Posted in Guest Author

Please Welcome Grace Rockwell and her new release!

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you! Today, I have a guest, Grace Rockwell. She’s here to tell us a little bit about herself and her book. So without further ado, take it away, Grace!

My name is Grace Rockwell. Since I was a young girl, I’ve wanted to write a book. As an adult I’ve thought about sharing my life story of domestic abuse, chronic pain and mental illness. But I struggled to know exactly how to write it and when.

But in the summer of 2018 that all became crystal clear to me. One day I sat down in my dining room, with my laptop, and started writing. I wrote and I wrote and I wrote. Eight weeks later I had a first draft – about 120 pages and 18 chapters.

After those eight weeks I was stricken with a debilitating depression. For month after month I was stuck and sat despondent in my recliner. Then in March 2020 I started feeling better.

In June I decided that I needed to add “the rest of the story,” as Paul Harvey used to say. I finished my story and started looking for a publisher.

My manuscript was published and released in October 2020 by Westbow Press. The book is now available for purchase from the publisher and on Amazon.com.

This is what my book (Our Only Hope: Living a Life of Freedom) is about:

​“For those trying to weather through the storms of life, Grace Rockwell offers encouragement by sharing her own experiences and what she has learned from them. Growing up with chronic pain and in a negative abusive environment, where she was often rejected and alone, Grace learned to put her trust in the Lord. No matter what storms she faced, or how much pain she endured, Grace always came back to the Lord for help.

​Grace’s experiences will encourage you as you face your own storms in life. She reassures the reader that we can trust that God is always with us; He has a plan and a purpose for our lives. Our Only Hope will take you along Grace’s journey to find that the redemptive power of God is our only hope and it can become an anchor for our souls.

​Grace’s passions include not only spreading the good news of Jesus Christ, but also advocating for those suffering from chronic pain, domestic abuse and/or mental illness.”

Here is a sneak peek into the introduction:

          Do you ever get a song stuck in your head?…As I am writing this now, I’ve had the song You Never Let Go by Matt Redman stuck in my head for weeks. I’ve listened to other songs in the meantime, but it just won’t go away. Ugh! At this point I’m like, “OK. Must be I’m supposed to really think about the lyrics and the overall meaning of the song.” I’ve come to the conclusion that this song is really a reflection of my life, and all I have been through over the years.

          Speaking of my life, I’ve been looking back over the past 50 years and am feeling like now is the right time to share my story. I’ve also been praying a lot about where I’ve been, where I am, and where I want to be. Prayers about what the next 50 years will bring. Prayers about how to share my story.

          Last night as I was going to sleep, I felt the power and gravity of who God is. It was storming with a lot of lightening and loud thunder. The rain was pouring down on the house and I thought, “Wow, God! There really is NO stopping You!” Then I went to sleep praying, “Lord, I don’t know when you want me to share my story, or even if I’m supposed to write my story. But if it is Your will, please give me the words. I can’t do this on my own. I need some direction here. Thank You, Father. Amen.”

          The next thing I know my alarm is going off. It was time to get up and get ready for my morning appointment. The problem was that I didn’t want to wake up. I was too involved in my dream and I needed to know how it ended. Instead of going back into the dream, I felt the need to start writing down everything I could remember from  the dream. You see, a few weeks ago I read a book by Jane Hamon called Dreams & Visions. Jane is a Christian teacher who really changed my opinion about dreams through her book. I will never again think of my dreams as silly, passing whims of the subconscious mind. Instead, I now pay more attention and try to really think through my dreams and what they might mean. Jane states that, “individuals should examine their own dreams and learn to listen to God’s Holy Spirit through this God-ordained method of communication.” (19) She goes on to explain that it is important to write down what we can remember upon waking. This is because it is only in those fleeting moments that we can remember. Jane recommends keeping paper and pen beside your bed so you can write before you even get out of bed in the morning. Or if you wake in the middle of the night.

          So that’s exactly what I did. I wrote, and I wrote, and I wrote. Nine sticky notes later, I had jotted down all of the elements I could remember. And as I wrote, I realized that God was answering my prayer from the previous night. He was giving me some of the ideas for this book. Part of my life story is within each element and character throughout my dream:

          Protagonist – Little Girl

          Antagonists – The Enemy, Young Mama, Old Mama

          Supporting Character – The Caregiver

          My dream started inside a church. The young mama had brought her little girl to the church looking for answers. The little girl had been telling her things that did not make sense. She was telling her mama about things she could do, but the mama knew those things were not possible. Mama had realized that her daughter would only make these claims while she was taking her pain medication. At the church was the little girl’s caregiver. The caregiver tried to tell the mama that her daughter’s allegations were true. But it wasn’t the medication causing the phenomena…The next scene opens into a small apartment. There are two beds with a TV between them. The young mama is sleeping in one bed, and the old mama is sleeping in the other bed. The unborn baby is in the corner sleeping in a beautiful, white lace bassinet. The apartment and its furnishings are old, dusty, and falling apart. The little girl enters the apartment and starts using her powers to regenerate everything in sight. She starts in the bathroom and with her simple words, she speaks into existence a new sink, a new bathtub, new towels, new paint on the walls, and new flooring. She then proceeds to the large room with the two beds, TV and bassinet. She starts to regenerate the walls, the decor….But then the enemy comes on the TV and starts telling the little girl lies. Lies that she can’t do this. She is not good enough. She should give up. As the enemy speaks, she starts to feel horrible and her powers begin to fade. Then her body morphs into a black cat. As the enemy continues to fill the room with lies, her cat body starts to fall apart. Limbs fall off and fur falls to the floor.

