Author Spotlight: C.M. McCoy

Name: C.M. McCoy 

Author of: EERIE

From: Alaska

 

Can you tell me about the first piece you remember writing?  It was a “descriptive paragraph” assignment from the 5th grade. My teacher, Mrs. Brady, was so excited about my stinky hamster paragraph, she made me read it aloud to the 3 other 5th grade classes. I was mortified, dead scared, and actually vomited. Worst reward ever.

When did you first realize you wanted to pursue writing as a profession? It was after I’d retired from the Air Force and after I’d retired from engineering. I’d written a memoir and signed with a literary agent. After that, I caught the fiction bug, and the rest is mystery. Writing is a funny profession in that one never stops pursuing it. The market is ever changing; agents and editors come and go, and one misstep on social media can rally the review trolls–effectively torpedoing your paycheck. Sometimes it feels more like the pot at the end of the rainbow than it does a career.

Is there anyone who went out of their way to help or advise you during your journey to become a published author? There have been many who’ve been the proverbial lighthouse in the channel. Too many to name really, but agent Michelle Johnson tops my list of advisers/supporters during my journey to publication. She was extremely generous with her time and wisdom, and I’m forever grateful for her unwavering support. In addition, I have been blessed with the world’s best critique partners, who helped me hone my craft and who helped me shape up the structure of what would be my debut novel. Quite honestly, after paying thousands for professional editors who offered little to nothing in the way of actual editing suggestions, I found critique partners were far more adept at recognizing and suggesting edits for structural shortcomings, character arcs, plot holes, and craft mistakes. Sarah Adair, an unpublished author who shies away from social media, was especially helpful. I found her through Maggie Stiefvater’s Critique Partner Match-up several years ago.

Do you exclusively write paranormal or have you written in other genres? I also write YA and Adult thriller, speculative, and Picture Books. I’ve dreamed of writing a contemporary, but something urgent and usually monstrous seems to always pop up on those opening pages. I’m sure there’s something psychologically avoidy (that’s totally a thing) is happening there, but I’ve never dug deep enough into my psyche to figure it out.

What is your schedule like when you’re writing a book? Is it difficult to achieve a work, life, write balance? Good lord, it’s hard to find quiet time between mom-ing and wife-ing and agent-ing. I love my family to pieces, and I’m acutely aware of one thing: when I’m on my deathbed, I’ll never regret “missing out  on writing time,” but I’ll sure as hell want more play time with my husband, my kindergartener, my sister, my mom and dad, etc. I’ve had enough close calls to know what’s truly important in life. And so I sneak writing time in when everyone’s asleep. Getting up at 0330 helps. And coffee. Lots of coffee.

How long does it generally take you to write a first draft? How long do you spend on revisions? First drafts–this varies from 2 weeks to 7 months for me. Revisions continue until I perform the “good enough” nod. My husband, who piloted the Space Shuttle back in 2006 and whose mission rewired the Space Station, has this saying he picked up from one of his commanders at NASA: “better” is the enemy of “good enough.” For me, here on Earth, it means to mind your resources–an author’s time and energy are finite quantities, and spending them on an endless pursuit to make one MS “better” (which is a moving target) means the next MS never gets written. Recognizing when a MS has reached “good enough,” even if it’s “good enough for now” means moving forward. Getting stuck in the “it needs to be better” loop can stall a writer’s career. Some MS’s won’t sell (for now) no matter how many revisions an author makes, and it’s okay to put that MS in a drawer and call it good enough for now.

Can you describe the preparation/research you do for each book? Most of my preparation involves daydreaming. I have to know my main character through and through before I begin a draft. I may scribble out snippets of dialogue or a scene here and there, but most of my prep stays in my head. As for research, I find and interrogate people who share an experience or hobby or career or personality trait that one of my characters shares. I also research maps, chemistry, medicine, murder, mental health, engines, thermodynamics, string theory, bacterial growth rates, etc…you know, the usual.

Do you have any quirky writing habits (the things you’d never want anyone to know)? Nope. 😀

Have you ever done a literary pilgrimage—or any interesting research—for your novels? If not, do you have a research destination bucket list? I spent 7 days canoeing through the no-kidding Alaska bush. Out of cell phone coverage, far from roads and people, and on a deadline to reach to a checkpoint near the Yukon river so that I didn’t miss my scheduled bush-plane pick-up. It was refreshing and terrifying at once, and it truly helped me shape the setting of EERIE and of my YA thriller, both of which are set in part in the Alaska bush.

Inspiration comes in many forms. Can you recall the exact moment of inspiration for each of your projects? I usually find inspiration from staring at the back of my eyelids after an exciting day. I can say that I remember an acute moment of illogical tree fear while camping one winter night, and that may have fed into EERIE’s carnivorous tree problem…

Do you have a specific genre you prefer to read? What are your favorites? I’m a mood reader who switches between nonfiction and fiction of most genres. I rarely get into a literary phase, and high fantasy isn’t my jam, but for the most part, I’ll read anything that tickles my neurons.

Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find or know the real inspiration for? Oh yes. *evil grin*

Are your characters inspired—in part or whole—by people in your real life? Yes to both. Some characters are a mash-up of different friends, and some are inspired by chance encounters with complete strangers.

Name one book you think is entirely underappreciated. SHIVER by Maggie Stiefvater. I absolutely adore that book.

Name one book that was a guilty pleasure. A BEDTIME STORY by LC Moon. This was a steamy Beauty and the Beast retelling by an indie author who, sadly, hasn’t published the sequel. I’m still hoping though…

Be honest: Do you Google yourself? No, but I do have a Google news alert set up, which sends me the strangest emails. For example, just a couple weeks ago, I learned a very beautiful actress would portray a fictional me in an upcoming film starring Natalie Portman.  *shrugs*

As a writer, what animal would you choose as your mascot/avatar/patronus? Tough choice. I’d say a snow ember. Or a snarling Yeti. Tough choice…

Is there one thing you think you, as a writer, should be better at, but secretly struggle with? Am I constantly answering questions that aren’t asked? Yes. Yes I am. Which is not as much a struggle as it is an annoyance. I should be more focused. I should take my own advice.

What is one word of advice you’d give to an aspiring writer? Don’t quit. (that’s 2 words)

What is one word of advice you’d give to a newly published author? Don’t quit. Many authors have such an unfulfilling and even discouraging experience after their first book publishes, that they stop writing altogether. Don’t quit.

In what ways do you “pay it forward” to help other aspiring writers? I mentor. In 2017, I mentored an author in #PitchWars, and prior to that, I’ve mentored in contests like #NoQS and Query Kombat. I sneak into support groups and offer encouragement whenever I can. I lead workshops at schools and online. I’m still a work in progress myself, and I appreciate the reciprocation in this wonderful community. Now that I’m a literary agent and building my list, I try to be as specific and encouraging in my feedback as I can. I hate rejection. It stinks. Having received over 300 rejections for my own work before finding an agent, I can appreciate the sting I now send out, and I’m always thinking of the person on the other end and hoping they persevere in their journey to publication. <3

Would you like to know more about C.M. McCoy?

Eerie

The sensational teen paranormal romance featured in PEOPLE Magazine and on INSIDE EDITION! 

Hailey Hartley has just enrolled in the world’s premier supernatural university. It’s a school she’s never heard of, located in a town called The Middle of Nowhere, and run by a creature that’s not supposed to exist. But at least she got a scholarship…

Hailey’s dreams have always been, well…vivid. As in monsters from her nightmares follow her into her waking life vivid. When her big sister goes missing, eighteen-year-old Hailey finds only one place offers her answers–a paranormal university in Alaska. There, she studies the science of the supernatural and must learn to live with a roommate from Hell, survive her otherworldly classes, and hope the only creature who can save her from an evil monster doesn’t decide to kill her himself.

Get Eerie on Amazon or from Barnes & Noble

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Author Spotlight: Julie Wetzel

Name:   Julie Wetzel  

Author of:   The Dragons of Eternity Series: On the Accidental Wings of Dragons; For the Memory of Dragons; For the Heart of Dragons; A Castle for Dragons, the First Archive; For the Kingdom of Dragons (coming Sept. 2018)

Kindling Flames Series: Gathering Tinder; Flying Sparks; Smoke Rising; Stolen Fire; Burning Nights; Blazing Moon; Granting Wishes (Crimson Tree Publishing)

White Lies (Changing Tides Publishing)

 

 

Can you tell me about the first piece you remember writing?   I did not grow up as a writer, so remembering the first thing I wrote is pretty easy. I started writing in 2011 when my sister called me from the ship she was serving on. She’d entered a war zone and wasn’t allowed to get online, but she could get emails. She asked to write her something fun. At the time I was really into the anime Skip Beat!, so I wrote a very long and rambling fanfiction for that. I did post it online, and if you know where to look, you can still find it. It wasn’t my best work and I’ve considered going back and fixing it, but it’s fanfiction. It’s not supposed to be well written, just entertaining.

After that I got more comfortable with the whole concept of making up stories and started off into something my sister would actually read. She requested a vampire story and so Kindling Flames was born. The rest of story, as they say, is history.

When did you first realize you wanted to pursue writing as a profession?  I never really thought about being a professional writer. I started writing to entertain my sister. I did three to five thousand words a day and sent them to her so she would have something new to read when she got off duty. At first it was just something fun, then I got emails from her shipmates telling me she had sent them a part of the story and they wanted the rest. So I started emailing them chapters daily. After a few months of this, I started to get requests for the book in print so people could share it with other. On a whim, I started sending the manuscript off to publisher to see if I could find someone to publish it. As I did that, I went on to write more stories for my new friends. After several errors and many rejection letters, I finally found Crimson Tree Publishing. They loved my story and thought it would be just what they wanted. It wasn’t until after I published On the Accidental Wings of Dragons(my sixth title) and my publisher suggested that I quit my day job and work on writing full time that I even though about making writing my profession. Everything up to that point was just fun. I’m still waiting for everyone to wake up and realize I’m faking this whole writing career thing.

 Is there anyone who went out of their way to help or advise you during your journey to become a published author?  There were a lot of people that helped me along the way. The ladies from CTP were always there when I had questions, Ethan Gregory always had good words and advice for me, but I think the person that helped me the most was Sherry Ficklin. She taught me the ropes and let me tag along with her at my first few conventions. She gave me advice and listened to me whine when things got too much for me. And for the longest time, my goal was to be as successful in the book world as she was. A fact I’m sure she would find extremely funny.

Do you exclusively romance or have you written in other genres?  No. I am not exclusively romance. I like to write what I like to read and that’s a bit of everything. My main two series are Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance. I have done a short sci-fi that I want to expand on and I have a few pieces in the works that span from twisted fairytales to space adventures.

What is your schedule like when you’re writing a book? Is it difficult to achieve a work, life, write balance?  I usually try to keep my books moving forward at a steady pace, but recently I’ve been having problems balancing things. There’s been some turmoil at work that took me from three half-days a week to full time. The extra money is nice, but I’ve not been able to get into a groove that lets me do the things I need to do.  I’ve been scatterbrained and that doesn’t make writing easy. I’m starting to find that balance again and have worked writing back into my life. Now I just need work to hire a few good people and a mechanic so I can get back to my three days away and put the stories in my head down on paper.

How long does it generally take you to write a first draft? How long do you spend on revisions?  First drafts can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months depending on how motivated I am to work on them and what else is going on in my life. Once I get a draft done, I read through it three times before sending it to my beta readers. Once they go through it and send it back to me. I read through it again before sending it on to submissions. This can take anywhere from a few days to weeks depending on how long the piece is.

 Can you describe the preparation/research you do for each book?  That depends on the book. If the book deals with a subject I’m familiar with, I don’t do any research. If there is an aspect of the book I’m unfamiliar with, I tend to spend weeks looking up as much as I can.

Do you have any quirky writing habits (the things you’d never want anyone to know)?  Why would I tell you thing I don’t want people to know? But to answer the question, yes, I do have quirky writing habits. Most of my best writing is done on paper with special pencils. I keep my pencils in a tooth brush case to keep the tips from getting broken. I also do my best writing between midnight and three am.

 Have you ever done a literary pilgrimage—or any interesting research—for your novels? If not, do you have a research destination bucket list?  I can’t say I’ve done pilgrimages or specific research for my books. I have spent a lot of time on YouTube looking up travel videos and I have pulled a lot of experiences from my actual life. I love to travel and have seen thirty-nine states and five countries. I have foreign friends that give me insight into their culture. That has helped me pull some interesting thing into my novels.

Inspiration comes in many forms. Can you recall the exact moment of inspiration for each of your projects? Nope. Inspiration strikes me at odd times. My first novel was a request, but I don’t recall how I came up with that character or plot line. Some of my other books have been dreams, both day dreams and nightmares. Some were spin offs of ideas I saw on TV or requests for a certain type of book. Some were bad pizza and beer. It’s hard to say where my ideas come from.

Do you have a specific genre you prefer to read? What are your favorites?  The genre I prefer depends on my mood. I do tend to do fantasy, either paranormal or urban, because I like the idea that there’s more out there. But, I also do a lot of romance, because I’m a sucker for a happy ending. The only genre I don’t enjoy is horror. I have a vivid imagination and it keeps me up at night. I still can’t sleep with my closet door open.

Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find or know the real inspiration for?  There are a few characters in all of my novels that are directly taken from people in my real life, but only they would know who they are. There are also a few places and events that I have seen or done. So yes, Easter eggs galore… But only I, or people who truly know me, can tell you where they are.

Are your characters inspired—in part or whole—by people in your real life?  The main characters in my books are always fictional. Pieces of my own creations… However, some of the side characters are made up of people I know that have requested to be included, or I felt the need to kill. You guess as to which ones those are.

Name one book you think is entirely underappreciated. One of my books? I have a short story in the Fated Destinations Anthology that I don’t think gets enough love, but the rest of my books do tend to be well loved.

Name one book that was a guilty pleasure.  Straight up: Granting Wishes. Yes, it was adapted to the Kindling Flames world be a giveaway for BEA, but I started that one daydreaming while fixing a light on a shelf. Out of all of the books I’ve written, it’s my favorite to this day. I can read that over and over and never get tired.

Be honest: Do you Google yourself?  I have. Most of the time I’m looking for fanfiction. That’s my goal in life, to be popular enough for someone to do fanfiction on my books. So far I’ve been very disappointed.

As a writer, which animal would you choose as your mascot/avatar/patronus?  A dragon.

Is there one thing you think you, as a writer, should be better at, but secretly struggle with?  I don’t want this to make me sound unapproachable. I love hearing from fans and meeting new people, but I dislike dealing with people in large groups. I’ve always been the person on the outside looking in, but I’ve had to learn to be the person people are looking in on. Sometimes it makes me super uncomfortable to be in a place with more than a few people. It’s something I’m working on.

