Monday, November 24, 2014

Book excerpt for young adult novel Taking the Reins by Katrina Abbott

This post is part of a virtual book tour for the young adult novel Taking the Reins by Katrina Abbott and organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. One lucky person will receive a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble gift card. To be entered for a chance to win, use the form below. To increase your chances of winning, feel free to click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour and enter at any of those stops, too!

Brooklyn Prescott (if that’s even her real name) is the new girl at TheRosewood Academy for Academic Excellence, now that she’s moved back to the States after two years living in London. Rosewood, a boarding school for children of the rich and famous and known for its celebutantes, is missing just one element important to any junior’s education: boys. But luckily for Brooklyn, and the rest of theRosewood girls, there’s a boys’ boarding school, The Westwood Academy, just a few miles away.

On her very first day, Brooklyn meets Will, a gorgeous and flirty boy on campus to help with move in. But is he who she thinks he is? And what about Brady, the cute stable boy? Or Jared, the former child actor with his grown-up good looks who can always make her laugh? As Brooklyn settles in at Rosewood, she’s faced with new friends, new challenges and new opportunities to make herself into the girl she always wanted to be. Whoever that might be.

Taking The Reins is the first installment of The Rosewoods, an exciting new Young Adult series for readers who love fun, flirty love stories.

Enjoy an excerpt from Taking the Reins:
I should have felt insulated and safe in the back of the Town Car.

Instead, my heart was pounding like crazy as the driver pulled into the long circular drive that would bring me to the front of the Rosewood Academy for Academic Excellence—my new home for the next ten months. The windows of the car were tinted, so no one could see in, but as I was in one of several limos (mixed in with Range Rovers, Audis, Mercedes' and other cars of the famous and wealthy), no one really paid attention. And, gauging by the chaos on the front lawn of the school campus—registration, moving in, laughing and getting reacquainted—people were too wrapped up in their own stuff to notice a new girl, anyway.

The new girl.

I sighed and gave myself a couple moments to calm my nerves as the driver rolled to a stop at the curb. I took my long brown hair out of the ponytail holder, then second-guessed and put it back in again. Then realized it would look sloppy to have a ponytail, so I took it out one last time.

God, Brooklyn, get it together.

The driver put the car into park, turned halfway toward me and smiled. “This is it.”

“Yeah,” I said, glancing out at the crowd. There were several tables, including one with a banner that read, “Check in. Come here first.” Brilliant. At least that part was sorted. The fitting in and making friends part couldn’t possibly be quite so easy.

“It will be fine,” the driver assured me, as though he was reading my mind and standing in as my father or something, making me feel guilty that I’d forgotten his name already. “I hear it’s a good school.”

I almost snorted at his comment; Rosewood wasn’t a good school. Rosewood was the best school.

About the author:
A survivor of adolescence, Katrina Abbott loves writing about teens: best friends, cute boys, kissing, drama. Her main vice is romance, but she’s been known to succumb to the occasional chocolate binge. She may or may not live in California with her husband, kids and several cats. Taking the Reins is not her first book. 

Visit Katrina online at: Website | Twitter | FacebookPinterest 

Buy the book at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, iTunes, Kobo, or Google Play.

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Friday, November 21, 2014

Interview with non-fiction writer Jerry Waxler

Today’s special guest is writer Jerry Waxler with the spotlight on his book Memoir Revolution: A Social Shift that Uses Your Story to Heal, Connect, and Inspire.

Jerry has graciously provided an e-book copy for one lucky commenter on this post. If you'd like a chance to win, comment below.

Welcome Jerry. Please tell us a little bit about yourself.
When I entered college at the beginning of the Vietnam War protest era, I knew I was going to be a doctor. By the time I graduated, I had become convinced that nothing matters. This was more than a casual phase. I was deadly serious about meaninglessness. It took decades to sort out, during which I read self-help books, talked to a therapist, wrote in a journal, and meditated. In my late 40s, I went back to school and earned a master’s degree in Counseling Psychology. As a therapist, my job was to ask people to tell me their stories.

