Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Want to succeed at self-publishing? #selfpublish #selfpublishing #Indie

E.C. Murray considers her first book, the self-help title Life Kind of Sucks, an experiment in self-publishing. So when it came time to release her second book, the memoir A Long Way from Paris, she decided to do things differently, leveraging her experience and embracing all aspect of the self-publishing process. Murray quickly realized how demanding the indie route could be: handling distribution and marketing is “time consuming…even with a publicist who arranges visits. I need to follow up with press releases, event calendars, and so forth.” An important part of Murray’s indie strategy was sending A Long Way from Paris out for review. Her efforts paid off: Kirkus named her memoir a best book of 2014 and Publishers Weekly called it “Rich with history…substance…[and] relatable.”

Read the rest of article at Publisher's Weekly.

Monday, November 23, 2015

'Latina Authors and Their Muses' - Paperback available now for pre-order!

As the Hispanic American population of the U.S. increases, with influences ranging from Mexico to Central America and the Caribbean, so does interest in literature inspired by those cultures.
Award-winning author Mayra Calvani has now edited a collection of interviews with 40 Latina authors living in the U.S. and writing in English. Latina Authors and Their Muses is an inspirational and informative book focusing on the craft of writing and the business of publishing, one that provides aspiring writers with the nuts and bolts of the business.
Purchase the ebook NOW on Amazon or B&N
Pre-order the paperback NOW on Amazon or B&N
Official paperback release date: December 15, 2015
ramses and I
About the Editor
Award-winning author Mayra Calvani has penned more than ten books for children and adults in genres ranging from picture books to nonfiction to paranormal fantasy novels. She’s had over 300 articles, short stories, interviews and reviews published in magazines such as The WriterWriter's Journal and Bloomsbury Review, among others. A native of San Juan, Puerto Rico, she now resides in Brussels, Belgium

Interview with Steve DeWinter, author of A is for Apprentice

Title: A is For Apprentice
Author: Steve DeWinter
Release Date: November 2, 2015
Publisher: Ramblin' Rose Publishing
Genre: Science Fiction/Fantasy
Format: Ebook

It is said that when the student is ready the teacher will appear.

In Midguard, Spinners are practitioners of innate magic who must learn to control the power that lives inside them before it destroys them.

With the mysterious death of his father, only days before his training is to begin, the knowledge of Van’s lineage as a powerful Spinner is hidden from him. Five years later a near-death experience awakens the dangerous powers within.

Halen, a banished Spinner, is the only one willing to teach Van to manage the magic before it consumes him. He must train Van to hone it into the powerful force needed to stop a vindictive Spinner whose personal mission to conquer Midguard would start a war resulting in the deaths of millions. But how do they save the world, and Van’s very life, when both apprentice and master are forbidden from ever crossing paths by the same organization created to bring them together?

A IS FOR APPRENTICE is a fantasy novel from the #1 Bestselling Amazon Action & Adventure Sci-Fi Author, Steve DeWinter. This is his next foray into the genre after releasing A Tale of Two Cities with Dragons, a fantasy mashup of the #1 Bestselling Novel of All Time, co-authored with Charles Dickens. Yes! That Charles Dickens.

A is for Apprentice is available for order at  

Q: Welcome to The Writer's Life, Steve.  Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and how long you’ve been writing?

A:  After spending many, many years doing other things I finally decided to call myself an author.  But in order to do that I had to have written some things.  Starting in 2006 I wrote my first novel and enjoyed moderate success.  Since that time I’ve written over 30 books and now feel qualified to call myself an author.

Q: Can you please tell us about your book and why you wrote it?

A: I really enjoyed the concept of a series based on a theme and since the mystery genre already had its series starting with A is for Alibi by Sue Grafton, I felt the fantasy genre was due its alphabet themed series starting with A is for Apprentice.

Q: What were some of the biggest challenges you faced writing it?

A:  The biggest challenge I faced while writing this book was not having enough hours in the day.  If I could have foregone sleeping and eating to get this book out sooner to readers I would’ve done so.  I enjoyed writing this story that much.

Q: Do you have a press kit and what do you include in it?  Does this press kit appear online and, if so, can you provide a link to where we can see it?

A:  As of yet there is no press kit around A is for Apprentice.

Q: Have you either spoken to groups of people about your book or appeared on radio or TV?  What are your upcoming plans for doing so?

A:  The ink is barely dry on A is for Apprentice so I have not had many chances to showcase this book, however it will appear in an upcoming music video coming out this Christmas.  I spent a few days in Hollywood this past week and filming is complete on the video.

