Various States of Undress by Laura Simcox (Tasty Virtual Book Tour plus Guest Post)

Talking about complicated! A CEO needs a savvy girl for his family’s legacy department store, but the perfect candidate has a tiny little flaw: she’s the president’s daughter. Add romance to that equation, and the only result you get is … Various States of Undress.
Scroll down for an A-MAZING guest post by Laura Simcox on the right attitude to rejection and also chance to win a Digital Copy of VARIOUS STATES OF UNDRESS: VIRGINIA and get to meet Laura Simcox. This virtual book tour is brought to you by Tasty Book Tours.
VARIOUS STATES OF UNDRESS: VIRGINIA

 

 

When the president’s daughter risks everything with her sexy new boss, they’re bound to find themselves in Various States of Undress! 

If she had it her way, Virginia Fulton—daughter of the President of the United States—would spend more time dancing in Manhattan’s nightclubs than working in its skyscrapers. Tired of dodging paparazzi, she needs a change. And a real chance. So when she finds herself in the arms of sexy, persuasive Dexter Cameron, who presents her with the opportunity of a lifetime, Virginia sees it as a sign … but can she take it without losing her heart?

CEO-to-be Dexter Cameron knows he’s taking a risk by hiring a stylish party girl to jumpstart his family’s legacy department store. But the president’s gorgeous daughter has her thumb on the pulse of Manhattan, and the partnership seems like a win-win … until Dex discovers that his goals now include more than securing the corner office—they include Virginia herself. Dex must decide: does he make a move up the ladder? Or on the girl of his dreams?


a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

About the Author

After spending years in professional theater as a costume designer, Laura Simcox eased out of the hectic whirlwind of opening nights and settled in a comfy desk chair to write romance. She believes that life is too short not to appreciate heartwarming, quirky humor and her novels are lighthearted journeys into the happily-ever-after. She lives in North Carolina with her true love and adorable little son.

 

WEBSITE  |  FACEBOOK  |  TWITTER  |  GOODREADS

How to Avoid the Rejection Blues: Taking Aim (And Not at Your Own Foot)

By Laura Simcox

When I was in Junior High, I wanted three things: my braces off, my zits to magically disappear, and for the boy of my dreams to notice I was alive.

Because I was thirteen, I naturally assumed that I was the only girl to ever experience this triple threat of anguish—the zittiest, braciest, most incredible freak of nature to ever walk Planet Earth—but I had a Kamikaze-like desire to succeed lurking within me. (Still do.)

I wrote the boy a note, complete with check boxes, asking if he liked me (I know…ouch) and I slipped it into his notebook when he wasn’t looking. He sat to my right, and two desks up in English, so I could always see when he opened that notebook. You know what? He kept my note, right where I’d stashed it in the clear pocket in front, which gave me boundless hope. You know what else? He never answered me.

So, I was rejected, but it was by default. There were times when I wished with all my heart that he’d looked me in the eye and said no. There were plenty of other times I was so glad that he hadn’t had the heart to do that. Rejection is slippery that way—especially when you’re never quite sure why it has happened. And because I was at such a volatile age, I obsessed about the note, and him for an entire year.

This little painful story is meant to illustrate what it’s like to have your work rejected, because if you’re an author, chances are you’ve experienced both the flat ‘No’ and the mystifying lack of response. It’s hard to move on from either type of rejection, but to succeed, moving on has to happen one way or the other. I was able to move on from Silent Boy, and I’ve moved on from writer’s rejection, too.

I firmly believe in one simple thing: If, despite my best efforts, something doesn’t happen, it wasn’t meant to be. The boy didn’t reject me because of my zits, he rejected me because I wasn’t his type. And when my work gets rejected, it’s not because my writing sucks, it’s because I wasn’t the publisher’s type, either.

I’ll make one thing clear—you have to know upfront that you don’t, in fact, suck. If you’re getting interest in your work, you don’t. If you’re rejected over and over again, there is a small chance that you do. There’s also a very good chance that you’re actually awesome, but you’re shooting yourself in the foot.

Prepare. Take careful aim. Then shoot yourself at the likeliest target. Survive like Katniss, right? Even though your work can seem like your life—it’s not your life at stake. You’re going to get rejected, but you’re not going to die.

That being said, I’ve learned the hard way not set myself up for rejection in the first place. That sounds arrogant, counterproductive, and a bit paranoid, I know, but hear me out. I’m not a genius, but I’ve only been rejected a handful of times (so far). This is why: Before I ever submitted a single word, I spent months online—stalking editors, agents, trends, authors, and most importantly, publishers. I read all kinds of theories about getting your foot in the door, and in the meantime, I worked on writing craft. Like—really hard.

In the end, I decided that logic was my best friend. I’d read that if an author doesn’t know who she is, and exactly what she writes, how will anyone else know, either? Editors and agents can work magic, but they don’t have magic balls. It was up to me to say “Hi, I’m Laura. I write lighthearted, sexy contemporary romance.”

