#Free eBook Alert – BLOOD BOND is free 4/25 to 4/29

From Wednesday, April 25 thru Sunday, April 29, you can download my fantasy novel, Blood Bond, for FREE!

Available only at Amazon.

Don’t have a Kindle? No problem. Download the Kindle App for free here.

Blood Bond: Book Description

Man severed the alliance with the dragons fifty years ago. But now an invading army marches north destroying everything in its path. The dragons believe only together can the invaders be defeated. They need an emissary.

Womanizer. Drunk. Failure. Soren is many things. A leader isn’t one of them. But, Dex, the dragon that saves him from a cliff, believes different. Thrust into an adventure he never wanted, Soren’s life changes forever when during a battle Dex’s blood mixes with his blood creating a mystical blood bond – forever linking them.

As the bond strengthens, Soren must decide whether to return to his old life or accept the bond and embrace his role in the battle against the invading army.

 

Download Blood Bond for FREE here.

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Today’s Featured Author – David L. Heaney

Today I welcome author David L. Heaney to my blog. His debut novel, A Yorkie’s Tale: Lessons from a Life Well-Lived, came out in October 2017.

Interview

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I have had, what I think, is a really interesting life. I hope it will continue to be as interesting as it has been so far. I grew up for the most part outside New York City during the ‘60’s and early ‘70’s. I look back on my life during that time and like so many others wonder how I survived. It was wonderful but crazy.

I had no idea what I wanted when I went to college so initially majored in English then discovered philosophy and loved speculative metaphysics even as the area was gradually falling out of favor with contemporary philosophers. I went to Yale Divinity School mostly to study philosophy with no intention of pursuing the ministry. I was diverted toward the ministry after working with chronically and terminally ill persons at a large New Haven Hospital. There was a clarity (and an intensity) it engendered that I loved. The literary critic, Anatole Broyard wrote about this when he was dying of prostate cancer. He said for the first time in his life he had a real deadline and it brought everything into a laser-like focus.

I spent 20 years as a parish priest (Episcopal), probably unfairly dragging my wife and four kids along.

During this time I also pursued another degree in Marriage and Family Therapy and after leaving parish work practiced and taught for a couple of years. I landed next with a large publicly traded company working on outsourced government public assistance programs and climbed up the corporate ladder. I ended up doing international business development for the company working with governments all over the world. I lived in Israel and later London as part of this job. I had a great time.

More recently, I have quieted down and have created with a London-based business partner a boutique-consulting firm that offers advisory services to government services firms seeking to enter the international market. This occupies relatively little of my time so I have time now to write. I just finished A Yorkie’s Tale a few months back and am now working on several new writing projects.

Where were you born and where do you call home?

I spent most of my adult life in Southern California but moved to Durham, North Carolina four years ago. I’m very happy in Durham. My wife works with Duke Medicine. The Chapel Hill/Durham area of course has a number of great universities and that enriches the quality of life.

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

My writing is in many ways autobiographical even though the characters in my first book are animals. The thoughts that trouble them, what makes them laugh, and so forth are really different parts of who I am, I suppose. A Yorkie’s Tale deals with big issues of meaning and mortality, and what is really most important in life. Every character is generally a mosaic that includes parts of me as well as those who I have encountered over a lifetime.

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

I have started two books. The first I am well into but am struggling with whether it is heading in the right direction. The story involves an adolescent boy whose imaginary friend from childhood seeks him out for a special task. The story explores belief and unbelief. We cannot see what we refuse to believe is possible. When we believe, really believe anything is possible a whole alternate world is opened to us.

The illustrator who did the illustrations for my first book spoke to me about loving to draw foxes, so I have also started a story about foxes. It is a love story with some mystical elements.

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 try to write a little bit every day but when it’s not coming easily, I’m prone to distractions. I still do a little bit of consulting, and its hard for me to lock myself away and just write and write. Annie Dillard, whose writing I have always loved, wrote about trying to just get a page written each day. You can see in her writing how she labors over every word being just right. That’s why her work is so rich.

So I write every morning until maybe noon. I may come back to it later in the afternoon. In between I try to make a little money.

What fuels you as an author to continue to write?

