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Saturday, July 26, 2014

Jennie Goutet Shares A Day in Her Life @ALadyInFrance #Memoir #NonFiction #AmReading

If you know that I live in France, you might expect that a day in my life is . . . well . . . if not exotic, then at least interesting. Sometimes it is.
When I go for my semi-annual checkup at the dentist, I exit the train where the Arc de Triomphe is and watch the cars zip by in the roundabout there. I stare down the massive Champs Elysées, teeming with people and shops on both sides of the avenue, before turning on to the slightly smaller avenue that will take me to my destination. The dentist’s office is located behind heavy, wooden doors that lead to a private stone courtyard with a tended garden on either side of the pathway. The waiting room has moulding around the light fixture hanging from the ceiling, and it has tall windows that extend to the ceiling and open from the middle.
And when I go to church in Paris, which is a mixed crowd but with services in French, I find that I am able to translate simultaneously for English-speaking visitors. I mean that as fast as the minister can say the words, I can translate them for the guests so they don’t miss anything. I don’t mean to brag – really, I’m nothing much to look at. But I’m really surprised I can do that!
And when I stop at the local boulangerie/patisserie to pick up pain au chocolat or croissants for my children’s four o’clock snack, that’s pretty remarkable. Of course, I can only inhale the buttery scent. I can’t actually eat it, since I’m gluten intolerant. (Pity). But even the magnificent creations – the opéras, millefeuilles, the éclaires – they are a feast for the eyes every time I go.
But those are the exceptional moments. On any given day, I wake up as late as I can get away with, and feed my kids something quick and easy for breakfast before my husband brings them to the bus station. Then I walk my dog on the untended path that borders the river Seine in the suburbs. Sometimes he rolls in poop and I have to try and choke back my vomit until I can get him home and wash him. After that, I head to the private bilingual school in a nearby town where I tutor high school students in English. (I have to read Medea or War Poems or Gabriel Garcia Marquez to keep up with their program).
There isn’t much time in between tutoring and picking the kids up from school, so sometimes I write or blog, and sometimes I nap. (shh). Rarely am I inspired to clean my floors. When I pick the kids up from school, I drive so we don’t have to carry the backpacks home, and I get there early so I can chat with my friends. When it’s warm and sunny, and there is the sound of children laughing and playing everywhere, the future looks bright.
If I don’t have an English class in the home to teach after school, or if I don’t have to bring one of my kids to an activity, I might take the dog for another walk. Or I might start dinner – roast chicken, rice and ratatouille is pretty standard. I encourage the kids to do their homework and practice their instruments. I try to get them to play outside if it’s nice, and fight against the losing battle of the siren’s call of electronics. When did people stop liking to read?
We eat late – around seven or so. If I’m lucky and my husband is home instead of traveling, he’ll put the kids to bed while I tidy up the dishes. And then we watch an American television series and read before going to sleep. You see? An ordinary life. But so happily mine.

At seventeen, Jennie Goutet has a dream that she will one day marry a French man and sets off to Avignon in search of him. Though her dream eludes her, she lives boldly—teaching in Asia, studying in Paris, working and traveling for an advertising firm in New York.
When God calls her, she answers reluctantly, and must first come to grips with depression, crippling loss, and addiction before being restored. Serendipity takes her by the hand as she marries her French husband, works with him in a humanitarian effort in East Africa, before settling down in France and building a family.
Told with honesty and strength, A Lady in France is a brave, heart- stopping story of love, grief, faith, depression, sunshine piercing the gray clouds—and hope that stays in your heart long after it’s finished.
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Memoir
Rating – PG-13
More details about the author
Connect with Jennie Goutet on Facebook & Twitter

Friday, July 25, 2014

@LeskoLori Takes Us Deep Into the Mind of an #Author - #Thriller #AmReading

Inside the Mind of the Author
Why do writers put themselves through such torture? We get an idea for a book and we’re off to the races with it! This is it! I know this one will be my breakthrough novel. I’ll win every award there is to win. Movie producers will call me endlessly to option my book and make it into a screenplay. Move over J. K. Rowling, there’s a new writer in town.
Yeah, right. The truth is, unless you’re a genius or have been writing since you were a child, that’s not going to happen. It takes a lot of time and effort to transform an idea into a novel. The idea is only the beginning of the journey.
“For a commercial airliner to even consider hiring you as a pilot, you’ll need to have logged approximately 3,000 hours of total flight time, including at least 1,500 hours in a multi-jet engine, and at least 1,000 hours as pilot in command of a turbine powered aircraft. These are just the minimum requirements, and anyone that’s ever been up in a single engine plane will tell you that an hour in the air takes much more effort (and money) than an hour at the keyboard.” ~ The Write Practice
I heard recently that writing anything, short-story, screenplay or novel can be compared to the letter U This made sense to me. You start at the top of the U with your incredible idea. Guns are blazing and your first couples of chapters fly off the keyboard. Yeah, this one will be great! Then, you hit the bottom of the U and you realize you should have done more planning.
The bottom of the U is where most beginning writers quit. I did in my novel COPYRIGHT. I didn’t quit because I ran out of steam, although that happened to me as well, no I simply wrote myself into a corner and found a flaw staring right at me. Mocking me, saying stupid woman, when are you ever going to learn? You can’t be a writer. You have neither the skills nor the time to follow this through. Give it all up! So I did. I told everyone I quit and wished them well. My Facebook lit up like crazy!!!!  Everyone demanded me to continue. Take a walk, take a break. They told me I was smart enough to find a way through.
Now, I’m on the other side of the U. I can see the light of the end of the tunnel. I know how it will end, and I owe it all to my friends and fellow writers. Here is my favorite quote from “A novel usually takes me about two years. A year to research and plan and dream. Then a year to write.” ~ Rose Tremain.  If that’s true, I have a bit more time and so do you! Keep calling out for your Muse and she will appear. If you’re really desperate and ready to quit, give me a shout and I’ll tell my Muse to drop in on you till you’re feeling better.

