Monday, June 12, 2017

Music: “Nurturer and Savior of My Soul”

Author Evy Journey


Music plays a starring role in Hello, Agnieszka. At eight years old, Agnieszka hears her grandaunt give a recital at her home. Years later, here’s a part of what she says about that experience:

“The music began its drawn-out end slowly, mounting into a frantic rush. My muscles clenched, my heart beat faster and faster, and heat coursed through my body. When I thought I could get more and more excited, the notes slowed until the music stopped.

When my aunt lifted her fingers off the piano keys, it seemed everyone, but me, let out one gigantic breath. Me? I was panting.”

Agnieszka’s passion for music is kindled. 

She studies piano with her grandaunt who nurtures her dreams of becoming a concert pianist. But those dreams are shattered and for a short while, Agnieszka abandons her piano lessons and regrets what might have been. Eventually, though, she ends up taking solace in music, the very source of her first devastating loss. She’s sixteen when she realizes she must give up her dream, and she pours her frustration into her music:

“For the first time, I was conscious I played for myself alone, that I did not have to do so in service of a dream. I played for me. For how the music I could make with the piano intensified and then soothed my pain. For how it blotted out everything and became my whole world while it lasted. For how it promised to be the nurturer and savior of my soul.”

Classical music is also a major force in my life, not because I play an instrument but because I feel I must listen to it constantly. We have no classical radio stations in our area, but our audio system uses the magic of the internet. We have programmed rooms in our house to broadcast from other parts of the world with great classical radio stations: Paris at nine and noon, and Switzerland in the evening. 

Those hours add up to at least six in which music plays either for serious listening or as a soothing background for more involved activities. Add to those hours the rendezvous I have with my earphones when I exercise.

Who can endure music that lasts for minutes on end? What can I say? I may be an anachronism in an information-overloaded, gig-saturated high-tech world competing for flitting attention spans. The long, rich lingering works of long-dead masters touch me, thrill me, move me to tears.

The scenes quoted above are based on my own reactions to classical music, and what it does to me when I listen to it. Such is also true for other scenes in early chapters where music is featured.

Actually, my music tastes are eclectic. For this music-oriented novel set in the seventies, I bring in a musical icon of that period: American Pie by Don McLean. In one scene, her first love opens up Agnieszka’s constricted world when he plays the song on a jukebox.

Follow Evy on Facebook, Twitter & check out her Website

Friday, June 9, 2017

From Paper to Rock

Author Peter Darley

Very often, we find what we set out to accomplish can take the most unexpected twists and turns – the kind one would never have expected in a lifetime.  My journey into the writing world has been one of the more extreme examples.

I began writing my first novel, Hold On! – Season 1, in early 2010. Basing the tempo on some of my favorite thriller TV shows and movies (Prison Break and 24, in particular) and driven on by my ever-growing collection of rock CDs, I completed the first draft in early 2011. After spending several months editing it, the nightmares began.

It took me almost two years to get Hold On! signed. The rejections were extreme. Nevertheless, it was eventually taken on by an agent, and was quickly picked up by a publisher. One year later, a week before Hold On! was due to go to press, my publisher folded, and then my agent retired. I was back to square one. However, soon afterward, Writer’s Coffee Shop, the original publisher of Fifty Shades of Grey, took an interest in Hold On!, and we worked on it for four months – until they decided to completely ignore me.

Finally, in December 2013, Hold On! was signed to – let’s just say – ‘a publisher in New York’. And it was a total nightmare. I realized that by spending two years searching for a publisher, I had been leading myself off a cliff. In February, 2015, I bought the rights to Hold On! back from my publisher, and set up my own self-publishing outfit. I took it from almost #1,000,000 on Amazon’s rakings – to #1, all within six weeks.

Over the next four months, I released the sequels, Go! and Run!. Sales were flying, but 

I’d decided to call it quits.

