Monday, November 30, 2015

Special blog post by romantic suspense author Donna Del Oro

Today’s feature is a special blog post by author Donna Del Oro. This is just one of Donna’s stops as she does a virtual book tour for her new novel, Athena’s Secrets.

During her tour, Donna will be awarding a print copy of The Delphi Bloodline, Born to Sing, Scheming, or Dreaming in Los Angeles 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!

A little bit about the author:
Donna Del Oro lives in Northern California with her husband and three cats. She taught high school and community college English classes for 30+ years and is now happily retired. When not writing novels or reading voraciously, she travels and sings with the medal winning Sacramento Valley Chorus.

Donna is a member of Capitol Crimes, the Sacramento chapter of Sisters in Crime in addition to the Valleyrose chapter of the RWA. She has judged RITA entries and does developmental editing on the side. Two of her novels, Operation Familia and Born To Sing, have won national and international awards.

Follow clairvoyant artist Athena Butler in the next book in The Delphi Bloodline series: Athena’s Quest.

Excerpt from Athena’s Secrets:
“Got it.” She slowly mounted, excitement and fear surging through her. He counter-balanced her weight while she settled in back and clasped her arms around his waist.

“What did you think of your portrait?” She’d given the painting to his parents the night before and they’d hung it over the fireplace mantel after much ado.

He was silent as he backed up the Jet Ski and maneuvered a turnaround as he pointed the bow towards the open water. Before taking off across the lake, he worked the throttle a bit to juice up the engine. Then he turned his head to look at her.  His guard was down. No stone wall this time.

“I liked it. You captured a side of me that I forgot was even there. I looked young, idealistic. I’d forgotten I was like that once. You’ve got a lot of talent, Athena.”

She’s a girl but looks like a woman. What would it be like to make love to her? She could even be the one Mom has foreseen in my future, or maybe not…don’t even go there, just Mom’s fantasy dream, wants me to settle down…Never mind, it’s all nonsense, even though it’s superstitious of me to refuse to ride in a car with Alex, my own brother…just bullshit the way Mom manipulates us… Might as well not tempt fate, she tells us…she’s right most of the time… Fate? Is this pretty girl my fate? Hell if I know…this girl, Athena, she’s like a magnet, no doubt she has a powerful pull on me… I’ve got such a hard-on for her…oh well, the cold water will take care of that soon enough… I’m a big boy, I can resist her if I want to…

Do I want to?

His thoughts and feelings revealed so much more than what he said. Now she knew he liked her. Very much. As much as she liked him.

And now for the special feature:

Behind Athena’s Secrets and The Delphi Bloodline Series: Questions about ESP

            Sixty percent of Americans, according to parapsychology studies cited in the book, Psychic Awareness, claim to have had experiences they would call psychic. Those experiences might be: Hunches about your or someone else’s future; physical clues that alert you to danger or wrong decisions; intuitive feelings that guide you correctly through life; and/or receiving information through physical sensations, thoughts, visions or emotions. It could be a prickly sensation at the back of your neck about a particular person, place or thing. Or a warm feeling at the thought of a good decision. If you’ve experienced any of the above, then you’re in touch with your psychic abilities.
            My heroine, Athena Butler in Athena’s Secrets (Book One in The Delphi Bloodline Series), has already moved beyond the “I know but I don’t know how I know” psychic awareness, where most of us are at. Through her gifted mother’s instruction and guidance, Athena—the modern-day descendant of an ancient, psychically powerful bloodline of women—knows HOW and WHY she knows. There are numerous theories her mother and an Institute for Psychic Research classes have taught her are valid and might offer her an explanation. Her mother sees their clairvoyance as a Gift from God; that they (and their bloodline) were chosen to use their gift for the Greater Good. Athena’s not so sure about that. In her view, their Gift is also a Curse.
She’s a talented clairvoyant who sees visions and is able to access information simply by touching a person. This clairvoyance might take the form of reading that person’s thoughts or by seeing into that person’s past.
            While this ability of hers has caused her to lose boyfriends—who resent her intrusion into their privacy—her clairvoyance also alerts her to danger. Although warned to keep her Gift a secret, Athena is roped into helping law enforcement authorities with a Metro PD investigation into a series of murders of young girls. And then, when her father at the British Embassy uncover a possible plot to murder the Embassy staff, Athena is asked to help the security team thwart the attack. In Book Two, Athena’s Quest, she must help homicide detectives expose a serial killer. When a handsome stranger approaches her in a Reno hotel gallery (Book Three), where she is painting dead celebrities like Elvis and Frank Sinatra, Athena shakes his hand. Immediately, visions of his dark, violent past assail her, warning her that he is an impostor and even worse, that he means her harm.
            So what’s the origin of such psychic abilities? Are these talents truly genetic, do they run in families, as I suggest in my novel? Do they originate from an all-seeing God, as Athena’s mother believes? Do they come from an omniscient spirit world? Another dimension of energy as yet unexplored by man, as Athena believes? Or are they simply physical, biochemical reactions in the brain, as some neuroscientists suggest? Do brain waves play a role, as some parapsychologists have studied? That Theta brain waves in a fully conscious state enable a person to access knowledge in what some parapsychologists call The Collective Consciousness, and what Hindus call humankind’s Akashic Records.
            Sorry to disappoint you, but experts have no definitive answers to those questions. Theories abound and what I put forth in The Delphi Bloodline series is just one theory. There are many theories about psychic abilities, but no scientific proof.
Not yet, anyway.
What the scientific experiments (and I include some of these experiments in my third novel in the series) do prove is that these abilities exist in varying degrees among all of us. These are human abilities, like innate skills in art and music. Some of us can strum a few chords on a ukelele; others among us can write symphonies, like Beethoven and Gershwin. Some of us can paint by numbers; others become Titian, Michaelangelo, and Da Vinci.
The true psychics among us—not the charlatans—exercise and develop their extrasensory skills quietly and without fanfare or greed. For they know their gifts come with cautionary tales.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, November 27, 2015