What is one word of advice you’d give to an aspiring writer? You’re going to need some thick skin. Publishing is a hard job and a lot of people are going to throw crap at you and your work. You are putting a piece of yourself out for the world to see and you can’t be sensitive about it. You’re going to need to understand that not every bad review is a personal attack and not everyone is going to like what you do. It’s going to be tough, and it’s not going to get better, no matter how many books you sell. People are mean. There’s only one person you have to please: Yourself. Understand that and go on with your head held high. There are people out there that will love you.

 What is one word of advice you’d give to a newly published author?  Stop and consider how your actions appear in the public eye before you act. If you come off as a self-centered diva, people will treat you that way. There’s a reason there’s a hashtag for Authors behaving badly. Mind your manners, treat people with kindness and respect, and you will go far. Treat people like stepping stones or trash and you will shoot your career in the face.

 In what ways do you “pay it forward” to help other aspiring writers?  The only things I have to pay forwards are the things I have learned in this business. I can’t do reviews because Amazon hates me, I’m a horrible beta reader, and I tend not to read a lot of books while I’m working on something. But, I have learned a lot and am always open to answering questions when I can. My husband calls me a well of useless knowledge, but I’m happy to share it when I can.

Want more information about Julie and her books?

White Lies

When her identical twin comes down with a stomach bug, Molly finds herself suckered into a huge favor. Impersonating her twin for a romantic dinner…with her sister’s amazingly hot boyfriend. After a minor accident has Molly spending the night in his arms, she swears off standing in for her sister again. But thing’s don’t always turn out as planned…

A chance meeting at lunch changes everything. Now, Molly’s faced with a hard decision. Should she keep her sister’s secret and continue pretending to be her twin, or follow her heart and tell the man she’s falling for the truth? Both choices will lead to the end of a relationship. But how do you choose between a sister you love and the man of your dreams?

Get it on Amazon 

The Dragons of Eternity:

On The Accidental Wings of Dragons  (The Dragons of Eternity, Book 1)

When Michael Duncan is sent to investigate the disappearance of several dragon subjects, he finds himself in a bind. Locked in a dungeon, his only hope lies wrapped in a bundle of cloth tossed at his feet. One kiss and his life is changed forever. Hunted by his own people for crimes he didn’t commit, Michael has to learn a whole new life at the hands of a beautiful woman. Can she help him clear his name, or will just being in her presence get him sentenced to death?

Carissa Markel doesn’t know who this man chained to the wall is, but he’s her only chance for escape. She has power, but, born without a voice, she lacks the means to wield it. One choice, made in desperation, sends them running for his life. Does she have the strength to help him clear his name? And what will her brother, the King of Dragons, do if he finds out what she’s done? That’s immaterial, the real question is… can she keep her hands off him long enough to find out?

Buy it from Amazon

For the Memory of Dragons (The Dragons of Eternity, Book 2)

What do you do when a dragon crash-lands in your backyard?

That’s the question Terra’s faced with when one of these creatures plows down into her cornfield. Should she help out the hunk of a man the dragon turns into, or turn him over to the trigger-happy ‘authorities’ that have come looking for him? The deciding factor—he has no memory. Giving him up just doesn’t seem right… at least until she knows the truth of who he is.

Alex has forgotten a thing or two—his name being one of them—but he knows there is something important that he needs to remember, if he could just get his battered brain to work properly. A little rest might help, but there’s no time for that when the bullets start flying.

Now he has to follow the few clues he has to discover who he is, and why people are trying to kill him. But that’s the easy part. The hard part will be keeping his hands off the lovely lady helping him.

Get it from Amazon

For the Heart of Dragons (The Dragons of Eternity, Book 3)

Disconnection is a very serious issue for dragons that can leave them stuck in one form or another, but it’s a condition that usually comes on slowly and rarely catches anyone by surprise. No one knows this better the Kara Rose, Eternity’s leading specialist in the treatment of this condition. So when the head of Eternity demands her presence for an emergency, she can’t imagine what he could want. She is, after all, only a therapist.

As a top mage with Eternity, Noah Dove has worked with dragons for most of his life, so he is used to their odd quirks and physical needs. When a dark beauty shows up to disrupt the king’s celebrations, he agrees to go with her to keep the peace. When Noah is unable to protect the woman from the group killing dragons, he’s left with her last request—to save her dragon. It would normally be an impossible task, but with a bit of magic and some help from the dragon, Noah forms the one thing that can transfer a dragon from one person to another—a Heart Stone.

Now the dragon is loose and out of control… and the only person who can help is Kara. With Noah’s consciousness locked away beyond her reach, she must somehow find a way to soothe the dragon and connect two halves that were never a whole. The task is daunting and will push her knowledge—and personal boundaries—to their limit and beyond.

 Get it from Amazon

A Castle For Dragons (The Dragons of Eternity, The First Archive)

With a dragon ravaging the countryside, the Prince of Dragons sends out his best man, Patrick Mylan. His orders—secure an abandoned castle and stop the foul beast from stealing more maidens. This shouldn’t be an issue for an Elite of Eternity.

But there is more going on than there seems. When other dragons are sighted in the area, the town sends their maidens to their new lord for protection. Patrick’s life just became a lot more complicated. With the dragon he’s hunting acting odd and a castle filled with women distracting him, how is he supposed to do the job he was sent for? And what are the ladies going to do when they find out he’s the other dragon in the area?

Get it from Amazon

 

 

 

For the Kingdom of Dragons (The Dragons of Eternity, Book Four)–coming September 4, 2018

Kyle Markel, the King of Dragons, is presumed dead when his plane disappears over the cold waters of the Northern Sound. To make matters worse, his sister, Carissa Markel, has been given undeniable proof that Kyle’s longtime friend, Daniel Callaghan, has been sabotaging the largest investigation Eternity has ever had. He may have also been involved with Kyle’s disappearance.

But all is not what it seems.

That’s something Angela Lewis discovers when she’s awoken in the middle of the night by a strange and violent ceremony. Her quick thinking frees the handsome man tied to the table, but the knife in his chest makes his survival questionable. Unsure who to trust, she finds herself running to the only place the stranger is willing to go—The Dragon’s Wing.

Can Angela find someone to save him? And without their king, what will become of the kingdom of dragons?

Pre-order now on Amazon

Kindling Flames (The Ancient Fire Series)

Gathering Tinder (The Ancient Fire, Book 1)

After landing a job as assistant to a handsome CEO, Victoria Westernly feels like her life is finally on the right track. But when she discovers her new boss is the city’s most powerful vampire, she’ll have to decide whether her attraction to him is worth the risk…

The Kindling Flames Series is a paranormal romance saga with over 2,300 five-star reviews on Goodreads. Dive into a series filled with sexy vampires, werewolves, shifters, Fae folk, and more. Science fiction and urban fantasy romance lovers unite because this series has seven exciting books that readers have compared to other popular vampire romance novels such as: A Shade of Vampire Series by Bella Forest, the Immortals After Dark Series by Kresley Cole, The Sookie Stackhouse Novels(True Blood) by Charlaine Harris, The Twilight Saga by Stephenie Meyer, The Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead, and The Black Dagger Brotherhood Series by J.R. Ward.

Get it on Amazon

 

 

Flying Sparks (The Ancient Fire, Book 2)

When Vicky becomes the target of a serial arsonist plaguing the city, Darien calls on the supernatural community to help. Pulling the creatures of the night together to cooperate on any project is troublesome at the best of times. The fact that the one responsible for the city’s woes is a being of fire and magic leads the reluctant groups to a truce that makes…

The Kindling Flames Series is a paranormal romance saga with over 2,300 five-star reviews on Goodreads. Dive into a series filled with sexy vampires, werewolves, shifters, Fae folk, and more. Science fiction and urban fantasy romance lovers unite because this series has seven exciting books that readers have compared to other popular vampire romance novels such as: A Shade of Vampire Series by Bella Forest, the Immortals After Dark Series by Kresley Cole, The Sookie Stackhouse Novels(True Blood) by Charlaine Harris, The Twilight Saga by Stephenie Meyer, The Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead, and The Black Dagger Brotherhood Series by J.R. Ward.

Get it on Amazon

 

 

Smoke Rising (The Ancient Fire, Book 3)

Is there such a thing as a normal life when you live with an ancient vampire and a temperamental hellhound?

Victoria Westernly was just starting to think so. With Samhain just around the corner and the promise of a Halloween Ball, her life was looking good. Even the addition of a new master vampire couldn’t bring her down.

When Victoria and Darien become the victims of a series of unfortunate accidents, they know something’s up. Where there’s smoke, there’s fire. But, the question is… who is burning what?

Get it on Amazon

 

 

 

Stolen Fire (The Ancient Fire, Book 4)

Night. A time of quiet, of peace, of rest, and now, a time of terror. 

With an uncontrolled vampire plaguing the city, the Vampire Council of Brenton once again calls on Darien Ritter for help.

Overwhelmed with the issues of a new menagerie and plans for his wedding, Darien still manages to step up and answer the call. The only problem is, he suddenly finds himself a little too… human. 

Get it from Amazon

 

 

 

Burning Nights (The Ancient Fire, Book 5)

After a wedding filled with werewolves, fay, and vampires, Vicky is looking forward to a nice, quiet honeymoon away from the chaos of Darien’s daily life. But nothing is ever simple with an Ancient Vampire around. When the Vampire Council of Hawaii finds out Darien and his new bride are coming, they are determined to see that Darien is honored properly. But vampire etiquette isn’t for the faint of heart. The nights could burn when lines are drawn… and Darien finds himself in a turf war he never intended to start.

Get it on Amazon

 

 

 

 

Blazing Moon (The Ancient Fire, Book 6)

Trouble has once again found its way to Brenton…

When a pack of rogue werewolves makes a grab for the local pack’s land, Rupert, the local alpha, does his best to keep the peace. Unfortunately, his people have been having some issues of their own that complicate matters.

When Phelan, Rupert’s second, becomes the latest wolf to lose control over a simple dispute, Rupert is left with no other choice than to seek outside help.

Krissy, a human empath who stumbled on the scene, was able to help Phelan, but dealing with an entire pack of enraged werewolves is too much for one person to handle. With Master Darien on his honeymoon, Rupert turns to his next best choice—Elliot.

Now Phelan, Elliot, and Krissy have to discover what’s driving the weres into emotionally savage rages before all hell breaks loose and destroys the wolves of Brenton.

Get it on Amazon

 

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Author Spotlight: Laurie Bell

Name: Laurie Bell  

Author of: The Butterfly Stone (Wyvern’s Peak Publishing)

 

Can you tell me about the first piece you remember writing? I think it was a Choose Your Own Adventure story, about a female Doctor Who. I wrote it with a writer friend after school, (I still have it too). But I know I was writing stories well before then, this is just the one that sticks in my memory. I probably wrote fan fiction too… I loved the book The BFG when I was little so I would not be surprised if I wrote something along those lines.

When did you first realize you wanted to pursue writing as a profession? Seriously? About 5 years ago, but I have been writing since I was a little kid and then when the internet came along I was writing online in various chats, message boards and blogs all the time. A lot of fan fiction stuff and a lot of my own musings, bits and bobs and things that made me happy. LOL I was an angsty teenager, so probably a heap of that too.

Is there anyone who went out of their way to help or advise you during your journey to become a published author? I did a lot of research online and I have a really good friend, who was also going through the author journey at the same time. We helped and still help each other a lot. Once I got onto the online writer community on Twitter things really took off. I have met some wonderful and supportive writers online, met some fabulous CPs (Critique Partners) and editors and friends. You sort of learn things together and help each other out. One person who really was fabulous was a fellow writer (who is also with my publisher). Lauren is an amazing writer and super supportive of her fellow authors.

Do you exclusively Sci-fi/fantasy or have you written in other genres? I mostly write Sci Fi and Fantasy. I’ve also dabbled in Supernatural Contemporary, but I am certainly more comfortable amongst spaceships and magic. It’s my one true love so to speak. When I was little my Poppa read me a book of short stories over and over about knights, witches, dragons and trolls… I got my first taste of fantasy sitting on his knee listening to him read.

 What is your schedule like when you’re writing a book? Is it difficult to achieve a work, life, write balance? HA! Work life balance? What’s that? I work full time, so I mostly write on the train, at lunchtime and in coffee shops on the weekend. I aim for a chapter a week… sometimes I get more, sometimes less. Depends on the stage of the book I’m at, and, if I’m at the beginning, middle or end or if I am editing.

How long does it generally take you to write a first draft? How long do you spend on revisions? First draft usually takes about 6 to 8 months. Then up to a year of edits, depending on if I actually like the first draft or if I end up doing a major rewrite. I also send it to my CP’s for things I miss. My CP’s are the best in the world!

Can you describe the preparation/research you do for each book? As my books tend to be sci fi or fantasy, it’s not so much research as it is worldbuilding. But I do google a lot, read as much as I can, A lot of non-fiction science mags and books too. I enjoy learning and sort of absorb a lot as I read. It finds its way into my stories. In the end, my stories are about the people. Families and friends, so I also look around me at the way people interact with each other. The world is research if you sit back and look. (and a lot of TV and movies… As far as I am concerned… everything is research).

Do you have any quirky writing habits (the things you’d never want anyone to know)? Hmmmmm do I want to tell you? Haha, I don’t know that they are embarrassing, but yes quirky perhaps? I hand write my first draft (and I have awful handwriting… when I’m in a flow it’s hard to actually read my draft back. When I type it all up I can stare at the page for a good ten minutes trying to figure out what it was that I wrote!

Have you ever done a literary pilgrimage—or any interesting research—for your novels? If not, do you have a research destination bucket list? I’d love to go to NASA one day. There is also a space array in WA, Australia that I would love to visit… or Hawaii, when there is not an eruption taking place (Mind you…. How amazing are the pictures? Mother nature at her most violent and beautiful.)

Inspiration comes in many forms. Can you recall the exact moment of inspiration for each of your projects? Oh…. It’s funny. Sometimes it is a view, or an overheard phrase. With The Butterfly Stone it was actually a prompt. I wrote a short story based on a random prompt I read and loved the character so much I wanted to tell the rest of her story.

For Blood Fever (my upcoming novel) I can remember writing parts of it in my little rental on my recliner but I can’t remember the prompt. I know I wanted a female James Bond in space. Secret Agents and spaceships, who wouldn’t want that.

For White Fire (Jan 2019) well… I wrote that when I was 17 (way way way back in the past… and I wrote that because… well… Star Wars (originals). The Empire Strikes Back was my favorite movie. But I wanted Princess Leia to be Han Solo (In my head she was). So, I wrote the Star Wars movie I wanted to see when I was little. A kick ass hero who could rescue herself, defeat the bad guys and save the galaxy.

My newest WIP well… hahaha that came to me on the train.

