Saturday, 12 August 2017

Clarence by Stephanie Baruffi

Stephanie Baruffi lives in New Jersey with her husband and three sons. She is an Early Literacy Specialist and obtained her Master’s Degree in 2014. She is also a NJ state certified Reading Specialist. ‘Clarence’ was written in memory of her late grandfather, for which the book was named. He loved his big family and truly did have a big, beautiful set of ears!

Connect with the Author

About the Book

Clarence is a fictional story based off of real-life characters and family situations. "Clarence, A Story of an Italian Bot with Big Ears and Bir Problems" is about a young boy who doesn't seem to fit in with his loud family or his classmates. He knows he has enormous ears and is fearful that the children at school are right about him and that he doesn't belong, that is until his Nonna steps in and gives him something special to carry around with him in case he needs to be reminded that he is wonderfully made. This is a story about how knowing where you can from helps you to appreciate who you really are, no matter what anyone may think. Main topics include bullying and multicultural issues.

Keep reading for an excerpt:

Clarence’s family gathered around the dinner table. At the head of the table sat Clarence’s father, who had just finished a long day’s work at the family business. After he prayed with the family, they dug into a delicious Italian meal that included chicken cutlets, homemade meatballs, and pasta Fagioli. Each night during dinner, the family hollered back and forth across the table. Everyone talked in multiple conversations as Clarence watched and wondered why. Clarence was a shy boy and didn’t seem to understand why everyone shouted, especially all at once! As Clarence looked around the table, he noticed that each member of his family had black hair, brown eyes and dark skin. He also realized that all of their ears were of normal size and each of them seemed to look much like the other. But Clarence was the exception. He thought that maybe the kids at school were right about him. This made Clarence lose his appetite, so he asked to be excused. Nonna the Great followed Clarence into his bedroom.

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

A Matter of Revenge by Laura Elvebak

Laura studied writing at UCLA, USC, Rice University, and Beyond Baroque in Venice, California. After taking a directing class in Houston, she co-wrote, directed and acted in a one-act play. She optioned three screenplays to a local production company and co-wrote a script for the 48 Hour Film Project.

She is the author of the Niki Alexander mysteries, Less Dead, Lost Witness and A Matter of Revenge. Niki Alexander is an ex-cop turned counselor for a teen shelter. Her standalone, The Flawed Dance, takes place in Philadelphia in the late sixties, about a young woman fleeing from an abusive lover and hides in the demimonde world of go-go bars and mobsters. Laura is a member of Mystery Writers of America, Sisters-In-Crime, The International Thriller Writers, and The Final Twist Writers and has a presence on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Good Reads, and Amazon Author Central.

Connect with the Author

Skype: laura.elvebak53

About the Book

When two young runaways break into a wealthy man's home, with horrific consequences, ex-cop and teen shelter counselor, Niki Alexander, comes to their defense. She soon discovers their motive had been to uncover a crime more heinous than two children could handle alone, and she is determined to finish what they started...

Get it today on Amazon!

Keep reading for an interview with the author:

Why did you decide to be a writer?

I wanted to be a writer for as long as I remember. As a child I couldn't go to sleep until I knew the story and saw scenes in my head, including the previews. Later my dream was to live in the Left Bank of Paris, ride a motorcycle with a sidecar for my typewriter, and live on my writing as I toured Europe. Never got to Europe, but I still dream.

Where are you from? Does your area have a good writing community?

I presently live in Houston, Texas, and enjoy a great writing community. I am a member of Mystery Writers of America and serve as treasurer and newsletter editor for the Southwest Chapter. The Houston members meet monthly for lunch and a speaker. Another Houston writers group is The Final Twist, whose goal is to publish an annual anthology. I'm a founding member and past president. Houston also has one the best independent bookstores for mystery writers in the country, Murder By the Book. They have hosted all my launch parties.

Do you have a "day job"?

I am a retired former legal secretary. To supplement social security and my writing income, I work part-time as cashier for PetSmart. It gets me out of my cubby hole to meet the public and get inspired.

What genres do you write?

Mysteries and suspense because that's what I love to read.

What inspires you to write?

A cause that I'm passionate about. I'm an activist at heart. I want to shine a light on a problem without preaching. The Niki Alexander mysteries all call attention to the plight of teenage runaways and throwaways, what can and does happen to them. Women's causes are the inspiration for the books I'm writing now.

What authors/books have most influenced you?

Books by Sara Paretsky, James Lee Burke, Sue Grafton, among many others.

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

The best writing advice is never give up, but also to improve as you write.

What is your writing process?

I start with an idea and write a loose synopsis. I have to know my characters thoroughly and it helps to write a sketch of each listing their goals, their strengths and failures. Then I put those aside and start writing.

Do you ever base your characters on people you know?

Many of my characters are inspired by people I've met. One character that surfaces in the last two Niki Alexander books was Tara Barlow, who lived on the street for a time, and who served up a wealth of information about runaways and street kids. She became a good friend of both my daughters, always eager to clean their houses, babysit their children, and give timely advice.

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

I am always on the lookout for ideas and sometimes find them at the most unlikely places. As part of my research for the Niki Alexander books, a friend took me to the street church for runaways. Held weekly in a parking lot near Covenant House in Houston, I was introduced by the pastor who encouraged the kids to talk to me. The most bizarre story was from an earnest older teen who confided that he knew there was an undercover FBI agent among them looking for potential terrorists among the runaways. I was unable to follow through to find out if he was right, but it did inspire a plot twist.

What are you working on now?

The start of a new series about a female investigator for a defense attorney.

What inspired your current work?

The causes that concern women today and have been brought to light recently.

Do you have any advice for other authors?

Never give up your dream and keep learning.

Saturday, 5 August 2017

The Stone of Mercy (Book 1 of the Centaur Chronicles) by M.J. Evans

I am a graduate of Oregon State University. Upon graduation, I spent five years teaching at the middle school and high school levels.

About twelve years ago, I was able to combine my passion for horses with my love of writing. I researched and wrote three equestrian trail guide books for the Denver area. By “research” I mean that I spent every Friday riding my horse on a new trail, be it on the plains or in the mountains. The result of that work was the publication of "Riding Colorado-Day Trips from Denver with Your Horse," "Riding Colorado II," and "Riding Colorado-Day AND Overnight Trips with Your Horse." All of these books have made my horse famous!

