Sunday, June 30, 2013

Book Review: Death Comes to Pemberley, by P.D. James

If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you’ve probably figured out that I’m a fan of Jane Austen’s books, especially Pride and Prejudice. (I even named one of my sons Austen!) So, naturally, I also gravitate toward the fan fiction based on Austen’s books. I’ve been wanting to read P.D. James’s book, Death Comes to Pemberley, for some time, so when I won a contest for a free book of my choice, I placed my order! I’m so glad I did because I loved this book.

It’s not necessary to have read Pride and Prejudice to understand Death Comes to Pemberley, but it definitely enhances the reader’s enjoyment of this book. James revisits most of our favorite characters from P&P, including the Darcys, the Bingleys, and George Wickham. This time, though, the tale takes a dark turn when a murder is uncovered in the woods of Pemberley! The unscrupulous Wickham, married to Elizabeth’s sister Lydia, stands accused of killing his friend Captain Denny. Although everyone agrees that Wickham is a cad, and he’s not welcome at Pemberley, they still doubt that he would stoop as low as murder. Nevertheless, with no other suspects in the picture, Wickham is arrested and goes to trial. I’ll stop there so as not to give away any further details of the mystery. But I was definitely surprised by the solution to the crime. The killer was not who I suspected!

If you’re a fan of Austen’s work, or even just love a good mystery novel, I highly recommend Death Comes to Pemberley, by P.D. James. The author remains true to the characters first introduced in Pride and Prejudice, while adding more intrigue and excitement to their story. This national bestseller is a highly entertaining read!

Disclosure: I won a gift card in a contest, which I used to order this book. This post contains my Amazon affiliate link.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

The Dragon’s Call Blog Tour and eBook Giveaway

The Dragon’s Call
The Dragon Throne #1
By K.W. McCabe
Genre: Paranormal Romance / Fantasy / Young Adult
The Dragon’s Call (The Dragon Throne #1) on Goodreads

In a war-torn world, a careless act of destruction wakes a creature of myth and legend -- a dragon. Mankind unites to battle for survival, but when dragons enter the fray in human form... humans lose.

Three decades later, Cecily lives in an enclave with her father and brother. Ignorant of life before the war, she placidly obeys the restrictions imposed by dragonkind.

Stifled by court life, Derek, heir of the Dragon Queen, commits a petty crime. To avoid punishment and chronic boredom, he escapes to the enclave. His arrival sparks increased tension when he meets Cecily. She realizes the limitations on her freedom, and Derek discovers his life is built on a lie. Their forbidden friendship threatens to splinter the separation between their people, but something more dangerous occurs.

A mysterious killer has kidnapped Cecily’s mother -- and seems to be stalking Cecily. Derek and Cecily must defy the rules of their society to find and stop the murderer before Cecily is next.


“While I had never read anything by McCabe before, it is safe to say that I will be doing so in the future. I loved this book and I can’t wait to read more by this author!”
My Daily Obsession Review

“Author, K.W. McCabe tells a fantastically, suspenseful tale of dragon lore and human belief. This story is scintillating as it weaves a deadly plot of questions and intrigue. Romance is heady and strong throughout as love and loss follow our cast of enduring characters. If you enjoy well-written fantasy and suspense, you will not be disappointed.”
Great Minds Think Aloud

“I loved the world KW McCabe created. The idea that the world is thrown upside down by dragons awakening and taking over is a new one... The villain in this story is awesome. It’s been awhile since I’ve read a story where you truly hate the bad guy. While at times I wished for more detailed interactions between the characters, I truly enjoyed The Dragon’s Call and cannot wait for the second book in the series to be released.”
Book Broads



K.W. McCabe is a Californian transplant to Minnesota. She lives there with her family where she tries very hard to stay warm in all the snow. She has loved fairy tales, sci-fi, and fantasy all her life, and has been writing stories and poems of that nature since she could first spell. She has worked, in the past, as a library assistant, a babysitter, a counseling hotline intern, and a case manager. She maintains that art and writing can only be done when inspired, and inspiration comes from a sufficient amount of laziness. Currently, she is working on Dragon Kin.



June 23rd
Romance Bookworm
Bending the Spine
My Hidden Bookshelf

June 24th
Ebook Obsessed
Reading and Writing Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance

June 25th
Paulette’s Papers
Red Reader Reviews

June 26th
Book Broads
Urban Fantasy Investigations

June 27th
Book Sniffers Anonymous
Pure Textuality

June 28th
Pezz Rambles
Night Owl Reviews

June 29th
Susan Heim on Writing
Page Flipperz

The Dragon’s Call Blog Tour is a Pure Textuality Blog Tours promotion.


