Monday, November 23, 2015

'Latina Authors and Their Muses' - Paperback available now for pre-order!

As the Hispanic American population of the U.S. increases, with influences ranging from Mexico to Central America and the Caribbean, so does interest in literature inspired by those cultures.
Award-winning author Mayra Calvani has now edited a collection of interviews with 40 Latina authors living in the U.S. and writing in English. Latina Authors and Their Muses is an inspirational and informative book focusing on the craft of writing and the business of publishing, one that provides aspiring writers with the nuts and bolts of the business.
Purchase the ebook NOW on Amazon or B&N
Pre-order the paperback NOW on Amazon or B&N
Official paperback release date: December 15, 2015
ramses and I
About the Editor
Award-winning author Mayra Calvani has penned more than ten books for children and adults in genres ranging from picture books to nonfiction to paranormal fantasy novels. She’s had over 300 articles, short stories, interviews and reviews published in magazines such as The WriterWriter's Journal and Bloomsbury Review, among others. A native of San Juan, Puerto Rico, she now resides in Brussels, Belgium

Interview with Courtney Kristel, author of 'Beautifully Shattered' #romance #suspense

Courtney Kristel graduated from The Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising, but she couldn't shake her true passion for writing. She's currently working on the second novel of the Beautifully Series, Beautifully Mended. When she isn't creating stories to share with the world, Courtney usually has a book in her hands or is searching for new music to add to her writing playlist.  

Her latest book is the romantic suspense, Beautifully Shattered.

For More Information

Can you tell us what your book is about?

Adalynn is the main character in Beautifully Shattered and she’s trying to survive an unbearable loss she suffered six years ago. She’s finally realizing that she’s still breathing, she hasn’t given up completely yet, she’s still alive, and she’s going to fight to get her life back. After years of therapy, Addie finds herself in a love triangle between her brother’s best friend, and the mysterious doctor who lives in her building. In her desperate search for that all-consuming love her parents had, to have someone not hide their feelings for her, she has one more choice to make. Will it be ripped away from her like everything else? Will her past always haunt her and cause her to pay the ultimate price?

Why did you write your book?

I wanted to write a book that meant something to readers. I wanted to show them that no matter what happens in life, what obstacles they have to overcome, life is worth living, to keep breathing. I hope that I gave them an escape from any harsh reality they were living in, even for a little while. That’s
what reading always meant for me, even if I wasn’t going through anything, it was magical to be swept up into another time, another life, and watch the problems disappear and a happy ending come to life with a flip of a page.

Do you tend to base your characters on real people or are they totally from your imagination?

Both. The hardships my characters go through are based on personal experience and then morphed into a more dramatic flare for the series. The character’s spunk start off from people in my life and then the more I write, the more the characters come to life right before my eyes. When that happens their true self is written.

Are you consciously aware of the plot before you begin a novel or do you discover it as you write?

I bullet point every chapter before I write, and then everything flows out as I’m writing. The bullet-points are more so I don’t forget any of the key points I want to go over before the book is finished. They aren’t written in stone, so some are moved to different points in the book or removed completely. It all depends on how the story plays out as I’m writing. That’s the beauty of it, that I can have it thought out and yet the finished product is different and better than I’ve ever imagined.

Your book is set in New York City.  Can you tell us why you chose this city in particular?

I love that New York City has over 8 million people in it. I think it’s important for readers to see that even in a crowded city like NYC, Adalynn still isolated herself and forgot the beauty of the New York until Jax gave her a piece of herself she fought tirelessly to forget. NYC is a magical place and I’m thrilled that it’s the setting of the Beautifully Series, I can’t wait to watch Adalynn find herself and see what the city has to offer since she’s not keeping to herself anymore.

Open the book to page 69.  What is happening?

Connor is telling Adalynn that he know’s about her and Jax. Up until this point, Adalynn always assumed her love for Jax wasn’t obvious to anyone else but Jax. They’ve hidden their relationship from everyone in their lives... or so she thought. This is the biggest “trust fall” with her best friend Connor. Now, she’s able to turn to someone who knows Jax just as well as her. The next thing happening on this page, that Addie of course tries to sweep under the rug, is her camera bag. Her brother, Logan spots it on the floor but doesn’t comment. Allowing her time to adjust being back behind the lens for the first time since the accident. 

Which holiday is your favorite and why?

Halloween has always been my favorite day of the year since I was a kid. It’s the one day of the year that you can forget about everything going on in your life for a little while. It’s the one time you can become anything or anybody and to me, there’s something magical about halloween.

