Thursday, August 23, 2018

Aspen Kendrick

Check out today's author interview with with the talented duo, Aspen Kendrick! Be sure to find them on social media as well, their links are provided below!

Tell me a little more about yourself:

I am an indie author with a passion for reading!

What inspired you to start writing?

Largely, it was reading. I loved reading as a kid! When I realized that I had my own stories to tell, I began to dabble in writing. More recently, some friends began to read my writing and their interest encouraged me to write more and continue sharing it.

Which teacher was your biggest inspiration and why?

I don’t have any mentor figure who inspired me to write. Aspen is actually two people and we inspired each other with our stories.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

In five years, I hope to have at least five more books out. I would like to possibly be living in Canada and working toward not needing a day job separate from writing to pay the bills.

If you could have one wish, any wish at all, what would it be and why?

I would wish to be a full-time fiction writer, supporting myself without another job while living in Canada. I have chronic illness and need healthcare benefits. In the U.S. I cannot get these without having a full-time separate day job. But Canada provides universal healthcare, and I am a Canadian citizen, so I would like to move back there to live and work as an author.

How long on average does it take you to write a book?

I would estimate that it takes around about a year for me to write a book, including editing.

Are you a plotter or pantser? (Do you like to outline, or do you like to fly by the seat of your pants?)

I am a little bit of both. I’ve been more of a pantser in the past, but recently I’ve found myself utilizing outlines more.

Who is your favorite character that you've ever created?

All of them! Don’t make me choose!

Which character in the literary world is your favorite and why?

I love a lot of characters for a lot of reasons. Magnus Bane from Cassandra Clare’s Mortal Instruments series is a fascinating person with a fabulous personality and many interesting stories to tell!

What genre do you most like to write in?

Fantasy – particularly urban fantasy.

Is there another genre you are interested in trying out?

I am always open to possibilities but right now most of the stories I have to tell fall under speculative fiction or fantasy.

What are you working on now?

About a million threads in a million stories, all clamoring to be told! I am focusing on the second novel of The Death Club series. I am also working on book 1 for the 99% Dark series, which will take place in two separate (but connected) novels.

Can you share an excerpt with us from one of your novels/projects?

An except from The Death Club book 2:

“Why are we here?” Tension gripped him, though he didn’t know why. It wasn’t so very long ago that he had wanted to be locked up there himself.

“I’m not sure. I just had a feeling and was drawn here,” she said – as though that explained anything at all.

“Well, are we waiting for something?”

Ianthe tightened her grip on his upper arm. “I dunno. I can’t explain it.”

Ambrose stopped talking and just listened to the usual sounds of the night surrounding him: the cars passing by on the street, the wind moving through tree branches. The silence grew heavier until suddenly there was a roar of water from all sides. He flinched as droplets hit him.

Crackling magick encircled them, making the hairs on the back of his neck stand up, and the threesome flickered out together.

Do you have any tips for other aspiring writers?

You don’t need permission to tell your story! Just start and keep going.

Is there anything you would like to share with us before you go?

Please feel free to connect with me on Twitter – I love talking to other people in the literature community!

Aspen Kendrick is actually a married couple consisting of Jacob and Anne Fletcher. They met online in 2000 when they were both in their early teens, and have been collaborating on stories in the 99% Dark universe ever since. They currently live in Colorado with their two cats.
To learn more about the creators and 99% Dark, visit them at

Author Links:

Twitter: @99percentdark
Instagram: @aspen.kendrick
Amazon Author Page

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Embassy Audio Excerpt

Embassy (Recovery #1)
Publication Date: January 2014
Genre: Science Fiction
Pages: 330
Arman Lance was supposed to travel the galaxy with his father, not watch him die. He was supposed to experience the adventures from his father’s stories, not isolate himself from the world. He was going to join the Embassy Program, fly across the galaxy, and find Ladia Purnell, a girl from another planet whom he loved years before. Clinging to his fading hopes and dreams, Arman joins the Embassy Program to fulfill that last promise. If he can reach Ladia, he’ll never have to worry, never have to feel alone. But it doesn’t take long for his plan to fall apart when he’s confronted by his fellow Embassy recruit, Glacia Haverns, the ever-smiling adrenaline junkie who decides it’s her job to show Arman there’s more to life than chasing a desperate obsession.

Check the rest of the series on Experience Daliona!

S. Alex Martin grew up fascinated with astronomy and reading Harry Potter. His books reflect his vision for the future of humanity in the way of space exploration. He hopes to help inspire that same love of the final frontier in another generation to do his part to help progress humanity a little further.
In the words of Stephen Hawking: "There should be no boundary to human endeavor."  
August 20th
August 21st
Rebecca R. Cahill | Audio Excerpt
August 22nd
Just Books | Interview
August 23rd
August 24th
  Blog Tour Organized By

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Mercy Jane Ballesteros

Today's author talks is with Mercy from the Phillippines!

Tell me about yourself:

My name is Mercy. I am from Sagay City, Philippines. I am a 4th- year College Student at La Consolacion College Bacolod. I’d describe myself as a person of integrity, determination with versatile skill-set. I am always ready to face challenges. I believe in vision and action. I learn from my mistakes. I am willing to input my efforts to become a successful international writer.

What first inspired you to start writing?

I have been writing from the moment I learned to hold a pen. From then on, it became the love of my life.

Are your characters based off real people or did they all come entirely from your imagination?

Imagination. Truth be told, I’ve never had any experience. I am just in love with love. Despite not experiencing what I write, imagination makes me have emotions that I had not felt in life.

What book that you have read has most influenced your life?

Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill. I love writing at the same time, business. This is a quote from the book “The greatest achievement was, at first, and for a time a dream”. Whenever I felt helpless, when my life starts to crumble. I then bear in mind those words. I am a dreamer and will always be.

