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 – Michael Bayer

Today I welcome another Texas author, Michael Bayer, to my blog. Michael released his debut novel, The Absconded, in November.  You can purchase it on Amazon.

Interview

What or who inspired you to start writing?

I always had an artistic side.  I tried to draw, but I never could get on paper to match what was in my head.  I played the violin for a few years in grade and middle school, but my high school didn’t have an orchestra, so I needed something new to do.  Then I had an assignment to write a scene using the ten or twenty vocabulary we were learning that week.  I still remember my English teacher’s exact words after I read it aloud, “Herm, that was beautiful.”  I’m pretty sure that was the seed that started it all.

Over the years I would get complements for my writing, usually term papers in college and grad school.  Whenever any writing was needed for work, I would jump at it.  It would take over twenty-five years before I could do anything beyond that, but that’s where my wife comes in.  When we moved to Texas for her career, she insisted I start writing full time.  Just when I thought I couldn’t love her any more, she shoulders the financial burden so I can pursue a dream.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I know some people say it’s the moment you start writing, but for me it was when I pressed the publish button and it became available for anyone to purchase.  It had taken a little over three years to get to that point, but felt so good when I finally clicked that button, though with some trepidation.

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

I started a short story, but that was mainly to keep my writing skills up while I was working on the nuts and bolts side of self-publishing.  The downside to doing it all yourself is the need to step away from your writing to work on the business side of it.  Sometimes I can jump right back in to writing, but most of the time it takes a couple of days to get back into the flow of the story.  But I’m happy to say I’ve started the sequel to The Absconded.  It starts off a few months after book one ended and is a continuation of the story.

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, but not the full eight hours a day I’d like to.  By the time I get my wife off to work and daughter off to school, it’s almost 9:00 AM and I haven’t even had my breakfast yet.  Which is fine, because I’m not hungry until around 9:30 AM anyway.  Once that’s done, it’s off to the word mines!

I tend to write in bursts.  Thirty minutes of staring or pacing followed by ten minutes of furious writing, followed by on the fly editing, re-wording, deleting, doubting and occasional cursing.  When I’m really stuck, I go and spend time with my bearded dragon.  He’s a good listener but doesn’t hold back his opinions.  This all goes on until about 3:30 PM when it’s time for me to pick my daughter up from school.  That’s when I worry about making dinner.  I rarely do any work in the evening, unless I have an inspired idea.  I’ve learned that if I don’t write it down almost immediately, I’ll forget it.

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

There are two things I love about being a writer. The first is when someone reads a scene or a chapter, and completely gets what I wrote.  They have a clear image in their head of the characters and settings.  It’s not easy putting what’s in your head onto the page, but when that happens it’s magical.  The second is when someone tells me how much they love a character.  To have spent so much time crafting and giving them a personality, mannerisms, quirks and a history is not easy, but so satisfying to hear someone, other than me, say how much they love that person.

The worst part is deleting scenes.  The Absconded is about 107,000 words and that was after I trimmed about 35,000 words.  There were scenes I spent weeks writing, and absolutely loved.  But in the end, they didn’t serve the story and slowed down the pace, so they needed to go.  It was rough, but in the end I was glad.  The story was much better, much tighter.  Whomever said you must be prepared to kill your darlings was right.

Do you outline your books or just start writing?

The Absconded was written flat out.  I had been trying to write it for about ten years, so when I was finally able to dedicate myself to writing, it just came pouring out.  That’s why I needed to trim 35,000 words from it as well.

Unfortunately, I am not having the same experience with the next book.  While I came up with the basic idea for book 2 (and book 3) while editing The Absconded, I needed to outline the story and character arcs.  That took about three months, but once done it felt great to start writing those people again.

How did you come up with the title?

I’ve always liked the sound of the word, absconded.  It’s a fancy word for stealing and would always conjure up images of Ocean’s Eleven and Mission: Impossible type heists.  It’s also similar to abducted, but with a big difference.  You abduct a person, but abscond an object.  Having someone think of a person as an object, a thing, is quite unnerving to me.  You haven’t just taken away their humanity, you don’t even acknowledge it.  Right off the bat, it sets the tone of a person, or in this case an entire alien race.

What kind of research did you do for this book?

More than you think based on what’s described in the book.  I read all I could on theoretical physics and scoured NASA and other websites for space travel, living in space, and long distance expeditions.  Now I had to apply that to an alien race and decide how they would resolve those issues.  And this became an interesting rabbit hole for a couple of months.  How would an alien species design their ship?  What would be a priority to them?  Now I had to create the alien’s history and how they evolved because culture determines priorities, so that required researching different cultures on our planet.  Once all that was decided, building their ship was easy.  Well, on paper it was easy.

