Wednesday, August 13, 2014

The Writing Path Blog Tour from IC Publishing

I was invited by middle-grade fantasy author June M. Pace to participate in this wonderful author book tag tour. She received her invite from steampunk author Josh Stanton.  Please click on the hyperlinks attached to their names to read their tour question answers. Speaking of the questions, here are my answers....

How do you start your writing projects?
After I come up with a novel idea (which generally starts as a dream), I spend anywhere from a few weeks to a few months forming a loose plot in my head. Some ideas I jot down in a notebook, others I polish in my head until I either reject them or fine-tune them enough to use. Once I've fallen in love with the story and can't stop thinking about it, it's time to write. I generally do a basic outline of where I want the books to start and end, and what major points I need to hit along the way, then I just let creativity flow. I've done thorough outlines in the past, but I've found them to be a waste of time. Generally the story goes in a completely different direction when I get into it, so I find it best to stay out of the characters' way. The Æerenden series is a great example of this. My detailed outline covered Meaghan and Nick's story in one book. Half-way through writing, I realized they had a much bigger story to tell---five books to be exact. If I'd been strict about my outline, I would have missed out on a better adventure.

How do you continue your writing process?
I just keep plugging away at it. It's not easy sometimes. I have a toddler, a job and a marriage to maintain, in addition to my writing career. Life gets in the way and so do I, sometimes. One bad review can derail my creative process, leaving me to doubt my skill and passion. In all cases, it's a matter of remembering what's best for me. Not all weeks are going to allow time for creativity. Not everyone is going to like my novels (though I work hard to write books most people will like). But I've found that I am a more balanced person when I write, so I make time for it. Ultimately, I continue writing because it makes me complete.

How do you finish your writing projects?
Honestly, it never feels like I "finish" a book. After the first draft is complete, I go through several rounds of editing on my own, a beta round, a few rounds with my editor, then I do a text-to-speech edit round, to hear the mistakes I've missed while reading. Art work and formatting come last, then it's zipped up and ready to go. The whole process takes me about a year. I want it to be as perfect as possible, but it can never be 100% perfect or 100% done. I will always look at a book and think, "I really should have done that differently..." or "If I knew then what I know now..." but I believe that's just part of the process for most authors. It's kind of like raising a child. You can't keep them sheltered forever. At some point, you have to let them out into the world. Only once they've touched others and have become important to other people's lives have they truly grown up. 

Include one challenge or additional tip that our collective communities could help with or benefit from.
I think challenges are important for growth, so I'm going that route. For both authors and readers out there, I challenge you to stretch your limits, test your comfort zones. Pick up a book you think you won't like. Try a new genre. Write in a different POV. Explore dusty tomes in old city bookstores. Reach out to people who you're not sure you'll like. Live life through your experiences. When you try new things, not only do you open yourself up to pleasant surprises, but you may discover that these opportunities change you. If I'd chosen to stay where I'm comfortable, I never would have published my books. I would still be piling my manuscripts on a dark shelf instead of making new, wonderful friends with fans and other writers. My world has expanded and I'm better for it. But that's what life is truly about, isn't it? It's about painting the most glorious picture you can, not staying within the lines.

Next Wednesday, please continue the tour with historical romance author Lisa J. Yarde. Lisa is the author of two historical novels set in medieval England and Normandy, On Falcon's Wings, featuring a star-crossed romance between Norman and Saxon lovers before the Battle of Hastings in 1066 and The Burning Candle, based on the life of one of the first countesses of Leicester and Surrey, Isabel de Vermandois. Lisa has also written four novels in a six-part series set in Moorish Spain, Sultana,Sultana’s Legacy, Sultana: Two Sisters, and Sultana: The Bride Price where rivalries and ambitions threaten the fragile bonds between members of the last Muslim dynasty to rule in Europe. Her short story, The Legend Rises, chronicles the Welsh princess Gwenllian of Gwynedd's valiant fight against twelfth-century English invaders and is available now.

Born in Barbados, Lisa currently lives in New York City. She is also an avid blogger and moderates at Unusual Historicals. She is also a contributor at Historical Novel Reviews and History and Women. Her personal blog is The Brooklyn Scribbler.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Congrats to the Winners!

My first official blog tour is officially over!

