the marvelous tour. Being reclusive by nature I feel a bit over-exposed but in a good way and I've had so much fun. About previous books I've written? One is trying to find a home. The rest, well, the less said the better!!

  3. Madame Bagasha sounds fantastic. I can see why she's your favorite character. The research you did sounds very interesting, a lot of things I'd be interested in doing. I also have Meniere's Disease but not as bad as yours. I'll have like a 2-3 day episode where I'm so dizzy I'm sick or may have a month with issues but then go months without problems. So I feel for you there.

    Great interview and this sounds like a great read. Good luck!

  4. Great excerpt, Pam! Thanks for letting us get to know you a little better! Good luck with your book - it's on my list to pick up!

  5. I just finished reading Smitten Image and I loved it! I really enjoyed all your characters and hope to hear more from Nila and Grayden. I really enjoyed the descriptions of Lily while she is painting or getting lost in color. I know where she's coming from! Thanks for a great read Pam. I look forward to reading more.

  6. The hero in one of my books is an artist. So fun. Great post.
    -R.T. Wolfe

  7. Hi, Pam! Love the premise of this book - good luck!!!!

  8. Thanks Eliza, for stopping in. The quirkier the character the better for me. And I am so sorry you have Meniere's too. More people suffer from it than folks think. Enjoy the time you have, is my motto. Now that I'm well, older, the dizziness is a daily thing, but I can still function (except riding a bike is disasterous!) I eat next to no salty stuff, rarely drink alcohol and take valium... it helps desensitize the nerves in those defective tubes. It so works! Sinus issues complicate things too. Good luck, I'll be thinking of you.

  9. I'm so thrilled, Diane! Aren't artists the funnest characters? To hang out with in real life too! So appreciate you loved it! Really!!

  10. RT, nice to see you here. And thank you for stopping by. Artist's are all such individuals, I love how we can mold them! Or not!!

  11. Kristina, thank you so much for taking the time to stop in. You are always such great support to all of us. And you're blogs are wonderful. So glad we're Crimson sisters!

  12. Hey Crimson Lady, thank you for sharing your story!

  13. Pam you rock!! This interview is great! I am so glad we're on this journey together!