The Right Way and the Wrong Way to Promote Your Book Online
I’m not an expert in marketing or promoting. However, I’ve been on social media, especially Twitter for 2 years now. I’ve written and published a novella, a screenplay and soon will be promoting my first novel Copyright. So, yes, I have been planning certain things when the novel comes out. And I definitely have learned from watching other people, especially authors-so here it goes.
Should do: Engage, engage, engage, oh and then engage. Put yourself out there, on Google +, Facebook, Pinterest and yes, Twitter. You could be writing the world’s best novel, but if no one has ever heard of you, then how will your book sell? This is especially important when you are at the beginning-just starting to write your novel. Because, you can constantly tell people your progress. Ask them their advice in regards to the story (my friend in Barcelona asked how her novel should begin, with a party or a funeral), or have them help chose the book cover, brilliant! What if your novel is done and you’re just starting out? First, make sure you have a link to your book that is easily accessible, on your Twitter page, Google +, Facebook and Pinterest. People don’t want to have to go searching for your book, trust me. Use or
Should Not Do: Blast people on a daily basis about your book. “They love that!” she said, with tongue firmly planted in cheek. People have to get to know you. You need to get to know yourself. What is your platform? How do you share this with people? Well, for me, I started blogging. People can subscribe and receive an email of the post. This helped me in 2 areas, finding my own voice and building an audience. I have actual fans now-me. It’s an astonishing fact. I still shake my head at this notion. I get goose bumps whenever someone subscribes to read what I have to say. It took a while, but with the help of @MondayBlogs on Twitter.
Numbers don’t lie. I started blogging in July with @MondayBlogs, right around the time I started writing my novel. I went from 1365 hits (on the right) in May,  to 21488, as of this month. That was 147% increase! Plus you can add your blog feed to your Author Page on Amazon and Goodreads. You have an Author Page on Goodreads, right?
Should do: Goodreads. Get your butt on there and interact. How? Read and review books. Gather friends from Twitter or Facebook, I do this daily. This is a gold mine for Authors and most of them don’t take advantage of what it has to offer. I could write a whole blog on Goodreads itself. I have over 30 people who clicked on “Want to Read” my novel COPYRIGHT before it has even published. So I emailed a few of them and gave them the PDF for free. The result, I now have 5 reviews already smiling back at me. People like to see reviews when deciding on whether or not to buy a book. So plan a giveaway party for your novel. Freebees.
Should Not Do: Don’t suggest or bother your friends endlessly. Saying, “Hey buy my new book…you’ll just love it.” Goodreads frowns on that and could get you kicked off the program. Good Luck!

