This is a post from a fellow blogger and there’s a great message here. I thought I’d share it with all of you. Enjoy!
Check out the awesome cover for “Shadows of Hemlock!” The sequel to “Apricots and Wolfbane!”
Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. Today, I’ve invited a guest to stop by and share her story with us. Her name is Linda Ransom and her book looks wonderful. Give Linda a big hand! Take it away Linda!!
REINVENTING THE FLYNNS
A few years back, I decided to participate in NANOWRIMO, or National Novel Writing Month. The goal of NANOWRIMO, for all of its many participants, is to complete 50,000 words by the end of November, the chosen month for the writing competition. I decided to write a story I’d been making notes for, called Smoke City Heroes. It centered on the Flynn family, a group of six siblings who lived with their eccentric Uncle Baron after both of their parents had passed away. The kids decide to become super heroes after witnessing the many crimes and gangs overtaking Smoke City, where they live.
I absolutely loved the idea. Two notebooks were filled with characters pictures and information, and information on the city itself. November came and I started writing, eager to see the siblings develop into crime-fighting heroes.
Long story short, as they say: the story tanked around 200 pages, and I didn’t hit my 50,000 word count. I liked what I had written, but the story wasn’t flowing like it should, and my main characters, the Flynn family, didn’t seem to be enjoying it, either. Being a writer who doesn’t outline her stories (at least, not more than a few sentences), I count on my characters and the story itself to direct where it’s going. When that doesn’t happen, everything hits a brick wall.
Giving up on the Flynns, I moved on to an epic fantasy story that I completed and sent to a publisher. That story was rejected – it’s being rewritten and will be my next series after the completion of The Flying Ponies trilogy – and I needed something new to work on. In August of 2016, I was browsing my Pinterest home page, and came across a picture of an antique carousel horse that hadn’t been restored (as of the picture’s date). I started thinking about that old horse, and what would happen if he was endowed with ancient magic.
From that idea, the Flying Ponies Grand Carousel was born. Built in the early teen years of the 1900’s, the horses on the carousel were given magic by their owner and placed on Coney Island. After the carousel was removed, it ended up in the Michigan woods. With the story set in our modern time, I needed characters to help the story develop. Remembering how much I had enjoyed writing the Flynn family, I got out my old Smoke City Heroes notebook and looked at their character sketches again. Deciding to take them out of their old story setting and place them in this new one was the best thing I could’ve done, for them and for me.
That idea about magical flying carousel horses turned into Lift, first in The Flying Ponies trilogy. It released in April 2018 from Wicked Whale Publishing. Book two in the trilogy, Tilt, was emailed to my editor earlier this week, on December 10th.
The Flynn family (and Smoke City itself) helped make Lift the book it is. If I had drawn up other characters I don’t know as the story would’ve evolved in the same way. Charlotte, the main character in the trilogy, bonded with the carousel horses and became a stronger character than she could’ve been in Smoke City Heroes. The same is true for the rest of the Flynns; they all grew and became better as a result. For a writer who is concerned with story and character over plot and its many devices, watching characters get up and walk around and become real people is mesmerizing, and that’s what happened after placing the Flynns within the structure of Lift.
If you have characters you love but their stories didn’t pan out the way you wanted, or they hit a brick wall like my initial story with the Flynns did, try placing them in a new story, a new situation. Characters are funny creatures; we as the writers create them, but once they have a space of their own, they become real and want to run the show themselves. While that might seem scary if that’s not how you usually write, it’s an amazing thing, and it can make your writing leap off the page and take twists and turns you never see coming.
Lift is available as both a soft cover and an e-book on Amazon here: (click the link below)
- M. Ransom lives in West Michigan with her husband, son, and daughter. She also shares her home with two crazy Dachsunds, and her heart with two naughty ponies. L.M. is a librarian by trade, and an author by passion. She draws from her lifelong love and obsession with all things equine to spin tales about nefarious carousel horses.
