Today’s Featured Author – J.P. Willson

Please welcome author J.P. Wilson to my blog. His book, Through the Mind’s Eye: A Journey of Self-discovery, came out last year.

Interview

Tell us a bit about yourself.  

I will never get used to this question, simply put I just never know how to answer. What “bit” does one pick?

Where were you born and where do you call home?

I was born in Burlington, Ontario and I now reside in Vancouver, British Columbia, yet my home is Victoria B. C. for all intents and purposes.

What or who inspired you to start writing?

I have always enjoyed writing from a young age, at eight or nine years I was writing stupid little stories simply for fun.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I still do not consider myself a writer per se. I can write yes, but do I write well? I cannot answer that question only the readers can. I do call myself an author, there is a very fine line for me.

How much of yourself, your personality or your experiences, is in your books?

Easy question, all of me, all, of it as the book is about me, the next book slated for release is all about me. There is a third book in the works that is about another topic yet the premise is how it relates to me. I like me. No seriously, I am a memoir writer first and foremost, the other is creative non-fiction.

Have you started your next project? If so, can you share a little bit about your next book?

I think I answered part of this question already. The first book being about my initial recovery from alcohol addiction- the second is about living with sobriety and all the ups and downs that go along with that premise.

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?

Unfortunately I do not write full-time, maybe one day. I am a certified Red Seal Chef by trade which keeps me fairly busy yet I always make the time to write. Odd as this may sound the writing is an ongoing part of the never ending recovery process, one that is invaluable to me.

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

Best- I think I would have to say the solitude. Worst- I think I would have to the solitude!

Do you outline your books or just start writing?

Typically I will just start writing although there is one book I am working on that has required a fair amount of research-then I just start writing from what I have learned doing this research. Hence the “creative” in the creative non-fiction.

Please tell us about your current release.

Through the Mind’s Eye: A Journey of Self-Discovery is a compilation of my initial recovery process from alcohol addiction, the treatment program and the follow up needed to stay sober.

What inspired you to write this book?

Initially the therapeutic value of daily journalling was all it was, the thought of this being anything else came after many discussions with others, the help I was able to give to them through my own experiences was the final inspiration. I wanted to be able to help others with their own journeys. I had taken counselling courses to this end yet I felt very strongly that the written word was my way of offering that help.

What kind of research did you do for this book?

Having taken the deepest possible look into myself, my soul, my inner-core was all the research needed. This is an incredible task to accomplish with any certainty no what whom you are.

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

You will have to read the book for that answer, there are many.

What was the most difficult thing/scene to write in this story?

I would have to say chapter nine, in this chapter I get into some serious issues concerning depression, the loss of family etc. For me this was a very hard thing to re-live over and over throughout the editing process. There was a short time after the final edit where I seriously doubted whether I should publish or not. I was about to put myself “out there” for all to see. So vulnerable to the world, was I strong enough within myself to face this was the question.

Did the story turn out the way you planned from the beginning? If not, what change happened that you didn’t expect?

The story has turned so much better than first anticipated, the positivity from the feedback has been absolutely overwhelming for me in so many ways.

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

Strictly at my desk, perched over the computer, with my coffee.

Do you have a specific snack that you have with you when you write?

Coffee, just coffee.

What book are you reading right now?

Not Dead Yet by Phil Collins and Memoirs of a Pahktun Immigrant by Teresa Schapansky  – memoirs of course…

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

Stephen King without a doubt, to me he just seems so real, so down to earth. His life has been on public display for so long I feel as if I know him already, I just think we would “hit it off.” To be honest I cannot think of a second right now, another author has just recently compared my writing to that of James Joyce so let’s go with him…. no?

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

As a hobby I was once on an underwater hockey team. Yes that does say “underwater hockey.”

Book Blurb

51cfyohljalDepression, self-loathing, unemployment, and destroyed relationships: the effects of drug and alcohol addiction run so much deeper than the morning-after hangover. However, awareness alone will not save the struggling addict, as J.P. Willson reveals in his fearless examination of substance dependency; recovery means doing the mental and emotional work to look inside oneself and discover a way to live as a sober, fulfilled individual in an often challenging world.