Another rabbit hole was designing the alien’s biological research area and procedures.  You’re abducting aliens, but how do you know they aren’t contagious to you?  I needed to create a combination quarantine/medical research facility and all that encompassed, but make it alien and believable.  And place it on a ship where real estate is at a premium.

Very little of the technical aspects are explained in the book, but I’m hoping to describe at least some of it in to the sequels.  It was a lot of fun and I’d like to explain some of the science and logic behind the tech, but only if it pertains to the story.

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

The Absconded is the first in a series.  How many books in total remains to be seen, but I was thinking of at least three.  It took me a couple of months to plot it out and have everyone’s character arcs.  I don’t have a firm title for the second book, but it picks up about three or four months after the end of The Absconded.  The survivors of the first book (yes, I am being coy for those who haven’t read it) are now in limbo.  They’re all far from home and some are wondering whether they have a home to return to while others are searching for their purpose, their function in life.  Everyone’s definition of home and purpose is different and the story is their journey to find it, all while being hunted by the aliens who originally captured them.

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

The hardest scenes were describing the settings on the ship, specifically where all of the aliens that have been collected are kept.  Making it foreign, yet similar, was a challenge and required quite a few re-writes.  My first attempt was pages of settings and descriptions and was boring, almost to tears.  Thankfully I was able to find right balance of action, character and setting.  I think the first year of writing was finding my voice, my style.

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

I need a dedicated place to work.  Someplace I can go and my mind says, “Okay, playtime is over.”  My wife’s work requires a lot of conference calls, so it made sense for her to use the home office.  Once she closes the doors, she can tune out the rest of the house.  Since we never use our formal living room, I converted it into a second office.  It has a desk and an old sofa, but that’s just so the cats can hang out in there while I write.

But I could easily pick any spot and label it my work area.  What really matters to me is getting into the right frame of mind for what I’m writing, and that requires music.  Lots of music.  I have about 60 GB of music on my computer (about half of my CD collection) and there’s always something playing when I’m writing.  If it’s an action scene, I need a song to give it a cadence and rhythm.  If it’s a character scene, then it needs to be appropriate for the scene.  Even when creating a character one of my first decisions is what type of music would be appropriate for them, what type would they like, and I listen to that incessantly while creating their history and description.  For me, music is more important than where I write.

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

In addition to music, my writing is fueled by green tea.  Dragonwell, to be specific.  On average, I have five cups a day.  Anything else I snack on is whatever I find in the kitchen.  It ranges from an apple to carrots to chocolate cake.  But the tea is required and sometimes supersedes lunch.

What book are you reading right now?

I’m reading two books at the moment.  Seven Brief Lessons in Physics by Carlo Rovelli.  I like keeping abreast of science and this is a great refresher on the basics of Einstein’s theory of relativity and other advances in physics.  It also goes into the history that led to the discoveries and theories.  I find it fascinating how one little observation, a moment of curiosity can lead to a discovery that reshapes how we view the world and universe around us.

The other book is Certain Dark Things by Silvia Moreno-Garcia.  Mexico City has banned vampires.  Just think about that for a moment.  That means vampires are so ubiquitous and intelligent that you can ban them from a city.  That says a lot about the world of the novel and immediately caught my attention.  I’m only a couple of chapters in, but the world building and characters have me completely hooked.

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

First up is Tom Clancy.  He made technical jargon and events utterly fascinating.  He described the explosion of a nuclear bomb in vivid detail, both the physics of it and how it affects the environment, and made it riveting.  He also managed to juggle so many characters in his novels and I never was confused.  I would love to know how he managed that.

Second would be Aaron Sorkin.  He’s a master of writing conversation.  The first few seasons of the West Wing are fantastic.  He made smart people with opposing view points arguing so engrossing.

Book Blurb

abscondedUnfortunately for Scott, aliens exist.  Snatched from Earth, he finds himself added to their collection of creatures gathered from throughout the universe.  His cage is a window to the wondrous varieties of life, and the atrocities that can be inflicted upon it.  Atrocities that are clues of what awaits him.

Nearby is Kaliria, a furred being that’s equal parts wild and wily.  A long, torturous captivity has filled her with a righteous rage.  She spends her days alone, simmering in her cramped confinement, pining for the fields and forests of her world.  Pining for companionship.