I never submitted to publishers and editors who didn’t publish my particular genre, even if I desperately admired them. When I did submit, I made sure I followed their guidelines to a T. (After all, they didn’t write those guidelines just for giggles.) I never submitted to agents who didn’t already represent authors and genres similar to myself.

When I thought I was ready, I sent my book pitch to several friends who read romance, not telling them that I’d written it. I just said, “Would you read this book?” Three answered “Sounds cute, so maybe” and three said “Um…I’m not quite sure what it’s about, exactly.” Okay—that’s not good enough. I didn’t want “Meh…” or “Huh?” when I sent my work to an editor or agent—or worse—sat in front of them, wincing at the words coming out of my own mouth!

So I rewrote the pitch, envisioning a reader picking my book up at a book store, flipping it over, scanning the back copy and grinning. I asked myself if I would want to buy the book based on the description. After all, if I didn’t like my pitch, wouldn’t it seem as if I didn’t like my own book? Once I felt as ready as possible, I started to send it out.

Was I nervous? Yeah. Did I pray and then cringe every time I hit the send button? Oh yeah. And did I get rejected? Three times. And then one day, I was in the right place at the right time and was the right fit. That’s lucky—I know, but at the same time, I went to a conference completely prepared.

The agent I had an appointment with (waves at amazing agent) didn’t know that I’d already read every scrap of info I could find on her. I almost whipped out some of that knowledge to prove that I’d done my homework, but I realized that wasn’t why I was there. I was there to tell her about my book as clearly as I could. I sat in front of her and read my super-short, carefully worded pitch, and when she asked me questions, I had an idea of my target audience, and how my book would work in a series. I was successful, due to a combination of my careful, hard work, the stars aligning, and her forgiving my breathless voice and (probably) crazy smile.

In the years ahead, I expect more successes, but I also expect more rejections—because I won’t be at the right place at the right time, despite all of my wonder nerd efforts. It happens.

Yeah, I’ll be bummed, but I can go down in a blaze of glory knowing for sure that my aim was true. The target (and I) just weren’t in the right place at the right time. J


 





Grab Book One in the Series


Advertisements

The Dos and Don’ts of a review seeker: Guest Post by Ichabod Temperance

I connected with paranormal/steampunk writer, Ichabod Temperance, earlier this year during a cross-blog critique event where he bravely submitted his excellent work for constructive criticism. Ichabod has written five novels: ‘A Matter of Temperance‘, ‘A World of Temperance‘, ‘For the Love of Temperance‘, ‘A Study in Temperance‘ and ‘In a Latitude of Temperance‘, all available on Amazon.

In this guest post, the man himself, will give us insight into his steep review-seeking learning curve. And steep it was!

inalatitudekindlecover

In Review with Temperance

Hello my friends! My name is Ichabod Temperance. I am very new to writing and self-publishing, but would like to share a few thoughts on the battle to gain reviews.

Our story begins with a boy writing a book. The silly chap thinks that writing the book is all that he has to do and believes that publication, sales, fame and fortune will just trot themselves into formation to carry him into the sunset. Much to the elderly youngling’s surprise, no-one wants to read his goofy book. He writes another. No sales! The fledgling writer realises that huge amounts of shameless self-promotion are called for. The electronic dunce is introduced to social media. The dangerous knowledge of how to paste a link is passed into his hands. With complete innocence, a spammer is born. Suspension from facebook and twitter quickly follow his novice zeal. Undaunted, the delusional writer then begins a review request campaign.
This is carried out in a sloppy manner, with numerous embarrassing mistakes:

Photo by Depositphotos - edited with PhotoScape
Photo by Depositphotos – edited with PhotoScape

Subject line: Review Request. That is all that is required. No need to get cutesy here.

A nice Greeting: It is hard to not be clumsy here! Don’t be generic, as in: “Hi Blogger. I hope you are having a nice day.” This person is being asked to devote time and attention where their time might be better spent reading someone else’s book. Then they are asked to write a book report on it! Geez! The least our prospective author can do is spend a moment on the blogger/reviewer, reading their bio, a review or two, and just generally getting a feel for their blog.

The kid’s greetings slowly improved. He might now open his letter with: “Hello Maria. I am thrilled to be in contact with someone in Greece! This is a first for me and is very exciting! You and your family appear to live in an idyllic world. BTW- Is that a shark in the water on your blog photo?”

Too wordy with his Genre description:
*Steampunk, Paranormal, Happily Ever After, Action/Romance, told in a Humorous fashion.
+I think this is slightly better for him:
*Steampunk/Paranormal.
These are humorously told adventures with a touch of innocent romance.

Asking for reviews before the book is ready!
Our hypothetical writer sends out a gazillion requests. A few requests were answered and out go the books. He gets some bad reviews. They were not mean, but a couple said that the books needed a lot more work. I suspect that many early reviewers that he did not hear back from ‘Did Not Finish’ the books, and just never bothered to contact this author. One reviewer published a ‘DNF’ review on the second book, but it was accompanied by constructive criticism, not mean-hearted snarkiness. Again, the opinion was that the author was on the right track, but needed to go back and work on the book some more. Review requests are suspended until these first two books are cleaned up. Without an editor or Beta readers, other than his significant other, it behoves our friend to exercise more caution with what he presents to be judged.

