Friday, April 27, 2012

The Mystery of History with Guest Blogger: B.J. Scott


 Welcome romance author BJ Scott 
back to the Book Boost today!
 
She's here to discuss historical romance and here's what she had to say...
  

Fact or Fiction?

As a writer of historical romance, I am often faced with the dilemma of how much of my book should be based on real fact, if any. Being a history buff, it is hard to keep the desire to share with my readers under control. While the intent is not to rewrite history, using actual historical facts and events add flavor to a historical romance. It also offers some very interesting information about the events of time, lifestyle and challenges facing a heroine and hero in a specific era.

The line between historical fiction and historical romance is a fine one and while they vary with each publishing house, editorial guidelines are strict. In a historical romance, the love and passion between the hero and heroine drive the story. The historical facts add flavor. In a historical fiction, the events drive the story and the romance, if any, between a hero and heroine while it enhances the story, it is not the main focus.

Whether you write historical romance or historical fiction, make sure your facts are well researched and accurate. Never assume your reader will not know the difference, because most of them will. Fans of this genre are often well versed in all aspects of the time period. You are on a much tighter rein with historical fiction and the creative license with historical romance is greater, but the onus is on the author to make sure they write a story that depicts the era in a true light.

So how much history is desirable in a historical romance? That depends on the author and the editor. Together they will ensure the reader is offered the perfect blend without making them feel they are in a history class. If you get too technical or caught up on the facts, and your romance goes by the wayside, you will lose your readers. Give them just enough facts to entice and entertain and you will have a fans that will relate to your characters and will be looking for your next book.


A Note from the Book Boost:  I've tried my hand at writing historical fiction and find it to be the most difficult genre as an author.  On the other hand, as a reader, there are few books I like more than a well crafted historical full of rich detail and a strong"take me back in time" vibe.  I commend you for the work you've done here.


Blurb:

Faced with an abhorrent betrothal, Cailin Macmillan flees her father’s castle and quickly learns that a woman traveling alone in Medieval Scotland is an easy target for ruthless English soldiers.

When Highland patriot Connor Fraser comes to her aid, his steadfast dedication to king and country is challenged by his overwhelming desire to protect Cailin—even if he must marry her to do so.

Accused of murdering one of her attackers and determined to rely on her own resourcefulness, Cailin dresses as a lad, intent on seeking refuge at the camp of Robert the Bruce. Can she elude an enemy from her past—a vindictive English lord bent on her utter demise—or will she fall prey to his carnal intent and be executed for a crime she did not commit?
 

Want More B.J.?

With a passion for historical romance, history in general, and anything Celtic, B.J. always has an exciting work in progress. Each story offers a blend of romance, adventure, suspense, and, where appropriate, a dab of comic relief. Carefully researched historical facts are woven into each manuscript, providing a backdrop from which steamy romance, gripping plots, and vivid characters—dashing alpha heroes and resourceful, beguiling heroines you can’t help but admire—spring to life.

Following a career in nursing and child and youth work, B.J. married her knight-in-shining-armor, and he whisked her away to his castle by the sea. In reality, they share their century-old home in a small Canadian town on the shore of Lake Erie with three dogs and a cat. When she is not working at her childcare job, on her small business, or writing, you will find her reading, camping, or antique hunting.


Visit her on the web here:   www.authorbjscott.com

Pick up a copy of her book today!  Click here.


Thursday, April 26, 2012

I Like Her, I Like Her Not with Guest Blogger: Tiffany Truitt

Welcome debut author Tiffany Truitt 
to the Book Boost today!

She's here to discuss the like-factor in regards to female characters and here's what she had to say...

Part of entering into the strange realm of being a published author is fortifying yourself against the onslaught of reviews that will no doubt range from "I hate this," to "I can't wait to get the next one."

Well, if you're lucky you get a few of the latter. When I found out that bloggers had received Advanced Review Copies of my debut novel, The Chosen Ones, I made a vow to myself not to read any reviews. It's a tough thing to put your writing out there for public consumption, and I didn't want to be scared off while attempting to finish the second novel in the series.

But...that lasted about a week. Soon, I was off to Goodreads like a madwoman. For the most part, I've been rather lucky that the reviews for The Chosen Ones have been positive. One comment that has made the rounds, in both positive reviews and those who didn't love the novel, have been that they couldn't connect with the female protagonist at first.

And I've had a lot of talks with my editor and friends about this. I didn't want my character to be loved right off the bat. There seems to be an archaic need for female characters to welcome their readers with open arms. Tess isn't this. She's tough. Selfish. Flippant. Introverted.  Downright unsympathetic at times. But she lives in a cruel world, and I didn't want to create a story of a hopeful girl who lived in a dark place....I wanted to create a story of a lost girl living in a dark world who found hope. Male characters have been getting away with this for decades both in print and in television. You want to tell me girls don't still swoon for Gossip Girl's Chuck?

Tess goes through a lot in the course of the novel and she does change. But even at the end, she isn't perfect. I didn't want her to be. Her story is not done. She still has questions: about why we do the things we do, how much of our self does society demand we sacrifice, can we truly love someone? These might not be comfortable questions to ask, or even politically correct, but that's why I loved writing her. We love reading about the bad boy. The one who doesn't seem like he feels anything, only to discover he feels too much.

Do we offer the same chance to our female characters? Or are we as readers too tough on even them? If we want to see real character growth, we have to accept that our characters, like ourselves, have flaws. And no one is perfect.


A Note from the Book Boost:  Tiffany, I've had this same problem with my female leads.  Readers either think they are "too tough and selfish" or "too weak and awkward".  This just goes to show that you'll never please everyone.  Tell your character's story--whatever that may be--and be proud of the work you've created.  No matter what others say about it, know you've done more than most of them ever will.  Thanks for joining us today and please tell us more about your release!


Blurb:

I pushed down a key. The hair on the back of my neck shot up, and my skin tingled.

I imagined this was what it felt like to fall in love.
 

In that moment, I was ready to fall.

Life is bleak but uncomplicated for Tess, living in a not-too-distant future where the government, faced with humanity’s extinction, created the Chosen Ones, artificial beings who are extraordinarily beautiful, unbelievably strong, and unabashedly deadly.

When Tess begins work at Templeton, a Chosen Ones training facility, she meets James, and the attraction is immediate in its intensity, overwhelming in its danger. But there is more to Templeton than Tess ever knew. Can she stand against her oppressors, even if it means giving up the only happiness in her life?


Want More Tiffany?

Tiffany Truitt is an 8th grade English teacher in Suffolk, Virginia. When she’s not traveling the world, she enjoys reading, writing, and obsessing over coffee. Lost Souls: Chosen Ones is her first novel. 

Visit her on the web here:
http://tiffanytruitt.wordpress.com/

Pre-order your copy today!  Click here.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

My Spidey Sense is Tingling with Guest Blogger: Olivia Starke


Welcome featured & fearless author 
Olivia Starke to the blog today!


She's here to discuss how she faced and conquered her fears and here's what she had to say...


Once upon a time I suffered arachnophobia, an intense fear of spiders. I could survive little house spiders, but anything much larger and I’d fly into hysterics. As a teen I even blacked out while in a reptile exhibit, which had a large black tarantula on display, unbeknownst to my parents and friend who were on the trip. Usually before entering such places, or pet stores for that matter, I’d send someone ahead to scout out their spider situation. Now mind you, I can plant my face against the glass of a timber rattler exhibit, admire how cool it looked, but a nearly harmless spider was death on eight legs for me.