Thanks to everyone who followed along! I had fun and now it's time to give away the prizes: a $25 Amazon Gift Card (Grand Prize) and 10 copies of The Gildonae Alliance in Audible format.

All 11 winners are listed below. I've already reached out to everyone, but if for some reason you didn't get my email, please let me know at

For those of you who didn't win, there'll be more chances in the near future! Stay tuned :).

All the best,

Friday, August 1, 2014

Æerenden Series Inaugural Book Tour

Starting today and going through August 4, all 3 books in the Æerenden series will be part of my first ever Book Blog Tour (hosted by Goddess Fish Promotions).

Feel free to grab and share the banner!
The tour has two legs: Daily stops (Leg 1: April 14-May 2) followed by Weekly stops (Leg 2: May 5-Aug 4). New and exciting interviews, reviews, promos, and PRIZES will be shared on each leg, so be sure to check back regularly for a link to recent stops (they'll be added to the schedule below).

For each leg, I'll also be giving away a $25 Amazon gift card and 10 copies of The Gildonae Alliance Audio book through (retail value $17.95). With a total of 22 prizes, your odds of winning are high, so definitely participate :). Karen Savage, my voice actor for the series, is brilliant. You won't want to miss your chance of listening to her for free!

Book Tour Schedule
(subject to change)

Leg One
April 14: Kit 'N Kabookle -
April 14: SECOND STOP: Lisa Haselton's Reviews and Interviews -
April 15: Room With Books -
April 16: Our Wolves Den -
April 17: Lessons from My Reading -
April 18: Hope. Dreams. Life... Love -
April 18: SECOND STOP: Literary Lunes Magazine -
April 21: Dana's YA Bookpile -
April 22: Margay Leah Justice -
April 23: Welcome to My World of Dreams -
April 24: Books and Other Spells -
April 28: Pressed Leaf Publishing -
April 28: SECOND STOP: Straight from the Library -
April 29: Multi-Verses of Liza O -
April 30: Books in the Hall -
May 1: Long and Short Reviews -
May 2: Deal Sharing Aunt -

Leg Two
May 5: Booker Like a Hooker -
May 12: Christine Young author -
May 19: Paranormal Romance and Authors That Rock -
May 26: Sexy Adventures Passionate Tales -
June 2: Long and Short Reviews -
June 9: The Write to Read -
June 16: Writers and Authors -
June 23: The Book Cookies -
July 7: Book Bunny's Reviews -
July 14: Goddess Fish Party Pavilion -
July 21: MAD Hoydenish -
July 28: It's Raining Books -
August 4: Deal Sharing Aunt -

Can't wait to see you all at my stops along the way! 

Monday, July 28, 2014

Blog Tour Update

Æerenden's First Blog Tour is almost over!

Only one more week left to enter for a chance to win

a $25 Amazon Gift Card


a copy of The Gildonae Alliance Audible Book
(10 available)

So be sure to check out this week's stop, as well as the other stops along the way (listed here).

Contest ends August 4, 2014 at midnight!

Monday, July 21, 2014

The Child Returns Unofficial Soundtrack

Ever wondered what the Soundtrack for The Child Returns would sound like?

Well now's your chance to listen over at MAD Hoydenish!

Big Thanks to reader Trish Hanson for her Lifehouse addition to the list. For the recommendation, she won a complete set of autographed Aerenden bookmarks :).

And if you haven't been following my blog tour, please be sure to check out the stops now. Only three more weeks left for Leg 2 of the tour, which means only three more weeks to enter the drawing (prizes include Audible copies of The Gildonae Alliance and a $25 Amazon Gift Card).

Now get listening :).

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Cool Bookstores: Atticus Coffee, Books & Teashop

Bookstores are my addiction. I know, a complete shock, right? Occasionally, as I have the opportunity to travel, I seek out cool new bookstores to enjoy. Going forward, I'll be sharing those with YOU!

The first featured bookstore comes from Park City, Utah, where I visited last week.

View from my hotel balcony
Known for it's gorgeous mountains, world-renowned skiing, and the Sundance Film Festival, this gorgeous town has a lot to offer for a relaxing vacation, including Atticus Coffee, Books & Teashop.

Technically, Atticus is a coffee/teashop, but it's a book lover's paradise at heart. Named after the father from To Kill a Mockingbird, it carries new books and merchandise related to its namesake.....