One lucky winner will receive an ebook copy of The Dragon’s Call, by K.W. McCabe. This giveaway is open worldwide and will end at 11:59 PM EDT on July 5, 2013. Enter through the easy Rafflecopter form below.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Her Honor’s Bodyguard Book Blast: Giveaway for a $50 Amazon Gift Card!

Her Honor’s Bodyguard, by Johnny Ray

Do first loves ever really die? While reunions can take many forms, there is always one question that has to be answered sooner or later -- what happened?

Vance had always been extremely proud of Noella, and just because his life had been ruined, he saw no reason why she had to have the same faith. When his dad died, leaving him and his mother penniless, he dropped out of law school and ended his relationship with Noella, but in doing so, he stopped a scandal that could have ruined her family. These secrets he would never let her know. Ironically, years later, he would have never guessed she would be instrumental in ruining his career with the Tampa police force.

After Noella finished law school and started pursuing her goal of working up the ranks in judgeships, she never considered inviting another guy into her life. As such, when someone attempts to threaten her into vacating her seat on the bench, and by force if necessary, she knows of no one else she really trusts as much as Vance, who now has a successful bodyguard and private detective business.

She knows that Vance might hate her for her part in having him dismissed from the police force, but what he will never know is that she actually saved him from going to prison. Additionally, she now thinks he was framed, and perhaps by the same people who are threatening her. She had to talk him into taking her on as a client ... but would he agree to her request?

As the number of attacks on her life increases, Vance soon has no choice but to offer her his protection, and in spite of everything, when they see each other again, their old attraction for each other returns. She wants the truth. He wants the truth. However, making the ultimate sacrifice is not always easy to understand, whether given or received. Ultimately ... could they now trust each other with these secrets? While their lives depend on discovering the truth to their past, these truths are locked in deep secrets that could also destroy them.

Buy on Amazon

About the Author:

Johnny Ray has a passion for life and adventure that he loves to share with his readers. As an avid traveler and professional businessman conducting business worldwide for years, he has made many interesting contacts and received numerous awards for top production. He has owned and operated several real estate and insurance companies, and a stock brokerage company. He loves radio and TV talk shows, as well as speaking in front of various audiences. Feel free to contact him if you need a guest speaker.

When it comes time to play, he is very active in many sports, including dancing, swimming, tennis, biking, and skiing. While he loves adventures that are new, interesting and challenging, making friends who share his passions is a special gift.

Johnny lives in Clearwater, Florida, where he works full-time as a writer, and he can often be found in one of the hundreds of coffee shops along the beach working on his next novel. He belongs to the Florida Writers Association where he recently won the Royal Palm Literary Award for best thriller, the Romantic Writers of America, and the Mystery Writers Association. He attends various national writers conventions throughout the year, as well as several local writing groups in the Tampa Bay area of Florida.

Follow Johnny: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Blog | Goodreads | Literary Addicts


Prize: $50 Amazon Gift Card
Fill out the Rafflecopter form to enter. Open internationally.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Literary Addicts Weekly Meme: My Literary Best Friend

It’s Wednesday! And that means it’s time for the Literary Addicts Weekly Meme! Every Wednesday, they suggest a fun theme to write about. The theme of this week: What character would you want as a best friend?

I would love to be best friends with Alice Cullen in the Twilight series! She can see the future, so she’d be able to warn me of any danger. She’s a tough vampire, so she could protect me. She loves adventure, so we’d travel together and see the world. She also loves clothes and decorating, so she’d be great for getting advice on what to wear and buy. She likes to have fun and is very protective of those she loves. She would make an awesome best friend!

What about you? What book character would you want as a best friend? CLICK HERE for links to the other blogs participating in this meme to find out their choice!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

My Own Mr. Darcy Cover Reveal and Giveaway for a $25 Amazon Gift Card or PayPal Cash!

After being dragged to the 2005 movie Pride and Prejudice by her mother, sixteen-year-old Elizabeth’s life changes when Matthew Macfadyen’s Mr. Darcy appears on the screen. Lizzie falls hard and makes a promise to herself that she will settle for nothing less than her own Mr. Darcy. This ill-advised pledge threatens to ruin any chance of finding true love. During the six intervening years, she has refused to give any interested suitors a chance. They weren’t Mr. Darcy enough.

