Saturday, April 22, 2017

ROCCO welcomes author Mary Feliz

Meow, today my guest is author Mary Feliz!





Mary Feliz writes the Maggie McDonald Mysteries featuring a Silicon Valley professional organizer and her sidekick golden retriever. She's worked for Fortune 500 firms and mom and pop enterprises, competed in whale boat races and done synchronized swimming. She attends organizing conferences in her character's stead, but Maggie's skills leave her in the dust.

Welcome, Mary! Tell us a little about your background
I've lived in five states and two countries but currently live on Monterey Bay in California. It's a marine sanctuary and extraordinarily captivating and distracting!

Tell us a bit about the Maggie McDonald mysteries

Maggie McDonald is a professional organizer in Silicon Valley who routinely discovers the skeletons in her client's closets with the help of a golden retriever with separation anxiety. Whenever murder and injustice throw her world out of whack, Maggie dives in to restore order.

Tell us about the animal characters of your series. Are they based on real life ones?
I've shared my home with cats, dogs, fish, and birds all my life and aspects of my real-life pets live on in my animal characters. Many of the main characters are dog or cat people, because I find that an individual's pets (or lack thereof) and how they're treated reveal often hidden aspects of a person's inner psychology and motivation. It's a tricky balance though, because the pets tend to steel the show.

How do you “get to know” your characters before and while you’re writing the books?
I've adopted a practice that I initially thought belonged only to authors who were complete crackpots. For each main character, I create a poster board collage of their favorite clothing, chores, shoes, quotes, and cars. I note what they avoid doing and who they admire. I include what they'd wear to a fancy party and what they do on a quiet night home alone. What they like to do for exercise or relaxation, and the sort of people who rub them the wrong way.
How do you construct your plots? Do you outline or do you write “by the seat of your pants”?
 I start with the characters and the things that are important to them. Then I try to imagine conflicts that would disrupt their world so dramatically that they'd be forced to take action. I add in a villain who makes the conflicts worse, and secondary characters who act as helpers, red herrings, or both. Once all those elements are in place, it's not difficult to create a rough working outline and the synopsis required by my publisher. But nothing is locked in stone at that point. I'll write as much as I can and as far along as I can balance between the outline and whim of the characters or new plot elements that I uncover as I go along. Eventually, the manuscript and outline diverge to an extent that I need to regroup, so I'll do a quick redraft of the existing manuscript, add more conflict, and redo the outline, which becomes a roadmap to what lies ahead. I may have to stop and redo that roadmap a few times before I finish the first draft. I guess the short answer is that I'm both a plotter and a plantser, but I think that's the case with most writers--creativity requires both. 
Which do you consider more important, plot or character?
One can't exist without the other. A static character -- or my character s I've created her on my collage board -- isn't very interesting until she's faced with great challenges. And a plot, no matter how compelling, is nothing without a character we can care about. That said, I always start with character, which means the character is at least the driving force in creating the story.

What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced as a writer and what inspires you and keeps you motivated?
Time management is my nemesis. My books come out every six months, which creates grueling deadlines that don't leave me with a lot of extra time for the inevitable unexpected life events. Last year, my dad was diagnosed with dementia, my husband and I downsized and moved to a condo we'd just remodeled, and I broke my foot. I had to be very stern with myself to get the third book finished. I thought that marketing and promotion would be difficult for me, but I like meeting readers and talking about my books. Perhaps I enjoy it more than I should -- after a month of promoting Scheduled to Death, the deadline for the fourth book (working title: Disorderly Conduct) is stalking me.

Do you have a “How I got my agent” story you want to share?
I pitched Address to Die For to Kensington directly so I don't currently have an agent. There are a couple of projects I'm considering that might require one, so I'll have to hope that comes with a great story to tell in my next interview.

What are you working on now and what are your future writing plans?
 I've finished the page proofs for Dead Storage, which releases July 18, 2017. Books four, five, and six exist in outline form, and I'm drafting Book four now.

What advice do you have to offer to an aspiring author?
 Don't be afraid to ask for help or ask questions. Most authors are very generous with their experiences, probably because they asked those very same questions of the authors who came before them. No one's path is exactly the same, though; so don't worry if yours looks different from that of your favorite author. If you don't like the process, give up. The process is too long and too uncertain to endure if you consider it torture. If publication is your dream, don't give up. The only difference between published writers and never published writers is that the never published gave up too soon.  