Through the Mind’s Eye: A Journey of Self-Discovery is a thought-provoking and honest examination of the emotional, psychological, and physical ways someone must enact their own healing. As a former alcoholic, Willson courageously shares his own story of addiction, as well the ups and downs he experienced along the road to recovery. Packed with astonishing insights about our culture’s relationship to alcohol, as well as the lies we tell ourselves in order to keep using, this book will change the way you view addiction. Willson has no qualms about telling the reader how difficult recovery is—and how there is no quick cure-all—but his compassionate, candid reflections help foster the knowledge and will to change.

About the Author

joseph-wilsonJ.P. Willson is a writer and chef living on the western coast of Canada. Growing up as the shy, quiet child in a large middle-class family, he has always been an observer, a thinker, and a wonderer. He has worked as a Red Seal chef for twenty-five years, and is highly skilled in his trade. However, despite his accomplishments, his life has not been easy. J.P. struggled with alcoholism for nearly thirty years, which resulted in homelessness, unemployment, loneliness, and spiraling depression. Having done the soul-searching and continuing work required for recovery, J.P. decided to share his experience and knowledge to help others along their own journeys. Through the Mind’s Eye: A Journey of Self-Discovery is his first publication. J.P. is deeply grateful for the love and support of his family, counselors, and friends.

You can purchase Through the Mind’s Eye on Amazon.

 

Today’s Featured Author – Natasa Pantovic Nuit

Alchemy of Love author Nataša Pantović Nuit is on my blog today discussing her books Mindful Being towards Mindful Living and Conscious Parenting. 

Interview

Tell us a bit about yourself.

nuit-alchemy-of-love-300x300My name is Nataša Pantović Nuit. I am an author, trainer, yogi and spiritual researcher. I live in Malta. I am the author of 7 Mindfulness Books called Alchemy of Love Mindfulness Training:

– Conscious Parenting Course

– Mindful Being towards Mindful Living Course

– Mindful Eating with Delicious Raw Vegan Recipes

– A Guide to Mindful Eating

– Art of 4 Elements; Discover Alchemy through Poetry

– A-Ma Alchemy of Love,

– Chanting Mantras with Best Chords

Where were you born and where do you call home? 

My soul is the one of a nomad and during my life-time I visited more than 50+ countries, set foot on all the continents, and lived in five: Serbia, Malta, UK, New Zealand, Holland. My friends are from all around the globe. My home is in Amsterdam, London, Belgrade, Sliema, Rome, Sydney, Lisbon wherever I find my heart beating the same rhythm.

What or who inspired you to start writing?

After helping Father George build a school in a remote area of Ethiopia, I entered the most amazing world of parenting adopting two angels from Ethiopia as a single mum. My kids are actively teaching me how to be a more loving, mindful and conscious parent. Ema and Andrej love and train basketball, play music, act within a Music Theater Group and were Chess Champions of Malta.

How much of yourself, your personality or your experiences, is in your books?

My life story book has many pages within the world of Marketing and Management Consultancy and work as Trainer building courses in Communication, Leadership, Team-Building. Some of the most intriguing pages also talk about 25 years of Yoga and Meditation, and my spiritual exploration journey through Theosophy, Zen, Tantra, Antroposophy, Yoga and my yogic vegetarian life-style where I danced barefoot in the rain, meditated for hours in search of God and read 1,000s of spiritual & psychology books. I learned from many Leaders, Gurus and Sages of our past and present.

Have you started your next project? If so, can you share a little about your next book? 

My latest project is Conscious Parenting: Mindful Living Course for Parents. Conscious Parenting is the Alchemy of Love Mindfulness Training Course designed for parents.

We use Transformation Tools and Spiritual Exercises to help parents get in touch with Soul, with Love, and with Patience when dealing with kids.