Coerced by her roommate, Elizabeth agrees to give the next interested guy ten dates before she dumps him. That guy is Chad, a kind and thoughtful science teacher and swim coach. While she’s dating Chad, her dream comes true in the form of a wealthy bookstore owner named Matt Dawson, who looks and acts like her Mr. Darcy. Of course she has to follow her dream. But as Elizabeth simultaneously dates a regular guy and the dazzling Mr. Dawson, she’s forced to re-evaluate what it was she loved about Mr. Darcy in the first place.

Karey White grew up in Utah, Idaho, Oregon, and Missouri. She attended Ricks College and Brigham Young University. Her first novel, Gifted, was a Whitney Award Finalist.

She loves to travel, read, bake treats, and spend time with family and friends. She and her husband are the parents of four great children. She teaches summer creative writing courses to young people and is currently working on her next book.

Excerpt 1

Janessa folded her arms and looked at me for so long I started to squirm. “What?”

“I wish you’d look at yourself. You’re ruining your life with this stupid obsession.”

“I’m not obsessed.” I stood up quickly, nearly tipping my chair over. I rinsed my plate and put it in the dishwasher. I could feel Janessa’s eyes on me the entire time, but I refused to look at her. “And just because I’m not interested in this guy doesn’t mean my life is ruined.”

“Let me guess. Was he blond?”

“Knock it off.”

“Too short?”

“He wasn’t short. I’ve got to go.” I left the kitchen with Janessa on my heels.

“Was he too cheerful?”

“Oh brother. I’m not having this conversation with you.”

Janessa grabbed my arm and turned me toward her. “Yes, you are.”

“I’m going to be late for work.”

“Then we’d better talk fast.”

“I don’t have anything to say,” I said.

“Then I’ll talk. You listen. You have to start giving these guys a chance.”

I folded my arms tightly. “I give them a chance.”

“You give them one date, two at the most. But you’re not really giving them a chance because your mind’s already made up before you even go out.”

I was getting annoyed. “I don’t have time for this conversation again.” Janessa was practically reciting word for word what she’d said after my last date. And the one before that.

“Lizzie. If you don’t want to have the same conversation, do something different. Shake things up a little.” She smiled and did a little shimmy. I refused to smile no matter how silly she looked.

“How do you suggest I do that?”

“If this guy… What’s his name?”


“If Chad calls you back, go out with him again.”

“I don’t see the point.”

“Did you get a serial killer vibe from him?”

“No, I got a nice-guy-that-doesn’t-deserve-to-be-led-on vibe from him.”

“Nice guys are good. So you’ll say yes, right?”

“If I’m not interested, it wouldn’t be fair to say yes.”

“Oh knock off the baloney. You haven’t been fair to a guy since high school. You’re just afraid if you get to know a guy, you might like him. And wouldn’t that be awful? Was Chad funny?”

“Yes, he was funny.”


I sighed. “I don’t know if I’d call him handsome, but he was cute.”

“Cute is good. Especially if he was funny. So go out with him again.”

“You act like it’s all up to me.” I walked to the closet and collected my purse. Like a tiger leaping on her prey, Janessa pounced at the bowl on the entry table and grabbed my car keys. “This isn’t funny, Janessa. I’m going to be late for work.”

“Then let’s make a deal. You agree to go out with him ten times before you toss him aside and I’ll give you your keys.”

“Ten times? No way.”

“That’ll give you time to get to know him.”

“You’ve got to be kidding.”

“I’m serious, Lizzie. Ten is a good number. In that amount of time, you can make a real decision. Instead of one based on a stupid movie.”

Now Janessa was skipping through a minefield. “It’s not a stupid movie and I’ve got to go.”

“It’s the stupidest movie in the world if it ruins your life.”

“Nothing’s ruining my life and I’m going to be late. Give me my keys and we’ll talk about this later.” A little tussle ensued as I tried to rescue my keys from her clutches. I almost had them when she darted to the bathroom and shut the door hard and fast, locking it behind her. “This is real mature.”

“I don’t care about mature. You’re my best friend, Lizzie. I love you and I’m trying to save you from yourself.”

I banged on the door. “Give me the keys. Now.” My voice had become shrieky.

“I’ll give you the keys as soon as you promise you’ll go out with him ten times.”

“I doubt he’ll ask me out again.”

