Tag Archives: Guest Post

Author Rajdeep Paulus guest post and #giveaway

Seeing Through Stones - Rajdeep Paulus

 

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“I live in the in between. Between yesterday and forever. The way forward haunts me. The gap I must cover daunts me. And hope beckons, ‘Run to me,’ but I just learned to walk.”

After a lifetime of abuse, the Vanderbilt siblings flee their home, finally free to pursue new dreams while running from yesterday’s nightmares.

Once bed-ridden Jesse navigates the Chicago streets, concealing his identity and planning revenge. A chance encounter in the rain

introduces a girl who offers Jesse a glimpse of a sunnier future, but how will he weather the growing storm inside himself?

Separated from her Post-it note prince, Talia hides at a safe house for survivors of domestic violence while her father turns the city upside-down to find her. Surrounded by women fighting their own demons, Talia faces her past at every turn.

Inception-al Moments With Young Adult Book Friends by Rajdeep Paulus
 

I call my characters my friends. Simply because friendship is defined by trust and I need them to know that I trust them. And they can trust me. That’s the only way they will share their secrets with me. Funny thing is, they often whisper their best closet hidden truths in my dreams. Here’s a little dream I had the other night. Met Talia and can I just tell you, she was more beautiful and more terrifying than I ever imagined. I suppose when you’ve been through what she’s been through, you’re bound to have that affect on people.

THE DREAM:

“Wake up.”

I hear the words, but my eyes are glued to another dream, so I push off the words and roll over.

“Wake up,” the voice says again, urgency lacing the female voice that I seem to know from somewhere.

As I reach back to move her hand off my shoulders, to tell her she should find some other dreamer to bother, my fingers brush the rough and scaly feel of her arm. And then I know. Talia. Has to be.

“Is it really you?” I sit up in my dream and rub the last adventure from my eyes. “Talia? Why? What? Are you doing here? I finished writing your story. Go away.”

“It’s not that.” Her voice sounds gentle now. Sad. “I just. There’s something I forgot to tell you. Something. One thing. You forgot to write.”

Now she has my attention. I rise out of my hammock swinging between stars and step into the moonlight. So I can see her better. Talia. Just as I imagined. Yet. Different. Sure, she’s wearing green and her long brown hair falls down her back save a few strands she twirls and strings across her lips. Even with her finger teetering over her mouth, I can see her lips. Broken, like someone ripped stitches out of them. But her eyes—they mesmerize me. The hazel green reflects the stars all around us, but the longer I gaze into them, the stars begin to fall. Leaving a trail of star dust tears behind. One after the other.

“So as I was saying…” Talia blinks, giving me a chance to remember this is just a dream. Or is it?

“Right,” I say, looking away. “You wanted to tell me something.”

“Not here,” Talia says, and before I can protest, she sweeps my arm and pulls me in the direction of earth.

“But I’m not ready to wake up yet,” I say, foolishly grasping for the last dream by closing my eyes. Doesn’t work, so I open them again so I can see where she’s taking me.

We’re hopping from cloud to star to cloud back to star, the most wonderful spiral staircase I ever did descend. Okay, more like the only spiral staircase I ever stepped on.

Right before we hop from a low cloud to the top of a tree, she turns to me and says, “Promise me you won’t cry.”

“Why?” I am so confused, but the rain in her eyes tells me she knows me well. I’m a cryer.

“It’s the only way.”

“Way for what?” I want some details before I make a promise I’m pretty sure I can’t keep.

“It’s the only way the dream will stay on.” She lets go of my hand and wipes a tear from her own eye, but it’s made of stardust. Then she blows the sadness over my head. “This should hold you together. But it doesn’t work on everyone. I can only hope it lasts long enough to show you what I came to show you.”

“But…”

“No more questions,” Talia shushes me. “We’re running out of time. I don’t even know if she’s still where I left her.

I stop myself from asking who and slide down the branches of Talia’s waterfall willow until my feet land on the soft prickle of freshly cut grass.

“Is this? Are we at…”

Talia shushes me again, lowers her voice, and says, “It’s not the place I want you to pay attention to.”

She parts an opening in the willow branches, just wide enough to peek in. A girl, maybe ten or eleven is playing with a doll. Next to her is a baby bathtub. And next to the tub is a play kitchen set.

