First Friday Lunch – Community

Here is the First Friday Lunch for February

AuThursday – Sofia Sawyer

Sofia Sawyer HeadshotPlease welcome Sofia Sawyer to The Clog Blog.  Sofia, can you tell us a little about yourself and your background?

I’m a contemporary romance and women’s fiction author based in Charleston, South Carolina. I write about independent women who take control of their destiny.

I was born and raised in a small New Jersey beach town before fleeing to Charleston with my best friend a decade ago. Since then, I’ve lived in Boston for about three years before migrating back to Charleston with my husband and dog.

I work as an employer branding and recruitment marketing program manager for my day job (I’m in the process of leaving my employer to become a consultant and freelancer). When I’m not working, I travel as much as I can. I’ve been incredibly lucky to have gone to so many beautiful places these last few years and I’m looking forward using these trips as inspiration for upcoming books.

When I can’t hop on a plane, I’m usually taking advantage of everything Charleston has to offer. The beaches are gorgeous, and the food scene is hard to beat. Also, as an amateur photographer, the historic buildings downtown give me a lot to work with. 

And, of course, I read a ton.

How do you make time to write? 

I’ve gotten serious about my writing these last few years and work to protect my time. Rather than set daily goals, I focus on weekly goals because it offers more flexibility to account for the unexpected things life throws at me. My goals could be hitting a specific word count, getting a synopsis to my agent, taking an online course, drafting a book outline, creating a freebie for my newsletter subscribers, building a launch plan for a new release, and so on. 

Every Sunday, I identify my top three goals for the week and look at my availability, slotting in chunks of time to dedicate to them. I also wake up an hour earlier before work to write because it’s easier to let the words flow first thing in the morning before my brain turns to mush from my day job.

Where do your ideas come from?

They pop up at the strangest times. Usually, while I’m trying to escape the mundane tasks of everyday life like going to the gym or washing dishes. However, music is the most consistent source of inspiration for my stories. If the lyrics are just right, my mind makes up a “music video” that goes along with the song. From there, I develop a full story from the little snippet of inspiration.

For example, I’m starting to plot a friends-to-lovers romance that was inspired by the song “Blinded” by Third Eye Blind. It popped up on my Pandora station one day at the gym and a clear vision of a story filled my mind. I just knew I had to write it.

Do you believe in writer’s block? 

I did for a bit but realized it’s something that can be overcome. When I lived in Boston, I couldn’t write a word. Nothing worked and I felt incredibly uninspired. Later, I realized my writer’s block was caused by some sort of challenge rather than lack of skill or inspiration. I found that taking courses, getting involved in the writing community, plotting, and generally building writing skills helped solve those problems. Now, if I feel like I’m hitting a wall, I take a step back and try to uncover what’s really causing the issue and tackle it head on.

Since looking at it that way, I’ve been writing consistently for more than three years after my Boston hiatus. I’m confident this approach will prevent me from running into that issue again.

So, what is you most recent project? 

I’m juggling a few different projects right now. Typically, I try to stick to writing one manuscript at a time but because I have a couple with my agent and a couple that I’m self-publishing, I need to incorporate time to manage the process for all of those too. Here’s a quick run down of what I’ve been working on:

  • Finished edits for a forced-proximity romance that my agent is putting out for submission
  • Started working with an editor for my frenemies-to-lovers romance I plan to self-publish
  • Just completed the first draft of a contemporary romance (a modern Cinderella retelling)
  • Starting to plot my friends-to-lovers romance

Where can we buy or see it?NO PLACE TO HIDE KINDLE EBOOK COVER

My frenemies-to-lovers romance will likely be released in summer 2020. You can subscribe to my newsletter for updates on its release date. Otherwise, my debut novel came out this past October and is available to purchase on Amazon, B&N, Kobo, and iBooks. It’s a romantic suspense based in Portland, Maine. You can read the blurb for No Place to Hide here (the links to purchase are also on this page).

What is your writing Kryptonite?

Probably social media or my phone in general. Because I’ve worked in marketing for years, I’ve had multiple corporate social media accounts on my phone. Even if I turn off the notifications, my habit to pick up my phone and check if I’ve missed anything leads me to mindlessly scroll for several minutes. I started to put my phone in another room when I write, but even then, my computer distracts me with email alerts and what not.