Please tell us about your current release.

mindful-being-course-title-page-_frontcoverMindful Being towards Mindful Living is a 12 module self-development course with 100s of Spiritual Transformation Tools that combine meditation, mindfulness exercises, soul’s diary, spiritual diary, relationship contracts, creativity exercises, left vs. right brain development tools, mindful eating exercises, and many other daily self-development transformation tools to help the reader live the highest potential. The Mindful Being Course help one look into the conscious and sub-conscious addictions, understand core beliefs, examine habits, enter the magic world of strengthening the willpower, and emotional patterns transforming various energies into inspiration, mindfulness, awareness, love.

How did you come up with the title?

alchemy-of-love-mindfulness-training-books-by-nuitAlways fascinated with energies of: Love, Divine, Power of Mind, Creativity, Tao, Living one’s Highest Potential, I explore topics of inner-development, esoteric or occult teachings, and New Consciousness. The main theme of my Mindfulness Training Books is our alchemy transformation, the alchemy of soul, our everlasting quest to find the gold within, discovering the stone that transforms metals into gold. My book series is called: Alchemy of Love Mindfulness Training.

***

You can find more about Nataša and Alchemy of Love Mindfulness Training on her website. Mindful Beings towards Mindful Living is available for purchase on Amazon. Conscious Parenting is also available on Amazon.

Authors needed for Friday Featured Author spot

wantedAre you an author looking for some additional publicity for your latest book?

I host guest authors every Friday – any genre, both traditionally and self-published.

The post can take one of three formats: author interview, book excerpt or a guest post on any aspect of writing, publishing, or book marketing.

Sign up is on a first-come-first-served basis, though I do have a few Tuesday openings to accommodate special requests for dates related book tours, book releases or cover reveals. (Click the Featured Authors link to check out past authors.)

I have a few dates in April as well as all of May (and beyond) open.

If you are interested, send me a message along with any date requests, and we’ll take it from there.

Check out these past authors.

Guest Post – Candy Korman The Mary Shelley Game (thriller)

Excerpt – Louise Wise Eden (sci-fi romance)

Interview – Connie B. Dowell The Orchid Caper (humor/young adult)

 

Today’s Featured Author – Kay Blake

Today, I welcome author Kay Blake to my blog. The first book in her The Kim Brothers series, Catch Me If I Fall, came out in December.

Interview

Tell us a bit about yourself.

Hey! I’m Kay. I write mostly contemporary and interracial romance. I started to write erotica under a different pen name and for that erotica one, I want to add horror to my genres. My stories are usually sassy, sexy, sweet romances. I’m currently finishing up my last semester in school as I will be getting my bachelors in June. I’m sarcastic as they come. Super nerdy. Super sensitive and a big horror fan. I’m a wrangler of three cubs and I love the written word.

How much of yourself, your personality or your experiences, is in your books?

I think I always put a piece of myself in my projects. I’m sarcastic as they come so at least one character has to have some sarcasm even if that person is a supporting character. I’m a bit feisty as well, and usually nine times out of ten my heroines are sassy because it’s a quality that I have, but one I appreciate in heroines. If I don’t put myself it may be a quirk or quality of those around me.

Have you started your next project? If so, can you share a little bit about your next book?

Yes, I have. My next one which will be out in April is a novelette called Breathe You. This particular story is for a close friend of mine that I promised I will write this story. It’s a bit shorter than my last projects, but it was fun to write none the less. The release after that is my rock star book which will be called I Knew You Were Trouble. This particular story is me wanting to see if I could write a rock star story.

Do you outline your books or just start writing?

I have done very little outlines. I tend to have an idea and I will plot little things and then I write. I have to just flow. One outlines and me have a very poor relationship. I can say I’m going to do this, and my characters will say “not today, Kay.”

Please tell us about your current release.

Catch Me If I Fall is Book 1 in The Kim Brothers Series. We are introduced to Kasi who is a woman dealing with loss in many forms. She meets the eldest Kim Brother Jae, and they have a buildup of getting to know each other as well as dealing with grief and finding love. Most importantly they figure out together how to live life after you think there is no way you can live life after devastation. I don’t want to give too much away, but I do think this particular story is one that others can relate to in different ways.  This was one of the hardest stories I had to write, so I’m quite proud of it.

What kind of research did you do for this book?