Read and follow the Review Requests Policies!
If a reviewer does not accept independent writers, you must respect that position. It took a moment for our favourite dingbat to catch on to the fact that many people despise indies.

Writing and promotional advice is then eagerly sought by the desperate fellow.

One day, he comes upon an article, ‘Five Ways New Writers Can Chase Away Potential Readers‘. Here is some good advice! Much of the information is very easy to implement, as it is simply an application of common sense. This wonderful woman generously shares a clever tip with our thick headed pal: Take advantage of Twitter. She tells of how an author showed her a kindness by sending out a tweet to put her over, that is, make her books appealing. Our storybook hero began doing this. People appreciate and enjoy his saying something nice about them or their work and his recognition has spread because of it. Reviewers are now approached through twitter to develop a relationship before then asking permission to submit the books for review. This has helped our protagonist to gain reviews and consideration from bloggers that normally may not consider his genre. He, that is, I, am now enjoying the spotlight of a noted romance book blog, that may not have noticed me if I had not made a good impression through twitter first. (The book blog mentioned is Tome Tender, and here’s Icky’s author spotlight.)

Thank you, Maria!
Cheers, my friends! *klink*

Aww! I’m a sucker for stories with a happy ending, and this one certainly has one to show! Thank you, Icky, for your insight and also for the kind mention. The thought that a post I published help you get onto the right track, baffles me! I’m not even published (a fact that will change on November 21! 🙂 ).

If you love Icky’s style and would like to get to know him better, read his fun WIP interview on this blog! For more on his work, visit his Amazon’s Author Page.

And if you have review-seeking stories to share, please do in the comments’ section. Thanks for reading!

Quanie Miller: WIP Interview

This week’s author guest is a beautiful southern girl, Quanie Miller. Hi Quanie!

Hi Everyone! My name is Quanie Miller and I’m the author of It Ain’t Easy Being Jazzyand
the southern paranormal novel, The New Mrs. Collins,now available on Amazon. You can find me blogging at quanietalkswriting.com. Thanks for stopping by!

Thank you so much for being here. Before we talk about your WIP, why don’t you tell us a few things about yourself? 

I’m a married mother of one and love to spend my time making traditional Louisiana dishes like jambalaya and pralines. I probably watch more television than I should and think obsessively about my writing.

collins_promoBy the way this is a fantastic cover! Excellent branding! Exercise in lean writing: give us a synopsis of your current WIP in under 200 words.

When Leena Williams suspects that there’s something other worldly about her son’s new stepmother, she goes digging for answers and discovers a little too late that some secrets are better left buried.

That certainly is gooseflesh-inducing! What are you working on right now?

Well, right now I’m really focused on promoting The New Mrs. Collins.
And when I’m not doing that, I’m tinkering with an outline for a novel that feels like it’s going to be paranormal. Without giving too much away, it looks like it’s going to be about this girl who, after a traumatic experience, learns something shocking about herself.

Are you happy with the pace of your work? Do you aim at a specific word count each day?

Generally, yes. Some days are better than others. I don’t aim for a specific word count because what matters to me is, “How good is this particular scene when I leave the computer?” Sometimes a hard scene can take up pretty much my entire writing session. And I do try to stick to a writing schedule: the first two hours when I get up in the mornings.

Even after the arrival of the little one? I admire you! Plotter, pantser or both?

Plotter! I outline extensively before I write. I have to know where I’m going before I start writing. But even with an outline, there are plenty of surprises along the way. Characters really know how to surprise you!

What’s your worst enemy in getting that first draft finished?

Fear that what I’m writing isn’t good enough so why even finish it when the work is going to be terrible? I battle with this the entire time I’m writing. I don’t think it ever goes away.

Have you ever experienced lack of inspiration or drive to write? If so, how do you motivate yourself?

I think that happens when something I’m working on feels like a chore (when it’s a work in progress, that’s how I know that something about the story isn’t working or that it’s a story that I probably need to abandon). I get over this by giving myself some tough love: your writing career is your responsibility. Now get your behind in gear and write!

Quanie Miller - WorkstationCould we take a look at your workspace? Is there a particular place you find inspiring for writing?

My writing desk is in front of two windows that overlook our front yard (but sometimes, I’m guilty of just opening the blinds and daydreaming as opposed to writing!)

I can totally understand why you choose the blackout! Now your workspace pic is pinned on my Featured Writers’ Workspace board on Pinterest! Apart from Word and Google, do you use any other writing or research tools and apps?

I don’t. I’ve considered using Scrivener but haven’t gotten around to trying it.

 How do you intend to celebrate writing “The End” on your draft?

With a nice big glass of wine!

Which book publishing processes are you going to outsource and which are you confident enough to undertake yourself?

Oh, wow! I am definitely going to outsource the book cover (if I did my own book cover it would look like something a kindergartener did, or probably worse!), the proofreading, and definitely the formatting. The only thing I’m confident about is my ability to tell a story!

Do you have any marketing tips or favorite promotional sites you’d like to share?

