Saturday, June 29, 2013

And The Winners Are...

As you all know, my blog tour for Death of a Waterfall my birthday blitz giveaway has officially ended-- which means there are a LOT of winners to announce!

So, without further ado...

WINNERS: eBook copy of Death of a Waterfall 
Cassie Polla
Susan Platt
Corinne Alexander
Holly Letson
Dawn Bush
Laura Mendez
WINNERS: Death of a Waterfall Swag Pack
Stephanie Jacob
Mary Jo Toth
WINNER: Kara's Birthday Blitz Grand Prize
Erin Koiso
WINNER: Kara's Birthday Blitz -- Signed Book w/ Magnet
Jessica Martin
WINNER: Kara's Birthday Blitz -- eBook Copy
Mary Preston
All winners MUST contact me via email (, Facebook ( or Twitter (www.twitter/KaraLeighMille1) within 48 hours to claim your prize. If I do not hear from winners by 5 p.m. (EST) on Monday, new winners will be chosen. Winners who have won ebooks will need to provide me with their email address and winners who have won signed books or swag packs will need to provide me with your mailing address.
Thank you to all who've participated =) 

Thursday, June 27, 2013

{In Your Write Mind Workshop}: Cutting and Tightening Your Novel

Hosted by Kate Martin

"Writing is like a spider web -- what isn't there is just as important as what is." ~Janet Reid

Cutting your novel down to a manageable level can be daunting. Where do you start?

1. Do large cuts first:
  • Full chapters -- Cut and/or combine chapters that are slow, unnecessary, or don't move the plot along. Also, start the story later so that earlier "backstory" chapters can be cut.
  • Minor characters -- Give secondary roles to bigger characters -- if it fits with the characterization.
  • Sub-plots -- if they're not necessary to the overall plot/theme, you can probably cut.

2. Paragraphs and Scenes:
  • Redundant scenes -- if you have duplicate scenes that serve the same purpose, cut them or combine them.
  • Repetitive narrative/dialogue -- if you've said it once already, no need to say it again.

3. Sentence by Sentence and Word by Word
  • "That" and "just" are unnecessary words
  • Cut as many dialogue tags as possible
  • Don't be afraid of simple words -- instantly vs. without another thought
  • You don't need to give every little detail -- readers' minds will fill in the blanks.

Other Tips & Tricks:
  • Cut once on  your own.
  • Then give it to someone you trust to cut it. When you get their cuts back, YOU cut again.
  • Only edit/cut for an hour or hour and a half at a time.
  • Edit by hand
  • You might have to add scenes to clarify/compensate for some of the stuff you've cut. That's okay, just remember: you're trying to cut down your word count. Always keep that in your mind.
  • Keep a notebook next to your computer to jot down notes and ideas.

{In Your Write Mind Workshop}: Things that Go Bump in Your Prose

Workshop Hosted by Ron Edison

~ Overuse of 'had' in narrative: Indicative of an unnecessary/unintentional flashback; becomes repetitive

~ Rid your MS of them or use contractions to make them less visible.

~ Using had in flashbacks: 3 elements that they should contain
1. Emotional trigger --  Transition sentence with the word had. Establish character & POV clearly
2. Flashback scene -- Written in simple past -- NO "had's"
3. Transition sentence -- brings you back to present -- usually an action at the start of a new paragraph

~ Determine emotional mood before you write

~ Show character DOING something

~ Tell, don't ask! Don't let your character ask too many questions (internally). It makes them appear weak and indecisive. Form them as statements instead. Ex: Was he a werewolf? I wondered if he was a werewolf. Are my parents dead? I hope my parents aren't dead.

~ Have an action goal for each scene: make your characters DO something, not just thinking about things. If character does need to think about something, summarize it.

~ Don't overuse "it" or "some" -- it's confusing and lazy. If you don't care about the details, why will your reader?

~ Physical actions don't always work as dialogue tags. Examples: you can't smile, sneer, sneeze, or laugh while you're talking. They should be separate sentences from the dialogue. Facial expressions are good to use, just don't overuse them. Talk with the hands or use big actions (throwing things, stomping away, etc.) *Watch TV with the sound off for ideas*

~ Be smart when naming your characters! Common complaints from readers/writers/editors:
           * Names ending in "s"
           * Names difficult to pronounce
           * People names for animals
           * Boys names for girls and vice versa
           * Names with same initial consonant (All your characters start with D or B)

~ Euphemisms are NOT your friends. AVOID THEM!