Nine years ago, I began writing a trilogy that combines my love of horses, writing and fantasy. "Behind the Mist" was released by Langdon Street Press in January of 2011 and the second book of the trilogy, "Mists of Darkness" was released in 2013. The final book of the trilogy, "The Rising Mist," was released in 2014. This Trilogy was awarded the Gold Medal from the Mom’s Choice Awards in December, 2014.

I have also written another award-winning fantasy titled "North Mystic" published by Black Rose Writers. This allegory of the Revolutionary War won first place in the Purple Dragonfly Awards for fantasy in 2014.

In 2016, I released, In the Heart of a Mustang. This story is not a fantasy but it is all about horses. This coming-of-age young adult novel has won the 2016 Gold Medal from the Literary Classics Awards in Young Adult General Fiction and the Silver Medal in the Nautilus Awards.

My current project is a four-part series titled “The Centaur Chronicles”. I am excited about this new middle-grade fantasy. The first book, “The Stone of Mercy,” was released on Oct. 1, 2016 and has received the Gold Medal/First Place award for Young Adult Fiction from the Feathered Quill Awards.

Connect with the Author

About the Book

Be it known throughout the land that The rightful heir to the throne of Crystonia will be the wearer of the Silver Breastplate with its four stones of light: The Stone of Mercy, The Stone of Courage, The Stone of Integrity and the Stone of Wisdom.

By tradition, the ruler of Crystonia will be the one in possession of the Silver Breastplate. Yet the rightful heir has not appeared and the throne that sits atop Mount Heilodius has stood empty for a century and a half.

The kingdom is being torn apart as the biggest and strongest races battle for control. Even the herd of peace-loving Centaurs has splintered into two factions, one awaiting the promised bearer of the breastplate, the other seeking power and control over the land.

Unbeknownst to all but a very few, the Silver Breastplate has been created. In due course, it is presented to a sixteen-year-old Duende girl named Carling, one of the tiny descendants of the fairies that once filled the land. But the silver breastplate is not complete. In order for its wearer to have the skills to rule the land righteously, the young Duende needs to find the four stones of light that are needed to finish this magical source of power and authority.

This is the riveting story of Carling’s quest. She, along with her friends, must risk their lives to save their land and fulfill the assignment given to them to complete the silver breastplate.

Award-Winning Author M.J. Evans takes the reader on another fantastic adventure. Immerse yourself in her fantasy world of Centaurs, Cyclops, Ogres and the Duende.

Get it Today!

Dancing Horse Press | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Keep reading for an excerpt:

Chapter 1
The Breastplate

The blacksmith’s foot expertly pumped the bellows as he turned the piece of iron first one way then the other in the bright orange coals. The glow emanating from the little forge provided the only light as the sun began its descent behind the western hogback. Intense heat caused bands of sweat to roll down the narrow patch of skin that separated the smithy’s thick black hair from his single bushy eyebrow. The long brow served as a miniature breakwater, sending the sweat to the right and left before releasing it to run down the sides of his round, puffy face in great droplets. None of this mattered to the Duende, who was accustomed to the discomfort imposed upon him by his chosen profession.

The strip of metal was now glowing brightly in the same shade of orange as the coals into which it had been thrust. Tightly clasping the iron with his fire tongs, the smithy pulled it from the forge and quickly turned around toward his anvil.

The shock of seeing the tall, thin, hooded figure looming over him caused him to drop the metal strip, sending it bouncing off his boot and leaving a burn mark on the leather toe. The metal clanged loudly on the ash-covered stone floor. His breath caught in his throat.

“I’m sorry that I startled you.” The deep, sinuous voice came from beneath the gray hood that covered the stranger’s head and concealed his face.

“I…I…I wasn’t exactly expecting anyone,” stammered Ashtic, the village’s only blacksmith. His heart pounding, he wiped his glistening forehead with the back of his sleeve, painting it with a streak of soot, then rubbed his hands on his scarred leather apron. “May I help you with something?”

“My name is Vidente and it is I who have come to help you and your race.” The stranger stood up even taller before continuing. “A queen is soon to be born who will bring peace to the land. She will be one of your kind. She will be a Duende.”

“A Duende?” echoed Ashtic in the squeaky voice typical of all the Duende, dubious that a queen could be chosen from his race.

The Duende were shy, quiet creatures, descendants of the fairies that once populated the land. Their features were fine, their ears pointed, remnants of their fairy heritage. They were known and respected as artisans who kept to themselves. They were also recognized for their intelligence coupled with wisdom, but had never been considered as the source for a monarch due to their small stature and peace-loving ways. Yet, no other race had been able to maintain the throne for longer than a decade, and now the land of Crystonia had been without a ruler for the past century and a half. For the same amount of time, there had been no peace in the land while the larger, stronger races battled for leadership. The Centaurs, Ogres, and Cyclops all wanted to conquer and maintain Mount Heilodius, the designated location of the empire’s seat of government.

Friday, 28 July 2017

Miscalculated Risks by Maria Riegger

Maria Riegger is based in the Washington, DC area. She is a banking/corporate attorney by day (but please don't hold that against her), and a fiction author by night.

Maria is a Gemini whose head has always been in the clouds. From a young age, her mother scolded her for not paying attention; when she was bored, she would make up stories in her head. She has been writing since she was about thirteen years old. A lover of languages, she speaks French, Spanish, and Catalan.

She has been caught air-guitaring in public. She loves to laugh and is the "go-to" person if a friend needs someone to laugh at his lame jokes. In true Gemini fashion, she indulges both her logical personality as an attorney as well as her creative fiction-writing personality. She loved law school and even misses it, which led her friends to conclude that she is certifiable.

A native of the Washington, DC area, she is a political junkie who has respect for all views and who admires the political involvement of Americans. She loves nothing more than a solid political discussion where all views are represented.

An irreverent Gen X’er, she writes gritty contemporary romance, with plenty of sarcasm.

Connect with the Author

Sign up for updates and other goodies!

About the Book

What would you do if you met someone who defied all of your stereotypes?

Outspoken and abrasive, law student Isabel enjoys arguing with just about everyone, including her friends. It's 2010, and her strained relationship with her mother, less-than-stellar job prospects and frustrations with the conformist political culture of Washington, DC have left her resentful and unfulfilled. Only her sisters and a few good friends are able to keep her semi-grounded. When she meets a new fellow student who dares to challenge her, she is intrigued but skeptical. While Isabel is risk-averse where her feelings are concerned, she is also becoming increasingly curious. She's afraid to get close, because being vulnerable always lead to being hurt, doesn't it?