Why Blogging is Important?
I’ll be the first one to admit it. I never wanted to blog when I started writing. Neither did I like to read other people’s blogs. I thought it was a complete waste of my time, time I could use to write or read a book instead. Or, maybe see what all the fuss was about on Facebook’s Candy Crush…don’t even get me started. I haven’t tried it yet. Then, I realized as I mentioned several weeks ago on learning how to use twitter to your advantage Part I and Part II and marketing yourself. How could I not blog if I wanted to get noticed?
It’s simple, you can talk about anything. If you’re a writer, you should be able to write about anything. So I began to blog seriously around that very fact. It doesn’t have to be long. It just has to let people get to know you. Since I’ve begun seriously blogging, the hits on my web site have gone from nothing to over 200 a week! I use #MondayBlogs and @MondayBlogs when I post on Mondays. The only rule if you do that is, you have to RT other people’s MondayBlogs. It’s a great way to start the week off and find new followers.
Secondly, I now have to admit, I like doing them. It gives me a feeling of accomplishment to publish something every week. And when other people on twitter or Facebook leave comments saying they enjoyed what I wrote or it helped them, that makes my day! I’ve started posting them on Google + and now when someone types in my name on google, you get to see my blog posts. Hence, more exposure. For a writer, that’s a goldmine! You can also post them on Goodreads   and your Author page on
Finally, writing a blog makes me feel like I’m part of a community. It helps me think and focus on writing as a structured piece of work. What I mean, is when I blog, I’m not working on my novel COPYRIGH . But, you know what happens when you put something down for a moment and work on something else, more ideas come forward. That happens for me anyway.
So blog away!!! Take the plunge. Remember also to re-post your blogs on twitter and Facebook many many many times! WHY? Because not everyone gets to see your post the week you post it. And, of course you’re going to get new followers every week (Aren’t you?) They haven’t read your previous post either. So re-tweet them!  Now, on to Candy Crush…
Why Writing is a Form of Personal Therapy
About a week ago, I shared on twitter my family’s reaction when I told them my novel is almost finished. Family members said, “Good, now you can finally get back to your regular day job.” Needless to say, that crushed me to hear that. I don’t know why I mentioned it, but I’m glad I did. My twitter feed went nuts. Apparently, this hit a nerve. I was inundated with comments such as, “been there,” or “that sucks, they just don’t understand,” and “I love your writing and tweets.”
They all made me cry (yes, I’m a big baby and overly sensitive), but the feeling I got after reading what people said, validated what I’ve been doing. I could understand my family’s reaction because they think I only have this expensive ‘hobby’ during my spare time. Also, I work with my father on his web site, publishing reports, bookkeeping, customer service stuff, so he needs me focused on the business. It was not the time to be careless and spend money on editors and proofreaders. Point taken.
What really hurts though, is they’ve never even read anything I wrote, not a single blog, or my novella Our Daughters. And I can say with a certain amount of confidence, they will not read Copyright. I’ve accepted that. I realized from my twitter followers that I’m not the only one in this situation.
My editor told me to prepare the Acknowledgement and Dedication sections in my novel Copyright for publishing. Normally, people write thanking all of their family members for support and encouragement. But, I won’t be doing that because it would be a lie. Instead, I wish to thank everyone on Twitter and Facebook. You were the ones who supported me, nudged me to keep going and even as thrilled as I was when I finished writing the book. So, thank you for that, I am truly grateful to all of you.
How to write without giving too much away
One of the main tricks to writing is to know when to reveal things and when to keep them hidden. Otherwise, all books would be about two pages. Masking and unveiling is an art form in of itself. A character’s background can be hidden while the action of the story takes place or vice versa. On the other hand, there may be certain little clues for you to follow left by the author, but you have to be paying attention to the foreshadowing. It’s a literary device by which an author explains certain plot developments that may come later in the story. Also, you must not forget we writers like to lead you off course as well. All of the above is what I attempted to do with my novel COPYRIGHT. Whether I was successful or not, will be determined in April.
Character: I never like knowing everything about a character right away in a book. I want to see the way they move into the story first. I want them to slowly reveal themselves as the story progresses. For me personally, I don’t even need to like the character. I’ve never stopped reading a book because I didn’t like the character, case in point Gone Girl. Many people didn’t like it because the characters were not likable, or they didn’t like the ending of the story. That wasn’t the case for me. I loved how blatantly unlovable they were. Why? Because, it went right along with the story.
Story: The job of a writer is to build tension. How? We do this by keeping things hidden to the very last excruciating moment. Think of it as a ‘reader’s need to know basis’. When you’re about to reveal something important, consider does the reader really need to know it right then and there? Or can they wait until later? If the answer is No, they don’t need to know it, then hold off.  Remember the TV show LOST?  They were geniuses at doing this, almost to the point of driving their fans nuts. Waiting, anticipating, trying to guess what’s going to happen next-that’s my favorite part of reading. It doesn’t matter the genre. Always leave a little misty fog until the very end, your readers will thank you for it.

What should aspiring indie writers know?
Indie writers have arrived and they are scarring the crap out of traditional publishers because try as they might, they can’t deny indie writers are taking a piece of the cake. And they weren’t even invited to the party. I’ve only been doing this for 2 years and it’s grown immensely during this time. So much so, that there appears to be another division occurring among the indie community itself. We’ve split into two parties. One: writers who know how to write great books and market themselves. Two: writers who know how to write good books and have not a clue on how to market themselves.
Many people are benefiting off of each party, the readers, the writers and the ones who pull the novel all together. The ones who are taking full advantage of this blooming industry, maybe just a little more advantage then they should. Yes, I’m talking about editors and proofreaders. I only bring this up to prepare you in case you are thinking all the hard work is done once you have your manuscript in hand. Unfortunately, that’s just step 1 of 5. And the last four steps can be very expensive and time consuming.
Editors. Which kind? Most editors charge by word count or page count instead of by hour. This is a good thing for authors, because it gives them more upfront pricing and fewer surprises if it takes the editor twice as long to complete. Also, there are three types of editors and their fees are different because skill set, time, and dedicated focus/complexity is much different for each level. Keep in mind, the price of an editor can also depend on level of education, skill set, experience level, or geographic location. Don’t always snag the cheapest just to save a buck. Sometimes another editor who may charge just a tad more may be worth the money where the other could be like throwing it out the window.
1) Content Editor (also called structural editor or developmental editor) – this is someone who looks at the story holistically and makes large scale (think macro level) changes to plot, content flow, character development, plot consistency/holes, believability, etc. This is the first editor you would go to, though most Indie authors can’t afford both this type of editing and copy editing, so they forego this and rely solely on beta readers or critique groups of other writers to give them this type of feedback. If you can afford one, these can be worth their weight in gold, because they will point things out that you never even thought of. But, they run anywhere from $1200-$1800 and up.
2) Copy editor – this is the person who goes through and does a deep LINE editing job. This is to look for grammar, punctuation, tense, character consistencies (ie, she has blond hair in chapter one and mysteriously has red in chapter four), readability/flow, style, etc. Expect to pay anywhere from between $350-$1,000. (All depends on book length and level needed)
Below are some ways to find editors of any price range. Most editors will agree to edit (for free) from a page or two, to a certain number of words, to a full first chapter. This lets the editor gauge the level of editing they might need to do on the book, and also gives you a chance to see if you think the editor is a good fit FOR YOU and your book. Because it works both ways and you want to make sure it’s a good fit before hiring someone on. After all, if they are missing basic stuff, it’s better to know now.
Finding editors is a tricky business. I suggest word of mouth. Look towards writers you like and see who they recommend. Vet them! Read novels they’ve edited for other people. Make sure they don’t have too much on their own plate, especially editors who are writing a novel as well as editing yours at the same time. This is a very expensive business guys and gals, so expect them to be committed to your baby and have a timeline set as to when it will be done.