I just finished reading a book called Digital Minimalism that had a lot of great advice about how to manage digital tools in a world where they’re working to grab your attention and keep it there. Although I won’t nix social media altogether because it’s been valuable to connect with readers and writers, I want to be mindful about how I use it. That might mean creating more meaningful posts even if that leads to posting less frequently. I need to put aside some time to think through my approach. I’m really curious to see how taking the social pressure off transforms my writing. Will it allow me to write more openly if I don’t compare myself to others or worry about letting readers down? It will be interesting to find out.

What advice do you have for aspiring authors?

Get involved in the writing community ASAP. For years, I was terrified of putting my work out there. I finally found the courage in October 2018 and started author-focused social media accounts. It opened up a whole new world for me. Not only did I connect with other writers who I could relate to, I joined a writing association, found helpful writing resources, and even discovered Twitter pitch contests that ultimately landed me a literary agent. I wish I had done this back in 2013 when I finished my first novel-length manuscript. I can only imagine how much further along I would have been in my writing career had I done it then.

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

I’m present on most of the social media channels but I’m mostly active on Instagram and Facebook. Additionally, my newsletter is a great way to get a look behind-the-scenes and exclusive details that I don’t share elsewhere. Subscribers can reply to my emails too, which is a great way to connect.

Here’s where you can find me:

 

Saturday Spotlight – Run With It by ML Nystrom

Run With It BannerTitle: Run With It

Series: MacAteer Brothers #1

Author Name:  ML Nystrom

Cover Designer:  BookSmith Design

Genre:  Contemporary Romance

Release: February 1, 2020

Goodreads:  http://bit.ly/319dm1X

Blurb:

The struggle is real.  Beverly spends so much of her time juggling her four kids, a dead-beat ex, and two jobs that she never has time for herself or another man in her life.

Then Connor moves in next door.

Connor is healing from a hard break from his family and is working to find his own identity.  He has no interest in joining another one.

Then he meets his neighbor.

Two people building new lives. Two people with no time or energy for love. Bev and Connor are determined to stick to their plans, but life has other ideas—now they just have to run with it.

“Run With It” is a Dragon Runners motorcycle romance spin-off, featuring Connor from “Stud.”

Buy Links:

AMAZON US: https://amzn.to/37F26gd

AMAZON UK:  https://amzn.to/2GxoUCZ

AMAZON AU:  https://amzn.to/318B66I

AMAZON CA:  https://amzn.to/2REYS72

ITUNES:  https://apple.co/2S1oYA5

KOBO:  http://bit.ly/36KLAKI

B&N:  http://bit.ly/2S5hk81

UNIVERSAL:  http://bit.ly/38Ozgu8

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Author Bio:

ML Nystrom had stories in her head since she was a child. All sorts of stories of fantasy, romance, mystery and anything else that captured her interest. A voracious reader, she’s spent many hours devouring books; therefore, she found it only fitting she should write a few herself!

ML has spent most of my life as a performing musician and band instrument repair technician, but that doesn’t mean she’s pigeon-holed into one mold. She’s been a university professor, belly dancer, crafts-person, soap maker, singer, rock band artist, jewelry maker, lifeguard, swim coach, and whatever else she felt like exploring. As one of her students said to her once, “Life’s too short to ignore the opportunities.” She has no intention of ever stopping… so welcome to her story world. She hopes you enjoy it!

Social Media Links:

https://www.goodreads.com/uhavmel

https://twitter.com/ml_nystrom

https://www.facebook.com/authorMLNystrom/ 

PrintExcerpt:

The man turned and looked at the wide front porch where my kids were holding the welcome wagon. Just my luck to have them squabbling loudly when our new neighbor was moving in.  As we moved to the driveway, I noticed he was a large man, broad and solid. I wore “mom” jeans with elastic at the waist, sneakers and an over-sized hoodie with a picture of our school mascot peeling from age.  My hair sat scraped back in its usual ponytail and any scrap of makeup I had on from earlier today had worn off hours ago.

Please don’t be handsome too, please don’t be handsome too, I prayed.  It would be more of my luck to have a real hottie move in when I looked every bit of my age.

“I blocked you in, didn’t I?”  His voice was deep and slightly accented.  Ya ain’t from around here, are ya? floated through my mind in a deep Southern twang. 