Special excerpt from Become You by Toneka R. Etienne, Ph.D.

I’m wrapping up this week with a special excerpt from the self-help book, Become You, by Toneka R. Etienne, Ph.D.

During her virtual book tour, Toneka will be awarding a signed copy of Become You 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:
Toneka R. Etienne, Ph.D., is a Psychologist, wife, mother, Huffington Post contributor, and creator at Toneka is a self-love advocate encouraging women to balance their daily lives with the ambition to continually pursue their dreams. Her calling is to fully support women as they call soulful purpose and intention into their life and business connected to their deepest and most authentic selves. When she’s not holding sacred space for women’s transformation, Toneka can be found doing her favorite things: spending time with her husband and two daughters, traveling, reading, connecting with like-minded visionaries, and looking for divine inspiration.

A little bit about Become You:
Ready to create lasting transformation in your life? Become You reveals a practical lifestyle blueprint for the modern day woman. Begin your deep dive transformation by turning an honest, but loving mirror on your belief systems, habits, and spiritual life. This book will help you create a balanced lifestyle so that you can passionately pursue your goals and dreams without losing yourself in the process.

Excerpt from Become You:

Procrastinating is the art of actively postponing or delaying something. And it’s just another one of the obstacles that can potentially stand in the way of living the life of your dreams. But did you know there are different kinds of procrastinators? See if you fit into one of the following categories.

1. Thrill-seeker - These are usually your last minute, “get it done” kind of people. They wait until the last minute to complete an important task or project and attribute their procrastination to their “zone of genius.” I am very guilty of embodying this one right here. I spent the majority of graduate school being a thrill-seeker. I would wait until the weekend before a huge paper was due and spend the next day and a half writing around the clock to get it done. This form of procrastination always caused me a great deal of self-inflicted stress, and after finishing an assignment, I’d always promise myself I wasn’t going to do it again.

2. The Avoider - This person usually procrastinates by avoiding the task and usually does so out of either fear of success or fear of failure. This one crept up for me as I was writing this book. So many times while thinking about this book, I thought, “No one wants to hear what you have to say.” I also thought about how the success of this book could change my life, which brought up some fears that I didn’t realize I had.

3. The Indecisive - This person can’t and won’t make a decision. Unfortunately, even with her lack of action, she still won’t take responsibility for her outcomes. Very rarely does this type of procrastinator believe she has any responsibility for her life, and she presents herself as a victim in most situations.

So how can you combat procrastination?
Break it down. You can get really overwhelmed by a complex task or project. Sometimes you may have a project you want to tackle, but once you start to think about all the pieces of the puzzle, it gets all too daunting.

At that point, you can either turn into the avoider or the indecisive.

So instead of looking at the project as this huge mountain of a task, break it down in steps.