I’m no marketing expert but I think it helps if you actually tell people you wrote a novel. For some reason, I was so shy about telling people that I was a novelist! Not sure why that is. And blogging is a great way to meet other authors and potential readers (but building those relationships takes time. It’s not an overnight thing).

Your blog is quanietalkswriting.com. Do you follow a specific branding pattern with your posts or is it a free writing platform?

Not at first. I kind of just started blogging because I read that all writers should have a blog, but lately I’ve been trying to tackle issues that all authors deal with, but in a humorous way. I try to talk about issues that are conversation worthy so that they encourage people to either comment or share the content.

Is paranormal the genre you will stick to or do you see yourself branching out in the future?

I also write comedy. Initially, I thought I needed to choose between paranormal and humorous fiction since they’re polar opposites but I imposed those boundaries on myself. I don’t think people care about genre as long as the story is entertaining.

Fun stuff now: Let’s do a rapid fire round.

  • Flavored sorbet or chocolate ice cream? Dude! Chocolate!
  • Pizza or sushi? Pizza, of course, (although, I do get a craving for a California roll or tempura every now and then!)
  • Twilight or The Hunger Games? The Hunger Games!
  • Chiwetel Ejiofor or Idris Elba? Idris. Hands down! Oh, yes!
  • Trek in the Andes or snorkeling in Tahiti? Oh, Lord. Ummm…I’ll say snorkeling since this seems to imply warm weather.
  • Ugg boots or red-soled designer stilettos? I’ll say stilettos, but hopefully they’ll have a low heel! Yeah, gimme a pair of those! 🙂

Finally, please share with us links where we can find you and your work.

Book Purchase Links

Amazon (US) http://www.amazon.com/New-Mrs-Collins-Quanie-Miller-ebook/dp/B00OAC362I

Amazon (UK) http://www.amazon.co.uk/New-Mrs-Collins-Quanie-Miller-ebook/dp/B00OAC362I

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/483357

Social Media Links

Twitter: @quaniemiller
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/QuanieMillerAuthor
Blog: http://www.quanietalkswriting.com
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/QuanieMiller
Website: quaniemiller.com
Email: quanie@quanietalkswriting.com

Quanie, thank you so much, and good luck with The New Mrs. Collins!

A rough road to love: His Road Home by Anna Richland (Review)

His-Road-Home-Anna-Richland (1)

His Road Home is an original love story, both heart-warming and heart-rending, that brings together an unlikely couple. Read on for my review and an excerpt from the book.  If you’re US-based, make sure to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway, as the author will make a $50 DONATION to The Fisher House Foundation in honor of a veteran of the winner’s choice. The virtual tour is organized by Tasty Book Tours.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

His Road Home
By: Anna Richland
Released October 13th, 2014
Carina Press

Amazon

B&N

Kobo

iTunes

Google Play

His Road Home final cover

My Review

A marine biologist, Grace Kim, is more into her whale expeditions than into complex people relationships. Yet she finds herself engaged—with all the unwanted family hoopla over her finally settling down—when she doesn’t even know the guy! The fact that he’s just returned from Afghanistan seriously injured after a heroic effort complicates the situation even more. Demanding answers from a speech challenged double amputee, when everyone expected her to play the part of the fiancee, took Kim on a guilt trip on top of her frustration when all she wanted was to go back to her single, quiet life.

But after sweet texting each other while Ray was on a tough rehabilitation program, and she’s deployed to Alaska, Kim starts feeling a lot more toward him than guilt. And when she accompanies him on his cross-country drive back home, their faltering friendship turns sizzling hot. But can Kim be strong enough to support Ray, or is she again stereotyping?

His Road Home is a jolting read. So much for the heroine to deal with here until she settles for unconditional love: prejudices, guilt, objective practical difficulties, social demands … that’s one hell of a tough road to take. And Kim is by nature untrained to be that kind of tough. But Ray is such a sweetheart—on top of being dark and handsome—he makes everything fall into place without exerting any emotional pressure.

There are amazing heart-warming moments in this book as there are painful, heart-wrenching images. From Afghan war-zones and the Gulf of Alaska to a cross-country road trip, this one is quite a ride. The writing is no-nonsense, fitting the bill perfectly. The character development is expertly done, and the HEA while bumpy is right there; uplifting and empowering. What I felt, though, was that this was a story that needed more space to naturally evolve. It seemed that it was squeezed into a small book, giving some scenes a rushed, choppy feel. There were aspects that I’d like to see more of. Like get to know Kim’s traditional Korean parents and their ways more. Or have a better feel of Grace’s role on the Alaska expedition.

That aside, I enjoyed this original and thought-provoking story. It blows many cliches into smithereens, but what’s left standing—proud and tall—is true love. ‘Cause love is all you need, right?

EXCERPT: Grace Arrives at the Hospital

Chapter 2

The rose-tinted stone buildings and immaculate landscaping of Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, reminded Grace of a university campus more than a military hospital. On the parking shuttle route, signs pointed to the Warrior Center and celebrated Warrior Pride, and she half expected men in blue paint and kilts to swarm the bus.

