Guest Author Irina Shapiro

irinashapiro_new_author_pic_05162015-300x300Today we’ve invited author Irina Shapiro to tell us about her new series. Irina was born in Moscow, Russia. In 1982 her family immigrated to the United States and settled in New York. After graduating from Bernard M. Baruch College, Irina first worked in advertising, and then in Import/Export as a Logistics Manager. She left her job in 2007 to focus on her autistic son, and began to write. Since then Irina has written more than twenty novels. She lives in New Jersey with her husband and two children.

The-Lovers-Echoes-From-The-Past-Kindle-EditionI always tend to hesitate when people ask me, “What genre do you write?” probably because what I write doesn’t fit into any specific category. My books can be described as romance, historical fiction, mystery, and even time travel. I have so many different ideas, I want to incorporate them all into my books and interweave them in a way that’s new and unique. So why limit myself?

My new series, Echoes from the Past, is marketed as archeological mysteries and time travel, but that’s oversimplifying things. There’s romance, past and present, a genealogical puzzle that concerns the murky and unexpected origins of my main character, archeologist Dr. Quinn Allenby, and there’s just a little bit of the supernatural. You see, Quinn was born with a gift, or a curse, depending on what day you ask her. She can see into the past when holding an object that once belonged to someone who’s now deceased. Of course, as an archeologist, there’s no greater gift than tothe forgotten be able to get a glimpse into the lives of those who came before us, but as a woman, reliving the passions, disappointments, and heartbreak of those unfortunates can take its toll.

When Quinn signs on to do a BBC program entitled Echoes from the Past, she must delve into the lives of people whose remains have been discovered buried in unexpected places and suggest foul play. It’s up to Quinn to reconstruct how a young 17th century couple wound up in a locked chest, and died face to face, as if sharing a final kiss, or how a 14th century mother and child came to be buried naked and face-down on the fringes of a leper cemetery, a practice meant to punish and humiliate, even in death.The Unforgiven

In the third installment of the series, Quinn travels to New Orleans in search of her biological father. There, she hopes to finally learn where her gift came from and to discover if there might be others who share her unusual ability. As Quinn delves into the life of Madeleine Besson, a Southern belle who was seemingly erased from history at the onset of the Civil War, Quinn finds the answers she is seeking at last, but unearthing long-buried secrets comes with a price. When Quinn blithely strolls into the trap of a killer, she must fight to save herself and her unborn child, or unwittingly become just another echo from the past.

The Forsaken eCover

The Unforgiven (Echoes from the Past Book 3) is now available for purchase. And look for the next installment of the series, The Forsaken, which will take you into the complicated political struggle that was the Wars of the Roses.

Who is Stephanie Queen?

(Not quite up there with “Who is John Galt?” as far as literary references go, but give me time.)
To begin with, my literary career began with an elephant story in second grade inspired by nuns back when nuns used to wear those very intimidating—I mean inspirational—habits.
You could say that I’ve had enough time already (to become as famous as John Galt) (I see many of you scratching your heads wondering who the heck is John Galt— that’s the point), but I’ve done a few other things between second grade and now, XX years later (XX refers to a forever undisclosed number who’s divulgence is punishable by…something—maybe I’ll consult with those nuns on that).

The story goes like this:
Long ago and far away (not too far, but not down the street either), little Stephanie princess, who wore pink and ruffles…and also liked to climb trees and beat up the neighborhood boys (she was a renaissance princess), didn’t necessarily feel like she fit in. Actually, she thought she was a real princess, misplaced. So she created her own royal world inside her head. And thus it began.

Flash forward XX years later (once again, do not even spend a molecule of curiosity on how many years XX refers to because you will never, ever, never know. By royal decree.) and Stephanie Princess has grown up to Stephanie Queen and has been thanking her lucky stars and those nuns for her landing in this Queendom of story writing for her career.

What did she do in all those XX intervening years you ask?
She did plenty. After all, she needed some experiences to write about, even though she makes all her stories up. Wait, that makes no sense. What was all that experience for anyway? Oh, you say maybe the emotions are real. Sure. I’ll go with that. I/She had to go through life and experience emotions in order to share them on the page with her readers.

So here are some of those emotional experiences:
Stephanie Queen was a college co-ed at UConn (go huskies!). She loved this experience so much she would have stayed there forever, except it’s not the kind of role you can do on a permanent basis. But she did take her college co-ed legacy with her. You’ll recognize her enthusiastic tone and her upbeat storylines with happy endings born of the relentless cheerfulness honed as a UConn cheerleader. (Go Huskies!)
Stephanie got married and had two robust handsome sons who are now fabulously take-over-the world-ambitious (but not in an evil villain way). Her sons help with concocting the “flawed” heroes in her stories.
Stephanie held many different jobs and careers ranging from Keebler elf/cookie sales girl to Math teacher (I was voted the least serious math teacher ever to factor a polynomial).

One thing Stephanie is not into: routine. Not even when I want to be. The only routines I can handle are dance routines. The only schedules I can follow are marked by loud bells via intercom. But that’s a good thing. My compulsion to mix it up in life translates to lots of plot twists in my stories and a dearth of boring middles—so someone told me. Okay, it was my editor who mentioned this.

And here I am.

The Throwbacks

Welcome to the Queendom of Stephanie Queen where lighthearted romance mixes with mystery in story worlds you never want to leave (but I will let you leave—it’s not a prison or anything). I’m lucky to be one of the storefronts at Authors on Main Street, a neighborhood of fabulous and kindly tolerant romance authors.
p.s. I do NOT write fairy tales about princesses and frogs. Where would anyone get that idea anyway?

Check out The Throwbacks, book 1 of the Scotland Yard Exchange Program series, a romantic comedy mystery available now at Amazon or Barnes and Noble. Book 2, The Hot Shots, will be out this summer.

Writing about Texas, Y’all

Welcome to the Main Street Authors’ blog. My name is Tori Scott and I’m from Texas. Could you guess from the title of this post? I love being a Main Street author because I live outside of a small town in East Texas that is designated a Main Street Town. The town itself only has 3700 residents and the nearest big city is Dallas, more than fifty miles away. Out here in the country, you tend to do a lot of your shopping on Main Street. You get to know the store owners, and they get to know you. We have the pharmacy that’s been around since the 1880’s, the local insurance guy, the barbershop that still has a striped pole. We had the oldest family owned theater in Texas, but it finally shut down a few months ago. I miss it. The guy used to count people as they came in with one of those hand-held counters.

I could go to Dallas to shop, and I do occasionally when what I’m looking for can’t be found in town, but I like the intimate feel of shopping locally, and I like supporting local business. If I (and others like me) don’t support them, they’ll go away and soon I won’t have many shopping choices. That’s also why I support Indie authors by buying their books and sharing tweets and Facebook posts about them with my friends. I don’t want to see the Indie authors go away. Most need my purchase (and the purchases of many others) so they can afford to keep writing, to keep bringing me stories that the big New York publishers swear won’t sell. Well, shows how much they know because I’ve seen many Indie authors who sell very well, and there are many whose stories I love.

I’m a very critical reader because I’ve been around the writing community for a while. I’ve taken classes and workshops on writing, and I even have 12 master’s-level hours in Creative Writing. But even as a critical reader, I’ve found that many, many of the Indie authors are as good as, and some better than, the traditionally published authors. They don’t self-publish because they aren’t good enough. They self-publish because it’s the fastest and easiest way to bring their stories to the marketplace, because it gives them control over their stories, their book covers, and their career.

Just like being a business owner in a small town doesn’t mean you couldn’t make your business successful in Dallas, being an Indie author doesn’t mean you couldn’t be successful in New York. Some of us just prefer to be a big fish in a small pond rather than a small fish in a big pond.

So what about you? Do you live in a small town, big city, or out in the country like me? Do you prefer to shop at the malls and big box retailers, or do you like shopping in a small privately owned boutique?

Lone Star Justice is set in a fictionalized version of my small town.

Judge Madelyn Cooper never shows signs of weakness, but when
a killer threatens her daughter’s life, Maddie does what any mother would do. She runs to the one place where her daughter will be safe. That place is her home town of Greendale, Texas, where everyone knows their neighbors. But do they, really?

Rand McCade is determined to keep Greendale safe. As
Sheriff, he promised there would be no repeats of the horrible day when his
parents were murdered. Now Maddie is back, bringing trouble with her once
again. And this time, she has a daughter. His daughter.

As a psychopath sets his sights on Maddie, Rand and Maddie
must figure out who is after her, and why, before someone else ends up dead.

You can find Lone Star Justice or any of my other books on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Smashwords, Apple, Sony, Kobo and Diesel. There are buy links on my blog at http://toriscott.blogspot.com or you can go to my author page at amazon.com/author/toriscott

We hope you all will keep coming back to see what’s new on Main Street. Don’t forget to comment all month for a chance to win the big prize at the end of the month.