Get it Today!

Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Keep reading for an excerpt:

Then suddenly a soft voice cut through all the chatter.

“Hey, Isabel.”

I whipped my head up, looking over my open laptop.

It was Tarek.

Jesus. I hadn’t even heard him approach.

I decided to take in the entire sight of him. Since he had addressed me directly, I finally had an excuse to take a good look at him. I decided afterward that it was kind of a mistake.

He was wearing a black T-shirt with dark jeans. His T-shirt hugged his chest, which, like his entire body, was lean and muscular. His short beard and goatee were neatly trimmed. He was certainly dark enough to be what Lara and Eric called “my type,” although I usually went for Latin men. I guessed his age to be about 28, but his eyes held an experience that made him seem more mature.

He wasn’t super-tall. I guessed that he was between 5 feet, 9 inches and 5 feet 10 inches. I was 5’6” so I more or less did a quick comparison. His curly black hair hung in carefully groomed, tight tiny ringlets around his face and almost down to his shoulders. He was incredibly sexy. He probably had to spend a lot of time on his hair, moussing it up, and that if he let it go it would probably be frizzy. His curls reminded me of Lara and her unruly hair, although her ringlets were more tousled and larger, and always framed her beautiful face perfectly. She was forever straightening it, but I kept telling her it looked gorgeous in ringlets, like Tarek’s curls did now. I felt myself softening a little at the thought of my sister, but I steeled my reserve and plastered a semi-scowl on my face. My scowl and general surly attitude were my defense mechanisms. After enough unpleasantness, people generally left me alone. I liked it that way. Eric, Josh and Dinesh were somehow building up a tolerance for it. It was starting to piss me off. Lately, everything was pissing me off.

I had to admit, however, that I was intrigued as well as annoyed. Few people had the nerve to come and talk to me like this, with no warning.

I decided not to say anything at first. I just stared and raised my eyebrows.

He waited a good three to four seconds before he spoke. The left corner of my mouth started to go up into a smirk. Invariably, there were only two reasons a guy like this, a semi-stranger no less, would deign to talk to me. If he was going to miss class and wanted to get my notes, he was shit outta luck. And if he wanted a booty call, well, I wasn’t quite sure yet how I would handle that. Little did I know, he wasn’t going to ask me either of those things.

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Acceptable Misconduct by Maria Riegger

Maria Riegger is based in the Washington, DC area. She is a banking/corporate attorney by day (but please don't hold that against her), and a fiction author by night.

Maria is a Gemini whose head has always been in the clouds. From a young age, her mother scolded her for not paying attention; when she was bored, she would make up stories in her head. She has been writing since she was about thirteen years old. A lover of languages, she speaks French, Spanish, and Catalan.

She has been caught air-guitaring in public. She loves to laugh and is the "go-to" person if a friend needs someone to laugh at his lame jokes. In true Gemini fashion, she indulges both her logical personality as an attorney as well as her creative fiction-writing personality. She loved law school and even misses it, which led her friends to conclude that she is certifiable.

A native of the Washington, DC area, she is a political junkie who has respect for all views and who admires the political involvement of Americans. She loves nothing more than a solid political discussion where all views are represented.

An irreverent Gen X’er, she writes gritty contemporary romance, with plenty of sarcasm.

Connect with the Author

Sign up for updates and other goodies!

About the Book

Antagonistic Washington DC law student Isabel must face her unsettled past and navigate the final weeks of the semester while figuring out fellow student Tarek's feelings for her before he slips away.

Get it Today!

Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Keep reading for an interview with the author:

Why did you decide to be a writer?

I have always loved to write novellas, short stories, and other works. I reached the point at which I felt the need to create, and decided to write and self-publish novels.

Did you have a hard time sharing your work with the public?

It is certainly difficult to put yourself out there. I didn't allow myself to dwell too much on the fact that I was making myself vulnerable to criticism. Authors need to develop thick skin. Not every reader will love what you write, and that is OK.

Where are you from? 

I was born and grew up in northern Virginia, right outside of Washington, DC (where I still live).

Does your area have a good writing community?

There is a vibrant writing community here, with a ton of great resources. I organize a local writing group and members range from published authors to beginners, and work in several different genres.

Do you have a "day job"?

I'm a bank regulatory attorney during the day. I promise that it is not as boring as it sounds!

What genres do you write?

I write gritty contemporary romance, with plenty of sarcasm. I'm also working on a thriller and a couple of nonfiction works.

What inspires you to write?

Inspiration is all around us. Writing is an ideal activity for introverts like myself, but we also need to experience the world in order to get inspiration for our writing, and that includes interacting with people.

How often do you write?

I try to write at least a little every day. I definitely have spurts where I write furiously for several days, and other times when I write much less.

What is the oddest thing you've ever researched for one of your books?

I've been researching the Israeli Defense Force for a thriller I'm working on.

What authors and/or books have most influenced you?

Ken Follett is one of my favorite authors, and Eye of the Needle is one of my favorite novels. Follett is great at pacing and development, as well as at holding the reader's attention.

When did you first consider yourself an author?

I first considered myself an author when I published my first novel.

What are your goals as an author?

I hope to publish as many books as possible. I'm currently writing/outlining several, including a romance novel, a thriller, and a couple of nonfiction books.

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

I have difficulty finding time to write, especially with a full-time day job. I take notes on scenes, etc. whenever ideas strike, and add them to my manuscript when I get a chance. I also try to devote time during evenings and weekends to writing.

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

It makes my day to receive positive reviews. A couple of times, readers have sought me out on social media to tell me how much they enjoyed my book, and that is priceless.

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

The best writing advice I have ever received is to keep writing, and to write and publish as many books as you can. There is no surefire formula to being a successful author; however, one full-time author has written that being prolific is a driver of success. When readers find an author whom they like, they want to read every book published by that author.

What made you decide to self-publish?

I didn't want to spend too much time querying publishers to no avail. I also prefer to retain complete creative control as well as keep 100% of my proceeds.

What are you working on now?

I'm working on a contemporary romance set during a political campaign in the Washington, DC area.

Saturday, 22 July 2017

The Pandora Device by Joyce McPherson

Joyce McPherson is the author of the Camp Hawthorne series as well as biographies for young people. She is also the mother of nine children, who give useful advice for her books. In her spare time, she enjoys reading history, working with young people, and directing Shakespeare plays.