Tell us a little about your plans for the future. Where do you see yourself as a writer in five years?

I will pursue my writing career and strive my utmost effort to reach my dream. By God’s grace shining on me, that is to become a successful international author.

Of all the characters you have created, which is your favourite and why?

The main protagonist in A Taste of Revenge “Maria Mercedes Sofia Castrillón”. She resembles everything about me. I wrote her in my own likeness.

Any website or resources that have been helpful to you as a writer?

I’d say Writer’s Digest. It truly helped me a lot. I read every article to have better understanding on how to become a successful writer.

What do you love most about the writing process?

I can write things I am powerless to execute. As ideas comes naturally, I then have the eagerness to properly convey it through words.

If you could spend time a character from your book whom would it be? And what would you do during that day?

Maria Mercedes Sofia Castrillón. I wanted to meet the other side of me. I’ve always wanted to be a CEO at 19. Unfortunately, I wouldn’t be able to since my path has changed. So, if given the chance I wanted to see what I would look like if I had a different fate. I would like to tell her to be brave, to not care of what others has to say about her and remember to have Faith in God for Faith can move Mountains.

What are some tips you can give other aspiring writers?

Keep on writing. Write whatever idea comes to your mind. If becoming a writer your ultimate dream, then chase it as if your life depends on it. Remember to never give up, never give in and never let go. Don’t lose hope for success begins with a fellow’s will. No matter how many rejections you receive, keep moving forward. Believe in yourself and love what you do and do what you love.

Tell me about your books: Love in Between and Taste of Revenge

Love in Between is a compilation of classic and contemporary poems. The short stories reveal a lot about human relationships, the concept of love, and how humans behave in it.
A Taste of Revenge narrates an enthralling story of a business woman and how she avenged what she has lost.

Where did you get the idea for your books?

Some are from my imagination especially the poems while most of the short stories are about my experiences since I got sick at thirteen and through writing I can pour out my emotions best.

What inspired you to keep writing it?

I kept on writing because I wanted to inspire the readers by stories that would captivate their hearts. With every word perceived, the reader and I, somehow, we have and through those pages, met.

Can you leave us with an excerpt from one of your novels/projects?

I could hear the sound of bells ringing one by one, songs being sung. I didn’t know why it was all happening so suddenly. Or was I merely in a dream? Then I realized, no, what was in front of me was the reality. I was sitting at the back of a place where a performance was being held. It took an hour to finish. There were around two hundred people in that place. I could see happiness on their faces. I could see my father holding my mother. She had tears wetting her face. It almost ruined her composure. Then he kissed her cheeks. A photographer clicked a picture of them. For a moment there, I felt envious of her. I don’t know why I feel so heavy as the scene revolves around me in black and white. Maybe it’s because I was alone. Yes, I was alone. Loneliness doesn’t kill. I’ve endured it for so long.

My sister, she looked amazingly beautiful, a delicate flower blooming in the spring. I admire her strength, beauty, wisdom, and intelligence. Sometimes, I wondered why I can’t be like her. Simple yet elegant, she was beautiful in her own unique way.

I stayed outside the hotel while others preferred to go elsewhere together and have some fun. I was waiting for something new to happen. The cold breeze stirred my thoughts. I still hadn’t figured out what had happened. I saw him with the one who betrayed me. She held his arms tightly with that same look of a snake revealing her true colours before me. He didn’t push her away, and right at that moment, I regretted my decision. She was nothing but a traitor, and now she had most of the things that I didn’t. She had him, the one I loved.

What are you working on now?

I am currently writing another novel and an autobiography. It might be released Fall of 2019.

Is there anything else you would like to share with us before you go?

My warmest gratitude for reading the interview and for this wonderful opportunity.  Please don’t forget to visit my website You may contact me through any of my social media accounts.

Mercy Jane Porquez Ballesteros was born in Bacolod City, Philippines on February 10,1997. She graduated from Sagay National High School Open High School Program in her hometown Sagay City. Presently, she is pursuing Business Administration Marketing Management at La Consolacion College Bacolod.

In 2013, Mercy at sixteen started writing her book “Poems of Love & Short Stories” which was a compilation of eleven poems and four short stories that was published last 2016. The first few lines of “A Taste of Revenge” her newly published novel, was written in her sophomore year back in High School. She currently released “Love in Between” another collection of poems and short stories.
In February 2015, she became a stock market trader and foreign exchange trader the following year. Mercy have a business plan prepared for “SLIQUE” her future company.

Author Links:

Facebook Page:
Instagram: @mjane207

Friday, August 17, 2018

Dana L. Brown

Dana L. Brown, author of the Award Winning novel, Lottie Loser, and the sequel, Call Me Charlotte which won a Gold Medal in Romance! Check out her interview below!

Tell me more about yourself:

I took early retirement from a thirty-two year career in banking to write the book that was burning in my soul! I am a wife, mother, grandmother and National Award Winning Author.

What inspired you to be an author?

I love to read more than almost anything, and about five years ago the idea for a book crept into my head, and I just had to write it.  I really believe all the books I’ve read in my life were my inspiration.

How long have you been writing for?

Just about two and a half years.

How many stories have you written?

I have my two published novels, plus the third book of the series is written, just waiting for publication. Other than that I wrote a story for a writing group about fifteen years ago.

Is writing your full time profession?

If not, what else do you do and how do you manage both jobs? Yes, writing is my full time job.

What is your writing process?

I’m almost ashamed to say that I have no process.  The first book was primarily written in my head before I ever sat down at the computer, and Books II and III came to me as I was writing.

Why is research so important for writing?

I did a lot of research because my protagonist is a product junky, and likes high end clothes.  It was important to me that I was accurate in my descriptions, as well as where items could be purchased.

What is the craziest thing you've had to research?

Fancy shoes! I don’t wear high heels so I had to learn all about them.