I had to do a lot of research actually. My heroine is a woman who wears a prosthetic and my hero is Korean American. Two things I’m not familiar with and I wanted to try my best to make sure I can tell the story I wanted to tell and still get the details right. I looked up many articles and blogs about wearing prosthetics, the emotions around it and living life with it and relationships with others. I also spoke to a woman who was very helpful. I also spoke to a high school friend of mine as far as the Korean aspects of my book. I also looked up articles as well.

If this book is part of a series, what is the next book? Any details you can share?

This book is Book 1 of a trilogy. The series is called The Kim Brothers. The series will focus on all the brothers and them finding love. Catch Me If I Fall focusing on Jae Kim who is the oldest of the Kim Brothers. He is a bit laid back and caring. Book 2 which will be called Free Me is scheduled to be released December 2017. It will focus on middle bother David. David’s personality is much different from Jae’s so I’m excited to see where this go as I’m still writing it.

What was the most difficult thing/scene to write in this story?

I think for me the most difficult scene to write was the first time we see Kasi grieve. I had to pull the feeling behind losing a loved one from personal experience as I lost a spouse before. It was tough because it dealt with real feelings, and it required me to picture if this was me how would I deal with this kind of grief?

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

Any of the Harry Potter books. I would love to live in the world of wizards, witches and muggles. I would love to go to Hogwarts, be best friends with Hermione and talk to the infamous Snape. It is a goal of mine to visit the Harry Potter world at Universal.

Do you have an all-time favorite book?

Yes I have two actually. Carrie by Stephen King & Flowers in the Attic by V.C. Andrews.

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

Stephen King & J.K. Rowling hands down. Stephen King is my favorite author of all time. He is the king of the literary world in my opinion. Horror is my first love. J.K. Rowling simply because she is fabulous and she also created one of my favorite series.

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

Hmm, I’m a twin. I have a twin brother. Most people if they don’t know me wouldn’t know that.

Book Blurb

catch-me-if-i-fallKasi:
I have reached rock bottom. The kind of bottom that is so dark, there is no light at the end of the tunnel. There is nothing, but pain, loneliness and helpless despair. I didn’t picture my life going this way. I wasn’t supposed to be unhappy and broken.
How can someone find the good in me when all the good I had was taken from me?

Jae:
Helping people makes me feel good. I don’t do it for any accolades. I do it because when I needed someone to talk to, when I needed someone to keep me from spiraling out of control, I found it.
From the first time I saw her, I knew that there was something about her. I didn’t know what, but like a gravitational pull I wanted to know more about her even if she was here only to find some support for her grief.
Maybe I couldn’t solve her problems, but I won’t let her face them alone.

About the Author 

kay-blake-author-photoKay writes sassy, sexy and sweet contemporary and interracial romance. She is from arguably the greatest city in the world. (New York). She is a sarcastic sweetheart who prefers snuggling at home with a good book. She is a mom to three cubs.
Kay indulges in strawberry cheesecake, horror movies, Harry Potter, The Walking Dead, wrestling and of course a happily ever after. Kay also writes erotica under Nina Gabrielle!

You can find out more about Kay on her blog or follow her on Twitter or Instagram.

You can purchase Catch Me if I Fall on Amazon and Amazon UK.

Today’s Featured Author – Earl Livings

Today I welcome poet and author Earl Livings to my blog.

Guest Post: The Tension Between Authenticity and Validity

When I was a Boy Scout, my father took me to a country road so I could map the surroundings for my Compass badge. Small houses and outbuildings hunched on one side of the road. On the other side, near where he dropped me off, a long line of gum trees, with other ones further down, acted as windbreaks. Hills crowded the horizon. I had to draw a map showing everything along a mile of this road, with proper dimensions and orientations. I had a compass, a pencil and pad, a starting point, and an over-developed case of perfectionism. I wanted to show the scout leaders I was thorough and accurate.