What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done?
I'll never tell!

What’s one thing your readers would be surprised to find out about you?
 I was a member of a whaleboat racing team.

What question do you wish interviewers would ask? (And what’s the answer?)
 Question: What personality trait do you have that serves you best as an author: Answer: My sense of humor. Much of this business is so completely nutty that you either have to laugh or cry and laughing is always better.

I'd also like to be asked a question that would enable me to tell people that my first college English paper came back with a notation scrawled by the professor that said, "Did you put these commas in with a pepper grinder?" It's being a resilient and empathic human being with a strong imagination that makes a good writer--grammar, punctuation, and narrative structure can be learned and taught.

 If you entered the witness protection program and had to start over, what job would you want to do?
 I've had a large number of unusual jobs, but as a teenager and young adult I shied away from jobs in "traditionally female" fields. As a result, I never considered becoming a teacher, nurse, nurse practitioner, or physician's assistant, and I those are fields I think I'd enjoy. I have the utmost respect for nurses and teachers, and think both careers are woefully under compensated and appreciated.

What would you love to have a never-ending supply of?
 Hope

What’s the last TV show that made you laugh?
 This is Us. It makes me laugh and cry--sometimes both at once.

What store could you browse in for hours?
 Any bookstore

Just for Fun:
Night or Day?  Day
Dog or Cat? (answer carefully)  So mean to make me choose!
Beach or Pool?   beach
Steak or salad?  salad
Favorite Drink?  Coffee Latte
Favorite Book?  Anything by Louise Penny
Favorite TV Series?  The Walking Dead
Favorite Movie?  Princess Bride
Favorite Actor: Michael Kitchener
Favorite Actress: Phyllida Law (Emma Thompson's mom)
Dirty Martini or Piña Colada? Chardonnay
Hawaii or Alaska? Hawaii

Thanks for a great interview!
You can find out more about Mary at:
http://www.maryfeliz.com
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14904553.Mary_Feliz
@maryfelizauthor
https://www.amazon.com/Mary-Feliz/e/B01D3SYW3G
http://www.kensingtonbooks.com/author.aspx/31771
https://www.kirkusreviews.com/search/?q=Mary%20Feliz;t=author

Mary will give away a copy of ADDRESS TO DIE FOR and SCHEDULED TO DEATH to one lucky commenter! 

To enter, leave a comment on this blog post with your name and email address (entries without email will be disqualified). For extra entries, you can do any or all of the below:


* Follow my blog (+ 1 point)
* Follow me on Twitter (+ 1 point) (Link: https://twitter.com/RoccoBlogger)
* Tweet about the contest (+ 1 point)
* Friend me on Facebook (+ 1 point) (Link: https://www.facebook.com/ToniLotempio)#!/
* Mention the contest on Facebook (+ 1 point)
* Mention the contest on your blog (+ 1 point)

Winner will be chosen at random using random.org.  Don’t forget to mention all you’ve done in your comment. Good luck! contest ends midnight, April 28!



Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Welcome author Sasscer Hill!

ROCCO welcomes author Sasscer Hill!


Sasscer Hill has been an amateur jockey and racehorse breeder for most of her life. Now that she’s turned to writing, her mystery and suspense thrillers have received multiple award nominations. She sets her stories against a background of big money, gambling, and horse racing.

Her first book in the "Nikki Latrelle" series, FULL MORTALITY, was nominated for both an Agatha and a Macavity Best First Book Award.

She is writing a new series for St. Martins Minotaur. The second book in this new "Fia McKee" series has won the Carrie McCray 2015 Competition for First Chapter of a Novel, as well as a 2015 Claymore Award nomination.