I think it’s just the act of creating that drives me to write. What keeps me writing is the relationship I form with the work I am creating. This includes developing the characters, the place where the story takes place. You get to know all these things and as the story evolves, I go back to them adding detail. I heard a writer on NPR say that you create intimacy by adding detail and that continues to inform my own writing.

If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?

It’s not necessary to save everything you write because when you are older you are going to read some of it and think, “What the hell?!” I wouldn’t really say that. Writers need to be nurtured and how one offers counsel in such a way that it can be heard and assimilated is important. I’d tell my younger self the more you write the more you will want to write and the more you write, the better you will get.

Please tell us about your current release.

A YORKIE’S TALE; LESSONS FROM A LIFE WELL-LIVED tells the story of a nine year old Yorkie named Niles with dim vision and a chronic cough who lives comfortably with his owners, Mama and MAN. During the summer Niles would sneak into the backyard after dinner to see if any avocadoes had fallen from the neighbor’s tree. One evening he encounters Nathaniel, a fruit rat who walks along the telephone wires strung along the alley. Nathaniel wonders how Niles can be content living in his little world the size of his backyard. Nathaniel sees things and is worldly. But Nathaniel did not understand what he saw when he witnessed a family burying their cat. Indeed he was alarmed and tells Niles about this. The two of them later encounter the possum, Leach who tells them the cat was dead and then demonstrates by playing possum. The two are shaken by the news that they don’t go on forever and wonder what they should be doing with their lives. This sets in motion Niles escape to join Nathaniel on a journey to answer the question, If we all die, how should we then live? They meet a number of other creatures each with a unique set of important truths. Niles receives guidance in his dreams when visited by the cat, Deheune who speaks cryptically yet guides him to the truths he seeks. Without being preachy, the book focuses on the importance of friendship, compassion, self-awareness, and imagination.

What inspired you to write this book?

I was living in London away from home on a long-term business assignment when I started it. We had a Yorkie named Niles who, in fact, did sneak avocados. We had no idea why he was getting so fat. And of course there were fruit rat and possums that visited, as well as a flock of beautiful Conures (parrots) that would visit and chatter. All of these made it into the book. The setting is San Diego and many people will recognize this from the descriptions.

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

My favorite character is the possum, Leach. He is eccentric and a little bit magical, and always disarming. My least favorite character is a little boy named Miles who snatches Niles when he is sick and has been hidden by his friends. The boy is very needy and tries to compel the Yorkie to love him, which of course, is unsuccessful.

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

It is when Niles falls ill. He has a series of dreams or visions but this one is especially frightening. It’s kind of the dark night of the soul moment where he, in fact, discovers his soul. And this was difficult to write because I felt like I wanted to write for all ages and the dark night is a complicated matter. How do you talk about an existential crisis to an adolescent? So, I’m not entirely sure I was successful.

Many of the issues the book attempts to explore are complex so my hope is the reader will be able to take away something useful to them based on their unique experience and developmental stage.

Do you have an all time favorite book?

I have always loved JD Salinger’s FRANNY AND ZOOEY. I taught a class on Psychotherapy and Spirituality some years back for a graduate program in Marriage and Family Therapy and used it as one of the principal course books. Part of the reason I think I like it so much is that it explores longing and the flailing about we go through as we attempt to figure out just exactly why we are so restless.

Book Blurb

Niles, an aging Yorkie, has led a pampered life with his two loving owners and knows nothing of death. When his new friend Nathaniel, an inquisitive fruit rat, shares the puzzling tale of a family burying a sleeping cat, Niles’s life begins to really change. Another neighborhood critter, an eccentric possum called Leach, explains to the two befuddled creatures that the cat wasn’t simply sleeping it was dead.

Shaken by this revelation, Niles and Nathaniel decide they need to do something meaningful with their lives but what? They resolve to venture outside Niles s backyard, and with the help of Poppy, a friendly parrot, and guided by cryptic messages from a cat Niles encounters in his dreams, they begin to seek out answers.

Their travels take them from their own neighborhood through a canyon right to the edge of the ocean. Along the way, they encounter and benefit from the wisdom shared by others the seagulls, dolphins, and a visionary gorilla about the mysteries of life, and the grace that comes from living well unafraid of their own mortality.