Do you have a specific genre you prefer to read? What are your favorites? Sci Fi and fantasy of course. Anything by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff, Chuck Wendig. And fan fiction novels… you know, the novelisations that continue a TV show or move once it’s been cancelled? I LOVE those.

Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find or know the real inspiration for? Oh yeah, I have references all the way though, but mostly to amuse myself. IF people reading them find them and get the reference well, that’s like an added bonus!

Are your characters inspired—in part or whole—by people in your real life? Yes and no, my characters – my main characters – are all based on who I wish I could be. (Brave, dangerous, awesome…)

Otherwise, mostly they are completely made up… though White Fire does have a few people in it that my friends know about 😊

Name one book you think is entirely underappreciated. Do you have a couple of years? Hahahaha. Honestly, there are so many indie books that people just don’t know about. I am always giving friends recommendations of books I love. (For sci fi fans… you have to read The Illuminae Files) for Supernatural Noir (The Burned Man series)

Name one book that was a guilty pleasure. Oooooooo Pride and Prejudice. But I kinda wish Lizzy had told Darcy to go…. *rest of sentence deleted for inappropriate content*

Be honest: Do you Google yourself? Absolutely. Hahahah there is an American Footballer with my name so unless I put in “writer” or “author” in the search field I am always disappointed!

As a writer, which animal would you choose as your mascot/avatar/patronus? I like to believe it would be a wolf or eagle… Something about being a protector of the pack (but also a loner), but somehow I think it would probably be a house cat, like a Burmese 😊 (At least that’s what my partner would say)

Is there one thing you think you, as a writer, should be better at, but secretly struggle with? Grammar, OMG I’m not even trying to hide that one. And show… show show show *Sigh!*

What is one word of advice you’d give to an aspiring writer? Don’t give up. Stick at it and ignore the people who tell you not to bother or that it is a waste of time and energy for little return. If you love it… do it anyway.

And to understand that rejections are not about YOU as a person. It’s a hard one to learn, but once you understand that, it’s a lot easier to accept a rejection and keep on keeping on.

What is one word of advice you’d give to a newly published author? Don’t stop writing… ever.

In what ways do you “pay it forward” to help other aspiring writers? I love reading, I will read anything anyone sends me (provided I have time). I love to read, so if you ask and if I have time, I will read anything for anyone and offer suggestions. I’m also happy to listen. It’s a tough business, sometimes just being there is enough.

Want to find more about Laurie?

The Butterfly Stone (The Stones of Power, Book 1)  

“DON’T LET THE SHADOW TOUCH YOU.”

Beware! Something is after Tracey Masters, a Mage-kind teen in a mostly non-magical world—a world where people like Tracey are often feared, and oppressed. Add to this stress a crazy family life, the schizo pressures of school, friends, and bullies, and working a boring job as an assistant at her uncle’s detective agency for magical types, and life isn’t just hard, it’s chaos! That is, until a mysterious woman walks through the door with a case about a missing necklace known as the Butterfly Stone.

The case seems to be the big break Tracey is looking for to prove herself and her abilities as Mage-kind. But she unexpectedly finds herself dangerously connected to it when the evidence takes a turn that reveals secrets from Tracey’s past, and places her friends and family in mortal danger.

She also discovers that she’s being hunted by a shadow that senses her magic is the key to unlocking the power it’s after.
The magic within the Butterfly Stone is too powerful to be contained, but if Tracey doesn’t learn how to control it, and escape the threat of the shadow that surrounds it, she could lose everything and everyone she cares about … beginning with her younger sister, Sarah.

Laurie Bell’s first young adult novel is fresh, fast-paced, and fun. It’s filled with what makes life interesting, hard, and yet, worth living. You’ll believe in magic again, but you’ll also remember that the magic of family and friendship is where life is best lived.

 

Get The Butterfly Stone from Amazon or Barnes & Noble 

 

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Author Spotlight: Rosanna Leo

Name:   Rosanna Leo  

Author of:   The Stand In; Up In Flames; Gemini Island Shifter’s Series (Predator’s Kiss; Predator’s Serenade; Predator’s Refuge; Predator’s Claim; Predator’s Fire; Predator’s Trinity; Predator’s Rescue; Predator’s Salvation); Greek God Romances (For the Love of a God; Sweet Hell; Sunburn); The Orkney Selkies Series (The Selkie; Selkie’s Revenge; Selkie’s Lure) (Liquid Silver Books)

Handymen Series: A Good Man (Limitless Publishing)

Vegas Sins Series: Vice (Crave Publishing)

Night Lover (Hartwood Publishing)

 

 

Can you tell me about the first piece you remember writing?   The first piece I remember writing was when I was 12. There was a creative writing competition at my school, and all the essays were supposed to be about World War II. I chose to write about my grandfather’s experiences in the war and the way he still suffered from horrible nightmares decades after the fighting stopped. Although he was never diagnosed, I am certain he suffered from PTSD. My essay won me the top prize in the competition and I ended up going to a regional final as well. I think that was the first time I got “the bug.”

When did you first realize you wanted to pursue writing as a profession?  Strangely enough, when I first enrolled in university, it was with the intention of being a writer. However, I was pursuing a few other things at the same time and I strayed from writing and ended up becoming a classical soprano. I also worked in the corporate world for a time but years later, I found my way back to writing.

Is there anyone who went out of their way to help or advise you during your journey to become a published author?  When I started, I knew nothing…and I mean, nothing. I had some knowledge, a lot of enthusiasm and crazy dreams but that was about it. My first publisher Liquid Silver Publishing, really nurtured me, as well as taking a chance on a newbie. The first draft I sent them was pretty horrible but they helped me shape it.

Do you exclusively romance or have you written in other genres?  Most of my books are romance and that is my first love. However, I am a huge fan of ghost stories as well. Last year, I had a horror novella published in an anthology called The Stranger. My story “The Cemetery Guardian” takes place in Toronto’s historic cemetery, the Necropolis, and explores the idea that every cemetery has a guardian…the spirit of the first person interred there. It was so much fun to write something terrifying!

What is your schedule like when you’re writing a book? Is it difficult to achieve a work, life, write balance?  Work-life balance is always hard to achieve and I think most of us have to make little sacrifices here and there. I think the key is making peace with whatever measures you take. I also work part-time so I try to write when I’m not at work. However, some weeks are tricky. Life can throw up obstacles. When it does, I’ve learned not to stress out about it. I always respect my deadlines but have learned how to compartmentalize and prioritize so I’m happy with the work that gets done.

How long does it generally take you to write a first draft? How long do you spend on revisions?  My first drafts have really varied as far as time it takes to complete them. I’ve had some books that I’ve written in a matter of weeks because the words just flow. Others take months. I have one that I worked on, off and on, for years. It really depends. As far as revisions, that is usually another few weeks. And then, of course, an editor at the publishing house gets it and provides more feedback, so another few weeks there. It’s a process!

Can you describe the preparation/research you do for each book?  This is something that varies from book to book as well. I write both contemporary and paranormal romance. One could argue there are different types of research that come into play for each subgenre but I try not to skimp on research in either case. Even if I’m writing about a mythical creature, I read the old myths and folklore. Did that creature have an origin in the world of legend? What were its characteristics? As far as contemporary romance, I might have to do research on character professions, emotional issues, types of conflict. I don’t like to get bogged down in minute detail but it’s important to get the big picture right.

Do you have any quirky writing habits (the things you’d never want anyone to know)?  LOL, nothing that I can’t share. I don’t write in the nude or anything like that…not that I’m passing judgement. Nope, as for me, I just need some quiet and some coffee and I’m good.

Have you ever done a literary pilgrimage—or any interesting research—for your novels? If not, do you have a research destination bucket list?  I have, although I didn’t always realize I was making a literary pilgrimage at the time. LOL. I’ve used many of my travels in my writing and have used places like London, the Mayan Riviera and Las Vegas as settings after visiting those places. I also set a lot of my books in or near Toronto, my home town, so there is often a lot of Canadian flavour.

Inspiration comes in many forms. Can you recall the exact moment of inspiration for each of your projects?  I wish I could! My inspiration is never quite that tangible. I’m struck more by characters and conflicts than moments in time.

Do you have a specific genre you prefer to read? What are your favorites?  I’m a big lover of contemporary and paranormal romance but also love suspense and some horror.

Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find or know the real inspiration for?  Actually, I do have a couple of Easter eggs. I have two teen sons, Daniel and Andrew. Although I have never, nor will I ever, name heroes after them, I have used parts of their names for secondary characters or as surnames for major characters (i.e. Emily Daniels and Trent Andrews in A Good Man, Handymen 1.)

Are your characters inspired—in part or whole—by people in your real life?  Not really. I don’t tend to use people I know in books. I prefer to create completely fictional characters.

Name one book you think is entirely underappreciated.  My pal Jessica Cale is a wonderful historical romance author. Her Southwark Saga is one of my favourite series and I want the world to know about it.

Name one book that was a guilty pleasure.  The S.E.C.R.E.T. series by L. Marie Adeline. I love the whole series.

Be honest: Do you Google yourself?  LOL. I have, out of curiosity, and to see if my promotional efforts have worked. There is another Rosanna Leo out there and I believe she is an American dentist.

As a writer, which animal would you choose as your mascot/avatar/patronus?  Definitely a sleepy house cat.

Is there one thing you think you, as a writer, should be better at, but secretly struggle with?  The whole thin skin/thick skin syndrome is probably something that bothers me…if I let it. Over the years, I’ve gotten better at putting aside negative opinions. After all, we can’t please everyone. We just want to. LOL

What is one word of advice you’d give to an aspiring writer?  Read outside your genre every so often, if you don’t already. You can learn a lot about writing from authors of all genres and adapt that to romance or your chosen genre.

What is one word of advice you’d give to a newly published author?  Write book 2. Now.

In what ways do you “pay it forward” to help other aspiring writers?  I’ve been trying to pay it forward since I started because I received help from so many nice people in the romance world. I often feature other authors on my blog, in my newsletter, in my tweets. I share posts for others in my reader group on FB as well. Just a lot of general cheerleading for some great friends and talented authors.

Want to know more about Rosanna?

 

The Gemini Island Shifters Series

Predator’s Kiss (Book 1)  Predator's Kiss (Gemini Island Shifters Book 1) by [Leo, Rosanna]

Rosanna Leo weaves a fun, exhilarating tale in Book 1 of her new Gemini Island Shifters series. Thrills, suspense, and humor abound when a rock star brother, stalkers, and a sexy erotica author descend on one ornery bear shifter. Find out for yourself what happens when events conspire to awaken the bear!

Bear shifter Ryland Snow just wants peace. The peace and quiet afforded him at his woodsy retreat, the Ursa Fishing Lodge. As owner of the lodge, Ryland enjoys the tranquil life he’s created among his fellow shifters. He lives to maintain a safe haven for them, away from meddlesome human eyes.

When his rock star brother arrives, bringing trouble in the form of a possible hit man, Ryland is incensed. He’s been cleaning up Soren’s messes as long as he can remember, and is tired of his brother’s lecherous exploits.

Things go from bad to worse when Lia Goodblood stumbles upon Ryland and his lodge. Yes, the reclusive erotica author is easy on the eyes, but the human woman is more trouble than she’s worth. To say nothing of her bizarre fear of furry creatures.

Ryland determines to rid himself of her presence. But when he learns she’s on the run from a crazed fan, Ryland’s protective bear instincts flare. And the bear won’t be denied.

Content Notes: Paranormal, Shifters, Contemporary, Spicy

Buy Predator’s Kiss on Amazon or Barnes & Noble

 

Predator’s Serenade (Book 2)  Predator's Serenade (Gemini Island Shifters Book 2) by [Leo, Rosanna]

He’s a rock star shifter on a mission of mercy, she’s a mother who will do anything for her child. Can a famed playboy find love with a soccer mom? You’ll be singing the praises of Rosanna Leo’s passionate, new romance, Predator’s Serenade, Book 2 of the Gemini Island Shifters series.

There are three things that make bear shifter Soren Snow’s skin crawl: mothers, their children, and the great outdoors. Soren is a famed musician and playboy, and he would rather spend his days pressing the flesh with the women in his fan club than developing meaningful relationships. When his brother calls in a favor, forcing Soren to revisit the Ursa Fishing Lodge in Northern Ontario, he couldn’t be more displeased. However, he owes his brother big time.

Gioia Clementine would rather not meet Soren, her drummer son’s rock idol. But when tragedy strikes her home, it seems the only one the boy might respond to is Soren. Gioia begrudgingly agrees to let her son meet him, hoping the rock star won’t turn her tween into a musical misogynist.

When Gioia and Soren meet, the sexual chemistry threatens to set the Ontario woodland ablaze. Can these two opposites find a common ground? And can they manage to resolve their unwanted feelings, even when a mysterious stranger arrives at the lodge, threatening everything?

Content Notes: Spicy

Buy Predator’s Serenade from Amazon or Barnes & Noble

 

Predator’s Refuge (Book 3) Predator's Refuge (Gemini Island Shifters Book 3) by [Leo, Rosanna]

A tiger shifter searching for a safe place to hide. A lynx shifter trying to prove herself. Neither expecting the desire that flares between them … nor the danger stalking them. Suspense and passion fill the pages of Predator’s Refuge, Book 3 of Rosanna Leo’s thrilling romance series, Gemini Island Shifters.

Lynx shifter Marci Lennox has worked at the shifter-friendly Ursa Fishing Lodge and Resort all her adult life. It’s more a home to her than a job. When her boss goes on vacation, putting her in charge, Marci is thrilled. Finally a chance to prove she has the mettle to run a resort.

Her confidence is shaken when new employee Anton Gaspar appears. One look at the mysterious tiger shifter spells trouble for Marci and for her sex-crazed lynx. Anton is judgmental, condescending, and a little misogynistic. Unfortunately, Marci’s lynx thinks his tiger is more delicious than an oversized bag of Maltesers.

It becomes difficult for Marci to remain neutral near Anton, especially when she learns of his troubling past and unusual family circumstances. However, when dangerous incidents occur on the resort, the lynx woman and tiger man join forces to combat the threat to the lodge and its guests.

Harder still is the quest to combat their explosive feelings for one another. As they explore their mutual passion, they realize the danger at the resort is more insidious than they ever envisioned. Their dreams, their love, and their very lives are at stake.

Content Notes: Hot, Paranormal, Contemporary, Shifters, Suspense

Buy Predator’s Refuge from Amazon or Barnes & Noble 

 

Predator’s Claim (Book 4) Predator's Claim (Gemini Island Shifters Book 4) by [Leo, Rosanna]

As a new Alpha, Bart Cairo has his hands full. His pack is driving him crazy, an old enemy is knocking at the door, and he’s ready to stake his claim on the woman that has been his heart’s desire for years. You’ll love Predator’s Claim, Book 4 of Gemini Island Shifters, author Rosanna Leo’s hot paranormal romance series.

