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?

revolutionary-love-cover-512x716-1

“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 – William Schlichter

Tell us a little about yourself and your background?

Being a published author has always been a life goal. It’s taken me a while to get there, and it was not a straight road—sometimes there was no map. Along the way, I became an English teacher, received a Master’s degree in Theater, and am currently working on a second Master’s in Creative Writing. I am a hardcore sci-fi and horror fan. I will gladly talk about writing, books, and zombies any day. 

How do you make time to write?

Writing comes first. I make time to do the rest of life. When I’m not writing, I keep an audio-book on my phone, because authors should be reading as well as writing. When I ride the bike at the gym, I read an actual book. I always have pages to edit if I get stuck and have time to color purple on my pages. I spend my evening reaching my daily goal of 1,000 words. Sometimes when I’m heavy into editing, I don’t write part of a new story. Teaching writing allows me to talk about my writing. I will toss out questions sometimes just to see how my students answer. Trust me, some of those answers will end up in print. 

Do you believe in writer’s block?

No. Even if I’m having a slow day on one story, I’ll switch to another. I have a couple of side stories. I have too many ideas not to be writing. The so-called writer’s block is a lack of confidence in oneself. I accepted a long time ago that whatever a person is writing will suck. It’s terrible and no one will ever want to read it. Including the author. But once those words are on a page, it can be transformed into a masterpiece. The key is getting the words down and it can be turned into art. No matter what, someone will read and love it and someone will hate it.  

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

Horror and Sci-Fi. I saw Star Wars when I was three and a half and knew I wanted to create worlds. Sci-Fi and horror have no limits. And I can explore a side of people that terrifies and fascinates us at the same moment—serial killers. I enjoy the macabre, and I don’t always chase the monster under-the-bed stories. I find real terror lies in people. I think that is my fascination with serial killers. They are real and that is where terror lies.

 

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

I am publishing my current novel through a small press publisher under a hybrid model. I pay some of the publishing costs and they cover some. It allows for more control on my part but gives me support and access to publishing you may not have with total self-publishing. I would still like to see a traditionally published book—which might be happening soon. And by soon in the publishing world means three years. I fully support Indie authors. I still fall in that category, but before someone goes on full-fledged self-publishing, send it off. Collect those rejection letters. It makes you a better writer. We learn more from failure than success.  

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

I never met a stranger. It helps with book sales. I’ll give you an example; if I want to know how a nurse deals with cancer patients, I’ll ask a nurse. Then I write my scene. I think it makes the moment more real. It is not the medical terms or the science. It’s what would they actually say that makes it feel real to the reader. And it feels real because it’s what a real nurse would say.

What is your favorite motivational phrase?

I can fix anything but a blank page (I’ve seen it credited to several authors).

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Through teaching writing, the biggest trap (and what makes them hate me) is the inability to let go of what they have written. The beginning author writes a chapter. They spend weeks, months—even years—perfecting this chapter. It’s the most beautiful piece of writing they will ever create. And it doesn’t serve the story and must be cut. They take it as a personal attack, or they feel they wasted their time. They have not. Every time they write and rewrite, they are getting better at it. But sometimes no matter how good a paragraph seems, it doesn’t fit into the story and must go. And they can’t let it go. When you cut your work to the bones and still tell a good story, it is ready. I recently read a freshman effort by a published author, and he spent pages beautifully describing this Victorian home and it had nothing to do with the story. It destroys the flow of the book and many readers won’t keep reading. The worst offense was that we never returned in the book to this home.  

It hurts but cuts the unnecessary bits.

One other area is the outline. I write the last chapter first. I like to know where my characters will end up. I then do a basic plot outline. And this is where some writers and Comp teachers get upset. I am not married to my outline. It is not a stone-cold road-map; it is a suggestion. If my characters need to go in a different direction, then I follow. If they toss the map, then so be it. Sometimes we get back to the final chapter, sometimes I have to rewrite to match the direction the character traveled. But I don’t get upset because I didn’t stay true to my pre-planning. If anything, it was a direction that wasn’t meant for those characters.    