How do you create the world you are writing in?

I use an actual place, Anna Maria Island, Fl., because I’m very familiar with it.  I added some places that aren’t real, but tried to stay with real AMI merchants, and restaurants.

How do you pull us in with amazing characters?

The women are a little bit me, with a lot of imagination thrown in. The guys are mostly just my fantasy men, or my book boyfriends.

Who is your favorite character you've created?

I love Charlotte. She’s smart and sexy and kind...she’s who I want to be when I grow up!

What authors inspire you to write?

Liliana Hart, Roxanne St. Claire, Marina Adair are three of my favorites.

What steps do you take in drafting an outline?

Oops! Am I supposed to draft an outline?

What are your top five tips for aspiring authors?

You’re never too old to rewrite your personal story.  Have confidence in your abilities.  Never let anyone try to change your storyline because they think it doesn’t fit some rule. Be grateful everyday for the opportunity to write. Fairytales do come true...believe!

What are you currently working on?

A new book, outside of the AMI Series.  It’s about a woman, kind of like me, who wants to still feel young and desirable, even though she’s past middle age.

Can you share an excerpt from one of your novels/projects?

“I love you Charlotte. I’ve never stopped loving you, and if you will just let me explain everything from the beginning, I know that you’ll understand.”

You could have heard a pin drop the room was so quiet. Charlotte fought for the words to say back. How long she had wanted to hear him say that he loved her, but she couldn’t believe him, she wouldn’t.“Those are just word, Nick, just empty words. Let me tell you what love looks like to me because I had it once, but like all of my bad mistakes, I let it get away.  I had a man, one who was beautiful inside and out, successful and caring, and I gave him all those firsts you wanted so badly. He wanted to take me to New York, even marry me, but I couldn’t, because deep inside I was hoping that by some miracle we’d find each other someday. The funny thing is i didn’t even know it, but Ryan figured it out and it broke his heart.”

“Don’t run out on us again, Lottie,” Nick pleaded.

Charlotte threw in the final blow then. “There is no us, Nick, I don’t think there ever was.  Just a girl looking for a Fairytale, and a guy looking to get in her pants.”

Excerpt from Book I, Lottie Loser.

Is there anything else you would like to share with us before you go?

“Never think you’re not talented or good enough to be an author.  If you can put words onto paper you’re a writer, and that’s the first step to writing your book.”

Award Winning author, Dana L. Brown, went from Bank to Books with her debut novel, Lottie Loser. A long-time banker and graduate of the American Bankers Association School of Bank Marketing and Management, where she earned the distinction of Certified Financial Marketing Professional. She attended Ball State University, and majored in business. The mother of three daughters, she lives with her husband in Indiana, but loves traveling to the laid-back lifestyles on the beaches of Florida. Lottie Loser is her debut novel.

Author Links:
Amazon Author Page:
Facebook: @DanaLBrownAuthor
Twitter: @DanaLBrownBooks
Instagram: dana_brown_author

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Willie Handler Interview

I am so excited to welcome back Willie Handler on the blog! Willie is an author from Canada and a very funny, and nice guy! You definitely need to read his interview and connect with him on twitter!

Welcome back to the blog Willie, tell me what you've been up to lately?
Thank you for having me back. Last year, I was still working away on my second novel, LOVED MARS, HATED THE FOOD. Well, last week I finally finished it. It took a longer than I expected, but life has a way of sidetracking you. I've already got it in with a few publishers after some great feedback in several Twitter pitch events. Now I'm busy looking for agents to query. As many people know, when I'm not writing,I'm traveling. In the spring I did a cruise with my wife through the Panama Canal. It was breathtaking. I'm also helping a friend who is running for political office. I figure it may provide me with more material for a future political satire.

How is Canada?
At this moment. Warm. You know in Canada we only have two seasons - 2 months of summer and 10 months of bad weather. Did  you know that Canadians use the trunk of their car as an extra freezer in winter? I remember the time I forgot about the frozen turkey in the trunk, then we experienced a thaw. I came out of the house to find five raccoons on the trunk, salivating.

Tell me what you love most about writing comedy?
When you write comedy or say something funny, you get immediate feedback. People will laugh or snicker.I can do a reading and look around the room and know right away if people liked it. I'll try out material on Twitter and I'll know by the number of LOLs and whether it was any good. Although writing humor isn't difficult for me, writing a humor novel is. So these novels are huge accomplishments for me.

Where is your favorite writing spot?

I can really only write at my desk in my office. I've traveled and taken along my WIP, but only if I'm editing. During my last cruise, I would spend a couple of hours each day, editing in a lounge overlooking the ocean. It was spectacular.

What genres do you write?I've never written anything other than humor. My favorite is political satire. Even in my second novel, a sci-fi humor story, there's a little bit of political satire snuck in. My next project is going to touch on a number of different genres - crime, thriller and humor.

What genre have you considered writing but haven't done yet?
I would consider writing a dystopian novel. I love Orwell's 1984 and would be interested in doing a tribute to that amazing book. It might happen one day.

What author has most influenced your writing?
That's difficult to say. I feel my style has evolved independent of outside influences. That being said, there are elements of Woody Allen in my writing. Some Mordechai Richler.

Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?
Yes. My first novel, THE ROAD AHEAD, is inspired by my 20 years working in the Ontario government. There are tons of little tidbits from my past in the book, but very few would be able to pick them out. The main character, Rick Tompkins, is a compilation of a number of politicians I've met. Although people seem to think that Donald Trump inspired that character. I began the book well before Trump decided to run for office.

Any website or resources that have been helpful to you as a writer?

A couple of books have been very helpful - THE EMOTIONAL THESAURUS by Angela Ackerman and THE 12 KEY PILLARS TO NOVEL CONSTRUCTION by C. S. Lakin. Although, I probably learned more about writing from my editor, Mica Kole than any other resource.