Connect with the Author

About the Book

Stella’s grandmother doesn’t like to talk about her parents, even when she asks. But now that she’s in sixth grade, Stella needs answers. A rusty box provides a clue to the place her parents met—Camp Hawthorne—and Stella is determined to go. The camp’s secret draws her into extraordinary possibilities she never knew existed. And despite warnings to leave the past alone, she uncovers a mystery linked to her parents and must decide how much she will risk to find the truth.

Get it Today!

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks

Keep reading for an excerpt:

Chapter One

Grandma didn’t like to talk about my parents, even when I asked. The sparkle would fade from her eyes, and her arms would wrap around me and hold me tight.

She seemed to gather strength from the bags of clothing, newspapers and odd gadgets she brought home every day, sorting them into piles at night until the rooms were crammed full with only a path down the middle.

For me, the rooms were like caves filled with treasure, and I used to invite Lindsey over to help me explore. I liked to think about the things we found—a black typewriter, a bomber hat, a spindly lace umbrella—they all belonged to someone once. There must be stories.

But the stories just stayed in my head until the day we found the box.

We were sorting through a pile of clothes, and Lindsey had tied a fringed shawl around her head so that only wisps of her blond hair showed.

“Look Stella. I’m a gypsy queen,” she said, rattling some bangles on her arms.

“And I’m a pirate.” I buckled on a leather belt and poked through another mound of stuff in hopes of finding boots.

Near the bottom, a moldy boot was caught under a rickety sewing machine. I tugged at it, but it wouldn’t budge. I finally pulled so hard that the machine creaked, and a rusty box flew free with the boot.

“Treasure,” Lindsey said.

I rubbed the grime from the lid, and a sudden lump rose in my throat. Faint letters were scratched on the box—Franny. My mother’s name.

My fingers prickled as I opened the lid.

Inside lay some faded photos and a red bandana, tied in a knot. I loosened it, and a key chain fell out. For a moment it sparkled in the dim room, but I looked again and it was just blue and white plastic, braided into a rope with an empty key ring at the end.

“Did you see that?” Lindsey asked, touching the key ring lightly.

“Let’s show Grandma,” I said.

We dashed down the hall to her library and squeezed through the stacks of newspapers that filled the room like yellowed skyscrapers.

She sat in her recliner in the midst of them, and I had a quick image of those towers slowly tilting until they whooshed across the floor and through the front door. That was my biggest nightmare—that the whole neighborhood would find out about Grandma’s collections.

“Look what we found,” I said.

Her face crinkled in a smile at the sight of us, but when she saw the box she put a hand on her heart. “I thought that was lost. It’s your mother’s keepsakes from camp.” She pulled out one of the pictures. “And here she is with your father.” Her gray eyes swept the room with the sad look she got when she talked about the past.

Friday, 14 July 2017

Accept the Broken Heart by Robin Leigh Anderson

Robin Leigh Anderson was born in the Montana Rockies and escaped to California in the early 1970s. She attended school in Montana, Washington State, and California, eventually settling in beautiful Santa Barbara with child and cats where she lived for 38 years before escaping sans grown child and late cats to Northern California. An advocate of reinventing oneself, Ms. Anderson dabbled in many of the major disciplines of life, providing fodder for the writing she pursued since she was eight. She has won numerous awards at writing conferences over the years, and was staff of the prestigious Santa Barbara Writer Conference for ten years. She has published numerous articles and short stories in her lifetime. She taught “crash-and-burn” intensive writing seminars in Santa Barbara and was the moderator of a writers’ critique group. She still conducts occasional seminars and enjoys editing others’ works, words being her all-consuming passion, as she writes in several genres.

Connect with the Author

About the Book

What can be said of Hell, when at its most quiet, I was most terrified? The explosions that had rocked every fiber of my being and made my bones feel like they could simply shatter like tempered glass still resonated. I looked over at the wounded, wondering if I had the same haunted look in my eyes, and thought I probably did. In this war, no one leaves. No one goes home... and everyone is a casualty of war. Unbelievable love set against unbearable challenges. I lived this novel. We need to learn, and to teach others, to study war no more.

Get it Today!

Amazon (Ebook and Paperback) | Lulu (Hardcover)

Keep reading for an excerpt:

Primary Excerpt from “Lucky Thirteen” chapter Accept the Broken Heart by Robin Leigh Anderson © 2016)

I wandered back down the darkened hall and found a room with a wide gurney, which I climbed up on, then pulled a sheet over my head and closed my eyes. The winter monsoon rains outside whooshed against the window and I fell asleep to the gentle sound, but not for long. A metallic crash startled me and I sat straight up. Quietly and cautiously, I opened the door and peered out. Faint light came from the junction of the halls and the large red glowing emergency buttons on the wall every few feet along the corridor. I stepped into the hall and heard a scuffling noise behind me. I turned and tried to focus my bleary eyes. A silhouette in the window at the end of the hall raised an arm. GUN! I heard a loud crack and glimpsed a burst of light.

My body slammed against the wall, my hand jamming against the nearest red alarm button as I slid to the floor, a fiery pain in my leg. Unable to catch my breath, I struggled to focus on something, anything, through my tears. The siren howled as I heard another crash, loud voices, people running. My nostrils flared at the acrid odor of gunpowder.

“Oh, my God! Oh, God, no!” Patty gasped as she knelt beside me. I tried to understand her words as she barked orders, to whom I didn’t know. When she pressed down on my knee, I cried out in pain. “I know, sweetie,” Patty said in a soothing voice, “I know it hurts, but we’ve got to stop the bleeding.”

“Bleeding,” I panted, my voice gurgling with tears. “I…what…”

“You were shot, honey,” Patty said as strong hands lifted me up from the floor. She gripped my hand as the gurney raced down the hall. “Prep O.R. 2…now!” she demanded. “Where is that fucking doctor!”

“Right here!” a voice shouted back.

Though I tried, I couldn’t keep my eyes open. Instead, I simply drifted here and there, in childhood I’d learned the trick of disconnecting, my mind strong enough to reject the searing hot pain. I felt hands undressing me, the sharp prick of a needle in the crook of my arm, the pressure of a mask against my face. I tasted metal.

“You’re not alone, little sister,” Patty’s voice said in my ear, “you’re never alone.”

