AuThursday – Carla Luna

Please welcome Carla Luna to The Clog Blog!  Carla, tell us a little about yourself and your background? 

My name is Carla Luna and I write contemporary romantic comedies that feature messy families, swoony romance, and steamy shenanigans. When I’m not writing, I work in a spice emporium and get paid to talk about recipes, which is why my stories often feature delicious food. Before I had kids, I worked as an archaeologist, but now I channel my wanderlust into the settings of my books. Though I was born in Los Angeles and grew up on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, I currently live in Wisconsin with my family. 

How do you make time to write? 

I squeeze it in late at night and on days when I don’t have to work. 

Do you believe in writer’s block? 

Yes, because I’ve experienced it before–usually when I’m stuck trying to figure out where I want my story to go. I find the best solution is to step away from my laptop and go for a nice long walk. If I let my mind wander, the ideas often come to me. 

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

I love writing romantic comedy because it’s a genre I grew up watching. I love rom-coms from the 80s and 90s, like “You’ve Got Mail,” “Notting Hill,” and “When Harry Met Sally,” because they mix humor and emotion so well. I always hope that my stories will not only get my readers invested in the characters, but also provide them with a few laughs as well. 

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

My current book, White Wedding, which comes out on November 16, is indie published. It’s the third book in the Blackwood Cellars Series, all of which are set at over-the-top destination weddings. I wrote all 3 during 2020, when I was desperate to get out of the house, but couldn’t go anywhere (like most of the world!). Once they were done, I decided I wanted full control and decided to indie publish them in 2021. 

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

I’m an Introvert, which means I’m very happy sitting at my laptop and losing myself in my made-up world. Because I work in retail, I have to be around people a lot, so it’s always a relief to come home to the solace of my home office and write. 

What is your favorite motivational phrase? 

“The only way out is through” 

What advice would you give to aspiring writers? 

Find a supportive community that you can bond with though all of the highs and lows of writing and publishing. I wouldn’t have gotten this far without the support of my writer friends. You can find like-minded writers all over–on Twitter, in Facebook groups, by offering to beta-read their books, and by participating in NaNoWriMo in November. 

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

Website: https://www.carlalunabooks.com/ 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/casacullen 

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

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

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

From Chapter 2 – Victoria, who works as an event planner for her family’s winery, is stuck coordinating her ex’s big Christmas wedding. When she meets with the caterer, she’s shocked to find out she already knows him. 

Victoria couldn’t do this. Tres Hermanos might have a great reputation but trusting an inexperienced caterer for her ex fiancé’s wedding was a wreck waiting to happen. Not to mention she and the caterer shared an intimate, personal history. 

She drained the rest of her water and set down the glass. “I’m sorry, Mr. Sanchez.” 

His dark eyes fixed on her, displaying a hint of annoyance. “Rafael.” 

“I’m sorry, Rafael. But this isn’t going to work. You’ve never managed an event on this scale, and I can’t have anything go wrong. There’s also the fact that—” 

“That we were lovers?” 

Lovers. Because he’d been more than a mindless vacation romp. During the two weeks they’d been together, she’d actually cared about him. 

Just not enough to tell him her real name. 

She cringed. “I was hoping you wouldn’t mention it. Or that it was a distant memory.” 

“I haven’t forgotten any of it.” 

She looked into his eyes, and it was evident he hadn’t. Despite his composure, he was no doubt remembering every passionate, tequila-soaked moment they’d spent together. 

He cleared his throat. “I wouldn’t have come if I’d known who you were, but now that I’m here, I don’t want to lose this chance. I’m a professional, and I’ll behave like one. No one will ever know about us.” His gaze darkened. “Wasn’t that how you wanted it, anyway?” 

She winced, remembering what she’d done to him. How she’d left him when he was sleeping, without ever giving him her real name, her number, or any way of tracking her down. 

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Author Interview – Kelly Pawlik

TourBanner_Yesterday's Gone

Tell us a little about yourself and your background?

I’m a mother of three, a mediocre gardener, and an avid RPG player. I live on Vancouver Island, BC with my husband, our three inquisitive children, and two lazy cats.

In addition to writing the Olympic Vista Chronicles novellas, I am a tabletop roleplaying game (TTRPG) writer and have released multiple RPG supplements with my husband under our micro-publishing company, Dire Rugrat Publishing. I’ve also contributed to several best-selling works with Kobold Press.

How do you make time to write? 

It can be tricky at times for sure! I often set a timer, carving out twenty minutes here or there. If I’m on a roll with it, I might write longer.

Do you believe in writer’s block? 

Yes, and no. I think there can be a bit of a hurdle, but I think sometimes you just have to push through it. Or write something else! Sometimes, when I’m not feeling as inspired with the novellas, I work on short stories. They can be a fun change of pace and a good way to work around writer’s block. 

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

I write YA sci-fi and YA horror. I’m not even sure how I stumbled into it, but I had this story and I started writing it. I love YA. I devoured YA books when I was younger, and at some point, I’m not sure when, I stopped reading YA. And then I hit a reading slump. I picked up some YA books again and it was like finding an old friend. I hope when people pick up my books, they get the same feeling. 

How are you publishing your recent book and why? 

I published the books myself. Some people look down on self-published books, but many indie book authors hire professional editors and proofreaders. I did for these books. An upside to self-publishing is retaining more control over the books. Also, Yesterday’s Gone is the first book in a series of novellas and I feel novellas are more difficult to have traditionally published. I have a vision for the series that wouldn’t fit as well with a traditional publisher. 

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

Absolutely an introvert! I’m not sure how much it affects what I write, but it certainly affects my ability to promote the book. Being self-published means I do the marketing and promotion myself, and that isn’t as easy when you’re an introvert. 

What is your favorite motivational phrase?

“The goal is not to live life perfectly, but to live it completely.”

My philosophy teacher in college said that in one of our classes and it really stuck with me. Sometimes, when I’m paralyzed with a fear of failure, I remember that quote and I push forward. 

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Just do it. Write. Read. Edit. Practice. 

Read books in your genre, read books outside your genre, read books on writing. 

And just write.