Amber Tyler is living every author’s dream: her books are all best sellers and she writes full time. She has worked hard and is well-accomplished in her career, and she has the support and love of her beautiful children and girlfriend. 

But the dream soon turns into a terrible nightmare when her latest manuscript is stolen. She decides to fight for what is rightfully hers, only to find that the harder she tries, the easier it all slips through her fingers, putting her career, her family, and her life in jeopardy.
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Thriller
Rating – PG-13
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Connect with Lori Lesko on Facebook & Twitter

Tracy Weber on Writing & #Yoga @TracyWeberTypes #CozyMystery #AmWriting

Several things inspired me to become a writer: a lifelong love of cozy mysteries; a passion for yoga; an almost obsessive love of dogs; a next door neighbor who is also a prolific author. I can even narrow down the specific moment I decided to write the Downward Dog Mystery series. It involved a rainy night, a particularly challenging workout, and a passage from Susan Conant’s book Black Ribbon.
But in the end, the inspiration for Murder Strikes a Pose came from my German shepherd dog Tasha, a homeless woman, and her Rottweiler mix—all of whom taught me the true meaning of love.

Tasha has some of the same issues as Bella, the German shepherd in Murder Strikes a Pose. She’s huge, not always perfectly well behaved, and she has a variety of expensive health conditions. In spite of her problems, I adore her to a fault. Living with Tasha has changed my life, in every way for the better. She has made me more patient, more loving, and more connected with my community. At the same time, she gets me into some pretty “interesting” situations. My yoga students have been putting up with my “Tasha stories” for years now, so writing them down seemed like a no-brainer.
Most people don’t understand my connection with Tasha, but I befriended a homeless woman who did. She used to hang out near the entrance to my favorite grocery store, and she always had a large Rottweiler mix in a crate next to her. The dog was aggressive to other dogs and frightening to the store’s customers. The crate—which my friend stored behind the building at night—allowed her to keep the dog nearby, in spite of its reactivity.
I never knew this woman’s name, but she adored her dog to a fault and went to great lengths to keep it safe, in spite of her own financial issues and living conditions. She was as dedicated to her pet as most people are to their children.
I started to wonder: What if her dog had Tasha’s illnesses as well as its behavior issues? What would she do? Whatcould she do? She could never have afforded Tasha’s medication. That’s when the story of George and Bella formed in my head. I want to be clear: George is not that woman—not even close. But like her, he knows the joy and heartache that come from deep love for an imperfect creature. And like her, he was willing to make great sacrifices for his dog.
Unfortunately, she moved out of my neighborhood long before I wrote the first draft of Murder Strikes a Pose, so I will never know what she would have thought of being my muse. I hope she would have felt complimented.
Tracy Weber is a certified yoga teacher and the founder of Whole Life Yoga, an award-winning yoga studio in Seattle, where she current­ly lives with her husband, Marc, and German shepherd, Tasha. She loves sharing her passion for yoga and animals in any form possible. When she’s not writing, she spends her time teaching yoga, walking Tasha, and sip­ping Blackthorn cider at her favorite ale house. Tracy loves connecting with fans.  Find her on her author web page or on Facebook.