Q: Do you have an agent and, if so, would you mind sharing who he/she is?  If not, have you ever had an agent or do you even feel it’s necessary to have one?

A:  I do not have an agent for the publishing of my books but I am actively looking for an agent to represent my titles to producers in Hollywood.

Q: Did you, your agent or publisher prepare a media blitz before the book came out and would you like to tell us about it?

A:  I have booked a virtual book tour through Pump Up Your Books, an excellent book promotion company I’ve worked with before, and am devoting my time to ensure the success of that tour.

Q: Do you plan subsequent books?

A:  Seeing how this first book is titled A is for Apprentice, there are of course 25 more books planned in this series of which I already have a list of potential titles.
Q: Thank you for your interview, Steve.  Would you like to tell my readers where they can find you on the web and how everyone can buy your book?


Website: http://www.stevedw.com/
YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/c/ODNTTV
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mythmakersdw
Twitter: https://twitter.com/stevedw
Google+: https://plus.google.com/+SteveDeWinter

A is for Apprentice is at the following online bookstores:

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B015WZJMDS

Barnes & Noble: 

Kobo: https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/a-is-for-apprentice


Steve DeWinter is one of the best adventure authors in the world and, after authoring over 40 books, he still works tirelessly to keep up with the growing demand of readers wanting more across multiple genres. His books have hit #1 on the Amazon Children's Action & Adventure Sci-Fi Bestseller list and his adult thrillers reached as high as lucky #13 on the Amazon Action & Adventure Bestseller list. He also has the distinction of having nine books in the top twenty of the Amazon Children's Action & Adventure Sci-Fi Bestseller list all at the same time.

For More Information
Visit Steve's website.
Connect with Steve on Twitter and Facebook  

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Guest post by Linda Lucretia Shuler, author of 'Hidden Shadows'

If you were to ask, “What helped you the most from the genesis of Hidden Shadows to its completion?” I’d immediately answer: “A critique group of gifted, perceptive writers.”

I would wish such a group for every writer. But from what I’ve heard, this isn’t always the case. Perhaps it’s the particular mixture of personalities, perhaps it’s the format – whatever the reason, I’ve often wondered why my group has been so beneficial to each member throughout the years, whereas others often struggle.

So what’s the magic recipe? Likely a mixture of ingredients:

 *We limit the group members to six – a mixture of styles, of genres, of personal quirks – and meet in the evenings the first Wednesday of every month. We take turns hosting at our homes, so if all goes as planned we each host twice a year. (Sometimes this can go off-kilter if one of us has to leave town for a good spell, as I did.)

*Three submissions are on the docket, which means that each of us is expected to submit our work every other month. As an added plus, this helps us keep our writing on schedule. No excuses, no sit-downs. Gotta meet that deadline!

*Submissions should be at least 10 and no more than 25 double-spaced pages. These must be forwarded via email the week prior. However, sometimes lapses occur; I’ve groaned and uttered unmentionables when pages are late, and don’t show up until the weekend before our meeting.

* We each print every submission, read it carefully, note comments on the manuscript, and add a  critique at the end. This guarantees that whoever submits will have written critiques and comments from five others – each with a different perspective.

* During the meeting, we decide which manuscript to discuss first, then begin. We take turns speaking, uninterrupted – well, usually. We try to keep our comments within a reasonable length of time, so we’re not staggering away, dazed, after midnight.

* The generally accepted rules of our critiquing are: Begin and end with the positive. Avoid the phrase, “I don’t like” without specifics; otherwise it’s not helpful. Point to what works and what doesn’t, and say why. Offer suggestions, reactions, clarifications. Edit the usual glitches, such as word repetition, grammar goofs, typos, and so on. If the submission is part of a continuing work, note any inconsistencies in plot or character or theme, etc.

* Did I mention that we have dinner, too? Believe me, that’s a huge plus. The host supplies dinner, wine (lots of it), and dessert. We supply the camaraderie. Usually we eat the main meal first, critique two submissions, pause for dessert, then critique the last. Sometimes we critique all three, then pause and linger over dessert.

However we do it, one thing is for sure: these are my friends, writers all, talented and generous-hearted. They have encouraged me, supported me, critiqued with humor and perception and clarity, and helped me form Hidden Shadows from a mix-mash of puzzle pieces into the final picture.

I wish the same could be true for every writer.