Are villains/antagonists important to a story? Tell me why or why not?
They are critical even in a humor book. Readers enjoy conflict and tension. That's how you draw them in. You can never have too much tension in a story. Villains and antagonists create tons of tension. Antagonists have been one of my weak spots.My stories are flat until I get the antagonist right.

If you could spend a day with one of your characters, who would it be and why?
My favorite character is a bot in LOVED MARS, HATED THE FOOD. He's opinionated, snarky, whiny and funny. It would be a blast to spend a day listening to him go on about what ever pops into his artificial brain.

What do you believe every writer needs in order to be successful?
Anyone can learn to write. I was a crappy writer in school and taught myself to write when working. The jobs that were intellectually challenging involved lots of writing and that's what I gravitated to. When it comes to creative writing, anyone can learn the key elements of a novel. But two things are critical to being successful. You need to be creative and be able transform your creativeness into written words. And you need to have self-disciplined. I can only imagine the number of books that have never been completed by writers. Writing is hard and you have to be able to get yourself through the rough spots.

What are your top five tips for aspiring authors?
  1. Read read read! Make sure you read different genres and styles.
  2. Read one of the many excellent books on how to write a novel. It will shorten the learning curve.
  3. Network with other writers. You can learn from their experiences. Try to find a mentor.
  4. An online presence is important, but don't let social media eat into your writing time. And avoid the online drama.
  5. Don't expect to make money. If that's your motivation to write, you need to find another vocation.

Can you share an excerpt of something you have written or are currently working on?
Here is something from THE ROAD AHEAD:
"It's your mother calling."
"Hi Mom." He resists the urge to yawn into the phone. "It's 6:05 a.m. Why are you calling this early? Is something wrong?"
"Everything is fine. I just wanted to make sure I caught you in."
"Catch me in? I have a cell phone. You can reach me any time of the day."
"You're so busy that I can never get a hold of you. So, I decided to call while you're still home."
"You mean while I'm still sleeping." He can't resist anymore as he yawns into the phone.
"If I don't hear from you, how will I know you're still alive?"
"Spoken like a true Jewish mother. Imagine the worst so that you can always have plenty to worry about. Sorry to disappoint you but everything is fine."
"When will we see you again? Your father and I barely remember what you look like. We have to pull out old photographs to remind us."
"It hasn't been that long. I'll come by for dinner on Friday."
"Will you be bringing someone with you?"
"No Mom, I'm not seeing anyone. I told you I have no time for a social life right now."
"You're thirty-four years old. It's not normal to be single at thirty-four. People will think there's something wrong with you. Like you're a sociopath or retarded."
"You don't call people retarded today. They're called developmentally handicapped."
"Okay, so people will think my Jerry is developmentally handicapped."
"Enough already. Thanks for calling Mom. I have to get ready for work. I'll see you on Friday."

And before you go again, is there anything you would like to share with our readers?
First, I just made a fresh pot of espresso. I know many writers are coffee addicts.The first 100 addicts that knock on my door get a shot of coffee that will make their toes curl.
Second, this is where you can pick up THE ROAD AHEAD (yeah, I have to plug it).  Amazon Link

Rick Tompkins, a suburban Toronto insurance broker, never considered a career in politics until a good friend, who happens to be the leader of the Conservative party, asks him to run for office. He accepts the offer, with the understanding that he would probably not win, but can use the opportunity to gain some visibility for himself and his business. Jerry Switzer, a veteran party worker, is sent in to guide Rick through a campaign in a riding that hasn’t elected a Conservative in years. 

Rick fumbles his way through the election campaign and manages a surprise win but at the expense of saddling his party with an impossible commitment. What makes matters worse, Rick is anything but politically correct. He offends everyone in his path and stumbles from one political scandal to another. Still, Rick has one saving asset: a political party machine that is able to spin scandals to its advantage.

More About Willie Handler:
Willie Handler grew up in Toronto and did his undergraduate work at the University of Toronto. He also has graduate degrees from the Schulich School of Business at York University in Toronto and the Fox School of Business at Temple University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He spent over thirty years in various positions in the Ontario public service. before leaving in 2011. He has a number of humorous short stories published online on CommuterLit and Show Me the Funny, as well as many articles published in professional trade journals. THE ROAD AHEAD is his first novel. Willie is currently working on funny story about a chef stranded on Mars who is rescued by two Martians

Author Links:

Twitter | Facebook Website

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Savannah Hendricks

I'm very excited to share this interview with you all! Savannah is an amazing and talented author that writes children's literature and early childhood education.

What inspired you to be an author?
Great question! I wanted to write books that drew readers in, something that brought readers to love reading and make them want to read over anything else (TV, baseball games, etc).

How many stories have you written?
If I include non-published, about eighty-five. Keep in mind, the first story I wrote (and oddly enough sold) was not until I was twenty-four years old.

Is writing your full time profession? If not, what else do you do and how do you manage both jobs?
No, although I wish I could write full time. I’m a medical social worker forty hours a week. My job can be incredibly draining so it’s often hard for me to write after work. I get a lot of writing done on the weekends, just not a lot of rest. Managing both can be a challenge, but I’ve made it work all these years, fairly well.

What is your writing process?
I actually have to remind myself to only work on one story at a time. I tend to want to have too many projects going at once. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. Recently I was preparing my sweet romance manuscript for querying when I got a revision request on a picture book. So, I worked on both of those at the same time, because it was a must. You can’t miss opportunities like that.
As far as the process, I really just allow the story to develop organically and do what I need to do to make it work. The only thing that is necessary in the writing process for me is stopping at least one hour before I have to sleep, otherwise my mind is still racing with ideas and I won’t be able to sleep.