That was one of the things that helped me to complete my dissertation. I focused on one chapter at a time and didn’t allow myself to even think about steps 2 through 100!

Here’s another great tip if you’re still stuck: start at either the beginning or the end and fill in the pieces along the way. I almost never know exactly how something I write is going to turn out. I start with just one section, and it develops from there. You just have to trust the process and take it one step at a time.

Reward yourself. As I stated before, I can be the thrillseeker type of procrastinator, since I get so emotionally charged up about the things I have to do. So to add some spice to the mix, I put myself on a reward system to get things done. I give myself a deadline to complete something, and if I do it on schedule, I treat myself to something that I know I’ll enjoy. I started with very simple rewards, like an extra scoop of ice cream or a new necklace. I realized that when I procrastinated, this dark cloud remained over me, and I couldn’t enjoy my leisure time. So I started to reward myself with things like more family time, an afternoon at the park with my girls, or a date night with my husband.

I’ve mentioned breaking down your tasks. You don’t have to complete the huge task to reward yourself. Instead, implement little rewards along the way. While writing this book, I would give myself short tasks to complete a section, knowing that if I did so, the weekend time I spent with my family would be that much more rewarding and pleasurable since I’d knocked something off my list.

Reframe. Sometimes you get so wrapped up in your emotions and fears that you forget why you started on this journey in the first place. To reframe is to connect back to your why. it’s your reminder of what’s most important. When you connect to the driving force behind your journey, allow that force to propel you forward in spite of the temptation of procrastination.

Disconnect. Eliminate all possible distractions to create your work environment. Turn off the cell phone and television. Create a clean work space—whatever you need to do to help you focus and get to work. When I go into serious creation mode, I have to completely remove myself from any familiar environments. While finishing my dissertation, I spent two and a half days locked in a hotel room. I wrote, ate, slept, repeat. And it worked for me, I completed two of my five chapters. And for this book, I took the same approach. For three days, I focused all my attention on this book, in a hotel room, with tiny rewards along the way. I rewarded myself with a brownie one night, a hot tub party with my husband and daughters in the hotel another night, and a new bathing suit the last


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Interview with author Heather Harlow

Welcome, Readers. Happy Thanksgiving if you're in the US!

Today's special guest is Heather Harlow who is chatting about her novel, The Argon Factor.

Bio: Heather Harlow has wanted to be an author since adolescence. The Argon Factor is her first book in a series about aliens from the planet Argon.

She’s always been a fan of superheroes: Batman and Robin, Spiderman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Six Million Dollar Man, and the Bionic Woman. 

She likes sci-fi movies and series, like Star Trek and Battle Star Galactica. More recently, she’s been enjoying the Avenger movies. In addition to her sci-fi interests, she’s a romantic. Therefore, it was natural for her to write about science fiction and combine it with a human interest story that has sex and romance in it.

Heather graduated from University of Memphis (BBA) and Tennessee Technological University (MBA).  She currently resides in Atlanta, Georgia with her dogs, Mickey (13), a Golden Retriever, Jack (5 mos), a black lab/shepherd mix, and two cats, Smokey and Cali.

She loves wine, good music, great food, the beach, swimming, football (college and NFL), World Cup Soccer, and NHL Playoffs.

Welcome, Heather. Please tell us about your current release.
The Argon Factor is my first book in a series called, The Argonian Series. The first book introduces you to the aliens from planet Argon and Grogan of the Baldracon Universe, which was destroyed when one of their suns exploded into a super nova and eventually became a black hole. The story takes place 165 years into the future, where men and women seldom get married and most all parents are single parents. 

Susan is an independent young woman of the future planning her family and starting a new job in the recovering world economy and cities when her new job propels her into danger due a code breach. She finds herself in life threatening danger and due to a "chance" encounter in a deli, she find herself having to rely on somebody else. Christoph is not only the CEO of the firm where Susan works, but he's also the Argon Alien Commander on Earth. He must protect Susan from Grogans, while protecting his secrets. He must decide whether or not to pursue Susan as a mate. Susan has no idea what is about to happen and the feelings he's going to stir. Feelings, every woman in modern society has learned to suppress and ignore. All the while she has to allow a man to protect her. It completely goes against all she's been taught. But her instincts tell a different story.