~ DO NOT EVER manipulate your readers. If your character has a plan -- tell your readers about the plan. Don't withhold critical information once you mention it.

~ Don't interrupt action with needless descriptions.

~ Slang does have an expiration date. Use it carefully.

"Ten Tips to Stronger Writing" by Linda George.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013


I'm beyond excited to welcome the super talented Ryan Winfield to the blog today. Before we dive into the interview, let's catch up on my history with Mr. Winfield.

First, I read and reviewed his debut novel, South of Bixby Bridge. Then, having been a tad bit annoyed, I called his bluff--which, much to my surprise, he answered. Later, he released the first two books in The Park Service Trilogy: The Park Service and Isle of Man. I also reviewed both of them here and here. And most recently, he released his newest novel, Jane's Melody, which, of course, I also reviewed.

It was this last book that prompted me to actually formally interview Ryan. Why? Well, because Jane's Melody is an adult romance, and I love romance. I knew before I even read this book that I was going to have some questions for Ryan. So, here they are...

1. Where did you get the idea for Jane's Melody?
I’m never entirely sure where a story comes from when I write. Jane came to me one night in a dream and I woke knowing her history and her pain and what she needed to heal it. But how that healing might find her was still a mystery when I began writing.
2. Did you find this harder to write than your other books? If so, why?
I never find it particularly difficult to write. It usually comes natural to me once I start a story. However, this was a very emotional book for me and it did sometimes take a toll on my heart. In the end, it was a cathartic and uplifting experience finding peace and love along with Jane.
3. First there was South of Bixby Bridge, which isn't really genre specific. Then there was The Park Service Trilogy, which is young adult dystopian. And now there's Jane's Melody, which is romance. What made you decide to branch out into yet another genre?
I didn’t decide. And I can’t imagine ever making that decision. I don’t consider myself a genre writer. In fact, I couldn’t really tell you what genre a story belongs in until it’s finished and someone needs to categorize it for readers. When a story comes to me I do my best to tell it the way it wants to be told. I would imagine that if I spent any energy at all considering genre when I write then other forces would creep in and tinker with the story’s structure or style and I’d end up with something that wasn’t pure.
4. Did you do any sort of research for this book? If so, what? Did you read any romance novels before writing this book? If so, which ones?
Yes and no. I’m always researching and sketching characters, often without knowing what story they will inhabit. Jane had been with me for a while, and Caleb too, through songs and poems I had been writing, and then their story presented itself and I had very little research to do outside of small bits of fact checking after I had written it. I did not read any specific books to prepare for writing this one.
5. I know the final Park Service book will be out later this year, but what else can we expect from you?
I wish I knew. I’m working on several things now but I never know which of them will take over and become the story I have to tell. I have some manuscripts hiding in drawers that I don’t think are ready yet to publish, and some of these other stories I’ve started might keep me from returning to them to make them ready, at least for now.
6. Is there a certain story or type of story you want to write, but haven't yet? If so, why haven't you written it yet?
I’m fascinated by the mind and how it works and how it sometimes works against us. I have a character that I love and continue to get to know and his story deals with mental illness from an insider’s perspective. I really hope to someday finish it.
7. Your books have been widely popular. Has this success changed you or anything in your life in any way?
I hope not. I’m still just as tickled when anyone reaches out to let me know that they enjoyed something I’ve written. I don’t think I’ll ever get over that. I feel a very personal connection to my readers—maybe because I spent so many years working without them and I had to imagine a friend that I was writing for. I think every reader I come across embodies that friend somehow. If anything, my work finding some success has made me more appreciative of the process. I can take very little credit outside of doing the work. The stories come from somewhere else entirely and I hope to never lose contact with wherever it is they’re born.
Thanks so much for stopping by today, Ryan =) Be sure to check him out on Facebook and Twitter.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Elsie Ijorogu-Reed

I have a special treat for all of you today Author Elsie Ijorogu-Reed is here today answering some questions about her book, Love me Mama: The Unfavored Child. It's a little different than the normal romance and YA authors I have on the blog, but the concept of this story really intrigued me, and I wanted to share it. Enjoy!

Tell us about your newest release. Feel free to include a short excerpt/blurb.