My fear originated when I was eight years old. While on a walk with my mother during late fall I spotted one our resident tarantulas (Yes, Missouri hosts some pretty gnarly spiders! Click on image above to read more). They can be aggressive and this particular day the little bugger decided it didn’t need a little girl running up to say hi. So it turned and jumped toward me, and kept coming even as I spun and ran for my life. My mother tried to stomp it, at which it turned and went after her. She has no fear of creepy crawlies, but even she got skittish with the little hairy black beast from hell trying to attack her flip flopped feet.

The following year on a warm spring day, to add insult to injury, while taking the same road I felt something on my bare leg. Yes, a tarantula had jumped on my leg. Perhaps it was tired and thought “Hey! Free travel!” Or maybe it was the spider from the fall before who had escaped my mom’s murderous attempts, and needed retribution. Regardless, I’m pretty sure I could’ve out-sprinted a greyhound dog going full tilt.

Eventually I’d suffer a panic attack even if I spotted a photo or TV ad with a large spider. When I reached my mid-twenties I decided I’d get a handle on the completely useless terror. After all, I have zero fear of snakes, scorpions, black widows, etc., things that can actually do harm. It started with internet searches of big spiders, forcing myself to learn about them (they can be pretty interesting creatures.) The more I learned, the more I faced the fear, the more it lessened.

Today I’m in my thirties, and I’ve got almost a complete handle on it. I no longer have to fear going into the great outdoors, something I love and thrive on. I can look at one on display and not feel the surge of adrenaline that precedes hysteria. I still can’t deal with one touching me, or having one pop up from my drain (oh the joys of living near a river) without a scream of shock. But it’s not full out panic. I’m in control and I can deal with that.

Now to deal with my heights issue….


A Note from the Book Boost:  You're much more brave than I am.  I'm not a fan of spiders, snakes, or anything icky--creepy--or crawly.  Good on you for conquering your fears.  I'll hang on to mine for now.  LOL  Thanks for joining us and please tell us more about your latest book!


Blurb:


 Sex is better when you’re one of the undead.

When her luggage is stolen at the Las Vegas airport, Kelly finds herself stranded and broke. Lucky for her, sexy Detective Nick Rodriguez offers her a room for the night. And when he whips out the handcuffs, she is ready to offer gratitude for his hospitality all night long.

Of course, when in Vegas the party doesn’t stop even if someone wakes up dead….








 Want More Olivia?

Visit her on the web here: http://www.authoroliviastarke.com/

Pick up your copy of her book today!  Click here.

 
Contest Time:

Visit Olivia's website here and subscribe to her newsletter for a chance to win an Amazon.com gift card.  Winner selected at the end of May!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Mardi Gras Meets Montgomery!



Book Boost Owner, Kerri Nelson 
chats about attending a book release 
party for fellow Paranormal author 
& friend Suzanne Johnson

On Saturday night, Mardi Gras met Montgomery.  Yep, right here in Alabama, we had a little taste of New Orleans.  How did this happen?

Well, I had the honor of attending a beautiful book release party held in my home town for Urban Fantasy and Paranormal author Suzanne Johnson.  She was the guest of honor in a celebration to commemorate her debut release entitled Royal Street.

Click cover to pick up your copy today!

The party kicked off in a luxurious Tower party room with a view of the sunset and city below.  We were greeted with complementary Mardi Gras Beads and the room was adorned with everything festive you can imagine from masquerade style masks, to decorated parasols, to "royale jester" hats, and much more.

Here's a shot of my beads--Rex:  King of Carnival style--doncha love 'em?


And then there was the food...

People...let me tell you about the food...the lovely hostesses of this party thought of everything!  We had scrumptious shrimp cocktail, palate pleasing pralines, Potstickers & Pimms and even mini-Muffalettas (a la Central Grocery style).  And there was much more in the belly satisfying munchies department--even a World Famous Haydel's Bakery King Cake (sshh--I ate TWO pieces--but don't tell anyone).   See photo up top of some of the food that was left over after I had my way with it.  :-p

I wanted to eat more but had to contain my appetite so I'd actually have time to chat with my long time friend and chapter mate, Suzanne about her ongoing 15 city book tour and all the amazing images scrolling past our eyes on the large screen slide show prepared for the event.  Images such as Suzanne's pre-Katrina home in New Orleans and the exciting new cover for the 2nd forthcoming book in her series entitled River Road (due out in November).

Click the image to follow Suzanne's blog for updates and details.


Then, when I thought it couldn't get anymore fun--my local gal pal, Lexi George shows up!  Lexi and I both attended a Sisters in Crime event "Murder on the Menu" earlier this year and we'll both be at the upcoming Heart of Dixie Reader's Luncheon in Huntsville, Alabama on May 5th.  Click here for details.

If you don't know Kensington author Lexi George--check out her website here--you simply won't regret it.  Hey Lexi, when will you come to the Book Boost and chat about demons in Dixie?


Here's a pic of myself (in the middle) with Suzanne (right) and Lexi (left).  All three of us Alabama girls possess a penchant for the paranormal.  Photo courtesy of my handsome and helpful hubby. xo

All in all, the party was a great success and I hope Suzanne will stop by to help me recognize her wonderful friends who hosted the party (I apologize for not having all the names handy).  It was an absolute success, a total blast and without a doubt we lived up to the New Orleans saying:

Laissez le Bon temp Rouler!

As the good times definitely rolled at this event.

Thanks for the invite, Suz and I wish you all the success in the world with your release.

Until next time,
--Kerri Nelson
Author, Mom, &
Owner of The Book Boost

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Set in Stone with Guest Blogger: Cathy Perkins



Welcome to our Weekend Special Edition 
with mystery & suspense author 
Cathy Perkins today at the Book Boost!


She's here to chat about what diamond ring settings and book settings have in common and here's what she had to say...



I admit it – I love to wear jewelry. Working from home, however, means yoga pants and T-shirts rather than suits and bling. My jewelry was relegated to the lock-box, hauled out for “special events” rather than every day wear. My sole adornment these days? My engagement ring and a simple gold band.

Backing up a bit, diamonds may be April’s birthstone, but April is also the month of my wedding anniversary. Many years ago, I married a fabulous guy. He gave me a lovely ring with extra special sentimental meaning – the stone had belonged to his grandparents – and I selected a simple solitaire setting for the diamond.

Fast forward (a lot of years) and one day I noticed a prong had come loose on the ring. The jeweler informed me he could fix the prong, but I had a bigger problem. After all those years of wear and tear, the head (that holds the stone on the ring) had nearly worn through. One ill-advised bump and the setting would’ve snapped.

New jewelry time! Aren’t those words women love to hear?

I’m going crazy with this re-design. I visited jewelers and browsed online, trying to decide on a new setting. The choices were over-whelming. Keep the solitaire? Add stones for an anniversary style band? More diamonds or colored stones? Lots of filigree or keep it simple?

Too many choices!

First question – what type setting would you select if you were “doing it over again” and selecting a new setting for your engagement ring?

Now we all know jewelry reflects personal taste. The same degree of personal taste influences how much “setting” we like in our stories. Since I’m trying to pare a couple of thousand words from an amateur sleuth mystery (my current work-in-process), I’m looking at anything remotely superfluous.

And that means eying the setting details.