Linda Lucretia Shuler wrote her first story when she was six, Koko the Monkey, which she still has tucked into a drawer. Since then her stories and poems have appeared in anthologies and literary journals, and a handful of her plays have been produced in schools and community theatres.
Linda received a BFA in theatre from the University of Texas, and an MA in theatre from Trinity University while in residence at the Dallas Theatre Center. She taught theatre arts in college and high school for three decades, loving every moment and directing nearly a hundred plays in the process. She also wrote theatre arts curriculum K-12 for Houston ISD, conducted numerous workshops, and performed in community theatres.
Hidden Shadows, Linda’s debut novel, takes place in Willow City, a ruggedly beautiful section of the Texas Hill Country less than three hours from her home in San Antonio. Several other manuscripts are in the works, reaching across the genres. These include a prequel to Hidden Shadows, plays, and a collection of poems and a half-dozen different story ideas demanding attention.
Linda enjoys participating in Toastmasters, writer organizations, critique groups, and book clubs. She continues her love of theatre, delights in watching the birds flocking outside her office window, and is an enthusiastic fan of San Antonio’s championship basketball team, the Spurs.
Title: Hidden Shadows
Genre: Literary
Author: Linda Lucretia Shuler
Publisher: Twilight Times Books
Hidden Shadows is a story of connection: to the land, to our ancestors, to others, to ourselves – and to the redemptive power of love: 
Cassie Brighton, devastated by the accidental death of her husband, flees to a remote homestead deep in the rugged Texas Hill Country. Alone in a ramshackle farmhouse steeped in family secrets, Cassie wages a battle of mind and heart as she struggles to overcome the sorrows of her past, begin anew, and confront the possibility of finding love again.
What people are saying:
Hidden Shadows is a wonderful novel of a women’s journey of self-discovery and search for purpose. The characters will win your heart (and sometimes break it) in this beautifully written and satisfying story of loss and renewal.”
Sandra Worth,
Award-winning author of The King’s Daughter: A Novel of the First Tudor Queen

Interview with Beth Cato, author of Wings of Sorrow and Bone

Title: Wings of Sorrow and Bone
Author: Beth Cato
Release Date: November 10, 2015
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Genre: Steampunk
Format: Ebook

From the author of The Clockwork Dagger comes an exciting novella set in the same world…

After being rescued by Octavia Leander from the slums of Caskentia, Rivka Stout is adjusting to her new life in Tamarania. But it’s hard for a blossoming machinist like herself to fit in with proper society, and she’d much rather be tinkering with her tools than at a hoity-toity party any day.

When Rivka stumbles into a laboratory run by the powerful Balthazar Cody, she also discovers a sinister plot involving chimera gremlins and the violent Arena game Warriors. The innocent creatures will end up hurt, or worse, if Rivka doesn’t find a way to stop Mr. Cody. And to do that means she will have to rely on some unexpected new friends.

Wings of Sorrow and Bone is available for order at  
amazon BN add-to-goodreads-button3

Q: Welcome to The Writer's Life, Beth Cato.  Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and how long you’ve been writing?

A:  I was born and raised in California's San Joaquin Valley. I married a Navy sailor, we moved around the country, and we've been settled in Arizona since my husband left the service. I write fantasy, science fiction, historical fiction, and combinations thereof. My nonfiction stories have been featured in over a dozen Chicken Soup for the Soul books on topics from my crazy cats to raising a son with autism. Almost a hundred of my poems have been published across a wide array of magazines, from the Christian Science Monitor to Apex Magazine.

At age four, I was stapling together my own books and declaring that I was going to be an author when I grew up. In my late teens, that dream withered and died, but a decade later I resolved to write again. It's been a hard slog, but here I am in my thirties with two novels out as well as short stories and poems beyond count.

Q: Can you please tell us about your novella and why you wrote it?

A: Wings of Sorrow and Bone follows up my two novels, The Clockwork Dagger and The Clockwork Crown, though is written to stand alone as well. My second book features a politician and scientist by the name of Balthazar Cody who has combined magic and science to create hideously adorable gremlins. His creations are brilliant, but his methods are cruel. The plot pushed along and Mr. Cody was left in power, with his laboratory intact and gremlins still suffering. I wanted--no, needed--to save those gremlins.

Q: What were some of the biggest challenges you faced writing it?