While happenstance makes Kaliria and Scott neighbors, it’s desperation that makes them allies.  In order to survive, they must overcome each other’s language, culture and mistrust, all while keeping their interactions hidden from their captors.  And if they succeed, there’s still one more obstacle to surmount — escaping an alien ship traveling through space.

About the Author

michael-bayerbwMichael C. Bayer lives in North Texas with his family consisting of two humans, two reptiles and four felines. At the urging of the humans, he quit his job to follow a life long dream. He combined his love of science, knack for telling tall tales and decades of daydreaming, and began to write. The Absconded is his first novel.

You can check out Michael’s Facebook page (a work in progress) or check out his Amazon Author Page.

You can purchase The Absconded on Amazon.

Today’s Featured Author – Jessica Rowan

Please welcome author Jessica Rowan to my blog. Be sure to check out an excerpt of her book, The Circle of Candles, after this short interview. (Can’t wait to get her book? It is available on Amazon.)

Interview

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I’m British, originally from the south-east of England. I’m currently in central Europe teaching English as a foreign language and carving out time to write and play music (I like to sing and play a little guitar). My writing often revolves around my love of nature and animals – I had a dog for eleven years who sadly died and I now have three adopted stray cats and am trying to resist the temptation to adopt a new dog. I’m not sure how long I can last out…

What inspired you to write this book?

I woke in the middle of the night with the opening scene of the book in my mind’s eye. I saw a dog watching a silver flame descending from the ceiling onto a sleeping girl’s hand, giving her the ability to speak with him. I didn’t know who they were or what was happening – I had to write the book to find out!

Did you base any of your characters on real people?

No, absolutely not. I think the only person they resemble are perhaps parts of myself – Amy’s love of animals and nature, Robin’s myopia and annoying quality of being so precise about everything, Alex’s sadness at his parents’ separation – it’s all tiny bits of my own life that I unconsciously used as inspiration. It’s only afterwards that I realised. I don’t think I could ever write about other people I know – I would feel like it was a betrayal of trust somehow.

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

We have a tiny house so most rooms have more than one purpose. I often sit at the kitchen table – it’s quiet and warm in the winter, plus I can see down the garden and look at the trees to give my eyes a rest from the computer screen. I sometimes go into town to the library, especially for reading through some chapters and getting a fresher insight for edits and rewrites.

What book are you reading right now?

I’m currently reading The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger.

Do you have an all-time favorite book?

One book? Can I have three? Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights – I read and studied it at school  and it’s still a firm favourite. A more modern novel I really enjoyed is The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon and I also love Bill Bryson’s Notes from a Small Island.

Excerpt

CHAPTER ONE – The Flame

Grey wasn’t a young dog. That’s not to say that he was old, certainly not, but he frequently nodded off in front of the television, his joints ached a little more than he would have liked and he definitely preferred to sleep uninterrupted through the night. None of this would stop him from protecting Amy, of course. Nothing would ever stop him from protecting Amy.

So when this not-young but certainly-not-old dog was roused in the middle of the night, he felt just a little bit grumpy. He pulled himself up out of his basket to pace the attic room, tail moving low and slow. He pressed his nose to the wooden floor and sniffed back and forth, casting a furtive glance at the bed. Amy was fast asleep as usual, her tousled hair escaping in blond curls from the top of the duvet, her breathing deep and regular.

The dog cocked his head and scanned the darkened room, holding his breath and listening intently. Nothing. But he knew something had woken him, a smell or a difference in the air.

All at once he heard a faint noise, a small sound like the burst of a tiny flame springing to life above him. Grey looked up just in time to see a pin-prick of light appear in the dark-beamed ceiling. He growled softly as it descended, a silvery glow gliding downwards. It had sounded like a flame because that’s exactly what it was; a silver, flickering flame falling gently. Down and down it came, a huge journey for such a tiny thing, until it landed on the back of Amy’s hand and instantly disappeared without a sound.

Grey sniffed Amy’s skin where the flame had been, a soft growl subsiding in his throat. He gently licked her hand and stood for some time with his head cocked to one side. His hackles gradually smoothed and, as there seemed nothing else to do, he got back into his basket and sighed.

‘Did I hear a noise, Grey? What was that?’

‘Nothing, Amy, go back to sleep.’

‘But I thought I heard someone strike a match and something touched my hand…’

‘Don’t worry, I’m looking after you. Go back to sleep.’

Amy sighed and rolled over. She peeped over the edge of the bed at Grey curled in a tight circle, his nose tucked under his tail.