There’s a strong and well-proven link between parental favoritism and the abuse suffered by the unfavored child. In an emotive and insightful new book, the unfavored child’s story is told with frank and raw honest. Love Me Mama: The Unfavored Child will resonate with parents and adults around the world. This book is a story of an unfavored child called Victoria. Vicky suffered because of the favoritism her mother showed among her four children, discriminating against Vicky. The difficulties of life led Vicky to build a wall of defense around her. Vicky’s difficult life led her to master the art of escaping the pains of rejection by becoming a high achiever. She thought she was fine and doing all right until the day when her mother died. At that moment, Vicky realized that she never had a mother who loved her. She never would because life cheated her out of a mother and now death had too. The book takes you through the trials and tribulations that Vicky faced before she emerged successful.

This book is available on Amazon.
Elsie on writing...
What inspired you to start writing?
Stories from my personal experience and from the experiences of the myriad people around me needed telling, and I decided that I would write these down.
What is your background with writing?I have always written for me - and for my own personal interests. But this book has been my first full-blown novel.
Is there anything you find particularly challenging about writing?
I wouldn’t say we struggled – there was just a sort of a back and forth on the ways we could go about projecting he true emotional struggle in the mind of a child that suffers discrimination at home, and to project the thought process of parent who favours one child over the other.
What is your writing process? Are you a plotter or a panster?
My co-writer Kirthi and I would sit together to brainstorm. It was very easy because we know our work styles. Once we brainstormed, we’d spend some time on the chapter to decide the way it would sound.
How do you choose your character's names?
I wing it!

Where do you find inspiration?
From everywhere: within, without, and with everyone!
What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?
The ability to be me, all the time!
What's the weirdest thing you've ever done in the name of research?
Nothing is weird when it is research. :)
 What are your thoughts on critique groups/partners?
I think it makes a lot of sense to have such groups to allow writers to improve and evolve.
How do you deal with rejection letters?
I cut the chase short and went right ahead with self-publishing.
If your publisher offered to fly you anywhere to research your next book, where would you go?
To all the destinations of conflict to speak with women of their struggles in conflict.

Elsie's Advice to Writers...
What tools do you feel all writers should have?
Just passion!
What tips would you give others to overcome writer's block?
Just let it be. A writer's block is your talent's way of telling you to take a break.
What advice would you give to a new writer just starting out?
Just follow your heart. Passion is extremely important!
What advice would you give an author who wants to write erotica? Young adult? Paranormal?
Well, just write away is all I'll say!
Elsie on reading & books...
What authors would we find you reading when you're not writing?Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Jean Sasson, Lloyd Jones, Susan Abulhawa, Jason Stearns and Philip Gourevitch!

What books/authors have most influenced your life?
There are so many writers whose works are wonderful. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Jean Sasson, Lloyd Jones, Susan Abulhawa, Jason Stearns and Philip Gourevitch’s works have always been fantastic reads. I suppose the matter-of-fact rendition of their stories has been a huge influence on me.

Who is your all-time favorite literary character and why?
Pollyanna: for her unstinting optimism!

Do you prefer ebook or print? Why?
Print - the joy of thumbing through the leaves of a book and smelling it...... HEAVENLY!

Elsie gets personal...

What did you want to be when you grew up?
My self. There was nothing better to me, there is nothing better to me and there will be nothing better to me.

What's your favorite thing to do when you're not writing?
I run my own NGO called Delta Women, so much of my work goes into that.

What is your strangest habit?
Working all the time, I suppose!

Have you ever eaten a crayon? Chalk? Dirt? What is the strangest thing you've ever eaten?
Nope, none. :) I couldn't say anything I've eaten is strange because everything I've eaten is a delicacy in some part of the world if not mine.

Do you have a favorite quote or saying? What is it?
Ubuntu: I am who I am because you are who you are!


Saturday, June 22, 2013

Kara's Birthday Blitz!!

That's is my birthday. And before you ask, no, I'm telling you how old I am ;)

I'm celebrating by hanging out with my characters from The Georgia Corbins. Ali is celebrating her 17th birthday by taking a trip down memory lane with all of her friends. And the best part is: YOU guys get the gift! That's right. I'm giving away the following mini-swag pack:

  • A signed paperback copy of The Georgia Corbins;
  • The Georgia Corbins spiral bound notebook;
  • The Georgia Corbins refrigerator magnet;
  • My really pretty (and simple) business card; and
  • A Kara Leigh Miller pen.

 I've decided to do this giveaway a little differently -- something that will hopefully be fun -- A blog hop scavenger hunt!

Here's how it works:

1. Visit the listed blogs below -- IN THE ORDER THAT THEY ARE LISTED (this is very important) -- and read the never-before-released excerpts.

2. At the end of each excerpt there will be a link to the next blog with the next excerpt--which will pick up right where the previous one left off. (This is why you need to read them in order. See? There is a method to my madness. I promise!)