Why is research so important for writing? 
Research makes a story authentic! Plus, I love research, it gives depth to a story and helps me learn about whatever I’m researching to add to my knowledge bank. Because if I am discussing the story I’m able to go beyond the story with possible information I didn’t need or was not able to include in the story.

What is the craziest thing you've had to research?
The timeline for toilets, from the outhouse to inside the house.

How do you create the world you are writing in?
I love to use graph paper and map out house floor plans and city or town plans. I also create boards on Pinterest. I have Pinterest boards for four of my stories so far.

How do you pull us in with amazing characters?
The best way to create amazing characters is to make them real, make them friends that you might have or want to have, or maybe you want to avoid. Character development is essential even if (for example a picture book with 400 words) the reader does not get to see all of the character.

What authors inspire you to write?
First, Kat Yeh. Her books are amazing!!! I discovered her at the library when I was randomly picking books from the middle grade section to read. The title, The Truth About Twinkie Pie caught my eye, and I’m forever grateful it did. Second, would have to go to the writer community on Twitter. There are SO MANY amazing writers (pre-published and published) who I've connected with and started or developed a friendship with. @StarlaLeAnne is amazing and I can’t wait for the world to read her books. And, I MUST mention @writeralys (Alys Murray) as her and I have recently connected and she has been so kind to me! I’m EXCITED for her book The Christmas Company (Hallmark Publishing) to release on October 16th. These woman help lift me up and that helps me write, drives me to write. (When you have women in your corner who understand the writing business and all the highs and lows, plus offer to help you on so many different levels it's the ultimate best thing.)

What steps do you take in drafting an outline?
Yikes, most of the time I don’t outline. Shhhh, haha. I usually find I will outline if I have an idea without a path or/and if I’m halfway through the story and it feels stuck.

What are your top five tips for aspiring authors?
Read, write, chocolate, read, write.

What are you currently working on?
I’m working on a middle grade revision for a story I started when I first began writing in 2004. I have not touched it since 2012 and I’m more than ready to get it in shape for submissions. I’m also outlining (because I’m struggling with the idea, see I do outline) for my second sweet romance manuscript.

Can you share an excerpt from one of your novels/projects?
Hmm…..let’s look at my current middle grade manuscript.
“Inside the space rested a chubby wrapped package. It was filthy, covered with dust and tiny black spots. I hoped it was not spider poop.”
Is there anything else you would like to share with us before you go?
Thank you for allowing me to talk about writing! It’s something I enjoy and makes me who I am today.

Savannah Hendricks writes stories from children's literature to adult fiction. Her stories have been included in numerous magazines such as Highlights High Five, Fantasy Scroll Magazine, Front Vision (???), Stories for Children Magazine, and Backlog Magazine.
She has worked as a nanny, and with special needs preschoolers. For the last 5 years Savannah has been a medical social worker. She holds degrees in early childhood education and criminal justice/criminology. She has been a member of the SCBWI since 2006.

Author Links:
Twitter @AuthorSavannah
Instagram @AuthorSavannahHendricks

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Elle Stanley

Check out today's Author Talks with the wonderful Elle Stanley! She has some really great tips for other aspiring authors too! Be sure to check her author links out!

Tell me a little bit about yourself:
I am an introvert who cares about the world, even though it hasn’t cared about me. Being a twenty-five-year-old black female, certain things in life are not instantly attainable, but I love spending my time and energy getting the things I need. I needed to be an author and, thankfully, after a lot of hard work and patience, it happened. I love reading, writing and learning and always have been fascinated by words and detail, especially since the death of my mother when I was nine. Tragedy turned into reflection and I went on to graduate in 2014 with a bachelor’s degree in English Language and Literature and then stumbled into three publishing jobs: a history publisher, a physics publisher (where I currently still work) and the fiction publisher who published my first book (who I do some freelance editing work for). Other than that, my life is pretty average.

What first inspired you to start writing?
My mother’s death and J.K. Rowling. For Harry Potter fans, the connection is obvious. My mum used to read The Philosopher’s Stone and The Chamber of Secrets to me and my little brother before bed. After her passing in 2003, my sister and I kept reading and I came to realise all of the things I hope Rowling intended: death shouldn’t be feared and love is everything. Oh, and writing is awesome! So I started reading a lot, taking out the maximum amount of books at the library every week, writing poetry and plays and some really bad fan fiction until I decided to write serious stories about people in challenging scenarios: people with disabilities, ethnic minorities, the rich, the poor and so on. Then I wrote a small science fiction screenplay that led to my first novel.

Are you a plotter or a pantser?
A bit of both. I know my characters, but I wrote the majority of 2051 not knowing how it would end. I think there is joy in letting your characters decide, in a way. Real people have no idea what will happen next week so I kind of let my fictional people live the same experience until I get an epiphany.

Are your characters based off real people or did they all come entirely from your imagination?
Each character has a little bit of me in there. They’re all a little bit human. One character suffers from depression, another is strong-willed yet sensitive, another can be really rude, another looks similar to me. They are mainly personalities and, physically and mentally, they sometimes change in my head. Places have made more of an impression in my work: Stroud, a lovely countryside district in the Cotswolds, a boarding school I worked at, London, etc., which can all be found in my book.

What book have you read that has most influenced your life and writing?
To save this from being too Harry Potter-oriented, I’m going to say Wuthering Heights. The first time I read it, I hated it. But after reading it six more times (I studied it when I was 16), I realised it was probably one of the best things I’d ever come across literary-wise. I realised that it’s not always about what is written on the page; what’s not written is equally as important. And if it wasn’t for pseudonyms, we wouldn’t have been able to enjoy the Brontë sisters’ work.

Tell us a little about your plans for the future. Where do you see yourself as a writer in five years?
In five years, I hope to complete my trilogy. I just want people to read my books and think ‘Wow, this is making me think a little bit.’