A:  I united two of my characters who had never met before, and they are the least likely people to take down someone as powerful as Mr. Cody. Rivka is a teenage girl with a passion for mechanics, and she only recently escaped a life of poverty and abuse. Tatiana is a mere eleven-years-old and wealthy, spoiled, and selfish. Neither girl has magical powers. They struggle to figure out how to take down Mr. Cody and save his gremlins, and I struggled to figure out how they could possibly do it!

Q: Do you have a press kit and what do you include in it?  Does this press kit appear online and, if so, can you provide a link to where we can see it?

A:  Yes. My press kit includes my photograph in various sizes (credit to Corey Ralston Photography), my book covers in various sizes, as well as differently-sized biographies.

Q: Have you either spoken to groups of people about your book or appeared on radio or TV?  What are your upcoming plans for doing so?

A:  Yes, I've been a panelist at San Diego Comic Con, Tucson Festival of Books, WorldCon/Sasquan, Phoenix Comicon, and other conventions, trade shows, and book events. I have been interviewed on live radio on 1490AM KYCA in Prescott, Arizona; on camera on The Daily Quirk; and on major podcasts such as Sword & Laser (which was mirrored on BoingBoing), the Skiffy and Fanty Show, and SFSignal.

My current plans include return trips to the Tucson Festival of Books and Phoenix Comicon.

Q: Do you have an agent and, if so, would you mind sharing who he/she is?  If not, have you ever had an agent or do you even feel it’s necessary to have one?

A:  My agent is Rebecca Strauss at DeFiore and Company.

Q: Did you, your agent or publisher prepare a media blitz before the book came out and would you like to tell us about it?

A:  I've been blessed by a supportive publicity team at Harper Voyager and Harper Voyager Impulse; my publicist, Caroline Perny, has worked hard to build awareness for all of my releases, including Wings of Sorrow and Bone. With her help, my books have been featured places such as NPR.org, USA Today, The New York Times Book Review, and The Mary Sue. I also ask for help from friends and fellow authors, and I keep in touch with librarians and book bloggers. It's a major effort all around.

Q: Do you plan subsequent books?

A:  Yes! I will have another Clockwork Dagger short story released in April. Next August, Harper Voyager will release the first book of my new alternate history/steampunk series, Breath of Earth.

Q: Thank you for your interview, Beth Cato.  Would you like to tell my readers where they can find you on the web and how everyone can buy your book?

A: Thank you so much for hosting me! I'm easy to find online at BethCato.com. From there folks can follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or Pinterest, and drool over my infamous cookie recipes. My books can be found at most online retailers and at many Barnes & Noble stores and independent booksellers. I have direct links to many stores on my website.

Beth Cato hails from Hanford, California, but currently writes and bakes cookies in a lair west of Phoenix, Arizona. She shares the household with a hockey-loving husband, a numbers-obsessed son, and a cat the size of a canned ham. She’s the author of THE CLOCKWORK DAGGER steampunk fantasy series from Harper Voyager. The newest book, THE CLOCKWORK CROWN, comes out on June 9th, 2015.

Follow her at www.BethCato.com and on Twitter at @BethCato.

For More Information
Visit Beth at her website

Visit her at the following locations:

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Guest post: "My Publishing Journey with Advice for Aspiring Authors," by Dr. John Benedict, author of ADRENALINE

You must realize the journey to become published is long.  Good agents and interested editors are very hard to find.  I sent out literally hundreds of query letters to agents and even managed to hook up with several poor agents.  This was primarily an exercise in frustration.  Finally, I attended multiple writing conferences and did manage to get signed by a reputable agent. I thought my journey was near its end. However, I learned that even finding a decent agent doesn’t guarantee selling your book to a mainstream publisher. My agent couldn’t sell my book.  Finally, I decided to go the self-publishing route.  This proved to be the way to go.  I chose CreateSpace, which worked fine for me—there are several other good alternatives out there.  Be prepared to pay a small amount to get your book published—it pays to price-shop.  Once set up, you can sell your book as an inexpensive ebook on Amazon (and elsewhere).  The internet is an extremely valuable sales platform and if your book is half-decent, it can spread by word-of-mouth alone.  Readers leave reviews and rate your book and this can attract new readers.  I’m pleased to report that Adrenaline sold very well as a Kindle ebook. In 2014, over 80,000 copies were downloaded from Amazon pushing it to the #1 paid medical thriller.  I also picked up over 440 reader reviews (mostly 5-star).  Armed with these sales numbers and positive reader reviews, I was finally able to attract a mainstream publisher (Oceanview Publishing) for my third medical thriller, Fatal Complications, due out in December 2015.

