Today’s Featured Author – Inge Saunders

Please welcome author Inge Saunders to my blog. Her book, The Wolf’s Choice, came out in March. You can purchase it on Amazon, the Kobo store or Smashwords.

Excerpt

“I’ll pledge my loyalty to you through a blood oath, if you’ll support my choice of mate.”

Drew’s eyebrows went up. Ryker, true to form, didn’t blink an eye.

“Why would you need my support?”

“It’s Rebecca Ferguson.”

Ryker straightened, taking on a solid stance next to Drew. The discussion wasn’t a threat to the alpha in any way.

“Her father won’t allow it.”

“I know.”

“He’s alpha of his household.”

“I know.”

“Are you going to challenge him?”

“If I have to.”

“And you want me to sanction it.”

“Yes.”

Drew sank into his chair. “What does Rebecca have to say? The last time I spoke to her, she didn’t mention you.”

Blaine smiled. He hadn’t earned himself any favors. “She doesn’t know yet.”

“You expect me to support your claim without her being aware of it?”

“You expect me to swear a blood oath to you without assurance whether or not you’ll turn into your father.”

The menacing growl from Ryker vibrated through the room.

“You’re playing a dangerous game, Blaine.”

“All of us have done it for our mates.” He stared from one to the other.

News traveled through the wolf-grapevine. Drew’d had to gain his mate, Betty’s, trust when he returned to Los Lobos after she believed the lies his father told about him. Ryker had overstepped their laws by mating a human, something the old alpha would’ve killed him for. But Drew didn’t seem to have a problem with humans becoming part of the Tao pack.

“Elijah isn’t going to hand over Rebecca to you. He went to extreme measures to keep her safe.” Drew sat forward again. “Even with the new order, he’s still protective of her.”

Blaine didn’t budge. He knew what he wanted. And he rarely lost.

Book Blurb

“I’ll pledge my loyalty to you through a blood oath, if you’ll support my choice of mate.”

Drew sank into his chair. “What does Rebecca have to say? The last time I spoke to her, she didn’t mention you.”

Blaine smiled. He hadn’t earned himself any favors. “She doesn’t know yet.” 

Thirteen years ago Rebecca Ferguson died, at least to everyone in the Black Hills territory. With a human mother and unable to shift into a wolf, Magnum Tao, the deranged alpha of the Tao Pack would’ve had both her and her father killed for deceiving him. Magnum didn’t allow humans to mate with members of his pack.

Now Magnum is the one who’s dead and Rebecca can return.

But coming back from the dead, building a new life after her divorce and opening a library in town isn’t the only obstacles Rebecca faces. Elijah, her father, doesn’t approve of her being in Los Lobos to the point where he forbids her to get involved with the pack, especially the males.

Their relationship has suffered because of her absence and she hopes to bridge the divide; confident that she doesn’t want a romantic entanglement with anyone human or wolf, anyway.

In walks sexy private detective Blaine Walker.

Thirteen years ago Blaine stumbled on his mate at the local Swimming Hole. The next day, she was dead. Once he learns Rebecca is alive and living in Los Lobos, he decides it’s time to give up his career in Brooklyn and return to Black Hills. But he knows it won’t be easy to claim her since Elijah’s unnaturally overprotective. The only way Elijah will back off is to challenge him.

A challenge that will end in one of their deaths.

Rebecca can’t deny the old attraction she felt for Blaine is still there and even stronger now that they are grownup. She’s caught between the man fate has brought back to her and her father, whose affection she craved her whole life.

But there’s a life altering secret governing Elijah’s erratic behavior that can cost Rebecca everything she’s worked hard to build and everything she thought she could never have with a man or wolf.

Will Rebecca and Blaine beat the odds stacked against them?

Or will the choices they make ultimately lead them down a path both of them don’t want?

About the Author

Inge Saunders lives in the biggest small town in South Africa‒ Worcester. She fell in love with books when she started reading romance novels with her grandmother. Intrigued by the worlds books unlocked, it was inevitable she would take pen to paper. She holds an Honors degree in Community Development and Learning Support and loves to sink her teeth into the research part of a story.

When she’s not writing about that ‘inexplicable attraction’ she’s reading almost every sub-genre in romance out there, spending time with friends and family and taking hikes in her hometown’s National Karoo Park.

Inge’s been a member of ROSA (Romance writers’ Organization of South Africa) since 2012 and has two contemporary titles, Falling for Mr. Unexpected (2014) and Dance of Love (2015) published with Decadent Publishing, as well as her first Black Hills Wolves novella, The Wolf’s Choice (2017).

You can find out more about Inge on her blog or follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

You can purchase The Wolf’s Choice on Amazon, the Kobo store or Smashwords.

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Tips on doing a better author interview

As a way for authors to promote themselves, many blogger (including myself) offer author interviews. This is a chance for your readers – or potential readers – to get to know more about you as an author and to learn more about your book.

But in the five years that I have been interviewing authors, I would say about 40% of them struggle with the interview. It isn’t that I make it hard. I email them a list of questions and let them choose which ones they want to answer. It is the answering of the questions where they run into trouble.