Tell us a little about your background
I was horse crazy as a kid, loved all the Black Stallion books, and then graduated to Dick Francis. I was always good at writing, but never thought I’d be an author. When I married, we were able to move back to my family’s farm, fix it up, and I finally got my dream of owning and raising horses. Next thing I knew, I was in the race horse business, and found it a tough, competitive game that was not for the faint hearted. It appeared that if I ever wanted to win a big stakes race, I’d probably have to do it in a novel. I knew so much about the business by then, that the obvious thing to do was to write a horse racing mystery. So, I did.
Tell us a bit about your Nikki Latrelle racing mystery series mysteries. Where did that idea come from?
My first novel, “Heart of a Winner,” is still in a drawer, where, I fear, it belongs. When I couldn’t get the book published, I was devastated, backed off the whole idea and wasted five years licking my wounds when I could have been writing. Dumbest thing I ever did. Finally, I wised up and took courses at Maryland’s Bethesda Writer’s Center, where I learned about plot, character and story arcs, and all the stuff I knew nothing about. No wonder the first novel didn’t get published! While taking courses at the center, I wrote the first Nikki Latrelle novel. It seemed to me and my classmates that a novel about a female jockey might find a good niche audience, and it did. Except it took five years to get the first book in the series, “Full Mortality,” published. But when it did come out, it was nominated for both Agatha and Macavity Best First Book Awards.
Your website states you are an “amateur jockey”.  How did you get into that and what’s it like?
When I took riding lessons as a kid and as a teenager, I always loved speed. I loved to gallop, and I loved to jump. Naturally, I progressed to the Point to Point races held by Maryland and Virginia hunt clubs. I won a point to point near Annapolis, MD, placed in others, and my biggest win was at the Potomac Hunt races in Maryland, over the big four-foot, solid timber fences. Never been so scared, so thrilled, or so proud in my life!
Tell us about your new “Fia McKee” series for St. Martin’s.
Fia McKee is thirty-two, a former Baltimore police officer, on suspension when the first book opens. Because her father was a horse trainer, and because she knows the business so well, including how to exercise a race horse, she is useful to the Thoroughbred Racing Protective Bureau (TRPB). The TRPB is a real US agency, headquartered in Fair Hill, MD, and I met the President and Vice President of the agency for several hours and, a year later had them read my book for authenticity. Fia had to be believable as a TRPB agent. They gave me a green light and my new agent got me a contract with St. Martins for a two-book deal.
How do you “get to know” your characters before and while you’re writing the books?
I always start a “character” file. Everyone of importance in the novel ends up listed in alpha order, with a short paragraph that describes them. The more important characters end up with longer paragraphs. Some of their traits are born in this file, but more are born as I write the novel. Then I copy and paste those important written-in-the-novel traits into the character file, to remind myself of their particular idiosyncrasies.
The reason I know my protagonists, Nikki and Fia so well is because they do things, fear things, love things, and find humor in the same things that I would.
How do you construct your plots? Do you outline or do you write “by the seat of your pants”?
I outline as much as I can.
Which do you consider more important, plot or character?
Character.
What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced as a writer and what inspires you and keeps you motivated?
Creating a plot. That’s the hardest part for me. Setting, dialogue, character are so much easier for me than plot. I am even taking yet another plot course with author Simon Wood this spring. Once I really know, on that gut “aha” level that I’ve got my plot, the rest is easy. It’s just a matter of putting in the time at the keyboard.
Do you have an “How I got my agent” story you want to share?
I’d parted ways with two agents by the time “Full Motality” was published by the small Maryland publisher, Wildside Press. When I got the Agatha nomination, one of my mentors wrote me and told me I had to get a good agent, had to move ahead with my career and find a bigger publisher for my work. She told me to query agents saying I was at a “crossroads.” I did and landed a very good agent who got me the two book deal with St. Martins.
What are you working on now and what are your future writing plans?
I want to write a third Fia McKee novel, but because my current contract is only for two books, I’ve started a murder mystery about a seventeen year old girl who is born into an American Irish Traveler family. Travelers are a fascinating culture of flamboyant scam artists. An extremely insular society, the children rarely stay in school past the eighth grade. Many youngsters are bound by signed marriage contracts, and some girls marry as early as eleven. Since the nation’s largest group of Travelers lives in Murphy Village, about 40 minutes from my home in Aiken, I drove to their compound and took a look around. Large McMansions were being built with money from their cash-only endeavors of driveway paving, tree trimming, house painting and other odd jobs.
The Traveler men drive out of state, and are famous for scams like charging a lower price for your driveway because they “happen” to have a load of asphalt from another job. They lay down a new driveway, take your money and are gone. Since the only paper ID you saw was false, along with fake MVA tags, good luck getting a refund when your substandard driveway crumbles and cracks a month later. How, I thought, could these people not make a fabulous background for a murder mystery!
In a perfect world, I’ll finish this book, the new two-book series will sell well, and I’ll get to write more Fia books.      

