Meet David Gaughan @authorGaughan and Discover the Secret to Writing a Great Book! #FridayReads #SFF


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I first met David Gaughan when he asked if I would read and review Aaden Bluestar – The Awakening several months ago. After reading it, I wanted to know more about the man behind the inspiring young adult science fiction adventure novel I’d just read. So, I asked David if he’d be willing to sit down for an interview. He said sure and I did a little jig. No, really. See, not only is David a prolific author but he shares the belief that each of us can make a difference in this world. So, without further ado, please welcome David to the POTL Blog. Take it away, David:

 

What is your writing process?

When I first started writing I found the story flowed better when I wrote longhand. I still have the handwritten original journal of my first attempt at writing, which was eventually published many years later as Star Bred Prophecy. However, my first published work was actually dictated and I find that method far more efficient and creative. I’ll sit comfortably in a chair with my feet up while I stare into space. I visualise the scene unfolding before me, like I’m watching a movie and I simply describe what I’m seeing. I’ve had feedback from several readers who say they feel like they’re watching a movie when they read my works.

 

How important are names to you in your books? Do you choose the names based on liking the way it sounds or the meaning?

Names are definitely important. In the original story that was published as “The Blue Star”, the key character’s son, who played a fairly minor role, was named Ajay. When I decided to rewrite the story from the boy’s perspective the name Ajay just didn’t seem right and it certainly didn’t go well with BlueStar. Even though it was based on the original Blue Star story, the tale took on a new energy and originality, so it seemed appropriate that a name change was needed. Aaden BlueStar emerged as an independent character in his own right. Even his name is spelt with double a, rather than the more commonly spelt Aiden.

 

Have you always liked to write?

My first urge to write was when I was only six years old. I was so enchanted by a children’s story book that I started copying it in long hand. At that young age the hand writing wasn’t that great, but when one of my brothers asked me what I was doing I immediately replied, “I’m writing a book”. It was almost as though I had an inkling of what I’d be doing in later years. Of course it was a huge joke to them, so I didn’t pick up the pen again until many years later. In my early twenties when I went on my first major overseas excursion and I started telling people about my experiences, I often got the comment, “you should write a book about it.” However, it wasn’t until years later I suddenly got the urge and I’ve been writing ever since.

 

Are you a plotter or a pantster?

I’ve always flown by the seat of my pants. There are a couple of occasions where I’ve plotted out the basic outline, but generally I find the story flows and takes on a life of its own when I sit back and watch it unfold. Even I’m surprised at where the story takes me sometimes. Although plotting the outline has helped on a couple of occasions, I find the creative forces flow better when I let it unfold as I go. As mentioned earlier, I tend to be like a spectator watching a movie. It can be quite fascinating at times. Of course, after the initial draft, that’s where the real work begins, with the honing of the story and the many rewrites.

 

Do you read your reviews? Do you respond to them, good or bad? Do you have any advice on how to deal with the bad?

I always read my reviews. I’ve learned not to take things too seriously because I’ve found that each reviewer has their own perspective and sometimes they contradict each other, where one reviewer sees an area where they take exception and another reviewer might praise that same part. It just goes to show that everyone has their personal likes and dislikes. However, if the same criticism arises with two or more reviewers, then it highlights something I need to consider for future work. In the end, I think any review is good, whether it’s high ranking or not. It’s all a learning process.

 

Is this your first book? How many books have you written prior (if any?)

I’ve written several books, ranging from fiction through to self help. Having had several friends and family affected by cancer, I researched and wrote an alternative treatment e-book called “Is there a Cure for Cancer”. On a similar vein I’ve written an e-book called the Wisdom Wellness Diet, again targeting self healing through healthy eating habits. With the increase in world weather extreme events I wrote a book called Self Sufficiency Survival, all of which are available via Amazon.com. However, my passion is with the creative writing and the first one published in hardcopy was The Blue Star, later rewritten from Aaden’s perspective and published as Aaden BlueStar – The Awakening.

 

What are you working on now? What is your next project?

What I’m working on now is something totally different. Besides book two and three of Aaden’s story, I’m researching the interpretation of ancient prophecies, some of which are predictions that have already happened and others that are yet to come. I’ve got the basic outline of the stories in the Aaden Bluestar series and they’ll need more work at some stage. However, my current priority is finishing the interpretation of the ancient prophecies, a project that will no doubt be rather controversial.

 

What is your biggest failure?

I don’t look at things so much as failures, but more as learning experiences. Rather than failure, I think my biggest disappointment was when my first published book The Blue Star never really took flight. It wasn’t until much later that I realised it was a bit ahead of it’s time and targeted at the wrong readership group. It wasn’t until years later that I realised the story needed to be told from Aaden’s perspective and targeted to the YA market. Regarding so-called failure, I take my cue from Thomas Edison who, when asked by a reporter how he felt about failing over a thousand times to make a light bulb, replied “I don’t look at it as failing a thousand times – more that I’ve discovered that many ways how not to make a light bulb.” Actually, there are many interpretations of what he actually said, but that’s the gist of his message.

 

Have you ever gotten into a fight?

Yes, when I was young, growing up on the rougher side of town. Although I did my best to stay clear of confrontation I did get ambushed on a few occasions. I learned early on when the adversary is much bigger, it’s better to resort to negotiation and reasoning, rather than try and fight against the odds. If anything, it made me more observant of situations and peoples’ behaviour, which came in handy in later years as a writer.

 

What do you want your tombstone to say?

I don’t really see the point of recording anything on a tombstone. I’ve left instructions for my ashes to be scattered at low tide on a beach – I’ve always received a lot of inspiration from walking the beach so I couldn’t think of a better place to end up. One thing you often see on a tombstone is the date of birth and the date of death, separated by a dash (-). I think it’s more important how you spend that dash while you’re alive rather than recording the dates on a tombstone. The only thing I’ll leave behind is my writing and I hope that will continue to inspire people long after I’m gone.

 

If you had a superpower, what would it be?

I think a great superpower would be having the ability to convince people to use their creative visualization energies solely for positive outcomes. Of course, doing so would override their freedom of choice, so I guess I won’t achieve that superpower until I’m advanced enough spiritually not to use it. In the meantime, I’ll concentrate on my writing to help people make that choice of their own free will.

 

Where is one place you want to visit that you haven’t been before?

I can think of a couple of star systems that would be interesting to visit, but unless our scientists make rapid progress in the short term with their propulsion systems, I guess the only way I’ll make that trip is to hitch a ride on a visiting spaceship.

 

Do you have any scars? What are they from?

I have a scar on my forehead that was more visible when I was young than it is now. I got it at the age of twelve when, riding my bike – I had a head-on collision with a truck. Needless to say, I came off second-best and I spent three days unconscious in hospital. I have another scar on my abdomen where I used black salve bloodroot paste to treat a skin cancer. I’ve always been a bit adventurous with trying alternatives and although I got a little nervous with the pain and the resulting crater it left behind when the plug came away, it healed up nicely, although it left a scar, mainly due to the size of the hole that had to heal. I think scars, both physical and emotional, are evidence of life trials that, if they don’t kill us, tend to make us stronger.

 

 Aaden Cover_titled_sm

 

Title: Aaden BlueStar – The Awakening

Author: David Gaughan

Genre: Sci-fi/Fantasy

Publisher: Astar Print

 

Book Blurb:

Never feeling quite at home in this world, an ordinary boy discovers his extraterrestrial heritage and superhuman powers when he is confronted by an alien foe. Discovering he is here on a time travel mission, his grip on reality is stretched when he realizes his father, who is running for President, is also not of this world. His best friend Fleur and his sister Tiffany are the only two he can confide in. Together with their extraterrestrial friends, they not only have to combat their alien foe, they also have to convince humanity to change their ways to prevent destroying their home through an environmental disaster. With climate change and extreme weather issues increasing in frequency and intensity, the clock is ticking!

 

Excerpt:

With the memories still fresh in his mind of the destruction of the alien craft in his trance the previous night, Aaden struggled to concentrate during the history lesson.

“Okay,” said Brian Masters, catching Aaden’s attention. “We’ve covered the main battle in today’s lesson, but not what led up to this. For your assignment, I want you to research the main events leading to this confrontation. I want that returned by tomorrow.”

‘No!’ Aaden thought in panic, staring at the teacher. ‘I need time to check out Tunguska.’

Masters, who had turned to clean the whiteboard, suddenly turned back and said, “No, you need time to check out Tunguska.”

As soon as he’d said the words, he immediately baulked. The shocked expression on his face showed that he’d had no intention of saying such a thing. Aaden was amazed that he’d repeated his very thoughts. The other students, who were all preparing to leave the room, stopped and looked at Masters.

“Tun … what?” said one of the students. “Is that a hint of what we need to research?”

“No!” said Masters quickly. “I … uh … I’m not sure where that came from.” He shook his head, as though to clear a confusing thought. “Ignore that. Have the assignment ready by tomorrow.”

