Friday, 30 December 2016

The Locksmith's Secret by Tahlia Newland

Award-winning author Tahlia Newland has written seven novels, one book of short stories and a book of writing tips—The Elements of Active Prose. She writes fantasy and magical realism with a touch of romance, and her writing, in its emphasis on the power of the mind, reflects her extensive experience in meditation. Three of her novels have won a BRAG Medallion and an Awesome Indies Seal of Excellence.

She works as an editor for AIA Editing and Publishing, a selective, author-funded publishing company, and lives in an Australian rainforest with a lovely husband and two cheeky Burmese cats. She also makes masks and steampunk accessories, and her wardrobe is full of steampunk clothing which she wears every day because beautiful clothes deserve to be worn.

Connect with the Author

About the Book

Ella’s boyfriend Jamie seems to be her perfect match until a death in the family calls him back to England and it becomes clear that he’s hiding something. Can their relationship survive the revelation of something so astounding that it completely changes Ella’s perception of him and his place in her world?

While Jamie struggles with family responsibilities, Ella’s steampunk murder mystery develops a life of its own, raising disturbing memories of her time as a striptease artist and a past life as a sexually abused Italian nun. She also dreams of an ephemeral city, where she seeks to unravel the locksmith’s secret and find the key that opens a door to other realities.

All these, together with a lost brother, a desperate mother, a demanding cat, and a struggle to live up to Buddhist ideals, weave together in a rich tapestry that creates an extraordinary work of genre-bending transrealist fiction.

Get it today on Smashwords, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, and Kobo!

Keep reading for an interview with the author:

Do you have a "day job"? If so, what do you do?

I'm a freelance editor.

What genres do you write?

Fantasy and magical realism mostly, but The Locksmith's Secret is primarily a romance with magical elements. I've also written a non-fiction book on writing - The Elements of Active Prose: Writing Tips to Make Your Prose Shine.

Is there a genre that you've been wanting to experiment with? If so, what is it and what attracts you to it?

Steampunk. There's a steampunk thread in The Locksmith's Secret. It's a story the central character is writing. Though it comes to a conclusion, the story isn't completely finished in that book, so I've started writing the ending which I hope to publish as The RIse of the Aether Mages. I like the steampunk genre because of the plucky heroines, the action packed stories, the light-hearted touch and the magical element. What drew me to steampunk initially was the clothing. I love steampunk clothes, so much so that I wear them all the time.

What inspires you to write?

Meditation. Often when I sit and let my mind clear, vibrant scenes just pop into my mind. I feel like I'm right there and that's very inspiring.

What is the biggest obstacle you face as an author and what do you do to overcome it?

Marketing is my biggest obstacle. It doesn't come easily to me. I try to break the tasks down into easy steps and focus on one thing at a time, otherwise I get overwhelmed with all the things I could, and maybe should, do. Marketing can be a big time suck. and you never know whether anything you do will be worth the time you put into it.

What is the best compliment you've ever received as an author?

I think getting the awards I've won. Many reviewers have said lovely things about my work, but it's not easy to get a BRAG Medallion or an Awesome Indies Seal of Excellence and I have three of them.

What is the best writing advice you've ever received?

Write as if you're right there in the scene, smelling what is to be smelt, seeing what is to be seen, hearing all the sounds, feeling all the feelings and so on. People say that my writing is very evocative in this way.

What made you decide to self-publish?

I scored an agent for my first book, Lethal Inheritance, and a major Australian publisher wanted to publish it until their marketing department decided that they couldn't handle another YA fantasy. Those two things told me that the book was good enough to publish. My agent had tried all the big publishers, and she said not to go with a small publisher, which meant that I either shelved the series or self-published, so I decided to give it a go.

The Diamond Peak series was later picked up by a US publisher. After that I decided that I liked having total control of my work and so have published my books through my own company(AIA Publishing) ever since.

Have you ever gotten an idea for a story from something really bizarre? Tell us about it.

The Locksmith's Secret came from a visual image of a girl in a transparent city floating in outer space. She was all alone in this deserted city except for a locksmith in a room high in a skyscraper. What was he going to do with all those keys when the city had no doors? This ephemeral city is now a story thread in the book.

Do you have any advice for other authors?

Yes, don't rush into self-publishing. Premature publishing is a really bad start. Also it's a minefield of sharks. You need to do a lot of resesarch and study on the topic, because you're learning to be a publisher. You also have to learn marketing and that's another steep learning curve if you know nothing about it to start with.

Tuesday, 27 December 2016

The Nightmare Birds by Amie Irene Winters

As an environmental conservationist, Amie Irene Winters has had a lot of unique experiences—from participating in archaeological digs and camping solo in the Rocky Mountains, to writing grants and designing natural history museum exhibits—but writing fiction has always been her passion. She's the award-winning author of the Strange Luck series.

Originally from California, Amie has lived in every region of the U.S., and currently resides in a small town in western Pennsylvania. She loves hiking, traveling, baking desserts, and spontaneous adventures. Visit to learn more about Amie and her books.

Connect with the Author

Info on Upcoming Books and Events

About the Book

Only those who possess wild eyes, an impulsive heart, and a wandering spirit hunt for the Theater of Secrets—and once they witness the darkest of magic, they don’t return.