After a few years, I discovered memoirs, and realized that the stories told in one-hour sessions in therapy were the fragments of people’s lives. Memoirs combined all these fragments into a more connected, crafted version of what I had been hearing and telling in therapy. My fascination with memoirs was born. By reading 100s of memoirs, writing my own, and teaching others to do the same, I entered into one of the most creatively rewarding periods of my life.

Please tell us about your current release.
Memoir Revolution is about the current interest in reading other people’s lives and writing about one’s own. My book explores the ways readers and writers are taking advantage of this literary trend, and some insights into the way you too can discover your own story.

What inspired you to write this book?
When I put together the pieces of my interest in memoirs, I began giving talks on the subject at writing groups and libraries. In these talks, I waxed eloquent about how memoir writing could be a healing, invigorating experience and could help an aspiring author feel more comfortable in his or her own skin. After one talk, a publisher in the audience suggested that I write about my “big ideas.” Her suggestion inspired me to write the first drafts of Memoir Revolution.

What exciting story are you working on next?
I just released a second book called How to Become a Heroic Writer a workbook about how to develop the psychological skills of a writer. (It’s on Amazon now. I continue to post essays on my blog about lessons I’ve learned from reading memoirs. And of course I press on to complete my own memoir.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
The first time I thought I might be a writer was when I was 24, a lost soul in Berkeley California, trying to find myself through poetry and essays. A small literary magazine published one of my pieces, and the UC Berkeley student newspaper published another one. I thought I was on the way to becoming a writer, but I discovered a horrifying thing about myself. I lacked the psychological skills needed to accept constructive feedback. I grew increasingly shy about my writing and stopped trying to publish.

I wrote in a journal off and on, and in my 30s became serious about journal writing, doing it as a daily practice. By persistently putting pen to paper, I was gaining the knack of writing. In an interview for a technical job, I mentioned that I loved to write, and was hired as a technical writer. It’s possible to say journal writing and technical writing made me a writer, but I didn’t yet think of myself that way.

In my 50s, after I got my degree in counseling psychology, I found a storefront writing group near my home in Southeast Pennsylvania. The organization hosted critique groups, workshops and even social gatherings. I mingled with hundreds of aspiring writers, and I realized I was one of them. I’ve considered myself a writer ever since.

How do you find time to write?
About 20 years ago, in one of my many forays into self-help, a friend gave me a book, Steven Covey’s Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. I didn’t just read it. I studied it for weeks, and talked about it with my friend. The message I took away from that self-help experience changed my life. Covey’s idea was that when we go to work, we focus intently on achieving goals, but when we approach our hobbies and creative interests, we do it when we feel like it. He suggested that to be productive in the things we love, we need to employ the same focus as on earning a paycheck. Based on that notion, I began to develop habits around my love for writing.

Over the years my writing habits created a joyful container for creativity, and after I began to connect with real readers, the joy increased exponentially. I’ve written a book How to Become a Heroic Writer about how I developed these habits and advice on how anyone can.

What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?
I have two quirky techniques that keep me writing. One is that when I sit at my writing desk every morning, I turn on two banks of eight foot “natural” fluorescent lights. This light therapy resets my body clock and keeps me focused.

The second quirk is that every day at lunch, I walk on the treadmill and mark up the printouts from my morning writing session. These marked up copies become my raw material for the next morning’s writing session.

The two “quirks” light-therapy and exercise work together to improve my mood and contribute to the fun and energy of writing.


Thanks, Jerry! Happy writing!

Readers, don't forget to leave a comment if you'd like a chance to win an e-copy of Memoir Revolution.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Interview with mystery author Lynn Chandler Willis

Today’s special guest is mystery author Lynn Chandler Willis. She's chatting with us about her new novel Wink of an Eye and more.

Lynn Chandler Willis is the first woman to win the PWA Competition in over 10 years. She has worked in the corporate world, the television news business, and the newspaper industry. She was born, raised, and continues to live in the heart of North Carolina within walking distance of her children and their spouses and her nine grandchildren. She shares her home, and heart, with Sam the cocker spaniel. She lives in Randleman, North Carolina.