‘I was dreaming you were talking to me again, Grey. I do love you so, you soft old dog.’

‘I love you too, Amy.’

The girl looked down at Grey, her eyes big and round in the darkness of the night.

‘What?’

‘I said I love you too, Amy.’

‘You said… you what?’

The girl jumped out of bed, lay down on the rug in her nightdress and wrapped her arms around the dog’s shaggy shoulders.

‘You can understand me? You can speak to me?’ She pulled away and looked at him for several moments. ‘I don’t believe it! I just don’t…’

She hugged him, burying her face into his fur before pulling away to stare at him again.

‘Nip me, Grey,’ she said, shaking her head in disbelief. ‘I must be dreaming. I’ve dreamt for so many years that you could talk. Nip me!’ She burst into a fit of giggles as the dog softly nibbled her hand with his front teeth.

‘Okay, that’s enough. So I’m not dreaming. Ow, stop! That hurts!’ The girl looked down at her hand and squinted in the low light. ‘What’s that?’ she said, jumping up and running to the window. She wrenched back the curtain to allow the moonlight to stream in and held her hand up to the light. There, glistening on the back of her hand, was a small, silvery mark in the shape of a flame. She stared over at Grey once more, her eyes shining, and spoke in a very small voice.

‘What is it, Grey?’

The dog just looked at her and shrugged his shaggy shoulders.

***

The wind had picked up so suddenly in the street that morning, no one was prepared for it. Women tried in vain to button up their children’s coats, men’s ties and jackets were whipped into the air and some people swore that whichever way you walked, it always seemed that you were fighting against the wind. A white-haired woman came out from a side alley, pursed her lips and peered at the wind-swept pedestrians and the litter swirling like confetti in the air.

Just an old lady, doddering along in a flimsy beige raincoat with a wicker basket on the crook of her arm. But if anyone had bothered to look they would have seen that not a single hair on her head moved and her coat hung straight down, completely undisturbed by the wind.

‘It must have begun,’ she muttered to herself as she shuffled up the road, joining the people battling their way to work and school.

***

‘You’re looking pleased with yourself. What have you been up to?’ Amy’s dad came into the kitchen and ruffled her blonde curls. For once, Amy didn’t pull away or complain. She just smiled up at her father, her eyes sparkling.

‘Nothing, Dad, just feel happy today. Do I have to have a reason?’

Her dad chuckled and began putting out cups and cereal bowls on the kitchen table. ‘It’s just good to see you smiling, that’s all, love.’

His eyes shone as he looked back at his daughter, then glanced quickly towards a small photo in a silver frame leaning against the white china plates on the sideboard. It was a picture taken on a family holiday, a slender blonde woman squinted into the sun on a beach, smiling and cuddling a young Amy in one arm. Her other hand grasped the lead of a scruffy young grey dog who was trying desperately to wriggle out of his collar.

‘It’s been a while since any of us have had much to smile about…’ Dad’s voice trailed off and he changed the subject. ‘Got anything planned today? I thought we could go out, make the most of the weekend. The weather’s turned a bit stormy but we could go  somewhere in the car if you like?’

‘I don’t know, I’ll have to talk to Grey first,’ Amy said, then put her hand over her mouth. ‘I mean, I’ll have to walk Grey first and well, you know…’ With that, Amy jumped off her stool and hurried out of the kitchen, Grey close at her heels.

Her dad watched her and shook his head, smiling to himself as he put her unused bowl and cup back on the sideboard. He picked up a remote control and switched on the television in the corner of the kitchen. A middle-aged man frowned and stared into the camera.

‘…we’re currently suffering the worst autumn weather since records began, with severe gales turning to rain, plummeting temperatures and even some early falls of snow in certain areas.’ The man frowned even more deeply and turned his back to the camera, circling his finger vaguely over a map behind him. ‘The Met Office has issued a warning for our region, severe storms are forecast causing gale-force winds during the night and…’

Amy’s father sighed and hit the off-button on the remote and the weatherman and his map shrunk instantly to a tiny dot and disappeared.

***

‘What’re you staring at, old woman?’ spat the tall, pale stranger, his silver-blue eyes glittering as he strode past the bus stop.

‘I’m looking at someone else who isn’t moved by the Wild Wind,’ the woman answered, her voice high and clear above the gale. She studied the man’s motionless black leather coat and his long, fair hair that lay lank and still across his shoulders.

‘So? This is nothing. You want to see a real storm, one that will even blow your blue rinse around? Wait until tomorrow, old woman.’ He stood for a second longer before striding off, leaving the woman staring at his back.