For years, wolf shifter Bart Cairo has harbored secret feelings for his co-worker, Charlotte Moffatt. Even though he thinks he’s been discreet with his affections, everyone at Gemini Island’s Ursa Fishing Lodge knows he and Charlotte, a fellow wolf shifter, are meant to be mates. Everyone but Charlotte.

Charlotte couldn’t be less interested in mating. A free spirit, she wants nothing more than to succeed at her new career in the big city and leave small-town Gemini Island behind. However, she can’t deny Bart stirs up unwanted emotions inside her. Emotions she swore she’d never feel again.

The occasion of Bart’s family reunion compels him to assume new responsibilities, and to consider a role he never envisioned for himself. Family tensions rise to the surface as a new Alpha is proclaimed in his pack. And when old grudges escalate, Bart must stake his claim.

Charlotte resists as he stakes a claim on her as well. But when he begins to employ sexual tactics of temptation, she wonders if the only solution is submission to the enticing wolf man. Can she trust her heart again? And can they find their happy ending before an enemy cuts their story short?

Buy Predator’s Claim from Amazon or Barnes & Noble 

Predator’s Fire (Book 5) Predator's Fire (Gemini Island Shifters Book 5) by [Leo, Rosanna]

Nina never dreamed a world of shape shifters could exist. Killian never dreamed he’d fall in love with a human. Neither of them ever expected their love would make them targets of a vicious shifter cult. Together, they’ll have to find a way to protect Gemini Island from destruction! Rosanna Leo is pleased to bring you Predator’s Fire, Book 5 of her passionate romance series, Gemini Island Shifters.

When Nina Suzuki discovers the body of her best friend Janine, her world turns upside down. Things go from bad to worse when Janine’s corpse seems to transform into that of a large, brown wolf. For the first time, Nina is faced to confront all the clues indicating her BFF was not what she seemed. A letter from the dead woman opens Nina’s eyes to a strange, new world. The same letter warns of a sinister group called the Alpha Brethren, and urges her to find Killian Moon of the Ursa Fishing Lodge and Resort on Gemini Island.

Killian Moon is a jaguar shifter and teen mentor at the Ursa Lodge in Northern Ontario. He may be a comfort and inspiration to confused teen shifters, but he also has a fiery past. His past comes back to haunt him when human Nina arrives at the resort, demanding to speak with him. Demanding answers. Can he trust her with knowledge that will not only change her life, but possibly endanger those around him?

As Killian begrudgingly tutors Nina on all things shifter, their mutual curiosity flares into passionate need. Once they touch, once they succumb to desire, there is no going back. Killian realizes Nina is his mate and they both begin to comprehend the terror threatening those on their shifter-friendly island. He is forced to confront the tragedy in his family and determines to protect Nina at all costs.

But can they protect everyone they love from a cult of dangerous shifters, intent on horror and destruction?

Buy Predator’s Fire from Amazon or Barnes & Noble

 

Predator’s Trinity (Book 6) Predator's Trinity (Gemini Island Shifters Book 6) by [Leo, Rosanna]

Suzan has become the obsession of a vicious cult leader. Percy and Byron are jaguar shifter twins who will stop at nothing to protect her. In Suzan, they have recognized their mate, the one woman they always dreamed of sharing. But when evil visits the Ursa Fishing Lodge and Resort on Gemini Island, will their love be enough to defeat it? The passion and suspense continue in Predator’s Trinity, Book 6 of Rosanna Leo’s paranormal romance series, Gemini Island Shifters.

Librarian Suzan Marsh is an empath who has always felt assaulted by the feelings of others. She has had to distance herself from the people in her life, raising a mental barrier to ward off unwanted emotions. When wolf shifter August Crane abducts her, he breaks through the walls she constructed, forcing her to accept a frightening new truth.

Jaguar shifter twins Percy and Byron Moon are familiar with the evil ways of August Crane. Because of him, their childhood was destroyed. Because of him, their way of life at the peaceful Ursa Fishing Lodge and Resort is threatened. And they won’t rest until he is dead.

When Crane drags Suzan into his cult and decides to make her his “concubine,” Percy and Byron know they must save the human woman. Their connection to her is strong, and they cannot deny the dream they always held close. That they could share a woman and make her their mate.

But even after rescuing Suzan, none of them are free from Crane’s clutches. The wolf shifter has plans, ones that involve the demise of every shape-shifter at the Ursa Resort. Not only must Percy and Byron keep Suzan safe, they must convince her to accept them both. In order to stop Crane from hurting everyone they love, they must learn to fight together.

Buy Predator’s Trinity on Amazon or Barnes & Noble 

 

Predator’s Rescue (Book 7) Predator's Rescue (Gemini Island Shifters Book 7) by [Leo, Rosanna]

Peace has been restored to Gemini Island, but wolf shifter Fleur Bissette isn’t rid of her personal demons. Can the good guys ever trust a former bad girl? And can a noble tiger man learn to love a woman who hasn’t learned to love herself? Find out in Predator’s Rescue, Book 7 in the Gemini Island Shifters series by paranormal romance author Rosanna Leo.

Tiger shifter Jani Fodor should have washed his hands of Fleur Bissette long ago. However, when she disappears from the shape-shifter sanctuary on Gemini Island, he can’t forget her, and launches a fraught two-week search to find her. He thinks she’ll be grateful but the petulant she-wolf resents his intrusion in her life.

Jani recently liberated Fleur from a vicious cult of shape-shifters, where she was brainwashed by the sadistic August Crane. The wolf shifter terrorized their friends at the Ursa Fishing Lodge and Resort on Gemini Island. Labeled a “bad girl” all her life, Fleur knows she’ll never fit in with the good guys at the Ursa, no matter how much Jani tries to convince her of their regard. Besides, she can’t stay with Jani. Although he’s the closest thing she’s ever had to a friend, their chemistry is explosive in the worst way.

When a new menace arises, in the form of a vicious drug dealer with a grudge, Jani is adamant Fleur accept his help to rehabilitate her addict mother and remove her from the influence of her dealer. Fleur accepts Jani’s assistance but as they work together, friendship erupts into passion. Neither can deny their lust-struck spirit animals, and before long, they realize their connection runs deeper than they ever expected.

Despite the threats posed by the drug dealer, the worst danger of all dwells inside Fleur. Haunted by the spirit of August Crane, Fleur is inundated by visions that torment her. She is consumed by guilt and plagued by old hostilities. Can this bad girl make good? And is Jani’s love enough to save her from her demons?

Buy Predator’s Rescue on Amazon or Barnes & Noble 

 

Predator’s Salvation (Book 8) Predator's Salvation (Gemini Island Shifters Book 8) by [Leo, Rosanna, Leo, Rosanna]

The shape shifters from Gemini Island’s Ursa Resort have been through hell. In the battle with their enemy the Alpha Brethren, they suffered losses and are still dealing with the emotional aftermath. No one in this heroic group has emerged unscathed.

When mountain lion shifter Connor Church lost his best friend, he made a vow to protect his widow and small children. Of everyone on Gemini Island, he knows best how badly the young family has suffered.

Unfortunately, Elaine Gleason hasn’t made it easy for Connor. Drowning in grief, she moved her family far away. When a medical emergency forces them to return, she is confronted by unexpected feelings for Connor, a man who has always been one of her closest friends. Her emotions send her into a tailspin when it becomes clear Connor feels the same way. They fight the attraction, tortured by their loyalty to Elaine’s dead mate.

When a remorseless organ trafficker develops an obsession for Elaine, Connor’s protective instincts emerge and he realizes his feelings run much deeper than friendship. The friends at the Ursa must do battle once more. But even if they win, can Elaine ever move past her grief and start a new life with Connor?

Buy Predator’s Salvation from Amazon or Barnes & Noble

The Greek God Romances

For the Love of a God For the Love of a God by [Leo, Rosanna]

Conservator Maia Douglas is an expert on ancient Greece and its mythology. She would never tell anyone at the museum where she works, but she’s always had a secret crush on the mythical Eryx, Greek god of love. There is nothing she loves more than to tend to her favorite statue of him, and her nighttime dreams are filled with luscious images of Eryx making love to her.
One day, the peace at Maia’s beloved museum is shattered when a new director arrives. A man who looks exactly like her image of Eryx. As Maia watches, he manages to upset her ordered museum world, at the same time he inflames her with unwanted desire.

Maia does not know that her new boss is actually the god Eryx, disguised as a mortal so he may work in antiquities. Although he is the god of love, he has forsaken his sexual nature because of a curse that has killed any woman he’s dared to love. Though he fights it, Eryx is drawn to Maia with a force he’s never experienced in a thousand years. But can he convince her of his true identity?

And can he protect her from a vengeful goddess who seeks her destruction?

Buy For the Love of a God from Amazon or Barnes & Noble

 

Sweet Hell Sweet Hell by [Leo, Rosanna]

Dionysus, Greek god of wine and theater, is the world’s original playboy. But lately, he has been restless, moody, and he knows something is wrong. His carefree and bacchanalian lifestyle is starting to feel like one long string of meaningless sexual escapades. Even worse, he is suddenly aroused by the idea of marriage. To top it all off, Josie Marino, the mouthy, disheveled, and eternally annoying woman who serves him coffee at the local bakery, sets him on fire.

Josie, a Toronto baker of Italian heritage, is not looking for love or lust. Especially not with Dionysus Iros, the most aggravating, demanding customer she’d ever had to serve. With his rippling muscles and sexy, knowing eyes, he’s obviously trouble with a capital T. Unfortunately, he’s also the star of her every X-rated dream. She’s known players like Dionysus before, and one of them almost got the better of her. Josie determines she will not fall for his considerable physical charms, come hell or high water.

But Dionysus turns strangely protective when a sinister character arrives at Josie’s bakery, and they can no longer deny their unwanted feelings for one another. They are forced to embark on a bizarre, sexually-charged journey to hell itself, which threatens to either change them for the better, or destroy them.

Buy Sweet Hell from Amazon or Barnes & Noble

Sunburn Sunburn by [Leo, Rosanna]

There’s more going on at famed Helios Resort in Mexico than meets the eye and Patience O’Conner is going to figure out what, even if it kills her . . . Which is exactly what Death has planned.

Patience O’Conner is a travel blogger who lives for her work. Her dedication to her readers brings her to the famed Helios Resort in Mexico, a locale that stuns her with its beauty but at which she suffers from some very strange accidents.

Luckily, hunky resort bartender Apollo Delos is always there in the nick of time, a malcontent guardian angel. Apollo stuns Patience again and again with his life-saving abilities, to say nothing of his smoldering looks and apparent desire to keep her alive.

Before long, Patience wonders if there is more to the sexy bartender than mixed cocktails and insane first-aid skills. Something strange is happening at Helios and Apollo doesn’t want to talk about it.

Can Patience open herself up to this enigmatic man, even though she is terrified to be vulnerable again? And can Apollo recover from an eternity of hurt and learn to trust once more? They must both decide before Death comes calling.

Buy Sunburn from Amazon or Barnes & Noble

The Handymen Series

A Good Man (Book 1) A Good Man (Handymen Series Book 1) by [Leo, Rosanna]

Not only is Michael a star on a successful home improvement show, he’s also seen as a local hero. But no one knows about the demons he carries inside him ever since the day he risked his life to save others.

All the accolades and honors only make the memories stronger and the pain unbearable. He would do anything to be able to forget, to put his past behind him and move on.

Michael takes on a new home improvement project, convinced it’s the perfect distraction. Little did he know that Emily, the woman who’s supposed to be nothing more than a client, would turn out to be a huge distraction…and engaged.

While Emily battles with her own personal problems, Michael is determined to keep his distance. The last thing he needs is woman trouble. But when it becomes clear that the attraction is mutual, he realizes staying away from her is not an option.

Now Michael needs to decide if he’s willing to risk exposing his weakness, and his heart…by giving in to temptation.

Buy A Good Man on Amazon or Barnes & Noble 

Orkney Selkies Series

The Selkie (Book 1) The Selkie (Orkney Selkies Book 1) by [Leo, Rosanna]

This was supposed to be her year. However, after losing her job and discovering her fiancé cheating, Maggie Collins has her doubts. When her grandmother dies, she hits rock bottom. Maggie travels to her grandmother’s home in Orkney, Scotland to sort through her gran’s things, only to discover the old woman has left her a seal pelt as her inheritance. She also learns that others are after the pelt.

To add to her frustration, Maggie’s dreams are filled with luscious images of a long-haired man, images that draw her to the magical beaches in Orkney. Although she’s lost her trust in men, this dream man inspires her with a lust she’s never known before.

Calan Kirk has also been dreaming. Dreaming of Maggie, the mortal woman who arouses him as no other woman ever has. Meeting her in the flesh when she arrives in Orkney is nothing short of spontaneous sexual combustion. But she is a human, and not to be trusted. He needs the seal pelt, not a red-haired temptress.

As a thief ransacks Maggie’s grandmother’s house, Maggie and Calan are thrust together. They must search for the animal skin, a mythical relic which once found, will either bring them together or rip them apart forever.

Buy The Selkie on Amazon or Barnes & Noble 

 

Selkie’s Revenge (Book 2) Selkie's Revenge (Orkney Selkies Book 2) by [Leo, Rosanna]

When a heartbroken, lonely widow is saved by an equally heartbroken, mysterious man, their lives are changed forever. But evil stalks the beaches of Orkney. Before their long-buried emotions can take flight, they have to save themselves from a monster with no soul. The pages burn with passion in Book 2 of Rosanna Leo’s hot, fantasy series, Orkney Selkies.

On the beaches of Orkney, Scotland, an evil entity stalks mortal women. Machar “Mack” Kirk is a selkie man with a haunted past, one that has prompted him to become a hunter. He prowls the beaches at night, his arrows aiming for the finman who took his first love.

Beth Pedersen also watches the sea. The haunted widow has suffered losses of her own, ones that have crippled her into a state of stony grief. Beth can no longer feel, can no longer see color and life. Until the day Mack Kirk saves her from a mysterious foe, flooding her world with brightness and foreign temptation.

As Mack and Beth fight their growing passion, the finman escalates his attacks. Before long, Mack realizes he’s not just playing Good Samaritan. He wants Beth, too, and will do anything to ensure his lover isn’t taken by the finman. But can he protect his mate from a monster with no soul?

Buy Selkie’s Revenge from Amazon or Barnes & Noble

 

Selkie’s Lure (Book 3) Selkie's Lure (Orkney Selkies Book 3) by [Leo, Rosanna, Leo, Rosanna]

Amy Woods, one of TV’s famed Beast Seekers, has come to Orkney, Scotland, to hunt sirens. One of them killed her sister and she has sworn revenge. Most people think she’s crazy for believing in monsters. She knows the truth. But while patrolling one of Orkney’s cold beaches, she runs into a naked selkie man rather than a siren, and he proves to be an alluring distraction.