          Enter the caregiver. The caregiver walks over to the TV and switches it off. She then starts praying over the little girl. She pleads with God to put the girl back together. As she prays, the girl regains her body parts and starts turning back into a child. The caregiver continues to fervently pray over her until the girl is back to normal. But when the caregiver stopped praying, the little girl would start falling apart again. After several times of this happening, the caregiver realizes that she must fervently pray without ceasing over this precious little girl… After some deep soul searching, I was able to interpret my dream as huge parts of my life so far. The little girl is me. The enemy is Satan, and the mama (young and old) is my biological mom. The caregiver is a representation of six godly women who have loved on and prayed for me throughout my life. And finally, the baby represents the unborn babies who my mom had miscarried before my brother and I were born.”

The book is for sale on Amazon (click on the buy button below) You can get free shipping with USPS, just click this link – https://www.westbowpress.com/…/boo…/815694-our-only-hope

For those trying to weather through the storms of life, Grace Rockwell offers encouragement by sharing her own experiences and what she has learned from them. Growing up with chronic pain and in a negative environment, where she was often rejected and alone, Grace learned to put her trust in the Lord. No matter what storms she faced, or how much pain she endured, Grace always came back to the Lord for help.

Grace’s experiences will encourage you as you face your own storms in life. She reassures the reader that we can trust that God is always with us; He has a plan and a purpose for our lives. Our Only Hope will take you along Grace’s journey to find that the redemptive power of God is our only hope, and it can become an anchor for our souls.

Grace’s passions include not only spreading the good news of Jesus Christ, but also advocating for those suffering from chronic pain, domestic abuse, and/or mental illness.

Today Grace lives with her husband in a small farming community in West Michigan, not far from where she grew up. She and her husband have four grown children and nine grandchildren.

Posted in Guest Author, Personal

Interview with Author Robert Hookey

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. Today I have a special treat for you! I’ve interviewed my great friend Robert Hookey. He’s the author of “Into the Dark.” A Sci-Fi story that’s on my TBR pile! So read on and learn about the author and check out his book!

  • What inspired you to write your story?

My lovely bride could see I was bored and frustrated (brustrated) almost immediately after being laid off from my job as a Niagara Falls bellman (thanks for that, Covid-19) and she asked, “Why don’t you get off Twitter and go back and write another book before you drive me totally insane?

And so I finally indulged my lifelong dream of creating my own superhero universe while simultaneously working through some personal trauma that has been haunting me for years. Writing is wonderfully affordable therapy.

  • What is your writing process like? Do you have a favorite time and place you like to write?

I try to get up at 7:30 each morning and write as much as I can get out of my addled head as I can before I get too distracted and start surfing the web. Lately I’ve been trying to stop writing around noon so I can spend time with my family before I get back to work full-time. Incidentally, as much as I love my family, I’m hoping the world gets back on track soon so I can go to sleep at night knowing I have a full-time job to pay the bills that writing can’t – which is pretty much all of them.

  • How many books do you have planned for this series?

Into The Grey and Into The Light will bring my characters and their world to a satisfying conclusion – I hope. Though I’m not against continuing to explore the world of the Infinite Crossover Crisis in the future.

  • How do you handle writer’s block?

I walk away and watch a television show or read a book or comic for inspiration. Sometimes a walk or spending time with my daughter or wife or even playing with the dog can free my mind up and get me back on track.

It’s important to remember that a self-published author doesn’t have to worry about deadlines, so writer’s block has no real sway over us. We can take a month off and it may actually help make the eventual finished product even better.

  • I love the fact that your daughter designed your cover. What a great way for you two to strengthen your bond. Has she given you any insight into your current characters, and can you envision a project where she’ll help with the writing as well?

My daughter is incredibly “woke” as the kids say, and she constantly inspires me to consider inclusion when crafting my tales of superheroes in the real world. I’ve tried to include characters from all over the world who live their truths and love who they want to love regardless of what society thinks.

In fact, my daughter is the reason my heroes are facing more than just supernatural beings and supervillains. I want to build a world where heroes face down killer cops, corrupt politician and despicable media moguls – and I want to show my daughter a world where there is a reason people are so tempted to indulge their darkest impulses beyond just human weakness.

  • Do you have any advice for other aspiring authors who may want to self-publish?

Don’t do it! It’s a lot of hard work that rarely yields immediate results and leaves you doubting your own artistic abilities.