The trees defeated me. It took me ages to pinpoint the position of one, then the next, and then the next. I only completed 100 yards or so of both sides of the road by the time my father arrived to pick me up. He saw how frustrated I was by my endeavour to be accurate and gave me a simple solution. I should pinpoint the start and end of each line of trees along the road, count the trees, then arrange them an equal distance on my map. This might not be completely accurate, but it would be enough for the task—the map is not the territory.  Acting on his advice, I completed the task quite quickly.

Many years later, I am writing an historical novel and once again am being hampered by the need to be accurate. My novel is set in sixth century Britain. However, there is a reason the period is called the Dark Ages. That is, there isn’t a mass of material a writer can use for understanding the times. This may be a curse but it is also a boon, because I have a freer reign for my imagination than someone writing about a more documented era, as long as I stick to the ‘known facts’. So, I keep researching the ancient texts for snippets I can use in my book. I read scholars of that period. I write a draft of the novel then discover new evidence that I should probably incorporate, even though it may mean I have to change some episodes. Should I keep researching? Should I ignore the opinions of scholars, especially when they conflict? Should I sacrifice accuracy for some other quality? If the novel is a map, what’s the territory?

I realise I have come to that challenge fiction writers who use history (personal or societal) for their story always face: What is the balance between being authentic and being valid? Between keeping to the facts and telling a good story?

My novel is, in some part, about the confrontations between the pagan ways of Britain and the incoming Christian religion and between the Celts and the Anglo-Saxons. I am writing not in Old Brythonic but in English, the descendent of the Anglo-Saxon language, so already I have had to compromise between authenticity and validity. However, although I am using the English language, I try to write in such a way as to suggest the Celtic way of thinking, the pagan worldview. I use various dictionaries—Indo-European, Proto-Celtic, and Old Wels—for names of concepts, tribes, places and kingdoms. I mine Celtic myths for character names and themes. I use poetic techniques such as metaphors and kennings. I try to avoid Latinate words, preferring the more earthy Anglo-Saxon vocabulary. All these techniques I hope will help validate the story, help create a map for the territory that is a story of the times and the characters living in them.

Then there’s the case of settings. I live in Australia, but have travelled to Wales and Scotland on a number of occasions to check out places associated with the historical characters I am writing about. I have gone in different seasons to gain a sense of the landscape and the flora and fauna. Yet, I’ve probably only touched the vast knowledge a native would have. The rest I must glean from books, the internet, YouTube videos, and discussions with natives. Failing that, I fall back on my imagination and hope that what I write works for the story, even if ‘the facts used’ might not be authentic.

In the end, I have to ignore the nagging feeling that a history nerd or a native of Britain will pick up on a glaring mistake. I can only do what I can with the resources available to me. My job is to make the novel engaging and compelling, even if it means I sacrifice authenticity to do so. And most readers will forgive the occasional blunder if the novel delivers a strong experience.

It is the story that counts.22

About the author

Earl Livings has published poetry and fiction in Australia and also Britain, Canada, the USA, and Germany. He has a PhD in Creative Writing and taught professional writing and editing for 17 years. His writing focuses on nature, mythology and the sacred and he is currently working on a Dark Ages novel and his next poetry collection. Earl lives in Box Hill, Victoria, Australia, with his wife and the seasonal owls, bats and lorikeets that love the trees around their home.

You can find out more about Earl through his blog.

#NewRelease – THAT SUMMER by H.M. Shander

Today is release day for That Summer by H.M. Shander. This is the second book in the Auorora MacIntyre series. Be sure to check out the excerpt after the interview.

Interview

How much of yourself, your personality or your experiences, is in your books?

This all depends on who you ask. 😉 Some of my friends have a hard time reading my books only because they hear me in the main character, and try to figure out who the other characters are based off. Where there is a little piece of me in the main character, there is also a little piece of me in the secondary characters too! As for experiences, bits and pieces are real (and some are amazing therapy to write), but I’ll never tell you which bits.

Have you started your next project? If so, can you share a little bit about your next book?

