Friday, August 30, 2013

Exorcising Aaron Nguyen by Lauren Harris‏


Lauren is a fantasy writer, voice actress, and the co-creator of 2012 Parsec Finalist, Pendragon Variety Podcast for aspiring writers of genre fiction, where she is known as "Scribe."

Her voice acting can be heard on Audible.com as well as fiction podcasts such as EscapePod, The Dunesteef Audio Fiction Magazine, and The Drabblecast B-Sides.

Though she spent three years living in Tokyo, she currently resides in a renovated tobacco shed in rural North Carolina, where she is pleased to have running water, wifi, and all her teeth.

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Podcast - Pendragon Variety - A Genre Writing Podcast


The murder of Millroad Catholic Academy's resident genius, Aaron Nguyen, shuts down student life at the boarding school in rural North Carolina...for about a week. With the resilience of youth, the student body bounces back, and the memory of murder is nothing but a streamer of caution tape fluttering in the breeze.

Unfortunately for them, Aaron's spirit has some resilience as well. Despite the priest's attempted exorcism, Aaron's ghost is soon breathing chills down the students' necks and hurling bunsen burners at nuns.

Georgia Collins doesn't give a shit about ghosts. All she wants is a story to prove her underground school news blog is more than a gossip column, closure on her one-sided relationship with her best friend Hiroki, and a vanilla latte. She wasn't expecting Aaron Nguyen's death to be anything more than a cold spot in the science hall, but since Hiroki has the curse of Spectral Sight, he is the only person who can see and speak to Aaron.

As the ghost’s demands for attention become increasingly violent, Hiroki enlists Georgia to help him investigate the crime, claiming that Aaron isn’t likely to move on until his killers are caught. Still hoping for spontaneous romantic combustion, she agrees to help bring Aaron's murderers to justice and set the vengeful spirit free...but it's not quite the close encounter she's hoping for.


Q) What inspired you to write this story? 
This story was a total surprise for me in some ways, and very deliberate in others. First off, I’m a first-class fraidy cat and probably would not have consciously decided to create a story that involved ghosts--that part crept from the dark corners of my subconscious and clawed its way onto the page. I usually write straight-up fantasy and don’t work much in modern settings, but I decided to pursue the story to stretch myself as a writer, and ended up really having fun writing modern dialogue.

Other elements of the story were deliberate. Having them go to a catholic school, setting it in North Carolina, and making Georgia have a mad raging crush on her best friend. Also, Georgia herself. One of my writing-group friends, and the cover model for EAN, is a beautiful plus-sized young woman who had recently voiced her frustration with being unable to find full-figured heroines where the story wasn’t, you know, about them being fat. Or finding love despite being fat. Or whatever. So I wanted to give her a kick-butt heroine who, while not shying away from struggles with her own self-image, starred in a story about life, death, friendship, and the beyond.

Q) How long did it take you to write? 
The first draft of EXORCISING AARON NGUYEN was titled BULL-RUSHING THE GHOST, and I was writing it between revisions on a longer novel. I think it probably took me three weeks to a month (it’s only 23k; I am not Jack Keroac). The second draft, on the other hand...well, I rewrote all but two scenes, so that took me maybe two more weeks, give or take. Of course, I was only working part-time, so take that as you will.

Q) What is your favorite thing about writing?
You know that moment when you’re writing and a new element of worldbuilding or characterization just comes to you, and it’s like you’re connected to some greater source of understanding that sends along the perfect detail to tie everything together and make seemingly disparate parts of your story work? And then you feel like a genius? But also kind of like you’ve cheated because you didn’t really plan it that way all along? But no one will ever know? Yeah, that.

Q) What is your least favorite thing about writing?
Getting stuck on revisions.

Q) If you could be any famous person for one day, who would you be and why?
Jared Padalecki. Because I want to know what it’s like to be so tall...

Q) What is the oldest thing in your fridge and how old is it?
What’s the oldest thing in my fridge right now or what’s the oldest thing that’s been discovered in my fridge ever, because… Umeboshi. We’ll go with umeboshi. I’ve had a big jar of umeboshi that I bought about two years ago because I was making rice-balls, but I was the only one who liked them, so I ate a bunch of them and then...forgot they were in there. Then they just sort of became part of the scenery in the fridge. I mean, they’re pickled. They don’t really go bad, right? Right? They smell okay. I just ate one, so I’ll let you know.

Q) What can readers expect from you in the future?
Well, I will be continuing with the Millroad Academy Exorcists series, which I plan on making into four novellas. Look for book two, THE GIRL IN ACID PARK, some time in early 2014. I also have a number of fantasy novels, one I’m shopping with agents, one I’m writing the rough draft of, and one I will be writing the second draft of once the previously-stated first-draft book is marinating in a drawer. Anyone who’s interested in my writing or my voice acting can check out the various pages on my blog, which I keep updated with my publications, voice acting & narration, and my works-in-progress.

Stonewiser by Dora Machado


Dora Machado is the award winning author of the Stonewiser series and her newest novel, The Curse Giver, from Twilight Times Books, available July 2013. She is one of the few Latinas exploring her heritage and her world through the epic fantasy genre today. She holds a master's degree in business administration and graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Georgetown University. She was born in Michigan and grew up in the Dominican Republic, where she developed a bilingual fascination for writing, a love for history, and a taste for Merengue. After a lifetime of straddling such compelling but different worlds, fantasy is a natural fit to her stories. She enjoys long walks, traveling, and connecting with the amazing readers who share in her mind's adventures. She lives in Florida with her indulging husband and three very opinionated cats.

To learn more about Dora Machado and her novels, visit her website at www.doramachado.com

Subscribe to her blog at http://www.doramachado.com/blog/ , sign up for her newsletter at http://doramachado.com/newsletter.php and follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

About Dora Machado's Novels:

Dora Machado is the award winning author of the Stonewiser trilogy and her newest novel, The Curse Giver. She is one of the few Latinas exploring her heritage and her world through the epic fantasy genre today. Her first novel, Stonewiser: The Heart of the Stone, won the 2009 Benjamin Franklin award for best debut novel. Her second novel, Stonewiser: The Call of the Stone, won the 2010 Independent Publishers Book Award's (IPPY) Gold Medal for Best Science Fiction/Fantasy book of the year. Her third novel, Stonewiser: The Lament of the Stone, won the 2012 Independent Publishers Book Award's (IPPY) Silver Medal for Best Science Fiction/Fantasy book of the year. All three novels were finalists in ForeWord Magazine's Book of the Year Award in the Science Fiction and Fantasy Category. Her latest novel, The Curse Giver from Twilight Times Books is available July 2013.

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Winner of the 2009 Benjamin Franklin Award for best Debut Novel

Finalist for 2009 Foreword Book of the Year Award for SFF

Between truth and deception, between justice and abuse, a stonewiser stands alone with the stones. Or so begins the stonewiser's oath. But what happens when a rebellious stonewiser discovers that lies have tainted the stone tales?

In a world devastated by the rot's widespread destruction, only the tales preserved in the stones can uphold the truth and defend the Goodlands. In this world, stone truth is valued above anyone's word, and stonewisers are the only ones capable of retrieving the tales from the stones, the only link between past and present, order and chaos.

Sariah is the most gifted stonewiser of her generation, but her talent does not atone for her shortcomings. A survivor of the Guild's brutal training, she is curious, willful and disobedient. Yet not even Sariah is prepared for what she finds when she steals into the Guild's Sacred Vaults: A mayhem of lies and intrigues that shatters her world.

Hunted, persecuted, and betrayed, Sariah must make an unlikely alliance with Kael, a cynical rebel leader pledged to a mysterious quest of his own. The fate of their dying world depends on their courage to overcome centuries of hatred and distrust. But not even the grueling journey has prepared them for what they are about to discover. Because nothing is really as it seems, and the truth is more intricate and devastating than they ever suspected....