The students went back to clearing their desks, preparing to leave. Aaden continued staring at Masters, amazed that the man had repeated the words he’d been thinking. He wasn’t sure whether it was some strange coincidence, so he decided to test it. He thought, ‘Make it two days for the assignment.’

Masters immediately said, “Make it two days for the assignment.”

Again, as soon as the words were out of his mouth, his jaw dropped with the surprise of having said them.

“Two days?” one of the students repeated. “Not tomorrow?”

Masters looked around the room, appearing somewhat stunned. The students had all stopped and were looking at him for confirmation.

“Yeesss …” he replied, looking strained. “You can have two days.”

Aaden struggled to conceal his glee. He thought, ‘On second thoughts, make it three days.’

Masters immediately repeated, “On second thoughts, make it three days.”

Astounded by what he’d just said, Masters immediately grabbed his satchel and fled the room. The students filed out after him, all smiles at having gained such leniency on the timing of their assignment.

Aaden was still coming to terms with what had just happened when Fleur joined him as they walked from the room.

“That’s a bonus,” she said. “Three days for the assignment – we only need one.”

“Hey!” said Aaden, raising his hands in mock submission. “Who’s complaining? Have you heard of Tunguska?”

Fleur gave a sideways glance. “Masters mentioned that – what is it?”

“Let’s go check it out in the library.”

“But Masters said it wasn’t anything to do with the assignment.”

Aaden’s eyes sparkled. “Let’s check it out anyway.”

With a shrug, she followed him to the library and watched as he did a search for ‘Tunguska event’ on the computer.

“1908!” Aaden gasped. “It happened over a century ago.”

Fleur leaned closer to the screen. “Who cares?”

Aaden shook his head. “I didn’t know it was so long ago. But it actually happened. I thought it was just a dream.”

Fleur pulled a face. “What?”

Aaden ignored her questioning stare. “Ah … nothing. Let’s see what they say about it.”

“Tunguska is in East Central Siberia,” said Fleur, reading the text. “This has nothing to do with our assignment. What’s so great about Tunguska?”

“I heard there was an explosion there.”

“So? There have been explosions all over the world throughout history.”

“This was a major blast … bigger than the atomic bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima.”

Fleur’s eyes widened. She looked closer at the screen. “No way! An atomic bomb in 1908?”

“Not an atomic bomb according to this info,” said Aaden, disappointed. “They think it was a meteorite.”

“There was no crater,” said Fleur, reading. “Meteorites are mainly rock, iron and nickel. Something that heavy would’ve made a massive crater. You reckon it was big enough for an explosion like an atom bomb. How can that be?”

“Because it wasn’t a meteorite,” said Aaden. The words were out before he could stop himself.

 

Buy Links:

Amazon US https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00RIMSS6G

Amazon CA https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B00RIMSS6G

Amazon UK https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00RIMSS6G

Paperback https://www.createspace.com/6550223

 

Author Biography:

Born on the same day and month as Mark Twain, this Sagittarius has always been the explorer, not only in world travel pursuits but also alternative fringe subjects. Having climbed the Great Pyramid of Cheops (and getting arrested doing so), some of his other world experiences included riding camels in the Sahara Desert, white-water rafting at the top of the Ganges river, fire walking on a weekend retreat, hot air ballooning in the Cappadocia Region in Turkey and visiting ashrams in Northern India. Much of David’s overseas travel has been fueled by his keen interest in metaphysical subjects.

 

Social Media Links:

Twitter https://twitter.com/authorgaughan

Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13428937.David_Gaughan

Amazon Author Page https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B001KDZKOM

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/david.gaughan.967

 

 

I’d Like to Introduce You To… @TOkerlund #AuthorInterview #YA #Books


It’s time for another author interview here on the Princess of the Light blog. Please welcome Taya Okerlund, author of Hurricane Coltrane. Taya is honest in her interview answers and I find that refreshing. So grab a cup of your favorite beverage and get to know Taya Okerlund.

What book do you wish you could have written?

I’m always rotating author crushes. And right now, I’ve a big one over Rudyard Kipling for The Jungle Book, which is really just wonderful. I loved the stories as a child, but haven’t picked it up for years. I’m falling in love with it all over again.

I would love to possess Kipling’s art for writing every subject with such an interesting and emotional quality. He makes you care deeply about a thing you never knew anything about before. It’s magical.

What authors inspire me? 

I love Chaim Potok and The Chosen. I love Isak Denison and Out of Africa. I love Dostoevsky and Crime and Punishment. I love everything Charlotte Bronte wrote. All of these authors wrote emotionally and made me feel too. More importantly, they opened my eyes to what really matters. Reading can be so profoundly enriching. I aspire to do that with my writing.

Finest accomplishment?

My best and most beloved accomplishment, bar none, is having given birth, and having taken care of, my two-year-old daughter. Anyone who could see her would agree. And the finest compliment anyone can pay me is to look at my baby-girl and say—not that she’s beautiful, though she is—but happy.

Writing is a source of creative expression, and it’s lovely, but motherhood is the heart and soul of creation. It’s nothing to do for personal fulfillment, as is writing. And motherhood may be elevating, though it’s more likely to bring you down a notch…like to your knees.

Advice for aspiring authors?

Ballerinas have a narrow window for their performance career, but writing is for life. It is valuable for you and your family and maybe many others, but the value it brings to you alone is enough.

What are you working on now?

I’m working on an international thriller about the daughter of a disgraced Chinese cadre and her flight from the investigation of the Central Commission of Discipline Inspection. It’s a great read. Look out for it!

Do you write naked?

Yes, but only figuratively. I write with my heart on my sleeve and with the intention of excruciating honesty.

You have my word of honor that I will never withhold even the most embarrassing (or self-convicting) fact, if it will advance the story.  So yes, I write naked. I write honest. I write vulnerable, but always very PG.

If you had a superpower, what would it be?

I would like to heal. Is that a super power? It should be. Maybe I can cultivate it even without the superpower. I’ll go ahead and say love is healing…and you don’t have to be Superman to do that, but to be a real healer is something special.

If you were an animal, what would you be?

I’ve actually thought a lot about this one. I would be a grizzly bear. Mostly because I like the Alaskan grizzly’s diet. How bad could it be–top of the food chain, grazing all day on berries, honey, and wild salmon?

I suppose there is the fighting for mating rights, but I’m a woman, so I don’t have that problem. Best of all, the fatter you are…the more splendid. I’d be a grizzly bear any day.

What were you like as a child?

I was a fairly lonely kid. I didn’t have any particular social gifts. My older sister did. She was like the pied piper when I was playing with friends. She’d come prancing by, and before I knew what was happening, my company was reduced to a spade and a bucket in the sand box.

I lived in my head a lot. I developed characters and dialogue. It got to where I preferred internal to external conversations with real people. (I had to work on that in later years.) But it was all very good author training.

Have you ever been in trouble with the law?

Ahem. I assume you mean felonies, because parking infractions are just too numerous to count.

Here goes….

I had a boyfriend in high school whose dad was a volunteer fireman. (You may know where this is going already.) We were fairly good kids though, you know. There was this kind of short, tubby kid who was singled out by some of our peers and invited to this drinking party….for no good end, believe me. They intended to get him very drunk and have a good laugh at his expense. Well,  my friend finds out about it and takes him aside and says, ‘you’re not going to that party. You’re coming out with us, and we’ll be the ones laughing.

We drove by the party with my friend’s portable fireman light atop my ,mom’s sedan and watched the kids sprint for cover. We never saw the real police car pull up behind us. He pulled us over and dragged us all down to the police station where more than one under-worked police officer lectured us about the perils of impersonating a police officer. They made us call our parents to come drive us home.

Anyway, it seems we were all visible from the police station window and the following Monday at school, we were made much of for the stunt.

Ahem. Crime doesn’t pay.

HurricaneColtrane_CVR_XSML

Title: HURRICANE COLTRANE

Author: TAYA OKERLUND

Genre:

HURRICANE COLTRANE is contemporary young adult fiction. It’s about an unlikely friendship between two boys—both on the fringes of their communities—who make a daring strike for fame and fortune.

Book Blurb:

Merrill Hinton is a lightning rod in a town named for bad weather. He’s an ace in math, but not smart enough to put together the pieces of his puzzling life, especially where finding his unknown father is concerned.

Musical genius Robbie Stubbs was born in nearby polygamist compound Colorado City. He has the chops to become another John Coltrane, but that will take running away from home, and into a firestorm of controversy–the kind his friend Merrill knows best.

Merrill sets Robbie onto a course that could rocket them both onto center stage, but being the focus of wide public attention will create serious issues. Robbie’s mother is not well, and the shock of her son breaking the family rules like this may put her over the edge.

And Merrill Hinton? His precarious future would become compromised in ways he doesn’t yet realize.

Excerpt:

Two years ago, a swarm of grasshoppers lit upon a Hurricane High School marching band performance on the football field. It was Biblical-scale pestilence and in keeping with the tradition, Miss Dalia, our director, jumped down from the podium and waved her baton in the air like Moses parting the sea of insects. Then she ran through the center of them like the Egyptian army was chasing her.