That said, if you do decide to go the indie author route, remember to hold nothing back. Indulge your every impulse and infuse as much of yourself – good and bad – as you can. Brilliant writing comes from the author’s heart and soul.

So as loathe as I am to refer to a sports metaphor… leaving it all on the field is the only way you’ll ever be happy as a self-published author.

And don’t ever underestimate the power of social media in a writer’s success. After all, it brought us into each other’s orbit, right, Lisa?

That”s right, Robert! Where would we be without social media? Thanks for allowing me to interview you and here’s wishing you many sales on your book!

Into The Dark: Book One of the Infinite Crossover Crisis by [Robert Hookey]

Watchmen meets The Good Place in this (relatively) original, (kind of) groundbreaking, and reasonably-priced novel of good, evil, and everything in-between, overloaded with enough pop culture references to make your grandmother’s head explode.

In an all-too-familiar world controlled by ancient beings known as The Dark, heroes of every origin must assemble (yeah, I said it, sue me) to pull humanity back from the edge of annihilation – if they don’t kill each other first.They may not be the Avengers, the Suicide Squad, hell, they may not even be the Great Lakes Avengers… but they’ve been brought together by a hero in a Green Hornet mask and leather jacket to match named Nemesis to face every form of evil imaginable. From seemingly-invincible masked killers who stalk teen camp counselors to clones of Nazi super soldiers to monsters of the human variety, Nemesis and his team of unlikely heroes will traverse the globe to dismantle The Dark’s vast power structure once and for all.If you took The Umbrella AcademyThe Boys and The Cabin In The Woods and gave them a hearty stir you’d get Into The Dark: Book One of the Infinite Crossover Crisis, a clever, electrifying, genre-busting adventure that pits the most unconventional superheroes in the Multiverse against the embodiment of mankind’s capacity for evil itself.Into The Dark is the inaugural novel by indie author The Hook. He hopes you like it. (But if you don’t, feel free to keep it to yourself.)

You can find Robert’s Book on Amazon. The link is below

https://amzn.to/3wabbd6

Thanks for stopping by and reading Robert’s Interview. Leave a comment for him, he’d love to hear from you!

Posted in Guest Author, Guest interview

Please welcome Author Lisa Fender!

Lisa Fender

Hi Lisa,

Thanks for inviting me to your blog. I know we’ve been friends on Facebook for quite a while, so it will be great to get to know it each other a little better since we are kindred spirits in the writing world.

1. Tell us a little about yourself and what inspired you to start writing?

I’ve always wanted to write a novel, since I was a little girl. I fell in love with books at about the age of 5 and knew it would be something I would accomplish one day. When I was laid off in 2009, along with half the population in America, I thought now would be a good time to start writing. I had tinkered with it a little bit, but once I had no excuse, I wrote my first manuscript in about 3 months.

2. How do you handle writer’s block?

I had never experienced true writer’s block until this year. Actually, I am still fighting it, but pushing myself to do it. I think it’s the combination of Covid, my husband’s ongoing health problems, and the loss of one of my critique partners at the beginning of the year. Not to death, but to her

deciding to not do it anymore. As we all know, this year has been a tough one. I have gone weeks without writing in some instances, and others, I have pounded out a chapter. It’s really weird to go through.

3. What words of wisdom can you give other writers?

Always work to better your craft. We are a work in progress. We should want to excel in our talents and work toward putting out a clean, tight, novel. Learn the creative writing skills – they are important. And remember, corrective criticism is there to help you. Oh, and always have a critique partner.

4. What inspired you to write your series?

Well, I love reading series – I never want to story to end. And my main character, Stevie, needed to get her whole story out. I’ve always enjoyed fantasy fiction, and I am fascinated with all things ‘Alien’. So I combined the two.

5. Are you a pantser or a plotter?

I started out as a panster and learned my lesson when I self-published my first book and found two mistakes that a reader would have caught. I had to fix them and republish. When you are writing a large series, like mine, you have a lot to remember. It is best to keep track so that you don’t write that one of your characters drives a Chevy Blazer, then suddenly a Jeep Cherokee. Little things like that can screw up a good book.

6. What is your favorite part of the publishing process?

When you see it all come together and you actually hold your book in your hands. The second, my fans. I might not have hundreds, but the ones I do have are loyal and love my books. That means the world to me.

7. What is your go-to snack when you’re writing?

I love mocha lattes! I don’t usually eat while I’m writing. The few times that I have, it’s been chocolate.

8. Do you have a favorite place to write?

I write in my living room, a paragraph at a time – and usually by hand. Then I transfer the work to my desktop in my office. My eyes don’t like looking at the computer screen for more than an hour, so it works better to do it this way.

9. What are you working on now?

I am at the very end of my 6th book. It is the first half of the last book in the Lorn Prophecy Series. All of my books have been large, so when I started writing this one, I know it would be over 1000 pages. I decided to cut it in half and have a part one and part two. I am at the end of part one.