What do you like the most about being an author?

I love hearing from my readers, the good and the bad reviews, emails, basically anything from them. Honestly, it makes my day just hear what they thought of the book. It amazes me that they people are buying my book and falling in love with the characters. Their excitement for the story makes my day each and every time. Oh and of course I’m loving all the guesses about Adalynn’s missing memory.

What is the most pivotal point of a writer’s life?

For me, it was the night I realized I was going to publish Beautifully Shattered. My sister Heather couldn’t put my laptop down and when she finished reading what I had so far she was pissed that she had to wait for me to finish it. That was the night she talked me into finishing it and then publishing it. I made her promise me that she wouldn’t tell anyone because I didn’t know if I would ever go through with it, but deep down I could see myself going through with it. That was terrifying for me, but I’m so glad I did. That night, changed my life and I’m so thankful for my sister believing in me.

What kind of advice would you give other fiction authors?

To never give up on your dreams, if you do, you’ll have nothing left to fight for. Always strive to reach them, and when you do, keep going further. The biggest obstacle in anyone’s life is themselves. Of course make sure you find the right editor, cover artist, formatter, etc., because you’re going to be talking to them A LOT! So make sure you have a great team and keep writing, every day write something. Most importantly, have fun with the story. If you’re not having fun writing it, or getting sad at the emotional parts, then chances are readers aren’t either. 

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Blog Tour: Interview with Kimberly Dean, author of 'Courting Danger'

When taking the Myers-Briggs personality test in high school, Kimberly was rated as an INFJ (Introverted-Intuitive-Feeling-Judging). This result sent her into a panic, because there were no career paths recommended for the type. Fortunately, it turned out to be well-suited to a writing career. Since receiving that dismal outlook, Kimberly has become an award-winning author of romance and erotica.  She has written for seven publishing houses, both domestic and international, and has recently focused her efforts on the exciting world of self-publishing. When not writing, she enjoys movies, sports, traveling, music, and sunshine. In her mind, a beach, some rock ‘n’ roll, and a good book make for a perfect day. 

Her latest book is the contemporary erotic romance, Courting Danger.

For More Information
Can you tell us what your book is about?  

My Courting series is about the women and men who work at Luxxor Limited, a high-end escort service.  Courting Danger is the story of Rielle, Luxxor’s office manager, who decides to step out one night as an escort with a mysterious man.

Darien Scott isn’t what he appears to be. Beneath the sexy smile and wicked charm, he’s hiding secrets. Yet the sizzling chemistry between him and Rielle is real. He tries to stay away, but his
attraction to her keeps pulling him back. When he discovers that he’s not the only one haunted by danger, he changes tactics. To protect Rielle, he may need to stay close. Super close. Exclusive Luxxor contract close.  The reward is more than worth the risk.

Are you consciously aware of the plot before you begin a novel or do you discover it as you write?   

I’m a plotter.  If I tried to discover the story as I wrote, I’d stare for a long time at a blank screen.  I start plotting at a high level to make sure I know all the major points of the story.  I often use flash cards for this.  Then I break it down, chapter by chapter, so I know where I’m going and why.  The better I’ve plotted, the faster the actual writing goes.

Your book is set in Washington DC.  Can you tell us why you chose this city in particular?  

 I needed a big city where an escort service might be based.  The capital was the first place that came to mind.  Ha!  Actually, it offered a lot of intriguing storyline possibilities, and there are so many settings within the city that I could use.  It’s worked out very well.

Does the setting play a major part in the development of your story?   

DC plays a huge part in Courting Danger.  The White House, cherry blossoms, and the Kennedy Center all show up.  The locations are integral to the plot.

Open the book to page 69.  What is happening?   

Wow!  You are good.  It’s actually the start of a love scene.  It’s also my favorite scene in the book.  The hero is still a vague, shadowy figure.  Everyone is telling Rielle that he’s bad news and to stay away from him.  She’s angry with him, but when he appears, they have a quiet, intimate moment.  It’s the quietness that appealed to me.  By all rights, there could have been a big, dramatic moment with anger and yelling.  Instead, there was a quietness that solidified to me that these two characters belonged together.

Have you suffered from writer’s block and what do you do to get back on track?   

