Hot Summer, Cool Reads with Vicki Reese

August 9, 2016

Vicki Reese joins us today to talk about her new book, What the Carpenter Saw.

Hot Summer, Cool Reads

 

Hi all! I’m Vicki Reese, a new to Dreamspinner author and I’m really excited to be part of this amazing group of authors. So, pull up a chair, grab a cup of your favorite beverage, put your feet up and relax and we’ll chat a bit.

There, isn’t that better?

Like other authors I’m here to tell you a little about me and a little about my book, What the Carpenter Saw.

Right now it’s mid-summer where I am and hot as blazes with high humidity (about 93 degrees F with 95% humidity). Ugh. Thank goodness for AC – and ice, especially in my tea. I’m partial to either English Breakfast or Green Mint. Or I make my own with homegrown mint – they call it “Meadow Tea” in these parts, but I just call it good. It’s really refreshing on a hot day. Sometimes, I just toss pieces of frozen lemons and some fresh ginger into water along with some ice. What’s your favorite beverage on a hot day?

I live in a small town in Amish country, which was the inspiration for my story. I’ve never lived in a big town. Okay, not never, but even the “big city” I lived in for a very short time was actually rather small by most standards. I’m a country girl at heart, and so is my character, Jake Cramer. I love the slower pace of a small town. For us, taking twenty minutes to get from one end of town to the other is a huge traffic jam. And we can always avoid the main drag by taking the back roads around it. There’s nothing like driving through fields waving with ripening wheat, pale green spikes of corn coming up, cows and mules chewing the grasses in their fields. Though I will admit that the “aromas” aren’t always mouthwatering (more like eyes tearing up). I have to laugh when I see air fresheners with “Fresh Country Scent” as their title. The people who name it obviously haven’t ever been to the country when the farmers have just fertilized the fields with manure, or had to scrub skunk from their dog. Not the best smell in the world.

Big cities may have their neon lights and excitement, but for me, that doesn’t compare to sitting on the front porch swing at dusk watching the fireflies blinking through the yards or seeing the real stars up in the sky.

But just because we’re small doesn’t mean we don’t have our troubles. They just may not be as prevalent as in bigger cities, but we have them. And that was the basis for my story. Drugs, theft, murder – we have them here too, unfortunately. But when you have a good support system, as my characters Alex and Jake do, it can mean everything.

I hope you enjoy reading “What the Carpenter Saw” as much as I enjoyed writing it.

 

EXCERPT:

Chapter One

 

JAKE CRAMER stared out the kitchen window at the thick woods behind his dad’s house. A mixture of brilliantly colored hardwoods and evergreens edged with a gurgling stream—so different from the harsh rock and sand of the Middle East. Though he wasn’t cold, he shivered a little as wisps of steam rose from the water, forming tendrils of icy fog along the bank. Frost had coated the lawn and garden overnight and was still visible in the areas the sun hadn’t yet touched. South Central Pennsylvania was so much better than the Middle East, and he loved the small town of Robinwood. It was the kind of place where you knew your neighbors and the shopkeepers by their first names. The kind of place that was great to grow up in, raise a family in. The kind of place it was good to come back to.

“Jake? You okay?” his dad, Micah, aka Big Mike, asked.

Mike came to stand next to him as Jake nodded. “Yeah. Just looking at the trees. I missed this when I was over there.”

“I know what you mean. Though where I was stationed wasn’t as bad as Afghanistan, I can’t say I was fond of the desert when I was there.” His dad clapped him on the shoulder, and Jake fought back a wince. The scars there still bothered him, but he refused to let it show.

His dad handed him a coffee thermos. “You ready to get to work? Your brother’s already on his way.”

Jake nodded and turned from the view. His dad had served in the Gulf War. Different area, same scenery. The Pennsylvania landscape held Jake’s heart. And work with the family construction company was exactly what he needed. Hammers and saws and wood. Building things, not blowing them up or shooting them full of holes. Though coming home hadn’t been easy. His family, especially his mom, had coddled him to the point of smothering him. He loved them all dearly, but he also needed to find his own way. It was slow, but he was getting there. “I’m coming. We working on the Johnson place today? I’ve got the cabinets ready to go in.”

“No. There’s a delay on the flooring for the kitchen. We’re working the McKenzie lot today. I want to get it under roof before the cold sets in. Sam will handle the crew there. I need you to go to the old Wilson place and make a list of what we’ll need to do there and in what order. The new owner wants to do a complete overhaul. He’s turning the old mansion into a B and B. I’ll meet you there after I do a supply run for your brother.”

“Works for me.” Jake shivered and grabbed his heavy jacket from the peg next to the back door as Mike opened it. Though he’d been back for a month, the cold October air still chilled him after the heat of the Middle East. Even with the cold, he’d rather be working a site than doing paperwork, but Mike was the boss, and Jake didn’t have a whole lot of choice in the matter.

The chill also made his left arm and leg ache more. At least, what was left of his leg. Because of his injuries, he could no longer do ladder work, definitely not roofing. He was still too unsteady to work a sloping roof. But honestly, he didn’t mind too much. The awkwardness and pain meant he had most of his leg, unlike a lot of other servicemen and women he knew. Sure, metal held parts of it together and it ended below the knee, but that was enough for him to get around with a prosthetic. He rarely needed to use the hated wheelchair anymore. As for his arm, it still worked, sort of. Just not nearly as well as before. Heavy scar tissue and tendon damage made it more of something to fill his sleeve than an actual working arm, though the therapists said he would get some use back the more he worked it. But he’d lived, unlike two other members of his team. And it was also the reason he was stuck doing estimates instead of site work.

(For the full excerpt, click HERE and click on the excerpt link)

 

Check out What the Carpenter Saw today!

 

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Blurb:

Wounded warrior Jake Cramer returned from the Middle East missing part of one leg and with a partially paralyzed left arm. He feels useless in his family’s construction business, but carpentry is all he knows. He needs to relearn how to work and how to live. He can’t even consider finding a man to love. Who would want him this way?

Alex Ford is a top-of-the-line architect who’s tired of big cities and wants to settle down, maybe run a small inn. The mansion he inherited from his grandparents might be the ticket to his dream, but it needs a lot of work. When he meets the handsome builder, he knows he’s made the right decision. He just needs to convince Jake that his scars don’t matter. Unfortunately, Alex’s greedy family has other ideas, and they’re determined to ruin Alex’s plans and take the inheritance for themselves—even if they have to kill to do it.

Bio:

Vicki Reese has been married forever to the one person who accepts that she lives in a fantasy world most of the time. She’s even been seen at the beach building worlds for her stories out of sand. In addition to creating fun characters, fantasy worlds, and suspenseful situations, she also enjoys and is very good at things like writing policy and procedures manuals and setting up continuity and organizational spreadsheets, both of which she has actually earned money doing. She has a master’s degree in library science so likes things organized. Okay, so her family thinks having the spice rack alphabetized it a bit much, but she has no trouble finding what she needs when she needs it. And just because her extensive library is cataloged and organized, that doesn’t mean she’s obsessive. Honest. When not writing, Vicki works as an editor, helping other authors with their manuscripts. When not doing either one of those, she can be found in the kitchen whipping up gluten-free, lactose-free, other allergy-free meals for her family. Or watching the world go by from her front porch swing.