10. What do you like to read?

I love several different genres, but read a lot of fantasy to keep my mind focused on my own genre. But I do read mystery, international espionage, and historical fiction. I really don’t like reading non-fiction too much. I get enough of that in newspapers and online articles. When I relax and want to read, I want to be taken away from life’s everyday stresses.

Thanks for being a guest Lisa! It was great to get to know you a little better. Below are Lisa’s book covers and links. Check them out if you have a young reader who likes fantasy!

Website


Writing Blog


Fable – Book 1 of The Lorn Prophecy

Fated – Book 1 of The Djenrye Chronicles

Posted in books, Guest Author, Writing

Writers Living Right by Sharon Ledwith

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’ve got a guest today and she’s going to talk about Writers Living Right…take it away, Sharon!

Writers Living Right…

Writers are mostly on their butts doing what they love to do, but our bodies were made to move. I used to write first thing in the morning to get my word count, but as the day blossomed, exercise went on the back burner. So I kick-start my day by either doing free weights, abdominal exercises, and push-ups, or gliding on my elliptical for 20 minutes. Once the exercise routine is done in the morning, I feel recharged and ready to start the rest of the day writing, planning, marketing, or promoting my books. I still try to get up and stretch every hour, and to make sure I do this, I purchased a small trampoline and keep it in my writing office. Believe me, it gets all those author parts moving and shaking in all the right places!

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Another healthy lifestyle tip for writers is to take breaks throughout the day. The truth is—we all need to periodically step away. We skip breaks in the name of “getting one more page written,” but when we don’t break from our work, our productivity suffers. We lose focus. We start making small mistakes and even forget things altogether. Our bodies have a natural ebb-and-flow response to stress that allows us to work hard and then relax and recover. The problem comes when we chronically trigger those responses. We become all flow and no ebb, and you can only cheat the system so long before it becomes counterproductive. Set a timer if you must, or download an app that will remind you to pull away from your task, but for the sake of your health, give yourself a break!

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Want another reason to rest and recharge your writing muscles? I find if I overuse my computer mouse—whether writing a novel, editing, blogging, or engaging in social media—my wrist starts to throb. Then I know it’s time to put on a wrist brace, and rest my hand as much as possible. Or I switch up and use my other hand. Eye strain happens more when I’m revising and proofing. Sometimes I use an eye patch to give my sore eye a rest. The one thing writers don’t want to screw around with is the health of their eyes. So take frequent breaks when proofing or editing. Your eyes will thank you. The key for me as a writer is that I’ve learned to listen to my body. I stop if it hurts. I rest. Stretch if I need to release the kinks. It’s pretty much all common sense!

One more thing. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! Your body needs lubrication. Water massages your major organs, flushes toxins from your body, increases energy and relieves fatigue. And if that wasn’t enough to get you periodically up out of your seat to go grab a glass or bottle of water, drinking enough water can also help with weight loss. A bonus for any writer who doesn’t want to drag around that secretarial spread behind them. So, drink to your health, and bottoms up!

What do you do to recharge your batteries throughout the day? How often do you take a break? If you’re a writer, what are you doing to promote health and well-being in your life? Would love to read and respond to your comments! Cheers and thank you for reading my post!

The Last Timekeepers Time Travel Adventure Series:

The Last Timekeepers and the Dark Secret, Book #2 Buy Links:

MIRROR WORLD PUBLISHING ׀ AMAZON ׀ BARNES & NOBLE ׀

The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis, Book #1 Buy Links:

MIRROR WORLD PUBLISHING ׀ AMAZON ׀ BARNES & NOBLE ׀

Legend of the Timekeepers, prequel Buy Links:

MIRROR WORLD PUBLISHING ׀ AMAZON ׀ BARNES & NOBLE ׀

Mysterious Tales from Fairy Falls Teen Psychic Mystery Series:

Lost and Found, Book One Buy Links:

MIRROR WORLD PUBLISHING ׀ AMAZON ׀ BARNES & NOBLE ׀

Blackflies and Blueberries, Book Two Buy Links:

MIRROR WORLD PUBLISHING ׀ AMAZON ׀ BARNES & NOBLE ׀

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Sharon Ledwith is the author of the middle-grade/young adult time travel adventure series, THE LAST TIMEKEEPERS, and the teen psychic mystery series, MYSTERIOUS TALES FROM FAIRY FALLS. When not writing, researching, or revising, she enjoys reading, exercising, anything arcane, and an occasional dram of scotch. Sharon lives a serene, yet busy life in a southern tourist region of Ontario, Canada, with her spoiled hubby, and a moody calico cat.

Learn more about Sharon Ledwith on her WEBSITE and BLOG. Look up her AMAZON AUTHOR page for a list of current books. Stay connected on FACEBOOK, TWITTER, PINTEREST, LINKEDIN, INSTAGRAM, and GOODREADS.

BONUS: Download the free PDF short story The Terrible, Mighty Crystal HERE

Posted in Guest Author, Writing

From the Writing Trenches with Linda Ransom

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you! Today, I have a guest post from author Linda Ransom and she’s writing today about how to deal with anxiety and self-doubt. Take it away, Linda!