“Um… yeah.  We were just leaving for the football game and you’re makin’ us late.”  Mattie spoke up.  Not a shy bone in that kid’s body.

“Mattie, don’t be rude.”

The man didn’t seem to mind my son’s bold statement. “Sorry about that lad.  I didn’t realize you were leaving.  Get on in your car there and I’ll move my truck for you.  Yeah?”

As I got closer, his dark hair came into view and the lower half of his face sported a short beard of the same color. He wasn’t classically handsome, but he certainly wasn’t bad to look at either.  His bright green eyes had small lines that radiated from them, making him around my age.  He was definitely rugged and his tanned skin made me think he worked outdoors a lot.

“That’s very fair Mr.-?” I hedged.

“MacAteer.   The name’s Connor MacAteer.

 

Saturday Spotlight – Samantha by Penny Anglene

Samantha PreOrder BannerTitle: Samantha

Series: Ink-Fusions Book 2

Author: Penny Anglene

Genre: MC Romance, Contemporary Romance, Standalone

Release Date: January 27, 2020

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/50526509-samantha

Book tagline: Everyone deserves to be loved.

Samantha_eCoverBlurb: 

Samantha

Abandoned at an orphanage as an infant, not allowed to be adopted out, I’ve always craved family, to belong. My life was about fighting and scratching for everything I wanted or needed. Seeing him, knowing he was what I wanted, I pursued him but why do I keep pushing him away when I know he is it for me. Trust is a big issue for me, If I can’t trust him, I’m going to lose him. With a life of hardships, it makes trust nearly impossible.

Dog

I watched her through windows and stalked her. She didn’t even know it. Then I introduced myself in the most unconventional way. Samantha is it for me. Now to make her see it. Then everything went to shit, it exploded all around us. Although I didn’t lie to her, omitting the truth was just as bad. What can I do to show her it’s not always like this. I need to make her see that I would love her unconditionally if she would just stop running.

82310543_856279548122554_7475290669158760448_nPre-Order Links (Kindle Unlimited): 

Amazon US: https://amzn.to/2TzcD8E

Amazon CA: https://amzn.to/30wo6qY

Amazon UK: https://amzn.to/2R5nCoB

Amazon AU: https://amzn.to/375tIuV

In The Series: 

Jax (Ink-Fusions #1)

Amazon US: https://amzn.to/34NdCof

Amazon CA: https://amzn.to/34NQW71

Amazon UK: https://amzn.to/33w6JXZ

Amazon AU: https://amzn.to/2NuFOGm

Author Social Media Links:

❣️Twitter: https://twitter.com/AAnglene

❣️Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pennyangleneauthor/

❣️Penny’s Dream…– https://www.facebook.com/groups/687547065063779/

❣️Bookbub:-https://www.bookbub.com/authors/penny-anglene

❣️Goodreads:https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/19677092.Penny_Anglene

❣️Amazon author: amazon.com/author/pennyanglene

Giveaway:  $10 Amazon Gift Card

Direct link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/81aa78942178/

 

Cover Reveal – Wicked Saint by Veronica Eden

Title: Wicked Saint

Series: Sinners and Saints #1

Author: Veronica Eden

Release: February 10, 2020

Genre: Dark New Adult High School Romance / Bully Romance – Age group 18+

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/49377465-wicked-saint

sinnersandsaints-wickedsaint_veronicaeden-FULLBlurb:

GEMMA

He stole my first kiss… and now he thinks everything else is his.

I said no to the one person no one at this school dares to refuse.

Now I’m targeted by jealous girls, guys that compete to be the first to “break the prude”, and by him. After one kiss, the king of the school hunts me down like I’m a conquest to win. He’ll have to fight harder than that, because I’m no one’s trophy.

They all want a piece of me, but I will not bend or break for them.

LUCAS

No one refuses the king.

One case of mistaken identity and a hasty kiss turned my world upside down.

The new girl refused me. Not only that, she threw down the gauntlet. That won’t stand. No one ever says no to me. This school is mine and she’ll learn her place as a loyal follower or her life is going up in flames.

I’ll make her say yes. She’ll be screaming it before I’m finished breaking her.