What inspired you to write this book?
My friend, Beth, signed us both up for a class about writing your bestseller and another class about self-publishing. I was so ready to start writing books and from these classes, it's been only 8 months, and I've published my first book. The inspiration for this story and series of books hit me back in about 2003, I'd guess. I was living on St. John, I had moved there to be a writer and write books. While that never happened while on St. John, I did come up with this story and ideas for many more. They all just kept hitting me so fast, it would really overwhelm me and I would never get past the idea or outline.

An excerpt from The Argon Factor can be found on my website:

What exciting story are you working on next?
My next story is a continuation of your introduction into the aliens that have come to take Earth as their planet, the Grogans. While the Argons are just an advanced species of human, they only want to co-exist and integrate with humans. You'll learn about the Grogans and how their extremes are truly extremes of the worst nature. Susan is still in danger and must rely on Christoph while dealing with losing her independence and to an ALIEN no less! Her struggle is real because her instincts tell her to trust him and love him and be open the possibilities. All the while, due to the Grogan threat, the Argons must decide how to save Earth and the humans without revealing themselves and alerting the humans to the very real danger.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I think I've always considered myself a writer. When I was young eleven years old, I wanted to write books. My first true pursuit to writing a book and becoming an author came in 2001 when I moved to the Virgin Islands to do just that. I started considering myself an author in May of this year, 2015, when I wrote my first book. LOL... that doesn't mean I finished with all the edits and revisions in May! That takes some time.

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 plan to one day write full-time. But unfortunately, I have to pay my bills. I work as an IT program manager for a major telecomm. I telecommute, but I work from 8:30 am to 5:30 pm every day. When I take my 20 min breaks, I walk my dogs down the street and back (no matter the weather). Otherwise, I sit in my library/office in front of a computer screen where I instant message, email, and talk on conference calls all day long. I write my books after dinner and on the weekends. During my lunch breaks, I deal with my author marketing and the business side of being an author ---- sometimes that flows into the early evenings too. Although, during the day if an idea hits me for a blog, it's easy to take a 15 min break and type it out of my head. I go back later to edit, but the key is just getting it out.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I do not know if it is a quirk or not, but I write my best after having really great sex. One absolutely, terrific lovemaking session can fuel and start me writing for days.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
When I seven, I was taking ice skating lessons and I wanted to win an Olympic gold medal like Dorothy Hamil, but we moved to a small country town when I was 10 and there was no ice rink for miles.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
I like to write funny blogs. Well, at least I hope they're funny. I have a series called, "Are You Kidding me?" on my website. These are real life experiences that are to leave you shaking your head, smiling, and saying to yourself, 'are you kidding me?'' Here are some current titles: 'Rick Springfield's Ass,’ 'Spanish Hangover Fireworks,’ 'Toilet Paper,’ 'My Legs are Broken' (part 1 of plane crash).

Thank you for being here today, Heather!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Interview with medical suspense thriller author R. Arundel

I have a special interview today with author R. Arundel about his medical suspense thriller novel, The Face Transplant.

During his virtual book tour, Robert will be awarding a $50 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 his other tour stops and enter there, too.

R. Arundel is a practising surgeon. This experience brings realism to the story. The novel asks what would happen if a surgeon were to develop the perfect face transplant.  This would allow people to have a new face, in essence create a new identity. You can create the perfect double, the perfect Doppelganger.

A bit about the book:
An epic journey of suspense, murder, and sacrifice

Dr. Matthew MacAulay is a facial transplant surgeon at a prestigious New York hospital. When his friend and mentor, Tom Grabowski, dies under mysterious circumstances, Matthew uncovers his friend’s secret: a new technique that allows perfect facial transplants. No incisions, no scars. Tom was able to accomplish this monumental feat with the help of Alice, a supercomputer robot with almost human abilities. While trying to find the people responsible for murdering Tom, Matthew realizes he is the prime suspect. He must flee for his life with the help of Dr. Sarah Larsson, a colleague and reluctant helper, who has a secret of her own, and Alice, who helps them make sense of a baffling series of seemingly unrelated events. The clues carry Matthew and Sarah around the world. They stumble onto a sinister plot of monumental proportions that leads Matthew all the way to the White House.

The Face Transplant is a powerful medical suspense thriller of the first order. The novel was written by a surgeon who weaves politics, medicine, and espionage into a tightly paced, intelligent thriller.

Excerpt from The Face Transplant:
Matthew, “Sarah, I know. The tremors, the leg weakness. I put it all together. ALS.”

“My Sherlock Holmes at work again.” Sarah laughs.

“I know and I don’t care.”

Sarah smiles at Matthew. “Do you know what you’re saying?” “ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. A progressive neuro-muscular disorder with no cure. You will stop walking one day, and finally, you will lose control of all your muscles.”

“Not bad, Holmes.”

“We surgeons aren’t as thick as you think.”

“Then you know I don’t have long.” Sarah punches in the code to lock the anesthetic machine.

“I don’t care. I need you,” says Matthew.

“You know what my life will be very soon, how it is going to end.”

“I don’t care. I have to take a chance—I have to live. Give me that chance.”

“In the end I would regret doing that to you. I refuse to have you look after me in the prime of your life. I’m going to be on a ventilator, not able to move any muscle in my body. I’m going to end up being only able to use my eyes. Totally locked in a useless body.”

What are four things you can’t live without?
My watch. I like to be on time.
Ramen noodles. Delicious.
Hot Sunny beach.
Cellphone. My whole life is practically on that phone.

What is your favorite television show?
Justified.  Well written. Nice action scenes.

If you could be any character, from any literary work, who would you choose to be? Why?
Samuel Pepys. 17th Century London seemed like a fascinating place.

What have you got coming soon for us to look out for?
My new book is set in a different world where children battle adults. It’s not a fair fight because the children have special powers. Lord of the Rings meets Lord of the flies.

What books or authors have most influenced your own writing?
Michael Crichton, Agatha Christie, Stephen King

Link to Amazon | book Website

Thanks, Robert!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Interview with romance author Peggy Jaeger

Romance author Peggy Jaeger is here today to talk a bit about her new novel, First Impressions.

As she does her virtual book tour, Peggy will be awarding a $20 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!

Peggy Jaeger is a contemporary romance author who writes about strong women, the families who support them, and the men who can't live without them. 

Peggy holds a master's degree in Nursing Administration and first found publication with several articles she authored on Alzheimer's Disease during her time running an Alzheimer's in-patient care unit during the 1990s.

In 2013, she placed first in two categories in the Dixie Kane Memorial Contest: Single Title Contemporary Romance and Short/Long Contemporary Romance.

A lifelong and avid romance reader and writer, she is a member of RWA and her local New Hampshire RWA Chapter.

Welcome, Peggy. Please tell us about your current release.
Family Practice Doctor Clarissa Rogers’ first impression of Padric Cleary is biased and based on gossip. The handsome, charming veterinarian is considered a serial dater and commitment-phobic by his family and most of the town. Relationship shy, Clarissa refuses to lose her heart to a man who can’t pledge himself to her forever. 

Pat Cleary, despite his reputation, is actually looking for The One. When he does give his heart away, he wants it to be for life. With his parent’s marriage as his guidebook, he wants a woman who will be his equal and soul mate in every way.

Can Pat convince everyone – including Clarissa – she’s the only woman for him?

What inspired you to write this book?
This is the 3rd book in my MacQuire Women Series. In book 2, There’s No Place Like Home, I told the story of Moira Cleary. Moira has a twin brother, Padric ( Pat) and I fell in love with him when I was writing, so I wanted to give him his own happily ever after ending. First Impressions is his love story.

Excerpt from First Impressions:
“Have you ever been friends with a girl before?” she finally asked.
“Yes. Friends.”
“Have a beer and shoot some pool friends? Or the kind with benefits?”
She laughed out loud, shook her head and grinned. “Have you ever been friends with a girl without having sex mixed into the equation?”
“Not since I was sixteen,” he admitted and then felt his neck heat. “Why?”
She cocked her head again. “It’s no secret I’m attracted to you, too. I think my reaction to the way you kissed me proves it.”
“Why am I hearing a ‘but’?”
Her lips twitched at the corners. “But I don’t jump into bed with a man because I’m attracted to him.”
“I never thought you did.”
“Good to know.”He cocked his head. “So, what’s being friends got to do with anything?”
Clarissa sighed and settled back against the doorframe. “Can I be honest?”
“I would hope so.”
“I’ve been hearing about your reputation with women since I moved here, and I’m not looking to be the flavor of the week.”
He stared at her for a second as hurt washed through him. “When you say honest, you don’t pull any punches.”

What exciting story are you working on next?
At this moment I am editing the 4th book in the series, The Voices of Angels and writing the 5th. I also have another series I’m working on titled the Will Cook for Love series about 7 sisters. I am actively seeking an agent to represent that work, so if there are any out there reading this and are in the market for something new….give me a jingle. I know that was a shameless beg and I know I should be contrite about it. This is me, being contrite.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Wow, every day I still feel like a fraud! I wake up and can’t believe I’ve actually been published in book-length fiction. Years before I started writing fiction I wrote newsmagazine and trade magazine articles on topics ranging from motherhood to Nursing profession topics. Back then I did consider myself a writer. I was prolific, published and paid for my work. That writing was all straight forward topical work, though. Writing using my creativity, actually making up stories, for some reason, is different to me and has made it harder for me to consider myself a full fledged writer yet. Don’t get me wrong – I know what I do is considered good ( it wouldn’t have found a reputable publisher is it weren’t) but I’m still struggling with being judged for my imagination. You’d think I was a unconfident teenager reading this!

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 actually retired from my day job this past April and am now allowed the privilege and joy of writing fulltime. It used to be I got a few pages in catch-as-catch can. Now, I am at my laptop 8-10 hours daily and then 3-5 hours/day on the weekends updating my blogs (I have 2). I write every day. Every. Day. To me, writing is like breathing – I couldn’t survive if I didn’t do it. My website’s tagline is Writing is my Oxygen, so that tells you something.

I usually get up, get hubby off to work, go to the gym for an hour or so to keep my chair-ass from growing, and then sit down at the laptop. Life does intervene; I am still a wife, mother, housekeeper, bill-payer, grocery shopper and cook. I don’t sit solidly for 8-10 hours. My butt really would be the size of Montana, not to mention, numb. But when you add the hours I do spend each day (I have chronic insomnia so my days start sometimes at 2 am and goes until 9 pm) writing, it adds up to a typical 8-10 hour workday.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I use speech-to-text when I’m writing dialogue, then I play it back so I can get the feel for what the dialogue actually sounds like. Rhythm, cadence, tone are all important to me to get just so, and using this helps with that. I use different voices for the characters when they are speaking as well. Anyone walking by my house might either think I’ve got a houseful of people inside, or else I’m a total multiple personality sufferer.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Exactly what I am: wife, mother and writer! Yeah, I know…I’m livin’ my dream.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
Just this: I had my first novel published when I was 54. Don’t ever let someone tell you that you are too old, not talented enough, or wasting your time if you have a dream in your heart. Keep it strong and work toward it. Take chances and risks if it will bring you closer to seeing your dream fulfilled. I don’t believe in luck. The definition of luck to me is when preparedness meets opportunity. I got a publishing contract based on a contest I entered that the publisher of Wild Rose Press was judging (opportunity). She liked what I wrote, asked me to send the manuscript (preparedness) and a year later I had a book in my hands and contracts for a series. Don’t ever give up on a dream…no matter what. God wouldn’t have put the dream in your heart if he didn’t plan on seeing it fulfilled. Remember that. ‘Nuff said.


Thanks, Peggy! Happy writing.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, November 23, 2015

Interview with mystery author Greta Cribbs

Debut novelist Greta Cribbs kicks off this new week. We’re chatting about her paranormal mystery, Amelia’s Children.

Greta Cribbs has worn many hats over the years, from mom to schoolteacher to choir director. She constantly seeks out opportunities to indulge her many interests, but writing is the passion that has been with her the longest. She wrote her first poem at the age of nine and has been crafting stories ever since. Amelia's Children is her first published work. You can follow her on Twitter for the latest information about her writing and other projects she is working on.

Welcome, Greta. Please tell us about your current release.
Amelia's Children is a paranormal mystery told from the point of view of Sarah, a young woman who has returned to her hometown in the wake of a failed acting career. David Jenson is a mysterious stranger who is in town on what he calls "personal business", though he won't tell anyone what that business is. Determined to find out what David is up to, Sarah eventually comes to suspect that he has some connection to Amelia Davis, a local woman who was murdered in 1985. She also discovers that Amelia's death may have been more than a simple murder.

What inspired you to write this book?
I based Sarah's character primarily on myself. Her struggles with her career and her feelings of not fitting in were taken directly from my feelings about my own life at the time that I was writing the book.

The small town in which my book takes place is based on my own hometown, but the idea of setting the story there was inspired by the show Twin Peaks.

A lot of David's backstory was inspired by the first two seasons of Supernatural. I was feeling frustrated with the direction some of the storylines, particularly Sam Winchester's story, had taken after season three, and had all these ideas about how I would have written it, so I decided to put some of that in my own story.

Excerpt from Amelia’s Children:

My mind was so full of thoughts as I lay in bed that night that I have no idea how I managed to fall asleep, but somehow I did. I slept and I dreamed—of rivers and old gnarled trees, of blood and death and abandoned babies. I dreamed of David. I saw him standing on the riverbank looking out over the water. He looked over at me and held out his hand. I took it and we smiled at each other. We seemed to float up and up and up until the whole world disappeared and it was just me and him. Then he let me go and I was falling, but of course in dreams you never hit the ground so the next thing I knew I was back in the clearing by the old tree. I saw a foot sticking out from under a bush. Amelia Davis’s foot. But when I pulled back the leaves to see what was there, it was not Amelia’s body that I found. It was David’s. His lifeless eyes looked at me and through me and I tried to scream but there was no air. Then he grabbed my wrist and sat up. He put his face close to mine and shouted one word. “Help!”
My eyes shot open and I was in my room again, safe and sound. My heart was racing and I was wide awake. I tried to calm myself down, to tell myself that it was just a dream, but then I heard it again. It was like a whisper but at the same time it was so loud it made my ears ring. “Help!”
It was David’s voice.

What exciting story are you working on next?
My newest project is also a paranormal book, but it has more elements of urban fantasy than mystery. The main character is Damian, a man who for the past five years has tried to move on from his traumatic past, but a dark secret has come back to haunt him and now he must be the one to break the curse that has been passed down in his family for centuries.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I've been writing since I was nine years old, but fear of rejection kept me from pursuing writing as a serious career. When Amelia's Children birthed itself fully formed from my mind almost overnight, I knew I had to actually follow through this time. I was still hesitant to use the word "writer" to describe myself, not really being sure if I measured up to the title. Then I entered a short story contest a few months ago and actually won. That was the event that gave me the validation I needed to truly call myself A Writer.

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 not write full time. At the moment I am a stay at home mom who teaches piano lessons in the afternoon and exercise classes on the weekends. I would like to say that I have wonderful time management skills that help me find time to write, but the truth is I often spend time writing instead of doing housework. I mean really, who wants to clean the house when they could be writing the next Great American Novel?

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
Hmm…I guess that would be the fact that I have to be absolutely in love with my primary male character while I'm writing, otherwise I won't want to do it. Before I started the project I'm currently working on I had begun another book, but I wasn't feeling the characters so I had to put it away. In this new book, however, I adore Damian's character, and that makes writing about him a pleasure. When I was writing Amelia's Children, my heart was divided between David and Sarah's brother Will.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I started seriously thinking about that question when I was eleven. I was torn between wanting to be an astronomer and wanting to be a writer. I had just gotten interested in science fiction books, so studying planets and stars was fascinating to me. At the same time, however, I was also busily writing my first novel, a ghost story, and had dreams of growing up to be the female version of Stephen King. Then high school came along and I switched my focus to music. I'm just now getting back around to thinking of writing as a career.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
In addition to writing, I love singing, dancing, and studying Spanish. I've actually found a way to incorporate my love for the Spanish language into the new book I'm writing. It will show up here and there as I reveal pieces of Damian's family history.


Thanks, Greta! Happy writing.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Review of Emily Ross's YA mystery Half in Love with Death

Half in Love with Death
by Emily Ross
Young adult
Mystery / Thriller

Reviewed by Lisa Haselton

Teenage sisters. An older boy. Parents who “just don’t listen.” The drama and angst are a natural part of 15-year-old Caroline’s world, but she never imagined her older sister, Jess, would simply disappear from her life; and after an argument with harsh words, too.

It’s late summer in the mid-1960s and Caroline pines for her sister’s boyfriend and looks forward to going along with them on their dates. It’s not the best of relationships no matter how you look at it, but it works for her and she loves her sister Jess a lot. Lying isn’t comfortable for Caroline, but she’ll do it for Jess, especially when it involves Jess’s boyfriend. But one night Jess sneaks out – and never comes back. Frustrated when the police and her parents aren’t giving her any answers, Caroline keeps moving forward with the search as best she can.

Caroline’s viewpoint works so well in this story. She’s quite observant and questions the adults’ comments and rationales that don’t make sense to her. She’s shunned off by some adults, ignored by others, and is frustrated that people are giving up on getting answers. She encounters so many twists and turns, yet stays doggedly determined to find out what happened to Jess. Her focus is so sharp and narrow, however, that she starts to lose sight of what’s real.

Ross has a cast of teenage characters that pulled me back into memories of myself at that stage in life. There are the girl friends and guy friends who go from being trustworthy to avoidable because they can’t keep secrets any more. There are parents who are in their own worlds and trying to keep themselves happy and who have moments of seemingly listening to their children, but not really. Why can’t anyone just tell the truth, anymore?

It’s the main character, Caroline, respects adults and her own gut. When the two are in conflict, she works through it and decides what she feels is ‘right’. She’s not a teen who feels entitled to certain things, although she does have some typical traits of a middle child. She realizes there will be consequences to actions – is still at an age where she can’t forsee many outcomes – but doesn’t let her lack of knowledge keep her from at least trying to find answers to questions no one wants to answer.

Emily Ross’s fiction and non-fiction have been published in Boston magazine, The Smoking Poet, and Menda City Review. She was nominated for a St. Botolph Club Foundation Emerging Artist Grant, and Half in Love with Death received a 2014 Massachusetts Cultural Council finalist award in fiction.

I quite enjoyed reading Half in Love with Death for its story, but also relatable real-to-life young characters. Caroline has a lot of heart and a great head on her shoulders. Seeing her growth from the start of the book to the end is heartwarming. I consider this a highly recommended, pleasurable YA thriller. I think it’s the first I’ve read in this genre in the YA category.

If you’re interested in learning more about Emily, visit her website.

You can read my Nov 3rd interview with her here.

ISBN: 978-1-4405-8903-4
Publisher: Merit Press

(I received an ARC of this book with no promise of a review of any kind.)

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Interview with novelist Nicholas Conley

Welcome, Readers. Today’s guest is mystery author Nicholas Conley. He’s in the midst of a virtual book tour for Pale Highway.

Originally from California, Nicholas Conley has currently made his home in the colder temperatures of New Hampshire. He considers himself to be a uniquely alien creature with mysterious literary ambitions, a passion for fiction, and a whole slew of terrific stories he’d like to share with others.

When not busy writing, Nicholas is an obsessive reader, a truth seeker, a sarcastic idealist, a traveler, and — like many writers — a coffee addict.

Welcome, Nicholas. Please tell us about your current release.
My newest book is Pale Highway, a science fiction novel about Alzheimer’s disease. It’s the story of Gabriel Schist, a genius immunologist whose AIDS vaccine won him the Nobel Prize. But now, he has come down with Alzheimer’s disease, and is spending his remaining years in a nursing home — until a devastating new superbug starts infecting his fellow residents. He’s the only one capable of finding a cure, but doing so will mean racing the clock against his own dementia symptoms.

What inspired you to write this book?
This book exists because of my work with Alzheimer’s patients in a nursing home. After years of interacting with people who have this disease, I felt strongly that they deserved a greater representation in the media. All too often, Alzheimer’s is cast aside as if it’s a “normal” part of aging, which is definitely not the case, as it’s a horrendous disease that changes the entire structure of the brain. Considering that over 46 million people are estimated to suffer from some form of dementia, it’s really shocking that Alzheimer’s, and similar diseases, don’t receive more attention. Hopefully Pale Highway can help inspire people to rethink our society’s current discussion on Alzheimer’s.

What exciting story are you working on next?
I always have a slew of projects in various points of development, but my next focus is on a story I first conceived of back in 2010 after a visit to New York City. It’s of a similar genre to Pale Highway, but a different subject.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I started writing in elementary school, and was immediately enthralled with it. In some ways, I think that the storytelling gene existed in me even before that. Looking back on my childhood, I realize that all of the games I’d play with my younger brothers were epic sagas possessing elaborate storylines, spaceships, dragons, and intricate character dramas—and amusingly enough, commercial breaks, which we would then act out briefly before returning to the main story.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
Coffee consumption is as much a part of my writing process as typing, reading and sitting down. Starting my work for the day never quite feels right unless I have a mug of steaming black coffee in hand.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A writer, of course! From the point I wrote my first story until now, there’s never been another thing I felt so passionate and sure about.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
I can be found online at For frequent updates about writing, books, movies, travel, mixed with the occasional coffee pictures and obsessions, check out my blog. I’m also on Twitter at @NicholasConley1.


Thanks, Nicholas! Happy writing.