Winner of the 2010 Independent Publisher (IPPY) Gold Medal for SF/F

Finalist for the 2010 ForeWord Book of the Year Award for SF/F

Sariah's reward for revealing the stone truth: a death sentence.

The executioners have arrived and Sariah, the most powerful and controversial stonewiser of her generation, has been judged and condemned to death. For the last few months, Sariah has been hiding in the Rotten Domain, trying to find the elusive tale capable of uniting a divided people teetering on the brink of a catastrophic war. As she is dragged to the nets, where an eel rave has been stirred to maximize her execution's gruesome spectacle, Sariah knows she cannot escape her sentence. She is guilty of the crimes for which she's been condemned and no one, not even Kael, the Domain's foremost rebel leader, can save her from the executioners' righteous justice.

But Kael is more than just a formidable warrior; he is also a cunning strategist and Sariah's steadfast lover. Risking all he has, he bargains with the greedy executioners, bribing them into delaying Sariah's execution, buying her precious time and a last chance to realize the mysterious legacy that the stones have imposed on her. The agreement is hardly a reprieve. It encourages a mob to hunt Sariah for ransom, banishing her from the Rotten Domain and imposing heavy fines on anyone who tries to help her. Worse, it requires her to wear an irremovable, mysterious bracelet. If she doesn't return to the executioners with the tale in hand when the allotted time expires, Kael and his kin will be ruined and the bracelet will kill her.

Hunted by the executioners, the Guild and the Shield, Sariah and Kael embark on a desperate search. Their journey will take them to the depths of the Rotten Domain, where Sariah must wise a guiding beam out of the wild tale stored in a stone-carved game. The beam will lead them through the warring Goodlands—where the rot is on the move—to the land beyond the Bastions, where a zealous people guard an ancient stone that could hold the key to their search. Along the way, Sariah and Kael must overcome deadly traps, torture, heartbreak, agonizing defeat and devastating losses in a desperate attempt to avoid war and answer the mysterious call of the stone.



"Do you know why the stones grieve?" the woman said to Kael. "Not for a soul, I'll tell you that much. The stones don't grieve for the passing of a lowly woman or the madness of a smitten man. They don't mourn death, or lost love, or broken dreams, or loneliness or despair. Yet you will make them wail. For you, the stones will weep."

In their most perilous adventure yet, Sariah, the rogue stonewiser who stunned the world by discovering lies in the stones and defying the all-powerful Guild, and Kael, the rebel leader who against all odds loves her, must find a stolen child, the only one capable of setting rule upon chaos, preserving the future of stonewising, and defeating the rot ravaging the land. The stakes couldn't be higher. The coveted child they seek is said to be an abomination. He is also their son.

It's a daunting challenge. Their child is in the hands of a deceitful enemy who has fled to a mysterious ruler, a rival deity with unfathomable powers pledged to destroy the goddess and eradicate stonewising from the world. Worse yet, the land is engulfed in strife, the rot is spreading faster than ever, and Kael is haunted by a malevolent curse compelling him to kill the woman he loves.

In a dangerous journey fraught with shocking twists, Sariah and Kael must do more than defeat their foes, unravel the mystifying forces vying to control their lives, and discover the mysteries of ages past. They must challenge the stones, defy the goddess and confront their cursed fates. Because only by embracing their destinies do they stand a chance to save their child and their world.


The Sensor Series by Susan Illene‏


Instead of making the traditional post high school move and attending college, Susan joined the U.S. Army. She spent her eighteenth birthday in the gas chamber...an experience she is sure is best left for criminals. For eleven years she served first as a human resources specialist and later as an Arabic linguist (mostly in Airborne units). Though all her duty assignments were stateside, she did make two deployments to Iraq where her language skills were put to regular use.

After leaving the service in 2009, Susan returned to school to study history with a focus on the Middle East. She no longer finds many opportunities to test her fighting abilities in real life, unless her husband is demanding she cook him a real meal, but she's found a new outlet in writing urban fantasy heroines who can.

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Melena Sanders faced her fair share of danger with insurgents and terrorists when she served in the U.S. Army, but now she is about to go up against a new threat. Her best friend, Aniya, has disappeared while on a trip to Fairbanks, Alaska—a supernatural haven. Most humans have no idea darker races lurk amongst them. Mel knows better. If she wants to get her friend back, she’s going to have to go in alone—but not unarmed.

Melena has a few special skills the Army didn’t provide, but the odds are still against her. She’s got to come up with a plan fast that doesn’t involve her, or her friend, dying. But danger likes to play it rough. A war for power is about to rise in Fairbanks and if she wants to get Aniya back, she’s going to have to step right into the middle of it.




Melena Sanders has managed to avoid all things inhuman for most of her life, but after coming to Fairbanks, Alaska to rescue her best friend from supernaturals she hasn’t been allowed to leave. That is, until her long-time nemesis comes to collect a favor she owes him. Lucas might be half angel, but he’s all bad as far as she’s concerned.

Paying him back might get her out of town for a while, but her new destination will be anything but enjoyable. Mel’s got to help the nephilim take care of a demon possession outbreak in Juneau. Although something like this hasn’t happened for thousands of years, Lucas is certain Melena’s rare abilities are the key to solving the problem.

With violence in the capital city growing, she’s going to have to figure out how to stop it fast before the trouble spreads to other places. Not only that, but working closely with Lucas is changing the dynamics of their hate-hate relationship—worrying her even more than the demons. Getting back to her captivity in Fairbanks never looked so good.


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Q) What inspired you to write this story? 
I wanted to write a book/series with a female veteran as the heroine. Though I have discovered some books more recently, at the time I hadn’t been able to find any military women as leads in urban fantasy. With my own experiences in the U.S. Army, I felt I could do the story justice. At the same time, I didn’t want a stone-cold heroine who could be mistaken for a robot like Hollywood often portrays them. That isn’t how we are in the real world and I wanted to show all the dimensions a female combat vet might have and how she could use her skills against supernatural forces (which was the fun part). It took some trial and error to find the right plot and setting, but once I got the idea down it flowed out really well while writing.

Q) How long did it take you to write? 
The rough draft took me about six months. I played with the manuscript for another year before deciding to finally publish it.

Q) What is your favorite thing about writing?
Exploring all the possibilities. It’s especially fun with fantasy because there are fewer limits.

Q) What is your least favorite thing about writing? 
Times where I know what needs to happen in the story, but the right words won’t come to me. It drives me nuts when it happens. One way to get out of the funk is to listen to music and zone out for awhile. That often helps.

Q) If you could be any famous person for one day, who would you be and why?
To be honest, I don’t think famous people have it any better than normal people. Not to mention they are watched much more closely by the public. I’m happy just being myself J

Q) What is the oldest thing in your fridge and how old is it? 
Ha, ha. I’d have to admit there’s a small jar of minced garlic that’s been in there for a couple of years now. It still looks fine…

Q) What can readers expect from you in the future?
More books in the Sensor Series for the near future and beyond that I’d like to write some sci-fi and contemporary romance novels.

How He Really Feels by Lisa Suzanne‏

Lisa Suzanne is a high school English teacher who lives at home in Arizona with her amazing husband and adorable yellow lab.

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Julianne Becker is desperately in love with her boss, Nick Matthews. She has daydreamed about him since the day she first met him a year earlier, but she is firmly stuck in the friend-zone until New Year’s Eve, when the game completely changes and she finds out how Nick really feels about her.

They embark on a sexy affair that’s everything Julianne ever dreamed of... except she can’t tell anyone about it. What will happen if anyone finds out about their secret relationship? And how will her lifelong best friend, Travis Miller, react when Julianne begins a relationship with someone who isn’t him? 