That was how we learned Miss Dalia’s weakness. Kids always have one antennae tuned to adults’ weaknesses. Louis Cameron had been watching out for Miss Dalia’s Achilles’ heel ever since she sent him to detention for peeling the paint off his music stand, and he’s waited patiently for two years for an opportunity to exploit it. Not gratuitously. Louis isn’t a sadist. But like the master strategist he is, he knew there would come a time—just one time—when he could recreate the grasshopper-swarming and heroically deliver us from band practice bondage. It’s only the band, not exactly a social coup d’etat, but if we pull this stunt off, it will go down in band camp history, which is nothing to sneeze at.

On Louis’ revenge day, band members mill around on the football field in T-shirts and sunscreen, forming little huddles around Louis as he issues instructions.

“Okay, I’m gonna yell, ‘what are those bugs?’ I’m hiding the grasshoppers in my tuba case and will let ’em go in Miss Dalia’s direction. Then everybody scream ‘Grasshoppers!’ at the top of your lungs and start swatting the air, even if there ain’t a bug in sight. Got it?”

Everyone gets it. We’re all planning to go to McKay’s party, and grasshoppers or no grasshoppers, we will support Operation Sting. When school starts in the fall, if some poor soul wasn’t at McKay’s party or Operation Sting, he’ll have nothing to talk about.

Midway through the summer, the band gives way to the football team’s two-a-days, and that means marching in thick poly-cotton in late morning under the heat of the southern Utah desert’s sun. This morning, we are harder to corral than usual, for reasons not obvious to Miss Dalia. Add ninety-five degree temperatures without shade, and Dalia is like a powder keg. She raises her arms to direct the school song, and Louis shouts, “What are those . . . heh heh . . . buh, buh. . . .” He can’t

get it all out because he’s already cracking himself up.

But Miss Dalia’s arms go rigid in mid-air. We wait for the sound of grasshoppers. It seems to take forever, until at last the familiar hum sets the band to swatting. I wouldn’t give Louis any prizes for acting, but I have to give credit to the French horns. They let their arms and legs fly like mimes on fire.

We wave and swat and try not to appear too obvious as our eyes search for a sign that Miss Dalia has left the podium. She hasn’t. She freezes in place and goes very pale. We swat the air. The hum is long gone by now, and so is Miss Dalia—figuratively, not literally. We slow down gradually.

Miss Dalia trembles and her face changes from its regular sun block white to ashen. A tender-hearted girl who plays flute goes up to the podium and gently leads Miss Dalia over the Gatorade thermos on the bleachers. We wait around lamely for five and then ten minutes.

Eventually, Miss Dalia returns to the podium and says softly, “I’m not quite well enough to continue. I’m very sorry. You are dismissed.” Her calm, white face disarms Louis’ moment of triumph.

We mill about for several seconds, then walk off the field. No one heads for home and those of us with heavy instruments have to lug them out to the party or get rid of them. We’re wise enough to know a tuba case at a party is social suicide, so we stash our heavy brass under the bleachers. My mom wouldn’t like it, but I leave my trombone sandwiched between the two tubas. No opportunist is going to walk off with a bunch of heavy band instruments on a scorcher like this one.

Buy Links:

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Hurricane-Coltrane-Taya-Okerlund/dp/1937178676

Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/hurricane-coltrane-taya-okerlund/1121801958?ean=9781937178673

Publisher: http://widopublishing.com/hurricane-coltrane-by-taya-okerlund/

Taya Okerlund

Author Biography:

I grew up all over the United States, and studied in East Asia, though my roots reach deep into the southern Utah desert where most of my family members still live.

For now, we’ve set up housekeeping on the San Francisco Peninsula with my story-adoring husband and daughter whom keep me busy and inspired.

 

Social Media Links:

Author Website: http://www.tayaokerlund.com

Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/HurricaneColtrane

Twitter: https://twitter.com/TOkerlund

I’d Like to Introduce You To… Brooke Williams #AuthorInterview #amreading #RomCom


Today, I am pleased to introduce you to Prism Book Group author Brooke Williams. Her book is so delightful and have added it to my overflowing To Be Read bookshelf. She agreed to sit down with me for an interview. Please give Brooke a warm welcome. Brooke, take it away!

 

What is your writing process?

I get an idea that bugs me until I can’t NOT write it. I sit. I write. That’s that! I only write about an hour a day, if that. It is all my two young daughters allow. But I write as fast and furiously as my fingers allow during that time when I have a story going. It’s all I want to do until it’s complete!

What book do you wish you could have written?

The Sunflower by Richard Paul Evans. Or many of his other books. I really enjoy his writing style and the results that comes out of what he creates. He always has contemplative, amazing quotes in his books and the stories are just beyond good.

If you could cast your characters in the Hollywood adaptation of your book, who would play your characters?

This is a question I’ve thought about quite a bit. And I have no perfect answer as of yet. I could see someone like Christopher Pike playing Ben McConnell. I’d need an actor with amazing eyes and someone who could put out an arrogant attitude, but could also come across down to earth. As for women, I really like Emma Stone right now. I feel like she could do justice to my bumbling Renee Lockhart. Plus, she’s adorable. But I’m open to others. Any takers? J

How important are names to you in your books? Do you choose the names based on liking the way it sounds or the meaning?

Not very. At least in this book. I choose names randomly. Sometimes I choose names I like and sometimes I choose names that are short because when they’re a main character, I have to type the name a lot so short and easy is good. For my upcoming novel “Mamarazzi,” I actually had readers name the characters for me.

What do you consider to be your best accomplishment?

My two daughters. The are the second and third loves of my life and raising them is my hugest accomplishment.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

Well, both of my daughters will be in school by then so I will be very sad and lonely in many ways. But I also see myself in a higher place in terms of my career. I have all sorts of stories in my mind and very little time. I think I’m doing pretty well for only having an hour a day and I can only imagine what I will be able to do with all day at hand. I see myself with many more books out and a growing client list in the freelance writing world.

What writing advice do you have for other aspiring authors?

Don’t give up! Finding a publisher is HARD! Like a needle in a haystack. But if you don’t look you’ll NEVER find the right one!

If you didn’t like writing books, what would you do for a living?

I was in radio for over a decade before I left my full time career to stay home with my girls and then fell back into writing. So maybe once my girls are in school I would go back to that. However, I really REALLY love writing. More than anything else I’ve ever done. So I can’t really say I want to do anything else!

Do you read your reviews? Do you respond to them, good or bad? Do you have any advice on how to deal with the bad?

Yes, I do read them…for better or for worse. I don’t respond to them. The bad ones sting, but overall, I feel like majority rules. And everyone’s opinion is different. There’s not one book in the world that EVERYONE loves. I appreciate reader’s honesty, even if they didn’t fall in love with my book as I did!

What is your least favorite part of the publishing / writing process?

Editing! It’s painful! And harder than writing the book! Takes longer too!!

Is this your first book? How many books have you written prior (if any?)

No, I have several others. My first book is a family drama called “Someone Always Loved You.” I also wrote a thriller called “Beyond the Bars.” My first romantic comedy came out in December 2014 and is called “Wrong Place, Right Time.”

What are you working on now? What is your next project?

I have another clean romantic comedy coming out in August called “Mamarazzi.” It’s about a female paparazzo who stumbles onto a TV set and ends up on the show. The cameras turn on her! Then I have a short Christmas story dropping just before Christmas this year called “Backwards Christmas.” I also have a children’s book coming out in June 2016 called “Baby Sheep Gets a Haircut.” And ideas for two different series…whenever I get around to that!

Have you ever been in trouble with the law?

Does speeding once count? Actually, the closest I came occurred in high school. I was in the drum line of the marching band. I played in the pit. We entered a really cool contest in another city. A drum line competition! It was one of the most fun things I did in high school. IT was an indoor marching type contest JUST for the drumline. Since I played mallet instruments, that meant any melody was up to us! We traveled to the contest and stopped at a mall for a break. We were all to meet back at the van at a certain time. We were in our band gear. Meaning black from head to toe. And we were loitering around a van waiting for our director. And the cops showed up. What are you guys doing? They asked. And then…eerie silence. No one in that group said a word. I’m like dudes, we aren’t doing anything! Speak up! It was more suspect because no one was talking. So I finally did. We got away with our nothingness just fine.

Do you drink? Smoke? What’s your vice?

Don’t smoke.  Don’t drink…unless you count iced tea. That’s probably my vice. I don’t like it, but I know I’m caffeine dependent these days.

If you were a super hero, what would your name be? What costume would you wear?

SuperMom! And I would wear a blue bath robe cause it’s comfy. I like comfy. Jeans underneath. I really do feel like super mom some days. IT’s amazing what two hands can carry and do!

What secret talents do you have?

I can spread the toes on my feet like hands. It’s an extreme talent I should probably take to America’s Got Talent someday. Ha. Though only one foot works anymore. I broke two toes on the other foot and it’s kind of messed up now.

Where is one place you want to visit that you haven’t been before?