When George and Bella—a homeless alcoholic and his intimidating German shepherd—disturb the peace outside her studio, yoga instructor Kate Davidson’s Zen-like calm is stretched to the breaking point. Kate tries to get rid of them before Bella scares the yoga pants off her students. Instead, the three form an unlikely friendship.
One night Kate finds George’s body behind her studio. The police dismiss his murder as a drug-related street crime, but she knows George wasn’t a dealer. So Kate starts digging into George’s past while also looking for someone to adopt Bella before she’s sent to the big dog park in the sky. With the murderer nipping at her heels, Kate has to work fast or her next Corpse Pose may be for real.
Cozy fans will eagerly await the next installment.” —PUBLISHERS WEEKLY
Murder Strikes a Pose, by Tracy Weber, is a delightful debut novel featuring Kate Davidson, a caring but feist yoga teacher . . . Namaste to Weber and her fresh, new heroine!” PENNY WARNER,AUTHOR OF HOW TO DINE ON KILLER WINE
“[T]his charming debut mystery . . . pieces together a skillful collage of mystery, yoga, and plenty of dog stories against the unique backdrop of Seattle characters and neighborhoods. The delightful start of a promising new series. I couldn’t put it down!” WAVERLY FITZGERALD, AUTHOR OF DIAL C FOR CHIHUAHUA
“Three woofs for Tracy Weber’s first Downward Dog Mystery, Murder STrikes a Pose. Great characters, keep-you-guessing plot, plenty of laughs, and dogswhat more could we want? Ah, yesthe next book!” SHEILA WEBSTER BONEHAM, AUTHOR OF DROP DEAD ON RECALL
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Cozy Mystery
Rating – PG
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Connect with Tracy Weber on Facebook & Twitter

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Claudette Melanson Shares RISING TIDE’s Playlist #Vampire #Romance #NowListening

For every writer, there’s a unique recipe for inspiration.  The right conditions come together to somehow feed the story in the mind.  Some authors dream scenes while sleeping, others glean ideas from movies they’ve watched or books they’ve read.  For many, one of the biggest sources of inspiration comes from music.  All these elements have come into play for my own writing, but music has had the biggest influence on the ideas flowing onto my laptop screen.
There are many authors who share novel playlists publicly.  Stephenie Meyer includes her playlists for the Twilight novels right on her web site.  I can remember reading Melissa Marr’s Wicked Lovely and being surprised to see her novel’s playlist printed right in the back of the book, amazed to discover I wasn’t the only one to build these! even has a collection of novel playlists which allow you click on the list and play the all the songs included.
I’ve read blog posts by authors who use playlists, and many have a list of songs they place on shuffle and listen to while writing.  Some even suggest listening to this list when not writing, to start the flow of future ideas.  I’m all for listening to a complete list during times don’t have my work in front of me.  This exercise takes the mind back to the creative space, and who knows what may emerge, even when not ‘officially‘ writing.  But, when I sit down with the sole intent of working on one of my novels, I practice a method my husband thinks is a little crazy.
Each of my chapters has its own song, on rare occasions, more than one.  It’s a must I have a song in place to set the mood for the action in the scene I’m writing.  And…I listen to that song over and over, for the whole duration that chapter or scene is being written.  I just can’t listen to anything else; it breaks the mood for me.  When the scene shifts, sometimes within a chapter, it’s time for a new song.  If I don’t change the tune to fit the text, it can kill the flow of ideas for me, the song so completely becomes a part of the world I step into and try to recreate on my screen.
Playlists not only help me create stories, but the playlists I’ve discovered by other authors have turned me on to a wealth of great new songs and artists.  Before I read the Twilight playlist, I’d never heard of the band Muse.  Now I certainly can’t imagine my life without them!  Looking for the perfect chapter song is another way I’ve discovered some great new music.  Sometimes I don’t have a song in my collection that fits the next scene, so I go hunting.  One method I use to find that perfect song has been to Google the word lyrics, along with a phrase that describes the emotional feel of the chapter or section.  One of my typical searches may be something like:  “lyrics nightmare world” or “lyrics heart on fire.”  I’ve found a lot of fine music this way, and discovered some of my other favorite bands like Anberlin and The Spill Canvas.
Now, without further ado, I’ll share my, personal playlist for my novel, Rising Tide:  Dark Innocence:

Playlist for Rising Tide:  Dark Innocence:
Chapter 1 – “Born Like This” by Three Days Grace
Chapter 2 – “Popular” by The Veronicas & “One of a Kind” by Placebo”
Chapter 3 – “Be My Escape” by Reliant K
Chapter 4 – “Saved” by The Spill Canvas
Chapter 5 – “Broken” by Seether & Amy Lee & “Trouble” by Coldplay
Chapter 6 – “You Make Me Smile” by Blue October
Chapter 7 – “Ordinary Day” by Vanessa Carlton
Chapter 8 – “Vampire” by Antsy Pantsy & “Learn You Inside Out” by Lighthouse
Chapter 9 – “Losing You” by Dead by April & “Lies” by Evanescence
Chapter 10 – “That Song” by Big Wreck & “Bleed (I Must be Dreaming)” by Evanescence
Chapter 11 – “Conspiracy” by Paramore
Chapter 12 – “Fever Dreams” by Dashboard Confessional & “Life on Earth” by Band of Horses & “Almost Lover” by A Fine Frenzy
Chapter 13 – “One Year Six Months” by Yellowcard
Chapter 14 – “Lovesick Mistake” by Erin McCarley
Chapter 15 – “Bleeding Heart” by Acceptance
Chapter 16 – “Hurt Me” by Aiden
Chapter 17 – “All I Ever Wanted” by Adrian Lux