It promises to change your life forever—but is the mysterious Theater of Secrets legend or something more? Tasked to answer that very question, Daisy Darling sets out to uncover the truth and is thrown headlong into a life where inexplicably strange and dark things happen nightly. A life of deception and uncertainty. A life in the spotlight as the theater’s ringleader.

As Daisy assumes her new role, she not only discovers a surprising connection between herself and the previous ringleader, but also the haunting truth behind the theater’s limitless power. Determined to expose the theater and foil its wicked plan, Daisy must first embrace her heritage before she can defeat the dark forces at play.

Get it today on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, Book Depository, and Indie Bound!

Keep reading for an excerpt:

“Daisy,” he said deeply, instantly calling me to attention. “I don’t make guarantees often because I’m a man of my word, but I can guarantee you one thing from this moment forward. Do you wish to know what it is?”

I nodded, hanging on his every word.

“What you’re about to experience will be the most electrifying and the most terrifying thing to ever happen to you.”

Looking down, I took a deep, surrendering breath, trying to come to terms with the fate I had so willingly accepted.

Just as he started to move away from me, he turned, his hair whipping around him from an unexplained wind. “Are you scared, Daisy?” he asked.

I looked up, clenching the dress to my chest. “Yes,” I whispered honestly.

“Good.” Mr. Black smirked. “It’s better that way.”

Saturday, 24 December 2016

Intriguing Women by Lakshmi Raj Sharma

Lakshmi Raj Sharma is a Professor of English at the University of Allahabad. His first novel, The Tailor’s Needle, was published by Penguin Books India in 2012. His first story collection, Marriages are Made in India, was published by Publerati (USA) in 2012. His second story collection, Intriguing Women, is published by The Paris Press in March. 2016.

Connect with the Author

About the Book

Intriguing Women is Lakshmi Raj Sharma’s third work of fiction. After the success of his debut novel The Tailor’s Needle and his first book of short stories Marriages Are Made In India, Sharma now publishes a second, masterly collection of stories about women in all their infinite – and intriguing – variety. Male readers may learn something useful too…

The stories have international and Indian settings. They are postmodern stories because they are globally conceived and they bring out what is contemporary in today's world. This is the age of women as they're acquiring a new position in society. Some are coping well but some are not. These stories are about women in this context. The stories become mirrors unto women as they can see to which category they belong. A mirror reflects the truth which can be both beautiful and ugly; these stories are truthful reflections in that sense. We visit Europe, we travel to Afghanistan and we celebrate the rich variety of the Indian continent. These are women who may seem superficially normal, but might not be, and women who strive for normality at all costs. Sharma also raises questions; can a woman reconcile herself to terrorism? How do we react to a woman who kills several of her husbands? Definitions of femininity are examined and magnified through the prism of fiction. There are humorous stories, serious ones, and those that take you on a literary tourism.

We meet women who despite years of oppression, are smart enough to ride the 21st century successfully, while others are left behind, unable to handle the complexities of modern life. These stories report, reflect and examine the feminine nature.

What is it like to be born a woman, most particularly an Indian woman?

Intriguing stories indeed.

Get it today on Amazon and Barnes & Noble!

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Through the Darkness: Stories of Hope - Kirsten Campbell

Collaboration in Motion
"I tried to say something. My mouth wouldn’t move. I tried to raise my head and blacked out."

Award winning Paranormal/Dystopian author, Kirsten Campbell says she is inspired by her children and grandchildren to write stories that keep them and her audience not only enthralled, but coming back for more!

The New Yorker with a big heart shares with her readers: Lately, I’m dabbling in Urban Paranormal Romance. It’s fun and there’s lots of emotion in the books. I love writing!

WADIFTS - Why did you decide to be a writer?

K.C. - I had lots of stories and poetry in my head that needed an outlet, so I wrote everything down.

WADIFTS - Have you ever gotten an idea for a story from something really bizarre?

K.C. - Yes. My short story in Through the Darkness was based on something bizarre that happened in my life.

Through the Darkness ~ Stories of Hope

WADIFTS - I read your contribution to the book… It is palpable, to say the least. What are you working on now?

K.C. - My G.O.D.s Series books, Urban Paranormal Dystopian/ Romance. I am at the editing stage of the second book.”

WADIFTS - This is your signature series, garnering awards and several notable interviews. Have you ever had a particularly harsh critique? If so, how did you handle it?

K.C. - I take all my critiques very seriously and endeavor to do better the next time, but I have
learned that you can’t please everyone.

WADIFTS - Out of curiosity, if you were stranded on a deserted island, and you could only have five books with you, what would they be?

K.C. -
Through the Darkness ~ Stories of Hope
Blood Master Book 1 of the G.O.D.s Series/ Kirsten Campbell
Servant of the Bones/Anne Rice
Dune/ Frank Herbert
I know why the Caged Bird Sings/ Maya Angelou

WADIFTS - I see that some of your choices are outside of your creative genres of Urban Paranormal Dystopian, Speculative, Science Fiction and Nonfiction.

K.C. - I don’t write in any specific genre. I write in several genres and enjoy each, but my favorite is
Urban Paranormal.

WADIFTS - Quid-pro-quo; Pantser or Outliner?

K.C. - I’m definitely an outliner. I like to know where my story is going and if I have to add anything, I add to the outline.

WADIFTS - If you could choose an author to be your mentor, who would it be?

K.C. - Anne Rice. I love her writing.