Where to find Vicki:

Website: http://www.vickireese.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorVictoria
Twitter: https://twitter.com/AuthorVictoria

The Losing Game: Love in a Time of Loss with Lane Swift – Post + Giveaway

August 8, 2016

Love in a Time of Loss

Hi! I’m Lane Swift and I’m here to tell you about my new release, The Losing Game. It’s a story about two men, Lucas Green and Dante Okoro, who experience tragedies in their lives which they struggle to move past. Still, through pain and heartache, they find each other, and eventually find the love and the strength to move on. It’s a dark and weighty tale, with a hopeful and happy ending.

The story is set on the fictional Roseport Island, but is loosely based on Portsea Island in the south of England. It’s home to the city of Portsmouth which has a long naval and maritime history, as well as a lot of modern redevelopment. The whole island has a wealth of character and atmosphere.

The street below provided the inspiration for Mill Street where Dante has his shop:

Old Portsmouth day.jpg

 

The story is also set twenty years in the future. The main reason I chose to do that was because I wanted to explore how future technology, especially surveillance, might affect our everyday lives, behavior and freedom. How pervasive will social media be? Will CCTV really protect us from crime? Or will criminals find ways to get around it? These were important things to consider for this story, because Lucas wants to get away with a crime without getting caught.

A lot of authors will say that writing can be a cathartic experience; that their craft can help them to work through things that have caused them difficulty in their lives. This turned out to be the case for me with The Losing Game, though I didn’t realize it until the first draft was almost finished! In 2015, I lost two family members, one of whom was especially dear to me. Another was diagnosed with a terminal illness, and another had a tragic accident which has left her permanently disabled. For almost a year, I was mired in so much grief and helplessness, it’s little wonder those feelings found their way onto the page

The Losing Game is a testament to the strength of the human spirit, and Lucas’s and Dante’s indomitable capacity to give each other and themselves a chance at love, in spite of how broken they are when they meet. But their future continues to get brighter, including after the end of this story. I’ve just finished the first draft of a sequel with a working title of The Gamble in which the two men work together to help a friend in need. I hope to have it ready for submission in a couple of months.

One of the things that keeps Lucas going through the tough times is his dream to travel. He wants to visit East Asia—a place he’s never been to before. I’ve travelled to a few countries in Asia, yet there are places much closer to home that I’d like to visit but haven’t. For example, Edinburgh in Scotland. How about you? Is there a place you dream of travelling to? And is it on the other side of the world, or somewhere much closer to home?

Leave a comment by 12th August 2016 and two lucky winners will each receive a copy of my first solo release with Dreamspinner Press, Dormant Heart, plus a voucher for $15 to spend in the Dreamspinner store.

You can find out more about me, Lane Swift, at:

Website: http://laneswift.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lane.swift.9
Twitter: https://twitter.com/LaneSwift
Or you can email me at mrslaneswift@gmail.com

Check out The Losing Game today!

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Blurb:

Winchester Crown Court, October 2035: Richard Shaw leaves, a free man.

Grief-stricken and angry, Lucas Green is hell-bent on revenge against Richard Shaw, who killed his sister. Lucas has heard of a man who can help—the handsome and urbane owner of a boutique sex shop with a head for planning crimes. But Dante Okoro has a past he’s desperate to keep buried. Though Lucas piques his interest in more ways than one, Dante turns him away. Still, he wonders if he made the right decision….

An unexpected death brings Dante and Lucas together once more. This time they can’t ignore the chemistry between them. But courting a lover with lies is a dangerous game. Dante has been spying on Lucas, convinced he has plans to kill Shaw. Lucas has been spying on Shaw, waiting for the right moment to strike. If Dante admits his suspicions to Lucas, he’ll surely lose him. If he doesn’t, Lucas might do something reckless—and end up losing everything.

When Fate Falls Short: Sources of Inspiration with Brooke Edwards

August 4, 2016

Sources of Inspiration

Hi! I’m Brooke Edwards, and so very glad to be back with DSP for the second time, with “When Fate Falls Short” in the Bittersweet Dreams line. I was beyond excited when I received the contract offer for this one after having such a great experience with my first piece “Mens Rea” in the Never Too Late anthology last year. This has been wonderful, right from the initial edits and cover art production all the way to the final galley before my part was done. As the first time I’ve been involved in the promotion side of things, there were so many different things to consider and do this time that were completely new.

It has been especially good over the last few weeks, having lots of things to learn and do, because I find that I work best when I have several things to concentrate on at once. It means much less panic about the impending release! If I sit there and have to focus strictly on one thing my mind wanders very quickly to the very furthest thing from what I’m supposed to be doing. This causes major problems when I’m doing things that require absolute undivided attention, but luckily writing seems to work better for me when I’m a little distracted. It’s not at all unusual for me to have my laptop or a notebook up on the kitchen counter while I’m experimenting, or satisfying a craving. Writing and food often go hand in hand for me.

One of my favorite things to do once I have settled on the characters for a story is to spend some time figuring out what their relationship with food is. Sometimes it works out because my MC will have a favorite food that I share and I can justify making batches and batches of it as research. This was part of the reason for the immense amount of hot chocolate I drank last winter, on behalf of both Sean and Nathan. Sean’s fondness for marshmallows is something I don’t share, unfortunately.

When the laptop isn’t in the kitchen with me, chances are it’ll be in front of the TV instead. I wrote ‘Mens Rea’ I was binge-watching ‘The Office’ for the first time and now, every time I hear the music from the opening credits, I’m taken right back to the nerves and excitement of putting together my submission email. The entire process, from writing to submitting, lasted about as long as it took me to watch the entire series.

In comparison, the writing, rewriting and submission of “When Fate Falls Short” was stretched out over nearly 12 months so there was a lot less consistency in sources of inspiration. I cycled through a lot of shows while I was writing it, most notably ‘White Collar’, ‘Swamp People’, ‘The IT Crowd’ and ‘Friends’. It was pretty emotionally draining at points so funny, lighthearted shows helped. I had to drag myself away from the story more than once before I found myself down the rabbit hole. I didn’t go into it with a clear plan for what I wanted to happen, only the central idea of the tangle between Nathan, Sean and Jesse. When I finally realized where the story was going, it was less of a jubilant epiphany and more of a soul-crushing realization that neither Sean or Jesse were going to get their happy ending with each other. My iTunes was playing through an old Blink 182 album and ‘Feeling This’ came on. For anyone who doesn’t know it, the inspiration for the title came right from a line in the song and I had it on loop more than once during the rest of the writing process. I doubt I’ll ever be able to listen to it without drowning in a sea of feelings about Sean, Jesse and Nathan.

Do you have any songs like that? Ones that are associated so strongly with a person or event or feeling that you get sent back in time every time you hear them?