Rising Tide will sink it’s teeth into you, keeping you awake into the wee hours of the night
Maura’s life just can’t get any worse…or can it?
Isolated and sheltered by her lonely mother, Maura’s never been the best at making friends. Unusually pale with a disease-like aversion to the sun, she seems to drive her classmates away, but why?
Even her own father deserted her, and her mother, before Maura was born. Bizarre physical changes her mother seems hell bent on ignoring, drive Maura to fear for her own life. And her luck just seems to get worse.
Life is about to become even more bewildering when her mother’s abrupt…and unexplained…decision to move a country away sets off a chain of events that will change Maura forever. A cruel prank turned deadly, the discovery of love and friendship….and its loss, as well as a web of her own mother’s lies, become obstacles in Maura’s desperate search for a truth she was never prepared to uncover.
Featured on one of the most popular health blogs on the internet as a giveaway!
Be sure to check out the blog on Maria Mind Body Health to win a free copy today! Go to and check out the blog Chicken “Wild Rice” Soup for your chance to win!
Featured on
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Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – YA Paranormal Romance
Rating – PG
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Connect with Claudette Melanson on Facebook & Twitter

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

10 Things You Didn’t Know About Being An #Author by @michelleargyle #SelfPub #WriteTip

10 Things You Didn’t Know About Becoming a Published Author
I remember back in the 90’s when I first had the dream of becoming a published author, when email didn’t really exist in publishing. You still sent in your queries to agents on printed paper with an SASE (self addressed stamped envelope), and you waited for the answers at the mailbox. It was also the golden age of believing published authors all lived in posh New York apartments or big, woodsy houses by placid mountain lakes, clacking away on their electric typewriters, surrounded by piles of fan mail and cash. Things were never like that for most authors, and I have a feeling they never really were.
Here’s a few more things I wish I’d known back when I was dreaming up that big dream of published authorhood.
  1. Most authors do more than just write to earn money. Really, they do. I think even if I made enough money off my writing to make a living, I’d still want to do other things to earn some cash. Why? Experience. One day I’m going to get a job as a waitress just because I want to know what that kind of job is like.
  1. Most published authors I know spend more time marketing, researching, brainstorming, planning, and attending writerly events than actually sitting their butt down in a chair to write. The actual writing part of writing takes less time than you might think. But all of those other things usually have to happen so that the actual writing can take place. It seems upside down, but I see it all the time.
  1. Becoming a published author doesn’t have to be hard. Nearly anyone can publish his or her own work and claim that published author status. But producing actual quality work? Consistently? That’s hard.
  1. The first book is just the beginning. I’ve seen many authors make the mistake of thinking that once they’ve got their foot in the door with one published book that the rest of their career is made. Guess again. It’s all uphill, baby.
  1. The busier you are, the more you’re going to get done. It’s true. I swear it’s the busiest authors I know who produce the most work. I don’t know how or why, but it seems that authors can piddle away a lot of time if they’ve got it, but if you’ve got deadlines and a tight schedule, there’s definitely more of a push to get things done and just get those words written.
  1. Writing it not a solitary event. I think anyone who claims to write in a vacuum is crazy, but maybe that’s just me. My writing is constantly shifted and shaped by other people coming and going in my life, by other people whom I choose to share my work, by fans who tell me what they love and dislike, by life in general. Living and interacting produces the best writing.
  1. Not every book is going to be “better” than the last. Authors, at least the good ones in my opinion, keep experimenting. Sometimes that means a new book that comes out might not match the taste or expectations of the author’s fans. It makes me sad when people “lose faith” in an author because of this, but to me it shows that the author is branching out, learning, and growing, and hopefully fans will try to expand their own horizons because of it.
  1. Being published does not mean you’re in a competition. I think it’s easy for published authors to fall into this trap. Who is making more sales? Getting the bigger deals? More marketing? This is a road that leads nowhere but misery. As a friend of mine always says – keep your eyes on your own paper.
  1. You will never, ever please 100% of readers. Ever. It’s impossible. It’s so important to remember that a reader’s experience is literally 90% of what they are bringing to the table. An author has no control over that. All the author can do is write the story from his or her own heart and find the courage to put it out there. Then step away.
10.     Publishing success will never make you permanently happy. What makes you happy is when you finish the book and find pride in the journey. Any publishing success an author finds is temporary. Pride and joy in the actual writing process? That lasts.