I want to ask where all this came from? How did the girl create a play world under the tree? And where are her parents. But when I look at Talia, so focused on the girl, I bite my tongue and turn my attention back to the child.

“Time for your bath, Bubbles,” says the little girl, roughly peeling the sleeper off the doll and placing  her in the empty tub, the doll arms tucked by her side. “I’ll be right back.”

Then she puts a teakettle on her play stove top and looks at her wrist, no watch visible from my angle. When the kettle hisses, the little girl takes the teapot by the handle, walks over to the bathtub, kneels down, and pours the steaming water over her doll. I don’t see any water. But I do see steam. I don’t hear the baby doll cry, but I hear the sizzle of plastic. I don’t bite my lip, but my eyes begin to water.

“Why?” The single word leaves my lips and I know the dream is over. I cried. Tears end the dream. Talia said it would be so.

But as a gift perhaps, or maybe just an echo of her final words to me as I drift up the tree, over clouds and stars, past the moon and back into my bed, I hear Talia say, “I thought if I watched her, the doll could teach me how. I just want to make it one time. Just one time without crying. Ya know?”

I know now.


****

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Rajdeep Paulus studied English Literature at Northwestern University and lives in New York with her husband and four princesses. She’s the author of YABooks, Swimming Through Clouds and Seeing Through Stones, and Chip MacGregor is her agent. Visit her website or  connect with her via Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or Instagram.

 

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Steven Shrewsbury’s Philistine book tour #guestpost

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Welcome to my stop on the Philistine book tour. This book means a great deal to Steven I know that, he’s mentioned it in conversations and so when the time came for me to pick a post for this tour I thought what better than to have him elaborate on this his baby with a guest post on why this one means so very much to him.

Steven Shrewsbury Featured Book Release

Philistine

A Tale of Goliath

Book tour – March 3 to March 9, 2014

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Book Synopsis Philistine:

 

The Philistines, a mysterious warrior people known now for mainly one man: Goliath. The giant.

Goliath. A name grander than even the man himself. You’ve heard of his infamous end at the hands of a shepherd as written in a famous book, but what of the life of the man himself? What book tells his tale?

A warrior among warriors, a son of a god, a living legend. Goliath, the warrior champion of the Philistines. On the battlefield, he runs like a horse, wields killing instruments no normal man may heft, and revels in the fear his presence evokes. Off the field, his will is immutable, his trust invaluable, and his appetites unbearable. Goliath. This man knows no challenge.

But such a reputation will not discourage all men. Scheming rulers and generals, prophetic priests and powerful cults, dauntless warriors looking to make their own legend. Monsters. Gods. For one seemingly unkillable, at the very least, these things can ruin an otherwise pleasant day.

Along with his shield bearer, Abimelech, and soldiers more in awe than they are useful, Goliath will set out on missions for kings, face foul magic users, and walk in the shadows of mysterious halls. History tells us Goliath died at the hands of an Israelite.

Goliath may have something to say about that.

Philistine is the first Tale of Goliath, set in the same world as Steven Shrewsbury’s novels such as Overkill and Thrall, and his Blood and Steel: Legends of La Gaul short stories.


Why would one want to write about a guy like Goliath? From what we see from the Bible and other sources, he comes off as a dick, kinda sorta, arrogant as hell. How many guys would really say, “Look, you dudes just send out your toughest guy and if he can kill me, this war isn’t worth fighting. We’ll just be your slaves, if he can kill me.”

 

It was the words before that which interested me, that Goliath was “A man of war since his youth.” I always wondered what he did for his entire life before that. PHILISTINE isn’t a bio of Goliath, just a peek into several weeks of his life at a certain time and does not chronicle his death. There are subtle hints at his demise some day, but read the book and enjoy.

 

PHILISTINE isn’t about furthering religion nor is it Christian fiction by any means. There is no debate on the accuracy etc of his existence. It’s a yarn, a tale about a giant in a realm of evil wizards, monsters and lusty gals…so I figure any lover of fantasy can get their mind around that, right?

 

But why did this one mean so much to me? Why did I want to write it?

