Archive for July 2014 | Monthly archive page
Jacqui Morrison is our guest blogger today. Jacqui has written two suspense thrillers for Lachesis Publishing – Kaitlyn Wolf Crown Attorney and The Vigilante. Her books delve into the gritty underpinnings of society.
Today Jacqui shares what inspires her writing . . .
I am a visual person and a people watcher. The best writers I know have an extra spectator quality: the ability to be at an event and to be able to observe and participate. Once I heard that term for the first time I had an ‘ah ha’ moment, I was not alone; there were other people like me. I embraced my quirkiness as a gift.
As a child I was a dreamer and imagined entire mansions full of secret staircases and hidden rooms. Doesn’t every child dream in colour? If not they should, it’s fun. Those early dreams morphed into daydreams, which turned into detentions for not paying attention at school. I’d love to go back in time and let those teachers know that daydreams inspire my novel writing.
I saw a woman (a stranger) walking across the road in my town in northern Ontario, Canada. The stranger was of Aboriginal descent, proud, beautiful and serene. Her features, high cheekbones combined with piercing brown eyes, enchanted me. I knew one day she’d become a character. The chance encounter with the stranger, who I never saw again, percolated in my sub-conscious and she became the protagonist in my novel Kaitlyn Wolf Crown Attorney. The story of an Anishnaabe woman who experienced multiple tragedies as a youth, rose above her circumstances and became a Crown Attorney only to be foiled by defense lawyer Maxine Swayman known as ‘The Barracuda”.
Maxine Swayman, my reoccurring antagonist, is a red-haired, spitfire of a woman with beauty, poise and intellectual brilliance. She’s manifested from my Irish heritage and the plethora of strong females I have known throughout my life. Maxine’s personality comes from watching lawyers on Court T.V. on television, in court in real life and from my imagination. Maxine Swayman is the antagonist in both my novels Kaitlyn Wolf Crown Attorney and The Vigilante
Mysteries, my genre of writing, are like a puzzle. If you lose one or two puzzle pieces you’ll never fully complete the picture. It’ll haunt you.
Mysteries, like those enigmatic mansions I created in my mind as a child, are my puzzles. I’ll spend hours and days planting clues, and writing plot twists and when I’m stuck, I’ll spend time in nature. Nature’s beauty never stops inspiring me and after a needed break, I’ll return to my laptop ready to continue unraveling the puzzle.
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Welcome to Part 4 of our ongoing series focusing on how to become a bestselling author. Today we feature an interview with Sharlene Martin Moore. Sharlene is a creator/designer of online postcards. Her cards are used by some of the most successful authors in the biz to promote their books on various social media networking sites as well as on on their own websites and blogs.
Her cards a.k.a. image memes, are an example of what creates a buzz online. When an author wants to promote his/her book they turn to Sharlene to get the right tone and look that will convey the spirit of their book. Whatever you want to call them – graphic image cards, online postcards or graphic memes – they are attention grabbing and they have the ability to create a stir among readers and fans. Whether you want to announce a special sale, or a contest you are running, or to grab attention before an upcoming release – Sharlene will get it done. She is one of the dynamic people working behind the scenes, helping authors become bestsellers!
What do you do for authors?
I create graphic image cards for authors to use on Facebook, Pinterest, Tumblr and Twitter.
Who are some of the authors you’ve worked with and books you’ve done postcards for?
Eloisa James, Linda Francis Lee, Lauren Willig, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Beatriz Williams, Jennifer McQuiston, Katharine Ashe, Kate Noble, Sara Jane Stone, Cathy Maxwell, Terri Osburn, Tessa Dare, Emily Greenwood, Manda Collins and Cat Devon. I just started working with Ella Quinn and Jill Shalvis which is exciting.
Do you have a lot of repeat clients?
Yes, I do have a lot of repeat clients which makes me very happy.
Tell us about your background – how did you get started as a postcard designer?
I am a former elementary school teacher with a great love for arts and crafts. I loved glitter as a child and making attractive bulletin boards for my classroom as a teacher. Eloisa James is responsible for my start. I shared a couple of cards I had made with her, she liked them and off I went. As she shared cards on her Facebook page, other authors asked her who was doing them and she sent them to me. I owe her so much and I am honored to work with her and her assistant Kim Castillo.
What do you charge for a post card and how often can an author post it and where? Can they post it forever or is there a time limit? Can other people (i.e. fans/readers) repost it online?
