Friday, July 31, 2015

Guest Post: Andrew Joyce

My name is Andrew Joyce, and I write books for a living. Larissa has been kind enough to allow me a little space on her blog to promote my new book, MOLLY LEE. The story is a female-driven account of a young naive girl’s journey into an independent, strong woman and all the trouble she gets into along the way.

Now you may possibly be asking yourself, What is a guy doing writing in a woman’s voice? And that’s a good question. I can only say that I did not start out to write about Molly; she just came to me one day and asked that I tell her story.

Perhaps I should start at the beginning.

My first book was a 164,000-word historical novel. And in the publishing world, anything over 80,000 words for a first-time author is heresy. Or so I was told time and time again when I approached an agent for representation. After two years of research and writing, and a year of trying to secure the services of an agent, I got angry. To be told that my efforts were meaningless was somewhat demoralizing to say the least. I mean, those rejections were coming from people who had never even read my book.

So you want an 80,000-word novel?” I said to no one in particular, unless you count my dog, because he was the only one around at the time. Consequently, I decided to show them City Slickers that I could write an 80,000-word novel!



I had just finished reading Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn for the third time, and I started thinking about what ever happened to those boys, Tom and Huck. They must have grown up, but then what? So I sat down at my computer and banged out REDEMPTION: The Further Adventures of Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer in two months; then sent out query letters to agents.

Less than a month later, the chairman of one of the biggest agencies in New York City emailed me that he loved the story. We signed a contract and it was off to the races, or so I thought. But then the real fun began: the serious editing. Seven months later, I gave birth to Huck and Tom as adults. And just for the record, the final word count is 79,914. The book went on to reach #1 status on Amazon twice, and the rest, as they say, is history.

But not quite.

My agent then wanted me to write a sequel, but I had other plans. I was in the middle of editing down my first novel (that had been rejected by 1,876,324 agents . . . or so it seemed) from 164,000 words to the present 142,000. However, he was insistent, so I started to think about it. Now, one thing you have to understand is that I tied up all the loose ends at the end of REDEMPTION, so there was no way that I could write a sequel. And that is when Molly asked me to tell her story. Molly was a character that we met briefly in the first chapter of REDEMPTION, and then she is not heard from again.

This is the description from MOLLY LEE:
Molly is about to set off on the adventure of a lifetime . . . of two lifetimes.

It’s 1861 and the Civil War has just started. Molly is an eighteen-year-old girl living on her family’s farm in Virginia when two deserters from the Southern Cause enter her life. One of them—a twenty-four-year-old Huck Finn—ends up saving her virtue, if not her life.
Molly is so enamored with Huck, she wants to run away with him. But Huck has other plans and is gone the next morning before she awakens. Thus starts a sequence of events that leads Molly into adventure after adventure; most of them not so nice.
We follow the travails of Molly Lee, starting when she is eighteen and ending when she is fifty-six. Even then Life has one more surprise in store for her.

As I had wondered whatever became of Huck and Tom, I also wondered what Molly did when she found Huck gone.

I know this has been a long-winded set up, but I felt I had to tell the backstory. Now I can move on and tell you about Molly.

As stated earlier, Molly starts out as a naive young girl. Over time she develops into a strong, independent woman. The change is gradual. Her strengths come from the adversities she encounters along the road that is her life.

With each setback, Molly follows that first rule she set against self-pity and simply moves on to make the best of whatever life throws her way. From working as a whore to owning a saloon, from going to prison to running a ranch, Molly plays to win with the cards she’s dealt. But she always keeps her humanity. She will kill to defend herself, and she has no problem killing to protect the weak and preyed upon. However, when a band of Indians (for instance) have been run off their land and have nowhere else to go, Molly allows them to live on her ranch, and in time they become extended family.

This is from a review on Amazon:
“A young female in nineteenth-century rural America would have needed courage, fortitude, and firm resolve to thrive in the best of circumstances. Molly Lee possesses all of these, along with an iron will and an inherent ability to read people accurately and respond accordingly.”

I reckon that about sums up Molly.

I would like to say that I wrote MOLLY LEE in one sitting and everything in it is my pure genius. But that would be a lie. I have three editors (two women and one guy). They kept me honest with regard to Molly. When I made her a little too hard, they would point out that she had to be softer or show more emotion in a particular scene.

I set out to write a book where every chapter ended with a cliffhanger. I wanted the reader to be forced to turn to the next chapter. And I pretty much accomplished that, but I also wrote a few chapters where Molly and my readers could catch their collective breath.