Of all the characters you have created, which is your favorite and why?
Her name is Dolly Mason and she is the Attorney General of England. She is my favourite because she is real. Despite being amazing at her job, ruthless and strong, she is fragile. She cries and worries and breaks down. Then she picks herself up. She is three-dimensional and not the stereotype of a strong woman. She has flaws and isn’t perfect.

Any website or resources that have been helpful to you as a writer?
The Oxford Dictionary site is literally the best ( I use it at work. Kind of obsessed. And my job as an editor has been invaluable. I thought I was good with grammar but that was wrong, even after my degree. My work experience taught me that language is pretty flexible and just because you’re a native speaker, it doesn’t mean you know how to use an en dash.

What do you love most about the writing process?
The backspace button. And re-reading everything.
If you could spend time as a character from your book whom would it be? And what would you do during that day?

My characters are not in the best scenarios but, if I had to choose, it would be a character named Dr India Rissington, a woman who runs a controversial organisation that performs backstreet operations for the poor. I wouldn’t operate or anything like that, but it would be an opportunity to see things from someone else’s perspective. Either her or a character named Briscoe, a lawyer who is pretty positive 90% of the time and always cracks jokes, even in pretty terrible times.

What are some tips you can give other aspiring writers?
No one can tell you how to write. You just have to do it. Read. Write. Repeat.

What are you working on now?
I’m currently working on my second book, ‘2031’, set twenty years before the first.

Can you share an excerpt with us from one of your novels/projects?
The first few paragraphs from the prologue of 2051:

Ever since his wife died, he had wanted to replace her. Before that, even. She never lied when he wanted her to. And as a lawyer, lies were important to him. You didn’t have to mean them, they could be brief or longstanding, but, in his opinion, they were mandatory in order to retain relationships and, more importantly, uphold a narrative or rhetoric.

In her opinion, his tie was always too blue or his shoes too dirty. The house was spotless, yet they needed to call the cleaner back again. Dinner plates were on fire or ice cold. On most days, she would be home when he arrived, and worst, she would be awake and waiting for him while their daughter slept, only to gripe and chastise when he headed straight to the study in his offensive brogues. The door closed behind him a little bit easier every time and it practically shut itself after nine years. his punishment was silence and hers was conversation.

Some candied deceit would have been welcomed, a brief kindness, pitiful intercourse or aesthetic commentary on his dress or demeanour could have meant that each torturous moment of his life could have been sweetened, although, he never knew what that was like. That was, until about a year after she left them. His first thought was, How dare you? Brilliant. Leave me to raise our teenage daughter. Perfect, perfect timing. Congratulations.

Is there anything else you would like to share with us before you go?
Without any support or encouragement, I bettered myself. With support, I became even more than I ever imagined.

L. Stanley started reading and writing at the age of nine and began writing her dystopian, science-fiction drama 2051: The Emancipated Synthetic, at the age of eighteen. She graduated with an English degree from the University of Birmingham and works in publishing. She lives in Gloucestershire with her partner, Andrew, and her cat, Sulu.

Author Links:
2051: The Emancipated Synthetic (2018) is available worldwide in ebook and in paperback in Europe on Amazon
The paperback is also available on the Ghost & Ribbon Publishing website

Monday, August 6, 2018

Elisa Stryker

Today I'd like to introduce to you the amazing and beautiful Elisa Stryker! Be sure to visit her blog as well, it's listed below!

Tell me a little about yourself:

I was born and raised in Arkansas by my mother and two great-grandparents. I’m the oldest of four children and the mother of a very intelligent son. Although I lived in Arkansas my entire life, most people say I don’t talk like it. In the south, I have a northern accent. Up north, I sound horribly country. It’s weird how my dialect changes but it helps with creating character voice.

What inspired you to be an author?
I used to read manga when I was younger. I always wanted to create my own world. My imagination took me wherever I wanted but I wanted others to experience it as well. A few years ago, I started writing a Naruto fanfic with my brother. That soon became its own creation after my brother got bored and I took over. Since then I’ve tinkered at the story adding more and more unique details.

Is writing your full time job? If not, what else do you do and how do you juggle both?
No writing isn’t my full time job but I hope it will be soon. Right now I’m self employed selling weight loss products through an online store. I have nearly all the time in the world to write.

How many stories have you written? (You can include published and non published works)
I’ve written too many short stories to count. Most of them were wrote down in notebooks back in middle school and are long gone now. So far I’ve only finished two full manuscripts, both in the same series. Neither are published yet, but an older version of one can be found on fiction press (it’s embarrassing so I won’t link it haha).

What is your writing process? 
I’m not sure I have a process. At first I was a panster, making things up as I go along. I was strict against outlining due to my own laziness haha. But now I brainstorm a basic outline/plot with a writing friend and fill in gaps as I write out the scenes. I still make up some things as I go along, especially if I run into a plot hole. I tend to underwrite the first draft and come back later to fill in details, world building, subplots, etc.

Where do your ideas come from?
Most of my ideas come from day dreaming. I have an over active imagination and spend a lot of time playing out different scenarios in my head. Some of them turn into story ideas while others stay floating in my subconscious. I was also really into zombie video games and movies. Like Left 4 Dead, Dawn of the Dead, and Resident Evil. That plus older anime like earlier Naruto and Inuyasha played a big part.

What is your writing Kryptonite?
I’d have to say self-doubt. It leads into procrastination and I miss deadlines. I failed at a lot of things in life and writing is my last chance to “make it.” I don’t want to mess it up so I tend to judge myself too harshly.

What advice do you have for other aspiring authors?
My advice: have fun. I know everyone says that and I’ve rolled my eyes at it too. But writing what you love and having fun with it makes the journey a lot easier.

What authors inspire you?
Suzanne Collins is my biggest inspiration. The Hunger Games was an amazing trilogy full of so much voice. Marissa Meyer is another inspiration. The blend of fairytales, androids, and cyborgs made me want to write a world as great as she did. I haven’t read past Cinder but I plan to pick up the other books soon.