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

https://www.instagram.com/wschlichter/

https://sandmenandzombies.com/

https://www.bhcpress.com/Author_William_Schlichter.html

https://www.facebook.com/wmschlichter

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

Sirgrus Blackmane Demihuman Gumshoe and The Dark-Elf

1

DEAD PARTNER

The Great War is over, Prohibition is in full swing, and fairies have the right to vote. Sprinkle-dust fae, not those bloody orcs. Don’t give me any “bleeding heart,” “love your enemy” buggery. Ending a war with signatures on a paper doesn’t change what I witnessed. No way. The only good orc is a dead one. Dwarves are born hating orcs. And I’ll die hating orcs. 

Cops would be a close second. I’ve no ancestral urge to butcher them, but I don’t have a desire to cooperate without a warrant either. I’m jammed between two uniformed officers in the back of a coupe. I’m not under arrest, so I don’t appreciate the perp treatment. Sandwiched between them, one thing is clear: I’m not trusted. 

I’ve nothing better to do. My caseload is open. Private dicks aren’t normally called to the busting of a rum-runner ring—especially dwarf detectives outside the Quarters. I’ve got little to do with Prohibition, other than that it’s a law I fail to practice. Mead is a staple of the mountain dwarf diet. 

I slip a golden clam-shell case from the inner pocket of my trench coat and remove a cigarette. I prefer pipes, but in a pinch, a cig will do. If I don’t catch a case after this, I’ll have to roll my own. 

The driver hits every pothole in the road before pulling into a field. They let me out. I crush my cig, using the moment of freedom to grind the cherry into the green grass. I’m not manhandled, but the brusque movement of my escorts suggests I’m expected to follow the officers.

The sight of wooden box after wooden box being dragged from the barn makes me want to cry. Uniformed men outside smash case after case labeled “Perfect Maple Syrup,” and their acts are the true crime. Hard rum vapors hover in the air, wafting from the growing pile of shattered glass and growing pond of brown liquid soaking into the ground.

My escorts bring me to the man in charge.

His suit gives away that he is no patrolman. I can’t get over the paisley print stitched into his blue silk tie. His tie reveals his talents if a person knows what the symbols mean. He’s human, and human mages are a dying breed. Mages have always been feared. Hell, they used to be burned for heresy. 

I light another cig. 

“We found a body.”

Now, a body does pique my interest. Bodies are to be expected when rum-runners are raided, but not always. Most middlemen bootleggers surrender, and the lawyers have them out on bail within twenty-four hours. But other than drinking the product, I’ve nothing to do with such nefariousness. Anyway, I don’t deal with stiffs. They tend to skip out on the check.

 “Agent Edgeangel, since when does the Justice Bureau’s Mage Division enforce the National Prohibition Act?” I speak with disdain, mostly because of the smell. Magic stinks worse than the wafts of spilt rye. 

 “Sirgrus…Blackmane.” He bites off my clan name as if it’s tough, overcooked meat. “Magic crimes are on a downward trend since the end of the war. Drinking-related crimes are rising.”

When you pass a pointless law to help those returning from war to curb their drinking, you create more criminals. The Great War wielded the tools of men over ancient mysticism. Europa suffered, centuries of culture was decimated, and magic failed to restore the old ways. This surly baboon won’t admit mages of any race are going extinct. But I’m here about a dead body, not a dead culture. I puff a series of smoke rings, contemplating how best to remind him wizardry is obsolete. “The trenches gutted the ancient countryside, destroying the old ways. No magic will ever bring it back.”

Edgeangel wags a finger toward the silver rune-etched beads laced into my beard’s braids—a long-standing dwarf superstition. Some claim the runes have a charmed origin. “The technology of men rules the world now. But I didn’t ask you here to discuss the diminution of the old ways.”

“I figured not.” I stand next to the classy G-man. Even on a government salary, his suit is tailored. Mage-users are elitists. I’m not a fan. Mages failed us in Europa. 

The G-man gazes down his long nose at me. 

Not because of my height. Dwarf is a species, not a size. I reach a stature of five feet, without the fedora. 