‘Ah, we’ll see about that. We’ll see which way the Wild Wind blows in the end,’ muttered the woman to herself as she hoisted her basket up onto the bus.

***

Three days had passed since Grey had spoken his first words to Amy. To put it more correctly, three days had passed since Amy had started to hear Grey speaking. He swore that he’d been talking to her for years, ever since he was a puppy and had first arrived at her home.

‘You just didn’t seem to understand me,’ he said in his soft, gravelly voice, ‘Well, some things you got, like when I wanted my dinner, that you seemed to understand. But anything more complicated seemed to go over your head. I wondered if you weren’t just a little bit simple…’

Amy giggled and wrapped her arms around his shaggy neck. She loved Grey’s sense of humour and they spent hours talking and laughing. They had to be careful though that no one else heard. Amy had become convinced that other people could only hear her speaking and she didn’t want a reputation as a crackpot, so most of their conversations took place at night in hushed whispers. This was one of those nights, but it was getting late and Amy was tired.

‘Let’s go to sleep now, Grey. We can talk more tomorrow. Dad’ll be out all afternoon.’ She patted the dog’s shoulder and was just reaching out to turn the bedside lamp off when a dark shape scuttled across the rug and disappeared under the bed. Amy let out an involuntary squeal and tucked her legs up under the covers, shuddering all over.

‘What are you squealing at? You scared me half to death!’ A small, slightly irritated voice came from under the bed and Amy’s eyes widened in astonishment. Grey moved closer to the bed and sniffed gently at the rug.

‘Who’s that? Who’s there?’ asked Amy gently.

‘Me, of course!’ The small voice sounded totally exasperated now. ‘What is it with humans, huh? You’re so huge, scare the bejeebers out of me, and yet you squeal whenever you see one of us. Just your foot is a whole lot bigger than me, possibly even your toe. And don’t even show me your slipper! More of my close family and friends than I care to count have come to a bad end under a well-aimed slipper. Poor old ma and pa – both victims of slipper-death. And all us children to feed…’

There were sounds of sniffing and a stifled sob as Amy shuffled across the bed to dangle her head upside down and peak over the edge. She saw a large spider, his dark shape cowering in the corner and she watched it raise a spindly leg to wipe away a tear from one of its many eyes.

‘Oh don’t cry! I’m so sorry…’

‘Well, I’m not blaming you personally for anything, Amy Fey, that’s for sure,’ the spider looked straight at her and held her gaze with several beady eyes. ‘You’re well-known as being thoughtful and gentle with my kind. You may not remember, but you scooped me out of the bath with a glass several times this year. Most people would have just washed me down the drain…’ Tears were welling from the spider’s eyes once more. ‘You’re well-known and well-loved, Amy Fey… just stop it with the shuddering.’

‘I’m sorry, it’s just a natural reaction. But you’re right, it’s silly.’ Amy looked again at the spider and this time she didn’t shudder, not even a tiny bit. He was actually quite cute, with his furry legs and sad expression in his numerous eyes. ‘But what I don’t understand is how we can talk to each other.’ She turned from the spider to Grey. ‘Does this mean I can talk to all animals?’

The dog and the spider both looked at her and shrugged their shoulders.

Book Blurb

circle-of-candlesWhen Amy Fey awakes in the night with a silver flame burned on the back of her hand and the ability to converse with Grey, her pet dog, she can’t imagine that this will be the beginning of a perilous adventure that will test her strength of mind, body and character. She soon finds out that Grey isn’t the only animal that has a word or two to say to her – from Marmaduke, the overly-emotional spider under her bed, to Seff the giggling centipede, all the creatures are there to tell her a tiny piece of the puzzle that she, a newly-appointed Flame Bearer, has to solve. Her grandmother, always enigmatic, often absent when most needed, knows more than she is telling, and her dead mother seems to have taken a secret or two with her to the grave.

Amy’s quest to find out her family secrets and to fulfill her role as a Flame Bearer takes her to the Circle of Candles, a dazzling ring of towering silver-flamed candles, taller than the forests that surround it. An irritable guardian, a talking statue named Pierre, must be appeased and later saved from destruction, puzzles must be solved, and the purpose of the Circle must be revealed. The journey takes Amy into a magical world, desperately seeking her beloved runaway dog, where she meets with other Flame Bearers and animals.