The massed display of flags inside the main lobby pressed home the weight of her false pretenses. The closer she drew to reception, the harder the fictions she hadn’t created but had been too obedient or timid to unravel squeezed her stomach. Five feet from the front desk, her charade bit more uncomfortably than the airplane seatbelt she’d worn all night.

“May I help you, ma’am?”

No one else was behind her. She was the ma’am.

The man on the other side of the desk smiled at her. “Are you here to see someone?”

Although she’d read his name in dozens of news articles, she hadn’t said it aloud. Her first attempt was a whisper. “Reynaldo Cruz.”

The keyboard clicked as he asked, “Are you Sergeant Cruz’s next of kin?”

“No.” Her stomach somersaulted as another lie rose to the surface to join so many others.

“Whoa, ma’am.” He reached across the desk as if to catch her. “Sergeant Cruz arrived yesterday from Landstuhl, but we have to ask because sometimes people pretend to know soldiers who’ve been in the news.”

That was her, a pretender. She clutched her jacket over her chest, chilled even inside the building, and hoped the airplane bagel didn’t revisit the scene.

“Name and photo identification, please.”

“Grace Kim.” Her driver’s license shook until she dropped it on the counter.

More clicking and peering before he said, “I don’t have you listed.”

If she couldn’t find out why Reynaldo Cruz had turned her life upside down, she’d never put it back together. Her chest expanded with bottled frustration.

“Hold on, I’ll call the ward to get permission.”

While the receptionist muttered into the phone, she willed the hot ball in her throat to dissolve. If she had to leave, this farce would end without an explanation to share with her family, her boss, her co-workers. The reporters calling her parents would change their tone, and people in Pateros would stop eating at the restaurant.

“Duty nurse confirmed you’re Sergeant Cruz’s fiancée.”

Relief snapped through her, even as the label made her squirm.

“Petty Officer Boichek will escort you. Visiting hours until twenty-hundred.” He clarified, “That’s eight tonight. I’ll add you as a permitted visitor. Here’s your temporary badge.”

Her escort was a woman, younger than her. “Morning, ma’am. This way to the elevators.”

As they left the lobby, Grace’s clogs clomped on the gleaming bare floor. At least her escort wouldn’t hear her thudding heart.

“No matter what, when you see your warrior, smile.”

Anna RichlandAuthor Info

Anna lives with her quietly funny Canadian husband and two less quiet children in a century-old house in Seattle. Like the heroine of her debut paranormal romantic suspense novel, First to Burn, Anna joined the army to pay tuition, a decision that led to a career on four continents.

She donates a portion of her book proceeds to two charities: the Fisher House Foundation, which provides free accommodations near military hospitals for families of wounded soldiers in the US and Great Britain, and Doctors Without Borders, which delivers emergency medical care in more than sixty crisis zones world-wide.

To sign up for Anna’s newsletter and find out about her next release, The Second Lie (The Immortal Vikings, Book Two), visit her website at www.annarichland.com

Author Links

Website: http://www.annarichland.com/

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/AnnaRichlandAuthor

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7440825.Anna_Richland

5c7b8-button

 

Flamingcrystal: WIP Interview

My author photoThis week’s guest is a wonderfully giving lady who, although sharing my time zone, lives and writes in the opposite hemisphere—South Africa.

Hi Marlaine!

Hello Maria, thank you for inviting me to your blog, and doing this interview with me. Greatly appreciated. I am Marlaine Lloyd writing under my fantasy pen name Flamingcrystal. I am the author of Dejavu, Destiny, Fatal Fantasy, Ghost Portal, Geeste Portaal, Die Minnaar and Dejavu & Destiny : Book 1 and book 2 of the Dejavu Series.

Before we talk about your work process, why don’t you tell us a few things about yourself aside of your writing credentials.  

I am a widow and have 2 beautiful daughters. We are currently living in a very small town, Pongola in Kwazulu Natal in South-Africa. I’ve studied Retail Marketing at Unisa many moons ago (pssst whispers, a woman should always be mysterious about her age – I would love to have a magic wand that could keep me in my mid thirties, although I’m past that age already…) I have a day job working in the retail fashion sector, as senior Store Manager. I recently sustained a serious spinal injury at work, resulting in 2 spinal operations within 3 months of each other, but the bright side of this is that it gave me ample time to write and get my books published, in the time that I’ve being at home. If everything goes as planned I would be returning to work by December 28th, 2014. Writing, sketching, cooking, and  chatting on Twitter and Face Book are my most beloved hobbies.

ECOVER DejavuDestinyYou sure know how to make delicious homemade lemon juice out of the lemons that piled on your doorstep! What are you working on right now?

I am currently working on book 3 of the Dejavu Series, but this time the POV will be that of the 16 year old, supernaturally gifted twins that are on a mission to create havoc.

Are you happy with the pace of your work? Do you aim at a specific word count each day?

I aim at 2000 + words a day or at least to write every 1st draft within 70 days, and done that with all my previous books…but with my current WIP it will be much longer than that, as the first two weeks after the spinal operations I’m sleeping way too much…

You’d better listen closely to what your body needs… Plotter, pantser or both?