Edgeangel’s blue eyes reveal his distaste for me. Or perhaps he just thinks all non-mages are beneath him. I don’t need the gift of clairvoyance to understand his assignment was no career builder. Rum-running busting is a job for the common officer, not a master of the Dark Arts. 

Agent Edgeangel marches past the men carting case after case of booze from the barrel-house. They must smash it here onsite. Somehow, if they don’t, it never arrives to be booked into evidence. Another reason the lawyers get the minions out on bail so fast: no proof. 

We continue past a paddy wagon. The shackled men ignore me.

In a back room of the barn—maybe for tools or tack storage—a white sheet shrouds a human figure. The corpse isn’t wide enough to be a dwarf. I had thought maybe a dwarf crossed the line to work outside the Quarter, which might’ve explained my presence here. Edgeangel might have supposed I knew a dwarf. Men always think dwarves know each other. We all look alike to them.

A red bloom of blood is centered over the forehead. Edgeangel kneels, gripping the corner of the blanket. “Prepare yourself.” 

I’ve seen dead bodies before. Dead ones don’t disturb me like some of the living. I crush out my cig.

AuThursday – Christina Lynn Lambert

Tell us a little about yourself and your background?

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

How do you make time to write? 

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

Do you believe in writer’s block? 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What is your favorite motivational phrase?

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

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

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

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

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

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

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/christinalynnlambert

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

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

Twitterhttps://www.twitter.com/chris4lamb

WordPresshttps://christinalynnlambertwordpress.com

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

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

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

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

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

Buy Links:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

AuThursday – Cindy Tomamichel

Please welcome Cindy Tomamichel to The Clog Blog.  Cindy, can you tell us a little about yourself and your background?

I live in rural Australia and have lived and traveled around the country. I have been an underground mine geologist and then worked in environmental science involved in cleaning up soil and groundwater. 

How do you make time to write? 

Squeeze it (and the more onerous marketing and social media aspects of being an author) in around a few other jobs and life stuff. I have been known to write a story while making dinner, and sticky notes for random thoughts are my friend!

Do you believe in writer’s block? 

Usually, you are stuck for a good reason. Either the story needs more research, you are trying to force it in the wrong direction or something – your subconscious is arcing up about it! Otherwise, you may be feeling tired or burnt out, and need rest or fresh air. Search for the reason and the words should flow once more.

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

I write across genres, with short stories in fantasy, sci-fi, and alternate history anthologies. My main novel series is Druid’s Portal, a multi-generational time travel action-adventure romance. I love it because I get to combine historical research with a dollop of fantasy.

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

My Druid’s Portal series is published with Soul Mate Publishing, a small traditional publisher. Other works are small indie publishers, and I hope to dive into self-publishing next year. Why? Firstly, I got accepted by the publisher Soul Mate, and I have found them a great team. Indie and self-publishing mainly to try out a new adventure!

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

Introvert – makes it easy to spend time alone reading and researching or writing.

What is your favorite motivational phrase?

Writers write.

It helps focus when it is often way too easy to get distracted by social media.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Read widely to fill your head with ideas – including non-fiction. Generally just start writing- short stories, poems, etc. you need to write a lot of words to get into a rhythm and find your style. Doing NaNoWriMo (write a novel in November) is also a fun way to challenge yourself.

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

Contact Cindy on

Website: http://www.cindytomamichel.com/ 

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/CindyTomamichel 

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16194822.Cindy_Tomamichel 

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

Newsletter: https://tinyurl.com/AdventureNews 

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/cindy-tomamichel 

Amazon Author page: https://amazon.com/author/cindytomamichel

Youtube: https://tinyurl.com/EscapeTheEveryday

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

An excerpt from Druid’s Portal: The First Journey

DP seriesThe pendant was solid gold, with a stylised oak tree and some symbols and dots she recognised as Ogham, the ancient language of the area. She frowned, turning it over in her hands.

It felt hot, and the heat pulsed through her until she felt dizzy, as if she was standing on the edge of a precipice. She held onto the cabinet as the museum faded around her.