WADIFTS - What book or series do you enjoy reading over and over again?

K.C. - Star Wars/Trilogy, Ender’s Game & Dune.

Kirsten Campbell

WADIFTS - Being employed as a Legal/ Funds Assistant at an Investment Firm doesn’t leave you much spare time. How many books are on your reading list?

K.C. - About fifty. (I have some manga in there, too!) The Mirror Cracked, This is Me, Souls of the Reaper, and Vampire Knight.

WADIFTS - What is the best compliment you've ever received as an author?

K.C. - I’m in love with Griffin Storm, the main character in first G.O.D.s series book, Blood Master.

WADIFTS - Do you have any advice for other authors?

K.C. - Yes. Don’t think, do. Just do it, get it written and then get it published. There now. Nuff said!


In a world where challenges multiply exponentially by the second a group of women reach into their past pull out their inspirations and speak to the positive possibilities shrouded in ~ HOPE 


    OUR INSPIRATION Collaboration In Motion (#CIM) was established in 2016 by a group of women inspired by HOPE. 

    Monday, 19 December 2016

    Through the Darkness: Stories of Hope - K.K. Harris

    Collaboration in Motion

    K.K. Harris - Let me start by saying, thank you to all of my fans who support my work consistently; I love you, and it has been an amazing journey!

    Currently, I am working with a group of women writers on a project entitled Collaboration In Motion-Women Doing It For Themselves. Our first book is called, Through The Darkness-Stories Of Hope of which I not only contributed my writing skills but graphic designs as well. 

    Through the Darkness ~ Stories of Hope

    “Are you stalking me? How did you know where I lived?” 
    WADIFTS - With so many genres in your literary repertoire, such as urban fiction, Christian romance, paranormal romance, and crime (just to name a few) we are all curious to know, just what inspires you and what is your process?

    K.K. Harris - My creative juices are driven by my imagination and the overall love to create. As far as my process, I would have to say that I am not the traditional outliner. For instance, I can spend a fair amount of time outlining/planning a story and then, just-like-that, change 85% of it before the end! ...So I guess that makes me a bit of a "pantser". To expound, my creative mind is always open to inspiration from different sources-music being one of them-I love Jill Scott and she has this snippet of a song called "Crown Royal on Ice." One day while listening to it, I had a vision of a couples retreat centered around getting to love again. Some pretty interesting happy endings popped off in that tale... After all, If I could choose a mentor, it would be Romance author, Francis Ray.

    WADIFTS - That sounds intriguing! Aside from that little brain-tease, what are you working on aside from Through The Darkness-Stories Of Hope?

    K.K. Harris - A personal story that I named Never Enough. It will be seriously deep and possibly a tear jerker- but I have put it off long enough. I also own a janitorial service, but my most important and satisfying occupation is that of mother and wife.

    WADIFTS - Your life sounds very well rounded and conducive for great story-telling. Speaking of which, are there any stories that you enjoy reading over and over again?

    K.K. Harris - Well, thank you. And I would have to say that my life is conducive for great story telling because one of the greatest compliments that I ever received was, "You wrote my life story, I can relate to your characters."

    ...And selfishly, the stories that I enjoy reading over and over are a set of books entitled, The Crew
    Series, which I began authoring in 2013. ...I know how they end, yet, I still cry when my main character cries. Lol... I'm a sap!

    WADIFTS - If you were stranded on a deserted island, and you could only have five books with you, what would they be?

    K.K. Harris -
    • Through the Darkness ~ Stories of Hope
    • Brock's Redemption - EJ Brock
    • Stealing Innocence - Sylvia Hubbard, D. 
    • Love Drug - K. K. Harris
    • The rest of the series to any book

    WADIFTS - Have you ever had a particularly harsh critique? If so, how did you handle it?

    K.K. Harris - I've had, who I considered to be, irrational reviewers who claim another book is better or there were too many errors... I simply responded with questions of my own, like "What were the terrible points?" "What could I have done different?" "Point out the errors"... But alas, no response.

    WADIFTS - I commend you're patience and professionalism in those situations. Oft times readers don't realize what you pour into a story. Last but not least, Mrs. Harris, do you have any advice for other authors?

    K.K. Harris - Grind hard, and when you think you have done enough, grind harder.

     CIM = HOPE

    In a world where challenges multiply exponentially by the second a group of women reach into their past pull out their inspirations and speak to the positive possibilities shrouded in ~ HOPE 


      OUR INSPIRATION Collaboration In Motion (#CIM) was established in 2016 by a group of women inspired by HOPE. 

      Sunday, 18 December 2016

      Through the Darkness: Stories of Hope - JESSie NW

      Collaboration in Motion

      JESSie NW - I write romantic contemporary women’s romance. I also have an uncompleted series about a murderer. I consider it a Mystery series vs. a Suspense series. In answer to “experimentation,” my answer is Inspiration. I never thought about inspiring someone until now. I realize my test turned into my testimony, thinking there are those who find my history inspiring. This makes me smile.

      WADIFTS - And rightly so -You are a welcome addition to Collaboration In Motion-Women Doing It For Themselves! We need your voice.

      Through the Darkness ~ Stories of Hope

      "Sometimes, I feel as if I am a simple amenity to the structure that is his world."