A Post from the (Writing) Trenches

            Writing is difficult. What I have found, however, in writing a young adult fantasy trilogy and now moving onto another young adult fantasy series, is that the anxiety and self-doubt that accompany the written word are even harder to manage.

            Anxiety and self-doubt are things most writers learn to deal with as they go, but that doesn’t mean those things go away. In fact, they usually get worse the more books you write and publish. This seems odd, you might think, and you’re right – it is odd. I can only speak for myself, and from my own experience, of course; some writers may never feel pressure about their work.

            With each book I write and publish, I wonder if it’s good. Will anyone want to read it? What if my characters aren’t compelling enough? What if no one cares about them as much as I do? All of these questions, and countless more, roam randomly through my mind every day. Mind you, sometimes not as loudly as other days – sometimes the questions are mere whispers that I’m able to ignore. Other days, like right now, as I’m writing this, they roar. The doubt and anxiety shriek inside my head so much that I want to go back to bed and never, ever, write again.

            What causes the stress and the doubt?  Sometimes, it’s bad reviews. More often than not, though, it’s my inner critic. Every writer has one. The IC lives to tell you how terrible you are. It loves to nitpick every single thing you write. On a writer’s best day, she can tell it to be quiet. Or, you know, yell, “SHUT UP!” at it. Those days, it’s easy to believe in yourself and your work. You love your story, your characters.

            And then there are the other days. For me, that’s today. My next series, The Traitors’ War, is one I’ve been circling around and working on since 2005. I have numerous notebooks and Pinterest boards devoted to it. I’ve written the first book several times; it’s never been right. But I just finished what is probably the fifth or sixth draft of it (I’ve lost count by now), and it’s good. It’s right.

            Or, I thought it was, when I finished it last week (September 5th). Today, when I’m almost a week out from it? The Inner Critic is telling me how bad it really is, how no one would ever want to read it, and that my time spent writing is wasted.

            On my best day, I don’t hear my IC. On a good day, a normal day, I can keep its buzzing voice down so it’s not that noticeable. And on a day like today, I just listen to it, because maybe it’s right. Maybe my time would be better spent doing something else, like a reading a book by one of my favorite authors, a writer who knows what she’s doing.

            But the thing is, does she? Do any of us who write? Or do they do what I have to do: plow ahead anyway, pretending like they know they’re decent, maybe even good, writers?  One can only hope. I know I’m not alone in this struggle with the IC. But even if I am, there’s nothing to be done for it but to keep writing, because I’ve discovered over time that I can’t not write. I can’t let my fantasy world I’ve built up over the last fifteen years waste away out of fear that I’m not good enough for it.

            That’s really the root of the thing for me. I love Imperium, my fantasy world, so much, and the people in it, that I’m afraid I’m not the writer it needs. I’m afraid it needs a better, stronger, smarter writer, that it deserves one. But I also believe that stories find the one meant to tell them, too. I believe Imperium came to me because I can handle it. I believe the same of my Flying Ponies trilogy, too. Those antique magical carousel horses and the Flynn family wanted insignificant me to tell their story, and I did, to the best of my ability. Another writer could’ve done it better, I’m sure. I’m still learning my craft. But they chose me, and I’m so glad they did. That was a marvelous adventure, and I know I’ll have many more with The Traitors’ Warif I don’t listen to my Inner Critic.

            So what’s a writer to do when the anxiety and self-doubt set in? I think the answer is, it’s different for everyone. Every writer is unique. Every story is different. And your IC is specific to you, too, and the kind of stories you write. Writing all of this down, getting it all out – it helps. Will it help you? I don’t know. But once you find what works for you, what keeps your IC at bay – use it. Do it. Why?

            Because no one can tell your story but you.

No description available.

It’s time for the final round-up. Charlotte Flynn has fought enemies, battled monsters and fallen in love. Now, with the help of Black, Dante and her family and friends, she will face down Penumbra and his herd one last time. Penumbra’s power has grown. Summoning all the loose magic to himself, the dapple-grey has become almost invincible. Only a few Flying Ponies, including Dreadful and Chieftain, can withstand his call. Knowing time is running out, Charlotte and her allies make a stand at a run-down amusement park. There they hope to trap Penumbra and strip away his magic. But little do they realize how truly dark his magic has grown, or how strong. Charlotte will have to unite her family and ally with her enemies if she has any hope of defeating Penumbra and unifying the Flying Ponies for good.

Spin (The Flying Ponies) https://www.amazon.com/dp/1732058849/ref=cm_sw_r_fm_apa_i_mP7zFbKXB3SBP

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Lift (The Flying Ponies) https://www.amazon.com/dp/1732058806/ref=cm_sw_r_fm_apa_i_3P7zFb0QC7B2Y

XMA Header Image

Tilt (The Flying Ponies) https://www.amazon.com/dp/1732058822/ref=cm_sw_r_fm_apa_i_kQ7zFbZWB3F80

Thanks, Linda for being a guest today and sharing your thoughts! It’s greatly appreciated. How about you? How do you deal with your anxiety and self-doubt? Leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in Guest Author, Reading

Please Welcome Ritu Bhathal and her Debut Novel “Marriage Unarranged!”