I am currently half-way through writing the third book of the Aurora MacIntyre series. I was pretty sure I could leave Duly Noted as a standalone, but half-way through writing That Summer, I unequivocally knew I needed a third to wrap it all up. And depending on how that ends, there could be a fourth. 😉

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 work three days a week at my kid’s school in the library (yeah – super cool job!) so my two days off I spent as much time writing as I can. I also write after tucking my kids into bed. Weekends are a total bust, as we’re busy with activities and get togethers. Over all, I’d say I’d max out at about 25 hours a week.

Do you outline your books or just start writing?

I have a very general idea of what I want to write, at least in how I visualize the outcome. But as I’m writing, I just write and let myself get immersed in the characters and their problems. I still get to the end, but it’s a very different path than originally envisioned. And that’s okay. To me, it makes the story more real.

Please tell us about your current release.

That Summer is a spin-off (one beta reader likened it to Rogue One vs Star Wars. You know how it’s going to end but you’re still in it for the ride). It takes place during a nine-week time jump in Duly Noted. I had several people email me wondering what happened during those weeks. Well… this is it. You could read it as a standalone, but having read Duly Noted will give you more insight into the characters. Plus, there are some plot twists in Duly Noted, that will be spoiled in That Summer, through the quick recaps.

What inspired you to write this book?

Without saying too much, as it’s a bit of a spoiler, those who follow my twitter feed will understand where my inspiration came from. We were out as a family at a local Saturday night activity, and I thought to myself, wouldn’t it be interesting if a girl with vehicular PTSD fell in love with one of them. Telling you who the ‘them’ is, would be a major spoiler, as the main character doesn’t even find out until half way through the book. 😉 By the end of the night, I knew the two major characters and a couple obstacles they needed to face.

What kind of research did you do for this book?

I did a lot of research in the field of PTSD and prescription drug abuse. I read lots of medical papers on the subjects, and chatted with people who had lived through prescription drug abuse (finding people who dealt with the severity of vehicular PTSD that the main character did was hard). I needed to get both sides—the personal battles and how the medical field would try to heal. It was highly interesting.

If this book is part of a series, what is the next book? Any details you can share?

The first features Aurora and Nate as they fall in love. The second features Aurora and her budding friendship with Nate’s younger brother, Lucas. The third (being written) features Aurora, Nate and It tests the boundaries of all the relationships. Which will survive? Which will fall?

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

I will only write successfully in two places – at my kitchen table when I’m home alone, or in my bedroom when I’ve tucked the kids into bed. I’ve tried the coffee shops and the library, but I’m easily distracted.

Do you have a specific snack that you have with you when you write?

An absolute must is a hot drink (coffee for daytime writes, caffeine-free tea for evening writing sessions.)

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

I was almost eight years old before I could read, but once it clicked, I became a voracious reader.

Excerpt

“Again.”

“No!”

“Yes. Dammit, we’re going to try this again.” She smacked her hand against the roof of the car for effect.

“Aurora…” Lucas said, as he walked around and stood in front of her, “it’s finished for tonight.” Gentle, soothing hands gripped her shoulders as his blond head tilted down, his hair teasing the edges of his dark eyebrows. “And that’s okay. We can try again tomorrow.”

The parking lot was half-full of tenant vehicles, but the spots around Lucas’ car were empty. It was the perfect location to play ‘touch-the-car’, and endeavor to sit in it. Tonight, she had tried. Multiple times. And failed miserably. At first she could sit and touch the seatbelt, but with each successive attempt, she worsened. Her last crack at it, she launched back out as soon as her butt hit the seat. It didn’t matter how many times she tried, staying any longer than a few seconds caused instant panic. At least she’d stopped puking. PTSD was a complete bitch.

Her gaze cast towards the other vehicles around them. Anywhere but him. Shame and hatred blanketed her; shame that she couldn’t physically handle anymore, and hatred because of what she was trying to overcome. Normal people didn’t need to fight post-traumatic stress disorder. Normal people didn’t worry about their next car ride leading them straight to death. There was more hate than shame lately, which in itself was a good thing. It gave her something to fight against.

“Again, please Lucas.” Her voice almost a whine. “Just one more time.”

The gentleman stood strong before her, his stance unchanging. “As much as I’d like to see you conquer this tonight, it’s not gonna happen. You’ve pushed yourself all day. You’re on the edge of falling apart.” He flicked his hair away from his eyes as they settled over her.