 

There are many historical characters that fascinate me, but yes, as a kid, Goliath’s big ass made my mind roll. Of course it did, as he does to any kid that sees a giant. I think it was 2006 or 07 when I took my son John (then 8 or 9) to see WWE in Peoria and the Undertaker, billed at 6 ft 10, fought Mark Henry…but the Great Khali appeared the first time, a man over 7 foot tall. The crowd reaction to this figure, a head taller that Mark Calloway, the Undertaker, was a gasp. My son quipped, “I can’t believe he is really alive.” I never forgot his words.

 

Yes that’s a breathtaking thing to see. That wonderment is in there someplace, in my desire to tell that tale, but I didn’t make Goliath a clumsy beast. If anything, he moves with fluidity and I also don’t really say exactly how big he is…I hint at it, and certain parts of his anatomy of course.

 

Did I want to write on him as the ultimate macho guy, the man who could slay a woman with his manhood? The badass of all badasses, to satisfy some John Millius thing I got in my head? Naw, not that easy. My father was a huge man, as are all the guys in my family. I grew up with giants and heroes in the same house, so I don’t have prick issues. If anything, if was fun. I like action tales and long for pure escapism. I think many a writer who sets out to write a big assed volume forgets what fun is and is too in love with their won voice and ability to make a fake world be like the Earth. Change yer underpants, Junior and just set it on the Earth, for the luvva God.

 

Granted, PHILISTINE is a great deal more complex than my other novels. It’s longer, 137k, about 50k more than my usual books. I didn’t set out to write it like that, nor did I want to compete in some book door-stop fantasy novel contest. As the old saying goes, it ain’t how big it is, but how ya use it. I think I used the 137k of words very well, just as effectively as my 80k version of a work. I did go through it more, probably because I enjoyed spending time in the realm than I care to admit.

 

In the end, telling about Goliath and the military guys about him, the creepy priests, the petty gods and the insurrection in Canaan among the Philistines themselves made for a great story to spin. That’s what I wanted to do, tell a good story. I think I did.

 

It’s a work I wanted to do before I die, because, frankly, I think I can tell it better than others. Why? I was there. I felt every footstep, every strike, every drop of blood that hit the sand. I felt the men live, laugh and also felt them die. Life isn’t pretty and PHILISTINE is a brutal work not meant of the squeamish or the faith of heart.

 

But come take my hand, open the pages of scroll ‘em down. Read and enjoy a story about a time far away and a world full of action, adventure, lust and violence. You might learn a little about history and yourself while reading, too.

 

Are there more tales I want to tell before I die? Many.


StevenShrewsburyAuthorPhotoAbout the Author: STEVEN L. SHREWSBURY lives, works, and writes in rural Illinois. Over 360 of his short stories have appeared in print or electronic media along with over 100 poems. 9 of his novels have been released, with more on the way. His books run from sword & sorcery (PHILISTINE, OVERKILL, THRALL, BEDLAM UNLEASHED) to historical fantasy (GODFORSAKEN) extreme horror (HAWG, TORMENTOR, STRONGER THAN DEATH) to horror-westerns (HELL BILLY, BAD MAGICK, and the forthcoming LAST MAN SCREAMING).

He loves books, British TV, guns, movies, politics, sports and hanging out with his sons. He’s frequently outdoors, looking for brightness wherever it may hide.

 

Author and buy links:

Website / Facebook / Print Version / Kindle Version

 

Steven Shrewsbury

Tour Schedule and Activities

3/3 Beauty in Ruins Character Post

3/3 Author HC Playa Review

3/3 Seers, Seraphs, and More Interview

3/3 Deal Sharing Aunt Tour Wide Contest

3/4 SpecMusicMuse Review

3/4 Come Selahway With Me Character Post

3/5 Bee’s Knees Reviews Review

3/5 Book in the Bag Interview

3/5 MichaelSciFan Interview

3/6 Workaday Reads Character Interview

3/6 Book and Movie Dimension Blog Review

3/7 Azure Dwarf Review

3/8 Armand Rosamilia, Author Guest Post

3/8 The Official Writing Blog of Dee Dee Davies Character Post

3/9 I Smell Sheep Guest Post

3/9 Jess Resides Here Guest Post

 

Reclamation by Jackie Gamber Leland Dragon Series #booktour

The Leland Dragon series means a great deal to me. When book one came out I was contacted by the publisher Seventh Star Press asking me if I wanted to review. It was the first time I had been asked to review by a publisher. I felt like I had hit the big time as a blogger and by saying yes I got to meet so many wonderful authors at SSP. Back when I reviewed I also got Jackie to write a guest post it was one of her awesome book tastings. A tea drinker, Jackie matches teas to books. She kindly did the same with the second book in the series and now here we are at the final book.

