Friday, May 27, 2016

Interview with A.J. Flowers about "A Guide to Writing Your First Novel"

I’m wrapping up the week with an interview with A.J. Flowers about her book, A Guide to Writing Your First Novel.

A.J. Flowers is a book blogger and fantasy author. Originally from an island about a mile and a half wide named Sugarloaf key, A.J. discovered new lands and culture through books. Life has drastically changed since her childhood, and she currently resides in Detroit, Michigan as an Automotive Body Designer, which has given her the opportunity to travel the world and experience regions and cultures that she incorporates into her work. During her free time, she saves the world from annihilation on her favorite video games side-by-side with her Dutch husband and princess Blue Russian kitty named Mina.

Please tell us about your current release.
This book release is the culmination of five years of work. I’ve been on a journey to discover how to write a book people will want to read. Eventually I started a blog to share what I’d learned. Once I realized I had enough material to make a book, I got to work and took the best tidbits I’d uncovered into one easy guide. Because of my blog’s feedback, it was easy to judge what information was the most useful to aspiring writers.

What inspired you to write this book?
I had no intention of creating a writing guide, especially before I even published my own novels, which are still in my obsessive-editing mode. But through my love of literature and desire to learn, it was natural to end up with a mountain of data just waiting to be shared. Putting it into an organized book format was fun and I got to pick out the best of what I’ve learned over the years.

Excerpts from A Guide to Writing Your First Novel:
Put your manuscript down, I'd recommend at least two months. Six would be ideal. You really need to get away from it long enough to change your mindset. Unless you have a photographic memory, this technique will work. You'll transform into the one thing you crave feedback from: a reader.

When you were born, did your parents shove a book of world history in your face? No, absolutely not. They gave you what you could handle, and that's exactly how you need to treat the reader.

While every chapter should have goals to further the plot and delve our readers deeper into our world, there must be one goal above all else: Emotional Impact.

What exciting story are you working on next?
I’ve written five novels and more flash fiction and short stories than I can count. I’ll be published in a literary magazine called Bards and Sages Quarterly for flash fiction come July 2016 and I’m stoked for the professional credit! (Writers need constant validation to convince ourselves we’re not frauds.)

While I wait for publishers to respond about their interest in my ‘angels aren’t as pure as you thought’ novel titled “Fallen to Grace,” I’m currently rewriting a ‘soul-parasite fantasy’ titled “Sanctuary.” I’m hoping to be query-ready in about six months!

Unfortunately, I have no future writing guides planned, but who knows. If I find I have a second mountain of delightful data just sitting around waiting to be shared in another five years, I’ll be sure to share it with the world.

When did you first consider yourself a writer? I considered myself a writer when I was six and wrote a poem about the loss of my beloved pet. It was the first time I used words to express what I was feeling, and I realized how great that felt.

Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
I write during any downtime I get. My day job is an automotive design engineer. Quite the stark difference, I know. But most writers have day jobs. That’s just how it goes! Writing isn’t as profitable as you’d wish it to be, and honestly I love my day job. It’d be hard to give up too.
That said, I write 7,000 words a week. That means at least 1,000 words a day. It sounds tough unless you know where to squirrel away time. It takes about an hour to write 1,000 words if you aren’t dilly-dallying. We all can find an hour in our day if we try hard enough.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I will honestly fit writing in wherever I can. So my writing quirk is that I have no qualms about driving to a parking lot during my lunch break and writing for 45 minutes. If I tried to write at my desk people would stop by, apologize profusely, and then ask me to do something work related. Gotta do what you gotta do!

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A veterinarian, until I found out unicorns weren’t real. :(

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
If you’re an aspiring writer, I encourage you to pursue your dreams. Writing is a lifestyle, a marathon; it’s not a sprint. It’s something that’s a part of you and you do it because you can’t imagine life without it. I feel that writers forget that and rush into their work. Even though I’ve written so many books, I am not publishing until I feel ready to publish. That’s why the first book I technically published was a writing guide of all things, but that’s because I knew exactly what needed to be said and how to say it. When you feel that way about your work, you know you’re ready.


Thursday, May 26, 2016

Special excerpt for historical romance The Trouble with Misbehaving by Victoria Hanlen

Today is a special excerpt from the historical romance novel, The Trouble with Misbehaving by Victoria Hanlen.

During her virtual book tour, Victoria will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble (winner’s choice) gift card to a lucky randomly drawn winner. To be entered for a chance to win, use the form below. To increase your chances of winning, feel free to visit her other tour stops and enter there, too!

A little bit about the author:
Award winning, historical romance author, Victoria Hanlen, has worked at a wide range of jobs, from fashion, to corporate business, to treading the boards of stage and professional opera. A lifelong writer, she once put her skills to use in PR and advertising. But her favorite form of writing is happily-ever-afters spiced with a dash of wit and a page-turning mystery. Victoria and her husband live in rural New England surrounded by a host of wildlife.

A little bit about the novel:
Love, Betrayal and Redemption

Calista ‘CC’ Collins is used to being the talk of the town. With her scandalous past she’s learnt the hard way that a woman needs to be strong to get what she wants in a man’s world. And what she wants is the infamous Captain Beauford Tollier—roguish son of an earl, notorious blockade-runner and all-round knave of the seas.

However, Captain Beau is not one to be cajoled—he is done with the dangerous sea life and ready to follow the life of the straight and narrow. But with many powerful forces circling around him, Beau doesn’t stand a chance…

Excerpt from The Trouble with Misbehaving:
 “Since you burned my letters we still have much to discuss.”