About the Author

David L. Heaney has spent his career helping individuals and organizations discover and pursue their own special transformational paths. He received a bachelor s degree from State University of New York at Purchase, a master s degree in marriage and family therapy from the University of San Diego, and a master s degree from the Divinity School at Yale University.

Heaney has served as a parish minister, psychotherapist, and instructor with the University of San Diego s Marital and Family Therapy program. His work over the course of nearly twenty years as an Episcopal pastor and family systems therapist has given him great insight into the psychological, spiritual, and social factors that drive individuals, families, and communities. He is cofounder of the Social Assistance Partnership, an entity that assists health and human-service organizations.

Heaney lives with his wife, Lynda, and their three dogs in Durham, North Carolina.

You can follow David on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

You can purchase A Yorkie’s Tale: Lessons from a Life Well-Lived on Amazon.

 

 

Today’s Featured Author – Paulette Harper

Today I welcome author Paulette Harper to my blog. Her book, That was Then, This is NOW, was released in August. 

Excerpt: Walking in Purpose

How can I live in my purpose? While it is important to define what purpose is, I believe purpose must start with God. When I began to recognize my purpose for living, I realized it was about producing a life that was fulfilling, complete, and satisfying. As a believer in Christ, I believe that I am in a place where I am fulfilling the purpose for which I was created.

What I find most rewarding is making sure I’m doing what I believe the Lord will have me to do. I’m a strong believer in the fact that if God wanted me to do something else, I would be and if He wanted me to be somewhere else, I would.  True happiness comes when a person identifies his purpose and lives his dreams with God in the center of everything he or she does.

Inside each of us is a yearning to know why we are created and for what reasons we exist. I don’t believe we will be satisfied in life or even enjoy the life we have been given apart from walking in our divine purpose.  Finding your purpose in life should be one of your greatest goals. For one to fulfill his role and assignment here on earth, one must be aware of his own skills, talents, passions and abilities. Once those qualities are identified it makes doing what we love easy.

Some of my life’s challenges and struggles lead me to God’s divine purpose and plan for my life.  I found that in my own personal struggles there were ideal and dreams that God had birth inside me that where pulled out when I went through the most challenging times in life.  I learned that God’s purpose and will in my troubles were being fulfilled through my life’s experiences.

I live by my own motto…”Intentionally Living Life on Purpose.”

Book Blurb

HOW COULD GOD HAVE A PURPOSE FOR ME AMIDST THIS MESS?

WHY DO SUCH BAD THINGS HAPPEN TO GOOD PEOPLE?

If you’ve recently asked yourself these questions, Paulette Harper’s That Was Then, This is Now has the answers. Struggling to recover from a broken marriage and disappointed dreams, Paulette Harper gropes for meaning and understanding. And through her searching, God reveals Himself to her in ways she never before imagined possible. By sharing her struggles with transparency, she illustrates how a heart attitude of surrender allows God to use a broken vessel for His ultimate plans of glory.

That Was Then, This is Now, minsters to hurting hearts in every season in life, reminding them that God restores shattered lives, intent on using them for His sovereign purposes.

About the Author

In addition to being an award winning author of Completely Whole and Secret Places Revealed, Paulette is an inspirational speaker, as well as a writing workshop instructor. Her literary works have been spotlighted in a growing number of publications, including CBN, Real Life Real Faith Magazine, The Sacramento Observer and Black Pearls Magazine. She has also appeared on numerous local and online radio shows.

Paulette resides in Northern California.

You can find out more about Paulette on her website or follow her on Twitter or Facebook.

You can purchase That Was Then, This is NOW on Amazon.

Virtual Book Tour – Nicole Benoit-Roy

Today, author Nicole Benoit-Roy stops by my blog as part of her What I Gain Through His Pain Virtual Book Tour. This Christian non-fiction came out in July.

Excerpt

Something Fishy

Daddy practiced Voodoo, but even as a child I considered it foolish. During summer vacations in Haiti, the family expected my sister, my next younger brother and me to go to Lèogane. As the summer months drew to a close, my father lined up every child in the house to bathe us with a special Voodoo water made with crushed leaves.