“Beautiful prose, interesting characters, and sizzling romance make this book simply unforgettable. I adored it.” – Kasie West, author of The Distance Between Us
“Avery may have a bad memory, but I will never forget this book.” – Natalie Whipple, author of House of Ivy & Sorrow
“Achingly sweet and beautiful, If I Forget You stole my romantic reader heart.” – Cassie Mae, bestselling author of Switched
Avery Hollister is a little more than absentminded. She has trouble remembering faces, names, and dates without her piles of lists and Post-it notes. When she heads off to college it takes her a week to realize the guy she’s crushing on is, in fact, three different guys. With a faulty memory and three men who have no idea she’s mixed them up, Avery doesn’t know how to fix the mess she’s made. But she knows she has to try, even if it means losing a love not even she could forget.
**If I Forget You is considered clean New Adult/Young Adult fiction appropriate for adults and young adults. It contains adult themes and issues.**
Buy Now @ Amazon & Smashwords
Genre – Contemporary New Adult Romance
Rating – PG-13
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Thursday, July 3, 2014

Message of the Pendant by Thomas Thorpe #Historical #Mystery #AmReading

At 9:23 A.M., a scream echoed down the hallway. Julia, the upstairs maid, ran to the stairway, breathlessly imploring guests below.”Come quick! I think she’s dead!”
William reached the landing a half step ahead of Sir Winthrop. The two raced up stairs, reaching Lady Carlisle’s doorway behind several other responders. By the time Elizabeth arrived, the two men bent over a motionless figure on Lady Carlisle’s bed.
As she approached, she could see the victim still dressed in a party gown, now heavily stained with blood.
Elizabeth gasped.”What has happened to Lady Carlisle?”
“It is not my Aunt, Elizabeth. It is Louisa Hurst with a serving knife in her back,” William answered.
At that moment, Madeline entered the room. The tall, dark-haired woman pushed by Elizabeth and stepped next to William. Her face turned ashen and she fainted at the sight of her sister. Sir Winthrop lifted her to a nearby chair and called for water. Charles arrived looking horrified as he surveyed the scene. He reached over to clutch Madeline and helped her drink.
A crowd of onlookers had gathered in the doorway. Someone requested to wake Arthur, still asleep in another room. A servant was dispatched to fetch Doctor Gracepool and the constable of Langdon, some twenty miles away. As the group of guests milled about the bedroom, Elizabeth’s eye caught a reflection near the foot of the bed. Reaching down, she discovered a small pendant the size of her thumb carved with a fleur de lis emblem. Turning it over, she gasped at the inscription on the back.
Colombe du Paix. Bonaparte. 

William Darmon and wife Elizabeth were powerful figures who in 1818 set society’s pace from expansive grounds known as Mayfair Hall. When a family member is murdered, a mysterious pendant is found containing a long lost request by Napoleon Bonaparte for an American mission to burn down Parliament buildings. The couple sets out on an action filled pursuit of the killer. While interviewing Henry Clay in post-war Maryland about the failed mission, they uncover evidence of a conspiracy to free the Emperor from exile. The Darmons infiltrate the cadre, but a shipwreck off the coast of Scotland, a firestorm at the Darmon’s Manor and a harrowing assault on the Island of St. Helena loom before the mystery can be unraveled.
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Mystery, Historical, Thriller
Rating – PG
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Wednesday, July 2, 2014

David Graham on Biographies for Characters @DavidANGraham #Thriller #WriteTip #AmReading

The easiest way I’d recommended to make your characters believable is to draw on traits of people you know when fleshing them out.
Obviously, the most important thing is that your character be interesting to a reader. That usually means something dramatic or unique which will draw the reader in whether it’s a formative event, a character trait or something else. If the reader can’t relate to the character, though, this ‘hook’ no matter how compelling stands much less of a chance of working.
The two main characters in Incitement, Diane Mesi, the DEA agent trying to figure out what’s behind the conflict, and Michael Larsen, the mercenary fuelling the conflict, are examples of characters with exceptional abilities but commonplace, identifiable vulnerabilities. It was these vulnerabilities that I could draw on from the experience of people I had known over the years.
Diane Mesi doesn’t have a typical background in law enforcement, she joined the DEA after a completing a PhD in Economics and working a couple of years in the financial sector. Due to her background and natural characteristics, she looks at things differently than her colleagues and sees patterns that escape them. This results in her making investigative jumps during Incitement that are simply beyond others. Her stamina and doggedness are also exceptional; in the face of innumerable obstacles although she does sometimes doubt herself, she keeps going.
What makes Mesi identifiable for the reader is her isolation professionally and lack of fulfilment personally. Having changed careers at a time when other people have established their life, she doesn’t quite fit in with her former colleagues or her law enforcement co-workers. This makes it harder for her to rally support for her suspicions about the true nature of the conflict. Freshly appointed as the lead on a newly formed taskforce she also has to contend with resentment from people who think someone with more seniority and field experience should have gotten her job. Her difficulty is exacerbated by having no one to confide in outside the job. Divorced a number of years and having lost contact with her former work colleagues and college friends, she leads a quite solitary existence.
Over the years I’ve worked with women who operated in technical environments. Despite their qualifications and accomplishments, some of them failed to attain positions they deserved or had to work harder than should have been the case. Often they found themselves on the outside of various cliques. I felt that a woman with a financial and economic analysis background who’d gone on to work in law enforcement might face similar challenges. Similarly, I’ve known people who changed either countries or careers at a point in their life, usually post-20’s, when it was much harder to form new circles of friends and meaningful connections.
Michael Larsen is a ruthless killer with almost unique competencies which enable him to carry out the work he’s been contracted for. He’s also someone who has lost his way in life. Once a proud member of an elite unit of the Danish Special forces called the Jaegerkorpset, the missions he conducted on behalf of his country gradually changed him until eventually he resigned to become a gun-for-hire. A spiral ensued where he took contracts which were harder and harder to reconcile with who he once was. At the start of Incitement he’s taken on the contract to destroy the cartels, not because he believes he can achieve redemption but in the hope that it may redress some of the balance.
I’ve met quite a few people who can’t quite understand how they arrived at the point in their life which they find themselves and struggle to find a sense of purpose.  Indeed, I suspect it’s probably a condition we’ve all experienced at some point however briefly. Oftentimes these people persist with a lifestyle or behavior which is damaging to them well beyond the point they were aware of the harm it was doing. Finally, when they did try to re-orient their life, the first few attempts were often misguided or not fully thought through.
I think that it’s important these real-life frailties don’t contradict the other elements of your characters and, if at all possible, complement them. With Mesi, for example, the isolation professionally makes her more likely to pursue leads others wouldn’t consider rather than if she were part of a well-defined structure and being closely monitored. Additionally, the closer she was to her colleagues the more likely it would be that she would conform or adopt a ‘groupthink’ perspective. Her life outside work has less support but also less distractions and she can immerse herself much more easily that might be the case with lots of other commitments personally.
A final recommendation I’d make would be to take some time to write a biography of your main characters up to the point where the book begins. I did this with Incitement and it helped immensely. This bio could be as short as a paragraph or a number of pages. The better you understand what has formed them, the easier it will be to be consistent in how you portray their actions and dialogue.