So the point of all the above is simple—the publishing industry has undergone massive changes in the last ten years.  Self-publishing no longer has the stigma that it once had.  Many people want to write a book, and now is a great time to do so.  I believe the strategy I outlined above, of self-publishing first and establishing a track record of sales and good reviews (sadly, there’s no substitute for writing a decent story) is a very viable strategy.  After you have done this, then you approach an agent or editor and make your pitch. In today’s ultra-competitive environment, you’ll have a much better chance of getting picked up by a traditional publisher and save yourself a lot of trouble and pain of rejection in the process.

Finally, my advice for would-be novelists is fairly straightforward.  Nothing worthwhile in life is quick or easy.  Writing is no different.  Expect to spend a long time learning the craft and improving upon it.  Don’t expect to become famous overnight or make a lot of money easily.  The best advice I can give is this: You shouldn’t write because you want to make millions or become a household name—you’ll likely be disappointed.  Rather, you should write because you enjoy the process and feel the need to tell a story.  Let the results take care of themselves.

Other things I’ve learned along the way:  I’ve learned to believe in myself even when no one else seemed to.  I’ve also learned the power of perseverance and patience. The path to successful book publication is notoriously long and arduous for most. Developing a thick skin is also helpful to protect oneself against the many rejection letters and obligatory nasty reviews that will come your way.  Finally, I’ve learned that writing a good book is probably only half the battle.  Getting it published and successfully marketing it may be the most difficult part.  Good luck and keep writing!


JOHN BENEDICTDr. John Benedict graduated cum laude from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and entered medical school at Penn State University College of Medicine.  While there, he also completed an internship, anesthesia residency and a cardiac anesthesia fellowship. He currently works as a physician/anesthesiologist in a busy private practice in Camp Hill, Pennsylvania.
Dr. Benedict has been writing stories since high school, but his creative side was put on hold to pursue a medical education and start a family—he now has a wife and three sons.  Finally, after a 15-year pause, his love of writing was rekindled and his first novel, Adrenaline—a gritty medical thriller with a realism borne of actual experience—was born.
Besides creating scary stories, the hallmark of Dr. Benedict’s writing is genuine medical authenticity—something in short supply these days in thriller fiction.  He draws on his 25+ years of experience as a board-certified anesthesiologist to infuse his writing with a realism that renders it both vivid and frightening.  As one of only a handful of anesthesiologists throughout the country writing fiction, he gives readers a taste of what really goes on in the operating room, the human drama inherent in this high-stress, high stakes environment where lives are continually on the line.  Readers will find out what it’s like to hold a patient’s life in their hands, as the author provides an illuminating glimpse into the fascinating, but poorly understood realm of anesthesia.
Purchase on Amazon
About the Book: A sensational, skillful and highly suspenseful tale, Adrenaline introduces anesthesiologist protagonist Doug Landry. About Adrenaline: When patients start dying unexpectedly in the O.R. at Mercy Hospital, Doug Landry finds himself the focus of the blame. Is he really incompetent or is there something more sinister going on? As Doug struggles to clear his name and untangle the secrets surrounding these mysterious deaths, it becomes exceedingly clear that someone is serious—dead serious—about keeping the devastating truth from ever seeing the light of day. As he launches a pulse-quickening race against time to prevent more deaths, Doug soon finds that the lives of his patients aren’t the only lives at stake.  Seems that someone will stop at nothing to keep Doug from revealing the truth. Could it be that murder is the ultimate rush?
About the Author: Pennsylvania native John Benedict graduated cum laude from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and entered post-graduate training at Penn State University College of Medicine, where he completed medical school, internship, anesthesia residency and a cardiac anesthesia fellowship. Benedict currently works as an anesthesiologist in a busy private practice in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

On the Spotlight: THE DEAD LETTER, by Finley Martin


It is 2001 and the police constable's girlfriend is murdered in a fit of jealous rage. When the constable realizes what he has done, he manages an elaborate cover-up. Only one person knows the truth. Flash forward to 2012. Anne Brown is still running her late uncle, Bill Darby's, detective agency after spending four or five years as his assistant. One day, the postman delivers an eleven year-old letter. The letter is addressed to her uncle from a woman named Carolyn Jollimore. She says she has evidence about a murder and begs for help from Darby. But Bill Darby is dead. And when Anne looks up the letter's author, she finds that Jollimare too is now dead. Troubled with the evidence at hand, Anne must decide if she should investigate this eleven-year old murder.

