AuThursday – Sarah M. Reed

Tell us a little about yourself and your background? 

When I was seven years old, I wrote a story for a contest and won a blue ribbon. I continued to write stories throughout my childhood and adolescence but didn’t enter any more contests or even show them to anyone! A few years ago when my parents moved they found some of my old things to send me and my old stories were in there. It inspired me to take up writing stories again. During the last year and a half due to being stuck at home with Covid and whatnot I have finally had the time to publish and put them out there. 

How do you make time to write? 

Writing is my favorite pastime and my best self-care strategy. I write because it feels good to write. I write because the stories come to me and I want to tell them. I fit in writing among my many other activities without any sort of schedule, just when I have the time and the inspiration I sit and I write. 

Do you believe in writer’s block?

I believe that inspiration comes and goes but writer’s block is usually from forcing a story or a character to go in a direction it doesn’t want to go. Usually by relaxing, taking a step back and reimagining the story, the block is removed. 

Tell us a bit about the genre you write and why you love it. 

I write contemporary romance novels with strong women and good-hearted men. My books are slow burn, all of them, and character-driven. They include elements of suspense or intrigue or drama. These are the types of books I most like to read, and so these are the type of books I write. Ultimately, I write for me. I write a book I will love and characters I will fall in love with. I have written across several different romance tropes, though I have yet to write one in my favorite trope – enemies to lovers. 

How are you publishing your recent book and why? 

I initially published as an indie author through Amazon’s KDP program because it’s easy and quick and virtually cost free. I began publishing just for me – in order to have my finished books on my shelf. The fact that others have read them and enjoyed them is really just a bonus! 

Are you an Introvert or Extrovert? How does this affect your work? 

I think I am an extroverted introvert. I love being around people. I am an avid listener and like to hear people’s stories. But ultimately, people wear me out, and so I like my alone time too to girl up with a book or binge watch a little tv. 

What is your favorite motivational phrase? 

Be the change you want to see in the world. – Gandhi 

What advice would you give to aspiring writers? 

WRITE. It seems simple, and really it is. You can’t edit something that’s not on the page. Even if it’s rough or stupid or grammatically incorrect, write it down and figure it out later. First drafts are always messy. 

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

Facebook www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100054158571494

Or my Goodreads page www.goodreads.com/author/show/20514616.Sarah_M_Reed 

Do you have an excerpt you’d like to share with us?

This is from my most recent novel, “Not Part of the Plan”: 

When the bell rang and it was finally his turn at her table, Simon slid smoothly into the chair opposite her and greeted her cheerfully. “Hi, Emma. Fancy meeting you here.” 

Scowling, she grunted, “What are you doing here?” 

He shrugged casually, a playful glint in his eyes. “Well, you made speed dating sound so interesting that I thought I would check it out for myself.” 

“This event is for people who have trouble finding dates,” she hissed through clenched teeth. “When in your life have you ever had trouble finding a date?” 

“Well,” he scratched his cheek as though considering. “There was this one time that this girl shot me down before I even got to say hello.” 

“Which you probably deserved,” she replied flippantly, “Seeing as how you were bugging her and she wanted to be left alone.” 

“And yet here she is, looking for a date among the sad and the lonely.” He shook his head. “It’s puzzling.” Grimacing, she crossed her arms over her chest. “It seemed like a good idea at the time.” 

“Yeah? And how’s it working out for you?” 

Her eyes flashed. “Not as well as I had hoped.” 

Chuckling, he patted his suit pocket. “Not so bad for me. I already have four phone numbers.” “What? That’s not how it’s supposed to work.” 

He raised his hands defensively. “I didn’t ask for them. They just gave them to me. Was I supposed to say no?” “Yes!” 

“Why?” 

“Because that’s…” she scrambled to find the right word, “Cheating.” 

A slow grin crossed his face. “Admit it, Emma. You’re jealous.” 

“I am not jealous,” she denied hotly. 

Leaning his elbows on the table, he moved forward into her space. Lowering his voice, he asked, “What if I told you that the woman at table five had a very friendly foot that tried to make its way to the promised land?” 

“The promised land?” she scoffed. “That’s what you call it?” 

“Of course not,” he objected with mock offense. “But it seemed more polite.” 

Slapping her hand against her forehead, she exclaimed, “Seriously, Simon, why are you here?” 

The laughter left his face as he met her eyes directly. The intensity of his gaze in that moment stole her breath away. Quietly, he admitted, “I guess a six-minute date with you is better than no date at all.” 

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AuThursday – RT Chambers

Informal head & shoulder RTC - at stable in HungaryTell us a little about yourself and your background? 

Retired trauma surgeon who wrote for much of my career as a stress reliever with no intent to publish. After retirement from surgery I began to publish. 

How do you make time to write? 

In the winter 

Do you believe in writer’s block? 

As a transitory event, yes. 

Tell us a bit about the genre you write and why you love it. 

I write about strong women as dating back to the Isle of Skye in the 18th century there are multiple stories of strong women in my family including my mother who earner a four year business degree in the 1930’s, unusual for men and unheard of for women. 

How are you publishing your recent book and why? 

Indie 

Are you an Introvert or Extrovert? How does this affect your work? 

Extrovert and not sure that it does affect my writing. 

What is your favorite motivational phrase? 

Get off your ass and get going (directed at myself only). 

What advice would you give to aspiring writers? 

Ultimately you need to be concerned with character arcs and plot points but for the first draft just write as your cortex directs you. 

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

www.Amazon.com/author/roberttchambers 

Do you have an excerpt you’d like to share with us? 

FrontCoverForInternet (1)

Facing the central part of the cafeteria, Kimberly could see Layla coming toward them from a corridor on the opposite side. There was a boy she didn’t recognize a few feet behind Layla. Something was not right. He had on a heavy jacket, which was weird this early in the fall. Instinctively she started to get up to find a teacher. Before her eyes, the boy disappeared in a cloud of fire, black and debris. As she ducked under the table, she saw Layla flying to their right. The explosion was sufficiently violent that the glass behind Kimberly and Allison blew out. Kimberly immediately got to her feet and began running toward the blast zone. 

“Wait, Kim, don’t go there,” Allison yelled after her, “we’ve got to get out.” 

Kimberly could hardly hear her but yelled, “Come on, people will need help.” 

The people, kids, and teachers near them, were on their feet or sitting stunned. With Allison following, Kimberly ran to where she had seen Layla. In front of them, there was a black void where nothing was moving. Around the periphery, kids, and adults, were screaming, many people were down. 

Layla was down, her body sprawled grotesquely, not moving; Kimberly squatted and felt for a pulse. There was none. Layla’s head was loosely, grotesquely, positioned on her body. 

“Oh my God, she’s dead, isn’t she,” cried Allison. 

“Yes,” replied Kimberly. She had never seen a dead person before, but there was no way Layla was alive. Kimberly shook her head and swallowed as she tried to process what she was seeing. Allison was sitting crying. “Come on, Allison, we’re Girl Scouts and know first aid. We can’t help Layla, but others need us.” Allison stared at her. Putting her hand out, Kimberly pulled her friend to her feet and got in her face. “Come on; we need to be useful.” 

The crying girl nodded and followed as Kimberly turned to look for living victims who needed help. Within a few steps, she almost tripped over somebody. 

AuThursday – Judy Ford

IMG_20180908_095815707Tell us a little about yourself and your background?

I’ve lived all my life in Britain. For the last 40 years, I’ve lived with my husband (also a mathematician) in Cheshire, a county in the North West region of England. We have three grown-up children and six grandchildren.

I first attempted to write fiction when I was a young mother at home with my baby son. I don’t suppose those manuscripts were much good and I certainly didn’t have any success in finding a publisher for them!

I was always good at mathematics as a child and I went on to do two degrees in the subject. I’ve worked in universities and as a research manager in the National Health Service. I began writing again during a time between jobs in 2014. By then, things had moved on a lot when it comes to books. E-books and print-on-demand paperbacks made publishing very different from when I’d first tried to get my novels published – and, now that I had more life experience, I had more that I could write about.

How do you make time to write?

I get up early (my alarm is set for 5.20 a.m.) and devote the first hour and a half (before my husband gets up) to writing. That way, I usually manage to make some progress on my current book every day.

Do you believe in writer’s block?

Because most of my books have a “whodunnit” element to them, meticulous planning is essential before I start writing. This means that it’s unusual for me to be completely stuck when I sit down to write, because I can always go back to the plan to decide what needs to happen next. If a chapter goes slowly, it’s often because I suddenly realise that I need to do more research before I can write it. 

I find the first and last pages of each book the hardest to write and I often have to re-write them a few times. The first chapter is hard because there are always several alternative ways of telling a story and it’s important to find one that will capture the reader’s imagination from the start. The ending is hard because I want my readers to feel that they have finished the story rather than that it has just fizzled out – even if there is scope for developing the characters further in a sequel.

Tell us a bit about the genre you write and why you love it.

I write detective fiction. I’ve always loved traditional “whodunnits”. I suppose, being a mathematician, I enjoy the puzzle element, but I’m also interested in why people do what they do. I like to read about three-dimensional characters with mixed motives and complicated feelings. 

I’m a Methodist Local Preacher, which means that I regularly lead church services. In my sermons, I try to get the congregation to think for themselves, asking questions rather than presenting them with my answers. In my writing, I also try to prompt my readers to think about issues that they may not have considered before. For example, one of my detectives is disabled and this sometimes people make assumptions about him (either that he’s incapable or that he’s a hero for doing ordinary things that others take for granted).

Kenny HughesHow are you publishing your recent book and why? (*e.g. Indie, traditional, or both)

I self-publish my books through Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP), ACX (for the audiobook editions) and Kobo Writing Life. After failing to persuade a literary agent to take on my first two books, I heard from a colleague about KDP and decided to give it a go. Not wanting to be tied exclusively to Amazon, I looked into alternative platforms and found Kobo. Although it means a lot of work, I like the control that self-publishing gives me and I’ve enjoyed teaching myself about type-setting, cover design, narration and audio-recording techniques.

Are you an Introvert or Extrovert? How does this affect your work?

I’m an introvert, but one who isn’t fazed by standing up and addressing an audience. Social events scare me, but delivering a lecture or leading a training event is no sweat! I don’t think this affects my writing much – although perhaps it makes me more content to sit alone in my study and write – but it does impede my ability to promote my work. I’m not good at sounding my own trumpet, especially in a one-to-one situation.

What is your favorite motivational phrase?

“If a thing’s worth doing, it’s worth doing badly!”

This is a quotation from one of my favourite writers, GK Chesterton. It’s about not allowing yourself to be deterred from doing something just because there might be someone else who could do it “better”. Everyone has their own unique way of doing things and life would be duller if we handed everything over to the “experts” rather than being willing to “have a go”.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

  • Write because you love it, not because you expect to make a lot of money. 
  • Remember that there’s a lot of luck involved and if your books don’t become best-sellers, that’s not necessarily because they’re no good. 
  • Find one or two people that you trust to read your work before publication and suggest how it could be improved.
  • Be prepared to be ruthless with editing – if you are uneasy about a passage, it probably needs changing (or even eliminating!)

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

I have a website where I put information about my books: https://sites.google.com/view/bernie-fazakerley/home

One of my main characters, Bernie, has her own website: https://sites.google.com/site/llanwrdafamily/

I also have a Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/Bernie.Fazakerley.Publications)  and Twitter account (https://twitter.com/JudyFordAuthor) where I promote my books and post about special offers.

My WordPress site (https://wordpress.com/view/berniefaz.wordpress.com) has more information about the technical side of writing and publishing, including a step-by-step description of how I designed some of my book covers.

Do you have an excerpt you’d like to share with us?

I hope this passage isn’t too long. It’s a scene from “Weed Killers” which is about the death of a young police officer. In this passage his father, Gavin, also serving in the police, talks with an old friend who has his own earlier experience of the violent death of a loved-one.

You can listen to me narrating this excerpt here: https://youtu.be/HbZsNq1LwfQ

 

9781911083696‘Thank you for coming,’ Gavin murmured apologetically as he let Peter into the house. ‘Come through to the kitchen,’ he added looking down at Peter’s foil-wrapped parcels. ‘We’ll put those in the fridge for later.’ Then he leaned over the bannister rail and called up the stairs, ‘Chrissie darling! Peter’s here!’

Looking round the kitchen, Peter spotted the refrigerator and went over to put away the packets of food. He squeezed them in on the bottom shelf next to a half-eaten meat pie. Straightening up, he turned to see Gavin at the sink, filling the electric kettle.

‘Sit down.’ He indicated a high stool next to a breakfast bar, which extended from the wall near to where the kettle was plugged in. ‘I’ll make us some tea.’

Peter climbed on to the stool and leaned his elbows on the counter. He watched silently as Gavin replaced the kettle on its stand and then crossed the kitchen and opened a glass-fronted wall cupboard containing crockery. While his back was turned, Peter reached over and pressed down the switch on the kettle prompting the power light to come on and the kettle to hiss encouragingly.

Gavin returned with a stainless-steel teapot and three cups and saucers, which he put down on a metal tray that lay on the working surface next to the kettle.

‘I don’t suppose Chrissie will be long,’ he said, reaching for a packet of teabags and starting to count them out into the teapot. ‘She’s in Kenny’s room, sorting out his things.’

‘I thought your sister did all that when she was here at the weekend?’

‘Umm. Well that’s another thing,’ Gavin mumbled miserably, adding two more teabags to the pot. ‘I made her stop. I behaved very badly about it. I don’t know if she’ll ever forgive me.’

‘Of course she will,’ Peter told him emphatically, grasping Gavin’s hand gently in his and moving it away from the teapot, ‘unless you keep giving her tea as strong as the pot you’re making for us just now!’ he added, smiling across the breakfast bar at his friend.

Gavin gazed down at the teapot. Then he turned it over and shook it. A dozen or more teabags fell out on to the work surface. He looked up at Peter and managed a brief grin in return.

‘I don’t seem to be able to concentrate on anything these days,’ he muttered, shaking his head at his own ineptitude. ‘This morning I squirted Chrissie’s face cream on to my toothbrush instead of toothpaste!’

‘Don’t worry. It’s all part of the process,’ Peter assured him gently. ‘That part won’t last for ever. Just try not to let it bother you too much. And seriously: your sister will understand that whatever you did was only because of what you’re going through. I’m sure she won’t hold it against you.’

Gavin put three teabags into the pot and then busied himself trying to squeeze the remaining ones back into the packet.

‘I haven’t shouted at Lorraine like that since the time she deliberately broke the head off my action man when I was seven,’ he told Peter morosely. ‘I don’t know what got into me. It was after we got back from our walk. Remember? You didn’t come in because you needed to get off home, so I said I’d say your goodbyes to Chrissie and the others.’

Peter nodded.

‘I was feeling a lot better for having got out in the fresh air for a bit,’ Gavin continued, ‘and I thought we’d be able to finish agreeing on the funeral arrangements before it was time for them to get off to the station, and then Chrissie and I would have the house to ourselves again.’

The kettle clicked off and Gavin picked it up and added boiling water to the teapot.

‘But then, when I got in, there was Chrissie in the kitchen, weeping buckets into that box of Kenny’s things that Dennis had brought down from his room. Do you remember?’

Peter nodded.

‘She said she wanted them to stop. She said she didn’t want anyone else messing with Kenny’s things. I just grabbed the box and stormed upstairs with it and threw it down on the bed and told them to put everything back where they’d found it and then get out of the house.’

‘I don’t blame you,’ Peter said with feeling, imagining how he would have felt if anyone had touched any of Angie’s possessions uninvited. ‘And I’m sure, when she thinks about it, your sister won’t either,’ he added firmly. ‘She’s probably stressed out too, with thinking about the way Kenny was killed, and I’m sure she thought she was helping.’

‘I know,’ Gavin groaned. ‘That’s what makes me shouting at her like that so awful.’

‘Not at all,’ Peter insisted. ‘Honestly. At a time like this you really can’t be held responsible for what you do. I’m just amazed at how well you’re both holding things together. I still can’t get over how Chrissie coped with that nativity play. She was wonderful.’

‘It was because she didn’t want to let down the kids,’ Gavin told him, wandering over to the fridge and getting out a bottle of milk. He brought it across the room, and set it down on the working surface next to the tray. ‘It was the same this morning. She was up at six getting everything ready for the Homeless party; and then, while we were there, she was pulling crackers and joking with them, almost as if … as if …’

He picked up the milk and returned it to the fridge.

‘Chrissie’s always been the practical one,’ he resumed, leaning across the worktop so that his face was close to Peter’s. ‘She keeps the house running like clockwork, and she always likes to keep busy. I think all the time she had things she had to do, she could push what happened to Kenny to the back of her mind and just get on with getting them done. That’s why Lorraine coming in and trying to take over was such a disaster. And that’s why …’

He wiped his hand across his face and turned away to look for something in one of the wall cupboards.

‘You don’t take sugar, do you Peter?’ he enquired, turning round again and holding up a bag of it.

‘No, but I would like some milk, if that’s OK.’

‘Haven’t I just …?’ Gavin stared blankly at the empty cups and then shuffled over to the fridge again.

‘As I was saying,’ he resumed as he poured milk into each cup. ‘Chrissie was there being the life and soul of the party and I was just sitting in the corner wishing it was all over and we could go home and maybe just sit for a bit and watch a film on the telly. But then, when we got home … I suppose it was the anti-climax, and not having any reason to keep going anymore.’

Peter picked up the milk bottle and carried it back to the fridge to give Gavin time to collect his thoughts.

‘When we walked in the door, the first thing we saw was that teddy bear in the police costume – you know, the one somebody left with the flowers?’

‘Mmm,’ Peter nodded. ‘I remember.’

‘Chrissie had washed it and put it on the radiator in the hall to dry. Anyway, she just picked it up and went upstairs with it. She said she needed to sort out Kenny’s things. I did try to persuade her to leave it for a bit – at least until we’d had a sit down – but she said she needed to feel close to him again. I realised afterwards that Wednesday was her day for tidying Kenny’s room. She used to do it while he was out at the Scouts. I suppose it probably helped her to keep to the old routine. Anyway, I made us a mug of tea and took hers up to her. I know I ought to have stayed with her and helped, but I just couldn’t face it.’

‘Don’t beat yourself up about it,’ Peter said gently. ‘Everyone grieves differently. And if Chrissie always tidies Kenny’s room on her own, she may not even have wanted you there.’

‘The thing is: when I got up there, she wasn’t tidying the room. She was just sitting there on the bed holding that teddy bear and staring into space. I put the mug down on the bedside table and came downstairs again. I’ve been up again a couple of times, but she’s still just the same – staring ahead like she was in a trance. So that’s where she is now,’ he finished. ‘I don’t think she can have heard me call. I’d better go up and get her. She won’t want to have missed you.’

He looked towards the door, but made no attempt to move from his position, leaning on the worktop. Then suddenly he looked up and caught Peter’s eye across the breakfast bar.

‘Why did it happen to Kenny?’ he demanded in an anguished voice. ‘Why was he the one who got sent round the back of the house? With his whole life before him! Why couldn’t it have been me they picked instead?’ He brought both fists down heavily on the work top, staring across at Peter defiantly for a moment before dropping his head and gazing down at the marble-effect work surface.

For a long time, neither of them moved or spoke. Then Gavin straightened up and gave Peter a sheepish grin. ‘I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to …. I’ll go and get Chrissie.’ He looked down at the teacups.  ‘Could you take those through to the front room? We won’t be long.’

Peter came round to the other side of breakfast bar to pick up the tray. As he passed Gavin, he gave him a pat on the shoulder. ‘Please believe me. It never goes away, but it won’t always be as bad as this.’

AuThursday – G.M.J.

Tell us a little about yourself and your background?

Hi! My name is Gordana Mucha Jakelic. I go under the pen-name of G.M.J. I come from a small town, Split, on the coast of Croatia. I wrote this book, ‘Aurora . . . and God’ when I was 17.  I was still in high school then, and I just got inspired like many teenagers as I was daydreaming about romance. But eventually, it felt like as if someone took my hands and wrote the book through me, making it all about faith and something deeper. I don’t know; I just let it come out of me like it was a spirit guidance or an old inspiration – But I wrote it like that. 

How do you make time to write?

Well, my whole day is usually packed with a schedule. So, when I get up, I usually have coffee in a café first. Then, I go to the Gym, and after that I head to work. During the evening hours, I relax, and I write depending on the current book project I am working on. Sometimes my writing can go on for two months straight. Sometimes I do not write anything for another two months. Because, I usually go by inspiration. 

Do you believe in writer’s block? 

Well, I don’t really see it as a writer’s block. I as usually go by inspiration, I guess maybe you can say that writers block comes when the inspiration runs dry?

Tell us a bit about the genre you write and why you love it. 

There are a lot of genres in my writings. But I am always trying to celebrate life, whether it’s the one we are living in now, or the one where we departure to another world. I like to write about faith because I experience some miracles and I saw other people experiencing the same too. I like to write about those experiences and real-life sample stories where people struggle, and how through their struggle, they reach to find faith and God. In that way, I like theology as well, so, I am always trying to mix these two up and make a book with a strong message and motivation. 

How are you publishing your recent book and why? 

I self-published my recent book, Aurora . . . and God, on Amazon. However, my first book was published by a traditional publisher 11 years ago in Serbia. That book was titled ‘A handful of nothing’. Since Aurora . . . and God was translated to English, I decided to publish independently on Amazon, but I am still not sure if it is a good idea to push and try for a traditional publisher too. 

Are you an Introvert or Extrovert?  How does this affect your work? 

I am an introvert, but it does not affect my work. Because my work is affected by faith and my believe and love for people. I try to be objective in my writing and not thing about being an introvert or extrovert. 

What is your favorite motivational phrase?

Beside a few biblical ones, I would say

“Be good to yourself”.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Write whether you are trying to publish or not. Always write because it feeds your soul. You become a better person when you do something good when you feed your soul. 

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

I do not have a website currently, and I am still contemplating if I should start one. However, you may find my ‘About the Author’ page on Amazon. My book is also on Goodreads, and I am on Instagram too. 

Amazon Link: bit.ly/AuroraandGodGMJ

Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/53450198-aurora-and-god

Instagram Link: https://www.instagram.com/the_curious_editor/

Do you have an excerpt you’d like to share with us?

Maybe I could share a …(blurb)… of my book: 

Aurora and God GMJ400A young troublesome addict, Aurora, and a priest on a mission, Sebastian, form a beautiful friendship. Slowly their friendship takes a turn when Sebastian starts to slowly distance himself from Aurora, hiding his true reasons.

This book delves into the depths of one family’s struggles to reveal the core of human existence and the basis for all human life; the love of God. We long for it, even if we do not admit it, even though it is all around us. We run from it, even though we want it. We push it away, even though it is life sustaining. No matter how hard we deny it, push it away, or run from it, it is always there. Because God is always there. Simply waiting for us to accept it.

AuThursday – Sadie Torrance

Tell us a little about yourself and your background?

I have always been a creative type even as a child. I would write to entertain myself. It was my favourite pastime as a child and remained my favourite pastime as an adult. When I started my own family, I shared my love of stories with my children. I would write fantastic tales of magic and adventures and regale my kids with stories designed just for them. At the same time, I would write books to amuse myself. When my kids became adolescents, they discovered Wattpad and suggested I post my work so others could enjoy it. I gave it a go, and it took off. Within a year, I was approached by an editor from Dreame and was signed as a paid author on their site. Again, my work was well-received by readers. Encouraged by this small success, I decided to try publishing and hopefully build a professional writing career.    

How do you make time to write? 

I find it easy to make time because it something I love and am passionate about. Even when the day demands, my attention be focused on family, work, or errands; the writing is always in the back of my mind. When I am genuinely inspired, and on a roll, I will sacrifice sleep to write.  

Do you believe in writer’s block?

I absolutely believe in writer’s block. I have suffered from it many times. It’s frustrating when you sit there and stare at the black page, knowing you should write, but nothing good comes to you. When I’m faced with writer’s block, and I can’t work past it, I turn to other amusements. I have a passion for music almost as much as writing. So, I put on my headphones, crank up the music, and lose myself in the private concert in my head. More often then not, it gets my creativity flowing once more and sparks inspiration, curing my writer’s block. 

Tell us a bit about the genre you write and why you love it. 

My chosen genre is Romance/Adventure. I don’t limit myself to one type of romance style. I have written historical romances, contemporary romance, science fiction romance, and even paranormal romance. I like romance because I enjoy the emotion and the banter between the characters. I love throwing in aspects of adventure and plot twists to keep things exciting. I find a story is always more gripping when the reader has no idea what is going to happen next.

How are you publishing your recent book, and why? (*e.g. Indie, traditional or both) 

I chose self-publishing. I had often tried to publish traditionally but found it impossible to get any publisher or literary agents to even speak to me. It was incredibly frustrating and discouraging. Every time I thought about giving up, I told myself, “even Harry Potter was rejected thousands of times before it was published.” Just because someone else couldn’t see my worth didn’t mean I wasn’t a good writer. So, I decided to do it myself. I went online and collaborated with professional freelance editors and formatters, making sure my book was polished and professional. It took some time, but once I had a professional finished product, I uploaded it and put it up for sale.  

  Are you an Introvert or Extrovert? How does this affect your work? 

I am an introvert. I enjoy my own company and the company of family and close friends. I keep my circle small. Since I spend most of my time at home with my husband and children, I have plenty of time to write. I choose the people I interact with carefully. Those I let into my life are all interesting and wacky people. Their life stories and crazy antics often inspire characters and situations in my work. 

What is your favourite motivational phrase? 

“It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.” ―Confucius 

It reminds me that the only way to succeed is never to give up. Setbacks happen. Obstacles present themselves. The only people who reach their goals are the ones that fall, but get up and try again. 

What advice would you give to aspiring writers? 

Write for yourself. If you love the story, someone else will love it too. Believe in yourself, because if you don’t, no one else will either.  

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web? 

I have four e-books available on Smashwords.com and AmazonKDP.com.  

https://www.smashwords.com/THE BARBARIAN KING SAGAS (historical romance) 

PROJECT HELLFIRE (contemporary science fiction romance) 

RUTHLESS (contemporary crime romance) 

THE CARIBBEAN’S MOST WANTED (historical romance) 

Do you have an excerpt you’d like to share with us? 

The Barbarian King Sagas: 

“She is not a witch; she never was. She lied to me, and my father paid the price.” He confessed, knowing that Finn would keep his confidence. 

“Oh,” Finn sighed as he finally grasped the gravity of his woe. “Cain, do not dwell on it. I know you wanted to save him; we all did, but Regin was very sick, and he was going to die no matter what you did. He knew that, we all knew that, the only person that had not accepted that was you. Do not hate the girl. She did what she had to do to survive. She is a strong woman and a strong man needs a strong woman behind him.” 

“I cannot excuse her lies.” His father was dead, and it was Zahra’s fault. 

“You threatened to kill her if she were not a witch. What would you have done in her position? 

“I would have fought,” he said with defiance. “And I would have won.” 

Finn snickered, “Well, that is because you are a man, but she is but a small, frail woman.” 

“I will never forgive her.” 

“Forgive her or not unless you throw her overboard you, my dear friend, are stuck with her. The joys of marriage.” Finn laughed and slapped Cain on the back hard. 

He was right. Why his father chose Zahra for his wife, Cain would never understand. What about her made his father believe she would make a good queen? “Throwing her overboard has merit.” He grinned, knowing he would never do it. Zahra’s deception left him fuming, but he did not wish her harm. After all, she had saved his life when the snake had bitten him. She could have let him die and escape, but she had saved his life and stayed even though she had no reason to. He supposed not tossing her overboard was a fine way to make them even. 

“Come now, lad. It is better to kiss and make up. War is fine, but when women are concerned, peace is preferred.” 

AuThursday – Valerie Tobin

Please welcome Val Tobin to the Clog Blog!  Val, tell us a little about yourself and your background?

Thank you, Tina, for giving me this opportunity to share about myself and my work.

I grew up in Willowdale, Ontario. That seemed like the big city to me, but for those who lived in Toronto, it was the boonies. I went to elementary and high school in Willowdale, and graduated from Earl Haig Secondary School after grade thirteen, which they offered at the time.

After a semester of Book Editing and Design at Centennial College, I studied general arts at the University of Waterloo, then went to DeVry Toronto and got a diploma in Computer Information Systems. I worked in the computer industry as a software and Web developer for over ten years.

In October 2004, I became a certified Reiki Master/Teacher. I acquired ATP® certification in March 2008, in Kona, Hawaii from Doreen Virtue, Ph.D. I started work on a bachelor of science in parapsychic science from the American Institute of Holistic Theology in March 2007 and received my degree in September 2010. After obtaining my master’s degree in parapsychology at AIHT, I returned in 2008 to Kona, Hawaii to complete the Advanced ATP® training and in April 2010 to take the spiritual writing workshop and the mediumship certification class.

In the meantime, I wrote for tech site Community MX and for Suite101, and I was Topic Editor for Paganism/Wicca and Webmaster Resources at Suite.

I’ve published over ten books and contributed a story to Doreen Virtue’s Hay House book Angel Words. My novels are available on Smashwords, Amazon, and from other retailers in both e-book and paperback.

How do you make time to write?

I dedicate time in the day to writing a targeted number of words. Some days, that target is as low as fifty words. Other days, the target is as high as 2,000 words. I’ve done NaNoWriMo almost every year since 2012, which helps me to at least once a year dedicate thirty days to writing 50,000 words.

Do you believe in writer’s block?

Yes. Sometimes I lose focus or inspiration. The way around it, for me, is to read. Reading a story I enjoy from an author whose work I love motivates me to write. Or reading books about the craft of writing inspires me. Or working on aspects of my WIP that have nothing to do with adding words to the story, such as delving into a character’s motivations, trigger ideas for the story. Writer’s block is real, but it’s never permanent.

Tell us a bit about the genre you write and why you love it. 

I write in a variety of genres: horror, fantasy, romance, science fiction, and I’m also working on a non-fiction book. I love stories and I love writing, and the story I want to tell at the time decides the genre. 

My first novel is The Experiencers. It’s book one of the Valiant Chronicles series. It’s technically (literally) science fiction, but it’s also a thriller with a love story. The aliens and the technology make it SF. The non-stop action makes it a thriller, and the relationships add the love. I say love rather than romance because romance doesn’t drive the plot, and there’s no guarantee any of the relationships forged through the book will end happily.

Storm Lake, a short story, and The Hunted, a Storm Lake novel, are classified as horror because of the horrific creatures. They’re also SF because of the genetic manipulation integrated into the story. The relationship between Rachel and Hound Dog adds a romantic thread, but that’s not the story’s focus.

Injury, Poison Pen, Walk-In, Gillian’s Island, and You Again are all primarily romance, with Walk-In containing a paranormal element based on the new-age concept of the walk-in but with evil undertones, Poison Pen (a howcatchem story) and You Again (a whodunit story) containing murder, and Gillian’s Island having a mystery component (who’s sabotaging the resort?) Injury is pure romantic suspense and deals with a young actress who discovers the narrative she believed about her past is a lie.

What I love about these genres is they all have action, suspense, and relatable characters. My tastes have changed over the years, and I want more action and a faster pace in the books I read, so I inject that into my writing. Perhaps it’s a result of the tech boom and how everything happens so fast—often instantly. We don’t wait long for much of anything, and while I still appreciate reflective moments in a story, and do include them in my own works when required to move the plot forward or develop character, I enjoy short chapters and a fast pace.

I love writing about characters with a variety of traits, some I might share and some I don’t share at all, and exploring the world through their eyes and lives. For example, what I loved about Gillian in Gillian’s Island was showing how her thoughts differed from what she said because she was always afraid to speak her mind. The results were at times humorous. 

How are you publishing your recent book and why? (*e.g. Indie, traditional)

Indie. I have one story in a traditionally published book (a non-fiction book by Doreen Virtue and Grant Virtue called Angel Words and published by Hay House), but all my other books and stories are indie published.

An author friend who was traditionally published in the 1970’s and now indie publishes helped me make up my mind when I wrote my first novel. We discussed the pros and cons of both, and for me, indie made sense. My educational background, experience, and skills I’ve developed over the years make it possible for me to publish my work myself. I also am lucky to have found a great cover designer and team of beta readers and editors.

Are you an Introvert or Extrovert?  How does this affect your work? 

I’m an introvert, so it’s difficult for me to network and socialize. It’s an asset during quarantine though. Stay home and avoid people? That’s my default.

It affected my work positively, too, by triggering an idea for a story. The novel Gillian’s Island came about because I’m an introvert. I can remember the moment I got the idea, and for anyone who wants to know where ideas come from, here it is:

We have a friend who owns an island resort near Temagami, Ontario. We don’t hear from him often, but one day, sometime in 2015, he called us up. I’d never seen the resort, so I looked it up online. It occurred to me it would be difficult to run a resort if you’re an introvert. You have to deal with people constantly.

From there, my mind leaped to “but if you have a spouse to handle all that, you can deal with all the administrative stuff and leave the people stuff to him.” Then I thought, “But what if you get divorced, and you’re left holding the bag?”

You can see where this is going. I thought, “This was a great jumping-off point for a new story.” I could already see my main character taking shape: an introverted woman who runs an island resort with her husband. She does all the admin work and manages the place while her extroverted husband schmoozes and deals with all the people aspects. Except he leaves her for another woman, and now my MC is left to run the resort. Except hubby wants his share of the money from the resort, so now my MC—Gillian, her name will be Gillian—must sell the resort.

And she loved the resort. It’s an island, and aren’t many introverts islands? I thought it was perfect that she lived on an island and wanted to stay there but was forced off of it. Her journey in this story is to find herself, to learn to be an island among people. The point isn’t that she must stop being an introvert; the point is that she must accept who she is and allow herself to trust other people so she can build healthy relationships.

What is your favorite motivational phrase?

When you make music or write or create, it’s really your job to have mind-blowing, irresponsible, condomless sex with whatever idea it is you’re writing about at the time.” — Lady Gaga.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Write the first draft for you. Second drafts are for your inner editor. Give yourself permission to suck on that first draft. You’ll find it liberating to realize no one needs to read it but you.

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

Like me on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/valtobinauthor

Follow me on Twitter: https://twitter.com/valandbob

Subscribe to my blog: http://bobandval.wordpress.com/

Follow me on BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/val-tobin

Check out my profile on ALLi: https://www.allianceindependentauthors.org/members/val-tobin/profile/

Visit my website and sign up to receive my newsletter: http://www.valtobin.com/

Do you have an excerpt you’d like to share with us?

Yes, thank you. I’ll share an excerpt from my latest release, You Again. It’s a second-chance romance about an accounting tech for whom complications arise when she’s assigned her former lover as a client and his company’s previous financial controller is found dead.

At five o’clock, Ellen walked into the Foundation Saloon and, when she gave her name, the hostess led her to a table with a booth near the back of the dining room. Gabriel was already there, a half-empty stein of beer in front of him.

“Got an early start?” she asked. The hostess set a menu in front of Ellen, who took a seat across from him.

He waited for the hostess to leave and then said, his expression serious, his tone dark, “We have a problem.”

She smiled—a cross between a smirk and amusement. “You being dramatic?”

“No. You ever hear of Francesca Newton?”

“I trained her on the financial software BRI uses. She replaced me as controller when I quit.”

He leaned toward her and said in a low voice, “She’s dead.”

Cold dread washed over Ellen. “What do you mean dead?”

“When I got to the BRI offices today, a detective was there. He told me her husband found her body in their apartment. Looks like suicide, but the police are investigating and treating it as a suspicious death.”

“I’m sorry to hear that. She seemed like a nice woman. Young. What a waste. I’m sure it’s just a routine investigation. They do that for any death that isn’t natural, don’t they?” And why would this be a problem for her, or more specifically, them? There was no “them.”

“He said there were indications she was murdered.”

The oxygen in the room seemed to vanish and Ellen gasped. “What indications?”

“He wouldn’t tell me. But if they think someone killed her, they likely have evidence.”

She nodded, unable to speak. Francesca had been a pretty woman in her late twenties. She’d been so full of life. Yes, that was a cliché, but in Francesca’s case, it was an accurate description. The young woman had been eager to start the new job and had learned the software quickly. Ellen had been positive she’d work out well.

“What could’ve happened?” she said aloud though she spoke more to herself than to Gabriel.

He replied anyway. “I don’t know.”

She recalled his comment at the start of the conversation. “Why is this a problem for us?” The publicity might be bad for him, but she’d left that company too long ago for anyone to associate her with it. Unless she took over their books, as Carol had assigned her to do.

She needed to clear this up immediately. “It won’t be a problem for me. I’m not taking the account. Are you really thinking only of the bad press over this? A woman died. She either killed herself or someone murdered her. Isn’t that more important than what the media might say about you over it?”

Anger flared in his eyes and he scowled. “That’s not where my mind went. How could you think that?”

“Why wouldn’t I think that? I don’t know you anymore. What else is there?”

“Don’t you think it’s strange that such a successful company went downhill after you left?”

Before she could respond, the server, a perky, petite redhead with braids and freckles, arrived to take Ellen’s drink order. Deciding she needed one, she ordered a glass of red wine—the nine-ounce rather than the six-ounce option. When the woman left, Ellen picked up the menu. She didn’t feel hungry, but stress eating was one of her go-to coping mechanisms, and the news of what could be the murder of an acquaintance had definitely stressed her.

“Want to order food?” she asked.

When he remained silent, she peeked up from the menu. He stared at her, his lips pressed together.

“What’s wrong?” Did he think her callous for wanting to order food? “I stress eat, Gabe. I’m not heartless.”

He set his palms on the table, bracketing his mug of beer, and said, “It’s not that. I have to leave soon. I’m going somewhere else for dinner.”

Her whole body went cold. “You have a date,” she stated. “On a Thursday.”

“Yes. One I made two weeks ago. I’m sort of seeing someone …”

“Sort of?” Francesca’s death popped into her head, and she waved a hand at him. “Never mind. I don’t care. You’re free to see whomever you want and do whatever you want with her. What matters is what happened to Fran.”

He gave her a slow nod. “Right. So, answer my question.” 

“What question?”

“The company was prosperous. They had substantial revenues. Still do, from what I can tell. Their problems started after you left.”

She gasped. “You pinning that on Fran? Is that why you think she killed herself?”

“Or was murdered.”

Ellen brushed a hand through her hair, pulling errant strands off her face. The server arrived with the wine and set it in front of her.

“I’ll take an order of sweet potato fries,” Ellen told her. “Nothing for him,” she added with a nod in Gabriel’s direction.

After the redhead left again, Gabriel checked the time on his phone. “I have to go. Drinks and your food are on me. I’ll settle the tab on my way out. Order anything else you want. They’ll put it on my card.” He gazed at her contemplatively for a moment. “Don’t use it to get revenge on me.”

“Wow. Don’t worry. I can pay for my own food.”

“That was a joke, Ellen. Can we please forget the past? I’m sorry for what happened. We’ll figure it out. In the meantime, help me with BRI. Take on the account. Maybe, together, we can figure out if anything in the records could’ve triggered her death, whether by her own hand or someone else’s.”

“I don’t know. What I’ll do is think about it tonight and give you an answer in the morning. If I decide we shouldn’t work together, I’ll tell Carol to give it to someone else.”

“But you know the company already. If anyone can spot inconsistencies or anything that’s not right, you can.”

“You think she was deliberately cooking the books?”

“How would I know? It could be anything. You’d find the issue faster than anyone else. Will you do it?”

She pictured herself working with Gabriel, perhaps for weeks. She’d see or talk to him every day, given the unusual situation. But he was correct she’d find errors faster than anyone else. Plus, if it helped the police catch a killer or helped them understand why Francesca killed herself, didn’t Ellen owe it to everyone to do anything she could to figure it out?

Reluctantly, she said, “On one condition: When I’ve post-mortemed the files, when I’ve cleaned them up and everything’s in order, you turn the account over to someone else.”

“No problem,” he blurted. His expression told her he thought by that point she’d change her mind.

Ellen swore to herself she wouldn’t. She’d give him no choice but to put someone else on the account. By the time this was over, she’d find another job and remove herself from Gabriel’s life the way he’d removed himself from hers three years ago.

She reached out her hand. “Deal.”

They shook on it, and he walked away, her gaze following him out of sight.

AuThursday – Christina Lynn Lambert

Tell us a little about yourself and your background?

I didn’t originally plan on being a writer. I went to school for psychology and then got an MBA. I liked to write poetry and short stories in my spare time but considered any writing I did just a fun hobby, not something to ever share. When I was studying to take a certification in personal training, intending to take my small business to the next level, I had this idea for a story. The idea wouldn’t leave me alone until I began to write it out. As it turns out, studying psychology helped me immensely with the development of my characters. Working in sales and other hectic jobs helped me see the uglier side of human nature. The greedy, lost, warped out villains I create are often caricatures created from different interactions I’ve observed. When I’m not writing, I enjoy spending time outside and finding ways to avoid cooking. I live in beautiful Virginia with my husband, two daughters, and a sweet, hairy monster of a dog. 

How do you make time to write? 

When my children are in school during the day is when I usually write. I also try to get some writing done in the evening, but mostly I get interrupted by my family continuously asking me questions and talking to me. 

Do you believe in writer’s block? 

Writer’s block catches us all at some point. I try not to think of it as a bad thing, just a pause where the story is taking shape in my mind. I remind myself to be patient and wait for the next scene or chapter to be ready. I’m not always patient, though.

Tell us a bit about the genre you write and why you love it. 

The books I have written so far are paranormal romance with a major suspense element. I like the paranormal genre because I can bend reality to create a strange, extraordinary version of our world. I add a dose of suspense to everything I write because I have always loved to read stories that keep me wondering what will happen next.

How are you publishing your recent book and why? (*e.g. Indie, traditional)

I chose a small publishing company, so I’m somewhere in between Indie and traditional. I chose a sort of traditional option because I had all these ideas for stories but I had no formal writing background. I needed someone professional to help me edit my work and give me pointers and ideas to help my stories flow more smoothly. I also didn’t want to spend the limited time I had trying to figure out how to format each manuscript and create book covers and all the other responsibilities of self-publishing. Maybe someday, I will do some form of self-publishing, but for now, I like being on middle ground and having a small publisher take care of all of the publishing tasks for me. 

Are you an Introvert or Extrovert?  How does this affect your work? 

I am probably an extroverted introvert. I talk to people when I want to and I enjoy meeting people but I definitely don’t want to be in social mode with acquaintances and strangers for hours on end. I’m shy and I would rather not just go up to random people and start marketing my books. I find the right time and place that works for me. Being able to meet readers and other writers online is amazing. 

What is your favorite motivational phrase?

I don’t really have a famous quote that I live by to motivate me. Usually I tell myself that if I don’t do the thing, the thing won’t get done. And then I turn on some music and sometimes that makes doing whatever I have to do suck less.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Don’t give up. The beginning is the hardest part. It’s a good idea to take a few classes or read some books about writing. Practice every day and remember that the practice sessions could be as simple as a ten-minute writing exercise. Also, editors are crucial. They find the mistakes that the author misses, both with content and with spelling and grammar.  

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

Amazon author pagehttps://www.amazon.com/Christina-Lynn-Lambert/e/B01MCYK0K7

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/christina-lynn-lambert

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/christinalynnlambert

Goodreadshttps://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15900423.Christina_Lynn_Lambert

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

Twitterhttps://www.twitter.com/chris4lamb

WordPresshttps://christinalynnlambertwordpress.com

Do you have an excerpt you’d like to share with us?

My latest book is Tiger’s Last Chance (Stranger Creatures book 3). Tiger’s Last Chance features Sean and Nikki’s story and takes place in the fictional town of Great Oaks, Virginia. Here’s a little excerpt:

For the briefest moment, Nikki felt the depth to which Sean might be capable of pushing her. His kiss was crushing and brutal. His tongue pushed past her lips and his grip in her hair tightened. If desire were a vine, it would have wrapped itself around her veins and encased her heart. The heat between them flooded her. There was a sweetness, too, in his kiss, and the sweetness made her burn hotter. 

A polite cough from inside the waiting car put a quick end to things. Sean pulled away and met her gaze. No words, but she got the message. She wasn’t alone. Comfort and friendship; he’d probably meant the kiss to comfort her and had gotten carried away in the heat of the moment. He’d carried her away with him, and she wanted to take him so much further into the unknown. 

With each second, each step towards the waiting car, she tried to find reasons and more reasons to ignore her growing attraction to Sean. The number one reason to forget about the kiss they’d shared—relationships were trouble. She had plenty of other amazing things in her life, including her career, her volunteer work, and her band, even though the band rarely played anywhere because the members had trouble aligning their schedules. She didn’t need a man. Besides, he was probably still messed up over Sydney. Also, he was a regular. Or mostly regular. Not to mention he lived over a thousand miles away in Texas. She should tell him the kiss was a mistake. One look at him and she couldn’t bring herself to say the words. The kiss they shared had been anything but a mistake.

Buy Links:

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/b088p6mydb 

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/b088p6mydb

Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/tigers-last-chance-christina-lynn-lambert/1137033221 

Google books: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Christina_Lynn_Lambert_Tiger_s_Last_Chance?id=PnzoDwAAQBAJ

iTunes: https://books.apple.com/us/book/tigers-last-chance/id1513644203

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/tiger-s-last-chance

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/1022227

New Release – Rage by Ker Dukey

Title: Rage
Series: Royal Bastards MC AR Chapter 2
Author: Ker Dukey
Genre: MC Romance
Release Date: September 8, 2020
Gabe “The Raging Beast” Cohen. 
Death. Blood. Pain.
In all wars, there are casualties. I just didn’t think they would be ours. 
The memory, guilt of everything that’s gone down over the last few months, has rooted itself deep inside me, tearing open old wounds.
I’ve spent my life in a constant state between agony and rage since I lost my wife.
And now, I’m seeing her ghost everywhere I look.
But what if she isn’t a ghost? 
What if it was all a lie?
I’ve been lost to the darkness before, and my brothers pulled me out. 
I don’t think there’s an out this time. 
I’m becoming the darkness. 
To seek out the truth, I must first uncover the lie.
Death leaves an echo. 
Blood. A scent.
Pain. 
Pain has left an insatiable RAGE.
Prologue Willa I can’t even remember the first time my brother used me as a tool to make money. Being traded for favors to make rent was such a regular part of my teen-hood. I didn’t realize how abnormal I was until I met the man who saved my life. Gabe Cohen crashed into my world, obliterating the foundations to rubble. He built me a new life. A safe one. A protected one. The kind fairytales are made of. But fairytales don’t last, and like a cruel, twisted villain creeping out of the shadows, the old life found me and set fire to my happily ever after. I was left dying in the embers. My prince couldn’t find me amongst the ashes. His Willa died that day…but my heart kept beating. Stories don’t always end once the final page is turned. There’s so much more left to be written. Sometimes the final page is just the start, and it’s up to us to determine whether it remains a fairytale or a tragedy. The essence of the true love stories, the big ones, the beautiful, bright, epic loves, are always grown from the darkness of a fucked up beginning.
Ker Dukey is an International bestselling author based in the United Kingdom. 
Genres include: 
Dark Romance, Psychological Thriller, New Adult Romance, Romantic Suspense, and Erotic Romance. Ker, is an international bestselling author, with over thirty titles published. Her titles have held multiple #1 bestseller banners and have had rights sold to numerous countries. 
In addition to being an author, Ker is an annoying wife and a mother of three children + one dog (who thinks he’s human.) She has a passion for reading and binge-watching crime documentaries.
Find her on social media, where she loves interacting with her readers.
HOSTED BY:

AuThursday – Natasza Waters

Tell us a little about yourself and your background?

Thank you for having me on your blog, Tina. My name is Natasza Waters. Hello from north of the border. I’m blessed to live on the west coast of British Columbia on a small hobby farm. Before starting on this crazy journey of writing novels, I spent thirty-four years with the Coast Guard. A far cry from romance, but plenty of action and suspense. 

What genre are your books and what draws you to this genre?

Romantic Suspense is at the top of the list. Military Romance gives me the opportunity to drop in a few plot points from my past life. Every sub-genre is a challenge in the romance world. No matter what you write, the trick is making something old sound new again. 

How do you make time to write? 

Being retired helps. I’m a night owl and usually write until three in the morning. I have no idea how I managed to pen several books before I left the Guard. I have the utmost respect for writers who still hold a job and manage to pound out 85,000 words while juggling life. Not to mention taking care of a family at the same time. 

What are your current projects?

Back in 2011 I wrote my first contemporary novel, mostly as a lark. A sexy little Las Vegas story that a small press picked up. I switched to military romance, which surprisingly ended up as a best seller and award-winner. 

Even though I’d heard the paranormal market was saturated, the idea posed a challenge. A new twist on an old trope. And the Vyro Creek series was created. “Arizona Lightning” introduces readers to the characters and the background of the Connelly brothers from Ireland that run the biggest cattle ranch in Arizona. They’re Biological Vrykolakas more commonly known as vampires. Born half human and half immortal. Unlike the Second Bloods, who are created by the process of exsanguination and hate the Biologicals. It’s not your average neck-biter romance. When three young women move to Saguaro Gulch to start a new life and buy a dilapidated ranch next to Vyro Creek, they never expect to be caught in a vampire rebellion. This is more of a saga than a series. Each book will take the readers deeper into the mystery and thickening suspense. The second book in the series “Arizona Thunder” was released on the 18th of August.  

Do you believe in writer’s block?

Definitely! I haven’t had too many blocks that can’t be overcome by writing a lot of garbage and then turfing the draft. But it gets the wheels greased and the words turning. If I’m seriously stuck, I sit down with the hubs and talk about the plot. He’s a great sounding board. Doesn’t take long before an idea pops out. Nowadays, I think many authors give up writing not because of writer’s block but the other pitfalls like book pirates and the need to spend more time marketing than actually writing. But if you really love the craft, you’ll keep churning out the novels.

How are you publishing your most recent book and why? (*e.g. Indie, traditional, small press) 

I’m an Indie author by choice. I’ve gone the route of small press before, but I find deadlines curb the creative juices. My faithful readers thump the table saying write faster. (Grin) I wish I could, but they know I want to give them a story with depth rather than a transparent tale. Traditional publishing has extremely long turnarounds. I’ll never say never to Trad publishing, but as an Indie, I can create my own timelines.

Are you an Introvert or Extrovert?  How does this affect your work? 

I have extreme admiration for extroverts. My tendency is to lean toward introvert. Both have benefits. Extroverts do very well at marketing and conferences. As an introvert, I can spend hours behind the keyboard without feeling deprived not seeing a soul for days. For anyone to write a book, you need to experience the world outside of your bubble. Even sitting in a coffee shop watching two people at the next table can cue an idea when you ask “What if?”  

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

When perseverance and creativity cross swords a book is born. First step is to write the book. Know your subject matter i.e. if you’re writing a medical thriller, you better know something about the field or readers will call you out. Grow broad shoulders. That first one star review calling your work a pile of dog poop is gonna hurt. But just know that not all books resonate with every reader, especially in the romance world. 

Many authors don’t read their reviews. There’s some validity in that, I suppose. But if a reviewer takes the time to actually write their thoughts, and you see several reviews reflecting the same comments, an author may want to take a closer look. On the other hand, readers will often plop a star rating in Goodreads, especially a poor rating, but never explain why. That doesn’t help authors. Finally, and most importantly for a new writer, don’t compare your work to others. You have a voice and it will be different. Don’t be jealous of other author’s work. Strive to make your own manuscript shine. Readers are looking for new and exciting voices to read. Books are the oregano on the pizza of life. There’s no such thing as too many books…or pizza.

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

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Do you have an excerpt you’d like to share with us?

For sure! Here’s a snippet from Arizona Thunder.

Facing off with fifty vampires, which equated to one hundred sharp fangs, well…that changed a woman’s priorities forever.

Ari stood behind Connell’s six-foot-six frame and Clara took cover behind Cian. With the moon shining down on the desert plain, Ari could barely see the dark mass of the vamp army. One of them stepped forward, while the other Second Bloods remained at a distance.

Completely out of context, a scene from the third “Lord of the Rings” movie sprinted into her brain. With thousands of snarling, merciless Uruk-hai and Orcs gathered at the gates of Helms Deep with nothing but absolute annihilation on their minds, Ari suddenly understood what a Hobbit felt like.

Clara stood to Ari’s right, her hands clasped in prayer. “Heavenly Father, I am your humble servant. I come before you today in need of hope. I feel helpless. I feel weak. Some say the sky is at its darkest just before the light. I pray this is true, for all seems dark.”

Cian, hearing her voice barely above a whisper, turned and faced Clara. He drew a silver blade from his boot and gently gripped her right wrist.

“I…I can’t. That’s murder.”

His blue eyes gazed down at her while he placed the knife handle in her palm and curled her fingers around the weapon. “If I go down, you fight like hell, angel. Show them no mercy.”

To Ari’s complete amazement, he tenderly brushed a strand of brunette hair from Clara’s cheek. The young woman gave a tentative nod of agreement.

“That’s my girl.”

Ari did a double-take when Cian smiled. He fucking smiled at Clara!

Clara’s small hand gripped his long, thick fingers. “God have mercy on you!”

Ari didn’t have to be a vampire to feel the fear wafting off the woman.

Her words of grace caused Cian’s brow to crease. “I don’t deserve mercy, angel. But I’ll fight to the death to make sure you see another day.”

Easy for him to say, Ari thought. Being stuck in the middle of a vampire war was one thing. Knowing Quinn was free should terrify her, but at the same time Ari’s skin twitched. Like restless leg syndrome, but all over. Anxious. Sweaty. Just plain weird. At first she thought it had something to do with the baby, but she was starting to have her doubts.

A lone vampire strolled up to their circle.

Padraig! Of course. The queen stepped out two paces.

“Greetings, Lady Connelly.”

The queen raised her hand. Ari didn’t know if it was a signal to her family and Romanis, or a motion for Padraig to stuff his greetings.

Claudette’s lush blonde hair was pulled back in a long braid, reaching the sway of her back. “You present yourself with fifty copies, unannounced on my land. Make your explanation brief.”

Padraig stood nearly as tall as the Connelly brothers but nowhere near the same weight class. He was scarecrow thin in his dark leather jacket and pants. “I have a request. One that I believe is in your best interest, and you will endorse.”

The queen’s braid slid up her back a couple inches, which meant her chin lowered, and Ari bet she wasn’t smiling.

“Get to the point, Akáthartos.”

Padraig stepped closer, placing himself ten feet from the queen. The Connelly brothers tensed. Ari squeezed the polished handle of the Colt and did a quick shoulder check. No one in the circle moved a muscle.

The only sign of good faith Claudette showed was resting her arms at her sides, instead of gripping the silver blade that hung at her hip.

In a sarcastic drawl, Padraig said, “Your Majesty. We don’t need to fight. Just give me Ariana and we’ll leave without spilling a drop of your family’s blue blood.”

Like hell she was going anywhere with the scarecrow, beady-eyed bastard.

Cian and his brothers chuckled quietly. She’d forgotten that not just Quinn, but any vampire, could read her mind if they wanted. Ari still sucked ass at veiling her thoughts.

The queen of the Vrykolakas didn’t mince words. “For what purpose?”

Padraig shrugged. A fake smile stretched the pale skin across his elongated jaw. “Beg your pardon, your holiness—”

What a dick! Ari hoped she’d get a chance to blow his ass into dust pellets.

Padraig’s green eyes swerved and met Ari’s. “If my information is correct, that human female is carrying a Biological offspring.” He paused, the edges of his smile withering. “We want her and the return of my child, Ellie.”

Hellfire would have to rain from the sky before they’d allow Ellie near the sadistic jerk. And how the heck did he know Ari was pregnant? Were Second Bloods spying on them?

The queen’s right hand rose and rested on the handle of her blade. “You will get neither, Padraig Lyons. Leave my land.”

“Au contraire, Lady Connelly. You and your reign, are over. If you won’t willingly give me the human, then I’ll take her.”

“Aw, shit,” Connell spouted. “Incoming!”

Arizona Lightning buy links

Amazon US https://amzn.to/3fBlE9t

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

Amazon AU https://amzn.to/391xJlI

Amazon Canada https://amzn.to/393ZmdW

Kobo https://bit.ly/32sfN2y

Apple https://apple.co/2OwKviO

B&N https://bit.ly/2Ba5JzQ

Arizona Thunder buy links 

Amazon US https://amzn.to/348bTfV

Amazon UK https://amzn.to/3iPn6pR

Amazon AU https://amzn.to/3ay8HeQ

Amazon Canada https://amzn.to/3kTu9j3

B&N https://bit.ly/2Qfb4tT

Apple https://apple.co/321w50j

Kobo https://bit.ly/3hkaAP3