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)

 

Gearing up for the #AtoZchallenge again

2017-badgeThis will be my fourth year to do the A to Z blogging challenge.

For those of you who haven’t heard about it, the A to Z challenge is where bloggers post every day in April (except Sundays). Since there are usually 26 open days, they are matched with the letters of the alphabet.  So on the first day you choose a topic that begins with A, the next day B and so on.(This year there are only 25 open days so their is a letter assigned to the last Sunday.)

It is easier to stay on task and blog every day of the challenge when you come up with a theme. The first year I had no theme (but still blogged everyday). But the following year, I wrote about my normal topics on their assigned days (Monday – parenting, Wednesday – Quote of the Week, Thursday – Writing/Publishing) but picked a theme of TV shows for the other days.

Last year, I picked the theme of characters from movies, television or books. On my normal blogging days, I blogged about characteristics that fit the theme and topic. (For example on writing day, I wrote about lazy characters for the letter L)

And for this year, I am taking my theme ever a step further. I’ve gone from movies/books, to characters and now I am focusing on antagonists from books, movies and comic books. It should be fun. After all doesn’t everyone love to hate the bad guy?

You can look for my A to Z challenge posts beginning April 1st.

A Pokemon Birthday party for my 9-year-old daughter 

Though she may love pink and puppies and spends her time singing songs from Disney’s Moana, Lexie rarely chooses a “girly” theme for her birthday parties. Last year, she chose Minecraft. This year it was Pokemon.

Like last year, we decided to have this party at the house. A quick look at Pinterest brought a slew of ideas. But after a few years of going all out on the kids’ parties, we toned it back a little this year.

Invitation – I always design the kids’ invitations. Since Lexie loves pink and Pikachu, I combined them for this card. We printed them at Wal-Mart. She invited her whole class plus three other friends. Thankfully, everyone didn’t show up. We had eight kids (not counting Jase, who decided to introduce/explain all the games instead of participating.)

Decorations – We kept this pretty simple – mostly white and red crepe paper. This included hanging the crepe paper from the ceiling to make a giant Pokeball design. We also printed out some Pokeballs to affix to the walls.

Our Pokemon table covering was pretty easy. You just take one red tablecloth and one white tablecloth and attach them in the middle with black duct tape. Throw in a white plate in the middle (outlined with black tape) and ta da, you have a Pokemon tablecloth.

I used red plates for the cupcakes and then bought some Pokemon plates and napkins for the pizza. Our goodie bags were white Kraft bags with red and black paper glued on them to make them look like Pokeballs.

Food – We decided to keep it simple this year. We just served pizza, water and Rootbeer for lunch followed by cupcakes. Each cupcake had a different Pikachu on it.

Games/Activities – Again, we kept it pretty simple. The biggest challenge was that it rained on her birthday, and we had to move all outdoor activities inside.

Decorating Masks – I traced two different masks onto light yellow paper. The first was a Pikachu design, and then I did a generic mask for those kids who might not be into Pokemon. We put out different color markers for them to decorate them.

Pin the Fire on the Charizard – As a version of Pin the Tail on the Donkey, I printed out a Charizard with the flame on its tail missing. The kids then had to land a cutout of the fire on the spot.

Water Balloon Target Practice – I printed out various Pokemon characters – assigning each a point value based on how big I printed the character. We originally were going to attach them to the fence, but since we had to move the game inside, we taped them to the inside of the garage door. The kids used water balloon to throw and accumulate points. Since this was a water game, I laminated the Pokemon cutouts.

Pokeball hunt – I saw this version of an Easter Egg hunt on Pinterest. You decorate ping-pong balls to look like Pokeballs and then hide them throughout the yard for the kids to find. This would have been great in our big backyard. Instead, I had to go hide them while the kids were doing the piñata in the garage. I hid them around the living and dining room. I missed seeing how well this game worked as I was out picking up the pizza while they played.

Pikachu Says – To fill in time while I was getting the pizza (it took longer than planned), the kids played this version of “Simon Says.” They liked it so much that they did it again after pizza and cupcakes.


Pinata –
The last few years I have made the piñata for the kids. But since Lexie didn’t want a Pokeball piñata which would have been easy to make, I bought a piñata at Wal-mart and simply added pictures of four different Pokemon to the outside.

Lexie declared the party was great. All of her friends seemed to have a good time too.

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.

Fictional vs Real Settings: How to choose  

Last week, I wrote a list of questions that can help you determine the setting of your novel. One of the first questions was do you want a real or fictional setting.

There are good reasons to go with either option as well as negatives for each one. So how do you choose which one is best?

Every situation, every story is different and will have different setting demands. Some stories only work in a fictional setting (think Lord of the Rings, the Wizard of Oz, Star Wars). And some benefit from real-world settings. And then there are some – such as romance – that could work in either location.

Here are some of the pros and cons of using fictional and real settings.

Fictional Settings

Pros –

  • You get to create a whole new city/country/world. Everything is the way you want it. You pick customs, government, the local law enforcement, where the hospital is located as well as where the forests, mountains and beaches are located.
  • If you are creating your own world, no one can tell you that your society is wrong. It is your creation and yours alone. If you want two moons or for people to live in pods, it is all up to your imagination.

Cons –

  • Creating your own city or world can be time consuming. You are starting with a blank canvas, and you need to fully develop your setting for your characters to work and live in it. The type of city or world you create will determine the reactions and behavior of your characters. Fully developing your city/world includes making a map of the area so you are consistent on where everything is located, and how long it takes to travel to those places.
  • There is no immediate connection with your reader. When you mention Las Vegas or the Grand Canyon, readers can visualize the place. In your fictional world, you will need to add more descriptions to make this place come alive for the reader and be believable.

Real Settings

Pros –

  • There is typically less research when using a real location as your setting. This is especially true if you write about a place you know well. You know how it smells, how the morning air feels, how the people move and talk. You will know the layout of the city. You won’t have to research the setting as you know it and hopefully that knowledge will come out in your writing.
  • Readers already know some of these places so you can spend less time establishing your setting. When you mention the Manhattan skyline or the Washington monument, people will know what you are talking about.
  • The history, folklore and local stories can be woven into your story and give it authenticity.

Cons –

  • You have to know the place you are writing about well especially if it is a popular place like New York or Las Vegas. If you get something wrong about where something is located, or how long it takes to travel from one place to another, then those readers who know this place will be irritated, and these inaccuracies will chip away at your novel’s authenticity. If you are writing about a well-known real place, no amount of research on the Internet will replace actually going to the location.
  • Using a real place in a fantasy setting can actually sometimes make it harder for the reader to believe what is happening. They doubt things that contradict what they believe to be true. In this case, a pure fantasy world actually might work better.

And no one said you can’t do a little of both. You can set your novel in a real city but have your protagonist live on a fictional street or subdivision. Or you can start in a real place like London and ended up at a fictional magical school. You just need to pick a setting in whatever location will work best for your story.