A self-professed geek girl, L.M.’s fandoms span the galaxy from Tatooine to Gallifrey, and back down to the seedy streets of Gotham City. As a Christian, she feels a calling to tell clean, intriguing stories for readers to escape into. You can find L. M. on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and lmransom.com.
Hello everyone! I hope all is well with you. I have a guest today and she’s sharing her latest release with us! Her name is Laura Heffernan and her latest release is titled, “Reality Wedding!” Check it out below!
Lights? Camera? Action! In this irresistible final installment of the Reality Star Series, one woman’s dream wedding may be about to turn into a reality nightmare…
SAY ‘I DO’—OR ELSE
When Jen Reid escaped a reality TV cruise with her relationship intact—if not her hair—she swore she was done with the cameras for good. Sure, she and Justin met,
had their first kiss, and got engaged with tape rolling, but manufactured drama and ruthless producers have shaken them up more times than she can count. With Jen’s reality-themed bakery just getting started and her brand-new lawyer fiancé in a pile of debt, they’re a long way from glitz and glamour, and that’s fine by Jen. Until the Network calls and tells her that unless she says “I do” to a wedding special, Justin will be out of a job.
Now Jen has two weeks to plan an all-expenses-paid “dream wedding”—and dodge the tricks and traps of a showrunner happy to mess up her future in the name of ratings. Luckily for Jen, she’s got plenty of experience with cake and popcorn. But when real-life drama and reality TV twists collide, the cliffhangers may just follow her right down the aisle . . .
Praise for Reality Wedding:
“The third book in Heffernan’s Reality Star series is such a fun and entertaining read, as Justin and Jen – and all the drama that seems to follow them everywhere – are back. Will they get married is the big question here, and will reality TV have any part. Heffernan will keep readers guessing, as the story has some twists to it. With lots of drama, a bit of humor and a sweet romance, this series is as addicting as reality TV. Fans of Sophie Kinsella might want to give this series a try.”- RT Book Reviews, 4 Stars
Available now from all major retailers. Order today!
“Justin, I can’t hear you. Where are you?”
I fought the urge to chuck my useless phone across the room. “What? Justin, I can’t understand anything you’re saying. We’ve got a terrible connection.”
The phone went dead. I called him back immediately, but nothing happened. The several voicemails he’d left shed no additional light on anything: a lot of static, a couple of broken airline announcements in the background, crowd noise, and one that sounded like a butt dial from the men’s room. Awesome. My concern grew with each uninformative message. All the texts were variations of “Please call me ASAP.”
Heart pounding, I dialed Sarah’s number. The call went straight to voicemail. She should be on a plane, not at the bakery, but I dialed the landline, anyway. The phone at Sweet Reality rang and rang until the line started buzzing. Since the shop should be open, getting no answer made me even more nervous.
I was still standing in the kitchen, staring out over the pool, when Rachel entered wearing her swimsuit. “You okay? One of the producers said they heard yelling.”
“Yes. No. I don’t know.”
“Well, that clears things right up.” She tilted her head at me, eyes full of concern. “What’s wrong?”
“I don’t know. Justin called, but the reception was all wonky, and it sounded like there was some issue with his sister. I tried to call Sarah, too, but her phone’s off. I hope she’s okay.”
“Hold on a sec. He said there’s a problem with Sarah?”
“When are they supposed to be flying in?” Rachel pulled out her phone and started tapping. “Do you have the flight number?”
“He was supposed to fly out of Florida a few hours ago. When he called, I thought his flight landed early, but he was apologizing and sounding stressed. It doesn’t sound like they were on the plane. Should I go to the airport, just in case?”
Rachel kept tapping, a grim look on her face. Then she held her phone out to me. “No, Jen, I don’t think you should.”
I snatched her phone out of her hand. Then all the wind rushed out of me. She’d pulled up a news site. HURRICANE CARA STRANDS THOUSANDS. Below the headline, a picture showed a Florida airport, absolutely packed with people.