Then she fell into a grey void.

There was a smell of forest earth, long undisturbed, centuries of leaf mould, of the secret growing business of trees. Quiescence. A sense of time. A time long ago, ruled by gods long forgotten. But not far away—distance didn’t register. Somewhere nearby—close to her home and Hadrian’s Wall. Where she had grown up and where the stone and earth were part of her. 

The void split into shadows as the peace was shattered.

Danger. Around her, the grey void echoed with screams of hatred and of death that pounded in her ears. She was in a battlefield, surrounded by the misty shapes of men as they bellowed in agony, and she choked as the smell of blood smothered her. A tall shadow filled her vision. Right in front of her, a shadowy figure raised a sword, and she cried out and fell to her knees. 

Death and danger.

And love.

The grey void vanished, and Janet opened her eyes. She shook her head. It had been the impression of a moment, but death, danger, and love seemed intertwined in a way she could neither explain nor fathom. 

To read more, this is a link to the preview: https://goo.gl/ydf8qK

 

AuThursday – Victoria Jayne

VJ-4Tell us a little about yourself and your background?

Hi, my name is Victoria, and I write. I’m a Jersey girl through and through. Yes, I am from the shore, but I am nothing like the television show that aired on MTV. I’ve been writing since I was sixteen and my first novel was published in December 2018. I love everything to do with wolf shifters and motorcycle clubs (in novel form and television form, okay and movies too). I love me some romance. Give me your alpha males, please.

How do you make time to write?

I’m a wife and mother who works a full-time job 9a-5p. My daughters are 2 and a half and 6 months. Believe me, it is hard to find time to write. So I steal moments whenever I can. Mostly, its when the girls are sleeping or if they are spending time with my family when I’m not around.

Do you believe in writer’s block?

Yes. Writing takes energy and requires a headspace. If I don’t have the energy or my head isn’t in it. I can’t put the words to paper or type them on the screen. If the characters in my head are silent I can’t write. I can try to wake them up by reading more or looking for inspiration.

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

Paranormal Romance. I love alpha males. I love primal reactions. I love the “just have to have it,” caution to the wind, impulsivity that these novels embody. Anne Rice, Suzanne Wright, these lovely ladies really showed me how wonderful this genre really is. JD Tyler, Elisabeth Naughton, and Dianne Duvall just put the nail in my coffin. I love wolf shifters and vampires.

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

My first book was published with a small publishing house that later returned the rights to me. I self-published the book because I believed in it. Since it’s a first in a trilogy, I will be self-publishing the other two books of the series.

The Wolf of the Prophecy eBook

The Witch of the Prophecy is out [now] and is available as an eBook or a Paperback.

The Wolf of the Prophecy, the sequel, will be out this summer (2019).

 

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

I am a combination of the two. It really depends on my comfort level. I am introverted when I first enter a new environment with new people. I really hang back and just watch the dynamics and try to understand who I’m around. I also live in my head and my world of self-consciousness. However, if I’m comfortable with someone or maybe like two people, I am quite extroverted.

I am in awe of people who are confident and extroverted. People who are unapologetically themselves. I want to write characters like that.

What is your favorite motivational phrase?

You won’t know until you try.

I know it’s not very profound or eloquent. It’s short and sweet. I spend a lot of time overthinking things and talking myself out of a lot of stuff. But in all honesty, if I don’t try something, I won’t know. So, I try to do that. I try to suck it up and try it, whatever it may be.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

There are resources out there. Whatever you think your weakness is, there is a way to build that up, to improve it. Don’t be afraid to reach out to someone who is doing what you want to do. They are just people too. Nine times out of ten they will be flattered that someone contacted them. You can do it. You can write. You can get published. You can achieve whatever goal you want, you just have to learn how.

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

You can start with my website:

https://www.authorvictoriajayne.com/

but I’m on a lot of social media. I’m most active on Twitter:

https://twitter.com/AuthorVictoriaJ

https://www.facebook.com/Victoria-Jayne-972231726319372/

https://www.instagram.com/authorvictoriaj/

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/18610623.Victoria_Jayne

https://www.bookbub.com/profile/victoria-jayne

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

From the Witch of the Prophecy:

TheWitchoftheProphecy

“Pay attention,” she snapped. “You don’t need power, just Divina,” she spoke simply. “You don’t need the council seat, just your witch.”