So far, I’ve found other places to cut because I’m one of those people who think setting – as seen through the protagonist’s eyes – reveals character by informing how and what the heroine notices. Pushing the analogy, the setting enhances the story—makes it “prettier.”

I like atmospheric mysteries like those by William Kent Krueger (set in the north woods of Minnesota) and Jonathan King’s Max Freeman stories (based in the Everglades). In each, the setting is a character in the story, adding to or creating tension that affects both the plot and the characters. At the other end of the spectrum, Stephanie Bond’s “Hollywood” series features a protagonist who lives with her aunt in a retirement center condo, carries a cartoon-themed bag for a purse and sports purple spiked hair. Have you already built a mental picture not just of how she looks, but also her outlook on life?

The Professor (Carina Press) is set in South Carolina, amid crimes scenes, “cop-shops” and small college campuses. Since I’m still celebrating the release, here are the opening lines, with a little setting, as seen by the hero:

The body lay in dappled shade. Patches of light caught pale flesh—an ankle here, a hip there. Resurrection ferns spread lacy fronds, partially concealing the limbs. Mick wondered if the irony was deliberate.

Can you see the scene?

Second question – can you think of other stories where the setting is a character? Or where the details tell you who the character is—or wants to be?
     
A Note from the Book Boost:  I agree that when you have a great setting it can literally make or break the story.  Frankly, I believe it is what often makes a great story stand out from others in already over crowded book markets.  But on the flip side, setting details can be overdone.  So, I guess there is a real talent to getting just the right mix.  Thanks for joining us here Cathy.  Great blog!  Tell us more about your latest book.

Blurb:

The Professor presses his palm against her flank, feeling the liquid warmth of her blood, hotter than her skin. Hot, like the life force that he has claimed... The power over life and death is the ultimate thrill.

Someone is murdering women on South Carolina's college campuses: three women, three different schools. The Governor's order to State Law Enforcement Agent Mick O'Shaughnessy is simple: make it stop. More political maneuvering diverts Mick to nearby Douglass College. There, instead of another dead body, he finds Meg Connelly, grad student and faculty advisor for the latest victim.

Determined to finish her master's degree, Meg doesn't need anybody's help - including her estranged family - to succeed. There's something irresistible about Mick, but the last time she let someone get close to her, she lost everything except her self-respect.

As the investigation heats up, Mick's interest in Meg doesn't just endanger her heart--it puts her in the sights of the killer.

Once he gets her alone, he can take all the time he needs...     


Excerpt (edited for length):

Frank dropped the Greenville News onto the kitchen counter in Mick’s condo. “I got your paper.”

“Thanks.” Mick didn’t lift his eyes from the laptop on his dining room table. Normally he worked in the small bedroom he’d converted to an office, but the case files had outgrown the space. He typed in his password and waited for the computer to finish loading.

"Man, does your neighbor always dress like that to get her paper?”

Oh, jeez, Mrs. Wilcox strikes again, he silently groaned. The good mood that sleeping in his own bed and an hour at the gym had produced evaporated. He stared at the computer, urging it to start faster.

"It wasn’t so much what she was wearing, as what she wasn’t.”

He sighed. Frank wasn’t going to leave it alone until he responded. “What was she wearing this time?”

His partner rocked on his toes. Enthusiasm lit his voice. “She had on this little-bitty robe over a baby-doll gown. It was that kinda sheer material, you know, where you can see, but not really.”

"Hmm.” He focused on the laptop and launched the database program.

“That’s the best you can do? ‘Hmm’? What is wrong with you, O’Shaughnessy? She’s hot. I mean, she has these…”

He rolled his eyes. Frank was pantomiming cantaloupes or maybe watermelons. “Go for it. She’s not my type.”

"Your type?” Frank asked, incredulous.

“Yeah. As in Barbie has no brain.”

“Who cares?” The man’s hands rose and fell in exasperation.

Mick ignored him and opened the car file.

“Christ. Sexy woman throws herself at him and he bitches ’cause she isn’t a nuclear scientist.” He opened a cabinet, grabbed a mug, and poured coffee. “You’re out of sugar again.”

“There’s Sweet’N Low.”

Frank made a face, but emptied several packets into his mug. He moved to the refrigerator and stood in front of the open door.

Mick shot a concerned glance into the kitchen. Frank had been making too many comments like that lately. But what was he supposed to ask? Was everything okay between Marilyn and him? Was he thinking about having an affair? Their relationship didn’t work that way. Frank meddled in his life, not the other way around. His partner was supposed to be the solid, married man.

Frank pulled out the milk carton, sniffed and grimaced. “This is pathetic.” He examined and replaced a carton of orange juice. “What’s this?” He lifted a white container as if it might contain anthrax.

He leaned back so he could see what the guy held. “Probably leftover Thai. You might not want to eat it.”

“Do you have anything in here that didn’t die last week?”

"I haven’t been here. The apples and those little carrots in the bottom drawer are okay.” He’d had a handful for breakfast, along with a bagel he found in the freezer. “I need to go to the grocery store this afternoon.”

Frank grimaced and closed the refrigerator. He opened cabinets and finally found a box of Triscuits. “You want more coffee?”

He shook his head, his eyes never leaving the DMV records scrolling down the screen. “There are over two hundred thousand lines in this file. I had no idea there were so many old cars around here.”

“Half of them are in my neighbor’s yard,” Frank replied around a mouthful of crackers. He leaned against the counter, scanning the front page while he crunched noisily. “You see this?”

"You just brought the paper in.”

Frank held it up and Mick glanced at the headline. 

“The Professor, huh?”

“Yeah, he’s made the big time. Bastard has a name now. I’m sure he’s rejoicing, wherever the asshole is.”     


Want More Cathy?

  Visit her on the web here:  http://www.cperkinswrites.com

Pick up a copy of her book today!  Click here.

Friday, April 20, 2012

You Must Be Mistaken with Guest Blogger: Denise Robbins


Welcome romantic thriller author
Denise Robbins to the Book Boost!



She's here to discuss her writerly type mistakes and here's what she had to say...



Hm, well, I make mistakes every day. Seriously! Whenever I write I have typos, grammatical errors, and storyline errors. One time I actually had a character who stuck an envelope in her pants/panties and when she later went to the restroom I completely forgot that it was supposed to be there. The funny thing is, even my first round editor missed that faux pas.


My biggest mistake as a writer came before I was published. My biggest mistake was in almost giving up. Almost. After months and months of submitting and waiting, sending in partials and full manuscripts and even having one company go so far as asking me to make edits, I did not receive an offer. Can you say "frustrated"?


I was literally a day away from giving up, not sending out another query letter or synopsis. If not for my ex-husband I would have. Even at the time he was my ex. We spoke on the phone and I told him I was done. I was going to throw in the towel. He convinced me that I had worked too hard to just let them win and that I owed myself another shot.


Oh – my – gosh! I was so glad I took his advice. Literally, that night I sent out one more query. They requested the full manuscript. Two weeks after that I had an offer from my publisher L&L Dreamspell.


What’s the moral of this story? NEVER EVER give up.


A Note from the Book Boost: I think every author has these "throw in the towel" moments. I know I do and have in the past. But if you're really a writer--you simply won't be able to let go of the dream. I'm glad you stuck with yours and the new book sounds great! Thanks for joining us today, Denise. Please tell us more.


Blurb:

All she wanted was to find love. Was that too much to ask? How difficult could it be to find one man, the perfect man for her?