He squared his shoulders. “I think not. Our brief association is at an end. I do not wish to be a part of your mad games. After the night before last—”

“After the night before last?”

“It seems best to allow you your distance.”

He heard a quick intake of breath and a rustle of silk. Her voice seemed to rise in pitch, “Don’t worry, I won’t tell anyone what you almost did with crazy ol’ Miss Collins. But then you have lots of secrets, do you not, Captain Tollier? What’s one more?”

“I don’t know what you mean, nor do I care.” He started walking again.

“Looking at all these…lovely portraits, I can see why people whisper you’re the family’s cuckoo.”

Lurching around, he clenched his fists in an effort to control his temper. Not only did the insult shock, it cut into one of his earliest, deepest insecurities. He lowered his voice to a dangerous calm. “You are fortunate to be a woman, madam. Were you a man, such an insult might force me to call you out.”

She stood and gave him a look so sultry it almost begged him to teach her lessons of a different sort.

“Ah yes, call me out. And what should I call you?”

He turned to leave, hoping to prevent saying or doing something he’d regret. Before he’d taken two steps, C.C. said in a voice full of authority, “Mr. Wainwright. Perhaps Captain Scott? Or would it be Cornelius Dolan?”

The hairs on his neck stood straight out.


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Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Special excerpt from contemporary romance Falling for Heroes by Eryn LaPlant

I have a special excerpt from one of the two contemporary romance novels in the Falling for Heroes Box Set by Eryn LaPlant today.

During her virtual book tour, Eryn will be awarding a $10 Amazon or Barnes and Noble (winner’s choice) gift card to a lucky randomly drawn winner. To be entered for a chance to win, use the form below. To increase your chances of winning, feel free to visit her other tour stops and enter there, too!

A little bit about the author:
Eryn LaPlant grew up wishing she could have lived in the books she read, living through characters and their romantic adventures. Now she writes romances of her own to share with readers like you.

When not writing, she spends her time with her loving husband, their handsome son and fluffy new Pomeranian puppy, Marley, in the Land of Lincoln.

A bit about each book:

--Falling for Shock

Oliver Hannel, England’s sexiest new star, has finally moved from the television screen to the silver screen, playing comic book hero The Shock in Hollywood’s upcoming blockbuster. While filming one summer night in the midwestern town of Greenfield, Indiana, Oliver finds himself witnessing a crime in progress. Will he embrace his inner superhero and save the day? Or will he remember he isn’t invincible and call for help?

Layla Brooks is a small town girl with a big spirited heart, especially when it comes to her twin sister, Lucy. She’ll rest at nothing to protect her from a casino mogul’s henchman bent on collecting a debt… even if that includes taking her sister’s punishment. But a strange suited man out from the shadows isn’t about to let that happen.

Oliver and Layla’s opposite worlds collide with a Bam! But are either of them ready for the lies, truth and lust that comes along with a relationship born of shock? Or will their love come and go as fast as a bolt of lightning?

--Falling for Freedom

FBI Special Agent Cara Giosino is ballsy and relentless when it comes to justice. When she finds herself in London in furious pursuit of the notorious casino mogul and crime lord Feng Khai, she must give up her solo act and rely upon the fearless Interpol agent who caught Khai the first time.

Edward Hannel is not the man he once was. Tragedy has struck him down, leaving him a shell of his former self. He wants nothing to do with Interpol or the sexy Agent Giosino and her plan to take down the criminal who extorted his brother two years prior. That is until he discovers the madman’s vengeance is still focused on his family.

As they race to capture Khai and protect Edward’s family, neither Cara nor Edward realizes the depth to which this case will take them or how fast their partnership will bloom. And they certainly don’t expect to find such bliss in each other's arms when they finally give in to letting go and being free.

Excerpt from Falling for Freedom:

Washington D.C.

“Hi. I’m Cara Giosino and I’m here in the J. Edgar Hoover building learning how to be an FBI agent—Ugh! That sucked.”

Cara clicked the remote to her dad’s video camera so she could start all over again. She tossed her hair over her shoulder, happy to see that it fluttered like one of those shampoo commercials all black and flowy in the view finder screen. Maybe she could make her sixth grade career day video on being a hair model instead. No, no, no she wanted to be an agent just like her dad, a few doors down from where she was in the conference room where she was recording. Everyone in her family worked for some big government agency and so would she one day. Uncle Tommy worked in the Las Vegas field office FBI and her grandpa was in the CIA, though no one knew where he was at the moment.

Her eye caught the clock on the wall. It was almost lunchtime. She had to get going. Her dad was taking her out for pizza. Clearing her throat nice and loud, Cara clicked record and started again, this time flashing a big smile for the camera. “Coming to you live from the J. Edgar Hoover building, it’s the future Special Agent Cara Giosino.” She tisked and shook her head. “That sucked too. I sound like a stupid game show guy.”

She reset again, got serious and got rid of her cheesy grin. “Hi. I’m with my dad, head of the D.C. Counterterrorism Division, at the FBI. My name is Cara Giosino and when I grow up I want to be just like h—“


A ferocious, loud, mechanical noise made her jump and scream, holding her ears. She dropped to the ground, landing on her purple book bag. Other people were screaming and yelling too, the kind of hollering that sounded hurt and scared. Was that gunfire?

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Other works by Eryn include:
Beneath the Wall
The Blue Lute

Falling for Heroes series:
Falling for Shock
Falling for Freedom
and upcoming Falling for Phoenix (2016)

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