I charge $5 per card or you can get 6 cards for $25. The author can post the card as many times as they want on any online medium such as Facebook, Tumblr and Pinterest. Some authors share them on their blogs and use them on Twitter. There is no time limit on the cards. I love for others to repost them and I know the authors love it too.
How do you put a postcard together? What kinds of quotes and images do you look for?
It begins with a background, then either a quote or author blurb, possibly a review. I work to create an image that will convey artistically the message the author wants to share.
Can an author provide you with the image and the quote?
Definitely, some pick the quotes they want on the card and some ask me to find quotes from their book. Also some want the book cover on each card.
In your experience, how popular and successful are online or social networking postcards and why?
I think graphic cards or memes are very popular. I feel they are successful because a graphic image catches your attention much like billboards do. Images are the most shared and talked about posts on Facebook.
Are you open to doing cards for authors who write horror, suspense, or mysteries?
I am open to other genres as long as the material is not offensive to me.
Why do authors keep coming back to you again and again?
I have priced my product to be affordable even by new authors on a limited budget. The cards allow them to share snippets from new books, announce a new cover, and share the word about a limited time sale and so much more. They are pretty and everyone likes pretty. Social media moves so quickly, especially on Facebook, my cards allow authors to share something that will get attention.
What do you love most about your work?
I love being able to create something that someone I admire likes. It is very rewarding to see my cards on the Facebook pages of authors I have admired and read for years.
Today’s Q and A is with Lachesis Publishing author Kim Baccellia. Kim writes YA paranormal with a mixture of humor, sass, and spookiness. Her book Crossed Out (book 1 in a series) follows a teenage girl who can see dead people and has to get them to cross over. But an evil force is trying to stop her from doing this.
When did you first realize you wanted to become a writer and why?
I’ve always wanted to be a writer! As a child I used to be the ‘storyteller’ of my neighborhood. During that time the stories were a mix of what I was watching on TV—really bad B films mixed with Gilligan’s Island. I admit, I crushed big time on the Professor! In elementary school I loved writing short pieces in my 5th grade class. My teacher, Mrs. Clements, always encouraged me to write more. The same with my 8th grade English teacher and high school journalism teacher. I wrote for my school newspaper too.
I love writing at my local Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf coffee store. Great atmosphere and even better iced tea lattes. My favorite has to be the pomegranate blueberry mixed with sugar free chocolate powder. Nom! **Also I love their lemon bars!
What would I find on your desk at this very moment?
A couple YA books to review for the fab YA Books Central site. The latest Buffy the Vampire the Slayer comic book. **Yes, I’m a huge fan. A Greek mythology book as well as a Parisian map to help with my current project. Water and yes, some iced tea! I also have large headphones and my iPod handy with a collection of music to help with my writing. Right now it’s Pop music with songs from One Direction; Fault in Our Stars soundtrack; Coldplay; 30 Seconds to Mars, and Miley Cyrus.
What is your tea/coffee beverage of choice when you’re writing?
Love Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf ice tea lattes. But if I’m not there? I also love Teavana’s chocolate teas. I add hazelnut or French vanilla soy creamer to them. Nom.
What do you love to read?
Depends on my mood. Right now reading an action packed YA set in Ecuador. Also have the audio book Written In My Own Heart’s Blood by Diana Gabaldon on my iPhone. Love the richness of the language plus the Scottish accent is an added bonus!
What is some good advice you can give to an emerging writer?
Be persistent and never give up. This biz isn’t for the faint of heart.
What do you do after you finish a book? Do you celebrate or take a nap?
Depends! Sometimes I just want to go out and see the latest movie! Or yes, crash!
You’ve written a paranormal for Lachesis – tell us about Crossed Out.
Sixteen-year-old Stephanie has an extracurricular hobby—she makes talismans, mostly crosses, and decorates them with the essence of recent murdered girls to help guide them to their vision of the Other Side. Everything is going fine until strange things start happening in her town, messing up her routine. It’s up to her to figure out what she needs to do before she’s next on the list to be crossed out.
What do you enjoy about writing YA?
I think I’m a teen at heart. I enjoy writing YA but have been playing around with doing a crossover novel.
What are you working on next?
I’m currently doing revisions on the sequel to No More Goddesses which is set in Paris, France and the Greek netherworld. I’m also finishing touches on a crossover thriller set in the not too distant future. This one has a forbidden love triangle. And of course, I plan on revisiting the sequel to Crossed Out this summer. Let’s just say Stephanie finds out the Other Side isn’t done with her yet. There will be more reveals and suspense in the sequel!