After dating the losers of the century, Jane decides there has to be a better way. She turns to an online dating service. After all, they guarantee a ‘happily ever after’ or your money back.
Jane East, CEO of Not-So- Plain- Jane’s organic cosmetics wants to fall in love with a man who makes her toes curl when he kisses her. Unfortunately, the one man who makes her toes curl also wears ladies’ pink underwear and a badge. The pink underwear she could probably deal with, but the badge is a different story.

Ever since seeing her mother and granny Pearl murdered by men with badges, Jane has a fear of cops and anyone who carries a badge. Especially, because the killers are still on the loose and searching for her.

Former FBI Cybercrime special agent turned small-town Chief of Police, Cooper Chance, gets caught with his pants down and his family jewels tucked in pink ladies’ underwear with lacy frills when he meets the woman of his dreams. That’s not his only issue. The woman has a fear of cops. If he can get past her guard, maybe he can save her life.


Excerpt:

Cooper went into his office, shut the door, and closed the blinds. “No way can I pull this off,” he protested holding up the leather skirt and heels. He stripped down to his skivvies and slid into the black leather skirt. “No way!” His damn boxers hung too low, below the skirt hem.

“Shit,” he growled and raked fingers through his hair. Just listen to him, he already sounded like a girl talking about hems.


“That’s why we included the ladies’ panties,” someone shouted back. Muffled chuckling rumbled behind his locked office door.


He riffled through the pile and found a pair of bright pink panties with ruffles and the tags still on them. “You’ve got to be kidding!”


The raucous laughter and low snickering that met his complaint burned his ass. What made him think that becoming the Chief of Police of a small town would be simple, easy? He must have been nuts. At least if he had been in a big city, like New York, Boston, or Minneapolis, he might not have felt so ridiculous. He would have fit in with any number of transgenders who walked the street. But here, in Manchester, New Hampshire he would stick out like a wolf in a pack of cats.


“Do women really wear this kind of underwear?”


“Panties,” one of the men shouted from the outer office.


“Panties,” he grumbled out the corner of his mouth. He held the silky material and eyed it with caution half expecting his men to supply him with a thong. Air wheezed out of his lungs when he saw that there was material on all sides and not some tiny strip that would ride up his ass.

Just the thought of it made his shoulders shiver.


Before he lost his nerve, Cooper stripped off his cotton boxers and stuffed his beefy legs into the pink panties. When the underwear reached halfway up his thighs, he heard a popping noise. He glanced down and saw the elastic in the leg holes had ripped apart. “Not one size fits all, are they?”




Want More Denise?

High-tech becomes high-risk in Denise Robbins’ novels. The New Hampshire based author uses two decades of experience in computers to explore the killer possibilities in technology. Denise integrates her knowledge of computers and technology along with secrets, intrigue, suspense, and even a little romance into all of her techno-romantic thriller novels. Readers and reviewers agree Denise writes stories that will keep you at the edge of your seat and clamoring for more.


Visit her on the web here: http://www.deniserobbins.com

Pick up your copy of the book today! Click here.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Writing to a Different Tune with Guest Blogger: Susan C. Muller



Welcome author Susan C. Muller
to the Book Boost today!


She's here to chat about music and writing and here's what she had to say...


Lately I’ve noticed a new trend in interview questions. Music.

What music does your hero/heroine enjoy?

What is his/her theme song?

Do you listen to music while you write? If so, what type?

Movies have background music and I suppose some readers want the same in their novels.

I’ll tell you a secret. This is a big problem for me. There’s something wrong with me. I’m missing a music gene somewhere. I don’t know if there are others who are missing this gene. My sister is missing it too, so maybe it’s hereditary.

And then there was my father. I could always find him in church because he sang loud. Not good, just loud. But it made him so happy. It made me want to crawl under my seat, but that’s another story.

It’s not that I don’t like music; I’m mostly indifferent to it. I have an oldies station programmed on the car radio, but if I use a drive-through and need to turn the radio down, it might be a couple of days before I remember to turn it back up again.

When I do have the car radio going, I sometimes sing along. You wouldn’t want to hear it, but I do sing. I even know the words. I’ve read that people who can’t carry a tune are more likely to know the words. And I certainly can’t carry a tune.

In high school, I belonged to the church choir. Don’t ask, there was a cute boy involved. When the choir leader blew that little harmonica thing and everyone hummed that note, I just laughed. I could no more open my mouth and have a specific note come out than I could began to speak Martian.

I accidentally turned on American Idol one time. When the judge said the contestant was a little “pitchy”--I changed channels. Not only did I not hear it, I didn’t know what that meant. I think they made it up. The only pitch I understand is pitching a book.

I first knew there was something missing for me musically while still in elementary school. One whole semester was devoted to music appreciation. The entire school met in the cafeteria one day a week and listened to classical music. We were given a paper telling what was playing and who wrote it. At the end of the semester there was a test, there always is. I studied and knew my composers and what they wrote. When the first piece of music started playing, I looked around the room and went: “What?”

Every other little kid was nodding, humming. They knew what that song was. The notes meant nothing to me. Maybe I’d know the next one. Nope, nor the one after. They all sounded the same to me. If it had simply been a written test–who wrote what–I’d have aced it.

When the test ended, I had tears in my eyes. Not because I’d failed a test, it wasn’t the first and wouldn’t be the last, but because I knew there was something wrong with me. That I was different.

So if you want to interview me about my latest book, great. I’d love that. Just don’t ask what music I have playing while I write because I probably didn’t notice.

In my novel, The Secrets on Forest Bend, my hero, Adam is a good dancer and he invites the heroine, Jillian, out to listen to music. But the venue is never specified. Was it rock? Country/Western? We’ll never know.

What about you, do you listen to music while you write, or like me, do you prefer silence?


A Note from the Book Boost: Susan, thanks for joining us today and for the laugh out loud post. Here's the thing I love about this post--your absolute honesty. One of my biggest pet peeves is for folks who really don't know how to sing or carry a tune to get up and try to do so and claim that they are good. Just like those folks we see a lot of on American Idol during the early rounds. This is so refreshing. There is nothing wrong with you--you're just not built for music. Not a design flaw--just a different design. Great stuff and even though I am musically inclined and play 2 instruments--I still don't write to music--ever! Please tell us more about your story.

Blurb:


Another day. . . another dead body.

When Detective Adam Campbell learns that a WWII gun is connected to several murders he’s investigating, he hopes that tracking down the killer will be as easy as tracing the gun’s history. When he meets Jillian Whitmeyer, the last known owner of the weapon, the case becomes anything but simple.

Just because you can’t see it, doesn’t mean it isn’t real.

Adam soon learns that people who get close to Jillian have a bad habit of turning up dead. Jillian claims that the spirit of her sister, accidentally killed with that same gun, is responsible for the deaths. She warns Adam that he is likely to become the next victim. Adam’s been a lousy judge of women in the past, and this one’s obviously a nut case. Or is she? How does a just-the-facts detective deal with a ghostly serial killer and the sexy-as-hell sister she won’t set free?



Want More Susan?


Visit her on the web here: www.susancmuller.com


Pick up a copy of her book today! Click here.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

A Fan of Banned with Guest Blogger: Jess Macallan


Welcome author Jess Macallan
to the Book Boost today!


She's here to discuss the lure of banned books and here's what she had to say...


Thanks for having me at the Book Boost today! Last week was National Library Week, which I celebrated by volunteering at my children’s school library and reading a few middle grade books.