One last thing: Everything in MOLLY LEE is historically correct from the languages of the Indians to the descriptions of the way people dressed, spoke, and lived. I spend as much time on research as I do writing my stories. Sometimes more.

It looks as though I’ve used up my allotted word count (self-imposed), so I reckon I’ll ride off into the sunset and rustle up a little vodka and cranberry juice (with extra lime).

It’s been a pleasure,


Andrew Joyce




Disclosure: this post contains links to an affiliate program (Amazon), for which I receive a few cents if you make purchases. 

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Release Announcement: Wolves and Witches



“WOLVES AND WITCHES”
AMANDA C. DAVIS AND MEGAN ENGELHARDT


Alpena, MI (July 30, 2015– World Weaver Press (Eileen Wiedbrauk, Editor-in-Chief) has announced the short story collection Wolves and Witches by sisters Amanda C. Davis and Megan Engelhardt, is being re-released with book club discussion questions today, Tuesday, July 28, 2015.

Praise for Wolves and Witches:

Wolves and Witches is a fabulous collection of re-imagined fairy tales. I made the mistake of starting it late one evening and couldn’t go to sleep until I had read it all. With their dark prose and evocative poetry these sisters have done the Brothers Grimm proud.”
— Rhonda Parrish, Niteblade Fantasy and Horror
Magazine

Sisters Amanda C. Davis and Megan Engelhardt are the female Brothers Grimm.”
— K. Allen Wood, Shock Totem

" It’s in the details that Davis and Engelhardt get you. I don’t know if it’s love or obsession or maybe just succumbing to the spell, but what stays with me is the tenor and texture of these tales retold — whether the fabric of a dancing shoe, the hollowness of bones in the wind, or the sharp critique of stereotyped social norms. Let yourself be enchanted and enjoy.”
— Dan Campbell, Bull Spec

“Dark and delicious revenge-filled tales! I Highly Recommend this fun and small collection of short stories.”
— Fangs, Wands & Fairy Dust

“Strong writing touched with sly humor.”
— Lissa Sloan, Enchanted Conversation: A Fairy Tale
Magazine

“Once I began to read this collection, I couldn’t stop. Just as with those secretive princesses with their silken slippers gone to shreds, I danced among these pages until dawn!”
— Terrie Leigh Relf, Illumen

Witches have stories too. So do mermaids, millers’ daughters, princes (charming or otherwise), even big bad wolves. They may be a bit darker–fewer enchanted ball gowns, more iron shoes. Happily-ever-after? Depends on who you ask. In Wolves and Witches, sisters Amanda C. Davis and Megan Engelhardt weave sixteen stories and poems out of familiar fairy tales, letting them show their teeth.

Wolves and Witches is available in trade paperback and ebook via Amazon.comBarnesandnoble.comKobo.comWorldWeaverPress.com, and other online retailers, and for wholesale through Ingram. You can also find Wolves and Witches on Goodreads.
Amanda C. Davis is a combustion engineer who loves baking, gardening, and low-budget horror films. Her short fiction has appeared in Shock Totem, Orson Scott Card’s InterGalactic Medicine Show, and others. You can follow her on Twitter (@davisac1) or read more of her work at amandacdavis.com.
Megan Engelhardt is a lapsed librarian who lives in a crooked little house in northeast Ohio. She loves shows about Bigfoot. Her work has appeared inDaily Science Fiction, The Drabblecast, and others. You can follow her on Twitter @MadMerryMeg or visit her website at megengelhardt.com.
World Weaver Press is an independently owned publisher of fantasy, paranormal, and science fiction. We believe in great storytelling.


Publication Date: February 19, 2012 • Fairy Tales / Short Stories / Poetry

$7.95 trade paperback, 85 pages  • $4.49 ebook

ISBN: 978-0615763231

Publicity/Reviews: publicity@worldweaverpress.com

Information:


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Disclosure: this post contains links to an affiliate program (Amazon), for which I receive a few cents if you make purchases. 

Monday, July 20, 2015

Release Blitz: Messed Up and Magic

 



Friday nights are about fish and chips, not finding sexy boys on your doorstep, particularly when the boy in question seems so lost.
Jack's been Amy's customer for years so they're not exactly strangers, but he's stunned when he finds himself homeless and she offers him a place to stay. Amy's desperate for change. Fed up with fulfilling her father's expectations, she’s struggling to see a way out without letting him down. Suddenly faced with more issues than she can cope with, Amy turns to Jack for comfort. But as they get closer, and Jack's troubles get deeper, he’s reluctant to make promises he can’t keep. One lonely boy, trying to do the right thing. One girl used to pushing her dreams aside. Two hearts struggling with life and love.
Things are about to get all kinds of MESSED UP and MAGIC.