I’ll pick one lucky commenter to receive a free copy of “When Fate Falls Short” so make sure to leave the email address you have registered with DSP in the comment, and I’ll end this with a little excerpt to hopefully pique your interest!

 

- Brooke

 

September 2010

Sean and Isaac, along with Jacob Lawson, launch their tech startup at the end of February in 2010. Isaac’s inheritance from his grandmother funds a large portion of their initial setup, and the three sink a not-inconsiderable amount of their savings into the business. By the middle of June, things are getting uncomfortably lean, but in July something clicks. By September they’re viable enough that their first investor approaches them.
Nathan’s squadron of firefighters invades the office for an impromptu party at midday on the twenty-fifth of September, after a night shift. Nathan smells like a strange mix between soap and smoke when he wraps himself around Sean and hums happily into the side of his neck.
“I’m so damn proud of you,” he says, and Sean honestly thinks it’s the greatest moment of his life.

April 2012

Nathan and Sean put a down payment on their house in March and move in on April 11. Nathan takes two weeks off, and Sean pretends he’s going to work from home even though Isaac and Jake both know he has no intention of doing any such thing. They still let him leave the office the Friday before moving day with grins, exuberant congratulations, and a truly terrifying garden gnome with a polka-dotted bow around its neck.
Sean promises them it will sit right by the front door, and that night he laughs himself almost sick at Nathan’s horrified expression when he shows him.

Around dusk on the twelfth, after two hectic days of moving, Deanna stands up and surveys the front yard. Her clothes and gloves are dirty and dusty, but her smile is bright. The gerbera daisies are vivid spots of color in the otherwise sparse garden beds.
“There,” she says, and Sean bites back a playful jab at the sight of tears in her eyes. “Now you can pick your own flowers instead of ransacking my garden.”
Nathan beams at them from the other side of the yard, where he’s patting the dirt down around another patch of daisies. Tania and Richard are laughing from the driveway, and Sean thinks he might explode with the joy swelling in his chest. Not even the slightly pained expression his father has worn all day can take it away.

Check out When Fate Falls Short today!

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Blurb:

Childhood sweethearts Nathan Maxwell and Sean Adams took ten years to realize they belonged together, followed by ten years of bliss. When it is snatched away, Sean is left alone with the aftermath. Lost and grieving in a world that doesn’t make sense without Nathan by his side, he struggles to keep himself afloat… until he meets Jesse Lawrence.
The shadow of a congenital heart defect has hung over Jesse like a dark cloud all his life. Nathan’s death saves Jesse’s life—providing the heart Jesse needs to survive—and a chance encounter between their best friends plants Jesse in Sean’s orbit. But how well can a love triangle between a dead man, his grieving lover, and the one with his heart beating in his chest possibly turn out? Real feelings and pure intentions might not be enough.

Bio:

Author, dreamer, fangirl and foodie – twenty-something Brooke Edwards will always call Australia home no matter where the wanderlust takes her. Her tertiary education bounced from history and linguistics to criminology and history and even went as far as nutrition and sports/exercise science. Making ends meet through a similarly wide variety of jobs from education, retail, fitness, hospitality and finance means she never has any shortage of inspiration for characters or their adventures. Writing, closely followed by the culinary arts, has been her longest-running and most consistent passion and her greatest dream would be to one day not have to do anything else but write. Until then, she can probably be found in a caffeine-induced haze either behind her computer or in the kitchen.

www.brookeedwardsauthor.com
https://www.facebook.com/brooke.edwards.52459
http://twitter.com/bedwardswego

Gratitude for Second Chances with K-lee Klein

August 3, 2016

Gratitude for Second Chances

Hi I’m K–Lee, I’m new to Dreamspinner Press, and I’m really excited to be here. I guess I’m new and old at the same time because to use Brett Taylor’s voice, “This ain’t my first rodeo.”

Unbreak My Heart goes live on August 5. It’s my first book with Dreamspinner and since it’s a re-release, it’s been meticulously re-edited with a few add-ons and tie-ups to some scenes and interactions between characters. I’m so happy to know that it will soon be available to readers, in this new, even-better version.

You see, this book is my own personal favorite, and in 2013 it was my first book with a new and excellent small publisher, who sadly closed their doors earlier this year. That was heartbreaking, not only for the grief of losing a company that I considered to be my family, but for the loss of so many other friends and family members in the form of my characters in books that went out of print. I can tell you that when you lose a publisher and your books vanish off retailers’ shelves, it feels like they’ve disappeared off the face of the earth. They will no longer be swimming in the online ocean and no one new will be able to meet those beloved characters or read their struggles.  Basically, it’s like starting from scratch to get your books back into play.

Self-publishing was an option for me, but not for Unbreak My Heart. It’s special and meaningful and I couldn’t even think about it simply disappearing, or being released imperfectly in my early attempts to figure out self-pub. Brett Taylor and JT Campbell are the most important characters I’ve written to date—that’s to say, they are closest to my heart. (Something we definitely won’t tell the rest of my guys.) I had also already written and published four sequels for Brett & JT and if the original book in the series wasn’t safe, the others would be lost as well. So it was a great comfort when Dreamspinner offered to give Brett and JT a new home.

I have Cody Kennedy to thank for helping me find the courage to submit the manuscript to Dreamspinner for re-release in the first place. He was with me every step of the way, a real trooper in my corner when I was afraid to try. Thank you, Cody. Of course, I highly doubted the book would be accepted, but when I received the contract from Elizabeth North, I’m certain that I squealed like a teenager at a One a Direction concert or me at a photo op with Sebastian Stan.

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It could be said that Dreamspinner Press stepped-in to unbreak my heart. You know I had to go there.

I have to thank my publisher for giving me the chance to work with and have an actual cover designed by the fabulous Reese Dante. Her art sweetened the pot to cavity-prone proportions. I also had the best experience working with my new editor, Sue Adams. So here’s a shout-out to Reese and Sue for being helping me so much during this new beginning. I’m excited about being part of this publishing family and the excellent attention and assistance I’ve already been given. I’m also thrilled to have the opportunity to have my book translated and possibly turned into an audio book—I will admit this is an ultimate dream for me.

So if I haven’t mentioned it enough yet, I couldn’t be more grateful to see Unbreak My Heart up for pre-sale on the Dreamspinner site. It’s surreal and awesome and so many other words you don’t want to hear me go on and on about.

Before I go, I’d like to offer a giveaway of an ebook copy of on my backlist to one lucky commenter. Since Unbreak My Heart is a book about second chances, tell me about a second chance you’ve been grateful for in your life or even something you’d like to get another shot at. Leave your second chance memory and an email address in the comments section below.

So that’s it for me. Thanks for stopping by and whether you’re a new reader to the series or have already being introduced to Brett and JT, I hope you enjoy their little world. Peace out.

 

Check out Unbreak My Heart today!

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Blurb:

Brett Taylor’s world collapsed three years ago when he lost the love of his life. Almost as bad as the grief is the advice he’s starting to get from everyone and their brother, telling him it’s time to move on. They’re flat-out wrong. He left his career as a musician and escaped to his ranch because he needs the peace and quiet, and he’s doing just fine. He doesn’t want anyone invading his memory-filled, booze-fueled solitude.