Tightening his mouth into a firm line, Rori considered her words. The witches could be testing him. Through this manipulation, this appearance of Ines, they could be testing his resolve to sacrifice love for the throne, for the good of all kinds.

“If I do that then I will be the one to end us all,” he said, wary of Ines’ intentions.

Ines shook her head. “You have no desire to do such a thing,” she pointed out. “How could you end us if you don’t want to?”

She coughed again harder and longer this time. She looked at her hand and cursed before wiping it on the woolen blanket she held close around her.

“They are forcing you into a place you’re not meant to be, Roricus. You have to follow your heart, now that it beats. Don’t let the witches make you a puppet,” she said urgently.

He regarded her with a sideways glance. Her sickly form shivered under the blanket.

“What did they do to you?” he asked again.

With words in direct conflict with not only Esmine’s but Ines’ own words, Rori questioned her motive. Add her withering appearance, and it felt wrong.

With a tight-lipped frown Rori pondered his previous idea of her presence being a test by the Ember Witches; a test to his commitment to the throne. The more she talked, the more Rori felt the witches were pushing him toward the sacrifice.

She turned away from him. She tried to get up, but the witch lacked the strength and fell back down.

“Love, Roricus. Love is what you need to fight the prophecy,” she rasped.

Rori clenched his teeth. The manipulations needed to stop. His nostrils flared as his frustrations grew. The incessant games of the Ember Witches, of this witch, was enough to drive a lesser man crazy.

“They cast you out,” he surmised. “Did they strip you as well?” he asked.

She said nothing.

However, her trembling increased and the blanket slipped from her shoulder revealing her state of emaciation. She bowed her head and displayed just how thin her once lush red hair had become. She refused to lift it to him or, perhaps, she lacked the strength.

“Divina is to take your seat isn’t she?” Rori further concluded.

Silence.

“You went against the witches knowing that it was your seat up for grabs,” Rori said.

He breathed in sharply with the belief he knew Ines’ true intentions. He closed his eyes, trying to push down the bloom of rage growing and spreading in his chest. When he opened them again, the world was tinged red.

“You are here to sabotage—”

Ines sprang up interrupting his words. The blanket fell to her feet and exposed her skeletal body with clothing dangling from her. Sores covered her gray skin. Her eyes lacked the shine and youth they had the first time she promised him power.

Cold radiated off her and crept over Rori’s skin.

“I went against my coven for what is right!” she hissed. “I went against my coven for love,” she declared. “For your love, for Percival’s love! For Divina and Selene!”

Her bony fingers gripped his forearms. The sharp digits dug into the muscular flesh of Rori’s arms, threatening to pierce through with a strength he didn’t realize she possessed. She shook as all her energy appeared concentrated on her hold on him.  

“You are not fit for the council, Roricus,” she seethed. “You lack the age and the commitment. It is meant for Percival. The coven fears Selene’s devotion to her vampire.”

From The Wolf of the Prophecy:

“We don’t get a lot of folks coming through these parts,” Smitty explained. “So, when someone unknown shows up, we notice. She went to the diner down the road a piece this morning after Officer Owens caught her sleeping in her truck.”

Aric’s jaw tightened as he listened. She had opted to sleep in her truck rather than his bed. She had opted for discomfort over his arms. Wincing at the sound of his howling wolf, Aric gripped the arms of the chair so hard the wood creaked.

Bruce cleared his throat and did his best to ignore Aric. “She’s a human,” Bruce said in a low tone meant only for wolf hearing, “and doesn’t fully understand the mate bond or its implications.” Bruce waved a hand at the suffering Aric. Breathing deeply, Aric did his best to hide his discomfort.

Smitty regarded him with suspicion. “You went and mated with a human girl without telling her what it all meant?”

Aric glared at him. “My wolf—”

“It’s a complicated situation,” Bruce interrupted.