I recently read a blog about the most frequently challenged books for 2011, and was surprised to see a couple of my favorites make the list (Hunger Games and To Kill A Mockingbird).
Being the reading rebel I am, I quickly jotted down the rest of them so I know what to buy next, but the list also got me thinking.

What’s the big deal about these books? To a point, I can understand the concerns. I won’t let my kids read certain books until they’re a little older, but I would never ban a book in my house.

I love many of the challenged books for the very reasons some adults want to ban them. They push the envelope. They graphically draw attention to social issues. They make us uncomfortable. They delight us, depress us, entertain us and maybe even scare us. They challenge us. That might explain why people want to challenge them in return. What they don’t realize is that by attempting to ban a book, they only make it more appealing. The forbidden is so tempting, especially for kids, but also for adults.

I volunteer at the library every week, and I see how hungry some of these kids are for books. They know their own minds. If it’s too scary, they won’t read it. Same goes if it’s too sad, violent or sappy. Telling them they shouldn’t be allowed to read it only makes them want to see what the fuss is about. I have yet to hear a kid say, “That book doesn’t belong in the library.”

I know parents who won’t let their kids read certain books—wildly popular books I might add—because of the magical elements. These same parents will take their entire family, including young children, to see a more violent movie—also from a wildly popular series—without a second thought. I have to smile, because this shows just how powerful words can be.

Books will always be challenged. It’s safe to say these same books will always challenge us. Reading them honors the authors who opted not to play it safe. If your tastes run to other genres, trust me when I say there’s a banned book of every flavor. I can’t say I’ll read them all, but I hope to read quite a few because I really want to know what the fuss is about. *grins*

And while my latest release, Stone Cold Seduction, hasn’t made any banned book lists, I hope you’ll check it out.

Thanks so much for letting me stop by to chat!


A Note from the Book Boost: I think banned book lists are worth as much as the paper they are written on. Seriously, anyone can find something wrong with any book if given the challenge. I never understand what all the fuss is about. If you don't like a topic, don't read it. There's certainly no shortage of books on the market! Great topic, Jess and I'm glad you're going to rebel and read anyway. Enjoy!


Blurb:

When a regular night of Robin Hood-ery results in the manifestation of some, um, unusual paranormal abilities, perfume-maker Elleodora Fredricks realizes the normal world she lives in isn’t quite… normal. And neither is she, thanks to her father, king of the shadow elves. Not only is he evil incarnate and the reason Elle moonlights as a burglar—someone has to take care of all his victims—he’s stolen her memories.

And only reading her fate can fix that.

Good thing she’s got a trio of hotties willing to help her find said fate. Saving her oracle BFF’s fiancĂ©e, falling in love with the gargoyle, and making up for breaking the phoenix’s heart ought to be a piece of cake for the princess of the shadow elves.

If only the king didn’t want his daughter dead…


Excerpt:

“You are my true mate.”

My lips were still tingling, and my brain was fuzzy. “Jax, I’m not sure what that means.”


He didn’t answer, but instead pressed a kiss to my temple. And another to my cheek. Slowly, he nuzzled his way to my neck. I let my head drop to one side, giving him better access.


He whispered his approval, and lightly nipped at my neck. “It is a connection between souls. A bond determined by fate. I will show you what it means.”


His lips and tongue were doing a slow, erotic dance along the oh-so-sensitive skin down my neck, and coherent thought was impossible. He could show me whatever he wanted, as long as he didn’t stop.


I sighed, and Jax took that as acceptance. Before I knew what he was going to do, he’d scooped me up and was halfway up the stairs.


“Jax!” I yelped.


He stopped, but his muscles were vibrating with energy. He waited until he had my full attention before repeating, “I will show you. We are mates, connected in ways you and the phoenix will never be.”


His silver eyes were bright and intense. I could admit to having had many, many fantasies where he’d carried me upstairs, and all sorts of amazing things had happened. But this was real. And he was dead serious. It scared me, thrilled me, and seriously confused me.


When I didn’t respond, he lowered my feet to the floor and pressed me up against the wall in the narrow stairwell. His eyes held mine as he leaned close. “I will show you, so there are no doubts.”


Then he kissed me again, and this time, he held nothing back. Possession, need, and barely leashed control. Jax’s mouth told me more than words ever could. He leaned against me so our bodies were in full contact. Need burned through me. His taste, his touch, drowned out my worries. His scent surrounded me. He smelled crisp and clean. Like a sunny, winter day. But the heat he created inside me was intense. Just like the man himself.



Want More Jess?

Visit her on the web here:
http://www.jessmacallan.blogspot.com/

Follow her on Twitter here:
http://twitter.com/#!/jessmacallan

Pick up a copy of her book today! Click here.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Got Hero? with Guest Blogger: Anna Alexander


Win a copy of Hero Revealed
and meet author Anna Alexander
today at the Book Boost!


She's here to discuss her wishful "heroic" powers and here's what she had to say...


Do You Use Your Powers for Good or Evil?

In my novella, Hero Revealed, the hero is not only an uber sexy river guide who’s a great kisser but also has super powers, including super strength and a heightened empathetic ability. This is a skill he puts to great use when he confronts the heroine, who denies her attraction and the arousal that simmers beneath her frosty smile.

Can you image what having that type of power does to a person or how it affects those around you? Do you keep the knowledge of that power a secret or go public and use it for good, or evil?

Part of the challenge of having a superpower is dealing with your new reality when one is thrust upon you. Being able to fly or see into the future may be a neat skill to have, but what if you were saddled with a somewhat lame superpower like being able to turn objects into bubbles. Sure, that sounds incredibly useful when being pelted by bullets or a semi-truck is barreling down on you, but unless you're under constant attack, what else can you really do with that ability?

If I were able to pick my superpower, I'd choose telekinesis, hands down. In my opinion, manipulating objects using only the power of the mind is the ultimate in awesomeness, and this I believed even before Michael Fassbender donned the red helmet to portray the sizzling-hot Magneto. (Have you seen X-Men: First Class? I never thought I would be so envious of a chessboard.)

But how handy would it be if say, oops, you locked your keys in the car. Ta-da! Door is now unlocked. Or you're able to make that extra-heavy grocery bag lighter than air. Even better, you're in a steamy lip-lock with your mate and damn, the condoms are across the room. No worries. With a simple thought, a packet is in your hand. Snap, crackle, pop, you're ready to go.

How fantastic is that?

It is repeated often in Spiderman, "With great power comes great responsibility." Every superpower has the possibility of taking you to the top of the world one minute and bringing that world crashing at your feet the next. But for a moment let's pretend that there are no consequences. What power would you have? What would you do with it? (I ask with my brows wagging suggestively and my hands rubbing together with glee.)

Of course now that I've thrown it out there, I may have to come up with a character who can turn objects into bubbles. I'm envisioning some interesting applications for that skill.


A Note from the Book Boost: I love this topic and what a funny post! Thanks for joining us today Anna. If I had the power to move things with my mind--dish washing and picking up after the kids wouldn't be so bad. But if I had to choose one power it would be the power to heal. Hands down. Please tell us more about your book!

Blurb:
As a female sheriff in a small town, Brett Briggs faces enough obstacles turning complacent good ol’ boys into a top-notch police force without the added insult of a vigilante apprehending her criminals. Her prime suspect? Kristos Kilsgaard, the sexy river guide who has been open in his desire to move her away from her badge and into his bed.