JT Campbell’s world has been defined by his parents’ money, status, and his own empty relationships, until he’s desperately sick of it. A quest to find something meaningful leads him to Brett’s failing ranch. It’s supposed to be a brief stay. JT never wanted to be anyone’s savior or compete with the ghosts of lovers past. Still, he can’t help wanting this gruff and grieving man.

JT’s mind knows it’s a bad idea, but his heart keeps pushing him to find out what lies beneath Brett’s rough and broken exterior. Brett’s not going to make it easy. JT can only be patient, keep his sense of humor, and hope for the day he may be allowed far enough into Brett’s world to unbreak his heart.

Bio:

K-lee Klein loves guys with long hair and tattoos, and you’ll often find her front and center at her favorite rock concerts. She has bounced around Western Canada all her life, but will always consider the solitude and beauty of the British Columbian mountains home. Her life is blessed as the proud mother of three now-grown but still spoiled kids, the servant of two bossy felines, and the wife of a truly patient husband.

Her writing muse is terribly temperamental, so to keep him close by and in check, she had him inked on her left calf. The gorgeous, long-haired, mostly naked, kneeling angel that resulted is truly a work of art, although he’s still a handful and hopelessly uncontrollable. She writes on his schedule and inspiration.

K-lee tends to fall easily into obsessions. When something grabs her attention, she jumps into it headfirst with complete abandon. Actors, musicians, superheroes, fictional characters, and brainwashed assassins all hold spots on her cannot-get-enough list. She once followed Thirty Seconds to Mars around the United States and Canada and saw them perform fourteen times that year. Obsession sometimes leads to ideas for her kneeling angel to turn into stories.

Although an introvert in person, she’s extroverted online and has met many wonderful friends there, sometimes with the added fun of meeting them in person at gay romance conferences. She’s grateful for all the people in her life who accept her as she is and support her through her ups and downs as mom, wife, and joyfully obsessed writer.

Places to find K-lee.

Website – kleeklein.com
Blog – http://chaosinthemoonlight.blogspot.ca
Twitter – https://twitter.com/Klee_Klein
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/kleemoon
Facebook author/reader group https://www.facebook.com/groups/812548795471921/

15 Ideas for Beating Writer’s Block with Leesa Love

August 2, 2016

Dreamspinner’s staff member, Leesa Love, shares her tips on beating writer’s block.

KEEP CALM AND WRITE SOMETHING

Writer’s Block is no stranger to most dedicated writers. It staunches the creative flow, leaving the most seasoned authored wondering what to write next. There are about as many methods for battling writer’s block as there are remedies for the common cold, so decide which works best for you! Here are some of our favorites.

Set a daily goal.This idea is practiced by many successful authors, including Stephen King and Nicholas Sparks. Whether it’s 500 words or five pages, encourage yourself to write everyday so that it becomes a reliable part of your routine rather than an activity to make time for.

Write badly and freely. A significant portion of writer’s block is caused by fear of bad writing. Give yourself permission to freewrite without the pressure of perfection. Set a timer and write whatever comes to mind; don’t interrupt your thoughts to edit until the end.

Transform a fairy tale...

Transform a fairytale. Another way to take the pressure off of your creativity is retelling a well-known story with your own voice. Having the structure of a story such as a traditional fairytale already in place gives you room to flex your imagination and experiment with your writing. 10 Creative Ways to Beat Writer’s Block Fast

Change your atmosphere. Your surroundings affect the flow of creativity more than you would think. While setting a daily routine may help, if you find yourself stuck at a desk behind a blank computer screen, consider switching things up. Write with a notebook and pen, write at a different time of day or in a different room. Consider heading out to a park or coffee shop for real-life inspiration.

Change Your Atmosphere

Set the mood. Are you writing a sexually charged scene? Light some candles and play soft background music to help set a romantic tone. If you’re writing a more light-hearted scene, sit in the sunshine and play something more upbeat for the right vibe.

Listen to playlists for writer’s block. Similar to study playlists, writer’s block playlists can keep you focused on your writing as well as inspire you by further setting the mood for your story. Find playlists HERE.

Give your characters a new problem. In his book Writer’s On Writing, Stephen King suggests that writer’s block stems from an insignificant problem, or lack of a problem altogether. Raising the stakes for your characters through introducing a new, radical problem can force the story in a new direction and bring out new aspects of the characters themselves.

Take your character out of the story. Make them wash the dishes! Sometimes you can be so caught up in the story, it becomes difficult to separate your character’s motivations from your own. Putting your character in a simpler situation can allow you to flex their personality and create a more solid characterization.

Research and plan. Allow your own story to re-inspire you by researching the elements that brought the story together. Find out more about the town your character is from, or imagine the character’s childhood in the world you’ve created. Whether it’s for worldbuilding or character background, fleshing out a new detail can be the key to the next scene in your story.

Revisit. Recall those moments when you were truly inspired. Read that poem that spoke to you, watch a movie that made you itch to write, or read the first chapter of your favorite book. Remind yourself why you write, and why you chose to be a writer.

Collaborate. Find author forums online or call up a friend to brainstorm ideas. Allow them to offer new perspectives for the scene you’re stuck on, or to inspire you with their own projects and ideas. 6 Coolest Ways to Write a Story

Do mindless tasks. Rather than force creativity to happen, sometimes you need to give your brain a break. Turn down the internal noise and let your mind wander as you take a shower, vacuum, or complete other simple chores. 18 Ways to Cure Writer’s Block

Take on a different creative project. Paint a picture, try a new recipe, or put together a model. Like mindless tasks, small artsy projects give your brain a break from hard thinking, but still encourage your imagination, making creative thoughts flow more effortlessly.

 

Exercise.

Exercise. If getting your creative juices pumping isn’t enough to fight off writer’s block, try getting your blood pumping! Moving your body can clear your thoughts and also keep you healthy. Check out our post on writer’s health for more tips!

Brian Moreland’s Glass-of-Water Technique. This author’s technique for beating writer’s block within 72 hours is all about intention. Before bed, Moreland thinks his intentions for the next day’s writing session into a full glass of water, such as tapping into his creative energy or finding his best writing form. He then drinks half of the glass, and goes to bed. Upon waking, Moreland drinks the rest of the water and immediately gives himself an hour to write uninterrupted. Completed up to three nights in a row, Moreland claims great success at overcoming his writer’s block. 7 Ways to Overcome Writer’s Block

Time Lost: Writing Time Travel with C.B. Lewis – Post + Giveaway

July 29, 2016

C.B. Lewis joins us today to talk about new book Time Lost and writing time travel.

Writing Time Travel with CB Lewis

Don’t write time-travel. Just don’t. Consider this a little bit of sage advice from someone who has fallen headlong down the rabbit hole of paradoxes and the butterfly effect and can’t get back out.

I’m C.B. Lewis and apparently, I am a complete masochist, because I’m delighted to announce the release of Time Lost, the second book of my time-travel series, Out of Time.