Yes.  As I mentioned before, if I don’t know the story, I can’t sit down at a keyboard and hammer it out.  Instead, I do anything but write. Seriously. Others say you need to put your butt in the chair and fight through it. That doesn't work for me. I get more frustrated, and the block gets bigger. Instead, I'll let my subconscious mind work on it. I'll do dishes, watch a movie, or listen to music. Another trick is thinking about the scene from another character's point of view. When the answer comes, it's just like the proverbial light bulb popping on over my head. I get all excited, the energy returns, and I'll write like crazy.  Getting to that point, though, can be excruciating.

What would you do with an extra hour today if you could do anything you wanted?   

With Halloween right around the corner, I’d carve pumpkins!  I’m desperately wanting to do this right now, but I can’t find the time. I love seeing jack-o’-lanterns with their flickering faces.

Which holiday is your favorite and why?   

I love Halloween.  There are no presents to worry about, no stress, and no awkward gatherings.  It’s all about fun and imagination.

What is the most pivotal point of a writer’s life?   

I think the most pivotal point is when things go wrong.  A book might not sell well.  An editor might have a different vision for a story than you.  Bad reviews might come in.  It’s all about how you respond to adversity.  Does it make you stronger?  Can you filter out the important feedback?  Or do you crawl into a ball and hide under the covers?  The next step you take is the most important.

What kind of advice would you give other fiction authors?  

Learn your craft and do your homework. Do everything you can to become the best writer you can possibly be, but listen to your gut. People in this industry love to throw out advice. Some of it is great, but a lot of it is pure hooey. Just because a big-time author tells you to do something or an agent demands you make changes doesn't mean they're right. This can be one of the hardest things to learn. Don't be inflexible or a smarty pants, but develop a backbone. This is your story, your business, and your dream. Trust in yourself to make things happen.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Guest post: "Novelists Who Look Behind Them" by Historical Novelist Joan Schweighardt

I am noticing that a lot of my favorite writers are looking back in time to find fodder for their stories. In The Museum of Extraordinary Things, Alice Hoffman brings to life New York City in the early twentieth century, with a particular emphasis on Coney Island. I knew a lot about the NYC sweatshops and street life from that time, but I didn’t know much about Coney Island, and I was as fascinated by her rendering of it as I was with the story she set therein. Another favorite writer, Emma Donogue, brings nineteenth century San Francisco to life in her novel Frog Music. Her story (based on a true unsolved crime) unfolds against the background of one particular summer’s historic heat wave and smallpox epidemic. Again, it was fascinating to have a wonderful capable writer bring this moment in history to vivid life. Then there’s The Orphan Train by Christine Baker Kline, which illuminates depression era orphans in NYC who were shipped out to work at jobs in the Midwest. The list goes on.

I never much cared for dry historical texts, so having a chance to regard historical events as perfectly restructured backdrops for good fiction is a great pleasure for me. But I notice the publishers for the three novels mentioned above go out of their way not to label these titles “historical novels.” I agree that first and foremost they are literary novels, but “literary” doesn’t reveal very much information, and I might have been inclined, had I published them, to call them “literary historicals.”

I see their point though. Historical fiction as a genre seems to have shot itself in the foot in the 70s and 80s when it took historical romance under its wing as a sub genre. There were so many historical romances for a couple of decades that the terms historical romance and historical fiction seemed to have merged. The former brought the latter down a notch, because while many historical romances are extremely good, some of them merely provide historical settings for formulaic relationships among the characters. “Historical” became a bad word in literary circles as a result. In more recent years historical fiction seems to be gathering back the strength it once had, but it’s happening slowly.

My novel, The Last Wife of Attila the Hun, has two strikes against it. It’s historical in part, and it’s also got a legendary component. Since most legendary materials can be labeled romantic, it’s easy to call it a historical romance. But that’s not what it is. It’s definitely a hybrid, and I’m still trying to figure out how to refer it myself. But that’s okay. I like research, and the avenues I’ve been following to try to discover how to talk about my novel are leading me into some unexpected corners.