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Board Games by Piken Sander

Piken Sander lives among sprawling oak and aspen in Northern California to where she escaped from colder climes many years hence. Her randy Auntie asked her to ‘tell her a story’, demanding that there be strong women and steamy passion, and this began the writings of Piken as she crafted stories of girl meets boy, girl and boy go through the torture of life and beyond, with at the very least hopeful endings. When her Auntie passed, she left her niece a one-sentence note in her will: “Now publish the damn things.”

Piken’s day consists of writing and social media, and such difficult decisions as which of her dizzying array of wildly colorful pajamas she should wear on a given day. She loves a perfectly steeped cup of good tea. She has few she calls friends, but those in this cadre are cherished and fostered. A political liberal since preteens, she tolerates no racism or bigotry or inequality of any kind, especially in her stories.

Connect with the Author

About the Book

At forty-five, striking Carol Blake has it all: a Chicago corporation she built from the ground up on the verge of international success with a complicated merger, and Brian Cross, who at thirty is the youngest Board member of her company. Against her better judgment, she and Brian fall in love and secretly marry. Marriage is not without your ups and downs, but as the merger grows closer to fruition, Carol’s Board of Directors, including Brian, undercut her to wrest control of her company from her. Betrayed and enraged, Carol must regain control. ...but is it too late?

Get it Today!

Amazon (Ebook & Paperback) | Smashwords | Lulu (Hardcover)

Keep reading for an interview with Carol Blake Cross from Board Games:

Where were you born, and what was it like growing up there?

Midwest, I loved the diversity and the opportunities, and I gravitated to the city of Chicago to pursue my professional goals.

Do you have a close relationship with your family?

I have a crazy-close relationship with one cousin in particular, the fiery Louisa. My five younger brothers have been a constant in my life, protective and loyal to the core.

If you could compare yourself to someone from another novel, who would it be?

Jane Eyre fascinated me as a teenager, a young woman who defied convention to forge her way in a difficult world. I'd like to think I had her backbone.

Who is your enemy?

Greed is my enemy. Greed nearly destroyed my life, not mine, but that of those around me. It can make otherwise intelligent people behave abhorrently.

Who do you most admire in your world?

The incredible ethics of my business friend, Perry, I would and ultimately did trust him with everything.

What was the most embarrassing moment in your life?

I was betrayed and nearly ruined by the people in whom I put the most trust.

What is your greatest fear?

My greatest fear was failure, and working hard and being willing to change was the answer.

What is the most important lesson you've learned about life?

Be willing to trust but never close your eyes.

Do you have any hobbies?

I love to swim! So much so that I had a heated lap pool installed on the side of my house so I could indulge any time I wished.

Do you have a secret you've never told anyone?

I set aside the possibility of a full private life to attain my professional goals, and while I am proud of what I accomplished, there have been times that I looked at the lives of others in my life and wondered...

Have you ever been in love?

I had one special, breathtaking, all-consuming love...and he betrayed me. I wonder if I can ever trust again.

What is your favorite food?

Raised in the Midwest I am a beef girl all the way, nothing like a hearty roast or nice juicy steak!

What do you own that would be hardest to part with?

A certain chair from my bedroom in my Chicago home, many memories surrounding that comfy chair.

If you could change something about yourself, what would it be?

I would have learned much earlier in life the joy of stopping to smell the roses.

What is your greatest virtue?

Determination. I have endured a great deal in my life, and I do not let my determination to succeed and more importantly do the right thing along the way slip from my grasp.

Saturday, 8 July 2017

Farkle Shark, You Are Not Stupid by Rita Emmett

Rita Emmett is a best-selling author of several books including The Procrastinator's Handbook and The Clutter-Busting Handbook.

Her books are published in 32 countries and have sold over 310,000 copies worldwide.

She wrote her first picture book, Farkle Shark, You Are Not Stupid because she knows tons of children who might not be smart in school but they know a lot about trains or insects or they can fix things or they have the determination to stick to a hard job or they can make people laugh. Yet often --- because someone bullied them or made fun of them --- they are convinced that they are stupid. She based this book on an Einstein quote: "Everyone is a genius.But if a fish is judged by how well it climbs a tree, it will live its entire life feeling stupid".

Rita hopes that this book will ignite in children the understanding that everyone is a genius. Twice Rita rode mules to the bottom of the Grand Canyon and back. This has nothing to do with her book. She just wanted you to know that.

Connect with the Author

About the Book

“Everyone is a genius. But if a fish is judged by how well it climbs trees, it will live its entire life feeling stupid." ~This quote, attributed to Albert Einstein, is the theme of Farkle Shark, You Are Not Stupid.

Farkle Shark was feeling blue. His big sister Sparkle criticized the way he talked. But when Big Bully Boy called him stupid because he can’t climb trees, Sparkle jumped to her brother’s defense. Her advice, followed by a wild adventure, changed his attitude … and his life.

This fun and funny book will bring on laughs, cheers and an understanding of important life lessons about bullies and feeling stupid. (Haven’t we all felt that way some time in our lives?) Four to eight-year-olds and beginning readers will love Farkle’s story.

Get it Today on Amazon!

Keep reading for a guest post from the author:

Trying a Different Genre by Rita Emmett

Have you ever found yourself in the middle of a writing project where you don’t know what you’re doing … but you know it is what you are supposed to do?

I found myself on that type of journey – not knowing where the path would lead. I felt called to write Farkle Shark, You Are Not Stupid --based on a quote attributed to Einstein: “Everyone is a genius. But if a fish is judged by how well it climbs a tree, it will live its entire life feeling stupid.”

My first draft was 2,000 words. Attended a seminar, heard books should be 800 words or less. and decided to trim it a bit.

Then took a webinar and learned each page must be written to the illustration. Reviewed my text and realized the first 4 pages were the same two fish talking to each other.


So I decided to give my character, Farkle goofy sayings. Big sister Sparkle would mock him and ask to imagine if that were true. Then a cloud would float over their heads while she imagined whatever it was he said.

I went to, selected an illustrator (who turned out to live in Romania) and placed my first order.

Farkle’s opening goofy saying was: “Holy Mackerel Manhole”. I envisioned a mackerel popping out of a manhole in the middle of the street and bystanders looking astonished.

Brilliant, yes?

The next day, my 11-year-old neighbor (one of my readers) told me all kids will think that a manhole is a man’s butt hole.


After several awkwardly worded emails, that is exactly what the Romanian artist thought also. If you read the book and see the mackerel popping out of a mailbox, you will be one of the few people who know that “Holy Mackerel Mailbox” was not the original quote.