Edan Kirk is a selkie, one of an ancient race of seal shape shifters. When he hears of Amy’s intention to hunt sirens, tragic memories overwhelm him. He knows he must get rid of the pesky human. As much as he tries to convince her she’s on a fool’s errand, he can’t resist trying to protect her. After all, he has heard the enticing song of the sirens and he knows its deadly power.

As Amy and Edan engage in a battle of wits and wills, other emotions rush to the fore. Their connection is intense, the sort to come along only once in a lifetime. Edan recognizes her as his mate. However, another woman has set her sights on him as well, one whose powers of seduction are legendary. One whose voice has driven men to madness and devastation.

Can Amy accept Edan as her mate, making her home in the world of the supernatural? And can they save each other from a beast that cannot be destroyed?

Buy Selkie’s Lure from Amazon or Barnes & Noble

 

The Vegas Sins Series

Vice (Book 1) Vice (Vegas Sins Series Book 1) by [Leo, Rosanna, Publishing, Crave ]

Las Vegas has it all—casinos, gambling, money, and women. For a handsome business entrepreneur, it’s paradise.

Wearing success like a well-tailored suit, it’s business as usual for Liam Doyle while he runs his multi-million-dollar empire…until a pesky protester catches his attention.

Staging a one-woman demonstration, Kate Callender has the potential to be a huge pain in his ass. If he doesn’t take care of her soon, there will be bad publicity slapped all over Vice, the newest addition to his chain of casinos.

But there’s one tiny problem Liam didn’t count on—the feisty redhead isn’t about to go down easily. She’s fighting him every step of the way…and he’s starting to like it.

Buy Vice from Amazon or Barnes & Noble 

 

Covet (Book 2) 

Coming July 31 to Crave Publishing.

Alex just acquired Sin City’s hottest casino hotel, and he’s determined to make Vice the ultimate pleasure palace—along with the mind-blowing new club, Covet.

But behind the successful entrepreneur façade, Alex struggles with a past that continues to haunt him, day in and day out.

After a surprise hookup with a beautiful stranger, he thinks he’s found the perfect distraction…until she walks out, leaving him with an unfamiliar ache which the pulse-pounding nights of excess at Covet can’t soothe.

When their paths cross once again, Alex realizes Dana is so much more than a mere distraction. He wants her—all of her.

But having her means he needs to face both her demons…and his own.

Night Lover Night Lover by [Leo, Rosanna]

Canadian soprano Renata Bruno is tired of waiting for her big break. Unfortunately, her boss, the conductor of a chamber ensemble, sees her as little more than background material. When she learns of an opportunity to sing solo with a different troupe in England, she knows she must seize it. Especially when she hears the group is to perform Mozart’s Requiem, her favorite work.

As soon as Renata decides to make her move, a strange, sultry presence invades her life. She begins dreaming of a man, one who makes love to her, bewitching her. It isn’t long before her night lover leaves startling proof of his nocturnal presence, making her doubt her senses.

To compound her discomfort, she learns her new conductor is the college boyfriend who broke her heart years ago. As Renata grapples with old hurts and renewed passion, she must also fend off the increasingly fervent advances of her night-time visitor. She realizes she is under the influence of an incubus, a sexual demon.

It becomes harder to resist the incubus when she learns he has a name and had a tragic history. The more she discovers about his past, the more she realizes they are linked in more ways than one. Renata begins to rediscover love and her sense of faith, but will it be enough to save her night lover from an evil curse? And will it destroy her in the process?

Get Night Lover from Amazon

 

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Author Spotlight: TJ Turner

 Name: TJ Turner

Author of: Lincoln’s Bodyguard; Land of Wolves: The Return of Lincoln’s Bodyguard

From: Yellow Springs, OH

 

Can you tell me about the first piece you remember writing? 

I remember writing a brilliant piece of science fiction, a short story, when I was in about 5th grade (please note the sarcasm here!) I was devastated that it was not accepted into Isaac Asimov’s magazine! I had a lot to learn. I would love to find that story and to see just how horrible it really was. I wrote it late at night when my father brought home this “computer” thing, and I learned I could write a story, save it, and print it out on our old dot-matrix printer.

When did you first realize you wanted to pursue writing as a profession?

Honestly, it was after graduate school. That experience beat the fun out of me, and I took a long hard look at what I wanted to do with my life. My choices narrowed to astronaut, author, bike racer, or engineer. The first one didn’t work out, even after I chased it to the point of joining the Air Force. The whole bike race thing went pretty good for a while, and I raced at the National level a bit. But the guys who go pro were on a whole other level. I had just finished my PhD in engineering, so I marched happily along that route. When I mentioned to my wife that I wanted to wrote a novel, she told me something like, “that’s way too hard.” Challenge accepted! That first novel is something like that first story—awful!

Is there anyone who went out of their way to help or advise you during your journey to become a published author?

Too many to list! Of course, my wife provided that initial kick (in the posterior). But then I found this really welcoming community of writer’s when I attended the Antioch Writer’s workshop. There I met many other folks on this same struggle to write and become published. In particular, I met Robert Inman as one of the faculty members. He in turn introduced me to his editor, Bill Phillips. Bill read through my second novel, and helped me revise it a few times. Then he delivered the awful news…move on to something else because something in this manuscript is not working. At first I was depressed about that verdict, but then Bill is a man who knows the industry—he worked at Little and Brown as an Editor. And I didn’t have to wait long for inspiration. The idea for LINCOLN’S BODYGUARD struck that very afternoon—for every door that closes! After that, I have several friends who proof-read my manuscripts, to include my wife Nancy, who is brutal in her redactions. Sharon Short, another novelist, has been amazing at giving great focused feedback. And of course, Elizabeth Kracht, my agent is awesome at honing in and finding any flaw. By the time it hits the publisher and my editor, it’s usually pretty clean.

Do you exclusively write historical fiction or have you written in other genres?

So far it’s been just historical fiction. At least all my published works are historical fiction. I know that as writers we sometimes get the advice to “write what you know”, but I think that turns out to be terrible advice. Instead, if you listen to any lectures by Andre Dubus III, I think he nails it. You should write what you are authentically curious about. I love history. In particular, I love American history. I read almost all historical fiction and non-fiction about our nation’s past. So the whole LINCOLN’S BODYGUARD inspiration probably came from that deep curiosity about our own history as a nation.

What is your schedule like when you’re writing a book? Is it difficult to achieve a work, life, write balance?

Absolutely! It’s really difficult to sleep. I don’t force the writing. If I feel like it, I write. If I don’t, then I leave it be. I find that works for me. But I am most productive between 10pm and 2am. The kids are asleep. Nancy has most likely fallen asleep with the TV on, and I can just zone out and write. I like to get a chapter a night in. Once I start writing, I need to finish that chapter or scene. Then the next day I start by re-reading that chapter, editing, and then pushing forward.

How long does it generally take you to write a first draft? How long do you spend on revisions?

About 6 months. I find that process is getting smoother, and at 6 months I’m fairly confident in the draft I have. LINCOLN’S BODYGUARD took me much longer, but that was the first real published work. I learned a lot from that process.

Can you describe the preparation/research you do for each book?

It’s a lot of reading. I can generally narrow it down to a time period, and a general event for background. For instance, with LAND OF WOLVES, I read a ton about the westward migration along the Oregon trail, and then the Lakota wars. So those factor heavily into the second portion of the book. I would say that I spend a good 2-3 months in research up front, then start writing. When I hit walls, I go back to the research.

Do you have any quirky writing habits (the things you’d never want anyone to know)?

And you want me to tell! Well, I never let anyone read a manuscript until it’s all the way done. I let Nancy read one half way once, and she crushed my motivation to keep going on it. So I finish it, then take a couple of passes myself on the manuscript, then I let her read it. Other than that, I keep a list of words (kind of like filter words if you do a google on that term), to search for in my manuscript. That list has been found from experience, and points to places where I need to make my writing more impactful, or closer to the reader.

Have you ever done a literary pilgrimage—or any interesting research—for your novels? If not, do you have a research destination bucket list?

I have! Or maybe more truthfully, the background came to me when I was out on a road trip. Our family took a trip a couple years ago to Yellowstone, to celebrate my in-laws 50th wedding anniversary. So we took an extra week and went along a portion of the route of the Ingles family. My oldest is a huge Little House on the Prairie fan, and she loved stopping at all the sites. So when we traveled through the Dakotas, I started feeling the call of LAND OF WOLVES, and that I had to set a portion of the novel there.

Inspiration comes in many forms. Can you recall the exact moment of inspiration for each of your projects?

So for LINCOLN’S BODYGUARD, that’s easy. When I received Bill Phillip’s recommendation to let go of my current project and move on, I literally left work early. We talked at lunch, and I think I made it another hour before I drove home. I had sunk so much time into that project, to see it flounder was hard to take. It was even harder to have to go home and admit to my wife that I had been spending hours upon hours of my life writing and it would go nowhere. But on the way home I turned on NPR, and Fresh Air was on one of our local channels. Terri Gross was interviewing someone, and they were talking about presidents. When they got to Lincoln she said something to the effect of: “Wouldn’t it be a different country if President Lincoln had a real bodyguard?” And just like that, the title of LINCOLN’S BODYGUARD flashed in my head.

For LAND OF WOLVES, I don’t know if I have such a singular moment. I knew it had to be a continuation of LINCOLN’S BODYGUARD, and I had the first half mapped out in my head. But it took that trip out west to see the second half of the novel. The pull of the landscape and the history there was too great to ignore. It had to go in the book.

And finally, for ANGEL IN THE FOG (working title), which I just turned in, I knew it would be the prequel that would be all about Molly—my female protagonist. Molly really comes into her own in LAND OF WOLVES, and a few friends and readers were hounding me about her story. I just didn’t know if I could write well for a female character, especially as well as Molly deserves. Then, and this is going to sound corny, I first heard the Kesha song Praying, and that was it. I play that song before each writing session on Angel on the Fog. It put me in the right mood to write Molly, and really try to give her the voice she deserved.

Do you have a specific genre you prefer to read? What are your favorites?

It’s been a lot of Historical Fiction, and pure history. I might need to branch out! My favorite books? In non-fiction: Bury my Heart at Wounded Knee, April 1865, the Month that Saved America, and XXX. Those books really show you how many stories we’ve lost to time. How many people who suffered, or persevered, or overcame awesome struggles, that we’ll never know about. I want to give them all a voice, even if I can only write a few books. On the fiction side, my absolute favorite is The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien. I wish I could write like him. That was the first book where I NOTICED amazing writing. After that, Red Badge of Courage (an oldie!), Cold Mountain, and True Grit. All great reads.

Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find or know the real inspiration for?

YES! But if I tell you…but yes, I do!

Are your characters inspired—in part or whole—by people in your real life?

Yes and no. They’re all bits and pieces of real people I meet and characters I make up.

Name one book you think is entirely underappreciated.

There’s a few that grab me as being under appreciated. One that comes to mind is True Grit. And I know, it’s wildly popular. But it didn’t win any awards that I can think of, and I think it kind of gets overlooked for one of the principal things it does—places a female character out front as a strong driving lead throughout the book. In fact, she’s the reason the men even take up the whole adventure. If you think about the setting, in the Old West, and when the book was written (1968), that’s pretty interesting. On the truly unappreciated side, there’s this book written by a former aid worker in Afghanistan: Allah’s Angels. If I remember right, it’s self-published, and it could have used some editorial work, but the basic story was very compelling. Again, a female lead in a male dominated world. It may have had its shortcomings in terms of the writing, but the story is something I still think on.

Name one book that was a guilty pleasure.

Glory Road by Robert Heinlein. I first picked it up form a discarded pile in Bagram Afghanistan in 2010. I read it, and thought…what the heck was that? Then I read it again. I still have no idea what really happens in that book, but every once in a while, it makes me think about it. Kind of crazy.

Be honest: Do you Google yourself?

I’ve done it! I admit it…the football player TJ Turner is still way more popular than I am!

As a writer, which animal would you choose as your mascot/avatar/patronus?

I’ll go with the wolf. I like the quote that you sometimes see around: “The lion and tiger might be stronger, but the wolf does not perform in the circus.” It’s a pack animal and needs a family around to succeed. I’ve certainly needed that and continue to need the support of my pack.

Is there one thing you think you, as a writer, should be better at, but secretly struggle with?

I think my biggest weakness is truly flushing out my antagonists. Part of that in my first two novels comes from POV. I used the 1st person, so it’s hard to really get into the mind of the “enemy”. In ANGEL IN THE FOG, I wrote it in 3rd person, and that felt more natural. But the more believable and human you can make your antagonists, the higher the stakes. It becomes a better story.

What is one word of advice you’d give to an aspiring writer?

READ. Then start writing. Then finish writing. Then find someone who loves you to look at it. Then find someone who DOESN’T love you to look at it.

What is one word of advice you’d give to a newly published author?

The same! Being published is just another step in the journey, it doesn’t make you a better or worse writer. Keep striving to improve.

In what ways do you “pay it forward” to help other aspiring writers?

Probably the biggest way is through the Antioch Writer’s Workshop. I’m currently the President of the board of trustees, who organizes and runs the workshop. It’s a great place, where I got my start. So we’ve implemented many programs, including ones for young writers. If you’re looking for a community, come and check it out! We’re all about empowering writers.

Want more information on TJ and his books?

 

Lincoln’s Bodyguard

In Lincoln’s Bodyguard, an alternative version of American history, President Lincoln is saved from assassination. Though he prophesied his own death the only way he believed the South would truly surrender Lincoln never accounted for the heroics of his bodyguard, Joseph Foster. A biracial mix of white and Miami Indian, Joseph makes an enemy of the South by killing John Wilkes Booth and preventing the death of the president. His wife is murdered and his daughter kidnapped, sending Joseph on a revenge-fueled rampage to recover his daughter. When his search fails, he disappears as the nation falls into a simmering insurgency instead of an end to the War. Years later, Joseph is still running from his past when he receives a letter from Lincoln pleading for help. The President has a secret mission. Pursued from the outset, Joseph turns to the only person who might help, the woman he abandoned years earlier. If he can win Molly over, he might just fulfill the President s urgent request, find his daughter, and maybe even hasten the end of the War.

 

Buy Lincoln’s Bodyguard from Amazon or from Barnes & Noble 

 

 

 Land of Wolves

Land of Wolves finds Joseph Foster with Molly as they settle into a new-found life in the hills of Tennessee. But Abraham Lincoln’s former bodyguard, the man who saved the President’s life, cannot escape the Consortium as they come roaring back, killing his mother, abducting his daughter—all to coerce his Congressional testimony on their behalf.