PreOrder (Kindle Unlimited):

Amazon US: https://amzn.to/2Tz2icV

Amazon CA: https://amzn.to/2R5h9di

Amazon UK: https://amzn.to/2RucgcL

Amazon AU: https://amzn.to/2G4Ta80

Wicked Saint Teaser 1

Author Bio:

Veronica Eden is the author of dark new adult romances + reverse harem romances with spitfire heroines and irresistible heroes. She loves exploring complicated feelings, magical worlds, epic adventures, and the bond of characters that embrace us against the world. She has always been drawn to gruff antiheroes, clever villains, and the twisty-turns of morally gray decisions. She believes sometimes the villain should get the girl and is a sucker for a deliciously devilish antihero. Veronica Eden is the pen name of romance author Mara Townsend. When not writing, she can be found soaking up sunshine at the beach, snuggling in a pile with her untamed pack of animals (her husband, dog and cat), and surrounding herself with as many plants as she can get her hands on.

BookBrushImage334 (1)Social Media Links:

Name: Mara Townsend (pen name Veronica Eden)

Email: maratownsendauthor@gmail.com (also veronicaedenauthor@gmail.com)

Amazon: http://amazon.com/author/veronicaeden

Bookbub: http://bookbub.com/profile/veronica-eden

Goodreads: http://goodreads.com/veronicaedenauthor

Instagram: http://instagram.com/veronicaedenauthor

Facebook: http://facebook.com/veronicaedenauthor

Twitter: http://twitter.com/authormarat

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/maratownsendauthor

 

FREE Friday – To Weave a Highland Tapestry by Mary Morgan

to weave a highland tapestry bannerTo Weave a Highland Tapestry

A Tale from the Order of the Dragon Knights

by Mary Morgan

Genre: Time Travel/Scottish Medieval/Paranormal Romance

Print Length: 196 pages

Publisher: The Wild Rose Press, Inc

Publication Date: December 9, 2019

Patrick MacFhearguis, hardened by battles won and lost, desires what he can never have—peace within his heart and soul. Yet, the ever-meddling Fae weave a new journey for him to conquer—a task this Highlander is determined to resist.

When skilled weaver, Gwen Hywel, is commissioned to create a tapestry for the MacFhearguis clan she embraces the assignment. While seeking out ideas, she finds herself clutching the one thread that can alter the tapestry of her heart and life.

A man conflicted by past deeds. A woman with no family of her own. Is it possible for love to unravel an ancient past in order to claim two badly scarred hearts? Or will the light of hope be doused forever?

Add to Goodreads

Amazon * Apple * B&N * Google * Kobo * Website

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/48481298-to-weave-a-highland-tapestry

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Buy Links

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Weave-Highland-Tapestry-Dragon-Knights-ebook/dp/B07Z2ZWQW7/

Apple: https://books.apple.com/us/book/to-weave-a-highland-tapestry/id1483415813

B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/to-weave-a-highland-tapestry-mary-morgan/1134375461

Google: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Mary_Morgan_To_Weave_A_Highland_Tapestry?id=yD_BDwAAQBAJ

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/to-weave-a-highland-tapestry

Website: https://www.marymorganauthor.com/to-weave-a-highland-tapestry
twht - about the author

Mary Morgan_267x400Award-winning Celtic paranormal and fantasy romance author, Mary Morgan, resides in Northern California with her own knight in shining armor. However, during her travels to Scotland, England, and Ireland, she left a part of her soul in one of these countries and vows to return.

Mary’s passion for books started at an early age along with an overactive imagination. Inspired by her love for history and ancient Celtic mythology, her tales are filled with powerful warriors, brave women, magic, and romance. It wasn’t until the closure of Borders Books where Mary worked that she found her true calling by writing romance. Now, the worlds she created in her mind are coming to life within her stories.

If you enjoy history, tortured heroes, and a wee bit of magic, then time-travel within the pages of her books.

Author Links

Website: https://www.marymorganauthor.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MaryMorganAuthor/

Twitter: http://twitter.com/m_morganauthor

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/marymorgan2/

Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/marymorgan50/

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/mary-morgan

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Mary-Morgan/e/B00KPE3NWI/

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8271002.Mary_Morgan

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/mary-morgan-2634a77a/

twht - giveaway

$25 Amazon Gift Card 

Follow the tour HERE for special content and a giveaway!

https://www.silverdaggertours.com/sdsxx-tours/to-weave-a-highland-tapestry-book-tour-and-giveaway

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