What advice do you have to offer to an aspiring author?
Keep going
What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done?
Blown through a stop sign at 90 miles an hour, crossing a four lane highway in the middle of the night as a sixteen year old.
What’s one thing your readers would be surprised to find out about you?
I used to drive my GTO between ninety and one-hundred-twenty miles an hour on 83 between DC and Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster, PA. My classmates won’t be surprised, but I think my readers might be.
What question do you wish interviewers would ask? (And what’s the answer?)
Why do you love horses?  Because they are mystical, spiritual animals that touch my heart like no other.
 If you entered the witness protection program and had to start over, what job would you want to do?
Working in one of the programs that are using horses to help our wounded warriors with PTSD
What would you love to have a never ending supply of?
Good health.
Whats the last tv show that made you laugh?
“Breaking Bad.”
What store could you browse in for hours?
Nordstroms

Just for Fun:
Night or Day?  .Day
Dog or Cat? (answer carefully)  Both
Beach or Pool?   Beach
Steak or salad?  Steak
Favorite Drink?  Woodford Reserve bourbon.
Favorite Book?
“The Far Pavillions”
Favorite TV Series?
“Special Victims Unit”
Favorite Movie? 
“Working Girl.”
Favorite Actor:
Matthew McConaughey

Folks you can catch up with Sasscer at:
http://SasscerHill.com/   Facebook http://tinyurl.com/j66dq5o   Twitter: @SasscerHill https://www.amazon.com/author/sasscerhill        



Saturday, April 15, 2017

Lena Gregory in the Hotseat!

Meow my guest this weekend is author Lena Gregory!


Bio: Lena lives in a small town on the south shore of eastern Long Island with her husband and three children. When she was growing up, she spent many lazy afternoons on the beach, in the yard, anywhere she could find to curl up with a good book. She loves reading as much now as she did then, but she now enjoys the added pleasure of creating her own stories.

  • Welcome Lena! Tell us a little about your Bay Island Psychic series!   How did that idea come about?  
Bay Island Psychic Mysteries is my first cozy series. After a string of unfortunate events, Cass Donovan leaves her psychiatric practice in New York City to return to her hometown of Bay Island. She opens a psychic shop on the boardwalk and sets out to enjoy a peaceful, uneventful life. Though she’s not actually psychic, years of psychiatric training allow her to “read” people with a fair degree of accuracy. As the series progresses, a number of unexplained events have Cass questioning her assessment of her abilities.

The initial idea for Death at First Sight came from an ongoing debate in my house over whether or not ghosts are real. My daughter and I firmly believe in ghosts and in some other existence beyond our own. My husband and older son do not. I visited a psychic I found to be remarkably accurate, yet my husband still wasn’t swayed. So, I thought it would be fun to bring that debate to my characters. Stephanie believes very strongly in ghosts and fully believes Cass is psychic. Bee, on the other hand, swears he doesn’t believe in anything otherworldly. Cass doesn’t know what she believes, though she’s forced to examine it more closely as the series progresses. Initially, though, she does not believe she’s psychic. She’s just extremely intuitive, and she enjoys helping people. Working as a psychic allows her to use her talents to help her clients.

·       Have you any interest in the occult yourself?
 I’m actually very interested in the occult. I have had several incidents throughout my life that leave me believing there is something more than most of us can see, hear or touch. I had a psychic reading once from a woman I found to be remarkably accurate, so I also believe some people are able to tap into that energy.
  • What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced as a writer and what inspires you and keeps you motivated?
 My biggest challenge, so far, has been finding time to write! Real life often intrudes on my quiet time, and I find it difficult to write while my house is full of chaos. Readers keep me motivated. I love creating stories, and every time I hear from someone who enjoyed a story I wrote, it really makes my day.

  • What are you working on now and what are your future writing plans?
 Right now, I’m working on the second book in a new cozy series, The All-Day Breakfast Café. The first book in the series, Scone Cold Killer, is due to release in January 2018. I hope to continue writing cozies. I love the characters and the small town settings, and I really enjoy plotting out the twists and turns of a murder mystery.

