Sunday, August 30, 2015

Reader Reviews What Authors Can Learn From Them

Author Kelly Collins

I’m not sure if it’s the same with other authors, but when I release a book, it’s like taking my child to school for the first time.

I introduce them to the world, hope that people will appreciate them, like them, and want to hang out for a while.

Once my book has been released it’s often graded. A lot of authors cringe when they see a new review on either Amazon or Goodreads, but I like them. Whether they are good or bad, I think they have value and we can learn from the experience. Here are some things that I have learned.

  • You can't please everyone.
  • Some people are just down right mean.
  • Some people are just down right nice.
  • Don't take things too seriously.
  • Understand that you wrote the book and pushed publish, and that's an accomplishment within itself.
  • Just keep writing.
  • The Dean's List by Kelly Collins
  • Love what you do.

I love the fact that I have fans, and that they are willing to put their hard earned money towards the words that I write. I will continue to write for these people and hope that they can persuade others to come hang out for a while.

So, as for reviews...hate them or love them. I’ll take them all and learn from them.

I’ve just sent a new book out for everyone to meet. I hope that you will like it. The Dean’s List is compelling, controversial and completely swoon worthy.

Come take a look at

Friday, August 28, 2015

Why Tellulah Darling writes YA & NA romantic comedy

I don't actually remember my first kiss. And believe me, it's not because there was such a variety of them in my teen years that it just got lost in the shuffle. The first one I do remember, however, is forever burned in my brain. I was fifteen years old and a cute boy (cute being relative to my age and the decade) had asked me to go to the fireworks with him.

Sounds romantic, doesn't it? Yeah, throw that idea out. Imagine you and ten thousand of your closest friends packed onto a beach to listen to a deafening soundtrack of rock ballads while watching the light show overhead. Now make at least half of those people drunk. But silly, innocent girl that I was, I thought this was going to be highly romantic - a night of cuddling with perhaps one perfect kiss as the final firework burst overhead and in that moment of silent awe, I would feel, nay hear our two hearts beat as one.

We got there about three hours early to secure a spot. The boy had not brought any kind of blanket, so this was three hours of sitting in sand, while families and yahoos settled in around us. It gave us a chance to talk, probably about such scintillating topics as which of our friends was screwing around on whom.

I remember having overlooked the fact that he didn't read because he was cute. (Never again.) A pleasant sexual tension built between us and by the time the sun set and the show started, I was all ready for the hand holding to begin.

Right. Skip the hand holding and take a moment to fully absorb the photo above. As the crowd around us roared and the first flare lit up the sky, I felt myself pushed back onto the sand and these giant lips come towards me. Tongue may have been hanging out. And while I can't remember that part exactly thanks to some very excellent trauma repression, I clearly remember thinking, "this is going to be gross." Which then warred with the thought, "but I am about to be kissed."

The kissing won out. Because I was 15 and stupid. It was a curiously detached experience, with me trying to figure out if his lips were growing and what the polite amount of time was that I could allow this before I shoved him off me and grabbed a desperately wanted tissue to wipe off my face.

Forty minutes.

Get Real by Tellulah Darling
That was the length of the fireworks show (of which I saw nothing) and the amount of time he kissed me with those massive, fleshy, wet lips. I take responsibility for not shutting down the action sooner, but my mother had raised me to be polite and I wasn't sure what the polite way to express "EW THIS IS SO DISGUSTING!" was.

Which leads me good people, to why I write YA & NA romantic comedy. Because while I can appreciate the humor of awkward passion, I'm determined to write chicks who will say, "Nope. This isn't working for me." Who will make their boys smarten up and figure out how to treat a girl, even if they have to teach the guy themselves.

And I figure if I write enough great kisses, I'll end up believing that one of them was mine.

Tellulah loves to hear from fans. She can be reached via her Website, Facebook, or Twitter.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Let there be dragons!