3. Each blog will have it's very own Rafflecopter giveaway entry form that will require you to answer a question about the excerpt you just read. Once you give an answer, you will be rewarded with a clue. The clues could be anything from one word to a series of words, a phrase, or an entire sentence.

4. Collect all the clues from all of the blogs. Make sure you keep track of each clue. You'll need them at the end of the game!

5. Each stop will also give you other options: follow me on Twitter, like me on Facebook, etc. For each one you do, you will be entered into another drawing for a chance to win some "Surprise Gifts"

6. Once you've visited each stop, and collected all the clues, come back here and use those clues to solve the final puzzle--which will enter you into the Grand Prize drawing for the swag pack pictured above.

7. Winners will be announced here, on my blog, on June 25th.
Here are the places you'll need to go:
Stop #1Bookish Blurb 
Stop #3Amber Daulton's Blog 
Stop #4Lola's Book Reviews 
Stop #5Rori Shay's Blog 
Stop #6Loco For Libros  
Stop #8 -- Aria Kane's Blog

Stop #9 --  Melinda Dozier's Blog

Stop #10 -- Kick Start Your Heart Romance (Kara Leigh Miller)
Good luck & happy hunting!

Gather those clues and solve the following puzzle:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, June 10, 2013

Where in the World Wide Web is Kara Leigh Miller??

Today is release day!!!

Needless to say, I'm VERY excited.

Both The Georgia Corbins & Death of a Waterfall are now on sale =) Buy links are below.

Today is also the kickoff of a month long blog tour for both books. I'm going to be everywhere talking about everything. So, to help keep you up-to-date about where I'm going to be, every Monday for the month of June I'll be posting a Where in the World Wide Web is Kara Leigh Miller. It's a post that will list my stops for the upcoming week along with any special events and/or giveaways.


Monday, June 10
  Willa's Ramblings (Book Spotlight)
Leanne Tyler's Blog (Guest Post: Never Judge a Book by its cover)
Rally the Readers (Book Spotlight)
Kayla's Reads & Reviews (Book Spotlight)
Serena Zane's Blog (Guest Post: Finding Your Voice)
Write in the Moment (Book Spotlight & Interview)
Bodacious Bookaholic (Book Spotlight & Review)
Tuesday, June 11
Katie L. Thompson's Blog (Guest Post: One Thing Every Writer Needs)

ST Bende's Blog (Character Interview: Ali chats about small town life)

Wednesday, June 12
House of A La Mode (Book Spotlight)

Rantings of a Closet Vamp Princess (Interview)

Thursday, June 13
Tina's Book Reviews (Guest Post: The Music Behind The Georgia Corbins)

Unforgettable Books (Guest Post: A Day in the life of Kara Leigh Miller)

Friday, June 14
Pretty in Fiction (Guest Post: Top 5 Most Gut-Wrenching Love Triangles)

Tiffany Talks Books (Book Spotlight)
Saturday, June 15

Stephanie Ryan's Blog (Interview)

Melinda Dozier's Blog (Tucker vs Levi - Jeopardy Style Competition)

Sunday, June 16
Willing to See Less (Guest Post: Favorite Fictional Couples)
Amazon        (More to come soon)
Death of a Waterfall
Monday, June 10
Book Crush Book Reviews (Guest Post: The Five W's of Blogging)

Romance Lives Forever (Interview)

Tuesday, June 11

Emily Glossner Johnson's Blog (Guest Post: Blurring the Genre Lines)

Wednesday, June 12
Natasha Knight's Blog (Guest Post: Sexual Experimentation)

Write Stuff (Bonus Scene: On the Witness Stand -- Rob vs. Donnie)
 Love, Romance, Passion

Thursday, June 13
Sharon Kleve's Romantic Ramblings (Guest Post: Reacting to Reviews)

You Gotta Read Reviews (Interview)

Friday, June 14

Jenn Nixon's Blog

Sable Grey's Blog

Saturday, June 15

Thursday, June 6, 2013

It's an aberration I tell ya!

Welcome to the Aberration Blog Hop!
Hosted by the wonderful Lisa Regan!

In celebration of the release of her second novel, Aberration, Lisa Regan is hosting The Aberration Blog Hop:  Finding the Most Aberrant Characters. 

In Aberration, FBI profiler, Kassidy Bishop is on the hunt for serial killer who is an aberration—a freak—even among serial killers. 

Before we get started, let’s take a look at the definition of aberration:

Definition of ABERRATION
1 : the fact or an instance of deviating or being aberrant especially from a moral standard or normal state
2 : unsoundness or disorder of the mind
3 : an aberrant individual
From the Merriam Webster Online Dictionary

For the purposes of this hop,  I'm going to share the most aberrant character I've ever had the pleasure (or displeasure) of writing:
Robert Jacobs.
He's the villain in Death of a Waterfall. He's also Teghan's father.
What makes him so aberrant, you ask? His questionable morals and his complete lack of a conscience.
Allow me to share with you...

          Rob paced in his den, his stomach in knots over what he was about to do, but he knew he had no other choice. His back was against the wall. "Jim, its Rob. I need your help," he said before Jim even had a chance to say hello.
"You sound worried. What's going on?" Jim asked.
"I don't want to get into it, but I need you to find me a doctor."
"A doctor? What the hell for?"
"It's not for me. It's for Teghan."
"Is she okay?"
Rob sighed. He knew this wasn't going to be easy, that Jim would ask a hundred questions. "She's fine."
"So why does she need a doctor?"
"Look, Jim, I can't explain it. In fact, the less you know the better. I just need you to find me a doctor who's willing to do something a little..." he paused searching for the right word, "questionable."
Hop on over to these other blogs to find out about more aberrant characters lurking around!

Leave a comment below telling me who you think the most aberrant character is and why. One lucky commenter will receive a FREE PDF copy of Death of a Waterfall.


Monday, June 3, 2013

The Georgia Corbins Blog Tour!

There's exactly 4 days left before THE GEORGIA CORBINS is released!! I've been busy working with Emily Marquart, (Publicist, Entranced Publishing) to schedule an awesome blog tour with some super fantastic prizes!!
If you'd like to be a part of the tour, please contact me directly at:

The Georgia Corbins Blog Tour Schedule
June 9 – July 1

Sunday, June 9
Skype Interview with A Novel Idea Live!
Monday, June 10

Kara Leigh Miller Tour & Giveaway kickoff
Pre-release Contest Winners Announced!
If you haven't entered yet, go HERE and do it now before it's too late!
Willa's Ramblings (Book Spotlight)
Leanne Tyler's Blog (Guest Post: Never Judge a Book by its cover)
Rally the Readers (Book Spotlight)
Kayla's Reads & Reviews (Book Spotlight)
Serena Zane's Blog (Guest Post: Finding Your Voice)
Write in the Moment (Book Spotlight & Interview)
Bodacious Bookaholic (Book Spotlight & Review)

Tuesday, June 11

Katie L. Thompson's Blog (Guest Post: One Thing Every Writer Needs)

ST Bende's Blog (Character Interview: Ali chats about small town life)

Wednesday, June 12

House of A La Mode (Book Spotlight)

Rantings of a Closet Vamp Princess (Interview)

Thursday, June 13
Tina's Book Reviews (Guest Post: The Music Behind The Georgia Corbins)

Unforgettable Books (Guest Post: A Day in the life of Kara Leigh Miller)

Friday, June 14

Pretty in Fiction (Guest Post: Top 5 Most Gut-Wrenching Love Triangles)

Tiffany Talks Books (Book Spotlight)

Saturday, June 15

Stephanie Ryan's Blog (Interview)

Melinda Dozier's Blog (Tucker vs Levi - Jeopardy Style Competition)

Sunday, June 16

Willing to See Less (Guest Post: Favorite Fictional Couples)

Monday, June 17

Book Crush Book Reviews (Book Spotlight)

Read and Reviewed (Book Spotlight)

Tuesday, June 18

Reading Teen (Guest Post: Make a List)

Stuck in YA Books (Book Spotlight)

Wednesday, June 19

A Tale of Many Reviews (Guest Post: What Inspired me to write The Georgia Corbins)

Flowers & Thorns (Interview)

Thursday, June 20

Curling Up With a Good Book (Interview)

Friday, June 21
Reading Renee (Promo/Spotlight/Review)

Saturday, June 22

Burning Tree Reads (Interview)

Sunday, June 23
**Stay tuned for full details**

Monday, June 24

Ana Blaze's Blog (Interview)

Tuesday, June 25

Book Nerds Anonymous (Book Spotlight)

Wednesday, June 26

Stacey Nash's Blog

Friday, June 28

Starting on the Write Page

Sunday, June 30

Vincent Morrone's Blog (Baker's Dozen Interview)

Monday, July 1

Kara Leigh Miller
Winners of Giveaway Announced!!

***Stay Tuned for more tour dates and extra special giveaways!***