I’ve always wanted to visit Australia. I don’t know if I ever will, though because it’s SUCH a long flight!

If you could have any name in the world, what would you choose?

Oprah. Haha
AcceptThisDandelion

 

 

Book Title: Accept this Dandelion

Author:  Brooke Williams

Genre: Clean Romantic Comedy

Book Blurb:

Renee Lockhart has her eye on a lofty goal…to fill the open position of morning radio show host at the radio station where she works.  When her co-workers sign her up for a local TV version of “the Bachelor,” Renee goes along with it in order to raise her public profile.  Ben McConnell, the most eligible bachelor in town, insists that Renee be placed on the show, despite her bumbling audition.  Ben gets much more than he expected in Renee.  He gets a girl who doesn’t bow to his every whim…and a girl who opens his eyes to true, unexpected love. When nothing goes right on the local program called “Accept this Dandelion”…hilarity ensues. Imagine your worst possible dates happening…on TV!

Exclusive Excerpt:

“Okay, tell me about you.”
“Well, I work in radio.” It was best to get her job in the forefront as soon as possible.

Though she was having some issues with guilt, she came on the show to make a name for herself. She would keep an open mind, but she still needed the publicity. “I’m on the midday show over at KGBR.”

“Renee Lockhart.” Ben searched her face. “Yeah, I think I’ve heard you. You do requests and stuff?”

Renee nodded. “I also do a lot of behind the scenes things like make commercials, write promos, help out at concerts, that sort of thing.”

“Make up a commercial about me.” Ben scooted his chair closer.

Renee frowned. “Huh?” She was suddenly very aware of the camera before her, capturing her every motion.

“What would you say in an ad for me as the bachelor?”

Renee froze. He was serious. He wanted her to come up with something on the spot to advertise a date with him. She could write, and she knew it. But she usually did her writing in a small office alone with no one looking over her shoulder, much less into her eyes.

“Um…” Renee clasped her hands in her lap and fidgeted with her thumbnail.

“Come on, I won’t be offended. Give it a try.”

Renee took a deep breath. She always liked to start and end her ads with the company name. “Ben McConnell,” she said with a dramatic pause, “man of mystery, bachelor of the city.” Renee stopped again, and gazed at Ben. For a moment, she wasn’t sure she would be able to go on. The look in his eyes captivated her, and she found herself speechless…very rare for someone like her. It wasn’t so much that his eyes were piercing and such a beautiful color of brown, but more their amusement and depth. Renee suddenly realized how careful she needed to be. This man could easily draw her in and break her heart.

She tore her eyes away from Ben and placed them on the camera behind them. “With dark hair and shimmering skin, gleaming from a touch of sun, and a laugh that would light up a room, Ben McConnell is the date of any girl’s lifetime.”

Now she was on a roll. Renee glanced back at Ben long enough to see he was enjoying her recital. She had his attention, and in order to keep it, the rest of her impromptu commercial needed to be memorable.

Renee leaned way over in her chair, throwing her arm up beside her for dramatic effect. She had the perfect line to close her short ad, but instead of delivering it, she flung one of the flickering candles to the floor with a loud crash. “Fire!” she screamed as she realized the flame had not extinguished, but rather transferred itself to the hem of her dress.

Before Renee could stop, drop, and roll, Ben leapt from his chair and threw himself across the small space separating them. The pressure of his body against her leg put out the fire instantly, but it also toppled her chair over, leaving them in a heap on the concrete.

Renee found herself on her side with Ben’s breath on her cheek. She slowly turned her head, though what she really wanted to do was push him away and run out of the studio as fast as possible.

“That was quite a commercial.” Ben didn’t make a move to rise. “Are you okay?”

Renee wasn’t sure how the dress looked, but there was no burning sensation on her leg. There was a twinge in the pit of her stomach. She nodded. “I’m okay.” She met his eyes and allowed herself a few beats to study him closely. He was handsome. And now, he was even a hero. Though he wouldn’t have had to save her from burning flames had she not set herself on fire.

Ben deftly got to his feet and pulled Renee from her chair as the producer rushed over and the camera operators stood by, panning down to capture Renee’s smoldering dress.

“Hey, Renee,” Ben whispered into her ear, “next time there’s fire between us, I’m not going to put it out.”

 

Buy Link:

http://www.amazon.com/Accept-This-Dandelion-Brooke-Williams-ebook/dp/B00R54MUXY/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1422325922&sr=8-1&keywords=accept+this+dandelion

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Author Biography:

Brooke Williams is a sleep deprived stay at home mom/freelance writer/author. She attributes her humor to her two young children for keeping her in the lack of sleep realm on a permanent basis. Brooke is a former radio announcer and producer who also did a brief stint as a TV traffic reporter. She has been married to her husband since 2002, but since he seldom laughs at her jokes, she had to start writing to get them out. Brooke writes novels as well as articles and other items for clients on a freelance basis during the one hour a day her daughters allow her the time. Check some of her other novels, which include Someone Always Loved You and Wrong Place Right Time.

Social Media Links:

Website- http://www.Authorbrookewilliams.com

Blog- Authorbrookewilliams.com/blog

Facebook- https://www.facebook.com/authorbrookewilliams

I’d Like to Introduce You To… Carlene Havel #AuthorInterview #amreading #InspirationalFiction


** Today I am pleased to present to you author Carlene Havel. Her latest book, Baxter Road Miracle, is now available. She  writes Inspirational Fiction and I am so pleased to have her join us today! Grab your favorite cup of beverage and get to know her better! **

Are you a plotter or a pantster?

Both!  Normally, I’ll write a sketchy outline of a new book and set it aside for a month or two while I work on other things. After the idea marinates, I’ll choose names and write descriptions of the main characters.  A time line isn’t always necessary, but when it is, it’s next.  Then I permit myself to type “Chapter One” and go. The final book never follows the initial outline exactly.  That’s because the story seems to take on a life of its own about a third to half-way through, and demands modification.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years? 

I hope I’m right where I am now—happily writing the stories I want to tell.

If you didn’t like writing books, what would you do for a living?

I suppose I would fall back on my previous occupation, testing software.  It was a lot of fun, actually similar to playing computer games all day.  Figuring out how and why problems occurred was like solving a puzzle.

Do you read your reviews? Do you respond to them, good or bad? Do you have any advice on how to deal with the bad? 

Feedback from readers is important to me. I read every review I find for my work, and I pay careful attention to both positive and negative comments.  Then I consider reviewers’ major points when I’m planning the next book.   Some reviews are quite helpful, others not so much.  Occasionally, I just scratch my head.  For example, one person waxed eloquent about characters who did not appear in the book being reviewed, nor in any of my others.  Hmm.

What is your best marketing tip? 

Commit to doing something every day to promote your work.  Contact a blogger, design an ad, post on a free site.  Just keep on plugging, and don’t give up.  Discouragement is one of a writer’s greatest enemies.

What are you working on now? What is your next project? 

Joan Alley at Prism Book Group came up with the idea of a series based on the characteristics of love.   Each author selects a phrase from the First Corinthians description of love as the theme for a short novel. Mine is entitled “Evidence Not Seen”, based on love keeping no record of wrongs.  It’s the story of an attorney whose father is returning home after completing a 30 year prison sentence. If the relationships among the father, mother, and son are to survive, each one must let go of old hurts.

 

Do you drink? Smoke? What’s your vice?

I neither smoke, drink, dip, nor chew.  My worst habit is wasting time playing computer games.

What do you want your tombstone to say?

Perhaps that my life span broke the record for longevity?   I’ll leave the epitaph to someone else to write.  Maybe my family will choose something like “She fought a good fight; she finished the course; she kept the faith.”

Where is one place you want to visit that you haven’t been before?

I would love to see the Great Wall of China, and also Petra, the rock city in Jordan.  I doubt either dream will ever be realized, but it’s a pleasure to dream.

If you could have any name in the world, what would you choose?

We all want what we don’t have, right? I’d love to have a nice, one-syllable name everyone could spell and pronounce, something like Ann or Sue.

What were you like as a child? Your favorite toy?

I think I was a difficult child.  I thought way too much.  My mother tells a story about finding me in tears when I was about five.  When she asked what was wrong, I told her I didn’t know anything for myself.  All I knew were things other people told me.  She cheered me up by assuring me that I’d soon learn to read, and then I could learn information for myself.  When I was three I wanted what I called (for reasons unknown) a ‘bossy bossy’.  My mom and aunt took me shopping so I could point out this mysterious item.  It was a xylophone, which one of them got for me.  I loved it.

 BaxterRoadMiracle_Cover

 

Book Blurb:

Henry Youngblood is determined to plant a new church in Buffalo Creek, despite seemingly insurmountable obstacles. Meanwhile, his pregnant wife worries about paying the bills. One daughter dreams of a college education she cannot afford, and the other wants nothing more than popularity. It will take a miracle for the Youngblood family’s dreams to come true.

 

Exclusive Excerpt:

 

“Henry, honey, you can’t accost a bank president or owner or whatever he is in a parking lot before sunrise.”  Ellen leaned heavily against her pillows.