 

AuThursday – Marianne Rice

MRiceAuthorPicTell us a little about yourself and your background?

I’m a wife and the mother of three children. Two girls (17 and 14) and a son (12). I moved from California to the east coast in high school and made Maine my home. Now, you can find me teaching high school English, writing when I can, or curled up with a romance novel.

How do you make time to write?

Ha ha ha! This is a funny one. I don’t seem to be able to “make” time, but I take advantage of the little bits I get here and there. Family watching a movie? I escape to my room to write. Stuck at lacrosse practice? I hide out in the car to write. Summer vacation? Mommy writing time!

Do you believe in writer’s block?

Nope. But maybe it’s because I have such little time to write. I’m always thinking about my stories so when I have a moment of peace at my laptop, the words fly pretty quickly. The issue is…not enough time to write it all down!

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

I fell in love with Jill Shalvis, Susan Mallery, Kristan Higgins, Brenda Novak and many, many more. I love reading about real-life romances, especially those set in small towns. Well, the stories are made up but they could happen, right? My books are sort of a blend between contemporary romance and women’s fiction. I focus on the characters and their internal conflict and the budding romance between the hero and heroine. I also love writing about friends and families. There’s so much material there, right?

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

I’m a hybrid. I have three series with small presses and my latest series in self-published. I like the blend; I’ve learned so much from my small presses and have gained fabulous writer friendships with my fellow authors, but it’s a whole new adventure self-publishing!

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

Total extrovert. However, I was a major introvert–I’m talking social anxiety disorder–until my college years. I was shy in my early twenties, and then something happened. I have no idea what. I absolutely love going to writer and reader conferences and have no trouble speaking in front of a huge crowd. Which is helpful with my day job. Standing up in front of 16-18 year olds trying to inspire them to write and love literature is one of the most challenging jobs I can think of. Talk about daily rejection!

What is your favorite motivational phrase?

“It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.” Confucius and “Hardships often prepare ordinary people for an extraordinary destiny.” C.S. Lewis

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Don’t stop writing. Ever. And reach out to fellow writers. Often. Attend local writing groups (my local RWA chapter is fabulous, even if you’re not a romance author) and conferences. NEVER stop learning. And don’t publish a book just because you “can”. Get your work in front of as many eyes as possible. And I’m not talking about your Aunt Mabel. You need advice from those in the writing community. Also, hire a professional editor and do your research!

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

I’m everywhere!

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

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Marianne-Rice/e/B00SICUIRM

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/mariannericeaut

My website: http://www.mariannerice.com

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/MarianneRice

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/marianne-rice

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

“Sure! This is from Where There’s Hope. It’s the second book in my Well Paired novels, but each book is a stand alone.” ~Marianne Rice

Where There's HopeThe front door opened before his foot touched the front step. Hope’s welcoming smile lit up the front stoop, and he did all he could to keep from picking her up in his arms and covering her mouth with his.

Those lips, though. Julia Roberts had nothing on Hope Windward.

“Hey,” she said coyly, her voice wrapped around his heart, giving it a gentle squeeze he hadn’t felt since he was a young boy.

“You’re beautiful.”

Hope looked down at her feet then back up at him, scrunching her nose in that adorable manner she did when she was confused. “I’m wearing jeans and a sweater.”

“I didn’t notice.” And he hadn’t. It was her rich hazel eyes and her sunshiny sparkle that brightened his dark world. She wore her hair down tonight, soft ribbons of dark blonde hair flowing just past her shoulders. Hair he longed to run his fingers through.

Cameron walked up the steps, stopping in the open doorway.

“Well, I’m noticing you. And you look very handsome. I don’t know what I like better, though. Sexy whiskers or the soft skin.”

Cameron rubbed his cheeks with his fingers. He’d shaven tonight for her family, thinking the clean look was more presentable to her parents and her daughter than the usual scruff on his face.

“You name it, beautiful, and I’ll do it.”

Hope raised an eyebrow and her gaze dropped to his lips. “You should probably come in and meet my parents first, don’t you think?”