He said Cara, not Sarah.
“I’m sorry, Jen,” Rachel said, “but I don’t think Justin’s flying in tonight. According to this site, he might not be able to get a flight for days.”
“What about Atlanta? Can he drive to Atlanta? My family’s flying through there.”
She tapped a few more times, biting her lip. I found the answer on my phone right when a low murmur told me Rachel saw it, too.
All flights canceled. My entire family stranded.
My heart sank. Just when things finally started to go right, when I started to think the whole wedding might not be a complete disaster, my groom wasn’t even coming.
Be Sure to Check Out the First Two Books in the Reality Star series!
AMERICA’S NEXT REALITY STAR
Millennial Jen auditioned for a reality show hoping to win the $250,000 cash prize. With puzzles, games, and more, this show is right up her alley. But when she meets co-contestant Justin, she finds herself questioning what really matters. Can she trust that his feelings for her are real? Or is it all a showmance put on for the viewers?
After her brief brush with fame, Jen’s ready to start a new life: New location, new roommate, new boyfriend, new business. But when a killer competitor threatens to put her new bakery out of business before the grand opening, Jen steps back into the spotlight to snag a show-stopping recipe. Can she save her bakery without destroying her relationship?
Praise for the Reality Star series:
“America’s Next Reality Star is one sweet, sexy brain-candy read! You won’t be sorry you indulged.” —Leah Marie Brown, USA Today bestselling Author
“Smart, witty, and really freaking good, America’s Next Reality Star is a fun read that has you cheering from the first paragraph through the last page. Laura Heffernan spins an entertaining tale, expertly mixing the main character’s real life events with the reality show’s challenges. With enough drama to not only satisfy fans of reality TV shows, but readers who thrive on a good story with humor and romance, this book is a perfect read.” —Kerry Lonsdale, Wall Street Journal bestselling author
“Reality TV fans, this is your book! Laura Heffernan captures all the drama and over-the-top craziness in this fun and flirty romance.” —Amy E. Reichert, author of Love, Luck, and Lemon Pie
“If you like sweet contemporary romances with a reality show theme, then you are going to enjoy Heffernan’s Reality Star series. Her second book, Sweet Reality, takes place about 16 months after the first and features the same great couple, Justin and Jen. These two are likeable and relatable characters and there is more romance in this one than there was in the first. There is also an interesting cast of secondary characters. Heffernan does a wonderful job with character development and painting vivid scenes. There are also some cute and funny moments that makes this book a worthwhile and entertaining read. If reality shows are your guilty pleasure, give Heffernan’s Sweet Reality a try.”- RT Book Reviews, 4 Stars
About the Author:
Laura is living proof that watching too much TV can pay off. When not watching total strangers get married, drag racing queens, or cooking competitions, Laura enjoys board games, travel, board games, baking, and board games. She lives in the northeast, where she spends far too much time tweeting about reality TV and Canadian chocolate.
Connect with Laura:
Interview with Laura:
Reality Wedding is the third book in your Reality Star series. Tell us a bit about it.
In the first book, Jen auditions for on a reality show because she needs money to pay a medical debt she got as an undergrad. She’s not looking for love, especially after finding out about her cheating ex, but things change when she meets co-contestant Justin. Are his feelings for her real, or is it all part of an act for the show? The second book follows Jen on a reality cruise, where she reunites with old friends and foes.
For the series finale, Jen and Justin swore they were done with reality TV, but the Network has called and essentially blackmails them into doing one final series. They’re getting married anyway, so it doesn’t seem like a major hardship, except for the fact that the Network will do anything to up the drama and increase their ratings…
This book was a lot of fun to write, because I got to really dig into what a desperate Network might do for ratings, and the wedding setup allowed me to bring back many of my favorite characters from the earlier books. At the same time, you don’t need to have read the earlier books in the series to enjoy it.
How did you prepare to write this book?