Author Marc Secchia

So I threw my main character off a cliff. That’s where it started.
Chained to a rock, tossed off a cliff–what if she did not die?
What if she could spread her wings, and fly?
What could be more fun than throwing your heroine off a 5-mile cliff to her death? That germ of an idea has so far spawned three allied series, and five Amazon bestselling dragon fantasy stories, in the course of the last year.
This is the world of Hualiama Dragonfriend.
Imagine an impact crater surrounded by mountains twenty-five leagues high. A never-ending layer of toxic Cloudlands covers the crater-floor. Islands, miles tall, rise sheer from the depths, ruled by the draconic overlords. Humans live by sufferance. In this world, love between a human and a dragon does not exist. It is anathema.
Enter Hualiama, a young woman secretly raised in the roost of the dragon elder Sapphurion. A woman with an uncommon heritage, and knack of breaking taboos. When Hualiama Dragonfriend and Grandion the Tourmaline Dragon exchange oaths, the stage is set for an outrageous, unthinkable romance which will change the course of history.
When a woman loves a dragon, that love will change the world.
In case you missed it, I love writing about dragons!
If there are dragons, they need to be majestic, intelligent and fully-formed characters in their own right. Hualiama’s Island-World teems with dragons–the ancient dragons which shaped the Islands and created humans to be their slaves, land dragons beneath the Cloudlands which grow up to several miles in length and gnaw on islands for fun, dragonets or miniature dragons, and various species and subspecies of lesser dragons, which still grow up to 150 feet long.
As Razzior, an orange dragon, would put it: “Run.” The dragon made a shooing motion with his forepaw. “Go on. It’s more amusing for me.” Not a good dragon, then!
Herewith, a brief explorer’s guide to the dragon tales set in this Island-World:
Dragonfriend and Dragonlove are the first two volumes in my Dragonfriend trilogy, which will conclude with Dragonsoul, coming in 2016. These are clean fantasy romance tales, full of humour, adventure and dragon lore.
The Pygmy Dragon is the first volume in my Shapeshifter Dragon Legends series, set a few hundred years after the events of Dragonfriend. Tiny dragon, massive adventure. A pygmy girl features as the heroine of this inspiring tale, which will conclude with The Onyx Dragon, coming soon.
Shadow Dragon
Aranya and Shadow Dragon are the first two volumes in the Shapeshifter Dragons series. Dragons, battles and romance as two friends take on an evil empire in this epic coming-of-age tale. There’s a strong tie-in with the Pygmy Dragon series and I highly recommend reading The Pygmy Dragon before reading Shadow Dragon, and both parts of the Shapeshifter Dragon Legends series before the third volume of Aranya’s adventures.
The Pygmy Dragon
Thank you for your interest in my writing!

Monday, August 24, 2015

Young Adult Author Talks About a Crowd's Reaction to his Stories

With the release of the YA, action, mystery novel, Mind Over Bullies set to release in August, I wanted to take a moment to introduce the next project.

Think ‘Back to the Future’ mixed with a little bit of ‘Inception.’ The result is a work that I am extremely excited about. I’ve chosen to title this book ‘Actuality.’ It’s one of those mind benders that gets you thinking. One of the reviewers said she found herself researching some of the theories in the story to see if they were real. As a writer there could be no higher praise. I pride myself on arousing the minds of readers, and from the preliminary feedback Actuality is just that type of read.

If you’ve had a chance to read any of my recent interviews then you know that I love crowd reaction, and in this case I love to hear what people think about a story as they get into it. For me it’s like hearing movie reviews after a premier. To be honest, the reaction of the public is why I write. Some people will say they do it for the love of storytelling; others will be extremely honest and say they do it for the money. I do love to write for the sheer love of storytelling, and of course, who doesn’t wanna make a buck or two from their works, but for me it’s like the old joke about a tree falling in the forest. If you write a book and no one reacts to it, did it really happen?

Look for the release of Actuality in late December 2015 or January 2016. Below is the back cover synopsis. 

I would love to hear what your thoughts are just based on the synopsis alone. Feel free to drop me a line by contacting my publishers at

Bye for now.