“If we can’t talk there, maybe he will invite me inside.”  Henry sprinkled Baker’s Best hair oil in his palm and rubbed it across his scalp.  After combing his sandy locks straight back from his forehead, he smoothed his hair with both hands.  “Since you’re awake, you can pray that the Buffalo Creek Bank will approve our loan somehow.”

Ellen lay quietly as she heard the Youngblood’s station wagon pull away from the driveway.  “Lord,” she whispered, “please help Henry this morning.  You know he means well, even if he doesn’t have a lick of common sense.”

 

Buy Links:

Amazon US: http://goo.gl/ukFXd3

Barnes and Noble: http://goo.gl/pkUT5D

CH

Connect with Carlene Havel here:

https://www.facebook.com/AuthorCarleneHavel

https://twitter.com/authorcarlene

http://www.pinterest.com/authorcarlene/lets-read/

I’d Like to Introduce you to… John W. Howell #author #interview #amreading


I love discovering new authors and new books! It is my pleasure to introduce you to a fellow author and blogger, John W. Howell today. I sat down with him for an interview last week. Please grab your favorite beverage and join us!

What is your writing process?

I think I’m a little different than most. I have the end of a story pretty well set before I start. By knowing the ending, I feel there is a little more honesty in how I work up to the final chapter. The way I do the ending is to write down three lines that will serve as the final three of the book. It would be easy to change the last three lines to accommodate some kind of plot slip or twist but I feel the hard work of constructing a story leading to those three lines is where some of the magic of writing comes in for me. I enjoy that challenge

Do you have any odd writing habits?

I’m not sure if it is odd or not, but I usually don’t start writing until after lunch. The mornings are filled by e-mails and some work I need to do around the house. After lunch, I tackle my WIP and try to do at least one thousand words. Once I have achieved this goal then I’m free to keep working on the WIP of to turn out a blog post, interview or even a short story. If a discipline is odd then I’m guilty as described

Just as your books inspire authors, what authors have inspired you?

The three authors who have inspired me the most are Kurt Vonnegut, John Irving and Neville Shute and all for different reasons. Kurt showed me that a writer could be humorous and whimsical while delivering a serious and captivating story. John opened my eyes to the possibilities of ridiculous situations being crafted together in a continuum to produce a very rewarding story. Neville Shute inspired a sense of the real in the surreal. His book On the Beach dealt with the end of humanity and did so without the need to give the reader a happy ending. The reader was left with internal thoughts and emotions that were conjured by the writing.

How important are names to you in your books? Do you choose the names based on liking the way it sounds or the meaning?

My book names are extremely important. I have just finished a trilogy where each name is indicative of a major feature of the story. The first, My GRL is the name of the boat the protagonist buys which will be used by terrorist to destroy a symbol of America. The second His Revenge is in reference to the protagonist’s desire to bring the major backer of the terrorist cell to justice. Unfortunately, the protagonist quickly learns the revenge is not for him to extract. The final Our Justice finishes the trilogy with a proper conclusion and outcomes that are in keeping with what we have come to believe as a happy ending.

What writing advice do you have for other aspiring authors?

My advice to aspiring authors is to keep writing no matter what. Nothing good ever came to a writer who stopped writing to ponder the deep questions around the quality of writing, plot or technique. I always believe a writer can always find someone to critique the work after it is finished. I have a policy of not showing my work to anyone until it is done. I don’t even share it with my author’s group. The reason is simple. I need to finish it and then edit, change or throw it away. I see a lot of authors finish a chapter and then start asking what people think. I really don’t think a real writer will consider anything written as a waste of time even if it is considered bad. There is always something to be learned and if a writer stops mid work to get opinions then I think the die is cast for failure or at least incomplete manuscripts. I also don’t think a real writer should care about what people think. Yes it is good to get professional help on a manuscript but not opinions.

Do you have a favorite spot to write? What is it?

I have a desk on the third floor of our house. It overlooks a pond which is in the rear. The room is bright and sunny and it pretty much lets me devote the time necessary to my writing. The room has few distractions which is good since there are times when I will use any excuse to goof off. This is especially true if I’m stuck on a story line.

Is this your first book? How many books have you written prior (if any?)

This is my first book but as I have indicated above there are two others in the wings. The second is scheduled to be published in May and the third probably in 2016 sometime. In the meantime, I have begun a new story about the relationship between a man and his daughter which I hope to finish by April.

Do you drink? Smoke? What’s your vice?

I drink moderate amounts of wine. I have a glass every day at dinner. I also enjoy a margarita on the veranda after a hard week. I haven’t had too many hard weeks lately so I really haven’t had one for a while. I enjoy other liquors and brandy but must admit the occasions become less frequent as I get older. Other than that my only other vice is coffee. I have an elaborate espresso machine and I love a double shot in the morning mixed with (wait for it) real half and half.

What is your biggest fear?

I guess I fear what most folks do. I fear some nut somewhere will start a conflagration that will consume this beautiful planet. I still do not understand the need that some despots have of destroying the life around them. I really don’t mind what they do to themselves, but care deeply about the potential harm to others.

What do you want your tombstone to say?

I think I would like it to say “John W. Howell Author. (Please take your trash with you).” I plan to be cremated and spread on the Gulf of Mexico so I don’t think my preference will ever come to be.

If you had a superpower, what would it be?

I think I would like to have the power of telepathy. I would be able to insert my ideas into the minds of others. For example, I could insert the idea to read my book into the mind of someone famous. I could then have them holding the book during some kind of a major event. Of course, all that would be self-serving and I would probably violate some rule of superpower by doing so. I could also insert the idea of peace in the minds of world leaders. I think that would indeed be something.

Do you have any scars? What are they from?

Most all my scars (and there are many) are as a result of careless operation of machinery. There are a few knife and glass cut scars but for the most part moving machinery did me in. I used to love fast cars and would on occasion get involved in races. Several of these ended up with the destruction of the vehicle and another few scars as a reward. In my later years, the scars are still vehicle related but confined to a bicycle. I ride on the beach and have had some pretty nasty spills. I will admit most were as a result of thinking of other things and not paying attention to hazards ahead. Not a very glamorous story but does warrant reminding others to pay attention.

What do you dream? Do you have any recurring dreams/nightmares?

I have a reoccurring dream where I am either in school or in business. The venue doesn’t matter since the subject of the dream is the same. I show up for a test or a presentation and do not have a clue what the subject matter is supposed to be. In the test situation I stare at the paper and then walk to the professor and tell him there is some kind of mistake and I shouldn’t be in this class. In the work situation I am standing in front of a room full of people and have to admit I am in the wrong room. Both situations are not necessarily concerning at the time but do signal for me the idea that there is something going on which needs to be looked after. Usually it is a simple thing like a dropped story line or I forgot to mail my tax return to the IRS on time. In all cases the dream does trigger some thought in the morning about what thing I have overlooked.

my-grl-front-cover with click

Book Title:  My GRL

Author:  John W. Howell

Genre:  Thriller Fiction

 

Book Blurb:

John J. Cannon successful San Francisco lawyer takes a well-deserved leave of absence from the firm and buys a boat he names My GRL. He is unaware that his newly purchased boat had already been targeted by a terrorist group. John’s first inkling of a problem is when he wakes up in the hospital where he learns he was found unconscious next to the dead body of the attractive young woman who sold him the boat in the first place. John now stands between the terrorists and the success of their mission.

John has an exclusive excerpt just for us:

While in thought I fail to register the significance of the large black SUV pulling up in front of the Towers in such a way to block my path to the parking lot.

 

The rear door opens and a fairly large man dressed like a banker in a too-small suit gets out, and another sizeable man dressed in the same way exits the passenger side of the machine. “Mr. Cannon.” The big guy calls my name as he begins moving toward me, closing the gap between us. He is reaching inside his jacket, and I am now thinking this could be real trouble.

 

Unfortunately, I take no evasive maneuver and remain cemented to the spot. The trouble is going to come right up and smack me in the face, and I am powerless to do anything about it.

 

The big man extends his arm, holding out a badge. “Mr. Cannon I am agent Jenkins FBI, may we talk to you, please?” I am relieved that he did not pull out a gun. I don’t know what to think about the FBI being here. The other big guy stays by the SUV, and I now see there are two others inside as well. There is the driver and another person in the back. The man in the back looks to be a little smaller than these two behemoths that have their attentive eyes on me.

 

My experience with the law tells me there is something really wrong when the FBI gets involved. I cannot imagine what there would be about Gerry’s murder that would be under FBI jurisdiction. It must be that Gerry’s murder has some multiple state aspects which have triggered an investigation. I am assuming an investigation but should probably see what these guys want before I make any conclusions. I manage a look of lawyerly bravado as I raise a question, “What is this about?”

 

The man closest to me, who I think said he was agent Jenkins, speaks, “This is a matter of national security and we would like to discuss how we think you can help Uncle Sam.” He further explains they want to take me to a more private spot and give me the full explanation. He promises it will not take any longer than an hour.