      Meet JESSie NW, Pen-Name for undercover author and collaborator of the new release, Through The Darkness-Stories of Hope. You may think we are joking but JESSie NW is a pseudonym the Government employee uses for the purpose of writing professionally.

      “I work for the Federal Government,” JESSie shares openly. “…and there are so many rules and regulations that I not only write under a Pen Name, I refuse to say which agency… After chatting with my sisters, we thought to publish under one of their names, but both will one day to write their own story. That is when we constructed an anagram and published under this Nome de plume.”

      If that isn’t interesting enough certainly the driving force behind her craft is! JESSie NW never consciously decided to pursue a writing career, yet, the writing style found in The Solomon Sisters Series seems to resonate a certain graceful strength gifted by God, and tried by tragedy…

      “My mother is a retired Professor who taught Writing/English. There were strict, unwritten rules regarding English in our home (i.e. reading, writing and homework) but especially speaking clearly and enunciating. So, let us fast-forward 25+ years to getting married and having my husband abruptly taken from me during an ATM robbery. I needed and finally accepted emotional therapy where I dealt with the anger, pain and grief surrounding this pain of being a 29-year old pregnant widow. Finally, 11 years after Eddie's death, I decided to pursue what always soothed my soul – writing. I stopped running from it and embraced it with fervor. So technically, my writing career pursued me. When I finally stopped running and gave in to its healing powers, I published my first book in June of 2013.

      When asked what inspires her to write, the author (not unlike her peers) answered, “Truly it started as therapy. Now it is what allows me to breathe.”

      WADIFTS - Tell us, have you ever had a particularly harsh critique?

      JESSie NW - “Who does your editing?” The author answers candidly.

      How did I handle it? I added an editor to the process of publishing. I now have three editors go over the product before it goes live.

      WADIFTS - Love your attitude-very professional. I see that you “eat the meat and spit out the bones,” remaining focused on the task at hand. Any advice for fellow authors?

      JESSie NW - My advice for authors is do not ever think you are in competition with anyone. No matter how many books you write a true reader will want more. You may be their favorite writer but even if you put out a book a day, it wouldn’t be enough. A true reader is going to find something to read. So take your time put out a great product, make your book the one they come back to over and over again. Setting yourself as a competitor against someone who can never be you is ridiculous. The best part is you are not them either.

      WADIFTS - Speaking of “Over and Over again,” what book or series do you enjoy reading over and over again?

      JESSie NW - The Great Controversy; it keeps me in tune with my ultimate goal.

      WADIFTS - If you could choose an author to be your mentor, who would it be?

      JESSie NW - This is such a hard question… John Grisham has a flare I would like to mimic, but Nora Roberts seems to have an imagination unmatched. I believe my imagination and equally distinctive style (urban dialectic similar to bougie black) will rock the market.

      JESSie NW

      WADIFTS  - Quid-pro-quo: If you were stranded on a deserted island, and you could only have five books with you, what would they be?

      JESSie NW -
      • Through the Darkness ~ Stories of Hope by *Talented Beauties*
      • The Holy Bible King James Version (with highlighter)
      • The Simplicity of the Biblical Sanctuary by *Virginia Echols Harrison*
      • The Desire of Ages by *Ellen G. White*
      • And the Mirror Cracked by *M. Handy*

      WADIFTS - What are you working on now?

      JESSie NW - Recently I lost sixty percent of my sequel in The Solomon Sisters series.

      WADIFTS - That must have been devastating?

      JESSie NW - I refuse to release the first book of my next series about our infamous egomaniac who keeps killing people… When this person wants a promotion, someone gets in his or her way. There is always a solution. Then there is another promotion so now what?

      “Fasten Your Seat Belts!”

      WADIFTS - What is the best compliment you've ever received as an author?

      JESSie NW - “I absolutely hate your characters.”

      Me: “Really, which ones.”

      Them: “All of them; who names a character Jelly? It is completely unbelievable.”

      This said to me, that they read the book; it bugged them enough to send me an email. The book stuck with them enough to cause action...success.

      WADIFTS - Have you ever gotten an idea for a story from something really bizarre? Tell us about

      JESSie NW - All the time. Every time I go to an island I see something else and I go, “this is going to be good.” Often I encounter negativity in humans; I then allow my imagination to write them into a scenario befitting their attitude. Many end up dead…

      WADIFTS - Oh-boy-Lol!

      Quid-pro-quo: Are you a pantser or outliner?

      JESSie NW 
      - A panster all the way. I have a set of stories in my head and I see the outcome. Then I write, sometimes it works out. Other times it sits on my computer until I pull out a page or two and another story envelopes it.

      WADIFTS - I certainly can relate to your process! How many books do you have on your "to read" list? What are some of them?

      JESSie NW - I checked my Goodreads list and the crazy number is 1189.

      The three books that I will review next are:
      • The First Lady’s Choice (technically finished) 
      • How to Kill a Lie
      • King 

      WADIFTS - Wow! 1189? Anyone needing a review better get on the list now! Do you have anything specific you'd like to say to your readers?

      JESSie NW - To my readers I say: Thank you for listening to the voices in my head. Sometimes they compete for my attention and the ones who win that day get in the book. Sooner or later they will all come out and when they do; you will get to meet them. one or two at a time.

       CIM = HOPE

      In a world where challenges multiply exponentially by the second a group of women reach into their past pull out their inspirations and speak to the positive possibilities shrouded in ~ HOPE 


        OUR INSPIRATION Collaboration In Motion (#CIM) was established in 2016 by a group of women inspired by HOPE. 