As I got older (though not much older), I grew to detest the act and so I decided not to go on vacation anymore. I thought it ridiculous to allow myself to be bathed with stinky water. I never believed in the Voodoo stuff either. I had a good sense of who I was since early childhood. I knew God made me, and no evil could harm me (Now I know evil can’t touch me without His permission). That knowledge made me very bold and never afraid of any Voodoo stuff. My father had a special table with a white small washbasin and other Voodoo items on it. No one was supposed to touch them. However, on many occasions, I pretended to be cleaning just to touch and rearrange everything on that table. I held no fear. I just knew they lacked any authority over me. It’s weird though, no one told me that Voodoo held no potency. It was always a gut feeling. I was always very bold about expressing my belief every chance I got.

My father use to hold Voodoo ceremonies where kids in the house were expected to eat out of special wooden bowls. All that I shunned eventually. Because my brother Kesnel and sister Carol were twins, the ceremony held every year honored the twins (a Voodoo ritual) even though Carol died as a baby. Those were the kinds of things that made no sense to me, leading me to refuse to take part in them as soon as I grew old enough to say no. With me so hardheaded and strong-willed, no one in my family could force me to take part once I said no. Not even my father.

On one occasion, something terrible happened in my family, causing my father to be the focus of suspicion. I felt his pain afterward. He needed so much to have someone on his side. Unfortunately, not even his favorite little girl was willing to be that someone.

In desperation, one evening in Port-au-Prince, the capital of Haiti, he pulled me aside. In a private conversation, he explained his own version of the incident after he visited my mother in the U.S. in 1982 for the first time.

He said, “Nicole, I know you’re getting older. You can understand what I’m about to tell you.”

I was 14 years old then.

“When I went to New York,” he continued, “I swear I did not take your mother’s soiled panties. It’s only after I came back to Haiti I saw them in my suitcase. I swear I did not take them.”

I listened attentively, but my eyes stared at the cement floor as we sat on the edge of my bed.

“You believe me, don’t you, my girl.” He held onto my left arm as if begging me to say yes.

I’d heard the rumor that he wanted to use her underpants to hurt my mother through witchcraft so often that I’d already made up my mind of his guilt.

My father returned to Haiti finding himself in an awkward predicament. At that age, I was naïve and awfully honest.

“Well, I can’t say whether you did it or not. I wasn’t there. You’re the only one who knows if you did it or not,” I said.

Suddenly, the look he gave me told me he wanted another answer. His eyes turned red. His pain turned into hatred.

I knew then I was not his favorite little girl anymore and I would pay.

In retrospect, I realized I could have answered differently had I known better. I still feel his pain even now as I write about it.

As soon as my mother found out her panties were missing, she demanded that my father purchase a plane ticket and return them to her.

When he did, she burned them in his presence.

My father continued to make his regular weekly visits from Lèogâne bringing us fresh produce every time. Our relationship was never the same, however. At times, I’d purposely stayed away to avoid seeing him altogether, not showing up until after he left. He was the enemy of the family. He knew it. That made him very uncomfortable and angry.

During one of his visits, he threatened to beat me because I did not greet him. Of course I put up a fight. He tried to pin me to the ground. I escaped from his grip and ran to a nearby stony hill. I picked up a stone and made the motion to throw it at him, but an invisible power stopped me. I knew Who kept me from flinging the stone, and I’m glad He did. Deep down inside I really loved my father. I believed that he gave me so much love and attention that he made it possible to never feel insecure about myself.

During my college years at Stony Brook University in New York, our father-daughter relationship remained broken. I recall lying on the bed in my dorm room reminiscing about my childhood. My entire family lived in the U.S. by then. My mom and dad separated shortly after the panties incident, although they waited to divorce until eleven years later. I finally realized the pain my father must have gone through to have his whole family against him, and the pain he continued to feel every time he and I met.

“Look at Nicole, the daughter I loved so much. Now, she can’t even talk to me,” he sometimes said.

At that time, we were on greeting terms. As I empathized with my father, I decided to put an end to our broken relationship. I picked up the phone.

“Hello,” he said.