Time Lost begins with DI Jacob Ofori dealing with what appears to be a missing person case. Of course, things are never that simple, especially when he has to investigate the Temporal Research Institute, the place where his missing person worked. Kit Rafferty is the unfortunate technician who gets a bit too caught up in the investigation and his attraction to Jacob. Despite their best intentions, Jacob and Kit are drawn to one another, risking their careers and reputations, in the middle of an investigation that could change history.

Both Time Lost and Time Waits (Book #1) messed with my poor wee writer brain. I started the first story for the Out of Time series years ago (let’s call it the Mark 1), but then realised I wanted to know more about certain characters who would appear in it. So I started sketching out characters. Next thing I know, I’ve written a 300+ page novel which was only meant to be backstory to Mark 1: Time Waits. (For those who haven’t read it, time-travel conspiracy theory turned adventure turned romance with a dash of spy-lite thrown in)

With that out of the way, I was sure I could go back to Mark 1, because I had the characters and I had some of the layers of history all sorted. Right?

HA! Dead wrong!

Trouble is when you go back 20 years in a story to Point A, you can’t just jump to Point X with no explanation. Time is linear, after all, and one event will lead to cascading ripples, and everything changes. So I figure, hey, I know the history of everything that happens between Time Waits and Mark 1 and why certain changes have happened. Can’t hurt to put some of it down in writing.

And so, Time Lost was born.

So, logically, you’d think I would be back to Mark 1 now, wouldn’t you? Turns out that the writer part of my brain is much more interested in time-hopping than I am, because it has just handed me another story, set between Time Waits and Mark 1, and honestly, I think my head is going to essplode with too many ideas.

Time-travel bad, tree pretty.

Just to wind things up here, you can go straight into Time Lost without reading Time Waits, but if you haven’t and you want a chance to dip a toe into the world of the TRI, I’m giving away a digital copy of Time Waits. To win it, I’d love to hear about your favourite point in history and whether or not you would actually want to go back to it if you had the chance. Comment for a chance to win :)

Check out Time Lost today!

TimeLost_postcard_front_DSP

eBook
Paperback

Blurb:

What began with a dead intruder and a missing scientist quickly becomes the most perplexing case of Detective Inspector Jacob Ofori’s career. Nothing about it makes sense, from the incredibly advanced technology found on the intruder to the scientist’s mysterious workplace, the Temporal Research Institute. Jacob’s gut tells him the TRI is hiding something, and the questions keep piling up: Who would abduct Sanders? What is the strange gate in his basement laboratory? How does it connect to similar gates in the TRI?

TRI engineer Kit Rafferty only wanted one night with the sexy older policeman, but Kit’s mouth tends to run away with him when he gets excited, and nothing gets him more excited than cutting-edge tech—like the intruder’s cybernetic eye. Suddenly Kit is pulled into the investigation—and into a relationship that could jeopardize both of their lives. Kit hates lying to Jacob, but he cannot reveal what really goes on at the TRI—time travel. Faced with time-jumping criminals but unable to share that knowledge with Jacob, Kit turns to a man who knows time travel firsthand: Janos Nagy.

 

Author Bio: 

C.B. Lewis is small and Scottish and can often be spotted perched around historical monuments with her notepad and pen. She loves to travel and just has one continent left to complete her travel bingo card. There are no cats, no puppies, no significant others, only a lot of ideas and an awful lot of typing. And occasionally, cake. Never forget the cake.

tumblr: http://cb-lewis.tumblr.com/
facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CB-Lewis-369293759939573/

Santa Comes to Town with C. J. Anthony – Post + Giveaway

July 28, 2016

C. J. Anthony joins us today to chat about her story for Christmas in July – Falling for Santa Claus!

Santa Comes to Town

Hi, I’m C. J. Anthony, I’m a new author at Dreamspinner with my first release out July 24, called Falling for Santa Claus

This is the sixth stop on my blog tour. I hope you’ll prop your feet up, grab some ice cold lemonade or ice tea, turn that AC up to it’s coldest setting and blast it while you follow along. You’ll get to find out more about the story, why I wrote it and also a little extra side story about what Jack, Nick and the other residents of Great Falls are up to this summer. At the end of the tour, I’ll be choosing two winners from all the comments on all of the blogs (which means every time you comment on a different blog, you get another entry!) and they’ll receive a special Christmas in July gift from Santa himself. Blog links are listed below.

This is my first book with Dreamspinner, and I’m so excited! I’ve been reading M/M gay romance since 2011 and Dreamspinner has always been one of my favorite go-to publishers.

My book is Falling for Santa Claus, and yes, that’s right… it’s a Christmas story released in July! My main focus for the story was just to write a warm and fuzzy Christmas story. It had been a while since I’d written anything and I decided something light and fun and short would help get me back in the groove.

It does actually take place during the Christmas season, in a very small, very nosy fictional town in Vermont called Great Falls. The town holds a lot of festivals and celebrations throughout the year and Christmas is of course no exception. There is a Christmas parade (featured prominently in the book), and they also decorate the town all up in lights and festive decorations. They hold a town Christmas party where many of the people go from house to house during an evening—sort of a Christmas party crawl, I suppose could be another name for it.

I live in a small town (not as small as Great Falls) and while my town doesn’t do Christmas up quite as festively as Great Falls, there are a few events the town does. There’s a decorative light display at our fairgrounds. Local organizations hold craft fairs. We do have a small parade, I think.

As for my own traditions, I try to always put my tree up Thanksgiving weekend, though I’m not always successful, depending how busy the weekend is. I don’t do Black Friday sales anymore but I did when I was younger, with my mother. Every Friday after Thanksgiving was spent in line outside a store at 0-dark thirty waiting for the store to open. (Of course Black Friday has changed so much since, with stores opening Thanksgiving Day, etc.)

We always opened our own gifts on Christmas Eve with hot chocolate and cookies. Christmas morning was for “Santa” gifts, when I was young enough to believe. Christmas day is dinner at my aunt’s house, and the food is always family Italian dishes.

What are some of your own Christmas traditions? Or fun Christmas events in your town? Enjoy the excerpt below and then comment below, I’d love to hear about everyone’s holiday traditions.

 

Excerpt:

Reluctantly I got up, only to discover I was out of coffee. I’d forgotten that the general store had been so crowded Wednesday with people getting last-minute essentials for their Thanksgiving meals, that I had turned around and walked out without even grabbing a cart. Hence, the empty coffee canister today. Crap. With a sigh I headed upstairs, got dressed, and walked the three blocks to Mabel’s. At which time I discovered—too late—why Nick had told me to stay away from town. The streets and tiny shops were flooded with people. Every single man, woman, and child who resided in Great Falls was bustling about, yelling and carrying packages. Black Friday sales were apparently not just for big city stores. All of the shops had huge signs of 50% off and Buy One, Get One Free. It was only seven thirty in the morning, and every store had lines of people out the door waiting to check out, because there was no room for everyone to crowd inside. I laughed at how ridiculous it was. In Chicago, customers who had made it outside the store with their item but hadn’t paid for it yet would keep on walking—if not running—to get out of there before they were caught. But not in Great Falls. Here everyone was so honest and faithful they all lined up and patiently waited to pay for their purchases. No, wait. These people were far from patient. In fact this was a side of the townspeople I had not seen before. People were barking at each other, pushing and shoving. Good God, Mrs. Glassman just tackled Herb in an attempt to grab a Magic Bullet Pro 900 blender out of his arms!