Instead, Joseph and Molly strike the Consortium in their own safe haven of New York City. In a Bonnie and Clyde-like twist, they rob from the Consortium to draw out their leader—General Dorsey. But the hidden plan reveals more than they counted on, exposing the true intention to steal the Black Hills and the gold underneath from the Lakota Sioux. Land of Wolves traverses the American landscape, where only a full reconciliation with Joseph’s native heritage and a cast of characters ripped from history—including Lincoln—can bring true peace and stop General Dorsey and the evil Industrial Consortium.

 

Buy Land of Wolves from Amazon or from Barnes & Noble

 

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Author Spotlight: Susan Harris

Name: Susan Harris

Author of: Shattered Memories; Jessie’s Girl; The Ever Chase Chronicles (Skin and Bones; Collateral Damage; Smoke and Mirrors; Night of the Hunter and Never Back Down)

From: Cork Ireland

 

Can you tell me about the first piece you remember writing? I used to write a lot of poetry as a child and make up short stories. I wrote a poem for a local newsletter about my dad and how awesome he is!

When did you first realize you wanted to pursue writing as a profession? I’ve always wanted to be a writer for as long as I can remember. When I realized that acting, my other love, wasn’t meant for me, I continued to write despite not knowing if anyone would read them!

Is there anyone who went out of their way to help or advise you during your journey to become a published author?  When Shattered Memories was selected to be published by the amazing Clean Teen Publishing, I met a wonderful person called Melanie Newton  or(NerdGirlVamp or Melanie’s Muses as she is also known) who has become one of my closest friends. She kicks my ass when I doubt myself, tells me straight out if an idea will work and is basically just an all round amazing person.  She has helped me out so many times and I feel truly blessed to call her a  friend.

Do you exclusively write paranormal romance/crime novels or have you written in other genres? I love paranormal books but I do go off when the story takes me there! Shattered Memories is a YA Dystopian and Jessie’s Girl is contemporary romance. I am currently working on a book that could be classed as Fantasy and Romance …I like to think I am open to writing anything, if inspiration hits.

What is your schedule like when you’re writing a book? Is it difficult to achieve a work, life, write balance? Juggling a work life balance is extremely hard. I work full time, write as much as I can and sometimes venture out of the writing cave to do some fun things! I hate when I get into the flow of a story and have to table it to do non fun stuff like pay bills and socialize lol

How long does it generally take you to write a first draft? How long do you spend on revisions? It takes me about three to four months to get the first draft done and then go over for revisions. Once the first draft is done, I tend to send it to my trusty beta reader who is way better at spotting my errors than I am.

 Can you describe the preparation/research you do for each book?  It does depend on the book. For the Ever Chace Chronicles, I did an online course in Criminal Psychology so that I could write true about profiling and the likes. I want it to be realistic even if the supernatural aspect isn’t. I spend hours creating playlists as music plays a very crucial part of my writing process. I’m also a very big outliner and spend a lot of time planning and preparing for each chapter…that is until one of the characters misbehaves and completely changes my entire story!

Do you have any quirky writing habits (the things you’d never want anyone to know)? I don’t think so! I know I use the same kind of pens and notebooks for each story I outline, but then again, I do have OCD so the quirks I have are just really all me lol

Have you ever done a literary pilgrimage—or any interesting research—for your novels? If not, do you have a research destination bucket list? Yes actually I have. Last year, while writing Night of the Hunter I went to Paris for a couple of days by myself. It was m=one of the best experiences of my life. I went to the catacombs, and Pére Lachaise Cemetery. All of those amazing places were written into the book and make it so much better than I could have imagined.

Inspiration comes in many forms. Can you recall the exact moment of inspiration for each of your projects?  With The Ever Chace Chronicles, I had been toying with an idea for a while and one night, I was watching Criminal Minds and suddenly thought, what would Hotch be like if he were a werewolf? And the Character of Derek Doyle was created!

Do you have a specific genre you prefer to read? What are your favorites? I love paranormal romance and fantasy. I am a big fan of J.R Ward, Laurel K Hamilton, Nalini Singh, Sarah J Maas, Darynda Jones, Rachel Vincent, Ilona Andrews to name but a few…I know I am missing some of my favorites but there are too many to name. I am, first and foremost a reader!

Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find or know the real inspiration for? I do actually. When I wrote Shattered Memories, it was because I had just been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, OCD and depression and my CBT therapist thought it would be a good idea to use my conflicting emotions any convey it in a story. All of the pain, all of the isolation that Alana, the main character, was going through was what I was going through.             I also like to use funny things people have said and use them for certain characters.

Are your characters inspired—in part or whole—by people in your real life? Some are …Melanie from The Ever Chace Chronicles is based off of Melanie my friend. Alana from Shattered Memories is also based on the real Alana. Donnie from Ever Chace is based off of Tom Hardy, but that’s for purely selfish reasons lol

Name one book you think is entirely underappreciated.  Can I say my own? Lol No okay…I’m thinking, I’m thinking….Maybe any of the books by Cat Clarke…she is probably one of the only out of genre authors that I tend to read. Her first book Entangled was sooooooooooo good and A Kiss in the Dark is one of my all time fave books!

Name one book that was a guilty pleasure. The Fault in Our Stars…its john Green I have no other excuse.

Be honest: Do you Google yourself? Nope, not at all. I have no delusions of grandeur haha

As a writer, which animal would you choose as your mascot/avatar/patronus? Definitely a wolf…or werewolf to be more precise!

Is there one thing you think you, as a writer, should be better at, but secretly struggle with? Being proud of my accomplishments, I once had a teacher in school tell me I would never be a writer, and now here I am, about to publish my 6th full length novel. I think I proved her wrong many times over.

What is one word of advice you’d give to an aspiring writer?  I have a quote tattooed on my arm that reminds me everyday to stay humble and not forget why it is I have to write. It’s a Cyril Connelly quote that I also have above my writing space “Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self.”  I like to think it means that if you are writing simply to get published and not because you are writing for you the there is no point in it. You have to put all of you in your writing, or else the reader won’t feel it.

What is one word of advice you’d give to a newly published author? You are doing just fine. Breath, relax, and never, ever, take any reviews to heart!

In what ways do you “pay it forward” to help other aspiring writers? I share links when asked. I’m also open to give advice though I feel completely unqualified to do so. And more than that, I am more than happy to be an ear or helping hand.

Want to know more about Susan?

 

Skin and Bones (The Ever Chace Chronicles, Book 1)

Being human in a world filled with supernatural creatures can give a girl a complex. Dr. Ever Chace wants nothing more than to be able to stand out in this crazy place she calls home. When she’s asked to consult on a case where teens are being brutalized, she relishes the chance to make a difference by helping to stop a monster. But when she’s teamed up to work alongside a sexy shifter, she ends up with more than she bargained for.
Derek Doyle has been a member of the Paranormal Investigations Team since the monsters first revealed themselves to the world. Considering he believes it takes a monster to catch a monster, he’s definitely in the right place. As a lone wolf not used to letting many people in, he isn’t prepared for the effect his new partner, consultant Dr. Ever Chace, has on him.
With a murderer on the loose, Ever and Derek will have to put their attraction aside while the hunt continues. Easier said than done… right?

 

Buy Skin and Bones from Amazon or from Barnes & Noble

 

 Collateral Damage (The Ever Chace Chronicles, Book 2)

When Derek Doyle wakes up next to a ripped-apart body, he’s terrified he’s about to lose everything he holds dear—Ever, his job, and his family. Dealing with his past has never come easy to Derek, especially since he’s too afraid of what people would think if they knew exactly what kind of monster he really is. But finding out who’s setting him up could be harder than the team thinks. As long as Derek has lived, there’s bound to be a long list of enemies.
Ever Chace has a lot on her plate. Confronted with the possibility that she is indeed losing her mind, Ever tries to push it aside as they deal with the ramifications of Derek’s past. Every new relationship has teething problems, but learning to deal with a mate who’s used to being a lone wolf has its own set of issues.
Can the team figure out how to save Derek from a swift execution? And just how much strain will the revelations put on Derek and Ever’s shiny new relationship?
Collateral Damage is the exciting sequel to Skin and Bones by Susan Harris.

 

Buy Collateral Damage from Amazon or Barnes & Noble

 

 

Smoke and Mirrors (The Ever Chace Chronicles, Book 3) 

Ever Chace is a Valkyrie, but not just any Valkyrie—she’s a Valkyrie queen in the making.
Torn between the past and present, love and obligation, Ever is terrified of saying the words that would break the curse she is bound to. Pushing Derek away hasn’t simplified things; it has only made her miserable. With her father waking, and her and Derek’s lives on the line, can she really shy away from who and what she is becoming? How long can Ever keep her past lives a secret?
Pushing thoughts of his mate aside, Derek tries to focus on the task at hand—tracking down a monster that leaves nothing but a husk behind. But Ever is never truly off his mind, even as two of his own become targets of the unsub. Can he set his personal distractions aside to keep his team alive?

 

Buy Smoke and Mirrors from Amazon or Barnes & Noble

Night of the Hunter (The Ever Chace Chronicles, Book 4)

Caitlyn Hardi is on a mission…a suicide mission. Driven by the pain of the past, she sets out to confront the monster deep in the Catacombs of Paris—the one who took everything from her. Caitlyn doesn’t care if she survives Paris. Her only concern is that the vampire who made her does not take another family from her. If dying means keeping everyone she loves safe—especially Donnie—then Caitlyn can accept that…as long as she can take her maker to Hell with her.
Donnie O’Carroll began to live the moment Caitlyn made him a vampire. Caitlyn gave him a family, a purpose, and he’ll be damned if he’s going to allow the darkness to overwhelm the woman he loves. He will fight to the end to prove to Caitlyn that love can conquer all—even if he has to die to do it.
Sacrifice, a supernatural assassin, and immortal love are on a cosmic collision course in this powerful fourth installment of the Ever Chace Chronicles.

 

Buy Night of the Hunter from Amazon or from Barnes & Noble

 

Never Back Down (The Ever Chace Chronicles, Book 5)

(Coming June 26, 2018)

Since the day that she was abandoned on the shores of Valhalla, and fought her way to be the fiercest Valkyrie, Erika has lived by those three words. There has never been a challenge Erika has backed down from; apart from Loki. But when Erika embeds herself in a supernatural fight club in the hopes that she can weed out Odin’s location, Erika will be put to the test. And when love and loyalty cause confusion, can this battle-hardened warrior finally let her guard down enough to see what’s been in front of her all along?

Loki knew the moment he clapped eyes on the beautiful warrior that she was meant for him. However, the Norse God of mischief hides a secret; he was once cursed and has shied away from his feelings to shield himself from hurt. Can he convince Erika that he’s the one meant for her, will he be forced to watch the woman he wants for himself spiral out of control?

 

Buy Never Back Down from Amazon

 

Shattered Memories

Shattered Memories is a stand alone psychological science fiction romance thriller perfect for fans of Hunger Games and Shatter Me.

A terrible tragedy forced Alana McCarthy to forget a year of her life. Now she is to be executed for a crime she doesn’t remember committing—the murder of her entire family. Lost and alone, Alana is terrified of unlocking secrets buried so deep inside her mind that she’s willing to forget the one person who could set her free.
Daniel Costello hasn’t forgotten about Alana, and he will do anything and everything to protect the girl he loves. But first, Alana needs to unlock her memories and find out the truth about what happened the night her family was killed.
The day of her execution is set. Together, will Alana and Daniel be able to uncover the truth behind her family’s deaths before it’s too late?

 

Buy Shattered Memories from Amazon or Barnes & Noble

 

 

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Author Spotlight: Lucinda Stein

Name: Lucinda Stein

Author of: Jadeite’s Journey (Inkspell Publishing) and Minnie’s Antique & Curiosity Shoppe

 

Can you tell me about the first piece you remember writing?

My first writing was free verse, but after all these years, I couldn’t tell you what I wrote about. I went on to write a novella (to be forever buried in a drawer!)

When did you first realize you wanted to pursue writing as a profession?

In the beginning, I wrote for my own enjoyment. Later I joined a writers’ group and discovered how much I needed to learn about the craft of writing. With the encouragement of other writers, I eventually worked to get my writing published.

Is there anyone who went out of their way to help or advise you during your journey to become a published author?

Two gracious people were willing to look at my work and give me feedback. At that point, I took my writing seriously and became committed to learning everything I could about writing. Note: This is a lifelong process!

Do you exclusively write sci-fi/fantasy or have you written in other genres?

Jadeite’s Journey was my first sci-fi/dystopian novel, but I’m definitely a multi-genre author. I’ve written historical fiction, contemporary women’s fiction, a collection of short stories, and young adult fiction. I’m currently working on a YA magic realism novel.

What is your schedule like when you’re writing a book? Is it difficult to achieve a work, life, write balance?

While I was working fulltime, I would write for an hour or so after work. Now that I’m retired, I don’t have those same time constraints, but I still need to push myself and keep a regular writing routine.

How long does it generally take you to write a first draft? How long do you spend on revisions?

My rough draft usually takes four to six months. With historical fiction, the process can take a year to two years. Revisions, which includes my own editing and suggestions from critique groups, can take a year or longer.

Can you describe the preparation/research you do for each book?

I usually have a rough idea how the story starts and ends. I do a character study for the main character. One of the most important things is to determine what the MC wants most deeply and why they struggle to attain that desire. This should be an emotional drive (to discover their true worth, find the strength to forgive, etc.) vs. an outward need (such as a job, relationship, etc.) which can be a subplot in the story.

Do you have any quirky writing habits (the things you’d never want anyone to know)?

I don’t spin three times before sitting down to the computer, but I do like to have coffee or a cold drink at my desk. In the beginning, I used music to set the mood, but now I’ve been writing for so long that just putting fingertips to keyboard gets my brain activated!

Have you ever done a literary pilgrimage—or any interesting research—for your novels? If not, do you have a research destination bucket list?

My first novel came out of lone hiking trips in the San Juan Mountains. Twice I took a wrong turn—once my German shepherd led me back to the trail and on another trip, a friendly hiker steered me straight! After coming across old mining ruins, I was inspired to write my first book, Maggie’s Way: The Story of a Defiant Pioneer Woman, published by Western Reflections Publishing.
A few years ago, I traveled with my husband to Oklahoma and visited his grandparents’ homestead. After hearing family stories while we were there, I found one particular event kept coming back to me. Soon I was researching the Depression era in Oklahoma and the Comanche tribe of which my husband is a member. The result was Dry Run, Oklahoma, a 2018 Oklahoma Book Award finalist.

Inspiration comes in many forms. Can you recall the exact moment of inspiration for each of your projects?

Usually a very small thing is the seed for my story, but it’s an event that sticks in my mind until I write about it. Jadeite’s Journey, my YA novel, came out of my concern for the trouble in the world. I imagined a “perfect” future society. Of course to make a good story, this world turns out to have its own set of problems.

My adult novel, Minnie’s Antique & Curiosity Shoppe, was inspired by a young woman who actually lived in the back of her antique store. The setting for my book is my hometown, which made for a lot of fun. The eccentric mother in the story—totally fictional!