Pantser mostly…. I don’t have the patience to plot out every single detail of my story. Once started, the story sometimes takes on a life of its own, but I never lose sight of my initial outline and the goals each of my characters need to achieve, to keep the readers on the edges of their seats… and where I want to create ‘peak’ stages in the story.

That’s exactly my M.O.! What’s your worst enemy in getting that first draft finished?

I have to admit, I just love Twitter and Face Book, but it is such a delightful distraction.  

Is there a particular place you find inspiring for writing?

The tree was the inspiration for Ghost Portal
The tree was the inspiration for Ghost Portal

I love to look at the view outside my window or to think about the view on my folks farm, the latter always inspires me to write. (Picture attached – the view at my folks farm.)

Now this image is pinned on my Featured Writers’ Workspace board on Pinterest! Apart from Word and Google, do you use any other writing or research tools and apps?

I find this cover creator website very handy http://www.ebookcover.pro/

How do you intend to celebrate writing “The End” on your draft?

I intend to celebrate with my daughters and their boyfriends at a restaurant that serves the biggest platters of seafood.  

Do you have any marketing tips or favorite promotional sites you’d like to share?

Gary is such a sweetheart, he is always promoting authors on his website at http://look4books.co.uk/bestindieauthor

I also love author alliance

http://www.authoralliance.net/category/promote-your-book

Clive Eaton has a list of websites that authors could use for free book promotions

http://www.cliveeaton.com/freebookpromotions.html

Authors also could tweet their free or bargain book with link & include RT @WordSatSpangalo  

 

Thank you for the awesome tips! Are Mythology, Paranormal, & Contemporary Romance the genres you will stick to or do you see yourself branching out in the future?

Dejavu is my only mythology/romance with 50 Shades of Blushing Pink *just teasing*  honestly it only has 3 really -oehhh aahhh – very romantic scenes. I love mythology and always getting goosebumps while writing about anything supernatural. I’ve recently published my first Young Adult supernatural book and I thoroughly enjoyed every moment writing that…so I think I’m now hooked on YA!  

Fun stuff now: Let’s do a rapid fire round.

  • Flavored sorbet or ice cream? Chocolate mint ice cream.
  • Pizza or sushi? Spare-rib pizza. Whaaaa?! Not only I’ve never had one (and God knows I’ve had all kinds of pizza, but I can’t even picture this! J)
  • Twilight or The Hunger Games? Both but *whistle/howl* Jacob from Twilight is sexy, if I was younger…*sigh*
  • Ryan Gosling or Benedict Cumberbatch? Benedict Cumberbatch.   
  • Trek in the Andes or snorkeling in Tahiti? Snorkeling
  • Ugg boots or red-soled designer stilettos? I love both, but stilettos are dangerous in more ways than one *wink-wink*

Finally, please share with us links where we can find you and your work.

My webpage is http://www.flamingcrystal.com

I am on Twitter @FlamingCrystal1

My Author page is at Amazon Author Central  http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00HMJYX8M

Thank you, Marlaine, and best of luck with your future projects!

Thank you for featuring me here Maria, and best of luck with all your books too! I am looking forward to reading your romance ‘Fate Accompli’, with its Greece setting and Greek gods.

Classically beautiful: Beneath the Scars by Melanie Moreland (Review)

BeneaththeScarsTourBanner1

An ocean retreat in Main where the beauty meets the beast and makes him love her. But where love comes easily, trust seems as elusive as a handful of sand…

This review tour is brought to you by Xpresso Book Tours. Don’t forget to enter the giveaway for a chance to win the following goodies (ends Oct 27):

  • 4 ebooks of Beneath the Scars (INTL)
  • 2 signed Paperbacks of Beneath the Scars (US/Canada only) with book marks
  • 1 package of Into the Storm/Beneath the Scars Paperbacks with bookmarks – both signed (US/Canada only)

A rafflecopter giveaway

Beneath the Scars
by Melanie Moreland
Publication date: October 14th 2014

Beneath

My Review

Megan’s life has turned into a nightmare. Having her boyfriend humiliate her in such a destructively public way—the person she trusted implicitly—makes her flee Boston. Her friend’s ocean house on Cliff’s Edge in Main is just the place for her to regroup and maybe even start writing again. She is certain she will be left in peace what with her only neighbor being a renowned recluse. Soon, she discovers he’s also a misanthrope. So why is she drawn to him so much?

Zachary’s only companion is his art. And his shaggy golden retriever; the only being he touches anymore. Until the stupid girl next door needs his rescuing. So he is forced not only to touch her but to also hold her, feel her against him. And now all these buried needs rush forward.

With the only currency he was used to dealing in—his face—partially destroyed along with his faith in people and their motives, is there a chance for him and Megan to work out? And when her ex’s deceit spins out of control, and the first thing thing that crashes is their fragile trust, will Megan have the strength to give Zachary a second chance?