Fiction or non-fiction? Which is easier?
I think fiction is easier since anything goes. You can create worlds filled with magical creatures and create your own rules. If something doesn’t work, change it. It’s simple.
There are too many rules to follow with non-fiction, in my opinion.

What are you currently working on? 

Right now I’m doing another round of edits on a Science Fantasy manuscript titled SACRIFICE ONE. It’s book 1 in my series. It’s dual POV following two teens who discover their childhood friend is the first to be immune to a man-made virus. It’s based on the question “would you sacrifice one person to save many more?”

The world mixes magic and science in a futuristic setting, but without much tech advancement. I sent out a few queries and received some requests. The editing never seems to end, though.

Can you leave us with an excerpt?

“If it can be created, it can be destroyed,” I mutter, staring at the data filling the holographic panel.
Then again, I’m sure the gods said the same about us.

The intercom emits a loud beep. A calm, almost robotic voice pages one of the many doctors to the emergency room. My assigned lab is isolated on the sixth floor, away from the coughing patients and scurrying medical staff. I prefer it this way. Cultivating a cure for the virus ravaging our island requires me to tuck away the disease’s deadly horror in a dark corner of my mind and move on with my work.

Blowing my bangs out of my face, I grab my notebook from the drawer. I tap a pen against my lips as I let out a long breath. None of my stress exhales with it.

A date circled in blue at the top of the page catches my attention. June 19, 2181. The second anniversary of my father’s death. The day I became the daughter of another victim of the Konadai Virus. I can still feel his icy hand on mine.

And before you go, is there anything else you'd like to say to our readers?

Thanks for letting me share a part of my crazy writing world! If you’re writing, keep at it. You never know what you might come up with.

I’m an African American female born in Little Rock, Arkansas where my biggest accomplishment was being an extra in two of my high school’s musical performances. I have a son who is starting his freshman year at my old high school.

Before writing seriously, I spent my time creating short stories based on teen slasher movies and Naruto fan fiction.

In February 2018, I was accepted as a mentee in Justina Ireland’s Writing in The Margins mentorship program. My mentor, Scott Reintgen, helped me mold the first draft of SACRIFICE ONE into something much better. I also completed the 1st 5 Pages workshop in June hosted by Erin Cashman.
Check out her Blog:
Da'Norris Searcy Jersey

Sunday, August 5, 2018

The Hope of Azure Springs Book Blitz

Genre: Inspirational Historical Romance  Date of Publication: July 3, 2018 Publisher: Revell
Number of Pages: 336
ABOUT THE BOOK: Seven years ago, orphaned and alone, Em finally arrived at a new home in Iowa after riding the orphan train. But secrets from her past haunt her, and her new life in the Western wilderness is a rough one. When her guardian is shot and killed, Em, now nineteen, finally has the chance to search for her long-lost sister, but she won’t be able to do it alone.
For Azure Springs Sheriff Caleb Reynolds, securing justice for the waifish and injured Em is just part of his job. He’s determined to solve every case put before him in order to impress his parents and make a name for himself. Caleb expects to succeed. What he doesn’t expect is the hold this strange young woman will have on his heart.
Welcome to the charming town of Azure Springs, Iowa, where people care deeply for one another and, sometimes, even fall in love.
PRAISE FOR THE HOPE OF AZURE SPRINGS: “In her promising first novel, Fordham assembles an endearing cast of characters in the rugged Midwest plains for a tale about surviving and thriving. . . .Fordham depicts heartbreaking emotional and physical suffering, while beautifully illustrating the power in simple acts of kindness to foster healing, hope, and happiness.”
Iowa, 1881

     She dead?”
     Em heard a man’s voice from somewhere above her. A strange thumping pulsed through her with each word he spoke. Her throat burned, screaming for water, but she could not cry out.
     “There’s life in her. Not much of it though,” a second, raspier voice answered. She felt a hand press against her throat and then move over her body, gently probing. “She’s bleeding pretty bad.”
     “Gunshot?” the first voice asked.
     If only her eyes would open, and she could see them. Straining, she struggled to pull her heavy eyelids open. Finally, bits of light darted in front of her eyes, but she could not focus. The faces above her were fuzzy and indiscernible.
     Fear swept through her, suddenly waking her battered body. Afraid the men from before had returned, she opened her eyes wide, finding strength that only moments before she had lacked. With thrashing arms, she flailed at the men. Her arms flopped about but offered little defense—she was too weak from blood loss. And then they moved no longer, subdued by large, strong hands.
     “Easy, girl. We aren’t going to hurt you. We just want to help. Take you into town, that’s all. There’s a good doctor there.” The man’s deep voice sounded gentle, but still she did not trust him. Voices could be deceiving. Arms could hurt as well as help. She knew these things well.
     Soon she felt her body being raised above the ground, and moments later the hard planks of a wagon became the resting place for her injured frame. Too weak to move, she lay looking at the sky, wishing there were a way to end the agony, but knowing that for Lucy she would fight on.
     Once the wagon lurched forward, she lost track of everything again. The wheels bouncing over ruts made her pain so intense that everything closed around her and then faded to black.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Rachel Fordham started writing when her children began begging her for stories at night. She’d pull a book from the shelf, but they’d insist she make one up. She hasn’t stopped since. She lives with her husband and children on an island in the state of Washington.
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Saturday, August 4, 2018

Railyn Stone

I'm very excited to introduce to you all Railyn Stone! Railyn is an author from North Carolina! Check out her interview below and be sure to connect with her on Facebook and Twitter!