This has been quite the journey with many adventures and I’ve enjoyed it so much. Jackie is a lovely lady and her books are entertaining and yet noble, kindhearted message YA reads. The kind you want young people reading but are fun reads for us adults. I appreciate Jackie being on again and I hope to feature her work in the future. I will be buying Reclamation as soon as I can. I’ve got the signed and numbered hard cover editions so I look forward to adding the final one to that set. My reviews of Redheart and Sela

Jackie Gamber

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Leland Province remains in danger. The sinister Fordon Blackclaw has returned from the shadows to strike at the heart of neighboring Esra, killing its Venur and making clear his intentions to retake what was once his: Mount Gore, seat of the Leland Dragon Council.

All around, the land grows weaker and weaker. Leland, once thought saved by Kallon Redheart, is without purpose, and within its borders, Murk Forest, a place of mystery and danger, has driven its inhabitants to seek aid. Esra is in flames, and the Rage Desert grows. Dragon and human alike struggle to find their way, and the wizard Orman can sense that there may be more at stake than the affairs of dragons.

Hope remains, yet it is not without obstacles. In Esra, Sela, the daughter of Kallon and Riza, found the well, a source of life, and made herself whole again. But her homecoming is not what she had imagined.

Old wounds buried deep must reopen if life is to continue. Dragons, humans, wizards, and shape shifters are all at risk as the peace between dragon and human has finally been broken.

War is here.

The stakes?

Perhaps the whole world.


Jackie Gamber

BookTasting the Leland Dragon Series by Jackie Gamber

 

For those who know me, it’s no secret I’m a tea fanatic. And since I’m also a bibliophile, I realized long ago that a book and a cuppa, together, is just about the best combination since sugar and cocoa beans.

I’ve spent a lot of time sampling Darjeelings, Assams, Oolongs, Ceylons, you name it; in leaves or knots or bricks or pearls; unique and traditional Estate teas, as well as new-ish teas that aren’t really teas, such as Rooibos and herbal tisanes (Oh, what a hardship!). And I’ve done a lot of reading (I make such sacrifices)! I love the classic science fiction novels, but I’ll read just about anything – and I’ve come to discover I’m pretty darn good at pairing just the right tea to enhance or complement my current reading selection.

For example: “Frankenstein” and maple tea; “We” and ginger peach green; “Island of Dr. Moreau” and Yorkshire gold; “The Hunger Games” and berry/oolong. It’s a fun challenge, and once I got started, I began to discover all sorts of things about teas and books I’m not sure I’d have found any other way.

Did you know one of the components in “old book smell” is the fact that lignin, the thing that helps prevent trees from weeping, is a polymer closely related to vanillin? Aging pages break down and release the scent, among other interesting chemical comfort-inducers.

It took someone asking me to booktaste my own works to encourage me to being searching for a tea for “Redheart”, book one of the Leland Dragon series. It turns out, the tea works well with the whole series, “Sela”, book two, and most recently, “Reclamation”, book three. The tea is Harney and Sons Hot Cinnamon Spice, found easily online (www.englishteastore.com) or at Barnes and Noble, where they sell Harney and Sons teas.

The real key is in the preparation. Steep it a good five minutes, at the least, and add a dollop of cream and honey. It’s a brewsome blend of the best of sweet fantasy literature, with a cinnamon sting of dragon flame.

But that’s not all. I’ve got something extra to share with Jess and her readers, especially for the “Reclamation” tour! In honor of the fact that, contrary to some people’s belief, plenty of grown-ups read YA fiction, I have an adult beverage version of booktasting for my Leland Dragon series, too!