“Why? Were you a jerk?”


“Are you sure?”

I hesitated, knowing I hadn’t been very good company. “I’m pretty sure.”

“If he doesn’t ask you out, you have to ask him.”

“No way am I asking out a guy ten times. No way!”

“You just have to ask him out once. If he doesn’t return the favor you can move on. But you have to be nice to him and give him a reason to want to ask you out again.”

“This is the dumbest idea you’ve ever had.”

“Listen Liz, I’m doing this for you. Give a guy a chance before you give him the old heave-ho.”

I leaned my head on the door. “Just give me the keys. Please.” Now I was whining.

“You’re the one keeping yourself from your keys. And probably true love.”

I looked at my watch. Now I’d have to risk a speeding ticket or get to work five minutes late. I wasn’t sure which was worse -- a ticket from a police officer or a tongue-lashing from Delia.

“Fine. I’ll go out with him again if he asks me.”


“If he doesn’t ask me, I’ll ask him?”

“Right. And how many times will you go out with him?”

“Way too many,” I said under my breath.

“I can’t hear you.”

“Ten times. If he asks me.”

The door cracked open. “And you’ll be nice to him?”

“Whatever you say. Now give me the keys.”

Janessa emerged from the bathroom and triumphantly dropped my keys into my outstretched hand.

“You’re an idiot,” I said.

“An idiot that loves you and wants you to be happy,” she said. She turned and headed down the hall. “Someday you’ll thank me,” she sang.

“If I don’t kill you first.” I slammed the door behind me.

Excerpt 2

It was a busy Monday morning. I was looking out at the line of waiting customers when he walked in. I gasped, shut my thumb in my cash drawer, and then tried not to cry while Mr. Sandoval from a hearing aid store asked me if I was okay.

When I finished Mr. Sandoval’s transaction, I looked at him again. He was taller than anyone in the room. Of course. His hair was dark and a little disheveled. It was hard to see from where I was, but his eyes looked like they were blue. And best of all, he didn’t smile. He looked gorgeously unpleasant and impatient. He looked around the room and his eyes met mine. Still he didn’t smile. My heart was racing. He looked perfect.

I did my best to time it so I’d be his teller. I went a little too fast with one customer and accidentally shorted her a twenty dollar bill. I tried to concentrate as I corrected the transaction. I slowed way down on the next customer, but just when I thought I was finished and would be able to help him next, my customer asked me to break a ten into change. He walked up to Courtney’s window while I counted out nickels and dimes. Furious, I stomped my foot. Not too loudly but enough to release a little of my frustration.

I listened closely as Courtney helped him to see if I could learn anything, but he hardly spoke. He gave a terse nod when Courtney thanked him for coming in and turned on his heel and left. He had excellent posture and a nice, confident stride.

I finished with my customer, and then before anyone else could step forward, I picked up the phone and dialed Courtney’s extension. She glanced at her phone’s display and looked over at me curiously. “Who was that?” I whispered when she picked up the receiver.

“Elizabeth, look how many customers there are.”

“I know. Just tell me who that was.” I watched as Courtney picked up her last transaction slip.

“His name is Matt Dawson.”

“Is he married?”

“I have no idea,” Courtney said.

“Was he wearing a ring?”

“I didn’t look. What’s going on, Lizzie?”

“I just need to know about him.”

“Well, I don’t know anything about him and Delia’s watching us. I’ve gotta go.”

Matt Dawson. Matt. Matthew. Like Matthew Macfadyen. Dawson. It was pretty close to Darcy. The only way it could be better is if his name was Fitzwilliam but I’d never met a Fitzwilliam in my life.

Matt Dawson.

This had to be a sign.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Wind Warrior Is a Bestseller! A Message from Clean Teen Publishing

We are extremely excited to see Wind Warrior by Jon Messenger hit bestseller status! We hope to see Wind Warrior hit #1 in all of Amazon! 