It felt like I was in the twilight zone…. Where had my nice, quiet, friendly town gone? What alien ship had come down and replaced all of the residents’ souls? I guess no town was free from the greed of Black Friday.

I managed to squeeze and push my way to Mabel’s, which, thank God, was open and completely empty.

Mabel smiled and poured a cup of coffee for me. “Mornin’, Jackie.”

I sat down at the counter, inhaled a big whiff of coffee, and sighed. “Good morning, Mabel. How come you’re not out there with everyone else?” I asked as I took a big gulp of the hot, energizing elixir.

“Because in about an hour or so, they’ll all be heading in here for coffee and breakfast.”

I shuddered. “I hope you don’t have any specials today. They’ll be ripping the food out of your hands.”

Mabel cackled. “Nah, they’ll have cooled off by then.” Then she frowned as she stared out the window. “At least… I hope so.” A second later her wide grin was back as she turned toward me. “So what can I get you, Jackie?”

“I’ll take a breakfast sandwich with egg and ham to go. And another coffee, also to go. I think I’m going back home and staying there for the day.”

She cackled again as she headed back into the kitchen.

A bit later she handed me my sandwich in a bag and the coffee in a to-go cup.

“Jackie, don’t pay this morning no mind. Be sure to come back through town later this evening,” she said softly as she winked at me.

When I got outside, I took one look at the crowd and turned in the opposite direction, toward the library. It was closed for the holiday weekend, but I had plenty of work and administrative duties I could get caught up on. I ended up working all day, eating lunch from the vending machine, so it was pitch-dark out when I finally locked up about six and started home. I’d only walked a block when I had to stop and stare at the scene before me. The streets were nearly empty, normal traffic for six o’clock in the evening. But the town! What a complete difference from this morning. Every house was lit up with white and red and blue and yellow and green and all the twinkling lights of Christmas. There were pine wreaths on doors and garlands around lampposts. Lighted reindeer sculptures and cheery plastic Santa Clauses adorned front yards. A light snow began to fall, right on cue. It was all so perfect, like a scene out of a movie, or better yet, a living, breathing snow globe. As I walked, I saw neighbors helping each other. Even Herb was helping Mrs. Glassman string lights up to the top peak of her house.

It took me twice as long as usual to get home because I was soaking in all the spirit and joy that exuded from every house. People waved and yelled hello, and I waved right back. My face muscles ached from smiling so much. I was so glad Mabel had told me to come back tonight. No matter the issues that came with living in a small town like Great Falls, moments like these made it all worth it.

Check out Falling for Santa Claus today!

FallingForSantaClaus_postcard_front_DSP

Dreamspinner Press  Amazon  ARE  BN  Kobo

Blurb:

When Jack Frost’s aunt dies and leaves him her house in the tiny town of Great Falls, Jack seizes the opportunity to escape the rat race of Chicago for the quaint village he loved as a child. On his first night he’s welcomed by a baseball bat and a trespassing warning from Nick St. James—longtime Great Falls resident and infamous curmudgeon.

Jack wants to give Nick the benefit of the doubt—he can’t deny his attraction to the big man—but after several run-ins with Nick’s grumpiness and closed-off heart, he’s ready to give up. Only after discovering the secret Nick’s been covering up for years does he vow to break through Nick’s walls to find the loving man hiding behind them.

Follow the rest of the tour:

July 17 - MM Good Book Reviews
July 21 -  Oh My Shelves
July 24 - Divine Magazine
July 24 - Love Bytes
July 25 - Bayou Book Junkie
July 28 - Dreamspinner Press Blog
July 29 - Prism Book Alliance

Author Bio:

C. J. Anthony started reading and writing at an early age. She attributes her love of reading and romance to her mother who not only taught her to read but also made countless trips to the library lugging piles of books home for her to read. She loved getting lost in the people and places and adventures she found in books. It wasn’t a far jump to start writing her own stories, early childhood tales about flower families and travelling to the moon with her best friend.

C. J. has always been a hopeless romantic, believing in true love and soul mates, and HEAs with a little humor and a little angst along the way–life is never perfect, after all, but everyone deserves a happy ending and someone there to catch them when they fall. Her favorite stories to read and write revolve around the idea of “opposites attract”—couples who start out as two people who couldn’t be more different from each other. They might appear to be the odd couple to the rest of the world, but to each other they are perfect, creating their own happy ever after with a little hard work and a whole lot of love.

Not surprisingly, C. J. is a big lover of Rom Coms—she’ll gladly take Julia Roberts standing in front of Hugh Grant asking him to love her, over car crashes and shoot-em up movies any day. She also watches way too much TV and every singing reality show there is. She loves music and musicians of all genres with the attitude that nothing is a guilty pleasure and all music has a purpose even if it is just to make you dance and laugh.

She spends most of her time juggling a day job and a commute and freelance design work on the side and falling asleep on her couch.

 

You can find C. J. at:

https://www.facebook.com/cjanthony.writer

@C_J_Anthony on twitter

www.cjanthony.wordpress.com

All Sorts of Stories with Kelly Jensen – Post + Giveaway

July 27, 2016

All Sorts of Stories

Liquorice Allsorts are one of my favourite candies. I adore the combination of flavours and textures. Strong aniseed layered with fruit and coconut; chewy liquorice and soft gelatine. My reading tastes are similar. I read widely, across most genres. I will follow space opera with contemporary romance, then pick up a supernatural thriller, follow that with some epic fantasy, read something kinky, then settle in with a lush historical. So it comes as no surprise that as a writer, I also like to cross genres and mix things up.

Allsorts1

My first published book was a post-apocalyptic love story with aliens. I kinda knew at the time it wouldn’t be a bestseller—that it would be too weird for most folks. But I loved writing it! I followed that one up with a story about, um, kinky robots. Then some more science fiction romance (the Chaos Station series co-written with Jenn Burke). Next up was contemporary romance—and even there, I had to mix it up. I wrote about a forty-five year old, then a pair of college students. Then an established couple.

Last week saw the release of my first story featuring a questioning character—Marc, a twenty-something accountant who has been so focused on his career, he’s found it easy to ignore the fact women just don’t do it for him. Then he meets Henry and it’s as if the sun has peeked between the clouds. It’s revelation time and Counting Fence Posts presents him with a chance to form a new plan. The story is told from Henry’s point of view, because I like to look at some characters a little sideways. Also, Henry’s perspective is as important as Marc’s—as their relationship will be made up of not one, but two people.