Thanks to John Hartness (www.facebook.com/JohnHartness?fref=ts) for helping me discover this gem at our shared BookTasting/Liquor and Lit panel at a convention.

Take a cup of the same Harney and Sons Hot Cinnamon Spice, add the cream and honey per usual, but then also add a healthy splash of amaretto liqueur (we used Disarrono). Voila! The drink we dubbed Dragon’s Breath; the adult version of the Leland Dragon series booktasting.

I haven’t figured out how to get the drink as a standard choice at any local watering hole, but it’s certainly worthy! Give it a try (if you’re 21 or older, of course) and see if you don’t think it’s a real treat.

And sip while reading! Double the pleasure, double the fun!

Jackie_author-2Jackie Gamber is the award-winning author of many short stories, screenplays, and novels, including “Redheart”, “Sela”, and “Reclamation”, Books one through three of the Leland Dragon Series. For more information about Jackie and her mosaic mind, visit http://www.jackiegamber.com

 

And meet Jackie elsewhere on the world wide web at:

Publisher / Facebook / Amazon / Twitter / Facebook Author Page

 

 

Taken by Felicia Starr book tour – guest post #giveaway

Title: TAKEN (Breaking the Darkness, #1)
Author: Felicia Starr
Expected Release Date: November 11, 2013
Genre: Fiction | YA | Paranormal

 

Opening her eyes to an imposing prison of complete darkness, Kasha is accused of possessing powers and abilities she had no previous knowledge of until the moment she comes face to face with herself while meditating. Haunted by memories strung together by lies and deceit, she soon discovers that maybe her beloved grandmother kept a few secrets she had not been aware of.

 Secrets that could be her salvation… or her undoing.As she struggles to control her newfound powers, only time will tell if they will be enough to help her decipher who has imprisoned her or what they want from her. She must search for the answers and the freedom she so desperately desires. Could a handsome guy whom vows to help her get away prove to be the man of her dreams… or perhaps her worst nightmare?

NOT KNOWING WHO TO TRUST, SHE MUST FIND A WAY TO ESCAPE BEFORE SHE PAYS THE ULTIMATE PRICE AND FINDS HERSELF TAKEN BY THE DARKNESS.

 

You must betray your heart and walk amongst the darkness in order to find the truest light.



                                                                                                          

Without the sun and moon to guide my inner clock, there was really no way for me to
distinguish how many nights or days had passed. The darkness was different from any I had experienced before. My eyes could not quite adjust.

Although I had a real bed and a partial bath with a toilet and small wash sink, there was no sense of comfort. What seemed to be the only entrance was   sealed so tight that no light seeped in from the perimeter. There were no windows; the walls were cold and barren. My hands explored my surroundings, yet I could not even find an outlet or light switch.

I tried to escape my fears by focusing on remembering less stressful times, most of which were with Gram. I replayed the past in my head, hoping that somewhere hidden in those memories might be a clue as to what happened and how I ended up in the dark.

When my fear and confusion subsided enough, I willed myself to sleep. It was my only escape from the heaviness the darkness imposed upon me. This didn’t help my capacity to estimate the length of my imprisonment. I didn’t know how long or how often I drifted off to sleep. There were moments I lay there struggling to determine if my eyes were open or closed.

One would think the quiet would be soothing, only it amplified every little thing. I realized there was no true stillness. I could envision the flecks of dust floating through the air, crashing into the floor like pellets of hail on a summer day. The anticipation of hearing footsteps approaching my room sent continuous chills up my spine with every little noise the silence allowed.

There was something about the smell in the air and the chill of the walls and floor that led me to believe I was still somewhere in the desert. The lack of moisture in the atmosphere left my mouth sticky and dry. Being dehydrated from lack of fluids wasn’t helping. I wasn’t sure if the faucet water was safe to drink.
The pains in my stomach reminded me how much I longed for a veggie-filled pita with hummus and feta cheese. My mouth watered at the thought of a guilt-filled bag of Doritos. I should have been grateful I wasn’t completely being starved in there. I don’t know how or when, but food did appear in my room from time to time—and I use the term food loosely. A couple of crackers or a piece of jerky doesn’t really constitute food to me. I had to take what I could since I still didn’t have a clue where I was, who was keeping me, or why.

Since Gram died, while I was away at college, there really wasn’t a home to go back to. I decided to take the small amount of money she left me and put most of it in the bank. I’d just moved to Santa Fe and
prepaid a year’s rent for a studio-sized house on a small side street. Santa Fe was appealing because it was close to the last place Gram lived, La Cienega, just outside the city limits. The sad thing is, without employment and friends or family in the new city, no one would miss me.

At this realization, my heart grew heavier. Although I could feel the burn in my throat, threatening the shower of tears, I choked it back. Tears wouldn’t fight off the shadows. Appearing resilient would help me keep up my strength.

I contemplated screaming out, demanding an answer as to why I was there. Trepidation brought that action to a silent halt. I didn’t want to face the potential terrors that stalked the future. I watched enough crime television shows to know how much worse this could get. I counted on my silence as my best defense.
I continued to make desperate attempts at feeling around the walls that encased me. Pressing my face against the cold surfaces, I struggled to hear a trace of someone, anyone, only my ears were denied. Could it be I was truly alone in this unwarranted exile? Perhaps this was it; in the end the darkness would consume me.

I dropped to my knees at the center of my prison. I could feel the surge of sadness and anger coursing through my body. My core heated and it felt as though my blood was on fire. I acknowledged each pore of my skin as the fine hairs stood at attention from the vibration that shook my extremities. With my teeth clenched and my eyes pressed shut, I tried to regain my breath and focus on Gram.

In a whisper, I called out to her. “Gram… Gram, I know you are out there watching over me. I just wish I could hear your voice.”
I continued to speak to her in my head. As much as I always wished something exciting would happen to me, being incarcerated in this godforsaken dark box wasn’t at all what I had in mind.

As I looked down toward the amulet resting on my chest, my fingers encased the charm. I closed my eyes, and memories of the time my grandmother draped it around my neck flocked to the forefront.

It was the summer I turned sixteen. Gram and I took a road trip to the Painted Desert, one of our favorite places to visit. I loved being surrounded by mountains made of rainbows of rock. Some people referred to this location as the “badlands.” When I was there, though, I felt filled with a unique sense of lightness that almost lifted me off my feet. Being there was effortless.

I could walk for hours, soaking in the beauty and freshness of the landscape. I felt connected, not necessarily to anything in particular; I just felt at one with nature. It was like the spirit of the earth moved through me. Even when I was alone on a trail, I never felt lonesome.

The day Gram gave me this necklace, it was as if the heavens had opened up and dumped colors all around us. The sun sank past the painted-rock walls that bordered our location. The sky swelled with layers of purple, pink, orange, and even a touch of gold at the tips of the earth. Gram always knew how to pick just the right moment and location to make a special occasion feel magical.

“Kasha, you are becoming a strong and beautiful young woman. The women in our family have always had a special bond with one another. You must always remember, even when we’re not together, we’re a part of each other, linked always.”

I knew part of what she was being at had to do with my mother. It had been many years since I saw her last, but now was neither the time nor place to start thinking about that. Squeezing the pendant in my hand, a giant, slow breath helped push her out of my head, for now.

Gazing back down at my necklace, I pretended to make out more than the silhouette in the darkness. In my mind, I could see the pentagonal piece of petrified wood encased in silver. The pie-shaped stones enhanced each point of the rounded pentacle. Beautifully etched floral designs in the metal surrounded the stones. A remnant of something engraved on the rear side was almost visible, but it had worn down long before I took possession. If only I could make out what had been there; I often fantasized about what it might have said.

I wasn’t sure if there was any significance to the markings, but they looked ancient. Maybe it once belonged to an Egyptian pharaoh or a Celtic princess. Too bad I never took the time to ask Gram if she knew the history of this piece. It would have been interesting to know to whom it had belonged.

“You have an intensity about you that is unrivaled. Keep this with you at all times. You will find it will keep you grounded and connected to what is important.”

Gram always said weird stuff like that. I’d gotten used to it and stopped trying to figure out if her comments had hidden meanings. As a kid I would get embarrassed when she talked like that in front of other people. I saw the way they looked at her, probably thinking, What a shame that beautiful woman is so crazy. It was that quirkiness I grew to love most about her when I became a young adult.