_________________________________________________________________________________ Actuality – Synopsis

Science reasons that during REM sleep the mind disconnects from sensory input provided from the world around it. Professor Victor Melburn has worked for years to disprove that notion. His argument is that the mind of a sleeping person, and thus the person themselves, can connect to and even interact with the world around them… through memories.

What if the professor is correct? If a sleeping person consciously interacts with the world around them, are they really asleep? If the connection and interaction is made through memories, would the person be interacting with the past or the present? 

The chance for the research to finally reach new heights is within reach, but the window of opportunity is rapidly fading. With an assembled team of student researchers professor Melburn makes one last push to accomplish his goal.

All of the theories are prematurely tested by the deep seated desires of one student researcher. The results far surpass all expectations… for better and for worse.


Saturday, August 22, 2015

My First Novel Contributes to My Current Projects

Author Jan Scarbrough
by Jan Scarbrough

When I was in junior high school, I wrote my first book. It was a group project dreamed up by my girlfriends and me. You see, we had out own fan club. I’m dating myself when I tell you we worshiped the Beatles.

Being a fan of the Beatles was not uncommon back then. Some of us were true Beatlemaniacs, while the others were just along for the ride. We called ourselves the Lassies: Julie, Susan, Karen, Deane and me. We met at slumber parties (sleepovers to you youngsters). We ate homemade pizza, drank grape ale (grape juice and ginger ale), listened to Beatle records (using a real record players), and talked about boys.

Some of us even saw the Fab Four. I saw them twice—in Atlanta and then in Memphis the next year. I screamed and sobbed when they ran to the stage on second base at the Atlanta baseball stadium.

The point of this remembrance isn’t really about the Beatles. It’s about how my friends and I wrote our first novel—one chapter at a time. We each took turns writing a chapter until we finished the book.

This practice came in handy when my writing buddy Maddie James and I did the same thing. The Montana McKenna’s Prequel was written one chapter at a time. Maddie wrote the first one. I followed, dropping a bomb at the end of chapter two that Maddie had to deal with. We had a general agreement about where we were going with the story, but didn’t know how we were going to get there. It was fun!

The Montana McKennas Prequel
The Montana McKenna’s Prequel is the love story of James and Liz. It sets up our four book Montana Ranchers Series featuring their children: Brody, Callie, Parker and Mercer. 

You can find out if we pulled off writing chapter-by-chapter if you go to Amazon or your favorite ebook retailer.

Jan can be reached via her Website and Twitter

Thursday, August 20, 2015

How one Author Got Inspired by the Veronica Mars TV series

Author Juli Alexander

Reviewers are already citing Veronica Mars as the inspiration for my newest series, and they aren’t wrong. I’ve been dying to write a mystery starring a teen PI ever since falling in love with Rob Thomas’s stellar television series, Veronica Mars, in 2004. Paxton PI isn’t my first series inspired by cinema. Investigating the Hottie was inspired by Meg Cabot’s Princess Diaries. While I adore Meg Cabot, I never wanted to be a princess. I wanted to be a spy, and Amanda Peterson quickly sprang to life.

Paxton by Juli Alexander
After ten years of brainstorming, I finally found a cast of characters worthy of a series of teen PI mysteries. My Paxton Private Investigations series is not as dark as the television show and the heat level is consistent with my readership.

Seventeen-year-old Townsey Paxton plans to run the family business when she finishes her education. In my spy books, the teen spies do a lot of crazy things that could never happen in real life. I love writing the Hottie series, but I wanted to keep Paxton PI a little more realistic.

Townsey’s brother, Graham, became the key to developing the series. Graham is almost ten years older, and he left vet school in order to run the agency and take care of her. They’ve lost their father recently, and their mother hasn’t been a part of their lives in many years.  Graham is a true hero in the series, putting his sister’s needs before his own.  He’s also the motivation for Townsey’s questionable choices in Paxton PI.