The Flame Bearers must work together to save the Circle from destruction by their nemesis Yotin the Pale One. They discover that the Circle is the fountain of happiness for the world, the source that people tap into when they love and laugh, and without it the human race would live out its days in abject misery. Pale Ones thrive on these negative emotions and desire only one thing – to destroy this source of joy and feed on human despair until the end of time.

About the Author

Jessica Rowan is a Brit, currently lost in central Europe. She shares her tiny house and wild garden with her husband, a glaring of cats and numerous interlopers including stray dogs, hedgehogs, rabbits and a passel of pigeons.

Jessica was reluctant at school but found a love of education later in life, now spending her time writing, playing music and teaching English. She likes the colour blue, reading late at night, buttered toast with marmite, strong PG Tips tea and the smell of a freshly-walked wet dog.

You can purchase The Circle of Candles on Amazon.

Today’s Featured Author – Jarvis T. Cleveland

Today I welcome author Jarvis T. Cleveland to my blog. The first two parts of a five part novella series on witchcraft have already been released and are already available on Amazon.

Interview

Tell us a bit about yourself.

My name is Jarvis T. Cleveland and I am 25, a single parent-person, and current college senior. My “kid” is my 14-year-old sister who is a beautiful mess and the light of my life. I’m currently a theatre major and looking to apply to the Masters of Social Work program for further study. I love all things supernatural especially witchcraft.

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

Those who know me well would be able to spot me in a character or two but I won’t say which ones! As for my experiences they too permeate the story of Salem.

What fuels you as an author to continue to write?

I love stories. I love the nuances of personal relationships. The beauty of characters, people. As long as those things exist I will always have fuel to continue writing.

Do you outline your books or just start writing?

Oh I definitely just start writing. I am a very instinct/emotion-driven person. Planning and rationalizing is not in my nature when it comes to certain things. When I try to outline with my writing the story and characters always, ALWAYS, shift into a different direction. So I’ve learned to just let them do what they do.

Please tell us about your current release.

My current release is entitled Salem. It is a five-part novella series of which two are already available on Amazon. Salem focuses on witch brothers Jamie and Mike Corbett and their experiences as a witch from their past threatens to tear their family apart.

What inspired you to write this book?

Like I mentioned earlier, I love witchcraft. I think it’s a beautiful thing to wake up each day feeling empowered and like you can direct the path of your life. That’s what I believe it’s like to possess magic. So I decided to create a story filled with people who have this empowered state of mind. But at the end of the day: they’re still people. So magic or not their lives are filled with obstacles, trials, and heartache. But it’s not all bleak there are highs as well, same as life. Hopefully Salem depicts this as I planned.

Which of your characters is your favorite? Do you dislike any of them?

I like all my characters! (Sunday school answer) No, I think Jamie develops the most as a character over the five parts of Salem so I love that. Also Abbey is funny and a breath of fresh air in this dismal town. Mike also has some powerful challenges to overcome and seeing that is amazing. Nora is precious. Lucas is a sweetheart. Ugh, see? I love all my characters!

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

The story most certainly did not turn out the way I planned from the beginning. There are so many things I did not see coming that happens in the first two parts alone. And now that they have I have to sit back and watch how these characters are going to work their way out of these situations. I don’t want to give any major spoilers but I certainly never saw Jamie moving back to Salem. He hates the place. Also, I knew from the start that the brothers would sort of have their own stories within the whole of the one story but I never thought Mike’s would go in the direction that it does. If I’m sounding vague, that’s on purpose. Check out the series!

Book Blurbs

salem-1

salem-2
Salem – Part One: Ties that Bind

Salem is the story of Jamie and Mike Corbett, witches born in a town with a history steeped in death. But in the town of Salem death is hardly the end…

Salem – Part Two: The Centennial

In part two Jamie and Mike Corbett’s witchy story continues. The town of Salem is gearing up for its big Centennial anniversary which may be less of a celebration than a catastrophe. Old faces bring new secrets and not everyone is exactly what they seem.

You can buy both Salem – Part One and Salem – Part Two on Amazon.

Today’s Featured Author – Adam Thielen

Please welcome author Adam Thielen to my blog. His debut novel, Visceral, came out in July. You can find it on Amazon. It is on Kindle Countdown as of today.

Interview

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I actually started writing before I was a teenager.  My first original story put to paper (well digital paper), was written as a Sophomore in high school.  I continued writing short stories through college, but then gave that up to attempt a novel.  It took several tries and over a decade of projects before finishing Visceral.  I don’t really consider myself a writer.  Maybe once I’m successful.

Do you outline your books or just start writing?