Mostly, I watched a lot of wedding-themed reality shows. Four Weddings, Say Yes to the Dress, Rich Bride, Poor Bride. And I watched extensive Bridezillas back in the day, which is the kind of show that sticks with you. There’s very little of my own wedding in this book, but I was able to draw a bit from the experience, which also helped.
Where do you live? Upstate New York. It took some time to get used to the not-awesome weather, but I prefer the snow and cold to the oppressive heat of the California town where I grew up. You can always put on another sweater. The opposite, alas, is simply untrue. Now, one of these days, I should learn to build a snowman…
How long have you been writing?
I wrote my first short story when I was five, so, um… not that long? J Over the years, I’ve started a few blogs, published a few non-fiction articles (under my maiden name), things like that. I’ve got dozens of books I started over the years and never got around to finishing. After I got married and moved to New York in 2013, I started pursuing writing seriously. I can’t believe it’s been five years already since I said to myself, “Look, it’s time to stop stalling and finally write that book.”
So, how many books have you actually completed?
Once I got started, it was like opening the floodgates. America’s Next Reality Star was my first completed manuscript, finished in 2013. Reality Wedding is my eleventh, and I’ve finished two others since.
Wow! Any plans for all the others?
Some of those manuscripts will remain locked in a deep, dark drawer forever. Either because the genre wasn’t right, or the timing wasn’t right, or because the story didn’t work out the way I wanted. The most recent two will be published as part of the Gamer Girl series, which will be released by Kensington in 2019. There are a couple I’d like to revise and hopefully share with the world sometime after I finish the Gamer Girl books.
What do you do when you’re not writing?
Board games, mostly. And we’re having a baby in a few months, so cleaning out stuff, setting up the nursery, learning how to keep a child alive…
Which authors have most influenced your work?
My biggest influence would have to be Sophie Kinsella. She was the first romantic comedy author I discovered, and I devoured all of her books. Becky Bloomwood is such a great main character, as aggravating as she can, because she’s not perfect. She’s deeply flawed, but in a way that makes you want to root for her, and at the same time, you don’t feel bad laughing at her mishaps.
Early Jane Green was also a big influence. Her first books really helped establish the genre, and to me, reading them is essential to seeing what works. And I’m a big fan of Emily Giffin, especially Something Borrowed and Something Blue.
Thanks for stopping by Laura and sharing your new release with us!
If we perish in the seeking, why, how small a thing is death!”
~Dorothy SayersIt’s release day for HERE BE DRAGONS! My heart’s roaringly thunderous inside my chest. The pressure, the epitome, the culmination of months of work—no, years of work—leading up to THIS one moment…it’s finally here. Are you ready?
Breathing life into her awoke my own resolution to restore others. Saylor didn’t know I’d revived her. She didn’t know for months, and during that time I traveled across our blue sphere and back to her recovering form at Fort Story, Virginia. Little blonde firecracker. Changed my life.
Sergeant Merritt Steele sat beside me on the cargo plane carrying us to Camp Kissinger, located deep in the heart of Australia’s Outback. “Sorry to see them go,” my co-commander noted, a slight tremor in his blue eyes. I knew he meant more than he said. He’d connected with Saylor, her sister Micah, and the McConnell family during our three-week leave.
Neither of us knew when or if we’d see them again. But that was life as Echo Company of the Alliance Military Guard, and we held that knowledge closer than our body armor. Never quit. We defeat. Let the enemy fall, come what may. That’s what we did, that’s what we were, and not a single one of us doubted it.
Not even when we landed in a war zone.
(HERE BE DRAGONS, Chapter One Excerpt)
Are you living in a war zone?
Fiction shows us how to deal with our non-fiction. We can read these characters’ stories, see their pain, feel their journey, and tremble as their spirits quake. We get invited into their space and see the world with its crumbles, heartache, and power. Fiction’s miraculous. Fiction offers a gift of escape, of courage, of grit, of shuddering through temptation with the hero. Are you facing some serious shadows? Are you hearing the grinding of bones in the distance? Follow Tucker into the heart of the Outback.