Help Jon Messenger achieve that goal by getting his book today on Amazon

(New Adult Paranormal)
(*Also Young Adult Appropriate) 
Release Date: June 11, 2013
Published by Clean Teen Publishing


The sleepy town of White Halls harbors a dangerous secret. On a picturesque street, two houses down from a lovely little park, in a quaint little home with a wraparound porch, lives a family that seems rather normal. Sure, their twenty-year-old son, Xander, still lives at home, but he's going to college and dating the leader of the school’s top sorority. It's all very ... normal.  However, when a man is miraculously saved from being hit by a bus, Xander's life turns into the living embodiment of the tornadoes he can suddenly create with a flick of his wrist. Whether he wants this gift or not, Xander must learn to use his new 'super power' quickly if he wants to survive.  For his kind is a dying race, and when this sleepy town has a sudden influx of new, blonde, fire wielders, no one is safe, especially Xander. It doesn't help that one of these blondes happens to be the most beautiful girl he has ever seen. Xander can't deny the instant connection he feels to her so, when she tries to kill him, it certainly makes things complicated.

About the Author

Jon Messenger (born 1979 in London, England) serves as a United States Army Captain in the Medical Service Corps. Since graduating from the University of Southern California in 2002, writing Science Fiction has remained his passion, a passion that has continued through two deployments to Iraq, a humanitarian relief mission to Haiti, and an upcoming deployment to Afghanistan. Jon wrote the "Brink of Distinction" trilogy, of which Burden of Sisyphus is the first book, while serving a 16-month deployment in Baghdad, Iraq.

Wind Warrior is Jon Messenger's breakthrough novel published through Clean Teen Publishing. Jon Messenger has won a readers’ choice award as well as the Clean Teen Publishing writing contest for his Novella of Wind Warrior, which is also featured in Wonderstruck.

Want to see more about Clean Teen Publishing? 

Twitter@CleanTeenPub and follow the Clean Teen Publishing Blog

Amazon: Concealed in the Shadows by Gabrielle ArrowsmithDouble Star by Cindy Saunders, Wonderstruck (A Clean Teen Publishing Anthology), Wind Warrior by Jon Messenger Project ELE and Night Marchers by Rebecca Gober and Courtney Nuckels

Coming SOON: Heartkeeper and Heartbound by B.T. Lyons. (Middle Grade-Young Adult Series)

Disclaimer from Susan: As a thank-you for posting this information, I will be entered into a drawing to win some prizes.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Witchling Series Book Blast: Giveaway for a $25 Amazon Gift Card, Tote, T-Shirts, Autographed Books & Swag!

Dark Summer:

A school for Witchlings...
The ultimate choice between Light and Dark...
Where the price of a mistake ... is your soul.

Sixteen-year-old Summer doesn’t expect her new boarding school to be any different from the rest -- a temporary stay -- until her uncontrollable magic gets her thrown out again. In her mind, there’s no point in getting too friendly with anyone. That is, until she notices Decker, the boy who will become the Master of Night and Fire on his eighteenth birthday.

When she learns that this special school has attracted others with magic in their blood, she is hopeful that this time around, things may be different. Besides, she can’t deny her interest in Decker. And when he rescues her one night from the dark forests of the Rocky Mountains, their connection is instant.

Yet a relationship with Decker may prove to be Summer’s downfall, forcing her to choose between Light and Dark, life and death, love -- and their souls.

One choice. One soul. One price.

Buy on Amazon | Amazon UK | B&N |Kobo

Autumn Storm:

A girl with no memory, hidden in plain sight…
A boy with no hope, spiraling into Darkness…
Only one knows the truth, and only one has the power to save them.

Autumn doesn’t know why she remembers a boarding school she’s never visited, or why her reflection is sometimes that of a ghost named Summer. She struggles to recover her memories and understand the warnings conveyed through her magick. Caught between the Turner twins, she isn’t certain who to trust: Decker, the mysterious Master of Dark, who makes her heart catch, or Beck, the cautious Master of Light, whose touch soothes her pain.

Unable to recover from Summer’s death, Decker slowly surrenders to the Dark. The guilt he feels when he falls for Autumn -- and betrays Summer’s memory -- drives him farther from the Light, until he completely loses control and takes the souls of Light witchlings.

As the protector of Light, Beck is caught between his allegiance to his twin and his vow to protect new witchlings. He must keep the Darkness from consuming his brother, for if Decker fails, he’ll take down the only person who has a chance of saving them all.

Buy on Amazon | Amazon UK | B&N | Kobo

Coming soon! Book #3 in the series: Winter Fire


About the author:

Lizzy Ford is the author of more than seventeen novels written for young adult and adult paranormal romance readers, to include the internationally bestselling “Rhyn Trilogy,” “Witchling Series,” and the “War of Gods Series.” Considered a freak of nature by her peers for the ability to write and release a commercial quality novel in under a month, Lizzy has focused on keeping her readers happy by producing brilliant, gritty romances that remind people why true love is a trial worth enduring.