Welcome, Lynn. Please tell us about your current release.
Wink of an Eye is a mystery set in the real town of Wink, Texas. The main character is a private eye named Michael “Gypsy” Moran who has a bad habit of becoming involved in situations that lead to trouble and usually threaten to cut his life a little short. In Wink of an Eye, he's on the run from a case gone bad in Vegas and heads home to Wink. While staying with his sister, he reluctantly agrees to look into the apparent suicide of the father of one of her former student's. Of course nothing's ever simple with Gypsy so that investigation leads to a twisted, expansive plot of kidnapping, human trafficking, murder and corruption. And an old girlfriend, who may or may not be involved.

What inspired you to write this book?
I've had the character of Gypsy in my head for a long time. I had made several attempts throughout the years to bring him to life in different stories—with different names—but nothing ever clicked. The plot wasn't right or there was no chemistry between the supporting characters, something was just off with it as a whole. Then I saw the movie No Country for Old Men and I absolutely fell in love with the setting. The dirt, the relentless heat, the unforgiving landscape...I knew that's where this character I'd carried for so many years, Gypsy, belonged. I took his personality and the setting and kept working with it until I had a plot in mind. So in this case, with Wink of an Eye, I built the plot around the character rather than starting with the plot.

Excerpt from Wink of an Eye:
When twelve-year old Tatum McCallen finds his father, a deputy sheriff, hanging from a tree in their west Texas backyard, he sets out to restore his dad's honor and prove he didn't kill himself. He and his disabled grandfather hire reluctant Private Investigator Gypsy Moran, who has his own set of problems. Like a double-cross that sent him fleeing Vegas in the middle of the night.

Gypsy agrees to help the kid and his grandfather, Burke, because he feels sorry for them. Burke, a former deputy sheriff now confined to a wheelchair is all Tatum has left. When Tatum shows Gypsy a private file his dad had been keeping, Gypsy knows the kid's father was on to something when he died. Eight missing girls, a cowardly sheriff, and undocumented workers are all connected to the K-Bar Ranch.

Gypsy is quite familiar with the K-Bar Ranch. Before running off to Vegas, he spent his summers as a teenager working for ranch owner Carroll Kinley while romancing Kinley's beautiful daughter Claire. But Claire, now married to a state senator, is managing the ranch now and is more involved with the case Tatum's father was secretly investigating than Gypsy wants to admit.

Aided by adolescent Tatum and reporter Sophia Ortez, Gypsy begins pulling the pieces of the puzzle together, but it could end up costing him his life. Or worse—Tatum's life.

What exciting story are you working on next?
I'm in the finishing stages of NoBody's Baby, a mystery set in the North Carolina mountains. It's about what happens when a small town newspaper owner and publisher finds a friend murdered and the conflict that arises with the local sheriff when a newspaper publisher is actually part of the investigation.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
The day I heard my daughter tell a friend that her mother was “a writer.” I could have received every award there was to win, signed multi-book seven-figure deals and not felt as validated as I did that day.

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 do write full time but for the most part it's in the evening and on weekends. I'm the full time baby-sitter to eight of my nine grandkids. Four are in elementary and middle school and four are still in that really weird, and tiring, not quite preschool-not quite toddler stage. Exhausting work! I carry my laptop with me wherever I go and keep my WIP open at all times so I grab a sentence, or paragraph, when I can.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I devise a “playlist” of music I associate with whatever piece I'm working on before the first word is ever put to the page. Most of the time when I'm truly writing rather than grabbing a sentence or two here or there, that playlist is playing on a loop. If the music is right, it puts me there—in the zone—and I can visualize every scene I write.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
It may sound corny, but, really, a writer. Oh, and then there was a time that I wanted to be the White House Press Secretary.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
I hope they enjoy Wink of an Eye as much as I enjoyed writing it. Gypsy is such a fun character. He's so likeable. I hope readers think so, too.