I don’t think I could write without doing some form of planning.  I at least have to write out a list of significant developments.  For Visceral, I wrote a list of events, even a few blurbs to remind myself what I was doing.  For my next project, I will be doing a more formal outline.  It’s no good getting halfway into a book and being unsure where to go next.  That being said, I wasn’t able to stick entirely to my list.  It had to evolve as I wrote what the characters would actually do in the situations presented.

Please tell us about your current release.

Visceral is a straightforward story with a large mix of supernatural and cyberpunk elements.  Most of the focus is on dialogue and action rather than narration or description.  There are four protagonists, each with a kind of specialty.  Circumstances bring them together, and what starts as a somewhat simple job turns into a fight against multiple adversaries.

What inspired you to write this book?

I’m a big fan of cyberpunk, especially in the gaming world.  I also wanted to contribute to vampire fiction something closer to the comic book and movie character “Blade” to counter all the “Edwards”.  Those familiar with role-playing video and tabletop games will see a lot of familiar themes.

How did you come up with the title?

Visceral is how I want the scenes to be conveyed to the reader.  Some are violent, some a bit gory.

What kind of research did you do for this book?

I had to do a little information technology research, but that’s been my day job for a long time.  What I really needed to research was the Old West.  I made several errors in my initial draft with how I treated the region depicted around the year 1900.  You get used to a lot of cliches from Westerns, and if you look into the actual history, you find that much of the United States did not fit those molds.

Did you base any of your characters on real people?

No.  However, most character traits, expressions, and voice were pieced together from experiences with others.

Which of your characters is your favorite? Do you dislike any of them?

Tamra.  She’s black, she’s a woman, and she’s a badass.  But not like a Chuck Norris badass.  She doesn’t shoot the wings off of a fly, or flip kick anyone (sorry), but she’s confident, competent, smart, and willing to do what is needed.

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

Confession: I had to Google ‘black moment writing’.  As soon as I read it, I knew what it meant.  It’s sort of a cliché in movies and TV, and I try to avoid using it.   There are times of peril though.  Early in the story, one of the characters calls it quits and it seems like the band is breaking up.

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

I’m working on a prequel novella that will feature two of the vampires twenty years prior to the events in Visceral.  It’s going to be more exposition and brooding noir, and a little less action and blood.  I hope after that to write a sequel to Visceral taking place twenty years after it that will be written in a similar style as the world continues to evolve.

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

There are scenes where Taq, a powerful mage, enters the Ethereal plane, a place that is much different than the physical world, and it was difficult to describe it in a way that was effective and clear.

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

Taq is the mage, and I’m always the mage. I want magical or super powers.  It’s the type of character I always choose when playing a game, and most of my stories feature a magic user of some type.

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

Foundation’s world created by Isaac Asimov.  Space travel, robots, mental powers, what is not to love?

Book Blurb

visceralWhen the vampire council sends its enforcer Matthias to investigate a suspicious young nightstalker, he discovers that her attempts to turn a human mage have resulted in a deadly fiend.

With time working against him, Matthias seeks help from a talented but reckless young mage and a mysterious neuro with her own agenda. But the more they discover about the fiend, the more they threaten to unearth secrets that the powerful will kill to keep buried.

Enter a world transformed by a great economic collapse into a corporatocracy governed by executives, their boards, and appointed councils. A world where man has learned to exploit the ethereal plane to subjugate the laws of nature. Where vampires have emerged to carve a place within civilization. A world ripe for the taking by those with the right resources.

Visceral is a dark and gritty delve into a cyberpunk world that does not give you a chance to catch your breath. Filled with action, dark satire, and occasional humor, Visceral is a fast-paced urban fantasy taking place in the near future, present day, and even the old west. With a climax both satisfying and appalling, this urban fantasy jaunt will sate your lust for blood.

About the Author

adamAdam Thielen was born and raised in a dusty Kansas town. He started writing at an early age, and would finish his first novel two decades later.  His writing is inspired by movies, television, tabletop games, and video games. He holds a degree in Philosophy and earns a living in the IT field.

You can purchase Visceral on Amazon.

 

Today’s Featured Author – Nia Arthurs

Please welcome author Nia Arthurs to my blog. Her romance novel, Cece & David, was released on Amazon in May.

Interview

Tell us a bit about yourself.

Hi, everyone! My name is Nia Arthurs and I am twenty years old. I love to read; I love to write, and I have a very unhealthy obsession with Oreo cookies.

Where were you born and where do you call home?