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. Today, I’ve got a special treat for you. I’ve got Ritu Bhathal as a guest and she’s telling us a little bit about her writing journey and how the Corona virus affected her. So, without further ado. Take it away, Ritu!

 

Ritu Bhathal

It was an amazing feeling, finally typing THE END after the last words on my manuscript that I had literally poured eighteen years of my life into.

Obviously, that wasn’t the end, by any means.

There was the fun of editing, with rewrites and tweaks, feedback from beta readers, then cover design, and all the marketing.

And then, just like that, the Publication Day was upon me.

I finally let my book baby free, and sat tight, waiting for the sales, then reviews.

Will they love it?

Will they hate it?

Oh my God, I am the worst writer! Why on earth did I ever think I could write a book?

Then the feedback started to trickle through.

Oh! It’s not as bad as I thought!

Wow, people LIKE it. Like real five-star review like it!

Honestly, I was overwhelmed by the words of support and praise that came in for my debut novel in February of this year. Marriage Unarranged was a story that had wanted to be written for so long, and finally, I managed it!

One of the repeated comments was basically, ‘Can’t wait to see what happens next!’

People who read my first novel, actually wanted to read more.

So that meant I needed to get another one out.

As I mentioned a little earlier, it took me a long time to write my first book, because life had a habit of getting in the way. From marriage to moving counties, then the trying for a family saga (it was one, we had issues, so that was stress in itself) and dealing with eventual motherhood. And of course there was the day job to consider too. None of these things left much time to write.

But I did it. Once I focused, I carved time out daily, to add to my word count.

And now, I needed to do that again!

I had ideas already for a second, and third book, relating to the first, and had tentatively started writing the second, but that time thing…

Then Coronavirusgate hit and we were suddenly in Lock down.

So now, I have a lot of time, and that’s what I was looking for, wasn’t I?

I started the Lock down pumped.

Taking part in a couple of online writing sprints added a couple of thousand words to my work in progress (WIP).

It took me a while, but I created a temporary work station, seeing as the dining table I usually used for prolonged writing was now commandeered as a workspace for my working-from-home Hubby Dearest, and the only other desks were in kids bedrooms and they were in use for distance learning.

And I managed to finally set up my WIP story map board. I used it for my first book, and it helped me plan events and timelines within the book, so I did the same with this one.

Then I went through and updated my Character bible, because many of the characters overlap, and some develop more in book two, and there were new focus characters to add.

I even had tentative titles for the next two books.

Then I hit a brick wall.

Not only was I dealing with the Lock down, and ensuring two children were accessing their school-work regularly, constantly disinfecting surfaces, keeping spirits up for Hubby Dearest who was suffering cabin fever whilst working from home, I also had my work stress.

You see, I’m a teacher, and yes, schools are closed, but that doesn’t mean no work for teachers. Here in the UK schools were kept open as hubs for those listed as keyworkers to be able to leave their children for childcare, while they go about their essential jobs. I had a rota, where I would go in and spend the day with these children, and the rest of the time, devising and adding work for my class to access online. Then marking, and doing online training, attending webinars to keep us in the loop with the constant changes.

It messed with my head a lot. And my creativity with it.

And now, I am faced with the prospect of going back on the 1st of June, to work with a small group of my class, if the government and our dear BoJo deems it safe for schools to begin partial opening.

So, how much writing have I done?

Well, I’ve tried to stay creative, by writing A Story A Day in May, and some of the prompts have even got me some new scenes which I can use in my WIP.

And my WIP has increased by around eight thousand words. But my mind has not been in the right place to really get into it

But I will.

I promise.

For my characters, as they have stories to tell.

For my readers because they want to know more.

For me, because I know there are other books in me that want to come out.

 

ritu chick pea available now

‘Chickpea Curry’ Lit — Chick Lit with an Indian twist!

It all started ended with that box…

Aashi’s life was all set.

Or so she thought.

Like in the Bollywood films, Ravi would woo her, charm her family and they’d get married and live happily ever after.

But then Aashi found the empty condom box…

Putting her ex-fiancé and her innocence behind her, Aashi embarks upon an enlightening journey, to another country, where vibrant memories are created, and unforgettable friendships forged.

 

Ritu Bhathal

A U T H O R B I O

Ritu Bhathal was born in Birmingham in the mid-1970s to migrant parents, hailing from Kenya but with Indian origin. Ritu’s colourful background has been a constant source of inspiration to her.

From childhood, she always enjoyed reading. This love of books is credited to her mother. The joy of reading spurred her on to become creative in her writing, from fiction to poetry. Winning little writing competitions at

school and locally encouraged her to continue writing.

As a wife, mother, daughter, sister, and teacher, she has drawn on inspiration from many avenues to create the poems that she writes. A qualified teacher, having studied at Kingston University, she now deals with classes of children as a sideline to her writing!