Today’s sneak peek is from the YA time travel Dawn of the Sentinel by Richard Blackburn (book 1 in the Guardians of the Gate trilogy).
What It’s About:
Jenny has no idea what it means when she stumbles through a magical “gate” at Stonehenge and travels back to the year 1347. She has no idea that the “old lady” who travels back with her is actually a sorceress protector, and a Guardian of the Gate. Most shocking of all, she has no idea that she has powers of her own just waiting to be discovered.
Gwenelda, the Guardian, intends to hide Jenny in the safety of a secret cave until the next time warp, but fate works against them, and Jenny is thrust into the society of the time. She disguises herself as a young man in order to protect herself, but when she discovers a sinister plot master-minded by a former Guardian named Rudigor, who has turned to the dark side—it becomes a race against time as Jenny tries to stop the sorcerer, and rush back to Stonehenge to get back to her own time.
Jenny started to tremble. She remembered her last glimpse of Stonehenge. In that flash of lightning she’d seen a dark liquid running from the slab above her head. She looked down at where it had splashed onto her arms. They were stained with blood.
“You saw what was on the altar stone?” the old woman whispered sympathetically.
“Yes,” Jenny answered in a quavering voice. “A . . . a human sacrifice.”
Despite the warning to keep silent, Jenny had to whisper the obvious questions.
“Who are you? What have you done to me?’’
In reply the old woman leaned her face close to Jenny’s ear.
“My name is Gwenelda. I’m one of the Sentinels who guard the time warp, what the ancients called The Gate. And all I did was to try to stop you from standing near that stone,” she whispered, more resigned now than angry. “You were on the actual site of the ancient Druid altar. I’ve guarded it for centuries during the few brief seconds each year it becomes a gateway into the past. But hush!”
As they listened, they could hear sounds of the men searching nearby. Someone prodded the thicket where they were hiding with a stave, but Jenny had curled into a tight ball, her arms protecting her head. She knew that if she made a sound, it would be her last, so she kept absolutely silent.
After a few minutes the searchers moved on.
“Those fools are trying to act like Druids, hoping to stumble upon the secrets of our ancient sect. It’s a dangerous business, though. The Church will burn them at the stake as heretics if they’re caught, so they’ll kill anybody who witnesses their secret meetings. Now they know we’re here, they’ll be desperate to find us.”
Trying not to rustle the leaves of the bush, the old woman looked out carefully.
“When they’re searching on the far side of the columns, we’ll have to run to the ditch over there,” she said, pointing to the opposite edge of the ruins.
Jenny felt as though she’d just been through one round in the boxing ring with Muhammad Ali and was in no shape for even the shortest sprint. Fit though she was, her mental condition had taken a considerable battering, but when Gwenelda croaked urgently for her to run, she somehow found the strength. The memory of her first, close look into the dead eyes of the pagan victim spurred her on. She threw herself the last few feet into the ditch.
“Well done,” Gwenelda whispered.
Jenny couldn’t imagine how the old woman got there first, but she didn’t really care.
“Can I say something now?” she pleaded weakly.
“Not yet,” Gwenelda said. “We’ve got to get well away from here. We can relax later, when we’re sure we’re not being followed, but even then we must stay alert. We have to avoid human contact like the plague. I’m going to take you to a cave I know. It’s nearly a day’s walk from here, but you can hide there until I can return you to your own century. So up you get. The coast is clear. We must get away.”
Twenty minutes later they were able to slacken the pace and walk side by side.
“Please tell me what happened,” Jenny begged. “I’m sure I’ll be of more use to you if I know what’s going on.”
“All right. I’ll tell you the little you need to know for now and when we reach safety, I’ll fill you in on the rest.”
Jenny could hear in her companion’s voice the coldness of a seriously dangerous situation. As they followed the winding path across the lonely moors, Gwenelda told her a story so incredible that, had Jenny not been physically involved, she would never have believed it.
“There are a few places on the face of the Earth where it’s possible to walk through time into the past,” the old woman explained. “They only occur on significant occasions and in very special places. The Egyptian Pyramids, the Easter Island statues, and the Inca temples are just a few of them. Oh, and Stonehenge of course.
“Not many people these days would know how to invoke the magic to travel through time, but in Stonehenge it’s different. Every year the words of the ancient incantations are chanted exactly when the time warp occurs—at dawn on the mid-summer solstice.
“But modern Druids don’t know what they’re doing. It’s just by chance today that the right words were said at the right time. That was the command for The Gate to open at the site of the original Druid altar . . . and you fell into it.”
Jenny was still puzzled so Gwenelda continued to explain.
“If you look at any really old painting of the ’Henge you’ll see that the columns used to be scattered all over the place. It was in Victorian times the authorities took it upon themselves to put the stones in an order they thought was right—but they were wrong. The real place for the altar was exactly where you were standing.
“When I couldn’t get there in time to move you away, I had to come with you, not just to help you, but to preserve the past. So now I’ll have the pleasure of your company until The Gate next opens, the hallowed eve of All Saints Day. That’s in about four month’s time.”
“Four months! You must be joking. I can’t—”
Once again Gwenelda had to silence her unwilling companion.
“Keep your voice down!” she whispered furiously. “We may appear to be alone, but you can never tell. Things aren’t as bad as they might sound, but I can’t explain now. We’ve a long walk ahead of us, so we’d better get a move on. It would be dangerous for two women to be found out alone after nightfall . . . particularly here and now.”
Before they continued, however, Gwenelda seemed to find one spark of amusement in their plight.
“By the way, Jenny,” she said with mock dignity. “Welcome to the year 1347.”
You can also purchase it at other online stores including Amazon.
Today I want to tell you about two free books we have at Lachesis Publishing that are permanently free!!!
More Than Passion by JoMarie DeGioia is book 1 in the Dashing Nobles series. JoMarie’s historicals are set in the Regency period and they are romantic and sexy and hot! You will fall in love with her heroes. Book 1 stars Geoffrey Kane, the Earl of Kanewood and Rebecca Kingsley. Rebecca works at her father’s Inn. Although her father is a baronet, he runs an Inn to make a living. Rebecca is a sweet, hard-working gal who catches the eye of the Earl during his stay at the Inn. Sparks fly! Of course! And the two end up getting married. Although I won’t tell you how that comes about. Geoffrey is a little reluctant to admit his growing feelings of love for Rebecca, but all of that changes when her life is threatened. Check out this lush story of a man who faces his deepest fears and a loving woman who helps him realize the truth. Did I mention that it’s a free book? Everywhere! Including Amazon Kindle.
To Tempt an Angel by Patricia Grasso is book 1 in the Douglas sisters trilogy. Patricia’s books are also set in Regency England and they are clever and sexy and oh, so much fun to read. Not to mention, Patricia links a lot of her books – so you’ll see characters from previous books in her new releases. Yay! I love that, don’t you? So here’s the thing – I’ve been reading historical romance novels since I was a teenager, and I can tell you that most of the time I fall in love with the hero but not the heroine so much. But Patricia Grasso’s heroines are funny, endearing, quirky, strong, brave and loving. They are the kinds of women I love spending time with and rooting for. In To Tempt an Angel, Angelica Douglas is bent on avenging her nobleman father who was duped by his so-called friends when Angelica was a child. Her father became destitute and an embittered drunk. His death leaves her reeling but determined to right a grievous wrong. The trouble is that she ends up falling for the son of one of the men who ruined her family! You need to read this book to find out how Angelica and Robert overcome the wrongs of the past to build a new future. And it’s free! Everywhere. Including Amazon Kindle.
Have a great weekend and Happy Reading!
Our guest blog today is from Lachesis Publishing Author Kim Baccellia. Kim writes YA paranormal with a mixture of humor, sass, and spookiness. Her book Crossed Out (book 1 in a series) follows a teenage girl who can see dead people and has to get them to cross over. But an evil force is trying to stop her from doing this.
Our ongoing topic is: what inspires your writing? Over to you Kim . . . Inspiration for me really depends on what I’m working on at that time. For my YA paranormal Crossed Out, I watched a lot of TV shows like Joan of Arcadia, Dead like Me, Medium, and Ghost Whisperer. My favorite TV series had to be Joan of Arcadia as I loved the idea of God speaking to a teen through other people. Stephanie shared the same conflicts and struggles of Joan whenever she had to go on a heavenly quest. When I start a project, I love to totally get involved. I even went to a psychic or two to get a real feel for the paranormal world. I admit I’m a huge sucker for anything that deals with the paranormal. I blame my love on my mother who used to write down the horoscope signs of her Sunday school kids on this huge bulletin board in order to get a real sense of their personalities. **Yes, this didn’t go over too well with the Mormon community but that only encouraged me to read up on astrology. As a teen I would buy monthly horoscope books to find out what ‘might’ be my own path. I used my findings to put a spin on a horoscope column in my middle school paper. It was a hit! Oh, if anyone is curious, my sign is Aquarius. Music is a huge part of my writing process. For Crossed Out, I listened to lots of Linkin Park. The song, ‘What I’ve Done’, is Stephanie’s theme song and reflects her struggles/conflicts of her calling as a Rescuer—someone who helps murdered teens cross to the Other side. ‘Numb’ is another song that reflects how Stephanie feels toward her mother’s secrets and expectations of her. To get into Dylan’s head I listened to lots of Christian Pop groups including Casting Crowns. The song I listened to during his confrontation with Mark in the basement of a coffee house was ‘Set Me Free’. At first Dylan has a hard time accepting the idea that someone like Stephanie can interfere with the Other Side. **My own childhood experiences with the church warnings about not messing with the paranormal are seen through Dylan’s eyes. I also love to use Pinterest to post photos of characters, scenery, and other fun things. You can follow me there. In my current project, a New Adult multicultural thriller, I have photos of my Latina protagonist and her love interests set in a harsh desert backdrop. I purchased iStock photos to use on my Pinterest boards.
My other project takes place in Paris with a fifteen-year-old Audrey Hepburnolic who finds herself a goddess magnet, but not in a good way. This is the second book in my goddess series. The photo on the right is one pic that I use for my inspiration. I receive huge inspiration to write my novels at the Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf coffee shop close to my son’s student center in Santa Ana, California. Here’s a glimpse at my work station: Yes, and I can’t write unless I have one of their yummy drinks. My all-time favorites have to be any of their ice tea lattes with sugar-free chocolate powder. Right now I love their Blueberry Pomegranate ice tea latte with a shot of espresso. Books inspire me too. I seriously get withdrawal pains if I don’t have a book or two close at hand. I love to do research for all of my novels. For Crossed Out I read One Last Time by psychic John Edward. And another huge plus for doing research has to be the Internet. I love Google Earth as it takes me to places I otherwise couldn’t visit. I’m currently exploring the streets of Paris!
Inspiration doesn’t stop there. I’ve been known to use other artist’s talents such as this painting done by the very talented Liz Jones! It shows characters from my novels Earrings of Ixtumea, a YA multicultural fantasy, and Crossed Out. On the bottom right hand corner of the painting are illustrations of Stephanie with her cross talisman and Dylan with his trusted surfboard. Finally a big shout out to my local chapter of the RWA (Romance Writers of America) OCC RWA that helps inspire me to continue writing by being very supportive and encouraging. I love the events. Here I am getting into the Mardi gras spirit at the last RWA Birthday Bash: Inspiration can come to me in many different mediums and places. Instead of waiting for the so-called Muse to work magic, I go out and find it. You never know when a song, movie, book, or even tea latte might get the creative juices flowing! And dark chocolate doesn’t hurt either! Follow Kim on twitter, facebook and check out her website. Follow Lachesis Publishing on twitter and like our facebook page.
How to Become a Bestselling Author: The inside scoop from a personal assistant to the romance writing all-stars.
Kim has worked with many talented bestselling authors over the years, so if there is anyone who knows the inside of this biz, it’s Kim!
What is it like working for Eloisa James?
Bliss! Imagine meeting your idol, then finding out that they are even more fabulous than you thought and then getting to work with them every day. That’s what it’s like.
Eloisa is just so incredible. Don’t get me wrong, she is tough and a perfectionist, but she’s also the most amazing teacher and is open to hearing everything. I go to her with any idea I have no matter how big or small. We toss it back and forth and then decide together if we want to go forward. Lots of times she’s all for it but she has shot me down a few times. Like this graphic I made for The Ugly Duchess, it was rolling around in my head for weeks. Finally I put it together, sent it to her and asked for her thoughts. She loved it and posted it to her Facebook page and that thing went wild! It was shared online tens of thousands of times, it was crazy. When she doesn’t love an idea, she tells you in the best way. She never makes you feel bad at all. She gives the best constructive criticism.
We have a great time chatting on the phone and brainstorming ideas. I can’t go into detail but there is an aspect of her upcoming novel, Four Nights With the Duke, I can’t wait to see. It came out of nowhere during one of our talks and she just flew with it. Readers are going to love it!
Together we do everything we can to make Eloisa’s books the best they can possibly be and to make her releases as successful as possible. She lets me feel very much a part of her magic. When she won the RITA for Seduced by a Pirate, I felt . . . there aren’t enough words to describe the feeling, but it was pretty amazing! We celebrate her successes wildly and when things don’t go as well as we plan, we go over it bit by bit. We try to pinpoint what could have been done better, what should have been done and even what shouldn’t have been done.
To sum it up, working with Eloisa is very satisfying. She allows my creativity to soar. If anyone had ever told me I would be this happy in a job, I never would have believed them.
What can a personal assistant do for an author in terms of helping to build his/her career?
Have initiative. People always ask me to help them become an assistant, they want to do what I do. It’s not that easy. There isn’t a formula to this. You have to have great instincts and be in tune with your author. I don’t care where Eloisa is in the world, I know if she’s not feeling well or is having a very rough time. I know her and I know what she needs. Most importantly, I take care of what she needs.
For myself, I can’t make a decision to save my life. Honestly, anyone who’s gone out to dinner with me can attest to this. But when it comes to Eloisa James Inc., I make decisions in an instant without hesitation. Going along with that you also have to be accountable. You have to say “yes, I made that call” or “crap! I missed that”. With Eloisa, I have the luxury of knowing she isn’t going to rail at me.
More specifically, learn social media. Pay attention to the trends of the moment. Your author will get the most benefit of being in on a trend from the beginning, not the end. I get a lot of my inspiration from current celebrities. Taylor Swift has given me more than one brilliant idea.
Do everything you can for your author so she has time to write and focus on the stories she needs to tell.
For the authors who can’t afford a personal assistant – what are some key things that every author should do to promote her/his books?
Social media. You don’t have to do it all. There are so many! Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest, Instagram, etc. Do what you enjoy, but do it well. Be genuine and converse with your readers. Trust me on this, readers will know in a second if you’re not being yourself or if you’ve hired someone to do your social media. Don’t talk at them, talk to them. No matter what platform you’re on you need to treat it as if you’re with a group of friends having coffee and fun.
Treat your booksellers kindly! When Borders and Waldenbooks closed, it was the independent bookstores that stepped up. They are on social media, they have author events and they believe in you so much that they are hand selling your books. If you are traditionally published, send them bookmarks or other swag to share with their customers. Get to know them and ask them what you can do to help them do their job. It is up to us to support these small businesses. They truly love what they do and that deserves our help.
Given your experience working with so many authors over the years what are some of the stand-out qualities that many successful authors have in common?
Kindness. The most successful authors I know are just plain kind and supportive. They give back, they don’t take success for granted. Look at the workshop line up for any writing conference. You will see some of the biggest names imaginable sharing what they’ve learned. Karma, baby! You get what you put out there.
Self-awareness. A good author knows their writing process, how long it takes them to write a book, etc. They also surround themselves with good people who are supportive and accent them.
Where is the first place you go when you want to look for a new author or something new to read?
Eloisa! She reads at an incredible speed and shares what she really loves. This past spring she completely glommed Abby Green and Kresley Cole. We love to talk books but I can’t keep up with her at all. She’s got bionic eyes or something.
It is every author’s dream to be a huge success and at the top of all the bestseller lists. As an author, you need to drive yourself towards that in the best way possible for you. Most of you are perfectionists and the thought of handing off something to someone else makes you break out into hives. Get over that! Everyone can use help even if it’s just asking your teenager to teach you how to use “the Facebook”.
For the authors who feel that they can’t afford help, think again. When I started out, I charged $11 an hour and was available for any amount of hours. If you only needed two hours a month, that was fine with me. Look around, I’m sure you can find something in your budget.
One of the best pieces of advice I got when I started out was from Jeanne Adams. She helped me create a mission statement. I encourage all of you to do that. Put your goals on paper, print it out and tape it above your desk. Keep focused on those goals.
CHALLENGE: Let’s work on that together today. Share one of your writing goals and how you plan to achieve it.
Today’s Q and A is with YA author Richard Blackburn. Richard has written a three book time travel/adventure series for Lachesis Publishing, called Guardians of the Gate, featuring a university student who travels back to Medieval England only to discover she has some amazing powers she never knew she had. Book 1 is Dawn of the Sentinel. Book 2, Return of the Sentinel, will be out soon.
When did you first realize you wanted to become a writer and why?
My father was a great story teller. In those days there was no TV, it was just after the Second World War so there was little of anything in England. But the family was Manx so the stories were about the Island, its beauty and the odd assortment of mythical creatures supposedly to be found in the glens and the heather covered hills. I wasn’t a good scholar and didn’t read much fiction at all, I believed in living the adventures. I was brought up on the site of a medieval castle, literally. The house was built on the site of the midden! After leaving school I migrated on my own to Australia and worked in areas as diverse as the Simpson Desert and the tropical city of Darwin. I took up parachuting and scuba diving. So when my own children were growing up in Papua New Guinea, with no TV or cinema or other white children, I followed my father’s example and made up stories for them. It was when I was devising a story of adventures in Medieval England, for my granddaughter, that I knew this was the story I wanted to publish.
Describe your favourite place to write?
My favorite place to write was on the veranda of my house just north of Brisbane. when I was first writing, before housing estates started popping up all around the area, it was heavily wooded. There were lots of parrots in the trees and we were sometimes visited by kangaroos. So it was quiet and peaceful, perfect for me to write without disturbance.
What would I find on your desk at this very moment?
I don’t have a desk these days. I’m what is called a ‘grey nomad’ here. I live full time in a fifth wheeler (RV) and travel continually, from inland (Australia) where I dig for sapphires and opals to the coast for some great fishing. When I’m writing I have my laptop on my knee and, once again, I can have kangaroos and emus all around.
What is your favourite beverage of choice when you’re writing?
When writing, I like drinking percolated coffee. On really hot days, like in summer when it’s 45 degrees for five days together, I like iced tea.
What do you love to read?
I like reading old works of fiction, Chaucer and things like that. Also historical writings, like Froissart’s Chronicles and medieval letters such as the Pastern letters.
What do you do after you finish a book? Do you celebrate or take a nap?
When I finished my first book I couldn’t believe it. I re~read it many times and found as many beta readers I could, especially from medieval reenactment groups and people with expert knowledge. then I had such an empty feeling, I had to start writing again.
You’ve written a three book series for Lachesis Publishing called Guardians of the Gate. Tell us about this series.
My three books are about a young student who falls through a time warp at Stonehenge and finds herself in the year 1347. That was a terrible time in England, ten years into a war with France that would continue for over a hundred years more. Edward III was sending the country bankrupt with his warfare and the country was suffering spiritually, with the Pope having left the Italian city of Rome to reside in France, in Avignon. Life was more difficult for the peasants and it was in a peasant village Jenny found herself, with the ancient Gatekeeper, Gwenelda, who should have prevented this all from happening. The old woman wanted to hide Jenny for the months she would have to wait, for the Gate to open again, but fate wasn’t that kind. Almost immediately Jenny found herself in so much trouble, it would take all her intuition, her skills in Karate and a bit of ancient Druid magic to see her back home again. but is that all? Is she really safe now? You have to read all three books to find out!
What do you love about writing about time travel and history?
I’ve been very lucky with my writing. In my youth I visited many ancient castles, as well as living on the site of one. There were stocks in the village which were originally placed there to enforce the Laborers Statute of 1351, which punished peasants who wanted more than the sixpence a week they received. That was before the plague, when there were many more workers alive. The court house in the village was built in the reign of Elizabeth the First. So I was surrounded by things I found very exciting. When I was writing, I was able to visit England again, and visit many more sites of historic interest, and ask questions (my wife got quite annoyed and accused me of being a nuisance for the poor tour leaders). So with these interests and having lived quite an exciting life myself, it seemed natural that the stories I told my children and eventually wrote, should be in this genre.
WHAT IT’S ABOUT: Daphne Wentworth is almost seventeen, definitely a red head, and most likely the tallest girl in her class, which is awkward to say the least when it comes to dating boys in her school. But she doesn’t have to worry about school for the next two months since she’s spending the summer at her aunt Dwill’s lighthouse in Maine. What she does have to worry about is seeing ghosts in the lighthouse cemetery, having strange dreams, and hearing the voices of star-crossed lovers who lived two-hundred years ago. And then there’s a local boy named Zach Philbrook who works for her aunt. He’s too gorgeous for his own good. He’s also very tall, with midnight black hair, and the most beautiful indigo blue eyes Daphne has ever seen. Zach is treated like an outcast by the local teens in town. He’s Micmac and therefore not “one of the gang”. Daphne can’t help being drawn to his strength, especially considering that he’s had to live his entire life dealing with ignorance. But the local teens aren’t the only trouble-makers in town. As Zach and Daphne get closer, the lighthouse ghost lovers begin haunting them. When Daphne and Zach try to figure out how to fight them, the spirits get bolder and more dangerous.