Writing Henry and Marc gave me a chance to talk about sexuality, which is something I don’t often do in my stories. Happily, most of my LGBT characters live in worlds (and neighbourhoods) where their sexuality is nothing but their own business. It would be naïve and perhaps neglectful for me to assume every character exists in such a state of bliss. The most important aspect of writing Counting Fence Posts for me, however, was staying true to my characters. To present their thoughts, feelings and questions. To explore their anxieties, as if they were real people, while keeping in mind that everyone is a different allsort. Our layers and flavours unique.

Today sees the release of my first paranormal tale, Best in Show. This one was so much fun to write, and a completely new field for me. I’d long wanted to write a story about a cat who was actually an alien in disguise. When I saw the Dreamspinner Press call for stories about unusual shifters, my cat character locked himself up in an animal shelter and said, “Write me out of this situation.” So I created a mystery writer who didn’t really want a pet, but ended up with one anyway.

For all my varied reading tastes, I don’t often pick up dark, angst-ridden stories. When I read paranormal, I look for books that take a lighter view. I also really enjoy writing humour. So Best in Show is paranormal “lite”. There are shifters and magic, but essentially, it’s the story of how fun-loving prankster Mac sweeps into the life of lonely mystery writer Julian and shakes things up. Mac plays the part of the sun peeking through clouds, because I love stories like that—where one character shows the other a new way of seeing things. Doing things. Mac has his own issues, of course. He’s human—mostly. But for Julian, he’s that absolutely necessary ray of sunshine.

I have plans to continue both of these stories, which means I’ll be writing a little more questioning and a lot more magic and mayhem. Then I might write Indiana Jones in space, or the post-apocalyptic Christmas love story with magic I’ve been fiddling with. Or maybe another contemporary. Or the dragon shifter book I almost have plotted.

I’d love to hear about your reading choices. Do you mix it up, or stick to a couple of favourite genres? Comment below for a chance to win a title from my Dreamspinner Press backlist.

(Follow the rest of my tour for character interviews, behind the book posts, playlists, excerpts and another giveaway.)

 

CountingFencePosts_postcard_front_DSP

Check out Counting Fence Posts!

There are over two hundred thousand fence posts between Syracuse and Boston. Henry Auttenberg likes numbers—it’s his job—but he isn’t going to count them all, even if the view outside the rental car is less confounding than the driver, his attractive but oh so obnoxious colleague, Marcus Winnamore. It’s Christmas Eve and Henry would much rather be home with his family. When the blizzard that grounded their flight forces them off the road, however, he’s stuck with Marc until the storm passes—or a plow digs them out.

As the temperature outside plummets, the atmosphere inside the car slowly heats up. Henry learns the true reason for Marc’s chilly distance—he’s not exactly straight…maybe…and he’s been fantasizing about Henry’s mouth, among other things. Confession laid out, Marc is all for sharing body heat…and more. Henry isn’t interested in being an experiment, but as the night and cold deepen, he could be convinced to balance certain risk against uncertain reward.

 

BestInShow_postcard_front_DSP

Check out Best in Show!

Solitary mystery writer Julian Wilkes doesn’t want a pet, but his sister persuades him to visit Lingwood Animal Rescue, where he is immediately taken with a large ginger tabby cat. Before he can settle into the joys of cat ownership, however, he discovers something very unusual about his new companion.

Macavity Birch is cursed. By day he is a large tabby cat. At night he can be himself—a human male with ginger hair and oddly yellow eyes. He didn’t mean to end up in the animal rescue, but he never meant any harm when playing the prank that resulted in his curse, either. Happily, Julian adopts him. But while exploring his host’s home, he discovers the diary of a long-dead relative.

Unfortunately, not all of Mac’s ancestors are dead and buried. His great-great-great-grandmother is very much alive, and she’s a powerful witch who doesn’t take kindly to the sharing of family secrets. When Mac reveals himself to Julian in order to save him from bigger trouble, he achieves just the opposite, plunging Julian deeper into a magical mystery with him.

 

Bio

If aliens ever do land on Earth, Kelly will not be prepared, despite having read over a hundred stories of the apocalypse. Still, she will pack her precious books into a box and carry them with her as she strives to survive. It’s what bibliophiles do.

Kelly is the author of a number of novels, novellas and short stories, including the Chaos Station series, co-written with Jenn Burke. A lot of what she writes is speculative in nature, but sometimes it’s just about a guy losing his socks and/or burning dinner. Because life isn’t all conquering aliens and mountain peaks. Sometimes finding a happy ever after is all the adventure we need.

Connect with Kelly: Twitter | Facebook | Website

Meet the Men of All for Love with Nicki Bennett and Ariel Tachna

July 26, 2016

Way back seven years ago, when we first published Checkmate, Mary Calmes fell as in love with Teodoro as we are. She deployed her secret superpower for finding the perfect image for characters she loves and provided us with visual inspiration for the rest of the stories in the series. She did such a perfect job (as always) that we wanted to share those images with you. Obviously they aren’t all in period clothing, but that’s why we have imaginations, right? We can picture them in period costume–or in no clothes at all. ;)

 

Teo - MaryC

Teodoro de Ciéza de Vivar is a Spanish sword-for-hire who lives in Madrid with his son. He’s dark and magnetic and everything you could hope for in a swashbuckling hero.

 

Christian

 

Lord Christian Blackwood, Viscount Aldwych, is about as far from Teodoro in looks or experience as you can get. He’s English, young, inexperienced in the ways of the sword, and probably more naive than he has any right to be.

 

Esteban grown-RMartin - Copy

Esteban de Ciéza de Vivar is the son of Teodoro’s late wife and lives with Teo in Madrid. He’s fourteen when the story starts, although as the series progresses, he turns into the young man in the picture. He adores his guardian and wants nothing more than his approval.

Gerard

Gerrard Hawkins is Christian’s bodyguard and friend. He has never been a lover of men, but he has enough respect for Christian not to question his tastes. His hair is a little darker than in this picture, but Mary nailed the world-weary alpha male.

 

Raul by Mary

 

Raúl is Rom, but more than that, he’s a healer and a bit of a mystic, and if Esteban is to be believed, there’s nothing he can’t do. He’s Teodoro’s best friend, and not above a bit of emotional blackmail if it means he will see Teo happy and settled.

 

Aristide_gabriel_aubry - Copy

 

Aristide took his name when he broke with his family at nineteen. He lives and works now in Paris as a Royal Musketeer. His honor and the bonds of military brotherhood he shares with Perrin and Léandre are the two most important things in his life.

 

Leandre_MaryC - Copy

 

Léandre made his way to Paris after leaving the monastery in disgrace. Now a valued member of the Royal Musketeers, he shares his lodgings (and his bed) with Aristide and Perrin.

 

Perrin_MaryC

 

Fleeing a past he would rather forget, Perrin chooses blunt speech over any form of flattery or polite speech. He prefers actions to words when whenever possible. (Can you tell Perrin is Mary’s favorite?)

 

Benoit - Copy

A simple blacksmith, Benoît of Montredon doesn’t know how he got mixed up with politics or musketeers, but he’s quite sure he doesn’t belong there, especially when he starts having feelings for a certain musketeer.

Check out Checkmate today!