Ritu also writes a blog, http://www.butismileanyway.com, a mixture of life and creativity, thoughts and opinions, which was

awarded first place in the Best Overall Blog Category at the 2017 Annual

Bloggers Bash Awards, and Best Book Blog in 2019.

Ritu is happily married and living in Kent, with her Hubby Dearest, and two children, not forgetting the fur baby Sonu Singh.

F i n d M e:

Social Media Profiles

Blog Website: http://www.butismileanyway.com

Author Website: http://www.ritubhathal.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/RituBhathal
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ritubhathalwrites/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/butismileanyway/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RituBhathal/
Pinterest: https://uk.pinterest.com/bhathalpadhaal/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/56854412-ritu-bhathal
Mix: https://mix.com/butismileanyway
Tumblr: https://www.tumblr.com/blog/ritusmiles

LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/ritu-bhathal
Bloglovin: https://www.bloglovin.com/@ritubhathalpadhaal

Amazon https://www.amazon.com/author/ritubhathal

 

And by clicking the following link, you get to my author profile on Amazon

Author.to/RituBhathal

myBook.to/PoeticRITUals

http://getbook.at/MarriageUnarranged

 

Thanks for being a guest, Ritu! Your story sounds like a must read!

Posted in Guest Author, Guest interview, promotion, Uncategorized

Please welcome Chelsea Ichaso and her debut novel!

 

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. Today, I thought I’d give you a break and share some exciting news! A colleague of mine is getting published! Her debut novel is up for pre-order and I thought this would be a great time to share it with all of you! So, without further ado, here’s my interview with up and coming author Chelsea Ichaso. Take it away Chelsea!

 

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  • What inspired you to write this story?

I used to teach high school English, and one of the books in our curriculum was A Separate Peace by John Knowles. It’s about two prep school boys whose friendship is torn apart by jealousy. It’s such a painful story, but also one that I feel like everyone can relate to on some level. One day, I thought about what it might look like if a close friendship were destroyed by a crime, rather than jealousy. Eventually, this idea developed into Little Creeping Things.

 

  • Why did you choose this genre?

 

YA mystery-thriller was the genre that really lent itself to the type of story I wanted to tell. It started off as more of a suspense idea that took on twists and turns and a cast of suspects. At that point, I knew I had a full-fledged mystery on my hands. Luckily, mystery-thriller is one of my favorite genres to read and watch. Now, it’s also my favorite genre to write.

 

  • Tell us about your writing process.

Once I have a new concept, I take a clean notebook and scribble down all my thoughts in streams of consciousness fashion. I end up with anywhere between ten and thirty handwritten pages. Then I try to hone in on the valuable sections of those notes by making a more condensed version. It’s a complete mess, but it works for me. If there’s an evident piece of the puzzle that isn’t fitting, I find a clean page and list any and every solution until something sticks.

When I have a mostly fleshed-out plot, I get on the computer and type a chapter-by-chapter outline. I don’t use formal beat sheets, but my outline will hit on all of the important elements of story structure. I find it easier to add and rearrange parts as I go when the outline is a Word doc rather than handwritten. Once I’m happy with the outline, I save it as a new document and draft right on top of it, deleting sections as they go from bullet points to complete chapters. When the outline has completely disappeared, the novel is done.

 

  • Do you have a favorite place to write?

I love coffee shops for a change of scenery. My desk at home is nice, but sometimes being out of the house allows my brain to recharge because the normal distractions of home aren’t there. And good coffee certainly doesn’t hurt the writing process.

 

  • How do you handle writer’s block?

I have to be in the right state of mind to come up with an idea. If not, I just get frustrated and waste a lot of time trying to force it. When I feel ready, my process for attacking writer’s block is similar to how I begin a book. I sit and scribble in a notebook for hours until I land on something that excites me. There are also plenty of times that I’ve come up with ideas while traveling. Sitting in a car or on a plane is the perfect time to brainstorm. My husband is not a writer, but he and I will take turns pitching story ideas, the more bizarre the better. Sometimes, the tiniest grain of an idea will come out of those sessions and evolve into workable concept.

 

  • What are your hobbies?

I love to read (probably not a huge surprise). I also play soccer. My husband and I are on a co-ed team together, and all three of our kids play. Watching the little ones on the weekends is one of my favorite pastimes.

 

  • What are you working on next?

I’m in the editing stages of my second YA thriller. I can’t say much about it yet, but there will be plenty of secrets and lies. I’m also working on a few projects in different genres and age categories because I like to juggle manuscripts. When one draft goes off to my critique partners, I do a round of revisions or begin to draft something else.

 

  • Are you a plotter or a pantser?

I’m definitely a plotter. I find it very difficult to write thrillers without any plotting. My outlines aren’t extremely detailed, but I know the basic shape of my books ahead of time. I know the major twists. That said, I love it when a new character development or level to the story arises as I’m drafting, and I always allow myself room to improvise. Some of my favorite scenes and twists originated in the spur of the moment.

 

  • What is your favorite book?