“Hi, daddy, how are you?” It felt uncomfortable saying “daddy” but I also realized that doing the right thing was never easy.

“Who’s this?” he asked.

“This is Nicole,” I said. “I just call to tell you that I love you. Bye.”

“Ok,” he said.

I hung up the phone, feeling a burden lift from my chest.

For the first time I began to understand the power of forgiveness. I still had a long way to go.

Our relationship continued to improve after that phone call. My father is now ninety-two years old, and I love him as if nothing ever happened between us.

The Bible says in Deuteronomy 5:16, “Honor your father and your mother, as the LORD your God has commanded you.” (NLT). I desire to obey God’s Word. Through this experience, I learned that making mistakes is what we (humans) specialize in the most. What’s essential is that we learn from them.

Book Blurb

In a society filled with easy Christianity and cheap grace, Nicole Benoit-Roy takes her relationship with Christ to a much deeper level. Since becoming a Christian, she has been learning about her newfound Savior, Jesus Christ. She is an educator who vows to be a student for as long as she lives. The more she learns about the cross of Christ, the more she realizes the importance of it in her life. As she meditates on His suffering, she concludes that His pain is the reason for every blessing in her life. In this book, “What I Gain Through His Pain,” she shares her story about the benefit of the cross as she expresses gratefulness for His pain.

About the Author

Nicole is currently pursuing her doctoral degree in educational leadership at Andrews University. She directs the Children Ministries Department at her church. She works as a special education teacher by day, a literature evangelist by night, and writes during the wee hours of the night. She enjoys reading and playing the piano (beginner). Nicole struggled with college writing, which lead her to eventually drop out. For this reason, one of her many goals in life is to become a best-selling author to the glory of God. Nicole and her husband, Roosevelt Roy, have been married since 1994, and are the proud parents of a handsome brown-eyed son, Nolan. They currently live in Brooklyn, New York.

You can find out more about Nicole on her website or follow her on Twitter or Facebook.

You can purchase What I Gain Through His Pain on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Today’s Featured Author – Jenn Bregman

Today I welcome author Jenn Bregman to my blog. Her legal thriller, The TimeKeepers, will be released on May 4th. You can pre-order your copy on Amazon.

Interview

Where were you born and where do you call home?

Williston, North Dakota.  I bet you’ve never had that response before!  We moved around a lot when I was a kid — places like North Dakota, Minnesota, Oregon and Illinois, and then finally landed in Denver when I was in junior high school.  I loved the variety of moving and I loved trying to understand how each place was different, or the same.  At this point, though, I consider myself to be “tri-coastal,” and equally at home in Los Angeles, New York City, and Denver.

What or who inspired you to start writing?

My Dad.  He was an avid reader and great writer. He was an economist who could tell a financial “story” like no one else. He never really edited my work in the traditional sense, rather he would ask questions to force me to come up with my own answers.  Questions such as: “Are you satisfied with that adverb?  Does it say exactly what you want to say or can you find a better choice?”  You know, exhausting questions. 🙂

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

I’m about 1/3 into the sequel and can’t wait to work on it every day.  It’s the continuation of Sarah and Sam’s relationship, set in New York City, with a blood-tingling plot.  It is years afterwards.  They have changed and so has their relationship.  Spicy.

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 4-5 hours per day.  Any more, and I’m just not efficient.  I have my tush in the chair at 5:00 a.m. and then can work until, at least, 7:00 before the rest of the house gets up.  After that, I fit in another 2-3 hour chunk depending on the demands of the day.  Having that almost sacrosanct two hour period first thing in the morning, though, is critical.

Please tell us about your current release?

The TimeKeepers is a fast-paced legal thriller that plunges headlong into the depraved underbelly of big money, big law, conspiracy, and murder.  Attorney Sarah Brockman is young, idealistic, and naïve.  Having left Big Law in search of work that would make a difference, she finds herself barely scraping by running her own personal injury firm working for clients who can’t pay and pursuing causes she can’t win.  Then a random horrific car crash shatters everything and she’s staring into the darkest shadows of Big Law greed and murder.  Facing off against a cunning and deranged adversary, Sarah must navigate a kaleidoscopic landscape of characters including a sharp-witted socialite, a felon and occasional crackhead, and a shameless Mexican raconteur — all while kindling a tender romance with her boyishly handsome new love, Sam, who’s been following the same trail . . . but from the other end, and the wrong side of the law.  As invisible strings pull her ever closer to the core of the conspiracy, she wonders if the strings are being pulled for good or for bad?  And will she be on the side that wins?