Finley's  Website / Facebook / LinkedIn / Goodreads

Finley Martin was born in Binghamton, New York and grew up in Scranton, Pennsylvania.  He received a B.A. degree in English at the University of Scranton, and during the 1960’s he served as an officer with the United States Marine Corps at posts in America, the Caribbean, and Asia. After he returned to civilian life, he worked as a free-lance writer, p.r. consultant, and photographer and became public relations director at International Correspondence Schools. In the 70’s he received an M.A. from the University of Ottawa and a B.Ed. from the University of Prince Edward Island.  For many years he taught English literature at high school and writing courses at university.  He has also worked as a truck driver, labourer, carpenter, boat builder, and deckhand aboard commercial fishing vessels and passenger ferries. During his writing career he published numerous magazine and newspaper articles, poetry, and short stories in Canada and the U.S.  He produced a mini-series for CBC Radio and has given numerous poetry readings. He authored three books: New Maritime Writing, Square Deal Pub., Charlottetown, PE; A View from the Bridge, Montague, PE; and The Reluctant Detective, The Acorn Press, Charlottetown, PE.

Brought to you by Worldwind Virtual Book Tours

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Defeating Breast Cancer by Stacey Keen, M.D. Book Blast - Win a $25 Gift Card!

Title: Defeating Breast Cancer
Author: Stacey Keen, M.D.
Publisher: iUniverse
Genre: Health
Format: Paperback

When Dr. Stacey Keen, a radiologist, viewed her own screening mammogram, she immediately knew she had cancer. Defeating Breast Cancer: A Physician's Story of Healing, Martial Arts and Life maps out her journey through diagnosis, treatment, and triumph.

In telling her story, Dr. Keen relays not only her mental and emotional journey, but also her experience with complementary medicine (acupuncture) and her traditional course of treatment (surgery followed by chemotherapy and radiation therapy). Dr. Keen is candid, witty, and knowledgeable, and she offers a unique perspective as medical expert, patient, and survivor in one. Doctors, as well as cancer patients and their loved ones, will come away from her uplifting book well-informed, less apprehensive of life-saving treatments, and armed with invaluable resources.

Dr. Keen's tale of survival brings encouragement, hope, and empowerment to anyone struggling with breast cancer or other life-threatening illnesses. Humor, positive attitude, and the best of Eastern and Western philosophy and medicine: I enlisted them all to maximize my chances of survival and to grow through this experience. Those who seek a somber tome about breast cancer should look elsewhere. Those who stay with me through these pages will glimpse a way of coping with cancer that I hope can brighten their lives.

Stacey Keen, M.D., practices Radiology in Maryland, where she lives with her husband, Andrew Alpert. A third-degree black belt, Dr. Keen has studied Bujinkan Ninpo Taijutsu since 1990.

Stacey is giving away a $25 Gift Card!

Terms & Conditions:
  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • One winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive one $25 Gift Certificate to the e-retailer of your choice
  • This giveaway begins November 2 and ends on November 13.
  • Winners will be contacted via email on November 14.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.
Good luck everyone!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, November 09, 2015

On the Spotlight: The Memory Chair, by Susan White


Thirteen-year-old Betony has always hated going to her cranky great-grandmother’s house. It’s old and stuffy and boring and the woodstove in the kitchen is always burning too hot. But her Gram doesn’t have any other family living close by on the Kingston Peninsula, so Betony ends up being dragged along all the time.

She’d rather be pretty much anywhere…until one day Betony sits on her Gram’s favourite chair. She is suddenly transported into the past, and is experiencing her Gram’s life as if it were in her own memory. At first Betony is excited and curious, and begins to develop a close relationship with Gram, even learning to cook and quilt. But after she has experienced a few more of her great-grandmother’s memories, she realizes she is slowly uncovering a terrible, shameful family secret.



Susan's  Website / Goodreads /  Facebook
Sue White was born in New Brunswick and moved from one New Brunswick city to another. As a teenager her family moved to the Kingston Peninsula and she only left long enough to earn her BA and BEd at St. Thomas University in Fredericton. Settling on the peninsula, she and her husband raised four children and ran a small farm while she taught elementary school. Since retiring she is grateful to now have the time to work on her writing and the freedom to regularly visit her new granddaughter in Alberta.
Christine currently lives in the Kansas City area with her husband, Austin, who has been her biggest fan and the key to her success. They have two beautiful children.
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Interview with K.D. Hays, author of 'Roped In'

Kate Dolan began her writing career as a legal editor and then newspaper columnist before she decided she was finally ready to tackle fiction.  As the author of more than a dozen novels and novellas, she writes historical fiction and romance under her own name and contemporary mysteries and children's books under the name K.D. Hays.  When not writing, she enjoys volunteering as a living history interpreter and riding roller coasters with her daughter. 