Thanks, Lynn!!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Book excerpt for contemporary romance Shimmy for Me by Deanna Cameron

Today’s special feature is a book excerpt promo stop for the contemporary romance novel Shimmy for Me by DeAnna Cameron.

During her virtual book tour with Goddess Fish Promotions, DeAnna will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble gift card to a 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 othertour stops and enter there, too

Blurb about Shimmy for Me:
Juggling two jobs to keep her belly dance studio afloat keeps Abby Anderson’s mind off her shattered love life—until a reawakened pain sends her into the arms of an anonymous stranger she plucks from the audience of her tribal belly dance show. No names, no strings, no romance. She tells herself it’s a harmless hookup.

Until he turns up at her day job . . .

Derek Collier, the sexy heir to the Collier media dynasty, just landed everything he’s always wanted: the publisher’s seat at the Orange County Herald. Except his first order of business is to sell the newspaper. Reeling from his family’s betrayal, his only comfort is the memory of that mysterious belly dancer and the perfect night they spent together.

He won’t rest until he finds her again.

She’ll lose everything if he does.

Excerpt from Shimmy for Me:
By the time Abby took her place on the small stage, the lights were low, and a slow, snaky melody had filled the restaurant’s main room. She was only a silhouette to the roomful of diners, holding her pose like a living statue. She usually closed her eyes during this prelude and focused on the energy of the music and the audience.

Not tonight.

In the darkness, her gaze roamed. She wanted a good view before the stage lights came up to brighten her, and blind her.

Nearly every seat was filled. A good draw for a Thursday night. Mostly couples, some groups. But it was the single men she searched for. The ones who sat on the fringe to watch.

Would it be the college jock tipping back beer in a bottle? The shy guy in the Oxford shirt fidgeting with his soda straw? Maybe the older . . .

A Suit at the bar caught her eye. One hand wrapped around a highball glass, the other tugging at his tie. Calm. Confident. And sexy as hell. The way his gaze locked on her made her tingle in all the right places.
He was the one.

Derek Collier sipped his Macallan 18 and watched the restaurant’s belly dancer come alive to the hypnotic rhythm pulsing through the dining room. When he’d seen the words “belly dancing” glowing in blue neon beneath the Sultan’s Tent sign, he’d expected the kind of flashy beads and sequins dancer he’d seen a hundred times before.

He didn’t expect this.

The poster at the front called her Zenina, a tribal fusion belly dancer. Whatever that was. From his vantage point at the bar, she looked like nothing he’d ever seen—part bohemian waif, part harem fantasy, part . . . Damn, the way she swayed and writhed up there was making it impossible to think.

Author bio and links:
DeAnna Cameron writes novels featuring feisty heroines transformed by true love and belly dance—the oldest and most exciting dance form in the world. Her novels have been translated into Japanese, Polish, and Serbian, and her work has been praised for its “deft prose, energetic characters and . . . colorful images” by RT Book Reviews and called “most entertaining” by the Historical Novel Review. Before turning to fiction, DeAnna worked as a journalist, writing and editing for several Southern California newspapers and magazines. She’s a member of Romance Writers of America, as well as its Orange County chapter. When she isn’t working on her next novel, she can usually be found at her jeweler’s bench, creating new wire-wrap, bead, and multimedia designs. She lives in Orange County, Calif., with her family.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Interview with paranormal mystery author M. Ryan Seever

Today's guest is paranormal mystery author M. Ryan Seaver. She's doing a virtual book tour for her novel, No Bad Deed.

During the virtual tour with Goddess Fish Promotions, M. Ryan will be giving away a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble gift card to a randomly drawn winner. To be entered to win, use the form below. And to increase your chances of winning, feel free to visit her other tour stops and enter there, too.
Welcome M. Ryan. Please tell us a little bit about yourself.
I was raised in Rochester, New York, in a house that was constantly full of writers. On nights when my parents and their friends were holding court in our living room, I would practice the fine art of evading the little kids in the next room, setting up camp among the grown-ups, and being quiet long enough that they would forget I was there, and that it was past my bedtime. All my best dirty jokes were picked up this way.

I studied theatre performance at Northeastern University, where I spent a little time onstage, and a lot of time reading plays. I fell in love with Sam Shepard, Arthur Miller, and Nicky Silver. Exposed to plays day in and day out, I honed my ear for dialogue, and learned firsthand that if the writing doesn’t ring true, no amount of brilliant acting would make it right. I wrote my first play (terrible, melodramatic, with characters whose names did absolutely nothing to mask the real people they were based on). I showed it to no one. It’s probably still on my computer somewhere.

In my life before Brimstone, I’ve worked as a telemarketer (I’m sorry) administrative assistant, waiter (badly, briefly), clerk and occasional story-time reader in a children’s bookstore, and professional hawker of everything from magazine subscriptions to national television advertising. I was better with magazines. I now live in Chicago with the love of my life, and my snarling, seven-toed demon-cat, Clara. No Bad Deed is the first book in the John Arsenal mystery series.

Please tell us about your current release.
No Bad Deed is set in Brimstone, a city we know better as Hell. Brimstone is actually a city quite like the cities we are used to, only much, much worse, and it’s inhabited entirely by the worse scum of the earth. In Brimstone, the damned arrive without any memory of who they were before they died, which is a problem for our hero. John Arsenal would like to think of himself as a generally decent person, but of course knows that he must have done something terrible while he was still alive in order to end up in Hell. John is approached by Mireille, a beautiful woman who claims that she can remember her life before Brimstone, and that she and John once knew each other. Mireille offers to tell John about who he once was and what he did, in exchange for his help finding Mireille’s missing sister, Sophie.

What inspired you to write this book?
Believe it or not, it came to me in my sleep! Or rather, I was almost asleep, just starting to drift off, in that place right before you’re really dreaming. And I just thought, “A detective in Hell. Yeah.” I popped out of bed to write it down, and that’s how the prologue was written: In the dark, in my apartment in Boston at 1am. John Arsenal’s voice was right there, fully developed, like I’d been writing him for years. I went back to bed and didn’t think much of it until the next morning when I read what I had, and thought, wow, I might really have something here. Interestingly enough, sleep has been a huge theme throughout this book, and in the next one as well. John, my protagonist, suffers from insomnia and nightmares, and sometimes if I’m really on a roll with John, I’ll pick up a bit of insomnia myself, something that I never really dealt with before this book. I’ll wake up at 3am and not be able to go back to bed until the scene I woke up thinking about gets written, or I’ll have a nightmare, and the next morning think, “That could work in the book.”

Excerpt from No Bad Deed:
I took the car on a drive through downtown Brimstone, watching the sky turn sulfur, then green, as billowing plumes of vapor veiled the light. It was evenings like this I wondered about the geography of our fair city. There was a sky over Hell, that much was obvious. But there was also the sensation that baby-shit green was not a natural color for a sky to be. And of course there was never any sun, just the constant radiating light and heat. When I first got off the boat I used to wonder about the physical location of this place that had a sky and a climate, but no sun and no moon, no seasons. I’ve since learned that worrying about that stuff doesn’t make a damn bit of difference, and that it’s best to do it as little as possible. Still. That sky never failed to put a sick, uncertain feeling into the pit of my stomach.

As I drove, Tent town stretched out alongside me, nothing but bleached-out A-frames draped with sheets and tarps as far as the eye could see. I took a left and found myself in an obnoxiously artsy part of the city called Millville, where the resident frustrated artists and actors had turned the skeletons of ruined industrial buildings into a series of trendy clubs and improvised theater spaces. I pulled up in front of a bar called Virgil’s and killed the motor.

What exciting story are you working on next?
I’ve just finished the first draft of the next book in the John Arsenal series. This one is a serial killer mystery, which is particularly interesting because of course in Brimstone, everyone is already dead. But as it turns out, when you’re killed in Hell, there’s something even worse than death waiting on the other side. It was a lot of fun to be able to follow John into this new chapter, because of course he had to go through so much in No Bad Deed, some of those demons are still hanging around for him, and will be for quite some time.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
That’s such an interesting question, because I feel like a lot of writers suffer from a bit of imposter syndrome. A lot of writers who are very serious about their work but don’t yet do it full-time hesitate to call themselves writers, which I actually think is too bad, because that self-doubt is an impediment to being able to advocate for your own work. For me, I hit a point about halfway through No Bad Deed where I realized I had a plan. I knew where the book was heading, and I knew I could finish it. I was really proud of what I’d already created, and I knew the next thing I had to do was create a game-plan for how to get it out into the world. The moment I had that mission worked out was the moment I started to consider myself a writer. I started telling my husband I was working when I would lock myself away in the office to write, and I feel like owning that word, work, made a really big difference.

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 don’t yet write full time, but I’m extremely lucky in my day-job. I work remotely from my home, so if I have a great idea for the book, I don’t have a long commute between finishing my job and being able to sit down and write. I can simply open up my manuscript and go. I’ve found that that’s really important to me, being able to write whenever inspiration strikes. I know a lot of writers swear by a set writing schedule, but I’ve never been able to make that work for me. I need to be able to write whenever it feels good, which sometimes means writing at 3am, or taking 30 minutes in the middle of the day between working on something else. When I’m not writing, you’ll find me in the kitchen. In my other job I work for a cooking magazine, so I’m constantly finding new and exciting recipes I want to try out during my day.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I have a tendency to talk about my characters like they’re real people, which can sometimes creep people out if they don’t know me well. My husband will ask me how the writing went that day and I’ll say, “You know, not so great. John just wasn’t talking to me today,” or “Gavett did this crazy thing today that I never even thought of, but now it’s turned the whole book around.” I like to leave some of the movement of the story is in the characters’ hands, almost like I’m more of a stenographer. It’s a fun way to write, because it means that even though I’m writing the story, I can still be surprised by the things that happen.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Not a writer! My mother is actually a novelist as well, so I was constantly asked if I wanted to be a writer too, and I always said no, which I think was more of a kneejerk reaction than anything else. I changed my mind a lot about what I wanted to be as a younger kid, but as a teenager I finally settled on acting. I was in all the school musicals, and did acting camp during the summer. I ended up studying theater in Boston before I discovered that writing was my real love. I feel like I’m still acting, but in a different way. As a writer, I get to play all the parts as I’m writing the story. I get to play roles I would never be able to play in real life, which is a great feeling. I love being able to play some giant thug, or a really sinister bad guy.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
There is light in this world of Brimstone, as well as darkness. Something that became immediately apparent to me when I started writing John Arsenal is that he has a real sense of humor, even in this dark world. I don’t think people would necessarily associate humor with this type of story, and yet more than anything else, the thing that I hear from readers is that they love that John makes them laugh, and they love his friends, who tend to be a quirky, motley crew. It’s not all anguish and torment in Brimstone—there’s levity too.

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Monday, November 17, 2014

Interview with writer / poet Mariah E. Wilson

Today’s special guest is writer and poet, Mariah E. Wilson. I’m chatting with her about her new collection of poems published in the book, We Walk Alone.

Mariah E. Wilson is a writer from beautiful British Columbia. She has been published in Thin Air Magazine, Every Day Poets, The Kitchen Poet, Literary Orphans and The Corner Club Press, for which she is also now the Poetry Editor. Her first poetry collection, We Walk Alone, was published by Writers AMuse Me Publishing.

Welcome, Mariah. What do you enjoy most about writing poems?
I love finding new ways to say things. I love playing with words and manipulating their meanings. Sound is fun, I like to play with that too. If I can find a new way to say something that I feel will connect with people, it’s a good day.

Can you give us a little insight into a few of your poems – perhaps a couple of your favorites?
There’s a little known fact about the poem “Candy” I wrote it based off a picture of myself. I’m the pot-bellied child in the blue swim suit (I’m not picking my nose in the picture though) My mom still has the picture somewhere, I remember seeing it a long time ago.

Dandelion Daydreams is one of my favorite poems of all time. It’s light and fun and a little surreal. I enjoyed writing it.

Of all the poems that I included I’m the most proud of The Myth of You. Writing that one really surprised me. It turned out far better than I expected it to. There’s an undertone of sadness in it that I never intended to inject, but it works, I think.

What form are you inspired to write in the most? Why?
I generally only write in free form. Sometimes I’ll whip up a quick haiku, but for the most part I stick to free form. I have written in other forms and I just find that I can best express myself if I have no restrictions.

What type of project are you working on next?
I’m actually working on several projects. I have completed two additional poetry collections. The first is called Lost in Translation and the poems in it are based on words from different languages that have no English translation. The second is yet untitled, but I drew my inspiration from user names I saw on Tumblr. I’m also working on four different novels at the moment. All are in the YA/NA genres.

When did you first consider yourself a writer / poet?
I first knew I wanted to be a writer when I was ten, but I didn’t consider myself one until much later, which is silly, to be frank. If you write, you are a writer. I wish I would have realized that sooner. I guess I first started to consider myself a writer in my early to mid twenties when I started connecting with other writers and started seeking publication.

How do you research markets for your work, perhaps as some advice for not-yet-published poets?
There are some great call for submission groups on Facebook. I used to use Duotrope, which is a fantastic site, but I haven’t since they started charging.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I’m not sure I have any writing quirks. Either I really don’t, or I have so many that I can’t recognize them anymore. If I had to answer, I’d say that my most interesting writing quirk relates to my novel writing. I am a pantser by nature. I write books by pantsing my way through about thirty thousand words and tossing my project in the garbage. I move onto something else and eventually I go back to my canned project with new perspective and new ideas. It seems when I do things that way, I’m able to produce a viable storyline, sometimes I even get through to the end of the story.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I really only ever wanted to be an author. There wasn’t ever any other career that held my interest. I toyed with the thought of doing other things, but nothing ever stuck.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
I’ll share the most crucial bit of knowledge about writing that I have.

You can’t go it alone. If you are a writer you need writer friends. You need people who understand how hard it is to get something from you brain down onto paper. You need friends who understand the agony and the ecstasy of the craft. One of the most essential things in a writers tool box, is other writers. If it were not for my writer friends (they know who they are) I probably would not still be writing.

Thanks, Mariah!

Friday, November 14, 2014

Book excerpt for romantic thriller Nowhere to Run by Jeanne Bannon

I’m happy to feature the romantic thriller, Nowhere to Run by Jeanne Bannon today.

Jeanne is doing a virtual book tour with Goddess Fish Promotions. During the tour, Jeanne will be awarding a $15 Amazon or Barnes and Noble gift card to a 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!

Blurb about Nowhere to Run:
What’s a girl to do when she falls in love with the man whose mission it is to bring her down?

With the murder of her only sister, Sara, just a few months past, Lily Valier—a woman of beauty and substance—tops the sheriff’s list of suspects in small town Maine, and for a very good reason. Dear old Dad had willed his fortune to Sara and only Sara, leaving Lily to fend for herself. However, with no murder weapon or witnesses, the evidence against Lily is only circumstantial.

Enter P.I. Aiden O’Rourke, black-haired and blue-eyed, charged with gaining Lily’s trust and learning her secrets, all to finally get the goods on her. Things move fast and feelings run deep, yet when Lily discovers the truth about Aiden, everything begins to come apart.

Aiden’s torn. Despite his feelings for her, Lily is the most logical suspect, with a great big fat motive. Except something’s not quite right. Aiden trusts his instincts and they’re screaming at him to have a look at a former suspect with far more to hide than first appeared. With little left to lose, Lily decides to stand her ground, and staying put has its consequences when the murder weapon finally turns up—and it’s Lily’s gun.

What happens to love, when trust is betrayed?

Excerpt from Nowhere to Run:

The ghosts of those we love never leave us. They live on in our hearts but break them too, Lily thought as she flipped the sign on the door of the Higgstown Diner from “Open” to “Closed.” Then she sank wearily onto a stool at the counter, finally at the end of the workday. Now she could let loose the heaviness weighing her down. Hot tears stung her eyes and she let them. It was OK. There was no one around to witness her breakdown. She rested her head in her hands and heaved with sobs.

“Sara, please talk to me. Give me a sign you’re still around,” Lily said to the air. “I miss you so much.” More tears washed down her cheeks. It had been three months since her sister’s death, and there was still no escaping Sara’s ghost. Even the chipped Arborite counter where she now sat, with the wonky red upholstered stool that swiveled just a little too much to the right, brought back memories. Lily could see her older sister as plainly as if she were standing in front of her now, black hair piled high in a bun and that blue eye shadow she was so fond of. Lily smiled through her tears.

Sara had been a whiz at the grill, whipping up orders faster than Lily ever could. God, how long had the diner been a part of their lives? More than twenty-five years, she guessed. They were just kids when their mother, Nancy, bought the place—Lily, seven, and Sara, twelve.

A creak came from the back of the diner. Lily lifted her head to listen. Another small groan of the floorboards. Could Sara be giving her a sign?

“Sara?” Lily slid off the stool.

A tall, dark figure loomed in the doorway.

Lily froze, her heart near exploding. “What do you want?” she choked out in a thin voice.

He stepped nearer. “Open the register.” His voice was a deep whisper.

A balaclava hid his face; the seams of a dark gray coat strained over a thickly muscled physique. He aimed the gun in his right hand at her chest.

Her feet seemed rooted to the floor.

“I said, open the register.”

The man moved close enough for Lily to catch his scent—a mix of sweat and cheap aftershave. He shoved her forward, snapping her from her stupor, and followed as she made her way behind the counter to the cash register.

A glowing red light caught her attention. She hadn’t turned off the coffee maker! In one quick movement, Lily grabbed the pot’s plastic handle and launched the scorching brew at the woolen knit of the intruder’s balaclava. The gun landed with a thud between his booted feet as he clawed at the steaming mask plastered to his face.

Now was her chance. Lily shouldered past him to the front door. Her fingers, thick and clumsy with panic, fumbled as she tried in vain to turn the two deadbolt locks. She ordered herself to calm down. Take a breath. C’mon, you can do this, she told herself, but her heart jackhammered in her chest, and her ears pulsed with the rush of blood behind them.

Suddenly, a face appeared on the other side of the glass front door of the diner, sending Lily backward, nearly tripping over her own feet.

The stranger on the other side of the door took her in. A look of confusion flickered across his face. Then, as if coming back to himself, he yelled, “Hurry. Unlock the door!” The cold night air whipped his dark hair wildly around his face. His pale blue eyes locked on hers.

Panic had hijacked her brain. She didn’t know what to do. He could be an accomplice.

Author Bio and Links:
Jeanne Bannon has worked in the publishing industry for over twenty years, first as a freelance journalist, then as an in-house editor for LexisNexis Canada. She currently works as a freelance editor and writer and is represented by Karen Thomas of the Serendipity Literary Agency.

Jeanne’s debut novel, Invisible, is a young adult paranormal romance, published by Solstice Publishing and has recently been optioned for film. Invisible is an Amazon bestseller both domestically and internationally and continues to receive wonderful reviews.

Nowhere to Run is Jeanne’s latest novel released by Etopia Press. Nowhere to Run tells the story of Lily Valier, a woman of substance and beauty, and her dilemma when she falls in love with a man whose mission it is to bring her down.

Currently, Jeanne is finishing up work on her third novel, Dark Angel, a paranormal thriller.

When not reading or writing, Jeanne enjoys spending time with her daughters, Nina and Sara and her husband, David. She’s also the proud mother of two fur babies, a cuddly and affectionate Boston Terrier named Lila and Spencer, a rambunctious tabby, who can be a very bad boy.


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