How He Really Feels is a novel that explores relationships and love between coworkers and friends. It contains some adult situations and is intended for mature readers.

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Q) What inspired you to write this story?
The song “Rest Stop” by Matchbox Twenty. There is a scene midway into the book that was inspired by that song, and I wanted to build an entire story around that one scene.

Q) How long did it take you to write?
It’s complicated! I started writing this story about fifteen years ago. I have always loved to write, and this one started on a yellow legal pad, handwritten! I typed it up at some point, and back in December 2012, I opened up the Word Document to see what it looked like. It was 36 pages (somewhere around 37,000 words), and it was the basic story but with very little detail. So I took the story and played with it, adding detail and description and scenes from December until April, and I ended up with the final published product you see today.

Q) What is your favorite thing about writing?
It’s such an escape to just start a story and see where the characters take me. It sounds so strange, but that’s kind of how it happens, and I love that part of it! Usually I know where I want to go with the story when I’m writing it, but the journey of getting there is my favorite part of writing.

Q) What is your least favorite thing about writing?
It is totally all-consuming and it’s hard to stop once I’ve started! So things get neglected… like laundry and mopping the floors.

Q) If you could be any famous person for one day, who would you be and why?
Adam Levine’s fiancée (for obvious reasons).

Q) What is the oldest thing in your fridge and how old is it?
Cream of Coconut. It’s at least five years old, and the expiration date rubbed off so I can’t read it. I went on the website, though, and apparently it’s fine and doesn’t actually expire. I tried making pina coladas a few weeks ago with it and no one got sick!

Q) What can readers expect from you in the future?

What He Really Feels (Book 2 in the He Feels Trilogy) is set for release on October 3. I’m working on the final book in the trilogy now. After He Feels is complete, I will be working on my next series, another contemporary romance. It follows three friends who go on a summer vacation. And I have another series already started that’s in the works after that!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

A Little Bit Scandalous by Robyn DeHart‏


A life-long lover of stories and adventure, it was either become a stuntwoman for the movies or live out those adventures from the safety of her PJ's and computer. Award-winning author, Robyn DeHart chose the latter and couldn't be happier for doing so. Known for her unique plotlines and authentic characters, Robyn is a favorite among readers and reviewers.

Publishers' Weekly claims her books as "sizzling romance" while the Chicago Tribune dubs her "wonderfully entertaining." Robyn is an award-winning author as well as being a four-time RT Bookclub Reviewers' Choice award nominee, and a three-time RomCon Reader's Crown nominee.

Look for Robyn's new trilogy on forbidden love coming from Entangled: A Little Bit Wicked (fall 2012), A Little Bit Sinful (spring 2013) and A Little Bit Scandalous (summer 2013).

Also in 2013, she'll launch a new historical romantic suspense series with NAL, the first in the series is The Secrets of Mia Danvers (2013).

Robyn lives in Texas with her brainy husband, two precocious little girls and two spoiled cats.

https://twitter.com/RobynDeHart
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http://pinterest.com/robynwtr/
http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/288853.Robyn_DeHart


A gambler in need of redemption

Monroe Grisham, Duke of Chanceworth, is determined to keep his beautiful young ward, Caroline Jellico, out of his life for her own good. Caroline is all grown up now, making it impossible for him to focus on anything but her presence. Hoping to put her out of sight, he leaves it up to his mother to find her a proper husband before he ruins Caroline himself.

A woman in search of a gamble

Mathematics prodigy, Caroline Jellico, is tired of waiting for the illusive Roe to notice she

A complicated game of seduction

When Roe and Caroline meet across the table, all bets are off. But this game takes more than skill, and the winner may take all but still lose everything.


Q) What inspired you to write this story?
It’s the third in a trilogy so I already had the hook established before writing the book. The series, Forbidden Love, is three stories with taboo elements to the couple’s relationship. In A Little Bit Wicked, the heroine is older than the hero, in A Little Bit Sinful, the heroine is above the hero’s social class because he is a bastard and in A Little Bit Scandalous, the hero is the heroine’s legal guardian. The ward/guardian hook is a tried and true hook for historicals but this was my first time to use it – I loved writing a couple who had a history together.

Q) How long did it take you to write?
Not long, but mostly because of tight deadlines. I prefer 3 months for my Entangled titles (they’re shorter) and more time for my longer books, but my deadlines don’t always work that way. I believe it took me 6 weeks to write the rough draft and another 2 weeks to revise it before sending it into my editors. Of course they always have revisions for me to so that’s added to the process as well.

Q) What is your favorite thing about writing? 
I absolutely love it when I’m writing and the hero and heroine have great chemistry and the dialogue is snappy and flowing. That’s my element – the dialogue, it’s where the story comes to life for me.

Q) What is your least favorite thing about writing? 
The blank page. I absolutely hate not knowing what to write. So if the characters aren’t talking or I’m stuck in the plot, then I’m stuck. It usually requires brainstorming to get me unstuck and moving again.

Q) If you could be any famous person for one day, who would you be and why?
I don’t know that I want to be anyone but me. Famous people look glamorous and rich, but so many of them have disastrous relationships or die tragically. I’d rather be in my own hectic, crazy life with my loud kids and my brainy husband and my spoiled cats with too much laundry and dishes in the sink. Though I wouldn’t mind having a housekeeper now and then. J

Q) What is the oldest thing in your fridge and how old is it?
HA! Great question. I’ll say it’s probably a jar of vinegar or salad dressing cause that stuff has an amazing shelf life.

Q) What can readers expect from you in the future?
In 2014 I have an anthology coming out with three novellas – Masquerading Mistresses. Here’s the announcement blurb from Publisher’s Marketplace:

An anthology set in the time where the mistress reigned supreme, yet for three beautiful women assuming the role of mistress is not glamorous, it’s necessary for survival and when three men who were not looking for mistresses come to know them, they find they will do anything to protect these women they can’t seem to forget.

And then I have another trilogy coming which is kind of my version of the Three Musketeers. And the second book in my Dangerous Liaisons series (my historical romantic suspense series about Jack the Ripper) comes out too.

Thanks so much for having me!

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Monday, August 26, 2013

His Haven‏ by Harper A. Brooks


Harper A. Brooks lives in a small town on the New Jersey shore and is currently a student on her way to a degree in English and in Secondary Education. Even as a young child, she has always surrounded herself with good literature, so it is no surprise that her love for reading and writing has expanded into all parts of her life. She is a dedicated softball coach, student, teacher, and friend who enjoys writing about fantastical worlds when she believes real life gets too mundane.

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Handsome and diligent Avrum Brenin should have died in the fire with his mother and older brother. Instead, he is saved by the powerful and wealthy immortal, Lord Henri. Placed under his care, Avrum shares in his world of endless splendors. He must do one thing in return—look after Haven, a human and Lord Henri's newest rescue.

The simple task proves to be more complicated than it seems. Haven is disobedient, ungrateful, and hostile, yet she is beautiful and mystifying at the same time. One night, when Avrum stumbles across Haven barely clothed and bound at the wrists, the world he has trusted in unravels before his eyes. He soon discovers that no one—from Lord Henri and Haven to his closest friend, Lysander—are who they seem to be.

Now faced with the truth, will Avrum choose to surrender to the man who rescued him, or will he have the courage to save the woman who captivated him?


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Q) What inspired you to write this story? 
A song actually. I was listening to the new Evanescence album, Open Door, and when the song “Snow White Queen” came on, His Haven seemed to flash across my without my control. I saw the characters, their interactions, and the conflicts between them. It was shocking but relieving as it all came together. The images were so strong, I knew I had to write down my ideas. After that, I was obsessed with creating the story.