How did you come up with the title?

Most lawyers bill their clients by the hour, usually in six minute increments.  As a lawyer, you must carefully keep track of your time every day, noting what matter you are working on, for how long, and for which client.  It is laborious; everyone hates it, but it is a necessary part of the practice of law.  On some days, all you feel like is a “timekeeper.”

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

I love almost all of my characters, or at least parts of them, for different reasons.  There is only one character in the book who I wholly detest.

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

You will know it when you read it.  It was critical to understanding the story and a certain character in it, but it was almost impossible to write.

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

I LOVE cheese. 🙂

Book Blurb

Attorney Sarah Brockman is young, idealistic, and naïve. Having left Big Law in search of work that would make a difference, she finds herself barely scraping by running her own personal injury law firm working for clients who can’t pay and pursuing causes she can’t win. Then a random horrific car crash shatters everything. Now she’s staring into the darkest shadows of the very system she’s dedicated her life to upholding, filled with corrupt judges, dirty cops and attorneys, offshore banking, massive fraud, and twists and turns through the highways and byways of Southern California, Mexico and the Cook Islands.

Facing off against a cunning and deranged adversary, Sarah is aided by a sharp-witted socialite, a felon and occasional crackhead, and a shameless Mexican raconteur. All while kindling a tender romance with Sam, her boyishly handsome new love, who has been following the same trail but from the other end – and the wrong side of the law.

Sarah feels invisible strings pulling her ever closer to the core of the conspiracy. But if she’s just a pawn in someone else’s game, are the strings being pulled for good or for bad? Or, even, both? And will she be on the side that wins?

About the Author

Jenn Bregman is a white-collar criminal defense lawyer who has practiced in both Los Angeles and New York City, where she worked on some of the most notorious cases of our time.  A veteran of Big Law and member of Mensa, she is a graduate of the University of Denver and UCLA Law School and has been published in the UCLA Law Review and Los Angeles Lawyer magazine.  A marathoner who loves pugs and hiking giant mountains, she lives in Los Angeles with her husband, and their, oh so busy, five year old twin boys.

You can find out more about Jenn on her website or follow her on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

The TimeKeepers will be released on May 4, 2017 as a softcover book and will be available wherever books are sold (Amazon, Barnes & Noble, etc.). E-book versions will be available via Kindle and Nook.

#NewRelease – BEYOND THE VEIL by Siddhi Palande

Today, I have author Siddhi Palande on my blog to announce the release of her novella, Beyond the Veil: A Journey of an Indian Girl.

Interview

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I am a former media professional. I have worked with media houses like Times of India, ANI, BookMyShow and Zee. As a PR executive I have handled celebs and movies like Total Recall, The Amazing Spider-Man, Men In Black 3, Resident Evil Retribution etc. I gave up my corporate life to start a family but couldn’t give up my love for writing.

What or who inspired you to start writing?

The inspiration comes from the environment we live in. I sat down to write this novel few months after my father’s demise. He was one individual who has brought out massive change in his surroundings. Turning a dacoit into a householder is only one example. His deeds were good, noble and thought provoking. His speeches gave direction to the unruly youth. And when the thought of writing a novel passed through my mind, I wanted to write something that would change the mindset of many. Being a woman, I had to write a story about women. And when I first heard this story, the initial shock turned into rage and hence began the rant which fills my chapter one.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I never had this moment when I considered myself a writer. As far as I recall I was always writing. I would write poems, stories and plays as a kid. Over a period of time I lost these writings. Post that I started collating my writings in one place. The decisive moment came when I had to choose my career. I have no other skill but writing and hence I picked journalism over other options.

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

A writer always leaves behind a part of himself in his works. This being my first novel, I have tried including a tad bit of myself and my experiences.