Title: The Last Wife of Attila the Hun
Genre: Literary/Historical Fiction with a Legendary Component
Author: Joan Schweighardt
Publisher: Booktrope Editions
Purchase on Amazon
About the Book:
Two threads are woven together in The Last Wife of Attila the Hun. In one, Gudrun, a Burgundian noblewoman, dares to enter the City of Attila to give its ruler what she hopes is a cursed sword; the second reveals the unimaginable events that have driven her to this mission. Based in part on the true history of the times and in part on the same Nordic legends that inspired Wagner’s Ring Cycle and other great works of art, The Last Wife of Attila the Hun offers readers a thrilling story of love, betrayal, passion and revenge, all set against an ancient backdrop itself gushing with intrigue. Lovers of history and fantasy alike will find realism and legend at work in this tale.
About the Author:
Joan Schweighardt is the author of several novels. In addition to her own projects, she writes, ghostwrites and edits for private and corporate clients.
Twitter: @joanschwei

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Guest Post: “Writing under pressure…” by Stephen Caputi, Author of 'I Should Have Stayed in Morocco'

Writing from a prison cell was far from idyllic. I wrote after every meal, and started by chronicling every mundane event—even the actual delivery of the meal, and trips marching to and from the ‘recreation’ cage in handcuffs. Or the nuances of being shackled for our treks to the showers. Each night I’d write for an hour before crashing, after the last of the day’s insipid counting rituals were duly completed.

            For my own protection, I had to stash my written notes in-between pages of books I was reading. I couldn’t risk mailing them out from the Hole, so I waited until after getting out of solitary confinement to transport them. This presented another challenge, since everything we mailed was subject to being inspected and read.

Due to its content, my writings were extremely risky. If any of the brass got wind that I was keeping a diary of their antics, there were no imaginable limits to how they might retaliate. As an example, an inmate buddy of mine had been the unlucky recipient of “diesel therapy”—an intimidating tactic so commonly used by the Bureau of Prisons that it commanded its own nickname. Since his arrival, he was overly insistent that his rights not be violated. Because of his annoyance, he’d been kept suspended on a perpetual road trip for a year and a half. The guards would transport him in chains in a Twilight-Zone-like ride to nowhere, on an endless bus ride from one federal prison to the next. It took months and a dozen letters from his Congressman to get him anchored somewhere. Their explanation was that they “lost” his paperwork. No apology. Acting with impunity was a routine... a matter of policy for the gatekeepers who harbored little or no fear of outside pressures or intervention.

I was tipped off by one of their own that they were not as likely to read legal mail, and even less likely to read it when it was mailed certified. Although this was despite any regard for our privacy rights to send legal mail to counsel. But they understood the potential of getting themselves into serious trouble by tampering with certified mail, since a trail existed that could be traced directly back to them. Even though I sandwiched all my writings inside packets of legitimate legal correspondence and forms and other camouflage, I was still rolling the dice that I might get “pinched” whenever I sent my package out at the end of the month. Who knew what the consequences of that would be?

Title: I Should Have Stayed in Morocco
Genre: Memoir
Author: Stephen Caputi
Publisher: Twilight Times Books 
Read the First Chapter
Purchase from Amazon / OmniLit
About the Book: 
Stephen Caputi’s memoir, I Should Have Stayed in Morocco, is not just another forensic account of billionaire Ponzi-schemer Scott Rothstein’s life. Caputi opens his heart and soul as he takes the reader on a journey through two decades rife with personal experiences, misadventures and wild escapades with Rothstein, climaxing with their now-infamous ramble in Casablanca. It’s a frighteningly true story of how friendship and loyalty was dedicatedly served to a master-manipulator, just to be rewarded with deceitful betrayal and a prison sentence.
About the Author: 
Steve is best known for his involvement in the creation, building and management of successful nightclub and hospitality businesses. Decades of experience in the industry and the good fortune to work with a succession of the best performers in the world gave him a broad base of skills… skills that were instrumental in his entrepreneurial quest and subsequent sparkling career.
As an Ivy-league student-athlete, he graduated from the renowned Cornell University School of Hotel Administration in 1979. Rostered as the ‘smallest player in NCAA Division 1 football’, he lettered under George Seifert, world-champion coach of the San Francisco 49’ers and played centerfielder on Cornell’s EIBL championship team of 1977, led by hall of fame coach Ted Thoren. Steve set several all-time team and NCAA records, one of which still stands 37 years later.
His career experience was equally as fortunate as he was trained by the best club management experts in the business while managing the Texas billionaires’ favorite watering hole – the ultra-private, magnificent Houston Club. In the early 1990’s, Steve was President of Michael J. Peter’s gentlemen’s club empire, featuring the world-famous Solid Gold, Thee Doll House, and Pure Platinum. It was during that era that adult clubs became legitimized. After redesigning and opening Club Paradise in Las Vegas, Steve became a partner in South Florida’s most successful long-term nightclub chain ever, CafĂ© Iguana. Over the decades, businesses under his direct control amassed nearly a billion dollars in revenue.
Steve was blessed with everything a man could want until he got tangled up in Scott Rothstein’s Ponzi scheme in 2009, at which time everything was lost… including his freedom. So began his most recent quest upon his release from the Federal Bureau of Prisons… to find out what happened, how it happened, and why!