Her latest book is the cozy mystery, Roped In.

For More Information
About the Book:

Title: Roped In
Author: K.D. Hays
Publisher: K.D. Hays
Pages: 140
Genre: Cozy Mystery

Life has settled into a more stable pattern for fledgling investigator Karen Maxwell of DS Investigations, but that stability is precarious. At work, she has an uneasy truce with Rodney, the “office maximizer” hired by her brother to do some of the administrative work she used to do. Her brother has not assigned her any real cases and she thinks it's because he doesn’t trust her after she was fired from her last major assignment.

But she soon gets her chance. The firm's insurance agent calls in a favor and asks them to investigate whether a valuable parrot was killed as a result of snowfall damage to a house. Karen is pretty sure Dave will assign this to her, since the investigation will involve no money or prestige. But it may help earn back his confidence.

Then Gina Callaghan hires DS Investigations to find out who sabotaged her daughter Hayley’s rope at a jump rope competition. Hayley competes in power jumping events, and she failed to make the top four in the regional tournament. If Karen can prove that one of those top four jumpers behaved unethically, then Hayley, (who was fifth) will have a spot at the national competition, and a chance to go to the World tournament. Dave assigns Karen the lead role in this case, so now she has a chance to prove to her brother that she can conclude an investigation before the client is ready to pull the plug.

Karen bribes her son to take a jump rope class on the day when the jumpers she needs to watch have their practices. Initially, Hayley Callaghan does not want the matter investigated so Karen has to be a subtle as possible. Meanwhile, in the parrot case, Karen's investigation seems to indicate that the parrot's owners are telling the truth and not trying to defraud the insurance company. But the picture they offer as proof somehow arouses Karen's suspicion.

At jump rope practice, she finds a lot of masked hostility and a host of possible suspects, but no one who saw anything. Then Hayley's sister steps forward and admits that she saw someone rummaging through her sister's rope bag. Circumstances point to two possible suspects, in addition to the sister herself. But Karen can find no proof of wrongdoing and thinks the break was most likely an accident. Then Hayley changes her position and urges Karen to follow through with her initial suspicions. She immediately wonders why.

But she doesn't have time to wonder. Her brother insists that she stop working on the insurance case and her client insists that she write up suspicions against one of the other jumpers so they can file a complaint with the national sanctioning commission. Working against the clock, Karen finds proof that the picture is fake, proving that the insurance clients were trying to defraud the agency. But time runs out on the jump rope investigation—once again the dissatisfied client fires Karen before she solves the case. This time, she knows an innocent girl is going to face blame and could be banned from the sport she loves. So she digs on until she uncovers the truth —and possible destroys a family in the process.

For More Information

  • Roped In is available at Amazon.
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.

Q: Welcome to The Writer's Life!  Now that your book has been published, we’d love to find out more about the process.  Can we begin by having you take us at the beginning?  Where did you come up with the idea to write your book?

I was lazy and desperate and looking for a topic that would be easy to research. My editor had approved three plots for a series of mysteries and when I got to book three, I realized I'd need a PhD in biology to write it beliveably. Research is easier in the Information Age, but it wasn't easy enough, so I proposed an alternate plot. It got rejected. I proposed another alternate and that didn't work either. My daughter had recently joined a jump rope team so I thought maybe I could write a story about someone sabotaging a jump rope competition because then I'd have easy access to parents and coaches to interview about the sport. And my editor accepted that idea. I wrote the outline and first three chapters and then after all that, the publisher cancelled the mystery series. So the book went into computer hibernation for years.

Q: How hard was it to write a book like this and do you have any tips that you could pass on which would make the journey easier for other writers?

In one sense, this was one of the easiest I've ever written (it's my tenth) because by the time I went back to finish it, my daughter and I had lived the life of some of the characters in the story.  I didn't need to ask questions about competitions because we'd experienced years of training, workshops, regional competitions and even national competitions. In fact, my daughter developed a certain expertise in the particular event that was the subject of the alleged sabotage in the book. I could have never foreseen any of that back when I wrote the outline. Of course, any time I try to write about events I've experienced, I find that I can sometimes feel tied to reporting what actually happened, rather than what makes the most sense for a fictional story. In this case, fortunately, I had my plot and characters already outlined before we went through those years of training, so there was no temptation to match anything too closely to real life. I don't recommend this approach, however —it's not terribly practical to outline a story and then spend years researching the details before finishing the book. But if life happens to hand you research that fits a story you've set aside, I definitely think you should consider going back to finish it.