“But I can do it. I just need another…” I can do this. I know I can. I just need another shot.

He shifted and closed the gap between them. “Your body and your mind need a break, okay?” When she didn’t respond, he squeezed again. “Okay? Look at me.” His hands smoothed out the wrinkles of her sleeves.

His soothing touch. It grounded her. When she flew off the handle, swore like a sailor, and lost all control, his gentle stroke from her shoulders to her fingertips brought her back to her senses. She couldn’t explain the way it instantly calmed her racing heart, steadied her breathing and focused her. Only that it worked. Every. Damn. Time.

She was so lonely and her body craved human contact. With all chemical relaxers completely out of the question since she’d quit her drug addiction cold turkey, the need for touch became her drug of choice. She was allowed two Xanax weekly, and she saved them for those times where she was so overwhelmed she couldn’t think straight. This wasn’t one of them. She needed his comfort more.

She and Lucas had been working on Operation Save Nate for the past few weeks. Every day two steps forward, one and a half steps back. It was maddening. She was never going to conquer her fears in time.

“Take a deep breath.”

Cool night air rushed into her lungs.

“Hold it for one… two… three… exhale.” Long fingers tapped out the count on her shoulder, ending with a tender squeeze.

His gaze held hers as she released the air. “Thank you.”

“You’re welcome.”

Her shoulders sagged as she leaned against the car defeated. “Now what?”

Book Blurb

that-summer-ebookAurora may be named after a fairy tale princess, but she has never believed in happily ever afters—especially since her PTSD won’t let go, and her addiction to prescription pills still taunts her.

Now with only nine weeks to get her shit together and prove herself to Nate, Aurora must find the will to believe in herself so she can stop her true love from making a career ending decision. In order to defeat her darkest fears, she needs help from the only person she trusts with her life—Nate’s younger brother, Lucas.

Through therapy and relapses, Aurora and Lucas become best friends. However, deep and dark emotions bubble to the surface threatening both the friendship and everything she’s worked hard to overcome.

When darkness descends, threatening to take you away forever, do you succumb or fight back with all you’ve got?

That Summer is the expanded portion of Duly Noted readers craved. A story of love and courage. A story of a beautiful friendship between two lost souls. It is the second book in the three-part series.

About the Author 

I’ve been writing since I was fourteen. My original stories were handwritten on loose-leaf paper tied together with yarn, complete with its own custom cover courtesy of cut-outs from whatever magazines I had around.

My early love developed into a passion for writing contemporary romance novels. Now, as an adult who has experienced reality (not like my wildly naïve fourteen-year-old self) my characters overcome tough odds, with real (and dark) obstacles. However, the rewards are sweeter.

My heroes who are swoon-worthy and handsome and gentle, who have their own issues. No domineering alpha-males from me – I’ll leave those to many other wonderful authors I know and adore. My heroines are less than perfect with a very select few she’ll call friends. She’s neither popular nor outgoing but deeply loved by those lucky enough to know her.

Right now I am hard at work on the wrap up to Duly Noted & That Summer. I’m also tinkering on a novella which follows after Ask Me Again as I’ve received many emails from readers asking for more from Charlotte and Company.

It’s because of wonderful readers that I continue to write and develop my stories. I absolutely adore it when readers connect with me on twitter (@HM_Shander) because I’m very chatty on there, more so than my Facebook page (hmshander). However, regardless of the way you contact me, I’m sure to respond.

Thank you for taking the time to contact me, for posting your rating and/or review (because it truly helps an indie author like me) and for reading. Thank you to all the readers and bloggers who love my stories and share that with their friends, family and followers.

You can purchase, That Summer, on The Kobo Store, iTunes, Smashwords, Barnes & Noble and Amazon.

Today’s Featured Author – Jennifer Senhaji

Please welcome author Jennifer Senjaji to my blog. She is busy writing two different books but took a break to give us some insight into her writing. Her latest release was Angels in Disguise, a novella released in December. You can purchase it on Amazon.