In his former position as royal guard, Kristos once failed a woman he cared for and as punishment was banned from his home on one of Saturn’s moons. He vows not to make the same mistake with Brett and uses his superpowers to protect her, no matter the foe. Or the cost.

But Brett didn’t become sheriff by letting a man take care of her, and although the hot-as-hell Kristos is persuasive, she’s not going to start now—even after burning it up between the sheets with him. When her town is threatened, they cry out for a hero and she sets out to prove to everyone, Kristos included, that she’s the woman for the job.


Excerpt:
He drifted closer, swaying in that way rock stars use to seduce their fans. Heat shimmered between them in waves, like sunlight hitting molten pavement. Her eyelids grew heavy as her limbs melted, softening in preparation of molding to his muscled contours. Under her thick down jacket, her nipples tightened, ready for his touch, and her hips shifted as wetness and heat pooled between her thighs. She was lost, drowning in the sea of lust radiating from his eyes and the promising pout of his lips.

“Why? Why are you doing this?” she whispered. “What do you want from me?”


A dimple appeared near the corner of his mouth. “I thought you knew. Apparently I’ve been too subtle.” He leaned close, his chest brushing her coat. “I want you, Brett. All of you. I want your passion, your regard. I want you to loosen your tightly bound control and come apart in my arms with my name falling from your lips like a prayer.” He ran the tip of his finger over her cheek. “I do love the way you say my name.”


Cold air hit the back of her throat as she sucked in a huge breath, breaking the spell he wove with the sensuous grace that was pure Kristos. She shook her head and stepped back. “Wow. Such poetic words from a river rat. No wonder you have so many women lining up for what you dish out.”


Crap. She mentally grimaced at the ugly snap in her tone. Why couldn’t she wrestle her jealous shrew into submission? Kristos was a sexy man. His raw sexuality wasn’t something he could turn off and on like a light. It wasn’t entirely his fault that women responded to him with such shameless abandon, and she had made it perfectly clear she didn’t want him. Lie that it was.


She wanted him so badly she sometimes trembled with the need and found herself, on occasion, with her keys in hand, ready to seek out his touch.


Kristos was like a well-aged bottle of bourbon. Hot and fiery as he slid over her tongue and down her throat, his heat permeating every fiber in her body with a sensuousness that stole all rational thought until she craved nothing but pure pleasure. Then the next morning would come the killer hangover and the painful pounding headache to remind her why she didn’t drink in the first place.



Want More Anna?

Visit her on the web here: http://annaalexander.net/

Pick up a copy of her book today! Click here.



Contest Time:
Leave a question or comment for Anna and be entered to win an e-copy of Hero Revealed.

**Winners for Book Boost prizes are drawn the first week of the following month and posted in the Recent Winners box in the right hand side of the blog. Check back to see if you are a winner and to claim your prize! Please leave your contact information in your blog post!**

Monday, April 16, 2012

Erase Mistakes Before You Make Them with Guest Blogger: Ashley Mackler-Paternostro



Welcome author Ashley Mackler-Paternostro
to the Book Boost!



She's here to discuss the mistakes she's made along the way and how to avoid them and here's what she had to say...


As a first time author naturally I made a lot of mistakes. I was stumbling into a profession I knew absolutely nothing about ... and although I had my story, I was silly enough to believe that was enough. The truth is the biggest mistake I made as a writer was one I didn’t know I was making until it was way to late. And worse yet, it was one I didn’t have to make ... one I could have avoided -- agh, 20/20 vision. There is always a learning curve in anything you do and in writing it just so happens to be steep.

Querying is a very intimidating process by the nature of it. The writer strips down and says “this is what I have, this is who am I, am I and is this worth believing in?” ... more often than not the answer is “no.” The reason for the “no” can be cloaked in riddles or can be simply cut and dry and boiled down to particular taste. But, it’s the nature of the beast. Agents, love em’ or hate em’, are respected with their rules of conduct and expectations and their nickname “the gate keepers” -- that’s not for nothing. They really are the first ones you want on your team if your dream is the be legacy published -- as in, the Big Six. And if that is inline with your dream than you’re probably going to find yourself in the process of querying ... it’s natural to query, it’s just part of what writers do ... and ironically enough, books are actually written on the subject.

I started querying in the late summer of 2011. I read all the books about how to query effectively, what a stand-out query looked like, and I tried ... I mean, at least I can say that much. I drafted my query fifteen times before I finally amassed the courage to actually send it. I researched which agents were best in my particular genre and I addressed each query to them exclusively as if they were really the only one in the world that mattered. I complimented their biographies and stroked some egos by admiring their quotes on how they viewed the business. I explained, in depth, who I am, what I wrote and why. Check, check, check ... it was all very “by the book.” I summarized my book in a single paragraph highlighting the heart of a novel. I hypothesized who would buy it and why they would. Then, I attached the required snippet and off it went ... into inboxes around the world. After about 50 hours of work I had e-mailed 50 agents.

But, even with everything I did right I made a mistake ... a tragic mistake. My novel, as it was, was unedited.

Here is the thing no one tells you ...

HAVE YOUR NOVEL EDITED BEFORE YOU QUERY!!!

In all of those books no one mentioned that. Maybe it was an assumption, a no brainer, the sort of common sense thing that goes without saying. But someone should have said something because you know what they say about assuming anything.

In my mind, I thought it went like this -- get an agent, get a publisher, get an editor. Uh, no ... that’s not how it happens, that’s the stuff of Hollywood.

Agents work for or with you without the promise of ever making a red cent. They take the risk on a book because they believe in it, and it’s easier to believe in something when it appears that the author has invested everything into it. No agent has the luxury of devoting months of time into a new author with no background in the publishing field to clean up a manuscript that may sit stagnate on their desk top.

Here is what I learned the hard way:

You get one chance to make a first impression ... putting your best foot forward in an industry that is full of supremely written novels is just plain smart. If your manuscript is sloppy then you come off as sloppy and you look like ... well ... a fool. Turning in something that isn’t your best, best work is like handing them a free pass to say “thanks but no thanks!”

Don’t make my mistakes, learn from them. If you’re thinking of starting the querying process, find a freelance editor first ... understand that further edits may come later ... but do what you can do today.


A Note from the Book Boost: Thanks for joining us today, Ashley, and for sharing your experience with us. I would have love to have heard more about what eventually happened with all those queries you sent out! Please tell us more about your book.


Blurb:


Jenna Chamberland never wanted anything more than to be a wife and mother. That is, until she realized that her life was ending after a three-year battle against breast cancer. Now, all she really wants is more time.

With 4,320 hours left to live, Jenna worries for her loved ones and what she knows awaits them on the other side: Gabe will have to make the slip from husband to widower, left alone to raise their seven-year-old daughter; Mia will be forced to cope with life without her mother by her side. In a moment of reflection, Jenna decides to record a set of audiocassettes — The Milestone Tapes – leaving her voice behind as a legacy for her daughter.

Nine years later, Mia is a precocious sixteen-year-old and her life is changing all around, all she wants is her mother. Through the tapes, Jenna’s voice returns to teach Mia the magic of life, her words showing her daughter how to spread her wings and embrace the coming challenges with humor, grace and hope.

The Milestone Tapes the journey of love between a parent and child, and of the bonds that holds them when life no longer can.



Want More Ashley?