Q) How long did it take you to write? 
Oh my... His Haven took me a LONG time to finish. I started it in high school. That was over seven years ago. It was put on the back burner for a while though. I started other projects, wrote other novels, explored different genres. I didn't come back to it until two years ago. It has been written and rewritten more times than I can count. His Haven was definitely a struggle to get done, but it did! I am so happy with the outcome too.

Q) What is your favorite thing about writing? 
I love how writing challenges me. I am always trying to experiment with different genres, writing styles, and characters. My comfort zone is writing long novels in the genres of historical romance or paranormal romance. Recently, I've tried writing novellas, shorter pieces, and contemporary romance with four main characters. Even if those styles aren't my favorite, at least I've tried it once.

Q) What is your least favorite thing about writing?
I would have to say the doubt I have for myself during writing. I can't even tell you how many times I have gone back and deleted pages and pages of writing because I didn't believe in it. I am my own worse critic, so as you can imagine, my doubt in myself makes the writing process much longer.

Q) If you could be any famous person for one day, who would you be and why?
Do they have to be alive right now? If I could, I would love to be Jane Austen. I love her writing style and the time period she grew up in. I say all the time that I was born in the wrong time period. For a woman living during a male-dominated time, she didn't let anything hold her back.

Q) What is the oldest thing in your fridge and how old is it? 
Homemade chicken noodle soup. It has been in there for two weeks. Recently I broke my foot, so I am confined to the couch. I can't clean, and it's driving me crazy. And God knows my boyfriend won't do it. At this rate, it may be in there for six more weeks, until my foot is healed.

Q) What can readers expect from you in the future?
The other two books in the Redemption Series. Book two is already in the works. I am also working on a shape-shifter novella. To see all my works in progress, visit my blog at www.harperabrooks.wordpress.com I post snippets of my work, host other authors, and post giveaways.

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Radiant by Belinda Williams‏


Belinda Williams is an author based in Sydney, Australia. When she’s not reading romantic suspense or chick-lit, she’s writing it (or else can be found wasting time on social media).

Belinda is also a marketing communications specialist and copywriter who, after spending more than a decade writing about exciting subjects like financial services, IT and hospitality, allowed an addiction to romantic suspense and chick-lit to get the better of her. Radiant came to life when Belinda decided it was time Sydney featured in some fast-paced, heart-stopping romantic suspense, with a dark twist.

Radiant is her novel début and earned a finalist placing in The Romance Writers of Australia Emerald award 2013.

Belinda is a music lover and her eclectic taste forms the foundation for many of her writing ideas. She also has a healthy appreciation for fast cars and would not so secretly love a Lamborghini. For now she’ll have to settle with her son’s supercar Hot Wheel’s collection and the occasional drive in her much loved MX-5.

www.belindawilliamsbooks.com
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Do you believe in angels and demons? They believe in you...

Lily Ainsworth, a twenty-eight year old Emergency Department nurse, is used to keeping calm under pressure - until the day she wakes up to find herself a patient in the very ED she works in. A victim of a near fatal hit and run, Lily recalls nothing of the accident. The only witness is the mysterious and charming, Leo.

As she attempts to return to normal life, Lily is plagued by strange events, which has her wondering whether the hit and run was merely a coincidence, or if it was something much more sinister...

Drawn to Leo, Lily confides in him and reveals long unanswered questions about the disappearance of her mother twenty-five years earlier. But his presence appears to come at a price.

Suddenly thrown into a dark world she doesn't recognise and fighting to stay alive, Lily begins to realise the key to her survival lies in answering the questions surrounding her past.

It's a journey that will change her life forever, make her question everything she has ever believed in, and test her feelings for Leo in ways she never imagined.


2013 Romance Writers of Australia Emerald award finalist

Q) What inspired you to write this story? 
The idea of an angel falling in love with a human, except it was, of course, forbidden. The rest flowed from there.

Q) How long did it take you to write? 
2 years to write, another 1 to edit and prepare to publish. Somehow I thought it would be good idea to attempt all of this while becoming a mum for the first time…subsequent projects are happening much faster, thankfully.

Q) What is your favorite thing about writing? 
The surprises! Watching the story unfold and the characters develop, because no matter what you have planned there’s always surprises along the way.

Q) What is your least favorite thing about writing? 
The patience required. It’s such a long term thing – even when the writing is finished, there’s so much involved, from editing, to publishing and then finally to getting it out there and promoting it.

Q) If you could be any famous person for one day, who would you be and why? 
I’m hopeless at these questions, my mind always goes blank…possibly a race car driver like Mark Webber? Not because I want to be a man – although that would be something different - mainly because it would be awesome to be in an F1 car with the skill to go that quick!

Q) What is the oldest thing in your fridge and how old is it? 
I’m a bit of a neat freak, so there’s nothing too offensive. It would probably be a bottle of unfinished mustard or some other condiment-like product that is past the used by date.

Q) What can readers expect from you in the future? 
Some contemporary romantic chick-lit, which I’ve had great fun creating and am just polishing now. From there, it will be either a return to the world of Radiant or I’ve got another chick-lit idea in the works as well.

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Trial by Fire by Margarita Gakis‏



Margarita loves the art, creativity and romanticism of storytelling. Sometimes, however, the act of putting pen to paper proves challenging, elusive. She develops genuine, relatable characters which grow in the hearts of her readers. From that foundation, the stories flourish into a warm friend.

She enjoys pursuits which blur the lines between the analytical and creative sides of her brain. This includes her day job in electronic data management, where she uses her creativity to solve logical problems, and also her lessons learning to play the cello, where she finds beauty in the structure of music and the instrument. She believes there is a place for both logic and imagination to work together. When they do, the results are magical.

Margarita has a special spot in her heart for dogs and lives with three of them. It can be a little overwhelming but the quality snuggle time makes up for it.

Margarita lives in Calgary, Alberta with her family.

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Jade leads a structured life:

Routine job.

Caffeine addiction.

No serious relationships.


And now, she can spontaneously set things on fire with her mind.

Well... perhaps “normal” was never in the cards for her. As she questions her own sanity and spirals out of control, a man appears on her doorstep and tells her that, like him, she’s a witch.

Pulled in all directions, her unbridled magic draws dangerous attention and Jade wonders if she’s made the worst mistake of her life by joining a coven, or if she’ll even live long enough to regret it.


Q) What inspired you to write this story? 
R) Hmmm. That’s a tough one! I’d been playing around with some characters for a while and I knew that the lead character, Jade, had a novel in her but I wasn’t sure what her story was. I knew I wanted to write an Urban Fantasy book, as that’s my favorite genre and I also knew I wanted to have a strong female lead, but I didn’t want her to be overly sexualized. I know when I read sometimes, I feel left out when the lead character is super sexy and I can’t identify with her. I may wish to be her, but I can’t ever really see it. I also had a strong sense of a back story for Jade and really wanted to show how a person who comes from a damaged past can be strong and self-sufficient, but also how that past can take a toll. I think Jade does pretty well considering her upbringing, but she’s definitely somewhat emotionally stunted because of it. I really liked the idea of growing her as a character and especially having it set in a paranormal world.

Q) How long did it take you to write? 
R) The actual writing of the final draft of the book wasn’t too long. I got it pushed out in about 4 weeks, but I’d been ‘tinkering’ with this story for years. I had a lot of working drafts but none of them felt right, nor were finished. I decided I had to let it all go and just… start with a blank page. Start fresh. And let go of whether or not I would use the words I’d already written or write new ones. I was also trying to meet a deadline for a contest over at Harper Collins, so that was a big push. I pretty much knew I had to write about 3000 words a day to meet that deadline. I wanted to cry about 6 days in and pretty much every day until I finished. I had this dazed sort of confused look when I wasn’t at work. Everything in my life apart from my job became about writing and figuring out the next piece. It was a very intense experience.