Lizzy’s books can be found on every major e-reader library, including Amazon, Barnes and Noble, iBooks, Kobo, Sony, and Smashwords. She lives in southern Arizona with her husband, three dogs and a cat.


The author is giving away a swag bag containing autographed copies of Dark Summer and Autumn Storm, a Witchling bracelet and necklace, bookmarks, and Witchling T-shirts in a custom Lizzy Ford tote, along with a $25 Amazon gift card. Approximate value: $75-85. Open to US residents only (except the gift card). Fill out the Rafflecopter form below to enter.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Literary Addicts Weekly Meme: Comfort Books

It’s Wednesday! And that means it’s time for the Literary Addicts Weekly Meme! Every Wednesday, they suggest a fun theme to write about. The theme of this week: What is your favorite comfort book? You know, the one you go to when you need to wrap something around you like a warm, fluffy blanket...

Hmmm, this is a tough one because I’m not generally the type of person who reads a book over and over again. I wish I could say it’s the Bible, but unfortunately I’m not very good about picking it up. In more general terms, I would have to say that I pick up a good romance when I just want a feel-good story. Sometimes, I get a little stressed out when a book is filled with violence or arguing or high drama. When I’ve had my fill of those things, exciting as they are, I don’t mind picking up a predictable romance novel. Even though romance novels are rarely filled with huge surprises or plot twists, they make me feel happy. I don’t want to read them all the time, but they’re a great “break” when I just want to read something uncomplicated.

What about you? Do you have a favorite comfort book or genre? Feel free to answer in the comments below!

CLICK HERE for links to the other blogs participating in this meme to find out what other bloggers named as their favorite comfort book!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Read Susan Heim on Writing on Bloglovin!

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

As many of you know, Google Reader is going away soon. If you're accustomed to reading blog posts on Google Reader, be sure to switch over to Bloglovin. It just takes a second to sign up and transfer the blogs you currently read on Google Reader over to Bloglovin. I hope you'll click on the link above to start reading Susan Heim on Writing on Bloglovin, too!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Rift Healer Book Blast: Giveaway for a $50 Amazon Gift Card or PayPal Cash

rift healer
Rift Healer
Rift Healer is the first installment of the "Forest Magic" series, a Young Adult Fantasy/Romance set in Central and Western Massachusetts.

After a minor earthquake, the enchanted forest in Bidwell, MA, is infested with monster-spewing rifts. Gisele Westerfield's great nephew, the gifted Micah, and his distant cousin, Selena, arrive to assist. Together with Gisele's summer students, twins Haley and Lacey, they will try to heal the magical forest.

Much to the consternation of the beautiful Selena, Micah identifies Haley as The One whom he'll share his future. But after witnessing a terrifying display of Micah's Gift, Haley cools to his advances and unexpectedly discovers her own Gift -- she can heal the earth.

Monsters, mayhem, and teenage angst follow the small group as they confront evil in the forest and a dangerous prediction that “one will fall.” Will they heal the rifts in time? Can they save the unicorns? And is Haley really destined to be with Micah?

Author Diane M. Haynes
Diane has lived in Massachusetts all her life where her artistic talents were fostered early on, though her skills as an "excellent report writer" were often noted in previous employment.

On her brother Rick's birthday, November 16, 2004, seven months after his death, she woke from an amazing dream that would not fade. She outlined the dream, made a few quick notes, and produced a 12-page short story days later. After deciding her story was interesting but incomplete, she began writing her first novel, using her dream as its climax. She now believes the dream to be a “Spirit Gift,” sent by her brother.

Diane continues to reside in Central MA with her husband and a very naughty Basset Hound named Basil and his newly adopted sister-Basset, Ruby, both of whom cleverly wreak havoc on the Haynes' formerly well-ordered lives. She spends her time writing, reading books about writing, talking about writing, painting with watercolors, antiqueing and attempting to train a very reluctant Basil and a willing, but highly comedic Ruby.

Book Blast Giveaway
$50 Amazon Gift Card or PayPal Cash
Ends 7/4/13

Friday, June 14, 2013

Double Star Blog Tour: Guest Post "On Writing" by Author Cindy Saunders and a Giveaway!

Double Star by Cindy Saunders
(YA - Paranormal Fantasy - Available Now)

She fell into his world, unaware of the key she carried and the doors it opened. A world where darkness waited to be set free... The wait is over.
Do You Believe?