And then something mind-blowing occurred.
Hold On by Peter Darley

Italian rock god, Pierpaolo Monti, found one of his songs, “Highway of Love” by Shining Line, in my faux Hold On! soundtrack video on Youtube. He contacted me on Facebook with a unique proposal. He wanted to write and produce the official theme song for my ‘next book’. (A soundtrack to a novel, in the same way you’d have a theme song to a movie.) This had never been done before.

I wrote the spin-off novel, Hold On! – Tomorrow, which came out on October 1st, 2016 to coincide with the release of its theme song, “Gotta Get Away” by Charming Grace. Pierpaolo had drafted in Nick Workman, the lead singer of international rock band, VEGA, to sing duet on the track, and the song was featured on an album entitled “We Still Rock”.  VEGA released their new single, “White Flag”, a song about my hellish journey in the writing world. Newspaper and radio interviews followed, and suddenly, my heroes had become my mates.

All of this led to a new career prospect for me, and I am now preparing to become a rock album producer.

The Hold On! series is founded on cliffhangers, suspense, bombshell turns, and shock-twist endings. Ironically, the story behind the scenes seems to have mirrored the dynamics of the series.

Gotta Get Away by Charming Grace –

Follow Peter on Facebook, Twitter & Website


Wednesday, June 7, 2017

The Habit of Writing

Author Yoleen Valai
It’s hard for me to recall time when I wasn’t writing. It seems that as soon as I could hold a pen, I was constantly scribbling something.
By the age of 10, that habit developed into a much bigger passion: Storytelling.
As naïve as it was, my first (handwritten) novel became very popular among my friends and their parents, and their grandparents alike. Five thick, 96-page composition books, filled with my crude at the time calligraphy and color illustrations, changed hands so many times, that when the volumes were returned to me they looked as if they had traveled to Saturn and back. People kept asking me every day when I would write more… That, probably, was the turning point when I realized that writing was something I wanted to do for the rest of my life.
It’s not my profession. It’s not what I do because I have to. Writing is what keeps me alive, what keeps me going. I write because I can’t survive otherwise. It’s my air, my nourishment, my passion and my true love.

The Rebirth of Francesca by Yoleen Valai
The idea for The Rebirth of Francesca (and, therefore, for the entire Francesca trilogy) was the result of a small argument with my best friend, who’s also an aspiring author. We started some projects together, but could never complete them for the simple reason that we couldn’t build anything whole. We created wonderful characters, we knew the settings, we wrote bits and pieces for the plots, but we were unable to make it work. During one of our on-line conversations regarding why it was so difficult to create a solid story, I told my friend, “Look, do you want to bet that I can come up with a hundred ideas right here, right now? However, ideas are just that- they don’t have any completeness to them, they simply float in the air!” And then I started telling her what I had in my mind at the moment, listing every tiny concept which could be used in a book plot. As I revealed the story that would become the source for my trilogy, we both paused for a moment and then had to agree that it was, indeed, a great idea.

 
Currently, I’m working on the second book of the trilogy, and can’t wait to share it with everyone.

Dare to dream. Dare to believe.

Yours truly,

Yoleen Valai   

Check out Yoleen on Facebook and her Website.


Monday, June 5, 2017

Letting go of a character. Is it difficult?

Author Khaled Talib
Many readers can’t get their mind off a character in a book. They fall in love with them. That feeling goes with TV and movie characters. From a reader or viewer’s point, this is quite understandable. Whether you’re reading a book or watching a show, all kinds of emotions are presented to you. It affects your senses.  You start to love or hate.

But I’ve never thought about the impact of emotions from a writer’s point of view. I would’ve expected that since writers are the inventors of their characters, they know these characters don’t exist in real life. I had this impression because I hadn’t written a novel yet. But if you ask me the question today, the answer is yes. I do get attached to my characters.

Imagine a writer’s world: Every single day sitting by the computer with their story. They create characters, then place them in different situations.  Spending six months, a year or ten years with them is like travelling on a bus ride with a group of friends. You get close.