Q) What is your favorite thing about writing?
R) I like the creativity of it. I like feeling like I’m in control and that I’m telling a story I like. I try to make myself happy first and so no matter what ends up happening with the rest of the world [love it, hate it, never see it because I keep it offline], I feel like I told a story that I wanted to read. I love that moment when it feels like all your ideas come together in this perfect sort of synergy. It’s almost like… putting in the last piece of a puzzle and seeing it all join together seamlessly. I live for that moment!

Q) What is your least favorite thing about writing? 
R) When I start a story, I’m in love with the ‘newness’ of it. I always joke that all my new stories are ‘Shiny New Idea’ and they are so much more tempting and easy to work on than ‘busted up old idea.’ But every ‘Shiny New Idea’ turns into ‘busted up old idea’ eventually, usually around the 20000 word mark for me. I have to work hard to stay focused and keep at it and not let myself get distracted by the new ideas! It can be a lonely kind of feeling, chugging away on a story not knowing if people will like it and only knowing that if you want to finish it, there’s no substitute for hard work.

Q) If you could be any famous person for one day, who would you be and why?
R) Wow! That’s really tough! Hmm. Colonel Chris Hadfield [Canadian Astronaut] would be really interesting. He was tweeting and tumbling his pics from the International Space Station and now I think he’s doing some speaking and some follow up tests and engagements from his time up in space. I don’t know if I’d want to be him or meet him or both! It certainly seems like he’s got a lot going on! I might not be able to keep up. Oh and Cesar Millan! The Dog Whisperer? He just seems so calm and dogs seem to really respond to him! I’ve got a barky Sheltie that I just can’t get to stop. Even after 10 years, he’s as barky as ever. So, being Cesar for a day might help with that!

Q) What is the oldest thing in your fridge and how old is it? 
R) It’s not too bad! We just did a clean out a while ago. I think the oldest thing in there right now is a carton of almond milk. Can almond milk go bad? I guess I’ll find out. I’m pretty sure I opened it up a couple weeks ago. Nothing’s smelling horrendous yet, so fingers crossed!

Q) What can readers expect from you in the future?
R) Book 2! I’m working away on the second book in the Covencraft series. I’m plotting out 5 total for the series right now. After that, I know I wanted to write for at least one more character in the same world but whether that’s a novel or a short story, I’m not sure. I have to live with the character for a bit longer to find out. I’d really like to do a story/series on the Fae or on Greek Mythology. I’ve got some ideas percolating and I keep my little notebook handy to capture things as they strike me!

Thank you for having me!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

The Witches of Dark Root by April Aasheim



April Aasheim spent her childhood traveling the Southwestern portion of the United States with her fortune- telling mother and her get-rich-quick dreaming stepfather. During that time, April and her family toured with a carnival company, sold bug repellant door to door, and resided in an abandoned miner’s shack in The Superstitious Mountains of Arizona.

When April became a teenager she went to live with her biological father in California. Her father saw April’s need to express herself and encouraged her to write her stories rather than tell them. By learning to write April was able to make sense of her family and the world she lived in. She continues to do that to this day.

April currently lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband. She is the mother of two incredible sons and the step-mother to a beautiful little girl. She is the author of numerious short stories, has contributed to several anthologies, and is the author of the well-received novel: The Universe is a Very Big Place.

The Witches of Dark Root is The first in the Daughters of Dark Root series and April looks forward to writing the second book in 2014.

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Deep in the forests of Central Oregon is a town called Dark Root, a place shrouded in secrets, mystery, and witchcraft.

But for Maggie Maddock, Dark Root is also a prison, a place where she is forced to spend her days working in her mother’s magick shop, forfeiting any dreams of her own. So when a mysterious stranger suddenly appears and offers to take her away from it all, Maggie jumps at the chance.

Now, seven years later, a strange phone call sends Maggie back to Dark Root and she is unprepared for what awaits her: a dying town, a sick mother, a renewed sibling rivalry, and a past she had hoped to forget. 


Part Practical Magic, part Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, The Witches of Dark Root is a tale that seamlessly weaves the normal with the mystical, the mundane with the fantastic. Zipping in and out of time from Maggie’s childhood as an apprentice witch to current day, where Maggie struggles with her increasing powers, as well as family obligations, The Witches of Dark Root is a book rich in both fantasy and heart which will leave readers believing in magic.

Q) What inspired you to write this story?
I love stories about witches and I love stories about family relationships. I decided to combine them and, like peanut butter and chocolate, the two created a yummy - and interesting -combination.

Q) How long did it take you to write? 
I like to let a story brew in my head for a while before putting it on paper. I thought about the plot for The Witches of Dark Root for six months before I started writing it. Once I finally committed to putting it to paper, it took me approximately fifteen months to finish it (and of course it looked nothing like the story that was in my head). During the writing process there were some days when I’d work for an hour, and other days, especially towards my deadline, when I’d write for so long I couldn’t feel my legs when I stood up. I know it’s not healthy but when I’m immersed in a story I lose all track of time.

Q) What is your favorite thing about writing? 
I love breathing life to all the stories that play out in my mind. My imagination is constantly at work and a blank piece of paper is the perfect playground to let it run wild. Of course my very favorite part about writing is when a reader says ‘yeah, I can relate to that’. It makes all those hours sitting behind a keyboard worth it.

Q) What is your least favorite thing about writing? 
When I’m halfway through a story and I discover that a plot line or a major character just isn’t working, it’s very frustrating. Then I go back through the manuscript and revise or eliminate, sometimes several times. Its never fun. But, once it’s done, and the story works, it’s very rewarding. It’s like giving birth. You forget the pain once it’s over.

Q) If you could be any famous person for one day, who would you be and why?
Probably Tina Fey. She is smart, sexy, and has made it cool for women to be funny. She was a real inspiration for me when I was writing my first novel The Universe is a Very Big Place. Because of women like her I wasn’t afraid to be wild, bawdy, or even outrageous. I’d love to get into her head for just a day.

Q) What is the oldest thing in your fridge and how old is it? 
When I get caught up in novel writing, something has to give. Usually it’s housework and the zipper on my jeans. At this point, I’m not sure that even carbon dating could track the age of what’s in my fridge. It might be easier to just buy a new refrigerator. Or move.

Q) What can readers expect from you in the future? 
My stories will always be a little different, a little offbeat, and a little quirky. They will continue to feature original characters who find themselves in unusual circumstances. There will be missed opportunities, soul-searching, betrayal, forgiveness, romance, humor, and above all, heart. In other words, it’s business as usual.
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Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Never Deal with Dragons by Lorenda Christensen‏


Lorenda Christensen juggles multiple roles, including that of wife, mother, accountant and award-winning author. She attributes this ability to assume different identities to her irreverent sense of humor, her willingness to abandon any semblance of tidy housekeeping and large doses of chocolate.

In 2012, Lorenda’s debut novel, Never Deal with Dragons, was selected as the Romance Writers of America® Golden Heart® Paranormal Romance winner, which allowed her to present an acceptance speech hailing the genius of the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. (Because everybody knows the Fresh Prince is awesome.)

Shortly after winning the prestigious Golden Heart ®award, Lorenda signed a three-book deal with Carina Press. The Dragons Trilogy debuted on July 22, 2013, with the release of Never Deal with Dragons. She is currently at work on the next two books in the series.

A native of Eastern Oklahoma, Lorenda lives with her husband and two sons in a house that feels far too small during the stay-inside winter months. Lorenda loves chocolate, hates snakes and, despite living two years in Bangalore next-door to a native preparer of Indian cuisine, cannot cook anything but ground beef. She is a recovering nail biter and is currently celebrating five years bite-free.