I guess Gram was at least a little bit right about this amulet. Holding it brought thoughts of her to me. It seemed to cool me down and calm my nerves. At the same time, it warmed me and gave me comfort. A brief moment of peace helped subdue the constant fear and avoid the panic that could set in at any moment.


 

Are you a plotter or a panster?

 

I think I am a little bit of both. When I started writing Taken I really did not have a plan or an outline. The first ten thousand words took me three months. I then was encouraged to participate in the National Novel Writing Month challenge to write fifty-thousand words in the month of November. There was no way I could accomplish such a feat. I set myself a personal goal of thirty-thousand thinking it would never happen. I spent the month finding ways to write at least once sometimes twice a day. At the time my younger son was napping for two hours while my older son went to preschool. I got a good hour, sometimes more, in at Dunkin donuts. At night I often left the dishes in the sink and left piles of laundry to be washed or put away. At the end of the month I had around seventy percent of my book written an met the NANOWRIMO challenge.

I would sometimes sit down and take some time thinking about where the next scene or tow would go, but that often changed as I wrote so I did not see any reason to outline, and quite frankly I didn’t know how. I did go back and put the book in an outline and wrote out a detailed synopsis for the book.

Since then I have started using a writing program called Scrivener. It has helped me to map out all of my ideas and notes into a rough outline in the form of note cards. The program allows me to move the note cards around a cork board to see how story is taking shape.

I still think of myself as more of a punster than a plotter, but I had to put all the little thoughts I have had and what is happening behind the scenes in Taken into a useful place. I keep a document with my preliminary notes it is has around four thousand words. Some of the notes are for book three, but I have to know how to get the characters there.

I am enjoying learning how to create and use an outline. I am not sure I will ever be the kind of writer that makes a detailed outline, but like the way I think about my books and why I love the paranormal so much “anything can happen.”

December 9th – Angela at I Feel the Need, the Need to Read– Review, Top 10

December 9th – Kelly atKelly P’s Blog – Spotlight/Excerpt

December 9th – Cherry at Cherry Mischievous – Guest Post

December 9th – Chemistry at Books 2 Chocolates – Author Interview

10th – Taneesha at Kaidan’s Seduction– Review

December 10th – Diana Ramsey at Offbeat Vagabond – Spotlight

December 10th – Brianna at abookandalattee – Review

December 11th – Jess at Jess Resides Here – GP & Playlist

December 11th – Taneesha at A Diary Of A Book Addict – Review

December 11th – Laurie at Laurie’s Thoughts and Reviews – Top 10 List

December 11th – Crystal at Book Worms and Couch Potatoes – Review/Interview

December 12th – Kim atLittle Red’s Book Reviews– Review/Playlist

December 12th – Kendall at Book Crazy – Review

December 12thRavenz Reviews – Review

December 12thalwaysjoart – Top Ten/Playlist

December 13th – Tiffany at Painted Words – Review/Playlist

December 13th – Adrian atAdrian J. Smith – Top Ten List/Other

December 13thKnock Your Books Off – Review

December 16thOzero – Review

December 16thPage Flipperz – Top Ten/Guest Post

December 16thUrban Fantasy Investigations – Top Ten/Guest Post
December 17th – Sarah at Literary Meanderings– Interview/Top Ten List

December 17thI Heart Books – Guest post

December 17th – abookandalattee – Review

December 18th – Our New Generation for Reading – Spotlight

December 18th – Becca at Becca the Bibliophile – Top Ten/Playlist

December 19th – Good Choice Reading – Review

December 19th – Katelyn – Kate’s Tales of Books and Bands – Playlist

December 20th – Tiffany at Bookish – Review

December 20th – Jayne at Fiction_TheNewReality – Review/Interview

December 20th – Kelly at Lisa’s Book Lair– Review/Playlist

December 20thScorpio’s Tantalizing Teasers – Review
December 20thMiscellaneous Thoughts of a Bookaholic – Review 



Author Felicia Starr lives five miles from her favorite Jersey Shore destination with her amazingly supportive family.  She loves to spend time creating special memories with her husband and two young boys.
 
Everyone expected her first publication to be a cookbook, but her love for writing has surpassed her love for cooking.