Jumping into a totally new genre meant that every day I discovered something new to learn, but the journey was great fun. I loved every minute of it (even the embarrassing awkward manhole moment of it)

Moral of the story: if you feel driven to write something totally out of your comfort zone, but don’t know where to start … make the decision that YES, you will do it.

Then do your homework. Learn as much as possible. Each time you can’t figure out the next step, keep learning. Google it. You might stumble across articles, webinars or Youtube explanations that move you along.

And if you find yourself feeling stupid because you can’t figure out the next step, allow me to recommend a newly-released book where a shark named Farkle will teach you that JUST because you don’t know how to do THIS thing, it doesn’t mean you’re stupid.

Rita Emmet’s book, Farkle Shark, You Are Not Stupid is available at Her procrastination book is still being sent to agents and, yes, Rita is cranky about it.

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

The Redemption Games by Renee Scattergood

Renee Scattergood lives in Australia with her husband, Nathan, and daughter, Taiya. She has always been a fan of fantasy and was inspired to become a story-teller by George Lucas, but didn't start considering writing down her stories until she reached her late twenties. Now she enjoys writing dark fantasy and paranormal thrillers.

She is currently publishing her monthly Shadow Stalker serial, and she has published a prequel novella to the series called, Demon Hunt. She is also working on a new series of novels, A God's Deception.

Aside from writing, she loves reading (fantasy, of course), watching movies with her family, and doing crafts and science experiments with her daughter. Visit her site for more information and a free copy of Shadow Stalker Part 1 (Episodes 1 – 6).

Connect with the Author

About the Book

Things go from bad to worse...

Jillian doesn’t think things can get any worse. She ran away from home and has survived on the streets for over a year, but when a man shows up promising her a better future, she ignores her instincts and goes with him. Now she finds herself on an alien world in a last-man-standing competition that she has no hope of winning unless she can find an ally.

Get it Today!

Amazon | Smashwords | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Other Retailers

Keep reading for an excerpt:

Jillian didn't like how cryptic he was being, but he seemed sincere. Of course, that didn't mean much, but the idea of never having to struggle for food and live in rundown buildings sounded intriguing. "If I say yes, what do I have to do?"

"Just sign this paper," he said, holding out a pen. "I will take you to the center for training. When you're ready, you'll participate in the competition. If you win, you will have glory and riches you can scarcely imagine."

Jillian hesitated. "And if I lose?"

"You will be sent home."

Jillian bit her lip. She didn't have anything to lose by participating. The worst that would happen is she'd end up right back where she was. So, she ignored the alarm bells in her head and took the pen, signing the form.

"You made the right choice," Aeron said with an eerie grin.

He reached into his pocket and pulled out something Jillian had never seen before. It was the size and shape of a cigar. Before she could stop him, he pressed it to her neck. Her vision blurred and then there was nothing.

Friday, 30 June 2017

Kingdom of Darkness (Kingdom Journals Book 2 - Camille's Story) by Tricia Copeland

Tricia Copeland grew up in Georgia and now lives in Colorado with her family and multiple four-legged friends. Her books include the clean new adult Being Me series, Is This Me?, If I Could Fly, Think You Know Me, and the final installment, Being Me. Her young adult reads include, Drops of Sunshine, a paranormal novella, and the Lovelock Chronicles, Lovelock Ones: Native One, a dystopian novella published in The Butterfly Box, and the Kingdom Journal series, Kingdom of Embers, Kingdom of Darkness, and Kingdom of Honor, due out Sept. 21. If she’s not out running, you can find Tricia at or your favorite social media.

Connect with the Author

About the Book

… the previous night’s vision, or whatever it was, ended with a name I heard clear as day, as if the people were in my room. Ivy, the girl and boy recited together. –Camille

Could her dreams be real? Is she the key to freeing witches from their curse? Of course not, right? Thinking that her only chance at a normal life lay in a new treatment, Camille joins Dr. Antos and a group of teens for a month long camping trip in Iceland. There she meets Jude, a fellow schizophrenic. Dr. Antos invites Camille and Jude to extend their work with him on the island of Sardinia. Camille is suspicious of Dr. Antos’s intentions but her dad goes missing, leaving her no choice but to travel to Italy. Is she walking into a lion’s den or has her illness invaded her reality?

Get it today on Amazon!

Keep reading for an excerpt:

“That must have been some dream last night. Was the guy hot?” Tyler taunted me as he sat down at the breakfast table.

“It’s not like that.” I slapped him on the shoulder.

“Camille, Tyler, seriously,” Mom scolded. “Don’t start the weekend fighting?” She squatted down so we were eye to eye. “You had a dream? Why didn’t you say something?”

“It wasn’t a big deal.”

“Well, what was it about? Who was in it?”

The dreams had started four weeks before, but I hadn’t told Mom because I knew she would freak out and double my counseling sessions. The first was a scene with a girl and her mother at a library. They studied a boy who sat at a table reading. The next day the girl and boy met at the library again. I never heard words, only saw pictures. It wasn’t like I thought the dreams were real, but it fascinated me the way the storyline continued.

I’d had imaginary friends when I was younger. My pretend scenarios got so out of control, Mother put me on medication. She moved us from Los Angeles to the Arizona desert, seeking a healthier environment. Then she relocated us to Cheyenne, Santa Fe, and Bismarck, trying to find a solution to my health problems. Bismarck had been better but still not perfect, and we packed up and relocated to Iceland, the healthiest country on the planet. Tyler had pushed for Honolulu, but in the end, cost of living won out.

Reykjavik seemed to have solved all my problems. We’d been there over a year, and I hadn’t had any episodes. Then the dreams started. Granted they were just that, fictitious stories created by the overactive limbic part of my brain. My research indicated this to be the emotional part that gets highly active during REM sleep, when our prefrontal cortex, the mastermind of the brain, rests. The limbic portion of the human brain causes emotional, vivid, irrational scenarios to play out in our sleep.

My dreams were more like a silent movie, continuing where they’d left off the previous night. The plot included a girl who didn’t eat normal food save sushi, avoided human contact, and had witch-like powers. The boy developed these powers, and he and the girl assembled an army of vampires and witches to fight another group of witches. So, of course, the scenarios playing through my head each night couldn’t be real.

