Feeling rejuvenated

Last week, I had a dream about someone I’d never met. The very next day, I met the person in real life. My dreams have been very powerful, prophetic, and telling lately, providing insight, ideas for stories, and even brief escapes from reality. The nightmares haven’t ended, of course, but I’m grateful for even a short reprieve from those.

I’m filled with creative energy, bursting at the seams, and when I was able to change my perspective about the novel I’m currently working on, a few pieces fell into place, and I realized where I’d gone wrong. I ended up deleting at least three chapters, and removing the entire first section.

As I drove home in the pouring rain, I felt as if my father was sitting in the seat behind me, guiding me.

And I began a steady mantra to myself, a soft whisper in the back of my mind:

I will get an agent. I will sell a book to a big publisher. I will do it.

Because half the battle is the mindset. I’ve known this for many years, but it’s taken all that time to break out of the mold created for me when I was little, to shed the negative thinking I was brought up with.

I see where I made my mistake. I made my mistake when I believed the Voices I heard as a child, the ones that said I would never succeed. I made my mistake when I believed the people who scoffed at my dreams, crushing them like smoldering cigarette butts under their shoes. I see where I made my mistake.

Now I’m going to correct it.

New York Times Best Seller list, here I come.

Two Oceans

Two Oceans

Author Andrew P. Weston: If you had the power to make a difference . . . would you?

In a series of terrifying events, otherworldly beings intervene to save innocent lives. The world community reacts with relief as they realize that angels may in fact exist, and they are diligently protecting us.

But there are those who would seek to stop what they feel is a threat against their livelihoods. How far will some go to battle the Guardians? Is the fairy tale over before it even begins?

Guardian Angels is a powerful and compelling story about the catalyst that has the power to unite society in the hope for a better future. The spark of hope is fragile—can it last?

Welcome, Andy! Please tell us a little about yourself.

I was born in a little town called Bearwood in the UK. As the name suggests, it was an area of forests and woodlands and was all that remained of the once huge Forest of Arden of Middle-Ages fame. (Part of THAT was Nottingham Forest) . . . and we all knew who lived there. Ha-ha.

My family was 5th generation military– Royal Navy –and with that kind of heritage, it was a foregone conclusion which way my life would unfold. Despite being an avid sportsperson and also quite academic, I joined the Royal Marines. Life was “interesting” to say the least and I ended up serving in a number of specialist units. Just under nine years later, I joined the Police Service in the South West of the UK, and went on to serve in such diverse roles as a high speed pursuit driver, motorcyclist, and then later within Crime Intelligence.

Despite my gruff exterior, I love poetry, dancing and go all gooey with animals– but especially cats. An accident at work ended my career a little earlier than intended, but that gave me time to devote myself to the writing I’d wanted to do for quite a number of years.

Your background is really impressive! I’m sure you get a lot of ideas from it. What was the main inspiration behind Guardian Angels?

Bitter life experience. During my time in the military and my twenty-three years in the Police Service, I lost count of the incidents I had to deal with where someone’s life was changed forever by unexpected tragedy! Life is a very fragile thing, and “out of the blue” such things can strike when people least expect it, bringing untold calamity and suffering.

Attending those incidents often made me think, “What would have happened if we had got here sooner? Or if we had the resources or training to undo all this suffering and damage?”

That’s how the Guardian concept was born. The one accident that inspired me to actually put my thoughts together into a more structured form involved the death of a young boy on his way home at the end of a school day. Rush hour traffic is dangerous at the best of times. The scene was horrendous, as were the terrible sobs of the woman driving the vehicle he ran in front of. She was a mother herself, and her anguish was heart wrenching, even though there was nothing she could have done to avoid him. That’s why the opening chapter of Guardian Angels involves a young boy stepping out into the path of a truck. It describes what ALL the Emergency Service personnel there that day wish could have happened, had someone like a Guardian Angel been there to help. It describes what we’ve ALWAYS yearned to see for the people we serve. Can you imagine what it would be like if they were real?

What genre do you most enjoy writing?

I’ve always loved science fiction. I could read by the age of four and used to devour all the science fiction books in the library, so it’s inevitable I would gravitate towards that. However, now I’m getting my toe in the door, I’m discovering a bit of a “nose” for paranormal action / thrillers.

What is the easiest and most difficult thing about your genre? The easiest thing about those genres is the fact my warped and fragile mind is overflowing with ideas I want to get down in writing. The most difficult thing is to keep those ideas fresh. There’s a lot out there. I’m determined to make my stories different and appealing.