Consoling a sobbing dragon and serving pig buffets are just part of the job for Myrna Banks. Working for a mediation firm, it's her job to get humans compensated for damages caused by the dragons who now rule. But her "typical" day is interrupted by Trian Chobardan, an old flame who sneaked out of her bed two years ago, taking her heart and a handful of classified documents with him. 

Myrna would love to show Trian the door, but he's been sent by North America's reigning dragon lord for help negotiating a truce with a powerful rival to avert war. Myrna agrees to help, even though she'll be stuck with Trian as a partner.

As the two work together, Myrna finds Trian to be surprisingly supportive—and still irresistibly attractive. Though her brain tells her not to forget his betrayal, her body feels differently. When they learn the enemy dragon lord is planning something no one could have imagined, Myrna has to learn who she can trust before she loses not only her heart, but her life.

Readers and reviewers say this dragon story is dangerously hot. 

Winner of the Romance Writers of America® 
Golden Heart Award ~ Paranormal Romance Category in 2012.

Q) What inspired you to write this story? 
Around the time I started this book, I’d been reading a lot of Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum books, as well as the Death and Taxes series by Diane Kelly, and realized that I really didn’t see as many humorous paranormals out there.

I liked the quirky nature of these novels, and felt like it would be a good fit for the paranormal world. Because really, sometimes the paranormal elements in romance novels, if you stop and think about it, feel a little far-fetched. (It doesn’t make me love them any less!) But what better place than the paranormal genre to write a book that celebrated the silliness?

I’ve always been a big fan of shows like the West Wing and Fairly Legal that show the ins and outs of relationships in business or politics. So I combined the two! My heroine works as a mediator, but in an office that caters only to cases involving dragon and human interaction.

Q) How long did it take you to write? 
It felt like forever! Since this was my first novel before the reality of publishing deadlines set in, I believe I finished the book two years after I started it. Obviously, that included whole months of not working on it at all. Carol’s story, the next in the series, took me far less time.

Q) What is your favorite thing about writing? 
Control. (insert an evil grin and a twirl of the mustache here)

For my day job, I work as an accountant. Basically, I collect numbers from activities other people are actually doing. I’ve been the accounting world for almost ten years now, and while I’m no longer entry level, I’m definitely not in a position to dictate the direction my company leans on any given decision.

But in books? Books that I write? I am in control. If I can dream it up, it can happen. Sure, it all has to make sense, but the sky is the limit, and it’s really nice to feel that powerful sometimes. Geeze, I can’t even make my new puppy sit most of the time. But in my books, the dragons do what I want them to do. (For the most part.)

Q) What is your least favorite thing about writing? 
The writing.

And by that, I mean the actual writing. Not making up a story and putting it on paper, but the act of sitting in a chair for hours doing the same thing I did all day at the day job. Some evenings, this can be a killer. I’ve tried using text to speech software to dictate my story while I’m out and about, but I’m pretty self conscious about talking out loud. And while there aren’t many curse words in my book, some of the subject matter isn’t something I want my kids, five and seven years old, listening in on.

So in the chair I stay.

Q) If you could be any famous person for one day, who would you be and why? 
To be honest, I don’t wish fame on anyone. My family and I lived two years in Bangalore, India, and with our pale skin, we stood out like a bundle of flashlights. People would regularly see us in the street and ask to have their pictures taken of us. At first, it was fun and a little flattering. But then, when we couldn’t go anywhere without being stared at, it quickly became uncomfortable, and I found myself avoiding public places.

That being said, if it were just for a day, I’d probably choose to be the POTUS. #1, I’d be the first female president, which is kinda cool, but #2 I’d find out whether there really were aliens in Roswell. J

Q) What is the oldest thing in your fridge and how old is it? 
Usually I’d cringe at this question, because I am the WORST at cleaning out my fridge, but we just moved back home and I can comfortably say it’s probably the bottle of mustard, and it’s not yet a month old yet. Ask me again in a year or so.

Q) What can readers expect from you in the future? 
Like I mentioned above, I’m currently completing edits on book two of the DRACIM series, Myrna’s friend Carol’s story. After that, I’ll jump right into the third book, which I’ve only just now started plotting. So I can’t give you any hints, because I have no idea what’s going to happen.

More generally, you’ll probably still find me on Facebook (Author Lorenda Christensen), Twitter (@Lorendac), or stuck in front of a computer at the day job.

Thanks very much for the chat, and I hope to catch some of you online!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Ready for Him by Tanith Davenport‏


Tanith Davenport began writing erotica at the age of 27 by way of the Romantic Novelists' Association New Writers' Scheme. Her debut novel "The Hand He Dealt" was released by Total-e-Bound in June 2011 and was shortlisted for the Joan Hessayon Award for 2012.

Tanith has had short stories published by Naughty Nights Press and House of Erotica. She loves to travel and dreams of one day taking a driving tour of the United States, preferably in a classic 1950s pink Cadillac Eldorado.

Tanith's idea of heaven is an Indian head massage with a Mojito at her side.

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In the bar at the Bellagio in Las Vegas, Jade Bleecker celebrates with her three best friends, all of whom are there to get married - Jade is their bridesmaid, and beginning to believe that three times a bridesmaid really does mean never a bride. Tattooed, pierced and a martial artist, Jade is used to inspiring fear rather than desire in men, and even if she did find one who could handle her - well, no man is worth trusting with her body.

But, as she is leaving the bar, she comes upon a mugging in progress and, with a few swift moves, makes short work of the mugger. Invited up to the victim's room for a nightcap, she is stunned to discover he is Will Vandenmeer - billionaire poster child of the Vandenmeer hotel and casino chain, and owner of The Sanctuary, one of the best known BDSM clubs in New York City.

Jade finds herself hopelessly attractive to the sensual, dominant Will, and when he offers to induct her into the world of BDSM, she accepts... but can she truly give herself to him, and is Will ready for what Jade has to offer?


Q) What inspired you to write this story? 
It will sound very cliched, but it actually stemmed from a dream I had about four girls driving to Las Vegas, three as brides and one as their maid of honour. At the time I christened it Never the Bride. Then I saw the anthology call for Tied to the Billionaire, added a hot dominant billionaire and some BDSM, and it became Ready for Him.

Q) How long did it take you to write? 
Given that I came up with it very close to the deadline, about a month! Usually it would take me longer than that, but at least now I know I can write quickly when I put my mind to it.

Q) What is your favorite thing about writing? 
The research. My writing takes me to all manner of weird and interesting places. For Ready for Him my main areas were BDSM equipment and Las Vegas, the last of which I had a lot of information anyway after researching the casino business for my debut novel.

Q) What is your least favorite thing about writing? 
The editing – I could spend hours re-jiggling a sentence and slowly driving myself mad.

Q) If you could be any famous person for one day, who would you be and why?
I can’t think of any one person I’d want to be, but I could very happily spend a day being best friends with a lot of them. I would particularly like to go on a shopping spree with a whole horde of Hollywood actresses and spend a fortune in all the stores that otherwise would never let me in.

Q) What is the oldest thing in your fridge and how old is it?
My husband doesn’t let anything get old in our fridge, so it’s probably the bottle of ginger beer that’s been in the chiller for the past month. I can’t stand the stuff and he hardly every drinks at home, so it will probably stay until it has grown legs.

Q) What can readers expect from you in the future?
In the immediate future I have a Clandestine Classic, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, out in September and a short, Sleepwalker, out in November. Further on, I have many plans for stories of varying lengths and I hope to keep everyone entertained!

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A Pirate’s Curse by M.L. Guida‏


M.L. Guida lives in Colorado near the Rocky Mountains. She loves to take her cocker spaniel, Sadie, for walks on the trails behind her house. The preternatural has always interested M.L. and even as young girl, she'd read Alfred Hitchcock's The Three Young Investigators. Her favorite book in his series was the Mystery of the Green Ghost. It was a big hit in the third grade.