 Do you have a specific genre you prefer to read? What are your favorites?

Like my writing, I enjoy a variey of books from YA to adult, contemporary to classics.

Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find or know the real inspiration for?

I don’t intentionally hide things, but writers are definitely thieves. Like that old saying among writers—Watch out or you may turn up in one of my books. (Different names and faces of course!)

Are your characters inspired—in part or whole—by people in your real life?

Consciously or unconsciously, I’m sure my characters are composites of people I’ve known.

Name one book you think is entirely underappreciated.

I loved Bone Gap by Laura Ruby, a National Book Award finalist and a Printz Award winner. The book shows up occasionally on Instagram (bookstagrams, specifically) but for the most part, seems underappreciated. It’s a unique YA book with a great theme.

Name one book that was a guilty pleasure.

This winter, I read Les Miserable, a 900 page classic. I love the theme of redemption and fresh starts. The guilty part? I had to skim and skip the long passages about the French Revolution and other exceedingly long parts of French political history.

Be honest: Do you Google yourself?

Occasionally, I check on the results of a book promotion.

As a writer, which animal would you choose as your mascot/avatar/patronus?

Definitely an owl. They’re always watching (for mistakes, improvement, inspiration) and wise in making decisions (revision, storyline.)

Is there one thing you think you, as a writer, should be better at, but secretly struggle with?

I struggle with finding where to start the story. There’s always the temptation to give too much information too soon. The reader need to be “hooked” into the story more than they need to know the main character or anything leading up to the story. Start with conflict and an inciting event.

 What is one word of advice you’d give to an aspiring writer?

A healthy critique group is essential for growth. Each member should be committed to improving his/her own work. This includes studying the advice of professional writers from books and workshops, and a willingness to take suggestions. In a good critique group, everyone wants to see each other improve.

If a suggestion is made by two or more people, take serious note of that suggestion. There’s so much to learn about the art and craft of writing that the effort can be daunting. Perseverance is required—it’s hard work—but hang in there and never stop learning.

What is one word of advice you’d give to a newly published author?

Prepare yourself to be disappointed with book sales. Promotion is grueling and building a following takes time. Learn everything you can about the business and pump other authors (hopefully gracious ones) about things you should be doing.

In what ways do you “pay it forward” to help other aspiring writers?

Without any financial compensation, I took on a new writer who wanted mentoring. She was so dedicated to learning she quickly grew in skill, became published, and now we critique each other’s work! I am so grateful for the writers in my life who were willing to share what they had learned that I try to pass it on. I encourage new writers to join writers’ groups and also find a critique group with members dedicated to helping each other in a kind, supportive manner.

Want to know more about Lucinda?

 

Minnie’s Antique & Curiosity Shoppe 

After growing up in the back of a secondhand store, Liza swore she’d never return home. But twenty-three-year-old Liza has lost all sense of direction after her divorce. Her mother, Minnie, a product of the hippie era, now resides in an antique store, her eccentricity known to all in the small Midwestern town. To Liza’s chagrin, she’s once again living in a store.

When a toddler is abandoned in Minnie’s shop, Liza takes in the child she calls Sweetie, hoping the young woman who left her will return. Liza soon finds her priorities change. She falls in love with the little girl and refuses to report Sweetie to the authorities. When the young woman who abandoned the child returns a year later, Liza’s force to make a decision—give up Sweetie or go the run.

Buy Minnie’s Antique & Curiosity Shoppe on Amazon or Barnes & Noble 

 

 

 

 

Jadeite’s Journey 

Jadeite’s perfect world comes crashing down on her. In the futuristic world of United Society, her only problem has been how to act around the cute boy on the air shuttle. But Jadeite’s world changes when she comes across a man who looks alarmingly like her father. Clones were declared illegal years ago. When she sees her father, a robotic engineer, headed to the Dark Edge of United Society, she follows him and uncovers her father’s secret life.

Jadeite shadows her father past the boundary of United Society and into a primitive world of canyons and high deserts. She learns her father is a Ridge Runner passing between the two worlds. Even more alarming, she discovers her younger brother, Malachite, is sick and requires medicine only available from over the Ridge. After her father is arrested, Jadeite takes his place in order to save her brother’s life.

But her world turns even more precarious after she breaks up with her obsessive boyfriend, Mattie. Jadeite soon learns his threats are more than words, and she finds her life is in jeopardy.

Buy Jadeite’s Journey from Amazon or from Barnes & Noble

 

 

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Author Spotlight: Kim Chance

Name:  Kim Chance

Author of: Keeper; Seeker (coming Fall 2019)

From: Flux Books

 

 

Can you tell me about the first piece you remember writing?

The first piece of original fiction I remember ever writing was a short story about a girl named Katie and a boy named Barry who fall madly and love and get married. It was about three pages long. I was very much into romance and fairy tales when I was younger! I still have it somewhere, though I think I’d be slightly horrified to read it! Can we say insta-love? LOL! 

When did you first realize you wanted to pursue writing as a profession?

I majored in Journalism in college, so I was already on the path of using writing for my career, but I never occurred to me to pursue fiction writing until after I had graduated. I was 22 and newly married. My hubby was deployed and I was living in a brand new town with no friends or family nearby. I started dabbling in fanfiction just for fun, and when a friend suggested I write my own story, I decided to give it a try! The rest, as they say, is history!

 Is there anyone who went out of their way to help or advise you during your journey to become a published author?

 Not really. I sort of fumbled way through it on my own, to be honest. I did a lot of research and read a lot of craft books. Now, I’m part of a wonderful writing community and I have some amazing people in my corner. However, when I first started this journey, it was pretty much just me, my laptop, and a dream!

Do you exclusively write fantasy or have you written in other genres?

I’ve not written in other genres yet, but I’d like to in the future. I really don’t want to limit myself or put myself in a box. I know they say that writers should stick to one genre, but I’m not sure I agree with that. I plan to tell whatever story I’m most passionate about at the time, regardless of genre. Fantasy is definitely a soft spot for me, so I’m sure I will continue to write those types of stories, but I’d love to branch out as well.

What is your schedule like when you’re writing a book? Is it difficult to achieve a work, life, write balance?

My schedule is 100% unpredictable. I have two school-age children and a baby. That in itself is a recipe for chaos! J I do the majority of my writing at night once the littles are asleep. It’s not ideal, but it’s the only time I can truly focus without interruptions. I do try to squeeze writing time in during the day if I can (i.e. while the baby naps), but I usually have other responsibilities to manage during that time (laundry, cleaning the house, paying bills, etc.) as well. It is VERY difficult to juggle everything, and honestly, I’m not sure I’ve yet to figure out a true work/life/writing balance yet. I’m constantly working towards that though. I think the key is readjustment and trial and error. Just keep changing things up until you find what works for you!

How long does it generally take you to write a first draft? How long do you spend on revisions?

FOREVER. I’m seriously the world’s slowest drafter. When I wrote Keeper, I wasn’t agented and I didn’t have a publishing contract, so I wrote on my own timetable. It took me about three years to write the draft that ended up being the published book. For Seeker, the sequel to Keeper, I’m on deadline with my publisher. I have a little less than six months to write and turn in the draft. No pressure! Revisions tend to go much quicker for me because I enjoy the revision process so much more than drafting. I’ll likely get about two months or so to revise Seeker before it gets sent off for ARC printing.

Can you describe the preparation/research you do for each book?

I’m a big plotter, so I do an extensive outline and character profiles before I begin each book. If there’s research to be done, I typically try to do as much as I can ahead of time, but stuff always comes up while I’m drafting too.

Do you have any quirky writing habits (the things you’d never want anyone to know)?

Haha! No, not really. I’m pretty boring! I do need music and hard candy though (jolly ranchers are my fav!).

Have you ever done a literary pilgrimage—or any interesting research—for your novels? If not, do you have a research destination bucket list?

Unfortunately, not. I’ve never been outside of the US, which is something I hope to remedy soon! There are so many places I’d love to see and visit—especially for writing inspiration!

Inspiration comes in many forms. Can you recall the exact moment of inspiration for each of your projects?

For me, I don’t think it was one specific thing that inspired the story in Keeper. There were many things! I do remember the moment when a certain plot twist popped into my head. It changed EVERYTHING I had already written, but it was so exciting, I didn’t mind!

Do you have a specific genre you prefer to read? What are your favorites?

I’m a pretty eclectic reader, but fantasy and historical are my favorites!

Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find or know the real inspiration for?

I didn’t do that in Keeper, nor do I have anything like that planned for Seeker. However, I do have another WIP that I plan to finish after Seeker is turned in. In that book, there are multiple easter eggs!

Are your characters inspired—in part or whole—by people in your real life?

Yes and no. Most of the characters are entirely their own people, but there are some bits and pieces I pulled from real like. For example, Lainey’s name comes from my middle name which is Elaine. I’m named after my grandmother and wanted to honor her in that way. Also, Maggie, Lainey’s best friend, is very similar to my real life best friend, Carrie. Carrie isn’t a comic book nerd, but she is fiercely loyal and protective of me and always has my back—just like Maggie always has Lainey’s! I also used my husband as inspiration for the villain of the story, the Master. That sounds really odd, doesn’t it? Lol! My husband has a pretty dry sarcastic wit and so does the Master. That’s where the similarities stop though!

Name one book you think is entirely underappreciated.

The Host by Stephenie Meyer. It’s her adult sci-fi and it’s one of my favorite books of all time. It’s so undervalued and appreciated, which is a shame because it’s an incredible book. I can’t recommend it enough.

Name one book that was a guilty pleasure.

Twilight, of course! (Also, by Stephenie Meyer)

 Be honest: Do you Google yourself?

 Not very often, but I have done it before!

As a writer, which animal would you choose as your mascot/avatar/patronus?

 I would definitely choose a fox! I think they’re cute and clever!

Is there one thing you think you, as a writer, should be better at, but secretly struggle with?

Characterization. I always feel like I need to dig a little deeper with my characters. I usually get there, but it takes a while to really get inside their heads.

 What is one word of advice you’d give to an aspiring writer?

 Don’t be your own worst enemy. Writing a book is a difficult process, and it’s very easy to succumb to self-doubt and fear. Don’t stop yourself from doing what you love just because it’s scary. Keep writing and never stop. You can do it!

What is one word of advice you’d give to a newly published author?

Don’t read your reviews. I know the temptation is there, but don’t do it. Reviews are for readers not for authors, and while the good reviews are awesome, negative reviews can really hamper creativity. Have someone else send you the good ones, but stay away from the bad ones. Protect your creative headspace!

In what ways do you “pay it forward” to help other aspiring writers?

Helping other writers is super important to me! That’s why I started my YouTube channel so that I could share what I’ve learned on my journey with others. I post weekly writing advice videos on my channel. I also host a monthly twitter chat to help writers connect with other writers under the hashtag #Chance2Connect. The chat is on the 2nd Tuesday of each month at 9pm CST.

Want to find out more about Kim?

 

Keeper

When a 200-year-old witch attacks her, sixteen-year-old bookworm Lainey Styles is determined to find a logical explanation. Even with the impossible staring her in the face, Lainey refuses to believe it—until she finds a photograph linking the witch to her dead mother.

After consulting a psychic, Lainey discovers that she, like her mother, is a Keeper: a witch with the exclusive ability to unlock and wield the Grimoire, a dangerous but powerful spell book. But there’s a problem. The Grimoire has been stolen by a malevolent warlock who is desperate for a spell locked inside it—a spell that would allow him to siphon away the world’s magic.

With the help of her comic-book-loving best friend and an enigmatic but admittedly handsome street fighter, Lainey must leave her life of college prep and studying behind to prepare for the biggest test of all: stealing back the book.

 

Get your copy of Keeper from Amazon or Barnes & Noble 

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Author Spotlight: Brenda Drake

 Name:  Brenda Drake

Author of: Analise Rising (coming January, 2019)

The Library Jumpers series: Thief of Lies; Guardian of Secrets; Assassin of Truths

The Fated series: Touching Fate; Cursing Fate; Seeking Fate (coming June, 2018)

Thunderstruck

 

Can you tell me about the first piece you remember writing?

I was eight, I believe, and it was a story about a rabbit looking for his lost carrots. It was horribly illustrated, but my grandmother loved it.

When did you first realize you wanted to pursue writing as a profession?

I always loved writing, but it wasn’t until I was home with the kids that I decided to give publishing my stories a try.

 

Is there anyone who went out of their way to help or advise you during your journey to become a published author?

My journey to publishing started out without having anyone to talk to about writing. It wasn’t until I found Twitter and blogging did I find writer friends. I guess it’s been my many writer friends and my current editors who have read and critique my work that have helped and advised me on my publishing journey.

 

Do you exclusively write books with a  paranormal/fantasy twist  or have you written in other genres?

Currently, all my books have a paranormal/fantasy twist. I love being in the fantastical. I may try other genres one day, but for now I’m happy what I write. I think that’s the most important thing. You have to enjoy what you write because other parts of the publishing journey is difficult but writing should be enjoyable.

 

What is your schedule like when you’re writing a book? Is it difficult to achieve a work, life, write balance?

I’m so off balance when I’m writing a book. It’s all I concentrate on. I’ll write from morning to night, only stopping when I have to, when something needs to be taking care of. I keep trying to follow a schedule, but it never works. I’m just not good at being hemmed into a schedule. I write when the inspiration hits me.

 

How long does it generally take you to write a first draft? How long do you spend on revisions?

It usually takes me four to six weeks to write a first draft and about a month for revisions. Then if I have time, I have a critique partner read it and revise it again.

 

Can you describe the preparation/research you do for each book?

Each book is different and has varying amounts of preparation and research. With fantasy, much of it is made up from your imagination and things come to me as I write. Mostly, I have to research real places that are in my books, maybe weapons and techniques for fighting and things like that. I do a plot graph of each book and it takes me several hours to only a few hours to plot out a story.

Do you have any quirky writing habits (the things you’d never want anyone to know)?

I have to have some sort of noise going while I write. Usually, it’s music. Sometimes it’s a movie that inspires me that I’ve seen so many times that I know what’s going on in it because I don’t pay attention to it while I’m writing. It’s weird, but I think it has to do with feeling lonely in the quiet.

 

Have you ever done a literary pilgrimage—or any interesting research—for your novels? If not, do you have a research destination bucket list?

I haven’t done a pilgrimage. My dream is to do a tour of libraries around the world. That would be the best bucket list ever!

 

Inspiration comes in many forms. Can you recall the exact moment of inspiration for each of your projects?

I can! With the Library Jumpers series it was in a book store and I came across a coffee table book on libraries. I thought how great it would be if I could jump into the photographs of each library to see them for real. For my Fated series, it was during a tarot card reading in New Orleans.

 

Do you have a specific genre you prefer to read? What are your favorites?