Who is your favorite character in your book, and what do you like most about him or her?

Commander Yasin. She’s based on my lovely wife. No-nonsense, stern, but with a quirky sense of humor. AT LAST I can get to tell her what to do! (Oooh, I’m gonna get it now!)

Do you get many of your ideas from your own life, or is your work mostly fictional?

While the concepts might be fictional– or a weird application of what I’ve experienced –I try to put as much of myself and what I know into the stories to add that anchor of realism. If it’s believable, people tend to relate to it more.

The science fiction of today is very often the science fact of tomorrow.

That is so true! How did you get started in publishing?

It took six months of research and preparation to get ready to start writing. Once I’d done it, I polished it, tweaked it– got it nearer to what you see now, and then submitted it to three publishers who didn’t mind multiple submissions. I got accepted almost instantly by two.

That’s a rare thing– congratulations! If you could share a tip for my readers about writing or publishing, what would it be?

Work with your editors closely! We are all influenced by life experience and can pick up habits that have become ingrained in us over the years. Our editors are there to take our little parcels of magic, and refine them into something cosmic. I have a tendency to wax lyrical. Thankfully, my editors have slapped my wrists and helped me begin to cut out the crap! I’m improving and so has the standard of my work. That can only benefit me and my stories in the future.

Thank you for visiting my blog, Andy!

Guardian Angels is available wherever books are sold, in both paperback and digital format. Buy direct from the publisher, or check it out on Amazon! It is a wonderful read.

Visit Andrew P Weston:

Website | Facebook | Blog

Maiden Behind the Mask: Every Hero Starts as a Victim

When Catalina Rodriguez is attacked by a would-be rapist and rescued by the dashing Ricardo Garcia, she not only becomes more aware of the handsome man, but also vows that she’ll never be a damsel in distress again. Using the timeless method of blackmail, she convinces her uncle to teach her to fight and becomes a masked crusader in the night, saving other damsels from robbers and rough handling.

However, scandalous rumors and dwindling funds force Ricardo and Catalina to marry. Not immune to each other’s charms, their marriage starts fiery, but when one of Catalina’s nightly escapades results in dire consequences, she is forced to spurn her husband’s amorous advances . . . or reveal a secret that could turn him away from her forever.

Enjoy a short excerpt . . .

Ricardo’s not a man to be cuckolded or left in the dark. Is his wife having an affair with El Capitan, the masked savior? If so . . . they will both pay.

She tore her gaze away from the mare and said firmly, “Cinco pesos. And only because this yegua has fire, not because of your terms. Selena, pay him.”

Selena’s hand shook, but the pesos were transferred to the dirty palm. The man laughed with glee, the crowd dispersed, and Catalina was left with a dirty, starving horse.

“We shall get you fed and cleaned up.” She patted the mare’s neck. A cloud of dirt rose in the air, and Catalina struggled not to cough. “I shall call you La Reina, because once in my establo, I shall treat you like a queen. Your body may be beaten, but your spirit is not broken.”

“Catalina?” Her maid’s voice was tentative as it interrupted her quiet chattering. “Whatever possessed you—”

“Fetch me a mozo,” Catalina interrupted her. “Take the remaining pesos and fetch me a groom. La Reina is going to her castle.” She wasn’t offering more explanation than that. She didn’t owe anyone an explanation. She’d done what was right.

As her maid turned to comply, heading toward the livery, a loud pffffht rent the air. Catalina stared at her new acquisition in surprise.

Selena froze and swung around to admonish her charge. “Señorita! Your behavior has been questionable enough this day. Mind yourself.” She shook her head and her finger both before turning back to the task at hand.

Catalina heard her muttering as she sashayed away. She was too surprised and too tired to defend herself, but the breeze picked up, and a waft of foul air assaulted her. Catalina immediately tugged a delicate, lace handkerchief from her sleeve and placed it over her nose as she glared at the horse.

La Reina snorted and pawed the ground. Catalina could swear the mare was laughing at her. She merely shook her head. “Dios mío, and you let me take the blame for that?”
Pffffhht. Pfffht.

La Reina whinnied and bared her teeth as though she were smiling.

About the Author

Tara Chevrestt is a deaf woman, former aviation mechanic, writer, and an editor. She is most passionate about planes, motorcycles, dogs, and above all, reading. That led to her love of writing. Between her writing and her editing, which allows her to be home with her little canine kids, she believes she has the greatest job in the world. She is very happily married.

Tara also writes as Sonia Hightower. Sonia writes the racy stuff and argues that she was here first. She just wasn’t allowed to be unleashed until the last year. While Tara and Sonia continue to fight over the laptop and debate who writes the next book, you can find buy links, blurbs, and other fun bits on their website.

Tara’s website | Tara’s Facebook page

If You Follow Me

Hoping to outpace her grief in the wake of her father’s suicide, Marina has come to the small, rural Japanese town of Shika to teach English for a year. But in Japan, as she soon discovers, you can never really throw away your past . . . or anything else, for that matter.

If You Follow Me is at once a fish-out-of-water tale, a dark comedy of manners, and a strange kind of love story. Alive with vibrant and unforgettable characters—from an ambitious town matchmaker to a high school student-cum-rap artist wannabe with an addiction to self-tanning lotion—it guides readers over cultural bridges even as it celebrates the awkward, unlikely triumph of the human spirit.

This is one of the most delightful books I have ever read. I found it on the shelf at the library and could hardly put it down. Malena Watrous weaves a tale that we can all relate to. I was extremely touched by Marina’s journey after the death of her father, and her attempts to deal with her grief.

Divine messages come from the most unlikely of places. I often find that when I am dealing with something particularly trying, I happen upon a book that leaves me speechless and helps me to deal with whatever I am going through. If You Follow Me was one such book.

This past February, my father died. I am much too young to have lost my father. Although Marina lost her father to suicide, the death of one’s parent is still traumatic . . . especially since I only had three years to get to know my father. In many ways, Marina’s journey was my own. I am still dealing with the grief, and there are times when I break down.

I know my dad is here, watching out for me. In If You Follow Me, Marina sees her father in the strangest of places:

I don’t know how long I’ve been staring at the swarm of blue and white dots on the TV screen before they rearrange themselves into my father’s face, only that I’m not surprised when it happens. It’s like I’ve been waiting for this. “How did you find me?” I whisper, and the image flickers, disappears, then reappears.

Malena Watrous writes with a beautiful simplicity. Her writing found its way easily into my heart, reminding me of my own struggles. It’s funny how things come to us when we need them the most. In this case, it was this book. As a fiction writer, I know that I often wonder if anyone really “gets” anything meaningful out of my books. The thing is, you never really know when the words you write will be the words that someone else needs to hear. Thank you, Malena, for writing such a lovely book.

Welcoming Linda Andrews, author of Brianna

I would like to welcome Linda Andrews to my blog. Hi, Linda! It’s great to have you here today. Please tell us a bit about yourself.

I’m a scientist who writes paranormal romance. Yep, I have a secret personality just like a superhero. Okay, I don’t have superpowers, but my characters do. The heroine of Brianna can learn things by touching objects, that’s called psychometry. She also has a cat that is the incarnation of an Egyptian goddess. I too learn things by picking up objects–like that’s hot, or soft or squishy and my cats (ordinary felines that they are) think I should worship them like they are gods/goddesses. As you can tell, I use my writing to escape my rather mundane everyday life.

I have cats, too. I think they secretly are gods and goddesses! Ha-ha. What genre do you most enjoy writing?

Oddly enough I enjoy writing in all the genres I write–sci-fi, fantasy, paranormal, and horror. But I will say fantasy and paranormal allow me to stretch my imagination far beyond the boundaries of the box of the science and horror.

I think that’s great. I personally enjoy a story that mixes a bit of both. What is the easiest and most difficult thing about your genres?

The writing is the hardest thing. Writing is work, hard work. I’m always amazed at the images people get from simple words. Pinning down the right words to get the reader to see what you want is a lot like pulling an ace of spade out of a deck of cards. You could do it, but I’m not sure that there isn’t a bit of magic involved. Of course, I love the challenge and so I keep writing.

The easiest thing about paranormal romance is creating the worlds and coming up with unique twists. Anything goes and I love it.

Well put! Who is your favorite character in your book, and what do you like most about him or her?

My favorite character in Brianna is the hero. He’s an alpha kind of guy but Brianna doesn’t play by his rules and is more set on rescuing him than allowing him to rescue her. She also doesn’t know these rules, he keeps trying to foist on her. She’s spunky and daring–matching him in everything and he’s man enough to appreciate it, even though it’s driving him nuts.

Do you get many of your ideas from your own life, or is your work mostly fictional?