Purchase on Amazon

When Cepheus, a dark god, forces seventeen-year-old Ally Ashworth off an isolated overlook, she has no idea she's falling into his world, or that the necklace she’s wearing is actually a key -- one with the power to ignite the next world war. But she’s carried beyond his reach and into the one place where he’s powerless ... the forest of Gilgamesh.

Ally’s never been Miss Popularity, but her outsider status takes on new meaning when she’s rescued by Liam Cheveyo and his peculiar friends. After seeing them shape-shift into their freaky animal counterparts, Ally smacks hard into a few truths -- magic really does exist and, although getting there took no effort, finding her way back might be impossible.

Feelings between her and Liam begin to grow along with the realization that, in this world, she’s stronger and better ... until she’s caught in a trap set by the creepy spider-boy Cepheus sends to retrieve her. But Ally’s not going down without a fight, not after learning the horrible truth about the passageways.

The survival of both worlds depends on it.

On Writing, with Cindy Saunders of Double Star

"Writing is like riding a bike, sometimes you need to fall off a few times before you finally figure it out."

I was a bit overwhelmed, and certainly humbled, when asked to create a guest blog about my writing experiences. Honestly, it’s hard for me to wrap my head around the fact I’m considered a writer ... but I love it!! Although I have many things I could share, I’ve pared down the list to a few, but perhaps writing is like riding a bike. You need to fall off a few times before you finally figure it out.

Honestly, I was clueless about the writing process when I began Double Star. I simply wanted to tell a story that had been churning around in my mind for years. The first draft was almost a stream of consciousness ... seeing the scene in my head, like a movie, and following it through. I didn’t worry about spelling and punctuation, didn’t understand avoiding back story, showing not telling, etc. What I wound up with was a 203,000 word monster. A friend performed the edits and off went the queries. I didn’t understand why the agents weren’t interested and the rejections were painful. I had a great story (don’t we all?) but one agent was kind enough to actually write a response. She informed me that 203,000 words were far too many for an unpublished author and, more importantly, for the YA genre. The manuscript needed to be 85,000–90,000 words. Really? I had to cut almost 2/3 of my novel! How on earth could I do that and still get the story across?

I needed an unbiased opinion because the few who had read it (thanks Mom!) thought it was fine just the way it was. I hired a freelance editor to critique what I’d written, to let me know if I should invest the time to “kill my little darlings.” She responded with an emphatic “Yes!” But she pointed out that I needed to learn the tricks of the trade. In my first version, Ally went over the cliff at page 40. She told me I needed to get to the inciting incident by page 10! Armed with a huge scalpel, I went back and cut, cut, cut. I discovered a lot of what I’d written was back story; that the reader should get to know Ally, or any of the characters, like one might get to know a real person ... over time.

I began watching movies I wasn’t familiar with and muting the sound. I needed to learn how to show, not tell. How did I know if the character was angry or frustrated or happy? I’d rewind and look at facial expressions, body language, etc., and I began to get it.

When I began the second novel in the series, I vowed that I wouldn’t make the same mistakes again. After all, it took almost four years from the moment I wrote my first sentence of Double Star to the day it was finally published. I tried to make everything perfect the first time around, but found myself getting stuck in the details and not moving on with the story. I realized that the back story is important in the first draft ... for me anyway. If I’m introducing a new character, I need to sit down and write a chapter or two about that person before they make an appearance into the novel. I need to understand how they act and how they think. As a result, I have a few novellas out there, but it’s a necessary part of how I write. I’ve learned it’s better to have too much than not enough. I need to start with a rough draft where I can let my mind go and not stop the stream of consciousness when it starts to flow. It’s funny ... I’ll be writing a conversation between two characters and sometimes I’ll think, “I didn’t know they were going to say that!” It’s cool to develop them without everything being laid out beforehand.

When Stephen King (my all-time favorite writer!) was asked if he used an outline to write his stories, he responded that outlines are for thesis papers. I love that! This may not work for everyone. Writing is a very subjective process. What I needed to understand was there are no right or wrong ways to go about it. So, my advice? Clear your head, imagine, and don’t be afraid to fall off your bike!

About Cindy Saunders:
CINDY SAUNDERS was born in Lowell, MA. She moved to RI almost twenty-five years ago and now considers the Ocean State her home. She graduated from Bryant College with a Bachelor’s Degree in Finance. When she’s not reading, writing, spending time with her two teenage children (how did that happen?) or working, Cindy tracks down one of her favorite local bands and enjoys a glass of wine. She completed her first novel, Double Star, a YA fantasy, in October 2012 and is currently working on the second book in the series.