Q: Who is your publisher and how did you find them or did you self-publish?

Roped In is my first self-published book. I didn't think any publisher would be all that interested in picking up book three of a series, but to be honest, I didn't look.

Q: Is there anything that surprised you about getting your first book published?

I was unpleasantly surprised to realize (not as soon as I should have) that I was not any better just because I was a Published Author. I entered contests expecting to do well because I was Published and it meant I was Good. I was Not. Or at least not any better than I was before publication. Like anybody honing any skill, I had to keep working to improve mine and I still do. The day I feel that I can't improve is the day I should quit.

Q: What other books (if any) are you working on and when will they be published?

I have a number of works in progress, but the one I plan to turn to next is Christian urban fantasy book I started for my daughter years ago when she ran out of Harry Potter books. I later asked for her feedback and recently I realized that I should take the opportunity to get some more help from her on this before she heads off to college next fall. After that I have some historical stories I'd like to explore.

Q: What’s your favorite place to hang out online?

 I prefer to hang out in real life, but when that's not feasible, my "go to" place is Facebook.

Q: Finally, what message (if any) are you trying to get across with your book?

 I don't think I set out to deliver a message, but I see one in the story anyway - it's a warning for parents. We need to let our kids choose what they want to do and be. To a certain point we can guide them but then we need to step back support them for what they are, not we had hoped to mold them into.
Q: Thank you again for this interview!  Do you have any final words?

Hmmn, that sounds a little ominous. Do you know something I don't know? I guess my parting thought is that I greatly appreciate it when people take the time to read anything I've written, whether it's one of my stories, a blog post, or this interview. We are all so busy and our time is under constant demand that I am grateful when anyone choses to spend some of that precious time with me either in person, or on the page.
So thanks for reading!

Sunday, November 08, 2015

Reviewers Wanted: THE MOREVA OF ASTORETH by Roxanne Bland

The Moreva of Astoreth by Roxanne Bland
Hosted by Pump Up Your Book!
Tour Dates: December 1 - January 29

Author: Roxanne Bland
Publisher: Blackrose Press
Pages: 607
Genre: Science Fiction

Moreva Tehi, scientist, healer, priestess of the Goddess of Love and three-quarters god, is a bigot. She hates the hakoi who are the Temple’s slaves. When she misses an important ritual because the enslaved hakoi are participants, her grandmother, the Goddess Astoreth, punishes her by exiling her for a year from her beloved southern desert home to the far north village of Mjor in the Syren Perritory, (where the hakoi are free) to steward Astoreth’s landing beacon. But Astoreth forbids her from taking with her scientific research on red fever, a devastating scourge that afflicts the hakoi. She does so, anyway.

The first Mjoran she meets is Laerd Teger, the hakoi chief of the village, who appears to hate her. She also meets Hyme, the hakoi village healer, and much to Moreva Tehi’s surprise, they form a fast friendship. This friendship forces her to set upon a spiritual journey to confront her bigotry. While doing so, she falls in love with Laerd Teger, who returns her love. She eventually has a revelation about the meaning of love, and rids herself of her bigotry. And she develops a cure for red fever, and is the first healer to do so.

But there is a price for her love for Laerd Teger, and that is her certain execution by the Goddess Astoreth upon her return home because she has broken her sacred vows. But then, through Laerd Teger, she learns a terrible secret about her gods, that they are not gods at all, but aliens, and rather than being part god, she is part alien. Her world destroyed, she turns on Laerd Teger for showing her the truth. They eventually reconcile. But there is still the problem about her love for Laerd Teger. Astoreth will know what she has done and will execute her. She formulates a plan, involving the erasure of her memory, in which she will bargain for her life by giving Astoreth the formula for red fever. Astoreth agrees. For breaking her vows and disobeying a direct order not to take her red fever research to Mjor, Astoreth strips her of her morevic status and exiles her again to Mjor. Back in Mjor, she recovers her memory and sends the red fever formula to Astoreth. Now freed from the constraints of being a Moreva, Tehi and Teger embark on a new life together.

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