My private-investigating teen needed a best friend, and Hearst came to me almost fully formed. Hearst is a high school junior with Goth style and rock-star swagger. He does not fit in at their Catholic school, and the series opens with him adding another piercing. Townsey knows the real Hearst, but she’s the only one. He keeps everyone else at arms-length, including Townsey’s two close friends.

Unlike the film noir of Veronica Mars, Paxton Private Investigations is rooted in optimism. Despite their not-so-great lives, Townsey, Graham, and Hearst each have a good heart and a strong drive for a better future. Graham’s work prevents any chances at romance, but the other two may have a bit more luck.

My PI series brings humor, romance, and the pursuit of happiness. While my love for Veronica Mars brought this series to life, it’s far closer to rom com than film noir.  In my homage to Rob Thomas’s PI series, my feisty teen investigator has as much or more in common with Liv Moore, the heroine of his new series, iZombie. More inspiration perhaps? 

Instead of finding a way to tease iZombie into a Juli Alexander book, I’m just going to sit back and enjoy the show.

Juli Alexander can be reached via her Website, Facebook or Twitter.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Readers Meet Author Edita A. Petrick

Author Edita A. Petrick

I’m one of those writers who develops and then writes a story, rather than inventing or building characters. The kernel of an idea comes to me and then grows into a story. Once the story framework is solid, the characters evolve naturally out of the story. When I started writing the Stella Hunter Mysteries series, the basic premise that grew into a story was: Anger is a door-way to hell. Once I had that down, I picked the myths and legends as a good background for the idea. And only then came the characters—or rather character-consideration. I considered weaving romance into the story but ancient history is already a complicated topic. Romance would have only cluttered it more and made a mess of the storyline. I thought about younger characters but they would not have been able to draw on volume of academic information and experience that someone who is already an established expert in the field can. That’s how Stella and Carter came to be forty-something couple. They each had a weighty emotional baggage that would let them react in a way that I needed the characters to react to the looming threat.

Ribbons of Death by Edita A. Petrick
I wasn’t sure how the readers would react to characters that were middle-aged and not romantically involved. Much of the movies and books out there run on the romantic element, regardless of the topic or plot. However, I couldn’t see where to fit it in Book 1, Ribbons of Death. It evolved naturally in Book 2, The Harmony Scroll, but I prefer writing subtle romance in suspense/thriller novels. I don’t even like much romance in mysteries because it detracts from resolution of the mystery itself. From the reviews I have so far, the middle-aged characters appear to be a positive factor. I had readers comment on them and how much they liked it that the characters were ‘real people’ as opposed to glamorous inventions. Still, I believe that one’s characters must be larger-than-life because that gives them interesting angles. Stella and Carter have a lot of ‘veiled’ issues in their respective family histories. How they’ve resolved them gives them tools to deal with many things that would simply vanquish people with less complicated histories.

A reader asked me why I chose to write from Carter’s point of view. There are some rules of writing that I happen to believe in and one such rule is that you should write from a point-of-view of the character who is most conflicted, most complicated, most riddled with bullets fired by life, and a most likely candidate for therapy-which he/she steadfastly refuses. And to me that was Carter. You pick a character like that to carry your story and it’s bound to be a thrilling rollercoaster ride.

Of course, not only is there Book 2—The Harmony Scroll, but there is a Book 3—The Byzantine Connection. I won’t give away the plot but Stella and Carter grow more comfortable together and the evil schemers who want to get their hands on their adopted son, just won’t quit.

Edita loves to hear from fans and can be reached on Twitter.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Why Does a Kiwi Author Like to Write About Ireland

Author Michelle Vernal

Second Hand Jane
Just like Jess in my novel, Second-Hand Jane I am a magpie when it comes to thrift shops. It’s the thrill of a bargain, of finding treasure. On this particular day, I spotted the black and white print hanging in the entrance of the second-hand shop as soon as I stepped over the thresh hold. It stood out amongst a half dozen other paintings that were no longer loved – relics from decades past. I stood in front of it proprietarily. There was something about the young lovers captured in it that fired my imagination. Needless to say it came home with me that day and now hangs in pride of place on my bedroom wall.