For the most part, you try to be a professional. But emotions start to slip in. You want to believe that your creation is tangible.

Incognito by Khaled Talib
A reporter once asked me if I planned to do a series after my first novel was published. I resisted saying yes. I wanted to explore other stories with other characters. I was fond of my first protagonist, but I decided to move on to produce another novel in a different locale.

It takes a lot of energy to write a book. To bring back your character or characters require plenty of enthusiasm too. You tend to give yourself a sigh of relief once a book is released because all the writer thinks about is rest.  After the blood, sweat and tears, you ask yourself the question: do I want to do this all over again? Sometimes yes, sometimes no.

Strangely, I have had some thoughts about bringing back the characters from my soon to be published third novel, Gun Kiss.  I enjoyed writing the book as I didn’t feel it was work. I was telling New York Times bestselling author Ruth Harris how much fun it had been writing the story. She asked me how long it took, and I replied just six months. She said why not create a series if I enjoyed it so much.

While I can let go of some characters, I’m not ready yet to let go of others. It’s like playing God. You create people and express your love for them. They’re your children. But eventually you’ll have to send some to hell and others to heaven. 


Well, I’m not going to burn my characters. I’ll just keep them in a box for the time being. I know where to find them if I decide to cast them again. 

Follow Khaled on Facebook, Twitter and check out his Website

Monday, May 29, 2017

A Mother’s Secrets

Author Gail Cleare
by Gail Cleare, author of the USA Bestseller The Taste of Air

"One of the greatest riddles, it turns out, is a parent's real life, the one not shown to children.” —Kirkus Reviews

When I started writing my new women’s fiction novel The Taste of Air, I had recently lost my mother. My sister and I looked through the papers in her safe deposit box, found her birth certificate and were amazed to see that at some point, she had changed her name. Neither of us, or my brother, had known about this. It seemed very strange that she would hide such a thing.

The storyteller in me immediately spun this into a mysterious tale, where all kinds of wild things might have happened. Highly unlikely, knowing my mother, who was a model of decorum and self-control. Nonetheless, that night I had a powerful dream, and my writer’s imagination set the stage for the novel I was about to begin.

I dreamed I was walking through a house. It was familiar, but also strange. I had never been there before. It was sort of my mother’s house, decorated in her colors with things that were similar to hers, but not exactly the same. I knew it was her house, though, and that I was not supposed to be there. I had no fear of being caught, though, she was gone. But it was private, and I was intruding by seeing things of hers that were a secret.

The Taste of Air by Gail Cleare
Inevitably, when I next sat down to write, my mind wove this dream into a tale of two sisters and their elderly mother, whose secrets are much, much bigger than my mother’s were. The dream became the scene in the first chapter where Nell enters her mother’s cottage in Vermont for the first time and has the same uncanny feeling of familiar yet not, like walking in the world of the looking glass.

I braided three story lines together to show how the present is an echo of the past, connected and similar, yet also containing the potential for progress. We can learn from the past, transform ourselves and edit our life stories, as all three women do in my book, while remaining products of family history.

Destined by Gail Cleare
Mary Reilly chooses to lead two lives and keep her lakeside hideaway a secret, even from her closest family. Bridget chooses to leave behind her history of abusive relationships, and Nell decides to reach higher for what she wants. Each of them has to live with the possible consequences, good or bad.

All three women’s stories are a patchwork of snippets from my mental filing cabinet. While Mary’s began with a dream, her past days as an Army nurse in Vietnam were inspired by my former neighbor, who was a Lt. Col. in charge of the nurses at a field hospital near Saigon in the late 1960s. I supplemented her firsthand anecdotes with some wonderful research online, where you can here audio interviews with nurses who served there then, and see actual film shot for television news coverage. Bridget’s story is a mashup of two of my friends, with a splash of sheer fantasy. Nell is based on a lot of women I know, and went to school with. And what happens in the hospital at Mary’s bedside is largely real, based on some of my mother’s last moments. The way her daughters feel about it is real too, as I hope you will be able to tell. 