I was tempted to get the mockingbird cocktail book!
As well as used books at great prices....

And book-themed merchandise.

Who wouldn't want to wear a book cover?
Of course, what bookstore/coffee shop would be complete without comfortable seating areas and cool art?

And an umbrella, in case it rains inside, of course :-D

Those are broken mugs! Recycling at its best.
It's a great place to write, read, or just hang out with friends and enjoy a coffee. I had a Mexican Mocha (think mocha with a bite), but there are other book-themed drinks on hand (of course) and some wonderful food and smoothies to try, too...many of them also book-themed (of course; Wrap of the Mohicans, anyone?).

Be sure to stop by next time you're in Utah. They're at 738 Lower Main St., Park City, Utah.

If you have any cool bookstores you think I'd like to feature, please drop me an email with some shots! Independent stores are preferred :).

Monday, July 14, 2014

International Authors' Day Blog Hop

I've volunteered to be a part of the International Authors' Day Blog Hop, organized by b00kr3vi3ws blog, that celebrates Authors world-wide who've instilled in us a love for reading and who we've gladly allowed to absorb entire days of our lives, while we delve deep into the worlds they created.

I'd hate to think of a world without books, so I'd like to celebrate my top five favorite books of all time (in no particular order).

1. The Eyes of the Dragon by Stephen King - Although probably not considered one of King's best works, it's one of the first fantasy-style books I read and it stuck with me for many years after. It was also a departure for Mr. King, as his work had predominantly been from the horror/suspense genres previous to this book's release, and it helped me realize that authors can branch out from their known genres. Because of that, I feel free to write any story that captures me, whether it's fantasy (what I currently publish) or romance (what I wrote first and may still publish some day). The Eyes of the Dragon opened my eyes both to the creative power of fantasy and the magic of writing for the sake of writing.

2. Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien - This is no surprise to anyone who knows me or has followed my blog tours. Although Stephen King introduced me to fantasy, Tolkien made me fall in love with it and directly influenced my desire to write epic fantasies. To this day, I have not found a book that mesmerized me so deeply, and perhaps I never will.

3. The Ruby Knight by David Eddings (later, David and Leigh Eddings) - Sometime during or after college (I've forgotten when exactly), while digging through the bargain bin at my local Barnes & Noble, I found this gem (no pun intended). I don't usually start series with the second book, but I was bored and broke, so I bought it. I couldn't put it down and I've found most of Mr. (and Mrs.) Eddings' work equally enthralling (note: it was not until some time later that David Eddings revealed Leigh, his wife, as a co-writer for his books, so proper credit DOES need to go to her for influencing me, even though my book copy only lists him as the author). As I've mentioned, King gets credit for introducing me to fantasy, Tolkien gets credit for making me fall in love with epic fantasy, but Eddings is the reason my fantasy worlds also have an underlying medieval theme. Sorcerers and sorceresses, knights and kingdoms, legends of defeating monsters and evil kings...I fell in love with these things through him.

4. Works of Edgar Allan Poe (published by Dorset) - A book with "sixty-seven tales, one complete novel, and thirty-one poems" penned by the master of mystery? Yes, please. Poe has mesmerized me from the first moment I laid eyes on "Once upon a midnight dreary", terrified me from the moment I chewed my nails off through The Tell-Tale Heart, and made me understand the true power of imagery from the first verse of "The Raven".  I can't pick one book of his to call my favorite, so I'll pick the entire collection. And I'll return to him year after year to soak up his brilliance.

5. The Pearl by John Steinbeck - Steinbeck's tale of a poor man who discovers the world's greatest pearl is fraught with darkness and moral warnings. Greed, materialism and the true value of human life are addressed in this novella, and ultimately, the main character (along with the reader) learns the cost of what matters most. Although the story is truly heartbreaking, it's message has commanded me since I read it in high school. It's the first book that truly made me think, and the first that made me understand that stories can both be entertaining and teaching tools at the same time.

What are your top 5 books? Comment below to let us know. And while you're at it, please take the time to join us in the blog hop by visiting the other stops along the way. The tour runs between July 14 and July 18. Also, don't miss the rafflecopter below for your chance to an e-book copy of The Child Returns in any format of your choice (five total prizes; ePub or Mobi/Kindle available).

a Rafflecopter giveaway