Interview

How much of yourself, your personality or your experiences, is in your books?

There is a little bit of me in every character I write; of who I am or want to be.

Have you started your next project? If so, can you share a little bit about your next book?

Yes, I’m currently in the thick of writing two different novels. One, will be the third book and the finale to my Sunset Dreams Series. The other is the first book in a new series that starts where my last novella, Angels in Disguise (a prelude of sorts), leaves off. Both are contemporary romance.

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 don’t write full time. I have a full time day-job and write in my spare time. My day-job is fairly high stress, so writing is definitely an escape. I occasionally write on my phone in my Evernote app, but usually wait to get home after work or on the weekend to work on my laptop. There is never enough time in the day for work, family, food, and sleep. You have to make the time. Instead of watching T.V. tonight, I’m going to write. Instead of sleeping in on Saturday, I’m going to write. If you want to do something bad enough, you will find a way.

What is the best and worst advice you ever received?

The best advice was to hire an editor. No writer should ever publish anything without hiring a professional editor. The worst advice was to publish a book every three months. I’m in no rush. I’m much more interested in providing my readers the best possible story I can.

Do you outline your books or just start writing?

I’m a firm believer in outlining and always use them. But outlines are fluid things that can change as you’re writing changes. Sometimes, I will write out scenes that my characters are hitting me over the head with before I forget them. Some of them make it into the outline, some don’t. But I love having a map, even if I end up adjusting course. Makes it easier to see where the story is working and where it isn’t.

If you could be one of the characters from any of your books, who would it be and why?

I would probably be Jenna Morris. Out of all of my characters, she is the closest to me in personality. I wouldn’t mind falling in love with Jake. Just don’t tell my husband. LOL.

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

Probably my novella, Sea Breeze. I love to travel and the idea of traveling the world and making a living doing it sounds divine.

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

I write at the dining room table. I don’t have a home office, so I spread out on the table until my family pushes me out.

Do you have a specific snack that you have with you when you write?

Coffee is almost always next to me.

Do you have an all time favorite book?

Yes. Pride and Prejudice is my all-time favorite. I’ve read that book more times than any other. It never gets old.

What book are you reading right now? I just finished Trampling in the Land of Woe by William Galani, a fabulous piece of fiction and I’m currently enjoying Her Darkest Nightmare by Brenda Novak.

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

I love cheese, but who doesn’t? Um, my strengths are learning, not necessarily in the classroom, but… you show me how to do it, I do it; or I figure it out. That’s how I learned to speak other languages, taught myself to play a bit of guitar, and soak up everything I can on the craft of writing. I love learning. I’m also pretty good at languages. Other than English, I speak Spanish almost fluently, Moroccan, French, and if I practice, a bit of Italian. Now if only I could travel the world and write for a living. Sigh…

Book Blurb

51hogecvcalGabe, a software engineer with a long history of one-night stands and Alex, a practical romance writer with a distinct lack of romance in her life want to ring in the New Year with a little fun—and a lot of music—at a waterfront New Year’s Eve bash where costumes disguise one’s true nature.
Abandoned by their friends and forced together, first impressions leave them disenchanted. But attraction soon smolders between them causing Gabe to contemplate deeper connections and tempting Alex to cast aside all her inhibitions.
Can sexual chemistry, particularly between a devil-girl and a black-winged angel, lead Alex and Gabe to a midnight kiss? Or will their fears and first impressions leave them counting down the seconds alone?

About the Author

jennifer-senhajiI was born and raised in San Francisco, CA, and have a husband and two children. Music is an addiction. I can often be found in the car, singing along at the top of my lungs to whatever is playing. I work full time, and I split my spare time between family, reading, blogging, and writing. I’m a habitual quoter. Lines from films and TV shows constantly pop into my head—my kids are the only ones that really get it. I’m an only child, and so of course I married a man who is one of ten children. Other than English, I speak Spanish, Moroccan, and a little French. I love to travel, but don’t do enough of it. Reading has been a passion for most of my life, and I now love writing. I’m klutz, and in my own mind, I’m hilarious.

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

You can check out her books on Amazon and Smashwords.