  • What is a typical workday for you and how many hours a day (or week) do you devote to writing?
 Once I get my two boys out to school, I go to work for about four hours, then I start working on any manuscripts I have in edits. After that, I try to sit and write for an hour or so before they get home. Usually, I do most of my writing at night, ranging anywhere from a couple of hours a week to as many as thirty or more hours depending on how close I am to my deadline and how much of the book is written.

  • Plotter or Pantser?
 I started out as a pantser. I’d just sit down and write whatever came to mind. I loved the twists and turns in the plot and the surprises that would inevitably pop up. The only problem was, I sometimes wrote myself into a corner that way. And forget word count. My first book came in at almost a hundred thousand words! When I was about halfway through Death at First Sight, I had to give in and plot the rest. Although, the killer did come as a surprise at the end. Now, I’d have to say I’m a hybrid. I do still enjoy writing whatever comes to mind, but now I have at least a rough outline of the basic story.
  • Do you have any pets of your own?
 Right now, we have three dogs. A Golden Retriever, a Weimaraner, and an Australian Shepherd.

  • What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done?
 I actually can’t think of anything. I tend to be extremely impulsive at times, but I can’t say I’ve ever done anything too crazy.

  • What’s one thing your readers would be surprised to find out about you?
 I am an incurable insomniac. I hate sleeping, and I rarely sleep more than a few hours each night.

  • What question do you wish interviewers would ask? (And what’s the answer?)
 How did Beast come to be? I love Beast, a Leonberger puppy who manages to get into all sorts of trouble. I love big dogs, and have had at least one, and as many as three at time, for about thirty years. Beast is a combination of all of those dogs, and some of the mischief he gets into is based on true stories.


What’s your favorite thing to have for lunch?
 A Caesar wrap.

  • Do you collect anything?
Dragons. I’m a huge fan of dragons.
  • If you entered the witness protection program and had to start over, what job would you want to do?
Either a writer, a dance teacher, or a choreographer.

  • What is your most annoying habit?
 I type while I’m looking at and talking to someone. It drives my daughter and husband nuts.
  • What would you love to have a never ending supply of?
 Chocolate!
 What store could you browse in for hours?
 Any book store!
 Thank you so much for having me!

Find out more about Lena at:

Lena will give away a signed copy of the first Bay Island Psychic Mystery, Death at First Sight, to one random commenter who answers the following question. Do you believe in ghosts?
To enter, leave your answer with your email address in our comments section.  Contest ends midnight, April 19.



Saturday, April 8, 2017

ROCCO welcomes author Mary Ellis


Mary Ellis has written twenty-one novels. Her debut book, A Widow’s Hope, was nominated for a 2010 Carol Award. Living in Harmony, won the 2012 Lime Award for Excellence in Amish Fiction while Love Comes to Paradise won the 2013 Lime Award. She is currently writing Secrets of the South Mysteries. Book one, Midnight on the Mississippi, was a finalist for the RT Magazine’s Reviewer’s Choice Award, and a finalist for Daphne Du Maurier for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense. Her current book is Sunset in Old Savannah.  