 

“Agent Jenkins, right? I have a meeting with a man named Spencer Stans in fifteen minutes about buying my boat.” I offer this as a matter of fact and maybe more to see if I can put off the meeting with Stans.

 

“Yes that is correct, Agent Jenkins, Walter Jenkins. We know about the meeting, and if you could give him a call and reschedule it would be greatly appreciated.” Jenkins talks with a very refined manner which leads me to believe he has graduated from a very good school.

 

“I’m not sure I can come up with an excuse that sounds logical.” I offer this as an opening to a suggestion from the agent. I really don’t think it is a good idea to be telling obvious lies in front of the FBI.

 

“Tell him you have been taken into custody by an agent of the San Antonio section of the FBI.”

 

I look at Jenkins and must have appeared very surprised as he breaks into a wide smile. “Am I in custody?” There is a degree of shakiness in my voice.

 

“Makes a good story.” He raises an eyebrow.

 

I pull out my phone and dial Stans; he picks up on one ring. I let him know I am delayed and wonder if we could keep our original appointment. To my surprise, he does not ask for reasons so there is no need to let him know anything about the FBI. Good thing, I am thinking. I will let these guys know something funny is going on, and Stans may be at the heart of it. The less he knows the better. I shut off the phone. “All set.”

 

Buy Links

Amazon US –  http://www.amazon.com/John-W.-Howell/e/B00HMRWO6C

Canada –  http://www.amazon.ca/My-GRL-John-W-Howell-ebook/dp/B00HV3QECW/ref=sr_1_2?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1406542498&sr=1-2

UK –  http://www.amazon.co.uk/John-W.-Howell/e/B00HMRWO6C

Australia –   http://www.amazon.com.au/My-GRL-John-W-Howell-ebook/dp/B00HV3QECW/ref=sr_1_2?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1406542498&sr=1-2

Barnes and Noble – http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/my-grl-john-w-howell/1118199518?ean=9781625530592

iBooks – https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/my-grl/id803503649?mt=11

Kobo – http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/my-grl

Photo by Tim Burdick

You can find John here:

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Thank you, John, for taking time out of your busy schedule to introduce yourself and your book to my blog followers. I love thrillers so I will definitely be buying your book.

Please take a moment and spread the word about John and his book, My GRL. Word of mouth is the key to any author’s success. Unless you have telepathy, like John would like to have as his superpower. 😉

MY FAVORITE THINGS BLOG TOUR~ Princess of the Light #ASMSG #MFRWAuthor #Paranormal


MFT blog tour

December is here and I am so excited to be a part of Kylie Betzner’s Inaugural My Favorite Things Blog Tour!! Yes, just like Oprah, authors have our favorite things about our books. I am to share my favorite character, scene and quote from Princess of the Light. (Click here for all the info on the blog tour: http://litchicblog.wordpress.com/2014/12/01/my-favorite-things/)

Princess

 

Blurb:

Gabriel, the Archangel and Messenger of God – yeah that Gabriel, visited Mary Miller. He told her, as the key she is destined to spread the Light and vanquish the Darkness. Her first assignment is to restore the soul of the Walking Man. Sounds simple enough until she’s thrown in the face of evil, and then Joe Deacons enters her heart. This battle just got a lot more complicated. She must complete her mission without losing all she loves.

Favorite Character: 

I know it sounds cliche but my favorite character is Mary, the Princess of the Light. She is brave, strong and a warrior princess. Yet she she has a soft side too. She is scared and worries that she cannot defeat her enemies. The fate of so many is a heavy burden and in one instance, she can no longer be strong. She’s at Joe’s office and here is an example of her emotional state:

Joe pulled me into his arms and his strength seemed to seep into me. I had the weight of the world on my shoulders and it was a burden. Joe understood and wanted to help me. There was a slight shade of darkness to him, but given what just happened, I assumed it must be some anger fighting to rear its head.

 

I pulled Joe closer, and before I knew what happened, instead of comforting him, I was crying. Fear, sadness, anger, revenge, doubt, and even relief, were suddenly swirling around my heart. What if I couldn’t banish Lisbeth for good? What if those innocent people died in the fire? Why didn’t Lisbeth and Than just go away? I will make Than pay for what he did to André and scores like him! What if I am not strong enough to deal with all the evil in this world? What if I cannot kill those demons when the time comes?

 

Where was all this doubt coming from?

 

I hugged Joe close and in a jagged whisper said, “What would I do without you?” I looked up into his eyes and whispered, “I couldn’t be the Princess without your strength and love.” The slight darkness I had seen shadowing him now faded away.

 

Joe smiled and with his arms still wrapped around me whispered, “I’m always here for you, Mary. You are my soul mate and I love you with every cell in my body.” Joe bent down and gently kissed me.

Favorite Scene:

My favorite scene has got to be the luncheon scene where Than, the demon, interrupts Mary and Penny’s lunch. The last few times Than and Mary have spat, Than always had the upper hand. But in this scene, Mary is stronger with the Light and lets the Light guide her. For the first time, she realizes who she is and how powerful she is with the Light. Enjoy!

My smile suddenly went rigid as the hairs on the back of my neck began to rise. It had been silent on the demon front. Maybe I’d relaxed too soon.

 

Now, I was on alert and I heard the rustle of angels beginning to surround me. Something was amiss. My eyes darted from one person to another looking for whoever it was. I looked back at Penny and tried to warn her, but Than appeared too quickly.

I narrowed my eyes and waited for him to make the first move. Than placed a hand on Penny’s shoulder and total fear fell across her face.

 

Than said nonchalantly, “Miss me?”

 

I raised my hand. Purple arrows shot out of my palm and pierced Than’s hand that was resting on Penny’s shoulder. I knew the arrows wouldn’t hurt Penny because she was filled with the Light already.

 

I smiled as snidely as I could at Than. To Penny, I said, “Sweetie, why don’t you go to the washroom while I have a chat?”

 

Penny nodded and grabbing her purse, bolted from the chair.

 

Than gracefully sat down and smiled back at me with an ugly grin. “Tsk, tsk, tsk, such displays of power are hard to explain to the press. Didn’t Gabriel teach you anything?”

 

I took a sip of my lemonade. “Why don’t you sit down and take a load off? I imagine it’s hard to carry around that entirely misplaced ego.”

 

Than replied in my mind, “Let’s stop playing these games, little girl.”

 

I laughed and said with a smile, “Been on vacation, Than?”

 

Than narrowed his eyes.

 

I heard Gabriel’s voice in my head. “Try to get him talking about what he has been up to.”

 

I slightly nodded and said calmly, “I hear you’ve been preparing your own grave?”

 

Than’s lips twitched in annoyance. “Beautiful woman, you have no idea what I have planned for you and the rest of this pitiful world.”

 

Than’s wink turned into a wince as my purple Light blinded him. He snarled, “Stop that, witch.”

 

I started tapping my right index finger on the table. I leaned in and whispered, “Never call me that again!”

 

Surprisingly, Than just put on his sunglasses and looked at me. He flashed me an oddly enchanting smile and said sweetly, “Look, I do not want to argue. I came here to talk.”

 

There was no way he was really up to any good, but I was too curious not to hear him out. “Are you admitting defeat then?”

Than snorted and said, “Hardly. But I think that you do not realize the bigger picture. You want to save the soul of André and that is fine. I have released my hold on him and you can have him.”

 

What?

 

Than continued, “But you have to stop cleansing demonic ground. There is a balance of good and evil in the world and you are upsetting that balance. You need to allow humans the right to choose.”

 

I paused and waited for the other shoe to drop.

 

Than nodded and continued, “The Lord gave all his children free choice. Giving you free reign to destroy all evil was wrong.” A lie is always best sandwiched in a truth.

 

I saw his gleeful smile and narrowed my eyes. “The truth, Than, is that you are full of deceit and soon you will be begging for the eternal life you mock. You’ve already made your choice.”

 

Than swallowed hard.

 

I glanced toward the men at the other table—they still seemed totally unaware of what was taking place.

 

I leaned in close and whispered, “I suggest you take your demonic guard and leave this table now before I make you pay for the lies you have told.” I snapped my fingers and the four demons surrounding Than appeared.

 

Than looked to the left and saw that I dropped his veil. He put his hand up in defeat. “That is your answer, then?”

 

I nodded and leaned back in my chair. “Refuse me and all of hell will burn just like this.”

 

Than choked on his tongue as a radiating, purple fireball hovered above my now open palm. My thoughts had control of it, but it seemed to only be visible to me and the demons in front of me. No one else in the café seemed alarmed, or even to notice what was going on.

 

Weakly he whispered, “Little girl, I will burn your soul.”

 

I laughed and said, “Now, if only you could believe that.”

 

“Lisbeth is coming. I tried to warn you.” His eyes looked sad and with a mocking snap of his own fingers, he and his demons were gone.

 

I sighed and shook my hand. The fireball disappeared and I closed my eyes. Gabriel’s presence was still in my mind.

 

“That went well, Princess.” Gabriel purred. “Lisbeth will be the one demon to focus on.”