Here are some of the problems…

 

  • Offer TOO Much Information – This is where they go on and on while answering a question. I can say, “Tell me about yourself” and they give me their whole bio instead of providing a few interesting facts.

Tip: Keep answers to a few sentences. No one wants to read long paragraphs.

  • Offer TOO Little Information – Some authors go the other direction and give just one or two words answers. These answers give almost no insight into the author. I try not to have questions that can be answered with a yes or no. But instead of just saying “the library” is your favorite writing location expand on that and tell us why.

Tip: Write in complete sentences. And make your answer clear, concise and interesting (give us the reasons behind your decisions, if applicable).

  • Forget the Interview Purpose – The purpose of the interview is not only to promote your book but to promote your brand. And that is you! There is nothing wrong with being friendly, but you still need to come across as a professional. (see #4) This may be your first impression with a potential reader so make it a good one.

Tip: Remember readers are judging you and your books based on what you answer in your interview. You want to share some of the “mystic” of being an author with them.

  • Forget to be Professional – So everything you post on your own website or other websites, every communication you make should be a reflection of the best “you.” If you are an author, your communication needs to be clear and grammatically correct. This holds true with all forms of communication as a writer. (Check out my post on being professional in your e-mails.) Readers are going to assume that if there is poor grammar or writing in your interview that your book will be this way too.

Tip: Be professional in all forms of communication. This means complete sentences and correct spelling and grammar.

  • Answer questions that don’t apply – If you write non-fiction, you should skip questions about characters and black moments in your book. The same goes for the writers of memoirs. Since your story is based on real events, you probably don’t have a “favorite” character.

Tip: Read the interview instructions and only answer questions that appeal and apply to you.

If you want to check out a few good author interviews – check out Tracee Lydia Garner and Victoria Zak.

Author interviews are all about letting readers – and more importantly potential readers – get to know the person who wrote the book. As a writer, you need to know how to portray yourself and your book in the best light. Think about what you would be interested in knowing and share that information. Just remember to watch the length of your answer, use complete sentences and check your grammar.

 

Waiting for a growth spurt

Jase wasn’t a small baby. He was 8 pounds, 4 ounces and 22 inches at birth. In fact, in those first few months he was quite a chunky baby.

When he became a toddler, those pounds shed as he became active. And for those first few years, he was actually quite average, falling right at the 56% for height for his age.

But as he has grown, those percentages began dropping. And now at 12 years old, Jase is 55 inches which makes him in the 10th percentile for height. In other words, he is short. It means that out 100 boys, 90 of them will be taller than him.

His doctor said he is more the size of a 9-year-old. In fact, his 9-year-old sister is just 1 ½” shorter than he is. She is a bit on the tall side for her age but we know girls typically do grow quicker than boys before they hit puberty. Many times girls shoot up and reach their full height sooner than boys. My mom had reached her full height in the sixth grade. She towered over the boys but soon the boys started to grow, passing her. I have heard many stories of boys growing all the way up until they are 20 years old.

This gives us hope but genetics also plays a role in how tall Jase will be. There are quite a few short people in our family. My dad, brother and husband are all 5 foot 10 or shorter. But my father-in-law, brother-in-law and uncles are all tall (at least 6 feet or taller).

I am only 5’ 2”. My mom and mother-in-law are both about the same height as me. For women, this isn’t a problem. But there is a different stigma for men. Studies have shown that shorter men have lower salaries. And in studies, these men have also reported problems with dating. (I guess women don’t want to date someone as short or shorter than them.) Short men are often portrayed in movies as jealous (think Napoléon complex).

My husband has been quite worried about Jase being teased because he is short. So far that hasn’t happened. Thankfully, he was not the shortest boy in his class. We will just have to see what happens in middle school.

The good news for Jase is that he hasn’t hit puberty yet. My husband was about thirteen when he hit a big growth spurt. And this is what we hope comes for Jase. He may just be a late bloomer.

His doctor said at his next well-check appointment if falls below 5% on the growth chart or if he doesn’t grow at least 2” (he has been growing about 1 ½” a year), then she will request some tests to see if there is any problem. Or it could be that he is just a late bloomer and next summer he will shoot up. We will just have to wait and see.

Today’s Featured Author – Elona Washington

Today I welcome author Elona Washington to my blog. Her memoir, From Ivy League to Stripper Life, came out last year.

Interview

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I was born in Washington DC & I currently live in suburban Philadelphia. I’m a mother of two, author and blogger.

What or who inspired you to start writing?

I used to escape via reading and writing so I guess you can say my abuse inspired me to start.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I’ve considered myself a writer since I was a child. I considered myself an author when my first book was published April 2015.

Do you write full-time? If so, what is your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?

 

I write full-time and Uber for additional income. I write in the afternoon in between driving shifts.

What is the best thing about being a writer? The worst?

I love the freedom but hate the minimal pay.

What fuels you as an author to continue to write?

Helping others heal inspires me to write.

What inspired you to write this book?

It’s my memoir and I wanted it to show how child sexual abuse shaped me.