Monday, November 9, 2015

Defeating Breast Cancer by Stacey Keen, M.D. Book Blast - Win a $25 Amazon Gift Card

Title: Defeating Breast Cancer
Author: Stacey Keen, M.D.
Publisher: iUniverse
Genre: Health
Format: Paperback

When Dr. Stacey Keen, a radiologist, viewed her own screening mammogram, she immediately knew she had cancer. Defeating Breast Cancer: A Physician's Story of Healing, Martial Arts and Life maps out her journey through diagnosis, treatment, and triumph.

In telling her story, Dr. Keen relays not only her mental and emotional journey, but also her experience with complementary medicine (acupuncture) and her traditional course of treatment (surgery followed by chemotherapy and radiation therapy). Dr. Keen is candid, witty, and knowledgeable, and she offers a unique perspective as medical expert, patient, and survivor in one. Doctors, as well as cancer patients and their loved ones, will come away from her uplifting book well-informed, less apprehensive of life-saving treatments, and armed with invaluable resources.

Dr. Keen's tale of survival brings encouragement, hope, and empowerment to anyone struggling with breast cancer or other life-threatening illnesses. Humor, positive attitude, and the best of Eastern and Western philosophy and medicine: I enlisted them all to maximize my chances of survival and to grow through this experience. Those who seek a somber tome about breast cancer should look elsewhere. Those who stay with me through these pages will glimpse a way of coping with cancer that I hope can brighten their lives.

Stacey Keen, M.D., practices Radiology in Maryland, where she lives with her husband, Andrew Alpert. A third-degree black belt, Dr. Keen has studied Bujinkan Ninpo Taijutsu since 1990.

Stacey is giving away a $25 Gift Card!

Terms & Conditions:
  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • One winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive one $25 Gift Certificate to the e-retailer of your choice
  • This giveaway begins November 2 and ends on November 13.
  • Winners will be contacted via email on November 14.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.
Good luck everyone!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

On the Spotlight: Somewhere I Belong, by Glenna Jenkins

SYNOPSIS In Somewhere I Belong, we meet young P.J. Kavanaugh at North Boston Station. His father has died, the Depression is on, and his mother is moving them back home. They settle in, and P.J. makes new friends. But the P.E.I. winter is harsh, the farm chores endless, and his teacher a drunken bully. He soon wants to go home; the problem is how. A letter arrives from Aunt Mayme announcing a Babe Ruth charity baseball game in the old neighbourhood. But Ma won’t let him go. P.J is devastated. The weeks pass, then there is an accident on the farm. P.J. becomes a hero and Ma changes her mind. He travels to Boston, sees his friends, watches Babe Ruth hit a home run, and renews his attachment to the place. But his eagerness to return to the Island makes him wonder where he really belongs.


Glenna's Website / Goodreads / LinkedIn

I am a writer, editor and indexer who lives in historic Lunenburg, Nova Scotia. A true Maritimer, I was born and raised in Nova Scotia and my Prince Edward Island roots hail back to 1830. My short stories have been published in Jilted Angels: A Collection of Short Stories (Broad Street Press), and Riptides: New Island Fiction (Acorn Press Canada), the latter which was nominated for best Atlantic book of 2012 and won the 2013 Prince Edward Island Book Award. In addition to placing first in the 2014 Atlantic Writing Competition’s literary non-fiction category, I received a mentorship from the Writers Federation of Nova Scotia to study under award-winning writer, William Kowalski. I am also a graduate of the Humber School for Writers, where I studied novel writing under two-time Governor General Award winner, David Adams Richards. My first novel, Somewhere I Belong, is based on a true story and was released on November 1, 2014 by Acorn Press Canada.
As a published author and fiction writer, I offer developmental writing services, coaching, and copy editing, structural editing to emerging writers of fiction and non-fiction in short-story, novel or book format. As an editor, I revise scholarly works written by academics whose first language is not English and who wish to complete their master’s theses, PhD dissertations, or publish in English-language academic journals. I also completed an indexing course at the University of California at Berkeley and index books on economics, politics, history, and topics of general interest.
Follow the entire Somewhere I Belong TOUR HERE
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