This novel starts out in a quiet, lulling manner in sync with the soft waves breaking on the shore—the main setting of the story. The soft, sweet, well-rounded writing reminded me of older romances, and having read lots of choppy, vibrant New Adult stories recently, I was worried my interest might wane. But the plot is surprisingly strong. When the main conflict comes about, I was stunned at the ferocity of the situation and left wondering of how this mess will be resolved.

Zachary’s backstory is well presented, making his disposition plausible and his reaction to events more or less predictable. The good kind of predictable. I also appreciated how Melanie Moreland builds up her story gradually; two thirds into the book and the reader still doesn’t have vital info on both the main characters’ past. Another positive aspect was the slow road to the book’s HEA. The way things turned out, a rushed embrace with the ocean’s horizon as a backdrop would have been eye-roll inducing. But this one takes its time, so the beautiful epilogue is worth the wait.

The only thing that slightly got to me was that Megan is too sweet—bordering on naive. She’s an angel-like character; a somewhat old-fashioned romance heroine. Of course, Zachary makes up for any excess sweetness, so things are nicely balanced. Also, while used to crass language in romances, the F-bombs here seemed a bit forced.

If you enjoy classically romantic stories in an idyllic seascape setting with a strong plot Beneath the Scars is just right for you.

Official synopsis

The sound of the ocean, the crash of the waves as they kick up against the sand and rocks—these are the only sounds Megan Greene wants to hear. She wants to leave the rest of the world behind, and find some peace.

The offer of a private house on the beach, set in a small town in Maine, is perfect. Time to think—to be by herself. It’s all she wants. It’s the escape she needs.

Until she stumbles across the painting that seems to echo her own chaotic mindset.

Until she meets the unfriendly artist behind the stormy painting and discovers his secrets.

All Zachary Adams wants is to be left alone. His canvases, and the unending scope of the ocean and sand, are his life. They direct him—fill his hours. Bring him focus.

Until she enters his life.

She dredges up memories of the past—the haunting images he has hidden for years; the fears he has never shared.

A story he keeps buried below the surface.

Can she make him see what he is missing? Can he trust her enough to believe?

Together they embark on a journey where their pasts collide and threaten to tear them apart.

Will their fragile bond hold or wash away with the ebbing tide?

MelanieAuthorPicAUTHOR BIO

Melanie Moreland lives a happy and content life in a quiet area of Ontario with her husband and fur children. Nothing means more to her than her friends and family, and she cherishes every moment spent with them.

Known as the quiet one with the big laugh, Melanie works for the sporting teams of a local university. Her (box) office job, while demanding, is rewarding as she cheers on her team to victory.

While seriously addicted to coffee, and somewhat challenged with all things computer-related and technical, she relishes baking, cooking, and trying new recipes for people to sample. She loves to throw dinner parties and socialize, and also enjoys travelling, here and abroad, but finds coming home is always the best part of any trip.

Melanie delights in writing a good romance story with some bumps along the way, but is a true believer in happily ever after. When her head isn’t buried in a book, it is bent over a keyboard, furiously typing away as her characters dictate their creative storylines, to her even more inspired tales, for all to enjoy.

Author links:
5c7b8-button

Lost and Found (Friday Fictioneers #6)

A picture prompt, a 100-word story that links dozens of awesome writer bloggers! Thank you, Rochelle Wishoff-Fields!

Photo prompt – Copyright: Douglas McIlroy

Nero is gone. His absence is a tangible thing, messing with my insides. It feels like a death of a person—debilitating pain then numbing hollowness. A rusty coin flipping around at will.

I look around frantically. What now? He’s nowhere? Nothing?

Suddenly, I become restless. I rush into the shed and put the box of hodgepodge, on-the-way-out stuff on the working bench. A moment ago they were nothing, too. I will change that.

That I can do.

75 words

______________________________

Only yesterday, I read a heart-wrenching story/tribute to a pet gone by my writer friend Effrosyni Moschoudi (here’s her blog post). I read that after an uplifting visit to another writer friend, Nicholas Rossis, whose own dog stole my heart. I’m not really a dog person, but this week’s story had to be about person’s best friend. (Had to politically rectify the term.) Here are my friends with their beloved pets. Nerina is a living memory, Meli is a sweet physical presence. My story is about creating something from (visibly) nothing.

Effrosyni and Nerina
Nicholas and Meli

For more great flash fiction, click on the linky.

Alex by Sawyer Bennett (Review)

Alex-Sawyer-Bennett

A steamy sports romance, starring a bad-boy NHL star might be just what the doctor ordered for October. This one packs powerful psychological portraits of adults dealing with childhood abuse. Read on for my review and don’t forget to enter the Giveaway for an Alex Crossman/Cold Fury team jersey! This review tour is brought to you by Tasty Book Tours.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Cover

Alex

Cold Fury Hockey # 1
By: Sawyer Bennett
Releasing October 14th, 2014
Loveswept

Amazon

B&N

iTunes

Kobo

Goodreads Link

Goodreads Series Link

My Review

Alex is a machine. He plays hockey like a machine, he beds women like a machine (I used the other word in my Goodreads review) he socializes like a machine–as in not at all. Fans of Cold Fury, his team, love to hate him. He’s the MVP, as in the Most Valuable Prick.