Where are the heroes?
A friend of mine recently said she wondered where the heroes were. The current trend for stories is that they often feature a strong heroine—and while I am ALL about a strong heroine, and inspiring girls to believe in themselves—I also believe we need to encourage boys to protect, to serve, to lead humbly, to explore, to create, and to forget stereotypes. Be inspired. Be fearless. Be wise. Be the hero.
Temptation leads us down paths where we consider retreating or cheating, or complaining or blaming. Well let me ask you, can fiction teach us to face the shadows? Can fiction show us the glory in the fight for life?
The amazing thing about HERE BE DRAGONS is it’s only $4.99 on Kindle Unlimited AND if you’ve got Kindle Unlimited, you can read it for FREE! I’ve had several readers who’ve provided feedback, and what they’ve all said is how much they enjoyed the ending–do you need a great ending? HERE BE DRAGONS is currently only available as an ebook, until I sell 100 per my publisher’s contract. Help both of us hold that book in our hands. We need to grip this, to flip through these pages. Connect with a free trial of Kindle Unlimited and download your copy of HERE BE DRAGONS and soar through those Australian skies with Tucker and his rag-tag crew of Guardsmen.
Alliance Military Guard sent the order. Sergeant Tucker Thompson acquiesced. Hopping on a plane to his long-lost Australian birthplace, he’s been charged with his toughest mission yet. Thompson must rally his company of soldiers to prevent a new generation of weaponry from breaching the world’s borders.Readers love HERE BE DRAGONS! One reviewer stated:
“On the surface, this novel is a good dose of sci-fi and futuristic drama. Deep down, the realistic characters, with their daily struggle, not only for survival but also for understanding their sense of purpose in life, meets the need of young adult readers who, similarly, are seeking a meaning of life. The message is clear: work hard, stay the course, and look for the good in everyone and everything. Life can be good.” (Emily-Jane Hills Orford)Are you wanting to add a great book to your reading list for 2018?
Grab HERE BE DRAGONS today. I’ve seen those dark days, those dark nights. I’ve felt the gripping fingers of desperation slipping around my neck in the trenches of writing, amid crying children, tight finances, broken down cars, endless mounds of papers to grade. I’ve scraped by on my knees and had to carry heavier weights than I thought possible. But you know what you find in the darkness? You find the light. You find the people who help, the people who stride through your front door with chocolate and coffee, and the people who truly believe all of which you’re capable.
You need to believe it, too.
The stories you tell yourself in the dark, those are the ones that stick with you.
You have the opportunity to build upon the bricks of shattered dreams and mortar of confusion, and turn it into an empire. What do you do, what do you tell yourself, when the lights go out?
Some may beg for light. Others may beg for relief, beg for some give in the take. Others may bury their faces further into the miry pool.
Something I’ve learned in the dark places: there’s always someone around to bring in the light. There’s always someone around to absorb the spilled tears, to carry the weight, and to offer a square of chocolate. Death brought confusion. But, ultimately, life wins.
You see, people are intrepid. People do seek life and life fully. There may be a lot of dark, but the warriors for light rage on. They cannot, they will not rest, until the light shines over the horizon. You see it among the darkness: a sparkle, a spark, a crack of hope against all odds.
The people who feed the darkness, they are confused. They are trapped. They are prisoners enchained by lies. They are enveloped by the monsters who devour them.
Another lesson? The hardest battle may be around the corner, trapped in the tunnels, snarling against the bright light you carry. Be prepared. Be prepared for anguish, be prepared for a cold chill to grasp for the warm light. Be prepared to fight with courage, with kindness, with tenacity, and grit. Expect among the war cry a song of hope to emerge. Be the singer. Be the strong arms carrying the weak into the night. Be the grammar joke, when death is on the line.
Bang the war drums.
Rattle the cages.