        Saturday, 17 December 2016

        Through the Darkness: Stories of Hope - M. Handy

        Collaboration in Motion

        Thank you so much for letting me share my world with you today.

        I am M. Handy an intrinsically innate partner in Collaboration In Motion #CIM.

        Realistically, I am the initiate of the group. Thus, the reason we are here today is based on
        the Project: Women Are Doing It For Themselves:

        Collaboration In Motion

        Through the Darkness ~ Stories of Hope
        Note: "Window Shopping" keeps you on the other side of the glass and away from true or real intimacy.

        First and foremost, I am an inspirational writer with the intentions of provoking thought and/or
        encouraging my readers to elevate above or either outlasts their opposition. I believe that another set of circumstances is always available and my position is to encourage the steps necessary to achieve purpose and fulfillment. Therefore, I am excited about this collaboration on our book about hope.

        I encourage every aspiring author to – “Write “it” until it makes complete sense to you. Write “it” until there is no doubt about the clarity of the intended message… And then you are ready to share it with the world.”

        Let’s get the test question out of the way:

        If you were stranded on a deserted island, and you could only have five books with you, what would they be?
        • Through the Darkness ~ Stories of Hope 
        • The Bible
        • A Bible Concordance 
        • Some type of cookbook on the complexities of Island Dining-Lol
        • How To Build A Fire and Send A Signal While Constructing a Raft! Lol!

        There are so many authors to choose from this is why “I appreciate my reading audience allowing me into their head-space and hearts. Your connection to the characters that I develop proves that there is someone out there who relates to my message. For a writer, there is no greater stage, nor louder applause and I am grateful.

        If you’d like to interact please reach out or”

        While I was: I’m working on a this project; which is a collaborative effort shared by several women, entitled, Through The Darkness-Stories of Hope. I am also rewriting my first project, entitled: Chronicles of a Well Woman-The Bliss Fix.

        Before this project I had an idea for a really bizarre story about pedophilia. I know very bizarre and based a sequel on this very idea. And… The Mirror Cracked is enshrouded in the foundation of an international child-sex trafficking ring. Feel free to grab a copy of that one too.

        Everything intrigues me because I am a visionary who fell in love with words and the way they affect people. This, coupled with my creative nature left no other place for my gift to flow other than books and someday, films; this is why I became an author.

        Although I’ve held a variety of jobs. The most recent being an editor, CSR, and focused visionary I find my solace in writing in these genre’s: Inspiration, Spiritual, Women’s Lit, Romance, Suspense, Humor, Mystery, Narrative Fiction. I have recently found I am “pantser”. I’ll get an epiphany and the inner wheels of creativity will start turning and I work until they stop.

        I’ve always wanted to experiment with Erotic Romance… Being Christian, I’ve tested the waters but never quite plunged in. I’m drawn to the erotic side of romance because it is an area of sheer abandonment where two people can express themselves within the safety net of love, commitment and trust.

        I mentioned being a Christian so the only book that I’ve ever read “over and over again” is the Bible because it is always current.

        Other books I’ve read in 2016 that I love are:
        • The Girl On The Train
        • Various books on healing by Robert L. Bufkin
        • The Plastic Face: The Solomon Sisters and short pieces by Mark Hamilton Stevens 

        I’m sure there are many many more, but since my preoccupation with editing and writing my recall is failing-Lol!

        I currently have 28 books on my (TBR) “to be read” list the top five are:
        • The Two-Family House by Lynda Cohen Loigman
        • Incapable by Marie Skye
        • Monster by Ben Burgess Jr.
        • The Healer by Jeffrey G. Roberts
        • Through The Fire: Your Past Will Always Follow You by Taisha DeMay

        These authors coupled with the need to understand and teach at the same time are my inspiration for writing. My mentors on the other hand are Bishop Noel Jones. I’ve had the pleasure of hearing him speak, and he has a grand command of the English language that he channels through a profound gift of being definitive. The man is a tireless teacher whose lessons teeter on the edge of verbosity and then draw back just in time for you to catch the revelation! He is, to say the least, boldly eloquent…

        Although no one has ever complimented me that highly I have received a compliment that resonates in my mind “that my writing style is bold, unafraid and should be on the big screen. And, being gifted an honorary doctorate for contributions of Christian (Sacred) literature…” This statement motivates me as I continue to write. I have also received a particularly harsh critique back in the beginning of my Blogging days. I was told, “I could be repetitive” and I received a two-star review on Goodreads with no explanation. These critiques drive me to be a better author and simply inspire me.

         CIM = HOPE

        In a world where challenges multiply exponentially by the second a group of women reach into their past pull out their inspirations and speak to the positive possibilities shrouded in ~ HOPE 


          OUR INSPIRATION Collaboration In Motion (#CIM) was established in 2016 by a group of women inspired by HOPE. 

          Friday, 16 December 2016

          Through the Darkness: Stories of Hope - D. Odell Benson

          Collaboration in Motion

          "First, I asked God to forgive me for doubting His ability..."
          "As an author, my mind is normally flooded and overflowing with stories and ideas that I can't wait to share with everyone," explains the thirty-nine-year-old, native Philadelphian. 