That couple photographed back in the 1950’s or 60’s whoever they might be became the inspiration behind Rosa and Michael two of the four main characters in my new book, The Traveller’s Daughter. To my mind, there was something gypsy-like about them, and I knew there was a story to be weaved around that print. The book is predominantly about Rosa’s daughter, Kitty, but Rosa is a character I loved writing. She evolved from diary styled entries, but a word in my ear from my Agent saw me re-writing her story so in her words, ‘the reader feels they are there with her.’ I felt like I was there with her and when I finished the story it was a bit like saying goodbye to an old friend.

When I am in the midst of writing a book it takes over between the hours of nine and three while my boys are at school. For a little while after it is all done and dusted I don’t know what to do with myself. Actually I stand corrected I know exactly what I should be doing with myself. I just said it, dusting and all the other housework that gets ignored through pages 1 to 300. Then, I’ll hear or see something that I just know has a story waiting to be told. This time it was while doing a no lights, no lycra (don’t ask) fitness class in a nearby community hall that dates back to the late 1800’s. It’s a good job writing isn’t physically taxing because I did my Achilles in that class. This story too will have an Irish connection.

The Traveller's Daughter by Michelle Vernal
So why does a Kiwi author like to write about Ireland? Well, it’s a country that holds a special place in my heart and not just because of U2 or the fact it has been said my hubby bears a slight resemblance to Ronan Keating. Okay, so that was light years ago just like when I turned twenty-one in Dublin fair city and mingled with settled Travellers. I returned at twenty-eight for a working but mostly fun stint with my now husband. He proposed to me in Bad Bob’s Bar in Dublin. Yes, he’d had a few, but he remembered what he had done in the morning and we’re still together thirteen years later. 

Michelle can be reached through Facebook
on Twitter, or through her Website 

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Readers Meet Author J.J. (James) DiBenedetto & Discover his Dream Series

It’s strange to be writing the last book of a series.  After three years and ten books, I feel like I’m moving away from childhood friends to a new town where I don’t know anyone.  The characters of the Dream Series, especially my heroine, Sara, really do feel like friends, or even family.  I know them better than I know a lot of the people I’m acquainted with in real life, and sometimes I think I know them better than I know myself.

Dream Student
It’s actually been a lot longer than three years.  The first draft of what eventually became Dream Student was written in 1997 or so.  I had the original idea - someone who could step into other people’s dreams – and Sara sprang to life immediately.  She didn’t change much from the first draft to the final edition of the book you can download from Amazon today (although she’s certainly been through a lot in the nine subsequent books!).  She was always shy, reserved, smart, big-hearted and always the last one in the room to get a joke.  But she – and I – discovered that she was also brave, impulsive, passionate, and very human. 

Honestly, when I write her story, I sometimes feel as though I’m reporting events from her life rather than creating them.  I’ve watched her graduate college and medical school, get married, have children, nearly get herself killed on multiple occasions and a lot more besides.  I hope I’ve done her justice.  I like to think that if Sara could read the books, she’d be pleased with the job I’ve done.

Dream Child
I’m nearly finished with the tenth and final book, Dream Wedding.  I knew from the third book on where and when the series would end.  Dream Student takes place in 1989-90, when Sara is a junior in college (not at all coincidentally, I was a junior in college then, too), and each book has jumped ahead in time.  Dream Student ends with Sara applying to medical school, and about to become engaged to her boyfriend.  When her daughter showed up in book three, Dream Child, I knew that I had to end the series by bringing it up to the present (or close, at least); and I knew it would come full circle, with Sara’s daughter, Lizzie, getting married, too (or at least, planning to – as of chapter 13, there’s some tension between Lizzie and her fiancĂ©).

I like the place I’ve chosen to end the series.  There are plenty of stories left to tell about Sara and her family, and I can always go back.  But I want to leave them at a good place in their lives, and I think it’s going to work out that way. 

The Dream Series books are all available on Amazon (And Audible Audiobooks, too!), and more information about them is available at my website as well.

Read about my writing: