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 – 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 – 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 – Alexander Vayle

Author Photo II (2)Please welcome Alexander Vayle to the Clog Blog.  Alexander and I are both members of The Moorhead Friends Writing Group.  So Alexander, tell us a little about yourself and your background? 

I’m a father of four, a former paramedic, and a registered nurse. I grew up in the country and I believe the quiet and calm out there helped nurture my imagination. I wrote my first story in elementary and writing has been a hobby of mine off and on ever since. A few years ago I found an excellent writing group and really buckled down to produce some work. Since then I have published my first book, a collection of Supernatural suspense titled “Among the Stray”, and I have a novel in the works. 

How do you make time to write? 

Early morning has always been my best for clarity and creativity. I try to get up around 5am so I can get in an hour or two of writing before the rest of the house starts waking up. 

Do you believe in writer’s block? 

I haven’t found it yet. If get stuck on something I simply change gears, free-write, whatever it takes. I don’t believe in beating my head against a story until it starts to work. I’ll think about my book or other stories at night, as I’m falling asleep, so I usually have pile of ideas ready to go by the time I sit down in front of a keyboard. 

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

Supernatural suspense, drama, Syfy, Murder mystery. It’s hard to pin down a genre I enjoy the most. As long as the characters are real and story draws out emotion from the reader, I’m happy. 

How are you publishing your recent book and why? 

My first book was published traditionally through All Things That Matter Press. If I can, I will always go traditional. The amount of advertising and the work they have done getting my book out is something I simply wouldn’t have time for on my own. Working with professionals also gave me a better grasp of how the industry works. 

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

Introvert. I’m comfortable by myself and I always have been. I think it comes from growing up in the country where we didn’t have a lot of neighbors. My sister and I made up a lot of stories to entertain ourselves and it became a big part of who I am. 

What is your favorite motivational phrase? 

Hard to pick a favorite, but one that I’ve always liked is:

“If it doesn’t challenge you it doesn’t change you.”

Getting up early is not always easy. Trying to find time to edit other people’s writing and my own and come up with new material isn’t easy either. But it certainly is satisfying when I lean back and look at what I’ve accomplished. 

What advice would you give to aspiring writers? 

FIND. A. WRITING. GROUP. Seriously, it made all the difference for me. Working on your own is fine, but getting feedback from other people takes writing to a whole new level. I think some people feel like their work is not good enough to be reviewed by their peers, and that hesitancy is what stops their work from becoming as good as it can be. I’ve had my writing reviewed by a lot of other writers and most of them have been very gracious with constructive criticism and compliments. Writers, in my experience, love to help other writers. 

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

@Alexandervayle on Twitter

email me at Alexandervayle@gmail.com, check out “Among the Stray” on Amazon, booksamillion, and basically any site where books are sold.

For those who prefer brick and mortar you can find “Among the Stray” at any of the Ferguson Book Store locations, Zambroz in Fargo, or at the Fargo Public Library. 

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

You bet! Here’s a few lines out of Back From Where You Came, the final story in “Among the Stray” 

Among the stray“Getting in the house was the easy part. The streetlight on their block was out. The back door, the one going out to the detached garage, wasn’t locked. It seemed like … like everything was set up just for me that night. I walked right in. Little mud room off the kitchen. Kicked off my shoes so I be quiet. I even set them on the rug so I wouldn’t get the floor dirty. Imagine that, huh? There to shoot somebody and I didn’t want to get the floor dirty. Habits, I guess.” 

AuThursday – Cass Scotka

Cass-at-Pride-e1615253907974Tell us a little about yourself and your background? 

I’m a born and bred military brat turned military wife, a Texas Longhorn forever, and California is my soul’s home. I have a clinical doctorate in Audiology and by day work for a global hearing amplification company. By night, once my kiddos are in bed, I read, write, and create new worlds. I was chosen for PitchWars in 2016, landed my agent with a different manuscript in 2019, and my debut novel REVOLUTIONARY LOVE came out August 23, 2021. I’m also a die-hard Oxford comma supporter and will never give it up! 

How do you make time to write? 

I don’t sleep! Kidding…kind of. I do primarily write in the evenings after my kids are in bed. I’m not much of a morning person. I also take time on weekends to carve out a few hours and when I take the occasional work trip (pre-pandemic) I also snag the extra alone time for writing, too. 

Do you believe in writer’s block?

Yes!! I’m a pantser by nature so writer’s block can be a bit tricky. I’ve learned to use a very loose outline to help have at least a vague idea where I’m going with a story, and I’ve also learned it’s okay to skip sections or simply put [INSERT SCENE HERE] and circle back later. The main thing to keep in mind is don’t let it stop you from finishing your story! 

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

I write Romance! Contemporary, paranormal, historical – as long as it has love and an HEA I’m here for it! My debut novel is a historical romance set during the American Revolutionary War, I have a contemporary romance on sub, and am drafting a romance with light paranormal elements. My PitchWars manuscript is a YA paranormal romance that I hope will one day see bookshelves, too. I am a sucker for a good love story and I *have* to have a happy ending! Uncertain or sad endings are not my jam. I go into writing (and reading!) with the excitement of seeing how my MCs are going end up happily together! 

How are you publishing your recent book and why

My first book was published through Champagne Book Group and it was a great experience! As with many authors, I hope to land a deal with one of the big five and their imprints one day, but the Indie route was great for having easy and quick communication, one-on-one attention and mentoring, and CBG has been a great group to launch with! 

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

Introvert for sure! Writing is a great way for me to recharge and have alone time while still getting the vibes of spending time with friends. I always know I’m writing the right plot idea when my characters feel real to me and I look forward to my writing time to see what happens next! 

What is your favorite motivational phrase? 

“Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it.” – Maya Angelou 

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Keep writing!! Keep writing, keep querying, and keep participating in mentor contests and Twitter parties. Keep going with all the things and YOU WILL BE SUCCESSFUL! 

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

Website/Blog: https://www.cassscotka.com 

Twitter: @CScotka; https://twitter.com/CScotka 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/cass.scotka/ 

Instagram: @cassscotkawrites; https://www.instagram.com/cassscotkawrites/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2129915.Cass_Scotka 

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

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“This world?” A small shake of her head set the moonlight shimmering in her dark tresses. “As if we are living in two different places.” 

His voice turned hard. “We are. You have no idea what I’ve seen. What I’ve done in this blasted war.” He released her arm and looked away, afraid his sins would somehow show on his face. 

She touched his shoulder, but he refused to meet her eyes. “And you’ve no idea what I’ve seen and endured. The British soldiers in New York…they are not kind or decent men. I’ve seen how prisoners are treated. I’ve firsthand experience in how they treat women. Whatever you’ve done, the soldiers I know you’ve killed in battle, is all for the greater good of America.” 

He spun back to her, eyes flashing. “You don’t know what I’ve done! I murder men, Verity. Murder. Not fight in battle, but sit atop hills and cliffs three hundred yards away with my long rifle and shoot men without warning. They have no means to fight back against me. They never see me coming. My sharpshooting skills are exceptional and I’ve been singled out as Washington’s private killer.” His chest heaved from the force of his breathing. Hands shaking with rage and regret, he balled them into fists. “Go to bed.” 

Stay. God, he wanted her to stay, but he’d stain her sweet innocence. He wasn’t worthy of her attention. Not when she discovered— 

“Oh, you are too hardheaded!” She snarled with all the ire of a wet kitten. Plunking her hands on her hips, she scowled. Theo choked back his guffaw at the indignation she displayed. Even angry, she was delightfully charming. Her jaw clenched tighter, brows lowered a fraction more, and her eyes burned. 

Unease stirred within him. Perhaps he’d underestimated her vexation. “Don’t you dare patronize me.” She stepped closer so they were chest to chest. Her chin tilted up to keep their stares locked. “You believe General Washington is so morally corrupt he’d use someone as a trained killer on a whim?” 

“No, but—” 

She sliced a hand through the air. “Tell me, these men you’ve shot from afar, were they key soldiers leading troops into battle?” 

“Yes, but—” 

She poked a finger into his chest. “Did their deaths mean swift victories for the Continental Army without additional bloodshed?” 

“Most of the time, but—” 

“Then you saved lives, you daft man! By working with Washington to choose when and whom to target, you are saving countless American and British soldiers from death on the battlefield. I spent one dinner with the general and I know without qualms he is the very best of men. His Excellency would not be our chosen leader if he did not inspire unwavering trust in his decisions for the good of our country.” 

Theo blinked while his mind whirled over her words. A few points were fair, but still these men did not have the hope of fighting back against him. They did not see their deaths coming at his hands. “They could not fight back! The soldiers I’ve murdered did not even know from which direction death struck.” 

A frustrated growl filled the air and Verity stamped her foot. “As is so for most of us. Not everyone is fortuitous enough to see Death approach and have an option to fight back. People die every day and there is nothing to stop it. My father is proof. Redcoats dragged him from our field without warning. Tortured him for information. Beat him when he refused to pledge allegiance to the king. Hanged him and burned our home to the ground. All while I cried and begged for mercy. The only mercy I found was when they left me to spread the news of what happens to so-called traitors.” Theo’s eyes grew round as horror swept through him. The strength she held inside her tiny frame. It shamed him further to think of how he hid from afar behind his gun. His teeth ground together. He was a worthless coward. A worthless coward who could not provide her the life she so deserved. 

Her face softened. Shaking her head, she lifted a hand to his cheek. “You cannot blame yourself. No matter what your mind tells you, you are a good man.” 

Theo jerked his head away from her touch, afraid to sully her. “You are too naive, Verity.” 

“Stop treating me as a child. I am a full-grown woman, in case you hadn’t noticed.” 

Before he registered it, Theo reached out and swept her into his arms so their bodies touched from chest to thigh. “I am all too aware you are no longer a child.” He shifted his hips against her belly and she gasped as his erection pressed 

there. “There is no mistaking your lush female curves.” 

Their eyes locked and held. In the moonlight, he saw her pupils enlarge, her pulse flutter at her throat, and the small parting of her lips as her breathing quickened. Her body softened and relaxed into his embrace. “Theo,” she whispered and the tip of her tongue peeked out to wet her lips. 

AuThursday – Casie Aufenthie

Tell us a little about yourself and your background?
I grew up in Mandan, ND, and fell in love with telling tales after writing my first story for an elementary school project. In university, I studied English and Spanish literature, which enhanced my love for the craft. I published my first novel, The Drift, in March of 2021, and currently reside in Mandan with my husband and young daughter.
How do you make time to write?
Writing comes in stolen moments, usually in the quiet of night when my family is sleeping.
Do you believe in writer’s block?
Yes.
Tell us a bit about the genre you write and why you love it.
Science fiction and fantasy (SFF) are my go-to genres with healthy doses of romance included. My father inspired my love for SFF, passing on his passion for the vast possibilities and ingenuity they allow. I incorporate romance because, growing up, these genres didn’t often show the female characters as equal partners, and I craved that kind of relationship.
How are you publishing your recent book and why? (*e.g. Indie, traditional or both)
Indie.
Are you an Introvert or Extrovert? How does this affect your work?
Introverted for the most part. I think as a wallflower, I have observed interactions more than participated, which allows me to create richer characters.
What is your favorite motivational phrase?
Do you.
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Don’t doubt your path. The journey looks different for everyone, but as long as you keep moving forward, you will get to where you want to be.
Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?
Facebook – Casie Aufenthie
Twitter – @CasieAufenthie
Instagram – @authorcasieaufenthie
The Drift is available on Amazon.
Do you have an excerpt you’d like to share with us?
FB_IMG_1618400893514“Thank you.” A small smile graced her face for the first time. It made her eyes look like warm sunshine peeking through the leaves of a tree.
Tristan’s stomach flipped, heart skittering in his chest. He’d never seen anything so beautiful before. The truth of the girl was peeking out from her eyes, and seeing it, something deep in his core pulsed in recognition and longing. He could’ve happily passed eternity staring into those eyes, trying to decipher their mysteries.

AuThursday – K.S. Trenten

IMG_1441Tell us a little about yourself and your background? 

Previously published author discovers pitfalls of trying to create her own genre (or subgenre) along with balancing creative ambition with an attempt to actually sell her work. 

How do you make time to write? 

I’m fortunate. I’m being supported by my marriage partner, leaving me time to write, yet somehow I still end up constantly running out of time. 

Do you believe in writer’s block?

Just one block? Lately it’s been a rain of stones accompanied by the Apocalypse song in Revolutionary Girl Utena. (wry grin) 

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

I’m suffering from a genre crisis right now. What I write is very close what Storm Constantine writes and anime/manga such as Revolutionary Girl Utena or Clover. It’s out of the box, emotionally driven fantasy which I call ambient fantasy. It appeals to a different crowd than what the market expects fantasy to be. (wry grin) 

How are you publishing your recent book and why? 

I’m having a crisis about that, too. I’ve been published, but my sales have been so bad, I’ve gotten seriously shy about submitting. There are more steps to self publishing, but I’m wanting to make certain I market myself right. 

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

Extrovert with introverted tendencies. I love to sit and read (or write), but I also really enjoy talking to people. Dialogue is what comes first to me when writing a story. 

What is your favorite motivational phrase?

Keep going and I’ll get better. 

What advice would you give to aspiring writers? 

Keep going and you’ll get better. 

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

https://www.amazon.com/author/kstrenten 

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

ASymposiuminSpace-f500A floating, pink orb drifted up to the open panels of Pausania’s apartment and fixed me with its lidless stare. 

I froze, unsure how to react. An unfashionable citizen of the Intergalactic Democracy, I still ran around in a vest with pocket protectors, unfamiliar with the latest technology. The bobbing globe made me think of tales of magic from Ancient Earth. 

“Phaedra, beloved of Pausania.” A melodic voice, filled with sly suggestion, came from the orb. “I’d be very pleased if you and your lover would attend my symposium in space.” 

AuThursday – Kat Turner

Tell us a little about yourself and your background? 

I have a very full life, for which I am quite blessed. I work for a university, where I fulfill a couple of roles, teach yoga on the side, and have a family (which we might be adding to soon!). I started writing fiction a little over five years ago and found tremendous satisfaction in the creation of fictional worlds. It feels like a calling. I like to think that I was able to parlay my background in academic writing into the fiction world and expedite the craft learning process a bit through that. My hobbies are working out, podcasts, yoga, walks, and of course reading and writing. 

How do you make time to write? 

I force myself to carve out a 2-hour chunk of time to sit and focus. Two hours is usually the sweet spot for getting a decent amount of writing or editing done and feeling reasonably accomplished. Sometimes late nights are involved. Other times, it’s a matter of sacrificing a yoga class or chores to get the words down. 

Do you believe in writer’s block? 

I definitely believe in lack of creative inspiration that can lead to feelings of stagnation. So yes. Tell us a bit about the genre you write and why you love it.

I’ve written mostly romance, which I love because I find that stories about falling in love are so fundamentally optimistic and uplifting. And who couldn’t use a little elevation now and then? The paranormal element is fun to add in because then you can explore the adventures that arise when romantic feelings develop in the midst of outlandish circumstances. 

How are you publishing your recent book and why?

My most recent and upcoming book are both traditionally published through City Owl Press. I adore my publisher everyone from the art team to the editors, administrative staff, and author community are so helpful and supportive. We really are like a loving family. 

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

I’m pretty introverted, so I recharge through alone time. It affects my work insofar as my solitary time spent reading, watching, listening, and thinking nourishes my creative well. 

What is your favorite motivational phrase? 

You are stronger than you think. 

What advice would you give to aspiring writers? 

Keep improving your craft. Find your people and listen to their advice. Rewrite and edit, and allow yourself to notice when the results improve. 

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

https://katturnerauthor.com/ 

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/19786105.Kat_Turner 

https://www.amazon.com/Kat-Turner/e/B08KGVL811?ref_=dbs_p_ebk_r00_abau_000000 

https://twitter.com/Kat_A_Turner 

https://www.facebook.com/kat.turner.50364/ 

https://www.instagram.com/katturnerwrites/ 

https://www.bookbub.com/authors/kat-turner-8e084db2-0533-46c5-8961-9747f771b5d9 

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

Here’s one of my favorite lines from Blood Sugar, coming 8/24 from City Owl Press! 

“Mr. Mystery looked Eve in the eye. Maybe what interested her most about this man was how large he loomed despite his nameless, anonymous status. Like some old-world deity walking amongst mere mortals.” 

AuThursday – Crystal Estell

Tell us a little about yourself and your background? 

I was raised in South Carolina in extreme poverty. Not as in I didn’t own name brand jeans, but as in I once lived in a condemned migrant worker’s house with no working bathroom until a church rented our family a place, poverty. That place didn’t last long, and then it was on to the next run down trailer we could find for pennies, as my late father was an alcoholic who barely worked. It didn’t help that neither of my parents had more than a 7th grade education. 

At 17, I moved out. And after taking several detours––that I’ll probably write about one day––I put myself through nursing school and now hold a Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing Degree, working full time as a registered nurse. While I enjoy taking care of people, something happened that changed my life several years ago. Doctors diagnosed me with two rare conditions, Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome and a Chiari Malformation, which led to over eleven surgeries, including one on my brain. Shortly after, my then 7-year-old son had open heart surgery. It helped me realize life is short, and that I should do what makes me happy. 

Writing makes me happy. 

And when I’m not working, writing, or caring for my zoo filled with kids, dogs, chickens, and Churro, the rabbit, I find pleasure—and sanity—in deep conversations, coffee, and coloring outside the lines. 

My hope is that the happy endings I write provide an escape to someone who needs it, as books––and a late, inspiring aunt––gave me the emotional support I needed to create an alternate ending to my own story. 

How do you make time to write?

I just do. With a full time job and five very active kids, I have to make sacrifices–not excuses. I treat writing like a second job. My family respects it like a second job. And that makes it a lot easier to do what needs to be done. Otherwise, I’d never find the time. 

Do you believe in writer’s block? 

I have a different view of writer’s block than most. To me, it’s not being stuck or having nothing to write about. It’s more that my mind has so many ideas and possibilities flowing through it simultaneously that it’s hard to focus on just one idea. So everything just feels scrambled. 

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

I write mainly romance because it’s one genre where I know I’m guaranteed a happy ending. I am working on a women’s fiction novel currently w/ some romantic elements–and of course a happy ever after. 

How are you publishing your recent book and why? 

Indie publishing. Ahh…I did try traditionally publishing this book at first. I had lots of requests, compliments from agents, etc. What I learned about traditional publishing though is that having a great book doesn’t always equate to getting a great agent or a great contract. I had an offer from a digital publisher with the possibility of print after so many copies sold, but I declined because of the success I had self-publishing my first book. And because my reason for traditionally publishing would be to see my book in a place like Barnes and Noble (yes, I’m trying to walk before I crawl), I opted to continue Indie publishing for now. Until the next one… My ultimate goal is to do both. 

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

Introvert–although I can fake being an extrovert when forced to. Just don’t look at my armpits…lol. I think being an introvert helps because writing requires a lot of alone time, just me and the characters in my own head. The downside comes when it’s time to network and market. That leans in favor of the extroverts. 

What is your favorite motivational phrase? 

You fail only if you stop writing. ~Ray Bradbury 

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Don’t stop writing. Each book is always better than the one before. It’s only a matter of time before you write your masterpiece. 

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web? 

https://estellsplace.com 

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

Excerpt From: “Field of Secrets.” 

He sat beside her. “This is where you used to spy on me from all those years ago.” 

“I never spied.” Not for malicious reasons, anyway. She enjoyed watching him trot back to the stables on his strong horse, all proud and confident. It reminded her of the cowboys on TV, those handsome young men riding in on powerful stallions, winking at the waiting ladies. She’d say her crush started then, or maybe a little before. She didn’t exactly know. 

Because in all her memories, she loved him.