How long have you been writing?
I have always liked writing and I started at a young age. I actually wrote a book in 2nd grade, of course it was a short story, but I fell in love with storytelling from there. I wrote for years just on my own, starting and stopping stories and finally finished writing a full-length novel. Once I did, I started querying literary agents in 2008 and learning more about the publishing industry. I participated in a contest for aspiring authors in 2013 and made the top 50 finalists, and that gave me more confidence to keep writing and pursuing publication, which first happened for me in 2014.

Where is your favorite writing spot?
I spend a good amount of time in my office writing at my desk, but I get the majority of my ideas in the shower. I need one of those dry erase boards in there so when an idea pops into my head I can just write it down there. LOL

Tell us a little about your plans for the future. Where do you see yourself as a writer in five years?
I honestly didn’t know I would be at this point in the four years that I’ve been published. I’ve met a lot of great people, authors and readers and I’ve been able to participate in some author events. I would like to have at least two more books published in the next five years and I’d be lying if I didn’t say I’d like to be at USA Today or NY Times Bestselling status or both. That would be a dream come true.

What literary world would you love to visit for a day? 
I think if I had to visit a specific world it would have to be Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland. I love the whimsy of his writing and the imagination that went into creating such a magical world. It would have been fun I think to head down that rabbit hole with Alice.

Any website or resources that have been helpful to you as a writer? 
There are so many websites and resources to help writers such as Publisher’s Weekly and Publisher’s Marketplace, but a lot of the things I’ve used have come from joining groups on Facebook, especially Indie writer groups. I’m a little bit of an introvert and one Facebook page I’ve found extremely helpful with tips on social media is LaShaunda Hoffman’s page. She’s a writer, but also teaches other writers how to come out of their cocoon and become a social butterfly. She has a lot of great tips.

What would you say is the easiest aspect of writing? 
The easiest aspect of writing for me is the freedom to make up my own worlds and escape from reality if only for a little while. It’s one of the most freeing and most enjoyable feelings I get when I’m creating.

Do your novels carry a message? 
I love my family and I feel that family is really important, whether it’s your biological family or a “piece-meal” family. It’s important to stay surrounded and grounded by the people who love you most and I try to put those feelings and influences in each of my books. I also believe that love doesn’t have a color hence the tagline for my first book, The Christmas Tree Guy. You can’t put a color on love. I truly believe that people should appreciate each other for who they are and love them for who they are.

Have any new writers grasped your interest recently? 
I wouldn’t necessarily say new writers have grasped my attention lately, but maybe a writer that is new to me that I’ve started reading is DL White. I’m currently reading her book Brunch at Ruby’s and I’m enjoying her writing style and the rhythm of the book. It has a great flow to it.

Do you have any tips for other writers? 
Write what you like. Write what you want to read and don’t compare yourself to anyone else unless you are writing a query letter. LOL! Seriously, enjoy it and believe in yourself. If this is something you want to pursue, try your best to learn everything you can, but also be open to criticism. Working with really good editors can be an amazing opportunity if you are open to what they have to say. It’s okay to fight to keep your words the way you want them or to keep a scene that you particularly love, but make sure you listen to the editor to see the angle they are coming from as well. It could be the difference in good book and a great one.

Before you go, can you leave us with an excerpt?

Here’s an excerpt from Love and Loopholes my book that will release on August 6th! I’m so excited for everyone to meet Channing and Kirby. I hope you like it.

Handsome wasn’t the word to describe him. She honestly didn’t think there was a word in Webster’s Dictionary, or the Urban Dictionary for that matter, to describe the magnificence that was this creature. He was the epitome of tall, dark and handsome. He was as aloof and debonair as the main characters that graced the television screen in the old black and white movies she loved. The suit he wore fit his agile build.

She quickly turned in her seat and adjusted the gray jersey maxi dress she wore wishing she’d at least taken a moment to excuse herself to freshen up. When he arrived at their table, she looked up and as his eyes locked with hers. She could feel the sweat forming in her hands. She absentmindedly wiped them on the soft material of her dress.

“Kirby, I’d like you to meet the proposition. Channing Lucas, meet Kirby Allen. Your new wife.”

“Excuse me?” Kirby nearly choked looking at Bryant with wild eyes. “Wife?”

“Yes. That’s the proposition.” The look he gave her was as if he’d expected her to know marriage was part of the deal. She’d never imagined that’s what she was there for and her throat tightened. Swallowing hard, she glanced back and forth between the two.

“Hold on a minute. You said I wouldn’t have to worry about money or anything anymore, you never said anything about being a mail order bride.” Kirby shook her head feeling her heart inching its way up to her throat. She had to get a rein on her thoughts and get back to the task at hand.

“Channing is your way of not having to worry about anything. And I promise, you won’t be a mail order bride. I’ll leave you two to talk.” She saw Bryant grin at Channing before he stood and exited the lounge.

She turned to see Channing staring at her and a warm feeling flowed through her body. His gaze was enough to melt away every stitch of clothing she wore and she felt a rush of tingles roar across her skin.

“It’s obvious Bryant didn’t really go into detail about why you’re here.” Kirby nearly dissolved through the floor listening to the honey-coated baritone voice caressed by a sweet southern lilt emanating from the perfect face of Channing Lucas. When he spoke, she caught the slightest glimpse of a set of dimples hiding in his freshly shaven cheeks. Just looking at him she was mesmerized by the blazing swatches of gold in his tiger-eyes.

“Uh, he said I wouldn’t have to worry about anything anymore, but he didn’t mention marriage.” She strained barely hearing her own voice as she spoke. Marriage had always been a dream of hers, but she’d never imagined this kind of scenario. What the hell is going on?

Railyn Stone, author of The Christmas Tree GuyA Secret to Keep, Restored Hearts, and Lest We Aren’t Forgiven lives in North Carolina with her husband. When she’s not behind the screen of her laptop, she’s usually enjoying time with her family. The only child of two educators, she learned early on just how magical words can be.

Author Links:
Amazon Author page: