Sunday, September 29, 2013

{BLOG TOUR}: Hush Puppy by Lisa Cresswell

Please help me in welcoming Lisa Cresswell to the blog today. She's talking about writing and her newest release, Hush Puppy.
Hi, Lisa! Welcome. Please, tell us, where did you grow up and what do you love most about your hometown?
I grew up in North Carolina until I was about 15 years old. I love certain things about the state. It has a subtle beauty that maybe isn’t that apparent to visitors and it has the most wonderful coastline.  I love North Carolina beaches and the rich history there. It’s the setting for a couple of my stories.
What is your background with writing?
My experiences writing go way back to grade school, but aside from a disastrous creative writing class in college, I’ve had no formal education in writing.  I have taken correspondence courses in writing for kids and teens and I’ve attended every Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators workshop I can manage, which helped a lot. There’s been a lot of trial and error, but I think I just might be getting the hang of it now.
Is there anything you find particularly challenging about writing?
Finding time!  I have two kids and a day job, plus extracurricular activities, so finding time to write is my biggest challenge.  I take a notebook everywhere I go and write long hand any time I get a spare moment. I am often found grumbling about having to transfer everything to my computer later. J
What is your writing process? Are you a plotter or a panster?
I am a total outline convert.  I have to know where I’m going or I’ll hit a brick wall/dead end for sure.  When I first started writing longer works of fiction, I would just take off writing some interesting scene. I’d get to the end of it and not know what to do next. I could never finish anything!  It wasn’t until I started writing screenplays and reading a lot about plotting and structure that the light went off.  It’s sooo much easier for me with a plan in place before I start.
Study your craft. Invest in your education. Give yourself time to find your voice. A lot of time if necessary. They say you have to write 100,000 words of garbage before you’ll get good, so better get started now!
What is the worst piece of writing advice you've ever received?
Write what you know.  That’s boring. Who wants to read that?? I think in a sense, it is good advice, but taken literally, it’s awful.
If your publisher offered to fly you anywhere to research your next book, where would you go?
That’s a hard one because there are a lot of places I’d love to travel. I can make up a story in just about any setting.  Just give me a week there and I’m guaranteed to get inspired.  If it was for the next book that I have contracted, it would have to be Eastern Europe, which isn't that high on my personal list of places to see, but I bet it's fascinating.
What is one thing readers would be most surprised to learn about you?
Probably that I do archaeology for a living. cool! Okay, so tell us a bit about your new book, Hush Puppy.
Hush Puppy is about two poor teens in rural North Carolina that find solace in each other’s company, but they just happen to be of different races.  I wrote it to explore themes of forgiveness and hope for something better.  It really didn’t start out to be a story about interracial relationships. In fact, to me, that’s not the focus at all. It just kind of happened that way.

Friday, September 27, 2013

{BOOK BLITZ}: Deadly to Love


Deadly to Love (Elemental Killers #1)
by Mia Hoddell
Release Date: February 2013

Genre: YA/Romance/Paranormal/Fantasy


ISBN: 978-1-291-41025-9


The world is dangerous – but love will kill you.

Little did Serena Jackson know that one simple, flirty remark to an anonymous guy online would lead to her world being changed forever.

She doesn’t know him, but inexplicably, is drawn. She knows it is wrong but she agrees to meet.

His real name is Kai. He is beautiful. And immediately Serena feels herself blindly falling for him even though she senses a lie. She knows he is hiding something and it terrifies her.

What she doesn’t realise is that her entire life has been built on secrets and lies. The people she loved left her in the dark for a reason.

She trusted them. She trusts Kai. But as he pulls her straight into the heart of the danger the lies and deadly secrets are revealed. They overwhelm her, and the person she once was no longer exists as she is thrown into a ruthless world of elemental forces. The price of truth is her life—and now the world wants her dead.

Available from:
Amazon (Kindle) | Amazon (Paperback) | Lulu

and only 99c / 77p on Kindle for September!

“I couldn't put it down. So I finished it last night and all I can say is WOW! This book was amazing and different.” Brianna (Book Blogger)

I loved how the author took a different approach to writing a love story in modern times with the paranormal element present. I thought it was absolutely wonderful and refreshing. Marvelous!” Kathy H (Amazon Reviewer)

I will admit I scoffed at the way it started but in the end I had fallen in love with this story…completely untraditional it was a very original idea, not to mention modern. This story had
such a good plot and the story structure was sound.
Kacii – The Kooky Bookworm (Book Blogger)

About the Author

Mia Hoddell lives in the UK with her family and two cats. She spends most of her time writing or reading and loves anything paranormal. Mia always had a love of writing but never reading. She was more interested in sports and hated sitting still - despite getting three poems published before the age of sixteen. Finally though, she found some novels that captured her interest and developed a love of reading which is now one of her favourite hobbies.

Mia began with poems before moving on to short stories. Although she enjoyed this, Mia found she had too much to tell with too little space, so later on she created her first series 'The Wanderer Trilogy' and from there other ideas have emerged. With a total of nine books planned at this moment, she is busy working on her second series 'Elemental Killers' before moving onto the next idea on her ever growing list.


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Happy with the amount of photos I had collected I started to head back out of the forest, still flicking through my shots. As well as close ups, I had taken a few landscapes and as I was almost at the edge of the forest I noticed something in one of the photographs that made me stop.
In the left hand corner was a figure that looked mostly human, but was blurred as if they were moving on the spot.
A cold shudder shot through me.
Looking over my shoulder I became slightly panicked and felt as if someone was following me.
My eyes flicked and searched the shadows. Even though there was no sign that anything had ever been behind me, the forest looked different now - dark and threatening.
Instinctively I broke away and ran, still clutching the camera that was displaying the freaky image. Surrounded by trees I didn’t stop until I was free of the forest and back in the open light and sight of my house.
Throwing open my door, I slumped against the inside of it, regaining my breath from the short sprint. Once I had recovered I looked down at the photo once more, just to make sure that I hadn’t been seeing things. The old saying “the camera never lies,” came into my mind and for the first time I wished it not to be true. Sure enough though, as I looked down at the screen, the figure was still there and this time I noticed a red and orange glow around where its feet should have been. The image almost looked like the person was on fire but I thought I would have surely noticed if there had been a burning man in front of me.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

The End of an Era

I'm one of those people who is always looking at the glass as half full. As Dr. Phil likes to say, I'm an incurable optimist. (Most of the time.) But, with that optimism comes a healthy dose of caution. Even though I'd like to believe that everyone I encounter is honest, that things won't ever go horribly wrong, I know better than that and I allow myself to see things as they are -- with a positive slant, of course.

Recently, I've encountered several things that really irritate me and I've come to only one conclusion:

Common courtesy, polite consideration, and manners in general are dead.
They simply don't exist anymore.

Trust me, it's hard to say that because it's so negative, but after days and days of trying to figure things out and wracking my brain, I simple cannot come up with another explanation.

Why do I feel this way, you ask? Well, I've made a list of reasons. (For those of you who don't know, I'm a wicked list maker. I LOVE them!)

1. I was at the grocery store yesterday and I was headed for the checkout aisle when this woman with a heaping cart of stuff literally cuts me off so she can get ahead of me in line. Now, mind you, I only had a handful of items. There was no "excuse me" or "I'm sorry, were you in line?" or even a "You go ahead of me, you don't have that much stuff." I remember a time when that kind of courtesy existed. Not anymore. Every man, woman, child, and selfish grocery shopper for themselves -- here come the claws! (Oh, and this woman refused to make any sort of eye contact with me either. Not even so much as a glance in my direction.)

2. Last night my husband gets a call on his cell phone. He's outside and recognizing the name and number as the secretary at his job, I answer it. This is how the call went:
Me: Hello?
Her: Uh, hi.
*awkward pause as I wait for her to say she was looking for my husband or to identify herself or something*
Me: I assume you're looking for John. This is his wife. He's outside. Let me go get him for you.
Her: *aggravated sigh* Yeah, I'm not used to you answering his phone.

*insert the sound of screeching air brakes here please*

Okay, wait a minute. Back up. She's not used to me answering his phone?!?! (On a side note, I rarely answer his phone, but that's beside the point.) That was her chosen response? Seriously? Not once did she identify herself to me, nor did she thank me for taking the time to walk outside and find my husband instead of simply taking a message and making her wait for him to call back. Her tone was clipped and her attitude, quite frankly, sucked. Obviously her parents never taught her polite phone etiquette because she had absolutely no manners whatsoever.

3. Unanswered emails. As an author and editor, all of my communication is via email. It's quick and it's easy. Now, I send a lot of emails. A LOT! The number of responses I get to the amount of emails I send is pathetic. And the way I see it, one of two things is happening. (A) my emails are landing in the spam folders of a lot of people or (B) I'm being ignored. Maybe it's a combination of both. Who knows? But, I do know this: people are busy. I get that. Trust me, do I get that. But seriously people, is it so hard to hit the reply button and give me an answer to my questions? A simple, "Sorry, I'd like to help but I can't" or "I don't know, but let me find out for you" will suffice. I'd be over the moon just knowing you took the time to respond to me. And I'm not saying you have to respond right away -- I can be patient and wait a day or two, but when it goes for weeks, that's when it becomes a problem. Let me just say, I'm a little less obsessive about this when it's a friendly email back and forth, catching up with an old friend. But when I'm sending a business related email and it gets ignored -- whoa! Hello, poor customer service. Sign me up as a regular.

Let me be very clear in the fact that NOT EVERYONE IS LIKE THIS! There are tons of people I interact with on a daily basis that are polite, friendly, courtesy, and professional. And it's those people who keep my faith alive, who lead me to believe that the era of manners and common courtesy stands a chance in a world where it's easier to sit behind a computer screen or on the other end of the telephone and act like a jackass.

Share your thoughts with me. How do you feel about the lack of manners in the world today? Is there anything that really just gets under your skin?

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

{COVER REVEAL}: Vision of Shadows by Vincent Morrone

I have another fantastic cover to share with all of you today!
Vision of Shadows by Vincent Morrone
Title: Vision of Shadows
Series: Vision series
Author: Vincent Morrone
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal Romance
Length: 210 pages
Release Date: December 30, 2013

Add to Goodreads!

Is Bristol Blackburn about to meet the love of her life...or her killer? 

After the death of her parents, Bristol Blackburn's life is thrown into chaos and she's forced to move to Spirit, a small town where shadows are stirring. As she learns to navigate her new school and figures out how to keep her psychic abilities secret from her family, Bristol comes face to face with the boy who makes a regular appearance in her dreams: the gorgeous, possibly deadly, Payne McKnight. Soon she’ll find out if Payne will be the love of her life, or the end of it — and she has no idea which possibility scares her more.

And that's not even the worst of it. Strange shadows are haunting her dreams, and they're up to something that could put Bristol and the lives of everyone she loves in jeopardy.
Journal of Bristol Blackburn
Sunday, March 17th
      There are times when being psychic really bites and this is one of them. Here it is, three in the morning and all I can think about is the boy who will eventually have his hands on me.
            I have no idea what his name is. We’ve never met, but I feel like we’ve grown up together. I’ve had visions of him since I was six years old. Now, eleven years later, I know we’re getting closer and closer to finally meeting. I think it’s going to happen any day now.
            And the thought scares the hell out of me.
            I know what Dream Boy will look like. In a word: hot. Dark hair that falls loosely over his deep blue eyes. He has an angel’s face and the devil’s grin.
            I know he’s got a bad boy attitude. Half the time, I get flashes of him getting hurt. Sometimes he’s playing the hero. Other times, he’s just being an idiot. Many times, it seems like there’s someone who enjoys hurting him.
            What I don’t know is what he’ll be to me.
            There are times when he seems to love me. Don’t ask me why. But he’ll look at me with nothing but love and contentment in his eyes. Earlier tonight, I had one of those dreams. One where he couldn’t keep his hands off of me. Weird that I know every inch of his body, yet I have no idea what his name is, huh.
            Then there’s the other vision. It was the first one I had of him and the one I have most often. It’s the one I woke from tonight, the feeling of his hands still on my skin.
            In that vision, he doesn’t look at me with love, but hatred. He has his hands wrapped around my neck as he slowly squeezes the life out of me.
            So any day now, I’m about to meet the boy of my dreams—literally. Then I get to see if he’s going to be the love of my life, or the end of it.
            Funny thing is, I’m not sure which idea scares the crap out of me more.
Born and raised in Brooklyn NY, Vincent Morrone now resides in Upstate NY with his wife. (Although he can still speak fluent Brooklynese.) His twin daughters remain not only his biggest fans, but usually are the first to read all of his work. Their home is run and operated for the comfort and convenience of their dogs.
Vincent has been writing fiction, poetry and song lyrics for as long as he can remember, most of which involve magical misfits, paranormal prodigies and even on occasion superheroes and their sidekicks.
As they say in Brooklyn: Yo, you got something to say to Vincent?
Check out where you can learn about Vincent and leave him a comment.  You can also connect with Vincent on Twitter and Facebook.