I was born in Belize City, Belize. Belize is a tiny country nestled between the Caribbean Sea and Mexico and Guatemala. We’re famous for our Mayan ruins, our living Barrier Reef and our vast acres of virgin forests.

What or who inspired you to start writing?

When I was a toddler, my dad would set me on his lap and point out sentences in storybooks. I couldn’t read for squat, but I soon learned to interpret the words as pictures. Thus a voracious reading habit began. Eventually, my love affair with reading unraveled so I started writing to fill the hole inside.

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

The best thing about being a writer is how much my life has changed through the stories I pen. When my characters are strong on the page, I realize that I can be strong in reality. When my characters find love in the end, it gives me patience and hope for my own love story.

The worst thing about being a writer is … it’s lonely. I love the characters I’ve created. All my heroes and heroines are personal friends.

But they’re also imaginary.

Sometimes, I’m so locked up in my head and my laptop that I don’t have time for living, flesh and blood interactions. Writing is fulfilling, but lonely work.

Please tell us about your current release.

Cece & David is a contemporary novel. The story follows the journey of two best friends who love one another in all the ways that someone can love.

Cece is a black girl and David is Asian, but that doesn’t stop them from caring deeply for each other.

The best friends navigate the troubled waters of junior college, jealous girlfriends, obsessed bullies, and unforeseen tragedies all while fighting for their own personal identities inside and outside of their friendship.

What inspired you to write this book?

That’s a very funny story. Cece & David wasn’t in my plan. I was supposed to be working on a sequel for one of my other novels. Instead, I took a break.

During that time-off, I went to the store where I spotted the most handsome, noble-looking Asian guy behind the cash register. I kept ducking behind the shelves trying to memorize his face… for a future novel, of course. Not for any personal reasons.

I couldn’t get him out of my head. In my heart, in the tiny pocket where dreams are born, I wished that I had a reason to talk to him. You know, apart from paying for my Oreo cookies. So, I drafted eighteen-year-old, multi-cultural best friends to play out that reality for me.

Which of your characters is your favorite? Do you dislike any of them?

Whew! This is a hard one. I love both Cece and David, but I think I’ll give this one to… Cece.

David is awesome. He’s genuine, loyal, and very, very handsome. His personal growth through the course of the novel is astounding. Cece’s only a centimeter above him because she did something that I would never do first.

She confessed her feelings.

Cece’s confession complicates her relationship with David and spins the story out in a way I hadn’t even expected. But she would do it again. In a heartbeat. I admire that strength.

As for characters I dislike, I’d say it’s the bully that calls David ‘chino’. Such ignorance is not only annoying, but deeply disturbing. Differences should be celebrated, not made fun of.

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

The next book that I’ll write is the last in the series. I have a few surprises that I’m going to spring on the couple. If anyone has read (or will read) the Cece & David series, they know that I’m never easy on the pair. David and Cece will have much to overcome before they settle down with their well-earned HEA.

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

I would be Morgan Fraiser from Buffalo Soldier: The Love & Reggae Series. Morgan is a bass player that joins a group of pale-skinned, reggae stars on their world tour. She rocks out on her guitar in front of thousands of fans. She’s strong, stubborn and opinionated, but her intentions are always good. Like Morgan, I would love to travel the world and play the bass for a big event. Someday…

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

Have I mentioned that I love Oreos? Just kidding. You would never guess that… I wanted to be a lawyer. I applied for hundreds of scholarships to study law overseas and all were, thankfully, rejected. While I wigged out over not being able to go to school, I made the best decision in my life.

I started writing.

Book Blurb

cece-davidBeing bullied and teased about his race was an ordinary part of seven-year-old David Kim’s day. Until Cece Walker stepped into the picture and stood up for him. After that, David chased his hero. He plied her with juice boxes and sweets until she finally gave in and became his friend. That friendship would span over ten years.

Now, David and Cece are about to embark on a new journey as young adults. Will their friendship span the test of time? Or will feelings get in the way of their bond?

Discover hope and trust and friendship in this sweet novel exploring the truth of love that comes in many shades.

About the Author 

niaI live in a country where the beaches are always picturesque, the Mayan ruins are always intriguing, and the Blue Hole is just minutes away. Yet I prefer sticking close to home, reading a good novel and then picking up my laptop and trying to write one.

I enjoy penning stories that span across ethnicities, nationalities and skin tones. I am also a firm believer in happily ever afters. The world is full of grim realities. Sometimes we all need a little reminder that things can work out in the end.

You can find out more about Nia on her blog or Amazon or follow her on Twitter.

You can purchase Cece & David on Amazon.