A little of both. Brianna is recovered from consumption (aka tuberculosis) and had spent most of her life undergoing medical treatments and trying to ignore the social stigma associated with the disease in the Victorian era. Having spent the first ten years of my life with a medical handicap, I completely understand why her character is so set on living as well as forsaking those social conventions that get in her way.

That’s a fascinating plot line; I can’t wait to read this. I have mentioned consumption in conversation before, and people either knew what I was talking about or had no idea. You’re tackling a very interesting subject. What was the main inspiration behind your current novel?

I love the Victorian era and Egypt, especially mummies. I did want to be an Egyptologist when I was younger, then I realized my claustrophobia made it impossible. But those things don’t apply to writing, so I sent Brianna to Egypt to protect the tomb of the only Egyptian mortal to become a god, Imhotep.

I think I would be too claustrophobic, too, but it’s wonderful that you’re writing about it. How did you get started in publishing, and what did you find most difficult?

I got my first break from Zumaya Publications when they bought the story of Brianna’s parents back in 2001. I’d been writing for 4 years at the time and had my share of rejections. Brianna is my 9th book published with them. The most difficult aspect was not getting discouraged by the rejections. Being stubborn by nature and having writer friends through RWA has helped tremendously.

Do you have a tip for my readers, or something you’d like to share?

If you love a story or an author send them an email and let them know. Writers are modern day hermits. We do so much alone and get lots of feedback about how to fix the things that are wrong in our manuscripts that it’ll make someone’s day to hear how they got it right. Actually, I’d apply that to everything in life. Take the time to appreciate the little things that someone does for you and thank them–even if it’s their job!

Great advice, Linda. Thank you so much for sharing, and for being here today. Good luck with your writing! 

Love, lies, and an ancient Egyptian curse. Brianna Grey holds the key to mankind’s destruction and someone is willing to kill for it. Having spent most of her life dying of consumption, one man’s kiss has resurrected her desire to live. For US Treasury Agent, Duncan Stuart, love means death. He works alone, lives alone and plans to die alone until he meets Brianna again. Under the harsh Egyptian sun, Duncan will break all his rules to save her but will it be enough to overcome the secrets that could get them both killed?

Get acquainted with Linda Andrews’s writing by downloading the FREE Paranormal Romance The Love Lottery today.

Linda Andrews’s Ghost of a Chance is on sale now on Amazon. Check it out! Brianna is not yet available, but it will be soon . . . .

Aubrie Dionne: Professional flutist, music teacher, and prolific author!

After watching his love leave on a colony ship, James Wilfred must save those left behind from a planetary apocalypse. Their salvation lies in an unfinished ship tucked away in a secret government base, and only James can break in and pilot him and his people to freedom on a nearby space station.

Skye O’Connor’s boyfriend never returns after his gang attempts an assassination of the Governor, and the State Building is destroyed. Worse, crazed moonshiners addicted to the chemical Morpheus have stormed the city, and she must find a safe place for her and her boyfriend’s daughter. When a heroic man saves her, Skye asks to accompany him on his quest to find the last colony ship left on Earth.

As the city falls around them, James and Skye must work together to build a new future, all the while rediscovering their ability to love, before the apocalypse claims them both.

Welcome, Aubrie! Please share a little bit about yourself with my readers.

Thank you for having me on your blog! I’m a professional flutist by day and a writer by night. I teach music at a local community music school and a university, and I play at weddings and in orchestras. I got into writing because my flute students urged me to write down the stories I used to make up in their lessons to go with the music, and here I am today!

That’s so cool! What genre do you most enjoy writing?

Fantasy. But, my science fiction has been selling much better than my fantasy, so I’ve gone in that direction for now.

What do you find easiest and most difficult about writing in these genres?

With fantasy, it’s finding something new and fresh to write about, because so much has been done before . . . with Lord of the Rings and all the spin-offs of that. For science fiction, I feel like I have to include a good deal of science in my world and root it in the real world, which is sometimes hard for me because science wasn’t my strongest subject!

I’m sure you do quite well anyway! A Hero Rising looks fantastic. Who is your favorite character in your book, and what do you like most about him or her?

I love all my characters. They are all extensions of myself– even the bad ones! It’s hard for me to see them struggle, but that’s what makes a good story, and that’s how they grow.

You mentioned your characters are extensions of yourself. Do you get many of your ideas from your own life, or is your work mostly fictional?

Right now I’m writing a contemporary romance based on an orchestra, so that is definitely from my own life! But, a lot of it I just made up– because I’ve never rode on a space ship, explored new planets, or met any aliens. Yet.