Can you tell us a little about the black moment in your book?

I explain how my cousin first abused me at 5 in DC. I relocated to NJ and was abused by my best friend’s brother and his friends. He told me that if a boy wanted to have sex with me, I was supposed to let him.

If you could jump in to any book, and live in that world, which would it be?

Game of Thrones

Is there a specific place in the house (or out of the house) that you like to write?

The library

Do you have an all time favorite book?

Perfect Peace by Daniel Black

If you could meet two authors, who would you pick and why?

Iyanla Vanzant because she is wise & Oprah because she’s motherly.

Tell us a random fact about you that we never would have guessed.

I love alternative rock especially Linkin Park.

Book Blurb

Did you envision a better life for yourself but you’re unsure where things went wrong? In From Ivy League to Stripper Life, Elona talks candidly about why her life spiraled out of control and the lessons she learned along the way.

Through childhood memories and true stories from the strip club, Elona offers tips and life lessons every wife, mother and single woman will find useful. In these pages you’ll discover:

* Why men frequent strips clubs.
* Why no woman should ever be called a ho.
* That it’s possible what you’re going through has been assigned to you.

The key to finding your purpose and improving your life, love and relationships starts with you. If you want to get your life back on track or impact the lives of others, this book is for you.

About the Author

A native of Washington, DC, Elona Washington is the Amazon best-selling co-author of two anthologies and a blogger for the acclaimed Huffington Post and Digital Romance. She’s made guest appearances on HuffPost Live, prominent radio shows and podcasts.

Elona’s most recent book, From Ivy League To Stripper Life, attained Amazon bestseller status in two categories the day of its release. Between these pages, she candidly discusses her life as a stripper, why her promising life spiraled out of control and the lessons learned along the way.

With an undergraduate degree from Howard University, Elona later obtained her Master of Science in Management from the University of Maryland University College. She’s a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., and a mother of two. She currently resides in Philadelphia, PA.

You can purchase From Ivy League to Stripper Life on Amazon.

 

Dragons as characters in your novel

Dragons have been a storytelling staple for ages. They have appeared in folklore tales where heroes slayed the dragons to save the damsel.

And in more recent literature, TV shows and movies, dragons have appeared as wild beasts to be ridden or even turn out to be allies. Adding a dragon to your story can create instant conflict as these mythical creatures breathe fire and hoard their treasure or they can be a loyal friend and protector.

Anyway you look at it, adding dragons to your novel can be a way to interject some engaging characters.

The thing with dragons is that there are so many variations in looks and behavior that they really can’t be lumped together. Whether they are villains or protectors, friends or foes, here are the two main categories of dragons.

Types of Dragons

Western or European dragon – These dragons come from European folk traditions. These four-legged, reptilian creatures with wings often have some level of intelligence and may be able to speak either through speech or telepathy.

They dragons live in caves or near rivers. Some breathe fire or poison. Some may hoard treasure. Sometimes these dragons can shape shift into other creatures including humans. Their appearance is varied. They can have horns, multiple heads or tails and come in variety of colors and sizes.

Eastern or Chinese dragon – This also encompasses all Japanese and Asian dragons. These dragons are often serpentine creatures with above-average intelligence. They too have four legs but are wingless.

They creatures represent primal forces of nature, religion and the universe. They are associated with wisdom, power and luck. Many are said to possess some form of magic. Temples and shrines are often built to honor them. Unlike the Western dragons, these Eastern dragons are portrayed as benevolent and kind.

Wyvern This smaller cousin of the dragon is a winged, two-legged creature with a barbed tail. It has the head and wings of a dragon but typically lacks the grace and intelligence of a dragon. They do not breathe fire or speak.

Dragons as characters

Since we are dealing with an imaginary creature, what you do with your dragon – whether you make him a ferocious beast protecting his lair or a full-fledge character adding conflict to your story – is totally up to you. You have complete control over whether your dragon is large or small, has one head or a dozen, and whether it has magical powers or any signs of intelligence. The possibilities are endless.

But if you are going to make your dragon more than a wild beast to be slain and going to make it an important character, you need to develop them as you would any other character. You need to know their desires, their back story and build their behaviors and characteristics around these traits.

My books

I love dragons, so they have shown up in all of my books. In my The Elemental trilogy, dragons are large enough for 5-6 people to ride. But they are far from beasts of burden. They are distinct, well-developed characters who speak telepathically but cannot breathe fire. My favorite is Zoot, a gruff, sarcastic black dragon that befriends Lina, the protagonist of the series.

In my stand-alone adventure, The Heir to Alexandria, the white dragon, Enchanta, plays less of a role in the novel. She too is telepathic, but her main role is to guard a hidden fortress, revealing it only to the rightful heir.

My current work-in-progress, tentatively called Blood Bond, goes back to making dragons main characters within the story. The tale is all about Soren and his dragon Dex. Here again, the dragons communicate telepathically and are key players in the plot.

So if you choose to add a dragon to your novel, feel free to go against the norm and create a unique creature that enhances your story. And remember, you are really only limited by your own imagination.