 

I sighed and thought, more threats and more battling. How am I supposed—Gabriel was gone.

Favorite Quote:

I don’t want to give too much away except to say Mary encounters Lucifer. He tries to tempt her to the other side and this is her reply:

“I am not your slave,” I spoke clearly. “I am the Princess of the Light, and you have no power over me. I am the key that was foretold and your time is coming, Lucifer.”

Want to get your own copy of Princess of the Light?

Buy Links:

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/469480

Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/princess-of-the-light-nn-light/1120170709?ean=9781502438454

Amazon.com: http://www.amazon.com/Princess-Light-N/dp/1502438453

Amazon Canada: http://www.amazon.ca/Princess-Light-N-ebook/dp/B00N19FDKO

Amazon UK:  http://www.amazon.co.uk/Princess-Light-N-ebook/dp/B00N19FDKO

Kobo: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-CA/ebook/princess-of-the-light-1

Indigo: http://www.chapters.indigo.ca/books/princess-of-the-light/9781310880230-item.html?ikwid=princess+of+the+light&ikwsec=Home&ikwidx=0

iTunes/ iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/princess-of-the-light/id913013798?mt=11

Paperback: https://www.createspace.com/5008419

 

Add Princess of the Light to your Want to Read Bookshelf!

 

Goodreads:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23009005-princess-of-the-light

 

I have a monthly newsletter and I give out special FREE things to my subscribers!

 

Newsletter:

Sign up for my Princess of the Light newsletter to get exclusive content on all things book and writing related: http://ymlp.com/xghjsueygmgh

 

I had such a great time on this blog tour! Thank you, Kylie, for creating and hosting it. Please check out the other participants including Lara Willard !!!

MRS N aka N. N. Light

Calling All Authors: The Key to Successful Social Media Promotion #bookpromotion #marketing #IARTG


Social Media

Social media and book promotion are two hot topics for authors. What’s the most effective way? How much time should you spend on promoting?

 

No matter whether you are traditionally, indie or self published, all authors need to promote their books. In the current publishing market, authors are taking the reins in social media marketing and I, for one, am proof that any author can be successful. Promoting your book can be overwhelming at first, but if you follow my lead, you will draw more readers and sell more books.

 

I started writing Princess of the Light back in 2012. Being a social media novice at the time, I started tweeting about my writing. I think I had only 500 followers at the time, but the more I talked about my writing, the more followers I gained. Here are some examples I used:

 

-Hey everyone, I am off to work on my book. The characters are really developing and calling my name.

-Hey Twitterworld, it has been fun but alas I must get some work done. Off I go to my #writing corner.

 

-I get so excited for this time of day because it is officially #writingtime. Have a great afternoon.

 

 

Suddenly, people started to reply. They wanted to know what I was writing and how it was going. People are genuinely curious about things, especially books and writers. They want to get an inside glimpse into what it takes to write a book. Through Twitter, I gained many followers and the buzz started to happen for Princess of the Light. I interacted with people on Twitter and they soon wanted to know when it would be published.

 

I also started writing a blog. I was nervous at first because, hey, it’s a lot more than 140 characters. What was I going to write about? Would anyone care? I knew I wanted to start out somehow and connect it with my book. Since my book was inspiring, I started writing an Inspirational Thought of the Day. I also started crafting blog posts about my writing experiences and writing tips.

 

It was slow at first, but once I connected my blog posts to Twitter, I started to gain followers to my blog. I interacted with my followers and was myself. I have found that if you are yourself, people will flock to you.

 

After the blog hit 500 followers, I started spreading my wings to other social media outlets. The more I interacted with people, the more they seemed to be interested in buying my book. Sure, it was time-consuming, but in my opinion, it was time well spent.

 

The key for me in promoting my book on any social media outlet is building connections. There are a zillion books out there and in order for mine to stand out, I needed to be authentic and approachable. I am not out there to give a hard sell of my book. BUY MY BOOK! READ THIS NOW! BUY! BUY! BUY!

 

Sure, I tell people where they can buy my book along with the link. But I am also on Twitter and Facebook talking about writing, feeding the homeless, reading great books, inspiring people to be the best they can be, inspiring kindness and of course, spreading the Light. People connect with me on a human level and people will remember me for being kind. They will remember my book the next time they have $10 to spend at Amazon.

 

So here are my top eight quick tips for successful social media promotion:

  • If you are on Twitter (and I highly recommend it for every writer/author), be creative in your tweets. You are trying to attract readers, so have fun with words. Sure, you have a limited number of characters, but you are a writer and you can be creative. Think about the tweets that pique your interest. What would make you click on a link about a book?

 

  • Sign up for Hootsuite. I can’t stress this enough! Your time is precious and Hootsuite is a fabulous author helper. It helps you schedule tweets, posts, etc. while giving you analytics at the same time. This is invaluable because Hootsuite can tell you what tweet got the most response. It’s a huge help and it’s free!

 

  • Post short sweet posts on Facebook and try to post a picture too. I take graphics from Google with a quote related to either writing, reading or my book. I usually either ask a question or make a statement. People don’t have much time and I have found on Facebook, the shorter the better.

 

  • When signing off on a blog post, always ask for comments and shares. It seems like a no-brainer, but it reminds people to interact and spread the word. People love to share good articles with their friends and followers.

 

  • Don’t forget to use Google+ on all your blog posts. Not only will this increase your circle of influence, it will get you into Google search faster. Google search is key in attracting new readers and new followers. After I publish each blog post, I post it to Google+. It takes a second and it really works. Make sure you have the settings set to share your post to Your Circles and Public. “Public” are those people who don’t know you yet but Google can show them your post.

 

  • Goodreads is an absolute must for all authors. I follow several of their groups and make sure to interact on the message boards. It’s a great way to find new readers and connect with other authors. It’s also a free advertising avenue.

 

  • Retweet other authors and others related to your book’s interest on Twitter. This is a common courtesy and it really creates goodwill amongst readers. Authors and writers are readers too. When you show kindness to others, it will come back to you tenfold.

 

  • On all social media outlets, talk about more than your book. You have other interests, don’t you? I talk about everything under the sun including baking, cooking, the weather, sports, news, music, television and many more topics. It will show you are real and well rounded.

 

You know more about your book than anyone else. You should be the one to promote your books to readers. You are the #1 expert and it will come across in your promotion on social media. I hope these tips help you in your promotion of your book. Soon, it will come naturally to you and you will have more followers/readers than you know what to do with.

 

All authors, no matter if they are traditionally or independently published, are expected to be on social media and to promote their book. It can be overwhelming and I hope my tips for successful social media promotion help my fellow authors.

 

What’s your #1 social media tip? Share in the comments below.

 

 

N. N. Light

 

I’m an Ethical Author… Are You? #EthicalAuthor #ASMSG #MFRWAuthor


Ethical Author

ALLiEthicalAuthor_Final-Outlines
#ethicalauthor

An Author Program Facilitated by the Alliance of Independent Authors

(“Author” being any writer who has published a long-form work of fiction or non-fiction, either via a trade publisher or self-publishing platform.)

 

Ethical Author Code

Guiding principle: Putting the reader first

When I market my books, I put my readers first. This means that I don’t engage in any practices that have the effect of misleading the readers/buyers of my books. I behave professionally online and offline when it comes to the following practices in my writing life:

Courtesy

I behave with courtesy and respect toward readers, other authors, reviewers and industry professionals such as agents and publishers. If I find myself in disagreement, I focus on issues rather than airing grievances or complaints in the press or online, or engaging in personal attacks of any kind.

Aliases

I do not hide behind an alias to boost my own sales or damage the sales or reputation of another person. If I adopt a pen name for legitimate reasons, I use it consistently and carefully.

Reviewing and Rating books

I do not review or rate my own or another author’s books in any way that misleads or deceives the reader. I am transparent about my relationships with other authors when reviewing their books.

I am transparent about any reciprocal reviewing arrangements, and avoid any practices that result in the reader being deceived.

Reacting to reviews

I do not react to any book review by harassing the reviewer, getting a third party to harass the reviewer, or making any form of intrusive contact with the reviewer. If I’ve been the subject of a personal attack in a review, I respond in a way that is consistent with professional behaviour.

Book Promotions

I do not promote my books by making false statements about, for example, their position on bestseller lists, or consent to anyone else promoting them for me in a misleading manner.

Plagiarism

I know that plagiarism is a serious matter, and I don’t intentionally try to pass off another writer’s words as my own.

Financial ethics

In my business dealings as an author, I make every effort to be accurate and prompt with payments and financial calculations. If I make a financial error, I remedy it as soon as it’s brought to my notice.

Responsibility

I take responsibility for how my books are sold and marketed. If I realise anyone is acting against the spirit or letter of this Code on my behalf, I will refer them to this Code and ask them to modify their behaviour.

Ethical Author Resources

Below you can download the Ethical Author badge, in a variety of sizes.

And if you’d like to tell us your opinion, or add your name to those who are signing up, please do so here.