Today, she continues to love the paranormal and one of her favorite shows is Supernatural. Yes, she's a Sam and Dean Winchester fan. Her favorite monster is a vampire. Bram Stoker and Ann Rice got her hooked. Who wouldn't love a sexy man biting you on the neck?

M.L. Guida just finished obtaining her Master of Arts in Creative Writing and now currently, has two masters. The other is a Master of Social Work.

She currently is writing for Passion in Print with her Angels of Death series and has a contract with Lyrical Press and will be releasing a new paranormal novella in March 2014. She is currently working on her new Legends of the Soaring Phoenix and plans to release the first novel in the summer of 2013.

She is a member of Colorado Romance Writers and Romance Writers of America.

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Like a dark angel, Captain Kane O'Brien rescues Hannah Knight and her father from drowning after vampire pirates murder their crew and sink their ship. Struggling to control and hide her telekinetic powers, Hannah discovers the honorable and bold captain possesses his own secrets.

Every full moon, Kane turns into a vampire. Finding out Hannah not to be the cabin boy she resembles, but a beautiful, luscious woman, tempts all his appetites. Desperate to be free of his curse, Kane considers handing Hannah over to a demon. But after Hannah uses her power to save his ship from his immortal enemy, Kane can no longer deny his attraction and vows to protect Hannah with his life.

To find true love, they must combine their powers to defeat evil vampires, thwart Hannah's misogynist fiancé and escape a crafty demon. 

Q) What inspired you to write this story? 
I have to admit it was Pirate’s of the Caribbean. I love Johnny Depp. Such a hottie.

My favorite monster is a vampire. They’re seductive, mesmerizing, passionate.

But rather than the some old vampire tale where a bite turns someone into a vampire, I wanted to come up with something different, something with a twist. In my story, a demon cursed a lake and anyone who drinks from the lake turns into a vampire during the full moon. In this tale, there are good and bad vampires and demons.

Q) How long did it take you to write? 
I have other books out, but A Pirate’s Curse has always been my baby. I first started writing this story about five years ago. I first started writing this story about five years ago. After rewriting it several times, the story finally came together.

Q) What is your favorite thing about writing? 
I have to interview my characters and ask them soul searching questions such as what do you feel the most guilty about? This generates interesting conflict and develops a more complex character. I determine their enneagram. An enneagram is comparable to an astrological sign. There are nine enneagrams and I have to determine which ones represent my characters. Sometimes I’m surprised at the result.

Losing my self in my characters and creating their world is one of my favorite things about writing. When I write, I become my character, male or female. A movie runs in my head and it’s just as real as if I were watching television or a movie in a theater. I like to torture my characters with conflicts, especially double jeopardy. It’s a way to propel the story and make my characters stronger.

Q) What is your least favorite thing about writing?
Editing, re-editing and re-editing again. I never feel my story is done. Sometimes harpies (tiny evil fairies) fly around me and shoot doubt arrows at me. Self-doubt can be crippling at time.

Q) If you could be any famous person for one day, who would you be and why?
I’d want to be Sherrilyn Kenyon because she is such fabulous writer and creates believable worlds. She’s strong and has survived some terrible times in her life. I met her once and she’s a lovely person.

Q) What is the oldest thing in your fridge and how old is it?
I’d have to say what ever jars are crammed in the back. I checked. Pickles and jelly. You’ve motivated me to clean the refrigerator.

Q) What can readers expect from you in the future?
A Pirate’s Curse is the first book out of six books in the Legends of the Soaring Phoenix. William’s story, A Pirate’s Revenge, will be released in February 2014. In November 2013, I will be releasing A Vampire’s Christmas Wish, a paranormal contemporary story. It’s a novella.

Linked by Judy Serrano‏


Judy Serrano graduated from Texas A&M University, Commerce with a BA in English. She is a member of Romance Writers of America and Dallas Area Romance Authors.

She is a substitute teacher at the local school district and writes for various on-line publications. She is the author of Easter's Lilly, Brother Number Three, Relatively Close and Memoirs of a Mobster, which are romantic thrillers and part of The Easter’s Lilly Series.

Judy currently resides in Texas with her husband, four children (all boys) and five dogs. She is also a singer/songwriter in her spare time.

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Daphne Foster is a substitute teacher stuck in an English class, waiting for that dreaded parent-teacher conference. With much preparation and anxiety, she encounters the unforgettable Charlie Cross. His charm and good looks, win her over but rumors of his involvement with organized crime make his continued disappearances disturbing.

In walks Heathcliff Vanderpool, creating a love triangle of unusual sorts. Unknown to Daphne, Heathcliff and Charlie are old friends: Older than she could have imagined. With Charlie away on business, Daphne and Heathcliff discover a passion between them lying beneath the surface. As their souls link, pulling away from Charlie becomes next to impossible. Will his involvement in organized crime consume them both before she’s able to get free? When you become “linked,” the choice may not be your own.


Q) What inspired you to write this story?
My first series, The Easter’s Lilly Series, was about the Mafia. Although I am still putting out books in that series, I wanted to write something new. I started writing Linked with the intent of writing a new mafia story. Somewhere along the way, my characters took a turn and before I knew it, I had a new idea for a vampire novel. The blood is still flowing… just in a different way now.

Q) How long did it take you to write?
I would say about six months, if you include the editing. I usually finish the first draft in three and then move on from there. The voices in my head scream to be heard and usually keep me up at night until I am able to release them, so I am motivated.

Q) What is your favorite thing about writing?
I love to be able to live vicariously through my characters. I get to visit places I haven’t been for a while or maybe even have never been before. I get to be rich and ride in limos, date handsome men, and wear diamonds. Experiencing all of the excitement is a lot of fun.

Q) What is your least favorite thing about writing?

Killing off a character is my least favorite thing about writing. I get attached to them all but sometimes… someone’s gotta go.

Q) If you could be any famous person for one day, who would you be and why?
Oh, that’s easy. Nina Dobrev. She plays Elena on The Vampire Diaries. Who wouldn’t want to play Damon’s love interest? That’s all I’m saying.

Q) What is the oldest thing in your fridge and how old is it?
Nothing is old in my fridge. I have four growing boys living in my house, and the food goes faster than toilet paper around here.

Q) What can readers expect from you in the future?
I am currently preparing to release book 5 of “The Easters’ Lilly Series,” and book six is half written. I also have book two half written for my latest release in “The Linked Series.” I recently finished a paranormal romance/thriller called “Ivy Vines, Visions,” and haven’t made any decisions about that one yet. But look for it in the future.

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Saturday, August 17, 2013

Rejected for WHAT?

In my writing career, I have been rejected numerous times.  I don't have an exact count, but I figure it numbers somewhere in the thousands.  Seriously.  I have novels, novellas, short stories, children's books, and nonfiction.  Trust me, they went through a lot before finally finding a home.  Normally, rejection doesn't bother me.  It's part of the game.  It wears on me after a while, makes me wonder why I'm writing, but it's obviously never bothered me enough to make me quit.  Well, it did once for several months, but I broke out of that shell.

In my writing career, I have also dealt with a nefarious publisher who plagiarized work and stole art for the covers of his books.  I've been the target of scams that I almost fell for.  I'm still trying to make a name for myself.  In all of the trials, as if they weren't enough to shake a writer's confidence, I have also been rejected for the most bizarre reasons.  This is actually quite rare, but when it does happen, it leaves you feeling dizzy and wondering what the hell just happened.

My first experience with a WTF rejection was with my nonfiction project.  This happened in March 2011.  You can read the entire blog post here.  In summary, here was what the editor said:

"Thanks for letting me see this. I regret to say that it wouldn't be appropriate for us. (You're still working on this at a student level: no film scholar needs to be told that movies are more than "mere entertainment.") Good luck with this. You might find a publisher, but you need to polish the work and identify the right audience for it."