Double Star is her first novel.


Find More from Clean Teen Publishing:

Facebook: Clean Teen Publishing, Gabrielle Arrowsmith, Cindy Saunders, Jon Messenger, ELE Series, Night Marchers Series, Strong Image Editing (Cover Designer), Cynthia Shepp (Editor)

Twitter: @CleanTeenPub and follow the Clean Teen Publishing Blog

Amazon: Concealed in the Shadows by Gabrielle Arrowsmith, Wonderstruck (A Clean Teen Publishing Anthology), Project ELE and Night Marchers by Rebecca Gober and Courtney Nuckels

Upcoming Releases:
June 7, 2013: Double Star by Cindy Saunders
June 14, 2013: Wind Warrior by Jon Messenger


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Crushing Book Tour: An Excerpt!

Susan Heim on Writing is pleased to be a stop on the book tour for Crushing, by Elena Dillon. Read on for an exciting excerpt from the book!

About this book:
As a pampered and adored daughter of a wealthy Southern family, Rory’s life was seemingly perfect until her troubled childhood crush moves back in across the street, forcing her to choose between him and the life that has been chosen for her.

As if that isn’t enough, her quiet island town has turned dangerous. A good friend has gone missing, lending truth to the rumors of a serial kidnapper. In her quest to help, she becomes a target and will have to make choices about love, friendship, and the inevitable sacrifice that they both require.

“Who was that, Rory?” Dom looked confused. He had seen him, too. “Do you know him?”

“That was Gage Maddox,” I said, looking down at the menu and trying to sound casual.

“Oh, that guy? My dad said he got into so much trouble at his last school they kicked him out,” Dominic said.

Holden mumbled something with his mouth full of the bread that they had set in front of us.

“Oh, yeah. I heard that, too.” Dominic nodded.

How did boys understand each other when their mouths were full?

“Th-th-the st-st-stutterer,” Holden said.

“Shut. Up. Holden.” I glared at him. Holden was the epitome of a spoiled rich kid. He had been a brat when we were kids and had teased Gage back in the day. He’d gotten better since elementary school. Most of that behavior had stopped, but sometimes he reverted back to that bully mentality, and I just wanted to kick him.

“That’s right. Didn’t you have a crush on him back in the day?” Holden looked at me and smirked.

I kicked him in the shin. Hard. “You’re just mad because he used to beat the crap out of you every week.” I glared at him.

“Ow, Rory.” He huffed and turned to talk to Veronica.

Dom turned in his chair to look me in the eye. “Do you know why he moved back?” He knew me really well, and I would need to tread carefully here.

“No.” I hedged. “I’ve seen him, but it’s not like I grilled him for information. I didn’t even know it was him.” I wasn’t exactly lying, but I didn’t want to tell the whole storm drain story now.

Laken looked over from where she was gazing into Walker’s eyes, obviously having something to contribute to the gossip. “I heard he went to a really expensive prep school that his rich uncle paid for. He got kicked out because he got caught with the dean’s daughter and got her pregnant.”

Veronica chimed in. “I heard he stole the dean’s car, and cheated on all his tests. And there was some kind of scandal with his parents a long time ago.”

“My uncle, the police chief, said he heard he was dealing meth,” Holden said. “He says they are going to be watching him real close.”

My heart sped up. That couldn’t all be true. Small-town gossip ran wild here. It could be any of that, none of it, or somewhere in between. And on top of it all, Holden was a jackass. He always liked to stir up trouble. As if he didn’t get into plenty of his own trouble, his uncle or his rich parents had to consistently get him out of. I decided I wouldn’t believe any of the Gage rumors until I heard from a more reliable source.

“Yeah, well, maybe we shouldn’t judge people before we know the truth.” I was getting even more irritated. “It sounds like Wynter gossip out of control to me.”

I was angry. Why couldn’t people mind their own business? Obviously, no one had anything better to do than make up stories about him. Good grief. If he was moving here to get away from his reputation, I am pretty sure he picked the wrong place. Every time I thought about him or someone mentioned him, I got a weird feeling in my stomach. Like a party was going on and the squirrels were leading a conga line in there. Not in a good way. All of a sudden, I wasn’t hungry anymore.

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