R:Welcome Mary! Tell us a little about your background!
M:Thanks ROCCO. I used to teach school; I worked as a law firm assistant, and I was a part time sales rep. for Hershey Chocolate. They were great jobs, but I like being a full time writer best!
R:Tell us a bit about your Secrets of the South mysteries. Where did that idea come from?
M: My husband and I are visiting cities and towns throughout the South to find one to retire to. I’m also finding wonderful locations to set my mysteries.
R:Tell us about your latest release:
M: My latest release (April 1st) is Sunset in Old Savannah. In Savannah, everyone has something to hide. Investigative partners and best friends Michael Preston and Elizabeth Kirby are hired by a wealthy socialite to do surveillance on her wayward husband. When the husband turns up dead, the socialite becomes the police’s chief suspect. Mike and Beth must follow the clues through the historic town with more secrets than branches of moss-draped oaks. The duo uncovers a hodgepodge of potential murderers, including a scheming business partner, a resentful mistress, and a ne'er-do-well brother. As praise of their agency gets around, Mike and Beth must hire investigator Kaitlyn Webb to ease the workload. But will ghosts of Kate’s past threaten everyone's safety before a killer can be put behind bars?
R: How do you “get to know” your characters before and while you’re writing the books?
M: I try to find an actor or singer that looks like the character I’m picturing during the research/plotting stage. Then I hang those pictures on the wall above my desk while I’m writing.
R:How do you construct your plots? Do you outline or do you write “by the seat of your pants”?
M: This could be an hour-long workshop….but basically I decide on the number of chapters based on the word count of the book. After developing my characters and the basic story, I plot chapter by chapter, starting with the turning point chapters, the end and the beginning first.
R:Which do you consider more important, plot or character?
M:Character. If your characters don’t draw in the reader, they won’t get too far along in the plot.
R:What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced as a writer and what inspires you and keeps you motivated?
M:Trying to balance promotional time with writing time is the biggest challenge.
R:Do you have a “How I got my agent” story you want to share?
M: I met my agent at the Romance Writers’ of America conference. I recommend conferences for writers seeking agents.
R:What are you working on now and what are your future writing plans?
M: I’m finishing a mystery set in the beautiful city of Charleston, South Carolina. Then I plan to start a mystery in Pensacola, Florida. I love my series, Secrets of the South Mysteries.
R:Plotter or Pantser?
M: I am a plotter, in as much as I develop a skeletal outline of chapters before I begin writing. But as I write each scene, I usually fly by the seat of my pants.
R:What advice do you have to offer to an aspiring author?
M:Work hard and never stop improving your work. This is a very tough business.
R:What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done?
M: Once I went snorkeling in the Bahamas in the middle of a school of jellyfish.
R: If you entered the witness protection program and had to start over, what job would you want to do?
M:I guess that would be a nanny to a mega-rich family living abroad.
R:What would you love to have a never ending supply of?
M: Energy. Since I have two autoimmune disorders, I would love to have more get-up-and-go.
R:What store could you browse in for hours?
M:Macy’s. I’m a department store kind of gal.
Just for Fun:
Night or Day?  .Definitely day! I’m usually falling asleep by nine o’clock.
Dog or Cat? (answer carefully)  I own one of each and pretty much always have. I live in the country and strays often wander up my driveway. My cat is named Barney, and I attached his picture.
Beach or Pool?   Well, I love to walk the beach but swim in pools. When I do occasionally swim in the ocean, the thought of sharks is never too far from my mind.
Steak or salad?  I’m a steak person, but I eat salad more often. (Does that even make sense??) Steak doesn’t seem like an everyday type of food.
Favorite Drink?  Coffee
Favorite Book?  Little Women by Louisa Mae Alcott
Favorite TV Series?  Elementary
Favorite Movie?  Oh, that’s too tough to answer since I’m a regular movie goer.
Favorite Actor: I have many, but I love how Leonardo DiCaprio has matured into a serious actor over the years. I also adore Antonio Banderas, Jimmy Smits, and Javier Barden (do you see a pattern here?)
Favorite Actress: Again, a tough one. But I absolutely adore Lucy Liu!
Dirty Martini or Pina Colada? Since I’m trying to lose a few pounds, I’ll take the dirty martini with extra olives. A pina colada has about a trillion calories in it.
Hawaii or Alaska? Definitely, Hawaii! I am the world’s biggest freeze-baby.
Finish this sentence:  If I could meet anyone in the world, past or present, it would be Bono of the rock band, U-2.
If I had just one wish, it would be to spend next winter with my husband someplace (any place!) warm.
If I could trade places with anyone in the world, it would be: Mrs. Dale Earnhardt Jr. I’m a fan of Nascar Racing.

Thanks for a great interview, Mary!


Mary will give away a signed print copy of Sunset in Old Savannah to one lucky reader!  To enter, leave a comment with your contact information below. ). For extra entries, you can do any or all of the below:


* Follow my blog (+ 1 point)
* Follow me on Twitter (+ 1 point) (Link: https://twitter.com/RoccoBlogger)
* Tweet about the contest (+ 1 point)
* Friend me on Facebook (+ 1 point) (Link: https://www.facebook.com/ToniLotempio)#!/
* Mention the contest on Facebook (+ 1 point)
* Mention the contest on your blog (+ 1 point)

Winner will be chosen at random using random.org.  Don’t forget to mention all you’ve done in your comment. Good luck! Contest ends midnight, April 15!