          "When writing, everything that is noted comes from the heart. Of course, some things are greater than others because I write in different genres, but even then, every word comes from within."

          Meet D. Odell Benson, author of several titles, notably, The Ryan Matters Series and most recently, contributor to a project entitled, Collaboration In Motion-Women Doing It For Themselves.

          Through the Darkness ~ Stories of Hope

          A peek at Ms. Benson’s bio will tell you that she’s anything but average, holding several degrees and currently employed as a prudent fraud analyst for a large company; she still makes time to satisfy her avid reading appetite.

          WADIFTS - How many books do you have on your "to read" list? What are some of them?

          D. Odell Benson - “At least 50” she confesses: These are the next seven books I will be reading; in this exact order.
          • The Passage Trilogy by Justin Cronin
          • The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead
          • No Mud, No Lotus: The Art of Transforming Suffering by Thich Nhat Hanh
          • The Miracle of Mindfulness: An Introduction of the Practice of Mediation by Thich Nhat Hanh
          • Old Path White Clouds: Walking in the Footsteps of the Buddha by Thich Nhat Hanh

          WADIFTS - quid pro quo: If you were stranded on a deserted island, and you could only have five books with you, what would they be?

          D. Odell Benson -
          • Through the Darkness ~ Stories of Hope
          • Living Buddha, Living Christ
          • The Dala Lama's Book of Wisdom
          • Lost Horizon by: James Hilton
          • The Hunger Games (Don’t judge)

          WADIFTS - I won’t judge… I can see how The Hunger Games would inspire courage in a “deserted Island” situation (chuckling).

          D. Odell Benson - However, I must confess that if I could have only two books I would choose to read Living Buddha, Living Christ and Lost Horizon over and over again. I read them both once a year.

          WADIFTS - Now I am intrigued and will be adding those books to my reading list, as well. Given the theme of your last series, your audience knows that you are comfortable writing about murder, mystery and suspense. What other genres are you interested in writing?

          D. Odell Benson - Romance and drama are a few, although, I won't limit myself to just these genres because there are far too many to explore. For instance, the book we are about to release, Through The Darkness-Stories of Hope is an inspirational piece. And, I would love to experiment with comedy… The ability to make people laugh is something I enjoy, but the thought of making the World laugh is exciting! But, do keep in mind, if I had to choose one author to be my mentor, it would be Stephen King-hands down! …One of the best compliments that I ever received was, “D. Odell Benson gives Stephen King a run for his money with this book." ~ Kissablysweet1

          WADIFTS - quid pro quo: Are you a pantser or outliner?

          D. Odell Benson - Pantser for sure. I tried to outline but it doesn't work for me. Give me a title or genre and off to the races I go!

          D. Odell Benson

          WADIFTS - Have you ever had a particularly harsh critique? How did you handle it?

          D. Odell Benson - No I haven't… Well, I didn’t think that they were harsh. Telling me that there are grammatical errors and maybe I need to hire a better editor is something that I might possibly consider helpful. But saying the story is too graphic lets me know they were able to see my vision. Mission accomplished!

          Personally, one thing that silences all negativity for me is my family. We have a two-year-old, little girl whose favorite thing to say is, “FEET-FEET!” Anytime she would do something she wasn't supposed to, she would yell out, “FEET-FEET”! No matter what we said or did it was “FEET-FEET!” coming from her. So, I wrote a children's book just for her and her “FEET-FEET”.

          WADIFTS - That is absolutely beautiful… What are you working on now?

          D. Odell Benson - I'm currently focused on a drama that is outside of The Ryan Matters Series. I have yet to disclose the title, but there are short passages of this book located on my blog. Just look for the story on Eric and Rhonda.

          WADIFTS - Do you have any advice for other authors?

          D. Odell Benson - Never give in, never give up. If you have 1 follower or 1,000,000 followers on social media, keep writing but remain true to yourself.

           CIM = HOPE

          In a world where challenges multiply exponentially by the second a group of women reach into their past pull out their inspirations and speak to the positive possibilities shrouded in ~ HOPE 


            OUR INSPIRATION Collaboration In Motion (#CIM) was established in 2016 by a group of women inspired by HOPE. 

            Thursday, 15 December 2016

            Through the Darkness: Stories of Hope - Carol Ann Kauffman

            Collaboration in Motion

            It is with great anticipation that we welcome seasoned author, Carol Ann Kauffman to this project of Collaboration in Motion-Women Doing It for Themselves!

            The former educator of 35 years was the reading teacher to second and third graders during the last three years of her career; retiring only to care for her convalescing mother. Since then she has penned numerous titles, created a blog to host, promote, and support authors and artists, of diverse experiences. We greet her with open arms as a contributor to our upcoming release- Through The Darkness-Stories of Hope.

            Through the Darkness ~ Stories of Hope

            "If you are reading this, I can only assume Stephen and I are dead."

            Mrs. Kauffman believes with strong conviction that, “There is NO difference between someone who can’t read and someone who won’t. Reading is the single most important thing you can do for yourself. And if you have children, they need to see you read many different types of reading material. They need to see you read for enjoyment and stress control as well as general knowledge.”

            I usually read about 20 books a month. On this month’s list are:
            • The Angler and the Owl by Viv Drewa, 
            • In a Heartbeat by Josie Cara, 
            • The Bounder Redeemed by Alison Jean Ash, 
            • Not Young, Still Restless by Jeanne Cooper, 
            • A Corpse in the Chapel by J.B. Hawker, and 
            • Powerful Proofreading by Debra Smith to name a few.

            With such strong convictions, we asked Carol just what was it that inspired her to become a writer?

            Carol Ann Kauffman - “I do not know!” she responds emphatically. “I have always written. I don’t ever remember making a conscious choice… I also had my students write to me in a journal. From experience I know that sometimes it’s easier for them to write about something that scares them than to say it.”

            WADIFTS - It’s one thing to write recreationally, but quite another to share your gifts with an audience. What made you want to become a writer?

            Carol Ann Kauffman - I used to write little stories using the week’s spellings words for my first grade class. Following would be a list of comprehension questions. This activity whet my skills to pen a few children's stories about a talking elephant named Captain Packy. But I didn't know what to do with them when they were done, so the manuscripts sat in a white bankers box in my office. A relative who needed a home moved in with me and used my office as a bedroom, so the box of Captain Packy stories went to the basement. The basement flooded. The box was soaked. Back then, there were no digital back-ups. The visual image of that box of floating manuscripts in the basement stuck with me. (Don’t feel bad, they weren’t that great.) I vowed the next time I would DO something with them. Many years later, after retirement, after my mother passed away, I started to write down a few scenes for a book for grown-ups. After I had a few substantial scenes, I began to weave them into a story. Soon I had a full-length novel written.

            WADIFTS - quid pro quo: Are you a pantser or outliner?

            Carol Ann Kauffman - Both! I outline the big picture, sometimes only five sentences before I begin to write, and they I just fly with it.

            WADIFTS - I bet you took the industry by storm!

            Carol Ann Kauffman - Not exactly. I began the query letter process to the big publishers and was surprised how long it took to get an "I loved it but..." letter back in the mail. Six to eight weeks for comments like too long, too clean, or too convoluted. I thought “I’m too old for this!” So in 2011, I decided to do it myself through Kindle Direct Publishing. I have never regretted the decision.

            Carol Ann Kauffman

            WADIFTS - With just under twenty titles to your credit what genres do you write, and is there one that you've been wanting to experiment with?

            Carol Ann Kauffman - I write romantic contemporary women’s fiction (I don’t dare say “romance” because of what that’s come to stand for lately) and I write mysteries. I have a few that are classified as sci-fi. …As far as experimenting with genres, I have pretty much been experimenting all over the place! For instance, one bizarre storyline entitled, Lord of Blakeley, developed into a time travel novel about a simple farm boy who marries a woman who turns out to be an alien princess, and a jealous man with a mobile transport device who separates them to many different places: a rock planet, a slave ship, 1960’s Chicago, etc. Then our hero gets arrested for the murder of his wife when she disappears into thin air and nobody believes his story about mobile transport devices. And Shakespeare’s in the story, too. Bizarre enough? It’s out now on Amazon in kindle and paperback.

            WADIFTS - I can see that you’ve found a confident voice in this industry, one that behooves you to branch out-take chances. But, if you could choose an author to be your mentor, who would it be?

            Carol Ann Kauffman - I would choose M.C. Beaton, the wonderfully talented and prolific British writer of the Agatha Raisin series and the Hamish MacBeth series. I love her writing style. She is a joy to read.

            WADIFTS - From your list of reviews we know that you have a large and loyal fan base, but have you ever had a particularly harsh critique? How did you handle it?

            Carol Ann Kauffman - Yes! I have a horrible review on Amazon for MacKalvey House. It is a brutal, nasty collection of barbs. Of course, I felt bad. But I do know my writing won’t appeal to everyone. And no matter how great something is, someone somewhere isn’t going to like it, and that’s okay with me. When this happens, you examine the critique, take what’s constructive and learn from it, and gently step over the hot, steamy mess that’s left and keep on going.

            WADIFTS - What is the best compliment you've ever received as an author? The one that makes it all worth going through?

            Carol Ann Kauffman - “You made me laugh.” “You made me cry.” “I want to be best friends with your main character.”

            WADIFTS - quid pro quo: If you were stranded on a deserted island, and you could only have five books with you, what would they be?

            Carol Ann Kauffman -
            • Through the Darkness ~ Stories of Hope
            • Angels Unaware – Dale Evans Rogers
            • The Passers – Loretta Laird
            • The Davinci Code –Dan Brown
            • The Testament – John Grisham

            WADIFTS - quid pro quo: What book or series do you enjoy reading over and over again?

            Carol Ann Kauffman -
            • Hamish MacBeth by M.C. Beaton
            • Agatha Raisin by M.C. Beaton
            • The Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich
            • Sue Grafton’s Alphabet Mysteries, A is for Alibi, etc., particularly appealing to a first grade teacher.

            WADIFTS - What are you working on now?

            Carol Ann Kauffman - The Cat Collier Winter Mystery Series (January Black Ice, February White Lies, and March Blues) is out now and doing well. Cat is a small town detective with a big city lawyer boyfriend, Carter. I'm working on the Spring Series opener, April Yellow Moon. In this one, Cat's old high school friend Stephanie is missing and Cat and her friend Jean get into all kinds of trouble looking for her. In the meantime, Woolstein, the bad guy, is still on the loose and has found a new way to threaten Carter, and one of Cat's parents ends up in the hospital.

            I'm also working on the sequel to my sci-fi bestselling novel, Belterra, called Dark Return, where the indigenous race of bat like creatures crawls out of the sea and wants their land back. Neeka is still patching up soldiers and sending them back into battle, and Braedon is once again attempting to save the world by himself.

            WADIFTS - It sounds so exciting! Do you have any advice for other authors?

            Carol Ann Kauffman - Write. Write every day. Write a book. When you’re done, write another. You can write one really, really bad book. But the next one will be better. Learn not to fall apart when someone says something negative. If you can do something else for a living, then do that, because this job is not a moneymaker. If you cannot keep away from writing, no matter how hard you try to crochet and mountain-climb instead, then you are a writer and you should write. Ignore the rules. Write from your heart, your soul, not so much your head. Enjoy yourself. If you don’t enjoy writing it, no one will enjoy reading it.

             CIM = HOPE

            In a world where challenges multiply exponentially by the second a group of women reach into their past pull out their inspirations and speak to the positive possibilities shrouded in ~ HOPE 


              OUR INSPIRATION Collaboration In Motion (#CIM) was established in 2016 by a group of women inspired by HOPE. 

              Wednesday, 14 December 2016

              Through the Darkness: Stories of Hope - Amber McCarty

              Collaboration in Motion

              "I could tell it was fake because it never once reached her eyes"

              Inspirational writer, Amber McCarty joined Collaboration In Motion-Women Doing It For Themselves as a contributor to our newest release, Through The Darkness-Stories Of Hope. 

              Through the Darkness ~ Stories of Hope

              Her advice to fellow authors is, “Don't focus on sales and reviews; It's not about the sales and reviews (although “they say” those make the author). Rather, it's the person behind the story and what you love to do that makes for a great book.”

              Mrs. McCarty who currently holds down two jobs in the health-care field began writing therapeutically to calm bouts of depression, and shares that it has been a source of creative escape that she has grown to love.

              WADIFTS - Given your love for inspirational writing, what inspires you to write and what is another genre that you might be interested in trying?

              Amber McCarty - Well, I get what you might call a writing “itch”! And, when I get that “itch” I just have to write, no matter what the genre. I would, however, like to try non-fiction because generally that is a teaching genre that I can learn something new from. So writing in that genre would give me the opportunity to teach someone something new.

              WADIFTS - If you could choose an author to be your mentor, who would it be?

              Amber McCarty - Living or dead; I’d have to say, I would choose Laura Ingles Wilder. Her writing was always something that intrigued me.

              WADIFTS - quid pro quo: If you were stranded on a deserted island, and you could only have five books with you, what would they be?

              Amber McCarty -
              • Through the Darkness ~ Stories of Hope 
              • Over the Rainbow by Friends of Dorothy 
              • Out of the Darkness by Angela Fattig 
              • Any of Stephen King's books
              • Two Little Girls in Blue by Mary Higgins Clark

              A. McCarty

              WADIFTS - What are you working on now?

              Amber McCarty - I'm working on completing my first novel entitled, One Christmas Night and a few other short stories. As of yet, I haven’t gotten any ideas to write outside my comfort zone-but maybe soon.


              WADIFTS - What book or series do you enjoy reading over and over again? 

              Amber McCarty - I will say, the romantic-suspense novel, Shattered Dreams by Angela Fatig is my go-to read. But, there are many books on my “to-read” list such as, Becoming a Legend by Sarah Robinson, Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult, When There's Smoke by Jodi Picoult, and The Melody Lingers by Mary Higgins Clark.

              WADIFTS - What is the best compliment you've ever received as an author and the worst critique.

              Amber McCarty - The best compliment so far has been, "Keep writing because I am in love with your writing". -That was said by a friend of mine. As far as harsh critiques, I haven't had any yet, but If and when it does happen I will use it to improve.

              WADIFTS - quid pro quo: Are you a pantser or outliner?

              Amber McCarty - I'm a bit of both. It just depends on the story and if I can get it to flow right away or not.

              WADIFTS - Last but not least, do you have anything specific you'd like to say to your readers?

              Amber McCarty - Quite humbly, "I’m not sure at this point what to say to my readers except, thank you for taking the time to read my work."

               CIM = HOPE

              In a world where challenges multiply exponentially by the second a group of women reach into their past pull out their inspirations and speak to the positive possibilities shrouded in ~ HOPE 


                OUR INSPIRATION Collaboration In Motion (#CIM) was established in 2016 by a group of women inspired by HOPE.

                Tuesday, 13 December 2016

                Through the Darkness: Stories of Hope

                This week I'll be doing something a little different here on Renee's Author Spotlight. I'll be featuring a collaborative work by seven inspiring women. For the next seven days, I will feature one of the authors of the book, Through the Darkness: Stories of Hope.

                Connect with the Group

                About the Book

                Seven different women with seven different stories of Hope.

                If you don't believe another set of circumstances is possible then you need the hope-filled stories shared by these seven seasoned and diverse female authors!

                In my experience I have found that faith is the high road to all the good that is available to us, as opposed to a daily route of doubt that relies on what life "appears" to be. In order to enjoy the benefits of Faith's one must give credence to their hopes: Hope things will change, Hope God will hear us, Hope somehow, things will get better... "Hope" is the impetus that sets and stirs possibilities into motion...

                Get it today on Amazon!