But the team’s management want their star player to work on his social profile. Or else. Alex now has to deal with some social worker on a drug prevention outreach program. Life sucks. But the surprisingly young and beautiful social worker doesn’t, so he decides to show her both spaces he owns: the pitch and the bedroom. He even resorts to showing her his gentleman side: he warns her that he’s going to break her heart. Because that’s all he’s capable of, right?

Sutton Price knows very well what she’s getting herself into. But Alex’s abusive background, bits and pieces of which surface especially during their post-coital bliss, hit very close to home: she’d been there herself, only she chose the path of acceptance and forgiveness, and she wants more than anything to help Alex involve more emotions than anger, hatred and apathy. But when he gets there, fear and insecurity also creep in and mire everything. With his father always devastatingly present in his life, and a career with an expiry date he needs to focus on, how can Alex give Sutton what she needs?

This sports-themed NA romance had some surprising elements. First of all, it offered the male point of view as well. In the case of a damaged, withdrawn hero, especially if he’s in the star (rock or sports) category, it is not often that we get to see his mind at work with extra insight into his childhood; the source of all evil. Usually, his behavioral pattern is explained in the final stages of the plot through dialogue or revelations of a third party. In the case of Alex, however, not only he knew exactly what mindset he was in and what caused it, but we get a front-row seat to vivid scenes of his hair-raising childhood in the hands of a father destroyed by alcohol and his own demons.

The other element I appreciated was the presentation of the two different paths an abused child can follow in life: Sutton shared experiences with Alex, but she embraced her past in an empowering, creative way. But Sutton’s way, although acknowledged by Alex, causes further rift between them, as self-doubt and even envy tipping towards jealousy manage to further distance him from her. These subtle psychological insights made the book stand out from the lot.

The sex scenes are frequent and steamy, but they’re not there just to underline the hero’s prowess; they also help to move the plot forward as that’s where Alex’s psyche is gradually revealed.

Ms Bennett’s writing is efficient, adeptly delving into the characters’ true essence. The only thing that got to me was big chunks of narration revealed in the form of thoughts during an on-going scene, inevitably using past perfect. For example, someone would wake up and start getting ready for the day, thinking about what happened the day before. Quite a number of scenes were presented that way. Other than that, this was a smooth read.

If you enjoy reading sports romances with seriously hot, seriously damaged heroes, but want a deeper portrayal than just of their physical attributes, you should consider picking Alex up—pun intended 🙂

Sawyer BennettAbout the Author

USA Today bestselling author Sawyer Bennett is a snarky Southern woman and reformed trial lawyer who decided to finally start putting on paper all of the stories that were floating in her head. Her husband works for a Fortune 100 company which lets him fly all over the world while she stays at home with their daughter and three big, furry dogs who hog the bed. Sawyer would like to report she doesn’t have many weaknesses but can be bribed with a nominal amount of milk chocolate.

Author Links
Website: http://www.sawyerbennett.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/bennettbooks
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/bennettbooks
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6950682.Sawyer_Bennett

5c7b8-button

I Just Published my Book. Now What?

An unmissable post if you’re unpublished, just about to publish or have just published your first book. Nicholas even gives out an Excel sheet with all Amazon categories and sub-categories—the ones you can’t know because you haven’t uploaded a book yet. Plus great tips on advertising and promoting.

Fun read and extremely useful! Thanks, Nicholas!

Nicholas C. Rossis

From the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series and children's booksFirst of all, congratulations! You’re now a published author – and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

Second, you’d be amazed how often I hear that question in LinkedIn’s author groups. With some 3,000 new books published every day, I have serious doubts that you can just sit back and wait for readers to stumble on your book, or for word of mouth to work its magic. The chances of that happening are probably similar to that of winning the lottery, in which case you don’t even need the long hours and hard work that goes hand-in-hand with a career as an author (if you don’t believe me, you may want to check out this post by Pedro Barrento on Indies Unlimited).

So, what are the next steps after publication? Before I can answer that, I need to ask one question of my own first: is this your first book? You see…

View original post 1,662 more words

Empty Room (Friday Fictioneers #5)

I took part in this weekly challenge four weeks in a row last spring, and I enjoyed the ride a lot! This flash fiction Friday event is both fun and a great writing exercise. A picture prompt, a 100-word story that links dozens of awesome writer bloggers! Thank you, Rochelle Wishoff-Fields!

Photo Prompt – Copyright: Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

________________

Who would have thought?

All it took was a glance at the girl who sat across from me—wild hair held up by an electric blue scrunchie, bold red lips, her stone-washed jeans leaving her midriff bare—and the melody blasted into my mind with such astonishing clarity, I plucked out the folded snack paper bag I’d shoved into my back pocket, snatched the pencil out of the fingers of the Sudoku-solving man sitting beside me and scribbled down the chords.

It had been ten years. Suddenly, I couldn’t wait to call Roland. It was time.

92 words

_____________

The first thing I saw when looking at this week’s picture was the Tears for Fears album cover. I just heard Roland Orzabal’s voice in my head 🙂

For more great flash fiction, click on the linky.