Follow Gail on Facebook, Twitter and check out her Website

Blog for A Pirate’s Darkness

Author ML Guida

Hello, everyone! My name is ML Guida, and I write historical paranormal romance. My books are also filled with adventure and have lots of fight and battle scenes in my books.
I live in beautiful Colorado with my little cocker spaniel, Raven. She loves to sit next to me when I write, and I refer to her as my little snuggle bunny. If you would like to find out more about my next books and what books Raven is recommending, please sign up for my newsletter at www.mlguida.com.
I am pleased to announce my next book in the Legends of the Soaring Phoenix Series: A Pirate’s Darkness. This is the last book about the three princesses of the sea. My princesses are the daughters of Eldric, king of the undine.
What’s an undine? An undine is a water elemental. They are similar to mermaids, but they do not have tails, and they can live in both fresh and salt water. Undines also do not have souls. The legend is that if an undine mates with a human, she’ll become pregnant and develop a soul.
I took liberties with this legend. First of all, I discovered that it’s very difficult to write a heroine without a soul, because they are basically immoral, so I changed it. When my undines mate with a vampire, their babies become super powerful, and the villain, the demon Zuto, wants that power.

A Pirate's Darkness by ML Guid
The heroine in A Pirate’s Darkness is the youngest sister who has the power to control ice and snow. Yes, I stole the concept from Elsa, because I loved that character, but Penelope is an undine destined to be the ruler of her people. The hero is Ewan Kelley, the gun master of the Soaring Phoenix, and all he wants to do is protect his little girl from ever knowing that he’s cursed.
Below is the blurb about this exciting new tale:

Destined to be queen of the undines, Penelope must master her winter powers and remain pure. But time is running out. A time spider is hunting her. To save her people, she must flee. If caught, the beast will bite her and drag her back to a demon’s island. Then, the demon will feast on her blood, allowing him to the escape the island and kill all those she loves.

            Her only hope is trust Ewan Kelley, the grim gun master of the Soaring Phoenix. 

            Ewan wants no part of this and is still mourning the loss of his beloved woman and guarding his blind daughter from the demon. But an archangel reveals that the demon knows where she is and plans to kidnap her. To keep her safe, he must save a woman he barely knows. In return, the archangel promises to give sight to his little girl.

           Their attraction for each other proves to be too strong, and soon they learn that their forbidden love will not be denied. Only by working together can they defeat the forces of evil. 

Follow her on Facebook, Twitter and check out her Website

Monday, May 8, 2017

10 Things I Love About This Series



I cannot tell you how excited I am to be finally publishing this new Young Adult series: Bryant Rockwell. I started the first book nearly two decades ago, when the three girls jumped into my busy life, full of sass, humour, and awesome talents.
After writing the first three books, I swapped careers and became a maths teacher in a number of UK high schools. What an awakening! The nice girls I’d written had little in common with today’s teens. After a decade of teaching (when it was impossible to write anything), I revisited the stories, updated them, and wrote the next three.
Unfortunately, when I looked for an agent, all they wanted were tales of magic schools and vampires in order to jump on various bandwagons. So my gorgeous gals were assigned to the back burner, while I wrote five fantasy books set in a mediaeval-alternate-world. If this appeals, check out the Hengist books; all of them were #1 bestsellers in their genre.

I’m thrilled, because my trio deserves to tell their stories to a wider audience; however I put it off for so long because of the number of adverse comments made by US reviewers about British spelling and punctuation. So I’ve compromised by using US punctuation and modifying the occasional word to avoid the real spelling snags (e.g. practice/practise). But these teens speak with British accents, and the UK school system means subtle differences in their daily schedule and terminology. Because of this, I’ve added a glossary at the end so non-UK readers can translate.
Living on this side of the pond means my guys get to watch Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night” in his very own theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon, a treat I’ve enjoyed many times. Hope you enjoy your vicarious experience of this. You can read a little more about the characters here.

The elevator pitches go like this:
New Kid in Town: Liv, Jude and Kat are greater than the sum of their parts. Separately they are Brainy, Sporty and Arty. Together they are invincible. Until Drop-Dead-Gorgeous Ray wheels up.

The Show Must Go On: Liv's a snarky chocoholic, Luke's a reformed thug. Who better to take Dirty Diana down a peg or two? She totally has it coming.

I was encouraged when one beta reader described the first book as “10 Things I Hate About You” meets “Glee,” which is great for people in the US. For UK readers, I’d add in the gritty reality of “Waterloo Road.”
I would call it a character-driven romantic comedy, other people say:
Funny, intense and endearing. Wish I had such a group of friends,” and “Drama you can't look away from. I was hooked from the first page.”
The review site, Book Viral, called it “Snappy, well-pitched and edgy. An enjoyable read which will appeal to anyone who has a sense of humour and an ear for the ironic.”
And Readers’ Favorite gave it a shiny, silver 5-star medal: “A well written teenage high school experience. The romance elements fitted perfectly with the plot and were the right balance of lust, love, and friendship.


Wednesday, April 19, 2017

The Glamorous Life of a Writer—Not!



Author Cara Marsi

I’ve wanted to be a writer since I learned to read and discovered the magical world of books. When I learned one of my favorite authors, Robert Ludlum, owned a villa in the Caribbean and wrote from his terrace overlooking the water, I was surer than ever I wanted to be an author. All writers were wealthy and lived glamorous lives, right?

Not!

Some authors do have houses in exotic places, and that’s wonderful. But the majority of us have a different reality.

Rather than looking out over the turquoise sea and white sand when I write, I face a small rose garden from my office window. Pretty in spring and summer with the roses blooming. Winter? Not so much. The most exciting thing I’ve seen was a fox burying a dead squirrel under a rose bush. Glamorous, right?

Why do I keep at it? Why do I write if the monetary reward isn’t spectacular?

I’m compelled to write because I love the romance genre, love the written word, and I crave happy endings. As a child, I made up stories in my head, and those stories were romances. I started reading Gothic romances, then historicals. I loved them all.

When I was in my forties, a friend and I traded Harlequin romances. One day we looked at each other and said, “We could write these.” What naïve fools we were.

It took ten long, hard years of writing, learning the craft, attending conferences and workshops before I sold my first book. Writing is the hardest thing I’ve ever done, and the most rewarding.

Since that first book, I’ve published close to thirty novels, novellas, and short stories. For a few years I wrote short stories for the Confession magazines. I’ve published with traditional publishers, but now I’m an independent author and I love the control over my career.

Brandywine Brides
My latest story is one I’m especially excited about because it’s part of an anthology with six close friends who are talented authors. We call ourselves “The Writers Who Lunch.” We’ve been meeting for lunch for several years. A few years ago, we began talking about doing an anthology together, centered on one family through generations. My contribution is “We’ve Only Just Begun,” a Vietnam War era story.

“Brandywine Brides: A Blackwood Legacy Anthology” is available for pre-order now at the special pre-order price of $0.99.

One Family – Seven Generations – A Legacy of Love

Franco's Fortune by Cara Marsi



Almost three centuries ago, a Scottish convict was sold into indentured servitude in Philadelphia and given a second chance at a life far from the country of his birth. In the years since, the farm secured by Finlan Blackwood’s efforts would grow and thrive in the Brandywine River valley just as his family and descendants did. Today, Blackwood Farm is one of the largest and most successful farms in Chester County. But it took the sacrifices and best efforts of each generation to make it so.


www.caramarsi.com

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Monday, April 3, 2017

Why are romance novels so popular?

Author Christina Tetreault


Whether a sweet contemporary or a steamy historical, romance is in my opinion the best genre out there. By why is that, you may be wondering?

Romance novels unlike other types offer you a chance to fall in love with the characters while they fall in love with each other. Despite whatever events occur during the novel, you the reader know that in the end there will be a happy ending. And everyone loves a happy ending.  Didn't all of our favorite Fairy Tales end with “And They Lived Happily Ever After”. 

I also believe that romance novels are so spectacular and popular because there are so many types of romance novels available.  Readers can find everything from a sweeping historical, to a sweet contemporary or a unique paranormal.

Every romance readers’ journey and tastes are different, so I am going to take a minute and tell you a little about mine. 

In His Kiss by Christina Tetreault
An avid reader and writer since about the age of 10, I discovered the world of romance novels a little late.  I picked up my first romance novel A Gentle Rogue by one of my all time favorite authors, Johanna Lindsey during my freshman year of college. I was immediately hooked.  Soon I found myself scouring the bookshelves at Walden Books and Walmart looking for another great romance.  In no time I fell in love with other historical romance authors like Julie Garwood, Julia Quinn, and Hannah Howell.  Not long after that I discovered great contemporary romances by authors like Jessica Bird and Brenda Novak.  Next I found the whole paranormal world of romance by authors like Lynn Kurland and Jessica Andersen.

Today I read almost entirely romance novels from various sub-genres depending on my mood. 

In addition to reading romance, I began writing them around the time I got married.  For me it was just a natural progression.  Besides what could be better than writing about two people meeting, falling in love and living happily ever after?  Nothing, right?  My first romance, The Teacher's Billionaire came out in March of 2012 and I never looked back.

While getting published was always a dream of mine, it never would have happened without the support of my family and other romance authors.  I don't know about authors from other genres, but those who write romance are the best.  They are supportive and giving.  They are always willing to offer helpful advice or a kind word.  And I am thankful to every romance author I have worked with along the way.

Thanks to all the support and great friends I have made along the way In His Kiss the fourth novel in my series Love On The North Shore released March 31 and I am currently working on tenth novel in my series The Sherbrookes of Newport.

Follow Christina on Facebook, Twitter and check out her Website




Friday, March 31, 2017

A Beautiful Obsession

Author Linda Ballou
by Linda Ballou

In my fit forties, I was operating under the illusion that I could do anything and felt invincible. Full swing into my second childhood, I owned my horse and was conquering cross country courses. That’s right!  We were jumping over every hurdle in our path, careening around mountain trails and splashing though creeks. It was thrilling to be fulfilling all my horsey fantasies.

Then one day, while practicing our rough version of dressage, I felt a tingling in my lower back. Within days this sensation manifested itself into a crippling condition that left me crawling from the bed to the fridge on my knees. Diagnosis—garden variety herniated disc.  In the healing process, I realized that I had been pushing my 45-year old body too hard and that I would have to give up full time riding (which meant giving up my mare). This was a tough decision that changed my life.


I decided to combine the things that I love—horses, travel and writing as my path to full expression. My first published articles were all about horses. I used these credits to get travel writing gigs at guest ranches. Throughout my feisty fifties, I enjoyed fantastic outdoor adventures and established myself as an adventure travel writer.

Wai-nani: A Voice from Old Hawai'i
The changing landscape of the publishing world and the opportunities provided through the internet allowed me to bring my first novel Wai-nani: A Voice from Old Hawai’i into the world. It was like giving birth to an elephant that was ten years overdue. Now, I am in my soaring sixties and the view from this lofty vantage point is exhilarating. Bringing Wai-nani into the world forced me to
blossom on many levels. I had to come out from behind my computer to give talks and to learn how to do radio interviews.  It has been a very heady and exciting ride. Empowered by reader’s response to Wai-nani and my travel articles, I published Lost Angel Walkabout-One Traveler’s Tales. Writing The Cowgirl Jumped Over the Moon was part of my healing process. It takes you inside the Grand Prix jumping circuit and into the wilds of the Eastern Sierras. At this time my mission is to get to as many beautiful places on the “Big Blue” I can before they are gone. Come to my site to enjoy travel articles and learn more about my books. Subscribe to my blog to receive my latest adventures.






Wednesday, March 29, 2017

A Funny Thing Happened upon Arriving in Hollywood


Author James Conroyd Martin

Some—as in many—years ago I resigned from a short teaching career, turned my young back on the Midwest, and landed in Hollywood, anxious to learn screenwriting. I landed a job, two actually, and started taking screenwriting classes. All was going according to plan—until I met a young man who insisted I read his translation of his great-great-great-great grandmother’s diary.

Out of politeness, I did read the diary of Countess Anna Maria Berezowska, who began her journaling in 1791 when her parents died and she was forced to live with an aunt, uncle, and two nefarious cousins. The diary held me spellbound as I read of her falling in love with neighbor Jan, while being obstructed in her happiness by crude Walter and scheming Zofia. The background to all of this was the nation at war and on the cusp of destruction. Margaret Mitchell could have outlined it.

Push Not the River by James Conroyd Martin
But this didn’t call for a screenplay—that could come later. I would create a novel, yes—a novel. To cut my own serpentine story short, over years, the manuscript could not survive three agents, countless would-be editors, one lying publisher. Even the weight of Bette Davis, who read it with an eye to an eventual screenplay, didn’t seem to matter.

Return to the Midwest and to teaching. Keep the telling short, James, I tell myself. OK, one day print-on-demand comes along and I publish the book myself, hoping to catch the eye of one of the big publishers. Fates smiles. St. Martin’s Press purchases Push Not the River. Anna’s story gets told. I pray it’s told well, I whisper to the spirit I’ve felt on my shoulder for so many years. Why, her story is translated back into Polish—full circle—and Nie ponaglaj rzeki becomes a bestseller in Poland. Na zdrowie!

The Poland Triology
Oh, the publisher wants a sequel? Cool. Done—Against a Crimson Sky. I’m flying now, pun intended. Wait—my editor is leaving St. Martin’s? What, without her on board they are declining the final part of the trilogy? Publish it yourself, my agent urges. How do I do that? Oh, yeah—I do know how.

And so I do—The Warsaw Conspiracy.

Now what is it they call writers like me—those who have been published by the big boys, as well as by their own big bad selves? I always forget. It’s some kind of flower or plant, isn’t it? Hybrids?—yes that’s right.

I’m a hybrid author. And do you know what? I wouldn’t change a thing.
 
Oh, a screenplay? It’ll happen one day. You just wait.

For more information check out James Website, on Facebook or Twitter.


  

Monday, March 27, 2017

Why Genre-Bender Writing can be a Hit with Fans

Stephen Stromp

Genre-Bender

My novels are probably a bit of an acquired taste. And I’m totally okay with that! I’m fine being a writer with a niche audience. My readers are probably those looking for something a bit off center, a bit unique. One of my favorite reader reviews described my writing like this: “Somehow this author makes the strange and morbid seem normal.” I won’t argue with that assessment. 
I don’t like to be pinned down by a single genre, even within one story. It’s not that I plan my books to be genre-bending. For me, it’s all about the story first. What’s going on in this world? With these characters? What feeling do I have when I think about the story so I can get the tone right?  So, to serve the story best, I ignore genre lines. In fact, I don’t really think about genre at all until I am forced to attempt to classify a book for publication. But if I had to classify the genres I tap into (and as I writer, I begrudgingly do!), they would include dark fantasy, mystery, horror, young adult, fable, low fantasy, supernatural, magical realism, speculative fiction and suspense.

Cracking Grace by Stephen Stromp
Winner of Kindle Press Publishing Contract

My first book, CRACKING GRACE, is a short novel that explores relationships, loss and spirituality. It’s about a young girl who loses her mother and befriends statues in a cemetery, who, it turns out, are on their own journey of discovery.