Ashley Mackler-Paternostro was born in Naperville, Illinois, where she still lives with her husband Mark and their three dogs. A hairstylist by trade, Ashley will often say that some of the best stories she has ever heard were told to her while working behind the chair. A life long reader with an insatiable appetite for good books, she decided to merge her love of great stories — both told and written — into her own brand of story telling.

When she’s not being held captive in her home office by words, Ashley fancies herself a flea market hunter with a weakness for Japanese glass floats and repurposing vintage goods.


Visit her on the web here: www.ashleymacklerpaternostro.com

Pick up a copy of her book today! Click here.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Title Talk with Guest Blogger: Tiffany Allee




Welcome Entangled author Tiffany Allee
to the Book Boost today!



She's here to discuss book titles and here's what she had to say...


A Title Here. A Title There.


I'll admit, before I started writing I didn't think about book titles a whole lot. Sure, when I shopped in a book store, one might catch my eye enough to get me to pick the book up and read the blurb, but I couldn't have told you the title to all of my favorites. There are a few reasons behind this, I'm sure. But the biggest one is probably because I'm a big series reader. I identify books by the series title, or even the main character's name—the Rachel Morgan books, the Kate Daniels stories, the Edge series.


So once I started taking my writing seriously and had to actually create interesting titles, I found myself at a bit of a loss. Something that will attract attention, have actual bearing on the book, and that hasn't been used before (not recently or at least not in the same genre)? A title that has meaning without revealing too much? Gah! That was a tall order for me.


And don't even get me started on series titles and taglines and such. Really, don't. We could be here all day.


Luckily, with my first release, Banshee Charmer, the title came easily to me. The title character is a banshee. A charming man, who may or may not have her best interest at heart, heavily influences her throughout the story. There aren't a ton of banshee stories out there, so the title was unique. It had bearing on the book but didn't reveal too much. Done and done.


But then I had to title my second release. Once Prey, Twice Forsaken is a story I actually wrote before Banshee Charmer, but won't be released until June. The title did not come easily to me. All of my ideas were either too generic, or just didn't fit properly. Finally, after batting dozens of ideas back and forth with my editor, we settled on the ending title. It was painful, and not at all the almost easy, organic process I went through with Banshee Charmer.


My third release's title came to me quite easily. It is the sequel to Banshee Charmer, titled Succubus Lost.


I'm just sure the next one will be a struggle. It's a bit maddening.


Do you struggle with titles? Do some come easily while others evade you?


A Note from the Book Boost: Thanks for joining us today, Tiffany. I have to say that titles come very easily to me and they are really "my thing". I believe a title can make or break a book. In fact, one of the biggest romance publishers out there (who shall remain nameless) has the worst titles ever, in my opinion. And although I know they produce quality work, I cannot stand the titles. Please tell us more about your latest!


Blurb:

When she’s sent to a crime scene and finds her second dead woman in as many weeks, half-banshee detective Kiera “Mac” McLoughlin is convinced a serial killer is on the loose. Incubi are extinct, her boss insists. But what else can kill a woman in the throes of pleasure?

When her partner is murdered after using witchcraft to locate the killer and Mac is thrown off the case, her frustration turns to desperation.

Certain the killer is an incubus, Mac works behind her department’s back to chase down slim, sometimes perilous leads. While the killer eludes her, she does discover handsome Aidan Byrne, an investigative counterpart from the enigmatic Otherworlder Enforcement Agency.

Mac typically runs her investigations fast and hard, but with Aidan at her side, she’s running this one “hot” as well. But Aidan knows more than he’s letting on—something that could shatter their blazing romance and add Mac to the killer’s growing body count…


Want More Tiffany?


Visit her on the web here: http://tiffanyallee.com/

Follow her on Twitter here:
http://twitter.com/#!/TiffanyAllee


Pick up a copy of her book today! Click here.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Renew, Revise & Come Alive with Guest Blogger Mina Khan



Win a copy of The Djinn's Dilemma &
other swag from author Mina Khan
today at
the Book Boost!


She's here to chat about the importance of Spring's renewal in life and in stories and here's what she had to say...



Spring is my favorite season because you can see Mother Nature at work. Living in West Texas, I find the transformation amazing – naked, leaf-less trees preen in bright new foliage, the ground covered in stubbles of brown grass now sports a soft, green carpet, and the dusty landscape now boasts wildflowers of many colors. The season is an important bridge between the chilly emptiness of winter and the punishing heat of summer...a chance for the soul to breathe a sigh of relief and replenish itself.


The cycle of life and death, the themes of renewal and hope play an important part in my paranormal romance novella A Tale of Two Djinns. The hero, Akshay ("Shay" for short), warrior prince of the earth djinns, earns the title of Crown Prince at a high cost when he loses his best friend in a battle against ancient enemies, the water djinns. He is heartsick and vows never to return to the cursed battlefield, the place of death.


Yet, the story forces him to:


“Tell me where she went.”

“I don’t know,” Umber said. “Probably to the nearest crossroads. She said something about needing to make it to Nijhoom Forest.”


Shit. His insides churned. He’d intended to never return to that Creator-forsaken place again, to the site of Patthar’s death. But if Maya was headed there, he had to go. Maybe he could catch her before she got too far.


Akshay released Umber and fled out the door. “Tell Father and Jazz I’m going after Maya.”



Later, at the site, Akshay has an epiphany:


Wide-eyed, he goggled at the plain at the outer edge of water djinn territory. A soft carpet of new grass covered the rolling expanse, dotted with wildflowers of every color imaginable. Was this truly the bone dry land he’d led Patthar and his army across a mere two weeks ago?

He breathed in the sweet air and tried to tamp down the bitterness welling inside him. Had the water djinns washed away all signs of the war with cleansing rain, or was this new life flourishing thanks to all the blood and death that had soaked into the earth?


Midnight took the opportunity to lower his head and taste the verdant grass. Akshay closed his eyes and pulled in another deep breath, exhaled. Life ended in death, followed by new life. That was the natural cycle.


Maya’s face, her golden eyes glazed with liquid languor and lips parted in a sexy smile, filled his mind. Maya. She’d given him the greatest gift—life. She’d taken a man drowning in sorrow and guilt and made him come alive. She was carrying his child, the new life they’d made together. The realization shook through him like an earthquake, crumbled the remaining walls to dust. He needed to find his heartmate and his son.



Truth be told, I was heartsick myself because my father died while I was writing this story and my first impulse was to hide away from everyone and grieve. Writing thoughts down has always helped me calm myself, find solutions and solace…so I poured my thoughts into my story. My darling husband and his patient caring, my kids and their kisses helped too. In the end, I emerged a bit more balanced, able to grieve my father’s loss and find comfort in living.


To honor my parents I’m donating 50% of the proceeds from the sale of A Tale of Two Djinns to UNICEF’s Schools for Asia initiative. If you’d like to know more about why this cause is close to my heart, please check out my blog.


A Note from the Book Boost: Nice words, Mina. Thanks for sharing with us today and I wish you many sales in your quest for raising money for such a worthy cause.


Want More Mina?


Mina Khan is a Texas-based writer and food enthusiast. She daydreams of hunky paranormal heroes, magic, mayhem and mischief and writes them down as stories. Between stories, she teaches culinary classes and writes for her local newspaper. Other than that, she's raising a family of two children, two cats, two dogs and a husband. She grew up in Bangladesh on stories of djinns, ghosts and monsters. These childhood fancies now color her fiction.

Visit her on the web here:
http://minakhan.blogspot.com/

Follow her on Twitter here:
http://twitter.com/SpiceBites

Pick up a copy of her book today! Click here.



Contest Time:

Leave a question or comment for Mina and be entered to win an e-copy of The Djinn's Dilemma and some fun swag: a signed postcard of the cover of A Tale of Two Djinns, a genie lamp keychain, and a packet of wildflower seeds.

**Winners for Book Boost prizes are drawn the first week of the following month and posted in the Recent Winners box in the right hand side of the blog. Check back to see if you are a winner and to claim your prize! Please leave your contact information in your blog post!**

Sunday, April 8, 2012

A Diamond in the Rough with Guest Blogger: Stormie Kent


Welcome author Stormie Kent
to the Book Boost!



She's here to discuss how being a writer is like being as tough as a diamond and here's what she had to say...


Other than April Fool’s Day and April showers, the month of April is also known for the illustrious gemstone known as the diamond. Each person born in April can count the stone as his or her birthstone. The diamond is said to symbolize invincibility, clarity, purity and eternal love.

As a newly published writer I am more interested in the diamond’s biggest claim to fame, other than being the “engagement ring” gemstone. The diamond is the hardest substance found in nature. Listen--critiques, bad reviews and rejection form letters happen. If you really love writing and you can’t see your life without the craft, you must develop diamond hard nerves and a thick skin.

Over the last few months I have enjoyed the fact that I accomplished one of my writing goals. I wanted to be published. There was a euphoria that came with seeing my e-book on the publisher’s and other e-book seller’s websites. I loved it.

I also learned a disturbing lesson about myself. It is very difficult for me to read a less than stellar review from a reader. It doesn’t matter to me if there are five good reviews and one bad one, I will get stuck on the less than awesome one. I turned to veteran writers for advice on how to deal with reviews, good and bad, from readers and reviewers alike.

Here are some of the more helpful “gems” I gleaned from them.

1. Readers and reviewers have a right to their opinions and to post their opinions. Please don’t argue or attack them.

2. If your book has been reviewed and the reviewer has contacted you personally by email or some other method, it might be nice to thank them for their time and consideration.

3. Don’t take it personally. I know the book is your baby but everyone can’t like everything. Sometimes the thing that someone didn’t fancy about your work will be the very thing to draw another reader to the book.

These tips haven’t given me Emma Frost’s diamond hard skin yet they help me feel more resilient as an author.

There is an awesome side to reader feedback. If you have created a way for readers to get in contact with you, someone who enjoys your work will hopefully write to you. I love opening and responding to emails from readers. Writing can be a long, solitary undertaking and positive reader interaction gives me the warm fuzzies.

If writing is what you adore, don’t allow anything to get in your way. Write each day. Practice your craft. Learn everything you can about what it means to be a writer. There are wonderful writing communities out there that can support you and offer sound advice and information to aid you in your writing journey.

Learn from each reviewer. Positive and negative reviews can offer you valuable feedback about your writing. Once you have developed your “diamond skin” you can look at reviews and decide if the criticisms in each are really places that you need to focus your revision time or simply part of your writing voice and elements with which you are not willing to part.

What about you? Do you have any tips or rules about handling reviews with grace?

A Note from the Book Boost: Reviews are so tough because we all learned as children "if you don't have something nice to say--don't say anything at all". But when it comes to our reviews, we should expect criticisms to become forthcoming. I try to look at this this way, each person who reads my books (whether they liked them or not) is one more person you've touched and connected with--even if your book wasn't their cup of tea. Thanks for joining us, please tell us more about your book!


Blurb:

Camryn is taken captive after Earth is invaded by hostile aliens. She is sold as an exotic, an expensive sex slave. Camryn is willing to do anything to survive and escape captivity. That includes convincing her master that she enjoys his touch. Then she is purchased by the sexy warrior Venn. Now she must convince herself that she can resist a male whose every caress ignites a passion she has never known.

Venn is an empathic and hyper-sensitive tribal lord from planet Ordan. He has never owned a slave, yet he cannot resist the beautiful Earth woman. She teases his heightened senses and pushes past the control he has over his emotions. Venn struggles to own Camryn’s body with scorching sex and a firm hand. And when his possession of her body is complete, he’ll try to claim her soul.


Excerpt (edited for length):

Out of the hundreds of people who had surrounded her before, fifteen were left.

Breathing heavily, she hugged Niki to her. “We survived.”


“We survived again. Now we have to keep doing it. We have to find shelter or help. Someone who knows what is going on would be helpful,” Niki replied.


Camryn pulled away. Her entire body shook and she felt fuzziness in her head that she was very sure meant she was going crazy. But they were alive. That’s all that mattered.


“Where are you taking us, Mark?” she asked.


“There is a hidden barracks about twenty miles from here. It is bunkered underground, so maybe it is still secure.”


They all looked at the tractor-trailer-sized holes in the ground. The ground shook and she let go of Niki, falling to the ground. She forcefully pushed the thought away that they weren’t going to make it to the underground bunker alive. Thoughts like those wouldn’t help her keep walking.


Camryn climbed to her feet and they continued. The going was rough with the ground shaking almost constantly.


“What’s that?”


They all stopped. There was a thunderous cracking. It sounded like stone falling and the clamorous roaring of a demolition. Camryn looked back. The ground was splitting.


“Run!”


Camryn ran. The shaking was severe. She stumbled. She got up, balancing with her arms straight out to the sides.


The roaring grew deafening. She was flung back. She landed on her back, her ankle twisted.


Winded, Camryn lay still until the shaking subsided. She crawled, dragged and pushed herself to her knees and gasped. She knelt at the edge of a fourteen-meter-wide fissure. The earth had cracked in a jagged line as far as the eye could see. Across from her, tugging on her hair, stood Niki. Behind her hovered an equally distressed Mark. She knew what they were thinking. She was the least likely to survive on her own.


“Don’t worry. Follow the crack. It has to stop somewhere,” Camryn called. “We’ll meet there.”


“If you see anyone, get out of sight,” Niki called back.


“You can do it!” Mark yelled.


At that moment, something inside her wanted to give up. It all seemed too hard. Whatever was attacking them could destroy buildings and eighteen wheelers. It caused earthquakes. She was just one flesh-and-blood woman.


“Camryn,” Niki called.


Camryn focused. Niki looked as if she would attempt to fly across the gap if necessary. It was the first time in a long time that Niki had let her feelings show. Camryn always put Niki’s feelings above her own. Always.


Giving up wasn’t an option. Trembling, Camryn stood and limped away. She limped until nightfall, crying softly, glad that Niki and Mark were too far away to hear. Both of them were ex-Army. They would be okay, just worried for her.


The area had fallen silent and still. The people she passed were dead. She averted her eyes where possible. She stopped checking for pulses after the tenth corpse. She was thirsty and exhausted. The crack widened the farther she walked and what appeared to be an entire copse of trees was overturned in her path. She would have to go around. She pressed dirty palms to her eyelids. Her body wanted to shut down.


“In the morning,” she whispered.


She could no longer see Niki and Mark and she needed to sleep. Camryn pulled herself behind a fallen tree and settled against it. Finally she allowed herself to open her pack and take out a bottled water. She only drank half because she needed to ration her supplies. Who knew when she would find help? She also needed to sleep or she wouldn’t be able to go on. Camryn rested her head against the bark and waited for morning.



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