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

I haven’t started on my next project. The offers and stories keep coming ever since people have got the whiff of my debut novel. Some have even asked me to write biographies but I haven’t started work on any as of now. However, I plan to collaborate with my mother for my next novel which will again be a story by the women for the women.

Please tell us about your current release.

This book is a catharsis. I recently lost my father to fate and to quell my emotions I started writing. From a rant it turned into a chapter and from a chapter it became a novella. Based on a true story and facts, this story is about the patriarchal pressure we face in constricted setup of India. Not only women but men too suffer at the hands of society.

What inspired you to write this book?

The story. Actually, in India we have a thing for arrange marriages. It is a system where our parents find a match for us. Add to that we aren’t allowed the courting time. There are many incidences where this matchmaking works out but in some cases marriages end up either with the death of a spouse or divorce. This is something that has happened with an acquaintance. The condition of the girl as well as her parents was pitiable. She fell prey to the age-old tradition of arrange marriage.

How did you come up with the title?

The title “Beyond The Veil – The Journey Of An Indian Girl” has immense meaning hidden. It seems plain but has cultural and spiritual vibes. Veil is something that we use to hide ourselves and in India veil has always had a great significance. We may have done away with the “purdah” system but the mindset hasn’t changed. Moreover, this veil also represents the mask, the poker face. Our personalities are in accordance with the social setup with thrive in. Our true  aspirations, our real persona is hidden behind the veil. Only when we go “Beyond The Veil” do we find the real self. And since this is Janhvi Desai’s journey “Beyond The Veil” hence “The Journey Of An Indian Girl.”

Did you base any of your characters on real people?

This story is a true story and so are my lead characters Janhvi and Ram.

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

Ram is a character I dislike, although he does turn to philosophy and embraces life as is. But he is delusional. He has misunderstood many things in life. Showing off is his way of life. Janhvi on the other hand is a sorted child. She knows what is good for her and what she ought to ignore. She has this never say die attitude and she draws strength from her opposers and destructive situations.

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

The book turned out better than what I had expected. I wanted it to be a life lesson as well as not overly emotional.

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

I would love to jump in Harry Potter world or perhaps the Shopaholic series.

Do you have an all time favorite book?

Yes. One book that I have read umpteen times is Danielle Steel’s The Ghost. Every time I read it, it gives me different perspective towards life. It heals me.

What book are you reading right now?

I am re-reading  Eat Pray Love. I love the Eat and Pray part more.

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

This one is a difficult question but since it is only two then, I would like to meet Danielle Steel because her writing is seamless. It is like a river, it just flows. And Sophie Kinsella because her stories are breathtaking. They have always brought me back from sullen moods. Her stories are colorful as much as poignant.

Book Blurb

A Lawyer by profession, Janhvi Desai has lived her life on the dictates of her family. Assuming that marriage will bring in freshness and freedom she gets married to a Mumbai based engineer, Ram. But once again faces the wrath of the society. Every passing day, Janhvi Desai – Raghuvanshi finds her self-esteem diminishing as her dreams get trampled upon. But while finding the meaning of her being, her relationship with her estranged husband takes a beautiful turn. Between Ram and Janhvi rests a delicate secret and an irrevocable difference. But some relationships thrive despite the difference.

Delve into the dysfunctional world of an Indian girl where patriarchy is villain, free will far removed, where two bruised souls meet and it is only to change the definition of soul mate.

About the Author

A media professional who left the corporate life to be a homemaker but couldn’t give up her love for writing. Post her stint with media, she turned to blogging. From a PR executive to celebrities to a Movie Reviewer and Website Manager, she came a long way in her field. She has worked with celebrities like Kailash Kher, Hard Kaur, Hemant Pandey, and on many international projects like The Amazing Spider-Man, Men In Black 3, Total Recall, Resident Evil Retribution etc as a PR. She worked as a full time Movie Reviewer and Social Media Executive for Bookmyshow.com and yet another well known movie website. She has also worked with Zee Digital as content producer. Independently she has published her articles in international web magazines.

You can find out more about Siddhi Palande on Facebook and Twitter.

You can purchase Beyond the Veil: The Journey of Indian Girl on Amazon US, Amazon UK, Amazon India and many other online retailers.

#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.