EXCERPT: The cemetery wasn’t far and wasn’t scary. Not to me. Just a scattering of old stones with ancient memories written on them. People long gone to another life and no one here who remembers them. I dropped my canvas shoulder bag of goods on the ground near the gate. Wrought iron and rusted, it leaned into the cemetery boundaries at a precarious angle. Thank God I didn’t have to push it open . . . I’d have probably landed on the ground with a rusted spiral in my gut. This place was unfamiliar to me, except in passing. Though I’d known of the cemetery’s existence, I’d never gone in. I had too much to do in the land of the living for my short time here. No one ever came out here, so what difference did the overgrowth make? Aunt begged to differ and insisted I clean the place up. The lighthouse was two hundred years old this summer, she reminded me, and the cemetery belonged to the lighthouse. So, on a bright June day, I found myself alone in a somewhat decrepit cemetery in a clearing in the woods. I made my way around the ancient stones in an attempt to put off the start of my project. Most were upright and clear enough of the tangle of brush that a portion of the inscription could be read. One small stone, nearly buried in the overgrown grass at the north corner, caught my eye. I flattened enough of the green to reveal the single word Sarah, and beneath it Age 3 Months. Sadness flashed through me, unexpectedly. There were babies buried here? I slipped the hand pruners from my back pocket where I’d stuck them and carefully snipped the grass down in front of the headstone. I pulled viney growth from the top corner of the stone, revealing a W. and a P. Sarah W.P. My hand cramped as I diligently snipped away at the grass, clearing the plot. The screech of the gate would have warned me . . . had the gate been in better repair. With its useless tilt, however, I never heard him coming. The bag dropping next to me on the mixed pile of living and dead debris announced his presence. I flipped to the side, tripping myself with my legs, but managed to keep the pruners in front of me. I pointed them into the air in front of my face. Blue-black eyes studied me, one hand hooked into his pants pocket by the thumb, the other paused in front of him, fingers splayed where it had dropped the bag. In books you always read about these moments. Crickets clicked, or birds called, or someone’s watch ticked, marking time. Maybe all three. In real life, the only thing you really hear until you recognize that person is your own heavy breathing, that being indicative of the fact that you are in the middle of nowhere with no possible help nearby. So how do you protect yourself from something that isn’t really there?
Today I want to tell you about a new release, here at Lachesis Publishing – Beauty and the Earl by Patricia Grasso. It’s a twist on the old fairy tale “Beauty and the Beast”. I had a wonderful time working on it with Patricia. It’s a revised edition of To Love A Princess. But Patricia added even more magic to this new edition. And don’t you just love the cover? I adore it! LeeAnn Lessard and our cover artist Laura Givens did an outstanding job. Beauty and the Earl is part of a lovely new series that we’re calling the Lords of Stratford. This is book 2 in the series but it is a stand-alone so you can read it and enjoy it on its own. We’ll be releasing book 1 Enchanting the Duke very soon!
I know you’re going to love Beauty and the Earl as much as I do. Have a great weekend and happy reading!
Book 2 ~ Lords of Stratford Series
A princess in danger . . .
Princess Amber Kazanov needs a husband. She flees her native Russia and takes refuge in England with her cousin Prince Rudolf Kazanov and his English wife. Prince Rudolf knows only one man who has the power and strength to protect his cousin. Arriving with Amber at the Earl of Stratford’s home, Rudolf makes the earl an outrageous proposition.
A broken man grieving for his dead wife . . .
Miles Montgomery, the Earl of Stratford, wants to be left alone. Since losing his beloved wife in a fire, Miles has sat in the dark and waited for his own death. Until the day a beautiful princess walks into his home seeking marriage and the protection of his name. Amber’s beauty attracts Miles, but her courageous heart shakes him to his core.
Drawn to Miles, Princess Amber sees beneath his masked scars and gruff exterior. Her love persuades him to push his bitterness aside and truly live and love again. Can Miles keep Amber safe when her enemies arrive in England? Or will his past return to haunt them?
You can also buy it on amazon.
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