The whole issue was that, even with medication, I’d had visions of my imaginary friends after we’d left Los Angeles. The girl and boy, Violet and Chase, searched for me and sat outside my door waiting for me to come play. The doctor switched my medication, and the hallucinations stopped just before my fourth birthday. I hadn’t seen Violet or Chase since, but the characters in my dreams had similarities to my imaginary friends. Maybe their features wouldn’t have stuck with me so vividly, except each time we moved I saw a new psychiatrist. He or she always reviewed my history, so I had to relive being three every other year or so. Violet’s reddish-brown hair, her milky white skin, and Chase’s dark hair and eyes, became etched into my brain.

For the past month, I’d watched the characters on mute. But the previous night’s dream, or whatever it was, ended with a name I heard clear as day, as if the people were in my room. “Ivy,” the girl and boy had recited together. It was the pretend name my Violet and Chase used for me. As soon as the sound of the name vibrated through my head, I’d woken with chill bumps covering my body.

Sitting up, I wrapped the blankets around my shoulders, wondering how the girl and boy in the dream knew my nickname. A buzzing sound, like the type you hear just before you pass out, grew in intensity until I thought my eardrums might explode, and then it stopped suddenly and images filled my head.

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

PRINCIPAL KIDD: School Rules book #1 by Connie T. Colon

A graduate of Syracuse University and former advertising executive, Connie has a degree in art but now also paints with her words.

She had the unique opportunity to work one-on-one with award winning author, Jerry Spinelli at the Highlights Workshop in Chautauqua.

An active member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, Connie had served as a Committee Member for the NJ Chapter.

She has sold over 60 articles and over 100 photos to publications including Highlights, Fun For Kidz, AppleSeeds, and Faces.

Her ongoing feature “Dear Tommy” had run in Faces magazine for over seven years. Connie occasionally teaches magazine writing workshops at SCBWI events and loves to visit schools.

She recently released PRINCIPAL KIDD: School Rules Book #1 which is a humorous chapter book series based on one of her animation concepts.

Connect with the Author

About the Book

The series is about the zany predicaments 11-year-old whiz kid Oliver Kidd faces as principal of Eggshell Elementary school. In book 1, SCHOOL RULES!, Principal Kidd risks losing his new job and having the school shut done unless he can undo damage from the new kid-friendly rules he put into place.

Get it today on Amazon!

Keep reading for an excerpt:

Chapter 7

Oliver entered the office of hard-of-hearing guidance counselor, Mrs. Winnie Huggswell. She was the school’s oldest employee who was somewhere between 65 and 99 years old, no one knew for sure. She was round with spare chins, and eyes that twinkled and crinkled when she smiled. She passed Oliver a plate of the best smelling homemade cookies.

Mrs. Huggswell looked into Oliver’s eyes with concern. “What’s troubling you, dear?”

“I was uninvited to Tucker’s party,” he said. “Even Chelsea’s going!”

Confused, Mrs. Huggswell looked out the window. “What? It’s snowing?”

“No, wish I was going to the party,” said Oliver, speaking a bit louder now. He slouched in his chair and pouted. “Sometimes I just want to be one of the guys.”

“Oh, a disguise.”

Mrs. Huggswell rummaged through a bin of dress-up clothes and accessories and handed Oliver a fake mustache and a hat. “Here, try this on.”

Oliver put on the shiny gold hat. He looked at himself from several angles in the mirror on the wall.

“Not too sure about this gold hat.”

“Don’t call me an old bat!”

“No,” he said. “You’ve confused my words!”

“What? My cookies taste like turds?”

Oliver shoved several cookies in his mouth at once. He spewed out crumbs while talking with his mouth full. “No, see? I love your cookies.”

Mrs. Huggswell smiled. She put the cookies in a bag and handed them to Oliver.

“Good. I’m glad,” she said. “Take the rest. They’ll help you make new friends.”

Oliver sighed and then screamed out, “Great idea. Thanks!”

Mrs. Huggswell pressed her palms against her ears and scrunched up her face.

“No need to shout at me, dear.”

Oliver gathered the disguises and cookies before waving goodbye. On his way back to his office, he felt confident he could handle anything.

That confidence washed away when he saw who was waiting for him in his office.

Saturday, 24 June 2017

Soul Awakening by Paul Lonardo

Paul Lonardo is a freelance writer and author. He has had both fiction and non-fiction book published, including titles that have been excerpted in Reader’s Digest and reviewed in Publisher’s Weekly.

Soul Awakening is his third romance novella. Reunion of Souls was published by Liquid Silver Press in 2105, and last summer Wild Rose Press released Enchanted Desire.

From the Ashes, a collaborative book written with a Gina Russo, is a true story of her survival from the deadly 2003 Station Nightclub fire in Rhode Island which claimed the lives of 100 people, became the basis of a 2013 documentary web series, The Station, which Paul produced.

Paul has been interviewed as part of several documentaries, including NBCUniveral’s I Survived a Serial Killer, featuring the true crime story depicted in the book Caught in the Act, A Courageous Family’s Fight to Save their Daughter from a Serial Killer.

Connect with the Author

About the Book

Something otherworldly is happening in a small Texas town.

As a small Texas town mourns the tragic death of its high school football star, Alecia is struggling to adjust to life without the boy she has dated since sixth grade and thought she would be with forever.

When Braden comes to her as an apparition, she finds herself falling for Riley, Braden’s best friend and teammate. Has Braden returned to spy on her, or for some other reason?

Alecia’s not sure, but she soon realizes she must find a way to accept Braden’s death and welcome love back into her life, or risk losing everything.

The Power of Secret Love changes everything…

Get it Today!


Keep reading for an excerpt:

Alecia was amazed how fresh this memory was in her mind. She felt as if they were reliving the moment now.

“You know, Alecia, I really wanted to kiss you that day.” Riley’s face was in partial shadow, but his eyes were fixed on hers.

“I wanted you to kiss me,” Alecia admitted, and with those two statements all the romantic tension and nervous energy they’d been feeling instantly abated.

“I have to confess you’re the real reason I didn’t want to play the game. It wasn’t because of Braden.”

“Me?” Alecia had a lump in her throat.

“I couldn’t focus on anything because I was thinking about you.” Riley shifted forward slightly, his entire face illuminated in a shaft a light. His eyes looked green and were filled with intensity. “I’m in love with you. I always have been.”

It was like being on a roller coaster again; her head was spinning. “What about Beth?”

“We had a fight a few days ago. About you. We broke up.”

That would explain Luke, Alecia thought, and why Beth had been acting so strange toward her all week.

“And with you being best friends with Beth, I got to be around you more.”