And here was my reaction:

What this person is referring to is the first paragraph of chapter 1. A paragraph. It's not written in stone. I can delete it. There are 220 pages and this is what this person focuses on. Whatever.

It amazes me sometimes what people focus on when looking at a piece of work.  This story, of course, has a happy ending, and the book was picked up by Scarecrow Press and has been published.

Yesterday I received another one of those WTF-type rejections.  I was sending out queries for my YA book, The Appeal of Evil, and actually got a bite from an agent.  This person asked a few questions, including what types of reviews I've received for my work, and I responded with answers and links.  This is the response I got back:

"If you haven't yet taken the advice that the Kids Lit reviewer gave you to heart, there's no way for me to present this new book of yours to publishers.  A key component of the successful horror/thriller--especially for young readers--is to show, show, show rather than tell.  You must have great dialogue so that the voice or voices of the protagonists is ringing like a bell in the ear of  the reader.  Try reading your novel out loud and if you don't find yourself changing your voice often to simulate the change in speaker, then you're still telling too often and showing too little.  It really sounds as if you've cracked the code on plotting but haven't yet discovered how to make a story come fully to life."

My first reaction was confusion.  What in the world does my middle grade book have to do with my YA novel?  And for someone who hasn't read either story, how can judgement be passed?  The review that this agent is referring to can be found here.

After confusion came anger.  Like I said, I don't mind being rejected.  It's part of the game.  But to be rejected for something like this, I don't understand.  I've received other reviews for the book and they've been positive.  Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, and not everyone is going to like what I write.  That's fine.  I'm not going to censor you or tell you you were wrong.  I appreciated the reviewer taking the time to read my book and comment on it, but I didn't run out and rewrite the entire thing like she suggested.  I can't.  For one person who had some issues with it, several others really enjoyed it.  I can't make everyone happy, and I wouldn't try.

And how can this review give the agent insight into how I write or how open I am to editing and suggestions?  Again, it was for the MIDDLE GRADE, not the YA NOVEL I was querying.  It boggled the mind.

The last sentence of the email was this:

"So, at this point, without having established your platform and haven't yet brought the story to life, I am going to have to pass.  But keep letting me know how you're doing and being reviewed and I'll keep an eye on how you're progressing."

It says a lot that this agent wants to know how I'm progressing.  That doesn't happen very often.  I am thankful I at least have that opportunity.

Agents are just like us, they are subject to their likes and dislikes and are full of faults.  This one didn't like my work, along with so many others.  Yes, I was incredibly angry at first for this response, and I wanted to defend myself at what I perceived was an attack.  Instead, I sent a reply and told this agent I was confused by the response and asked for clarification.  I never got it.  Honestly, I didn't really expect to.

After taking a few deep breaths and focusing on some other things, I got over it.  This agent is definitely entitled to their opinion, just like everyone is.  Now, I laugh at this.  I'll never understand why this is what the agent decided to focus on.  I'll never understand why this particular review was my downfall.  I mean, the reviewer still gave me 4 stars, for crying out loud!  The best I can do is learn from it and move on.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

The Photo Traveler by Arthur J. Gonzalez‏


THE PHOTO TRAVELER is young adult author Arthur J. Gonzalez's first novel. Arthur was born and raised in Miami surrounded by his loud Cuban family. He graduated from the University of Florida, where he acquired his coffee obsession and his chocolate hoarding antics. He's the proud father of one baby girl, Sookie--his miniature schnoodle dog. Arthur is a self-professed goofball who spends 98% of his life laughing. He's now working on his second novel.

www.thephototravelerbook.com
www.facebook.com/thephototraveler
www.twitter.com/arthurjgonzalez
www.arthurjgonzalez.com 


Seventeen-year-old Gavin Hillstone is resigned to being miserable for the rest of his life. Left alone in the world after his parents died in a fire when he was four, he was placed in foster care, which for him meant ending up in an abusive home with an alcoholic adoptive father. Gavin’s only escape is in taking and creating images. His camera is his refuge from the unending torture and isolation of daily life in his “family.” Until he learns by accident that he isn’t alone in the world after all. His father’s parents are still alive and living in Washington DC.

When he takes the plunge and travels 3,000 miles to find his grandparents, he learns that they—and he—are part of something much bigger, and more dangerous, than he could ever have imagined. Something that has always put his family at risk and that will now threaten his own life, while forever changing it. He learns that he is one of the last descendants of a small group of Photo Travelers—people who can travel through time and space through images.

But his initial excitement turns to fear, when he soon discovers that he and his grandparents are being pursued by the fierce remnants of a radical European Photo Traveler cult, the Peace Hunters. What Gavin has, they want! His adventure will take him to past eras, like The Great Depression and the Salem Witch Trials.

Gavin will have to discover who he really is and must make choices that spell the difference between life and death for himself, for the relatives he now knows and loves, and for the girl he will come to love. For Gavin, life will never be the same.


Q) What inspired you to write this story? 
THE PHOTO TRAVELER was created after one of the most important people in my life lost his grandmother. He was looking at an old black and white photo of his grandmother in Havana, Cuba and said, “I would do anything to jump into this photo.”

In that moment the idea came to me.

I thought, Oh my god. What if we could?

Imagine having the ability to time travel to and revisit old memories or moments in time!?

I immediately developed the story line with that very premise, living the experience vicariously through Gavin.

Q) How long did it take you to write? 
The initial draft took me one month to complete. But over the following 7 months, the story would evolve into the monster it is now.

Q) What is your favorite thing about writing? 
I love creating the characters. Getting inside their heads and really developing a unique individual.

Q) What is your least favorite thing about writing? 
I’m so impatient. When I start a story I want to finish it right away. On top of that, I’ll usually be writing several stories at the same time, and I’ll want to complete them all right then and there … but yea, that’s just impossible.

Q) If you could be any famous person for one day, who would you be and why? 
I would go with Walt Disney. He is my inspiration. The man was a brilliant visionary and flawless storyteller.

Q) What is the oldest thing in your fridge and how old is it? 
HA! Hmm … I have a tub of hummus that’s been in there for over a month.

Q) What can readers expect from you in the future? 
They can sign up for exclusive information, giveaways, and cover reveals on my website at: www.arthurjgonzalez.com.

But as far as what I am writing …

I’m working on the sequel to The Photo Traveler, titled The Peace Hunter. I cannot express how excited I am about this book! This story takes off in directions I, myself, could not believe!

My children’s novel, Monty and the Monsters, will hopefully be ready by end of summer/end of year. The story is about a newborn human boy, Monty, who’s taken from his world and raised by monsters (in a hysterical monster world I created, called Gloomsbury). Monty is raised by monsters his entire life, carrying the burden of feeling different, but never knowing he is actually a human. His life is filled with isolation and loneliness, constantly being the target of heavy bullying.

On Monty’s 15th birthday, he is informed of the truth of his origin and given the opportunity to venture to his human world; where there, Monty will have to decide if he will stay in the world he was stripped of, or stay with the monster parents he has grown to love, in a world that has always shunned him.

The story is about love, blended family, acceptance, bullying, and finding your way.

The second novel is part one in a still untitled YA series surrounding the end of the world. This story, though, takes place ten years after the fact, where five 5 teens wake to an earth that has evolved into a completely different planet than they remember.

They are forced to resuscitate their kind and reestablish civilization. But they soon realize why their world ended and discover that earth is still at its mercy.

And then I’m also working on an adult Fiction series surrounding Greek Mythology, The Olympian Chronicles: Hades. Think True Blood with Greek Gods, rather than vampires and werewolves. It’s an edgy, sexy, and modern take on Greek Mythology, with a 21st century twist. What would our favorite tales look like if they took place in today’s world?

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