Ha-ha– that’s coming soon, I’m sure! What was the main inspiration behind A Hero Rising

I wanted to explore James’s story because I’d left him in such a sorry state in Tundra 37. I felt as though he needed to find his own happy ever after.

You’re making me curious– I can’t wait to read it! How did you get started in publishing, and what was the most difficult aspect of “breaking in” to the field?

The rejection is the most difficult. It took me four books to get the attention of an agent. I’m still trying to break into the bigger publishers, and I’m on my eighth book. You can imagine how many hundreds of rejections I’ve faced so far. But, I just keep writing because I enjoy it.

That’s wonderful, Aubrie. Keep at it, and I’m sure you will reach your goal. If you could share a tip with my readers about writing or publishing, what would it be? 

Write a little every day. If you write 1k a day, which takes maybe an hour, you’ll have 4-6 novels a year!

Great advice, but as we all know, easier said than done! Do you do any research for your writing? If so, how do you go about it? What kind of research do you do? 

Oh yes! I love to Google things or go on Wikipedia. I also ask the people around me. My brother is a software engineer, and my sister is a nurse, so they have a lot of experience with things I know nothing about.

A huge congratulations to Aubrie Dionne for the publication of A Hero Rising— Here’s to many more! Thank you for visiting my blog, Aubrie, and good luck.

Aubrie Dionne is an author and flutist in New England. Her writings have appeared in Mindflights, Niteblade, Silver Blade, Emerald Tales, Hazard Cat, Moon Drenched Fables, A Fly in Amber, and Aurora Wolf. Her books are published by Entangled Publishing, Lyrical Press, and Gypsy Shadow Publishing. She recently signed her YA sci-fi novel with Inkspell Publishing titled: Colonization: Paradise Reclaimed, which will release in October 2012. When she’s not writing, Aubrie teaches flute and plays in orchestras. She’s a big Star Trek TNG fan, as well as Star Wars and Serenity.

August 20 – September 14 Book Tour by Shades of Rose Marketing

Descendants: Fantasy, action, and adventure!

Knights are dead and gone since the days of Camelot. The ancient battles pitting sword and shield against one another are just a distant memory, one that very few even give validity, and that’s exactly how it should be. I mean honestly, if people knew half of what really went on in the shadows and under the bed they’d probably wind up institutionalized.

Luckily, that’s where people like me come in. I’m a Knight. That’s right, an armor-clad, sword-wielding powerhouse of old, with all the powers and responsibilities that come with that position. We’re not all gone, but unfortunately, trouble is brewing in the Kingdom hidden in North America . . . and it’s kind of my fault. I killed a bunch of gnomes, which in turn pissed off some trolls. Now they’re trying to kill me and start a war with all of humanity. And all while and ancient evil is awakening to try and block my path at every turn.

My Review

I loved the secret world created by the author in the fantastical novel Descendants. Sir Godric Patronar is heir to the throne of North America, despite the fact that everyone thinks that knights and kings are things of the past. A portal carries him between the kingdom and the front door of his modest apartment in Philadelphia, where he seemingly lives the life of a normal city dweller—never-mind the fact that he’s just killed off a bunch of gnomes and upset the trolls in the process.

The action begins straight away; Godric’s father is furious with him for the massacre, yet Godric feels that his acts were justified. Here’s one of my favorite parts:

I dropped out of my coat, rolled my sleeves up to the elbow, and pulled my blade from the back of my jeans. It didn’t make a sound as I flicked it open. I looked at Devin and asked as nonchalantly as I could manage. “Which four do you want?”

At first, I had trouble getting into the story . . . But once the action takes off, one cannot help but wonder what’s coming next. Naturally, I had to read the book because the author, Andrew Katz, hails from my neck of the woods: the Philadelphia area of Pennsylvania.
The story and Andrew’s style is reminiscent of an action-packed cartoon, or an edge-of-your-seat movie: the energy nearly jumps off the page. I think that the novel is best suited for young adults, and lovers of a great Fantasy tale. I wish Andrew much luck in all of his future writings!

About the Author

Andrew Katz is a young, up and coming author from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. His novel, “Descendants”, is his first full length work. Action, adventure, and a healthy dose of sarcasm are staples of his writing. He has also published a short story in the anthology “Dark Light”, centering on the same protagonist as his novel. Andrew loves music, reading, his dog George, and relaxing in the sun. He may not be the most exciting person, but he makes up for it with imagination and . . . unpredictability.

Visit Andrew on Facebook | Buy Descendants on Amazon