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

You can find my website here: http://olympicvistapublishing.com/

But you can also join me on Facebook and Instagram

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

BookCover_YesterdaysGoneLaughter and playful screams echoed across the lake. The light sparkled on the water as Adelaide floated on her back and kicked her feet gently back and forth. She closed her eyes and turned her face up toward the sun. The air was still. Combined with the clear sky and warm sun, it was the perfect summer day, which was a rare feat for Olympic Vista.

She needed to be here today. Rico, her mother’s latest boyfriend, was over. Adelaide hated being around Rico. She sighed in contentment as she stretched her limbs like a starfish and basked atop the water. 

Her eyes snapped open as something wrapped around her ankle. Adelaide tried to kick her leg free, but whatever it was held fast. She opened her mouth to call out, but only took in a mouthful of water as she was pulled below the surface. 

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

kellyKelly Pawlik dabbled with story writing from a young age. She spent her childhood reading, dressing her beloved cat, Midnight, up in doll clothes and hunting garter snakes in the backyard. Her childhood dream was to be a writer and she is proud to have made her fiction debut with the Olympic Vista Chronicles novellas.

Kelly is a tabletop roleplaying game (TTRPG) writer and has released multiple RPG supplements with her husband under their micro-publishing company, Dire Rugrat Publishing. She has also contributed to several best-selling works with Kobold Press.

Kelly lives on Vancouver Island, BC with her husband, their three inquisitive children, and two lazy cats.

Yesterday’s Gone is available on Amazon.com

Songs from the Wood, book two in the Olympic Vista Chronicles series, will be available on Amazon in September 2021. 

You can follow Kelly on:

Facebook: kellypawlikauthor

Instagram: kellypawlikauthor

Twitter: @KellyPawlik84
Or visit her website at olympicvistapublishing.com

FREE SHORT STORY: Sign up to receive Kelly’s newsletter and get access to sneak peeks of upcoming novellas, behind the scenes information and other exclusive content. PLUS, you’ll get “Snow Day,” a short story set in the Olympic Vista Chronicles universe, right away!   Sign up now.

The book will be on sale for $0.99.

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GIVEAWAY INFORMATION and RAFFLECOPTER CODE:

Kelly Pawlik will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.
Enter to win a $25 Amazon/BN GC – a Rafflecopter giveaway

AuThursday – Floor Kist

TourBanner_Can Machines Bring Peace gifPlease welcome Floor Kist to the Clog Blog! 

Hi Tina, thank you so much for this interview and for taking the time off of your own writing. I’m really impressed by the diversity of worlds in your novels.

Floor, can you tell us a little about yourself and your background?

Well, I live in a town called Voorburg in the Netherlands. It’s near The Hague. Wife, two kids, two cats and a dog named Monty. And I’ve always been involved in public service. At the moment, I’m an alderman in my town. That’s a member of the city executive council, along with the mayor and three other aldermen.

I think I surprised a lot of people when I wrote and published a science fiction novel.

How do you make time to write?

Planning! Just like for the most of us, I can spend time on a lot of different things. So, just making an appointment with yourself to write can really be help. And is really a wonderful gift to yourself.

Do you believe in writer’s block?

I can relate to the moments that I don’t know if the story works or how it continues. I know I can get distracted by all the other things happening in my life. And I’m especially susceptible to wanting to start all the other books I want to write.

So, for me, real writer’s block is the one when I don’t know what to do next in the story. And when that happens, I take a good look at my characters and what motivates them. Because if one of my characters wants something badly enough, they will start moving to get there. Well motivated characters will always keep the story going.

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

For some reason I prefer science fiction over fantasy. Both genres allow you to imagine wonderful worlds, but I guess I like the believable world that may actually happen, intrigues me most.

Jules Verne wrote a story about traveling to the moon, and one hundred years later we did. He wrote a story about an electric submarine, and twenty years later it was built. Isaac Asimov, at an auto show in the 60s, predicted the robocar, and now we are actually building them.

This is why I like science fiction.

How are you publishing your recent book and why? 

My novel is self-published. But that wasn’t my first choice. I had found three publishing houses where I believed my novel would fit. And I’d done my homework on what my audience would be like, so we could target them better. And it also seems that the best time to launch science fiction books is before the summer.

None of them replied. Not even a ‘thank you for your interest’ or ‘thank you, but no thank you’. Nothing, nada, niente.

I can even understand why: because there are about one hundred thousand books being published in the USA alone.

And the idea of spending a year and a half trying to reach a publisher and not hear anything back didn’t sound that appealing. So, I found my way to the Amazon self-publishing service.

Are you an Introvert or Extrovert?

A lot of people are surprised when I tell them I’m an introvert. And one of the most difficult things I’ve had to learn is to go ‘out there’ – even when everything inside me said ‘just stay home, it’s nice and warm here’.

I didn’t mean to overcome being an introvert, because I didn’t like being one. It’s just the way you are. But I did want to experience more than just staying home.

How does this affect your work?

Local politics is probably not where you go to meet introverts. As an introvert, I’m comfortable being me. So, a lot of criticism I get doesn’t affect my self-worth. And being an introvert also helps me talk to everyone in an open and honest way.

What is your favorite motivational phrase?

“Even the longest journey starts with the first step.”

I love this phrase. It kept me motivated when I started writing. It kept me motivated when I was trying to make a serious career switch.

It says that no matter how far you want to go in your life, you need the courage or the ambition or the passion to take that first step in what will undoubtedly be a wonderful journey.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Finish your book! Once you start writing nothing else matters. Plan to write, even if it’s just half an hour a day.

Don’t worry about if anyone will like it, or if it’s any good, because that only counts once the book is finished. Don’t worry about how to publish your book; it can only be published once it’s done.

And please don’t fuss about typos. There is no universe in which there will not be typos in the final edition of your novel.

And when your work is done and you don’t think it’s any good or even if others don’t think it’s any good, there is the sheer reward of making something out of nothing, of creating something that wasn’t there before. And no one can ever take that away from you.

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

Cover_Can Machines Bring PeaceCan Machines Bring Peace?

by Floor Kist

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GENRE: Science Fiction

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BLURB:

Can a machine bring peace? Or are humans built for war?

450 years after Earth was bombed back to the Stone Age, a young diplomat searches for lost human settlements. Kazimir Sakhalinsk narrowly escapes an exploration mission gone wrong and searches for ways to make future missions safer for his people. A festival introduces him to the Marvelous Thinking Machine.

A machine Kazimir believes can change everything

For his admiral it’s nothing more than a silly fairground gimmick. But Kazimir is convinced. Convinced enough to go against orders and build one of his own. Convinced enough to think he can bring peace. Convinced enough to think humanity is worth saving. What if he’s wrong?

He asks his hikikomori sister, a retired professor filling her empty days, the owner of the festival machine and the admiral’s daughter for help. Will that be enough?

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NOTE: The book is $0.99.

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Excerpt :

Kazimir hears the beep-beep response to his beacon. The plane is overhead! His breath shortens as he peers through the night. Standard protocol states the plane will land at a safe landing zone within a kilometer radius of ground zero. If Kazimir can find the right direction, he may actually have a chance. There! The shape of the plane against a clouded moon is a beautiful sight. He is afraid to smile, but can’t help himself.

He follows it, stumbling over the thick roots of the trees. Quickly, he looks up.

There she is again. No. ‘That’s… that’s… black flag.’ That means the others are dead.

Standing against the tree, he retches. Cold sweat forms on his forehead and his back. He shouldn’t have left the settlement. He could have saved them. No. He would be dead too. Kazimir gags and coughs. He spits out the sour taste, and wipes his chin. ‘Yuck.’

He looks up, trying to control his breath. The twin rudders and the nose turret machine gun nozzle give the Ki-2 light bomber away. Kazimir has only seen it in the hangar of the Ryūjō. He remembers the pilot telling him about the 500-kilogram maximum bomb load. All headed towards the settlement.

The ground trembles with the explosion. Kazimir sees the red and yellow clouds grow against the dark sky. Seconds later, he hears the wheezing sound of the dropping bombs, followed by the roar of a thousand dragons. Sound travels at three hundred meters per second, so he must be about 300 meters away.

The hot blast wave that follows knocks him down. He hits his head on the root of the tree. ‘Stupid tree.’ He feels a sharp pain. Warm blood dribbles into his hair. Its metallic scent reaches his nose.

Sounds of the explosion die down.

Author Image Floor_KistAUTHOR Bio and Links:

Floor Kist lives in a Dutch town called Voorburg with his wife, two sons, two cats and their dog Monty. He is currently deputy-mayor for the Green Party and an AI researcher. He’s concerned about current divisive public and political debates. But he’s also interested in how AI can be used to resolve society’s big issues.

This is his first novel. He’s been carrying the idea about a story about AI bringing peace for a long time. The Covid-19 lockdown in the Netherlands suddenly gave him time to actually write it.

Link to website:

www.floorkist.nl/author

Link to ebook:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08XK42BMP

Link to paperback:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/151368115X

Blog:

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/21225715.Floor_Kist/blog

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GIVEAWAY INFORMATION and RAFFLECOPTER CODE

Floor Kist will be awarding a $30 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

RAFFLECOPTER:

Enter to win a $30 Amazon/BN GC – a Rafflecopter giveaway

AuThursday – A J Matthews

Tell us a little about yourself and your background? 

I’m a British author living in NW Ohio with my wife, fellow author Cindy A Matthews. I enjoy writing (of course!), gardening and cooking. 

How do you make time to write? 

I’m lucky to have my own office space which I can retreat to and work in undisturbed for at least a couple of hours most afternoons. 

Do you believe in writer’s block? 

Yes, it can happen. I found that if a plot refuses to move on, more often than not an idea for a later scene in the book presents itself. Working on those later scenes gets them out of my head and always suggests ways in which the tricky scene can be resolved. 

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

I write murder-mysteries set in the 1920’s. There’s something deeply satisfying in crafting the plot and interweaving story-lines to reach a conclusion that-hopefully-the reader won’t guess at too easily from the get-go. 

How are you publishing your recent book and why? Traditional. My books are available in e-format and also POD. 

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

Introvert, definitely. I prefer to stay back and observe rather than get involved in things. 

What is your favorite motivational phrase? 

Butt on chair, fingers on keyboard. 

What advice would you give to aspiring writers? 

Never give up. Listen to advice but have the courage to use your own ideas if you believe them to be better. 

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

https://ajays-blog.blogspot.com/ 

https://twitter.com/AdrianJMatthews 

https://www.facebook.com/A-J-Matthews-1472379789644822 

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

From A Fool in the Marketplace, Book 4 of the Veronica Nash murder-mystery series. 

NIGHTFLIGHTTOBABYLONThe cheering grew in volume. Veronica saw the small shapes of the approaching sculls, the white water thrown up by the oars glistening in the sun. 

“An interesting race, this,” Ben went on. “That chap in the lead, Morris, has a crooked right arm. It’s admirable the way he can wield an oar with his fin all bent like that.” 

“Indeed,” Veronica murmured. 

“You should pop up to Oxford when I return for Michaelmas term, Ronnie.” The dazzling smile was directed at her again. “I’m often out on the Isis with the chaps.” 

“Wouldn’t it be rather boring, Jim-jam?” Claire inquired. “Where’s the fun in watching a band of students thrashing about on the river?” 

Ben put on an air of hurt dignity but Veronica could see the twinkle in his bright blue eyes. “One does not thrash at Oxford. We row with great dignity and style.” 

“Until you catch a crab and fall in the Isis,” Claire retorted then poked out her tongue at him. Veronica saw Lord Desborough taking his leave. With a tip of his straw boater to the ladies he hurried down the gangplank to the riverbank and strode toward the VIP stand. Claire’s second-oldest brother, Edward, watched him go with a thoughtful expression. 

She couldn’t quite make Edward out. A stocky, earnest, bookish young man with a full reddish blond beard, he wore thick spectacles and dark, neat and sober attire. He’d been so stiff and formal at his family’s combined Christmas and Hanukkah celebration. In spite of being in his mid-twenties and therefore not much older than she, Edward had a donnish air more suited to a much older man. 