In the Graveyard Antemortem by Stephen Stromp
My first full-length novel, IN THE GRAVEYARD ANTEMORTEM, is a mystery/horror novel set in the 1980s. It’s about a teenager who is determined to solve her father’s murder. But to do so, she must unravel the secrets of Grand Hallow, a funeral and mortuary operation the size of a small city. The book was a winner of the reader-powered Kindle Scout program and was subsequently chosen for publication by Kindle Press. It’s sort of my love letter to the 1980 horror movies I grew up with—but in book form. Although I set out to write an unabashed horror/suspense novel, the mystery element kept creeping in until it clearly became the centerpiece of the novel. Again, I was crossing lines without realizing it. My genre bending was called out when a reviewer at TheSlaughteredBird.com wrote, “I’d have thought it a mistake to have the numerous plates of horror, fantasy AND murder-mystery spinning at once, but all of these aspects dovetail so seamlessly that it produces a wonderful book of relentless pacing, intrigue and sheer oh-dear-God-ness!”

What’s Next?

I keep getting asked if there will be a sequel (or even prequel) to “Antemortem.” I honestly don’t have anything planned, but it would be interesting to explore. There is more to that story that I purposefully held back because it wasn’t the focus of that book. Maybe at some point down the road, I’ll revisit the folks at Grand Hallow. Right now, I’m finishing up editing a book I hope to have released sometime in 2017. All I’ll say about it now is that it’s a coming-of-age story set in the 90s with elements of fantasy and psychological horror. I’m proud of it. It feels perhaps more emotional and personal than my previous books.


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Friday, March 24, 2017

How do you like your suspense?

Author Dale Mayer

by Dale Mayer

With a little romance, a lot of nail biting, a touch of the paranormal or all of the above?

I love mine with romance, edge of the seat tension and either with or without the paranormal. Why because as long as the writer makes it believable, as long as I'm sucked into the story, I don't care where the writer takes me.

Sometimes I've woken up in complete new worlds and loved it!

When I started writing Tuesdays' Child many years ago, I had no idea of the yellow brick road I'd set out on. Now with the release of a new military romance series, Heroes for Hire, I have to admit to feeling a bit like Dorothy!

I'm not in Kansas anymore.

It's a whole new world out there. I don't recognize my surroundings, and can barely remember the many stops I took to get here. Not only has the publishing landscape changed, but so has my professional landscape. But like Dorothy the journey has been incredible. And rewarding.

And suspenseful.

I write mysteries, romance and combine both all the time. I do like a happy ending. 

Currently I’ve been spending a lot of time writing Military Romance. My SEALs of Honor series has been great, but I wanted the freedom to branch off without the restrictions life in the military imposed.

Heroes for Hire was created for just that purpose. I took a unit of 4 SEALs after they were betrayed and helped them set up their own private security company Legendary Security. 

The series starts with Levi and Ice’s story in Levi’s Legend. He is a legend after all.

Stone’s book came next, followed by Merk’s. In order for everyone to dive into the new series, all three are releasing on March 21st.


Levi's Legend by Dale Mayer
Levi's Legend by Dale Mayer
Welcome to Levi's Legend, book 1 in Heroes for Hire reconnecting readers with the unforgettable men from SEALs of Honor in a new series of action packed, page turning romantic suspense that fans have come to expect from USA TODAY Bestselling author Dale Mayer.

Nothing stays the same…
Since his accident Levi has been driven to find the men who betrayed him. Everything else is secondary. Now he’s recovered, started his own company, and he’s caught the scent of the last man on his list. Only to find the same man intends to finish the job he originally started – and kill Levi once and for all.

Ice has been at Levi’s side every step of his new journey – well almost. It’s the places where she hasn’t been that are the hardest. Her relationship with Levi is at a critical point. One wrong word and her hopes and dreams will be gone. They almost are now.

But she can’t resolve her love life until the man who forced change into their world is taken care of. Only he’s on the attack, and his target is right at the heart of everything that’s important to her, and to Levi.

They’ll have to move fast to stop the man who wants them both dead or they won’t have a future at all…

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