It’s impossible to choose, so I’ll list a few. Bird Box by Josh Mallerman is my favorite horror novel. I’m hard to scare, but this one had me genuinely creeped out. I love The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins and Shadow and Bone (the entire Grisha trilogy, really) by Leigh Bardugo. A fantastic mystery I read recently was In the Woods by Tana French.

 

10) What is your favorite food?

In and Out Burger. I’ve heard this is a west coast thing, so if you don’t live out here and you get a chance to visit, you absolutely must try it.

Thanks, Chelsea! Now a here’s the cover and blurb of her debut novel and I must say, I’m going to be reading this one very soon!

 

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Blurb/Praise:

PRAISE FOR LITTLE CREEPING THINGS
“Everyone’s a suspect, and no one is safe, in this twisty debut from a compelling new voice in YA, Chelsea Ichaso. Don’t miss it!”–Kit Frick, author of See All the StarsAll Eyes on Us, and I Killed Zoe Spanos

Little Creeping Things is a stunning debut in every sense of the word. From the chilling opening pages to the jaw-dropping final reveal, the pacing is relentless, the twists dizzying. Cass is the best kind of unreliable narrator, delightfully acerbic and hopelessly sincere even when she isn’t telling the truth. Chelsea Ichaso has without a doubt written the breakout thriller of the year.”–Dana Mele, author of People Like Us

Little Creeping Things, with its cast of creepy and untrustworthy characters, will satisfy the appetites of all manner of mystery fans.”–Booklist

“The reveal…is both well earned and eerie.”–Kirkus Reviews

“Ichaso’s debut is a riveting whodunnit… a psychological thriller worthy of mystery aficionados.”–School Library Journal 

When she was a child, Cassidy Pratt accidentally started a fire that killed her neighbor. She’s pretty sure she didn’t mean to do it, and she’d give anything to forget that awful day. But her town’s bullies, particularly the cruel and beautiful Melody Davenport, have never let her live it down. In Melody’s eyes, Cassidy is a murderer and always will be.

Then Melody goes missing, and Cassidy thinks she may have information about what happened. She knows she should go to the cops, but she recently joked about how much she’d like to get rid of Melody. She even planned the perfect way to do it. And then she gets a chilling text from an unknown number: I’m so glad we’re in this together.

Now it’s up to Cassidy to figure out what’s really going on before the truth behind Melody’s disappearance sets the whole town ablaze.

To order Chelsea’s book, click on one of the links below.

 

Chelseaichaso.com

 

Amazon Link

 

Thanks Cheslea for being a guest today! I’m looking forward to reading your book!

 

 

Posted in Guest Author, promotion

Please Welcome Iris Blobel and her New Release!

 

Welcome to ALINTA BAY
I’m happy to share with you the second book in Iris Blobel’s series,
which is set at the Great Ocean Road in Australia.
If you love small town romance, be sure to get your copy today!

About Book Two

TELL IT TO MY HEART

Confronted with the choice to care for his friend’s family on the other side of the world or to return to Alinta Bay to be with his own newfound family, how will Noah choose?

Following the death of his grandmother, Noah Fielding returns to Alinta Bay and the first thing — or person — he finds is the next-door neighbour in his nan’s bathroom — naked no less. Still jetlagged, he doesn’t hit it off with Molly at first. Yet, over the next few weeks, as his past uncovers itself bit by bit, she becomes is anchor, his friend, and his lover.

Molly Reid had the world at her feet, happily married with a young son … until a tragic car accident took everything away from her. With her heart broken, she moves to Alinta Bay to escape the memories of the past. Her peaceful existence, however, is interrupted after a heavy storm floods her house and she temporarily moves into her recently deceased neighbour’s house next door.

When Noah’s friend and partner goes missing during a routine flight, Noah returns to Alaska to help, but will he come back for Molly?

Add TELL IT TO MY HEART to your Goodreads TBR !

Get your copy of TELL IT TO MY HEART today!
Amazon

Book One in the Series

DEFYING RULES

Sometimes one has to break rules in order to find happiness…

Widower Logan Hendrix is puzzled by the recent series of small crimes against his son’s new teacher. It’s a mystery to him, and he offers her his help. There’s an instant attraction, and Logan wants to take their parent/teacher relationship to a more personal level.

It doesn’t take Addison Ryker long to fall in love with Alinta Bay, the small town she’s moved to for her new teaching position at the local primary school. Her newfound haven is threatened, however, when her house is broken into and she is relying on the unbelievably stubborn but very sexy Logan for help. Although captivated by him, Addison worries her career could be compromised, because there are rules about dating a parent.

Add DEFYING RULES to your Goodreads TBR !

Get your copy of DEFYING RULES today!
Amazon

Where to find Iris:
Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/bQ68rL
Website http://www.irisblobel.com/
Blog http://www.irisblobel.com/blog
Twitter https://twitter.com/_iris_b
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/IrisBlobel
Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4067254.Iris_Blobel
Amazon Author Page https://www.amazon.com/Iris-Blobel/e/B00FNFP3LI/