I prefer reading young adult fantasy. It’s my favorite, but I read in all categories and genres. For me, it’s about the story. If it interests me, I’ll read it.

 

Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find or know the real inspiration for?

Yes, I do. No one has pointed them out yet, so I may have hidden them too well. Ha!

 

Are your characters inspired—in part or whole—by people in your real life?

They’re somewhat inspired by people I know in real life. I borrow traits and quirks from the people around me.

 

Name one book you think is entirely underappreciated.

I can’t think of any one book. There are so many books I feel that don’t get enough marketing behind them that should.

 

Name one book that was a guilty pleasure.

I’ve thought and thought over this one and I don’t know if it’s a guilty pleasure or not, but I loved Twilight by Stephenie Meyer.

 

Be honest: Do you Google yourself?

Yes. And sometimes it’s sad. Ha!

 

As a writer, what animal would you choose as your mascot/avatar/patronus?

I’d say an owl. They’re beautiful, quiet, and they look as if they’re always contemplating their next move.

 

Is there one thing you think you, as a writer, should be better at, but secretly struggle with?

Spelling and pronunciation. They’re my Kryptonite. After an accident, I had difficulties hearing sounds while growing up and it continues to this day. I’ll have my friends repeat a word several times so that I can get it. And I never mind being corrected because it helps me with it. I’m a little self-conscious speaking in front of large groups. I struggle, but I still do it.

 

What is one word of advice you’d give to an aspiring writer?

Learn your craft. Read widely. The key to success is perseverance. If you give up, you’ll never accomplish your dreams.

 

What is one word of advice you’d give to a newly published author?

Relax and enjoy the ride. Don’t spend too much on swag. And remember all authors get bad reviews.

 

In what ways do you “pay it forward” to help other aspiring writers?

I founded Pitch Wars and #PitMad as a way of paying it forward to others. I also mentor in Pitch Wars sometimes. Giving back to the community is rewarding and will make you life long friends.

 

Interested in learning more about Brenda or her books?

 

Thunderstruck

Stevie Moon is famous…at least to the subscribers on her comic review vlog. At school, she’s as plain as the gray painted walls in the cafeteria. So when Blake, the hot new guy at school, shows an interest in her, she knows trouble when she sees it. Been there. And never doing it again.

As the son of the god Thor, Blake Foster’s been given an important mission—to recover the Norse god Heimdall’s sacred and powerful horn before someone uses it to herald in the destruction of the entire universe. But while Blake is great in a fight, the battlefield that is a high school’s social scene is another matter.

Blake knows his only choice is to team up with the adorable Stevie, but she’s not willing to give him even the time of day. He’ll need to woo the girl and find the horn if he hopes to win this war. Who better to tackle Stevie’s defenses than the demi-god of thunder?

Get Thunderstruck from Amazon or Barnes & Noble

 

The Library Jumpers Series:

 Thief of Lies

Gia Kearns would rather fight with boys than kiss them. That is, until Arik, a leather clad hottie in the Boston Athenaeum, suddenly disappears. While examining the book of world libraries he abandoned, Gia unwittingly speaks the key that sucks her and her friends into a photograph and transports them into a Paris library, where Arik and his Sentinels-magical knights charged with protecting humans from the creatures traveling across the gateway books-rescue them from a demonic hound.

Jumping into some of the world’s most beautiful libraries would be a dream come true for Gia, if she weren’t busy resisting her heart or dodging an exiled wizard seeking revenge on both the Mystik and human worlds. Add a French flirt obsessed with Arik and a fling with a young wizard, and Gia must choose between her heart and her head, between Arik’s world and her own, before both are destroyed.

Get Thief of Lies from Amazon or from Barnes & Noble

 

Guardian of Secrets

Being a Sentinel isn’t all fairytales and secret gardens.

Sure, jumping through books into the world’s most beautiful libraries to protect humans from mystical creatures is awesome. No one knows that better than Gia Kearns, but she could do without the part where people are always trying to kill her. Oh, and the fact that Pop and her had to move away from her friends and life as she knew it.

And if that isn’t enough, her boyfriend, Arik, is acting strangely. Like, maybe she should be calling him “ex,” since he’s so into another girl. But she doesn’t have time to be mad or even jealous, because someone has to save the world from the upcoming apocalypse, and it looks like that’s going to be Gia.

Maybe. If she survives.

Get Guardian of Secrets from Amazon or from Barnes & Noble

 

Assassin of Truths

The gateways linking the great libraries of the world don’t require a library card, but they do harbor incredible dangers.

And it’s not your normal bump-in-the- night kind. The threats Gia Kearns faces are the kind with sharp teeth and knifelike claws. The kind that include an evil wizard hell-bent on taking her down.

Gia can end his devious plan, but only if she recovers seven keys hidden throughout the world’s most beautiful libraries. And then figures out exactly what to do with them.

The last thing she needs is a distraction in the form of falling in love. But when an impossible evil is unleashed, love might be the only thing left to help Gia save the world.

Get Assassin of Truths from Amazon or from Barnes & Noble

 

The Fated Series:

Touching Fate

One touch is all it takes…

Aster Layne believes in physics, not psychics. A tarot card reading on the Ocean City Boardwalk should have been a ridiculous, just-for-fun thing. It wasn’t. Aster discovers she has a very unscientific gift-with a simple touch of the cards, she can change a person’s fate.

Reese Van Buren is cursed. Like the kind of old-school, centuries-old curse that runs in royal families. Every firstborn son is doomed to die on his eighteenth birthday-and Reese’s is coming up fast. Bummer. He tries to distract himself from his inevitable death…only to find the one person who can save him.

Aster doesn’t know that the hot Dutch guy she’s just met needs her help-or that he’s about to die.
But worst of all…she doesn’t know that her new gift comes with dark, dark consequences that can harm everyone she loves.

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Cursing Fate

There’s something strange about the Layne sisters, and Wade Diaz wants nothing to do with them. Especially the one who ripped his heart out and set it on fire before tossing it in the garbage several months ago. Iris. He can’t even think her name without unconsciously rubbing the spot in his chest where she left a gaping hole. But now her sisters are claiming some evil spirit is after his soul, and Iris is the only one who can save him. Well, at least his heart would stop hurting, right? Didn’t sound so bad.

Iris Layne has always been the sweet sister. She’s kind to everyone, including her best friend Wade… Until she makes a horrible mistake and breaks his heart. All she wants is to go back to before ‘the dumping’. Of course, Wade would rather see her in hell first. But then Iris touches her sister’s tarot cards and unleashes an evil curse intent on playing a deadly game where no one Iris loves is safe, especially Wade.

How do you convince someone they need your help when you’re the one who hurt them most?

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Author Spotlight: Barbara Quinn

Name: Barbara Quinn

Author of: The Summer Springsteen’s Songs Saved Me (Lakewater Press)

Speed of Dark; Hard Head (Eternal Press)

36C; Slings and Arrows (DiskUs Publishing)

 

Can you tell me about the first piece you remember writing?

I started writing early; at five or six years old. I remember my brother and I put plays on for my parents and the rest of the family. The first piece I wrote that was “produced” was for my Girl Scout Troop.

It was a “fractured fairy tale” in which Evil Red Riding Hood tormented the sensitive Big Wolf. It was a musical. I wrote the songs and directed too! Much polite parental applause made me feel wonderful.

When did you first realize you wanted to pursue writing as a profession?

I’ve never stopped writing. For a number of years I practiced law which paid the bills. I drafted laws and briefs and contracts but even then in the mornings I’d carve out a little time to work on a short story. I also worked for a few local papers covering trials and writing a legal column for laymen.

Is there anyone who went out of their way to help or advise you during your journey to become a published author?

The author Noel Hynd encouraged me to keep at my writing. He discovered a piece I had written in a writing area I used to manage and we became friends. I learned to write the parts I know from him and not worry about the rest, and to up the emotional impact of my story.

Do you exclusively write contemporary women’s fiction or have you written in other genres?

I’ve written in several genres: Fantasy, paranormal, romantic suspense, chick lit. I’m currently working on a steampunk novella. And a big women’s fiction that’s eating me alive.

What is your schedule like when you’re writing a book? Is it difficult to achieve a work, life, write balance?

It’s very hard for me to find time to write, but I do set aside time in the late afternoons to sit down and let out whatever it is that is pent up. I’m not working full-time any longer, but life and family do occupy a lot of time. As does procrastination.

How long does it generally take you to write a first draft? How long do you spend on revisions?

A first draft usually takes me a year to complete, sometimes more. I can spend another year revising.

Can you describe the preparation/research you do for each book?

I do a lot of research as I hate to be inaccurate. I recently spent hours learning about hot air balloons. And for my Springsteen book I spent hours poring over his lyrics and listening to songs to find the right match to what my main character, Sofia, was experiencing.

Do you have any quirky writing habits (the things you’d never want anyone to know)?

I need quiet to write. And not much life chaos spinning in my brain to distract me. Once I start rolling, I lose track of time and place. I used to set an alarm when my son was in school so I’d remember to pick him up. I began using an alarm after I did once get lost in a writing fog and forget the time. I rushed to school to find him waiting alone outside his classroom. Never again!

Have you ever done a literary pilgrimage—or any interesting research—for your novels? If not, do you have a research destination bucket list?

One of my books, Hard Head, has a scene set at the Palio in Siena, a fascinating horse race around the town square filled with intrigue and pageantry.. They bring in dirt to cover the square to make a track. I devoured every article I could about this ancient race. After publication, I visited Siena and enjoyed walking around the square. I didn’t see the Palio as it’s held only twice a year, but I did get to imagine it right there.

Inspiration comes in many forms. Can you recall the exact moment of inspiration for each of your projects?

For me inspiration is an amorphous fog that’s always with me and I never know what’s going to pop out or when. At some point everything starts to gel.  I can’t control it but I have to sit down and trust the process  can happen.

Do you have a specific genre you prefer to read? What are your favorites?

I read mostly fiction. I love anything by Anne Tyler, T Coraghessan Boyle, Christopher Moore.I also loved Enders Game by Orson Scott Card. My favorite books of late are the Elena Ferrante Neapolitan trilogy. What a consummate body of complex but entertaining fiction she’s written.

Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find or know the real inspiration for?

I tend to name characters after people who have helped me out along the way. I do try to make those characters nice ones and not kill them off!

Are your characters inspired—in part or whole—by people in your real life?

For sure! I often reach back in time to my own childhood and to the advice given by my parents and grandparents. The grandfather in Hard Head is a blending of my father and my grandfather. They were from Calabria and the Calabrese who are known for their stubborness and hard heads, literally and figuratively ,are called Testa Dura, which translates as hard head. The Summer Springstgeen’s Songs Saved Me is a tribute to the healing power of Bruce Springsteen’s music and I’ve always been a Bruce fan. My book 36C is a story of a gal who sells lingerie. I did that for a summer job once.  And Speed of Dark opens with a scene of kids pedaling their bikes behind a DDT truck that’s spreading it’s poisonous gas to kill mosquitos. Amazingly, the kids in the neighborhood, incuding me, used to do that.

Name one book you think is entirely underappreciated.

A Confederacy of Dunces. It’s the funniest novel. It’s received many awards,but I think it deserves more widespread acclaim.

Name one book that was a guilty pleasure.

Nope. Don’t have one. I’m a picky guilt-free reader.

Be honest: Do you Google yourself?

Haw! I have a Google alert set for my name in case it’s ever mentioned. But there are other Barbara Quinns out there so I get more of those than about me!

As a writer, which animal would you choose as your mascot/avatar/patronus?

The dolphin! I see them quite a lot in Florida and at the Jersey shore. Recently I took a boat ride with a dog that knew where to find them and manatees. It was  fascinating and magical to see the interaction of these different caring and protective species.

Is there one thing you think you, as a writer, should be better at, but secretly struggle with?

I wish I were more productive. I work very slowly.

What is one word of advice you’d give to an aspiring writer?

Persist. This is a marathon, not a sprint.

What is one word of advice you’d give to a newly published author?

Enjoy! It’s real.

In what ways do you “pay it forward” to help other aspiring writers?

For many years I published an online literary ezine called The Rose and Thorn. It was staffed by volunteer writers and we gave many, many, writers their start in fiction and poetry publication. I enjoyed that venture. Now, aspiring writers write to me asking for advice and I’m happy to help them along the path.

Interested in learning more about Barbara?

 

The Summer Springsteen’s Songs Saved Me 

Catching her husband with his face between the long, silky legs of another woman is the last thing Sofia expects–and on today of all days.

So, after scratching an expletive into his Porsche and setting the cheating bastard’s clothes on fire, she cranks up her beloved Bruce and flees, vowing never to look back.

Seeking solace in the peaceful beachside town of Bradley Beach, NJ, Sof is determined to divorce and start over. And, with the help of best friends, new acquaintances, a sexy neighbor, and the powerful songs of Springsteen, this may be the place where her wounds can heal. But, as if she hasn’t faced her share of life’s challenges, a final flurry of obstacles awaits.

In order to head courageously toward the future, Sofia must first let go of her past, find freedom, and mend her broken soul.

 

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Speed of Dark

There are some people you never forget. In the summer of 1964, Luke D’Angelo falls for one of them–a mysterious girl named Celeste. Like Luke, Celeste is an outsider struggling to find her identity, but unlike Luke, Celeste has special powers that have the potential to destroy everything Luke and his friends believe in.

Luke and his mentally challenged sister become fast friends with this curious girl. Set in upstate New York, in a town that is home to a shrimp cocktail plant that belches a foul-smelling tomato and fish fog, this coming of age tale about a girl with a dream and the teens who want to help her fulfill it, is a balance between the comic and the profound. The story resonates with the message that inside each of us is a light that burns so bright no dark can extinguish it. But at what cost?

 

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Hard Head 

A mother and daughter discover some things can be more deadly than the Mafia…

Rosanna Sweeney defies her father’s deathbed order that she never go to Italy. She and her teenage daughter journey across Italy to the Calabrian town of her father’s birth. In their quest, they find romance, learn about one another, and uncover a past that links them to secret societies far worse than the Mafia. Can they survive their dark legacy?

 

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36C 

Tressa Connell dreams of finding the right fellow, of putting her graphics art degree to work, and of traveling to Venice. The reality is that she’s stuck in a dead-end job selling lingerie to rail-thin women who prowl the high-end Manhattan boutique where she works. Hounded by a helmet-haired boss, befriended by a troubled Latina makeup artist, and wooed by a Jewish cop, Tressa also has a giant grandfather clock strapped to her back, a bushel of eggs in her arms, and her mother cracking a Pampers whip over her head.

 

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Slings and Arrows 

When massage therapist Ellen D’Este separates from her husband her life begins to unravel. In an attempt to reinvent herself, she encounters a female spiritualist and a handsome stranger who turn her world upside down. Can she find love, faith and meaning in life or will she be the unwitting pawn of a charlatan?

 

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