Ethical Author Badge – Small

I'm an Ethical Author
– please use the following code to embed in your site:

<a href="http://allianceindependentauthors.org/campaigns-community/ethical-author/"><img src="http://www.selfpublishingadvice.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/ALLiEthicalAuthor_Badge-small.png" alt="I'm an Ethical Author" /></a>

Ethical Author Badge – Medium

I'm an Ethical Author
– please use the following code to embed in your site:

<a href="http://allianceindependentauthors.org/campaigns-community/ethical-author/"><img src="http://www.selfpublishingadvice.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/ALLiEthicalAuthor_Badge.png" alt="I'm an Ethical Author" /></a>

Ethical Author Badge – Large

I'm an Ethical Author– please use the following code to embed in your site:

<a href="http://allianceindependentauthors.org/campaigns-community/ethical-author/"><img src="http://www.selfpublishingadvice.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/ALLiEthicalAuthor_Badge-large.png" alt="I'm an Ethical Author" /></a>

Ethical Author: Spread the Word

Share our Ethical Author Graphic

(click on the image to view and download) 

EthicalAuthor_CodeofConduct_preview

 

 

To Blog or Not to Blog: An Author’s Guide to Blogging


Shakespeare blog

Are you an author and feeling a bit like ol’ William above?  Should I blog?  Should I not bother?  I can tell you that in this day and age, it is very important for an author to be accessible to readers.  The easiest way to do that is to have a blog.  Blogs are fun, free and allow you to interact with readers, reviewers and fellow writers.

I started blogging in July 2013, as I was completing my book, Princess of the Light.  I thought it was a good idea to start blogging as many of my Twitter followers wanted to know more about my book.  I mean, you can only say so much with 140 characters. 😉  So I started blogging.  I knew that I wanted to blog about my book and my experiences writing.  I read an article that when blogging, it is helpful to narrow your topics, not just blog about everything under the sun.  My book was inspirational and spiritual, so I came up with an Inspirational Thought of the Day.

Before I knew it, I had people following my blog.  It was exciting and I looked forward to it.  I was able to express myself in a creative way, inspire others and be inspired, talk about the process of writing and just be myself.  Without realizing it, I was also making an impression on the publishing world.  Agents and editors started noticing me and they enjoyed my blog.

Do you have a blog, need to generate more traffic and don’t know how to get started or what to do?  I am here to help!  Here are some tips for you:

1- If you do not have a blog yet, sign up.  I love WordPress and it is very user-friendly!  You can personalize it to fit your writing style.  Pick a name (such as your author name or the title of your book) that will be easy to find on Google.

2- When designing your blog, please heed my advice: boring is good.  Please keep your background neutral and your typeface easy to read.  Many people will read your blog on a device such as a smartphone or a tablet.  While you may love that cursive font on a teal background, it makes my eyes hurt and I probably won’t be back to your blog.  Instead, brighten up your blog with pictures and graphics.  They are far more effective.

3- No matter what your book is about (fiction or non-fiction), there are readers out there who want to hear from you.  In their eyes, you are the expert.  Brainstorm and pick three to five topics related to your book.  Center your blog posts around those topics and make sure they are broad enough.  For example, if you are writing a children’s book your blog can center around children’s literacy, reading, bullying, learning, friends, writing, etc.  It’s important to have topics that aren’t too narrow.  Otherwise, you’ll run out of things to talk about.

4- Be consistent in your publishing of your blog posts.  I try to post at least a minimum of three blog posts a week.  Ideally, it helps to blog every day.  As you gain followers, they are going to expect you to blog.  I know you may be saying, “But MRS N, I have a spouse, three kids and a full-time job!  How can I do that?”  I understand your life being busy, but if you want to increase your blog followers and gain new readers (who will be buying your book), you have to blog more than once a month.  Figure out what works for you and then hold yourself accountable.  The worst thing you can do is to abandon your followers because life got busy.  Life happens.  Let them know.  It’s all about communicating.

5- As many of you know, I am a big fan of short blog posts.  I do not like long blog posts because, like most of you, when I am online reading blogs, I do not have a lot of time.  Your blog posts do not need to be 10 pages long.  In fact, studies have proven that shorter blog posts are often more effective.  You must determine how long or short your blog posts are.  It’s your blog so you get to decide.

6- Be yourself in your blog posts.  Don’t try to be something you’re not.  When I am writing my blog posts, I am myself.  I figure people will like or hate me, so why not just be me.  I see so many writers try to be a certain persona, they try to sound funnier, more intelligent, more world than they actually are.  People are going to like you for you.  It’s much better to be yourself.  People will relate to you and your writing when you are authentic.

7- Need ideas or inspiration?  Sign up for the Daily Blog Prompts and/or a blog challenge.  I just completed the A to Z Challenge. It was very helpful and allowed me to gain more followers.  It also trained my brain to write a blog post every day.  I’m not saying you need to blog every day like me but find a schedule that works for you and stick to it.

8- When in doubt, ask.  I have a friend of mine who is an expert blogger.  When I was struggling with blogging, I asked her for advice.  She gave it to me and it was really helpful.  Do you know a blogger who seems to have it all together and has many followers?  Ask him/her what they did to gain so many followers.  Ask them for advice.  Most bloggers will be more than willing to share their expertise with you.  It never hurts to ask and you will gain some valuable information. 🙂

9- Blogging is not an advertising tool; it’s a writing tool.  Please please please don’t use your blog to sell your book(s) only!  A blog is an effective way to highlight your books but it is not the be all and end all.  It’s about interacting with people.  Look around you and you will see advertisements everywhere.  People are inundated with ads.  BUY ME!  OWN ME! SELL ME!  You will turn people off if that is all you offer on your blog.  Instead focus on sharing your writing with the world.  Talk about why you love to write.  Talk about how you created the world the reader loves.  Talk about what you learned when writing your book.  Make it about developing a connection with your readers, not selling books.

10- Finally, don’t worry about the stats.  Followers will come and go.  People will flock to one blog post and not another.  The stats can get overwhelming and distracting.  I don’t worry about how many followers I have or how many people commented.  “If you build it, they will come.”  If you are honest and are writing valuable content, then people will discover you.  It can be a slow process, just like getting published.  But it’s worth it, in the end.  You will have people following you, buying your books and interacting with you.

I hope these tips reassure you that blogging is not only a necessity for an author, it can be very rewarding.  I love blogging and I know you will find joy in it too!  If you liked this post, please hit the like button and share with others.  I would appreciate it!

MRS N, the Author

A Reader’s Dilemma and An Author’s Dream


Reading Book 1st timeA bit of humor! I can relate and would love for all my readers to have this experience when reading, Princess of the Light!

🙂 MRS N, the Author

#Writing Even When Your Muse Hasn’t Shown Up For Work


Writing is the key to writing

I’ve been sitting here at the computer for 15 minutes staring at the blank screen.  I don’t feel well and I have a deadline looming.  I need to write but nothing is flowing.  I thought about giving up but then I ran across this quote.  I love it and it fits perfectly for how I feel.

One of the biggest hurdles that us writers face is the dreaded blank page.  No matter how hard we try to avoid it, there is no avoiding… *whispers* Writer’s Block.  GASP!

It happens to the best of us and there are amazing articles about how to overcome writer’s block.  I have read them all and you know what?  While they are helpful to read, the reality is that each writer has to find their own motivation to write.

Read the quote again and ask yourself how many times did you not write because your muse didn’t show up?

Honestly, I have used that excuse over fifty times.  The truth is that it is only an excuse.  Once I ran out of excuses and just started writing, the muse miraculously returned.

“But what I write is crap when I am trying to get over writer’s block!”

It’s true and that shouldn’t matter.  The end product is not the reasoning for your writing when you are dealing with writer’s block.  It is the act of writing itself that combats writer’s block.  Don’t worry about what you write down or how it isn’t perfect.  Writing isn’t perfect.  That is what revising and editing is for.

Nike

“You have to be there, and do it and grind it out.”

Writing is hard work and there is no room for excuses.  Grab your pen/keyboard and get writing.  Your muse will show up and all will be right with the world (and your writing)! 🙂

MRS N, the Author

 

 

Life Lesson #3: Be Authentic


authentic

You are special.  You are unique.  There is no one in this world who is like you.  You have a specific number of DNA sequences and nothing can duplicate it.

Are you living your life as a certified original?  Or are you trying to blend in?

Be who you are by being authentic.  Look at the above quote and ask yourself if you are allowing your originality to shine.

I sure am!

As a writer, author and blogger, there are so many people telling me I have to do a whole list of things to be successful.  Do I?

No!

Why?  Because I am staying true to my original self and being authentic.  I am me, MRS N.  I am doing things my way and following my heart.  I don’t worry about my blogging numbers or the fact that no one has signed me yet.

Instead, I am being me and staying true to myself.  The followers will come and I will be signed.  I am enjoying the journey and learning a lot about myself.  I am growing and learning and you can do the same.

Look deep into yourself and find your authentic self.  Don’t worry about what people think or how they may view you.  Instead, be true to yourself and be authentic.

You are a certified original!! 🙂