A brutal conflict unleashed.
Who stands to win?
A bloody massacre at a Mexican heroin refinery; a Miami-bound freight ship hijacked for its cargo of illegal narcotics; the ruthless assassination of a Kosovar drug lord – a war has erupted between two drugs superpowers.
As DEA Agent Diane Mesi investigates she becomes convinced that the conflict is being orchestrated by an unknown third party. But she is marginalised by her colleagues and her judgement is challenged at every turn. Only if she can expose the truth will she be able to stop the violence and save her career.
Michael Larsen is an ex-soldier and hired mercenary who has been contracted to fuel the conflict at every opportunity until it destroys both sides. As he battles his own demons, he hopes that by directing the violence he will attain some measure of redemption.
But neither Mesi nor Larsen know the full extent of the forces at play or of what is truly at stake. As they each pursue their own resolution, the violence escalates and they become increasingly vulnerable to the dangers that stalk them.
Incitement won the John Murray Show / RTE Guide / Kazoo Competition from over 500 entries.
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Thriller
Rating – R
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Richard Parry on Good vs. Evil & Character Motivation @TactualRain #WriteTip #Fantasy

You ever seen one of those villains in a movie that cackles with glee, rubbing their hands together at the downfall of the heroes?  Just being a bit of a dick?
The thing is, people are dicks all the time, but only super rarely do they wake up in the morning and say to themselves, “You know, it’s Tuesday: I’m going to be a dick today.”
If we start from there, it gives us our first hint on how to make our characters more real.  Start with them being human, and having human drivers.  People are “evil” or “good” because they want to achieve a set of outcomes that we perceive — through our own lens of morality — to be good or evil. Hitler?  Giant dick, right, I know.  But he didn’t wake up wanting to be a dick: he wanted to change the world and put Germany at the top.
When I write my stories, I start with the people.  I need a motley cast of people, good and evil and the run in between, to tell the story with.  They’re the stars of the show, and they need to have motivations for getting up in the morning.  Those motivations need to be real.
I try and start with my characters wanting to do the right thing, whatever that might mean for them.  In Night’s Favour, Val’s idea of the right thing is no more or less advanced than putting one foot in front of the other, going through the motions.  He drinks himself to sleep, lives on cheap take-out, and has just one friend.  Elsie’s view of the right thing is to save her daughter’s life, and in the process change the world with a revolutionary new medicine.  Which one of them is good, and which one is evil?
The consequences of their actions and how we interpret them makes them believable.  Val’s just an ordinary guy who gets the chance to be less ordinary, to change it all.  If you were him, what would you do?  Elsie’s needs for her daughter trump all others.  If you had a daughter who was dying, is there anything you wouldn’t do for her?
Good and evil is subjective, but it’s the motivations that make people in stories real.  They become our heroes and villains, our saints and sinners, because of how we see them.  We relate to them because, on some level… Well, we understand where they’re coming from.

Valentine’s an ordinary guy with ordinary problems. His boss is an asshole. He’s an alcoholic. And he’s getting that middle age spread just a bit too early. One night — the one night he can’t remember — changes everything. What happened at the popular downtown bar, The Elephant Blues? Why is Biomne, the largest pharmaceutical company in the world, so interested in him — and the virus he carries? How is he getting stronger, faster, and more fit? And what’s the connection between Valentine and the criminally insane Russian, Volk?
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Action, Thriller, Urban Fantasy
Rating – R16
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 Connect with Richard Parry on Facebook & Twitter