Sensing motion again out of the corner of her eye, Alecia quickly turned her head in that direction.

Riley looked around briefly. “What’s the matter?”

“It’s nothing.” Alecia gazed into Riley’s eyes and was instantly distracted by the way the green and brown flecks glinted in the waning afternoon sunlight that penetrated the old barn from many shallow angles.

As Riley pressed his lips against hers and she felt his hot breath in her mouth, nothing else mattered. When he wrapped his arms around her back and pulled her tight against him, their front teeth briefly rubbed together. As if in response to this contact, their tongues came to the rescue, intertwining in a tender and comforting embrace.

Alecia closed her eyes, and in her mind she and Riley were back inside the small wooden hut in Galveston, wet and cold from the rain.

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

The Dream Crypt by Renee Scattergood

Renee Scattergood lives in Australia with her husband, Nathan, and daughter, Taiya. She has always been a fan of fantasy and was inspired to become a story-teller by George Lucas, but didn't start considering writing down her stories until she reached her late twenties. Now she enjoys writing dark fantasy and paranormal thrillers.

She is currently publishing her monthly Shadow Stalker serial, and she has published a prequel novella to the series called, Demon Hunt. She is also working on a new series of novels, A God's Deception.

Aside from writing, she loves reading (fantasy, of course), watching movies with her family, and doing crafts and science experiments with her daughter. Visit her site for more information and a free copy of Shadow Stalker Part 1 (Episodes 1 – 6).

Connect with the Author

Get a Free Book!

About the Book

Rylee is a normal girl, living in a normal world. At least that’s what she thinks until an Onyx Warrior tells her the truth. She is trapped in a dream world by an ancient and powerful vampire, while he feeds on her blood at his leisure. Worse, her only chance for escape is likely to get her killed.

Rylee is trapped in a dream world by a sadistic vampire while he feeds on her blood. Can she escape this nightmare or will she be ensnared in her torment for the rest of her short life?

Rylee must escape the malicious vampire's dream crypt or die trying!

Get it Today!

Amazon | Smashwords | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo

Keep reading for an excerpt:

Mikayla had been waiting for her. Somehow she knew Rylee was coming, or maybe she'd been there the whole time. Rylee didn't know anymore, and her head hurt every time she thought about it.

“It's never bled before, and I thought it would never stop,” Rylee said then explained what happened with the 911 call.

Mikayla looked troubled. “It must have been him. He was checking up on you. He might even suspect someone is trying to help you.”

“Is this real? It's really happening?”

“I'm sorry, but it is," Mikayla said, resting her hand on Rylee's shoulder.

“How is it possible?” Rylee put her face in her hand hoping she'd wake and find this had all been a nightmare.

“The vampires use mind control powers to implant false memories and keep their victims in a dream-like trance where they live out their lives, oblivious to what's happened to them.”

Rylee looked up. “How exactly can you help me then?”

“You'll have to kill yourself. Jumping off a—“

“Are you insane?" Rylee took a step back. "I'm not killing myself.”

Thursday, 15 June 2017

Bread for the Table by Tara Botel Doherty

Tara Botel Doherty was born in Los Angeles. She was raised by her grandmother and mother blocks away from famed Hollywood Boulevard. It was a Bohemian upbringing filled with art, dance, and guitar lessons and movie sets where her father worked as a lighting technician. This environment helped generate her love of the arts, especially books and writing.

She wrote her first book in the first grade. Educated in both public and parochial schools where the fundamentals of perseverance and patience were drilled into her, Tara understood the work ethic. She spends her days and nights teaching English in the San Fernando Valley.

Now residing up in the Santa Clarita Valley, aka the ‘Rita with her husband and daughter, she writes regularly about her adventures in Hollywood.

Connect with the Author

Click here or a preview of Growing Up Hollywood: the Annie and Gracie Stories!

About the Book

Bread for the Table relates a single day in the life of Sage a 30-year-old aspiring jewelry designer working as a waitress in a pseudo New York deli in Los Angeles. A postcard from her mother triggers a series of flashbacks, which bring Sage's life into focus.

She remembers her protector – dear older sister, Rose of Sharon and her untimely death; her remote father, whose only communication was reading passages from novels written by John Steinbeck; her grandmother, the only consistent figure in Sage's life; and her mother.

The last time Sage and her mother shared an intimate moment was stirring a pot of soup shortly after Rose of Sharon's death. Her mother's last instructions before she went to buy bread to complement the soup were to keep stirring the soup so it wouldn't burn. Dutifully Sage stirred, but her mother never returned. She was five years old. Now she has received a postcard from a woman she hasn't seen in twenty-five years.

Get it today on Amazon!

Keep reading for an interview with the author:

Where are you from?

I am a Hollywood girl, full of the tales of pathos in Los Angeles.

What genres do you write?

Literary Fiction

How long does it take you to write a novel?

I actually wrote this book in 12 weeks when my first thesis was rejected by my advisor in grad school.

Which authors have most influenced you?

Harper Lee, Janet Fitch, and Flannery O'Connor are all female writers who have created strong and unforgettable voices in literature.

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

Janet Fitch. She was not at USC teaching when I attended USC. Originally I applied to USC because Betty Friedan was on the faculty. Unfortunately, she was not active on the faculty when I arrived.

What are your goals as an author?

I want to have my short story collections out there as well as my novel. These are stories and characters of Los Angeles.

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

Two of my students had questions about my novel. It is amazing when 12-year-olds are demanding answers from you.

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

When my advisor in grad school told me my stories about Annie and Gracie weren't very good and he refused to present them to the committee.

What made you decide to self-publish?

I had an agent twenty years ago, and my novel wasn't picked up. That was devastating. Flash forward twenty years and one of my students asked me what was I going to do in ten years when my own kid was gone and in college. That mad me think about my future.

What is the best thing about self-publishing?

I am in control. But also the worst thing, I am responsible.

Would you recommend self-publishing to other authors?

Yes, I recommend it. Take control of your future as a writer. Remember subject matter is subjective. Not everyone is going to like it.

What are you working on now?

Two short story collections, Growing Up Hollywood and Night Crawlers

How do you market/promote your work?

Every day I am working on marketing. This is actually more work than writing. Social media, reviewers, reviews, it all takes time and energy. I work full time plus a part time job, so I try to do one thing every day for my writing.

What would you like Sage to do next?

Remember it all takes place in a day...but there is always a tomorrow.