At that moment he turned and she looked away before she met his eye. He seemed rather too interested in me last Christmas. Ben’s infatuation is more than enough for me to cope with right now. 

She saw His Lordship’s secretary Jacob Levine, a dark handsome man in his early forties looking at her from where he stood smoking a cheroot at the other end of the deck. Unseen by Edward and Ben he gave her a wry smile and jerked his head at the two younger men as if to say boys will be boys. Veronica smiled and nodded back, liking Levine’s quiet demeanour. 

Gabriel and his date put their drinks on the trestle table and moved to the railing, Gabriel’s arm sliding around Elizabeth’s waist in a proprietorial fashion. He appeared rather flushed. Veronica wondered how much drink he’d taken aboard. Lady Sibfield-Murray stood somewhat behind the couple, a calculating look on her face. Her husband joined her as everybody stood to watch the single sculls negotiate the closing stretch of the course. 

Claire stood close to Veronica’s right, Ben to her left, his interest in her plain enough. She smiled at him. My, but he’s a handsome beggar. He turned his head and gazed down at her, his burly form almost blocking her view downriver. And he seems really smitten by me. Oh dear. 

Claire’s lips twitched as she gave her a sidelong look. Veronica guessed her brother’s puppyish interest hadn’t gone unnoticed. She smiled back. Were I not with Claire, I would be tempted. 

The party cheered as the single sculls approached. The leader by a clear three lengths or so was the delightfully-named Morris Morris wielding the blue dashed oars of the London Rowing Club. His rival D. Gollan, wielding the light pink blades of Leander, put on a last spurt of effort but failed to close the gap. Morris shot across the finishing line to the accompaniment of a resounding cheer. 

“Crikey, what a terrific finish!” Ben crowed, punching the air. “I must see if I can have a word with that chap later.” Veronica noticed Gabriel shake his head at his brother’s words and move back to the table with the drinks. He picked up an egg and cress sandwich and examined it before taking a large bite. She noticed his complexion had turned puce. What a sourpuss to take no delight in another man’s achievement. 

A shout of alarm went up from behind her. Veronica spun around and saw the winning oarsman had fallen in the river. “Good gracious, whatever happened?” 

“The poor chap’s exhausted,” Claire’s father said, coming up to lean on the railing and peer at the scene. “I’ve never seen 

anything like it. He just toppled out of his scull.” 

They watched as two of the Conservancy officials’ boats manoeuvred to rescue the man. Between them they managed to get Morris into the motor launch. A heartfelt cheer of relief went up. 

Something thumped hard on the deck behind Veronica. 

“Gabriel? What’s wrong? Gabriel!” Elizabeth’s voice rose to a shriek. The party turned as one to look. Gabriel flopped on the deck, eyes staring, his face turning bright pink. His hands pawed at his throat and chest, as if he were desperate for air. Elizabeth knelt beside him, frantic hands clutching at his. A spurt of foamy vomit shot from Gabriel’s open lips to splatter her peach-coloured dress and she uttered another shriek. 

“Good God!” Lord Sibfield-Murray dashed across the deck as his wife stood paralysed, her hands to her mouth. Levine joined him, kneeling on Gabriel’s other side to loosen his tie and shirt collar. 

“Let me through!” someone shouted. “I’m a doctor.” 

One of the guests unceremoniously pushed His Lordship aside and set to work. Veronica couldn’t remember the man being introduced to her. Levine got up and moved back to let him work. Feet clattered on the gangplank as someone dashed ashore in search for help. 

Everyone watched, eyes wide with shock as the man fought to save Gabriel Sibfield-Murray with what appeared to be professional competence. It seemed touch and go. The young man fought for life with every ounce of his being. Veronica felt Claire take her left hand in a tight grip. A second later Ben’s arm slipped around her waist. She could hear Claire’s breathing, light and quick, almost panicky. 

Gabriel ceased his struggles and turned ominously still. A frozen silence fell upon the yacht. The doctor straightened and stood up with a sad expression. “So sorry, old man. I’m afraid I’ve lost him.” Lady Sibfield-Murray uttered a soft scream and collapsed onto the deck. Before her husband could react the doctor dashed with nimble speed across the deck and took Lord Sibfield-Murray by the elbow, steering him to one side. Veronica stood close enough to overhear the doctor’s soft, urgent words. 

“David, old man, I believe your son was poisoned. We must summon the police.” 

AuThursday – Renee Wildes

swords (2)

Tell us a little about yourself and your background?

I live in a big old farmhouse central WI with my husband and a handful of critters. I have 2 grown kids and a 1-1/2 year old grandson. I have a horse, a dog, and 3 cats. I am a Navy brat and a cop’s lid, and the only vet tech/dog groomer in a family of nurses. Right now I have a full-time day job working from home as a customer service for dental insurance. I’m also an author and acquiring editor for Champagne Book Group.

How do you make time to write?

I write before and after work and on my days off/weekends. Depends on if there’s a pitch fest or submissions in my inbox to read and evaluate.

Do you believe in writer’s block?

I’m a plotter so have everything lined up before I start writing. If a scene isn’t gelling for me, I just work on another. They wheels are always turning so it’s usually not too hard to write once I get started. The hardest thing for me used to be transitioning between scenes. Lately I have more issues with how I want to end a chapter. I’ve become very conscious of “hooks.” 

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

I write FFP spec fic (fantasy, sci fi, and paranormal romance) I love being able to mix the fantastical into the “real” world. I love developing new twists on familiar races and themes so my Cinderella story features a half-dragon fire mage and elven prince charming, and my Sleeping Beauty is an assassin nun who’s sleeping is symbolic rather than literal. I did mt first sci fi after seven fantasy books b/c I needed a change of pace before starting a new fantasy series. And now I set myself up for a whole sci fi series also—have the second book plotted out. So there’s always something fresh and new brewing in my imagination!

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

All my books are traditionally published—I like being part of a team. I was with Samhain Publishing for a decade, did a brief stint with both Wild Rose Press and Tirgearr Publishing, and am now with Champagne Book Group as both author, new-author mentor, and now acquiring editor.

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

I’m an introverted extrovert, if that makes sense. I like being out with friends and can navigate through a writer’s conference. I can walk up to a table at an RWA luncheon and ask to sit with strangers. But at the end of the day I’m all for retreating to my room and curl up with a glass of wine, an old movie, and a good book. I like spending time outdoors with just my dog or my horse, though—I need “me” time to clear my head and recharge my batteries.

What is your favorite motivational phrase?

My personal catch-phrase posted on website is

“Believing Is Seeing.”

Only with an open mind and open heart can you truly see the world around you.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

“Don’t Wish For It – Work For It.”

Write every day. Enter contests. Take classes. Stay open-minded to feedback. Keep submitting. If you get a rejection, shake it off and try someone/somewhere else. You need a thick skin and persistence.

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

Publisher http://champagnebooks.com/store/185_renee-wildes

Website https://reneewildesromance.com

Blog https://reneewildes1.wordpress.com

Twitter https://twitter.com/ReneeWildes

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/ReneeWildes1

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

Pinterest https://www.pinterest.com/reneewildes/

Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2465877.Renee_Wildes

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

Seditious Hearts is an enemies-to-lovers sci fi romance with hero & heroine on opposite sides of a war.

Tagline: Sleeping with the enemy…in a time of war

Premise: Daynavian Resistance Operative Lonan Tremayne is tasked with hijacking the IMF Intervention medical frigate and convincing its Chief Medical Officer, Seppala Amundsen, to switch sides and come along with her ship.

Seditious Hearts_frontcoverExcerpt:

It should’ve been a quick transporter jaunt from the shuttle station to the sumptuous main lobby of Harmonies, the exclusive, out-of-the-way Bregorian resort. Routine. People jaunted all the time. It should’ve taken only a moment to get her bearings after the disorientation of rematerialization. Instead, an agonizing tingling and heart-stopping anxiety gripped her. A strangely lucid seizure that lasted forever. Seppala Amundsen, Imperium Sub-Commander, flailed on the platform—gasping, twitching. Her eyes burned with unshed tears.

“Stay still.” A smooth-caramel, baritone voice tore her attention from her odd predicament.

“Wha’ happen’?” Why couldn’t she talk right? She slurred her words like a drunk.

Insectoid Bregorian voices screeched in the background. 

“Look at me.” A chiseled, tanned face topped with a military haircut swam into focus. His concern washed over her, dulling the other presences as dark-chocolate eyes held her gaze, a lifeline.

She jerked back to awareness, and gulped. Stars, she was naked. In public.

“What’s your name?” His question was more demand than inquiry.

Seppala bristled. Wait, she knew this one, honest. “Shalla.” She cleared her throat. “Sepla.” Argh, it came out all wrong. “Sep-pa-la.” Better. She worked her jaw and swallowed. “Seppala—” Got it! “—Am’shenenen.” Whoops.

Some secret knowledge flashed in those remarkable eyes. “Know where you are?”

“Har’nannies?” Hopefully. “Where m’clothes?”

Where were his clothes? She gulped at his bare torso. A jagged scar marred bronze skin over hard muscle. Black-hide trous appeared all but painted on. His thighs stretched the material taut, a slight sheen reflecting the light.

He grinned at her once-over—a flash of white teeth distracting her from deep eye crinkles and a slight dimple that winked in his left cheek—so quick she might have imagined it. “Clothes are actually optional here. The jaunt receivers worried more about retrieving your bio-read molecules. As should you—nude or not.”

Naked. At Harmonies. Before strange men.

This better be a nightmare.

“No, I definitely want clothes.” She yanked her yammering mind into focus. “Who’re you?”

“Lonan Tremayne, your friendly neighborhood translator. Administrator Kellah figured a human face might be more reassuring than a bug-eyed Bregorian one.” He skimmed calloused fingers over her—yep!—still-bare body with clinical thoroughness. “Can you feel this?”

Only too well. “Numb, tingling, like m’legs fell ’sleep.” She could move, though. Her muscles quivered. Her limbs flailed about like a glitchy animated rag doll. She could talk. Sort of.

He placed a steadying hand on her too-bare shoulder. “Easy there. Follow my finger.”

Seppala fought to track the movement…up, down, left, right.

“Delayed but functional. Everything’s reattached correctly and more or less working.” He brushed the hair from her face, tucking a wayward strand behind her ear. “Your molecules spent some extra time in the buffers is all.”

She flinched at his touch, his words. Is all? Jaunting was usually safe enough. Usually. But the rare accident happened.

Maybe the ’verse was trying to tell her something. Coming to Harmonies was, without a doubt, the dumbest thing her best friend had ever bullied her into.

I tried to tell her I should never be allowed off the ship, scheduled shore leave or no shore leave. But does she ever listen? No. Neiara Delaney, I will get you back for this.

Rematerialization-delay complications…What did the Imperium Science Academy database say? Seppala struggled to recall. Akin to getting hit with a disruptor stun blast or any other power surge. Numbness, tingling, incoordination, slurred speech, neuron misfiring.

Damned database never mentioned naked.

Her brain was functioning, albeit sluggishly, but her body still fritzed. She blamed her befuddled state on her sexy, charismatic rescuer. Only she could meet someone like him…like this. Typical.

A sharp scritching noise set her teeth on edge. Lonan glanced up at someone behind her.

“Administrator Kellah insists you get checked out in their medical bay,” he translated for the looming Bregorian nymph casting a mantis-esque shadow over her. “Kellah’s assistant Braykekk here will accompany us.”

Wow. He, a human, understood Bregorian?

She squinted at him. No Utarian translator earwig? How’s that even possible?

Not that those were infallible, especially with such an alien vocalization as Bregorian. And right now, her own was apparently damaged by the delayed rematerialization. Lovely. How was she supposed to do her job if she couldn’t communicate? She’d have to requisition a new implant…and explain to Captain Osande why.

Wouldn’t that be a fun conversation?

More urgent screeching. Seppala winced and tamped down the urge to cover her ears.

“Easy.” He patted her shoulder. “Just a temporary detour. They’ll have you in your room in no time.”

But the infirmary meant an uncensored medical scan.

No way. “Gotta…check in.” She struggled to rise. Her legs churned but refused to support her.

She wasn’t petite by any stretch, but he scooped her up and stood as if she weighed nothing at all. “Later, after we make sure this is temporary.”

“Nothing like getting swept off my feet.” Seppala cursed her current helplessness. Her head swam. Conceding for the moment, she closed her eyes and snuggled in, wrapping her arms around his neck. So warm…

This close, he stole her breath. She cracked her lids open to peer at him. Strong jaw and cleft chin, shadowed with a hint of beard, which begged for a nibble. She never nibbled. Firm, sensual lips she could almost taste. Lonan Tremayne even smelled edible—a faint musk beneath a hint of woods and spice. A rustic scent she wanted to wrap herself up in.

Every taut moment made her skin spark with an unprecedented sizzling awareness until she needed to remind herself to breathe.

Except each breath pulled his essence into her very bones.

What was wrong with her? She never ogled strange men. Never.

But there was so much to ogle here.

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 – Darlene DeLuca

Please welcome Darlene DeLuca to The Clog Blog! Darlene can you tell us a little about yourself and your background?

Hi, everyone. Thanks for having me, Tina! My degree is in Journalism, and I started my writing career as a newspaper reporter. That was before kids. The hours were long and I spent many nights attending planning commission meetings and city council meetings. While I learned a lot, after a few years, I moved into corporate communications. I spent about 25 years writing for employee and consumer publications with a little art direction thrown in as well. Then I was “downsized” and left Corporate America for creative writing. I have to say, writing novels is a lot more fun! Summer is my season. I love a sunny day at the beach with a good book, a little dark chocolate and a cold glass of iced tea!

How do you make time to write? 

For me, the great thing about writing is the flexibility, because life happens and often eats into regular business hours. I can, and do, write whenever. I’m probably most productive in the middle of the day when I get all the busywork out of the way and I have the house to myself. I’m not one of those get-up-at-4 a.m.-and-start-going types. I need my beauty sleep! 

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

I write women’s fiction and contemporary romance. Basically, I like stories about people. I like the affirmation that generally accompanies women’s fiction, and I like the good old-fashioned happy ending of a romance.

How did you deal with Rejection Letters if you received any? 

Oh, yeah, I’ve received them! They’re hard, but you’ll never achieve success by quitting. The hardest ones are the “passes” after a revise-and-resubmit because it’s easy to get your hopes up then. I just try to glean what I can from them and move on. It helps to have a support network of other writers!

How did you come up with the idea for your Women of Whitfield series? 

It’s hard to ever pinpoint an exact moment of inspiration. The tiniest thing can spark an idea and it just grows with time and attention. Once I started developing the characters, it became obvious that each one of these friends needed her own story. I also liked the idea of featuring women in their fifties and delving into the issues of that life stage.

What are your thoughts on writing a book series?

I like the Whitfield series and the characters began to seem like real people to me, but honestly, by the time I finished the third story, I was ready to move on to something else. I’m currently developing a romance series that I’ve dubbed the “Masterpiece Series, where Love is an Art and every Romance a Priceless Treasure.” The stories are all related to art in one way or another.

How are you publishing your most recent book “The Story between us” and why? (*e.g. Indie, traditional or small press)

This is my first step into traditional publishing. My earlier works were self-published on Amazon’s direct publishing platform. “The Story Between Us” is part of the Sweetheart Line from The Wild Rose Press. It’s a very different process, and I’m hoping to reach a wider audience through their publishing connections. It would have been much faster to publish myself, but I’m happy to try something new!

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Learn the craft. Read a lot. Join a critique group. Look for and accept genuine feedback and criticism. 

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

Everywhere, I hope! Here are the links to my social media sites:

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6879809.Darlene_Deluca

https://www.instagram.com/darlenedelucaauthor/?hl=en

https://www.facebook.com/Darlene-Deluca-282385088481413/?ref=bookmarks

Website:

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

Reed pulled his keys out of his pocket. In the doorway, he folded his arms and leaned against the casing. “Can I ask you a question?”

Chest pounding, Kristen forced a smile. “Of course.” She took a couple of steps toward him and braced a hand against the back of the sofa.

“Is writing your only reason for being here?”

Heavy, charged air closed around her. How to answer that? Honestly, of course, but…how honestly? “Well, writing is my goal for sure. But—” She glanced around the room before looking at him again. “I’d love to ride my horse, er, Star, and spend some time with…with people I like, too.”

As he pushed off from the door, a slow grin spread across his face. “Sounds like an excellent plan.” He sauntered closer. About a foot away, he stopped. “You’re good with dinner at the main house tonight? Don’t let Dylan bully you. You decide.”

She gave a shaky laugh. That was the plan, right? She couldn’t remember for sure. Her brain was going fuzzy. “I’d love to,” she managed to say.

He leaned closer, his breath warm on her cheek. She braced herself for a friendly peck, but when her eyes fluttered shut, his lips grazed hers. Hovered there, and when she thought her legs might give out, Reed caught her arm and pulled her slightly toward him, his lips covering hers again.

Sparks exploded in her brain, and she grabbed hold of his arm. All of her senses came alive and responded to the unexpected deluge.

A long moment later, he pulled back and brushed a thumb across her cheek. “See you in about an hour.”

Kristen could only nod. As soon as the door closed behind him, she collapsed against the sofa. She ran a finger along her bottom lip. That kiss…Oh, man. The chances of her getting any writing done this weekend just dropped from unlikely to who-said-anything-about-writing?

AuThursday – Kellie Doherty

KDohertyPlease welcome Kellie Doherty to The Clog Blog!  Kellie, please tell us a little about yourself and your background?

Of course! First I’d like to thank you for having me today; I really appreciate the opportunity to be interviewed on your blog. To start off, my name is Kellie Doherty. I’m a queer author writing science fiction and fantasy novels, short stories, and flash fiction pieces. (And some poetry, but only once in a strawberry moon.) I graduated with a master’s degree in book publishing back in 2016 and while I didn’t land a full-time job in publishing (yet), it was a very valuable experience and has helped tremendously when marketing my books. I’ve three books out thus far—a sci-fi duology Finding Hekate and Losing Hold and book one of my adult fantasy series The Broken Chronicles titled Sunkissed Feathers & Severed Ties. All three of my novels were published by Desert Palm Press, a fabulous indie publisher of queer works that have hints (or wallops) of romance. I’ve also had my short stories and flash fiction pieces get picked up by journals, anthologies, and magazines like Image OutWrite, Astral Waters Review, and Other Worlds, Inc, among others. Along with being an author, currently, I work as an office assistant and a freelance editor! I like to keep myself busy.

Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just to see where an idea takes you?

I used to like seeing where an idea took me, but with my novels, I really do have to outline it, especially with the fantasy series that I’m working on right now. I call it “wayfarer-style outlining.” I know how important it is to plot things out, both the bigger incidents and the smaller chapter-by-chapter points, but I also need the flexibility to roam in my writing. So if I’m writing a chapter and the idea I had for it doesn’t feel right, I allow myself to explore new ideas. Sometimes the new thought is brilliant; other times it’s an exercise in patience as my meandering writing gets back to the original point of the chapter and I can’t use any of it. For flash fiction pieces and short stories, I tend to just see where the character takes me.

Do you ever get writer’s Block?

Yes! I think all writers get blocked every now and then. It usually occurs when I’m not motivated to write or I simply don’t like the scene I’m working on. I tend to really love emotionally charged scenes or high-tension scenes so writing the middling events can sometimes be challenging for me. But writing is a job and you just have to go to work. Generally, I take a walk or watch something funny on YouTube…then I get back and figure out why I wasn’t motivated to write the particular scene. I recently watched a panel with VE Schwab and Neil Gaiman where they talked about writer’s block and Schwab had mentioned that when she gets writer’s block it simply means that somewhere earlier in the story she went off track. When that happens, she’ll basically backtrack and read through what she already wrote to see where that divergence happened. It’s an interesting concept and one I’ll use the next time I get stuck!

What are your current projects?

Currently, I’m working on Curling Vines & Crimson Trades, book two of my adult fantasy series. It’s a story centered on a woman named Orenda whose wife gets kidnapped and she has to do this long list of tasks for the kidnappers in order to get her wife back. The problem is, her best friend has a task list, too, and the final job on her list is to kill Orenda. The series will be five books long with the first four books being stand-alone and in one main character’s point of view and the fifth book will bring them all together to complete their journey. Aside from that book, I’ve been writing some flash fiction pieces and poetry, but nothing major. I can’t really work on multiple things at once—too many competing voices and worlds and storylines for me to keep up.

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

I write adult science fiction and fantasy with a dash of romance and queer characters. I write this genre for multiple reasons, the number one being I am a queer nerd who grew up on science fiction and fantasy stories. I love the possibilities of new worlds, life-altering technology, magic beyond our wildest imaginations, and how all of that reacts and sits with the everyday issues that people need to deal with. I love the escape science fiction and fantasy provide—you can be transported to a whole new galaxy or come face-to-face with a wyvern or go on a grand adventure through space find a long-lost treasure that also happens to be a badass magical bow. It’s fun and it’s different, but there are always tethers to the real world, whether it’s simply characters who are relatable in a land not like our own or actual Earth cities as the setting. Plus, when writing Sci-Fi and fantasy that I do (aka: not urban or set on Earth), I get to make everything up—the foods, the communities, the settings—and that freedom is amazing!

How did you deal with Rejection Letters if you received any?

Oh man, before Desert Palm Press picked me up I had plenty of rejections. Some were form letters (which I completely understand considering how many manuscripts agents and editors get) and others seemed like they had a more sincere tone to them. I got good comments back, but each one was a definite blow. I kept a spreadsheet and color-coded it, but eventually, the red “rejected” color block got so distracting I had to hide that column. It didn’t really get me down for long, though, as I’ve always known that the rejection isn’t personal. It just meant my story didn’t fit with their company and that’s okay. I kept at it and eventually found a place for my novels: Desert Palm Press.

How did publishing your first book change your process of writing?

Interesting question! I’d say publishing my first book ramped up the “realness” of being a writer. Before, I was just writing for myself and my friends and my critique group. It wasn’t a big thing but when I got published it was suddenly a Big Thing. All these questions swirled in my mind: What if people didn’t like my characters? What if people couldn’t connect with the story? What if they thought it was boring? What if I never sell any copies at all? So it made the process more intense, but I just had to learn to quell those questions. I realized that building a readership takes time—many years and many books. As for changing my process for writing specifically, being published did make me want to work harder, to write better.

I love your cover for “Sunkissed Feathers and Severed Ties”, who designed the cover?

Rachel George of Rachel George Illustrations! She’s amazing. I couldn’t ask for a better cover designer; her colors pop, the illustrations are always dynamic, and her talent is inspiring. She’s planning on being the illustrator for my series so the covers will have coherency in style, even though the first four books are stand-alone! It’s so cool. I really do love working with her.

Visit her website to learn more about her work: https://www.rachelgeorgeillustration.com/

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Don’t rush your craft, no matter your age. Enjoy each phase of writing: drafting, writing, querying, marketing, etc. and try not to compare yourselves with other writers. (It’s so hard, I know. Be inspired by them instead.) Read as much as you can and sink deep into your chosen genre. Read all kinds of authors from all walks of life—debut authors and established ones. And get a critique group! Once you find a group that you connect with and who aren’t afraid to both praise and punch, they’ll be your go-to source for writing.

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

You can find me in all kinds of places:

Desert Palm Press website: https://desertpalmpress.com/

Author Website: http://kelliedoherty.com/

Twitter: @Kellie_Doherty

Facebook: @KellieDoherty89/

Instagram: @kellie_201

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

Yes! Here’s a snippet from Sunkissed Feathers & Severed Ties, my newest release.
 

SFST-cover-final-web-optimizedPale white blood dripped down Misti Eildelmann’s curved short sword as she readied herself to meet her next attacker. Ignoring the shouts of the battle around her and her own frantically beating heart, Misti eyed the banished one. The overly bright pale blue eyes. The slight smirk on the woman’s face. The confidence in her expression frightened Misti, and she hesitated, the upward slash with her sword halting for a moment. The banished crafter snarled and leapt, knocking Misti’s blade aside with her staff and sending an aching jolt through Misti’s arm. The banished one reached out to grab her neck, eyes glowing white as her fingers dug into Misti’s skin. 

In the span of a heartbeat, many thoughts tumbled through Misti’s mind. Blood crafting. Moon above, not now. Not yet. Her eyes. Her veins! Misti swept her gaze down the woman’s arm, and sure enough, the banished ones’ veins had brightened to white, same as her glowing eyes, the color tracing the banished one’s blood and heading right for Misti. The sight of this woman’s crafting sent a spike of fear down Misti’s spine. Blood crafting was meant for healing of the body and the mind and the soul, but it could also be used to suck life-energy from a person. Suck the life-energy from me. Especially in this banished one’s hands. She latched onto the woman’s arm to try to wrench her away from her neck. It didn’t work.

 

AuThursday – Rosanna Leo

Rosanna Leo author photoWelcome Rosanna!  Can you tell us a little about yourself and your background?

Thanks so much for having me here, Tina!

I’m Rosanna Leo and I write contemporary and paranormal romance. When not writing, I work at my local public library in an Acquisitions role, so I’m one of the lucky ones who gets to see all the new books when they first arrive. I come from Toronto, Canada, and I try hard to insert a bit of Canadian flavour into my books. I’ve been writing for over ten years now and am fortunate to be part of the romance community, as a writer, blogger, and reader.

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

With the subgenres of romance that I write, I really do get the best of both worlds. With my contemporary romances, I get to explore the conflicts of “real” people, and I love showing how they can grow and learn to love. In the case of my paranormal romances, the characters and situations might be a bit more outrageous, but it’s fun for me to be able to push those envelopes. Each type of writing compels me to think differently, so it’s a great exercise. The one commonality, of course, is that in those stories, the protagonists have to fall in love and be committed to one another by the end of the book. However, that journey to love is the whole point, and it’s the reason I love this genre so much. It carries a powerful sense of hope. 

What is the most difficult part of your artistic process?

For me, the part I dread is the initial brainstorming. I know of writers who can just shoot out fresh ideas on the spot, but I’ve never been good at that, not even in non-writing situations. I have to let my thoughts marinate for a while, and I second-guess a lot of my ideas. Nevertheless, as much as it sometimes pains me, I do try to get some ideas down. It’s the first step, after all, so it has to be done.

Do you believe in writer’s block? 

I do believe in writer’s block, and I know I’ve experienced it before. It tends to affect me at particular times, however. I had it after losing a loved one, during moments of stress in my career and family life, and I’ve experienced when I’ve written myself into a hole (when I haven’t thought out a story properly and I begin to flounder.) It happens. I won’t call myself an expert in dealing with it. For the most part, I just try to either write through it, or I take a break from writing altogether. 

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

My recent release is A Good Man, Handymen 1, a contemporary romance. It released on June 9, 2020. It’s been published traditionally with Totally Bound Publishing. I’ve been working directly with publishers for a few years now and have worked with some great people. I appreciate that my publisher handles a lot of the details that I don’t feel confident handling (i.e. covers, formatting.) So, for me, it’s a good fit.

What would you say are the main advantages and disadvantages of self-publishing against being published or the other way around?

I haven’t ruled out self-publishing and may attempt it down the road. I have many author friends who prefer that method, and they have it down to a fine art. Not having done it myself, I probably can’t speak to its disadvantages, and I think a writer should always do their research before committing to either path. 

How do you think you’ve evolved creatively?

I like to think my writing is more polished now, more pared down. When I started writing, I used some overly-descriptive language and made some interesting style choices. It’s all part of learning, and it was definitely part of my process. Now, I try to take a lot of care with my word choices, and if I can simplify a statement, I will.

What is your favorite motivational phrase?

I don’t have a favorite motivational phrase, but I do believe in the power of positive affirmations. For the most part, I try to express gratitude for where I am in life, and I try to be grateful for something each day. 

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

Blog: https://rosannaleoauthor.wordpress.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/LeoRosanna

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/rleoauthor1

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

Bookbub:  https://www.bookbub.com/authors/rosanna-leo

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

Sure! I’d love to share an excerpt from A Good Man, Handymen1:

AGoodManCover_1500x2400Emily threw herself at him and wrapped her arms around his torso, cutting off his words and his breath. Only when he hugged her back did he realize how hard she was quivering.

She wasn’t just crying about the old photos.

“It’s okay, Em. Let it out, sweetheart.”

The collar of his shirt grew wet but he didn’t care. Wardrobe had tons of shirts. Besides, she felt good in his arms, all soft and warm. He rubbed her shoulders and the back of her waist, exploring and familiarizing himself with her luscious body. He breathed, drinking in her scent. His nasal cavities had never known such bliss. It was like that first clear breath after a long period of congestion. His fingers were pretty happy too, enjoying the give of her body. It was all he could do not to slide them down, cup her sweet ass, and pull her up against him.

Just not while she was crying over another man.

She lingered in his arms and he did nothing to push her away. In fact, it surprised him how badly he wanted to keep her there, so much so that when Emily finally extricated herself, he wanted to pull her back into his embrace. Instead, he wiped her cheeks clean of the remaining tears.

“The makeup ladies are going to kill me for making you cry.”

It might have been his imagination, but her tears made her eyes appear even greener. In fact, her entire face seemed a riot of tempting color. Each shade called to him. The crushed roses in her cheeks. Her strawberry lips, so plump and moist. Even the doeskin brown of her freckles fascinated him to no end. He wanted to count them, to kiss and mark them all.

Kissing her made a whole lot of sense right now. Kissing her senseless seemed even better.

Emily’s eyes widened. Her lips parted in invitation. Michael paused, knowing it was wrong, even though every raised hair on his arms told him it was right.

As he debated with himself for a split second, she brushed her lips against his. It was quick and soft, hunger masquerading as something platonic. Even though a spectator might have called it a friendly kiss, he knew the truth. As brief as it may have been, he felt her yield to him, even if just a little.

From the startled look in her eyes, Emily knew it too.