Character Interview

Name – Jack Harlow Age – 18 going on 30! Appearance – 6 foot, very dark brown hair and eyes. People always tell me my eyebrows look sad because they slant downwards at the edges. My hair’s a bit of a mess at the moment but I guess you could call it a floppy Mohawk. Favourite Song – There’s no way that I can pick just one. I love music, all different kinds. There are a couple of tunes that I can say are near the top of the list though. R U Mine? by the Arctic Monkeys. It’s got a mad guitar riff that I want to learn to play. Oh, and Tyrant by Catfish and the Bottlemen. What item of clothing best represents you? My favourite black t-shirt. It’s kind of a faded grey now from over-washing but it’s really comfortable, and it goes with everything. It’s practical and understated. It’s not flashy and it doesn’t go in or out of fashion. What’s your biggest fear? Turning out like my parents. And being alone in the world. People need good people to be happy. What’s on your bedside table/nightstand? My phone, my guitar plectrum, headphones so I can blast my music without pissing anyone off. Oh, and ear plugs because I’m a light sleeper. What was your favourite food when you were a kid? Jaffa Cakes. They’ve got a thin cake base with a layer of orange jelly stuff covered in chocolate. I used to nibble off the chocolate and peel the orange jelly away from the cake to eat it separately. My granny bought them for me and whenever I eat them, they remind me of her. Best sexual experience? Any time with Amy, but if I had to pick, it would in the hotel room after I met my brother. I knew I was falling for Amy then, but it was bitter sweet because I knew I wasn’t in a position to offer her anything more than sex and friendship. If you could visit any country in the world where would it be? Cambodia. There’s this mad ruined city called Angkor that has temples that are hundreds of years old. I haven’t travelled abroad yet, so I’d go to a place that was really different to the UK. And I like Asian food! You have one day left to live. What would you do? Go to the beach and hang out with my friends and with Amy. Hopefully my last day would be sunny (although in England that’s doubtful!) and we could have a BBQ and a few drinks, listen to music and talk about old times. I’d want to watch the sun set on the horizon and say goodbye to the people that have been most important to me in my life. And maybe, if it’s possible, I wouldn’t mind doing a bungee jump. I’d want to know what it feels like to step of a platform and surrender to the free fall. Fish and chips or steak and chips? Fish and chips, obviously! (Can I have both?)

Giveaway

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About Holly Stone

Hi! I'm Holly Stone. I live, work and write in London. Writing isn't my day job but I love creating characters enough to do it in my spare time. When I'm not working, writing or parenting I'm reading, day dreaming about my next book and trying to stretch time like elastic!
I love people and chocolate and stories that grab you by the heart and squeeze. Before I became a mummy I traveled to cool places and studied ancient things and danced in heels and drank gin with orange juice. When my kids are grown I am planning to do all those things again, just wearing longer skirts! Sign up for my mailing list at http://eepurl.com/bhF51T for updates on new releases.  

Friday, July 17, 2015

Guest Post: J.E. Nicassio


Writing is about opening your soul and letting your vulnerable side shine through. You have to have a thick outer skin. Being an author is not giving in or giving up and never ever listening to the people who said you couldn’t do it. You just do it and never give up on your dreams. I have been kicked down and had the wind knocked out of me but something in me kept me going.  

I had just finished graduate school for writing and struggling with the loss of my sister when I made a huge mistake. I wrote a science fiction romance and I stupidly send it out to a writing factory. Before I knew what happened it was torn apart and used to make a novel and then a movie. My heart was crushed. I had a group of Intellectual Property and Copyright lawyers come to my home to try and do something about my novel but of course the people who took chunks of my novel knew exactly what they were doing. They took my main protagonist’s name, the town, school, story plot and even my son’s names in my dedication and used them for their main characters. My lawyers said they tweaked it just enough to make it too hard and costly for them to pursue it further and I was barely surviving financially. I was crushed and heartbroken. They advised me to change my title and my characters and some of the plot’s premise. After months of wanting to give up I listened to my attorneys and decided to do just that. I re-wrote, and re-wrote until I was blue in the face. I sent it to agents under the title MOONDUST. I received rejection letter after rejection most saying I had to have an agent. How are you supposed to get an agent if no one will take a chance on an emerging author I asked myself? But I did not quit. One day I got a message on Facebook from a new publishing house. I was ecstatic and sent them an email. I made another mistake and didn’t research the publisher before a signed on the dotted line. My new publisher made false promises and didn’t do right by me or my novel. Again I was devastated. I fought to get my rights back and after another year I did. I felt like I was in the movie Groundhog Day by making the same stupid mistakes over and over. I re-wrote again and this time researched until I found www.secondwindpublishing.com.  My determination and perseverance paid off and found a reputable publisher. 