Hello everyone! I hope all is well with you. I’m sharing with you my good friend Iris’s new release, “Fresh Beginnings.” Check it out, this series is a great way to relieve stress and escape the pressures of life for a while! 🙂
~~ Fresh Beginnings ~~
by Iris Blobel
AMAZON US: http://amzn.to/2kyJsm9
AMAZON AU: http://amzn.to/2hWGjMh
Barnes and Noble: http://bit.ly/2xsEtF2iBooks
♥♦♥ BLURB ♥♦♥
Jared Fraser, a landscape business owner in Hobart, Australia, sets out for a holiday to the USA to travel along the Route 66 in a motorhome. Looking forward to his first holiday overseas, he’s excited as he prepares himself for the journey. But little could’ve prepared him for crossing paths with a beautiful hitchhiker.
Will he be able to put his past aside and grab onto happiness?
Ivy Bennett thought leaving her boyfriend would be the hard part. It doesn’t take long to figure out how wrong she was. As she struggles with making a new start in her life, the last person she expects to lead her to happiness is a laid-back Australian on vacation.
But she will have to say goodbye again? And not only to Jared.
♥♦♥ EXCERPT ♥♦♥
Ivy enjoyed being with Jared. During their drive towards the Grand Canyon he told her of his home and described as much of Tasmania as possible.
“I always imagined Australia to be hot with white beaches and beautiful water.”
“That’s up in the north in Queensland,” he explained. “We have spectacular beaches as well. Tasmania is a small island in the very south. The last step before the Antarctica, so to speak.”
“That sounds cold!”
He laughed. “It clearly isn’t Queensland.” Settling his gaze on her, he continued, “But it has beautiful beaches as well. And a wonderful marine life. And the mountains. We have some stunning mountains in Tassie.”
“It sounds beautiful.”
He agreed. “Yes, it is. One of the best places on earth.”
Once they arrived at the National Park, they found a parking spot and walked towards the edge of the Canyon. She touched his arm to get his attention. Not that she needed to. His attentive nature drew her to him, and she couldn’t get enough of listening to him.
“I feel bad that you pay for everything,” she said in a low voice.
Jared waved his hand. “Nah. It’s only money and luckily the Australian dollar is—”
“Whether you can or can’t afford it, it doesn’t matter. I don’t like it.”
He stopped and turned towards her, causing heat inside her body. Her breath caught but she kept walking, yet, it took him only a few steps to catch up with her and, by way of placing his hand on her shoulder, to stop her.
“Wanna tell me why?”
Avoiding his stare, she lifted her shoulder in a casual shrug.
“A shrug is not really an answer, ya know that, right?”
Yes, she knew that. How could she tell him that she’d left Dylan because he’d spent all the money she’d worked so hard for? She didn’t want to be in the same situation, as in spending someone else’s hard-earned money. But deep inside she didn’t want to hurt Jared, either. She was enjoying her time with him so much, she wasn’t ready for it to end because of some silly pride.
Out of the corner of her eye, she spotted a little squirrel in the bushes and despite some guilt inside, it was a perfect distraction.
“Look!” she said louder than she’d intended. “A squirrel.”
With great relief, she noticed how her devious plan had worked. Jared quickly grabbed his camera and kneeled down to get the best shot possible of this little creature.
Kneeling next to him, she asked, “Don’t you have squirrels?”
Still trying to get that perfect photo of the little creature, he whispered, “Nope.”
♥♦♥ MEET THE AUTHOR ♥♦♥
Iris Blobel was born and raised in Germany and only immigrated to Australia in the late 1990s. Having had the travel bug most of her life, Iris spent quite some time living in Scotland, London as well as Canada where she met her husband. Her love for putting her stories onto paper has only emerged recently, but now her laptop is a constant companion.
Iris resides west of Melbourne with her husband and her two beautiful daughters.
Next to her job at a private school, she also presents a German Program at the local Community Radio.
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