 Felicia graduated magna cum laude from Kean University with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a post baccalaureate in elementary education. 

She is a licensed real estate sales person, a certified yoga instructor, and most importantly, a stay-at-home mom. 


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Cheryl Rainfield Stained book tour and #giveaway

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It is with great pleasure that I share a guest post from Cheryl Rainfield. With the anti bullying project running I feel this fits perfectly as Cheryl does amazing work as she has been described writing with empathy and compassion. How important kindness is and Stained is no different. Thanks to Cheryl and JKScommunications for allowing me to take part in this tour. At the bottom of this post are details on how to enter to win three of Cheryls books ebook format as well as a tour wide grand prize of an ereader.

Cheryl Rainfield Stained

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An intensely powerful account of a teen, bullied for her port-wine stain, who must summon her personal strength to survive abduction and horrific abuse at the hands of a deranged killer.Sixteen-year-old Sarah Meadows longs for “normal.” Born with a port wine stain covering half her face, all her life she’s been plagued by stares, giggles, bullying, and disgust. But when she’s abducted on the way home from school, Sarah is forced to uncover the courage she never knew she had, become a hero rather than a victim, and learn to look beyond her face to find the beauty and strength she has inside. It’s that-or succumb to a killer.

Strong Girls (and boys) Matter

Girls and women (and boys, too) often think that they’re not strong—perhaps especially because that’s reflected in many movies and books—but they are. We are stronger than we think we are. Sometimes it just takes having someone else point out our strength to help us see it, or being tested and finding ourselves strong. Strength is more than muscle—it is courage, emotional resilience, and inner strength.

For years people told me that I was really strong—ever since I started remembering the abuse I’d survived and talking about it at age 13. I never felt strong; when you’re raped and violated, when you endure torture and mind control, strength isn’t something you equate with yourself. But I was, and I am.

While sometimes I fought back physically against my abusers, even though it meant being tortured more—especially if I was trying to protect others—I think the greatest ways I fought back were emotionally and psychologically—keeping my soul intact; not allowing my abusers to twist me into enjoying torturing or hurting others the way they did; keeping hold of my compassion and empathy; finding ways to heal—and saving myself. I had to save myself over and over again—running away, finding ways to escape my abusers until I really was safe—because as much as I wanted and needed it, no one else saved me. I had to be the one to do it.

That’s something that Sarah in STAINED discovers after she’s abducted. While she needed someone to rescue her, no one knew where she was. She had to find the strength and courage to fight back physically and psychologically, finding ways to stay alive, until finally she gave up the idea of being saved by someone else, and found a way to save herself. She also found a way to start healing. And that, to me, is incredible strength.

Often the stories we hear in the media of bully, rape, abduction, and attempted murder are negative. We don’t hear about the children and women who fought back, who were able to tell someone, or who were able to rescue themselves. I think we need to hear more of those stories, especially in books, movies, TV, and other media. We need those positive reflections to remind ourselves that we are strong and we can fight back. I always write strong girl characters (and emotionally strong boy characters) and Sarah’s story is just that. Her story is also closely linked to mine. I drew on my own trauma experience to write it—and also my healing and strength.

I think for those of us who’ve survived trauma or been through rough times, we need to know we’re not alone and things can and will get better. And for people who haven’t been abused or raped or bullied or held captive, reading a book like STAINED can help remind them of things they can be grateful for—having enough food and water, and choices in what you eat; being able to walk around freely; living without the threat of murder; living without abuse. Having friends and support and laughter. It may also increase people’s compassion for others who’ve been through such trauma.

We all have pain. We’ve all had hard things we’ve had to endure. So if you believe you’re not strong, I hope you’ll take a moment to think of the things you’ve survived and realize you really are strong.

Cheryl Rainfield

Cheryl Rainfield can be found online at

Author Website / Twitter  / Facebook / Goodreads / Amazon / YouTube / Amazon
Cheryl has kindly offered a copy of each of her books Scars, Hunted and Parallel Visions. Visit each stop on the giveaway to increase your chances of winning. Leave a comment or question here for Cheryl to enter.
There is a tour wide grand prize of an ebook reader. Increase your chances by going to each blog and commenting.