CheckmateFS_v2

Blurb:

When sword-for-hire Teodoro Ciéza de Vivar accepts a commission to “rescue” Lord Christian Blackwood from unsuitable influences, he has no idea he’s landed himself in the middle of a plot to assassinate King Philip IV of Spain and blame the English ambassador for the deed. Nor does he expect the spoiled child he’s sent to retrieve to be a handsome, engaging young man.

As Teodoro and Christian face down enemies at every turn, they fall more and more in love, an emotion they can’t safely indulge with the threat of the Inquisition looming over them. It will take all their combined guile and influence to outmaneuver the powerful men who would see them separated… or even killed.

 

 

Author Bios:

Growing up in Chicago, Nicki Bennett spent every Saturday at the central library, losing herself in the world of books. A voracious reader, she eventually found it difficult to find enough of the kind of stories she liked to read and decided to start writing them herself.

Visit Nicki:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100011754789784
E-Mail: nickibennett1@gmail.com

 

When Ariel Tachna was twelve years old, she discovered two things: the French language and romance novels. Those two loves have defined her ever since. By the time she finished high school, she’d written four novels, none of which anyone would want to read now, featuring a young woman who was—you guessed it—bilingual. That girl was everything Ariel wanted to be at age twelve and wasn’t.

She now lives on the outskirts of Houston with her husband (who also speaks French), her kids (who understand French even when they’re too lazy to speak it back), and their two dogs (who steadfastly refuse to answer any French commands).

Visit Ariel:

Website: www.arieltachna.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/ArielTachna
E-mail: arieltachna@gmail.com

Alex’s Law: Chasing Dreams with Jayce Ellis – Post + Giveaway

July 25, 2016

Jayce Ellis joins us today to chat about new book “Alex’s Law”!

Chasing Dreams

If anyone had told me a year ago when I started writing Alex’s Law, that it would actually be accepted, let alone actually published, I would’ve told them that I wanted whatever they were smoking. For the record, I don’t smoke. But the idea of being an actual author, with my name on a book available for public consumption, was a pipe dream if I ever had one. In the far recesses of my mind, it was always a possibility, just like becoming a professional clarinetist, or even a singer. My singing voice sounds like a dog screeching. It is not pretty. I’d minored in English in college (originally it was a major, but I got lazy and didn’t finish), but it had been my “love” major. Politics was my “job” major. I never expected it to go anywhere.

One fateful day, I was on the Dreamspinner website decided to click under submissions. Why not? What’s the worst that could happen? I mean, aside from them crushing my nascent dream before it began. Seriously though, I would’ve been perfectly content with a polite decline with some suggestions on how to improve. What I got, the reality of Alex’s Law now being available, is way more than I ever expected. So, what was the actual writing process like?

In every way possible, it was the best case of the blind leading the blind. I had no clue what I was doing. I had no clue how to put together a character arc, a story plot, subplots (OMG, what the heck are those?), or anything. And the amazing words and sentences and phrases and everything swirling around in my head turned into complete gibberish on the page. I spent a significant amount of time spent pounding my head on a desk. A solid, cherry wood desk older than me. Not my brightest moment.

Then my husband asked me, “So what do you see these guys as really looking like?” And that switch, from having an abstract idea in my mind to an actual representation, did wonders for me. If you’re interested, check out my Pinterest board for Alex’s Law to see the inspiration for the characters in this book. Once I had real people in my head, I could see real interactions in real situations, and then was able to put something semi-coherent together. I hope you like what I came up with.

Now, I am a series lover. I read series. I devour series. If I see that the book I’m reading is book ten, best believe I’m going to grab books one through nine first. And, with any luck, I’ll read them all in a weekend. Considering how much I toiled putting together 18,000 words, my respect for those authors who write full-length novels, multiple times a year (Charlie Cochet, I’m looking at you), only to have readers like myself consume them in one morning with a cup of coffee and a bagel, has grown exponentially. So, right now I’m working on what will hopefully be book two of this series, with the working title Bailing Out. It is a full-length novel, and with any luck I’ll have it out for consideration by the end of August. If they like it, there are a few more ideas that I have on tap, including (crossing my fingers) a longer novella with Alex and Law. Because in my first draft, many, many moons ago, I had a second subplot—yes, I know, two subplots is absurd. Told you I was a newbie—that delves a little bit more into their backgrounds and their families, that was just way too much to put in this little ditty.

So, let’s wrap this up. Since Dreamspinner has done me the greatest honor in publishing this, I’d like to give something back to the amazing readers. I am doing a $25 giveaway card for Dreamspinner Press books. Given how often they have sales, you can stock up on the cheap. All you have to do is two things. One, leave me a comment below. Tell me when you went after a dream that you thought you’d never achieve, and tell me how that worked out for you. Hopefully we’ll get a lot of positive stories, but they don’t have to be. And two, you can either like my Facebook page, or follow me on Twitter, or sign up for my newsletter. Each other gives you another entry, but everyone who comments will automatically be entered. It closes on July 31, 2016.

Thanks for listening to my ramblings and musings. I can’t wait to see what you guys have to say about chasing your dreams, and thanks so much for all of your support.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Check out Alex’s Law today!

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Dreamspinner Press
Amazon
Apple
Barnes and Noble
AllRomanceEbooks

Blurb:

Alex Corrigan is in love with his boss, Judge Lawson Daniels, and thinks those feelings are returned. That assumption is sorely tested two days before the court holiday party they’re organizing together, when the venue calls and cancels, followed by a snafu with the caterer. Alex could handle that, but after an intimate dinner followed by a decidedly unromantic e-mail, he’s left wondering about the future of his employment as well as his relationship with the debonair older man.

Law can’t wait to see his clerk again. But Alex is cold and distant in the light of day, and Law doesn’t understand. The party looms in the background, but Law’s excitement is turning to dread. On top of that, someone is sabotaging them, trying to get Alex fired and drive Law off the bench. If there’s any chance for a happy holiday for Alex and Law, they’ll have to find out who.

 

About Jayce Ellis:

Jayce Ellis has three loves: her husband and her two turtles. Hubby loves her back. The turtles she’s not so sure about, but they do love their sports (Bay Area teams FTW!). She still hasn’t figured out why she lives in Northern Virginia, where there’s weather, instead of California, where she’s from, and where it’s just…pretty. Jayce spends her days divorcing happily-married couples (or so she’s been told), and her nights talking maniacally to herself. Thankfully the recorder catches her rumblings and magically turns them into words on a screen. Painting nails is way easier when you don’t actually have to type, and with well over 500 polishes to get through, there’s a lot of painting going on.

Notwithstanding her no-good, very bad, horrible day job, Jayce seriously believes that true love conquers all. Even Maleficent said it. Sure, she was having an epic Mean Girls moment at the time, but she still said it. And she’s right. The only thing Jayce loves more than writing about true love conquering all, is hearing from readers who feel the same way. Drop her a line; she’d love to hear from you.

Website/blog: www.lawyerwritelife.com
Twitter: @thelawyerwrites
Pinterest: thelawyerwrites
Facebook: Jayce Ellis, author