The lessons I learned were made the hard way. The best advice I can give emerging authors is to be patient and treat your manuscript like your child, nurture it, love it and guard it with your life. Protect your child and your rights and trust no one with it. Even though my novel was copyrighted I stupidly let my desperation take hold of my instincts and I succumb to a moment of carelessness and hit the submit link. I regretfully sent it out on the Internet to a group of predators who unfortunately took my desperation and made a huge financial gain for themselves with my blood, sweat and tears. Be cautious aspiring authors. Research every agent, and publisher on the web before you hand over your manuscript to individuals without scrupulous intentions.




About From The Sky:
When Samantha Hunter and her father move to New Mexico, it's a chance to get away from the bittersweet memories of her past and start over. However, the arrival of a dark-haired stranger into her life changes everything. The stranger, a boy, named Lucien introduces Sam to the hidden world of real-life aliens. Redemption and romance follow Sam in her new life as she works to decipher her complicated alien-human relationship and discovers what connects her to this strange alien boy.






About the Author:

J.E. Nicassio is a former freelance writer, MUFON field investigator and the mother of two adult sons based in the suburbs of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Since early childhood, she dreamed of creating characters readers could fall in love with while taking them beyond our reality letting them dare to believe in something more beyond the stars. Those dreams were put on hold while she focused on raising her sons as a single mother. She finally listened to the whispers in her mind to pull herself together and make her dreams a reality. She earned two degrees and followed her gut and typed up the courage not to listen to the naysayers and let her fingers be the guide on her keyboard. From The Sky made its debut a few months after the death of her beloved father. She is also the author of Rocky The Rockefeller Christmas Tree and Louis Joseph’s Ooh Rah.





Disclosure: this post contains links to an affiliate program (Amazon), for which I receive a few cents if you make purchases. 

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Guest Post: Rival Gates

How Many Characters Should You Have?


Something rarely talked about but is absolutely crucial when writing a book is the number of characters you want involved.  It’s a tricky business because too few characters can be boring and too many can be hard to follow.  Have you ever read a book where there were just too many people to remember them all?  You become confused and lose interest.  With my series, “The Sapphire Chronicles” I knew these characters would be around for a long time.  As a result I spent most of the first book, “Quest for the Red Sapphire” developing them in depth.  There weren’t as many characters but you really got to know the main ones so you could watch them develop later.  In the second book, “The Sapphire Crucible” a whole new slew of people was introduced and there wasn’t time to have you get to know the main characters.  Most writers use sort of a splatter approach and throw a bunch of different people at you, hoping you’ll like a few.  When you do that, there just isn’t time to develop them to the degree they deserve.  Clearly there must be something to that approach as it is used so often.  Still, I can’t believe it isn’t confusing for the writer.  I just finished a book where two different “bad guys” both had the same name.  That was hard to read.  Maybe if there weren’t so many characters swarming around, that wouldn’t have happened.  Then you have books with just a couple of characters.  It’s the stuck on a desert island or stranded scenario.  I have seen it down well but most of the time it just drags on.  It is a tough blend to get right.  The way you know you’ve done it correctly is that no one mentions it.  Funny how that works.


About Quest for the Red Sapphire:
General Linvin Grithinshield was used to enemies trying to kill him on the battlefields of the medieval world of Lavacia. Now he has the fear of being killed anytime, anywhere. He thinks he is summoned home from the goblin wars to oversee the family merchant empire after his father’s disappearance; and for a while he is right. Then his mother is assassinated and Linvin’s true purpose is revealed. He must seek out and find the all-powerful Red Sapphire and claim its might before the murders find it…or him. With new dangers around every turn in an ever-escalating spiral of violence, he must prove himself worthy of the gem and lead his party to success against insurmountable odds. To fail would mean death for far more than just him. The world, itself, could fall into permanent shadow and darkness.



Disclosure: this post contains links to an affiliate program (Amazon), for which I receive a few cents if you make purchases.